DNA, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

New Ancestor Discovery, no. 2: Irvin and Sabra Fisher Sessoms.

Actually, Stephen Grant and his wife Marie Celina Armand were New Ancestor Discoveries 1 and 2, per http://www.ancestry.com. I talked about Stephen here. (Though I may share ancestry with her husband, Marie Celina I’ve discounted as a blood relative because she was of French descent.) Irving Sessoms and his wife, Sabra Jane Fisher, then, are NADs 3 and 4. Neither name speaks to me, but they were from Sampson County, North Carolina – like my Aldridge and Balkcum ancestors – so I’m intrigued.

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Here’s what may or may not be true about Irvin Sessoms:

  • He was the son of Blake Sessoms (1781-1841) and Rachel [last name unknown] (1792-1880).
  • He was born 22 April 1817 in Sampson County.
  • He married Sabra Fisher in about 1835.
  • They had nine children: Molcey Jane Sessoms Grice (1845-1894), Uriah Sessoms (1846-1925), Susanah Sessoms McGrossen (1848-1889), William Henry Sessoms (1850-1930), Elizabeth Sessoms (1852-1874), Gilead Sessoms (1854-1867), Lucinda Sessoms (1856-1927), Minson M. Sessoms (1859-1940), and Andrew J. Sessoms (1861-1905).
  • He died 1862 in Little Coharie township, Sampson County.

Here’s what may or may not be true about Sabra Jane Fisher:

  • She was the daughter of Sanders Fisher (1793-1876) and Sophia Butler (1792-??).
  • She was born 29 September 1821 in Sampson County.
  • She died 11 September 1903 in Roseboro, Little Coharie township, Sampson County.

Observations:

  • The “circle” of DNA testers linked to Irvin and Sabra has five members, plus me. I match two of them — E.K. (an estimated 4th cousin), who is descended from their son Andrew J. Sessoms, and J.S. (estimated 5th cousin), descended from daughter Lucinda Sessoms. (I also match an estimated 4th cousin called “KnowThyPast” in common with both E.K. and J.S. I don’t know how I match KTP, but I thought it was via Van Pools on my mother’s side, which is not helpful here.) The other three in the circle: B.M. (descended from son William Henry), J.W. (descended from son Andrew), and A.L. (descended from son Minson.)
  • A passel of Aldridge/Balkcums have tested at Ancestry, but I seem to be the only one linked to the Sessomses. This could mean I’m totally off base with my speculation about my connection to them. Or, maybe it means that the link is specifically via my great-great-great-grandmother Margaret Balkcum Henderson, who likely had a different father than her sister, my great-great-great-grandmother Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge. Still, if this were the case, I might expect my Margaret-descended cousins H.K., L.G., and sibling set J.H., L.H. and M.C. to link to the Sessomses. They don’t.
  • Irvin Sessoms and Sabra Fisher Sessoms were contemporaries of my ancestors Robert Aldridge, Eliza Balkcum Aldridge and Margaret Balkcum Henderson. Thus, Irvin and Sabra could not have the direct ancestors of any of them.
  • Maybe “Molcey Jane” was a name with common currency in early 18th century Sampson County. It stood out for me though. There were three Molcey/Malseys among Eliza and Margaret’s (believed) Balkcum kin. The first was Malsey Lee Balkcum (1820-1889), wife of John Balkcum, whom I believe to have been a half-brother to Eliza Balkcum Aldridge and Margaret Balkcum Henderson. The second was Malsey Jane Balkcum Knowles, born about 1852 to Lemuel and Jemima Rackley Balkcum. Lemuel was, I believe, another half-brother to Eliza Balkcum Aldridge and Margaret Balkcum Henderson. The third was Malsey Alice Balkcum, born about 1855 to John and Malsey.

 

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Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Carter kin?

Several months, when I was examining delayed birth certificates filed in Wayne County, North Carolina, I asked who the A.J. Carter was listed as a cousin on Christine “Nora” Aldridge Henderson‘s birth record. Today I found a marriage license for A.J. Carter and Mallie Simmons, and it hit me suddenly that A.J. was Ammie J. Carter, (1) oldest of A. Marshall and Frances Jacobs Carter’s sons, (2) thus, nephew of “Papa” Jesse A. Jacobs Jr., and (3) brother-in-law of Beulah Aldridge Carter, my great-grandfather Tom Aldridge‘s sister.

But how in the world was Ammie Carter Nora Aldridge Henderson’s cousin? “Play” cousin? Or blood?

Ammie Carter, born about 1881, was the son of Archy Marshall Carter and Margaret Frances Jacobs. His mother Frances was the sister of “Papa” Jesse A. Jacobs Jr., who reared my grandmother, and the daughter of Jesse Sr. and Abigail Gilliam (or Gilliard) Jacobs. Jesse and Abigail’s parentage is unclear, but they are believed to have been born in Cumberland or perhaps Sampson County. As far as I know, neither was related to Nora Aldridge’s parents, John W. Aldridge and Louvicey Artis.

Marshall Carter (1860-1922) was the son of William and Mary Cox Carter of Sampson County. I know little about them. Their census records are muddled by duplicate, but conflicting, entries, and most of their children seem to disappear from the record. (An exception: daughter Virginia Ann “Annie” Carter (1863-1930) married Hardy Cox. They were close enough to Sarah Henderson Jacobs that my grandmother called them Cousin Annie and Cousin Hardy Cox. More about her later.)

William Carter was the son of Michael Carter (circa 1805-circa 1875) and Patience, maiden name unknown, of Sampson County, whom I know only through the 1860 and 1870 censuses, in which they are enumerated in Sampson County. They both seem to have died before 1880. My lack of knowledge about Robert Aldridge or Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge‘s parents makes me hesitate to say that either (or neither) was related to Michael or Patience Carter. The same holds for Mary Cox Carter’s parents, whoever they might have been.

In short, for now, I have no anwers.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Civil War, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Confederate dead and wounded.

When the call came, Nancy Balkcum‘s grandsons answered. And paid.

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James Lucian Balkcum, born about 1839, son of Mariah Balkcum and William L. Robinson. Lucian was a Sampson County farmer when he enlisted as a private on 9 May 1861 in Company F, 20th North Carolina Infantry.  He was captured 20 July 1864 at Stephenson’s Depot, Virginia, and confined at Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, where he died of variola on 4 Jan 1865. He is buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Columbus.

Josiah Johnson, born about 1844, son of William and Mariah Balkcum Johnson of Sampson County. Josiah enlisted as a private on the same day and in the same company as his half-brother Lucian Balkcum. He received a disability discharge on 6 May 1862, but re-enlisted 2 Jan 1864. Josiah died from wounds on 9 Nov 1864 at Mount Jackson, Virginia.

Harman Balkcum, born about 1822 to Nancy Balkcum and an unknown father. A 5’6″ farmer, he enlisted 4 Jan 1862 in Duplin County as a private in  Company A, Wilmington & Weldon Railroad Guards (later Company D, 13th Battalion, North Carolina Infantry.) A month later, records note that he missed duty for five days due to parotitis. He died 8 April 1863, probably of illness.

William James Balkcum, born 1841 to Lemuel and Jemima Rackley Balkcum of Sampson County.  W.J. enlisted on 10 Sept 1862 in the same company as Lucian Balkcum and Josiah Johnson. He was wounded 1 July 1863 at Gettysburg, and his left arm amputated.  He was captured as prisoner of war on 5 July 1863 and paroled circa 25 Sept 1867.  He arrived for prisoner exchange 27 Sept 1863 at City Point, Virginia, and transferred to Company F, 20th Infantry on 16 Apr 1864. Nancy’s great-grandson was the only Balkcum to come home.

Lemuel Balkcum, born about 1823. He was named as a grandson in Hester Balkcum’s will and was probably the son of Nancy Balkcum.  In the early 1840s, Lemuel Balkcum married Jemima Rackley. They had at least eleven children — the youngest just months old — before his enlistment on 2 September 1863 as a private in Company E, 30th North Carolina Infantry at Camp Holmes, Raleigh NC.  Lemuel died of typhoid fever on 26 Dec 1863 in a Richmond, Virginia, hospital and is buried in Hollywood cemetery, Richmond.

 

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Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color, Land, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

The Balkcum women.

In the name of God, Amen, I Hester Balkcum of the State of North Carolina and County of Sampson, being of sound mind & memory, but of feeble health, and knowing that all must die; do make & ordain this my Last Will & Testament. And first I give my body to the dust, to be buried in a decent manner and commend my spirit to the care of God who gave it, as a being infinitely wise & good. As for my worldly goods, my will is that they be disposed of as follows – (viz):

1st. I give & devise to my daughter Nancy Balkcum, thirty acres of land, to be laid off by the direction of my executor, from the eastern extremity of a tract lying on the southside of Beaver Dam swamp, so as to include the house in which she now lives, & a part of the cleared land to her & her heirs forever, in fee simple. I also give & bequeath to my said daughter Nancy the sum of Six dollars in money to be paid her by my executor.

2nd.  I give & devise to my grandson, James Lucien Balkcum, son of my daughter Mariah, the residue of said tract of land, lying on Beaver Dam Swamp, after thirty acres as aforesaid shall have been given to my daughter Nancy, the said residue supposed to contain one hundred acres more or less with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging to said James L. Balkcum & his heirs forever in fee simple  and I hereby revoke all gifts, grants and deeds of whatsoever nature or kind coming within the meaning & purview of these devises & declare them utterly void as having been done for temporary purposes & having had their effect  I also give & bequeath unto said James Lucien Balkcum, one bed, bed-stead & furniture and one pot & skillet.

3rd. I give & bequeath unto my grand daughter Mary Ellen Johnson, daughter of my daughter Mariah, one bed and its necessary furniture and all my household & kitchen furniture not heretofore disposed of, with all clothes & cloths of every description, which I may leave at my decease.

4th.  I give & bequeath unto my grand son, John Balkcum, one common Bible, or its equivalent in money

5th.  I give & bequeath unto my two grand sons, Harman & Lemuel Balkcum, one common Bible each, or money sufficient to purchase the same

6th.  It is my will that my Executor pay all my legal debts, and the above legacies, with the Expense of Administration out of such money or notes as may be left by me at my death and the overplus (if any) be given to my daughter Mariah for her own proper use or benefit.

7th.  I hereby constitute & appoint my friend William L. Robinson Executor of this my last Will & Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills, Deeds, gifts or grants of what name or kind soever.

March the 9th day 1843          Hester X Balkcum

Signed, seal’d, publish’d & declared by the Testatrix to be her last Will & Testament in the presence of us, who were present at the signing of the same /s/ Isaiah Robinson /s/ Abner Robinson

State of North Carolina, Sampson County  } Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, May Term 1843

There was the foregoing will duly proven in open court by the oath of Isaiah Robinson a subscribing witness & ordered to be recorded.  /s/ Thomas J. Faison Clk

—–

About 1799, John Balkcum, a widower with two young children, married a woman named Hester in Duplin County NC. Her maiden name is unknown. John died in 1803, leaving as heirs only Hester and his children by his first wife, Tomsin and William.  In 1804, Hester received a widow’s allotment and two years later is listed in a Duplin County tax digest with 450 acres.

In the next few years, Hester Balkcum gave birth to two daughters, Nancy and Mariah. She gave them the last name Balkcum, though neither was John’s child. It was the beginning of an unconventional family, with both Nancy and Mariah giving birth out of wedlock, and one or two of Nancy’s children fathered by a black or mixed-race man. (This last circumstance was unconventional, but not nearly as uncommon in antebellum America as one might imagine.) Hester appears only sporadically in census enumerations, but in 1830 “Hester Baucom” is listed in Duplin County heading a household that consisted of a female aged 50-59; one male under 5; two males 5-9; one male 10-14; one male 20-29; one female under 5; one female 15-19; one female 20-29; one female 30-39; all described as white. Ten years later, in the 1840 census of Sampson County, Hester does not appear, but her daughter Nancy Balkcom, aged 30-40, is listed, heading a household of two females aged 5-10 and one female aged 10-14, all white, and one slave.

——

When Hester died in the spring or early summer of 1843, her executor W.L. Robinson listed the debts owed her estate — all to family members — and her meager belongings. Her real property had dwindled considerably since the early days of her widowhood, and I catch a bit of feeling that the family was struggling.

BALKCUM -- H Balkcum Inventory 1843

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Ten years later, Hester’s daughter Nancy felt poorly enough to dictate her own last will and testament:

In the name of God Amen, I Nancy Balkcum of the State of North Carolina & County of Sampson being of sound & perfect mind & memory but feeble in body & feeling that the sentence if Death which has been passed upon all will probably ere long be executed upon me think fit to make this my last will & testament as follows.

First I give my body to be buried in a decent manner without parade or vain shew & commend my spirit to him who gave it as a being infinitely wise & good.

As for my worldly goods my will is that they disposed of as follows

First. I give & bequeath unto my daughter Margaret Balkcum one bed bedstead & furniture (the bed on which I have usuly lain) one wheel & cards one table one sow & pigs & twenty dollars to be paid by my executors. This is for her services in waiting on me in my last sickness to her & her heirs forever

Secondly, I give & bequeath unto my two daughters Eliza & Mary one bed & furniture to them & their heirs forever

Thirdly I desire that my Son Harman be paid back all expence that he may incur in providing for me by my Executor

Fourthly, All the residue of my property both real & personal ( desire to be sold by my executor to the best advantage & after paying all my just debts & funeral expences that the proceeds of said sale be equally divided among all my children

Lastly I hereby make constitute & appoint my friend William L. Robinson Executor of this my last will & testament with full powers to execute the same according to the true intent & meaning thereof & I hereby revoke all former will  this the 20th day of August 1853

Signed sealed published & declared by the Testatrix to be her last will & testament hereby revoking all former wills in the presents of us who witnessed the in the presents of the testatrix & of each oth  /s/ Nathan Johnson, Joshua X Rackley                         Nancy X Balkcum

Nancy was dead within six months. The same William L. Robinson who had administered her mother’s estate handled hers, and his inventory reveals Nancy’s slightly better-furnished life.

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Inventory of Nancy Balkcum’s estate, 1854.

The account of sale of the property is even more detailed. With the exception of two or three neighbors, all the buyers were Nancy’s children or other close family and they seem to have gotten bargain basement prices. Subtracting the $200 that Harmon Balkcum paid for Nancy’s 32 acres, the remainder of her worldly goods netted only $12.86.

NBalkcum Sale 1854

BALKCUM -- N Balkcum Inv 1854 p 2

Account of sale of Nancy Balkcum’s estate, 1854.

Documents found in estate files of Hester Balkcum and Nancy Balkcum, Estates Records, Sampson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

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Free People of Color, North Carolina, Oral History, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Collateral Kin: the Carters.

One of the most rewarding results of my decades of genealogical sleuthing has been the development of a deep connection with many of my Carter cousins, descendants of Milford and Beulah Aldridge Carter. My grandmother talked often of the Carter family, to which she was connected both via the Aldridges and “Papa” Jesse Jacobs, who was Milford Carter’s uncle.

The Carters looked ‘bout like white folks. I didn’t really know all of  ‘em. I think it was nine of them boys. The three I knew was Milford and Johnnie and Harold, I think. They used to come to Wilson, but the older one [Willoughby] didn’t come up. But Milford, Harold — the two youngest ones come over and stayed with Annie Bell [Jacobs Gay, Papa’s daughter.] Johnnie – and Freddie, too.   When I’d go to Uncle Lucian’s, they lived not too far from there. But I never went to their house. I think Harold was the youngest one. ‘Cause that’s the one came to Wilson, and Albert, Annie Bell’s husband, got him a job down to the station driving a cab. And he got his own car, and he was down there for a long time. Harold. He’s the youngest one. Carter. All of them was great big.

There were indeed nine Carter brothers — Willoughby (1880), Ammie (1881), Freddie (1890), Milford (1893), Granger (1895), Lippman (1898), John Wesley (1899), Harold (1903) and Richard (1906) — plus a sister Florence (1887). (Florence’s son William Homer Camp Jr. married Onra L. Henderson, Beulah A. Carter’s niece and my grandmother’s double cousin.) The brothers were born in Sampson and Wayne Counties to Archie Marshall (or Marshall Archie) Carter and Margaret Frances Jacobs, sister of Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. Marshall Carter (1860-1926) was the son of William and Mary Cox Carter of Sampson County. (My grandmother also spoke of Marshall’s sister, Virginia Ann “Annie” Carter, who married Hardy Cox and was a close friend of “Mama” Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver.) William Cox (1833- ca. 1875) was the son of Michael Carter (ca. 1805-ca. 1875) and his wife, Patience.

As attached as Papa was to my grandmother, he did not take her with him on visits home to Dudley, very likely in deference to the feelings of his nephew’s wife Beulah, who had little use for the child her brother Tom fathered out of wedlock.

When Papa was living, he used to go to Dudley down there to the mill where they ground corn and all down there.   They’d carry him around down there on horse and buggy, wagon, whatever it was. He was their uncle. Their mama’s brother. He’d go there every once in a while. But he didn’t never say nothing ‘bout taking me down there with him. I guess ‘cause Beulah, Milford’s wife, was my daddy’s sister, but she was kind of cool toward me. And he know he wasn’t gon carry Mamie.  So we didn’t never get to go down there with him. 

Early in their marriage, Beulah and Milford Carter lived in Wilson in a small house on Green Street whose yard touched those of Milford’s uncle and first cousin Annie Bell. The Carters’ second child, son Dewey Belvin, who died before his second birthday, was born during their short stay there.

Beulah stayed in Cora Miller’s house there on Green Street. A little house down there ‘cross from where we were staying, first house behind the church, near ‘bout on the corner there. And she and Milford were there.

After a few years shifting between Wayne to Duplin Counties, Milford moved his family north to Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and then New York City — first Brooklyn, then Queens — where he pursued a long career as a chef.

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Milford E. Carter, during his time as a chef at H. Hicks & Son, 30 West 57th Street, New York City.

Freddie, Freddie was the one that went to Atlanta for a year and day. Moonshine. And Johnnie was fat. And rosy. Like, you know, like if somebody say like, seeing a baby and say that it was “oh so fat, look like you pinch they cheek the blood pop out?” And just fair, and just that red look.

Johnnie Carter was also the brother that cared for my grandmother’s great-uncle, J. Lucian Henderson, and his wife Susan Henderson in their final infirmity. In June 1934, John W. Carter was named administrator and sole legatee of Lucian’s estate. Johnnie and his family lived near Lucian just west of Dudley, but I am not sure of the genesis of their close relationship.

The Carter boys was always nice. They come up here, come to stay with Annie Bell, Papa’s youngest daughter. They wasn’t here at the same time. They was driving cabs. So they used to come over all the time. I went with Harold down to Dudley once ‘cause he was going and coming back that same day. See, Uncle Lucian was sick, so I went down with him and come back.

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Top: John, Ammie, Wesley (a cousin), Richard, Granger, Richard Jr. and Harold Carter; bottom: Milford, John and Harold Carter; both 1955. Copies of photos courtesy of Dorothy Carter Blackman and Daniel M. Carter.

Interview of Hattie H. Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color, Land, North Carolina, Other Documents

I did the best I could.

North Carolina } In the Superior Court October Term 1897

Sampson County }

Hardy A. Brewington, Joshua Brewington, Simon Brewington, Nathan Brewington, Nancy Goodman and her husband J.B. Goodman, Lucy Strickland and her husband J.S. Strickland, Eliza Manuel and her husband Alvin Manuel, Bashaby Brewington, Mary Wheeler, Lulu Brewington and Luther Brewington heirs at law of Raiford Brewington Jr. and Allen B. Brewington by his guardian Hardy A. Brewington, Plaintiffs

Jno. R. Jacobs, Rocia Lee Brewington and her husband J.A. Brewington, Lillie B. Brewington and her husband M.L. Brewington, and Jno. R. Jacobs, guardian ad litem of Della Jacobs and Lavinia Jacobs, Defendants

The plaintiffs complain of the defendants and allege:

I. That on the 20th day of Nov. A.D. 1890 Raiford Brewington & his wife Bashaby Brewington executed a deed to John R. Jacobs and his wife Polly Ann Jacobs for the following described tract of land to wit: Situate in Sampson County State of North Carolina and adjoining the lands of Nathan Brewington, James M. Parker and others and bounded as follows; Beginning at a stake on the lane and runs about S 550 yards to a stake at an old post oak stump the line of Jas. M. Parker & W. Royal thence west about 750 yards to a stake on the west wide of Beaver Dam swamp, thence up the edge of the swamp to a shortleaf pine at the ditch, thence East 750 yards to the beginning containing 75 acres more or less.

II. That the deed aforesaid is duly recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds of Sampson County Book 76 p 193 a copy of which deed is marked “Exhibit A” and hereto attached and made a part of this complaint, which deed does not convey the said lands in fee simple but upon certain stipulations and conditions in words as follows: — The said Raiford Brewington & wife Bashaby Brewington excepts their life time estate in said lands and the said John R. Jacobs and Polly Ann Jacobs and their heirs are to support the said Raiford Brewington and wife Bashaby Brewington and their son Allen B. Brewington during their natural life time and furnish them with good comfortable cloths. When the said John R. Jacobs and wife Polly Ann and their heirs fails to comply with the above obligations then their right and title to the aforesaid land shall be void and a further condition in said deed is that the said Raiford Brewington & wife Bashy shall have the use of said property during their life time but shall not sell any of said property not land unless it is agreeable with J.R. Jacobs & wife Polly Ann. Neither the said J.R. Jacobs and Polly Ann shall sell any of said property nor land unless it is agreeable with Raiford Brewington & wife Bashaby.

III. That upon the execution & delivery of said deed to wit on Nov 20th 1890 the said Jno. R. Jacobs & wife Polly Ann Jacobs went into possession of the lands described in said deed and exercised possession and full control of same until 1893 when Polly Ann Jacobs died, but during this period they did not fully comply with the conditions of said deed and Raiford Brewington & wife Bashaby were required to work and furnish their own support. After the death of Polly Ann Jacobs, her husband Jno. R. Jacobs & the heirs of Polly Ann Jacobs continued to live on the premises & exercise possession & full control of same until about Jan 1st 1896 when they quit the premises & furnished no further food or support in any way since to Raiford Brewington & wife Bashaby Brewington of their son Allen Brewington nor did the said Jno. R. Jacobs & the heirs of Polly Ann Jacobs comply with the conditions in said deed before they deserted the premises but instead wasted & used the provisions made & provided by the said Raiford Brewington & wife with whom the said Jno. R. Jacobs & family loved.

IV. That Polly Ann Jacobs is one of the children and heirs of Raiford Brewington & Bashaby Brewington and has been fully provided for by them before said deed was executed to them. That Allen Brewington one of the children is an idiot and the only heir not provided for by Raiford Brewington, and the lands conveyed to Jno. R. Jacobs & Polly Ann Jacobs in the deed set out above was the sahe of the Raiford Brewington estate that he intended for his son Allen Brewington and for himself and wife Bashaby Brewington as long as they should live.

V. That in January 1896 Raiford Brewington died leaving his wife Bashaby Brewington & son Allen Brewington with no one to support them, as Jno. R. Jacobs and the heirs of Polly An Jacobs had broken the conditions in said deed by leaving the premises & refusing to provide them any support.

VI. That if said deed shall remain in full force & effect, it would be in violation of the conditions in said deed, and contrary to the will and intent, and the express declaration of the grantors therein & would leave them without any means of support.

VII. That if said deed shall remain in full force and effect Jno. R. Jacobs and the heirs of Polly Ann Jacobs would thereby receive a double share of the estate of Raiford Brewington to wit: the share of Allen Brewington and the share of Polly Ann Jacobs which latter share had been allotted to her before the execution of said deed.

Wherefore the plaintiffs pray:

I. That the deed referred to in Article I of this Complaint be declared null and void and that a suitable person be appointed by the court to take the title of said land and hold the same in trust for Bashaby Brewington and her son Allen Brewington and the rents and profits therefrom be applied to the feeding, clothing & support of them as long as they both shall live and the remainder to the heirs at law of Raiford Brewington.

II. For cost and general relief – Lee & Butler attys for the plaintiffs.

Hardy A. Brewington being duly sworn according to law says that he has read the foregoing complaint or heard it read and that he knows the contents thereof to be true except such matters and things as are set out on information and belief and those he believes to be true.

Subscribed & sworn to before me this the 29 day of October 1897 /s/ H.A. Brewington

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The file also contains notes from trial testimony:

Hardy Brewington — am son of Raiford Brewington – he had twelve children – Polly Ann Jacobs is my sister – My father gave her Polly Ann $300 in money & $100 in other property – My father never gave Allen Brewington anything – He is an idiot – 48 yrs old never did any work – My mother is living is 86 or 87 yrs old – not able to work – Allen lives with her – Jacobs & wife came into possession at date of deed They lived on the land with my mother 5 yrs – Polly Ann died about ’93 – Jacobs lived there 2 ½ yrs after death of wife – Jacobs went to Dudley in Wayne Co & has lived there ever since – My father was then living on the land – he died at 85 yrs – Jacobs provided very poorly for the old man wife & son provisions were poor & not plenty of it. Jacobs was liable to drink & will go off & leave them unprovided for in food & fuel. Land tolerably good when Jacobs took possession, pretty poor when he left He always had plenty to eat & good clothes – The Heirs of Polly Ann Jacobs left the old people neglected – Jacobs could have remained on the land & made them more comfortable – He cut timber & carried to Wilmington – and wasted the money – Myself & son have supported the old people since Jacobs my married defnts daughter – Jacobs has done nothing for them since ’95 – Have heard old man complain of being hungry – cold &c. – Raiford Brewington & wife did not consent to the mortgage didn’t know of it until six or eight months after – He said Jacobs had given a mortgage & he didn’t know what wd become of him – My father died in ’96 – My mother & Idiot have no means of support except this land – Whitney Royal wrote the deed – Jacobs moved from Dudley down on this land – Jacobs married 2nd time after about 1 ½ yr after wife’s death – Jacobs got money from Parker $30 & my father said he would see it paid. – Note given about 12 mos before mortgage

Jim Strickland — Live 2 ½ miles from place – I married Raiford Brewington’s daughter – He gave her $200 – Jacobs didn’t give them enough to eat – at all times – his clothes were common – Jacobs has done nothing for them since ’95 – Place was better when he came than when he left – Land not worth much now – Brother Hardy & son Arthur have been supporting them since Jacobs left

Arthur Brewington – Am son of Hardy Brewington Jacobs staid on the land about 5 years – The food was pretty poor like the most of us meat & bread – Before Jacobs went there could get as good a meal as anywhere – he wd leave land neglected – Drank every week – Raiford put me there after Jacobs left – Me & my father have been supporting the old people – They complained of want of food & fuel – I did the best I could under the circumstances – Jacobs could have done better than he did.

J.R. Jacobs – Am one of Defn’ts – When I went there but little provisions – fence gone down pretty much – I made a crop next I put 2000 [illegible] the spring I went there & clean out ditches I did the best I could – all eat at same table – He complained some like old people will do – Neither of them suffered for food or fuel I cut timber & carried to Wilmington – no profit – My wife lived about 4 yrs after I went there – I did the best I could – Arthur seemed to be their choice – We bargained for Arthur to go there & take my obligation with consent of old people – I was in debt in Clinton – I went to Parker to get the money – Old man helped to get up money – Old Man was present – gave boundaries &c — $35 note was to pay for guano – I owed Vann $25 for corn – I carried it home he carried it [illegible] – All of it was for money used on the place & for mule worked on place. Raiford [knew] all about it – I gave a lien on crop that year – The $35 mortgage was included in the $125 mortgage Raiford Brewington only once came here – The $125 mortgage was made on the plantation & he knew about it, and was willing to it – Judgmt agst me for Parker – 40 acres of cleared land on the place – Raiford Brewington asked me to cancel the deed I told him I didn’t [think] it right to do so. This was after my wife died.

J.L. Brewington – Raiford Brewington was my father – Hard to please he wanted something to drink He had a heap to feed – people & stock – Jacobs did the best he could The old man grumbled all the time – but had plenty to eat –

Jonathan Goodman – Live about ½ miles from the place – I saw the old man frequently – He lived as good as most any farmer – While Jacobs lived there – he lived as well as common run of people that had no more – Jacobs drank some – It seemed as if Jacobs wished to please him – he was off at times –

Mary Eliza Brewington – Raiford was my husbd father – I lived ½ mile from him I heard Raiford say it was a just debt as far as he [illegible] and he wanted Parker paid – The old people got along as well as one could expect

J.R. Parker – The $35 mortgage Raiford & Jacobs came to me & wanted to borrow some money – Raiford proposed to meet him in Clinton & make up the papers – which we did – I let Jacobs have some corn & bacon – This was cancelled to make up the $125 mortgage – The cash that I gave Jacobs – and the note for $35 with the money due me makes up the $125 – I know that Raiford knew of the $125 note & mortgage — $35 was all money – how much more I don’t know – over half of it – There was an indictment agst Jacobs for passing counterfeit money. Raiford came to me & didn’t say he would or wouldn’t sign the $125 –

Marshal Newman – Was J.P. – at time mortgage was made – Parker & Jacobs got me to write this mortgage – it was made at Nathan Brewington’s house Raiford was not present, and never said anything to me about it. Nathan Brewington’s was convenient to Jacobs –

Hardy Brewington (re-called) – We knew nothing about $125

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Judgment for Hardy Brewington et al. The judge found that John and Polly Ann Jacobs had not complied fully with the terms of the deed and ordered that (1) the deed from the Brewingtons to the Jacobses be declared null and void; (2) Hardy Brewington be appointed trustee of the land for the sole use and benefit of Bashaby and Allen Brewington during their lifetimes; (3) after the deaths of Bashaby and Allen, Hardy was discharged from his trusteeship, and (4) John Jacobs and the Parkers were to pay court costs.

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I’m not a Brewington or a Jacobs and have no direct link to any of the players in this sad intrafamily squabble over Polly Ann Brewington Jacobs’ estate. Nonetheless, as was the rule among free families of color in and around Dudley, Wayne County, there was multi-strand intertwining between these folks and my extended family:

  • Joshua L. Brewington, the J.L. who testified on behalf of John R. Jacobs, married Amelia Aldridge, sister of my great-great-grandfather John W. Aldridge.
  • John R. Jacobs was the older brother of “Papa,” Jesse A. Jacobs Jr., who married Sarah D. Henderson (my great-great-grandmother Loudie Henderson’s sister) and reared my grandmother.
  • John Jacobs’ sister Frances married Marshall Carter of Sampson County. Frances’ son Milford E. Carter married Beulah M. Aldridge, John W. Aldridge’s daughter. Another son, John W. Carter, cared for Lucian Henderson (brother of Sarah) and his wife in their old age and inherited their small farm.
  • Milford E. Carter Jr. married Jessie Bell Brewington, granddaughter of Hardy A. Brewington.
  • Michael and Ann Eliza Brewington Manuel’s son, Alonzo Manuel, married Sallie Wynn, daughter of Edward and Susan Henderson Wynn. Susan H. Wynn was the sister of my great-great-great-grandfather Lewis Henderson.
  • Michael and Ann Eliza Brewington Manuel’s daughter Celestial married Hillary B. Simmons after the death of his first wife, Ann Elizabeth Henderson, who was a sister of Sarah, Loudie and Lucian Henderson.
  • Raiford Brewington’s wife Bashaby was the daughter of Shadrach and Zilpha Hardin Manuel. Her kinship to Michael Manuel is not entirely clear to me, but research by others suggests that they were cousins.

From the file of Polly Ann Jacobs, Sampson County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, https://familysearch.org. Original, North Carolina State Archives.

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DNA, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

DNAnigma, no. 2.1: Another Armwood.

I seldom check FTDNA, but last night I moseyed on to study the new My Origins feature. A glance in the corner of the screen showed a  new high match, an estimated 2nd to 4th cousin whom I’ll call L.A. I emailed him, and he quickly responded. We immediately identified Sampson County, North Carolina, as a potential point of commonality, and I asked his grandparents’ names. I looked them up and found that one was the offspring of John Wesley Faircloth and Laura Wynn (or Simmons). A little further research — and consultation with Stephen Maynor, my point man for all things Sampson County — revealed that Wesley Faircloth, born about 1856, was the son of Nancy Armwood. Again with these Armwoods!

Nancy was the daughter of John and Susan Armwood, and her sister Louisa (or Eliza) was my great-great-great-great-grandfather James Henderson‘s second wife. Am I an Armwood though?

While refreshing my recollection about this family — which has always frustrated my efforts to track them properly — I discovered a previously unnoticed tangle of intermarriages between and among the Armwoods, Wynns, Simmonses and a few Hendersons in northern Sampson and Duplin Counties and southern Wayne County.

The base couples:

  • Major Armwood (~1798-??) and wife Eliza [last name unknown] Armwood (~1806-??).
  • Richard Armwood (1832-??) and wife Mary Faircloth Armwood.
  • John Armwood (~1800-??) and wife Susan [maiden name unknown] Armwood (~1820-??).
  • James Simmons (1798-1860) and wife Winnie Medlin Simmons (??-1902).
  • Gray Winn (~1815-1850) and wife Sarah Greenfield Winn (1816-1909).

And the marriages and other relationships that flowed therefrom:

And this is just a generation or two of intermarriage. I’ve asked A.G., my other Armwood match, to test with 23andme so I can compare our matches and see if she matches my known Hendersons. Stay tuned….

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