Free People of Color, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs

A reunion.

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And with that introductory email began my fruitful and thoroughly enjoyable correspondence with B.H., my third cousin, twice removed. Our common ancestor was Levisa (or Eliza) Hagans Seaberry, mother of Napoleon Hagans (B.H.’s great-grandfather) and Frances Seaberry Artis (my great-great-great-grandmother). In the spring of 2010, B.H. and I entered into a mutually beneficial exchange of information about our shared family. I had little information about Napoleon beyond what I’d found in census records and deeds, I’d lost track of his sons Henry and William, and I was completely unaware of his son, the accomplished Dr. Joseph H. Ward. He cued me into William S. Hagans‘ post-migration life in Philadelphia, shared amazing photographs and documents, and lead me to “discover” Joseph Ward’s early years. In turn, I introduced B.H. to Wayne and Wilson Counties and the lives of the Haganses, Wards and Burnetts before they recreated themselves up North.

This past weekend, I traveled to Detroit for — astonishingly — the first time ever. Our primary purpose was to take in the city’s rich street art culture, but I added an item to the top of the agenda — meeting B.H. Friday night, he and his wife treated us to dinner at an old and storied restaurant near the city’s Eastern Market, and Levisa’s children came full circle.

me and Bill

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Births Deaths Marriages, Land, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina

Dr. Ward’s empire.

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Wilson Advance, 22 August 1889.

The Civil War set Dr. David G.W. Ward back, but not for long. When he died in 1887, he stood possessed of more than 1900 acres in Wilson and Greene Counties.

[As an aside, Ward’s administrator, Frederick A. Woodard, was elected Democratic Congressman to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1892. He lost his bid for re-election to George H. White, a visionary African-American who was the last black Southerner elected to Congress until the post-Civil Rights era. I attended a middle school named for Woodard.]

[As another aside — literally — I think it’s safe to say that Sarah Ward’s children received nothing from the doctor’s estate.]

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DNA, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

DNAnigma, no. 16: Neighbors.

A plus of growing up in the vicinity of the places your ancestors lived: every once in a while, you’ll discover that your childhood friends (or enemies, ha!) are actually your kinfolk. Just today, I noticed a match with a woman whose name sounded vaguely familiar. I checked her family tree, saw her grandfather’s name, and — bingo! — she’s the first cousin of R., one of my closest childhood friends. R.’s family lived up the street from mine, and I remember my match and her sister, who grew up in Virginia, visiting them. I zapped a message to R.’s sister on Facebook — “We’re COUSINS!” — and she is as stunned as I. I have NO IDEA what our connection is, but I’m about to put my back in this.

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Me, R. and J., 1966. Cousins!

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Civil War, Enslaved People, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Battle possibilities.

A few weeks ago, I ran across a reference to Joel Craig and Sharlene Baker’s As You May Never See Us Again: The Civil War Letters of George and Walter Battle, 4th North Carolina Infantry (2004). George and Walter were sons of Amos Johnston Battle, a prominent (and peripatetic) Baptist minister who spent his last years in Wilson County.  I wondered if the brothers mentioned any of the family’s slaves in their letters, so when I was at home I stopped by the Wilson County Public Library to skim their copy.

I found only a single reference to a Church, presumably enslaved, who was charged with delivering certain items to the letter writer. A footnote appended to the passage states: “The boy ‘Church’ has been referred to by some as one of the Battle’s [sic] slaves. Whether this is referring to the Raleigh Battle’s or the Wilson Battle’s is unclear. However, if the Rev. Battle did own slaves in the midst of the war it might mean that he was not the abolitionist as previously thought.”

Two things struck me: (1) given Hugh B. Johnston’s confident identification of Amos Battle as the owner of my ancestor Cherry, was his possession of slaves a question? (2) “abolitionist” is a mighty strong word to describe anybody coming out of Wilson County.

First, I did what I’ve apparently never bothered to do — check the 1850 and 1860 federal slave schedules for Amos J. Battle. He appears in neither, but his wife Margaret H. Battle is listed with 32 slaves in 1860. (Hugh Johnston noted that Amos Battle’s “wife owned a small farm north of Wilson not far from the Barnes plantation.”) She is not listed in the 1850 slave schedule, and the sudden acquisition of that many slaves suggested inheritance. After figuring out her maiden name (Margaret Hearne Parker) and father’s name (Weeks Parker) I went looking for estate records.

Sure enough, Weeks Parker died in January 1844 in Edgecombe County, leaving a widow and three children. (One predeceased him.) The 88 pages of his estate file span more than a decade, and Emancipation eventually intervened to prevent a final distribution. There was this, though, a listing of those slaves apportioned to daughter Margaret H. Battle and her children, apparently dating from the late 1850s:

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Old Ben, Old Seny, Big Hardy, Lucinda, Stephen, Turner, Hilliard, Mary, Adeline, William, Lena, Alice, William “usually called Reuben,” Little Ben, Harriet, Marina, Sally, Smith, Maria, Little Hardy, Betty, Jim, Moses, Syphax, Toney, Louis, Allen, George, Matilda, Lizzie. I was disappointed not to find a Cherry listed among them, but intrigued nonetheless. Would Weeks Parker’s will shed more light?

Yes. And no.

Weeks Parker executed his will on 31 July 1843. The document mentions his wife Sabra [Irwin Hearn]; son Simmons B. Parker; deceased son Dr. John H. Parker, who had migrated to Florida; and daughters Henrietta, wife of Benjamin Battle, and Margaret, wife of Amos J. Battle. [Benjamin Dossey Battle was Amos’ brother.]

Weeks designated son Simmons as his executor and trustee. He bequeathed certain slaves — Polly, Godwin, Old Ned, Winny, Hardy, Charlotte and her child Cintha, and Nelly —  to pass to Simmons after wife Sabra’s death, and mentioned that he had already given Simmons 14 slaves in a deed of gift. He also directed Simmons to sell the land and slaves in Florida inherited from son John’s estate. (And tweaked this last provision in a codicil.)

Weeks’ bequests to his daughters are curious though.  After Sabra’s death, Simmons was to hold in trust slaves Lucindy, Stephen, Turner, Lewis, George, Marina, Tony, Matilda, Caroline, William, Holly, Big Hardy, Ben, Cena, Moses, Syphax, Little Hardy, Jim, Lucy and Little Jim “for the sole and separate use and benefit of daughter Margaret H. Battle wife of Amos J. Battle during her natural life free from the management and control of her present or any future husband.”  Similarly, he directed that Simmons hold in trust after Sabra’s death slaves Barbara, Sarah, Luke, Ned, Sophia, Elick, Harrison, Milly, Jeffrey, Dorcas, Silas, Bill, Lou, Julia, Randal, Will and Abner for the benefit of daughter Henrietta Battle. Why the specific attempt to keep Amos Battle’s hands off his wife’s property? Was he in fact an abolitionist likely to try to free them? Or were Weeks’ concerns more prosaic?

Simmons and his mother went into court to have Weeks’ will admitted to probate, and the skirmishes began. The two sets of Battles teamed up to claim that they had not been notified prior to probate and that the will’s codicil had been made under undue influence. Simmons and the other trustees admitted that Battles may not have been given formal notice, but claimed that they knew anyway. They also charged Amos Battle with having taken a slave named Jim to Wilmington.  The Battles fired a second volley with a claim that Simmons was in “extreme bad health” and “great physical inability” and “utterly incapable of carrying out his duties” as a trustee. Simmons responded meekly, acknowledging that he had been shot in the chest many years before and had never recovered, a circumstance that sometimes completely debilitated him. He agreed to surrender his trusteeship. Nathan Matthewson, too, stepped down, and was replaced by Benjamin Oliver of Duplin County. In one of Oliver’s reports, he advised the court that he had sold for $600 a slave named Jim “in consequence of grossly bad behavior and general bad deportment.” The buyer was Wyatt Moye. With the funds received, Oliver then spent $500 to purchase Lilah from a Dr. Arrington. (She later gave birth to a son Charles.) In 1849, Oliver moved to Bladen County and resigned his trusteeship; Uriah Vaughan of Hertford County — where Margaret then lived — was appointed in his stead. In the mid-1850s, Margaret, Amos and their children moved to the town of Wilson, where Sabra Parker bought them a house and lot. In another plaintive petition for yet another trustee, submitted in September 1856, Margaret complained that she had no other property and that the family was “dependent on their own exertions for a support” as their trust fund was inadequate. The younger children were chiefly supported by Margaret’s “exertions” [she was an innkeeper], while the creditors of her husband Amos, “who is greatly embarrassed,” tried to take her earnings at every opportunity.

Another source shines light on the Battle family’s financial situation. In 1911, Amos and Margaret’s youngest son, Jesse Mercer Battle, published memoirs titled Tributes to my Father and Mother and Some Stories of My Life. In the chapter on his mother, he recalled that his “mother’s family lived in Wilson, N.C. We lived in a large house, and it was called ‘The Battle House.'” There, to her humiliation, his mother took in boarders and other passers-through to earn money for the family’s keep. His father, though “rich in lands and negroes,” gave away his wealth to the point that his younger sons’ educations were neglected. The chapter on Amos J. Battle goes further. Amid fifty hagiographic pages limning his father’s Christlike-ness, Jesse reveals that “his money, his lands, his negoes, his stocks, his bonds, his personal property of every description went as his free will offering to the Church as a whole, and to anyone of its members individually, or to those who were not members.” (This was not offered ironically, and there is no attempt to square Battle’s slaveholding with his Christian values.)

Ah. So. And therein lies the motive for Weeks Parker’s determined attempt to keep his wealth out of pious Amos Battle’s hands.

Jesse Battle’s memoir also provides a peek at the family’s slaves and demonstrates that the thirty or so inherited from Weeks did not define the extent of Margaret’s holdings. “Negroes were my companions,” he wrote. “I played with them, and spent my time with them all day, till I was about seven years old, when I was started to school. I knew my alphabet and how to read a little. This start on my way to an education was given to me by a good old colored woman I called Mammy. (Her name was Dinah.) … This good woman remained with our family till 1865, when the Civil War ended, when she left us and moved down to Greenville, N.C., where her husband, whose name was ‘Shade,’ lived. After the emancipation of the slaves she said that she could never enjoy her ‘freedom’ as long as she lived with her master and mistress.”  [Three cheers for Dinah!] Jesse elsewhere mentioned that Dinah had lived with the family at a farm called Walnut Hill, “about three miles from Wilson N.C., on the railroad toward Rocky Mount.”

In the end, I still don’t know if Hugh B. Johnston was correct about Cherry Battle Barnes’ ownership, but I have confirmed that Amos J. and Margaret Hearne Battle owned slaves and that some of those slaves worked on a farm just north of Wilson, not far from where Cherry lived at the time of the first post-Emancipation census.

Will Book F, Edgecombe County, North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970, familysearch.org; Estate of Weeks Parker (1844), Edgecombe County, North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979, familysearch.org; other sources as named.

 

 

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Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Row Q.

Less than an hour after we got from the WCGS meeting last night, I received an email from president Joan Howell. I’d mentioned to her that I was trying to locate an unmarked grave at Rest Haven, she’d offered to check her records, and there it was: Nina F. Hardy, Section 3, Lot 20, Q in the street, Space 4.

This is how the morning went:

  • My father and I drove over to Rest Haven, but quickly realized that there was no way to determine where A’nt Nina’s grave was just by looking.
  • We got back in the car and crossed town to Maplewood Cemetery, where the City of Wilson Cemetery Commission is headquartered. The manager provided a chart and a print-out and a good suggestion. “Walk about halfway up Q,” she said. “Then call me and tell me what headstones you see.” [Sidenote: Q was once a track running through Sections 3 and 4 of the cemetery, like P and R to either side of it. Years ago, Q and the other odd-lettered rows were closed off and converted to burial space. The designation “Q in the street” means that A’nt Nina’s grave lies under what was once a pathway.]
  • Back to Rest Haven. A few minutes and a call later, we had the general location of A’nt Nina’s grave between those of Rev. Calvin Harris Boykin and Annie Thompson. I snapped a shot or two, though there is nothing much to see. [Cemetery employees can pinpoint graves, but none were available at the time.]
  • No time like the present, so we headed to our cousin L.H.’s house. His family owns a vault business that does a sideline in gravestones. I ordered a simple flat granite marker to be inscribed with A’nt Nina’s name, birth and death dates; my dad wrote a check (I’d left mine in Georgia, and L.H. doesn’t truck with credit cards); and it was done. I kissed L.H.’s new grandson, and he promised to send me a photo when the marker is installed. [L.H. remembers A’nt Nina. I don’t know why that surprised me. When they arrived in Wilson from Wayne County, Nina and L.H.’s grandfather, Jesse “Jack” Henderson, both lived with Jesse and Sarah Henderson Jacobs on Elba Street.]

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My father standing at the approximate location of Nina Hardy’s grave this morning. Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson, North Carolina.

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Enslaved People, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

My Barneses.

Last night, I happened upon a fascinating newspaper source of information about Ned Barnes, brother (half-brother?) of my paternal great-grandmother, Rachel Barnes (or Battle) Taylor. Before I lay it out, though, a deeper introduction to the Barneses is in order.*

Willis Barnes and Cherry Battle registered their six-year cohabitation in Wilson County in 1866. The 1870 census found the family in Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Willis Barnes, 30, wife Cherry, 25, and children Rachul, 7, West, 5, Jesse, 2, and Ned, 5 months. They remained in North Wilson township in the 1880 census: Willis Barnes, 42, wife Cherey, 40, “step-daughter” Rachel Battle, 17, Wesley, 15, Jesse, 13, Ned, 11, Eddie, 7, Mary, 4, and Willey Barnes, 1, plus niece Ellen Battle, 1.  [Very nearby were Hardy Battle, 58, and wife America Battle, 50. Relatives of Cherry?]

Cherry Battle Barnes died after 1880. In 1897, Willis married Fereby Barnes Artis, widow of Benjamin Artis. In the Wilson NC city directory of 1908-09, Willis is listed as a laborer living at 500 South Lodge. Two years later, he was living with his youngest daughter and her family. Willis Barnes died 15 September 1914 in Wilson, Wilson County. His death certificate notes that he was 73 years old, married and a farmer, and that he had been born in Nash County to Tony Eatman and Annie Eatman. Son Jesse Barnes was informant.

On 21 Sep 1882, H.G. Whitehead applied for a marriage license for Mike Taylor of Wilson, aged 20, colored, son of John [sic, his name was Green] Taylor and unknown mother, both living. [This makes no sense — mother is living, but unknown?] and Rachel Barnes of Wilson, age 19, colored, parents unknown, father dead, mother’s status not given. [No sense either, her parents were certainly known. The takeaway — the registrar was not very interested in the facts.]  On the same day, Louis Croom, Baptist minister, married Taylor and Barnes in Wilson before W.T. Battle and Edman Pool.  [Was W.T. Battle related to Rachel?  Is he the W. Turner Battle who married Louvina Knight in Wilson on 24 May 1875?]

Rachel and Mike Taylor had six children. Their first, and only son, Roderick, was born in 1883, followed by the improbably named Maggie (1885), Mattie (1887), and Madie (1888), then Bertha E. (1892) and Henrietta G. Taylor (1893). More about Rachel’s family elsewhere.

Wesley “West” Barnes married Ella Mercer on 4 June 1885 at her father Dempsey Mercer’s house in Wilson County. (The marriage license refers to him as “Sylvester” Barnes.) Wesley worked as a driver or drayman, and though he and Ella had at least seven children, I know the names only of five: Joseph Barnes (1885), Lucy Barnes Watson (1889-1959), Sylvester Barnes (1893-1936), Viola Barnes (1894-1943), and Charley Barnes (1896-??) West died of apoplexy in 1919.

Jesse Barnes married Ella Mercer’s sister Mary Mag Mercer on 1 April 1889. His brothers Wesley and Ned witnessed the ceremony. They had at least three children, Jesse Jr. (1890), Marnie (1892-1943), and Nettie (1895-1917). He died in 1916.

On 27 Oct 1891, J.T. Dean applied for a marriage license for Edward Barnes, 22, of Wilson, son of Willis and Cherry Barnes, and Louisa Gay, daughter of Samuel and Alice Gay.  The ceremony took place 29 Oct 1891 before J.W. Levy, AMEZ Church minister, at Samuel Gay’s.  Witnesses were S.H. Vick, Spencer Barnes, Thomas Davis. [This “Edward” is very definitely Ned Barnes, but the entry is confusing because the 1880 census shows Willis and Cherry with children Ned and Eddie (born about 1873). If there was an “Eddie,” he appears in no other records.] Ned worked as a coachman and around 1901 moved his family to Raleigh for better opportunities. Ned and Louisa Gay Barnes’ children included Mattie Radcliffe Barnes Hines (1895-1923), Alice Ida Barnes (1897-1969), Ned Barnes Jr. (1900), Howard Barnes (1902), Blonnie Barnes Zachary (1908-1932) and Jerrel Randolph Barnes (1909-1929). Ned died in Raleigh in 1912.

Mary Barnes is an enigmatic figure. She married first in Wilson County in 1893 to Pierce Barnes, son of Robert and Hannah Barnes, and then a man named Jones. She never had children of her own, but adopted her nephew, Robert Perry. She died almost 11 months to the day after her brother Wesley in 1919.

William “Willie” Barnes died of tuberculosis in 1917. It is not clear if he ever married or had children.

As detailed here, I believe Cherry Battle had one more child, daughter Lucinda “Cintha” Barnes. Cintha also died young, and her children were reared by her sisters.

 *Barnes is by far the most common surname in Wilson County. My cousin A.B. is descended from at least four separate Barnes lines, and any two given Barneses are more likely to be unrelated than not.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Enslaved People, North Carolina, Other Documents, Photographs

Collateral kin: Barnes & Ellis.

My uncles migrated North. My father and his sister stayed put. (Since the late 1970s, they have lived across the street from one another and, during my childhood, within a couple of blocks.) My father graduated high school in 1952, and in his class was the man my aunt would marry, Theodore Roosevelt Ellis Jr.

3915_490944984269391_672465952_nTheodore Roosevelt Ellis, Jr., 1950s.

Uncle Roosevelt, who had startlingly hazel eyes and smooth, nut-brown skin, had deep Wilson County roots, and I have written of my bond with his family here. Today would have been his 80th birthday and, in his honor, I highlight his people.

We called Uncle Roosevelt’s mother “Miss Edie Bell.” Miss Edie Bell’s earliest known paternal ancestor was Benjamin Barnes, born about 1819, probably in southern Edgecombe County or northern Wayne County (areas that later became Wilson County.) Circumstantial evidence, largely in the form of naming patterns and proximity, suggest that Benjamin had at least two brothers, Redmond Barnes, born about 1823, and Andrew Barnes, born perhaps 1815. On 21 April 1866, Benjamin Barnes and Violet Barnes, born about 1817, registered their long cohabitation at the Wilson County Courthouse. Their only certain child was Calvin Barnes, born about 1836, though they probably had several more. In the 1870 census of Saratoga, Wilson County, Violet is described as a midwife, and three young girls, Elvy (1859), Ailcy (1862) and Spicy (1863), live with them. Given Violet’s age, it seems likely that these are granddaughters. Violet Barnes died sometime before 13 November 1879, when Benjamin was married a second time to Mary Bynum in Wilson County. [The Benjamin Barnes, son of Isaac and Judia Bynum, who married Lucy Barnes in 1872 in Wilson County is a different man.] Benjamin and Mary’s appearance in the 1880 census of Saratoga is their first and last. Benjamin listed his father’s birthplace as Virginia, but provided no additional information. He died before 1900.

Calvin Barnes and “Sealie” Barnes registered their five-year cohabitation in Wilson County on 17 July 1866. Celia’s parents are unknown. Nor do I know whether Calvin and Celia belonged to the same master prior to emancipation. In the 1870 census of Saratoga, Wilson County, Calvin and family are living next door to his parents Benjamin and Violet. Calvin and Celia’s children are Benjamin (1864), Spicy (1865), Jesse (1866), and Peter (1869). Also in the household are 20 year-old Dora Ebon (Calvin’s sister?) and her likely children Louisa (1866) and Mary E. (1869). In 1880, in Saratoga, Calvin heads a household that includes wife Celie and children Peter, Drue, Redman, Lizzie B., and William. In 1900, the family was listed in Stantonsburg township. Calvin was farming, and Celie reported 10 of 13 children living. Only four — William, Mary S., Laura and Celie, plus Mary’s daughter Dora — were at home. Son Peter was nearby with his wife Jane and children John R., General, Annie and Sallie, as was son Redmond with wife “Genett” and their first child Dora. Celia died prior to 1909, when Calvin married Cherry Brown Tart. The marriage was her third, and the 1910 census found them living in the town of Wilson on Stantonsburg Street. Ten years later, they are living at 610 Stantonsburg Street and both employed in a private home. Calvin died 21 February 1923 in Wilson.

Calvin and Celia’s son Redmond Barnes was born 3 May 1873 near Saratoga or Stantonsburg. In 1898, Redmond married Jennette Best on W.H. Applewhite’s farm, where the Barneses were either sharecroppers or tenant farmers. (Applewhite’s grandson, James, is a celebrated poet whose writing often draws on the world of his childhood in Wilson County.) Edith Barnes Ellis’ siblings included Dora Barnes Weaver Ward (1899-1994), Fred Barnes (1901), Mary Estelle Barnes (1903-1989), Minnie B. Barnes Barnes (1905-1985), Edith Bell Barnes Ellis (1907-1984), Betty Lee Barnes Bullock (1909-1992), Nora Lee Barnes (1911), Alice Jennette Barnes Smith (1913), Lula Mae Barnes Speight (1916), Redmond Barnes Jr. (1918-1989), John Harvey Barnes (1920), and Jennette Barnes, who died in infancy.

Redmond Barnes’ brother Peter Barnes (1869-??) married Jane Ruffin in 1891 in Wilson County. Their children included John Redmond (1892), General (1895), Annie (1897), Sallie (1899), and Albert (1900-1924). Redmond’s brother Andrew “Drew” Barnes (1871-1945) married Estella “Stella” Williams in 1892 in Wilson County. [Not to be confused with Andrew Barnes, son of Andrew and Amy Williford Barnes — probably Calvin Barnes’ first cousin — who married Stella Battle in 1870.] Their children included John (1890), Wade (1894), Frank (1895), James (1897), Lula (1898), and Andrew Jr. (1900). Redmond’s sister Elizabeth “Betty” Barnes (1873-??) married W.T. Sherrod Ellis, son of Reuben and Clarky Ellis. Their children: Willie (1892), Robert (1895), Mary E. (1896), Maggie D. (1899), Sallie (1900), Joseph (1904) and Mamie (1906). Redmond’s sister Mollie Barnes married Floyd Ellis. Their children included Floyd Theodore (1907-1981), Columbus (1909), John Adam (1916-1965), Mary Rebeckah (1919) and Leathie Charlotte (1922).

Jennette Best was born about 1880 near Stantonsburg. Her marriage licenses lists her parents as Sam Best and Edy Strickland. However, in the 1870 census of Stantonsburg, Wilson County, “Edy Strickland” appears as Edith Winstead, age 10, in the household of Isaac Winstead, 52, and wife Jane, 35, whose other children were Robert, 7, Amanda, 3, and Aneliza, 1. Then, the 1880 census of Stantonsburg, shows “Ada Best” in a household with her stepfather Isaac Winstead, mother Jane, half-siblings Manda, Ann, Charlie, Major, Lucy and Levi, brother Rob Farmer, and likely children Sam, 3, and Mary Best, 1. Sam Best is not listed in the county and may have died or have deserted his family just before Jenette was born. I have not found him in any census or vital record. Nor have I found any other mention of Edith Best or Strickland.

BARNES - Redmond & Jenette Barnes headstone

Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson, N.C.

On 7 June, 1933, Edith Barnes married Theodore R. “Tobe” Ellis.  (We called her “Miss” Edie Bell, and him “Uncle” Tobe, which I can’t explain.) Theodore Ellis’ furthest known paternal ancestors were Isom Ellis and Patience Bynum.

Isom (or Isham) Ellis was born about 1807 in southern Edgecombe County. The will of William Ellis, proved in Edgecombe in 1813, declared in part, “I leave unto my said wife Unity Ellis, the following negroes, To wit, Arthur, Jonas, Isom, Belford, Lisle, Pat, Minnah, and Tesary & Hester.” It seems probable that this listing is a reference to Uncle Tobe’s great-grandfather.

On 24 July 1866, Isom Bynum and Patience Bynum registered their 40-year cohabitation in Wilson County. Several other men — Guilford, Robert, Jackson and Lewis — also registered as Bynums, but are listed with the surname Ellis in the 1870 census. For this and other reasons, including proximity and naming patterns, I believe these men were all sons, or close relatives, of Isom Ellis. Lewis Ellis, born circa 1834, first married Dossie Best, by whom he had one son, John (1853). He then married Millie Thompson (1832-??) — they registered their cohabitation — who gave birth to Daniel (1860-1938), Mary (1863), Adeline “Addie” (1865), Martha (1868), Cora (1870) and James Ellis (1874). Neither Lewis nor Millie appears in the 1900 census.

Lewis and Milly’s son Daniel Ellis first married Rosa Barnes, by whom he had a daughter, Lena (1890-1928). He then married Celia Lewis (1872-1912), daughter of Furney and Eliza Lewis on 29 August 1893 in Wilson County. Their children were William (1894), Maeliza (1897), Samson (1898-1918), Harry (1900-1988), Jackson (1901-1918), Robert (1904-1968), Louetta (1906), Orran (1910-1918) and Theodore Roosevelt Ellis (1912-1979). After Celia’s death in or just after childbirth, Daniel married Maggie Woodard in 1914. Their children were Mack (1916), John Henry (1919-1963), Mattie (1922) and Jem (1925). Daniel Ellis died 10 October 1938.

Daniel_Ellis_Celie_Lewis_Marriage_License

Celia Lewis’ family was from Wayne County. In the 1870 census of Goldsborough, Wayne County, Furney Lewis, 40, and wife Eliza, 26, shared a house with Missouri, 11, Furney, 9, Lewis, 4, and Winnie, 5 months.  Ten years later the family appears in Stoney Creek township, Wayne County: Furney Lewis, 58, wife Liza, 35, and children Lewis, 17, Winia, 9, Henry, 7, Cealy, 5, Mary, Caroline, 3, and Furney, 1, plus Furney Sr.’s sister Mary Lewis, 54. Eliza Lewis likely died before 1894, when 71 year-old Furney Lewis remarried. However, he is not found in the 1900 census.

——

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Top, Fannie Hardy Ward, Theodore R. Ellis and Edith Barnes Ellis. Bottom, Eloise Ward and T. Roosevelt Ellis Jr., probably near Stantonsburg, Wilson County, circa 1939.

Thanks to Monica Ellis Barnes and Tracey Ellis Leon for use of family photographs. Photograph of headstone taken in March 2013.

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