Monday, August 3, 2009

Mysterious Monday

As I'm getting more into this blogging thing (lol) I've been trying to figure out what catchy label I would use for my Monday posts, and finally I've come up with "Mysterious Monday"! I will dedicate these posts to my brick walls - those ancestors who've mysteriously disappeared into thin air, or whose stories elude me beyond a certain point. Also, on Mondays, I'll share some of the BIG QUESTIONS that I have about my ancestors, with hopes that presenting them to other researchers will result in a "meeting of the minds" that will take me down new roads in my research and help me find the answers.
Today I will begin with my great-great grandmother, Anna Green. Much of what I know about Anna has been passed on to me in an oral telling by one relative, my now 90 year old cousin Florine, who is Anna's granddaughter. According to Florine, Anna was originally a Perkins who fled from Tennessee because "the man kept on bothering her". (It's a bit fuzzy, but it may have been Anna's mother who was being bothered, not Anna.) Florine also tells that Anna's mother was a "full-blooded Indian", but I have nothing to verify that yet. Anyway, Anna (and her mother??) somehow ended up in Franklin County, NC, and somehow took on the surname, Green. Here, my cousin always tells me that she thinks it had something to do with some auto dealer in Franklinton, but this doesn't make sense to me because the automobile as we know it was not yet invented.) Anyway, Anna, who was born in 1844 apparently became the woman of a white man, X, and bore 6 children by him. The oral history states that X loved Anna, and put her up in her own home on his family's property. However, when he died in 1879, his father, promptly put Anna and her children out, and thus begins what is seemingly a legacy in my family of single women being left to raise their children on their own.

Here's what I know for sure:
1860- 29 year old X still lives at home with his momma and younger siblings. He is listed as a "Negro Trader."

1870 - 26 year old Anna (listed as White) is head of household. She has her son, John (5) and daughter, Elizabeth (2). The children are listed as Black. None of the neighbors' names seem to be connected to us, but most of the neighbors are black, except for one family two doors down.
38 year old X is listed living alone, however he is completely surrounded by blacks. His occupation is listed as "Trader." (This is post Emancipation, so what is he trading???) Interestingly enough, the census taker had first written "B" for Black, but wrote over it, "W". Apparently X never married, which would be strong support for his relationship with Anna.

1880 - 37 year old Anna (now listed as Black) has all of her children; John (14), Bettie (12), Annie (9), William (7), Mary (4), and Esther (1). She also has three children in the home who are "something other than a direct relationship". They are Bat (13), William (9), and Lucy (3) Wood. ALL of the children in the house are listed as Mulatto.

I never find Anna again in any census. For some reason, I have her death date as 12/6/1927, but I don't have this sourced. However, I feel sure I must have actually found this somewhere early in my research, so for right now I'm holding it as true.

*Cousin Florine knew all of Anna's children except for John (my great grandfather). All of them were very light, and several could (and did) pass for white. (I have brick walls on them, too, but that is not my focus for today.)

* My grandmother was named for her grandmother, ANNA GREEN.

Conflicts:
Currently, I have the entire family of X on my tree, however, I am uneasy about it because there are parts of the oral history that don't match with the facts on his family. The main one is that his father, a very prominent figure in Franklin County, died in 1856. This would be well before Anna would have taken up with his son, and way before X's death in 1879. So, none of that stuff about the father putting him out would make sense, although it could have been his other family members who did so.

Questions:
1. What was Anna's ethnicity? Obviously, she was of mixed blood, but was it black-white, white-indian, black-indian????
2. Was Anna ever a slave?
3. Where did Anna actually come from? The oral history says TN, but in 1880, Anna tells the census taker that she was born in VA, and so were her parents. I find this more believeable because it is now 15 years past Emancipation, and Anna probably has no fear of telling the truth, as she might have in 1870 if, by chance, she'd been a runaway slave. Is there any hope of me finding her family of origin (Perkins??).
4. How did Anna get the name Green? She didn't seem to have ever married.
5. What happened to Anna after 1880? Unfortunately, we don't have the 1890 Census. Anna just seems to disappear. I do find a few Anna Greens outside of the area who match her in age, but I have nothing to go on to verify that either of them is her.
6. Even though X's father died in 1856, probably before he and Anna hooked up, X is completely excluded from his father's will. Why was he left out?
7. I have seen X's will at the state archives. He left everything to his mother and siblings (supposedly - if not tampered with). Comments, please.

Well, this has gotten much longer than I'd expected it to be, so I'll stop here. There are a few other tidbits, but not of great importance. The reason I've decided to use "X" for my gg grandfather's name right now is because of all of the conflicts and because so much is unverified. I'd rather not lock anyone into a name if you think you can help me with this. I have attempted to make contact with several people who have him on their tree, but no one knows any more about him than his name and d.o.b. and NO ONE knew of him having any offspring.

I look forward to hearing about any insight anyone might have into this! Thank for reading!

Renate

MYSTERY QUESTION: How can I find out more about ANNA GREEN?

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