Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Church Records for Genealogical Research - What a Find!

A couple of nights ago, I decided to to take a look at the FamilySearch catalog to see if there were any online entries for Louisburg, NC that I hadn't already read, but wanted to. I decided to look at the digitized records for St. Paul's Episcopal Church, which cover the years 1845 to 1964. I knew that some of my European ancestors were connected to this church, so I thought I'd take a peek to see if any of them were mentioned. They were, but from the very beginning I realized that this document was going to be lucrative for me in ways I hadn't imagined; even then, I had no idea of the genealogical loot I was about to collect.

The first thing that raised my interest was seeing the name of my great-grandfather, Calvin Yarborough’s last owner, James H. Yarborough, on the pages before me. It seemed that he was greatly involved in the church - a fact that was soon explained by documents naming him as part of the church’s vestry. Not only was James quite active in the church, but his second wife, Arete, who would become Calvin's final owner (after James' death), and her father, Dr. Wood T. Johnson, and sister, Otelia, were, too.
This is a photo of my great-grandfather's third owner, James H.Yarborough.

James H. Yarborough was (re)appointed to the vestry on Easter Monday, 1960. He died later that same year. (The check marks indicate names of other vestry members who were connected to my family one way or another.)

I decided to commit to reading through the entire 522 images in this record set (two pages per image, in most cases) when I realized its scope. Not only would I be reading about church business, such as assignments of rectors, financial giving, appointments of vestry members, etc., but in what seemed like a (genealogist's) dream, births, deaths, and marriages were annotated, as were baptismal records and information about burial locations. 
This excerpt from the marriage records notates the nuptials of my great-grandfather’s second owner, Elizabeth Temperance (“Tempie”) Neal to his third owner, James H. Yarborough on November 29, 1853.
There was also a section showing purchases of cemetery plots, with complete descriptions of each plot and its location! This is a goldmine of information, and I suggest that anyone with ties to Louisburg/Franklin County take the time to browse these amazing records. But, for me, the real treasures came in finding that these records also included tons of information about African Americans in the community, the greatest of which was related to formerly-enslaved individuals (with family data included), but some of which was regarding post-Reconstruction interactions with blacks in the community. Here is just a sampling of the goodies:

Infant Baptisms
This is one page of many which gives details about infant baptisms. What struck me is that, on most pages, the baptisms of "servants" were intertwined with those of the regular parishioners, just as seen here. They were not separated by race. This was also true of the adult baptisms, deaths, and other records. Notice that the names of the parents are given with those of the enslaved infants.

Dr. Wood T. Johnson was a member of the Vestry and was, by far, the most active parishioner in getting his enslaved servants baptized. He was also the father of my great-grandfather, Calvin's last owner - his daughter, Areta E. Johnson Yarborough, also an active member of this church.

This next document shows burials that were recorded in the church records. The blue circles indicate members of my great-grandfather's enslaver's family. None of this was new information, but it was fulfilling to see it confirmed in another context.
Richard Fenner Yarborough was the father of James H. Yarborough, my great-grandfather's third owner. Elizabeth Temperance (Neal) Yarborough was James H. Yarborough's wife. She was Calvin's second owner, having acquired him following the death of her mother. 
Herbert Yarborough was James and Elizabeth's only child. He died shortly after his mother when he was just a few months old. 

This brings me to what was one of the most fascinating (and completely unexpected) finds in this entire record set. Recently, I've discovered that I have a direct ancestral connection to Somerset Place, the large Washington County, NC plantation, originally owned by several generations of the Collins family, which I just visited on a "field trip" with my AAHGS chapter, in June. (You can read about my visit to Somerset, here.)

Three generations of my mother's paternal grandmother's line were enslaved at Somerset, with my great-grandmother, Pinkey Tredwell, actually being born on the plantation. Pinkey, along with her parents, Mack Tredwell and Amy Littlejohn, were among the almost 300 enslaved who were transferred by owner, Josiah Collins III, to Franklin County during the Civil War. There, he established a plantation called "Hurry Scurry", where the conglomerate would remain until after the war's end.

It is written that Josiah III was a dedicated Episcopalian and that it was important to him for his human chattel to be trained in the teachings of this faith. At Somerset, he'd hired someone to "convert” his enslaved population "from Methodism to the Episcopal Church", He also employed a private chaplain, George Patterson, to perform religious services on the plantation. Apparently, Collins III must've connected himself, immediately, with the Episcopal church in Louisburg upon his arrival in the area. The documents below show submissions of many deaths among the enslaved at Hurry Scurry, some of which are known or suspected family members of mine.

This page includes the death and burial information for 20 of Hurry Scurry's enslaved. The blue dots indicate known and/or suspected members of my family. (The Mack and Amy are not my second gg-parents, but I believe they may have been two of their children.) Notice the name of the officiating clergyman for the majority of the burials: George Patterson, who was the same person Josiah Collins III had hired as his chaplain back at Somerset.

On this next page, 4 more burials of Hurry Scurry’s enslaved population are recorded. Notice their owner is now Mrs. Josiah Collins. Josiah III died in 1863, the same year as the bulk of the entries on the previous page. Presumably, sickness or disease must’ve struck Hurry Scurry in 1863.

Church Business
Of course, this record includes a compilation of church business – namely minutes from meetings of all types, with the bulk being meetings of the vestry. Admittedly, as I got past the first years of the 20th century, my interest in the subject matter began to wane, and I found myself scanning, rather than actually continuing to read the documents word for word. Still, some items of interest were found:

No More Blacks in the Church

This resolution was proposed and unanimously approved by the members of the vestry on July 17, 1891. It reads as follows:
“A resolution was offered and adopted directing the Secretary to advise the Rev. Wm. Walker, Archdeacon of the colored work in this diocese, that the use of St. Paul’s church is hereafter forbidden for his services for the colored people in the town.”

More Burial-Related Notes
Left: September 19, 1857, Mr. J. B. Yarborough requests permission to bury his child in the enclosure around the church.
Right: October 24, 1957, a resolution is passed preventing the churchyard from continuing to be used as a burying ground.

Building Fund 

In this accounting of the Building Fund from December 1900 my grandfather's brother, H.K. (Henry King) Yarborough is noted to have been paid for "putting brick underpinning of old ch(urch)". If I'd not already known of my grand-uncle's occupation as a brick mason, this would have been a helpful clue to follow up on.

There are two "coincidences", of sorts, that I want to mention before I close. The first is just that, in my frequent trips to Louisburg, one of the things I most enjoy doing is riding around the north end of town, where the grand old homes of the town's former white "elite" still stand - including the homes of my ancestors' owners. I've also been able to identify homes that I have a direct ancestral connection to but, mostly, I just enjoy looking at all of the fabulous (and very large) architecture, imagining who had lived in each home, and thinking about all that I know about Louisburg in the time period that most of the homes were built. In addition to my love of these homes, I also routinely stop and admire the churches, taking photos of them and observing the uniquity of each one's architecture. One of the most interesting structures, to me, has been the St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located on an unassuming corner of Church Street, a block away from Louisburg College and right smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood, just two blocks up from the homes of my second and third great-grandparents, Nathaniel M. Hawkins and his parents, Philemon and Jacobina Hawkins. (They were not members of the Episcopal Church.)
                                           Image result for st paul's episcopal church louisburg


St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Louisburg, NC

(Photo by E.C. Leatherberry)

The second kind of interesting coincidence is that as I was wrapping up this post I was watching the very Episcopal funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush. It made it very easy for me to imagine what services may have been like inside this church - the St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Louisburg, North Carolina.

Church records have long been known to be excellent sources of genealogical information and have been used by researchers for eons. However, for me, this is the first time I’ve gleaned this much useful information from them and I’m exhilarated! I have studied the available records for many of the churches I’ve known my ancestors to have belonged to, but have previously disregarded those of other nearby churches. I’ve learned a great lesson from this and, going forward, will check out any church records made available from the counties and towns that I research.

For more information about researching church records for genealogy, here's a link to an excellent article from Family Tree magazine
Thanks for reading! I hope others will be helped by what's been shared here. I welcome your comments and would love to hear about how researching church records may have helped others!



St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Louisburg, North Carolina) Parish register, 1845-1964, vestry minutes, 1890-1904, 1960-1962, and ledger of treasurer, 1889-1904 (Accessed December 2-4, 2018 via https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/228880?availability=Family%20History%20Library)

NorthCarolinahistory.org: An Online Encyclopedia, “Josiah Collins III (1808 - 1863)” (by Matthew Shaeffer), http://northcarolinahistory.org (accessed December 5, 2018).

https://www.familytreemagazine.com/premium/church-records-genealogy-workbook/ (Accessed December 5, 2018)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Henrietta Hawkins Amis - A Presidential Pardon

Well, this is something new (for me),
something I never even imagined I'd see; 
a Presidential Pardon on MY family tree!

This won't be a long post, but I'm so amazed, right now, I just want to share this new finding with the world! 🌎

I've discovered a Presidential Pardon on my family tree! Yes, that's right. My second cousin, 4x removed, Henrietta HAWKINS Amis, received a presidential pardon from President Andrew Johnson in 1865. Her "crime" was taking part in the "rebellion" against the government of the United States. 

Source: Ancestry.com U.S., Pardons Under Amnesty Proclamations, 1865-1869
(Click to enlarge.)
There were three of these proclamations issued but this round, in which my cousin received hers, was the last, and the only one in which pardons were offered after the end of the Civil War. After the recipient of the pardon swore the oath to the United States, all of their property was to be restored except (of course) any (former) human chattel. To read more, click here

Just as an added tidbit, I only recently discovered Cousin Henrietta's place amongst my ancestors, after coming upon a newspaper clipping of her death. She was the daughter of my first cousin, 5x removed, William J. Hawkins, who was Governor of North Carolina from 1811-1814. Since I don't have a photo of Henrietta, I'll include an artist's rendering of her dad.
William Hawkins.jpg
Governor William Hawkins - 17th Governor of North Carolina

And, this is the article I found about Henrietta's death. The copy is a bit light, but it tells of her being "one of the largest and most successful planters" in the area and identifies her as a slave owner. (A quick check of the 1860 Slave Schedule for Louisiana's Madison Parish shows her owning 191 slaves on one of her properties.

Death of Henrietta Amis - Daughter of Gov. Hawkins
Death of Henrietta Amis - Daughter of Gov. Hawkins Thu, Sep 19, 1889 – Page 2 · The Roanoke News (Weldon, Halifax, North Carolina) · Newspapers.com

You never know what you'll find while researching your family tree!

Thanks for reading. :)

Additional sources:

Andrew Johnson, "Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction," May 29, 1865, Civil War Era NC, accessed November 15, 2018, https://cwnc.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/items/show/13.

Wikipedia contributors. (2017, December 11). William Hawkins (governor). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:29, November 16, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=William_Hawkins_(governor)&oldid=814930227

Permalink to this post: https://justthinking130.blogspot.com/2018/11/henrietta-hawkins-amis-presidential.html

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sophia YOUNG - Are You My 3x-Great Grandmother?

I think I may have just (possibly) discovered the name of my 3rd great-grandmother, and if I’m right, it’s been right in front of me for YEARS!

My second great-grandmother, Anna GREEN, is one of my biggest “brick-wall” ancestors. Born between 1843 - 1845, she was Mulatto woman, of unknown origin, who came to Franklin County, NC under unknown circumstances sometime before 1870. I say 1870 because that is the first definite documentation of her there, however, circumstantial and conclusionary evidence leads me to believe that she was in the county as early as 1860, and, most certainly by 1864 when the first of the six children she would have with my second great-grandfather, Nathaniel Hawkins (a white man), was born. That first child was my great-grandfather, John Green.

I’ve been researching Anna since I first learned of her existence, which was sometime in the late 1990s. She is enumerated in 1870 and 1880 census records (along with her children), and that’s it. Nothing else. I know, from some of the records of her children, that she was still alive in 1890, but of course those census records are gone. By 1900, I no longer see her, anywhere.
By 1880, Anna had given birth to all six of her and Nathaniel's children. (There are 3 other children in the home. Their relationship to the family remains unknown.

Anyhow, Anna’s backstory is a mystery. In my early interviews with older family members in Louisburg, I learned that some of them had been told about Anna, but what they were able to recall was sketchy, at best.1 There was a story about Nathaniel’s father putting Anna and the children out of the house they were living in after Nathaniel’s death, but the problem with that is that Nathaniel died in 1879, and his father, Philemon Hawkins, had passed 23 years earlier, in 1856. (My research points to another Philemon, Nathaniel’s first cousin and brother-in-law, as the likely suspect who may have actually done this.) Then, there’s the additional lore that these grandchildren of Anna’s daughter, Mary Helen (Pidgie) Green, also shared with me – that Anna’s mother was “100% Indian”. Well, that doesn’t stand either, given the fact that the mtDNA testing, completed by a cousin who is a direct matrilineal descendant of Anna’s, came back pointing straight to AFRICA. Thirdly, the only thing my elderly cousins could recall about Anna’s possible origins was that she “came to Franklinton from somewhere because the white man wouldn’t stop bothering either her or her mother.” (Neither of the cousins telling me this could recall which one it was that the “white man” was supposedly bothering.) I’ve nothing to corroborate this last story, except for the fact that the ONE and only enslaved person I have any evidence of Nathaniel ever owning was a 15 year old female, who (for whatever reason) resided in Franklinton in 1860.2  (Nathaniel lived alone 12 miles away, in Louisburg, with his mother and three of his siblings, at the time.)2 

I really want to show the full context of this census page, because I’ve been questioning it for two decades. It appears to me that this may have been some type of work farm, or something, because of the way the enslaved people are enumerated as having different owners, none of whom seem to live on the same property, or, in many cases even in the same county. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Because my “informants" had insisted during our interviews that Anna Green was “never a slave”, for a long time I didn’t even consider that this 15 year old, owned by Nathaniel, could have been her. They talked of how their grandmother had told them that "Nathaniel loved Anna" and how he "put her and the children up in a house on his property and took care of them".They recoiled each time I even suggested that Anna may have been (at any point) enslaved. But, about 10 years ago, while reviewing my research (as I was doing this evening), it occurred to me that if this person was 15 years old in June of 1860, she could easily have been born in late 1844, the year I’d been using for Anna’s birth. Once I realized this, I began to consider that this could possibly be Anna! Perhaps she was enslaved at one time. Or, maybe Nathaniel had “saved” her from whatever she (and her mother?) were running from and he was labeling himself her owner (and a trader?) as a coverup. Could he have already been taking a liking to her? Was she a free person of color who he “enslaved” as a way of protecting her? These became possibilities, in my mind, and I haven’t discounted them, to this day; but I do realize the actual story is probably not one so romantic. Anyway, although I can’t know for sure from an enumeration on a Slave Schedule, I believe it is highly likely that the 15 year old female owned by Nathaniel in 1860, is Anna. My main reason for that is because, four years later, Anna was giving birth to my great-grandfather, John, and (again) that I've never found evidence of Nathaniel owning anyone else. Between 1864 and 1879, Anna and Nathaniel had a total of six children together, the last of whom was born the year of his death. 
Now for my ah-ha moment!
Enumerated just after the 15 year old female is a 46 year-old woman, owned by Martha YOUNG. For years, I’ve wondered if this unnamed woman could be Anna’s (the 15 year-old?) mother, but there’s never been anything for me to use to move forward on that hunch – nothing until tonight. Tonight, out of boredom, I decided to go through some of my old documents to see if I might notice anything new. My focus was on looking at the clusters of people enumerated on the census pages with my ancestors (and nearby). I decided to give another look at what I had for Anna Green, and, in doing so, I pulled up the 1870 Census for her.3

1870 Census from Louisburg, Franklin County, NC showing Anna Green and Sophia Young3
While reviewing this census page, I first studied everything about the entries for Anna and her two children, remembering and making a mental note that in this particular census, she was enumerated as “W” for white. Then, my eyes traveled to the entry below Anna’s family: Sophia Young. Hmm… I’ve seen this a thousand times, but never had this thought crossed my mind, before now. She’s the age to have been Anna’s mother! And, she’s in the next household - alone! But, something else was nudging me about this entry. YOUNG – the surname – I’d seen that somewhere before, in connection with something about Anna. Wait. Was it on the 1860 Slave Schedule, for the lady I’d suspected could have been the 15 year old’s mother? I had to look!

Cut out from the 1860 Slave Schedule from Franklin County, NC showing a 15 year old female, owned by Nathaniel Hawkins and a 48 year old female, owned by Martha Young enumerated one behind the other.
Well, lo and behold, look at that! The 46 year old woman, enumerated just after the 15 year old, was owned by a Martha YOUNG. Even though the age is a few years off from the woman owned by Martha Young in 1860, I believe this could be the same woman! Ages of enslaved individuals were often estimated, and we don’t know who was providing the information at either of these enumerations.

Could this be? Could I be looking at a name for Anna’s mother – a name I’ve had right in front of me for two decades???? With nothing else to go on, I may never know the sure answer, but I am certainly excited and think it’s a great possibility that Sophia YOUNG could (possibly) be my third great-grandmother! Woo-hoo! What do you think, dear reader?
Before writing this post, I did some preliminary (really quick) research to see what I could find on Sophia Young. This 1870 census was the only one I found her in, but further research will be conducted to look for her family connections, death/burial information, and anything else I may be able to find. The fact that this black woman was living alone, five years after the war ended, was right next door to Anna, and that my quick look doesn't find her with any other family attachments in the area really strengthens my suspicion that she could be the woman who "ran away from somewhere" to Franklin County, having left any other (possible) family behind. I'll be searching all the ads for a "Martha", to see if I get any leads, either in Virginia (where Anna says she and her parents were born on the 1880 Census, or in Tennessee, where one of the cousins told me she thought Anna may have come from. I’ll also do a little work on Martha Young to see what was going on with her. A quick look shows me that there were at least three Martha Youngs in the county at the time, so it will take some work.
The one (and only) thing I have that might somewhat contradict my current thinking is the fact that at least one of the cousins has mentioned that Anna was supposedly a PERKINS, orginally. However, I'm not sure if this is what she was told by her grandmother, or if she just got it from the marriage certificate SSA of Anna's son, William, who gave his mother's surname as Perkins.
I’d love to hear the thoughts of my readers on this. Please put your comments here on the blog (even if you also comment elsewhere) so that there will be a record of our conversations.

Thanks for reading! I look forward to your suggestions, thoughts, ideas, and input!


To read more about my second great-grandfather, Nathaniel M. Hawkins, click here.

Permalink to this post: https://justthinking130.blogspot.com/2018/09/martha-young-are-you-my-3x-great.html


1.   Interviews with Florine Green Egerton and Harold Green, Louisburg, NC, 1998 – 2015 and Virginia Green Edwards of San Rafael, CA., 2007-2013.

2.  Ancestry.com. 1860 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls

3.  Ancestry.com. online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Seventh Census of the United States, 1850. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M432,

4.  Ancestry.com. online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003.Original data - 1870. United States. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C. National Archives and Records Administration. M593, RG29, 1,761 rolls. Minnesota.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Out and About with AAHGS - A Field Trip to Somerset Place!

Life's been a whirlwind, of late - pretty much one thing after another, with little room to breathe. But, that's life, right?

I'm dropping in just to share a few photos (slideshow) from my Hampton Roads Chapter of AAHGS' field trip to Somerset Plantation, yesterday. We filled a 48 passenger bus with members and guests, but I (accompanied by my friend, Felicia) chose to drive, because of my connection to the area and my desire to stay on and visit with family, as well as to do some (further) exploration of the area. Not only do I have deep ancestral roots in Tyrrell County, which borders Creswell (where Somerset is located), but I've recently discovered that my own great-grandmother was a COLLINS from Creswell. COLLINS was the surname of the family who owned Somerset, so it's quite possible (and likely) that I may actually be a descendant of ancestors who were connected with that property. But, that's a post for another day!

I met my fellow travelers, who were riding the bus, at the Walmart at Jefferson and Mercury, in Hampton, just to touch bases and bid us all safe travel, and then we set off for the drive to Somerset, which is just short of two hours away. We all arrived, safely, and enjoyed our exploration of the property. Some of us took a guided tour, while others chose to explore independently. It was an added plus for us that our visit took place on the same day as the "Days Gone By" Festival was being held on the beautiful, waterfront property, which included musical entertainment, food vendors, Civil War reenactors, and costumed interpreters giving demonstrations of blacksmithing, as well as leather and woodworking.
This was the bus driver for our trip. The bus even had our AAHGS logo on it!

Our group spent about 3 hours at the plantation, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. For many, it was an eye-opening first visit to an actual plantation, and for others (like me), it was another look at "the way things were" and at how the lives may have been of many of our ancestors - enslaved and/or not. The docents did a nice job of sharing details about the enslaved population who provided unpaid labor that made Somerset the grand and successful business that it was, and allowed its owners to live a privileged life in "high society".

I wasn't really in true "photography mode" on this trip, so these photos aren't the greatest, but here's a little taste of the sites and sounds of Somerset, as our little group from AAHGS-Hampton Roads experienced them on Saturday, June 9, 2018.

The slideshow is best experienced in full screen. :)


Thank you to our Chapter President, Stephanie Thomas, who secured the bus and organized this trip. I look forward to sharing more adventures with our group in the future! :)


Monday, February 5, 2018

Memory Monday - My Aunt Sue's Wedding

This photo stirs up memories of one of only a few family weddings I've ever attended; and I'm pretty sure this was the first. There I am, front and center, the "star" of the photo, if you ask me (lol), although not necessarily for all the right reasons.
My guess is that this photo was taken at the end of a long day, after the other guests had gone.

The occasion was the wedding of my aunt, Susie Beatrice Yarborough, of Louisburg, NC to Mr. Bennett Hawkins, of Littleton, NC. The wedding took place in April, 1968, in my grandmother's home. I was the flower girl, and my brother, Arthur, the ring bearer. I'm not sure why the service didn't take place in the church (St. Paul's Presbyterian), which is directly across the street from the house, because my aunt was a faithful and committed member.

I remember this day pretty well, but what I don't remember is being the showboating brat that I appear to be in most of the pictures. Here, it seems that many eyes are on me, and that the bride looks like this is not a happy moment. I can just hear her saying, "Just take the picture", while mentally preparing to discipline me, once it was all said and done. My mother, in the green dress, is giving me a "look", which I'm sure she was willing me to feel coming through the back of my head. My grandmother (who loved me more than just about anything or anyone else in the world) is trying to smile - all the while thinking about how she'll be getting my Uncle Calvin (standing behind her) to accompany me out front to get a switch from the tree, when this is all over. My brother, Arthur, just 15 months older than I, is rolling his eyes (as though he's sick of my antics),stretching tall, and pretending to be the "perfect child". (He had a little Eddie Haskell in him. Umm-hmmm). Somebody probably promised him that if he was good, he could go into my grandma's candy cabinet, so he's just yet holding on. (They probably promised me the same, but I've never been one to go for a bribe, and plus, I'd have known that either my dad or my grandma would have let me sneak in there, anyway.) My dad, standing in the back, smiling, just seems "tickled" by the whole thing (or perhaps he saying a prayer?); and my oldest brother (on the left), Edgar, seems to be exchanging a knowing glance with the photographer - most likely my second oldest brother, Henry, who'd been posed in another photo when Ed (presumably) handled the camera. My new Uncle Bennett is just standing there flashing that cool, handsome smile of his. Seriously, I remember him as one of the most debonaire men I've ever met.) I'm sure he was thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" After all, at the time of this wedding, he was 61 years old, and my aunt was 48. There would be no children.
Marriage License and Certificate for Susie Yarborough and Bennett Hawkins
The two Witnesses are my father, Arthur, and his brother, Calvin. 
I will always wonder why this wedding didn't take place at the church, but there probably aren't many people still here who could answer that. After the nuptials, my aunt took off for NYC with her new husband, and lived there with him, on 145th Street, for the few years the marriage lasted. I remember visiting them, at least once, and (unfortunately) getting in trouble for having a really bad attitude about something I didn't get my way about on that visit. At that time, I was 12 years old, but not too long after that, my aunt was back in Louisburg, taking care of my ailing grandmother, and soon to be divorced from the only man she ever married.

Based on the fact that there are still guests present, and that we are all smiling, happy, and apparently unstressed, I'd say this photo was probably taken immediately after the ceremony, while everyone was still on our best behavior! 🌝

Thanks for reading!

Photos in this post are the property of Renate Yarborough Sanders, and should not be duplicated without the express permission of the author.

Register of Deeds Office, Franklin County, NC. Franklin County Marriages, Book 1968, p. 1377, License no. 118620,

Permalink to this post: https://justthinking130.blogspot.com/2018/02/memory-monday-aunt-sues-wedding.html

Sunday, January 7, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 1: "Start"

I am pleased to be participating in Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" initiative. The way it works is that Amy will provide a theme or prompt each week, to get us thinking about how to present something about an ancestor. That's it; it's just that simple. There are no rules about where or how the information is to be shared. It can be a blog post, tweet, Facebook post... whatever. The goal is just to get the information we've discovered about our ancestors into the public domain! To quote Amy, "The point is to get you to take that knowledge that you have and the discoveries that you've made and get them out of the filing cabinet/computer/pile of papers and do something with it."

The theme for week one is "START". When I first read this, so many things came to my mind, but the recurring thought was of my great-grandfather, Calvin Yarborough, who is the reason I started my research, over 20 years ago. After attending a (first) family gathering, in 1993, I learned of Calvin's existence, and realized that I knew nothing, at all, of my ancestors. That started me on a quest to learn of them, which began with just asking lots of questions of my elders (who knew little to nothing of our history). It wasn't until 1997, when I got my first computer and became a member of AOL, that I realized that there was a "thing" called genealogy research. I began to participate in some of the chat groups, there, and learned what I needed to do to start researching my people (in person, of course); and that was all she wrote! 
So, for this first installment of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I present my great-grandfather, Calvin Yarborough, the ancestor with whom my research began. Unfortunately, I have no photo of him, but that just reminds me that the work of genealogical research is never done; there is always something more to hope for, to seek out and pray for. One day, I believe I'll see his (and my great-grandmother's) likeness captured on film.

b. March 1839 in TN or NC (most likely NC); d. btw 1910-1919

My great-grandfather, Calvin, was born a slave in 1839 or 1840.  It appears that he belonged to the NEAL family, a slave of Chloe Neal, whose husband, John, died shortly before Calvin was born. The Neals owned a large family plantation in Franklin County, NC, from which they expanded westward to lands in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. Slaves, as well as many of the family members moved between these properties throughout their lives.  Thus, it is quite possible that Calvin could have been born in TN, as indicated on his 1880 Census record, although all other records indicate that he was born in NC. 

Here follows a timeline of Calvin’s life and relevant connections, as revealed during my years of research:

1838John NEAL, originally of Franklin County, NC dies in Tennessee, where he and his wife, Chloe, were living.  His slaves become the property of his wife, Chloe.  Presumably, Calvin’s mother was one of those slaves. 

1838-39Chloe Neal returns to Franklin County, NC with her three children, John, Leonidas, and Elizabeth Temperance

1839-1840 – March - Calvin is born in either TN or NC on a NEAL plantation – There is further support here for the confusion about Calvin being born in TN, since John NEAL and his brother, James were settled there during the 1830’s.  However, John NEAL died in 1838, and his widow, Chloe Crudop Perry NEAL returned to Franklin County with her children (and presumably her slaves) soon after that. If Calvin’s mother (name unknown) had been pregnant during that transition, it’s easy to see how and why perhaps someone may have told him he was born in TN, only for him to find out later that they were actually in NC at the time of his birth, or she may have even given birth to him on the way!

1851Chloe NEAL dies.  Her slaves are divided into 3 lots, for her three children.  12 year old Calvin, valued at $620, is in the lot that goes to Elizabeth T NEAL. 

1853 – November 28 - Elizabeth T. NEAL marries James H. YARBOROUGH

1855 – Feb. 6 – Birth of Herbert Neal YARBOROUGH, son of James H. and Elizabeth YARBOROUGH

1855 – April 10 – Elizabeth T. Neal YARBOROUGH dies.  Under NC common law, her slaves become the property of her husband, James H. YARBOROUGH. 

1855 – July 8 – Death of infant, Herbert N. Yarborough

1859 – June 8 - James H. Yarborough marries Arete E. Johnson, daughter of Wood T. and Josephine Johnson.

1860 – August - James H. Yarborough dies.  In a division of James' slaves, Calvin now becomes the property of his wife, Arete.  (James and Arete had only been married for 14 months.) 

1860 - December 27 – Calvin (enslave)d marries Precilla (enslaved) – The cohabitation record gives Precilla’s “maiden” name as SHAW.  

1862Louis (or Lewis) NEAL YARBOROUGH, Calvin and Precilla’s first child, is born. (Notice the middle name, Neal.  This researcher believes that Calvin maintained an emotional (and/or perhaps more) attachment to the Neal family, into which he was born, and thus he wanted to give his son that name.  Also, this is the first indicator that my great-grandparents wanted me to find and figure out some things about their/our history!  I believe that all, or at least most of their 11 children were given middle names that connected Calvin and Precilla to their former owners, or perhaps maybe in some cases to people who had been kind to them.  Here are the remaining children and their approximate dates of birth:

1864 - Samuel E. (possibly Eaton)
1866 – Sarah H. (I’m not sure about the H, but the person I believe to have been Precilla’s main owner, was Sarah H. Shaw.  I’ve been in touch with some of her family members, and it seems, according to the records they have, that she was "much loved by her slaves."  I also am suspecting a Neal slave, named Sarah (whose husband was named, Lewis), as the possible mother of Calvin, but I have nothing to verify that – it’s just a hunch.
1867 – Thomas W. (WHITE?)
1872 – Henry KING
1874 – Quinea A.
1876 – Caroline B.
1878 – Josephine I.
1879 – Mattie Louise
1882 – Calvin Roy ( my grandfather)
1884 – Eugene Carter

1863 – January 1 – Abraham Lincoln, in his EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION declares that all slaves are to be permanently freed in all areas of the Confederacy that had not already returned to federal control.

1865 – July – Final freeing of the majority of slaves under the Emancipation Proclamation. Calvin would have had at least four different owners during his life.

Post-Slavery Life:
I do not know exactly when or how Calvin and Precilla gained their freedom, so I go with the assumption that they were held in bondage by Arete Yarborough (widow of James H.) until 1865.  My guess is that Calvin regarded her (and James H.) well, since he chose to take the Yarborough surname for his family, and since he and Precilla were married under her watch.  I continue to press forward to find out as much as I can about this period in Calvin’s life. 

1870 – (Census) Calvin, a farmer, and Precilla, keeping house, are living in Louisburg.  They have 3 children (Louis, Sam, and Thomas) living. Their daughter, Sarah, was “burned” and died that year, at age four, according to the 1870 Mortality Schedule.

1872 – Calvin is named as one of the trustees of the “Colored Presbyterian Church” in Franklin County on a Deed of Indenture between the church and J.C. Wynne (and wife).  The church was buying land in Louisburg. (This is Saint Paul's United Presbyterian Church.)  My grandfather, Calvin, Jr., with the help of his brother, Sam, later built his house directly across the street from this church.)

1872-1888 - Calvin is elected several times to serve as a "poll holder" in Franklin County. 

1872 - November - Calvin was paid $7.50 for services as a Deputy Sheriff. 

1877 – August - Calvin purchases land in Franklin County near the grave yard on the Louisburg and Newport Road for $75.00. (This is now Mineral Springs Rd.)

1880 – (Census) Calvin, a farmer, but listed as a “RETIRED TEACHER”, and Precilla now have eight children living (Louis, Samuel, Thomas, Henry, Quinea, Caroline, Josephine, and Mattie).  Just a few doors down lives the renowned, John H. Williamson, with whom Calvin is connected via the church, and who was a pioneer in Negro education in the Franklin County area.  I have yet to confirm where Calvin taught, but his circle of friends and fellow trustees included several educators, such as Williamson, Moses Hopkins, and George C. Shaw, so my guess is that he taught with, or for, one of them. I do know that he was hired by the Freedmen's Bureau, and that he taught "two miles outside of Louisburg". 

1888 – September 15 - Calvin is again named as a trustee on a Deed of Indenture between E.N. Dent and the Colored Presbyterian Church, this time for $100.00.

1890 – GRRRRRRRR….akdfnasdfinaksdfasdfand!!!

1896 - I have a handwritten receipt, which was in the Yarborough Family Bible at my grandparents' house, which states, "Recd of Calvin Yarborough 38.63 for a pymt for Mr. Levitt from the colored union (or mission) meeting this the 21st day of December 1896." I know that Calvin was a member of "The Pride of Louisburg" chapter of FAAM, but I don't know if this receipt is connected with that, or if it is from another organization.

1900 – Calvin and Precilla, now enumerated as 61 and 56, respectively, have been married for 40 years.  Several of their adult children live in the home with them.  Sam, Quinea, Carrie, Jacqueline, Mattie, Calvin (18), and Eugene (16) are all still single.  Sam is a carpenter, and both Quinea and Josephine are school teachers (which explains why they weren’t married).

1910 – 71 year-old Calvin is now widowed. (Precilla died sometime before October of 1903, when Mattie got married.)  Sam, also widowed, lives with his father, as do Quinea (Clennie in the census), Caroline, and Josephine (“Joe”), who is also widowed, although her married name (Lane) is not noted in the census.  Neither Josephine, nor Quinea are still teaching.  Most likely, Jo had to stop when she married, since teachers back then were required to be single.  Caroline is a cook for a private family.  Sam is still a carpenter, his trade until he died in 1922.

Calvin (Roy) Yarborough, Sr. died sometime after 1910, but before 1919, when his son (my grandfather), Calvin Roy Yarborough, Jr. married my grandmother, Anna Beatrice Green. I have never seen the middle name "Roy" in any documents pertaining to Calvin Sr. but both his son and grandson used it, so I include it as an assumed middle name for Calvin.

Thanks for reading!

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