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Monday, January 21, 2019

Tracking Down Ancestors Through Mystery Photos

As genealogists, we are constantly seeking evidence of our ancestors' existence. We delve into census data, wills, probate and military records, vital and burial records, and more! We visit repositories, cemeteries, churches, plantations, and old homesteads in our efforts to learn more and more about family members who preceded us. But, nothing tops off our research findings more than the blessing of coming across (positively identified) photos of our ancestors!

Some families are blessed to have tons of pictorial records, but that is not the case for everyone. In my family, photos, prior to those of my own generation, are far and few between and hard to come by. However, every now and then, a family member surprises me with new (to me) photos they've "found". Such was the case, just a couple of days ago, when I visited the widow of my late cousin, Harold Green, of Louisburg, NC. I'd contacted her with a request to stop by and rephotograph some pictures I've seen many times before, since the cousin they've been left in the care of plans to donate them to a repository. My cousin's wife, Christine, was very happy to allow me to do this. In an attempt not to take up too much of her time, I got in there, snapped the photos I'd gone for (while exchanging pleasantries and getting caught up on each other's lives), and was thanking her and preparing to leave when she surprised me by saying, "I found some more pictures, not too long ago, and I'd love to let you see those. They are in a bag, somewhere, but I can't seem to find where I put it." Of course, I stopped dead in my tracks and expressed how much I'd love to see the pictures. She and I both looked around the room for the mysterious "bag", which she eventually found. One by one, Christine started pulling out 8x10, framed photos. I had to ask her to slow down so I could examine each one!

These are the first two photos Christine showed me:

This was the only photo Christine was able to identify. "She said,
I know who that is! That was Jessie's husband - the doctor."
This photo of Dr. Patterson was taken by Ellie Lee Weems,
an African American photographer in Jacksonville, Florida,
where he and Jessie lived.
Next, Christine pulled out this photo. She said she didn't know who it was, but I felt that I was
looking at a photo of the same man - only a little older and thicker. I belive this to also be Dr. James Perry Patterson, of Jacksonville, NC.
Who was James Perry Patterson? Dr. James "J.P." Patterson was the husband of my first cousin-twice-removed, Jessie GREEN. Jessie was the daughter of Annie Green and a yet-unidentified father, and granddaughter of my 2x great-grandparents, Nathaniel Hawkins and Anna Green. It's been challenging to find much information about Jessie, over the years; but her husband, being a prominent black doctor and engaged community member in Jacksonville Florida, has left a bit more of a document trail.
James worked at a Jacksonville hospital, located at 103 E. Union Street. He and Jessie shared a home on 8th Street and also owned a home on American Beach, which some of their close family members, from Louisburg, fondly remember visiting. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and may have been a Freemason.

What About Cousin Jessie?
What I know about Jessie Green is that she is one of several siblings, children of Annie Green and a purported "white mill owner" (believed to have the surname, Vann), who left Louisburg and were passing as white. I've found mixed documentation on all of them, but not enough evidence to confirm that any of them were actually passing - at least not full time. However, I can clearly see that Jessie was married to a black man. He worked at a black hospital, was in a historically-black fraternity, and owned property in a black beach community. I feel fairly comfortable that she and her husband weren't passing, despite the fact that I've been told that by family members who actually knew them. Either way, I'm told over and over again that Jessie looked white.  Even today, before writing this post, I called Christine to confirm some things and she reiterated that Jessie looked just like a white woman. I asked about her hair, and she said that looked like a white woman's, also. With that in mind, it's hard for me to think that this next photo is Jessie, although it would just really make sense for it to be, given that the two photos, above - the only other 8x10 framed photos in the bag - were of her husband. Could this be my cousin Jessie Green, Dr. Patterson's wife?
Is this Jessie Green? Yes, she's light, but her hair is not that of a white woman. If this is her, is this a wedding gown she's wearing? If so, might it be a wedding portrait? I feel really unsure about this one, but I really don't know who else it would be. This person doesn't fit the profile of any of my other known family members.
I have seen a few photos that might have been Jessie, but they all have multiple subjects and it's unclear which is her. However, there is one photo (below) that was shared with me many years ago, and which I was told was a portrait of Jessie. I guess I can see it as slightly possible that this could be a younger photo of the woman above, but I really think the jury's still out on that. What I do notice is the similar style and material of the dress - especially the sleeves - which makes me think these photos would have been taken during the same time period, and, therefore would NOT be the same person.
This is the photo that was identified as probably being Jessie Green. I've had this one for several years. It was not with the recently-discovered photos.
I'd like to end this photographic journey with another photo that was in the bag. It was quite the mystery - for about 48 hours. However, thanks to the help I got from gen-friends, after posting it on Facebook, I've been able to follow a research path, based on one very valuable suggestion, and have gone from not knowing where the photo was taken, who the group of people was, or why it was relevant to my family- to now having the answers to all of those questions!

This photo is encased in a hard, cracking black cardboard frame. When found, I had no idea what the context was and neither did my late cousin's wife, Christine.
Unraveling the Mystery of a Photo
The first step in attempting to uncover the mystery of this photo was to simply note what I could observe. Obviously, this is a group of black women, most likely a school group, perhaps at the college level. The white male standing to the side appears to be in charge - maybe a principal, president, or founder - and I assumed the older adults (in the back and on the porch) to be faculty/staff members, one being a nurse and the one seated perhaps having another level of importance. I noticed that all of the young ladies seemed to be wearing a similar hairstyle (with parts in the middle) and that they were dressed uniformly, in white blouses with dark skirts. Some of the women are wearing dark bows or ties and a few seem to have something pinned over the left breast. They are sitting on the steps of a brick building. I noticed the white wooden rails and ballisters as well as the shuttered doors behind them. Also, I took note that there appears to be an area behind the stairs that may have been a basement or lower floor.
With all of my observations noted, I posted this photo on Facebook - on my profile and in several groups. Right away, people began to suggest that this may have been a nursing school. I'd thought about that, also, but was leaning more towards it being some other kind of program, with the woman in the nurse's hat being part of the faculty - the school nurse. Several historically-black women's colleges were suggested as was a specific building on the campus of Shaw University. All of the suggestions were considered and vetted, but there were two which immediately showed themselves to have merit: Scotia Women's College and Lincoln Hospital.

Scotia Women's College, now Barber-Scotia College, is located in Concord, NC. It was started immediately after the Civil War, as Scotia Seminary, with the purpose of educating formerly-enslaved black women. As soon as one of my FB friends suggested it (and showed a series of photos that seemed to match mine), I thought the "where" part of this case was solved.
This is one of the photos of Scotia Women's College shared with me by my Facebook friend, ItsMheMorris. I found the photo on the Internet and saw that it is labeled with the years 1915-1916. Everything about the building is the same as in my photo.
I was sooooo excited when I saw this photo! I just knew I had it! Besides, I remembered being told that someone in my family went to Barber-Scotia, but I just didn't remember who. I thanked my Facebook friend and was ready to just start the work of determining which family member might be in the photo. Buuttttt... 
..... then came another suggestion in a different group: Lincoln Hospital in Durham! Again, a photo was shared and again it seemed to match very much with mine. Take a look.

                         nursing students posing for a photo in front of their dorm.
Well, certainly you see my dilemma here. Clearly, this photo, supposedly of Lincoln Hospital nursing students, is of the exact same people pictured in my photo - apparently on the same steps in front of the same building. So, what now????

Analysis
I have searched for any connection between Lincoln Hospital and Scotia/Barber-Scotia College, and found none. The Lincoln Hospital photo is from their Wikipedia page. We know that Wikipedia is a community-based resource, which offers an invitation to anyone to edit its pages. That was a fact that had to be considered as I began to sort through this. The Wikipedia page is the only place I found this photo (or anything else) that matched with the one I had.


The photo to the left is a screenshot from the YouTube video, "Long Live Barber-Scotia", which is featured on the "Our Heritage" page of the Barber-Scotia web site. Several similar photos are found in connection to Barber-Scotia's early days as Scotia Seminary and Scotia Women's College. In addition, Graves Hall, the building the group is seated in front of, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is described exactly as (what we can see of) the building in the photos.





In addition to the evidence already mentioned, which points to the photo being of Scotia, not Lincoln, the gentleman pictured in my photo (and on the one purported to be Lincoln Hospital) is also pictured in some of the others I've found online in connection with Scotia. He is, without a doubt, Scotia College's third president, Mr. A.W. Verner, who is shown here in this screenshot from the book,

Portraits Of The African-American Experience In Concord-Cabarrus, North Carolina 1860-2008. 




Though the above photo is not as clear as I'd like, it's easy to see that this is the same building, porch, man, and many of the same students and staff as shown in my photo, as well as in the others from Scotia College. This source, independent of the college, itself, is (I believe) the strongest piece of evidence that my photo is from Scotia and that the one on the Wikipedia page for Lincoln Hospital is incorrect. To put the icing on the cake, I made another call to Christine Green, who, when asked if any of the Greens went to Barber-Scotia, proclaimed, "Yes, Jessie went to Scotia! She used to talk about it all the time!" She hadn't even thought about that when she found the photo or when she'd shown it to me or to Cousin Florine.

Conclusion
So, there you have it. All the evidence points to this photo being of my cousin, Jessie Green's class at (most likely) Scotia Women's College. In addition, once I realized this, I pulled up the portrait of the young lady I'd been told was Jessie (above), and realized that the blouse she's wearing is of the same style as that of most of the young ladies in my photo. I've blown up the photo and closely inspected the features of each of the lighter-skinned females but still can't definitively say which one is Jessie - but I guess she has to be in there. Interestingly enough, there's one who looks like she could be that older lady (from above) but she would not be a match to the younger photo of Jessie. (In the re-post of the photo, below, I've indicated with green dots the only young ladies I think could be Jessie. I've added a yellow dot in the middle of the one I believe is most likely of the four, but the proof remains to be seen.

I've reached out, via email, to the number on Barber-Scotia's web site and I'm hoping they will have information about Jessie's enrollment and time at Scotia, as well as (hopefully) a photo that has her positively and uniquely identified. In addition, I'll be sharing this post with the folks at Wikipedia, with hopes that they'll remove the incorrectly-attributed photo from their Lincoln Hospital page.

"Mystery photos" don't have to remain that way. As genealogists, we must simply apply our sleuthing skills in a different way and we must share with and ask help from our friends, thus bringing those long-hidden photos out of the darkness and into the LIGHT! (Couldn't help that one!) :)

Thanks for reading! If you have additional ideas or info about any of these photos, please leave a comment here on the blog. Thanks!

Renate

P.S. There were several other photos (and a few documents) in Christine's bag. I'll be coming back to share more about those at another time.

Permalink: https://justthinking130.blogspot.com/2019/01/tracking-down-ancestors-through-photos.html

Sources:
Portraits Of The African-American Experience In Concord-Cabarrus, North Carolina 1860-2008, Bernard Davis, Jr., Xlibris Corporation, 2010

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, May 31). Lincoln Hospital (Durham, NC). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:45, January 21, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.phptitle=Lincoln_Hospital_(Durham,_NC)&oldid=843736295

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.

Burials
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.

Closing
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!

Renate

Sources:

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. :)
Renate

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?
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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!

Renate

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

Endnotes

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. :)

 Enjoy!



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! :)

Renate