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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

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 phot was probably taken immediately after the ceremony, while everyone was still on our best behavior! 🌝

Thanks for reading!
Renate


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

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 (slave) marries Precilla (slave) – 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. (believed to be 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.  A 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.)

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 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, which was probably for “Quennie”), 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.

This concludes the known (to this researcher) timeline of the life of Calvin R. Yarborough, Sr.

Thanks for reading!
Renate

Permalink: https://justthinking130.blogspot.com/2018/01/52-ancestors-in-52-weeks-week-1-start.html


Monday, November 6, 2017

A Detested Ancestor - Philemon Benjamin Hawkins

I'm writing this post because I posted a newspaper obituary for one of my HAWKINS ancestors in one of my Facebook groups, this evening, and I mentioned that I was doing so, despite my disdain for this person. Of course, that led to a reader asking me to explain why I felt that way, so rather than give a long answer on FB, I decided to write this post.

Image result for squiggly lineWhen I began to research my GREEN line, many years ago, I heard about my 2x great-grandmother, Anna Green, for the first time. Most of what I initially learned of her came by way of interviews with my older cousins, Florine Green Edgerton and the late Harold Bruce Green, who were first cousins and had been told a few tidbits about Anna by their (shared) grandmother, Mary Helen "Pidgie" Green.  There weren't many stories, but the one they both insisted upon, which was corroborated by another cousin, Dr. Virginia Green Edwards, was that Anna, a woman of mixed blood, had been in a long term relationship with a white man, whose name they thought was HAWKINS (it was), and that this man "loved" and took care of Anna and their 6 children, putting them up in nice home on his property. However, they also relayed to me that, when the Hawkins man died, "his father came and put Anna and the children off of the property", leaving them with nothing.

Well, my early research led me to discover that the father of Anna's children was Nathaniel Hawkins (my 2x great-grandfather), and that he died in 1879, the same year that the last of Anna's children was born. What I also discovered, though, was that Nathaniel's father, Philemon, had actually died in 1856, twenty-three years before Nathaniel's death. So, that meant there was no way he could have put Anna and the children off of the property. I informed my older cousins of this truth, and though they were disappointed to learn that the story they thought they'd been told couldn't have possibly been true, they accepted this as fact.

As most of us know, there is almost always at least a grain of truth to every instance of family lore, so I tucked this story away in my mind, but never completely forgot it. My research continued, and as the years went on I uncovered more and more details about the lives of my ancestral Hawkins family, as well as the descendants of Nathaniel and Anna, who all carried the surname, "Green" (since Anna and Nathaniel could not marry).

Eventually, my work led me to the estate records for Nathaniel, who'd died intestate. The Administrator for his estate was his first cousin, Philemon Benjamin Hawkins, a prominent attorney and legislative representative, who was married to his first cousin (Nathaniel's sister), Fannie Martin Hawkins. During years of researching the Hawkins family, I'd read several newspaper accounts about this scoundrel Philemon B., some of which revealed him to be of less than admirable character. (To be fair, there were a few that were more positive, too.) From these articles, I developed a sense that he vehemently disliked blacks, but would use them, in a heartbeat, if it were advantageous to him in some way. Here's an example of one such article:


                      Click on article to enlarge.
                          Phil B Hawkins re slavery

As I read through the many pages of Nathaniel's estate files, and saw the rogue way he seemed to be handling some of the affairs, it suddenly hit me, one day. THIS is probably the man who put Anna and the children out of their home! It had to be Philemon B.! So, the family story was true, there'd just been a mix-up of the relationship (cousin/brother-in-law, not father) and which Philemon it was, given that Administrator of Nathaniel's estate, had the same name as his father! It all made total sense, now!
This is said to be a photo of Philemon B. Hawkins.
(1823-1891)

So, as far as I'm concerned, this is the face of the man who stripped my great-great grandmother and her children of their home and security. I am still seeking documentary evidence of my suppositions, but, given that Philemon B. was in control of Nathaniel's assets, and that (of course) there is no mention of Anna and/or his children, anywhere, it only makes sense that he used his position on the estate, along with his power in the county to get rid of any evidence of their existence in Nathaniel's life, which is probably a contributing factor to why I am able to find so little about them, now. Furthermore, it appears that when Nathaniel's mother, Jacobina Sherrod Hawkins, died a few years later, Philemon (with the support of his wife, Fanny) did some dirt on her estate, also. But, that's another story....

This is not the clipping I posted on FB. 
(Click to enlarge.)
Death of PB Hawkins

Philemon and his cousin/wife had two children, Bettie Lane and William J. William also died in 1891, shortly after his father. Bettie, who married Walter Blair Boyd, and lived in Warren County, NC. It doesn't appear that the couple had any children; therefore, Bettie's death in 1926 brought to an end the lineage of Philemon Benjamin Hawkins.


Thanks for reading. 
Renate

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Tyrrell County - The Ancestors Have Done It, AGAIN!

I need to make this short (ha ha), but I just HAVE to share something that just happened. But, first, a little background. 

This past Sunday, September 24, 2017, I was the speaker at the monthly meeting of the Tyrrell County Genealogical and Historical Society. This was my second time addressing this group, this year, and I was excited to be there, and honored to have been asked back.

After my presentation, I spent quite a bit of time conversing and fellowshipping with members of the audience. Of course, the subject of my HILL and BRYANT ancestors and family came up, given that I'd shared examples from my research during my talk. While talking with one gentleman, it was confirmed that many of the Hills live in the Albemarle Church Rd. area of the county, which is something I'd been previously told by another Tyrrell County resident, who is a minister at the church many of my family members (still) attend. This is the same road on which I'd located the Hill Family Cemetery, using Google Earth, shortly after my last visit to the county. At that time, I wrote this heartfelt blog post about my discovery. (You'll want to read that first post to get the full meaning of this one.) I decided that, despite the fact that I had a long drive to Raleigh ahead of me, I just had to visit Albemarle Church Rd., with hopes of finding the cemetery, and, perhaps some family, too.

Once I'd said my goodbyes, I headed out to my car, put the street name into my GPS, and started out on what was about a 7 minute drive from the Columbia Senior Center, where the meeting had taken place, to my destination. In no time at all, there I was, taking the Travis Rd. exit (which I know well), and turning into an area that I immediately recognized, because on each of my (now 3) visits to Tyrrell County, something has made me turn down this street in my explorations. I followed the directions down the barely-inhabited county road, and, very shortly, found myself on Albemarle Church Rd. As I took in my surroundings - mostly flat fields with the occasional house - I could sense that I was getting closer and closer to my people. (But, the only thing about it was that there were no people in sight.) Eventually, I came upon the intersection of Albemarle Church Rd. and Albemarle Shore Rd., which is where (I remembered) the cemetery was supposed to be. But, there was no cemetery in site. I turned around and looked again, on both sides of the road, but still saw nothing of a burial ground.  However, as I backtracked a bit, I couldn't help but notice the oddity of four moss-covered structures - three side-by-side, and the other spaced a little apart - to my left, sitting strangely alone in an overgrown field. I stopped right in the middle of the road, and just stared for at least a minute, trying to contemplate how these (what looked like homes) had come to be left to just give way to Mother Nature like this. I sat there, immovable for a time, wondering if anyone in the homestead to my right was watching me, but not worried about cars because I was absolutely the only car on this road. And then I did it - I snapped two pictures of these overgrown buildings, partly because of how sad and bothersome it was, but also because something kept nudging me. Something kept saying..."Your ancestors lived here." I kid you not.
I was much farther from the structures than this photo indicates. I cropped the pictures when I got home, so that I could get  closer look.

Okay, so now, I can tell this isn't going to be short. So much for that.

Well, at this point I was really baffled and confused. I decided to turn right onto Albemarle Shore Rd., still looking for the cemetery, and also really wishing that someone, anyone would happen to come out of one of the sparsely scattered homes or at least drive by, so I could flag them down. I knew, for sure, that I was near my people. I just knew it.

I continued down the lonely road, still hopeful, when suddenly, I saw the most fabulous site - water! Omg, Albemarle Shore Rd. was showing me how it got its name! It runs right into (and along) the shore of the beautiful Albemarle Sound! I couldn't believe my eyes! It was so beautiful, and I was ready to pick up and move onto one of the vacant lots (For Sale!), right then and there. (But, I digress.) I rode down the short waterfront lane, wondering if the owners of these more modern, waterfront homes might also be my people. Again, there were no signs of life, so I just made my way back out to Albemarle Church Rd., back past the four houses (pausing, again, to look), and away from the little section of Scuppernong, Tyrrell County, where I was now sure my ancestors once lived.
Can't you just see ME living on this plot of land, right on the Albemarle Sound? :)

Fast forward to tonight... September 28th (going into 29th), 2017.

I got a private message from another Tyrrell County descendant, Deborah Fries, asking how my talk had gone on Sunday, and if I'd met any of my relatives. After responding that the talk went very well, but, no, I hadn't met any Hills or Bryants (sigh), our conversation turned to my failed attempt to the find the Hill Family Cemetery. I made reference to the blog post I'd written after my last talk, where I'd shared the Google Earth view of the cemetery, and I decided to put a link to it in our conversation, so she could refer to it. And.that's.when.it.happened....

As soon as I opened the March 23, 2017 blog post (which, coincidentally would have been my mother's birthday, and this is her family line...hmmm), I saw it.... and I knew, right away why I'd felt so connected when I sat in the middle of Albemarle Church Rd. on Sunday. You see, there in the Google Earth image were the four structures, as perfectly lined up as there were in my photos, right where they should be - almost exactly across from the turn on to Albemarle Shore Rd., just to the left and forward of where I'd sat in the middle of the road. And, that space between the three houses and the one that sat apart? Well, that space is where the HILL FAMILY CEMETERY is.

Take a look.
The black arrow is pointing to the cemetery, which is in the space between the 3 houses and the 1.  
The red dot shows where I was sitting in the middle of the road. You can see that there was someone's home to my right.
The green arrow is pointing down Albemarle Shore Rd. Just about a quarter mile down is the water!
(Click to enlarge.)



And, here's my best effort at a side by side. (No street view is available.)



So, there you have it! I'm so excited! I know for sure, now, that I've found my Hill family! This is where they lived, and in between those houses is where some of them are buried. I've also checked whitepages.com, and I've confirmed that there are still many, many HILL families on Albemarle Church Rd., and they will soon be hearing from their cousin, Renate!

Well, it's taken almost 2 hours to write this post, so I've calmed down, a bit, but I'm still excited, and can't wait to meet my Hill relatives, when I next visit Albemarle Church Road; and to my gen-friend, Deborah Fries, thanks for making me look!

Renate

The photos included in this post are the property of it's author, Renate Yarborough Sanders, and should not be used without my permission.


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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sad, Sad Saturday - Death of Walter Davis

This won't be a long post. Right now, I don't even have enough words to express the jolt of sadness I'm feeling this morning after reading this very descriptive article about the death of my maternal great-grandfather, Walter Davis; but I must honor him right this minute, by sharing (what I know of) his story, here on my blog.

Walter Davis was born July 16, 1875, in Brunswick County, Virginia to parents Lewis Davis and Dolly Ann Crutchfield. He spent his childhood in Warren County, NC (which is the only place I'd known the family to live until recently discovering his tie to Virginia). In 1895, 20-year-old Walter married Minerva Brown, and by 1900, the couple (still residing in Littleton, Warren County) had given birth to two children, Samuel (1896) and my grandmother, Mary (1897). By 1910 the family was living in Norfolk, Virginia, where Lewis was a Foreman (Coal Trimmer)* at the coal piers, located in the same Lambert's Point section of the city where the family home stands to this day. Sadly, little Samuel is no longer with the family and is presumed to have passed away.

Just about a year ago, I obtained this photo of my great-grandfather, Walter, who I'd never seen a confirmed photo of, before that point.
Walter Davis
I'd been told by my mother and her siblings that their grandfather had died in a tragic accident at the coal piers where he worked, but I never knew the of the gory details that are included in the following article. At the time of this tragedy, my mother would have only been 15 months old. Her brother, Howell, was 3. Their sister, Jane, wasn't yet born. My great-grandparents, my grandparents, and my mother and uncle all shared a home in Lambert's Point, so this loss had to have hit the entire family very hard, although it gives me comfort to know that my great-grandmother, Minerva, was not alone during this horrible time. However, what makes this even more dismal is that, 12 years earlier, my grandmother, Mary, had lost her first husband in just as tragic an accident at the same location that had now claimed the life of her father. I wrote about that calamity in my post, "Sentimental Sunday - My Grandmother's Loss".

Just looking at Walter Davis in this photo, I sense that he was a hard-working, very determined, and perhaps serious-minded man. I can't help but wonder if there is something more to this story. Didn't he hear the bell ringing? Did he not get off the tracks on purpose for some reason? Could someone have pushed him onto the tracks?

My heart is truly aching this morning after reading this article. (Click to enlarge.)

                     


Walter Davis, I say your name. 
May you forever rest in peace.

Your great-granddaughter,
Renate

Thanks for reading.

* A coal trimmer or trimmer is a position within the engineering department of a coal-fired ship which involves all coal handling tasks starting with the loading of coal into the ship and ending with the delivery of the coal to the stoker. 


Sources: 
Coal trimmer definition  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_trimmer)

HOLD FINAL RITES FOR ACCIDENT VICTIM. (1935, Jul 06). New Journal and Guide (1916-2003) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/567336517?accountid=44788

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