Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Mystery of Gussie and Julia Lewis

In the Crawford County records at the Georgia State Archives, there is a petition from Zach Lewis to commit Gussie and Julia Lewis to the state asylum as "idiots", dated 23 August 1899.   To do this, the three nearest adult relatives have to sign the petition, which in this case was Zach Lewis and his siblings Mrs. Lizzie Gordon and Joe Lewis.  Zach was the son of Zachariah Lewis, Sr, and his wife Torvesa Nelson.  Lizzie and Joe were his half-siblings, children of Zachariah Lewis Sr and his wife Mary Montcrief.

Zachariah, Sr cannot be the person who brought the petition because he died in 1897.  He was married at least 3 times (possibly 4) and had at least 15 children.   Gussie (male) and Julia, however, do not appear anywhere in that list of children.  They could, of course, have been born after the 1880 census. In that case, though, they would have had to be the children of Sarah Moncreif Lewis who was still alive in 1899.  In that scenario, she would have almost certainly been considered one of the 3 closest adult relatives.  It also seems unlikely that they are Zach's children for the same reason, that in this case their mother would have been one of the three "nearest adult relatives", certainly closer than an aunt or uncle.   So if they were born before 1880, they should have been in that census and if after 1880, their mother should have been included in the paperwork. 

Another oddity (adding to the confusion about their ages)  is that they were committed in August 1899 but do not appear in the 1900 census, either in Crawford County or at the State Asylum at Milledgeville.  

As part of the process of commitment, a special jury had to be convened, with at least one medical doctor.  The members of the jury in this case were J.E.L. Johnson MD,  M.P. Riviere, S.J.Spillers, N.P. Spillers, J.H. Irby, E.L. Culverhouse, W.B. Spain, T.J. Stewart, H.C. McAfee, C. F. Hollis, Johnathan Wilder, and J.S. Stephens.   They did find that Gussie and Julia were "idiots" and should be confined in the asylum. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thomas Cates' Estate

In a continued effort to learn more about Thomas Cates and his circle of family and friends, I took a look at his estate records and particularly the sales of his property after his death. 

Not unexpectedly, the most prominent purchaser was his wife, Nancy Cates.   She bought a bedstead and furniture; a pine chest, table and stool; table furniture; a coffee mill; one lot of books; two spinning wheels; a club ax; a barrel and tub; a pot and pot hooks; 3 sitting chairs; and a keg.

His son, Turner Cates, was more restrained, just purchasing a tea kettle; a rod and chair; a hatchet (can't read the first word describing it); a man's saddle; and a sorrel horse.

Mary Dies is the only woman besides Nancy to appear on the list of purchasers.  Considering that it was unusual for women outside the immediate family to come to these sales and the type of things that she bought, it is likely that she is connected to the family but how is not known.  In the 1840 census, as Mary Dyes, she is two entries away from Turner and 3 from Thomas, she is aged 30-39 and has 3 young girls (age 5-9)  in the house, indicating she is probably a widower.  She is also probably the woman who in 1844 married Wiley Cates, whose connection to Thomas has also not been established but is probably not a son.    Mary purchased a bed & cot, 2 sitting chairs & frame.

V. Nichols, based on his location, is probably Vincent/Vinson Nichols, married to Eliza McCook. He has an odd 1840 census entry, where his listing includes 125 scholars.  Either he was running a school or the census taker got something wrong.  He was a prominent person in the county and, among other things, donated the land for Old Bethel U.M. Church.  He was also the JP involved with the estate.  He purchased a clock, which must have been a very nice one since it was one of the most expensive items on the inventory at $8.   He also purchased a side-saddle.

Isaac Mills was probably not a near neighbor (per the 1840 census) but he was one of the two men to sign as security on the admin bond.  (The other was Joseph Wilder).  He was married to Elizabeth Dun, or possibly Dies.  He purchased an augur and a hand saw.

Thomas Striplin appears to have been a neighbor.  He purchased a frying pan & streaker, a cow, and a yearling.

Nimrod Lewis, was I believe Thomas' son in law.  He purchased one set of plow gear, a tub of plows and sundries, a cowhide, a bay filly, and 4 head of geese.

John Hancock, a neighbor, purchased a set of plow gear and a halter chain.  John was one of the men who inventoried the estate.

John Perry, not a neighbor but closely associated with John Hancock and Nimrod Lewis, so possibly with the Cates as well.   He purchased a tub of plows and sundries, as well as 2 swingletrees (used for beating flax) and a bridle.  John as also one of the men who did the inventory.

B. Surtivant, not further identified, purchased a reel.

?Saml? Vining bought a pair of cart hubs.

Larry or Lamy Dies (unidentifed, not in the 1840 census) purchased 1 small trunk.

Not accounted for in the sale were the two young slaves listed in the inventory of his estate.   They were Laurah, age 8, valued at $300 and Grace, age 5, valued at $275.  In the 1840 census, Thomas Cates showed 3 slaves, who were the two young girls as well as a female in her 20s, possibly their mother.  The older slave was not listed as part of the estate so presumably had died or been sold by that time. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Philip Mathews Revolutionary War Pension application



Declaration

In order to obtain the benefits of the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832 ---
 State of Georgia
 Crawford County

On this the thirteenth day of January eighteen hundred and forty five personally appears in open Court before the Justices of the Inferior Court of said County now sitting Phillip Mathews a resident of Crawford County State of Georgia aged about eighty three years, who being duly sworn according to Law, does on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of an act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.  That he entered the Service as a drafted Militia man in the United States Service and served as here in stated, that he entered the Service under Captain William Robb, Colonel John Pierson Command the regisment in the South Carolina militia from Fairfield District he thinks in the month of May seventeen hundred and eighty one (1781) for a three months term and served out his time faithfully and was discharged about the first of August that year but that he received no written discharge.  That he again entered the Service Seventeen hundred and eighty two for a three months tour as a drafted militia man, under Captain William Hughs and Commanded by Colonel John Perrson.  He served a tour of three months and was discharged but received no written discharge.  That he resided in the State of South Carolina Fairfield district when he entered the service that he marched from his residence to Orangburg Court house about eighty miles distance, the first Tour and was stationed there during the Tour but was ordered on a number of expeditions in teh surrounding country during this time.  The Second tour he was marched from his residence to a place called the four holes or the four hole Bridge about the distance of eighty miles where he was stationed and remained during the three months except for occasional expeditions in the surrounding country; that he has no documentary evidence by which to prove the above narrated service but can prove these by one living witness to wit, one Thomas Nelson now residing in the county of Pike in the State of Georgia and whose testimony he begs leave herewith to submit.  

Interrogatories propounded by the Court

1st Question.  Where and in what year were you born?  (over)

Page 2
1st Answer.  I was borned in Buckingham  County in the State of Virginia and to the best of my recollection in the year 1760.

2nd Q.  Have you any record of your age.  If yea where is it

2nd A.  I recollect having seen a record of my age but it has long since been lost or destroyed.

3rd Q.  Where were you living when called in to Service?  Where have you been living since the revolutonary war?  And where do you now live?

3rd A.  I was living in Fairfield District South Carolina when I was called into the service each time.  I lived in Fairfield District South Carolina until about the year 1824 at which time I moved to Crawford County Georgia where I have lived up to the present time.

4th Q.  How were you called in to the service, were you drafted?  Did volunteer or were you a substitute and if a substitute for whom,

4th A.  I was drafted each time and did not volunteer or substitute.

5th Q.  State some of the names of the regular officers were were with the regular troops when you served such Continental and militia regiments as you can recollect and the general circumstances of your services?

5th A.  While we were stationed at Orangburge General Green General Winn and General Sumpter all visited our Camps.  I suppose for the purpose of inspecting our troops.  Colonel Lacys regiment or a part of it was there (of the militia) there were no continental troops with us as he now recollects while stationed at or near Orangeburg.  When General Green came he commanded or ordered a seige by strategem [one word] in such manner as to induce the enemy to believe that we were sufficiently strong to storm their fortress by mounting pieces of wood to which he intended should appear to the enemy as field pieces.  And in a short time the enemy surrendered the fortress and themselves as prisoners of war.  Some of the prisoners were paroled and the remainder marched to Camden as near as I can recollect.   (over)

page 3

6th Q.  Did you ever receive a regular discharge from the service?  If yea by whom was it granted?  And what has become of it?

6th A.  I never received a regular written discharge.  Our company received an oral discharge each tour and each time by relief taking our place.

7th Q.  State the name of several persons to whom you are known in your present and immediate neighborhood and who can testify as to your character for veracity and their belief of your services as a revolutionary soldier.

7th A.  I am known to Patrick M. Calhoun and Phillip J. Echols.

And he hereby relinquishes all and every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency in any state, Sworn to and subscribed;

[Signed] Thos C. Howard J I C [or JJC]                                  [Signed] Philip Mathews
[Signed]  Lewis F. Hicks J I C
[Signed] John B. Grace J I C

 We Patrick M. Calhoun a clergyman residing in the County of Crawford and State of Georgia and Phillip J. Echols, residing in the same County and State, hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Phillip Mathews who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration, that we believe him to be eighty four years old, that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where lives, to have been a Revolutionary soldier and we concur in that opinion.  Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

[Signed] Thos. C. Howard JIC               [Signed]  Patrick M. Calhoun M.G.
[Signed] Lewis F. Hicks JIC                   [Signed] Philip J. Echols
[Signed] John B. Grace JIC



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Patience Garner

Patience Garner was probably one of the daughters of Jacob Garner, in Washington County, Georgia, since she was closely associated with his other children.  Family lore has it that she married a Durden, but every record I have found for her still has her name as Garner, with no evidence that she ever married. 

Patience was one of Jacob's older children, born in 1770 while he was still in North Carolina (per her 1850 census entry).   The first public record found for her is her joining Bethlehem Baptist church on 16 July 1815, together with her neighbor Eliz.Cone.  She was one of the members of Bethlehem to move over to Sisters Baptist Church when it was founded in 1824 and then moved again to become a charter member of Union Baptist when it was formed in 1844. 

Patience had property of her own as evidenced by the 1836 tax digest, where she has 200 acres of property.  While more work needs to be done on this, it is possible that this reflects an inheritance from her father who disappears between the 1830 and 1840 censuses.  He had paid tax on 200 acres in Washington County through at least 1831, and for both of them the land was described as bounded by Long.   Her brothers Henry and John and several nephews also pay in 1836 tax records, but brothers Moses and Stephen were both listed as defaulters.   She also pays taxes in 1837 and 1838, although the acreage is not given.  However, when the online tax records resume in 1848, she is still paying on 200 acres.

In 1840, she appears as head of household in Washington County, Georgia.  The household contains three people:  A woman age 60-70 (presumably her) and two men age 50-60, probably her brothers Moses and Stephen, since they are all living together in 1850.  In 1850, the census lists the household as Moses, 63, farmer with property worth $700, born in SC; Stephen, 63, farmer born in SC, Patience, 80, born in NC and Nancy, 40, born in Georgia.   Patience continued to pay taxes on her 200-acre property through 1851.

In 1855, Nancy Garner, relationship still unknown, relinquished to William Garner (Patience's nephew) her rights in a piece of property formerly belonging to Patience Garner.  There is no description of the property, leading me to believe that this is part of an inheritance and not a purchase.  From this, her age, and the lack of any other records concerning her, I am tentatively assuming that Patience died between 1851 and 1855. 

In a family aside, looking at the possibility that Jacob left this property to Patience.  Her brother Henry also left his property to his only daughter Sally, also unmarried. 


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sister Cherry, A Slave

One person who has always fascinated me, even though she is only peripherally connected with my family, is Cherry, a slave in Washington County, Georgia.   She joined Union Baptist Church in Washington County on 25 Septermber 1848, listed as "a black woman, Cherry, belonging to one of the minor heirs of Hampton May".   In August 1855, "M. Garner, J. W. Mills, and W. Garner were appointed a committee to inquire into whereabouts of a colored sister known as May's Cherry."  The final mention was a month later:  "We, the committee on the case of our colored sister known to us as May's Cherry, find that she was suddenly carried off to Florida having no chance to apply for a letter or any to give satisfaction to the church, but we learned from good authority that her conduct was good and we heard nothing against her as a member of the church."   

This small exchange has always interested me because it does not actually concord with what I had been taught about slaves in churches in the South.  First, Cherry is apparently not going to the same church as her owners.  This is partly deduced from the fact that no one in the Church knew she had gone to Florida.  If the family that owned her also attended, there should have been reference to them leaving or getting a letter.  Even if she left because she was sold or given to another family member, they would have known and the committee enquiry should not have been needed.   I also found it interesting that the church apparently would have expected her, if she had time, to get a letter for her new church in Florida.  That and the fact that they had pursued her absence imply that they considered her an actual member of the church.  At some point, I would like to pursue what happened to Sister Cherry, just for my own curiosity.

Friday, February 7, 2014

John Becham

John Becham was born about 1790 and probably died in Crawford County, GA between 1845 and 1850.  He was taxed in 1845 but does not appear in the 1850 census, although his wife and children do.   I'm working on two mysteries regarding him now.  One is whether he was married once or twice. There is a marriage record for him and Susan Davis in Hancock County, in 1811.  However, in 1860 and 1870, his wife Susan gives an age that would make her birthdate 1800.  Even in Georgia at that time, 11 would have been too young for marriage.  The 1820 census has his probable wife at age 16-25, so she would have been young at the marriage, if not that young.  In 1830, she is probably one of the 3 females 30-39 in the household.  However, in 1840 his probable wife is still 30-39.   So, he presumably either married twice, both times to Susan, or possibly Susan made herself a little younger beginning with the 1840 census. 

The other is the mystery of what happened to his property.  In the last record for John, he is taxed for 202 acres of property in Crawford County.  However, 10 years later, all but his youngest son appear in the census but only paying poll tax, no property tax.  The youngest son was not of age yet. His widow does not appear on that tax list at all, so it looks as if the family lost the property.  So far I have not been able to find any probate records for John, nor any court notices concerning the sale of the property either after his death or for debt.   Next step will be to check the deeds in Crawford County. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fate and Delia Becham

Franklin Lafayette (Fate) Becham and his wife Sarah Lodelia (Delia) Mathews. Probably taken in the 1940s, in Crawford County, GA.   I had never seen this photo before, but a cousin dug it out of an old box at Thanksgiving..