Saturday, November 16, 2013

Who was Abner Butler and do I care?

Abner Butler came into my life via a deed in Greenville, SC.  On 14 June 1797, two deeds for lands purchased by Samuel Kelley were registered at the Greenville courthouse.  The two purchases had been made in 1796.  One of them was registered by the oath of Abner Butler (attested by A. Butler and Valentine Butler) and the other was by the oath of James Gooch (attested by James Gooch and A. Butler).  James Gooch is known to be Samuel Kelley's son-in-law, but so far Abner has not been identified.

Witnesses to a deed do not have to have any familial relationship with the people involve, but Abner intrigues me because of James Gooch also being involved, and James was definitely a son-in-law  The first possibility of course is that Abner too is married to a Kelley daughter, but it seems unlikely.  In Samuel's 1819 will, he leaves something to his daughter Elizabeth Gooch, her son Tilman Gooch (but not any of her other children) and Samuel's grandson Samuel Forrester, with no mention of Forrester's parentage.  I would think that if his Forrester daughter was alive, he would have at least had to mention her, so it is unlikely that she was widow Forrester married to Butler.  No other children were listed.

It is also possible that Abner is a neighbor, but that does not appear to be the case in the 1800 census, where Abner was household 736 and Samuel (indexed as Melley) is household 1402.  Valentine does not appear in the 1800 census, but he did purchase land in Greenville County in 1797, from John Peek, land originally granted to John Micherson.  The description of Valentine's land and that of Samuel makes it sound like the two plots were very near each other.   One of Samuel's plots was purchased from John Peek, the other bordered John Peek's land and was land originally granted to Micherson.   Valentine sold his land in 1799 to Thomas Butler, who appears in the 1800 census as household 1318, so at least much closer to Samuel.  In 1804, Thomas in turn sold the land to Archibald Lester.  James and Simon Lister were two of the witnesses on Samuel Kelley's will. 

Lots of room for research here.  Is Sam just using neighbors to witness his transactions - very possible - or is there some closer connection.  Especially since Abner does not seem to in fact be a neighbor.

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