Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mary Johns and the Mathews

In 1840, Mary E. Johns of Washington County, Georgia signed a deed with James Mathews of Crawford County, Georgia and John Mathews of Sumter County, Alabama in which she gave two slaves to her daughter Amanda E. Mathews.  The two slaves were Buck, a man of about 38 years of age, and Harriet, a girl about 20 years old.   As long as Amanda resided in Georgia, the slaves were to be managed by James Mathews.  If Amanda chose to move to Alabama, the slaves would be managed by John Mathews.  In either case, the slaves were to be subject to Amanda's control and could be disposed of by her by hire, sale or exchange for land.   Mary apparently signed the deed herself and it was witnessed by H.P. Harman and J.A. McNair.  There is a copy of the deed in Crawford county.   Amanda's location was not given other than "Georgia".   There was no provision for what would happen to these slaves if Amanda married. 

 A Mary E. Johns appears in the 1840 Washington County census as a head of household, age 30-39.  If this is the correct Mary Johns, a question arises as to why she is gifting slaves to Amanda only, when there are 8 other children (not necessarily hers) in the census.   She does own a number of slaves, so giving some away is plausible.  There is also a Mary E. Johns head of household in Jefferson County in 1830.  The ages and number of the children are close enough that this might be the same Mary.  However, she is also 30-40 in 1830, meaning she is either exactly 30 in the first (40 in the second) or she fudged her age in the second one.  Again, she has a significant number of slaves.  In 1832, an Amanda E. Johns in Jefferson County married Daniel Matthews. 

There is a John Mathews in Sumter County, AL in 1840 with 3 adult males in the household, two who are 20-30 and one who is 40-50, probably but not necessarily the head of household.  In 1850, the only John Mathews in the county is age 58, married to Keziah, born in South Carolina, which is where many of the Mathews in Crawford County are also from.  In 1840, there are two James Mathews heading households in Crawford County, one age 40-50 and one age 50-60.    In 1850, the only James Mathews who might have been an adult in 1840 is one born in 1794 in South Carolina.  John born in 1792 and James born in 1794, both in South Carolina, are tempting to look at as brothers, but more information would be needed.  Amanda does not appear in 1840.  There is no Amanda Mathews in 1850.  There was an Amanda Mathis who married Hopewell Adams in Washington county, Georgia in 1843.  Mathis is the common pronunciation in Georgia of the name Mathews, but her family appears to have been literate and so less likely to use this phonetic spelling.  If this is the correct Amanda, she was born about 1825 making it impossible for her to be the Amanda who married Daniel in 1832.  
So, this leads to questions about the relationships between these people.  The only one that is certain is that Mary E. Johns is the mother of Amanda E. Mathews. 
  Possible scenarios:

A.  Amanda Johns the daughter of Mary E. Johns married Daniel Mathews and therefore the John and James Mathews are her in-laws.  With this scenario, I would assume Daniel is dead although I have not yet found an estate settlement or will for him.  If he were alive but had deserted Amanda, it is less likely that his family would be given management of her assets.  If he were alive and still married to Amanda, it would have made more sense to give him control rather than his relatives, if Mary wanted a man to be managing the slaves.  This scenario also does not take into account what happens if Amanda remarries, but perhaps that was just an oversight on Mary's part.   This also assumes that the two Mary E. Johns in the census are the same person.

 B.  James, John and Amanda are siblings, all Mary's children from a marriage before Johns.  This  explains Amanda's relative autonomy (she gets to decide what happens to the slaves and whether she lives in Alabama or Georgia) while still coming under some nominal male control.   In this scenario, based on the ages of the only James and Johns available, Amanda would probably be somewhat older and therefore unlikely to marry, explaining the lack of a provision for this contingency.  This scenario eliminates both Daniel's wife and Amanda Mathis Adams as the correct Amanda.  This also means that both Mary Johns from the censuses are not their mother but rather that she is in someone else's household. 

  C. James and John are Mary's brothers and Amanda was an illigitimate daughter born before her marriage to Johns.  Close second to the above theory with the same considerations as to why these men would have say over Amanda's life.   In this case, though, Amanda would probably be somewhat younger, so unless she had some handicap that made marriage unlikely, this option would not explain the apparent assumption that she will not marry.  This would, however, make the Amanda Adams born in 1825, possible as Mary's daughter. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friend of Friends Friday, Crawford County, Georgia part 3

As before, these are from the Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1990, Crawford County, Inventories and appraisements 1833-1913,

Page 93, Image 53
Property of Chesley B. Marshall, dec'd, sold 2 Dec 1834:
Andrew McVeal - one negro man named Davy
John Mathews - one negro man named Billy

Page 96, Image 55
Samuel Wilson, Admr of the estate of J.M. Williams
 The hire of Allen, 1 month $10.00
 The hire of Caroline, 1 month $6.00
 Hire of Allen 10 months for widow $60.00
 Hire of George 10 months J.D. Wilson - $90.00
 Hire of Caroline 10 months John Ross - $70.00
 Aggy, Nelson, Pompey, Mary and Henry - 10 months victuals and clothing (no amount listed)

Page 102, image 58
Division of the slaves belonging to the estate of J.D. Williams, 1835
Asa Mann, as his wife's share, was allotted Allen, valued at 650 dollars, Caroline valued at 500 dollars, Pompey valued at 250 dollars, and Mary valued at 225 dollars.  The remaining slaves were assessed a value but it did not state to whom they would be going.  Those slaves were George valued at 675 dollars, Aggy valued at 400 dollars, Nelson valued at 350 dollars, and Henry 175 dollars.

Page 104, image 59
Rebecca Northern, to the estate of William Northern
To the hire of negroes:
  Rebecca Northern hired Dave $130
           Mariah and children $39
           girl China $20
  Nathaniel Bradford hired Cyrus $120
 Stephen Wright hired boy Lewis $14
  Geo W. Clayton hired girl Mime $13.75
  Henry Crowd hired a woman [not named] and children $33
  To hire of negro girl Sally $6

Page 106, image 60
The orphans of R. B. Mason to John Ricks, guardian, 1835:
Hire of a negro man Abram to T. Garrett $75
Hire of a negro man Philip to S. Barden $35
The hire of two boys Redic and Peter to Wm Faircloth at $30 each
One negro woman and three children to Wm Faircloth for their victuals and clothes.

Page 107, image 60
An inventory of the estate of Daniel Hicks
Lettice a negro woman valued at $250
Brister a negro man $500
Morris a negro man $600
Rachel $350
Dennis $600
Luke $650
Clary $400
Jinny $450
Cate $400
Ann $450
Simon $650
Tilmon $500
Virgil $500
Jerry $450
Rhody $300
Charlotte $375
Pris $275
Crawford $300
Jorden $200
Clinton $175
Agnes $150
Mary $150
Caroline $150
Ned $150
Morgan $100
Prince $100
Winney $75

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Could this be my Carl?

Today in one of the lectures at the NGS conference in Richmond, the speaker referred to an early indentured servant in Virginia, one Carl Christopherson Springer.   This interesting man was Swedish but was kidnapped in London and brought to Virginia where he was sold.  After some years, he was able to make his way up to the small Swedish colony in Delaware where he remained the rest of his life and where his fluency in both English and Swedish stood him in good stead in the local community.  He caught my attention because that is the name of one of my ancestors, who indeed lived in Delaware about the correct time frame.  It's such a fascinating sequence of events that I would love for him to actually be my ancestor.  However, wishing doesn't make it true and some real research will need to be done to see if this Carl and my ancestor are two different men or not. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Electrifying Machine

As I was going through Crawford county probate records recently, my attention was drawn to an item in the estate inventory of Dr. James Williams:  an electrifying machine and apparatus (worth $35).  Since this was 1832, I was fairly certain it wasn't some type of generator and felt compelled to look it up.

According to several sources on the web, especially the Fort Williams Historical Park, this was basically a machine that created static electricity and was used to treat patients for "general disability", to extract disease, and to stimulate nerves and muscle.  It was in fact a very mild form of electro-shock therapy.  Benjamin Franklin reportedly used the device to treat paralytics.  One of the first important advocates of this treatment was John Wesley, the founder of the modern Methodist church, and he even published tracts on the benefits of the "therapeutic uses of electricity." 

Apparently Dr Williams was quite up-to-date on the treatments he had available for his patients. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friend of Friends Friday, Crawford County part 2

As before, these are from the Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1990, Crawford County, Inventories and appraisements 1833-1913,

Page 63, image 38.   Abel Daniel to the estate of Hosea Sullivan, presented June 1834:
  Hire of the negro Nelson for the present year $81.75
 Hire of the negro Abram "      "        "       "      $82.00
 Hire of the negro Bidd     "     "         "      "      $41.00

Page 68, image 41
1833 Hiring and renting of the negro and lands of Martha Hammock orphan of Wm. Hammock by L. D. Hammock administrator
Colbert to Mary Hammock - $70.00

Page 69, image 41
Estate of Amos Hicks, inventory of 9 Jan 1834
Grace a negro woman valued at $450.00
Feaner (possibly Teaner) and child - $500.00
Lish, a girl - $400.00
Robin, a boy - $400.00
Nelas, a boy - $200.00
Jerry, a boy - $150.00
Rachael, a girl - $200.00
Ellen, a girl - $150.00
Bobb, a man - $600.00
Billy, a man - $450.00

Page 72, image 43 
June 1834 division of unnamed estate:
To Thomas Estes one negro woman name Dorcas, valued at $550
To Charles H. Hill on behalf of his wife Nancy, late Nancy Estes, one negro girl named Matilday at $400.00

Page 76, image 45
Inventory of Wilborn J. Hammack, 14 Jan 1834
1 negro boy Aron - $600.00

Page 78, image 46
Inventory and appraisement of the estate of John Glover, 10 May 1834
Negro man Washington appraised to $700.00
   "       "     Aaron               $700.00
   " woman Kiziah              $425.00
   "       "       Letty               $250.00
   "       "     Rachael            $450.00
  "   boy     Archibald         $400.00
  "   girl    Leathy                $350.00
  "     "      Tilda                   $400.00
  "     "       Katy                   $350.00