Sunday, December 6, 2015

William Stover (1795 – 1864) My Third Great-Grandfather on My Father’s Side

William Stover's headstone in Drakes Cliff Cemetery, Carter TN
William Stover was the eldest child of Daniel Stover and Phoebe Ward Stover. He was born on June 23rd of 1795 in what was then known as Washington County in the Southwest Territory and what is now Carter County, Tennessee. His siblings include seven sisters and three brothers. In order of birth their names were Mary, Jemima, Isaac, Thurzy, Susannah, Lavisa, Solomon, Delilah, Sarah and Daniel.

When William was 44 his mother Phoebe died on August 6, 1839. His brother Daniel had died the year before. His father Daniel Sr. married a second time to Antoinette Williams on July 19, 1840. They were married in Carter County. Daniel and Antoinette had six more children – five daughters and one son named Lorena, Rhoda, Samuel, Eliza, Elizabeth and Margaret.

When William was a young man – I don’t have an exact date – he was sent to live with his Mother’s aunt Mary and her husband Isaac Lincoln. The Lincoln’s only child – a son had drowned during a rain storm. Mary and Isaac needed help running their farm and William was sent to fill that role.  Isaac was the great-uncle of Abraham Lincoln.
Carter County Courthouse and war monument
Land Ownership
On July 15, 1819 William bought his first piece of property when he was 24. It was a 76 acre and 51 poles parcel on the lot adjacent to his father’s farm. He paid $230. A “pole” is equal to 5 ½ yards and was a commonly used unit of measurement. Two years later on May 10, 1822 he purchased a second parcel. This piece was 154 acres located in the Sinking Creek area of Carter. He paid $1200 and bought the land from Garret Reasoner. The area got the name Sinking Creek because the creek terminated into a hole where the water flowed underground.

William married Sarah Murray Drake in 1819 on September 23rd.  See my blog post dated July 24, 2015 for a biography of Sarah.  Information about their children and the places they lived is described in that post.

Five years later, William bought 94 acres from John Nave for $840. This parcel shared boundaries with Godfrey Nave and Indian Creek. The Naves were another pioneer family in Carter County. In 2012 when I visited Tennessee I was fortunate to meet with Robert Nave, a descendant of the original family. Robert was an avid genealogist and an archivist by profession. He shared a lot of material with me and took me to see many sites associated with our ancestors.

On February 10, 1823 William sold 76 acres of his land to his brother Isaac Stover for $400. The parcel shared borders with land owned by his father Daniel Stover and with Landon Carter – another prominent citizen for whom the county was named. This was the same parcel of land he purchased from George Gillespie just two years earlier when he had been 21.

William & Sarah lived north of the Watauga River in
Elizabethton, Carter County, Tennessee
Next he acquired a tract on the north side of the Watauga River. He paid $200 for this parcel but the record I found did not give the size. Two years later in 1835 William purchased a 110 acre parcel of land from Godfrey Nave. This parcel was also on the Watauga River and included “all appurtenances”. This probably means there was a house and some number of farm buildings on the property. He paid $1000 for this lot.

William used the land for farming. In his will he made a note about his blacksmith tools. He may have augmented his farm income by doing blacksmith work.

On April 14, 1852 he executed another contract in which he sold a portion of the land he inherited from Mary Lincoln to each of this three sons – David, Daniel and Samuel. In a separate contract dated April 19, 1852 he sold 195 acres to his son Daniel for $100. This parcel was on the north side of the Watauga River on Green Mountain in Carter County. The deed stipulated that William and his wife Sarah would retain the right to live on the land for the remainder of their lives.

1850 & 1860 Censuses
Studying the Carter County 1850 census tells us a lot about William Stover and his family. There are 42 individuals listed on the page representing 9 families. Five men are identified as farmers, four as laborers and one, William’s son Samuel is a physician. The value of the real estate owned is shown for 6 of the 9 households. William’s property is valued at $6000. His son’s land is worth $1000. Other property ranges in value from $200, $375, $1100 and John Grindstaff, another farmer, $1200.  This same year the Slave Schedule shows that William owned 22 slaves ranging in ages from 1 to 65. His son David owned 7 Negroes and his stepmother Antoinette owned 4. Robert Crow owned 8 Negroes but everyone else on the page owned far fewer, i.e. from 1-3.

By 1860 William had sold many of his slaves to his son Samuel who then owned 15 Negroes and William and Sarah owned only 8. Their home was valued at $3000 plus he listed $11,000 worth of personal property. So, he was a wealthy man.
1850 Slave census

Civic Life
Throughout his adult life William had a variety of encounters with the court system. At 21 he witnessed the sale of Lot #34 in Carter to Godfrey Carriger. In 1821, when he was 26, he served on a jury in two cases. Court of Pleas records show that he was also appointed to serve on the March session in 1823. In February of 1824, when he was 29, he served on 4 cases as a juror. One of the cases was a Grand Jury. In another case John Wright filed a petition on behalf of David Gaines requesting that a jury be charged with reviewing the layout of a proposed road and to assess whether or not the route of the road could be altered to do less damage to Gaines’ property. The jury was asked to report back at the following session of court.

The court records show that William was again appointed to the jury for the January 1826 court session. In 1826 he was a witness for the sale of three Negroes by James P. Taylor to Thomas Johnston in Carter. At the age of 39 William was a witness at the marriage of Isaac L. Carriger and Phoebe Nave.
Robert Nave took me to this old home that was once owned
by a member of the Carriger family

Like many of his neighbors William was called upon to help build public roads. When he was 27 he was appointed as the overseer and put in charge of building a segment of a road that passed through Edward Hendry’s property.

In1824 one of these roads was to be built across land owned by William. The court asked him to provide laborers to help with the construction.  John C. Helm was appointed overseer. William was again asked to provide labor to help build another road in 1826. John Coon was the overseer. The road was to extend from Archibald William’s farm to the Sinking Creek Meeting House. The court ordered that hands from each of the farms that the road crossed through should provide labor to help with building the road.

Speedwell Bloomery Forge
Several years before the Civil War William and his business partner Robert Cass bought the Speedwell Bloomery Forge on Stoney Creek. This was the first forge constructed on Stoney Creek. It was built in 1806 by John Nave and Christian Carriger. The Stoney Creek area was the county's largest industrial area for a century starting in 1796. The iron industry was the second largest industry after agriculture. There were some 80 forges in Eastern Tennessee and several in and near Elizabethton in Carter County. The forge had 2 fires and 1 hammer driven by water. In 1856, it produced about 40 tons of bars from ore mined 2 miles away. To learn more about forges and iron production search Google for "Iron Manufacturer's Guide, Furnaces, Forges and Rolling Mills." William is mentioned in this reference book. Most of these small privately-owned companies went bankrupt during the Civil War.

Civil War
In are article “Early History of Carter County” published by Watauga Association of Genealogists William was identified as a confederate supporter and advocate for succession. The secessionist felt the southern slave-owning states should secede from the United States and form a separate country. Several states did succeed during the Civil War but rejoined the union once the war ended. William was too old to serve in the Civil War but he did support the confederates by contributing 1000 pounds of hay needed to feed the soldiers' horses. William's stance in support of the Confederate cause was contrary to the majority of citizens of East Tennessee who support the Union Army. William’s middle son Daniel served as a Colonel in the Union Army. This division among family members was not uncommon at that time.

Mary Lincoln, who had raised William as her “son”, died on August 27, 1831 when William was 36. In her will Mary left most of her estate to William. This included 32 of her 38 slaves, all her horses, cattle, hogs and sheep, a wagon, all her farm utensils, her household and kitchen furniture and all the grain she owned at the time of her death. The 1830 census listed Mary Lincoln as the largest slave owner in Carter County. By 1840 that distinction went to William Stover.

A great-granddaughter of Mary’s sister Louise Ward Carriger contributed to an article in the Lincoln Family Magazine. She tells that Thomas Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s father, worked for his uncle Isaac as a farm hand. She muses, “In her will Mary Ward Lincoln gave ten Negro slaves to my great-grandfather Christian Carriger, who was well to do, and did not need them. She gave all her remaining property to her nephew (should be great-nephew), William Stover (son of her sister (should be niece), Phoebe Ward) and Daniel Stover, when poor "Abe" was so very poor and needy. Would it not have changed the history of these United States if Abraham Lincoln had only received what was bequeathed to William Stover? Perhaps Abraham Lincoln was predestined to be poor as was his father before him. Had he been made the heir of Aunt Mary Lincoln, perhaps the illustrious Abraham would not have struggled in poverty, and would never have amounted to 'a row of pins,' Had Thomas Lincoln remained in the employ of his uncle Isaac - how different his life would have been."

William’s father-in-law Abraham Drake died in October of 1840. Records show that William and Abraham’s son Samuel Drake were both charged with doing an inventory of Abraham’s estate.
Driving the Blue Ridge Highway in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Eastern Tennessee

In 1842, when William was 47 he was appointed as a trustee of the Elizabethton Baptist Church. This is the year the church was founded. Its membership consisted of families from the Watauga, Laurel Fork and Sinking Creek areas of the town. An article in the Lincoln Family Magazine talks about how William’s father Daniel was a leader in the Baptist Church. In fact Daniel donated the land that the Sinking Creek Baptist Church was built on. At the end of this article there is a note that says, “Daniel Stover’s son, William, the heir of Mary Ward Lincoln, after his marriage with Miss Sarah Murray Drake, affiliated with the Presbyterians.” This suggests that Sarah was a Presbyterian and that William converted to her religion after he married her. Given how active his father was in the Baptist Church, I would imagine this may have been rather scandalous at the time and possibly have caused friction between William and his father.

William Stover signed his Last Will and Testament on June 25, 1864 when he was 69 years old. In the Will he left his estate to his wife and sons. Here is a transcription of the will.

I William Stover of Carter County, Tennessee being of sound mind and disposing memory, do publish this as my Last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former Wills made by me at any time.

First, my will is that I be buried in a decent and Christian-like manner and that my funeral expenses be first paid out of any estate.

Secondly, that the debts now due and owing to me or any debts that may be due me at my death shall be collected by my Executors herein after named and applied to the payment of any debts I may owe at that time.

Third, I give any bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah Stover all my household and kitchen furniture, also all my parts of the stock such as horses, cattle, sheep, hogs and mules and all my farming utensils which I may be possessed of at the time of death also my Black Smith tools absolutely to be dispersed of as she may see proper.

Fourth, I give and bequeath to my said wife my negroes Delilah, Sam, Dan and Jo to have and to hold said slaves in her separate will and solely for her own benefit and not to be subject to the control of any husband she may hereafter marry to be disposed of as she may wish by deed of gift or otherwise.  I also give and bequeath to my said wife during her natural life the tract of land I now own known as the Mill Tract and a tract of land containing one hundred acres purchased of S.M. Stover situated on the south side of Holston Mountain.

Fifth, I give and bequeath to my son Samuel M. Stover the above named Mill Tract and the one hundred acre tract after the termination of my wife’s life’s estate.  This bequeath is made to my son Samuel M. Stover from the fact that most of the property I gave him was …. and as that kind of property has greatly decreased in value I wish to make up in part that deficit by this gift.

Sixth, I have heretofore given to my son David L. Stover six thousand six hundred dollars.  To my son Daniel Stover six thousand two hundred dollars, and to my son Samuel M. Stover five thousand seven hundred dollars.  It is my wish that my wife in disposing of the property she receives under this will will do it in such a manner as to make it possible for portions for my sons Daniel and Samuel be will equal to that received by my son David L. Stover it being my object to make no difference among my children in point of property.

Lastly, I hereby nominate institute and appoint Samuel M. Stover and Daniel Stover my Executors and J.M. Stover widow of David L. Stover Executrix of this my last will and testament and authorize them to sell such personal property as can but be applied to pay any debt I may owe at my death but this I think will not be necessary as I own but very little.

In testimony whereof I have heretofore set my hand and seal this 25th day of July 1864.  Signed sealed and acknowledged in the presents (sic) of the testator and each other.
William Stover    Seal
Nathanial Taylor
J.S. Taylor
Drakes Cliff cemetery where William is buried along with
his son Daniel Stover

I have yet to find a record with the exact date of death but I do know that William was buried in the Drakes Cliff Cemetery in Carter. His headstone provides only the year of this death. This is the same cemetery where his son Daniel is buried as well as two of our Drake ancestors. I visited the cemetery in 2012. Unfortunately it was so overgrown by brambles that I was not able to find William’s headstone. The image here was found on the Find-A-Grave website. It was posted by Dale Jenkins, a descendant of Solomon Stover one of William’s brothers.

William Stover's signature from one of the documents
I've found doing research

Watauga Association of Genealogists (WAG) journal, material provide by Robert Nave and Dale Jenkins, Court of Pleas records, land deed records, 1840, 1850 and 1860 censuses, “Historical Reminiscences of Carter County” by Mildred Kozsuch, wills of Isaac and Mary Lincoln and of William Stover, an article written by James D. Jenkins and published August 1, 1915 in The Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Elizabeth Stolte Menge (1854-1895) My Great Grandmother on My Mother's Side

Elizabeth I. Stolte Menge
Elizabeth Menge was born Elizabeth Ingles Stolte on the 21st of October 1854. She is the daughter of Casper Stolte a cooper master (someone who made kegs and barrels) and Louise Bremecke. Elizabeth was born in Hildesheim, Germany which is in Lower Saxony. Lower Saxony is in the northwest portion of Germany. Hildesheim is one of the oldest cities in Northern Germany having begun as a market place in 815 AD. According to Wikipedia “The present market place of Hildesheim was laid out at the beginning of the 13th century when the city had about 5,000 inhabitants. When Hildesheim obtained city status in 1249, it was one of the biggest cities in Northern Germany” The city was heavily damaged during WWII but much of it has been rebuilt. Hildesheim has two churches listed as World Heritage sites.

Elizabeth’s father died when she was 21. When she was 24, she married Heinrich “Henry” Friedrich Menge on August 16, 1879. According to Henry’s family journal they were married in the Catholic Church in Hildesheim which was located at 1057 Am Kohrwieder Street. Heinrich immigrated to the United States two years after their marriage. He travelled on a steam ship named The Neckar that departed from Bremen, Germany on May 1st and arrived in New York City on May 14th 1881.  I have not found a record of when Elizabeth immigrated. She did not appear on the passenger list with Henry. Presumably she arrived in the United States shortly after her husband. I have found no details regarding how or when they travelled from New York to San Francisco, California.
Elizabeth with Henry & Emma ca. 1885
Lower Saxony, Germany from Google

Elizabeth bore three children. The first, Emma Louise Menge who was named after her grandmother was born August 1st, 1883. Emma was my grandmother. Elizabeth’s second child, a son named Henry George Menge was also born in the United States on March 17, 1886. But, her third child, another son, Hugo Friedrich `Fritz’ was born in Hildesheim, Germany on January 6, 1890. No doubt Elizabeth and Henry had returned to Germany to visit their relatives and introduce their children to the family. Three years later Elizabeth’s mother Louise died in 1893.
Hildesheim Town Hall ca. 1895 from Google

In 1884, Elizabeth and Henry were living in San Francisco at 520 Folsom Street. That’s where Emma was born. Today that address is a parking lot. One year later they moved to 909 Buchanan Street, also in San Francisco. Currently, this area of San Francisco has been redeveloped. The Menge home was probably destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.

By 1888 Elizabeth and Henry had moved to the East Bay and were living at 911 Adeline Street in West Oakland. That address has also undergone extensive change and is now public housing. They remained on Adeline until 1892 when they moved to Fruit Vale – a town near Oakland. Their first home was on Fruitvale Avenue between 16th Street and 17th Street. Today, Fruit Vale has merged with Oakland and this block has five multi-unit residential buildings, one single family home, a park and a parking lot. One of these sites may have been where they lived. Interestingly, this location is one block from the home where Emma’s future husband John Roger Thornally lived at Fruitvale and East 17th.  See the post about Mary McGowan Thornally for a photo of that house.
Baker's Guild before WWII as it would have
looked when Elizabeth live in Germany

Elizabeth does not appear on any US census. She immigrated after the 1880 census, the 1890 census was lost and she had died before the 1900 census. So far, I have been unable to find any documents for Elizabeth on either or the FamilySearch site. She died of pneumonia on June 12, 1895 when she was only 40 years old. Her obituary was published in a German language newspaper in San Francisco. It read:  “Death Announcement – On June 12th died at Fruit Vale near San Francisco after 23 days of heavy suffering of pneumonia, my dear wife and my three children’s caring mother Elizabeth Menge nee Stolte. Deeply beloved by the bereaved. H. Menge and Children.” 

Elizabeth is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery on Howe Street in Oakland, California. St. Mary’s which opened in 1863 was the first cemetery established in Oakland. Elizabeth is buried in plot H along with two infants who would have been her grandchildren if she and they had survived. Addie Menge, Friedrich’s second wife, Addie’s mother Katherine Schlotzhauer and Addie's brother George are also buried in the plot.

The new headstone I had made for my great-grandmother
and the 5 others buried with her. It was installed in February of

Entry Gate to St. Mary's Cemetery, Oakland, CA

Plot where Elizabeth is buried, just above the wall

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mary McGowan Thornalley (1850 – 1912) My Great Grandmother on my Mother’s Side

Mary McGowan Thornalley
At this time all I know about the first twenty years of Mary McGowan’s life is that she was born in Ireland at the end of the Great Irish Famine that occurred 1845-1850. One million people died during the famine and another million immigrated. Her obituary stated that she was from the city of Dublin. Her father’s name was Roger McGowan – the middle name she gave to my grandfather John Roger Thornally. Roger McGowan was born in Ireland. I don’t know the name of Roger’s wife. Mary had a sister Catherine `Kate’ McGowan who was born in 1853. 

Mary McGowan married William G. Thornalley (1850 – 1913) from Lincolnshire, England on September 12, 1874, when they were both 24 years old. Dublin to Lincolnshire is 250 miles and involves crossing the Irish Sea – which begs the question, how did Mary meet William? They were married at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York. The handwritten record of their marriage shows that Mary’s sister Catherine served as a witness. That suggests that Catherine immigrated to the United States with Mary, but the 1910 census states that Catherine immigrated in 1875 – the same year she married John Ogilvie. I’d say the census if off by a year.
St. Francis Xavier Church in New York where Mary and William were married

On the 1900 census Mary and William each reported that they had immigrated to the United States in 1875, but the 1910 census shows that William immigrated in 1868, and Mary four years later in 1872. The later dates make more sense in that they jibe with the date of their marriage, which I am confident, is accurate.  It seems likely that Mary and William met in England or Ireland, made the decision to immigrate and agreed that William would come first, get established and then Mary would join him in the United States, but this is all supposition.  I have looked thoroughly for immigration records but as of yet have not found proof of when either Mary or William came to the United States.

Between the ages of 25 and 37 Mary bore six children: William Gilliat Jr., Charlotte, Harry Melville, John Roger, Samuel McGowan and Rosemary. Gilliat was William’s mother’s maiden name, Roger was Mary’s father’s name, and McGowan was Mary’s maiden name, which all suggests that the name “Melville” is also a family name – possibly Mary’s mother’s maiden name. Such clues can be the genealogist’s friend or nemesis. 
Charlotte Thornalley
Sadly, Charlotte her second born died when Mary was 49. Charlotte died on March 14, 1899 from a blood infection. She was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland and later her body was moved to Evergreen Cemetery, in East Oakland where she was interred with her father and mother. Charlotte’s brother, John was deeply saddened by his sister’s death and named his daughter Lottie after his beloved sister.

Mary first appeared on a US census on June 4, 1880 when the family was living at 112 Bush Street in San Francisco. This document confirms that Mary and both of her parents were born in Ireland. Will Jr. was 5 and Charlotte “Lottie” was 2.  By 1887, according to the Oakland Directory – similar to a phone book - the family had moved to the East Bay and were living on Bray Avenue (now East 34th Avenue) near the Old County Road (Foothill).

The 1900 census, taken on June 9th, shows the family living at 288 Bray Avenue in the Fruitvale Precinct of Brooklyn Township. The town of Brooklyn was formed in 1856 when Clinton and San Antonio merged. Then in 1872 Brooklyn was annexed into Oakland, so it is curious that Brooklyn was identified as an independent town on the 1900 census. In 1900 there were three teenagers in the household – John 17, Sam 14 and Rosie 13. Will Jr. was 24 and Harry was 21. Will Sr., Will Jr. and Harry were all identified as carpenters, John was a painter, and Sam and Rosie were still in school.
This image is from a tintype loaned
 by my second cousin Jeri Oyarzo Hickey,
 Sam Thornally's granddaughter

The family remained there until 1904 when they moved three blocks to Bray near East 17th Street. Then in 1907 they moved to 1707 Fruitvale. 1707 still exists today but is now number 1715. The house that was originally painted off white is now mint green with white trim. It is a two-story home with wood siding. By the 1910 census only Samuel and Rose Mary were still living at home. Will Sr. was identified as a “Builder” and Sam was working as a carpenter. Rose Mary was employed as a stenographer and worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Her father and older brother Will had both worked for the S.P. Company in 1889 but were no longer there in 1910.
1707 (1715) Fruitvale home on the right, 2015

Mary and William were still living at 1707 Fruitvale when Mary died in 1912 from pneumonia.  The obituary that appeared on January 12th in the Fruitvale Progress noted that she’d been a resident for 35 years. It said, “She was one of the oldest pioneers and had many friends who are mourning her death. Mrs. Thornalley was a member of the Fruitvale Congregational Church.” The church was designed by Hugo William Storch and was dedicated November 16, 1911. Storch also designed the Fruitvale Masonic Temple (1909) that William built, and was a member of. 

The notice of Mary’s funeral announced said the service would be January 18th at 2:00 PM at the Congregational Church and that she would be buried at Evergreen Cemetery. Evergreen Cemetery opened in 1902, so was quite new when Mary was interred there. Today, it is also the final resting place of 412 victims the Jonestown mass suicide precipitated by Jim Jones. Other notables buried at Evergreen include Earl “Father” Hines a jazz pianist and Huey P. Newton, Black Panther leader.
Fruitvale Congregational Church on Fruitvale Ave at 18th Street
where Mary attended church and where her funeral was held.
Oakland History Room photo.

I was only five when my grandfather John died, so even if he had talked about his mother I would not remember what he’d said but from the photograph I have of my great grandmother she looks like a sweet woman and wonderful mother. I imagine her as petite with brown hair and blue eyes. I know she was courageous – she had to have been to leave Ireland and her family in order to make a new life in America. She raised four sons who were all successful tradesman and a daughter who was a professional woman – something quite rare at that time.

Sources for this post include several Oakland Directories, the 1880, 1900 and 1910 censuses, Mary's obituary and other newspaper articles, the Oakland History Room, and visits to the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sarah Murray Drake Stover (1794-1874) my Third Great-Grandmother on my Father’s side

Sarah & William would have lived in a house similar to this
near the Watauga River in Elizabethton, Tennessee
Sarah M. Drake was born circa 1794. Some records show she was born in 1794 and others say 1795. One source provides an exact date of September 7, 1794. Similarly, various sources suggest different places of birth including Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, somewhere in South Carolina and the Southwest Territory of Tennessee.  I tend to believe that she was born in Pennsylvania because there are records of her parents, Abraham Drake (1761-1840) and Elizabeth Murray Drake (1773-1856), living in Cumberland County Pennsylvania at that time.

Sarah was the fourth child of ten. She had four brothers: Samuel, Ephraim, Jacob and John, and five sisters: Salina, Ruth, Priscilla, Mary and Elizabeth. By the time Sarah was two years old her family was living in Carter County, Tennessee where she remained for the rest of her life. In 1796, the family appeared on a tax record in Carter County. This was the same year that the area became known as Carter County. It was named for Landon Carter an early settler and land owner. The town of Elizabethton, the county seat, was named for his wife.
The Watauga River

Sarah’s father Abraham was a prominent citizen in Carter. He owned land and slaves, served on juries, and was appointed to oversee the construction of a road along the Watauga River from Indian Creek up to and beyond the mouth of Sugar Creek.
Record of William and Sarah's marriage
 On September 23, 1819 Sarah married William Ward Lincoln Stover (1795-1864). They were married in Carter County, Tennessee. The text of the marriage contract reads:
State of Tennessee, Carter County know all men by these present that we William Stover and Isaac Campbell are held and firmly bound unto his excellency Joseph McMinn, Governor for the time being and his successor in office in the full and just sum of fifteen hundred dollars void on condition that those be ______ (cannot read) to obstruct marriage between William Stover and Sarah M. Drake.
Witness our hands and seals this 23rd day of September 1819.
William Stover
Isaac Campbell 
Governor Joseph McMinn

Sarah and William had three sons between 1820 and 1826 – David Lincoln b.1820, Samuel Murray b. 1824 and Daniel b. 1826. See my first blog post dated June 28, 2013 to learn more about David Lincoln Stover.

According to the Lincoln Magazine Sarah helped care for her mother-in-law Mary Ward Lincoln in 1831 as Mary was dying of breast cancer. Mary Lincoln was President Abraham Lincoln’s great aunt.

In 1840, Sarah inherited two slaves named Dave and Allen from her father Abraham when he died. Her husband William served as a surety for the inventory of Abraham’s property. Other property was given to her mother and siblings.

Sarah appeared on the 1850 census along with her husband, two of their children and her mother Eliza. Sarah was 55 when the census was taken. This was the first census that listed all family members by name. Her eldest son David was married two years before the census so was not included in the household.  The census shows that the family was living on their farm that was valued at $6000. Their 26 year old son Samuel was identified as a physician. No profession is given for their youngest son Daniel, 23, so presumably he was helping his father with the farming.

In 1852, Sarah and William agreed to sell several tracts of land to their son Daniel. The document specified that Sarah and William would be able to continue to live on the land for life. The property was on the north side of the Watauga River on Green Mountain in Carter County.
1860 Elizabethton census showing William and Sarah Stover

On June 15th 1860 William and Sarah appeared on the census taken in Elizabethton. Their farm was valued at $3000 and their personal estate at $11,000. Likely most of this value consisted of the slaves they owned. Interestingly, their son Daniel was the Assistant Marshall at the time and is identified as the census taker in the top right hand corner. Ten years later when the census was taken on August 22, 1870, William had died and Sarah was living with her son Samuel and his family – wife Carolina and 6 children Minnie, Belle, Amelia, William, Sallie and Charles. In 1870, they were living in Sullivan County just north of Carter bordering Virginia.
1870 Sullivan County census showing some of Samuel Stovers children and Sarah M. Stover on line 7

According to William’s will Sarah inherited all of his household and kitchen furniture, his horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, mules and all of his farming utensils and his black smith tools. Negros left to Sarah via his will were Delilah, Sam, Dan and Jo. William stipulated that should Sarah remarry these slaves were to remain her personal property and “were not to be subject to the control of any husband she may hereafter marry.” William left Sarah the tract of land known as the Mill Tract and a separate tract of land purchased from their son Samuel on the south side of Holston Mountain and containing 100 acres. Holston Mountain is in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is part of the Appalachian Mountains. 

As with her birth records the details I have about where Sarah died are not perfectly clear. A fellow genealogist Dale Jenkins provided me with a photograph of her headstone that reads, “Sarah M Stover wife of W.L. Stover, 1795 – 1874. I believe Sarah is buried with other family members in Drake’s Cliff Cemetery (aka Fitzsimmons Cemetery) in Elizabethton. An article published in the Watauga Association of Genealogists (WAG), Vol. 40 notes that Sarah died about 1874 in Carter County, but another source says, “that she died at her son Samuel’s home”. This fact does not jibe with Samuel living in Sullivan County, but we can be certain of the general time and place.
Drake's Cliff cemetery where Sarah & William are buried

Sarah’s will was recorded in Carter County on the 24th of April 1874. She bequeathed her possessions to her one living son, two daughters-in-law and her grandchildren. She left her gold watch to her granddaughter Sallie, her silver spoons, one bed and bedding to her son Samuel, and a small bed and bedding to her grandson Charlie Dan Stover. Another grandson, William Butler Stover received a double barreled gun that had been owned by his grandfather William Stover. Granddaughter Amelia Stover got a looking glass, a breast pin, a clock, a bathrobe, furniture and bedding. Sarah also left money to pay to educate her grandchildren. And, finally she left money to her daughter-in-law Mary J. Brown who had remarried after her husband Daniel Stover died. All of this suggests that Sarah was relatively well off at the time of her death.
Sarah's headstone

Sources for this post include: 1850, 1860 and 1870 censuses, marriage record, Carter County Deed Records, the wills of William Stover and Sarah Stover, Dale Jenkins, Google, Ancestry, Drake Family History by Donald Drake, Watauga Association of Genealogy, and the Lincoln Magazine.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

James Henry Pattillo (1814-after 1900) My Paternal 2nd Great Grandfather Part 1

Goode Bank in Boydton, Virginia, 1899
James H. Pattillo was the son of Samuel W. Pattillo and Sally C. Phillips. He had three younger brothers, Robert Alexander, Charles Madison, and Edward M. Pattillo. They had one sister Ann R. James and his siblings were all born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Mecklenburg is located on the southern border of the state. He was born during the War of 1812, when James Madison was president. He and his siblings grew up living on a farm.

When James was 31 he and Susan C. Land were married on December 16, 1845, in Mecklenburg. Their first child, a son, Robert Henry was born in 1847, and my great grandfather James William was born May 15, 1848. Sadly, his mother Susan died shortly after James W. was born – very likely during childbirth. Left with two infant sons, James chose to marry Susan’s older sister Louisa J. Land on September 4, 1849, when he was 35. They were married across the state border in North Carolina, because it was illegal to marry your widow’s sister in the state of Virginia. James and Louisa had two additional children - daughters Sarah Zerelda, born in 1853 and Ada, born November 4, 1857. 
Jame H. and Louisa J. Land's record of marriage

The name James is significant in our family. Our first ancestor to immigrate to the United States was James Pattillo – my 6th great grandfather. He was born in Scotland in 1690 and came to the United States in 1716. His son, James Jr. was the first to be born in the United States in 1725, in Prince George County, Virginia. James Henry’s first son was James William who also named his first son James H. This James was born in 1882 and died in 1883.  James William’s oldest son that lived to adulthood, Lewis gave the name James Edward, to his first born son. James Edward is my father. This is the sort of tradition that makes family history research challenging. I have 17 James Pattillo’s in my database, so far.

James Henry was educated – probably by a private tutor hired to teach him and his siblings at home. We know he was educated because as an adult he held positions that required him to have an education. On the 1870 census, James was living with his wife Louisa, two daughters, and Elizabeth Walker and her daughter. Elizabeth was identified as a “teacher in family”. Most likely, Elizabeth was a war widow – from the Civil War – and hired herself out as a teacher in order to support herself and her daughter. James H. hired her to educate his children. It is likely his father had done the same. There was a large college in the town where James H. and his family lived – Randolph-Macon College, but there are no records of any Pattillos having attended. Randolph-Macon was a Methodist college. The Pattillo’s were most likely Presbyterians. 

1850 Census showing James H., Louisa J., and sons Robert and James

Land Owner, Farmer & Entrepreneur
Throughout his life James purchased property to start and expand his farm and other business endeavors. All were in Mecklenburg County. When he was 24 he bought a 307 acre parcel for $1200 on Cox’s Creek. The next year he bought 100 acres for $150. Then in February of 1853 he acquired a 440 acre parcel on Coleman’s Creek for $1100. In October of the same year he purchased a steam-powered sawmill, also on Coleman’s Creek, a little south of the town of Boydton. In January of 1857, James and his brother-in-law John B. Land made an agreement with Benjamin Lewis Jr. to purchase 408 acres on Layton’s Creek for $800. This parcel was known as the Hayes tract, and adjoined land that John already owned. John was Susan and Louisa’s younger brother. Another court case proved that James and John B. Land were in business together as Land and Pattillo. They cut, milled and sold lumber.

In 1860, James acquired three additional parcels. He bought a 66-acre and a 9-acre tract of land on River Road from Alfred Boyd, and a 222 acre tract from William Townes for $1400. Finally, in 1863 there is a record of his buying 250 acres at the fork in the road at Fields & Fields Mill Roads. The deed for this parcel noted that he paid $11 per acre rather than giving the total price. This last purchase, made when he was 49, occurred in the middle of the Civil War – James must have felt optimistic that the Confederates would win the war. All total these acquisitions add up to 1762 acres. I don’t know if he owned this much land at any one time. He may have sold some parcels in order to purchase others.
Survey of  66-acre track of farmland James purchased in 1860
While traveling in Virginia in spring of 2014, I went to the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Boydton – the town where our ancestors lived. Boydton is a small, low-income town in southern Virginia, founded in 1812. It is located just north of the border with North Carolina. In 2014, the town had a population of only 430 and was a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The county courthouse in Boydton is a Roman Revival style brick building with four ionic columns and was constructed in 1838-42. It was listed on the National Register in 1975.

I went to the courthouse to look up the deed records for all the Pattillos who lived in the county, for the time period when the county was first formed in 1764 to the early 20th century. The oldest document I found was from 1772. It was about James Pattillo (1725-1785), my fifth great grandfather having purchased 190 acres on Cox’s Creek from William and Martha Douglas. The most recent record they had was dated 1928. One of the records I found, dated October 15, 1845 was about a dispute between James and Edward Pattillo, his brother and a man named Lewis William. James had borrowed money from Williams and his brother Edward served as his surety. Both James and Edward believed the debt had been paid back but Williams was disputing that.

From this court document I learned that James and Edward were in business together. They owned a mercantile store and had sold supplies – “a hogshead of sugar and 2 bags of coffee” to Williams. So, it sounds like they owned a general store. According to Wikipedia, “A hogshead was used in American colonial times to transport and store tobacco. It was a very large wooden barrel. A standardized hogshead measured 48 inches long and 30 inches in diameter at the head. Fully packed with tobacco, it weighed about 1,000 pounds.”

As part of this business James agreed to sell 6000 mulberry sapling shoots (Morus multicaulis) to Williams. The saplings were to be delivered between October and November in 1840, and each sapling was to be 6-feet high at a minimum. Williams had agreed to pay 2 ¾ cents for each sapling or $165. This seemed a peculiar piece of trivia that was explained by a textile history website.
Mulberry leaf - grown to make silk
The story of the silk industry in America dates to the earliest English settlers in Virginia.  James I tried to compel Virginia tobacco planters to stop cultivating tobacco, plant mulberry trees and sustain silk worms to supply raw silk to English factories.  As early as 1623, he decreed that a planter would be fined £10 if he did not cultivate at least ten mulberry trees for every 100 acres of his plantation.  Bounties were extended in 1657:  10,000 pounds of tobacco for every £200 worth of silk or cocoons in a single year.  The bounty was extended, dropped, extended again and abandoned.  No one wanted to "farm" silk when they could grow tobacco.  Silk was too labor-intensive.

In the early decades of the 19th century, silk culture continued to entice investment.  No one hit it big but people kept trying.  There was tremendous speculation in the 1830s.  A new variety of mulberry was introduced from China by way of the Philippines, then France and into Baltimore.  Gideon B. Smith was introduced from China by way of the Philippines, then France and into Baltimore.  Gideon B. Smith planted the first trees there in 1826.  Growth was more rapid and the leaved were several times larger.  When news spread, nurserymen were inundated.  The demand soon exceeded supply and a wild rush took place.

When James was born his family was living in the county of Mecklenburg. I have a Circuit Court record dated 1819 that confirms that they were living in the town of Boydton. James was still living in Boydton when the 1850 and 1860 censuses were taken. On the 1850 census, they noted that his property was valued at $3235, which was a little more than every other property owner listed on that page.  He owned a total of 600 acres, 47 of which was “improved” which probably meant it had been cleared and his house and other structures were built on it. He owned machinery valued at $30, and $261 worth of livestock. 
Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Boydton

On the 1860 agriculture census James owned 450 acres of which 150 were improved. The value of his farm was $4000 plus he owned furnishings valued at $100, 3 horses, 5 milk cows, and 1 “other stock” – probably a pig. The value of his livestock was $400. The census recorded that he was growing sorghum – a grain grown primarily as livestock forage. The rest of the information provided on this detailed census was not legible.

By 1870, James had moved to the neighboring community of Hansford in the town of Christianville. Christianville, now called Chase City or “The City” is also in Mecklenburg County. On the 1880 census, James was living in Lunenberg County, in the Lewiston District. He was living with his daughter Ann and his son Robert, Robert’s wife Belle and their two children, James Nelson and Robert Watkins Pattillo. The last census James appeared on was the 1900 census. At that time he was 86 and was back living in Christianville. Christianville was named for Samuel C. Christian, a merchant from Scotland and the first postmaster.

Like his father and grandfather, James was a farmer – a tobacco farmer. When Dianne and I visited the site of James' farm in 2014, the land had been purchased by a timber company that was using it to grow pulp wood. The remains of 6 buildings and structures were visible from the road. These included a collapsed stable, a chicken house - a low, small building with a flat roof, a flue-cured tobacco barn with mud dabbing between the timbers, a corn crib, a utility barn and a smoke house.
Farm owned by James H. and Louisa. Left-right: smoke house, chicken coup, utility shed & roof of the corn crib
John Caknipe, a local historian who took us to the property, explained that the house had been gone for a long time - probably destroyed by termites. It would have been constructed on high ground and all the farm buildings were been in the back yard.  The house would have been similar to the barn stylistically with the bedrooms upstairs and the living room and dining room downstairs. Each slave family would have had their own house.

John explained that James’ land would have been considered a farm – not a plantation. To be considered a plantation owner one needed to have at least 1000 acres of land, at least 20 slaves, be educated and own a library.

In addition to growing tobacco, the primary cash crop, James would have been growing vegetables for his family and 13 slaves who helped work the farm. He had chickens, probably 30-35 hogs, 50 sheep, and 10-12 milk cows. Excess crops and animals would have been sold to Randolph-Macon College, as would those of his neighbors - the Wootens, Carters and Jones.

Tobacco was the primary crop grown in Virginia – it was grown there as early as 1632 according to Susan Bracey in her book “Life on the Roaring Roanoke”. Bracey notes, “It was a crop of especial importance to Mecklenburg because, in part, it was responsible for the establishment of several towns and for much of the economic fortunes of the county.” She continues, “The cultivation, inspection, transportation and sale of tobacco were the source of much concern.” 
Tobacco warehouse in Mecklenburg

As early as 1753, locals campaigned for a tobacco warehouse to be built in Mecklenburg County so they would not have to ship their tobacco to the port of Petersburg for processing. In 1792, the town of St. Tammany was laid out near the Roanoke River where tobacco could be loaded and shipped out. A tobacco warehouse was built by 1793 that enabled them to do tobacco inspections there as well. The town of Clarksville – across the river from Boydton was established in 1818 and was promoted as “the richest tobacco country in the state of Virginia”.

..... continued in part 2.

James Henry Pattillo (1814-after 1900) My Paternal 2nd Great Grandfather Part 2

Civic Life & Role During the Civil War
This is the house James & his family lived in during the time
he served as Superintendent of the Poor House
In 1848, when James was 34, the Governor appointed him Superintendent of the Poor House. This was one of only 5 appointed positions the Governor made, so it was a prestigious appointment. James’ father and grandfather had both lived in Mecklenburg County. His grandfather Solomon died in the town of Boydton. So James’ family would have been well known. He was an important person in the community who was no doubt well-regarded by his peers, so a good candidate for appointment. During his time in office James and his family lived in the superintendent’s house near the poor house. It was a symmetrically design, 2-story structure with a stone foundation, 2 dormers and 2 brick chimneys. The poor house is where poor county residents, war widows and the disable lived. Residents worked on the Poor House farm raising food for them and for sale. Two years after his appointment James was elected to serve a second two-year term.
Mecklenburg County Poor House
Susan and Louisa’s father Robert Carter Land died sometime before April 1847.  Some sources say he died in 1844 but it wasn’t until 1855 that his estate was being settled in Chancery Court. Susan and Louisa’s brother Robert W. Land (1818-1877) was named administrator. The land and property in the estate was divided among Robert’s wife Elizabeth and their children. Because married women were not allowed to own property at that time James Henry inherited the portion of the estate that was left to both Susan and Louisa. This no doubt explains why the value of what James Henry owned was greater than anyone else listed on the page in the 1850 census. 

On September 19, 1855 James Henry and Robert W. Land filed a $1000 bond, and James was named administrator of his deceased wife Susan’s estate.
Poor House smokehouse (white structure), relocated

On September 27, 1856 James was appointed as the attorney-in-fact for Alexander W. Land- another of James’ brother-in-laws, and was charged with overseeing the sale and distribution of Elizabeth B. Land’s estate. Elizabeth was his mother-in-law. 

John Caknipe who has researched Randolph Macon College learned that from 1858 to  at least 1862 James served as the "Hotel Manager" at Randolph Macon College in the West Building - The Texas. While there one of his student residents was Melville Johnson from Napa in California.

In October of 1861, John T Wootton was appointed surveyor of the Boydton to Clarksville Road from Randolph-Macon College to Townes plantation. He was authorized to use hands from six farms. James provided one laborer to work on the road as did five of his neighbors. They built the section between Butchers Creek and Randolph-Macon College. The road was about 100 yards way from James and Louisa’s farm. The other farms that loaned labor included D.N. Carter, J.W. Wootton, and Wm H. Jones. According to Wikipedia “Boydton/Clarksville was the terminus of the 19th-century "Boydton Plank Road" which led to Petersburg. This 80-mile road was covered with wooden planks, making it superior to other roads which were just unpaved dirt and rutted.”

During the Civil War (1861-1865) James was too old to enlist. Instead he was appointed Captain of a militia group. In that capacity he and a group of his neighbors were responsible for patrolling the town and Randolph-Macon College. Other members of the squad were R.H. Isbell, James Steward and Wm. Snead. Randolph-Macon was founded as a Methodist Seminary and was an important institution in the county. During the Civil War it became a military cadet training school. After the war the school was relocated to Ashland, Virginia. The Boydton campus closed in 1868 – 3 years after the Civil War ended. The ruin of the college building still stands, now covered with vines and piles of brick that have fallen off this once impressive building. 
Ruin of Randolph-Macon College in Boydton, 2014

James also contributed to the Confederate war effort by providing 190 pounds of sheaf oats to help feed soldier's horses. A document from the War Department dated December 28, 1863 was a receipt for $7.60 for the oats James delivered on October 15, 1863. It was signed by Jack E. Haskins, Quartermaster CS Army and by Jas. H. Pattillo.

On September 17, 1873, James appeared in the Mecklenburg Circuit Court to respond to a contempt of court charge for failing to appear for jury duty – guess they took such things more seriously at that time than they do today.
War Department receipt for sheaf  oats
supplied by James H. Pattillo
In January of 1878, James served as a trustee for Mary Jane Pattillo, his brother Edward’s wife, so she could purchase a five-acre tract of land adjacent to where James was living. This deed did not mention Edward.

After the Civil War
When the civil war ended the land James and other confederates owned was so heavily taxed that many were forced to sell their land. According to John Caknipe, “the tax was as much as 100% of the land value, so the only way to pay the tax was to sell the land.” This is how the civil war was paid for and the country rebuilt. The tax was repealed in 1868 but by then it was too late - most farmers had lost their land.

It appears that James was one of those farmers who was forced to sell his land. I found a document dated September 1, 1866 in which James sold to his brother Edward a one half interest in his 246 acre farm on the headwaters of Layton’s Creek for $5. In exchange, Edward provided a bond for $1242.79 to cover James’ debts. This was the parcel that James had purchased jointly with his brother-in-law, John B. Land. In addition to the land he sold one horse, a pair of mules, a stock of hogs, his cattle and sheep, his household and kitchen furniture, plantation utensils, a small carriage, one buggy, one wagon, one cart, and all of his crops of every description.  
James would have come here to the Boydton Tavern to
accept his appointment as Captain of the Militia

The document then detailed all of James’ debt, which were divided into three categories. The first class debt was owed to the estate of R. Walker who had sold the land to James and John. James also owed $408.36 to his sister-in-law Sarah F. Land and $670.80 to N.S. Edmunds – likely a relation to his sister Ada who married Lewis J. Edmunds. He owed $45 to a Dr. L. Watson and, interestingly the document specified that he was to pay Edmund A. Davis $400 in “Confederate currency”. Given that the Confederates lost the war that money was probably not worth much. There were six other first class debts.

Second class debt was money owed to Dr. William H. Innis against a loan of $800 that James and John B. Land took out for their lumber business. Third class debts were owed to Alfred Boyd & Son and Edwin C. Terry. The document said that James would “retain possession of the property conveyed until the same shall be sold to execute the purpose of the trust. The trustee is hereby authorized and directed to apply the proceeds of the sale of said property after first paying the expenses of executing and recording this deed to the payment and discharge of the debt.”

After he sold the farm and much of what he owned, James moved to Christianville and likely continued to farm, but as a share cropper. Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on the land.

James’ son James William left Boydton sometime between July 1860 when the census was taken and April 2, 1879 when he married Carrie B. Stover in Tarrant, Texas. It is probable that James W. left shortly after the Civil War ended, knowing that there was little reason for him to remain in Virginia. I can imagine that this would have been extremely difficult for everyone. The Pattillo’s had lived and prospered in Mecklenburg and nearby counties for five generations. They had owned large acreage of land, had standing in the community – and then rather suddenly everything was taken from them with the Confederate defeat. The lives they’d known for generations were profoundly changed. James W. chose to leave Mecklenburg and everything familiar in order to make a new life for himself. It is doubtful that James Henry ever saw his son again, or any of James William’s children.
James William Pattillo with his 3 oldest
children Jo, Mary & Lewis

James’s son, Robert Henry Pattillo remained in Mecklenburg, married and had five children, 2 sons and 3 daughters. Interestingly, three of Robert’s children followed their uncle to California and lived in Los Angeles. Robert’s eldest son, Robert Nelson Pattillo worked with James William in the concrete finishing business, and later started his own concrete business. Robert Henry died in July of 1899 when he was only 41 years old. His father James would have been 75. Louisa, James’ second wife, died sometime before the 1900 census.

During this time, James Henry witnessed the marriages of four of his children after the war concluded. Sarah Z. married John W.Gaulding in 1874 when James was 60. Then Robert H. had married Belle Nelson in 1875, James W. married Carrie Brooks Stover in 1879, and his youngest, Ada married Thomas W. Browder in 1888.

The last census that James appeared on was taken in June of 1900. At that time he was living in Christianville with his youngest daughter Ada, her husband Thomas and their four children. Thomas was a farmer. James probably died in Christianville. Someday I hope to visit Virginia again and will look for his grave or other evidence of when he died and where he was buried.

James Henry Pattillo's signature

Sources: US Censuses, Circuit Court documents, will book records, marriage record, Fold3 and John Caknipe, Historian