Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Susan C. Land (ca. 1817 – ca.1849), My Paternal Second Great Grandmother

Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Boydton where Susan lived
Susan C. Land was my great grandfather James William Pattillo’s mother. She was born about 1817 probably in Buckingham County, Virginia where her older sister and younger brother were born. Buckingham County is located in the geographic center of Virginia. It was formed as a county in 1761 and was a farming region when Susan lived there. She was the second child of Robert Carter Land and his first wife Sarah, whose last name is unknown.

Their first child, a daughter named Louisa J. Land was born in 1815 and their third child, a son named Robert W. Land was born in 1818. Susan’s mother Sarah died sometime after Robert was born, so Susan’s father Robert married a second time to Elizabeth Brame Hutchison.

Elizabeth was the daughter of John Hutchison and his wife Sarah. She was born in 1801 and married Robert Carter Land on the 5th of April in 1824, when she was 23 years old. Elizabeth and Robert had five additional children in the following order. Sarah Ann Francis born about 1826; Helen M. Land born about 1827; Elizabeth Amelia born 1829; John Braxton Land born October 4th 1833; and Alexander Wesley Land born about 1836.   Susan’s stepmother Elizabeth died on May 1, 1855.
 
Boyd Tavern in Boydton designed by Jacob Holt, 1785
Elizabeth’s father, Robert Carter Land died in 1844. His will was dated December 26th, 1844 . In the will he left one third of his estate to his wife Elizabeth and the remaining two thirds was to be divided equally among his eight children. His property would have included land, household furnishings, animal stock, as well as 17 Negro slaves. Susan received a young girl slave named Eliza valued at $375, and she had to pay her sister Sarah $6.25 and her brother Alexander $12.50, in order to make the division between the 8 siblings of equal value.

Robert Carter Land owned multiple pieces of property. His family lived on a 195 acre parcel between Black Stone Creek and Walkers Spring Branch in Buckingham County, Virginia. One of several documents I found at the Library of Virginia, included with his last will and testament, has a surveyor’s drawing of the family farm.
Robert C. Land's farm where Susan grew up,  Buckingham Co., Virginia

On December 16th 1845 Susan C. Land married James Henry Pattillo in Mecklenburg, Virginia. Susan’s brother Robert W. Land served as the surety - “a person who takes responsibility for another's performance of an undertaking”, and Charles M. Pattillo, one of James Henry’s brothers served as a bondsman – “a person who stands surety for a bond”.  Mecklenburg County is 75 miles south of Buckingham County on the southern border of the State of Virginia. Traveling 75 miles in 1845 would have been a fairly significant journey, so it makes one wonder how they met and courted one another.
Corn crib on James Henry Pattillo's farm, Boydton, Virginia

Prior to their marriage James Henry had purchased at least two parcels of land in the city of Boydton in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. He bought 307 acres on Cox’s Creek in 1838 and another 100 acres in 1839. The county of Mecklenburg was organized on March 1, 1765 – it split off from Lunenburg County that had grown too large and was divided into 3 counties.  Boydton was incorporated in 1834.  A new County Courthouse was built at 911 Madison Street in 1838-42. Today, the courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2002, the entire town of Boydton – including 199 contributing buildings - was designated a National Historic District.
Tobacco barn on Pattillo-Land farm

Dianne and I visited Boydton in 2014 and toured the town and nearby area with local historian John Caknipe. John took us to the farm that had been owned by James Henry Pattillo – where he and his family lived and grew tobacco.  The 275 acre site is now overgrown with brambles and sapling trees.  John pointed out the remnants of James’ farm buildings – a smoke house, the slave quarters, a chicken house, a stable, a corn crib, a utility barn, and a tobacco barn. There was no trace of the home where James and Susan and/or her sister Louisa lived.
Household furnishings of the period, Clarksville, VA museum

Susan gave birth to two children - a son Robert Henry Pattillo was born in 1847. Her second child, another son James William Pattillo, my great grandfather, was born May 15th 1848. Both were born in Mecklenburg County. I have not found a record of Susan’s death but I do have a record of James  marrying Susan’s older sister Louisa on September 4, 1849. It suggests that Susan had died during childbirth or as a result of complications from the birth. Henry would have needed a wife to help him raise his two young sons. Hopefully, Henry and Louisa’s marriage and life together was more than just a practical solution to the problems created by Susan’s untimely death.
Typical slave quarters pre-Civil War


Interestingly, James ’s brother Robert Alexander Pattillo also married one the Land daughters – he married Susan and Louisa’s stepsister Helen M. Land on November 21, 1849 – about one month after James married Louisa.