Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Joanna Thompson (1772-1834) My 4th Great Grandmother on my Father’s Side

Joanna Thompson McGehee's headstone - thanks to
Clem McNure who posted this photo on the Find-a-Grave
Joanna Thompson was born on April 28th 1772, probably in South Carolina. I don’t know a great deal about her life but want to post her story now because finding her Last Will provided the clues I needed to identify the father of Joanna Gaines and a whole new branch of our family tree that includes several other Gaines, Waller and McGehee ancestors.

When Joanna was 17 she married Benjamin Waller who was a second generation resident of South Carolina. Previously the Waller family had been in Virginia until Benjamin’s father, John Waller moved the family to South Carolina.

Joanna and Benjamin had six children – she was pregnant with the youngest when Benjamin signed his Last Will. Their first child was a daughter born in 1789. She was named Elizabeth Thompson Waller after her mother but went by “Betsy”. Next was another daughter, Matilda born in 1794 and three years later, my 3rd great grandmother Hulda Waller was born.

The next three children were all sons. John Harvey, named after his grandfather, was born in 1798, Guilford born in 1800, and the youngest, Benjamin F. Waller was named after his father. From the records I’ve found it appears that all of the children were born in South Carolina – probably in Abbeville, which was originally known as the Ninety Sixth District. Abbeville County is in the northwest corner of South Carolina. 
Abbeville County, South Carolina is in the northwest
corner of the state
Benjamin Waller Sr. signed his will on March 1st, 1804 and died shortly thereafter, leaving 32 year old Joanna with six young children. Fortunately, Benjamin was a wealthy man at the time of his death. On the 1800 census he owned 13 slaves and other property. In his will he left a total of 15 slaves to his wife and children. He also left his wife “two good feather beds and furniture, a cupboard and furniture (except his glasses), two iron pots – one small and one large, a Dutch oven and pot hooks, and one pair of fire dog tongs and shovel”. Everything else was to be sold and divided equally between his wife and children. He named Elizabeth as their guardian, unless she remarried in which case one of his executors would become their guardian. His executors included James Watson, Nathan Lipscomb and Abraham Marshall.

Interestingly, shortly after Benjamin’s death Joanna married Stephen Watson, the brother of James Watson – one of the three executors. Stephen was a cotton farmer in Abbeville. This marriage did not last long because Stephen died. He signed his Last Will on February 9, 1807 and was dead by March 10th when his estate was sold. His will stipulated that his estate was to be dived equally between his wife Joanna and his daughter Peggy Watson.

One of the documents in Stephen's probate packet was an Estate Account Balance. It was prepared by Stephen's brother William Watson and friend John McGehee. The value of the estate was $2171. It named Joanna and Charles McGehee as Peggy's guardian. This document was dated March 16, 1812, so Joanna had married for a third time to Charles McGehee.

Charles was born in Virginia in 1769. He was also an associate of her first husband Benjamin. I know this because Charles is mentioned repeatedly on the probate documents left with Benjamin’s Last Will. There are multiple entries in the Estate Accounts showing payments to Charles “for the Boarding and Cloathing (sic) of B. Waller’s sons” for the years 1811 and 1812. These accounts also show that Charles paid the estate of Benjamin Waller for the use of Clay during the years 1811 and 1812. Clay was probably one of Benjamin’s slaves.
Cotton Day late 1800 in downtown Abbeville where cotton and cotton seed
were sold. Joanna and her husbands probably grew cotton on their land.

Charles and Joanna had three daughters. Almena McGehee was born on January 10, 1810, Nancy McGehee, birth date unknown, and Joanna who died as a young child in 1828.  Charles died January 29, 1816, so it was another relatively short marriage that lasted about five or six years.

After Charles' death Joanna remained in Abbeville. She appeared on the 1820 census and was listed as the head of the household. There were 6 other white persons living in her home. Names, other than the head of household, were not recorded until the 1850 census. Prior to 1850 the census only showed the number of males and females by age brackets. Given the information shown on the census the others living with her were likely her five youngest children.  In addition, Joanna had 7 male and 7 female slaves to help with the farm and household. In 1820 Joanna was 48 years old and was living near to her son John H. Waller and her son-in-law Hiram Gaines.
1820 Abbeville Census showing Joanna, her son John H. Waller and her son-in-law Hiram Gaines

Over the years Joanna celebrated the marriages of her children - Matilda in 1816, Hulda in 1818, Almena in 1827, and Nancy sometime before 1830.

Joanna prepared her last will and testament on July 13, 1828. She named hers sons-in-law Seaborn O. Sullivan, husband on Nancy Sullivan and William B. Brooks, husband of Almena as her executors. She left money to her three grandchildren Joanna and Margaret Gaines and Guilford Waller. The balance of her estate was to be divided equally between her two youngest living daughters Nancy and Almena.

Joanna also suffered the deaths of three children during her lifetime. Her youngest, Joanna died when she was 46, Hulda and John, from her first marriage died when Joanna was 57 and 58, also her son-in-law Hiram Gaines died in 1829 – five years before Joanne died on August 27, 1834.

The Bill of Sale included in her probate packet, that I found at the Abbeville County Court building, itemized the items sold as part of her estate after her death. Those items included seven slaves including a man named Fielding ($450), three boys, Elijah ($600), Robert and Gabriel each ($500), one woman, Chloe ($400) and two girls ($450) and Mary ($325).
This is the Last Will and Testament of Joanna McGehee

Her estate also included 1 Bay Mare, 1 Sorrell horse, 1 Bay Horse, a pair of mules, 25 sheep, 20 head of cattle, and 46 hogs, plus 3 stacks of fodder, some corn and wheat. Two parcels of land were sold – one 95 acre parcel and one 140 acre parcel. Farm implements included a lot of hoes, a plow and harrow, a cutting box and knife, harnesses and bridles, a road wagon, a grind stone, and 2 axes.

Household items included a lot of crockery and teaspoons, 1 walnut desk, a dining table, sideboard, mantle clock, glass castors, tea board and glass pitcher, a set of Windsor chairs, a lot of furniture and curtains, a large walnut chest, 3 sets of beds and bedding, a looking glass, wash bowl and pitcher, a square table, a book desk and books plus a few items I could not decipher.

Joanna is buried with her third husband, Charles McGehee in the McGehee Family Cemetery in Greenwood, South Carolina.
Joanna's signature from her husband Charles McGehee's
probate documents
Sources for this post include: 1790, 1800, 1810 and 1820 censuses; Stephen Watson, Joanna and Charles McGehee's wills and probate documents, Benjamin Waller's Last Will, Abbeville marriage records by Larry Pursley, and the Find-a-Grave website.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Joanna N. Gaines Stover (1826-1902) my 2nd Great Grandmother on my Father's Side

Joanna N. Gaines Stover holding her grandson Lewis Wood
Pattillo 1890
Joanna Gaines was born in 1826 most likely in Abbeville, South Carolina. I believe she was named after her grandmother, Joanna Watson Thompson. The town of Abbeville experienced two fires in 1872. The first on January 19th destroyed some of the public records and according to the Abbeville press “the second conflagration on November 17th consumed the remainder”. So, I have neither proof of the exact date nor location of Joanna’s birth. I do know that her parents Hiram Gaines and Hulda Waller were married in Abbeville and that Hiram witnessed Joanna’s grandfather’s will in 1815 in Abbeville. Also, Hiram appeared on the 1820 census for Abbeville. After the fires marriage records were gleaned from historic newspaper notices, by a dedicated genealogical researcher named Larry E. Pursley, to whom I am very grateful. He published three volumes of marriage records – the first in 1980 with 7500 records and the most recent in 2003 contained 10,600 records.
Trinity Episcopal Church in Abbeville
was constructed in 1842 so Joanna
would have known this church.

When Joanna was about two years old her mother Hulda died. Very sadly about a year and an half later her father Hiram also died leaving Joanna and her sister Margaret as orphans. Her aunt and uncle Nancy McGehee Sullivan and Seaborn O. Sullivan adopted both Joanna and Margaret, according to a court record dated January 9, 1835.  Joanna would have been 9 at the time of her adoption. I believe her sister Margaret was probably a little younger. Joanna also had a half brother William H. Gaines, the son of Hiram and his second wife Elisabeth Waller. William died in 1855 at the age of 34.

The next record I’ve found for Joanna is a marriage license dated January 10, 1848. On January 13th she married David L. Stover (see my first blog post on David dated June 28, 2013). On that document she was listed as Joanna N. Ganes. At that time it was not unusual for there to be variations of surname spellings – Gains is another common spelling. On Ancestry, some members show her middle name as Narissa. I have found a few documents that use “N” for her middle name but I have not found any document with the name Narissa on it, so I don’t use it.
This home built in 1815 existed at the time Joanna lived in
South Carolina as a young girl

Joanna and David were married in Madison County, Florida. For years I’ve wondered why in Florida? I now know that Seaborn O. Sullivan was from Florida, so it is likely that she and her sister moved to Florida after their parents died, and that is where she and her family were living in 1848. That begs the question – how did she meet David L. Stover who lived in Carter County Tennessee – the two counties are over 500 miles apart? I do know that David’s brother, Samuel M. Stover married Joanna’s Cousin Caroline Brooks in 1851, so clearly the two families had a connection.
Joanna N. Gaines and David Lincoln Stover marriage license, 10th day of January 1848

After their marriage the couple settled in Tennessee. They appeared on the 1850 and 1860 censuses living in Carter County. On the latter census it showed them living in the town of Elizabethton, the county seat.

Their first child, a daughter named Sarah was born ten months later in November of 1848.  They had a son, William “Win” about a year after that. Then on July 18, 1852 my great grandmother, Carrie Brooks Stover was born. Clearly her middle name is a reference to the Brooks family connection. After Carrie, Joanna and David had three more children – two girls and one boy. Mary was born in 1854, Elizabeth about 1856, and David Gaines “Bud” Stover was born in December of 1855.  All of their children were born in Carter County.
1850 Census from Carter County, Tennessee showing David, Joannah, Sarah E. and Win G. Stover
Joanna’s husband David died in November of 1858, shortly after Elizabeth was born. So Joanna was a widow at the age of 32 and had six children to take care of – the oldest of which was only 10 years old. In his will, David left his farm to his 3 year old son David, though he did stipulate that Joanna could continue to live there as long as she remained a widow and he noted that David “shall be subject to her will in the management of the farm and business”. He made Joanna responsible for “managing the farm and all his Negroes.”

The will also called for “advice and consent of my brother’s Samuel Murray and Daniel Stover, or three competent and disinterested judges, should they not be living” for any big decisions she might need to make. David’s will also addressed his children’s education, he stated, “In the management of the farm and in the education of my children I desire my wife to consult and be guided by advice of my brothers S.M. and D. Stover.  I do not specify any particular mode but would prefer private teaching.” Notice that he said, “my children” not “our children”. The same was said about Joanna in her grandmother’s will – she and her sister Margaret were identified as Hiram’s daughters. According to the will, if Joanna were to remarry or die his brothers would become their guardians, and his brothers would take over management of the farm.
1860 Census after David had died. It shows Joanna N. Stover, Sarah E.M., Carrie B., Mary J., David G.
and Elizabeth W. Stover
Joanna continued to live in Elizabeth and manage the farm for at least twelve more years because the family appeared on the 1860 and 1870 censuses. In 1860 Sarah was 11, Carrie 7, Mary 6, David was 4 and Elizabeth was just 2. Win had died and did not appear on the 1860 census. By 1870, Elizabeth had also died. Sarah was still living at home at age 21, Carrie was 17, Mary was 15, and David 14.  These must have been difficult years for Joanna. No doubt she had help from her brothers-in-law but they had families of their own to care for. Fortunately, the family was comparatively wealthy, having inherited money and property from David’s father William who inherited the money from Isaac and Mary Lincoln. Probably Joanna was able to hire others to help her manage the farm and even run the household. She would have owned several farm and house slaves. The 1850 Slave Census shows that David owned seven slaves.

1870 Census Carter County - Joanna is 45, Sarah 21, Carrie 17, Mary 15 and David 14. Also living in the household
are Ruth McCloud, her daughter Carrie Cox, and a 15 year old domestic servant Louisa Nave.

Also, the Civil War took place during this difficult time. Her family was divided by the war. Her father-in-law William Stover and his youngest son Samuel Murray both supported the Confederates while David’s other brother Daniel Stover was a Colonel in the Union Army. Had Joanna needed their guidance it may not have been available or the two brothers may have disagreed with each other. The Civil War had devastating impacts on the entire country. Joanna must have been a very strong woman to have endured it while raising five young children alone.
This covered bridge existed when Joanna lived in Carter County and still
exists in 2017. It spans the Doe River in downtown Elizabethton

By 1880 much had changed in Joanna’s life.  Her three daughters were all married. More significant the entire family was living in Texas. The farm in Tennessee, where the Stovers had lived for five generations, had probably been sold or was possibly lost due to high taxation after the war. Joanna’s eldest child Sarah was living in Stephen’s County, Texas while Carrie and her husband James William Pattillo were in the neighboring county of Tarrant, Texas.

In 1880 Joanna appeared on three different census forms, and each provided different information and some different “facts”. The first census was taken on June 9th and 10th of 1880 when Joanna was in the 91st District of Tarrant County Texas with her daughter Carrie and son-in-law James W. Pattillo. Their son Wirt W. Pattillo was born in May of 1880, so probably Carrie was there to help with the birth and care of her daughter and grandson.

By June 24th and 25th, when the second census record was created, Joanna was in Stephens County living with her daughter Sarah and her husband Winfield Scott Tipton and their three children – Maude age 9, Eugene 7 and Robert 5. Joanna’s son David “Bud” was also living in the Tipton household.
This architectural remnant is from the 2nd County Courthouse
in Stephens County Texas where Joanna lived with her son and
daughter. This building existed at the time Joanna lived there.
The third and current courthouse, where I did my research,
 can be seen in the background.

By September 22, 1880 James and Carrie had moved to Handley, Texas also in Tarrant County. Joanna had returned to their home and was recorded for the third time on the 1880 census. It is probable that Joanna was there because Wirt had died and Joanna again wanted to help care for her daughter. There was also a servant living in the Pattillo household at this time named Charles Hinton.

The discrepancies recorded on these three official documents provides an excellent example of how false facts can be created. On the first census Joanna’s age was shown as 60, and her and her parent’s states of birth were all recorded as having been in South Carolina. On the second census she was only 52 years old, Joanna had been born in Florida and both parents were born in South Carolina. On the third census, taken 3 months later, Joanna was age 54 – which I believe is correct, she was born in South Carolina which I believe is correct, and both of her parents were born in Virginia. I have yet to find proof of where her parents were born but it is very possible that Virginia is correct.

1880 Census taken June 9th & 10th in Tarrant County, Texas

1880 Census taken June 25th and 26th in Stephens County, Texas

1880 Census taken September 22 in Tarrant County, Texas

In 1890 or 91 Joanna and one of her daughters, probably Sarah, travelled to Los Angeles, California to see  her daughter Carrie and family including a newborn son Lewis Wood Pattillo, my grandfather who was born March 18, 1890. By that time, Joanna’s son-in-law James had a well-established concrete finishing business called Pattillo & Lovie in Los Angeles.

Ten years later Joanna was back in Texas living with her son David and his wife Nannie on their ranch in Stephens County. Joanna died in March of 1902 at the age of 76. She was buried in the Tipton Family Cemetery close to her daughter and her son’s ranch. There are eight Tiptons buried with her. The cemetery is located on a private farm and is enclosed by a decorative wire fence. 

Mrs. J.N. Stover Jan. 1926 - Mar. 1902

 Tipton Cemetery in Stephens County, Texas where
Joanna is buried is surrounded by mesquite trees.
Ranch home of David "Bud" Gaines Stover where Joanna
was living in 1900.
Author’s Note
It gives me tremendous pleasure to be able to publish this biography for Joanna Gaines. I have been waiting to do so until I could include the names of her parents and siblings. Joanna is the 43rd person entered into my genealogy program, so I’ve known of her for a very long time. But, until I made my extended cross-country genealogy journey in 2017 I had been unable to find any trace of Joanna’s parents, siblings or any other relatives.

While in Albany, Texas where Joanna’s son and grandson lived I visited the city museum and inquired about the Stover family. The archivist brought me a thin folder.  One of the items it contained was a story from a newspaper article written by James D. Jenkins. I was familiar with that name because I’d encountered one of his descendants during my genealogy research, so I felt confident that what he’d written could be relied upon. The headline was “Lincoln’s Family” and the story was about the descendants of Isaac and Mary Lincoln who lived in Carter County, Tennessee. In this article Jenkins wrote “…and David Lincoln (Stover) married Miss Josephine Gaines, a first cousin of Caroline Brooks ….”. He noted that both Caroline Brooks and Miss Gaines were from “prominent South Carolina families”. A few days later, after pondering this new clue, I decided to include the state of South Carolina in my trip.

In my research I had one reference to Abbeville, South Carolina so I decided to visit the courthouse in Abbeville and look for the name Gaines. But, before I got to South Carolina I started looking at South Carolina records at the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was there that I found the will of Joanna MeGehee that included a reference to Hiram Gaines. The will identified Hiram as Joanna’s father. Initially, I was cautiously optimistic that I had finally solved the mystery that had challenged me for so many years, but after finding a few additional clues I was confident that I’d found Joanna’s family. In Abbeville I found the documentation for her adoption and much more material on the Gaines family.

Tipton Cemetery with Scott Harris in the background. Steve
is a rancher who lives nearby. He found me and took me to
the cemetery. I never would have found it without his
generous help.