Love letter

This letter isn’t really genealogy. It is, however, family history in the true sense of the phrase, so I’m going to post it so that I can look at it from time to time.

June 7, 2017

My dearest wonderful Gary,

I am so happy that the silly, superficial sorority girl I once was fell head over heels for that funny, handsome, smart, skinny, black-haired Air Force Academy cadet. I had no idea, of course, how you would turn out, or what sort of wonderful adventures (and trials and tribulations) we would have over the course of a half-century of marriage.

Who knew that you would be a kind, gentle, earth-connected person who talks to doves, whistles at mockingbirds, and reassures undersized fish that they will be OK and back in the water if they will just hold still while you extract a hook? Or the compassionate, empathetic man who weeps every time we visit the Wall; the generous man who gives, as the man in the Bible admonished, to anyone who begs; the patient man who cared for my dying mother in spite of her verbal abuse; and the fiercely principled person who regularly writes intelligent, outraged letters to the ignorant, soulless grifter in the White House who has no regard for the rule of law.

You have also been a loving, supportive husband, father, son and brother. And, on top of all that, you love Paris, London, the theater, history, crossword puzzles, grilled oysters, gardening, genealogy, and fishing. I have no idea how I got so lucky. I do know, however, that I have fifty years of being your partner for which to be grateful beyond measure. I will love you forever.

Happy fiftieth anniversary.

Robin

Jesse Rankin m. Cynthia Sellers: Who Was His Father?

 

This answer to this question appears to be reasonably straightforward. However, it raises another one … of course.

Here’s the background. In January 2018, I posted an article on this website about some Rankin families I stumbled across in the records of Gibson County, Tennessee. Although the article focused on the identity of the Robert Rankin who applied from Gibson in 1832 for a Revolutionary War pension, it also mentioned other Rankin families in the county.

One of the other Gibson County families was Jesse Rankin and his wife Cynthia. Rankin researchers disagree on the identity of his parents. Some claim he was a son of Shaker Reverend John Rankin from the Guilford County, NC line of Robert and Rebecca Rankin. That John died in 1850 in Shaker Village (now in “Shakertown”), Logan County, KY. Let’s call him “Shaker John.” Other researchers claim Jesse was a son of the Robert Rankin who lived in Rutherford Co., NC, Pendleton District, SC, and Caldwell County, KY. Call him “Rutherford Robert.”

Jesse and Cynthia first appeared for certain in the 1840 census for Gibson County and were probably also enumerated there in 1830, although Jesse’s age group is inconsistent between the 1830 and 1840 censuses.[1] The 1850 census lists the Rankins in Jesse’s household as follows:[2]

  • Jesse Rankin, 55, farmer, born KY, District 9, dwelling #1841, p. 256
  • Cynthia Rankin, 50, born KY
  • James Rankin, 21, farmer, born TN
  • Elias Rankin, 17, farmer, born TN
  • Williamson Rankin, 15, farmer, born TN
  • Madison Rankin, 13, born TN

In 1851, Jesse acquired a land grant of 48.5 acres.[3] That was the last record I found for him until his will appeared in the probate records. The will was dated November 18, 1851, and named his wife Cynthia and “three youngest sons” Elias, Williamson and Madison. I found no record as to when the will was proved, but it must have been submitted for probate or it would not have been in the Gibson County records. Jesse was not listed in the 1860 census, so it is a safe bet that he died sometime between 1851 and 1860. So far as I can tell, only his son Elias remained in Gibson County, where he appeared through at least the 1880 census. Madison was living in Missouri by 1870. I couldn’t find either Williamson or James after 1850. Both were the right age to have been war casualties.

Knowing that both Jesse and Cynthia were born in Kentucky, the obvious next step was to look in Kentucky marriage records. Turns out they were married on January 7, 1821, in Livingston County, KY.[4]

And he was almost certainly not the son of Shaker John of Logan County. A close look at Shaker John’s family confirms that. The Logan County records establish that a different Jesse Rankin was most likely a son of Shaker John. Jesse appeared in the census in Shaker Village, Logan County, every decade from 1850 through 1880. Nine likely Rankin brothers and sisters can also be identified from the Shaker Village death records and the federal census records during 1850 – 1880 naming Rankins in Logan County. Jesse Rankin died there, single, in 1882. It is unlikely that Shaker John’s son Jesse ever married or had any children, since the Shakers practiced celibacy.

OK, so … was Rutherford Robert the father of Jesse Rankin of Gibson County? The answer is almost certainly “yes,” for three reasons.

First, Rutherford Robert left a will dated 1808 and proved 1816 in Caldwell County, KY. It proves a son Jesse. Second, Caldwell County was immediately adjacent to Livingston County in 1821, when Jesse and Cynthia married there, so Jesse most likely lived nearby. Third, the only Rankin family appearing in Caldwell and Livingston County records in the first third of the 19th century was the line of Rutherford Robert. Here are some records in those locations:

  • Elias Rankin, another son proved by Rutherford Robert’s will, was listed in the 1820 and 1830 census in Caldwell County. Elias married Matilda Herring there in 1820. Note that Jesse and Cynthia Rankin named a son Elias, which is not a common name.
  • The “Widow Rankin” (presumably Leah, Rutherford Robert’s wife) was listed in the 1820 census in Caldwell County.
  • Elizabeth and Jennet Rankin, identified as his daughters in Rutherford Robert’s will, married in Livingston County to James George (1806) and John Durly (1809), respectively.

The records connecting Jesse, son of Rutherford Robert, to Jesse Rankin of Gibson County probably don’t qualify as “conclusively proved.” However, they constitute very good circumstantial evidence, IMO.

So much for the question of Jesse’s parents: now for a new one. To which (if any) of the other North Carolina Rankin lines originally appearing in Rowan County, NC is Rutherford Robert related? Originally, Rowan covered a substantial area, including what would eventually become Guilford, Lincoln, Iredell and Rutherford counties – home of several colonial Rankin families. There is apparently no paper evidence on the issue, and Francis Gill was unable to prove that Rutherford Robert was connected to any other North Carolina Rankin families.

We clearly need to turn to Y-DNA testing. So … where is a living descendant of Rutherford Robert? So far as I know, no male descendant from the line of Rutherford Robert Rankin has participated yet in the Rankin Y-DNA project. We need to find one, or – better yet – several.

Is anyone reading this descended from this family? If so, I would dearly love to hear from you!

* *  * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[1] 1840 census, Gibson Co., TN, listing for Jesse Rankin, 2120001-010101. See also 1830 census, Gibson Co., TN, listing for Jesse Rankin, 20001-10111. The 1840 census shows Jesse in the age category born 1790-1800; the 1830 census shows him in the age category born 1800-1810. The latter appears to be incorrect.

[2] 1870 census, Gibson Co., TN, listing for “Lias” Rankin, 35, farmer, with Lizzie Rankin, 41, Sallie, 11, Mollie, 10, Thomas, 8, Divan, 6, Jeff D., 4, and Ada, 2, all born in Tennessee; 1880 census, Gibson Co., TN, listing for E. C. Rankin, 47, wife Elizabeth, 52, daughter Mary E., 20, son Thomas J., 19, daughter L. D., 15, son William A., 14, daughter Ida C., 12, and daughter Nora, 9.

[3] Barbara, Byron and Samuel Sistler, Tennessee Land Grants (Nashville: Byron Sistler & Associates, 1998).

[4] Jordan Dodd, Kentucky Marriages to 1850, online publication at Ancestry.com.

Willis DNA Project … Maryland Group

There are currently about 300 participants in a Willis DNA project. Eleven of those participants are known through Y-DNA testing to descend from John Willis d. 1712 of Wantage in Dorchester County, Maryland. Below is a chart indicating some of John’s descendants. Nine of the current Y-DNA participants are descended from the first seven legs of this chart. The other two do not yet have a paper trail specifying from which of John’s four sons they descend. Currently, none of the participants are from the last two branches, John’s sons Thomas or William.

Willis Y-DNA Chart

 

Genealogy 101: a Primer on Legal Stuff Every Family History Researcher Needs to Know

This morning, a friend asked a legal question about a recent post of mine. Her question made it obvious that I had failed properly to explain a legal issue affecting a family history analysis. It seems I have a bad habit of throwing around legal terms and principles as though they are familiar to everyone, which is both unfair and thoughtless.

To help remedy that, here is a short and sweet primer of legal stuff that every family history researcher needs to know. My emphasis is on law prior to the twentieth century. Some of these concepts don’t lend themselves to a prose discussion that flows logically from point to point. In those cases, I have simply provided a list of terms with explanations. In other cases, I have carried on as usual.

Disclaimer #1: every colony (and then state) passed its own laws, so the law was not the same in every colony/state. We are talking general concepts here.

Disclaimer #2: I am not going to use the cumbersome “his or her” in this discussion, at least not with respect to laws concerning estates. For my reason why, let’s start with a discussion of women’s legal status prior, for the most part, to the twentieth century.

Laws Concerning Women

Here’s a real golden oldie: the concept of coverture. That refers to the condition or state of a married woman or, alternatively, the legal “disabilities” that attached to a married woman. A single woman had some legal rights: she could own property, enter into a contract, and sue/be sued in her own name.

The “disabilities” of a married woman, on the other hand, were total; states only gradually removed these legal disabilities. The bottom line: a married woman had no legal existence whatsoever apart from her husband. Property ownership? Are you kidding? Absent a prenuptial agreement, anything a woman owned prior to marriage became her husband’s property the moment she said “I do.” If she inherited something while married, it immediately became her husband’s property. If a woman inherited something from, say, her father, the phrase generally used in the records was that the husband owned it “in right of his wife.”

Having no legal existence, a married woman could not sue or be sued in her own behalf. Her husband had to be named as a party. For example, if there was a lawsuit concerning the estate of a married woman’s father, the list of parties would usually include the names of all her brothers (although not the names of the brothers’ wives) and the names of all her sisters (and the names of their husbands). Knowing this sometines helps to sort out the relationships among parties in lawsuits concerning estates.

Moreover, since a married woman had no legal existence apart from her husband, she had no right to enter a contract on her own. A bid at an auction is an offer to enter into a contract to purchase the item being auctioned. When the auctioneer knocks off an item to a bidder, he is accepting the bidder’s offer; a contract of sale and purchase is formed when the hammer comes down.

Consequently, if you see a woman’s name listed as a buyer at an estate sale through (roughly) the entire 1800s, you can rest assured that she was an unmarried woman or a widow.

Dower right: the right of a widow to a life estate in the real property (land) of her husband who died without a will. Keep in mind here: when someone leaves a valid will, the will governs. Absent a will, the law provides the rules. Usually, a widow’s dower right was to one-third of the husband’s land. When you see an entry in a court record or a deed book stating that a woman was “privily examined” regarding her husband’s sale of some of his land, that means she had formally acknowledged her agreement to the sale (even though she had no right to convey land herself). She was thereafter precluded from asserting any dower right to that particular tract of land. This was, of course, to protect the buyer – not the wife.

A widow’s dower right was a life estate, only during her lifetinei.e., her ownership interest ended the instant she died. After the widow died, ownership of the land passed to the husband’s heirs according to the colony’s (or state’s) laws of intestate descent and distribution if he died without a will. See discussion of laws concerning estates, below.

Some colonies (I’m thinking Virginia) at one time gave a married woman a right to disavow her husband’s will if he devised to her less than the dower life estate allotted by law. So you will see records in which a widow accepts or rejects such a will. If she rejected it, then she received the jurisdiction’s dower allotment.

Many colonial and 19th-century men who left a will devised to his wife all or some portion of his land “for life or until she remarries” — not wanting his property to fall into the hands of a new husband. Occasionally, although not very often, one finds an eighteenth or nineteenth century will in which a man left everything to his wife to “dispose of as she chooses,” which did not limit her ownership in any way. I am always tickled pink to be descended from one of those enlightened gentlemen. There weren’t very many.

Laws Concerning Estates

Here it is more straightforward to begin by listing a few definitions.

Estate: property of whatever kind that is owned by someone who has died. “Real property” means land and any improvements – houses, orchards, whatever. “Personal property” means everything else. When an estate inventory was taken, only personal property was listed – not real property. Likewise, a record of a sale of a decedent’s estate typically included only personal property. Under the English common law, adopted by all the colonies, real property – land, the source of all wealth prior to the industrial revolution – had a special place in estate distributions. [Note: once tobacco became the cash crop in Virginia, land – which was absurdly cheap, a way to attract immigration – wasn’t nearly as valuable as the people who worked it. Enter slavery, an institution which might not have become the colonial norm but for tobacco.]

Probate: matters and proceedings pertaining to estates. Used as a verb, as in “to probate a will,” it generally means to present a will and prove it to a court. An estate was probated in the county where the decedent resided. Still is, at least in Texas.

Testator: a person who has left a will. When a decedent leaves a valid will, the estate is distributed in accordance with the wishes of the testator as expressed in the will. Of course, there was no need to name all one’s children in a will. Frequently, colonial men “provided for” their children as they came of age or married with gifts of cash, land, or other property. The ones already “provided for” might not be mentioned at all in a will, or might be left a token gift, such as a shilling. This was not because Dad was cheap, or didn’t like the child who received one shilling (although that happened, too). It was just to prevent a challenge to the will based on the theory that, hey, I was his child, too, and he just forgot to mention me! He must have been unduly influenced … or non compos mentis …

Executor or executrix: a man or woman (sometimes more than one) named by a testator in his or her will to handle the matters of the estate in accordance with the will.

Intestate: a person who dies without leaving a will. In genealogy, it is often better (especially if there are good estate records for the county) to find an intestate among your ancestors than an ancestor who left a will. As noted above, there is no need to name all one’s children in a will. The distribution of an intestate’s estate, however, went to all his “heirs at law” according to the “laws of intestate descent and distribution,” see below. There was therefore potentially a great deal more information to be obtained from a distribution of an intestate’s estate than a testator’s estate.

Administrator or administratrix: a person appointed by the court to handle estate matters of an intestate decedent. Usually, an administrator/trix was a member of the intestate decedent’s family – wife, father, son – who applied for “letters of administration.”

Laws of intestate descent and distribution: let’s call it “law of intestate distribution” for short. This refers to either statutory law (rules passed by a legislature) or common law (principles estabished by common usage and court decisions) governing the distribution of the estate of an intestate decedent.

This is where the law gets really fun as it applies to genealogical research. Remember, every state had its own laws governing the distribution of an intestate’s estate … so there are no hard and fast rules. However, the old English principle of primogeniture – the rule that the eldest son inherited everything – didn’t have much application in its purest form in the colonies, so far as I have seen. Makes sense, because the colonies were populated by, inter alia, some of those younger sons who didn’t inherit.

Some colonies had variations on the notion that the eldest male was entitled to a greater share than other heirs, sometimes with different rules regarding who received how much real property versus personal property. If you are dealing with an intestate distribution, check the applicable law.

Most states passed intestate distribution laws that required a division of an estate between all of the intestate decedent’s heirs. You may have seen the phrase “heirs at law” in court or probate records. That means persons who inherit a decedent’s estate under the laws of intestate distribution. “Heirs at law” are different than “beneficiaries,” who inherit under a will. Be aware that colonial clerks of court did not always make such fine distinctions.

As a general rule, all of a man’s children were his heirs at law. If a child had predeceased his father, then any of his or her children – grandchildren of the intestate decedent – were heirs. If a man had no children, then his parents and his siblings were his heirs. (Reminder: every state has variations). All of these heirs will be named in the distribution of the estate, if you are lucky enough to have those estate records survive. FYI: there are virtually no abstracts of detailed estate records. You have to go to the county courthouse (or wherever the county keeps probate records), or the state archives, or to film available from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to get those records. If you are a serious family history researcher, those records are well worth it.

Sometimes there are lawsuits concerning an estate, which are (believe it or not) even better. Frequently, an administrator of an estate wanted to sell some land in order to pay debts, or because one of the heirs wanted his money, or because there wasn’t enough land to divide among 13 children in decently-sized tracts. An administrator had to ask the court for permission to sell an intestate’s land, and he had to join all of the heirs – each of whom had an interest in the land (or its proceeds) – as parties to a lawsuit. You will occasionally see lawsuits in such circumstances in which an administrator sues a widow and her children. Those aren’t necessarily unfriendly lawsuits; they were just what the law required to make sure everything was kosher.

Those lawsuits nearly always recited whether any heirs were underage, because any underage children had to be represented by a guardian or guardian ad litem (meaning guardian “for the day,” or for the purpose of the lawsuit). Petitions (or complaints, depending on the jurisdiction) also recited the locations of adult children who may have moved away, because due process requires that all parties to a lawsuit be given notice that they have been sued.

I now see that I have passed 2,000 words, which is more than enough for any one article. So let’s rate this as a “to be continued.” I will make notes of legal issues as they occur to me and will post another article like this when it seems worthwhile.

Shalom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2 of 5: James Trice of Caroline Co., VA, b. by 1712, d. Orange Co., NC by 1789.

Yesterday, I posted an introduction to a series of articles about the James Trice who first appeared in the Virginia records in a 1733 road order as a resident of Caroline County. James married as his second wife Ruth Booth (widow of Daniel Booth), and moved to Orange County, NC, where he died in late 1788 or 1789. We’re calling him James Trice of Caroline/Orange for short.

In that introduction, I posed several questions about James, all of which address what I think are misconceptions/misinformation about James Trice of Caroline/Orange. The questions begin with these two:

  1. Was Dorothy (nèe Dabney) Anderson married to James Trice of Caroline/Orange? The answer is “NO,” beyond any doubt. Dorothy was married to a different James Trice. 
  1. Was the James Trice who was married to Dorothy (nèe Dabney) Anderson the father of James Trice of Caroline/Orange? Again, the answer is “NO.” There is no doubt about that, either.

Here is one initial note before we get to the evidence. Writing this article reminded me again of some of the rules of genealogical research, to wit …

Rule #1: follow the land. If there is one thing British common law is finely honed to accomplish, it is to keep track of who owns which piece of earth. If you want to prove, e.g., that Dorothy Dabney married William Anderson about 1700, Virginia land records will do it for you.

Rule #2: keep track of county creation history. If an ancestor suddenly disappears from the records of, say, Pike County, Alabama, it might be because he moved away. Or it might be that he begins appearing instead in the records of Barbour County, which had been created from Pike County.

Rule #3: if you find a chancery court case involving your research targets, consider it golden. Cherish it. Almost everything in this article is conclusively proved by two chancery court files located in the Virginia State Library in Richmond. A very nice researcher named Rubyann Thompson Darnell pointed me toward them.

Rule #4: you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a charming prince.

OK, back to the Trice questions. Let’s start with Dorothy Dabney Anderson’s family of origin and husband.

Dorothy was the daughter of Cornelius Dabney, who acquired land on Pouncey’s Swamp (or Pownce’s, or several other variant spellings) in the Pamunkey Neck of what was then St. John’s Parish, King & Queen County, Virginia. A committee of the Virginia Assembly “confirmed” this land to Cornelius in 1699, and also named four children who apparently claimed it under Cornelius Dabney’s will.[1] The Dabney children were James, George, Dorothy and Sarah Dabney.

In April 1701, official Virginia land patents were issued for that land to the four Dabney children.[2] By then, Dorothy had married William Anderson. The Anderson patent names both William Anderson and his wife Dorothy in a grant of land in Pamunkey Neck, St. John’s Parish, Pownce’s Swamp, adjacent land of Sarah Dabney. Sarah’s patent expressly states that her tract was adjacent to James Dabney and “land of her sister Dorothy.”

Those particular land records prove, among other things, that Dorothy Dabney, daughter of Cornelius, married William Anderson some time between 1699 and 1701, and that they owned land in St. John’s Parish in what was then King & Queen County. See Rule #1.

By early 1720, Dorothy was a widow. In February that year, she signed as “Dorothy D. Anderson” a deed of gift to her son William. The deed, which was the gift of a slave,[3] was recorded in St. John’s Parish, King William County. Dorothy Anderson had probably not moved. Instead, the county in which she and William lived had just changed when King William was created from King & Queen County in 1700. See Rule #2.

This deed, as well as numerous other records on which this article relies, can be found in two chancery court case files from Louisa County, VA. Both files concern essentially the same controversy, a claim and cross-claim between first cousins. The subject of the controversy, originally filed (as nearly as I can tell) about 1798, was the son of the slave named in the 1720 gift deed from Dorothy to her son William. The Library of Virginia, bless its heart, has digitized those records and made them available online. See Rule #3.

I will summarize my abstracts of relevant records from those files in the next article in this Trice series. If you are interested in them and can’t wait for abstracts, the files are designated Louisa County Chancery cases, index number 1804-006 and 1811-011. Be advised that you will wade through a considerable amount of dross while searching for the gold. See Rule #4.

The files are available online here: #1804-006. And here: #1804-011

Here are two things the chancery court dispute conclusively proves.[4]

  • Dorothy Dabney Anderson, widow of William Anderson, married as her second husband James Trice of King William County. Let’s call him James Trice of King William.[5]
  • Dorothy’s husband James Trice died intestate and his estate was appraised on 22 February 1769 in King William County.

There is no doubt that James Trice of King William was not the same man as James Trice of Caroline/Orange, who died in Orange County in 1788-89.[6] James Trice of Caroline/Orange had left Virginia some time in 1756, when he last appeared in the Caroline County records.[7] He was definitely a resident of North Carolina by no later than 1759.[8] He was still living in North Carolina when the other James Trice died in Virginia.

To turn this into a syllogism:

  1. James Trice of King William (d. by 1769) was not the same man as James Trice of Caroline/Orange (d. by 1789);
  2. James Trice of King William was indisputably the husband of Dorothy Dabney Anderson;
  3. Therefore, James Trice of Caroline/Orange did not marry Dorothy Dabney Anderson. The answer to Question #1 is “NO.”

There is more that the chancery court records prove.

  • James and Dorothy Dabney Anderson Trice had two, and only two, children who have any descendants: John Trice and a daughter, probably Martha Trice.
  • John Trice married Mary LNU and died intestate before age 21. John and Mary had only one child, William Trice, who was one of the claimants in the Louisa county chancery court dispute.
  • James and Dorothy’s other child was a daughter, possibly named Martha, who married Joseph Crenshaw. Joseph and Martha’s son Charles Crenshaw was the cross-claimant in the Louisa chancery court case.

If James and Dorothy Trice had any children besides John and Martha, that child (or children) must have died before 1769 and cannot themselves have had any children who were still alive as of 1769. James Trice’s 1769 King William estate was equally inherited by Joseph Crenshaw (“in right of his wife” Martha) and John Trice’s son William. Because James Trice died without a will, the Virginia law of intestate descent and distribution required that all of his children (or children of a deceased child) share in his estate. Thus, Joseph and Martha Crenshaw (daughter of James Trice) and William Trice (son of John Trice and grandson of James Trice), the only heirs, were James Trice’s only surviving heirs.

Because James Trice of Caroline/Orange was not one of the heirs of James of King William, James Trice of Caroline/Orange cannot have been a son (or grandson) of James Trice of King William and Dorothy Dabney Anderson. The answer to Question #2 is also “NO.”

And that’s all the news that’s fit on print on the first two Trice issues. Please don’t go away, though. As far as Trice controversies are concerned, we have just begun to fight.

[1] Louis des Cognets, Jr., English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records (Princeton, NJ: 1958).

[2] Marion Nell Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers Volume 3: 1695-1732 (Richmond: Virginia State Library,1979) at 46 (abstract of VA Patent Book 9 at 350, 351 and 352).

[3] It pains me considerably to type words showing that some human beings were considered property and could be given by one owner to another.

[4] State Library of Virginia, online chancery court records, Louisa County files indexed as #1804-006 and #1804-011. Records in the two files include the complaint of William Trice and the cross-claim of Charles Crenshaw, William’s answer to the cross-claim, Charles’ answer to the original complaint, 1720 gift deed from Dorothy D. Anderson to her minor son William Anderson, inventory and appraisal of the estate of William Anderson dated 25 Jun 1719, deposition of Henry Edward and his wife Mary (who married John Trice, son of James Trice of King William, and was the mother of William Trice, the plaintiff), appraisal of the estate of James Trice (22 Feb 1769, King William County), 1735 Caroline County inventory of the estate of Dabney Anderson (James Trice, executor), and numerous other deposition notices and the usual detritus of lawsuits.

[5] In addition to the Louisa Co. chancery files, there is other proof that Dorothy Dabney Anderson married James Trice. See will of Susanna Anderson (widow of Cornelius Dabney who remarried to a Mr. Anderson after Cornelius died) dated 4 Mary 1722 and recorded 5 Feb 1724, Hanover Will Book I: 632. The original will book was lost, but a copy of the will was re-filed in 22 Dec 1868. Susanna’s will names her grandson William Anderson (the donee in Dorothy’s 1720 gift deed), William Anderson’s stepfather James Trice, and Susannah’s children Cornelius Dabney, Dorothy Trice (identified as the wife of James Trice), and Mary Carr (wife of Thomas Carr).

[6] Feb 1788 or Feb 1789 (year not clear) entry in Orange County, NC Minute Book IV: 98, original viewed by R. Willis at the NC Archives.

[7] John Frederick Dorman, Caroline County, Virginia Order Book 1755 – 1758, Part One, 1755 – 1756 (Washington, D.C.: 1976), abstract of 8 Apr 1756 entry mentioning lease and release from James Trice and wife Ruth, at p. 160 of the Order Book.

[8] Weynette Parks Haun, Orange County, North Carolina, Court Minutes 1752 -1761, Book I (Durham, NC: 1991), abstract of Sep 1759 court minutes, jury ordered to lay out a road from the Great Road to Cape Fear where James Trice lives. Jury included James Trice, Edward Trice and John Trice.

 

1817 Will of William Lindsey, Nash Co., NC

I just sent another Lindsey researcher my transcription of William Lindsey’s Nash County will, dated 16 Feb 1817 and proved in May 1817. After hitting “send,” it occurred to me that other Lindsey researchers might like to see that will, so I’m including it in this post.

I made the transcription from the original will, which is available to the public at the NC Archives in Raleigh. The original will is contained in a file box numbered CR.069.801.6 and labeled “Nash Co. Wills 1778 – 1922, Keith – Owen.” The box contains a manila folder labeled “William Lindsey 1817” in which the will is filed. My transcription is verbatim from the original, including spelling errors.

It is a charming will, not least because of the spelling errors – although they are undoubtedly the fault of whomever actually put William’s wishes on paper. The will clearly reveals a man who cared deeply for his children, concerned that the young ones “mind thare stepmother” and be kept out of all “dissepated cumpany.” He also wanted them to receive enough education to at least allow them to read the Bible for themselves. His signature is a big quavery – he was apparently sick – but it features a large “W” and “L,” suggesting to me a man who was comfortable in his own shoes.

To take out the mystery, the will names William’s wife “Polley” (there is no evidence of her maiden name) and seven children, including three daughters and four sons. Polley was his second wife. The evidence, although not conclusive, suggests that William’s first wife and the mother of all or most of his children may have been a Miss Longbottom or Long Bottom, given name unknown. There are many myths on the web (including some misnamed “vital records” available at Ancestry.com) about William Lindsey’s family of origin, but I will save that issue for another day.

Here are the names of William’s children and a little bit about them. The names leave no doubt whatsoever that William Lindsey was a serious Methodist. In fact, he had been ordained by John Wesley himself. Also, he owned no slaves, which wasn’t uncommon among Methodists. Good for him.

  1. John Wesley Lindsey, b. abt. 1794, Nash Co., NC, d. between 1850-1860, Leake Co., MS. Wife Zany Rogers, daughter of Robert and Ann Rogers. John Wesley and Zany left Nash after November 1830, when he last appeared in the Nash records, acknowledging a deed for the sale of his land. He had appeared in Leake County by 1835.
  2. Asbury Lindsey, b. abt. 1796, Nash Co., NC, d. 1854, Nash Co., wife’s name unknown. Lived in Nash his entire life.
  3. Jerusha Lindsey, b. abt. 1798, Nash Co., NC, no further record.
  4. Elizabeth “Betsy” Mary Fletcher Lindsey, b. between 1798-1800, Nash Co., NC. No further record.
  5. Wiliam Ray Lindsey, b. between 1802-1804, Nash Co., d. abt. 1827, Nash Co. He never married and had no children, although some Lindsey researchers have confused William Ray with another William Lindsey in Nash who married Nancy Pridgen and had children named Bennett Lindsey and Nancy W. Lindsey. The latter William died in 1825 and was the son of Jeptha Lindsey. The estate records for Jeptha conclusively prove that Bennett and Nancy were not the children of William Ray Lindsey. Rather, they were Jeptha’s grandchildren and were the children of Jeptha’s son William. The confusion about the children’s father is understandable: at one time, the NC Archives estate records for William Ray, son of William, were mixed with those for William, son of Jeptha — and the guardian records for Bennett and Nancy W. were mixed in with both of them. I think the archivists have now sorted out those files.
  6. Mary “Polly” Mintz Lindsey, b. 24 Aug 1805, Nash Co., NC, d. 30 Jul 1880. Married Hudson Finch. Lived her entire life in Nash County.
  7. Edward Buxton Lindsey, b. 1811, Nash Co., d. Jan 1883 in Claiborne Parish, LA. Edward was my ancestor. He left Nash County about 1830 for Pike/Barbour County, Alabama (Barbour was created from Pike), where he married my ancestor Elizabeth Jane Odom, daughter of Jacob and Nancy Stubbs Odom. Edward and Elizabeth Jane moved to Drew Co., AR, where she died in 1854, after having 9 and probably 10 children. Edward soon married Ruth Belle Crook, wife #2. They divorced. Edward then moved to Claiborne Parish, LA, where he married wife #3, Elizabeth J. Marshall. Edward and Elizabeth moved to Tyler Co., TX, where Elizabeth died after having one child. Edward next married wife #4, Permelia Dean. They divorced, and Edward moved back to Claiborne Parish about 1870 with a small son in tow. There is a longish article about him titled “Edward Buxton Lindsey: one of my family legends” on this website.

With that preamble, here is William Lindsey’s will:

“In the name of God amen I William Lindsey of the county of Nash and State of North Carolina cawlling to mind the near aproch of death but of disposing mind and memory blessed be God do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament In manner and form following to wit I render my Sole to God that gave it and body to be buried in usual manner –

First my will an desier is that all my Just debts be paid out of my bonds open accoumpts and personal Estate.

Item I give and bequeth to my loving wife Polley Lindsey hole of the property that she pursest before our marriage which part in money was severnty dollars, I also give to her all the bacon and lard and all the corn and small gran for the seport of her and the family that continue with her – and my desier is that my Eldest Son John Wesley Lindsey see that thay mind thare Stepmother and thare larning bisness and are kept out of all dissepated cumpaney and also to have sum chance of schoolling at least to know how to read the word of God,

I also lend to my wife Polley the house and plantation on which I live beginning at a lightwood stump in the midle run? thence a west corse to the middle branch to a popler, then down the meanders of sd branch to the run of? Saponey Creek to a Large corner cypres on the bank of sd creek then up the sd creek to Pridgen Manning’s line then south along sd Manning line to Nathan Joiners line a corner lightwood stump thence East sd Joiners line to a corner pine, thence south a long said Joiners line to Christipher Taylors line a corner pine in John Bisets line thence an east corse along sd Bissets line to Jacobs Swamp to a corner maple Joran Shurods line, then up sd swamp Sherods line to a corner pine thence a north corse along a line of markt trees to the road then up the road west to a hickrey thence along the path as the fence goes to the mouth of the long lane then down sd lane to the first station containing Two hundred acres more or less, during her natrel life or widow hood.

I also give to my beloved Wife Polley one gray horse Dimant and her riding saddle and one cow and calf or yearling Two yoes and lambs choice Two sows and piggs – my will and desier is that my son William Ray Lindsey shold continue with my wife five years and to go Equal in the proffits of the orchard and land on which thay live and his own land that I shall here after give to him, It is also my will that my wife Polley Lindsey and Edward Buxton Lindsey as soon as connvenent thay are to pay one hundred and fifty dollars for the purpose of paying of my land contracts. Now the land that I have above lent to my wife Polley after her death or marrige, I give to my Beloved son Edward Buxton Lindsey to him and his heirs for ever.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved son John Wesley Lindsey the tract of land that I Bought of of Nathan Lindsey and part of a tract that I bought of Amos Hatcher Beginning at Jephtha Lindsey’s corner a cypres on the Sapony Creek thence up the various corses of sd creek to a corner cypres then up the midle branch to a corner poplar thence along the middle lane to a corner lightwood stump thence a long the long lane to the mouth then along the path and fence to the road a corner hickrey then down the road East to a pine then south along a line of markt trees to a corner pine Jurdan Sherods line then east to a corner pine sd Sherrods line then North to a corner pine Jepthah Lindseys corner then along sd Lindseys line to the first station containing one hundred and eighty acres more or less to him and his heirs for ever and also one bay mare Pol? bridle and saddle one cow and calf and two yoes and lambs and one bed and furnture to him and his heirs for Ever on conditions he pays three hundred dollars towards the lands that I am in debt for.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved son Asbury Lindsey the tract of land I bought of Edward Ballard all lying on the North side of the road and one horse named doctor one cow and calf two yoes and lambs and one bed and furniture, to him and his heirs forever, upon condition he pays one hundred and fifty dollars twoards the land I am now in debt for.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved son William Ray Lindsey all the ballance of my lands that I have not heartofore given away two hundred acres more or less and one gray mare called Spinnet and one saddle and bridle one cow and calf two yoes and lambs one sow and piggs and one bed and furniture to him and his heirs for ever – upon condition he pays one hundred dollars towards the lands that I am now in debt for.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved daughter Jerusha Lindsey one bed without any furniture only a sted one cow and yoe and lamb and she furnished with cotton and wool soficent cloth her bed to her and her heirs for ever.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved daughter Polley Mintz Lindsey one bed and furniture and fifteen dollars in money to her and her heirs forever

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved daughter Betsey Mary Fletcher Lindsey one bed and furniture and fifteen dollars in money to her and her heirs for ever.

Now my will and desier is that if either of my four sons to whom I have given my land shold dy with out a lawfull heir that the land to them given shold be equally divided between those that survive.

Now all the ballance of my Estate undevsd I leave to be sold for the purpose of paying my debts, now if thare shold not be as much money needed as I have left above for my sons to pay they are to pay in purportion to those sums above named.

And I do hereby nominate and appoint my beloved son John Westley Lindsey and Richard Holland executer to this my last will and testament signed and seled in present of us this 16th of February 1817.

William Lindsey

Barn Tucker [and] Nelson Bone [witnesses]