Monday, July 14, 2014

Judge John Williams: A 19th Century Newspaper Article

© Kathy Duncan, 2014

I came across this late nineteen century newspaper article about Judge John Williams. Judge John Williams lived at Nutbush, Granville County, North Carolina, now Williamsboro, Vance County, North Carolina with his wife Agnes (Bullock) Keeling Williams.  The article is notewrothy for its description of the grounds around Judge William's estate, Montpelier, and for a little story about the Williamses that I have never come across anywhere else. These are the only parts of the article that I am repeating here since the other information it contains concerns biographical information about Judge Willaims that is readily available elsewhere. The story of the snake is humorous; however, I doubt that Judge John Williams, who had traveled to and from Bonesborough, Kentucky in its infancy, would have been that squemish over the prospect of eating a snake.

Early Times in Granville
by Mrs. Cicero w. Harris

(from the Oxford Torchlight.)

"...The house is built of the heart of Granville pine. The front lawn is connected with the Oxford and Williamsboro road by an avenue, half a mile in length and wide enough, over grown as it is at the present day, for two carriages to pass each other. The view down this avenue was once said to be very fine, and now it is not to be despised. The long, level drive is partly overgrown with grass and spring dasies [sic], but the mammoth sentinel oaks of the long ago only partially conceal the forest aisles that lose themselves in the shades of the woods that stretch out on both boundaries of the avenue. At this season of the year these woods are fragrant with aromatic herbs and flowers. Often when walking on the pavements of our sandy streets, I recall this beautiful Granville promenade, with its emerald carpet, its gnarled cedars and century oaks, its singing birds, its breezes, freighted with odors sweeter than Arabian incense, its treasured memories and historic traditions of other days. A few years ago I remember seeing in the grounds around Montpelier the remains of several immense cone shaped box trees. Mrs. Judge Williams hid her silver and jewels in these trees when Lord Cornwallis threatened to march through that portion of Granville. The foliage of the box tree was so dense that it entirely protected the casket concealed within its branches. An amusing incident connected with Montpelier occurs to my mind as I write. Judge Williams was very hospitable, and invited strangers, friends, rich, and poor, promiscuously, to be his guests. On one occasion he met a foreigner who had travelled a great deal and who was entitled to some distinction on account of various offices of trust he had repeatedly filled. Judge Williams invited this gentleman to visit Montpelier, and spend some time as his guest. The invitation was accepted. The host and hostess naturally exerted themselves to entertain their visitor. It seems, that on going through the fields one morning where the negroes were at word Judge Williams and his companion, saw a negro--perhaps he was a recent importation from the wilds of Africa--frying a savory bit of meat on a plantation fire. The gentleman asked what it was. The negro said it was 'snake's tail.' Judge Williams was disgusted. His guest, however, nodded his approbation, and informed the Judge that the body of a snake that had never been bitten, when properly dressed and cooked made a most savory dish, that he had eaten it himself, and he would be obliged if the Judge would direct the negro to catch a snake or two of the desired species and have it prepared for his own table. Judge Williams signified the gentleman's peculiar preference to his wife and that lady indignantly replied, 'He may eat snake flesh if he wishes to do so, but he cannot have it cooked in my kitchen, nor served on my table!'

...St. John's Church at Williamsboro was built on land given for that purpose by Judge Williams. He also contributed liberally towards building the edifice--which is one of the most attractive country churches in the State. There is a clause in Judge William's last will and testament, which bequeaths this church and the "glebe land" to the heirs of Chief Justice Henderson, in case St. John's should ever cease to be used as a church..."

[Source: Oberver; Raleigh, NM; 12 June 1878]

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

ANDREW TURNER: Case Study, Part 2

© Kathy Duncan, 2014

ANDREW TURNER: Case Study, Part 2

My quick trip to the library turned up one very interesting tidbit. It is a land deed that names Andrew Turner as a grantor along with three other Turners! Take a look -

6 December 1824. Deed from James Turner, Robert Turner, John Turner and Andrew Turner of Lincoln County, Tennessee to Allen Elston of same place for a tract of land in Lincoln County on the waters of Swan Creek of Elk River adjoining Samuel Dobbins' north east corner of his tract of 640 acres and Edward Chitwood's south east corner. Land containing 111 acres. Wit: Samuel Hall, John Clarke, and Jessee Sanders. Reg: 17th March 1830. Deed Book B, page 493.
[Source: Land Deed Genealogy of Lincoln County, Tennessee: 1828 - 1834, vol. 3 by Helen C. and Timothy R. Marsh]

What does this tidbit reveal? Well for starters, these four men are behaving like brothers disposing of an inheritance. They are all of age by 1824, or they would not be able to participate in this transaction. The names James Turner, Robert Turner, and Andrew Turner do not appear on the 1820 Lincoln County, Tennessee census, so in 1820 they are either not living in the county, or they are not of age, or they have not established their own households yet. The John Turner-with-a-family household on the 1820 census does not have a configuration of four males who will be of age by 1824. There is a young John Turner living alone, who might be the John Turner in the land deed. The household with a configuration of four unknown males who will all be of age by 1824 is Jane Turner's household. If she was the widow of David Turner who died in early 1817, then her sons may be disposing of their inheritance from their father. Possibly, Jane Turner is also deceased by 1824.

We do know that Andrew Turner is headed to Hardeman County, Tennessee in 1824. James, John, and Robert are probably his brothers. An 111 acre farm could be divided four ways, but would just under 40 acres have supported a family? Seems doubtful. Seems more like the four brothers are dividing up the proceeds from the sale, and each is heading his own way. A check of the 1830 Lincoln County, Tennessee reveals that none of them stayed in Lincoln County, including Jane. I still need to seek them on the 1840 census. Being impatient, however, I leaped over it and forged on the 1850 census.

The 1850 census, did not turn Andrew's brothers up in Lincoln County either. By playing with their birth year ranges and with South Carolina as their place of birth, I believe I have located two of the brothers in Weakley County, Tennessee 1850. The first promising candidate is R. Turner:

1 Nov 1850 District #5, Weakley County, Tennessee:

R. Turner 52 M Farmer $400 b. SC
Malinda 39 F b. AL
Rose 18 f b. TN
David 19 M b. TN
Elizabeth 16 F b. TN
John 14 M b. TN
Rosin 13 M b. TN
America 12 F b. TN
William 8 M b. TN
Andrew 5 M b. TN
Lafayette 5 M b. TN
Robert 1 M b. TN

Four sons named David, John, Andrew, and Robert. Father born in the right timeframe and place. Children all born in Tennessee by 1833 indicating that they are not new arrivals. The odds are that this is brother Robert Turner's household. I'm liking this family a lot.

The other promising candidate is J. Turner:

31 Oct 1850, District #5, Weakley County, Tennessee:

J. Turner 45 M Blacksmith b. NC
Mary 46 F b. NC
Ann 18 F b. TN
David 17 M b. TN
Louisa 13 F b. TN
Nancy 11 F b. TN
Andrew 10 M b. TN
James 8 M b. TN
John 6 M b. TN
Pruda 4 F b. TN

Again, the names David, Andrew, and John figure prominently with James thrown in for good measure. A peek at the 1860 census shows that the R. Turner household added, among others, a daughter named Louisa - like the one found in the J. Turner household. R. Turner's daughter is Louisa J. Turner. Will she turn out to be a Louisa JANE Turner?? I am not concerned by the North Carolina place of birth for J. Turner, who is younger than R. Turner. I have another family in York County, South Carolina, so I know there a lot of movement between York County, South Carolina and Mecklenbutg County, North Carolina.

Still lots of research to do. R. and J. Turner need to be investigated. All of the daughters in Jane Turner's household are still unknowns. Marriage records in Lincoln County, Weakley, and Hardeman Counties need to be checked. Since Lincoln County was formed from Bedford County, those records need to be checked. Before it was Bedford County, there was Williamson County. Those records need to be check. Then there is still York County, South Carolina to check.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

ANDREW TURNER: Case Study, Part I

© Kathy Duncan, 2014

Andrew Turner - Case Study - Part I

The search for Andrew Turner's father begins now. As I posted earlier, at the time of his death, the Patrons of Husbandry published a tribute to him which contained information on his birth and early life. According to the tribute, he was born in 1803 in York County, South Carolina, and as a small child moved with his father to Lincoln County, Tennessee.  Andrew Turner removed to Hardeman County, Tennessee in 1824.

A preliminary google search for Turners with sons named Andrew in Lincoln County, Tennessee, and in York County, South Carolina, turned up nothing.

My first step, then, was to look at all the Turner households in Lincoln County, Tennessee in 1820. I am guessing that since Andrew did not move to Hardeman County until 1824 that he was still living at home in 1820. In this step, I am looking for households with a sons who are Andrew's age - 17ish.

Lincoln County, Tennessee, 1820:

Turner, Jane 0013 - 0023101
Turner, John 21001-02101
Turner, John 001
Turner, White 1001- 0001
Turner, Woodson 0011

Of the households above, John Turner, White Turner, Woodson Turner, and Jane Turner have young men in the 17 year old range. Since John Turner is living alone, his household is ruled out. Since White Turner's household contains only himself, his young wife, and a son under the age of ten, his household is ruled out. That just leaves the households of Jane Turner and Woodson Turner. Since Jane Turner is evidently a widow, I am up against more of a challenge.

My second step was more involved. It required looking at the York County, South Carolina census beginning with 1800 through 1820 to see who, with children about the right age, disappeared.

The 1810 census was included even though Andrew Turner had not been born yet because his family may have removed to Lincoln County, Tennessee before the 1810 census.

York County, South Carolina, 1800:

Turner, David 11201 - 2001
Turner, Thomas 00101 - 03101
Turner, John 001 - 1001
Turner, Samuel 3001 - 0211
Turner, Robert 03201 - 00101
Turner, David 2001 - 3001
Turner, Wilkinson 00201 - 00001
Turner, Pierce 2001 - 00 [page torn]
Turner, Thomas 00101 - 00101

York County, South Carolina, 1810:

Turner, James 1001 - 00021
Turner, Solomon 201 - 00011
Turner, John 1001 - 3101
Turner, Thomas (TC) 20001 - 10021
Turner, Jeremiah 2001 - 1001
Turner, Robert 00301 - 01101
Turner, John (CC) 1011 - 201
Turner, Christopher 2001 - 2001
Turner, Samuel 02101 - 00301
Turner, Elijah 1201 - 3001
Turner, Thomas (AC) 00011 - 00201
Turner, Wilkinson 3001 - 0001
Turner, Richard 2001 - 0001

In comparing the two census returns, both David Turners and Pierce Turner appear on the 1800 census, but not on the 1810 census. Since no widows appear on the 1810 census, I am guessing that all three families removed from York County. All of them seem to be reasonably young men with growing families, so they are all candidates.

York County, South Carolina 1820:

Turner, John 21001 - 1201
Turner, Christopher 2201 - 2101
Turner, Robert 200011 - 10101
Turner, Daniel 00001 - 2001
Turner, William 00001 - 2001
Turner, Wilkinson 421101 - 0101
Turner, Jeremiah 21001 - 02001
Turner, John 0001 - 10101
Turner, Thomas 100001 - 02011
Turner, Jeremiah 30001 - 1001
Turner, John 0001 - 12

In comparing the 1810 census to the 1820 census, there are four missing households: James Turner,
Solomon Turner, Elijah Turner, and Richard Turner. All four of these men are young with growing families, so they are all candidates.

Now I have seven candidates to look for in Lincoln County, Tennessee.

I tried going back to google to see what I could shake loose. I got lucky with a David Turner. There was a David Turner (ordained elder) who died in Lincoln County, Tennessee in 1817. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville, Tennessee which was organized in 1812. [Source: Lincoln County, Tennessee Pioneers, vol. 1 no. 1 Sept. 1970.] The Goodspeed history of Lincoln County, Tennessee reads as if David Turner may have been a founding elder of the church. It also notes that a founding member was Mrs. Turner. From that I conclude that David probably left a widow. Jane Turner who appeared on the 1820 census is a likely candidate.

There is an inventory for David Turner in Lincoln County, Tennessee's probate that was filed during the May term of 1817.'

Right now, I am partial to David and Jane Turner as candidates for Andrew Turner's parents. The next step will be to check the Lincoln County, Tennesse records  that are in print. Fortunately, the Mesquite Library has a good selection of these materials, and I can go by there after work one day this week to see if there are any mentions of an Andrew Turner. Although I hope it will be that easy, I know it likely will not be.


Saturday, May 31, 2014


© Kathy Duncan, 2014

Thanks to the digitalization of newspapers featured on Chronciling America's web page, new information keeps coming to light. Such is the case with Andrew Turner of Hardeman County, Tennessee. Mostly, he has been noted for marrying Lavinia Chisum and engaging in several land transactions. Luckily,  he left a will in Hardeman County that makes it possible to link him to his children: Frances (Turner) Brooks, Mary A. (Turner) Moore, John C. Turner, Lucretia (Turner) Parker, Nancy E. (Turner) Byrum, and Labon D. Turner. Census records indicated that he was born in South Carolina c. 1803. However, not much else has been known about him.

Fortunately, Andrew Turner's death notice appears in the The Whig and Tribune of Jackson, Tennessee:

As far as research goes, this is a lucky find since not many people's passing was noted in the newspapers of the time. The reason for that may be similar to the reason many people's obituaries are not published today: cost. Around the time of Andrew Turner's death the newspapers were charging 2 cents a word for obituaries. This obituary, while lovely, does not tell us much more than we already knew about Andrew Turner although is does documents his death date, provides some information on where he lived and tells us he had lived in Hardeman County since before 1834.

Continued searching and playing with keyword terms, this time searching for Lavinia Turner in google, turned up a tribute from the Patrons of Husbandry that appeared in the Bolivar Bulletin, which is also on the Chronicling America site, but which had not turned up in my previous searches there. (Such is the mystery of search engines.)

Tribute of Respect

"At a regular meeting of Clover Creek Grange No. 502, Patrons of Husbandry, held August the 8th, 1874, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

"Whereas. It is seldom that we are called upon to record the death of a better citizen, a purer man, or a more industrious farmer than Major Andrew Turner. He died on the 30th day of July, half past seven in the evening, after a servere and protracted illness of a complicated nature.

"Major Turner was born in York, South Carolina, May the 7th, 1803, and moved to Lincoln county, Tennessee, with his father when a small boy. Visited this country in 1823, and settled here permanently in 1824.

"The first day of January, 1827, he married Miss Lavinia Chisum, daughter of Major James Chisum and sister of John G. Chisum of this county. The Major was honest in his dealings and eminently social in his character. But few men had a more kindly nature or a better heart. He inspired confidence wherever he went. Intemperance, the curse of this age, he despised and abominated. His zeal in the farmer's movement was truely [sic] earnest.  Something to benefit the farming interest he regarded one of the greatest necessities of the present age. He is gone to that spirit land from whence he no traveler returns. His race is run, his course is finished, and he now rests from labor beyond the dark and turbid waters of death. And while there is an aching void, let us now submissively to the will of the Grand Master of Universe, knowing that all things worketh together for good.

"Resolved, That we tender out condolence to the bereaved family.

"Resolved, That the usual badge of mourning be worn by the members for 30 days, and that a copy of the proceedings be furnished the Bolivar Bulletin for publication.

"Resolved, That the secretary be ordered to spread them upon the minutes and that a copy be sent the bereaved family.

Phil Northern,  }
John G. Chisum }
J.F. Roach}  Com
T. W. Tate}
J.R. Anderson}"
[Source: The Bolivar Bulletin; Bolivar, Hardeman County, TN; 14 Aug 1874]

The Patrons of Husbandry's tribute is loaded with new clues for locating the parentage of Andrew Turner. Born in York County, South Carolina, he would belong to a Turner family with young children that might appear there on the census in 1800 or 1810. He may have had grandparents living in York County, South Carolina as well. Next the Turner family would appear in Lincoln County, Tennessee. Given that Andrew did not relocate to Hardeman County, Tennessee until 1824, at the age of 21, he is likely still living at home on the 1820 Lincoln County, Tennessee census where he will be a seventeen year old tick mark. Since his parents are not named in the tribute, it seems possible that they were unknown in Hardman County, so they may have remained in Lincoln County. The Lincoln County, Tennessee wills and probates need to be searched for a mention of a son or brother named Andrew.

This has set me wondering why he is termed "Major."  He would have been too young for the war of 1812. There a couple of Indian Wars that he might have been the right age for - The Black Hawk War (1832) and The Second Seminole War (1835 - 1842). Then there was the Mexican War (1846 - 1848). He would have been in his forties by then, but it is possible that he participated. So the quesion is how did he attain the rank of major, especially since no military service is mentioned in either his death notice or the Patrons of Husbandry's tribute? Did the Patrons of Husbandry have offices with military ranks attached to them? Is it a military rank, an honorary rank, or a given name?

As ALWAYS, still lots of research to do here.

Andrew Turner: Case Study, Part I

Andrew Turner: Case Study, Part 2

Saturday, May 10, 2014


© Kathy Duncan, 2014

My New Mexico research would have suffered greatly without the supreme efforts of so many transcribers making records available online. It is because of this that I finally stumbled across the death record of Rafael Sandoval, father of Diego Antonio Sandoval of Taos, New Mexico:

3 Oct 1856: Rafael Antonio Sandoval widower Freques Apolonia, burial; Lady of Guadulape, died suddenly and did not receive the Sacraments, no city of residence named
[Source: 1856 Taos County Record of Deaths, transcribed by Louanna Gortarez, 2008]

Of interest in this record is the addition of the middle name Antonio, indicating that his name was Jose Rafael Antonio Sandoval. This adds another name variation for my searches.

Everything indicates that he is the same Rafael Sandoval who was the father of Diego Antonio Sandoval: he is a widower, specifically of Apolonia Fresques.

Unfortunately, there is no age provided, and I have yet to find Rafael Sandoval on the 1850 census.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


© Kathy Duncan, 2014

This is the story of my great-grandparents told in the few pictures that they left behind.

First, the pictures taken of Willie Sargent Chapman and Mary Charlotte "Maggie" Cawthon at about the time they married on 24 Dec 1889 in Mt. Pleasant, Titus County, Texas.

Willie Sargent Chapman Sr.

Willie Sargent Chapman Sr. was the son of Martha Frances (Meadows) and Abner Chapman, who had removed from Marion County, Georgia to Titus County, Texas prior to the Civil War.

Mary Charlotte "Maggie" Cawthon

Mary Charlotte Cawthon was the daughter of Susan Jane (Mason) and Rutherford Porter Cawthon. She was called "Maggie." for most of her life.

In these portraits they look so young and healthy - with their whole lives ahead of them.

Only a couple of years later this photograph (below) was taken at Willie's instance and over the objections of Maggie. She had been at the creek doing laundry when an iterinent photographer appeared at their place. She was upset because she did not have time to fix her hair. How lucky we are that Willie insisted on this photograph being taken any way because it is the only surviving photograph of them together.

Willie Sargent and Mary Charlotte "Maggie" (Cawthon) Chapman

A few short years of hard work were beginning to take their toll. Both of them look leaner, a bit pinch faced, and work worn. Willie Sargent Chapman Sr. died a few years later in 1893 in a hunting accident, leaving Maggie a widow with two small children. Photographs became a luxury she would no longer be able to afford. Maggie and the children spent the next several years living with one relative or another. At one point, they lived in Mt. Pleasant, Texas with Maggie's mother-in-law, Martha Frances (Meadows) Chapman, widow of Abner Chapman.

Martha Frances (Meadows) Chapman

At another point, Maggie and the children lived with Maggie's brother Willie Porter Cawthon and his wife in Collin County, Texas. When Willie Porter Cawthon went blind, Maggie and her children returned to her mother-in-law's in Mt. Pleasant, Texas.

Willie Porter and Maggie Cawthon

Fortunately, Maggie's brother Jesse Franklin Cawthon stepped in and financed additional photographs over the years. He was a bachelor, living in a small cabin in Spokane, Washington. He wrote regularly to Maggie and on several occasions enclosed money for her to have portraits made of her or the children. He was convinced that he would always be a bachelor and would not have much use for his money.

Jesse Franklin Cawthon

This photograph (above) was taken of Jesse Franklin Cawthon in his cabin. "Uncle Jesse" eventually, however, married "Aunt Clara."

Clara, wife of Jesse F. Cawathon

This photograph (above) of Clara Cawthon was taken in my grandfather W.S. Chapman Jr.'s home in Avery, Texas. But back to the photographs that Uncle Jesse Cawthon made possible.

Willie Sargent Chapman Jr. and Mattie (Chapman) Schuler

This is a photograph (above) of Maggie's two children: Willie Sargent "Bill" Chapman Jr. and Mattie (Chapman) Schuler.

Left to right: Willie S., Maggie, and Mattie Chapman

This photograph (above) was taken of the three them  - Bill, Maggie, and Mattie - probably within a few years of the time that Maggie's brother Willie Porter Cawthon died.

Willie Sargent "Bill" Chapman Jr. and Maggie (Cawthon) Chapman

Mary Charlotte "Maggie" Chapman

These two photographs (above) were probably made near the time that Willie Sargent "Bill" Chapman Jr. was drafted into World War I.

Willie Sargent "Bill" Chapman Jr.

This is a photograph of Willie Sargent "Bill" Chapman in his World War I uniform. Prior to leaving for basic training, he took his mother to live with his sister Mattie (Chapman) Schuler. 

Back row left to right: Mattie (Chapman) Schuler and Maggie (Cawthon) Chapman

This is the last photograph that I have of Maggie (Cawthon) Chapman, taken with her daughter Mattie (Chapman) Schuler and Mattie's children. This picture would have been made some time prior to Maggie's death in 1918. While at the Schuler's, Maggie contracted measles and died. Willie Sargent Chapman Jr. also contracted the measles and had to postpone his entry into the service for a few weeks. Prior to leaving for Ft. Hood, he purchased a tombstone for his parents and had it erected in Damascus Cemetery, Mt. Pleasant, Texas.

Many years later, W. S. "Bill" Chapman Jr. had curbing added around his parents plot. Their tombstone had to be moved out of the way and then returned. In the process, it was turned around so that Willie Sargent Chapman's name is over Maggie, and Maggie's name is over Willie's. My grandfather often grieved over this, saying that once he was gone there would be no one left who knew the difference. 


© Kathy Duncan, 2014

As newspapers continue to be digitalized, we can recover information about family events that have been lost in our oral traditions. Little is of known of  Rev. Duncan H. Selph's son Washington Selph. He was named after his eldest brother who died as an infant. He, in turn, also died young. This event from his early childhood is a particularly poignant account of one evening in the life of the Selph family household.

"Badly Burnt - Little Washington Selph, youngest son of Rev. D.H. Selph, President of the Baptist Female College, was badly burned, last Wednesday evening. Dr. Selph was at prayer-meeting and Mrs. Selph had just left the room for a few minutes, when the little fellow, in endeavoring to get something out of a bureau drawer, upset a candle against himself. His linen waist instantly took fire, and in a moment the upper portion of his person was wrapped in flames. His screams brought Miss Fickle to the rescue, and she promptly extinguished the blaze, by throwing her shawl around him. He is very painfully burned on the chest, throat, and face: but Dr. T.S. Smith, who was called in to attend him, thinks no serious or permanent injury will result from it."
[Source: The Weekly Caucasian; Lexington, Lafayette Co., MO; 28 Oct 1871]