Sunday, October 28, 2018

Martha E. (?) Nevill and Children

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

I've spent many years searching for Martha E. _____, the former wife of my ancestor, Grandison D. Nevill, Sr. Very little is known about her. She is undoubtedly on the 1840 Dickson County, Tennessee census with G.D. Nevill and their three sons under age five. She divorced Grandison in 1846. It is likely that in addition to my great-great grandfather, Grandison D. Nevill, Jr., who was born in 1841, that were additional children born between 1840 and 1846.

Grandison D. Nevill Sr. has not been found on any 1850 census. Martha E. Nevill cannot be found on the 1850 census in Tennessee.

There is, however, a Martha E. Nevels on the Tishomingo County, Mississippi census who is a strong candidate to be my Martha:

Tishomingo County, Mississippi 1850

This Martha E. Nevels is 34 years old, born c. 1816 in Tennessee. The children with her are Anderson D. Nevels age 10, born Tennessee; William D. Nevels age 8, born Tennessee; and Susan P. Nevels age 6, born in Tennessee. All of these children would have been born within the time frame for Martha's marriage to Grandison D. Nevill, Sr. The big problem is that Anderson D. Nevels is not exactly the same as Grandison D. Nevill [Jr] although the names are very similar, especially if the census taker did not hear a soft, initial gr sound. This Anderson D. Nevel is the correct age and born in the right location to be Grandison "Granville" D. Nevill, Jr.

For many years, I could not locate Martha E. Nevels or any of these children beyond the 1850 census. However, I believe that now I have found them. They seem to have resurfaced in Winston County, Alabama in 1860:

Winston County, Alabama 1860 census

This page features Martha Nevills, age 43 and born in Alabama, with Jesse Nevills, age 23 born and in Alabama and William Nevills, age 19 and born in Alabama. The entry continues onto the next page with Susannah Nevills, age 17 and born in Georgia. This information was especially hard to find because FamilySearch has Martha, Jesse, and William indexed as Stevills rather than Nevills.

Missing from this entry is Grandison D. Nevill, Jr. Jesse Nevills may be one of the older sons who was on the 1840 census. Grandison D. Nevill Sr.'s grandfather was named Jesse Nevill. This William and Susan Nevill are the same age as the children on the 1850 Tishomingo Co., MS census. All of their birthplaces, however, are different - Alabama and Georgia instead of Tennessee.

Then in 1870, Martha and Jesse Nevill turn up in Marion County, Alabama:

Marion County, Alabama 1870 Census

Jesse B. Neville is 31, born in Tennessee, and mother Martha Neville is 60, born in Alabama. In this version, they are both a little older than would be expected. Jesse is shown as being born in Tennessee. Missing from the household is William, who I think died during the Civil War, and Susan, who is probably either married or deceased. At this time, Grandison D. Nevill Jr. is living in Titus Co., Texas, so he should not show up on the census with them.

By 1880, they were Walker County, Alabama: 

Walker County, Alabama 1880 Census

By 1880 Jesse B. Neville, age 42 and born in Tennessee, had married Nancy E. _____. They are the parents of Samuel J. Neville age 2. Mother, Martha E. Neville, age 64 and born in Alabama, is in the household with the added information that her parents were born in Tennessee.

In 1900, Jesse B. Neville, a widower, is on the Fayette County, Alabama census in a boarding house. Also, in that boarding house is a young Nancy E. Neville, who is probably his daughter. 

Fayette County, Alabama 1900 Census

Now, however, I am back to being stuck. I still cannot link this little family group to my Grandison "Granville" D. Nevill, Jr. I have not been able to track sister Susan Neville. I don't have death dates for any of them. But I am making progress toward trying to establish that I am either on the right track or barking up the wrong tree.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

William Davis and wife Mary Hellums/Helms

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

The following information mostly comes from William F. Davis bible, as transcribed by Kate Carson, and the marriage records of Hempstead County, Arkansas:

William F. Davis and Mary P. (Hellums/Helms) married 23 Nov 1837 (place unknown) and had the following children:

1. B. Frank Davis b. 17 Oct 1838 in TN; married Susan C. Wilson on 27 May         1858
2. William S. Davis b. 10 Mar 1840 in TN
3. Mary E. Davis b. 25 Jan 1842 in TN; married John T. Arnold 17 Jan
4. Eli Van Buren Davis 12 Jan 1844 in TN married Mary L. Yarberry 9 Jun 1867. Eli d. 29 Oct 1913.
5. Nancy A. Davis b. 9 May 1846; married Thomas L. Osteen 25 Feb 1864

Mary P. (Hellums) d. Dec 1868.  William F. Davis married Mrs. L.A. Arnold, and they
had the following children:

6. Alice Belva Davis b. 23 Sep 1870, d. 20 Jan 1920; married John Barnwell
7. Louise E. Davis b. 14 May 1873; married William Barker

William F. Davis d. 22 Oct 1882--place unknown.

I do not have an exact transcript of the Davis bible and do not know who owns it now.  I would say that the birth and death dates, as well as the marriage date for William and Mary, come from the bible.  The bible may also be the source for Mary’s maiden name.  I’d guess that the marriages for the Davis children come from Hempstead Co., AR records. This information was shared with me by Kate Carson in the late 1970s.

The breakthrough for connecting the Davis and Hellums families came from researching daughter Nancy A. (Davis) Ostein Sullivan. Her widow's Confederate pension that she filed on husband William Sullivan in 1910 stated that she was born in "McMahon County, Tennesse and that she was 64 years of age. She stated that she had been a resident of Texas since January 1867 and a resident of Winnsboro, Texas for eighteen years. Nancy (Davis) Sullivan died in the  Confederate Women's Home in Austin on 12 March 1925. Her date of birth was given as 9 May 1846 in Tennessee. Her father is listed as William Davis with a birthplace of North Carolina and her mother as Mary Helms with a birthplace of South Carolina. This information led me to McMinn County, Tennesse where I found census and deed records linked to William Davis. Based on the deed records found there, I would guess that John Hellums is either Mary (Hellums) Davis's father or brother.

McMinn County, Tennessee:

17 Feb 1849 - William Davis and wife Polly formerly Hellems, William Osment and wife Elizabeth formerly Hellems, Thomas Hellems, Madison Carney and wife Martha Jane formerly Hellems, of Bradley Co., to Eli Hellems; their part as heirs of John Hellems, dec’d.
Deed Bk K, page. 80. [Source: McMinn County, Tennessee Deeds and Other Data 1820-1880  by Reba Bayless Boyer]

McMinn County, Tennessee Deed Bk K p. 80

McMinn County, Tennessee Deed Bk K p. 81

 3 Jan 1851 - Alexander Sartain v. Robert B. Davis and James Calhoun. Filed 3 Jan 1851. File contains original deed from Jesse Walling to Calhoun, 28 Sept 1847, for land in Polk Co. on the county line and registered in Polk Co. Deed Book B, page 223 by S J. Rowan, Register. Sartin recovered judgment against Slvester Blackwell, Robert B. and Wm. Davis. Robert bought and paid for land in Polk and McMinn Counties from Calhoun of Polk Co. but deed not made. Wm. Davis is of Polk Co. page 113 [Source: Chancery Court Records of McMinn County, Tennessee  by Reba Bayless Boyer]

26 Feb 1853 - Jon C. Gaut v. William H. Currie, John L. Bridges, William and Elisha Davis, and Eli Helms. Filed 26 Feb 1853. Currie of Ky. Gaut of Bradley Co. recovered judgment against Currie. Gaut asks attachment of a note on the Davises and Helms which Currie has sent to Bridges for collection. page 181. [Source: Chancery Court Records of McMinn County, Tennessee  by Reba Bayless Boyer]

Census data:

27 Aug 1850 1st Civil District, Polk Co., TN page 195:

Davis, William   33 M    blacksmithSC
Mary 44 b. SC
Benjamin F.11 b. TN
William S. 10 TN
Mary C.  9  TN
Eli V.B. 7  TN
Nancy Ann  5   TN

1860 Hempstead Co., AR

House #310
Davis, William 46 M  b. SC
Mary    53 F  SC
Eli V.  17 M  TN
Nancy A. 15 F  TN

27 Aug 1870, Prect #3, Davis Co. (Cass Co.), TX page 72:

Davis, William  55 M W  - 250    SC
Louiza   38 F W  VA
Missouri  17 M W  AR
Jasper  14 M W  AR
Virginia  13 F W  AR
Thomas  10 M W AR
Amanda  4 F W TX
Hart, John  30 M W  VA

1880 Camp Co., TX precinct #1 sheet 1 June 1880

Davis, Wm. 65 M Blacksmith  b. SC   fb. TN
----L.A. 48 F  Keeping house  b. VA fb. VA
Arnold, Amanda 13 F At school  b. AR fb. GA
Davis, Alice 10 F At school  b. TX fb. SC
----Lucy 8 F   At school b. TX fb. SC
[this page was damaged]

1880 Camp Co., TX precinct #4 page 59 8 June 1880
Davis, E.V. 36 M  Laborer  b. TN fb. NC mb. TN
Mary E. 37 F Keeping house  b. TN fb. NC mb. TN
Mary E. 12 F  b. TX fb. TN mb. TN

W. F.  8 M  b. TX fb. TN mb. TN

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Andrew E. Poole, Son of Andrew J. and Margaret (Jamison) Poole

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Andrew Edmond Pool was the son of Andrew Jackson and Margaret (Jamison) Pool. He was born 3 July 1864 and died 15 September 1912. Those dates appear in Andrew Jackson Pool's bible. The 1900 census and his tombstone give his name as Andrew J. Poole rather than Andrew E. Poole. That may suggest, but does not prove, that his name was Andrew Jackson Edmond Poole.

Andrew Edmond Pool married Josephine (Haner?) in about 1897 or 1898. The voter registration book for San Francisco County, California of 1898 notes that he was a blacksmith, standing 5 feet 9 inches with gray eyes and brown hair, and missing four fingers on his right hand.

1 June 1900, San Francisco, San Francisco Co., CA:
1325 Pierce St.
Pool, Andrew J Head W M July 1864 35 M 2 b. CA fb. MO mb. MO blacksmith
----- Josephine Wife W F Mar 1873 27 M 2 2-0 b. MO fb. Ger mb. IN
Haner, Mary m-i-l W F Dec 1843 56 W b. IN fb. Eng mb. GA

Andrew and Josephine have just been married for two years, and during that time she gave birth to two children, of whom none survived. Four years later, Andrew had left Josephine, and she filed for divorce.

By 1910, Andrew E. Poole had married Francis G. Gies in October 1907. The census confirms that this is a second marriage for Andrew and a first marriage for Francis. Francis was working at her husband's leather goods shop.

4 May 1910, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA:
1204 Potrero Rd.
Poole, Andrew E. Head M W 45 M-2 2 b. CA fb. MO fb. MO manufacturer, Leather Goods
-----, Francis G. Wife W F 41 M-1 2 0-0 b. Mich fb. Ger mb. Ger helper office husband

Two months after the census was taken, Andrew hand wrote his will on a piece of business stationery. When he died two years later, it was filed by Josephine in San Francisco County, California.

Andrew Edmond Poole died two years later on 15 September 1915 in San Francisco, California. He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Fresno, California. Like the 1900 census, his tombstone provides the name Andrew J. Poole rather than Andrew E. Poole.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Bright Jernigan's Tombstone and Grave Site

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

My husband descends from Bright Jernigan (1792-1860) and Esther (Bulls) Watson (c. 1786-1828) of Johnston County, North Carolina through their daughter Esther A. A. Jernigan who married Charles Henderson Graham.

Last night's search through probate records led to a closer look at their land holdings and yielded a theory on where Bright Jernigan and wife Esther Bulls were buried.

In Bright Jernigan's probate packet there was a map of his property. I instantly recognized that piece of land because I had been looking at the same map in the estate settlement of Bright's son-in-law Henderson Graham.

Bright Jernigan's probate packet is a lengthy 40 some odd pages because his widow Jerusha (Lindsey) Jernigan was striving to receive her dower right in opposition to the claims of his daughters Chloe (Jernigan) Holt and Esther (Jernigan) Graham.

Here is that map:

A closer look at the revealed the location of Bright Jernigan's house. Take a look at this little blob on the map:

It's a house:

Use the tools feature to rotate it, and it looks more like a house:

It's a two-story house with four windows on the front, two over two. Surrounded by trees and a low fence!

That got me started thinking about something I had read years ago about Bright Jernigan's "discarded" tombstone being found in the woods in Johnston County. That sent me back to my notes...

On 4 August 2000, Talton reported on a message board now controlled by Ancestry that he had been on a research trip in Johnston County, North Carolina and saw Bright Jernigan's tombstone leaning against the side of house that was located on land once owned by the Jernigan family, but that had come to them through a wife: "Bright Jernigan gravestone is located in Boonhill Township Johnston County N. of Route: 1007 the Old Goldsboro Smithfield R. onto the (south) Loop\ Road (it is a road that loops and you go all the way around it and come out to #1007 headed to Smithfield."  

In another note, this information from 2011 was posted in Genforum (now owned by Ancestry and defunct) by Guy Baker who wrote "I received the Johnston County Heritage Center Update, Vol 4, No 1, Fall 2005, the other day. On page 3 there was the following article - Unclaimed Tombstone: 'Frankie Norris is a present-day Smithfield resident who grew up in the Brogden community where he found this (shows a picture of him and the tombstone) discarded 1860 tombstone in woods near a field off Neuse Bend Road. Unable to locate a close relative of Bright Jernigan (the name on the stone), he brought it to the Heritage Center in hopes we could help find a member of the Jernigan family to determine a suitable resting place for it. According to  the tombstone's inscription, Bright Jernigan was born March 22, 1792, and died April 5, 1860."

That led me to wonder where Neuse Bend Road was in Johnston County. I was wondering if I could tell how far Bright Jernigan's tombstone might have wandered. I entered Neuse Bend Road in google, which offered me the address 100 Neuse Bend Road. I tried that, and look what I found--

Well, well, well, not much has changed! The course of the Neuse River has changed very little in the last 150 some odd years. It takes little imagination to see that Bright Jernigan's house, although not at 100 Neuse Bend Rd., was not far off of present-day Neuse Bend Rd. Since Brogden Rd. is also route #1007, it seems likely the "loop rd" referred to by Talton is actually Neuse Bend Rd. 

In a deed of 1827 in Johnston County, North Carolina, Ester Graham gave land to her two children by her first husband, Willis Watson. That land was hers after the division of her father Barnabus Bulls' estate. Of the land that went to her Graham daughters, the deed states she gives them estate land known "by the name of Langford lands, where I now live, which is also in possession of husband Bright Jernigan and also for my two surviving children by Bright Jernigan, Cloe and Esther Jernigan."

It seems likely that the tombstone that Frankie Norris found "discarded in the woods off of Neuse Bend Rd." was either marking the gravesite of Bright Jernigan or had been put there in clearing a field for planting. It also seems likely that Bright was not buried there alone. It is reasonable to think that Ester was buried nearby along with any children who had not survived. The Bulls family may also have been buried there. If Bright Jernigan's tombstone had fallen over, then the same thing may have happened to the other stones. They may be just a few inches under the surface of the dirt. It is a shame that Frankie Norris removed the stone before considering the possibility that it was marking a gravesite rather than merely being discarded in the woods.

My next steps should be track down a copy of the Johnston County Heritage Center Update, Vol 4, No 1, Fall 2005, track down information on Barnabas Bulls' property, and ask the Heritage Center what they did with Bright Jernigan's tombstone.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Juana Dominguez, wife of Juan Lujan

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Jose Antonio Esquivel has written a wonderful piece about Juana Dominguez, who died in Santa Fe in 1717. She was the widow of two husbands. The first was Juan Lujan by whom she had four children: Antonia Dominguez Lujan, Juan Lujan, Josefa Lujan, and Leonor Lujan. Antonia Dominguez Lujan, wife of Jose de Quintana, is my husband's ancestor. Juana second husband was Lorenzo de Madrid. Lorenzo was a brother to another ancestor of my husband's: Roque de Madrid.

Fascinating reading on Juana Dominguez:

Jose Antonio Esquivel's Juana Dominguez: A Woman Between Two Cultures

Jose Antonio Esquivel's Founder's of the Villa Santa Fe #3: The Madrid Family

The 1598 New Mexico blog of Henrietta Christmas: Juana Dominguez - Will 1717

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Bertha (Brown) Chapman and Veva (Lane) Duncan

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Once upon a time, small town newspapers were filled with information about local people and their activities: birthdays, invitations, trips, parties, marriages, deaths, births, anniversaries, graduations, hospital stays, and a host of other milestones. This, apparently, was a highly successful way to sell papers. The payoff today for genealogists is huge.

This clipping is loaded with information. Not only do I find how my grandparents spent one Saturday afternoon in 1958, but I also find out that my grandmother Bertha attended Jackson school and that her teacher was Miss Ola Bearden. Among her classmates was her best friend Veva (Lane) Duncan, who also married my grandfather Duncan's brother, Earl. Additionally, my uncle DeWitt Lennon's mother Daisy was attendance.

Friday, July 27, 2018

John Rentfro and the Mysterious Katherine

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

When John Rentfro (also spelled Renfro) died in Gibson County, Tennessee in 1860, he left a brief will naming his children: Joseph D Rentfro, Elizabeth Yarbrough, John N Rentfro, NEH Witherspoon, Mary Ann Harrison, Elan B Rentfro, and Jasper N Rentfro. His will was proven in the July Term 1860 and was recorded in Gibson County, Tennessee will book volume F, page 391.

His will named one additional heir who has been a mystery for many years: Katharine Long aka Henley. His bequest to her included one bedstead, four quilts, one blanket, two sheets, two pillows, undercurtains, one cow, one calf, and $75. In addition, she was to remain in possession of his house and property until it was legally disposed of. John Rentfro had gone to great lengths to insure that Katherine Long is cared for to some extent. The question is why? At the very least, John Renfro was in need of assistance as of 14 August 1858. It's hard to say if he just needed a housekeeper or if he was ill at this point.

Who was Katharine Long aka Katharine Henley? Theories have ranged from a daughter to a mistress to a housekeeper. John Rentfro's probate case file in Gibson County, Tennessee reveals a great deal about Katharine and about his last days.

In November of 1860, Catherine Smith sued the John Rentfro estate to recover $500 for her labor and for her $75 inheritance:

The following sheet in the probate case file details that Catherine was attending to and nursing John Renfro in the late 1850s. Regrettably, there are no specific dates. 

In August of 1864, Dr. R. M. West sued the estate for medical care for John Renfro. His visits began in September 1859 and increased in frequency in the spring of 1860. His last billable visit was 23 June 1860. It is reasonable to think that John Renfro was in declining health and in need of a care giver, which is the role Catherine Smith aka Katherine Long aka Katherine Henley filled.

Even John's son John D. Renfro filed an invoice against the estate to be compensated for the care he gave John Renfro. This does not seem outrageous. Instead, he is attempting to recoup some of the estate. J.D. Renfro's invoice, however, adds one important tidbit of information. He attended his father from 4 May 1860 to 12 July 1860. His claim was filed 16 July 1860. I think it is reasonable to say that J.D. Rentfro attended his father until the day of his death - 12 July 1860.

The following is a bill for merchandise from a local merchant. The purchases of shoes and a hat for an ill man seem unusual. The calico seems like it might have been purchased for a woman. The June 28, 1860 charges for burying clothes and coffin linings are telling. It would seem that by June 28, the family had given up hope that John Rentfro would improve. In his spare moments, J. D. Rentfro was probably building his father's coffin while the old man lingered until July 12th. He was about 75 years old when he died.

Jincey (Bryant) Rentfro is not mentioned in either John Rentfro will's or his probate case file. She has evidently predeceased him. 

The following is a promissory note from John Renfro. It show him still able to attend to his own business in late 1858 and contains his signature.

Catherine Long aka Henley aka Smith has been difficult to identify in the records. In 1860 there is Catherine Smith living with a six year old male named James on the Gibson County, Tennessee census. She is living next door to several Henley families. At this point, she is probably still living in John Renfro's house.