Friday, July 26, 2013


© Kathy Duncan, 2013

Phebe Holcomb, sister of Azariah Holcomb,  married James Pool on 8 Aug 1824 in St. Genevieve County, Missouri in the home of Benaja C. Brown.  According to the 1840 census, Phoebe was born between 1801 and 1809, suggesting that she was born closer to 1801, which would make her around 23 - 20 at the time of her marriage. No parental consent seems to have been given for Phebe to marry, which suggests that she was of age at the time she married.

Phoebe and James Pool spent most the years between their marriage in 1824 and 1840 living among the Seneca and Delaware tribes, while James Pool was employed as the government blacksmith for the tribes. This information will be covered in a separate entry about James Pool.

The known children of Phoebe (Holcomb) and James Pool:

1. George W. Pool
2. Andrew Jackson Pool
3. Esther Minerva Pool
4. Sarah A. Pool

1840 Elk River Twp, Newton County, MO, page 227:
James Pool 0111101-200001

James Pool's 1840 household consists of the following:
one male age 5 - 10 = Andrew J. Pool
one male age 10 - 15 = unidentified male
one male age 15 - 20 = George W. Pool
one male age 20 - 20 = unidentified male
one male age 40 - 50 = James Pool
two females under age 5 = Minerva E. and Sarah A. Pool
one female age 40 - 50 = Phebe (Holcomb) Pool

The unidentified males are either sons who died during the next decade or males employed by James Pool. This is the only census on which Phoebe appears since they were living on the James Fork of the White River  in 1830.

The children of Phoebe Holcomb are identified in a lawsuit brought by Samuel Woodson against James Pool et al and settled by the Missouri State Supreme Court in 1853. This suit centers on establishing a clear title for a piece of land that had been purchased and held in trust by James Brown for Phoebe Pool and her children. One deposition relates the information that Phoebe had instigated the purchase of a piece of land in Independence, Missouri on which she wished to build a small house for herself and her children. The question was whether James Pool had placed the land in trust for Phoebe as a means of evading his creditors. Eventually, the land had been sold because of James Pool's debts. Phoebe had died. A clear title was now in question. James Pool himself had left for Santa Fe before 1850, leaving only some of his children scattered in Missouri. The result is over a 100 pages of depostions that were collected by the Missouri State Supreme Court to settle the matter. I need to spend several hours studying this, but my feeling is that this suit is connected to the Temple Lot Case.

However, it is not unreasonable to think that Phoebe really wanted a small house of her own for herself and her children. She had spent most of her adult life living on the frontier. Now, she was in Independence, Missouri, and it is likely that at her age she wanted to settle there. Given that James Pool and son Andrew J. Pool appeared in Santa Fe, New Mexico on the 1850 census, it is likely that James was contemplating removing to Santa Fe at the time Phoebe first proposed purchasing the land in Independence. Tired of a life of struggle on the frontier, she may have simply wanted to remain behind in Missouri.

The importance of the Woodson suit for Holcomb researchers is that it named Phoebe (Holcomb) Pool's brother as James Brown and her surviving children as George W. Pool, Andrew Jackson Pool, Minerva E. Pool, and Sarah A. Pool. Only George Pool was of age when the lawsuit began, and he quickly replaced James Brown as trustee for the minor Pools since Brown's whereabouts were unkown.

One summons indicates that Minerva E. and Sarah A. Pool were residing in McDonald County, Missouri, where they can be found on the census with their cousin Hannah (Holcomb) Walker in 1850.

Many of the researchers connected to the Holcombs have stories in their families of Indian ancestry. The question for most of us is which ancestor and which tribe. In 1875, Joseph Philibert provided the following in a deposition before the Missouri Supreme Court in the case against the estate of William Gillis, who had operated a trading post on James Fork of the White River at the time James Pool was there as the government blacksmith for the Senecas:

"Int. 89   Were you acquainted with James Pool at James Fork trading post. If yea, state how long said Pool lived there, what was his employment and his wife s name if you recollect it.

Ans.   I was acquainted with Pool before we came to this county. He was here when I came . He was the Delaware blacksmith - employed by the government at James Fork trading post. He lived there till the fall of 1820 when he moved to the Kaw River I was acquainted   with Mrs. Pool.   I think her name is Phebe. Mrs. Pool left with Mr. Pool for Kaw River in the fall of 1830. She, Mrs. Pool is a white woman."

All of depositions in this case need to read to find out why presence of James and Phoebe Pool on the James Fork was important and why it mattered that Phoebe was white.

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