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Are You My Cousin?: Allen Suggs Howard

Are You My Cousin?

Discovering My Ancestors -- One Cousin at a Time

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

I tell the stories of my ancestors’ lives. Whether they lived 20 years ago or 200 years ago, they each have a story to tell. Some ancestors tell their stories willingly. Others must have their stories carefully teased from the records. Sometimes the stories are sad. Sometimes the stories are happy. Sometimes the stories are just funny. Regardless, my ancestors’ stories shaped their lives and the lives of those that followed. Come and share in the tales!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Allen Suggs Howard


I introduce you today to Allen Suggs Howard, my great-great grandfather. Grandpa Suggy (as he has always been called) was born 26 Oct 1858 and passed away just shy of his 97th birthday on 24 Oct 1955. While I never knew him, what I have learned about him comes from the stories of his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.

Grandpa Suggy spent his entire life in the Buckhorn Rd area of Lee County near Broadway. At the time of his birth, this was actually Moore County. Lee County did not come into being until the early 1900's. He was the second child of Caswell Suggs Harward (Howard) and Mary Adline Thomas. His father died when he was about 13 years old. The family was living in the edge of Harnett County at the time and I believe that Mary Adline moved her family back to Moore County near her parents. I have to note that this is my theory and as of yet, I have not confirmed it fully.

On 28 Dec 1879, Suggy married Emma Thomas (daughter of Mary Jane Thomas and James Lamar Sheppard--That's another story for another posting.) They had eight children: Ammie, Britton, Pearlie, Whitey, Connie, Clyde, Alberta, and Redin.

When I asked the older family generations about Granpa Suggy, one phrase repeatedly came out: He "never worked much". I'll confess, I'm not sure exactly what that means. I've also been told he liked to talk--alot. In his later years he used to sit on his front porch with a spitoon never far away.

Grandpa Suggy was a farmer and also a sawmill operator. From Lester Howard's journal, I learned that Grandpa Suggy had a still in which he made government approved turpentine. The process involved topping pine trees and turning the sap (?resin) into turpentine. According to grandson Otis Kelly, Grandpa Suggy gave up the sawmill/still when the still blew up. The cause of the explosion was never known. I do find it interesting the two of his grandsons both mentioned the unknown cause of the explosion. Makes one wonder what really happened.....

One little known story among my generations is that Grandpa Suggy had an illegitimate son named Bruce Douglas. His mother's identity is not definitively known. Suggy readily claimed Bruce as his son as confirmed by my aunt and cousins. Bruce moved to Georgia as a young man where he married and worked in and owned a turpentine plant. Pictures of Bruce show a strong resemblence to Grandpa Suggy and other male Howard cousins.

As many of you know, names and spellings of those names have fascinated me since I embarked on my genealogical journey. Grandpa Suggy's name is no exception. Starting with his last name first, he was fairly consistently known as a Harward in his early years. As he became a young man, I found he (or I should say "the record keepers") freely interchanged Harward and Howard. His middle name Suggs is after his father's middle name. Taking Suggs back further finds that his paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Suggs from Wake County, NC. I believe that his name Allen is after his father's brother Allen Mays Harward. As to the correct spelling of Allen, well like most of the names, I'm not sure of the original spelling. I've seen both Allen and Alan used. One last thing to note is that on his gravestone his name is carved as Suggs A Howard.

I look forward to learning more stories about Grandpa Suggy as I continue to visit with my cousins including those I know and those I've yet to meet.

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