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Are You My Cousin?: May 2009

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!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

George Harward

George Harward was born in Wake County, NC on 15 Oct 1791 to James Harward and Rosannah Barbee. He married Elizabeth Sugg of Wake County on 17 Jan 1817 according their marriage bond on file at the NC Archives. George first shows up as head of household in the 1810 federal census for Chatham County. During the 1820 and 1830 federal records, George and his family are in Chatham and Wake counties respectively. [Note: Beginning in 1769, the Harward/Howard family lived in an area of NC that was Orange County. In 1771, Wake County was formed. Our ancestors lived close the border of Wake and Chatham counties. Based on the county line developments, the family appears to have moved, but actually they stayed put and the county line moved. This holds true for most of our Harward ancestors in this area.]

Back to George...

George and Elizabeth had 9 children: Christian, James, Allen Mays, James Calvin, Matilda, Susannah, Caswell, Elizabeth and Julia. The family was in Moore County in 1841 as George is found in the church records of Juniper Springs Baptist Church. The Harward family was very active in the church and in 1857, George was a delegate to the Sandy Creek Association meeting at Bear Creek, NC.

George's first wife Elizabeth died 4 Mar 1854. He remarried to Margaret Oliver. It is Margaret his mentions in his will written in Oct 1869. I believe that both George and his first wife Elizabeth are buried at Juniper Springs Baptist Church, however I was unable to find their headstones. Otis Kelly (George's great-great grandson) told me in an interview that both are buried there, but their stones are missing. He stated that they are buried on the "church" side of Buckhorn Rd.

This little church played an integral part of two generations of Harward/Howards. I look forward to researching it more.

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Caswell and Mary Adline Howard/Harward

Reverend Caswell Sugg Harward and his wife Mary Adline (Thomas) Harward were the parents of Allen Sugg Howard. Caswell was born in Chatham County, NC on 29 Aug 1828. We do know that his family was in Moore County (now Lee County), NC by 1841 as his father George is listed in the early records of Juniper Springs Baptist Church. I estimate Caswell moved to this area when he was between 11-13 years of age. He married Mary Adline Thomas (b. 1838) on 7 Dec 1853. They had 8 children: Joel Brantley (died as a child), Allen Suggs, Martha Reaves, George Artemus (died as a child), Mary Henrietta, Ann Elizabeth, James Robert, and Healon Caswell. Of interest, Healon was born after her father's death at a young age.

Juniper Springs Baptist Church on Buckhorn Road outside of Sanford, played a large role in the life of Caswell. His father was one of the church's early recorders. Caswell himself was an early deacon and later became the minister of the church from 1863-1868. By the 1870 federal census, Caswell and his young family were living in Harnett County. His occupation was listed as minister. He died 4 Aug 1871 possibly of typhoid fever. Caswell is buried in the cemetery of Baptist Chapel Church on Buckhorn Road in Sanford. In 1871, this was most likely Thomas family land as the church was not located at this location until 1913. This accounts for the only other "old" graves being that of Thomas family members.

There is a wonderful story about Caswell that is still known in the family. The version I re-tell here is from Whitey's Howard Kelly's side of the family, written by Joan Vivian Kelly Childress:

During the Civil War, Yankees were camped out along the Cape Fear River. A very uneducated negro who worked on Caswell's farm made a statement that he would kill any Yankee that stepped into his yard. Yankees heard this, went to his home and took all his food and mule and captured the man, leaving his wife and children behind.

The next day Caswell went to the camp and called for the Captain. He told the captain that the man did not know anything about the Civil War. He did not know the Yankees were fighting to set the negro free. After Caswell had prayer and preaching, the captain gave the negro back his food and mule, and sent him home.

Caswell always invited the Yankees to dine with him. However, he buried most of his food and valuables!

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day -- James Harward

Wake County Court House Marker
Today's picture is of an historical marker located here in Wake County, NC near downtown Raleigh. It marks the area where the first courthouse of Wake County was built in 1771 when Wake County was formed. During the Revolutionary War, this is where troops gathered and organized before heading out to war. This is where our ancestor James Harward gathered with others under Capt Woodson Daniel before marching off to SC and GA.

I have a copy of James Harward's pension application he made in 1832. It is a multi-page application detailing many of his experiences. James was actually drafted into service on three separate occasions. In 1779, he was a drummer under Capt Woodson Daniel and in service for 6 months. He would have been about 19 years old. In 1781, he was in service for 3 months as a shoemaker in Hillsborough since he was a "shoemaker by trade". His third and final service was under Capt Solomon Wood for three months in 1782. Under Capt Wood, James was part of a light horse brigade. This tells us that James was well off enough to have his own horse since soldiers in the horse brigades provided their own horses.

I realize I should provide a little background on James and where he fits into the family tree. James is my great x 5 grandfather [Lester, Connie, Suggy, Caswell, George, James]. He was born 28 Sept 1760, most likely in Virginia. He married Rosannah Barbee (b. 1756) in Wake County, NC on 8 Apr 1786. (Rosannah is a descendant of the prominent Barbee family of Orange, Chatham and Wake Counties. The Barbee family is well documented and the State Library of NC has the books other genealogists have written.) James and Rose had 6 children: Myrick, Wyatt, Susannah, William, George, and James Jr. Their son George Harward (my great x 4 grandfather) eventually migrated to Moore County which today is Lee County.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting James Harward. I have studied him much since I began the family history and in many ways know him better than my neighbors. One of my areas of research currently is determining who his parents were. I have a working theory with quite a bit of circumstantial evidence, but I (and other researchers) just can't quite prove it. One day.....
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Friday, May 22, 2009

More Family Photos

Enjoy these photos of the Talbott family!

Crafton Talbott
This is the earliest picture I have of Crafton.

Bossy Talbott
Somehow the height did not make down my side of the family.

Crafton Talbott with baby Lisa

Elma and Crafton Talbott as children
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Family Photos

Walter, Lester, Jewel, Clayton Howard

As I began this family history project almost three years ago, I have been fortunate enough to have collected copies of many family photos. I view them frequently as I put family groups together. It's also fun to look for family traits passed through the generations. One of the reasons I started this blog was to share information and stories about our ancestors that would be lost if not shared with current generations. This is also a great way to share the photos that have been gathered from different cousins. Today, I am posting photos of the Howard family. Enjoy!

Connie, Ammie, and Suggy Howard
I see a strong resemblence of Grandaddy (Lester) to Grandpa Suggy on this picture.

Grandpa Suggy and his sister Aunt Betts (Elizabeth)

Clyde, Pearlie, Connie, Bitton, and Whitey
I am always seeking new photos and hope to get as many digitalized as possible. If anyone has photos they'd like to share, please feel free to e-mail me.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

National Genealogical Society Conference

Guess where I was last week! The National Genealogical Society held their Family History Conference here in Raleigh. For four days, I attended lectures, browsed the exhibit hall, and made new friends. There were over 1400 attendees. I even have my own official "networking" card. If you ever doubted my passion for genealogy before, you can put those doubts aside.

The information I learned in the 20 lectures I attended will prove to be invaluable. I've learned a lot about using the computer in researching family histories that will help me in my "real" life as well. I also am excited to have learned new ways to research the family when standard records are not available or ancestors seem to be just missing. In short, I'll be researching their neighbors, friends and collateral ancestors. I am amazed at all the places our ancestors may have left clues to their existence.

On the first day of the conference, I sat down to eat lunch with several other women. As we compared notes on our ancestors, I discovered that one of the women is researching the Rosser family of Lee/Moore County. We've since shared information and we have some of the same people in our trees. While my direct Harward and Maddox lines do not have Rossers in it, there are Rossers that married into the family of various cousins. What a small world!

I'm sure it will take me a little while to process all that I've learned. I will be reviewing the information I currently have in my family trees and focus on fill in missing information. I hope to plan some research trips to look at church records as well as some more interviews with family. For today, it's back to real life. As long as nobody asks me what year it is, I should be okay.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

St Peter's Parish

St. Peter's Parish, New Kent County, VA
Today I will introduce you to a place prominent in my (our) family history. St Peter's Parish is located not far from Richmond in New Kent County, VA. It was established on 29 Apr 1679 and continues to be an active parish today. It is also the oldest church in the Diocese of Virginia. It is the church where Martha Dandridge Custis married her second husband George Washington on 6 Jan 1759, thus earning the nickname "The First Church of the First Lady". So, what does all this mean to us? Descendants from both sides of my family are listed in the parish records.
Based on the research by Betty Collie and Robert King in their book The Collie Family, the Richardson family of Halifax and Pittsylvania Counties, VA trace back to Skip Richardson of New Kent County, VA. Skip and his wife Margaret are believed to be the probable great-grandparents of Elijah Richardson (my great x 4 grandfather). The line of descent looks something like this: Esther Lee, Daniel, George, Elijah, Thomas Jr, Thomas Sr, Skip. Richardsons show up in the St Peter's Parish vestry book as early as the 1720's documenting Skip Richardson's children's births. By the time of the 1782 Halifax County census, it appears that Thomas Jr and his family were living in Halifax County, having followed other family members who were already there.
In their book above, Betty Collie and Robert King present very detailed and well documented information about the Richardson family genealogy. The above information is from their research, not my own. If you ever get the opportunity to read their book, I highly recommend it. I have not found any more copies available to purchase, but many historical and/or genealogy libraries have copies. On an interesting note, I found myself listed in their book! I suppose I went so far back I found myself.
The Maddox family are also found among the parish records. Our earliest known ancestor was John Maddox born 1667 in Wales and died 1718 in St Peter's Parish. His wife Margaret's death is also listed in the vestry book. Several of their children's early 1700's births are listed in the parish's vestry book. The Maddoxes left New Kent in the 1720's and moved to Goochland Co, VA and then between 1774/1777, David Maddox moved the family to the Cape Fear River in Chatham County, NC . Descendants still live the area today. Why the family left VA for NC is not known. To give a perspective, the line of descent (maybe ascent?) is Mattie Maddox, James T, Calvin, Tarlton, David, John, John.
Connecting the NC Maddoxes with the VA Maddoxes is circumstantial. Research back that far can be hard to confirm and I would like to have more solid evidence connecting David and John Maddox. Some researchers disagree with the connecting John Sr and John Jr. I suppose that's what makes all this so fun!
I hope you enjoyed this post and I did not just muddy the waters. Walking where your ancestors walked 300 years ago can be humbling.
Back View of St Peter's Parish

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Joseph Merritt Talbott

Joseph Merritt Talbott was born 15 Oct 1861 to John B Talbott and Sarah Owen in Halifax County, VA. He was the first child from this marriage, born prior to his father's service in the Civil War. Joe Merritt suffered a stroke and was bedridden for approximately 5 years prior to his death. He passed away in South Boston, VA on 24 Dec 1950. His son Bossy cared for both him and his wife during their final years. He and his wife are buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in South Boston, VA

Joe Merritt married Rosa Bowen of Omega, VA on 13 Feb 1883. In 1918 he bought what the family refers to as the "big house" where he and Rosa lived until their deaths. Prior to 1918, federal census records show the family living in the Halifax County, VA in 1900 and Mecklenburg County, VA in 1910. The 1890 federal census was destroyed in a fire, however, I would assume they were living in the same area of Virginia at that time as well.

Joe Merritt and Rosa raised 8 children on their farm: Nannie, Boss Henry, Charlie, Margie, Otis, Leavita, Mrytle, and Walter (Jack). Below is a picture of the "big house" on Old Cluster Springs Rd. taken from across the road. To the left is the barn where my father used to go every day to milk the cow.

As I write this post, I realize I need to fill in more on the stories of Joe Merritt and his wife Rosa. I have tried to research Rosa's family, however, have been unable to get beyond her parents. I know they are there and I'll eventually track them down.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

John B Talbott

Today I introduce you to John B. Talbott. The "B" appears to stand for Bunyan though the spelling may have been Bunyion. A few researchers think the "B" could have been for Blanks, his mother's maiden name. John was also known as "Grandaddy John" by the younger generations.

John B was born 20 Nov 1836 and died at the age of 87 on 24 Jan 1924. He is buried at Harmony Methodist Church in Alton, VA with a Civil War headstone marking his grave. John B married Sarah Frances Owen (1826-AFT 1910) before 5 Sept 1860. They lived and farmed in Halifax County, VA and had four children: Joseph Merritt (1861), John Robert (1868), Sarah Elizabeth (1869), and Geneva (1873).

Of interest, John B had a step-son named William. In the 1860 census, William is listed as being 11 years old and the son of John (age 24) and Sarah Talbott (age 29). William was Sarah's son prior to marriage and appears to have been born out of wedlock. William appears to have been William Marsalis Owen (also known as Bill) and at some point moved to Kentucky where he married (several times) and raised a family. There are stories circulating in our family about both Bossy and John B travelling to Kentucky. It was while in Kentucky that John B obtained the revolver he used in the Civil War.

Barbara Elliott was one of William's descendants and researched this line of the family. She was in contact with Aunt Elma regarding the family history and I have the correspondence that Elma saved. I have tried, but have been unable to contact Barbara. I believe that she may have passed away in the early 2000's. Hopefully, I can find one of her family members and fill in the story futher.

As mentioned earlier, John B did fight in the Civil War. He was part of Wright's Co, VA Heavy Artillery unit for the Confederacy also known as Halifax Artillery. He enlisted as a private on 18 Mar 1862. According to his pension record, John B sustained a "lung injury" during the war. I'm working on getting a copy of his pension record and hope to update you more on his war experience.

Alas, I have no picture of John B, though I would definitely like to see what he looked like. Hopefully, some day I'll find someone who has a copy. Likely any pictures were handed down through the females as they tended to be the ones who held on to such things.


Friday, May 1, 2009

In Search of the Cherokee Grandmother

Like many of my cousins, I grew up hearing the story that in generations past, we had a grandmother who was a full blooded Cherokee Indian and an herbal medicine woman. (I think that's the correct term.) The stories were vague and no one seemed to know exactly who she was. As I began my search into our genealogical history, this was one mystery I definitely wanted to solve. And, in truth, most of my cousins have asked about her at some point. Who was she? What side of the family was she on? Can we join the Cherokee rolls and be eligible for some of the tribe's casino revenue?

In short, I haven't found evidence of a Cherokee grandmother in our lines and frankly, I am doubtful she exists. Below are some of my thoughts on why I cannot find her in our history.

I know that both Grandaddy (Lester) and Big Grandaddy (Connie) both told this story. Lester truly believed in it. Often the dark hair and high cheekbones of the various relatives were sited as some of the evidence of Indian heritage. These features in the Howard siblings may well have come from the Maddox side of the family. As I've seen more pictures of the Maddoxes, I see the dark hair and high cheekbones in the line. The Maddoxes are of Welsh descent.

I asked other Howard cousins (children of Whitey Howard and descendants of James Robert Howard) and they have never heard of this story. In fact, they looked completely puzzled that I would even ask.

Oral history is a wonderful thing, however, I was looking for factual evidence. I searched basic genealogical records to no avail. The Howard/Harward line is solidly established and no ancestor of Indian descent is found. I then began to look at Emma Thomas Howard's family line. As discussed in an earlier post, her father is widely believed to have been Dr. James Lamar Sheppard. Oral history vaguely indicates that the Cherokee grandmother was from the Sheppard side of the family. I did research the basic line of descent for James Lamar Sheppard. His mother was Mary Dalrymple who was born in Scotland. Dr Sheppard's grandmother was Elizabeth Sheppard (unknown maiden name). She along with her husband John Sheppard left NC at some point and moved to Georgia. According to the LDS records, she died in Chattahoochee Co, GA in 1862. Unconfirmed information shows her burial at a primitive Baptist church. It's possible she could be the Cherokee grandmother, though it appears she was no longer in NC at about the time that Emma was born.

I did learn a few interesting tidbits along the way. If our Cherokee grandmother does exist, she likely may have been a Lumbee Indian. Back during late 1800's and early 1900's, "Cherokee" was sometimes used as a generic term for any native American. Also, in the sandhills of NC, the Lumbees were more prevalent while the Cherokees were in the western part of the state.

One other possible reason for the difficulty in finding our Cherokee grandmother may simply be the fact that at this time in history, celebrating one's native American heritage was not a popular thing to do. In fact, by some this would have been considered an interracial marriage and the heritage hidden and not discussed.

As I've posted about Emma Thomas Howard and our "Cherokee grandmother" I see the need to explore the Sheppard connection more thoroughly. I'd like to see if any of our oral history matches up their oral history. Talking with Sheppard descendants could provide some interesting information. As always, it seems I have more questions and mysteries than I had when I started out!