Sunday, November 28, 2010

Getting To Know George

George Howard (Harward)


When researching genealogy, one ancestor in particular will sometimes catch your attention and you just must find out all you can about that person. You must tell his or her story. That happened to me with George Howard (Harward), my great x 4 grandfather.

What is it about George that caught my attention? I'm not really sure. It could be the fact that I actually found quite a bit of information on him at the NC State Archives as well as other local NC sources. It could be that I can literally walk where he walked. I really think my interest was picqued when I could not account for 9 years of his life (1832-1841). I may be the only person who wonders what George did during these nine years, but I do. Come, follow George's story with me.

George Howard (Harward) was born 15 Oct 1791 to James and Rosannah (Barbee) Harward. [Note: The surname switches back and forth in the records between Howard and Harward. The same record might have the name spelled both ways within its content.] The Howard/Harward family lived in Wake County, NC in the Panther Creek area. George lived in his father's household until his marriage in 1817. On 17 Jan 1817, George married Elizabeth Sugg(s) in Wake County, NC. Their marriage bond in on file in the NC State Archives.

George and his young family do not show up in the 1820 federal census. Based on information from the family Bible, George and Elizabeth had three children by this time: Christian (b. 1817), James A (b. 1818) and Allen Mays (b. 1820). From this I concluded he had moved elsewhere or he was not considered to be a head of household where he was living. I tend to think George was still living in the area of his father and was perhaps considered part of his father's household. This is a point that still needs further research on my part.

During the 1820's and early 1830's the Howard family continued to grow. In all, George and Elizabeth had ten children. In addition to the three sons above were also: James Calvin (b. 1822), Sarah Ann (b. 1823), Utilda (b. 1825), Susannah (b. 1827), Caswell Suggs (b. 1828), Elizabeth (b. 1830), and Julia (b. 1833). Unfortunately Christian, James A, and Sarah Ann did not live to adulthood. Both Allen Mays and James Calvin were lost in the Civil War leaving young families behind. His son Caswell died a couple of months before him in Aug 1871. In all George out lived six of his ten children and his wife Elizabeth. I am sure he drew upon his strong faith to sustain him through his many losses.

I "lost" George in the federal census records for 1820 and 1840. I turned to the tax records for Wake County, NC. The reading of these records can be tedious, but tax records can provide a wealth of information. In 1824 and 1825, George is living in the same tax district as his father and paying tax only on himself. He was paying no land tax. In 1826 George has moved to another tax district in and moves yet again in 1827. Throughout, George and his family continue to live in Wake County. 1831 is the last tax record in Wake County recorded for George Howard. He does not appear in the Wake County tax records for 1832 or later. An important piece of information was found in these tax records. George was not a land owner in Wake County. He never paid any tax on land in Wake County. This is consistent with my finding no land records for George in Wake County.

George's timeline skips ahead to 1841 where I found him in Moore County, NC (now Lee County). In 1889, the Moore County courthouse burned destroying most of the county records. Some county records do exist though finding you ancestor in them can be hit or miss. Church records became a source of further information on George. In 1841, George is listed on the enrollment of Muddy Springs Baptist Church in Moore County, NC. (This church is today known as Juniper Springs Baptist Church.) The History of Juniper Springs Baptist Church by Malinda Bradley and Eugenia Thompson using church records show George and his wife Elizabeth were active members of this church. George served as an early clerk of the church and their son Caswell served as one of its first deacons and later a minister. According to family oral history, George and Elizabeth are buried at Juniper Springs Baptist Church though their grave markers are no longer present.

In 1850 George is listed in the federal census record with Elizabeth and their five youngest children. He is listed as a farmer and owning land valuing $282. In 1852 Moore County tax records, George was listed as paying taxes on 446 acres of land.

George wrote his will 20 Oct 1869 and it was entered into court for probate 5 Nov 1871. George's will did survive the Moore County Courthouse fire. In it he mentions his wife Margaret. Margaret is George's second wife. Elizabeth Howard died Mar 1854. George names his executor as George Cole. George Cole was a friend and church member who knew George Howard back in Wake County. George's son Caswell and his grandson Sugg (Allen Sugg Howard) are both mentioned as receiving part of his estate. His other living children are mentioned, but not named, as having received their provisions during George's lifetime.

So, where was George between 1832 and 1841? What prompted him to leave Wake County and move to Moore County? Was it the ability to acquire land? Did he stop somewhere in between first? All are questions I look to answer. Will the answers change my ancestry? No, but the answers will help me tell George's story.

Tombstone Tuesday Stella Holyfield White

Stella Holyfield White
Jan 20, 1895
Jan 19, 1977
Stella H White was my great-grandmother. She is buried at Salem Fork Baptist Church outside of Dobson, NC.
I remember Grandma White well, but the memories are from a child's perspective. (She passed away when I was 11. Oops! I think I just told my age.) I remember as being old, very old. When my family visited her when she was at my grandparents house, I would share a bedroom with her. I always hoped to fall asleep fast, because she snored. If Grandma White fell asleep first, I would be awake for a long time.....

I was always fascinated watching Grandma White fix her hair in the mornings. She had long hair that she would brush smooth. They she would braid it and wrap the braid around her head. She secured it with funny looking hair pins. What I could never figure out was how she did it without ever looking in a mirror! To this day, I cannot fix my hair without looking in the mirror.

It's funny what a child remembers.

There are many others in my family who knew Grandma White much better than I. I treasure their stories about her. I look forward to learning and sharing more.

Friday, November 19, 2010

On This Date....

November 19, 1850:

The Raleigh Register went from being a weekly publication to North Carolina's first daily publication. It apparently was not very successful as it lasted only two months.

(Source: Lew Powell, On This Day in North Carolina (Winston-Salem, North Carolina: John H Blair Publisher, 1996), 216

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Uncovering" an Ancestor

While searching the Salem Fork Baptist Church cemetery for my ancestors, there was one grave marker that could not be found. The grave of Poppa White, otherwise known as James Abe White. Poppa White was my great-grandfather, wife of Stella Holyfield White and father of Cecile White Howard. I knew he was buried in this cemetery, but I just could not find him. After searching where I thought he should be and where I thought he shouldn't be, I went and stood at my great-grandmother's grave (Stella H White) and just looked. No Poppa. I stepped to my left and again just looked. Still nothing, but shouldn't Poppa be next to his wife? I began to think the his marker must be missing. My husband began to poke around and then we found it. The grass had completely grown over the marker, hiding it from view completely. We pulled the grass off of the marker and cleaned it with water and an old towel we had in the car. James Abe White's presence in the cemetery is once again visible. I shudder to think his presence there could have been lost completely.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Off To Dobson

So, off to Dobson we went.......

My maternal grandmother was Cecile Clara White Howard. She grew up in Dobson, Surry County, NC and attended Salem Fork Baptist Church. A short drive from Mount Airy, and I arrived at Salem Fork Baptist Church. I knew at least three generations of my White family ancestors were buried in the church cemetery. I had also been told that there were many Whites buried in this cemetery, but not all "were our Whites". (I expect they may be "ours" along collateral lines.) On that beautiful fall day, I accounted for all my known ancestors in the cemetery and a few more.

Salem Fork Baptist Church was founded on 14 Sep 1907. Among the charter members were "T. J. Whit" [Thomas J White] and "Jona Whit" [Joanna White], my great-great grandparents. Thomas (1851-1922) and Joanna (1852-1910) White are both buried in the church cemetery.

Salem Fork Baptist Church

Salem Fork Baptist Church Cemetery

Grave Marker of Joanna and T J White

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mount Airy, NC

Any guesses as to where I was last weekend?

If you guessed Mount Airy, NC or even Mayberry, you would be correct. Mount Airy, NC is the real life NC town on which Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show is based. It is located in the foothills of the NC mountains. I must say that that area of North Carolina is absolutely beautiful this time of year.

As you can imagine, Mayberry paraphernalia related to the TV show is prevalent in Mt. Airy. Having grown up in NC and watched the Andy Griffith Show, that part of the town didn't really draw me as I thought it would. I was more intrigued by the architecture of the downtown area and the older houses along the main street. Of course, the little country churches with their old cemeteries were a fascination to me.

This trip was not about genealogy, at least not at first. It was a trip to just "get away" and relax. We planned and did a lot of geocaching. In the process we discovered several beautiful parks and areas off the beaten path in and around Mount Airy.

And then my husband asked, "Don't you have family from Dobson?" Off to Dobson we went......

Monday, November 1, 2010

On This Date....

I found a nifty little book on my recent trip to the library. No, this was not a genealogy related trip, but a fiction seeking sort of trip. If I read too much history and/or genealogy material before I go to bed at night, I wake up at two in the morning trying to solve a genealogical puzzle. Sometimes I just have to read something that does not pertain to genealogy. Does this happen to anyone else? Anyway.....back to the book (which actually is a history book!).

The book is entitled On This Day in North Carolina by Lew Powell. It has lots of interesting tidbits about NC history separated out by the date they occurred. I thought it might be fun way to share some of my state's history.

November 1, 1935:

Did you know that on this date motor vehicle drivers were required to be licensed?

(Source: Lew Powell, On This Day in North Carolina (Winston-Salem, North Carlina: John F Blair Publisher, 1996), 205
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