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.