Sometimes you have to do something

January 25, 2020

My parents and my in-laws are all deceased. My parents are far away in my hometown. My in-laws are not so far. I was suddenly seized with the notion that I should visit them for Christmas.

I took a longer lunch and drove to the Columbarium at Fripp Island. I had to call ahead of time and get a pass from the security gate. It’s a private island which means that it is a gated community.

Christmastime is HARD for me. We used to spend Christmas with my in-laws, and after Mr. X left, I was still invited for Christmas. His family knew what a scoundrel he was, and I and the children were included and he was not.

The pass was good for the rest of the day. I was sorely tempted to drive by their old house, but I only went to the columbarium. I get weepy and disgruntled enough for the whole season while everyone else are playing happy families. Plus there’s a coworker who is giving me attitude about taking longer than an hour for lunch, even though I have permission from my supervisor. Do you have things that you need to get done during the day that might require more than one hour or do you have someone to help you? Sometimes I need for people to show me a little grace instead of attitude.

The columbarium is a nice little private area with benches for rest and reflection. I had to look up the meaning of the word “columbarium. It seemed like it shouldn’t end with the phrase “bury ’em”, but that’s just the sound of it.

I have so many questions to ask them. Why didn’t either of you tell us that you had both been married before? Why did you pretend that you married each other in January of 1957 when you were really married in January of 1960? What happened that was so problematic that you concealed any history of your previous marriages? How did your parents go along with it all?

There were some folks next to them that I had met, but didn’t realize they were also deceased.

I had also met this lady. Her family donated the fountain in her memory.

I didn’t take any poinsettias with me. It was such a last minute trip I didn’t have time to sort that out.

I have been working on scanning all their old family photos. There’s a series of photos that indicate another family mystery.

And that’s a story for another day.

And Finally: David R. Densler

January 20, 2020

David died intestate. Fortunately for us Densler followers, we have probate.

There’s a problem with 2 slaves, Hector and June (possibly Jane). They are part of the estate, and they will not stay at any one place. This of course means I will need to check the newspapers to see if they were ever reported as runaways.

Does the DenslerFest end here? It should, since there are no more wills or probate records that I can find. However, this requires a day trip to Savannah to revisit some cemetery locations. I’ve reviewed the Densler burial records on the City of Savannah’s cemetery site and made screenshots of the ones that we’re interested in.

To be continued…

A Special Sweater for a Special Nugget

January 15, 2020

A coworker had a little hurricane baby about 4 months ago. I knitted her a baby afghan in a feather and fan pattern. In truth, it is the only pattern that I can construct without looking at written directions, and it looks complicated and lacy.

Actually I knitted 2 afghans. The first one seemed too small. Lots of times I have to do something not quite right once, or several, times to get the required result eventually. That could also be applied to my life and would be a chat for another day.

I bought maybe 5 skeins of yarn of Plymouth “Encore” for the new second afghan and added one to grow on. The 5 skeins turned out to be the perfect amount, which left one lonely little skein-and-a-half.

That became this.

It is the February Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Knitters Almanac.

I fiddled around with the construction before I knitted this sweet confection by knitting 5 other baby sweaters. Yes, five. I outdid myself in the research and development category. I hate the sewing-up part of sweater construction, and I devised a method of crocheting the seams together.

Lil Nugget is a long baby. Her parents are tall. Mum requested enough length to cover Nugget’s tummy. I knitted several sweaters in varying lengths and needle sizes and yarns to get the effect I wanted.

Nugget’s mommy thinks that she will have Nugget’s 6-month photos made in the sweater. Did you know that 6-month photos are a thing? I have been out of the baby business for a long time, and things have changed.

As far as I’m concerned, Nugget doesn’t ever have to wear the sweater. The journey was more fun than the destination.

Andrew Marshall, a Free Man of Color in Savannah

January 13, 2020

Georgia

Chatham County

In the name of God, Amen: I Andrew Marshall a free man of color of the City of Savannah, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament.

Item First. I commit my soul unto God, hoping for happiness in the world to come, and desire that my body be buried in my family vault in the graveyard in Savannah.

Item Second. I give devise and bequeath to my wife Sarah Marshall, the Southern half of lot number nineteen (19) Farm and Bryant Streets in the City of Savannah, with the improvements thereon; also my household and kitchen furniture, my four wheeled carriage and one horse to have and to hold the same for and during the term of her natural life, and after her death, to be equally divided between my sons Joseph and George , their heirs executors & administrators forever. (Grand children to represent their parents and take per Stirpes and not per Capita) and after the death of either of them without child or children, or representatives of children, then to the survivor his heirs, executors Administrators and assigns forever.

Item Third: I give devise and bequeath unto my son George Marshall the Northern Half of said lot number nineteen (19) containing a double stone building on Farm Street and a wooden building back of it in the lane, with all the improvements thereon to have and to hold the same to him his heirs executors Administrators and assigns forever. But should my said son George depart this life without leaving a child or children or representatives of children living at the time of his death, then immediately after his death to my wife Sarah Marshall, and to my son Joseph, so long as they both shall live, and after the death of my said wife Sarah, to my son, Joseph, his heirs executors Administrators and assigns forever —

Item Fourth – I give devise and bequeath to Georgiana the daughter of Cripy Houston Four shares of stock in the Marine and Fire Insurance Bank of the State of Georgia

Item Fifth – I give devise and bequeath unto my son Joseph Marshall Lot number Eleven (11) in that part of the City of Savannah, known as the village of St Gall with the improvements thereon, to have and to hold the same to him his heirs, executors Administrators and assigns forever.

Item Sixth. I give devise and bequeath  my silver watch, with all my wearing apparel unto my cousin Andrew, a slave now owned by Dr. Kollock.

Item Seventh. All the rest and residue of my property, not herein specifically bequeathed (and out of which I desire that all my debts may be paid) after the payment of my debts, I give devise and bequeath unto my wife Sarah, and to my sons Joseph and George to be equally divided between them their Heirs Executors Administrators and assigns forever, But should either of them die, without leaving a child or children or representatives of children, living at the time of their death then to the survivors or survivor of them, their and his heirs executors Administrators and assigns forever.

Item Eighth. I nominate constitute and appoint Frederick A. Tupper, John W. Anderson and Wylly Woodbrige Esqrs, Executors of this my last Will and Testament

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Thirtieth day of July in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty two.

Andrew Marshall  L S

Joseph Felt and Wylly Woodbridge vouched that they were each witnesses to the signature of Andrew Marshall on the will on April 6, 1857.

His residence was at Perry and Whitaker Streets. He died of consumption.

 

40153_B013353-00315

Buried in Laurel Grove South

40153_B013353-00316

From New York

From GenealogyBank, Augusta Chronicle, December 17, 1856:

Augusta_Chronicle_1856-12-17_2

A Black Man’s Funeral.

We announced some days ago the death, at Richmond, Virginia, of Andrew Marshall, the colored preacher, who had been ministering in holy things to the slave population of Savannah for nearly forth years. His remains, encased in a neat metalic coffin, were brought from Richmond, at the expense of his congregation, and yesterday was set apart at the First African Baptist Church for the funeral ceremonies of the lamented dead. Long before the hour appointed for the services, an immense throng without respect to color or condition, collected at the Church, the floor, aisles, galleries, and even steps and windows of which were densely packed. Hundreds, unable to gain admittance, were assembled in front and around the Church, while the street was completely blocked up with vehicles of every description.

At the appointed hour the body was taken from the residence of the deceased to the Church, and placed in front of the altar. After prayer, singing, and the reading of appropriate lessons from the scriptures, an eloquent and impressive discourse was preached by the Rev. Mr. Rambaut, formerly of the First Baptist Church, now on a visit to the city.

The services in the church having been concluded the body was returned to the hearse and the immense congregation formed in procession, the deacons and other officers of the various churches in front; next came the remains of the deceased, followed by the Colored Benevolent and Temperance Societies, and after them a long line of carriages, some fifty in number, and a multitude of pedestrians. The procession was a most solemn and imposing spectacle, and attracted much attention as it passed through the city. It moved up West Broad street and thence to Laurel Grove Cemetery, where the body was deposited in the family vault, with the usual ceremonies of the Baptist Church.

Andrew Marshall was, in many respects, a remarkable man. We are but little informed as to his early history, but learn that he was originally a slave, and having accumulated a considerable amount of money — his earnings in his own time, as the more industrious of our slaves seldom fail to do, purchased his freedom. His secular pursuit was that of a drayman, which he followed with energy and thrift, and laid up a comfortable support for himself and family, in his old age. His chief employment, however, for nearly a half century, was the Christian ministry, in which he acquired a large fund of scriptural lore, and exercised almost unbounded influence among his race by the truth and power of his sermons, and the piety of his life. He was, as before stated, the Pastor of the First African Baptist Church in this city, and though over a century in age, he continued his labors among his flock with unabated zeal up to the day of his death. He was greatly respected by all our citizens, and an idol among the large congregation of his own color so long under his pastoral care — a fact which no one can double who witnessed the deep solemnity and unfeigned grief that characterized the obsequies of yesterday. — Savannah Republican.

 

Good night, Marshall family. We’re thinking of you.

 

Dog Saves Infant, 1821

January 12, 2020

When I’m looking through the old files and newspaper articles, I get easily distracted. EASILY. The stories are so good.

Like this one…

Augusta_Chronicle_1821-05-17 DogSavesInfant

From the Augusta Chronicle, May 17, 1821, from GenealogyBank.

Remarkable preservation.–Mr. Geo. Kreps and family, of this town, emigrated last fall to Alabama. In crossing a river,  in the Indian nation, they mistook the ford, and the wagon and horses, with the contents, were suddenly immersed in the stream. In the agitation of the moment, Mrs. Kreps parted from her infant child, which was carried rapidly down the current. At that instant, a large dog, which had joined the family a few days before, sprung after the babe, overtook it just as it was sinking, and conveyed it safely to the shore. The horses also regained a footing, and the whole party was saved. The manner in which the dog had joined them was truly providential. They were resting by the road side, when he, “a perfect stranger” came up and fawned upon them; they returned his caresses, and he continued with them, their future benefactor.–Winchester Republican.

*****
We do not deserve dogs.

The Catalogue of Chatham Academy, 1832-1833

January 12, 2020

While looking for more Densler information on ancestry.com, I found this little jewel in its entirety.

The 3 Densler children of Frederick and Mary are mentioned and BONUS! William Starr Basinger, written as “Bassinger” which it often is, and gives us a clue as to the correction pronunciation.

CATALOGUE

OF THE

TRUSTEES, INSTRUCTERS AND STUDENTS

OF

CHATHAM ACADEMY,

SAVANNAH, GEO.

FROM NOVEMBER 5TH, 1832, TO MAY 5TH, 1833.

**SAVANNAH:

W. T. WILLIAMS,

1833

BOARD OF TRUSTEES.

REV. EDWARD NEUFVILLE, PRESIDENT.

GEORGE GLEN, ESQ. SECRETARY.

WM. THORNE WILLIAMS, ESQ. TREASURER.

RICHARD W. HABERSHAM, ESQ.

DR. wILLIAM C. DANIELL.

BENJAMIN E. STILES, ESQ.

ANTHONY BARCLAY, ESQ.

RICHARD R. CUYLER, ESQ.

HON. WILLIAM LAW.

 

Louisa F. Alexander and Sarah R. Alexander, from Wilkes Co., Washington, Georgia. Louisa married Jeremy Gilmer and Sarah married Alexander Robert Lawton.

William S. Bas(s)inger from Savannah. He would have been about 5 years old.

Sisters Mary W. Densler and Rebecca A. Densler from Savannah, both of whom are mentioned in their mother’s will of 1852. Their brother Edwin W. Densler is noted here, but isn’t mentioned in the will because he died in 1843. There was another young son named William S. Densler who was born and died in 1815. I found him by chance while looking for another William Densler.

RECAPITULATION.

Whole number of Females, 153

Whole number of Males, 84

Total, 237

REMARKS.

It is the intention of the Principals of this Institution, to afford every facility to young ladies and gentlemen for acquiring a thorough and practical education.

The Principals will devote their whole time to the benefit of their pupils, assisted, in the departments of instruction, by competent helps. It is the object of the Trustees to afford every facility, for the successful prosecution of study, and the attainment, in the Female Department, of a good female education; in the Male Department, to prepare young gentlemen for college, or give them as good an education as can be furnished by the best high schools.

The location of the Academy is airy, commanding a delightful prospect. Its apartments are spacious and pleasant, fitted up with convenience and elegance. Maps, Globes, and Chemical and Philosophical Apparatus, will soon be provided.

The pupils are so classes, as to provide for their receiving instruction from several teachers, by way of explanations and illustrations. No pains will be spared to make them understand the studies to which they attend, and to induce in them the habit of thinking for themselves. A course of Chemical lectures will be delivered during the next fall and winter terms, by one of the teachers. It is very desirable that those, who enter the school, be present at the commencement of the term.

This city, in the healthfulness of its situation, in the moral and religious character of its citizens, and its easy communication with almost every part of the State, particularly of the low country, holds out many inducements to parents, who wish to send their sons and daughters abroad for instruction.

Tuition in the Primary Department, per term of 12 weeks — $6 00

Do. in the Junior do. — 8 00

Do. in the Senior do. — 10 00

Do. for the Classics, — 12 50

Do. in addition to any of the above English Studies, for the Classics, Mathematics, &c. — 2 50

Do. in the French Department, — 8 00

I haven’t found much information online as to when the Chatham Academy began. I’ll poke around some more and if/when I find out more, I’ll add that here.

The Will of Mary “Polly” Marston Pearson Densler

January 8, 2020

I first learned about Aunt Polly Densler from Leslie’s family Bible. If you were reading the blog back in 2014, you’d have learned about her, too. She married Frederick Densler, and that was about all we knew about her, except that she was Leslie’s 3xgreat-grandmother’s sister.

Recently after blogging about the new/old marker at Laurel Grove North by the Densler crypt, I started researching this family again.

I found Aunt Polly’s will and the 1850 slave schedule showing that she had 5 slaves. She was enumerated next to her son-in-law Carroll Cloud.

Take a look at the will and see what you think.

State of Georgia

Chatham County

In the name of God, Amen. I Mary M. Densler, widow, of the City of Savannah, in the County of Chatham and State of Georgia, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and declare this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking and annulling all other wills heretofore by me at any time made.

First. I direct that all my just debts be paid

secondly. I give, devise and bequeath unto my Executors hereinafter to be named my lot of land in the City of Savannah, in the County of Chatham and State of Georgia aforesaid upon which I now reside, and known as Lot Number (6) Six, Frederick Tything Derby Ward, together with all the improvements thereon; also, the following Slaves, viz: Selina, Martha and Eugenia, Dick and Dennis, and the future issue and increase of the female Slaves; In Trust Nevertheless, for the sole separate and exclusive use of my daughter, Rebecca Ann Bealle, for and during the term of her natural life and not subject to the debts, contracts or engagements of her present, or of any future husband, with whom she may intermarry and from and after the death of my said daughter, Rebecca Ann, then in further trust for the sole separate and exclusive use of my daughter, Mary W. Cloud for and during the term of her natural life, — if she should survive the said Rebecca Ann –, and not subject to the debts, contracts or engagements of her present, or of any future husband, with whom she may intermarry; and from and after the death of the survivor of my daughters then in further trust for my grandchildren, Tallulah and Frederick, the children of the said Rebecca Ann and of any and every other child or children of the said Rebecca Ann, and Mary W. that may hereafter be born to them and each of them, and who may be living at the time of the death of the survivor of the said Rebecca Ann and Mary W. to each of all my said grandchildren – if more than one – share and share alike, to them, their heirs, executors administrators, and assigns forever; But if at the time of the death of the survivor of my said daughters, neither of them shall have any children or lineal representatives of children then living, — which lineal representatives, I direct, shall stand in the place and stead of their immediate ancestor or parent per capita – then, I give devise and bequeath the above property and the issue and increase of the female slaves, unto my neices Mrs. Jane S. Bassinger and Miss Adeline R. Starr, share and share alike, as tenants in common and not in joint tenants, to them, their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever. Thirdly, I give and bequeath to my niece Adeline R. Starr the sum of Five hundred dollars, and to Mrs Sarah Starr the Wife of Charles H. Starr, for her sole separate and exclusive use the sum of Three hundred Dollars. Fourthly, I give and bequeath to William S. Basinger the sum of Three hundred dollars, to hold the same in trust for my negro woman Selina, as a reward for her care and attention to me in seasons of sickness, the interest thereof to be paid to her in monthly installments, or as the said trustee shall find most convenient, and no further trust for her children after her death. Fifthly I give and bequeath all my plate to my daughters, Rebecca Ann and Mary W. to be divided equally between them, and I desire that they select such articles of my other household furniture as they may prefer, leaving the residue to be sold to assist in the payment of the legacies above given and bequeathed. Sixthly. I give, devise and bequeath all the rest and residue of my property that I may died seized, possessed of or entitled to, to my daughters Mary W. Cloud, and Rebecca Ann Bealle share and share alike for the sole separate and exclusive use of each of them, to them, to their heirs executors, administrators, and assigns forever.

And lastly, I nominate and appoint Israel K. Tefft and William H Cuyler M D the executors of this my last will and testament

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, at Savannah aforesaid, this second day of August in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty two.

Mary M. Densler  L S

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the above testatrix on the day and year and at the place above mentioned, as and for her last will and testament, in the presence of us, who,at her request, in her presence and in the presence of each other, have hereunto set our hands as witnesses.

Wm. W. Lincoln, Homer W. Denslow, R. H. Howell

State of Georgia

Chatham County

Court of Ordinary

Present – John Bilbo Esq, Ordinary for the County of Chatham, Personally appeared William W. Lincoln and Richard H. Howell, two of the subscribing witnesses to the annexed instrument of writing, purporting to be the last Will and Testament of Mary M. Densler, late of Chatham County deceased, who being duly sworn, deposeth and saith that they were present and did see the said instrument of writing duly executed by the said Mary M. Densler, And deponent

 

further saith that the said Mary M. Densler at the time of executing the said instrument of writing was to the best of deponents knowledge and belief, of sound and disposing mind, memory, and understand; and that they William W. Lincoln and Richard H. Howell (the deponents) and Homer W. Denslow in the presence of each other and of the said Mary W. Densler and at her request, signed their names as witnesses to the due execution of the same.

Sworn to before me this sixth day of April 1857

John Bilbo  O. C. C.

*****

W. W. Lincoln

R. H. Howell

*****

We Isreal K. Tefft and William H. Cuyler do solemnly swear that this writing contains the true last Will of the within named Mary M. Densler deceased, so for as we know or believe; and that we will well and truly execute the same, by paying first the debts, and then the legacies contained in the said will, as far as her goods and chattels will thereunto extend and the law charge us; and that we will make a true and perfect inventory of all such good and chattels — So Help me God.

Sworn to before me this Sixth day of April 1857

John Bilbo O. C. C.

*****

J. K. Tefft

Wm. H. Cuyler

 

1850 Slave Schedule for Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia shows the following:

50-year-old female black

25-year-old female mulatto

2-year-old female black

22-year-old male mulatto

4-year-old male black

*****

Inventory? I wonder where that is…

The 1790 Estate of Henry Densler

January 6, 2020

Here’s where things get interesting. If Henry is the father of Barbara and Susannah and Michael and 3 other unnamed sons, and Barbara says that her beloved brother is Frederick, doesn’t that mean that Michael and Frederick are brothers? I think so, too.

I’ll come back and transcribe these. I have found a marvelous court case involving a woman named Selina Munroe who was formerly a slave of Mrs. Mary Densler. She is suing Leslie’s great-grandfather William Starr Basinger who was the custodian of an account which was assigned to him at the death of his great-aunt Mrs. Mary Pearson Densler.

The case went all the way to the Georgia state Supreme Court. Wow. I’m almost speechless.

The Will of Barbara Densler

January 5, 2020

So many Denslers, so little time.

Here’s the will of Barber Densler who died in 1804 in Savannah, Georgia. She says that she is a spinster, that her deceased father is Henry Densler, that her sister is Susannah, and that her beloved brother Frederick is her executor.

I also found her record of death. Y’all, she had cancer of the face for many years.

She was the “sister of Densler, Chair Maker” and she died at the home of her aunt.

Now let’s look for the will of Henry “Heinrich” Densler to see if that can shed some light on these relationships.

Good night, Barbara. We’re thinking of you.

The Probate of Ann Densler

January 5, 2020

Sometimes when there is no will…

There’s still probate.

Perhaps there is a will but it’s not online yet.

A probate record is sometimes more rich in detail that a will. We can see what possessions a person owned, who purchased the possessions, and who were contemporaries of the deceased. In a record prior to the emancipation era, we can find out the names of any slaves, male or female, and their worth, which can give us an idea of their physical condition and/or skill level.

I’ll have to go over this probate record in more detail LATER, because I have found a cache of Densler will and probate records. I can say for certain that Michael is Frederick’s brother. At least, that is my stance until someone proves differently.

Thus story is not going to end for a while.