Archive for May, 2016

The Augustus Barie Tenant House

May 30, 2016

Sugar and I are in Savannah on a day trip to reconnoiter for the upcoming family reunion, and to fulfill my agenda. 

I’m researching Isabella Graham, and I found a city directory that has her living at 321 Liberty Street, east, in 1898. 

I believe that she was employed by Augustus Barie. 

Why do I think that she works for Augustus and not Claud? 

Because Augustus resides there, and Claud merely boards there. 

Now, there’s the issue of the Augustus Barie Tenant House. I don’t know what this means? Is this an apartment building he built directly next door attached to his house? It doesn’t look like slum housing. Was he a philanthropist? People, I don’t have all the answers. 


Now, I’m off to find out what this tenant house is. 

Isabella Graham, 1834-1902

May 30, 2016

I am seriously obsessed with Isabella Lawton Graham. 

What a convoluted life she had. She started as a slave, being owned by Col. Alexander James Lawton of Mulberry Grove in St. Peter’s Parish, Beaufort District, South Carolina. She married Moses Graham in 1854 on Col. Lawton’s plantation by Parson Jack Lawton, alias Jack Taylor, a colored preacher who was also owned by Col. Lawton. Isabella and Moses had 4 children when he entered the service in the United States Colored Troops. He died of smallpox while in the service. 

Isabella applied for a widow’s pension, which she received with the help of Col. Lawton, who was an attorney and advocated for her rights by law. After he died, his son Alexander Robert Lawton, also an attorney, continued to process the paperwork demanded by the government. Then when he died, his son Alexander Robert Lawton, Jr., continued to maintain the files at his firm of Lawton and Cunningham. I stand amazed that this family, for three generations stood by this poor widow to see that she continued to get her pension. 

I found a Richmond Graham who was living in Savannah, and died and was buried in Laurel Grove South, a traditionally black cemetery. When I searched to see if there were other Grahams buried there, the name Isabella Graham popped up. 

I also found her in the Savannah city directory in 1898. She’s living at 321 Liberty Street, east, employed as a cook. 

So off we go to 321 Liberty Street, east. 

The house to the left is directly on the corner. 


It is the Augustus Barie Tenant House. I’m saying, ” Who is Augustus Barie?”, and Sugar is saying, “No, his last name is Tenant.”

I will be glad when the family reunion is over this weekend and we can get back to our own version of normal. 

Moses and Isabella Graham’s Pension File

May 28, 2016

Poor Isabella Graham. Her husband died of smallpox in 1866 while serving in the United States Colored Troops. She was left with 4 young children: Amelia, William, Richmond, and Lavinia. She attempted to get a widow’s pension, but it took years. YEARS.

She was formerly owned, before Freedom, by Alexander James Lawton of Blackswamp, South Carolina. She was married in 1854 to Moses Graham, a slave on a neighboring plantation, by Preacher Jack Lawton, alias John Taylor, who was also owned by Alexander J. Lawton.

Another woman, named Ellen Corsee, also attempted to get a widow’s pension by claiming that SHE was the widow of Moses Graham.  While it sounds like a ridiculous claim, it turns out that witnesses stated that she was what was known as a camp mistress, and that she cohabited with Moses Graham while he was stationed in Beaufort, and that she had previously cohabited with Moses before he entered the service. She knew he had a wife and children, as well as HE knew, but that didn’t stop them from cohabiting. She retained an attorney, a certain James D. Bell, living in Beaufort but from New Hampshire, to pursue her claim of widowhood and pension.

Isabella finally obtained her pension. Alexander James Lawton had continued to write letters to Ellen’s attorney to have her claim proven fraudulent, and to testify of Isabella’s good character and to verify the names and birth dates of the children, and to affirm that she was a poor widow who was entitled to her pension BY LAW. Among other things, Alexander J. Lawton was an attorney, and he knew the law and how to write an effective letter, but it still took years, because the wheels of government grind slowly, then as now.

How do we know these things? From a blessed pension file that took one week to receive, electronically, from the time I ordered it online. Fortunately, it didn’t take as long for me to receive the pension file as it took for poor Isabella to qualify for her widow’s pension.

Near the end of the file, Alexander James Lawton refers to his former slave, Isabella Graham, as his friend.

Here’s the link:


Adam Allston of the 33rd Regiment of the U. S. C. Infantry

May 26, 2016

I get caught up in other people’s stories. Thank you, Internet, for enabling me in my addiction.

A nice lady asked a general question of how to request a pension file on a Facebook post. She got good basic info: contact the NARA; or go to the NARA in Washington, DC, and take a flatbed scanner.

This is never enough for me. She had names and regiment numbers. I went to and poked around a little.

There’s Adam Allston in the index! And another bit of paper with details about him: he’s 5’4″, 50 years old, and has black hair, eyes, and skin, plus he was born in Georgetown, South Carolina.

Because I cannot stop poking a stick down a rabbit hole in hopes that I might flush out another rabbit, I manually looked at all the images for any Allston people in this particular collection of the United States Colored Troops, and I find this fellow:

He’s Nathaniel Allston, also known as Nathaniel Austin. Do you see what regiment he’s in? That’s right, the 128th. The same as Nelson Brown and Moses Graham. I’ve also learned that there is a book available which lists the entire regiment.

Seriously? I might have to sell a cat or two.

The McKenzie Tract, Surveyed July 1893

May 26, 2016

Reader Caren McKenzie shares this plat from 1893. 

She also provides this information:

I am specifically interested in John R Bostick (1787-1852) son of Richard Bostick.

John married Elizabeth McKenzie (my relative), but the 1850 census seems to show his wife to be Rebecca.

I wonder if Elizabeth had died.

My relatives are buried in the Bostick Cemetery and I am thinking Elizabeth is the Bostick connection.

Does anyone know anything about these folks? Or how to find out where this bit of land might be?

The Pension File: Waiting on Moses and Isabella

May 22, 2016

I last posted about the pension file of Nelson Brown. If you will scroll all the way to the bottom of that post, there is a link. When you click on that link, you should be transported to a pdf about Nelson and his wife Bella. 

Sugar, not to be outdone in the former-slave-and-USCT category, produced his Uncle Edward’s book “A Saga of the South”. 

His Uncle Edward quotes a paper by Inabinett. Sugar actually has this paper that he obtained from the Caroliniana Library. We don’t have permission to reproduce any of that paper here, which is a good thing because he has misfiled the paper, which is a nice way of saying it is somewhere in his wannabe filing system. 

The page above states that “Daddy Jack” is a former slave of Alexander James Lawton, and Daddy Jack Taylor was a preacher who performed the marriage service for Isabella, a slave of Alexander James Lawton, and Moses Graham, a slave on a neighboring plantation. 

Alexander James Lawton also assisted in a federal pension application for Isabella. Moses was killed in the service. 

The regiment he served in? The 128th. The same as Nelson Brown. 

And as a bonus…

The Freedmen’s Bank Records. 

A close-up for the account of Amelia Graham follows. 

I’ll be back in 42-120 days with the pension record. 

The Pension File: Meet Nelson Brown

May 19, 2016

We haven’t talked about Nelson Brown, have we?

We HAVE talked about Nelson’s wife, Bella Brown, whom is believed to have given birth to Winnie Joe Brown by a white man, precisely unknown. In 1880, Bella Brown was enumerated on the census next to a Lawton family. There’s no man in Bella’s house, but there are several children, one being named Joseph.

I came across a record index for pensions. There’s Bella Brown, and she’s listed with Nelson Brown. This was my first true link that Bella’s husband was named Nelson. There is no census for 1890, and I can’t find him on the 1870 or the 1900 census. The only census-type record I can find for Nelson Brown is the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule, and he is recorded as having served in the 128th Regiment of the USCT.

I haven’t ordered a census file in perhaps 18 years. Ouch, the price has gone up. But I couldn’t stand it. I needed to know more about Nelson Brown. I chose to have the file delivered electronically, because I don’t want more paper. Plus I’d scan the paper and then load it to the blog, which is a few steps too many for me.

My grandmother received a monthly pension, which makes me think that I should look for a pension file for my grandfather. But first: Nelson Brown.

This file was chock-full of surprises and details. During slavery times, Nelson Brown was owned by Joseph Maner Lawton, which is not the same one that I mentioned in a recent post, but rather an ancestor. Bella Brown was owned by William McBride. Her maiden name was Duncan, and Nelson Brown also went by Nelson Lawton. If you are a black person looking to break through the 1870 brick wall, a pension file might just be your way to go.

There are over 100 images in this file. I’d say I got my money’s worth.




Happy Monkey’s Day, 2016

May 11, 2016

Recently we observed a national holiday.

We give delicious food items to our kin, and share a happy day of lounging about.

That’s right – it’s Monkey’s Day! (Which I totally made up. There’s no such thing. Unless you are Sugar’s cousin in South Africa, who lives next to a nature preserve near Durban.)

Happy monkey pictures are from SugarCousin LaRoy. These are vervet monkeys. They love love love visiting every day. The whole troop comes! The patriarch is Big Guy, who has been visiting for so many years that he comes into the garden and waits for bananas and peanuts.


Some days a little pool action is needed.

I’m sure I squealed when I saw the baby.

Man’s work is from sun to sun,

Monkey’s work is never done.

George Mosse and Barthlomew Mosse of Dublin: Where’s the Link?

May 11, 2016

(I have to prattle on a bit first. I wrote this post a week ago, and when I pushed “Post”, the Internet melted, and there was an error! No post! It is sad when your own wireless network rejects you, which is nothing that a grilled cheese made with an English muffin won’t fix. In other news, I call Sugar my English muffin sometimes, which sounds both endearing, yet naughty somehow. Onward the the Mosses.)

The newspaper article about George Mosse calls him a kinsman of Bartholomew Mosse. But how? I poked around a bit on ancestry, but found nothing conclusive. 

Dr. Bart was a social leader advocating for better medical care for women and their particular medical needs. 

At. His. Own. Expense. 

His only daughter was Jane. 


Dr. Bart was the son of Thomas Mosse. 


He was the founder of the Dublin Lying-In Hospital. 

 By his wife Jane he left two children. The only daughter is named Jane also. Who is the son? Is it our George Mosse?!

I’ll be needing some Irish Stew. 

More SugarCousins: Maude Constance Tilton, 1876-1937

May 1, 2016

And another thing…

A nice lady found my blog. She is a SugarCousin, and she wonders what we can find out about her grandmother from Savannah, a certain Maude Constance Tilton who married Joseph Maner Lawton. 

Before you gasp and exclaim *That’s my Joseph Maner Lawton*, well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. There were several. Regardless of which one, you’re a cousin. 

I poked around the Internet and made a little tree. I added Maude’s parents and husband. 

Then I added Maude’s siblings… 

Then one generation back. 

Then I checked the City of Savannah’s Cemetery database. 

Aaa n d we’re off to the cemetery. 

The first stop is Laurel Grove. 

We are looking for lot 1874, which is where Mrs. Rosa M. Tilton, Clifton Mills Tilton, and Nathaniel O. Tilton are buried. We turn down a lane that we’ve never traveled before, near the front of the cemetery, and SugarSpotter spotted a stone that he needed to see. Demanded I take a photo, he did. 


William Maner Bostwick, 1875-1947

Sugar thinks that this Bostwick person to be a derivation of Bostick, especially because it is coupled with “Maner”. And who am I to argue about local names with a local? I have learned to pick only the fights I can win. 

On to 1874. The lot, not the year. 

Nothing. No markers. This is not the first, nor the second, nor the third time we have encountered this, right here in Laurel Grove. 

There *IS* a simply wonderful Sago Palm that surely was planted long ago. It’s HUGE. 

Sorry for my poor planning and lack of forethought for not having a Sugary frame of reference to show you how big this Sago is. I think I was unnerved that there were no markers. 

 There were a couple of outlined graves. If you read a recent post about the Bateson plot at #322, you’ll remember that we can talk to he nice cemetery conservator who has the marvelous database that shows who is where. 

We know that the Bateson brothers have not had their markers installed yet, so we bypass a visit there because we still have much to see across town at Bonaventure. Plus lunch. A girl’s gotta have priorities. 

Now at Bonaventure. We’re at the sign at the entrance, looking for Section F, lot 46. Sorry for the reflection on the map. 

The Tiltons that I can identify as being part of this group are Jane C. Tilton, Major N. O. Tilton, O. L. Tilton, Rosa A. Tilton, and Mrs. Rosa B. Tilton. 

Of course. the SugarSpotter find a Lawton next door. 

Now, back to the true reason of our visit. 






Because I did a little homework before we set off for the cemetery, I found these documents about Nathaniel on ancestrydotcom. 

That wraps up our cemetery tour. I’m guessing that there are lots more documents online about this family. When I find more, I’ll edit this post and add them. 

Good night, Tilton people. We’re thinking of you.