Archive for August, 2019

The Will of Mary Anne Cowper of Georgia

August 29, 2019

While tracing the family tree of Basil Cowper, I found his two daughters Mary Anne and Margaret.

Margaret married a Mr. McQueen. Mary Anne married no one.

She writes her last will and testament in a bold fashion. I’ve transcribed it below. Take a look and you will see what I mean.

CowperMaryAnne P1

 In the name of God Amen 

This is the last Will and Testament of Mary Anne Cowper of the City of Savannah in the County of Chatham and State of Georgia Spinster 

I May Anne Cowper, being in health of body & of sound & disposing mind and memory, commending my soul at death to God, who gave it, in the hope of a happy resurrection through the atonement and mediation of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Do make publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all and every other will or wills heretofore by me made, in manner and form following that is to say – 1st I desire that all my just debts be paid by my executors hereinafter named, as soon after my decease as can be conveniently done. 2d I give devise and bequeath the sum of Four thousand dollars for the benefit of Seamen visiting the Port of Savannah. The same to be paid by my executors hereinafter named in such way and manner as in their judgment will most conduce to the benefit of said. Either paying said sum of Four thousand dollars over to such society or societies as they may select for the purpose of building or aiding in building a Sailors Home or Homes or for any other purpose, or investing the same in good and sufficient securities and paying the annual dividends or interests derived thereupon as a salary to a seamans preacher or in any other way which they may consider most conducive to the end in view. 3d I give and bequeath to William and Robert Mackay all that Lot of Land in the City of Savannah known as Lot No one, second tything Reynolds Ward & the improvements thereon as tenants in common and not as joint tenants to them the said William & Robert Mackay and their heirs forever – Which Lot was obtained by my grand father, when that part of the town was laid off, he having come over to this county in company with Genl Oglethorpe on his second voyage and said Lot has since his death remained in possession of his descendants. 4th I give and bequeath to Catherine and Sarah Mackay the two unmarried daughters of Mrs. Eliza Mackay, all that Island known as Oatland Island, situated in Chatham County State of Georgia with all its appurtenances of Hammocks and marshes etc and also all my cattle and stock of every kind on the said Island being at the time of my death to them the said Catherine and Sarah as tenants in common and not as joint tenants, equally to be divided between them, to them respectively and their heirs forever to their sole and separate use and not subject to the debts contracts or control of any future husband, and in case of the marriage of either the said Catherine or Sarah Mackay I direct that this property be settled in trust for their sole and separate use. 5th I give & bequeath to Mrs. Mary Anna Stiles, wife of Benjamin Edward Stiles all my plantation situated lying and being in Houston County in the State of Georgia together with all the Stock and appurtenances or every kind /excepting negroes/ that may be on said Plantation at the time of my death /and excepting the crop then growing or gathered, which crop is to be sold and the amount received therefor to go into my general estate and the negroes belonging to said Plantation are to remain on the same at work until the said crop is sent to Market/ to have and to hold the said Plantation Stock and appurtenances to her the said Mary Anna Stiles for her sole and separate use and 

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Not subject in any manner to the debts contracts or control of her present or any future husband. I also give and bequeath to Mrs. Mary Anna Stiles all that half Lot of Land in the City of Savannah known as the Western half of Lot No two, Second Tything Anson Ward with all the improvements on the same to have and to hold the said half Lot to her the Said Mary Anna Stiles for her sole and separate use as above/ not subject in any manner to the debts contracts or control of her present or any future husband. And after the death of the said Mary Anna Stiles, I give and bequeath the said Plantation in Houston County and said half Lot of Land in the City of Savannah to the children of Said Mary Anna Stiles in such form and manner and to such individuals as she may designate by Will. 6th The following negro Slaves I desire shall be sold by my Executors for the benefit of my Estate, Namely Young Jack /Carpenter/ Mulatto George /Carpenter/ Harriett and her daughter Pricilla and daughter Lavinia and Lavinia’s husband Smart and their children now seven in number and Oliver. Giving them and each of them the privilidge of selecting a master, and when they shall have been sold, each grown person shall receive from my executors the sum of fifty dollars, and ten dollars shall be spent or used for the benefit of each child so sold and when Oliver shall have been sold I desire that besides the fifty dollars paid to himself, the sum of fifty dollars shall also be paid by my executors to his mother Sophy. And I further desire that if an occasion shall arise making it necessary for either of my heirs to sell any negro or negroes bequeathed by me, that in such case each grown person sold shall receive the sum of fifty dollars, and ten dollars shall be  used for the benefit of each child, the payment of which sums must be satisfactorily proved by my executors or I declare such bequest to be null and void. 7th I give and bequeath to Mrs. Eliza Mackay my two negro Slaves Isaiah and Michael to her the said Mrs. Eliza Mackay and her heirs forever. 

8th I give and bequeath to Catherine and Sarah Mackay the two unmarried daughters of Mrs. Eliza Mackay the following fourteen negro Slaves, Namely Old Maurice and Judith his wife John Blacksmith and Daphne his wife. These four I desire shall be permitted to remain at Oatland and have comfortable homes there as long as they live Flora Stephen Elsey and Lucind, these four together with the preceeding four I desire earnestly shall be permitted all such privilidge and indulgences and freedom as are not inconsistant with the Laws of the State of Georgia. Johny Young Maurice Polly Mark Samual and Jane To them the Said Catherine and Sarah Mackay and their heirs forever to their Sole and Separate use, and not subject to debts contracts or control of any future husband, and in case of the marriage of either the said Catherine or Sarah Mackay, I direct that his property be settled in trust for their sole and separate use  9th I give and bequeath to Mrs. Mary Anna Stiles wife of Benjamin E Stiles the following negro Slaves Namely Rachel and any children she may have, Jemmy /Carpenter/ Dimpson Daphne and any chidlren, Nelly Maiba and Sue / which three last are now in the possession of Mrs. Stiles Adam /Nelly’s Son/ Davy Luce’s husband Old Prince Radcliff, and Nigger to her the said Mary Ann Stiles for her sole and separate use and not subject to the debts contracts or control of her present or any future husband, for and during the term of her natural life, and from and immediately after the death of the said Mary Anna Stiles – I give & bequeath the said negro Slaves to the daughters of the said Mary A. Stiles, the child or children of any decd daughter to stand in the place and take the shares to which its decd parent would have been entitled if in life. 10th I give and bequeath to Sarah Mackay daughter of Mrs Eliza Mackay – the following negro Slaves – Namely Sancho & Milley /Sancho’s mother/ to her the said Sarah Mackay for her sole and separate use, and not subject to the debts contracts or control of any future husband, and in the case of the marriage of the said Sarah I direct thtat this property be settled in trust for her sold and separate use 11th I give and bequeath to Margaret Elliot, wife of Dr Rulpa E Elliot the following negro Slaves, Namely Molley and Abram (which two are now in her possession) Harry Blacksmith Bella and any children she may have Mary, Marshall Betsy Old Lyddy and Peggy. To her the said Margaret Elliot for her sole and separate use and not subject to the ebts contracts or control of her present of any future husband for and during the term of her natural life, and from and immediately after the death of the said Margret Elliote, I give and bequeath the said negro Slaves to the daughters of the said Margaret Elliott, the child or children of any deceased daughter to stand in the place and take the share to which its decd parent would have entitled if in life 12th I give and bequeath to Eliza A Stiles wife of William Henry Stiles the following negro Slaves Namely Hesta Jonathan Jane / Sue, which last is now in possession of Mrs Stiles Harry Abel, Ben child the last three being the children of Chloe decd / and Sam Bryan, namely Sam Bryan is not to be required to up the country against his will 

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To her the said Eliza A Stiles for her sole and separate use, and not subject in any manner to the debts contracts or control of her present or any future husband for and during the term of her natural life, and from and immediately after the death of the said Eliza A Stiles I give and bequeath the said negro Slaves to the daughter or daughters of the said Eliza A Stiles the child or children of any deceased daughter to stand in the place and take the share to which its decd parent would have been entitled if in life  1th I give and bequeath to Robert Mackay the following negro Slaves Names, Charlotte and her two son, Richard and Mag in together with any other children she may have and Bob Charlotte’s brother to him the Said Robert Makay and his heirs forever. 14th I give and bequeath to William Mckay the following negro Slaves – Namely April and Comba his wife together with their three Sons and any other children they may have, Jenny (Comba’s mother) Willoughby Hartwell and John Baptist to him the said William Mackay and his heirs forever  15th I give & bequeath to Eliza Williamson the two following negro Slaves Namely Betsey & Young Isaac to her the said Eliza Williamson and her heirs forever for her sole and separate use and not subject to the debts contracts or control of any future husband, and in case of the marriage of the said Eliza Williamson, I direct that this property be settled in trust for her sole and separate use. 16th I give and bequeath to my Cousin Mrs. Andrew Murray of Kircudbright in Scotland an annuity of three Hundred Dollars, during the term of her natural life, payment of the same to cease at her death, for her own sole & separate use absolutely, which sum is to be remitted to her annually by my executors as interest or dividends shall be collected 17th I give and bequeath to Miss Sidney Anderson of Bristol England an annuity of two hundred dollars during the term of her natural life, payment of the same to cease at her death to be remitted to her annually by my Executors 18th I give and bequeath to Mrs. Harriet L Wardrobe of Exeter, England and to the two Misses Bailie now living with Mrs Wardrobe the sum of two thousand dollars to be equally divided between them, share and share alike and in case of the death of either Mrs. Wardrobe or either the Misses Bailie, I give and bequeath the said sum of two thousand dollars, to the survivor or survivors. I also give and bequeath to John Leopold Abel of Dennington Terrace Vaux hall London, the sum of one thousand dollars and in the case of the death of the said John L Abel then the said sum of one thousand dollars to be equally divided among his children. I also give and bequeath to Mrs Ann Ker daughter of William McQueen and wife of William H Ker of Texas, the sum of Fifteen Hundred dollars. I also give & bequeath to Mary Cowper Stiles, the daughter of William H and Eliza A Stiles the Sum of five hundred dollars 19th I nominate constitute and appoint Catherine and Sarah Mackay my residuary Legatees, the same to be for their sole and separate use and not subject to the debts contracts or control of any future husband, and in case of the marriage of either the said Catherine or Sarah hen I desire that whatever property they may receive from my Estate, whether directly or by reversion, whether real or personal shall be settled in trust for their sole and separate use. Lastly I nominate constitute and appoint William Duncan & William Mackay both of the City of Savannah in the County of Chatham and State of Georgia Executors of this my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I the said Mary Anna Cowper, have to this my Said last Will and Testament, contained in this and the six preceeding pages set my hand and Seal this 23d day of April 1852. 

Mary Anne Cowper  LS 

Signed sealed published & declared by the said Testatrix Mary Anne Cowper as and for her last will and Testament in the presence who in her presence and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses. 

James Rhind 

And Low 

Wm Thomas Williams 

I I C C C 

I see relatives in Scotland and England! And who is the grandfather who came over with Oglethorpe?

Another mystery!

Elizabeth Smith of South Carolina and Georgia

August 27, 2019

This is part of a series of posts about people who are linked to Basil Cowper. He owned property in Granville County, Province of South Carolina, back in the day prior to the Revolutionary War. That area later became known as St. Peter’s Parish, Beaufort District, South Carolina.

Basil Cowper was an American Loyalist, and he lost his property and was banished for it. In 1782, part of his property was deeded to John Robert, who built up quite a large amount of land over the years.

Basil married Mary “Polly” Smith, daughter of John Smith and Elizabeth Williamson. I can’t find a will for John, but Elizabeth has one that is quite in depth. The following images come from

SmithElizabeth Will P1

Last Will & Testament

Mrs. Elizabeth Smith


Filed 5th March


Recorded in Book G. folio 235.242

Edmund Roberts

  1. C. O.

10 March 1810

Jane Bourke

SmithElizabeth Will P2

State of Georgia

Chatham County

In the Name of God Amen

I Elizabeth Smith Widow of John Smith late of the State of South Carolina deceased being of sound mind and memory by the mercy of God, Do make and Publish this my last Will and Testament, Revoking all other Wills formerly made.

Imprimis It is my Will and desire that my Executors herein after mentioned, and named, do keep my Negroes together on my Plantation, in South Carolina and continue to work them as at present, appropriating to one half of the Nett Proceeds of the Crops made to the payment of all my just and lawfull Debts, and discharging all such Legacies and bequests as I shall leave and mention in writing, purporting my Instructions to my Executors or otherwise, the other half of the Nett Proceeds of the Crops to be divided equally between my Daughters Jane Bourk and Elizabeth Smith for their maintenance etc the aforesaid debts be paid and Legacies and bequests be discharged when a Division of my Estate is to take place.


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2nd I give and bequeath and devise to my Daughter Mary Cowper Widow and her Heirs The following Negroes to Wit: Bricklayer Ceasar, Roger and his Wife Venus with their children Racheal, Mag, Ceasar, Sandy, Ansel, and two younger children with their future increase. Also a Lott of Land and the Buildings thereon in the Town of Beaufort South Carolina to the said Mary Cowper her Heirs and Assigns forever.

3rd My Daughter Anne M’Queen being in a Poor state of health and her Death Daily expected and having received two Tracts of Land and five Negroes from her Father /my late Husband/ formerly, one of which Tract was afterwards placed in the purchase of a small Island called Oatlands in the County of Chatham and now the Private Property of the said Anne M’Queen, notwithstanding which in justice to her feelings and for my own satisfaction, I declare that the reason she now has no Negroes left her, was from her desire that I would have those designed for her in any other way I should like. I give bequeath and devise to my GrandSon William M’Queen my Carpenter Jemmy.

4th I give bequeath and devise to my Daughter Jane Bourke Widow and at her Decease to my GrandSon Thomas Bourke and Grand Daughters Elizabeth and Catherine Bourke to be equally divided between them and used as they please the following Negroes to wit: Old Phillis, Carpenter George, Sabina his Wife, Hinter, Morrice, Harriet, Nanny, Maria, Flora and her two children and their future increase she had three Negroes formerly given her. I do also give and bequeath to my Daughter Jane Bourke all that Lott of Land and buildings thereon known as /No 8/ number Eight Reynolds Ward near the filature in the City of Savannah and after her Death to go in remainder to my Grand Daughters Elizh and Catherine Bourke and their Heirs, but in case of the Death of either single that it is my Will that the said House and Lott do go to the Survivor. I give to my Grand Daughters Elizabeth and Catherine Bourke for their own separate use and their Heirs, or as they may chuse to will them to be equally divided. Young Tom and Daphne with their children, Joe, Primus, Mary, Nelly, Ned, and Billy with their future increase.

5th I give bequeath and devise to my Daughter Elizh Smith the following Negroes: Old Ceasar, Old Lucy & Venus with all the children she has and may have: Luke, Isaac, London, Amey and child and future increase. Nanny having been


SmithElizabeth P4


Formerly given her left the following children: Sam, Grace, Mary, Charles, Nanny, Betty, Fanny, to be given and willed by her to any of her Sisters and Brother as she shall chuse, as they are her heirs after he natural Life or to such person or persons as she shall chuse of them together with my Lott in the Town of Savannah known as /No 2/ Number two Reynolds Ward containing forty five feet front on the Bay and Ninety feet in Depth, and all the improvements and buildings thereon to hold during the term of her natural Life, and from and after her Death for the benefit and advantage of such person or persons as she shall chuse or appoint from amongst her Brother and Sisters and their Representative if Dead or their children if alive by her las Will and Testament duly Executed but in case of the Death without such Will, appointment or nomination, then the said real and personal estate, shall be equally divided among my Daughters and Son or their children and Heirs in case of either dying before my said Daughter Elizabeth Smith. It is also my desire that my Daughter Elizh Smith being infirm in health should have for the term of six years the rent of my store and Brick Building standing on Lott Number one, Reynolds Ward fronting the Bay and now occupied by Mr. Steinert in case of her Death before the expiration of the Six Years the Profits to go to the owner as herein after mentioned

6th I give to my Son Archibald Smith in trust for my Grand Children, Archibald Smith, Elizh L. Smith, John Smith and Jane Wallace Smith and any other children my said Son may have, by his present Marriage and their Heirs, share and share alike, they to have possession at the age of twenty years or day of marriage the Negroes, Old Tom, Old Molly, Hannah, Hester, Catherine, Bella, and young Ishmeal.

7th I give bequeath and devise to my Daughter Sarah Wright, wife of Sir James Wright for her sole separate and independent use, free from any control, management or claim of her said Husband, or any peron claiming or to claim under him the following Negroes: Old Ishmeal, Mynty, Joe, Adam, Jesse, Diana, and chld, June and Hagar, given her formerly and their children and future increase and also my House and Lott in Savannah known as /No 1/ Number one Reynolds Ward and all the Buildings thereon with the Negroes and their increase above mentioned to the said Sarah Wright and her Heirs but in case of the Death of the said Sarah Wright without child or children arriving at the age of twenty one or day

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of marriage, then the said real and personal Estate so bequeathed and devised to her shall go and descend to XXX of her Sisters and Brother or their children and Heirs as she shall chuse appoint or select by Will duly made and executed and in case the said Sarah Wright dying without such Will or Without any child or children arriving at any time after Death at the age of twenty years, or day of marriage, then the said real and personal Estate shall go and descend to her Sisters and Brother and their representatives Share and Share alike, his, her, or their Heirs.

8th My Son Archibald Smith having been provided for by his Father my late Husband Twenty two years ago, I therefore only give him one Negro Man Philander also all the right and Title I have to a Tract of Land in the County of Camden which he has sold to John H. McIntosh Esquire.

9th I give bequeath and devise to my Daughter in Law Helen Smith a Negro Woman Sary and her Son Philip and her future increase, also Twenty Pounds Sterling as an entire Gift to herself and at her disposal

10th I do hereby confirm the Freedom and Emancipation of my Old faithful Servants Buba and Dinah which freedom is to be absolute three Months after my Death.

11th After the payment and Satisfaction of the Debts and Legacies, I give bequeath and devise to my Daughter Jane Bourke that Third part of my Tract of Land in South Carolina on which the Dwelling House out Houses and other Buildings stand known by the name of Red Bluff and after her Death to my Grand Son Thomas Bourke and Grand Daughters Elizth and Catherine Bourke and their Heirs but in case of the Death of either of my above mentioned Grand Daughters single and unmarried then it is my will that her proportion of the above land descend to the survivor, the other two thirds of the above tract I leave to my daughter Elizabeth Smith to plant at equally with my Daughters Mary Cowper and Sarah Wright as Heirs to this two thirds of the above Tract.


12th I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughters Mary Ann and Margeret Cowper and their Heirs a Lott of Land in the City of Savannah /No 12/ Number twelve Washington Ward. Now called the Hawthorn Lott.


13th I give to my Six Grand Daughters Mary Ann and Margeret Cowper, Eliza Mackay, Sarah William, Elizabeth and Catherine Bourke twenty Dollars to each of them for a Ring.

14th I give to Elizth Zubly now Mrs. Magill the sum of one Hundred Dollars.

15th Isabella Hunter and Elizabeth Hunter


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one Hundred Dollars cash.

16th I give to the Female Asylum to promote that benevolent and meritorious institution the Sum of one Hundred Dollars.

17th My Negroes are not to be divided till my debts are paid. It is my desire that my Daughter Elizabeth Smith receive the wage of the Carpenter Luke who is given to her from the time of my death.

Lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my Daughters, Mary Cowper, Jane Bourke, Elizabeth Smith, Sarah Wright, and my Son Archibald Smith my Executrixes and Executor of this my last Will and Testament in Witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and Seal this fifteenth day of March in the year of our Lord one Thousand Eight hundred and Nine.

Elizabeth Smith

Isabella Hunter

Betsey Hunter


Further, I found a report of Elizabeth Smith’s death. She died at her daughter Anne McQueen’s plantation called Oatlands, and her burial left from daughter Jane Bourke’s house in Savannah. This makes me guess that she is indeed buried in Colonial Park Cemetery.

Good-night, Elizabeth. We are thinking of you.

Mary Smith Cowper of South Carolina

August 25, 2019

I’ve been looking at some old plats from the South Caroliniana Library for an area that was known as St. Peter’s Parish, Beaufort District, in the mid-1800s. Before it was St. Peter’s Parish, it was known as part of Granville County, Province of South Carolina.

There is a particular plat where John Smith deeds part of his land to his daughter Sarah Smith. 100 acres to be exact. It is a square shape which borders John’s land on one side, and vacant land on the other three sides.

But who is John Smith, and why is this plat in the Lawton Family Collection? I don’t have real answers, but I am guessing that this plat of land later became part of a Lawton plantation.

When I look for answers as to whom John Smith was, I check the old newspapers on GenealogyBank. I find two marriage announcements: one where his daughter Sarah Smith is marrying Sir James Wright, a loyalist in Savannah, and another daughter Mary is marrying Basil Cowper. I found a good bit about Mary, so let’s start with her.

Here are some probate records from Savannah. Mary’s husband Basil was banished from the colony of South Carolina, and his estate was confiscated. He died in Jamaica in 1802, but it appears that Mary didn’t go with him. They had two daughters. Mary Anne and Margaret, who also stayed in what became the United States.

The first two images appear to be out of order, and the handwriting is smeary, like a rough draft. She sorts it all out, and the third image starts to make sense. Turns out, she wrote it in pencil, and then in a later court document after her death, her brother Archibald Smith certifies that it is her true handwriting and signature.

CowperMary Probate P1


1818 from James Cuthbert’s Estate. Settled as due to Mary Cowper by Mr. McQueen

Viz — $7225.89

1 Jany 1819 due to ditto.

From my mother’s Estate XXX etc ten Negroes — $3500

Interest thereon – 1680


This at my own disposal

I give to my niece Eliza Mackay out of the above sum four thousand Dollars said Money next XXX is my bequest to my Daughter Margaret McQueen.

I bequeath to Sidney Anderson out of this pound 200 Sterling if she is living and to be paid her as soon as maybe after my death free of all charges or deduction the sum of 200 pound Sterling aforesaid.

I bequeath to Jesse Lamont 200 pound Sterling likewise out of this fund under the same injunction of the sum entire base of diminution

As part of the portion XXX up to her of the half I have of the Jamaica property.

Whatever has accrued of Interest upon my said separate property to the time of my death I leave to Mary for her self & to go toward the Judgment or fulfilment of my said Will herein specifyed of which I constitute & appoint herself & Mrs. Eliza Mackay executors.

Mary Cowper

Jany 18th 1821

I intend to write this in Ink if I can best of time & ability herewith it XXX the Sense is clear enough & must stand.

To Mrs Margaret McQueen from my mother’s property, Maurice, Nancy, Lucinda, William, from Jane’s property to Mary Anne Cowper – Molly & her three sons viz. George, Sam, & Harry, My Tankard etc is for Mary viz Silver ware viz silver forks, spoons. Also my bed stead beddings & other household furniture & table & bed linnen for Mary as she may have occasion for it & is unprovided.

Jany 18th 1821 and Feb 22d 1821

When I now give & bequeath to Mary Anne Mackay the Sum of Sixty pounds Sterling for a watch or however she may please to dispose of it.

Mary Cowper

CowperMary Probate P2

To my daughter Margaret McQueen I give & bequeath one thousand dollars out of this oney accounted to me by John McQueen Esqr as executor of James Cuthbert’s estate & likewise my attorney to receive my mother’s legacy to me that is to say out of the said sum specified of $12,405.89 – over and above one thousand dollars from the land at Red Bluff left me by my mother or what ever sum it sold for be it more or less – which land I gave to her & them mentioned to confirm it.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Anne Cowper the residue of the above mentioned property be it more or less to her to have and to hold at her own disposal – this day of Mrch the twentieth one thousand eight hundred and twenty.

Mary Cowper

Whereas the portion I am entitled to of my Husband’s Estate reverts at my death to my two daughters Mary Anne Cowper and Margaret McQueen equally divided between them but the interest accruing there on that is to say upon my said portion or third part what ever it may be at my death. I desire it may go towards the payment of my debt to Sidney Anderson and any deficiency to make up that Sum. Mary Anne will supply it to discharge the same out of the half to reverting to her and the half lot of land I leave to Mary desiring it may be taken

CowperMary Probate P3

1818 from Jams. Suthberts Estate Settled and due

to Mary Cowper (by Mr. McQueen) viz $7225.89.–

1st Jany 1819 Due to Ditto from my Mother’s

Estate (XXX the ten Negroes)  $3500.–.–

Interest Thereon  $1680.–.–

(This at my own disposal)  $12,405.89.

I give to my Niece Eliza Mackay out of the above Sum four thousand Dollars of Said Money XXX XXX is my bequest to my Daughter M. McQueen

I bequeath to Sidney Anderson out of this fund 200 pound Sterling – if she is living, & to be paid her as soon as may be after my death, free of all charges or deductions of the sum of two hundred pounds Sterling aforesaid.

I bequeath to Jess. Lamont two hundred pounds Sterling likewise out of this fund, under the same injunction of the sum entire free of diminution.

To my Daughter Margaret McQueen I give & bequeath one thousand Dollars out of the money accounted to me by Jno. McQueen Esqr as Executor of Jno. Cuthberts Estate – and likewise my attorney to receive my Mother’s Legacy to me – that is to say out of the same sum specified of $12405.89.– over & above one Thousand Dollars from the Land at Red Bluff left me by my Mother – or whatever Sum it sold for, be it more or less – which Land I gave to her & this is mentioned to confirm it —

CowperMary Probate P4

I give and bequeath to my Daughter Mary Anne Cowper the residue of the abovementioned property be it more or less, to her to have and to hold at her own disposal. This day of March the twentieth, one Thousand Eight hundred & twenty


Mary Cowper

Whereas the portion I am entitled to of my Husbands Estate, reverts at my death to my two Daughters Mary Anne Cowper & Margaret McQueen equally divided between them – but the interest accruing thereon – that is to say, upon any said portion or third part whatever it may be at my death, I desire it may go towards the payment of my debt to Sidney Anderson – & any deficiency to make XXX Sum Mary Anne will supply it to discharge the same out of the half so reverting to her – and the half Lott of Land I have to Mary – desiring it may be taken as part of the portion reverting to her, of the part I have of the Jamaica property.

Whatever has accrued of Interest upon any said separate property to the time of my death I leave to Mary for herself and to go towards the payment as fulfilment of my said will herein specified of which I constitute & appoint herself and Mrs. Eliza Mackay Executors.


Mary Cowper

January 18th 1821

I intend to write this in Ink if I can, but if time and ability permits it not – the sense is clear enough, and must Stand.

To Mrs. Margaret McQueen – Maurice from my Mothers property – Nancy, Lucinda, William from Jama. Property.

To Mary Anne Cowper – Molly, and her three Sons, viz, George, Sam, and Harry. My Tankard etc is for Mary – viz Silver Forks and Spoons – Bedsteads – Bedding and other Household furniture and Table & Bed Linens also for Mary, as she may have occasions for it & is unprovided.

Jany 18th 1821 and Feby 22d 1821  Where I now give and bequeath to Mary Anne Mackay the Sum of Sixty pounds Sterling for a watch or however She may please to dispose of it.


Mary Cowper

A true Copy Errors Excepted

CowperMary Probate P5

State of Georgia

Chatham County

In the Court of Ordinary Chambers. 24 April 1823.

Present the honorable Thomas N. Moul & Edward Harden Justices of the Inferior Court of Chatham County sitting for ordinary purposes. Personally appeared Archibald Smith of Savannah Esquire, who being duly sworn doth depose declare and say that the annexed paper written with pencil and signed “Mary Cowper”, purporting to be the last will and testament of the said Mary Cowper, late of Savannah widow deceased bearing date the twentieth day of March one thousand eight hundred and twenty, also an addition to the same, also in pencil writing, signed “Mary Cowper”, & dated the Eighteenth day of January one thousand eight hundred and twenty one – and a further addition to the same signed “Mary Cowper” also in pencil writing, dated the last mentioned day, and also on the twenty-second day of February one thousand eight hundred and twenty one, is and are, all in the handwriting, and of the signature of the said Mary Cowper, well known to him the deponent for years past, as the deceased was the sister of this deponent. And further the said Archibald Smith, saith, that the Transcript of the said will hereto annexed and written with ink is a true and litteral copy of the said will written in pencil

CowperMary Probate P6

And has been copied by and is in the hand writing of Mary Ann Cowper, daughter of the said Mary Cowper one of the Executrixes named in the will aforesaid, and further that at the time of the several dates of the said will and long afterwards and until the death of the said Mary Cowper which took place on the XXX day of XXX, Eighteen hundred and twenty one the said Mary Cowper was & continued to be in her perfect senses and of sound, disposing & intelligent mind.

Archd. Smith

Sworn to in open court

This 24th April 1823

S M Bond

Clk Co Ord

24th April 1823. Then appeared Mary Ann Cowper & was duly qualified Executrix of the annexed will of Mrs. Mary Cowper decd by taking the oath presented by Law recds letters Testamentary etc accordingly.

Bond CCO


Let’s go to Savannah! And wander through Colonial Park Cemetery looking for the grave of Mary Cowper.

There is spotty cell service in the Cemetery. When I try to find the memorial on, I have zero service. We walk a bit a look at the flat stones, because I remember that Mary has a flat stone, not an upright marker or a box grave. Finally the cell service gives me enough of a signal that I can access the website on the cellphone, and I see in one of the photos that there is a corner of another flat stone next to Mary, so let’s look for at least two stones side by side.


U. S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

Died May 31st 1818

Aged 42 years

In the Blessed Hope

of Salvation through Christ.






BORN IN 1773;

DIED IN 1822.

Here may the treasured dust repose,

Till God shall bid the dead arise.

And then, with kindred spirits, round

Obtain a mansion in the skies.

To the dear memory of

an Excellent and most beloved Mother


widow of


Daughter of

Jno. & Elizabeth Smith

Born in South Carolina

Died the 10th April 1821,

aged 69 years.

This stone is place by her children

Nature mourns! but Faith rejoices!

The perishable marble will but a little

while endure to record her name or worth

here, and those who read it, and those who

inscribe, shall also be mouldered  into dust.

Happy they who have, “Their names

written in the book of life,” whose hope

like hers, is fixed on high.

Should aught beguile us on the road.

When we are walking back to God,

For strangers into life we come,

And dying is but going home.

Welcome, sweet hour of full discharge

That sets our longing souls at large,

Unbind our chains, breaks up our cell

And gives us with our God to dwell.


to the Memory of


who departed this life 24 March 1809

Thrice welcome death!

Which after many a painful bleeding step

Conducts us to our home.

And lands us safe on the long wished-for-shore.

Prodigious change! Our bane turned to a blessing

Death disarm’d, loses its terror quite

All thanks to Him who scourg’d the venom out.

The happy Soul anticipating Heaven

Freed from the thraldom of encumbering clay

Spring into Liberty, and Light, and Life.


by his sorrowing Family

Whose only consolation is their trust

that their loss is his gain.

This XXX

Sacred to the memory of


who died XXX

aged 21 years 11 months & 18 days


(The rest is illegible)

Sacred to the memory of a Sister

Here lie the remains of


Daughter of John Morel Esq. dec.

who was kill’d by a fall from a horse

the 5th of April 1790

Aged 11 years 11 months & 15 days.

Fair was the flower; soft the vernal sky,

Elate with hope we deem’d no tempest nigh;

When lo! A whirlwind’s instantaneous gust

Left all its beauties withering in the dust.


the memory of


who died

November 1793

Aged 75 years

Blessed are the dead

Who die in the Lord;

they rest from their labors,

and their works do follow them.

Would you like to find these folks? They are across the sidewalk from the marker of Edward Greene Malbone.

Where is Mary’s mother Elizabeth Williamson? Her father John Smith is here, along with other family members.

I’m going to poke around the internet. I’ll be back.

Basil Cowper, a Loyalist in South Carolina and Georgia

August 20, 2019

I’m looking at several old plats that I received from the South Caroliniana Library. These are in reference to the Lawton Family Collection.

One plat created in 1809 for John Robert mentions the confiscated estate of Basil Cowper. Another plat mentions that John Smith has deeded 100 acres to Sarah Smith on January 5, 1770.

This was going to cause me to tumble down a rabbit hole in search of answers.


From GenealogyBank, Georgia Gazette, February 23, 1769.

MARRIED.] Mr. Basil Cowper, merchant, to Miss Polly Smith, daughter of John Smith, Esq. a beautiful and accomplished young lady.

Surely this is the same John Smith marrying away his daughter. But Polly? I remembered that is a nickname for Mary, and this would serve me well to remember, because she isn’t referred to as Polly again.

The following screenshot from the Georgia Historical Society’s website show a collection referring to Cowper. He was in business in Savannah with the Telfair brothers , Edward and William. For a while he was a Patriot, then a Loyalist, which didn’t change even when he was banished and his lands confiscated.



Imagine that you congratulated Cornwallis on his victory at Camden and got blacklisted. The Rebel forces apparently kept a grudge. Below is another screenshot. Basil Cowper is is Class IV, #2.


This report is from ancestry regarding the Cornwallis Papers of the Virginia Colonial Records Project.


So what else can we find out about Basil Cowper? Using the newspapers alone for the year 1769, I find numerous references. He was a merchant, a real estate agent, and a slave holder. I’m using the year 1769 because that was the year he married Mary Smith, and we can get a snapshot of that colonial time period.


From the Georgia Gazette, March 1, 1769.


A RICE PLANTATION, consisting of 1050 acres of River Swamp, on the Carolina side of Savannah river, nearly opposite the town of Savannah, formerly belonging to Mr. John Smith, having a spacious barn 120 feet long, including a walk of 40 feet square for the cattle that work the machine, which is of the best kind and quite new, with a wharf before the door. The land has 100 acres cleared and under good dams, which has produced a plentiful crop of rice this year. It may be taken possession of in February next. Enquire of Basil Cowper or Cowper and Telfairs in Savannah.


April 19, 1769

RUN AWAY, on Monday the 27th ult. A NEGROE FELLOW, named JACK, about five feet nine inches high, of a yellowish complexion, has a large scar on the left side of his head cut by a hanger, and a scar upon his ear by the same stroke, and several cuts upon his body; he speaks good English, and will endeavour to pass as a free man. A reward of ten shillings, if taken within ten miles of Savannah, and twenty shillings, if a further distance, on a delivery to


Savannah April 4, 1769.


July 12, 1769


WHEREAS the Provost Marshal of this province, by virtue of a writ of attachment to him directed, did attach the lands, tenements, goods, chattels, monies, debts, and books of account, of Thomas Little, who is absent from and without the limits of the said province, in the hands and possession of Basil Cowper, at the suit of William Moore; AND WHEREAS the said Basil Cowper , as a creditor in possession, hath, agreeable to the direction of the Attachment Law, filed his declaration in his Majesty’s General Court of Pleas against the said Thomas Little, and hath obtained the following rule, viz.

Cowper, Creditor in possession,



30th July, 1768.

ORDERED, that the defendant do appear and plead within a year and a day, otherwise judgment.

By the court,


Notice is therefore hereby given, That, unless the said Thomas Little do appear and plead agreeable to the aforesaid rule or order, judgment will be entered against him accordingly.

GREY ELLIOTT, Attorney for the creditor in possession.


September 20, 1769

JUST IMPORTED, in the ship Polly and Betsey,


And to be sold on the most reasonable terms at their store on the Bay,

A NEAT ASSORTMENT of EUROPEAN  and EAST-INDIA GOODS, suitable for the season.


How did Cowper get property in Black Swamp in the province of South Carolina? From his father-in-law John Smith? In 1770 John Smith deeds 100 acres to his daughter Sarah Smith, so why not to his other daughter?


I also found a bill of sale at this website for a Negro man named Sam.

It is also dated in 1769 on February 24.


I found a court document on ancestry that has that format with a party of the first part, party of the second part, and party of the third part. It seems similar to another document that I found in the Lawton collection that lists the marriage of Joseph Lawton and Martha Stoney Barksdale Lawton, except theirs list all the slaves on two different plantations on Hilton Head. First I found the index page, and because the entire documents are not transcribed online, I scrolled through multiple pages until I came to the right case.

CowperBasil 1767-1771 will and probate book

CowperBasil wills and probate

Of course I got sidetracked by other cases. See the ones where Negroes were granted Manumission? I really need to go back and look at those. Which is an entirely different rabbit hole.

I’ve transcribed some excerpts.


IN WITNESS whereof the said parties to these presents have hereunto and to a Duplicate thereof set their Hands and Seals the day & year first above written

Sealed & Delivered (being first duly exempt)

By the within named Basil Cowper & Mary

His wife & Daniel Blake in the presence of

John Ranier  James Wilson

Basil Cowper  LS

Mary Cowper  LS

Henry Middleton  LS

Daniel Blake  LS

Benj Smith LS

Sealed & Delivered by the within named Henry Middleton & Benjamin Smith Esq. Of in Chas Town, So Carolina in the presence of us John Ranier  James Wilson

South Carolina:  Before me John Remington Esquire one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for Berkley County Personally appeared John Ranier & James Wilson the two subscribing Witnesses this Deed who being Duly sworn upon the holy Evangelists of Almighty God make oath and say that they were present in London & said the oath in named Basil Cowper & Mary his wife & Danl Blake Surety Sign Seal & as their act & Deed deliver the within Deed of Land for a Year that they were also present in Chas. Town South Carolina and saw the within named Henry Middleton and Benjamin Smith Esquires severally sign Seal & as their act of Deed XXX the said Lease and that they the Deponents subscribed their names as XXX Thereto.

John Ranier

James Wilson

Signed & Sworn the 28d day

Of May 1770 Before me 

John Remington JP.


KNOW ALL THEN BY THESE PRESENTS that we Basil Cowper late of the Town of Savannah in the Province of Georgia but now in the City of London, Merchant, John Smith of the Town of Savannah Aforesaid Planter are held and firmly bound to the XXX Henry Middleton, Daniel Blake & Benjamin Smith all of Charles Town in the province of South Carolina Esqs in the Sum of Seenteen Thousand and Thirty one pounds good and lawfull money of the said province of South Carolina to be paid to the said Henry Middleton, Danl Blake & Benj Smith, etc. Etc.


….. To Hold the same unto the said Henry Middleton Daniel Blake and Benjamin Smith the Trustees aforesaid and the Survivors and Survivor of them of the Heirs and assigns of such Survivor for Ever, In Trust for the use benefit & XXX of the said Lord William Campbell and Lady Sarah Campbell his wife and their issue according to the Several Tracts, Limitations, Settlements and Estates mentioned and set forth in the marriage Bond & Bonds Indemity recited in the said Indenture of Release and according to the spirit & intent and meaning of the same And whereas the said Mary Cowper, the said wife of the said Basil Cowper, being a Minor at the Time of Executing the said Indentures of Lease and Release could not make any conveyances and assurances in the Law to Bar or preclude herself from her Right of Dower… 


Lord William Campbell is marrying Sarah Izard, and they are referred to in the document as Lord and Lady Campbell. She is the daughter of Ralph Izard, deceased.

The newspapers also note the event of the death for Basil Cowper as dying in Jamaica in 1802.

From the Georgia Gazette, August 12, 1802.

Died on the 28th of June last, in the island of Jamaica, Basil Cowper, Esq. formerly a respectable merchant in this place, and a worthy man.


After poking around a bit more on the internet, I find some court documents on regarding Mary. She will be the subject of the next blog post.

Mary lived for a long time after Basil’s death. Since she was listed as a minor when she married Basil Cowper, does this mean that it was an arranged marriage? Perhaps her father and Basil were business associates since their names are in conjunction in court documents and in the newspapers.

Mary Cowper’s memorial is on findagrave. She’s buried in Savannah at Colonial Park Cemetery.

You know what this means…

We’re going to Savannah.


Zephaniah Kingsley, a Loyalist in South Carolina

August 17, 2019

Because one thing leads to another…

I’m reviewing some of the old plats in the Lawton Family collection in the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia, SC. You can take photos for free if you use your cellphone or camera without a flash. The last time I was able to view this collection was in September of 2017. I didn’t take photos then but planned to take advantage of that on my latest visit.

I started with the beginning of the oversized documents that went back to the 1700s. Much of it confused me. There were names I didn’t know, like where John Smith deeds land to Sarah Smith, but I took photos of the documents anyway. Eventually there were names I knew: Joseph Lawton, Elias Robert, then John Robert which was a happy bonus for me. I didn’t expect him in this collection, even though his sister Sarah married Joseph Lawton. I took about 30 photos all total. I would have taken more but the parking meter would be running out of time across campus.

Once I got home, I spent a bit of time reviewing my photos. The earliest for John Robert was a plat of his land in 1782 which was part of the confiscated estate of Basil Cowper, and bordering on the land of Zephaniah Kingsley. Confiscated estate? What could this mean?

from the Lawton Family Papers

Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C.

I found reference to South Carolina Estate Confiscation Lists. I was being sucked into a black hole of history.

I found several kinds of documentation on

One was a summarization of Kingsley’s case.

KingsleyZephaniah - FLHG_AmericanMigrations1765-1799-0722

Kingsley, Zephaniah. Memorials: Charleston, SC, 1782; London 1784; now of St. John, NB, merchant, sworn London 1787; by attorney, London, 1788. The claimant made a handsome fortune as a trader by importing British goods. He obtained permission to remain in Charleston with his family until the town surrendered to the Army in 1780 but, at the evacuation, was obliged to leave with them. Before he came away he sold a plantation for 5,000 pound sterling. Claim for a house and lot in Broad St; a house and lot in King St; two lots in Beaufort; 554 acres on Port Royal Island; 1,800 acres known as Black Swamp in St. Peter’s Parish, Granville Co; a house and lot in Frederica, St. James’s Parish, GA; a store at Indian Land; 1,000 acres on Long Came Road, Berkley Co. Conveyance of March 1778 from John Cox of SC, planter, t the claimant of 20 acres in Prince William Parish. Supporting memorial by John Shoolbred of London, merchant, 1788. Letter to the Commission from the claimant, London 1784: he has a large family in England and intends to sail shortly for NS. (12/46/314, 92/1a, 99/260, 109/184; 13/104/103, 130/256-292, 137/418-419).

He was a Quaker, and was affiliated with a group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This document is from 1780, courtesy of ancestryDOTcom.

KingsleyZephaniah 1780 Charles Town SC

On the 14th: of the 12th: mo: 1780 Present 17 Members, our Friends David Brook & Seth Coffin from No. Carolina, and John Forman.

Two Letters from Isaac Peace & Zephaniah Kingsley of Charles Town So: Carolina, dated 5th: 9th: mo: & 18th: 10th: mo: past having lately come to hand, giving some account of their Care of Friends Meeting House & Ground, and the Papers relative thereto, were now read & refer’d to be considered at our next monthly meeting.


I also found 44 pages of his claim. There are several different accounts of the description of the Black Swamp property, in addition to every single thing that he owned. Scroll on down to the 39th page for a description of the Blackswamp property if you can’t read cursive, because I have transcribed the property description. At some point I’ll possibly transcribe the other descriptions of his properties, because this guy had some money, influence, power, and property. These images are also from ancestryDOTcom.

LoyalistClaims P01

To the Hon. the Commissioners Appointed by Act of Parliament for enquiring into the Losses and Levies of the American Loyalists.

The memorial of Zeph. Kingsley late of So. Carolina

Humbly Sheweth.

That your Memorialist had for many Years previous to the commencement of the late unhappy war resided in Charlestown & carried on an extensive Trade there being concerned in the Importation of British Goods whereby he had accumulated a very liberal & handsome fortune.

That during the time of the Usurp’d Government he met with much persecution from the Rebels, being three different times imprisioned & otherwise ill treated both in person & property on account of his attachment to the British Government, but being anxious at least to preserve Sufficient of his Effects to enable him to discharge his just Debts; Your Memorialist with great difficulty gained permission to remain with the Family in Charles town till the Town Surrendered to the King’s Army in the Year One thousand Seven hundred & Eighty.

That your Memorialist happy in that event & flattered with the pleasing prospect of being again restored to the Blessings of that Government under which he was born & had lived in Ease & affluence, till those unfortunate disputes took place; exerted every influence he had in endeavouring to reconcile the needs of the disaffected in those parts to Yield Submission to the Government of their lawfull King, that he thereby incurred the resentment of the Americans to Such a degree, that a Sentence of Banishment accompanied with the confiscation of the whole of his property were passed against him.

LoyalistClaims P02

That your Memorialist’s Wife & Family of Six Children are now remaining in America, bereft of every species of support save what the Mercy of the Ending may afford them.

That your Memorialist’s property amounted to Twenty thousand pounds Sterling & upwards, as by the annexed Schedule appears, & the Americans had before he came away Sold a Principal well Settled plantation belonging to your Memorialist for Five thousand pounds Sterling & upwards; These unhappy & distressfull circumstances have not only rendered your Memorialist incapable of satisfying his Creditors To whom he now stands justly indebted to the Amount of full Ten thousand pounds (Duly at an Interest of Five pounds percent per Annum) but have (illegible) left him totally destitute of any present means of (illegible).

Zeph: Kingsley

LoyalistClaims P03LoyalistClaims P04LoyalistClaims P05LoyalistClaims P06LoyalistClaims P07LoyalistClaims P08

LoyalistClaims P09LoyalistClaims P10LoyalistClaims P11LoyalistClaims P12LoyalistClaims P13LoyalistClaims P14LoyalistClaims P15LoyalistClaims P16LoyalistClaims P17LoyalistClaims P18

LoyalistClaims P19LoyalistClaims P20LoyalistClaims P21LoyalistClaims P22LoyalistClaims P23LoyalistClaims P24LoyalistClaims P25LoyalistClaims P26LoyalistClaims P27LoyalistClaims P28LoyalistClaims P29LoyalistClaims P30LoyalistClaims P31LoyalistClaims P32LoyalistClaims P33LoyalistClaims P34LoyalistClaims P35LoyalistClaims P36LoyalistClaims P37LoyalistClaims P38LoyalistClaims P39

A Tract of Land known by the name of Black Swamp in Saint Peters Parish Granvil County near Savannah River formerly John Smith Esqs on which he lived many years. Contains about 1800 acres of which about 1100 acres are rich Rice swamp and the remainder good high land, an exceeding good Garden and Orchard, Containing a great number of good fruit Trees, a tolerable good dwelling house, an exceeding good Kitchen, a Saw mill, a large Compleat rice machine which is worked with water, a Black smiths and a Carpenters Shop. A very large and almost new Barn, some Stables, and overseers house and negro houses for at least 150 Negroes and several other buildings. I sold this place for 4500 pound Sterling but the Purchaser on account of the Destructive war was obliged to give it up the title Deeds which he returned are now in the hands of Lieutenant Governor Bull. This Tract of Land with the Buildings &c were (as I was informed by one of the Purchasors) sold before I left Charles Town by the Americans for upwards of 5000 pound Sterling now valued by the appraisers at 4000 pound Sterling.


LoyalistClaims P40LoyalistClaims P41

Bristol a good cooper
Kelsey a good carpenter
Jack a waiting man
Flora a cook
Fanny ditto
Jennett a house maid
Lucie an (?) good washer
One Mulatto girl
One Negro do

LoyalistClaims P42LoyalistClaims P43LoyalistClaims P44

By 1782, Basil Cowper’s estate is confiscated, and Zephaniah Kingsley’s is in the process.

I’m actually surprised about this. There’s also another name on the plat, that of Thomas Patterson, and it stands to reason that he is most probably a Loyalist also.

I found a marriage announcement of John Smith’s daughter Sarah Smith who married a Loyalist, Major James Wright, which was announced in the Royal Georgia Gazette, Savannah, Georgia, on January 18, 1781.

SmithJohnAndSarah Royal_Georgia_Gazette_1781-01-18_[3]

Kingsley’s account says that John Smith lived on the property for many years, and looking at the extent of the development of a rich rice plantation and all the outbuildings, the place was well-developed, and that doesn’t happen quickly. Could we guess that John Smith was there for at least 10 years?

The oral history of the area says that the Maner brothers served with Francis Marion, and while in the area, they hid horses and slaves in the swamps – hid them from the British. They liked the area so much that they settled there after the war, and are noted as some of the earliest settlers. But it looks to me that the British were already there, the Loyalist Americans.

Why would I say that?

Because there’s yet another historical document in the Lawton Family papers at Caroliniana Library that states that Samuel Maner, a farmer of Coosawhatchie, purchased a portion of the Kingsley property.

What a fascinating story! And it’s right in my backyard.

John Robert of Robertville

August 17, 2019

We’ve talked about John Robert before. He is a descendant from that ancient migration of French Huguenots because of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. His families settled in the Upper Santee Parish of South Carolina, and he eventually lived and died in the Beaufort District in an area that was named for his family.

If you search google books, you can find early references where he and other Robertville families supported their church. I was searching for Elizabeth Graham, and found other Robertville people as a bonus.

We’ve also taken poinsettias at Christmas time to John Robert and his wife Elizabeth Dixon over at the Robert Cemetery.

Lately, we had an opportunity to visit the Cotton Hill Plantation. We met the current owners and had a tour of the house and immediate grounds. It was fabulous. We even went in the attic and saw the construction of the house with the joinery of the rafters completed by long wooden pegs. The history is that shipbuilders from New England rebuilt the house as contracted by the new owners who located the new house on the footprint of the old house. The original house was burned by Sherman’s troops in 1865.


The next time we went to Robertville, it was to meet with Dr. and Dr. Leonard Young. Leonard is writing a biography of Henry Martyn Robert, and it is said that H. M. Robert was born on his grandfather’s plantation. But, I ask you, which grandfather? James Jehu Robert or Alexander James Lawton? At any rate, perhaps you and I can solve this mystery.

Leonard wanted to get a feel for the Robertville vicinity. There’s not much there now to see to the uninitiated. The Robertville Church, the convenience store, and a club for drinking where local guys hang out comprise the immediate crossroads. Nearby are the Black Swamp Plantation steps, a reminder of another plantation that was burned by Sherman.

We met at the Blackswamp Baptist Church, now known as the Robertville Baptist Church. I’ve blogged other photos of this church before.


Several people were working on the lawn and grounds, and a nice lady named Brenda offered to open up the church so that we could see inside.

She also opened the educational building, and pointed out this photo which is said to be the only known photo of the Blackswamp Church before it was burned by Sherman. It was said to have an upper galley for slaves, and indeed you can see upstairs windows on the side of the photo.


We proceeded to Pleasant Hill Plantation which was owned by John Hancock Robert, then we went to the Robert Cemetery off Tye Branch Road. I’ve posted lots of photos of that cemetery, especially those when we take poinsettias at Christmastime.

Then we finished up at the Cotton Hill Plantation. The owners had given us permission to drive onto the property, and we basically walked a bit on the driveway in front of the house. Leonard and his wife Peggy took some photos of us at this historic spot, and all seemed finished.

That was until a month later when I went to the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia, South Carolina, to view the Lawton Family Papers. I had been there before in September 2017 on the way to a church reunion in my hometown, and had spotted some items in the oversized document section which I wanted to view again and make better notes and photos. You can make photos with your cell phone or digital camera as long as you sign the permission sheet and don’t use a flash.

The items are in chronological order, and the first is a document by Jacob Kettle about a land transaction. Then there is a John Smith deeding property to Sarah Smith. I know none of these people.

Then I struck pay dirt.

Remember that I am viewing the Lawton collection, not the Robert collection, if there is even such a thing. Remember that Joseph Lawton married Sarah Robert, and that her brother is John Robert who married Elizabeth Dixon.

I have obtained this plat from the South Caroliniana Library with permission to publish on the blog.


from the Lawton Family Papers

Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C.

Plat of Mr. John Robert’s Land On Blackswamp

South Carolina

The above delineated plat represents three hundred and ninety six acres being part of the confiscated estate of Basil Cowper, situate on Blackswamp in St. Peter’s Parish, Granville County and state aforesaid, Butting and bounding with such stakes and marks as are above set forth.

Certified the 15th day of Aug 1782

John Fenwick Surveyor

Then will Certify that the above is a true Copy taken from Mr. Fenwick’s works this 3d January 1787

Elias Robert

Deputy Surveyor

There is a sheet of newsprint attached to the backside of the plat. None of it seems relevant to the actual plat, and I wonder about the purpose of it. Does it help strengthen the paper that the actual plat is drawn on?

from the Lawton Family Papers

Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C.

My goodness. So much to talk about.

Is Elias Robert the brother of John Robert?

Why is 1782 such an important year?

Who is Basil Cowper, and why were his lands confiscated? (See question about 1782)

Who are property owners John Audebert, Thomas Patterson, and Zephaniah Kingsley?

How much length is 20 chains per inch?

Why is there a floodgate?

What is Simpson’s Hill Settlement in the middle of the acreage? And who is Simpson?

These questions and so many more can perhaps be answered with two words: American Revolution.

Keep in mind that the first “C” I ever made in school was in American History in high school. Every time I see my history teacher, I tell him that.

But that was before I knew about Robertville before it was Robertville.

Here’s a bonus plat. It’s the 27 June1809 plat for John Robert.

from the Lawton Family Papers

Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C.

South Carolina

At the request of Mr. John Robert Senr. I have resurveyed for the said Mr. John Robert Thirteen Hundred acres of Land, inclosing the Buildings and improvements of the said Mr. John Robert whereon he now resides & the buildings and improvements of Mr. Jehu J. Robert, Situate on Big Black Swamp, waters of Savannah river in St. Peter’s Parish, the same including Seven small tracts, and one small angle of Mr. Richard Bostick’s Land near a Branch that XXX in the tract purchased by Mr. Robert from Capt. Saml Maner, the said Angle is conveyed by Mr. Richd. Bostick & John Robert Jr. which said plats I have connected part by resurveying the old lines and part  by the orriginal works that hath Such Shape & form as the above Plat represents. Given under my hand this 27 Jun 1809.

Philip Lamar

D. Surveyor

The said Mr. Jehu J. Robert has been traditionally known as James Jehu Robert.

If you find the floodgate that is on the 1782 plat, it looks like the 1782 plat fits neatly into the land in the 1809 plat, and that the Robert landholdings have increased to an unbelievable size and shape by 1809.

Do you see Mr. John Robert’s dwelling house right in the middle? You should also be able to find Mr. Jehu Robert’s dwelling house. In the southwest quadrant is Mr. Cater’s dwelling house.

All this land was populated at a very early date, much earlier than the family stories told us. Soon I’m going to move on to Zachariah Kingsley and Basil Cowper and right into a hotbed of British Loyalist activity, right here in Robertville before it was Robertville.

Seriously, I can’t stop thinking about this. These people have moved into my brain.

Headed Home to Cats and Carolina

August 17, 2019

I’m headed home.

This long family reunion weekend has been packed full of travel and food and photographs and hugs.

I rented an Airbnb for 4 nights, and was delighted that my daughter and my cousin Diane could join me for a few nights. We had the downstairs level of a home that overlooked a lake valley, the lake having been created by the TVA project of Ft. Loudoun Dam. If you stood, just so perfectly, at a certain point in the yard, you could see the lake. The only issue I had with the accommodations is that there was not a walkway or steps or a handrail to get from the driveway down the hill to the lower level. I might have been born a hill girl, but I’ve been gone a long time and have forgotten how to dig in my heels.

That wouldn’t stop me from staying here again.

It’s Monday morning, and there is a long drive ahead. Fortunately it is all interstate, and I’m not afraid.

First, let’s look for a house. It should be on the way home. Turns out, I’ve been by this house before, since BigBroSteve says it is near the cemetery on Martel Road.

CousinGordie has a small photo that she says was where Grandma Packett lived once.

The original photo was taken from the front yard and slightly to one side.

When I drive by the suspected property, I can’t get a good vantage. There’s a tree blocking the correct angle.

I drive past, turn around and drive past again. I actually pulled into the lane next to the house while snapping these photos from the car.

The front porch has been enclosed to make a room.

Some of the eave detail seems changed. But looking at the original photo, the setting is similar to another old photo with my sister as a very small child. Perhaps this is where my grandmother moved after her husband died and she couldn’t afford the rent on Hill Street.

I drive onward and stop at the cemetery entrance. It is a fine summer day and a good day for travel. I see the floral arrangement far across the cemetery, its back to the side of the stone that says Webb on one side and Packett on the other.

Goodbye, my people. I’m thinking of you.

A Bit of a Treat

August 13, 2019

Tammie, Brian, and I have been touring around seeing sights that I have never seen. It’s Sunday afternoon, and I realize that we are out for a Sunday drive unlike any other I’ve had. We’ve seen houses, and cemeteries, and fort ramifications, and one lone turkey. This driving about has worked up a thirst for an iced drink.

I usually make my midday meal my biggest meal of the day. I try not to eat in the evening because sometimes this triggers a gall bladder episode which is most uncomfortable. Today I make an exception when we end up at Hot Rods.

I went ahead and popped an omeprazole beforehand.

I had some kind of deliciousness called a kraut dog with slaw and fries on the side. Tammie had sliders.

Brian had the most enormous sandwich called “The Hog”.

The restaurant has 50s memorabilia EVERYWHERE. TV monitors mounted up high played the intros to all the classic 50s TV shows, over and over in a loop. There was so much to look at that it was sensory overload.

We headed back homeward, and they dropped me off at my car where it waited patiently in the heat at the Cracker Barrel. I’ll be heading for Home and Carolina soon, but there’s one more house to find. I had forgotten this one. Cousin Gordie had a little photo of a house where she said Grandma lived. BigBroSteve said he thought it was in the bend of Martel Road just past the cemetery.

I just happen to be going that way on the way to Carolina…

The Sultana Memorial at Mt. Olive

August 11, 2019

We pondered where to go next. The subject of Ft. Dickerson was still fresh so we headed over to see the Sultana memorial at Mt. Olive.

I have a distant relative, Moses Gamble, who was killed when the Sultana Riverboat exploded. He had lived through the Civil War only to die on his journey home.

You can read more about that explosion Here.

There are names on all sides of the monument. Moses was a private with Company A, 3rd Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers.

If you would like to read the pension file that I posted in 2016, you can read it by clicking here.

On to Bethel

August 10, 2019

After finishing up photographing the points of interest in Lenoir City where my family lived, we were stumped for a bit as to where to go next. The day was young, but I had no wants. Tammie and Brian suggested that we go to Bethel.

Nearby Kingston, Tennessee, was once called Southwest Point. Tammie has family buried at Bethel. My father used to work in Kingston when he was with TVA. Sooooo, on to Bethel.


Bethel is a beautiful hilltop cemetery. Off in the distance we see the smokestacks for the Bull Run Steam Plant where my father worked. We called it the Kingston Steam Plant.


We walked the entire cemetery, and Tammie and Brian told me stories about the people that were buried there.


Next we headed to Fort Dickerson in Knoxville. I am sad to say that I only have one photo of a turkey that I took with my cell phone because apparently I don’t know how to focus the Canon Rebel T6 camera. All the photos of the Ft. Dickerson historical site are blurred.


See turkey headed stage left like Snagglepuss.

Next: the memorial to the Sultana Steamboat explosion. Destination: Mt. Olive Cemetery.