Archive for the ‘Historical Issues’ Category

The Curious Court Case of Ruth A. Collins vs. East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad Company: The Death of Deaderick Collins

September 16, 2017

I first learned about Ruth Collins in 1999. I had decided to learn more about my genealogy, but all I knew on my maternal side was that my great-grandmother was named Henrietta Collins Webb. I found her as a child on the 1880 Blount County, Tennessee, census. Her mother was Ruth Collins. I was sure I had the right family when I saw that the mother’s name was Ruth. You might think the same if you were named for your grandmother, and she was perhaps named for HER grandmother, so it stood to reason that this must be my family.

Ruth Collins was listed as a widow. My BigBroBob was also researching this family, and he had seen a message on the ancestry message boards from a man named Harry who was searching for his grandmother Ivy’s father Deaderick Collins. But Ivy was born in 1881, so this didn’t seem like the same family even though Ivy’s mother was named Ruth. I suppose that we could have stretched the imagination by reasoning that Ivy was born in early 1881, and that Deaderick had died right before the census was taken. That seemed possible, except that Ivy had a younger brother Joseph born about 1883. Surely this was not the same family.

There’s also an 1870 census for Knoxville Tennessee which showed Henrietta and her little sister Maude living with their parents Ruth and D. A. Collins, and D. A. is a railroad hand. So let’s guess that the 1870 family is definitely mine.

That was it. I never found anything more that D. A. was Deaderick.


Fast forward 18 years, and I’ve taken a DNA test. In April 2017 I matched a man named Nick. He was descended through my Henrietta’s sister Maude, but didn’t have any info on Ruth or Deaderick or their life together.


About 2 weeks ago, I received a message from Nick with a link to a google book search. It was about a case that was reported in a book “Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Tennessee, Volume 56”.  Nick used the search term “Deaderick A. Collins”.

The name of the case was Ruth A. Collins v. East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad Co.

Here’s a screenshot:

And then the suit names Deaderick AND WHERE AND HOW HE DIED.


The defendant appeals in error from a judgment of the Circuit Court of Knox county, upon a verdict of six thousand dollars ($6,000) damages assessed by the jury for killing Deaderick Collins, the husband of the plaintiff. The accident which occasioned the death of said Deaderick Collins, occurred on the 2nd of October, 1871. He was a fireman on the defendant’s train, which, on that day, ran over some cattle, whereby the engine and tender were thrown from the track, and the tender upsetting fell upon said Collins killing him instantly.

The action is brought by the widow, under the Act of 1871, ch. 78, which is in the words following: “Be it enacted, &c., that Section 2291 of the Code of Tennessee, be so amended as to provide that the right of action, which a person, who died from injuries received from another, or whose death is caused b the wrongful act, omission, or killing by another, would have had against the wrongdoer in case death had no ensued, shall not abate or be extinguished by the death; but shall pass to his widow; and, in case there is no widow, to his children or to his personal representative, for the benefit of his widow or next of kin, free from the claims of his creditors.”

This Act took effect and was approved by the Governor on the 14th of December, 1871, two months and twelve days after the death of the said Deaderick Collins.

Sugar weighed in on this topic. Wouldn’t there be, he reasoned, a family story of a train accident in which your ancestor DIED? Wouldn’t there be an oral tradition that there were some children whose father was reported to be Deaderick, but clearly couldn’t be since he was DECEASED? I vote no because I have met my family, and I know how we roll.

It just so happens that I was already planning a trip to East Tennessee to attend the 150th anniversary of the church that I grew up in. I had already requested time off, enough time off that I could view the Lawton collection in Columbia, SC, plus spend the night with a Collins cousin, attend the reunion, visit Mom and Dad at the cemtery, go to the Knox County Archives, and visit with friends. This was a golden opportunity.

Then a hurricane appeared. I was planning on the trip anyway, but the trip might be dicey with a possible evacuation. The hurricane cooperated by moving westward.

At the Knox County Archives, it just so happened that the court case was on microfilm. These are iPhone photos of the microfilm.


Ruth A Collins vs The ET Va & Ga RR Co

No 8929 February 14, 1874

Came the parties by their attornies and came also a Jury to wit, JH Mynatt, JA Ogg, Jefferson Jett, Wash Morrow, HC Ogg, JC Chiles, JC Johnson, JR Johnson, JP Ford, John Sayne, WL Kennedy and JW Ventis all good and lawful men citizens of Knox County, who having been tried elected and sworn well and truly to try the issues joined between the parties having heard all the testimony in the cause and a portion of the arguments of counsel from rendering a Verdict are respited until the meeting of court Monday morning next.


No 8929 February 16, 1874

Came the parties by their attornies and came also the jury heretofore Sworn in this cause to wit JH Mynatt, JA Ogg, Jefferson Jett, Wash Morrow, HC Ogg, JC Chiles, JC Johnson, JR Johnson, John Sayne, WL Kennedy, and JW Ventis, who having heard the remainder of the arguments of counsel, from rendering a verdict are again further respited until the meeting of court tomorrow morning.


No 8929 February 17, 1874

Came the parties by the attornies and came also the Jury heretofore sworn in this cause to wit JH Mynatt, JA Ogg, Jefferson Jett, Wash Morrow, HC Ogg, JC Chiles, JC Johnson, JR Johnson,  JA Finch, John Sayne, WL Kennedy, and JW Ventes who upon their oaths do say that they find the matter in favor of the plaintiff and assess the Plaintiff damages by reason of the premises in the Declaration mentioned at the Sum of Six thousand dollars. It is therefore considered by the court that the Plaintiff have and recover of the defendant the Said Sum of Six thousand dollars the damages assessed by the jury together with all the costs of this cause for which execution may issue.



No 8929 February 19, 1874

Came the defendant by attorney and entered a Motion for a new trial of this cause.


February 21, 1874

Came the parties by their attornies and came on for hearing the defendants motion for a new trial of this cause which motion having been argued by counsel and considered of and well understood by the Court it is considered by the court that the motion be overruled and a new trial refused.


Tuesday March 3rd 1874

Court met pursuant to adjournment

Present and Presiding

The Hon. E.T. Hall Judge &c.

Came the defendant by attorney and (illegible) an appeal in the nature of a writ of (illegible) to the next term of the Supreme Court of Tennessee to be holden at Knoxville on the Second Monday of September next from the actions of the court in refusing to grant a new trial of this cause. And tendered to the Court its bill of exceptions which is signed and sealed by the Court and ordered to be made a part of the record in this cause. And the Defendant having entered into bond with Security as required by law Said appeal is granted.

Here’s a fun fact: Ruth’s Supreme Court case was to be heard on the “Second Monday of September”. I viewed this court case on microfilm on the second Monday of September, after traveling about 500 miles to view it.

The upshot of all this? Ruth and her attorney sued the railroad. There was a jury of men. She won. The railroad wanted an appeal, which was first denied, then granted, and the case went on to the Tennessee State Supreme Court. She won again, although the physical record cannot be located.

If there was a railroad accident, wouldn’t that be in the newspaper? I asked this question at the East Tennessee Historical Society, and spent a good bit of time scrolling through the microfilm.

Microfilm of the Knoxville Chronicle, October 4, 1871

Yesterday afternoon the down passenger train ran over a cow, a mile east of Sweetwater, which threw the engine and express car from the track, badly wrecking both and causing the death of the fireman, D. A. Collins. The express messenger, J. J. Tibbs, was injured slightly, but beyond these no one else was hurt.

Mr. Collins’ death is universally regretted by his friends. He leaves a wife and three children. His remains were expected to arrive this morning, and will probably be interred this afternoon.

Now I need a map of the Sweetwater area of the ETVGRR in 1871, and I need to find where this man was buried, most probably in Knoxville.


I spent the next night with my long-time friend Susan who lives near Sweetwater. When I headed home the next day for cats and Carolina, I drove over a bridge that crossed the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad. I took a quick look east to the direction of the accident.

Ruth went on to have 4 children after Deaderick’s death.

Good night, Deaderick. I’m thinking about you.


Sarah Robert Lawton: 1755-1839

April 18, 2017

I’ve written about “Our Grandmother” before. That post was a transcription of the first Lawton reunion. 

Today, I have some updated resources, at least, updated to me. Perhaps you knew of the online resources at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Imagine my amazement when I searched for Lawton, Robert, Mosse, and Rawls, and found documents and plats. I haven’t been able to pull my head out of the records. 

I emailed the email link to ask about sharing those images here on this little hobby blog that is not for profit. I have not heard back from them, even though it has been a week, and I suspect that there could possibly be budget issues that have eliminated positions, if not people, who would be monitoring such a situation. Just conjecture on my part. If they get back to me, and tell me to remove the images, then I will, but since this is not for profit and I have identified where the images came from, I think I’m covered. If I’m not, someone will tell me. 

Today, our feature is Sarah Robert Lawton. 

Now, how amazing is that Sugar and I got to gaze upon this original oil painting?! This is in a private home

After we saw this, I started poking around the internet a bit and found the Archives and History site. Look who was a landowner at age 18…

These are screenshots. When you click on “View all index terms”, you get this:

I see a few flaws. The index terms say James Lawton, but the original plat says “Joseph Lawton”, and it is noted that he is married to Sarah Robert recently. (Someone remarked that I can nitpick. It’s okay; it’s true. I screw up all the time, particularly when I don’t nitpick.)

Quite a bonus of info there. An Elias Robert is noted, and it is believed that Sarah had a brother named Elias, which bears further research on my part. Elias Robert was a surveyor, so perhaps further poking around will provide concrete proof that he was indeed Sarah’s brother. 

Part of Sarah’s land borders Joseph’s land. The rest of her property borders on “Vacant Land”. 

This, of course, leads us to wonder more about how a young 18-year-old woman came to own property in early Granville County, South Carolina in 1773. 

So if you see me out-and-about looking thoughtful, I’m probably thinking about Sarah “AheadOfHerTime” Robert Lawton. She needs her own hashtag. 

I’ll be back after I transcribe. 

A Marker for Mosse

April 16, 2017

Sugar had a plan.

We went to the graveyard, and measured an existing marker. Sugar’s plan was to make a matching marker for Mosse.

After surveying the scene, he selected a spot.

After what seemed an interminable wait, which in reality was not, he was rewarded with this.








Now, during the wait between the ordering and the installation of the marker, I found more references to George Mosse online.

Lieut. Col Balfour, commander of Charlestown, Prison ship Torbay, Charlestown harbor, May 18, 1781.

WE have the honor of enclosing you a copy of a letter from Lieutenant Colonel Balfour, commandant of Charlestown, which was handed us immediately on our being put on board this ship; the letter speaking for itself, needs no comment; your wisdom will beit dictate the notice it merits. We would just beg leave to observe, that should it fall to the lot of all, or any of us, to be made victims, agreeable to the menaces therein contained, we have only to regret that our blood cannot be disposed of more to the accompaniment of the glorious cause to which we have adhered. A separate roll of our names extends this letter.

With the greatest respect, we are, Sir,

Your most obedient and most humble servants,

STEPHEN MOORE, Lt. Col. N. C. militia,

JOHN BARNWELL, Major S. C. militia,

(for ourselves and 130 prisoners.

Major. General Greene.

On board the prison ship Torbay.

William Axon, Samuel Ash, George Arthur, John Anthony, Ralph Atmore, John Baddeley, Peter Bonetheau, Henry Benbridge, Joseph Ball, Joseph Bee, Nathaniel Blundell, James Bricke, Francis Bayle, Wm. Basquin, John Clarke, jun., Tho. Cooke, Norwood Couvers, James Cox, John Dorsius, Joseph Dunlap, Rev. James Edmunds, Thomas Elliott, Joseph Elliott, John Evans, John Eberley, Joseph Glover, Francis Grott, Mitchell Gargle, William Graves, Peter Guerard, Jacob Henry, David Hamilton, Tomas Harris, William Hornby, Daniel Jacoby, Charles Kent,

Samuel Lockhart, Nathaniel Lebby, Thomas Listar, Thomas Legare, John Lersesne, Henry Lybart, John Michael, John Minott, sen., John Moncrief, Charles M’Donald, John Minott, jun, Samuel Miller, Stephen Moore, George Monck, Jonathan Morgan, Abraham Marietto, Solomon Milner, John Netsville, jun., Philip Prioleau, James Poyas, Job Palmer, Joseph Robinson, Daniel Rhody, Joseph Righton, William Snelling, John Setvenson, jun, Paul Snyder, Abraham Seavers, Ripley Singleton, Samuel  Scottowe, Stephen Shrewsbury, John Saunders, James Toussiger, Paul Tayler, Sims White, James Wilkins, Isaac White, George Welch, Benjamin Wheeler, William Wilkie, John Welch, Thomas Yoe.

On board the schooner Pack-Horse.

John Barnwell, Edward Barnwell, Robert Barnwell, William Branford, John Brake, Thomas Cochran, Joseph Cray, Robert Dewar, William Desaussure, Thomas Eveleigh, John Edwards, jun., John W. Edwards, William Elliott, Benjamin Guerard, Thomas Grayson, John Gibbons, Philip Gadsden, John Graves, William H. Hervey, John B. Holmes, William Holmes, Thomas Hughes, James Heyward, George Jones, Henry Kennon, John Kein, Stephen Lee, William Mayer, GEORGE MOSSE, William Neusville, John Owen, Charles Pinkeny, jun, Samuel Smith, William Wigg, Charles Warham, Thomas Waring, sen., Richard Waring, John Waters, David Warhyam, Richard Yeadon

Published by order of Congress,



Married, on Thursday evening, the 2d inst on Black Swamp, by the Rev. Alexander Scott, Mr. ROBERT G. NORTON, to the amiable Miss SARAH MOSSE, daughter of the late Dr. George Mosse, of that place.


George Mosse vs. Henrietta Trezevant – Judgement for the plaintiff ninety dollars & Costs. (From the Savannah court records)

George Mosse vs. Henrietta Trezevant – On the 31st day of May 1805 appeared Charles Harris Esqr. Attorney in fact for the defendant in the above case who paid Costs & produced Alexander Netherclift as her Security for the absolute payment of the debt according to the Judiciary Law on the stay of execution for sixty days.

Henry Schely vs. George Mosse – Judgment for Plaintiff, Forty three Dollars, four cents & Costs.


In the year 1794, Messrs. Jonathan Clarke, George Mosse, Thomas Polhill, and David Adams, proposed the erection of a house of worship for the Baptists, in Savannah. The whole number of Baptists did not exceed eight or ten. About this time the Rev. Mr. Reese, a Baptist minister from Wales, visited Savannah, and encouraged the design.


In 1800 the church formed a constitution for its government, which was signed by H. Holcombe, F. Holcombe, George Mosse, Phebe Mosse, Joseph Hawthorn, Mary Hawthorn, Elias Robert, Mary Robert, Rachel Hamilton, Esther McKenzie, Elisabeth Stoney, and Martha Stephens.

(My note: Phebe is Phoebe Norton Mosse, Elias Robert is possibly the brother of Sarah Robert Lawton and John Robert, Esther McKenzie and Elisabeth Stoney are two of the Mosse daughters.)

We wonder what else we will find out about this pioneering family.

The Gifford Rosenwald School

April 1, 2017

Sugar and I are on our way from Point A to Point B, and we see a sign that tells us that there is a historical marker coming ahead.

Because we are two crazy kids out on a history mystery, we are compelled to pull over. Ignore the bread maker on the back seat.

Wearing eye-ish makeup and everything. YoursTruly, not Sugar.

Gifford is a wide spot in the road with a blinking yellow light. I would say “flashing” yellow light, but that might imply urgency, and there is nothing urgent happening in this sleepy little place on a Sunday morning. There’s a police car on the side of the road, parked in a spot at just such an angle that you would suspect that you are being surveilled and quite probably being ticketed for being nonlocal. However, the police car was unmanned, and was simply a decoy. There was no donut shop in sight. I would guess it was the only police vehicle in the hamlet, and the community got every ounce of usefulness from the car’s prescence.



Gifford Rosenwald School, sometimes Gifford Colored School, was built here in 1920-21. It was one of 500 rural schools built for African-American students in S.C., funded in part by the Julius Rosenwald Foundation from 1917 to 1932. The first of four Rosenwald Schools in Hampton County, it was a two-room frame building constructed at a cost of $3,225.

(Continued on other side)

(Continued from other side)

Gifford Rosenwald School had two to five teachers for an average of almost 200 students a year in grades 1-9 until it closed in 1958. That year a new school serving Gifford and Luray, built by an equalization program seeking to preserve school segregation, replaced the 1921 school. The old school has been used for church services and Sunday School classes since 1958.


This is the first reference that I have seen to “separate but equal” that wasn’t in a book or on the news. This is powerful stuff. I didn’t know that there were actual schools built to reinforce this notion. It seems odd to me that there was already a school in place for black children, but another one was built, perhaps to a different standard and modern construction, in order to maintain “separate but equal”. That is not to say that the old school didn’t need to be replaced. And now I want to know what the companion white school looked like and where it was.

McCords in Tryon County North Carolina Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions 1769-1779

March 17, 2017

McCords in Tryon County Minutes 1769-17790001









McCords in Tryon County Minutes 1769-17790002McCords in Tryon County Minutes 1769-17790003




[April term 1769]

Pursuant to an Act of Assembly of the Province aforesaid, bearing date of the fifth of December, One thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight, and, in the ninth year of his Majesty’s reign, for dividing Mecklenburg County into two distinct counties by the Name of Mecklenburg county and Tryon County, and other purposes in the said Act mentioned.

His Majesty’s commission under the Great Seale of the Province aforesaid, appointing Thomas Neil Ju’r, William Moore, William Watson, William Twitty, John Retzhoupt, James Mcilwean, Henry Clark, Jonas Bedford, John Gordon, John Walker, Henry Holman, Robert Harris Jr, and David Anderson, Esqrs., Justices, assigned to keep the peace for the county of Tryon aforesaid was read in open court, and also  Commission and Dedimus Potestatum empowering the said justices to administer all oaths, appointed by Act of Parliament for the qualifications of all public officers, and also such other oaths as are appointed by the Act of Assembly for the qualification of all officers, according to their several commissions.

Agreeable to the above Commissioners, Thomas Neil Jr., William Moore, William Watson, and John Retzhoupt, came into open Court and took the oaths appointed by Law for the qualification of Public Officers and also the Oath of Justices of the Peace for the County of Tryon afsd., made and subscribed the declaration and took their seats on the bench accordingly.

Ezekial Polk came into court and produced his commissions [page torn] and took the oath…

At the same time came Alexander Martin into court and produced a license appointed him Attorney for the Crown in said county, who took the oaths by Law appointed for the qualification of public officers, subscribed the test, took the oath of an Attorney and took his place accordingly.

At the same time came Waightstill Avery produced a license appointed him Attorney for the Crown in said county, who took the oaths by Law appointed for the qualification of public officers, subscribed the test, took the oath of an Attorney and took his place accordingly.

At the same time John Dunn, Samuel Spencer, and James Forsyth appeared in court and took the oaths by Law appointed for the qualification of public officers, subscribed the test, took the oath of an Attorney and took their places accordingly.

Ordered by the Court that David Byers & John Brandon serve as Constables in room of John Black and he [sic] swear in before William Watson.

Court adjourned for One Hour. Met according to adjournment. Present: Thomas Neil Jr., William Moore, William Watson, and John Retzhoupt, Esquires.

John Walker and David Anderson came into court and took the oaths by Law appointed for the qualification of public officers, subscribed the test, took the oath … [torn] their place accordingly.


McCords in Tryon County Minutes 1769-17790004

The Grand Jury

1  James Campbell, foreman

2 Alex’r Campbell

3 Jabez Evans

4 David Davies

5 James Thompson

6 Saml Gray

7 And’w McNabb

8 James McCord

9 John Foster

10 Sam’l Simpson

11 Thomas Black

12 Wiliam Henry

13 John Manner [?]

14 John McFaddon

15 Wm. McElwee

McCords in Tryon County Minutes 1769-17790005

Rich’d Jones vs Phillip Henson. Case.

The Petty Jury

1 Robert Loony

2 Wm Lusk

3 Benj’a Rice

4 Sam’l Gray

5 John Potts

6 Robert Robertson

7 Rob’t Gordon

8 James McCord

9 Gilbert Watson

10 John Hampton

11 Wm Aken

12 James Moore

Jury Impanneled & Sworn the Plantiff being solemnly Called failed to prosecute and Suffered a Non pross.

Charles Purvians[?] vs Richd & Wm. Farr. Case. Same Jury. Jury Impanneled & sworn find for the Plff and assess his Damages to (pound sterling) 11 2 8 and /6 Costs.


Rich’d Price vs Ab’m Bogard. Case.

The Petty Jury

1 Robert Loony

2 Wm Lusk

3 Benj’a Rice

4 John Potts

5 Robert Robertson

6 Robert Gordon

7 James McCord

8 John Lewis

9 Gilbert Watson

10 John Hampton

11 James Moore

12 Nicholas Fisher

Jury Impanneled & sworn find for the Plff and assess his Damages to (pound sterling) 10 16 and /6 Costs.

Gasper Clute vs George Pariss. Case. Same Jury. Jury Impanneled & sworn find for the Plff and assess his Damages to (pound sterling)– 1d and /6 Costs.


Nicholas Fisher vs John Conner. Case.

The Petty Jury

1 Robert Loony

2 Wm Lusk

3 Benj’a Rice

4 John Potts

5 Robert Robinson

6 Robert Gordon

7 James McCord

8 John Lewis

9 Gilbert Watson

10 John Hampton

11 James Moore

12 John Davison

Jury Impanneled & Sworn find for the Plff and assess his Damages to (pound sterling)  9 & /6 Costs.

Francis Beaty vs John Elder. Case. Same Jury. Jury Impanneled & sworn find for the Plff and assess his Damages to (pound sterling) 8 12 10 & /6 Costs.

Francis Adams vs Henry Turner. Case. Same Jury. Jury Impanneled & sworn find for the Plff and assess his Damages to (pound sterling) 4 3 4 & /6 Costs.


McCords in Tryon County Minutes 1769-17790006

April term 1771

The King vs George Ison.

The Petty Jury

1 John Patton

2 James Witherow

3 Joseph Neel

4 Nath’l Clark

5 James Wilson

6 James Coburn

7 James Clinton

8 Garvin Black

9 James McCord

10 Jno Lusk

11 James Duff

12 Jno Woods

Jury Impanneled and Sworn find the Defendant Guilty in Manner & Form Charged in Bill of Indictment and Fine Forty Shillings prock.


McCords in Tryon County Minutes 1769-17790007



A Deed of Sale from James McCord to Francis Gaskins for 150 Acres of land Dated the sixteenth Day of February 1773 proved by Wm. Alston Evidence thereto. Ordered to be Registered.


McCords in Tryon County Minutes 1769-17790009

McCord, James 26,46,47,64,124. McCord, John 172.

If this James McCord was found in Tryon County at its formation from Mecklenburg County, does this mean that he will be found in the Mecklenburg records prior to 1769? I will presume that he had been in the area for a while since he was frequently on a jury list, and was a recognized member of the community.

And if nothing else, perhaps I can disprove that he is a member of my family, which would decrease the available pool of candidates…

McCords in Mecklenburg County Deed Abstracts, 1763-1779

March 15, 2017

From “Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Deed Abstracts 1763-1779” by Brent H. Holcomb, C.A.L.S. and Elmer O. Parker.

McCord in Mecklenburg County Dee Abstracts0001


McCord in Mecklenburg County Dee Abstracts0002


From its formation in 1763 from Anson County, Mecklenburg included all North Carolina counties west of Anson and south of Rowan and all or portions of the present South Carolina counties of York, Chester, Lancaster, Spartanburg, Union, Cherokee, Kershaw, Laurens, Newberry and Greenville. The Indian line was surveyed in 1767, forming the western boundary of Mecklenburg County. Tryon County was formed in 1769, taking the territory west of the Catawba River. The North Carolina-South Carolina border was surveyed in 1772 cutting off present Lancaster and a portion of York County from Mecklenburg. These abstracts cover the entire period when Mecklenburg included such a large area,, and going on to 179–the first nine deed books. These were obviously compiled at a later time from smaller volumes. This explains the lack of chronological order by recording dates.

Originally, two volumes of abstracts of Mecklenburg deeds were planned. However, by the time the second volume was well under way, the first volume was out of print. The cost of soft cover offset printing has so closely approached that of hard binding that the present arrangement is more practical. In fairness to those who purchased Volume I, this volume is priced only slightly higher than Volume II would have been, and this provides the convenience of one index and binding instead of two With this volume, still another link in early Carolina frontier land titles is provided. With the use of Anson and Tryon deed abstracts, a thirty-year period of land transactions is now easily accessible.

My thanks to Mr. Elmer O. Parker for helping me with abstracts of Deed Books 5 and 6, and for providing the attractive maps in this edition.

Brent H. Holcomb, C.A.L.S.

Columbia South Carolina

May 29, 1978

McCord in Mecklenburg County Dee Abstracts0003

Pp. 199-202: 4 July 1766, Francs Beaty & wf Martha of Meck., “Dep. Collector &c,” to Robert McCord (lease s5, release (pound sterling) 45)…300 A on E side Cataba, both sides of Rolls Road, adj. David McCord’s, Killen’s, and Hugh Beaty’s…part of 640 A granted to Francis Beaty 21 Dec 1763..Francis Beatey (Seal), Martha Beatey (M) (Seal), Wit: David McCord, John Beatey.


Pp. 223-226: 4 & 5 July 1766, Francis Beatey & wf Martha of Meck., to David McCord…300 A on # side Catabaw River on the path leading from Mathew Pattons to the ford on the Tuckasegey including the Boyling Spring…on Killens line…part of 647 A granted to sd. Beatey 21 Dec 1763…Francis Beatey (Seal), Martha Beatey (M) (Seal), Wit: John Beatey, Robert McCord.

McCord in Mecklenburg County Dee Abstracts0004

Pp. 563-564: 4 Jan 1765, John Moore & wf Ann of Meck., to John Garvin for (pound sterling) 60, 580 A granted to sd. Moore 26 Mar 1755..on N side of a branch called by some Moores Creek…John Moore (Seal), Ann Moore (A) (Seal), Wit: William Dunlop, John Thomas, James McCord.


McCord in Mecklenburg County Dee Abstracts0005

McCiord,David 239

McCoord,Robert 240


Ann 173,181,191

David 8,9,173,178,181,191

James 63,87,89,91,145,193,209,24,234,246

James Jr. 163,224,226,234,241

James Sr. 163,226,241

John 83,124,125,144,239

Robert 8,9,75,181,191,194,224,233

Samuel Sr. 224

Sarah 341

Are David McCiord and Robert McCoord the same as David McCord and Robert McCord? Are James and John the same people that I have recently posted? And how are James, James Sr., and James Jr. linked together?

I clearly have more work to do…



The Wills of James & John McCord of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

March 13, 2017

McCordJames&John Wills Mecklenburg0001



1763-1790 (1749-1790)



McCordJames&John Wills Mecklenburg0002


Mecklenburg County was formed in 1763 from Anson County. At its formation it had no western boundary and an indeterminate southern boundary. It was bordered by Rowan County on the north and Anson County on the east. It therefore included the present North Carolina counties of Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Lincoln, Gaston, Rutherford and Polk (and other western counties not yet settled at the time) and all or part of the South Carolina counties of Spartanburg, Cherokee, Union, Chester, York and Lancaster. In 1764, the South Carolina border was surveyed east of the Catawba River, but the border west of the Catawba was not surveyed until 1772. In 1769, Tryon County was formed from the western part of Mecklenburg. (Tryon County was abolished in 1779, and Lincoln and Rutherford counties created).

Fortunately, most or perhaps all of the Mecklenburg county wills survive. The wills abstracts in this volume date from 1749-1790. In addition the extant returns of the Secretary of State (S.S. 884) of wills and estates probated are included. The testate and intestate estate papers are extant as well for Mecklenburg county, but it was not feasible to include these here since it would entail going through one hundred forty boxes of such papers. For the wills, both recorded copies and originals have been consulted, and where two copies exist, both references are given. The recorded copies appear to have been made much later than the originals, and have no order, chronological or alphabetical. As stated above, Mecklenburg County was not formed until 1763. Those wills prior to that year included here at first glance are perplexing. They are wills written when the territory was still Anson County, but probated or recorded after Mecklenburg was formed. These wills occasionally give clues as to former residence, especially Pennsylvania and Ireland. Unfortunately, many of these wills have no recording or proving dates. Those which we have are included, with the exception of some which might be found in the minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. A few wills were undated and those which lack also a recording date for this period of necessity were omitted.

This volume of abstracts should be used in conjunction with other published records of Mecklenburg County, particularly the “Mecklenburg County, N.C. Deed Abstracts 1763-1779” (published by Southern Historical Press). The records of Anson County and Tryon County will be useful in tracing many persons mentioned in these abstracts. These are available also in published form from Genealogical Publishing Company (Baltimore, Maryland) and Southern Historical Press respectively.

Brent H. Holcomb, C.A.L.S.

Columbia, South Carolina

January 1, 1980

McCordJames&John Wills Mecklenburg0003

Will of JAMES McCORD of the County of Mecklenburg being very sick … to my beloved wife [Catherine] the full third of my personal estate & to have the benefit of the land during her natural life, the choice of all my horses with her saddle, household furniture; to my daughter Jane, (pound sterling) 50 hard money over & above her half of my personal estate; to my son William the remainder of my personal estate with all my land at my wife’s death; my wife sole Extx…

5 Nov 1781

James M’Cord (1) (Seal)

Wit: John McCord, John Moore, William M’Leary

Proved January 1782

Wil Book B, p. 126

C.R. 065.801.20


Will of JOHN McCORD of the County of Mecklenburg, being in my ordinary health of body; to Robert Allison & John McRee, all my lands and improvements to sell and distribute the proceeds; to wife Mary McCord, one moiety or the full half; to John McCord, son of William McCord, (pound sterling) 10; to Robert McCord, one other son of sd.

McCordJames&John Wills Mecklenburg0004

Wiliam McCord, (pound sterling) 200; to John McCord, son of the above Robert McCord (pound sterling) 30; to John McCord, son of John McCord, Junr., (pound sterling) 5; to John Moore son of Garon (?) Moore; (pound sterling) 10; to Mary Ritchey, daughter of John Ritchey, (pound sterling) 10; to Agness Kennedy daughter of David Kennedy, (pound sterling) 3; to Isabella Diller (?) my wifes sisters daughter, (pound sterling) 10 she living in Kentuck; friends Robert Allison, & John McRee, exrs..  11 Sept 1786

John McCord (Seal)

Wit: William Huston, Jurat

Mary Huston

N. B. my negro man Dublin shall not be sold, but shall remain in my wifes possession….

Will Book B, pp. 127-128

C.R. 065.801.20

James McCord, Rowan County, Abstracts of the Deeds

March 13, 2017

More from Mrs. Stahle Linn, Jr., C.G., R.G.

McCordJames Rowan County Abstracts of deeds 1753-17850001McCordJames Rowan County Abstracts of deeds 1753-17850002


In this volume are abstracts of the first ten deed books of Rowan County, abstracted from the recorded deeds in the Rowan County Register of Deeds Office. Copies of pertinent deeds may be ordered from the Register of Deeds, County Office Building, 402 N. Main Street, Salisbury, N.C. 28144. The fee is in 1983 50c per page plus large SASE.

Many deeds were not recorded until years after the transaction took place. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that someone buying or selling property recorded his instrument at the time one might expect. The Rowan County deed indices are almost impossible to use, and a genealogist may be needed to explore the later records.

In Rowan County lie the earliest extant set of court records for the piedmont section of North Carolina; twenty–seven counties in North Carolina and all of Tennessee have been formed from the area that was once Rowan, an area who western boundary was the Pacific Ocean. For twenty-three years, Salisbury, the county seat, was the farthest west county seat in the Colonies.

Rowan County was formed from Anson County in 1753 and most of the early Anson records were lost to fire. Anson had been formed in 1750 from Bladen County, where many records were destroyed by fires in 1756 and 1893.

There has been no major loss of records in Rowan. However, in the Land Grant Office of the Secretary of State, Raleigh, N.C., are some early land grants that were not recorded in the county deed books.

Eighteenth century Rowan County prior to 1771 embraced the entire northwestern quarter of North Carolina. North Carolina was established as a proprietary colony when in 1663 King Charles II granted to eight supporters who had helped him regain the English throne the lands in the new world between the parallels of 31 degrees and 36 degrees north latitude. The land was extended in 1665 to 30 degrees north latitude, the present north Carolina-Virginia boundary. Under the Carolina Charters, the Lords Proprietors received, among other things, the right to grant lands, and the colony was under the control and leadership of the Lords Proprietors for more than sixty years. In 1728, seven of the original proprietary shares were sold to George II, and North Carolina became a crown colony.

One shareholder declined to sell: John Carteret or the Right Honourable John Earl Granville, Viscount Carteret and Baron Carteret, of Hawnes, in the County of Bedford, in the Kingdom of Great Britain, Lord President of his Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, and Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Born in 1691, he had inherited one-eighth of Carolina in 1695.

The Granville District was a strip of land about sixty miles in depth bounded by the Virginia Line on the north, the southern border of Rowan on the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Pacific Ocean on the west, roughly the upper half of present-day North Carolina. Granville was given the right and title to all vacant lands, and his land agents granted the lands and collected the rents and fees i his name. Much of the land in Rowan was granted by Francis Corbin and Thomas Child, agents of Granville. John Earl Granville died in 1763, never having seen his North Carolina lands, and the land office was closed due to difficulties concerning the Regulator Movement. The American Revolution intervened, wiping out all traces of feudalism, socage, and quitrents. All the Granville properties were confiscated by the state.

To further complicate the matter of real estate in the colony, Henry McCulloh, a merchant of London, was granted in 1737, 1,200,00 acres of land, some 450,000 of which lay within the Granville proprietary. For this reason, the researcher will find both Granville and McCulloh grants appearing in Rowan County prior to 1766 and the Revolution.

In late 1778 land offices were set up in the counties to grant land formerly held by Granville. One could locate for himself 640 acres of vacant and previously ungranted land with 100 acres for his wife and 100 acres for each minor child. The state land grants continued until 1959.

The procedure for obtaining land was the same, regardless of who granted it. A person found the land he wanted and made application to the land office; this application is called the “entry” which was a rough description of the property. A Warrant then was issued to the county surveyor to set apart the land that had been somewhat vaguely described in the entry, and he surveyed the tract and drew a plat of it with a metes and bounds description of the property. Metes and bounds descriptions use natural or man-made features of the land as the terminal points for boundary lines, such as “the stump on Williams’ line” or the “persimmon tree on the creek bank.” The plat was returned with the survey, and then the patent or deed was granted, once the necessary fees had been remitted, and the deed or patent was recorded.

McCordJames Rowan County Abstracts of deeds 1753-17850003

It should be noted that not all the so-called Granville grants appear in the recorded deeds of Rowan County nor in the Land Grant Office. Some appear in the North Carolina State Archives, 109 E. Jones Street, Raleigh, NC. 27611. There is an indexed card file for these grants.

The importance of the use of land records in genealogical research can scarcely be overestimated, for most of the eighteenth century deeds give the entire chain of title and relationships are spelled out in exquisite detail. Divisions of estates, deeds of gift, and powers of attorney appear also in the recorded deeds.

In working with a county a large as original Rowan, it becomes necessary to determine the approximate location of the property so that one will know in which offshoot county to expect to find later records. Special note should be made of the watercourses mentioned in the deed and the names of the adjoining landowners. William S. Powell’s North Carolina Gazetteer will be a useful aid in determining into which present-day county the land fell.

In this volume of deed abstracts, a person’s mark is given in parentheses with his name; if no mark is shown, the reader may assume he signed. Place names of the principals are included where they are other than Rowan County; occasionally a county name, such as Mecklenburg, will be given, and there is no indication as to the state. Care has been taken to show alternate spellings of names within the deeds themselves, and the index makes cross references to aid the reader in finding the alternate spellings of the names. The index, because it became unwieldy, does not indicate the fact that a name may appear more than once on a page, so it behooves the careful researcher to peruse the entire page. Some names were impossible to decipher, and some names were written in German and could not be translated by this compiler. When a person signed in German, the fact is so noted.

Appreciation is expressed to Mrs. Lynne Michael of Salisbury Printing Company for her fine work in preparing the monumental index to these deeds, a tedious and exacting exercise, and to the personnel when the compiler took up residency there. Heaven forbid that there be any corrections or emandations, but such will be gratefully received by the compiler.

McCordJames Rowan County Abstracts of deeds 1753-17850005

McCordJames Rowan County Abstracts of deeds 1753-17850004

McCordJames Rowan County Abstracts of deeds 1753-17850006

9:578. 10 Oct. 1783. State Grant #418 @ 50 sh the 100 A to James McCord, 300 A n fork of Hunting Crk opposite the mouth of Fords branch adj Elsberry.


McCordJames Rowan County Abstracts of deeds 1753-17850007

9:620. 10 Oct. 1783. State Grant #334 @ 50 sh the 100 A to Thomas Young, 640 A on N side Hunting Crk adj James McCord, Christopher Harston, Houston & Bryant. 

James McCord of Rowan County, North Carolina

March 12, 2017

I don’t even know what I don’t know.

I do know that I’m looking for McCords from North Carolina who would have migrated to West Tennessee in the early 1800s when the Indian lands opened up for settlement.

I have a stash of papers that aren’t doing any good if they are just stored in a notebook.

We’ll start with these 6 pages from “ABSTRACTS OF WILLS AND ESTATES RECORDS OF ROWAN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, 1753-1805 and TAX LISTS of 1759 AND 1778”, by Mrs. Stahle Linn, Jr., C.G.

McCord James Rowan County 1778 & 17960001McCord James Rowan County 1778 & 17960002

McCord James Rowan County 1778 & 17960003


In Rowan County lie the earliest extant set of court records for the piedmont section of North Carolina; twenty-seven counties in North Carolina and all of Tennessee have been formed from the area that was once Rowan, an area whose western boundary was the Pacific Ocean. For twenty-three years, Salisbury, the county seat, was the farthest west county seat in the Colonies.

Rowan County was formed from Anson County in 1753, and most of the early Anson records were lost to fire. Anson had been formed in 1750 from Bladen County, where many records were destroyed by fires in 1756 and 1893.

The early will books of Rowan County are largely intact, and the North Carolina Archives has many of the original wills of Rowan. This present volume included abstracts of the extant unrecorded wills and abstracts of the untranslated German wills, some of which were recorded and some of which were not. We are enormously grateful to Ute-Ingrid Seider White for her translations and abstracts of the German wills which were published in the July, 1975, issue of The North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal.

Obviously, not everyone who died in Rowan County prior to 1805 died testate; the percentage then was about what it is now, one in twenty male heads of household. The will books are comprised only of the recorded wills and have no information on intestates. However, a group of inventories and accounts of sales for the period 1785-1787 were recorded in the Rowan County minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, records of forty-eight decedents, some of whom died testate and some of whom didn’t, and this list is included. Also included is a list of persons for whom there are extant loose estates papers at Archives, primarily intestates, some 900 or so of them. The knowledge that these papers exist and are available should be helpful to researchers who ancestors laced the grace to depart this wicked world leaving a will that named all the children.

The incomplete 1759 Tax List of Rowan has been included with an explanation of the reason why it was not compiled from the original. The 1778 Rowan Tax List, assumed to be complete for everyone who didn’t hide from the enumerator, was transcribed from the original.

The main index is arranged with cross references that aid in orthographic problems; there are subject headings; place names are also indexed. The slave index is included for obvious reasons. It should be noted that the names of many slaves are not the same in the recorded wills as in the originals.

The compiler has always published the abstracts of the source materials she has found to be the most valuable in her own research, with the hope that this material will prove equally helpful to other historians and genealogists. She is most assuredly grateful to Dr. Thornton Mitchell and Mr. George Stevenson and the other Souls at the North Carolina Archives for their hospitality during the days spent in the Archives and for their not inconsiderable help. She is also grateful to William Perry Johnson for this corrections and additions. And to Edythe Huffman whose help with the index made publication this year possible.

McCord James Rowan County 1778 & 17960004

McCord, James, 103, 129

McCord James Rowan County 1778 & 17960005

McCord, James 1796

McCord James Rowan County 1778 & 17960006

James McCord 536.15

So, James McCord? Who are you?

Who was John McCord, Sr.?

March 11, 2017

I have a puzzle piece that doesn’t seem to fit into my puzzle.

McCord John 1809 (a)

Perhaps ten years ago, I requested a file for John McCord who lived in the Mecklenburg area of North Carolina. This was a record that was created after Mr. McCord died.

Here’s where things get twitchy. I know that my father’s McCords came from North Carolina. The oldest McCord I can find in his line is Nancy Caroline McCord who married James J. Hedge. I have seen conjecture that her father was William McCord, and there is a William McCord from North Carolina who lived nearby in Henry County, Tennessee. But I don’t have PROOF. No Bible record or will or old letter that says William and Nancy are father and daughter. Twitch #2: I’ve also seen that Nancy Caroline had a sister named Mary who married John Burgess, and it’s not unheard of for cousins to marry cousins. Again, no paper proof, but as a point of interest, Mary and John Burgess are also my father’s line, because Mary and John’s daughter Martha Demaris Burgess married John Newton Hedge, the son of Nancy Caroline and James Hedge. (Do you remember Charley Burgess, the son of Mary and John Burgess? He lost a leg at Shiloh.)

I suspected that the file I requested for John McCord might shed some light on this history mystery, or at least rule out some possibilities.

Guess what?!

It doesn’t mean a thing to me, but now I am sucked into a black hole looking at old records for these McCords.

Because not only do I have these limited paper files that I’ve been hanging onto for 10 years, I also find another *expanded* file for John McCord on I’ll sort through the ancestry file in another post.

McCord John 1809 (b)

An Inventory of the estate of Jno. MCord Decd

4 Sheep skins 40/100. 1 hide 90/100

1 Grindstone $6.11.1 bee gum $2.12

1 Bee gum $1.55

1 pair steelyards $3.251 flax wheel

1 Loom and tacklings

1 flax wheel

6 90# Seed Cotton @ $3.26

1 Red hieffer $4.47. 1 best do $6.13

1 Cow & Calf $14.54. 1 Red steer $5.80

1 Red bull $5.85. 1 Black do $3.82

1 Brown mare $12

McCord John 1809 (c)

1 Yellow Colt $21.50

1 Dutch fan (ink smeared – $24?)

2 young bull calves $6.51

4 waggon $83.55

1 Sow & 7 pigs $4.55

1 Sow & 3 pigs $5.52

2d Choice of barrows $3.25

3d Choice of 2 sows $4.75

4th Choice $10.71

Past Choice of the hoggs $8.71

1 Note on David Kennedey $8.50

Total $271.53 1/2

M.McLeary & Wm. Flinn


McCord John 1809 (d)

Know all Men by these Presents that We Robert McCord & Richard Mason – are held & firmly Bound unto Jno W.K.Alexander Chairman of the County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions for the County of Mecklenburg & State of North Carolina in the Penal Sum of Sixty — Pounds to be paid by us & to the Chairman or his survivors in office in trust for the Benefit of John McCord A Legatee of John McCord Decd  – Deceased – To be void on Condition that Robert McCord — who is Appointed Gaurdian for the said minor John McCord Shall well & faithfully discharge his duty as Gaurdian aforesaid in several Cases which by Law in Such case is Required to do —

Sealed & Deld

In presence of

(Line Cut off)

Robert MCord

Richd Mason

Twitch #3: Why is this document dated 1787 for Mary MCord included in this file? Plus it is cut off! We need the rest of it. And that is the last image in the file.

McCord John 1809 (e)

Mary MCord Wdw to John Decd Bought at (??)

Viz May 1st 1787

One Pewter Dish


One Bed & Furniture

A Wheel & some soap

A Chest & 1 small Trunk

To Carriage of Goods to Mrs Ritchies

To Use and Abuse of a Horse 14 Months


1786 April 10

To Charges paid Robert MCord for feeding a Horse

To two rides to Rowan for her Horse


Ap 26th

To Medicence pd. for to Dr. Henerson

To 2 yds of Callico at 10 ? p yd.

To sundries of Clothing paid for to Robt. MCord

To 1# of Coffee & 2# of sugar Bt. from Mr. Hodge

To 5? paid Samuel Davis for mending a Chest

To 1 pair of shoes

To 1 Years Boarding

And are any of these names in my family tree?

No. No, theyarenot.