Archive for the ‘Plantations’ Category

John Robert of Robertville, Part Three

November 16, 2019

What is one to do after a stressful work day? One scrolls through the “South Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1670-1980”, on ancestry.

This record set has searchable names that have been extracted. However, and that is a big HOWEVER, not all names in the document are extracted.

So I started with one of the starting places where I had already located Basil Cowper and his wife Mary about a third of the way along, and I’m swiping left on the iPhone when my eye caught Samuel FICKLING.

Now, Samuel Fickling might not mean anything to most of you, and it wouldn’t have to me a few years ago. I actually have to mentally walk backwards in time to get to Samuel Fickling. There are so many people in various family trees that I research that I have to start at one point and trace my way around to get to the person I want. It is as if I have to surround myself with these people to get comfortable with my thoughts. Sometimes I trace my finger in the air, drawing an invisible tree with the relationships.

To get to Samuel Fickling, I have to start with Joseph Lawton who married Sarah Robert. No one is really sure how they met. He was from Edisto Island, and she was from French Santee, if my memory serves me correctly. Sarah’s brother was John Robert, the subject of several previous posts. Sarah and John’s father was a Robert and their mother was a Jaudon. Joseph, Sarah, and John all ended up in the area we know as Robertville.

I’ll start with Joseph whose mother was Mary Stone Grimball Lawton Fickling. Mary SGLF was lastly married to Samuel Fickling, most probably the same one in the document. Mary’s 2nd husband was William Lawton of Edisto Island; they were the parents of Joseph who married Sarah Robert. Mary’s 1st husband was Paul Grimball. See how these people are all interlinked? I know, I know, sometimes I need pencil and paper to draw it out, too.

How can I be sure that Mary SGLF’s 3rd husband Samuel Fickling is the same Samuel Fickling that is mentioned in the court document?

*RELATIONSHIPS*

South Carolina

Know all men by these presents that I SAMUEL FICKLING of Granville County in the province of South Carolina Planter for and in consideration of the sum of Eleven hundred and fifty pounds Current money of the said Province to me the said SAMUEL FICKLING in hand well and Truely paid at and before the Sealing and delivery of these Presents by ELIAS JAUDON and JOHN ROBERT of the County & Province aforesaid the Receipt whereof I the said SAMUEL FICKLING doth hereby Acknowledge and myself therewith to be fully satisfied and paid by these Presents I the said SAMUEL FICKLING hath Granted Bargained Sold and delivered and by these presents Doth in Plain and open Market Grant Bargain Sell and deliver unto the said ELIAS JAUDON and JOHN ROBERT the following Ten Negroe Slaves Viz Will, Adam, Harry, Pompey, Cuffee, Walley, Lucy, Tom, Hannah, and Will, formerly the property of PAUL GRIMBALL Deceased together with their issue and Increase unto the said ELIAS JAUDON and JOHN ROBERT their Executors administrators and assigns to their only proper use and behoof To have and to hold the said Bargained Premises unto the said ELIAS JAUDON and JOHN ROBERT their Executors Administrators and assigns for and during the Term of years that I the said SAMUEL FICKLING shall ever be hereafter Intitled to the said Negroes during which Time I the said SAMUEL FICKLING doth hereby warrant and forever defend the said administratos and assigns in witness whereof I the said SAMUEL FICKLING hath hereunto Set my hand and Seal this fourth day of February in the Year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred and Sixty Nine.

SAMUEL FICKLING  L.S.

Sealed and delivered in the Presence of

JAMES ROBERT & JAMES JAUDON

South Carolina

Berkley County

Personally appeared before me JAMES FORD on who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of God Almighty God made Oath he was present and saw SAMUEL FICKLING sign Seal and duly Execute the within Instrument of writing for the uses and purposes therein mentioned and that he the deponent together with JAMES ROBERT subscribed their names as witnesses to the same.

Sworn before me this

7th February 1769

GEORGE MURRAY

*****

South Carolina

Know all men by these presents That I SAMUEL FICKLING of Granville County in the Province of South Carolina Planter for and in consideration of the sum of one thousand Five hundred and fifty pounds Current money of the said Province to me the said SAMUEL FICKLING in hand well and Truly paid at and before the Sealing and delivery of these presents by ELIAS JAUDON and JOHN ROBERT of the County and Province aforesaid the Receipt whereof I the said SAMUEL FICKLING doth hereby acknowledge and myself therewith to be fully satisfied and paid by the presents I the said SAMUEL FICKLING hath Granted Bargained Sold and delivered and by these presents Doth in plain and open Market Grant sell Bargain and deliver unto the said ELIAS JAUDON and JOHN ROBERT the following Negroe Slaves being my own property Viz Tom, Harry, Abram, Jany and Mary To have and to hold the Said Negroes, Tom, Harry, Abram, Jany and Mary together with their Issue and Increase unto the said ELIAS JAUDON and JOHN ROBERT their Executors Administrators and assigns to their own proper use and behoof forever And I the said SAMUEL FICKLING for myself doth covenant promise, grant and agree to and with the said ELIAS JAUDON and JOHN ROBERT in manner and form following That is to say that I the said SAMUEL FICKLING my Heirs Executors and administrators the said prebargained premises unto the said ELIAS JAUDON and JOHN ROBERT their Executors administrators and assigns against all and every person and persons whatsoever shall and Will warrand and forever defend by these presents In Witness whereof I the said SAMUEL FICKLING hath hereunto set my hand and seal this fourth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty nine

SAMUEL FICKLING  L.S.

Sealed and delivered in the presence of

JAMES ROBERT and JAMES JAUDON

South Carolina

Berkley County

Personally appeared JAMES JAUDON who being duly sworn on the holy Evangelists of Almighty God made Oath he was present and saw SAMUEL FICKLING sign Seal and duly Execute the within Instrument for the use Intents and purposes within mentioned and that he the Deponent together with JAMES ROBERT Subscribed their names as Witnesses to the same

Sworn before me this seventh of February

1769. GEORGE MURRAY

(There’s the start of another document at the bottom right of the page which mentions Mrs. Elizabeth Poyas, wife of James Poyas. I’ll have to go back to ancestry and screenshot the following page to see what the documents have to say about Mrs. Poyas. We have some Poyas followers here.)

Samuel Fickling would have been an old man when this document was executed. John Robert would have been about 27 years old. The Elias Jaudon (sometimes written Jordan in the document) could have been John Robert’s cousin or uncle; I can’t be sure which at this point. Paul Grimball is reported to be deceased about 1750, and I find it remarkable that the slaves are still reported as his original property 19 years later in 1769. This might require another timeline.

These slaves were originally the property of Paul Grimball, the 1st husband. How did they end up the property of Samuel Fickling, the 3rd husband? Why is there no mention to William Lawton, the 2nd husband? Did ownership skip by him? Once again, due to the customs of the time, women are not mentioned in the document, but we know that the common element is Mary SGLF.

And the slaves?

Will, Adam, Harry, Pompey, Cuffee, Walley, Lucy, Tom, Hannah, and Will are mentioned in the 1st part of the document.

Tom, Harry, Abram, Jany and Mary are mentioned in the 2nd part of the document.

All we have left of them are their names.

John Robert of Robertville, Part Two

November 14, 2019

Y’all remember that occasionally I bust out with some thinking, and I get wrapped up with research. (I hope you will forget about the experiment of dyeing yarn with food coloring.) This theory concerns John Robert and his early days. Why don’t we know more about his early days? We believe he was born about 1742. I found the plat in 1782 where he gets property in what became Robertville because of the confiscation act, that property being part of the forfeited estates of Zephaniah Kingsley and Basil Cowper, 2 Loyalists with property in St. Peter’s Parish.

Leslie and I were having a discussion about John Robert and his service to the Patriots during the Revolutionary War. I went to the DAR website to see what I could find out. There wasn’t much, just that his name was on a jury list. That didn’t seem like a lot of service for a young man of that era, so I went to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

But first I started a time line with info from “Our Family Circle” by Annie Miller. Then I added to what I found on the SCDAH site, and what a blockbuster that was.

  • 1766, Oct 7 – Royal Grant of 250 acres, Saltcatcher River, Colleton County
  • 1768, December 31 – John Robert of Saltcatcher’s enters caveat against William Coachman’s obtaining administration of Estate of William Gould late of St. Peter’s Parish 
  • 1769, January 20 – William Coachman did not appear; John Robert gets letters of administration on the Estate of William Gould
  • 1769, April 11 – 300 acres on Saltcatcher, Prince William Parish
  • 1769, July 4 – Colonial land grant (S213019, Vol 18, P 361 – from SCDAH online records)
  • 1769, September 18 – 300 acres at Saltcatcher (S111001, Vol 8, P 507, Item 4 – from SCDAH online records)
  • 1770, May – Col. Isaac Hayne records that John Robert & Elizabeth Dixon moved to Indian Lands (SC H M Vol II, pg 93)
  • 1771, May 18 – John Robert has royal grant of 250 acres in Prince William Parish
  • 1771, December 23 – John Robert has royal grant of 500 acres in St. Helena’s Parish
  • 1778, June 28 – John Robert is Rev. War soldier is Capt. Blake’s Co (SC H M, Vol 5, p 19)
  • 1779, September 16 – October 15 – served in SC Militia, private
  • 1779, 1780, 1781 & 1782 – Provided sundries for Continental militia
  • 1780, February 11 – 1780, May 12 – Footman in Capt. Joseph Darrell’s company
  • 1780, March 1 – May 12 – SC Militia, private
  • 1780, April 20 – Provided corn & bacon
  • 1780, May 12 – 1781, July 1 – Prisoner of War; General Lincoln surrenders at the Siege of Charleston
  • 1781, May 16 – Provided 1 steer
  • 1781, July 18 – Provided 1 three-year-old steer for use by Capt. James Cone’s detachment
  • 1781, September 20 – 1782, February 12 – military service
  • 1781, December 10 – Provided 4 four-year-old steers for use by General Greene’s army
  • 1782, June – 1782, July 4 – 30 days military service
  • 1782 & 1783 – Provided provisions & forage for Continental use. Hunting and driving cattle. Providing oats & rye
  • 1783, April 10 – Provided 7 beeves, beef, & clean rice

Y’all, he was a prisoner of war for over a year. I wondered why he was captured, and when I googled the date of May 12, 1780, I found that it was because of the Siege of Charleston. General Lincoln surrendered, and those people went to prison.

Go have a look at the file. It is 29 pages and an amazing time capsule.

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 ancestry.com.

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.

Henry Taylor of England and Robertville, Part 2

May 27, 2019

The newspapers hold more news of Henry Taylor.

In the Savannah Republican, July 11, 1807, he became a United States citizen.

In the Columbian Museum, Savannah, Georgia, July 15, 1808. He was the manager of a grist and rice mill at Drakie’s Plantation.

*****

In 1810, he is mentioned in an ad about a sorrel horse.

Savannah_Republican_1810-11-13_[4]

*****

Savannah Republican, October 9, 1813, he is appointed a commissioner of the Augusta Road, first district, along with Thomas Young and William R. Harden.

Savannah_Republican_1813-10-09_[2]

 

*****

I don’t find anything else about him until 1827, where you’ll remember that he listed his Laurel Hill property for sale in January. Perhaps he returned to England, and I might be able to find newspaper and court accounts back home.

Charleston_Courier_1827-01-27_3

 

*****

In 1839, the marriage announcement between himself and Mary C. Robert. The minister that performed the ceremony was Peyton Lisbey Wade who had gotten married three days previously. He is an ancestor of the author and compiler Annie Miller, who compiled “Our Family Circle” almost 100 years ago.

Marriage announcement

His will was written in 1840.

TaylorHenry WillTaylorHenry Will P2 and P3TaylorHenry Will P4

After his death, his will was resolved according to this account in the Savannah Republican, March 2, 1849.

An interesting case was pending before the Superior Court of this county in Chancery at its recent session, involving the doctrine in Equity of election and the extent of that doctrine as embracing compensation or forteiture. The case arose upon the will of the late HENRY TAYLOR; which not having been executed according to the law of South Carolina, was set aside in that State, by which a large real and personal estate descended to, and became distributable between, his widow and only child. The will was established in Georgia, however, and the property in this State being insufficient to discharge all the legacies and respond to the provisions for the widow and child, it sought to compel these last to elect between the descended estate in Carolina and the provisions under the will. We were disappointed, however, in not hearing the discussion of this interesting question of Chancery law, by the yet more interesting conduct of the widow and her present husband, who declared through their Solicitor in Court their wish that no legatee under the will should be disappointed, and that they only desired the benefits of the provision under the will to the extent of what might remain after full payment and satisfaction of all the legatees. As my be supposed, this very handsome course on their part led to an immediate and very satisfactory adjustment of the whole case.

You know what this means? It’s time for a field trip.

Framed by three massive live oak trees, this grassy knoll was a home site on Laurel Hill Plantation before the Civil War. Savannah National Wildlife Refuge includes portions of 13 former rive plantations. Ten, including Laurel Hill, were located in South Carolina. Laurel Hill was nearly 400 acres in size and belonged to several owners during the years of rice cultivation in the Savannah area (1750-1860). The most prominent owner was Daniel Heyward (1810-1888). He was a nephew of Thomas Heyward, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and of Nathaniel Heyward, the greatest rice planter of his day, who once owned 10 South Carolina plantations and 2,000 slaves.

Laurel Hill is bordered by the Little Back River, which is a channel of the Savannah River. Rice was grown in fields that were flooded with freshwater from the river. In 1825, the plantation had a house, rice mill, winnowing house, barns, and dwellings for 150 slaves. Facing three life oaks on this knoll, the two-story clapboard house probably was home for the plantation overseer. A rice mill operated by tidal power was once located on Little Back River. It was replaced by a steam-powered facility built near this location.

The Laurel Hill steam-powered mill operated from 1833 until 1880. Later, the mill was converted into a tavern, rumored to have been a hotbed of drunken and disorderly activity. The infamous Rice Mill Tavern was abandoned by 1934, when the Laurel Hill tract was added to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.

 

LaurelHil 3 lives oaks on knoll

The 3 live oaks on the knoll

LaurelHill info sign

LaurelHill magnolia blooming

There is an enormous magnolia across the parking lot from the 3 live oaks.

LaurelHill magnolia budLaurelHill magnolia from aboveLaurelHill magnolia

LaurelHill Marker and 2nd tree

The marker with the middle tree in the background and the rice fields beyond.

LaurelHill Marker and 3rd tree vista

The live oak closest to the rice fields in the distance.

LaurelHill Marker info hut and 2 trees

There’s an information kiosk to the far left.

LaurelHill marker

LaurelHill old brick foundation

Leslie found old bricks embedded in the grassy area near the magnolia.

It was unbelievably hot. We were there mid-day when most birds and animals have retreated from the heat, but we did hear a few bird calls from the buffer by the magnolia. The temperature was in the upper 90s, and it’s only the end of May.

That seems to be the end of the story of Henry Taylor. There are some court documents that I will attempt to transcribe, but for now, good-night, Henry Taylor. We’re thinking of you.

Lenoir City: A Town of the Future

April 15, 2018

I always wondered how we came to live in Lenoir City. How did my family choose to live here? Out of all the places in the world, why Lenoir City? Why Tennessee? Why the South?

When I started poking around the family tree about 20 years ago, I found that both my mother’s and father’s families were here before the United States became the United States. We’ve always been in the South, most particularly in Tennessee and from the feeder states of Virginia and North Carolina, and before that from when those states were Colonies. We’ve been here so long that I don’t have a paper trail that leads back to Europe. I have no clue under what circumstances we got to North America.

And why Lenoir City? I know that my father came to this area looking for work with TVA, and met my mother on a blind date. But how did Mom’s family get to Lenoir City? My best guess is that her parents were textile workers and could find work in the textile mill in Lenoir City. But why did they leave Knoxville? Was it unsafe? Was there no opportunity? Was there not adequate housing?

I suppose I’ll never have answers. I found, however, that I could set the stage in my mind if I knew more about how Lenoir City came to be.

It was a planned city. The old Lenoir Plantation was purchased by a group of investors, and they planned a town complete with town lots, stores, and factories. Fortunately for me, these events were recorded in the Knoxville newspapers. For most towns, their earliest existence was recorded in court records. But Lenoir City was different. It was not the county seat, plus it is one of the youngest counties, so earlier history of the land and people might be found in the parent counties.

In 1890, things started to happen that created Lenoir City.

From GenealogyBank, the Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 8/3/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 159, Page 9.

img_3653

LENOIR CITY.

*****

Comprehensive Scheme for Building a

New Town.

Elsewhere will be found the prospectus of Lenoir City, the new city that is to be build on the line of the East Tennessee road, twenty-three miles west of Knoxville. The place is well situated, being on the great railroad mentioned, and also on the Tennessee river. A railroad is being surveyed from that point to a junction with the Walden’s Ridge road, and it will be built just as soon as the survey is complete, thus adding to the advantages already possessed at Lenoir City.

With this road in operation, it will be in effect, a double track road from Knoxville to Clinton. It is just the same distance from Lenoir’s to Clinton by the new road and by way of Knoxville, so that in hauling coal from the coal fields north of us to southern markets, forty-five miles is saved. The empty cars can be hauled by way of Knoxville and the loaded ones to Lenoir, making the Knoxville and Ohio, as above stated, a double-track road to Clinton.

The scheme for organizing and building up the new town is peculiar in that every stockholder becomes also a holder of real estate and a particpiant (sic) in the profits. Every man who purchases stock becomes a partner in the company building the town, and a portion of the money paid in goes to the improvement of his real estate holdings. It is something new in the organization of southern town companies, and is so perfectly clear on the face that everyone understands perfectly when he takes stock just what he is doing. It can not possibly fail of success.

From GenealogyBank, the Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 8/3/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 159, Page 11.

PLANS AND POLICY

*****

Of the Lenoir City Company and

Their Method

*****

Of Selling Stock With Lots, as De-

scribed in their Forthcoming

Prospectus.

*****

Lenoir City is not a “boom town”; it is not the effort of speculators to build upon some old, worn out fields, a mushroom city that cannot withstand future financial storms, and by taking advantage of popular excitement to sell out the lots to outsiders at unreal and fancy prices, and then silently retire from the field, leaving the investors, so to speak, to “hold the bag,” the poorer from their investment in everything except experience.

Not only is Lenoir City situated upon a princely estate, famed throughout the south for its richness and vast expanse, but the founders careful for the success of the enterprise into which they have embarked, have determined to build up a permanent city, established upon sure and staple foundations. They have invested here for time, not for a day, merely.

Having stated out with this determination, they realize the fact, pointed out by reason, that the way to permanently utalize the unexcelled natural advantages of Lenoir City, is to offer this property to the public in such a manner that investments shall be profitable to the investors, and that every investor shall become directly itereated with them in the enterprise, and a zelous and co-operating agent in the up-building of the city.

With this and in view, and with a firm faith in the future of Lenoir City, that makes them willing to depend for their profits upon the future prosperity, they have determined to offer the property to the public upon a mutual plan, and share the profits with all stockholders who now join with them in the enterprise.

The Mutual plan has best solved the problems of insurance companies; it has been the principle that has brought the wonderful success of the building and loan associations, and enable so many of our people now to own houses instead of renting them. It is believed by the founders of Lenoir city that a Mutual plan can work yet greater wonders in the building of a city, and they therefore offer the following plan to the public in the confident belief that it is the most advantageous plan yet offered to those investing in city property, and, therefore, most conducive to the permanent growth of Lenoir City, from which alone they are to receive the reward for their labor and expenditures. They do not claim to have adopted this plan as a matter of philanthropy; it is with them a  matter of business. They wish the purchasers of the property to make money because they know that they will thereby ultimately make more money themselves.

The capital stock of the Lenoir City company has been fixed at eight hundred thousand dollars, ($800,000) in 8,000 shares of $100 each, which is almost precisely three hundred dollars ($300) per acre for the company’s estate, which lies north of the Tennessee river, and on which are the extensive improvements that formerly belonged to the Lenoir Manufacturing company.

One-half of this capital stock (that is $400,000), is to be issued and offered to the public upon the following terms:

A large tract of the land belonging to the company, lying in the center of the locality where the city is to be built has been already laid off in streets and lots, and an accurate map has been made of the entire property showing in detail these streets and lots. These lots have been estimated in value, the valuations being as nearly uniform as possible, after making allowances for the different locations and sizes of the various lots and the uses to which they can be put; the valuations put upon the lots  having been in all cases made as low as possible, and not, it is believed, over one-half of what these same lots would bring at public auction, as the average price per lot will be less that $250 each. The estimated value of each lot offered for sale under this plan has been plainly indicated upon the map itself, copies of which are distributed with this prospectus.

These lots, whose value has been thus estimated, are to be disposed of by the company in connection with the $400,000 of stock. In the following manner: This $400,000 of stock will be sold to the public at par. Every purchaser of this stock will, however, receive not only paid-up stock to the account of his subscription but also a lot (or lots) whose estimated value is equal to the amount of his subscription.

One-half of the amount received for this $400,000 of stock will be placed in the treasury of the company, the other half being used to pay for the original purchase of the property and the debt contracted in the formation of the company. (The founders of the company, it is thus seen, rely for their profits solely upon the value of the remaining stock after this $400,000 has been sold, and after the original purchasers have receive their bonus in lots.) This sum of $200,000 is to be used by the directors of the company for the common benefit of all stockholders as they shall deem for the best interest of the company, either in developing the property by encouraging and aiding manufactures and street improvements, or in dividends to the stockholders.

After the sale of the $400,000 of stock, the stock-books of the company will be closed, and the state of things will then be as follows: The company will have a fully paid up stock of $800,000, will have over 2000 acres of its tract still unsold, consisting of lots and manufacturing sites; and will have $200,000 in its treasury, or in improvements on the property.

It is a simple matter of calculation to ascertain the profit to the purchasers of the above mentioned $400,000 of stock. He then owns a lot (or lots) whose estimated value was $1,000 and which has probably risen in value by that time to $2,000; he furthermore owns $1,000 of paid-up, non-assessable stock in this company, which owns over 2000 acres of the princliest estate in the south, and upon which are extensive improvements, and which, furthermore, has either the sum of $200,000 in its treasury, or the result of its expenditure in the development of the property. If the directors do not use this sum in further developing the remaining property of the company in order to obtain an increased return therefrom, they can, at once, declare a cash-dividend of 25 per cent, on the capital stock. The owner of this $1,000 of stock would then own his $1,000 lot; would have received back $250 of the $1,000 which he spent, leaving his net outlay only $750;and would also own $1,000 of stock in a company owning over 2000 acres lying in and immediately surrounding the most prosperous manufacturing city of the South.

The disposal of this remaining 2,000 acres will be a matter entirely controlled by the wishes of the majority of all the stock-holders. It may be sold at public or private sale, at auction or otherwise, as their judgment may deem best and most profitable. (It will be remembered that the whole estate has been stocked at only about $300 per acre.)

The distinguished feature of this plan is thus seen to be its mutuality and co-operative basis. The founders intend to build up this city upon the principle of the old refrain: “A long, long pull, and a strong, strong pull, and a pull together.” All who aid them in building up this magnificent industrial city will share both in the glory and in the profits of the achievement.

The public which buys the $40,000 of stock to be put on the market will then own one-half of this magnificent estate which is to-day, not to speak of its future as a manufacturing city, worth, for its present intrinsic value alone, at least the entire capital stock of the company.

Details of the Method of Sale.

The books of the company will be opened for the sale and issuance of the $400,00 of stock at 11 o’clock a. m., on Wednesday, September 3, 1890, at Lenoir City. (The company reserve the right to reject all bids in excess of $400,000, as only that amount of stock is to be sold.)

Subscriptions are invited before the above mentioned day, but if made in advance must be accompanied by 10 per cent of the amount of stock subscribed, either in cash or a certified check payable to the order of C. M. McClung, secretary and treasurer of the company. All the subscriptions will be registered in the precise chronological order in which they are received, and in that order will the subscribers be allowed to select their lots.

Stock will be sold at par, and upon the following terms; One-half cash; one-fourth payable in six months; and the remainder in twelve months, with interest from date. Upon making the first cash payment of one-half (of which in case of subscriptions made in advance, the 10 per cent payment already made will be credited as a part), the subscriber of stock will receive a receipt for the amount paid, and after selecting the lot or lots whose estimated value is equal to the amount of his stock subscribed, will receive a written agreement binding the company on the payment of the balance of his subscription, to execute to him a certificate of stock to the full amount thereof and a warranty deed in fee simple, free from all incumbrances, to the lot or lots selected, subject, however, to the liquor forteiture clause herein before stated. The payment of the balance may, of course, if the purchaser desires, be made at anytime before the end of the twelve months, thus enabling him, at once, to receive his certificate of stock and deed to his lot. On the other hand, however, if a subscriber to stock, after paying one half of his subscription, does not wish to continue his payments in order to obtain the lot or lots he has selected, or for any reason ceases making payments when due, the company will issue to him, in full satisfaction of his contract, paid up shares of capital stock of the company to the full amount of the money has has already paid in, fractions of shares not being included.

To Summarize:

This is, in fact, not a sale of lots, but of stock in the company. The founders of the Lenoir City company are not seeking victims; they are inviting associates. The company is not now trying to sell out its property, but rather to increase the numbers of parties interested with the founders in the building up of the city. The efforts of many men are required to build up a city; the founders are, therefore, inviting good citizens to stand with them in the enterprise, to partake of their labors, and share in their profits.

For this purpose they have, put half of the capital stock of the company on the market. In so doing they offer to the purchasing stockholders not only their stock but also lots in the city at opening valuations, which are merely nominal compared with the prices at which such lots are usually sold in new towns. The lots will be offered at these valuations to stockholders only; being, it fact, given to stockholders. Until all this $400,000 of stock is sold and issued no lots can be obtained from the company on any terms except as a bonus with this stock.

The subscribers to this stock will not only obtain this bonus, (thus receiving the full value of their investments), but together with the founders will become owners of the vast tract of land lying in and around these lots, which comprises the great bulk of the property of the company. On the other hand the founders expect them, by the aid of their voices and influence and improvements on the lots, in buildings and manufactures, to give valuable assistance in developing and increasing the value of this remaining property. It is from the sale of this remaining tract of over 2,000 acres, or such part of it as the stockholders may wish to put upon the market, comprising the far greater portion of this “princely estate,” which will probably be sold at public auction late in the fall or early next spring, at greatly advanced prices, that the founders of Lenoir City, by the help o the new stockholders and sharing with them, expect to realize their profits.

Remember than an interest in this Company upon these liberal terms can only be obtained by becoming a purchaser of a porrtion of this $400,000 of stock now offered to the public.

Notice.–Persons desiring further information as to the properties, plans of sale, or other matters concerning the Company, are requested to address the

LENOIR CITY COMPANY,

Lenoir, E. Tenn.

 

*****

From GenealogyBank, Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 8/28/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 184, Page 8.

img_3665

 

LENOIR CITY.

*****

A Building Boom in the New Industrial Town.

****

New Your Stockholder Will Build Cottages — Brick Factory to be Started.

*****

Lenoir, Tenn., August 27, — Quite a stir in financial circles was created here yesterday afternoon, when Mr. Smalley, of the Lenoir City company, received the following instructions from the New York magnates of the concern: “Prospectus and maps received; well pleased with the outlook. We authorize you to sue your own judgment in selecting us each a lot; also assume authority to erect upon each a house, the cost of which will e about $2,000, something attractive and substantial, a good renting property. This instruction from the New York gentlemen namely, Hon. Calvin S. Brice, Col. C. M. McGhee, E. R. Chapman, Esq., John G. Moore, Esq., and Hon. O. H. Payne, adds great weight to the enterprise.True they are all stockholders in the company and have  controlling interest, yet it also indicates positively that this is no paper scheme, an enterprise to work upon outside capital. This knowledge has had its effect; people here who have held aloof, desirous of investing, yet waiting for their neighbor to make the advance, have come to the conclusion that now is the appointed time. It is man’s nature to want the best in everything, that proclivity is demonstrated here, when, after subscribing stock, they hurry to the town site to make the choice of their lots. But here they are puzzled; there is no choice; they sare all desirable. The man blindfolded who shoots an arrow into that beautiful park and then takes up his abode where it falls is as well off and as well-situated as the man who devotes a day in making his selection.

There is one feature that is embarrassing at present; there is no building brick to  be had nearer than Knoxville. A company will immediately go to work here and manufacture three or four hundred yet this fall, but that does not supply the present demand. Mr. Cass Hall of the Lenoir City bank, was compelled to set his house on blocks, leaving the foundation until brick could be procured. It will not take advertising or whole page displays to make this enterprise a success, aside from the advantageous plans upon which the company work, the mutual plan, making the investment profitable to the investors, by every investor becoming directly interested with them in the enterprise, there are mutual advantages that will enhance the value of the property, simply for the reason of its location.

People want comforts in this life, the rich, the poor like. The laboring man wants to live where he can enjoy with his family health and prosperity. What is lacking here to make this one of the greatest manufacturing places in the south: Besides all the mineral wealth beneath the surface and the timber above, nature has been liberal with her gifts in making this one of the richest agricultural regions in Tennessee. The capitalist wants to place his means where the greatest gain can be obtained. Here with the iron, the coal, the timber and marble at our very door, with both river and railroad facilities that cannot be excelled, name the industry that cannot succeed.

Strong men have seen thy face,

And looked thy beauty o’er.

Were dazzled with thine every grace,

They loved thee much LENOIR.

They purchased with a price,

A sum unheard before,

Thy vales and hills and alls that’s nice,

And now they own LENOIR.

And they will see thee grow,

Yes, they will see thee soar,

Beyond the limits now marked out,

Will grow our proud LENOIR.

Then some will come and stand,

And loud their lost deplore;

For not investing in thy land,

When thou wert cheap, LENOIR.

 

From GenealogyBank, Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 9/5/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 192, Page 5.

Big Day at Lenoir City.

The managers of the Lenoir City Company are rejoicing over their well earned success. By the close of the first day of the public sale $60,000 of stock had been subscribed and cash payment made on more than $50,000. Several large blocks will be taken this week.

The work of selling lots with stock will continue, without glaring advertisements, until the remaining $300,000 of stock is sold, after which the company proposes to advertise extensively for the big auction sale next spring.

Plans are now being drawn and contracts made for various handsome buildings, both store and residence, to be erected at once by different stockholders.

Remember that purchasers of this “ground floor” not only get their lots but also share in the future profits of the company. The sooner you buy the better selection of lots you can make.

*****

 

From GenealogyBank, Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 9/7/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 194, Page 5.

LENOIR CITY.

*****

Things Moving Lively at the New Town.

SPECIAL TO THE JOURNAL

LENOIR TENN., September 6.–Mr. James Thompson, from Ohio, arrived in this city last evening. Mr. Thompson is a contractor and architect of state reputation. He will locate at Lenoir. He will submit plans and specifications for the construction of the  five houses that will be immediately built by the New York gentlemen. Every train brings in mechanics of the different trades. The eastern and western building season will soon be over. They are coming to a country where they build the year round.

Mr. Grant B. Chley, of New York, has telegraphed the managers to select him a lot and build thereon a house, something similar to those that will be erected by the New York stockholders.

B. B. Hall of Iona, Mich., arrived this afternoon. Mr. Hall is one of the stock-holders in the large saw milling plant that will locate here at once. They have selected the site, five acres along the banks of the Tennessee river. They have purchased all the timber on the Lenoir City Companies possessions. But their main dependence will be upon the exhaustless supply of timber in the mountains which is tributary to this point.

The E. T. Va., & Ga., railroad have completed the excavation for the new depot also for two miles of side track. The new depot, it is said, will be the finest along the line of road. The estimated cost is $3,000, it will be of the latest designs and a model for convenience.

The collection of minerals, marble and wood being gathered from the Lenoir plantation is assuming respectable proportions under the guidance of Dr. Benson. An interesting cabinet will soon be on exhibition at the office of the company.

*****

Now, I ask you: Who wouldn’t want to live in Lenoir City?

Back to the Newspapers: Runaway Slave Ads

November 7, 2017

While looking for references to George Mosse in the early Savannah newspapers, many advertisements for runaway slaves can be found. The ironic part of these ads is that they are helpful in identifying people who wouldn’t have been identified. These ads list the slave name, physical description, and contact person, in addition to the amount of the reward. The higher the reward, the more valuable the person.

From the Savannah Republican, December 24, 1808:

75 Dollars Reward.

Absented themselvessome months ago, the following NEGROES—

Sampson, 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high; well made, though rather slender; has an impediment in his speech; about 28 years of age.

Caesar, about 5 feet 6 inches high; between 35 and 40 years old.

Tom, about 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high; about 30years of age.

Adam, about 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high; extremely slender; 17 years of age.

Beaufort, 5 feet 3 or 4 inches high; muscular form; face very ugly , and countenance surly; about 18 years of age.

The above reward will be paid to any person who will seize said negroes and lodge them in any gaol in the state of Georgia, or deliver them to Mr. Kesterson, on Kilkenny-Neck, adjoining Mr. John Morel’s, or to the subscriber, on Skidaway island.

R.B. Wylly

N. B. If taken separately, the reward will be given in the following proportions–For Sampson, 25 dollars; for Tom, 2 dollars; for Beaufort, 10 dollars; for Adam, 10 dollars; and for Caesar, 5 dollars.

October 18—124

Then this one…

125 Dollars Reward.

Seventy-five Dollars will be paid to any person delivering to the subscriber, or lodging in Savannah gaol, a NEGRO WOMAN, named BELLA, who has been absent near three years, during which time she has been lurking about the plantations on Ogechee, and in the neighborhood of Thunderbolt; but latterly, it is said she has been harbored about or near Mr. Polock’s brick-yard, and that she has a ticket. —

She is about five feet four inches high; full face; strait and well made; has lost one or two of her fore teeth; hollow foot, high instep; her complexion rather yellow. She formerly belonged to Mr. Charles Harden, deceased, and may probably say she belongs to col. Edward Harden, who has a woman of the same name. A reward of Fifty Dollars will be paid for convicting a white person of harboring her.

Philip Ihly.

If Bella returns of her own accord, she will be forgiven.

October 18.–24.

Another…

Twenty Dollars Reward.

Ranaway from the subscriber, on Saturday evening last, his mulatto girl, POLLY, late the property of Mr. John Waters, of this city. As she is well known in Savannah, a particular description of her person is unnecessary. All persons are forbid harboring her, as they may depend on being dealt with according to law.–

A reward of Twenty Dollars will be paid to any person that will give information of her being harbored by a white person, and Ten Dollars if by a negro.

Levi Sheftall.

October 23 –127.

And at the end of the column (keep in mind that this is just ONE column in ONE newspaper in ONE day in ONE city)…

10 Dollars Reward

Will be paid to any person who will apprehend and secure in Savannah goal, my fellow BEN. He has been runaway since April last, and is supposed to be with Mr. Richard B. Wylly’s negroes, which are advertised in this paper.

G. W. Allen.

December 1–143

*****

10 Dollars Reward.

Ran away this morning, my Negro Fellow ISAAC, who is well known in this city. If brought home to me, I will give the above reward; and if he should be apprehended in S. Carolina, and lodged in any gaol of that state, or brought to me, I will pay a reward of 30 dollars and all expences.

Thomas U. P. Charlton.

December 3 –144

These ads were everywhere. Here’s one from May 1769 from the Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg. Tom Salter has run away from Henry Lee.


What is most astounding to me is that, even as dangerous as running away must have been, there were so many people who risked the dangers for freedom, men and women alike.

I suspect that this post will become an ongoing project.

Rest well, travelers. We can learn from your bravery.

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.

25-21

GIFFORD ROSENWALD SCHOOL

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.

SPONSORED BY THE ARNOLD FIELDS COMMUNITY ENDOWMENT, FAITH TEMPLE DELIVERANCE MINISTRY, AND THE TOWN OF GIFFORD COUNCIL, 2014.

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.

Who Was Amanda M. Miller?

February 18, 2017

Sugar is working on a plan.

This plan involves going to a graveyard with a tape measure and a smartphone.


Because a smartphone has a camera.


And said camera takes remarkably clear photos.


These photos which show measurements are needed for a memorial for someone who doesn’t have one. I’ve written about him before.

The following obituary appeared in the newspaper in 1808.

  Died, on the 17th of February, at his usual residence on Black Swamp, Beaufort District, of a lingering illness, which he bore with uncommon patience and Christian resignation, in the 67th year of his age, Doctor GEORGE MOSSE. He was a native of Ireland, but for about 40 years an inhabitant of this state, of which he has been a respectable and useful citizen. To his adopted country he was a firm, constant friend, but his philanthropy embraced all mankind.

The Doctor was particularly known and respected, as the zealous friend and support of Religion; from which he derived his present, and expected his future happiness. In the profession of it he was open, yet unostentatious; in his attachment to it, rational, unshaken and uniform. His religious sentiments were those which are usually stiled evangelical; making the righteousness and atonement of the Redeemer the ground of his hope for pardon and acceptance with God; and considering morality and virtue as the native fruits of faith – the inseparable concomitants of Divine love.

Though not inattentive to other books of usefulness, his reading was principally in those of a religious and devotional kind; but especially in the Sacred Scriptures, to which he gave serious, daily attention. In consequence of which his mind was happily stored with the knowledge of divine subjects. On his hours of devotion, he would not suffer the cares and business of the world to intrude.

In relative life, he was a sincere, candid friend; an affectionate Husband; a fond Father; and an indulgent Master. And it may be truly said of him, that he was the Orphan’s friend; that he made the Widow’s heart sing for joy; and that he did not send the needy, and distressed, empty and mourning from his door.

His last scene presented a grand and pleasing spectacle – just before he closed his eyes in death, he said, in an apparent rapture of joy – “Lord Jesus receive my spirit. Glory! Glory to God, who has given me the Victory!”

A pious Widow, seven Daughters, and many friends lament the loss of this good man.

 

Dr. George Mosse and his wife Phoebe Norton had SEVEN daughters. Three of these daughters married three Lawton brothers. One set belongs to Sugar.

We were then looking at the tombs of his particular set: Alexander James Lawton and Martha Mosse Lawton. We realized that there was another tomb that we had consistently overlooked.  She’s right there in the line with Alexander and Martha.

She was Amanda M. Miller. But who was she?

No more confined to groveling scenes of night,

No more a tenant pent in mortal clay;

Now should we rather hail thy glorious flight,

And trace thy journey to the realms of day.

She is the daughter of Alexander and Martha, and she died in her early twenties. (Thank you, clever Reader Leo, for confirmation!) Childbirth, perhaps? One on-line tree says she had an infant son that also died. But where is the baby?

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

FlowerFest 2016: On To Robertville 

February 6, 2017

We had too many grave sites to visit to get it all done in one day. For the second year in a row, the FlowerFest needs two weekends.

Sugar and I headed for Robertville.

It was a quiet Sunday, and we thought we’d arrive after church had let out, and all had gone home. Not today, a few cars were still parked at the church.

This is a private time for us, this FlowerFesting gig, even though I photograph and write about it. Sugar is very serious about the ritual. You can probably see how intense he is when he marches across each cemetery, and places each plant *just so*, and tweaks the placement of each pot.

He didn’t want to hang about, so he hustled to get the job done. He can be so hustle-y, I can’t catch up.


So I just zoom in, camera-wise.




We found that last year’s poinsettia pot was still on the ground.

I stopped to photograph Edward Payson Lawton’s marker. He was killed at Fredericksburg.

I’ve been listening to Irish music on Pandora. One song in particular, “Clear the Way”, has a line that always gives me chills.

At Fredericksburg, we rose to meet them,

Though we knew the price we’d pay….

The song is sung from the viewpoint of a man who served with the Irish brigade for the Union.

In the cold grey light of morning,

after the deal had gone down,

I awoke and shook all over –

hoping a dram would bring me round.
Well, I stared at the sight all around me;

busted blue and faded grey.

Men in heaps were scattered;

men who fought and died the other day.
Well, I lived my youth in Connemara,

roving from town to town.

I shipped on board of the Amelia,

to New York City I was bound.
Not for honor, nor for country;

we killed for three square meals a day.

Off the boat and pack on shoulder,

gun in hand we’re here to stay.
Chorus:

At Fredericksburg we rose to meet them,

though we knew the price we’d pay.

But the Irish Brigade will not surrender –

Fag an bealach! Clear the way!
General Meagher, he gave the order,

”Up Mary’s Heights, charge away.”

The hills were rife with blood and murder

as we gouged and tore our way.
McMillan’s rebels, they fired upon us –

shot and shell, buck and ball.

Their green flag rose high above them

as ours fell on the battle wall.
Well, hand to hand and face to face there

a young rebel he charged me in the fray.

I turned around and my blade went through him;

I did the devil’s work that day.
For I saw my face there before me

in the boy that I hew down.

He could have been a friend or brother;

another exile from my town.
Three thousand strong rose to fight them

in Antietam’s ripening corn,

but Fredericksburg was our undoing.

Three hundred left to weep and mourn.

*****

Sadly, our FlowerFest is almost over. We head over to the Robert Cemetery, near Mulberry Grove Plantation, to finish the job.

Elizabeth Dixon Robert and John Robert.

That’s our Christmas FlowerFest 2016! We’ll see you in 2017!

Moses and Isabella Graham’s Pension File

May 28, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the link:

F41-276087299E