Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Hays Brick Wall: Delitha's Children

Delitha Hays was counted in the 1840 Census, Tippah County, Mississippi:
She was head of household with 1 male, age 10-15; 1 male, 15-20; 2 males 20-30; 2 females under 5, 1 female age 20-30, 1 female, age 40-50 [herself]
A John Hays was also in Tippah Co in 1840 with 1 male under 5; 1 male 5-10; 1 male 10-15; 1 male 30-40; and 1 male 60-70. He had 1 female age 5-10; 1 female 20-30 and 1 female 60-70. [Apparently an older couple and a couple with several children. It is not possible to tell if John was the male age 30-40, or the male age 60-70. Could this be some of Delitha's husband's relatives? No evidence this family was still there by 1850.]

The courthouse in Tippah County was destroyed during the Civil War, so there are few records to work with in this time period. The border area of Mississippi/Tennessee was in some dispute early on - much of this area was settled by those from Tennessee drifting down into newly opened territory in eastern and northern Mississippi. Tennessee in turn was settled in part by those from North Carolina - it was the location for bounty land from the Revolution and was once a very large "county" of North Carolina. The birth places of Delitha and her family would suggest she may have arrived in Mississippi from Tennessee and North Carolina.

An 1837 Tax List of Tippah Co was found online at USGenWeb:
Hays, M. L.
I have not seen the original of this 1837 tax list. M's are often confused with W's & N's, and L's are confused with S's. It is unlikely this was the John of the 1840 census - was this Delitha's husband?

Another researcher of this family told me some years ago that Delitha was listed in the 1841 and 1845 Mississippi state censuses. These have been posted online on Ancestry in digital format, and I do not find her there although she should have been. There was a Delilah [and Delitha's name has been found that way] both years, but she is listed as Delilah Jones and the name is quite plain. The 1841 census is particularly difficult to read, but I have looked at all images and nothing resembles the name Delitha Hays.

In 1850, she was still there in Tippah County, Mississippi with this household:

1850 Census, Tippah Co MS, Dwelling #1038.
"Delilah" Hays, age 53, born NC. Parthena, age 12, b. TN [Parthena will later testify that she was present at the marriage of Elias & Martha Crutcher Hays in Tippah Co in 1847.]
Probable granddaughters: Mary Ball, age 11, Alethe Ball age 9, Elizabeth Vincent, age 4. [There was a marriage in Shelby Co TN: Charles Vincent to Polly Hays, 12 Apr 1834. A Charles Vinson was listed in the MS State Census in 1845 - there was one male, 4 females in his household. No Hays/Ball marriage has been found. This would seem to indicate Delitha had daughters who are now deceased and she is raising their children. There is additional proof such a relationship to Mary Ball and Elizabeth Vincent, although Alethe does not appear in any other record.]

After finding the marriage of Charles Vincent to Polly Hays in Shelby County, TN, I checked the 1830 Shelby Co census for any Hays families. There were two "M." Hays and two "J." Hays families. Both M. Hays families has a female age 30-40 which would have been Delitha's age. M. L. Hays was on the 1837 tax list in Tippah County.

Elias was very probably Delitha's son and my great great grandfather. I have no record stating the relationship, but he did name a daughter Delitha and there are other associations too close to ignore.
Dwelling #1013. Elias Hays, 22, Laborer, born TN. Martha 17, born TN, Mary E. age , age 1, born in Mississippi
Elias was born 28 Jan 1829 [on his grave marker] and would have been age 11 in 1840 and there was a male age 10-15 in Delitha's household

These may be her sons, with birthplaces in North Carolina, or they could be part of the family of the John Hays from 1840.
Dwelling #1073. Martin Hays, age 21, born NC. Margaret R. age 21, born TN
[if Elias was the male age 10-15, there is not place for Martin in Delitha's household in 1840 unless he was mistakenly counted as 15-20]
Dwelling #1074. John Hays, age 26, born NC. Frances, age 23, b. IL, Nancy J. age 6, born TN. And Wiley Martin, age 18, b. AL.
[both of the 1840 Hays families had a male age 15-20]

One other Hays family was in Tippah County in 1850, but his birth place seems to separate him from these others. He was in Dwelling #518. Thomas Hays, 30, born SC. Nancy, 26 born TN. Alsey O. age 2 & John, 4/12, both born in MS. And Rebecca Robinson, age 18. Thomas Hays remained in Tippah Co and in the 1860 census was apparently living with his in-laws Asa [age 82, b. VA] & Frances Robinson [age 65, b. SC].

Delitha and Elias Hays moved to Johnson County, Arkansas in the early 1850's. A few court records document their presence and Delitha's place as grandmother to Elizabeth Vincent and Mary Ball.

April Court, 1853. Johnson Co AR
Delitha Hays petitioned the court to appoint Elias B. Hays as guardian for her granddaughter Elizabeth Vincent under the age of 14. [living with Delitha as a 4-year-old in 1850]
6 Jul 1856. Mary Ann Ball was married to Richard Grantham in Johnson Co at the home of Delitha Hays. [Mary was living with Delitha in 1850, when she was 11 years old.]
1857 (date is incomplete). From Probate Court Records, Johnson Co AR, over 10,000 Names. Compiled by Mrs. R. W. Michel. Copy sent from Jane Lumsden: Richard Grantham petitions to remove Elias Hays, guardian of Elizabeth Vincent.
[ Petition was denied and Elizabeth remained in the home of Elias for the 1860 Census]

In 1840, Delitha appeared to have two older sons, ages 20-30. In 1850, there were several Hays families already located in Johnson Co, AR. One of these may indeed be one of those older sons. Another Hays marriage occurred in Shelby County, TN, although it was after 1840 - of course that was just over the state line from Tippah Co. N. R. Hays married Mary Gilbert 5 Feb 1845
N. R. & Mary Hays are on the Johnson Co AR Census in 1850 in the same Township (Pittsburg) where Delitha & Elias will be found in 1860. But N. R. was not there by 1860. He had in fact gone to California and the 1860 census shows his given name was Nicholas.]
1850 Johnson Co AR Census: Pittsburg Twp. #59
N. R. Hays, age 26, b. AL Mary age 25, b. TN
John W. age 5, b. TN Mary Jane age 2, b. AR Eliza Ann age 1/12 b. AR
1860 Toulomne Co, CA, p.379b, Hh 3310
Nicholas Hayes, age 40, b. TN, Stockraiser. Mary A. age 35, b. TN
John W. age 15 b. TN, Mary J. age 12, b. AR, Ann E. age 10, b. CA, George M. 9, b. CA, Sara A. age 4, b. CA. Chas. Amos, age 32, a miner. b. MI.

In 1860, in Johnson Co AR we find both Delitha and Elias Hays, along with other significant, or possibly significant families.

1860 Census. Pittsburg Township, Johnson Co AR, Hh 341.
Delitha Hays age 58, b. NC. Margaret Hays age 28, b. TN. Parthena, age 20, b. MS
Ardenia age 9 and Arkansas age 7, both born in AR. [I believe Margaret to possibly be the widow of Martin of the 1850 Tippah Co census. This is the last known record of Delitha.]

Elias Hays & family was also in Johnson Co in 1860, Pittsburg Twp, Hh 252. He gave his place of birth as MS but I believe that is wrong. Baby Mary from 1850 was now age 11 and born in MS. Ann 7, "Dolitha" 5, John 3, & William 2, have all been born in Arkansas. Elizabeth Vincent, now 14, is with the family.

Nathan & Sarah Grantham, parents of Richard who married Elias's niece Mary Ann Ball, lived in Pittsburg Twp, Hh 351.

R. H. Grantham, age 24, b.LA, and Mary [Mary Ann Ball] age 21, b. Mississippi, and Sarah, age 1, were also living in Pittsburg Twp of Johnson Co, Hh 276.

There was a John Hays in Pittsburg Twp, Hh 317, age 39, b. in NC. No spouse. Daughter Isabella age 7 and son Francis age 4, both born in AR. [No way to be certain this was the John Hays from 1850, Tippah Co MS - if so, his wife Frances has died and the daughter Nancy, born about 1844 has either died or married or is living elsewhere. It is significant that his birthplace is NC and he has named a son Francis. This could very well be the John Hays, son of Henry & Elizabeth Dillard Hays who was a single man in Johnson Co in 1850. However, the age doesn't match what is known about either John.]

Several other Hays familes were in Johnson Co, AR - in Spadra and Horsehead Townships.

To sum up the children of Delitha Hays and her unknown husband. All the evidence I have to include Elias's widow's pension application for his service in the Civil War indicates that Elias, born 1829, and Parthenia, born 1838, were certainly her children. She had two older daughters, one who married a Vincent [perhaps Polly who married Charles Vincent] and one who married a Ball.
There is one additional possibility for a daughter. Lucinda Hays and Gabriel Malone were married in Hardeman Co TN [another Tennessee/Mississippi border county] on 11 Jan 1839.
In the 1850 census in Tippah County, Elias Hays, son of Delitha, was living next door to Lucinda and her husband in a virtual nest of the family members of John Malone, who is said to be the father of Gabriel. Gabriel was age 30, born NC; Lucinda listed as age 20 [an error if she married in 1839], born TN. Children were William H. H., age 9, Ann E. 7, John R. 5, Henry C. 3, and Z. Baylor, age 11/12. The 1845 Mississippi State Census had listed Gabriel Malone in Tippah Co with 2 males, 2 females in the household. He was two names from Charles Vinson [Vincent?] who might have been his brother-in-law.

Delitha had other sons indicated by the 1840 census who may have been
Nicholas, born circa 1820-24 - might have been the first of the family to move to Arkansas
Martin, born late 1820's who married a Margaret and died prior to the 1860 census,
John, born circa 1824, who also moved to Johnson Co, Arkansas.

As always, and thoughts or information on any of the above named persons is appreciated.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Hays Brick Wall: Delitha.

Delitha's maiden name is unknown to me. Her husband is unknown to me. She was undoubtedly my great, great, great grandma, mother of Elias B. Hays. Here is what is known.

Hays, or similar spellings, is an incredibly common surname, occurring in some form in all of the British Isles going back to the 12th century. However, I have always been hopeful that the given name of "Delitha" would be helpful in finding her family. Another difficulty with this research is that the Tippah County, Mississippi, courthouse was destroyed during the Civil War.

In 1840, Delitha Hays lived in Tippah County, Mississippi, as head of household, with seven possible children, from toddler age to over age twenty. She herself was age 40-50.

A transcript of an 1837 Tax List of Tippah Co - found online at USGenWeb has an M. L. Hays - if transcribed correctly. Given the confusion of M's and W's as well as L's and S's in the handwriting of this period, I have no confidence in the transcription. I have not seen the actual tax list.

Another researcher of this family, told me Delitha was in the 1841 and 1845 Mississippi State censuses but never sent me actual copies. She doesn't seem to appear in those censuses as they have been posted on Ancestry, but that could be a transcription or indexing problem. She should have been there because she was still in Tippah County in 1850.

1850 Census, Tippah Co MS, Dwelling #1038.
"Delilah" Hays, age 53, born NC [this would place her year of birth circa 1797]. Parthena, age 12, b. TN [Parthena will later testify that she was present at the marriage of Elias & Martha Crutcher Hays in Tippah Co in 1847.]
Probable granddaughters: Mary Ball, age 11, Alethe Ball age 9, Elizabeth Vincent, age 4. [There was a marriage in Shelby County, Tennessee: Charles Vincent to Polly Hays, 12 Apr 1834. A Charles Vinson was listed in the Mississippi State Census in 1845 - there was one male, 4 females in his household. No Hays/Ball marriage has been found.]

I believe the following may be sons, all found in Tippah County and their ages fit well in that earlier 1840 census. It does not account for all in that 1840 household.
Dwelling #1013. Elias Hays, 22, Laborer, born TN. Martha 17, born TN, Mary E. age , age 1, born in Mississippi [Elias is my great, great grandfather.]
Dwelling #1073. Martin Hays, age 21, born NC. Margaret R. age 21, born TN
Dwelling #1074. John Hays, age 26, born NC. Frances, age 23, b. IL, Nancy J. age 6, born TN. And Wiley Martin, age 18, b. AL.

Another Shelby County, Tennessee marriage was for N. R. Hays who married Mary Gilbert 5 Feb 1845. [N. R. Hays fits in age as one of the older sons of Delitha in the 1840 Census. N. R. & Mary Hays are on the Johnson Co AR Census in 1850 in the same Township (Pittsburg) where Delitha & Elias will be found in 1860. But N. R. was not there by 1860. He had in fact gone to California and the 1860 census shows his given name was Nicholas. In 1850 his place of birth was Alabama - it was Tennessee in 1860.]

Soon after the 1850 census, the Hays families moved to Johnson County, Arkansas. Elias Hays's daughter Ann Eliza was apparently born in Arkansas in September of 1851. There were other Hays families already there including the above possibility regarding N. R. Hays. Research of these other families does not indicate they were ever in Shelby County, Tennesse, or in Mississippi - they apparently did originate in North Carolina and some may have lived in Illinois prior to coming to Arkansas.

One of the Hays households in Johnson County, Arkansas, in 1850, is that of Henry B. Hays, age 43, born in North Carolina. Strangely he has a child, age six, named Darlethia and born in Arkansas. An older daughter was born in Illinois.

These records have been found in Johnson County:
April Court, 1853. Johnson Co AR
Delitha Hays petitioned the court to appoint Elias B. Hays as guardian for her granddaughter Elizabeth Vincent under the age of 14. [Elizabeth was 4 in 1850 and in Delitha's household.]
6 Jul 1856. Mary Ann Ball was married to Richard Grantham in Johnson Co at the home of Delitha Hays. [Mary was living with Delitha back in Tippah Co, 1850, when she was 11 years old. Her apparent sister Alethe Ball from 1850 does not appear again.]
1857 (date is incomplete). From Probate Court Records, Johnson Co AR, over 10,000 Names. Compiled by Mrs. R. W. Michel. Copy sent from Jane Lumsden: Richard Grantham petitions to remove Elias Hays, guardian of Elizabeth Vincent. Petition was denied and Elizabeth remained in the home of Elias for the 1860 Census.

Here is the family in 1860, Johnson County, Arkansas

1860 Census. Johnson Co AR, Hh 341.
Delitha Hays age 58, b. NC [she should have been 63, if she gave her age correctly in 1850]. Margaret Hays age 28, b. TN. Parthena, age 20, b. MS
Ardenia age 9 and Arkansas age 7, both born in AR. [I believe Margaret to possibly be the widow of Martin, but this is a long shot. This is the last known record of Delitha.]
Elias Hays & family was also in Johnson Co in 1860. He gave his place of birth as Mississippi [I have several conflicting records about his birth, but I believe it is most likely he was born in Tennessee.] Baby Mary from 1850 was now age 11 and born in Mississippi. Ann, "Dolitha", John & William have all been born in Arkansas. Elizabeth Vincent, now 14, is with his family.
Next door to Elias lived Nathan & Sarah Grantham, parents of Richard who had married Elias's niece Mary Ann Ball.
Richard Grantham, age 19, b.LA, and Mary [Mary Ann Ball] age 21, b. Mississippi, and Sarah, age 1, were also living in Johnson Co.
There was also a John Hays, age 39, b. in NC. No spouse. Daughter Isabella age 7 and son Francis age 4, both born in AR. [No way to determine if this was the John Hays from 1850, Tippah Co MS - if so, his wife Frances has died and the daughter Nancy, born about 1844 has either died or married or is living elsewhere. It is noted that his birthplace is NC and he has named a son Francis. This could also very well be the John Hays, son of Henry & Elizabeth Dillard Hays [they are said to also be the parents of the Henry B. Hays mentioned above] who was a single man in Johnson Co in 1850. The age really doesn't match either John and he could of course be totally unrelated to either family.]

I have not found Delitha in any record after 1860. Elias Hays appears on the Muster Roll of Co. C, 17th Arkansas Infantry [Confederate] in November of 1861. He had enlisted at Clarksville, Arkansas, which is in Johnson County; I have considerable details about his service but that is not pertinent to the hunt for Delitha's family. Elias and family, including his nieces, were in Crawford County, Arkansas by 1869 and probably a few years earlier. None of Delitha Hays's family appears to have remained in Johnson County by 1870, except for Richard Grantham and his wife Mary Ann Ball.

More to follow about my search.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Surname Saturday - HAYS

Since I brought up the Hays surname on Madness Monday, I'll post that for my Saturday surname. The name is found often as Hayes, but that is not how my great-grandfather spelled it and since I knew him, I'll go with "Hays". According to Wikipedia, in 1900, Hays was the 100th most common surname recorded. It is, of course, English in origin with the earliest recording as "Heise" in 1197.

The picture is of my great-grandparents, John Jefferson "John-John" Hays and Philena Josephine "Josie" Allen, taken in the early 1930's.

My earliest known Hays ancestors are my great-great grandfather Elias B. Hays and his widowed mother, Delitha. I've not been able to find out the father's name, although I believe John and William are likely possibilities. Neither can I find any family for Delitha.

Elias married Martha Frances Crutcher, 8 August 1847, Tippah County, Mississippi - a fact that survives only in her application for a Civil War widow's pension. They lived in Tippah County for the 1850 census, as did Elias's mother Delitha Hays. Unfortuntely the courthouse in Tippah County was a casualty of the Civil War.

The Hays family moved to Johnson County, Arkansas, before 1853, when a court record there reveals a guardian suit between Delitha and Elias Hays over Elizabeth Vincent, named as Delitha's granddaughter. In the 1860 Johnson County census, Elizabeth Vincent was in Elias Hays's household, along with the first five of the ten children born to Elias and Martha. One of Elias & Martha's daughters was named Delitha for her grandmother.

My great-grandfather, John Jefferson Hays, was born to Elias and Martha, 5 Aug 1856, in Johnson County, Arkansas, as their fourth child and eldest son. John married Philena Josephine "Josie" Allen, 1 Jun 1876, in Polk County, Arkansas where she was born 4 Nov 1856. The couple had six children, one of whom died as an infant. Their fourth child was my grandmother, Nora Lee Hays - I lived with her from age two to eight, and my great-grandfather was often a guest in the home, or we went to visit him.

The family called John Jefferson Hays, "John-John". He lived to be age 93, dying 26 Jun 1950; I was ten the year he died, so I do remember him well. He was a farmer; he and his brother grew cotton and ran a cotton gin. They also had a large strawberry patch - I have a picture [unfortunately in very poor condition] of many of the family members in the field on a strawberry pickin' day. He was a tall, slender man. He played the "fiddle" and I have his violin. He grew quite deaf in his old age and I recall that the fiddle playing suffered considerably as a consequence. I was a little frightened of him, because I could not speak loud enough for him to hear, and he would yell back at me. I have a better understanding of that problem now.

John-John outlived his wife Josie by some fifteen years - she died 30 May 1935. Most of that time he lived in the household of his youngest daughter and her husband, Minnie Hays and Ira Comstock, in Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas. They had a large two-story house and had no children, so that was the logical place for him to stay. He could be a bit of a curmudgeon, so my grandmother would often persuade him to come stay with us a week or so in Fayetteville to give Aunt Minnie a respite.

One of the stories John-John told about his youth involved the Civil War. His father served first in the Confederate Army - was captured at Vicksburg and released, signing the pledge to "never take up arms against the United States again". Elias then went back to northwest Arkansas and joined a Union company within a year - quite possibly for the paycheck as times were hard and he had a large family. This area of Arkansas was a hot bed of guerilla activity and the Hays family was burned out. It is somewhat unclear now who actually performed this unpleasant activity, but John-John remembered very well how the men piled their curtains and bedding in the middle of the floor and torched them. Martha and the children were forced to stand in the yard and watch their home burn. My mother always thought it was the Yankees that burned them out, but her brothers remember the story differently, that it was the disgruntled Rebels after Elias had joined the Union forces. The military records of Elias note a time when he was absent without leave - a time I believe coincides with the time his family was burned out. Likely he was needed to help them resettle somewhere and probably this was when the family moved to nearby Crawford County.

I will be posting more about my efforts to trace the Hays family.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Madness Monday - When and Where Was Elias Hays Born

It drives me absolutely mad that I cannot solve this problem concerning the birth of Elias B. Hays, one of my great, great, grandfathers. Here are the conflicts concerning his birth:

1850 Census. Tippah Co, MS. Elias Hays, or his representative, said he was age 22 [b. 1827/28] and born in Tennessee. The widow, Delitha Hays, most likely his mother as he named a daughter Delitha, was living nearby, age 53, and gave her place of birth as North Carolina.

1860 Census. Johnson Co, AR. Elias Hays, age 29 [b.1830/31], was born in Mississippi. The widow, Delitha Hays was also present, age 58, born North Carolina.

His discharge from Company I, 2nd Regt of Arkansas Infantry Volunteers, Union, dated 8 Aug 1865, states that Elias Hays was born in Alabama and was 36 years of age. [b. 1829]

1870 Census. Crawford Co, AR. Elias Hays, age 41 [b. 1829], was born in Alabama.

A brief obituary that appeared in the Van Buren Press, on 15 Nov 1879, stated that Ely Hayes had died on the 5th instant [5 Nov], at age 53 [b. 1826].

1880 Mortality Census. Crawford Co, AR. Eli Hays, age 50, died Oct 1879. [b. 1829] Born Tennessee, parents born in Illinois. [this is absolutely the only place that the state of Illinois occurs in connection with this particular Hays family and I do believe it to be an error]

1880 Census.
Crawford Co, AR. Five of the children still at home with Elias's widow. Place of birth of father was Tennessee. Married daughter Delitha Hays Winford gave her father's place of birth as Tennessee. Married son John Jefferson Hays [my great grandfather] also gave his father's place of birth as Tennessee.
Polk Co, AR. Married daughter Ann Eliza Hays Allen. Gave father's place of birth as as Tennessee.

1900 Census. Sons said one thing; daughters said another.
Crawford Co, AR. John Jefferson Hays this time stated his father was born in Mississippi. Silas and George Washington Hays, younger sons of Elias also stated their father was born in Mississippi. Elias's sons William and Benjamin also said their father was born in Mississippi. However, Elizabeth Hays Turner, daughter of Elias stated her father was born in Tennessee. And daughter Ann Eliza, still living in Polk Co, again said her father was born in Tennessee.

Unfortunately, Tippah Co, MS, is one of those counties whose courthouse records were lost during the Civil War. I have also not been able to discover a father for Elias B. Hays. Other suspected members of his family - are indicated as born in North Carolina or Tennessee. I suspect that the family followed a typical immigration pattern from North Carolina into Tennessee and then crossed over the line into northern Mississippi when lands were made available there. Elias Hays is not a rare name - I have located five men of that name living in Arkansas at or near the same time as my gg grandfather. The given name occurs in Hays/Hayes families in Tennessee and early in Granville, North Carolina. Elias married Martha Frances Crutcher in Tippah Co - the marriage date survived only because she gave it when she applied for his Civil War pension. She is thought to be the daughter of a Martin Crutcher - the Crutcher family also likely followed the North Carolina-Tennessee-Mississipi route.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Surname Saturday - HOLTZCLAW

Hans Jacob Holtzclau [later most often spelled as Holtzclaw] was one of my most interesting ancestors. He was my seventh great-grandfather, baptized in 1683 at St. Nicolai Church, Siegen, Germany. Godfather at his baptism was Han Jacob Spiess. Quite possibly Holzclau was named for his Godfather, but any familial relationship is unknown. Parents of Hans Jacob Holtclau were Hans Heinrich Holtzclau and Gertrud Solbach.

Hans Jacob took over the position of schoolmaster at Oberfischbach when his brother died; he was then age 24. He married the following summer on 7 Aug 1708, to Anna Margaret Otterbach, daughter of Hermann Otterback and Elizabeth Heimbach. Margaret died in Virginia sometime prior to August 1729 when Hans Jacob's wife is listed in records as Catherine, surname unknown.

The first organized body of Germans who came as permanent settlers to Virginia included Jacob and Margaret his wife, and sons John and Henry [my descent is through their son Henry]. Twelve families went first to London to await passage; they were there about a year, arriving in Virginia in April of 1714. They all came from the principality of Nassau-Siegen (Westphalia) and most were skilled workers in iron. The families were John Spillman & wife Mary, Herman Fishback and wife Kathrina, John Henry Huffman and wife Kathrina, Joseph Coons and wife Kathrina and son John, John Fishback and wife Agnes, Jacob Rector and wife Elizabeth and son John, Melchior Brumback and wife Elizabeth, Dillman Weaver and Ann Weaver his mother, Jacob Holtzclaw and wife Margaret and sons John and Henry, John Kemper and wife Alice Kathrina, John Joseph Martin and wife Maria Kathrina, Peter Hitt and wife Elizabeth.

Hans Jacob Holtzclaw also functioned as the schoolmaster for the small German colony and was evidently able to converse and write English as he appears in several records on behalf of the entire group.

From Essex Co VA, Will Book 16, p.180 is the following statement: The Honable Alex Spotswood His Majesty's Leut. Governour & Commander in Chief of Virginia did put under my command Eleven Labouring men to work in Mines or Quarries at or near Germanna, and we began to work March One Thousand Seven Hundred and 15/16 and so continued til Dec. One Thousand Seven Hundred & Eighteen.
Signed: John Justice Albright
What is subscribed above by the Hofman is true, for I kept the accounts for and was one of the men.
Signed: Jacob Holtsclare
At Court for Essex Co on Tues the 17th May 1720 - Then sworn to be the above named John Justice Albright and Hans Jacob Holsclare & Ordered to be recorded. Capt. W. Beverly, Clerk.

Johann Justus Albrecht was the recuiter of the Germans in Nassau-Siegen and thought to have come with them to Germanna [he is not in the above list of families]. It is believed the first two years the men labored in clearing land, building houses, and guarding the Virginians against the Indians. They first looked for silver, but found iron and spent approximately two years developing iron mines, but this first group did not build a furnace. They moved to Germantown, 20 miles to the north of Fort Germanna, probably in January of 1719. The above document does confirm that the Germans labored for Gov. Spotswood for four years to pay for part or all of their passage.

Jacob was naturalized Jul 11, 1722 and the copy is in Deed Book A, p.165 of the records of Spotsylvania County VA.
It states "Jacob Holtzclow a native a Nassace-Sieger in Germany having settled and inhabited for several years in the County of Stafford in this Colony and now made application to me for the benefit of Naturalization and before me taken the oaths precribed by Law and subscribed the test." Signed A. Spotswood [Governor of VA] This application direct to Gov. Spotswood suggests perhaps a measure of friendship between the Gov. and Jacob. This act was one of Spotswoods last official duties. [This naturalization has been reprinted in VA Historical Magazine and Beyond Germanna and is in my files.]

The Holtzclaws had sons. Here is the distribution of the surname today as found on Dynastree:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Goodman - My Last Word

In trying to find Nancy Goodman Comstock's family, I have looked at many Goodman families, particularly those that had either lived in counties where she lived earlier, or were in Perry County, TN, during the 1840's and 1850's.

One Goodman - Alexander - was in Barren Co, KY, 1810, Maury Co, TN in 1820, Hickman County TN in 1830 and 1840, and his widow is found in Perry County TN in 1850. He certainly was not Nancy Goodman's father, but I will include here what I know about Alexander Goodman in case it will be of benefit to someone else. I suspect Alexander was her uncle or cousin.

Alexander Goodman was living in 1838, Perry Co Deed Book F, p.161
27 Mar 1848 Alexander Goodman to William Wood/Ward, tract located Range 11, S4. Adjacent George Horn, Wallace Dixon. Another tract, same range & section, Corner of 540 acres, entry in the name of Alexander Goodman. 69 acres & 60 poles. Signed Alexander Goodman
Wit: J. A. Saunders, John Depriest. Acknowledged 27 Mar 1848 and recorded.

1850 Census, Perry County, TN
Hh 63 Nancy Goodman, age 62, b. SC [widow of Alexander]. William age 28, Elenor age 18 [marked as male and it's possible the name was a messed up "Elmor" - this could be Nancy & Alexander's son Jesse E.], and Christa Roberts, age 11, probably a grandchild because Mahala Roberts, once married but now widowed, daughter, was living next door, Hh 64.
Note: some have identified this Nancy as being the same Nancy Goodman found next to Ephraim Comstock in Carroll Co in 1830, but that Nancy was already aged 50-60 in 1830. Since four children of Nancy & Alexander will be identified as heirs and none of them are named William - this young man is a mystery.

Living in the next two households were more Goodmans, at least Asa was a son.
Hh 65 J. A. Goodman, age 17 with Mary E, age 19 [the 1840 census indicates a son born to Alexander between 1830 and 1835, at age 17 he would have been born 1833 - this could be Jesse E. Goodman with the wrong middle initial, but then who would be "Elmor" living with Nancy?]
Hh 66 Asa Goodman, age 40, b. KY and Catherine, 37, b. TN and 12 children from 19 to age 1

In Hh 69, was Hugh and Sarah (Goodman) DePriest - she gave her age as 40, the same as her brother Asa, but early censuses show she was born before 1810 so probably a year or two older. There were six children in the DePriest home, between the ages of 17 and 6 - the youngest was named Mahala.

This deed proved the heirs of Alexander Goodman, although it does not explain some of the young adult Goodmans living with the widow in Nancy in 1850. It is true that the earlier censuses very much support that Alexander had only four children - two males and two females indicated to be of ages that match their ages in the 1850 census:
Perry Co Deeds, DB H; [2nd p.407 – misnumbered]
12 Oct 1852 Asa D. Goodman to Nathan Ward. $600. all interest & title in a lot of undivided Negroes, property belonging to estate of Alexander Goodman, dec’d. Also all right & title of Hugh Depriest & wife Sarah them having conveyed their interest to Asa D. Goodman. Do defend the title I have in the two shares with all their increase in the possession of Nancy Goodman, widow of Alexander Goodman dec’d and to remain in her possession during her natural life and to be equally divided between Sarah Depriest, Mahala Roberts, A. D. Goodman and Jesse E. Goodman, all lawful heirs of Alexander Goodman. Good Title to one-half. Signed: A. D. Goodman
Wit: Thos. A. Kelly, G. B. Craig
Acknowledged by Goodman, 25 Oct 1852.

Here is the deed when Mahala Roberts sold her share to her brother Asa:
Deed Book I, p.233
Mahala Roberts to Asa D. Goodman. $125. all right title & interest in tract of land which my father Alexander Goodman, dec’d possessed, being my distribution share.
7 Sep 1853 Mahala (x) Roberts Wit: Nathan Ward, C. H. Ward who proved on 25 Sep 1853

and she also sold these slaves:
p.551 Mahala Roberts to Thomas Brashear all right title & interest in three slaves belonging to heirs of Alexander Goodman, dec’d for $312.50. ¼ interest in Adaline, William & Jane.
17 Sep 1853 Mahala (x) Roberts. Wit: J. Taylor, Charles Teas
Mahala acknowledged the deed 27 Sep 1853.
But Thomas Brashear sold them back to Hugh DePriest, husband of Sarah Goodman, daughter of Alexander. I did not at the time look for the deed when Brasher acquired the shares that Asa Goodman had sold to Nathan Ward in 1852, but obviously he had:
p.553 We have this day sold to Hugh Depriest, all title & claim in two shares in three Negroes, Adaline, William & Jane, belonging to estate of Alexander Goodman & Mahala Roberts being heirs of said estate for $625 paid by Depriest. Signed: Thomas Brashear
17 Jan 1755. Wit: James Morgan, S. B. Johnson
Brashear acknowledged 17 Jan 1755.

It is apparent that Nathan Ward probably also had some familial relationship to the DePriests, because the widow of Alexander, Nancy Goodman, also sold her right and title to the same three slaves and states their relationship to each other:
Deed Book J p.132
Nancy Goodman to Hugh Deprest, Carroll H. Ward, Thomas Whitwell & wife Melisa C., Green A. Depriest & wife Jane, Johnson Depriest & wife Elizabeth. Hamilton G. Ward, Thos. D., Hugh L., Houston, A. Purlina, & Purlina Ward, all heirs & distributes of Nathan Ward, dec’d. Sold her lifetime title & interest in slaves Adaline, William & Jane and an infant child, all children of Adaline and all increase. Property of Alexander Goodman dec’d. $450.
9 Oct 1855 Signed: Nancy Goodman wit: Richard Dabbs, J E. Goodman

J. E. Goodman was definitely named Jesse as his name appears both ways in the following deed:
Deed Book I, p.446
Know all men by these presents. I, J. E., Goodman for $900 paid by A. D. Goodman. Sell one negro man named Alfred.
11 Oct 1854 Signed: J. E. Goodman
Wit: James H. Goodman, Wm. A. Cotham
Jesse E. Goodman acknowledged same on 12 Oct 1854.

And Asa sold some of his land to J. E. Goodman. There were two mortgages noted.
Deed Book J, p.2
13 Oct 1854 Asa D. Goodman to J. E. Goodman for $500 Range 11. On waters of Marsh Crk. 55 acres. Conditional line bet A. D. Goodman & J. E. Goodman. Signed: A. D. Goodman
p.3 J. E. Goodman to J. W. Shelton. Mortgage deed. Signed: J. E. Goodman, A. D. Goodman,
Another mortgage was signed by. J. E. Goodman, Nancy (x) Goodman [probably Jesse's mother]

There were other Goodmans living in Perry Co, TN in 1850.
Hh 216 Riley Goodman, age 25, Mary age 25, 4 children – all born in Tennessee
Hh 340 Thomas G. Goodman, age 23, Mary A., age 22, 3 children – all born TN
Hh 360 Toliver T. Goodman, age 52, b. North Carolina, Margaret 45, b. KY, two teenage daughters born in TN [Here is another link between Maury Co and Perry Co - Toliver was on a tax list in 1826 in Perry Co]
Hh 488 Jesse Goodman, age 30 and Sarah age 28, a young son age 1, and Griffith Goodman, age 19, all born in TN [this is a second Jesse - his age does not fit the 1810-1840 censuses of Alexander Goodman's family]
Hh 531 Thomas Goodman, age 21, Mahala, age 19, and Sarah J. age 1, all born TN

There was another Goodman widow [or rather her children] in Perry Co. She had been married to an older Jesse Goodman, not either of those living in Perry Co in 1850, and she was nee Anna Davidson, daughter of an Alexander Davidson who had lived in Barren Co, KY where all the Goodmans were in 1810. She was quite possibly the mother of Alexander Goodman:
Deed Book G:
1 Dec 1849 Appoint Pleasant Whitwell my attorney to demand from Isaac Davidson, distributive share from Anna Goodman, dec’d wife of Jesse Goodman, heir of one Alexander Davidson, now dec’d. in Barren Co KY. Signed: Mary (x) Saunders. Wit: John Depriest, John (x) Murray
1 Dec 1849 Pleasant Whitwell, attorney for Alexander (x) Davidson for his distributive share descended from James Davidson dec’d heir of one Alexander Davidson dec’d of Barren Co KY Wit: John (x) Murray, E. H. Whitwell
3 Dec 1849 Thomas Murray, attorney for Nancy (x) Murray and John (x) Murray to receive share from James Davidson dec’d heir of Alexander Davidson of Baron Co KY. Wit: Lewallen Murray, John O. Murry

I have found data on the Internet suggesting that the above deceased Alexander Davidson, born 1744 in Virginia, died in Barren County in 1817 - he was married first to Anna Bridges by whom he had children James, John, Margaret, Alexander, Hezekiah, Anna, born about 1776, who married Jesse Goodman, William, and Elijah. He married second Mary Ellis and had Rachel, Benjamin, Jesse, Isaac, Abraham, Ellis, Elizabeth, Sarah, Jacob, and Asa. Alexander Davidson did leave a will in Barren County naming all the children and a step-daughter. It's interesting that many of these names occur often in the Goodman family and the families would continue to live in so many of the same locations.

There was a very old Jesse Goodman living among the others in Hickman Co TN, 1830. His age was between 70-80, the probable spouse 60-70 [which fits the suggested birth year of Anna Davidson]. He was on the same census page as Alexander and his son Asa. I suspect Jesse Goodman and Anna Davidson could have been the parents of Alexander, as well as several of the other Goodmans, perhaps even Abraham Goodman. I simply do not have enough data to prove these relationships.

I have seen a family tree, on the Internet and not proved, that groups some of the Goodman names I've found in these locations. A John Goodman married Mary Robertson, 9 Dec 1802, in Rutherford County, NC which also was the early location of these other Goodmans I've discussed - a William Goodman was one of John's bondsmen. Names given for their children include these: Frances, Ivan [Ervin?], Terrell, William who married Betsy Samples and lived in Blount Co TN, John who married Ruth Roach and also lived in Blount Co TN, Harve, Sarah who married Colly Robertson, Jesse who married Dicey ??? and died in 1852 in Lewis Co TN, Drury who married Martha Edwards [also found in Lewis Co TN in 1850], Elisa, and Robertson Goodman [also in Lewis Co and living in his household was a Nancy A. Bates, age 20, who was not a child of Mahala Goodman and Robert Bates].

There was a Toliver T. Goodman, age 52, in Perry Co in 1850, born in North Carolina. His name possibly was actually Talliaferro - I've seen some indications of connections of Goodmans and the Talliferro family in colonial Virginia. There was also a Toliver T. Goodman in Maury Co tax records, 1826-1830 - a young man who had no horses, cattle or slaves. Tolliver Thomas Goodman married Peggy Saunders, 14 Feb 1821, in Maury Co, TN. I'm sure this is all the same person, but no clues as to how he might be related.

An Overton Goodman was in Rutherford Co NC in the 1780's. There had been an Overton Goodman on a tax list in Caswell Co, NC in 1777. A man named Overton Goodman can also be found in the Greenville District of South Carolina, where James Bates was also located. If he is related, his given name was not passed down, and apparently he did not move on to Tennessee.

Fleming Goodman has a distinctive enough given name that he was easy to follow in spite of various spelling of Fleming, but again, no clues to his relationship. He was first found, age 26-45 in Rutherford Co, NC, 1800. He was in Barren Co, KY ,in 1810 and now over age 45, on the same page with a Jesse and a William, both younger. In 1820, Fleming was living in Maury Co, TN and counted next to John Fleming, and on the same page with Abraham Goodman, the most likely prospect for father of my Nancy Goodman Comstock. In 1830, Fleming was in Wayne Co, TN and aged 60-70. He was near John, age 30-40, and S. C., age 20-30. By 1840, Fleming had moved to Perry Co, TN. He again gave his age as 60-70 and was again next to a John Goodman, now age 40-50. A "Calep" [Caleb] Goodman was the only other Goodman in Perry Co that year, and was age 30-40 - S. C. Goodman had been 10 years younger in 1830. By 1850, there is no Fleming Goodman at all anywhere in the census and no Caleb Goodman of the right age and probable birthplace, and I've found no John Goodman in Tennessee whose age and family fits the earlier census information. I have found some indication that Fleming and Goodman families intermarried in Pennsylvania in the early 1800's, but this Fleming Goodman was already in North Carolina in 1800.

That's all. I don't know anything else about Goodman families. Internet searches indicate that no one else has had better luck. If anyone has more information about any of these families, please share.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Which Goodman Family? Part Three

My analysis of the 1820, 1830, and 1840 Census regarding the Goodmans in Tennessee revealed only one serious contender for the father of Nancy Goodman [1805-1855], wife of Ephraim Comstock, and that was Abraham Goodman.

Abraham Goodman lived in Maury Co TN in 1820 and had three females in his household aged 10-16. Three years later, 1823, Nancy Goodman married Ephraim Comstock there in Maury Co. In the 1850 census in Perry Co TN, the widowed Nancy indicated she was born about 1805, so she would have been about age 15 in 1820. In 1830, a widowed Nancy Goodman lived next to Ephraim & Nancy Comstock - of an age to be her mother.

I have found several family trees online for this Abraham Goodman. None have sources and none have responded to inquiries. Some of the data can be supported by census records. Oh, how I would like to find someone actively researching this family!

Abraham's wife is said to have been a Nancy - no surname known. Abraham is thought to have been born perhaps 1770-1780 in North Carolina and was living in Barren County, Kentucky in 1810 [confirmed by census records], Maury County Tennessee in 1820, and to have died about 1826 in Maury Co.

Lists of children differ with the most consistent ones named as:

Hosea, b. 1798 in SC [1850 census]
Abisha [Abijah, Bisha], b. 1800 - married his cousin Polly Goodman, 1820 in Maury Co TN, shown in 1850 as b. 1800 in NC, living in McCracken KY
Lemuel Oliver, born 1813 in Kentucky [1850 census]
Note the gap in ages between Abisha and Lemuel - some 13 years - the 1810 census indicates as many as four daughters born in this gap.
A daughter Telitha, b. 1815 in TN [1850 Census], married Jordan Middleton
Ervin, b. 1817 in TN [1850 census]
Maybe there was a son Jesse.
Possibly a son James W., b. 1822 in Tennessee [1850 Census]

Here are the censuses with possible family members in parenthesis.

Abraham's family in 1810, Barren Co KY:
2 males under 10 [could be Hosea & Abisha], 1m age 26-45 [Abraham, born bet 1770-1784]
4 females under age 10 [No females of this age are ever shown in online databases so obviously there are unidentified daughters - my Nancy Goodman would have been about age five in 1810 & her likely sister Mahala, a year or two older. How nicely they fit there!], one female age 16-26 [Nancy, born bet 1784-1794, but most likely closer to 1784 given the number of children she has.]

Abraham's family in 1820, Maury Co TN:
2 males under 10 [Lemuel & Ervin] one male now over 45 [Abraham - born bef 1775]
1 females under 10 [Telitha] and 3 females 10-16 [Nancy would be 15; Mahala had married in 1819]. One female age 26-45 [Nancy - still shows her as younger than Abraham, born bet 1775-1794]

So if Abraham died in 1826 and his wife was Nancy, there should be a widowed Nancy Goodman in 1830. The only one around was the Nancy Goodman living next to Ephraim & Nancy Comstock in Carroll County, TN in 1830.
Nancy's family in 1830, Carroll Co TN:
1 male under 5 [James W.? A doubtful son and thought to be about age 8 by 1830. Or is this a grandson?] 1 male age 10-15 [Ervin], 1 male age 15-20 [Lemuel]
1 female age 20-30 [One of the older females still at home] 1 female age 50-60 [born bet 1770 and 1780 and consistent with Nancy's possible age in 1810 and 1820]

Also found living on the other side of the widow Nancy Goodman in Carroll Co in 1830 is Jordan Middleton! Oh happy day! He is the only man of this name in the Federal Census in 1830, and he is reported to be the husband of Abraham & Nancy's daughter Telitha. She is with him later in 1850, 1860, and 1870 so this certainly seems to be correct.
Jordan Middleton: 1 male under 5 [they had a son born 1829], 1 male 20-30 [Jordan, b. about 1806], 1 female 15-20 [Telitha - correct age]

Then the question of what may have happened to the widow Nancy Goodman arises. She is never found under her own name after 1830. There is a possibility she was counted in the household of her son Lemuel in 1840. Several of the probable family kin, notably Fleming and John Goodman who had been on the same page with Abraham back in Maury in 1820, had moved to Wayne Co in 1830 and then on to Perry Co before 1840. However, found in Wayne Co TN in 1840 was Lemuel Goodman and enumerated just after Lemuel was Jordan Middleton. There was also a Jesse Goodman in Wayne Co - he could easily have been part of one of the families of Fleming or John, but he could be the proposed son of Abraham named Jesse.
Lemuel Goodman, 1840, had an older woman in his household. Perhaps his mother Nancy.
1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 20-30 [Lemuel]
1 female under 5, 1 female age 20-30, and 1 female age 50-60 [based on the other censuses Nancy should have been 60-70, but she might have been very close to 60 and the elderly ages are so often wrong]

In studying Abraham's family, another interesting coincidence came to light. Family tradition had placed Nancy Goodman Comstock as being "of" Graves County, Kentucky, which is unlikely for several reasons discussed previously, and there's absolutely no indication she ever lived there. What is notable, however, is that in 1850, living in Graves County, Kentucky were Hosea, Lemuel and Ervin Goodman, all sons of Abraham, as well as James W. Goodman, a possible son. If Nancy was a part of this family, these would be her brothers living in Graves County. Her children could mistakenly assume Nancy, too, was "of" Graves County. And there is that grain of truth so often found in family tradition.

The 1850 Census also reveals that Jordan Middleton and Telitha [Goodman] were living in Perry County, TN. Until I discovered more about the family of Abraham Goodman, I had no possibilities for kin of Nancy living Perry County, until after she and family had gone to Missouri. Once I discovered that Abraham had a daughter Telitha who married Jordan Middleton, there they were living in the same place as Nancy Goodman Comstock in 1850

As you can see, the census numbers certainly indicate a place for my Nancy in the family of Abraham Goodman. I do not have positive proof, but it is plausible. The location and relationship of family members support the theory. The deed and probate records of Maury Co, TN, during the 1820's might reveal the answer. I need to search there.

The next and last installment about the Goodmans will place more of those I've found in the 1850, and later, censuses.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Which Goodman Family? Part 2

This is the second part of my search for Nancy Goodman's family.

By 1830, when Ephraim Comstock and wife Nancy Goodman were living in Carroll County, TN, most of the Goodmans that had been in Maury Co in 1820 had also left that county. Robert Bates, who married Nancy's probable sister Mahala, appears to be in Hickman Co, TN in 1830, and so is Alexander Goodman, who was one of the Goodmans back in Maury Co in 1820. Alexander is not a good candidate for Nancy's father, reasons will follow later.

There were in fact a number of Goodmans in Hickman Co TN by 1830. Alexander was there and on the same page with him was Asa [proved to be a son of Alexander] and a quite elderly Jessee, now age 70-80. There had been an older than age 45 "Jessey" on the same page with Alexander back in 1820, in Maury Co, too. Another group of Goodmans on a different page were a Drewry, age 20-30, a Robertson, age 20-30, and a John, age 40-50. There had been a John age 26-45 back in Maury in 1820 and he had older male children in the family. They could be all be part of that same family [or not] but any relationship to Alexander is unknown.

Also in Hickman Co in 1830, each on a separate page is an Ephraim Goodman, age 20-30, a Robert age 30-40, and a Terrel age 20-30.

The only Goodman family remaining in Maury Co in 1830 was the family of a William Goodman, was was age 30-40 - about 10 years older than my Nancy. William had as many as nine children in his household. There had been three Williams Goodmans in 1820.

No Goodman families had moved to Perry Co, TN by 1830 - at least none were noted in the census.

In Carroll Co, TN where Ephraim & Nancy Goodman Comstock were living, along with the widowed Nancy Goodman, there was one other Goodman family in 1830.

James Goodman had 1 male child, age 5-10, 2 males age 10-15, a male age 15-20, and a male age 40-50 [presumably himself]. He had 1 female child under 5, two girls 5-10, 2 girls 10-15, one female age 20-30 and one female age 40-50.

Note: There was no Carroll County in 1820 - it was formed from Indian Lands 1821 & 1822. No James Goodman can be found in Tennessee in 1820. I feel he is likely totally unrelated to the Nancys. This 1830 Carroll Co census is a bit unusual in that part of it seems to be arranged by neighborhoods as the surnames are random - another part of it has been semi-alphabetized by surname. The Comstocks and the widow Nancy Goodman were the part seemingly by neighbors; James Goodman was on an alpha page. Probably two different enumerators in two divergent areas.

Since Fleming Goodman was in Maury Co TN in 1820, Perry Co TN in 1840, but not with the others in Hickman Co in 1830, I searched for him. The only man of this name that year was in Wayne Co, TN. He is listed as Flemming Goodman with only one male age 60-70 [which is the same age as the man of this name is in 1840], a female 10-15, a female 15-20, and a female age 40-50 [in 1840, the female in the household of Fleming in Perry Co was the same age]. So even though Fleming is a relatively unusual given name, I would doubt that this is the same man - except there was also a John Goodman in Wayne Co, though not on the same page as Fleming & Johns were found in 1820 and 1840 counted next to Fleming. There was also an S. C. Goodman in Wayne Co, age 20-30 with young children and a spouse of the same age.

In 1840, when Ephraim & Nancy Comstock are found in Perry County, TN, there were several Goodman families living there, but the Comstocks did not appear to live near them. Many researchers have not located Ephraim in this census, his surname looks more like "Humpstock" but the makeup of the family is a very close match, and they were on the same page as Amos Randle/Randel, whose son married Ephraim & Nancy's only daughter. I'm confident it was Ephraim and family.

The Goodmans in Perry Co TN in 1840 were these three:
Fleming Goodman: 1 male age 60-70, 1f age 60-70 [was in Maury in 1820, but had no daughters that could have been Nancy]
John Goodman: 1m 10-15, 1m 15-20, 1m 30-40, 1m 40-50; 2f under 5, 1f 5-10, 1f 10-15, and a female age 40-50. [John and Fleming enumerated next to each other as they were in Maury in 1820. John had a 10-16 year old female in his household in 1820, although he was listed as 16-26 and probably not her father, and he also had two older women, over 45, living in his household.]
Caleb Goodman: 1m 5-10, 1m 10-15, 1m 30-40; 1f under 5, 1f 5-10, 2f 10-15, and a female 30-40. It is possible that this is the S. C. Goodman who was in Wayne Co with Fleming and John in 1830.
The Comstocks did not seem to be living near any of these Goodman families and I doubt that Nancy had a direct kinship to this group.

"Mahaly" Goodman Bates was living in Williamson Co TN in 1840, now widowed, apparently recently since she lists three of the children as under five. No Goodman families there, but there was a much older Robert Bates. Mahaly's family contained 1 male under 5, 2 males 15-20, 2 females under 5, 1 female 5-10, 2 females 10-15, 1 female 15-20, and 1 female age 30-40 [probably Mahala]. I will state here that I suspect Robert Bates of having been married prior to his marriage to Mahala and probably had some children with the first wife.

Still in Hickman Co TN in 1840 were Alexander and Asa D. Goodman, father and son. This time Alexander is on the same page with Robertson and Drury Goodman who are adjacent each other and two pages away from Asa. Later deeds from Perry Co which prove Asa's relationship to Alexander give no hints that Drury and Robertson were part of the same family, but Asa, Drury and Robertson were all age 30-40 in 1840. There was an older John Goodman living near Drury & Robertson in 1830 - listed as age 40-50 in 1830. In 1840, there was still a John Goodman in Hickman Co, but his age remained the same - perhaps an error on the part of the enumerator, or maybe not even the same John.

The one Goodman found in Maury Co TN in 1820, that is conspicuously missing from all this census evaluation for 1830 and 1840, is Abraham Goodman who lived next to Fleming and John in 1820.

Back in Maury Co TN in 1840, the Goodmans had increased in numbers. There was a John B., age 40-50 with his family. A John J. Goodman, age 30-40 with his family, counted next to a widow, Nancy N. Goodman, age 40-50. Nancy had a male child 10-15 and a female child age 5-10 in her household. There is a possibility according to unsourced Internet data that she was the widow of Abraham Goodman who had been in Maury in 1820, living next to Fleming & John Goodman - however, I believe Abraham's widow would have been older as they had teen-aged children in 1820. I think instead the Nancy Goodman living in Carroll Co is a better candidate. Abraham is found in databases online to have had a wife Nancy.

Part 3 will be more about Abraham Goodman and the possibility that he could have been the father of Nancy Goodman who married Ephraim Comstock.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Which Goodman Family?

My Nancy (Goodman) Comstock is a stout brick wall in my research. These are the facts as I know them.

One of the really, really useful things about blogging is that it forces one to take another look at their research. After this Blog was first posted, I found it necessary to take another look at the census records. I discovered I had been "off" a column when first transcribing some of them. That of course caused some incorrect conclusions. So this blog was edited on 28 September 2009 - if you saw it prior to that, there were errors in some of the census interpretation.

She was born 2 Jun 1805 [recorded in her daughter's Bible] possibly in South Carolina [1850 Census].
Nancy Goodman married Ephraim H. F. Comstock, 14 Oct 1823, Maury Co, Tennessee. Robert Bates was bondsman and his wife was Mahala Goodman who he had married in the same place 25 Apr 1819. Bates' bondsman was William Goodman. There were several Goodman families in the 1820 Maury County census.
In 1830, Nancy, Ephraim and family were living in Carroll Co, TN and the person enumerated next to them was a Nancy Goodman, age 50-60, with several others living in her household. Living next to these two families was the family of Jordan Middleton, whose wife was Telitha Goodman and believed to be a daughter of Abraham & Nancy Goodman [more about this later].
By 1840, the Comstock family was living in Perry Co, TN. Again there were other Goodman families living there - no other Comstocks as Ephraim was a wanted man in Kentucky.
By 1850, Ephraim Comstock was dead - Nancy was head of household still in Perry Co TN
About 1852, all of the Comstock family, including the married children, moved to McDonald County, Missouri. Presumably Nancy did move with them and died there, 24 May 1855 [as recorded in the Bible]
Nancy and Ephraim had one daughter, seven known sons, and there may have been an 8th son who died young. Their names are in the previous post.

I would very much like to hear from anyone who connects to any of the following Goodman families. In this post I'll discuss those found early on in Maury Co. It is possible that all of these Goodman families are related in some way.

From Maury Co, TN, circa 1820. Looking for a Goodman family with a daughter born about 1805 - in the age 10-16 category. Based on the younger people living with the 50-60 year old Nancy in Carroll Co in 1830, there would likely be several young people in the family.

I found on the same page:

Abraham Goodman, age 45 with probable spouse age 26-45. He had three females age 10-16, as well as another female under 10 and two males under 10.
Fleming Goodman had females that would be of marriageable age by 1823. He had two females age 10-16, and two younger than ten. He had a male 16-18 and a male 16-26 who could have been the same young man given the peculiar qualities of this census, a male over 45, presumably himself, and a female also over age 45.
John Goodman had the following household: 1m 16-18, 1m 16-26 [in this case probably two different males unless he was quite a young husband], 1f 16-26.
Note: A Fleming and John Goodman will both appear in the 1840 census in Perry Co where the Comstocks were living – Fleming was by then age 60-70 and John 40-50. They were again listed adjacent to each other as they were in 1820 in Maury Co. Since John isn't quite old enough to be the father of "my" Nancy, and Fleming was still living in 1840, that leaves only Abraham of this group as a possible person of interest.

Another grouping of Goodmans in Maury Co, 1820:

Alexander Goodman was age 26-45. He had a boy under 10 [Asa D. Goodman] and apparently himself age 26-45; a girl under 10 [a Mahala, who married Roberts], a girl 10-16 [Sarah, married DePriest] and a female age 26-45 [probably his wife, Nancy]. [Alexander can be removed as a possible candidate for husband of the widow Nancy Goodman. He did move to Hickman and then Perry Counties. His wife was also named Nancy – she can be found as head of household in the Perry County 1850 census – some have mistaken her for the same as the Nancy Goodman in Carroll Co in 1830 but the age and deed records from Perry Co show this cannot be so. They had one more son born after 1820 – a Jesse Goodman.
As you can see I've done some research on this family. ]
Jessey Goodman: 1 male 10-26, 1m over 45, 1 female age 10-16. Two females over age 45.[Since Alexander had a son named Jesse, although he was not yet born in 1820, and these men were on the same page in the census, one could surmise a kinship – older brother, perhaps, or even father, uncle. There is a female of the right age to be a possibility for Nancy. Of course one of the older females could also have been a mother, aunt, etc. Nancy apparently wasn't the widow of Jessey of 1820 because he was found near Alexander Goodman in 1830 and still appeared to have a spouse living. [Jesse, age 70-80 and Alexander, age 40-50 are both in Hickman Co TN in 1830. Mahala Goodman Bates was also living in Hickman Co in 1830.]
There were three William Goodmans, all on this same page: Two of them were age 16-26 with a probable spouse of the same age and very young children. [not good possibilities, but either would have made a good bondsman for Robert Bates] The third William seemed to be over age 45, spouse of the same age, two young males – no daughters. [It would appear Nancy was not the daughter of any of these Williams.]
There was a John Goodman in this group, too. He had 2 boys under 10, 2 boys 10-16, a boy 16-18, a boy 16-26, who could be the same boy or an older one, and John himself, age 26-45; there were 2 females under 10, 1f 10-16, and a female 26-45. [This family could accommodate the young Nancy and possibly even a daughter old enough to have been Mahala married in 1819.]
A Joseph C. Goodman was young – age 16-26, probable spouse age 16-26, a little girl under 10.

There were a couple of other Goodmans indexed in Maury Co in 1820, but examination of their names suggest different spellings to me, one was a Joseph Goodwin, one a Thomas Goodrum, although a Thomas Goodman does appear to be on some of tax lists - his name remains a question. The Thomas Goodman on the tax lists was a slave owner setting him somewhat apart from the other Goodmans.

Here are some early tax records from Maury Co, TN, listing the following Goodmans. The names in the tax records to not seem to be consistent with the names in the censuses and not all years are in existence. Tolliver T. Goodman is a name on the tax lists which doesn't appear in the census – but he will also appear later in Perry Co.

Maury Co TN Tax Books [years in existence]: [no Comstock or Bates found]

1811 Thomas Goodman (no white males over 21 ?) 5 slaves

1812 Thomas Goodman " 5 slaves

1817 Thomas Goodman " 4 slaves
Jesse Goodman 1 over 21

[Undated record]
Thomas G. Goodman 6 slaves; Value $2700; Poll tax 1.75

1825 Heanden Goodman 1 over 21

1826 Thomas Goodman 120 acres; (no w m over 21); 3 slaves
Bisha Goodman 1 over 21
Hosea Goodman "
Hardin Goodman "
Tolliver T. Goodman "
Additional list at end of 1826 Tax List
Johnston, J. B. Elliott Capt: Goodman, Thomas
Capt. Cathsy/Cattesy Justice:
Goodman, Bisha; Goodman, Hosea; Goodman, Hardin; Goodman, Tolliver

1830 Tolliver Goodman 1 over 21
Wm Goodman "
Thos. Goodman 125 acres; 1 over 21; 4 slaves; stud horse

There is a Road Minutes Book, compiled by Simmons Historical Publications. The items are from Feb 1817 – Apr 1824. These Goodman names are found either as overseers or as part of the road crew: Joseph Goodman and Alexander Goodman were overseers at times, John Goodman, Flemming Goodman, Asa Goodman, Bisha Goodman, William Goodman, Hemp Goodman, served on road crews. Again, some of the names do not appear in the 1820 census.

Other than the marriage of Ephraim Comstock to Nancy Goodman, I have not found the Comstock surname in any of the Maury Co records. He apparently never owned land there, nor was any other member of the Comstock family present.

More Goodmans to follow.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Comstock Family OOPS - Ephraim's Wife, a Goodman Brick Wall

Ephraim Comstock's third wife, Nancy Goodman, is one of my sturdy brick walls. From Comstock-Haggard and Allied Families, compiled by Mary Jane Comstock, Adams Press, Chicago, 1973, is my beginning information about Nancy,
"Nancy Goodman was reared in Graves County, KY. She was, according to family stories, half-Indian. The tribe usually named is Choctaw but so far there is no proof of any kind. Graves County was formed in 1823 but the court house burned in 1887. In 1840, there were four Goodman families in that area, W. E., Hardin, Y. E., and E. L."
A date of death as 24 May 1855 was also given, but no birth date and no date or place for her marriage to Ephraim.

The above quotation is full of errors and faulty research. First the Indian story. Graves County, Kentucky was not a likely location for Choctaw Indians. It was part of the Jackson Purchase of 1818 - from the Chickasaw. I had a DNA test for racial indications and I was 100% white European - seemingly not one drop of Indian blood - and Nancy was my three great grandma. It is true that her son, Elijah Thomas "Tom" Comstock, my gg grandfather, did claim to be "part Indian". He was also known to have embellished stories considerably. The claim of Indian blood does not seem to exist in the family lines of Nancy's other children.

The courthouse did burn in Graves County, KY - in fact has had three major disasters. Tax records have survived and there were Goodmans living there in the 1820's, about the time Ephraim & Nancy married. But it's also true that other Goodmans were in Maury County, TN at the time of the marriage, and that's where this couple married, not in Kentucky. There were in fact a number of Goodmans in Maury County in 1820 - I'll describe them in another post. By the time of their marriage, Ephraim, charged and sentenced for forgery, had been declared "not of the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

There is no proof that Nancy came from Kentucky at all. I do not believe she did, although Ephraim had previously been in Kentucky. In 1850, Nancy stated she was born in South Carolina! I found the marriage of Ephraim Comstock to Nancy Goodman in Maury County, TN, 14 Oct 1823. The article in the Comstock book above did say that Ephraim had once lived in "Murray County" a name which does not exist. Bondsman for the marriage license was Robert Bates, for whom there is a marriage to Mahala Goodman, 25 Apr 1819, also in Maury Co TN. A William Goodman was their bondsman. "Mahaly" Bates was widowed by 1840, living in Williamson Co, TN. In 1850, she was still there and married John Hargrove soon after that; Mahala stated she was born in South Carolina. Both Nancy Comstock and Mahala Bates indicated they could not read or write - they seemed to have had no contact after Nancy's marriage. Certainly they did not live in the same places at the same time. But I strongly suspect Mahala was Nancy's sister.

In 1830, Ephraim and family was living in Carroll County, Tennessee. They were not easy to find as his name is scrunched up and nearly unreadable - the family makeup fits his profile, however. This census record in this location, as well as the marriage record in Maury County, seem to have gone unfound by other Comstock researchers. Enumerated next to Ephraim Comstock in 1830 is an older Nancy Goodman!

The older Nancy Goodman's household looked like this: 1 male under age 5, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 15-20; and 1 female 20-30, 1 female 50-60 [old enough to be mother of Nancy and Mahala and some of the other children listed; the boy under five could even be the child of the 20-30 year old and be a grandson]. I never found this lady again after 1830.

There was also a John Goodman, age 40-50, with his family, living in Carroll County in 1830; I've never been able to find anything else about him.

By 1840, Ephraim Comstock and family were living in Perry County, TN. One hopes his frequent moves were not because of continuing problems with debt and the law. There were Goodmans living in Perry County. None of the Comstocks were in Tennessee other than Ephraim - it's doubtful his siblings knew of his whereabouts since he was "wanted" in Kentucky and had left a wife there as well. I have researched the other Goodmans in Perry County and so far have come up emptied handed as far as any connection to Nancy. I do feel that there is at least a reasonable chance Nancy was kin to some of these Goodmans - in 1860, after the Comstocks were gone to Missouri, Mahala Goodman and her second husband John Hargrove had moved to Perry County.

In the 1850 Perry County TN census, it's apparent that Ephraim has died and Nancy Comstock is head of household, age 44. Within a few years, Nancy, her married daughter Caroline Comstock Randal, and all of Nancy's sons moved to McDonald County, in the southwest corner of Missouri. Caroline had a family Bible - recorded in it were dates for Nancy Comstock, born 2 Jun 1805, died 24 May 1855. No locations are stated but it is most likely Nancy was there in McDonald County with her children at the time of her death.

It isn't likely that the names given to the children of Ephraim and Nancy would furnish hints to Nancy's family. Ephraim was given to rather fanciful names - he had named his son by his second wife, Napoleon Bonaparte Comstock. Nancy's children were:

1. Caroline Zelpha Ann Comstock, b. 14 Apr 1823 [Date is from her Bible and she appears to have been born six months before the marriage of her parents.] Caroline married William Riley Randal in Perry County TN. She died 17 Feb 1909 in Chautaugua County, Kansas

2. Hugh Bonaparte Comstock, b. ca 1827. Hugh married Elizabeth Rebecca Weeks in Perry County TN. Elizabeth died right after they arrived in Missouri, leaving two young sons. Hugh remarried, but died in 1856. The second wife left for Colorado. The boys were raised by their Comstock kin.

3. Leander Brown Comstock, b. ca 1828. Leander married Nancy Forguson, also while they were still in Tennessee. He died in Greene County, MO, 1877, leaving a large family.

4. William Decatur Comstock, b. ca 1832, married Hannah Mahurin in 1854 in McDonald County, Missouri. He was shot and killed in January of 1864, while home on leave from his unit in the Confederacy for the pending birth of his 4th child. The child was born three weeks after his death and named William Josephine, even though she was a girl.

5. Warren Harris Comstock, b. ca 1834, married Manerva Schell in McDonald County. Warren died in Feb of 1864. He was in a Confederate Cavalry unit. I have never been able to discover the cause of his death - whether he died from wounds or disease. He left a young daughter, Mary, or Nancy, her name found both ways.

6. James Irving [Erwin, later in life] Comstock, b. ca 1837, married Mary Elizabeth Stamps in Missouri. They lived in Kansas - were there for the 1870 and 1880 censuses. They had seven known children. Mary Elizabeth died after the 1880 census and before James moved back to Missouri, Cedar County, about 1890. James was murdered, poisoned, in October, 1893. He had married again, in December of 1892 to Margaret E. "Mag" Petty who had been married twice before. Mag's sister, Minerva Petty Wallace also was poisoned and died at the same time. Minerva was apparently an innocent victim who stopped by for dinner that night. Mag's son Sterling Brasher was accused and tried for the murder, but was acquitted.

7. Elijah Thomas "Tom" Comstock, b. 22 Dec 1838, was my great, great grandfather. He married Miranda Brown, 17 May 1859, in McDonald County, MO. After the Civil War they lived in Texas, but moved to Crawford County, Arkansas, prior to the 1870 census. Tom homesteaded there and he and Miranda, along with other members of the family, are buried in the family cemetery on that homestead location. Tom died 29 Apr 1917, outliving all his siblings.

8. Harvey Alexander Comstock, was b. ca 1841, in Tennessee, as were all his siblings. His name is sometimes seen as Harry or even Henry, but I believe that's when his name has been mis-read. Harvey married Eliza Grant. They were living in Cooke County, TX in 1880. He is said to have died in 1882, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory [Oklahoma]. There were three children, at least one of whom was still living in the Chickasaw Nation in 1900.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Comstock Family OOPS - My "Gray" Sheep Ancestor, Ephraim Comstock

Ephraim Comstock, born say 1795 in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, was my third great grandfather. The Comstock genealogies have various stories with a positive slant regarding his accomplishments. There definitely are a few sins of omission and evidence of criminal behavior, although he was never convicted. I believe for him to actually qualify for a Black Sheep Ancestor, he would have had to serve some time for his crimes. He led an interesting life to say the least. And although I've uncovered much, I'm sure that's only the tip of the iceberg. Puzzles remain.

One curious fact about Ephraim is that he is much older than his two known siblings. He was born probably within the first year of his parents' marriage. His brother Elijah was born in 1808, and sister Lavinia in 1810 - Ephraim was in his mid-teen years. If there were other children that did not survive, no mention of them has been passed down in the family lore. This gap in the birth order leaves me wondering about the family dynamics and what may be unknown. The younger siblings seem to have led uneventful lives. His father was a local court justice. It is true his grandfather Capt. William "Wild Bill" Hardin was a rather colorful figure.

Ephraim married for the first time, 2 Jan 1817, to Martha "Patsy" Williams, daughter of Amos and Dorcas (Riley) Williams. Patsy died in childbirth when their daughter Dorcas was born on the 30th of November, 1817. Perhaps this tragedy started Ephraim down the wrong path. I suspect the infant remained in the care of Amos & Dorcas Williams from her birth, and Williams family tradition supports this fact, but not until 1820 do the court records reveal the following:

Breckinridge Court Order Book 3; p.156 21 Aug 1820: Amos Williams ordered that Ephraim Comstock be summoned to appear at next term to show cause why Amos should not be guardian of Dorcas Williams. p.188, 19 Feb 1821: Comstock did not appear in Court on that day. Amos Williams was appointed guardian of Dorcas Comstock by default.

In the years between the birth of Dorcas and her grandfather being appointed her guardian, Ephraim's life was in turmoil. I will highlight only the major incidents.

His father died. Court Minutes, Book 3, p. 2 21 Sep 1818 Ephraim Comstock and his mother WinneyAnn Comstock granted administration on William Comstock, dec'd, estate. Security with William Hardin Sr [grandfather] & Amos Williams [former father-in-law]. By November, Amos Williams asked to be released from acting as security and on 21 Dec 1818, Ephriam posted security bond with William Hardin Jr and William Davison [both were brothers-in-law].

His mother died. WinnyAnn Comstock's Will was recorded 18 Jan 1819 leaving a smallish bequest of $6 for Ephraim, stipulating that he was not to have the care of the two younger children. They were left in charge of Winny's brother, John Hardin. Will Book 1, p.8; probate 7 Jan 1819. Many of Ephraim's troubles had not yet surfaced in court when WinnyAnn wrote her simple will; but she must have had no confidence in his character.

On 27 Jan 1819, within weeks, perhaps days, after the death of his mother, Ephraim married the widow Eleanor "Ellen" Pate Clark. Her first husband was William B. Clark, son of Thomas Martin and Milly (Moorman) Clark and Ellen had three small daughters. William Clark was not long dead because a deed in Sept of 1818 between William Hardin Sr [Ephraim's grandfather] and Ephraim Comstock, has William B. Clark acting as one of the witnesses.

Ephraim had a serious fight with his brother-in-law. Circuit Court Order Book 4, p.215. Wed. 21 Jul 1819. Ephraim Comstock sued William Hardin (Jr or Sr - impossible to tell from the handwriting, but evidently it was Jr given a subsequent entry) for Trespass Assault & Battery. The jury found in favor of Ephraim and assessed damages to Hardin for 1 Cent plus costs. The jury seemed to believe Ephraim was not badly hurt.
p.235. Fri 23 Jul 1819. William Hardin Jr against Ephraim Comstock for the same TA & B offense. Jury said Ephraim was not guilty and ordered Hardin to pay his costs. Appeal was filed by Hardin the next day.
I discovered William Hardin Jr took this case to the Court of Appeals, but he lost there, too.

During the fall months of 1819, court records reveal that Eleanor Pate Clark Comstock had apparently inherited 100 acres and a few slaves from her Clark husband. Her father, Edward Pate, took various legal steps to ensure the property would descend to Eleanor's three young daughters as heirs of their legal father. Several cases of debt are levied against Ephraim Comstock, one initiated by his former father-in-law Amos Williams, quite likely for support of the infant Dorcas Comstock. By 1820, a guardian had been appointed for the three Clark girls:
On 15 May 1820 John Dejarnet, was selected guardian of the infant heirs of William B. Clark, dec'd. Commissioners were appointed to settle with Ephraim "Cumstock" and Eleanor his wife. [John Dejarnet was related to the Clarks by marriage and in the future, his son would marry one of the Ellen's Clark daughters.]

In the summer of 1820, Ephraim mortgaged his inheritance, his father's land: Deed Book E, pp.220-221: 18 Jul 1820. Ephraim mortgaged his share (200 acres) of the 600 acres deeded to his parents by William Hardin, Sr.

Also, on 22 August 1820, a son was born to Ephraim and Ellen Comstock. He was named Napoleon Bonaparte Comstock. A bit pretentious, perhaps.

There are hints in some of the various suits for debt that Ephraim had an association with one William Lasewell [Lacewell?] and it did not seem to be for the better. There is a deed dated 30 Dec 1820. George Lee and Mary his wife, to Ephraim Comstock and William Lasewell for $400. 194 1/2 acres on the little fork of Clover Creek, part of a tract patented to William May. [There was some problem with this deed. In 1821 the County Court mentioned a "pretended sale" from Lee to Comstock that was to be set aside and declared void.]

1821 was a bad year for Ephraim Comstock.

Circuit Court Order Book 5. p.69 Mon 16 Apr 1821. Commonwealth vs. Ephraim Comstock for Felony [later records reveal this was for forgery]. Jailor brought Prisoner to Court. Bail set at $500 from Comstock plus $500 Security. William Hardin Sr. [his grandfather] put up the Security that he would appear. Comstock released on his own recognizance.
p.90 Wed. 18 Apr 1821. Ephraim Comstock came not.
p.180 Sat 21 Jul 1821. Ephraim Comstock against Edward Pate and others for Trespass Assault & Battery. Plaintiff hath departed from this Commonwealth and the suit dismissed.

I believe by July of 1821, Ephraim had left the state of Kentucky and gone to Tennessee.

Ephraim forfeited his grandfather's $500. In the Circuit Court Records, Vol. 5, p.193, Monday, 15 Oct 1821, the Commonwealth of Kentucky brought suit against William Hardin for the $500 but notes that he "has departed this life and John E. Hardin is the acting executor of the Last Will and Testament of William Hardin, Senior."

Here is an abstract of the Will of William Hardin, which indicates how William "Wild Bill" Hardin Sr., felt about this errant grandchild.
The Will is dated 19 Jun 1821. Names wife, Susan [a second wife]; remainder equally divided between children Henry, Malinda Crawford, Amelia, Merry Celia Davidson, John E., Hannah Ann, Lucinda, and the children of deceased daughter Winny Ann Comstock - Elijah & Levina. [William Hardin omitted entirely the eldest child of Winny Ann - Ephraim - but that's understandable given the situation mentioned above.] Gives son William $3 and nothing more. Executors were John E. Hardin & Robert Huston. Witnesses: Gideon Brown, Robert N. Washington, Robert Huston. Probate 18 Sep 1821. Will Book 1, p.35.

In 1822, we discover the depth of Ephraim's crimes. He was convicted of forgery and sentenced in absentia. We discover he had title to the land that was to descend to the Clark girls and had sold the slaves that were to be theirs - a situation the Court took steps to correct.
Circuit Court Order Book 5. p.303-304. Mon. 15 Apr 1822. Ephraim Comstock indicted on two counts of Forgery. He came not. Convicted and sentenced to jail for not more than six years nor less than two years. Writ ordered for his arrest.
p.361-362. Sat. 20 Apr 1822. Several cases against Ephraim Comstock. Continued. He is not a citizen of this State and newspaper notices are required for two months in succession requesting his appearance at the next Court Term.
p.415 Mon 21 Oct 1822. William B. Clarks heirs against Ephraim Comstock. The Court delivered their opinion. We discover the 100 acres Edward Pate had signed over to the Comstocks in 1819, he had already deeded to William B. Clark, and Eleanor had full knowledge the deed had been made to Clark. Sale of the slaves mentioned in the bill was declared fraudulent and void. The heirs were awarded the 100 acres by 1st January next. Sale of Negroes to be annulled. The heirs were awarded their costs of the suit.

Since all of the above indicates Ephraim had been missing at least since the summer of 1821, the following record is peculiar. Court Order Book 6, p.26 Friday, 25 Apr 1823. Deed from Ephraim Comstock and wife Ellen to the heirs of William B. Clark was recorded. The deed is signed by Ephraim - one wonders how this signature was obtained. Did the family know where he was? Or did they forge his signature... A fact overlooked by the Court under the circumstances.

Apparently Ephraim and Eleanor were divorced, or more likely they simply agreed to disagree, as she married Edward Hamilton in 1825. She must have kept her son Napoleon Bonaparte Comstock, as he is found living with "Hambltons" in 1850, still in Breckinridge Co KY.

At the time Ephraim & Eleanor were separated, divorce could only be accomplished in Kentucky by an act of the legislature and the party at fault could not remarry within the state of Kentucky. I have never found any evidence that a divorce took place. I believe Ephraim was also guilty of the crime of bigamy...

According to an entry in her Bible, a daughter, Caroline Comstock, was born to Ephraim Comstock and Nancy Goodman, on 14 Apr 1823, probably in Maury County, TN. On 14 Oct 1823, Ephraim and Nancy were married in Maury County. Bondsman was Robert Bates, probably Nancy's brother-in-law married to her sister Mahala Bates. Ephraim & Nancy Goodman Comstock went on to have seven more children - all sons. They are found in Carroll County TN in 1830, Perry County TN in 1840. The youngest son, Harvey Alexander Comstock, was born in 1841.

Ephraim's death was recorded as 1860 on a worksheet in the manuscript file of Samuel Willett Comstock at the NEHGS library which is incorrect as his wife is the head of household in the 1850 census in Perry Co Tennessee. Soon after that census, the family all removed to McDonald County in southwest Missouri. Family papers have recorded Ephraim's death as 20 Dec 1847, but I have found no outside confirmation of the date. The manuscript file said that Ephraim went to Missouri with his family prior to 1850, then returned to Kentucky alone - I believe everything about that statement to be untrue - he was dead, certainly before 1850, and the family did not move to Missouri until about 1852.

Nancy Goodman Comstock's dates of birth and death were recorded in daughter Caroline's Bible. Nancy was born 2 Jun 1805 and died 24 May 1855, likely in Missouri. Caroline did not list her father in the Bible at all. I've been unable to discover much more about Nancy. Family tradition has held that Nancy was half-Indian, but my DNA shows not one drop of Indian ancestry. She was said to have been Choctaw, but there's no indication that she was ever located in a place populated by the Choctaw - if anything, she would have been Cherokee, but of course my DNA test indicates this is one of those mythical "Indian Princess" traditions.

The manuscript collection at NEHGS has this statement about Ephraim: "Ephraim was a school teacher & a Soldier in the Battle of Tippecanoe". This has been picked up in all the Comstock genealogies. He could have settled down to being a school teacher, I suppose. The Comstocks were in general an educated family; documents bear his signature, not a mark. And he could have been in the Battle of Tippecanoe. Tippecanoe is where William Henry Harrison defeated Tecumseh; a campaign from 16 Oct - 24 Nov of 1811. Ephraim would have been approximately 16. I have found two units listed from Kentucky - the Battalion of KY, Light Dragoons under Capt Peter Funk (27 men) and a Company of Mounted Riflemen under Capt. Fred Geiger (62 men). No Comstock is listed, nor do I find that these men came from Breckinridge County.

One last curiosity about Ephraim is his name. On the marriage bond for his marriage to Nancy Goodman, he signed his name as Ephraim H. F. Comstock. He never used any initials in any of the records in Kentucky. Some of the family references call him "Ephraim Flor Huber Comstock". His grandmother Hardin, nee Winifred Holtzclaw was of German ancestry so he might have known some of the language; his mother would likely have known some German as well. I have found that huber is a German word meaning "farmer"; flor is "bloom". Was he perhaps a fruit farmer, a truck gardener, a nurseryman? Was he given these names at birth, or was this something he adopted for himself?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; My Second William Comstock

After all those Samuels and Daniels, it's a relief to have another William Comstock. There have been six generations between the immigrant William Comstock and this one, the son of Daniel Comstock and his first wife Patience Jenckes. This is the son who went "west" with his father and brother Seth and did not return to Rhode Island. The birth dates of the children - William, Seth, Jenckes, Chloe, Cynthia, & Abigail - of Daniel and Patience can only be assumed. Only Seth's grave has been found and he was aged 75 when in died in 1848, or born in 1773. Daniel and Patience were married 7 Apr 1768 in Smithfield, RI, as found in their Vital Records, so in all likelihood one or even two of the children were older than Seth.

The letter I found in the manuscript file at NEHGS about Daniel's family - which had some data about the children by both wives - did state in one place that Daniel had brought sons William and Seth to Kentucky. William stayed but Daniel and his "younger son" [which would have been Seth] had returned to Providence. Later when the author of the letter, Caroline Porter - a granddaughter of Daniel and the second wife - did list the family, she listed Seth first. Seth has forever after been placed in the eldest spot in all the printed publications. Since he was born some five years after his parents married, I viewed this with a raised eyebrow. My research indicates that William was most likely the eldest child, certainly the eldest son.

William Comstock did indeed remain in the "west". He was probably born between 1869 and 1772; most likely in Smithfield, RI. He married in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, 1 May 1794, to Winny Ann Hardin, daughter of William "Wild Bill" Hardin and Winnifred Holtzclaw. William and Winny's marriage is the 16th recorded in that county.

In the manuscript papers of Samuel W. Comstock at NEHGS, he did indeed have on one page that William had died 1817 - however in another place he recorded the date of 5 Dec 1875 which was the son Elijah's death date. This error was then perpetuated in the various Comstock books. Samuel W. Comstock also stated that William was born in Breckinridge Co near Hardinsburg - but that was where he married and lived.

In all the following printed publications with one exception, William Comstock is said to have died 5 September 1875. He would have been nearly 100 years of age. But this is so wrong. That date is clearly the date of death on the grave marker of his son Elijah. Court records in Breckinridge County reveal that William died as a relatively young man. William Comstock left a good many tracks in Breckinridge records between 1800 and 1817 - most of those are reviewed on my webpage [link on the sidebar].

Breckinridge County, KY Court Minute Book 3, p.2. 21 Sep 1818.
Winney Ann and Ephraim Comstock granted adminstration on estate of William Comstock. Commissioners appointed to appraise estate and slaves, if any. Security with William Hardin and Amos Williams. [William Hardin was Winney's father, Ephraim's grandfather, and Amos Williams was at that time Ephriam's father-in-law.]
The last mention of William Comstock in Breckinridge records prior to that date in September of 1818 was:
Court Minute Book 2, p.251 William Comstock resigned as overseer of the road from Hardinsburg to Clover Creek - recorded 17 Nov 1817.
So although the exact date of William's death is not known, it occurred sometime after 17 Nov of 1817 and prior to 21 Sep 1818. And there is no question that he died many years prior to 1875.

One of the Comstock books corrected this error, but I found the book after finding the above Court records, and even this author apparently had not seen those documents. The book by Pope McAdams, Some Ancestors of Eugene Perrot McAdams & Mary Elizabeth Pope McAdams of Hawesville, Kentucky. shows that wife WinnyAnn died in 1818 leaving a will. "Married women of that day could not make a will, so William was deceased by that time. Their youngest child Lavinia was born in August of 1810. C. B. Comstock obviously made an error when he said William Comstock died Dec 5, 1875", which was in turn copied by John A. Comstock and others.

Indeed, Winney did leave a will soon after the death of her husband.
Court Minutes, Book 3,p.26, Jan 1819.
Last Will & Testament of Winney Ann Comstock exhibited by John E. Hardin, Executor, and ordered recorded.
Will Book 1, p.8; probate 7 Jan 1819.
Will recorded 18 Jan 1819 leaves a bequest of $6 for Ephraim, stipulating that he was not to have the care of the two younger children. They were left in charge of Winny's brother, John Hardin. [When her father William Hardin died, he included Elijah and Lavinia, children of his deceased daughter Winny Ann, but does not mention Ephraim at all. The next blog will explain why.]
p.102 20 Dec 1819 John E. Hardin exhibited the list of taxable property of Winnian Comstock, Dec'd.

William and Winney Ann's son Ephraim would have qualified as my Black Sheep Ancestor, if he could have been found. That story certainly does not appear in the Comstock books. More to follow.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; My Third Daniel

Daniel Comstock and wife Martha Brown had five children whose births are recorded in the Smithfield RI vital records. The second son was another Daniel, the third Daniel Comstock in successive generations - all my direct ancestors. When my first grandchild was born, his parents named him Daniel, because it was a name "not used anywhere else in the family". Little did they know!

My third Daniel was born 6 Jan 1745, and was only eight years old when his father died; I'm sure his stepfather, John Farnum, played a part in his upbringing. However, the will of John Farnum left bequests only to his own children. Uncle Azariah Comstock is recorded as selling land that had belonged both to his father Daniel and his brother Daniel to his fatherless nephews. I've not found the earlier deeds but I suspect Azariah may have bought his brother's property in order to provide income to Martha for her five Comstock children. One of the deeds does state, "200 acres, all of the lands Daniel Comstock, late of Smithfield, died seized of".

I have many records of my third Daniel - he lived a long an interesting life, but not an easy one. If he is your ancestor, please feel free to contact me. My primary purpose here is to correct errors in the Comstock books, not fill in all the detail. This Daniel was married twice - his first wife Patience Jenckes dying somtime between the date of a deed in 1778 and Daniel's second marriage to Sarah Fuller perhaps about 1782.

Patience, born about 1750, was the daughter of Dr. John Jenckes and Rachel Lawrence, her great, great grandfather Joseph Jenckes, an early immigrant, was an iron worker from London who continued in this business in Massachusetts. Patience's great, grandfather, also a Joseph Jenckes followed Roger Williams to Rhode Island, building a foundary and forge and continuing the family occupation. The surname is also found as Jencks and Jenks.

The deed, dated 17 Feb 1778, between Daniel and his wife Patience and Jacob [Daniel's brother] and his wife Abigail [nee Bennett] to their cousin Jonathan Comstock, is mentioned in the Comstock books, probably because this is likely when the brothers were leaving Smithfield. The tract described is the same 200 acres Uncle Azariah Comstock had sold to Daniel some years earlier. However in the books, the deed is said to have occurred in 1768 - apparently a typo that was simply recopied in all subsequent Comstock publications. A friend and fellow descendant read the microfilm and sent me a copy - there is no question the deed took place ten years later in 1778.

Daniel did serve during the Revolutionary War, probably about the time he lost his first wife. They had six children. The Comstock books all say that he moved to Providence after her death. This is the very tip of the iceburg. After the sale of land in 1778, Daniel and Jacob moved to Connecticut. Deeds and court cases are recorded in Pomfret, Thompson, Killingly, in Windham County, locations just over the state line from Rhode Island. The brothers also bought land in Rehoboth, MA, which included the right and title to Fuller's Ferry which crossed the River between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Apparent are financial difficulties of various sorts. The 1800 census reveals Daniel living back in Providence; in 1805, unclaimed letters as noted in the local newspaper suggest he had left Providence. Perhaps to seek a better way of life and leave his debts behind.

The first of the Comstock books about Samuel of Rhode Island quotes a descendant of this family. I did find the letter in the manuscript collection of John A. Comstock at NEHGS which includes the following:
"In the first settlement of Ohio he came west and brought Seth and William with him. [Seth & William were sons of Patience, probably the two eldest sons.] William settled in Hardin County, KY; Seth and Daniel returned to Providence. Five years after his son Lyndon moved to Lexington, Kentucky, Daniel, then over age 70, moved there with most of his family. Daniel, wife, most of their children buried there."
This from a letter written to Noah D. Comstock by Caroline Porter, granddaughter of Daniel.
[Caroline was a daughter of Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel and his second wife, Sarah Fuller.]

There seems to be truth in the letter. I've not discovered anymore about the first trip "west" except the letter did state in one place that William was the eldest son - a fact not reflected in print in the books. [I had suspected this to be the case from the records of the sons - William seemed to be the eldest.] William was my ancestor and he did settle in Breckinridge County which later became Hardin County Kentucky. His marriage was the 16th marriage recorded in Breckinridge Co, 1 May 1794. Daniel Comstock's father-in-law sold Daniel's son Seth Comstock 450 acres in Thompson, Massachusetts in 1794. In 1800, son Seth Comstock was living in Adams, Bershire County, Massachusetts - if he went west and then returned to Providence, he did not remain in Providence. As above, Daniel did appear in Providence in 1800, quite possibly leaving before 1805. Lyndon was the eldest son by Daniel's second wife - Lyndon's first record in Kentucky that I have found was jury duty in Breckinridge County Court, in July of 1805. Lyndon may have first joined his brother William in Kentucky. Lyndon appeared on tax rolls in Fayette County KY [location of Lexington] beginning in 1807 as a white male over age 21. In 1808, he had two white males over the age of 21 - quite possibly one of them was his father. In 1810, Lyndon Comstock was in the Fayette County KY census along with a male and female over age 45 and some young adults who were likely his siblings.

Although Daniel Comstock was given no date of death in any of the publications, I found an account which also substantiates that Daniel and family did indeed join Lyndon in Lexington and notes his funeral was held 7 Apr 1814.

From Kentucky Gazette 11 Apr 1814: "Daniel Comstock of Lexington, formerly of Providence RI died April, 1814.
From Kentucky Pioneer and Court Records, H. K. McAdams, 1929, p.297
"Mr. Daniel Comstock, formerly of Providence, R.I.; residence of N. S. Porter. Apr. 7, 1814."
[Nathaniel S. Porter was a son-in-law, married to Daniel's daughter Elizabeth in Fayette Co, KY, 8 Jan 1811.]
This section of the book begins on p.294. Says that in the Lexington Public Library there is a large book, pasted full of Funeral Notices. The inscription in the front of the book reads: These Funeral Notices were collected by an honest colored man, named Cyrus Parker Jones, who, at his death, bequeathed them to J. M. Duff, who donated them to the Lexington Library, 1 Jan 1900. These notices began with "You and your family are invited to attend the funeral of _______. " McAdams states that he only gives names and dates and reference to other relatives rather than repeat the entire statement each time. All are from Lexington unless stated otherwise.

The Comstock books state that Daniel married as his second wife, Sarah Fuller of Providence who was born 5 Aug 1761. There were six more children by Sarah; all of this second family did move to Kentucky. Nothing else is mentioned regarding Sarah. I believe I have identified her as a widow at the time of their marriage:

There is an intention to marry in Rehoboth, Bristol Co MA for Daniel Comstock to Sarah Pearse, 8 Oct 1784. He was of Providence. I believe Sarah Fuller was the widow Pearse/Pierce at the time of their marriage. No earlier married has yet been found for Sarah, but this is the only marriage for a Daniel Comstock that seems plausible and is in the right time frame and right place. Daniel was well acquainted with her father Oliver Fuller, and his brother Caleb, and if not actually living in Bristol County at that time, he was just across the river. The Fullers were the original owners of Fuller's Ferry, bought by Daniel and Jacob Comstock in 1782, in Rehoboth.

I suspect Sarah was not "of Providence" - that was Daniel. Found in the Rehoboth vital records.

Listed in the Rehoboth Vital Records:
Sarah Fuller, born 3 Aug 1761. No parents listed [This is only slightly different from the Comstock books that say she was 5 Aug 1761 - 5's and 3's often difficult to distinquish.]
In databases online, a Sarah is listed as a daughter of the above Oliver Fuller.
There is a Rehoboth marriage:
Oliver Fuller and Sarah Smith, both of Rehoboth, married by Rev. John Greenwood Jan. 26, 1755. Int. Dec. 7, 1752.
Oliver's birth: FULLER Oliver, born Nov. 29, 1732

Daniel Comstock and wife Sarah sold two parcels in the town of Thompson, Massachusetts, to Oliver Fuller in 1786. Oliver Fuller also sold two paracels of land to Daniel's brother Seth Comstock in 1794 - the same property by description. Sarah Comstock Fuller, had a first cousin named Lyndon Fuller - quite likely the source of Lyndon Comstock's relatively unusual given name.