Author Archives: geothos

BURRIS FAMILY RETHOUGHT (PT 2)

shopping 2
Above is the home where Solomon Burres and his wife Delilah once lived. Solomon is the son of Dempsey Burres who we know to be the paternal ancestor of Ken Burres whose family history was hinted at in Part 1 of this posting. Knowing that Ken descends from the family seen in front of the old home, it’s interesting that his DNA provides us the only known path from western Tennessee to others who share his surname here in North Carolina.

chowrivThere must be more like Ken …like his ancestor Dempsy who we believe grew up on the waters of the Chowan River. I introduced some of the others in the first post of this two part series. I also discussed the Burrus/Burras/Burris lands on the west side of the river within the area known as Pell Mell. There was Blount Branch and the land Joshua Burris acquired from Mordecia White. Some say Modecai’s brother Luke ran a ferry on the east bank of the river going back to 1716. Records are not definitive in making that case. But it’s there where I’d like to begin this post. Some 33 years after Luke White’s ferry first appeared on the Mosely map, it shows up again in the 1770 Collett map (right). Entering the Chowan to the south of L. White’s Ferry is the green shaded and unlabeled creek known as Rockyhock. And before entering the red shaded town of Edenton from the north, the old Virginia road crosses the eastern prongs of Rockyhock. It’s in this vicinity where the home of “Hoskin” is located. And as will be shown, Thomas Hoskins who lived there is certainly connected to our Burris family.

Born ca. 1739, Thomas Hoskins is the son of yet another Thomas and his wife Mary Halsy Hoskins of Chowan County. Mary Halsy’s brothers are named Daniel and Miles Halsey. Is it possible the two brothers are the namesake for Daniel Burres who, from the first part of this post, had a son Miles Burres? Could the naming be a tenuous thread tying the family of Daniel Burres to the Hoskins and Halsey families?

At the height of the Revolutionary War, the younger Thomas Hoskins dies as is indicated by the writing of his of his last will and testament. In the instrument penned 1 Jun 1781, Thomas names his sister Mary Burris:

Item I give to my sister Mary Burris one hundred and twenty five eakers of land joining where Bucker now lives.

Who was the above Buckler and where was the land located that Thomas Hoskins bequeathed to his sister Mary Burris? Further down in a bequeath to his sister Keziah, Thomas gives the full name of Buckler which may in time help us to better understand the family lands. To Keziah Hoskins he left “200 acres of land where now Richard Bukler now lives.”

The following is also found in the loose estate files. It’s from an 1800 petition for dower raised by “Mary Dolby, the widow and relict of Thomas Hoskins”:

“…that her said husband departed this life in the month of April 1783 seized of a considerable tract of land in the county.”

And from another document among the loose papers, Richard Buckler recovered approximately 43 pounds from John Cofield who was the executor. The legal heirs in that paper are identified as: “Mary Burrows, wife of Joshua Burrows, Keziah Hoskins, Sarah Hoskins, and John Cofield, the younger.”

Bizare! At this point I have to wonder, have other Burris family researchers seen this set of documents? If so, how do they explain the naming of Joshua Burris as being the husband of Mary Hoskins? Is Mary the wife of our Joshua Burris Senior? Joshua Burris Junior? Is she the wife of some unknown Burris who also happens to be named Joshua and is contemporary to known members of our family?

It must be said that Thomas Hoskins who wrote the 1781 last will and testament is said to have been born ca. 1739. Based on that birth, if in fact Thomas’ sister married either Joshua Burris Junior or Senior, wouldn’t Mary’s probable age mean that she is better suited to be the wife of Joshua Junior? At this point I urge the reader to keep the powder dry.

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In the 1790’s, Joshua Burris and wife Mary gave unto Job Leary and wife Rachel two tracts of land. The first is 100 acres “formally belonging to my grandfather Thomas Hoskins deceased.” The second tract containing 320 acres is located on the “Rockahock Swamp on the east side of the Piney Woods.” Also, note that this land action was actually a gift: “ …in consideration of the natural affection and fraternal love which we have and bear unto Job Leary and Rachel Leary his wife forever and also for —– other good causes and considerations Me at this time especially moving …”

According to Chowan County records, Job Leary married Rachel Hoskins 1 Jan 1776. And, from online genealogies, both Job and Rachel descend from an earlier generation of the Thomas Hoskins family. One such writing connects Rachel and Mary Hoskins Burris though I’ve yet been able to understand how. Also, there is another Mary Hoskins who married a fellow by the name of James Bond on 8 Oct 1787. This person cannot be the same Mary who was the wife of Joshua Burris as Mary and Joshua were both alive and active at the time of the Bond-Hoskins marriage. However, the marriage of Mary Hoskins and James Bond does raise serious questions as the loose estate of Thomas Hoskins (Joshua Burres’ father-in-law) contains a document or petition from James Bond.

In another deed (A2-26 Chowan), Joshua Burris and wife Mary sold a tract of 62 acres to John Crutchlow and Robert Goodwyn of Southampton County VA. Witnessed by John Halsey and Nathaniel Woodward, the tract is located “in Chowan River near Jeremiah Cannons.” It is identified as being “part of a tract of land formerly granted to Thos. Holladay bearing date 1730 and conveyed by deed to Samuel Farlee (Farless?) & from sd. Farlee to Thos. Hoskins.” Could this be part of Holladay’s Island, within the area of Cow Island on the west side of the Chowan? Could this be part of a recreational spot known today by the name of Holladay’s Island?

Neither Joshua nor Mary appear in the 1790-1800 census. I’d like to move forward though two deeds in 1809 need to be mentioned. Dated 15 May 1809. Mary Burrows gave to her daugther Polly Burrows 16 ½ acres (E2-166, Chowan) that she, Mary Burrows “bought of Levi Jones – joining Joseph Bozeman, James Rhodes, Samuel Tredwell, and Wm. Bennett.” The deed was witnessed by Ab’m Pritchard and Moses Buckley who must be related to Richard Buckley whose land adjoined that of Thomas Hoskins …who was Joshua Burris’s brother-in-law. On the next page in the deed book, Mary Burrows gives all her kitchen and utility items to the said Polly Burrows.

And then in Chowan County, Mary Burris of Chowan County, by herself, deeded 4 ¼ acres of land to James Harrell, her son-in law. Dated 21 Jun 1816, the deed (H2-422 Chowan) reads: “Knowye that I Mary Burris of the county of Chowan and state of North Carolina, having by these presents and goodwill that I bear towards my son in law James Harrell …give unto him the said James Harrell a certain tract of land lying in Chowan on the west side of Juniper.” It being part of the land I bought of Joseph Bozeman of Edenton. Wit: Abr’m Pritchard, Wm. Coffield.

Could any or all of these be Mary, wife of Joshua Burris as appears in the last will and testament of Thomas Hoskins? As for Joshua, he seems to disappear with no final record or deed to mark his passing. The above deed from Mary to daughter Polly may or may not reflect the family of Joshua Burris. But what if it does? What if Joshua died sometime in the 1790’s. He and Mary may have had other children who like Polly, would eventually become known by the marks they made in life. Though Daniel Burres who lived in Bertie County lives and dies without clear tie to Joshua and Mary, he is of age to be a son or grandson. He may not even be their son but rather a child of another member of the Burres family living in that day and time. Note there is a James Jr. Burris and William Burris whose records we have yet to review. And, with that said, I’d like to introduce you to Solomon Burres who also acquired land on the Rockyhock clearly in the area where Joshua and Mary Burres once lived.

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Dated 2 Jul 1803, a person named Solomon Burris married Ann Harris in Chowan County. The bondsman for the marriage was E. Norfleet. Though Solomon does not appear in the 1810 Chowan census, a 26-44 year old John Burrus does appear. Who is he? And then in 1820 Solomon is enumerated as:

1m 0/10, 1m 26/44/ 1f 10/15, 2f 26/44

And, we know Solomon served in the war of 1812 as the following pay voucher was punched, indicating it had been received and paid:

1812

 

Signaling the loss of his first wife, Solomon Burris marries second on 2 Oct 1824 to Rachel Jones. And then, per 1828 probation of his last will and testament, the passing of Solomon Burris is duly recorded:

In the name of God Amen, I Solomon Burris am weak in Body but thanks be to God sound in mind and memory and as its appointed for all men once to die I make and ordain this to be my last will and testament in manner and form as followeth – –
First I give my soul to God that gave it to deal as pleaseth him and my Body to the dust of the earth to be buried in a Christian line manner by the care of them that I leave behind me.
2nd I give and bequeath unto my deare beloved son David Jones my plantation whereon I now live and all the land belonging there to bounded by the Rockehock road and Ferry Road
3rd I give and bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth Burris all the lands of mine on the west of the Ferry road to Jesse Smith’s line
4th I give unto my Grandson in law James Jones all my land on the south side of the Rockehock Road to Tho’s Satterfield’s line to him and his heirs and forever if the said James Jones should not live and his mother Lediah Jones should not have any more children that should not survive twenty one for the land to come in my family again
5th I give unto my son William Halsey all my land on the west side of the Juniper and if he should die without an heir lawfully begotten by him the land to come back to my family again
6th I lend unto my Mother in Law the plantation whereon the Juda Jones the Plantation whereon she now lives during her widowhood [or until she moves of] with the privilege of timber for plantation use
7th It is my desire that my dear beloved wife Rachel Burris shall have the use of the plantation whereon we now live during her natural life Likewise I give to her one bed and furniture her choice one wheel and cards one loom and gears and hog enough to make her pork for one year and three head of cattle
Likewise I give unto all my children namely James Jones [five head] David Burris and Elizabeth Burris three head of cattle a piece and two head to William Halsey
All the rest of my property to be sold by my executors and my just debts and funeral charges paid and the remainder of the money to be equally divided between my two youngest children.

Last of all I appoint my two friends George White and Noah White and Zachariah Evans my soul executors of this my last will and testament.
(over)
Confirmed and declaring this my last will and testament as witness my hand and doth affix my seal in this year of our Lord God one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight the 17th of October 1828.

In presence of Ab’m H. Pritchard Jurat Solomon (X) Burris
Sophia Jones

Solomon Burris’ last will and testament offers a treasure trove of information likely connecting deep within our family. Starting off, you see Abraham Pritchard serving as Jurat just as he did in the gift deed from Mary Burrows to her daughter Polly. Solomon also appoints his two friends George White and Noah White …and Zachariah Evans to be executors. Is this Noah the same person who later moved to Tennessee along with Miles and Dempsy Burres? And who is George White? Note that the 1799 last will and testament of Medey White in Bertie mentions a son George White.  And, the instrument is witnessed by Abraham Pritchard who for some reason has witnessed other legal documents over on Chowan.  I believe there is a connection between the Bertie and Chowan families of White. Are those mentioned here the sons of Luke? William” or could they be cousins?  And as for Zachariah Evans, he married 8 Mar 1808 to Elizabeth Cofield who is said to be the daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah Banks Coffield. Zachariah Evans was an itinerant Methodist Minister and later founded Evans’ Meeting House in the area of Rockyhock along the old and important Virginia Road. Zachariah’s father Jeremiah is the son of John Coffield Senior who married Elizabeth Hoskins who was the aunt of Mary Hoskins. Mary appears in the estate of Thomas Hoskins as being the wife of Joshua Burres. All of this is intertwined and I believe the records bring the story full circle.

And as we’re just getting starting, there’s also William Halsey who in Item five of the will is bequeathed land on the west side of the Juniper. Remember Mary Burrus who gifted 4 ¼ acres to her son-in-law James Harrells? That land was also described as being located on the west side of the Juniper. Could this be pointing to the possibility that Solomon of Chowan County is the son of Joshua and Mary? It appears so though no proof.

Solomon Burres also mentions his “Grandson in Law James Jones.” James is ordered, that following the death of the said Solomon, that a bequeath of land should return to his mother Lydia Jones. Solomon also lends to his mother-in-law the “Judah Jones Plantation.” A grenadson? Was Solomon married prior to his first recorded marriage to Ann Harris? This one baffles me as I do not yet understand the Jones connections.

The above provides wonderful detail connecting family and land. Note that Solomon’s land was located near the ferry road within Rocky Hock. His land was liklely near Evans Church on the Virginia Road. It’s within the same area where Luke White was ordered to operate a ferry some 100 years earlier. I haven’t found any significant family deeds that predate Solomon’s ownership though would like to learn more of this place and of how members of our family came about living there. There’s still some pieces missing in this story.

Following the death of Solomon Burris, his widow Rachel Jones Burris soon after married second to Wiley Haste, the son of Charlton Haste. John Jones was bondsman. And note, that Charlton Haste likely comes out of Henry Haste whose land in Bertie County was deeded to the Burris family. The loose papers for the estate of Solomon Burris names Wiley, the new step-father, as being appointed guardian of Solomon’s minor children David and Elizabeth. Below are briefs of four documents from those files.

  • 21 June 1830, Chowan. Wiley (x) Haste appointed guardian of David and Elizabeth Burris. Wit: Charlton (x) Haste.
  • 12 Feb 1834, Chowan. Wiley Haste, guardian of David Burris and Elizabeth Burris, you are hereby notified that at the next county court of Chowan County, I as the next friend of the said orphans shall move the said …….court to remove you from guardianship of the said David and Elisabeth Burris on the account of your mismanagement of the said —– estate and neglecting the case of their education.” Signed: Willis Elliott.
  • May 1837, Chowan. Willis Elliott, guardian of David and Elizabeth Burris summoned to court.
  • 7 Aug 1837, Chowan. Willis Elliott, Jordan D. Elliott, & Zachariah Evans are bound in the appointment of Willis Elliott as guardian of David and Elizabeth Burris.

Solomon Burris’s son David did not live long. As per his loose estate record, David died ca. 1842. From one of the documents in the estate papers:

The petition of Lydia Jones [of full age] widow of Joseph Jones and of Elizabeth Burrows an infant by her guardian Jordan D. Elliott all of Chowan County, shows unto your worships, that, as heirs of law of David Burrows, a minor now deceased son of Solomon who died leaving in his last will and testament a tract of land to the said David, they are the only tenants in common, of the said tract of land situated in Chowan County in the district of Rockyhock and bounded in the north by the lands of Cullen Jones and the lands east by Miles Halsey & Jack Parker, on the south by the main road leading over Rocky Hock Bridge and on the west by the main ferry road, …being the tract wheron the said Solomon Burrows lived, containing by estimation 50 acres.

Indications

At this point the significant records seem to end for the Burris family east of the Chowan River. In it all, I’ve not found a smoking gun leading to how that family connects to ours who eventually settled in Stanly County NC. And then, on top of everything, there is the history of Joshua Burris who is believed to have married Sarah Chamblee before moving to South Carolina. That Joshua and wife Sarah are clearly named in deeds selling family lands along Blount’s Branch of Flat Swamp in Bertie. The history for that Joshua seems to follow a clearer path of records back to family when they first appeared on the Pocosons of eastern Bertie.

It’s easy to look at all this and make the snap decision that something’s out of place. Could Joshua of Rockyhock be the son of Joshua Senior? Could he actually be Joshua Senior, the father? Could we have mixed up the two generations? It’s possible just as is the idea Joshua may be a cousin named for our Joshua Senior. For me, I wonder about Solomon of Rockyhock and his son David. When our Joshua Burris Senior left the Chowan for lands in Anson County, a person named David Burris also made the trip and served as chain bearer for his 1778 land grant. Is David a son, a brother? And, it’s important to point out that the same Joshua had a son Solomon who in turn had a son named Joshua. Did the naming honor his father or brother? Also, our Solomon had a son David whose namesake could be the David Burris named as chainer in the said Solomon’s father’s grant.

In the same manner above, could Solomon of Chowan be named for an uncle or cousin? How about his son David? Does this naming pattern link the family to our Solomon of Stanly County? I’d say yes, though such ties are not proven to be direct lineage. This, because we are sure the family was larger than just the traditional story of Joshua and Solomon. There is James Jr, and likely Samuel and possibly John not to mention the girls who at this time remain unknown. Out of any one of these, there could have been a son Joshua named in honor for Junior or Senior who passed through Anson County. And, such a scenario could easily be at the root of Joshua, and Solomon, who once lived in the area of Rockyhock. We just don’t know. And likewise, the path back for Ken Burres of Tennessee is much like our own.  I do believe that he and a person named Miles Burrres are close kin. I also believe the naming patterns of his family are in honor of others just as with ours. But for now, and truthfully said,  the exactness of how his family ties back to the Carolina gamily eludes us all.

At this point I’ll end for now so as to enjoy the Christmas holidays with family. I hope the best for you and yours and look forward to the New Year. Knowing more work needs to be done on the families of Joshua and Sarah … and of the other brothers/cousins, I look forward to 2020 and the times that’ll be spent plowing new fields of early North Carolina history.

 

BURRIS FAMILY RETHOUGHT (PT 1)

joshland
Dated 17 Apr 1716, a court session held for Chowan Precinct took place in the house of Robert Hicks on Queen Anne’s Creek where the following was recorded:

“Ordered that a ferry be kept at Luke White’s, or some other convenient place in Rockyhock, and that a road be cleared from thence at Ballard’s Bridge, with least inconvenience to the owners of the land”

In the above1737 Mosely map you can see Luke White’s Ferry on the east bank of the Chowan River. South of the ferry is Rockyhock Creek where a bridge once called Ballard’s must have crossed. Of importance to my Burris family history, I discovered the above in a published report by fellow researcher Frances Cullom Morgan. More than any other I know, Frances has succeeded in the inimitable task of untangling the Jones Family of eastern North Carolina. As is with the families in her story, my family once lived along the Chowan River too. Generations of our Burris family must have crossed the waters at Luke White’s Ferry.

paul johnsonIn response to my questions asked about our Burris family lands on the west or Bertie County side of the Chowan River, friend Gregory Tyler directed me to read K. Paul Johnson’s book Pell Mellers (Race and Memory) in a Carolina Pocoson. I was told to read it because, as Gregory put it, “these are your people.” You see, some of my Burris family lived in the area called Pell Mell and are certainly related to Paul Johnson through his ancestor Alexander Hawkins Johnston who married Sarah Burris in 1795. Paul’s family is my family.

In his enlightening book, Paul tells the story of Pell Mell and the tri-racial mixing of races which was prevalent in the area around this uniquely Carolina land feature known as a pocosson. He tells how some folk refer to pocossons as being swamps on hills. He goes on …”where the town of Askewville now stands, the Pell Mell Pocoson is a huge peat bog covered with thick forests of long leaf pines. The pocoson’s soil was so poorly drained that much of it remained uninhabitable until modern drainage systems were introduced.” And as for naming, some believe the Pell Mell Pocoson of Bertie County honors the grand plaza of London running the north bank of the Thames River. Paul, on the other hand, conjectures that in this case, the descriptive “implies sarcasm in the Windsor gentry’s use of Pell Meller to refer to the poor and illiterate residents of the pocoson.”

My introduction to all this lies with my ancestor Solomon Burris who served in the American Revolution out of Anson County. Located nowhere near Bertie County, Anson is situated far away in the southern piedmont of North Carolina. According to his pension request filed in Stanly County, Solomon Burris states that proof of his life record lies in a bible. Asked “have you any record of your age and if so, what is it?
Solomon responded:

I have no record of my age. My father has my age down in his bible and he carried it to Bertie County in this state and has long since died –and I know not what became of the record.

And from a 1772 tax list, we know that Solomon is identified as being the son of Joshua Burris. Documents in Bertie further imply that Solomon has a brother named Joshua Junior and that Joshua Burris Senior’s father may be a person named James Burris. However, Solomon’s perceived relation to Joshua introduces us to the Burris family conundrum. We know from the tax list that Solomon is the son of Joshua. But, as family land and other records are so plentiful and mixed, it’s difficult to correctly attribute each one to the right Joshua. For instance, was it Joshua Senior or Junior who moved to South Carolina? Do we really know?

Beyond the believed descendants of Joshua Burris Senior, it’s important for you to understand that there are others of our name whose identities and relations have yet to be determined. To this end, discussion in a recent Burris Family User Group has awakened in me the need to look deeper into our story. There’s got to be more beyond what I believe to be a comfortably written history settled upon by past research efforts. We are a large and complex family and it seems the mysteries and bits yet untold should be made known.

Enter Ken Burres.

Joining our Facebook usergroup Solomon Burris and Family of North Carolina, Ken quickly introduced his family as descending from a person named Dempsey Burres who first appears ca. 1840 in Marshall County TN. By the way, all who descend from any Burris/Burrus/Burres family out of Bertie County are welcome to participate in our usergroup!

In the 1850 Marshall County census, Dempsey Burres is identified as being born in North Carolina (see below). Proving beyond doubt that he is a blood cousin, Ken Burres’ Y-DNA matches a known descendant of our Solomon Burris. He is certainly one of us and represents a branch of our family seeking to find their way back home. Note that Y-DNA accurately follows the paternal line and unlike autosomal DNA, does not easily degrade. Therefore, we know Ken’s father is a Bures as is his father and so on back to the day where his ancestor and ours share a common Burres/Burris parentage.

Dempsey Burros [Burrop] 55m tar NC
Cela 24 f SC
Matilda 22 f TN
Martha 18 f TN
Solomon 18 m TN
Alfred 14 m TN
Ja’s Rone 7m TN
Cela Rone 6m TN

Giving this a serious stab and wanting to learn more of our new cousin, I’ve made multiple visits to North Carolina State Archives. And as for this post, it’s not at all to be seen as a conclusion of that effort. Merely a beginning, there’s value in gathering and presenting initial findings along with any hypotheticals in prediction of where we may be heading. And, as we’re in the holiday season, I’d especially like to offer something worth passing on, worth reaching across the mountains and sharing around the dinner table with turkey and gravy or a big ham. In this post I’ll outline what’s been found to date along with suggestions of where we may go from here.

The following report connects our people to two areas along the Chowan River. This post looks primarily at records for our family on the west side of the river within the Pell Mell Pocoson along a stream called Blount’s Branch. Secondly, we likely have family who once lived on the east side of the Chowan on a creek called Rockyhock near Luke White’s old ferry. I’ll discuss those records in my next posting.

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In 1750, John Wynns sold to James Burros 200 acres on the south side of the Flat Swamp of Killam and east side of the old road and bridge. There are other Burris related transactions for land on Flat Swamp that also mention a stream called Blount’s Branch. Adjoining the lands of “White,” James Burros’ 200 acre purchase was witnessed by Thomas Hansford. Sixteen years later, in 1766, James Burrous happened to be one of the buyers at the estate sale of Thomas Hansford deceased. Then, in 1778, Thomas Hansford’s son Jenkins Hansford made the trip west to Anson County where he served as chain bearer for a land grant issued to Joshua Burris. The two must have been friends. Remember, it is assumed that Joshua is the son of the above James Burros. As is with our Burris family, Jenkins Hansford made his way west though is known to have returned to Bertie where an estate record marks his death in the 1790’s.

In 1759 Burrell Bell sold to John Kaile 100 acres on the westward side of Blount’s Pocoson joining Luke White Sr., James Burros, and Burwell Bell. Luke White Senior in this transaction is the son of Mordecai and Mary Hardy White and Mordecai is the brother of Luke White the ferryman. And, note that the deed mentions Blount’s Pocoson.

Who was John Kail in the above conveyance? Of coincidence (or not?) in all this, my paternal Thomas family once lived within ten miles of Pell Mell Pocoson. In telling the story of his Kail ancestors, my possible very distant cousin Gerald Thomas of nearby Hertford County researched family lore of Native heritage pertaining to his early Kail family. Gerald’s work is very much worth reading and can be found at: A Critical Examination of a Family Legend: John Cale Purported Indian.

The following three deeds mention Blount’s Creek in connection with Flatt Swamp:

Burrell Bell to Henry Haste, 125 acres on Flatt Swamp, the main road, James Burris, Yeates, and Blount’s Branch.”

• On Sep 7, 1759, Burrell Bell to Joshua Burross for 171 acres on the south side of Flatt Swamp joining Absolum Harrell.

• Sep 8, 1759, Burell Bell, gent to Joseph Harris for 228 acres on Mare Branch joining James Fletcher, Wm. Williamson, James Burress, and Flatt Swamp.

In 1773 Mordecai White sold to our Joshua Burrass, 420 acres adjoining the Pell Mell Pocoson. And, Mordecai’s 420 acres originated in a land grant (Grant 777, Bertie) issued to him on 27 Nov 1760. Only the paper shuck which held the survey and warrant survives along with the following description gleaned from the entry book:

mordecai

The naming of Morbin Branch in the entry record offers a huge clue in helping to place this piece of our family land. The description from the entry takes on new meaning after reading the following which was found at the old Genweb page Geographic Features of Bertie County:

“A small tributary stream that enters Cucklemaker Swamp was called Marvel Swamp [Branch] as found in the first Bertie land deeds dated 1760 when Mordecai White received a royal grant from Lord Granville for 420 acres of vacant land. Marvel Branch/Swamp was also spelled Morben, Morbin and Morrville. This waterway can be located and identified as it crosses Polly Road between Ross Church and Askewville.”

Platting Mordecai White’s grant and crosschecking the same against the Bertie County GIS site, it appears in the following that the entry description is likely accurate. One line of the survey follows Morbin Branch while the southwesterly line crosses the Pell Mell Pcososon. The running of several roads was likely dictated by the shape of the grant. And nearby, the town of Askewville lies to the northwest with the historic Ross Church located near a southeast corner of the tract. Of huge importance, note that Flat Swamp enters Cucklemaker Creek in the extreme southeast of the image. Cucklemaker is believed to be named for an Indian Chief and it’s some place on the run of Flat Swamp where Blount’s Branch is located. So, truly not far from the lands of Joshua Burris, his believed father James once acquired land on Blount’s Branch in Bertie County.

Windsor North, NC, 1:24,000 quad, 1981, USGS

Joshua Burris did not hold on to the above land for very long as in the late 1770’s his branch of the family moved to Anson County where he entered a land grant dated 1778. Possibly in reflection of the move, Joshua sold the above to James Adams of nearby Halifax County. For sake of record, the following is a brief title history for the above tract of land:

Grant 777, Bertie, ent. 27 Nov 1760. MORDECAI WHITE 430 acres.

Deed M- —, Bertie, 10 Feb 1773, reg. May 1774. MORDECAI WHITE planter and wife MARY of Bertie to JOSHUA BURRASS planter of Hertford 420 ac joining Pall Mall Pocoson, George Mewborn, Merbin Branch, Jonathan Miller, Also signed by Mary White Wit: Herbert Pritchard., Joseph Laurance. [Mordecai White married Mary Hardy]

Deed M —, Bertie, 14 Feb 1776, reg. Feb 1776. JOSHUA BURRASS of Martin Co to JAMES ADAMS of Halifax 420 ac at Pell Mell joining George Mitchell, Morbin Branch, Jonathan Miller. Wit: Watkin William Wynns, Thomas West Whitmell.

Records show that Joshua Burris and his namesake son maintained ownership of parts of the family lands in Bertie after their removal to Anson County. However, as mentioned before, sorting out the various pieces of land is difficult. I imagine that part of the family continued to live on land in Bertie or at least visited back and forth between the two locations. Holdings in Bertie were eventually sold by Joshua Burris. Again, would that have been Junior or Senior? I’ve yet to work those records so at some point we may glean more things which may possibly change our history. However, with all said, our family story told through documentation seems to go quiet ca. 1780’s. Is the problem due to a cease in the appearance of our family in records or is it due to an overlooked hiccup in our family research? Believing the latter to be partially true, most of the past research aimed at ferreting out our family only covers the years prior to our removal to Anson County. This winter I hope to push the effort seriously past the late 1700’s through 1840 in hopes of filling in this void. For now, let’s pick up with the 1800 Bertie County census at which time there were no Burris living in the county. None! Hmmm, there were none of us listed as living in Bertie County in 1800 …and then our story takes a twist.

In May 1802, a “deed of gift for the lands upon which John Laurence lived was divided “equally between his two daughters Sarah and Elizabeth.” The transaction further states that “Daniel Burris did on the — of —- intermarry with the said Elizabeth Laurence and that the said Daniel and Elizabeth Burris …” Daniel and wife Elizabeth transferred their rights to a person named Alexander Hawkins Johnston. At issue was 50 acres adjoining the lands of Thos. H. Pugh, Henry Hall, and William Laurence. The land was deeded over to Alexander H. Johnston who happens to be the paternal ancestor of K. Paul Johnson, author of Pell Mellers (Race and Memory) in a Carolina Pocoson. In his book, Paul tells of the Johnson family reunion, of driving down Hwy 13 from Akoskie, and of convening at the old Johnson Cemetery where Hardy Johnson is known to be buried. The old Johnson Cemetery is located near Polly Road which is identified in the above illustration as dead ending within Joshua’s 420 acres. Note that Alexander H. Johnson married Sally Burras 31 Mar 1795 in Bertie County. Bondsman was Lewis Redit and the bond was witnessed by Stevens Gray. No less so than Ken Burress or you or I, Paul Johnson is our cousin. It’s my belief that Sally may be Daniel Burris’ sister. That’s only my idea as nothing at this time is known of Sally Burras. And as for Daniel and Elizabeth Laurence Burris, their marriage bond survives so we can rest assured that they married 6 Jan 1801.

Aniel Burris

Moving forward, in 1810, the name Daniel Burris first appears in Bertie County census as follows:

1 m 0-5, 1m 16-25, 1m 26-44, 1f 26-44

Remember that cousin Ken Burres above shares our DNA and is a known descendant of a person named Dempsey Burris who, in the 1850 Marshall County census, is listed as being born ca. 1795 in North Carolina. I believe Dempsey is the male above who is identified as being 16-25 years old. As for the younger male, I believe he’s going to be another son named Miles Burris. Ken’s Dempsey was 55 years old in 1850 Marshall County at the same time Miles appears as 50 years old in neighboring Maury County TN. Yet to find further mention of Dempsey, Miles first appears in the following Bertie County deed:

Deed BB-568 Bertie, 4 Oct 1823 Bertie. JOHN SORRELL of Hertford, George Wynns of Bertie to MILES BURRIS of Bertie. Being one third part of a tract of land (on Mouths branch) Island Creek running thence up the said creek various courses to a pine in Forky Branch, then along a line of marked trees to a pine in a small branch No. of said branch, thence southerward along a line of marked trees along the edge of Gramphin Hill to a white oak in Isaac Speight’s line, then on the said Speight’s line to a red oak, then along a line of marked trees through the pocoson south 35 east to the river, thence up the river to the first station. Wit: Daniel Burroughs, Hardy H. Johnston.

I’m not at all certain of the location of the above land. But, here is Miles Burris and his probable father Daniel Burroughs involved in the same transaction. Also, another deed will indicate that Miles Burris’ marriage to Elizabeth, a sister to the above John Sorrell. Elizabeth and John are children of Benjamin and Rhody Sorrell. And, serving as witness with Daniel Burroughs, Hardy H. Johnston also appears in the above transaction. Hardy is believed to be the son of Alexander H and Sarah Burris Johnston. And note that generations earlier Mordecai White married to a person named Mary Hardy. I’m curious …any family connection to the naming of Hardy Johnston?

Before moving on with the above, it’s important for you know that our Burris family and the Sorrell/Sowell family were close from the earliest days. As early as 1747 James Campbell sold to James Sorrell 100 acres being “part of the land belonging to James Burrus who conveyed it to Joseph Laurence.” Situated on Flat Swamp, the land adjoined the Wiccacon Road and lands of Demcy Kail. Then, in 1787 and possibly being the same land, James Campbell sold part of the tract to James Sorrell. The deed states that the land once belonged to James Burras who conveyed it to Joseph Laurence.

Dated 10 Nov 1805, Elizabeth Sorrell’s father Benjamin Sorrell wrote his last will and testament naming among others, wife Rhody and daughter Elizabeth Sorrell. Then, during the 1820’s, records seem to give us a lucky glimpse at what I believe was a closing chapter of Burris life in Bertie County. While some of our family remained in North Carolina, others were about to make the move to Tennessee. In the deed below, Miles Burris and wife Elizabeth, along with others, were selling estate lands once belonging to the said Elizabeth’s parents:

Deed BB-573 Bertie, 4 Oct 1826. Jesse Brinn, Miles Burris and his wife Elizabeth Burris, Ruben Farless, and Rhody Sorrell of Bertie to Ruben Farless of Hertford. Being 50 acres beginning at the old road in Blount’s Branch, thence running down the said branch along the line belonging to the estate of George McGlorhorn dec’d to a line belonging to Jane Perry dec’d, thence along the said Jane Perry Dec’d line to the road, thence down the road to the first station, reference to the land history can be “found from an old deed given by Dempsey Kail and wife to Benjamin Sorrell.” Wit: William N. Pearce, Daniel Burross.

As seen above, by 1826 Elizabeth Sorrell is identified as “Elizabeth Burris.” And, who is Ruben Farless? Appearing as both seller and buyer, I believe either Reuben or his wife must somehow descend from Benjamin Sorrell. In 1840 “Ruben Farless” appears in the Madison County TN census and likely dies soon after. In 1850, Reuben’s children appear in neighboring Gibson County where some of Ken’s folks resided. There, names in the Farless family harken back to earlier days in Bertie County. One likely son of Reuben Farless is named Media which surely reflects the White family. And, Media happened to marry Elizabeth Haste who I’d guess is likely a descendant of Henry Haste who once sold land to James Burris on Flat Swamp in the Pell Mell of Bertie. You can’t make this stuff up but it all needs to be looked at thoroughly in a comprehensive study.

Prior to his move west, Miles Burris is listed in 1830 Bertie County as living beside his father Daniel:

Miles Burris 20-30 with wife
Daniel Burris 15-60 with son 15-20

I’ve yet to find any deeds or other relevant records registered beyond 1830.  As has been hinted at, the next appearance of this line of our Burris family takes place in Tennessee. There, Miles Burris is listed in 1840 as living in Maury County. And, in neighboring Madison County TN are the above Ruben Farless and others.

According to the 1850 Maury County census, Miles and Elizabeth Sorrell are still married:

Miles Burrows 50 male laborer NC
Elizabeth Burrows 49 female NC
Mary Burrows 15 female TN

Nearby are the family of 68 year old John Johnston who is likely kin to Alexander Hawkins Johnston who married Sarah Burris. Also nearby are 65 year old Meda White and 66 year old Noah White who as brothers are sons of Luke White Junior of Bertie County. Luke White Junior is the son of Luke White Senior who is the son of the same Modecai White who earlier sold 420 acres of land to James Burris. Mordecia White is brother to Luke White the ferryman. Let’s look back to those earlier days.

In 1768, the last will and testament of James Burrus was recorded in the Hertford County courts. Though the actual document is lost, the court record shows that Easter Burrus, Joshua Burrus and Joshua Burrus were named Executors. I believe this marks the passing of our Solomon’s grandfather with his family coming into play at the time of his death. In 1768 the court record lists James’ believed son (or brother?) Joshua as executor of the estate. There is also a second Joshua listed who you’d think is the son of Joshua [Sr] and therefore the grandson of James Burris. …and then there was another death.

In May 1775, the last will and testament of Ester Burrus was proven in court by Sarah White. Who was she? It’s my belief Esther is our Solomon’s grandmother, the widow of our James Burrus Senior. As for Sarah White, she’s just one more of many family interactions taking place between the White and Burris families.

A bit later, in Nov 1775, recorded in Bertie County was the “inventory of estate of Ester Burrus dec’d and sworn by Luke White admin.” It is this Luke, who is the father of Luke and Meda who appears in the 1850 Maury County census near Miles Burres. The White family always seems close to the Burrus family as if there is some yet unknown relationship. Not only did Luke White serve as administrator, Sarah White witnessed the last will and testament of Esther Burrus.

At this point I will end my writing for now. This introduction of records surrounding Miles Burris/Burres and others should illuminate  the need for further research. We now have an idea of where we need to go from here.  But, what do we know of Ken’s Dempsey Burres/Burris? We know from DNA that his family is ours. And from the above, all that can be said is that the 1810 census hints at Dempsey being a brother to Miles. Furthermore, and not yet said, the given name Dempsey is nothing new for our Burris family. Dempsey must have once been a prominent surname as it’s been honored by many families in the form of a given name.

The following tax list from 1759 introduces us to James Burras, his likely son Joseph Burras (could this be Joshua?), James Burras Junior and to DEMSY BURRAS. So, nearly 100 years prior to Dempsey Burres appearing in Tennessee, another of his name was listed as living in Bertie County. There’s no other record of this earlier Dempsey and at this time we can only look at the document in amazement. It’s possible our Tennessee family passed down some thread of family back to this earlier Dempsey. It’s also plausible that they passed down a thread with naming patterns honoring this early family member.

demsy

 

 

THE STORY OF DAVID D. BURRIS

lohrncombss2Guided by Mr. Ned Huneycutt, this past weekend a small group of us scoured the countryside in search of things only his mind could recall. It was our goal to glean any and everything Burris from what the 85 year old’s memory could recall. Being a cold and dreary Saturday, most of our time was spent in the confines of the van which actually offered the perfect space for serious discussion.

Our mission and the topic of our discussion abruptly changed as we headed south through what was once the lands of Solomon Burris Jr…

We had just left the 200 acres of Solomon Burris Senior’s deeded land along Burris Road and had turned and were passing over what were once the farms of John and Caswell Perry. Heading south on Gaddis Road before nearing the old David D. Burris home site, it was at this point that Brenda Combs became particularly excited. Conversation quickly changed to a tree, a chimney, a hole, and a graveyard nearby. A descendant of David Burris and wife Sarah Vanderburg, over the years Brenda has heard and researched family stories like none other. And in 2017, Brenda’s cousin, the late Carl Burris, told of David D. Burris’ experience during the war days. David did not own slaves and was dead set against any participation in the war effort. The grandson of David’s oldest son Zachary Ephraim Burris, Carl’s story was written down as follows by Pam Holbrook:

“Apparently David D. Burris did not want to go off to fight in the Civil War, so he dug out a cave in a hillside along Stony Run Creek. He would hide there when someone came looking for deserters or looking for David to take him to war. Nobody would tell where David D. Burris was if anyone came looking for him. He must have come out at night for family to take food and other things to him so he could survive.

When Carl’s grandpa, Zachary Ephraim Burris,(David D. Burris’ son) was a young boy (probably 10-15 years old), some men came looking for David D. Burris. Nobody would tell where David was so the men grabbed Zachary Ephraim and said they would take him to war instead. They started off with Zachary Ephraim but David’s wife, Sarah, followed them. She had a big pine knot in her hand. Sarah told the men Ephraim was not old enough to go to war and to let him go. The men let Ephraim go but grabbed her instead. She hit one man in the face or head with the pine knot and it bled so he let her go too.”

In the 1880’s, David D. Burris and family left out for a new life in Arkansas. All made the trip accept for Carl’s grandfather Zachary Burris. Zachary had already married and chose to remain in Stanly County. The following is a letter from David D. Burris to his son Zachary Ephraim:

December the 30th 1897

(Z.E.Burris) Dear Son
Family

I write you these lines once more to inform you that we are all in common health, hoping you are all the same. I read your kind generous letter in our time ( ???) I was glad to hear from you & that all was well. People here generally well. There has been some little fever and chills on the River but not in our settlement. On the 17th –(???) we had the largest sleet here that I have ever seen in Ark. The roads has been almost impassable from the broken timber, Orchard much damaged. They have rec’d, a letter from John Burgess lately. Ephraim & he is in Prison in Detroit State of Michigan, he says ” for living in adultry’ & was arrested in Texas (make no talk of this). I do not see into it. Tell Filmore as it is him I will let him have the old place this year for a 400 lb. Bale of cotton if it gets no lower than it is now. (But what if he should raise no cotton must I get nothing.) If the orchard hits Ephraim you & Filmore have the fruit stilled & send me a jug of good Brandy by —( ???). That you sent me Ephraim was an amiable flavor, though Philip claimed a gallon & got it, yet I got to drink some of it. Filmore you had better to a come out here. I could have put you on Land that would make from 1/2 to one Bale to the Acre without the least fertilizing as hard work as there.

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Make all you can Filmore on the poor old place. Trim up the orchard & take care of every thing and all the overgrown patches that you clear up will be yours.
I would be glad to see you Filmore, hope I may yet. Ephraim I see a few Bluebirds here. But——-
Ephraim you make use of all the dead limbs on my land freely, without pay, you are welcome. I wish to know Ephraim how much taxes to pay on that old place & if you have had the valuation reduced or not. Philip is working at the carpenters rate here at $ 1.25 per day (you may know they are hard run for carpenters). Ephraim when you send me that little money, you must send it to Malvern as Opal is not a money paying office. I have sowed my 4 Acre field in wheat ( –Gideon) finished 30th of Nov. it is just now coming up. Ephraim I have nothing of interest to write only hard times, but I hope times will soon be better for some, but I see no better coming for me. I only wish you was here & your family, where I could see you & talk with you. Try & sell that old place if possible, for I am now needing the money for it. If I don’t sell that I shall have to sell the one I live on I fear, for I am owing some & no way to pay up. Write often & state how all our people there is doing. Give my best respects to all inquiring friends & tell them I have not forgotten them yet.
D. Burris
I will try to write more soon Deovolente.

Unlike with Carl, Brenda’s ancestor, Magdalene (Maggie) Burris actually made the trip west with her father. She married Phillip Swim Honeycutt who was not enchanted by the rocky lands of Arkansas. With Phillip wanting to return to North Carolina and Maggie pregnant with child, the couple eventually made their way back home. Phillip returned immediately while Maggie waited until the following year to make the arduous trip east.

Life moved on with the family clan remaining in touch primarily by mail. I don’t know if any from North Carolina made the trip west to visit though in 1935 a contingent from Arkansas made the trip back east. It was then that the Burris family gathered once more in reunion at the old home site our little band genealogy explorers was about to pass. Note that merely four years after the 1935 reunion, more than a 1000 attended yet another reunion at which time the reburial of Solomon and Judith took place at nearby Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. And in the photo below from the 1935 gathering we can glean that this was definitely a proud family time with picnic tables spread below the old oak tree. See the tree? The location was perfect for such occasion as it is said that David cut the top out of the sapling oak prior to the family’s removal in the 1880’s. We really don’t know why he did it …maybe he topped the tree as some sort of recorded mark of the momentous event? The tree in the photo below is said to be the same tree that David D. Burris topped before heading west:

thumbnail

Left to right front row:
1-Ida Belle Huneycutt Murray, 2-Elizar Coley Burris, 3-Laura Jane Huneycutt Huneycutt, 4-Laura Ruth Burris Huneycutt, 5-Gideon Lafayette Burris, 6-Clarence Huneycutt, 7-Fred Lee Huneycutt
Left to right back row:
1-Betty Burris (never married), 2-Unknown, 3-Unknown, 4-David Franklin Huneycutt, 5-Floyd S. Huneycutt, 6-David Burris, 7-Eugene BurrisEnter a caption

gideon

Front and center in the photo above, we can also identify David D. Burris’ son Gideon Lafayette Burris who made the trip from Hot Springs County Arkansas. Another image from that day of celebration, to the left Gideon is photographed in front of what’s believed to be the original home place. This is believed to be the house that David built. And, on such a dreary Saturday, exploring this home place became the highlight of our jaunt through Stanly County.

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Sue BurrisBack in 1993 Sue Burris Burton of Malvern, in Hot Springs County Arkansas felt the urge to learn more about her family. Making the pilgrimage to North Carolina, Sue credits Layton O. Burris as providing a treasure trove of documents. He lead her and her brother Elam to several key sites. Layton shared his copies of documents including the pictures above taken at the 1935 reunion. He carried his Arkansas cousins to the epicenter of their dreams, the home site of their ancestor David D. Burris (photo to the right). Unlike at the time of the 1935 reunion, the home was no longer standing and the chimney had collapsed. All that remained was a pile of rocks that that were once fit together in the making of the chimney. In memory of her journey, Sue was given a rock from the old chimney stones.

Sue made more trips east with her sister and others in her Arkansas family. On one trip she noticed that the old oak was showing signs of decay. In response she collected five little acorns. Carrying them back to Arkansas, Sue Burris Burton planted the acorns in hopes of perpetuating the memories she knew her eye and the realities of life would at some point fail to remember. While in hospital following a surgery, four of the plantings died as they were not watered properly. The remaining sprout grew and survives in representation of so many others that have lived and are now gone. The little Carolina tree is growing well and reaches proudly into the Arkansas skies.

Getting back to Brenda’s excitement on a dreary Saturday afternoon, we brought the van to a stop in the middle of the road in front of the old David D. Burris home site. Our minds jumping around trying to remember all grades of things, Brenda and Pam Holbrook looked out of the window in one direction as they discussed an old barn and the Solomon Francis Burris Cemetery just across the road. Brenda pointed to the other side of the road to a stump in the yard in front of a house. She exclaimed “that’s the tree!!!” Brenda repeatedly said she’d love to get out and walk around the old place …but, it was rainy and we had not notified the owners. In the midst of all this, I hopped out of the van to snap a few pictures of the stump. This was all new for me and the stories I had only heard were quickly coming into focus. Honestly, with us all dealing with our own thoughts, the situation was much like a group of 1950’s high schoolers participating in what was referred to back then as a Chinese fire drill. And, while focusing my camera on the stump and house behind it, the gleeful sounds of our adventure turned to silence when the owner stepped out asking across the yard, “can I help you?” For those that don’t know, in southern terms, the expression means “what the heck are you doing? Thinking fast, all I could say was “Sir, this was an important tree and your house sits on what was once an old family home place.” To that, Mr. Lohr introduced himself as the new owner and that he would love to learn more about the history of his land. How wonderful, he invited us to drive up to the house at which time a celebration of sorts broke out.

Exclaiming “this is great!,” Brenda simply could not get over what was going on. She and Mr. Lohr made an immediate connection quickly reaching a common goal of understanding and caring for this special place. They exchanged contact information so that photos etc could be shared.

DSC_7991What a wonderful day …here was the owner eager to learn more and he truly embraced his newly realized role as family caretaker. Yes, equal to those of us who seek and restore the memories of our past, the importance of people who are positioned to preserve it is equally important. And as for Brenda, not seeing any remains of the old chimney, she was curious as to whether any remains survived. Offering her a bit of what little was left, Mr. Lohr walked Brenda to the family fire pit built upon a few of the remaining stones. Happy as a clam, Brenda walked away with a few small pieces of her family past.

JOSHUA COMES TO ANSON

joshua Burris Jr 1Until now we’ve only been able to assume Solomon to be the son of Joshua Burris Senior. There really has been nothing telling us with certainty that such claim is true. This reality is no longer as per my last post outlining the discovery of a 1772 Bertie County tax list naming “Joshua Burris Senior and Son Solomon.” Assuming a minimal age limit of 16 years, from the tax list we further know that our Solomon was born prior to 1766.
From this find we can move forward without hesitation. We are cleared to interpret our history laden tea leaves from a new perspective. The door has been flung wide open allowing us a less cluttered glimpse into the records we hope will further enhance our ancestral story.

In this post I’ll begin the search anew with a critical look at our Burris family’s first acknowledged records accounting for events along Rocky River in southern North Carolina. I’ll start with a look at the family’s first land holdings in the region.

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In Anson County, and dated 27 May 1778, Joshua Burris Senior made a formal request for 100 acres of land (Grant 3987, Anson) situated on Jones Creek. First appearing as a book recorded entry, the land in question was identified as adjoining those of William Ratliff and Daniel Murphy. The land was officially surveyed three months later on 29 Aug 1778 by Wm. Love. And then a little over a year later, on 3 Sep 1779, Joshua Burris Senior was issued a patent for his 100 acres:

Having been entered, surveyed and issued on the same dates as his father, Joshua Burris Junior also received a patent for 100 acres (Grant 4134, Anson). However, Junior’s land  was not on Jones Creek, but rather, was situated on waters of Island Creek. Some may believe this refers to land on Island Creek in now Stanly County as at the time issued, the lands of Stanly fell into Anson County. That’s not the case as from the image at the top of the page we know that branches of both Jones and Island creeks rise just east of present day Wadesboro flowing east into the Great Pee Dee. Both Junior and Senior lived near each other in the area of present day Gum Springs. See below, the lands of Joshua Burris Junior:

From a present day Google map, below we see that both Joshua Burris Sr and his son Joshua Burris Jr. received land grants within a few miles of the area of Gum Springs Baptist Church. And as you would hope, the father and son may have been neighbors, acquiring land fairly close to each other.

island jones

Looking back to the land grant records, there’s one bit of information I’ve not discussed. As part of the survey process, two persons are chosen to walk with, assist, and carry the chains and equipment used by the surveyor. Known as chain bearers or chain carriers, the two also witnessed the metes and bounds called out in the survey. As for Joshua Burris Senior’s 100 acre grant, Jenkins Hansford and David Burris are recorded as chain bearers. From this we can imagine that Joshua Senior had a son named David. There’s still no proof that’s the case, but the naming will certainly guide future research. Also mentioned is Jenkins Hansford. An odd name and not found anywhere else in Anson County, who is this person and why would he be there assisting the businesses of our Burris family?

As it turns out, back in Bertie County, the Hansford family had close contact with our Burris family. At this time I’ll quickly brush over the information introducing a few important points worth further consideration.

From deed G-453 dated 1751, Jenkins Hansfords and William Hansford are identified as sons of Thomas Hansford who lived at that time on “Malls Haven” west of the Chowan River. I think this is in the area of a place known as the “Pall Mall” located along the present day line between Bertie and Hertford counties. And a year before the transaction naming the children of Thomas Hansford, in 1750, John Wynns deeded land to James Burrass land on the south side of Flatt Swamp. The land adjoined White with witnesses being Thomas Hansford and Wm Hansford (registered Aug Court 1750).

The above links Jenkins to his brother William and father Thomas Hansford. And as James Burras is believed to be the father of Joshua Burris Senior, the information above  is but a small bit of the evidence linking the Hansford Family to our Burris family. And lastly, it locates the two families as living near each other in northeast Bertie County on its line with Hertford County.

Carrying this line of thinking a bit further, in 1730, a register of cattle marks in Bertie County lists: “Thomas Hansford …for his son Jenkins Hansford.” From this we know that Jenkins was not of the generation of Solomon and Joshua Burris Junior. Of a similar age  as that of Joshua Burris Senior, Jenkins must have been quite old in the 1770’s when he walked the lands of Anson as a chain bearer.

And, there’s an important story regarding another Thomas Hansford, likely being a distant family member. Participating in Bacon’s Rebellion,

“it is said that he [another person named Thomas Hansford] took a conspicuous part in the insurrection, brilliant as it was brief, and when he was captured after Bacon’s death, he supplicated no other favor than that “he might be shot like a soldier, and not hanged like a dog.”

You can read more on this story at Thomas Hansford: The First Native Martyr to American Liberty.

A person named Jenkins Hansford died ca. 1795 at which time his estate in Bertie County was inventoried by Luke White. Luke and his family will be  important in understanding ties to other branches of the Burris family who moved west.

Along with Jenkins Hansford, David Burris was also chosen to be a chain bearer in Joshua Burris Senior’s land grant. Who is David? I’ve yet been able to locate David but suspect him to be the son of Joshua Senior …or possibly a brother. He’s there as chain bearer for the land grant and then is gone. Who is he!?

Likewise, and turning to the land grant of Joshua Burris Junior, the names of his chainbearers were William Garrison and Adom or Odum Cook, Coak, or Cake. And as with David Burris, these two people are a mystery. I’ve yet to find anything else in Anson connecting them to our family. Much more work is needed.

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In closing it must be pointed out that per his revolutionary War pension request, Solomon Burris served in the war out of Anson County. And by 1784, just after the close of the Revolutionary War, Solomon had married and fathered his oldest son named Taylor. His brother Joshua picked up and moved again to Anderson County SC. Somewhere in all this Joshua Burris Senior dies.

While his brother moved from the state, Solomon remained put though did make a bit of a move north into now Stanly County. Why did Solomon not make the move to South Carolina with his brother? What was there in old Montgomery County that drew Solomon to that area? Without proof, I believe the answer lies in a woman with maiden name Taylor. As Solomon married Judith Taylor, the couple moved to an area of Montgomery County thick with members of a Taylor family who once lived in the area just west of Bertie County. Coincidence? Giving their first born the name Taylor, all that’s left for us is to figure out the exact reason why.

JESSE HATHCOCK OF BERTIE

This past week I spent two days at NC Archives reading through the Indenture/Apprentice records for Bertie County ca. 1750-1839.  My goal was to find some untold record hopefully relating to my Burris family who removed to Stanly County NC. That, and to locate a solid connection to family who moved to Maury County in Tennessee.

Reading through hundreds of pages, I failed to add to what’s already known about the Burris family.  However, yesterday afternoon, I came across one record that may be of value to those searching the Hathcock family who settled in now Stanly County. Before showing  you the document in question I’d like to share my general observations of what I saw and read.

It seems easily, that more that 30% of the entries I read were for young orphans who were listed as either “Free People of Color,” Black, or Mulatto. It’s odd and I still can’t fully wrap my mind around the use of various tags placed on people of the day.  However, I do know that Free People of Color were considered mixed, being part white and part black or native. I guess they could also be a mix of black and native. I think Mulatto is similar but I cannot distinguish any difference from the label used for Free People of Color.

IMG_4578

You can see above that on 9 Feb 1818, the court placed “Jesse Heathcock, aged eleven years on the 15th March next” to live with Peter Kirkham to learn the art and mystery of a Carpenter. From the above we know Peter is a carpenter. Also, subtracting 11 from 1819, we know this Jesse was born in 1808. There is no mention of race so it appears from the record that this Jesse was considered to be white.

Now, from but a few web sites I’ve seen connected to the Hathcock family of Stanly County, a Jesse Hathcock is mentioned who married a person named Mary. This Jesse is listed in family histories as being born ca. 1808.  A perfect match.

I’ve not researched the above enough to proclaim a change in the Hathcock Family status quo. It’s presented here only as a bit of information worthy of further research which will hopefully be seen and researched by those whose families may be impacted.

A VETERANS’ STORY

veteran,s

Imagine it’s 1761 and in setting the stage for this post we start with George Poplin receiving a grant for 550 acres (Grant 113, Chatham) in a section of old Orange County that later became Chatham. The land is situated on Bear Creek near its mouth along Rocky River. Yes, there’s a Rocky River in Chatham County upon which some of our forebearers once lived.

Benjamin Mauldin somehow acquired part of George Poplin’s 550 acres as early 1775. Benjamin sold 75 acres (A-446 Chatham) of the land to Thomas Taylor. Later that year, in the summer of 1775, George Poplin penned his last will and testament naming children William, John, Jane, Nansey, George, Richard, Abe, Mimy, and Henry.

A new generation was coming in to its own at the same time the American Revolution spread across the southeast. During the early 1780’s the simple life previously known was shattered by political discourse. Locally, skirmishes between the Tory firebrand David Fanning and area patriot militiamen were constantly in the hearts and minds of common folk.

640px-ALSTON_HOUSE,_MOORE_COUNTY

By Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD

Among the patriot leadership was Col. Philip Alston who owned and built what is known as the House in the Horse Shoe (located in present day Moore County). Alston was a hard man, shrewd and powerful. It was during 1781 when Col. Philip Alston paid a visit to the home of the above Thomas Taylor. He shot and killed the said Taylor supposedly after hearing words spoken that the colonel did not like. History records Thomas Taylor to be a Tory though some believe his death occurred because he simply refused to serve Philip Alston.

Thomas Taylor, the son of Robert and Mary Hudson Taylor, was but one child in their large family. The elder Robert Taylor wrote his will in 1758 Edgecombe County naming children Robert Jr, Edward, Joseph, Richard, Henry, William, Henry, Billington, Nimrod, Hudson, Judith, and Rachel. And, while residing in Chatham County, several of Thomas Taylor’s siblings lived very close to him. Just like Thomas, his brother William also acquired a 75 acre portion of George Poplin’s land (A-380, Chatham). Brother Richard received grants for land on nearby George’s Creek while Billington Taylor was deeded land on Cedar Creek near what’s called the Devil’s Tramping Ground.

Unlike the sad story of his brother Thomas, the Revolutionary War services of Hudson Taylor are well recorded. Born 1762 in Halifax County NC, his pension application shows that Hudson served three tours of duty. Much of the time his unit cruised the eastern piedmont employing hit and run tactics aimed at demoralizing the advances of David Fanning. They engaged the Tories at various locations including Lindley Mill and Brush Creek. Near the present day town of Coleridge, the latter Brush Creek skirmish took place on a branch of Deep River known as Brush Creek. From Hudson Taylor’s pension application:

“…was in the Battle at Brush Creek against the Tories & was defeated by the Tories Overpowered by the Numbers of Men the Killed & wounded not recollected returned to Chatham Court House.”

No more than 18 miles to the southwest of Brush Creek, another Patriot is said to have lived and died. While on leave from a tour of duty in 1781, Thomas Owen Carpenter was cuddling his infant baby when someone called upon him at his home place. Opening the door with baby in arms, it is said that Thomas Carpenter and his infant child were immediately shot down by Cornwallis’ troops. A small modern carved stone marks the resting place of the father and babe at nearby Shamburger family cemetery.

The Revolutionary War ended with many of its veterans picking up in search of a better promise. Our new country continued to offer incentives driving the American spirit south and westward. The old guard settlers knew each other well and must have moved forward, reveling in the deep comradery established during the war. Though there’s no record of Hudson Taylor acquiring land earlier in Chatham, deed books show he sold 75 acres (C-7 Chatham) in 1783. Located near the mouth of Bear Creek in Chatham County, this piece of land had once belonged to William Taylor by way of George Poplin’s 550 acre grant.

It was during this time that Hudson Taylor and others headed west across the Great Pee Dee. They found their way to the lands on Long Creek in present day Stanly County. Among those who settled in the area included Jonathan Carpenter from Moore County, the oldest son of the above Thomas Owen Carpenter.

INTERMISSION
I’m personally excited by the challenges of expanding a traditionally held story by close inspection of the common land records we usually gloss over. In this case, the need to physically locate a family acquisition and a happen chance find have coalesced with the story I’ve but begun to tell. Please hold your seats as the stage for act II is set.

Jonathan Carpenter was issued a patent of 200 acres (Grant 527, Montgomery) in 1783. Situated on Long Creek, the survey takes the shape of a large rectangle and the legal description further states the land is located “on the east side of Long Creek, east of Harbard Suggs, including a pond at the head of Scaly Bark Branch.” A title history for the land shows that it later fell in the hands of Solomon Burris. And, needing to identify the location in preparation for a presentation at this past year’s Solomon and Judith Burris Family Reunion, I pretty much guessed, and without proof, plotted the tract based on the following Google Maps image:

scaly pond
Today’s map is perfect; you can’t get much better! And yet, I cannot be sure this is it. And below, the following conveyances provide an early land history for Jonathan’s 200 acres:

2019-10-09_203920v2

Deed 13-36 Stanly, 1799. Jonathan Carpenter to William Taylor of Mecklenburg Witness: Josiah Carpenter, James Howell

Deed 13-362 Stanly. William Taylor of Mecklenburg to Nimrod Taylor of Montgomery. Wit: Jesse Hathcock, Elizabeth Hathcock

Deed 13-364 Stanly, 15 Mar 1812. Nimrod Taylor to Solomon Burris. Wit: Ezekiel Morton, Taylor Burris.

Deed 13-365 Stanly. 15 Feb 1819. Solomon Burris to Jesse Hathcock. Wit: Ezekiel Morton, Judith Burris

It’s amazing! There’s Jonathan Carpenter along with William Taylor whose land Hudson Taylor sold in Chatham County. And, there’s Hudson’s brother Nimrod who later moves to Louisiana. My family’s Revolutionary solider Solomon Burris bought into the land and his wife Judith served as a witness. And, of all who could have witnessed, there’s Taylor Burris amongst all these Taylor folks from earlier in Chatham County. Hudson Taylor had a sister named Judith though from timing and record we know Solomon’s wife could not be her. Somehow the Judith Burris above ties in to the Taylor family and her son Taylor Burris is there too. They are amongst family. And lastly, note the presence of Jesse Hathcock. He and the Burris family remain close throughout life.

Knowing I was close but still unable to pinpoint the 200 acre tract’s exact location, I began platting pieces of land for owners in and around the area …expanding outward from the pond at the end of Scaly Bark Branch. Looking southward, a few weeks ago the search yielded the following 250 acre tract (Grant 2653, Montgomery) issued to Daniel Moose in 1830.

Daniel Moose

According to the legal description, the sprawling tract above adjoins lands of Daniel Lowder, David Kendall, Hearne, Nimrod Taylor, Lucy Thomason, and Fogleman. Connecting other pieces of land to this tract, I learned that Hudson Taylor owned several  large tracts to the east. Nehemiah Hearne owned the lands to the northeast reaching into Albemarle where he is buried in a family cemetery.

Upon a petition of the heirs at law of Daniel Moose, in 1860 the above tract was sold to Sarah A. Moose (Deed 6-23, Stanly). However, increasing in size, the tract was then 507 ¾ acres instead of the 250 originally granted to Daniel Moose. Drawing the deeded land, and adding to it several other tracts, I present to you the following:

Daniel Moose2

In the above, the light red shaded tract represents Daniel Moose’s original 250 acre grant which crossed a fork in Long Creek. The dark red shaded area is additional land revealed in the 1860 deed to Sarah A. Moose. In the deed to Sarah Moose the dark red area above is described as joining George Cagle’s land to the north and Solomon Hathcock’s land to the west. Related, in 1835, George H. Cress and wife Elizabeth sold the yellow shaded two tracts (2-196, Stanly) to Solomon Hathcock before removing to Montgomery County, Illinois. And of importance in locating all of this, the green tracts (4-343. Stanly) were deeded in 1853 from James Hathcock to Solomon Hathcock. The description of this land mentions Scaly Bark Branch. So… we now have a general location on where to begin our search for this lost land. It lies somewhere between Long Creek and Scaly Bark Branch.  And in beginning that process, take note of the pinkish lines on the west side of the unshaded tract (belongs to Lucy Thomason) above. That line will be key in locating this land.

INTERMISSION

A little over a week ago Pam Holbrook, myself, Brenda Combs and her daughter Maria paid visit to 91 year old Roscoe “Skeeter” Huneycutt. His wife was cooking a pot of greens and the house was warmed by a life well lived. We learned of moonshining, Red Cross, the reburial of Solomon Burris, and of many other stories the spry 91 year old’s mind could recall. It was there that Pam asked, “have you seen the deed?”
With that in mind, let’s raise the curtains for act III.

Can you imagine my reaction?!!! Pam pulled out an old deed dated 21 June 1824. Registered Dec 1824 in Montgomery County, for all practical purposes the transaction had been lost to the memories of record. But now it’s found! Pam’s friend Ned Huneycutt came across the deed whilst cleaning out an old house. As seen below, William Poplin of then Bedford County Tennessee sold a piece of land to Daniel Moose. This is the same William Poplin, son of George Poplin of Chatham County upon whose land the Taylor family once called home. William Poplin too served in the Revolutionary War. His pension request states that William moved to Tennessee and Georgia before coming back home to old Montgomery County. There, he applied for a Revolutionary War pension mentioning Hudson Taylor as being a neighbor back in Chatham County. So here they were. All in this little deed of 20 acres, William’s journey west is validated and the only record of his holdings in now Stanly County is confirmed. And, out of nowhere, we have a new clue as to locating Solomon Burris’ land.

 

 

thumbnailMentioning the 20 acres as “being part of the Solomon Burris tract,” there was very little else I could use to locate such a small piece of land. Picking up pencil and a scrap of paper, the rough sketch to the right drove my research to a quick completion. Seeing the drawn image, it hit me like a boulder that what I was seeing was the upper right corner of the land Solomon Burris purchased of Jonathan Carpenter. Now, all we need to confirm is its physical location.

Reaching out to the Stanly County GIS page, I pulled up the following image of the area surrounding the pond which is located at the end of Scaly Bark Branch. The red spot marks the small pond. And, the green shaded triangle closer to the top records William Poplin’s deed. And as is written in the deed, we now know it’s part of Solomon Burris’ old rectangular tract that’s clearly evident in the image below.

solomon

Beyond the land discoveries and the stories land can tell of our past, there remains lore and the memories passed down by word of mouth. In this presentation I have not shown tracts of land to the south of the area of my study. But even so, you need to know there’s an old burial ground that lies just out of view. Called “Old Freedom,” I’ve wondered where it got its name and what momentous story is at root cause. Being an out-of-towner, I’m not voiced on the local nuances of our Stanly County past. But personally, I’ve got to think that the Old Freedom Cemetery has a history interwoven with that of our combined families who once served out of Chatham/Moore Counties. Oh, I’m sure there is more to it, but this was a community from early days that moved apart during war only to come back together again afterwards. And even then, we see the valiant fight instilled a spirit that shall never be distinguished. Like now, the veterans’ story is without end.

For the Fallen

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Solomon’s Daddy

josh tax 1I love days like today’s visit to NC State Archives. I go there in hopes of opening some new door to our past. And as for today’s visit, no longer will there ever be a shred of doubt as our Burris family brick wall has clearly come down. We can now fully claim Joshua Burris Senior to be our ancestor. Take a look at the above tax list from 1772 Bertie County and then look below for a closer view.

josh tax 2

A WALK ON LONG CREEK

longThis week I’ve spent a lot of time in both book and mind walking the banks of Long Creek. I hope to learn something new of the Taylor family and how they might have connected to my Solomon Burris family. Remember, it is believed that Solomon married Judith Taylor and we know that the couple in turn had a son Taylor Burris.

It seems something new and different is learned each time I poke my nose into land records. This outing was no different as the records led me to a fellow named Samuel Strudwick. All of us with roots in Stanly County know of important locals and of family traditions running deep. But, of that number, how many do you know who were seriously important? And of that dwindling number, how many had life stories spanning the ocean blue? This fellow called Samuel fits that bill.

In 1795, Thomas Lowder’s 200 acre grant (2514 Montgomery) on Long Creek was identified as joining the lands of Joseph Thomason, Frederick Hinson, Hudson Taylor, and “the Strudwick Tract.” Curious of the name Strudwick I turned to nclandgrants.com which was created by my distant cousin David McCorkle. Ananias Thomas who died in 1867 Union County NC is a common ancestor to both David and me. Let’s look closer at the life of Samuel Strudwick.

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stagSamuel Strudwick acquired 10,000 acres in New Hanover County along with 30,000 acres in the Haw Old Fields of Orange County. For a time he lived at Stag Park on the 10,000 acres located near present day Burgaw. Samuel acquired the total of 40,000 acres by way of a 1736 debt owed by North Carolina Governor George Burrington to the said Samuel’s father Edmond. Landing at Brunswick along-side Governor William Tryon, in 1756 Samuel sought to take possession of his father’s lands in Orange County. Reaching Orange County he learned that squatters and others had already claimed much of the land. However, in September 1761 Samuel was able to formally purchase Governor Burrington’s sizable holdings.

Samuel Strudwick was among the cultural elite. Appointed to two of the most lucrative positions in State Government, he became Secretary and Clerk of North Carolina Pleas.

Prior to the Revolution, in 1775, Samuel Strudwick received grants for 4 (one square mile) tracts situated on the north side of Lake Matamuskeet in Hyde County. He also received several grants totaling about 1000 acres in New Hanover County.

As for this story, in early Anson County, Samuel Strudwick received 28 patents including those for land on Cartledge Creek, Cheeks Creek, and Long Creek in what’s now Stanly County. Seven of the 28 tracts were located on Long Creek and note that all 28 patents aforementioned were issued in 1775.

As war broke out Samuel Strudwick retreated to his Haw River plantation on the Upper Cape Fear near Hillsboro. He eventually died ca. 1794 with legal records in England later accounting for a legal battle as his grandson attempted to claim inheritance lands in England ( The English Reports – 1904) :

strudwick case

I’ve found no record of Samuel’s disposal of his Anson County lands. However, their location becomes known to us today through the close inspection of later land transactions

(Deed 3-60 Stanly), dated 7 June 1828, Thomas Lowder conveyed to Daniel Lowder two tracts of land on Long Creek. The first was originally granted to John Cooper in 1774. And as drawn in he survey below, the second tract is identified as being granted to Samuel Strudwick in 1775. By 1828 the metes and bounds had changed with language connecting the tract to the lands of William Weaver and Samuel Lowder. Note the notch cut out of the 1828 deed (red)? As we go forward, this will be an important element in connecting one of Strudwick’s tracts to others.

lowder1

And now I introduce Mr. Daniel Moose. Back in 1775 when Strudwick’s above land was issued, there were but a hand full of people living along the creeks in what’s now Stanly County. Taking advantage of being among the first arrivals, it was neither desirable nor practical for people like Samuel Strudwick to patent land closely adjoining others. The resulting landscape created odd gaps meandering through a patchwork pattern of properly shaped square and rectangular tracts. And in this case, it wasn’t until 1829 that the crazy shaped negative space was back filled when Daniel Moose received a 250 acres patent for one of the oddest and yet most telling pieces of land I have ever found:

Daniel Moose

In 1830 Daniel Moose received the above 250 acre tract (2563 Montgomery) situated on a fork of Long Creek. The land adjoins, takes in, and is key to locating other earlier granted pieces of land including that originally patented by Thomas Lowder, Daniel Lowder, Samuel Lowder, David Kendall, Nimrod Taylor, William Weaver, Nehemiah Hearne, John Poplin, Hudson Taylor, Lucy Thomason, Arnold Thomason, Frederick Hinson, Joseph Thomason, Isaac Cauble, Jesse Hathcock, Foggleman, John Cooper and yes, …Samuel Strudwick.

Looking back to Samuel Strudwick’s 100 acres, remember the curious red notch added when the land was later conveyed by Thomas Lowder to George Lowder? Note the survey for Daniel Moose’s land honors the notch with a matching appendage (red) that allows us to clearly identify the 1775 Strudwick tract.

The following puzzled collage of hand drawn land grants carries this theme a bit further. I’ve colored Daniel Moose’s 250 acres yellow and you can see how it wraps around Samuel Strudwick’s patent which was later sold by Thomas Lowder. The Thomason lands are to the south and several of Hudson Taylor’s tracts appear to the east.

Bid Moose.jpg

I’ve yet to physically locate the above on today’s maps though I believe the Creek as shown may illustrate the fork of Little and Big Long Creek which is located a little south of 24/27 and west of Aquadale Road.

In closing, this little journey has opened my eyes into the lives of those living along Long Creek. And yet, I have to wonder.  It must be further pointed out that Samuel Strdwick acquired 30,000 acres on the Haw River in Orange County upon which his children resided well into the 1800’s.  We also know that the late 1700’s migration to the Long Creek area included many people who lived earlier in Orange County. And remember that Samuel Strudwick complained of a multitude of people who had squatted on his land along the Haw River.  As for me, I have to wonder if there is any connection between Strudwick’s actions and the move of others to now Stanly County?  Were people kicked off of their land or had the Studwick family enticed or been a part of an advertised scheme to relocate people?

The story of Samuel Strudwick is indeed pretty cool and one worth retelling when in conversation about the founding of Stanly County. But much more than that, Strudwick is but a piece of the puzzle that will hopefully lead us to a better understanding of all our ancestors. Note that the fork of Little Long Branch lies a short distance to the east of Solomon Burris’s purchase on Scaly Bark Branch. And, people in this report appear as witnesses in the title history of that land. My walk along the records of Long Creek surely passed over Solomon’s early neighborhood. But, much more research is needed to call it home. So let’s get to it in hopes of figuring out how this story may end!

 

WILLIAM HOWELL TAYLOR

DSC_7874There’s a William Howell Taylor, a William Harvey Taylor and numerous families from North Carolina, Tennessee and even Indiana claim persons named William Hudson Taylor. As a matter of fact, I remain gobsmacked in learning that a possibly related William Hudson Taylor is buried at Arba cemetery in Randolph County Indiana. I remember back in the 1990’s driving out one foggy morning through the broad corn fields on my way to this cemetery. It was my intentions to learn more about a Quaker line of Thomas once believed to be my kin. I learned that Benjamin Thomas interred in the cemetery is not my kin, but some say William Hudson Taylor who is buried there …just might be. He is believed to be the son of Hudson Taylor Senior of now Stanly County  North Carolina.  How did this guy end up in Indiana and what’s his story!!??

Over the next few months I’ll be pondering the Taylor family; of complicated bits of a story even more tangled by the nature of land records along the Rocky River here in North Carolina. And, as for this post, I’d like to share with you a most amazing court case. Raised by Doctor F. Mann against William H. Taylor, the suit offers a glimpse into family lands while carrying the most studious of us back to the earliest days to the backwoods of western North Carolina. The story also links us to an important time and to the family who was first in America to make a profit mining gold.

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Indebted in the sum of $28.80; a cow, a calf, and a rifle gun were conveyed by Hudson Taylor to William H. Taylor on 15 Mar 1843. The transaction was witnessed by Isaac Biles who must be related to Hudson Taylor Senior’s daughter Dovey who happened to marry Alexander Biles.

And then, dated 23 Jan 1854, Daniel Freeman sold to W. H. Taylor 174 acres (3-314 Stanly) situated “on the fork of a branch.” The land was originally part of a huge tract granted to speculators Thomas Carson, William Moore, and Barnabas Dunn. Within the body of the deed, W. H. Taylor is referred to as Howell Taylor.” 

Rising out of the Stanly County Superior Court in 1854, a suit of ejectment filed by Dock F. Mann against William H. Taylor reached the North Carolina State Supreme Court. At issue was the grounds and validity of an ancient ten year agreement pertaining to the above 174 acres. At the time of the suit, the 174 acres was identified as adjoining the lands of George Reed, brother of Conrad Reed who’s credited as the first non-native person to discover gold in America.

In locating the 174 acres, an earlier conveyance from Stephen Kirk to Thomas J. Shinn was offered as evidence. Dated 13 Aug 1833, Stephen Kirk sold a whopping 1,999 acre tract excepting 200 acres which had been deeded to Tucker and Shinn. Further depositions in the case show the 1,999 acres later fell into the hands of one Hartsell before being sold to Doctor F. Mann.

From the metes and bounds, we know the 1,999 acres lies upon “the waters of Reedy Branch” with one corner being described as “a persimmon in the line of Tract 2.” Then, running southerly, the next line ends at Shinn’s, Smith’s, and Tucker’s corner. Emphasis on placing the disputed land along  what’s referred to as Great Tract 2 is crucial and a point that I believe may have been played in error.

Also brought into evidence, the above deed lies within an Aug 1745 grant of 12,500 acres to Arthur Dobbs of Castle Dobbs, Ireland. The 1,999 acres had been subdivided from the tremendous 12,500 acres and in 1745 was described as being located on Johnston River (now Rocky). The tract was but a small portion of twelve 100,000 acre tracts totaling 1,200,000 acres all together.

 

The defendant, William H. Taylor, introduced David Kizor who swore in testimony:

“…that about some 40 years since [aprox. 1814], he was present at the trial of a suit in Cabarrus County court & then heard one Love who was sworn and who is since dead & who testified on said trail in Cabarrus that there was a post oak marked as a corner at the Gum Pond and that the post oak was said to be a corner of tract number two of the Big Survey.

William Stancel, a surveyor testified he had surveyed the land in controversy & began as directed finding no corner there or pointes, and then east on an old marked line towards the Gum Pond – that the line looked old though he did not box any trees – and said marked line did not continue the length of the line he was surveying for the plaintiff, but only part of the way and he found no corner at the gum pond.”

The court ruled against a new trial based on:

1. Upon the ground that the Dobbs grant was void upon its face for uncertainty & could not be located
2. That the evidence was not sufficient to locate the Dobbs Grant
3. That the proof as to the seven years possession by the plaintiff & those under whom he claimed was not sufficient

At Superior Court, a new trial was refused, the rule discharged & judgement was made for the plaintiff. The defendant, William Howell Taylor, prayed an appeal which was granted. I’m not sure how the Supreme Court case ended though it seems the archaic stipulations from the 1745 grant along with the inability to properly locate the land would have played an evidentiary role in determining the outcome. I believe the Doctor F. Mann won the battle in court.

Let’s take a look at some of the Taylor lands, particularly those related to the case. Let’s look at William Howell Taylor, his family, and his parents Hudson and Rhoda Kettle Taylor.

Stanfield, NC, 1:24,000 quad, 1971, USGS

The huge yellow tract shown above represents the 1,999 acres sold by Stephen Kirk to Thomas J Shinn. The tract’s visual portrayal north and south along the Cabarrus line should not be considered perfectly accurate. However, I’m sure it’s location is close enough for this discussion. Note from the legal description below that the northern boundary (north of present day 24/27) adjoins “Tract 2.” For sure, that statement refers to the east/west dividing line running between Great Tracts 2 and 5. As a matter of fact, study the inset map above and you should be able to place the 1,999 acres as being in the extreme northeast corner of Great Tract 2.

The title history below represents the breakup of the 1,999 acres along with the land (in GREEN) that was at center of Doc. F. Mann’s law suit. A deed from Thomas J. Shinn to Conrad Reed [the little boy who finds gold while playing in nearby Little Meadow Creek] is identified in green as being tract A above. Looking below,  you’ll notice that both Doc F. Mann and William H [Howell] Taylor claimed ownership of the same piece of land. The eastern half (checkerboarded) of Conrad Reed’s land (Tract “A”), being the disputed land, seems to adjoin the north to south dividing line between Great Tracts # 1 and 2. Take a look at the inset image above. However, I’m not so sure as grants and other deeds indicate the boundary line should run very close to Hwy 200. Something is amiss. Anyhow, take a look at the following:

Deed 4-2 Stanly, 13 Aug 1833, reg. Aug 1854. Stephen Kirk to Thomas J. Shinn, being 1,999 acres on the waters of Reedy Branch except 200 acres deeded to Tucker and Shinn. Beginning at a stake in the county line and runs with the line north 26 east 1120 poles to a persimmon in the line of tract #2 in a field, then east 120 poles to a white oak Shinn’s, Smith’s, & Tucker’s corner, then their line south 1100 poles to John Forest’s corner, then along his line west 520 poles to the beginning. Wit: Littleton C. Shinn, P. Kirk.

Deed 3-357 Montgomery, 22 Oct 1833, reg. Jun 1854. Thomas J. Shinn of Montgomery to Conrad Reed of Cabarrus being 370 acres on Rockhole Creek. Beginning at a pine near George Reed’s corner, then 320 poles to Shinn’s, Smith’s & Tucker’s line, then with line south 174 poles to a Spanish oak in said line at the fork of two branches, then west 180 poles to a stake near a road in said Reed’s line, then north 47 west 90 poles to a stake in said Reed’s corner, then his line south 60 west 108 poles to a stake in Reed’s line, then south 47 east 14 poles to a stake in said Reed’s line, then west 98 poles to said Reed’s line, then north 42 poles with said line to a red oak, a corner of said Reed’s, then north 30 east 64 poles to a white oak a corner of said Reed’s & George Reed’s corner, then north 48 east 118 poles to the beginning. Wit: James L Reed, James M. Shinn.

Deed 3-364 Stanly, 18 Feb 1836, reg. 26 Jun 1854. Paul B. Barringer to John Reed, being 174 acres, part of the lands of Conrad Reed deceased joining the lands of George Reed and No. 2 in the division of Reed’s lands. Wit: James M. Shinn.

Deed 3-363 Stanly, 25 Nov 1836, reg. Jun 1854. John Reed to Andrew Hartsell, being 174 acres (known as #2 of Conrad Reed dec’d) beginning at George Reed’s line then running south 174 poles, then east 160 poles to a red oak, then north 174 poles, then west to the beginning. Wit: George Barnhardt, John P. Craton.

Deed 3-384, Stanly, 27 Jun 1854, reg. Sep 1854. Andrew Hartsell to Doc F. Mann, being 174 acres known as #2 of the division of Conrad Reed deceased lands. Wit: Joshua Hartsell, A. Honeycutt.

Deed 3-314 Stanly, 23 Jan 1854, reg. Feb 1854. Daniel Freeman of Stanly to W. H. [Howell] Taylor of Cabarrus. Being 170 acres, a part of a large tract granted to Thomas Carson, William Moore, and Barnabas Dunn. Beginning at a stake, Spanish oak, and post oak at the fork of a branch, and runs west 152 poles to a stake, hickory, & black gum; then north 170 poles to a stake, Spanish oak, black Jack and two post oaks; then east 152 poles to stake by two red oaks & sassafras; then south 1 west 177 poles to the beginning. Wit: A. C. Freeman.

Note that the above tract was indeed subdivided from the 1,999 acres of which the northern most line is referred to as being “the line of Tract 2”. But, the division of Conrad Reed’s land is further south and does not join the Great Tract boundary line. Instead, the title history for the subdivided 1,999 acres consistently mentions George Reed’s land along with the line of Conrad’s Tract # 2. In my humble opinion, I think the legal action occurred in error out of a confusion between a line in the Great Tract #2 and tract #2 of the lands of Conrad Reed deceased. But wow, even if so, look at what such a simple mistake offers us! And, before leaving the “green zone” of this story, please take a look at tract “B” located to the north of Conrad’s land. It’s the lands of Conrad’s brother George frequently referred to in the above title history:

Tract B – Deed 3-239 Stanly, 26 Oct 1833, reg. Feb 1853. Thomas J. Shinn to George Reed, being 217 acres on Rockhole Creek and Daniels Branch. Beginning at a pine (dead) near a road in George Reed’s corner, then east 320 poles to a stake in a field, Shinn’s, Smith’s. & Tucker’s line, then their line north 112 to a stake, then west 38 poles to a stake, then south 6 west 10 poles to a stake, then south 84 west 158 poles to a stake, then north 6 east 15 poles to a stake, then west 140 poles to a black oak in said Reed’s corner (known by the name of Howell’s corner), then south 112 to the beginning. Wit: R. Shinn, James M. Shinn.

In reading the above, did you notice the red flag? We know from deeds that William H. Taylor’s middle name is Howell. And, here, upon the land nearly adjoining the said Doc F. Mann’s disputed tract is a corner known as “Howell’s.” Wow! So, who is this Howell person and does he have a place in our story?

Deed 13-787 Mecklenburg, 8 June 1785, Thomas Harris Esq. Sheriff to Joseph Howell. Being 100 acres of Dr. David Oliphant’s land “within tract 2” and situated on the east side of Rocky River. Beginning at a black oak and runs north 84 west 146 poles to a black oak, then north 21 west 68 poles to a pine, then north 52 east 88 poles to a black oak, Frederick Kiser’s line, then east 120 poles to a stake, then to the beginning. Wit: William Supples, Charles Harris.

Deed 5-20 Cabarrus, 7 Jan 1804, reg. Jan 1804. Joseph Howell to John Reed. Wit: James Love, Jonah Love.

Being the dark shaded cross hatched area in “C” above, note that Joseph Howell’s land fell into the hands of John Reed, father of Conrad and George. It’s easy to imagine the land as later belonging to John Reed’s sons. And then, in 1854, Joseph Howell’s 100 acres is sold as being part of a larger  conveyance to Henry Yow:

Deed 23-280 Stanly, 27 Mar 1861, reg. Sep 1898. L. G. Heilig & J. M. Harkey of Cabarrus to Henry Yow of Stanly. Being 250 acres of “land upon which the widow of George Reed Dec’d has a dower assigned to her.” Beginning at Rocky River at Howell’s Branch, then up said branch 58 poles to a stake by 2 white oaks, then north 55 east 15 poles to a black oak, then east 136 poles to a black oak and red oak, then south 8 west 5 poles to a post oak, then south 8 west 110 poles to a pine stump corner, a corner of No. 2, then south 57 ½ west 118 poles to a white oak, then south 77 west 193 to a small pine in Rocky River, then up the river to the beginning. Wit: Henry Reed.

So, at this point we clearly see why George Reed’s tract “B” above would mention “Howell’s Corner.” And, we now know the stream which anchors tract “C” on map is named “Howell Branch.” I’d like to be able to declare that William Howell Taylor is somehow related to this much earlier Joseph Howell. However, I don’t have that answer and will leave its discovery to others. For now, let’s turn from the Green Shaded Tracts to the Red Shaded Tracts reflecting the family of William Howell Taylor.

We believe that Hudson Taylor Jr. married first to Elizabeth Howell whose relation to the above Joseph Howell is unknown to me. I believe William Howell Taylor is the son of Elizabeth and therefore carries the name of her family.

Following the death of wife Elizabeth, records show that Hudson Taylor Junior shared financial interests with a lady named Rhoda Kettle. It wasn’t until a considerable amount of time after being identified with Hudson that Rhoda actually married Hudson Taylor Junior. I’ve been unable to locate Rhoda’s parents though I wonder if her name is correct? You see, her lands are located close to George Kestler and others of that surname. Though a stretch of imagination, is it possible Rhoda’s maiden name is Kestler?

Take a look below at the information on the lands (Shaded Red) in western Stanly County belonging to the family of Rhoda Kettle and Hudson Taylor Jr:

Tract D: Grant 1729 Montgomery, ent. 8 Apr 1803, iss. 16 Mar 1805. Issued to Henry Kagle, being 145 acres on Camp Branch of Rocky River including his own improvements.

Deed 1-229 Stanly, 20 Feb 1844, reg. Nov 1844. Jere Adderton to Rhoda Kittle being 81 acres on Camp Branch of Rocky River and is part of a tract originally “granted to Henry Cagle in Oct 1803”. Wit: G Shankle, Isaac Biles.

Deed 6-449 Stanly, 30 Aug 1867 reg. Sep 1869. Rhoda Kettle to Allen Helms both of Union County. Wit: Green B. and William A. Helms

To the south of the above is a tract “E” above which was sold by Rhody Kettle to Edwin Taylor. Edwin is believed to be the son of Rhoda and Hudson Taylor Junior. Note that Rhoda still uses her maiden name which raises questions as to her marital status. And, I’ve found no record indicating how Rhoda acquired Tract “E”:

Tract E: 9-80 Stanly, 15 Apr 1862, reg. Sep 1873. Rhody Kettle to Edwin Taylor, both of Stanly County. Being 126 ½ acres joining Laban Little, Levi Furr, and Jacob W. Little. Wit: Adam P Furr, John D. Taylor.

To the west, on the east bank of Rocky River, William Howell Taylor received a portion of land originating with John Polk before passing through the hands of Henry Cagle and the division of Frederick Kiser’s land. Identified in the illustration above as Tract “F”, the land adjoins the western lines of Rhoda Kettle’s land:

Tract F: Deed 7-182 Cabarrus, 24 Dec 1800. John Polk to Henry Cagle. Wit: Wm. Polk.

Deed 11-77 Cabarrus, 20 Aug 1828. Henry Cagle Sr. to Henry Cagle Jr.

Deed 11-335 Cabarrus, 20 Aug 1828, reg. Jan 1831. Henry Kiser to Frederick Kiser being 200 acres. Wit: Wm. Creaton, David Kiser.

Deed 24-169, Cabarrus Spring 1839, reg. Sep 1872. Division of Frederick Kiser Deceased. Being Lot # 2 of said division to Emily Edmunston.

Deed 6-13 Stanly, 29 Dec 1859, reg. Sep 1861. Laban Zebulon M Little of Mecklenburg to William H. Taylor of Cabarrus, being 80 acres on the north side of Rocky River in both Stanly and Cabarrus Counties. Attest: L. A. Russell, C. H. Polk.

Adjoining Henry Cagle’s Tract “D” to the north, Edmond and Catherine Bond received two grants in 1842. They are:

Tract G: Grant 21 Stanly, iss. 22 Oct 1842. Issued to Edward Bond, being 100 acres on Camp Branch adjoining Jacob W. Little and the Kizer tract along with David Kerr and Thomas Pinion.

Tract H: Grant 20 Stanly, iss. 22 Oct 1842, Issued to Catherine Bond, being 100 acres on Camp Branch adjoining Edward Bond, Thomas Pinion, Benjamin Pinion and Jacob W. Little

Edward and Catherine Bond moved to Cabarrus County with no deed showing the sale of their grants. And then, in 1854, Nelson Taylor, sold a large tract of 274 acres in which the two Bond grants can be placed. Who is Nelson Taylor?

Deed 4-54 Stanly, 29 Nov 1854, reg. Dec 1854. Nelson Taylor to Daniel Freeman, being 274 acres on Camp Branch. Beginning at a stake, three black jacks and pine, then west 11.75 chains to a stake by post oak & dog wood in J. M. Little’s line, then north 10 chains to a small red oak (his corner), then north 45 west 6.5 chains to a hickory, post oak, & red oak, then with his line west crossing Camp Branch 29 chains to a post oak, dogwood, red oak, then north 65 west 4 chains to a stake by three red oaks (Little’s Corner), then north 40 east 47.25 chains to a black jack, small hickory, and pine, then (with Drake’s line) east 51 chains to a small pine near a branch two pines and post oaks, then south 40 chains to a small post oak (in Jonah Love’s line), then with Jonah Love’s line south 80 west (Crossing Polk Road) 20.5 chains to a post oak, then south 50 west 8 chains to a post oak above the wall spring, then to the beginning. Wit: . O. Ross.

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Born ca. 1825, from estate records we know that William Howell Taylor married Mary, the daughter of Solomon Hartsell. Both Mary and her husband W. H. Taylor are mentioned in Solomon’s loose estate papers. There are several articles in the newpspers about Howell Taylor.  In one, he was charged with illegally selling alcohol while another the burning of his barn and livestock. Howell Taylor lived a long life and died 10 Sep 1906 according to what’s found on findagrave. There, it says that W H Taylor and wife Mary are buried at Love’s Grove UMC. However, a newspaper article out of Salisbury marks Howell’s death as being a year earlier. The following appears in the Carolina Watchman:

20 Sep 1905

SOLOMON’S ENTRY REWRITTEN

stony run tract

Working with land records, it amazes me how everyday new parts to a story are pieced together and yet each added parcel has the power to change the very core of the story already being told.

I was recently given a package of documents including the above land grant entry in the name of Solomon Burris. Made on March 5 for 100 acres, the land requested was situated on the waters of Stony Run. Normally, when applying to receive a land grant, the entry is written chronologically into a book containing successive requests by others. Each entry is identified sequentially by a distinct entry number. On the other hand, not copied from a book, what I see above has no entry number and appears to be written on a slip of paper. Note that both the county and year are missing. This is not normal! What is this and where did the record come from???!!!

Visiting NC Archives, I looked through the entry books for both Montgomery and Stanly counties where I found no mention of Solomon Burris entering land on Stony Run. At that point I realized for certain that the information on the slip of paper was never officially recorded in the county entry book. Though the writing is entry related, my question remains. What exactly is it? Given to me as a mysterious entry written on a slip of paper, I have no answer as to the record’s origin.

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Entered 8 Mar 1836, John Honeycutt was issued 100 acres on 2 Mar 1838 (Grant 2786, Montgomery). From the official order to the surveyor, the land is described as being “one hundred acres for John Honeycutt adjoining George Cagle and Solomon’s Burris’ lines on the drains of Stony Run.” The statement corroborates what’s written above on Solomon’s entry. However, though mentioned in the entry, the actual survey for Honeycutt’s land (below) does not appear in the survey.

john honeycutt land

Even though I don’t know its source, the entry of Solomon Burris provides a very important clue as to the location of Solomon’s land …but, which Solomon? Publishing my thoughts online, it didn’t take long for Burris family historian Brenda Combs to point out a very real concern. As for Solomon, Brenda alerted me to the dilemma that there was a Solomon Burris Senior as well as his son Solomon Burris Junior. Knowing from the slip that the land in the entry adjoined that of John Honeycutt, it’s also important to know that both Senior and Junior were alive when “Solomon” was named in John Honeycutt’s 1836 grant survey. The above could be attributed to either Solomon Senior or Junior. Regardless of who Solomon is, from the limited information provided in the above entry, is it possible to physically discern the location of the entry? Can we trace its history? Can we determine which Solomon requested the land grant on Stony Run?

I love responses and input by others as collective thought gives value and credence to what’s presented. Thank you Brenda! Brenda’s remarks encouraged me to review my work and to dig deeper. They drove me to a different direction completely changing the landscape of my original post.

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Looking closely at the survey above, the naming of Stony Run and Flat Branch provides a solid starting point to locate John Honeycutt’s land. Note that the survey plat is drawn upside down! Once John Honeycutt’s 100 acre land grant is placed on a map, other important lands on the east side of Stony Run begin to fall into place. Before delving into that, take a short look at the following video which I created for my first attempt at writing this post (now deleted).

 

So, even though Solomon Burris’ entry never matured, it appears that both John Honeycutt and Solomon Burris intended on living beside each other. Is that what really took place?

From the Montgomery County Entry Book, I noticed (below) that over half of the entries are marked with a double-lined X (red) which I’m almost certain indicates the grant failed to mature. Note that in 1841 David W Burris made a failed request for a grant to be issued on Stony Run. The land in question was to adjoin Charles Cagle and Benjamin L Whitley (first image). And in the second image, note that John Honeycutt failed in his attempt to receive a grant for 50 acres. Though John Honeycutt’s grant failed to mature, we know from the video that surrounding tracts mention a 50 acre tract as though the grant was issued.

Having seen the situation repeated numerous times in Stanly County, I realized that like the others, this all arose in a jurisdictional confusion over land acquired via grant versus land acquired by sale. As an example, in 1842, James L Hartsell was issued a grant for 100 acres on Thorny Branch of Rockhole Creek (Stanly County grant #16). Seven years later, James L. Hartsell purchased the same land from James Adderton, agent for the Thornton Land Company. In short, the company represented Anna Marie Thornton who was the widow of William Thornton. William Thornton designed the United States Capitol Building and purchased over 40,000 acres in now Stanly County as part of his gold mining interests. Thornton purchased the land from Barnabas Dunn and several other speculators who originally acquired it by grant in the 1790’s.

So, as had happened to James L. Hartsell, I believe Solomon Burris applied for a grant on land that was already owned at that time.

Digging deeper into the deed books, I realized that I had overlooked an important deed made to Solomon Burris. On 3 May 1850, Solomon Burris purchased 89 acres (Deed 2-327) from John Ward, Jery Adderton, James Adderton, & Daniel Freeman. These men appear also to be agents working in relation to the Thornton land interests. Situated on Stony Run, the legal description for Solomon’s purchase mentions John Honeycutt’s 50 acres, the Deberry line, Daniel Reap’s land, and a “branch.” Witnesses were David Burris and Mcama Willis.

Armed with this additional information, I remade the above video placing the new piece of land among the other known tracts.  Hopefully you’ll see how Solomon’s land changes what I believed and wrote previously. Take a look:

 

Below is a snapshot of the Stanly County GIS map overlaid with some of the tracts identified in this post. Most of the land boundaries from the video are still recognizable today. Solomon Burris Junior’s 88 acre purchase from John Ward and others is the bubbly textured tract crossing over Stony Run. To the north and west of that tract is a checkerboard tract that was first acquired by McKammy Willis. It’s upon that land where Solomon and Judith Burris were first buried. Their bodies were later moved to Pleasant Grove Baptist in 1939. Also, the DeBerry line passes the northern boundary of both Solomon Burris Junior and McKammy Willis (Green line).

stony

Green Tract – John Honeycutt 100 acres
(Grant 2786)

Yellow Tract – Solomon Burris, two tracts east of Stony Run.
(Deeds 79-179, 79-177)

Yellow (Bubbly) Tract – John Ward and others to Solomon Burris
(Deed 2-326) 3 May 1850

Checkerboarded Tract – William H. Randle to Kamy Willis
(Deed 3-20) 3 May 1850

Blue Tracts – Charlie and John Honeycutt to Andrew Honeycutt
(Deed 6-552) 29 Dec 1856

Pink Tracts – George Whitley tract with the smaller tract once belonging to
Benjamin Hathcock.

Light Red Tracts – Top of page, Caswell Perry to the west,Lewis C. Perry
to the east. (Grants 115, 120)