Monday, July 7, 2014

52 Ancestors #27 - Corelius (Neil) Cargill: Patriot and Loyalist

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small."

My Maternal 4th Great Grandfather

Cornelius Cargill
b. abt 1746 in Lunenburg County, Virginia
d. Spring of 1781 Ninety Six District, South Carolina
Parents: John and Rachael Tinsley Cargill
m. Sarah (maiden name not proven)
  • Cornelius (Carney) Cargill (my ancestor)
  • Tabitha F. Cargill
  • Letticia (Letty) Cargill

Cornelius and Sarah settled in Berkeley County, South Carolina after their marriage. They later moved to Craven County, South Carolina. It was about this time that Cornelius joined the Loyalists.

Transcription of text
Series: S108092
Reel: 0019
Frame: 00214
ignore: 000
Date: 1776 C. or later
Cornelius Cargill; Account Audit; American Revolution Claims
ca 1776
Other information
Web Address
(He was a Patriot in 1776) 

Cornelius Cargill was also known as Neil or Neely. Cornelius was a Whig (Patriot) at the start of the Amercian Revolution but like many of his family members he crossed the line and became a Loyalist (Tory) in favor of England. His reason for changing political parties is unknown. It was a major turning point in his life that would result in his death.

During the early spring of 1781, Cornelius led his troops to assist Col. Cruger. Along the way they passed the home of Patriot, Capt. Solomon Pope. Three of Pope's men were there. Cornelius and his troops took those men as prisoners. It was at this time that the Siege of Ninety-Six occured and the Tories lost. Cornelius and his men took their three prisoners (Aaron Wever, Joe Allen, and Fred Sissan) to a swamp at nearby Mine Creek and put them to death.

Col. Pope took immediate retaliation and hunted down Cornelius and his troops.  A fight pursued at the fork of Cloud's Creek and Little Saluda. The Patriots killed Cornelius and all of his men except for one:  Henry Ethridge. It has been said that many of these men died even though they had surrendered.

Cornelius died at the age of thirty-five leaving his wife to raise their three young children alone. He did not have a Last Will but estate records have been located.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

52 Ancestors #26 - Alcinda Alexander Bryan Hodges: Member of the RLDS Church

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog 'No Story Too Small'.

Alcinda Alexander Bryan
b. 3 Dec 1826 in Ohio  
d. 3 Apr 1908 in Limestone County, Texas
m. 25 Nov 1847 in Houston County, Texas
My paternal 2nd great grandparents

Alcinda left behind a paper trail but so much is lacking. Nothing is known of her early life, siblings, and parents. She moved to Houston (Republic of Texas) in 1845. It was here that she married Isaac. There is one possible person listed on the 1850 census that could qualify as her father. His name is Lewis Bryan, born about 1782 in North Carolina. He is living alone on the census. However, the only census with Alcinda's parents birth place shows them born in Ohio.

Alcinda and Isaac were members of the Clear Creek Baptist Church in Leon County, Texas. Isaac died in 1871 leaving Alcinda a widow. She never remarried. She did make a change in her life eleven years later.

She joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She was baptized on February 27, 1882 in Anderson County, Texas. Anderson and Leon are adjoining counties.

Name:Alcinda A Hodges
Birth Date:Dec 1826
Birth Place:Ohio
Marriage Date:1847
Death Date:Apr 1908
Death Place:Mexia, Limestone, Texas
Burial Place:Mexia, Limestone, Texas
Cemetery:Mexia Cemetery
Spouse:I J Hodges
Source:RLDS Deceased Files/ Zion's Ensign Obituaries, 19:22:7/ Early Reorganization Minutes, 1872-1905, Book D/ Elkhardt, Texas, RLDS Branch Records
Notes:Alcinda A. (Hodges) moved to Texas in 1845. She was baptized a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 27 February 1882 by Heman C. Smith. She attended the Elkhardt, Texas Branch. Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

I'm not sure why she made the change. Was she previously a member of the original church while in Ohio? I have not been able to obtain any other information concerning her change in religious beliefs. There is no documentation showing her children having belong to that church. Did she have siblings that were members?

Alcinda filed for Civil War Widows Pension on June 13, 1899 while living in Kosse, Limestone, Texas. The document gives much of her personal information as well as Isaac's. 

Texas State Library and Archives Commission; Austin, Texas; Confederate Pension Applications, 1899-1975; Collection #: CPA16526; Roll #: 433; Roll Description: Pension File Nos. 02913 to 09648, Application Years 1859 to 1900.

Alcinda and Isaac had nine children:

  • Jacob W. Hodges 1848-1880 m. Mary H. Vardy
  • Sarah Ellen Hodges 1850-after 1900 m. John Andrew Sowders (my ancestors)
  • Abel James Hodges 1853-1933 m. Bernetto Rasco
  • John Bryan Hodges 1854-1921 m. Lydia Margaret Holland
  • Edmond D. Hodges 1855-1925 m. Alice Virginia Johnson
  • Benjamin Hodges 1857
  • Mary E. Hodges about 1859
  • Drusilla Ann Hodges 1864-1935 m. Julius Sheldon Johnson
  • Parthena Jane Hodges 1867-1955 m. William Jasper Hannah 
Alcinda is buried in the Mexia City Cemetery located in Mexia, Limestone, Texas. Who were her parents and siblings. Did she grow up in Ohio or another state? What led her to change her religious beliefs?

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

52 Ancestors #24 - Isaac James Hodges: The Republic of Texas

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

My paternal 2nd Great Grandfather

Isaac James Hodges arrived in the Republic of Texas about December 10, 1839. His parents are Edmund and Sarah McClain Hodges. Isaac's father died in 1830 while the family lived in Hardeman County, Tennessee. Isaac came to Texas along with his Mother and siblings.

The year 1847 was very eventful for Isaac. He enlisted for the Mexican War on May 3, 1847, age twenty-four. That same year he married Alcinda Alexander Bryan. (Alexander is her middle name.) 

1. Texas State Library and Archives Commission; Austin, Texas; Confederate Pension Applications, 1899-1975; Collection #: CPA16526; Roll #: 433; Roll Description: Pension File Nos. 02913 to 09648, Application Years 1859 to 1900

Isaac and Alcinda had nine children:

  • Jacob W. Hodges m. Mary H. Vardy
  • Sarah Ellen (Sallie) Hodges m. John Andrew Sowders (my ancestors)
  • Abel James Hodges m. Bernetta Rasco
  • John Bryan Hodges m. Lydia Margaret (Maggie) Holland
  • Edmond D. Hodges m. Alice Virginia Johnson (I may be related to Alice too ??)
  • Benjamin Hodges
  • Mary E. Hodges
  • Drusilla Ann Hodges m. Julius Sheldon Johnson (I may be related to Julius too ??)
  • Parthena Jane Hodges m. William Jasper Hannah

Isaac enlisted in the Civil War. He was listed as sick in the Hempstead Hospital during March 1865.

The family eventually settled down in Leon County, Texas. Isaac collapsed while working on the Clear Creek Baptist Church. He never recovered and died at the age of forty-eight. The Clear Creek Cemetery was started when died and Isaac was the first person buried there.

Isaac James Hodges
b. May 31, 1822 in Franklin County, Tennessee
d. April 9, 1871 in Leon County, Texas
Age 48  Find A Grave Memorial# 27977154

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

52 Ancestors #23 - Minnie Lee Williams Hill: My Grandma

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".


Grandma Minnie was born to James David and Rhoda Ann Ellis Williams on September 13, 1886 in Sevier County, Arkansas. Her father was from Texas. Her mother was from North Carolina. Grandma had eight siblings. Their family traveled a circuit from Arkansas to Texas to Oklahoma.

Grandma was about twelve years old when this photo was taken. Her clothing and belt were hand-crocheted by her mother. The family was living in Oklahoma at the time.

The family moved back to Texas where Grandma met and married Albert Josiah Hill on April 11, 1907 in Falls County.

Grandma gave birth to thirteen children and raised one step-son. Their names can be found here, Grandma was responsible for the eight girls and Grandpa was responsible for the six boys.

The entire family had to work the cotton farm. Grandma and the younger girls took care of the household chores as well as the animals and garden. They did laundry, cooked, cleaned, gathered eggs, fed chickens, picked vegetables, and other chores associated with farm life.

Grandma worked very hard to make a good life for her family.

Grandpa died February 5, 1942, leaving Grandma to raise the youngest children by herself. The older children who had married helped her out as much as they could.

Grandma broke up housekeeping in her later years. She moved around from one child's house to the other. I remember her coming to live with us.

It was almost bedtime one night when I slipped into her room. She was sitting at the dresser braiding her hair. Mama came in and warned Grandma that I was the "64,000 question kid". Grandma smiled and said let her ask away. I'll send her out at bedtime.

I have to say the questions poured out one after another....Who were your parents? Where did you live? Do you have sisters and brothers? How old are you?....the questions just kept coming out.

Grandma patiently answered each question as she braided her hair. She smiled the entire time. "Why do you do that to your hair?". She smiled and said, "I have been braiding my hair at bedtime ever since I was a little girl. Do you want me to braid your hair?".

Well... the questions came to an abrupt stop! I was the kid with "ants in my pants" and there was absolutely no way I would sit still that long. We said our good nights and I slipped quietly out of her room.

Grandma eventually moved back Falls County and moved in with her widowed daughter-in-law. Grandma died there on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1959. We all lost our Sweetheart.

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

52 Ancestors #22 - Edward Riggs: Early Massachusetts Puritans

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

Edward Riggs is my paternal 9th great grandfather.

Edward, son of Richard and Elizabeth Chamberlyn Riggs, was baptized March 30, 1589 in Roydon, Essex, England. (A copy of his baptism record can be found near the bottom of the page here.) He married Elizabeth Holmes. Their children are Edward Jr. (I descended from him), Lydia, Elizabeth, John, and Mary. Their children were all born and baptized at the Nazeing Parish in England. The family left England in 1633 and settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Wikipeadia, Creative Commons license
Boston was located on an isthmus. Today it has been land-filled. Roxbury was at the bottom of Boston in what is known as Boston Neck (bottom of map).

It was originally called Rocksberry because the rocks in the area were a challenge to farmers.

Edward was admitted as a Freeman (free from bondage). Only "free" men were allowed to own land, vote, and hold public office.The family attended the First Church of Roxbury. The church also served as a meeting place for government.

The mortality rate was high. Edward and Elizabeth lost three of their children within thirty months of arrival.

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988; (
                                                            Lydia 1622-1633    Elizabeth 1627-1634    John 1630-1634

                                      Death held a firm grip on the family. Edward's wife, Elizabeth, died in August 1635.

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988; (

Edward lived to be eighty-three years old which was very rare for his lifetime. He made his Will on September 2, 1670. He died March 5, 1672 at Roxbury.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

52 Ancestors #20 and #21 - Albert and Pauline Hill Sowders: My Jailbird Parents

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

I missed a week of posting. This week I'm bending the rule a little and posting two on one page. My Parents are Albert Herring Sowders and Pauline Hill (aka. Polly).

We were browsing through photos one day when I found a photo of Mama and Daddy in jail. Inquisitive me had to know the entire story from start to finish. (I knew the "who" but wanted to know - where, when, how, and why!)

 He said:

 I knew your mother most of my life. I actually "hung out" with her older sister first but we didn't "court". We were just friends and enjoyed "hanging out"  together. She married her "beau" while I was in the military.

 Your mother was very young when I enlisted in World War II. I enlisted in 1941 and was discharged in 1945. The closest the military could get me to home was Dallas,Texas. I contacted your mother's sister in Dallas and she agreed to pick me up at the Dallas bus station and take me home to Kosse,Texas.

 She said:

Your daddy was twenty-five when he went into the military. I was only fourteen and still in school. Men were the last thing on my mind at the time.

The day he contacted my sister to meet him at the bus station, my sister asked if I would like to go with her. I said "sure" as I had nothing else on my agenda for the day.

I had just turned eighteen and he was twenty-nine.

He said:

I was in for the "shock of my life" when they showed up at the bus station. "That little girl from down the street had grown into a very beautiful woman".

Her sister drove. I sat in the front seat. Your mother sat in the back. I kept turning around to look at her.

"I couldn't take my eyes off her."

      She said:

      "Your daddy was so handsome." Every time he turned around I would smile. I wondered why my      
       sister had not "snatched him up when she had the chance".

      We took him home but it was not long until he showed up on my doorstep.
      We saw each other daily.

      Our "whirl-wind romance that lasted a whole three weeks".


They said:

We married at the Groesbeck Courthouse in Limestone County, Texas on July 27,1945.

We spent the night at the Cynthia Ann Parker Motel which was located a few miles north of Mexia, Texas.

The next day we drove into Dallas and attended the State Fair. We rode rides, ate cotton candy, and watched the stock show.

We stopped by a photo booth and had our photo taken.

You could say we became officially "locked" into matrimony at the photo booth.

Albert Herring Sowders is the fifth child of Virgil Elmer and Martha Elizabeth Harper Johnston Sowders. He was born January 13, 1917 in Kosse, Limestone, Texas. He pursued many interests in life including farming, military, ordained minister, truck driver, carpenter, mechanic, and supervisor. He was a great husband and father who devoted his life to his family.

Pauline Hill is the daughter of Albert Josiah and Minnie Lee Williams. She was born May 16, 1927 in Rosebud, Falls, Texas. Her interests in life included playing the guitar and piano, church secretary, seamstress, waitress, and assembly work. She was a wonderful wife and mother. She always put us first in her life.

My parents were married thirty-two years.



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Monday, May 19, 2014

52 Ancestors #19 - William J. Barefield: Unsolved Puzzles

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

I was unable to post last week so next week I will be posting two ancestors.

William J. Barefield is my maternal 2nd great grandfather.

William J. Barefield has been one my unsolved puzzles. There are only two records that I have been able to obtain for him - the 1840 and 1850 census. 

The 1840 census shows him living in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana with his first wife and son. He is listed as age 20-30. His wife is in the same age group and his son is under 5. The head of the household listed below him is J. H. Barefield. I have found no information or connections to this J. H. Barefield.

Source Citation: Year: 1840; Census Place:  , Claiborne, Louisiana; Roll: 127; Page: 97; Image: 201; Family History Library Film: 0009689.
His wife and son disappear sometime around 1842 and by 1843 he is married to my 2nd great grandmother Elizabeth Caroline Cargill. She used her middle name on records. William and Elizabeth had three known children: Hester, James, and Louisa (she is my ancestor). They are listed together on the 1850 census living in Western District, Bienville, Lousiana. The Leatherman children listed with them are Elizabeth's children by her first marriage. There are also two men living with them and a girl age fourteen (George Pierce (?), Vinson Gillet, and Hester A. Sanfrancisco (spelled as shown on the record).

Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: Western District, Bienville, Louisiana; Roll: M432_230; Page: 278B; Image: 73.
This census shows his age as 30 but we know from the first census that he was 30 or older ten years earlier. The later census shows him to be eleven years older than his wife. I have estimated his birth as 1816 which would correspond with his first marriage and child.

William was a gunsmith. The value of his real estate property is listed as $1,000. It is the lowest valued property on the page. It shows that he was born in Arkansas.

Elizabeth, his second wife, is listed without William on the 1860 census in Milam County, Texas. The non-population schedule shows her farm valued at $500.

That's it folks! Those are the only records I have concerning William J. Barefield.

Did William die in Arkansas or Texas...or did they divorce?
Is the girl named Hester A. Sanfrancisco related? (William and Elizabeth named their first child Hester A.)
Who were his parents and siblings?
What happened to his first wife and son?

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Monday, May 5, 2014

52 Ancestors #18 - Virgil Clark Sowders - Story Telling Photo Collage

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small."

Virgil Clark Sowders is my paternal Uncle.

One of my favorite things to do is to create photos that I call Story Telling Photo Collages. I collage photos of a person from my family tree in a way that a story can be told when showing the collage. It's a great way for those viewing the collage to retain the memory of their ancestor; especially when they never knew that ancestor.

Virgil is the sixth child of seven born to Virgil Elmer and Martha Elizabeth Harper Johnston Sowders. He was born on
August 2, 1918 in Kosse, Limestone, Texas. Virgil always wanted to be a soldier. He greeted people with a salute instead of hand shake. He was four years old, saluting, in the center photo.

Virgil's wish came true on November 27, 1942 when he enlisted in the Army for World War II. The two photos (left and right) were taken in Italy. He enlisted for the duration of the war plus six months. He loved being in the military and expressed his desire to make a career of the military. His career was cut short. Virgil was shot and died on December 1, 1943 while in Italy. The tree in the background is a tree located in Eutaw Cemetery, Kosse, Texas where Virgil is buried. Virgil never married and had no known children.

Today I salute my Uncle Virgil and honor is given to him for the service he gave to protect our country as well as others. I never knew my uncle. My Dad spoke of him so often that I feel as if I did know him. 

Thank you Uncle Virgil. I wish I could have known you.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

52 Ancestors #17 - John Knox - Was he a Twin? Which birth year is correct?

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

John Knox II is my paternal 6th great grandfather.

John Knox II was born in Ireland. His birth year is questionable. The passenger list shows his age as fifty (born 1717) but his headstone shows he died June 27, 1777 at the age of fifty-five which indicates he was born in 1722. He was named after his father John Knox I. His mother is Agnes Johnstone Knox. Both of his parents were born in Scotland.

John married Elizabeth Ann Gaston. They had ten children: Mary, John, Matthew, Elizabeth, Sarah, Joseph, Hugh, Ann, James, and Samuel. I descended through their daughter Mary.  He spent most of his life in Ireland but - a change was coming.

John and his family left Ireland in 1767. Their destination was South Carolina. Several of John's siblings were on the same ship including his brother William. The records show that John and William were both fifty years old which would mean they are twins born in 1717. I can find no death record of his brother William to verify his birth year. As I stated earlier, John's headstone indicates he was born in 1722. In that case, John was only forty-five when he arrived in South Carolina. The only thing I can determine is that John was born in 1717 or 1722 depending on which record is used.

John received a 100 acre memorial grant on July 27, 1768. The land was situated on Fishing Creek in Craven County, South Carolina. The plat was not completed until March 13, 1772.

John made is last will just seventeen days after the plat was completed. He died June 27, 1777. His newly found freedom was cut short.

1) What is John's birth year?
2) Were John and William twins?

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Monday, April 21, 2014

52 Ancestors #16 Christinator Roberts Thomas - Unique, Beautiful, and Powerful Name

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

Christinator Roberts Thomas is my maternal 7th great grandmother

Christinator. What a beautiful name! Not only is her name beautiful, it's the most unique name in my family tree. The sound of her name makes me feel as though she was a shaker and maker - a person who made things happen.

Christinator was born to Thomas and Mary Roberts in Nansemond County, Virginia on January 31, 1712. It is not known if her parents created her name or if she was named after an ancestor.

Chrstinator married the Reverand John Thomas about 1730. They have four known children: John, Jonathan, Theophilus, and Theresa. Their son Jonathan is my 7th great grandfather. The Reverand named his wife and children in his Last Will.

North Carolina, Probate Records, 1735-1970," images, FamilySearch (,170984201 : accessed 17 Apr 2014), Edgecombe > Wills, 1758-1830, Vol. 09 > image 223 of 268.

Christinator supported her husband's chosen career as a Minister and later when he became a Judge. Unfortunately there are very few records to give us a view of her life style and the person she became. I would love to know more about her.

Christinator died December 30, 1796 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, She is buried at the Toisnot Baptist Church Cemetery in Wilson County, North Carolina. A memorial headstone was placed there by her descendants.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

52 Ancestors #15 - Joseph Laswell: The Tory in Me

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

My paternal 4th great grandfather is Joseph Laswell. 

The colonists were split three ways during the American Revolutionary War: (1) about one-third of the people were known as Patriots or the Freedom Fighters; (2) about one-third were Whigs (also known as Tories or Loyalists) who fought in favor of England; and (3)  the last third were neutral. It was a war that pit father against son, mother against daughter, and neighbor against neighbor.

Joseph Laswell was a known Tory at the onset of the American Revolution. Tories used many alias names. Some known alias names for Joseph were: Lasswell, Lasewell, Lacewell, Lacefield, Lasefield, and many, many more.

Joseph was a Tory leader and participated in burning houses and destroying the property of the Patriots in an effort to keep them from winning the war. This was not a one-sided affair. The Patriots did the same to known Tories. It was common among both Tories and Patriots to capture their enemy and hang them. One such occasion is told in  King's Mountain and it's Heroes" by Lyman C. Draper when Adjutant Jesse Franklin was captured by Joseph Laswell and his party of Tories.

"On one occasion a Tory party under Jo Lasefield captured him and had him ready to swing off when......Though they hung him, the bridle with which they did it broke, and he fortunately dropped into the saddle of his horse, bounded away and did escape..."

Joseph was eventually captured, tried, and sentenced for high treason by the Morgan Superior Court. We learn from the Executive Letter Book that Governor Martin addressed the General Assembly:

"I send herewith sundry petitions in favor of persons under sentence of death for High Treason, To Wit: from Burke & Rutherford Co., in behalf of Joseph Lacefield and John Thomson, convicted at Morgan Superior Court, March term last, to be executed the 16th of May.
The Executive have been distressed with a number of wretches condemned heretofore for Treason, who enquiry into their particular cases, have thought them beneath the notice of public justice, and have generally pardoned them on their enlisting into the continental service of eighteen months.
As prosecutions of this kind are daily carried on and the courts of justice worried with them,  I beg the sense of the Honorable, the Legislature, as the Supreme Council of the state, with regard to the above persons, also request that some law be passed that the Judicial and Executive powers of government be directed how to conduct themselves in future towards this class of people."
The above statement "generally pardoned them on their enlisting into the continental service of eighteen months" indicates Joseph joined the Continental Service after his capture. It was common for those who were captured to be given a choice: hang or switch parties. Apparently Joseph decided to live, fought on the Patriot side of the war, and afterwards was still sentenced to be executed.

The Legislature's response is found in Volume XIX 1782-1784, pages 246-247:

"Resolved that it be recommended to his Excellency the Governor to grant a pardon of their several offences to Joseph Lacefield, et. al. who each of them now are under sentence of death, and who have been severally recommended to his Excellency as objects deserving of conviction and others by sundry Gentlemen of reputable characters who are personally acquainted with them and their former conduct in life.
Ordered that the above be resolve be sent to the Senate for concurrence. Ordered that the message from his Excellency the Governor be also sent to the Senate."
In the Senate:

"Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen
The resolve of your House this day recommending to his Excellency the Governor grant pardons to certain persons therein named, now under sentence of death, we have concurred with and cause the same to be handed the governor 21 April 1783."
Whew! Joseph Laswell was pardoned and now a free man.

Joseph Laswell's birth year is not known. I have estimated it to be about 1740 based on the fact that he owned property in Rowan County, North Carolina in 1762. His parents were William and Mary Laswell. By 1771 he is on the tax list for Surry County, North Carolina. Surry was hotbed for Tories.

He married Eunice Riggs. They had several children that are known and possibly some that are not yet known. Their children used various surnames:

 1)    Elizabeth Lacefield m. David Sowder (my 3rd great grandparents)
 2)    Sally Lacefield m. Peter Sowder (they are sister and brother to Elizabeth and David)
 3)    John Henry Laswell m. Wilmoth Owen
 4)    Mary Lacefield m. Unknown Morris
 5)    Lucy Laswell m. Elisha Owen
 6)    Jesse Laswell m. Fannie Bell
 7)    Nancy Laswell m. Frederick Ott
 8)    Abigail Lacewell m. Henry Ott
 9)    Martha Laswell m. (1) John Barr (2) Uriah Hand
10)   William Laswell m. Nancy Reed 

Joseph left North Carolina sometime after 1790 and moved to Lincoln County, Kentucky. He served as Constable in 1803 and 1807. The new county of Rockcastle was formed from this part of Lincoln County in 1810. Joseph spent the remainder of his life there and died about 1816.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

52 Ancestors #14 - Margaret Slaughter Williams: Prisoner of the Great Mythical Cloud

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

Wikipedia: Creative Commons License

My maternal 3rd great grandmother was captured and held prisoner by a great mythical cloud. Family tales from all of her descendants varied from one branch to the other.

"We are Cherokee." 
"No we are Pawnee." 
"Not what I heard. We are Comanche."
"No we are Chicasaw."
"We are Creek."

So how did so many branches believe so differently? My favorite tale of her descendants was one of intrigue, adventure, and romance. The type of tale most women love to read about - especially when it's your ancestor.
"One of the Williams men disagreed with the way the Indians were treated. He traveled to North Carolina and chose a Cherokee bride. He walked the Trail of Tears with her and her family." 
Stories like this were passed down for several generations. So who was this mysterious bride? Which Williams man married her? If it was not a Cherokee bride then who in the family was Native American? I set out on my own adventure hoping to find a beautiful love story or at least find which of the Five Tribes we descended from.

The only female who qualified for the Cherokee bride story was Margaret Slaughter. She was known as Peggy to the family. She was the right age to walk the Trail of Tears. She married into the Williams family. Her husband was James M. Williams. He was known as Big John. There was just one tiny little problem. They had their first child in 1804 which means they married before the Trail the Tears. Oh well. There goes the adventure and romance side of the story! However, I was still intrigued. What was her story and ethnicity? Was she Native American? If not her could it be her mother? How and when did this myth start? "Where there is smoke there is fire". Who started the fire and fanned the flames?

Margaret Slaughter is the daughter of Walter and Susannah Margaret Webb Slaughter. She was born about 1780 in North Carolina. I researched her parents and grandparents. No Native Americans here. They are predominately from the British Isles. Another myth busted! That's okay though because my 3rd great grandmother is worthy of a story and should be redeemed from the cloud of myth she was placed on.

Margaret's family migrated to Amite County, Mississippi where she met and married James Williams. Her husband was sixteen years her senior. He served in the American Revolution. Their nine children were born in Mississippi and Georgia. Their children were Matilda, Luke, Hiram, James B., Rebecca, William, John, Thomas, and Emeline. I descended from John.

The family moved around fairly often. Can you imagine moving by wagon with all these children in tow? Margaret had her hands full. The good news for Margaret was they didn't travel too far until the children were all grown.

They moved to Louisiana after the 1820 census and before 1830. Margaret was fifty-two when her husband filed for military pension.  By 1850 they had moved to Leon County, Texas where they would spend their remaining days. Margaret died at the age of eighty.

It is not known who started the family tales but Margaret and her mother were not Indian. The flames were fanned to a point to where some of Margaret and her mother's descendant filed applications to join the Cherokee Tribe in the late 1800's to early 1900's. They were all denied. However many descendants do not know that today and still believe we are Indian through Margaret or her mother.

Today I celebrate my 3rd great grandmother Margaret Slaughter Williams.

Beam me up Cathy - back to top

Monday, March 31, 2014

#52 Ancestors #13 - Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Pittman: Parents Lost in the Genealogy Abyss

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Pittman is my paternal great grandmother


Mary is one of my great mysteries. I don't know who her parents were other than a death record that shows her father to be William Pittman.

Mary was born November 10, 1860 in Alabama. Her death record and census records are consistent in showing her birth in Alabama. The first record available for Mary is when she married John P. Johnston on September 25, 1876. in Limestone County, Texas. All census records showing the birth of her parents are inconsistent.

1880 - Father born Georgia - Mother born Georgia
1900 - Father born Tennessee - Mother born Tennessee
1910 - Father born Alabama - Mother born Alabama
1920 - Father born Alabama - Mother born Alabama
1930 - Father born Texas - Mother born Alabama

The informant for Mary's death certificate was her son John Clark Johnston. Mary died April 26, 1935 at Kosse, Limestone, Texas. She was living with her daughter Rosanna when she died. The death record shows her father was William Pittman birth place unknown and her mother is shown as name unknown and birth place unknown. 

This death certificate only shows the handwriting of two people. The doctor and the person who completed the certificate. The informant line shows J. C. Johnston. He did not sign this. He signed his his World War I Draft Registration and the signature does not match the one on the Mary's death certificate. I sure wish Rosanna would have been the informant. I'm sure Rosanna knew their names.

I have tried to track all Pittman's living in the vicinity of Limestone County, Texas. None seem to be Mary's father.  Surely they must at least be cousins to Mary but I can't connect to them.

My Dad said every single person living in Kosse in the early 1900's was related to us "if not by blood then by marriage". There were some Pittman families living near Mary on the 1900 census. They lived in the same precinct. I feel this J. W. Pittman may be related to Mary. Other researchers show his name as Joseph Wesley Pittman b. 1840 in North Carolina. Some of them have a brick wall on his lineage while others show his father as Wesley Pittman b. 1812 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

My Mary is not the daughter of this Wesley Pittman. I went back one more line in his tree. Wesley's father was Joseph Pittman. This Joseph did have a son named William b. 1815 in Edgecombe. Could this be the father of my Mary? He reportedly died 1861 in Edgecombe. It appears that he never left North Carolina. Of course that's using other trees as a guide. Possibly they are wrong. Possibly he moved (?). It's highly doubtful that he is her father unless he was in Alabama when she was born.

On my list of questions I added "Did her father die and her mother remarry and is living nearby?". That is impossible to answer since I don't have the name of her mother.

There are other Pittman's in Limestone, Navarro, and Leon counties but none of them seem to be my Mary's family as far as I can tell. I'm sure I have overlooked some little clue down the line!

My DNA matches to 34 trees on Ancestry. They are all very distant cousins with the exception of one who shares the same line as me. I also have 10 matches on FTDNA. Almost all of these matches have a William Pittman as a direct ancestor or as a cousin. None of these William Pittman's can be linked to my Mary.

Mary's daughter Rosanna Johnston Herring and my Dad's sister, and my Dad were walking, talking, encyclopedia's of family history. They would tell stories of all the family as well as cousins. They never wrote any of the information down but they knew the family history fairly far back in time. I remember much of the genealogy and stories. Unfortunately, by time I began my family tree they were not here for me to ask questions about Mary. I have no memory of the stories concerning Mary Pittman. I feel certain they knew who Mary's parents were and I regret not asking questions while they were all still living.

I am impatiently waiting for the Genealogy Abyss to open it's mouth so I can find Mary's parents.

Beam me up Cathy - back to top

Saturday, March 22, 2014

#52Ancestors #12 John Polk: Polk Station Tennessee

52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog 'No Story Too Small'.

John Polk is my paternal 4th great grandfather.

John Polk was about fifteen years old when he left his hometown located on the Emerald Isle (Ireland) with his parents William and Elizabeth as well as his two brothers Charles and William Jr. Their ship arrived in South Carolina about 1794/95. 

John married Agnes Brown about 1804. Their children are Elizabeth, Mary, Thomas, Alexander, George, Catherine, William, and James. I descend from their daughter Elizabeth.

The Polk family loaded up their wagon and headed west to Obion County, Tennessee. The Goodspeed Publishing Co. states that John Polk arrived in Obion County about 1833. However, John took the Oath in Obion County on May 14, 1834. The court record states that John had been living in Obion County for three years so he arrived in Obion County about 1831. 
took the oath to become a citizen of the United States. He was born in the Kingdom of Ireland, a part of the dominion of the King of England. He came to this country when but a boy with his father who came to South Carolina and he believes that it was antecedent to the 29th of January, 1795. . . a resident of Obion County for three years…"  (tngenweb )
John and his family settled about three and one-half miles from Troy, Tennessee where John purchased 840 acres. Today it is known as Polk Station and was named after John's son James.

John was fifty-years old when he became ill. There was a man named William H. Massey in Obion County who wrote letters to his brother. Someone was kind enough to transcribe those letters and post them on the internet. William H. Massey wrote "Old man John Polk died night before last with the fever". The letter is dated October 16, 1837. (

John Polk made his Will on October 5, 1837 and died October 14, 1837.

Beam me Cathy - back to the top