Inconsistencies with Samuel Aquilla Long (1817-c.1870)

By – Don Taylor

Sometimes, I feel like I am marching to the beat of a different drummer.  Or as my mother might say, “Look at my son, he is in step, but everyone else is out of step.” Once again, that is the case in my research of Samuel Aquilla Long. The problem is that there are a couple things that just don’t make sense to me, so I need to make a different determination of what I believe are the facts.
The first conflict of facts is easy. Various sources, including the DAR Descendants Database indicate that Samuel Aquilla Long died on 3 April 1866.[1]  However, he is clearly in the 1870 Census, alive and well.

Certainly, the census taker writes the names of Sam’s wife and daughter [Martha] in a way that indexers have had trouble reading, and I can’t fault them. But, the names and ages of the children all match up correctly.  Consequently, I have little doubt that Samuel Aquilla Long died sometime after 1 June 1870, and probably sometime after 30 July 1870 when the enumerator visited the area.
The Martin County Heritage, an awesome book, has an article about Samuel Aquilla Long, written by Sarah Long Johnson. Sarah was the great-granddaughter of Samuel Aquilla Long. In her article,[2] almost in passing, she mentions that Samuel (son of John Long) m. Martha Ann Bryan. Over the years, I have been struggling to find some corroborating evidence to support Samuel’s father’s name without success.    The public trees I’ve found don’t provide a source for Samuel’s father’s name or go back to Sarah Long Johnson’s article in Martin County Heritage.

The second issue is a bit more complicated.

The problem occurred when I attempted to follow Samuel back to the 1840 Census.
The 1870 Census indicated Samuel was 50.
The 1860 Census indicated Samuel was 40.
The 1850 Census indicated Samuel was 33. (Humm.)
Every record I’ve found indicates that Samuel was born in Martin County. He married in Martin County in 1844.  Consequently, I believe that Samuel had to be in Martin County in 1840.
A search of the 1840 Census looking for Samuel had no results. Because the 1840 Census only indicates the names of Heads of Households, I didn’t expect Samuel to be listed; I figured the 20-23-year-old was probably living with his parents. So then I searched for John.  Nothing.
I figured something must be amiss and searched for surname Long in Martin County in 1840 Census. There were four heads of households in Martin County. Joshua, Stephen, W.B., and Gracey Long.  “W.B. was the only person in his household, so that couldn’t be Samuel. The only other person with a 20-30-year-old male in the household was Stephen Long.
A review of the 1830 Census yielded similar results. In that Census, there were two children ages 10 to 15 in the household where Stephen Long was the head of household.
Sadly, the 1820 Census records for Martin County were lost.[3]
Many scenarios can explain my findings.

Sarah was incorrect about Samuel’s father’s name being John, and it is Stephen instead.
Samuel’s father was named John Stephen or Stephen John making both names for the same person.
Samuel’s father John had died before 1830 and Samuel lived with Stephen Long in 1830 & 1840.
Samuel wasn’t born and raised in Martin County.


Usually, I would write a biography about Samuel Aquilla Long at this point.  However, because of the above issue and problems and some other inconsistencies in my records, I’ve decided that things are too messed up for me to make sense of the Long family of Martin County, North Carolina. 

Further Actions:

Contact the Martin County Historical Society and see if they have anyone researching Samuel Aquilla Long’s ancestors. [Email sent 5/9/2016.] 
Perform a Surname/Location study for all Longs in Martin County before 1880. There were only 34 individuals with the surname of Long and only nine people with the surname identified as “Head of Household” in Martin County in 1880. So, a Surname/Study should be relatively easy in this case. I should also particularly look for siblings of Samuel Aquilla Long and look for offspring of Stephen Long. 
Determine the relationship of the children, John & James in relation to Martha Ann as they were born before her marriage to Samuel. 

List of Greats

1.     Deborah Ann Long
2.    Samuel Aquilla Long
3.     John Long (or Stephen Long)

[1] DAR Descendants Database, National Number #517846
[2] Hughes, Shelby Jean Nelson. 1980. Martin County heritage. Williamston, N.C.: Martin County Historical Society. “The Samuel Long Family” Article #579.
[3] Family Search Wiki: North Carolina Censuses Existing and Lost; 1820 Census;  Currituck, Franklin, Martin, Montgomery, Randolph, and Wake counties missing.

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One thought on “Inconsistencies with Samuel Aquilla Long (1817-c.1870)”

  1. Gracey Long referenced may be the same Gracey Long referenced in two Martin County Wills. The first a Silas Ballard (perhaps a brother) in 1825 and the second, another Silas Ballard (father) in 1836.

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