Amanuensis the Easy Way

Amanuensis Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.A few years ago, I wrote a post about my wife’s 4th great-grandfather, Lewis Bryan (1755-1830) and that he had purchased his land from Robert Bryan. That post received several comments. One included a clue from Gloria Knight who said, “I have found where a “Patent” was issued on 10 Dec 1760 to a Robert Bryan. Source: Halifax County N.C. Land Grants – Secretary of State – Land Grants Record Books 1693-1960. Grant # was 82; File # 14. 520 acres on Conotoe Creek.”

I had meant to find that reference and incorporate it into my information regarding Robert Bryan. I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Her comment/clue reminded me of three significant resources matters.

Networking

So many of us want to be self-sufficient we tend to forget many researchers have been there before and we can and should build upon their work. For example, Gloria’s clue provided enough information that I could easily, and quickly build upon her work. Not just accept what she said but use it as a hint as a beginning point. I know that professional genealogists want every source to be quoted in a fashion identified in Evidence Explained. Sure, that is THE standard for citing sources.  However, rather than getting all twisted around the citation standards, I am most interested in having enough information about the source that I can find it for myself. In this case, a Google search for Gloria’s clue, “Halifax County N.C. Land Grants ” brought me immediately to North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data. Seeing Search Query on the page, I searched for Name: “Bryan” and County: Halifax. Six entries were returned, one the 520 Acres of Robert Bryan.  The page also had a link to an image in Book 14, Pages 114-115. There it was, an image of the original patent book. The key to me is Gloria had provided enough information regarding her source that I was able to find the source in less than a minute myself. To me that is the ultimate reason for citations and building upon or confirming her research is the ultimate purpose of networking.

Wikipedia

I knew from previous research with this family line that Martin County was previously Halifax County.  There are many sites to learn that kind of information. However, I have found that Wikipedia is possibly the best and easiest way to confirm such information. On Wikipedia, just search <NAME> County, <STATE> and you get the appropriate wiki page.  In this case. I entered “Martin County, North Carolina” In the History section of the page returned said,

The county was formed in 1774 from the southeastern part of Halifax County and the western part of Tyrrell County.

I could have just as easily gone to the Halifax County, North Carolina page and learned that,

In 1774 the southeastern part of Halifax County was combined with part of Tyrrell County to form Martin County.

I think every county page on Wikipedia has a “History” section. I find that the County entries in Wikipedia to be a great asset. Besides quick history, there is a Communities section which shows the cities, towns, unincorporated communities, and townships within the county. Great information to have handy when reviewing Census and other records. I can be a real help in understanding that an incorporated community in your genealogy is near town that may have been their post office which may have been in a township.  So, when you see the names change in different documents, you can understand that your ancestors may have been in the same place even though multiple names were used.

Google

Finally, I wanted to transcribe the patent information from the document. I’ll admit, I don’t like transcribing 18th century handwriting very much. I mean, I can do it, I just don’t like doing it. In this case, I could easily read the document started out “Robert Bryan Five hundred and twenty acres.” A Google search of those exact words led to one result. A quick review of the result showed it was a transcript of the document I wanted to transcribe. Dated the 10th day of December 1760.  Then, rather than transcribe the original text, all I needed to do is to read the transcription and see if I agreed with the transcription.  Much faster – much easier. Then, I added the transcript to my source documents identifying it:

Transcription by <Unknown>  found on site, BMGEN.COM
“Genealogy data relating to the Brian and Mitchell families.”

So, I have my copy of the original image, and I have my source for that image documented. I also have a transcription of the information, confirmed and reviewed by me. I am good with that and can move on to the next project.

Transcription

Transcription by <Unknown> found on site, BMGEN.COM

ROBERT BRYAN five hundred and twenty acres of land in Halifax County.

Beginning at a Pine, his corner on Conneto Swamp running thence up said swamp to a Maple at the mouth of Wild Cat Branch; then up said branch to a Poplar in said branch; then W 62 poles to a Red Oak; then S 160 poles to a Pine; then W 40 poles to two Sweet Gums in a branch; then S 280 poles to a Pine; then W 88 poles to a pine in MOSES HORN’s line; then along his line S 23 E 174 poles to a White Oak, his corner on Conneto Creek; then down said creek to a Pine, JOHN HORN’s corner on said creek; then along his line N 17 E 142 poles to a Pine, his corner in said BRYAN’s line; then along his line W 16 poles to a Pine, his corner; then along his line N 270 poles to a Pine, his corner on a branch; then down the branch, his line, to the first station.

Dated 10th day of December, 1760

Conclusion

  1. Pay attention to hints from anywhere – check them out for yourself.
  2. The North Carolina Land Grant site is an awesome resource. Be sure to include it in your resources.
  3. Don’t forget Wikipedia County searches can be helpful.
  4. Check Google (or Bing or Yahoo) to see if the words you want transcribed  have already been transcribed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of Martha Barnes Conner

Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft

Amanuensis Monday
By Don Taylor

It is always amazing when you can find the voice of an ancestor. Thanks to Timothy Foulkes’ contribution to Family Search of the “History of Martha Barnes Conner,” we can read the words of Martha Barnes Conner, the youngest daughter of my 2nd great-grandparents, Nelson and Mercy Eliza (Taft) Barnes. The document posted appears to be a transcript of the original but seems to be faithful to the original because of the archaic spelling and other features of the transcription, such as Hridge (instead of Bridge) and Heron (instead of Merom).

Covered Wagon from period

I can so visualize the plight of Nelson and Mercy in 1842 — Living in their covered wagon with their young child, out of money and relying on the credit from others. Just a rocking chair, a bushel basket for a stool, and a trunk as both a table and to hold their bedding, it was clearly a bleak life. Yet, over the years they purchased their own property and added to it. A true story of pioneer success. There are side stories: One about the wagon that carried mail (and presumably) supplies the 31 miles from Terra Haute and one about a man who dies and was buried near the old Dodd school house.

Document Image

Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft

Transcription of typed image transcription.

Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft were married Oct 31, 1839 in New York 
state and came to Indiana with their baby in a covered wagon in 1842 and 
camped near Fairbanks they were out of money  he ask a farmer for work 
and went in debt for a bu of corn and a side of bacon, they had sold 
their household goods a piece at a time untill they had nothing left
but a rocking chair a chest that they kept their bedding and clothes in 
and used it also to eat their meals on and a half bu measur that my 
father sat on and also fed his horses in.  he worked for farmers for 
several year and then bough a little piece of land near Dodds Hridge
he kept adding to the farm untill he had a good sized farm at the time of 
his death  I am the youngest child of nine children and the only one 
living  I hays 80 achers of land that my father gave me that he entered 
from the government he rode on horse back to Vincanzes to make the
deed. at the time they only got mail once a week a hack pulled by 
two horses made the trip from Terre Haute to Herom ever other day 
down one day and back to Terre Haute the next and in winter and the roads 
were bad  they stooped and changed horses at a farm house that was 
owned by Hessie Rigs also travelers got their meals there. there 
was where we went to get our mail. I remember hearing my father 
telling of a sick jentle man that was on this stage coach.  that he 
was put off with a man that was taking care of him  the man had a 
contages diseas but was too sick to travel  he died and was burried on
the bluff north of the Dodd school house  my father and a neighbor by the 
name of Mckee made a rough box and took it in talking distance to burry 
him  I remember when I went to school at the old frame school house how 
we children put flowers on the grave  it is marked with a rough stone. 
The frame school house was replaced with a brick and now is not used 
any more 

written by Martha Barnes Conner

(from handwritten note by Martha Barnes Conner, wife of Frank Conner and mother of Garland Conner)

[Note: Martha Ellen (Barnes) Conner died on 16 Feb 1949.  This transcription of the transcription image is by Don Taylor.]

Discussion

I would love to see the original document if Mr. Foulkes or anyone else has it available. Also, I have been unsuccessful in finding information or photos of the Dodd School House. I would be very interested in learning much more about it as well.

Sources

“History by Martha Barnes Conner”
CONTRIBUTED BY Timothy Foulkes to Family Search
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/28314121

Virginia Memory Chancery Records Index

John P. Williams vs Admr of John P. Price – Case: 1836-011

Peter Howell Deposition

Amanuensis Monday

Finding records for ancestors in antebellum Virginia are always a treasure.  One of my favorite record sets is the Chancery Records Index available through Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia.  Although it says it is an index, it is much more.  Not only does it provide a search capability of an index, once you find a record you may also download the original document images. They even provide a batch download of all the images in a set as a ZIP file instead of needing to download all the files one at a time – A very handy feature when a record has 90 images.

I was recently looking for records regarding my wife’s 4th great-grandfather John Price and looked at the Virginia Chancery Records Index for possible information. Sure enough, a search for anyone with the surname Price being the plaintiff in a case between 1779 (when John was 21 years old) and 1840 (a few years after his death). There were 11 records returned and four of them related to a John Price as the plaintiff.

A similar search for Price being the defendant returned 12 records with three of the results relating to the administrator of John Price’s estate being the defendant. With these records, I thought I’d look at the details of the John Price cases to see what might be there.

Woo-hoo! One of the cases includes testimony from Peter Howell, whom I have been searching for information regarding for quite some time.  Would his affidavit show anything new? Here is my transcript of the document.


Image of the Peter Howell Deposition in the John P. Williams vs John P. Price 1839 Virginia Chancery case.
Peter Howell Deposition

Virginia Memory – Chancery Records – John Williams vs. John P Price – Page 0030 – Transcript

The Deposition of Peter Howel of lawful age. Taken agreeable to notice
on Thursday the 31st day of March 1836. At the house of William Newton in
The County of Buckingham, Virginia. to be read as evidence in a certain
Suit defending in the Circuit Superior Court of law and Chancery in
Cumberland County Va on the Chancery side of said Court. In which
John P Williams is Plaintiff and William D. Price as administrator
of John P. Price. deceased, is defendant. This deponent being
duly sworn deposits and saith that I recollect that
Mr. John P Price and Mr. John P William came to my
house sometime between the first and 15th of June
1830 on about that time at which time Mr. Williams
applied to me for [???d] dollars which I owe him
for the reason of an irmaue[?] in the spring of 1829
to his Hames and upon appreciation I present to Mr.
Williams a thirty dollar note it being the smallest
I had at that time Mr. William informed me that
he had no small money and could not change
the note I forwarded in in convergence of which
Mr. Williams turned to Mr. Price and told him
he would leave a receipt with him and get him to collect
the money and after the 16th of June 1830 Mr.
Price told me he was able to change the note I
offered to Mr. Williams I paid him the Money
on the same day and took a receipt
which I have now in my possession and further this
deponent saith not.

Peter Howell

Sworn to transcribed before me this 31st day of April 1836

Benj. D. c Induson[?]


Facts:

  • John P Price and John P Williams came to Peter Howel’s home in June 1830.
  • Peter Howell testified (was living) on 31 March 1836.
  • William Newton lived in Buckingham County in March 1836.
  • William D. Price was the administrator of the estate of John P. Price.

Peter’s deposition doesn’t provide any important new information regarding him or his life. However, there are 90 pages within this Chancery case, and the Peter Howell deposition only provides two of those pages.  There is a lot more to look at and see what I can learn.  There is a deposition from a “William Holman.” I’ll bet this is the William Holman that married Peter Howell’s half-sister?  If so, maybe that will provide fresh new areas of inquiry. There are also several other documents in Virginia Memories Chancery Records that should be reviewed closely. Ninety pages of transcribing hard-to-read 19th-century handwriting is always a chore (for me), but it has the potential of opening new areas of research.

Future Research:

There are some 23 Chancery cases from Cumberland County, Virginia, that might apply to my wife’s Price ancestors; I need to review them and glean any new facts I can find.

Recommendation:

Use Virginia Memory  Chancery Records Index to look for Virginia ancestors who lived in Virginia between 1750 and 1912.  Be sure to check by specific county and/or city to your research processes to avoid searching for information from counties not covered by the index.

 

Blackhurst Family Reunion – 1923

Amanuensis Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I don’t recall ever finding a newspaper article about a family reunion for my direct ancestors. I found an article on Ancestry.Com that mentioned my third great-grandparents, Stephen and Fanny (Taylor) Blackhurst. The article was from 1923. Stephen died in 1869 and Fanny died 1889, so a first family reunion taking place over 50 years after Stephen died and over 35 year after Fanny died was a surprise. It showed the pride the family felt to be a part of each other.  The article was in the August 12, 1923 edition of the Evening Chronicle (Marshall, Michigan).[i]

Transcription

Social News
Reunions
Blackhurst

Evening Chronical (Marshall, MI) 12 Aug 1923

The first annual reunion of the Blackhurst family occurred Sunday at Victory park, Jackson, and was attended by thirty-five members of the family. Descendants of Stephen and Fannie Blackhurst, who came to this country from England, settling first in Auburn, N.Y., and in 1869 coming to Albion which was their home during the remainder of their lives.

Officers were elected during the afternoon following the picnic dinner as follows:

  • President, Mrs Flora Sears of Marshall
  • Vice-President Owen Brownell of Eaton Rapids
  • Secretary and Treasurer, Mrs. E. W. Banks of Albion

The after dinner hours were pleasantly occupied with recitations and speeches by the guests and by the reading of letters and telegrams received from those not able to be present. Relatives and friends were in attendance from Big Rapids, Eaton Rapids, Spring Arbor, Battle Creek, Marshall, Detroit and Albion.

[Note: formatting above is mine.]

Discussion

My research did indicate that the Blackhurst did first settle in Auburn, N.Y. However, they were in Sheridan Township before the 1860 Census.[ii] They were in Auburn during the 1855 New York Census,[iii] so they appear to have moved to Albion between 1855 and 1860 and not in 1869.

People

President Mrs. Flora Sears of Marshall:  I don’t have a clue who that could be.  Apparently from a family line I haven’t traced yet. It is interesting to note that next to the Blackhurst farm near Hall’s Lake was another farm owned by J.W. Sears. Nearby farms also included Sanders, Brownell, and Clough names known to have married into the Blackhurst family.

Vice-President Owen Brownell of Eaton Rapids. Must be Charles Owen Brownell (1870-1962), who was a grandson of Stephen and Fanny.  I learned that he lived in Eaton Rapids in 1923.

Secretary and Treasurer, Mrs. E. W. Banks of Albion, is Phebe Ann (Eslow) a granddaughter of Stephen and Fanny. I learned she lived in Albion in 1923.

In 1923, my 2nd great-grandmother Sarah (Blackhurst) Barber was 76 years old.  In 1920 she was living with my grandmother in New York City. In 1928 she was living with my great-grandmother Ida (Barber) Knight in Detroit. So, Sarah and Ida, could have been there as the “relatives from Detroit.” Donna’s whereabouts are unknown during August 1923 so she could have been there as well. Donna, Ida, and Sarah all lived in Albion at various times so they would have known the people and could well have had a desire to be a part of the first family reunion.

Conclusion

My direct ancestors (Madonna, Ida, and Sarah) left Albion and Calhoun County before 1900, and they never spoke of Blackhursts or Albion. It wasn’t until my research that we learned that Madonna was born in Albion, she always said she was born in Detroit. When queried, my mother and uncle said that Ida was born in Detroit. And neither of them recall ever hearing the surname of Blackhurst in their family history.  That make me wonder what made them apparently abandon the Blackhurst family and totally lose contact.  Maybe I’ll be able to find the Blackhurst Family Reunion of 1923 and learn more.

Albion (MI) Historical Society

There is hope on that front. This article shows many Blackhurst family members remained in Calhoun County and the Albion/Sheridan township area. Their having a family reunion in 1923 is evidence they wanted to keep their family in touch. Albion is about 1-1/2 hours west of Detroit and the Albion Historical Society is open weekends from mother’s day until September. I think it would be a great excursion to visit the Historical Society during my next trip to Detroit and see what they might have.

Sheridan Township (MI) Map showing Blackhurst and related family locations

I wish I lived near Albion. Next door to the Blackhurst farm was a farm owned by J. S. Sears. (Possibly somehow related to Blackhurst Reunion president, Mrs. Flora Sears?) One farm beyond that was a farm owned by T. Sanders. Just south of that a farm by W. Brownell.  It is like half the names of the Blackhurst spouses came from these neighbors.  I would be a fun exercise to look at all of the relationships.

In my wanderings, I have found other people for whom The Blackhurst legacy was a big deal. They spoke about the family going back and forth between Chicago and Albion and sharing stories about when Stephen and Fannie left England and came to America and lived in the “wilderness of Michigan.” Maybe they will share those stories with this black sheep Blackhurst descendant.

Followup

  • Reach out to other Blackhurst researchers.
  • Visit the Albion Historical Society.
    • Research – Any records showing John F. Montran or any Montran surnames.
    • Research – Any records regarding the Blackhurst family of Albion particularly prior to 1900.
  • Determine who Flora Sears of Marshall is and how she related.
  • Do a neighbor study of the Blackhurst family and the relationships of Stephen and Fanny’s children’s spouses.

ENDNOTES/SOURCES

[i] Evening Chronicle (Marshall, MI) (Marshall, Michigan, ), Ancestry.Com, 1923-08-12 – Social News / Reunions / Blackhurst.
[ii] 1860 Census, Family Search, Stephen Blacklin – Sheridon, Calhoun, Michigan – Line 7. Accessed 25 August 2013.  https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MWDJ-W8X.
[iii] 1855 New York Census, Family Search, Stephen Blackhurst – Auburn, Cayuga, New York. Accessed 25 August 2013. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K675-B3M.

Enlistment Papers – Enoch Mannin – 29 Aug 1863

Amanuensis Monday
Brown Research 2017

Transcription by Don Taylor – 28 Jan 2017

[Page 1 of 3]

Mannin, Enoch
Reg’t:  Ky

[Page 2 of 3 – Center (rotated 90 degrees right)]

Enoch Mannin
Volunteered at Olive Hill, KY
August 29 1863 by N. B. Lateral
45 Regiment of Ky vol,

[Page 2 of 3 – Left side]

DECLARATION OF RECRUIT.
Enoch Mannin desiring to volunteer
as a Soldier in the Army of the United States, for the term of one year, Do declare,
That I am forty-four years and ___ months of age;
that I have never been discharged from the United States service on account of disability or by sentence of a
courts-martial, or by order before the expiration of a term of enlistment; and I know of no impediment to my
serving honestly and faithfully as a soldier for one year
given at Olive Hill KY
The 29 day of August
1863

Witness: James Gavin

– Enoch Mannin
Volunteered at Olive Hill, KY

August 29 1863 by N. B. Lateral
45 Regiment of Ky vol,

[Page 3 of 3]

VOLUNTEER ENLISTMENT
STATE OF [EAGLE SEAL] COUNTY OF
Kentucky                                 Carter

I Enoch Mannin born in Bath County
in the State of Kentucky aged Forty Four  years,
and by occupation, a farmer Do hereby acknowledge to have voluteer-
ed the twenty-ninth day of Aug. 1863, to serve as a
soldier in the army of the united States of America, for the period of
one year, unless sooner discharged by proper authority: Do also agree
to accept such bounty, pay, rations, and clothing, as are, or may be, established by law for
volunteers. And I Enoch Mannin do solemnly swear, that
I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America, and that
I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whomsoever;
and that I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the
orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles of War.

Sworn and subscribed to at Olive Hill by
Enoch Mannin
this 29 day of Aug. 1863
Before N B Literal

I CERTIFY, ON HONOR, That I have carefully examined the above named Volunteer, agreeably to
the General Regulations of the Army, and that in my opinion his is free from all bodily defects and mental
infirmity, which would, in any way, disqualify him from performing the duties of a soldier.

Joseph Ghobue
Examining Surgeon

I CERTIFY, ON HONOR, That I have minutely inspected the Volunteer Enoch Mannin
previously to his enlistment, and that is was entirely sober when enlisted; that, to the best of my judgement
and belief, he is of lawful age; and that in accepting him as duly qualified to perform the duties of an able-
bodied soldier, I have strictly observed the Regulations which govern the recruiting service. This soldier has
Black eyes, Black hair, dark complexion is 5 feet 6 inches high.

N. B. Literal
45 Regiment Kentucky Volunteers,
Recruiting Officer