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.


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.


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.


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 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


  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.









Vinson/Vincent line of Halifax, NN

Researching the Vinson/Vincent line of Halifax, North Carolina

Howell-Darling-2017 Research
Howell/Vinson/Vincent Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

Getting to know ancestors that lived before 1850 is always difficult. The census records before 1880 do not include relationships and census records before 1850 only include the name of the head of the household. Because of that, it is really difficult to know all the names and to learn all the relationships. It isn’t a wall, but certainly researching families before 1850 can feel like a closed road.  For me, my wife’s third great-grandfather, Burkett Vinson is such a person.  He shows up once in the 1840 Census with a small household of five individuals. After a frustrating time trying to find more about him, I decided to do a name/location study regarding his surname in his location. Such a study can help associate people into relationships and can help reduce errors.

Using Family Search, I searched the 1850 Census for surname Vinson in Halifax, North Carolina. The system returned six results from two families. Both were new to my research:

  • Littleberry Vinson, Age 34, his apparent wife, an apparent daughter, Laura, and an apparent son Robert.[i]
  • Robert Vinson, Age 30, and his apparent wife, Martha.[ii]

Next, I enter the information into my software, (I currently use Family Tree Maker 3.1.) documenting my sources very carefully.

Besides the obvious family units I’ve discovered, it was also interesting to learn many of the little nuances of the individual’s lives. For example, Littleberry Vinson distinguished himself in testing at Brinkleyville Academy in 1831[iii]. He became a lawyer. Then, in 1840, he toasted vice presidential candidate John Tyler for devotion to Republican principals and support of the Constitution. That article’s use of “Esqr.” confirms that Littleberry was a lawyer. His toast suggests his political affiliation indicating that Littleberry Vinson was likely a Whig.[iv] (Harrison and Tyler ran on a Whig party ticket. Also, today’s Republican Party wasn’t established until 1854.)

Unfortunately, my experience researching this family is that Vincent and Vinson were used interchangeably depending upon the ear of the person hearing the name. Sadly, a search for “Vincent” yielded another 13 results and three new previously unknown households.

  • John Vincent, Age 32, with his apparent wife, Leonora, and three daughters, Virginia, Elizabeth, and Susan. Also in the household is a 30-year-ood Eliza Beasley. (These were my wife’s ancestor family. John is my wife’s 2nd great-grandfather and Susan is her great-grandmother.) [v]
  • Elizabeth Vincent, Age 64 with a 25-year-old Nancy Vincent in the household.  (This would be the wife and daughter of the deceased Burkett Vinson.)[vi]

New Households:

  • Michael Vincent, age 27, his apparent wife and an apparent son, Walter.[vii]
  • James Vincent, Age 19 & John Vincent, Age 16[viii]
  • Phil Vincent in the household of James Snow.[ix]

Of course, all the “apparent” relationships above are guesses. I’ll add that, because of the ages, I’ll guess that James and John (ages 19 & 16) were brothers.

Next, I need to expand upon these Vincent families and understand how they fit into the larger picture.


[i] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Littleberry Vinson – Halifax, North Carolina. See: 1850 Census – Lettleberry Vinson – Halifax, North Carolina.pdf.

[ii] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Robert Vinson – Halifax, North Carolina.

[iii] Roanoke Advocate (Halifax, NC) · 1831-11-24 · Page 2 – Various Vinsons achieve honors (

[iv] Roanoke Advocate and States Rights Banner  ((Halifax, NC), ), Newspapers.Com, 1840-07-29 · Page 4 – Volunteer Toasts – Littleberry Vinson

[v] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – John Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina.

[vi] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Elizabeth Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina.

[vii] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Michael Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina.

[viii] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – James Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina.

[ix] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Phil Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina.

19 – Elnora Busby Vincent – (c.1818 – bef.1900)

This week I write about 2nd Great Grandmother Elnora Busby Vincent, who’s child, Susan R. Vincent/Vinson married Peter Fletcher Howell. 

Elnora Busby[1] (aka Ellenior Busbee) has a confusing birthdate. It is possible she was born about 1818 in Halifax County, North Carolina; however, it is more likely she was born in 1825 or 1826 in Nansemond, Virginia. United States)[2],[3]. The census records are conflicting. The 1850 Census indicates her name as Lenora, age 32 born in Virginia, but the 1860 and 1870 Censuses suggest she was born in 1825 or 1826.  Her parents are unknown. 
Some records indicate the Busby surname may have been spelled Busbee sometimes.
1850 Census – Leanora
via Family Search
In the 1850 Census, “Lenora” is 32 and living with her husband and first three children. 
In the 1860 Census, “Ellenior” is 35.  The change in name from Lenora and the 7 year change in age makes me think that Lenora and Ellenior might be two different people and that John married again between 1850 and 1860. I have found records for two children which indicate that Elnora is their mother. I have not, however, found birth records for any of the children born before the 1850 Census, so I’m not convinced that Lenora and Elnora are two separate individuals, yet, but I expect that to be the case.
1860 Census – Ellenior
Via Ancestry.Com


Marriage : She, presumably, married John Vincent, the son of Burkett and Elizabeth Vincent sometime before the birth of their first child Virginia in 1844. 
The Vincent surname is somewhat problematic as it appears to have been interchanged often with Vinson in several records. As such, I consider Vinson to be a variation of Vincent.


Child #1: Virginia was born between 2 Jun 1844 and on 1st Jun 1845 in Halifax County, North Carolina. She died on 20 May 1923 in Faucett, Halifax County at age 77, at least. She has no known descendants.
Child #2: Elizabeth Vincent was born between on 2 Jun 1846 and on 1st Jun 1847 in  Halifax, North Carolina, United States). She had no known descendants.
Child #3: Susan R Vincent was born about 1847 in Halifax County, North Carolina. She died on 1st Mar 1910 in North Carolina, aged about 63. She married Peter Fletcher  Howell on 10 December 1866. She had 7 children: Anna, John, Augusta, Martha, James, David and G.
Child #4: James W  Vincent was born between 2 Jun 1851 and on 1 Jun 1852 in Halifax County, North Carolina. He has no known descendants.
Child #5: Benjamin J Vincent was born about 1855 in Halifax County, North Carolina. He died on 3 July 1931 in Roanoke Rapids (Halifax, North Carolina, United States), aged about 76. He married Bettie [Unknown], next he married Sally. He had one known child: Georgin[?].
Child #6: Joseph Burkett Vincent was born between on 2 Jun 1857 and on 1st Jun 1858 in Halifax County, North Carolina. He died on 31 Aug 1917 in Roanoke Rapids, Halifax County, North Carolina aged 59, at least. He had no known descendants.
Child #7: Ellen B  Vincent was born between 2 Jun 1860 and 1 Jun 1861 in Halifax County, North Carolina. She married Wanick S  Hockaday. She had 2 children: Nathe and Alice.
Child #8: There may be an eighth child born to John and Elnor, Jennie. 

 Census Records

Seamore [Lanora]
via Family Search 
         Census : On 1st Jun 1860 she lived near Weldon, in the Western District, Halifax County, North Carolina with her husband, five children, and what appears to be her mother-in-law. [4],[5],[6],[7]
1880 Census – Elnora
via Ancestry.Com
Census : On 1st Jun 1870 she lived near Weldon, in Halifax County, North Carolina with her five children,.  Her husband has apparently passed away by then as his is not present in the household. [8],[9],[10],[11]
Census : On 1st Jun 1880, the widow Vincent lived near Weldon, Halifax County, North Carolina, with three of her children and a son-in-law.[12],[13]


There are no other references to Elnora in later census records, so it is presumed she died before 1900; (There was no 1890 Census Record.) however, I have been unable to find a definitive death record.

TIMELINE of Elnora Busby Vincent
About 1818 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
About 1825 – Usa (North Carolina)
Between 2 Jun 1826 and 1 Jun 1827 – ? (Nansemond, Virginia, United States)
Birth of her child Virginia  Vinson
Between 2 Jun 1844 and 1 Jun 1845 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her child Virginia  Vinson
9 February 1845 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her daughter Elizabeth  Vinson
Between 2 Jun 1846 and 1 Jun 1847 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her daughter Susan R  Vinson
About 1847 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her daughter Susan R  Vinson
22 Aug 1848 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her daughter Susan R  Vinson
22 Aug 1848
Census (Participant)
1 Jun 1850 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her son James W  Vincent
Between 2 Jun 1851 and 1 Jun 1852 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her son James W  Vincent
Between 2 Jun 1852 and 1 Jun 1853 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her son Benjamin J Vincent
About 1855 – Halifax County,USA – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her son Joseph Burkett Vincent
Between 2 Jun 1857 and 1 Jun 1858 – Usa (North Carolina)
Census (Participant)
1 Jun 1860 – Western District,USA – Weldon (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her daughter Ellen B  Vincent
Between 2 Jun 1860 and 1 Jun 1861 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her daughter Ellen B  Vincent
1862 – Usa (North Carolina)
Marriage of her daughter Susan R  Vinson with Peter Fletcher  Howell
10 December 1866 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Death of her spouse John Vincent
Before 1870
Census (Participant)
1 Jun 1870 – USA – Weldon (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Census (Participant)
1 Jun 1880 – Weldon (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Death of her daughter Susan R  Vinson
1 Mar 1910 – Usa (North Carolina)
Death of her son Joseph Burkett Vincent
31 Aug 1917 – Roanoke Rapids (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)


[1] Note: Benjaman Vincent’s Death Certificate indicated mother as Elnora Busby.   In the 1850 Census an Eliza Beasley, age 30 is also living with               bly a sister. In the 1860 Census Ellenior is 35.  The change in name from Lenora and the 7 year change in age make me think that Lenora and Ellenior are two different people and that John married a again between 1850 and 1860.
[2] Note: John Vincent – Age 33 – Farmer – Property value $50 – Born Halifax County. Lenora – 32 – Born Halifax County Virginia – 5 – Born Halifax County  Elizabeth – 3 – Born Halifax County Susan – 1 – Born Halifax County Eliza Beasley – 30 – Born Halifax County – Could not read &amp; write.  — Family 637 — Elizabeth Vincent – Age 64 – Born Halifax County Nancy – Age 25 – Born Halifax County – Could not read &amp; write.
[3] Source: 1850 Census / John Vincent  – Family Search (Other)
[4] Cause/Information: Census
[5] Note: Farmer – Real Estate Value: $800 – Personal Estate Value $538 – Cannot Read & Write.
[6] Mentioned: John Vincent (Participant), 43  , Head – Farmer -Real Estate Value: $800 – Personal Estate Value $538 – Cannot Read & Write. – Elnora Busby (Participant), 35  , Seamstress. – Virginia  Vinson (Participant), 14  , Attending School – Susan R  Vinson (Participant), 12  , Attending School – James W  Vincent (Participant), 8  , Attending School – Benjamin J Vincent (Participant), 5  , Attending School – Joseph Burkett Vincent (Participant), 2   – Elizabeth  (vinson) (Participant), 75 
[7] Source: 1860 Census / John Vinson – Family Search (Other)
[8] Cause/Information: Census
[9] Note: Farmer, Property value: $1,800, Personal Property value: $600, Born in Virginia.
[10] Mentioned: Elnora Busby (Participant), 43   – Elizabeth  Vinson (Participant), 23  , Keeping House – James W  Vincent (Participant), 17  , Farm Labor – Benjamin J Vincent (Participant), 14  , Farm Labor – Joseph Burkett Vincent (Participant), 12  , At Home – Ellen B  Vincent (Participant), 9  , At Home
[11] Source: 1870 Census / Lanore Vincent – Family Search (Other)
[12] Cause/Information: Census
[13] Mentioned: Elnora Busby (Participant), 50  , Widowed – Farmer – Benjamin J Vincent (Participant), 25  , Working Farm – Joseph Burkett Vincent (Participant), 21  , Working Farm – Ellen B  Vincent (Participant), 18  , At Home – Wanick S  Hockaday (Participant), 18  , Married – Working Farm

————-  DISCLAIMER  ————-      

Susan R. Vinson Howell (1848-1910)

Source cleanup for Susan R. Vincent 
Sometimes you know that you have done wrong. I had a lot of information regarding Susan R. Vincent/Vinson and as I looked at her information I saw that many of my sources were missing and were cited poorly in other cases. Much of what I had was done on Ancestry years ago and the citations pointed to Ancestry.Com, but didn’t have enough detail for someone without access to my Family Tree Maker or without access to my tree on Ancestry to access find the information. Not good. So, I decided to clean up my sources and make sure that they stand on their own. I left the links that Ancestry puts in to the source document but I also added a copy of the document into the attached media. I set the media to “private” because I don’t care to have my copies of the data uploaded back to Ancestry. I really hate it when I do a search on someone and the search results include other people’s copies of census pages. I also wish that Ancestry wouldn’t return things I’ve posted in my searches, or I wish that at least they’d give me a button to turn that off. So anyway, for Susan I cleaned up my sources, changed my preferred name for her from Vincent to Vinson, and did some more research to add a bit more detail into what I know about her life.

Bio – Susan R. Vinson Howell (1848-1910)

No Story too Small 

Susan R Vinson was the third child of John and Lenora Busbee (possibly Beasley) Vinson in Halifax County, North Carolina, on 22 August 1848.[i] The only source for this date is her grave marker, however, the date is consistent with the 1850, 1860, and 1900 Census records. I have been unable to find her or her husband Peter F. Howell in the 1870 Census. The 1880 Census indicates that she was 33 and she should have been 31 at that census date. I believe this to just be an error in that census.

In the 1850 Census, she and her family were listed with the surname “Vincent” and were living in Halifax County, North Carolina. The 1850 Census does not describe relationships, however, it appears that their family consisted of both her parents, her siblings, Virginia and Elizabeth, and an aunt, Eliza Beasley. It also appears that her grandmother Elizabeth Vincent (Vinson) and another aunt, Nancy Vincent (Vinson) lived next door. Her father was farming the land.[ii]

Halifax County
Courtesy: Wikimedia

There is a name change for her mother in the 1860 Census, from Lenora to Ellenior [Eleanor?] and a change in birth years from c. 1818 to c. 1825, which indicates to me a different wife. There is also a four-year gap between Susan and her next younger brother, James. Because of this, I believe that Susan had a stepmother and the rest of her siblings were half siblings. The 1860 Census also indicates the family surname as Vinson and that they were living in the “Western District,” Halifax County. (Again note the 1860 Census does not indicate relationships within the household.) Their post office was Weldon, which probably was the closest town.

I am sure that the Civil War was a difficult time for a young teenage girl. Shortly after the war, on 10 Dec 1866, the 18 year old young woman married Peter Fletcher Howell. Peter was a CSA Veteran who, although from Halifax County, had joined up in Virginia to be part of Virginia’s 61st Infantry Regiment. As might be expected, 10 months later they had their first child, Anna Lee [or Annalee] on 8 October 1867.

(I have been unable to find the family in the 1870 Census.)

There is a six-year gap between Anna Lee and John D. That would make me think that there may have been another child born to Susan between 1868 and 1872, however, the 1900 Census indicates that she had five children all of whom are living. So, now I am really confused because I’m pretty sure that she had seven children.

Snapshot of 1900 Census showing Susan R Howell as having 5 Children

Anna Lee         8 Oct 1867
John D              about 1873
Augusta            about 1875
Martha F           about 1877
James D            2 Sep 1879
David B            3 Oct 1881
G. C.                 — Feb 1884

I speculate, that she had more than the five children noted in the 1900 census and that she actually had eight children, three of whom had passed before 1900. I certainly need to do more research to prove this speculation.

During the 1880 Census, they are living in Faucetts [Faucett] Halifax County, North Carolina, USA. Susan is keeping house for Peter and their first five children.[iii] In 1886, her oldest daughter, Anna Lee was married.

(There is no 1890 Census, so we aren’t sure where the Howells were then.)

In 1892, Susan had mail that was unclaimed at the Weldon Post Office.[iv] I believe this is evidence that the Howells moved to Conocondy [Conoconnara] township before 1892. Certainly, they are in Conocondy during the 1900 Census.[v]

Her son, David Bushrod Howell, was married on 26 December 1907.

Marker for Susan R Vinson
wife of P. F. Howell
Courtesy: Find a Grave

Susan R Vinson Howell died in her home in Tillery (which is Connoconnara township) the night of 28 Feb 1910,[vi] probably sometime after midnight early in the morning of March 1st.[vii] Her body was shipped by train from Tillery to Weldon[viii] (approximately 17 miles). Her funeral was “held at the Baptist Church,” conducted by pastor, Rev. J. G. Blalock.[ix] Today there are four Baptist Churches in Weldon. Further research is necessary to determine which church the funeral was held at. Interment was at Cedarwood cemetery.[x]

Susan R Vinson Howell led a simple life. She was the daughter of a Halifax County farmer, married a Civil War veteran who farmed the land in Halifax County after the war, She had fat least five and probably 8 children, and died at age 61 in Halifax County as simple farmer’s wife.

List of Greats

Susan A Vinson
John Vincent

Things to do

Search for a timely and/or primary source for Susan’s birth.
Research Susan R. Vinson Howell’s children closely for a missing 8th child and for the deaths of several of the children before 1900.
Research which of the Baptist Churches Susan’s funeral was held at.


[i] FInd-A-Grave,
Memorial# 82126013 – Susan R Vinson Howell.
[ii] 1850 United States
Federal Census Ancestry.Com,
1850; Census Place:  , Halifax, North
Carolina; Roll: M432_633; Page: 34A; Image: 73.
[Family 636   – John Vincent
[iii] 1880 United States
Federal Census, Ancestry.Com,
1880; Census
Place: Faucetts, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 966; Family
History Film: 1254966; Page: 627C; Enumeration
District: 137; Image: 0720. Family 175.
[iv] Roanoke News
(Weldon, NC, ), Newspapers.Com, 1892-04-28, Pg 5
–  Unclaimed Letters.
[v] 1900 United States
Federal Census, Ancestry.Com, 1900; Census
Place: Conocondy, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 1199; Page: 2B; Enumeration
District: 0027; FHL microfilm: 1241199. Howell, P. F.
[vi] Roanoke News
(Weldon, NC, ), Newspapers.Com, 1910-03-03, Pg 3
– P. F. Howell.
[vii] FInd-A-Grave,
Memorial# 82126013 – Susan R Vinson Howell.
[viii] Roanoke News
(Weldon, NC, ), Newspapers.Com, 1910-03-03, Pg 3
– P. F. Howell.
[x] FInd-A-Grave,
Memorial# 82126013 – Susan R Vinson Howell.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – Disclaimer – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Life and Travels of Peter Howell by Himself

This week I began research on the Howell Family Tree (my wife’s).  I had very little on her grandfather, a bit more on his father (who was in the Civil War) and very little about his father Peter Howell.

Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, her grandfather, went by his initials most of the time. I knew he was a Baptist preacher in North Carolina. So I started searching Baptist records in North Carolina just searching for “Howell” and not his first name, nor his initials, just “Howell.”  Suddenly a WOW!  Up popped a book, “The Life and Travels of Peter Howell”.  My wife’s great and her 2nd great grandfathers were both named Peter Howell.  Could this be the same Peter Howell.  Found the book was at a library in Raleigh reference section.  I then searched around for the title elsewhere and found it at, which is a must site for your searches.  I downloaded the files and began to read.  It was the right one, born 1805, married to Caroline Pankey, lived in Virginia…. it was the right Peter Howell.

The first page was a bit of a disappointment, he mentions his birthdate (which we didn’t have before) but not his parent’s names.  He spent his adult life as an itinerant preacher. He traveled from town to town preaching in people’s homes, at court houses, at Methodist and Baptist churches, even on occasion at quaker meeting halls, masonic temples and a Catholic Church. He walked almost everywhere putting on over two thousand miles walking in one year preaching at hundreds of places.  He describes town, buildings, such as the Virginia and North Carolina State Houses, as well as places like Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.  He mentions churches,  and most importantly people throughout his travels. Sadly, he mentions very little about his personal life or his family, but the book does provide a wonderful insight into the life of a itinerate preacher of the 1840’s.

He seldom ever mentions his two daughters.  He does correct one name Lousianna (I had Laurana previously) but never mentions the name of his second son nor his second daughter. He confirmed the name of his first son and, in the book, corrects the name I had for his youngest child.  More importantly, he provides county information for his parents, marriage information for a sister, and the names and living locations for a couple brothers that I had no information about.

It took many hours to go through the book, determine genealogically interesting information, and incorporate them and the source references into my tree.  

Of course one of the greatest finds in the book was a drawing of the author, Peter Howell (b. 1805).