Transcription of Will: Annie D. (Long) Hobbs

There have been many articles and blogs regarding the newly available Ancestry.Com Wills and Probate Records. I thought I would give it a try. My goal was to find wills for my Howell/Hobbs project. The Hobbs family lived in Martin County for many years so I decided to search for the surname “Hobbs” in Martin County, North Carolina. I immediately found two that were appropriate for my research. The first one was regarding Mary-Alice’s great-grandmother, Annie Deborah Long Hobbs.

In reading through the will, I was surprised that I didn’t learn anything new, only confirmation of other facts I had known. For example, I knew that four of James Ashley and Annie D. Hobbs’ nine children were alive in 1913 and the will and probate records confirm that. Had I not already had that information, the will and probate record would have been invaluable.

It is interesting, however, to note that Annie indicated she was in “feeble health,” because she signed the will the day before she died.

Amanuensis Monday

Transcription of Will: Annie D. (Long) Hobbs (1846-1913) 16 May 1913
North Carolina}
Martin County}

I, Annie D. Hobbs, of the state and county aforesaid, being of sound mind and memory, and being in feeble health do hereby make and declare this to be my last will and testament.

Item 1.   I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary L Howell my state Bond of Five Hundred Dollars.

Item 2.   I give and devise to my daughter Annie Armstrong, my son’s, Roland R. Hobbs and James F. Hobbs, the sum of one Hundred Dollars each.

Item 3.   I give and devise to my sister, Mary F. Long the sum of One Hundred Dollars.

Item 4.   At my death, after paying all necessary expenses of my funeral and the purchase of a lot in the Cemetery at Hamilton as near the burial lot of my aunt, Arrista Bryan as can be purchased, The residue of my estate I give and devise to my beloved husband, J. A. Hobbs for his use and benefit during his life and at his death the same shall be equally divided among my four children, R.R & J. F. Hobbs, Annie Armstrong and Mary L Howell share and share alike.

Item 5.   I hereby constitute and appoint my beloved husband J. A. Hobbs, my lawful executor of this my last will and

 [page break]

testament to execute the conditions of the same. In testimony of which I hereto set my hand and seal this 16th day of May 1913.

Annie D Hobbs (her mark) (her Seal)


Sealed, signed & declared by Annie D. Hobbs to be her last will and testament, in our presence who at her request and in her presence and in the presence of each other subscribed our names as attesting witnesses thereto.
This May 16-1913

        R. J. Peel
A. S. Frassell. [?? name is unclear]

Notes from the Order Papers:

The will was probated in Washington County, although Annie was “late of Martin County.”

EXECUTOR’S OATH was signed by J. A. Hobbs on 20 June 1913.

PROBABE OF WILL – Received and accepted on 20 June 1913.

Application for Letters Testamentary posted 20 June 1913 identified estate worth $600.00 and Parties entitled to property include: Annie F Armstrong, Mary L Howell, R R Hobbs J. F Hobbs, Mary A. Long and J A Hobbs.

Source: North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts., North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,, Martin County Wills, Ca. 1663-1978; Estate Papers, 1831-1916; Index to Estate Records, 1831-1916; Author:North Carolina. Superior Court (Martin County); Probate Place: Martin, North Carolina.

100 Years ago – The Howells of North Carolina.

James Dallas Howell – c.1905
Source: The Howler

James Dallas Howell (1789-1964) & Mary Lillian Hobbs (1885-1964)

In 1915, James Dallas Howell and his wife, Mary Lillian (nee Hobbs) were living in Clarkton, Bladen County, North Carolina. The household consisted of the couple and their two oldest sons, three year-old James Dallas Howell, Jr. and one year-old Ashley Long Howell. James was 36 years-old and Lillian, was 30.

Rev. Howell was a minister at Pastor at Clarkton Baptist Church. 

Internationally, the “Great War” was in full swing in Europe but the United States was still natural. Germany began “unrestricted” submarine war and German mines sunk two US ships, the SS Carib on February 23rd, resulting in 3 lives lost, and the SS Evelyn sunk on February 19th with 1 life lost.[1]

Local sports highlighted the local newspapers of the day. An upset of the Freshman basketball team over the Sophomore basketball in a 12 to 10 contest was the top story in the Daily Tar Hill newspaper Feb 25, 1915. It is so hard for me to comprehend a basketball game with a final score of 12 to 10. How times have changed. Also on the front page of the paper, Virginia beat Carolina 43-26 the previous Thursday. [2]  An ad for Velvet Tobacco, touted the tobacco as being satisfaction in either corn cobb or meerschaum pipes, giving testimony that Velvet made everyone equal regardless of economic class.[3]

Clipping of an Advertisement for Velvet pipe tobacco.
Advertisement: Velvet Tobacco
Source: The Daily Tar Heel
Feb 25, 1915 · Page 2
Via Newspapers.Com   

James’ father, Peter Fletcher Howell,  was alive, living about 175 miles away in Weldon, Halifax County, NC. His mother had passed in 1910.

Likewise, Mary Lillian’s father, James Ashley Hobbs, was alive, living about 185 miles away in Williamston, Martin County, NC, but her mother had passed away also (in 1913).

I have a lot of research to do regarding both James’ and Mary’s siblings. I know that one James’ sisters, Anna Lee Boseman and one of his brothers, David Bushrod Howell were alive. I don’t know if his other two brothers, John D, and G. C., were alive. Nor do I know if his other two sisters, Augusta E, and Martha F. were alive.

Of Lillian’s eight siblings, three, Annie Elizabeth (Hobbs) Armstrong, Rolland Rivers Hobbs, and James Floyd Hobbs were living. Four are known to have died before 1915, George Samuel, Mattie D. Mary Emolyn, and Fannie Hobbs. I don’t know the status of her eighth known sibling, Charles Leon Hobbs .

Mary Lillian Hobbs
Source: Flikr: Debby Ziegler

Further Research:

Determine Vital information for James Dallas Howell’s siblings:

John D Howell
G. C. Howell
Augusta E. Howell
Martha F. Howell

Determine Vital information for Mary Lillian Hobbs’ [Howell] oldest sibling:

Charles Leon Hobbs


[3] The
Daily Tar Heel (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) – Feb 25, 1915 · Page 2, – Newspapers.Com

————- DISCLAIMER ————-

James Ashley Hobbs (1843-1920)

James Ashley Hobbs (1843-1920)

James Ashley Hobbs was probably born in October 1843.  The 1850 and 1870 Censuses indicate he was 6
and 26 at the times of the two censuses. The 1880 and 1910 censuses infer that
his was born in 1844 and the 1900 Census clearly indicates he was born October
1844. Additionally, when James enlisted in the CSA in December of 1862 he
indicated his age was 20, suggesting an 1842 birth year. Because the 1850 and
1870 censuses are closer to the event, I believe that 1843 is more likely
correct. Martin County Heritage does
suggest James Ashley Hobbs was born in 1841, however the entry includes a
question mark, does not cite sources, and is not corroborated by any other
sources. Because of that, I discount the birthdate in Martin County Heritage.

All entries are consistent with his being born in North
Carolina. In 1840, his parents were living in Beaufort County, North Carolina[1]; in
1850, he and his parents were living in Martin County, North Carolina[2]. Therefore,
it isn’t clear exactly where in North Carolina he was born.
James was the sixth child of eight children born to George
W. and M. Hobbs, although it appears that two of his older siblings died before
he was born.

Civil War Service – CSA

North Carolina Civil War Flag
James enlisted in the 41st Regiment (Cavalry) sometime
before October 1862 when he transferred to Company G[3].  In September, 1963, he transferred to the 17th
Regiment – NC Troops (2nd Organization) Company A – Roanoke Guards[4]. In
December, 1963, he was admitted to Hospital No. 4. In Wilmington, South
Carolina. He was there until 3 February 1864, when he was returned to duty in
Hamilton, Martin County, North Carolina[5]. We
also know he was issued clothing on 21 June 1864[6].
After the war, James married Annie Deborah Long on 16 May
1866 in Hamilton, Martin County, North Carolina[7]. The
young family located to Temperance, Amherst County, Virginia where their first
three children, Charles Leon, George Samuel, and Annie Elizabeth were
born.  Then about 1873 they moved back to
North Carolina and lived in Palmyra, Halifax County where James was a merchant.
While in Palmyra, daughters Mattie D. and Mary Emolyn (Emily) were born[8]
About 1878 the family moved back to Martin County and lived
in Hamilton where James was a Farmer, carpenter, & captain on a steam boat
on the Roanoke River. 1878 also saw the birth of their sixth child, Roland
Rivers Hobbs.
Sometime before 1880 they lost their second child, George.
1881, 1883, and 1885 saw the births of three more children, James Floyd, Fanny,
and Mary Lillian Hobbs.[9]

In 1890, their oldest daughter, 18 year-old Annie Elizabeth
Hobbs married Frank Alton Armstrong. Sometime before 1896 two of their
daughters, Mattie and Mary Emolyn, died. While living in Hamilton, James was a
member of the Masons and attended the Methodist Church[10].
Martin County Courthouse, Williamston, North Carolina
Photo by J. Stephen Conn
James Ashley Hobbs was Clerk of Court from 1896 until 1914
In 1896, James was elected Clerk of Court for the Superior
Court of Martin County, North Carolina and the family moved to Williamston and
rented a house on Main Street. Clerk of Court is a prestigious position and one
he held until 1914[11].
In 1903 his daughter Fannie died[12].
In 1910, his daughter Mary Lillian Hobbs married James
Dallas Howell[13].
In 1913, his wife of 47 years passed away[14].
James was said to be a quiet person, he raised a fine
garden, and kept the place in first class shape. He read to his grandchildren
the continued stories in the “Youth’s Companion” and “Comfort.”[15]
James continued living in Williamston until his death in
1920. He died while in Hobgood, Halifax County, North Carolina. Both he and his
wife are buried in the cemetery in Hamilton.[16]


James Ashley Hobbs had a grandson (daughter Mary Lillian
Hobbs Howell’s) son name Ashley.

He also had a great-grandson, (Son – James Floyd Hobbs’ son
– James Floyd Hobbs’, son – James Ashley Hobbs) named after him.

Further Actions:

Find James Ashley Hobbs in the 1860 Census. (unsuccessful
in Ancestry.Com and Family
Further research James Ashley Hobbs’s contribution
to the Civil War and the actions of his companies. (Lots of things on Fold 3 to
Find, document, and photograph James and Annie’s burial
location. (Not seeing on Find-a-Grave) 

List of Greats

1.    James Ashley
George W.

[1] 1840 Census,, 1840; Washington, Beaufort, North
Carolina; Roll: 355; Page: 268; Image: 546; Family History Library Film:
[2] 1850 Census,, Year: 1850; Census Place: Martin,
North Carolina; Roll: M432_636; Page: 403B; Image: 443.
[3] James H. McCallum,
Martin County during the Civil War
Including a Roster of Troups from Martin County (:  Martin County Historical Society, 1971), Page
[4] James H. McCallum,
Martin County during the Civil War
Including a Roster of Troups from Martin County (:  Martin County Historical Society, 1971), Page
[5] Hughes, S. J. N.,
& Martin County Historical Society (N.C.), Martin County Heritage
(Williamston, NC, Martin County Historical Society, 1980), Article # 418
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[11] Francis M. Manning
and W. H. Booker, Martin County History – Vol. 1 (Williamston, N.C., Enterprise
Publishing Company, 1977), Page 188-189.
[12] Hughes, S. J. N.,
& Martin County Historical Society (N.C.), Martin County Heritage
(Williamston, NC, Martin County Historical Society, 1980), Article # 418 –
James Ashley Hobbs
[13] North Carolina,
Marriages, 1759-1979, Family Search, J. D. Howell & Mary Lillian Hobbs –
Accessed 2013-12-07.
[14] Hughes, S. J. N.,
& Martin County Historical Society (N.C.), Martin County Heritage
(Williamston, NC, Martin County Historical Society, 1980), Article # 418 –
James Ashley Hobbs

Bio – Mary Lillian Hobbs (Howell) (1885 – bef 1964)

52 Ancestors # 12 – Mary Lillian Hobbs (Howell) (1885-1964)

Sometimes one simple fact, one vital fact, can be incredibly difficult to trace down. This is the case for the death of Mary Lillian Hobbs Howell. From her husband’s death certificate I’ve learned that she preceded him in death but I have been unable to find her in any of the death records or indexes. I’m not seeing her death on Ancestry, Family Search, Mocavo, Vital Records, Genealogy Bank, or Family recollection indicates that died in the Washington, DC area (Virginia, Maryland, or the District).  I’ve contacted several relatives and received several “don’t know” responses. Several others that I’ve attempted to contact have been completely silent (non-responsive to my emails). And sadly enough, when I tried to contact several others that I thought would definitely know for certain, in the process of trying to contact them I learned of their passing.

I recall seeing something once but figured I’d find it again. That perceived missed opportunity has prompted me to use Evernote to help organize and track such findings. I use Chrome as my browser for genealogical work for several reasons. One of them is the very handy plugin, Evernote Web Clipper, which allows you to capture a web page into Evernote with just a couple clicks. Click the button, decide which format you want to save the item in – Usually simplified web for me, but article text, full page, and highlighted text are also options. Decide which folder to put it in and apply any tags to the file as appropriate. I usually put it into my “Action Genea” folder and tag the file with the individual’s name. I can then later go through my “Action Genea” folder, process the information into my Ancestry Family Tree for Mac tree, and then file the record into an appropriate Research folder, in this case it would have been my “Howell-Hobbs” folder.

Using Evernote as the foundation of collecting and organizing my research has revolutionized my work process. If you haven’t tried Evernote, give it a try.

Bio – Mary Lillian Hobs (Howell)

Mary Hobbs
Thanks to Debby Ziegler & Flickr

Mary Lillian Hobbs was born 28 March, 1885 in Hamilton, Martin County, North Carolina. She was the youngest of 10 children born to James Ashley Hobbs and Ann Debora Long.

She grew up in Hamilton and in 1898 her father was elected clerk of court for Martin County so the family moved to the county seat, Williamston. The 1900 census reports living in a house with her father, mother, older brother James Floyd Hobbs and attending school. The 1910 census shows her still at home with her father and mother.

She married James Dallas Howell on April 27th, 1910, in Williamston.

Her mother lived long enough to see her youngest daughter have her first child, James Dallas Howell, Jr. on December 31st, 1911. Her mother died in May 1913. In September, 1913, she gave birth to a second son, Ashley Long.

It must have been a difficult time as her husband was a Baptist minister which caused her to move many times. In 1916, her third son, Frank Armstrong Howell, was born in Brown Marsh, Bladen County. A fourth son, Clarence Fletcher Howell, was born in 1918 in Beulaville, Duplin County.

The 1920 Census reports Mary living in Plymouth, Washington county with her husband and her four sons. Her father died later in the year at Hobgood, Martin county.

Finally, in 1925, while living in Onslow county, she gave birth to a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Howell.

The 1930 Census shows the entire family together, Mary, her Baptist preacher husband, her four sons and one daughter renting a house in Ansonville, Anson County,

Mary Lillian Howell

In the 1940 Census, her husband J. D., as he was often called, was still preaching and their two youngest children, Clarence and Mary Elizabeth were still living with them.

I don’t know when, or even where, Mary Lillian died. It was was before her husband died in 1964. I have been unable to find her in any death indexes not a record of her burial.

This week is the 129th anniversary of her birth; we remember Mary Lillian Hobbs Howell and her life…

Further Research
Determine Mary’s death date and place.
Research more of James Dallas Howell ministry and see if there are any mentions of her in church bulletins, etc.

Ancestry.Com – 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 Censuses.
Martin County Heritage published 1980 by The Martin County Historical Society
Maryland, Dept. of Health, Death Certificate, James Dallas Howell – 2 Sep 1979 – 18 Dec 1964
North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979, Family Search, J. D. Howell & Mary Lillian Hobbs – Accessed 2013-12-07.