Census Fact vs. Residence Fact — Caroline M. A. Pankey Howell (1811-?)

By – Don Taylor
Census Fact vs. Residence Fact

I was recently reading the Genea Musings Blog by Randall J. Seaver where someone asked him why he uses “Census Fact” instead of other categories of Residence, Occupation, and other facts. His response got me to thinking. Why do I use Residence, Occupation, and Education facts instead of “Census Fact?” I came to the conclusion it was mostly because when Ancestry.com creates a fact based upon a census record it automatically makes the fact a Residence Fact. Afterwards I typically add Occupation, Education, and other facts based upon what I think of as important for that particular person and their census data. I agree with Randall’s reasons for using Census Fact. It is a snapshot event, information told by one person to another person regarding a family at one given time. The data may, or may not, be accurate because it must be considered secondary information. Anyway, I like it and plan to use “Census Fact” for my future entries. That will then keep all the information together regarding the instant in time known as the Census. Thank you Randall Seaver for the suggestion.

Bio – Caroline M. A. Pankey Howell (1811-?)
Caroline must have been something of a surprise to her parents, Thomas A. and Martha (Cannon?) [Liggon] Pankey. In the 1810 Census Thomas is over 45 and it appears that his wife Martha is as well[1]. It appears that some of their children were in there 20s and possibly married when Caroline was born in 1811-12[2]. That would explain the household of at least eight other white people living there. They had to have been fairly well off financially as the family had four slaves.

Some researchers indicate that Caroline was also known as Margaret, some as Martha; however, all of the documents I have found indicate her name as Caroline. I concede that the “M” in her name probably stands for Margaret or Martha.

Marriage permission clearly written by one person and then signed by Thomas Pankey.
Thomas died about a week after signing this document.
Source: Cumberland County (Virginia) Marriage Bonds, 1822-1830,
Library of Virginia, Reel 42. 1829 – Peter M. Howell & Caroline M. A. Pankey

Nothing is known of Caroline’s childhood. The 1820 Census is very confusing. The Pankey’s appear to have three children living at home but the 8-9 year old Caroline doesn’t appear to be enumerated[3]. We do know that when she was “about 17” her sick father gave permission for her to marry Peter M. Howell[4]. On 11 June 1829, they were married in Cumberland County, Virginia. We also know that her father died about a week later[5]. If Caroline was the youngest of Thomas’ children, it would make a lot of sense that he wanted to assure that Caroline would be taken care of after he departed.

In 1830, Caroline is identified in a lawsuit. Those documents indicate that she had at least 6 siblings:[6]

Nancy B & 

In 1830, Caroline had the first of five known children. Her known children are:

Married Surname
(abt 1830)
Philip C
(abt 1836)
(unk if ever married)
Peter Fletcher
Lorenzo Dibrell
(abt 1845)
In The Life &
Travels of Peter Howell[7],
Howell describes his ministry as a itinerate preacher in detail. Although
Caroline is seldom mentioned, it is clear that during the 1840s she spent much
of the time with him gone on the road.  When
he was home, many times he only stayed there long enough to recover from
illness or injury then went back on the road preaching.  So, she must have had a difficult time
raising the children with Peter gone so much.  In addition, they moved frequently. 
 I am sure of the following moves.

1829 – They lived with Peter’s mother in Cumberland County,
1830 – Lived in Cumberland County near Farmville, Virginia.
1832 – Lived near Willis’ Mountain in Buckingham County,
1837 – Lived at “Deep Bottom” on Gideon Howell’s Land in
Buckingham County.
1844 – Moved back to Cumberland County and rented from Samuel
1848 – During the cold of January, 1848, they moved to Murfreesboro,
1848 – Then in December, 1848, he loaded up the family and
moved to Halifax, NC.
1850 – They relocated to New Bern, Craven County,
1850 – By the June 1st, they returned to Western
District, Halifax County, NC.[8],
where they appear to have settled down as they were also there in the 1860

I can find no evidence of Caroline nor her husband Peter in
the 1870 Census so I presume they must have died by then.   There is no known markers or death
information regarding Caroline or Peter either.
Further Actions:
·      Research Peter & Caroline’s children searching
for clues to their life.
·      Research Caroline’s siblings for clues to
Caroline’s life.
List of Greats
Fletcher Howell
2.    Caroline M.
A. Pankey
Thomas A.

[1] Ancestry.com, 1810 United States Federal Census
(Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010), Ancestry.com, Year: 1810; Census Place:
Cumberland, Cumberland, Virginia; Roll: 68; Page: 143; Image: 00282; Family
History Library Film: 0181428. Record for Thomas Pankey.
[2] Peter Howell, The
Life and Travels of Peter Howell
Which will be seen some Marvelous Instances of the Gracious Providence of God

(Newbern, N.C.,:  W. H. Mayhew, 1849),
Page 14. Archive.ORG.
[3] 1820 United States
Federal Census, Ancestry.com, 1820 U S Census; Census Place:
Cumberland, Virginia; Page: 106; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 204. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1820usfedcenancestry&h=20245&indiv=try.
[4] Cumberland County
(Virginia) Marriage Bonds, 1822-1830, Library of Virginia, Reel 42. 1829 –
Peter M. Howell & Caroline M. A. Pankey
[5] Peter Howell, The
Life and Travels of Peter Howell
Which will be seen some Marvelous Instances of the Gracious Providence of God

(Newbern, N.C.,:  W. H. Mayhew, 1849),
320 pages. Archive.ORG.
[6] Enquirer Article,
Genealogy Bank, 12 Mar 1830 – Pg 4. Pankey   
[7] Peter Howell, The
Life and Travels of Peter Howell
Which will be seen some Marvelous Instances of the Gracious Providence of God

(Newbern, N.C.,:  W. H. Mayhew, 1849),
320 pages. Archive.ORG.
[8] 1850 Census, Ancestry.com, 1850; Census Place: Halifax,
North Carolina; Roll: M432_633; Page: 37B; Image: 80.
[9] 1860 Census,
1860; Census Place: Western District, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll:
M653_899; Page: 471; Image: 323; Family History Library
Film: 803899. Ancestry.com

Peter Fletcher Howell (1842-1924)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 32 – Peter Fletcher Howell (1842-1924)

By Don Taylor
Peter Fletcher Howell
Thanks to Robert Capel via Flickr

There is a kind of look in his eye that says he has seen too much – To much killing for sure. The Civil War was a horrific event – So much killing, so much carnage. A lot of fought here and there, but Peter Fletcher Howell was part of the 61st Infantry Regiment Virginia that saw action throughout the war. Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Savannah were all major battles. In my research, I found that one of the more horrific family stories was most likely true. Peter was there; and sadly to say, yes, his regiment did what the family stories told.

Bio – Peter Fletcher Howell (1842-1924)

Peter Fletcher Howell was born 2 June 1942, the fourth child of Peter M and Caroline M. A. Pankey Howell in Buckingham County, Virginia. 

When he was young, five or six, his family moved from Virginia to North Carolina, first to Murfreesboro, then Raleigh, Kitty Hawk, Wilmington, New Burn, then finally to Halifax County. His father, Peter M, was a preacher, a fire and brimstone Baptist preacher that preached wherever he could. When Peter M found a congregation, to they moved which is why they moved so much in the early years. Finally, when Peter F. was about eight his father found a steady congregation and appears to have stayed in Halifax County throughout most of Peter F.’s youth.

In 1860, Peter F was living with his parents and an older brother, Phillip C Howell. Peter was working as a farm laborer.[i] With war breaking out, it appears that Peter didn’t want to wait to join up with the slowly forming regiments in North Carolina. Peter went the sixty miles north to Sussex County Virginia and enlisted on 23 Oct 1861. Peter must have been a great soldier because he was promoted to fourth Sergeant on 22 May 1862. He then transferred to Company G, Virginia 61st Infantry Regiment on 8 Aug 1862.

On July 15, 1864, he was promoted to full second Sargent probably during the time of the great losses that the regiment was experiencing at the Siege of Parkersburg. On July 30th, the Union blew up a mine creating a huge crater. To make a long story short, the Union (stupidly) went into the crater to attack the Confederates and instead became the target A black company of union troops was sent to reinforce the first troops who went into the crater. . Confederate Brig. Gen. William Mahone later called the event a “turkey shoot.” According to a Wikipedia article, many black soldiers were killed by Confederate bayonets and musket fire even after surrendering. In addition, many more black soldiers were killed by Union soldiers who feared reprisals from the Confederates.[ii]

The Richmond Daily Dispatch reported that Sargent Peter Howell was at The Crater and captured on of the Union flags, which clearly places him there. [iii]

Family legend told the story that Peter was part of a group that was on the edge of a pit (crater) firing down on the Union soldiers below in a “turkey shoot.” He was also told to bayonet the Black soldiers if he wanted to get a furlough to go home for a couple days. It was a horrific day; one of the many that Peter Fletcher Howell saw.

Peter was promoted to Full first Sergeant on 15 Feb 1865 and mustered out on 9 April 1865 at Appomattox, VA. 

There is some oral tradition that indicated that Peter was the only one of six boys who lived through the Civil War in that family. I know of his brother Philip C and his brother Lorenzo but I have no knowledge of their lives after 1860. There is also a six year gap between Peter and his sister Elizabeth suggesting there might be another child or two that I don’t know about.

After the war, Peter married Susan R. Vincent (sometime Vinson) on 10 December 1866. Wasting no time, their first child, Anna Lee Howell was born 10 month later.

Children of Peter Fletcher Howell and Susan R. Vincent Howell

Anna Lee Howell – 8 Oct 1867
John D. Howell – abt 1873*
Augusta E Howell – abt 1875
Martha F Howell – abt 1877
James Dallas Howell – 2 Sep 1879
David Bushrod Howell – 3 Oct 1881
G. C. Howell – Feb 1884

Marker SGT Peter F Howell
Courtesy: Find a Grave

With such a large gap between Anna and John, I suspect there may have been children born during those years that I haven’t learned about

In 1880, Peter is in Faucetts as a farmer and in 1900 he appears again as a watchman living in a rented house in Conocondy. In 1910, he is working as an engineer at a sawmill and living in Weldon. His wife of 43 years, Susan, died on 1 March 1910

He continued living in Weldon until his death on 27 October 1924. He is buried in Cedarwood Cemetery in Weldon.

Further Actions:

Continue research into Peter F. Howell’s military (CSA) service. 
Research Peter Howell’s siblings and their lives.
Research for other potential children of Peter F. Howell.

List of Greats
1.    Peter Fletcher Howell
2.     Peter M. Howell

Confederate Soldier Records - Fold3

[i] 1860; Census Place: Western District, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: M653_899; Page: 471; Image: 323; Family History Library Film: 803899. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1860usfedcenancestry&h=41288528&indiv=try.

[iii] Tuff University, Perseus Hopper, Richmond Daily Dispatch: August 3, 1864. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2006.05.1135%3Aarticle%3D3.

Peter M. Howell (1805-c.1865) and Archive.org

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 29 – Peter M. Howell (1805-c.1865)

By – Don Taylor

 There are occasions when you find something totally awesome regarding an ancestor.

Book Cover
Courtesy: Amazon.com

I use a simple name and date of birth search often on several sites, one of them is Archive.Org, a great site for many reasons.  Well, a search for “Peter Howell 1805” yielded a book, The Life and Travels of Peter Howell.  OMG – Could it be?  Sure enough, I had found a book about and by Peter Howell, my wife’s ancestor. I used the PDF version on Archive.Org to glean lots of information about Peter’s life; I downloaded the Kindle version for my wife so she could read about him in his words.  I also found that there were two print versions available through Amazon. I bought one of each of the versions as gifts.  I learned that not all reprints are the same.  One of the reprints was good, the other unacceptable. I wrote about my experience with the two versions in a review on Amazon.Com.  Probably one of the greatest finds in the book was a drawing/illustration of Peter, so we can see what he looked like.  A copy of his portrait now adorns our living room “Ancestor Wall.”


Sadly, his “life and travels” never mentions his parent’s names. It does mention a sister, but never her name either. The book did give new information about exactly where he lived and when, as well as new information about his children, one of whom we had never heard of before.

Sometimes a simple search on the right website can yield the most amazing finds. Archive.Org is one of those must search sites that you should include if you don’t already do so.

Bio – Peter M. Howell (1805-c.1865)

Peter M. Howell abt 1849
Source: The Life and Travels of Peter Howell

Peter was born 15 Jul 1805 in Charlotte County, Virginia.

In 1807, his family moved to Buckingham County, Virginia. When he was only 12 years old, his father died.  His mother remarried sometime between 1819 and 1820.  Also about 1819, his half sister (name unknown) married a man named Holman. About 1821, Peter apprenticed himself to Mr. Holman to learn carpentry. Which he did for about 3-1/2 years.  He relocated with Mr. Holman and his half-sister to Alabama, “not far from the Tennessee River.”  By 1827, Peter returned to Buckingham County and was living with his mother and her new husband near Farmville (Prince Edward County).

On June 11th, 1829 Peter married Caroline M. A Pankey in Cumberland County.

The 1830 census finds the young couple living in Cumberland County.  Also, about 1830 their first child, a daughter, Louisiana was born.  In 1832, they lived back in Buckingham County near Willis Mountain. They had two more children in the 1830’s, Phillip C in 1833 and Elizabeth in 1836. In 1937, they appear to have been living on his brother’s (Gideon) land at “Deep Bottom.”

Vintage Photo of Parker's Meeting House
Parker’s Meeting House Source: Sally’s Family Place

The 1840’s census finds the family in the Northern District of Buckingham County, Virginia. In 1842 another son, (great-grandfather) Peter Fletcher Howell was born. We know that Peter had business at the Buckingham County courthouse several times in the 1840s.  In 1845 another son, Lorenzo Dibrell Howell was born. During the 1840s, Peter started preaching regularly, walking everywhere in the area.  He preached in long circuits going from town to town and ranging far and wide. That period of his life is the subject of his book.  In January of 1846, he relocated his family to Murfreesboro, North Carolina about a mile from Parker’s Meeting House.

In 1848, Peter moved to Halifax, North Carolina. In the ensuing years, he became the minister of a church there.

Peter is in the 1860 census but not in the 1870 census, so I believe he died sometime in that decade. I have been unable to located death or burial information regarding Peter.

 Further Actions:

Investigate all Howells in Charlotte County in 1800 looking for Peter’s father.
Investigate all Howells in Buckingham County in 1810 looking for Peter’s father.
Investigate Peter’s siblings’ lives.
Determine church Peter became minister of in Halifax.

List of Greats

[Note: Formatting updated and #32 in List of Greats added on 12 Jul 2017.]