A Couple of Gatlin Queries

Over the last couple of days, I’ve made a couple of posts on the Gatlin Message Board at Ancestry and figured I might as well post them here as well.

First:  A Question About McDuffie’s Book

On page 20 of her book, McDuffie refers to a land grant received by a William Gatlin in Craven County in 1738. Has anyone actually found this grant? I’ve looked at the Craven County Register of Deeds website, done an NC Mars Archive Basic Search, and a query at the site North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data. Nothing. The earliest grant to a William Gatlin I’ve been able to find in Craven County is 1763.

And second: The Husband of Mary Johnson

In his will, dated April 26, 1796, Richard Johnson makes bequests to his three sisters Elizabeth Gatlin, Easter Gatlin, and Mary Gatlin. Elizabeth was the wife of Edward (d. 1781), son of John (d. 1766) and Easter/Esther the wife of John (prob. d. 1801), son of Edward (d. 1763). Who was the husband of Mary Johnson? Any ideas? In the will, the bequests to Elizabeth and Easter are “to her & her heirs and assigns for Ever”, but Mary’s is ” to her & her assigns for Ever.” Other bequests were made to nephew, Richard Johnson Daughter (perhaps Daughtry or Daugherty), niece, Sarah Gatlin, daughter of Elizabeth, and to “cousin” Persis Lambert.

Who was Ephraim Gatlin?

I have three Gatlin lines and all of them lead back to one couple:  John Gatlin and Esther Tingle.  John Gatlin and James Gatlin purchased a marriage bond January 6, 1784 for John to marry Esther Tingle.   There are two sources that lay out their children. The first is a deed of gift (Craven County Deed Book 30, page 130), dated February 22, 1793, from Esther’s father, Solomon, to the children:

To all People to whom these presents shall come I Solomon Tingle do send Greeting.

Know ye, that I the said Solomon Tingle of the State of North Carolina in the County of Craven Farmer for and in consideration of the love good will and affection which I have and do bear towards my loving grand children Abner Gatlin, Mille Gatlin Shadrack Gatlin Holon Gatlin of the same County sons and daughters of John Gatlin and Esther his Wife, have Given and Granted and by these presents do freely Give and Grant unto the said Abner Gatlin, Nille Gatlin Shadrach Gatlin Hollon Gatlin their Heirs Executors or administrators all to one Feather bed and furniture to one Linen Wheel, to one pewter bason, one pewter dish, four pewter plates, to five head of cattle to four head of hoggs, of which before the signing of these presents I have delivered them the said Children an Inventory signed with my own hand goods and cattles to the said Children their Heirs Executors or administrators from henceforth as their proper Goods and chattels absolutely without any manner of condition In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 22nd day of February 1793.

Signed Sealed & delivered                   Solomon (his mark) Tingle
In the presence of us
Amos Cutherell
John Tingle

March Craven County Court 1793
Then was the deed acknowledged in open court by Solomon Tingle the grantor and ordered to be recorded.

Attest Samuel Chapman CC

Many Tingle researchers seem to be unaware of Esther’s relationship to Solomon. Probably due to her omission from his will, dated September 30, 1784. In it, he mentions sons Solomon and John, daughter Mary, and wife Mary. The will was proven March Term 1795. I strongly suspect that he had another daughter not mentioned in the will, the Mills Tingle who married John King October 11, 1782 with Amos Cuthrell as bondsman.  According to the text of their respective bonds, both Mills and Esther were “of Christ Church Parish”.  This raises the question, in my mind, anyway, of whether Solomon’s wife, Mary, was a Mills. But that’s a puzzle for another time.

The second piece of documentation proving the children of John Gatlin and Esther Tingle comes from Craven County Deed Book 39, page 535:

This Indenture made and executed, this eleventh day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen by and between Esther Gatlin, widow and Abner Gatlin, Shadrach Gatlin, Jeremiah Roe and Milly his wife, Shadrach Roe and Holland his wife, heirs at law of John Gatlin deceased of the County of Craven, and State of North Carolina of the one part, and John Reel Esquire of the County & State aforesaid, of the other part; Witnesseth, that the said Esther Gatlin, Abner Gatlin, Shadrach Gatlin, Jeremiah Roe and Milly his wife, and Shadrach Roe and Holland his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of Dollars to them in hand paid, by the said John Reel at and before the sealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof they do hereby acknowledge, have given, granted, bargained, and sold, and by these presents do give, grant, bargain and sell, unto the said John Reel his heirs and assigns their undivided shares or portions of a certain tract or parcel of land situate, lying and being in the County of Craven on the north side of Neuse river and the West side of Morgan’s Swamp, beginning at a white oak in the fork of turkey neck branch and running thence, north forty five Degrees West one hundred and sixty poles crossing the main prong of turkey neck branch, to a stake in back [or buck] savannah, about half a pole to the north east of a marked pine saplin, then north forty five Degrees East one hundred and sixty poles to a pine, in or near John Gatlin’s other patent, then to the beginning, containing one hundred and ten acres, more or less, being the same tract which was patented by the said John Gatlin 24th day of October, A.D. 1782.–To Have and to hold that portion, share or dividend of the said tract herin before bounded & described with its appurtenances, which descended to the said grantors as heirs of the said John Gatlin to the said John Reel his heirs and assigns for ever and the said grantors for themselves and their heirs, Executors and administrators, to and with the said John Reel his heirs and assigns do hereby covenant and grant thir said undivided interest and share in the tract herein before described with its appurtenances against themselves, the said grantors, and their respective heirs and against the lawful claim or claims of all persons whatsoever, unto the said John Reel his heirs and assigns forever to warrant secure and defend by these presents– In Witness whereof the said Esther Gatlin, Abner Gatlin, Shadrach Gatlin, Jeremiah Roe and Milly his wife, & Shadrach Roe and Holland his wife, have hereunto set their hands and seals, the day and year first above written.–

Esther [her mark] Gatlin
Abner Gatlin
Shaderach Gatlin
Jeremiah Roe
Milly [her mark] Roe
Shadrick Roe
Hollon [her mark] Roe

Signed sealed and Delivered in the presence of
Jacob Burch
Wm Gatlin

So, the children of John Gatlin and Esther Tingle were:

  • Abner Gatlin (b. 1785)
  • Mills “Millie” Gatlin (b. 1788) married Jeremiah Roe January 29, 1812 with Abner Gatlin as bondsman
  • Shadrack Gatlin (b. 1790) married Margaret Stevenson May 15, 1811 with Elijah Gatlin as bondsman
  • Holland Gatlin (b. 1792) married Shadrack Roe December 17, 1811 with Jeremiah Roe as bondsman

I descend from all but Abner.  Shadrack through Mom’s maternal grandmother and both Mills and Holland through Dad’s maternal grandmother.

It all looked pretty cut and dried until I found another deed, Deed Book 41, page 306:

This Indenture made this 16th day of December one thousand eight hundred and sixteen between Esther Gatlin, Abner Gatlin, Shadrick Gatlin, Jeremiah Roe and Milly his wife grantors of the County of Craven and State of North Carolina of the one part for and in consideration of one hundred dollars to them in hand paid by Shaderick Roe of the County and State aforesaid of the other part at the sealing and signing of these presents the receipt and payment whereof is hereby is acknowledged the said Grantors have bargained sold conveyed and confirmed and do hereby bargain sell convey and confirm unto Shaderick Roe his heirs and assigns forever our several undivided shares in a certain piece or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Craven on the North side of Neuse river and east side of Little Swift creek and east side of Bumpy ground swamp begining at a small sweet gum on the said Swamp to the center of a big laurel and sweet gum and turns No. 62 Et. 25 poles to a pine John Harris’ corner then with his line No 45 Et 128 poles then So 18 Et 60 poles to a stake then So 6 Wt 80 poles to a pine then So 40 Wt 66 poles to a pine in Simon Bexley’s line then with his line No 42 Wt 60 poles to a stake then So 67 Wt 56 poles to the Bumpy ground Swamp then with the various courses of the said Swamp to the begining which land was patented by Ephraim Gatlin and by a legal decent came to the present proprietors and by them sold to Shaderick Roe. To have and to hold the said several undivided shares contained in said Ephraim Gatlin’s Patent with all ways woods waters and every other appurtenance thereunto belonging to Shaderick Roe his his heirs and assigns forever in fee simple and we the said grantors for ourselves our heirs Exrs. and admirs do covenant and promise to and with the said Shaderick Roe his heirs and assigns that we shall and will warrant and forever defend each of our undivided shares in the aforesaid patent free from all lawful claim or claims of any person or persons whatsoever. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals the day and year first above written.

Ester [her mark] Gatlin
Abner [his mark] Gatlin
Shaderick Gatlin
Jeremiah Roe
Milly [her mark] Roe

Signed Sealed and delivered in presence of
John [his mark] Evernton
Lazarous [his mark] Ipock

Who was Ephraim Gatlin? The only other document I’ve found with his name on it is the patent mentioned in the aforementioned deed, entered January 10, 1798 and issued June 3, 1799. If he’s old enough to patent land in 1798, then he was born in or before 1778.  How does he fit into the overall Gatlin jigsaw and by what legal descent did Esther and her children come by this land?  Does anyone out there have a clue?  Cause I don’t.  I’ve considered two possibilities:

  1. That Ephraim was John’s son by a previous marriage.  But this would not explain how Esther would have acquired any share in the land.
  2. That Esther married Ephraim sometime after John’s death.  But, in the first deed, dated September 11, 1815, she’s referred to as Esther Gatlin, widow.  The second deed is dated December 16, 1816.  So when did John die?  Ephraim?  There is no estate record for Ephraim, but there are three for a John Gatlin dated 1801, 1807, and 1811.
    1. John Gatlin, Sr. (1801) – Died before March 9, 1801.  On that date, Esther Gatlen, John Gatlen and David Gatlen paid £100 administrator bond on the estate of John Gatlen.
    2. John Gatlin (1807) – Clearly, this is the John who married the widow Dolly Barnes.
    3. John Gatlin (1811) – Died before June 10, 1811 when Esther Gatlin, Abner Gatlin & Shadrack Gatlin paid £500 administrator bond on the estate of John Gatlin.

    Chances are high that our John is the one who died in 1811.  Looking at the estate sale, which occurred July 3, 1811, Esther, Milly, Abner, Hollan, and Shadrick are the top buyers.  John Gatlin, Sr. is, probably, the one who married Esther Johnson sometime in the 1760s.  The only other documents in our John’s estate folder pertain to the required audit and settlement of the accounts of the administrator, in this case, Esther, with the Estate.  This is dated March 5, 1816.  Usually, when a widow remarries, and that widow is the administratrix/executrix of an estate, those duties are transferred to the new husband.  There is no documentation to show that this occurred in this case.

It’s a puzzle.

Here’s a little something else to throw out there, from Deed Book 33, page 107:

State of North Carolina, Craven County

To all Men to whom these presents shall come I Elizabeth Gatlin senr. send greeting. Know ye that I the said Elizabeth Senr. of the County and State aforesaid for and in Consideration of the Love good Will and affection, which I have and do bear towards my two Grand Sons Abner Gatlin & Shadrick Gatlin, both of this County & State have given & granted and bye these presents do freely give and grant unto my said two Grand Sons Abner & Shadrick Gatlin their Heirs & Assigns forever, a Certain Tract or parcel of Land lying and being in the State and County aforesaid and on the South East Side of Swifts Creek and North Side of Neuse River: Beginning at a large Pine by the Side of the white March, from thence So. 29 ds. East 40 poles to a post in Samuel Lawsons given Line thence North 65 Et. with Lawsons given ine 153 pole to his Beginning Corner a Gum in Kitten Bridge Swamp then South 55 ds East with Lawsons line 83 pole to a pine, then No. 40 ds. East 52 pole to a Stake in Ephraim Pearcesis Line then North 30 ds with his line 45 pole to a Light wood Stump said Pearceis beginning Corner in or near Willis’s Line 154 pole to the cutting Ledge [or Lodge] Marsh then along the Marsh side and binding on the Side of the Marsh to the Beginning Containing one hundred and fifty Acres of Land, unto them the aforesaid Abner and Shadrick Gatlin and their Heirs and Assigns forever, with all the Houses plantations Timber profits, benefits and advantages to the same belonging or in any wise appertaining unto them the said Abner & Shadrick Gatlin their Heirs and Assigns forever may have hold and quietly possess the aforesaid Land and Improvements Clear from the just Claim of the aforesaid Elizabeth Gatlin her Heirs or any other person or persons whatsoever to their proper use, without any manner of Consideration. In Witness whereof I have hereunto put my Hand & Seal this ? day of ? 1797 August the 12th day

signed sealed & delivered in the presence of us

Elizabeth [her mark] Gatlin
Lazarus [his mark] Gatlin
Baron [his mark] Gatlin
Mary [her mark] Gatlin
Levi Burch

State of North Carolina
Craven County Court March Term 1798
Then was the foregoing Deed proved in open Court agreable to Law and ordered to be registered
Attest Saml Chapman CC

The identity of this Elizabeth Gatlin, Senr. is just one more Gatlin puzzle. Trust me, there were a lot of Gatlins marrying women named Elizabeth!  This land was originally entered by John Gatlen, Junr. May 8, 1779 and his grant issued October 9, 1783.  He sold it to Elizabeth August 6, 1792 for £100 (Deed Book 30, page 139).

Oh, and, if you’re curious, here is John Gatlin’s “other patent” mentioned in the John Reel deed (North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 20, pg. 707, Grant No.: 110):

John Gatlin: 100 acres Craven on the N side of Neuse river and on the W side of Morgans Swamp Beginning at the head of Turkey neck at a post oak and runs No 75 W 127 poles to a pine then So 15 W 127 poles to a pine then So 75 E 127 poles to a pine on Morgans Swamp from thence a direct course to the Beginning dated 14th November 1771.                                                                                                     Jo Martin

 

The Discovery of Britty Swindell

In my post, Dixon Wives: Nancy Jane Daniels, I proposed that the parents of Nancy’s father, Isaiah, were Wilson Daniels and Prudence, his wife. My reasons for this were based on information gleaned from the 1850 and 1860 censuses. In 1860, the households of Isaiah and Wilson Daniels were contiguous, houses 246 and 247, respectively. Wilson, an apparent widower, was 63 and Isaiah was 38. Simple arithmetic leads one to the simple conclusion that they were father and son.

1860CravenCensus_Isaah&WilsonDaniels

The 1850 census gives us the name of Wilson’s wife, Prudence.

1850_WilsonDaniels_Craven

Although I’ve yet to find a document that states outright the relationship between these men, it seems self-evident.  But, as it turns out, the relationship between Isaiah and Prudence may have had little to do with blood (since  I don’t know Prudence’s maiden name, I can’t  discount some sort of blood tie).  You see, my friend, Google, led me to a discovery: The John Gray Blount Papers. Mr. Blount and his brother, Thomas, were merchants based in Washington, Beaufort County. On page 429 of Volume 4 (Internet Archive), there is a letter from William Higson, in Mattamuskeet (this is in Hyde County), to John Gray Blount, dated April 12, 1825:

JGB-4_HigsonLetter-p429

and further on:

JGB-4_HigsonLetter-p430

I was all agog, let me tell you! Just why the boys would need a guardian when their father was still living quite baffles me. Over to FamilySearch I went to glance through Hyde County estate records. From these, I learned that Henry Williamson died sometime before December 11, 1802 when the sale of his estate was held and a year’s provision was set aside for his widow, Ann.  There were two Swindells at the sale, Jonathan and Solomon. Which, if either, of these gentlemen was the husband of Fanny Williamson? Back to Google I went. It gave me an answer: Jonathan.  Proof of this is supposed to be contained within an 1802 deed in Hyde County, bur I can’t confirm this until I’m able to see for myself.  The search results also told me Jonathan left a will, dated 1847.

Clicking back to FamilySearch, a quick browse through the Beaufort County will books nets me the will of Johnathan Swindle:

Jonathan Swindell

July the 28 1847
this is my last will and testament
Britty daniels one dollar
my son isaac swndell one dollar
megattin swindell 50 acres of land begining on lintons line runing to [word that’s smudged but looks like] my middle bay gineing [joining?] Jerome Spain
Johnathan Swindell 50 acres of land begining on lintons line runing to middle bay gining gattin swindell
my daughter salina my house and plantation gining land 50 akers
the balance of my land to tomouse defoe [I think] swindell my grand Child
50 dollars to my son Joel Swindell is to Come out of my property
Joel Swindell execter to my property and Josiah Lupton

Johnathan Swindell [signed with a mark]

J. B. Spain
Stephen Mason [signed with a mark]

If you’ll remember, Isaiah had a daughter named Britannia who was called Britty. Can we get a Eureka!?

The will was probated in December 1847 by the oath of J. B. Spain and Joel Swindell qualified as Executor. There is an Estate folder for Jonathan in the CRX boxes in Raleigh. Maybe, one of these days, I’ll get around to viewing them. They’re not the only papers in those boxes I want to see, trust me.

So, we have Britannia “Britty” Swindell, daughter of Jonathan Swindell and Fanny Williamson married Wilson Daniels, probably about 1818 or 1819, in the Goose Creek area of Beaufort County.  Wilson Daniels appears on a tax list for the first time in 1819, in this area, with 1 white poll taxed at $0.55.  Britty’s father, Jonathan, also appears on this list with 50 acres valued at 50 with one white poll taxed at $0.66.

I have more about the Williamsonses and Swindells that I’ll post later.  Henry Williamson was an intriguing character!

If You Want to Follow Your Roots, Follow the Land

And that is one of the first rules of genealogical research. It can be tedious, exhaustive, and extremely boring work, but when you really find something, the golden rush of Eureka! is priceless. Though, sometimes, it leave you scratching your aching head!

The best place to search the land records is the register of deeds. And there are a handful of counties where you can do this from the comfort of your own home through their websites.

Keep in mind that county boundaries were not static and new counties were formed all the time. An excellent resource for the genealogical researcher in North Carolina to have is The formation of the North Carolina counties, 1663-1943 by David Leroy Corbitt, which can be accessed at the Internet Archive.

I eagerly await the launch of such historical record searches in Beaufort and Hyde Counties. And it would be really awesome if something similar could be done for extinct counties like Albemarle, Bath, and Dobbs. That last isn’t likely, I know, seeing as how most of the relevant documents went up in flames on at least two occasions. But one can dream.

Another source of historical land records is the website North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data. Many original land grants can be read from scanned images of the patent books. Just click “Query” and enter your search parameters. Also, some grants are available through the Register of Deeds and through Ancestry.com.

Now, for some really old records, you can search the Library of Virginia Online Catalog. Select the “Images & Indexes Tab” then double click “Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants in the “Select Database(s) to Search” box.

Sally Bourden

Okay, yet another mystery woman has popped up in my Bourden research.  The following is a deed between Baker Bourden and John Watkins, dated September 9, 1815, and witnessed by Sally Bourden and Readin Bourden (Deed Book 5a, page 531):

This Indenture made this 9th day of September in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and fifteen, Between Baker Bowden of the County of Duplin & State of North Carolina and John Watkins of the County & State above mentioned, Witnesseth, that I the said Baker Bowden for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred & eighty three dollars to him the said Baker Bowden in hand paid by the said John Watkins before the sealing & delivering of these presents, the receipt whereof he doth hereby acknowledge, hath given granted bargained and sold and doth hereby give grant bargain sell alien convey & confirm unto the said John Watkins his heirs or assigns forever, a certain tract or parcel of land situate lying & being in the County of Duplin on the head of Calf Pasture branch, on both sides of the main road & joining Wayne County line, Beginning at a pine & Black Jack Jacob Taylor’s corner, & runs along Reuben Johnston’s line Wt. 100 poles to a pine, thence No. 210 poles to a pine, thence Et. 100 poles to a pine on Jacob Taylor’s line by his corner, thence to the beginning, containing one hundred & twenty five acres be the same more or less, which said bargained lands & premises with all the improvements privileges or advantages to the same belonging or in anywise appertaining, I the said Baker Bourden do bind myself my heirs exers. or admns. to warrant secure & forever defend unto him the said John Watkins his heirs excrs. admins or assigns forever against all person or persons whatsoever.  In witness whereof I the said Baker Bourden have hereunto set my hand & affixed by seal this day & date above written.

Baker Bourden

Signed sealed acknowledged in presence of

Sally (her mark) Bourden
Readin Bourden

State of No. Carolina Duplin County, July Term 1816 –
Then was the within deed proved in Court by the oath of Sally Bourden & ordered to be registered.

Copy Th. Routledge, Esq.
Test, W. Dickson, C.C.

Who the heck is Sally Bourden?  Sally is probably short for Sarah.  Did Reading have another wife before he married Nancy?  Or did Mary Branch Bowden predecease her husband and Baker took a second wife?  Or she could be one of Baker and Mary’s daughters.  This is the first time I’ve come across this name.

Proof: Tabitha, wife of Nicholas Bourden

Just hours after scheduling the previous post, The Brothers Bourden: Men of Family, I’ve discovered proof that Tabitha was, indeed, the wife of Nicholas Bourden, Revolutionary War Captain.

I was reading deeds at duplinrod.com, focusing on James and trying to untangle him from his nephew, when I found a bill of sale (Deed Book DFTU, page 433) wherein Nicholas Bourden sells to James Bourden a “certain Negro woman named Sue, aged twenty one years, for the sum of three hundred dollars.”  I’m unsure if these are James and his father or his two nephews, or some other combination thereof.  The witnesses were Nathan Garner and William Bourden.  At the bottom, after the witnesses’ signatures, it says:

a mistake in the [can’t make out this next word, but it begins with an “f”] of the Bill of Sale of Excepting Nicholas Bourden Senr. & Tabitha his Wife‘s lifetime.  a mistake by me James Bourden.

Here’s a screenshot so you can read it yourself.

ProofTabithawifeofNickSr

The Brothers Bourden: The Wives

Before discussing the children, I want to take a moment to talk about their mothers. In various genealogies posted across the web, I’ve seen the maiden name of all three wives given as Holder. No records are ever cited, no evidence given. The only sources are other genealogies and Ancestry. Similarly, the given name of Nicholas’s wife is often said to be Elizabeth, but, again, no documentation is sourced. If some descendant somewhere has record of these things, a family bible, perchance, I wish they’d come forward. Otherwise, in reality, only the first names of Samuel’s and Baker’s wives are known with any certainty.

Martha

We learn the name of Baker’s wife, Martha, through the court and probate records of New Hanover County.  Both he and Martha left wills, which I’ll discuss in more detail in the next post.

From New Hanover County Court Minutes, Part 3, 1786-1793, Abstracted, Compiled and Edited by Alexander McDonald Walker:

5 January 1790 … Estate of Baker Bowden, Decd.–Will proved by Jno. Fulwood; and Joel Parish qualified as Exr. (page 48).

9 Apr 1790 … Estate of Baker Bowden, Decd.–Martha Bowden, decedent’s widow appointed Admrx. with will annexed; bond 200 pounds; John Erwin and James Stanley, sur. (page 52).

My personal theory, and it’s just that, a THEORY, regarding Martha is that she was a Parrish.  My reasons are pretty diaphanous.

  1. Joel Parrish was one of the Executors appointed in Baker’s will.
  2. Joel Parrish’s own will, he mentions a son named Richard and a daughter Molsey. Baker and Martha have children with those names.

That’s it. See? It couldn’t get much more flimsy and still have any basis in documentation whatsoever. I’ve also toyed with her being a Cowan, based on even shakier grounds:

  1. John Cowan is listed right next to Martha in 1790.
  2. Two of his daughters married sons of Baker and Martha.

Catherine

The name of Samuel’s wife, Catherine, comes down to us through a deed of gift, dated March 30, 1809 (Deed Book 4A, page 17):

The only other surname I’ve seen suggested for Catherine is Hodges, which makes a lot more sense than Holder. This comes from a tree at FamilySearch, but no source is given, and no parents suggested.

Mrs. Nicholas

As for Mrs. Nicholas Bourden, Jr., my working hypothesis is that she was a Bryan or Bryant. My only basis for this is that one of their sons was given that name. But, as any researcher knows, names can be clues. Her own given name may have been Tabitha. My one and only source for a Tabitha Bowden is a deed, dated April 8, 1789, “…between Owen O’Daniel of the County of Duplin & State of N Carolina of the one part and Wm Duncan of the same County & State aforesaid of the other part…”, which can be found in property book DFTU, page 101). It was “Signed sealed & delivered in the presence of Tabetha Bowden, Samuel Bowden, Bryan Bowden….”

My first thought was that she was one of the unknown daughters of Samuel, Sr., found in the censuses. But, with Bryan being the other witness….  You see, there is another Samuel, son of Nicholas, and Bryan is another of his sons (Deed Book M, page 72, for Samuel and Book N, page 257, for Bryan) I find myself wondering if she was their mother and, thus, the wife of Nicholas, Jr. In any case, to have witnessed a legal document, she was, more than likely, of or over 21. Therefore, whether wife or daughter, Tabitha Bourden was probably born in or before 1768 (if wife, obviously, well before).

I was right the first time!

I’ve just discovered that you can go to some county register of deeds sites and read old land deeds and bills of sale.  Let’s just say I’ve been having fun with my new toy!

One of the many speculations I made in my post Dolly Bowden was that Elisha Spence was the son of Isaac Spence and Elisabeth Bowden.  Soon after publication of that post, I came across some deed and marriage bond information that led me to conclude that Elisha was not their son but was, instead, the son of Isaac’s brother John and his wife Rhoda.  See The Parentage of Elisha Spence.  Well, it turns out I was right the first time!  When I ran a Scanned Index Books Search at the Cumberland County Register of Deeds website I discovered this deed from Deed Book 28, page 719:

This Indenture made & entered into this ? day of december 1813 [or 15, the day and year are difficult to read] between Isaac Spence of the County of Cumberland & State of N. Carolina of the one part & Elisha Spence (my eldest son) of the other part, Witnesseth that for the love good will & affection which I have and do bear towards Elisha my son I do ? the following tract of land being part of the lands I bought of Wm. Redding; Beginning at a poplar by a branch side near Mill Creek in the line of the old 500 acre survey patented by Woods…containing by estimation one hundred & four acres more or less, To have and to hold, to him the said Elisha Spence his Heirs and assigns, and I the said Isaac Spence for myself my heirs Executors, administrators & assigns do warrant & forever defend the said lands & premises from my right title, interest, or any lawful claim or claims of any person or person whatsoever ? him the said Elisha Spence his Heirs Executors administrators & assigns forever.  In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and date above written.

Signed Sealed & delivered
in the presence of                                                      Isaac (his)   I  (mark)  Spence

John (his mark) Spence
Jas. Atkins

The deed was proven in Cumberland County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, March Term, 1817, by John Spence.

The Brothers Bourden: Isle of Wight County, Virginia

Nicholas Bourden and Prudence Wrenn, “relict” of John Wrenn, were married in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, before 1738 (The Marriages of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1628-1800 by Blanche Adams Chapman, page 5).  On November 16th of that year, Nicholas was referred to as “brother-in-law” in the will of Prudence’s brother, Samuel Davis (Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 2, by Blanche Adams Chapman, page 136).  Since their first child was born in April of 1737, they were most likely married in 1736.  There is a John Wrenn whose estate was ordered to be appraised March 22, 1735.  Whether this was Prudence’s husband or some other John Wrenn, I don’t know.  She married him sometime before August 15, 1734, when she’s referred to as Prudence Wrenn in the will of her brother, Thomas Davis (Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 2, page 70), but after 1720 when she’s referred to as Prudence Davis in the will of her mother, Mary Davis (Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 2, page 9).  There is reason to believe the marriage took place before 1727 (see below).  Also, the wording of her mother’s will may imply that Prudence had not yet attained the age of 21.

The births of Nicholas and Prudence’s five children were recorded in the Newport Parish Vestry Book, which can be viewed at FamilySearch.org (Virginia, Isle of Wight County Records, 1634-1951 – Church Records – Vestry Book, 1727-1772).  Bottom right of image 117 for the boys, left side of image 119 for Mary.  If you’d rather not strain your eyes reading old documents, this information can also be found in Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Volume 9, Number 2, page 119. This can also be accessed through FamilySearch.

The children of Nicholas Bourden and Prudence Davis Wrenn were:

  • Samuel Bourden b. April 14, 1737
  • John Bourden b. June 10, 1739
  • Nicholas Bourden, Jr. b. March 25, 1741
  • Baker Bourden b. January 10, 1742/3
  • Mary Bourden b. March 30, 1745

The above list is slightly different from that found in Tyler’s Quarterly which has Baker being born in the month of June.  However, looking at the Vestry Book, I think it may actually be January.  Compare the June written for John

JohnBourdenVestryDate

with what’s written for Baker.

BakerBourdenVestryDate

Doesn’t the second letter look like an “a” rather than a “u”?  And the fourth more a “u” than an “e”?  Its being January instead of June would also explain the 1742/3 thing.  Mary’s birth year is written in Roman numerals, of all things:  MDCCXLV.  The “V” is written with quite a flourish.

Besides the five children she gave Nicholas, Prudence had two children with John Wrenn.  One of these was named John.  In the Vestry Book, at the very bottom of image 117, you can just make out “John Wren son of John Wren and Prudence his wife….”  The next line, which would be his birth date, is illegible due to extreme fading.

JohnWrenVestry

We know there was another child because of the Accounts of the Estate of John Wrenn (scroll down a bit), taken by Nicholas and Prudence in 1748 (James Baker was ordered to audit the Accounts of the Estate August 12, 1748), in which there is the entry “To bringing up two small Children.”  The implication being that the youngest was now of age. In those days, this meant they were at least 21 years of age, that is born in or before 1727.  I’ve seen several online trees that say the Thomas Wrenn who married Catherine Ingram was the other child, but, as yet, no one has offered any actual proof that I’ve seen.

If Nicholas and Prudence used conventional Colonial naming patterns, which is suggested by second son John, for her father, John Davis, and third son, Nicholas (for him), then eldest son, Samuel, would have been named after his paternal grandfather.  As for the fourth son, Baker, I’ve wondered if Baker was the maiden name of Nicholas’s mother.  Thus, Nicholas Bourden, Sr., may have been the son of Samuel Bourden and ? Baker.  Of course, I have no proof of that, so it’s complete speculation.

With Prudence, we’re on much firmer ground.  She was the daughter of John Davis and Mary Green.  An abstract of John’s will can be found in Chapman’s Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 1, page 79, and Mary’s in Volume 2, page 9.  We’ll get into her family in more detail in future posts.

The first appearance of Nicholas Bourden in the records was in Elizabeth City County where on December 2, 1734, he witnessed the will of John Kerby (Wills and Administrations of Elizabeth City County, Virginia, 1688-1800 by Blanche Adams Chapman, page 48).  And on April 4, 1735, still in Elizabeth City County, he witnessed another will, that of Mary Picket (same source, page 69).  After his marriage to Prudence, Nicholas’s name is peppered throughout the second volume of Chapman’s Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County as he appraises, examines and settles many estates.  The first of these occurs at the bottom of page 91, where he and Lawrence Baker settle the estate of Jeremiah Ingraham, October 23, 1738.

On December 20, 1738, Nicholas Bourden wrote a letter to The Virginia Gazette about a tragic incident which occurred the Wednesday prior, December 13 (Some Descendants of John Moone ca 1600-1655 and Nicholas Bourden ca 1700-1759: Jamestown and Isle of wight County In the Colony of Virginia by Richard Bowden Jones, page 7, citing The Virginia Gazette, Issue Number 133).  Images of the Virginia Gazette can be accessed through the Colonial Williamsburg website.  Go to Research – Online Resources – Digital Library – Virginia Gazettes.  You’re looking for Parks, 1739, February 23.  This letter is on page 3, bottom right.

Isle of Wight County, Dec. 20, 1738

Mr. Parks,
The Publication of the following unhappy Accident, may be a Means to prevent the like in other Families, which I hope will be a Warning to all; and desire it may be inserted in your Gazette, for the Public Good. On Wednesday the Thirteenth of this Instant, I intended to kill some hogs, and accordingly put a Kettle of water, containing 20 Gallons, over the Fire, for that Purpose; and when the Water was boiling, none being in the Kitchen but my only Child and a Negro child, the Sway-Pole broke, and scalded them to such a Degree that twas a most horrid Spectacle, and must have moved the most obdurate. The Negro Child is dead, but my own Child, I hope is in a fair Way of Recover tho’ prodigiously scalded: My Wife very narrowly escaped the same Fate; for she had not gone three Steps from the Kitchen Door, before the Kettle fell down, when she sat on her Hams, putting some Potatoes in the Fire for the Children: The Children were both in the Corner when the Kettle fell down, or it must have been present Death.

I am, Sir, Your humble Servant,

Nicholas BOURDEN.

Samuel would have been just over a year and half and Prudence would have been carrying John, though she may not have known it yet.

Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5: Families G-P by John Frederick Dorman, page 681, mentions that Samuel was ordered bound to John Dering, a tailor, August 1, 1751.  He’d have been 14.  Samuel, along with James Dering and Martha Dering, witnessed the will of Benjamin Barlow (bottom of page and onto next page) December 26, 1757.  The will was registered April 5, 1759.

Louise Jones abstracted entries from various Isle of Wight County records concerning “Orphans and Other Children of Isle of Wight County” which were published over several issues of The Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly and of which I’ve only had glimpses thanks to my free Ancestry account.  I can’t afford a paid account right now, so all I get are frustrating snippets.  But what intriguing snippets they are!

  • August 1,…Samuel Bourden, orphan of Nicholas is…Taylor [James Dering, tailor?]. p. 342.   (Volume 25, Number 2)
  • 6 July…John Bourden, orphan of Nicholas, is to…    (Volume 26, Number 1)
  • Snippet of the index to Volume 26, Number 1 lists Baker on page 32 and John on page 31

If you put the snippet about Samuel together with the apprentice bond mentioned in Dorman, both dated August 1, then it’s possible that Nicholas Bourden had died earlier in 1751 or in late 1750.  On page 8 of his book cited above, Richard Bowden Jones says that John was bound out in July 1759 and Baker in November of that year.  I’ve yet to find mention of young Nicholas being apprenticed to anyone.  If anyone has further information on this, either through the aforementioned article or the Isle of Wight County Order Book, 1746-1752, please contact me via comments.  Thank you so much, in advance.

Young Nicholas witnessed the will of a John Davis February 1, 1762 (Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Volume 3, by Blanche Adams Chapman, page 12).  Whether uncle or cousin, I’m not sure.  John Bourden was one of the men to appraise the estate of John Jackson which was recorded January 6, 1763 (same source, page 20).  This is the last public record, that I’m aware of, in which John appears.  It’s possible he died shortly after this.  And, as far as I know, there’s no mention of Mary after her birth.  Of course, it’s harder to find women in the records and she may have married or she may have died in childhood.  Either way, she’s left no trace. There is no record, that I know of, that either John or Mary ever left Virginia, but the other three migrated to Duplin County, North Carolina.

Which is where we’ll follow them next.

The Parentage of Elisha Spence

I know I said we’d talk about the Bowdens next, but, first, I have a correction to make.  Elisha Spence was, most likely, not the son of Isaac and Elisabeth.  In fact, I’m pretty sure he was the son of John and Rhoda.  My reasons for this are, mostly, circumstantial.  My main piece of evidence comes from a couple of land patents (emphases are mine).

  1. John Spence
    Cumberland County
    Book 91, page 62
    Grant Numbers: 1265

    Know ye that We have granted unto John Spence one hundred and sixty acres of land in Cumberland County on Hector’s creek Joining Atkins’s and Anderson’s lines; Beginning at a small Spanish oak Atkins’s corner in Anderson’s line then as Anderson’s line East thirty chain to a red oak by the side of the Creek, then North twelve chain and fifty links to a white oak by the side of the creek, then East eighteen chain and fifty links to a stake and pine then North twenty five chain and sixty six links to a stake and black jack, then West forty eight chain and fifty links to the Beginning. Dated the 17th Day of October 1796.

  2. Elisha Spence
    Cumberland County
    Book 134, page 256
    Grant Number: 2433

    Know ye that we have granted unto Elisha Spence twenty acres of land in Cumberland County, Joining his own, James Atkins, and other lines on or near the pond Branch; Beginning at a post oak one of his own corners of the land his father let him have and runs East twenty seven chains with his own line to a sassafras in the Vaugn line then south seven chains to a pine James Atkins corner then as his line West twenty seven chains to a sassafras by a Branch then North seven chains to the Beginning.

    Entered 3rd February 1819. To Hold to the said Elisha Spence Heirs and assigns forever. Dated 13th of March 1821

Of course, they could be talking about two different Atkinses.  🙂

Next are a couple of marriage bonds:

  • John Prince and John Spence paid bond in Cumberland County for John Prince to marry Nancy Spence August 23, 1815
  • Daniel Prince and Elisha Spence paid bond in Cumberland County for Daniel Prince to marry Medeia (I don’t know if that’s supposed to be Medea or Madeira) Spence September 23, 1819

I know Nancy Prince was their daughter because of this letter in John’s estate file:

N. Carolina Cumberland County
To the Court of pleas and quarter
sessions March Term 1830

This is to certify that I Rhoday Spence Relict of the late John Spence Senr Decd of the county afforesaid do hereby relinquish my right of administration on my Intestate husbands Estate, to my Daughter Nancy Prince or to any other person she may see proper to annominate for it is necessary that some person should be appointed and I am not able to attend to the business myself it therefore is my request that she may be appointed or some other person that she may recommend to the court and no other person.  Given under my hand this 27th Day first day of March 1830.

Rhoday Spence (her mark)

Test:  Montillian Sexton
Nancy Prince

I’ve read that Rhoda’s first name was actually Rebeckah and that she was the daughter of Hardy Dean of Wake County, but that is impossible.  Rebeckah Dean was unmarried as of 1827, according to her father’s estate papers.  Within that folder, there is a letter, dated January 29, 1827, from Aulsey Dean, in Tennessee, to Hardy Dean, Jr., which says

…give my compliments to sister Rebeccah and allso brother Josiah and his family and Theophilus and fammily, Claton Leyland [not sure about that last name, it was hard to make out] fammily and also Berry King and his familly…

These are his siblings and their families.  Notice there is no “and family” for Rebeckah, and no husband named.  If she was the wife of John Spence, it would have said something like “give compliments to John Spence and family.”

The children I currently have for John and Rhoda are:

  • Mary “Polly” Spence married John Taylor December 7, 1813, John Spence bondsman
  • Nancy Spence married John Prince August 23, 1815, John Spence, bondsman
  • Elisha Spence married Nancy Wood, Jr. November 25, 1823
  • Medeia Spence married Daniel Prince September 23, 1819, Elisha Spence, bondsman
  • Sarah Spence married Thomas Spence January 17, 1820, Samuel Atkins, bondsman (uncertain)
  • James Spence married Nancy Pate January 1, 1825, Elisha Spence, bondsman
  • William Spence (uncertain, John Spence estate sale)
  • Delilah Spence (uncertain, John Spence estate sale)

I’m sure there were others. Besides Rhoda, there were seven other females in that house in 1810.  Of males, there was a boy under 10, most likely William, and John.  Talk about being outnumbered.  If Rhoda was the Rhody Spence in Sampson County in 1800, then the boys would be Elisha and James and the girl, probably, Nancy.  I don’t know where James and Elisha were in 1810.  They may have been bound out as apprentices, which would, perhaps, explain why their wives were from Johnston County.

Heads
of
Household
Free White Males Free White Females
<10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+ <10 10-15 16-25 26-44 45+
Sampson County – 1800
Rhody Spence 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0
Cumberland County – 1810
John Spence 1 0 0 0 1 2 3 2 1 0