Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On this day in history

I haven't followed the Civil War stories that have been published over the last year. Being the 150th anniversary has meant there are plenty of opportunities but for this son of the South, I felt we'd already had enough of those memorials.

There is a nice blog that has covered the Florida Civil War history, which considering the lack of military action in the Sunshine State has actually been pretty interesting.

This week I saw a newspaper story about the 150th anniversary of the battle of Fort Macon, in the harbor of Beaufort, North Carolina. It caught my eye because we have been to the fort. I also found records that one of my great grandfathers dug out the clay on his land, made bricks and they were used to build the fort. I wrote about that find two years ago.

The Yankee siege of Fort Macon started on March 23, 1861 and lasted a month. The Confederates surrendered on April 26, 1862.

Fort Macon was never considered an important military target. When the war broke out the Confederates took it over but there were only a handful of Union troops and four canons. Beaufort, North Carolina has the distinction of falling to the invaders during all three of the wars fought on US soil. There aren't many cities who can make that claim.

Since I had a number of relatives from the area, I decided to see how many of them participated in the battle of Fort Macon.

William Howard Longest, who was married to my great aunt, Laura Sena Foreman, enlisted in Company H of the 1st North Carolina Light Artillery on May 25, 1861 and was inside Fort Macon when the Yankees sailed into the harbor. He surrendered and was taken as a POW by the Union troops. They only held him for four months before exchanging him for some Union POWs. William Longest was born in 1833 but I'm not sure when he died. There is a marker for him at the Newport River Primitive Baptist Church cemetery in Carteret County, North Carolina but it doesn't have dates on it. It was installed in 1998. Laura was buried there also but there is no marker for her.

William J. Foreman who was the brother of Laura Sena Foreman and my great grandmother, Hope Jane Foreman also enlisted in the North Carolina Light Artillery in 1861 and was at Fort Macon. He didn't stay for the entire battle. The Confederate records show he deserted on April 9, 1862. He was married in May 1862 to Hattie Bell in Beaufort, one month after the fort fell.

William Foreman moved to Manatee County Florida after the end of the war and claimed a homestead on Perico Island. In fact, he and his wife Hattie Bell were probably the first from Carteret County to move to Manatee County. William was born in 1838 and died in 1906 and is buried in Palma Sola cemetery in Bradenton, Florida.

Owen Foreman, another brother of my great grandmother Hope was at Fort Macon as part of the North Carolina Light Artillery and also deserted on April 9, 1862. I'm not sure what happened to him after the war. I've never found any record of him after the battle. Hope Foreman named her son Owen Dewitt Garner, apparently after her brother.

Stephen Bryant Holland who was married to my 2nd cousin Margaret Francis Pigott, was also at Fort Macon. He enlisted in Company G, 10th Regiment of North Carolina Artillery and was a Sergent when the battle started. He was also taken as a POW and exchanged after a couple months. Stephen Holland was born in 1838 and died in 1924. He is buried in the Ferrand cemetery in Carteret County, next to his wife.

James W. P. Fulford who was my 3rd cousin had also enlisted in Company F of the North Carolina Light Artillery. He was taken prisoner when the fort fell and exchanged in August 1862. He married Mary Frances Smith in 1872 and moved to Craven County. He was born in 1838, died in 1907 and was buried in Cedar Grove cemetery in New Bern, NC.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The family editor

My daughter is a successful editor for a publishing company in Philadelphia but she didn't have anything to do with this edit.

One of my Florida cousins wanted to obtain a Family Certificate as a Florida Pioneer from the Florida State Genealogical Society. It's for descendants of early settlers, who were in the area before 1845 when Florida became a State.

Our common ancestor William Rowell would qualify since he was in North Florida about the same time the Spanish sailed off. He had to fend off the local Indians before he could do much farming but once that was taken care of his family stayed around. I visited with one of my Rowell cousins last summer who has helped keep the family name prominent in the area for 180 years.

The text that needed an edit was the memorial marker for William Rowell in Fellowship Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Madison County Florida.

They wanted to document that William was the father of Joseph Rowell so they could send in the membership application. I had found many sources that listed William Rowell in the area before 1845, his military record, land records and a newspaper account from the 1850s.

Unfortunately the 1850 census record, when Joseph was living in his father's house, didn't list relationships of anyone in the household, just their age and sex. I've never located a will or estate records for William that would have listed Joseph. So to take care of this, the cousin paid to add a few facts to the grave marker.

Now this marker isn't original and it is only a memorial not one marking his grave. He lived further west and would have probably been buried on his own land. But it didn't hurt anything to put on the marker what we all know is the truth, that he was the father of Joseph Rowell. That was enough to get the application approved.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Patriot or not

One thing that most people doing genealogy research like to find is Revolutionary War service. That way they can join the DAR - Daughters of the American revolution or the men's group, Son's of the American Revolution. My daughters can join the DAR on about 7-8 different family lines if they ever decide they want it.

One ancestor that I had never been able to document military service for was John Whitehurst of Carteret County, North Carolina. He was my 5th great grandfather and since he was born about 1740 would be the prime age to have participated in the war.

He lived in the Straits area of Carteret County and many of the Whitehurts in the area as well as those who moved to Cortez, Florida early last century are descended from him.

He married Susannah Fulford, daughter of Joseph Fulford and he died in 1795. His only son was Col. Richard Whitehurst, who married Margaret Burgess. I found Richard's grave marker the last time we were in the area and wrote an interesting story about it.

I've never found John Whitehurst on any Revolutionary War veteran list and over the last 200 years no one has tried to claim DAR membership via him. The DAR has really good records and an online index of all membership applications even those that were denied.

Recently Ancestry.com put SAR applications online and I found one that listed him. One of his descendants, John Norman Whitehurst filed an application in 1950. The application was approved but was somewhat vague on what service John Whitehurst had given during the war. I wrote to the national SAR office in Louisville, KY and they confirmed it was approved but they had no information, other than the application.

The application listed as sources; North Carolina Revolutionary Army Accounts, Vol IX, page 31 and the series US and NC War of the Rebellion, Book Z page 56. There is a handwritten note on the bottom of the first page stating they could not find these references. That made it even more of a question, as why did they approve the membership without checking it out?

I started looking for these books and after many tries at different libraries was able to locate both of them in the North Carolina Archives. I wrote to them and asked for copies. As I have found in the past, the NC Archives gives excellent service and I received photocopies of both the pages within a couple weeks.

Looking at the originals I see John Whitehurst received payments from the State of North Carolina in 1785 and 1789 but they don't make mention of why he was receiving the payment. I guess it was good enough for the SAR since they approved the application but what about the DAR?

The DAR web page has a list of who would qualify for membership. It's a long list and includes some you may be surprised at. I am thinking that since the 2nd document shows John was owed money that he may have been one who furnished goods, food or supplies to the Army. Not exactly something you would think would be on the same level as a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, but that is the way it is.

DAR - Acceptable Service:

Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Military Service, such as participation in:

Army and Navy of the Continental Establishment

State Navy

State and Local Militia


Military or Naval Service performed by French nationals in the American theater of war

Civil Service, under authority of Provisional or new State Governments:

State Officials

County and Town Officials (Town Clerk, Selectman, Juror, Town Treasurer, Judge, Sheriff, Constable, Jailer, Surveyor of Highways, Justice of the Peace, etc.)

Patriotic Service, which includes:

Members of the Continental Congress, State Conventions, and Assemblies

Membership in committees made necessary by the War, including service on committees which furthered the cause of the Colonies from April 1774, such as Committees of Correspondence, Inspection, and Safety, committees to care for soldier's families, etc.

Signer of Oath of Fidelity and Support, Oath of Allegiance, etc.

Members of the Boston Tea Party

Defenders of Forts and Frontiers, and Signers of petitions addressed to and recognizing the authority of the Provisional and new State Governments

Doctors, nurses, and others rendering aid to the wounded (other than their immediate families)

Ministers who gave patriotic sermons and encouraged patriotic activity

Furnishing a substitute for military service

Prisoners of war or refugees from occupying forces

Prisoners on the British ship Old Jersey or other prison ships

Service in the Spanish Troops under Galvez or the Louisiana Militia after 24 December 1776

Service performed by French nationals within the colonies or in Europe in support of the American cause

Those who rendered material aid, in Spanish America, by supplying cattle for Galvez's forces after 24 December 1776

Those who applied in Virginia for Certificates of Rights to land for settlement and those who were entitled to and were granted preemption rights

Those who took the Oath of Fidelity to the Commonwealth of Virginia from October 1779 to 26 November 1783

Those who rendered material aid such as furnishing supplies with or without remuneration, lending money to the Colonies, munitions makers, gunsmiths, etc.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Laying down your mark

I was surprised to find I've never written about Elijah Duncan before. He is my wife's ggg grandfather from her Lawrence family. When he died on December 14, 1840 in DeKalb County Tennessee at age 83 he was one of the oldest living Revolutionary War veterans in the State.

Being a Revolutionary War veteran he received several land grants in North Carolina in payment for his service. As many in his generation, he sold them and moved west. In reading the transcript of one of these transactions it talked of his making his mark, by writing the letter A on it's side. This seemed strange since neither of his names started with the letter A.

The note said this was the sign he may have been Quaker because it was a common practice of their faith. "The custom of laying down your mark when selling property was a practice utilized by many Quakers."

I had never heard of this and I'm not sure if my Philadelphia Editor daughter has either. If you Google the term, the only hits you receive are to a song called "To Remember" by Josh Kelley.

I decided to check with some Quaker experts and see what they had to say about it. I've asked if this was in fact the way Quakers signed deeds and why the letter A?

So far I've contacted editors & Ouaker experts at Quakerpedia, The Religious Society of Friends, The Quaker Information Center, Haverford College (the oldest Quaker college in the US) and my son in law who is finishing up a PhD in Early American History. Let's see which one comes up with the answer.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

One of the Ten Thousand

I saw a blog post that estimated we have 10,000 4th cousins. I have no idea if their math was correct but I am sure there are a lot of them.

I came across some photos of the house of one of my 4th cousins. Elma T. Howland was born on August 21, 1879 in Williston, Carteret County, North Carolina. We share a common set of ancestors, Joseph Fulford and Ann Martin who were my 6th great grandparents.

Elma's parents were Benjamin Tucker Howland and Josesh Ann Willis. The Howland family had several children who migrated to Florida along with a lot of other North Carolina folks in the early 1900s but their oldest daughter, Elma stayed at home.

She married Kanelium A. Bloodgood of Onslow County North Carolina and they built a nice looking home at 220 Elm Street in Swansboro around 1907. The house has survived more than 100 years and is now listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Elma's husband died in 1938 but she lived on in the house for another 25 years. She died on October 8, 1962 but her address was still listed as the house on Elm Street.