Thursday, August 30, 2012

Breaking the Code

Patrick and Elizabeth "Kelso" Murphy were the parents of Elizabeth Murphy who married James Hendry about 1780 in Sampson County, North Carolina. Hendry was a great uncle of my brother-in-law Tom Ryon. The Hendrys migrated to Liberty County Georgia and then some of the family moved down to Taylor County Florida. 

Black River Chapel

Patrick and Elizabeth were from Scotland and arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina around 1774. Patrick Murphy was a Sergeant in the 10th North Carolina Militia Regiment during the Revolutionary War. He received a land grant for his military service and settled in Sampson County. They both died in the late 1700s and were buried in the Black River Chapel Cemetery. 

I was looking at records in Sampson County North Carolina because several of my father's family lines; Blanchard and Ezell came from there.

 A Sampson County history web page had a reference to the Murphy's unusual grave markers and doing some checking I realized there was a family connection. I'm not sure where the practice came from but as you can see the markers have a lot of information on them, if you know the code.

Original Murphy Grave Markers
 They basically carved the first letter of each word and then only a couple numbers. Patrick died first so maybe it was his idea or maybe they got a price break from the local carpenter. In any event I've never seen grave markers like this before.

If you know the code they read:
P(atrick) M(urphy) D(parted) H(is) L(ife) M(onth) T(he) 11(th) 1785 (ag)ed 66

E(lizabeth) M(urphy) De(parted) T(his) L(ife) M(onth) 8(th) 1798 (ag)ed 71

Replacement markers

The original wooden markers have been removed and replaced with one made of marble and another of granite. The originals are now on display at the Sampson County History Museum.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sometimes you get lucky

Luddie Garner was the sister of my great grandmother Sallie Adams Fulford. Her parents died when she was young and she and her brother Owen Dewitt Garner were raised by Capt. John Fogarty and his wife in Bradenton, Florida.The only thing I knew about her when I started doing family research was her name, the fact that she was left an orphan at age 10 and that John Fogarty named a boat after her.
Luddie Garner Bahrt

I found information about her marriage and her husband Carl William Bahrt in the Manatee County Florida Archives and with the last name Bahrt figured it would be difficult to find much else. Actually the last name turned out to be a big help.

There aren't too many people with the name Bahrt. In fact findagrave, with a listing of the final rest of over 81,000,000 million people only has 34 with the name. It is often misspelled but I've found that if you locate someone in the USA with it, they are probably related to Luddie Garner or know someone who is.

Luddie was born in 1885 in Carteret County, North Carolina and died in 1964 in Tampa, Florida. Her parents were Elijah Meadows Garner and Hope Jane Foreman.

Her husband Carl William Bahrt was a ship captain. In fact, he was known as "Captain Billy" just like the husband of her sister Sallie.  He sailed on merchant ships for a while like his father and then became a Pilot for the Port of Tampa.

Luddie and Captain Billy had three sons but only two lived to adulthood. Robert was only 31 when he died in Tampa, Florida. The other son, Carl William Jr. graduated from Georgia Tech and was an Engineer in Galveston, Texas.

About 10 years ago I sent letters to all the Bahrts I could find an address for, email and snail. It wasn't many and I got a response from several who were related to the family. There were two William Bahrts who wrote me back and both have been helpful in providing information. The photo of Luddie was provided by one of them who is her nephew.

My wife and I took a trip to Oregon this summer and enjoyed meeting Luddie's great niece who is building a house on the coast. Her grandfather Arthur Bahrt was also a Mariner and later in life a Ship Pilot so I guess she couldn't get too far from the water.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dr. Fulford, I Presume?

I wrote about my distant grandfather, John Fulford several years ago. He was recognized as the first white male born in the Carolinas. He died in 1723 in what is now Carteret County, NC.

A New Bern, North Carolina newspaper article from 1893 said his grave was at the Fulford family cemetery and bricked up with "English brick." When the Carteret County Historical Society did a census of all the old cemeteries in 1971 they found such a grave but when they did another census in 2005 it was no longer visible.

I've been to the cemetery several times but this year when I was there I noticed a bricked up grave under a tree, covered with brush. The last time I was there, in October 2009, there was a stack of lumber in this area.

This grave is directly across from the grave of Col. Thomas Fulford who died in 1854 and would have been the great great grandson of John Fulford. There is no way to know if this is his grave, but it matches the description from 1971 and 1893.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I saw a reference to the town of Aucilla, Florida being called Williamsburg back in the 1800s because several of the early settlers were named William. I knew my ancestor, William Rowell had moved to the area in the 1830s so decided to see if he could have been one of those Bills.
1831 Homestead

The Federal Bureau of Land Management has records online showing the land patents issued in Florida and several other States. I heard that William Rowell lived near the Aucilla River in Jefferson County Florida. Using the land records database I found the coordinates of his homesteads.

His first homestead grant was dated December 29, 1831 for 160 acres. The Florida Dept of Environmental Protection has a Bureau of Survey and Mapping web page that will show on a map of Florida the location of any property if you have the legal description.

Using their web page I found William Rowell's first homestead was in what is now the northwest corner of Madison County Florida almost to the Georgia border. It is very close to the Lovett Community, where my great grandfather Andrew Green is buried in the Concord Church cemetery.

1843 and 1848 Homestead

William Rowell obtained two more land grants in the 1840s. One was on March 10, 1843 and the other on April 10, 1848. They were both for 80 acres and were side by side.

Using the FDEP web page I found they were near the Aucilla River in what is now the southeast corner of Jefferson County Florida. This property is close to the Rocky Ford Primitive Baptist Church which was organized on September 12, 1846 by William Rowell and several of his relatives.

Rocky Ford Church 1898

William Rowell was listed in Jefferson County on the census records after 1850 so he must have lived on this property. It is about 24 miles from the first homestead.

It's close to the Shady Grove community of western Taylor County where his grandson Seth and descendants settled. My grandmother Ila Rowell Green was born there in 1887.

The town of Aucilla is further north. It was once a railroad station stop close to what is now Highway 90 going across the top of the State of Florida. William Rowell never lived in the town itself so I would guess the original name of Williamsburg was for someone else.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

John Morgan

This is a tale of two John Morgans. I recently read the last installment of General U.S. Grant's memoirs and he called John Hunt Morgan one of the most effective Confederate Generals of the Civil War. I decided to check and see if he was related. He isn't but I did notice another John Morgan in my family tree and a common fact about them. They died within a couple weeks of each other at the end of the summer of 1864.
John N Morgan Woodlawn National Cemetery Elmira, NY

One was born in south Georgia to a farm family and was the great uncle of Inez Eliza Wilson who married my great uncle Auley Henry Rowell in Taylor County Florida. The other John Morgan was the grandson of one of the wealthiest men in the USA.

Private John Newton Morgan was born in Lowndes County Georgia about 1843 and enlisted in the 2nd Florida Infantry Regiment on December 18, 1862. He fought in many of the major battles of the Civil War. John was wounded on May 12, 1864 at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia and taken prisoner. He was sent first to Cape Lookout Maryland POW camp and two months later to the Elmira New York POW camp. He died of disease there on August 20, 1864.
John Hunt Morgan Lexington Cemetery

General John Hunt Morgan was born on June 1, 1825 in Huntsville, Alabama. He grew up in Lexington, Kentucky because his mother was the daughter of John Wesley Hunt, known as the first millionaire west of the Allegheny Mountains and a founder of the city. John Hunt Morgan's father went bankrupt in Alabama and they moved to Lexington when he was a boy to live with his grandfather. He used the family money to finance a militia company before the Civil War and after the war started he organized Kentucky men into a cavalry regiment that fought at the Battle of Shiloh.

It was the one and only organized battle for him as he spent the rest of his time in the war leading raiding parties into Northern States and harassing Union troops in Tennessee and western Virginia. They say he was assassinated by Union troops in Greeneville, Tennessee on September 4, 1864.

John Hunt Cole Sequoyah Oklahoma
Some conspiracy theorists say John Hunt Morgan traded places with a subordinate and escaped to live a long life as a Physician, under the name John Hunt Cole in Oklahoma Indian territory. The story is he only gave up his true identity on his death bed in a short note to his family. The grave marker in both Lexington and Sequoyah County Oklahoma show the same date of birth. I have contacted the family of John Hunt Cole to see if there is any proof of the story.