November 28, 2013

Thursday Thankful Family

I've always thought it was too bad that we wait until Thanksgiving to voice our gratitude. But on the other hand, perhaps I should be grateful there is one day in the year when we become very aware of our blessings. 

I am amazingly blessed - every single day. I have a healthy beautiful son about to graduate from college. I live in a comfortable home and get to love on an old but incredibly sweet cocker spaniel every day. I survived breast cancer and divorce and came out the other side a better person. I have friends who love me just as I am. What more can a gal ask?

I'm also grateful for my genealogy. It has opened doors for me, given me new friends and family members, and allowed me a peek inside a family I've sometimes struggled to understand. It's a rewarding hobby and not just in the usual sense.

Bless you all. 

November 27, 2013

Will of Jonathan F. Davis, Jan. 27, 1896, Granville County, NC

State of North Carolina
Granville County

I, Jon. F. DAVIS of the County and State aforesaid, bring of feeble health but of sound mind and memory, do make and declare this my last will and testament I the manner and form following.

First, that my executor hereafter named shall provide for my body a decent burial and pay all of my just debts howsoever and to whomever owing out of the first money that shall come into his hands.

I give my beloved wife Cornelia DAVIS all of my real and personal property and ? of what nature or kind and wheresoever the same shall be at the time of my death living her natural life or widowhood. After her death or marriage it is my will that the aforesaid property be divided between my seven children as follows.

I give and devise to my daughter Genetta WILSON Ninety Dollars less than a full share. 

I give and devise to my daughter Augusta HASWELL Fifty Five Dollars less than a full share.

I give and devise to my daughter Aramenta PLEASANTS Fifty Dollars less than a full share. 

Owing to advances made to the three above named with the above deductions. It is my will that the aforesaid property be equally divided between my seven children: Genetta WILSON, Augusta HASWELL, Aramenta PLEASANTS, Cordelia DAVIS, Seraftner INSCORE, Larrance DAVIS, Cora DAVIS. 

And lastly, I do hereby appoint my friend J.L. DAVIS my lawful Executor to all intents and purposes to execute this my last will and testament according to the true intent of the same. I hereby revoke and declare utterly invalid all other wills and testaments by me heretofore made.

In witness whereof the said Jonathan F. DAVIS do hereunto set my hand and seal this 27th day of January, 1896.

Jonathan F. DAVIS (seal)

Signed, sealed, and delivered by the said Jonathan F. DAVIS to be his last will and testament in the presence of us, who at his request and in his presence do declare our names as witnesses thereto. 


Handwritten note

J. D. Davis Executor of Johnathan F. DAVIS Dec'd.
1 track of land and home track - 146 acres
1 track of land Good Hope track 50 acres
1 track of land Bragg track 56 acres
1 mule, 1 cow, 9 hogs
1 wagon, 3 plows, 2 ho?, 2 wheat cradles
2 feather beds, 1 desk, 1 workstand, 1 clock, 6 chairs
1 folding table, 1 cook stove, 2 tables, small lot of table ware,
1 old buggy

J. D. DAVIS, Executor
Sworn to and subscribed before me this Sept. 18, 1900. J. G. ?? (CREECH?), C.S.C

November 22, 2013

My dad and JFK

I don't recall my parents, Carl STANCIL and Gladys ALLEN, being particularly interested in politics except they were completely enamored with John F. Kennedy. 

In the summer of 1961, we were transferred to the naval base at Newport, Rhode Island. I often heard my mother say we'd been transferred there for daddy to train for the Presidential color guard, though I can find no reference to that in his military records. Still, it was indicative of how proud she was of my father and how much respect she held for JFK.

A year later, still at Newport Naval Base, daddy reenlisted for another 4 years of service. He was rewarded with a year long tour of duty to Okinawa and mom and I shipped home to wait for him. Fast forward a few years and the family is reunited and stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC.

November 22, 1963. Although I was not quite 5 years old at the time, I clearly recall the evening news the day of the assignation. I remember my father standing in the middle of our living room watching the evening news in shock. Then, he sat down and cried. 

It was only occasion I ever witnessed my father in tears. My father, a tough Marine who had lived through the hell of war, cried when his President died. 

How many of us would cry today if our President died? Probably not many. Not because our current President is a controversial figure, but because we are indifferent. Whether its due to history or the media, we have a thicker skin about such things. We no longer live in the hopeful atmosphere of Kennedy's Camelot. A world where a young Catholic Irish-American could be revered, respected, and  even spite of being President of the United States.

Rest in peace, JFK. The world is a better place because of you. 

November 19, 2013

Gettysburg Address was 150 Years Ago

Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham's Lincoln Gettysburg Address. I was required to memorize the entire address for my 7th grade history class. I can still remember bits and pieces...

Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. 

That's all I can remember, but I am touched by that first sentence of the address. I get it.  All men are created equal. I cannot explain why we were still debating that little fact in 1863. The address was approximately 272 words long and took about 3 minutes. It's been called "a short speech long remembered". 

As far as I know, none of my civil war ancestors were at Gettysburg. I have toured the battlefield on a very cold and windy day. You can FEEL the reverence of the place. It reminds me of when I visited Ground Zero in New York City nearly a year after 9/11. Although the later was caused by evil and the former by something very different, the emotions were similar.

Filmmaker Ken Burns is encouraging Americans to memorize the address.  My 7th grade history teacher was one step ahead of him.

November 18, 2013

Update: Salem Primitive Baptist Church

So I've griped for years that I couldn't find anyone who knew a single thing about Salem Primitive Baptist Church in Wendell, NC (actually, for those who know a tad about Johnston County, it's in Archer Lodge.) It was like it didn't exist. No phone number or web site. No one I asked had heard of them - and I asked a lot of people over the years!

My great great grandparents are buried in the cemetery next to the church. I've long wanted to know more about my family's involvement with this church. I suspect the roots run deep. 

Last week, at long last, I made contact with a church leader. And yesterday, I attended services at Salem. 

It was beautiful to sit in a church where I am sure William STANCIL and his wife and Mary MASSENGILL worshiped. I thought about them a lot while I sat there. I could picture them sitting together on a wooden pew with their seven children. Odd that only one of their children are buried with them at Salem, Joseph Henry STANCIL. But then there are a number of unmarked graves, so who knows?

There is something special about this church. I've always loved simple old country churches, but for some reason this one calls to me. 

The church is being gracious enough to open their records to me. I may find nothing about my particular family, but I am very honored and excited to be able to flip through the history of this extremely peaceful place.

November 16, 2013

Marriage Bond for George B Allen and Mary Thompson, Wake County, NC 1832

            Wake County }

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS That we George B. Allen, Benjamin Allen are held and firmly bound unto Montfort Stokes Esquire, Governor &c. his Successors in Office, in the full sum of Five Hundred Pounds, current Money, to be paid to the said Governor, his Successors or Assigns, for which payment well and truly to be made and done, we bind ourselves, our Heirs, Executors and Administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents, sealed with our Seals, and dated the 20th day of November Anno Domini 1832.

THE condition of the above Obligation is such, that whereas the above bounden George B. Allen hath made application for a License for Marriage to be celebrated between him and Mary Thompson of the County aforesaid; Now, in Case it shall not appear hereafter, that there is any lawful Cause or Impediment to obstruct the said Marriage, then the above obligation to be void otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered
in Presence of                           For George B. Allen (seal) 
Todd Kingdele
Hand                                     Benjamin Allen {seal}

November 12, 2013

Will of Matthew Moore, Cumberland County, NC, 1824

This will can be found online here and was originally submitted by Betty Moore. 

Will dated:  October 1824
Will probated: September 1825

From Cumberland County, North Carolina, Will Book B, p. 138 (in NC State Archives in Raleigh, NC). 

"In the name of God, Amen. I, Matthew Moore, on being weak in body, but of sound and perfect mind and memory, or you may say this consideration of the uncertainty of this mortal life, and being of sound and perfect mind and memory, blessed be Almighty God for the same, do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following, vis: I give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Prudence Moore, the plantation and house that I formerly occupied, with all the household furniture, stock, hogs, sheep and cattle. When at her decease, what remains over and above shall be equally divided among her children. I do hereby appoint Prudence sole Executrix of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills made by me. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 6th day of October in the year of our Lord, 1824. 

Matthew Moore (mark) (Seal) James Hodges John Moore"

Will was probated September 1825. Will Book B, p 138 - 139, North Carolina Archives. Wife Prudence received the house and plantation. Note:  Heirs (her children) were not named. Executrix was Prudence Moore, witnesses James Hodges and John Moore. There was a paper in the box at the archives dated 15 Feb 1838 and two copies of a petition filed in the courts by Neall Shaw et al vs. Daniel B. Cameron et al, one to be delivered to Malcom Buie and wife Annabella of the county. Not sure if this is related to the probate.

November 10, 2013

Happy Birthday, USMC!

Ok, so I'm feeling very sappy this weekend. It's Veteran's Day AND the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps!

As I've mentioned (probably too many times), my daddy was a very proud Marine. I was born and raised at Camp Lejeune, NC. 

COUNTLESS times I accompanied my parents to various events on base, not to mention taking swimming lessons at Montford Point, bowling on base, family vacations in military owned beach cabanas in Onslow County, NC, shopping at the commissaries, holiday meals in the mess halls, sick calls at the Naval Hospital, and on and on. I even worked at the base library my first year out of college. As part of a military family, your life tends to revolve around it. 

So it's no surprise that all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Marine Corp birthday/ball is a big part of my childhood. My mother would spend all day getting her hair done and primping for the ball. She was surely the belle of the ball - so beautiful and proud. Daddy struck an uber handsome pose in his dress blues. 

For a highly conservative couple, they certainly loved to party the night away at the ball. It was one of the few occasions they would seriously let their hair down! The ball was a BIG deal.

Each year, I so enjoy watching A Capitol Fourth on PBS. My favorite part is when the Marine Corps band plays or when I spot the Marines in the Armed Forces Color Guard. It brings tears to my eyes. Yes, yes, I'm a sap. I know.

So Happy Birthday, my dear Marines. I love you dearly. 

November 9, 2013

Veteran's Day Remembrances

Carl Donald Stancil's platoon at Parris Island, SC 
Veteran's Day reminds us to honor those who served and sacrificed for their country. We should also honor the families, as they sacrificed in their own way to love and support their loved ones in the military. I am acutely aware of these sacrifices, as I am the child of a career Marine. I was born and largely raised on a military base.

I come from a long line of men who served their country.  I have direct ancestors who served in Vietnam, Korea, World War I, World War II, Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. I am proud of each of them.

Carl Donald Stancil
The smiling fellow to the left is my father, Carl Donald STANCIL. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1947 at age 17. At age 21, he was seriously wounded in Korea during the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. He retired with disability in 1973 due to Marie-Strumpell Disease and near total deafness. He went on to serve another 20 years with civil service, thereby proudly serving his country for over 45 years. 

Jesse Roland Stancil 
This is PFC Jesse Roland STANCIL, my father's oldest brother. He enlisted in the Army at Fort Bragg, NC on April 8, 1943 and served with the 157 Inf. 45 Inf. Div. He landed in the Anzio Invasion and fought up the "boot" of Italy with Co. I. Jesse was killed in southern France on October 21, 1944. He was initially buried in France, but the family brought him home after the war and he is now buried at Montlawn Cemetery in Raleigh, NC near his parents. 

Jesse Bernard Stancil

This is my grandfather, Jesse Bernard STANCIL. He served in the Army for a little less than a year enlisting July 22, 1918 until his honorable discharge May 15, 1919. Like his son (above), he fought in LeHarve, France. He was with Company B, Conv. Cr. Tr. Cr. at Camp Lee, Virginia. 

He was likely drafted as his draft registration card was signed June 5, 1917, about a year prior to his enlistment. 

All four of my paternal great great grandfathers served in the US Civil war in the Confederate Army. All of them survived the war. 

  1. William STANCIL
  2. Walter JOHNSON, served with Company C of the NC 53rd Infantry. He mustered in at age 18 on May 15, 1862. He was accounted for at the Battle of Gettysburg. 
  3. Jarrott JOHNSON enlisted as a Private on February 1, 1863 in Lynchburg, VA. He served with Company I of the 24th Infantry Regiment NC. 
  4. Absolom BARBER served with the NC 5th.

James Johnson, KIA

My 3rd great grandfather, James JOHNSON, served with Company I of the 24th Infantry Regiment NC. Sadly, he was killed at Sharpsburg, Maryland on September 17, 1862. The ultimate sacrifice. 

I am also proud to claim a number of Patriot ancestors:
  1. Joel JOHNSON, my 5th great grandfather
  2. Frederick JOHNSON, my 5th great grandfather
  3. Cyrus DAVIS, my 4th great grandfather
All of these gentlemen deserve our gratitude for their service. Remember to honor all who served.

November 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Vivian!

Today is Vivian Leigh's 100th birthday. I've seen most of her films, but my favorite is A Streetcar Named Desire. Of course she'll always be most remembered for Gone With the Wind. 

In both films, she played a Southern lady meeting difficult life circumstances. Odd, since she was British and had probably never been in a position to experience or understand southern culture. Clearly, however, she "got it" to some extent because she won Oscars for both performances. 

Indeed, us southern girls have a certain strength of character. 

My mother Gladys ALLEN certainly did. She grew up poor, but her family fought their way from the depression to middle class status to owning a home of their own. In spite of being raised as a moonshiner, which netted him a lil' prison time, my grandfather Atlas ALLEN found himself in hot demand during World War II as a helicopter mechanic. A skill he picked up in prison, no less. Good for him!

On the other side of the family, Grandpa STANCIL moved his family from rural Johnston County, NC to the big city of Raleigh, NC where jobs and opportunities were more plentiful. His wife, Lou Ada JOHNSON, must have been one heck of a good woman, just based on the letters my father wrote to her from Marine Corps boot camp and later from Korea. He sure loved his mama. 

Then there's me. I'm no traditional southern belle, but I was raised in the whole southern culture thing where we wore patent leather shoes to church on Sundays and had fried chicken and biscuits for dinner. That's when we weren't having fried pork chops or BBQ straight off the pig.

So while Vivian wasn't exactly a GRITS (Girl Raised in The South) kind of gal, she sure had us pegged with the attitude. My favorite Scarlett O'Hara quote is "Tomorrow is another day".

I say that often. Like, daily. 

November 4, 2013

Salem Primitive Baptist Church

I have this insatiable curiosity about many things and one of them is Salem Primitive Baptist Church in Archers Lodge, NC. The church is located on SR 1742 also known as Salem Church Road. The sign in front of the church says it was founded in 1784.

It's a beautiful classic white wooden structure set far out in the countryside. It has a cemetery to the right of the church where several members of my family are buried:


William STANCIL and his wife Mary Ann Rebecca MASSENGILL STANCIL are my great great grandparents. They are buried right next to their son, Joseph Henry STANCIL, my great grandfather. 

I've been searching for more information about this church for nearly 10 years. I'm curious to know how my great great grandparents connect to this church. Did they live nearby? Were they lifelong members? Does the church have any records of interest?

The church is obviously well cared for and it appears services are still held there. The curious thing is no one seems to know a thing about this church. I've checked with the archivist for the Primitive Baptist Association, but they have no record of this church. There is no telephone listing or web site. I've checked with local businesses close by...most didn't even know there was a church up the road. I've checked with other area Primitive Baptist churches...but they've never heard of Salem. It's like this church dropped from the heavens!  

I resorted to leaving a note on the front door of the church asking them to contact me. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

SO...if you know anything at all about Salem PBC, I sure would appreciate a clue about who to contact to ask a few questions. I'm just dying to know a little more about William and Mary! 

November 2, 2013

Allen Surname

My Allen "people" (as country folks call family) are largely from the New Light area in extreme northern Wake County, NC. While I haven't identified the Allen immigrant ancestor yet, let's just say those Allen people have been in Wake County a long long time. At least since 1774, just prior to the start of the revolution.

Collet's Map of 1770
I do know the early Allens in Wake County were bona fide plantation and slave owners.  My instinct, though unproven at this point - but highly likely - is that the Allen family wandered on down Green's Path from the tidewater area of Virginia into Wake County after a brief pit stop in Warren County. NC. Green's Path followed roughly the same route at today's I-95 and was a highly used trading path through North Carolina in spite of running straight through Tuscarora indian territory. 

The question here is how and when did they find their way to Virginia? Still working on figuring that out.

The real point of this post is supposed to be about the origin of the Allen surname. But truth be told...I don't really know the true origin of our particular Allen line.  Yet. I've read that we are of English, Scottish and Irish origin. Which would surely explain my lily white skin tone and freckles. Not to mention my mother's red hair!

The problem here is that our Allens have been in the America so long it will be very hard to trace their origin, though probably not impossible. We're not like many families who found their way here via Ellis Island and so are heavily documented. 

Oh no, we've been here a very very long time. Which is pretty cool in a transient world where everyone is from somewhere else. We're from right here

November 1, 2013

Allan RAY and Martha Hawkings PEARCE

Allan RAY and Martha Hawkings PEARCE are my great great grandparents. They lived most of their lives right where their ancestors and descendants lived in New Light, Wake County, NC. Just up the road from me. In fact, Ray Road is just two stoplights away. 

Isn't that a great name?  Hawkings. I'm told her nickname was "Hawk Pearce". You know how some folks are called by their first AND last name as though it were their first name? Hawk Pearce. I have to wonder about that name. Hawkings must have been a family name somewhere along the way, but I haven't figured that out yet.  

A family member commented that she wore a lot of rouge. Most of our family has lily white skin, so I can just imagine what that must have looked like!

Grandma Hawk was just 18 years old when she married Grandpa Allan in December of 1885. At 29 years old, he was an "older man". I've wondered if he was married before her, but I can't find any record of such. 

They raised 5 children including my great grandmother, Elizabeth (Sissy) RAY ALLEN. They had been married for 51 years when Grandpa Allan died in 1936. She died 17 years later in 1953. 

Both passed away from heart issues. Maybe it was all that fatback, fried chicken, and lard biscuits. The standard country southern diet.