March 30, 2014

Will of Ralph Matthews, 1687

Nuncupative (oral) Will of RALPH MATTHEWS

Isle of Wight County, Virginia Will and Deed Book 2, p. 269. 
Registered August 13, 1687.

An account of what RALPH MATTHEWS gave his three children before his departure to each: one bed and bedstead, to each six pewter dishes, to each one [an] Iron pot, to each one [a] frying pan, to each one a dozen of spoons, to each two por-ringers?, to one a skinner, to the next a flesh fork, and the other a ladle, and that had the lade to give her one salt tiller to equalize the skinner and flesh fork, and this he did desire. Should be at his wife's disposing till they come of age to ____ it themselves, furthermore he did desire that Col. Smith or his sonne Arthur Smith to take some care that this which he gave his children may not be imbezled and for the children be defrauded of it, and furthermore that his wife should have the remainder herself paying his debts out of it. This RALPH MATTHEWS desired as we have set our hands and hereunto to take notice of as to be his Will. Col Smith being present at that time, it being some two days before his death. Attested by Boaz Gwin, Robert Brock. Proved in open court held for the Isle of Wight County, August ye 13th 1687 by the oaths of Boaz Gwin and Robert Brock.

Test. John Pitt Ct. Clerk 
Isle of Wight County, Virginia Administrations and Probates, p. 61. 

RALPH MATTHEWS by will appointed his relict, ALICE MATTHEWS, Executrix, August 13, 1687. Registered October 21, 1687

Source:  "Nimrod and Amanda Johnson Stephenson of Pleasant Grove Township, Johnston County, North Carolina:  Their Ancestors and Descendants". 1991 by James Mark Valsame, Raleigh, NC.

March 27, 2014

Things I learned from my father

Gladys Allen Stancil, Carla Anne Stancil,
 Carl Donald Stancil - 1962
When I think about the things I learned from my father, two things come to mind. Tidiness and kindness. 

Being a career Marine, daddy was organized, neat, and a bit of a minimalist. His closet was organized, his "skivvies" were folded and put away just so, and his shoes were always lined up in the closet perfectly. Spit shined, of course. Thankfully, I inherited that trait, although I think it sometimes borders on OCD. 

One time, daddy was helping me move into the place I would live my senior year in college. I was unpacking and putting things away when he commented "you like everything in its place and a place for everything". He had me pegged and 35 year later it's the same. I like my home clean and orderly. I don't function well in chaos.

Carl Donald Stancil, 2004
Far more important that tidiness, the most wonderful thing I learned from my father was tolerance and kindness. He rarely met someone he did not like, or if he did he kept it to himself. He'd often say "he/she is good people" when referring to someone he respected.  He smiled often. Like all the time. He was the first to volunteer if a friend needed a hand. 

I discovered just how much love was in him when my son was born. He loved, loved, loved, that grandson. He loved rocking him, feeding him, burping him, taking him for rides, taking him to school and back, and even changing his diaper. Daddy even organized his living room so that Cam's diapers and supplies were well stocked and stacked for action.

When he passed away, I eventually found the wherewithal to look in his wallet to see if there was anything we would need to handle his estate. There I found FOUR very tightly and neatly folded $100 bills organized just so in the wallet along with his license (on top of course) followed by his insurance cards and this picture of me:

Carla Stancil 1976

March 26, 2014

Obituary of Louise Davis Shields, 1924 - 2013

Obituary for Louise D. Shields
Blissfield Michigan

Blissfield- Louise D. Shields, age 88, of Blissfield, passed away Monday, July 15, 2013 at Blissfield Place, with her family present, under the loving care of the Blissfield Place staff, who were like family and Hospice of Lenawee.

She was born on November 5, 1924 in Granville County, NC to Louie (Davis) and Charles R. Davis. Louise married William (Bill) Henry Shields, Jr. on October 19, 1946 in Newport News, VA. 

Louise lived life to the fullest, going with her husband, Sergeant Major Shields to all his military assignments while raising her family. Growing up during the depression, Louise and Bill enjoyed the down to earth things in life, as well as their family, rather than material goods. She enjoyed flower and plant gardening, loved music and dancing, was an avid reader, a NC Tar Heel, volunteered for the Red Cross and was a member of the First Christian Church. She actually worked for NASA, before it was known for the space program. Louise lived for her family, she will be greatly missed but made wonderful memories for her children and their offspring. 

Survivors include her children, Deborah (John) Walus of Mt. Clemens, MI, Charles (Dianne) Shields of Temperance, MI and Steven (Kendra) Shields of Blissfield; a sister Frances Brummert of Youngsville, NC; nine grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

Welcoming her to heaven with open arms, is the love of her life, her husband, Bill (a.k.a. Opossum). 

Funeral services for Louise will be at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, 2013, at Wagley Funeral Home, Tagsold Chapel in Blissfield, with Deacon Jim Hashman officiating. Burial will follow at the Deerfield Cemetery. Visitation will be on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Wounded Warriors, envelopes will be available at the funeral home. 

March 25, 2014

Will of Ezekiel Fuller - 1722

Ezekiel Fuller's will ---1722

In the name of God Amen I Ezekiel Fuller of the Isle of Wight county being of perfect Mind & Memory Thanks be to almighty God make this my Last will and Testament in a Manner and for me following Imprimts I Submit my Soul to god. 

Hoping Through the merrits of my blessed saviour To have pardon of all my Sinns. 

Item I Give to my Loving wife the use of all my Estate what so ever Dureing her widowhood or Naturall Life and the day of Marriage or Death my will is that this is 

Item I Give and Bequeath to my son Ezekiell and Sollomon all my Land to be Equaly Divided Betweene Them and their Heirs forever 

Item I give to my son Ezekiell all my Carpenters Tools. 

Item I Give the remainder of my Estate to my wife marriage or Death 

to my Loving Children 

To my daughter Ann my Son Ezekiell my Daughter Mary my Sons Sollomon, Benjamin, John, Joseph, Arthur, & Timothy to be equally divided Betweene them. 

Item I give to my son Henry Twenty Five Shillings to be paid by executrix. 

Item I give to my Daughter Martha Whitley and my Daughter Honor Allen a half a Pence and I do make my Loving Wife Deborah my Whole and Sole executrix of this my Last will and Testament in Witness my hand and seale this 19 day of November 1722.

His Marke
Ezekiel (EF) Fuller

Signed Sealed and Delivered to be the Last Will and Testament
in the presence of.
Arthur Smith
Matthew Lowry his W ( ) W Ward

2nd Court held for Isle of Wight County, The 24 June 1723

The Last will & Testament of Ezekiell Fuller presented unto Court by the Executrix who made oath_______and being proved in Court by the oathes of Matthew Lowry & Wm. Ward Wittnesses is admitted to record
____Lightfoot___ ___

Recorded in Deeds and Wills of Isle of Wight Co, Va. Great Book Vol 2 part 2 1715-1726 page 133

Note: Will has no reference to children Benjamin or Ann. Additionally, the family group sheet submitted to the LDS Ancestral Files only lists nine children: Henry, Ezekial, Martha, Honour, Mary, John, Joseph, Arthur, and Timothy; leaving out Benjamin, Ann and Solomon (Solomon is in the Will however).

March 23, 2014

No Indians Here

So it seems that a lot of family historians are hell-bent on proving they have "Indian blood" in their line. It's a matter of pride and quite the topic on genealogy DNA forums. 

IF I had American Indian blood flowing through my body, I would be proud, too. But alas, I'm extremely Anglo. My family wandered over from England back in the 1600s, and tended to marry each other or the gal down the road. 

Although I can't rightfully claim the distinction, I've always been very interested in North Carolina tribes, especially the Tuscaroras who lived in central North Carolina in the 1600 - 1700s. 

We can all agree that the Indians didn't get a fair shake back in the day. And I'm continually dismayed at how history is inaccurately portrayed in the popular outdoor dramas in Cherokee, Boone and Manteo. If the State of NC is going to use these very well-done (but historically wrong) dramas as "tourist attractions", I sure wish they'd clean 'em up so they are factual. I dislike the idea of "educating" our tourists with bad information. Seems a disservice to all making true North Carolina history a moot point.

March 22, 2014

Obituary of Elizabeth Flowers Godwin, 1810 - 1895

The Smithfield Herald
January 2, 1896

An Aged Mother Gone

After a painful illness of about four weeks, Mrs. Lizzie Godwin departed this life on the night of December 25, 1895, at the home of her son in law, Mr. J. B. Davis, in Wilson's Mills township. She was born Feb. 23rd, 1810, and lived to be eighty-five years, ten months and two days old. She was the wife of Stephen Godwin, who died thirty-three years ago. She was the mother of twelve children, ten of them yet living to mourn their loss. She had forty-eight grand-children and sixty-eight great-grand-children living at the time of her death.

She was buried at the side of her husband at the Simon Jones burying ground in Clayton township. She was a consistent member of the Primitive Baptist church and ever ready to do the will of her Heavenly Master.

She bore her sickness with much patience and often said in her sickness that she was ready and willing to go.

We extend our sympathies to the sorrowing family in their sad bereavement. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.


March 17, 2014

Obituary for Augusta Davis Haswell, 1865 - 1937

News and Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina, March 22, 1937

Mrs. William A. Haswell

Youngsville. Mrs. William A. Haswell, 72, died Tuesday at her home outside of Youngsville. Funeral services will be held at the Good Hope church Wednesday afternoon at 2:30.

Surviving are three daughters:  Mrs. W. A. Ray, Wake Forest, Mrs. W. R. Pleasants, and Mrs. J. L. Pleasants, both of Youngsville; four sisters: Mrs. J. B. Wilson, Durham; Mrs. J. D. Pleasants and Mrs. Sid Davis, both of Youngsville, Mrs. H. S. Powell, Neuse; and thirteen grandchildren.

March 16, 2014

Will of Hugh Matthews, 1747


Southampton County, Virginia Will Book 1, pp. 55-57
Devised November 7, 1747, Registered September 12, 1751

In the Name of God Amen, I HUGH MATTHEWS of the County of Southampton in Nottoway parish do make this writing my last will and testament in form and manner as followeth. 

Item. I give and bequeath to my grandson JONAS MATTHEWS son of JOHN MATTHEWS deceased 200 acres of land lying on the East side of Angelica Swamp being part of a tract of land formerly taken up by Captain William West and now possessed by Edward Drew I say I give the said tract of land to him and the heirs of his body lawfully begotten. 

Item. I give and bequeath to my grandson RALPH MATTHEWS son of RALPH MATTHEWS a certain tract or parcel of Land lying on the East side of Angelica Swamp a survey lately made by Major James Baker the Contents not known at present I say I give the said land to him and his heirs. 

Item. I give and bequeath to my Grandson SOLOMON STEPHENSON a certain tract or parcel of land lying on James Branch bounded by Edward Drew's line and my own line the contents unknown at present I give the said Land to him and his heirs. 

Item. I give and bequeath to my two sons EDWARD MATTHEWS and WILLIAM MATTHEWS a new survey of Land lately made by me lying on James Branch and bounded by the Indians line and the branch commonly called the Indian Branch I say I give the said land to my said sons to be equally divided between them according to quantity and quality to them and their Heirs.

Item. I give and bequeath to my loving wife ANN MATTHEWS the plantation I now live on during her widowhood and afterwards I bequeath the same to my son JOSEPH MATTHEWS likewise my desire that my son JOSEPH MATTHEWS my build him a house that which he hath on part of the said Land and my desire that he may live where he is on that part of the land that was laid off to him and on the manor plantation without any molestation the time of her widowhood, I say I give the said plantation to him and his son JACOB MATTHEWS and their heirs. 

Item. I give and bequeath to my son JOSEPH MATTHEWS my still and all conveniences thereunto belonging likewise I bequeath the third part of the liquor, both Cider and Brandy, made on the Plantation to my wife ANN MATTHEWS during her widowhood and my Will and Desire is that my three sons EDWARD and WILLIAM may have the liberty of stilling the Cider in the said Still as long as she lasts on free cost. 

Item. I bequeath to my loving wife ANN MATTHEWS my Negro fellow called Jack during her widowhood and after to have his freedom and my desire is that my wife ANN MATTHEWS may not take any body to Crop? it with her except her own son. 

Item. My will and desire is that all my Household stuff and goods of all kinds may be equally divided between my loving wife ANN MATTHEWS and my three sons EDWARD, WILLIAM, and JOSEPH except my wife ANN MATTHEWS should have a mind to leave the plantation then my will and desire is that she may have two cows and calves or year olds and my black riding horse, saddle and bridle, or otherwise if she continues after her Decd. to be equally divided among them likewise my desire is that my wife ANN MATTHEWS may have one feather bed and furniture. 

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter SARAH MAC KENNY one shilling and my fine duffell coat. 

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter MARTHA NEWSOM one shilling.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son BENJAMIN MATTHEWS one shilling.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter HESTER JOHNSON one shilling.

Item. I give and bequeath to my grandson AARON MATTHEWS one bed and furniture, one beaver hat, broad cloth coat, and one two year heiffer. 

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter PATIENCE JOHNSON one shilling. Item. My will and desire is that if the stock of cattle increased on the plantation and either of my sons stands in need of cattle either of them may have a cow and calf to give them milk. 

Item. My desire is that my loving wife ANN MATTHEWS and my son JOSEPH MATTHEWS may be executors of this my last will and testament revoking all other wills by me made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seals the 7th day of November 1747. 

Wit. Dan. Sebree, 
Thomas Pursell, 
George (+) Stephens

March 15, 2014

New Light

My family has a rich and long history in the New Light area of northern Wake County, NC.  New Light is Wake County's northern most township and is just a hop, skip, and jump to Granville County. 

Many of my Allen and Ray family members are from New Light. It is an area that was long known for it's moonshiners and is now just a few miles from Raleigh city limits. My great grand parents Eugene Allen and Elizabeth Ray lived and are buried at New Light, as are a multitude of other related family members.

The area grew to have a mysterious nature and natives nurtured the "stay out" attitude. They did not like outsiders and they especially didn't like "revenuers" as moonshining was a powerful economic force.  

Elizabeth Murray's book on Wake County says "...the New Light (now Baptist) church in northern Wake County, was organized in 1775 and is repeatedly referred to in court records as "New Light Meeting House". It's name derives from a mid-eighteenth-century movement, away from established churches, by people who were called "New Lights". Subsequently in New Light Township(earlier, "District") in which the church is located took its name from the religious group, as had a creek in the same area."

From research and conversation, I've gleaned that New Light was named for the rebellious Baptist/Moravian "common man" Christians who migrated to the area in the mid-1700s. Check out what Charles Woodmason had to say about the "New Light Infestations".  Woodmason rebuked locals for "spitting tobacco, leaving the service during Prayer, whispering during the sermon, and not controlling unruly children."

Wake County Townships
Today, New Light is rural yet new subdivisions are popping up at an alarming rate. It has a population of about 7600 souls and covers about 50 square miles. It sits right on the Wake/Granville county lines on Falls Lake. It's a beautiful area and I frequently enjoy Sunday afternoon drives in the area checking out cemeteries and thinking about my family's connection with the land. 

March 13, 2014

The Forgotten War

1st Marine Division crossing Chinese lines in Korea
The Korean Conflict (war was never officially declared) is often referred to as “The Forgotten War” because of the lack of attention paid to it by history.

Carl Donald Stancil was 21 years old when the 2nd Ordinance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division boarded the USS Okagogan in San Diego bound for Inchon, Korea.  It was an experience which would almost kill him.

A series of severe cutbacks had been ordered by the Truman administration after WWII cutting the Marine Corps from about 300,000 to about 27,000. Much of the Marine's land and amphibious equipment had been sold off, scrapped, or given to the Army.  By the time of the Korean “conflict”, the Marines were hastily re-equipped with aging landing craft and other necessary equipment.  We were just barely equipped to participate in the Inchon invasion.

Daddy landed in Korea on September 21, 1950 and immediately participated in the capture and securing of Seoul. Between mid-October and mid-December 1950, he participated in battles at Womson, Hunquam, and the nightmare of them all…Chosin.

The Chosin Reservoir is a man-made lake in northeastern Korea. The terrain is mountainous and a severe cold front descending from Siberia dropped temps to 35 degrees below zero at night for weeks at a time. The Marines were on 100% alert, fighting 24/7 on very little sleep and frozen c-rations. Dad would tell stories of being unable to remove his boots in the cold because the leather would freeze and he would not be able to get them back on. He even told us that when he, umm…had to potty…it would freeze before it hit the ground. Of course, that’s not how a salty Marine would say it, but I’m sure you get the visual.

The 2nd Marine Division was completely surrounded by the Chinese (who McArthur had earlier said would not be a bother…). Scant supplies were parachuted into the Marine camps. There was not enough food or clothing. The men had to stuff their boots with newspaper to prevent frost bite. Dad came home with frost bite on all 10 toes and several fingers, in spite of the newspaper.

Many Marines ate their frozen food by sticking it on their bayonet like a Popsicle, which gave them dysentery. Just what they needed…an upset tummy in 35 degrees below with the Chinese just itching to kill you while you attended to business.

Even with the misery and horror, there were a few amusing moments. Like when an air drop gifted the Marines with thousands of condoms (instead of food).  That got a laugh or two.

Humanity paid a terrible price at Chosen. After 13 days of relentless battle, 719 Marines were KIA, 192 were MIA, and 3508 were wounded. One of the wounded was my dad.

On April 23, 1951, a concussion grenade exploded and knocked him off a tank. Shrapnel sliced open his head from his right eyebrow to just behind his right ear.  His skull was fractured and his jaw lacerated.  

His family in Raleigh was notified by the American Red Cross that he had been wounded. He was evacuated to Yokusuka, Japan and then to San Francisco where he underwent a frontal craniotomy. Metal plates were placed in his head where he lost bone fragment. He was moved to Travis Air Force Base enroute to the US Naval Hospital at Bethesda where he remained hospitalized for 4 months.

Daddy was diagnosed with PTSD a year later after reporting nauseating headaches, dizziness and recurrent combat dreams to his physician.

He went on to serve another 24 years in the Marines. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Korean Service Medal for his service in Korea.

It is inconceivable to consider the misery and death that occurred during this “forgotten war”.

Long line of Baptist Preachers

Caraleigh Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC
I most surely come from a long line of Baptist preachers. Preachers of other sorts, too, if you know what I mean... 

My 1st cousin 7x removed (and seriously...born in 1795), John STANCIL, was a preacher. Just one of many colorful personalities in my family. 

Apparently, he was quite the rebel and liked to do things his own way. His adherence to a doctrine called Hell Redemptionist got him into a bit of trouble with the more conservative locals. That rascal.

The Hell Redemptionist doctrine later became known as the Universal doctrine which matured into today's Unitarian-Universal Church. Not a traditional church, but interesting.

Liberalist Magazine (1827) - love that title - called John a strong man of unblemished character and that he was a powerful preacher with very convincing arguments. That makes me proud, even if John is 7x removed.

Progress of Universalism in North and South Carolina 

Reprinted in Universalist Magazine 11 August 1827, from the contemporary newspaper The Liberalist (Wilmington, N. C.) 

      It is highly probable, that many of the Carolinians, so noted for their philanthropic and benevolent feelings, have, long prior to the preaching of the doctrine among them, believed in the final salvation of all men. But such has been the predominant influence of the preachers of the system of endless of misery, and so highly dangerous has it been to poularity, reputation and interest, to dissent from the prevailing doctrines of the day, that even those who believed the doctrines of the gospel, were more safe from the anathemas of the superstitious devotee, in the reputed character of Deist or Infidel, than they would have been in that of the Universalist. Hence it has happened, that borne down by public opinion and popular prejudice, Universalists have rather preferred to endure the stigma thus unjustly cast upon them, than to hazard the experiment of a public declaration of their real sentiments, and a vindication of them from reason and the word of God. The clergy in these states have nevertheless had the address and cunning to keep the people generally ignorant of all doctrines but their own, [and even those, they are incapable of explaining, and causing them to view a departure from those doctrines as treason against God and their own souls, and the inevitable cause of endless damnation. And such has been the power of this bigotted and ignorant race of beings, over the human mind, so completely have thet debarred any thing like investigation or inquiry, that even at this late period, there are thousands of parsons in these states, that have scarcely heard of a Universalist, and take it for granted, that every person, professing to believe the scriptures, professes also, in their belief in the notion of an interminable punishment. Yet, notwithstanding, there have been some better informedm who have ventured to thing for themselves, who have whispered their thoughts to others, and by which means the doctrine of Universal Salvation is found scattered here and there, as a "little leaven," which we trust will finally leaven the whole lump. 
      The first account I have been able to obtain of the preaching of the doctine in these parts is of a man by the name of John Stansel, of Johnstone county, N. C. some thirty years ago. Said an elderly Baptist minister, from whom I received this account:
Mr. Stansel had been a preacher in some other denomination, [Universalist Magazine editor's note: "As the copy of the Liberalist which we received was in this place impaired, we were obliged to supply what we throught was the sense."] but finally changed his sentiments and became a Universalist; or rather, what was called in those days, a Hell Redemptionist. I often conversed with him on the subject; heard him preach several times; and had one public controversy with him. I confess his arguments, many of them, were powerful; some of them almost staggered my faith; and still I think that there is much in the scriptures, that looks mightily like his doctrine. He was a strong man, well acquainted with the Bible, and a good preacher; and maintained, to the day of his death, an unblemished character. He died firm in the belief of the doctrine he had taught, and regretted only, that he could leave no one behind him, to follow up the work. 

From A Concise History of the Kehukee Baptist Association from its original rise down to 1803 by Lemuel Burkitt and Jesse Read:

Elders Burkrtt, Ross and Barnes, were appointed to attend the church at Flat Swamp, who were under difficulties respecting the doctrine of Universal Restoration, strenuously propagated amongst them by a certain John Stansill, and propose measures for their relief.

My 3rd cousin 3x removed on the Johnson side, William Ruffin COATS, was also a minister, but I don't know very much about him.

Then there's my awesome Uncle Earnie who pastors Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox, Virginia. 

Many others in the family were lay preachers and highly active in their churches. If you haven't already, check out the "Family Churches" tab at the top! 

March 12, 2014

Working Girls

In celebration of National Women's History Month, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what my female ancestors did for a living. 

I'll start with myself. I work for a software company. Yawn. But in past lives I've been a writer, editor, paralegal, department store detective, and skating rink DJ. I've also worked in a Waffle Shop, libraries, and a group home. 

My mother, Gladys ALLEN STANCIL, taught 6th grade special education at a time when teachers were not required to have college degrees. She loved it. She taught at Summersill Elementary School in Jacksonville, NC. She also worked in the accounting office at Sears, as a bank teller, in a Five and Dime, and the hardest job of all - homemaker and mother. My mom was a pretty smart gal.

My Aunt Lib (Grace Elizabeth ALLEN LEE) worked most of her life for the State of NC as a clerk. In her retirement years, she worked for Rex Hospital in Raleigh as a liaison between families and nurses/docs. 

My cousin Teresa is a Physician's Assistant.  Her sister Deborah works in a hospital. Both are very loving caring women, so no surprise they wound up in healthcare. Another cousin Donna is also a nurse. 

My maternal grandmother, Ethel DAVIS ALLEN, worked at Dix Hospital in Raleigh, NC for a time and at Caraleigh Cotton Mill, also in Raleigh.

My great aunts Meona DAVIS, Cora DAVIS FINCH, Ovie DAVIS LOWERY, and Mary DAVIS ALLEN all worked at Dix Hospital as well. They worked in the hospital laundry and on the wards. Dix was a state mental hospital. I'm sure they had stories to tell!

My great grand aunt Sallie STANCIL worked for a newspaper in Morehead City, NC.

My other great grand aunt Mamie ALLEN worked as a seamstress. She could sew like nobody's business.

I don't know that my paternal grandmother, Ada Lou JOHNSON STANCIL, worked outside the home. But I betcha she worked her fingers to the bone INside the home.

The same can be said for all the rest of my female ancestors. In general, both sides of my family were poor and extremely hardworking people. No one ever handed us anything. If hard work builds character, then my family has it in spades. 

March 11, 2014

The Raleigh Times, Pearl Harbor: Original newspaper account and family heirlooms

In these days of internet and digital formats, it's not uncommon or very difficult to come across newspaper accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

But it IS unusual to come across an original newspaper recounting that terrible day. Now, to us older folk, 1941 really isn't that long the scheme of things. But really - it was 73 years ago. A lifetime. So long ago that we find fewer and fewer living veterans who lived the horror or even family members who recall.

Today, my son and I visited my Aunt Edith, my father's only sister. Her house is a treasure trove of family memorabilia but I couldn't help but think of some recent advice someone gave me to be sure not to leave my son a cluttered and junk-filled house to clean out once I am no longer on this earth. But among all the "things", there are true family treasures...including an original local newspaper account in The Raleigh Times

The Raleigh Times is no longer in print. It was the daily afternoon paper. My father and his brothers would sell The Raleigh Times from downtown Raleigh street corners. On the afternoon of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Stancil brothers came home from school and went straight to their street corner to sell the afternoon paper heralding one of the worst events in American history. The event probably propelled 3 of them into the Army (Eric, Jesse Roland, and Cecil Stancil). My father, Carl, was only 11 years old but when his time came, he served proudly.

The paper is yellowed and crumbling. My aunt plans to have it preserved by a professional. It will be a true heirloom. My son and I were lucky and fascinated to be able to even see it. What a treasure! What a reminder of the shocking event that propelled us into World War II. 

As I've said in other blog posts, I am quite proud of the World War heros in my family. Every single one of them. 

March 9, 2014

Israel Bailey, 1766 Granville County, NC

Israel BAILEY, my 4th great grandfather,  was born in 1766 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA. He was the first born of 11 children of Jeremiah BAILEY and Lucretia FULLER. Besides Israel...

  • William
  • Elizabeth
  • Cairy
  • Jeremiah
  • Mary Polly
  • Claery
  • Lucretia
  • Nancy Elizabeth
  • Jonathan
  • Samuel
  • Ephraim

When he was 30, Israel married Mary HARRIS,daughter of Edward (Ned) HARRIS and Priscilla UNKNOWN, on 14 Jun 1796 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA.

Israel BAILEY and Mary HARRIS had a slew of kids:

  • Anderson BAILEY was born in Granville County, North Carolina, USA. He died in 1837. He married Cynthia G. CANNADY on 18 Dec 1832 in Wake County, North Carolina, USA.
  • Israel BAILEY was born in Granville County, North Carolina, USA.
  • Joseph BAILEY was born in Granville County, North Carolina, USA.
  • Samuel BAILEY was born in 1799 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA.
  • Solomon.
  • Allen BAILEY was born in 1797 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA. He died in 1873 in Wake County, North Carolina, USA.
  • John W BAILEY was born on 04 May 1811 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA. He died in Butler County, Kentucky, USA. He married Lucy SNEAD on 08 Sep 1829 in Wake County, North Carolina, USA.
  • Mahalia BAILEY was born in 1812 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA. She married Israel F. DILLARD on 04 Feb 1833 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA. These are my 3rd great grandparents. 
  • Ephraim BAILEY was born in 1817 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA. He died in Butler County, Kentucky, USA. He married Priscilla BAILEY on 23 Nov 1838 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA.
  • Henderson.
  • Matilda BAILEY was born about 1806 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA. She married John DAVIS on 27 Nov 1823 in Granville County, North Carolina, USA.

Israel died in 1853 in Granville County at the age of 82. 

March 8, 2014

Will of James Hutchison, 1795

My 7th great maternal grandfather, James Hutchison, wrote his will in Orange County, NC and dated it February 1796. He died less than a year later, noting in his will that he was "in a low state of health".

In the name of God amen, I James Hutchison of Orange County and State of North Carolina being in a low state of health but of perfect mind and memory and knowing it is appointed by God for all men once to die, do make ordain and constitute this my last will and testament.

First I give and bequeath my love to almighty God in hopes to receive the same at the general resurrection and my body to be buried in a Christian-like manner at the discretion of my Executors hereafter named. And as for such worldly goods as it hath pleased God to bless me with I give and bequeath the followeth (to wit)

Item I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Margreat one mare known by the name of Tory, one cow and calf, my best feather bed and furniture, iron ? and my house, shelf and all my pewter  one pot and pot hooks and my walnut chest.

Item I give and bequeath to my son Samuel ten pounds currency

Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Margreat Thelly ten pounds currency.

Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Jane Lineh ten pounds currency.

Item I give and bequeath to my sons James and Ross the plantation I now live on to be divided in an equal manner according to quantity and quality and all and every part of my estate after paying the above legacyes and all my just debts and my funeral expenses and be it further known that my will is that my wife Margreat and her property is to be supported the term of her life out of the profits arising from my plantation and is not to be molested in possession of the house I now live in during the term of her life and I do hereby appoint my beloved wife Margreat and my beloved son James to be my whole Executors to this my last will and testament in witness hereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 2 day of September 1795.

James Hutchison

Signed sealed as my last will and testament in presence of 
Wm Mebane, John McCory Jurat, Judah Griffith
Recorded February 1796

March 7, 2014

Tools of the Trade: Community, Forums, Message Boards

 I love to collaborate. And there's no better opportunity than the many and various online forums, communities, message boards...different sites call them different names. They gave my early genealogy efforts a serious boost back in the day. I posted to them consistently and with glee.

Just Google my name and you'll see pages and pages of my various posts from a decade ago. Amazing how long stuff stays on the internet. Something to note.

I've gleaned fabulous facts and even made real life friends from these forums. I don't use them so much any more. Not sure if I've just wrung every drop of information or if my research has matured past that or if no one uses them as much any more. Probably all of the above.

Of course there are the message boards on (which gobbled up and message boards) as well as those on various other sites. I've recently discovered the genealogy board on City-Data (which is an awesome forum in many respects...not just genealogy). It's very general and while I won't find any family information there, it's excellent for discussion, advice and the like. 

Even Reddit has ingrained itself into the genealogy community. 

Naturally Cyndi's List has a category for message boards. 

Have fun checking it all out!  I dare you to stay up all night engrossed in the message I have on many occasions. 

March 4, 2014

All in the Family

We all have family members who married 1st and 2nd cousins and probably even siblings. My family tree is full of such twigs.

For instance, my 5th great grandfather, Richard BYRD, married two sisters. Not at the same time, however. He married Susannah O'DYER sometime prior to 1742. She died when she was about 28, I'm not sure if they had children. He married Susannah's sister Mary roughly 10 years later. I'm told Mary gave birth to Edward (my 4th ggf), but I do not have solid proof yet. Or as solid as it gets in the 18th century.

The O'DYER sisters were the children of Dennis O'DYER and wife Ann. Or so I'm told. 

Then there's the HASWELL girls. Who married the PLEASANTS brothers. Sarah HASWELL married William Robert PLEASANTS in 1912.  Their siblings, Maude HASWELL and Jessie PLEASANTS married 7 years later. That makes for a variety of relationships. For instance, not only are Maude and Sarah sisters, but now they are sisters-in-laws. These folks are my first cousins 2 times removed. 

I have a slew of relations who married cousins, which was pretty common back in the day when travel was difficult and folks married the gal or guy down the road. They tended to keep it all in the family.

March 3, 2014

Lawrence C. Davis - Death by Gambling

Every family has stories that - while intriguing - are hard to prove.  This one has some meat, however. My great grand uncle, Lawrence Commodore DAVIS, was - as family lore would have it - shot while gambling. How juicy! And how sad.

Born on 24 June 1875 in Granville County, NC, Uncle Lawrence was the 12th child (yes, 12th!) of my great grand parents Jonathan Davis and Cornelia Dillard. 

Lawrence died of a gun shot wound 09 March 1919 in Granville County.  He was 43 years old. The family story is that Lawrence, who never married, was a heavy gambler. Apparently he got into a tiff of sorts with his gambling buddies and one pulled out a gun and shot him dead. You'd think an arrest and court case would have followed, but so far I've been unable to find any evidence of such.

Uncle Lawrence was buried in Good Hope Baptist Church Cemetery, Youngsville, NC. 

A few other facts...
- Lawrence shows up in the 1900 and 1910 census.
- His mother, Cornelia Dillard Davis, sold him timber rights to 285 and 157 acres on Aug. 20, 1914.
- He is mentioned in his mother's will: Whereas my only son Lawrence has been faithful in taking care of me and looking after the farm, and has in the course of such employment purchased and added to the live stock, machinery, and tools, now therefore in order that there may not be any dispute as to whom these belong, I devise and bequeath to my said son Lawrence Davis all my interest and right, if I have any, in and to the horse, mules, oxen, farming tools and all machinery of whatever nature which are now or may be at the time of my death in use on my said farm lands or on that in which I have a life estate coming from my deceased husband Jonathan F. Davis.
- His mother also named him executor of her estate

So, although Uncle Lawrence had a penchant for gambling and apparently hung out with fellows who wouldn't hesitate to shoot him, he took good care of his mama and his daddy's farm. A good boy.

March 2, 2014

Grace Elizabeth Allen Lee, 1931 - 2006

Grace Elizabeth Lee (Aunt Lib to the family) was my mother's middle sister. She passed away in 2006 and is buried at Good Hope Baptist Church in Youngsville, NC. I have many many fond memories of Aunt Lib and spent many holidays in her home. I wrote a tribute to her for the funeral. It goes like this:

Seventy-some years ago, Grace Elizabeth (Lib) Lee entered this world as the beloved middle daughter of Atlas Allen and his wife Ethel Davis Allen. Born in Granville County, “Gracie” lived her life in Granville and Wake County, leaving only long enough to pay her own tribute to her favorite country music stars. John Henry Lee may have been her husband and the love of her life, but Elvis Presley and Conway Twitty were her boyfriends!

Grace had two beautiful and bright children: Donnie and Brenda. She had five adoring grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren along with a host of other family and friends. She was an excellent seamstress and an awesome cook. She made the best biscuits ever but her fried chicken was surely the best in the world! Her home was her pride and her family was her joy.

Gracie held a true beauty – both inside and out. A dedicated public servant, Grace worked for the State of North Carolina for many years. After she retired from the State, she used her gift of grace and kindness in the family waiting area of Rex Hospital comforting waiting families and dispensing information. You could always count on her to visit when you were sick, cook for you when you were hungry, and gallivant when the gallivanting was good.

So today while we share our sorrow, let’s also celebrate a life well-lived, filled with the joy of a loving family and with friends who held fast through the good times and the bad. A life of courage, a life of grace, and a life devoted to the happiness of others.

Gracie was the woman all parents hope their daughters grow to be – kind, selfless, giving. Her spirit has touched each one of us and encourages us to spend our time and energies on that which is most important…family. One sure thing about Gracie…she always knew what was important.