Saturday, February 28, 2015

Inventory of Benjamin Ballard

Earlier in the week I posted a photo of my 4th-great-grandmother Emily A. H. Ballard Read. Her grandfather, my 6th-great-grandfather, was Benjamin Ballard. He was born approximately 1725. I'm beginning this dive into the Ballard family with Benjamin's estate, published in the Spotsylvania County Court records and entered on 14 February 1814. Huge thanks go out to Stephen Ballard, and his excellent research on the Ballard family in the Ballard of Virginia & Kentucky. The list provides a look into the contents of a Spotsylvania, Virginia plantation.

Inventory and appraisement of the Estate of Benjamin Ballard Senr decd. taken 14th day of February 1814

1 Bed bedstead & furniture
1 Ditto & ditto
1 Ditto & ditto
1 Blue Chest
1 Chest
1 Safe
1 small pine table
1 round walnut table
1 old pine table
1 arm chair
8 flag [chairs] Ditto
1 small looking glass
1 old spinning wheel
1 [] cotton cards
1 [] old [cards] ditto
1 coffee mill
1 [] sheep shears
1 hone & strap 2 razors
1 [] scales and weights
1 compass
1 butter pot
1 small pot
2 small jugs
1 pocket jug
1 coffee pot
1 set knives and forks
6 old knives gold forks
2 candle sticks and 1 set snuffers
1 tin pan & strainer & can
Amt carried up - $129.38 1/2
2 brass locks
9 cups 8 saucers 4 tea spoons
8 earthen plates
1 large and 1 small earthen dish
1 earthen sugar dish
1 butter bole 1 bowl
1 wine glass
2 earthen muggs
2 pepper boxes 1 gally pot
2 slays
2 shickles & baskett
1 old loom
1 old side saddle
2 old chests
1 mans saddle & bridle
1 blind bridle 2 snaffleds
1 chains and harness & rope
1 ditto, ditto & yoke & harness
2 horse collars
1 cary plough
1 old barshare
1 shovel plough
1 ditto, ditto
1 half share hoe & colter
2 clevis and pins
2 pr iron wedges
2 axes
2 ditto
1 hatchet, pick axe and howell
2 augers 1 drawing knife
2 gouges 3 chisels
box iron
1 adze 1 howell & compass
1 frow spoke shave & gouge
Amount carried over $165.12 1/2
2 hammers
1 shoe ditto & pinches
3 gimbels
1 iron pin
1 basket & old iron
1 ditto old chains
1 old flax wheel
1 wheat scythe 2 graps
1 cutting box
1 grind stone
1 calf bushell & peck
1 yoke
3 sivingle trees
1 single pot & 2 pr hooks
1 iron skillet
1 large iron pot & hooks
1 iron pot rack
1 oven & lid
4 old grubbing hoes
6 old hoes
1 tar bucket
1 old sieve
1 water tub 2 piggins wash noggin
1 small bell
1 small iron hoop'd barrel
1 old barrel 1 heat out
5 light casks
1 meat tubb
6 mobby stands
Set waping bars & boxes
1 ox cart
1 pr small wheels
1 chain & iron hammer
Amount carried up $223.43 1/2
1 Black mare
1 small bay ditto
1 grey horse
11 ewes 11 lambs
12 sheep
1 yearling white face
1 small ditto
1 work stear
1 ditto
1 buffalo bull
1 yoke young stears
1 bell cow
1 milk cow
1 red heifer
1 white face cow
1 sow 7 pigs
4 out shoats
waggon tongue, hounds & axel trees
13 fatning hogs
3 bee hives
1 gun
1 pr saddle bags
tongues griddle & shovel
Meal tubb
Meal bagg
1 rum hogshead
Carried over $603.76 1/2

Cate ($100)
Judith ($250)
Aggy ($300)
Hannah & Child ($400)
Charlotte ($250)
Dudley ($300)
Davey ($450)
Warner ($200)
Jenney & child Henry ($400)
Milton ($250)
Silvia ($100)
Robin ($150)

[Total estate $3753.76 1/2]

Spotsylvania County, to wit,

By virtue of an Order from the worshipful Court of Spotsylvania County to us directed, which is hereunto annexed, We the undersigned, have in obediance thereto appraised all the Estate of Benjamin Ballard decd shown us by James Ballard the Exor and find the same to amount to the sum of Three thousand seven hundred & fifty three Dollars seventy six and one half cents current money which will appear by reference to the aforegoing Inventory - Given under our hands and seals this 14th day of February 1814.

Samuel Schooler {seal}
Jos. Chew {seal}
John Mitcham {seal}

Spotsylvania April Court 1814

This Inventory and appraisement of the Estate of Benjamin Ballard decd was returned and is order to be recorded.

Teste. Robert S. Chew

Survey of the Hampton Farm

At the end of January I posted a transcription of the sale of Samuel Hampton's farm and distillery to his son-in-law, Gasper Smith from 1837. A survey of the land located on the North side of the Holston River on Cedar Creek appears in the North Carolina and Tennessee Early Land Records on Ancestry (entered on 21 December 1837). I am including it here for completeness of the records on Samuel Hampton's land.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another connection to the Orleans Syrup Factory

Last week I wrote about my wife's 3rd-great-grandfather Joseph Francois Halter and his connection to the Orleans Syrup Factory operated by Raphael Tudury. While looking at the records in New Orleans, I uncovered another connection to the Tudury family. Joseph's uncle, also named Joseph Halter, had married Louisa Elenore Paderas in New Orleans. Louisa's sister, Dorothea Paderas, married Raphael Tudury on 9 December 1861 in New Orleans.

In 1862, Raphael Tudury appears in the Confederate service records in 1st Company, 5th Regiment European Brigade (Spanish Regiment) in New Orleans. His brother, Anthony Tudury (also a co-founder of the Orleans Syrup Factory), was in the same regiment.

After New Orleans was taken by Federal troops, Anthony Tudury wrote to the commanding General of the Gulf asking that he be permitted to keep his syrup factory open. A copy of that letter appears in the Union Citizens File (courtesy of Fold3).


A petition of A. Tudury for self and partners (foreigners) residing in New Orleans

Respectfully represents

That in deference to order N __ emanating from your authority, they have ceased their manufacturing of cordials & syrups No. 70 old Levee Street because accompanied by distillation. It is unnecessary to inform the General that this process is but an adjunct of the main business, and that it may even be dispensed with entirely but not without serious deterioration of the product.

They would further beg leave to state that the cordials manufactured by them are generally used by persons not addicted to the abuse of spirituous liquors and are in themselves perfectly innoxious if not beneficial.

Wherefore they pray the General to take their hard case into consideration and to extend to them the benefit of immunity from the operation of ordinance N. as being one of those cases where in truth the apparent exception but confirms the rule.

And as in duty bound.

A. Tudury.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Emily A. H. Ballard Read

I've previously written about my 4th-great-grandmother, Emily A. H. Ballard Read. Recently distant cousin and fellow Read-Ballard researcher Lynn sent me a photo of Emily. I thought it would be good to post it here, with links to the previous posts. It's great to see what she looked like too.
Unsourced photo, Emily A H Ballard Read.
Previous posts:

- Mining the Probate Files (probate record of Emily A H Ballard Read)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bring on Spring

A cold day on the East Coast calls for a beach photo. We're ready for Spring.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Monterey, CA. 11 Jul 2011.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

1832 Arrival

According to the US Naturalization Indexes, Francois Halter arrived in New Orleans in 1832. He was naturalized on 2 November 1844. I am hoping the actual record from the court is available.

Francois' wife Marie must have died prior to 1860, she does not appear in the US Census. As noted earlier, he is listed in the 1861 City Directory living at 77 Bartholomew Street. It's not clear who the 45-year old listed as "W.A. Coria" is living in the household.

In 1866, Francois appears in the US Tax Lists (spelled "Franz"), as a furniture maker at 118 Rampart Street. He's still listed on Rampart Street in the 1867 City Directory, as a cabinet maker.

In 1868, he's listed as "Frank Haltur, laborer" at 73 Bartholomew Street. Francois does not appear in the City Directory from 1869-1872, but he's back in 1873 living at 75 Bartholomew Street.

Francois does not appear in the 1874 or 1875 City Directories, but in 1876 he's listed again as Frank Halter, residing on Bartholomew Street, between Burgundy and N. Rampart. Same entries appear in 1877 and 1878. By 1879, he's back as a gardener at 73 Bartholomew. Francois does not appear in the City Directories between 1880-1885, which makes me think he may have died after 1879. For now, this looks like the end of the record trail for Francois Halter.

A Gardener in New Orleans

In researching my wife's 4th-great-grandfather, Francois Antoine Halter, I've found him in the early City Directories of New Orleans working as a gardener. I understand this profession was someone who grew produce on small plots for sale. Perhaps Francois sold his produce at the old French Market of New Orleans. The French Market was founded in 1791, and was the oldest public market in the country.
Source: NYPL Digital Collection. The French Market.
Source: NYPL Digital Collection. The French Market at Sunrise on Sunday.

Francois appears in the transcriptions of the 1849 and 1850 City Directories as "F. Halter, gardener", living on Bartholomew Street near the corner of Bartholomew and Craps Streets. In the 1850 US Census, the family appears in the 3rd Ward of New Orleans:

Francois Halter married Mary Weitmann (also referenced as Mary Magdalene Weitman and Marie Weichman), and they had at least 6 children born in New Orleans. We are lucky to have the birth records for their children, which also provides key information on where the family was from in France and the names of Francois' parents.

The document above was filed after the birth of Joseph Halter with the New Orleans Recorder of Births and Deaths. It states that "Francois Halter was a native of the Department of Bas-Rhin in France, aged thirty-one years, residing at the corner of Bartholomew and Craps Streets in the Third Municipality of this city, who by these presents declares that on the fifth day of July of the year of eighteen hundred and forty one, at nine o'clock, a m. was born at his aforesaid residence a male child named Joseph Halter, son of the legitimate marriage of deponent with Marie Weichmann, a native of the aforesaid Department, aged about twenty-one years. The paternal grandparents of said child M. Pierre Halter and Anna Maria Hamm."

Other children were:
- Aubert Halter, born on 16 July 1843
- John Halter, born on 5 May 1846
- Marie Therese Halter, born on 5 December 1847
- Louisa Halter, born 1849
- Antoine Francois Halter, born 5 November 1856

The birth certificate of Antoine Halter contains the signature of Francois, and also the name of the town in France where the family was from (Saverne in Bas-Rhin).

There is more on Francois (or Franz in later City Directories), which I'll have in the next post.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

End of the line for Joseph

In my previous post, Joseph Halter was back in New Orleans in 1915, nearly 74 years old, having left behind his second family in Warrick County, Indiana. Three years later, Joseph was working as a bartender on East Barth Street in New Orleans. He likely saw many Mardi Gras in his time in New Orleans.
Source: NYPL Digital Gallery. Mardi Gras, New Orleans.
1918 City Directory, New Orleans
Joseph appears in the 1920 US Census in Anna, Union County, Illinois. This marked an unfortunate last few years for him, as he is listed as an inmate at the Anna State Hospital for the Insane.
Anna State Hospital.

Joseph Halter died on Christmas, 1924 in Anna, Illinois. From his death record, he had been living in Golconda, Pope County, Illinois, prior to being committed at Anna State Hospital. Joseph's brother, Antoine Francois Halter, had been living in Golconda for many years. Joseph likely went there to be with his brother's family after his death in January 1918.

While it is tough to see how Joseph's story ends, it helps to remember the adventure filled life, spent so much in New Orleans, on the Mississippi and up the Ohio River.

From here I am going to turn to Joseph's parents, Francois and Mary Weitmann Halter, and to Joseph's siblings. There is more in this generation of the Halter family to cover in subsequent posts.

Gap between the records and what happened

A common family history problem is trying to reconcile what may have happened when the available records hint at (or very clearly indicate) difficult patches for the family being researched. This week I have been writing about my wife's 3rd-great-grandfather, Joseph Halter. In a previous post, I had found Joseph in the 1871 City Directory for New Orleans, working in Raphael Tudury's Orleans Syrup Manufactory.

The next record noted the birth of a daughter, Francis Christian Halter, born on 16 January 1872 in New Orleans (found in the New Orleans, Louisiana Birth Records Index, 1790-1899 on Ancestry). In this record, Laura Williams Halter is listed as "Lora Eunis Williams". So far this is the only record I have seen for Francis Halter.

It looks like Joseph and family left New Orleans sometime after 1872, probably returning to Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana. I have not been able to find Joseph or any of the family in the 1880 US Census.
Source: David Rumsey Map Collection. Newburgh, Indiana in 1876.

The next available record appears to be divorce papers, filed in Vanderburgh County, Indiana beginning in 1881. According to another researcher on Ancestry, the divorce was granted on 26 October 1883 in Evansville, Indiana. Three days later, Joseph married Katherine ("Katy") Masterson in neighboring Warrick County.
Source: Indiana Marriages 1811-1959 on FamilySearch.
The couple had a daughter, Leona Pearl Halter, in August 1884. The next time Joseph appears in the records is in the 1900 US Census. Joseph, Catherine and daughter Leona Pearl Halter were living in Newburgh, Warrick County, Indiana. Joseph was working as a "day laborer".

A year later, young Leona married Harry Rowe in Boonville, Indiana on Valentines Day, 14 February 1901. From the records, it looks like she had two daugthers (1902 and 1905). Leona Halter Rowe died on 9 August 1908 in Newburgh. In the 1910 US Census, Kate Halter is listed as head of household ("widowed"), taking care of Leona's daughters. But Joseph was not dead, as he appears back in New Orleans in the 1912 City Directory living at 3813 Dauphine Street. It looks like Joseph left the family. Katherine died on 26 June 1917 in Newburgh.

Back in New Orleans
Joseph was in the New Orleans City Directory in 1912 (see below), but not in the directories for 1913 through 1915.

Another tragedy struck when Joseph's brother John died on 25 May 1914. We're lucky to have a letter written in Joseph's own hand, written in New Orleans on 28 April 1915 to Joseph's younger brother Antoine Halter in Pope County, Illinois. Thanks to distant cousin Tamara for preserving a copy of this letter.

There's still a bit more in the story of Joseph before I look into his parents, which will follow in the next post.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Orleans Syrup Factory

As a follow-up from my post this morning, below is an advertisement for Raphael Tudury's Orleans Syrup and Cordial Manufactory located at 147-149 Elysian Fields Street. This is where Joseph Halter worked during the 1860s and 1870s in New Orleans.

This puts a different view on the movement of Joseph Halter between New Orleans and Evansville after the Civil War. Perhaps he was accompanying shipments of syrup and cordials from New Orleans to Evansville. I'll have to look for this in the Evansville newspapers.

In any case it is a cool find - another member of the family involved in the liquor business.

On the Names of the Drafted

A search through identified a few entries mentioning Joseph Halter, my wife's 3rd-great-grandfather. In the week of 10 April 1865, a draft notice was published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Joseph Halter is listed once again at 258 Frenchman Street, as a "watchman, QMD".
Source:, Times-Picayune, 11 April 185

This gives a sense of how Joseph managed after the fall of New Orleans. QMD stands for the Quartermaster Department, which was in charge of managing supplies and shipments into and out of New Orleans for the Union. By this time he was about 24 years old.

A year later, Joseph appears in the 1866 City Directory for New Orleans. He's listed as a "syrup maker, 147 and 149 Elysian Fields." Looking closer at his service record from 1861, it looks like he was working at a syrup factory at the time. After digging into this address, this was the Orleans Manufactory owned by Spanish immigrant Raphael Tudury.

Sugar and cane syrup were major products out of New Orleans. A photo below titled "the sweetest spot on earth" shows barrels of sugar waiting to be shipped out of the city.
Source: NYPL Digital Collection

Joseph appears at the same address in the 1867 City Directory, but not in 1868. On 1 June 1867, Joseph and Laura welcomed a son, Andrew Jackson Halter. The census entries for Andrew show him as born in Indiana, so the couple must have returned to Evansville sometime in 1867.

By 1870, Joseph was back in New Orleans, working as teamster for Raphael Tudury's Orleans Syrup and Cordial factory. There is a second Joseph Halter (grocer), I think this may be an uncle.

The 1871 City Directory also shows two Joseph Halters, the grocer, and our Joseph working back at 147 Elysian Fields (Raphael Tudury's factory). This the same employer as 1866. The residence on Bartholomew makes me think the second Joseph is an uncle, our Joseph's father Francois lived on Bartholomew in the 1861 City Directory, and John Halter listed below was his younger brother.

More to follow in the next post.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Up the Mississippi and back

Sometime after the end of July 1860, young Joseph Halter left his home in New Orleans and made his way on a riverboat up the Mississippi. He traveled to Evansville, Indiana, probably arriving prior to the Summer of 1861, although I am not certain of the timing. This was a tenuous time in the US, with tensions flaring between the North and the South.
Source: NYPL Digital Collection. Steamboat landing, New Orleans.

Once in Evansville, Joseph met Laura Williams, a daughter of Harvey Williams and Sarah Beach (residents of neighboring Warrick County in 1840). The couple were married in Vanderburgh County on 11 August 1861. At the moment, it is not clear how long they remained in Evansville. Joseph was clearly back in New Orleans within a few months, as he appears in November 1861 as part of the Confederate Orleans Fire Guards. I am hoping there are some news articles from Evansville that shed some light on Joseph and Laura's time in the city.

Orleans Fire Regiment, Confederate Army
Perhaps as the Civil War intensified in 1861, Joseph felt the pull of home in New Orleans. On 23 November 1861 he appears in the service rolls for Company F, Orleans Fire Regiment. This was known as the Confidence Fire Guard. Joseph would have been 20 years old at the time.
Source: Fold3.

The service roll shows Joseph's address as 258 Frenchman Street, the same address from the 1861 City Directory.

New Orleans was captured in April 1862. Joseph was likely in the city when it fell to Union forces. It is possible his wife Laura was there as well.
NYPL Digital Collection. Farragut's Arrival in New Orleans.
There's more to follow in the story of Joseph and Laura, which I'll have in the next post.

Shifting to New Orleans

While I wait on documents from Montgomery County, Indiana, I am taking a break from following the Booher, Hampton, Vail and Armstrong lines on my Gumpy's side of the tree, and shifting to my wife's side of the tree. Since Mardi Gras happened this week, I am going to start with her 3rd-great-grandfather, Joseph Francois Halter, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Source: NYPL Digital Collection. Postcard from 1908.

Joseph was born on 5 July 1841 in New Orleans to parents Francois Antoine Halter and Mary Weitmann. He was the first of six children. In 1850, Joseph and family were living in the 3rd Ward of New Orleans. From city directories and Joseph's birth certificate, I know that Joseph's parents lived on Bartholomew Street, not far from the French Quarter.
Source: David Rumsey Map Collection. 1891 Map of New Orleans.
1850 US Census. 3rd Ward, New Orleans.
By 1860, Joseph was working as a gardener (his father's profession) and living in the home of H. Lunna in Orleans Parish.
1860 US Census. Orleans Parish, New Orleans.
Joseph, his father and siblings appear in the 1861 Gardner's City Directory for New Orleans. Joseph is shown living at 258 Frenchman Street. This detail will be important, as I'll describe in the next post.
1861 City Directory for

Monday, February 16, 2015

A bit more on Charlotte

As a follow-up from my earlier post, I did a bit more digging into the records to see what may have happened to Charlotte Hampton Akard. This news release from May 2013 provides some background on the farm of Adam Akard, Charlotte's husband:

"Adam Akard and the Rev. James King exchanged parcels of land in 1832, and Adam and his wife, Elizabeth Wassom Akard, built a home on the farm. He and Elizabeth had eight children – John, Jacob, James, Moses, Sara (also  called Sally), Samuel, William and David. Elizabeth died, and Adam married Charlotte Hampton in 1840. They had one daughter, Margaret. The Akards raised sheep and row crops. Soon after Margaret’s birth, Adam died and was buried at the Beeler Cemetery in Bristol, Tenn., which is within two miles of the farm."

After Adam's death, the farm was divided among his surviving children. Charlotte appears in the 1850 Non-population Schedule in Sullivan County, living near her brother-in-law Gasper Smith. The record shows that Charlotte had 100 acres of improved land, 30 acres of unimproved land, with a total value of $500.
1850 Non-population Schedule, Sullivan County, TN
 Charlotte's daughter Margaret Akard married Francis Marion Turner in 1857 (she would have been 15). Three years later, Charlotte appears in the 1860 US Census living in the household of the Turners in Sneedville, Hancock County, Tennessee. The census lists Charlotte's occupation as "weaver". The record also shows Charlotte as 43 years old, but she would have been about 53 in 1860.
1860 US Census, Hancock County, TN
Charlotte seems to drop out of the records after 1860. Her children Margaret and Rachel Jane appear in later census records. It is not clear who may have been the father of Rachel Jane Akard or James Akard. For now I'll leave their trail here.

Charlotte buys a farm

The last transaction in the Sullivan County, Tennessee land deeds involving the Hampton family occurred in February 1840. When my 6th-great-grandfather Samuel Hampton sold his farm and distillery in 1838 to his son-in-law, Gasper Smith, he wrote in an agreement to continue living on the property with wife Rachel in exchange for the mill, twelve head of cattle, horses, and all of his farming tools. Gasper also paid $1000 for two horses, all the cattle remaining on the farm, a milk cow owned by Samuel's youngest daughter Charlotte and all the grain on hand. I can picture Samuel giving Charlotte some of the proceeds from this sale, as two years later Charlotte bought 22 acres of neighboring land.

I am writing up this land deed (Deed Book 12, Page 453) from Sullivan County as I find it a bit remarkable for the era. Charlotte was single at the time, 32 years old, and she did not marry until later in 1840. She had grown up on her father's farm and was probably very capable around the animals. The land deed was made 175 years ago tomorrow, and the seller was James King. He had sold Charlotte's father Samuel his land on Cedar Creek in Sullivan County ten years earlier in 1830.

"This Indenture made this 17th day of February 1840 between James King of Washington County, Virginia and Charlotte Hampton of Sullivan County, Tennessee. Witnesseth that the said King has this day bargained and sold to the said Charlotte Hampton the following described parcel of land lying on Cedar Creek for the consideration of two hundred and fourteen dollars to him in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged - Viz. Beginning at a white oak at the mouth of Jacob Hawkes lane and [unclear] with his Hawkes line S 65 W 79 poles to two white oaks on the top of a nob thence N 73 E 14 poles to a small white oak thence S 9 E 34 poles to a white oak thence to the beginning containing 22 acres be the same more or less.

To have and to hold the said parcel of land to the sole use and behoof of her the said Charlotte Hampton and her heirs forever and the said King for himself and his heirs doth covenant with the said Charlotte Hampton and her heirs that they the said King and his heirs to the said tract of land with all its appurtenances unto the said Charlotte and her heirs shall warrant and will forever defend against the claims of all persons whomsoever. In witness whereof the said King hath hereunto set his hand and affixed his seal this date above written. James King {seal}

Test. John G. King"

The image below is not Charlotte, but I thought it might help picture her for me (and my kids). This is from the Getty Museum's collection, by American photographer Louis Fleckenstein, titled "Woman and a Tree".

Source: Getty Museum

Several months after buying the land, Charlotte married her neighbor, Adam Akard, in November 1840. He was a widower, and was 54 at the time. Akard died two years later. Charlotte appears in the 1850 US Census in Sullivan County. Of the three children listed in this census record, only one, Margaret, could have been a child of Adam Akard. I haven't yet researched what happened to Charlotte, whether she remarried or kept the farm. There were no other Sullivan County land records involving Charlotte. But I also did not ask the Clerk's Office to look for Charlotte Akard. I am parking this here for now, in case there are cousins who descend from Charlotte Hampton who stumble on this page.
1850 US Census, Sullivan County, Tennessee

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Beaver Creek Purchase

I have previously written about the land purchases of my 7th-great-grandfather John Booher Sr in Sullivan County, Tennessee. In 1808, John bought 130 acres in neighboring Washington County, Virginia for $600. This land was located along Beaver Creek, a branch of the Holston River. A transcription of the land purchase is below (from Deed Book 4, pgs 103-104):

This Indenture made the 20th day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eight between Francis Smith esquire of Washington County in the Commonwealth of Virginia of the one part and John Booher of Sullivan County in the State of Tennessee of the other part. Witnesseth that the said Francis Smith for and in consideration of the sum of six hundred dollars in specie to him well and truely in hand paid by the said John Booher at and before the unsealing and delivery hereof the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath granted bargained and sold by these presents doth grant bargain and sell unto the said John Booher and to his heirs and assigns a certain tract piece or parcel of land situate lying and being on the waters of Beaver Creek a branch of Holston River in the County of Washington aforesaid containing one hundred and thirty acres and bounded and described as followeth viz.

Beginning at a white oak corner to the old survey and with a line of the same South 31 degrees West 8 poles to two white oaks Grays corner thence with his lines N 39 degrees W 167 poles crossing Beaver Creek to a white oak by the Great Road N28 degrees W122 poles to two poplars on a ridge N 8 degrees W 30 poles to Millers line thence with same N 66 degrees and 70 poles near a black oak corner to Miller and the line of the old survey thence with the same S 31 degrees E 268 poles to the place of beginning. The above described tract being part of John Buchanan's old survey. Together with all and singular the appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any were appertaining. To have and to hold the above described tract piece or parcel of land unto him the said John Booher his heirs and assigns to the only proper use and behoof of him the said John Booher his heirs and assigns forever. And he the said Francis Smith for himself and his heirs doth covenant promise grant and agree to and with the said John Booher his heirs and assigns by these presents that he the said Francis Smith the above described tract piece or parcel of land with the appurtenances unto the said John Booher his heirs and assigns against all persons whomsoever claiming or to claim shall and will warrant and forever defend by these presents. In witness whereof the said Francis Smith hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first afore written. - - In the 15th line on the first page the word South and the word 68 poles to two being first wrote on erasure. Sealed and delivered in the presence of 

Francis Smith {seal}

At a Court held for Washington County the 20th day of September 1808.

This was likely the land that John Booher Sr settled on after moving from Sullivan County in March 1818. According to the will of John Booher Sr, this land was acquired by his son Isaac Booher after the death of John's wife Barbara.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day

By artist Christian Guemy
The painting above is from French artist Christian Guemy, also known as C215. Image via Twitter today. This seemed to be fitting for my family history blog. Someone's grandparents (or perhaps their great-grandparents). Take time with your loved ones today.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Reality of Slavery in the Booher Family

Earlier in January I published a transcription of the will of John Booher Sr, my 7th-great-grandfather. While I was in Singapore for meetings, a package arrived from the Washington County Court in Virginia, including a photocopy of John's will and a set of other documents. One document that immediately jumped out was a statement filed with the Washington County Court attesting that several slaves owned by John Booher Sr in Sullivan County, Tennessee were being legally brought north into the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The statement shows that John Booher Sr. moved from Sullivan County, Tennessee to Washington County, Virginia on 17 March 1818, which matches up with the land records from Sullivan County. These documents highlight some harsh realities of slave ownership in the family. I am transcribing this in the hopes that maybe there are descendants of these people who are alive today.

Statement of the Slaves of John Booher late a citizen of Sullivan County in the State of Tennessee who removed to Washington County, Virginia on the 17th day of March 1818 to wit,

One female slave named Polly about twenty four years old, of black colour. Tolerable thick & well set.

One female slave named Celia - about four years old of a black colour
One male slave named Jefferson, between two and three years old, of a black colour
One female slave named Russa, seven months old, of a black colour
The three last above named slaves are children of Polly.

John Booher

Washington County, to wit,

The above named John Booher this day made oath before me a justice of the peace of said County, that the above described slaves were brought by him from the State of Tennessee on the 17th day of March 1818 when he removed from Sullivan County in that State to this County, that he was the actual owner of said slaves, that the above statement contains a true account of the slaves so brought in, and that the slaves have not been brought into this Commonwealth for the purpose of sale, or with intent to evade the laws of this Commonwealth to prevent the further importation of slaves, or in any manner contrary to the provisions of the Act of the General Assembly of Virginia entitled "An Act Concerning Slaves" passed on the 9th day of January 1813. Given under my hand this 21st day of April 1818.

James White

At a Court held for Washington County the 21st day of April 1818. This Statement of Slaves brought into Virginia by John Booher with certificate of the oath made thereto was returned to court and ordered to be recorded.

Back to the Will of John Booher & Probate of the Estate
The will of John Booher bequeathed Polly, Celia & "her infant child" to John's wife Barbara. From the document above, we now know the name of the infant child, Russa, and that she was born in Sullivan County, Tennessee around August 1817. John bequeathed Polly's son Jefferson to his son Henry Booher (who was under the guardianship of his twin Isaac Booher).

Another document in the set from Washington County, Virginia provided an appraisal of the estate of John Booher dated 29 December 1820. This document again listed Polly (valued at $375), and additional slaves:
1 negro girl Selah $225
1 negro boy Jefferson $225
1 negro girl Terrissa $200
1 negro girl Julia $100

Given the spellings, I believe "Selah" is the same person as Celia, and the girl "Terrissa" is the same person as Russa, the girl named as a daughter of Polly in the document signed by John Booher on 21 April 1818. I think Julia was another daughter of Polly, born in Virginia between 1818 and December 1820.

I am interested to see if I can find more information on what happened to Polly and her children after they were brought to John Booher's Washington County land. The disposition of Barbara Booher's life estate on 27 December 1844 provides some hints.

Polly shows up as acquired by Isaac Booher for $237. She would have been about 50 years old in 1844 (assuming her birth year about 1794 from the state transfer document signed by John Booher in 1818).

In the 1850 US Census Slave Schedule, Benjamin Booher (son of John Booher Sr) appears in Sullivan County, Tennessee owning seven slaves. The oldest on the list is a 36 year old male, born about 1814. This is the right age to be Jefferson.

I don't know what happened to Polly and her children beyond these records.

Overcoming a Research Challenge

A common problem for all family historians is being able to get access to key documents in distant counties and court houses. In tracing my Hampton family roots in Montgomery County, Indiana, I turned to the Career Services Department of my alma mater, Wabash College, for help in overcoming the distance between Indiana and home base here in Virginia.

Back in January, I reached out to the College Archivist, who suggested that I ask Career Services to find a capable student who might be able to pull documents at the Montgomery County Court & Recorder's Office. They helped me set up an externship, where I offered to provide some compensation in exchange for the opportunity for the selected student to learn how to pull land records and wills at the Court, and help me get copies of documents that I would not be able to get without going to Crawfordsville in-person. Once I had chosen the student and provided the instructions on where to find the documents and which families I wanted researched, he very quickly found a first set of records. This is a possible option that researchers may think about using resources & student time in counties where one may need help but distance prevents going there in person.

I had also made arrangements in advance with the Montgomery County Clerk's Office to allow for limited non-flash photos to be taken since the purpose of this project was for personal family history research. This helped save time and provided higher quality images than relying on the standard copy machine from the Court. I am very thankful for this proactive approach by the Clerk's Office. I wish more County Courts would provide this as an option.

The student is currently following up on the second phase of the project, going back to the County Recorder for land records on my Hampton, Booher, Vail and Armstrong lines.

The images below are from the probate file of Michael Hampton, who died on 7 February 1854 in Montgomery County.

According to the above page, Michael left behind his second wife, Catherine Booher Hampton (daughter of Jacob Booher and Elizabeth Barnett). The Court selected Guardianias Booher as a "disinterested householder" to do an appraisal of Michael Hampton's estate. Guardianias was Catherine's half-brother (he was the son of Jacob Booher and Catherine Barnett), and also brother-in-law of Michael Hampton through his marriage to Michael's sister Mary Mahala Hampton.

There are no other documents in the Hampton file, so I can't tell how Michael's estate was appraised or how his property was distributed.

Thanks go to Wabash student Paul Snyder for his assistance in the project. There are quite a few documents to go through, and I am just now back today after 28+ hours of travel from Singapore. It will be a few days before I post more documents from Paul's research time.