While researching land records in Rabun County for the Dillingham family, I found three deeds of gift from Hiram Dillingham to three grandchildren. Only one of these was listed in the deed record’s index (that is, the index for the volume of deeds in which these were recorded). None were listed in the General Index to Deeds and Mortgages. I found all three by searching the pages before and after the one deed that was indexed. All were dated 23 November 1859, witnessed by Emily Bleckley and James Bleckley, JIC (Justice of the Inferior Court), and were recorded 4 January 1860 in Deed Record F Rabun Co. on pages 53 and 54.
For the past year or so, I’ve been working on compiling a volume of items published in the early newspapers of Rabun Co., GA, namely The Clayton Argus (1894), The Tallulah Falls Spray (1897 – 1898), and The Clayton Tribune (1899). I finished the main body of the volume several weeks ago and am now working on an index. I have applied for a publishing grant through the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation and, if accepted, I hope to have this volume published within the next few months.
To incite interest in the project, I decided to publish small excerpts every Friday from now through November, or possibly longer.
The following item was published in the 8 August 1889 issue of the The Franklin Press of Franklin, Macon Co., NC (Volume 4, Number 21, 2nd page, 1st column):
Eli Pickett, of Bartow county, Ga., a negro Confederate soldier who was severely wounded in the Georgia campaigns, has appealed to the State of Georgia for a pension. He was free-born and fought bravely for the Confederacy.
I’ve been working on an application to the Daughters of the American Revolution for several years now. The service of this particular patriot ancestor, Phillip McConnell, has already been proven (to the extent that the DAR requires such proof), as has his connection to his only son, William McConnell, as have the connections between William and most of his children.
I had already gathered most of the other evidence necessary to prove the lineage from myself to Margaret (McConnell) Carpenter, one of William’s children, lacking only a copy of my father’s birth certificate, which has gone mysteriously missing. While waiting for my father to locate that document, I happened across a petition for sale of the lands of William Carpenter, Margaret’s husband.1 In it, William’s surviving sons and the heirs of his deceased sons petitioned the court to sell William’s lands so that the monies could be divided amongst all the heirs. In particular, I was delighted to find this:
[The petitioners] respectfully showeth unto your Honor that William Carpenter died many years since leaving a will which was duly admitted to probate and that in said will he devised the hereinafter described lands to his wife Margarett Carpenter for and during her actual life and at her death to his six sons in fee simple equally to be divided between them as tenants in common and that Margarett Carpenter died some time during the year 1866 [...]
Margaret’s tombstone has not survived the ravages of time (if one was ever placed), and so this may be the only extant evidence of her date of death.
One thing to note is that William wrote his will in January 1836.2 He was deceased by the time the 1840 US census was taken in Macon Co., NC.3 Yet his estate was not completely settled until the death of his wife in 1866, some 30 years later. This example amply illustrates the need to search for records related or pertaining to an ancestor for a time period well after he or she was deceased.
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1. Petition for sale of lands for partition, 1867; William Carpenter, 1868, file folder; Record of Macon County Estates, 1831 – 1920; North Carolina State Archives micropublication G.061.2317261.
2. Last will and testament of William Carpenter, 1836; Will Book 1 Macon County: 14 – 16; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
3. William was not enumerated in the 1840 US census, while Margaret was. It is presumed, therefore, that William was deceased before that time. Margaret Carpenter household, 1840 US census, Macon County, North Carolina, page 152, line 22; NARA micropublication M704, roll 152.
A recent search for an obituary led to the discovery of an entire issue of The Clayton Tribune (Clayton, Rabun Co., GA) devoted to a pressing problem: the loss of the hot lunch program in local schools. The issue included several articles written by the editors and local concerned citizens of note, as well as letters sent in to the Tribune from parents, students, and other community members. The published letters ranged from one or two sentences to several paragraphs; some appeared to be excerpts of longer letters, including the following:
It provides many necessary food elements which the children would not otherwise get. The Free Lunch Project is a great help to many children who cannot afford to pay. –Mrs. Hattie Teague1
Hattie was amongst many parents who were concerned about malnutrition and the availability of hot lunches for their children during the coldest parts of winter.
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1. “What the Parents Think About the W. P. A. School Lunch Room”, The Clayton Tribune, 21 January 1943, Volume XLVIII, Number 3, 7th page, 3rd column.
Local newspapers can have the most interesting items. While searching for an obituary for a man who was supposed to have died in April 1943, I found two small tidbits in The Clayton Tribune, the newspaper covering Rabun Co., GA. Both were on the front page of the 10 June 1943 issue (Volume XLVIII, Number 23).
The first item, located in the third column, was titled “Five Colored Selectees Leave Rabun”:
The following named colored selectees left Clayton on Tuesday morning, June 8th, at 8:25 o’clock for Fort Benning, Columbus, Georgia, where they will receive armed forces examination [sic] and those who pass will be inducted into the branch of service for which they are found best qualified. After being sworn in they will be granted fourteen day furloughs.
The five men were: Richard Hammonds, Donald Penland, Beamon Chavers, Jesse William Larry, and Mack Edward Moore.
The second item, found in the fourth column, was entitled “18-Year-Old Registrants”. There was no explanation, only names along with other identifying information (some of which is not listed here): Boyce Fred Irvin Scott, Tallulah Falls, white; Daniel Griffin, Clayton, “col.”; Henry Edgar Owens, Satolah, white; Carlton Barton Smith, Tiger, white; James Hoyt Ramey, Tiger, white; Andrew Jackson Wilbanks, Tiger, white; David Cleo Davis, Clayton, white; Marvin Sam Shook, Clayton, white; William Joe T. Key, Clayton, white.
Various other issues included letters from local soldiers and small items on placements into new units. Unlike now, local papers were once a font of gossip and other news items of only local interest, and so they can also be a wonderful source on the day-to-day lives of our ancestors.
A friend of mine asked me to look into the Tilly family of Rabun County, Georgia a few weeks ago. While doing so, I ran across the last will and testament of Lazarus Tilly, which was written November 30, 1839 and proven in court during the March Term, 1841, in Rabun County.1 In his will, Lazarus named his wife, Sarah, and children Alfred Tilly, Elizabeth Millender, Polly Calwell, Margaret Owens, Lewis Tilly, John Tilly, and Nancy Holcombe.
In and of itself the will does not seem strange, but further research into contemporary court records illuminates an oddity: two of the named children were deceased at the time Lazarus wrote his will.
I ran across this interesting tidbit a few weeks ago while indexing Superior Court Minutes 1869 – 1872 (Macon Co., NC). From page 46:
Warrant Issued 7th day April 1870 Returned 7th April 1870 with the defendant [J. M. Dills] arrested by W. A. Shepherd. She [Mary E. Payne] come up on evidence of the prosecuter that the said child was born in the State of Georgia where its mother was at the time domiciled.
The child’s name is not mentioned, and repeated attempts to find Mary Payne in the 1870 US Census in both Macon County and nearby Rabun Co., GA, have proved fruitless.