Posts tagged ‘Oconee County South Carolina’

January 5, 2013

William Hamby’s Estate in Rabun County’s Writs

While compiling Rabun County’s earliest writs and petitions for publication (available soon), I came across an 1843 court case between the heirs of the estate of William Hamby and the administrator of the estate, James Hamby. Naturally, the petition named all the heirs “to the second degree”: Ezekiel Hamby; Jonothan Roach and his wife, Huldah (Hamby) Roach; Benjamin Shelton and his wife, Keziah (Hamby) Shelton; Daniel Inman and his wife, Rebecca (Hamby) Inman; Martha Hamby; Sophia Hamby; Martha Hamby, the mother of William Hamby, the decedent; Amos Forrister and his wife Elizabeth (Hamby) Forester; James Hamby, the estate’s administrator; and Thomas K. Forrister and his wife, Polly (Hamby) Forrister.

The initial petition provides excellent information on the dynamics of this Hamby family, but there are many other documents attached to this suit, including an inventory of the estate, the sale of personal property from the estate, and the deceased’s account books,1 all of which were written into the record.2 The latter two items should be of particular interest to area researchers, even those uninterested in the Hamby family per se, because they can be used to reconstruct William Hamby’s neighborhood.

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September 2, 2012

Cemetery Sunday: Harden Cemetery, Rabun County, Georgia

Yesterday was a lovely day, in spite of scattered rain showers, or possibly because of them. Richard and I decided to take the Jeep out on the back roads to avoid the heavy traffic on the main arteries from tourists out enjoying the Labor Day weekend. He suggested visiting a small cemetery located about halfway through Burrell’s Ford Road (Forest Service Road 646) off of Highway 28, near Rabun County’s eastern border with South Carolina.

To get to the cemetery, we took Warwoman Road (off of Highway 441) from Clayton, which dead-ends into Highway 28 at Pine Mountain. Take a right toward South Carolina. (Going left will take you through Satolah and into Highlands, NC.) Some distance out, take a left on Burrell’s Ford Road. Exactly four miles from 28, take a left onto an unmarked road, and from there take the first unmarked road on the left. You’ll do fine in just about any normal-clearance vehicle until hitting the last road. Either park at the bottom and walk up (it’s not far, but it is steep and rough), or bring a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle. The cemetery is at the end of the last road.

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April 28, 2012

Four Brick Wall Breakers

Oh, the dreaded brick wall ancestor, the bane of every genealogist’s life! We all have them, those ancestors who refuse to cooperate and instead prefer to lurk just out of reach of our inquisitive minds. Luckily for us (not so much for the lurking ancestors), there are plenty of tricks to help researchers break down those brick walls. Here are four useful techniques:

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November 21, 2011

Pertaining to the Estate of James Alexander, Oconee Co., SC, Part 1

I have lately inherited a goodly number of papers relating to the Watson family from my grandfather Watson’s youngest sister, Dixie. Part of these were kept and maintained by the eldest brother of the family, Ralph Watson, who is now deceased. Uncle Ralph saved several important family papers, including the complete chain of title for his grandfather Daniel Alexander Watson’s land with a copy of the original land entry.

One of those documents provides clear evidence of the relationships between various members of Dan’s mother’s family, the Alexanders of Pickens District and later Oconee County, South Carolina. This Complaint for Partition of Real Estate is likely a copy sent to Dan and his siblings, James F. and Elizabeth Watson.

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November 15, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Elizabeth Alexander Watson and Lavina Jane Watson

Elizabeth Alexander
wife of
James Watson
1833 – 1865
Our loved one

Lavina Jane
Watson
1864 – 1865
Asleep in Jesus

Elizabeth and Lavina were buried in the Alexander Family Cemetery, also known as the Salem Cemetery, in modern Oconee Co., SC.

Elizabeth (Alexander) Watson’s life was, in some ways, tragic. According to family lore, she had just birthed her fourth child, Lavina, when her husband James Watson, his father Moses, and possibly some of James’ brothers were murdered by the Hoopers in the infamous Watson-Hooper feud of Jackson Co., NC. Elizabeth and James’ two eldest children, Daniel and James, watched the lynching from the woods near the home where Elizabeth was lying in, recovering from child birth.

Soon afterwards, Elizabeth took her four children back to then Pickens Dist., SC, to the home of her parents, Daniel and Levina Alexander. Neither Elizabeth nor Lavina survived long after their journey. Elizabeth and James’ remaining three children (Daniel, James, and Elizabeth) were raised by Elizabeth’s family.

November 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Daniel D. and Levina Alexander

Daniel D. Alexander Sr., Born Aug. 29, 1803, Died Nov. 10, 1853
Levina wife of Daniel D. Alexander, Sr., Born Oct. 10, 1805, Died Jan. 2, 1880

Daniel D. Alexander, Sr., and his wife, Levina, were the parents of my ancestress, Elizabeth Alexander (1833 – 1865), who married James Watson, a participant in and casualty of the Watson-Hooper feud of Jackson County, NC. They are buried in the Salem Cemetery, more commonly known as the Alexander Cemetery, in Oconee County, SC (see reference number C003 on the linked web site).

At one time, the stones stood as individual markers. After Daniel’s broke, a thoughtful descendant had the two placed in a larger monument and reset atop the burial sites. A close-up makes the dates easier to read:

Daniel was the son of Micajah and Elizabeth Lewis Alexander. Levina was the daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Kennemore Rice. Peggy Burton Rich has compiled a great deal of information on this particular Alexander family in a series of books, the first of which is entitled The Alexander Families of Upper South Carolina.

July 2, 2009

A Fellow Researcher Asks About the Neville and Price Families

On June 20, 2009, I received the following comment on a previous blog article I’d written for my old blog at Today.com, Tombstone Tuesday: Edward Coffee and Elizabeth Neville Coffee. Since I’m no longer able to access that blog, I thought I would post and answer the comment here:

Hi, this is very interesting. I have visited this cemetery and have seen these stones. Elizabeth was a sister of Rebecca Neville. Their father and mother were Jesse and Margarette McCarter Neville who are buried in the old Neville Cemetery just outside of Walhalla. Jessie had a plantation at the site of the cemetery, so I assume that the girls were born in what is now Oconee County. Rebecca is my ggggggrandmother, having married William Price. I am looking for their graves, but not having any luck. He died in RABUN County, Ga in 1825. Rebecca lived to be 94 and also died there. Do you know much more about the Neville family? I would love to know more and would love to know what you have. If you should find their graves, please let me know by my private e-mail address. Thank you, Sue D.

Thanks for writing, Sue. Unfortunately, I know very little about the Neville family except what I’ve learned from other researchers or local history books (e.g. Sketches of Rabun County History by Dr. Andrew J. Ritchie).

As for Rabun County burials, try the USGenWeb Archives for Rabun County. At the top of the page is a link to the search engine. After clicking on that link, enter the surname, select the county and record type, and then hit the search button. Most of the burial grounds for Rabun County were surveyed and placed online in about 1998 by Elaine and Bill English, a local couple who are avid historians.

I can tell you from personal experience that there aren’t many graves marked by engraved tombstones in this area from the early to mid-1820s. I’m not certain why that is, because there were certainly residents who died during that time period, and many were more than able to afford to erect a stone. Part of the reason may have been because Rabun County was still very much a wilderness in 1825, in spite of the influx of white settlers and businessmen. It’s also possible that many of the earliest graves were marked by engraved tombstones, but years of weathering may have eroded the stones to the point of illegibility.

You may be able to narrow down possible burial sites by comparing early land records for William and Rebecca Neville Price against the original land lot maps and modern maps to find nearby burial grounds. If you can find where they lived, you may also be able to locate the church they attended, if any, and find burial or other records that way.

I wish you well with your search.

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