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.
What is interesting is that a Jeremiah M. Dills (1842 – 1924) married on February 7, 1863 in Macon County to one Rachel Lou Payne (1843 – 1882). Whether Mary and Rachel were related is unknown at this time, nor can it be said for certain that Jeremiah M. Dills is the same man as the J. M. Dills mentioned in the above suit. The coincidences between the families are too similar to ignore, however; further research should reveal the name of the child in question, the relationship between Mary and Rachel (if any), and whether Jeremiah M. Dills and J. M. Dills were the same person. Possible avenues might include:
- Bastardy Bonds, Macon Co., NC, held in the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, NC.
- Court Minutes. Until Mary’s child came of age, he or she would probably have been appointed a guardian by the court to see to his or her welfare. This is especially true if Mary or her family had any property to which the child might have been entitled by law. The problem is that the appropriate court records cannot be searched, or even named, until Mary’s residence is located.
- 1870 US Census, Macon Co., NC, Rabun Co., GA, and surrounding counties. Searches should be made both for Mary Payne, and for J. M. Dills. A thorough researcher might also wish to look for the Jeremiah and Rachel Payne Dills family, and for likely candidates for Mary’s parents.
- Marriage records, Macon Co., NC, Rabun Co., GA, and surrounding counties. Mary may have married, and so she may be listed in other records under a different surname.
- 1880 US Census, Macon Co., NC, Rabun Co., GA, and surrounding counties. Mary’s child would be about ten years old in this census.
- Probate records, Payne family. If Mary’s parents can be located in the 1870 US Census and their dates and places of death determined (with further research into census, land, and other records), then the probate records for her parents’ estate should be searched for clues to Mary’s child’s name, and to determine how or if Mary and Rachel were related.
- Probate records, Macon Co., NC, for Jeremiah M. Dills. Such records should name this man’s heirs, even if he died intestate; if so, then he could be either ruled out as being the father of Mary Payne’s child, or he could be definitively proven to be her child’s father.
Note: Jeremiah and Rachel were buried in the Dills Family Cemetery located in the Cartoogechaye section of Macon County.