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.