1928 South Hill Men’s Bible Class Picture

Elva Kidd White shared these two newspaper clippings with me. The first gives the year as 1928. The second dates the picture as 1920’s, but lists all the men’s name. Elva’s father is the one marked as “grandad Kidd”. For more information about Henry Kidd, see this previous post with his WWI military picture:

Here is a transcription of this 92 year old picture:

This picture of the South Hill Methodist Church Men’s Sunday School Class in the 1920’s was turned in by Miss Delphine Hatch. Left to right are:

First row: M. M. Carver, Henry Pettus, Clifford Shaw, Charlie Crowder, and Lee Matthews.

Second row: Bennie Walker, W. H. Butterworth, Aubrey Holmes, C. E. Carver, Willie Clark and W. E. Jolly.

Third row: Dr. H. C. Coleman, Joe Taylor, _____ Tanner, R. H. Clayton, C. N. Howerton, Jack Crews, Y. M. Hodges, Tom Allen, Fletcher Bobbitt, H. F. Ledbetter.

Fourth row: Lube Matthews, Frank Mason, Lawrence Crowder, Peyton Smith, Jimmy Radcliffe, Henry Kidd, Jessie Gill, Tom Strange, Tommy Hines and H. P. Bugg

Do you know anything about the men pictured? If so please comment below. If you have any further stories or pictures about them you’d be willing to share on this website, please contact me.

Elder William Creath: Minister in Mecklenburg, Virginia

My last post was about the Susanna Clark and William B. Jones marriage record. While researching that marriage record, I found a “ministers return” record from Mecklenburg, Virginia on microfilm on FamilySearch.org. The ministers wrote up lists of marriages they had performed, and sent the lists periodically to the clerk of the court. Here is the image of the entry for Susanna Clark and William Jones.

The collection begins here (image 81 of 208), with an index at the beginning. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9BK-G4CV?i=80&cat=361879. This record collection is from the time period 1785-1854.

I looked up several of my early ancestors in this collection and found that they were married by different ministers. I’m puzzled as to why an entry for the marriage of John B. Kidd to Elizabeth Rainey isn’t in this collection. They did marry in Mecklenburg on 16 Feb 1818, but they are not found in the index. I also manually looked through the collection from 1810-1820, but did not see them. I wonder if this means they were perhaps not married by a minister, but instead by a Justice of the Peace? (When I find the answers to these questions, I will post about it.)

I wondered who this preacher or minister, William Creath was and what church he worked at. I found a booklet written by William Creath’s son, Jacob Creath. He called his father “a Calvanistic Baptist preacher.”

Here is a link to this booklet written by Jacob Creath in 1866 about his father William Creath : https://webfiles.acu.edu/departments/Library/HR/restmov_nov11/www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/jcreath/BSEWC.HTM

William Creath did not appear to have a fixed congregation, rather, he appears to have been a traveling preacher. On the ministers returns records, most of the ministers simply wrote their names at the end of the lists of the married persons, but William also wrote “Minister of the Gospel” after his name.

William Creath was the father of sixteen children! His first child was Elizabeth Roffe Creath born 4 March 1792. She died as a young child. Susanna Clark and William Jones were married in December of that same year, 1792. Jacob Creath wrote about each of his siblings, who they married and where they moved to. Letters from his father are also included in the booklet.

Jacob’s booklet tells about where William Creath preached: “Brother James B. Taylor, of Richmond, Va., in his History of the Virginian Baptist Preachers, says, on page 328: “He was, according to Semple, the means of originating the churches called Allen’s Creek and Wilson’s, and for some time supplied Malone’s–all in Mecklenburg County, Va. These churches, even though in his immediate vicinity, did not to any great extent prosper. He was in the habit of making lengthy tours through different parts of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. For many years he was scarcely employed in any other way than as an itinerating preacher….”

Jacob Creath wrote in response to that, “My remarks on the above histories: First–Bro. Semple obtained his information from hearsay, as he was never in my father’s neighborhood–never nearer than Richmond, which was eighty miles from my father’s; and brother Semple lived below Richmond some fifty miles. Second–Allen’s Creek was twenty miles or more from my father’s, and Malone’s was six miles below my father’s house. Third–He preached for these churches occasionally; he was not their pastor. [51] His being little at home shows that he was not their regular preacher. Fourth–An itinerating preacher could not be the regular preacher of churches. Fifth–In traveling and preaching, he obeyed the command of our Saviour, “Go and preach the Gospel.” Sixth–Then he did more good by traveling, and it was more in accordance with his gift and talent…..”

Six miles north of Malone’s church is probably right about at the Lunenburg-Mecklenburg border. I wonder if William B. Jones or Susannah Clark lived further north before they married? Or maybe they traveled several miles to be married by William Creath? Or if perhaps the minister traveled to where William and Susannah lived to marry them at their home?

Susanna Clark: married 1792

William B. Jones and Susanna were the parents of two children: James B. Jones and Zachariah Jones. They lived in Bracey and are one of the Great Creek Jones families.

I’ve seen several old published materials with Susanna’s surname listed as Clack and that she was the daughter of Moses Clack. I know that cannot be true, because Susannah the daughter of Moses Clack was married to a different man and having children in Kentucky at the same time that Susanna and William B. Jones were living in Mecklenburg. I wanted to see how Susanna’s maiden surname appeared on any record. I found their marriage bond in a digitized Mecklenburg marriage record collection on FamilySearch.org. Her surname very clearly says “Clark” and I got a nice surprise. The bondsman was Newman Dortch. I’m not sure if Newman and William Jones were merely friends and neighbors or if they were related, but their great-grandchildren (my ancestors) married.

This marriage bond is for 26 December 1792. William Jones signed his mark. On a deposition, he mentioned going to school. I have heard that some people signed a fancy mark that was their signature. I’m not seeing that on this paper, so I’m curious now.

Jones signature comparison

Dortch signature comparison

Both William and Newman’s signatures are different than on William’s marriage record. I’m curious and wonder, why? I wonder if this marriage bond is a copy for Mecklenburg court? I’ve seen a wide range of signatures in this marriage collection though. Maybe William’s signature changed? A discussion for a future post when I learn the answers.

If you would like to search the collection (1771-1943) where I found this record, here is the index link: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2134304

If they went across the border to marry in North Carolina, here’s a link to that: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1726957

Bracey-Blackridge area DNA mystery project

I’m working on solving some DNA mysteries that happened between 1864-1875. I’m looking for people who have taken an Ancestry.com DNA test with family tree roots in the Bracey-Blackridge area. All ethnicities. Family surnames will include, but are not limited to: Bennett, Boyd, Gray, Harper, Jones, Mabry, Mayo, Marks, Newman, Pearson, Thomas, Walker, Wright. There are many unknowns, as well as many cousin marriages. I’m helping a descendant of Missouri Jones and George Harper who has taken a DNA test on Ancestry.com. I want to ask each person if they match 1) myself, and/or 2) the descendant of Missouri and George Harper. Missouri’s mother was Jane Bennett Thomas, who was divorced but continued using her married name of Jones. George’s mother was Susan Harper. It appears both Missouri and George were born out of wedlock.

It is important for me to also know who is not related, but has taken a test. For example, I am a Jones descendant, through Alginon Gray. But I do not match Missouri Jones. This chart shows how I would not match Missouri genetically. I do not have any pink. :

There are many Jones and Thomas cousin marriages. So I will need help knowing people’s family lines before 1900. I will try the same approach I did to solve a DNA mystery on Fannie Gray’s husband’s side of the family, from 1918. There were several cousin and step-siblings in that project, as I know will be the case with this project. We will be comparing how people match George & Missouri’s descendants and how they match me. We have several unknown lines:

  1. Missouri’s father: paternal line (aqua on chart above)
  2. Missouri’s father: maternal line (brown on chart above)
  3. African American & Jane’s baby: male paternal line (orange on chart)
  4. African American & Jane’s baby: male maternal line (green on chart)
  5. George Harper’s mother: maternal line
  6. George Harper’s father: paternal line
  7. George Harper’s father: maternal line

First I will chart if people had a test, and if they match me or my grandparents. Also, if or how they match Missouri’s family. Then I will make a color-coded chart to show how closely people are related to Missouri’s family, based on centimorgan (cM) closeness.

The shapes were the paper trail. The colors were the DNA trail. If you are willing to message with me, my email address is: mecklenburgvagen@gmail.com

Previous post about this: https://mecklenburgvagenealogy.com/2020/02/16/jones-african-american-dna-mystery/

Three Doctors From Mecklenburg

While looking through various Mecklenburg Court records on FamilySearch.org, I saw something of interest in the Circuit Court records: Doctor certificates from 1892 and 1893. There were only three records: Doctor Edward T. Hamilton, Doctor Edward R. Tarry, and Doctor Garland H. Carter. I looked to see what I could find about each man.

Edward T. Hamilton

The first man, Edward T. Hamilton, was born in Alabama, but found living in Boydton by the age of fourteen. He did not marry. While a practicing doctor, he lived with his sister, Annie Toone, in Boydton. His mother’s name was Lucy Tarry, and his middle name is Tarry. So, I wonder if he is related to the second doctor I found, doctor Edward R. Tarry. This is Edward Tarry Hamilton’s medical certificate at the Mecklenburg, Virginia Courthouse:

I found all three doctors in a digitized record collection on FamilySearch called ‘United States Deceased Physician File’. This link shows images and tells about the collection: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_Deceased_Physician_File_(AMA)_-_FamilySearch_Historical_Records

Here is a direct link to the index: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2061540

This is the index transcription of this same collection that shows up on Ancestry.com:

Doctor Edward R. Tarry

Doctor Edward R. Tarry has an 1893 doctor’s certificate in Mecklenburg, but I haven’t found any other evidence that he practiced there. His obituary says that he moved to Omaha Nebraska in 1902 and that he was from Tarry’s Mill, Virginia. I found this 1911 map which shows that location. (Bottom center, on the state line)

Doctor Tarry’s obituary also said that he married Miss Alpha Fields in July 1917, and that he had a daughter named Virginia. He was listed in the 1910 Omaha City directory as a doctor, renting No. 222 – Bee building.

This findagrave link shows his obituary and an advertisement for his practice which includes his picture: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/73054246/edward-r-tarry

marriage record on FamilySearch.org
Dr. Tarry’s family, the year after his death.
Edward Tarry’s medical certificate in Mecklenburg,VA courthouse

Doctor Garland H. Carter

Doctor Garland H. Carter had a medical practice in Boydton in the same time period that Doctor Edward Hamilton also lived and practiced there. The 1920 Federal Census listed Doctor Garland Carter’s occupation as a town and country medical doctor. I think he lived near the intersection of Washington and Jones Streets, according to the census address notations. Doctor Carter lived to be ninety years old, dying from a cerebral vascular accident.

Do you know any stories about these doctors, or any other doctors in Mecklenburg County before 1960? If so please comment below.

Patterns of Moving: Before Mecklenburg

Whenever I feel stuck researching my family history, I try to think about patterns. What is the normal pattern for this family? If they did something that breaks the normal pattern, why? What is the normal pattern for that time and place? One pattern I have noticed is that people moved in groups. They joined military units or were in the local militia together as neighbors. Moves often happened for economic reasons. People moved with close family and friends to a new place, the people they knew they could depend on for a new start.

I know about several early Mecklenburg families, but cannot personally document any of my ancestors born before 1800, or know where they lived before Mecklenburg- except for one line, and that is my Newman line. James B. Jones (Great Creek area) married Martha Newman. They raised 15 children! Martha’s death record said she was born in Orange, VA. At first, I thought that was a mistake because Martha’s father, Abner Newman was in a Mecklenburg unit during the War of 1812 and married in Brunswick County, Virginia in 1792. I kept searching for a some kind of connection to Orange County Virginia.  I discovered that when Martha’s father died she went to live with her grandfather in Orange. She, her mother, and siblings who had not yet married all moved to Orange.

Martha’s grandfather William Newman was born in Essex County, Virginia. He lived where the Occupacia Creek crosses Route 17, very close to the Rappahannock River. William Thomas lived between the Newmans and the Rappahannock River. The more I read the court books, the more I start to wonder about if several of my Mecklenburg ancestors lived in Essex first. William Newman’s next door neighbors were Walkers, Thomases, Joneses, Brookes, Moseleys, Kidds,  and Grays. (Even though I know my Grays immigrated from County Armagh, Ireland in 1838). I see all those family names as neighbors to the Newmans  for 100 years in Essex County.  Because farms were failing in Essex county during the 1750’s and 1760’s, some people started to move to Caroline County and Orange County.  William Newman worked for many years for John Baylor and his wife Frances Walker who had farms in both Caroline and Orange counties. Mrs. Baylor had a brother who settled in Brunswick County, Virginia. Three Walker brothers (whose father was born in Essex), married three of Martha’s sisters. (William Newman’s grandchildren.) I know that these are common British surnames, but I can’t help wondering when I see these families as next door neighbors in Essex for 100 years, and then see these same names as close neighbors in Eastern Mecklenburg. That’s a pattern I don’t plan to ignore or think of as just a coincidence. It is true that a lot of people migrated from Isle of Wight and Surry counties to Mecklenburg, but now I am studying the early Essex (Old Rappahannock County) migration route to Mecklenburg.

This map shows the path that my Newman family traveled from 17th century  Essex county, to 1810 in Mecklenburg. When I find more connections to colonial families or where families  were before they came to Mecklenburg, I will share them here.  On the map below, I have marked landmarks closest to where William Newman, then where his granddaughter Martha Newman lived. The route displayed is the current highway/ travel route.