I’m thankful for Aaron & Anne

I wasn’t able to drive for a few years. My birthday is in the summer, so I asked my husband Aaron to take me to Mecklenburg for my birthday. He’s visited the area with me several times over the years. He took me to meet new friends, visit farms and cemeteries, and get pictures of things I wanted to remember. I also love to write, but grammar is not my thing. My high school English teacher would often give me an “A” for content but mark the page up with red, for all my grammar errors. Aaron helps me with that now. He also reads my drafts to tell me if things are confusing or not explained enough. I also test lots of visual ideas and charts with him, for this website, to see if they make sense to someone other than myself.

I met Anne Willson almost 15 years ago and we’ve been working on projects together ever since! She’s not even related to me, but she knows my family tree inside out. I like to joke that we don’t have a DNA match, but we have the best friend gene. I think you would be amazed at how well she knows the connections of Bracey and Blackridge families. Anne visited Mecklenburg with me in the summer of 2014. We tested out GPS tagging using our phones so we could try to put things on a map. That eventually led to the GPS map on this website. Anne moved across the country, so we worked on that map together over what is currently called Google Meet. I sent her plats, we took turns sharing our screen. We both had our Photoshop programs open, I read her information from deed books, and we built it together.

We’ve done projects together over video every week, for many years. Whenever I get stuck, I video call Anne to brainstorm ideas. I run story ideas by her and ask her how she would show things in pictures. We study maps, plot DNA charts, and test ways to visually share ideas. We also look for new ways to find answers to our genealogy questions, using newer technology. Anne is an admin on the Mecklenburg Facebook group and my Mecklenburg Ancestry.com tree. The majority of my Google Drive folders are shared with her. When I have a bad day with my health challenges, and I want to think through a genealogy puzzle, I call her and she looks stuff up for me. She’s even read deed books with me and helped me chart groups of people to try to better document my Mecklenburg roots before 1800.

Anne and Aaron have helped me with a lot of behind the scenes types of things, so I can share my research with you. I’ve had a lot of fun making Mecklenburg discoveries with them. I wanted to publicly express my thanks, and thought you might like to know a little more about two of my best friends.


Major site updates

I’m very excited because I learned how to crop pictures into circles. The whole website has been updated with about 300 circles! I made blue clickable buttons for links. Anything in red text or a blue button/circle is a hyperlink. Here are a few highlights of the site updates:

Posts have all had their links updated with buttons. This image is of last week’s post. The red words “this previous post” have a link, as well as clicking on the blue circle with a picture of Henry Kidd.

Many pages were reformatted with new things I’m learning. Here is part of the military page:

Hope you enjoy the new updates. I also hope you find the changes user friendly. Do you have any pictures or stories you would like to share on this site?

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. 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

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 Mecklenburg collection (1771-1943) where I found this record, here is the index link.

If they went across the border to marry in North Carolina, here’s a link to that collection.