Cemeteries moved to prepare for Kerr Dam

Last summer, my husband and I took some pictures of LaCrosse. We stopped to get an overview picture of the Lacrosse cemetery to go with my LaCrosse picture collection. I looked down at the tombstone near where I was standing to take my picture with GPS coordinates and was surprised to see a tombstone with the name Steagall, which is one of my ancestors’ surnames. I had not previously seen this name on a tombstone in Mecklenburg with these early dates. I mentioned this to my friend Wayne Rainey as we prepared to meet and visit several Rainey related places in Mecklenburg. He told me that there is a part of the LaCrosse cemetery where graves were moved to when the Kerr Dam went in on the Roanoke river and enlarged the lakes. I went back to LaCrosse cemetery this month to see the area where the burials were moved. I discovered this Stegall tombstone is in that area.

If you are facing the Stegall tombstone, these next two grave markers are to the right. They were unmarked (unkown) burials by Kerr Dam and Resevoir. Note, the center number on the second image says 57-64 unknown. I assume that these two markers are numbering rows of burials, totaling 80 burials.

John B. Kidd’s land

I’ve studied John B. Kidd’s land records for over 100 hours now. Frustratingly, so far, I remain unable to identify from who John B. Kidd bought the piece of land where the Carroll Cemetery is located. In the small map above, I used the GPS coordinates I took when visiting the cemetery to mark it’s location on the map . It is located south of Nellie Jones Rd near Great Creek, and was part of Arimenta Kidd’s estate. Arimenta was the daughter of John B. Kidd. She first married Granderson Glover (one of my great…grandfathers), then secondly married Robert Carroll. This post is about some things I’ve learned regarding the rest of John B. Kidd’s land. The upper plat, where John B. Kidd lived, was easy to see and draw on my map. The lower plat was much more difficult to draw and correctly place on my map. Some of the property boundary lines on the lower plat do not seem to line up correctly with the written description of the boundary lines given in the plat description. This plat also borders Great Creek where the water changed drastically when the dam was built. I used calculators and measuring tools on “Google My Maps”, to recheck the boundary lines of each property division line. I have made huge adjustments and updates on my map this week, to where the lower Kidd plat used to exist. I rechecked 25 measurements of rods and poles, corrected a few lines, and can say this piece is plotted in exactly the right place now.

I got the plats above from a chancery case. The land shown in both plats total 1,337 & 1/4 acres. I have searched for John B. Kidd in Mecklenburg deed indexes in both the grantor and grantee indexes. He is listed in seven land transactions. John bought 5 pieces of land, sold one piece of land (50 acres to Elizabeth Wall) which I can’t yet account for him having purchased. and gifted some land to his brother in law, Roderick Temple. It actually says “My brother-in-law Roderick Temple” in the deeds. Roderick married John B. Kidd’s sister Elizabeth Kidd.

The outline below is a summary of all of John B. Kidd’s land transactions including acreage totals. When I first added the acreage, I noticed the numbers did not add up. The estate’s total acreage purchased was 1,266 & 1/2 acres, subtracted by the 248 & 1/2 acres he sold and gifted. That leaves 1018 acres in deed records, which was about 319 & 1/4 acres less than the estate plats showed. I wondered, where did the other 369 acres came from? I began looking for people John could have inherited that acreage from. I couldn’t find any record that showed John B. Kidd had inherited any land. I noticed that sometimes when land was auctioned, or sold by a commissioner for the court, that the index didn’t necessarily mention the previous owner. The deed might be indexed by the Sheriff’s name, or the Commissioner’s name. I already had a plat for Nellie Jones and Presley Hinton, so I knew that some of the land from their old estate ended up being part of John B. Kidd’s estate. I have not yet found the land records showing the purchase of these two lots from Presley Hinton’s and/or Nellie Jones’s administrators.

Note on above chart: John Griffin also shows up as John Griffice in land records. I believe Willis & Robert Kennon were Willis and Robert Cannon.

I like to think of these deeds as puzzle pieces. I draw test puzzle pieces on my map. I look at one piece at a time, looking to see if names or other boundary items match up with other known boundaries, turning it around, trying different angles. In addition to not being able to account for all the acreage, I also wondered, how could almost every deed pertaining to John B. Kidd’s properties have Great Creek as a boundary? At first I thought all of the deeds mentioning Great Creek as a property boundary were south of Nellie Jones Rd. I knew from Julius Lambert’s plat, that the Lamberts were living on the west side of Great Creek, south of Nellie Jones Rd, at the same time that these properties were being purchased.

I colored in the water of Great Creek on a screen shot I made of the map. The upper left branch is called Hagood Creek today, but Presley Hinton’s plat which was drawn in 1828 labels that part of the waterway as a branch of Great Creek. Originally, I thought that the tail part of this “Y” shaped plat, all sat above and east of Great Creek, so that is how I previously drew it. However, I could see the plat didn’t quite fit right, so, I reviewed the lower plat again. I read in the plat description “situated on both sides of Great Creek.” I wondered if that meant it was describing more than just the Nellie Jones older dower property, but rather the whole plat? I focused on the area south of where Julius Lamberts’ estate ended. Prior to John B. Kidd purchasing the land, I only have a plat of old Nellie Jones lot. I am not sure of exact boundaries for Palmer, Griffin and Jones properties, which were the internal lines of the Kidd plat. These boundaries are calculated and estimated based on some boundaries visible on the satellite view of the map, the county GIS map, and property divisions made to Arimenta’s land that were made in 1890. I studied all the neighboring properties over a 50 year time period to see where each piece was, and check the puzzle piece boundaries still fit during each time period. John Griffin’s property should be this backwards “L” shape in order to touch all the boundaries of the properties referenced in the deeds over a 50 year time span. The aqua colored labels show the land that John B. Kidd had at the time of his death, which I can’t find in any deeds or wills. The parcels with white lettering are for those that I have found the deeds, showing the correct acreage amounts with the boundary shapes as close as I can get without an actual plat.

Deeds usually say “more or less” after the acreage amount given. I realized that Presley Hinton’s land and Nellie Jones’s dower piece together were 242. 75 acres of the total acreage that I couldn’t account for. Maybe the remaining 11 acres in the northern area fits that “more or less” part. The remaining 65.5 acres in the lower plat that is unaccounted for should be part of Arimenta’s land, but my map only shows 59.3 acres unaccounted for. The acreage sizes of each of the property divisions between John B. Kidd’s children match the acreage of the plat, but the parts of land not previously owned by Griffin or Palmer total only 59.3 acres. Most of this land eventually became Oliver HP Glover’s inheritance. He purchased about 20 acres of his mother Arimenta’s estate, to help Arimenta pay for her debts to her mother, (his grandmother) Elizabeth Rainey Kidd. Arimenta’s land was divided after her death in 1890, giving each of Arimenta Kidd’s children about 19 acres each. Oliver Glover got the adjoining 19 acres, giving him a total of 49 acres. The other approximate 10 acres was the southernmost area which went to Oliver’s half brothers'(surname Carroll) inheritance. I’m currently investigating if there was another purchase from an old estate in probate, because the index could show different names involved in the purchase and/or sale. I wonder if the unknown eastern portion of Arimenta’s land and the the 50 acres sold to Elizabeth Wall could be from something like that . Or, could this 60 acres be part of ‘more or less’? That seems like a lot though, so I’m not convinced. Robert Joyce’s land was the adjoining property to this unknown approximate 60 acres. This image below is part of Robert Joyce’s deed, which says, “containing by estimation between seven & eight hundred acres (be the same, more or less).” I’m having trouble understanding how there could be as much as 100 acres they were unsure about? That complicated things a little too much for me!

Mecklenburg County map

On one of our visits to Mecklenburg, my husband and I were having trouble finding some places near the Mecklenburg-Brunswick county border. We stopped and asked 20 strangers near various country stores and gas stations where we could purchase a map. People looked at me with a puzzled look then asked, “What do you need a map for? I can show you how to get there.” And they did! Every person we stopped to ask, helped us find things, and told us they hadn’t heard of a map except the Gilmer map, which I had already purchased a copy of. We even tried Walmart, where you could purchase maps, but no local maps. When I got home, I looked online. I looked at the company that made the Fredericksburg and Stafford County, Virginia road maps. But they did not make a Mecklenburg or Brunswick county road map. I was surprised and disappointed. I went to the Library of Virginia to try to possibly find a map. They had the Gilmer map, and a VDOT map, and that was all. The Gilmer map is from the 1860s and is the map that most people use. The roads haven’t changed much from the Gilmer map, except the addition of interstate roads. All of my searching for road maps was fifteen years ago, before I had a smart phone with Google maps.

I was very excited when I saw a video demonstration of “Google My Maps.” I knew this would finally help me create a map for my own research and allow me to share it with others. I made ‘my map’ a big part of this website. Last week, I noticed some interesting updates to ‘my map’. You can now assign colors to shapes and lines. You can also adjust transparency levels and line thickness. It used to be limited to three layers, but now I was able to add another layer.

I reworked the map, and colorized everything by time period. I previously had wished I could see the county boundary lines on ‘my map’. I added those to the map today! Mecklenburg’s northern boundary is the South Meherrin River. The southern boundary is the Virginia -North Carolina State line.

The northeast corner boundary is where a creek meets the Meherrin.

The southeast corner boundary between Mecklenburg and Brunswick Counties is the state line and the east side of the Roanoke River.

The western border of Mecklenburg runs from a point on the Meherrin River at the northwestern corner, to a point at Fairview, on the north side of the Roanoke River on the southwestern corner.

This is Google maps with the county boundaries marked. I clicked on the corner points, copied the GPS coordinates then added it to my map. Notice that the county boundaries go around but do not include the Roanoke River.

The Mecklenburg county boundary on the west crosses the Roanoke, then follows the Dan river to the west until it reaches Aaron’s Creek.

The southwest corner of Mecklenburg is where Aaron’s Creek meets the State line.

Unfortunately, I can’t add a key to the map. I wrote what each color represents in the ‘layer list’ as seen on the left.

Some additional explanations:

  • The color black means no longer exists
  • Thick red lines are roads that no longer exist. I also marked these roads with a construction sign symbol of a person with a shovel.
  • A medical suitcase marks where a doctor lived.
  • A cross indicates a church. If it is a purple/maroon color, then there is also a cemetery at that church.
  • Cemeteries are marked with an upright tombstone symbol. (Looks like an upside down “T”)
  • The house symbol indicates the location of a house, when a house is known to have been there at some point. When a deed indicates there was a house, but the exact location of that house isn’t known, I placed the house symbol in the middle of the lot.
  • The farm symbol marks the location of a farm, and includes the name of the farm owner (viewable by clicking on the farm icon).

The two red lines above show roads that were on old plats that no longer exist. I don’t know the exact length of the roads, so I only drew then as far s the plats show them.

This shows the two doctors that I know of. The top one was Dr. Riggan, a dentist. The lower icon marks the land of Dr. Pennington, a medical doctor.

Most of the plats I added to this map were accumulated over several years. Some of them are from deed books. Most of the plats are from chancery cases, which divided the land after someone died intestate. I don’t have plats yet from other areas of the county. I hope to start adding more plats to my map, from all over the county. If you have a plat you would like to see added to this map, let me know. It helps me if I have a specific piece of geographical information to anchor the plat, like a road or waterway mentioned.

The Gilmer map mentioned earlier in this post is viewable on the Library of Congress website.

If you would like to explore my map, click here. I hope you find the new updates helpful.

David Dortch & his wife Lucy

David Dortch’s wife was named Lucy. Everything I’ve seen written about the Dortch family and posted online states that her name is Lucy Russell. There is a Lucy Russell who was born in Richmond County, Virginia. Some people think this the same Lucy, and I can understand why, because I’m finding some of my Mecklenburg families previously lived in Essex and across the Rappahannock River in Richmond County. I do not think it could be her though, because Lucy Russel would have been too old to have been the mother of Newman Dortch. There were two Russell families living near the Dortch family on Miles Creek, a Jeffrey Russell and Richard Russell. Burnall Russell’s children are listed in the guardian records in 1777, although I haven’t found a Lucy with the Russell families in any records.

David Dortch’s will states that his wife is Lucy. I have several chancery cases about David and Lucy’s children and who their children married. Each case refers to their mother as Lucy and their father as David Dortch. Unfortunately none of these cases state Lucy’s maiden name. I’ve been a bit puzzled by my ancestor Newman Dortch’s name, because I do have ancestors with the surname Newman. Most of the time that I see a surname used for a male first name, it is a surname from the mother’s family line. For example: Burton Jones, Jones Taylor, Wilson Walker. I’ve wondered if and how Lucy could be related to the Newmans, even though they are different branches of my family tree. I have not yet seen a Lucy Newman in colonial Virginia, in the areas my family lived. My Jones, Newman and Dortch families were at least neighbors, but I am keeping a look out for other possible relationships.

There is a wide range of birth years reported online for David Dortch’s children. That is probably because in this time period (before 1850) ages were not recorded on the census, wills, or marriage records. The majority age, (the age to get married without needing written consent of the parent) was 21. None of David Dortch’s children had a consent note on the marriage bond (marriage record). This means that all of David’s children were at least age 21 when they married. There is another record that gives us a time frame to better estimate birth dates, and that is the guardian record. Guardian records (also known as orphan records) were created when one parent died, and that parent willed things to their children who were under the age of 21, which necessitated the appointment of a “guardian”. So, although Lucy was still living, (she was notated in the inventory of David’s estate as the widow), there were guardian(orphan) records created for their younger children at the time.

I made this chart below to show how I better estimated the birth dates of David and Lucy’s children. Newman Dortch was the youngest, born in 1775. His oldest brother David was born about 1751, meaning Lucy and David probably married about 1750. That is 25 years of child bearing. Rebecca Dortch, one of the older children, was born about 1755, and Lucy is notated in a chancery case as both Rebecca and Newman Dortch’s mother. To have been having children this long, I believe Lucy would have had to have married underage, probably about age 16, which would have been about 1733. Then she would have had David at about age 17 and Newman at age 42. I believe this rules out the Lucy Russell born in Richmond County, Virginia, because that Lucy was born in 1723. I’ve checked all the wills of people with the surname Russell in Richmond, Essex, Orange, and Mecklenburg, and none of them mention a Lucy with maiden name of Russell, except the one born in 1723, who would have been 52 when Newman Dortch was born.

I continue to search for Lucy’s maiden name and if there could be a connection to the Newman family.

Percival Webb from Clarksville

Today’s post was submitted by Eric Johnson. Thank you Eric! Do you have any information about this picture, or this person? If so please comment below or email me.

I have what might best be described as a hobby, I purchase vintage photographs at antique stores and malls and then try to return them to families.

I have during the past two years been able to return twenty such photos.

To take it a step further, I am looking for photos of men and women in uniform on which has been written a name. The name gives me a starting point!

Early this year, I purchased the below photo, a young man in a cadet uniform. On the front of the photo is written the name Percival Webb.

I can’t even recall the path I took? But a bit of pure, dumb luck! But eventually, Webb was tracked to VMI! His full name was Henry Percival Webb, Class of 1884. He died 3 April 1889.

A resource from provided by VMI, included a picture of Webb. They were the same young man!

Two anniversaries, and goals for 2021

One year ago, I launched this website. Since then, there were 51 posts and 160 surnames added to the index in 2020! This site has been my first experience with WordPress and building a website. Previously, I had 2 blogs that I made in blogger/blogspot. I’ve spent a lot of time learning and testing website design and various formats for presenting information. I’ve tasked a lot of my friends and family to navigate this site looking for specific things, to see where they might get stuck, and then I tried to make it more user friendly. I’ve tested colors, fonts and contrast for family with various vision challenges. I’ve also changed structural formatting a few times to better handle large amounts of information that I expect to add to the site; including pictures, charts and a cemetery project. I’ve also learned how to better use the flow chart software, draw.io, as well as Photoshop Elements for various features I wanted to add to the website. I’ve enjoyed being at home more this year, and having been able to learn new ways to collaborate and share my work. This website has been one of my “covid projects”. It’s been a fun challenge for me to learn more about website formatting, making clickable buttons and linking pages.

Most of my work is divided between Virginia genealogy, and Polish genealogy. Catherine Stowe is the daughter of Fannie Gray, who was born in Mecklenburg, Virginia. Catherine married Paul Sanetra, whose parents and two sisters were born in Poland. Paul was raised in the Chicago area. My research, projects and two websites are about Catherine and Paul’s families. I started up my Polish website a few months after I started this website.

Over the last three years I’ve spent a lot of time researching and trying to better document my Virginia families in the time period of 1820 and earlier. Originally, I was only looking at the Newman family before 1820. James B. Jones, the ancestor of most Jones families in the Bracey and Blackridge area, married Martha Newman who was born in Orange County, Virginia. Three of Martha Newman’s sisters married three Walker brothers. The more I’ve studied colonial Essex and Orange counties in Virginia, the more I think it’s possible that many of my Mecklenburg ancestors might have lived in these same places, before moving to Mecklenburg. William Jones who was the grandfather of James B. Jones, died in 1818 in Mecklenburg, but where was he born? Many neighboring families in 1750 Essex County, Virginia are the same family surnames as those that were neighbors in Mecklenburg 100 years later.

Two books were written about the Newman family, about 100 years ago. Some bad errors from those books have multiplied and been copied all over the internet. Martha Newman’s grandfather William Newman was a dragoon during the Revolutionary War, from Orange County, Virginia. His brother George also joined the same unit. A published regimental write up incorrectly reported that George died during the war, along with several other stories about George that also contained incorrect information. I have a copy of George’s pension record, the military troop roster and muster rolls, which show that nothing that was said about George in the published regimental history is true. The Pre-1850 time period is challenging to document because household names aren’t on the census yet, parents are not listed on marriage records, and deeds and wills don’t list people’s ages. Many people used the same names over and over in their family. I have seen a situation where five brothers each gave their firstborn son the same name. The oldest son in many of my Newman families is Thomas Newman. This means that several first cousins, born within a 2-5 years of each other all have the same name. People often assume in error, that several people with the same name must be the same person. I was researching the will of William Walker in Brunswick, Virgnia. This will was written just before his sons that were married to the Newman sisters moved to Mecklenburg. William’s will mentioned that his son is also named William Walker and also mentiones his good friend, William Walker who he named his executor… three William Walkers in the same document! It is very easy to get these people confused with one another! To hopefully help clear up some of this confusion, I launched my third and final website in December; about the Newmans, their family, and neighbors. The framework for it is ready, but much of my content is still in the draft stage. When the website is more established, and I find connections that show families moving to Mecklenburg, I will share the Mecklenburg related information here on this website.

I celebrate another big anniversary this month. I took these pictures on my first visit to Mecklenburg, eighteen years ago! At the time, my mother and I both had little ones at home. My grandma was living in Florida, and came up to join us for our trip to Mecklenburg. A friend who I’d been emailing with offered to show us around the area where my family would have lived. We met at Arnold’s diner in South Hill. We then visited an old Rainey property which included Williamson Rainey’s tombstone and the windmill for the well picture. We also visited Sardis Church, LaCrosse cemetery and Rehoboth church. Most of my visits to Mecklenburg since then have been in these same areas.

2021 Goals

This year I hope to visit other areas of Mecklenburg County, and take pictures of churches and cemeteries. I’m also hopeful to receive more submissions of pictures of both people and places. I’ve been working during the week to have things ready and scheduled to post before Monday morning. This helps me continue to post weekly, even when my personal life gets a little extra crazy, or when I’m spending extra time on behind the scenes website formatting or getting cemetery information formatted and ready to post. I’m currently reformatting the surname index pages. I plan to add more cemeteries and interview notes to the site this year. I will also add some chancery case summary notes.