quick note about the index updates

I have completely reworked, moved and upgraded the index. Each page now contains two columns, and stretches the full width of the website. Instead of the full address link visible to click on, the link is now embedded in the title of each page. So you can now more easily see if it is a cemetery page or a post. I hope you find the changes a bit more user friendly. There are now 177 surname pages. Everything on the site is indexed current through today, including cemeteries. I added 19 new surnames today: McKinney, Muston, Moss, Ferrell, Harris, Kennon, Wall, Palmer, Good, Kerr, Stegall, Nicholson, Newton, Sims, Paynter, Roebuck, Land, Gregory and Leach.

Here’s an example of the updated Taylor surname index page:

If you have pictures or stories you would like to share, please let me know. You may write and submit something, or tell me what you’d like said, and I will write it then double check it’s just the way you like it, before posting. Please tell me how you would like the submission or photos credited.

Taylor-Finch house

I learned about the Taylor Finch cemetery from Munsey Moore’s cemetery book. I visited there on October 12, 2008 with a friend. I knocked on the door of this house, which was where the book described the location of the cemetery to be. The lady living in the Taylor Finch house told me she had recently bought the house, and that the cemetery was not part of her property, but she would be happy to show me where the cemetery was. Large tree branches had fallen and damaged some of the tombstones. My friend and the lady that lived in the Taylor Finch house helped me turn over tombstones that had broken at the base and fallen so I could get pictures. Then, because of my interest in the cemetery, the lady asked me if I’d like to see her cellar which was above ground. There was no electricity there, so we held up flashlights while I attempted to get a picture of the names carved in the wall beside the fireplace.

This home was not photographed or written up in the WPA (Works Progress Administration) or Virginia Historical Society collection; however, this Finch family is in the book of Mecklenburg family Bible transcriptions: “Family Records, Mecklenburg County, Virginia” edited by Sheppard and Corker, pages 46-49.

Taylor Finch house October 2008
Picture I took to help me remember where this house and cemetery were.
Red circled area is the location of Taylor Finch house and cemetery.

Click this image with the Finch gate to go to the Taylor Finch family cemetery page.

Rainey-Sims cemetery

I visited the Rainey-Sims house and cemetery in the summer of 2004. I went back this February (2021) with Wayne Rainey. He told me that Frederick Rainey built the house in 1781. Smith Rainey next owned the house, followed by Buckner Rainey, then Williamson Rainey Jr, then John J. Rainey, and then his daughter Olivia Rainey – who married John Sims. Ownership transfer was not directly father to son, but did stay within the Rainey family. John J. Rainey built an addition while he owned the house, in 1853, that about doubled the size of the house.

The Sims family had this tombstone created and placed for the multiple family members buried in this cemetery. We aren’t sure if the other two stones were set at one time and then fell, or if they were never raised up, and only made to be flat stones on the ground. John J. Rainey and John Sims tombstones both say ‘CSA 14th VA, Co. F’. The two flat tombstones marked where those two men were buried, and their names are also on the Sims Rainey family tombstone. The Rainey-Sims family cemetery and house are off of Marengo Road, not far from where it intersects with Old St. Tammany Road.

Site note: The cemetery icon below is a link to the permanent cemetery page.

Cemeteries moved to prepare for Kerr Dam

Last summer, my husband and I took some pictures of La Crosse. We stopped to get an overview picture of the Lacrosse cemetery to go with my La Crosse 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 La Crosse cemetery where graves were moved to when the Kerr Dam went in on the Roanoke river and enlarged the lakes. I went back to La Crosse 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.