Monday, January 18, 2021

Palmer Mountain

There's an old saying about too many irons in the fire. I'm guilty of that, but I haven't abandoned one of my research projects, The Mountains of Stanly County. 

Everyone near and in Stanly County, North Carolina knows where Morrow Mountain is, because of the State Park that bears it's name. The park actually encompasses 5 mountains: Morrow, Hattaway, Sugarloaf, Falls and Mill Mountain. These, and the other small mountains in Stanly County are part of the ancient Uwharrie Mountain range, which has weathered many eons.

Some background,  genealogical research has taken me to spending lots of dusty time, in old deeds and records. Those records often used landmarks to describe where the particular plot of land was located. They named whose property it connected, or bounded. Often, bodies of water created a boundary, rivers, creeks and branches. Sometimes trees and roads we're named. Once in awhile, a mountain was mentioned.

Growing up in Stanly, I was familiar with a few of the mountains, because of the park, or because the mountain had a road named for it, like Nelson Mountain Road. But most of the time, I would read the deed and see a mountain I'd never heard of.

While that sweet gum mentioned in 1832 is long gone, and the roads, for the most part, have changed or even disappeared, the creeks and the mountains haven't gone anywhere.

It's one of my projects to find them.
Some, like Palmer Mountain, are named on old maps. 
In this turn of the century map, Palmer Mountain is located in the town of Palmerville. Palmerville is no longer what you would call a town, but the church, and many of the old houses remain, along with new ones. The road still bears the name, and heads off of Hwy 740 just north of the town of Badin. 

A view across Badin Lake towards the east.

Currently, Palmer Mountain is an island. Back before the town of Badin was concieved, a family from which I descend, lived along the Yadkin River, on and around the small mountain, and started a successful business. Before long, the mountain, and a town bore the name of Palmer.

The foot of Palmer Island across the canal.

When the first attempt at building a dam was attempted upriver at Old Whitney, this canal was built around Palmer Mountain. The project would become bankrupt, but would later be restarted sucessfully again by a French Company several years later, but downstream from Palmer Mountain. Badin Lake and the Town of Badin would be founded. 

The road across the canal, over the railroad tracks, to Palmer Mountain starting to rise in the front.

The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina
04 Jan 1959, Sun  •  Page 15

The gate to the road to Palmer Mountain, which is now privately owned.

The Enterprise
Albemarle, North Carolina
11 Apr 1907, Thu  •  Page 3

The railroad tracks crossing the canal.

The Dispatch
Lexington, North Carolina
17 Jan 1906, Wed  •  Page 1

Seeing the ridge climb

Salisbury Evening Post
Salisbury, North Carolina
28 Jun 1913, Sat  •  Page 1

The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina
30 Oct 1907, Wed  •  Page 2

Palmerville Beach, a place of fond memories when it was a public site with camping, music, and a store/grill.

Carolina Watchman
Salisbury, North Carolina
24 Jul 1873, Thu  •  Page 3

Palmerville Baptist Church

The Concord Times
Concord, North Carolina
28 Jul 1905, Fri  •  Page 3

A different view of this beautiful little white church.

The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina
28 Feb 1999, Sun  •  Page 35

An older farmhouse that survives and still occupied in Old Palmerville.

The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina
07 Dec 1986, Sun  •  Page 96

One of the oldest Palmerville Houses still standing

The Enterprise
Albemarle, North Carolina
27 Jul 1905, Thu  •  Page 10

Many of the old Palmerville houses are still occupied

Another of the original Palmerville homes still standing

Palmer Mountain still suffers the scars of the Quarry, Gold Mine, Canal and Dam work of it's past. Owned by the family of a former NC State Senator, today it quietly overlooks Palmer Lake and the sleepy old community of Palmerville.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Apple Cart: The Few Things I know about James Murray.

I just suffered the loss of a very lengthy post that I had been working on for weeks. What happened, I don't know, the hitting of the wrong key combination, a computer malfunction, who knows. I will return to it and start again, but at the moment I don't have the heart for it.

Instead, I will write briefly on James Murray, who plays a part in this research circle that I have recently begun.
James Murray was the oldest brother of my 3rd Great Grandmother, Priscilla Murray Aldridge. In theory, he's also the key on how a certain group of descendants of a particular wandering gentlemen relate to me.

James was a son of Jesse Murray, Stanly County Murray patriarch, who migrated to this area from counties east and first landed in Anson County, before settiling near the end of  Long Creek, just before its mergence into the Rocky River in Stanly County. I had known Jesse Murray to only have two sons, James and Benjamin, as mentioned in a 1845 land division, but Thrulines show that he may have had one or two more. Some may have migrated to other counties, whose descendants have linked themselves to my Jesse, and we are certainly related. 

Jesse also had a large collection of daughters, of whom my own GGGreat Grandmother was one of the youngest. 

Jesse Murray lies peacefully, now, in the Murray Family Cemetery, on top of a ridge overlooking Long Creek in the middle of a cornfield. 
There are about 20 plus graves in this small Family Plot in a little wooded circle atop a hill overlooking Prince Road, and the chances that James Murray is one of them are fairly good. The only legible stone is that of Murray family Patriarch, Jesse Murray, himself, and that is because two of his Great Grandsons erected the monument to him during a more recent era. J. C and A. G Murray (James Clark Murray and Aussie Gold Murray), sons of Annie Jane Murray, were the two, Annie Jane being the daughter of Jesse's daughter, Keziah or "Kizzy" Murray. The two Great Grandsons so honored the official head of the Murray family, they installed a more permanent marker.

From where my research now stands, James was the second eldest child of Jesse Murray, with his sister, Jane, being the oldest. Jane was a common name in the Murray clan, with Jesse's mother, Jane Pearce Murray, bearing the same name. James was born about 1802.
He appears, with his father and his younger brother, Benjamin, on a petition to divide Montgomery County into two, dated 1838. This happened in 1841. He's also on the Division of Property of the Estate of Jesse Murray, dated 1845. Jesse's widow, Elizabeth, is in the 1840 census, as Head of Household, with James on one side of her and Benjamin on the other side of her. Oldest Murray daughter, Jane, was not too far away, living near the Burris family. Elizabeth would live until 1853, and is buried, oddly, not with Jesse, but in the Rehobeth Church cemetery. 

James appears first in the 1830 census of Montgomery County, in 'West Pee Dee' , so he was living in what we now know as Stanly.  The family layout appears to be that of a husband and wife in their 20's, with 3 small children, two girls and a boy.

Name:James Murray
[James Morway] 
Home in 1830 (City, County, State):Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5:1 Son born 1825-1830
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29:1 James
Free White Persons - Females - Under 5:1 Daughter born 1825-1830
Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9:1 Daughter born 1821-1824
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29:1 James's wife
Free White Persons - Under 20:3
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:2
Total Free White Persons:5
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored):5

In 1830, the other two Murray households were his father, Jesse, and his sister Jane, aka "Jincy". Benjamin was not out on his own yet. Neighbors of James at this time were Jacob Efird, William Mays, William Nash, and George Tucker. James, Jane and Jesse seemed to be living in different parts of the County, although still south and west. Jincy is living next to Joshua Burris, by whom she would bear children, but not marry. Jesse was living near John and Nathan Simpson and John Colson. Jesse was probably upon the land near where he is buried, James nearer to the Saint Martin area and Jane near what is now Red Cross. 

Name:Jas Murry
[James Murry] 
[Jas Murray] 
Home in 1840 (City, County, State):West Pee Dee River, Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9:1 son born 1831-1839
Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39:1 James 
Free White Persons - Females - Under 5:1 Daughter born 1835 - 1840
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39:1 Wife
Persons Employed in Agriculture:1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write:2
Free White Persons - Under 20:2
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:2
Total Free White Persons:4
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves:4

The family setup has now changed. James and his wife are now in their 30's. I believe this is probably the same wife. The oldest daughter may possibly have been married. especially if she was 8 or 9 in the previous census. The younger daugther from the 1830 is MIA and probably not married. Child mortality was very high. The boy could possibly be the same one if he was an infant in the last one, and his age misjudged by a year. A new daughter born between 1835 and 1840 has joined the family. 

This is the census where James, Elizabeth and Benjamin are all living in a cluster, no doubt on the Jesse Murray lands. Benjamin would later acquire land closer to the modern community of Aquadale, as it was his land that was purchased for the building of Rehobeth Church. 
James appears in a list of people who bought Bibles from the Montgomery County, NC Bible Society Auxillary to The American Bible Society. 

James appears to have been battling an illness during the 1840's and loosing his land and his inability to work it. 

In the first tax list for the newly minted Stanly County, in 1841, Elizabeth Murray, the widow of Jesse, is said to have had 70 acres on Long Creek, that was probably her dower after Jesse's death. 

Benjamin, the younger son, was taxed for two tracts, 170 acres on Long Creek and 392 acres on Old Hickory. 

Just as a note, brother-in-law Richard Poplin, who married Rebecca Murray, one of the older sisters, had 59 acres on Long Creek and Stokes McIntyre, who married Elizabeth Murray, the second oldest sister, below Jane, had 202 acres on Coopers Creek. 

In comparison, James Murray was just taxed for one poll, himself, no property. 

Just 4 years later, in 1845, Benjamin has 174 acres on Long Creek, 592 on Old Hickory and 232 on Ugly Creek. James is no longer even taxed as a poll, which meant old age or ill health. Since James was in his mid-forties, I would guess it meant poor health. 

There exists in the NC Archives, a Vestry Claim Book for the years 1849 - 1854 in Stanly County, for Relief for the Poor. 

It listed the elderly and infirm, who were getting paid for their assistance, the term and amount, and occasionally, the reason.

In November 1849, Lee Burleson was taking care of Elizabeth Murray, and indeed, she is listed in his home in the 1850 census. I don't believe there to be any relationship there, as he was taking care of a Rachel Thomas the next year. That year, in 1850, Elizabeth Murray was in the care of Garner Aldridge, her son-in-law, husband of daugther Priscilla. 
In May of 1851, Benjamin Murray was paid $18 for taking care of James Murray, and for his funeral expenses. 

Just a continuation of this record, in 1851, Benjamin was now taking care of his mother, Elizabeth Murray, while his brother-in-law, Stokes McIntyre, was taking care of his own mother, Judith McIntyre.

In 1852, Benjamin was taking care of both Elizabeth and his sister, Keziah "Kizzie" Murray, who was by 1870 declared an "idiot" or insane, although she had been married, (in 1851 to Jesse Mills) and had born a child, Annie Jane. 

In 1853, Benjamin was still taking care of Elizabeth, but now John E. Ross was taking care of Keziah Murray.

The decline in state of James Murray can be glimpsed briefly in the Minutes for the Court of Pleas and Quarters of Stanly County, North Carolina. In May of 1842, James Murray was deemed insolvent and given an allowance of 50 cents. He was given $1.45 for an allowance in August of the same year.

In 1843, he suffered a lawsuit against his property that reads: Executions in favor of Frederick Staton to use of Jame Murray vs Jones Green, Tye L. Turner, vs same, J. F. Stone vs same, two in favor of J. B. Broadway vs same, David C. Lilly vs same, were levied on lands of said defendant, 21 Feby 1843 on which levy vendi exponas issued. Lands of defendant have been sold by Sheriff in favor of Fred Staton and money arising from sale of land in hands of Sheriff be paid prorate to said Staton and others as named above. 

Fayetteville Weekly Observer
Fayetteville, North Carolina
07 Jan 1851, Tue  •  Page 3

So, in thanks to the Fayetteville Observer, a newspaper out of Cumberland County, NC, we know the exact date of James Murray's death, December 16th, 1850. He was only 48 years old. I feel he must have been fairly esteemed in his youth to garner an obituary, albeit a brief one, in a state newspaper. There is no mention of a wife, and no loose Murray widow in the census records to be a possible widow, save one, but she could also have been a daughter. But what of possible children? It seems he did have some. 

The 1850 and 1860 census records for Tyson Township, there are a large number of  Murray children scattered about the neighborhood. I've spent the last 12 or 13 years trying to connect these children to a parent, as all of them were grandchildren of Jesse Murray. Some of them were in the homes of Aunts and Uncles, like Ben Murray, Phoebe Murray Turner, or Sophia Murray Whitaker. Others were in the homes of neighboring families.

Some of these children were called "mulatto". These were the children of  Mariah Murray, who died young, leaving 7 small children, named in her estate records. Green Wesley Simpson, a local Sunday School teacher and deacon of Rehobeth Church, was the Administrator. Green Wesley Simpson was Priscilla Murray Aldridge's brother-in-law, having married husband Garner's sister, Margaret. The children Albert, Lydia Adeline, Eliza, Mary Ann, William, Wesley and Benjamin, were the children of Mariah Murray and Henry Wilkerson, who was the slave of Jonathan Wilkerson. They had a long term relationship, but were not allowed to marry. 

There was Anna Jane, who was the daughter of Keziah Murray, and says so on her death certificate.

There was Solomon and Judith Wilmertha Murray/Burris who were the children of Jane Murray, who never married,  and Joshua Christian Burris. 

On a note, the Murray sisters were a bit of a wild bunch, often getting into fights and such and the three, Jane, Kesiah and Mariah, had children outside of wedlock. 

But there were these three unattributed children in the census records: William Russell Murray, born in 1842, after the 1840 census, Edmond C. Murray, born in 1838, and Mary Jane Murray, born in 1844. Mary Jane was bound out to Charles Cagle and appears in records as his 'apprentice'.  It was said in the Cagle family file and records that he was very fond of her. These 3 orphaned Murrays were white, and I believe were most likely the children of James, mother unknown. I will look more carefully at these children in future posts. One of them, I've made contact with  descendants of before, and we do share small amounts of DNA. 

There are two more: A Martha "Patsy" Murray marries Andrew Boone on May 14, 1851. Ironically, this is the same day that Keziah Murray marries Jesse Mills. Andrew Boone was a widower with children who is shown in the 1850 census with his first wife, Jane. Jane Boone is listed in the mortality schedules of that year. Andrew and Martha move to Alleghany County, NC and have several children together. Now, Martha was born about 1830. It's possible she was a daughter of Kizzy Murray, who was born around 1815. A fifteen year old mother is possible. But she also could have been a daughter of James Murray, which I believe is the most likely scenario. 

Then there is Winna Julina "Winny" Murray, who married Adam Pless and had one daughter, Elizabeth. She died in 1843 at age 21. Born in 1822, Winny could have been that older daughter of James in the 1830 census. She was also close in age to my Priscilla, so she could have also been James sister, which I believe is the most likely. She died 2 years before the 1845 land division, so would not have been mentioned. The reason I believe she was a sister is that my second Great Grandmother, Priscilla's daughter, Frances Julina Aldridge, was reportedly named for her. Julina was not a common name and Julina Aldridge Davis was my Grandfathers Grandmother. She lived to see the birth of his oldest three children. She may have even hinted for a namesake. What I do know is that she was named after an Aunt, to wit, Winna Julina Murray Pless. 

 To add to that, Winny was reportedly raised by Daniel Reap and while on her deathbed requested her daughter Elizabeth to be raised by the same. In the 1820's and 1830's, when Winny was growing up, James would have been raising his own children. Jesse died during this time, leaving his youngest children in limbo, as mothers were not usually seen as guardians. 

The short life of James Murray leaves many questions. I will explore these more soon. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Slow and Sluggish


As 2020 comes to a slow and sluggish end, so has my research reached a slow and sluggish turn. I just recently recieved a packet from the state archives that I had ordered so many months ago, I had completely forgot about them, and had long moved on from that topic. Sometimes when you get stuck in a rut, it's time to move on to something new, or return to a past lead and pick it up again. Very often something new comes about. 

So here's to a better 2021! A healthier new year, a happier new year, a more successful research New Year to us all!

Friday, November 6, 2020

Sweet Charity


Sometimes, when coming upon a document, and searching for the people who are mentioned in the document, I discover things that descendants of these people have all wrong. So, sometimes I create a blog post, just to put my evidence out there, for anyone who would cede to find it. Sometimes folks are just happy with their illusion of the truth, and want nothing to change it. That, too, is there right. In this post, I just present the evidence, as I have found it. If anyone wants to use it, fine, if not, fine also, but their dna is not going to match up. This post is one of  those cases.

Charity Creech was born in January of 1836 to Elijah Creech and his wife, Louisa Susan Jenkins. She was named for her Grandmother, Charity Pope Creech. Charity Pope's father was the Rev. Elijah Pope, of Edgecomb County, NC. He is mentioned in the will of his mother Olive. I mention this because the name Olive then travels down the line into the Ward family. 

Rev. Pope begins a campaign west, and in Rowan County, North Carolina, he met and married Mary Davis, daughter of Jacob Davis, and they proceeded to Ashe County, NC, which borders both Virginia and Tennesee. 

It was in Ashe County, NC, that Charity, the daughter of Rev. Elijah and wife Mary Davis Pope, met and married William S. Creech, Jr. 

The Creech family were Virginians, from Lee and Montgomery Counties, Virginia, not far from the North Carolina line. By 1830, they were all in Clay County, Indiana. In Indiana, the Creech family encountered the Jenkins family, who hailed from Bourbon County, Kentucky. Elijah Creech, the oldest son and second child of William S. Creech, Jr. and Charity Pope Creech would marry in Owen County, Indiana, that bordered Clay County, to Louisa Susan Jenkins, daughter of Thomas and Talitha Elkins Jenkins, in 1827. Louisa was 19 when she married, and beginning the very next year after her marriage, she and Elijah would bring 13 children into the world, over the course of 23 years, culminating with her last, James Marion, at age 23.

Charity Creech was their 5th child, born in 1836. She was preceded by Malinda (1828), William T. (1830), Lucinda (1831) and Telitha (1833) and was followed by Louisa (1839) , John Eli (1840), Martha (1841), Dewitt Clinton (1842), Mary Jane (1844), Elijah Pope (1846), Levi D. (1848) and lastly, James Marion in 1851.

Name:Charrity Creech
Birth Year:abt 1837
Birthplace:Oen Co
Home in 1850:Liberty, Crawford, Indiana, USA
Attended School:Y
Line Number:30
Dwelling Number:404
Family Number:404
Household Members:
Elizah Creech42
Luisa Creech42
Letitha Creech17
Charrity Creech13
Louisa Creech12
John M Creech10
Martha Creech9
Mary Jane Creech6
Elizah P Creech4
Levi D Creech2

In the 1850 census, Charity appears as a 13 year old within her very large family, her oldest siblings already married and her very youngest yet to be born. 

The family lived in the little town of Liberty in Crawford County, Indiana, and Charity had attended school. 

Name:Charity Creech
Event Type:Marriage Registration (Marriage)
Marriage Date:28 Jan 1858
Marriage Place:Indiana, United States
Spouse:Thomas B Ward
FHL Film Number:001392800

In 1858, at the age of 22, Charity would marry Thomas Branson Ward, son of John and Jemima Humble Ward, who had migrated from Montgomery County, North Carolina to Indiana. 

Name:Cherity Word
Birth Year:abt 1837
Birth Place:Indiana
Home in 1860:Morgan, Owen, Indiana
Post Office:Vandalia
Dwelling Number:58
Family Number:56
Household Members:
Thomas B Word21
Cherity Word23

In 1860, the newlyweds were living in Owen County, Indiana, right next door to Thomas's parents, a place Charity would stay, no matter where they moved.  The census was taken on the 4th day of June. Charity would have been heavily pregnant, as her first child, Louisa Jane, named for Charity's mother, was born that month. 

The joy of her firstborn was short-lived for Charity, because that year she also became a widow. 

New Union Carolina Church as photographed by Guenevere Beesley

Thomas Branson Ward died in 1860 at the age of 22 years, 6 months and 7 days. His tombstone declares that he died on April 13. However, the 1860 census for Morgan Township that he was enumerated in is dated June 4th of that year. One of them is obviously incorrect. As I don't believe he was enumerated as a ghost, I believe the mostly likely event is that the stone was erected later, perhaps by his daughter, or even his siblings, and they got the date wrong. Below is his stone , reassembled.

Photographed by John Maxwell

The New Union Carolina Baptist Church is an abandoned church located on the Atkinsonville Road in Morgan Township, Owen County, Indiana. It's location probably marks the general area the John Ward family settled when they first arrived there, around the time of Thomas's death. It's an historic church, an old white frame building with the double doors meant for the separation of men and women. Founded by settlers from North Carolina, common surnames found in the cemetery includes Arant, Barnes, Beaman, Cassida, Corns, Haltom, Jordan, Langdon, Lucas, Query, Randall, Williams and Trent. A history of Morgan Township lists several prominent settlers and families from North Carolina including the Curtis family from Randolph County, NC, Atlas Bray of Chatham County, NC, David Goss of Davidson County, NC and Elias Hubbard of Guilford County, NC. Also several Johnsons and Smiths from Chatham. 

Front of Church photographed by April Thomas

The area and the church could not have been more plain, and thus far, Charity's life had been typical of an 18th century midwest farm girl, plain living, large families and early marriage. Now, she was a young widow with a small child. What was she to do?

So far, Charity had been born into a westward moving family of North Carolina, Viriginia and Kentucky natives. She grew up in Crawford County, Indiana, married in Vigo County, Indiana and buried her husband in Owen County, Indiana.

Just kind of wandering around the gates of the midwest. The 1870 census finds Charity Ward and her young daughter, Louisa, back in Vigo County, living in the tiny town of Riley. It was founded in 1836 as part of a canal building project. As of 2010, only 200 people lived in Riley. 

Riley, Indiana from Wikipedia

Charity was still livng right next door to John and Jemima Ward, as she had been in the 1860 census with Thomas. She was in a separate household, so maybe in a tenant house on their property. I am sure they saw to her sustenance. 

Below Charity and her 10 year old daughter is listed a Baker family, and below them is her brother-in-law, Eli W. Ward and his wife Jane, who are yet to have children themselves. 

Up until now, things for Charity have been typical, rather boring, unconsequential. Nothing to blog about, but then, Charity must have met someone. A man, or men, I do not know, but Charity began having children, more children, and this is the reason for this post. In tree after tree, all of Charity's children are attributed to Thomas Branson Ward and true to form, they carry the surname Ward, because that was Charity's legal name. It was if these descendants of Charity found the marriage certificate and without wondering where Thomas may have been, just ran with that. But unless Charity was sleeping with his ghost, those children beyond Louisa could not have been the children of Thomas B Ward. He was not their father. 

Name:Charity Ward
Birth Date:Abt 1837
Home in 1880:Edgar, Edgar, Illinois, USA
Dwelling Number:165
Relation to Head of House:Self (Head)
Marital status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:Virginia
Mother's Birthplace:Virginia
Occupation:House Keeper
Household Members:
Charity Ward43
Louisa Ward19
John Ward7
Marietta Ward7
Nettie M. Ward2

The 1880 census reveals the tale. Charity has followed the Wards to Edgar County, Illinois. Her daughter with Thomas, Louisa, is now 19. She has 7 year old twins, John and Marietta living with her and a two year old, Nettie M. Ward. Now, Nettie was young enough, she could have reasonably been the daughter of Louisa, who would have been 17 as opposed to Charity being 41 at the time of her birth. The 1880 census was the first to name the relationships of the persons in the household and name Louisa, Marietta and Nettie, all as daughters of Charity and John as her son. 

She is still tied to the Ward family as Eli's family and her elderly inlaws are still nearby, despite having moved to a new state and county. 

Name:Charity Creech Ward

Other information in the record of Ward

from Illinois Births and Christenings, 1824-1940

Event Type:Birth
Event Date:20 Apr 1878
Event Place:Edgar, Illinois, United States
Father's Name:Unknown
Father's Gender:Male
Mother's Name:Charity Creech Ward
Mother's Gender:Female

The Baptismal record of Charity's youngest daughter, Nettie, lists father as unknown.

Event Date:14 Apr 1882
Event Place:Edgar, Illinois, United States
Name:Nettie May Ward
Birth Year (Estimated):1878
Birthplace:Edgar Co., Ill.
Death Date:13 Apr 1882
Death Place:Edgar Tp., Edgar Co., Illinois
Cemetery:Old Log Cem.

It wasn't long before another tragedy would strike. Charity's youngest, Nettie May, would died at age 4 of a "brain fever", or meningitis, on April 13, 1882. Oddly, if you remember, April 13 was the date and month carved on the stone of Thomas Branson Ward. This is why I believe this date, April 13, may have stuck in the memory of Louisa, Thomas's only child, and she had erected the stone for her father as an adult, years, possibly decades, after his death. Little Nettie May is said to have been buried at the Old Log Cemetery on her death records. It appears this cemetery was abandoned and long forgotten. So somewhere in Edgar Township, Edgar County, Illinois, rests Little Nettie May. 

The huge jump ahead between the 1880 census and the 1900 census can see alot happen in a family. It did in many ways for Charity Ward, and in other ways it did not.

Name:Carity Ward
Birth Date:Jan 1836
Birthplace:Indiana, USA
Home in 1900:Edgar, Edgar, Illinois
House Number:8
Sheet Number:14
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:271
Family Number:274
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital status:Widowed
Marriage Year:1858
Years Married:42
Father's Birthplace:Kentucky, USA
Mother's Birthplace:Tennessee, USA
Mother: Number of Living Children:3
Mother: How Many Children:6
Months Not Employed:0
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
House Owned or Rented:Own
Home Free or Mortgaged:F
Farm or House:F
Household Members:
Carity Ward64
John Z Ward26

In 1900, Charity is still living in Edgar County, Illinois and with her only son, John. However, her closest neighbors are William H. Crum and wife Etta, who turns out to be her daugher, Etta, and William B Ashley and wife Louisa J., who turns out to be her daugther, Louisa. Just above Charity is her brother-in-law, Eli Ward and his family. So it appears that the family did not move in twenty years, just laid to rest John and Jemima, while Charity's daughters married and gathered around her. 

That is the last we see of Charity. Whether or not she was buried in the "Old Log Cemetery" with her youngest daughter or in the Franklin Cemetery with most of the Wards is unknown. I find it unusual that Nettie May had a death record in 1882 and Charity doesn't after 1900. So for any other understanding of Charity, we have to move on to her children.

Louisa Jane Ward

Louisa Jane was the daughter of  Thomas Branson Ward. She was born the year he died. As he appears on the 1860 census in June, and June seems to be the month Louisa was born, she was born either just before or just after his death. After appearing as a teenager in the 1880 census with her mother and the 3 younger children, Louisa marries the very next year, on March 3, 1881 to Willard B. Ashley, at the age of 20.

Name:Louisa Jane Ward
Birth Date:abt 1860
Marriage Date:1881
Marriage Place:Edgar, Illinois, USA
Father:Thos. B. Ward
Mother:Charity Schenck
Spouse:Willard Ashley
Film Number:001301881

You might recall that her Aunt, Jane Ward, the youngest child of John and Jemima Humble Ward, had married John Christopher Ashley. Louisa Jane had married back into the same Ashley family. As a side note, I have looked into the "Schenck" given as Charity's surname in the above record and have decided its probably just an error. She was born a Creech, that is for certain. I looked into the possibility of her marrying a Mr. Schenck in her twilight years but have found no record of such.

The Ashley family hailed from Lincoln County, Kentucky. Led by patriarch James Francis Ashley and wife, Sussanah Server Ashley, they arrived in Illinois in the 1870's. Like the Ward family, most of the Ashleys are buried in Franklin cemetery.

John Francis Ashley

John F. and Susan Ashley had 10 children:

1847 John Christopher - who married Jane Ward
1848 Margaret Lydia
1851 Mary Jane
1853 John Henry Vardum Ashley
1855 Willard Brinton - who married Louisa Jane Ward, niece of Jane Ward.
1857 William Willis
1859 Kossuth H.
1861 Andrew Jackson
1864 Susan Harriett
1867 Frances Ellen aka "Ella"

So there is how the Ashley's are related.  Their fathers were brothers, their mothers Aunt and Niece, not double- cousins per se, but still closely related to earch other.

Name:Louise J Ashley
Birth Date:Jun 1860
Birthplace:Indiana, USA
Home in 1900:Edgar, Edgar, Illinois
House Number:8
Sheet Number:14
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:273
Family Number:276
Relation to Head of House:Wife
Marital status:Married
Spouse's Name:Willard B Ashley
Marriage Year:1880
Years Married:20
Father's Birthplace:Indiana, USA
Mother's Birthplace:Indiana, USA
Mother: Number of Living Children:7
Mother: How Many Children:8
Attended School:0
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
Household Members:
Willard B Ashley45
Louise J Ashley37
Harvey C Ashley16
Bessie D Ashley14
Freddy C Ashley12
Maud E Ashley10
Claude A Ashley8
Luella Ashley5
Sadella Ashley2

In 1900, Louisa Jane and her family are shown living in Edgar Township, right next to her mother, Charity, her sister, Etta and her family and her Uncle, Eli Ward. She's now actually 40, not 37 as was shown in the census, and she was pregnant. The census was taken on June 21, 1900. Just days later, her last child, a son, Oscar, was born. The census declares Willard and Louisa parents of 8 children, with 7 living. In this way, the 1900 and 1910 censuses gave us a sad, but realistic look at infant mortality of that era. Her first pregnancy, by comparing dates, was twin boys, both William E. and Harvey C. Ashley being born on November 28, 1883. Harvey had survived to bring in the new century, William did not. This made Oscar her 9th child.

The Paris Daily Beacon, Edgar Co., IL, Friday, April 12, 1901, pg 4

Two Infants Passed Away on Thursday.

The nine-months-old child of W. B. and Lyda (sic) J. Ashley, died shortly before midnight on Thursday at the family residence, seven miles northeast of this city in Edgar township. The little one had been ill with the measles and the disease resulted in pneumonia, causing death as above stated.

The funeral will be conducted from the residence at 10 o'clock on Saturday morning .... Interment will be made in Franklin cemetery.

Similar Death.
The Infant son of Mrs. and Mrs. B. F. Parrish .... similar to that noted above ....

Sadly little Oscar had a short life, and too, encountered one of the deadly diseases of that time that endangered the little ones.

The Paris Daily Beacon, Edgar Co., IL, Monday, October 28, 1901, pg 8


Mrs. W. B. Ashley, 39, died on Sunday at the family residence, six miles southeast of this city, following a brief illness. The funeral was conducted today and interment was made in the Franklin cemetery near Nevins.

Just 6 months after the death of her infant son, Louisa succombed to an unknown fatal illiness. 

Below is the list of the children of Willard B. Ashley and Louisa Jane Ward Ashley, the only biological grandchildren of Thomas B. Ward:

1883- William E. and Harvy C Ashley
1885- Bessie Deal Ashley Walls
1887- Frederick Cleveland Ashley
1889- Maude Ethel Ashley Walls
1891- Claude A. Ashley
1894- Louella Ashley Quinn
1897- Sadella or Sadie Dell Ashley Ward
1900- Oscar Ashley.

As you can see, youngest daughter Sadie married back in to the Ward family. Her husband, Vernie, was the son of John E Ward, son of David Ward.

Sisters Bessie and Maude also married Walls. Cousin marriages were very common in this timeframe. I wonder how much this fact contributed to the child mortality rates. d

I am going to continue along this family branch because I find several family trees confused by the fact that Louisa's widower had married a woman with a similar name to his first, and they have Louisa living on into the 1950's, and she did not. They seem to have missed her death and Willards subsequent remarriage.

Name:Willard B Ashley
Age in 1910:54
Birth Year:abt 1856
Home in 1910:Edgar, Edgar, Illinois
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital status:Married
Spouse's Name:Jennie Ashley
Father's Birthplace:Kentucky
Mother's Birthplace:Kentucky
Native Tongue:English
Industry:General Farm
Employer, Employee or Other:Own Account
Home Owned or Rented:Own
Home Free or Mortgaged:Free
Farm or House:Farm
Able to Read:Yes
Able to Write:Yes
Years Married:4
Household Members:
Willard B Ashley54
Jennie Ashley40
Claude Ashley18
Luella Ashley15
Sadie Ashley12
Laura Ashley2
Keiffer Vest8
Elijah Creech63

The story beyond Laura Jane begins with the 1910 census. Willard, and a Jennie Ashley are living with his children Claude, Luella and Sadie. They've been joined by a two year old Laura Ashley. Also living in the home is an 8 year old named Keiffer Vest and 63 year old Elijah Creech.

Do you recall Elijah Creech? This is Elijah Pope Creech, younger brother of Charity Creech Ward, Laura Janes' Uncle. This may be one of the reasons multiple family trees have merged Laura Jane and Jenny into one person. Elijah Creech is listed as a boarder here. He will live only 2 more years.

And while it is true many 'Janes' in this day and time were nicknamed 'Jenny', there are other hints that this was a different person, even if you had not found a death record or gravesite for Laura Jane. First, look at the category of 'Years Married' in the above listing. It says "4". Willard and Laura Jane had married in 1881, 29 years prior. Second is the presence of Keiffer Vest, the 8 year old child, his relationship to Willard is given as stepson.

So who was Jenny?

In this record it tells us she was born in Illinois about 1870 and that both her parents were also born in Illinois. It also states she was the mother of  5 children with 4 living. Those 4 would include Keiffer Vest, obviously and also 2 year old Laura, perhaps named for Willards deceased wife, if he demanded such a thing. But where were the other two living children? 

It would be natural to assume she was a widow, but that was not the case.

Name:Jennie Scott
Event Type:Marriage Registration (Marriage)
Birth Place:Illinois
Marriage Date:5 Aug 1888
Marriage Place:Newport, Indiana, United States
Residence Place:Chrismon, Illinois
Father:Isaac Scott
Mother:L Whited
Spouse:Eli Vest

Jenny was born Jenny Scott and in 1888, at about 19 years old married a man named Eli Vest. This record gives her father's name as Isaac Scott and her mother as L. Whited, which with research, I discovered was Louisa Whitehead. Jenny was not a widow, as Eli Vest did not die before Jenny married W. B. Ashley, if she married him indeed. They had 4 children and Keiffer, the youngest, stayed with Jenny while the older three, Chester, Meda and Otis, remained with their father. Jenny had the one daughter with Willard Ashley, Laura Naomi, then they too separated, as she went west with her son, but Willard, like Eli Vest, was not dead either.

I was going to do a 'Story within a Sotry on Jenny and her family, but it became lengthy and very interesting. Perhaps she will gain her own. Suffice to say that Jane Scott was not Laura Jane Ashley. Any descendant wanting to understand the reasons for the Vest family separating and Keiffer staying with his mother while the others stayed with their father would probably benefit from looking into the old court records of Edgar County. 

The Crum Connection

The Crum connection begins with the marriage of Samuel Crum, form Floyd County, Kentucky, to Rebecca Starkey, from Alabama, on December 19, 1869, in Edgar County, Illinois. They would become neighbors of the Ward and Ashley families.

The couple had 4 children: (1870) Mary Harriett "Hattie" Crum. (1875) William Henry Crum, (1877) Albert Hereford Crum, and (1881), John Samuel Crum.

The Terre Haute Tribune
Terre Haute, Indiana
05 Apr 1954, Mon  •  Page 2

Mary Harriett Crum would marry another one of the Ashley brothers, James Henry Vardium Ashley, a younger brother of John Christopehr and Willard. The youngest Crum, John Samuel, would never marry. But William Henry would marry Marietta "Etta" Ward, Charity's second daughter.

Name:Wm. H. Crum
Birth Date:abt 1875
Marriage Date:1893
Marriage Place:Edgar, Illinois, USA
Father:Samuel Crum
Mother:Rebecca Starkey
Spouse:Etta Ward
Film Number:001301882

In 1900, the family is living in Edgar with their 3 daughters, Ada, Lena and Myrtle. If you recall, they were living in the exact same spot with Charity, their Uncle Eli Ward, and Charity's oldest daughter,  Louisa Ward Ashley and her family with Willard B. Ashley. They were living on the property first purchased by John Ward from Montgomery County, North Carolina!

Name:William H Crum
Birth Date:Nov 1875
Birthplace:Illinois, USA
Home in 1900:Edgar, Edgar, Illinois
House Number:8
Sheet Number:14
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:272
Family Number:275
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital status:Married
Spouse's Name:Etta Crum
Marriage Year:1893
Years Married:7
Father's Birthplace:Illinois, USA
Mother's Birthplace:Alabama, USA
Months Not Employed:0
Attended School:6
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
House Owned or Rented:Own
Farm or House:F
Household Members:
William H Crum25
Etta Crum26
Adie Crum6
Lene Crum4
Myrtle Crum2

Henry died young, sometime before 1910. Why he died or where he was buried is unkonwn. Etta is found working as a Washerwoman in the town of Edgar. Although it says she is the mother of 3 children with 3 living, they are not living with her. 

Name:Ettie Crum
Age in 1910:36
Birth Year:abt 1874
Home in 1910:Edgar, Edgar, Illinois
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:Indiana
Mother's Birthplace:Indiana
Native Tongue:English
Industry:At Home
Employer, Employee or Other:Wage Earner
Home Owned or Rented:Own
Home Free or Mortgaged:Free
Farm or House:House
Able to read:Yes
Able to Write:Yes
Number of Children Born:3
Number of Children Living:3

The girls are not living with Henry's mother, Rebecca, who lived unitil 1924. She is widowed and living with her youngest son, John. It is possible that Charity was still living in 1910, as her death date is unknown, and that the girls were living with her, for neither can be found. It's altogether possible that they were just missed. The census was an imperfect function. Living nearby to Etta are Wards, Creeches and Ekins, who were, or had connections to, her own family.

The next 10 years are both tragic and eventful.

Etta would marry (or not) to Albert Hereford Crum, the third of the 4 Crum children. I've not  found a marriage record. That does not mean one did not exit, but the names would not change. What is recorded is that on October 23, 1912,   Lloyd F. Crum was born to Albert and Etta. Then, on March 11, 1916, another son Elmer Lee Crum, called "Bob"., Etta's last known child, was born.

Her seocnd daughter, Lena, would pass away on July 7, 1914, of unknown causes , at the age of  21.

Terre Haute Tribune, Wed., July 8, 1914, pg 2

By Special Correspondent

Paris, Ill, July 8. - Miss Lena Crum, 21 years old, died at her home .... at 1 o'clock Tuesday afternoon .... The funeral services were conducted Wednesday morning.

She was buried in the Edgar towwn cemetery, as was most of the fmaily, and probably Charity as well.

Earlier that year, oldest daughter Ada, had married to Claude Brown, on January 19, 1914. Ada would also die young, on August 1, 1919. Claude would remarry to Jessie I  Gosnell. She had 4 daughters, though not all  by Claude, and an extremely interesting story of her own.  There is no indication that Ada Crum Brown and Claude Brown had any children.

The Paris Daily Beacon, Edgar Co., IL, Friday, August 1, 1919, pg 1


Mrs. Claud Brown, 22 years old, died late Firday (sic) afternoon. The surviving relatives are her mother, Mrs. Etta Crum and one sister, Miss Myrtle Crum.

That left Myrtle, the youngest daughter. Myrtle did enjoy a longer life than her sisters. She married first, in 1923, to Robert Edward Kelsheimer, a divorced man. He's shown in the 1920 census living without his first wife, Carrie Perisho. He's living with random working people  and she is living with her parents and thier young son. They had a  daughter, but she died at about t the age of 7. In 1930, Carrie Perisho Kelshiemer is still living with  her parents.

 Robert married Myrtle Crum in 1923, but the marriage did not last long. He died of TB in 1928. There were no children..

Terre Haute Tribune, Sunday, February 26, 1928, pg 2

Special To The Tribune

Paris, Ill., Feb. 25 - Robert E. Kelsheimer, 39 years old, died this morning at 5 o'clock at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Richardson on the Cherry Point road, following an illness of tuberculosis. Mr. Kelsheimer had been in ill health for several months and returned last Saturday from Colorado, where he had been taking treatments in a sanitarium. He was born April 3, 1888, near Brocton, Ill., a son of Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Kelsheimer. He was united in marriage to Myrtle Crum, who survives him, together with his father, one son, Wilbur, one brother Clarence Kelsheimer, Brocton, and one sister, Mrs. Nelle Ferguson, of Chrisman. Fraternally he was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Masonic order. He was a member of the Methodist church. The funeral will be held Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock from the First Methodist church .... burial at the Edgar cemetery.

Myrtle would marry again, this time at age 33, to Charles Heelen, on Macrh 3, 1930. This marriage lasted 9 years unitl Mytles' death in 1939, at the age of 42. She did not have any children with Mr. Heelen, either. Myrtle was buried at St Aloyius Cemetery in Paris, Edgar County, Illinois.

The mystery remains of what Etta did with her girls after she was widowed and also, where Myrtle, now an adult was in 1920. But those are not the only mysteries.

Name:Mary E Crum
Birth Year:abt 1874
Home in 1920:Paris, Edgar, Illinois
House Number:Farm
Residence Date:1920
Relation to Head of House:Wife
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Albert H Crum
Able to Speak English:Yes
Industry:At Home
Employment Field:Own Account
Able to read:Yes
Able to Write:Yes
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Mary E Crum46Wife
Albert H Crum43Head
Loyd F Crum7Son
Thelma L Crum7Granddaughter
Elmer L Crum3Son

Etta is shown in the 1920 census with her husband / brother-in-law, Albert, their two sons, and a 7 year old Granddaughter, Thelma. Thelma is the same age as Etta's son Lloyd, but who are her parents? Both Ada and Lena would have been old enough to have been her mother, Myrtle on the long shot. Ada married, Lena didn't, but she would have been a Brown, not a Crum. Myrtle would have only been 16 when she was born, and Lena died right after she was born. If I had to vote, I would vote Lena as her mother, perhaps dying in childbirth, but Thelma remains a mystery.

Name:Etta Crum
Birth Year:abt 1873[abt 1874]
Age in 1930:57[56]
Marital Status:Married
Relation to Head of House:Wife
Home in 1930:Hunter, Edgar, Illinois, USA
Map of Home:
Dwelling Number:115
Family Number:115
Age at First Marriage:34
Attended School:No
Able to Read and Write:Yes
Father's Birthplace:Indiana
Mother's Birthplace:Indiana
Able to Speak English:Yes
Class of Worker:Wage or salary worker
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Etta Crum57Wife
Albert Crum55Head
Lloyd Crum17Son
Thelma Crum15Daughter
Elmer Crum14Son

The dynamics had not changed in 1930, ten years later, same place, same station, only the kids were older. Lloyd was now 2 years older than Thelma, instead of the same age, and since they were raising Thelms, she is now listed as a daughter, but none of the family trees list her as a daughter, the first one was right, she was a granddaughter.

Name:Etta Crum[Ettie Crum][Ettie Crum]
Estimated Birth Year:abt 1874
Marital Status:Widowed
Relation to Head of House:Head
Home in 1940:Hunter, Edgar, Illinois
Map of Home in 1940:
Inferred Residence in 1935:Hunter, Edgar, Illinois
Residence in 1935:Hunter
Sheet Number:4A
Number of Household in Order of Visitation:70
House Owned or Rented:Rented
Attended School or College:No
Highest Grade Completed:Elementary school, 8th grade
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Etta Crum66Head
Lloyd Crum27Son
Elmer Crum24Son
Julia Fern Crum19Daughter-in-law

Ten more years, Etta is once again a widow. Both sons still live with her and Elmer has married. Thelma is no where to be found, no death reocrds, so she most likely got married and changed her name, but no marriage records either.

Elmer and his wife, Julia Fern Richey had 2 children and along with the mysterious Thelma, those were the only known grandchildren of Etta. 

Etta lived to be 82. No where is there any indication given on who her father actually was.

The Terre Haute Tribune
Terre Haute, Indiana
24 Oct 1954, Sun  •  Page 11


John Z Ward was the only son of Charity Creech Ward. In 1901, one year after he is shown living alone with his mother in Edgar County, Lillnois, John married Nellie Otte. He would not remian in Edgar.

Name:John Z. Ward
Birth Date:abt 1873
Marriage Date:1901
Marriage Place:Edgar, Illinois, USA
Mother:Charity Schreech
Spouse:Nellie Otte
Film Number:001301882

But the young couple did not leave immediately. Their daughter, Geneva, was born in Illinois. John is still working in Edgar in 1910 and his mother is not with him. This is why I believe she died before 1910.

Name:John Ward
Age in 1910:36
Birth Year:abt 1874
Home in 1910:Paris Ward 4, Edgar, Illinois
Street:North Banded Dole St
House Number:214
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Mellie Ward
Father's Birthplace:Indiana
Mother's Birthplace:Indiana
Native Tongue:English
Industry:Lumber Yard
Employer, Employee or Other:Wage Earner
Home Owned or Rented:Own
Home Free or Mortgaged:Mortgaged
Farm or House:House
Able to read:Yes
Able to Write:Yes
Years Married:8
Out of Work:N
Number of Weeks Out of Work:4
Household MembersAgeRelationship
John Ward36Head
Mellie Ward33Wife
Genevie Ward6Daughter

Sometime during the 19-teens, John and family relocated to Arizona. In the 1919 City Directory for Phoenix, he is listed as working as a Machinist. In the 1920 census, the very next year, he states he is working as a laborer at at a cotton Gin. 

Name:John Z Ward
Residence Year:1919
Street Address:1006 E Roosevelt
Residence Place:Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Spouse:Nellie Ward
Publication Title:Phoenix, Arizona, City Directory, 1919

By 1919, the family has moved to Phoenix, Arizonz and John is working as a machinist. He was off to make a better life for his family, and in the end result, he did relocate them to west coast culture from there on out.

John did not last long after that, he died of a cerebral emoblism, or stroke on August 21, 1921, at the age of 44. On his marriage certificate, where John had given the information himself, he listed only his mother, and no father. On his death certificate the informant, his wife, Nellie, had named his father as John Ward.  Now, John was the father of John Z. Ward's mothers', first husband, who died 13 years before John Z. was born. Could Charity have had an affair with her father-in-law? I suppose it was possible, as John didn't die until 1898, however, I find that highly improbable. Having  now seen hundreds of life documents from illegitimate children persons from the late 1800's and early 1900's, I find that many, to avoid embarrassment, named an imaginary father, most often the generic 'John', along with whatever surname the deceased carried.

One can imagine, the beleagured Mrs. Nellie Ott Ward, sitting in the coroners office in 1921, being asked to give information on her deceased husband, and the names of his parents being asked.  Did the elder John Ward, grandfather of his oldest sister come to mind? Or perhaps in a 'John Doe' moment, she just uttered the overly common, generic John to avoid embarssment of her illeigitimate husband. And yes, I called him illegitimate. Any person born 13 years after the death of his mother's husband, and his mother not having remarried, is illegitimate. 

John Z. and Nellie Ott Ward had 1 daughter, Geneva Angeline. Geneva married and had one daughter, in turn, Eva. Their family had moved, after John Z. died, to California. Then, after Geneva married, they moved from the West Coast, back to the East Coast. Geneva died just an hours drive from where family branch patriarch and source of the Ward name, John Ward, was born. 

The Charlotte News
Charlotte, North Carolina
10 Dec 1984, Mon  •  Page 30

In the end of my search, the father of Charity Creech Ward's younger children remain unknown. Perhaps DNA will one day help to solve this mystery.