Saturday, May 23, 2015

The family of Susannah Briggs

In recent posts, I have been exploring the family of William Palmer, the Nailer, who arrived at Plymouth Colony on the second ship, The Julian, which arrived there after The Mayflower. 

By his last wife, Mary, there was another William Palmer who was raised by her second husband, Robert Paddock, the blacksmith. This William moved to Dartmouth and married a young woman named Susannah. She was shown by a variety of maiden names, but those who have well studied the families and record of this era and area have come to the consensus, with undeniable proof, that she was Susannah Briggs, the daughter of John Briggs of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, a Deputy Commissioner.
Every generation adds a new family line in a family tree, whether up or down, the lines of all the mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and onward, adds as much to an individuals family line as does the paternal lines. Individuals tend to identify with the male lines more, as they usually carry that name.

The Palmer line is a maternal line in my grandson's family tree, as is the Head line that Susannah's granddaughter, Elizabeth Palmer would eventually marry into, Head being the maiden name of his Paternal Grandmother, and I being his Maternal Grandmother.

So therefore, I wanted to look into the family of Susannah Briggs. It was not possible to look into the family line of Mary Trine Palmer Paddock Roberts, the mother-in-law of Susannah Briggs Palmer, as the maiden name of "Trine", could have been contrived, although it had been suggested that her mother was a Bradford, and perhaps Mary was a relative of William Bradford of Plymouth notoriety.
Briggs Coat of Arms
But that of Susannah is another story.

The following book states the origins of the name Briggs as being of Saxon origin and derived from the word 'bridge'. The first mention of this surname was a William "atte Brigg of Salle" mentioned in the records of the Edwards I and II, and origins of this family about Norfolk, England.

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the ..., Volume 3

 edited by William Richard Cutter

Front Cover

John Briggs, father of Susannah, made quite a name for himself in New England. He is even called "The Founder of Province". 

John Briggs

The basic facts of John Briggs existence are that he was born in 1609 in Essex County, England, the son of  a Henri Briggs. He sailed to America in 1635, settling originally in Boston. He would later migrate to Newport, settling finally in Portsmouth. He died there in 1690, at the age of 81. He married Sarah Cornell and had six known children. 

The not-so-basic facts of his life become a little more fluid. He was even involved as a prosecuting witness in a ridiculous way in the trial of a relative as a prosecuting witness. 

I have discovered the following events in his life as follows.
  • John Briggs was a member of an odd religious sect known as "Hutchinsonites" who were followers of Anne Hutchinson, a Puritan spiritual adviser, who was the main participant in the Antinomian Controversy. 
  • John Briggs arrived in America on the ship "The Blessing". 

  • Anne Hutchinson, with her followers, including John Briggs, were ran out of Boston in 1640 and settled in Newport, Rhode Island. 
  • John had been followed to Boston by his sister, Rebecca Briggs Cornell and her husband Thomas Cornell. 
  • He  married the sister of his brother-in-law, Sarah Cornell. 
  • Thomas and Rebecca had arrived in Boston in 1636.
  • He testified at the trial of his nephew, Thomas Cornell, Jr. , who was accused of killing his mother Rebecca Briggs Cornell. Thomas Cornell, Jr., was both the nephew of John Briggs, through his mother, and the nephew of Sarah Cornell Briggs, through his father. 
  • John Briggs name appears very frequently in all of the early records of the "Town of Portsmouth". 
  • He served in various capacities and offices of the town, and for various lengths of time as Counselor, member of many Juries, Surveyor, Commissioner, Deputy to the General Assembly. 
  • His most distinct and longest-held office was that of Deputy to the General Assembly of the Colony. 
  • He was in possession and control of large tracts of land.
  • He served as a personal banker to the town, which was often indebted to him on several accounts.
  • His home was described as being located "On the Highway that 'leadth' to the Windmill". 
  • Meeting were held in his home, where he served as Moderator. 
  • In 1638, he was mentioned as an inhabitant of the Island of Aquidneck. 
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  • On April 30, 1839, he was listed on a petition with 28 other men. who acknowledged their allegiance to King Charles of England.
  • Image result for aquidneck island
  • On March 16, 1841 he became a Freeman. 
  • October 5, 1643, he was given the order to go to every house and check which arms were defective. 
  • On August 24, 1643, he bought a house and lot from John Hall with the stipulation that Mr. Hall and his family and associates have use of the house for a year. 
  • In 1662, John Briggs purchased an 140 acres tract in Dartsmouth
  • While there, he married a widow named Constant Mitchell Fobes, so it can be assumed his first wife Sarah Cornell had deceased by then. 
  • Sarah Cornell Briggs is said to have died at the home of her sister, Rebecca Woolsey. 
  • He returned to Portsmouth by the time his daughter Sussanah married William Palmer and there would spend his remaining days.
  • All of John Briggs children were by his first wife, Sarah Cornell Briggs. He had none by second wife Constant (or Content). 
The Will of John Briggs was written on April 19, 1690 and was proved on November 17, 1690. His death was likely around October of that year. 
John Briggs
Old Commons Burial Ground
One of the most striking notes on the life of John Briggs was the testimony of him in the case of the death of his sister, Rebecca Briggs Cornell, who had married the brother, Thomas of John Briggs wife Sarah. It was not uncommon in those days for sibling of one family to marry siblings of another. 

Rhode Island was a haven of sorts, for the Puritans who were not quite so Puritan, or who did not exactly go with the teachings of the most devout in Massachusetts. John Briggs was one of those and in 1656 had converted to Quakerism. 

John Briggs' testimony in part, led to the conviction and hanging of Thomas Cornell II, his nephew, for the death of Rebecca Briggs Cornell, sister of John and mother of the doomed Thomas. A book has been written on the murder, called "Killed Strangely: The Death of Rebecca Cornell", by Elaine Forman Crane. According to the Puritan records, John Briggs, 64 years of age at this time, testified that he had seen a spirit in a dream of  Rebecca, who told him how she had burned. 
Image result for puritan woman on fire
This testimony of the apparition of Rebecca, along with other testimony that the relationship between the 73 year old Rebecca, and her middle-aged son, who did not like that fact that his mother and not himself, was in control of the property. The family at that time consisted of Rebecca, her son Thomas, his second wife, his 4 sons by his first wife and their 2 daughters together, along with 2 hired men. His wife Mary was expecting a third daughter when he was hanged. 

After the death of Rebecca, and hanging of her son, two other persons were tried for the same murder, one the wife of Thomas and an Indian man who worked for them. As an interesting aside, the daughter, named ironically "Innocent" born posthumously to Thomas Jr. and Mary Cornell, was an ancestress of the infamous Lizzie Borden. 
The full truth of that horrible winters day of February 8, 1673, will never be known, and John Briggs participation in it would have been fully dismissed by any sane juryman this day and time. 

Such was the uncertain and strange ways of the Puritans. 

John Briggs and Sarah Cornell Briggs were the parents of :

  • Enoch Briggs
  • Sussanna Briggs  married William Palmer, married John Northway
  • John Briggs II
  • Thomas Briggs
  • Job Briggs
  • William Briggs. 
Susanna would marry William Palmer and when he died she married John Northway. 

Will of John Briggs - Page 1
The Will of John Briggs


Flowering Branches

When I first began this blog, I had 4 children and one grandson to whom I wanted to leave a legacy, a map and trail of who they were and those who had come before us.

Since then, I have acquired a new daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandson and granddaughter.

Yesterday was the arrival of my first granddaughter. She was born on her mother's birthday. Wonderful plan, saves me from having to remember too many different birthdays when I get older.

A family tree is not only the roots, but also the living, growing, flowering branches. And my branches are flowering. I now have 3 grandchildren and in a few short months I will have 4.

Welcome to the world little Princess. You are so loved.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rough On Rats: The Other Sallie Crump

While looking for any information on the eldest daughter of Henry Davis, Sarah "Sallie" Davis Crump, I came across this story of a doomed and troubled young girl. The tale of her evil deeds was reported far and wide, as far away as Illinois, from the tiny town of Norwood in southern Stanly County, formerly known as Center.
Image result for rough on rats

The Decatur Herald
(Decatur, Illinois)
23 Mar 1884, Sun • Page 1

The Times
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
22 Mar 1884, Sat • Page 1

Nanny and Infant Victorian Era

The Alamance Gleaner
(Graham, North Carolina)
27 Mar 1884, Thu • Page 2
Image result for rough on rats

But who was this Sallie Davis, the teenager who poisoned the baby she was hired to sit for?

In 1870, when she was just a baby, she was living in the household of 76 year old John Crump. 1870 was the first census that the majority of African-Americans show up in, if they were held in slavery. Sallie Crump was among the first generation of children born after the Civil War, and born into freedom. The few who showed up in census records prior to 1870 as "Free People of Color" were often Native Americans or persons of mixed heritage. If born to Native American mothers or White Mothers, they were free, even if they bore African-American heritage. It is surprising, actually, how many persons there were, and they are hard to document, as they tended to move often.

Name:Sarah Crump
Age in 1870:1
Birth Year:abt 1869
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1870:TysonStanlyNorth Carolina
Post Office:Albemarle
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
John Crump76
Jemima Crump62
Rowland Crump29
Letha Crump25
James Crump10
Sarah Crump1

John and Jemima Crump may have been the grandparents of Sarah Crump. African-American families were very fluid. Families were not always nuclear, and extended families would board together. This fact made them harder to trace in records as well. While it appears that Rowland and Letha Crump may have been the parents of James and Sarah, Rowland shows up as single a decade later, living alone with his mother, Jemima or "Mima". No wife and no children. John probably passed away by then, and Letha, too, as Rowland is counted as a widower in his mother's home in 1880.

ame:Rowlin Crump
[Rowland Crump
Birth Year:abt 1840
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Tysons, Stanly, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Son
Marital Status:Widower
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's name:Mima Crump
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Occupation:Working On Farm
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and Dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
Mima Crump68
Rowlin Crump40

But what of his children? And were they his children? The large space between them was not typical. Perhaps James was a child of one or the other of them by a previous marriage. Perhaps Sallie was placed in the home by an overwhelmed young mother to Letha, who maybe had just lost a baby and could take care of Sallie better and emotionally needed her. That remains and will remain unknown. However, in 1880, Sallie shows up in the home of Thomas and Mandy Crump, not with Jemima or Rowland, and is called a daughter. Was she their daughter, or was she a niece?  This was 4 years before the poisoning incident.

ame:Sarah Crumps
[Sarah Crump] 
Birth Year:abt 1864
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Center, Stanly, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Daughter
Marital Status:Single
Father's name:Thomous Crump
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's name:Mandy Crump
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Occupation:At Home
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and Dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
Thomous Crump60
Mandy Crump36
Sarah Crumps16
William Crumps13
Thomous Crumps12
Mary Crumps11
John Crumps10
Frank Crumps9
Bettie Crumps8
M. Crumps6

Image result for poison

The child which Sallie Crump poisoned was that of David Neville Bennett. D. N. Bennett was a respected Civil War Veteran. He served as a Captain.

The following is his service record from information:

Biography:Captain David N. Bennett, of Norwood, a survivor of the gallant Fourteenth regiment, was born in Chesterfield county, son of Archie E. and Mary Crawford Bennett. His mother's father, David Crawford, was a soldier of the war of 1812, and her grandfather, Jackson, held the rank of general in the revolutionary army. With such a patriotic strain in his blood it is not a matter of surprise that young Bennett was among the early volunteers for the war of the Confederacy, though but sixteen years of age. His enlistment was in the Anson Guards, Capt. C. E. Smith, a volunteer organization which became Company C of the Fourteenth regiment, State troops, of which Junius Daniel was the first colonel. When the latter was succeeded by W. P. Roberts, R. Tyler Bennett became lieutenant-colonel. He enlisted as a private and in 1862 was elected sergeant, and in 1863 appointed ordnance-sergeant, but after serving in that capacity five months, he voluntarily resigned, feeling that it was his duty to stay with the men in the ranks as a private soldier. He was distinguished for bravery on many fields. During the service in southeastern Virginia, when the regiment was in line of battle under heavy fire, and the men were ordered to lie down and two volunteers were called for to go forward and draw the enemy's fire, he and William A. Maner were the daring men who stepped forward. His courage was mentioned in orders end he was recommended for promotion. At Seven Pines, through the Seven Days' campaign, the Maryland campaign, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Kelly's ford, and the campaigns of 1864, he shared the glorious record of his regiment. In 1864, near Charleston, he was shot through the hip and left on the battlefield to die, but fortunately recovered. After the close of the war he was elected to the captaincy of his old company. Since the close of hostilities he has been engaged in mercantile pursuits and in farming. As a magistrate he was one of the first Democrats elected to office in his county after the war, and in 1883, 1885 and 1887 he was elected to the legislature of the State. In 1894 he was appointed a director of the State penitentiary, an office which he held for three years. Captain Bennett was married in 1866 to Agnes C., daughter of Benjamin I. Dunlap, and has six children, John T., Crawford D., Burt E., Mary E., Irene L., and David N. Bennett. Source: Confederate Military History Vol. V

In the end, Sallie Davis was neither hanged nor poisoned.

The Semi-Weekly Citizen
(Asheville, North Carolina)
9 Oct 1884, Thu • Page 1

The Farmer and Mechanic
(Raleigh, North Carolina)
15 Oct 1884, Wed • Page 1

But what of Sallie after her release from prison?

She took residence in Salisbury, NC and may have tried living the straight life for awhile, but she probably recieved a good education in crime and illegal gain while in prison.

Name:Sallie Crump
Birth Date:Apr 1865
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1900:Salisbury, Rowan, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Boarder
Marital Status:Single
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Occupation:View on Image
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Jubal Mcconnaughey 
Julia Mcconnaughey 
Walter Mcconnaughey9
Otho Rankin27
George Young 
William Watson27
John Withers32
Sallie Crump35

1900 has her living uptown with the McConnaughey family.

By 1910, she had been earning a living in the illegal alchohol trade and was sent to the workhouse again.

Image result for blind tiger

The High Point Enterprise
(High Point, North Carolina)
30 Aug 1910, Tue • Page 1

After this, Sallie Crump disappears from the records. She may have passed away before death certificates began being issued around 1916.