Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Facts and Fairy Tales: The Real Story of Lynn Bird

 Big Lick, Stanly County, North Carolina is a very small place with a very interesting name. It's name is derived from the salt licks in the area that drew deer, and then became crucial for farmers cattle. The Native Americans were familiar with the site and may have had their own version of the name "Big Lick", the 'big' coming from the fact that there are one or two smaller licks nearby.

Big Lick is now part of  the younger town of Oakboro, but locals still embrace it's history. One of the legends of Big Lick is about the "Witch of Big Lick", a woman named Lynn Bird. In 1959, a couple named Bruce and Nancy Roberts began compiling a book of  ghost stories from North Carolina. Among them was the tale of the Witch of Big Lick. Recently, I'd gotten in a blogging fog, stuck on a trail I'd went down and feeling defeated from a long vail of work.


In a Genealogy group to which I belong on Facebook, someone had mentioned the story of the witch and a place in Big Lick called McIntyre Row. Someone else posted a newspaper article about the writer, Nancy Roberts, and her version of the tale. I'd never heard of McIntyre Row, but the name of the 'Witch' was vaguely familiar. Then it hit me. I'd came across her in old court records. Lynn Bird was a real person, and she was in my file of  "The women who didn't exist, but actually did." On paper, her life seemed like that of any late 19th century woman from the hills of Stanly County. 

Out of every wheat field of fantasy lies a hard grain of truth. 


CLIPPED FROM
The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina
08 May 1959, Fri  •  Pag

The real Lynn Bird was born Melinda Pless in 1831 in Western Stanly County. She was the youngest daughter of Peter Pless and his wife, Elizabeth Barger or Boger Pless. Peter Pless was well-known and well-respected in his day. Of German decent, the Pless family were Lutheran's and attended Flat Rock Lutheran Church near Stanfield, North Carolina. 

Peter and Elizabeth raised a large family of a dozen children: Daniel, Ransom, Martin, Catherine (Teeter), Charles, Delilah, Elizabeth, Amasa (Long), Garrett, John Adam, Solomon and Melinda. The name is no longer thick in the West Stanly Soup like the Mortons, Morgans, Burris's, Efird, Honeycutts, Hatleys, Barbees and Furrs, because many of Peters children, especially his sons, migrated off to Pope County, Arkansas and destinations beyond. Even Peter, himself, may have considered moving there. He owned property there, and willed it to his daughter Catherine, in his will. 

The Pless family hooked up into my family tree due to the marriage of  his son, John Adam, to Winna "Winny" Julina Murray. Winna was the youngest daughter of Jesse Murray and the closest sister to my second Great Grandmother, Priscilla Murray Aldridge. She was only about 11 or 12 when her father died and spent the remainder of her childhood with the family of Daniel Reap. Priscilla, who was only a year older than she was named a daughter, my Great Great Grandmother, Francis Julina Aldridge, after Winny.  Winny and John Adam had one child, a daughter named Elizabeth. Adam also went west, leaving his daughter with the family of Daniel Reap, who had taken in her mother. Elizabeth married a Tucker and lived out her life in Stanly County. Her namesake neice married H. H. "Haut" Davis and became my maternal Grandfathers' grandparents. 


In 1850, the Pless family is living in Furr Township and Melinda is living with her parents. Also living with them is a baby girl, Sarah, who turns out to be Melinda's daughter. The farm next door is occupied by Peter's youngest son, Solomon, and his budding family.


Name:Melinda Pless
Gender:Female
Age:19
Birth Year:abt 1831
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Furrs, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Line Number:9
Dwelling Number:551
Family Number:554
Household MembersAge
Peter Pless67
Elizabeth Pless63
Melinda Pless19
Sarah Pless0



The unusual thing about this census record and about Melinda is a fact that may have marked her for public ridicule and ostracization in her community in the era in which she lived. 



Name:Sarah Pless
Gender:Female
Race:Black
Age:0
Birth Year:abt 1850
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Furrs, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Line Number:10
Dwelling Number:551
Family Number:554
Household MembersAge
Peter Pless67
Elizabeth Pless63
Melinda Pless19
Sarah Pless0


The Pless family of Gernan roots, were no doubt free, Caucasian  citizens of Furr Township in Western Stanly. The child Sarah was black. Most Pless descendants seem to have disregarded her, either as an odd child taken into the family, maybe as an orphan, or considered the letter of race given her by the census takers of 1850 as an error. But Sarah was not to be disregarded, at least not by Peter Pless. And she did not die as many infants did in this era of distant doctors and particulate, rudimentary medical procedures. Sarah lived, married, became a mother and a grandmother and grew old.

In all of her 3 marriage licenses, the first in her most productive marriage to the father of her children, and the two marriages that occurred in her middle years and her latter ones, she named not only her mother, but her father, a man named Henry Pless. Sarah was a mulatto, or a person of mixed race, as enumerated in the following census records of her life. Knowing her mother to be a white person of Central European origins, her father had to have been black. In 1849, the year of Sarah's birth, most black people in North Carolina were held in slavery. Western Stanly was not an area heavily populated by slaves, or those who held them. Most land owners were yeoman farmers, still there were a few, and Peter Pless was one of those persons whom held them.


Name:Peter Pless
Residence Date:1850
Residence Place:Almonds and Furrs, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Number of Enslaved People:2


In the 1850 attachment to the census called the Slave Scheudules, Peter Pless had 2 enslaved people in his household, a 40 year old woman and a 25 year old man, specifically. The 25 year old man had to have been Henry Pless, as there were no other Pless families in the area, save Peter and his children. There were no other slaves to have been known by the surname of Pless. There had been a relationship between Henry Pless, age 25 and Malinda Pless, age 19 and that relationship had produced Sarah Pless, an infant in 1850.


Photo of the Grave of Peter Pless, taken by Rodney Plowman, at Flat Rock Cemetery

According to his tombstone, Peter Pless died Feb 25, 1858. He was buried in the cemetery at the now defunct Flat Hill Lutheran Church Cemetery. Peter left a will, and in his will, he seemed significantly concerned over the future of his youngest daughter Malinda, evdentally called Linda or Lynn, in later days, and of that of her little daughter, Sarah. 

It seems most of his older children had been given their share of their fathers estate before moving to Arkansas, as several are not mentioned in his will, and others passed before he did. He left two tracts of land to his youngest son, Solomon, who remained in Stanly County, and died here in 1909, including the tract that included his "mansion house". I imagine it to have been grand.

He left his daughter, Catherine, who had married a Teeter, 80 acres of land on the Arkansas River, in Pope County, Arkansas, where she lived. 

He left his wife, Elizabeth, half of the household furniture, a cow and a calf of her choice, and $25 to be made from the sale of some unwilled property. He requested that his son Solomon maintain and take care of his mother during her widowhoood, as long as she remained unmarried and remained on the property.

He left $200 to his third from youngest child, John Adam Pless, the one who had married Winna Julina Murray.

He also left Malinda both $200 and the second choice of a cow and calf, after her mother. He also left her the half of the household furnshings and kitchen furnishings that her mother did not take. Then there was a clause, that was so confusing to those who deciphered it, that it ended up in court. 


Item. I give and bequeath to my grand-daughter Sarah the child of Malinda fifty dollars in Money, my will and desire that all the residue of my estate if any after taking out the devises and legacies above mentioned shall be sold and the debts owing to me collected And if there should be andy surplus over and above the payment of debts expenses and legacies that such surplus shall be equally divided and paid over to my son Adam and daughter Malinda my will and desire is that my daughter Malinda equal part in this last devise to her bodily heirs equally to be to be divided between them and said legacies to be paid over to the above mentioned within two years from my decease to them and each and every of them their Executors Administrators aand asignes absolutely forever this is not to interfer with a deed of gift that I have made hereetofore to my son Charley and daughter Elizabeth.


So, little Sarah inherited $50 from her grandfather, a lot of money in those days. He orders the remainder of his estate to be sold and his debts paid. He requests that any surplus left over be equally divided between Adam and Malinda and that " my daughter Malinda equal part in this last devise to her bodily heirs equally to be divided between them".  He also wanted the legacies to be paid within two years and to not interfere with the deeds of gift that he had previously made to his son Charley (Charles Pless) and his daugther Elizabeth.





In the estate records of Peter Pless, which took place nearly a decade after the 1850 census, there is mention of 4 slaves, none of whom were named Henry:

To Soloman Pless........1 slave, a man named Andrew.

To Andrew Honeycutt..1 slave, a man named Steven.

To Ezekial Brooks....... 2 slaves, girls named Silvy (Sylvia) and Sousy (Susan).

Had Henry died before 1858, or had he been sold far away to put distance between himself and Melinda? Whatever his fate, Sarah Pless knew her father's name.







In the beginning of the tale of the Witch, above, Lynn Byrd, (Melinda Pless Coble Byrd, to be exact), is described as old. The article is from 1959 and she said Lynn lived 75 years ago in Big Lick. This would have made the year 1884, and Melinda would have been about 53 years old. She is described as eerily thin, with stringy blonde hair she wore long about her shoulders and deep-set green eyes. Women in this day always wore their hair up. Always. Unless they were, of course, wild and unkempt, or insane. She is described as antisocial and hostile. Had they made her that way? Did children come to taunt and torture her? Was there a specially poisonous salt to her spot on the lick that made livestock sicken and cause her to be blamed? She was accused even of infantcide. Did it really happen?


Despite the birth of Sarah with one of her father's slaves, (which was a socially abhorrent and highly unaceptable thing to do in era in which Melinda lived), she married, in about 1854, to James Allison Coble.

James A. Coble is a mystery of his own. 

Name:James E Coble
Gender:Male
Age:15
Birth Year:abt 1835
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Smiths, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Attended School:Y
Line Number:15
Dwelling Number:667
Family Number:670
Household MembersAge
Andrew Bird78
Rosanna Bird79
Charles Bird40
James E Coble15

His first appearance is in the 1850 census, where he appears, not too distant from where Melinda grew up, living with Andrew and Rosanna Bird, (or Byrd), in a neighborhood of Brooks, Teeters, Hartsells and other Birds. Also in the home is Andrew's 40 year old son, Charles Bird. There's the name Bird - you noticed that too, huh?

James A. Coble was not named as one of the 32 or 33 chidren of David Coble, that 19th century famed Stanly County mega-progenitor. His oldest spawn was said to be a daughter named Eva. James A. Coble lived near the family though, in roughly the same area of the county as them. He's living with the Birds as a mere lad of 15. Was he a nephew of David Coble Jr.? A son of another son of old David Coble Sr.? That I can't determine, and it seems not so. David Jr. had a brother named Jacob, who seemed not to marry, and a son named John, who did marry, and lived until 1879, never mentioning an earlier marriage or a son James. David Sr. did mention in his will, a Grandson, Ephraim, son of his daughter, Elizabeth, who was bound under guardianship to his single son, Jacob. But no grandson James. And it seems entirley likely and probable, by virture of location and his youthful age, that James A. Coble was somehow, some way, a member of this family. The key might be in the person of Andrew Bird. 




Name:Andrew Bird
Home in 1840 (City, County, State):West Pee Dee River, Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5:1  James A. Coble?
Free White Persons - Males - 50 thru 59:1 Andrew Bird
Free White Persons - Females - 50 thru 59:1 Rosanna Bird
Persons Employed in Agriculture:1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write:1
Free White Persons - Under 20:1
Total Free White Persons:3
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves:3





In 1840, there's a small boy in the home of Andrew Bird, which I believe in all liklihood to be James Coble. The only Coble nearby to the Birds is David Coble Jr., who already has 5 children, which should have been Eva (Elizabeth), James F., Rosanna, Mary Melina, and John R. In fact, David's son, James F. Coble, was about the exact same age as James A. Coble.


Name:Andrew Bird
Home in 1830 (City, County, State):Montgomery, North Carolina, West Side Pee Dee River
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14:1  Jesse
Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19:1   Charles
Free White Persons - Males - 40 thru 49:1    Andrew
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 14:1    Phoebe
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19:1    Unknown daughter
Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 49:1     Rosanna
Free White Persons - Under 20:4
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:2
Total Free White Persons:6
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored):6



Andrew and Rosanna Bird are known to have had sons Charles, and another named Jesse, who moved to Tennesee, and a daughter named Phoebe, who was born in 1814 and married Jacob A. Kimrey. But the 1830 census suggests another. 

Could Andrew Bird have been James A. Coble's grandfather? Did the unnamed daughter marry a Coble at about 18, and die in childbirth, or soon after, leaving a young son for Andrew and Rosaana to raise? Could the Coble have been one who went west, like the Pless men, or maybe, he too, passed away, leaving this mystery? It's entirely plausible. At this point, however, it just looks like James A. Coble may have been bound to, or placed with, the Bird family at a very early age, relation or not, and his family origins remain a mystery.







James A. Coble made the purchase of two tracts of land at a very early age. Had he made the money to buy them by working for the Birds? Or had he recieved an unknown or unrecorded inheritance from a mystery parent or grandparent?

On the 4th day of December in 1850, James A. Coble bought a tract of land from Irvin Morgan for $36.00. The tract of land was 70 acres, more or less, and lied between Cucumber Creek and the Public Road. It adjoined the properties of Jesse Morton and George Teeter. It was proved by the sworn testimony of Irvin Morgan in 1854.

On the 12th day of August, 1853, James A. Coble bought a tract of land from George Teeter, who was mentioned in the first deed. This tract was for 100 acres and bordered that of George Teeter, met Jesse Morton's corner, met A. Bird's corner, (Andrew), ran with Charles Bird's line, and was proved on July  20, 1854. 



Cucumber Creek originates just north of Hwy 24/27 and just east of Pless Mill Road, between Red Cross and Locust. It ambles south, crossing Big Lick Road until it makes it way to the Rocky River below Stanfield. It's also known as Rock Hole Creek. This was the creek along which the young Cobles made their home on.

Name:James A Coble
Age:23
Birth Year:abt 1837
Gender:Male
Birth Place:North Carolina
Home in 1860:Stanly, North Carolina
Post Office:Albemarle
Dwelling Number:1098
Family Number:1113
Occupation:Farmer
Real Estate Value:550
Household MembersAge
James A Coble23
Linda Coble25
Elizabeth Coble4
Peter Coble2


The 1860 census shows Melinda, or Linda, as a few years older than James. The first two of their 3 children had been born, Elizabeth and Peter. Hester had not arrived yet, but was probably on her way.


In 1858, the Cobles were involved in a lawsuit over the exact wording of the Will of Peter Pless. The problem arose from a clause pertaining to the distribution of a surplus from the estate. The name of the suit was " Pless vs. Coble 58 N.C. 231. You can read about it here:  Pless v. Coble 1858

James and Malinda had made a home, had acquired a good portion of land and had brought 3 children into the world. Then came war. James Allison Coble, being a young man, was pulled up into it. He seemed to have a bit of an attitude about it, according to his war records. He enilisted in Salisbury, NC on Feb 1, 1862, and it seems to have been a bit reluctantly. A note on his original entistment form states that he refused to sign up for the duration of the War, so they put him in a 12 month Company. The document on Fold3 reads thus:

James A. Coble - Civil War

Pvt 42nd Infantry Co C 42nd

When: Feb 1, 1862

Where: Salisbury, NC by Major Gibbs for 1 year.

Remarks: Refused to reenlist for the War and was thrown into a 12 month Company - now guarding POW's at this point.

'Thrown'.....

Name:James A Coble
Enlistment Date:1 Feb 1862
Enlistment Place:Rowan County, North Carolina
Enlistment Rank:Private
Muster Date:1 Feb 1862
Muster Place:North Carolina
Muster Company:C
Muster Regiment:42nd Infantry
Muster Regiment Type:Infantry
Muster Information:Enlisted
Muster Out Date:1 May 1862
Muster Out Information:Transferred
Side of War:Confederacy
Survived War?:Yes
Residence Place:Stanly County, North Carolina
Additional Notes 2:Muster 2 Date: 01 May 1862; Muster 2 Place: North Carolina; Muster 2 Company: Howard's C; Muster 2 Regiment: Prison Guards; Muster 2 Information: Transferred;
Title:North Carolina Troops 1861-65, 


The above record states he survived the War, but they did not follow. If you note, he mustered out in May of 1862, just 4 months after he enlisted.  He would then re-enlist in order to serve as a Prison Guard in Goldsboro, NC. Seems he sought to avoid active combat.


Military Unit:
Full Name:
Age:
Year:
Conflict Period:
Branch:
Served for:


Yet he still succombed to the War. Despite his best efforts, it got him in the end. There were more than one danger in this evil event. The last thing written in the three files on James A. Coble was his name on a list of P. O.W's released. He had gotten himself captured and was released, but had he made it home? His wife and his community  knew of his death in 1863, so maybe he did, and died still of the experience.


Name:James A Coble
Probate Date:1863
Probate Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Inferred Death Year:Abt 1863
Inferred Death Place:North Carolina, USA
Item Description:Wills, 1663-1978; Estate Papers, 1820, 1839-1952

James A. Coble died in 1863 at the age of 28. In his 26 pages of estate records, there are reciepts that refer to him as 'Allison Coble', so we know what the 'A' stood for. Melinda was widowed at 31 with 3 young children.



The administrator of James's estate was S. H. Efird, which stood for Simeon Howell Efird, son of John Jacob Efird and Catherine Cagle Efrid. He was a gentleman from the Oakboro/ Big Lick area of no apparent relation. Of course, James' heirs were his widow, Melinda and his 3 children: Elizabeth "Lizzie", Peter N. and Hester "Hessie or Hessa".  So therefore, when tragedy struck again, another estate file was in order.


Name:Peter Coble
Probate Date:1867
Probate Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Inferred Death Year:Abt 1867
Inferred Death Place:North Carolina, USA
Item Description:Wills, 1663-1978; Estate Papers, 1820, 1839-1952


Peter N. Coble was born in 1858. He died in 1867. He would have been about 9 years old. This is, in fact, the youngest person I've ever seen an estate file for. If you think it may have been for a different Peter Coble, just look inside. 

 It's only 3 pages long, but then again, he was a young child.



Malinda Coble, S. H. Efird (who was his father's Executor) and William Harward, settled the estate of little Peter, which was his share of his inheritance from not only James, but also from the 'surplus' designated to Malindas bodily heirs by Peter Pless. The estate file also lets us know that his middle initial was 'N'. Now, it could be naturally assumed he was named Peter for his Grandfather Peter Pless, but while looking into the Cobles for the parentage of James Allison Coble, I noticed that the name Peter N. also ran in that family. David Coble Sr. (father of David Jr. of the 33 children), had a brother named Peter. In fact, Peter was the oldest son of George Adam Coble (Gobel, Koeble) and Anna Margaretha Loeffel Coble, the German progenitors of this line. He lived in Rowan and Guilford counties and died about 1815. He was followed by several Grandsons, Great Grandsons, nephews and grandnephews named Peter N. Coble, and in at least 3 cases, the N translated out to be Nikolas or Nicholas. So, it was a good possibility that this little boy was named Peter Nicholas Coble, and the liklihood that his father, James Allison was a grandson of David Coble, Sr. is good gambling odds, and that they descended from old German George Koeble/Goble, is nearly a certainty.

Before I let go of the Cobles, there is one very evident error in that family tree that is sticking in my craw, and that error is in the person of Ephraim Coble. David Coble, Sr.(of the 7 children, not the 33), in his 1841 will, seemed to have a particlar fondness and closeness to his Grandson Ephraim. Ephraim is mentioned with frequency and was given the 307 acres of property that David, Sr. was currently living upon.

Ephraim was one of only two grandchildren that David mentioned. The other was Iphama Cagle. What did these two children have in common? Their mothers, daughters of David Sr., predeceased their father. Ephriam was the son Elizabeth Coble and Iphama Cagle was the daughter of James Cagle and wife, Abigail Coble Cagle. David had 3 sons, John, Jacob, and David. He had 4 daughters, Elizabeth, Abigail, Margaret "Grete" Coble Efird, and Mary Coble Huneycutt (in her fathers will, married to Levi Huneycutt at the time).

Now, Jacob Efird seems to have never married and does not mention having any children of his own in his will or otherwise. In the Abstracts of the Minutes of the Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of STanly County 1841-1850, published by the Stanly County Genealogical Society, on page 7, we find this event that happened after the death of David Coble Sr., "Court of Pleas and Quarters Sessions at Nancy Hearnes near house of Eben Hearne 2nd Monday, 14 February 1842.........Jacob Coble was appointed guardian of Ephraim Coble, grandson of David Coble decd., gave bond of $1500, Henry Kimra, security.

My own personal estimation of what occurred was that after the death of Elizabeth Coble, between 1825, the birth of Ephraim and 1841, the death of David Sr., Elizabeth had died, probably closer to the former year, and her parents, David and Martha, had raised little Ephraim. Upon the death of David, when Ephraim was 15 or 16 years old, his Uncle Jacob became his guardian.

In 1853, Jacob Coble died at the age of 57 and his will was proved in 1854. In it, he leaves a slave girl named Suffronia, 8 or 9 years old, to his niece, 'Ithaney' Sides, "wife of George M. Sides", which is Ithama Cagle Sides, daughter of his deceased sister, Abigail Coble Cagle and James Cagle. She inherited in right of ther mother.

Next, he leaves a tract of land to Jerusha Hudson," a single woman", whom he refers to as his friend. Jerusha is a post of her own, and quite a coincidence to find mention of, as I have been researching the Hudsons on a different matter. It appears, though single, Jacob may have not been alone. He leaves the residual of his estate to his brothers, John and David Coble (Jr.) and his sister, Mary Huneycutt, (she dies an Efird), and to"my nephew Ephriam Coble son of Elizabeth Coble, deceased."

With minimal research, it's clear to see that Jacob Coble is Ephraims Coble's Uncle, not his Father, and that Elizabeth was Jacob's sister, not his wife. However, on Find-A-Grave, in Wiki-tree, and in numerous family trees, multiple folks have Jacob as Ephriams father. I just had to clear that one up. Unless of course, some family members have some knowledge of incest, -yuck-, which I highly doubt, I think they were grasping at straws trying to find a father for Ephraim. There are two scenarios for the father of  Ephraim, either Elizabeth being a Coble, married a Coble, and they both died young, and cousin marriages certaily occured with some frequency back then, or Ephraim was born out of wedlock, which also occurred with some frequency back then, which some disillusioned descendants are renitent to accept. "That didn't happen back then", well the truth of it is, it did.


Name:Malinda Byrd
Age in 1870:38
Birth Year:abt 1832
Birthplace:North Carolina
Dwelling Number:243
Home in 1870:Big Lick, Stanly, North Carolina
Race:White
Gender:Female
Post Office:Albemarle
Occupation:Farmer
Cannot Write:Yes
Personal Estate Value:225
Real Estate Value:300
Inferred Children:Elizabeth ByrdHessa Byrd
Household MembersAge
Malinda Byrd38
Elizabeth Byrd15
Hessa Byrd12



In 1867, as the Executrix of her son's estate, we find Malinda/ Melinda as a Coble. In the 1870 census, we find her as a Bird/Byrd with her two daughters, Elizabeth and Hester (Hessa/Hessie) mistakenly nameds as Birds. So how did that happen? 

Remember old Charles Bird, who was 40 in the 1850 census, son of Andrew Bird, with whom James A. Coble had resided? It seems sometime between 1867 and 1870, Malinda Pless Coble, who would have been in her latter 30's, married Charles Byrd, who would have been in his latter 60's, but in the ragged years of the post-war 1860's and 1870's, husband material was hard to come by. One sees, not only these June - November weddings, but even May - December ones, as in the case of my second GrandAunt, Margaret Aldridge, who at 15 or 16, became the third wife of old Miller Easley, well into his 70's at the time. Or in the case of the widow of my 3rd Great Grandfather, Burwell Hudson, (stepmother to my 2nd Great-Grandmother, Caroline Hudson), Sarah, who married old John Norwood, she about 23 and he about 78.

Not only had Charles Byrd married the widow Coble, it appears he then promptly died, as she is alone and he is nowhere to be found in 1870. It brings to mind that 1992 movie with Madonna, Body of Evidence, where she portrays a woman accused of killing her aged husband by having sex with him.




Now, I am not suggesting that is how Charles Byrd/ Bird died...but you never know. We still have the mystery of how Malinda Pless gained her reputation as a witch.

Moving along, I must admit that I have not found a marriage license for Malinda Coble and Charles Byrd, but due to courthouse fires and loss of old records in general, one can't say that because something can't be located , that it didn't exist. So in coming to this conclusion, I had to rely on solid circumstantial evidence.

1) Between 1867, when Malinda was named as still a Coble in her son Peter's estate records, and in the 1870 census, when she is shown as a Byrd, her name changed, meaning she had married a Byrd, some Byrd. In the annuls of Stanly County history and Ghost Stories, she is known as Lynn Bird.

2) There were not a lot of Byrds in the area at that time that she could have married. Luckily she wasn't an Efird or a Burris or a Smith, or God forbid, a Honeycutt. John Byrd was only 30 and happily married to his wife, Elizabeth in 1870, with 3 little kids. Same with Martin and his wife Lovina, married with children and William and his wife, Mary A Byrd. Sarah Byrd, widow of Jackson, was living in Albemarle with her children. Several of the younger Byrd men had lost their lives in the Civil War and the older ones had died off. Then there was Charles.

3) Location, location, location, they were neighbors. They all lived on Cucumber creek on adjoining properties. But here's the clincher, Charles had gotten himself in debt. In 1854, he had mortgaged his property on Cumcuber Creek to Daniel Freeman. Malinda was wealthier than him, having inherited property from her father, her husband and her son. Which leads me to..

4) Later, and I will touch on this again, the description on Charles property, matches up with property that Malindas grandchildren will inherit in the 1890's. 

She had married Charles Byrd.

And now, back to Nancy Robets rendition of the legend.




What had Melinda done that caused neighbors to consider her evil? 


There are multiple characters in this story, one of them being Betsy Hartsell. Who was she? There is an exact timeframe to this story. The author states in 1959 tha it too place about 75 years ago, which would be about 1884. Knowing now that Malinda was still alive in 1890, the timeline is from the early 1880's to the early 1890's. 

There lived in Big Lick an Elizabeth Hartsell, who was married to a John Hartsell, living in 1880, but who had died by 1900. I believe this to be Betsy, and to be the original conveyor of the legend of the withch.



Bill Anderson was a real person, too and in truth, a son-in-law of Malinda Pless Coble Byrd. If you notice, the author begins by correctly referring to him as William Anderson and then erroneously switches to Bill Williamson. His name was William B. Anderson. 


Name:William B Anderson
Gender:Male
Race:White
Age:46
Birth Year:abt 1831
Marriage Date:8 Feb 1877
Marriage Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Father:James Anderson
Mother:Francis Anderson
Spouse:Hessa Coble
Spouse Gender:Female
Spouse Race:White
Spouse Age:18
Spouse Father:Coble
Spouse Mother:Malinda Coble
Event Type:Marriage



All we really know about him is found in the above marriage license. It states that William B. Anderson was 46 years old, being born about 1831. He was the son of James and Francis Anderson, of South Carolina, both deceased. "Hessa" was only 18, daughter of  (blank) Coble and Malinda Coble. The marriage took place on February 8, 1877 an at the residence of Malinda Coble in Big Lick by Justice of the Peace, R. J. Morton. Witnesses were J.W. Hartsell, Sid HIll and JCH Hartsell.

So right off the bat, we see in the telling that the part of Bill Anderson being in his early 30's as completely untrue. He was a middle-aged man who married a teenaged girl.


The black cameo seems to hold the status of a major character in this story. Somehow, I believe that within all the inaccuracies in the telling, the black cameo existed, but who it was actually intended for remains the question.

Name:Hesey Coble
Age:19
Birth Date:Abt 1861
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Big Lick, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Dwelling Number:62
Race:White
Gender:Female
Relation to Head of House:Daughter
Marital Status:Married
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Name:Malinda Coble
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Occupation:At Home
Cannot Read:Yes
Cannot Write:Yes
Neighbors:
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Malinda Coble49Self (Head)
Bettie Coble23Daughter
Hesey Coble19Daughter
James E. Coble2Grandson

Bill Anderson and Hester Coble Anderson did have one child, a son, Everett Adam Anderson, who was born on December 30, 1878, two months shy of his parents second anniversary. In the 1880 census, it shows that Hester has returned to the home of her mother, the family has returned to going by the name, Coble, and Everette is shown as "James E. Coble". His name probably began as James Everette, in honor of his grandfathers, James Coble and James Anderson. In Everette's later records, he refers to his father as "Billie Anderson".




Enter Riley Morgan. Now, I couldn't find an appropriate Riley Morgan who lived anywhere in the same state as Malinda. Who I did find was an E. R. Morgan who lived very near the Cobles who had a wife named "Dicey", whom I believe was the personage of Riley Morgan. E. R. is seen indescriminately as "Eben", "Evan", "Even", "Ivin", "Irvin" and "Ervin". He was born about 1827 and is still living in 1900 with a new wife, Elvine. This is, if you'll recall, the fellow who sold to James A. Coble, his first lot of land, when James was just a lad of 15, in 1850.


Another character, a store owner named Hogan. Was there a store owner named Hogan? I found 3 Dry Goods Merchants in 1880; H. James Walter from South Carolina, Isaiah Hathcock and John A. Teeter. In fact, there were no Hogans in Stanly County. I did find a few in Montgomery County. That's not to say one could not have arived in Big Lick after 1880 and set up buisness for a few years. 


Mention of a Bird Lake: I took a look at the overlay maps available online at the ncarchives where a 1916 soil sample map is comparable to a current map of the area. Looking at Cucumber Creek to the west of the town of Big Lick, I can make out alittle pond. I would not call it a lake.




Here is where a bit of fact must be inserted. Bill Anderson did in fact disappear, as quickly as he must have appeared. He is not in the 1880 census of Stanly County, and Hester is living with her mother, with her son. But neither did he appear in the 1870 census, either. Even in this telling, he seems to have been a traveling man.

At first glance, I thought he must have been a relative of the kindly Dr. Richard Anderson of near Albemarle, and his nephew, son of his brother Abe, the dastardly Dr. Richard A. Anderson of Big Lick. Dastardly, you ask? Why yes, the younger Dr. Anderson got in as many fights and drunken malays as any other Stanly County ruffian of the era. He even killed a man and basically got by with it. But William B Anderson appears to not have been a member of this clan. The Doctors Anderson were from Davie County orgin. Billie Anderson informed on his marriage license that his family was from South Carolina. I've not found a William B Anderson from South Carolina whose parents were James and Francis. Being born in 1831, he didn't neccesarily have to be living with his parents in 1850, the year when every free person in the household got a name.

So, not knowing exactly who he was before the marriage, who's to say where he may have been afterwards? Being 46 when he married Hester, he might have been married a few times already, and may have had children who were already adults. There were no shortage of men named William Anderson, and I can't find a one who fit the parameters he gave us.

As far as the girls skipping out and Hester abandoning her child, that didn't happen. Hester actually had two children. Her daughter, Ivey R. (or Iva, Eva, Ida,even Emma) was born on May 14, 1880. She was likely about to pop when the census man had came around in 1880. William B. Anderson was not the father of Ivey, but instead, a married man named Enoch Morton was. This may have been the cause of the breakup of Bill and Hessa.

Name:Eva Anderson[Eva Morton]
Gender:Female
Race:White
Age:17
Birth Year:abt 1879
Marriage Date:5 Nov 1896
Marriage Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Father:Enoch Morton
Mother:Hester Anderson
Spouse:Titus Coble
Spouse Gender:Male
Spouse Race:White
Spouse Age:28
Spouse Father:David Coble
Spouse Mother:Malinda Coble
Event Type:Marriage


I'm skipping ahead here, but including the marriage certificate to show that Ivey was fully aware of who her parents were. Poor Ivey's surname is shown indescriminately as Morton, Anderson, Coble and even Bird.

Enoch Morton was born in 1850, the son of Green Allen Morton and Betsy Burris Morton. He had married Frankie Springer and was married to her when Ivey was born. Enoch had a large family with Frankie, about 15 children or so, and more came after Ivey, than before. Ivey was born between the arrivals of his children William Riley and Tallulah.  But Enoch was not the only man in Big Lick who 'roamed.'

The story claimed that infants were heard crying from the home of Lynn Bird and then would go silent. That her daughters were having illegitimate children. There is no indication Elizabeth ever had any children. Hester did, as Ivey was born to Hester and a married man. If they were killing babies, why did no one investigate and why was Ivey allowed to live?  The truth may be that Ivey was the only one, unless some were born premature or stillborn. We'll get into the death of Hester, who died before her mother and in Stanly County, in a minute. Let's let Nancy finish her tale.





CLIPPED FROM

The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina
10 May 1959, Sun  •  Page 24

Whether Betsy Hartsell and Dicey Morgan actaually saw a black cat dash up from a corner, a gust of ashy smoke, or a black shadow figure like the ones author Dean Koontz referred to as "Bodachs" in his Odd Thomas series, is all lost to history and most likely no more than spice, added for flourish to the telling. But old Lynn Bird lived, and she died, sometime between 1890 and 1900, and it is unknown where she was laid to rest, on the property or at the 'Big Lick Cemetery", where many of her descendants, including the children of  Hester, rest in peace.

But Stanly County citizens had fun at her expense for years to come.


CLIPPED FROM
The Daily Times-News
Burlington, North Carolina
17 Nov 1967, Fri  •  Page 8


Now, remember, Malinda Pless Coble Byrd had not only 2 daughters, she had 3. The last time we saw Sarah, she was a baby in the home of her Grandparents in 1850. Peter Pless left Sarah $50 in his will, so he evidentally cared about the little girl and what would happen to her. I'm not sure who raised Sarah after her grandfathers death, but she was not with her mother after Malinda's marriage to James Coble. She may have been bound out or bonded to another family, perhaps in another county, until she reached the age of majority. She's not to be found in 1860, before the war. But she is found in 1870, where she is living in  and working in Mecklenberg County. 


Name:Sarah Pless
Age in 1870:19
Birth Date:abt 1851
Birthplace:North Carolina
Dwelling Number:81
Home in 1870:Clear Creek, Mecklenburg, North Carolina
Race:Mulatto
Gender:Female
Post Office:Coburns Store
Occupation:Keeping House
Cannot Read:Yes
Cannot Write:Yes
Inferred Children:Katie Pless
Household MembersAge
Henry Morris21
Sarah Pless19
Katie Pless
Jane Medlin17

Ninteen year old Sarah is found in the Clear Creek Community, living with a fellow named Henry Morris. She had already given birth to her first child, Catherine, and she and Henry were doing more than living together. He was Catherine's father.




Clear Creek is the part of Mecklenburg County closest to Stanly, straight through the southwest part of Cabarrus, Midland area, and just over the Rocky River. Notice the point on the east side of Mecklenburg that looks like a thorn? The tip of that point is the only spot where Mecklenburg touches Stanly County, so Sarah hadn't gone too far.  


Of course, Charlotte is now spreading like a life-sucking cancer, but in those days, it was more of a city than a sprawling mass of  roads and retail, traffic and crime. The Post Office of Coburns's Store seems to have began as Cockburns's Store, operated by one Azariah Cockburn, and covered an area on the boreder of Union and Mecklenburg counties.

Name:Sarah Pless
Gender:Female
Marriage Date:5 Jan 1871
Marriage Place:Mecklenburg, North Carolina, USA
Father:Henry Pless
Mother:Molinda Pless
Spouse:Henry Morris
Spouse Gender:Male
Spouse Father:Joe Morris
Spouse Mother:Mary Miller
Event Type:Marriage

Henry Morris, son of Joe Morris and Mary Miller and Sarah Pless, daughter of Henry Pless and Malinda Pless, married the very next year on January 5.

Name:Sarah Morris
Age:29
Birth Date:Abt 1851
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Morning Star, Mecklenburg, North Carolina, USA
Dwelling Number:251
Race:Mulatto
Gender:Female
Relation to Head of House:Wife
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Henry Morris
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Occupation:Keeping House
Cannot Write:Yes
Neighbors:
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Henry Morris30Self (Head)
Sarah Morris29Wife
John W. Morris12Son
Catharine L. Morris11Daughter
Harrett A. Morris10Daughter
Mary Jane Morris8Daughter
Henry I. Morris6Son
Sarah E. Morris5Daughter
Margaret L. Morris3Daughter
Joseph W. Morris6/12Son

Henry and Sarah, as typical of late 1800 and turn-of-the century families, had a large one. By 1880, they were up to 8. Catherine was actually older than John, however. If you remmeber, she was already born in 1870. the family lived in Morning Star, whic is probably the same spot they were in 1870, as this township still covers that eastern most part.

Name:Sallie Morris
Age:49
Birth Date:Apr 1851
Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Home in 1900:Morning Star, Mecklenburg, North Carolina
Sheet Number:7
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:18
Family Number:118
Race:Black
Gender:Female
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother: number of living children:11
Mother: How many children:14
Occupation:Farmer
Months Not Employed:0
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:No
House Owned or Rented:Rent
Home Free or Mortgaged:F
Farm or House:F
Neighbors:
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Sallie Morris49Head
Joseph Morris21Son
Richard Morris19Son
Samuel L Morris17Son
Ames H Morris15Son
Emma E Morris14Daughter
Columbus A Morris10Son

Sometime between 1890, when their last child, Columbus was born and 1900, Henry Morris must have died. Sarah, ak Sallie, is a widow living still in Morning Star with her youngest children. But Sarah wasn't through.


Name:Sarah Morris
Gender:Female
Race:Black
Age:55
Birth Year:abt 1849
Marriage Date:17 Jun 1904
Marriage Place:Mecklenburg, North Carolina, USA
Spouse:George Gribble
Spouse Gender:Male
Spouse Race:Blk
Spouse Age:74
Event Type:Marriage


On July 4, 1904, the 55 year old widow, Sarah Morris, married George W. Gribble.


Name:Sarah Morris[Sarah Pleas]
Gender:Female
Race:Colored (Black)
Age:55
Birth Year:abt 1849
Marriage Date:19 Jun 1904
Marriage Place:Mecklenburg, North Carolina, USA
Father:Henry Pleas
Mother:Malinda Coble
Spouse:G W Gribble
Spouse Gender:Male
Spouse Race:Colored (Black)
Spouse Age:74
Spouse Father:Jake Hutchinson
Spouse Mother:Synthia Gibble
Event Type:Marriage

This copy shows that we have the right Sarah, daughter of Henry Pleas (Pless) and Malinda Coble (married name) and that George was the son of Jake Hutchinson and Synthia Gribble.

Name:George Gribble
Age in 1910:75[2]
Birth Date:1835[1835]
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1910:Crab Orchard, Mecklenburg, North Carolina, USA
Street:Salisbury Road
Race:Black
Gender:Male
Relation to Head of House:Inmate
Marital Status:Widowed
Native Tongue:English
Able to read:No
Able to Write:No


By 1910, old George, who was a pauper, ended up as an inmate at the Almshouse. I thought Sarah had died, since he is listed as a widower. However, while tracing her children, I am not so sure.

The children of Henty and Sarh Pless Moriris were typical of second and third generation descendants of freedmen, in that they migrated off the farms and to the industrial centers of America. Some traveled as far as New York, Detroit and Chicago, to better themselves and find work in the factories. Others gravitated to the tobacco and furnitutre factories of  Durham, High Point, and Winston-Salem. Roanoke and Danville, Virginia seemed to be a common destination, too.  

There is a Sarah Morris in Forsyth County the right age and status to be Sarah Pless Morris in 1910. She had 3 children living there at the time. If this was her, she died in 1916, and is buried at Brushy Fork Cemetery. 


 The 13 children of Henry Morris and Sarah Pless Morris (Gribble) were:

1869 Catherine L.

1870 John W. 

1871 Harriett A "Hattie"

1872 Mary Jane

1874 Henry

1875 Sarah E.

1877 Margaret L.

1880 Joseph W.

1881 Richard

1883 Samuel L.

1884 Ames H.

1886 Emma

1889 Columbus

  



Name:Sarah Morris
Birth Date:1851
Birth Place:North Carolina, United States of America
Death Date:10 Feb 1916
Death Place:Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina, United States of America
Cemetery:Brushy Fork Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina, United States of America
Has Bio?:Y
URL:https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/151389231/sarah-morris





Elizabeth Coble, the second daughter of Malinda Pless Coble and the oldest child of Malinda and James Coble, may have actually, Left Big Lick and never returned", as the article stated. Except it wasn't Hester she left with, but Sarah.


Name:Lizzie Coble
Age:40
Birth Date:Mar 1860
Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Home in 1900:Charlotte Ward 1, Mecklenburg, North Carolina
Ward of City:1
Street:Tryon Street
House Number:504
Sheet Number:1
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:5
Family Number:5
Race:White
Gender:Female
Relation to Head of House:Boarder
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother: number of living children:0
Mother: How many children:0
Occupation:Seamstress
Months Not Employed:0
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
Neighbors:
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Elizabeth G Pharr67Head
Lizzie Coble40Boarder
Mack Galloway22Boarder
Jim Earnhart35Boarder

Lizzie Coble is working as a seamstress in  Charlotte and boarding with Elizabeth McConnell Pharr.  Elizabeth Pharr was from Mount Pleasnat. She very well could have known Elizabeth Coble. Was this our Elizabeth? The age is 5 years short, but that is not a rare thing. Women of this era often lied about their age and marital status to increase their social value and reputation. A widow held more respect than an Old Maid. As far as age, the younger, the better, when it came to community value. 



Elizabeth McConnnell Pharr died in 1904 and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte. I can find no other trace of Lizzie Coble, when she died or where she was buried. 


Hester, also seen as Hessa or Hessie, was the youngest child of Malinda and James Coble. She did marry the mysterious Bill Anderson, who was the 'victim' in the Ghost Story. They had one son, James Everette Adam Anderson.  Less than two years later, she would have a daughter by Big Lick reisdent, Enoch Morton, a married man. This child is seen alternately as Ivey, Iva, Ida or even, Emma, which may have been her middle name. 

Hester died in 1886 and left an estate record under the name of Hester Anderson. Hester was only 28 years old, her son Everette was 8 and her daughter, Ivey, was 6 when she died. My guts do not tell me that Hester was an evil woman, but a girl probably swept off her feet by a disreputable traveling man. Betsy Hartsell's tale had him as in his early 30's, but he would have been nearly 50 two years after he married her. The story haled him as a travleer, which makes sense, as he shows up in no permanent record in Stanly County, save his marriage license and in his son's records. 


Name:Hester Anderson
Probate Date:1886
Probate Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Inferred Death Year:Abt 1886
Inferred Death Place:North Carolina, USA
Item Description:Wills, 1663-1978; Estate Papers, 1820, 1839-1952

The first page in Hesters's  estate files is called " Incomes of Everette and Ida Anderson for 1894". Their land, inherieted from tieir mother, was being rented during their childhood and cotton, oats, wheat and corn being grown upon it. It is clear in the estate records of Hester Coble, that her mother, Malinda Coble, outlived her. In fact, notes of provisions for Malinda Coble are noted up to 1890, meaning she was alive until at least then.




J. F. Green was applointed Guradian for Everette and Ivey, alothough the witch tale claimed Everette was raised by a John Tucker. It appears, however that J. F. Green only handled their legal affairs. It appears they actully lived with....Malinda. 


However, in November of 1891, it is mentioned of an ESTATE of Malinda Coble, meaning she was deceased by then. W. A. Cagle was the Executor of Malinda's estate, however, there is no sign of an estate reocod in Stanly County for Malinda . 



James Farrington Green, 1861-1916,. son of John and Wincy Coley Green, of Big Lick was the Guardian of Everette and Ivey Anderson. William Alfred Cagle, 1857-1933. son of David and Sarah Thomas Cagle, was the executor of Malinda Cobles's lost estate. . Neighbors, not relatives, not a Morgan or a Hartsell.

The children of Hester Coble Anderson grew up. Ivey married first, to Titus W. Coble, son of  David Coble Jr. of the 33 chidren. As her grandfather was a Coble, this marriage between Ivey and Titus may have been a cousin marriage, but they were not first cousins.


Name:Eva Anderson[Eva Morton]
Gender:Female
Race:White
Age:17
Birth Year:abt 1879
Marriage Date:5 Nov 1896
Marriage Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Father:Enoch Morton
Mother:Hester Anderson
Spouse:Titus Coble
Spouse Gender:Male
Spouse Race:White
Spouse Age:28
Spouse Father:David Coble
Spouse Mother:Malinda Coble
Event Type:Marriage

At the age of 17, Ivey, seen in her marriage license as "Eva", daughter of Enoch Morton and Hester Anderson, marries 28 year old  Titus Coble, son of David and Malinda Coble, Malinda, not being Ivey's grandmother , of course, but the third wife of Daivd Coble, Malinda Hinson Coble.

Name:A E Anderson
Gender:Male
Race:White
Age:24
Birth Year:abt 1877
Marriage Date:15 Dec 1901
Marriage Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Father:William Anderson
Mother:Malinda Byrd
Spouse:Dallie L Morton
Spouse Gender:Female
Spouse Race:White
Spouse Age:18
Spouse Father:A A Morton
Spouse Mother:Arwelder Morton
Event Type:Marriage

Her brother, Everette, had a mistake on his marriage license. First, he was Everette Adam, or E. A., not the other way around. Second, his parents were given as William Anderson and Malinda Byrd, except that, we know Malinda was his grandmother and Hester was his mother. Everette married Dahlia "Dallie" Lugenia Morton, daughter of Adam and Arwelder Hinson Morton. on December 15, 1901. He was 24 and Dallie was 18.

Dahlia Morton Anderson and her daughter, Annie


A year earlier, in 1900, he had being working for the Earl Lemuel Howard/Harward family. 


Name:Anderson E A[Anderson E A ]
[]
Age:21
Birth Date:Dec 1878
Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Home in 1900:Big Lick, Stanly, North Carolina
House Number:8
Sheet Number:15
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:268
Family Number:268
Race:White
Gender:Male
Relation to Head of House:Servant
Marital Status:Single
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Occupation:Farm Laborer
Months Not Employed:5
Attended School:5
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
Neighbors:
Household MembersAgeRelationship
E L Harward32Head
Sarah Harward28Wife
Mamie Harward12Daughter
Lucy Haward10Daughter
Carl Haward8Son
Nelie Haward6Daughter
Dupree Haward1Daughter
Anderson E A Haward21Servant

There were several, actually many, land reocrds invovling the Anderson and Coble families, together and separately. I've chosen to present a few of the most interesting. 

First, in Book 16 page 470 J. F. Greene, guardian of Everette and 'Ida" Anderson to W.A. Cagle Of Stanly, under a judgement of the Superior Court of Stanly County in the Special Proceedings....$160 to the highest bidder, a 60 acres plot adjoining John L Dry and others. 1886

Book 43 Page 82 : A certain tract or parcel of land on Cucumber Creek,. Lot No 2 in the Division of the  lands of Malinda Byrd, Decd' allotted to E. A. Anderson......to wit -planted stone..W. A. Cagle's line.. a corner of Lot No. 1, runs with line crossing Cucumber Creek .. 62 8/10 acres, between E.A. Anderson and Titus Coble and wife Iva. 

Book 48 Page 489: Dated spet. 5 1907 Between E.A. Coble and wife Dallie Anderson and I. R. Coble

"An agreement of division of equal tracts"

"this plat represents Lot No. 1 in the division of the lands of Malinda Byrd decd'. Begining at a stake in the old Monroe Rd. , runs with Andrew Huneycutt's line, ...a planted stone in  W.A Cagles's line, runs with the old line by a dogwood, Miss Hartsell's corner crossing the the public road , just across a branch...to a planted stone at the old Monroe Rd. ..46 1/10 acres. 

Everette and Dallie are later seen swapping lots in Furr City and the West Oakboro Development. Book 71 Page 135, E.A. and Dallie Anderson to Jonah Morton, Lot 136 Plat Book 1 Page 25, Town of Oakboro. Platt Book 2 P 8, Maude and  C. S. Furr to E. A. Anderson, being Lots 49 and 50 of the West Oakboro Development. These streets are now in the center of the town of Oakboro.




In 1910, Everette is shown as a farmer living along the Monroe Road, with his wife Dallie and their daughter Annie Belle.

Name:Everett A Anderson
Race:White
Birth Date:30 Dec 1877
Residence Date:1917-1918
Street Address:Oakboro
Residence Place:Stanly County, North Carolina, USA
Physical Build:Stout
Height:Medium
Spouse:Dallie Anderson

The  Draft card for WWI describes him as stout and of medium build. He did not have to serve, as he was already past 40.

1920 finds the family living on Pine St.  in Oakboro, and Everette working as a Carpenter. He and Dallie now have a son, Billie Adam Anderson and thier daughter has grown up and moved on. 


1930 shows the family has returned to farming on Malinda's old property as they live right beside his sister and brother-in-law, Titus and Ivey Coble. Son, Billie, is still living with them. The family is sandwiched between familiar surnames with different Christian names: C. A. Teeter instead of George, Joel Hartsell instead of Jacob and Elizabeth., also Milton and Oscar Hartsell, nearby to Son McIntyre. McIntyre Row....

In 1940, Everette is a patient at the State Hospital for the Insane in Morganton, NC. He  died 4 years later of myocardititis at the age of 65. Everette was buried at the' Big Lick Cemetery', now Big Lick Baptist Church.

Dallie outlived Everette by 10 years. She died in 1954 and is buried at Smith's Grove. They had two children, Annie Belle and Billie Adam. In between those two were a few babies born early or stillborn and their death certificates remain. 



Ivey and Titus Coble are also living in Big Lick in 1900. At this time, just a few years into their marriage, Ivey is shown as the mother of 3 children, with none living. Infant mortality soared at this time. 


Name:Titus Coble
Age:29
Birth Date:Dec 1870
Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Home in 1900:Big Lick, Stanly, North Carolina
House Number:8
Sheet Number:13
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:235
Family Number:235
Race:White
Gender:Male
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Ivie Coble
Marriage Year:1896
Years Married:4
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Occupation:Farmer
Months Not Employed:0
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
House Owned or Rented:Own
Home Free or Mortgaged:Mortgaged
Farm or House:F

By 1910, their two oldest daughters were living with them, Bessie Belle and Emma Grace. The big age difference betwee Bessie and Emma suggests the possibility of a lot of lost infants. Also, Bessie was born before the marriage, and was not living with them in 1900. 

Name:Bell Coble
Gender:Female
Race:White
Age:20
Birth Year:abt 1894
Marriage Date:20 Oct 1914
Marriage Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Father:Titus Coble
Mother:Cathriane Pophin
Spouse:Troy B Huneycutt
Spouse Gender:Male
Spouse Race:White
Spouse Age:21
Spouse Father:Ephriam Huneycutt
Spouse Mother:Eliza Huneycutt
Event Type:Marriage


A little sleuthing revealed that Ivey was not Bessie Belle's mother. She was the daughter of Titus and a Catherine Poplin. In 1914, Belle Coble of Big Lick married Troy Bascom Honeycutt of Locust.

Name:Eutus Coble[Titus Coble][]
Age in 1910:39
Birth Date:1871[1871]
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1910:Big Lick, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Street:Monroe Road
Race:White
Gender:Male
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Iva R Coble
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Native Tongue:English
Occupation:Farmer
Industry:General Farm
Employer, Employee or Other:Employer
Home Owned or Rented:Own
Home Free or Mortgaged:Free
Farm or House:Farm
Able to read:Yes
Able to Write:Yes
Years Married:13
Out of Work:N
Neighbors:
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Eutus Coble39Head
Iva R Coble28Wife
Emmer G Coble3Daughter
Bessie B Coble15Daughter

Titus and Ivey seem to have lived in the one sopt, the lands of Malinda Byrd, of James A. Coble, of Charles Byrd, their whole lives. Titus, being from a large family, may have been glad to have inherited something from Ivey's small one. 

Titus W. Coble



Titus and Ivey had 7 named children, but only six made it to adulthood: Bessie Bell, Emma Grace, Lydia Cozette, Charles Craig, Jack Rayvon, Frank, born in 1911, died as a child, and Horace James. 


After Ivey died in 1934, Titus remarried to Margie Inez Turner. She had one child by Titus, Phyllis, born the year he died in 1938.

Titus and Ivey are buried at Big Lick Baptist Church Cemetery. 

The real Lynn Bird was born Melinda Pless, the youngest daughter of Peter Pless and his wife, she married twice and was the mother of 4 children. What about her created the legend about her as a witch? Did she succomb to mental illness later in life? Was her behavior a result of social ostraziation?  Was she an outcast due to the birth of Sarah, a mixed-race child born of her affair with a slave before the Civil War? If so, it was not enough to cause men to not want to marry her. 


Melinda, or Linda, as she was known, was one of those women who did not exist, except that she did.