Friday, October 24, 2014

Looking for Martha Byrum

Margaret Arleavis "Leavy" Starnes Lemmonds was my second Great-Grandmother. I have only seen photos of her as a very old woman. She went by the name of "Leavy" and I've seen her name spelled multiple ways: Arleavis, Oleavy, Levey, Leavie, etc. I believe her name, originally, was probably meant to have been "Olivia", as that name ran thick in the early Starnes family, but in the desparate days of the later half of the 19th century when names like Eliza became "Leezor" and such, Olivia, at best, became Leavy.

I found Leavy's mother's name in various documents, to be Mary Louise Byrum. That surname is also bothersome. It could be Byram, Byrum, Bynum, or even "Barren" in various interpretations. 

The death certificates of her children who lived long enough verify that.  Thomas Mellon Starnes 1936 death certificate lists his mother's name as "Mary Byrums". The one for Frederick Layfayette "Fate" Starnes declares his mother as "Mary Brooms", informant, his son Silas Grier Starnes.  Della Starnes McAnulty's death certificate names her mother as "Mary Barren".  I have not been able to locate the death certificate for oldest daughter, Sarah Alice Starnes Linker, in either Cabarrus or Mecklenburg counties, but her obituary claims she passed away in Mecklenburg County while visiting her daughter and was buried at Rocky River Presbyterian Church in Cabarrus County, where she was a member.

Also buried at Rocky River Presbyterian Church with Mary Louis Byram Starnes are her children who died young:

Martha Ann Starnes, age 11, September 9 1865 to March 18, 1877.
Georgia Ann Starnes, age 7, January 9, 1873 to August 4, 1880.

Oldest son and first child to pass away was John H. Starnes, age 9, born May 1, 1858 in Union County and died December 9, 1867 in Cabarrus County and is buried in a small cemetery, which was probably a neighbors family.

The other child who lived long enough to obtain a death certificate (which began around 1912, a little earlier or later in some counties), was my very own Great, Great-Grandmother Leavy. I located her tombstone and although she passed away in 1939, I have not located her death certificate. She may have been hospitalized in another county.

This makes Mary Louise Byrum my 3rd Great-Grandmother. 

The 1880 census takes me back one more generation. In it, a 70 year old Martha Byrum is listed as the Mother-in-Law of F. F. Starnes, my 3rd Great-Grandfather, meaning she was the mother of Mary Louise Byrum Starnes. 

Name:Martha Byram
Birth Year:abt 1810
Birthplace:South Carolina
Home in 1880:Rocky River, Cabarrus, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Mother-in-law
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:South Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:South Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and Dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
F.F. Starns51
Mary L. Starns43
Margaret A. Starns23
Thomas M. Starns19
Dalphia A. Starns10
Georgia A. Starns7
Fredrick L. Starns5
Dasie L. Starns2
Martha Byram70

This makes Martha (maiden name yet unknown) Byrum or Byram my 4th Great-Grandmother. But who was she?

This census tells us she was born in South Carolina about 1810, that she is a widow in 1880, and that both of her parents were born in South Carolina. Her daughter, Mary L., on the other hand, was born in North Carolina about 1837, her mother being born in South Carolina, and her father in North Carolina. 

And at this point, this is about all of the information I have on the mysterious Martha Byrum.

Being alive in 1880, it seems I should be able to find her in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census records. She may have been missed in one, or even two, but all? This puts Martha as my lady of mystery. What was her maiden name? Who and when did she marry? Where was she from 1850 until 1880, this South Carolina born lady. It seems likely that she may have been from either Lancaster or York Counties, and may have lived in Union County at some point.

A girl fitting the correct initials for Mary L Byrum, who married F. F. Starnes, shows up in the 1850 census of Union County, NC, not very far from where Fred Starnes Sr. (actually about the 4th or 5th in a long line of Frederick Starnes), Frederick Fincher Starnes father, is living. She is the right age, 14. I am almost sure this is my Mary Louise, but then, who are the other folks in the household? If I can find out more about them, perhaps I can solve one more mystery in the family tree.

Name:Mary L Byrom
Birth Year:abt 1836
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Union, North Carolina
Family Number:956
Household Members:
Elizabeth Byrom33
Mary L Byrom14
Mary Byrom70
Ephraim Starner28

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Amazing Discovery: The Brooms

I often am researching a very different family from the one I may be posting about, due to waiting on information or documents to arrive in the mail.

The current object of my research is Gilson Broom. Born in Union County, he eventually made his way to Stanly and appeared on an amazing document of whom the likes I have not seen. I  decided to find out who the individuals mentioned in this document were in an off-chance that I might discover more about the individual the document primarily concerned.

In that document, several times over, was the mention of Mr. Gilson Broom, and in the research of Mr. Gilson Broom, I came upon this fabulous newspaper article from The Monroe Journal, dated January 16, 1912. I am quite certain I am a descendant of the Union County Fincher and Broom families, although I have not yet found any absolute proof. I know that Frederick Fincher Starnes, who spent his early years and even into his first marriage and the birth of his oldest children, in Union County, was one of my second Great-Grandfathers. He lived his most productive years in Cabarrus County, moved after his second marriage to Charlotte, in Mecklenburg County, had land just over the state line on a "Rocky River Road" in Lancaster County, SC and even possibly have been born in Georgia.

Frederick Fincher Starnes married a lady named Mary Louise. There is an older lady living in their home named Martha Byram, Bynam or Broom assigned as his mother-in-law. So Mary Louise, my second Great-Grandmother, may have been a Broom. The name is not altogether legible in the original document. Fincher, as F. F Starnes's middle name, could have been a maternal maiden name passed down the family line, either mother or grandmother or other, and the Finchers were prevalent in Union County in the early days.

Mentioned in the following article are definate ancestors of mine, and many other Stanly County citizens who benefited from these early settlers on the Rocky River which became the Stanly/Union/Anson/Cabarrus counties lines. One of those was Tilman Helms, a direct ancestor of mine.

This article is a gem. Enjoy. I hope someone can find beneficial information from it.
Amazing story of the broom family

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More on the Early Days of John F. Capron

I'm still trying to discover more of the early life of John F. Capron. He was not John Foster Capron, who served in the Civil War and seemed to remain in New Hampshire. That much I have determined. In this quest, I have discovered a very interesting fact, that I believe, amazingly, is still our John F. Capron, simply because he disappears from one area and reappears in another, and the time frames work in sequence. There are no overlaps.

What I would really like to find out is where he was in 1830, or what household he may have been in. 1831 is the year of his first appearance in the court records of Davidson County, North Carolina. He is suing for debts owed against a William K Smith and a Timothy Chamberlain. The ad does mention that William K Smith does not or no longer lives in the county. Attempting to discover who these two men were have proven unfruitful. William K Smith is too common of a name to claim with any accuracy, but one does appear in Davidson County in the nearest census, which would have be the 1830 census. Two Timothy Chamberlains do show up in the 1830 census, but one is in Spotsylvania County, Virginia and the other in Camden, North Carolina.

There is a William Smith, no middle initial, in Davidson County in 1830, so that could possibly be the William K. Smith in debt to John F. Capron in 1831.

Name:William Smith
Home in 1830 (City, County, State):Davidson, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5:2
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29:1
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29:1
Free White Persons - Under 20:2
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:2
Total Free White Persons:4
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored):4

With no real luck there, I turned to the names of the men mentioned, whose property adjoined that of Mr. Smith. One of them was a Johnson, Clinton Johnson, a carriage maker, born about 1798. It could be of some consequence that John F. Capron's first wife was a Johnson or Johnston. Did he meet her in Alabama or did he travel with members of her family from NC to Alabama and marry her there?

A "statement of significance" concerning historical houses in Davidson County lists "The Shadrach Lambeth House", which is located "east of Thomasville in the northeast corner of Davidson County, where Randolph, Guilford and Davidson Counties intersect". This area near Thomasville is the same area of the county, known as "Imbley", where the Grimes family was settled, particularly Sally Grimes and her children, the mother of John F. Caprons oldest know child, Rosanna. The other "neighbor" of William K Smith was an Imbler, which I will delve into shortly.

From the site, and excellent article on many of the founding families of this area of Davidson County. Mentioned is the Grimes family, along with Sheriff Kennedy, who is mentioned often in the same court dates of John F. Caprons appearances. A branch of this same Kennedy family had migrated prior to this date into Stanly County. Also mentioned are the Moffitts, who had connections with the Winfield family. Were either of these families known to or by John F. Capron at this time?

The Lambeth house is described as being built for "either Clinton Johnson, a local coachmaker or Shadrach Lambeth, a prosperous farmer and physcian." The 1850 census describes Johnson as a coachmaker, so we have our first "adjoiner" in the proper location.

The other 'adjoiner', John Imbler, came from a family I've not discovered a great deal on, except for the fact that they were Germans who immigrated from Pennsylvania by the mid to late 1700's to "Rowan" County, which may have in the part of Rowan, that became Davidson, in the area of Davidson County that by the mid 1800's, became known as "Imbley" for this family. The name of Imbler was also spelled Embler and probably evolved by 'country folk mispronounciation' into Imbley.

Grimes Mill

The community of Imbley was in and later became known as the township of Conrad Hill and was a mining area. As the family of John F. Capron's daughter and her mother Sarah "Sally" Grimes Sullivan, all settled and lived in this exact area, it is not a stretch to assume that most likely, this is the area of Davidson County, John F. Capron lived in while in Davidson County during the 1830's. It was located east of Lexington and just south of Thomasville and north of Denton and Silver Hill Township.

The Conrad Hill area was concerned with mining and John F. Capron himself seems concerned with mining himself as he was first in this area, then later followed the miners west to California during the 1849 Gold Rush, although he is listed in the San Francisco 1850 City Directory as a carpenter. His ending days after marrying Julia Howell was spent near Bilesville in Stanly County, which was also a mining district during the time he lived there. He held a noticeable interest in mining.

What bothers me is the fact that to have had someone indebted to him enough to have undertaken the time consuming task of suing for this individuals resources and to have had the time to develop a relationship with Sally Grimes long enough to have impregnated her and fathered a child born in 1831, he should have also been in the area by 1830. As he is not in the 1830 census of Rowan or Davidson County that I can find, he would have had to have been boarding within the household of a Head of Household.

Conrad Hill Mine Information
Did he arrive to the area with family or friends from New Hampshire? Who was John connected to in Davidson County? And then, why, apparently, did he remove to South Carolina (most likely) and then Alabama?

The last court entry for John F. Capron in Davidson County is shown as:

Friday morning February 1835

Clerk's office vs John F. Capron
In this case on motion, it is ordered by the court that the sheriff have leave to make his return on said executions as last term. 

He does not reappear until his marriage to Matilda C. Johnson in 1839 in Sumter County, Alabama. Did he leave Davidson in 1835 and join the military in South Carolina by 1836? I believe so. There is not another possible Capron who was lingering in South Carolina traceable in this time. The "F" corroborates it. Lt. John F. Capron must be our John F. Capron. So after 1835, he drifted south to South Carolina, possibly following another mining interest or growing town.

Fold3 contains his military record as a South Carolina Volunteer. He served in the Indian Wars under Andy Jackson. His service year being 1836 and this earned him a piece of property, in apparently, Sumter County, Alabama.

Full Name:
John F Capron 1

Other Service 1

Corporal 1
Military Unit:
South Carolina Vols, Capt A.C. Jones, Col Goodwin 1
Service Year:
1836 1
South Carolina 1 
Warrant Number:
55-120-60557 1

"Twenty Brave Men"
By Jackson Walker
Hampshire County, West Virginia, Spring 1756 
National Guard Heritage Series

General D J Clinch mentions him in a report as a Leut. Capron:

After the war, was his settlement in Alabama singular or arbitrary or did he follow family, perhaps in-laws.

The area around Thomasville, in North Carolina, was heavily settled with Johnsons, along with Emblers, Becks, Hedricks, Grimes and Burkharts. Could John F. Capron have migrated south along with the family of his future wife Matilda, who he would marry in Alabama and who would sadly pass away in San Francisco?

Obviously, I have much more to discover about this interesting gent.
Name:Matilda C. Johnston
Marriage Date:30 Sep 1839
Marriage Place:, Sumter, Alabama
Spouse:John F. Capron
FHL Film Number:1293884

Name:Mathilda Capron
Age at Death:30
Birth Place:Warsaw Alabama
Death Date:abt 1851
Burial Date:20 May 1851
Burial Place:San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Funeral Home:N. Gray & Co. Funeral Records
Funeral Place:San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Record Type:Index
Source Reference:1850-1854

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Early Life of John F. Capron

When John F. Capron first shows up in the 1860 census of Anson County, newly married to wife Julia Howell, my ggggg-Aunt, and living next to his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Peter and Betsy Floyd Howell, he was not a young man. In his 54th year of life and a skilled mechanic and carriage maker, I knew there had to be a story, or at least a trace of him concerning the first 50 years of his life.

I started with a hint I found in the Western Carolinian from 1833, a newspaper of Salisbury, North Carolina.

Western Carolinian
(Salisbury, North Carolina)
13 January 1834 • Page 4

This placed John F Capron in Davidson County, North Carolina, prior to his arrival in Anson, by a few decades. Capron being a rare name, and extremely rare in North Carolina, the assurance that this was our John F. Capron is pretty certain and complete.

It also appears that he was having goods shipped in to Wilmington and bringing them up through Fayetteville, where he may have encounter the Howell brothers.

So I went to Davidson County to look for traces of this much traveled gentleman from New Hampshire who had married into the family.

He was there but for a brief time, but he had made his mark.

I have not yet had the opportunity to scour through the land records of Davidson County, yet, but I will, as I feel there is more to discover concerning Mr. John F. Capron, but this is what I uncovered in the Circuit Court records:

First appearance: Date: Feb. 19, 1831

John F. Capron vs. William K. Smith  No. 11 Original attachment levied on land. In this case, on motion, it is ordered by the court that publication be made for 3 weeks successively in the Greensboro Patriot published in Greensborough (their spelling, not mine), for the defendant to appear at the next term of this court and plead or replevy (again, their word, not mine),  otherwise an order for the sale of said lands will be made in favor of the plaintiff in this action.
Item image
As this case was dated 1831 and the above ad was dated 1833, Mr. Capron was in pursuit of Mr. Smith, who had left the county, for some time.

By the next year, John F. Capron had apparently established himself in the trusts of the powers that were in Davidson County.

Second mention: "Constables appointed for 1832"

John F. Capron was appointed Constable for the ensuing year. He gave bond with Charles Hoover, William Sullivan and David Huffman, his securities, in $4000. He was approved and he qualified according to the law. 

Of important mention in the this same list was also this entry:

Allen Newsome was appointed Constable for the ensuing year. He gave bond with Wm Varner, Wm Cox, John W. Thomas, James Adderton, Mathew Varner and William Ward. 

Allen Newsome married Charlotte Howell, daughter of Jordan Howell and a first cousin of John F. Capron's future wife Julia. It seems that the two daughters of Jordan Howell, Charlotte and Clarrissa, had came to live with their grandmother, Sarah Winfield Howell Davis, after the death of their father, in Fayetteville, because they both married men from this part of North Carolina, Charlotte marrying Allen Newsome, of Southern Davidson County and Clarrissa marrying Jeremiah Broadaway whose family was Rocky River neighbor of Sarah and Job. Their brother remained in Fayetteville, an apprentice of his fathers business partner, Paris Tillinghast, and removed later with the Tillinghast family to Columbus County, Georgia.

The next entry was a total shock, a young man, John F. Capron had apparently fullfilled his passions.

Thursday morning, November the 15th. 1832

State vs John F. Capron  No. 6 Bastardy  Sally Grimes, prosecutor. In this case on motion, judgement nisi for $24 was awarded against the defendant. The first year's allowance for the maintenance of a baseborn child begotten upon the body of the prosecutor, Sally Grimes of which said child the said John F. Capron stands charged as the reputed father. 

Thursday morning, February 14, 1833 Gotlieb Grimes vs John F. Capron
Pleas general issue, accord and satisfaction....finds all issues in favor of the defendant. 

These two clues led to research on Gotlieb Grimes and Sarah or Sally Grimes. I found them and curious as to whether this child lived or died, discovered she lived, her name being Rosanna E. Grimes and she grew up, married and had her own family. More on her later.

Later in 1833:

John F. Capron vs Benjamin Saunders
3 casas. Jonas Myers, who was bail for the defendant Benjamin Saunders, came into open court and surrendered the said  Saunders in discharge of himself from bail. Saunders ordered into the hands of the sheriff. 

August sessions 1833

John F Capron vs Benjamin Saunders, principal John W. Thomas, Jonas Myers bail. Again a surrender of bail and Saunders posting his own bond.

February 13, 1834

John F. Capron vs William K Smith and Timothy Chamberlain
Original attachment levied on land. It was acknowledged that the advertisement, one of which is seen above, was made. The land was ordered to be sold by the sheriff after the advertisement and sheriff fees paid, the balance to go to John F. Capron.

May 1834  John F Capron vs Smith and Chamberlain again.

Friday morning February 1835

Clerk's office vs John F. Capron
In this case on motion, it is ordered by the court that the sheriff have leave to make his return on said executions as last term. 

And this is the last court case involving John F. Capron in Davidson County.
Old Church in Sumter County, Alabama

Name:John F. Capron
Marriage Date:30 Sep 1839
Marriage Place:, Sumter, Alabama
Spouse:Matilda C. Johnston

By fall of 1839, John F. Capron is in Sumter, Alabama, perhaps traveling with other Davidson County residents, perhaps alone on business. Here he meets his first wife, Matilda C. Johnston, who I believe was the daughter of a William Johnston.

Oddly though, John shows up alone in the 1840 census. Perhaps his wife was still at home.

Name:John F Capron
Home in 1840 (City, County, State):Sumter, Alabama
Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39:1
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:1
Total Free White Persons:1
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves:1

In the land records, there are listed 2 transactions involving him. I have not yet recieved these documents. One involves him and a company called Johnson & Tubb. Perhaps this was his father-in-laws business. Another was between him and William Jennings.

Warsaw, Sumter, Alabama

45CapronJohnJohnson & Tubb
45CapronJohn F.JenningsWilliam et alH700

He must have acquired a piece of land in Alabama, as his name, misspelled, shows up in the 1850 tax list. But he was not there.

Name of Parties Assessed, page in volume party appears on

CAPSON, John F., 23:


Assessment of Taxes on Real Estate in the County of Sumter for the year 1850

He does not appear in the 1850 census of Sumter County, Alabama. John has been on the move again. He has became a miner 49er'.

Home in 1850:Yuba, California
Family Number:460
Household Members:
Francis Reed22
James Atwell37
Eliza Jane Flinn12
Mary Ann Flinn10
Nancy Flinn8
Robert Flinner5
Samuel Florie5
John S Capron25
Mardecia McKinley49
Edward Stillward24
J Daniely29
Seth F Sanger21
James H Hopkins21

He shows up in a list of "Miners" in 1850 Yuba, California.

The message boards from are now read only. No more information can be added. However, I found an otherwise anonymous gentleman by the name of "Rick" had posed this question about our John F. Capron that added a little more information about him while in Califorinia. In a City Directory, he was listed as a Carpenter, although the census has him as a miner.

"Can anyone give me some information on this John F Capron, I found him in the 1850 San Francisco, California City directory he was listed as a Carpenter, he could have lived at Green and Stockton, or worked for a Green and Stockton." Posted by "Rick". 

The above is the page from the 1850 San Francisco City Directory. Green and Stockton appeared to be a company that invested in the building of the quickly growing town, rather than in the direct pursuit of gold. 

The death of Matilda Capron cements the fact that John F. Capron in Alabama was the same one in California, despite the fact that Matilda was not listed in the 1850 census with him and that the middle initial was improperly transcribed, that miner John "S" Capron was actually John "F" Capron. Not only is her spouse listed, also that fact that she was born in Alabama. This is our Matilda C. Johnston Capron. 

The Sad History of the Yerba Buena Cemetery in San Francisco

Yerba Buena Cemetery was one of the oldest in the city, established during the Gold Rush boom in 1850 and closed in 1871. It was the first city-sanctioned cemetery in SF, and many bodies from unofficial cemeteries in Russian Hill, North Beach, and Telegraph Hill were moved here after neighbors complained of the unsanitary situation. Located below the original SF Public Library building, all of the bodies were supposedly moved to other cemeteries when it was closed. But when construction began to remodel the library into the Asian Art Museum in 2001, there were some unexpected discoveries - 18 skeletons, 25 feet in from the sidewalk and 13 feet below ground, all dating from the mid to late 1800s
from ""
San Francisco 1849
Not Frisco...Yerba Buena Cemetery

Perhaps it was the death of his wife that brough John F. Capron back to North Carolina. Perhaps he wanted to reconnect with his daughter, Rosanna Grimes Burkhart. Perhaps he had a business opportunity. Or perhaps it was something to do with the death of John W. Howell, an old business partner. For whatever reason, he arrived in North Carolina in time to join his second bride, Julia Howell in the 1860 census. And with her and in North Carolina, he remained.

Next, to explore the families of his children who survived long enough to have their own families: Rosanna E. Grimes Burkhart and Edward O. Capron.