Monday, July 16, 2018

Bad Girls of Stanly County: The Disorderly House of Sarah Eudy.

Making Connections in the Montgomery County HowellsI've been purviewing my CD collection of old Stanly County Court records again. One day, one day, I'm going to transcribe the ones of these suckers, that have not been transcribed already, and make them available to the public somehow. There is so much information in them, but it might be information that some people would rather not find.

As can be expected, at any time in history, really, men dominated the Superior Court docket in the 1880's, the decade I'm currently in on the discs. Lots of land disputes and debts claimed, retailing ( selling illicit alchohol), affray (fighting), assault and battery predominated, but there was the occasional disturbing a religious service, larceny, ejectment, mismarking livestock, damaging crops, damaging livestock, slandering a lady, and even one or two murders a year, yes, even in the 1880's.

But for me, maybe because I am a woman, the most interesting cases, the juiciest ones, seemed to involve women. Perhaps, also, because of their potential genealogical value as well.

There were divorces, sometimes brought to court by the wife, other times by the husband. There were the F & A cases, fornication and adultery, that named the illicit couples, and also perhaps the father of an unmarried woman's children. There were the cases in which a man was charged with "Seduction" and the prosecuting witness was the father of an underaged daughter, or even the husband the 'seduced'.

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But women also got into some of the same mischief as the 'fellars'. They stole, they trespassed, they drank, they brawled...just..not as often. In fact, some in my family tree, the female members of a particular family, were notorious for fighting amongst themselves and with neighbors, it seemed. They had such a reputation for it that it has persisted to modern times. As my distant cousin, Don Aldridge, would inform me about my particular branch of Aldridges, who descended from these fighting female Murrays, his Aunt Maudie Scarboro had said of them, "They weren't nice people".

In fact, one story I will cover, when I finally get to the end of the dragged out court case, ( that is not a new phenomena, I've discovered), was a brawl between Sophia Murray Whitaker and Martha Ross Murray. Martha was the wife of Sophia's brother Benjamin Murray. They were bonded out of jail by a brother-in-law, John T. Turner, who was married to another Murray sister, Phoebe.

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In fact, there were several names of female Stanly Countians that kept coming up in the court records, year after year, at various times, that I have dubbed them, "The Bad Girls of Stanly County".  Some of these 19th century ladies may, and actually, probably do, have living descendants. If you see a name that looks familiar, like a name in your family tree, and you don't want to admit that this naughty young girl was the saintly octogenarian your Dad remembered from his childhood, then don't tell anybody. Just remember, people who sowed wild oats in their youth, often became the most puritan of grandparents as they aged, if they survived their youth. It happens today. It happened then.

I begin this series (while I am also busy researching my Ramsey's and my Mountains), with the story of Sarah Eudy.

In the year 1886, one Sarah Eudy of Stanly County was brought to court,  charged with keeping a "Disorderly House". Now, this did not mean she was not a tidy housekeeper.

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The online dictionary explains the term "Disorderly House" with one word, a term that most people would be more familiar with.

dis·or·der·ly house
diˈsôrdərlē houz/
  1. a brothel.

Wikipedia gives a bit more detail and background for the term, and the criminal charge.

Disorderly House

place where individuals reside or which they frequent for purposes that pose a threat to public health, morals, convenience,or safety, and that may create a public NuisanceA disorderly house is an all-inclusive term that may be used to describesuch places as a house of prostitution, an illegal gambling casino, or a site where drugs are constantly bought and sold. It isany place where unlawful practices are habitually carried on by the public.

So, Sarah Eudy, in other words, was letting her home be used as a place where illegal activities were taking place to the extent it was a nuisance to the surrounding community.

Now, Sarah Eudy was a fairly common name in old Stanly County and neighboring Cabarrus. There were quite a few Sarahs. It was not going to be the Sarah born in 1800, or the Sarah born in 1885. It wasn't going to be the Sarah's who were happily married and having a steady stream of babies by the their husbands,  either. So, when all of the "Not" Sarah's were eliminated, it left by one.

Women in these positions opened themselves up to socially-condoned abuse as seen in this article from neighboring Rowan, where a woman's proposed reputation gave some young men impetus to harrass and assault her.

 - years on the roads. Four young men were...

The Concord Times
(Concord, North Carolina)
  • Page 2

I wondered if Sarah Eudy was connected to or related to this Julia Udy (Eudy), who was also arrested for keeping a disorderly house, about a decade earlier, in Cabarrus County.

 - an-nounced. a lb ; gnil- gnil- and b county...

The Sun
(Concord, North Carolina)
  • Page 1

As you can see, the Victorian era was rife with women commiting crimes of conduct against social mores. Margaret Earnhardt and John Lumley were charged with bastardy, meaning they had a child out of wedlock, as did Ellen Daywalt and Robert A. Patterson. Cornelia Parker and Adam Winecoff were up for Fornication and Adultery. Harvey Reed, whose name I am familiar with, as he was a man of mixed heritage who had served as Civil War soldier, along with a few other free persons of color in Stanly and Cabarrus County. A white woman called M. J. Bost was charged with Fornication and Adultery in an illicit relationship with him. The morality police were very busy.

In her book, "Unruly Women, The Politics of Social & Sexual Control in the Old South", author Victoria E. Bynum, drew on records from the courts of three counties in North Carolina, one of those being Montgomery, a parent county and neighbor to Stanly. In addressing the issues of 'Disorderly Houses', Ms. Bynum noted:

'Prostitution was usually included within the general charge of operating a "disorderly house", rather than being the sole issue of an indictment.'

She also noted that, "Most of those accused of prostitution or of operating "disorderly houses" were poor women who lived in female headed households and lacked extensive kinship networks in their communities". 

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Sarah Eudy skirted the definition of those accusations. Due to the sensitivity of the charges she faced, and the fact that they might be an embarrassment to any surviving family members, I am not going to identify her in any clear way that anyone outside her familial bounds could identify. She shared her name with enough other females in the counties in which she resided that it does not specifically pin her down.

Sarah was by all accounts a beautiful woman. She was born in Western Stanly near the Cabarrus County line. Her family was of an unusual, nearly incestual structure. Like many of her generation, she was the daughter of a Confederate Soldier. Her father had outlived multiple wives. Her mother was his last and was the widow of one of his sons, making the relationship between his and her older children and younger children an unusual one of half-siblings/aunt or uncle combination and a genetic nightmare for descendants attempting to determine relationships among their genetic matches in this line.

Her father died before she was arrested for operating a disorderly house, but her mother had not. She was not alone in her arrest, but accompanied by three other young women, it appears, one of them a family member.

It is unclear what exactly happened to her immediately after she was released from jail, as there was no 1890 census. But 14 years in the future, in the 1900 census, she was living in another county and with a brother. One thing that was clear, she had had a relationship with a single Stanly County man about her own age, and had given birth to a child with him.

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The father of her child never married, and was clearly known to his daughter, as he was mentioned on her marriage license and her death certificate. He, however, was probably estranged from her, as he did not mention her in his will.

Sarah was very young upon her arrest and still in her late twenties when she became a mother. But her story was not over. At about 40, Sarah, despite her reputation, was married to a widower about 20 years her senior. Surprisingly, she had another child, while in her early 40's.

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It wasn't long before her older husband left her a widow. After 2 years alone, Sarah would marry again, to another old soldier 20 years her elder. He was in his 70's and she had hit 50, but surprisingly, he outlived her by a few years.

Sarah's death seems particularly sad. She was just in her 50's, having only been remarried a few years. She died of chronic nephritis and extreme intoxication. She drank herself to death, and was very likely an alchoholic. The informant was her husband, who correctly named her parents, and she was buried very close to where she was born.

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What had taken this woman to her station in life? She was no more or no less situated than most of those who surrounded her. I guess that answer lies in tragic void. Rest in Peace, Sarah, your house is now orderly.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Other Ramseys: Richard and Samuel

John Ramsey only showed up in the 1790 census of Anson County. He recieved a Grant on Lane's Creek in 1774 and between those two dates, he was mentioned in several land transactions.

He did not show up in the 1799 petition of the residents of Anson County or the 1800 census of Anson County.

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My ancestor, Starkey aka "Stark" Ramsey shows up for the first time in the 1800 census and in every census between there and 1850, his last. He recieved a Land Grant in 1803, "bordering John Ramsey and Abercrombie".  It is very likely that John Ramsey and Stark Ramsey were related.

But Stark was not the only Ramsey to show up in the 1800 census. There was one other.

Samuel Ramsey also shows up in the 1800 census, near Stark Ramsey, and living in the same neighborhood, among the names listed as bordering the property of John Ramsey, or in whose land transactions Stark served as a witness.

This list is a bit difficult to read, especially at this size, so I will transcribe.

Thomas Stone
Charles Ferrell
Edward Winfield * This is my 5th Great Uncle Edward Winfield, Esquire, for whom the Winfield Road in Stanly and Anson was named. He is mentioned in several deeds that his property bordered with that of John Ramsey.
Mathew Turner
Everhart Verhine *This is the poor man whose name was spelled a gazillion different ways, He is also mentioned in deeds involving John Ramsey.
Avery Lucky
John Stone
Reuben Hildreth * Starkey Ramsey witnesses the 1797 deed from Elijah Hogan to Reuben Hildreth, or Heldrith, of Montgomery County. Elijah Hogan moved to Georgia. He was a son of James Hogan of Anson. Others of his family moved to Giles County, Tennesee.
Samuel Ramsey ****
Jeptha Morris
Thomas Threadgill
Griffin Nash * Griffin was a son-in-law of my ancestor Peter Winfield and also my 5th Great Granduncle by marriage. His name appears in multiple deeds with land joining that of John Ramsey. He was a brother-in-law of the above mentioned Edward Winfield. When his first wife, Jemima Ramsey died, he married a daughter of Phillip Lynch, another neighbor. His children, over half of them, would migrate at various times to Mississippi, Missourit, Arkansas and on to Texas.
Ephriam Adkins
Hugh Ross * There were multiple Hugh's. Not sure if this was Jr. or Sr. Hugh Ross is also mentioned in deeds bordering John Ramsey. Hugh Ross originated in Mecklenburg County, Virginia along with my Davis, Winfield, Freeman and Marshall ancestors and sold the property in Anson to Peter Winfield.
John Hicks
Uriah Tison * Also appears in deeds of land bordering John Ramsey
Nathan Morris * Starkey Ramsey witnesses the 1800 deed of Nathan Morris to John McDaniel.
Edward Freeman * A nephew of Charlotte Freeman Winfield and cousin of Edward Winfield
William H. Davidson
Whitwell Ryal
Cason Harrell
Jacob Tison
John Watson
George Threadgill

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This is the age and gender breakdown of the Samuel Ramsey household in 1800.

Name:Samuel Ramsey
Home in 1800 (City, County, State):Fayetteville, Anson, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males -10 thru 15:1
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25:1
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over:1
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10:1
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25:1
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over:1
Number of Household Members Under 16:2
Number of Household Members Over 25:2
Number of Household Members:6

The persons enumerated in Samuel Ramsey's household were as follows:

A male and female over 45. A male 16 to 25, a male 10 to 15
A female 16 to 25 and a female 10 to 15.

Was Samuel over 45, or could he have been the male 16 to 25? Could the older couple be his parents and the younger two teenagers be his siblings and the young woman be his wife?

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The only other trace of Samuel Ramsey in Anson County is the 1799 Petition to the Assembly by the citizens of "Upper Anson".

Petition of the Citizens of Upper Anson from the Research of Ben Thomas of Anson.

In the third section, Samuel Ramsey is listed next to my ancestor, Peter Winfield, who died in 1803, David Helms and Darling Allen.

In the last section, Stark Ramsey is listed near Davis Yarbrough and Robertson Pistole, his 1850 Burnsville Township neighbor.

These are the only two mentions of Samuel Ramsey (the first) in Anson County. Due to the proximity, he was very likely a relative of John Ramsey and Starkey Ramsey.

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During the early part of the 1800's, there was a mass migration from there to Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and even Indiana and areas further west as those areas opened up. Could Samuel Ramsey have been one of those individuals? Most likely. So I decided to look to see where there were Samuel Ramsey's in 1810.

There were actually 11! There was a Samuel over 45 in Burke County, North Carolina. There was a Samuel Ramsey in Abbeville District, South Carolina with a very large family and 13 slaves. This was very likely not our Samuel as the ones in Anson never owned slaves. There were Samuel's in New Hamphire, New York and Pennsylvania. These 3 were also not likely to be our Samuel as migrations tended to be south and west. Not impossible, but not very likely. There was one in Augusta, Virgina, an area I see a great deal in the trees of Ramsey family dna matches, but this one is only between 16 and 25, a young man just getting started. Too young to be our Samuel in Anson 10 years prior. There are two other Samuel's in Virginia, one in Rockbridge and another in Brooke. Not impossible, but also not likely. Those are two counties I've never seen Ansonites heading to or really, never from. There's a Samuel in Kentucky. Possible, but most families who migrated to Kentucky came from Virginia or Pennsylvania, not North Carolina. Then there is a Samuel in Nashville, Rutherford, Tennessee. The most likely candidates to be the Anson Samuel would be the one in Tennessee, or the one in Burke. There was also a Richard Ramsey in Burke.

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Richard Ramsey does not appear in any census or petition of Anson County. He only witnesses three deeds.

The first is in September of 1788 Joshua Davis and wife Hannah of Anson to James Marshall of the same, 65 acres on the southside of the Rocky River beginning at the upper corner of the plantation, near the mouth of a small branch, being a corner of an old grant and above the mouth of the Spring Branch. Signed by Joshua and Hannah Davis and witnessesed by Drury Robertson and Nathaniel Robertson, along with Richard Ramsey. 

It must be noted that in other deeds, the land of Joshua Davis bordered that of Phillip Lynch, Griffin Nash and Edward Winfield. As did that of John Ramsey. It is also worthy to note that Drury and Nathaniel Robertson were part of the Southside Virginia party who had migrated to Anson just a few years before with Peter Winfield and his inlaws, and the Marshall family.

The second deed, dated January 17, 1793 was between James Fletcher and James McIlvale (of Montgomery and Anson to Griffin Nash of  Anson, a tract of land that began near a pole near Ross'es line (no doubt Hugh Ross), joins Camp Branch and Marks Branch (the name of this branch intriques me because of my Marks ancestry, where did it get that name?). It was signed James Fletcher and James McIlvale with Rufus Johnson and Edward Winfield as witnesses.

In April of 1794, James McIlvale was the fellow who would sell 150 acres on Little Creek to John Ramsey. And of course, again, the properties of Griffin Nash and Edward Winfield adjoined that of John Ramsey

October 16, 1792 William Davenport, planter, of Anson to Joshua Williams, esquire (meaning these two were men of substance) 100 acrea on Lanes Creek near a drain of Clemons branch and being near Joshua Williams line and joins the drain of Cedar branch. Signed by William Davenport, with John Broadway and Richard Ramsey as witnesses.

The Broadway family also occupied this area and lived near Stark Ramsey.

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In 1793 John Ricketts of Anson sold to John Preslar of Anson 100 acres  that begin near Isham O'Neal's line and joined Preslar's path and included an old improvement that was granted to Anthony Preslar in 1790. It was signed by John Ricketts and witnessed by Joshua William, from the last deed, and Richard Ramsey. 

And this is the last mention of Richard Ramsey. He either passed away or migrated away before the 1799 petition and 1800 census. Most likely, he migrated. Was he the Richard Ramsey in Burke?

A quick look shows that Richard Ramsey was in Burke County in the 1790, 1800 and 1810 census of  Burke County.

Research can be a tedious process of looking first at the most likely scenarios, and through the proces of elimination, whittling those scenarios and individuals down, until you are left with the most probable possibilities, and then you have to dig in those areas for documentation and proof. It could be a biography of their children or grandchildren, documents or letters kept by descendants of migrant kin that documents their origins; involvement of known neighbors who appeared to stay connected during their travels that link back to the place of origin. Sometimes, it was just too long ago to find any concrete evidence that would be considered proof for SAR or DAR membership, but it could possibly be enough, that you know in your heart, that this person was the one you were looking for.
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Speaking of...there is a John Ramsey in 1800 in Richmond County, North Carolina. Oh, just beyong Anson, joining Montgomery and Anson...Could this be the John I was looking for? Could the Ramsey be like the Maskes and Christians and Robertson and countless others with plantations and property all up and down the Pee Dee River?

The search continues....