Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Estate of Gideon Green Burris

My ancestor Gideon Greene Burris was born October 4, 1831 in Stanly County, North Carolina and died November 7, 1898 in the same.  At 19 years old he took a bride of his cousin, Obedience Hathcock, known as Beadie, daughter of Benjamin Franklin Hathcock and Nancy Ann Burris. G. G. Burris was the son of Solomon Burris, Jr. and Sarah Morgan. His grandfather, Solomon Burris, Sr. , a Revolutionary War Veteran, was the patriarch of a large family of Burris's in and around Stanly County and beyond. The name began as, and is also seen as Burroughs.

Gideon Greene Burris was likely named for Gideon Greene, another early settler in the Stanly/Anson/Union/Cabarrus area. There was a Gideon Green and a Gideon Green, Jr. They were closely connected to the Austin family, which also had close connections to the Burris's and to the Morgan's of the Morgan Mill area, south of present day Oakboro, from which G. G. Burris's mother Sarah came. They were likely a group of Baptists with ties to Haynes church, a very old church in the area in Revolutionary War days, and located close to a Green cemetery.

Thomas's wonderful account of the Gideon Green family

Gideon Green Burris, Sr and Obedience Hathcock Burris had 11 children:

1851    David T Burris (my ancestor: David T, daughter Rowena, mother of my grandfather, my Dad, Me)
1852    James Chesley Burris
1854    Sarah Jane Burris
1856    Rutha Cumire Burris
1857    Malinda Burris
1858    Martin Luther Burris
1861    Gideon Green Burris, Jr
1864    Mary M. Burris
1865    Obedience Catherine Burris
1867    Gracie Bernice Burris
1868    William Rufus Burris

I have also seen John Wright Burris attributed to Gideon Green and Obedience Hathcock Burris, but his parents were Allen Burris and Lucy Hinson Burris.

G.G Burris, Sr and Beadie Burris also raised their grand-daughter Dollie Burris born in 1881. She was the illegitimate daughter of their daughter Malinda, who passed away not long after her birth. I have seen her attributed to them as well, but they were her grand-parents. Dollie married David T Burris's son, Duncan, when she was 17. She died within a year later.

Little Girls from Saint Martin

These little girls pictures were made in the Saint Martin community between Albemarle and Oakboro sometime in the mid 1940's. The woman with them is Patty Whitley Huneycutt and she does not remember whose children they were.

The may be members of the Whitley, Honeycutt, Hooks, or Aldridge families. The oldest girl was probably born between 1938 and 1942. The younger one probably around 1943 or 1944. They were probably sisters.

If you can identify these children, if they look like your aunt or your grandmother, please leave a comment or message me.




The counties of North Carolina, just as in the counties of any other state, were not mapped out at one particular time. The boundaries were in constant flux, as smaller counties were cut off of larger ones, and sections of land were fought over, just as in the boundary problems of the states. North Carolina was no different. My homeland, Stanly County, was not born until 1841. Before that, she was part of Montgomery, and prior to 1799, Montgomery and Stanly were a part of Anson, and at one time, the whole thing was Bladen.

It is important to know when all this happened, when you are researching a family, because records can be in more than one county, even if your family was more or less sitting still. And if they were a boundary family, like my Starnes or Lemmonds, records can be all over the place. They lived pretty much where Cabarrus, Stanly, Union and Mecklenburg all come together or at least close to each other. Records have bee found in all counties. Graves too.

Knowing that Union, the central breeding ground of the Starnes tribe, did not become Union until 1842, carved off of parts of Anson and Mecklenburg, helped me to know when to look in Mecklenburg for records, and when Union. They did not seem to hover near Anson.

Sometimes townships, or communities did not stay in their original county, even after the boundaries were formed. Hoke County was born in 1911, and that was where the farm of John T. Davis was located, in the Little River community, at one time. When the Fort Bragg Reservation was formed, it cut Little River off, which was north of the military reserve, from the rest of the county. Eventually, Little River became a part of the county bordering it, Moore. The citizens there went to the town of Vass for business anyway, to see the doctor, go to church or for other purposes. So some records are located in Moore, others in Hoke.

Below is a progression of how the old North State got her counties.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Another Mystery Solved

Verina Isabelle McSwain Whitley
Page 194  1880 Tyson Census

P 195  1880 Tyson census
Page 196  1880 Tyson census
Inez C McSwain was a young woman who lived a brief life in the Tyson community of Stanly County around the turn of the Century. She was born in March of 1874 to a 14 year old mother, whose father had died during the Civil War and whose mother had remarried her uncle by marriage, Caleb Hampton Aldridge. Her step-father, Caleb Hampton Aldridge, was also the father of her daughter, the above mentioned Inez C McSwain.

Inezzie, as she was called, also became an unwed teenaged mother, having her two oldest daughters, Jennie Lenora McSwain and Verina Isabelle McSwain, prior to her marriage to William Thomas Hooks, with whom she would have 2 more daughters, Martha Irene and Lena. 

Inez was my cousin, her father being the brother of my great, great grandmother, Julina Aldridge Davis. Her oldest daughter Nora, would also marry a grandson of Job Davis, John Teeter Davis. Inez's husband, Tom Hooks, is also my cousin, being the half-brother of one of my paternal  great-grandmother's Lottie Hill. 

Until yesterday, the father, or fathers of Inezzie's oldest two daughters, born in 1891 and 1892, were unknown. Neither the girls marriage licenses or death certificates listed a father. 

Yesterday, I was perusing the microfilm on file at the public library heritage room. 

Thankful Thursday is an ongoing theme with Geneabloggers. In this instance, I am thankful to Mr. & Mrs. Gaskin for keeping these records on microfilm. On C. R .089.102.2, I found the Stanly County Bastardy Bonds from 1892-1923.

And in that collection the below document. 

State & Inez McSwain vs. Thomas D Green

"We the undersigned Thomas D Green and J. M Harward acknowledge ourselves indebited to the state of North Carolina in the sum of One Hundred dollars to be paid, however, on condition that the above named Thomas D Green shall in all respects perform an order made in the above entitled bastardy proceeding at this term of  the superior court of said county for the maintenance of the said child of Inez McSwain and shall indemnify the county from  all charges for the maintenance of said child, the order above referred to requiring the defendant to pay the said Inez McSwain twenty dollars in cash, fifteen dollars on the first day of June, 1892 and the remaining $15 on the 11th day of November 1892, and also a fine of Ten dollars and costs. This April 15, 1892. 

It is signed T. D. Green and Myrick Harward. There is also a receipt for $50 signed by Inez McSwain. 

This may have been a little confusing if not for the message from a descendant of Isabelle Aldridge, a half-sister/aunt of Inezzie who was one year her junior and who married the brother of Inez's future husband. 

Why were two men in court and signing the bond? They were not related. 

Myrick or Mike Harward had been in court the previous year for Inez's daughter, Nora, born in 1891. This was 1892, and the child was her second daughter, Verina. 

The story passed down from Isabelle's family was that a wealthy farmer, an older, married man, had been "sniffing around young Izzie", Hamp Aldridges legitimate daughter with his second wife Bettie, Nezzie's grandmother. Hamp was very angry about this, and threaten severe bodily harm or death to this Mr. Harward if he laid his hands on Izzie as he had already "ruined" or "rurnt" Nezzie. There was not a first name given for this Mr. Harward. 

The documents show that the Harward mentioned was J. M. Harward. On examing who the citizens of the community were, he turns up to be Joshua Myrick Harward, a member of my Hudson crew, son of Beverly Harward and Martha "Patsy" Hudson. He was also married, to Betty Carpenter. Mike Harward, as he was called was born May 15, 1848 and died October 4, 1939. He is buried at Silver Springs Baptist Church near Aquadale. 

Mike and Bettie Harward

The Hallowed document that solves the mystery
The Thomas D Greene mentioned in the document was Thomas Deberry Greene, a son of William Henry Deberry Greene and Caroline "Nancy" Treadaway. W. H. D Greene is buried at Rehobeth cemetery near Cottonville. Thomas D Greene is shown as 16 in the 1880 census of Tyson while Nezzie is 6. His estate records are listed in 1895, meaning he died young, just a few years after his daughter Verina was born.
Nancy Caroline Treadaway Greene, mother of Thomas Deberry Greene and  Verina's grandmother she never  knew about. 

Receipt from Inezzie that Tom paid her child support.
The research on this is long from over. Tom's estate records are on order. His father, WHD Greene, died the same year as Tom, so I am wondering if they died from an accident at the same time, or they both contracted a deadly disease, or if it was just coincidence. But as far as the who fathered Inezzies' daughters, the mystery is solved.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A New Branch on the Family Tree

I recieved the best Christmas present ever yesterday. My oldest son informed me with this beautiful gift of a framed ultrasound to let me know that I would be a grandmother again in June. It will be his first child. I was so excited I couldn't stop jumping up and down screaming. I love it as my family gets larger.

As we loose leaves off the branches, we also gain fruit. 

A family tree is not made up just of those who come before us, but also of those who come after.

Thank you Ben and Tracy for making this year's Christmas one to remember. I am so happy to have something to look forward to and so excited that our precious little Eli will have a cousin.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Kinneys of Healing Springs

Water Tower at Jackson Hill
Christian Kinney and his wife Catherine Schmidt had already settled in the area that is now southern Davidson County, North Carolina around the Jackson Hill community while Davidson County was still part of Rowan. Among his children was son Rev. Alfred Kinney who would marry Elizabeth Morris and have 13 children: John, Leonard, Nancy Ann, Margaret Adeline, Benjamin, Daniel, Deberry R, Alexander, Alfred Douglas, Caroline, another Nancy, another Margaret, David Emmanuel and William Pinkney. 

Youngest son, William Pinkney Kinney would marry Nancy Carroll and have three children and his only son Berry R Kinney would set up a farm near his father in the Healing Springs community near Jackson Hill.

The family had a long history of working for the Surratt Mill in Jackson Hill as William Pinkney is shown as working there in "Flour and Grist Mill, Manufacturing Surratt Mill" in 1880.

Historic Marker commemorating the town of Jackson Hill
Other families in the community were the Surratts, Ingrams, Stokes, Loflins, Carrolls, Feezors, Carricks, Badgett, Shiptons, Cole's, Newsoms, Redwines, Morris's, Reeds and Doby's. 

View of the Uwharries from the Kinney farm

Berry R. Kinney would marry Rachel Mae Myers, known as Mae, and have 4 children in the early days of the new century.

Kinney Homeplace

His 2 sons and 2 daughters were Alta Valedia Kinney, born November 8, 1904, Zelda C Kinney, born August 22, 1906, John Pinkney Kinney born August 7, 1910 and Marvin Lee Kinney born January 14, 1914.

Nature taking over the old Homeplace

As the country went to war, not once, but twice, the Kinney girls went to work, Valedia in the Stanly County Cotton Mills in Albemarle, NC and Zelda as a clerk/typist in Winson-Salem, North Carolina.

Miss Zelda Kinney
Residence Year:1929
Street Address:2415 Elizabeth av
Residence Place:Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Publication Title:Winston-Salem, N. C. City Directory

View straight through the old house

John Pink Kinney
Birth Date:7 Aug 1910
Birth Place:Davidson, North Carolina
Residence:Denton, Davidson, North Carolina
Registration Year:1940
Relationship:Self (Head)
Household Members:
John Pink Kinney
Berry R Kinney
Both John and Marvin would serve their country in WWII and made it back 

The daughters would marry, the sons would not. Valedia would marry a much older widower, John Teeter Davis. The marriage would be short-lived, as he would die just a few short years later. Valedia, pregnant with twins,  would put her minor step-children in the Barium Springs Orphanage in Iredell County, and return to her parents home, where she would remain until about 1942.
Veledia Davis
[Veledia Kinney] 
Estimated Birth Year:abt 1906
Birthplace:North Carolina
Marital Status:Widowed
Relation to Head of House:Daughter
Home in 1940:Healing Spring, Davidson, North Carolina
View Map
Street:Highway N 8
Inferred Residence in 1935:Healing Spring, Davidson, North Carolina
Residence in 1935:Same House
Sheet Number:1B
Attended School or College:No
Highest Grade Completed:Elementary school, 7th grade
Hours Worked Week Prior to Census:6
Class of Worker:Working on own account
Weeks Worked in 1939:52
Income Other Sources:Yes
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Berry R Kinney61
May Kinney58
John P Kinney29
Marvin Kinney26
Veledia Davis34
Jennie Lee Davis7
J T Davis7

She was working as a laundress. Her younger brothers were also in the home and so were her boy/girl twins.  Berry and John were listed as farmers who owned their property, while Marvin was listed as a Yardman working for wages.
Zelda marries Walter K Yarbrough from Forsyth County and they remain citizens of Winston-Salem. Valedia will remarry another much older widower, Curtis Lee Peace and have another set of twins, John Lea and Johnsie, and two other children, Jerry Ray and Sarah. Curtis Peace will die in 1947 and Valedia in 1949. Johnsie died as an infant, but her other 3 children by Curtis Peace are put up for adoption. Sarah, the youngest, will have her name changed to Carol. The boys will only lose their last names, but not their connections to family.

Berry R. Kinneys family were buried at Clear Creek Community Cemetery.
Clear Springs Post
I learned from the pastor of the church, Rev. Davis, that the cemetery existed long before the church did. People had settled around the Springs and the cemetery served the community. There were two churchs, one in Newsome, a town that is mostly underwater after the High Rock dam was built, and the one at Jackson Hill, which has been relocated to Denton Farm Park.
Denton Farm Park

The community of Healing Springs today is a mere crossroads, with a railroad running through it, a store, a beauty shop, a factory, a volunteer fire department, a housing development and a few other businesses and lots of farms. The springs themselves are just a small park at the entrance of the Housing development on High Rock Lake with a place to pull over, a picnic table and a grill and ...the spring. Remains of resort housing can be seen on the slopes of High Rock mountain, foundations remaining along the road on the side of the hill. The Valley has a killer view of these last trickles of the Uwharries.

Marvin Lee Kinney would move to nearby Thomasville.

Abandoned grape arbor at Kinney Homeplace

According to those who knew them, John P Kinney would devote himself to the life-long care of his niece and nephew.

Jewel Lee Davis Morris remembers being taken to visit her half-siblings when she was a child. The twins had mental disabilities that prevented them from living alone, but not from performing basic skills. She said they were always happy to see her. She remembers their grandmother, Mae Kinney, who passed in 1955, as taking care of them. Berry had died in 1944, 5 years before their mother.

Kinney farmland
After the deaths of his parents, John P Kinney took over as caretaker of the Davis twins.

Collapsed farm building
Members of the community were kind enough to share some information of their memories of the family with me. In latter days, John and the twins lived in a brick house in front of the old Homeplace. Since their deaths, the house burned down and is just a rubble of bricks. The farm was located just off of Hwy 8, south of the Healing Springs crossroads. 

John Kinney was described as a large man, but a gentle giant. The owner of Surratt's Mill once said that if John Kinney was not in heaven, no one deserved to be.

Jimmy T Davis was a little better off than his sister. His obituary listed him as a farmer, and he worked most of his life at the Surratt Mill, which had been transformed into a Hosiery Mill. He was able to follow instructions and perform uncomplicated tasks. Jenny Lee Davis remained a homemaker and was not as developed as her brother. It is said that she did all the cooking for the family, however, after the passing of her grandmother. She loaded everything up with salt and sugar.
Concrete foundation of some building long gone
Both twins were severe diabetics. Jenny's cooking may have led to this disorder.

The Davis twins both died in middle age in the early 1990's. The gentle giant, and kind-hearted uncle, John Kinney, lived nearly 100 years. He passed in 2006 at the age of 96 in a Thomasville nursing home. Jenny Lee also spent her last years in a nursing home. The Davis twins did not have Down's syndrome. It is not known what exactly was wrong with them. Being twins, they may have been born early or deprived of oxygen during birth. They were described as being tall, stout individuals, physically strong with dark hair. Their uncle was also described as being a large man, so their size was likely from the Kinney side of the family. 

John P. Kinney

John P. Kinney, 96, of Fairgrove Road, Thomasville, formerly of Denton, died Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006, at Thomasville Medical Center.

Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Briggs Funeral Home, Denton, with Christopher Johnson officiating. Burial will be in Clear Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery.

He was a native of Davidson County, a member of Clear Springs United Methodist Church and a farmer.

Part of the obituary of John Pinkney Kinney.

The End of the World

According to the Mayan Calendar, the world ends today.

In the world of Genealogy, I am sure in times past, there were many seasons when our ancestors thought it was the end of the world. When disease and plague was sweeping an area, when wars were being fought with no end in sight, when famine and starvation struck and there was nothing to eat and no end in sight. On sea voyages that seemed to never end. In the face of storms that threaten to flood the world. During droughts when they prayed for rain. When they took everything they owned in a wagon to head into the wilderness in hopes of a better life. In times of financial upheaval when they were faced with loosing everything they had worked for. When strife and cruelty reigned and hope was all they had and that was running out.

It is morning. The sun rose. The chimes sing carols to the crisp, but warm, December wind. Over the hill the rooster announce the arrival of another day. Christmas shoppers will be out and about. School is in recess and children are sleeping late. 

Will the world end today? I doubt it. The Bible says that no man shall know the coming of the Lord. Will it end someday? Probably. Humans are destroying her natural resources at an alarming rate that can only cause disasters in the near future. Do we care? Not many do. Greed rules. No one is willing to stop cutting down trees or polluting the air or mining the mountains when there is money involved. No one seems to care what life will hold for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When the natural resources have run out, will they return to the ways of the past, when everything was recycled and life was simple, and live like the Indians? Will there be animal life left to hunt or fish?

Looking back is fun and rewarding. But we must also look forward. Someone will have to make sacrifices for the world to survive into the future. Will it be us? Or will another comet hit us first and wipe us out like it did the dinosaurs?

Welcome to the beginning of a new era? Or is it really the end of the world as we know it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mary Louise

Sometimes it is one little detail that means the genealogical discovery for the day. In this document, their is a land transfer between Frederick Fincher Starnes (known as F. F. Starnes) and his wife Mary and their son, Thomas Mellon Starnes (known as T. M.) and his wife Elizabeth. The land lies on Anderson Creek, which is a contributory  stream to the Rocky River and runs through Midland in southwestern Cabarrus County.

The big deal to me about this document is that is names Mary L. Starnes middle name as "Louise". This is the first time I've seen what the L stood for. A simple thing and an addition to the family tree.

The Steele Creek Blog: Byrum’s General Store Closing September 1st

The Steele Creek Blog: Byrum’s General Store Closing September 1st

The Byrum Family is a Limb in my family tree. Mary Louise Byram married Frederick Fincher Starnes and became one of my sets of great, great, great grandparents. It is sad that this little piece of my family history is closing down.

The Last Breathe of Lenora

I finally recieved the Death Certificate of Jenny Lenora McSwain Davis. She was born in Stanly County, North Carolina and died in Hoke County, North Carolina. She is buried in the Davis family Cemetery near Cottonville, North Carolina. 
The father of Lenora McSwain remains a mystery. She was the oldest of four daughters born to Inez C. McSwain. Inezzie, herself was an unfortunate child, born of a relationship that would have been considered a dire crime in this time and place, but accepted and swept under the carpet in the days of Reconstruction following the Civil War. Inez was born to Martha Ella McSwain, a 14 year old girl whose father, John Calloway McSwain died during the Civil War. Her mother, Betty, married the widower of her sister, another Civil War Vet, Caleb Hampton Aldridge. Hamp, Ella's uncle and stepfather,also became the father of her child. Ella would later marry Frank Smith and have a large family, in the Smith's Grove community of Stanly County, but not necessarily a happy life. Nezzie would become an unwed teen-aged mother herself, giving birth to Jennie Lenora McSwain on September 25, 1891, when she was just 17. And then to her second daughter, Verina Isabelle McSwain, less than a year later, in 1892 at age 18.
At age 19, in  1893, she married another unfortunate child, William Thomas Hooks, the son of William Mathew Hill, his mother's brother-in-law and Emmaline Hooks, sister of Matt Hill's wife Sarah Jane. Tom and Nezzie had two daughters together, Martha Irene Hooks, just 9 months after their October wedding in July of 1894 and then Lina in September of 1896. Shortly after Lina's birth, Tom's mother married W. Martin Munson, a widower, and Tom took up with his daughter Della Munson in 1898. No marriage license is found in North Carolina for Tom and Della, but the first of their many children, Adam, would be born in 1899. Tom, Della and Adam took up residence in Cabarrus County, near his mother as the twentieth century was born in 1900. Inez and her girls went back to live with her father, Hamp, while a few of her girls went to live with her mother, Ella and her husband, Frank Smith. Inez did not live long after that. Her grave has not been located, but she is listed as deceased when her daughter Verina marries young in 1907. 

Lenora married a widower, John Teeter Davis in 1912. He had one young son, Dewey. Together, they would have 6 children: Ray, Christine, Maxine, William Wooten, Esau and Jewel Lee. In their latter years, they moved to the Little River community in present day Moore County, near the town of Vass, to farm tobacco. Little River, at the time, was in Hoke County and just north of the Fort Bragg Reservation. 

Lenora died just two months after the birth of her last child, Jewel Lee. She was 37 years old. 

Mitral regurgitation is a side-effect of mitral valve prolaspe. When the mitral valve does not close tightly, it allows blood to flow backward into the heart. It is most common in women and most common in aged people. Lenora was only 37. It can be caused by trauma, rheumatic heart disease, endocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Lenora may have suffered some trauma or disorder during her last pregnancy. The death certificate said the condition had a probable duration of 5 years. Possibly something happened before their move to Hoke County that brought it on. Maybe she contracted rheumatic fever in Stanly County before the move. This was during the years of the daming of the Yadkin. Several dams were built along the border of Stanly County, Norwood or Tillery Dam, Narrows or Badin, Falls, Tuckertown,   and High Rock all in a row. The backwash caused by the dams covered farms and old riverbank villages, and the resulting decay bred disease and bacteria. Many fevers, flus and plagues followed.
The Rocky River was suffered not to dam, but at its forks with the Yadkin/PeeDee, plagues abounded. Several Stanly county towns in previous decades had been deserted due to river carrying plagues and fevers, Tindallsville, Allentown and Rest, among them. 

Lenora's last breathe left 6 children motherless. J. T. Davis would take the infant Jewel Lee, to his half-brother Travis Crump to raise. There, he would meet a girl from Davidson County, Valedia Kinney, who was boarding with the Crumps. They married and John Davis would then die of tubercular symptoms in January of 1932. His new bride was pregnant with twins, born 4 months after their father's death. She would remarry and have another set of twins, and two other children, before loosing her second husband in 1947 and passing herself in 1949.

As of yet, the name of her father is still a mystery, possibly only unlocked with DNA.