Sunday, November 24, 2013

Early Identity Thieves

Ever hit that brick wall, to wonder if an ancestor was really who they were supposed to be, because they seemed to have appeared out of nowhere? I get that way at times with this blog's namesake ancestor, Job. I know who his grandparents should be but can't lock him in with parents, even though the family he traveled with is 'all up in ' the family he shoulda/coulda/woulda hailed from.

But in another branch of my family tree, lies a well-documented case of this happening. My maternal grandfather, a great, great grandson of Job, married a granddaughter of a Solomon. While research is definitely not final and down no line, I am certain, it will never be, the Solomon's from along the Virginia/North Carolina line, Franklin and Bute Counties in particular, obviously spent some time in the Mecklenburg/Cabarrus County area before settling in the part of Montgomery that would become Stanly County. There are court records, deed witness records, marriage bonds and even bastardy bonds, placing them there. Drury Solomon fought in the war of 1812 "from Mecklenburg County", before marrying and settling in Cabarrus. James Solomon, who lived in Stanly County in 1850, had moved to Cabarrus by 1860, and on his service records for the Civil War, in which he fought during his 50's, he stated that he was born in Mecklenburg County.

Then, we find this document labeled "Inventory Jonas Solomon 1820". It is located in the North Carolina State Archives in the Mecklenburg County Estates, 1762 -1957 C. R. 065.508.237.

Transcribed it reads, "An Inventory of the personal estate of Jonas Solomon the younger deceased---
One fifth of one half of the sum of seven thousand five hundred + forty seven dollars seventeen cents after deducting one hundred and sixteen dollars for costs of suit from said sum which was decreed against Lott Ballard administrator of Jonas Solomon the elder otherwise called Thomas Henderson by the Circuit Court of the United States with interest from the 4th July 1819. 

February 8th  1820   Js Groome Admin.            $770.03

Looking into all of the players involved in a story, I sought to discover who Lott Ballard, the administrator might be. There was a Lott Ballard living in Onslow County, North Carolina in the 1800, 1810, 1820, and 1830 censuses.  There is a 1792 marriage bond recorded between Lott Ballard and Matilda Cox.

He spawned many namesakes and descendants. There is a mention of a marriage  in the Southern Christian Advocate of "Lott Ballard of  Onslow County and Sumpter County, Alabama to Margaret  Ann M'Intosh, Nov., Noxubee County, Mississippi . R. R. November 24, 1840."  This was likely a son, or even a grandson. 

An 1860 census of Noxubee County, Mississippi records the family of a Lott Ballard born in 1803, probably the above Lott and possibly a Lott, Jr. Another Lott shows up, born in 1867, in Jones County, North Carolina, son of a John W Ballard. This one might be a grandson of the original Lott.

He had daughters name sons for him also, as in Lott Ballard Williams, son of daughter Ann, and Lott Ballard Greene. Grandson Lott M. Ballard ended up in Florida while Lott R Ballard settled in Arkansas.

The original Lott Ballard in Onslow County appears in several legal documents, as the executor of the estate of Jeremiah Davis of Onslow, and involvement in the settlement of the estates of Nathaniel Loomis, Susan Shackleford, Gaines Rowe, and Whitehead D. Humphrey. He obviously was either a lawyer, or a man of education and esteem who held knowledge on such matters.

This highway marker is located outside of Richlands, Onslow County, North Carolina, commemorating the visit of Bishop Asbury to Lott Ballard:

North Carolina highway marker C-37
A Hugh Thompson of Onslow mentions Lott Ballard in his will as his brother, and Ann Ballard as his mother. Perhaps they were half-brothers, having different fathers. A man named Lott Humphrey mentions in his will, lands he is leaving to his wife "Ann or Nancy" that he bought from her brother, Lott Ballard.

So, that is who Lott Ballard, the administrator was. A leading citizen and legal aide, if not an attorney, in Onslow County.

But now, what do we know of Jonas Solomon? His birth date is noted in records as being around 1735 and his place of birth as Germany. (Other records state that he was born in Amsterdam, Holland).  He is recorded as arriving to America from England, however, along with an Aaron Solomons. 

On December 27, 1757, twenty-two year old Jonas Solomon married 17 year old Hannah Applegate, daughter of  Jacob Applegate and Catherine Bowne McCleese Applegate of Middleton, Monmouth County, New Jersey.

The couple had 7 children: Catherine (1758), John (1760), William (maybe 1763), Rebekkah (1765), Levi (1867), Jonas II (1768) and Nebuchadnezzer (1774). The family owned a tavern in the community of Freehold and were noted as being Jewish.

From The History of the Village of West Freehold:

On the southwest corner the structure we now know as Moore’s Tavern and Restaurant was originally known as Mount’s Tavern. Moses Mount, who served as a private in the American Revolution, is believed to have been the first tavern keeper. However, it is conjecture that the Solomon Family may have been the original owner. Mount’s petition (dated c.1798) for renewal of his tavern license is on file at the Monmouth County Historical Association, 70 Court St., Freehold. Mr. Mount owned the tavern until 1835 when his grandson, John Mount became Landlord. In 1855 the property became known as the West Freehold Hotel and was run by William. H. Strong. The tavern has had several owners since that time including Samuel V. Hankinson in 1862. In 1908 John C. Moore purchased the property and renamed it Moore’s Inn. The Moore family continued to operate it until 1979. During the 1990’s the inn was moved back from the road and incorporated into the restaurant complex now known as Moore’s Tavern and Restaurant. The bar area of the restaurant still houses part of the original tavern.......

On the northwest corner, now known as Mount’s Corner Shopping Plaza, was the site of the Levi Solomon Farm, the first Jewish farm settlement in Monmouth County. This eighteenth-century farm was located on the periphery of the Battle of Monmouth, which took place on June 28, 1778, during the American Revolution. When the British marched into Freehold from Allentown, they burned all the houses and buildings along the way. However, the owner Hannah Solomon, along with members of her family, saved their home and barn. In spite of the fact that the house was damaged, they repaired it and continued living there. Later Levi Solomon owned and enlarged the farmstead.
About 1820 Mr. Solomon and Elija Combs were in possession of much of the land in the area of the Solomon farm, including the property across Wemrock Road, now known as the Oakley Farm. The present owner, of the Solomon Farm, Bernard Hochberg, moved the barn and farmhouse of the Solomon tract to the rear of this property in the 1990’s. It is hoped that they will be opened as an historic center in the near future. When the structures were moved, an archeological search was done at the site and some artifacts from the Revolution were discovered near the original foundations. These are now in the possession of the Freehold Township Historic Preservation Commission.

From the Jewish Virtual Library, in a History of Monmouth County:
The county's Jewish history is long and varied. Evidence shows Sephardi peddlers from New York traveling through the county in the early 1700s. The first resident, Isaac Emanuel, a Freehold merchant, appears in a series of court cases in the early 1720s. By the 1750s Jonas Solomon and Levy Hart, both married to local Protestant sisters, were well known as Jewish merchants and tavern keepers. Solomon lived in Freehold and Hart in a small settlement further east that was to be labeled "Jewstown" by his colonial neighbors and by the British during the ensuing Revolutionary War. The original Freehold home and tavern owned by Jonas and Hannah Solomon was burned by the British during the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. The barn, circa 1800, owned by their son, Levi Solomon, who farmed nearby, is still in existence and was designated as the site for the newly established Monmouth County Jewish History Museum in 2005.

It is unknown how Jonas Solomon made his way from Germany to England as a very young man, but it was likely in a traveling group, or how he may or may not have been related to Aaron Solomons. It is known that he arrived as an inmate, as early America was a penal colony much in the same way as Australia and New Zealand was later. But by the age of 22, he had redeemed himself well enough to marry into an well-known and established Protestant family and by the time of the American revolution, had established himself as a successful business owner and family man. 

Although it is noted in the above document that Jonas Solomon the younger had an estate in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, it is recorded that he was married to a Mariah "Polly" Smock in Monmouth County, New Jersey. 

Jonas Solomon, the elder, took the Oath of Allegiance, along with his brother-in-law, Levi Hart, who was the Innkeeper of Colt's Neck Inn, in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Levi Hart had married Hannah's sister Catherine Applegate on December 9th, 1757, the same month and year as Jonas and Hannah. 

Then, sometime after 1778, Levi Hart and Jonas Solomon disappear. They were assumed dead. Catherine Applegate Hart remarried Joshua Huddy. Hannah Applegate Solomon would remarry to John Benham and in 1779 would give birth to son Joseph Benham. But that is not the end of the story....not at all....

From Documents relating to the Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey, Vol II 1778 

William Livingston, by His Excellency's Command, Deputy Secretary from a letter dated July 18, 1778, from Monmouth, New Jersey.
Historic print of Freehold, New Jersey, note Solomon House above and Applegate house below.
"I have been waiting from the time the enemy passed thro' this county till the present, in expectation that some of your correspondents would, thro' the channel of your paper, have given the public an account of their conduct to the inhabitants - - - but not having seen any as yet, and as it has been such as every honest person ought to despise, I take this opportunity of giving a short sketch of it; which, if you think will be any satisfaction to your readers, you may insert in your paper. The devastation they have made in some parts of Freehold exceeds perhaps any they have made for the distance in their route thro' this State, having in the neighbourhood above the Court-house burnt and destroyed eight dwelling-houses, all on farms adjoining each other, besides barns and out-houses -- The first they burnt was my own, then Benjamin Covenhoven's, George Walker's, Hannah Solomon's, Benjamin Van Cleave's, David Covenhoven's and Garrit Vanderveer's; John Benham's house and barn they wantonly tore and broke down so as to render them useless.-- It may not be improper to observe that the two first mentioned houses that were burnt adjoined the farm, and were in full view of the place wherein Gen. Clinton quartered. In the neighbourhood below the Court-house they burnt the houses of Matthias Lane, Cornelius Covenhoven, John Autonidas, and one Emmans; these were burnt the morning before their defeat. Some have the effrontery to say, that the British officers by no means countenance or allow of burning (???) did not the wanton burning of Charleston and Kingston in Esopus, besides many other instances, sufficiently evince the contrary, their conduct in Freehold I think may (???) the officers having been seen to exult at the sight of the flames, and heard to declare that they never could conquer America until they burnt every rebel's house, and murdered man, woman and child. Besides, this consideration has great weight with me towards confirming the above, that after their defeat, thro' a retreat of twenty-five miles, in which they passed the houses of numbers well-affected to their country, they never attempted to destroy one. -- This much for their burning. 

"To enter into a minute detail of the many insults and abuses those inhabitants met with that remained in their houses, would take up too much room in your paper; I shall therefore content myself with giving you an account of Gen. Clinton's conduct to one of my neighbour's, a woman of seventy years of age and unblemished reputation, with whom he made his quarters. After he had been some time in her house, and taking notice that most of the goods were removed, he observed that she need not have sent off her effects for safety, that he would have secured them for her, and asked if the goods could not be brought back again -- the old Lady objected: But upon the repeated assurances of Gen. Clinton in person, that they should be secured for her, she at length consented, and sent a person along with the wagon he had ordered to shew where they were secreted. When the goods were brought to the door, which was in the latter part of the day, the old Lady applied to Gen. Clinton in person, for permission to have them brought in and taken care of, but he refused, and ordered a guard set over the goods. The morning following, the old Lady finding most of her goods plundered and stole, applied again to him for leave to take care of the remainder; he then allowed her to take some trifling articles, which were all she saved; not having (when I saw her, and had the above information from her) a change of dress for herself or husband, or scarcely for any of her family. -- With regard to personal treatment: She was turn'd out of her bed-room, and obliged to lay with her wenches either on the floor, without bed or bed-clothes, in an entry exposed to the passing and repassing of all, &c. or sit in a chair in a milk-room too bad for any of the officers to lay in, else its probable she would have been deprived of that also. -- If the first officers in the British army are so far divested of honour and humanity, what may we not expect from the soldiery?" 

Notice that Hannah Solomon is noted as being in charge of her own household. It was noted as "Hannah's", not "Jonas's", and that John Benham's was a neighbor. So in July of 1778, Jonas was already gone and Hannah was still a Solomon, not yet married to John Benham, her second husband. Hannah is recorded in Bible records as dying on Oct. 7, 1786. The Solomon farm is now a Historic Site in the community of West Freehold.

3. The Solomon Farm 
Until recently the residence of Jim Carney who succeeded his father-in-law Colonel Moore as the operator of Moore’s Inn. This 18th century dwelling is said to have suffered damage as the British marched into Freehold and burned all houses, farms, etc. At the time of the Battle of Monmouth. Widow Hannah Solomon and her two sons were at home at the time and were able to save the house after it was set on fire.

Three juveniles accused of vandalizing the historic Solomon house at Route 537 and Wemrock Road, Freehold Township, are due in court to answer the charges next month.
Solomon House in Freehold, New Jersey today.

Article on desctruction by vandals on Historic Solomon House

Article on the Solomon Barn    This article on the Solomon barn incorrectly states that Jonas Solomon died before the Revoultion. He did not. 
PHOTOS BY AMY ROSEN The Levi Solomon barn in the Mount's Corner shopping center, Route 537, Freehold Township, now houses the Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County. An open house will be held at the museum 2-8 p.m. Aug. 21.

Now, who was the Original, Thomas Henderson?

Thomas Henderson
Tombstone of the real Thomas Henderson of Monmouth County, New Jersey.


Thomas Henderson was the third govenor of New Jersey. He was born August 15, 1743 and died December 15, 1824. This is his Find-a-grave bio. Served as a Lieutenant in the New Jersey Militia in 1775. Appointed Major in Colonel Charles Stewart’s Battalion of Minutemen 1776. Appointed Brigade Major in the Monmouth County Militia, 1776, and was made Major of Colonel Nathaniel Heard’s battalion. He was later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and brigadier major at Monmouth. Elected as a Delegate to the Continental Congress, 1779 but declined to serve. Was Acting Governor of New Jersey in 1794 and elected as a Federalist to the Fourth Congress from 1795 to 1797. Died in Freehold, New Jersey 

He is also listed on Wikpedia:

Wikipedia article on Thomas Henderson of New Jersey

The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress had this to say about him:
HENDERSON, Thomas, a Representative from New Jersey; born in Freehold, Monmouth County, N.J., August 15, 1743; attended the public schools and was graduated from Princeton College in 1761; studied medicine; practiced first in Freneau and afterwards in Freehold, N.J., about 1765; member of the committee of safety in 1774; served as a lieutenant in the New Jersey Militia in 1775; appointed second major in Col. Charles Stewart’s Battalion of Minutemen February 15, 1776; brigade major, Monmouth County Militia, April 19, 1776; major of Col. Nathaniel Heard’s battalion June 14, 1776, and later lieutenant colonel and brigadier major at Monmouth; surrogate of Monmouth County in 1776; member of the provincial council in 1777; elected as a Delegate to the Continental Congress, November 17, 1779, but declined December 25, 1779; served in the State general assembly 1780-1784; master in chancery in 1790; member of the State council in 1793 and 1794, serving as vice president of that body; Acting Governor of New Jersey in 1794; elected as a Federalist to the Fourth Congress (March 4, 1795-March 3, 1797); judge of the court of common pleas 1783-1799; one of the commissioners appointed to settle the boundary line between New Jersey and Pennsylvania; again a member of the State council in 1812 and 1813; died in Freehold, N.J., December 15, 1824; interment in Old Tennent Cemetery, Tennent, N.J.

In other words, if you are going to steal the identity of one of your neighbors, that of Thomas Henderson was an impressive person to emulate. 

From the Cyclopedia of New Jersey by Ogden

Thomas HENDERSON, Revolutionary Soldier, Congressman

Thomas Henderson was born in Freehold, New Jersey, in 1743, a son of John
Henderson, who was clerk of the Old Scotch Presbyterian Church in 1730,
elder of the Freehold Presbyterian church as early as 1744, and died January
1, 1771; grandson of Michael, who died at Marlboro, New Jersey, August 23,
1722; and probably a descendant of John Henderson, a Scotchman, who came to
America in the "Henry and Frances" in 1685.

Thomas Henderson was graduated from the College of New Jersey, A.B., 1761,
A.M., 1764. He studied medicine under Dr. Nathaniel Scudder, of Freehold,
and began practice in Monmouth County about 1765. He was elected a member
of the New Jersey Medical Society in 1766. On December 10, 1774, he was
appointed to the Freehold Committee of Observation for the preservation and
support of American freedom, and his name appears in the records as an
energetic member. His military service in the American Revolution commenced
February 15, 1776, as second major in Colonel Stewart's battalion of
minute-men. He was made major of Colonel Heard's battalion on June 14,
1776, and subsequently lieutenant-colonel of Forman's battalion of Heard's
Brigade. He was brigade-major at Monmouth, and at Freehold Court house he
was the "solitary horseman" who informed Washington of the misconduct of
General Charles Lee, who had thrown away his advantage and deprived his
commabnder of the assistance of six thousand men by ordering a retreat
without striking a blow. When the town was laid waste, Dr. Henderson's was
the first house destroyed. He was a member of the Provincial Council in
1777; delegate to the Continental Congress, 1779-80; vice-president of the
Council of New Jersey, 1794, and Acting Governor during the absence of
Governor Howell at the head of New Jersey troops to quell Shay's rebellion
in Pennsylvania. He was a representative in the Fourth United States
Congress, 1795-97, and subsequently surrogate of Monmouth County, State
Representative, judge of the Court of Common Pleas and boundary
commissioner. He was ruling elder of the Tennent (Presbyterian) Church at
Freehold for more than forty years.

He was married to Mary HENDRICKS, granddaughter of William WIKOFF. She died
soon after their marriage, and in January, 1778, he was married to Rachel,
daughter of John BURROWES, of Middletown Point, New Jersey, (born September,
1751, died August 22, 1840). By his second marriage he had seven daughters.
He was the author of "Memori of the Life of the Reverend William Tennent
Jr." (1807). He died in Freehold, New Jersey, December 15, 1824.

So, the question now is? Why did Jonas Solomon abandon his family and relocate to North Carolina?

Thomas Henderson of Onslow County, North Carolina first appears in the county court records in 1779. He buys property, he marries, and bring 4 more children into the world: Thomas, Jr., Alexander, Solomon and Rebecca. It is thought that perhaps his mother's name was Rebecca as he named a daughter this name by both wives. Solomon was obviously a tip of the hat to his original surname, Thomas a result of his assumed name, and Alexander perhaps from his wife's side of the family. During the years 1818 and 1819, the older children of Jonas Solomon aka Thomas Henderson, have discovered their father's deceit. According to records, son John is the first and he travels to North Carolina in discovery of the truth and learns of the substantial estate his father has acquired there. Several lawsuits ensue. The first of many states that "Jonas Solomon, otherwise known as Thomas Henderson, formerly of Monmouth County, New Jersey and afterwards of Onslow County, North Carolina, died instestate leaving legitimate children, namely, John, Catherine (Mrs. Moses Mount), Rebekkah (Mrs William McKnight), Jonas the younger, William, Levi and Nebuchanezzer. 

In 1819, Alexander Hamilton, one of the children by the second (and nonlegal) marriage, petitions Administrator Lott Ballard to turn over his share of his father's estate. 

The next installment will focus on these lawsuits and the statements of Alexander Hamilton. 

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