Saturday, June 28, 2014

Columbus, you were late.

Just read this article with vested interest.

According to this research and ancient documentation, an Irish settlement existed in the area of South Carolina and into Georgia prior to the arrival of  Columbus and the Spanish explorers.

They would eventually interbreed with the Asiatic descended Native Americans and become the Creek Indians, some of whom would travel and hunt through our part of the Carolinas.

Previously, I've read up on all of the old legends concerning Prince Madoc, of Wales, who supposed brought a colony of persons and settled in the area of Fort Morgan, Alabama, intermarried with a small group of Native Americans, over time and slowly traveled north, becoming what was known as the "Mandan Indians", into the arrival of British colonies and then eventually becoming extinct, as many native tribes did.


Approaching the wall
Photo of remains of Fort thought to have been built and occupied by Prince Madoc and his clan. Photo by Jimmie Lee Robbins.

John Sevier, Tennessee’s first governor, in response to a request written to him in 1810 by a researcher into the history of Louisiana, wrote the following.
Copy of letter to Major Amos Stoddard, 2nd Corps, U.S. Army
from John Sevier, Governor of Tennessee.
Knoxville, 9 October, 1810
Your letter of Aug.30 ult.,is before me. With respect to the information you have requested, I shall with pleasure give you so far as my own memory will now serve me; and also aided by a memorandum taken on the subject, of a nation of people called the Welsh Indians. In the year 1782 I was on a campaign against some part of the Cherokees; during the route I had discovered trace of very ancient tho’ regular fortifications. Some short time after the expedition I had an occasion to enter into a negotiation with the Cherokee Chiefs for the purpose of exchanging prisoners. Mter the exchange had been settled, I took an opportunity of enquiring of a venerable old chief called Oconostota, who then and had been for nearly sixty years the niling chief of the Cherokee Nation, if he could inform me what people it had been which had left such signs of Fortifications in their Country and in PreColumbian Explorer Sites in the Southeast particular the one on the bank of Highwassee River. The old chief immediately informed me: "It was handed down by the Forefathers that the works had been made by the white people who had formerly inhabited the Country, and at the same time the Cherokees resided low down in the country now called South Carolina; that a war had existed between the two nations for several years. At length it was discovered that the whites were making a number of large Boats which induced the Cherokees to suppose they were about to Descend the Tennessee River. They then assembled their whole band of warriors and took the shortest and most convenient route to the Muscle Shoals in order to intercept them on thek passage down the river. In a few days the Boats hove in sight. A warm combat ensued with various success for several days. At length the whites proposed to the Indians that they would exchange prisoners and cease hostilities, they would leave the Country and never more return, which was acceded to; and after the exchange parted friendly. That the whites then Descended the Tennessee down to the Ohio, thence down to the big river (the Mississippi) then they ascended it up to the Muddy River (the Missouri) and thence up that river for a great distance. That they were then on some of its branches, but, says he, they are no more a white people; they are now all become Indians, and look like the other red people or the Country."
I then asked him if he had ever heard any of his ancestors saying what nation of people these whites belonged to. He answered: "He had heard his Grandfather and Father say they were a people called Welsh; that they had crossed the Great Water and landed first near the mouth of the Alabama River near Mobile and had been drove up to the heads of the waters until they bad arrived at Highwassee River by the Mexican Indians who bad been drove out of their own Country by the Spaniards."
Many years ago I happened in company with a French-man, who had lived with the Cherokees and said he had formerly been high up the Missouri. He informed me he had traded with the Welsh tribe; that they certainly spoke much of the Welsh dialect, and tho’ their customs was savage and wild yet many of them, particularly the females, were very fair and white, and frequently told him that they had sprung from a white nation of people. He also stated that some small scraps of old books remained among them, but in such tattered and destructive order that nothing intelligent remained in the pieces or scraps left. He observed, their settlement was in an obscure quarter on a branch of the Missouri running through a bed of lofty mountains. His name has escaped my memory.
The chief Oconostota informed me: "An old woman in his nation called Peg had some part of an old book given her by an Indian who had lived high up the Missouri, and thought it was one of the Welsh tribe." Before I had an opportunity of seeing it, her house and all the contents burnt. I have seen persons who had seen parts of a very old and disfigured book with this old Indian woman, but neither of them could make any discovery of what language it was printed in (neither of them understood languages, but a small smattering of English).
I have thus, Sir, communicated and detailed the particulars of your request, so far as I have any information on the subject, and wish it were more comprehensive than you will find it written.

Georgia's Ft. Mountain and Prince Madoc of Wales

Fort Mountain derives its name from an ancient rock wall which protects the highest point of the mountain. The wall, extending 885 feet, is seven feet in height at its tallest point and shows evidence of being much higher when first built. Up to 12 feet wide, with 29 pits scattered at regular intervals along its length, the wall is without peer in southeastern archaeology. Archaeological findings indicate that the ancient fortification long predates the Cherokees who were living there in the 1700s.
The Cherokee's called the wall-builders "moon-eyed people," because they could see better at night than by day. These moon-eyed people were said to have fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. Some theorists believe that these moon-eyed people built the wall as a part of sun worship, while others believe it was used in athletic games. Some of the other thoughts pushed from time to time are that Hernando de Soto, who spent two peaceful weeks here in 1540 built it or that the Cherokees created the wall to defend themselves against Creek attackers.
Currently, most scholars believe that the wall originated about 1100A.D. and has a religious purpose. Many early cultures built structures related to astronomical events. In this case the wall runs east to west around a precipice. The effect is that the sun illuminates one side of the wall at sunrise and on the other side at sunset. Native American cultures worshipped the sun and all things in nature. The absence of religious artifacts supports this theory since it was common practice for Native Americans to take ceremonial objects with them when they moved.
The state of Georgia erected a monument at the base of the summit several years ago describing the various legends associated with Fort Mountain. The most important story revolves around the Welsh prince Madoc who is said to have arrived in Mobile Bay around 1170 and moved north from there. The mysterious wall is said to have been built by Welsh Explorers as a fortification against hostile Indians and for ancient ceremonies. Several petroglyphs support the existence of this legend. Following is a paper which could very well explain and clarify the story.

The story of Prince Madoc of Wales is certainly compelling and limited archeological and historical evidence persists, but not with as much fervor, tradition and physical evidence as that of the Vikings.

It is now pretty commonly accepted that Leif Erickson discovered Canada far earlier than Columbus's voyage in 1492.

Since the theory was brought forward, historians and archealogists have been hard at working looking for proof of viking settlement and exploration....and finding it.

Leif Erickson

So with the Vikings discovering Canda, the Welsh settling in Alabama, warring with the Cherokee and moving up the Tennessee river and eventually becoming the Mandan Indians, and now the possibility that the Irish settled South Carolina and Georgia, it really appears that Columbus was late in his 'discovery' of America. So, where is our Leif Erickson Day? Or our Prince Madoc Day? Or St. Brendan Day?

St. Brendan? It may be that his legendary journey that resulted in the reputed Irish Colony in Carolina.

St. Brendan, Irish monk.

So, while Americans of all 'races' (quoted because there is actually just one..called Human) are finding traces of Native American ancestry through the relatively new science of DNA testing, Native Americans could be finding European ancestry in their DNA that predates the arrival of Columbus. There was apparently no real 'discovery' of America. She has been here and inhabited for a loonnnggg time.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Genealogy isn't just about the past, but also the present and the future. Not only about those who came before us, but also about those who come after. 

This week is one of major milestones in our family. My last child is graduated from High School on June 14, 2014. My first grandchild was graduated from Pre-K on June 10, 2014. 

As one leaves the public school system, another one enters. 

I was an emotional Nanny when my little 5 year old grandson stood with his class of little adorable munchkins and performed for the audience. They said their alphabet while displaying it along in sign language. They sang a song from the movie frozen. 

Pre-K graduations are a new phenomena. Back in my day, if you were in daycare, you were there with no ceremony or pomp until time to start Kindergarten, and at that time Kindergarten was a recent class. Most students went straight from home to First grade.

None of my own children had a Pre-K graduation. They all attended Kindergarten, however. And I know that my youngests High School ceremony will be a particularly emotional one for me. The Last. I will have launched the last of the brood into adulthood.

As I uncover the past, the future unfolds.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Colorful Cranford Ladies

I wondered about the relationship between Balaam A Carter and Nancy Cranford from the time I saw her residing as a boarder in his home in 1900. The boarder arrangement wasn't an unusual one, but after seeking to find out who Nancy Cranford was, she became a lady cloaked in mystery. Not only Nancy, but also her mother Millie and her daughter Elizabeth.

Nancy Cranford may have been born in Montgomery County, North Carolina. It was a center for local Cranfords and more of the family resided there than in Stanly, although I've been able to determine that several of them seemed to move around quite freely and frequently between Randolph, Davidson, Montgomery and Stanly Counties. She first show up in Stanly County in the above deed. On March 10, 1866, Nancy Cranford for twenty-two dollars and 50 cents, purchases 11 1/4 acres of land neighboring that of E. B. Nash from Richard Carter.

The strange part of this deed is the way it is worded "Between Richard Carter of the County of Stanly and State of North Carolina of the one part and Nancy Cranford and the heirs of her body of the County of Stanly and State of North Carolina of the second part."  The wording "and the heirs of her body", is used twice in this document. Nothing is worded in that way concerning Richard Carter. It seems to imply that he is selling the land to settle a debt to Nancy and her children. And as I can tell, she only had one child, Elizabeth.

This is the second census that Nancy shows up in, in Stanly County:

Name:Nancy Cranford
Age in 1870:50
Birth Year:abt 1820
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1870:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Post Office:Albemarle
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
Nancy Cranford50
Elizabeth Cranford27
Jefferson Cranford8
Mary Rummage25
Cornelius Rummage8/12
From later census records, I know that 27 year old Elizabeth Cranford is her daughter. Mary Rummage, a boarder deserves a post of her own and the infant Cornelius can only be assumed to be the child of Mary Rummage. As seen in earlier posts, the Rummage family had some involvement with the Carters.

The key in this record is the presence of 8 year old Jefferson Cranford. Now, this could have been a different Jefferson Cranford who never grew up. However, an identical Jefferson Cranford is enumerated in Stanly County in 1870.

Name:Jefferson Cranford
Age in 1870:9
Birth Year:abt 1861
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1870:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Post Office:Albemarle
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
W G Cranford50
David Cranford16
Elizabeth Cranford14
Adolphus Cranford11
Jefferson Cranford9
Lee Cranford5
James Cranford40
This Jefferson was Jefferson Beauregard Cranford, son of Willis G. Cranford. I have seen during research in other lines, on many different occasions, that people were sometimes enumerated several times, and often in a different location. Unlike modern censuses, wherein the enumerators are to determined who lived in a particular house on a particular day, in censuses past, they counted the persons who were there on that day. I have seen young men counted at home with their parents, and then two months or two weeks later, be counted as a laborer in the home of a farmer whom they were working for at the time. I've seen a young woman counted in her parents home, while obviously visiting, under her maiden name and then also be counted on a different with her husband, whom she had married a year or so prior, and had already bore a child.

I believe this was the case of Jefferson B. Cranford, that there was only one. He was first counted while visiting relatives while still 8 years old, then sometime later in the year, after he had turned 9, the census takers showed up at the home of his parents. This link between Jefferson and the Cranford ladies leads me to suspect a close relation between Willis G. Cranford and Milly and Nancy Cranford.

No proof, but a possibility.

The third census Nancy shows up in is still in Stanly County:

Name:Nancy Cranford
Birth Year:abt 1824
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Self (Head)
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's name:Milley Cranford
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Occupation:Keeping House
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and Dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
Nancy Cranford56
Lizzie Cranford35
Milley Cranford90

This is the one that names Lizzie as her daughter and Milly as her mother. Neighbors in this census are John Russell, shoemaker, his wife Sallie (who was Sarah "Sallie" Carter, daughter of Marcus Princeton Carter) and John's mother, Tempie Russell, all of whom I've covered in previous posts. John was the son of James R. Melton, Albemarle businessman, whom I will cover more when I delve back into my research of the Meltons, who were a very complicated family.

After the Russells' was Winny Poplin, who was Winny Simpson Poplin, who I covered in my posts on the Simpson's to which I will soon be returning. She was a widow at this point.

Then there are the Cranford ladies, after that a farmer, Joseph Wall's family, then Susan Hill, then A. D. Potts, a miner from Mississippi, and after that, the family of F. J Kron, a physcian from France, of whom I've made mention in several past posts. There are no living descendants of Dr. Kron, however, he left indelible marks on the community and his written insights give a great deal of cherished information on early Stanly County.

This also gives us an idea of where the Cranford ladies resided. It was most likely along the market road to Lowder's Ferry and the old town of Tindallsville, that by that time had already been abandoned for the most part.

Notice that Milly was missing in the 1870 census from Nancy and her household. Instead, she was to be found in this household:

ame:Milly Crawford
Age in 1870:80
Birth Year:abt 1790
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1870:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Post Office:Albemarle
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
Ben Maulden35
Ann Maulden33
Frances Maulden3
Hettie Maulden2
Milly Crawford80

Ben Mauldin was the son of James O Mauldin and Mary Ann Smith Mauldin. I see no possible relationship there. His wife Ann was the former Margaret Ann Rummage, daughter of Nelson Rummage and Christine Cranford Rummage. There is the Rummage connection again, along with another Cranford.

Millie also appears in the 1830 census of Montgomery County.

Name:Milly Cranford
[Milly Crawford] 
Home in 1830 (City, County, State):East of Pee Dee and Yadkin River, Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5:1
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9:1
Free White Persons - Females - Under 5:1
Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 49:1
Free White Persons - Under 20:3
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:1
Total Free White Persons:4

She is head of a household with 3 children, a girl born between 1825 and 1830, a boy born between 1825 and 1830, and a boy born between 1820 and 1824.

Nancy Cranford, her known daughter, was born between 1820 and 1835, depending on which census you are looking at. Women often lied about their ages, especially when in Nancy's situation.

So, who were her sons?

There appears in Montgomery County, this gentleman:

Name:Leonard Cranford
Birth Year:abt 1826
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Montgomery, North Carolina
Family Number:375
Household Members:
A H Sanders47
Rebecca Sanders36
Jessee A Sanders18
Martha Jane Sanders16
R F Sanders5
Aaron T Sanders3
Cerona D Sanders1
Leonard Cranford24
Tillman Whillington12
Wiley Hudson21

Leonard Cranford, living with a Sanders family. Also of interest is Wiley Hudson.

He ends up marrying a Mary J Russell and in 1910 is living in this family setting:

Name:Leonard Cranford
Age in 1910:83
Birth Year:abt 1827
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1910:El Dorado, Montgomery, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Hired Man
Marital Status:Single
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Nelson Russell70
Della Russell59
James Kelly23
Leonard Cranford83
Nancy Woodell64
Amy Saunders60

Name:Leanord Cranford
Birth Date:14 Feb 1918
Birth Place:Montgomery
Death Date:9 Feb 1915
Death Location:Eldorado, Montgomery
Father's Name:Leanord Chanfordy
Mother's name:Millie Saunders

Leonard Cranford, son of Leonard Cranford and Millie Saunders. Could this be the same Millie and would he be Nancy Cranford's brother?

And then this deed from 1898, wherein Nancy sells her property to Balaam Carter for $25 and support for the rest of her life. What is her connection to the Carters? And was her acquaintance with Balaam more than just one of knowing him or neighbors? Was there a family connection? Could Balaam's mother Mary have been a Cranford or a Saunders?

Or was the relationship due to his marriage to Elizabeth "Bettie" Rummage? Bettie's mother was Beadie Fanny Cranford who married David Rummage. She was the daughter of Nathan Christopher "Kid" Cranford and Sarah Elizabeth "Sacky" Coggins Cranford. Kid Cranford's parents are recorded as being a Leonard Cranford and wife Mary Hopkins Cranford. There has to be a connection, but what?

And then Nancy's last census is the one in which she appears in the household with Balaam, his daughter, son-in-law and grandson.

Name:Nancy Crawford
[Nancy Cranford
Birth Date:Feb 1835
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1900:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Boarder
Marital Status:Single
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Occupation:View on Image
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Balaam A Carter68
John F Russell22
Anna L Russell22
Geo C Russell4/12
Nancy Crawford65
Transcribers often mistook the surnames Cranford and Crawford, but this was Nancy.

But recall, I started the post with the 1870 census and stated that it was the second census that Nancy appeared in. The first was in 1860, and it raises more flags and question marks than any other.

In it, the three generations of Cranford women are listed, and the ages are probably the most accurate ones.

Milly, 65, Nancy 44, Lizzie 21.  Immediate neighbors are households headed by women, Jerusha Hudson, Betsy Hathcock, Elizabeth Hinson, afterwhich, the neighbors become the Coley families of Isham and William Jr. , followed by J P Tolbert and Thomas Poplin.

But it is the occupation given Milly and her offspring that colors the page. While the list goes down alternately between "Farmer" and "Day Labor", Milly has acquired a unique title. For the life of me, I can't make anything out of that word except "Prostitutes". I've zero in on it and magnified it and it still says "Prostitutes", not just in the singular, but in plural.

Was this occupation genuine, or were the Cranford women the victims of a bitter census taker for whatever reason?

Sometimes, looking to solve one mystery can lead to discovering many others. Hopefully, more information on these three ladies and the Cranford family, that will solve more of this puzzle.