Friday, March 24, 2017

Finding Euxena, I mean Erexena.

While researching the families of the siblings of my Fourth Great-Grandmother, Sarah Winfield Howell Davis, I often discovered they led interesting lives and traveled greatly. But sometimes, they seemed to disappear into the wind.

Image result for into the wind

Oddly, at times, I feel a lingering tug, some little voice in my ear that tells me that their story did not end there, at whatever brick wall I may have stumbled upon while trying to find them.

That was the case in the family of Ancena Winfield Morrison Avett, her sister and my Fourth Great-Grand Aunt.

Sometimes you have to step away and revisit things at a later date and with a fresh approach. And that is exactly what I did one day last fall.

I was attempting to discover the final resting place, and perhaps a date, for the demise of Ancena. What I found instead, was her daughter, Euxena, or Erexena, as this lady with the unusual name, is found with multiple spellings and misspellings of her moniker.
Image result for mysterious woman

First the name. Apparently, it was a rare, but not unheard of, trendy name for girls born in the late 1700's - early 1800's.  Just with one Google, I found:

Exerena Lull 1791-1870

Exerena Brown 1824-1844

Exerena Roberts Baker 1795- 1883

While these Exerena's were from New York, ours was from North Carolina and her mother, Virginia.

In North Carolina, not much was found of her, save her marriage record in 1822 in Anson County to George Singleton of Montgomery County.

George Singleton to Euxene Morrison     1822

Then there is the land division after the death of James Morrison, and the division among his children and widow, all listed in Anson County records, and the deed wherein George Singleton and wife "Euxena" sell their inherited property to Richard Randall

But after that, Euxena had disappeared into thin air. The census records and most land exchanges did not list women, and I could not find George Singleton anywhere.

Then I took a closer look at the children of Ancena who I knew had moved to Tennessee, Thomas Avett Jr. , Alfred Morrison, Margaret Morrison Scarborough, Annabelle Morrsion Beard.

And I found Erexena.

Image result for mysterious woman

Sometimes, a scan of the actual census record and the adjoining pages, can reveal a great deal.

The family was all in Anson County, NC in 1830, but by 1840, they had migrated to Tennessee. It appears that Ancena went with them, as the oldest female in this census record of Thomas Avett, Jr.

NameThomas A Vett
Home in 1840 (City, County, State)Fayette, Tennessee
Free White Persons - Males - 50 thru 591 Thomas
Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 491  Sarah W. 
Free White Persons - Females - 80 thru 891   Ancena
Slaves - Males - 10 thru 233
Slaves - Males - 55 thru 991
Slaves - Females - Under 102
Slaves - Females - 10 thru 232
Slaves - Females - 36 thru 541
Persons Employed in Agriculture6
Free White Persons - 20 thru 491
Total Free White Persons3
Total Slaves9
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves12

I have not determined if Thomas Avett, Jr. was her son or stepson, as she did not marry Thomas Sr. until 1819.

Image result for anson county nc

It also appears Ancena was living with them in 1830 as all were a decade younger.

Name:Thomas Arch
[Thomas Avett] 
Home in 1830 (City, County, State):Anson, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19:1 William H. 
Free White Persons - Males - 40 thru 49:1 Thomas
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 14:1 Elizabeth
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39:1 Sara
Free White Persons - Females - 70 thru 79:1 Ancena
Slaves - Males - Under 10:2
Slaves - Males - 10 thru 23:1
Slaves - Males - 24 thru 35:1
Slaves - Females - Under 10:2
Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23:1
Slaves - Females - 24 thru 35:1
Free White Persons - Under 20:2
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:2
Total Free White Persons:5
Total Slaves:8
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored):13

And even prior to that.  1810

Name:Thos Avitt
Home in 1810 (City, County, State):Anson, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25:1 Thomas
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10:4 Erexena, Margaret, Annabelle, daughters of Ancena and James Morrison, and one other. 
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44:1 Ancena
Numbers of Slaves:3
Number of Household Members Under 16:4
Number of Household Members Over 25:1
Number of Household Members:9

And 1820
Thomas Aoet
[Thomas Avett] 
Home in 1820 (City, County, State):Coppedge, Anson, North Carolina
Enumeration Date:August 7, 1820
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10:1 William H. 
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25:1 Unknown
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44:1 Thomas 1st wife deceased?
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10:1 Unknown
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15:2 Nancy and Elizabeth
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over :1 Ancena
Slaves - Males - Under 14:2
Slaves - Males - 14 thru 25:1
Slaves - Males - 26 thru 44:2
Slaves - Males - 45 and over:1
Slaves - Females - Under 14:1
Slaves - Females - 14 thru 25:1
Slaves - Females - 26 thru 44:1
Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture:5
Number of Persons - Engaged in Manufactures:2
Free White Persons - Under 16:4
Free White Persons - Over 25:2
Total Free White Persons:7
Total Slaves:9
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other:16

The 1850 census was the kicker.

NameErixena Duke
Birth Yearabt 1800
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1850District 12, Fayette, Tennessee, USA
Family Number1383
Household Members
Robert G Duke55
Erixena Duke50
William Duke22
Cristina Duke19
Robert Duke17
Eliza Duke15
Mary Duke13
Lucius Duke10
Jane Singhton28

In and of itself, it would have probably be missed, this family in House number 1383,

But in House number 1382 was "Ann B. Baird" or Annabelle Morrison Beard/Barid, daughter of Ancena Winfield Morrison Avette and widow of John Beard, with her younger children, Ann E, 19, Edwin L. 15, William H. 16 and Margarite A. 13.

Not only that, but just above this family was the family of Abraham Scarborough, 49, his wife Margaret, 44 and their children, Alfred, William, Jane, John, Lemuel and Thomas. Margaret Morrison Scarborough was also the daughter of Ancena and James Morrison.

The Sisters had stuck together. This was Erexena Morrison Singleton and an additional supporting fact, was the addition in the household of a 28 year old Jane Singleton, who obviously had to be the daughter of Erexena and her first husband, George Singleton.

Erexena obviously was widowed young, with the little daughter Jane, and married Robert G. Duke in North Carolina, where their children were born. They afterwards migrated to Fayette County, Tennessee to be with her family there.

We learn more of Erexena through her children, actually, most notably her son, Robert Spain Duke, the 17 year old in the 1850 census.

He and his family moved to Lonoke, Arkansas, which turned out to be a popular relocation spot for multiple branches of the same family tree that migrated west.

His biography appeared in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Lonoke County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing in 1889.

It states, "Robert Spain Duke, a leading farmer of Prairie Township, was fourth in a family of 9 children born to Robert G and Erexena (Morrison) Duke, his birth occurring in North Carolina, April 30, 1833. Robert G Duke was born in North Carolina, July 5, 1795, and was a son of Robert Duke, a soldier in the Revolutionary War, of Irish decent, who settled and married in Anson County, North Carolina, and died there in about the 100th year of his age. Robert G. Duke moved from North Carolina to Tennessee in 1845, where he lived until his death. which occured May 3, 1879. His wife (Erexena) was born in North Carolina January 3, 1801 and died in 1856."

The biography goes on to tell how Robert Spain Duke grew up in Tennesee, married twice and had 5 children, three by the first wife, two by the second, served in the Civil War and established himself well in the community.

Image result for fayette county tennessee

Further research reveals that this article may have been mistaken in the Grandfather of Robert Spain Duke. The story of the American Revolutionary War veteran, who lived to be nearly 100, sounds like my ancestor, James Duke, who settled in Stanly County, which was part of Montgomery County for most of his life, and lived to be nearly 100. Records of Robert G. Duke, put him in the right area, at the right time, to be the son of James Duke, and brother to my ancestor Elizabeth Duke Lee, not the son of some illusive and undocumented Robert. So, it is my belief that the writer simply got the grandfather's name wrong, it being James, not Robert.

So Erexena shows up in her marriage license to George Singleton, the land division after her father, James Morrison's death, the sale that land to Richard Randle, and the 1850 census.

Most likely, George Singleton died in North Carolina and Erexena and Robert G. Duke married here, as all of her children, including the youngest, Lucian, in 1840, were born here.

Erexena Morrison Singleton Duke's date of death is given as 1856 in Fayette County, Tennesse, by her sons' biography. Her place of burial is unknown.

By dashes on the older census records, it appears there may have been 2 more children, a male and a female, born between Jane Singleton in 1822 and William D. Duke in 1828. It is not known if they were Singletons or Dukes or if they were living in 1850, just as adults and not with the family, or died as children. Another odd clue is Robert Spain Dukes' biography naming him as the 4th in a family of 9 children, implying the two missing children came after his birth, as he is fourth in the known lineage of Jane, William, Christina and Robert Spain.

So as follows are the 7 known children of Mary Erexena Morrison Singleton Duke, daughter of Ancena Winfield Morrison Avett and granddaughter of Peter Winfield and Charlotte Freeman Winfield.

1. Jane Singleton b 1822
       married  J. M. Pickens

Name:Jane Singleton
Marriage Date:24 Jan 1853
Marriage Place:Fayette, Tennessee, USA
Spouse:Jno M Pickins

Further research needed.

2. William D. Duke b 1828
     Shown in 1850 and 1860 census with parents and siblings.
        Further research needed.

3. Christina A. Duke b 1831
     Married D. W. Wright
Name:Christina A Duke
Marriage Date:30 May 1853
Marriage Place:Fayette, Tennessee, USA
Spouse:D W Wright

4. Robert Spain Duke b 1833 d 1898
    Married Susan Catherine Allison
      Married Rebecca I Mason

      Died in Prairie, Lonoke, Arkansas
      Six children

5. Eliza Duke b 1835

       Shown with family in the 1850, 1860 and 1870 census.
       Futher research needed.

6. Mary Abigail Duke b 1837 d 1878

       Married James Teague. 3 children. Died in Fayette County, TN

7. Lucious Alexander Duke b 1840 d 1912
       Married Susie Elizabeth Ormsby 7 children. Died in Lonoke County, Arkansas.

Luscious and Susie Duke
Lucious A. Duke and Susie Ormsby Duke
Addendum:  Shortly after publishing this post, I immediately began researching the daughters of Erexena Morrison Singleton Duke. Eliza came quickly. In the 1870 census, she is shown living with her father at 35, and a farmhand named John Thompson.

ameMr John Thompson
Marriage Date25 Dec 1870
Marriage PlaceFayette, Tennessee, USA
SpouseEliza Duke
Household Members
Mr John Thompson
Eliza Duke
That year, on Christmas Day, Eliza was married to John Thompson by Rev. W. P. Simmons, a family member and son-in-law of her mother's (half or step) brother, Thomas Avett.

John Thompson ended up being Jonathan Wilkerson Thompson, born in 1846, the son of George H. and Sarah T. Davis Thompson. He grew up in Center, or Norwood, the brother of David King Thompson, who was well established in that area.

Jonathan and Eliza also moved to Lonoke County, Arkansas and raised  3 sons, William J. , Vernon Culpepper and John Edgar Thompson.

NameJ. W. Thompson
Birth DateMay 1858
Death Date31 Jul 1914
CemeteryOak Grove Cemetery
Burial or Cremation PlaceAustin, Lonoke County, Arkansas, USA
Has Bio?N
SpouseEliza S. Thompson
ChildrenWilliam J. Thompson

They are buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Austin, Lonoke County, Arkansas.