Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Searching we will go....


I've just returned from another trip to Virginia. As always, the libraries and Courthouses close too soon.

This time, I spent most of my time in Brunswick County, in Lawrenceville. Just entering Virginia, is like entering the womb of the Great Mother. It seems to take me back another century in time. To border each other, and to have once been one county, Brunswick is very different from Mecklenburg. First, just the topography. Mecklenburg is much more rolling hills, while Brunswick is flater. I also noticed that Brunswick soil seemed to be very sandy in places, while Mecklenburg looked much more like my home area in North Carolina. Dirt. Not so sandy.

Put together, neither county boasts a metropolis, but Mecklenburg contains the only municipality I would call a city, South Hill, a very small city, but it's much more bustling. They even have a Harbor Freight, y'all. In fact, Mecklenburg has a number of good sized towns, nothing as large as my own little hole-in-the-wall, Albemarle, but a good competition for Oakboro. Areas you can call towns. Clarksville, Boydton, Broadnax (which so reminds me of Star in Montgomery County, NC), Chase City and Bracey. Brunswick has, well, Lawrenceville. To be accurate, both counties can kind of claim Broadnax,it's a straddler. Right there on the line, kinda.

To think about it. Mecklenburg and Brunswick Counties are twins to Stanly and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina. Montgomery is much more rural than Stanly. Some places you can drive right through without ever noticing you're been there. On her western side, she is the mountain momma blessed with a big hunk of the Uwharries, but on her eastern side, her topography has changed and she becomes a part of the Sandhills. In Stanly County, we have dirt. Dirt and rocks. Great streaches of the slate belt pass right through here, along with those veins of quartz that carry gold. In between all that is the fertile green rolling hills with small mountains popping up here and there. Both counties are blessed with a myriad of creeks, lakes and rivers criss-crossing the terrain.

Montgomery has towns, Troy, Mt. Gilead, Biscoe, Star, Candor. It's largest, Troy, does not qualify as a city, just a town and county seat. Other than that it's communities are places, some might have church and a store, others just a spattering of houses, with odd names too numerous to recount.

Stanly has her share of pigpasses, but we do have a city, Albemarle, also the county seat, and Locust is fast becoming a City, if she has not reached that goal already, due to her location on the Charlotte-side of the county and direct road into Concord. A lot of folks around work in Charlotte and Concord, which has caught the Charlotte urbanization virus, because that is where the jobs are, but they don't want to live there. The cost of living is extremely high, and the traffic is just complete insanity. Exciting for the young, but not a good place to raise a family or to relax.

And our small towns are actual towns, with restaurants, stores, multiple churches, schools. and a "town" look to them. Oakboro, Norwood, New London, Stanfield, Richfield, Misenheimer, Badin. You know you are in a town, sidewalks, Dollar Generals and all.

Image result for dollar general in small towns

But back to Virginia. Lawrenceville boasts 3 or 4 museums, it's history is so rich and thick. But now, there is no one to run them or open them. The library has a history room, but it is kept locked and there is no one to man it. It's collection is, no other word for it, pitiable. I have more books on the area at home. The library staff complains about their lack of staffing. It's a place deeply steeped in history and one where a huge number of people can trace their ancestry to. But she's bled out and bled out for so many centuries that she has      nearly     bled     to       death.

But some stayed and have stayed a very long time. I went from reading names in ancient record books to going out and driving around, seeing the very same names on businesses. There is a very lengthy lawsuit involving Marriott Davis, a relative of mine, and William Sadler, in 1789. I walked out of the courthouse and started off to Boydton, and there was Sadler Brothers Oil Company. I'm sure that somehow, the blood of William Sadler, or one of his close relatives, flow through their veins.

The Lawrenceville Courthouse is a treasure trove. Their information is still in labeled books, with indexes. Unlike, Mecklenburg, where the same types of records have been scanned and sent to the Capitol archives and what they have left is on microfilm. Good that is there, but if you live far away, and have limited time to scan microfilm, a tape without and index to pages, is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.
Image result for needle in a haystack

While I didn't find any information on Job Davis, I did pick up more information on other members of the family, and other names in the family tree. I believe I have enough information on the descendants of Henry Davis and Mary Mariott to assemble a root system, from that couple down as that couple back has been done and done well. As far as what my brick wall is, which one of the Davis sons was the father of Job, I'm still working on that one through the process of elimination. But it's looking more and more like Joshua, which puzzles me because Job did not name any one of his 4 sons Joshua.

I also elminated the possibility that he was an orphan when he came to North Carolina as a young man. He is on neither the Ward list or in the Orphan book of the years he would have been living in Mecklenburg County. His youngest aunts and uncles who were under 21 when Grandfather Henry passed away are on those lists, though. Which was an additional bit of information.

While I didn't find the treasure trove I found last time, I did pick up a few more things. I really wish I could scour the Mecklenburg County microfilm, but when they close at 5 and you live 4 hours away, it will be a very slow process, if in process at all.

Every trip to Virginia is productive, but it's time to see what I can access online until my next trip. I wonder if you can order CD's of those Virginia records from the Library of Virginia archives like you can from NC? It would be so much more convenient to be able to scan them at home.

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