Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Lost Melton

While looking for one thing, sometimes I discover another, or answer to a long-held question I've had. This just happened while I was looking at a member of the Fry family, Elizabeth, that I discovered a pre-hereto unknown fact. And quite by accident.
Image result for waiting widow
Widow waiting by Chasing Juniper

Quite shockingly, but not at all uncommon, I've discovered that right after the Civil War, young widows would marry whomever there was to marry, sometimes boys, but very often, much older men. Sometimes the grooms would be as old as the brides grandparents. It was this lack of power, property and legal standing that women did not have, that forced them  to be attached to a man to survive. It was definately not a  lack of skills, knowledge or  the ability to take care of themselves.  These were not helpless, fawning doves. These girls knew how to work. They had to feed themselves and  take care of their children.

Leonard Fry was born in 1796 and had lost his wife Ann sometime shortly after 1860.

On March 21, 1869 Leonard, age 73, son of William and Betsy Fry married Caroline Marbry, daugther of  William Melton and Fanny Melton, age 37. Being toward the end of her child-bearing years, Caroline would have been more desparate than a girl in her 20's to find a husband.

Name:Leonard Fry
Age in 1870:20
Birth Year:abt 1850
[Abt. 1800] 
Birthplace:North Carolina
Dwelling Number:141
Home in 1870:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Cannot Read:Y
Cannot Write:Y
Male Citizen Over 21:Y
Personal Estate Value:200
Real Estate Value:350
Inferred Spouse:Caroline Fry
Inferred Children:Green Fry
Household Members:
Leonard Fry20
Caroline Fry38
Green Fry12

I found them in the 1870 census, but a few things were incorrect. First, the transcriber had misread Leonards' age. It was written as 70, not 20, but he was actually 74 by then. And 12 year old Green, was probably Caroline's son, Leonards stepson, and not a Fry.

Name:Caroline Milton
Birth Year:abt 1834
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Freemans, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Family Number:137
Household Members:
John Milton46
Nancy Milton46
Missouria Milton20
Laura J Milton17
Eliza Milton17
Caroline Milton16
John Solomon22

I didn't know who this Carolina was. I had a Caroline in the Melton family tree, but had her pegged as a daughter of John Melton, Jr. and his wife Nancy Boysworth Melton. She is living with them in the 1850 census in the young town of Albemarle. As you can see by the order of the ages of the girls, that Caroline was not out of line, like John Solomon, which usually indicates the child or person was out of origin. John Solomon was an employee or boarder of John Milton. Caroline appeared to be a daughter.

But her surname was Marbry when she married Leonard Fry, so now it was time to find that marriage. And I already had.

Name:Caroline Melton
Marriage Date:7 Sep 1856
Marriage Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Spouse:James Mabry
Spouse Gender:Male
Event Type:Marriage

Caroline had married a James Mabry on September 7, 1856. The names Mabry and Marbry were interchangeable in old Stanly County records and is even seen as Mayberry most of the time in the old Montgomery ones predating Stanly. Likewise, Melton and Milton were interchangeable, often seen as one then the other in old documents when referring to the same individual. On a permanent level, some became Milton's and some became Melton's just as some became Mabry's and some became Marbry's, but both names lead back to one singular family. Never let anyone tell you any different. No "different sets or different family". Honeycutts and Huneycutts are also just one family.

My next step was to find James Marbry and hopefully Caroline in the 1860 census, the one in between these two I had found her in.

Name:James Marbry
Birth Year:abt 1835
Birth Place:North Carolina
Home in 1860:Stanly, North Carolina
Post Office:Albemarle
Dwelling Number:425
Family Number:428
Real Estate Value:200
Personal Estate Value:115
Cannot Read, Write:Y
Household Members:
James Marbry25
Mary Marbry26
Sallie Marbry6

I found a James, but his wife's name was Mary, and they had a daughter, it appeared, a little girl named Sally.

And I had this record cnnnected to the supposed "daughter" of John Jr. and Nancy Boysworth Melton. So, I went digging back through all the Melton/Milton info and it started to come together.

In the Stanly County Superior Court minutes for 1846 was this entry:

"Mary Caroline Milton bound to Benjamin L. Whitley"

Then, it became clear. Caroline was Mary Carolina and she was not the daughter of John and Nancy, she was their niece She was the daughter of William and Fanny, which I will get to in a minute. But Caroline had one more door to unlock.

Leonard Fry was in his 70's in the 1870 census, so it was really no surprise he did not show up in the 1880 census, but what about Caroline?

Name:Carlin Fray
Birth Date:Abt 1831
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Big Lick, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Dwelling Number:146
Relation to Head of House:Sister-in-law
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Maimed, Crippled, or Bedridden:Yes
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
R. G. H. Hunycutt40
Margerat Hunycutt40
John Hunycutt19
Solomon Hunycutt17
Carline Hunycutt15
Bettie Hunycutt18
Robert Hunycutt11
Chatharin Hunycutt9
Millort Hunycutt7
Marion Hunycutt5
Fanie Hunycutt3
P Hunycutt1
Carlin Fray49

I found her and where I found her was the key to unlocking another door in the Melton family lineup.

With much respect to the hard work of numerous transcribers, oftentimes they had a great deal of trouble deciphering that ancient 19th century handwriting. So, Caroline Fry became "Carlin Fray".
The 1880 census was the first one that gave us the actual relationship of the persons in a household to the Head Of House. In this case, R. G. H. Huneycutt was the Head of Household. Caroline Melton Fry was the sister-in-law of Reuben George Hiram Huneycutt. R. G. H. Huneycutt was married to Margaret Melton. Caroline Melton, daughter of William and Fanny, was the sister of Margaret Melton.

November 1846 Session Court of Pleas and Quarters:
 "Margeret Melton bound to John Perry until she shall attain the age of  18 years. Bond filed."

November 1847 Session Court of Pleas and Quarters:
"Henry Melton bound to John Perry who entered into bond and obligated himself to give said Henry Melton one suit of clothes and $10 when he shall have attained the age of 21."

Name:Henry Milton
Birth Year:abt 1844
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Smiths, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Family Number:703
Household Members:
John Perry43
Margaret Perry45
Lewis C Perry22
Silva Perry19
Caswell Perry18
Margaret Milton8
Henry Milton6
Elizabeth Perry70
Elizabeth Perry85

And no surprise, Margaret and her brother Henry were found in the home of John Perry in 1850.

Name:Margaret Milton
Marriage Date:20 Sep 1860
Marriage Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Spouse:R G H Hunneycutt
Spouse Gender:Male
Event Type:Marriage

Margaret married R. G. H. Huneycutt in 1860 and had 10 children. She died sometime before November,  1886 when Hiram remarried to Holly Hinson.

Her little brother Henry remained in the home of John Perry in the 1860 census as an apprentice and when the Civil War began, he enlisted. The older Henry H. Melton was the son of John Melton Sr. and Henry Harrison Melton who died in 1855 was the son of Charlotte Melton, who would have been an Aunt of  "Little Henry", as I refer to this youngest one. Their ancestry all leads back to Henry Melton born 1740 in Virginia and died in 1807 in Granville County, North Carolina who married Agnes Sears. That Henry was the son of an elder Henry Melton, born 1719 in Hanover County, Virginia and died in 1784 in Granville County, NC who was married to Kesiah Lynne. Henry Sr. was the son of John Melton of Hanover County, Virginia who was married to Mary Preston White, and backward it goes. But it explains the preponderance of Henry Harrison Melton's.

NameHenry H Melton
ResidenceStanly County, North Carolina
Age at enlistment18
Enlistment Date28 Feb 1863
Rank at enlistmentPrivate
Enlistment PlaceStanly County, North Carolina
State ServedNorth Carolina
Survived the War?No
Service RecordEnlisted in Company H, North Carolina 13th Infantry Regiment on 28 Feb 1863.Mustered out on 16 Apr 1865 at Hosp, Petersburg, VA.
Birth Dateabt 1845
SourcesNorth Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster

Henry died on April 16, 1865 at Gettysburg. He was taken to Fairground Hospital, Petersburg, Va and died of a gunshot wound to the head.

We now have 3 children we can attribute to William B. Melton and Fanny. Could there be more?

During the same session of court that Mary Caroline Melton was bound to Benjamin Lindsey Whitley, an Elisha H Milton was bound to William Boysworth. Something changed between 1846 and 1850, because in 1850, Elisha was living in the household of John Stone.

Name:Elisha Melton
Birth Year:abt 1840
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Family Number:845
Household Members:
John F Stone43
Nancy Stone48
Mary H Stone21
Lucy A Stone17
Adam W Stone16
Sarah C Stone14
Damarias Palmer16
Elisha Melton10

Elisha H. Melton married Francis Marbry, daughter of Isaiah Marbry on March 13, 1862. Remember that name Marbry? Yes, Mary Caroline married James Marbry. Caroline and Elisha Melton married siblings, Jame and Francis Marbry.

Name:Francy Morbary
Marriage Date:13 Mar 1862
Marriage Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Spouse:Elisha H Milton
Spouse Gender:Male
Event Type:Marriage

Elisha Melton also served in the Civil War. E. H. Melton was a Private in Company K 28th Reg. NC Troops. He was captured at Falling Waters, Maryland on August 14, 1863. He was kept a Prisoner of War at Point Lookout, MD. A photograph of Elisha Melton is in a two volumn book on Civil War Soldiers. His youthful gaze showed clear eyes, probably blue or light green, and brown hair, looking out nervously under a Confederate cap.

Corp Elisha H. Melton

NameElisha H Milton
ResidenceStanly County, North Carolina
Age at enlistment22
Enlistment Date7 Sep 1861
Rank at enlistmentPrivate
Enlistment PlaceStanly County, North Carolina
State ServedNorth Carolina
Survived the War?Yes
Service RecordEnlisted in Company K, North Carolina 28th Infantry Regiment on 07 Sep 1861.
Birth Dateabt 1839
SourcesNorth Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster

A notation on his packet says oddly, "Joined U. S. service on January 24, 1864."  The papers also say that he enlisted in Albemarle on September 7, 1861.

Elisha Melton had switched sides. Another packet filed under "US Volunteeres" accounts of him in this way, "Private Elisha Milton  1st Regiment, US Volunteers, Portmouth, Va, May 1, 1864. Where born: Stanly, North Carolina, age 24, Occupation: Wheelwright. When enlisted: January 24, 1864 Point Lookout, MD for a period of 3 years. Eyes: Grey, Hair: Black, Complexion: dark, Height 5" 9 1/2 in, Where mustered in: Portsmouth, Va    When mustered: May 1, 1864.

The company descriptive book continues with his career, which did not last long.

It recapitulates that Elisha Hinson Milton, age 24, Wheelwright from Albemarle, NC, "died of chronic diarrhea at Fort Rice, D T (Dakota Territory), Dec 10, 1864. He was while at Norfolk a good soldier but after leaving that place showed a growing lack of attention to duty. 

                                      From Find-a-Grave

Name:Corp Elisha H. Melton
Birth Place:Stanly County, North Carolina, United States of America
Death Date:11 Dec 1864
Death Place:Fort Rice, Morton County, North Dakota, United States of America
Cemetery:Custer National Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:Crow Agency, Big Horn County, Montana, United States of America

Melton, Elisha H., b. ca. 1840, Stanly Co., NC. Enlisted 9/7/1861, Albemarle, N.C. in Co. K, 28th North Carolina Infantry, CSA. Captured at Falling Waters, Maryland, 7/14/1863. Sent to Ft. McHenry, Baltimore, Md. and then transferred to Pt. Lookout, Maryland. Took the oath of allegiance and enlisted in Co. D, 1st United States Volunteer Infantry ("Galvanized Yankees"), 1/24/1864. D. 12/11/1864. Remains removed from Ft. Rice Cemetery and reburied in this cemetery, 3/6/1905.

And then, there is another possible child of William B Melton and Fanny. On the same day that Elisha H. Melton enlisted for Company K, along came George Melton,and enlisted in the same company at the same time. 

Name:George Milton
Birth Year:abt 1843
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Family Number:950
Household Members:
James Hinson48
Nancy Hinson47
Sarah Hinson21
Adaline Hinson19
Larry Hinson16
George Milton7
Margaret Hinson5
Rebecca Hinson3
Robert Blalock50
Nancy Blalock30

George Melton is first found as a 7 year old living in the household of James and Nancy Melton Hinson. Nancy, as proven by land divisions, was one of the daughters of John Melton Sr. Also worth noting is that Elisha's middle name was Hinson. Could their mother Fanny also have been a Hinson? Possibly a sister of James?

Name:George Melton
Marriage Date:9 Mar 1863
Marriage Place:Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Spouse:Elizabeth Crauford
Spouse Gender:Female
Event Type:Marriage

George Melton married Elizabeth Crawford on March 9, 1863, while on leave.

Unlike Elisha, Henry and James Marbry, George Melton survived the Civil War. It appears his first move was to Alabama, as his oldest daughter, Alice was born there. He then settled in Red River County, Texas near the Oklahoma border. There he met Missouri Bryant, obviously a young widow, as her name was Gilliam on the marriage license. Together they would have 11 children, 7 who lived to adulthood.

Name:Whitman Milton
Birth Year:abt 1835
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Freemans, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Family Number:156
Household Members:
Thos Biley32
Caroline Biley25
Martha Biley4
Tistia Biley2
Whitman Milton15

Another possible child was Whitman Melton, who was age 15 in 1850, living with Thomas Biles, Jr. Nothing else is known of Whitman Melton.

And just when I thought this wonderful door that Caroline had opened up for me could not get any better, I remembered another Melton mystery. That of James Frank Melton.

Falling From the Sky: James Frank Melton

I've posted on the mystery of James Frank Melton more than once. What makes him a mystery is that fact that although he is buried at Randle's Church with many other Melton's, who are David and his descendants, he doesn't clearly show up in Stanly County until the 1900 census and his marriage certificate of  October 12, 1899, when he marries Doctor "Dockie" Jane Simpson, daughter of John B. Simpson and Ursula Lowder Simpson.

On this document, Frank lists both his parents as unknown and deceased and Dockie lists John B Simpson as her father, but lists her mother as unknown. Now, I understand that they were an older couple, as far as marrying went. He was 53, but gave his age as 49 and she was 39, but certainly someone told him who his parents were. Docky has no excuse, her mother lived until at least 1880, because they appear on the census in the same household and Docky was 20!!! Your mother lives until you were 20 + and you can't remember her name? The only explanation I can see for that is someone they knew, who was literate, applied for the license for them, and that individual did not know his parents or her mother, but only knew she was John B's daughter.

I thought about the fact that maybe he was a Melton from another county, or another state, except that he was in the Civil War, and his veteran and Civil War records claim he was from Stanly County. He should have shown up in the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 census's. Maybe missed one, but all?

But two clues as to his origin do exist, and this is where he may fit in. First off is his death certificate. Frank and Dockie had one son, Oliver Douglas Melton, born in 1904. That is there just as a note, Oliver was not the informant on the Death Certificate.

The informant was W. B. Kirk, with whom Docky went to live with after Frank's death. He gave Frank's birthplace as Rt 2, Albemarle and his father as Oliver Melton, born in Albemarle and his mother as Fannie Melton, born in North Carolina. There was no combination of Meltons to be found, but Fannie lends herself to being perhaps the wife of William B Melton and maybe Mr. Kirk was assuming that son Oliver was named for his grandfather. Perhaps William B carried 3 Christian names and Oliver being one of them.

What tops it off is in the turn-of-the century permanent voter rolls, wherein a voter had to name a voter from the past that they were descended from in order to vote. This racist rule was intended to keep nonwhites from voting, but do serve the purpose of identifying who a man was descended from. They named either their father or grandfather. In the 1911 roll, Frank Melton gave his ancestor as William. I had pondered over William Jones Melton, who migrated West, but his descendants are well documented and Frank did not fit. William Jones was the son of John Melton Sr.

And now it makes sense. William B Melton and wife Fanny were the parents of James Frank Melton, who was the last child. But what about Fanny? Did the fact that Mr. Kirk knew her name mean that she perhaps lived after William B's death and remarried, only taking the baby with her? Maybe Frank was raised under a different surname, the stepfather's, or at least listed that way in the census records and that is why he could not be found.

Name:Frank Milton
Age in 1870:22
Birth Year:abt 1848
Birthplace:North Carolina
Dwelling Number:92
Home in 1870:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Male Citizen Over 21:Y
Inferred Spouse:Martha Milton
Inferred Children:Fannie Milton
Household Members:
Frank Milton22
Martha Milton22
Fannie Milton2

He may have been found in the 1870 census, as a Frank Melton, 22 and his wife Martha with a two-year old daughter, Fanny are found living near the widow of H. H. Melton and the Boysworths, which puts him in the right area and 2 years within the right age, which was not uncommon to be incorrect in census records. With a daughter named Fanny. Now more than ever, I believe this is Frank. Especially since in the 1910 census, it indicated that he had been married twice.

But who is Martha? And what happened to her and Fannie?  That, I do not have an answer to. I have not found a marriage license between a Franklin Melton or Milton and a Martha. I do not find them in the 1880 census nor a trace of Fanny either.

But back to the possible, probable and definate, children of William B. Melton and Fanny. Do they align in a possible and agreeable manner?

1) 1832  Mary Caroline Melton (definate)

2) 1835 Whitman Melton (possible)

3) 1839 Elisha H. Melton (probable)

4) 1840 Margaret S. Melton (definate)

5) 1841 George J. Melton (probable)

6) 1845 Henry H. Melton II (definate)

7) 1846 James Franklin Melton (probable)

Looks like the lineup of a normal 19th century family to me.

But where was William B and Fanny in 1840 and 1830? Living with his father?

Name:Joseph Melton
Home in 1840 (City, County, State):West Pee Dee River, Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14:1 Unknown 
Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19:1 James R. Melton
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29:1 William B Melton
Free White Persons - Males - 60 thru 69:1 Joseph Melton Sr. 
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39:1 daughter in law Fanny
Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 49:1 daughter Charlotte
Free White Persons - Females - 60 thru 69:1  Mrs. Joseph (Abigail?)
Persons Employed in Agriculture:2
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write:2
Free White Persons - Under 20:2
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:3
Total Free White Persons:7

And where are the children born before 1840? And how about John Sr's household? Did his children fit in it?

Name:John Melbon
[John Melton] 
Home in 1840 (City, County, State):West Pee Dee River, Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9:1 Mary's son Robert?
Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19:1 William Jones Melton
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29:1 David
Free White Persons - Males - 60 thru 69:1 John Sr. 
Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9:1 Sarah
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19:2 Frances & Unknown daughter
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29:1 Mary
Free White Persons - Females - 50 thru 59:1 Peggy
Persons Employed in Agriculture:2
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write:1
Free White Persons - Under 20:5
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:2
Total Free White Persons:9

Henry H. and Joseph were enumerated separately. Nancy was married.

As one can see, there is alot more work to do on the Melton/Milton family of Stanly County, but at least we know who some of these floating children belonged to.


  1. I love reading about your family research journeys. I wish you had Smith's in your search. Your stories seem to be all around them in the Bridgeport area. I could use some help with my Joseph Smith. He seems to have appeared from nowhere.

  2. I also have an unknown Smith who appeared from nowhere.