Thursday, April 25, 2019

John Hooks

John Hooks was my 3rd Great Grandfather, yet I know so little about him.

He appears in the 1850 and 1860 censuses as a young man with a young and growing family. The family of his wife, Martha Carpenter Hooks, daughter of Thomas Carpenter and wife, Elizabeth B Broadaway Carpenter,  and granddaughter of James Ludwell Carpenter and wife, Obedience Broadway Carpenter, has been well traced back for multiple generations. Yet, John remains a mystery.

Image result for civil war soldiers

He served in the Civil War and there lost his life.

The lives of his children became tangled afterwards and somewhat difficult to follow. Rife with illegitimacy and unhappy stories, it's been work to figure out who belongs to who and the obvious connections of people living in the same households, and a few, I have yet to figure out where they fit.

John Hooks, himself, appears to have came out of nowhere. has a new feature that is quite interesting, called Thrulines. It's a neat little feature that compares the trees of people you share DNA with and lists your recorded and potential ancestors. It then lists how many people you share dna with who also descend from that ancestor. It seems like a magic feature, but you still have to use precaution with it. Unfortunately, you can have a "group" incorrect lead. One person will happen upon a name and everyone else will blindly jump upon the bandwagon. Yes, you have a common ancestor, and yes, you are all related, however, this person, or couple, may not be your actual common ancestors.

There was the suggestion of a Daniel or David Hooks line in my Thru Lines, as being the father of John Hooks. At first I looked at it, then, decided to take it with a grain of salt until I did my own digging. But they may be on to something. There are people with common ancestry claiming Daniel as the father of John. They also point toward a Davidson County, NC connection.

Until the Thru-lines hint, all I had to go on was this note from John Hooks Civil War records, "Ann Hooks, Mo" seems to suggest that his mother was Ann Hooks. His wife's name was Martha. "Mo" suggests mother to me, not wife. Why his mother would pick up his belongings and not his wife, is a bit of a mystery to me, but possibly, she was unable. It's a hint to explore, however, not written in stone.

John Hooks Civil war receipt for personal items

My descendancy from John Hooks looks a little bit like this:

John Hooks and wife, Martha Carpenter Hooks - Great Great Great Grandparents

Sarah Jane Hooks Hill and husband, William Mathew Hill - Great Great Grandparents

Lottie Hill Lemmons and husband, Harvey Lafayette Lemmonds - Great Grandparents

Bertha Virginia Lemmons Lambert and husband, Burley Melvin Lambert- Grandparents

Then my parents to my self.

This is the little I DO know about My GGGreat Grandfather John Hooks. He first shows up in Ross Township in the 1850 census. He is living near several Cobles and Arnold Watkins. Ross was located in the southern part of the county near the Rocky River.

Name:John Hooks
Birth Year:abt 1827
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Ross, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Family Number:753
Household Members:
John Hooks23
Martha Hooks22
Elizabeth Hooks2

Some people try to attach an 1840 census listing in Anson County to him, but that was an entirely different John Hooks, who was living in Morven, near the South Carolina line in 1850, but who also was married to a Martha. There may be a connection somewhere down the road, but at this point, I don't know of one. In 1840, my John would have been 13 and would NOT have been the head of his own household.

In 1850, John and Martha Carpenter Hooks had probably been married 3 or 4 years and their firstborn child, Elizabeth, was about 2.

Name:John Hooks
Birth Year:abt 1823
Home in 1860:Stanly, North Carolina
Post Office:Albemarle
Dwelling Number:320
Family Number:321
Cannot Read, Write:Y
Household Members:
John Hooks37
Martha Hooks33
Daniel J Hooks13
Betty Hooks11
Mary E Hooks10
Sarah J Hooks8
Eliza A Hooks6
Nancy V Hooks4

By 1860, the family had increased to 6 children, my 2nd Great Grandmother, Sarah Jane Hooks, had been born and they were living next to Martha's father, Thomas Carpenter. They were living among other Carpenters, Coleys, McIntyres and Aldridges, which I know was in the Tyson Community, near present day Aquadale and Cottonville.

Oddly, Elizabeth "Betty" Hooks was no longer the oldest child, which gives way for the question, 'Where was Daniel J Hooks in 1850?' Or, could the census taker have just made a mistake and Betty was actually older than Daniel, and Daniel was actually less than 10, but tall? Who knows, but this was the last census for Papa John.

Martha was most likely expecting Ellen Catherine Hooks at this time and the 8th and last child, John Wesley Hooks, would be born in 1862.

In 1864, John would enlist in Company D, 42nd Regiment North Carolina, of the Confederate Army. The final, most  solid information I have on him is from his military papers.

John Hooks
Private Company D North Carolina Infantry, 42nd Regiment.

He enlisted on January 1, 1864, which was rather late into the war, in Salisbury, Rowan County, which may be a hint to his origins.

He enlisted for a period of 3 years or the War, by Capt. Crawford, and was present in the January and February musters.

In just a few months, he would be at Wilmington, and then in the April to August muster, he was noted to have died at Richmond in the hospital. His date of death is given as July 2, 1864 and the name of the hospital as "Winder". He was admitted on June 11, 1864. His occupation was a nurse and his physical condition was given as "disabled". This may have been why he waited so long to enlist and why he was given the job of a nurse. He only had $1.30 in his effects and possessions. His effects were recieved by Ann Hook "mo.", Mother?

The 1850 and 1860 census records give no hint of a disability for John Hooks. Could his disability have been acquired in battle? Was his assignment to Winder be due to a need for nurses? Was his death the result of caring for sick men and catching a contagion? The following newspapers give the account of the suffering of North Carolinians at Camp Winder. A wing with a capacity of 450 had been opened just for them.

From the Richmond Whig, 6/8/1864
In the House of Representatives, a few days ago, some of the Representatives of North Carolina in zealously advocating the granting of furloughs to wounded soldier for a less term than sixty days, as provided by the __ existing law, alluded in strong terms to the suffering of the North Carolina wounded at Camp Winder. We approved of the charge as advocated, and would have now, and until the war is over (and God grant it may be soon,) every brave boy from North Carolina in the bosom of his family, as soon as wounded, if it were practicable. It will be thus seen that there is not a shade of difference of opinion between us and the most zealous advocates for the proposed change in the furlough system. However the tone of the remarks of more than one of the North Carolina delegation, who took part in the discussion already alluded to, induced us to infer that at Camp Winder Hospital the North Carolina wounded were treated with neglect, to use the mildest term. What then was our astonishment, yesterday, when we met an energetic daughter of Virginia – one of those angels of mercy whose good deeds will never be fully known or appreciated until they are unfolded in another and a better world – with a subscription list headed by a well known citizen of Richmond, with fifty dollars (and the amount promised to reach a round sum) with which to purchase delicacies for a ward in this Hospital, which is occupied by none others than North Carolinians. She informed us that a committee of ladies of which she is a member, but rarely allow a day to pass without carrying them such articles of nutriment as will suit the condition of their health. On Saturday last they carried four gallons of ice cream – a donation from Mr. Pissini the well known confectioner on Broad street – and distributed it among these gallant North Carolinians, whose Governor Vance says are called "Tarheels," because their feet adhere so closely to the battle field that they are never able to retreat.
We have no issue to make with the North Carolina delegation for their zeal in behalf of the wounded, but we publish the above to let the mothers, wives and sisters of wounded North Carolinians know that their dear ones in Virginia, though prostrate from wounds received while bravely opposing the advance of the accursed Yankees, find, among their sisters in Virginia, many a Florence Nightingale, ready and anxious to minister to their wants. In a word, that while some are deprived of the endearing associations of home, because the character of their wounds will not permit them to be moved, that they have excellent and attentive surgeons, and are not permitted to suffer for the want of suitable food or kind nursing.

John Hooks left a wife and 8 children and died at the age of 37 in Virginia. Where he came from, I don't know, but am on a journey to discover. No land records exist in Stanly County for the Hooks, until Martha Carpenter Hooks receives a share of her father Thomas and grandfather, James Ludwell Carpenter 's estates. No Hooks appear in the early court records of Stanly County, just his children later on. He remains a mystery.

So, we have a possible father as a Daniel, which makes sense, as his oldest son was named Daniel J Hooks.  We have a possible mother of Ann Hooks. Now to find them..

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Lee Tragedy

John Lee lived along the Rocky River. I have came across his name many, many times in my research of various other families who lived along the Rocky River, most especially my Davis ancestors. Peter Winfield, the father of Sarah Winfield Howell Davis, owned land on both sides of the Rocky River, so when he died in 1802, different alottments went to his 4 children, Edward Winfield, Jemima Winfield Nash (Griffin), Ancena Winfield Morrison Avett (James Morrison, Thomas Avett) and Sarah Winfield Howell Davis (Richard Howell, Job Davis. The Lee properties bordered these families on the Anson side of the river, most especially the Davis's.

John Lee

One of John Lee's daughters, Rowena (sometimes seen as "Roena"), married the second son of Job Davis, James M. Davis, or "Jim".

John Lee is found in the 1850 census of Cedar Hill, Anson County, North Carolina, in the following manner.

ame:John Lee
Birth Year:abt 1781
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Cedar Hill, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Family Number:693
Household Members:
John Lee69
Elizabeth Lee69
Wineford Lee39
Rosannah Lee15
Sarah Lee13
John Lee8

This census record seemed to confuse a lot of people. I've seen family trees with the 3 children: Rosannah, Sarah, and John, listed as children of John and Elizabeth, although the ages made no sense biologically. I've seen others crediting the children to Wineford, or Winny, which is accurate, but giving her no husband, because her last name was "Lee". With a little research, I was able to figure it all out, and the truth was quite tragic.

In the 1840 census, his record appeared this way:

Name:John Lee
Home in 1840 (City, County, State):Anson, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 60 thru 69:1
Free White Persons - Females - 60 thru 69:1
Slaves - Males - Under 10:4
Slaves - Males - 24 thru 35:3
Slaves - Females - Under 10:4
Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23:1
Slaves - Females - 24 thru 35:2
Slaves - Females - 55 thru 99:1
Persons Employed in Agriculture:6
Total Free White Persons:2
Total Slaves:15
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves:17

Notice the lack of children, there were slaves, an older male (John) and an older female (Elizabeth). In the record, he is listed with James B Lee and Stephen Lee right next to him on one side and John Broadway and Thomas H. Broadway on the other. Other neighbors were Robert Ramsey, Malachi Harwood, Robert L. Nance, David Allen, William Hinson, John Thomas, William Burns. Robert Ramsey was a GGG Uncle of mine and ended up in Union County. I don't believe he moved, but was on the line that became Union when the counties were separated a year later. Malachi Harwood ended up in Stanly County.

Name:John Lee
Home in 1830 (City, County, State):Anson, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29:1
Free White Persons - Males - 50 thru 59:1
Free White Persons - Females - Under 5:1
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19:2
Free White Persons - Females - 50 thru 59:1
Slaves - Males - 10 thru 23:3
Slaves - Females - Under 10:1
Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23:4
Slaves - Females - 36 thru 54:1
Free White Persons - Under 20:3
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:1
Total Free White Persons:6
Total Slaves:9
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored):15

The 1830 census suggested a son in his 20's and 3 daughters. The youngest daughter had been born between 1825 and 1830. She may have died as a child.

Image result for yellow fever during the civil war era

It had been quite simple to discover John Lee of the Rocky River as being the father of Rowena Lee Davis. A few simple deeds and gifts had clarified that.

Stanly County August 1851 John Lee to Eliza Jane Davis 

" a negro girl named Clementine  about 7 years old". 

John Lee had gifted a child to his granddaughter, Eliza Jane Davis, who would marry Stephen Crump Jr. Stephen Crump and his family were one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest family in the Cottonville area. They put the Cotton in Cottonville. The child, Clementine, would marry Charles Davis, a slave of Job Davis who would be left to James M. Davis, the son of Job and father of Eliza Jane and raise a family in Tyson Community after emancipation.

Stanly County November 12, 1850  John Lee (of Anson)  to James M Davis (of Stanly)

'for the natural affection I have for my son-in-law, James  M give and bequeth to him one negro woman named Lucy, 40, 3 negro boys, Wade, 20, Tom, 17, and Jack 15.

John Lee went into partnership with the three youngest Davis brothers in the purchase and operation of several grist mills situated along the Rocky River.

Anson County November 14, 1846 John Lee (of Anson) to James M. , Edward W & M. F. Davis

"for $100 in hand....all that tract or parcel of land situated  lying in Anson County lying on Rocky River beginning at a sweet gum on the west bank of the river...containing 8 acres more or less...

Associated with that deed for 8 very expensive acres for that day and time was the following deed.

Anson County February 10, 1851 Thomas Motley & Others to E. W. Davis

"This Indenture made the 10th day of February in the year 1851 between Robert Motley Ransom Motley & R. Barringer, agent and attorney for Thomas Motley of the County of Cabarrus and State of North Carolina of the one part and E W Davis and M F Davis  of the County of Stanly and State of North Carolina of the other part.....for the sum of $187....beginning at a P O Mill Island in the Rocky River East side of said Island runs......up the river to a stake....crossing the Thoroughfare to a W C on the E bank of Panther Island thence S down the river on the East side of said Island 150 po to the Beginning including the Suggs Mill and improvements containing fifty acres more or less it being intended to convey fifty acres of land belonging to Robert, Ranson and Thomas Motley decended from them by Thomas Motley senr deceased known as the Green Mill place....."

And the deed bringing John Lee into partnership.

Stanly County September 24 1850 James M Davis and Others to John Lee

" Indenture ....between  James M Davis E W Davis & Marriott F Davis of Stanly County ... & John Lee of consideration of his paying  the 4th part of the xosts of the mills & upkeep & pay 4th part of the expense to the said J M E W & M F Davis hath demised and granted to the said John Lee a 4th of the profits of said mills during his natural lifetime & upon his death the said interest to descend to James M Davis. 

John Lee only lived a few years after undertaking this venture. He died intestate, without a will, but a document of the division of his properties is recorded within the deeds.

Death of -
Fayetteville Weekly Observer 
(Fayetteville, North Carolina)
17 Oct 1853, Mon  •  Page 3

The newspaper reported his death, at age 75, but did not record the reason for it. As there is no 80th day in a month, we can suppose it was a typo, and probably the 8th. "Ult" referred to the previous month, we can safely record a date of death as September 8, 1853.

Book 14 Page  593 Elizabeth Lee's Dower

On July 5, 1854, a jury of "Good and Lawful Men" were asembled in Anson County, NC to "lay off and allot to Elizabeth Lee, widow and relict of John Lee Des'cd her dower and third of the lands". 
Her allotment began at a Poplar tree on the riverbank and continued to "Brooks old corner", and ran with his and "Turner's" lines. It extended to the bank of Campbell's Branch to a stake in the bank of Richardson's Creek, and continued down the creek to the Rocky River. The allotment contained 200 acres "including the mansion last occupied by John Lee deceased". 

Signed by:

Robert N Allen         John Thomas
John Allen                Wiley Parker
James Broadway       Thomas Baucom
George Turner           Joshua Allen
Uriah Staton               Robert Broadway
John F Crump             Gideon B Threadgill

                          Division of the Lands of John Lee
                          State of North Carolina

"Undersigned Committee to Divide the lands of John Lee Deceased amongst his heirs...

Lot No 1 alotted to Winnie Lee
Beginning at a stake on bank of Richardson's Creek...R. Broadway's corner just above the ...Falling Rock it runs with Broadway's line, north, then with Turner's line to Rocky River then down said River to Richardson's Creek.....281 acres except 8 acres hereforto conveyed for the use of Davis's Mill which said lot is valued at 632 dollars and pay to James Davis and wife $24...

Lot #2  Alloted to the heirs of George P Lee Dec'd.....stake in corner of of Richardson's Creek to a stake in Thomas Baucoms's line ....persimmons..blackjacks... dogwoods...old line...spanish oak..old corner on the bank of Big Branch Spring...Richardson's of creek to beginning...202 acres valued at  $525.

 Lot  No 3 James Davis and wife Rowena Davis..stake...corner of dower...Thomas Baucoms' line...pine in an old field to of Campbell's Branch..200 acres valued at $369 ...also another small tract  lying near the  mouth of Crib's Creek it being a small tract granted to John Lee the 20th day of  December 1814 all which was reported to the worshipful court...

CB Threadgill
John F Crump
Uriah Staton
Robert N Allen

1st July 1854

Image result for yellow fever during the civil war era

Suits ensued. Both Elizabeth Lee, in the case of her dower and Rowena Lee Davis and husband, James M Davis sued the children of George Pinkney Lee, who resided in Tennesee and were entitled to their father's share of the inheritance. They were given a certain amount of time to respond to ads placed in a local paper, by mail, attorney or in person, before their inheritance would be forfeited in favor of the remaining heirs. James and Rowena sought to divide the slaves of John Lee amongst the heirs, or keep them as their own, withstanding the fact that the Lee children would be represented or present themselves.


Fayetteville Semi-Weekly Observer 
(Fayetteville, North Carolina)
06 Feb 1854, Mon  •  Page 2

George Pinkney was the only son, and had been born to Elizabeth Coppedge Lee before she and John were married. They eventually did marry and John sought to legitimate his son in court, or adopt him, per se. His name was then changed from George Pinkney Coppedge to George P Lee. George had died in 1849 in Henry County, Tennesee.

Petition for Partition of the Land

Fayetteville Weekly Observer 
(Fayetteville, North Carolina)
13 Mar 1854, Mon  •  Page 4

George Pinkney Lee had followed members of the Kendall family, and possibly memberts of the Easley family as well, to Henry County, Tennesee. He married Martha Kendall, who survived him and raised their 5 children alone. They probably migrated in the mid-1830's, as George appears to still be living with his parents in 1830. His oldest daugther, Elizabeth Jane, married back into her Kendall family, a cousin marriage to David Kendall, the year her father had died. The 5 children of George P. and Martha Kendall Lee were: Elizabeth Jane, Richmond (or Richard), Luke M., Francis (or Fanny) and Catherine Pinkney Lee.

But the tragedies in this family would not be over anytime soon.

Elizabeth Coppedge Lee would not remain a widow for long.

Her estate was settled in late 1855, with her son-in-law, James M. Davis, acting as administrator. In the estate papers of Elizabeth Lee, James M Davis states,

" I shall repose to public sale on 18 December 1855 all of her personal property belonging to said estate Viz 5 likely negros corn wheat oats fodder and shucks sude (sic) cotton hogs cows sheep house hold and kitchen furniture and other articles too tedius to name.."

The informality in which this was written is shocking. It will always remain difficult to wrap one's mind around the mindset and lifestyles in which our ancestors of the 17 and 18 hundreds maintained, because that was what they knew and all they knew. But, in the Lee and Davis family cases, it would soon change.

Brown Creek Baptist Church Cemetery

Two notices of the estate sale were posted, one at on the Courthouse doors in "Wadesborough" and the other at Brown Creek Church in Burnsville. This church was older than I thought, and I knew it had Winfield family connections, as the widow of the Davis sons first cousin, Peter Winfield II, son of Edward Winfield, remarried to a Rev. Barber there, Mary "Polly" Goldston Winfield Barber.

The biggest purchaser at the Estate Sale of her mother was Winifred "Winny" Lee, seen as "Mrs. Winny Lee". At this point, I did not know much about Winny. As she was seen with the same surname she was born with in the 1850 census and was living with her parents, I had assumed she never married, but I was wrong.

Winnie was married twice, but the name of one of her husbands is unknown.

Other purchasers besides Winny were Thomas Brooks, Shelby Carpenter, Col. David Kendall, James Broadway, Col. E. W. Davis, Richard Howell, and A. J. Shankle. E. W. Davis was the brother of James M. Davis and A. J. Shankle one of his son-in-laws. Richard Howell was his nephew, son of his half-brother, Peter Howell.

As for the "5 likely negros", purchasers were:

W. S. Steed                 Mark $930
John E. Davis (nephew of James M.)   girl, Mary $991
Stephen Crump (son-in-law of James M.)   boy, Kinsey $915
Winny Lee  woman Honey? and child Eli

Settled by A. J. Shankle, another son-in-law of James M. Davis and wife Rowena Lee Davis.

So, Elizabeth lived about year longer than John, and both in their 70's, so not a great deal of questions about their demise. But the tragedy did not end there.

I couldn't find either Winny Lee, or the children in the 1850 census, Rosannah, Sarah and John, in the 1860 census. Did they migrate west with relatives? Did Winny marry again?

Neither was the case. In searching for the estate records of John Lee, I found another estate record, a quite unusual one.

While Elizabeth Lee's estate was settled in 1855, there was another estate record, labeled "Roena, Sarah and John Lee". dated 1854.

Image result for historic wadesboro

"Account of the sale of the negros belonging to Sarah Lee, she being the survivor of her brother and sister, Roena and John Lee, and being their next of kin and in her own right being 'intel'?

Account of the sales of negros made by James G Brooks, as the administrator of John Lee, Roena Lee and Sarah Lee on the 15th of December 1854 - on a credit of 9 months. 

To Devotion Hancock - Hagar and George  for $705.00
" W F Burns - Hubbard  " $625.00
" John Thomas -  Hampton $563.00

Jany 1855                          $1893.00    James G Brooks Admin. 

Notice: The Undersigned having sued out letters of administration on the estate of Roena Lee, Sarah Lee and John Lee, the October Term of the Court of Pleas and Quarters, ..... at the late  residence of John Lee, Sr. Deceased...on the 15th of December, next, the following property Viz: One negro woman and three children to wit, Hubbard, Hampton and George, ages, respectively, about 12, 8 and 6 years, as the common undivided propert of said intestates."

Image result for yellow fever during the civil war era

It is a heart-wrenching fact that documents like the one I transcribed above are crucial in the research of African American ancestry. What we are looking at above is the sell of 12 and 8 year old boys away from their mother. Their 6 year old brother was allowed to stay with his mother. The only solace may have been in the fact that the 3 men who purchased the family lived in the same general area. It was likely the boys were able to visit their mother and little brother, and keep up with them regularly.

Having seen that the three Lee siblings had a combined estate, and that Sarah Lee had survived her siblings by just a little bit, I was blessed to be able to find the below newspaper article.

Obituary - Sarah Lee -
The Pee Dee Star 
(Wadesboro, North Carolina)
16 Sep 1854, Sat  •  Page 3

So Winny Lee had been married and widowed, not once but twice. In the summer of 1854, she lost all three of her children to a contagious disease. Her youngest son, John, died on July 29th and just a few days later, Rosa (Roena) followed. Her name must have been Rosannah Roena or vice versa, as she was referred to by both. Sarah had passed on September 6, so had survived her siblings by about 5 weeks.

Poor Winifred Lee had lost 2 husbands, a brother, both parents and all 3 of her children within just a few years. The pain of loss had to have been overwhelming. 

Knowing that Winny had been born a Lee, and at her mother's estate records had been referred to as Mrs Winny Lee, that she was a Lee who had married a Lee. By looking at other estate records of Lee in Anson County, I found the answer. At least one of her husbands had been James B Lee, Jr. He had predeceased his own father, James B. Lee Sr., whose will was probated in 1846. 

In the Will of James B. Lee, Sr., he mentions his wife, Mary B. (Davis) Lee, daughter Phoebe Brantley (wife of William), son Richmond Lee, daughter Annie Thomas (wife of John Thomas), son William M. Lee, daughter Maniza Davis Lee, granddaughter, Elizabeth Williams Lowtharp and 3 other grandchildren, Roena, Sarah Ann and John, children of James B. Lee, deceased. 

The excerpt below refers to Winnie's children. 

"Item 3rd "I give and devise my grandchildren Roena, Sarah Ann and John children of James B. Lee, deceased, the following property, two hundred and fifty acres of land adjoining Uriah Staton & Richmond Lee on the west side of Wadesborough Road, one negroe woman and two children, Hager and her two children, Hubbard and Hampton, to be equally divided when they come of age, or either of them marries."

So Hagar, Hubbard and Hampton, mentioned in the estate settlement of the Lee Siblings, were inherited from their grandfather, James B Lee, Sr.  George had not been born yet in 1846. And Winny had married her cousin. Cousin marriages were quite common in that era. Nearly every family lines has a few in them. It was a way of keeping lands and property "in the family". Sort of like royalty married relatives to maintain power and property. Not good genetically or healthwise either.

The part of the  will is below:

So we find Winny Lee having lost everyone else in that doomed 1850 census in her household, both her parents and children. 17 months after the loss of her middle child, Sarah Ann, in September of 1854, Winny Lee wrote a will. She seems to have known the end was near. The Reaper was not done with the Lee family. 

Was Winny ill? Was she suffering from the same epidemic that took her children and possibly her parents? Or was she suffering from such melancholy from the loss that she was considering taking her own life?

Whatever the case, In February of 1855, Winifred "Winny" Lee Lee decided the time was right to write a will. 

"Feby 25 1856

I Winny Lee.......considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence,". She wished for her executor, yet to be named, to provide for a proper burial and pay all of her just debts "out of money coming to me of my father's estate and of my children's estates", and that he settle the estates of her father and children, which must have still been in debate. 

She left most of her estate to her sister, Rowena Lee Davis, but some things she left for some of Rowena's children, primarily her older three daughters. To Rowena, she left a woman named Tisha and her 'two youngest children, and Elisha, along with 5 beds and furniture. She left a bed and "it's furniture" to her nieces, Jane Crump (Elizabeth Jane ie Mrs. Stephen Crump), Charlotte W. Shankle (Mrs. Abraham J. Shankle) and Wincy Catherine Davis. 

She left the remainder of the furniture to Rowena, to be divided among her children as she saw fit. She left the balance of her cattle, hogs, sheep and horses to Rowena, except for a grey mare and her colt, to Charotte W. Shankle, and one sow and pigs to Jane Crump. She also left a girl named Americus to Jane Crump and to Charlotte W. Shankle, Fanny and her child, Eli.

To Wincy Catherine Davis, she left JIncy, Carter and Cad, who must have been mother and sons. 

She "will that Mawmy be provided for her maintenance as long as she shall lives among those to whom I will my Negros". She willed to her nephew, John L Davis, "all of my tract of land lying and being in the fork of Richardson Creek and Rocky River and bounded by the lands of George Turner and Robin Broadway".   This was the area of the John Lee cemetery and the George Turner cemetery is not very far away from that. She willed the "home tract of land', or the Lee Homeplace to Charlotte W. Shankle. 

All of the rest of her property she wished to go to her sister Rowena and she named Rowena's son-in-law, Dr. Abraham J. Shankle, as her executor. 

She signed her will in an unusual way:

"Sealed and delivered 
in presence of 

James G. Brooks

Feby 25, 1856
My dearly beloved

Benjamin F. Davis

Who was she calling her dearly beloved?  James G Brooks or Benjamin F. Davis, her brother-in-law's nephew? 

Winny's will was probated at the April Term of Court in 1856. She died two months after writing it. Had she taken precautions or had she known her own death was near? Was she ill with the same disease that killed her children or was she a victim of melancholy planning her own demise? 

I checkedold newspapers of the time and area and discovered that both Yellow Fever and Thyphoid Fever were epidemic in Anson and Stanly Counties at the time. People felt the disease was coming in from the ports, like Wilmington, from foreigners arriving from other places and flowing inland. 

After Winny's death, lawsuits ensued over her property, involving the children of her brother, George P. Lee. The following is the discoveries and descision of the court. 

JOHN F. LEE, et al, v. ABRAHAM SHANKLE, et al.
Supreme Court of North Carolina
June Term, 1859.
A private act of the Legislature is in the nature of an assurance at common law, and must depend upon the consent of persons in esse whose property is to be affected by it.
A private act of the Legislature declaring a bastard to be legitimated, and to be the heir and next of kin of a particular person, by implication excludes the idea of his being the lawful heir or next of kin of any other person.
THIS was a petition for the reprobate of a will, heard before HEATH, J., at the last Term of Anson Superior Court.
R. H. Battle, for the petitioners.
Ashe, for the defendants.

The petition sets forth that the petitioners, John F. Lee, Elizabeth Kendall, wife of David Kendall, Luke M. Lee, Richard A. Lee, Mary F. Lee, and Pinckney Lee, are the children of George P. Lee, who was the son of John Lee, the father also of the testatrix, Winney Lee, and that their father was the brother of the said Winney; that the will of the said *314Winney was admitted to probate at the ______ term of the county court of Anson, and that they, being next of kin, and heirs at law, had no notice of the proceedings; and that George P. Lee died prior to the death of Winney Lee.
The defendants admit that the petitioners had no notice of the probate of the will in question, and insist, in their answer, that they had no right to such notice, because their father, George P. Lee, was illegitimate, having been born out of wedlock, and that his children could have no interest in the estate of the decedent, Winney.
The petitioners admit the fact that George P. Lee was born out of wedlock and was illegitimate; but they insist that he was legitimated by a private act of the Legislature of North Carolina, passed at its session of 1828, which is as follows:
"An act to alter the name of George Pinckney Coppedge, an illegitimate son of John Lee, of Anson county, and to legitimate him."
Be it enacted, c, That from and after the passage of this act, George Pinckney Coppedge, an illegitimate son of John Lee, of Anson county, shall be known and called by the name of George Pinckney Lee, and by that name may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, and receive and take property by descent or distribution.
And be it further enacted, That the said George Pinckney Coppedge be, and he is hereby declared legitimate, and capable in law to take and inherit property as heir of the aforesaid John Lee, in as full and ample a manner as if he had been born in lawful wedlock; any law to the contrary, notwithstanding.
There was no evidence at whose instance this private act was passed.
It was insisted on behalf of the petitioners, that this act not only made George P. Lee the heir and next of kin to his father, John Lee, but also to Winney Lee, who was the legitimate daughter of the said John Lee.
A motion is made to dismiss the petition on the ground *315 that, whatever effect the private act may have had in making the father of the petitioners legitimate as to John Lee, it neither purports to make them legitimate, nor him so, as to any other person than the said John; that, therefore, the petitioners had no interest in the estate of Winney Lee, as they must claim through their father, G.P. Lee.
The Court was of opinion that the objection was well taken, and the petition was ordered to be dismissed. From which judgment, the petitioners appealed.

This case comes directly within the principles decided by this Court in the cases of Drake v. Drake, 4 Dev. Rep. 110, and Perry v. Newsom, 1 Ired. Eq. Rep. 28, and must be governed by them. These principles are, that private acts of the Legislature are in the nature of assurances at the common law, and that, therefore, their operation is meant to depend on the consent of those persons who are in esse, and whose estates are the subjects of the acts. Hence, where no person is mentioned in an act of legitimation of a bastard as his father, and there is no declaration as to whom he shall be legitimate, the act will be entirely inoperative in giving him a capacity to take property by descent, or by succession ab intestato. But if he be declared to be the son of a particular person, he may take from him, and from him only, as the heir or next of kin. Upon the authority of these decisions, we should hold that George P. Lee, the father of the plaintiffs, might have taken property by descent or distribution, from his father, John Lee, under the first section of the private act in question. The second section gave him no greater capacity, but on the contrary, by declaring to whom he should be rendered legitimate and made an heir, it, by strong implication, excludes him from being a lawful heir to, or taking property, either real or personal, from any other person. The judgment *316 of the Court below was, therefore, right, and must be affirmed.
PER CURIAM, Judgment affirmed.

Rowena Lee Davis was the sole surviving member of her family among her parents and siblings. She passed away in February of 1877, at the age of 71.

Name:Roeany Davis
Birth Date:Abt 1813
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Burnsville, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Dwelling Number:80
Relation to Head of House:Wife
Marital status:Married
Spouse's name:James M. Davis
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:Virginia
Occupation:Keeping House
Months Not Employed:12
Household Members:
James M. Davis72
Roeany Davis67
Mary A. Davis28
Loise I. Davis25

In the 1880 census, Rowena and James are seen as living in Burnsville Township, Anson County, meaning they had relocated from Stanly to the Lee land she had inherited. James M. Davis was operating the Davis Mill on Rocky River.

Rowena Lee Davis passed away on February 27, 1877, according to her tombstone. She is buried in the Old John Lee Cemetery on a rise above Richardson's Creek with her parents, sister Winnie and Winnie's three children, Rosannah Roena, Sarah Ann and Little John. Also buried there is her brother-in-law, Henry Davis. There are other graves whose stones were lost to time. An earlier survey of this cemetery listed a Mary Lee. I believe Mary to be the 3rd young female in the 1830 census who died as a child.  It is also very likely that James M. Davis, Rowena's husband, was also buried here, as he died around 1883. 

Rest In Peace, Lee family.