Wednesday, May 20, 2020

30 Mothers in 30 Days: Elizabeth

These are the ingredients of the Genetic Pie that makes up me.  This is from Gedmatch. Each company labels things a little differently, but they all pretty much come up the same. By and large, I'm predominantly from the North Atlantic, nearly half. This includes the British Isles and the North of France, and indeed, I've been able to trace a great deal of my ancestry to Great Brittain and some to France, England and Wales dominate with Scotland coming in a close second with a dash of Ireland.

Baltic comes in second at about 25 percent,  which covers many of my Palatinian ancestors, who were in this area before ending up in Rhineland and eventually America, nearly a third. I just entered a dna study from Finland to try to discover where my 11 percent Finnish ancestry comes from.

I've discovered Jewish ancestry through my Solomons, and even my Davis line goes back to Sephardic Jews who settled in Wales in about 1250.

I've been digging for my 12 percent Amerindian genes and I've discovered some that trace back to the Nansemond of Southside, Virginia, the Waccamaw of Eastern North Carolina and the Leni Lanappe of old New Jersey. And yes, through my multiple (3 or 4) Warren family lines to Pocahantas herself.
All of which is so distant to not total up to 12 percent, so I am still digging.

But if you go even deeper, to the very small amounts, I have African ancestry.  Angolan, that intermixed with the European and Native American lines long ago. So long, that there is no visible trace in my overwhelmingly European countenance.

Early Families of Fenwick's Colony / Cumberland County, New Jersey

And I owe that all to Elizabeth Fennwick Adams.

The story actually begins with one John Fenwick, who was born in 1618 at Stanton Manor in Northumberland, England. He joined the Church of England in 1640 and in 1625 was a student at law at Grey's Inn in London. John Fenwick was on the rise. He was made Captain of the Calvary by Cromwell and was said to  have played an active part against the crown. In 1648, he married Elizabeth Cavet of Sapoy and to that marriage were born 3 daughters: Elizabeth, Ann and Priscilla. He later married a woman named Mary, but no children were born to that marriage.

Later in life, in 1665, Fenwick became a Quaker, he joined the 'Society of Freinds.' And with that came religious persecution, up to incarceration. About that time a profiteer and nobleman named Lord Berkley offered enoromus tracts of land for sale in New Jersey Colony. Fenwick was a man of means and made a purchase that consisted of one tenth of the area of Western New Jersey and the whole of the current counties of Salem and Cumberland.

For more on John Fenwick, click this link:


John Fenwick's daughter, Elizabeth, had married a man named John Adams while still in England and this marriage had produced three children, among them a son they named Fenwick Adams. The Adams had accompanied John Fenwick to America aboard the ship "Griffith" in 1675. Their oldest, a daughter named Elizabeth (Jr.) was 11. And it was this Elizabeth who was matriarch of an incredible group of descendants and a very American, yet untypical, story.

Here is where written meets largely verbal, history, not recorded on paper until generations after the fact, but the physical and circumstantial evidence do support the oral tradition.

The main documentation is in the Will of John Fenwick:

" Item 1, I do except against Elizabeth Adams of having any ye least part of my estate, unless the Lord open her eyes to see her abominable transgression against him, me and her good father, by giving her true repentence and forsaking yt Black yt hath been ye ruin of her, and becoming penitent for her sins, upon yt condition only, I do will and require my excutors to settle 500 acres of land upon her."  -History of the Early Settlement and Progress of Cumberland County, New Jersey- page 21, Published 1869.

It appears that Elizabeth Fenwick Adams, in want of the wealth, prestige and financial security of owning 500 acres, took her grandfathers advice and to appease his executors, became repetent and atoned for her real or imagined sins. She forsaked "yt Black" and married Anthony Windsor. But it doesn't appear the transition was permanent.

New Jersey from "History and Genealogy of Fenwick's Colony ...

The marriage of Elizabeth Adams and Anthony Windsor was "solemnized in open court at Salem New Jersey as recorded in the Minute Book thereof." Marriage books of New Jersey, Vol 2, Office of the Secretary of State, Trenton, New Jersey.

Her grandfathers will was dated August 7, 1683. Her marriage to Mr. Windsor was 16 days later on August 27 of the same year. There were no children born to this marriage. Books on the Fenwick Colony and lineage would include Elizabeth as his oldest grandchild, but list none of her children.

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Juan Rodriquez Juarez

The oral tradtion of the Gould family relates the following story. The man John Fenwick referred to in his will was the original Mr. Gould, believed to have been named Abijah Gould. Some state he may have been a slave left by a Dutch ship in New Jersey to stock up on supplies. She tells me that is not correct, that he was a skilled craftsmen from the West Indies who sought work in the colonies and was hired as a Carpenter.

There were 5 children born into this relationship, 3 daughters and two sons, Richard and Benjamin. Richard died and the fate of the 3 daughters is unknown. It was left to Benjamin Gould to found the community that would become known as Gouldstown. Benjamin would marry a Finnish woman named Ann and records of their burials are said to exist in the local church.

At this point, let's take a look at the offspring of Benjamin and Ann. They would be 50 percent Finnish, 25 percent English and 25 percent African/West Indian, perhaps a European/Native American/African mix in the West Indies blood.

Salem County Historical Society's Open House Tour in Fenwick's ...
Creative brickwork of the Fenwick Colony

Gouldstown would exist on the exact 500 acres that  Elizabeth Adams inherited from her grandfather. It is not known if the 5 children were born before or after his death, or both.

The town is noted in several publications, including "Gouldstown; a very Remarkable settlement of ancient date"  by William Stewart and Theophilus Gould Stewart. They would report of the collateral families. The collarteral families were those who were also of mixed ancestry who had found their way to Gouldstown and intermarried with them. People of mixed ancestry were a misfit minority and had to stick primarily with themselves. One daughter of Benjamin and Ann would marry a white man, name unknown, and move to Pittsburgh. The rest seemed to intermarry with the Pierces and Murrays.

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Ava Gardner, Tri-racial beauty

The Pierce Family was founded by two brothers, Richard and Anthony Pierce, two mixed race brothers who came up to New Jersey from the West Indies. There, they married two Dutch sisters by the name of Van Aca, and paid for their passage.

The Murrays originated in Cape May and were members of the Lenni Lenape tribe via intermarriage with a Scottish trader named Murray.

In a book, "The Southern Workman, Vol 7" published in 1908, the Pierce, Murray and Gould families are featured in a story of "Negro Towns".

In their descripton of the Pierce family community, which grew adjacent to Gouldstown, the wording comes across as more than a little racist, but one must take into account the year it was written, 1908.

" The Pierces, like the Goulds, are mulattos; and many of them cannot be told from whites."

If they could not tell the difference between them and people labeled white, would that not mean they were also white, just with some small level of African ancestry. drop rule aside, the Pierces, Murrays and Goulds would intermarry among themselves to a great extent. Occassionally bringing in a stranger, but strongly focusing on marriages between first and second cousins. They were socially, if not physically, isolated.

Above is a page from the article on Gouldstown from The Southern Workman, Vol 7, 1908.
It shows the houses and streets of Gouldstown. It also shows that by the turn of the century, 1800's into 1900's, that is, that the number of surnames in Gouldstown had risen to 6, Goulds, Murrays, Stewarts, Cuffs, Peirces and Coombs. The Chapter also mentions a number of ladies, up in the years, who had not ever left the confines of Gouldstown. Can you imagine being so terrified of the world around you that you never once in 80 years have left your small community?

A photo of a family reunion in Gouldstown in the early years of the 20th century shows a variety of complexions, from a number of people who look completly caucasian to others who look typically African Amerian, and everything in between.

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Frederick Douglas, early interracial relationships

But that is all about the community of Gouldstown, which was a launching point and not the all of the story. As with any family in the peopling of America, with every succeeding generation, some would go and some would stay. Every litter would have the adventurous and the cautious. While some of the triracial group would remain in Gouldstown, others would venture forth, and some of the Murray/Peirce Group would venture south into Virginia.

At this point in History, the tri-racial tribe was now English/African/Lenni Lenape/Finnish,Dutch and Scottish. Why Benjamin Murray and wife, Jane Pierce would choose Brunswick County is unknown, but the existence of Fort Christianna and a settlement of Nansemond people, and most especially, a grouping of English/Nansemond and Pamunkey/English mix of people may have been the reason.

There, most likely, is where the Murray/Pierce family would meet the Bass, descendants of an Englishman, John Bass and his Nansemond wife. Son Jesse Murray, born about 1773, would marry Elizabeth Bass, born about 1785 and would arrive in Anson County by 1820.

Jessee Murray
Home in 1820 (City, County, State)
Clark, Anson, North Carolina
Enumeration Date
August 7, 1820
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 15
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 18
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44
Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture
Free White Persons - Under 16
Free White Persons - Over 25
Total Free White Persons
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other

Jesse Murray wasn't a particularly wealthy man. Earlier records show he may have came into some financial difficulty before arriving in Anson County. Before 1830, he would have relocated to Montogomery County, North Carolina, on Long Creek, on the side of the Yadkin/PeeDee that would become Stanly.

Now, this is where DNA comes in. I began researching the Murrays in 2003, and although some had connected most of the family,thanks to a distribution of property from 1839,  there were stray Murrays here and there no one seemed to have bothered with.

First there was Edmund, who I figured out due to a great deal of paperwork from the NC Dept of Archives and History, who went back and forth between the surnames of Murray and Coley, who had occupied and inhertied the "Patsy Murray tract", after Benjamin Murray and his wife Martha Ross Murray, and their two children had left for Arkansas and also, the property of George and Mary Coley, and older couple who were obviously his grandparents. He was the son of Benjamin Murray and a daughter of the Coley's, whose name I believe was Fanny.

Then there was Mariah, a daughter of Jesse and sister of Benjamin Murray. She had been, 'disowned' due to having a relationship and 7 children with Henry Wikerson, a slave of Jonathan Wilkerson. But a relative settled her meager estate and named her 7 children, Benjamin, Albert, Mary Ann, Eliza, Lydia Adeline, William and Wesley, in the estate papers after her death, and then were scattered amongst the neighborhood, primarily her own siblings.

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Juan Rodriquez Juarez

The Murrays were an unusual family, but there were many sisters and only two brothers who had stayed in Stanly County, and James, according to tax records and court records, seems to have fallen ill in the 1840's, and gotten behind on his taxes, passing away in 1850, before the census, as reported by a local newspaper, The Wadesboro Argus. So who were the rest of the male children in the 1820 census above.

Apparently Thru Lines solved some of that equation. Descendants of a Jesse Alan Murray, born in Chatham, linked themselves to my Jesse, and guess what? Nine of them are my dna matches. He had migrated to Ohio, so no incidence of what I like to call "cross-contamination", wherein people whose ancestors have been in a community so long, there are, or could be, multiple lines of common decent between them.

In fact, DNA links me to another previously unbeknowst son of Jesse Murray labeled only as "M. W. Murray". But it also links me to my 2nd Great Grandmothers siblings, Elizabeth, Phoebe, Sophia, Mariah (who was a mystery I solved), Jane (through both of her children, Solomon and Judith, another mystery I solved) and Benjamin, from both his legitimate son, Jesse and his illegitimate son, Edmund, and from Edmund to his legitmate son, Alexander, who didn't take the Murray name, and his illegitimate son, John Carpenter, which was another mystery I figured out. These Murrays have certainly kept me busy for years .

john wesley murray

John Wesley Murray is a grandson of Jesse Murray I did not know about until DNA connected me to his descendants.

And in the end we have it all to thank to Miss Elizabeth Fenwick Adams and her forbidden love.

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