Monday, January 31, 2022

A Brief Interuption Please!

For about three years, (I can't believe it's been that long), I've been pursuing the ancestors of my 3rd Great Grandfather, George Washington Turner (1835-1895),of Anson County, NC. Early on in my research, many, ..many..years ago, I had gotten to him and stopped. Let's put it this way, my grandfather, Lewis Theodore Davis, was aware of the names of his maternal grandfather, William A. Turner, and his great grandfather, G. W. Turner. In fact, he pointed out the beautiful antebellum mansion in Ansonville, NC, where G. W. had worked and lost his life. I was told that this was where his mother had grown up, taken in by the Smith family after the death of her father and grandfather, who had been in their employ.


The Messenger and Intelligencer

Wadesboro, North Carolina
31 Jan 1895, Thu  •  Page 3

After I grew up and began doing research on my own, I recalled these old family tales that I had heard and inherited. I had been fortunate to live with my  grandparents for about 5 years as a child. I began to prove or disprove, what I had heard here and there over the years, from my grandfather, who lived until I was 37, and my great grandfather, who had lived until I was 15.

Fast forward to 2012, when I hit middle age, and picked genealogy back up with a passion. After raising a family, l joined, gedmatch and all the other sites. Yes, all of them (nearly). There were trees of other folks descended from G. W. Turner and that continues to grow. One  of them, apparently followed by all of them, had a George Turner, who lived off of Richardson Creek near its conjunction with the Rocky River, and just across the river from the Davis Plantation, as the father of George Washington Turner. 

Now, truly, George Turner had his place in the Davis family tree as the father of Elizabeth Turner.  She had married Job Davis's youngest son, Marriott Freeman Davis, and became the mother of his only surviving child, Millard. Yet, search as I might, I could not connect George Washington Turner to George Turner. I did a thorough trace of all of George's children, several who had no descendants at all. G. W. was not there in any form. 

What I did find, however, was George W. Turner living with two ladies, Mary and Martha Turner, as a 16 year old in the 1850 census. Mary turned out to be his mother, and Martha was her sister, who would soon after marry a Reddick Drew. I also found the will of a James Turner who died around 1842, who mentioned his daughters Mary and Martha.  He was most interested in the future of his two unmarried (at the time) daughters, and his grandson, Washington. He also had three sons, Axom, Lazarus and James Jr. and three married daughters, Nancy, Sarah and Susanna. G.W. Turner turned out to be his grandson, and a fatherless boy to his unmarried daughter, Mary.

George Washington Turner

Through a great fortitude, my search, and my blog, got me in contact with a distant cousin. She has done a great deal of research on G. W. Turner, himself, and his children. This cousin got me in touch with a wonderful couple, more cousins, who not only had pictures of G.W. Turner, but owned the old homeplace, and also had a family bible. Through this wonderful discovery, I found out that James had a wife named Susannah, sister of William and Micajah Axom/Exum Jr. who had migrated to Anson from counties east. 

From there, I researched the families of the two Turner brothers whose names were uncommon enough that I could, and traced Axom, the eldest, south to Alabama, where  grant lands from his service in the War of 1812 lie. There exists a Turner DNA research group, and descendants of Axom are in it. They were hesitant to connect him to his family and self, in North Carolina. Those of Lazarus were not. Let's leave that there for a minute. 

When looking at land grants and tax records, I made the discovery that Axom likely did not travel alone, there were other Anson County folk who arrived around the same time he did. One family in particular were the Threadgills. Lo and behold, quite accidentally, I discovered I shared DNA with some of the the descendants of this Threadgill family. Note, I had no known connections to or descent from , Threadgills, none that I knew of.

Serendipitously, there are many good books available on the Threadgill family, a few volumes by Janis Heidenrich Miller, and a few on the more local branch of descendants in Anson County, NC.

The newly met cousin, whose family has ownership of the treasured Family Bible, so kindly agreed to a Y-DNA test, and we ansciously awaited the results. At first, it wasn't totally helpful, as a litany of various surnames came up in his matches, and sometimes, that happens. It doesn't surprise me, considering the frailty of the human animal. But one reoccuring surname kept popping up, and over the last three years, on a very regular basis. Family Tree DNA, where the test was taken, kept sending notifications of more. That surname was Threadgill.

After three years of tracing matches and looking for connections,  not to my own tree, but linking them to each other, the first thing I noticed was the reoccurring name of Thomas.

 I just knew G.W. Turner had to be a relative of his, but through which line? With patience and painstaking deliberation, one head started floating above the water and one name became more and more familiar, Thomas C. Threadgill.

A second moment of discovery was when I came in contact with a decendant of Henry Thomas Axom.
We're distantly related as well. Henry Thomas and his brother, Jonas, had been raised by Reddick Drew, who had married G. W. Turner's Aunt Martha. His mother, Julia, also shows up in Drew's home in 1850.

I knew from the surname Axom,  uncommon  to the area, and the family connection, that Julia was likely descended from one of Susanna Axom Turners' brothers. Still, that put Henry Thomas Axom another several generations back.

Henry Thomas Axom named his father as Thomas Threadgill.
 Coincidence much? I think not.

With some hesitation, I added Thomas to my family tree to see what would happen. 

Not often, but periodically, I check Thrulines, like a fisherman checking the line, to see if any connections I have made, connect to me. This morning, this is what I found. Thrulines was suggesting a James Threadgill and his wife as 5th Great Grandparents of mine. I clicked on the link and BOOM! DNA matches. 

To add to the circumstancial evidence, Thomas had a brother named James Stephens Threadgill. His father, James, may also have been a James Stephens. George Washington Turner named a son James Stephens Turner. Did he know?

The search is not over, but here, I can visually see I share DNA with not only descendants of Thomas Threadgills legitmate son, Benjamin, just one of the sons he left orphaned very young, but also with descendants of his brothers, William H. Threadgill and Henry L. Threadgill. Now reinspired, I go to dig deeper.

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