Sunday, March 6, 2022

The Pauls


By Stefan Duncan

Family trees grow, as one researches, deeper and deeper into the roots. It's easy to forget, that at the same time one is digging deeper, life goes on in the branches above, especially as we entered the later decades of life. A new branch is joining our family tree, and as I add this new individual in, as they are joining our family, I always do a little research to see who they are genetically and where their own family journey derived from.. 

This youngster has very little knowledge of their family tree, theirs having been broken. The relationship to the father is pretty close, but to the mother, an estrangement had occured and led to an adolescense spent with the family of a friend, a friends who are considered family now, but that social link won't pass down into any children born.

The father's fathers branch, unbeknownst to them, is a long-rooted Stanly County group of families and that line had already been well-researched, up to this particular individual. The mother's line was from out of state, and was a very, very interesting line. DNA test takers much disappointed in their homogenous results would kill for this kids background. Yet, it's the fathers mothers line that has me stuck and I am putting this out there just in case someone knows something that could help move the log off of the track. 

This maternal grandmothers family were late arrivals to Stanly County from counties near around, and married the grandfather with the deep Stanly County roots.

The path is blocked by a woman named Mamie Bell Paul. It's not so much Mamie herself, but who came before. 

Mamie Bell Paul was born on September 7, 1901, in Anson County and died on August 6, 1982 in Stanly County. She married Rufus Floyd Harper on July 7, 1920, in Stanly County and they had 5 children together. Pretty standard, and not so long ago. Yet, her family tree is lost in the woods, and shouldn't be. I mean, its not like trying to find those shadowy figures beyond the America Revolution. This was the 20th century, the age of documentation.

This is what I have been able to find out about Mamie's origins. 

Name:Mannie Paul[Mamie Paul]
Birth Year:abt 1902
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1920:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Street:Watts St
Residence Date:1920
Relation to Head of House:Boarder
Marital Status:Single
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Able to Speak English:Yes
Attended School:No
Able to Write:No
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Lee Hall46Head
Emma Hall39Wife
Neller Hall18Daughter
Dillard Hall15Son
Desdy Hall13Daughter
Albert Hall12Son
Selma Hall9Daughter
Ernest L Hall4Son
Hubert Hall1Son
Mannie Paul18Boarder

She first shows up in the 1920 census as an18 year old boarder in the home of Lee and Emma Hall. That same year, she married Rufus Floyd Harper, and everything seems normal after that. She can't be found in the 1910 census, or in any record of birth. In fact, only her obituary gave any hint from whence she came.

It lists her children, of course, but it also states that she has a sister, Mrs. Katherine Rorie, and two half-brothers, Clegg Hall and Albert Hall. So who were they? Could they be found?

They could.

 Katherine Elizabeth Paul was born on Nov 1, 1899.. On October 28, 1916, just a few days before her 17th birthday, she married Claude Clark Wilhoit in Stanly County, NC. They had at least 9 children: Martha Annie Bell, Furman Ashley, John Clark, Paul Junior, Virgie Lucille, Tommy Ray, Eunice Barbara, Reggie Garrett, and Roy Preston Wilhoit. 

Claude died on October 24, 1944. Katherine was widowed at about 45 years old. In 1951, she married Sam Jones Fesperman, a late marriage for both, and he died just 3 years later in 1954. Her third husband was Onslow Wilson Rorie, who had also been married several times and had moved around quite a bit. They divorced in 1969. Katherine was 70 and didn't marry again. She would pass away in Albemarle, Stanly County, NC in 1994, at the ripe old age of 95.

There was one fact about Katherine that Mamie didn't have, she was born before the 1900 census, and was counted there.

Name:Benjamin Paul[Benjamin Rem]
Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Home in 1900:Morven, Anson, North Carolina
Sheet Number:9
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:133
Family Number:134
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Eliza Paul
Marriage Year:1896
Years Married:4
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Occupation:Farm Laborer
Months Not Employed:0
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
House Owned or Rented:Rent
Farm or House:H
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Benjamin Paul21Head
Eliza Paul20Wife
Cathrine E Paul7/12Daughter

Katherine was 7 months old when the young family was enumerated in Morven, in the southernmost part of Anson County, NC. Her father was Benjamin or "Ben" Paul and her mother was Eliza Gathings. They were renting a house and Ben was working as a farm laborer.

Name:Ben Paul
Spouse:Eliza Gathings
Child:Katherine Paul Rorie

These facts were corroborated by Katherine's Social Securtiy application. But for every mystery solved, the door opens for more.

Knowing now that Mamie and Katherine's father's name was Benjamin, or Ben for short, I was able to find a marriage certificate for him. On May 4, 1896, Henry T. Spencer applied for a license for the marriage of Benjamin Paul, 21 of Richmond County, son of ______ Paul and ______ Paul, father dead, but mother living and a resident of Richmond County and Eliza Shephard 20, of Anson County, daughter of ______ Shephard and _______ Shephard, both dead. 

Anson Justice of the Peace, W. H. Clark united them in marriage of May 5, 1896 at the residence of the bride's father in Lilesville. Bride's father? Didn't they just say her parents were dead? 

B. F. Lovin, Annie E. Lovin and Arnold Perdue were witnesses.

But I thought she was a Gathings???? Was this a different Eliza.? Could any of these other folks mentioned help any?

H. T. Spencer was Henry Thomas Spencer, born 1861 in Anson County to John Casey Spencer and wife, Sarah Rebecca Tomlinson. Henry married an Anna Diggs and there appeared to be no familial connection between him and the Paul couple.

Henry Thomas Spencer

I looked for any of the three names: Paul, Sheppard/Shepherd or Gathings living near Henry Thomas Paul in 1900, the census closest to the wedding date. There were none close, he lived in a sea of Spencers with a dash of Walls. Half of the Spencers were labeled white, and the other half black, so it appears Mr. Spencer had descended from a large slave-holding family in the years before his birth.

So then, I looked for any of those 3 names in Lilesville in general. There were no Pauls in Anson, except one family besides Ben and Eliza, and that was the family of a George Washington Paul who lived in Wadesboro, son of a John and Lucy Paul. There were several Gathings in Lilesville, but no Sheppards, although a family or two of Sheppards lived in Burnsville. We know her father was living, or had lived, in Lilesville, so the next step was to go back to 1880 and see is there were any Eliza's born in 1875 or 1876 in Lilesville. I came up empty handed with Mr. Spencer, they were not relatives or neighbors, that I could tell. Perhaps Ben or Eliza's father had been an employee. 

The witnesses were a little different. Arnold Perdue was from Chesterfield County, South Carolina and had migrated up into bordering Richmond County, NC, where he would pass away in 1926. He had married late to a Rebecca Ford, and the interesting thing about that was that 3 of Rebecca's younger sisters had married Pauls. Benjamin Franklin Lovin was born in Georgia. At the time of his marriage to Ann Lowe in Beaverdam, Richmond County, NC, he was claiming residence in Anson County, NC. Anson and Richmond Counties border each other and both meet South Carolina on their southern bordrs. Chesterfield County, South Carolina lies just below Anson and Morven is near the boreder. These witnesses appear to have been friends of Ben Paul who travoeld up to Lilesville for the wedding. There does not semm to be any family connections. 

Arnold Perdue

There were two more hints left in the short obituary of Mamie Paul. She had two half-brothers, Clegg and Albert Hall, and with these two, the door opened to answer the question of who Mamie's mother was, but not her father.

The two brothers were William Clegg Hall, born April 28, 1919 and Albert Coyt Hall, born February 25, 1924. They were the sons of  Samuel Eldridge Hall and his Elizabeth Ann "Liza" Gathings, and as a great coincidence would have it, Samuel E. Hall was already in my family tree. He was the son of  Thomas Hawkins Hall and Sarah "Sallie" Morton. Sallie was the sister of my 3rd Great Grandmother, Wincy Elizabeth Morton Turner and daughter of Rev. Samuel Parsons Morton and Vashita Calloway Morton, my 4th Great Grandparents. 

Samuel E. Hall

Since Clegg and Albert were Mamie's half-brothers, that meant Eliza was her mother. Eliza married Samuel E. Hall in December of 1917. She was 38 years old. The wedding was held at her house in Albemarle, Stanly County, NC and the witnesses included her daughters, Katherine Wilhoit, who married already, and Mamie Paul.

Had Benjamin Paul died? There's no record of it, and I eventually uncovered that he had not, at least not yet.

Eliza was Sam's third wife. He had married first to Narcissa  Morgan, by whom he had 6 children and died in 1916. He quickly married Daisy Chandler Reeves, the same year, by whom he had one son, Lamar, born June 24, 1917. Daisy died July 1, a week after her son was born. Sam was a widower with small children and a newborn when he married Eliza that December. 

Name:Lina Hall[]
Birth Year:abt 1879
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1920:Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Residence Date:1920
Relation to Head of House:Wife
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Sam Hall
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Able to Speak English:Yes
Able to read:Yes
Able to Write:No
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Sam Hall46Head
Lina Hall41Wife
Young Hall16Son
Mary Hall14Daughter
Sam Hall12Son
Pauline Hall8Daughter
Ramell Hall6Daughter
Lamar Hall2Son by Daisy
William Hall0Son by Eliza

We find them in the 1920 census, with Elza having given birth to William Clegg. This is the year we found Mamie living with Lee Hall, an older son of Sam.

Name:Liza Hall
Birth Year:abt 1880
Age in 1930:50
Birthplace:North Carolina
Marital Status:Married
Relation to Head of House:Wife
Home in 1930:North Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina, USA
Map of Home:
Street Address:Fourth Street
House Number:434
Dwelling Number:129
Family Number:138
Age at First Marriage:18
Attended School:No
Able to Read and Write:Yes
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Able to Speak English:Yes
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Samuel E Hall55Head
Liza Hall50Wife
Sam E Hall21Son (Sam Jr.)
Hattie P Hall18Daughter (Hattie Pauline)
Ramell Hall17Daughter
William C Hall10Son (William Clegg)
Albert C Hall6Son (Albert Coyt)
William R Hall13Son (William Lamar)

We find them in 1930, with Eliza having given birth to her last child, Albert at age 43. 

Name:Eliza Hall
Estimated Birth Year:abt 1880
Birthplace:North Carolina
Marital Status:Widowed
Relation to Head of House:Head
Home in 1940:West and North Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Map of Home in 1940:
Street:Oakwood Street N W
House Number:904
Inferred Residence in 1935:West and North Albemarle, Stanly, North Carolina
Residence in 1935:West and North Albemarle
Sheet Number:4A
Number of Household in Order of Visitation:65
House Owned or Rented:Rented
Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented:3
Attended School or College:No
Highest Grade Completed:None
Class of Worker:H
Weeks Worked in 1939:0
Income Other Sources:No
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Eliza Hall60Head
Clegg Hall19Son
Albert C Hall16Son

In 1940, Eliza is a widow with her two young sons living with her in  Albemarle on West Oakwood St..    Samuel E. Hall had passed away in April of 1932.

Eliza would live another 36 years, passing away on April 12, 1968. She was 93. She had survived with help from her sons and worked in the cotton mills.

Eliza Gathings Paul Hall

Buried at Fairview Cemetery, her death certificate tells us who her parents were. Her daughter Katherine, as the informant, gave her father as Furman Gathings and her mother as Becky Paskel.

With that we found Eliza's origins and able to take this new branch back another generation or two. Two questions still remained. Who was Ben Paul and what happened to him and why was she listed as a Shepperd on her marriage license to Ben Paul?


The Messenger and Intelligencer

Wadesboro, North Carolina
10 Mar 1921, Thu  •  Page 1

Eliza's father, Sherwood Furman Gathings, nicknamed "Peter", was a Civil War Veteran who lived until 1921, so he certainly was alive in 1897 when Eliza married Ben Paul at her father's house. 

Name:Rebecca Gathings
Birth Date:Abt 1851
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Lilesville, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Dwelling Number:378
Relation to Head of House:Wife
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Sherwood Gathings
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Cannot Read:Yes
Cannot Write:Yes
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Sherwood Gathings40Self (Head)
Rebecca Gathings29Wife
Sherwood Gathings9Son
William Gathings4Son
Charles Gathings1Son

Eliza's mother, Rebecca, shows up married to Sherwood in the 1870 and 1880 census records. Her maiden name is unknown. Eliza's marriage license lists her as "Becky Paskal", but the surname must be misread, as it's not traceable and there were no families of that spelling in the area at the time. Also unusual is the fact that Eliza should be in the 1880 census, but she is not. Perhaps she was actually born in 1880 after the census. Ages were bouyant in those days, especially for women. She was, however, old enough to have born a daughter in 1898.

While Rebecca's orgins remain a mystery, Sherwoods doesn't. He was the son of Charles and Mary Bailey Gathings. The reason Eliza's wedding made it sound as if he wasn't home when she married Ben Paul, is because perhaps he wasn't.

Name:S F Gathings
Residence Year:1899
Residence Place:Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Publication Title:Raleigh, North Carolina, City Directory, 1899

The City Directory of Raleigh, NC shows that Sherwood was an inmate, or resident, of the Old Soldiers Home in 1899.

Name:Sherwood F Gathings
Birth Date:Jun 1835
Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Home in 1900:Morven, Anson, North Carolina
Sheet Number:5
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:83
Family Number:84
Relation to Head of House:Brother
Marital Status:Married
Marriage Year:1870
Years Married:30
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Occupation:Farm Laborer
Months Not Employed:5
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
Household MembersAgeRelationship
Robert H Gathings38Head
Sherwood F Gathings64Brother
Ophelia Gathings35Sister

Just a year later, however, he had returned to Anson County and was living with his brother and sister. in Lilesville. But old 'Peter' wasn't done. In 1903, at 65, he married a Lizzie Shepherd, aged 50.

Name:Peter Gathings
Birth Year:abt 1838
Marriage Date:28 Dec 1903
Marriage Place:Anson, North Carolina, USA
Father:Chas Gathings
Spouse:Elizabeth Shepperd
Spouse Gender:Female
Spouse Race:White
Spouse Age:50
Event Type:Marriage

His father was given correctly as Charles Gathings, but her parents were unknown. A C.T. Jones had applied for the license and the wedding was held at the home of  Jim Watts in Morven. Then it hit me, the person applying for the license probably gave the information, maybe because the bride and groom were illiterate. It was he who didn't know who their parents were. But there's that name again, Shepherd.

But Lizzie's parents and origins were known. She was the daughter of Noah and Beadie Simpson Shepherd (or Shepperd or Shepard) and had grown up in Cordova, Richmond County, NC. She died in 1914 at age 59 of Dropsy. She and Peter were living with his son, William Benjamin Gathings in 1910 and his family.

The fact that Lizzie, who married Eliza's father in 1903, does not explain why Eliza was called a Shepherd in 1898. Nor has the shroud over the beginnings and endings of Benjamin Paul been lifted.

18 Oct 1917 Stanly County

There was one last thing, however. In scanning old newspapers, I found that in 1917, the year Eliza remarried to Sam Hall, she had filed for divorce from Ben Paul. It doesn't appear that Ben had died, but that he had abandoned her and the girls.

2 Feb 1905

Wadesboro, North Carolina

In 1905, still in Anson County, she was given a special allowance as a Pauper. It seems he may have abandoned her shortly after Mamie was born. 

I haven't found Eliza, or Mamie in 1910, not yet, however I did find her olderst daughter, Catherine (or Katherine Elizabeth) who married a Wilhoit.

Name:Elizabeth Paul
Age in 1910:11
Birth Date:1899[1899]
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1910:Thomasville, Davidson, North Carolina, USA
Relation to Head of House:Inmate
Marital Status:Single
Father's Birthplace:United States[United States of America]
Mother's Birthplace:United States[United States of America]
Native Tongue:English
Attended School:Yes
Able to read:Yes
Able to Write:Yes

She was in the children's home in Thomasville. Mamie is not listed, but as the children seem mostly to be over the age of 10, Mamie may have been too young. She may have been places in another home or with a family somewhere.

Name:Katherine Elizabeth Paul
Event Type:Delayed Birth
Birth Date:1 Nov
Birth County:Anson
Parent1 Name:Benjamin Paul
Parent2 Name:Eliza A Gathings
Roll number:NCVR_B_C005_68001

So Eliza was not a widow, she was divorced and as soon as that happened, she married Sam Hall. It strikes me that Samuel Hall was probably named for his grandfather, and my 4th great Grandfather, Rev. Samuel Parsons Morton, who I am actively researching and whose parents are also unknown at the moment.

At the same time, the name of Eliza's father, Sherwood Furman Gathings, was passed down to the son of his Granddaughter, Katherine Elizabeth Paul Wilhoit, Furman Wilhoit, who married into my family by marrying  my Daddy's first cousin, Pauline. As my daddy (the one who raised me), was an only child, he was close to some of his first cousins, Pauline being one of them, and I knew Furman very well. Now, a descendant of Benjmain Paul and Eliza Gathings Paul is marrying into my family again. I'd like to know who Ben is. 


1 comment:

  1. Sherwood Ferman Gathings was twice married first to Rebecca Harris about 1870 and 2nd to Elizabeth Shepard on 28 Dec 1903. To my knowledge he only had 3 sons.