Monday, May 1, 2023

The Forgotten

Recently, I was out of town, and passed by Prospect Presbyterian Church on my way back home. Prospect is a very old church congregation, within a modern building, and located in Rowan County, right on the border with Iredell County, so close, it's address is actually Mooresville, which is in Iredell, but the church is physically several miles from Mooresville and on the Rowan side of the border. 

While there, I decided to visit the graves of John E. and Elizabeth Dancy Solomon. They are not ancestors of mine, but without a doubt family members of some distance and connection, and I had first found their last resting places nearly a decade ago. 

When researching a smaller family in my family tree, I like to look at all of the members of that family in an area, and piece together any relationships I may find, just to try to get a complete look at the family structure. I get a better view, and learn so much more that way. In other words, I don't just climb the trunk, I explore the branches. 

I first came across John E. Solomon in  the Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarters of Stanly County. I've never seen anywhere what the 'E' stands for. In the August Session of Court, in the year 1841, the first year of the existence of Stanly County, a number of children were ordered to be brought to court to be bound out. Among them was John E. Solomon, who had been 'living with Edmund W. Lilly." That was our first clue.

John was born, according to his tombstone, on July 15,1823, so he was just months shy of his 18th birthday. The other minors mentioned in the February term of court to be brought to court to be bound out, were found again in the November Session of Court bound to various men in the community. John E. Solomon was not. 

There was another John Solomon found in the court records that had been ordered to court to be bound out, and that was John W. Solomon, found in the May, 1841 Session of Court. John W. Solomon was the son of Nancy Solomon and John Bruster, per his 1869 marriage certificate to Martha Tolbert.

Nancy Solomon lived in Stanly County, NC and shows up in the census records from 1830 to 1860. She seems to have been alive until about 1865. John Bruster was a friend and neighbor of Drury Solomon, who lived in Cabarrus County, and was the bondsman at Drury's wedding to Eleanor Killough. It's probable that Nancy and Drury were siblings. 

There were three Solomon brothers, Bennett, Goodwin and William Jr., sons of William Sr. and Diana Gordon Solomon, who had moved from Franklin County, North Carolina, to the Stanly/Cabarrus County area. I descend from Bennett. But where did John E. Solomon fit in? Whose child was he?

John and Eliza's graves at Prospect Presbyterian during my April 2023 visit

John E. Solomon's second appearance in the records of Stanly County was on May 13, 1850, when he purchased 99 acres on the Salisbury Road for $85 from John H. Treadwell, guardian for the heirs of J. W. Craig. Delving back into the court records, those heirs were Hammit J., Tirzah J. and Laura J. Craig, minor heirs of James Washington Craig, and Treadwell had been appointed their guardian. John E. Solomon was now well into his 20's and now a land owner. He was the highest bidder at the Sheriff's sale for the property. Book 3,  Page 17, Stanly County Register of Deeds.

In a somewhat confusing move, only two days later, and in the very next deed, Book 3, Page 18, John sold the property he had just purchased.

Book 3 Page 18  John E Solomon to James F Kirk

" 15th day of May 1850 between John E. Solomon of Rowan and state of North Carolina of the one part and James F. Kirk of the County of Stanly for the sum of $85.....bounded  as follows..on the southwest side of the Yadkin River on the waters of Grassy Creek Beginning at a pine between two pin points on the Salisbury Road."  The description of the property was the same as the property described in the previous deed, and had left us a hint. John E. Solomon had relocated to Rowan County.

John E. Solomon was now living in Gold Hill, Rowan County, a place, as the name suggests, was a mining town. Gold Hill was a booming, busy, bustling place at this time, full of people from all over, foreign countries and it was much larger than it is now. 

NameJohn Solomon
Birth Year1820
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1850Gold Hill, Rowan, North Carolina, USA
IndustryIndustry Not Reported
Line Number31
Dwelling Number139
Family Number143
Inferred SpouseEliza Solomon
Household members
John Solomon30
Eliza Solomon21

John had gotten work as a laborer there, and was living among other laborers, minoes and craftsmen. He had also picked up a wife, a young lady named Eliza.

So, who was she?

Eliza C. Solomon was born on June 30, 1830 and died on November 25, 1909. She was the daughter of John Dancy and his first wife, Abigail Lloyd and was probably born in Iredell County, as that was where her family was found in the 1830 census, the year of her birth. 

John Dancy was born along the Reddies River in Wilkes County, North Carolina on April 20, 1794, son of Edward "Neddy" Dancy and Sussannah Vannoy. Abigail Loyd was from Rowan County. The couple were married in Rowan County on December 16, 1810. They lived in both Wilkes and Iredell Counties at various times. John Dancy would finally settle down along Coddle Creek in Iredell. Abigail would leave him a widower, and he had remarried in 1835, in Wilkes County, to a Miss Frances Kilby, from Wilkes County,  who would accompany him on his journey through life for a number of decades, but would predecease him by a few years in 1872. All of his children were by Abigail, however, although Frances helped raised the younger ones. John Dancy's Will was probabted in Iredell County in 1874.

Son Enos Dancy served as executor of the estate. Listed as heirs were W. A. Dancy, Enos Dancy, John Dancy (Jr.), Naomi Brown, Hannah McNeely, Eliza Solomon, and Margaret Solomon. Notice that among these listed surviving children of John Dancy Sr. were two daughters who were now Solomons. 

Also listed as heirs were the children of Phoebe Smith (names not recollected) and the children of Wilson Dancy (names not recollected). Phoebe and Wilson were the two children of John Dancy who had predeceased him. These heirs would later be named in the 64 page estate settlement as Naomi J. Smith, Harriett Smith and Wightman Smith, children of Phoebe and John A. Dancy, Rhoda A. Dancy, Margaret Dancy, Mary Dancy, Sarah Dancy, Catherine Dancy, Alice Dancy, and Julia Dancy, heirs of Wilson "by one part". So the grandchildren of  children of John Dancy Sr., whose parents were deceased, were  to share in one ninth portion of the estate of John Dancy, as was common.

The estate papers also clearly state that "Wilson Dancy was a son and Phoebe Smith was a daughter of John Dancy and they both are dead."

When giving the description of the property of John Dancy, which was being sold, the property was described as adjoining the properties of Eliz.West, Eliza Wilson, John E. Solomon and others in the Rives Branch Community. So, by 1874, John and Eliza had moved north still, from Rowan  into Iredell and had lived on adjoining property to Eliza's parents. 

Listed in the 'one ninth parts' were Enos Dancy, Wm A.Dancy, John Dancy, Naomi Brown, Hannah McNeely, Eliza Solomon and Margaret Solomon.

Later, again, in the probate pages are listed, several times, the names of the heirs, this time including the spouses of the daughters. The spouses of the sons were not listed. Naomi Dancy Brown was a widow, so her husband was not named. Silas A. McNeely was named as the husband of Hannah E. McNeely. Also named was John E. Solmon and wife Eliza C. Solmon and J. T. Solomon and wife Margaret. 

Above is a list of the purchasers from the estate of John Dancy. There are pages and pages of this. To not have been someone of particular wealth, John Dancy had acquired more things than average for this period. Circled you will find the names of Jerry Solomon, John Solomon, John Brown, J. L. Brown, J. Thomas Solomon, and also J. Franklin Solomon. These are of course, John E. Solomon, and Jerry , I would later discover, was the nickname for Margaret Dancy Solomon's husband, Jarrett Thomas Solomon. J. Franklin Solomon, was their oldest son, John Franklin, who would have been 19 or 20 at this time. The Browns were also grandsons, sons of Naomi Dancy Brown. Most of the purchasers were family, but also included neighbors of no particular relation otherwise. 

John and Abigail Dancy were also buried at Prospect Presbyterian Church in "Mooresville" on the Rowan/ Iredell County line.

Backing up, and looking at the 1850 census again, this time for John Dancy, 

John is 60, and living in Iredell County, next to Elizabeth West, who was still living on property adjoining his 24 years later in 1874. His second wife, Francis, is listed, as well as his youngest daughter, Margaret, 17. Also in the home is 15 year old "Jarrett Thomas". After the household of John Dancy, follows his oldest son, Willam A Dancy (seen as Wm Dancy), and wife Lucy and after that, his son, Enos, who was the executor of his estate, and his family. 

Years ago, after a good deal of research, I had discovered that Jarrett Thomas was not Jarrett -surname Thomas, neither was he Jarrett Thomas Dancy. He was Jarrett Thomas Solomon, aka J. T. Solomon aka "Jerry",  who would marry John's youngest daughter, Margaret, and is mentioned in the estate files of John Dancy. 

Jerry would serve in the Civil War and in his Civil War records, an interesting discovery was made. He was injured in the fibula at Chancellorsville, and in his application for a pension due to his injury and disability, he revealed his place of birth.

Jarrett Thomas Solomon, like John E. Solomon, was from Stanly County! But it doesn't stop there. 

John Dancy and wife, Abigail Loyd Dancy had a son named William Armstrong Dancy. He is seen above in the 1850 census excerpt of Iredell County living near his father and brother Enos, with his wife, Lucy. During my research a decade ago, I had discovered that of their ten children, at least four of them had lived long enough to garner a death certificate. Although I have not found a marriage certificate for William A. Dancy and Lucy, their childrens' records, and land and inheritance records, revealed that Lucy Dancy, wife of William Armstrong Dancy, had the full name of Lucinda G. Solomon Dancy. 

And she, too, was born in Stanly County, as was revealed in the death certificate of her daughter, Mary Frances Dancy Beam. 

So, now we have not one, not two, but THREE, Solomons from Stanly County who married children of John Dancy and Abigail Loyd Dancy.

Now, Iredell County is not a great distance from Stanly County. One can get there in an hour or so from either point, depending upon the part you are driving from or to, but it's not a bordering county.

John E Solomon was born in Stanly County in 1823.
Lucinda G Solomon was born in Stanly County in 1831.
Jarrett Thomas Solomon was born in Stanly County in 1835. 

I still have as many questions as I had a decade ago.

Were they siblings or otherwise related?
If so, who were their parents?
How did they meet the Dancy family? 
Could they possibly have been orphans who were bound out to John Dancy?  Jerry was living with him at age 14. 
If that was the case, why would they be bound out to someone so far away, unless there was a familial connection. I don't negate the fact they married Dancy's to disqualify a kinship. In my research experience, I've seen where some 18th and 19th century folks seemed to rather marry relatives far quicker than they would strangers, as odd, or as wrong,  as it feels to us today. First and second cousin marriages were not uncommon, just as several members of one family marrying several members of another family, causing sets of double-cousins were also common, as may have been the case in the Solomon/ Dancy families. 

I will get more into Jerry and Lucinda in other posts. For now, I only want to pay tribute to John E. Solomon, the oldest of these three Solomons.

I will just add that Lucinda G Solomon Dancy and husband, William Armstrong Dancy, raised their large family in Iredell County, NC. Many of them would move to Cabarrus County.

Lucinda "Lucy" died in 1899. Like most of the family, she was Presbyterian.

Jarrett Thomas Solomon and Margaret E. Dancy Solomon were married in 1855 and became the parents of 5 children. They lived on the border of Iredell and Rowan and settled in the Mt. Ulla community of Rowan. They seem to have followed their children into the textile towns of Cabarrus County and spent their last years there. Margaret Dancy Solomon died on May 23, 1907. Jerry was last found alive in Cabarrus County in 1909. I can't locate him in the 1910 census, or any record of his death. He had a bit of a wild streak, perhaps due to his experiences during the war.

I refer to John E Solomon as "The Forgotten ", because he and Eliza remained childless, and have no descendants to research them or keep their memories alive, so I have adopted them, as probable relatives, as I descend from Stanly County Solomons. As they had no descendants, I have no one to discover a genetic match to. 

I do, however, have a small handful of matches to descendants of both Jerry and Lucy, at a distance that suggests a 4 to 6 generational back connection.

In 1860, John and Eliza were still in Gold Hill in Rowan County, which is not far from his native Stanly County. This time, he was pursuing a career as a miner, not a laborer .

On June 30, 1861 in an Indenture found in the land records of Iredell County, NC in Deed Book D4 Page 73, John Dancy sold to J. E. Solomon a 48 acres tract for $434 that began at a stake in Enos Dancy's line, met with Silas McNeely's line, that Enos Dancy was the witness to. Enos Dancy being the son of John Dancy and J. E. Solomon and Silas McNeely being his son-in-law. 

This was not the first property John E. Solomon had purchased in Iredell County. 

On November 26th, 1856, John had purchased a 52 acre property from a man named William C. Niceler. This property was found in Deed Book D4 Page 136, and bordered the properties of W. S. Mills, W. A. Kennerly and had been transferred to Niceler by David Irvin. Although it was not bound by family property, it was witnessed by family, John Dancy and W. A. Dancy. 

The only other land deed in Iredell involving John E. Solomon was when he purchased a small 3 3/4 acre lot from W. E. Dancy and wife T. R. Dancy. This transaction occurred on July 29, 1892 and the property adjoined that of E. L. Cloninger and Mary Morrow. It can be found in Deed Book D 22 Page 416. W. E and T. R. Dancy would have been William Edward Dancy, son of William Armstrong Dancy and Lucinda Solomon Dancy and T. R. would have been  W. E.'s wife Teresa Petchel Dancy. 

NameSolomon John
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Dwelling Number148
Home in 1870East Bend, Yadkin, North Carolina
Post OfficeEast Bend
OccupationDay Laborer
Cannot ReadYes
Cannot WriteYes
Inferred SpouseElizabeth John

Despite having purchased a 52 acre tract in Iredell in 1856, and another from his father-in-law in 1869, John and Eliza Dancy Solomon were found in the community of East Bend in Yadkin County in the 1870 census, which wasn't a great distance. He was again working as a laborer. As his name was written in last name first order, the transcriber had it backwards. 

Then in 1874, John Dancy died and a suit involving his properties was recorded in the newspaper, and resulted in a 64 page estate file, as previously mentioned.

NameJ. E. Soloman
Birth DateAbt 1824
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1880Coddle Creek, Iredell, North Carolina, USA
Dwelling Number137
Relation to Head of HouseSelf (Head)
Marital StatusMarried
Spouse's NameEliza Soloman
Father's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Mother's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Cannot WriteYes
NeighborsView others on page
Household members
J. E. Soloman56
Eliza Soloman40

Finally, by 1880, we find John and Eliza, now in their middle years and still childless, living in Iredell County and farming as a profession. Their near neighbors did not include any relatives, so they must have been living on the Niceler tract. The community was called Coddle Creek. 

Between 1880 and 1900, John E. Solomon was more  active and involved in community affairs than he had ever been. 

On July 11, 1891 J. E. and E. C. Solomon sold to James F. Dearman, all parties from Iredell, a tract of land adjoining J. E. Solomon, E L. Cloninger and Mary Morrow, Deed Book 15 Page 464.  This was the 3 and 3/4 lot they had purchased from nephew Will Dancy and his wife, Teresa. It was too small for a farm, which leads me to think it was a town lot in some small village that perhaps no longer exists. We have places like this all over, nothing left but the name, sometimes a church or old store building or mill and a spattering of houses.

A year later, on July 4, 1892, J E Solomon of Iredell and W. E. Dancy of Rowan are mentioned in Deed Book 17 Page 258. For $50 J. E. Solomon sold to his nephew, W. E. Dancy, all his rights and interest in the estate of J. F. Dearman and that 3 and 3/4 acre lot adjoining E. L. Cloninger and Mary Morrow on a mortgage bearing the date of Feb. 11, 1891.

I wondered what the connection between Dearman and the Solomon/Dancy's was, but could not find any, except the land purchase. Perhaps Dearman just did not pay his mortgage. James Franlkin Dearman was born in Iredell County,  from the Chambersburg area, son of carpenter, Henry Dearman and wife, Nancy Summers Dearman. He served in the Civil War, married Martha Jane Wilkins, and had seven children. He was in Atwell community in Rowan County in 1880, Barringer Township by 1887, Charlotte in 1897, lived in the city of Salisbury in Rowan County in 1900 and died there in 1906 at the age of 66.

He filed a suit against W. H. Evans in 1893.

John E. Solomon was a very pious man, evidentally. He enjoyed a membership in multiple Presbyterian Churches, leading me to wonder if he had Scottish roots. 

In  1899, his name was among those in a group of trustee's seeking to build a branch of the Presbyterian Church along Coddle's Creek. The plat for the grant is shown above. The property adjoined that of Lucy Dancy, who was Lucinda Solomon Dancy, his sister-in-law for certain, through the Dancy's and perhaps also his blood relative on the Solomon side.

F. M. Gantt, W. E. Evans, G. Caldwell, J. E. Solomon, and C. M. Caldwell were Trustees in common for Providence Missionary Baptist Church .The Grant was in Falls Township (Now Fallstown), near Troutman. The land to be laid off for the church was described as ' "the nearest waters course is Young's Creek, about a mile from said creek and joining the lands of Lucy Dancy, W. Brawley Estate, Whitt Lype, , C. Jones and Nat Simmons......being entry 137 page 28...Entrty Takers Book of Iredell County."

The 1900 census finds John and Eliza living in Barringers Township in Iredell County. 

Barringers is located in the Southeastern part of the county, near the previously mentioned Coddle Creek and Falls town. They were living near Morrows, as was mentioned in the deeds.

The census revealed that John and Eliza had been married for 51 years, or in 1849, which made a lot of sense, as this was the year he sold his land in Stanly County and they were found in Gold Hill the next year. It also revealed that Eliza had never had any children. John was a farmer and owned his property free and clear. Eliza could read and write, John could not.

And then he was gone. Eliza was recorded in a deed, selling their 48 acre tract that John had purchased of her father in 1856, probably for money to survive on. Book 29 Page 446, in deed dated September 1, 1903 by E. C. Solomon to L. J. Dancy for $500 adjoining the lands of W. J. Matheeson and Charles White, beginning at a stake in Enos Dancy's line, now W. J. Matheson's corner, in Julas McNeely's line, now Charles White's... chains to a stake..John Dancy's (now Burt Kennerly), E. West's, (now Matheson's), to Evass Dancy's corner..48 acres more or less, said lands situated on the waters of Coddle Creek, the land described in deed for John Dancy to J. E. Solomon dated July 30, 1861 in Iredell Deed book 4 page 37.

John E. Solomon's tombstone states that he passed away on December 31, 1902. He must have been anticipating  his demise, as he wrote his will on December 22 of that same year. His will was straight forward and simple. He first requested a decent burial, then in Item 2, he left everything he owned, both real and personal to his beloved wife, Eliza. Lastly, he named Eliza as his executrix and only legatee. Witnesses were A. M. Johnson and W. A. Swann, members of his church. 
Eliza C. Dancy Solomon lived 7 years after John's death. Her obituary describes her as a pious, frugal, poor and quietly suffering old lady.

There was nothing in the life of John E. Solomon to give a hint of who his parents were. I will always believe that the fact that three Solomons, John E., Jarrett Thomas and Lucinda C Solomon, all born in Stanly County, married three children of John and Abigail Loyd Dancy, was more than a coincidence. 

In all likelihood, they were siblings, but I've found no proof, and possibly never will. The odds are also in favor of them being the children or grandchildren of one of the three Solomon brothers who migrated from Franklin County, NC to what is now Stanly County, North Carolina. This, I might have a chance of proving, with DNA sources. Not for John, as he was childless, but at least for descendants of Jerry and Lucy, who do have living descendants. 

From the teenaged orphan who had been living with Edmund W. Lilly, to the Presbyterian Church Elder, who lived his latter decades crossing the Rowan/ Iredell County line, John E. Solomon offered a lot in my project to connect all of the dots of the Stanly and Cabarrus County Solomons, who are definitely one family. Without John, I could possibly have never found the other two. 

How did the Stanly County Solomons meet the Iredell County Dancy's? This remains a mystery for now, but John and Eliza, you are not forgotten. I found you.

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