Friday, June 30, 2023

Ya Gotta have Faitha


In 1987, George Michael released his song, "Faith", which would turn into one of the biggest hits for the former Wham! singer, who died tragically young at 53. The chorus of the song begins with, 

"Before this river becomes an ocean

Before you throw my heart back on the floor

Oh, baby, I reconsider my foolish notionWell, I need someone to hold me but I'll wait for somethin' more
Yes, I gotta have faithOoh, I gotta have faithBecause I gotta have faith, faith, faith"

While researching my Great Great Grand uncles and aunts in Warren County, Tennesee, I came across two cousins who married each other, and had to have faith for themselves in two very different ways.

View of the Uwharries from Island Creek

In the early land records of Montgomery County, North Carolina, David and Jesse Safely both had land in the Uwharrie Mountains on the southwest side of the Yadkin River, bordering that of Bennett and Goodwin Solomon. After the death of  Rev. Bennett Solomon, his wife, Ava McGregor Solomon, would relocate to Warren County, Tennesee, where her brothers, William Jr., Ezekial and Willis, had moved a decade or so earlier. With her went her younger children, while she left her older, married ones in what would become Stanly County, William, Martha and Fannie. Martha, the oldest daughter, and her husband, George Bullen, would eventually follow them to Tennesee. 

Willis Lymon Solomon, her youngest son, had left with his mother for Warren. He would marry Myrick Safely, daughter of Jesse, who remained in Warren, while his brother, David Safely, returned to North Carolina.

While looking into the Safely family, I could tell there were Tennessee Safelys who had no idea David had returned to Montgomery County, North Carolina, they only knew he had left traces in Warren. Some also had no clue that they had even stopped in Montgomery. Some have them coming from Brunswick County, NC and I don't know if they were even there.

Here's what I do know about the Safelys and it has a lot to do with Faith.

Willis and Myrick would raise their families and live out their lives in Warren County, centrally located in the Cumberland Plateau of Middle Tennesee. They lived along Collins River near the community of Irving College, in the southwest corner of the county, close to the town of Smyrna, and many of the family are buried at the old Smyrna Church cemetery.

Farm in Irving College, Warren County, Tennesee

Irving College got its name from Washington Irving and was known as "one of the most suscessful male colleges in Tennesee." The school operated from 1839 to 1890 and may have been one of the reasons some of the North Carolina settlers gravitated towards the area.

In " Goodspeed's History of Warren County, Tennesee" there is a listing of early settlers by District. District 4 must have been around Irving College because among those names were those of W. J. Stubblefield, George Edwards, Jesse Safely, David Safely, Ezekial McGregor, Wylie Ware and John Meyers, those who arrived from Montgomery County, NC and those who intermarried with them. Also of interest to me was the 7th District which listed Dr. Archibald Falkner and Asa Falkner, to whom I am related, who moved from Anson County, NC to South Carolina, and then to Tennesee. There's also a John Fortner, but I don't know how he counts in, but other names there, Lewis Howell, Howell Harris and others, are seen in Montgomery and Anson early records as well. 

David Safely Sr. ( b.1765) was from Virginia and settled in Montgomery County, NC in her early years. He was the father of  Rev. Jesse Safely and David Safely Jr. and Myrick Safely Solomon's grandfather. Grant No. 2507, issued December 5, 1818, to Davis Safely was on the waters of Mountain Creek and was recorded in Book 133, Page 91. It's an odd looking plat of 80 acres that resembles a child's drawing of  the Loch Ness monster. It was close to Joshua Carter's property, ran with Clement Carters line, met McCullough's line, and Labon Carter's line. Etheldred Morris and Daniel Biles were chain carriers. This was pretty close to where Goodwin Solomon had settled.

David Safely married Rachel,  and they were the parents of : Jesse, David Jr., William Wiley, Elizabeth Jane,  Nancy Ann "Nicey", Whitson, Parthena, Margaret, Alexander and Robert. Some have Rachel as an Edwards, others claim she was a Morris. The Edwards is another family name that is seen in every stage of the Solomon migrations.

In the 1830 census of Montgomery (Stanly side) County, NC, David Safely's neighbors consisted of Joshua Carter, Penelope Fulks, Minny Carter, Thomas Kirk, Edy Mann, Peter Winfield, who was the son of Edward Winfield and the grandson of my 5th Great Grandfather, Peter Winfield, who came from Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1782 and settled on the Rocky River. Peter II married Mary "Polly" Goldston and had two sons, William and John Peter. He died in a logging incident and Polly remarried an Anson County miniter, J. R. Barber and had several more children. They settled around Brown Creek and are buried at Brown Creek Church near Burnsville. William died of thyphoid fever, unmarried, but John Peter married and had 4 sons before dying in the Civil War. All the remaining Winfields in the area are descended from the sons of John Peter. 

Another interesting neighbor of David Safely in 1830 was Joseph Melton/Milton. Goodwin Solomon had posted bond to his marriage in Franklin County, NC to an Abigail Bass. Polly and Peter Styles were also neighbors. 

Jesse Safely was the oldest child of David and Rachel and was born on Christmas Day of 1781 in North Carolina. He married Martha Faitha or Phatha Stiles (Styles)  in Montgomery County, NC in 1808. Phatha was supposedly the daughter of  William Stiles and Susan Rebecca Edwards. Relationship to Peter and Polly Stiles unknown, but likely was one. Rev. Jesse and Phatha had a dozen children and settled in Warren County, Tennesee. Jesse appears in the 1812 tax records of Warren County, so arrived fairly early. 

The Safelys Church was called Smyrna, about 5 miles south of McMinnville. Most of the family is buried there, as Jesse was in 1861. 

The valley they lived in took their name as well, Safely Valley. 

David Safely (1784-before 1870), returned to Stanly/Montgomery by 1830. 

As is shown in the 1850 census, Jesse and David named several of their children the same names. Jesse had a son named David and David had a son named Jesse.

David was in Stanly County in the 1860 census as a Distiller. 

So the David Safely who married Jane, shown later in Warren County , was the son of Jesse.

Bennett Solomon Jr, born 1797, and Henry Solomon, born 1815, arrived in Warren County, where they had family already, in the latter years of the 1830's, between 1836 and 1839. Henry Solomon's children, no doubt, grew up playing with their cousins. 

Willis Lymon Solomon and wife, Myrick Safely Solomon, had a daughter named Faitha, born about 1846 and named after her maternal grandmother and aunt.

Henry Solomon and wife, Tabitha Cunningham Solomon had a son named James Edward Solomon, born about 1847. Willis was the son of Bennett and Ava McGregor Solomon. Henry was the son, or grandson,  of Goodwin Solomon and wife unknown, Bennett's brother, so Faitha and James were cousins of some degree.

Before 1860, Henry and Tabitha fatefully moved their family to Cass County, Missouri , a catastrophic decision I covered in my post:  Henry. 

James Solomon fought in the Civil War, was captured at Gettysburg, suffered illnesses and disappeared from the hospital in Staunton, Virginia. He lost his older brother , William during the war. Afterwards, he joined his mother and younger brothers in the community of Rose Hill, in Johnson County, Missouri. But he never forgot his cousin, Faitha.

James returned to Warren County, Tennessee. He'd had enough of Missouri.

He boarded with his Uncle, Thomas Cunningham, brother of Tabitha Cunningham Solomon. 

On February 8, 1883, James married Faitha Solomon, both from Irving College.  There's a 17 year gap between the 1883 marriage of James and Faitha Solomon and the next census in 1900. There's no way to know what happened after the wedding. What can be known is that it didn't work out. 

At the turn of the new century, 1900, Faitha Solomon Solomon is seen as single again, and living in Irving College with her mother, Myrick , and her single sister, Nancy.

But, James has taken off again, as he had established a habit of doing. This time he's found in none other than North Dakota. 

In Cass County, North Dakota, James has a new wife, Catherine Davis and a growing family of children. 

Cass County is the most populous in North Dakota. What would lure a family there at the turn of the century? And what was Faitha thinking at this time? Was she waiting on a husband to return or had she conceded to being single again?

James Solomon was now building a large farming family within a neighborhood of primarily farmers with Nordic origins. The soil was rich, the population sparse and the winters were long. 

1910, the Solomon sisters are on their own, and running a boarding house, but their boarders were relatives. Ellen Nunley was the daughter of their sister, Mary Solomon Nunley and Jesse and Orville were the sons of their sister, Ava Solomon Smith.

Location of Barnes County, ND within state.

Household Members (Name)AgeRelationship
James E Solaman59Head
Cathrin Solaman53Wife
James E Solaman Jr24Son
McClea Solaman22Son
Cleveland Solaman17Son
Perl Solaman16Daughter
Lizzie Solaman13Daughter
Mamie Balow19Servant

By 1910, James had moved his family over to Barnes County, North Dakota. Some of his older children would migrate back to Iowa, where he had met and married their mother. He was not a man to stay in one spot long.

Faitha Solomon died on Valentines Day, 1917, in Warren County, Tennesee. She was buried in the Hebron Cemetery in Irving College and shared a tombstone with her sister, Nancy. She was 69 years of age. Nancy, who was 7 years older than Faitha, lived untl February 4 of 1920. Faitha may have died with a brokern heart. She had never remarried and never had any children.

NameJohn E Solomon
Birth Yearabt 1850
Home in 1920Carpenter, Steele, North Dakota
House Number15
Residence Date1920
Relation to Head of HouseHead
Marital StatusMarried
Spouse's NameCatherene Solomon
Father's BirthplaceTennessee
Mother's BirthplaceTennessee
Able to Speak EnglishYes
IndustryGeneral Farm
Employment FieldOwn Account
Home Owned or RentedRented
Able to readYes
Able to WriteYes
NeighborsView others on page
Household members
John E Solomon70
Catherene Solomon64
Mary Solomon38
James Solomon34
Verl Solomon28

As for James E. Solomon, he had moved again. This time to the town of Carpenter, in Steele County, North Dakota. He kept moving toward more and more rural areas. What was he running from, or towards? James was now 70 years old.

NameJames Solomon
State/TerritoryNorth Dakota, USA
Census Date1925
Birth Yearabt 1850
Family Number130

Steele County was right next to Cass County, North Dakota, the area with the most development. James would make one more move, back to Cass County, where he is shown in a 1925 State Census Record for South Dakota. He was in the town of Barnes, and was now 75, Catherine, his wife, aged 70.

Catherine Davis Solomon, who died about 1940, courtesy of the Manning family.

Catherine in found as a widow in the 1930 census in Fargo, living with their son, James Jr. and his family. James died November 15, 1929, in Jamestown, Stutzman County, North Dakota. He may have been in a hospital, as he did not live there.

From Find-a-Grave, courtesy of Sherry Riley

James Solomon
Birth Date8 Jun 1848
Death Date15 Nov 1929
CemeteryJamestown State Hospital Cemetery
Burial or Cremation PlaceJamestown, Stutsman County, North Dakota, United States of America

James Edward Solomon was a rolling stone. He could not be still. He could not be satisfied. Despite his constant moves and whatever demons he was attempting to evade, he left behind a large, midwestern family.

The Solomon Family, names unknown. 

James and Catherine were the parents of  12 children. Only seven of them lived to see adulthood: Mary America, Alta, James Jr., Mack, Grover Cleveland and Pearl and Lizzie.

Like any American family, the Solomons were composed of both those who stayed and those who left and that is how the West was won. You gotta have Faith.

1 comment:

  1. Grant No. 2507, issued December 5, 1818, to Davis Safely was on the waters of Mountain Creek and was recorded in Book 133, Page 91. Etheldred MORRIS [not Harris] and Daniel Biles were chain carriers.