Friday, December 1, 2023

No Tears for Annis


Woman with Her Hand over her Mouth by Edgar Degas

Annis was a popular name among the Ramsey family of Burnsville Township, Anson County, North Carolina, that also spread into the surrounding counties of Stanly, Union, Richmond and even Cabarrus. For this reason, it was a arduous task to track down one particularly elusive and inconspicuous Annis. 

For instance, there was Annis, born about 1841, daughter of Holden Ramsey and wife, Mary "Polly" Broadway Ramsey. Next was Annis Ramsey (1848 - 1915), daughter of  Robert Ramsey and wife, Margaret Mullis Ramsey, who married James Ingram Williams. Then there was Annis Ledbetter, daughter of  William Johnson Ledbetter and Nelly Wall Ledbetter, who married Harbard/ Harbart Ramsey , and her daughter, Annis J. Ramsey Jr. born about 1859. 

The Annis Ramsey born in 1841, 1848 and 1859 were all cousins. The name was so common amongst the descendants of partriarch Stark Ramsey that one wonders if there could have been a matriarch named Annis somewhere up the family line. While Stark Ramsey's last wife was named 'Lisha', his oldest sons were not likely to have been the sons of Lisha, as she was only 8 or 10 years older than they were, suggesting Stark had an earlier marriage with an older wife, more his own age. Annis Jr, daughter of Harborn was also probably a great granddaughter and of course, her mother was also Annis. Harborn died in the Civil War, and his paperwork stated he was born in Stanly County, not Anson. Samuel Ramsey was the son of Stark Ramsey to cross the county line into Stanly, so Harborn was probably his son. Still, I wonder if there was a grandmother Annis in the family tree.

There were actually several other women named Annis around Burnsville, Anson County and across the county line into the nearby communities of New Salem and Olive Branch, though it seemed central to this area. While one can be found here and there, it seems to have been a trend in this area. There was an older Annis Thomas and an Annis Broadaway, and others, I am sure. Did they have a common origin? 

The one Annis I want to focus on was the one born in 1859. She was the one born to Harbard Ramsey, also seen as Hubert, or any random spelling of Harbard, even Hubbard. Her mother was also an Annis, having been born as Annis Ledbetter, a name they also inferred as 'Lineberry'. Does that make sense? Not really, but it stood where it stood.  She is seen above, in this clip from the 1850 census of Burnsville Township, the Ramsey family hub and center.  Here, she is called "Annis Jr.". This particular family was really good at  escaping detection in records, but I was able to track them down anyway. 

Harbard/ Harborn/Hubert,  was probably named for his Uncle who was saddled with the same confusion and moved to Mississippi via Georgia, Hubbard Ramsey (1812 -1882) who married Priscilla *Allen. (*Her maiden is speculated, and has not been proven.). To make things simple, I will just refer to him henceforth as Harborn.

NameHarborn Ramsey
Enlistment Age24
Birth Dateabt 1838
Enlistment Date15 May 1862
Enlistment PlaceRowan County, North Carolina
Enlistment RankPrivate
Muster Date1 Feb 1862
Muster PlaceNorth Carolina
Muster CompanyC
Muster Regiment42nd Infantry
Muster Regiment TypeInfantry
Muster InformationEnlisted
Side of WarConfederacy
Residence PlaceStanly County, North Carolina
TitleNorth Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster


On May 15, 1862, Harbard enlisted in the Co. C 42nd Infantry of the Confederate Army. He never returned, leaving wife Annis Ledbetter Ramsey, a widow with three children. Not one of them could be found in the 1870 census, which was not an unusual occurence. I believe that recently after the War, things and folks in the South were still in a bit of shambles. 1870 seems a bit unorganized and hastily done. It was the first in which the freedpeoples were enumerated in their own households, which increased the counted population exponentially. However, things point to the survivors of Harborn Ramsey, whatever may have befallen him, were probably still in the community, either in Burnsville in Anson County near the Ledbetters, or near their grandparents, the Samuel and Rebecca family in Stanly County.

Older sister, Elizabeth Ramsey, aka 'Betty', married William Riley Voncannon in December of 1874 in Ansonville.

Older brother James Pinkney Ramsey married Martha A. Howell in April of 1875 in Burnsville. 

William and Bettie Ramsey Voncannon in their later years.

Annis Jr. never married, and in the 1880 census, the probable reason is revealed.

NameAnna Ramsay
Birth DateAbt 1862
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1880Burnsville, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Dwelling Number160
Marital StatusSingle
Father's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Mother's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
OccupationFarm Hand
Months Not Employed3
Deaf and DumbYes
Cannot ReadYes
Cannot WriteYes
NeighborsView others on page

With her siblings married and beginning their own families in 1880, young Annis is working as a farmhand for David and Martha Carpenter, a childless couple in their thirties. It is revealed by the census taker that Anna is 'deaf and dumb', she can work, but not able to hear nor speak. 

The Messenger and Intelligencer

Wadesboro, North Carolina • Page 4

Annis and her mother of the same name will escape records for a number of years, but the local papers would reveal that as a widow and her handicapped daughter, they were living off a public stipend. $6.00 was not much, even in 1890.

The Messenger and Intelligencer

Wadesboro, North Carolina • Page 4

They appeared in the list of Paupers for Anson County for a number of years.

The Messenger and Intelligencer

Wadesboro, North Carolina • Page 4

They recieved $4.50 in 1892 through 1894, and would eventually move to Richmond County, where Annis's brother, James Pinkney Ramsey lived. 

Annis Sr. is found living in the home of Pink and his family in 1900, but not Annis Jr. The above list of those recieving support in 1899 in Richmond County, just a year prior, lists only one Annis Ramsey. Was it mother or daughter who only recieved $3.00 that year?

NameAnnie Ramsey
Age in 191026
Birth Date1854
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1910Lincolnton Ward 3, Lincoln, North Carolina, USA
Sheet Number22b
StreetAspen Street
Relation to Head of HouseAssistant
Marital StatusSingle
Father's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Mother's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Native TongueEnglish
OccupationTrained Nurse
Employer, Employee or OtherWage Earner
Able to readY
Able to WriteY
Enumeration District Number0072
Out of WorkN
Number of Weeks Out of Work0
Enumerated Year1910
NeighborsView others on page
Household members
Mary C Burgin62
Mattie Burgin27
Harris Burgin24
Kate Burgin22
Winslow D Burgin20
Radiant Sistare30
Rose Finger22
Mary Limberger27
Annie Ramsey51
Pearl Williams22

Annis Sr. is last seen in any record in 1905, and it is unknown when she passed away. But did Annis Jr. go to school eventually and learn to become a nurse? I can't find another Annis, or Annie, as they were sometimes called, that could have been the above Annie 

Paul Evans

What occurred between the years the deaf-mute Annis was working as a farm hand, and the next stage of her life, we do not know, we only know that she was alive. Then there were the reports in the newspaper of "Annis Ramsey and her daughter" recieving support from the county. There were six of these, total, between 1890 and 1899, the first five in Anson County and the last in Richmond. As the other sister, Betty, lived in RAndolph County, it appaers they lived on their own for a term, and then moved to Richomond to be near the only son, James Pinkney Ramsey.

Rockingham Post-Dispatch

Rockingham, North Carolina • Page 2

And then there was one. The July 11, 1918 editon of the Rockingham Post-Dispatch of Richmond County reported the conditions of the County Home, an institution that had been established to house the sick and destitute.A church group called 'The Kings Daughters' had visited them recently and regularly, provided entertainment at times, 'served them with cke and ice cream and  and entertained them with music from a victrola". A brief historty of the home was given in the article. It had been established in 1851, when the Court of Pleas and Quarters ordered that the Board of Wardons were to purchase a tract of land within five miles of Rockingham, but not closer than one and a half miles, (the upper crust of Rockingham would not want to have to view the place from their lovely abodes, of course), for the purpose of erecting buildings for the aged and infirm of the couny. Soon, 132 acres two miles east of the city was purchased and the County Home erected. In 1870, three acres ofthe property was sold the the Great Falls Manufacturing Company to use for a resevoir, to store water against a drought.

In the beginning, the Superintendant was paid a certain amout of money for each resident. Afterwards, the staff of the Home were paid salaries and the expenses of the residents, of inmates, as they were called, was covered by the county. In 1916, the old farm and buildings were determined to be inadequate, and a new Couny Home was constructed on 30 acres, about a mile from the original, in 1917. The building was segregated by gender and race. There were two dining rooms, one for white residents on the west, and another for non-white residents on the east, with the kitchen in the middle. The upper story was for housing of the superintendents family. The west wing of the building housed white residents, with women in the front and men in the back. The east wing housed the non-white residents in the same manner. The buildings had modern heat and plumbing at a time when many farm families still had no indoor plumbing. There was a barn and a farm on the property that helped supply the food. In 1918, the home had 23 residents. One of them was Annis 'Annie' Ramsey, aged 58. This was daughter, not mother.

The Richmond Couny Home for the Aged and Infirm in 1918 from the above article. Annis would have lived in the front facing building on the left.

The Anglo-Saxon

Rockingham, North Carolina • Page 3

In the above report of county expenses, we see Annis Ramsey listed as recieving support of $3.00 in the top left column and Annie Ramsey as recieving support in the bottom right column. Annis must have applied to the mother and Annie to the daughter, as I have seen her as Annie and Annis.

NameAnna Ramsby
Birth Yearabt 1860
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1920Rockingham, Richmond, North Carolina
Residence Date1920
Marital StatusSingle
Father's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Mother's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Able to Speak EnglishYes
Able to WriteNo
NeighborsView others on page
Household members
Thomas Cherry35
Sarah Cherry34
Mary Sanford68
Tom Ussery53
William Yates53
Elijah Chance61
H T Swift56
E B Lowe78
Sarah Jacobs59
Anna Ramsby60
Emeline Freeman74
Mary Jane Wright70
Phoebe Green82
Leak Rashel72
Margeret Gibson70
Geary Dockery54
Dosia Mcnair30
Wells Bostick95
Mary Bostick85
Charlie Capel75

There's no surprise that Annis Ramsey Jr. shows up in the County Home in 1920. This has become her life. Whatever the good citizens of Richmond County decided their elderly and handicapped community should have, is what Annis was subject to. This is where she spent the remainder of her life.

NameAnn Ramsey
Birth Yearabt 1860
Age in 193070
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Marital StatusSingle
Relation to Head of HouseInmate
Home in 1930Rockingham, Richmond, North Carolina, USA
Map of HomeRockingham,Richmond,North Carolina
InstitutionRichmond County Home lines 16 37 inc
House Number105
Dwelling Number1
Family Number1
Radio SetYes
Lives on FarmNo
Attended SchoolNo
Able to Read and WriteNo
Father's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Mother's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Able to Speak EnglishYes
NeighborsView others on page
Household members
Samuel F Key38
Thelma Key32
Frank Key7
Hilda Key5
Lafon Key3
Ann Ramsey70
Zula Farmer62
Maud Freeman32
Jane Garrett56
George Russell20
Bill Yeates68
Milton Gibson50
W R Mcquage78
John W Mcqueen80
Daniel Hafell54
Henry Brown58
William W Brock82
Will Shepperd58
Dan Mcaskill40
Allice Utsey50
Lucy Hinch55
Louisa Wall110
Lucy Gibson60
Tammie Carmichael48
Jim Fairley60

By 1930, Annis was truly elderly and ailing, in addition to being a deaf-mute. The Key family was now running the home, and Annis, 70, would not have much more time to suffer.

Annis J Ramsey Jr. died on August 23, 1930 of mitral regurgitation. Mr. Key, County Home Superintendant, was the informant and knew little to nothing about her. He guessed her age as 69, with a birth year of 1861, followed by a Quesiton Mark. As she appeared as an infant in the 1860 census, her age was more likley 70 or 71. She was buried at the County Home Cemetery, although there is no marker or memorial. I have added a Memorial on Find-A-Grave to this distant cousin of mine, using the information on her Death Certificate that she is buried there.

The cemetery is now abandoned, and is said to be located on County Home road near a Radio Station tower. The County Home Road runs beside a modern hospital. A man whose father was the Superintendant during the 1920's, and who was born there, a Mr. McLean, recalled walking to the cemetery as a child. There is currently no clear access, as if everyone was forgotten.

There were no tears for Annis as she seems to have passed into obscurity. Rest in Peace and may there be no more silence for Annis as a Child of God , she's been made whole.

No comments:

Post a Comment