Joe Turner Land Transaction – August 11, 1868

On my first trip to the local Family Search Center several weeks ago, the microfilm machine broke as the second roll of film was being loaded. I was afraid the ancient machine would never be fixed so that I could continue my research. Earlier this week the volunteer at the center called to let me know that the machine had been repaired.  I made an appointment to look at more film of my 2X great grandfather, Joe Turner’s land transactions.

It was hot and there was no air conditioning, although I heard what sounded like an air conditioner. Watching the microfilm scroll by made me feel queasy again. Deed book “I”, the first roll I looked through, yielded no information about Joe Turner.

Index Click to enlarge

I had been at the Center almost two and a half hours and decided to go through one more roll before I left. Chewing a new piece of gum to combat the nausea, I began to go through roll “F”, which contained the earliest dated land deal for Joe Turner. It covered from 1860 to 1871.  I was not very hopeful, but scrolled slowly through the index and found that Joe Turner’s transaction was on pages 438 and 439. Slowly scrolling through the microfilm, I learned that a complete rotation of the scrolling handle, took me through 30 pages.

Finally, I arrived at the pages I wanted. As I began to read, the volunteer came in and asked if I realized how long I had been there.  I did, about two and a half hours. She had an appointment elsewhere and I had to stop. I quickly took multiple photos of the two pages, hoping they would come out to be readable. It is difficult for me to take good photographs because of the setup of the microfilm machine.

When I got home, I uploaded the photos to see if there was anything readable. Page 439 was pretty good, but the several shots of page 438, the most important page, were blurred, or my hand with the phone blocked half of the words.  Looking carefully, I was able to transcribe the page, although the bottom left corner was indecipherable.

This morning I got up and opened a couple of the photos in Photoshop to see if I could fill in some blanks in my transcription. I did not see it but, a very readable image of page 438 came up. The Ancestors at work?  Below are those pages and the transcriptions.

State of Alabama}

Lowndes County }

Know all men by these presence in pursuance of the  direction after and of the Probate Court of said County to me this day granted and in consideration of the sum of ninety dollars paid by Joe Turner to Sarah S Givens formerly administrator of the Estate of George Givens deceased – proof which payment has been made I Thomas S Herbert administrator de bonis mon of the estate of said George Givens deceased – have bargained sold and conveyed and do by these presents bargain sell and convey to the said Joe Turner the following described lot or parcel of land to wit: All that portion of land lying west of the lot formerly owned by D C Whipley now owned by me Thomas S Herbert, – and street running North and South by John P Streety’s residence and all of the portion of land lying South of said lot (formerly Whipley now mine) and South of Mrs. Hunters lot – in the town of Hayneville County and State aforesaid, to have and to hold the aforesaid granted premises above (Can’t read) the said Joe Turner and his heirs and assigns forever. Witness my hand and seal this 11th day of August 1868 Thomas S Herbert {seal}

The State of Alabama}

Lowndes County}

  I J.V. McDuffie Probate Judge of said County  certify that Thomas S. Herbert whose name signed to the foregoing conveyance and who is known to me acknowledged before me on this day that being informed of the contents of the conveyance he executed the same voluntary on the day the same bears date. Given under my hand this 11 day of August 1868 J V McDuffie J.P.L.C. The foregoing is a true copy of the original Instrument recorded for record and recorded this 13th day of August 1868.               JV McDuffie

Judge of Probate

________________________________

Unfortunately there was no drawing of this property, but from the description, I wonder if this is the same piece of land that he sold in 1872 described here Joe Turner & Wife Emma Turner Convey Land 1872.

Next week I go back and hope to successfully view the last two rolls of film.  Maybe I will have time to look at Deed Book “I” again.

Joe Turner & Wife Emma Turner Convey Land – 1872

Deed Record Book H. Click each image to enlarge.

Recently I went to the nearby Family Search Center to look at some Lowndes County Alabama property records from the 1870s on microfilm. I hoped to find more details about  Joe and Emma Turner, my 2X great grandparents. I also planned to look at records for other formerly enslaved Turners mentioned in Wiley Turner’s probate record.

There were five rolls of microfilm waiting for me. It was by no means a large research center.  It is actually a few rooms in the educational part of the Church of Latter Day Saints. In a small room there were three computers. Next to it was another small room with a microfilm machine. A local Family Search volunteer opened the building for me and got me started. She loaded the roll into the reader, showed me how it worked and advised me to put a phone book under a piece of paper if the document was hard to read. Then she went to the next room to work on her family history.

After scrolling through to page 238, which I thought was the page I was looking for in Book H, I discovered that there was nothing about the Turners on that page, nor on the pages before or after. I scrolled back to the index. At this point the scrolling was making me feel slightly motion sick but I chewed some gum and kept going. Looking at the index, I found the Turners listed with the “Ts” under a letter “O” on page 97. Very confusing. However, that was actually the page I was looking for and it was full of information about the land deal. There was even a drawing of the property that changed hands. I took photos of the various pages, not very good ones it turned out.

Index with page number for the record I wanted.

As the next roll of film was being loaded, a thin belt separated from wherever it was supposed to be.  The microfilm machine was broken. It was the only machine there and it was ancient. The volunteer said she will try to get it repaired and call me when it is. She also said I can keep the rolls of film there as long as I need them. That is only good if I have a machine to view it through.

Family Search plans to digitize all of their records during the next two years.  They also plan to discontinue sharing microfilm in August of this year. I do not hold out much hope for the repair of the machine, unless a local volunteer can do it.   Below is what I found.

 

Know all men by these presents that we, Joe Turner and Emma Turner his wife of said state and county for and in consideration fo the sum of one hundred dolars to us paid this day by Edward H. Herbert and Louisa Herbert his wife do hereby bargain, sell and convey to the said Herbert and his wife Louisa the following described lots or parcels of land lying and being within corporate limits of the town of Hayneville in said county to wit a lot of about one acre lying west and broadside of the lot now owned and occupied by the said Herbert extending west to a street running north and south by the residence of John P Streety, a lot a strip of land about twenty yards wide south of the above described lot and the said lot owned and occupied by the said Herbert containing one half acre more or less; also a lot known as the Stewart lot commencing at the south west corner of the lot on which H a Rinadi’s house stands, running east thirty five yards, thence south to a street running east and west from the residence of John P Streety by the County jail and up by the Methodist Church, thence west thirty five yards thence north to the beginning containing one acre more or less, also a lot of three fourths of an acre mor or less bounded east by the said Stewart lot south of the street running east and west from the residence of John P Streety up by the jail and Methodist Church, west by a vacant lot owned by the said Streety and north of the east half of the strip of land above described; all of said lots containing three and a half acres more or less to have and to hold to them and their heirs and assigns forever.

Witness our hands and seals this 9th day of January AD 1872.

Signed and delineated in presence of W.H. Taigler  R.McQueen

Plat map with easy to read additions by me.

Joe X (his mark) Turner. Emma Turner

 

 

Joe Turner Constable -1871, Lowndes County Alabama

In 2003 I purchased a copy of the book “Lowndes Court House – A Chronicle of Hayneville, an Alabama Black Belt Village 1820 – 1900”, a book of reminiscences by  Mildred Brewer Russell. In the chapter “Reconstruction And After, 1865 – 1900 I found my great great grandfather, Joe Turner, mentioned as one of the Negro (sic) politicians.  After that I tried to find what sort of politician he was, what office he held.  I could not find anything.

From “LowndesCourt House – A chronicle of Hayneville – an Alabama Black Belt Village 1820- 1900” Page 127 By Mildred Brewer Russell

Last week on Ancestry.com, I found the following information. Joe Turner was elected as constable on November 7, 1871.

Google defined a constable as “…a peace officer with limited policing authority, typically in a small town.”

In 1874 Reconstruction ended in Alabama, resulting in loss of voting rights and the ability to hold elected office for black people.

Here is an interesting timeline that traces how the right to vote and hold public office was taken away from black men in Lowndes and neighboring counties. “The More You Know: A History …”  It wasn’t until 1970, 99 years from 1871, that African American John Hulett was elected  sheriff in Lowndes County.

You can read more about Joe Turner in these posts:

Timeline for Joe Turner

Joe Turner in the 1853 Probate Record for Wiley Turner

Joe Turner, Land, Mules and Courts

Emma and Joe Turner of Gordensville, Lowndes County

Joseph Turner’s Will

There were at one time 4 flourishing schools…

 

Two Coffins Betsy and Austin – 1859, Estate of Wiley Turner

Betsy was about 26 years old when she was listed with her daughter Caroline in the inventory of the estate of Wiley Turner. It was February 2, 1852. Betsy and Caroline were valued at $800.00. On the list below them were eight year old Phillis ($375) and three year old Peggy ($225). They seem to be a family group.

Further down the page Austin is listed. He was 16 years old and valued at $800.

Two pages from the 4 page list of the enslaved on the Wiley Turner plantation. Joe, age 15 was my 2X great grandfather.

On January 26 and 27 of 1859, Betsy was visited by Doctor Pritchett. The cost of the visits was $2.50. On February 6 and 7, Doctor Pritchett visited Austin.

On January 29, 1859 a coffin was purchased for Betsy.  She was 29. On February 8, 1859  A coffin was purchased for Austin. He was 22. Each coffin cost $5. I do not know what they died of.

I found the two coffins listed in the estate file among a list of payments given out from the estate in early 1859. If I had not gone page by page through the file, I would have missed these, as I did when I looked through it last year and only looked for lists of the enslaved.

I found all of these documents in the Estate file of Wiley Turner, deceased, on Ancestry.com.  My 2 X great grandfather, Joe Turner came off of this plantation. Click on the documents to enlarge.

Enslaved & Freed Turners from the Wiley Turner Plantation

For the past week I have been immersed in the Turners who came off of Wiley Turner’s plantation in Lowndes County Alabama.  My 2X great grandfather, Joe Turner, came off of that plantation.  Wiley Turner died in 1851 without a Will and so his estate was probated. The case dragged on for twenty years. There are multiple lists of the enslaved, the first in 1852.  I wrote about the one from 1853 here. The others were from 1856, 1857 and 1865.  There were also the 1850 and 1860 slave censuses, which give no names but age, sex and color (“mulatto” or “black”)

There are also records of doctors visits, some patients named and some not. There are records of how much and what was sold from the plantation during this time. There were several changes of administrators due to deaths and some disputes among members of the family about what was due them.

After the Civil War was over and Freedom came, there were new records for the formerly enslaved and now free, the 1866 census for the first time named the formerly heads of households. In the 1870 census, the whole household was named. In 1880, relationships to the head of the household were given. There were also marriage and land records.

By investigating the community and households, I want to see what happened to the people and families, both before and after slavery. Right now I am going through the material and figuring out how to present it. At first, when going through the probate record, I just looked for the names of the enslaved.  Going over it again, I realized that I could not give a picture without knowing more about what was going on around them, what crops were grown, what was sold,  what was bought and the rest of the turmoil swirling around them during that time period.  Maybe I need to start by printing out the whole file.

I have never done a project like this outside of a time crushing challenge, so we shall see how it goes.

 

A to Z Challenge 2017 Reflections – Thomas Allen’s Pension File

This year for my 5th A to Z Challenge, I  used  my 2Xs great  uncle, Thomas (Ray) Allen’s pension file as the basis for my blog posts. Thomas served in the United States Colored Calvary during the Civil War.  In his 115 page pension file, I was able to find family members, friends and veterans who served with him during the war, plus  the name of the man who had enslaved him.

In spite of pledging myself each year after the challenge to prewrite my posts, I found myself once again doing last minute research and writing most of the posts on the day I published them. Towards the end of the month it came to me that I should pick a topic that doesn’t require research and is guaranteed to produce short posts.  “Fleeting Memories” is the topic I am thinking about for next year.  I have already filled a tiny notebook with them.

A big difference this year was the lack of a list including everybody who signed up where we could go and find blogs to visit. Instead there was a post each day where we could reply with our blog url, twitter with #atozchallenge and a fb page. Not to mention our own fb pages and google+.  What worked best for me was visiting blogs I had enjoyed in previous A to Z Challenges and visiting people who commented on blogs I enjoyed . I ended up following about 30 blogs during the challenge, with one time visits to others. I visited as many of these as I could each day and commented. I visited those that visited me and I tried to reply to all comments on my posts. Looking back over my posts and comments for this year and years past, I received about the same number of posts this year.

Some of the blogs I followed this year were: Anne’s Family History, Black and White, Bob’s Home for Writing, Click’s Clan, Conversations With My Ancestors, Discovering Mom, Envelope 100, Hot Dogs and MarmaladeInto the LIGHT,  Jemima Pett, Josie Two ShoesLincecum Lineage, Linda G. Hill, lizbrownlee – poet lynnelives, Madly-in-Verse, MOLLY’S CANOPY My Ordinary MomentsPulp Paper & Pigment, Sandra’s Ancestral Research Journal, Stories I Found in the Closet, Tasha’s Thinkings The Curry Apple OrchardThe Multicolored DiaryThe Ninja Librarian, The Old ShelterTossing It Out, Vanessence,  Wendy off the rock..., 

Links to Aprils Posts

I couldn’t find a reflections badge this year, so I made this one. Feel free to use it.

 

 

Zachariah’s Grandson Addison Taylor

Zachariah Taylor’s son, Addison is listed as the “owner” of Thomas Allen on his military file, Thomas Allen listed Foster Ray as his former enslaver on all of his official papers.   Why? What was the connection between Taylor and Foster?

After looking for a marriage between their children and finding none, I looked for a relationship between their wives. Again, none.

Then I noticed that a Prudence Peters showed up on both of the trees. I went back several generations, I found that Addison Taylor’s paternal grandparents were Zachariah Taylor  and Prudence Peters.   After Zachariah died in 1797, Prudence married Foster Ray’s widowed grandfather Nicholas Ray.  Nicholas’ first wife Susan Sheckles, was Foster Ray’s grandmother.


Nicholas Ray and Prudence had one child together, Samuel Taylor Ray. Both Foster’s and Addison’s fathers were Samuel’s brothers and he would have been both Addison’s and Foster’s uncle, making them cousins by family if not by blood.

 

 

Joseph Sharp Yowell – Anatomy of an Investigation

Find-a-Grave. photo by Genealogist Val

After spending half the day wondering around among Joseph Sharp Yowell’s records and family members, I decided I would not even try to just write up his story. This will be the story of how I researched just about everybody that appeared in this year’s A to Z Challenge.

I found his name when I was looking through Thomas Ray Allen’s pension file for names to use in this challenge. “Yowell” was perfect for “Y”.  Then I copied all the pages with his name. I am not using all of them in this post because some just have his name and there are others with more information.

This is my favorite piece from the pension file that mentions him, because it gives the names of the three witnesses that served in the same company with Thomas, even though half of it is missing.

Next I set up a tree for Joseph Yowell on Ancestry.com.  I did this for all the people that I wrote about during this A to Z Challenge. That way, I find and save their records.

Below is a chart with various records I found for Joseph Yowell and how they relate to each other.

I found all of these records on Ancestry.com Click to enlarge so you can read it.

1. on the left, is a record  from the U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938.  On the top right of the form they list his closest relatives. First is his brother Fletcher Sharp who lived in Lebanon, KY. The second is his cousin Mollie Bates who lived in Indianapolis.  At the bottom of the form they mention his widow, Diana Sharp, who ordered his grave stone. She lived in Lebanon, Kentucky.

2. The pension card says that Joseph Yowell also used the name Joseph Sharp. It also has his widow’s name, Diana Sharp.

3. 1880 Census, Lebanon Kentucky.  When I found a Joe Sharp in the 1880 census, I was not sure if it was my Joe (Yowell) Sharp.  When I saw that he was living with Fletcher Sharp and his family and was listed as Joe Sharp, brother, I knew I had found the right Joe Sharp.

4. Marriage record of Diana Abell and Joe Sharp. Diana was named as his widow in the first document.

5. Death Certificate. In addition to telling us what he died of, it gives his parent’s first names. His father’s name was Major.

6. I followed Joseph’s brother Fletcher around in the records for awhile, then I looked at his wives. He was married twice. First to Ann and second to Nancy, both with the surname of Miller.  I wondered if they were sisters, so I followed them around. I found Nancie Miller in the 1870 census living as a house servant in the large household of a white couple, William and Minnie Sharp. Also living there was 80 year old Major Sharp, probably Joseph Yowell’s father.

I did find his cousin Mollie living with her husband in Indianapolis but did not find Joseph living with them. I did find her family a few pages away from the Sharps in one of the census records from Kentucky.

I never found Joseph Yowell and Diana living together. He was listed as “single” in several records and as married or widowed in others, even though she survived him.

Joseph Sharp Yowell’s name – his father was Major Sharp and his owner during slave days was John Yowell. This name appeared on his military records, however I was unable to find a John Yowell who owned slaves in 1850 or 1860 in Taylor or Marion county.

Joseph Yowell appeared in the Indianapolis as “Joseph Yowell” in 1899.  In the 1900 Census he appeared as Joseph Sharp. In 1910 he was in the Soldier’s Home and was Joseph Yowell in that census and in the records that he generated there.

Signed With His “X”

When Thomas Ray Allen joined the military in 1864, he was unable to sign his name.  I wonder how he learned to read and write. Did he attend classes? Did his wife, who had attended school as a child teach him? Either way, I was very glad when I first received his file and saw that he could sign his name.

Thomas Allen’s signature.

Henry Wiley – Brother and Witness

Henry Wiley, younger brother of Kate Wiley, was born free in 1855 to Woody and Sarah Wiley.  Soon after he was born, the family moved from Virginia to Athens Ohio.  He was the middle child.  Henry attended school along with his brothers and sisters and learned to read and write.

When his father Woody, died in 1873, Henry was 18. His father asked him to make sure that all his just debts were paid, he thought they could be paid by the sale of his horse and wagon, but if not Henry should pay them and get reimbursed from the sale of the land.  He was left one of the beds and bedding, with the remainder of the household goods going to his sister Sarah.  He also appointed Henry as executor and stated that the property be divided between three of his children, Henry, Sarah and Armintha, when Armintha came of age.

!n 1884, at the age of 29, Henry married 23 year old Polly Fish. They lived in Springfield, Ohio where they owned their own home free from mortgage. Henry was a brick mason, an occupation he followed for the rest of his life. Polly kept house. They had only one child, a daughter, Glenna Belle, born in 1885. Sadly, Glenna Belle died when she was just six years old.

He testified for her when she was applying for her widow’s pension on February 4, 1908.

Click to enlarge.

“Henry Wiley aged 53 years of 34 W. Clark St. – Springfield P.O., County of Clark State of Ohio who being duly sworn upon his oath declares as follows: That he is a brother of Kate Allen, widow of Thomas Allen late a member of Co. D. 5th USCCav. (United States Colored Calvary) and that he has known her all of his life, covering all of her girlhood days: that she was married to the soldier Thomas Allen March 5th 1880, and that they lived together continuously as man and wife until the date of his death which occurred November 10th 1907 and that she never was married to any one prior to her marriage to the soldier Thomas Allen, and that they were never separated or divorced from each other, nor has she remarried since the death of her said husband Thomas Allen – His means of knowledge of above facts are from his being a brother of said claimant and about her or in touch with her during all of her life.”

In 1912 Polly was 60 miles from home in West Elkton, Preble, Ohio visiting her eldest brother James and his family, when she died. She had been there for two days. Cause of death was congestion of lungs with ??? mitral regurgitation.  She was 50 years old. Her niece Janey was the informant.

Perhaps you can make out what that word is before “…of mitral regurgitation.”

Two years later Henry married Martha Johnson Edwards, a widow with six children.  The children were pretty much grown by the time of the marriage with only two remaining at home by 1920, a 20 year old daughter who worked as a servant and a 16 year old boy who wasn’t in school or working.

Tragedy struck again in November 1925 when Martha’s son-in-law, Floyd Strawder hit her over the head with an iron bar and killed her.  Her skull had been fractured. I expected to find him in prison in 1930, but he was living as a divorced (no surprise there) cement worker in a boarding house.

In 1933, Henry Wiley died at his residence of a heart attack, influenza being a contributory factor. Mrs. Will Jones was the informant and she did not have much information about him.   He was 78 years old and was buried in Ferncliff Cemetery and Arboretum in Springfield Ohio, a 240 acre combined arboretum and cemetery.

From the Ferncliff pinterest page.