Monday, May 16, 2016

161. Elizabeth Margaret Felder Pou (1806-1853)

There was a student named Eliza Margaret Felder in the rolls of the Mordecai school.  She attended from mid-1816 to mid-1817, and she was from South Carolina. The adult on her account was John Felder.

An Elizabeth Margaret Felder turns up pretty quickly in googling; she was born in 1806 in Orangeburg SC, which would make her age 10 and 11 while she was at the Mordecai school--seems like a perfect fit.  Her parents were Samuel Felder and Ann Horger, first cousins, both of them born in South Carolina.  Eliza's grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Switzerland and Germany. Samuel died in 1813, so the John Felder on her account was likely her older half-brother John Myers Felder (1782-1851). While Eliza was in school, John Myers Felder was serving in the South Carolina Senate.

She married lawyer Joseph Pou (1805-1888; the name was pronounced like "Pew") in 1827, and they had about seven children, two daughters and five sons. She died in Talbotton GA, in 1853, age 47.  Here's her tombstone in the Talbotton City Cemetery.  Her husband remarried.

Eliza's grandson, Edward William Pou (1863-1934), was a longtime member of Congress, serving continuously from 1901 to 1934. Another grandson, James Hinton Pou (1861-1935) served in the North Carolina legislature.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

159 and 160. Susanna (Suky) and Wilmouth Fawn

This month's entry brings us a hard truth about schools in the Early Republic. Even among the most privileged classes, child mortality was a fact of life, and running a school sometimes meant facing a student's death.

There are two students with the surname Fawn in my rolls of the Mordecai school. Suky Fawn (or "Sucky", as I have it transcribed) and Wilmot Fawn. Both were enrolled for only one session (the second half of 1812), and both have a Captain Fawn as the adult name on the account. Suky Fawn died at the school in August 1812.

We'll get to Suky in a minute, but .... Wilmot? I have that student marked as male in my dissertation, because, well, it sounded like a male name. I must not have found any other reason to think that, because (as it turns out) "Wilmot" was Wilmoth L. Fawn (b. 1795 in Franklin NC), daughter of Capt. William Fawn* (1768-1809) (a Revolutionary War veteran) and his wife Elizabeth Harrison (1759-1847) of Franklin, NC. Wilmouth Fawn married Samuel Aaron Devaney (1779-1857) in 1818. Wilmoth Fawn Devaney had at least ten children, all born in North Carolina between 1819 and 1829, except one son, Ellis, who is shown as being born in 1843 (when Wilmoth was 47).  Of her sons, Frank Devaney was a Civil War veteran (CSA), who lived till 1925 in Oregon.  Wilmoth Fawn Devaney died in Roane County, Tennessee in 1854, age 58. (Her name is found, variously, as Wilmouth, Wilmuth, even Wilmarth.)

And Wilmouth's younger sister Susanna Fawn (b. 1799) must have been our unfortunate "Suky". "The death of Miss Fawn must also have been a severe shock," wrote Samuel Mordecai to his sister Rachel in September 1812, "for I can well imagine how it affected you all." (Mordecai Family Papers at the Southern Historical Collection).

*A different (but possibly related) "Capt. Fawn" of Norfolk VA seems to have been the uncle of student Eliza Armistead; but he died in 1818, according to a letter from Rachel Mordecai to her sister Ellen (8 February 1818, Southern Historical Collection.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

158. Sarah Fauquier (Emmerson? b. 1804?)

There's a student on the roster of the Mordecai school that I compiled in the early 1990s named Sarah Fauquier. She's listed as being from Norfolk VA, attending for both 1818 sessions, and having William Fauquier as the adult on her account.

There is a Fauquier County in Virginia--but the name is probably still variously spelled in early 19c. sources, including Farquhar, Forker, Falkier, etc. And Sarah might also be Sara or Sally. But we have a parent(?) name and a city, which is a good start. And attending only in 1818 means she's likely born a few years after 1800--looking in the vicinity of 1805 would be best.

A Sarah Fauquier, daughter of William M. Fauquier, married at Benjamin Emmerson at Norfolk on November 10, 1824--that Sarah seems like a very good candidate, age is a good match, everything else lines up.

A William May Fauquier (1773-1827) was a chemist in Norfolk VA, and appears as "William M. Forguher" in his wife's family bible; he married Ann (Nancy) Benthall in 1801. They seem to be the parents of the same Sarah (Sally) Fauquier Emmerson above; that woman, born 1804, named one of her eight children Anna Benthall Emmerson. William May Fauquier was a deacon at the Baptist Church in Norfolk.

Is she the one? Anyone with further useful information, please share in comments.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

157. Patsy Farrar

There's a student named Patsy Farrar on the rolls of the Mordecai school that I compiled in the early 1990s.  She was only at the school for one session (the first half of 1810). I don't have a hometown, a parent name, or any other information.

First things:  Patsy was generally a nickname for Martha, not for Patricia, as it often is today. So we can probably assume she was named Martha Farrar. And 1810 was early enough in the school's run that she was probably from NC or VA--not farther afield. Maybe more likely Virginia, because Farrar's Island was an early settlement in the Richmond area (patriarch William Farrar was born in Yorkshire in 1583 and died in Virginia in 1637--that's pretty early for an Englishman in Virginia).

This Martha Farrar (b. 1794) was from Rockingham County, NC. She would have been 16 while she was at the Mordecai school--older than most, but not impossible.

There may be better candidates; no reason to think the Rockingham Martha is definitely the Mordecai student. Anyone know more?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

156. Martha Whitmel Falconer Faulcon (1799-?)

There's a student in the Mordecai school rolls named Martha W. Falconer, who attended for both sessions in 1813. (That surname may also appear as Faulkner, Falkener, Falkner, and other variations.) "Alxr. Falconer" appears in the school ledger in July 1813.

Alexander Falconer Jr. (c.1765-1818), born in St. Andrews, Scotland, had about 1000 acres of land in Franklin County, North Carolina, but also had legal training. He attended the Mordecai school's examinations in 1811 and 1812, and was a trustee of the Franklin Academy from at least 1805 to 1815; Moses Mordecai is listed as a witness on Mr. Falconer's will.  In addition to daughter Martha Whitmel Falconer (1799-), he had sons John, Robert, and Alexander, and a daughter Mary Pugh Falconer (c1800-1836).Their mother seems to have been the former Mary (Polly) Harriet Wynne, who also died in the 1810s.

Martha Whitmel Falconer would have turned 14 the year she attended the Mordecai school.  Ten years later, on October 6, 1823, she married Isaac N. Faulcon in Warren County.  They had sons James (1825) Robert (1827), and Jesse (1829). She must have died by 1841, because Isaac married a second time, to a Mrs. Fannie Clanton, that year.  The Faulcons were related by marriage to Alstons, Eatons, Fittses, and other Mordecai families.

A Lucy Faulcon was one of Caroline Mordecai Plunkett's five boarding students in Warrenton in 1828 (Caroline to Ellen, 20 January 1828, Mordecai Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection)--she was no doubt part of the same family as Martha's husband.

Anyone have a deathdate or gravesite for our Martha Falconer Faulcon?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

155. Harriet Exum

There was a student at the Mordecai school named Harriet Exum, for five sessions, non-continuous--she was there in 1810, 1811, and 1813.  A "Capt. Exum" is mentioned in 1811 and 1813 in the school ledger, and is presumably the adult on her account.

Exum is a fairly distinctive name, but it's found as a first and a last name in Southern history, and goes back to the seventeenth century in Virginia.  A Col. Benjamin Exum was a Dobbs County delegate to the state convention of North Carolina in 1776; he died about 1788, so Harriet probably wasn't his daughter, but maybe a granddaughter or niece?

Anyway, not having any luck finding a good Harriet candidate out there. She was probably from the Exum family based in Edgecombe County, probably kin to the Revolutionary colonel.  Anyone have leads?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

153, 154. Jane Evans and Lydia Anna Evans

Two Evans girls were with the Mordecai school when it opened in 1809: Jane Evans was there from 1809 until mid-1811, and her sister Lydia Anna Evans (sometimes written as Lydianna, which might reflect how it was pronounced) was there until the end of 1810.  They came from Oakland, an estate near Petersburg, Virginia, and had Dr. George Evans as the name attached to their accounts in the school ledger.  The Mordecai family discussed the Evans girls in letters, beginning even before their arrival:
"The house is full of girls and... in a few weeks Lidyanna & Jane Evans will come Mrs. Johnson is now at Oakland and they will return with her." (Ellen to Samuel, 16 April 1809, Jacob Mordecai Papers at Duke)
The family were, obviously from their name, Welsh in ancestry. The girls' father Dr. George Evans (c1755-1822).  He moved South from Pennsylvania to Virginia after the Revolutionary War, in which he served as a surgeon.  Their mother was the former Mary Peyton (d. 1818).  The girls' much older sister Mary Evans married William R. Johnson, a notable Warrenton resident, in 1803. (That's the Mrs. Johnson mentioned above and below.)

Marriage announcement, Governor William Miller and Lydiana Evans (1816).
The marriage announcement of Governor William Miller and Lydiana Evans
Weekly Raleigh Register (June 7, 1816): 3.

Lydia Anna Evans (d. 1818) left the Mordecai school at the end of 1810; she married almost six years later, to William Miller, at Chesterfield, Virginia, in May 1816 (see announcement above). William Miller was a Warrenton man, well known to the Mordecais, but at the time of the wedding he was well-known throughout the state--because he was the Governor of North Carolina from 1814 to 1817. (So a Mordecai girl became the first lady of North Carolina while the school was still running.)  Sadly for Lydia Anna, the glamor was very short-lived: she was soon pregnant, had her son William Jr., and she died in March 1818.  (William Jr. soon joined his mother; he only lived to be five years old.) Her widower Governor Miller died in 1825, traveling through Florida on a diplomatic mission to Guatemala.

The Mordecais commented on Lydia Anna's death, of course: 
"We have just received intelligence of the death of Mrs. Miller (Lydia Anna Evans)--So young, so sweet, & so lovely, who can think without pain of her being this early nipped in her bloom. The last letter from Mrs. Johnson mentioned her being much better, & her husband had come out to prepare for her removal to their intended place of residence. Her last illness must have been short for her had not received intelligence of it, & was still absent, when the final event took place." (Rachel to Samuel, 22 February 1818, Jacob Mordecai Papers at Duke)

"The last visitation on the Evans family is a most melancholy one and you are so prone to feel another's woe, that exclusive of the attachment you had for Mrs. M., your sympathy for them must be strongly excited..." (Samuel to Rachel, 1 March 1818, same as above)

"A letter from Mrs. Johnson to Mary mentions that the amiable deceased had left to her the care of her infant, from this I conclude that she was sensible of her approaching fate." (Rachel to Samuel, 1 March 1818, same as above)
Jane Maria Evans:  No sooner had Lydia Anna died, than her sister Jane Evans, also a Mordecai alumna, followed; the Mordecais shared the news:
"You will unite with me in deep & sincere concern when I acquaint you with the new misfortune of the devoted family of poor Dr. Evans--Jane is no more, she expired on the 12th of this month, Lydia on the 13th of last.  Her health had for some time been delicate, and the shock proved too severe for her to bear. Poor Mrs. Johnson appears, as she must be, overwhelmed with grief. Does it not seem indeed too much for human nature to support? I fear it will be impossible for her poor mother to strugle against such an accumulated load of sorrow. When I think of that family as we knew it a few years ago, so cheerful, so happy, so pleased with one another, the girls so gentle, so lovely, and blooming..." (Rachel to Samuel, 22 March 1818, same as above)

"The succession of misfortune in the Evans' family is enough to excite commiseration even in those who feel less interest in their happiness than we do. I had not heard of Jane's death until you mentioned it." (Samuel to Rachel, 29 March 1818, same as above)
But there was still more tragedy for the Evans family in 1818.  That summer, the mother of Lydia and Jane, Mary Peyton Evans, also died. "The unfortunate old lady had never left her chamber since the death of Jane, but has borne her own severe sufferings with entire patience & resignation. She may indeed be said to have fallen victim of a broken heart." (Rachel to Samuel, 26 July 1818, same as above)

Death dates and circumstances are thus well-established; I still don't know when either student was born, or where they might have been buried (I assume a private family plot near the family home at Oakland?).  Does anyone know?