Wednesday, December 15, 2010

54. Eliza Bradley

A student named Eliza Bradley attended the Mordecai school for one session, the first part of 1811. She is mentioned as being from Wilmington, with Richard Bradley as the adult on her account. A Richard Bradley also appears in the Mordecai's ledger making a payment in February 1812.

In a letter from Rachel Mordecai Lazarus to Caroline Mordecai Plunkett dated 17 May 1821 at Wilmington (Southern Historical Collection), we read that "Eliza Bradley (Mrs. Hill) has the same lovely eyes we used to admire, and is quite a pleasing woman." In another letter dated 27 August 1827 (same writer, same library, this time to Ellen Mordecai), that "Mrs. Hill (E Bradley) confined but a fortnight lay with the rain dripping on her, changed repeatedly, the house shaking & roof vibrating with the wind, kitchen afloat, children climbing on the bed & crying for something to eat, when to cap the climax the door blew off its hinges & for some hours two persons were obliged to hold it up by main force, neither man nor tool to be had...Mr. Bradley's house surrounded by water & in danger of being carried away, salt works much injured." So Eliza's former teacher knew her in her married life in Wilmington, well enough to know her circumstances in a bad storm.

Turning to the genealogical web to fill in more details: Miss Eliza Rebecca Bradley (1800-1866) was daughter of Richard Bradley, Esq. (1759-1834, a bank officer) and his first wife Rebecca Green (c1770-c1805). She was very young when her mother died, and soon had a stepmother, Eliza Claudia Yonge, and eventually nine half-siblings. Eliza was sent to the Mordecai school when she was 10, but after just one session she returned to the family. She married Dr. John Hill (d. 1847) on 15 May 1817, in Wilmington. As the letter by Rachel Lazarus suggests, she had quite a few children by 1827: this website lists ten children born to her. Eliza was a widow at 47, and died at 66. By blood and/or by marriage, Eliza Bradley Hill would have been kin to much of Wilmington's elite, including the DeRossets, the Greens, the Browns, the Wrights, the Swanns, the Lords, and the Jones families.

Why did she come to school and leave so quickly? I think I found the answer! Her first cousin was Mary Brown. Mary Brown married Alexander Calizance Miller (d 1831*), the Mordecai school's mysterious and dashing music instructor. This was a blow to the Mordecais, professionally and personally (Ellen Mordecai, in particular, tearfully confessed a crush on the Frenchman). The wedding was in July 1811. So Eliza might well have returned to Wilmington for the wedding, and not returned to school afterwards, given the awkward feelings that might exist toward the Bradley-Brown-Green-Wright clan right at the moment.

*For more on this man, see William E. Craig, "The Mysterious Frenchman: Alexander Calizance Miller in America, 1797-1831," Lower Cape Fear Historical Society Bulletin 29 (October 1985): 1-6.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

52. and 53: Eliza and Evelina Boykin

Two students named Boykin attended the Mordecai school:

Eliza Boykin from Smithfield was at the school for three sessions, mid-1815 to the end of 1816, with Simon Boykin as the adult name attached to the account.

Evelina Boykin, also from Smithfield, was also at the school from mid-1815 to the end of 1816, also with Simon Boykin taking responsibility for her account.

The notation in the ledger page for October 1815 says "Simon Boykin for Eliza and Evelina." Another notation at May 1816 just says "Majr Boykin," and at September 1816 there's "Maj. S. Boykin" making another payment.

I'm going out on a limb and guessing that Eliza and Evelina are kin. ;) Not necessarily sisters; they could be cousins. But first: Smithfield VA or Smithfield NC? Smithfield NC still has a Boykin Motors listed among its major local businesses. But Smithfield VA (home of Smithfield ham) has Fort Boykin Historic Park, on the James River. A Simon Boykin of Virginia seems to have been a Revolutionary War officer, but there were a handful of men named Simon Boykin, all in the same family, including sometimes brothers (who went by Simon Jr. and Simon Sr., and named their sons Simon just to keep things interesting).

One interesting tidbit emerges from the mess of Simons: Major Simon Boykin (of Smithfield VA) had a daughter Louisa Boykin (1791-1850). She married a Daniel Boon (1786-1870--not the Daniel Boone), and they had a number of children, including daughters Eveline and Eliza, both born c. 1815. Were the Boon daughters named for Louisa's sisters, who would have been young teens and soon Mordecai students at the time? To complicate things, this Boon family seems to have lived in Smithfield NC before moving West in 1835.

So, which Smithfield? Which Boykins? Surprising that the rather uncommon name "Evelina Boykin" gets no useful hits, even with various spellings. So she doesn't turn up in marriage records or cemeteries or even family genealogies (not so uncommon for daughters, especially if they don't marry or die young). Or maybe she just used another first name for most of her life? There are several Eliza Boykins who might be the right age to be the Mordecai student, but not much about any of them.

Anyone want to claim the Boykin girls?

Monday, November 1, 2010

48, 49, 50, 51: The Boyds

Four girls named Boyd attended the Mordecai school:

Christian Blair Boyd was there for both sessions in 1811.

Eleanor Boyd of Mecklenburg Co., VA, was there from mid-1815 to the end of 1817; the name Mrs. Elizabeth Boyd is associated with her account.

Jane Boyd was at the school for one session, in the latter half of 1815, with the name William Boyd associated with her account.

Virginia Boyd attended in 1816.

Just as an illustration of how complicated Southern family naming habits could get, the Christian Blair Boyd (1801-1860) above was born in Warren Co., daughter of Panthea Burwell and Col. John Boyd; but she had a double-cousin also named Christian Blair Boyd (1816-1868); his mother was Panthea's sister, and his father was Col. John's brother. (We'll be getting to the Burwell girls soon, but the Boyd and Burwell families are fairly entwined, so hold on tight.) The female Christian Blair Boyd married John T. Garland in 1819, and they lived in Lunenburg VA; they had three children (1821, 1824, and 1826). The youngest died in infancy in 1827; Christian would also bury her only daughter, Panthea Ann Garland, in 1848. Her son John Richard Garland lived to 1899, and became a prominent judge and mill owner in Lunenburg. Christian was widowed young, in 1828, and she remarried in 1832, apparently to a kinsman of her late husband: David S. Garland (c1787-c1865).

Christian Blair Boyd didn't have any sisters, but it looks like the other Boyds were probably her cousins. Eleanor Boyd (1801-1833) of Mecklenburg Co. VA, daughter of David Boyd (1778-1815) and Elizabeth Ott Durell Boyd (1783-1835) seems to have been sent to school in the event of her father's death in the same year, which is why her widowed mother "Mrs. Elizabeth Boyd" is the adult on the account. Eleanor had a sister Virginia (b. 1805), who might well be the Virginia Boyd who attended the school; she married a Richard Pryor in 1821, and moved to Hempstead Co., Arkansas with him. David Boyd's brother was Col John Richard Boyd, so these girls would be first cousins to Christian Blair Boyd.

The Boyd men also had a brother William (1767-1834). He married Frances Bullock in 1791, and their second daughter was.... Jane Boyd (1798-1835). Good chance she's the fourth Boyd. Jane Boyd married Dr. Charles Lewis Read (1794-1869), in 1816, and moved to Granville County, NC. She had ten children before she died at age 37 (in childbirth).

So this is the scenario:

Three Boyd brothers with daughters around the same age; the eldest girl, Christian, went off to the Mordecai school for couple sessions in 1811; a few years later, when brother David Boyd dies, her his daughter Eleanor Boyd and her cousin Jane are also sent to the school, and soon Eleanor's little sister Virginia joins them.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

47. Eliza Ann Bowell (1802-1865)

There is a student named Eliza Bowell in the rolls of the Mordecai school. She attended for three sessions, 1816 and the first half of 1817. The adult name that may be attached to her account is Abner F. Bowell, and she's linked to Fayetteville.

There was an Abner F. Bowell who died in Fayetteville in 1827, age 50. He turns up in the 1820 US Census as a head of household in Fayetteville, with eleven free white people in the home: a boy under 16, three boys 16-18, three men 16-26, a man 26-46 (probably Bowell himself), and a girl 10-16, a woman 16-26, and another woman 26-45. All the adult males in the household may be explained by Bowell being a shop owner, perhaps a printer, who housed his employees and apprentices. This family historian links the surname Bowell with Bowles/Boles in North Carolina. She also mentions an Eliza Bowell who married a man named Ochiltree.

Taking that lead: This family historian has Eliza Ann Bowell (1802-1865), daughter or niece of Abner Bowell of Fayetteville, marrying Archibald Ochiltree (1793-1832), in 1818. She was widowed at thirty, and seems to have moved to Texas later in life, to be with one or more of her children. Looks like she may have had a son Hugh Ochiltree (1820-1891) who was born in NC, but was a lawyer and community leader in Madison, Texas. (Here's a picture of Hugh.) Ochiltree County, Texas, on the Oklahoma border, is named for Hugh's cousin (Eliza's nephew?) William Beck Ochiltree (1811-1867), who was also born in Fayetteville. The DAR record for Hugh Ochiltree's daughter Arabella Ochiltree Bancroft (1870-1924) has "Eliza A. Powell" as his mother.

So.... Eliza Ann Bowell was a Fayetteville girl, born 1802. She went to school in Warrenton when she was 13-14, for a year and a half, then married at 16 to Archibald Ochiltree. They had at least one child before Eliza was widowed 1832, at age 30. She may have moved to Texas and died there in 1865.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

44, 45, 46: The Botts (Catharine, Lucy J., and Martha)

I have three girls with the surname "Bott" in the rolls of the Mordecai school:

Catharine Bott attended the school during 1816 (both sessions), with Miles Bott as the adult name attached to her account.

Lucy J. Bott of Mansfield, Amelia Co., VA also attended the school during 1816 (both sessions, with James Bott as the adult name on the account.

Martha Bott attended the school for three sessions (from mid-1815 to the end of 1816), with Miles Bott as the name attached to the account.

So all three Bott girls were at the school together for the two sessions of 1816. Probably not a coincidence--it was common to send sisters and cousins to school together. And there were a lot of Botts in Virginia, including several generations of Miles Botts. A Miles Bott served on the Virginia jury for the inquest into the treason charges against Aaron Burr in 1807. The Botts are much entangled with the Branch family, and we'll get to them soon in the alphabetical order.

Best I can tell, Martha Ann Bott was the daughter of Miles Bott Jr. (1762-1835) and his wife, whose surname was maybe Beverley or Broadie. She was born in 1799, and married for the first time to Samuel Parkhill in 1817, not long after attending school in Warrenton; she moved to Florida about ten years later, and married two more times, to judge Hiram Manley (1802-1853) of Tallahassee (a Harvard alum who was originally from Massachusetts), and John Johns. She may have ended up back in Virginia by the time of the third marriage. "Martha Ann Manley, late Parkhill" appears in the case notes for a Florida Supreme Court judgment in 1844, as the administratrix of her dead first husband's estate.

Lucy J. Bott was probably the daughter of James Bott and Lucy F. Branch. James Bott died in 1813, so maybe it was his estate or a son also named James who paid Lucy's school bills.

Catharine Bott doesn't turn up anywhere--except as the living British soprano of the same name--but she was likely a sister to Martha Ann?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

43. Minerva Bonner

A student named Minerva Bonner attended the Mordecai school in 1816, both sessions. She's listed as being from Harrisville VA, and has Williamson Bonner as the adult attached to her account. "Minerva" and "Williamson" are nice unusual names, and we have a geographical detail to go on, so this student should be easy to catch in the online genealogical net.


Except... Harrisville VA is in northern Virginia, fairly far from the school's usual catchment area. There are several men named "Williamson Bonner" in Virginia history, but they seem to be from Prince George County and Sussex County, both near Richmond and not in the neighborhood of Harrisville. And I can't find any Minerva Bonners of the right age cohort to work for this student, either.

So, interesting names or no, this entry hits a dead end, unless someone reading this can point me to more information.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

42. Martha Bond (1796-1845)

There was a student named Martha Bond in the rolls of the Mordecai school. She was there for three terms, starting summer 1810 and staying through the end of 1811. I don't have a hometown or adult's name attached to her name.

Seems like that should be a pretty dead end for further exploration, but just to be sure, searched out a "Martha Bond" in NC around the right age. And I found one! Martha Bond, daughter of James Bond (1760-1812) and Mary Hoskins (1767-1831), married David Small in 1822. Her parents married in 1787, and she was the third of their six children, which likely lands her birth year in the mid-1790s--very plausible for a Mordecai student in 1811. What makes this Martha Bond Small a very likely candidate is her family connections... Mary Hoskins, born in Chowan County NC, was kin to the Blount/Blunt family (see previous entry). Three of Mary's siblings married people named Blount.

The North Carolina Historical Register has Martha Bond Small as mother of six: Jane E. Small (1829-1873), William B. Small (1831-1854), Mary Frances Small (1831-1835), David Small (1833-1866), Edmund Small (1835-1862), Thomas M. Small (1837-1909). She died a widow in 1845. Three of her sons were in the CSA; one died in the war; one died afterwards from an illness contracted in the army; and the youngest survived as a disabled veteran ("His lameness is very perceptible in walking").

Remembering that some Marthas were called "Patsy" or "Patsey" in her place and time, I also searched Pats(e)y Bond Halls... sure enough, there's mention of her marriage to David Small as "Patsey Bond," married by an Obadiah Small in Chowan County. These sources have her marrying in 1826 or 1828, which might match better with her children's birth dates. Someone in Edenton owns (or at least owned) the family bible of David and Martha Small, which shows her as born 8-14-1796. (And David Small as slightly younger, born 11-13-1796.)

So to sum it all up: Martha "Patsey" Bond was born 1796, the third child of her parents. She went to the Mordecai school just before she turned 14, and stayed until she was 15. Soon after she left school, her father died, in February 1812. Martha married when she was about 30, and had six children before she was widowed; one of her daughters, Mary Frances (possibly a twin?), died at age 4. Martha Bond Small died in 1845, age 49. When she died, her youngest sons were 10 and 8.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

39, 40, 41. Eliza, Martha, and Mary Ann Blunt (Plus maybe 41.5? Louisa Blunt)

There were three girls named Blunt who attended the Mordecai school:
Eliza Blunt was there for two terms in 1811, and her account was attached to a "Dr. Blunt."
Martha Blunt was there for two terms in 1817, and her account was attached to a Captain Richard Blunt.
Mary Ann Blunt was at the school for five sessions, 1814-1816, and her account was also attached to Captain Richard Blunt. There's also a notation that she's from Georgia, and that she married in 1822.
(A complication for this post is that the Southern surname Blunt is spelled various ways, often as Blount in North Carolina. I'll spell it as I see it in the various sources.)

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2016: Looking at my old notes today, I'm thinking there might also have been a Louisa Blunt among the students in 1809 (that name is on a roll sheet from that year). It's possible I mistranscribed it in the 1990s, but I don't think so--the handwriting is pretty clear. So huh.  Online I'm finding a Mary Louisa Blunt who married a Virginia man named Moseley in 1812, had five children, died in 1855 in Georgia--that would make sense if she was a teen in 1809. ********

Okay, let's see what we can see in the genealogical sources and sites online.


Richard Augustus Blount's papers are at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. Blount (1774-1849) was a postmaster and active in Methodist Church matters. He was also a translator for various state dealings with the Cherokee Nation. When he died, his daughter Mrs. Mary Ann Sanford inherited slaves from his estate, delivered in 1853.

The box listing for Richard A. Blount's papers has an aha! item: Folder 3 in Box 2 contains "A small carefully written letter from Marianna R. Blount, age eleven, to her parents in Lebanon, Washington County, Ga., dated Sparta March 1st, 1813. A letter from Sally Ridley to Marianna Blount, at school in Warrenton Virginia, no date." And yes, there was a Sarah Ridley at the Mordecai school, in Warrenton, North Carolina. Miss Ridley attended the school exactly one term, so I can say with some assurance that the letter (which I haven't seen, but will try to get a copy of) is from the first half of 1810. Ridley being Mary Ann's middle name, Sally might have been a cousin?

Miss Mary Ann Blount, daughter of Col. Richard A. Blount, married Mr. John W. A. Sanford of Baldwin County, at Lebanon, Washington County, Georgia, on a Wednesday in late November, 1822, according to the 3 December 1822 Chronicle and Sentinel. John W. A. Sanford (1798-1870) was a college graduate who would later serve in Congress, briefly (for a few months in 1835), fought in the Cherokee War, and be elected to the Georgia Senate. From 1841-1843 he was Georgia's Secretary of State. His papers are at Georgia State University. John Sanford and Richard A. Blount worked together in the late 1820s on the Georgia-Alabama Line Boundary Commission.

John and Mary Ann Sanford were sued just after the war by a Thomas Finney, guardian of an Emily P. Gibson. Apparently John Sanford had a debt from before the war, and Mary Ann co-signed the note. The case focused a lot on Mary Ann's separate assets: the Sanford's plantation and many of their 50-60 slaves legally belonged to Mary Ann, not to John. The case against Mary Ann went to the state Supreme Court in 1870, to further consider women's obligations for the debts of their husbands.

Marianne Ridley Blount Sanford (the name as it appears on her tombstone) was widowed at age 68, and died at age 77.

Mary Ann's son John William Augustine Sanford Jr. (1825-1913) was elected Attorney General of Alabama several times from 1865 to 1876, and clerk of the Alabama Supreme Court. He was a colonel in the CSA, and surrendered at Appomattox.

Mary Ann's younger son Richard H. Sanford (1829?-1841) was stabbed to death at age twelve, by the fourteen-year-old son of a prominent lawyer. The boys were students together. Young Sanford was bullied and taunted by William A. Harris, who used a borrowed knife to attack Sanford. Sanford died ten days later from his wounds.

Back to the Mordecais: In their letters, there's a mention of Richard A. Blount trying to convert Jacob Mordecai to Christianity. They also mentioned Mary Ann passing through Warrenton in 1821, on her way to Ballston Springs NY (a popular spa). The Mordecais received a printed wedding invitation from her in 1822. But they misheard (or miswrote) her spouse's name as "Saunders," and that's how I had her listed in my dissertation: as Mary Ann Blunt Saunders, instead of Marianna Blount Sanford. Another reason to go back over this material!

(I'll be back to deal with the other two Blunts. Mary Ann's story took up all my time today.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

38. Eliza A. T. Blake

There was a student named Eliza A. T. Blake at the Mordecai school when it first opened--she was there from 1809 till the end of 1810. She's listed as being from Petersburg VA, and has an Ellis G. Blake listed as the adult on her account.

An Ellis Gray Blake (1768-1816) of Boston MA married Mary "Polly" Taylor (c1773-1811), daughter of Col. Henry Taylor of Southampton County, Virginia. They had a son Henry Taylor Blake (1798-1866), who became a merchant, a son Bennett Taylor Blake (1800-1882), a clergyman who founded the Greensboro Female College and another girls' school in Raleigh; a son Ellis Gray Blake (1802-1863), who became a medical doctor and a teacher; a son Nathaniel Oliver Blake (1804-1880), also a clergyman.

Did they also have a daughter Eliza, about the same age as these four sons? Ellis's older sister Elizabeth Blake died in 1801; a daughter born around that time might well have been named for her, and the T would be for Taylor (the same middle name that two of the sons have). If so, she's not listed in this 1898 Blake genealogy along with the others. But daughters are often left out of such works, especially if they don't live to adulthood, marry or have notable sons.

If this is the family of Mordecai student Eliza A. T. Blake, she has a rather infamous connection on her mother's side. Polly Taylor's sister Elizabeth Taylor married Peter Blow of Southampton VA in 1800. And Peter Blow was the first owner of Dred Scott. Peter Blow's son (Eliza's first cousin?) Henry Taylor Blow (1817-1875) was a Congressman from Missouri, and served the Lincoln administration as ambassador to Venezuela (1861-1862), and the Grant administration as ambassador to Brazil (1869-1870). And Henry's daughter Susan Elizabeth Blow (1843-1916) was founder of the first kindergarten in St. Louis.

Were these Eliza A. T. Blake's relatives? If so, did she live to see any of these events? Or is her time at the Mordecai school her only mark on the historical record?

UPDATE (11.1.10): I realized that I had more information about Eliza A. T. Blake in another appendix of my dissertation. "After leaving the school... Eliza continued contact with the family, visiting in 1813, and welcoming [Ellen Mordecai] to Petersburg in 1817. By that later event, she was Mrs. Willcox. She and another Mordecai alumna, Susan King Moss, ...made plans to attend the examination at the Plunkett school in 1822."

The Willcox connection is the key. In a Blake genealogy published 1898, we find Eliza Ann Taylor Blake Willcox (1795-1825), who was indeed the daughter of Ellis Blake and Mary Taylor, and the elder sister of Henry, Bennett, Ellis, John and Nathaniel Blake. Eliza A. T. Blake, then, was fourteen when she arrived at the Mordecai school; at 16, she lost her mother, and was probably called home to help around that event. She married in 1815, so she was twenty that year. The next year, her father died. Eliza herself died in 1825, age 30. No evidence of children, and the answer is, no, she didn't live to see any of the events affecting her maternal relatives, as outlined above.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

37. A. E. Blankenship

There was a student in the rolls of the Mordecai school named A. E. Blankenship. She was at the school for its last year, 1818, both sessions, and an "Ed. Anderson" might be connected to the account.

A. E.? I suspect her first name was shorted to initials because her last name was long and there was limited space in the ledger. Could be Ann Eliza? Anne Elizabeth? Something more unusual? We can guess she was probably born 1805-1810. But I'm coming up empty with only these slim details to work from. There were certainly other Andersons connected to the Mordecai school community, and there were Southern families named Blankenship, in Virginia and North Carolina, but I can't find any aha! family history charts to even tentatively attach to Miss A. E. Blankenship.

Yet. Do you know this student's story? Leave a comment or links for this entry to be expanded.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

35. and 36. Eliza Anne Bennett and Jane Bennett

Some very Jane Austeny student names this time!

Eliza Anne Bennett attended the Mordecai school for both terms in 1818, with Richard E. Bennett as the adult associated with her account, and Petersburg VA as the place name.

Jane Bennett attended the Mordecai school much earlier than Eliza Anne, for six terms, from the beginning of 1811 to the end of 1813. She is also listed as being from Petersburg VA, but her account is associated with a Thomas Bennett. There's further note that she must have been married by 1827 (because the Mordecais mentioned her as married in a letter that year).

So who are the Misses Bennett? Hmmm... First thing I find in the genealogy forums is a Jane Grey Bennett marrying a Thomas N. Lee in 1823, in Petersburg VA. Elsewhere she's Jane Gray Bennett Lee, born 1802 to Sarah Elizabeth Wall (1778-1847) and Thomas Bennett, named for her maternal aunt Jane Gray Wall Shore Haxall (1766-1831), married to Thomas Noble Lee. She seems to have had a daughter Jane Gray Lee who died in infancy in 1824. Through her mother's family, Jane Gray Bennett was related to many of her classmates, including Olivia and Margaret Barrow. (The Grays were in Virginia beginning at Jamestown c. 1616, so many of the planter families of the area could claim Gray kin.)

Jane's husband Thomas Noble Lee was an Englishman, a tobacconist born in Yorkshire, who "held thirty or more slaves in the tax assessments for 1836 and 1838" and was a member of the PBMA (Petersburg Benevolent Mechanics Association), according to L. Diane Barnes, Artisan Workers in the Upper South: Petersburg, Virginia, 1820-1865 (LSU Press 2008). He was also a director of the Petersburg Savings Institution when it was founded in 1837.

None of these leads turn up the Eliza Anne Bennett who also attended the Mordecai school. There's no reason to think the girls were sisters--different men paid their accounts, and they didn't attend school together. But they're both from Petersburg, and they may have been related somehow. And none of the leads on Jane Bennett give any clue of her life after the mid-1820s. I'll dig up the Mordecai letter about her from 1827 to see if that sheds any further light on her story after getting married.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

34. Sarah Batte

A student named Sarah Batte appears in the rolls of the Mordecai school. She attended for the last two sessions of the school, in 1818. She's listed as being from Bellfield and an Alexander Batte is the adult name on the account.

Alexander Watson Batte (1778-1853) of Greensville County VA seems a good candidate for the adult--he married his first wife, Mary Pettway, in 1803, which would be time enough for their daughter to be at the school in 1818. The Alexander Watson Batte House in Greensville County was built starting in 1815. He married his second wife Elizabeth Spencer in 1819, so presumably Mary Pettway Batte died in 1818 or earlier--providing a reason for the girl to be at school (many of the Mordecai students were there following the death of a parent, while practical arrangements were made at home). And there is a Belfield District in Greensville County--it was a town before 1887 when it merged with Hicksford to form Emporia.

Still, can't find any evidence of a daughter named Sarah, born to Alexander and Mary Pettway Batte. There's only mention of Alexander Batte's daughter Cornelia Alvinia Batte, born 1819, so her mother was Elizabeth Spencer. So Sarah might have been a niece or other kin.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

32. and 33. Ann and Mary E. Baskerville

Two students named Baskerville attended the Mordecai school:

32. Ann Baskerville of Mecklenburg Co., Virginia, was at the school in 1810 (both sessions), then from 1812 to 1814 (five sessions), then from 1815-1816 (two sessions). So there were two breaks in her time at the school.

33. Mary E. Baskerville, also of Mecklenburg Co., Virginia, was at the school for both sessions of 1810.

Both girls have William Baskerville as the adult attached to their accounts. That makes their identity fairly easy to pin down: William Rust Baskerville (1756-1814) of Lombardy Grove, Mecklenburg County, was a merchant and planter, married to Mary Eaton (1763-1842), daughter of Col. Charles Eaton of Warren Co., NC. Mary and Anne are among their children.

So, adding in what can be learned from online family histories:

32. Anne "Nancy" Baskerville (b. 1800) first attended the school with her older sister Mary; then for a few more years, returning home around the time of her father's passing; she enrolled for a few more sessions after he died. Ann Baskerville married Thomas Turner (b. 1795) of Warren County, and they had at least two children together (Mary Veal Turner and James Turner). Her daughter Mary Veal Turner seems to be named for one of Nancy's Mordecai classmates, Mary Veale, who was at the school in 1812, 1813, and 1814. (Interesting detail: Thomas's brother Daniel Turner was married to the daughter of Francis Scott Key.) Anne Baskerville Turner must have died very young, because Col. Thomas Turner is listed as having a second wife that he married in 1822.

33. Mary Eaton Baskerville (b. 1795) was the elder of the sisters, and indeed one of the elder Mordecai students; she married Patrick Hamilton (b. 1789) around 1810 (presumably after she left the school that year). Patrick was a recent arrival from Scotland. The Hamiltons had at least seven children together (William, Mary, Charles, Robert, James, Isabella Alston, and Alexander), at Burnside NC.

And to make the family histories a little more complicated--or maybe a little less complicated, in a sense--in 1836 Nancy's daughter Mary V. Turner (d. 1872) married Mary's son, William Baskerville Hamilton (d. 1875). A later William Baskerville Hamilton, 1908-1972, was a history professor at Duke University.

Monday, May 17, 2010

30. and 31. Olivia and Margaret Barrow

Two girls named Barrow attended the Mordecai school:

30. Olivia Barrow (1806-1857) of Tarboro NC attended the school for a year, in 1818.
31. Margaret Barrow of Tarboro NC attended the school for a year, in 1818.

Both Barrows have the name "Bennet Barrow" attached to their account.

So let's start with Bennet Barrow. Seems a Bennet Barrow (1777-1833) was born in Halifax Co., and was the son of Olivia Ruffin and William Barrow. The Ruffins are all over the extended families attached to the Mordecai school; and this particular connection gives Olivia Barrow her first name, too. Much of the extended Barrow family (Olivia Ruffin Barrow, three daughters, three sons) moved to Louisiana in 1798, by covered wagons and barges, to build some rather famous plantation homes for themselves. Two Barrow sons stayed behind in North Carolina for a while, then joined the clan. One of them was Bennet Barrow; he was listed as the cashier at the Tarboro branch of the State Bank of North Carolina, when it opened in 1811. He moved to Louisiana in 1816.

So... it's a prominent family, and it's not hard to track down the Mordecai students Olivia and Margaret. Their cousin Bennet H. Barrow (1811-1878) was a Louisiana planter and diarist. (This is another of those families where the same names are used by multiple members of the same generation; they had a brother Bennet Barrow, but his middle name was James; the diarist's father was William H. Barrow.)

Olivia Ruffin Barrow (1806-1857) was named for her late grandmother. Her father was Bennett Barrow and her mother was Martha Hill. When she attended school in Warrenton NC with her sister Margaret, their family was already mostly moved to Louisiana. She married her first cousin, William Ruffin Barrow (1800-1862). They had ten children together; five died young. They were the planters in residence at Greenwood Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, which at its peak encompassed thousands of acres; the Ruffins held about 750 slaves at Greenwood. (Today the house still stands, much restored, and is open as an inn.) Here is Olivia's house on Flickr.

Margaret Barrow, Olivia's sister, "died young." "No information available." But we know something about her: she attended the Mordecai school with Olivia for a year, in 1818. One of the benefits of studying the rolls of a girls' school is that the many women who died young are still "caught" by the school's records--because their attendance was recorded, they have a bit more trace than a tombstone, or a date in a family Bible.

29. Martha Barnes

Another sparse entry in the rolls of the Mordecai school. Martha Barnes attended the school for one year, 1810. Not much else to go on--no hometown, no adult name attached to the account. The student's name isn't even that uncommon.

One possible candidate, from looking around the family history pages:

Martha "Patsey" Barnes, Mrs. Samuel Gann Jr.; b. 31 March 1796 in Rockingham Co. NC; one of the nine children of Revolutionary War-veteran Chesley Barnes and Mary Means; married c.1819, same county; died c.1870. Generation and location are all dead on. But did Martha Barnes Gann witness a document in 1852 "by mark"--not by signature? Could a girl have spent a year at the Mordecai school without being able to sign her own name forty-two years later? Probably a strike against this as a match, but not a deal-breaker; it could still be her. Or not.

Monday, May 3, 2010

28. Helen Barclift

A student named Helen Barclift attended the Mordecai school for two terms in 1814. No hometown, no adult name attached to the account. Slim details to go on.

BUT, checking for the name anyway, for any plausible Helen Barclift, I find one! In his 1807 will, Ur Barclift of Edenton NC (somehow part of an extended family of Barclifts in that part of the state) names his friend "Henry A. Donaldson of Edenton" as executor and as guardian of her daughter, Helen Barclift. There were three girls named Donaldson who attended the Mordecai school, all of them from Fayetteville; not a very uncommon name, but that gives some reason to think this might be the girl. So, let's look at her further. Or rather, at her guardian:

Henry A. Donaldson
(1782-1870s) was a merchant based in Edenton. In 1807, he was newly married to Elizabeth McDonald. After that date, he turned to the textiles industry, building a mill in Edgecombe County that began operating in 1820. He designed and sold another cotton mill for Fayetteville, and soon became "chief promoter" of the Fayetteville Manufacturing Company. He moved to Wake County in 1830, then to Mobile AL around 1835. He became a banker there, and eventually moved to Texas, where he died after the Civil War.

Or maybe two different Henry A. Donaldsons are being conflated at that biography? Because the textile mill Donaldson was apparently from Rhode Island, and moved to NC in 1817. But there's definitely an Edenton marriage record for a Henry A. Donaldson in 1807. So... possibly not the same guy? Hmmm... and anyway, what ever happened to Helen Barclift, whichever Donaldson was her guardian?

There was a Helen Donaldson who married Edward G. Benners in Mobile AL in 1845. Seems a bit late for her to be marrying for the first time, given the general trend of the Mordecai cohort, but not impossible; and the location matches the biography above. The name would suggest she had taken her guardian's name sometime after 1814? This is getting pretty far beyond what we really know; it's only a possible lead. (Edward G. Benners was brother of Augustus Benners, whose plantation journal beginning in the 1850s and carrying through Reconstruction was published last year.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

26. and 27. Lucy Ballard and Rebecca Ballard

Two students with the surname Ballard attended the Mordecai school: Lucy Ballard was on the school rolls for all of 1810, and Rebecca Ballard was on the school rolls for all of 1814. Not much to go on there--no hometown, no adult's name attached to the account, nothing.

But... there is a rather large extended family of Ballards in Virginia in the early 19th century. And Lucy was a name used frequently in that family, as was Rebecca to a lesser extent. For example, this Rebecca would be about the right age and location to be a Mordecai student in 1814:
"Larkin BALLARD and Elizabeth GAINES were married on 13 Jan 1786 in Orange County, Virginia. Children were: Hiram BALLARD, Howard O BALLARD, Henry BALLARD, Humphrey BALLARD, Rebecca BALLARD, Nancy BALLARD, Catherine BALLARD, Sarah BALLARD"
We don't have any much to go on at this point, but that's what the blog is for--maybe you've got a Lucy (Lucretia? Louisa?) Ballard in your genealogy project who was born 1795-1800 in North Carolina or Virginia. Maybe she had a younger sister or cousin named Rebecca Ballard who would have been born more like 1800-1805. If so, tell us more about them!

ETA 3/28/12: I've heard from a family historian who has another very good candidate for this Rebecca Ballard--her grandmother's grandmother was Rebecca Taylor Ballard Woodcock, born 1800 (or possibly 1804) in Halifax Co. NC. That would make her 14 (or possibly 10) during her year at the Mordecai school, which is pretty typical. She married a doctor from Philadelphia in 1818, and they lived in Mobile, Alabama; they had at least four children, possibly as many as nine; she died in 1865.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

25. Ann Baker

A student named Ann Baker attended the Mordecai school for two years, 1814 and 1815; she's listed as being from Halifax, Virginia, with Leonard Baker as the adult attached to her account.

"Ann Baker" seems a very ordinary name; but "Leonard" is fairly distinctive for early 19c. Virginia. Turns out, there was a Leonard Baker in Halifax Co., Virginia, who performed many marriages 1780-1815. He's said to have died in 1818. This is one of those cases where someone's name appears often in the genealogical record, but only because he's officiating at the weddings of others.

BUT... he seems to have used the nickname "Leo." Which opens up some other avenues of identification. As Leo Baker, he's listed as "pastor of the Musterfield church" and brother of Rev. Elijah Baker (1742-1798), also a preacher in Virginia. According to James Barnett Taylor's Lives of Virginia Baptist Ministers (1838), the Baker brothers were of "humble parentage," born in Lunenberg Co.

Still no way to know for sure whether Ann Baker was Leonard's daughter or a niece or even a granddaughter.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

23. and 24. Mary Jane Bacon and Petronella Bacon

There are two girls surnamed Bacon in the Mordecai rolls, and they appear to be sisters:

Mary Jane Bacon and P. Nelly C. Bacon, both from Hendersonville, Virginia, both attended the Mordecai school for the same two years, from the beginning of 1816 to the end of 1817. The adult's name on both their accounts is Major Tyree G. Bacon.

Now, the name "Tyree Bacon" may seem unusual enough to make a search easy. Not so! The first name Tyree is used often through generations of Bacons in Virginia. (There's even a present-day Tyree Bacon with a MySpace page.) But Col. Tyree Glenn Bacon (1772-1830), a War of 1812 veteran, lived at Bacon's Hall in Crewe, Nottoway County. His wife was Mary Lamkin (1774-1846).

So, here are the students' stories based on what we can find about them online:

Mary Jane Catherine Bacon (b. 1804) married a Jesse H. Leath (d. 1846) in 1832, when she was 28. Mary Bacon Heath had eight children: James, Branch, Tyree, Joseph, George William (d. 1922), Virginia, Harriett, and Sarah. Mary lost her husband and her mother the same year. She inherited Bacon's Hall as specified in her father's will. All her sons were wounded as Confederate soldiers in the Civil War.

Mary's sister Petronella Ann Graghead Bacon (whose name might have been written "P. Nelly C." by the Mordecais--especially if she was called "Nelly"; Graghead is sometimes written as "Craghead" even in family records) was born 1802, according to this transcript of a family bible. She was apparently named for her mother's sister Petronella Lamkin Graghead. She married a Col. John Marshall in June 1821, when she was 19.

Oh, and "the community of Hendersonville no longer exists."

Friday, April 2, 2010

22. Caroline Avery

The next alphabetical student in the roster is Caroline Avery, who was listed as being from Wilmington. She attended the Mordecai's school from mid-1814 to the end of 1816. No adult's name is attached to her account in the ledger. But the Mordecai family's letters mention her often. She arrived at the school in the company of classmate Amanda Kelly (their stays at the school coincide exactly). When Caroline was married in 1822, Rachel Mordecai Lazarus was called upon to remedy a last-minute shoe emergency for the bride. She was considered a fashionable young hostess in the Cape Fear region. Late in 1826, her husband (Mr. VanCleef) died suddenly, leaving Caroline a widow with a young son. Rachel Mordecai Lazarus was less-than-sympathetic about Caroline's loss; she considered her former student a spoiled and childish woman who probably ruined her husband by driving him to drink. In 1829, Caroline Avery VanCleef married a New Yorker, Captain James Seymour, and relocated to Staten Island.

What can we find of this alumna's life online? Brunswick County Marriage Records confirm the marriage of Mary Caroline Avery to John M. VanCleef in September 1822, and the marriage of Mary Caroline VanCleef to Captain James Seymour in November 1829. But beyond that... not much. In this case, the Mordecai family correspondence holds far more details about the student than anything I can find online. So far.

UPDATE 4/14/2013:  I've heard from a family historian about Caroline Avery and her cousin Amanda Kelly.  Amanda Caroline Kelly was the daughter of Hanson Kelly and Susannah Cooke Kelley; Susannah's sister Polly Cooke Avery was married to Jonathan Avery, and they were the parents of  Caroline Avery.  Polly and Jonathan died in the early 1800s, and left their children in the care of Hanson Kelly.  That's a big piece of this family's story filled in--thank you!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

20. and 21. Eliza and Martha Armistead

Two students named Armistead are in the rolls of the Mordecai school:

Eliza Armistead of Norfolk VA was at the school from the beginning of 1815 to the school's closing in 1818. She may have been an orphan: her tuition was apparently paid by a grandmother, Mrs. Newton, before Mrs. Newton's death in 1816; an uncle took over payments, but he too died in 1818. Eliza Armistead appears frequently in the Mordecai family's correspondence about the school: she was considered quite pretty. She studied astronomy and history in her later years at the school, and won a special medal at the last public examinations. She returned to Norfolk after 1818.

Martha Armistead of Norfolk VA was at the school for one year, 1818. Her account was possibly paid by a George Newton.

Turning to the online family histories, we quickly find confirmation that Eliza Tucker Armistead and Martha Juliana Armistead were sisters, the daughters of Theodorick Armistead (1774?-1812) and Martha Tucker Newton (1780-1810). Theodorick Armistead was commander of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, 1808-1810.

Eliza Armistead married a Navy man, Alexander Porter Darragh (1789-1831), in 1823. They had two children, Margaret Porter Darragh, and Martha Julian Darragh; Martha died as a newborn. Then Eliza died in late 1826, certainly not more than 25 years old. Her widower Alexander Darragh died in 1831 and was buried on Gibraltar. Their orphaned daughter Margaret married at 18, to a cousin, Thomas Newton.

Martha Armistead married a John Williams of Fairfax and had at least four children: Elizabeth Darragh Williams Sharp (named for her late aunt), Rev. Walter Wheeler Williams (d. 1892), Theodorick Armistead Williams (d. 1890, a bank president), and John Newton Williams (b. 1842). Like many Mordecai alumnae, Martha Armistead had at least one of her sons fight in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

18. & 19. Caroline and Henrietta Anthony

Two students with the surname Anthony attended the Mordecai school:

Caroline Anthony was there for two years, 1817 and 1818, and the name James Gordon may be associated with hers in the ledger.

Henrietta Anthony was there for four years, 1811-1814, and an H. Anthony is associated with her account in the school ledger.

That doesn't seem like much to go on--no hometowns, no definite parent names, no reason to believe they're even related to each other. But there was pair of sisters, Henrietta and Caroline Anthony, who turn up in Southside Virginia Families Vol. 1 as the daughters of John Anthony (d. 1812) and Elizabeth Hill. John Anthony was apparently from Philadelphia, a cousin of the portrait painter Gilbert Stuart. Elizabeth Hill was the daughter of Col. Whitmel Hill and Winifred Blount--which connects these girls to the Hills, the Alstons, the Blounts, the Pollocks, the Nashes, the Camerons, the Norfleets, and many other families in the neighborhood of the Mordecai school. There's mention in one family history that Caroline was raised in part by her older sister--which would neatly explain the "H. Anthony" next to her name in the ledger.

So, retelling their story in light of what we can find in online genealogies...

Henrietta Maria Anthony left her home in Sussex County, Va. Scotland Neck, NC, in 1811, when her father John Anthony was still alive, to attend the Mordecai school in Warrenton. After John's passing, her account was paid by James Gordon, her uncle brother-in-law (he was married to John's sister Henrietta's older sister Eizabeth Anthony; strikeouts explained in comments). Henrietta later sent her younger sister Caroline Matilda Anthony (1806-1861) to the same school in its last two years, 1817 and 1818. Both girls would have been at school with many cousins as their classmates.

Henrietta married a Cyrus Dillard of Surry County, Virginia, in 1817, and had at least two children, Joseph and Henrietta (b. 1829). Caroline married a William Henry Pegram (1803-1852) in October 1824, and had four children between 1825 and 1842. Her daughter Ann Pegram died as an infant; Caroline Pegram was widowed at age 46, when her youngest child was ten. (That boy, William Anthony Pegram, would die in the Civil War ten years later.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

15.-17. The Andersons: Ann, Mary F., and William

Three students named Anderson are in the rolls of the Mordecai school.

Ann Anderson attended the school for a single term, the first part of 1811.

Mary F. Anderson attended the school for two terms, in 1818. She is listed as being from Richmond VA, and the name Henry Anderson is attached to her account.

William Anderson attended the school for two terms, in 1815. The name George Anderson is attached to his account.

William? Yes, boys attended the Mordecai school--they made up about 10% of the students ever enrolled. They were generally younger local boys who seem to have filled seats during low-enrollment years. So William Anderson was likely a Warrenton child who took classes at the school but lived at home. There were certainly families named Anderson in Warrenton at the time, but it's a common name and that's true of many towns in the 1810s, I suspect. Because of this, there isn't much more to find about these three students online--or, perhaps there is, but the few details I have here don't help me much in finding more.