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!