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.)