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.