Wednesday, November 9, 2011

77. Martha Cain

Well, this entry might get some stray hits, from folks searching the surname "Cain"! Hi folks. Unless you're interested in a schoolgirl in 1810s North Carolina, you probably aren't going to find what you want below. --Ed.

A student named Martha Cain is in my list of students--she was at the school just one term, the second half of 1811. A William Cain made payments to the school in December 1811.

I know this is a repeated refrain in this project, but there were a lot of Cains in North Carolina in the 1810s--and a lot of them had daughters named Martha. A William Cain was born in Virginia in the 1670s, and seems to have been the patriarch of a very productive family for several generations--many families of nine or ten children in their tree. So this will be a matter of finding one born about 1800, for starters...

Aha! I've found a Martha Ann Cain born 22 June 1799 in Orange County, NC (near Chapel Hill), youngest daughter of William Cain Sr. (1743-1834) and Sarah Alston. (Her mother's surname Alston is attached to several Mordecai students--likely cousins to Martha.) That would make her the aunt of William Cain III--who married Sarah Jane Bailey (1828-1927), the daughter of Priscilla Brownrigg Bailey, another Mordecai alumna. This Martha Ann Cain's older sister Charity married Willie Person Mangum, a rather prominent North Carolinian with connections to many other Mordecai families. Assuming this is the same woman who attended the Mordecai school, she was about twelve when she was at Warrenton, briefly.

There's a PDF called "Families of Saint Mary's Episcopal Chapel, Orange County, North Carolina," that comments about this Martha Ann Cain that "she apparently did not marry." Was she buried under this name? I have a note in my dissertation appendix that she may have died in 1834, but I don't know where I got that tidbit.

There was another younger Martha Ann Cain (1825-1900), this woman's niece, who attended the Burwell School in Hillsborough.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

72-76. The Burwells (Eliza, Lucy, Martha, Mary, and N)

So my list has five girls(?) named Burwell who attended the Mordecai school:

Eliza Blair Burwell was there for both sessions of 1812.
Lucy Burwell was there for both sessions of 1817.
Martha C. Burwell was there for four sessions, 1811-1812.
Mary W. Burwell was there for both sessions of 1812.
And N. Burwell was on the rolls for 1809.

I have most of these names attached to Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and the adults named Armistead Burwell and Richard Boyd are found in the ledger, paying for their accounts (possibly also William Robards). Martha C. Burwell was married to Grandison Field in November 1816, and is mentioned as "Mrs. Field" in some of the Mordecai letters after that date (for example, 3 July 1831, Caroline Plunkett to Ellen Mordecai, in the Jacob Mordecai Papers at Duke University). So that's where I'm starting from.

I know this is a recurring theme of this blog, but there were a lot of Burwells in the area--and even several Armistead Burwells, all related. One branch of the family even ran a girls' school in Hillsborough NC, in the 1830s. (That linked website for the Burwell school does some of what I'm trying to do here, in listing all the known students and, where possible, their life stories.)

With that in mind, we'll start with the one we know most about: Martha Christian Burwell (b. 1795) was the youngest child of a very large family of Burwells--she was the sixteenth and last child born to Col. Lewis Burwell (1745-1800), who served in the Revolutionary War, and the fourth child born to the second Mrs. Burwell, Elizabeth Harrison (1754-1824). She would have been a five-year-old when her father passed away, and was a teenager during her years at the Mordecai school--seventeen when she left, making her one of the older students. She married Charles Grandison Field in 1816, in Richmond. (His name is sometimes spelled Feild or Fields or Feilds, by various branches of the family.) Charles Grandison Field and Martha moved to Tennessee in 1836, with their whole household, including a significant number of slaves. (Among the slaves in that group were the ancestors of Tennessee Assemblymen John Boyd and William A. Feilds.) Martha was widowed in Tennessee, and seems to have remarried at least once. She might have had children, but I can't find mention of their names (she might also have raised step-children). I saw one mention of her dying in 1898, which would mean she was over a hundred years old--possible, but without seeing it mentioned in multiple places I'm not going to assume that's true.

The other Burwell girls couldn't have been Martha's sisters, because all her sisters were older than her and wouldn't have been young enough to attend the Mordecai school. Unfortunately, they all have fairly common names for the Burwell families, and I'm not locating any that are the right age.

Thus end the Bs! Next entry, we move onto the C names.

Monday, September 12, 2011

71. Eliza Burton (poss. Eliza Williams Burton Anderson, 1795-1859)

There was a student named Eliza Burton on the rolls at the Mordecai school, attending for both sessions in the year 1810. There's no adult's name or hometown attached to the listing in my dissertation appendix. And I can't find any mention of her in the Mordecai correspondence.

To add to the complications of finding this student, "Eliza Burton" isn't a very unusual name; there's an Eliza Burton Conley in Wikipedia for example (who sounds very interesting, but she's not the Mordecai student). But let's look anyway...

There are a lot of Burtons in the Virginia/NC border region around 1800. The most likely candidate for a family connection is Col. Robert Burton (1747-1825) of Granville County, NC. He was politically connected and had business associations with several other men who had Mordecai school connections; his wife Agatha Williams was kin to the Bullocks (already mentioned as having Mordecai school connections). Robert and Agatha had a daughter Eliza Williams Burton (1795-1859), their eleventh child. She married a Scotsman, James Anderson (1796-1874), and was buried in Henderson, Vance County, NC. (A photograph of her gravestone is here, and a photograph of James Anderson's gravestone in the same cemetery.) This Eliza Burton's son Robert Burton Anderson (c. 1833-1889) became a Presbyterian minister and a teacher at a South Carolina "female college," and his papers are in the Southern Historical Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill.

There's a good chance she's the Mordecai student--the age and location and social status are all perfect for a girl to be at the school in 1810. But I'd still love to find a stronger tidbit of information to secure that match. Maybe there's a letter in the Robert Burton Anderson papers, recounting his mother's story.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

69. and 70. Maria Burt and William Burt

Two student named Burt were at the school for both sessions of 1810, Maria and William Burt. Maria stayed longer, through the end of 1814, one of the school's longest-running students. They were probably local kids--most boy students were--and the adult name attached to the account was William Burt.

William Burt appears throughout the school's ledger during Maria's school years, including a notation in February 1814 that she was taking music lessons as an add-on to her tuition. Oddly, for local students who stayed a while, there's very little else about the Burt children in the surviving Mordecai correspondence.

There were a lot of Burts in the vicinity of the Warrenton, and a lot of them were named William, so this took a little detangling, but.... This William Burt of Halifax NC married Martha Elizabeth Eelbank Bond (d. c. 1814), in 1797, and they had children William S. Burt, Harriet Burt (Mrs. Richard Eppes), and Maria Louisa Burt, according to various wills. Maria Louisa Burt married Henry Garrett before 1823. Her brother William became a doctor, married Priscilla M. Williams, and moved to Tennessee in 1833. (There was Mordecai student named Priscilla Williamson--hmmmm. I know from my own patronym that people add/subtract the "son" from such names very casually, maybe especially in the South, so that could be the same person.)

However! A different William Burt (1782-1848), also local, married another Mordecai student, Susan Sims, in 1812. He'd be too old to be a student at the school, but I mention him to illustrate the trickiness of all this. It'll be a while before Priscilla Williams or Susan Sims get their own entries at this blog, but when they do I'll link back to this.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

68. Margaret Burcher (d. 1855)

There was a student on the rolls at the Mordecai school for four sessions (1815-1816) named Margaret Burcher, of Norfolk VA. The adult names attached to her account are Mr. Geddis and Capt. Samuel Vickery.

Margaret Burcher was at the school long enough to make appearances in Mordecai correspondence. "Eliza Armistead, Miss Burcher, & Miss Taylor arrived today from Norfolk," Rachel Mordecai wrote to her brother Samuel on 25 January 1816; the following year, Solomon Mordecai wrote to his sister Ellen that "I also met with Margt. Burcher; she is a diminuitive little figure, in no respect altered in appearance since you saw her, but do not say so to any of her Norfolk acquaintances, I am told it mortifies her not a little." (Solomon to Ellen, 15 July 1817; both letters quoted here are in the Mordecai Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill). Solomon wrote again to Ellen on 24 November 1822 to say that "M. Burcher is improved." Margaret was "keeping school" in Hampton in the summer of 1828, and Ellen had an idea of Margaret becoming an assistant at Caroline Mordecai Plunkett's school, saying that "She is sensible & no doubt teaches in the same way that you do, would probably be glad of the situation ,and it would be so much more agreeable to have a female than a stranger male for an assistant." (Ellen to Caroline, 27 July 1828, Jacob Mordecai Papers at Duke). But Caroline was not interested in pursuing the plan (Caroline to Ellen, 2 August 1828, Jacob Mordecai Papers at Duke).

Turning to the online resources: There's a Miss Margaret Burcher buried in the cemetery at Christ Church, Norfolk VA, who died 19 September 1855, with a note that she's among those who died from yellow fever that year. In death, the schoolteacher became more newsworthy than she ever was during her lifetime: her name appeared in the New York Times on 24 September 1855, as one of the epidemic's many Norfolk fatalities (one Norfolk newspaper at the time estimated that 2000 yellow fever victims were buried in a ninety-day period).

The only other mentions I find of her include a note in the finding aid for the Cocke Family Papers at the University of Virginia Library; she wrote to John Hartwell Cocke about a school-teacher's position in 1840. There is also mention of Miss Margaret Burcher in the Galt Papers at the Special Collections Research Center, in a child's letter written 1846, from Caroline County VA.

So it looks like Miss Margaret Burcher worked as a teacher for much of her life, and died in her 50s in a terrible epidemic. Because that story doesn't include marriage or children, she's nobody's ancestor; being a lifelong single woman makes her less likely to appear in traditional genealogies (concerned with linking ancestors and descendants). But still, where was she born? When? To whom? How long did she teach?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

65, 66, and 67. Ann, Catherine, and Eliza Bullock

Three girls named Bullock are listed as Mordecai students:

Ann Bullock from Warren County (?) attended from early 1816 to the last session with the Mordecais, in late 1818; Richard Bullock is the adult name on her account.

Catherine and Eliza Bullock both attended the Mordecai school in 1809 only. They were probably also from somewhere near Warrenton, because many of the first students at the school were local children.

A Richard Bullock appears throughout the school's ledger for the years Ann attended; there's also mention of a James Bullock in June 1818. There's mention of Ann's father paying a lot of attention (courting) a Mary Turner in 1820 correspondence by the family; and in an 1822 letter from Warrenton, Caroline Mordecai Plunkett reports that "There are several weddings now in agitation among the number is Ann Bullock's she is to be married to a son of Judge Henderson." (Caroline Plunkett to Rachel Lazarus, 7 September 1822, Jacob Mordecai Papers, Duke University)

That last tidbit leads us to Anne E. Bullock Henderson (1804-1883), of Granville County (not Warren), Ashland Plantation, who indeed married Archibald Erskine Henderson (1801-1853) in 1822, in Warren County. Archibald's father was Judge Leonard Henderson (1772-1833), Chief Justice of NC. Archibald was a UNC alumnus, a planter and a magistrate. Their seven children were all born in Granville County, between 1823 and 1845. Looks like she was widowed at age 49, with her youngest child just eight at the time. In 1860, the census finds the Henderson household with 129 slaves.

The other Bullock girls are likely relatives of Anne's, but it's a big family in the area. There's a Catherine Lewis Bullock, b. c. 1802, who married Joseph Newton Sims, himself the grandson of a woman named Sarah Bullock. The wedding was in 1822, in Warren or Granville County. Catherine would have been widowed in 1850, in Louisiana. This Catherine Bullock had at least one son, James Bullock Sims, who was born at Tennessee; and a daughter, Sallie Sims. She also had a sister-in-law named Susanna Sims Burt--and a Susan Sims is listed among the Mordecai students who only attended in 1809, along with Catherine Bullock. So it seems like a decent chance she's the Mordecai student.

64.Nancy Bryant

Well, this one might be a stumper. I have a student named Nancy Bryant attending the Mordecai school for one semester, the first half of 1810. No hometown, no adult's name, in my dissertation's appendix. Just a name and a date. And the name is both fairly common, and subject to multiple variations (Nancy as a nickname for Ann(e); Bryant and Bryan are names that turn up interchangeable in Southern family history records). She seems not to have been mentioned by the Mordecais in correspondence, and may only have appeared the one time, in the student register.

This one will have to await further information from interested contributors.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

63. Mary Ann Elizabeth B. Bryan Isler (c1805-1860)

There was a student named Mary Eliza Bryan at the Mordecai school for two-and-a-half years, mid-1815 to the end of 1817. She may have been from Franklin Co., NC, and the adult attached to her account is called "Genl. Bryan." A William Burlingham also left money for M. Bryan, according to the school's ledger for October 1815. "M. Bryan" was among the students who used the services of a dentist in January 1816.

Looking to the online family history sources: Mary Ann Eliza B. Bryan was the oldest child of Joseph Hunter Bryan Jr. (1782-1839) and Sarah Burlingham; William Burlingham seems to have been her grandfather. Mary Eliza's father was in the War of 1812, and served in the North Carolina legislature, as a trustee at UNC, and finally as a Congressman from North Carolina. (His brother Henry was a congressman from Tennessee.) Joseph died in Tennessee.

Mary Eliza was born before 1808 in North Carolina, and died 13 February 1860 in St. Louis, Missouri. She had two much younger brothers, Joseph (b. c1815) and Elisha (b. c1824). Was she sent to the Mordecai school because there was (or would soon be) a new baby in the house in 1815? Mary Eliza married Dr. Jesse Isler (c1796-1865) in 1821 (she would have been about sixteen years old), in Granville County, NC, and they had at least five children, the last born in Tennessee.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

62. Priscilla Elizabeth Brownrigg Bailey (1800-1874)

Well, this is a student I already know a good deal about. She became a significant part of an article I published a few years ago (Penny L. Richards, "'Could I But Mark Out My Own Map of Life': Educated Women Embracing Cartography in the Nineteenth-Century American South," Cartographica 39 (3)(Fall 2004): 1-17). Her husband's papers, mostly letters between Priscilla and her husband and their sons, are at the Southern Historical Collection in Chapel Hill, a rich collection that includes her granddaughters' drawings while at school in Raleigh. (No surprise it's there, by the way: their great-granddaughter Bessie Henderson Cotten was one of the early organizers of the Southern.)

Priscilla Elizabeth Brownrigg (1800-1874) was from Edenton NC. Her family had a commercial fishing operation on the Chowan River. Her mother was Ruth Baker (1768-1802)--from the dates you can see that Priscilla hardly had a chance to know her mother; her father Thomas Brownrigg remarried and had three children younger than Priscilla. Priscilla was probably named for her mother's sister Priscilla Baker Graham. Priscilla's older sisters Mary Ann and Sarah had also attended school in Warrenton, before the Mordecai school opened. Priscilla was nearly sixteen when she arrived at the Mordecai school, and she stayed through three sessions, to the end of 1817. In 1821, she married John Lancaster Bailey, a young lawyer. They stayed around Edenton for a while, long enough for their first child to be born and, sadly, die as a small girl. Their three other children were also born there, but they grew up in Hillsborough, where the Baileys lived while John was working as a traveling judge. Priscilla loved Hillsborough, a walkable, sociable town. John tried to start a law school in Hillsborough. In 1858, John bought a farm at Swannanoa, in western North Carolina. Priscilla didn't want to leave her friends and familiar places, but she moved anyway. Within a year, she was permanently injured by a fall from a mule. She was bedridden for more than a year, and used crutches afterwards.

She moved to Asheville to stay with her daughter Sarah Jane Cain during the war years; after the war, her son tried to persuade the family to move to Brazil (where slavery was still legal), but they didn't go. Priscilla died in 1874, following a stroke, after 53 years of marriage. She was 74. Her daughter Sarah Jane lived almost a century, 1828-1927.

I keep waiting for the first entry I can put here with a photograph of the subject; but I'll have to keep waiting! When I was preparing the Cartographica article, I looked everywhere in the Bailey papers, and couldn't find any images of Priscilla.

UPDATE (11/15): An anonymous commenter alerted me to the existence of a portrait of Priscilla Brownrigg Bailey at FindaGrave. Here it is:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

61. Margaret Broadfoot Hooper (1801-1880)

Margaret Broadfoot of Fayetteville was at the Mordecai school for a long time--nine sessions, or four-and-a-half years, from mid-1810 to the end of 1814. Her father Andrew Broadfoot, born in Scotland, died in early 1810; her cousin and guardian William Broadfoot paid her tuition and attended examinations in place of a parent. She took music lessons at the school, and the ledger shows an atlas being purchased for her. Because she was with the family so long, the Mordecais kept track of her after she left school, and I already have a lot of the details from their letters and the letters of Lucy Plummer Battle. Margaret Broadfoot was among those who welcomed Rachel Mordecai Lazarus to Wilmington as a new bride in 1821. She married later that year herself, to a newspaper editor named James Hooper, in Fayetteville (she sent Rachel Lazarus a piece of her wedding cake, somehow), and in 1823 she had lost some weight and her "manners [were] more formed" when Rachel saw her. In 1826, she had moved back to Wilmington. She started her own "infant school" in 1831 when her husband's financial condition became "much embarrassed."

In 1845, she was a widow in Chapel Hill staying with a Miss Mallett (one of her husband's cousins married a Caroline Mallett); her old schoolmate Lucy Plummer Battle visited with her there, and reminisced about old school days:
"I called on Tuesday to see Mrs. James Hooper, who is an old schoolmate (Margaret Broadfoot). Of course she did not know me. But as soon as I told her who I was, she seemed very glad to see me. I invited her & Miss Mallett to take tea with me but they could not do so. From her I learned the wearabouts &c of several of my old friends. I enjoyed her society wonderfully." (Lucy Martin Plummer Battle to her husband William, 4 October 1845, Battle Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection)
But by the time of the 1850 census, Margaret was back in Fayetteville, listed as a 50-year-old widow with real estate worth over $10,000. She died in 1880.

The whole family seems to be buried together, which is helpful: Margaret Broadfoot Hooper's dates are 1801-1880; her mother's name is given as Hetty Coit or Hetty Mumford (1776-1820); James Hooper's dates (1797-1841) indicate that Margaret became a widow in 1841, at age 40. She seems not to have had any children.

Some extra items about Margaret's husband: James Hooper's grandfather was William Hooper, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence from North Carolina. His brother Thomas married another Mordecai alumna from Fayetteville, Eliza Donaldson, in 1825, but Eliza died within six months of the wedding. James Hooper's stepfather was Joseph Caldwell, the first president of UNC.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

59. and 60. Mildred and Sarah Britton

Two girls named Britton are on the roles of the Mordecai school. Mildred and Sarah are both listed as being from SW Laurel, VA, and both attended for three sessions, from the beginning of 1817 to the middle of 1818. The name William Britton is associated with their account. "Wm Britton" is paying for "daughters" in the January 1817 pages of the ledger; he's also shown making payments in June 1817, November 1817, January 1818, and June 1818.

There's a definite mention of Sarah Britton's wedding in an 1820 letter from Rachel Mordecai to her brother Solomon:
"If you feel inclined to laugh, look into the Enquirer of the 22d & you will find the marriage of Ellen Lady of the Lake, alias Sarah, daughter of William Britton esq, to, not Malcolm Graeme, but James fitzJames, alias Dr. Bouldin. Never did I imagine that Scott's beautiful lines could be so sadly misapplied, or could be made to appear so superlatively ridiculous."
(letter dated 24 February 1820, Jacob Mordecai Papers, Duke University)

From this passage, a reader will get a good sense of the tart way the Mordecais sometimes talked about their former students (not just poor Miss Britton). This was not, apparently, a beloved or admired young woman in their conversations. But it certainly gives solid leads about her adult life! In another letter, there's mention of a "Miss Britton" going to the Virginia Springs for her health in July 1817 (Ellen to Solomon, 24 July 1817, Mordecai Family Papers, Southern Historical Association).

From there, we have no trouble locating these sisters: Sarah and Mildred Britton both married Bouldin men, brothers: Sarah Barksdale Britton married Rev. Robert Ephraim Bouldin (1795-1881), and Mildred W. Britton married Stith (Seth?) Bouldin (1797-1867); and apparently the both married in 1820: Sarah in January and Mildred in July. (Mildred may not have lived long after she married; her husband had a second wife, one of Mildred's cousins, Lucy Pleasants.) A family bible belonging to Sarah's descendants gives her birth as 1802, and her death as 1884; and shows her having three daughters, Elizabeth (1825-?), Margaret (1833-1878), and Henrietta (Etta; 1835-1908).

So now, we see 14-year-old Sarah Barksdale Britton and her younger(?) sister Mildred, daughters of William Britton and the former Elizabeth "Betty" Thweatt of Virginia, arrived at the Mordecai school in January 1817. One of the girls left for health reasons in July, but returned to finish their three sessions there in mid-1818. Two years after they left school, 18-year-old Sarah and her sister Mildred had married brothers; Sarah had three daughters, while Mildred may have died young.

Why did the Mordecais have such a mocking tone about Sarah Britton in 1820? No idea; that's the kind of information that generally can't be teased out of genealogical data.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

58. Olivia Brickell

There was a student named Olivia Brickell on the rolls at the Mordecai school, for one year (1817). She was listed as being from "Washington," with a Slade Pearce attached to her name in the February 1817 ledger entry. (Not the child actor Slade Pearce, though I suspect the identical name may bring some traffic here from disappointed fans. Sorry kids! This Slade Pearce seems to have had a tin factory near the Bridge in Beaufort County, and had a noteworthy library too. He was also Beaufort County sheriff a few times between 1807 and 1817.)

An Olivia Ann Brickell was named in legal documents with a Mirina Brickell, and as a co-heir to Slade Pearce of some land in Beaufort County NC.

Also at Washington, Beaufort County, Olivia A. K. Brickell and William Ellison married in January 1829. She is described as the daughter of the late Mr. Benjamin Brickell. A Benjamin Brickell (1773-1812) was a member of the State Senate from 1809-1811, from Franklin County (closer to Raleigh than coastal Beaufort County). His sister Ann married Dr. Hill and lived in Warren County (where she was apparently friends with Caroline Mordecai Plunkett in the 1820s). But he's listed in a Brickell family Bible as having only one daughter, an oddly-named Benjamin Ann Brickell. (Perhaps that girl's name was changed after Mr. Brickell's death in 1812, but before she attended the Mordecai school in 1817?) This Benjamin Brickell also had a sister Marinia, b. 1777, who might be the Mirina in the documents mentioned above.

A William Ellison was the land entry officer for the County of Beaufort in 1820, and a county clerk in 1833. This Ellison family tree has Olivia Brickle married to William Ellison.

But still.... no firm story here. What was Slade Pearce's connection to the Brickells and Ellisons? How old was Olivia when her father died, when she went to school, when she got married in 1829? Was Olivia once "Benjamin Ann"? Feel like I'm looking at the right people but not finding anything much to put together about Olivia Brickell/Brickle Ellison(?).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

57. James G. S. Brehon, aka James Somerville

There was a student named James G. S. Brehon at the Mordecai school for one session, the second half of 1811. He was a local boy in Warrenton.

Wait, what? Yes, boys attended the Mordecai school. They were usually young local boys, probably filling seats when enrollment dipped, or sitting in with a sister.

James G. S. Brehon was apparently kin the town's Irish-born doctor, James Gloster Brehon (1740-1819; the Gloster in his name is a simplified spelling of "Gloucester"). Dr. Brehon was a trustee of the Warrenton Academy when it was founded in 1786, and donated the land for its building in 1805. (Jacob Mordecai had worked briefly as steward at the Warrenton Academy, before opening his own school.) But who was he, exactly? Well.... he seems to have been a nephew, James Somerville, who was not actually called by the name Brehon as a boy, except after 1819, when childless(?) widower Dr. Brehon required the name change in a will, for James to inherit land. (Solomon Mordecai to his sisters, 11 April 1819, letter in the Mordecai papers at Duke University)

This makes him a cousin to the Gloster children, Arthur and Elizabeth, who were also at the school (more on them when we get to the Gs). The existence of several Brehons and Glosters in Warrenton, including the name-changing nephew, leads to some confusion in local histories.

A letter by Ellen Mordecai written in 1820 intimated that James was a heavy drinker (of his grandfather's whiskey, left to him as part of his inheritance), and " it is generally thought he will become deranged." But he seems to have become a doctor, married and become the father of a daughter, Rebecca Brehon (Mrs. Thomas Crossan).

Monday, January 3, 2011

55. and 56. Ann Elizabeth and Maria Brander

Two students named Brander attended the Mordecai school. Ann Elizabeth Brander was at the school from mid-1815 to the end of 1816 (so, three sessions); Maria Brander was there for both 1816 sessions. Both girls have James (or J.) Brander listed as the adult on their account. The Branders might have been from the Richmond area, according to this sentence in a Mordecai family letter:

"This will go to Richmond by a Mr. Brander, who with a Mr. Bott of Manchester is to be out in a few days, each with un petite fille."--Rachel Mordecai to her brother Samuel, 12 June 1815 (Mordecai Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Chapel Hill NC)

James Brander appears in the school ledger for June 1815 (paying for "Ann Eliza"), and again in November 1815, January 1816 (paying for Ann Eliza and Maria, "board & musick"), June 1816, and November 1816.

Genealogical websites
pretty quickly show Ann Elizabeth Brander (1800-1826), daughter of James Brander (1760-1829), a Scotsman by birth, and Elizabeth T. Harrison, born at Manchester, Chesterfield County, Virginia.* She was the fifth of twelve children born to her parents, and was apparently sent to the Mordecai school shortly after the birth of the twelfth child, her sister Mary Catherine. She only lived to be 26; no indication that she married or had any children. (Her older brother Alexander named his daughter Ann Elizabeth Brander in 1842, probably in her memory.) But here's the surprise: Ann Elizabeth didn't have any siblings named Maria. So... Maria Brander might have been a cousin?

Yes. Found references to a Maria Brander Moore Robertson (1803-1873), daughter of John Brander (also of Scotland) and Martha Field Robertson. She married John Thomson Robertson Sr. (1801-1882, maybe her cousin?) in 1823, at Petersburg VA, and they had six children together, between 1823 and 1841. (She may have had a brief marriage before this one, to account for the Moore in her name.) During the Civil War, one of her daughters, Lelia, died in childbirth (in 1863), her son Stanhope was in the 12th Virginia Infantry, CSA; her son Archibald was a young physician who died from typhoid in 1864. (Another son, James, had died in 1847, age 24; and an newborn infant, Maria, died in 1841.)

So it looks like two Scottish brothers, John and James Brander, both lived in the Richmond/Petersburg neighborhood; James brought his 15-year-old daughter Ann Eliza to the Mordecai school in 1815, then after one session she was joined by her 13-year-old cousin Maria.

*Today in Chesterfield County, Virginia, you can find streets named Branders Creek and Branders Bridge.