Wednesday, July 3, 2013

118, 119, 120, 121, 122: The Dancys (Agnes, Frances, Martha, Nelly, Sally)

Five students named Dancy appear in my rolls for the Mordecai school:

Agnes Dancy was at the school for one year, 1813, with "Fr. L. Dancy" listed as her guardian.

Frances Dancy was at the school for one year, 1818, with "Col. Dancy" as the adult on her account.  She may have been from Warrenton.

Martha Dancy was at the school for two years, 1817-1818, and has Col. David Dancy listed as her adult.

Nelly Dancy was at the school for two years, 1813-1814, and has William Dancy as the adult on her account.

Sally Dancy was at the school for two years, 1817-1818, and has Col. David Dancy listed as her adult.

Okay, looks like we have some cousins here... There's mention of William Dancy paying tuition for Nelly Dancy (and Miss Hoskins) in the school ledger for April 1813; for November 1813; for April 1814; and in November 1814.  Col. David Dancy is listed as making payments in 1817, and the notation "Col David Dancy, pd him for negro Grace & children, 750, and for Rosina, 400" (January 1818) makes clear that his connection to the Mordecais was more involved than the usual parent's.  Colonel Dancy was building a new chimney in time for the school examinations in November 1817, expecting an influx of visitors perhaps (2 November 1817, Rachel to Ellen, Mordecai Family Papers at UNC).  Seems pretty clear that Col. David Dancy was a local man in Warrenton.

After the school years, there are several mentions of the Col. Dancy family moving to Alabama ("he says the Col is pleased with the country & is going on very prosperously," notes Rachel in a letter to her father, dated 30 May 1824, Jacob Mordecai Papers at Duke); and there's Martha Dancy marrying a Dr. Bibb in 1831 (Caroline to Ellen, 27 September 1831, Jacob Mordecai Papers at Duke).

So that's a good bit to work with.  Let's crank up the search engines... Some tidbits pop to the top of the results:

Col. David Dancy owned Timoleon, a race horse famous enough to have his own wikipedia entry. 

Col. Francis Littlebury Dancy (1806-1890), originally from Edgecombe County, NC, West Point graduate, was mayor of St. Augustine, Florida, in the 1830s, and developed the Dancy Tangerine (among his many other achievements).  But this man was only seven years old when Agnes Dancy was enrolled at the Mordecai school, so he's probably not the "Fr. L. Dancy" who was listed as her guardian.

Hmmm.  Beyond this, I'm hitting brick walls.  There were a LOT of Dancys in and around North Carolina in the 1810s.  I'll keep working on this one.

UPDATE 8/13/13:  A reader has sent me this following email, identifying all five Dancy girls.  Wow!  Thank you!

These five Dancy girls come from three different families.

Agnes Dancy was the daughter of John Dancy of Edgecombe County, who died Dec. 31, 1798.  His wife Nancy Dancy (whose maiden name is said to have been Exum) died in Edgecombe in 1804, leaving five children.  The Francis L. Dancy who paid her tuition was her uncle.   There is no further information about her after 1821, when she received a share of deceased father’s estate.

Nelly Dancy was the only child of William Dancy and wife Lucy Northern of Edgecombe County, and was a first-cousin to Agnes Dancy.  According to available census records, she was born in 1799, and had married William E. Bellamy by 1827.  She died testate in Edgecombe County in 1881.  She left issue: Napoleon Bonaparte Bellamy (married Mary Johanna Jones of Raleigh), Mary E. Bellamy (died unmarried), William E. Bellamy, Jr. (married Mary Louisa Howell), Frances Della Bellamy (married first Willis Weathersbee, second William F. Watson, third Benjamin J. Norcum), and Laura E. Bellamy (married William Jesse Etheridge). 

Frances Dancy, Martha Dancy, and Sally Dancy were most likely the daughters of Col. David M. Dancy, who was originally from Northampton County, NC, and was distantly related to the Dancy family of Edgecombe County.  By 1800, Col. Dancy had moved to Warren County, where he married Fanny Wood in 1806.  This family later moved to Madison County, Alabama.

Sarah R. Dancy married James G. Turner in 1826 in Madison County, Alabama.  Her sister Martha H. Dancy married Dr. Joseph Wyatt Bibb in 1825, also in Madison County.  In “Early Settlers of Alabama, Vol. I” Martha Dancy is described as “the accomplished belle of North Alabama.”  There is no further information on Frances Dancy.

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