Wednesday, December 7, 2016

163, 164. Eliza and Harriet Field (and maybe 165. Another Eliza Field?)

Two students named Field are in the rolls of the Mordecai school, both from Mecklenburg, Virginia, both among the first students when the school opened in 1809. Eliza Field and Harriet Field were both at the school for six sessions, on and off between 1809 and 1813 for Harriet, 1814 for Eliza.

These might be Harriet and Eliza Field, the daughters of judge Hume Riggs Field (1772-1831) and his first wife Millicine (or Mildred) Young Field (1782-1827), of Mecklenburg Virginia.  The dates might not work out, though: Harriet H. Field was born in 1800--so she was nine the year the school opened, that makes sense. Eliza, however, was younger--born in 1806--maybe too much younger to be a Mordecai student in 1809.

If Harriet's sister Eliza was the Eliza Field at the Mordecai school in 1809, she would have been three years old, and the youngest known student. So I suspect she was the Eliza who attended after 1812; but a different Eliza Field, maybe a cousin, might have been there in 1809 and early 1810. The name isn't so unusual, anyway. Assuming the daughters of Hume and Millicine Field attended the Mordecai school...

Harriet H. Field (1800-1850) married Charles Perkins in about 1821, and they had at least one child, Marietta. She was widowed around 1828, and died in Tennessee in 1850, aged 50 years.

Eliza Mildred Field (1806-?) married Charles Perkins' brother, Constantine Perkins (1792-1836) in about 1824, and they had at least three children, Constantine, Ann Eliza, and Virginia in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Her husband served in the Alabama legislature, and as the state's attorney general.

Friday, November 18, 2016

162. Eliza Geddy Fenner Vaulx (1799-1845)

There's a student in the rolls of the Mordecai school named Eliza Fenner. She was at the school for a year, two sessions, mid-1810 to mid-1811. That's all I've got. But it turns she's not hard to find with just that bare minimum of detail.

Eliza Geddy Fenner, the daughter of Dr. Richard Fenner (1758-1828), and his wife Ann McKinnie Geddy Fenner (1769-1852). Fenner was the first president of the North Carolina Medical Society. Eliza Geddy Fenner was born in Franklin County, North Carolina, in 1799, which would make her exactly the right age, class, and location for a child at the Mordecai school in 1810.

Eliza Geddy Fenner married James Vaulx (1783-1862).  They had four daughters and a son; two of the daughters died in childhood. They moved to Tennessee, where Eliza is buried (here's her Find a Grave site).  Her son James Junius Vaulx became an Episcopal clergyman in Arkansas and briefly in West Palm Beach, Florida.

And Eliza Geddy Fenner Vaulx was apparently the great-great-grandmother of Arizona senator John McCain, through her granddaughter Katherine Davey Vaulx McCain (1878-1959).

Monday, May 16, 2016

161. Elizabeth Margaret Felder Pou (1806-1853)

There was a student named Eliza Margaret Felder in the rolls of the Mordecai school.  She attended from mid-1816 to mid-1817, and she was from South Carolina. The adult on her account was John Felder.

An Elizabeth Margaret Felder turns up pretty quickly in googling; she was born in 1806 in Orangeburg SC, which would make her age 10 and 11 while she was at the Mordecai school--seems like a perfect fit.  Her parents were Samuel Felder and Ann Horger, first cousins, both of them born in South Carolina.  Eliza's grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Switzerland and Germany. Samuel died in 1813, so the John Felder on her account was likely her older half-brother John Myers Felder (1782-1851). While Eliza was in school, John Myers Felder was serving in the South Carolina Senate.

She married lawyer Joseph Pou (1805-1888; the name was pronounced like "Pew") in 1827, and they had about seven children, two daughters and five sons. She died in Talbotton GA, in 1853, age 47.  Here's her tombstone in the Talbotton City Cemetery.  Her husband remarried.

Eliza's grandson, Edward William Pou (1863-1934), was a longtime member of Congress, serving continuously from 1901 to 1934. Another grandson, James Hinton Pou (1861-1935) served in the North Carolina legislature.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

159 and 160. Susanna (Suky) and Wilmouth Fawn

This month's entry brings us a hard truth about schools in the Early Republic. Even among the most privileged classes, child mortality was a fact of life, and running a school sometimes meant facing a student's death.

There are two students with the surname Fawn in my rolls of the Mordecai school. Suky Fawn (or "Sucky", as I have it transcribed) and Wilmot Fawn. Both were enrolled for only one session (the second half of 1812), and both have a Captain Fawn as the adult name on the account. Suky Fawn died at the school in August 1812.

We'll get to Suky in a minute, but .... Wilmot? I have that student marked as male in my dissertation, because, well, it sounded like a male name. I must not have found any other reason to think that, because (as it turns out) "Wilmot" was Wilmoth L. Fawn (b. 1795 in Franklin NC), daughter of Capt. William Fawn* (1768-1809) (a Revolutionary War veteran) and his wife Elizabeth Harrison (1759-1847) of Franklin, NC. Wilmouth Fawn married Samuel Aaron Devaney (1779-1857) in 1818. Wilmoth Fawn Devaney had at least ten children, all born in North Carolina between 1819 and 1829, except one son, Ellis, who is shown as being born in 1843 (when Wilmoth was 47).  Of her sons, Frank Devaney was a Civil War veteran (CSA), who lived till 1925 in Oregon.  Wilmoth Fawn Devaney died in Roane County, Tennessee in 1854, age 58. (Her name is found, variously, as Wilmouth, Wilmuth, even Wilmarth.)

And Wilmouth's younger sister Susanna Fawn (b. 1799) must have been our unfortunate "Suky". "The death of Miss Fawn must also have been a severe shock," wrote Samuel Mordecai to his sister Rachel in September 1812, "for I can well imagine how it affected you all." (Mordecai Family Papers at the Southern Historical Collection).

*A different (but possibly related) "Capt. Fawn" of Norfolk VA seems to have been the uncle of student Eliza Armistead; but he died in 1818, according to a letter from Rachel Mordecai to her sister Ellen (8 February 1818, Southern Historical Collection.