Sunday, July 31, 2016

Annoying Ancestors: Rebecca Horton

This month's Genealogy Blog Party is to "bring your most aggravating ancestor to our summer pool party and PUSH HIM (or HER) into the pool!"

My most aggravating usually would depend on what line I'm trying to research at any given moment, and this weekend it was back to the Horton clan from east Tennessee. After reviewing all of my notes and trying to get around scarce records, Rebecca Horton wins. And for good measure, I'll push her sister, Elizabeth Horton, in with her.

I can easily document my way back to my 3rd great-grandfather, Richard D. Horton, born about 1832 in Tennessee. In 1850 he is 19 years old, living with Rebecca Horton, age 47. The household is listed as:
  • Rebecca Horton, 47, b TN
  • America Horton, 26, b TN
  • Richard D, 19, b TN
  • Lucy F, 9, b TN
  • Zachariah T, 3, b TN

When I first got this far back, I made the assumption that Rebecca Horton was widowed by 1850, and looked for a marriage record to any Horton groom marrying someone named Rebecca in the late 1810's to early 1820's in east Tennessee. I could find no such record.

Eventually, I realized that Rebecca Horton was likely never married, and the same applies to her sister, Elizabeth. Here's what I do know about them:

  • In 1815, Rebecca Scior Horton and Elizabeth Horton are named as heirs to William Horton, their father. Fanny Horton is named their guardian. Earlier court documents indicate that William had died by 1812, and name Fanny as William's widow.
Court order naming Fanny Horton guardian for Rebecca & Betsy

          • In 1830, Fanny is enumerated on the Anderson County, Tennessee census:

            Male, age 5-9 2

            Male, 10-14 1

            Female, under 5 2

            Female, 5-9 2

            Female, 10-14 1

            Female, 20-29 2 (probably Elizabeth & Rebecca)
            Female, 60-69 1 (probably Fanny)
          • Note that given her age, the younger children in the household are unlikely to be Fanny's. Rebecca and Elizabeth are the likely the parents, but there are no men over 14 in the household.

          • In 1832, Rebecca and Elizabeth jointly purchase land in Anderson County, Tennessee
          Land purchase by Rebecca & Elizabeth Horton, 1832

          • Rebecca and Elizabeth appear on the tax rolls for 1837, 1838 and 1839

          • Fanny is not enumerated in the 1840 census, and Rebecca and Elizabeth are enumerated in their own households.

          • Rebecca is aged 30-39, and has a male the same age range in the household. There are also four children, with ages ranging from 5-19.

          • Elizabeth is also 30-39, has no adult males in the household, and has five children in all age brackets through 19 years old.

          • In 1850, Elizabeth is enumerated in Roane County with Henry & Elizabeth Liggett. I have not yet been able to determine if there is a family relationship or not.

          • I have not found Rebecca or Elizabeth in the 1860 census.
          It appears that both Rebecca and Elizabeth defied traditional norms, having several children each without ever getting married. And of course, they lived and died before vital records were recorded in Tennessee. Richard D., my direct ancestor, is the only child that I can trace with any certainty after 1860, and he died in Kentucky before that state began keeping vital records.

          I have the rare case of identifying a likely FEMALE relative (mother), but no way to determine who the father is.

          So, for leaving me with so many questions that can probably never be answered, including the identity of Richard's father, to both Rebecca and Elizabeth Horton ... SPLASH! Into the pool you go!

          Saturday, July 2, 2016

          A Fresh Look at a Pension Record

          One of my ancestors, William Cail, received a Revolutionary War pension. He enlisted in the North Carolina line in 1782, and applied for a pension from Georgia in 1833. William died in 1836. His widow, Ruth Cail, applied for a pension in 1855.

          I had not looked at this pension record in over ten years, so I decided to take a look at it again this morning to see if I could establish a FAN club for further research.

          "New" information about William Cail

          • Alternate spelling: Cayle
          • William was 15 when he entered the service in 1782 (inferred date of birth - 1767)
          • His original application was filed in Bulloch County, where he resided in 1833 
          • William received 1000 acres of land in 1782 while in North Carolina. Warrant No. 892. In 1855, no record of his receiving land was found by state of North Carolina

          Ruth Cail

          • Her pension funds were sent to Planters Bank in Savannah
          • Received 160 acres of bounty land
          • Resident of Screven County in 1853
          • Dropped from pension roll in 1862. Re-applied in 1869. Had to prove under oath that she did not "in any matter encourage those who took up hostilities against the United States government nor manifest a sympathy with their cause"
          • Residence in 1869 was 11 miles from Sylvania, near the Central Railroad

          FAN Club

          • Budd Cayle, signed as witness to William's application
          • James Parker, witness for pension application. Stated he grew up in the same neighborhood as William. (Could narrow down WHERE in Dobbs County the Cail family lived)
          • Robert Donaldson and Hugh Brannan, provided character witness. Both were clergy, "Ministers of the Gospel." William and Ruth may have attended their church.
          • Parker Cail, witness
          • Mr. Thomas was a witness. Knew William well during the Revolution. Mr. Thomas received a pension as well.
          • John Mincey served as witness and provided testimony for both William and Ruth. Neighbor for over 20 years. Present at their wedding ceremony. Aged 74 in 1855.
          • John Jeffers knew William and Ruth for over 20 years. Also a neighbor.
          • William Williams, provided testimony for Ruth's application
          • Wright Caile, identified as neighbor in Ruth's application
          • P.M. Brinsen (P. McBrinson?), provided testimony for Ruth's bounty land application
          • William L. Matthews, witness in 1869 application, providing testimony that Ruth did not support the South
          • Lemuel Parker, also provided testimony that Ruth did not support the South
          • David Burk, witness in 1869 application
          • James Newton, witness in 1869 application
          Research Plan
          • Research Bud Cail, Parker Cail, and Wright Cail. Based on information from other documents, I believe Bud Cail is William's brother. Are there other sources to support that theory? How were Parker and Wright related to William?
          • Determine place of origin, parents, and siblings for John Mincey. Was he related to the Cail family? 
          • Determine place of origin, parents, and siblings for James Parker
          • Determine place of origin, parents, and siblings for Lemuel Parker
          • How were James Parker and Lemuel Parker related to each other? To the Cail family?
          • Determine what church Robert Donaldson and Hugh Brannan pastored. Were William and Ruth members of this church? Did they live in the same neighborhood? Who else from the FAN club attended the church?
          • Determine which "Mr. Thomas" served in the same unit as William in the Revolution. Examine his pension record.
          • Research other FAN club members: John Jeffers, William Williams, P. Brinson, William Matthews, David Burk, James Newton.