Thursday, January 29, 2015

Who was Nancy Young?

My direct Young branch has been the hardest to trace accurately. I was lucky enough to discover that my ancestors were free prior to the Civil War. My 2x great-grandparents, Robert and Nancy Young along with their children were free persons of color (FPOC) in the 1860 Four Mile Township of Barnwell County, South Carolina census.

The Young Household of 1860
Robert Young b. 1820 a free mulatto who was a farm laborer.
Nancy Young b. 1830 his mulatto wife.
Loreander Young b. 1847 their mulatto daughter.
John Young b. 1852 their mulatto daughter.
Louisa Georgianna Young b. 1856 their mulatto daughter.
James Nunnus b. 1841 a free mulatto farm laborer who was a tenant in the Young household. He was actually James Nunez from Burke Co., GA. James married Louisa in 1880. Read about him HERE.

Robert and Nancy had two more sons named Robert Young Jr. b. 1845 and Alfred Young b. 1860. I guess Nancy was pregnant during this census period. Alfred was my great-grandfather.

The Young family lived most of their lives in Barnwell but moved to St. Peter's Parish in Beaufort, SC after the Civil War. After the Battle of Port Royal Sound in 1861, most of the white landowners fled Beaufort and never returned after the war. The US Treasury was able to sell the abandoned land at a low price for non-payment of taxes. Former slaves who had struggled all their lives on plantations were now able to own their own land. Beaufort saw an immediate increase in their African-American population. It was far easier for them to purchase land there than anywhere else in the state. By controlling their own land and crops, they avoided getting ripped off by tenant farmers.

I found Robert Young's 1868 voter registration for Beaufort (sorry it's not a clear pic). I found this on the Low Country Africana website. It's things like this that make me get up and vote in November every year even if it is a primary election or not.

In the 1870 census the family lived in Hardeeville, St. Peter's Parish, Beaufort, SC. Robert Young Jr., his wife Elizabeth Young b. 1850 and their daughter Rebecca Young b. 1869 lived a few houses away from Robert Young Sr.

Unfortunately, Nancy died of typhus fever in March 1870 at the age of 40. It was a slow, painful death. The records of that time period were not detailed like the death certificates we have now.

The only death certificate I was able to find of her children was Robert Young Jr. He died on October 6, 1939 in Lee, SC of old age. The death certificate did not include Nancy's maiden name.

For years I tried to find out who her parents were. I had made several assumptions that were eventually proven wrong. Its been very frustrating at times but luckily my AncestryDNA test came through again!

I recently found two 3rd-4th cousins that popped up recently on my DNA Results tab. Of course their trees were not up to date! So after several months of comparing notes and doing the research, I figured out they were descendants of Simon Hankerson b. 1790 and Mary Floyd Hankerson b. 1815. In the 1860 census, the Hankerson family lived seven houses away from my Young family!

So problem solved! Nancy was a Hankerson, right? WRONG. I explored that possibility with a direct descendant of the Hankerson family several years ago. In order to gain his freedom, a black slave named Simon, owned by Richard Hankerson, married Mary Floyd. Mary was a free person of color (FPOC) and a Mulatto. Simon married Mary in 1838. The first of their ten children, Simon Hankerson Jr., was born in 1840.  Simon was previously married to a black female and had several children. None of whom were Mulattos. The Hankerson descendants have kept very detailed records on their family and a lot of documents are available online. I was extremely grateful for their support.

Could Nancy Young and Mary Hankerson be sisters?  This is what I found out about the Floyds of Barnwell.

In the 1830 Barnwell census, John G. Floyd, aged between 30-39, was a white male head of a household of 9. It looks like he had 1 male slave. Was his wife and children passing for white when they were really mulattos?

In the 1840 Barnwell census, Elizabeth Floyd, aged between 55-99 was a FPOC with 3 males in her household (1 aged between 10-24 and 2 aged between 24-36). She lived next door to Alexander Young and his family. Alexander was white and had no slaves in 1840. Two other FPOC families of Sarah Chism (Chisholm) and Sarah Chavous (Chavis) were also neighbors. Since Mary married Simon in 1838 it made sense that she wouldn't show up on the census in the Floyd household. It doesn't explain where Nancy was, if she was actually a Floyd.

In the 1850 Barnwell census, Henry Floyd b. 1804 was a FPOC with his wife Tamar Floyd b. 1815, daughter Patsy Floyd b. 1836 and an unnamed infant girl. Henry lived next door to his brothers Albert Floyd b. 1825 and his wife Sally Floyd b. 1832. Another brother Allen Floyd b. 1819 lived alone next door. Allen married Judith Philpot b. 1825 that same year. Based on those age ranges in the 1840 census, the 3 males must have been Henry, Allen and Albert. These three men were Mulattos. A November 9, 1887 court case also proved the relationship between Henry, Mary and Allen. Albert might have died prior to that date and was not mentioned.

In the 1869 Militia Records for Four Mile Township, Barnwell I found 3 colored men enrolled named Alfred Floyd b. 1824, Captain Floyd b. 1832 and Matthew Floyd b. 1837. These 3 men were black. Of course the name Alfred Floyd made me wonder if Nancy Young named my great-grandfather after him?

It seems like every family in the area was related. The Hankersons and Floyds have a connection to the Bush family. The Bush name also popped up in my DNA cousins' trees. Please Lord don't let me be related to HIM! Luckily, his name did not come up on my list in 23andMe of famous people in my haplogroup, but hey you never know who you might be related to these days.

I also found an Alfred Walker b.1832 in Four Mile 1870-80 censuses that was also named in my DNA cousins' trees. There goes that name Alfred again! What is interesting is that Alfred Walker was a mulatto. He was employed as a carpenter too. My ancestors on the Young side had carpenters in the family during this same time period. Alfred was married to Margaret Rebecca Clary and had 7 children together. Alfred died in Barnwell about 1907 at the age of 75.

The surname Walker appears on my mother's side from Charleston. That is a coincidence since they were FPOCs from Virginia that moved to SC. I couldn't find a connection based on the records I have for those set of Walkers. Not to worry, I will blog about them very soon!

My last theory is the one I thought was most plausible. Nancy could have been the daughter of Nero and Nancy Hancock. Nero Hancock was born in 1780 at George Galphin's Silver Bluff Plantation, Aiken, SC. Nero and his brother Prince were sold away from their parents in 1781. Nero received his freedom after 1800 and relocated to Burke County, Georgia approximately 10 to 12 miles from Silver Bluff Plantation. 

Nero took the surname of Hancock. Nero was head of a Waynesboro, Burke Co., GA (30 miles outside of Augusta) household of 4 in the 1820 census. Nero Hancock and wife Nancy were listed as planter and housewife in the April 30, 1820 Augusta Chronicle article registering Free Persons of Color. Nero and his wife Nancy Byng were in the 1830 District 66 census with an unnamed child (possibly my Nancy). The couple were listed in the 1850 (the maiden name of Byng was recorded for Nancy that year) and 1860 censuses (They were named Nescoe and Nancy Hancock residing in 1860 Gordon’s District, Burke Co., GA). The Hancock family lived next door to the FPOC Nunez family. And as you can see in the 1830 census, the Hancocks also lived next to the FPOC households of Allen Young and Jesse Young. As you can see, these Youngs are another mystery to crack when I discuss Robert again.

I do have a DNA match to a Bing descendant who's ancestors were William Bing b. 1818 and Frances Galphin b. 1820 also from Barnwell. I haven't found anyone with Hancock or Galphin/Golfin surnames in my DNA matches either. 
So there you have it, so many possibilities but no clear winner. If DNA doesn't lie, then it sure isn't making it easy to find out the truth. I hope someone can show me the right path.
Because I have NO CLUE!