Saturday, August 22, 2015

Seeing the Patterns in the Gibson, Graves and Tyler Families

Whenever a brick wall forms I look outside the box. I use all my resources and look for patterns. These patterns may be subtle but its a starting point for my theory. I test each theory out and if it doesn't work, I go back and test another. So far this is what works for me.

A few months ago I discovered an error in the Gibson family tree and I decided on revisiting that branch. My 2x great-grandfather Daniel Gibson (1825-1917) was the primary focus.

I have his death certificate from Orangeburg that had an actual birth date of March 25, 1825. I found that to be rare during that time period for African-Americans. This death certificate had the names of his parents, Daniel and Mariah on it. What is interesting is that my great-grandfather Moses Gibson b. 1879 was named the undertaker. I guess he took responsibility for burying his father at Macedonia Church cemetery. Moses was the youngest male son of Daniel and his 2nd wife Judy Salley. Moses was the only son I found living in Orangeburg during the early 1900s. He probably took care of his father till his death.

So you would think everything is fine and perfect in the Gibson family tree, right? Well something is WRONG.

I found the death certificate of Daniel's eldest daughter, Ellen Gibson-Hampton. She lived next door to Daniel in Union, Orangeburg when the census was taken in 1880.

Her 1927 death certificate also stated that her parents were Daniel and Maria Gibson. They cannot be the same people! There is a 28 year age difference between births. I seriously doubt if she was Daniel's sister. Unfortunately the 1870 census completely missed this part of Orangeburg again (Why must you make it so difficult for me census-takers?).

So now I had to think outside the box to get answers. Perhaps Daniel was not born in Orangeburg? Was he a Gibson?

I went to the 1860 census and noticed a pattern.

In the 1860 Slave Schedule for St. James Goose Creek, Charleston, SC the name Moses Gibson came up. Moses Gibson owned one 35 year old male enslaved person. Could this be my Daniel? The age is exact to 1825. Did Daniel name his youngest son after a former slaveowner? It seems very likely. Moses Gibson was employed as the Overseer to BrickHope plantation for Charles W. Graves. I am also a Graves! Moses must have purchased Daniel from the Graves family.

This is where St. James Goose Creek is on the map. Orangeburg is northwest of Charleston.

BrickHope plantation is now a housing development. The land where my ancestors lived, worked and died. I bet the current residents have no idea about its history.

So I left the census records and dug into the SC archives. Charles W. Graves was the grandson of Charles Graves and Ann Toomer. When Charles Graves died in 1840, he left his plantation to his two grandsons Charles W. and A. Duncan Graves. On April 6, 1847 the Graves brothers purchased tools, furniture and 73 slaves from the estate of their grandfather.

The highlighted names include Daniel (my 2x great-grandfather), Mary (quite possibly Maria his mother or Maria II his first wife), and Tenah. Tenah is my 3x great-grandmother Teener Graves.

Teener b. 1830 was the wife of David Graves b. 1830. Dave and Teener settled in Willow, Orangeburg after the Civil War and raised six children named Lewezer, Chloe, Dave Jr., Jerry, Betty and Cornelius. Lewezer Graves b. 1868 is my 2x great-grandmother. Thanks to all the census taker misspellings, I completely overlooked that Teener is actually Tenah/Tina and Lewezer is actually Louisa.

In 1891 Louisa married my 2x-great-grandfather William Landy Tyler b. 1861 in Orangeburg. They had 12 children including Jerry Tyler (named after his uncle Jerry Graves) and my great-grandmother Tenell Tyler b. 1891. Tenell was the 2nd wife of my great-grandfather Moses Gibson.

So now we have come full circle. By noticing common names passed through several generations, I was able to piece together the relationships in 3 branches of my family tree without the help of the 1870 census. I confirmed that Daniel was first a Graves before he was a Gibson. Hopefully I will be able to confirm Daniel's parents one day.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Re-Growing A Once Lost Branch - Judie Gibson's Family

My mother has the green thumb in our family. She has a knack for growing vegetables and plants. From her, I must have acquired a skill for re-growing lost family branches.

Recently, I told the story of my great-great grandmother Judie Gibson and the multiple maiden names I found for her on several of her children's death certificates. I initially thought she was the daughter of a Walker as stated on my great-grandfather Moses Gibson Sr.'s death record. After reviewing death certificates of Moses' sisters and analyzing my DNA matches, I have confirmed that Judie's maiden name was SALLEY.

I have one 3rd to 6th African-American cousin with a common Salley surname on that has yet to respond. I also found 3 matches to Salley ancestors from Orangeburg in my DNA cousins list on I have a match to a 4th to 6th African-American cousin named Moaddar who is a direct descendant of Garvin Salley. This is where Captain Obvious swoops in and opens my eyes. In the 1880 Union Township, Orangeburg, SC census Garvin Salley b. 1846, his wife Rachel Salley, children and his mother (circled in green) were next door neighbors of Daniel Gibson, his wife Judie and their children (circled in red). RIGHT NEXT DOOR! How blind could I be?

Moaddar and I share the same 3X great-grandmother Lydia (Liddie) Salley. I also found the 1918 death certificate of Logan Salley b. 1860 who was the son of Dennis and Lydia Salley from Orangeburg. Logan was Garvin and Judie's brother.

I found a Judie Gibson (misspelled Julie) in Macon, Alabama during the 1910 census. This Judie was a mulatto born in SC with two children, Ernest and Jemima Walker! Judie had six living children.

That meant that my Judie left her husband and children for another man. She never divorced Daniel Gibson. There was a huge age difference (20 years) between them. Could he have been abusive? Did she feel trapped in a loveless marriage? Or was she seduced away? Those answers will remain lost in time unless I find some Gibson relatives that might know what really happened.

Judie had at least 2 children (Ernest and Jemima Walker) out of wedlock with someone who died before 1910. That man might have been Daniel Walker that lived near her in 1880 (circled in blue). As confirmed on their death certificates, the other 4 children of Judie were Martha Gibson-Cleckley, Moses Gibson Sr. (my great-grandfather), LouAnna Gibson-Huggins and Florence Gibson-Minnegan.

Daniel Gibson must have been married before. Daniel Gibson Jr., Henry Gibson, William Gibson, Ellen Gibson-Shields and JoAnna Gibson-Salley were the children of Maria Gibson. When Judie left, I guess the elder children raised their younger siblings. Finding out what Maria's maiden name was is a task for another day.

Now here is where the Salley DNA reveals what I feared. I also match to two DNA cousins whose mutual ancestor was Henry Salley Sr. (1690-1765) of Orangeburg. Henry was originally from Basel, Switzerland. The town of Salley in Aiken, SC was named after this family. The home of the world famous Chitlin Strut!! I don't even WANT to see that! LOL

That means Judie was a mulatto. Was Dennis Salley white or mulatto? I haven't found a trace of him yet. There is the strong possibility that Lydia was raped by a member of the slave-owner's household. Famed historian Alexander S. Salley Jr. wrote about "Plantation Mistresses" jn his book, The History of Orangeburg County, but never mentioned any by name that his family secretly were involved with.

I found the name Garvin Salley to be unique so I started digging some more.

On November 5, 1792 Patrick Shea registered 1,000 acres of land in Orangeburg adjoining land on Holmes Camp Branch owned by Robert Garvin Sr. (1766-1836) and John Salley (1740-1794).

Therefore the early Garvin and Salley families were neighbors. The Garvins came from Belfast, Ireland to Charles Town, SC around 1780. I have one DNA cousin that is a 5th to 8th generation match with the Garvin family. Her ancestor was James Garvin (1791-1878) from Orangeburg. She didn't provide any Salley connections in her tree. Unfortunately, I cannot determine if the families married into each other prior to 1845.

On March 25, 1853 John A. Salley registered 30 acres of land in Orangeburg along the South Edisto River that was surveyed by Robert Garvin, Jr.

Then I checked the 1860 Orangeburg census Slave Schedules for the Garvin and Salley surnames. Here is what I found:

  • John A. Salley (1797-1870) owned 38 slaves in 1860. He was the largest slave-owner of the Salley family. A few acres away lived his nephew Howell.
  • Howell A. Salley (1835-1912) owned 5 slaves in the 1860 Orangeburg census. Howell's plantation was located near John Garvin's plantation. 
  • John Garvin owned 14 slaves.  James Garvin owned 7 slaves and Daniel Garvin owned one slave. 
  • Howell's brother, Jacob Salley (1829-1895), owned 10 slaves. S.M. Salley owned 8 slaves. None of them had mulatto slaves.
  • Henry F. Salley owned 13 slaves in 1860 including a 7 year old mulatto boy. 
  • Howell A., Jacob and Henry F. Salley were sons of Howell Jones Salley (1799-1875) and Frances Ann Walker (1803-1890). She was the daughter of John Walker and Catherine Felder.
  • John A. Salley and Howell J. Salley were sons of Jacob Salley (1769-1825) and Elizabeth Corbitt (1774-1830). Jacob was the son of John Salley (1740-1794) and Mary K. Wright (1745-1800). John was the son of Henry Salley Sr. from Switzerland mentioned before.
  • Donald D. Salley (1816-1903) owned 5 slaves in 1850 Orangeburg and none in 1860. Donald later lived in Union, Orangeburg after 1870. Donald was the son of George Salley (1788-1828), grandson of John Salley and great-grandson of Henry Salley Sr.

My DNA matches on AncestryDNA come through Henry Salley Jr. (1723-1804), John's brother. None of the Garvins and Salleys listed above had a female mulatto that fit Judie's description. I do know that the white Salley and Walker families were related through marriage. Could some of the slaves been transferred to each other through a marriage bond? I have not figured that out yet.

Another day, another search. At least, I was able to get Judie's maiden name and grow that branch one more generation. For that, I am grateful.