Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Brick Wall is Really Made of Stone! Pt II

The infamous "brick wall" is a genealogist's nightmare. We have all been to the point where our research has reached a dead end. My "theoretical" brick wall is that my Livingston ancestors were not found in documents prior to 1866.  However, I recently found out what my brick wall is composed of in real life. That information helped me break through the wall and locate my ancestors in 1850.

Since my 3rd great-granduncle Boston Livingston (1817-1880) died in an accident involving gravel, I did a Google search of stone quarries in Orangeburg during the 1800s. I found a place that tied to Boston Livingston called White Hill Plantation. White Hill was located in St. Matthews Parish, Orangeburg County, South Carolina. The original plantation lands were located about six miles from the city of Orangeburg off US Route 601, right before the Calhoun County line. Near or on the property was a hot spring called Huffman or Hoffman Springs. The Springs were more or less in the right general area, just east of the intersection of I-26 and Belleville Road. It was a small fairly deep clear pool and you could see the water boiling up through the sandy bottom. The construction of I-26 highway may have destroyed it. St. Matthews Parish is now the seat of government of Calhoun County.

The South Carolina Plantations website had the following facts about White Hill and its owners:
  • 1799 – Dr. Van de Vastine Jamison was the original owner of White Hill Plantation. Dr. Jamison was born on March 24, 1765 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was in South Carolina by 1792 and was counted in the 1790 Census. He was listed as the only person in his household - unmarried and owning no slaves. On January 22, 1799 he married Elizabeth Rumph, daughter of Jacob Rumph. They made White Hill their home and had 7 children.
  • 1809 – Dr. Van de Vastine Jamison purchased 92 acres in the vicinity of White Hill. The area was referred to as Little Bool Swamp which is the present-day township of Bull Swamp. It is assumed that he added this acreage to White Hill.
  • 1810 – Dr. Van de Vastine Jamison did not like the fact that a public road ran directly through his property. He petitioned the legislature to alter the route. This route was probably US 601.
  • 1814 – Elizabeth Rumph Jamison died. Dr. Jamison never remarried.
  • 1820 – A plat showed Dr. Van de Vastine Jamison as the owner of White Hill.
  • 1825 – Dr. Jamison was harvesting the oyster shells on his property. He burned down the shells to produce lime. Lime was used in the Carolinas for construction materials such as limestone and for indigo making.  Robert Mills wrote of a peculiar sort of oyster shell found there which was longer than those found at the seashore. "In Dr. Jamison's plantation . . . ten hands can raise in a week as many of these oyster shells, from their bed, though seven feet below the surface as when burnt, will yield twelve hundred bushels of lime." In writing of the geology of Orangeburg District, he added: "Considerable bodies of the compact stone rock run through the district from northeast to southwest. Jamison is the only one that has attended to this rock so as to derive any advantage from quarrying and burning it. He has been for many years engaged in supplying the demands of the district for lime, both for building and for indigo making, for which it answers very well. The lime made is of an excellent quality. Dr. J. makes about 3,000 bushels annually, and, could he find sale for it, could prepare ten times as much.” Limestone was most popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Roads, highways (US 601 and I-26), train stations, banks and other structures from that era were normally made of limestone. Therefore, my genealogy brick wall was made of limestone!

  • 1833 – On February 22nd, Dr. Jamison released title to "White Hill plantation, all negro slaves, horses, cattle, hogs and farming utensils to John A. Tyler and Van de Vastine Samuel Jamison." John A. Tyler was his son-in-law and Van De Vastine Samuel Jamison (1808-1876) was his son. V.D.V. Samuel Jamison was district commissioner over the legal dispute concerning the estate of Barnet Livingston in 1867.  
  • 1836 – Dr. Jamison died on December 15th at Pine Grove Plantation in St. Matthews Parish. His body was brought to White Hill and buried in the family cemetery. He was 71 years old.
  • 1844 – On January 20, John A. Tyler and Elizabeth Tyler sold White Hill to Dr. Willis Wilkinson, a physician in Charleston, SC.
  • The plantation consisted of 1,395 acres. The family cemetery was excluded in the sale of the property. That tract of land was reserved for the Jamison family. The Jamison Family Cemetery is located on Belleville Road about five miles northeast of the city of Orangeburg. I do not know if slaves were buried on that site. It is worth looking into to see if there is a preserved section for the burial of enslaved persons.
  • 1849 – On September 21, Dr. Willis Wilkinson sold White Hill to Dr. James Jenkins. James Gwyn B. D. Jenkins was a physician who practiced in the Orangeburg District before the Civil War.  He was born on March 24, 1805, the son of the Reverend James and Elizabeth Ann Gwyn Jenkins.  Dr. Jenkins was married first to Elizabeth Moorer and second to her sister, Electra Moorer.  He and his family lived in the village of Orangeburg, where he practiced medicine in St. Matthews Parish for 25 years. After giving up the practice of medicine, he turned his attention to his farming interest and became one of the best farmers of his district.  In 1862 and 1863, Dr. Jenkins represented Orange Parish in the state legislature. He died on August 10, 1866 of a hemorrhage of the lungs at age sixty and was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Orangeburg. During his ownership the plantation it was known as Jenkins' Hill, located in Lexington, Orangeburg District, between Santee and Edisto Rivers north of Belleville Road.
  • 1850 - An inventory and appraisal of property following the death of Dr. Willis Wilkinson was conducted. Approximately 160 Negroes were named in the document.
  • 1861 – An account of a tornado appeared in the Charleston Mercury on Tuesday May 7, 1861. “I heard of more destruction from the tornado.  Dr. Jenkins’ place is in ruins and he narrowly escaped with his life.  Two Negroes were killed.  About 1 p.m. I passed the scene of the tornado.  Trees were demolished." (S.C. Historical Magazine Volume 48, 1947 – page 156 - Diary of Samuel EdwardBurgess 1860-1862)

I wonder if I am related to the two unnamed Negroes that died during the storm. The plantation house was completely damaged and was subsequently deserted. The rock quarry remained untouched and was in operation till the turn of the century.

The former site of Jenkins Hill plantation is now a luxury subdivision and vacation getaway

The chronological list of plantation owners were – Dr. Van de Vastine Jamison (1799-1833); John A. Tyler and Van de Vastine Samuel Jamison (1833-1844); Dr. Willis Wilkinson (1844-1849) and Dr. James Jenkins (1849-1866).

The real reason for my theoretical brick wall was that I couldn't find my Livingston ancestors under Livingston property but rather on the White Hill plantation as Wilkinson property. In the next blog post, I will attempt to identify and track the enslaved persons of this plantation and connect them to the Livingston family.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Boston Livingston - Leave No Stone Unturned Pt I

When I first started this blog post, I had hoped to shed some light on the life of my 3x great-grandfather. Over the last two months, I have been doing some research on who I had hoped was my ancestor, Boston Livingston. My goal was to knock down another brick wall. Some come down in one fell swoop, others piece by piece. This is one of those stories where I have been chipping away at it for years.

I know some of you feel that it seems impossible to get over that "brick wall" when it comes to tracing the lives of certain ancestors. You really do have to put the time in to doing the research and examine all the possibilities.  Just like the title says, the idiom "to leave no stone unturned" means to do everything possible to find something or solve a problem.

Years ago, I initially thought my 3x great-grandfather was Boston Livingston.
The only document about him that I found through the Ancestry website was the record of his death.

Boston Livingston, a married black male farm laborer aged 70, died in an accident involving gravel during April 1880 Willow Township, Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Recently,  I checked for updates of any of my DNA cousins within the Ancestry website that shared a Livingston surname. I found a relative who descended from Marcilla Livingston b. 1872 Orangeburg. Marcilla's death certificate stated her mother's name was Lucy. I also found another relative who descended from Irena Livingston-Phelps b. 1878 Orangeburg. Irena's death certificate stated her parents were Boston and Lucy Livingston. Lucy lived in Hebron Township, Orangeburg during the 1880 census with her children Eliza b. 1862, Luckey b. 1867, Maryanne b. 1870, Marcella b. 1872 (married Donald Livingston), Irena b. 1874 (married William Phelps), Martha b. 1877 (married Govan Millhouse) and Eugene b. 1879. Lucy lived adjacent to white Livingston families.

These DNA cousins who descend from Boston and Lucy Livingston are my 5th cousins. That means we share one or both 4x great-grandparents.

This meant that Boston Livingston my 3x great-granduncle. I was disappointed at first.  I was between a rock and a hard place but then I realized Boston gave me a clue already. If I find more records of him then maybe I can find the names of his brothers, sisters and parents.

Since no one was found in the 1870 census, I had to find alternate records within other websites that might include names of my relatives. On the FamilySearch website, I discovered Freedmen Office Records - Orangeburg Hospital Register of Sick and Wounded 1866 to 1868. The Freedmen's Bureau was established by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865. They were responsible for all matters relating to refugees, freedmen, and all lands seized or abandoned during the Civil War. Bureau officials operated hospitals such as Orangburg Hospital in South Carolina. Within these files, I found several individuals with the variation of the Livingston surname.

  • Boston Levingston b. 1817 (age 49) July 2-29, 1866 and (age 51) August 25, 1868 - Retention of urine cytosis.
  • Adam Levinston b. 1821 (age 45) June 28-July 3, 1866 - Ulcer of the leg.
  • Jerry Livingston b. 1825 (age 43) August 23, 1868 - Jaundice.
  • Charles Levingston b. 1826 (age 40) July 9, 1866 - Lost his leg 20 years ago. Charles was a brother of Jerry. Jerry had a grandson named Charlie b. 1883.
  • Rachel Levingston b. 1844 (age 24) August 29, 1868 - Amputation of little toe.
  • John Levinston b. 1846 (age 20) June 28-July 28, 1866 - Fever and dropsy.

Is it morbid to be glad that your ancestors were sick enough to go to a hospital? I am thankful that they did receive medical attention and survived during the post Civil War period of Reconstruction. As luck would have it, there were multiple records of their illnesses. I underlined a few of their medical visits below.

I compared the names from the hospital records to the 1880 Orangeburg census.

  • Boston Livingston was married to Lucy b. 1832 in the 1880 Hebron, Orangeburg area.
  • Adam Livingston was single in the 1880 Liberty, Orangeburg area. He was not the same Adam Livingston that was married to Clarisa in the 1870-1880 Clarendon censuses.
  • Dick (Richard) Livingston b. 1825 was married to Eliza b. 1830 in the 1880 Liberty, Orangeburg area. They would later divorce.
  • Jerry Livingston b. 1820 was married to Katie b. 1825 in the 1880 Liberty, Orangeburg area. Their daughter Salina b. 1862 married Jim Zeigler b. 1839. 
  • Rachel Livingston b. 1844 was a widow in the 1880 Liberty, Orangeburg area. Her daughter Chloe b. 1864 married Enoch Pou (Pough) b. 1858. Rachel was a neighbor of Jerry. 
  • Charles Livingston was not found in Orangeburg the 1880 census. He might have been the same person as C. Livingston b. 1830 married to Liza b. 1835 in the 1880 Williamsburg, SC census.
  • John Livingston was also missing from the 1880 census. He might have died or relocated somewhere else. He might have been Jerry's son and Rachel's husband.
My 2x great-grandparents Jace b. 1854 and Dorcas Livingston b. 1852 lived in Liberty, Orangeburg during 1880. I couldn't find my 3x great-grandmother Idella Livingston b. 1830 in that census. I did find others though. Clinch Livingston b. 1830 was married to Clarinda b. 1830 in the 1880 Liberty, Orangeburg area. They also named a daughter Chloe b. 1855. Satira (Satirya) Jenkins-Livingston-Jackson b. 1835 married her 2nd husband Samuel Jackson b. 1840 around 1866 in the Hebron, Orangeburg area. Her first husband was a Livingston (first name unknown). One of her daughters Louvenia Livingston b. 1857 married January Hart b. 1850. I thought Louvenia was Jace's sister but now I know she was not. 

So who was my 3x great-grandfather? I am not sure yet. Adam looks promising however I cannot confirm anything yet. My DNA did point out that Boston was related to one of my 3x great-grandparents so at least I have that to go forward. I made enough mistakes by assuming relationships without proof.

As I said earlier, I have a huge brick wall with the Livingston Family. Boston's DNA provided the first chip I needed to whittle away at the problem.

Next time, I will show you what that brick wall was "made" of! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Hankerson Boys/Nancy Young Mysteries Part III

In the last two blog posts of the Hankerson Boys/Nancy Young Mysteries I uncovered several things:

In the finale of this trilogy we reveal the true name of Missy II. She was the wife of Simmon and the mother of Simon Hankerson. This Missy would be my 4x great-grandmother. In addition, I was able to identify other relatives of the Hankerson family and their immediate descendants.

When I first contacted my cousin Charles Hankerson, I didn't know at the time we were related. He was gracious enough to show me all his hard work tracing his family tree. On the Hankerson Family website, he provided the July 5, 1788 Will of Robert Hankinson. Robert owned the Crackers Neck Plantation in Winton (now Barnwell) County, South Carolina.  In this will, Robert had 5 groups of enslaved persons distributed to his family members upon his death:

  • To wife Susanna Hankinson - Old George, Stepney, Old Sasar and Bess;
  • To son Richard Hankinson - Simmon, Sarah, Butler, Hepney (or Stepney), Diana and Hannah; 
  • To daughter Sarah Hankinson - Young George, Sybe, March, Molly and Lucke;
  • To daughter Pattey Hankinson - Lewis, Sarah (his wife), Lide, Mourning and Jim the Blacksmith;
  • To daughter Mary Hankinson - Jammy, Mary, Dotty, Jeck and Tome.

There were 25 enslaved persons at Crackers Neck in 1788. Normally, the Last Will and Testament is all you would need to identify your ancestors. This document did not fully distinguish which of the enslaved were adults and children. That is why Charles chose a generic name Missy as a place holder for Simmon's wife. This information remained unchallenged for years until I put my detective skills to work and looked closer at all the documents Charles had in his possession.

Robert Hankinson died by November 3, 1788 and his Will was proved in Winton County Court. An Inventory and Appraisal of his estate was conducted on November 29th. This time, 24 enslaved people were found. The inventory also excluded children's names and provided net worth of the following:

  • 2 Negroes Stepney & Bess his wife 100
  • 2 Do. Simon & George 155
  • 2 Do. Tom & Old Seasor 97
  • Dol a wench, Sib & 3 children 190
  • Lewis, his wife Sarah & 2 children 175
  • Jack, a fellow, Doctor, a fellow 130
  • Sarah & 4 children 160
  • Tom & his wife Mary 100

When a side-by-side comparison of the Will to the Inventory is made, the following assessment was determined:

  • Robert Hankinson kept family groups together when he distributed assets to his children.
  • Old George died between July and November 1788.
  • Stepney was married to Bess
  • Lewis and his wife Sarah had 2 children named Lide (Lydia) and Mourning.
  • George (Young George) and his wife Sib (formerly Sybe and short for Sabina) had 3 children named March, Molly and Lucke (short for Lucy).
  • Tom (formerly Tome) was married to Mary.
  • Old Seasor (formerly Old Sasar) was short for Caesar.
  • Tom (with Old Seasor) was probably Jim the Blacksmith.
  • Jack (a fellow) was Jeck.
  • Dol (Doll or Dolly, a wench) was probably Dotty.
  • Doctor (a fellow) was probably known as Jammy (short for James).
  • Simon (formerly Simmon) and his wife Sarah had 4 children named Butler, Hepney (or Stepney), Diana and Hannah.

So now I know that Simon was married to Sarah, making her my 4x great-grandmother! 

In the Hankinson inventory, infants and children were each valued at $20 U.S. Colonial Currency (pictured above). Each wench and fellow was worth $65. I know from doing research that terms like fellow and wench refer to teenagers (not always but for the most part). Adult males in their prime, skilled tradesmen and women of child-bearing age were worth between $75 and $80 respectively. Older men and women were valued at $50 each. The elderly were classified at little ($17) or no value. The value of $1 in 1790 is equivalent to $22.75 in 2016. The family of Simon and Sarah (assuming Simon was valued at $80 or 130 British Pounds) including children were valued at $240 in 1788. That amount is equivalent to $5,460 in 2016.

After reviewing more of Charles' documents, the following information was found:
On March 9, 1783 William Patterson of Georgia sold 2 Negroes, James and Mary, to Robert Hankinson. James was probably Jammy and Mary was the wife of Tom.

No further documents were found on Simon and Sarah's parentage. It does seem likely that Sarah was the daughter of Stepney and Bess since one of her sons was named Hepney/Stepney. Old Sasar (Caesar) might have been the father of Simon. I have yet to prove these theories but I will in a later blog.

So what happened to Simon and Sarah's family? True to his word, Simon, his wife and 4 children were sent to Richard Hankinson after his father died. Richard died in Barnwell and an inventory of his estate was taken in 1828.

How does it all fit together? In my last blog, I posted this inventory. Now here is the update:

  • Simmon (Simon) was known as Old Simon and valued at $25. Simon died around 1840.
  • Sarah had probably died by the time of this appraisal.
  • Butler was valued at $500. (Butler was a popular name among the family. I blogged about another one as the son of Abram and Patty).
  • Hepney (Stepney) had probably died or been sold away by the time of this appraisal.
  • Diana had four children named Maria, Sarah, Harrington and Jesse. They were valued at $1,500 in total. Jessy (Jesse) Hankinson was found in the 1870 Barnwell, SC census.
  • Hannah had seven children named Moses, Aaron, Rhoda, Sarah, Israel, Stephen and Harry. They were valued at $1,800 in total. Hannah was married to Old Peter was probably the mother of Young Peter. Peter, Hannah and the children would be transferred to John Haynes, a neighbor of the Hankinsons, as mentioned in his 1830 will. Peter Hankinson b. 1818 (formerly Young Peter) the 1870 Barnwell and 1880 Aiken, SC censuses. Israel Hankinson b. 1824 was found in the 1900 Barnwell, SC census.
  • Elsey was probably the wife of Butler. Their children include John, Butler, Joe, Phoebe and Lynda. Elsey and her children were valued at $1,200.
  • Polly was mentioned as a child of Old Simon and Sarah that was born in 1800. Polly's children include Stephen, Doctor, Patsey and Will. Perhaps Polly was the wife of Doctor mentioned in the will of Robert Hankinson? Another theory could be that Polly wasn't the actual child of the Hankinsons but was the wife of Hepney (Stepney) since the eldest son was named Stephen. Polly's daughter Patsey was actually Tenah Hankinson who married Henry Floyd. Polly and her children were valued at $900.
  • Simon (Simon Hankerson) was known as Young Simon and valued at $450. He was the son of Old Simon and Sarah born in 1790. He was first married to Betty and later married to Mary Floyd, the sister of Henry Floyd. Simon and Betty were my 3x great-grandparents.
  • Simon (Simon Hankinson Jr.) was known as Little Simon and valued at $450. He was the son of Young Simon and Betty born in 1825. He died in Georgia. He is not to be confused with Simon Hankerson Jr., the son of Simon Hankerson and Mary Floyd.
  • Betty was the first wife of Young Simon. She was the mother of Little Simon, Jerry, Judy and Sarah. Betty and the latter 3 children were valued at $800. She would have one more daughter named Nancy, my 2x great-grandmother. 
  • Doll (formerly Dotty) had two children Winna and Solomon. Doll and her children were valued at $500. Winna would later marry Jesse, Diana's son. Their daughter was Esther McCreary. Solomon Hankinson b. 1825 was married to Minty b. 1815 in the 1880 Aiken, SC census. The couple named one of their daughters Dolly b. 1864.
  • Captain was also another child of Old Simon and Sarah. He was valued at $500. Captain was married to Sally. Their children included Josh, Solomon, Will and Rachel. Sally and her children were valued at $1,200. Captain and Sally died before 1870 as stated in Rachel's Freedman's Bank Record.

The Hankinson/Hankerson family is quite large. There were more enslaved people in this inventory but it will take a while to decipher their relationship to me. Unfortunately the will of Richard Hankinson was not available for viewing. With both pieces of the puzzle, I could have had more insight into all these names.. Sometimes the key to break down brick walls lies in examining documents of neighbors and in-laws of the immediate family. In a perfect world you would have the right tools such as a will, an inventory, maiden names, bank records, death certificates, bills of sale and DNA test results full of cousins. Most of the time, you would get only several pieces of what you need. But do not give up hope, there is nothing like a good mystery and mysteries are made to be solved!