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!


  1. I'm just shocked at the amount of resources you had and the visuals. I'm still astonished that the value of their lives was so LOW. Just crazy! Of course I can't get over the plantation being called "Crackers Neck". Really? 1783! I barely got my foot out of 1800's. I'm only touching that with my Europeans! Way to go! I thoroughly enjoyed this Series!

    1. I wish i could go further backward with 100% confidence but I only have "theories" left. I wish people kept better records. It would have made our lives much easier.

    2. Hi Wayne, my name is Curtis Young, my father was Freddie Young, his father was Prime Young( my grandfather) his Father was Henry Young, who had a wife named Mary young. They were from Barnswell, S.C. I don't have any further information about them, or their family history. After finding your blog, I have hope that I may obtain more information. My grandfather, Prime Young moved to Jacksonville, FL. About 1925, my father, Freddie Young was born there before they moved to New York City after the death of Prime's wife & his father, Henry & Mary Young moved to New Jersey , Jersey city & he owned a barber shop there. He must have died about 1940's.

    3. Hi Curtis, i am not sure what the birth years of Prime or Henry Young. I didnt find any of them in SC or FL census records. Have you taken a DNA test yet? If you did, are you on gedmatch too?

  2. This is excellent detective work! I love your analysis.

    Do you know where the Inventory and Appraisal was found (in the same place as the will? filed with a court)? I have a will that has holes and want to go searching for an inventory!

    Keep up the great work on your family!

    1. The inventory and appraisals were filed in court shortly after the owner died. In my case there was a 5 month difference between the date of the will and the date the inventory was taken. What's funny is ancestry website just uploaded a lot of inventories to their existing number of wills. you may find them in fold3 or familysearch websites also. Not everyone has one but it has been a real help!

  3. Congratulations Wayne on finding out so much info! I'm like True. 1783!! Wow, wish I could say I could go back that far. I'm going to keep trying though. Yes, there's nothing better than a good mystery.

    1. I make it seem easy like this is overnight but its been a few years to make sense of it all. Luckily I had some long lived folks in census records that reached 90 to 100. lol

  4. Great way to shake the tree, Wayne. Glad to see it finally coming together.

  5. I found myself anxiously waiting to read the next section to see what happened. Wayne you are a great story teller too!

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