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.




  

12 comments:

  1. Were you related to any of those on the list?

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    1. the answer is YES!! the list is huge so i didnt want to make a very long blog post thats why i usually split my stories into 3 parts. this is actually part 2 that you are reading.

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  2. That was a lot of Slaves. That Rumph name came up again. Plus Bucks County Pa.Where some of my folks are from. I hope you can get through all that. Was it trouble getting those Estate records? Who knew seashells would be in a blog. That was a surprise. Can't wait to read more! Didn't we have a President Tyler?

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    1. ah you see my Easter Eggs (in this case - Easter seashells) within the document lol.
      I found the estate records on Fold3. I had to make sure they were the right ones. These Tylers were not related to the former President. I am part Tyler too as well. The plot thickens!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your steps of background investagions

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    1. you're welcome. I feel it is important to learn as much about your ancestors as you can and not just what is provided on a census record.

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  4. There are several Livingston branches, but I feel that they are all connected in some way... The name is too unique. Sometimes it is spelled Levingston or Liningstone--with an "e". Even the connenct with sea shells and limestone are plausible...These are living stones.
    Thank you for sharing--Keep sharing. Research may eventually lead to our ancestral connectons.

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  5. There are several Livingston branches, but I feel that they are all connected in some way... The name is too unique. Sometimes it is spelled Levingston or Liningstone--with an "e". Even the connenct with sea shells and limestone are plausible...These are living stones.
    Thank you for sharing--Keep sharing. Research may eventually lead to our ancestral connectons.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful article and I wish you well in your search for more information about your ancestors. As I re-start my own quest to find my ancestors with the surname of Jamison. Is Dr. Van De Vastine Jamison the first Jamison settler in America who blacks have taken the name as slaves? My grandfather was a black man from Orangeburg SC whose last name was Jamison as mine is. Thanks for your time and your dedication.

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    1. Dr. Jamison actually received his enslaved people from his father in law Jacob Rumph as part of a wedding gift for marrying his daughter Elizabeth.

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  8. Mr. Young,

    Has the surname "Bush" appeared prominently in your research? I know that my biological father, from the Augusta, Georgia area was a Bush. I do know that he had a cousin with the last name Young who resided in Fort Pierce, FL. I also think their families hailed from the areas of South Carolina mentioned here in your blog. Unfortunately, I don't know much more about my father.

    I do find your work very interesting and FUN! I wish you continued luck with your research. Cheers!

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