52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #9: RUFUS MARION FOWLER (1825-1864)

RUFUS MARION FOWLER died gallantly on May 5, 1864 after the Battle of the Wilderness in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. His was the death of a hero, far from home, far from family, fighting for a cause which would, itself, die on the last battlefield of the war between the states.

Rufus Marion Fowler

(I must state that Rufus Marion Fowler did NOT perish September 2, 1867 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and he is NOT buried in the Chalmette National Cemetery, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. This misinformation is spreading like wildfire on family trees. Please document everything when you research or ask for help.)

Rufus Marion Fowler was one of fourteen children born to Womack Fowler and Susannah Moseley. He was born April 16, 1825 in Union County, South Carolina.

Rufus Fowler was appointed as one of the executors in his father’s Last Will and Testament which Womack Fowler signed on August 8, 1849. The U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules lists his date of death as August 1849, after suffering for six days with dyspepsia which is another name for indigestion. The symptoms sometimes were not that of heart burn, but of a heart attack.

From the Last Will and Testament of Womack Fowler

After the death of his father in 1849, Rufus Fowler became the oldest male in his mother’s household. He likely assumed many of the duties and farm chores that his father had done. In 1850, the Susannah Fowler household was adjacent to the family of William Eison. There were connections between the Fowlers and the EisonsRufus would later name a son Eison; and William Eison’s son John Worthy Eison would marry Nannie P. Fowler, daughter of Ellis Fowler and Sarah Clark.

1850 Union County SC Census

After 1850 but before 1860, Rufus Fowler married his first cousin Dorothy “Dorcus” Moseley, daughter of James Moseley, Jr. and Lydia Crocker. James Moseley, Jr. and Susannah Moseley Fowler were siblings, both the children of James “High Key” Moseley.

In 1860, the census recorded thirty-five year old Rufus Fowler as head of household with his 31 year-old wife Dorcus, four year old son Joseph Fowler, one year old son Eison Fowler, and his sixty-seven year old mother-in-law Lydia Moseley.

1860 Union County SC Census

On August 29, 1861, Rufus Marion Fowler traveled to the Union Court House. Once there, he enlisted in Company F, South Carolina Fifteenth Regiment Infantry. His younger brother Wymac Fowler enlisted in the same Regiment. Five sons of Womack and Susannah Fowler went to fight in the Civil War; only one returned home.

The boys of Company F fought in many battles: Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and endless others before arriving in Spotslyvania County, Virginia. The Battle of the Wilderness was the last battle for the courageous Rufus Marion Fowler. He died after the battle was over on May 6, 1864 when a gun in the hands of James Spencer accidentally exploded. I do not know if he lies in an unmarked grave or rests among his people. His younger brother Wymac Fowler had died two years earlier on May 18, 1862 at Camp Elliott in Beaufort County, SC of Typhoid Fever.

The war was hard on the soldiers. It was also hard on the ones back home. Dorcas Moseley Fowler had two young sons and a mother to take care of and no man at home to help her. There was a daughter, Maretta, born in 1866. Was she the daughter of Dorcas or a war orphan child taken in by a kind-hearted Dorcas? Lydia Moseley was missing in the 1870 census and presumably did not survive the hardships of the years of war.

1870 Union County SC Census

Dorcas Fowler was friendly with Edy Fowler, wife of Felix Fowler — another brother of Rufus Fowler who had gone to war, died at war, and left a wife and children back home to survive without him. Dorcus Fowler and her sister-in-law Edy Fowler went to get food at the Freedman’s Office after the war. Dorcus was given food once but told not to return because “she was able to work.” Edy was also told not to come back.

1880 Union County SC Census

Both women were also left out of the estate settlement of Womack Fowler in the 1880s. Looking back, it seems that they were treated very unfairly by their Fowler in-laws and the government.

Edy Fowler died relatively young. Dorcus Moseley Fowler died at age seventy on Februrary 28, 1900 of la grippe, also known as influenza. She was buried at Gilead Church Cemetery in Jonesville, SC.

Rufus Marion Fowler was a war hero, a son of Womack, husband of Dorcus, and father of two sons. I hope that his descendants of present day know that they came from a man of integrity and honor … a man of courage and valor. May he never be forgotten.

  • Henry Ellis Fowler
    • Womack Fowler
      • RUFUS MARION FOWLER 1825-1864
        1. Joseph E. Fowler 1856-1928 m. Isabella Fowler 1872–1938 (daughter of William Earle Fowler)
          • Eva Fowler 1891–1966 m. Thomas Holcomb
          • Clara B Fowler 1899–1909
          • Susan Esther Fowler 1902–1982 m. James Rufus Allen 1902–
            • France Allen 1925–
            • Gracie Mae Allen 1928–
          • Louise L Fowler 1907–
          • Charles Brady Fowler 1909–1976
        2. Eison A. Fowler 1859-1899
          • Rufus Marion Fowler 1890-1962 m. Mollie Susie Sisk 1896–
            • Clyde Marion Fowler 1916–1996 m. Lena Ellen Waddell 1920–2015
            • Ralph David Fowler 1920–2004 m. Marjorie Jean LNU 1930–2005
            • Henry Franklin Fowler 1923–1980 m. Kathleen Bernice Shaw 1925–2016
          • Eugene Fowler 1896-1975 m. Mattie Rowland 1910–
            • daughter Fowler 1939–
            • son Fowler
            • son Fowler

ASA FOWLER (1811-1885) His Family Bible and Family History in Photographs

When I bought the one hundred and seventy-six year old ASA FOWLER Family Bible, I knew nothing about the family. I was hoping that this Fowler line would somehow connect to mine. It did not. I researched this Fowler family and it is a family with a wonderful history. Asa Fowler is descended from Philip Fowler who was born in England circa 1590, immigrated to America in 1634, and lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts until his death in 1679.

Asa Fowler was born in Pembroke, New Hampshire, the son of Benjamin Fowler and Mahitable Ladd. A year after graduating from Dartmouth College, he moved to Concord, New Hampshire in 1834. In 1837, he married Mary Cilley Knox (1815-1882). The couple had four sons and one daughter.

Asa Fowler was a politician, a lawyer, a justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and he was in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Asa Fowler was in a law partnership that lasted from 1838 until 1845 with Franklin Pierce, the fourteenth president of the United States. One must spend a little time researching his life to fully appreciate the man and his many accomplishments.

After retiring from political life, Asa Fowler spent his remaining years traveling to Europe, Florida, and California. He died in San Rafael, California on April 26, 1885. His last travels brought his body home to be buried in his beloved Concord, New Hampshire.

I do not know how the Family Bible of Asa Fowler began in a great family and now resides in my genealogy library, but it gave me a research opportunity that I would have never had otherwise. The bible is dated 1845, and it is very fragile. I have taken a few photographs of the bible along with the family pages inside. The third photograph in the series appears to the signature of Asa Fowler, with Concord, N.H. written below.


The Family Bible is a treasure, but I was also fortunate enough to obtain a first edition family history of Philip Fowler and his descendants: The Fowler Family- A Genealogical Memoir of the Descendants of Philip and Mary Fowler of Ipswich, Massachusetts by Matthew Adams Stickney; published 1883.

The book was donated to the Nahant Public Library in 1884 by Samuel Hammond Russell (1823-1894). Nahant is a tiny resort beach town in Essex County, about 20 miles from Boston. Samuel H. Russell came from an educated, prominent family in Boston. I have not researched to see if he was related to Philip Fowler.

Thanks to the head start I was given through the family records in the bible and the information in the genealogy book, I was able to trace this Fowler family to present day. Yes, I have DNA tested descendants. This is one of the most fascinating Fowler families that I have researched to date.

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: #8 TEMPE FOWLER 1810-1863

In the Womack Fowler family bible, Tempe Fowler’s date of birth was recorded as September 23, 1810. She was the second child –the second daughter– born to Womack Fowler and Susannah Moseley. She was a granddaughter of Henry Ellis Fowler.

Tempe Fowler married James Gibson (1810-before 1850), son of Herod Gibson (1779-1869). They married in the mid 1820s and lived next door to her father, Womack Fowler, in 1830. Two daughters had been born to Mr. and Mrs. James Gibson prior to 1830.

Tempe Fowler and James Gibson had five daughters and one son whose names are known to me — daughters Melinda, Elizabeth, Lucinda, Hulda, and Adeline; son Stark Sims Gibson. There may have been other children born — there are gaps, some of several years, in between the births of the documented children.

There were no more children born to Tempe Fowler after 1844, and his absence from the 1850 census confirms that James Gibson was in his grave or had deserted his family.

Melinda Gibson (b. 1827) was the oldest daughter of Tempe Fowler and James Gibson. She married William Burgess (b. 1824). William Burgess and Melinda Gibson had five children born in South Carolina between the years 1846 to 1851. A son, Rufus, was born in Cocke County Tennessee in 1852. Melinda died during or shortly after childbirth. William Burgess married Winnie (her last name may have been Cureton) and a son, William, was born to them in 1860.

William Burgess may have been the son of Joseph Burgess (b. 1797) and his wife Percy (b. 1800). The Joseph Burgess family (Coleman Burgess, Martha Burgess, John Burgess and Asbury Burgess) had moved from South Carolina to Cocke County Tennessee and their relocation may have been the motivation for the William Burgess family to follow.

In 1850, forty-one year old Tempe Gibson was head of household with her four daughters and one son. (Daughter Melinda had already married William Burgess). Tempe lived near her father-in-law Herod Gibson, her brother-in-law John Gibson, and she was surrounded by the households of her uncle Godfrey Fowler, cousins Milligan Fowler, Thomas Gillman Fowler, and Coleman Fowler. Tempe Gibson was listed as a pauper.

Tempe Gibson was in the household of her daughter Elizabeth Gibson in 1860. Her daughters Hulda, Lucinda, and Adeline were there, as was son Starks. Elizabeth’s two year old daughter Suella Gibson was the only new addition.

Tempe Fowler Gibson died in 1863, during the Civil War. She would have been only 53 years old. Life had been hard for her, and the difficult times brought on by the war could have only made her life even more miserable. She was surrounded by family and one can hope that they helped her in her day to day struggles.

Womack Fowler died in 1849. After the death of Susannah Moseley Fowler in 1878, legal proceedings were begun to settle the Womack Fowler estate between many surviving heirs. It was mentioned in the document that Melinda Gibson had married a Burgess, that she had died before the war, and that her children’s ages, names and residence were unknown. It was perhaps known that the family had relocated to Cocke County, Tennessee, but no effort was made to include them in the estate settlement.

Tempe’s sister Marinda Lucinda Fowler (1816-1879) had married John D. Long (1811-1897), and any reference in the document stating that Lucinda Gibson was the wife of J.D. Long may have been due to the confusion of similar names. Marinda Lucinda Fowler Long died in 1879. Lucinda Gibson was a single woman in census years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. It is possible that she married John D. Long after 1880. I would have to conduct more research to followup on this idea.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gibson had a daughter: Suella Gibson b. 1858. Later shortened to Ella, her confusing death certificate lists Elizabeth Fowler as her mother and James Gibson as her father. Tempe Fowler Gibson was living when Suella was born. Elizabeth never married, died in 1876, and an illegitimate daughter would not be lawful issue.

Starks Sims Gibson had married Mattie Moseley and there was lawful issue born from this union: Robert Lee Gibson (1865-1928). Mattie died after the birth of this son. It would be many years before Starks Gibson married again, the second time to Margaret McDowell (1856–1934) and the birth of his daughter, Annie Gibson in 1891.

Tempe Fowler Gibson sold her interest in the estate to her brother James Hervey Fowler in 1863. It is stated that Tempe died in 1862. It is also stated that she died in 1863. She outlived her daughter Melinda Gibson Burgess, but she left five living adult children: Elizabeth, Lucinda, Hulda, Starks, and Adeline to carry on her legacy.

Excerpts from the Womack Fowler estate settlement below, and the descendants of Tempe Fowler Gibson as I know them:

  • Tempa Fowler 1810-1863 m. James Gibson 1810–
    1. Melinda Gibson 1827–1852 m. William Burgess 1824
      • James Burgess 1846–
      • Nancy Burgess 1847–
      • Sarah Burgess 1848–
      • Caroline Burgess 1850–
      • Perry Burgess 1851–
      • Rufus Burgess 1852– m. Martha Wice
        • Benjamin Franklin Burgess 1888–1960
    2. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gibson 1831–1876
      • Suella Gibson 1858-1929 m. Franklin Wallace Coleman 1828–1896
        • Wallace Herbert Coleman 1880–1925
        • Lillian Coleman 1883-1970 m. Lee Hart 1882–1938 (descendant of Henry Ellis Fowler)
          • Bessie Hart 1906–1973 m. Robert Trusdale Barker 1904–1989
            • Thornal Richard Barker 1927–2009
            • Jerry Truesdale Barker 1928–2002
            • Lee Coleman Barker 1937–2006
          • Leroy Hart 1908–1993 m. Arlevia Knight 1916–2003
          • Ruby Louella Hart 1911– 2001 m. John J. Dunn Jr.
          • Nellie Hart 1915–
          • Thomas Coleman Hart (1917-1944)
          • Kathryn Lyle Hart 1919-2010 m. Vernon Alton Robbins 1916–1991
          • Phillip Cornelius Hart 1921-2007
        • Gadberry Bennett Coleman 1888–1954 m. Bertha Amanda Neal 1887–1979
          • William Elzie Coleman 1911–1991 m. Grace Hicks 1908–1990
          • Gladys Beatrice Coleman 1912–1997 m. William Bunyon McCarty 1916–1977; m. Buford S. Chappell 1914–1984
          • Eddye Coleman 1913–
          • James Franklin Coleman 1914–1979 m. Virginia Maye Beamguard 1910–1982
          • Gadberry Bennett Coleman Jr 1918–1996 m. Maureen Stewart 1924–2004
          • Jack Wallace Coleman 1921–1991
        • Bessie Mildred Coleman 1889 m. Chalmers Frazier Hudson 1891–1933
          • Margaret Frazier Hudson 1911–1988
          • Frank Gibson Hudson 1913–
          • David Richard Hudson 1921–1976
          • Joseph Coleman Hudson 1928–2003
          • Charles L. Hudson
        • Nell Maude Coleman 1892–1972 m. George Franklin Younginer 1880–1939
          • James Franklin Younginer 1920–1982
          • Evelyn Elizabeth Younginer 1924–2005
          • Miriam Mildred Younginer 1926–1987
          • Betty Suder Younginer 1928–1997
        • Loucinda Coleman 1894–1982 m. Benjamin Gettys Parker 1890–1966
          • Benjamin Gettys Parker 1915–1971
          • Raimoth Loucinda Parker 1919–2003
    3. Lucinda Gibson 1834–after 1880
    4. Hulda Gibson 1840–after 1880
    5. Stark Sims Gibson 1841–1909 m. Martha “Mattie” Moseley; m. Margaret McDowell 1856–1934
      • Robert Lee Gibson 1865-1928 m. Jane Worthy 1866-1930 (descendant of Henry Ellis Fowler)
      • Annie Gibson 1891–1954 m. James Edgar Douglass 1891–1956
        • Anne Sims Douglass 1922–1977
        • Margaret Jeanette Douglass 1923–1924
        • Dorothy Douglass 1924–2009
        • James Edgar Douglass III 1926–1973
        • Carl Macie Douglass 1929–
        • David McDowell Douglass 1930–1978
        • Jimmie M Douglas 1935–
    6. Adaline M. Gibson 1844– after 1880 m. Damon P. Mosely 1838– after 1880 (descendant of Henry Ellis Fowler)
      • William E. Mosely 1871–
      • Daniel David Mosley 1874–1924 m. Sarah Catherine Killian 1888–1936
        • Damon Edney Mosley 1904–1974
        • Mamie Etta Mosley 1905–1975
        • Addie Elizabeth Mosley 1908–1997
        • Brady Lee Mosley 1910–1990
        • Willie Coy Mosley Sr 1912–1964
        • Myrtle Leona Mosley 1914–1963
        • Ethel Ruth Mosley 1917–1985
        • James Floyd Mosley 1920–1993
        • Ruby Lucille Mosley 1922–1986
      • Martha L. Mosely 1876–
      • Minnie Mosely 1878–
      • Starkey Mosley 1880–1941 m. Ola Mae Hart 1899–1984
        • Lula Mae Mosley 1920–1997
        • Willie Pressley Mosley 1922–2009
        • Marion Roscoe Mosley 1924–2012
        • Floyd Mosley 1927–1928
        • Edna Lucille Mosley 1929–1978
        • Johnnie Richard Mosley 1932–1953

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #7: THOMAS G. FOWLER (1812-1887)

I had to see his grave. So, one winter day not so long ago, I made my way to Browns Chapel Baptist Church Cemetery in Pacolet Mills, SC. It’s not a large cemetery and I found the Fowler headstones easily.

I know he is one of mine, but conclusive proof still eludes me. Was he yet another Thomas GILLMAN Fowler and who was his father? (He did have a son named Gillman…) Was he the son of Ellis Fowler (b.1770), or John Fowler the Elder (d. 1818), or Mark Fowler (1785-1862)? These three men are all from the yHaplogroup I-Lineage IV and represent my best guess.

Ellis Fowler (b. 1770) was the son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808). Ellis and his wife Mary (b. 1780) had many children, but documenting them has been a difficult task. One of the sons was named Ellis Fowler (b. 1810) but I only have speculated on the names of any other sons. This Thomas G. Fowler may have been one. The children and grandchildren of Ellis Fowler (b. 1770) were found in Draytonville and Pacolet — same location as this Thomas G. Fowler and his children and grandchildren.

John Fowler the Elder (d. 1818) was likely a brother of Henry Ellis Fowler. John Fowler the Elder did have a son named Thomas who was named in John’s Last Will and Testament. Thomas G. Fowler is a good “fit” in the timeline to be the son of John Fowler the Elder.

It is also a possibility that Thomas G. Fowler was the son of Little Mark Fowler (1785-1862) who was the oldest son of John Fowler the Elder. Mark Fowler was married to a woman named Nancy and they had many children, — most remain a mystery to me. Mark Fowler married a much younger Mary O’Neal after the death of his first wife Nancy and had even more children. Several of Mark’s children and grandchildren lived in the Draytonville and Pacolet areas.

Am I right? I have no idea. It is possible that this could be a totally different line altogether. DNA testing will be the only way to confirm the lineage of this Fowler line. If direct Fowler male descendant is willing to do this, please message me.

I still have many questions. Were there two wives — Martha Williams and Martha Owens? Or was Martha one woman? There may have been a son, James Fowler, born in 1842. His death certificate lists Martha Williams as his mother. Martha, the wife buried beside Thomas G. Fowler, was born in 1829 and would have been 13 years old in 1842. We all know dates often got mixed up. Is that what is going on here? Or was the James Fowler born in 1842 even the son of Thomas G. Fowler of Pacolet SC? What about the eleven year old James Fowler (b. 1849) in the 1860 census? The James of the 1860 census fits within the family much better than the ten year gap between the birth of 1842 James and the next child in 1852. Like I said, I have many unanswered questions.

In the meantime, the descendants of Thomas G. Fowler as follows:

  • Thomas G. Fowler (1812-1887) m. Martha Williams or Owens (1829-1903)
    1. James R. Fowler (1842–1925) m. Sarah Elizabeth Bridges (1852–1896)
      • Robert G Fowler (b. 1878)
      • Hester J Fowler (b. 1879)
      • Tom L. Fowler (1882–1932). m. Pruana Morgan (1883–1919); m. Laura Effie McKee (1888-1973)
        • James Everett Fowler (1903–1919)
        • Flay Charles Fowler (1907–1973) m. Julia Beatrice McSwain (1908–1985)
          • Charles Flay Fowler Jr (1927–1995)
          • Jack Benjamin Fowler (1933–2003)
        • Paul Horace Fowler (1908–1930) m. Annie Belle Rabb (1911–2004)
          • Floyd Edward Fowler Sr 1928–1999
        • Carah Bella Fowler (1911–1919)
        • Maudie Fowler (b. 1914)
        • Thomas Odell Fowler (1921–1921)
        • Jack Thomas Fowler (1922–2007)
        • Margaret Fowler (b. 1924)
        • Louise Marie Fowler (1927– 2010)
      • George Washington Fowler (1888–1955) m. Daisy Maria Poteat (1889–1952)
        • Callie E Fowler (1908–1994)
        • George “Roland” Fowler (1920–1975)
        • Vernon Decatur Fowler (1925–1992)
        • Francis Eugene Fowler (1931–2007)
      • William Jackson Fowler (1889–1935)
      • Martha Levada Fowler (1893–1926) m. J M Morgan (b. 1856)
      • Vera Ada Fowler (1896–1969)
    2. Francis Marion Fowler (b. 1852)
    3. Mary M. Fowler ( b. 1853)
    4. Sarah J. Fowler (b. 1855)
    5. Gillman L Fowler (1862–1937) m. Ida Prudilla Petty (1875–1951); m. Emma Phillips
      • Thomas Milan Fowler (1886–1929) m. Lillie A Dillard (1890–1984)
        • Lois M. Fowler (1905–1906)
        • Frank Ray Fowler (1908–1992) m. Nellie Lee Thornton (1905–1962)
          • Doris Evelyn Fowler (1927–2002) m. Clyde Henry Coleman (1927–2005)
          • Forrest Eugene Fowler (1928–2001) m. Edith Addis (1929–2018)
            • Son Fowler (b. 1951)
            • Wayne Fowler (1957–2016)
          • Daughter Fowler (b. 1930)
        • William Vance Fowler (1911–2001) m. Mary Dean Turner (1910–1999)
          • Daughter Fowler
        • Thelma Fowler (1913–1992) m. Roy Lee Crawford (1916–1984)
        • Barney Eugene Fowler (1915–1993) m. Jonnie Belle Smith (1918–1993)
          • Barbara Eugenia Fowler (1938–2013)
          • Mary Lou Fowler
    6. Lucy A. Fowler (1865–1949) m. Theodore M Smart
      • Lillie Pearl Smart (1882–1956) m. George Thomas Walker Allen (1878–1951)
        • Grace Allen (1900–1973)
        • Ernest Allen (b. 1903)
        • George Allen (1904–1980)
        • Lois Allen (b. 1908)
        • Joe Allen (1915–1975)
        • Jack Ray Allen (1923–1996)
    7. John W. Jackson Fowler (b. 1866)
    8. Susan Ellen Fowler (b. 1867)
    9. Martha F. Fowler (b. 1870)


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #6 ZILLAH HAMES (1812-1883)

In Union County, South Carolina, there were two women named Zillah Hames. This is about the Zillah Hames the younger, niece of the other.

Zillah Hames (b. 1812) was the daughter of John M. Hames (1791–1862) and Sarah “Sallie” Fowler (1790–1870). She was undoubtedly named after her aunt — her father’s sister — Zilla Hames (1793-after 1860) who married Thomas Mabry (1788-after 1860).

John M. Hames was the son of William Hames and Elizabeth Moseley. Sarah Fowler was the daughter of Ephraim Fowler, son of Henry Ellis Fowler.

Census records may not accurately reflect the number of children that John M. Hames and Sarah Fowler had during their marriage. I believe that there was at least one more son, and probably another daughter. The large gaps in between the births of children are suspect, but the following children are known and documented:

  • Zillah Hames (1812–1883)
  • Matilda Hames (1822?–1901)
  • Mary “Polly” Hames (b.1827)
  • Andrew Jackson Hames (1830–1863)
  • Elizabeth Hames (b. 1832)

Zillah Hames and William Bevis (1807-1883) were married by Esquire Lipsey on May 5, 1829 . The ceremony was performed at the home of her father, John Hames. William Bevis had previously been married to Hannah Gault, who died two years into the marriage. Hannah had given birth to two daughters, Salena Bevis and Rebecca Bevis.

Zillah Hames and William Bevis had a family bible in which births, marriages, and deaths were religiously recorded. Fifteen children were born during their marriage — a son Henry, and a daughter Nancy died very young; Phebe Caroline and Sara Francis were twins; and five infants were stillborn during Zillah’s late childbearing years of 1848 to 1856.

  • Mary Jane Bevis (1831–after 1880) m. Thomas Luther Burgess (1829–1908)
  • Henry Bevis 1833-1833
  • Nancy Bevis 1834-1836
  • William Zachariah Bevis (1837–1896) m. Elizabeth T. Jane Hames (1827–1911)
  • Nancy Elendar Bevis (b, 1839)
  • Phebe Caroline Bevis (1842–1938)
  • Sara Francis Bevis (1842–1936) m. John Holcomb (1828–1906)
  • Eliza Elizabeth Bevis (1844–1930) m. James Daniel McNeace (1846–1906)
  • John M Bevis (1846-1883) m. Eliza Disor Holcombe (b. 1842); m. Vesta Ann Fowler (1849–1896)
  • Infant Bevis (1848-1848)
  • Amanda M Bevis (1850–1913) m. John McNeace (1848–1903)
  • Infant Bevis (1851-1851)
  • Infant Bevis (1852-1852)
  • Infant Bevis (1853–1853)
  • Infant Bevis (1856–1856)

Sarah Francis Bevis and her brother John M. Bevis

Zillah Hames died at ten o’clock in the morning on November 7, 1876. Her funeral text was from Proverbs 14:32; King James Version: “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.

Zillah Hames was buried at Bethlehem United Methodist Church Cemetery in the Kelly area of Union County SC. I visit her grave often.

Four months after the death of Zillah, William Bevis married his third wife, Letta Spencer, but the marriage was short-lived. In 1883, he was laid to rest near his second wife — and the one with whom he had spent most of his life — Zillah Hames Bevis.

Sarah Adeline Sims (1828-1905)

Her importance as a local historian cannot be overstated. She was an artist, a sculptor, a prolific writer, a modern woman in an antiquated time. She was Sarah Adeline Sims.

Addie Sims was born on October 6, 1828 on the south side of Grindal Shoals on the Pacolet River in Union County, South Carolina. Her father was Joseph Stark Sims (1801-1875), a man of great importance and influence in the county of Union and the state of South Carolina. J.S. Sims was a plantation owner with a large number of slaves, a local businessman, and a politician. He was Foreman of the Jury in the Mary Ann Hyatt murder trial The Murder of MARY ANN HYATT (1822-1851); he was engaged in many legal debates and decisions on the political stage. J. S. Sims played a prominent part in South Carolina’s secession from the Union to start the War Between the States.

Joseph Stark Sims was the son of William Sims (1768-1853) and Elizabeth Shelton (1767-1837). William was the son of Charles Sims (1737-1827) and Sabilla Bowles (1740-1818).

Charles Sims was born in Somerset, England and died in Union County, SC. He raised a company, in 1777 in Albemarle County, Virginia and fought in the Revolutionary War. Henry Ellis Fowler was a Lieutenant in the company and remained a steadfast soldier as well as friend to Charles Sims. The two families had deep connections. True, Henry Ellis Fowler had died in 1808, well before Addie Sims was born in 1828, but she knew his son Ellis Fowler b. 1770, and had written a fairly detailed description of him. Addie had also talked to her grandfather, William Sims, about the war and she was able to pass on the stories to future generations.

In 1894, Addie Sims wrote the following passage about her family to give to her relative, R. M. Sims of California. It’s a long read but well worth it if you are interested in the Sims family history. If not, then just skip over the italicized sections.

In the words of Miss Sarah Adeline Sims:

“Matthew Sims was the ancestor of all the Sims in Union County, and has many descendants in Newberry and Laurens counties. He came to Virginia early in the Eighteenth Century from Somerset, England, and settled on the James River, either in Henrico or Gooch-land counties. He was known as “James River Mat” to distinguish him from a nephew of the same name, who lived near Danville, Va., called ‘Roanoke Mat’. The wife of Matthew of James River was Mary Pears: I suppose from England. They had seven sons and four daughters.

“The sons were Charles, Reuben, David, James and John and two more who remained in Virginia when the family moved to Carolina after the war. I cannot recall the names of these two, but Patrick, Reuben (Cousin Horse) and Nathan were the sons of one of them. Matthew Sims came to Carolina after the close of the Revolutionary War, settled on Tinker Creek, a tributary of the Tyger River, lived to an advanced age and was killed by the fall of a limb from a burning tree, as he stopped to light his pipe in passing through new ground. I had a description of his death from an old servant, who was ploughing in the field at the time, in fact much of the family history came to me from these old servants, two of whom belonged to my grandfather, were raised by Mat Sims, at his death came to Charles and from him to William, Charles’ only son, and then to my father. One lived until after the surrender.

“The name of Sims is old Saxon, which means Shell’ or Cornice. Our family belonged to the English Squirearchy: ‘Gent’ was written after their names. I have seen it on old papers ‘Charles Sims, Gent’. They were always of independent means, neither very rich or very poor. They did not belong to the Yeomanry nor were they of the titled aristocracy and have always borne the character distinguished for truthfulness, honesty and uprightness. I once asked my grandfather to tell me what sort of man his grandfather Mat was. He looked me gravely in the face and said, ‘A very good man; I never heard aught against him. Had there been anything I surely would have heard it.’

“‘Capt. Charles Sims was perhaps the oldest son of Mat Sims and his wife Mary Pears. He came to Carolina from Albemarle, Va. in 1774 or ’75 and was engaged in surveying. He came as a pioneer for the family. When the war was declared with England he returned to Virginia and raised a company, was mustered into service at Albemarle C. H. and has his commission from Patrick Henry, dated 1777. He was sent back to Carolina to engage in partisan warfare, then raging along this part of the country. His home was on Tinker Creek, in the neighborhood of the Jollys, McJunkens, Thomases and other Whig families. I think Charles must have been the oldest of the family as he had a married daughter at that time, Nancy, Mrs. McDonald, now called McDaniel. From her oldest daughter, Mrs. Sally Sims Gist, the widow of Col. Joseph Gist of Pinckney, I learned much of the early history of this county and particularly the Sims Family. She was born just at the commencement of the Revolutionary War, and died at the beginning of the Confederate War.

“The wife of Capt. Charles was Sybella, daughter of John Knight Bowles of Hanover, Va. She was a woman of high courage, of firm, true principles, suffered all the distress and privations incident to the time. The marauding Tories robbed them of everything they could carry off, servants, stock, clothes and bedding. The only horse they had left was an old mare called “Knotty Head,” from an immense swelling on the side of her head. The old lady must mount “Knotty” with her bundle of medicines and bandages, with her young son, Billy, to trot behind to switch Knotty’s legs, when she heard of an engagement with the enemy, and be on hand to administer to the wounded and dying. Finally the Tories burnt the house, and they were left without shelter, goods or clothing in the bitter winter weather. In some way Capt. Sims managed to convey them to Virginia under the escort of Lieutenant Ellis Fowler, as far as “Roanoke Mats,” where they were received with the warmest sympathy, fed and clothed, and afterward sent on to the James River.

“Mrs. Sybbie Sims was very successful in her ministrations. I have a curious old document, copied with her own hand for her daughter, Mrs. Shelton. A receipt for making “green salve” by the application of which she performed some wonderful cures. One old Hughes was run thru the body by a British sword at the Battle of Cowpens. The sword passed entirely thru his body, and Hughes grasped the blade, when the British soldier, touched by his bravery said, “let go, my good fellow, I will draw it out as easily as I can.” He placed his knee on Hughes and drew the blade out. Mrs. Sibbie Sims doctored Hughes with some of her famous salve, and he recovered and lived to quite an old age.

Some time after this Charles was taken prisoner with another Whig, by the name of Johnson. The Tory leader condemned them both to be hanged. Johnson v/as already executed and Capt. Charles Sims was standing with the rope around his neck and the cap over his head when he heard the galloping of a horse and a voice ring out, “Who have you got there?” The answer was “Charles Sims.” “Take him down and wait until I return.” In a short time the soldier returned with a pardon on parole. Charles went directly back to Virginia, took up arms and served to the end of the war. The British officer who rescued him was a Capt. George of the British Army, an old schoolmate and friend. He said that the instant Capt. George spoke he recognized his voice.

After the close of the war Charles returned to Carolina, settled in a place on Broad River, about five or six miles below Lockhart Shoals. He built a comfortable old Virginia farm house and added to his acres from year to year, until he owned a large acreage of fine land. He settled all his children well. His only son, William, was in stature a medium size man; as the English would say, ‘well set up’ devoted adherent to the Church of England; had seats under the oaks at the old place, where, on Sundays, his negroes assembled to be catechised and hear the reading of the church service.

Some years after the war the Methodist preachers penetrated the backwoods of Carolina, holding their revival meetings, and preaching with much success. One after another of Charles’ old kin left the church and went over to the Methodists, down in the Cane Creek settlement, where most of his clan lived. At last the news came that Barnard Glenn, his favorite cousin, had gone over, the staunch old churchman was utterly exasperated, and said, ‘Tut, tut, did I ever think that ‘Narney’ would be such a damn fool as to join the Methodists.’ But a more trying ordeal was still in store for Capt. Charles. Sibbie, his devoted wife, on a visit to the settlement was induced to attend a meeting and she too became a converted Methodist. Mrs. Sibbie was firm and stood to her colors, but the Captain was unrelenting, looking upon the new sect as witches and impostors, and could not be induced to accompany his wife to the meeting; but Mrs. Sibbie was fertile in resources, and wouldn’t be balked. Having no little negro boy of suitable age to attend her, she made a boy’s suit for her maid, and when she chose to attend a meeting, her maid donned the boy’s suit, and Mrs. Sibbie mounted the old mare with her page behind her, and trotted off quite independently.

“Charles Sims lived to ninety or more years, retained his eyesight to the last, killed a fine buck at a distance of a hundred yards not six months before his death, and died with every tooth perfectly sound in his head. He was of the most temperate habits in everything; took his drams a-day-a-morning tonic and a noonday drink, and had Broad River flowed with the best of liquor, nothing could have induced him to take another. ‘I have never seen my father disguised in liquor in my life,’said his son, ‘but once, when the survivors of the Revolution met at Union C. H., and he was with many of his old comrades, then I thought his tongue ran a little free.’ After the war he held the place of tobacco inspector for the state for years, and would spend six months of the year in Charleston. In that way he kept up his church connection. He enjoyed to the last all the sports of the frontiersman, and lies buried by his wife and daughter in a graveyard at his old home, a God’s acre bequeathed by him as a last resting place to his descendants.

“Reuben Sims was one of the oldest sons of Matthew Sims, who came with him after the war and settled on Tyger River. Had several sons and two daughters. One son, John Sims, went to Mississippi long years ago. I have seen some old letters from him to grandfather. Of the others I don’t know but supposed they all drifted West. His daughter, Mirny, Mrs. Jack Thomas, left several children, two only of her children, Reuben Thomas, Santuck, and David of Spartanburg, are living. Susannah, Mrs. Garland Meng, was a near neighbor and dear friend of mine for many years. She died about four years ago. Her eldest daughter, Sallie, is the wife of S. W. T. Lanham. of Weatherford. Texas. My grandfather often said to me in speaking: of his uncle Reuben, ‘He was one of the best men I ever knew, guided in all of his conduct by a strict sense of right and duty.’ David Sims, I think must have been the youngest of the sons of Mat. I have heard the old folks say that David was intellectually superior to all of his father’s family. After the death of his wife, and when his children had all married and left him, his habits became bad, he drank to excess. I cannot recall the name of his wife, I suppose she was a Virginian. I once saw his daughter, Mrs. Nancy Reed, wife of Joseph Reed. They came here once before I was quite grown, Le see my grandfather, were in from Mississippi, on a visit to her daughter, Mrs. Witherspoon of Yorkville. I remember well how much the old relative enjoyed meeting and talking over the past, and pretty and sweet looking old lady cousin Nancy was, with such gentle and kindly manners. Like all the old Sims, I think she was very fair with blue eyes. That was the original Sims type. I also remember your aunt Mirny, Mrs. Maybin, another warmhearted and affectionate old lady, very much beloved by her relatives.

Your father, Dr. James M. Sims, was here with your mother, in their early married days on a visit to my father. I have heard my mother speak of it and tell what a beautiful woman your mother was. Of your father, I have always heard him spoken of in the highest terms of regard and esteem by my father. I can recall my father’s expression one day long ago, speaking to an old friend, Col. F. H. Elmore, who had known your father well, “Dr. James Sims is one of the most thorough gentlemen I have ever known in my life.” There was a strong family affection among the old Sims. From Uncles John and James there must have been a number of descendants. There was a Col. Reuben, a man very highly thought of. I don’t know whose son he was. There was a John F. and a John S., a young Mat and a Charles, a first cousin of my grandfather, who married a Miss Sallie Shelton, daughter of old David Shelton, and a sister of my grandmother Sims. Patrick, Reuben (Cousin Horse) and Nathan were brothers, grandsons of old Mat, and the sons of one of the two remained in Virginia, Patrick, Patrick’s wife was a daughter of Col. Beaufort, I think Nathan’s wife was a Miss Saunders, but I am not sure. Old Mat Sims’ Bible with all the family record was once, I am told, in the possession of Nathan Sims. Of Cousin Horse I am glad to be able to say a word in his behalf. My father told me that in that man was the wreck and ruin of the most noble nature. When a young man in Virginia he was highly respected but an unfortunate love affair wrecked his life. I don’t know what the woman did, but she ruined the life of a good man. In after years when he was an old man, by the death of a relative in Virginia, he could have succeeded to a very handsome property, but he steadily refused to assert his claim, said ‘no, he had thrown away his life and could not trust himself, that those who would heir the estate were young and would be benefited and he hoped would make good use of it.

“The daughters of James River Mat, Nancy, Mrs. Gilliam, who lived on the Newberry side and was a mother of Reuben Gilliam, of this county, whose first wife was a daughter of Patrick Sims, Hannah, Mrs. Henderson, mother of Capt. Jack Henderson, of Newberry who was father of Tom and James Henderson, of Mrs. A. W. Thompson of Union, Mrs. Lucy Shelton. Mrs. Hannah Pearson, Mrs. Caroline Pickens of Alabama and Mrs. Sarah Chick. From these Hendersons there are but few descendants, Nancy, Mrs. Wallace Thompson, has only one grandchild, A. W. Thompson of Columbia, partner in law with Herndon Moore and Edward Robinson. Wallace is the only child of the late Dr. Wallace Thompson of Union. From Massey, Mrs. Saunders, carne a good many of the Union County people. Drucilla, Mrs. Brazelman’s descendants belong to Newberry. You see from Mat and Polly Pears sprang a numerous progeny, and the half is not told. Surely they have multiplied and increased like the sands on the seashore. Old Grandsire Mat was a man of a great deal of humor, and I have heard some funny things that would not look exactly nice for an old maid descendant to be recording, but they were very funny for all that. I believe I have told you all down to my grandfather’s time and his sons.

Miss Addie Sims has told the Sims family story and I could stop now; only I want to tell her story so that all can learn what an extraordinary woman she was and to show my appreciation for the historical treasures that she left us. So — back to her immediate family.

Addie’s father, Joseph Stark Sims married Jane Emily Fernandez (1804–1888), a daughter of Henry Fernandez (1769-1823). The Fernandez family had been Spanish political exiles who settled near Port Tobacco, Maryland. Henry Fernandez traveled south from Maryland to Union County. Once settled, he married Elizabeth Henderson (1786–1852), a daughter of Judge Henderson — political families joined together.

A few years ago, I was searching in the woods near the Pacolet River for a Fowler family cemetery. I knew from census records that my Reuben Fowler family had lived next to the Joseph Stark Sims family, and that the two families were surrounded by my Mabrys. I had done my homework, and I knew the neck of the woods in which I was searching, but I was still surprised when I stumbled upon the Sims-Fernandez family graveyard.

I felt reverence when I found the grave of Sarah Adeline Sims. She was a remarkable woman from a remarkable family. Her father, Joseph Stark Sims, was also buried there, as was her mother Jane Emily Fernandez. I did not find my Fowler graveyard that day but I knew I had stood on Holy Ground.

Addie Sims was born in 1828, the same year that her father built a two-story white house with large chimneys book-ending the home. It sat back about one quarter of a mile from the road and was across from the Chisolm race track.

John Chisolm bought a track of land near John Henderson above Grindal Shoals in the late 1700s. Chisolm built his house near the large spring on his property, and, being an owner of fine race horses, built a race track in front of his house. Chisolm’s Spring and Chilsom’s Race Track were named after him.

A Yale educated attorney named Abrah Nott from New England boarded with John Chisolm. Nott opened a law office in the house and many aspiring lawyers studied there. One of particular note was David Johnson (1782-1855) who would later become the 62nd Governor of South Carolina, serving 1846 to 1848.

I have been studying the present-day landscape on satellite maps, searching for leftover signs of a horse racing track from almost two hundred years ago. I’ve not found the location yet but I harbor much hope to do so in the near future.

The Joseph Starke Sims family was enumerated in their new home in the 1830 Union County, SC Census. The names of their nearby neighbors confirm the Grindal Shoals location: Elijah Fernandis, Edmund Hames, Rachel Haile, David Fowler, Joseph Fowler, and Godfrey Fowler.

  • J.S. Sims 20-29
  • Jane Sims 20-20
  • son 15-19
  • son 5-9
  • son < 5
  • f < 5
  • F<5
  • 11 Slaves

In 1837 — after the death of his wife — the elder William Sims moved in with his son J.S. Sims and family. Nine-year-old Addie would have been overjoyed at this addition to the family. She loved her grandfather and spent hours at his knee listening to his stories which she later wrote about in letters. Grandpa “Billy” Sims was also the subject of her artwork.

In an age and place — pre-Civil War, back-woods South Carolina — when both men and women were rarely educated and not many could read or write, Addie Sims was an exception to the rule. In 1839, she was enrolled in a girl’s school in Charleston, SC studying music. She had family connections in the town, her mother’s sister Sarah Fernandez Norris and husband James living there and taking Addie in while she studied. Addie was exceptionally intelligent and finished the course at the top of her class. She retuned home to Grindal Shoals in time to be counted in the 1840 census.

  • J.S. Sims 40-49
  • Jane Sims 30-39
  • William Sims 60-69
  • son 15-19
  • f 10-14
  • f 10-14
  • son 5-9
  • son 5-9
  • son < 5
  • 42 Slaves

The number of slaves in the household increased from 11 in 1830 to 42 in 1840. It is probable that William Sims brought the majority of them with him when he moved into the home in 1837. William Sims was a large slaveholder throughout his life.

The number of children in the household was growing and a tutor named Mary Webb Daniel was hired in the early 1840’s. Education was important in the Joseph Stark Sims household; Jane Fernandez had gone to a school for girls, and Joseph Stark Sims had been educated at South Carolina College. The Sims children were afforded many educational opportunities; a fact supported by two of the sons becoming physicians.

Mary Daniel had moved south from Pennsylvania with her two aunts, Charlotte and Phebe Paine, who did much to advance the education of young women in upstate South Carolina. It is likely that Mary lived in the Sims household while employed as their teacher.

Addie Sims longed for more that what was normally expected of young women in the mid 1800s. She was not interested in the domestic side of life, but instead wished to express her creative visions through her artwork. She was different, way ahead of her time. Perhaps there were many women of the era who felt the same way but it was daring and unacceptable to say it out loud.

Limestone Springs High School for Women was founded in 1845 by Dr. Thomas Curtis who had immigrated from England to the United States in 1833. The school was the first of its kind to open in the state and offered higher education to the privileged young ladies of well-to-do families. It later admitted young men on a part-time basis, and eventually the name was changed to Limestone College.

Addie Sims was enrolled in the school in 1847 and studied art under the instruction of Eugene Alexander Dovilliers, born in 1818 in Paris who eventually became a French instructor at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He was a master at painting landscapes. He taught French and art at the Limestone school for only a short time; moving to Columbia SC. and painting the Broad River as a subject in his landscapes.

Dovilliers died in 1887 and willed his three-story brick home in Washington D.C. and his home and property in Columbia SC to both his wife Ellen Brennan Dovilliers, and his mother, Minde Zoe Dovilliers. His estate included portraits of himself and his family, diamond jewelry, furs, and other expensive items. He is buried in Annapolis, Maryland, his wife in Columbia, SC, and his mother in Washington DC.

While researching his life, I ran across a thesis written in 2014 which I found most interesting. I won’t divert off the path of Addie Sims too far, but if one is inclined to learn more, search for TRANSLATING THE LANDSCAPE: EUGENE DOVILLIERS AND LANDSCAPE PAINTING IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH by Catherine A. Carlisle

Addie Sims left Limestone Springs High School for Women, perhaps around the same time as her art teacher, for she is not found in the graduation class of any year. The school was only 16 miles from Addie’s home on Grindal Shoals, a quick 25 minute trip by car today but a much longer journey in 1847 by horse and buggy. Her departure may have been motivated by her art instructor’s decision to leave the school, or perhaps she just missed her family.

In addition to paintings of her grandfather William Sims, Addie captured the likeness of at least two of the family plantation slaves, Uncle Johnnie and Aunt Siller. She created portraits of members of her own family, and beautiful landscapes of places in and around Grindal Shoals. These paintings and drawings are treasures with value beyond measure. They give us a rare glimpse of the people whose names, if known at all, were merely written words in a census record or legal document. For those of us who tramp through deep woods searching for old graveyards and relics of the past, her landscapes give us a view of what the land had once been like before modern roadways and houses found a way into our lives.

There was a passion for art burning inside Addie Sims, and the flames could not… would not… be extinguished. In the late 1840s, Addie traveled to Charleston to study art under the guidance of Henry Breintnal Bounetheau and his wife Julia Clarkson Dupre. Both instructors were born, lived, and died in Charleston, South Carolina, although Julia Dupre had been educated up north and had studied art in Paris. Mr. Bounetheau’s profession was accounting but he was a musician and artist as well. His speciality was painting miniatures and he was known for his stippling technique. Both husband and wife were well known artists of the time.

Addie Sims was back in Grindal Shoals in the family home in time to be counted in the 1850 census.

In 1850, the Joseph Stark Sims family lived next door to my ancestor Reuben Fowler and his family who may have even lived on the Sims property. Although Joseph Sims and Reuben Fowler were contemporaries and neighbors, the differences between them were tremendous. I suspect that my ancestor worked for the Sims family. My great great grandmother Mary Fowler was a few years younger than Addie Sims, yet I believe that they may have been friends. It would be my great hope that an Addie Sims painting of my Mary or my Reuben would be found in an old, dusty attic somewhere.

Addie’s grandfather, William Sims, was recorded in the 1850 census with the Joseph Stark Sims family. William Sims died in 1853 and was buried in the Sheldon family graveyard.

In July 1851, Clough Sheldon Sims, Esq. was among a handful of distinguished gentlemen invited to participate on a Board of Visitors. It should be noted that he was a brother of Joseph Stark Sims. Clough Sims and his wife Ann Quay had one son and four daughters; the three younger daughters were enrolled at the Limestone Springs school in the early to mid 1850s. Sarah Sims graduated in 1855. Their children as follows:

  • William A. Quay Sims 1828-1850
  • Sarah Eliza Sims 1830–1902
  • Alice Cecilia Sims 1832–1930
  • Elizabeth “Betsy” Clough Sims 1837–1907
  • Margaret Clough Sims 1839–1917

In early March 1855, young John Edward Sims was shot in the forehead. while he and E.G. Fowler were out on patrol. (E.G. Fowler may have been Elijah Fowler, son of Thomas Gillman Fowler; more research needed). Fowler held Sims as he died, and laid him on the ground before he pursued the killer who fled and got away. Nathaniel Ridley Evans Mayer was eventually captured and held in the Union jail awaiting trial.

Andrew Mayer (1808-1893) was born in Virginia. He moved to South Carolina, settling on Gills Creek in the township of Lancaster. He became a prominent member of the community, being an Inn Keeper, and the first mayor of the town, serving from 1831 to 1852.

As a note of interest, he had been given a Spanish coin that George Washington had cut in half with his sword to pay for his meal at a tavern in Lancaster in 1791.

Andrew Mayer was twice married and the father of twenty-one children.

One of those children was Nathaniel Ridley Evans Mayer.

Nathaniel Mayer was born in 1838. He was seventeen years old when he killed John Edward Sims. Lancaster is 60 miles from the Grindal Shoals area. What was young Mayer doing so far away from home? I find no details of the motive for the shooting, nor a transcript of the trial. I have only been able to find a brief newspaper article relaying that N.R.E. Mayer was convicted of manslaughter in October 1855.

I do not know how much time was served; perhaps none, for Nathaniel Mayer married Addie Cornelia Howard in 1860. They had five children (William, Arthur, Mary, Ridley, and Jessie). They lived in South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Georgetown, District of Columbia, and Quitman, Georgia until Nathaniel Mayer abandoned his family in Georgia before 1897.

His wife Addie Mayer, recorded as a widow in city directories and the 1900 census, died in 1913 in Savannah Georgia. Nathaniel Mayer died in Philadelphia in 1908. His obituary called him a “man of family” but did not mention that his wife and children were living in Georgia without him; it also did not mention that he had shot a man in the head in 1855.

Addie Sims would have been 26 years old when her brother was murdered. It must have affected her greatly. Her brother Henry Fernandez Sims, only three years younger than John Edward Sims, felt the loss perhaps even more. He died in 1857, still a young man himself. It has been written that his early death was brought on by the knowledge that his brother’s killer had escaped justice.

Addie’s older sister Caroline Elizabeth Sims, in 1852, had married Edward Carrington Elmore (b. 1826) who served as the Treasurer of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. The Elmore family had moved from South Carolina to Montgomery, Alabama before the outbreak of the war. Addie Sims traveled to Montgomery in 1859 to help her sister with the birth of a child, but would be back home in Grindal Shoals by 1860. 

Addie Sims still had her passion for art, and her wish to travel to Paris to study under the great masters was more than a dream. She was working to make it a reality. Family obligations and the looming threat of civil war forced her to delay her plans to travel to Europe; yet she continued searching for a way. She had been very close to leaving for Paris when the war finally began. Addie Sims would never go to Paris.

The war changed everything. Times became hard, and would become even more difficult as the war dragged on and on. Fathers, sons, husbands, were killed on the battlefield. Without men at home to plant the gardens, chop the wood, raise the livestock, and hunt for small game, women and children were left to their own devices and the ones who survived did so by the Grace of God and the help of their neighbors.

Joseph Stark Sims had signed the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession in 1860, and must bear some of the responsibility for what was to come. We must assume that the Joseph Stark Sims household felt the effects of the war, but perhaps did not suffer as much as the households without dozens of slaves to do the never-ending work.

Addie Sims continued her painting and drawing during wartime, but necessities became scare and that included art supplies. Many sacrifices had to be made; more were to come. Loved ones were lost on the battlefields miles and miles away from home. Some came home in wooden coffins, some never came home at all. Addie’s greatest loss may have concerned matters of the heart.

John Boyce (1780-1843) was the son of Elizabeth Miller (1758-1797) and northern Ireland immigrant John Boyce (1745–1806). John Boyce the younger married Nancy Robertson, lived and raised a family in Laurens County, SC.

Robert Boyce (1825-1863) was a son of the younger John Boyce. He attended the same school, South Carolina College, as Joseph Stark Sims — albeit years later — and, like Sims, he was also a well-educated, well-connected attorney. He was also the romantic interest of Miss Sarah Adeline Sims.

In the 1850 and 1860 Union County Census records, Robert Boyce lived in a hotel in Union SC, along with other men of many “city” professions: silversmith, hotel keeper, tanner, tailor, bar keeper, saddler, lawyer, physician, cigar maker, clerk, shoemaker, medical student. His real estate was valued at $30,000 and his personal estate at $10,000 in 1860.

The start of the Civil War changed everything. Robert Boyce was commissioned Caption in Battery C, Jeter’s Company, South Carolina Light Artillery, also known as the Macbeth Light Artillery and Captain Robert Boyce’s Company.

Captain Robert Boyce did not make it home from the war. He died of dysentery in Wilmington, NC on April 19, 1863. He was buried in the Boyce family cemetery in Laurens County, SC. It has been said that Addie Sims carved a cameo of him after his death.

Robert Boyce left a large and complicated estate to be settled. He was obviously not expecting to die; although he was an attorney, he left no will for probate. Many relatives hired many lawyers, and many documents were generated over many years before all was said and done. Addie Sims was not mentioned in the settlement.

After the war, Addie Sims spent time with her family and continued to paint. She began exhibiting her art locally, and we find many articles in old newspapers showing that she extended her talents to carving cameos out of soapstone. Her artwork was exhibited in Charleston in the South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition in 1901/1902. Her artwork was displayed in fairs around the state.

Census records of 1870 and 1880 have her in the Sims family household. The 1900 census record. has her in the household with her sister Mary Elizabeth Sims Hamilton and family. Addie Sims may have never been acknowledged as a great artist, but only because the time in which she lived did not permit her to stretch her wings and fly to the great heights that she would have attained had she been born in a different era.

In December of 1894, Addie Sims wrote of “looking back beyond a hundred years and trying to recall the past of her old people”. Mrs. Carrie Boyd Robertson shared this history of Grindal Shoals with the readers of the June 2, 1916 Gaffney Ledger. It is a must read for anyone researching the area or the Wade Hampton, John Beckham, Major John Henderson,William Hodge, Sally Goudelock, Thomas Murray, Adam Potter, William Henderson, John Nuckolls, Goudelock, Mitchell and Hale families.

Addie Sims died on June 6, 1905 at the home of her sister, Mrs. Hamilton. She was buried in the Sims/Fernandez cemetery near the Pacolet River. 

Addie Sims left this world, yet left us many gifts. Works of her art are still in existence today. Her writings can be found if one searches. I will be forever grateful for the things she wrote about my Fowler family.

Addie Sims was a treasure. She lived her best life and the world is a better place because she was here.

52 ANCESTORS in 52 WEEKS: #5 ZILLA HAMES (1793-after 1860)

Zilla Hames is my great great great grandmother. She was born in 1793, the daughter of William Hames (1759–1823) and Elizabeth Moseley (1763–1850). Her Hames family is the Charles Hames/Catherine Krugg line from Germany to Virginia to Union County, SC; her Moseley family is the John Moseley/Ann Williams line from European and British Isles beginnings to Virginia to the Carolinas.

Zilla Hames, in 1809, married Thomas Mabry (1788–1860). Thomas was the son of James Mabry (d. 1805). His mother may have been named Hannah, who had previously been married to a Mr. Briggs.

The Mabry and Hames families lived near Grindal Shoals, north and south of the Pacolet River. They were to be found in the communities of Draytonville and Goudeysville, part of Union County until Cherokee County, created in 1897, claimed them.

Zilla Hames had two brothers who married two daughters of Ephraim Fowler (1765-1822). Charles E. Hames (1782 -1847) married Lydia Fowler (1785-1852); John M Hames (1791–1862) married Sarah Fowler (1790-after 1870).

For the record, Charles E. Hames was the son of William Hames and an unknown woman. This was made clear in the Last Will and Testament of William Hames, who specifically mentioned his born-out-of-wedlock son. Zilla Hames, John Hames, and their siblings, —William Edmond Hames (1785-1870), Mark Hames (1787–1865), Charity Hames (b. 1789), Thomas Hames (b. 1793) and Edmund Simpson Hames (1796–1864) — were the children of William Hames and his wife Elizabeth Moseley.

No slaves, no land to speak of, no great wealth — Zilla Hames had married a man of little means. In 1850, Thomas Mabry had one mule, two cows, and eight pigs. And… three children: Franklin F. Mabry born before 1820, Larissa Mabry born 1817, and Elizabeth Mabry born 1824.

Three children were a rare occurrence in the 1800s. Families of nine, ten, eleven children were not unusual, and I have seen instances of women who had seventeen or more. It is likely that there were more children born who did not survive long enough to be counted in a census record. Lucky I am that my ancestor, Franklin F. Mabry, survived to adulthood.

Franklin F. Mabry married Julia Ann Cooke (1824–1867), a descendant of the Cooke family from Ireland who also lived a little north of the Pacolet River. After the death of Julia, he married Missouri Kennitt (1828–1921). He had children with both wives. These children will be studied in-depth in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Frannklin F. Mabry.

Zilla’s oldest daughter Larissa Mabry became the second wife of a neighbor, widower John St John (1799–1879). He and his first wife Nancy had children. He married Larissa Mabry after 1850, and before 1860. At the time of the marriage, she would have been in her thirties, maybe even early forties, and her advanced age may be the reason there were no children.

Elizabeth Mabry married in the late 1850s. She was ten years older than her husband, Jackson Gregory (b. 1835). Like her mother, Elizabeth “Bettie” Mabry Gregory had one son and two daughters: William Gregory (b. 1860), Laura Ann Gregory (1862–1927), and Mary Gregory (b. 1868).

A collage of images from census records 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870 and the 1850 Agriculture Schedule; Some images are inclusive of neighbors (Hames, etc)

There is very little that I know about Zilla Hames other than what has been written above. I know I am here today because she was there yesterday. For that, I am grateful.

52 ANCESTORS in 52 WEEKS: #4 WILLIAM FOWLER (1813-c.1833) Son of Godfrey

“William Fowler, son of Godfrey. died a young man; he was a school-teacher and surveyor.” Godfrey B. Fowler from letter written to Glenn Dora Fowler

William Fowler was the son of Godfrey Fowler (1773- 1850) and Nannie Kelly (1775 -1857). He was the next to youngest son in a family of six (or seven) sons.

William Fowler and his younger brother Coleman Fowler were mentioned in a legal document written in 1822. The document specified that their older brother, Thomas Gillman Fowler, would take care of their needs until they reached the age of twenty-one and see that they receive more years of education. This proves that William Fowler was a minor in 1822. I believe his date of birth to have been around 1813.

It must be said, and said often, that William Fowler son of Godfrey Fowler was NOT the William Fowler who married Rhoda Moseley. If I see this glaring mistake in one more family tree, I think I shall lose my mind.

If one is to believe the letter of Godfrey B. Fowler, it must be assumed that William Fowler lived long enough to complete his education and become a teacher and surveyor. He was also old enough to marry, and I put forward, without any solid evidence, that he married a woman named Nancy and they had two children before his death.

Godfrey Fowler and Nannie Kelly had two (or three) daughters. Census records seem to support that there were only two daughters but I am still researching to prove this conclusively. It has never been proven by any research that I have seen that any of these daughters were named Nancy. I have seen the names Kiziah, Elizabeth, Betsy, Mary, and Molly thrown around in different combinations, but I have not yet seen Nancy or Nannie for a daughter’s name. Which is a little odd since Godfrey Fowler was married to Nannie Kelly AKA Nancy Kelly.

In the 1850 census, there was a Nancy Fowler living in the household with Godfrey Fowler and wife Nannie. There was also a 17 year old young man named Thomas Fowler in the household.

It is my theory that William Fowler married a woman named Nancy, had a daughter named Mary Fowler circa 1830, a son named Thomas Fowler circa 1833, then died in or about 1833, putting his age at twenty (plus or minus), making him a relatively young man at his death as per the letter from Godfrey B. Fowler.

I’ve not found Nancy Fowler in 1860. Thomas Fowler lived in the household with William B. Hames and family. William B. Hames was the brother of Susannah Hames who had married William Fowler’s older brother Thomas Gillman Fowler, making William B. Hames the brother of Thomas Fowler’s aunt Susannah Hames. I think that is a rather confusing explanation of the relationship, but the families lived near each other and were related, even if only through marriage and distant Hames connections.

In 1870, Thomas Fowler is missing. Did he fight and die in the Civil War? Nancy Fowler was in the household of Milligan Fowler, a brother to William Fowler. Rather than being in any kind of relationship with Milligan, I believe her to have been merely a sister-in-law needing a place to live. More research is needed to confirm all of the above speculation.

I cannot find the notes that led me to believe that William Fowler and Nancy Fowler had a daughter named Mary Fowler, but she is there in my family tree. As stated before, more research will be forthcoming and updates will be implemented as more information is discovered.

Facts Versus Theory

  • William Fowler, son of Godfrey, was born circa 1813
  • A legal document was signed in 1822 giving his brother guardianship
  • William Fowler was not married to Rhoda Moseley
  • William Fowler was a school teacher and surveyor
  • William Fowler died young
  • William Fowler may have married Nancy
  • William Fowler may have had a son Thomas Fowler
  • William Fowler may have had a daughter named Mary Fowler
  • It is likely that William Fowler died c. 1833

A Study in Contrasts: The $50 Life of Old ABEL and Slaveowner Thomas Chiles Perrin

I am southern. I was born in the south. I was raised in the south. And I still live in the south.

I am a genealogist who researches the pre-civil war era, meaning that I often find records of slave owners. My research includes my own family as well as the families of others who need help finding their ancestors.

I have ancestors who owned slaves. I have an ancestor who was a slave. I abhor the practice. Although I have heard the arguments of how and why slavery was needed and accepted in our country for hundreds of years, I cannot and will never understand how a human being can inflict misery on and profit off the labors of another human being.

I recently ran across the estate settlement of Joseph Burton who died in 1846 in Abbeville County, South Carolina. Among the cows, horses, wheat, corn, and household goods listed in his Last Will and Testament were the names and estimated values of his human property. The dollar amounts in parenthesis are what a woman named Sally and four children sold for at the estate auction.

  • Sally and Child $400 ($610)
  • Boy Jim $175 ($220)
  • William $350 ($350)
  • Thompson $450 ($500)

I believe that these slaves had been given to Joseph Burton from the 1836 estate settlement of his father, John Burton. I also believe that Joseph Burton had not previously owned slaves and that he leased these slaves out to others for unknown reasons. Maybe he did not need their labor, or he did not condone slavery, but he did not go so far as to free them.

In the 1840 Abbeville County Census, Joseph Burton owned 4 slaves:

  • Sally (female age 24 to 35)
  • William (male under the age of 10)
  • Thompson (male under the age of 10)
  • Old Able (male age 55 to 99)

In the document that I discovered, the following yearly amounts were paid to the Joseph Burton estate by the men who contracted labor of the slaves named below:

  • 1843: Sal & William $55; Thompson $10; Old Abel $29
  • 1844: Sal & Child $20; Thompson $7.27; Old Abel $20
  • 1845: Sal & Child $21; Thompson $15.37; William $1.50; Old Abel $10
  • 1846: Sal & Child $19.25; Thompson $25.25; William $2.00; Old Abel HUNG $50
  • 1847: Sal & 2 Children $15; Thompson $30.25; William $5

I will never become indifferent when I see evidence of enslaved persons in my research, but when I read that Old Abel was hanged and that the estate of Joseph Burton was paid $50 for the loss of the old slave’s life, I decided to find out who was responsible for his death by hanging.

Transcribed: February. Rec’d of Thomas C. Perin $50 for old Able that was hung

Thomas C. Perrin paid Joseph Burton $50 for the life of Old Abel who was hanged. This fact is clearly stated in the estate settlement papers. Did anyone actually think that this was moral and just and okay?

I searched newspapers of the late 1840s looking for news of Old Abel’s death, but of course, there was nothing to be found. Old Abel was not considered to be a man. He was property and his death was not a crime. Why was he hanged? Did he commit some offense or was he hanged because he was OLD Abel, no longer useful in the cotton fields because of his advanced age?

I found the answer in the South Carolina Department of Archives. In 1845, Old Abel was leased by William Wilson Fife (b. 1810). His daughter Susan Fife was twelve years old when Old Abel was accused of her rape. I can find no details of the alleged crime; guilty or not guilty, Old Abel was hanged, and the Fife family moved to Mississippi.

Joseph Burton filed a claim in November 1845 for compensation for his slave, Abel. He stated that “in pursuance of said sentence he was hung till he was dead, whereby your Petitioner has entirely lost his said slave.Thomas Roberts, Samuel Cochran, and Thomas Chiles Perrin were responsible for obtaining compensation for Joseph Burton over the loss of his slave. How was the $50 amount decided upon?

What was the value of the life of Thomas C. Perrin? If he had been hanged, justly or not, would his family have accepted the sum of fifty dollars for his life?

Who was Thomas Chiles Perin? Born in 1805 and died in 1878. Graduated from South Carolina College, became an attorney and politician — mayor, state representative and senator –the first signer of the Ordinance of Secession. President of the Greenville & Columbia Railroad, President of the Abbeville District Bible Society, President of Upper Long Cane Society, President of the Society for the Relief of the Disabled Ministers. The list goes on and is long.

Married Jane Eliza Wardlaw. Father of twelve children. Plantation owner. Planter of cotton. Owner of slaves. Not just any slave owner, but the owner of 90 men, women, and children in 1850, and 130 in 1860.

Thomas C. Perrin owned two large plantations, the 1200 acre Cotton Level and 1500 acre Fonville. In 1856, he began construction on his Abbeville abode, described as one of the finest in the state. The massive 28-room mansion with 19 fireplaces was completed two years later and used to entertain his many friends and, eventually, even the cabinet of the fallen Confederacy during their retreat from the Union army.

Jane Wardlaw Perrin became mistress of an opulent home built with expensive marble and the finest of woods — walnut and mahogany. A water works system within the house allowed an unheard of luxury — indoor plumbing; and gas chandeliers bestowed soft, glowing light to the rooms. The home extended sheer grandeur and comfort to the occupants.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Perrin had traveled all the way to New York to choose the finest velvet, satin, and silk for carpets and upholstery; the finest silver, the finest crystal, the finest china, the finest furniture. Their very large mansion was filled with the best of the best.

It’s not hard to see that Thomas Chiles Perrin was considered a southern success story in the world of both business and politics. There is a colossal monument marking his grave in the Upper Long Cane Cemetery in Abbeville County. There has been much written about him, from the time of his birth at his family’s plantation on Hard Labor Creek until his death in 1878.

Thomas Chiles Perrin was a very wealthy man. There were many who admired this man, looked up to him, wanted to be like him. Did anyone know or care that he made his fortune on the backs of an enslaved people?

I wonder how the slaves of Thomas Chiles Perrin lived? Did they have fine slave homes built from the best hardwoods, furnished with fine crystal and satin drapes? Or did they live in cabins made of pine with gaps in between the boards so wide that the freezing winter air howled into their one room dwellings? Could they see their breath in the cold air?

Did they have floors made of fine walnut covered with silk carpets or did their bare feet tread on hardened, dirt floors ? Were their beds made not of mahogany and topped with white, fluffy goose-down bedding but of bug infested straw stuffed into old flour sacks?

And what of their indoor plumbing? Were the creeks and the great outdoors their source of water and their bathroom? Did they even have a half-burned candle made from animal fat to chase the shadows of darkness away while the gas chandeliers burned brightly in the Perrin mansion?

Was Old Abel hanged from the tree that the Perrin children played under?

Thomas Chiles Perrin and his wife Jane Wardlaw Perrin lived a very affluent life. It is true that some of the family’s great fortune was lost after the war, but the lifestyle they led never approached the depths of suffering that their slaves had experienced for decades.

Thomas C. Perrin died in his warm bed of a heart attack awaiting the arrival of his doctor. He did not die swinging from a tree limb. His body lies in a grave adorned with an ostentatious monument. His bones do not rest in an unmarked grave, overtaken by wild brambles and overgrown woods, its location long forgotten and lost.

I have written this to bring Old Abel’s name out of the darkness of the grave into the light of present day, to honor his memory, to remember an old man who was born into slavery and who died in a manner that so many of the enslaved did — at the end of a worn out rope that had swung too often from the branch of an old oak tree.

I dedicate this to Old Abel, and to the One Hundred and Thirty Unnamed Men, Women, and Children who deserved a better life. May we never forget them and may God keep their souls in eternal rest.

1860 List of Slaves owned by Thomas Chiles Perrin

Female 12
Male 6
Male 2
Female 20
Male 22
Male 3
Female 20
Male 11
Male 9
Male 5
Female 3
Male 10
Male 45
Male 1
Male 6/12
Male 17
Male 17
Male 3/12
Male 6/12
Male 18
Male 5
Female 4/12
Male 6/12
Male 13
Male 10
Male 5
Male 11
Male 1
Female 65
Female 40
Female 11
Female 9
Female 55
Male 19
Female 35
Female 14
Female 12
Female 10
Female 6
Female 4
Female 1
Female 28
Female 25
Female 6
Female 4
Female 2
Female 1
Female 40
Female 17
Female 12
Male 90
Female 10
Male 17
Male 45
Male 35
Male 1
Male 35
Male 25
Male 32
Male 16
Male 50
Male 60
Male 32
Male 38
Male 28
Male 8
Male 6
Male 33
Male 30
Male 2
Male 35
Male 28
Male 26
Male 11
Male 50
Male 34
Male 27
Male 18
Male 45
Male 25
Male 25
Male 26
Male 50
Male 20
Male 2
Male 45
Male 45
Male 23
Male 32
Male 30
Male 30
Male 9
Male 22
Male 44
Male 30
Male 15
Male 8
Male 25
Male 26
Male 5
Male 35
Male 50
Male 50
Male 60
Male 60
Male 48
Male 38
Male 26
Male 17
Male 18
Female 12
Male 12
Female 9
Male 4
Male 5
Female 5
Male 7
Male 3
Male 6
Female 7
Male 4
Female 48
Male 20
Female 14
Female 12
Male 8
Female 4
Male 5
Male 3
Female 16

1 South Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1670-1980; Abbeville County; Box 113, Pack 3328: Estate of Jos. Burton Dec’d 1846; pages 198-222

2 South Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1670-1980; Abbeville County; Box 113, Pack 3328: Estate of Jos. Burton Dec’d 1846; page 200

3 South Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1670-1980; Abbeville County; Box 113, Pack 3328: Estate of Jos. Burton Dec’d 1846; page 202

4 South Carolina Index and Wills, Abbeville County; Vol. 2-3; 1815-1855; page 368 John Burton; Probate date: July 25, 1836

5 1840 United States Federal Census; Abbeville, SC; Joseph Burton; p. 28

6 South Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1670-1980; Abbeville County; Box 113, Pack 3328: Estate of Jos. Burton Dec’d 1846; pages 206-210

7 South Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1670-1980; Abbeville County; Box 113, Pack 3328: Estate of Jos. Burton Dec’d 1846; page 210

8 The honorable Thomas Chiles Perrin of Abbeville, South Carolina : Forebears and Descendants; Authors: Harrison, Thomas Perrin, 1897- (Author). Perrin, Thomas Chiles, 1805-1878 (Subject); Publication: Greenville, South Carolina : N.M. Perrin, 1983

9 The Abbeville Press And Banner; Abbeville, South Carolina; The obituary of. Hon. T.C. Perrin; 15 May 1878, Wed • Page 3

10 Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current: Thomas Chiles Perrin; Birth 1 Oct 1805 Abbeville County, SC; Death 14 May 1878 Abbeville County, SC; Cemetery: Upper Long Cane Cemetery; Memorial ID 85142221

11 1850 U.S, Federal Census Slave Schedules; Abbeville, SC; Thomas C. Perrin

12 South Carolina, U.S. Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index 1790-1890; Thomas C. Perrin, Abbeville County, 1860 Slave Schedule

13 University of NC at Chapel Hill; The Southern Historical Collection # 02471, Perrin Family Papers, 1803-1880; Business papers of Thomas C. Perrin of Abbeville District, S.C., chiefly 1830-1862 consisting of indentures, contracts, slave Records, lists of cotton raised by each slave, births and deaths of slaves.

14 Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current: Thomas Chiles Perrin; Birth 1 Oct 1805 Abbeville County, SC; Death 14 May 1878 Abbeville County, SC; Cemetery: Upper Long Cane Cemetery; Memorial ID 85142221

15 The Abbeville Press And Banner, Abbeville, South Carolina; Wednesday, February 14, 1877 – Page 3 “The Burning of the Perrin Mansion”

16 Historical Marker Database, Abbeville County, South Carolina; the Thomas Chiles Perrin House, Marker Number 1-10

17 University of NC at Chapel Hill; The Southern Historical Collection # 02471, Perrin Family Papers, 1803-1880; Business papers of Thomas C. Perrin of Abbeville District, S.C., chiefly 1830-1862

18 Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current: Thomas Chiles Perrin; Birth 1 Oct 1805 Abbeville County, SC; Death 14 May 1878 Abbeville County, SC; Cemetery: Upper Long Cane Cemetery; Memorial ID 85142221

19 The Abbeville Press And Banner; Abbeville, South Carolina; The obituary of. Hon. T.C. Perrin; 15 May 1878, Wed • Page 3

20 The Abbeville Press And Banner; Abbeville, South Carolina; The obituary of. Hon. T.C. Perrin; 15 May 1878, Wed • Page 3

21 Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current: Jane Eliza Wardlaw Perrin; Birth 26 Dec 1811 Abbeville County, SC; Death 9 Sept 1881 Abbeville County, SC; Cemetery: Upper Long Cane Cemetery; Memorial ID 83468920

22 Union Times, Union, South Carolina; Friday, May 17, 1878 – Page 2; Death of Hoin. Thos. C. Perrin

23 South Carolina, U.S. Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index 1790-1890; Thomas C. Perrin, Abbeville County, 1860 Slave Schedule


In the mid-1800s, the Burton and the Ellis families of Abbeville County, SC were almost inseparable. So much, that Toliver Joseph Burton named his oldest son Robert Ellis Burton, and his second son, Ira O. Burton, named his son Walter Ellis Burton. Why?

I think I know the answer. First, let me inform you that the part of Abbeville County that these families made their homes was in and around the small town of Due West. While looking at mid 19th century census records, it became apparent that many of the families in the sleepy town had immigrated from Northern Ireland. Why?

I think I know the answer.

Robert Ellis (1718-1773), his wife Esther (b. 1716), and their six children were born in Northern Ireland and came to America in 1768 on a Snow named the Greg ( a snow — a square-rigged sailing vessel with two masts, complemented by a snow- or trysail)

Toliver Joseph Burton was the son of Joseph Burton who descended from the English-born Burtons. This fact has been documented on paper and proven by genetic testing. Toliver Joseph Burton was also the son of Delilah Toliver, and she was born in IRELAND.

Joseph Burton, father of Toliver Joseph Burton, had died by 1846, and Delila Burton apparently died in between the years 1850 and 1860.

In 1860, the sons of Toliver Joseph Burton, Timothy Burton and Francis Marion Burton, lived in the household with their sister Margaret Burton who had married John McCombs (1825–1896), who was of Irish descent.

Toliver Joseph Burton’s oldest daughter, Sarah Burton, was in the 1850 Abbeville County Census with her husband, James E. Gray (1825–1863) and son John J. Gray (b. 1848). I can find no record of the Gray family in 1860. They may have been missed that decade. It is possible that Mary Ann Burton, youngest daughter of Toliver Joseph Burton and Delila Burton was living in the missing household. More in-depth research may also reveal that 14 year old (give or take a year or two) Mary Ann Burton to have been married by 1860.

Delilah Toliver Burton was somehow connected to the Ellis family of Ireland. The Ellis family was also closely related to other immigrant families from Ireland: Lindsay and Gray.

Robert N. Ellis (1800-1866) and his wife Jane Cowan (1809-1861) took in Delilah’s son Toliver Joseph Burton, a fact proven by the presence of 19 year old college student Toliver Joseph Burton in the 1860 Abbeville County household of 60 year old Robert Ellis and his 51 year old wife Jane Ellis.

Robert N. Ellis left Toliver J. Burton one thousand dollars, a horse, cow, calf, and other items in his 1866 Last Will and Testament, Robert N. Ellis mentioned Toliver Burton before his niece Mahalah McAdams in the will and left her only a sewing machine. Why was Toliver Burton, potentially no blood relative to Robert Ellis, mentioned earlier in the will and given more that a niece? Was Delilah Toliver actually related to Robert Ellis?

Item 2nd I give and bequeath unto Toliver J. Burton one thousand dollars in cash, the horse, saddle & bridle which he uses in riding, one cow and calf (his own choice of my cattle) and one bed and furniture.

Toliver, Ellis, Lindsay, Cowan, Gray, McCombs, McAdams…….. It was definitely an Irish thing. Perhaps these families were related by their Celtic blood; perhaps a shared oceanic voyage from Ireland to the new land linked them. Whether they traveled together or not, these families began their journey in northern Ireland and ended in the northeastern part of Abbeville County, in the tiny township of Due West. They gave up the River Main in County Antrim, Ireland for the River Saluda in County Abbeville, South Carolina.

Let us take a short step back in time and look at the slightly extended Burton family. Joseph Burton was born in 1796 in Abbeville County, SC to John Burton (1753-1839) and Caroline Cook (b. 1773). Joseph Burton married Delilah Toliver, Probate on his will was begun in 1846. (There are documents dated 1844 and 1845 in the packet that need closer examination)

John E. Ellis was the administrator for the estate. Robert Ellis was mentioned in the estate settlement. The estate settlement is a little complicated. The estate of Joseph Burton’s father, John Burton who died in 1839, was still being settled and was mentioned in the paperwork. Evidently, Joseph Burton’s brother James Burton had also died close to the same time as Joseph. John E. Ellis was also the administrator for James Burton.

Joseph Burton’s widow Delila Burton was mentioned several times. It was stated that Joseph Burton had “five or six children” but by the time of the final settlement, the proceeds of the estate were divided between the widow Burton and six children. I found the names of widow Delila Burton, children Sarah Burton Gray, Margaret Burton, Joseph T. Burton, Marion Burton, Timothy Burton, and M.A Burton (Mary Ann?).

Toliver Joseph Burton married Jane Jennie Murphy (1844-after 1880). She was likely an Irish lass and most definitely the daughter of Samuel Mosley Murphy (1801–1877) and Harriet Goolsby Spencer (1811–1896).

Toliver Joseph Burton and wife Jennie had the following children:

  • Annette “Nettie” Burton (1868–1945)
  • Robert Ellis Burton (1874–1917)
  • Ira O. Burton (1875–1938)
  • Oscar Othell Burton (1881–1928)

Ira O. Burton was my great great grandfather. The story of his tragic life will be forthcoming.

Toliver Joseph Burton died in 1905. I’ve not found the location of his grave but his residence was in or near Due West, Abbeville County SC. If there is a headstone to be found, you can expect an update after my soon-to-be-taken journey to the land near River Saluda, the land where the Irish lived after their arrival in the new world.