A biography of Leroy Hicks

Leroy Hicks was born to Blansford and Mary Polly Peters Hicks in 1806 in Amherst County, Virginia.  He is my 3rd great-grandfather.  Leroy was the oldest of 11 children born to Blansford and Mary.  Through research it looks like he stayed his entire life in Amherst.  Thomas Jefferson was the President of the United States in 1806.

Amherst County Virginia, was formed in 1761 from parts of Albemarle County.  The major crop raised in Amherst was tobacco.  The James River forms the eastern boundary.  The Appalachian mountains help form the western boundary.

On 4 February 1834, Leroy married Permelia Ware in Amherst County.  The couple went on to have 10 children.  Andrew Jackson was the President from 1829-1837.

Child Year of Birth
William 1834
Robert D 1836
James 1838
John Nicholas 1843
Margaret V 1844
Sarah Ann 1846
Robert L 1847
Charles W 1848
Lemuel Dabney 1849
Mary Ann Elizabeth 1854

 

The first thing that seems odd is that two children were named Robert.  This may not actually be the case, the Census takers didn’t always hear or write things correctly.  And, if you have that many children you might forget one or two.

According to the 1840 US Census, Leroy was living with his wife in Amherst County.  There were 6 total people.  The 1840 Census only broke individuals out by race, age and sex.  So we know that there were two boys under the age of 5 (Robert D and James), 1 boy between 5-10 (William), 1 male between 30-40 (Leroy), 1 female between 20-30 (Permelia), 1 free male person of color between 10-24.  I did look at the US Slave Schedules for 1850 and 1860, I did not find anything to indicate that he owned slaves.

In the 1850 census, we learn that Leroy’s family lives in the Eastern District of Amherst County.  The names are confirmed.  We also see that the value of Leroy’s real estate is $150 dollars.  His family also lives near his brothers Preston and Bluford.  During this time period the slavery debate was raging across the United States.

In the 1860 Census, Leroy’s family is still living in Amherst and Abraham Lincoln was elected President.    The value of his person estate is listed at $390 dollars, his eldest son is still living at the residence has a personal estate of $275 dollars.  We have the children’s name and ages.  I will have to look to see which of his sons if any went to fight in the Civil War.

Child Age
William 26
Robert D 24
James 20
John Nicholas 18
Margaret V 16
Sarah Ann 12
George S 10
Charles W 16
Lemuel Dabney 8
Mary Ann 6

 

In 1866, his wife of 32 years dies.  Leroy was 60 years old.

In the 1870 Census, Leroy and his family are living still living in Amherst County.  The value of his personal estate is listed as $100.  I wonder if the value is diminished because of the state of the Union or if he saw father time coming and gave his land and assets to his children.  Another interesting item on this census is that the census asks about the ability to read and write.  The census indicates that the three boys and the oldest girl living in the home cannot read or write.  The youngest daughter, Mary, age 14 is listed as attending school.

Leroy dies on 20 March 1871 in Amherst Virginia.  It is unknown where he is buried.  In June 2012, I went on a genealogical visit with my mom, aunt and sister to Amherst, Virginia.  We visited three Hicks cemeteries, but some stones were in rough shape.  I did not find his.

I usually like to add pictures to my stories but I didn’t have anything that fit.  So, instead I am going to put some pictures from the genealogical visit in 2012.  I was so blessed to have this time to learn from my Mom and Aunt.  Their stories give shape to the facts and figures of genealogy.

In from of Hicks Country Store

In from of Hicks Country Store

Formerly Hicks Property

Formerly Hicks Property

Mom and Carol

Mom and Carol

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

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The Bible

The Bible

 

My cousin Sara was kind enough to send me my second grandfather’s Family Bible. What a treasure.

I wrote in previous posts that George Wiley Whitehead married Cena Ann Mathews after returning home from the civil war. The date was 30 January 1866. Although many of the names are faded, I know them. I am proud to have learned about them through my research. George and Cena had seven children.

Bookmark inside Bible

Bookmark inside Bible

 

The purpose of a Family Bible, along with the scripture is that they provide vital records for the family long before these records were collected for the State. By looking at the penmanship and ink, I can tell you that several of the entries were copied into this bible from another source. A few entries at the end are in both a different hand and ink. For a genealogist, Bibles can provide clues to the elusive maiden name or a birth dates.

Think about how this Bible could have been used. Our ancestors did not have the internet, television or radio. The reading of the Bible could have been a weekly or evening event. This was their connection to the word of God outside of church.

Whitehead Family Bible

Whitehead Family Bible

This bible has a copyright of 1872, this was 6 years after George and Cena married. It is 143 years old. This book has been held by a multitude of our ancestors. It is an important piece of our heritage. I am proud to be the steward of this family heirloom.

Vital Record Page

Vital Record Page

My parents recently moved into a smaller place. In the weeks prior, I kept reminding my mom not to discard any family heirlooms. She knows how much I appreciate our family history. However, what may be special to me, others may think less of. We each have different memories attached to different objects.

What pieces of your past do you cherish? Share one or two of your favorites!

 

 

 

Elusive Ancestors

Elusive Ancestors and breaking the brick walls

I have been researching my ancestors for several years now. Some familial lines are easier to trace than others. I know I have discussed my brick walls in the past. But sometimes by writing about them, you are able to clarify details in the process. That is what I am doing today. It is a hot June day and instead of melting in the sun, I am inside desperately trying to piece puzzle pieces together.

I recently made friends with a fellow genealogist searching the Moss family name. This line has been intangible to me for some time. I have never felt confident with the connections I had made. She has in her line that a Moss married a Moss. Excuse me for a moment while my head mildly explodes. Is this why I can’t seem to untangle the mystery? In order to prove or disprove something in the genealogy field, you must have some set standards of proof. While I am a still a neophyte in this regard, I do my best.

 

Let us look at the Moss facts. I know that Thomas Irving Moss was born 20 Jan 1877 in Buckingham County, Virginia. The items that support this are his World War I and World War II Draft Cards. I know he married my great-grandmother, Carrie Lou Hicks on 30 August 1913 (I have the certificate of marriage).   On this Marriage Certificate it indicates that his parents names were Thomas and Margaret Moss. It also lists him as widowed. My newly found friend’s research indicates that Thomas Irving Moss married Mahala K. Newton prior to Carrie Lou. So, I will need to find verification of this at a later time.

My friend, Ms. Kim also sent me an electronic version of Margaret Ann Moss’s Death Certificate. The certificate lists her parents as Thomas Moss and Lucy O’Bryant. It is signed by T.I. Moss. The date of death is 12 July 1915. So, is this Thomas Irving Moss’ mother? We need to look at signatures. Are these the same people?

 

 

Signature on Death Certificate of Margaret Ann Moss

Signature on Death Certificate of Margaret Ann Moss

Birth Certificate Information (not sure who filled this out)

Birth Certificate Information (not sure who filled this out)

Thomas Irving Moss WWI Draft Card

Thomas Irving Moss WWI Draft Card

Thomas Moss WWII Draft Card

Thomas Moss WWII Draft Card

If it is, then I am going to have reconstruct my line. What are your thoughts.

 

Was the family divided?

There are notes in my family history that there were 2 brothers that fought for the Confederate States of America and another brother that fought for the Union. I have not yet reached the same conclusion, but I hope by writing about them here is that family members might be able to fill in some gaps. I do know that George Wiley and Elijah Dean were both soldiers for the Confederates. William Franklin fought in the Mexican American War.

Joel Whitehead married Mary Polly O’Kelley. Together they had five sons and seven daughters. For this post, I am just going to focus on the brothers.

What I do know about the Whitehead brothers:

 

  • Samuel, Joel’s oldest son, was born about 1821 in Oglethorpe County. He was named after Joel’s father. The last census record that I find him in 1860; he is living in Oglethorpe County, with his wife Savenia. He is listed as a living next door to his mother as a farmer and they show no children residing. He is aged 39 years.
  • William Franklin born about 1826 in Oglethorpe County, he married Pamela Fannie Jones. According to his tombstone, he was in the Mexican American War. This war was between 1846-1848. He fought with Captain Loyall’s Company, the Georgia Mounted Volunteers. The 1870 Census shows William aged 43 with his wife keeping house in Starkville, Oktibbeha Mississippi. It shows that his three children Robert, Margaret and Lasella were born in Mississippi. However, by 1880, the Pamela and her children are back in Georgia, and she is listed as a widow.
  • George Wiley was born 26 January 1829 in Oglethorpe County. George served in the Confederate Army. He was also a County Surveyor. See my previous post (https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/george-wiley-whitehead/)
  • Elijah Dean was born 23 October 1833. He was the fourth son born to Joel and Mary. I have records showing him also fighting for the CSA. He was a Private for the 38th Regiment Georgia Infantry.
  • Charles E. was born in 1841. In the 1880 Census, Charles is listed as blind and living with his brother Elijah in Jackson County. In addition, he is also found on the 1880 Non-population Census for Georgia; Schedule of Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes.

 

Union Soldier Button

Union Soldier Button

csa button

Confederate States of America Button

 

If any of my readers have information about any of these brothers, I would love to hear from you. Until later, I will continue to explore backwards.

Raleigh Hopper Mathews

When Raleigh Hopper Mathews was born on October 30, 1809, in Oglethorpe, Georgia, his father, Littleberry, was 23 and his mother, Jerusha, was 19. Raleigh grew up in Oglethorpe County and lived there his entire life. To give some context to this time period, James Madison was president of the United States. At that time there were 17 states. When Raleigh died, Lincoln was president and the country was at war with each other and there were 34 states in the Union.

 

Confederate States of America flag, circa 1861

Confederate States of America flag, circa 1861

Raleigh or Rolly as it was written on many documents was the oldest son of 14 children. Raleigh married Mary Ann Dowdy on 26 October 1835, in Oglethorpe County (Palmer, 1994). According to records that I could find, they had 11 children. Mary Ann Dowdy (1818-1889) was the daughter of Richard and Nancy E. Jones Dowdy.

Raleigh’s four eldest sons all served in the Confederate States of America. Fleming Jordan Mathews (1836-19908; Surgeon), Francis Marion Mathews (1838-1925), Richmond Butler (1842-1932) and Berriam McPheron Mathews (1843-1864? presumed to have died during the war). The youngest son, James Calvin Mathews (1855-1937) was too young to fight. Raleigh himself died during the first few months of the Civil War, he was only 51 years old.

I keep thinking about Raleigh’s wife, Mary, she would have had to bury her husband, and wake up every day knowing that four of her sons were off at war. The strength she must have had to carry on to attend to her other seven children (Cena Ann (my 2nd great-grandmother), Sarah Jane, Emma Jerusha, Mary Susan, James Calvin, Nancy Ella and Martha E.  Then in 1864, she loses another son Berriam to the war (I am still researching this event).

Additionally, what a financial toll this would have. In the 1860 Census, the value of property for Raleigh was $2000 and the value of his estate was $5000. In the 1870 Census, Mary’s property value was listed as $1000, and the value of her estate was only $500.

Sources:

Genealogy of the Mathews Family of Ancient Wales, England and America by Jerry Mathews Palmer, February 3, 1994.

US Census

 

 

Our ancestors are our roots!

“Our ancestors are our roots, without roots there is no life” (Perings, 1990, p3).

Agnes Perings was my second cousin twice removed on my paternal side. Without her research, I would know little about the Kersten side of my family. Her booklet as she calls it, sheds light on the family and heritage of Mathias Kersten and Anne Maria Reiter.

Agnes in her booklet, describes the way property was divided historically. The “Realteilung” or Real Division meant that each child inhereits part of the families property and could marry. However, this meant that the property got divided and subdivided into smaller and smaller parts. “This explains why already from 1840 people began to move from the Eifel to the Ruhrregion (to the mines of northwest Germany) or to emigrate to America hoping to find work and bread there” (Perings, 1990, 7).

The essence of the tale is one of poverty. Due to the structure of the homesteads and the time period (19th Century), there was not enough “work, money and bread” so Peter the eldest living son emigrated to America. His brother Hubert also emigrated (Perings, 1990, 9). Peter Kersten was my great-grandfather. We have discussed him previously in this blog.

The name Kersten was at its origin derived from the baptismal name Christian. Historically the name was written in a variety of ways: Kirst, Krist, Kirsten, and eventually, Kersten.

 

Eifel Region

Eifel Region