Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Orderly Life of Julia Ann Marks Hamilton

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I have to admit that it has taken A LOT of pondering on my part to determine what to write about Julia Ann Marks Hamilton. Other than not knowing her own age, Julia’s life seemed so straight forward and orderly. All the i’s were dotted and all the t’s crossed as if there was a plan for everything and everyone followed the plan. I know, I could be totally off base, but as I research an individual I tend to build a personality for them, of how I imagined them to be and I imagine Julia was a planner and a goal setter. The interruptions in her life seemed to be neatly packaged and wrapped up; everything done right and proper. I imagine her as the kind of person who just took care of business.

Julia, like her sisters, Jane R and Cyrona, is my third Great Aunt and the third daughter of William Buck Marks and Leah Caroline Fesperman. According to the 1860 Census she was born in the year 1851 in Eldorado, Montgomery County, North Carolina.

On the 1860 Census, Julia is seven years old. She has two older sisters and two younger brothers and that means she was stuck in the middle. Being a middle child is pretty tough, even in today’s world, but I imagine that Julia handled it quite well.

1860 Census
The 1870 Census was a bit confusing as Julia seems to have aged 3 years. The 1860 Census showed her as age seven but the 1870 Census, which should have showed her as 17, now showed her as 20. I did not expect to see Julia’s sisters, Jane and Cyrona on the 1870 Census as I believe Jane R married Lindsay Loflin (or someone else) prior to the 1870 Census and Cyrona married Joseph K. Hamilton on June 11, 1869; thus just missing the 1870 Census with her parents.

Two new people, Mary (18) and Martha (15), were showing though. I do not know who Mary and Martha are. They never appear again. Perhaps the Census taker was totally confused or tried to complete the fields later from memory and got it all wrong. I have no answer for it although I do have some thoughts about it that I may present in a later blog.
On 16 Feb 1876, Lee Thomas Hamilton applied for a marriage license for himself and Julia. Lee is listed as 20 years old and Julia, 23. Lee is the son of William Hamilton (b: Abt. 1790 d: Bef. 1876) and Mary “Polly” Morgan (b: Abt. 1813 d: Bef. 1870). Both are listed as deceased on the marriage license. Lee is also the brother of Joseph K. Hamilton (Cyrona’s (Julia’s sister) husband).

Julia, of course, is the daughter of William Buck Marks (b: Abt. 1800 d: Aft. 16 Feb 1876) and Leah Caroline Fesperman (b: Abt. 1823 d: Aft. 1880).

Note: I now have another clue in my search for William Buck Marks. He died after 16 Feb 1876 because he is listed as ‘living’ on Julia’s marriage license.

Julia and Lee were married by L. Dennis, Justice of the Peace, at the home of John Chandler in Eldorado Township, on 24 Feb 1876. Witnesses present at the marriage were Gaston Hearne, John Chandler and J.K. Hamilton (Lee’s brother, Joseph (Cyrona’s husband). It looks like Cyrona did attend her sister’s wedding as her husband signed as a witness.
Lee Thomas Hamilton was born in May of 1854 and makes his first appearance on the 1860 Census as a five year old. He has two older sisters, Sara and Polly (Palestine Jane, called Palley) and two older brothers, Joseph (married Cyrona, Julia’s sister) and William.
1870 found a 15 year old Lee Thomas Hamilton living in Uwharrie with his father and his older brother, William, who is now 20. His mother, Polly, is not listed and I presume she has passed away. Lee’s brother, William, would marry Angeline Harris in 1873.
By 1880 I find it very interesting that the Hamilton family is living in Center, Chatham County, North Carolina as this is, supposedly, the area where William Buck Marks is from. I was curious to know why Julia and her family moved to Chatham and even more curious to know if they had any Marks relatives there that they may have been in contact with. Perhaps Lee needed work and a family member in Chatham County offered him a job. We will never know for sure but it is interesting to note that if Lee was looking for work, why not explore opportunities in counties that were closer to him? Why Chatham County?

I searched the Census to see if the Hamilton’s lived near the Marks’ and I found that George and Mary Marks Thomas also live in Center Township at this time. I could not help but wonder if the girls knew of each other. They would have been close to the same age with Mary born in 1847 and Julia born in 1851. Mary Marks is one of the lines I am researching to find a connection to the Montgomery County Marks line.

Read more about George and Mary Marks Thomas here:
Sometimes…you just get lucky – George A. and Mary E. Marks Thomas of Chatham County, NC

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Note: I am currently working on a project to piece together the Marks family from Chatham County in an attempt to connect them to the Marks' in Stanly, Rockingham and Montgomery Counties. Hopefully, this research will bring to light how these families are related to one another.

Back to Lee and Julia..

Lee and Julia have one daughter, Sarah Ann (6), and two sons, Alexander (4) and Wesley (6 months). The 1880 Census shows Lee has listed his occupation as farming and Julia is keeping house.
Julia’s father, William Buck Marks, passed away between 1876 (after her marriage to Lee) and 1880 (as he was not on the Census for that year) and I wonder if Julia was already in Chatham County and able to travel back to Montgomery County to attend the funeral or if her father died before she left for Chatham. Is it possible that Julia and Mary Marks Thomas met at William Buck Marks funeral? This is just speculation and curiosity on my part.

Unfortunately, the 1890 Census was destroyed by fire in 1921 and the records lost forever. I am unable to track the Hamilton family for this year.

I believe in 1892, Julia’s sister, Jane R, passes away.

Read more about Jane R here:
Searching for Clues on Jane R. Marks

By the year 1900 the Hamilton family has moved to the Oakland District of Chatham County just south of Center. Lee still lists his occupation as farmer. Sarah Ann, now 26, had married Charles Minter Poe in 1889. Alexander, now 24, was also out of the house and married to Maggie Hollingsworth. Wesley is now 10 and three children have been added to the Hamilton family; Lue V (16), Nora L (15), and Gina A (9).

It is believed that Julia’s mother, Leah Caroline Fesperman Marks, passed away in Montgomery County, NC between 1880 and 1900. I wonder if she ever got to see her grandchildren (again, just curiosity on my part).
Around 1900, Julia’s daughter, Sarah Ann, also passes away in Chatham, NC.

1910 shows the family has moved again; this time to Alamance County, Thompson District, near Burlington, North Carolina. I imagine, as with most family moves, it is to find work. Farming seems to be something of the past and America has moved into the Industrial Revolution era.

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Only one child, Adelaide, age 17, is living at home.
In reviewing the 1910 Census further, I found that at least two of Julia’s children also are in Alamance County, NC and only live a few doors down from her. Alexander Hamilton and his sister Vinnie Hamilton McCann are shown as Family numbers 219 and 220 – literally next door neighbors. Lee and Julia are shown as Family number 222. All look to be working at the Cotton Mill.

1920 finds Lee and Julia still in Alamance County but in the Burlington area. Lee is still working at a cotton mill while Julia is at home. Adelaide has married Ernest McCann and no longer living at home.

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At some point between 1920 and 1922, Lee and Julia move back to their hometown of Eldorado, NC. Julia died on May 8, 1922 in Eldorado and was buried at Lanes Chapel in Blaine, NC.
Lanes Chapel is a beautiful building with its tin roof and simplistic, yet functional, design. The cemetery is located across the street. My sister and I recently visited Lanes Chapel to look for Julia’s grave but we had no luck in finding it. There are many old graves at Lanes Chapel and most of them have been worn away over time making it impossible to read the names on the stones. 

As I wandered around, looking at the graves, I couldn’t help but think about the time when Julia was buried there. What a sad time for such a beautiful setting, certainly, but, knowing Julia, it probably didn't even rain.

From one middle child to another, rest in peace, Julia.

Lanes Chapel

Lanes Chapel Cemetery
Lee Thomas Hamilton, Julia's husband, died 18 Dec 1936 and is buried at the Historical Montgomery County Home Cemetery in Montgomery County, N.C.

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