Sunday, November 1, 2020

Malcom Chisholm, son of Murdock

As with most families who have roots in Montgomery County, the Chisholm’s are no exception to a good mystery. I have spent the past month researching Malcom Chisholm and his wife, Mary, whose maiden name, I have come to believe, is most likely Sellers.

This Blog post continues the story of Murdock and Mary Chisholm, and their children, who came from Scotland prior to 1780 (his daughter Rachel married James McMillan about 1780/1) and settled along Mountain Creek in Richmond County, North Carolina. Later, this family moved to Rocky Creek, on the waters of Little River, in Montgomery County, North Carolina. The earliest mention of Murdock that I could find is 1784 when he purchased a tract of land in Richmond County near Mountain Creek that had been granted to John Mason in 1774 when the county was still Anson.

The land that Murdock purchased is described as lying in Richmond County and beginning at a post oak being James Gaines's corner...runs to a blackjack marked by Solomon Sprawls (I will talk more about the Sprawls family in later Blogs) and Anguish Chisholm (son of Murdock) for a dividing line...thence along trees marked by John Mason and Matthew Englis[h]...containing 50 acres. Witness Thomas Adams, John Webb, Anguish Chisholm. Proven and registered September Court 1784.

On 25 Nov 1785, a year later, Murdock and Mary Chisholm sell the same tract of land to William McDonald. Land records show the McDonald’s (sometimes seen as McDaniel) had been in the Anson County area as far back as the 1760s. Witnesses to the deed are Malcom Chisom (Chisholm), John McDonald, and Owen Slaughter Jun. Murdock and Mary signed their names with an X, meaning they could not write. The deed was proved in open court by Owen Slaughter and ordered registered.

Malcom, noted on the above deed, is the son of Murdock and Mary Chisholm. He was most likely born in Scotland, probably around 1760-1765. He died prior to the 1823 probate date of Murdock’s estate, as that estate file names Malcom’s wife, Mary, and children, John Chisholm and Daniel Chisholm as receiving his share of Murdock’s estate.

Malcom shows up on the State Census of North Carolina 1784-1787, but the 1790 census is a bit confusing and does not seem to fit for Malcom Chisholm. The Malcom on the 1790 Census has 4 males 16 years or older, 1 male under 16 years, and 2 females.

One of males is Malcom, head of household, the child under 16 years old could be a son and one of the females could be his wife, Mary. Perhaps the other two males over 16 years and the other female are relatives.

However, another Malcom Chisholm came to America after 30 Sep 1790. Since the North Carolina census was not officially completed until 5 Sep 1791, the Malcom Chisholm listed in 1790 could be either Malcom. Logic assumes that it is the Malcom that has been in the county since 1784. But I do not have all the facts and therefore, cannot assume anything here.

I cannot find a date as to when the Montgomery County 1790 census was officially completed, so it is possible that the 1790 census could be the Malcom who came from Scotland with the letter written by Roderick Chisholm. If the Montgomery County census was officially complete by Oct or Nov 1790, then I would know the Malcom listed on the 1790 Census is Malcom, son of Murdock, because the other Malcom would have been on a ship at sea.

I will cover the other Malcom in another Blog and share the letter that he brought with him.

In 1797, Malcom entered a land grant for 50 acres of land on Rocky Creek, waters of Little River. The land was surveyed by Thomas Cotton in 1799 and issued to Malcom in 1803. This timeline allows me to assume that Malcom, son of Murdock, was alive on 16 Dec 1803.

The 1800 census shows a Malcom Chisholm living near Murdock and Daniel Chisholm. In his home are counted one male 45 years or older, one female 45 years or older, one male 16-25 years, and one female 16-25 years. I do not know if this is Malcom, son of Murdock or Malcom who came to America around 1790.

The year 1810, in Capt. Chappell’s District, lives John and Daniel Chisholm, who are the brothers of Malcom. Angus, another brother is living in an unstated district, but I know from land grants and deeds that Angus lived on Beaverdam Creek around this time, close to his Harris in-laws. I am not able to find either of the Malcoms or Murdock on census records for 1810.   

I know Malcom’s wife’s name is Mary as Murdock’s estate file lists her as such. Since there is no marriage record or Newspaper announcement that survives for Malcom and Mary, the only option is to research every person whom Mary may have associated with in hopes of finding documentation that might lead me to her maiden name. Clues left with Newspapers and estate records is the only lead I have at present, so that is what I am running with.

In January Term, Montgomery County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1828, Kenneth McLennan executor of Sampson Sellers, deceased. It appeared to the court that Abel Sellers, Silas Sellers and Henry Stringfellow were not inhabitants of the state of North Carolina. It was ordered by the court that publication be ran in the Raleigh Star notifying the defendants to appear at the courthouse in Lawrenceville on the first Monday of April next regarding the Caveat of the will of Sampson Sellers, dec’d. Mary Chisholm looks to be living in the county and was probably notified.

I have not been able to find the will of Sampson Sellers as yet, and it is likely to have been destroyed in the court house fire on 7 Apr 1843 that devastated Montgomery county.

Again, in 1838, Court of Equity, Fall Term, Montgomery County, William M. Butler vs Silas Sellers, Abel Sellers, Mary Chisholm, Nancy Sellers, John Sellers, William Sellers, James Sellers, Augustus Santer & Charlotte, his wife, Lee Blackman & Sena, his wife, and Samuel Stringfellow. It appearing to the court that only Mary Chisholm lived in the county of Montgomery. All others resided outside the county or state and publication was made to inform them of the next court in September 1838 at the courthouse in Lawrenceville, Montgomery County regarding a Petition for the sale of Land. Again, Mary Chisholm looks to be living in the county and was probably notified.

Henry Stringfellow is the son of William Stringfellow who looks to have died around 1812 in Barnwell, South Carolina according to the probate date on his estate found in that county. There is also an estate file in Richmond County, North Carolina dated 1825. The below Newspaper, Richmond County – In Equity summons the heirs at law of William Stringfellow to the courthouse in Richmond County, North Carolina on the 4th Monday in September to answer, plead or demur.

I found Lee Blackman and Sena, his wife in Barnwell District, South Carolina. Lee, his real name being Levi, served in the War of 1812 and his pension file lists his wife as Asenath Stringfellow, making her the daughter of Henry Stringfellow and the sister of Samuel Stringfellow and an unknown mother who is most likely a daughter of Sampson Sellers and sister to Mary Chisholm. Additionally, this couple is found on Census records for Barnwell County in 1850 and 1860.

Samuel Stringfellow is found on the 1830 Census for Barnwell County, South Carolina. I have not found any other information on him. I believe Samuel to be the son of Henry Stringfellow and brother to Sena Stringfellow Blackman.

The 1864 estate file of William Butler at Family Search included his will. The file is more than 200 pages long and covers a period of about 10-12 years. I most likely will cover it in more detail in another Blog post as it offers several family relationships other that Chisholm and Sellers.

Per his will, William Butler looks to have never married, nor did he have any children of his own. Or his wife and children have predeceased him as none are mentioned in his will. He leaves his entire estate to, mostly, his nieces and nephews. In a portion of his will, shown below, he leaves most of his land, including the Sellers tract of land, to his nephew David R. Cochran.

Later in the estate file, it appears that David R. Cochran never actually inherited the land, he died in 1864, having also an estate file, and the Sellers tract, as well as the other tracts, were sold at auction in Oct 1872 by the Executor of William Butler, Neil Gillis. R. C. Green became the last and highest bidder of the Sellers tract; however, a search of deeds does not find a deed for this transaction.

Sampson Sellers was in Anson County (those parts that would become Richmond and Montgomery in 1779) by 1778 when he purchased from Jacob Cockerham (Cochran) of Anson County 100 acres on Mountain Creek for fifty pounds lawful money. The deed was witnessed by William McDonald, Jonathan Allred, and Johnathan Turner and was registered in 1784 in Richmond County.

William McDonald is the mystery man of the year! No one, including me, seems to know where he came from or how he might be connected to the Chisholm family, yet he seems to appear repeatedly as witness on deeds, wills, and other documents.

Jacob Cochran is the progenitor of the Cochran family in Montgomery County and is the ancestor of David R. Cochran who is mentioned in the estate file of William Butler, whose sister married a Cochran.

Jonathan Allred can be found listed in Richmond County records along with Phineas and Solomon Allred. Also appearing in land and court records for Richmond County are John and Francis Allred, believed by some to have been the youngest sons of Solomon. Johnathan, Phineas, and Solomon Allred are all listed in the 1790 census for Richmond County, North Carolina. In the 1800 census, Jonathan Allred, Phineas Allred, and John Allred, all aged 26 to 44 years, are listed in Richmond county. By the 1810 census however, Phinehas and Johnathan Allred, both aged 45+, are listed in Barnwell District, South Carolina.

Another deed, dated 1790, Sampson Sellers to Alexander McCoy (McKay), on the east side of Naked Creek, it being a tract of land purchased of Sampson Sellers from William Ashley. The deed was witnessed by Mary Sellers and signed by Sampson Sellers and Elener Sellers. I think there is a very good chance that this Mary Sellers married Malcom Chisholm within a few months of this deed being signed and I believe it very possible that Sampson and Elener are her parents.

If this is Mary, wife of Malcom, then it could be deduced that she and Malcom married after 9 Feb 1790. This also causes me to take another look at the 1790 census record. Perhaps it is Malcom who came from Scotland to America around 1790 and one of the older males and one of the older females is Malcom, son of Murdock and Mary whose maiden name might be Sellers. Learning the date that the Montgomery County census completed is crucial to figuring out which Malcom is showing on the 1790 census.

In a letter dated 1817 that has survived history, and written by Eli Stringfellow, a nephew to Henry Stringfellow who married Mary’s sister and of Barnwell District, South Carolina to Mary Chisholm, daughter of Daniel Chisholm, and a niece to Malcom, son of Murdock, Eli tells Mary that Ellender Sellers died on the fifth of September 1817. I think this may be Elener, wife of Sampson Sellers, who signed the deed in Richmond County, North Carolina.

Both Sampson and Silas Sellers are found in Richmond County, North Carolina in 1800. Silas is living next door to John Morrison, who married Mary Chisholm, the daughter of Murdock and sister of Malcom. More on John Morrison in another Blog.

I found Silas Sellers in Jasper County, GA in 1860 with wife Rachel, also born in North Carolina, and their children and grandchildren. Silas’s daughter, Ellender, looks to be named after her grandmother, Ellender, and was also born in North Carolina.

Ellender Sellers Benton married Jesse Benton, a War of 1812 pensioner, in Butts County, Georgia in March 1845 and states in her widow pension file that her maiden name is Ellender Sellers. She further states that her husband died in September 1846, shortly after their marriage. Looking back at the 1860 Census, Mary Benton, shown in the household of Silas, is probably the only child of Jesse, her age of 14, making her the only child born in 1846, the same year that Jesse died.

According to Abel Sellers military pension file at Fold3, he married Esther Wall on March 2, 1809 in Barnwell District, South Carolina and was drafted in Capt. Josiah Walker's Co. S.C. Mil. 2 Reg't (2 BN Oswald's) S.C. St. Troops in 1812.

Most family trees I reviewed on Ancestry, as well as a few message boards, and Find-A-Grave, have Abel listed as the son of John William Sellers born 1749 Brunswick, North Carolina and dying 1814 in Lincoln, North Carolina. However, the will of John William Sellers lists his only heirs at law as his two nephews, the children of John's brother, George, and has no listing of Abel who was alive in 1814.

It is more likely that Abel is the son of Sampson Sellers and his wife Ellender, from Anson (those parts that later became Richmond and Montgomery) County, North Carolina. It is possible that Ellender’s maiden name is Allred, and that she is somehow related to Johnathan Allred who migrated to Barnwell, South Carolina. Part of the Sellers, Stringfellow, Sprawls and Chisholm families from Richmond / Montgomery counties migrated to Barnwell, South Carolina and later some of these families and their descendants migrated to Georgia and Alabama.

I have not investigated the Wall family enough to make a connection from Richmond County to Barnwell District, South Carolina, but suffice it to say that there were a lot of Wall’s in Richmond County, with the Sheriff being one William Wall, who in Mar 1790 sold to Johnathan Allred a tract of land whereas by virtue of a judgement and execution obtained by him the said Jonathan Allred against John Allred for the sum of thirty pounds...the sheriff William Wall sold a tract of land in the County of Richmond belonging to the estate of John Allred and Jonathan Allred was the highest bidder. The land located on the waters of Big Buffalo Creek and adjoins Stephen Touchstone and Luke Robinson.

Luke Robinson descends from the same Robinson line as Arthur Robinson who married Nancy Stanback, sister-in-law to John Chisholm who is the brother of Malcom. John married Nancy’s sister, Elizabeth Stanback and they had two children, Calvin Chisholm, and Mary Jennings Chisholm Gorrell. More on these family’s in future Blogs.

Stephen Touchstone and Ann, his wife, sold to Solomon Allred in Sep 1774 a tract of land containing 100 acres on the North East side of the Pee Dee River on Mountain Creek. Witness to this deed was John Allred, who is most likely the same John Allred who was indebted to Jonathan Allred and lost his land when Sheriff William Wall sold it per a court order in Mar 1790.

1820 finds Abel Sellers and family still in Barnwell District, South Carolina. Living one house away is Hardy Wall, who most likely is related to Abel’s wife, Esther Wall Sellers, probably her brother based on the age. Of interest, is found a Newspaper clipping dated 1846 from Elijah Wall in Barnwell District, South Carolina, who is looking for William Hill who had lived there 45 or 50 years ago and was the overseer of a Plantation owned by Mr. Lamar. What is most interesting is that Elijah makes note that Hardy Wall, the nephew of William Hill, resided there as well. I can only presume that William Hill was a brother to the mother of Esther, Hardy and Elijah Wall.

By 1830, Abel has made his way to Newton, Georgia where, he lives but one house away from a Cochran family. More research is required to discover if William Cochran descends from the Montgomery County Cochran family. My guess is that he probably does.

I tracked Abel down in Coosa, Alabama in 1850 and on this Census, where we learn that Esther, his wife, was born in South Carolina, most likely Barnwell. Daughter Mary, age 29, was also born in South Carolina while Sons Elijah, most likely named for Esther’s brother who ran the ad in the paper in 1846, Thomas and Wilson were all born during the stay in Georgia.

1860 finds Abel Sellers living between son, Andrew Jackson Sellers and his daughter, Vashti, who married Abner Nolan about 1829.

Coosa County Heritage Book 1999 lists the following about the Abel Sellers family:

Abel Sellers was born Oct 15, 1783 In North Carolina.  On March 2, 1809 he married Esther Wall in South Carolina. To this union were born ten children: Vashti, John, Hansford Duncan, Hardy Wall, Dianna, Mary Landrum, Andrew Jackson, Sampson Elijah, Thomas Albert, and William Ashley. About the year 1821, they began their journey to Alabama by way of Newton County, Georgia, where they settled for a few years before making their way to Coosa County, Alabama in 1843.  Abel was a landowner as well as a farmer, he also served in the War of 1812.  In 1849 he purchased land from Mark Moore and built a Home three miles east of Nixburg, Alabama, where he lived until his death.

Abel and Esther Sellers took an active part in the community and the Friendship Methodist Church which was a log cabin built near the Pine Grove School and Cemetery.  The present church building was built in 1853 on Highway 259.  Records of 1854 show a membership of ninety members, a large number of those were of the Sellers families who have been active in the Methodist Church from the earliest records to the present. Abel died July 25, 1870. Esther died Aug. 29, 1875. Both are buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery on Coosa Road 20.

Several family trees on Ancestry have included the first page of a Sellers Genealogy Record that tells Abel and Esther Wall Sellers story. My hope is that this Blog post may be found by these descendants so they can complete their family history for Abel Sellers and allow this family to explore their Uwharrie Roots.

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