Monday, February 1, 2021

Finds at the Archives

It is amazing what you can find by digging through other people’s stuff, and how, like a set of fallen Dominos, things can just fall into place! There is no such thing as researching just one direct family line. If one hopes to find information on their direct family line, one must research the entire county, especially when records have been destroyed or are missing as that is the only way to piece families together – by record association. 

On a recent trip to the North Carolina State Archives, I found the collection of W. K. Littleton, consisting of 9 folders and the J.R. Coggins collection on microfilm. The collections were donated to the archives by heirs of the Bell and Coggins families. All the folders are full of historical documents on the families of Montgomery County, North Carolina. So, a big Thank You to those family members who decided to share these collections. And a BIGGER THANK YOU to the living heir who gave me permission to make copies of the J. R. Coggins collection – you know who you are! 

Below are a few of the finds that prompted me to order copies from both collections.

Eliza Bell, whom I can only assume is Elizabeth Ledbetter Bell, the wife of Benjamin Bell, made purchases at Hardy Morgan's store between 1826 – 1828. Elizabeth is the daughter of Charles Ledbetter.While researching Charles Ledbetter, I found an early deed, dated 1792, between him and Nathaniel Edwards for land on Island Creek. I had been looking for documentation to prove Nathaniel Edwards was the son of John Edwards, and I found it in this deed that states Nathaniel is the son of John. I am still looking for documentation that might link Elizabeth Edwards to Nathaniel and John Edwards. Elizabeth married first Brantley Harris and second, Arthur Harris, the brother of West Harris. Elizabeth’s sister, Edith, married West Harris. Such a tangled web!

Family Search: Montgomery. Deed Records 1774–1795, Deed Records 1798–1807, Deed Records 1838–1847I’ve wrote a great deal on Hardy Morgan in previous blogs. I believe Hardy may be the brother of my fourth great grandfather, Joseph Morgan. Hardy owned a store in what is now Uwharrie, Montgomery County, North Carolina, called Morgan’s store. The above document was prepared by Hardy and looks to be from his store ledger. Hardy and his family moved to Pontotoc County, Mississippi in the 1840s and after his death in 1854, his wife and several children moved on to Arkansas.

I believe Hardy is the son of Charles Morgan who migrated from Chatham County, North Carolina to Montgomery County, North Carolina about 1805. I do not know who his wife is. She looks to have died before the family left Chatham. Hardy’s wife, Nancy, is another person I am also seeking information on. She declared in her War of 1812 widow’s pension that her maiden name is Hearne. Most researchers have her mixed up with Nancy Hearne, the daughter of Ebenezer Hearne and Dovey Walker, who married Clayton Steed and lived her life in Randolph County, North Carolina. I wrote about that in another Blog.

In another document found at the archives, I learned that Selby Hearne and Isham Coggin turn up with Hardy Morgan in some deeds (see below) and, as most researchers know, whenever two or more names are seen together multiple times, it can lead to some valuable clues that can solve a puzzle. The puzzle I am hoping to solve is who the parents are of Nancy Hearne Morgan.

I have been looking for the following deed since September 2018 when I wrote the Blog E.F. Morgan.

In that Blog I wrote, “On the 2nd day of March 1840, E.F. Morgan, of the county of Montgomery, sold to John Hall, of the county of Randolph, for the sum of $725, and lying on the east bank of Barnes Creek, land that included a Grist Mill and a Sawmill. Two other tracts of land, known to many as the McCulloch tract and Spencer tract, sold to John Hall at this same time.

At the end of the deed the following was added, “the sd E.F. Morgan doth hereby by these presents exempt one acre & a half of the McColloch Tract of land to begin at McColloch’s last corner on Uwharrie River adjoining the lands of sd George Coggin as the same heretofore has been sold to sd Coggin by Hardy Morgan.” The deed witnessed by H. (Hardy) Morgan and A.H. Sanders, proven by oath in open court by A.H. Sanders. That raises the question if E.F. and Hardy Morgan owned this land jointly or if E.F. Morgan had bought the land from Hardy Morgan at some time in the past and they all forgot the one-acre and a half had previously sold to George Coggin until the land sold to John Hall.”

Found among the J.R. Coggin Papers 1813-1868 (File number MIP.7) at the North Carolina State Archives is the deed where Hardy Morgan sold the 1 acre to George Coggins.

This Indenture made the 10th day of October AD 1835 Between Hardy Morgan of the county of Montgomery and state of North Carolina of the one part and George Coggin of the county and state afore sd of the other part witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of fifteen dollars to the sd Hardy Morgan in hand paid by the sd George Coggin the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged and the sd Hardy Morgan doth herby bargain sell and deliver unto the sd George Coggin by these presents a certain tract or parcel of land containing one acre and a half situate lying and being in the county & state afore sd and on the No Et bank of the Uwharrie River adjoining the lands of the sd Coggin being the upper corner of the McColloch tract Beginning on a mulberry stump standing on the No Et bank of sd river … above the mouth of the sd Coggin spring branch and runs … to a sweet gum sapling stands in sd line amongst some dogwood(?) then a So. Wt. course a long a slope (?) & line to a bunch of Burch bushes standing on the bank of sd river amongst a hickory & walnut pointer … to the beginning corner

The same to have and to hold and to be to the proper use of the sd Coggin him and his heirs and assigns forever and him the sd Hardy Morgan doth by these presents for ever warrant and defend the right and title of the sd tract or parcel of land hereby conveyed to the sd Coggin against all lawful claim or claims of any person or persons (?) in witness where of the sd hardy Morgan doth hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written. 

H. Morgan Seal

Signed sealed and delivered in the presents of

Selby Hearn

Isham CogginIn another document I found digging around at the archives, Benjamin Bell signs as security for Jesse Dennis who rented the Dutch John Plantation in 1817 from William Brookshire. Jesse Dennis is the son of Andrew Dennis, my fourth great grandfather. Jesse married Frances Blalock, daughter of William David Blalock Senior. Frances’s brother, William David Blalock Jr., married Jesse’s sister, Martha. I believe the Blalock and Morgan families knew one another from Chatham County and probably came to Montgomery County together in the early 1800s.

Jesse had a land grant for 640 acres of land in Montgomery County in the fork of the Yadkin and Uwharrie Rivers beginning on Brookshire's line (probably the same William Brookshire who owned the Dutch John Plantation) ... and running .... near the new road ... dated 4 Dec 1819. Two of Jesse's horses are named in the deed, Hercules, a bay gelding and Borus, a stud horse. Jesse died between the 1830 and 1840 Census years. I have yet to discover what happened to the 640 acres of land he owned. I am also curious to know who William Brookshire is, so more research to be done on that name.In January 1820, Benjamin Bell Senior paid one dollar, the full amount of his account owing at Hardy Morgan’s store. Hardy Morgan also received of Benjamin Bell Senior fourteen dollars in part of a note given by said Littleton Harris, Hardy Morgan, and Sally G. Harris Executors to Turner Harris Deceased. Turner Harris is another name that I am working on, so this find was of great value to me. Turner Harris of Montgomery County who married Susannah Thomas has been confused with the Turner Harris from Davidson County who married Elizabeth Rush.

I do not know who Sally G. Harris is mentioned in the below receipt but would almost bet that she is probably his second wife as Susannah Thomas Harris, his first wife, died in 1799. It is obvious by this receipt that Turner Harris is dead by 31 Jan 1820 as he is mentioned as “Dest” (deceased).The below paper has brought about a ton of confusion for me. It looks to read, “Rec’d Fayetteville 20th March 1807 from Mr. Benjamin Bell Nine dollars on aud. of Mr. Andrew Dennis against him by the estate of A. McArthur. Don McInnish Administrator of A. McArthur”

When I first read this paper, I thought A. McArthur may have been related to Nancy McArthur who married Charles Bell, the son of Benjamin Bell, whom the receipt is made out to. However, upon finding Don McInnish had a store in Fayetteville, (he died in 1811 leaving an estate file that can be found on Family Search in Cumberland County) I am now questioning if Benjamin Bell was the administrator of the estate of Andrew Dennis. 

However, Andrew Dennis did not die until after 1830 (he is listed on the 1830 Census for Montgomery as older than 90 years). But why would Benjamin Bell pay a $9 bill for Andrew Dennis against the estate of A. McArthur?

And who is A. McArthur?

More research required here!

I am totally confused over this one and have enlisted the help of some family members to help sort this out.

If you have another interpretation of the below, please post it in the comments section.Now, here is a new name to add to my file: Timothy Lax sold land to George Coggin and he may be the same man who is later found in Hardeman County, Tennessee by the same name. Who is he and what connection does he have to George Coggin? He is found on the 1830 Census living east of the Pee Dee and Yadkin River between Wiley Chappell and Leonard Graves.

Hardy Morgan and his son, Ebenezer Franklin Morgan, signed as witness.The deed is translated as follows:

This indenture the 26th day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty three between Timothy Lax (note: there was a Lax family in Randolph County and I wonder if Timothy may be related?) of the state of North Carolina and county of Montgomery of the one part and George Coggin and the county and state aforesaid of the other part witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of seventy five dollars to him the said Timothy Lax in hand paid by the said George Coggin at or before signing and delivering of these presents the receipt whereof is hereby fully acknowledged have bargained sold and delivered and by these presents doth bargain sell and deliver unto the said George Coggin his heirs and assigns forever a certain tract or parcel of land lying and being situate in the county of Montgomery and state of North Carolina and lying on the east side of the Uwharrie River and on the west side of Barnes Creek and being part of a survey of two hundred acres surveyed for Mark Bennett in 1779 as showeth on Bennett’s plat beginning at a pine a line tree of the said George Coggin formally Agrippa A Steed's and a corner tree of Jesse Clifton and runs thence south with the said Coggins ? line and Selby Hearn's line to a stake standing between Selby Hearne’s house and spring thence east ninety three poles to another stake the said Coggins line of his Clemmons tract near the house thence south west the said Coggin line of his Clemmons tract to a branch running southward to Barnes Creek then running the various courses of the said branch to the said Bennett’s old line which is equal to one hundred and seventy nine poles direct from the corner at the Clemmons place thence west one hundred and twenty poles to the beginning containing one hundred acres the same being more or less and all and ? and every the ? to the same belonging on in any wise appertaining to have and to hold the land hereby conveyed and singular ....

Timothy Lacks (his X mark) 

Signed and sealed and delivered in the presence of 

H. Morgan 

E. F. Morgan

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