Sunday, April 4, 2021

Moses and Nathaniel Steed

John Steed named his sons, Moses, and Nathaniel, in his 1788 will, giving both a bed and furniture and, after the death of his wife, that his property be sold, and the money divided equally among all his children or their heirs. It is most likely that Moses and Nathaniel never received the gifts left to them by their father as they had begun their journey from Brunswick County, Virginia to Anson County, North Carolina 16 or more years prior to the death of their father. John names his legal heirs in his will as Mark, John, Nathaniel, Moses, Abigail Atkins, Philemon, Martha Mosley, Anne and Winnyford. Witnesses to the will were Allan Love and Henry Walker. John Steed signed the will with his mark, an X.Moses and Nathaniel arrived in Anson County, North Carolina prior to December 1772. The earliest record found of these men in North Carolina is regarding a lawsuit, McCulloh v. Steed, in Anson County, North Carolina. The bond dated December 5, 1772 is signed by Nathaniel Steed and Moses Steed. The original record is housed at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh but is photocopied in a book, “Henry McCulloh and Son Henry Eustace McCulloh 18th century entrepreneurs land speculators of North Carolina” by Stewart E. Dunaway pg. 197 as shown below.Anson County, North Carolina was formed from Bladen County in 1750 and was a vast territory with its northern border the Virginia line until the formation of Rowan County in 1753 and its western boundary indefinite until the formation of Mecklenburg County in 1763. A year later, 1764, its southern line was determined to stop at the newly drawn South Carolina border. The first county seat was aptly named Anson Court House and established in 1755, five years after the county was created. Anson Court House was located on the western bank of the Great Pee Dee River only a few miles north of the South Carolina border and close to what is now Richmond County. In 1779, seven years after the Steed brothers court case, the northern part of what remained of Anson County became Montgomery County, and the part east of the Pee Dee River became Richmond County.Henry McCulloh was a London merchant, land speculator in North Carolina, colonial official, and author of a stamp tax scheme for the American colonies. His son, Henry Eustace McCulloh, noted on the document, served as his chief agent and attorney in North Carolina and surveyed many of the tracts in the 1.2-million-acre Huey-Crymble grant. During the American Revolution, all property rights of McCulloch to lands in North Carolina were confiscated by the new North Carolina state government. (www.ncpedia.org) 

Moses Steed entered his land grant of 100 acres lying between McCulloh’s two surveys North East of Yadkin River above Darks Cabin in then Anson County on May 16, 1772 and was settled into a life of farming by 1774 when his land grant was issued. Moses and Nathaniel served as chain carriers; the triangle shaped tract of land was surveyed by James Cotton in June 1772.Moses entered another land grant for 50 acres on Barnes Creek of Uwharrie River in then Anson County in May 1773. The interesting thing about this land grant is that Moses purchased this land from McCulloh including his dwelling house. Moses Sanders and Leonard Cranford served as chain carriers. 

It is believed that Moses Steed married Jane Sanders, the daughter of Moses Sanders. Though I have not yet found solid proof of this; I have no reason to doubt it. Moses Sanders lived close to Moses Steed and it would not be unheard of that he married a girl next door.In 1780, Moses enters a 50-acre land grant in Montgomery County (formed from Anson in 1779) on the north east side of the Yadkin River the waters of Barnes Creek beginning at a red oak McCulloh’s line and runs…to a stake…thence a direct course to the beginning. James McDonald and Moses Steed chain carriers. 

Benjamin Baird, entry taker for Montgomery County, provided additional information in that Moses Steed lived on Barnes Creek.In a 1781 petition of sundry inhabitants of Montgomery County in favor of Mark Allen and Joel McClendon is found a statement made by Moses Steed, dated June 30, 1781. Moses appears before his brother, Nathaniel Steed, a Justice of the Peace, and provides his testimony that he went to Moses Sanders Mill and found no person there. He then proceeded to the house where he found several neighbors on the same business as he, to get meal. Amongst the neighbors at the house was Joel McLendon Esq. Moses states that he heard of no plots against America. He further states that this was the same day on which Mills Light Horse came here.The United States Census of 1790 was the first census of the whole United States. Taken 8 years after the end of the American Revolutionary War, it recorded the population of the United States as of Census Day, August 2, 1790, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the, then new, United States Constitution. 

Moses Steed made his appearance on the 1790 Census, shown living in Montgomery County, North Carolina. His household consisted of 2 white males age 16 and older, 3 white males under age 16, 5 white females and 5 slaves.

In 1792, Moses entered a grant for 100 acres of land in Montgomery County on Dark Forks (current day Poison Forks) of Barnes Creek including an improvement known by Grayson’s Place. James Cotton surveyed the land in Jul 1792 and noted in the survey that the land was on the Dark Fork of Barnes Creek of Uwharrie River a chestnut pointer standing on the side of a mountain north of said fork and included an improvement known by the name of Grammy’s place. Frederick Redwine and Samuel Steed chain carriers.
In 1794 Moses again enters a grant for 40 acres of land in Montgomery County on the north east side of Yadkin River joining his own land and the land of George Suggs. Samuel Steed and Mark Steed are chain carriers.
In 1796, Moses entered a grant for 150 acres of land in Montgomery County on Barnes Creek joining Stephen Hearn's land. Thomas Cotton surveyed the tract of land in 1797 and noted in the survey that the land was on the north side of Barnes Creek, McCulloh's beginning corner and includes Moses Steed's plantation. Chain carriers Stephen Hearn and Hilkiah Steed.
Moses made the second U.S. Census as well. He is shown as a male over the age of 45, making him born before 1755. His wife, age between 26 and 44, and several children between the ages of 10 and 25 are living at home. 12 slaves are shown. Two other Steed men, Thomas, and Mark are shown living nearby.
In 1801, Moses entered his last land grant, one hundred acres in Montgomery County on the east side of Uwharrie River beginning at a stake Arthur Albertson's western corner in the Randolph County line. Edmond Carns (maybe Kearns) and Mark Steed chain carriers.
In 1810, we find out that Moses lived in Hattom, Montgomery County, North Carolina. Hattom was a township close to Henderson, then the county seat of Montgomery. Based on land grant data for Moses Steed, the area is located around what is today called Ophir.
1830 is the last Census Moses Steed is found on. He is shown between the age of 80 to 89 and living east of the Pee Dee and Yadkin River with 15 slaves. His wife having died between 1810 and 1830; the 1820 Census being destroyed and there is no gravestone found for her to show the date of death.

Most family trees I viewed have Moses dying in 1839. This date cannot be correct because a Newspaper article dated 15 Apr 1837 shows a Bill in Equity for the settlement of an Estate showed William Harris, Administrator of Moses Steed, dec’d vs Agrippa Steed and others. Moses died before 15 Apr 1837. 

The Newspaper article lists the heirs at law of Moses Steed as: 

Seth Steed 

Collier Steed 

Elisha Smart and Tabitha his wife 

Lihon Steed 

Purnel Skean and Adeline his wife 

the children next of kin of Mark Steed dec’d 

Harris Russell and Leah his wife 

Agrippa Steed 

Eli Reeves and Nancy his wife 

Burrell Coggins and Palla his wife 

Lyby Steed 

Elijah Baily and Lundy his wife 

Ezekiel Baily and Polly his wife 

Lihon Steed and Martha his wife 

Four other children of Hill Steed dec’d whose names are unknown 

Vestel Beeson and Susannah his wife 

Moses Steed Jr

The estate file of Moses Steed found at Family Search contains only 3 pages, a power of attorney from Elisha B. Smart of Campbell County, Georgia to Joel Henderson of Montgomery County, North Carolina to receive of William Harris, administrator of the estate of Moses Steed deceased of Montgomery County, North Carolina all such sums of money debts demands…property both real and personal that may be owing or coming to me in right of my wife Tabitha Smart formerly Tabitha Steed daughter of Samuel Steed deceased who is one of the legatees of Moses Steed. 

So, from this legal document we learn that Samuel Steed is the son of Moses, but has died, so his daughter, Tabitha Steed Smart, wife of Elisha Smart, will inherit in right of her father, Samuel.

Joel Henderson is the second husband of Susannah Smart Morgan Henderson, the sister of Elisha B. Smart. Susannah first married Joseph Morgan and these two, through their daughter Priscilla, became my fourth great grandparents. Joseph Morgan served in the War of 1812 and it was previously thought that he died in the war either of injury or disease. However, I now know that Joseph Morgan was discharged from service on 21 Aug 1813. Joseph redeemed his pay voucher in May 1815. Thus, Joseph Morgan could not have been killed in the War of 1812. 

In response to a letter I wrote, the National Archives provided me more information on Joseph.

Susannah Smart Morgan married Joel Henderson shortly after Joseph died; seven children were born to this marriage; Nathaniel (1816), Lockey (1818), Lewis (1823), Massan (1824), George (1827), Alexander L. (1830), William (1833) and Mary Ann (1837), whom I am not sure is a child or grandchild, all raised alongside their stepbrothers, Matthew (1810), Joseph (1814), and stepsister, Priscilla (1812), who is my third great grandmother. 

The Register of Deeds in Troy, North Carolina houses several other deeds for Powers of Attorney between the grandchildren of Moses Steed, who were living in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, and their family members in Montgomery County.

It’s worth noting before I get into the life of Nathaniel Steed, brother of Moses, that I found several mentions of him on genealogy message boards. In one of those posts, it was noted that Nathaniel was born prior to 1740 vs the accepted date of ~1744 because he is found signing as witness to a deed dated 1756 in Brunswick County, Virginia. I suppose it is possible that this might be Nathaniel Steed, brother of Moses. 

It is also worth considering that there was more than one Nathaniel Steed in Brunswick County, Virginia.

Nathaniel Steed entered his first land grant in Anson County, North Carolina for 150 acres on May 16, 1772, the same day his brother Moses did. His tract of land was on the south side of McCulloh’s line joining the Rich Lands of Duncan’s (probably Dumas) Creek. James Cotton surveyed the land on June 24, 1772 and Ralph Thomson and Robert Wood were chain carriers.

I found in several trees on Ancestry as well as several message boards and in a Randolph County Journal that it is believed Nathaniel Steed was a loyalist and was at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge, a minor conflict of the American Revolutionary War fought near Wilmington, North Carolina, on February 27, 1776. 

As a note, there are others who thought Nathaniel was in the battle at Guildford Court House. 

On Ancestry I found in one tree that Nathaniel Steed “led 47 men from Anson County to fight the King’s cause at Moore’s Creek Bridge and was captured and jailed in Halifax” and proof is offered on a translated tax list index for Halifax County. 

Because I have not been able to find the original record to authenticate the transcription, I am not able to say with any certainty that this is Nathaniel Steed, the subject of this blog. I do know that there were men who were already serving in the office of Justice of the Peace, as Nathaniel was, during the Revolutionary War or later ran for office who went through much scrutiny over proving their loyalty to America. Some even had their neighbors sign petitions against them. Some loyalists even lost their land. I cannot imagine Nathaniel Steed would have escaped such scrutiny, before or after the Revolutionary War. The earliest tax record I can find for Halifax County, North Carolina is 1782. 

The original records can be found here

The book “The State Records of North Carolina, Volume XVII - 1781 - 1785” by Walter Clark, records that “Sundry Affidavits being laid before the House charging Mark Allen and Joel McClendon, two of the Justices of the Peace in the County of Montgomery with sundry treasonable practices and misdemeanors, rendering them unworthy of their offices, whereupon it is Resolved, that the said Mark Allen and Joel McClendon be suspended from executing their respective offices of Justices of the Peace...”
In 1781, several men appeared before Nathaniel Steed, a Justice of the Peace for Montgomery County, and made statements and signed a petition in favor of Mark Allen and Joel McClendon.
In the book NC Patriots 1775-1783: Their Own Words Volume 2-The Provincial and State Troops (Part 1) by J.D. Lewis is a single mention of Nathaniel Steed calling for a doctor when Andrew Hunter showed up at his house with a bullet wound to his shoulder after escaping Colonel Edmund Fanning. There is no explanation in the book as to why Andrew Hunter, a notorious Regulator, decides to flee to Nathaniel Steed’s home after being shot, but it certainly does make one question if Hunter knew Steed.

The website revolutionarywar.us provides some background information on who Andrew Hunter is as well as how he came to be shot and the month and year that this event took place, May 1782. Nathaniel Steed lived in Montgomery County, but close to the Randolph County line, in 1782. 

Neither the book mentioned above, or the website provides a direct source of how they came across this information, other than to say that sources were gathered from pension files, letters and memoirs and other documentation gathered during research. I did find an 1853 article in the Greensboro Patriot outlining the same narrative as below.Two other land grants were issued to Nathaniel. Both tracts of land located in Montgomery County, one for 100 acres on the north east side of Uwharrie River joining Sneed’s line and 200 acres of land on the Rich Lands of Dumas’s Creek joining McCulloh, Moses Sanders and others.

In Jul 1786, Nathaniel Steed buys from William Arnold 300 acres on Uharie (Uwharrie) waters joining the lands of William Lax. John Stanfield and Samuel Lewis witnessed the deed. Again, in Nov 1786, Nathaniel Steed buys from William Arnold 200 acres on Uharie (Uwharrie) waters joining the lands of Samuel Lewis. John Stanfield and Samuel Lewis again witnessed the deed. 

It is interesting to note that the deeds state Nathaniel is of Randolph County so he must have moved there from Montgomery earlier than 1786, the date on the deed.

In Nov 1787, Mr. Stanfield (probably John Stanfield who witnessed both deeds in 1786) presented the resignation of Nathaniel Steed one of the Justices of the Peace in Randolph County, to the House of Commons, which being read was accepted. The next day, the House accepted Nathaniel’s resignation as well.
In a 1796 deed that is barely readable, Nathaniel sells to his son, Green Steed, 200 acres of land on the waters of Uwharrie, joining Samuel Lewis, in Randolph County.
Nathaniel has another run in with the name Henry McCulloh when in 1799 he again makes a purchase of land from the trustees of the University of North Carolina who for and in consideration of the sum of two hundred and two pounds three shillings ... sold to Nathaniel Steed a tract or parcel of land situate and lying and being in the county of Randolph on the waters of Uharee (Uwharrie) beginning at a Hickory on the river bank in the corner of Griffins (?) old field ... crossing Mill Creek ... then crossing the river ... containing 311 acres ... formerly the property of Henry McCulloh.
In Jul 1800, Nathaniel buys from Thomas Winslow a tract of land in Randolph County both sides of Lanes Creek beginning at a (?) in the side of the (?) dividing line between Micajah Lassiter and Thomas Winslow ... containing 80 acres.

In Aug 1800, another deed is made between Nathaniel Steed and Sarah Lassiter. This time it is Nathaniel doing the selling. Sarah purchases 90 acres of land in Randolph County on Uwharrie River just below the mouth of Mill Creek. Micajah Lassiter proves the deed in open court. 

On the 25th day of the 11th month 1800 (the way the date is written tells me that Micajah Lassiter is most likely Quaker) Nathaniel Steed sells to Micajah Lassiter a tract of land in Randolph County on Uwharrie River being part of a tract purchased of the trustees of the University … crossing Lanes Creek … 200 acres … and proven in open court by Thomas Winslow.

It was in Nathaniel Steed’s estate record dated 1805 and located in Randolph County, North Carolina that I found George McCulloh, the illegitimate son of Henry McCulloh by Molly Cooke, had brought a civil action against the estate of Nathaniel Steed Dec’d. George, who is partially raised among Iredell relatives, becomes a sort of attorney-debt collector for his estranged father, Henry E. McCulloh, in North Carolina. 

To the Sheriff of Randolph County Greeting 

You are hereby commanded to summon Benjamin Steed, Collier Steed and Clayton Steed Executors of the last will of Nathaniel Steed Dec’d if to be found in your county to appear before the judge of our Superior Court of Law … then and there to answer Henry E. McCulloh of a Plea that they render to him four hundred twenty-nine-pounds Proclamation money … dated 8 Aug 1809. 

The exact amount from the court case started in Anson County in 1772, thirty-seven years before.

Though it looks like some of the documents are missing from the estate file, there are three interesting documents that provide enough details for genealogists to determine what transpired after the court case in Anson County in 1772. 

In a document signed by George McCulloh, Benjamin Steed, Collier Steed and Clayton Steed, George McCulloh, in Circuit Court, obtained a judgement against the executors of Nathaniel Steed for the sum of one thousand dollars on a bond given by the said Nathaniel Steed and Moses Steed to Henry E. McCulloh for the sum of two hundred pounds proclamation money dated 10 May 1773. 

For the settlement and discharge of said judgement the said parties agree that George, as agent for Henry E. McCulloh, does accept as absolute payment a certain bond given on 7 Oct. 1791 by Robert Johnson Steele and Thomas C. Williams to Nathaniel Steed in the amount of three hundred pounds...the bond, accepted as payment of the said judgement, provided George recovers the bond from Robert Johnson Steele and Thomas C. Williams to the amount of one thousand dollars and if not recovered, the executors agree to pay four hundred dollars, the difference between the amount of the Steele and Williams bond to Nathaniel Steed.

According to the Richmond County, North Carolina Historical Society webpage, Robert Johnson Steele was a British soldier fighting in the Revolutionary War against Americans and was wounded and left for dead by his British comrades. He was nursed back to health by an American family, settled in the Mangum area of Richmond County and prospered. Steeles Township is named in his honor. 

The Thomas C. Williams mentioned in the estate file was possibly the Sheriff of Montgomery County. In an 1803 Newspaper article, I found that Thomas C. Williams, Sheriff of Henderson, Montgomery County, was selling land for unpaid taxes for year 1802. Again, in 1809, Henry Delamothe runs an ad in the Raleigh Register mentioning the Sheriff of Montgomery County, Thomas C. Williams.

Another Thomas Williams was the husband of Rebecca Steed, daughter of Nathaniel Steed. Thomas served in the Revolutionary War and, according to Rebecca’s Widow Pension file, was first married to a McKnight and had two children prior to marrying Rebecca Steed about 1785 at the home of Nathaniel Steed in Randolph County, North Carolina. Clayton Steed, brother of Rebecca, provided an affidavit as proof of marriage stating that he was about eight years old at the time of Rebecca’s marriage to Thomas and was at the wedding.
According to the Fold3 file, Rebecca states that Thomas, through a land lottery, acquired land and moved his family from North Carolina to Georgia about the year 1800. He died in Fayette County, Georgia in 1826. Rebecca lived until 1852, never remarrying, and left Georgia with her son after 1850, moving to Texas where she died in 1852.
In the 1850 Census for Carroll County, Georgia, Rebecca claims to have been born in Virginia in the year 1765. This date puts Nathaniel, her father, leaving Brunswick County, Virginia after 1765 and arriving in Anson County, North Carolina before 1772.
Nathaniel Steed wrote his will 15 Apr 1805 and names his legal heirs as Susannah Steed, his beloved wife, his children, Green Steed, Rebecca Williams, Fanny Crews, Lavina Lewis, Benjamin Steed, Louisa Franklin, Clayton Steed, Collier Steed, Abner Steed, and Charles Steed.

The last mention I found of Nathaniel Steed was in 1911. A Newspaper article refers to a bayonet in the possession of Mrs. W.D. Stedman that was used in the battle of Guilford Court House in 1781 by an uncle of the late Nathaniel Steed. 

This Nathaniel Steed died about 1880 and he was grandson of Nathaniel Steed (d. 1805) being the son of Charles Steed, the son of Nathaniel (d. 1805). In reviewing the estate file inventory no mention of a bayonet is found in the articles sold at his estate sale in 1881. 

The article also mentions that a granddaughter of Nathaniel Steed (d. 1880) had a gourd in which powder was kept during the Revolutionary War by the Whigs when they were guarding Mr. Hunter from the Tory, Fanning. 

It certainly makes one question why Mr. Andrew Hunter, a Regulator, rode to the house of Nathaniel Steed to seek medical help when shot in the shoulder by those of Fanning’s party in 1782. 

It also begs the question, was Nathaniel Steed part of the Regulator movement and not a loyalist at all?

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