Thursday, April 13, 2023

Dance a jig

Buried at Macedonia United Methodist Church Cemetery in Eldorado, Montgomery County, North Carolina is a man named John Laurence. Records sometime show his surname spelled as Lawrence. John was born 24 Apr 1803 in Canada and died 12 Aug 1887, aged 85, at the home of his son-in-law, J. H. Davis in Eldorado. His obituary says that he "will be remembered by some in the vicinity of the Big Coffee pot, where he worked for several years." His gravestone indicates that he was a Mason.

John came to Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina as a Merchant around 1819, at the age of 16 if the birth year on his gravestone is correct. He traveled from New York with Thomas Laurence, a possible relative, and Thomas G. Casey, partners trading under the name of T. & J. F. Laurence & Co.

Upon arriving in Fayetteville, the trio bought of William Cameron for $500 a lot on Winslow Street and set up their business. By 1823, the co-partnership with Casey had been dissolved and by 1827, the lot in Fayetteville sold. While I am not completely sure what happened to Thomas Laurence and Thomas Casey, John remained in Fayetteville. 

In 1832, John married Isabella Ingram Asking, a widow whose first husband, Thomas Asking, had died in Jun 1827 in Cumberland County, North Carolina. Isabella was 3 months pregnant with her oldest child, Annie Thomas Asking, when her first husband, Thomas, passed away. John and Isabella made their home in Cumberland County and by 1840, had added three more girls, Mary (1834), Eliza (1835), and Frances (1840), to their family. In 1844, their fourth daughter, Sarah, was born.

Isabella Ingram Asking Laurence is the daughter of John Ingram. I do not know who her mother was, but I do know that Isabella had a sister named Eliza. In 1819, John Ingram of Cumberland County deeded to his two daughters, Isabella and Eliza, a tract of land in Cumberland County containing 165 acres to be divided between them.

In 1822, Isabella and her sister Eliza, purchased of Samuel Steele, for $200, two lots on the south side of Hay Street adding to their land ownership.

In 1835, Eliza divided a property that she jointly owned with her sister, with Isabella and her husband John, taking the better part of the property and owing Eliza $200 to be paid over a two-year period.

In 1843, Eliza and her husband, Richard Overby, sold to John and Isabella Laurance the lot of land purchased by Isabella and Eliza from Samuel Steele in 1822.

In May 1855, Isabella died of consumption. Just a few months later, Sarah, the youngest also died. Mother and daughter are buried in Cross Creek Cemetery #01 in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina.


In April 1850, Ann Thomas Asking, daughter of Thomas and Isabella Ingram Asking, and step-daughter of John Laurence, married Henry W. Burwell, a Coach Maker, in Cumberland County, North Carolina. The couple moved to Wayne County prior to 1860 and remained there until Henry died in 1898. 

In 1900, Ann Asking Burwell was living in Brunswick, Virginia with her daughter, Henrietta Spatig. In 1910, she was living with her daughter, Fannie Giersch, in Winston, Forsyth County, North Carolina and 1920 with daughter Fannie Giersch in Roanoke, Virginia. Ann Asking Burwell died 29 Aug 1921 and was buried in Wayne County, North Carolina next to her husband, Henry.

Ann Asking and Henry Burwell had the following children:

Martha Isabella Burwell (1851–1935) married Patrick King (1843-1922) in 1868, a Railroad engineer. The couple settled in Wayne County, North Carolina.

Carolina Burwell (1859–1940) married John Clemons (1857-1919) in 1871. The couple lived in South Carolina and Georgia but eventually settled in Florida where John pursued a career as an Engineer Locomotive.

Henrietta Burwell (1862–1901) had a license to marry Arthur Prempert (1856-1932) in 1878 but the couple never married. In 1881 she married Fred Hancock (1850-?). I have not been able to document what happened with this marriage, did Fred die? Did they divorce? Henrietta married Isaac Emil Spatig Sr (1862-1924) in 1891 and they settled in Virginia.

Annie Belle King, the other mention in the marriage announcement, is the niece of Henrietta and daughter of Patrick and Martha Burwell King.

Fannie Burwell (1866–1955) married Harvey Giersch (1862-1942) in 1888 and lived in Forsyth County, North Carolina for a while where Harvey became part owner in the Big Coffee Pot, the same place John Laurence worked in the later years of his life. The couple moved to Virginia around 1920 and lived near Ann Thomas Asking Burwell, sister of Fannie, and their daughter, Ruth. 

George Ernest Burwell (1869–1960) married Lilla Pugh Bell (1869-1940) in 1896. Lilla Pugh Bell is the daughter of James Bell, who according to his Find-A-Grave profile was the “FOUNDER BELL'S JEWELRY STORE - TARBORO born in Elizabeth City, NC, the eldest of 5 known surviving children (3 boys/2 girls) born to silversmith & jeweler, Joseph Nash Bell Sr.” George and Lilla made their home in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina as well as in Florida, near George’s sister, Carolina.  

Mary Laurence (1834-1857) married William J. Yates (1832-1888) in 1850 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. 

The couple had at least two children, John J. F. who died at a year and half old in 1853 and William who is mentioned as an heir of Isabella Laurence in an 1860 court petition filed in Wayne County, North Carolina, to divide the land that belonged to Isabella. Mary died in 1857 and is buried in Cumberland County in the same cemetery, Cross Creek Cemetery #01, as her mother and sister. 

Eliza Laurence (1835-1918) married first Robert H. McDuffie (1835-?) on 22 Dec 1859 in Cumberland County, North Carolina. In 1860, Eliza is living with her half-sister, Ann Burwell in Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina. Robert H. McDuffie may (not proven) be the same man who is found in Company D, Regiment 2nd Arsenal Gd Infantry with a Muster Out Date of 30 Sep 1863 and Muster Out Information: died disease.

I am not able to find Eliza in 1870, but by 1880, she is living with Jehu H. Davis in Montgomery County, North Carolina with two children, Joseph Davis, born 1871, and Marshall Davis, born 1873, although Jehu and Eliza did not marry until 19 Feb 1885, so, I am not sure who these children belong to, Jehu Davis evidently claimed them as his own, and perhaps they are. 

Jehu H. Davis was born 25 Oct 1814 in New Jersey. His parents are listed on his marriage license as Aaron and Mary Davis, both deceased. According to Jehu's obituary, he came to North Carolina in 1866. I found a lot of family trees that show him on the 1870 Census in New Jersey, although I think these researchers have Jehu confused with a man named John H. Davis. 

Jehu’s obituary states that he had three sons in New Jersey but did not name them. I was not able to find what happened to Jehu's first wife in New Jersey, although the 1870 Census that I found in most family trees shows Jehu (John) married to a woman named Mary and living with their sons, Aaron, James and John and daughter Vergilia, who looks to have died in Warren County, New Jersey in 1894 and whose gravestone says, “dau. of John H. and Mary Davis.” 

If this is Jehu Davis, and I am very doubtful it is, the records would indicate he abandoned his wife and children in New Jersey and moved to North Carolina where, about Mar 1870, he met and started a family with Eliza Laurence McDuffie, with Joseph Davis being born 14 Jan 1871, some 10 months later. 

This scenario makes absolutely no sense if Jehu is the same man who was enumerated on 28 Jul 1870 in New Jersey with his wife and children, one of which is a 14-year-old daughter, Vergilia. 

I have a lot of doubt that the Jehu (John) Davis showing on the 1870 Census in New Jersey is the same Jehu H. Davis living in Montgomery County, North Carolina.

John Laurence made his way to Maryland by 1870 and is found in that Census living with Robert Mohar and working as a Tinner. I was not able to find any family relationship between John and the Mohar family. Three doors down from Robert Mohar lived Alexander Davis. I am not able to find any relationship between him and John Laurence or Jehu Davis, but it is interesting that Alexander, in 1850, was listed with an Occupation Quarryman in the Industry Nonmetallic Mining and Quarrying, Except Fuel.

Since Jehu Davis was a mineralogist, it is possible that John and Jehu met while working in the same field. I have spent countless hours researching both politics and mining in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland but have not yet uncovered how or where Jehu Davis lived and worked before migrating to Montgomery County, North Carolina. 

Upon arriving in Wind Hill (now Eldorado), North Carolina, Jehu seems to have taken up as many jobs as he could find and caused just as much trouble. He became known as “Yank” Davis being that he was from “up north.” He was known as a Politician of “radical notoriety,” a Storekeeper and a Gauger, one who applied a wantage rod for determining the ullage - the empty portion of the whiskey cask, due to evaporation and absorption. He was also a mineralogist, a farmer, and a Postmaster, who, prior to 1870, changed the name of his community from Wind Hill to Eldorado.

Joshua Lindley, mentioned in the below Newspaper article, was a Quaker from Chatham County who revolutionized growing fruit trees in the Southern United States. 

The horn pipe is an Irish, Scottish, and English dance. The dancers wear hard shoes that are used to help the dancer keep time. 

Trouble seemed to follow Jehu no matter where he went. His culture and way of life made his neighbors weary of him. He had a run in with the Tucker family in 1877, and, the account recorded in an 1876 Newspaper article, makes me think it might have been Jane Tucker who made Yank Davis dance that jig.  

Read more about Jehu and his run-in with the Tucker family here:

A woman who has whipped two men

For all the information I could find on Jehu ‘Yank’ Davis, how he met Eliza Laurence is still a mystery, but, I believe there is a relationship between John Laurence and Jehu Davis that involves the mining industry.

In time, I hope to uncover how Jehu Davis met Eliza Laurence McDuffie.

Frances Laurence (1841-1879) married William Barringer (1829-1894) on 29 Dec 1859 in Cumberland County at the residence of her father. However, search as I might, I was not able to find John Laurence in Fayetteville on the 1860 Census. 

From what I can tell, it looks to be a daughter of Frances Laurence Barringer, Mrs. Sara Barringer Mcleod who applied for D.A.R. membership (ID Number: 111940) and made the claim that John Ingram, father of Isabell Ingram Asking Laurence was the son of Edwin Ingram of Richmond County, North Carolina.

If anyone has documented proof that John Ingram of Cumberland County, North Carolina is the son of Edwin Ingram of Richmond County, North Carolina, please reach out to me and let me know where the proof is. I am not able to make a connection between John and Edwin currently.

Mrs. Sara Barringer Mcleod’s application states she was born in Newbern, N. C.; Wife of John Clarence McLeod.; Descendant of Col. Hugh Montgomery and of Sergt. Edwin Ingram, as follows:

1. William Rufus Barringer (1829-94) m. 1857 Fanny I. B. Lawrence (1840-79)

2. John Lawrence (b. 1803) m. 1832 Isabell Ingram (1809-50)

3. John Ingram (1772-1836) m. 1807 Charity Bell Ingram (1772-1827)

4. Edwin Ingram m. 1771 Nancy Montgomery (parents of John)

5. Hugh Montgomery m. Katherine Sloan Moore

Hugh Montgomery (1720-79) was a member of the Provincial Congress, 1775, and of the Committee of Safety. He was appointed captain of Marines, 1776; promoted colonel and was active until his death. He was born in Londonderry, Ireland; died in Salisbury, N. C.; Edwin Ingram (1751-1843) served as sergeant and ensign in the North Carolina troops. In 1832 he applied for a pension. His claim was allowed. He was born in Southampton County, Va.; died in Richmond County, N. C.

With his children grown and married, with families of their own, John Laurence looks to have moved on with his life. The 1880 Census shows John living in Salem Chapel, Forsyth, North Carolina working as a Tinner.

John is listed as both widowed and married on the 1880 Census. In 1879, John married Martha Jane Scott, daughter of Charles and Rebecca Scott, but it seems the couple did not live together. It is on the marriage license that we find John's parent's names are Isom and Mary Laurence.   


Living in Forsyth County, John found worked at the Big Coffee Pot as a Tinner. No doubt, because of the trade he had learned while living in Maryland in 1870. It also helped that John's step-granddaughter, Fannie Burwell had married Harvey A. Giersch, who was part owner in the Bog Coffee Pot where John worked.

Read about the Big Coffee Pot  

Sometime between 1880 and 1887, John moved to Eldorado and lived with his daughter, Eliza, where he died at the home of his son-in-law, Jehu H. Davis, on 12 Aug 1887. He was buried at Macedonia United Methodist Church Cemetery in Eldorado, Montgomery County, North Carolina. His daughter, Eliza, died 2 Jul 1918 and is also buried at Macedonia United Methodist Church. 

1 comment:

  1. Trying to explain the difference between a jig, reel and hornpipe