Five Ancestors Ago–William Allen (52 Ancestors #5)

I found a challenge yesterday and thought it would be a perfect way to really get this blog going.  I’m going to go back (cheat) and add the other two for previous weeks and I’ll catch up the other two posts sometime later.  In August of 1862, William Allen headed to war.  On August 6th, his will was recorded in Stanly County.

This is my last will that my wife Nancy shall after my death have all my possessions; all that is mine shall be hers to raise my children with.  This is my last will and testament.

When I came across the will I was surprised at how short it was, but in a way, it goes right along with how the last few months of his life went.  Two days later, on August 8th, he enlisted in Stanly County.

He traveled all the way to Northhampton County, just over 200 miles, then headed towards Fredrickburg, Virginia.  Family legends holds that,

he made his will and left in August, laid out in the fields in December or January in the snow, caught pneumonia, and was dead by February.

It seems there were a lot of deaths from disease more so than actual war wounds.

According to his records, he has black eyes, dark hair, and a dark complexion and was 6’1 1/2″.   His records  also say he died on February 4, but someone whom I corresponded with, the person actually provided me with these records, wonders if that’s wrong because of another date that’s out there in March.

This I don’t know.  What I do know is that in May 1863, his father, Joseph Allen, took his will to open court for probate and he left behind his wife, Nancy McSwain Allen, and two small children, Sarah and David.  I haven’t found what happened to Sarah yet, but Nancy and David were never apart.  She lived with him until her death.

William is my third great grandfather.

Five Ancestors Ago–John William Elder (abt 1835 – aft 1910) (52 Ancestors #4)

Various people have listed John William Elder as being the son of Elizabeth and Alfred. I haven’t made the trip to Charlotte County to investigate the Elder clan yet, but I have done a fair amount of research via census data. John William Elder was born about 1835.

By 1910, John W Elder is widowed and living with a cook and hired hand (Puse Adams and Julius Walker) amongst other Elders (Charles & Edward) and Ramseys (Elizah). He’s a survivor of the war.

In 1900, John is living with Mattie D and his mother-in-law in Madison, Charlotte County, Virginia. He’s 63 and a carpenter. He can read and write, and owns his farm, albeit mortgaged. Nearby live Robert, Joseph, Luther Elder. His wife Mattie D has 7 living children of 9 total. His mother-in-law has one of one. John and Mattie have been married 42 years.

In 1880, John is living in Madison, Charlotte County, Virginia with his wife and 6 sons. He and Mattie are 43 and residing with them are: Cabel, 20; John S, 14; Joseph W, 12; Leslie, 9; Luther, 7; Edward, 2. John is a Farmer.

In 1870, John, 34, is living with Martha, 33, Richard, 11, William, 9, John, 4, Joseph, 1. John is a Farmer with a total value of $300. Living next door is Elizah and Elizabeth Ramsey.

In 1850, there is a John aged 12 years living with Elizabeth Elder in Campbell County, Virginia. Also in the home are Elizabeth, 45, Alfred, 19, Carpenter, Burwell, 14, John 12, Lucy A, 10, Martha J. 8, Mary E. 6, and Richard 4. It is generally believed that this is John, his mother, and sibling. Names and ages fit.

This leads me to question where is John’s father and where were they all in 1860? Well, in 1860, we have Alfred and Elizabeth Elder living in Campbell County, Virginia. Also living with them are Joseph, 26, Catherine, 24, Martha 18, Mary 15, and Richard O 12. Alfred is a 55 year old laborer on a farm with a personal estate value of $50. He’s also noted to be a convict. Heading back to 1850, where Elizabeth is living alone in Campbell County? At the same time, there is an A. Elder in Richmond in jail for manslaughter. I haven’t found who he killed, but he’s served less than 10 years (or right at it)

Tracing forward again, I find an Elizabeth Elder living with Alexander and Mary E Little in 1880. At this time, Elizabeth is 76 and divorced. Also, in 1870, I find an Alfred Elder living with a black Pugh family in Charlotte, County, Virginia and in 1880 a divorced 75 year old Alfred Elder living alone in Campbell County, Virginia.

A trip to Charlotte County for some Elder research is definitely in the plan!

John William Elder is my husbands third great grandfather.

After the fact, I’ve added this to my 52 Ancestors challenge.  Just because I can.

Three Ancestors Ago…A Picture doesn’t always tell the whole story (52 Ancestors #3)

For this photo, Grandmother Allen (Rosa Caudle Allen) took little Virginia and Margie to Troy. It may be hard to tell from the photo, but this was no simple feat. She had to get them up early and get a ride to the train station in Norwood (a couple miles away). Then, they took the train from Norwood to Troy, a distance of about 15-18 miles as the crow flies. It was coal powered, so they wore their old clothes for the trip. Once they were in Troy, Grandmother picked up their new dresses and got them all gussied up. The pair was finally ready for their picture! After the picture, it was time to undo everything! They changed back into their old clothes and carefully packed up the new dresses. They rode the train back to Norwood and an uncle was there to pick them up. What a long day! But also, what a beautiful picture.

Virginia Allen is my great grandmother.

Picture of the Allen Sisters ~1910

Allen Sisters, ~1910