7 Ancestors Ago — Mean Johnny Bolt (52 Ancestors)

This post is a part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by Amy Johnson Crow at www.nostorytoosmall.com.

Since today is Sunday, I decided to follow the Geneabloggers blogging prompt “Black Sheep Sunday” for this week’s ancestor.

Johnny Bolt is in my husband’s 5th great-grandfather via:

  • his son, William Anderson Bolt
  • his daughter, Lauretta Bolt
  • her daughter, Martha T. Worrell
  • her daughter, Mary Thomas
  • her daughter, Ruby Robertson

Disclaimer:  I haven’t proven much for myself yet.


  • Born Around 1778, perhaps in North Carolina
  • Death 1860-65 in the Poor House in Carroll County, Virginia., buried in an unmarked grave in “Carpenter Cemetery”
  • Married Rebecca Dillard in 1807

According to family stories and various things I’ve read around the internet, Johnny Bolt’s nickname, “Mean Johnny,” was well-earned.

While he did agree in March of 1821 to care for his mother-in-law, Rutha Goad Dillard, it was for a price[1].   Later, he and his wife, Rebecca, were at least separated, if not divorced.  Rebecca appears on the 1850 census with children Thomas and America[2].  I wonder if America is a daughter or granddaughter of Thomas.  She would have been 43 when America was born.  Not unheard of, for sure, but, well, it’s just a thought.

Tradition says that John was known as “Mean Johnny” Bolt, and the term may have been
appropriate. It was generally believed that Mean Johnny waylaid and killed William McPeak.

Letter to Betty Winn, from Mary Anne Sutphin, 9 January 1999: After the death of Tommy Bolt in the Civil War, John Bolt went to the poor house. Might have been his daughter-in-law  Julia and granddaughter Emeline, worked there. On his death bed he told his granddaughter he knew he was dying, so he wanted to confess to the murder of William “Billy” McPeak, and tell them where the body was so it could be taken home for burial. He instructed them to call the law after his death. They did so, and Billy McPeak was taken back to Buffalo Mountain for burial.[3]


  1. Articles of Agreement, Bolt, Dillard, McMillian, Cock, Branson, 1822 – Patrick Co. VA
  2. Bolt, Thomas, 1850 Census, Carroll County, Virginia
  3. Artlip, Elaine C.   buy Lyrica online John Bolt Family 

    http://beneficialblends.com/wp-json/ Of 

    orlistat to buy Southwest Virginia.  http://elaine.artlip.com/downloads/pdf/john%20bolt%20family.pdf, accessed 20 January 2014.

Two Ancestors Ago–Fred Hoyt Morris, Sr (52 Ancestors–Week 8)

The facts:

  • Fred Hoyt Morris Sr
  • Born:  June 14, 1907 in Montgomery County, NC
  • Parents:  Charlie “Braid” & Annie Cranford Morris
  • Married:  Racie Elmira Harris in Bennettsville, SC in September, 1928.
  • Died:  October 23, 1980
  • My Grandfather
    • I am descended through:
      • his son

morris, fMy Pa Pa was my everything until I was 7 years old.  Ma Ma always said he let me do whatever I wanted.  If that meant writing in books, I did.  There is still evidence of that.  We made forts on couches and fished and picked blackberries.  Well…he baited my hooks and watched me lose it or catch a catfish or suckerfish which he had no use for.  I have a feeling that fishing wasn’t quite what he usually enjoyed when I was along with him.  He never complained except for the one time he was trying to lay a new sidewalk at church and I demanded to go along with him.  I stubbed my toe and nearly took my nail off.  His initial response was worry and frustration and fussed that he told me I didn’t have any need to be there anyway.

 While my parents worked, I stayed with my daddy’s parents until I was four, and then I stayed after school.  Pa Pa would come pick me up early after he was done with his rounds and probably his sort of fishing.  He was my light and I never wanted to miss an opportunity to be with him, even if it meant trekking through the woods (he went in front to get rid of spider webs) or blackberry briers (usually I watched from the side).  I simply couldn’t get enough. 
 When I was seven, he had a heart attack and spent two weeks in our local hospital in ICU.  Even though the age limit was 12, I was able to go in and see my Pa Pa.  I didn’t quite understand why he couldn’t get up and go with me, or sit up and really play.   After two weeks, he was transferred to another hospital.  They were more strict there, but when my cousins took me for a walk, we went right by the wing he was in.  He got up out of bed and came to the window to see me.  I wanted to stay longer, but my cousin’s hurried us both along, saying PaPa needed his rest.  I don’t know how soon after he was gone.  My child’s memory says he was in both hospitals about two weeks each.  I know he was due to come home and had another, worse, heart attack.  This one, he couldn’t overcome.  He passed away on October 23, 1980.  I remember being upset that it was my mama’s birthday and how bad that was.
 Fred Hoyt Morris was born on June 14, 1907 in the Moratock community in Montgomery County, NC.  His parents were Charlie “Braid” and Annie Cranford Morris.  In 1930, he worked for the sawmill.  I have pictures (I’ll try to remember to add them) from 1932 when he went on a trip to Tennessee to sawmill for a bit.  By 1940, he was working as a carpenter in the Bridge Building industry.  He worked for the State of NC Highway Department for 30 years.  My daddy found his service pins the other day (one for 10, 15, 20, 25 and maybe one for 5), a few are shown here along with his lighter and a Methodist Men pin.  

2014-02-24_19-07-09_813 2014-02-24_19-03-24_331 2014-02-24_19-03-46_858 2014-02-24_19-04-28_850 2014-02-24_19-05-21_464 2014-02-24_19-06-49_392

  • Sources:
    • Personal Knowledge
    • Morris, Fred Hoyt 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940×2 US Federal Census

Six Ancestors Ago–John Calvin Caudle (52 Ancestors)


Now this is the way a newspaper article should read.  This notice appeared in the The Charlotte Democrat on April 06, 1877.  I haven’t done a lot of research on my 3rd great-grandfather.  I remember this tale being told regarding his death and was happy when I found the article on ChronicleAmerica.gov.  I have seen transcriptions elsewhere that added his parents and/or wife, making it seem the original article included that information.  I look forward to finding more information on Mr. Caudle.



  • www.chronicleamerica.goc.  The Charlotte Democrat, 06 April 1877.  Accessed 16 February 2014.

Six Ancestors Ago–Absolom Strother (52 Ancestors)

When I started this challenge I didn’t put any thought into the order of ancestors or where to start.  I just wrote about whichever ones struck me at the time.  I figure, the rest of this challenge will go like that.  However, my Week 1, when I get it done, will be about my mother as she gave me my start in genealogy.  I didn’t write this weeks post.  My mother wrote it about 25 years ago.

Abner Strother is my 3rd great-grandfather on my mother’s side.  His foster great-niece (Nina) is my great-aunt on my father’s side.  Abner’s second wife was my 2nd great-aunt on my father’s side.  Small…small world!

Absolom Thomas “Abby or Abner” Strother was born on 5 August 1843 and died July 5, 1919.  It is not known whether he was born in Cheraw or Camden, South Carolina or Richmond County, North Carolina.  His death certificate lists South Carolina.  They are listed in the Richmond County Census in 1850.  His father may have been named William and his mother Eliza.  He had at least one brother and several sisters.  Brother William was captured by the Yankees and taken to Indiana during the Civil War and never returned.  We know of at least one visit that Absolom made to see William in Indianapolis.  Susan, born 1 Jan 1833 in South Carolina or Richmond County, North Carolina, Died 8 April 1919 in Montgomery County.  Susan married William Gilbert Thompson and are referred to in Montgomery County Heritage 1981, story 826.  Absolom had two sisters to emigrate to Baltimore, MD around the time of the Civil War.  Their names may have been Martha, Sarah or Phoebe.

Research indicates he may have descended through one of Jeremiah’s sons William.  Other family names around this time are Charles and Solomon.

Absolom enlisted into the Confederacy at Cheraw, South Carolina on 20 March 1862.  He was paroled at Appomattox Courthouse on 19 April 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered.  His parole paper says that he was 20 years old which would have put him born in 1845.  His grandchildren remember him talking about the war and being so young when he enlisted.

After the Civil War was over Absolom came to Montgomery County where his sister Susan was living.  He married Elizabeth Frances Thompson Bird circa 1866.  Their children were Mary Elizabeth, born circa 1867; Ida m., born circa 1870; Sarah Marie (Sallie) born 1872, married Jones Monroe Smith died 1956 (story 800 in Book 1).  William Charles, born circa 1875, moved to Turlock, California; John Wesley (Bud), born 1877 – died 1956; Robert James, born 1879 – died in Virginia, and Della Ann, born 1881, died 18 Mar 1936

Frances was the daughter of Martha Thompson Bird and step-daughter of Henry Bird.  She had a brother Thomas Bird.  Frances died in the early 1880’s and is buried in the abandoned Thompson Cemetery between Wadeville and Pee Dee in an unmarked grave.  Her mother “Granny Bird” is buried near her.

On 30 October 1884 Absolom married Lourette Harris of Eldorado in Montgomery Co. North Carolina.  Their children were Alfred Thomas, born 1886 – died 1971; Ruth Blanche, born 1892, married Paul Branson; Marion Marquette, born 1894 and Millard Carson, born 11 May 1897, died 1 Jan 1986.

Absolom and Frances bought land from the estate of Edmund Deberry in the Township of Pee Dee near where Stoney Fork Baptist Church is now.  His house is occupied by a great-great-granddaughter today.

Susan Strother Thompson gave land for Stoney Fork Baptist Church and Absolum was a charter member and deacon.

strother, ab family

The only picture we have of Absolum were made in 1916.  He had cancer and was going to take a train ride to Turlock, CA to see his son Charles.  Pictures were made of Absolom and Lourette and some of the children before the trip.  A granddaughter remembers them getting ready and his family thinking they probably would never see him again.  He did make the trip, returned and lived until 1919.

The following is quoted from an obituary written by “A Friend”:  “The writer of this knew Mr. Strother from his earliest existence up till his death.  He was a father to the fatherless and a friend to the friendless; he was a Christian gentleman of the noblest character.  Though he be gone his influence will live for years to come.  As a Sunday School and mission worker he was unexcelled.  His plea for the orphans at Thomasville often brought tears to the audience’s eyes.  His departure has not only been a great loss to the family and relatives; his host of friends have sadly missed his presence in their hour and in every good movement in the upbuilding of God’s kingdom on earth as well as the upbuilding of this neighborhood.

Not only has he been a faithful Christian worker, his citizenship has been of the highest type, genuine American, first, last and at all times.  Rather than be a traitor to the land that gave him birth, he faithfully followed the Stars and Bars through four years of hardship and privation in General Lee’s Army as courier and bugler, and was present when the surrender was made to General Grant at Appomattox Court House.  He was in may of the great battles fought in Virginia, and was alway found at his post of duty, although at heart he was a union man and his sympathy was with the union.  After the Civil War he returned to Montgomery County and married; settled down to farming in the poor hill section, five miles north of Mt. Gilead where he has worked hard and raised a large family.

Absolom, his second wife, Lourette and other family members are buried at Stoney Fork Baptist Church in Montgomery County.

Sources:  Granddaughters Annie Mae Smith McRae, Katherine Strother Fossett, Beatrice Crouch Slate, Great-Grandson Nelson Smith, Karen Seals Gury, death certificates of Absolom and Susan, marriage license of Absolom and Lourette.  Land Deed and Will recorded in Montgomeery County, North Carolina and Military and Census Records.

Story by:  Katherine Smith Morris

Those in the back are Mark or possibly Carson, foster great-niece Nina Harris, daughter Ruth.

Four Ancestors Ago–Boston Miller Robertson (52 Ancestors Week 2)

Boston Miller Roberston has turned out to be a much bigger puzzle than I had anticipated.  I can’t find any information on him regarding his Civil War activities beyond the Application for Headstone.  Evidently, when his son, Roy, applied for the headstone, there was quite a bit of a problem finding him!  The application is a mess.  The original application was Boston Miller and the updated one was for B.M. which is what is on his headstone.  I contacted a fellow genealogist and Civil War buff for some help with Boston as I can’t find anything.  He had helped me find William Allen so I was very hopeful.  He couldn’t find ANYthing on Boston!  His exact statement was,

“How his family got him a CSA marker, I don’t know.”

He did find in the Pulaski Heritage Book that Boston was a nickname for Sebastion.  This was indeed news to me.  I hope to find out the writer came upon this tidbit of information.  I do find Boston on several censuses and each time he’s Boston or Boss, so I’m not inclined to put much merit into it thus far.

According to the headstone application, he served as a Private in Company K of the 23rd Virginia Infantry but that’s as far as I can get.  Oh, how I wish these slips of paper would tell all their handlers knew!

Boston is my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather.

  • Sources:
    • Martha Thomas Robertson
    • Robertson, Boston Miller 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 US Federal Census
    • Robertson, Boston Miller, “US Headstone Application”
    • “Robertson/Robinson.”  Grose, S.  Pulaski County Heritage, 2003

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