I Love the Tennesse State Archives!

This past week has been filled with a lot of fun hunting for relatives of my stepmother. Her family reunion was this past weekend and I connected with a few of her family members who are also into genealogy. Then, I had a chance to make a quick trip to the Tennessee State Archives and it was a VERY productive 45 minutes!

Some of what I gathered:

  • Abandoned Cemeteries of Stanly County – My stepmother is a Frye and last month, her cousin was able to find the mother of their earliest known ancestor. It turned out that the ancestor, Maggie Fry, is white. So, I’m researching her family, the Fry’s of Stanly County. In this book, I found information on the Fry family cemeteries there, but Maggie is not listed. However, other members of her family are listed. Additionally, another branch of the family, Crowell, is from this county. So, I’m beginning to track the white Crowell families in hopes of making a connection. Found some cemetery listings for Crowells.
  • Stanly County, North Carolina, Marriages – More Fry’s, Crowell’s and a couple of other surnames located. Found the marriage record of a relative of Maggie’s.
  • Kershaw County, South Carolina Cemetery Survey – two days ago, I found a post on the Ancestry Kershaw County board of someone who was willing to do lookups in this book. She provided me with information for some of the Reid’s in my stepmothers tree. So, I had to go look at the book myself after discovering TSLA had it. There are several family members listed in the book along with more clues to follow.
  • Rowan County Cemeteries – this was a multi-volume set, like 8 volumes or something like that! I only had about 5 minutes to look in it, but I struck gold! Tony’ Reid’s burial plot is listed and the book provides the names of his wife’s parents. His wife was Elizabeth “Bettie” Parker and her parents were Wiley and Lucinda Parker. Tony’s birth year as listed in the book is wrong, but that’s okay. I know from census records when he was born.
  • Marriages of Rowan County, North Carolina: 1868-1900 - Jackpot! Found out that Tony Reid and Bettie Parker were married November 15, 1871.
  • Rowan County: a Brief History – was interested in this as it had a few pages on the history of Gold Hill. Gold Hill was the community around the gold mines in Rowan County that were the first docmented gold mines in the US. Tony Reid lived in Gold Hill and in 1880 his occupation is miner and farmer, so I’m guessing he may have worked these mines.
  • Somebody Knows My Name – went back to this classic to get the marriages of Rowan County. Unfortunately, the book does not cover Cabarrus or Stanly counties. Located a couple of people of interest, but can’t be sure of anything yet.

Amazing day! Now, to start analyzing all of this…

Also, I created a database of books that I want to keep track of. I found I was having difficulty managing what books I wanted to make sure I kept note of for future lookups, where they may be located etc. Once I get it more developed, I’ll blog about it more in depth.

More Family History

This weekend was my stepmother’s family reunion and now that I’m genealogy obsessed, I approached it from a completely different perspective. Some of her ancestors have some interesting stories. In particular, they handed out information on the history of the Reid patriarch, Tony Reid. With the additional information, I was able to find Tony and his family in the 1910 and 1920 census.

Now, I’m working through additional details trying to verify the oral history. One fact in the oral history is that Tony had an uncle named Solomon Bean Shad who worked and earned enough to buy his freedom from his master, Mr. Bean. Shad was Tony’s father’s brother. In that 1870 census record that I suspected was Tony (despite he being listed with his mother’s last name of Crowell), I now do feel that it is him as on the same page, is Solomon Shad living in the household of a John Palmer. Living with Tony and his mother is an Eliza Parker.

So many more things to research, but I enjoy looking. I also have another contact who is researching african-american crowell’s from Cabarrus County and I found a post of his on Afrigeneas that mentions that the white Reid’s of the county opened a gold mine. Further research there reveals that it was the first documented gold find in the US. In 1880, Tony’s occupation is listed as Miner – he must have worked in that mine!

I need to add these resources to my “get” list:

1. Golden promise in the Piedmont : the story of John Reed’s mine – by Richard F. Knapp
2. Gold mining in North Carolina – by Richard F. Knapp and Brent D. Glass
3. Reed Mine Guidebook – by Linda Funk
4. The first gold rush: [a master plan for Reed Gold Mine] – by US National Park Service

Tony Reid/Reed and his mother Winnie Crowell

Another story from my stepmother’s family — One of their ancestors was Tony Reid/Reed. I first learned his name when I received the death certificate for my stepmother’s grandmother, Daisy Fyre. It stated that her father’s name was Tony Reid, but that the mother was unknown.

When I spoke to my stepmother’s aunt, she told me a story about Tony that matched information also received from my step-uncle the other day. The story about Tony is that he saw his wife to be and asked his master to buy her. He worked seven years in order to “make” enough money so they could get her.

Information from my step-uncle from a cousin of his is that Tony was a slave of Miles Reid. Tony’s mother was named Winnie Crowell and she was sold to Miles Reid. This was in a town called “Tucker” in Stanly County. Winnie also had a son named Ambros that was sold to a plantation in Georgia and she begged her master, Miles Reid to keep Tony. Tony lived from about 1834-1926. Tony and his wife, Betty Paker, had 13 children.

So, before I received this information, I had not found Tony in any census records. Turns out, I had not been looking in the right place.

  • With the names of Crowell and Reid, I began to do some general internet searching for any relationship between these names. I found out that a white woman named Ann Reid had married a white man named Jennings Crowell and they lived in Stanly county. Good to know about.
  • 1870 Census – since I had not located Tony, I decided to look for his mother. A census search quickly found her! In Cabarrus County, NC (Concord) are living a 50 year old Winnie Crowell and a 30 year old Tonney Crowell. I began to suspect this was them as there were no other Winnie Crowell’s to be found. Living with them is a 14 year old girl named Eliza Palmer. Is this Tony’s wife to be? The age difference is about 15 years.
  • 1880 Census – 41 year old Tony Reid and 24 year old wife Elizabeth are living in a township called Reed Misenheimer’s in Cabarrus County, NC. So, his wife is about 15 years younger! I do believe the Eliza Palmer living with them is his wife to be. At this point, they have 4 children – 7 year old daughter Frances L., 5 year old son John W., a 5 year old daughter whose name is hard to read, and a 3 year old daughter, Hattie. Tony’s occupation is listed as a miner and a farmer and it is noted that he cannot right.

    Now, interestingly enough, the next household is headed by a black 40 year old man named Amos Melcher? He is married to 33 year old wife Adeline H. They have 7 kids – 15 year old son Thompson, 13 year old daughter Georgianna, 12 year old daughter Dora, 10 year old son Horace, 8 year old son Buckie, 7 year old daughter Mary E., and a 4 year old daughter whose name I can’t read. Right next to them is a woman named Weensy/Wenny Crowell, age 55 and listed as Mother. She is in a household to herself, so whose mother is she? Amos’? If so, that would be Tony’s brother! Is Georgianna so named because he spent time in Georgia? Questions to further investigate!

  • 1870 again – so, I go back to 1870 now that I have the name Amos to see how close he is to Tony & Winnie. I found him, but he is not living near Winnie and Tony.
  • 1900 Census - Found Tony & Bettie! He’s enumerated as “Loney” in Ancestry’s database.

Stay tuned…