Scippio Motley

One of my stepmother’s ancestors was Scippio Motley. His wife’s name was Jane Johnson Motley. Scippio or “Sip” was her great-grandfather.

Last month, I spoke with one of her aunts who told me the story about how Sip died. She informed me that Sip and Jane had several beautiful girls and the family lived in a wooden hut in Kershaw County, South Carolina. There was apparently a local white man who wanted one of Sip’s girls, which of course, Sip was against. When the girl was about 14, the man came around to the house to get her and Sip shot and killed him. After this happened, he had to go on the run, so he fled the home and lived in the woods for the next three or four weeks. While in the woods, he contracted pneumonia, so came home one evening to recuperate, get warm, etc. It seems other local white men in the area were watching for him, so that night when he came home, they came to the house and shot and killed him in front of the fireplace. According to my step-aunt this happened about 1910.

So, I have been working to collect documentation about Sip and his family. So far, I only have two census records:

  • 1880 census record – shows Sip age 20 and Jane age 20 with two children, Elliot who is 2 and McKnight who is an infant, born in January of 1880.
  • 1870 census record - for Sip’s mother, Margaret, who is 55, with three others in her house – a 13 year old Daniel, 9 year old Lucy and 12 year old Delia. Family information has Margaret as Sip’s mother, so is Daniel = Sip? Not sure? But, in 1880, Margaret lives three doors away from Sip and Jane.
  • Sip’s daughter Pearl is my stepmother’s grandmother, and from her 1930 census record, a brother named Vernon is listed as living with her and her family.
  • Then, when I talked to my stepmother’s aunt, she told me that Pearl also had a brother named Frank.

I have not found Sip & Jane in 1900 or 1910 yet. I found a possible match for Jane in the 1900 census – living in the right county, about the right age, but this Jane is listed as having three children – an 18 year old daughter named Daisy, a 12 year old son Clarence and an 8 year old son Frank. The issue here is that there are several children missing if this is her, including Pearl?

This is going to take more work!

15 Days

Since my last post. Wow. Haven’t gone for that long of a stretch in awhile. Well, I haven’t exactly been focusing much on any genealogy these past couple of weeks. We went to Alabama a couple of weekends ago to visit Kalonji’s family and since we’ve come back, I’ve redirected my attention to my first love – cross-stitching.

However, I have a family reunion coming up this weekend – my stepmother’s family has this reunion every two years. I’ve been working on her genealogy off and on and her brother has been doing some lookups lately, so the remainder of this week, I’ll be focusing on their tree.

Interesting tree too! They actually have stories of their slave ancestors! I’ll share them later on…

More about Dred

Since my last post, I’ve been spending the week looking for more information about Dred Wimberly, and doing some further analysis of the information that I do have. I posted that I think he is the brother to my 3rd great-grandmother, Mariah Wimberly. My connection is circumstantial at best, but let me share why I think this and I’ve love to hear any feedback from anyone who may be reading. Am I making too much of this?

Here is a list of reasons for my theory on why I think he is the son of Allen & Della and why I suspect Mariah to be his sister and also their child.

  • The 1930 census record for Dred’s family, has him living with his sister, Annie E. Wimberly, who was born about 1867. In 1870, Dred lives two doors away from Allen & Della and Allen & Della have a daughter named Annie who was born about 1867. In the 1870 census for Tarboro, Edgecombe County, the only Annie Wimberly is this daughter of Allen & Della’s. The fact that Annie is Dred’s sister is further confirmed by an article in the Raleigh, NC News & Observer from 1937 that I obtained from the University of North Carolina this week. (I’ve ordered his death certificate and expect it this week…)
  • Dred named two of his children Allen & Della. He also had kids named Lucy, Frank & Annie. Allen & Della also had children named Lucy, Frank & Annie (Dred’s siblings)
  • In 1880, Dred lives two doors away from Allen & Della again.
  • Mariah also lives two doors away from Allen & Della in both the 1870 and 1880 census records and she is of age to be their daughter given that I know from the book, Somebody Knows My Name, that Allen & Della got “married” about 1841/1842.
  • Both Mariah & Dred have a son named Andrew.
  • Mariah had two children named Louisa and Joseph – Allen & Della had two children named Louisa and Joseph (would have been her siblings)

So – that’s what I’ve gathered so far. Mariah died in 1910, and I’ve not been able to locate any death certificate for her. I also checked the newspaper for the city where she was living and did not find any notice. But, I have hand-searched the census for all of Edgecombe County in 1870 and the way the proximity of the three families (Rufus & Mariah, Allen & Della, Dred and his family), all make sense.

Now, apparently, Dred has a history which resonates with me as I received my library degree from the University of North Carolina. There seems to be a story from him and from the son and grandson of Kemp P. Battle (former president of the University of North Carolina), that during the time period when UNC was closed and they were seeking more appropriations to re-open the university, that Dred gave the deciding vote for the appropriations, thus the school was able to re-open. However, it seems that Dred’s account, and Kemp’s son’s and grandson’s account conflict with NC records and the history of the University that Kemp wrote. The documented records have the appropriations being decided and voted upon during a time when Dred was not in office. I will definitely be researching this further!

But, in the meantime, I continue to collect all that I can find about Dred. And, there have located several items:

  • UNC Clipping File – the North Carolina Collection at UNC had a few newspaper articles about him that they sent to me.
  • Battle Book – the TN State Archives has the published family history of the Battle Family. It is a two-volume set written by one of Kemp’s sons. In this book there is a picture of Dred.
  • Dred’s gravesite – Just last year in Rocky Mount, NC, his headstone was found as there was a clean-up going on of the cemetery where he is buried. This article in the Rocky Mount Telegraph reports on it, and there is a picture of Dred’s daughter, Della’s, headstone.
  • In 1967, a state historical marker was made and put up in front of Dred’s home for his role on the NC General Assembly and State Senate and his positive voting record for education. You can see it by going here and doing a search for Dred Wimberly.
  • Hall of Fame – and, the Tarboro Daily Southerner just ran a story this march that indicates Dred was inaugurated into their local Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Biographical Profiles – and, I have two biographical profiles of Dred. One is from the NC Dictionary of Biography that I was able to get as Vanderbilt has this full-text online and one from the book Ninety Bits of North Carolina Biography that I ordered and was delivered to me just yesterday.

I’ve been a busy bee haven’t I? But, I now will proceed with ordering certificates for Dred’s suspected family members and ordering microfilm of the newspapers of the county during his time in the General Assembly and State Senate to see what else I can find!

Overwhelmed!

I am so overwhelmed right now! The feeling I am experiencing is absolutely incredible. Why am I feeling so?

Today I received in the mail a book that I’d ordered. The book is “Echoes of Edgecombe County: 1860-1940″ by Monika S. Fleming. I ordered the book because one set of my ancestors, Rufus Tannahill McNair and Maria Wimberly McNair were from Edgecombe County. I have been interested in trying to find out more about their possible slaveowners (which I have posted about before). Well, part of my theory is that Maria’s parents were Allen Wimberly & Della Battle.

In this book by Ms. Fleming, pg. 92 has a picture of a Dred Wimberly, born around 1848 and was a former slave of the James S. Battle Family/Battle Plantation. This is the same plantation that Allen Wimberly was part of.

After seeing this entry, I went back and reviewed my notes that I have on the Wimberly family and I can say that based on what I have, I am of the opinion that Dred is the brother of my 3rd great-grandmother, Mariah. I have a major training session at work tomorrow that I have to prepare for, so I can’t research this as much as I normally would have tonight, but I cannot wait to get back to this! Based on some quick Google searching, I have found many other leads for resources I need to secure to keep learning more about Dred. This is so cool.

I think that I would like to formally write up how I’ve come to these conclusions and the research I’ve done and get it professionally examined.

Cold Calls

I’ve done a little reading online about how to go about the process of making cold calls to relatives in search of genealogy information. Yesterday, I finally worked up the nerve to call serveral relatives of mine on the McNair side and I am so glad that I did! I spoke to four McNairs all living in my grandmother’s hometown of Plymouth and they are all aged 75 or older.

It was an amazing experience for me. I learned some of the history of how the McNair family reuntion got started. I learned the circumstances surrounding my great-grandfather’s death and who found him. I learned more about some great-uncles of mine that I’d never met. All in all – I spent about three hours on the phone with the relatives and am very glad that I made contact.

I definitely plan to keep the relationship open too. It is so important to capture their memories and their knowledge and I’m so glad to have had this opportunity to further enrich my family tree. So now, I have work to do in following up with each of them. I plan to mail them some of the information I’ve gathered to use as a springboard for further conversations. Wish me luck!

Treasure Find!

The past couple of days have been amazing for my genealogy research. Thanks to being contacted by another person (NK) who is researching the descendency of Rufus & Mariah McNair on behalf of a mutual cousin of ours (VM), I have learned that a Bible Record exists for the children of Rufus & Mariah!

VM is a great-grandchild of Rufus & Mariah through their youngest son Solomon. Solomon’s brother, Andrew, was my great-grandfather. In the Bible, Solomon had written the birth dates of his brothers and sisters. I talked to both VM and NK last night, and though the bible pages are faint, we believe the information to be as follows:

Rufus & Fannie had a son named either Houston or Austin (I think it may be Austin)

Rufus & Millie had son Sterling b. 10 Dec 1852

Rufus & Mariah had the following children:

  • Christopher D. McNair born May 8, 1858
  • David born Feb 1, 1860
  • Byron W. born July 18, 1861
  • Blount born March 8, 1863
  • Rufus M. — (he was a son of theirs, but i’m not sure yet if he is in the bible record).
  • Andrew D. born May 5, 1866
  • Shedrick H. born March 3, 1868
  • William H.born May 23, 1870
  • Louisa born Jan 25, 1872
  • Joseph H. born Feb 9, 1874
  • Octavia born Dec 24, 1875
  • Susan born July 10, 1878
  • Sophia born Nov 19, 1880
  • Sarah born March 30, 1884
  • Solomon born Aug 7, 1887

The Bible was passed down to one of Solomon’s son, who’s wife likely has the bible. i would love to see it one day, but that would require a trip to Oakland, CA. VM was a great source of information when I spoke with her and I look forward to many more conversations!

JCB Koonce’s Headstone

As I do my research on the white Koonce family, I was recently contacted by a person who shares ancestry with an ancestor of JCB Koonce (of Jones County, North Carolina). Interestingly enough, the person that contacted me is also a descendant of one of the families I’ve gathered a little bit of information on from Washington County. Small world!

But, this person sent me headstone pictures of JCB and his wife Elenor. JCBs family is one of my candidate families for having owned my Koonce ancestors. Still tracking that down, but I appreciate the grave photos. JCB stands for John Counsel Bryan Koonce. These are their gravestones in Jones County,NC.

John Counsel Bryan Headstone
Eleanor Fordham Koonce Headstone

New Acquisition

Genealogy work for me has been varied for me these past couple of days. We recently went on vacation to Florida and had a wonderful trip. I’ve got more info on my main blog and some pictures as well.

As for genealogy – while I was away, I did get a goody in the mail. I’ve posted before about Somerset Place – a large plantation in Washington County, North Carolina. I was so curious that I ordered a copy of the book from a bookseller online. Only cost $3. I am glad that I ordered it too. While I doubt I’ll find any connection in my family to this plantation, it does provide some insight into plantation life at that time. If you’d like to know more about it – it is in Google Books.

Trying a new tactic

Today I received a group of birth and death certificates that I requested from Bladen County, North Carolina. The certificates were for the children of a man whom I suspect to be a brother of my great-grandmother, Lucinda Lennon Robinson (see previous post below). As the family structure as I have it is an educated guess based on the information I’ve culled together (and with help from a distant cousin), I have a theory of who her siblings were.

So, I’m going to try and find a living child or grandchild of this possible brother to see if I can find any connections to my great-grandmother. We’ll see if I get anywhere!

Happy Birthday Lucinda!


Today would have been my great-grandmother Lucinda’s birthday. She was born May 28, 1887. Well, 1887 is most likely the year she was born. This is the year shown in the 1900 census and in the SSDI database. However, on her death certificate, her birth year is listed as 1885. Since the 1900 census is closer to the time, I’ll go with that date.

Lucinda is my mother’s paternal grandmother and my mother remembers her well. She describes Lucinda as being a very sweet person and just the nicest person you’d ever meet! My mother thinks that she is now in life, starting to resemble her grandmother.

Lucinda had nine children. Her husband, Lewis Robinson, died when the youngest child, her only daughter, Lucinda, was about two years old. I understand from my mother that all of her children were very close to their mother Lucinda. When she died in 1969, my grandfather, her youngest son, Herman, put up such a fuss at her funeral in not wanting her to be removed, that when he died, almost 20 years later, the funeral home director remembered him.

Lucinda was from Columbus County, North Carolina, near the NC/SC state line. I know that the family lived in both NC and Georgia at some point, though, they are still elusive to me in 1910 – I have not been able to locate them. When they moved to Manhattan, by 1920, they would stay there. Lucinda lived at 159-48 Apt. 12H Harlem River Drive in Manhattan at the time of her death. She had been living here already for many years. Herman, my mother’s father, remained living in that same apartment (along with his brother Ike) until he died in 1986. I well remember visiting him here and I’m amazed that the family had lived there so long.

I still have research to do on Lucinda’s family – her parents and siblings are still somewhat of a mystery to me. Happy Birthday Lucinda!