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!

Comments (2)

  1. Monica

    Let me know what you find out. I believe the Daisy Motley listed is my grandmother. I think there were about 15-16 children born to Sip and Jane. I saw the census record where Jane is listed as widowed with the only three children. The others may have been old enough to be on their own or with relatives when this record was taken. I know it must have been difficult for her to lose her husband and try to raise all those children on her own.

  2. taneya (Post author)

    Hi Monica! I’m going to send you an email. If Daisy is your grandmother then you’re my stepmother’s cousin!

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