Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday--The Bryant Brothers

The 3 brothers
Ray, Linwood, and Frank Bryant in 1960.

I didn't realize that my Grandmother had any brothers until I think was about 8 or 9 years old. All three died before I was born and I don't recall seeing any pictures of them when I was a child. According to my Mom, Frank grew up in the house next door with his Grandmother Rosa while the other children lived with their parents at 1400 Fisher St.  Frank was the oldest so perhaps when he came along with both parents  working, his grandmother stepped in to become his primary caretaker. I do know that he referred to his grandmother as "Momma".

Monday, August 29, 2011

Strange Week, Crazy Weather, and Whitney Research

First I'd like to say, I hope everyone out there who was in the path of Hurricane Irene is safe and sound and escaped with as little damage possible to property. Strange week, first earthquake and then hurricane, and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Things have a way of coming in threes. Anyway back to genealogy.

I have been looking a bit further into my Portuguese connection. Just as a recap to those who may be new to my blog. Samuel Whitney born about 1775 and listed on the 1830 census for New Bern, I believe is my 4th great grandfather. According to family oral history, he was originally from Azores, Portugal and migrated to Bermuda first and eventually settled in America. The description I have from my Great Aunt of Samuel Whitney (b1856-d.1916), the elder Samuel Whitney's grandson, was that he was very fair skinned with light green eyes and reddish blond hair.

Now this description of Samuel was a bit startling to me because I never thought fair skin, green eyes, and reddish blond hair were typical Portuguese features. So I decided to look into this a bit further. After a few google searches I came up with some interesting information. The first thing I wanted to do though was see if I could link the Whitney name back to Bermuda. I figured my ancestor dropped his Azorean surname when he arrived to Bermuda to assimilate as best as possible.

There is a website called WRG--which stands for The Whitney Research Group. The site documents information regarding over 5900 family groups.  According to their site, the earliest Whitney that had ties to Bermuda was a Samuel Whitney ( b.1615-d.1674). He apparently was of English descent and had amassed some wealth in land and slaves. Here is an excerpt from the site:

Although Samuel Whitney purchased land in Pembroke Tribe and on St David's Island, he appears to have himself resided in Sandy's Tribe on two shares of land leased from John Heydon. Mr Heydon  was one of the original adventurers and owned Sandy's lot #5 comprising 10 shares of land. Thus, Samuel Whitney and his family almost certainly lived somewhere in lot #5, Somerset Island, Sandy's Tribe, Bermuda (leasing 1/5 of the lot.).

(double click image to enlarge)

I have highlighted the areas in blue to show the general locations of the land that Samuel Whitney either leased or owned.

Somer's Isle Map
(double click image to enlarge)

Now Samuel's will is also featured on the WRG site and it describes him as a planter and being of "Sandy's Tribe". The term tribe used to be used in Bermuda to describe a certain area or Parish. From a copy of the 1676 Somer's Isle Map created by John Speed courtesy of Wikipedia you can see Sandy's tribe listed on the left side of the map. On the more current map courtesy of Google, it is the first point on left I have highlighted in blue.

Now could this Samuel Whitney have any connection to my 4th Great Grandfather Samuel who came from the Azores? Perhaps.

Now the Bermudian Samuel Whitney had at a minimum 5 children.  Here's what the WRG site said about those children.

i. Samuel Whitney, born say 1648, died 22 Sep 1722. St. George, Bermuda

ii. David Whitney, born about 1650, Bermuda; died Apr 1707, Bermuda.

iii. Ruth Whitney. In her father's will, Ruth Whitney was left her father's slaves (after her mother had died) a silver tankard, a silver dram cup, a Spanish chest with everything in it a tobacco chest, and if her two brothers died without their heirs, she was to received the land that had been willed to them. 

iv. Abigal Whitney, born in Bermuda. She married John Lydell. "My daughter Abigle Lidell" was left one tobacco chest in her father's will. "Lyndale, John "holdeth of " Whitney, Saml (of Sandy's), formerly belonging to Mr. Dykes: 30 acres.

v. Elizabeth Whitney, married Mr. King. "My Daughter Elizabeth King" was left one tobacco chest in her father's will. 

Two of the children's names peeked my interest. Samuel and David. Those names were carried down to my 2nd Great Grandfather and his oldest son. Another interesting note from the WRG site:

Because Samuel was given the land on St. David's Island in St. Georges Tribe that his father had owned, and his only known brother David was given land in Pembroke, it is likely, but by no means certain, that records in St. Georges Tribe belong to descendants of this Samuel. An analysis of available records indicates that there were as many as 5 Samuels in St. George's, (St David's Island) including this Samuel and his father.

Let's speculate. What if you were new to some place. You want to assimilate and try to make the best life possible for you and your family. You are a foreigner who speaks a different language and don't look like the other white folks on the island of  Bermuda. What would invoke a more trusting response from someone who doesn't know you. You tell him your name is Silva or Whitney? Or perhaps you were an imported worker to work the lands of a wealthy landowner and you worked for the Whitneys and therefore inherited the surname that way. Right now it looks like my ancestor may have had some sort of association with this Bermudian Whitney line.

Back to the question of looks. Where did the fair complexion, green eyes, and reddish blond hair come from.  Well, I looked into a couple of old message board posts on Roots Web and also, looked a little more into the history of the Azores Islands. It turns out the looks I described actually are not atypical in some parts of the Azores. Specifically it looks like the Islands of Pico and Terceira have higher numbers of individuals with fair skin, light hair, blond or red in color sometimes and blue or green eyes. The Azores had several influxes of people over the years. One those influxes of people were the Flemish and that is to whom many Azoreans have attributed these fairer features to.

Can I tell you something? Man it was a struggle to get this post written today. LOL. Every five seconds Ma this! Do this for me.Where's my favorite toy? Mom... no for real,  we have a major problem. I can't find Iron Man. I can't find Iron Man. AAAAAHHHH! Okay, I feel much better now. Take care everybody. I have to go find Iron Man now.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Swan Quarter, Hyde, NC: Where Samuel Whitney Grew Up.

Samuel Whitney (b.1856-1916) grew up with his brothers Charles and Augustus in the town of Swan Quarter, Hyde, NC. They are all shown here on the 1870 Census.

They are also shown on the 1880 Census still living in Hyde .

It's funny I haven't looked at these records in awhile and I am already kicking myself now that I am looking at them again, for why I didn't see something sooner. I noticed on the 1880 census that the Whitneys were living near some Merricks. My 3rd Grandmother Margaret Whitney's maiden name according to her son's death certificate was listed as Margaret Merritt. Perhaps it was Merrick. Often one finds records that are incorrect due to relatives incorrectly listing names because they have forgotten information or perhaps the person misheard their loved one long ago when they were talking about their family line. Maybe the record taker misheard what they were being told. I'll have to get back to you on this one after I do some more digging to see what I can find out.

Anyway, based on the evidence I have gathered so far I am working under the assumption that the Samuel Whitney living in New Bern, NC on the 1830 and 1840 Censuses is the father of Thomas Whitney. So why did Thomas move to Swan Quarter?  More than likely the family was just simply looking to make a living and a place that they could call home. When it comes down to it, that's what we are all trying to do isn't it? I found an excerpt online from a book cook called "Hyde Yesterdays--A History of Hyde County", written by Morgan H. Harris. I found it on the Hyde County GenWeb Page. This passage describes a Civil War battle that occurred near Swan Quarter.

The Battle in Hyde County near Swan Quarter, led by Captain Colin RICHARDS [RICHARDSON] on March 1-6, 1863 - The Union troops anchored in Rose Bay and discovered that most of the bridges and roads had been destroyed by slaves upon the orders of a Henry CREDLE who was taken as prisoner. The troops made a raid around the west side of the lake to Fairfield. About three miles from Fairfield, they met some of the local people who they chased into the woods with little problem. When the Union troops got to Fairfield, it was deserted. They then marched around the lake to Lake Landing, but not before they captured a boat which was sailed to Lake Landing in order to save the bridge. During the trip around the lake, the troops burned or destroyed everything they could find. At Lake Landing they destroyed all the fences, using the posts to rebuild the bridge. From Lake Landing, they marched to within a mile and a half of Swan Quarter, where they were attacked from the swamp on the right side of the road. This battle was about where the sand pit is between where Swindell's Fork and O.A. PEAY School are today. Bate JARVIS and Levi JARVIS from Swan Quarter were killed in the battle. [Bate JARVIS was not killed.] After the battle, Captain RICHARDS marched into Swan Quarter where he found out that about 300 men were waiting in ambush for him at Rose Bay. He then ordered members of his troop to sail to Rose Bay and have the boats brought to Swan Quarter. He sailed back to Washington with little trouble.

I can't imagine the terror that people lived in back when this was happening. All I keep thinking about is how would I handle this. How would I keep strong so I could keep my babies safe. It's a reminder to me that the folks that came before us had a well of strength so deep and vast that if we listen and need it, we can tap into it. That's what keeps me going when times are tough.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Carrie Ethel Whitney Harrison (b.1897--d.1939)

"Among The Colored" By Rev C. L. Stevens
New Bern Tribune
Saturday August 5, 1939

Mrs Carrie Harrison, wife of Sonny Harrison, died at Good Shepherd hospital Tuesday around 4 pm. 
Funeral was held from St Peters A. M. E. Z. church Friday at 2pm. Rev. E. T. Melver, officiating.  She leaves to mourn their lost her husband, 10 sons and 3 daughters and a host of relatives and friends.

Samuel Whitney Makes a Puchase.

Well, back to the Whitney line when it was in New Bern. Specifically, when my 2nd Great Grandfather, Samuel Whitney (1856--1916) made the jump to live in New Bern versus his childhood home in Swan Quarter, Hyde, NC.

Samuel purchased the land that eventually was passed down to his daughter Carrie and his eldest son Samuel back in  July of 1883.  Interesting note: Apparently he made the purchase before he married my 2nd Great Grandmother Sarah J Harris. Also, my 3rd Great Grandmother is referred to in the deed as Annie Harris. Family Oral History has been that her name is Amy Harris and that was also, evidenced on her daughter Sarah's death certificate. Still it was interesting to learn that when he purchased the property, Amy (or Annie as referred to on the deed) was granted life tenancy.

My 2nd Great Grandparents were married on August 8, 1883. Samuel was 23 and Sarah 22 at the time of their marriage.

Back to the deed. It reads on it that the land that Samuel purchased was part of a division of lands involved in a court case Wesley Grey vs. D Parker Scott. This peaked my curiosity so I emailed Victor T Jones of the Kellenberger Room of the New Bern Public Library to find out more about this case. Here's what he emailed me.

UNC-Chapel Hill has a collection of maps, including one from New Bern in 1913, that has the lot numbers for New Bern. The map can be found at the following (shortened) url: On the map, find section “N” (Scotts Subdivision) and that is the section that is mapped in the Craven County Court of Equity minutes Fall Term, 1866, p. 53. The court case involves dividing the lands of the Scott family. The court determined that it couldn’t be done “without serious injury to the parties”, so the property was divided and sold at auction. The complete list of original purchasers is included in the minutes on pages 49-53, with the map appearing on page 53. Lot 100 was originally purchased by George Bryan for $50.00. The lot is on “Browns Alley” between Elm and Cedar Streets.
The plaintiffs in the court case were: Wesley Gray, Joseph Murphy and Mary Ann his wife, William Sullivan and Margaret his wife, and Wesley Vaughn and Martha his wife. The defendants were: David Porter Scott, Mary Eliza Scott, Edwin S. Hunter, William C. Hunter, Hiser V. Richardson, Nathanael R. Richardson, Lucy Cleve, Frances E. Green, Margaret W. Beecher, Mary E. Richardson, and Joshua Brinn. The case commenced Fall Term 1861, and was picked back up Spring Term 1866.
The plaintiffs were entitled to 1/16 part each as children and heirs of Reuben Gray, uncle of Joshua Scott.
The defendants David Porter Scott and Mary Eliza Scott were children of Adam Scott, uncle of Joshua Scott and entitled to 1/16 share each;
Edwin S. Hunter and William C. Hunter were the only children and heirs of Mehetabel Hunter, daughter of Adam Scott, and entitled to 1/32 share each;
Hiser V. Richardson, Nathanael R. Richardson, and Lucy Cleve were children and heirs of Amanda Richardson, daughter of Adam Scott, and entitled to 1/48th part;
Frances E. Green and Margaret Beecher are the only children and heirs of Joshua Scott, uncle of Joshua Scott and entitled to 1/8 part each;
Mary E. Richardson and Joshua Briner are the only grandchildren and heirs of Elijah Scott, father of Joshua Scott, and entitled to 1/8 part each.
So the heirs of Joshua Scott were his uncles and father: Reuben Gray, Adam Scott, Joshua Scott, and Elijah Scott (1/4) share each. The property was then divided among the surviving heirs of those 4 men.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thank Goodness For Internet Connections

Thank goodness for the Internet these days. I use quite a bit and have made wonderful connections with people via message boards or who have viewed information on my tree. One of these connections was from a gentleman who is descended from an Augustus Whitney (b. abt 1840--date of death-before 1910) who just so happens to be the brother of my 2nd Great Grandfather, Samuel Whitney (b. 1856--d. 1916). When I received these messages from him I was so happy to have someone finally back up family oral history regarding Portuguese lineage.

Here's the conversation:

  • jgibman
  • Dec 6 8:26 PM
I am a decendant of margaret whitney she is my great, great, great grandmother. Her daughter Lillie had 4 daughters Sarah, Ellen, Julia, and Edna in that order I believe. My great grandmother Ellen had 3 sons with the last name of Whitney-- Edward, Charles Augustus, and Alvin Henry in that order. Charles (my maternal granddad) is the only one still alive. Maybe we can tie the loose ends soon.

  • akellmurr72
  • Dec 7 1:20 PM
Hi there. I need some help clarifying the connection to my family tree. When you say Margaret Whitney are you referring to a Margaret Merritt Whitney born abt. 1810 and married to a Thomas Whitney or are you talking about a Margaret Whitney born abt. 1866 and married to a Tully Green. Does your family have any connections to the Azores?

  • jgibman
  • Dec 7 7:26 PM
I was referring to Margaret who married Tulley Green and I believe the connection goes back to Portugal.

  • akellmurr72
  • Dec 7 9:28 PM
Okay this is getting interesting. I have been trying to verify my family's Portuguese connection for the longest time. This is what I know. I am descended from Thomas Whitney born about 1810 and a Margaret Merritt Whitney. He had a son Samuel Whitney who I am descended from, his brother Augustus was the father of your Margaret Whitney and I have her mother being Susan Burns. A great-aunt of mine told me that her grandfather Samuel and his father were of Portuguese descent via the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal. Apparently, they first went to Bermuda and then came to America sometime afterward. She said her grandfather was very light-skinned and had green eyes and reddish blond hair and spoke fluent Portuguese. So it looks like we're some sort of cousin. My name is Andrea. Nice to meet you.

  • akellmurr72
  • Dec 7 9:37 PM
Oh by the way. Lillie Whitney--who was her father? I show that Margaret Whitney married Tulley Green in about 1885. Was Tulley her father or someone else? This is so interesting. Can't wait to hear from you.

  • akellmurr72
  • Dec 7 9:52 PM
Okay this keeps getting more interesting. Okay, I just went back over census records. On the 1880 census it show Margaret E Whitney living with her parents Augustus and Susan. She is listed as being about 13 years old. (these ages we all know are approximates) but when you go down further on the census it shows she has a sister listed as Lilla F Whitney. Is this Lillie? Did Margaret since she was so young have her parents raise Lillie. Okay? now I am really interested in your response. I'll be patient now. I just got a little excited because this is my first lead regarding the Portuguese connection.

  • jgibman
  • Dec 7 10:39 PM
I don't believe that Tulley Green was the father of lillie however, they were from the new bern, craven, N.C. area. George XXXX is a cousin of my grandad Charles and he is 90 years old I'm sure he can tie some of these loose ends together. By the way my name is XXXX XXXX originally from New york but I reside in Maryland now.

  • jgibman
  • Dec 7 10:43 PM
The funny thing is that I was actually trying to find some native american lineage through the Whitney's.

  • akellmurr72
  • Dec 7 11:36 PM
Pleased to meet you XXXX. Wasn't Susan Ann Burns Whitney supposed to be of Native American descent. I remember some time ago when I was doing some research, I came across someone else who was researching Susan Burns. That's where I got the date and her place of death. I have to see if I can remember where I found that. Anyway, I will eagerly await what you find out when you speak to XXXX and your grandfather.

  • jgibman
  • Dec 7 11:44 PM
The pleasure is all mine. Would you happen to know what tribe Susan Burns decended from? my grandfather isn't much help however I'm going to contact his cousin George XXXX to further my research.

  • akellmurr72
  • Dec 8 12:01 AM
Now I remember where I found this info. On the Message Boards. If you go to the message boards, click on United States, North Carolina, and then type in Augustus Whitney. There's someone by the ID AsheGreen who back in 2001 posted a couple of questions about Susan Burns. The March 31, 2001 entry, I have copied and is listed as follows:

NEED ANY INFO ON SUSAN ANN BURNS, she married a black man named AUGUSTUS WHITNEY, in HYDE COUNTY N.C. They had ten children, one of which, the oldest named MARGARET, who was my grandmother's mother.SUSAN's family may have lived at one time in MANTEO N.C. She may have been separated from her family, who lived on the reservation. Thanks for any info.

The town of Manteo was named after a Native American of the Croatan tribe. Perhaps she was Croatan.

  • gibman
  • Dec 8 12:21 AM
Thank you i can really use that.

  • jgibman
  • Dec 8 8:45 PM
To my understanding there were many settlers from portugal and other places who colonized in the carolinas integrating with the natives of that area. I believe Samuel Whitney born around 1780 was of portuguese descent.

  • akellmurr72
  • Dec 8 9:23 PM
That's my thinking too. It would seem like he was the father of Thomas Whitney b.1805. Genealogy is so addictive. I started my tree in July of 2009 and it has kind of taken on a life of it's own. Don't get me started on my husband's side. He is of Irish and English descent and everyone had like at least 10 kids all named Patrick, John, Joseph, or Margaret, Hannah, and Mary. It can get kind of hairy keeping track of it all. Anyway, I will keep my eyes out on any info regarding Susan Burns and any other leads on the Whitney family.

  • jgibman
  • Dec 8 10:02 PM
I was reading a post that ashegreen left and he believes that Susan Burns was displaced from the reservation and her family in Manteo N.C. He also believes that Susan's last name could have originally been Pitttman. Only if I had one of her parents names. In the meantime enjoy this addictive geneology crack, lol. 
  • akellmurr72
  • Dec 8 10:38 PM
Yes it is crack, my friend. LOL. Too funny. I have given myself the 10:00pm cut-off and then I must go to bed. But now that you have mentioned this last name of Pittman....No that will have to wait for tomorrow for me. Keep me posted.

  • jgibman
  • Dec 8 10:41 PM
I will goodnight you've got about 20 minutes left, lol.

Wordless Wednesday: My Grandpa Lemuel Harrison and Unknown Friend

My Grandpa Lemuel Harrison and Unknown Family Friend.
Grandpa always liked to be styling!

***Update 2015 --I believe the unknown friend in this picture is actually my grandfather's younger sister, Carrie.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Whitneys, The Azores and Me-- Part Two

So the Whitney line of my family according to oral history is descended from people who came from the Azores Islands intially and later traveled to Bermuda and lastly arrived in the United States. On my last post, The Whitneys, The Azores and Me--Part One,  I shared possible reasons why my ancestor would have left his homeland to come to America. Now, his arrival is where I am focusing on for this post. The email from my Grand Aunt Carrie says that her grandfather's father's family came from the Azores.  Let me share how the family line branches back in time first.

My mother--Lemuel Harrison--Carrie E Whitney Harrison.

Now from my Great Grandmother Carrie we travel up the tree to my 2nd Great Grandparents Samuel and Sarah Harris Whitney. Samuel was my Grand Aunt's Grandfather she was referring to in her email. Now Samuel's father is where we start to tap into the beginning of my Portuguese lineage.

This is my theory regarding my family line. I have only circumstantial evidence to support it, but so far my theory I think is looking good.  Samuel Whitney was the son of a Thomas Whitney and Margaret Merritt who resided in Swan Quarter, Hyde, NC. This Thomas Whitney I believe is one of four sons who traveled with their father Samuel Whitney(born about 1775) to America.

Here's my evidence so far:

Using, I found in the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index 1500's-1900's and the Atlantic Ports Gulf Coasts, and Passenger Lists Roll 1: 1820-1871 entries for Samuel Whitney.

Things to take note on both records include country of origin, age, and date of arrival. Country of origin is listed as Barbados. Could this mean my oral history is incorrect or perhaps my ancestor spent time in Barbados as well as Bermuda.  Having an age listed gives us a birthdate for him of approximately 1775.  Date of arrival and the remarks are I think especially interesting. 1823 is the date of arrival and this makes me think back to my previous post and the article I found by Robert L Santos, "Azorean Migration".

Beginning around 1800, the Portuguese government's mandatory military conscription for fourteen year olds and later for sixteen year olds, convinced thousands of young men to illegally emigrate.

Perhaps my ancestors motivation for leaving the island was for the sake of his children.  The remarks on the above passenger list may reveal another clue. Port of arrival was Alexandria, VA, however the remarks state they landed in Hampton Roads.

Here's a map of where Hampton Roads, VA is marked as point A. New Bern, NC  I have circled to the south. Now if Samuel Whitney's eventual destination was New Bern, it would make no sense to travel further on north to Alexandria, VA.

The earliest record I have found for who I believe are "My Whitneys" is from the 1830 Census.

Samuel Whitney (my 4th great grandfather) I believe is the one male age 55-99. So far from my research from the Whitneys I have found in Craven and Hyde, NC, I believe three of the four sons are the following:

Thomas Whitney born abt 1810--date of death unknown. (my 3rd Great Grandfather)
Charles Whitney born abt 1815--date of death unknown.
Frances Whitney born abt 1820--date of death unknown.

I am still researching to see if I can identify the fourth.

My next post I will include a correspondence from someone who is descended from 2nd Great Grandfather's brother, Augustus. This correspondence was important to me because it supported what my family's oral history said about the family being of Portuguese descent. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Whitneys, The Azores, and Me--Part one.

So from my post My Great Grandmother--Carrie E Whitney Harrison, I shared an email I had received from my Grand Aunt Carrie, where she informs me that her grandfather's father's family came from the Azores Islands. Her grandfather was Samuel D Whitney (b.1856--d.1916).  Talk about dropping a bomb on someone. LOL. First things first, I had to look on a map to find out where the Azores were. I vaguely knew the islands were somewhere off the coast of Portugal but I had to see where exactly.
Point A on Map is the location of the Azores. Point B is Bermuda.

The next thing I had to do was see if this could in fact be possible. Why would someone leave the Azores to come to America. Courtesy of, I found a post which gave me a reason.

The story of Portuguese Bermudians
Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda began arriving in the 1840's and 50's. Between 1815 and 1850, economic change swept over the Islands as the era of shipbuilding and seafaring came to a close. Slavery was abolished in the 1830's. In 1847 the legislature voted 400 pounds in bounties for those shipping companies that could recruit Portuguese immigrants. Residents of the Portuguese islands of the Azores and Madeira were recruited as cheap labor for farming.  B W Watlington Esq sent his vessel the Golden Rule to Madeira, arriving in Bermuda November 1849 with 58 immigrants... 7 children, 16 women, and the remainder men. It was hoped that they would "induce the cultivation of the vine".

Also, I found an article by Robert L Santos, California State University, Stanislaus, Librarian/Archivist, called "Azorean Migration" Here is a portion of that article.

Reasons to Leave

The major reasons Azoreans left the archipelago are fairly consistent throughout its five hundred years of history and are similar to the reasons for European emigration at large.  At first it was an adventuring spirit on the part of those who had wunderlust.  Soon though there was overpopulation on the islands which caused starvation and lack of employment.  The land tenure system on the islands allowed no opportunity to better oneself which led eventually to mass emigration.  Beginning around 1800, the Portuguese government's mandatory military conscription for fourteen year olds and later for sixteen year olds, convinced thousands of young men to illegally emigrate. The discovery of gold in California was the catalyst for thousands more to leave.  And earlier emigrants returning to the Azores with talk and demonstration of success (money and material goods) in America enticed others to emigrate.  Then there was always the fear of natural disasters which cause still others to leave.

So now I have reasons for why they came. Now when do I think they arrived here? That will be in my next post.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Bryant Siblings In The Mid-1980's

Eloise, Loris, Ray, Mary (my grandmother), and Rosa
Morehead City, NC
They look like they are about to start some trouble, don't they? :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Great Grandmother--Carrie E. Whitney Harrison

Here is where we are:

My Mother---Grandfather Lemuel Harrison--Great Grandmother Carrie E Whitney.

Carrie E Whitney Harrison was born October 11, 1897 in New Bern, NC. She was the youngest of six kids as seen on the 1900 Census.

(click on image to enlarge)

My Great Grandmother--Carrie E. Whitney Harrison --How Did I Get Here?  My Amazing Genealogy Journey

The family home was at 10 Brown's Alley which later was changed to 709 Brown's Ave.

Samuel Whitney (October 1856--July 21, 1916) and Sarah Jane Harris Whitney (abt 1861--Sept 12, 1937)


Samuel David Whitney (November 2, 1885--March 12, 1957)
John H Whitney (born abt 1888--date of death unknown)
George W Whitney (born abt 1890--date of death unknown)
Benjamin Whitney (November 20, 1895--February 1970)
Annie L Whitney Brown (May 12, 1896--September 7, 1913)
Carrie Ethel Whitney Harrison (October 11, 1897--August 1, 1939)

The Whitney line for me was very interesting to follow. I was told as a child by my grandfather that on his side of the family, his heritage was African American, Cherokee, and Portuguese. I always wondered about this Portuguese blood he talked about. Was it true? This brings us to an email I received from my Grand Aunt Carrie after I reconnected with her since my youth. Here is the email.

Dear Andrea,
Thank you for the information you sent regarding the family tree.  I am sure I could not have gathered as much info as you have provided.  It is just amazing how Ancestry .Com obtain this information. 
Thomas Duke Harrison resided at 1510 Lincoln Street, in New Bern.  My father, John Harrison resided at 709 Browns Alley in New Bern. It is now changed to Browns Avenue.

I don't have any other information about my great grandmother, Amy Harris except she was living with my grandmother when she died.
I was told my grandfather's father's family originally came from the Azores Islands through Bermuda. He worked on a fishing boat that provided seafood in North Carolina.  They were Portuguese decent and spoke Portuguese fluently.  Grandfather Samuel was very fair skin with light green eyes and reddish blond hair.  My mother, your great grandmother, had his completion.  He died long before I was born.

Take care.

Aunt Carrie

This was a mind blowing email to receive to say the least.  More on my connection to the Azores tomorrow.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Could Simon Dove Be My 4th Great Grandfather?

So here is where we are at on my tree on my mother's side.

Harrison family line:

My mother---Lemuel Harrison--John Thomas Harrison--Thomas Duke Harrison--Simon D. Harrison.

So who's next? I know from what I have been told by Grandfather Lemuel and my Grand Aunt, Carrie, that the original family name was Dove. So where do we go from here? Let's speculate that Simon D. Harrison was named after his own father. Perhaps he was the last one who went by the Dove surname. If you saw my last post Researching My 3rd great grandfather:  Simon D Harrison, you will see where I posted a page from the 1870 census showing a Samuel and Rosanna Harrison. I am currently working under the theory that Simon's name was taken down wrong by the census taker and that this is my Simon Harrison, which would make his year of birth around 1826. So let's say Simon Harrison's father was 20--50 years of age at the time he was born. That would make him born anywhere from 1776--1806. I came across something interesting on the Craven County Apprenticeship Bond Records for the year 1788 that peaked my interest.


15 June 1788--Isaac Dove, Negro boy aged 17 years the 5th of May last, and Simon Dove, aged 14 years the 21st of January last, bound to Bazel Smith as a shoemaker.

This Simon Dove would have been born around 1774. If this Simon Dove were to be the father of Simon D Harrison, he would have been about 52 at the time of his birth. My husband had his first child when he turned 49 so this doesn't seem out of the question.

Another possibility for my Simon Dove, could be the one found listed on 1810 Census, living in Onslow, NC with a household of 4.

This is all based on the assumption that Simon D. Harrison's father was also named Simon. Perhaps it was Thomas, perhaps it was something I will never know. I'm okay with that, but I will keep searching.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Researching My 3rd Great Grandfather: Simon D Harrison,

So what do I know about Simon D Harrison, my 3rd great grandfather?  Well it all begins with his son's death certificate which according to it he was born in Craven County, NC. I could not find a Simon Harrison on the 1870 or 1880 Census, so I said to myself try doing Google Search. When I did, I came up with an interesting result in the "North Carolina Freedman's Savings and Trust Company Records"

Record for "Charitable Society." Date of Application October 15, 1873. Remarks: Simon Harrison, president; David Williams, secretary; Liffron Brown, treasurer, Wm. F. James, attorney; Moses T Brown, are on the committee with the other three to draw this money.

So the first thing I said to myself was, Could this be my Simon Harrison? What is this "Charitable Society?" Next I was able to pull up the following in the "Laws and Resolutions of the State of North Carolina passed by the General Assembly."

Chapter XLII
An Act to Incorporate The United Brotherhood Society of New Bern, North Carolina

Section 1. The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact, That Simon Harrison, William F. James, Moses T. Bryan, Joseph Dunks, Virgil A. Crawford, Bristo Latham, Willis Moore, J. B. Abbott, Thomas Morris, James Allen,, Southey Fonville, William Bryan, Sylvester Mackey, and Edward R. Dudley, their associates and their successors, are hereby constituted a body corporate and politic, by the name and style of the United Brotherhood Society of New Bern, North Carolina. 

Sec 2. That with the above named they and their associates and successors shall have perpetual succession and a common seal, may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded and in general exercise and enjoy all rights, powers and privileges that are usually incident to corporate bodies of like nature. 

Sec 3. That this act shall be in force from and after its ratification.

Ratified this 28th day of January, A. D. 1874.

So it looks like the "Charitable Society" was the The United Brotherhood Society of New Bern, North Carolina. Did this group have anything to do with the Methodist Church? Simon's son, Thomas, was a Methodist minister. It would make sense that Simon might also have been affiliated with the church. Here's what I found.

I couldn't find any direct reference showing Simon affiliated with the Methodist Church but after researching some of the other members of the United Brotherhood Society, I found this excerpt regarding Edward Richard Dudley, in a book called "Gender and Jim Crow" by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore.

The oldest, Edward Dudley, was twenty-five. He could read and write and was soon practicing a lucrative trade in New Bern as a cooper, which he probably learned in the tobacco factory. Dudley quickly assumed a leadership role amid the chaos of the Federal-occupied town. He joined a Masonic lodge and served on the police force. A pillar of Saint Peters, the first African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion church in the South, Dudley headed the statewide Grand Lodge of Colored Good Templars, the first black branch of an international temperance order. Sometime between 1862 and 1868, Dudley married a biracial woman named Caroline, who, like him, had learned to read and write in slavery. She joined her husband as a Good Templar. The Dudleys taught their children to take pride in their African American roots and to take their places among the best people, regardless of race. 

I went back to the "Laws and Resolutions of the State of North Carolina passed by the General Assembly." and found the following act regarding the Good Templars.

 An Act to Incorporate the Independent Order of Good Templars, of New Bern, North Carolina.

Section 1.  The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact, that Geo. B. Willis, George Physick, Virgil A Crawford, William W Lawrence, Daniel H. Harris, L. S. Hill, Peter W. Lawrence, John B. Willis, Jas. D. Dudley, John W. Brown, Lewis Williams, Moses T Bryan, and Edward R. Dudley, their associates successors, and assigns are hereby constituted a body politic and corporate by the name and style of the Independent Order of Good Templars, of New Bern, North Carolina for the purpose of promoting the temperance cause.
The three names I have underlined in the last passage were members of the United Brotherhood Society of New Bern. I know that Edward R Dudley was a pillar of St Peter's AME Zion's church in New Bern. I went back to the "Laws and Resolutions of the State of North Carolina passed by the General Assembly" and found that there was an act to incorporate "The African Methodist Episcopal Singing School Society of New Bern" in February of 1871. Virgil A Crawford and Edward R Dudley were both listed amongst it's members. I think based on all this that it would be fair to assume that the United Brotherhood Society was in some way associated with the Methodist Church, making this Simon Harrison a good contender for mine. However, I wasn't satisfied.

I found in "Chas. Emerson & Co. City New Bern Directory" for 1880 another good piece of evidence.

Harrison Simon (c), r Jerkins Alley bet Primrose and Queen.

The (c) means colored. Now I was able to find out from information provided by Victor T Jones of the Kellenberger Room at the New Bern Public Library, that Jerkins Alley is now what is called North Cool Ave.

(click on image to enlarge)

The red A that's encircled is the approximate location of the home of my great grandfather, John T. Harrison. Geographically, it is still looking real good that this is my Simon Harrison.

Initially when I started researching records, I used for the most part, so I decided to give a shot. A possible lead came up when I plugged in Simon Harrison and Craven County, NC.

Simon Harrison--North Carolina Marriages 1759-1979, August 11, 1866--Raleigh, Craven, North Carolina.
Groom: Simon Harrison, Bride: Rosanna Smith

If this record is in regards to my 3rd great grandfather, Rosanna would not be my 3rd great grandmother. Perhaps a 2nd or third marriage? Perhaps this was the the first time he was allowed to marry under law.

I decided to double check the census in Craven County again under Simon first and then under Rosanna. Nothing came up under Simon, but under Rosanna, this is what turned up.
(click to enlarge image)

If you scroll down the page, one finds a Samuel Harrison, age 44 and a Rosanna Harrsion, age 40. His occupation is a watchman and hers keeping house. What I find most interesting is that above on the same page you find Edward R Dudley and Bristow Latham, both members of the United Brotherhood Society of New Bern, North Carolina. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? I think the census taker took down the wrong name.

I know I can't prove it definitively yet, but all this makes sense. I think this is my Simon. I guess I have some more digging to do but that will have to wait for another day. My son is dying for me to help him stuff his shorts to make him Mr. Big Pants.

Here's the visual:

Ya gotta love kids!

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