North Carolina Family Research

A Detailed Outline for Hobby Genealogists for the Piedmont Area

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Before you began your genealogy research, you first acquire the desire of learning more about your family. It begins as an interest but as you research further, the interest grows. Similar as a seed planted along your personal trail, the names of long ago are written down on sticky notes, absorbed in your head and the records never give you enough data to satisfy your need. This is the beginning of a genealogy tree. The branches extend and beckon to be recognized. Tax records, censuses, land grants, late nights, endless caffeine and eyeglasses all await you. It’s a passion that only fellow genealogists understand. “I’ve finally found the maiden name of my 6th great grandmother!!!!!” Many don’t understand your excitement, but other researchers do and while they are enjoying the moment with you, they are also anxious to hear the surname to see if it may link to their family too. Genealogy is an amazing route to travel and contains so much more than estate files and sticky notes. So, Welcome, pull up a chair and enjoy your visit. North Carolina is one of the most fascinating states to conduct genealogy research. You can find records dating to the mid 17th century. You only have to know where to look and how to look. Let’s begin.

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Surname

Researching without the correct name will only lead you to outer space. You have a surname, but you have to consider spelling variations of the name. For instance, Kramer, Cramer, Cromer and Crommer are all the same surname. You can research databases using the Soundex Code. This will give you much more information that you can sift through in order to pinpoint and identify the individual you are currently looking for. All through history, individuals have been named at birth and known by friends and other acquaintances by a totally different name. Nicknames exist today just as they did centuries ago. Immigration from another country not only required the immigrants to take an oath of allegiance, in some cases, it required the immigrant to change his or her last name. Having the Right name is vital before you research in North Carolina or anywhere within the world.

Piedmont Location

Majority of piedmont early settlers migrated from the northern colonies during the mid 18th century, such as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maine and Virginia. When they arrived to North Carolina from these areas, they settled primarily in the area, east of the Yadkin River and west of the sandhills area near present day Fayetteville and Sanford. County tax lists and early land grants will give you the exact location of your early piedmont ancestor. Every early county tax list is not online and sadly, some of these are lost forever due to courthouse fires or other circumstances. County history is extremely important to your research. Without the history and timeline of the county, you are researching in the dark. To understand North Carolina county timeline, click here. Majority of land grants are available and many of these are online. Searchable databases can be located at North Carolina Land Grants and at North Carolina State Archives. Estate wills and court records can give you the location as well. Once you have the correct name and the correct location, you then can establish a research trail. Keep in mind the changing boundaries of the state and counties as you move along your research timeline.

Research Timeline

It’s important to create a timeline for the ancestor you are searching for. If you’re not sure exactly what the timeline is, begin with what you know. If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s not to guess on genealogy data. Guessing is left for the lottery, the percentages are basically the same. Once you know the timeline, look for historical events within the timeline. For instance, what was going on in the area at the time. This will heighten your search techniques and allow you to search certain criteria.  North Carolina Encyclopedia is a great source for this as an online tool. Your local library and historical societies are great choices as well.

History of Online Research

Majority of researchers of present day, typically research online. And, YES, there are many different ways to research online today versus 20 years ago. The websites that were available then were very few and the information was mainly donated by volunteers or librarians who wanted to make the information available, freely with no obligations. As the years progressed, a few genealogy companies began to emerge and these companies began collecting this data for commercial use. Volunteers began to disappear and genealogists began to keep their records private because they didn’t intend for the information to be used on a commercial revenue basis. As the volunteers were eliminating their data on the internet,  a monopoly of genealogy companies began to make themselves known and fees began to surface for subscriptions, memberships and more. The majority of the free sites that remained online became unknown to the future researcher. These sites were no longer being updated  and many were left abandoned. A few sites that remained were the exception, the #1 site- Rootsweb and the #2 site- The Genealogical Society of Utah, now known as Family Search. Both have been transformed over the years. The #1 North Carolina site was, The American History Project. It was filled with link after link of county records. It was a volunteer program and many county documents were stored on the #1 site of Rootsweb in order to gain popularity and to take advantage of the free pages offer with Rootsweb. But this all changed when Rootsweb was sold in 2008. Many volunteers who were actively donating data online left the site for good and slowly began disappearing from the internet. Other commercial companies began to appear and the online genealogy world forever changed from that point onward. The history of online genealogy allows a better understanding of online techniques in today’s market. I refer to online genealogy as a market, because it has vastly changed during the past 20 years and now resides within commercial trade as millions and millions of revenue are reported for large genealogy companies.

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Present Day Online Research

As stated earlier, online research has grown tremendously over the years. It’s amazing to discover the changes through the years. You may have an online subscription to the many corporations now involved with genealogy or you may rely on your own personal online search engine to obtain records. Online genealogy companies will inform you what they have on their database. You may be able to locate the majority of your family on one site and you may not. It all depends what the company has available for you online. A multitude of records are available by using certain simple keywords and a variety of search engines.  All that is required to perform a simple online search like this is to insert keywords for the search engine to do it’s job. Direct free search engines for North Carolina are North Carolina Genweb and North Carolina Genealogy Society just to name a few. There are more of these free databases online and they can be found if you insert the keyword, “free”. Also, use several search engines, there are many out there in the internet world and each one is slightly different from the other. The results from these different search engines will amaze you with the results.  Keywords are vital on getting the results you want. Think about what you are searching for and enter the keywords that speak this for you. Sometimes too much information is just too much data to go through. Concentrate on what’s important and narrow your search in this manner.

Online Family Trees

The trees located online can be used as “Hints & Clues”. The trees themselves are not sources and should not be used this way with your own personal lineage. You discover someone’s tree and it names an ancestor you have been looking for. After the excitement calms down, look for the source that proves the information. If you don’t see it, the new discovery is just a simple clue for you to investigate further if you wish. It’s not a legal binding document, a family Bible or proof that states this particular person is your ancestor. 95% of online trees contain incorrect data, lineage failures and fabricated information. You may contact the person who owns the tree and they inform you they received the information from a book, for instance. Get the name of the source so you can verify the information. Many family genealogy books have errors as well, look for the legal proof. Without the proof, it’s a simple clue.

Following The Legal Trail

Each and every family that lived in the piedmont area of North Carolina associated with the current government in some form. They paid taxes, submitted information to census takers and acquired a means of making a living such as farming. Births occurred along with deaths and many owned land. All of these actions are intertwined with government documents which creates a legal trial to follow. These type of documents are available for research on many different levels. The NC Archives houses all of these documents from each and every county of North Carolina and even those counties that no longer exist today. County government documents can be located at the current county seat courthouse. Even city and town documents can be located in individual settlements and historical societies. Several North Carolina books have been published during the past 100 years that pertain to these documents such as tax lists, will abstracts and much more. 33 counties suffered lost records due to fires, etc. For the piedmont area, Guilford county is among the worst as far as records destroyed or lost. The legal trail leads to proof of your ancestor’s existence and lineage to you.

Snail Mail & Email

The older genealogist loves snail mail. You arrive at the mailbox and guess what, the will of 4th great grandfather has arrived. You now hold the legal document proving his existence and the names of his wife, children and witnesses to the death event. Handwritten or typed letters say so much about your passion and drive to locate the answers you seek. This works especially well with older family members who may hold the key to your research. The piedmont area has the best hospitality and loves to share with others. Librarians and the archivists located at the NC State Library do respond to snail mail requests on a regular basis. Please provide them with as much information as possible when submitting a request. The state archives will charge you for the copies and out of state residents will also pay a search fee. To read more about the fees, click here. Local historical societies will respond to your request by snail mail as well. These societies are comprised mostly of volunteers who are eager to respond to your request. Email communications are a vital tool to genealogy research. Email can allow documents to be attached for quick viewing and filing  on your computer.  Everyone has access to email these days and it’s a quick communicator that provides privacy unlike social media sites or message boards online.

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The piedmont area of North Carolina holds many details within it’s history. The past can come alive as you research your ancestors in this area and learn how they lived and where. Land grants of long ago can lead you to the original homestead and possibly a family cemetery in the woods. Words can’t describe the feeling as you walk along the same land as your ancestors did over 250 years ago.

For links to local piedmont area historical societies and county databases, visit the NC Genealogy Links page. The page is updated on a weekly basis, so visit it often for new surprises and links. The next blog will continue the discovery of early land grants in Rockingham County. Wishing you all great success with your research and share your great discoveries and adventures with Piedmont Trails. As always, your support is greatly appreciated here and your presence is greatly valued. May sunny days follow you along your journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

18th Century Settlers of Stokes County, NC

Segment 6

Welcome to the final segment of this series. Stokes county was formed from Surry County in 1789 and Germanton was the county seat. Later, Forsyth County formed and the county seat of Stokes became Crawford. The name later changed to Danbury. This series has remembered only a small amount of history that Stokes County offers. The county is filled with historical artifacts and family stories. It is up to all of us to find these treasures and preserve them for future generations.

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David Rominger(1716-1777) was married in 1741 and living in Broad Bay, Maine. He was assigned Lot number 13 which consisted of 100 acres. His wife died in 1752 and he married a widow with a large family of children. In 1769, David and his son, Phillip, migrated to North Carolina. In 1770, David’s second wife and children joined him in North Carolina where she died that same year. David settled in Bethabara and is buried in Salem Cemetery. David’s brother, Michael(1709-1803), of whom was the oldest of the siblings and was a carpenter by trade. Michael served 3 years as a soldier in the Royal Regiment and left to marry Anna Katharina Anton(1717-1794) on December 26, 1740 in Germany. The family sailed for America and lived in Broad Bay, Maine from 1753 to 1770. In 1770, Michael sold his farm and migrated to North Carolina by way of The Great Wagon Road. The family lived in Friedland and had the following children: Elisabetha-1741, Jacob-1743, Johannes-1745, George-1747, Ludwig, Martin-1752, Catharina-1755, Jacobina, Michael-1759, Christian-1762 and an infant daughter who died. A future blog about this family and their life experiences will be featured here at a later date.

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Phillip Rothrock(1713-1803) arrived from Germany on the ship, Pink Mary. The year was 1733. He lived near Yorktown, Pennsylvania with his wife, Catharine Kemtoz(1720-1777). They were married in 1720 at Rothenback, Germany. After the American Revolutionary War, Phillip and his family migrated to North Carolina. The family settled at Friedburg and are shown as farm lot number 120. Phillip had a total  of 9 sons named here. Jacob-1741, Johannes-1744, Phillip Jr.-1746, Peter-1746, George-1748, Valentine-1751, Benjamin-1753, Joseph-1755 and Frederick-1760. Phillip Jr married Elizabeth Weller(1749-1839) in October of 1769. Phillip purchased 1060 acres near Friedburg, NC. He was an active member with the Moravian Church serving as steward in 1791. Phillip Jr. along with two of his brothers, Valentine and Peter, all served in the Continental Army under George Washington. They all returned to Pennsylvania to enlist and serve during the war. All returned to North Carolina when the war ended. Children born to Phillip Jr. and Elizabeth are Jacob-1770, Frederick-1772, Eva-1774, George-1777, Johannes-1779, Joseph-1782, Phillip-1785, Martin-1787, Christian-1790 and Daniel-1794.

cemetery picture

Joseph Scales was born in 1765 and died June 20, 1832. He was the son of John Scales and Lydia McClaren. The family has a fascinating early history in Guilford County, NC. Joseph married Nancy Alley(1777-1820) and both are buried in the family cemetery located in Sandy Ridge. The couple had at least 6 children; Absalom(1798-1859), Sally(1801), Jane(1803-1878), Nathaniel(1806-1827), Joseph(1811-1839) and Andrew(1813-1839).

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Present Day Pfaffenhofen

Adam Spach was born January 20, 1720 at Pfaffenhofen in Lower Alsace, Germany. He died August 23, 1801 in Salem, North Carolina. He was married to Maria Elisabeth Hueter on December 17, 1752. Maria was born April 1, 1731 and died October 26, 1799 in North Carolina. In 1754, Adam and Maria traveled the Great Wagon Road to North Carolina and settled near Wachovia, the Moravian settlement. The couple traveled with the Nathaniel Seidel party and left in the month of May. Adam built the rock house, pictured below and raised the following children: Johann Adam(1753-1816), Maria(1756-1777), Rosina(1758-1849), Maria Elisabeth(1760-1846), John(1762-1844), Gottlieb(1764-1814), Anna(1766-1858), Jacob(1768-1856) and Joseph(1771-1820).

Spach House (2)

Adam Spach Rock House

John Tuttle was born in 1761 and died in 1840. His father is Thomas Tuttle and both  enlisted with the NC militia during the year of 1778. In 1782, both Thomas and son John migrated to present day Stokes County. John married Anna Barbara Fry on June 16, 1783. John and Anna Tuttle had the following children: Thomas-1784, Michael-1786, Elizabeth-1788, Mary-1790, Anna-1793, Henry-1795, John-1797, William-1799, Peter-1802, Elijah-1806 and Sarah-1809.

These early settlers of Stokes County were brave pioneers who traveled The Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania and other northern areas to reach North Carolina.  These families would travel with others known as a “party”. Preparations would be made prior to the trip such as rations, supplies, etc. Many times, the travelers would not know one another before they headed down the trail. But, upon their arrival in North Carolina, it is now understood that these families were forever bonded together in life. A huge amount of these families would send members of the family back and forth along the road for various reasons. Many left matters unsettled prior to them leaving their homes and many would be sent for encouraging or visiting family members that were left behind.

great wagon road6

The pioneers who traveled here prior to the American Revolutionary War were vulnerable. Carolina was known as a wilderness, a wild frontier. This explains the reasoning behind Adam Spach and his rock house. The homes were made to be secure and guarded the family unit from the wild elements around them. The Cherokee did not welcome the new settlers and were still considered a threat during the mid 18th century. There are many stories and factual data containing information of Cherokee raids upon the early settlers.

rock house

 

Martin Rock House in Stokes County

These 6 segments have only scratched the surface with Stokes County settlers and early history. The treasures of the past are so vivid all throughout the county and I hope this small series encourages all of you to research more into Stokes County and it’s early inhabitants. As Always, Thank You All So Much for your support of Piedmont Trails. Share your experiences of your journey and most of all, enjoy the trails.

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Voices of The American Revolutionary War

Thunder & Liberty

The majority of us can recite the beginnings of our country. We can name men associated with the Son’s of Liberty, we can produce the names of our founding fathers and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Many among us, can trace their ancestor to militia, or the Continental Army by application for pension or by a random discovered document. Numerous books have been written on the battles, the skirmishes and brutal tactics used during the war. Re-enactments are organized at many battle sights. So, we understand a great portion of why the war occurred and how, but do we really understand what it was like to live during the war?

revolutionary war battle of charlotte

The Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townsend Act of 1767 both contributed to the onset of the Revolutionary War. These acts taxed the colonists and separated them from Great Britain. A majority of these citizens immigrated from other countries several years earlier in hopes of freedom and new opportunities. These immigrants each took the oath of allegiance to Great Britain and acknowledged the laws and freedom of the new land. But, as the years continued and their own personal families grew, Great Britain continued to create separations among the colonists and imposed new taxes on imports which many families could not afford. The colonists felt the pressure of Great Britain much more in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other northern colonies. This brings us to the fact why so many families migrated southward down the Great Wagon Road to an unsettled area such as North Carolina. The majority of these pioneers migrated on the trail between the years of 1753 through 1770, just prior to the Revolutionary War.

Grace Lower Stone Church Rockwell NC

Grace Lower Stone Church, Rockwell, NC

Governor Tryon of North Carolina (1765-1771) expected the taxes to be paid by the new settlers and if payment was not received, horses, tools and even cooking pots were taken to cover the amount due. To the new settlers who just arrived from northern colonies, this was disheartening. The taxes prevented them from improving their properties and they felt mistreated. The settlers would hear the news from Boston and other areas.  Soon, tensions arose in many North Carolina settlements. Before the Boston Tea Party occurred, The Battle of Alamance took place on May 22, 1771 in an open field in the piedmont region of North Carolina. After the battle, that lasted approx. 2 hours, the surrounding settlements heard the news of James Few. Few was hanged the next day, May 23, 1771 without conviction in a military court. 14 regulators (participants of the battle) were tried and 12 of these were convicted. Of these 12, 6 men were hanged. Governor Tryon felt that the settlers would look upon this action as the government forgiving the regulators for their participation in the skirmish. However; this was not the case. This area of North Carolina was gaining new settlers on a daily basis and the growth rate was much higher versus the eastern sections of the state. The Governor was trying to control the area with the taxes that were now law, but hostilities grew with the numbers of new settlers.

Methodist_camp_meeting_(1819_engraving)

Traveling ministers, such as George Whitefield were creating tent revivals all through the piedmont area of North Carolina. These revivals were very popular among the settlers and at times, hundreds would attend. The mission of these revivals were to bring religion to the new settlement and to also quieten any disgruntled feelings against the government. For the most part, the settlers were divided in half after the Battle of Alamance. Many did not seek confrontation and wanted to remain loyal to Great Britain. Through the following years, several skirmishes would occur and overtime, men would gather and organize their communities with armed watchmen and guards. The settlements would begin to look at neighbors who remained loyal to the king much differently as time went by. News from other areas also influenced the settlers and meetings were held in churches, homes, taverns, etc. to discuss the situation.

Declaration-of-Independence-broadside-1776-Jamestown-Yorktown-Foundation

Our history books tells us that on May 20, 1775, the Mecklenburg Declaration was allegedly produced. Also, the Declaration of Independence, shown above, was submitted to newspapers all through the land. This enabled the settlers of many communities to read the words and fully understand that the colonies have now separated from Great Britain. Word was swirling through North Carolina, that British ships were in route to North Carolina’s coast line and this encouraged numerous settlers to now take up arms and defend their homes. Due to the need of armed men in the North Carolina area, many volunteers were given land for a 2 year service. This land bounty was located in Tennessee and was granted after their military service was completed. Majority of the military records for North Carolina were destroyed by fire, but the National Archives has numerous records for North Carolina Revolutionary War Veterans.

The pioneers who endured the hardships of traveling down The Great Wagon Road were seeking means for a better life. They were aware of the changes that Great Britain was imposing upon them and with these changes came tensions that fueled the onset of war. In North Carolina, the settlers were determined individuals who were strong in character and moral values. They valued their families, their religion and their morals to strive for their personal best. The new laws of Great Britain brought turmoil that endangered their freedom and their livelihood. The Revolutionary War represented new independence to create a free country that was open to all religions, beliefs and equality. This is what ultimately led each patriot to bear arms and fight for liberty. Each family was affected by the war, many members were killed while others were left with memories and scars. Their stories were passed down through the generations in hopes that the acts made by our patriot fathers would never be forgotten.

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Site of Battle of Alamance, NC

Several links are listed below. These are research tips to locate ancestors who were associated with the American Revolutionary War.

Rosters of the Continental Line North Carolina

North Carolina Digital Archives

North Carolina Oath of Allegiance 1778

Patriot Service Link

Colonial Records of North Carolina

Military Indexes for Revolutionary War All States

Edenton Women Who Refused to Purchase Britain’s Tea

Military Land Grants

North Carolina Patriots 

On a personal note, I’ve researched details of battles, skirmishes and dates associated with the American Revolutionary War. I have documents linking my ancestors to a battle, years of service, etc. But, through the years, I have found that I was fascinated by the information I was able to locate on the families, how the war impacted their daily lives and routines. These small details describe the way of life during 1771 through 1781. Wishing you all great success on your personal research. Thank You All So Much For Your Support of Piedmont Trails.

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The Life of Thomas Johnson(1764-1846)

Stokes County, North Carolina Partriot

Thomas Johnson was living in Surry County, present day Stokes County, NC as early as 1774 and was appointed to serve as a member of Surry County Committee of Safety.  Thomas gave his birth date as 1764 but no proof has been provided for the location of his birth. It is believed that he was born in Virginia and moved to North Carolina with his family as a small child. According to the Colonial Records of North Carolina, Thomas enlisted in 1779 and was discharged in December of 1779 serving 9 months of service during the Revolutionary War. I was able to locate him listed in the 10th Regiment of Quins Company. More information on the 10th Regiment.

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Land Grants for Thomas Johnson are listed as follows:#562 was entered September 25, 1785 for 50 acres in Buck Island which is present day Hanging Rock area of Stokes County, NC. #569 entered September of 1787, an additional 50 acres in Buck Island. The third grant #764 contained a tract of land consisting of 100 acres lying on the banks of Buck Island Creek entered November 29, 1800. Thomas married Frances(Fanny) Boatright who lived near present day Mountain View, Stokes County. Thomas raised his family of 14 children as listed below.

William(3/1/1794-2/27/1883) married Temperance Kiser and is buried in Stokes County, NC

Thomas Jr.(1797-1864) married Elizabeth(1820-1842) served in Co. K, 148 Indiana Infantry during the Civil War

Catherine(Caty) married Larkin Hall. Traveled back to NC to visit her brother, William

Edmund(1814-1877) married Isabel(1814-?)

Pendleton(1815-1873) married Eliza(1824-?) Traveled back to NC in 1839 to visit his brother, William

Sara married George Brockus

Daniel

Patsy married Byrum Harroll

Frank married Tempy Hall

Nancy married Joel Harroll

Francis living in Wabash County, Indiana in 1861

Poley married Curtis Hall

Elizabeth(Betsy)

Washington married Fanny

buck island stokes county nc

The picture above portrays Buck Island Creek along the falls now located in Hanging Rock Park near present day Danbury, Stokes County. The nearest community settlement during the time the Johnson family lived in the area would have been Germanton, founded in 1790. Located 13 miles south of Danbury, this would have been the center of trade and obtaining goods to sustain the family through the seasons. Germanton is the oldest settlement in the area. Veterans of the Revolutionary War were offered incentives to settle in the area and Thomas Johnson was one among many who chose to do so.

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Picture of Courthouse located in Germanton, NC circa 1898

Thomas made the decision to move his family to Indiana circa 1820 and I found him in Henry County after purchasing 80 acres in 1824. Many NC settlers moved to Indiana during this period for several reasons, mainly for the vast amount of land available for much lower prices. William, son of Thomas, did not travel with the family and it is recorded that William climbed a tree in order to watch his family leave as long as possible. Thomas lived in Henry County, Indiana until his death in 1846. He is buried in Dunreith Cemetery beside his wife, Frances.

thomas johnson

During his lifetime, Thomas Johnson portrays to all of us his patriotism, principles, devotion to family and adventurous personality. The trip to Indiana during the 1820’s would have been a long and weary trip for the family. Endurance was proven as the family settled in Henry County and contributed to the community. I should note here, Thomas Johnson’s will was affirmed in open court on August 11, 1846 by Samuel Hoover, Clerk. Reuben Morris and Joseph Cox were listed as witnesses. Thomas mentioned all of his children and even mentioned his son-in-law. James Rose was to receive 1 dollar from Thomas’ estate and nothing more. No additional explanation for the inheritance of James Rose but I’m sure the reasons were very well known to the family at the time.

dunreith cemetery

Below is a copy of a letter written by Pendleton Johnson and Thomas Johnson Jr. addressed to William Johnson in Stokes County, NC. It is dated June 18th, 1839.

Times is tolerable good at this time in our country. Corn is worth 37 1/2 cents per bushel, wheat is worth 75 cents per bushel, oats is worth 31 1/2 cents per bushel. Other articles about the same in propotion. We also inform you that it is uncommon healthy here at this time. We here of no one that is sick at all in the hole settlement. We have had a very fine spring and summer so far except for one nite we had a very hard frost that killed our frute.

A huge amount of these letters can be located at the Henry County Historical Society. Stay tuned for a more detailed description on William Johnson, son of Thomas, in the upcoming months.

Shadows On The Heart

The life story of Elizabeth Smith Motsinger(1841-1905).

Elizabeth Smith was born in Davidson County, NC to John Smith and Elizabeth Gibbons Smith on September 6, 1841. Her first 3 years were filled with daily routines and new surprises as she was learning her world. But, fate would leave her brokenhearted on a summer day. During the year of 1844, her first loss was felt with the thundering shudder of her mother’s death in September. Elizabeth Gibbons Smith was buried in Friedland Moravian Church Cemetery on the 18th, just 12 days after her little daughter, Elizabeth celebrated her 3rd birthday. Two years later in 1846, her father, John remarried and now Elizabeth had a new step-mother, Mary. It is not known if Elizabeth attended school, but she did know how to read and write as she proved this later in life on documents.

Elizabeth Gibbins

Elizabeth Gibbons Smith Gravesite

Elizabeth continued to live with her family in Davidson County, NC taking care of her chores and daily tasks around the farm. At the age of 15, the love of her life was introduced as Joshua G Motsinger of Abbotts Creek area. Exactly 30 days after her 16th birthday, they were married. October 6, 1860 was met with the leaves just beginning to change for the season and fellow neighbors gathering in the summer’s harvest, Elizabeth became Mrs. Motsinger.  She moved from her family home to Abbotts Creek and moved in with Joshua’s parents, Felix and Christina Motsinger. They began their life together just as the screams of war were approaching. The year of 1861 was met with joy and sorrow with the onset of the Civil War in the spring and the birth of their firstborn, Felix Wesley Motsinger soon after. The war brought forth new problems that threatened their new world as Joshua traveled to High Point and Greensboro to work in the Guilford Mines for the war effort and to support his new family.

lantern

During the next few years, Joshua would travel back and forth on the train and reach home as often as he could. Elizabeth gave birth to her daughter in August of 1862 whom she named Julia Ann after her sister-in-law. Elizabeth continued to live with Joshua’s family and became very close to them all, especially her sister-in-law, Juliann. Joshua continued to be away for long periods of time working in the mines for the Confederacy during the years of 1863 and 1864, but he did manage to begin the construction of a new home next door to his parents. Juliann, Joshua’s oldest sister, moved in the new house and stayed with Elizabeth to help her with the small children. In the year of 1865, Elizabeth was pregnant once again and the war was finally coming to an end. But tragedy would hover over the new house and change Elizabeth’s world forever. The love of her life, Joshua died just 2 days after their 5th wedding anniversary on October 8, 1865. He was buried at Bethany Baptist Church near their home on the 9th of October. Elizabeth was 9 months pregnant at the time of the service. Filled with grief and her unborn child, what would life be for her now?

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Maternity Dress circa 1865

Labor pains and grief were felt on October the 14th, just 6 days after burying her husband, Elizabeth gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She named him John Louis Motsinger. Aunt Juliann never left the little family and continued to live with Elizabeth until her death. Felix and Christina, Joshua’s parents, took care of their grandchildren and Elizabeth until their deaths. Elizabeth never remarried.

Joshua G Motsinger tombstone

Joshua G Motsinger Gravesite

The children attended school nearby and life carried on along the banks of Abbotts Creek. Elizabeth began making plans for the little family.  Her brother and sisters had moved into Forsyth County and wrote her letters stating that life was much easier near the bigger city of Salem. Elizabeth set her sight on Kernersville just a day’s trip away from their home. Juliann acquired money from her father’s estate and purchased land northwest of the little town. Elizabeth was waiting on the 21st birthday of her son Felix and her plans would be fulfilled with him acquiring the tract of land. As the years slowly drifted by, Elizabeth gave her consent for her daughter, Julia Ann to marry her love, Solomon Tesh. Julia was 16 when the wedding took place on October 14, 1877. Julia and Solomon continued to live with Elizabeth until 1882 when she moved to Greensboro, NC. Life seemed content for Elizabeth during this time and preparations were being made to move the family in the spring of 1881.  But, the black cloud once again brought down the heavy rains and Elizabeth knew too well this feeling of loss. Her son, Felix was visiting Salem in January of 1881 just months before his 21st birthday. He was in an accident and killed on the 7th. It took 3 days to bring Felix Wesley’s body home for burial and on January 11, 1881, he was buried near his father, Joshua.

mourning dress

Mourning Dress circa 1880

Elizabeth found herself in mourning once again and she knew that the family’s plans of moving would not happen now. She exchanged letters with her daughter and friends in the area. Elizabeth and Aunt Juliann operated the farm and took care of Grandma Christina who was very frail now and near death. Soon, both Joshua’s parents would be gone and the farm was growing even smaller. John Louis was now at the age of helping more on the farm, but Elizabeth made sure he still attended school regularly. At the age of 20, John Louis, Elizabeth’s youngest son, became the head of the household, informing his peers that his real age was 21. Soon, preparations were once again being made for the little family to move to Kernersville, NC. The wagon was loaded one spring day and Aunt Juliann accompanied Elizabeth and John on the trip. They arrived on the property and stayed in the one-room cabin previously built by former owners. Juliann sold the property to John Louis Motsinger in May of 1885. John began work on building the house that stands today. Elizabeth traveled with her son, John to Winston Courthouse, county seat of Forsyth County in July of 1901. There she filled out a Widow’s Application for Pension through the service of her husband, Joshua Motsinger. It was approved and Elizabeth was granted $30.00. She became ill during the autumn of 1905 and on Christmas Eve, she fell asleep forever. Elizabeth was buried at the new church, Piney Grove Methodist and her son, John purchased a tombstone for the grave. Pictured below are pictures of her son, John Louis Motsinger and the house he built when they moved to Kernersville.

John Louis Motsinger

John Louis Motsinger, his wife, Mary Elizabeth Dean Motsinger and their only son, Lewis Addison Motsinger

IMG_20171019_0002

John Louis Motsinger and the house he built in Kernersville. Elizabeth lived in this house until her death on Christmas Eve, 1905.