52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – #25 Morris Davis

Morris Davis was my 3rd great-grandfather [my mother Virginia Lineberry Willis > Jacob Lineberry > Rhoda Harmon Lineberry > Delila Davis Harmon > Morris Davis]. As is the case for most of my more distant ancestors, I have more questions than I have document-supported answers.

He was born in Virginia, perhaps in Wythe County, to Charles and Miriam Carr Davis about 1792. He married Sarah McCane in Surry County, North Carolina on April 1, 1812, according to the date of the marriage bond.

The 1820 Grayson County, Virginia tick mark census indicated that, in the time between their marriage and the census, Morris and Sarah had one son and three daughters [David, Elizabeth, Delila and Sarah].

The 1830 Grayson County census listed the same children above plus one male [William], and three as yet unidentified sons and one more daughter [Nancy].  The next decade added two more children [Jane and Morris].

The 1850 census for Carroll County, Virginia [remember the 1842 creation of Carroll County out of Grayson County  I mentioned in an earlier blog] is the first census for which details such as name, age, occupation, property value, birth location and literacy were made available. Morris was listed as 56, a farmer with property value of $250 who was born in Virginia and could read and write.

There was a fairly large migration of people from Virginia to Ohio to what was known as Virginia Military District Land Grants. This was land set aside as bounty land for military service. Morris purchased 120 acres in 1837 and another 40 acres in 1838.

By the 1860 census in Clinton County, Ohio, Morris was enumerated in the home of his daughter Sarah Summers, son-in-law, and grandchildren but without Sarah his wife.1860 Ohio

I have no information to identify when the families moved to Ohio and I have not found death or burial records for either Morris or Sarah his wife and no records past the 1860 census.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

Summertime Fun as a Child – Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Randy Seaver in his blog www.GeneaMusings.com provides a challenge each Saturday evening. Tonight’s fun is, on the first day of summer 2014, (1) to write about your summertime fun when you were a child and (2) to evaluate how those childhood fun experiences impact your life today.

My family moved a great deal when I was growing up and my memories are very sporadic. There are only three locations for which I have specific summertime memories: Gainesville, Texas when I was six to eight, on Binkley Street in Oklahoma City when I was nine/ten and at Rotary Park in SW Oklahoma City when I was twelve.

From Gainesville, I remember picking up boring gray rocks, breaking them with a hammer and being amazed at their sparkly interior; sitting in a circle with the neighborhood kids at dark-thirty telling ghost stories; on hot afternoons filling a metal tub with water and taking turns sitting in it to cool off; drinking water from a hose; riding my bicycle; playing on the graded side of I-35 construction; and walking to the library to check out books to read (I began reading a series of biographies – Presidents’ wives, pirates, Sir Walter Raleigh, etc.).

From Binkley Street, I played dolls, cut out paper dolls, played with a whole neighborhood full of friends, explored the world of imagination and spent Saturday afternoons at the movies. This is about the time when I most remember loving to play in the run-off water after a summer shower and to be amazed at all the worms that surfaced after the rain. Because of moving so much, this is the first location where I made a friend I still have today – Jean ‘Tootie’ Blake Riggs. I only lived there one year but Jean and I reconnected in junior and senior high school and have maintained a connection despite many separations of physical distance.

The summer between grade school and high school I joined a park’s summer program where the games I played were competitive: ping pong and running track. I rode my bicycle to the park every day to participate.  When I discovered the Daily Oklahoman archives, I did a search for my own name and found a news article from July 11, 1953 that evidenced my participation in track – my team came in first. Rotary Park Track

The second part of Randy’s challenge is to evaluate how summertime fun impacted me as an adult. Breaking open rocks to see the sparkles inside helped me realize not everything in life can be judged by its appearance on the outside as well as gave me an appreciation for how amazing our world is – much of it just waiting for our exploration to see it. Playing dolls and telling stories taught me the importance of imagination and creativity. Running track and challenging myself competitively helped me see my physical and mental capabilities and to know there will always be some faster/better/smarter and some slower/worse/less smart than I am, but that challenging myself will always end up making me better than I was before. The library and reading opened my mind to everything – knowledge, possibility, hope, a bridging of the past, present and the future.

See Also: My Doll With Hair

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #24 – Delila Davis Harmon

One of my four second great-grandmothers on my mother’s side was Delila Davis Harmon. Delila was one of eight known children of Morris and Sarah McCane Davis born about 1820 in Grayson County Virginia. She married Thomas Benjamin Harmon in Grayson County on August 23, 1838. It’s oftentimes difficult to determine maiden names of women this early in our country’s history but Martha Fontaine Patterson uploaded on Delila’s FindAGrave memorial a copy of the permission to marry signed by her father [I provided a link to the page with the permission and marriage bond in my blog for Thomas].Davis PermissionI have spelled her name in this blog as Delila but there is often no consistency in early records in the way a name was spelled. Many of the people who recorded events listed names as they heard them; additionally, people often went by nicknames and used them in official documents. Her name in the marriage permission document above is Delila but the 1850 census listed her as Lila while the 1870 census spelled her name Delilah and the 1880 census spelled it Delila. The 1860 census has not yet been found. The 1850 ‘Lila’ was apparently what she was called; in fact, with the propensity for people in the South to pronounce the ending ‘a’ with a ‘y’ sound, she may have been called Liley (with a long I sound) or perhaps Lillie.

Delila and Thomas had eleven known children [censuses were recorded every ten years and provide one of the best listings of the children in a family; however, birth records were scanty and children may well have been born and died during the decade between censuses and consequently missed]. My great-grandmother, Rhoda Harmon Lineberry, appears to have been their 5th child. Because I named the children in the blog about her husband, I won’t list them again.

Delila died at about 68 years of age on November 5, 1888 in Hillsville, Virginia. The listed cause of death was dropsy, an old term for edema, which could have been a symptom of several health issues, including heart failure. She was buried in the Melton Cemetery in the Mount Zion Community of Carroll County; there is a FindAGrave memorial for her with some details and a photo of her headstone as well as the marriage permission and bond.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.



52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #23 – Patrick Harmon

Patrick Harmon was my great-grandmother’s grandfather or my third great-grandfather. The further back in time I go the less documentation is available and what I know and am likely to learn grows scant.

It is believed that Patrick, who was born in Maryland in about 1790, was the son of Joseph Harmon; the name of his mother is not known. In my blog about his son, Thomas Benjamin Harmon, I postulated he married sometime before 1818 to a woman who died sometime before 1822. He was listed in 1813, when he was about 23, on the Grayson County, Virginia tax lists as having 1 horse on which he paid a tax of $.16 in addition to his tithe [tax]. The other Harmons who were listed on the tax list [meaning they were over 21] were Joseph and John, Sr. John had 3 horses and paid $.48 cents in addition to his tithe while Joseph had no horses and paid no tax, which likely meant he was beyond the age where he was required to pay taxes.

There is an 1820 census for Joseph Harmon that appears to have two families living together: an older couple [over 45] and a younger couple [26 to 44] and a male child under 5. I suspect these were Joseph and his wife and Patrick, his first wife, and Thomas Benjamin.

Patrick married Mary “Polly” Melton in Grayson County sometime between September 16, 1822 when a marriage bond was posted and December 26, 1822 when the marriage certificate was returned. Patrick’s 1822 marriage is an indication his first wife died, perhaps in childbirth at the birth of Joseph in 1821 or 1822.

The 1830 census for Grayson County for Patrick’s household suggests a family of a husband and wife, four sons and one daughter. Because it is a tic mark census, the only information is the age and gender of the people living together. Patrick’s oldest son Thomas married in 1838 so for the 1840 census,the tic marks reflected a family of a husband, wife, five sons and three daughters.

Dates on a fairly recent headstone indicate Patrick was widowed a second time when Polly died in 1849. Her death is supported by the 1850 Carroll County census that has no mature female adult in the household. The change of county from Grayson to Carroll County reflects the creation of Carroll County out of a part of Grayson County in 1842. Patrick (60) was listed as a farmer with property valued at $500; six of his children still living at home were enumerated: Elizabeth (25), William (21), Rebecca (14), Nancy (10), Wilson (7) and Polly (5). Thomas, Joseph and James had married and established homes of their own.1850Patrick died in 1857 and is buried in the Melton Cemetery in the Mount Zion Community of Carroll County. Someone in recent times has placed a double headstone there for Patrick and Mary; a photo of the headstone was uploaded to their FindAGrave memorials by Donna Sutphin Armentrout. HARMON Patrick & Mary Polly MELTON FAG HS


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #22 – Thomas Benjamin Harmon

As is often the case with ancestors, I have more questions than I have answers with regard to my great-great-grandfather Thomas Benjamin Harmon. Here’s what I know and how I know it:

1. He was my great-grandmother Rhoda Harmon Lineberry’s father. The 1850 census lists Rhoda in that family. Additionally, a Virginia marriage index for Rhoda lists her parents as T. and D. Harmon [Thomas and Delilah].

2. He was born in Virginia, probably in Grayson County. Censuses for 1850, 1870 and 1880 all confirm his Virginia birth. His father’s records beginning in 1822 reference Grayson County.

2. He married Delilah Davis August 23, 1838 in Grayson County, Virginia. Although marriage indexes list these details, Martha Fontaine Patterson uploaded a digital photocopy of the marriage license dated August 15, 1838 in which Thomas and his father posted a marriage bond.

3. His father was Patrick Harmon. Patrick was the name of the co-signer on the above-mentioned marriage license. Although that document does not provide evidence that Patrick was his father, Thomas’ second marriage application reinforces that interpretation by naming Patrick Harmon as his father.

4. Based on the 1850 and 1870 census, it would appear Thomas and Delilah had at least eleven children: Sarah, Mary “Polly”, Elizabeth, Nancy, Rhoda [my great-grandmother], Alexander, Joseph, Daniel, Henry Coulson, Thomas J., and Joseph Clark.

5. Thomas probably served as a private in the 51st Virginia Infantry, Company K, of the Confederate Army. Although I have not found his name listed in the CSA soldier record cards or roster lists, his widow [Margaret Mabe Harmon] applied to the War Department for and received a CSA headstone to place on his grave. HARMON Thomas Benjamin CSA Headstone App Melton Cemetery6. In November 1888 when Thomas was about 70, he was widowed when his wife Delilah died. The Virginia Death and Burials Index as well as Delilah’s tombstone provide support for this information.

7. He married Margaret Mabe on November 24, 1890 when he was about 72 years old; this marriage is reported in the Virginia Marriage Index.

8. Thomas and Margaret had three children: William Early, George Benjamin and Laura Louvenia.

9. Thomas died October 17, 1898, as listed in the headstone application above.

10. He lived most of his life in the same general area of Grayson, Carroll and Wythe Counties in Virginia based on census records from 1840, 1850, 1870, 1880 as well as burial records. The missing 1860 census, of course, could be an indication he was away from the area during some of those years. His father-in-law and at least one brother-in-law moved to Ohio for a few years but I have not found records of Thomas having joined in that adventure.

The records above cover a basic framework for Thomas’ life but two important details remain evasive – his birth date and the name of his mother. The evidence available for interpretation would be the 1850 census, which listed him as 32 [1818]; the 1870 census, which listed him as 51 [1819]; the 1880 census, which listed him as 60 [1820]; and the 1890 marriage license, which listed his birth year as 1822. Based on the census records, his birth year was most likely sometime around 1819. The date reported on the marriage license might be explained by a slightly prideful deception – his new wife was approximately 30 years his junior. During these years of our country’s history, births were not required or recorded unless in church minutes or family Bibles, or perhaps in wills or pension applications, so an actual date will not likely be uncovered.

Even though the license for Thomas’ marriage to Margaret listed his mother as Polly Harmon, the range of date possibilities for his birth leaves in question the full name of his mother. Thomas’ father, Patrick Harmon, married Mary “Polly” Melton on December 26, 1822. If Thomas were born in 1818, 1819 or 1820, Polly Melton Harmon was not likely his mother. On the other hand, if he were born in 1822 as listed on his second marriage record, he might perhaps have been the son of Patrick and Polly [albeit an early birth based on the marriage date].

The consistency of birth dates over the period from 1850 through 1880 lends credence to the earlier date for his birth, which would indicate Patrick had been married before his marriage to Polly Melton. At the time of the 1822 marriage, Patrick was about 32 and Polly 30, which would lend support for there being time for an earlier marriage. Unfortunately, thus far I have not found any records to support a name or date for such a marriage.

So, for now, I have his mother listed as an unknown woman who married Patrick Harmon prior to 1818 and died prior to 1822.

Thomas was buried in the Melton Cemetery as was Delilah [the photo below was uploaded to FindAGrave by Donna Sutphin Armentrout]. HARMON Thomas B. FAG HS


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.