52 Ancestors #29 – Edith F. McCarter Collins

My 3rd great-grandmother was Edith F. Collins, nee McCarter. She was born about 1789 to John McCarter and Amy Evans, probably in South Carolina. She married John M. Collins sometime before 1808.

The 1810 census for John and Edith listed them with two female children under 10: S. Ann and Judah. Her father, John McCarter, was enumerated six lines down from John and Edith.1810 censusThe 1820 census for John and Edith shows tic marks for the same two daughters and four sons born between 1810 and 1820, plus three males born between 1805 and 1810. Since there were no males listed in the 1810 census, I cannot account for those three boys and they could have been siblings to either John or Edith or boys from the community earning keep by working. The four sons were Alexander McCarter, Thomas, William F., and John Whitten. 1820 censusThe 1830 census was clearly a mixture of two households so the tic marks could not be effectively pulled apart. We know from other records that Edith and John had three more sons: Richard, Joel, and James B. They also had three more daughters:  Edy, Amy and Sarah. Amy was my great-great-grandmother.

The family moved from Spartanburg in about 1834 and the 1840 census in Fayette County was another record of a blended household of multiple adults and young children and the 1850 mortality census listed both John and Edith with Edith dying in May of 1850 in Fayette County, Alabama. Although it is assumed she is buried at the Old Mount Lebanon Cemetery, there is no headstone to mark the location.


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 # 28 – John M. Collins, Jr.

John M. Collins, Jr. was my 3rd great grandfather. John was born about 1784 in South Carolina, probably Spartanburg County. I have not yet found documentation as to his parents although a number of family trees list his father as John Collins, Sr.; that may be logical from today’s mindset, but many times in earlier generations a younger person in a community with the same name as an older person in the community would be called junior to differentiate him from the older man even if they were not father and son. Additionally, John Collins, Sr. had a son named John who was referred to as John ‘Jack’ Collins the bachelor.

John married Edith F. McCarter sometime prior to 1808. The 1810 census for Spartanburg listed their family unit as 1 male 26-44, 1 female 26-44 and 2 females under 10, plus one slave. Their neighbors included a number of the surnames of families who would later join them in moving from Spartanburg to Fayette County, Alabama: Loftis, Ballenger and Pennington, along with Edith’s father, John, and her brother, Alexander McCarter.

The 1820 Spartanburg census for John Collins shows the family now had seven male children [probably sons] with the same two daughters as in 1810 plus one adult male between 26 and 44 and one adult female between 26 and 44. They also now had one male slave and two female slaves.

Their oldest daughters S. Ann Collins and Judah Collins were both married by the 1830 census. S. Ann married David Loftis about 1825 and Judah married my 4th great-grandfather, William J. Willis, in Spartanburg County about 1829.

The 1830 Spartanburg census seems to have a blended family [these are tic mark census records so all you have are notations of males and females within certain age categories]. There is a male and female between 40 and 50 [John would have been about 46 and Edith about 41], but there is also a male between 30 and 40 and a female between 20 and 30. There are census records available for the first two daughters under their husband’s names, which would account for their two older daughters and their sons would not be older than 20.  Two of the older sons are not enumerated in this census and their are two more younger sons. There are five females enumerated I cannot account for by known names; these may be children of the younger couple.

The Collins family were members of the Holly Springs Baptist Church of Spartanburg County.  The church apparently misplaced their constitution and set up a committee to rewrite them. A report was presented with the new constitution on November 7, 1834; John was a member of that committee. Following the constitution was a list of the members, including a number who were being dismissed by letter to move to another church. Those members included: John Collins, Thomas Collins, John W. Collins, William F. Collins, Alexander McCarter Collins, and Edy Collins, as well as several Ballenger family members. This record would indicate the general time frame of the move from Spartanburg to Fayette County, Alabama

1840 censusThe 1840 census for Fayette County, Alabama lists the J. M. Collins family with 16 members with ages for the two older male and female adults between 50 and 60 and the remaining 14 with ages ranging between under 5 up to about 29 – an obvious blended family.

On a trip to Fayette County in 2010, a cousin drove us by the land where John and Edith Collins had their farm after their move to Alabama. After turning left off State Highway 107 onto Old Gin Road [the Old Mount Lebanon Baptist Church Cemetery is located on the right side of the road about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to the first road; take the curve to the left and their old farm property is on the left [marked by a red ‘x’].Collins Land

The known children of John and Edith Collins were: S. Ann Collins Loftis, Judah Collins Willis, Alexander McCarter Collins, Thomas Collins, William F. Collins, John Whitten Collins, Richard Collins, Edith Collins, Joel Collins, Amy Collins Willis, James B. Collins and Sarah F. Collins Graham. After the death of Judah Collins Willis, their daughter Amy Collins married her sister’s husband and they had one son, James Franklin Willis, my great-great-grandfather.

The 1850 census included a Mortality Census asking people to list anyone who had died within the year from June 1849 to June 1850. That census lists the death of both John and his wife, Edy; Edy in May 1849 of an unknown illness of 8 months and John in August 1849 of a fever he’d had for fourteen days. [Most family trees list John’s death as August 1850, but the census records were effective June 1, 1850 so had he been alive in June 1850, he would not have been listed in the mortality census but would rather have been listed in the regular 1850 federal census.] In addition to month and cause of his death, the mortality census also affirms he and Edy were born in South Carolina and tells us that John was a wagon maker.1850 mortalityNo records of their burials have been found but due to their previous membership in the Holly Springs Baptist Church and the Willis family’s affiliation with the Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, in addition to some family tradition, it is believed they are buried at Old Mount Lebanon Baptist Church Cemetery on Old Gin Road which was just a short distance from their home and which is located just to the south east of the green square on the map above  Old Gin Road.


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 #27- Amy Turner Keithley

My mother’s maternal grandfather’s mother was Amy Turner Keithley. Amy was born Friday, May 15, 1835, in Sharon, Hamilton, Ohio to Elisha Turner and Sarah Morse. Sharon was eventually incorporated into the town of Sharonville, which is a part of the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area.

The family was still in Ohio for the 1840 census but by the 1850 census, Amy and her parents were enumerated in New Diggings, Lafayette, Wisconsin where her dad was a miner. Amy married Enoch Keithley on August 29, 1852 in New Diggings. We had a difficult time finding a marriage record because the name was recorded by the court clerk based on the way it sounded. The ending ‘k’ sound of Enoch’s first name apparently meshed together with the beginning ‘k’ of his last name and the clerk recorded the name as Enoch Ethley. Amy’s name also morphed into something the clerk thought he heard – Emma Turner rather than Amy Turner.

Amy and Enoch had three sons: Joseph Henry (1853), Lewis Owen (1855) and Arthur H. (1857) and by the 1860 census had relocated a few miles away in Shullsburg, Wisconsin, which is also in Lafayette County. They were living near Amy’s brother, George, and his wife and both her husband and her brother were listed as farmers.

The county was in the midst of a great civil unrest and in November 1861 and her husband, Enoch, enlisted in the Union Army. He left shortly after that and died at Shiloh, Tennessee in April 1862 leaving Amy a widow with three small boys: 9, 7 and 5.

As was the case for most widows, Amy married again; she married Thomas Burgess on October 19, 1862 in Shullsburg, Wisconsin. They had a daughter named Edith in 1864. Unfortunately, the marriage to Thomas was not very long-lived; he left the marriage and Amy filed for divorce. She took back her former married name, which she also applied to her daughter Edith, who seems to have been called Sarah in early records.

Her parents and brothers relocated from Wisconsin to Fulton County, Illinois and Amy and her four children joined in the move. Life was likely quite difficult for a widow with four children, evidence of which can be seen in the 1870 census. Amy and her daughter were enumerated together, but each of Amy’s sons was enumerated with a separate family; the boys were likely working on these farms for their keep. Joseph and Lewis were both living in the same town as their mother but Arthur was living in the nearby county of Tazewell, living with a family that appears to be non-related non-neighbor.

By the 1880 census, Amy and her daughter were living with her oldest son, Joseph. Lewis had moved to Nebraska and Arthur to Peoria. Sometime in the mid 1880s, Joseph and his family moved to Missouri while Amy and Edith stayed in Illinois. Edith married Harold Lee Davidson in 1891 and Amy was enumerated in Lewistown, Illinois with the Davidson family for the 1900 census. Lewistown was in the same county as Fairview but a few miles away.

By the 1910 census, Amy was living in Peoria, Illinois with her son, Arthur, and his family. The 1910 census for her daughter, Edith, indicated a disrupted family. Edith and her son were living without her husband and she stated she was the mother of two children, one deceased; which means during the decade between 1900 and 1910 she had another child who didn’t live very long [the older son was enumerated in the census]. I have been unable to find a birth or death record for the child.

Amy’s oldest son, my great-grandfather, died in Joplin in 1911 and Amy died on May 16, 1912. She is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Lewistown, Fulton, Illinois. Her daughter, who died in 1926, is buried beside her. 5-4-2008 Lewistown Oak Hill Cemetery Amy Keithley


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





Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Father’s Mother’s Patrilineal Line

It’s Saturday night – time for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. The question tonight is about my father’s mother’s patrilineal line – who was your father’s mother’s father … and his father’s father’s father as back as I can go. Then name my father’s mother’s male siblings followed by any known living male descendants [to see who might be available to provide a YDNA sample].

My father’s mother was Mellie Jane Welch Willis (1879-1938). She was born in Moore’s Bridge, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama to William Thomas Welch (1860-1939) and Mary Monroe ‘Mollie’ Sanford (1857-1931).

Mellie’s patrilineal line was:

  1. William Thomas Welch (1860-1939), born in Fayette County, Alabama
  2. Robert Welch (1828-1961), born in South Carolina
  3. Elisha ‘Eli’ Welch (1790-1853), born in South Carolina

Mellie’s brothers were:

  1. James William (1881-1955)
  2. Nathan Asa (1883-1975)
  3. Jessie Ellis (1888-1978

Mellie’s nephews or grandnephews with the Welch surname known or believed to still be living:

  • James Larry Welch
  • William ‘Lanny’ Welch
  • Robert Gerald Welch
  • Nathan Warren Welch
  • Robert Welch
  • Larry G. Welch


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #26 – Charles Davis

Charles Davis is my 4th great-grandfather on my mother’s side [Virginia Lineberry > Jacob Lineberry > Rhoda Harmon > Delila Davis > Morris Davis > Charles Davis]. I knew nothing about him other than his and his wife’s name, a birth date and an approximate death date and location. Early spellings of the last name were Davies.

Ancestry.com has recently added a group of Quaker records to its collection and I had noted some references to Quakers with regards to the Davis family so this week I started searching the Quaker records. I found not only Charles but his parents and his siblings in those records. I then found a book on Google Books [with a large amount of preview] by the name of “Davis: a Quaker family: Charles Davies, the immigrant to Pennsylvania about 1725, from there to North Carolina, his wife, Hannah Matson, and their descendants.”

Culled from the book, an article on the Flower Swift Militia of Montgomery County, Virginia, some pages from a book written by Carroll County, Virginia native John Perry Alderman called, “Carroll the Settlements: 1765 to 1815,” and a number of different Quaker record books, I learned a good bit about Charles Davis.

Charles was born in Cane Creek, Orange, North Carolina on April 5, 1759 to Dr. Thomas Davis and Elizabeth Knox. He was the oldest of twelve children. His parents had migrated from Pennsylvania to Delaware to Virginia to North Carolina along with several of their Chester County, Pennsylvania neighbors, all of whom were Quakers.

When a Quaker family wanted to move to a new location, they approached their local Preparative Meeting or Monthly Meeting to ask for a certificate of removal to another meeting location. That certificate would then be presented to the new location. These requests were recorded in the record books, which is how this family was able to be tracked.

About 1771, the Davis family along with several other families from the Cane Creek and New Garden Monthly Meetings moved to what was Montgomery County, Virginia [Montgomery included present day Wythe County, Tazewell County, Montgomery County, Grayson County and Caroll County] in the vicinity of Chestnut Creek.

Charles married Miriam Carr at Tom’s Creek Meeting in Surry County, North Carolina. The record below names the couple as well as their parents and gives the marriage date of December 1, 1777.DAVIS, CARR, COFFIN, BRYANT, LOVETT Quaker Marriage Record 1779-1801, Guilford Co. NC

There was also a record of their approach to their congregation stating their intention to marry. They were assigned two people to interview them so as to judge their readiness for marriage. A report from the two was presented at the next monthly meeting and a marriage scheduled. The wedding ceremony was held at the monthly meeting and twelve of the people who attended signed the record book as witnesses. DAVIS Charles & CARR Miriam Quaker Marriage Record 1779 Dec 1 New Garden Men's Meeting Minutes“Whereas Charles Davis son of Thos. Davis of the County of Megomery in Virginia, & Miriam Carr Daughter of Thos. Carr of Surry Count in North Carolina, having Declared their Intentions of Marriage with each other before Several monthly meetings of the people Called Quakers held at New Garden in Guilford County N.C. according to teh good order used amonthy them; and nothing appearing to obstruct were left to their Liberty to accomplish their Marriage according to good order the which they did on the 1st day 12 mo 1779 at Toms Creek in the Presents of many witnesses as 12 of whose names are here incerted, to wit:
Sarah Beales                                         Thos. Davis
Patience Beales                                    Thos. Carr
Mary Carson                                         Jacob Jackson
Miriam Carr                                           Thos. L. Beales
Tom Hiatt                                               Wm. Hiatt
Elizabeth Jackson                                 Bowater Beales”
Charles and Miriam moved to Washington County, Tennessee; I don’t have sufficient information to know when they moved but he was counted there in an 1814 and 1819 tax list. Some family historians suggest he died there about 1823.


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