52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #42 – Elizabeth Wilkes

Another of my 3rd great-grandmothers on the my mothers side was Elizabeth Wilkes Smith. Little is known of Elizabeth other than the unsubstantiated report that her maiden name was Wilkes and that she was the wife of Wyatt Tansel Smith. Some family historians have a marriage date for Elizabeth and Wyatt of February 14, 1807 in Granville County, North Carolina; however, none of them has listed or provided a source for that date and I have not yet found any documentation to support it.

An 1820 census record for Wiat Smith in Guilford County, North Carolina listed the family unit and one adult male, one adult female, two males under 10, five females under 10 and one female between 10 and 20. I am currently aware of the name of only one of the sons: Allen Journal Smith (1815). The names of the daughters were Gilly Ann (1807), Piety Thomas (my 2nd great-grandmother born about 1810), Prudence (1812), Martha (1815), Beda Elsy (1818) and Jacksy Jane (1819).

1820The 1830 census was for Grayson County, Virginia, which indicated they had moved from North Carolina sometime between 1820 and 1830, probably closer to the later date because tax lists didn’t include Wyatt until after 1830. Another son was born between 1825 and 1830 – Wyatt (1828). There were tick marks for seven females and the oldest, Gilly Ann, had married in 1827, which means two additional females were added. I do not currently know their identities.1830The 1840 census, still in Grayson County, indicated the older children had left the household and both Wyatt and a wife [not identified by name] were still living. The oldest and unidentified son had either died or established his own household and Piety Thomas and Martha married, accounting for the five daughters and two sons still at home.1840 The 1850 and 1860 census records can be seen on the blog about Wyatt, which do list Elizabeth by name and by that time none of the children were still residing at home.

No birth, marriage, death, burial, land or probate records have as yet been located for Elizabeth, so all that is known about her is her name and the names of some of her descendants.

_________________

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

Advertisements

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #41 – Wyatt Tansel Smith – Miller and Wheelwright

Another 3rd great-grandfather on my mother’s side [there are eight of them all total] was Wyatt Tansel Smith. Wyatt was born in North Carolina about 1788. An 1820 census record showed him living in Guilford County, North Carolina along with his wife, two sons and six daughters.

The overwhelming majority of my ancestors were farmers so any time I find another occupation listed, I am interested to learn more. The 1840 census had a breakdown of what the people in Wyatt’s household did and although there was only one adult male, their were tickmarks for both Agriculture and Manufacturing. The 1850 census listed his occupation as miller, which would have been considered a type of manufacturing, at least for census purposes. 1850 Miller

A grain or grist miller was someone who ground grain between stones, which would turn wheat or corn into flour or meal. A sawmill miller was one who worked with lumber. Since the 1860 census indicated Wyatt was a wheelwright – one who made wheels from wood – it may be more likely that Wyatt’s mill was a sawmill rather than a grist mill, although there is an online article about Mabry’s Mill along the Blue Ridge Parkway that was a combination grist or grain mill, sawmill and wheelwright business, so Wyatt could have also been a jack-of-all-trades. 1860 wheelwright

Articles about the wheelwright trade indicated the successful wheelwright required “strength, ingenuity, and the talents of both a carpenter and a blacksmith. Precise measuring skills are mandatory.”(1) Because wheel making could be a two or three person job, the wheelwright may have worked with a blacksmith or other assistant to get the job done. The wheelwright was a tradesman who built or repaired wheels for carts or wagons.(2) In the early years, he may have cut his own lumber, which meant he had to understand the qualities of the different types of wood because different parts of a wheel had to endure different types of stresses and would need a different type of wood to endure and be a quality wheel. Eventually, wheelwrights began purchasing the lumber they would use rather than to cut their own.

In making wheels, the wheelwright began at the center with the hub to which he would attach and hand carved spokes, which would then be attached to a perfectly crafted and perfectly round outer wooden rim.

Wyatt is thought to have been the son of John “Pepper” Smith and Mary “Millie” English. Since an 1870 census for him has not been found, it is assumed he died between 1860 and 1870. No birth or death dates or place of burial are currently known.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. http://www.history.org/almanack/life/trades/tradewhe.cfm

2. http://tangledtrees.blogspot.com/2009/03/occupation-wheelwright.html

_________________

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