My 4x great-grandmother, Kerenhappuch “Happy” Stone watched the sun rise from her home on Cypress Creek, Franklin County, North Carolina. Today, as I wait for the sun to peek from behind Storm Fred’s cloud cover, I wonder if Happy dreaded heavy rains like the ones the National Weather Service is predicting for my region. Would storms flatten corn and wheat patches? Would gullies fill and create streams meandering through cypress groves, causing havoc for boars and sows and piglets in their woodlots? Would Cypress Creek overflow as it headed toward the Tar River?
Happy worked her widow’s dower after her husband, Merritt’s death in 1823. Not alone, mind you. Her son, and my 3x great-grandfather, William G Stone, worked the adjoining 200 acres on the west side of Cypress Creek. Grandkids William, Catherine, Mary, and Julia–my 2x great-grandmother–were companions and helpers, no doubt. Hired white farmers like Jenkins Brazel and George Davis, and enslaved farmers like Nancy and Crawford watered horses, took cows out and brought them back in at night, slaughtered hogs, hoed rows of corn and potatoes, harvested the wheat, mended fences and roofs and chimneys.
In 1845 that village of people grew to include Happy’s granddaughter. Julia and Anderson Strickland purchased 144 acres, including the 95 acre widow’s dower, just a year after being married. I suppose the couple built their own homestead and began housekeeping shortly after the January sale, farming and child-raising as generations before them had.
Deed from William B. Williams to Anderson Strickland 1-29-1845
This indenture made the 29 day of January in the year of our Lord 1845 between William B. Williams of the County of Nash of the first part and Anderson Strickland of the County of Wake of the second part both of the State of North Carolina. Witnesseth that the said William B. Williams bargained, and by these presents doth grant bargain sell and deliver to the said Anderson Strickland his heirs and assigns for ever a certain tract of land situate lying and being in the land of Bennet Gay, Washington Harris, and William T Minga containing one hundred and forty- four acres more or less all within the bounds above described with all and every appurtenances there unto belonging or in any wise appertaining. Subject nevertheless to the life time right of Happy Stone dower right it being about ninety five Acres and I do hereby covenant to and with the said A. Strickland that I have before the execution of this deed full right absolute and lawful authority to sell the said land and premises and agree hereby to warrant forever defend the right and title of the same to him the said A. Strickland his heirs and assigns forever in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
Signed and sealed and delivered William B. Wms (sic) seal In the presence of Wm. T. Minga and Louis P. Dunn
State of North Carolina
Franklin County–I, Young Patterson, clerk of the Court of please and Quarter sessions for the county aforesaid certify that the Execution of the within Deed is this day duly proven before me at my office by the oath of William T. Mingo a subscribing witness thereto therefore let it be Registered this the 12th day of September 1854. ~~Y. patterson CCC
The foregoing Deed is truly registered this 12th day of September A. D. 1854 ~~D. Young P. R.
Franklin County Deed Book #31, Volume 2, P. 366.