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Minor Surnames Transcriptions

Minor Details: A Pension Certificate, A Letter, & A Curious Descendant

Not long ago a cousin set out on a quest to determine the provenance of a Minor family heirloom–a sword, rumored to have belonged to John Pearson (Pierson) Minor. Some folks suggested to my cousin that the sword must be from the American Revolution.

But J. Pearson Minor was born in 1791, not even a twinkle in his parents’ eyes during the revolution, and his father, Abia (A-bye-ya) did not serve in either a state militia or the Continental army during that period. So the sword is not likely to be from the 18th century.

Family lore had it that Pearson Minor did serve during the War of 1812, and there is evidence to support that story among the contents of The Minor Satchel, a leather case filled with documents, notes, and ledgers that I inherited from my mother, Marilyn, who retrieved it from the attic of the Whiteley (PA) Home Farm before it was sold in the 1970s.

The Evidence

After the Civil War, Congress passed the Act of February 14, 1871 to establish a monthly pension for elderly, infirmed veterans who had served at least 60 days during the war with Britain in 1812-1815. An attorney acting on my great-great-great-grandfather’s behalf filed an application. On March 15, 1872 J. Jackson Purman wrote from his Waynesburg (PA) office:

Pearson Minor, Esq:

Dear Sir-I have at last succeeded in getting your claim adjusted and a Certificate issued, which has been sent to your Post Office. Along with the Certificate you will find certain other papers, which you are to sign and have witnessed, and be sworn to, and upon these being sent to the agent, who pays the money at Pittsburg, you will receive your Pension. As these papers require great care in their execution, you had better come up to Waynesburg to execute them if you are able. If you are not able, go before your nearest squire and execute them. The Certificate you will keep in your own possession- You need not trouble yourself about any fee, as I will receive my fee from the Government.

Yours Sincerely,

J. Jackson Purman

Included in this set of papers is Form No. 26 from the Department of the Interior, Pension Office, Washington D. C. An office clerk used a black ink pen to fill in the pension certificate number ________

13669

and the pension agency _________________ charged with making the $8 a month payment

Pittsburgh

At the bottom of the page, the worker wrote the name of the pensioner

To Pearson Minor, Whiteley, Green Co. Pa.

and stamped the Commissioner’s name, J. H. Baker, before putting the one page document into a Department of the Interior official envelope and hand addressing it to Pearson Minor. This notification left Washington, D.C. on March 12.

PENNSYLVANIA, Plate 14 from Mathew Carey’s General Atlas, Philadelphia 1814. Digitally accessed at 1810’s Pennsylvania Maps (http://www.mapsofpa.com/antiquemaps31.htm), 14 Nov 2021.

In addition to government form No. 26, the “Pension Papers” contain a voucher from 1872 and another from 1874; an envelope from the Pittsburgh Pension Agent, James McGregor, that once contained a voucher; and the most important document of all–THE pension certificate #13669.


Transcription:

Department of the Interior

War of 1812–Survivor’s Pension

I certify that in conformity with the Law of the United States, approved February 14, 1871, Pearson Minor, late a Corpl (Corporal) of Captain T. J. Seeley’s Company Pa Militia is inscribed on the Pension List Roll of the Pittsburg (sic) Penna, Agency, at the rate of eight dollars per month , to commence on the fourteenth day of February, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one. No sale, transfer, or mortgage of any description whatever, of the whole or any part of the pension payable in virtue of this certificate , is of any legal or binding force against either the pensioner or the United States.

Given at the Department of the Interior, this 9th day of March, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two,


Back to the heirloom sword

My cousin received the sword from his father, my uncle and great-great-grandson of J. Pearson Minor. These documents strongly suggest that the sword was used by our patriarch during the War of 1812 when he served as a corporal with Captain T. J. Seeley’s Pennsylvania Volunteers, just as family lore suggested.

What remains a mystery is more about the pension, itself. Why did Pearson need a pension when he had hundreds of acres of land, and a son with whom he lived. On the surface it would seem that the Minors had the assets and labor necessary to care for Pearson, even if he was an infirmed, eighty-one year old.

Those bits of data–and perhaps more information about Minor’s military life–could be in the pension application itself, a document that resides in the National Archives, Washington, D. C. on microfilm M313, Department of Veteran Affairs, Record Group #15.

Yes. You guessed it. I have submitted a request for a copy of this record and eagerly await an archivist’s reply.

More Minor Details to come.


Source:

Minor, John Pearson (Pierson) Minor (Whiteley, Greene County, PA). Pension Certificate #13669 and assorted documents, 9 March 1872. Privately held by D. Kay Strickland, [address for private use] Pennsylvania, 2021.

Categories
Strickland Surnames Transcriptions women's history

Amanuensis Day: The Last Will and Testament of Happy Stone

North Carolina, wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 for Happy Stone, Franklin County; accessed digitally on ancestry.com, 20 August 2021.

On a Tuesday morning in March three springs before her death, Happy Stone sat with H. H. Davis and Robert Mannas and dictated the terms of what should happen to her farm and estate upon her death. On 8 April 1853 Kerenhappuch departed this world, and at the 1853 June court her last will and testament was proven and recorded in Franklin County (NC) Probate Records, Book IV, pages 330-331.

In the name of God. amen. I Happy Stone of the State of North Carolina and County of Franklin considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence, but being of sound mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this to be my last will and Testament in manner and form following. To wit-

  • Item 1. It is my will and desire that this body of mine be decently interred and that all of my just debts be paid after my death.
  • Item 2. It is my will and desire that after my death that all the property of every description that I may possess at the time of my death be sold and equally dived (sic) as follows, (To wit) I give one sixth part after paying all expenses to my son William Stone. One sixth part I give to my son McCullar Stone, one sixth part I give to my son Washington Stone, one sixth part I give to my son Elias Stone, One sixth part I give to my daughter Mary Ann Howell, one sixth part i give to my grandson John Axum (?) Jenkins–but should he die before he arrives of age of twenty one, it is my will that the part left to him be equally divided between William, McCullar, Washing (sic), and Elias Stone and Mary Ann Howell and their Heirs.
  • Lastly I nominate and appoint my son William Stone my sole Executor to this my last Will and Testament. In testimony of which I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 19th March A.D. 1850.

signed, seal, and acknowledged Happy HER MARK X Stone

H. H. Davis, Robert Mannas

Because she had already sold her land to my 2x great-grandparents, Anderson and Julia Strickland, what remained were debts settled with the proceeds from the sale of her tools, furniture, livestock, foodstuffs, crops already planted, and two human beings, Nancy and Crofford*.

But that is a story for another day.

*alternative spellings: Crawford, Craff, Croford.


Related posts:

Amanuensis Day: Happy Stone’s Land Goes to the Next Generation

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Maps Strickland Surnames Transcriptions

Amanuensis Day: Happy Stone’s Land Goes to the Next Generation

Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of North Carolina, 1823; digitally accessed from the UNC library, North Carolina Maps, 18 Aug 2021, (https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/ncmaps/id/178).

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.

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Random Thoughts Ruminations

Keeper of Family Lore or Family Historian?

I listened to a fascinating CAFE live conversation between historians Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman the other day. At minute 8 or so they begin to discuss the difference between journalists and historians.

Journalists, they point out, follow the story; they look for facts and find sources to deliver the story. Historians look for facts in primary sources–art, documents, records, newspapers–to find patterns in the past that created change, tracking a story but not always knowing what that story is going to turn out to be.

Journalists tell us what happened. Historians ask “who cares?” and “so what?”

it’s a case of both/and

When my dad declared me “Keeper of the Family Lore” I had no idea how deeply I would travel into the past. The facts led to questions and the questions led to course work and books, which led to more course work and more books. Some 15 years later, I am a citizen archivist and genealogical antiquarian; a history enthusiast and translator of the family lore.

I am drawn to historian folks like Drs. Richardson Cox and Freeman because they have been instrumental in helping me see patterns in the present BECAUSE of their study of patterns in the past. And they motivate me to apply the techniques and processing skills of the historian to find patterns in my genealogical stories.

This blog gives me a platform to connect with other history loving folks. Sometimes I am simply an antiquarian, posting names and dates and timelines for the sheer love of detail. But the posts I most enjoy writing are those with a rich narrative around the facts that answer the “who cares” and “so whats” about my family’s relationships and events.

In this moment I am striving to be a part of a larger conversation that historians are having about our Civil War and Reconstruction era, and how we can use what the nation learned then during this current backlash against expansive democracy. It is a process that is both intriguing and humbling, leading to an ever more liberating understanding of the history behind my family’s lore.

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Good Reads

What I’m Reading: Troubled Refuge

When George Parker decided to risk everything and flee the bondage of a Murfreesboro (NC) plantation for the safety of the Union Army encampment in Suffolk, Virginia he didn’t know how his story would end. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was a military order, establishing George’s status as “not slave.” But the proclamation came no where close to defining a new status for Black Americans. Refugees leaving slavery were stateless, neither property nor US citizens.

Chandra Manning’s book, Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War, asks the reader to consider that this moment of freedom-seeking was not just a story about who catalyzed emancipation, but about a process of emancipation, in which refugees had to navigate and shape military and civil statutes that defined their identity and relationship to the US federal government. And no discussion of emancipation can transpire without a deep dive into how the concept of citizenship–and who could claim it–transformed as a result of the war efforts of black Americans.

Early in the book, Manning reminds us that historically wartime emancipations did not result in permanent freedom nor had they led to a reduction in the practice of slavery. In spite of attempts during the American Revolution and in the War of 1812, the presumptive status of black Americans throughout antebellum America remained “slave,” not freed, not citizen. This ideological barrier enabled white America–north and south–to accept the fact that the federal government had a relationship with white men only. Thus, the United States was a slave nation on the international stage until Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ruptured that idea, and established a powerful relationship between the federal government and Black Americans.

It was but one step toward altering the place of non-whites in the American consciousness.

Black refugees hoped for more than permanent emancipation. In serving the Army as soldiers, grooms, teamsters, ditch diggers, spies, cooks, seamstresses, laundresses, and nurses, they sought to lay claim to citizenship, and receive the permanent protection of the federal government in securing their rights to mobility, family, jobs with wages, and access to courts. Becoming indispensable to the Union victory was another step in altering the American consciousness.


For emancipation to become permanent and a pathway to citizenship, military authority had to be transformed into civil authority.

It wasn’t until December of 1865, months after the war had ended and President Lincoln had been assassinated, that the federal government codified the abolition of slavery in the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution, the ultimate civil authority. It would be another two and a half years before the 14th Amendment established equal protections under the law and citizenship rights.

I revisit the story of George Parker with renewed appreciation for the dangers he faced and the aspirations that buoyed his journey out of slavery.

If reading history isn’t your thing, I strongly recommend watching Dr. Manning’s interview with the National Museum of civil War Medicine.


Chandra Manning, Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War; Vintage Books: New York, 2016.

“Troubled Refuge: A Conversation with Dr. Chandra Manning of Georgetown University”; National Museum of Civil War Medicine Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvN7ZR9Ssg8), 11 Feb 2021.