Sunday, September 30, 2012

Do You Know these Manchester Bowkers?

Margaret Ann Bowker

John Bowker
Elizabeth Bowker Thornton and Her Brother????
I have been lucky enough to have access to quite a few old photos. I know who most of the people are in the photos but there are a few that draw blanks.  I have seen sites where you can post you photos and hope that someone will see them and recognize the faces or places in the snapshot.  I thought I would just try posting some here in hopes that someone might  by chance identify some of these people.
In the above photos I have four Bowker siblings.  The Bowker family was living in Manchester, England.  Two of the children of William and Margaret Ann Banks Bowker immigrated to the Boston area prior to 1925.  The top photos are of Margaret Ann Bowker and her brother John Bowker of Manchester, England.  The bottom picture is Elizabeth Bowker, her daugher and one of her other brothers.  Who is he, James or William.  Where were they, he must have come from England to visit. Do you know William, John, James or Margaret Ann Bowker?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thornton Coat of Arms or Family Crest

If I were to Google (or use any other search engine) Thornton Family history a host of websites offering me a history of the family name complete with a family crest pops up.  Some of these sites such as "houseofnames" and "" will be more than happy to find your family coat of arms, for a price of course.  There are even sites which will make up a personal coat of arms from scratch just for you.
If you do a search for the Thornton family crest you will find a variety of coats of arms and family crests, but which one is yours?  I can remember as a child my Grandfather getting a very nice plaque with the Thornton family crest, we had it in the living room of our house. Nowadays you can buy coffee mugs, ties and tee shirts as well as wall plaques with the design proudly displayed.  But, is it really your family crest?  The answer is almost certainly no.
There really is no such thing as a family crest but the term has come to mean coat of arms.  A coat of arms was given to a man to use to identify himself.  This could only be passed to his sons.  His daughters would adopt their husbands coat of arms, but could not display them on a shield, she would display them on a lozenge (sort of a square turned on it's side).  According to the College of Arms in London who controls all coats of arms for England, Scotland and Wales,

 " there is no such thing as a 'coat of arms for a surname'. Many people of the same surname will often be entitled to completely different coats of arms, and many of that surname will be entitled to no coat of arms. Coats of arms belong to individuals. For any person to have a right to a coat of arms they must either have had it granted to them or be descended in the legitimate male line from a person to whom arms were granted or confirmed in the past."
In order to legitimately use any of the Thornton coat of arms you would have to find out who the original bearer was and trace  a direct line of descent. My family is descended from James Thornton a farmer/weaver from the Londonderry area of Ireland.  I rather doubt that he had a coat of arms and because we do not know who his ancestors were there is no way to trace a link to any man who might have had one. Of course there is no law that says you can't use one, but why would you want to use some other families heritage as your own.

As always comments are welcome.  If you enjoyed this article please Google plus it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Alfred B. Roberds of Buncombe and Gilmer

1835 Map showing Gilmer county
Alfred B. Roberds was born about 1808 in Buncombe County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Robert and Nancy Robards.  He, like his brothers, moved from North Carolina to Gilmer County, Georgia some time after the 1850 federal census. In 1835 the United States Government forcibly  removed the Cherokee Nation from Georgia and other southern states, thus freeing up the land for new white settlers.  This resettlement is known as the "Trail of Tears", a not so bright spot in American History.
Today the travel time from Ashville, NC to Elijay, GA is a little over 3 hours, a distance of about 160 miles.  In 1850, traveling in a Conestoga wagon and with all your livestock and family it took about 30 days.  There were no roads so they followed Indian and animal trails, crossed mountains and rivers with no bridges.  It was an arduous journey, but many families from Buncombe made the move, often in large groups.
Alfred, whose middle name was either Burton or Burgess,  married Nancy Deweese in Buncombe and they had at least 10 children. According to a book called "Annuals of Upper Georgia", Alfred B. was a pioneering Baptist and a slave owner, I guess it made sense at the time. Alfred died in 1858 in Ellijay, Georgia and Nancy sometime after 1860. Their children, like many others in the extended Roberds family, left Georgia for Texas and beyond. Because most of them left before the beginning of the Civil War they did not participate as did their male cousins who remained in Georgia.

The children of Alfred B. Roberds are as follows:

Garrett Alexander Roberds was born in Buncombe County about 1830. He married Elizabeth Kezzia Greer in Ellijay, Gilmer, Georgia.  They left Georgia after the 1870 census and were in Colorado by the 1880 census and in Phoeniz, AZ in 1900.  He died in 1907 and Kezzia died in 1912.  They had at least 11 children including Oscar Burton Roberts who was  deputy sheriff in Phoenix.

Elizabeth L. Roberds was born in Buncombe County about 1831 and married before the 1850 census John W. Pearcy.  They lived with her father in 1850 and moved to Gilmer Georgia when the family migrated.  In 1870 they lived "on Paloty Creek in Erath County, Texas".  She died in Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1916.

Gideon Overall Roberds was born about 1933 in Buncombe. In 1859 he married Jane Ester Weaver, step daughter of his uncle Pierce Roberds.  They were among the first to leave for Texas.  I cannot find them in the 1860 census and in 1870 they are Bosque, Texas. Their youngest child Martha was born in Texas in 1861. Gideon and family left Texas by the 1880 census and were in Las Animas Colorado. He died there in 1902.

Creed Fulton Roberds was born in Sept. 1834 in Buncombe, NC.  He married in Elijay, Georgia, Harriet E. Weaver, his uncle Pierce's step daughter and sister to his brother Gideon's wife Jane. They were in Texas in the early 1860's living on Paloty Creek in Erath in 1870. By 1880 he and his family were in Colorado, living in Delta County.  He died there sometime after 1900.

Nancy Carolina Roberds was born in Buncombe County.  She married William Peeples Milton in 1858 in Elijay.  He was a 1st Lt. in the Confederate Army.  After the war he was involved in politics in Elijay.  He was murdered in his home in 1870. After his death Nancy traveled to Erath Texas to join up with her brothers and sister.  She never remarried and died in Phoenix in 1924.

Louisa E. Roberds was born in Buncombe and married Jacob Wilton Piercy in Elijay Georgia in 1858.  They moved to Erath County Texas with her brothers in 1860.  She died there in 1920.

Laura Roberds was born in 1843 in Buncombe, she married Hiram Lafayette Ray in 1860 in Gilmer.  She died in 1864 in Erath, Texas.  She left behind two children, one an infant.  Their father Hiram died in 1877. The now orphaned children left Texas for Colorado to live with their uncle.

Alfred Burton Roberds my husbands ancestor will be on a separate page

Robert Henry Roberds was born in 1846 in Buncombe, NC.  He too moved with his brothers to Texas and Colorado.  Robert never married and died in Phoenix in 1924 the day after his sister Nancy.

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Pierce Roberds of Buncombe, NC and Gilmer, GA

Pierce Roberds was born in Buncombe County in about 1805.  His parents were Robert and Nancy Roberts of Buncombe County.  Pierce was married twice and most of his children were from his first marriage to Mary Caroline McKinney.  His second wife was a widow named Margaret Weaver, and she brought her own children into the marriage.  In 1850 the combined family lived in Buncombe, eventually many of the Weaver girls married Roberts boys and this closely knit unit moved to Gilmer, County Georgia with the other Roberts families. Most of the sons would participate in the Civil War, and some would die. The others migrated West to Texas and Colorado as did other Roberts families.  Pierce and Margaret would  remain in Georgia.  He died in 1877, she died before him in 1866.  Here are their combined children.

Charles McKinney Roberds was born Nov. 11, 1827 to Pierce and Mary. In 1850 he married Rebecca Jane Barnard.  The had 8 children, one born postumously. Charles was killed in action during the Civil War on 28 Sept 1864.

Levisa M. Roberds was born 19 Dec 1829. She married Samuel Franklin Williams in 1848 and they had at least 6 children.  She died Dec. 5, 1864.  Her widowed husband, Samuel, married Rebecca Barnard Roberds, the widow of Charles McKinney Roberds, Levisa's brother.

John M. Roberds was born in Buncombe around 1833.  He married Mary "Kate" Weaver, his step-sister before 1856.  They had 2 children.  John died, probably in 1865, trying to cross the Mississippi River, on their way to Texas.

Nancy Caroline Roberds
Nancy Caroline Roberds was born 16 Oct. 1835, she married Western R. Welch in Elijay, Georgia in 1858. Western served in the Confederate Army from Georgia.  They stayed in Elijay and did not migrate with the other family members. She died in 1911.

Pierce Adolphus Roberds was born about 1837.  He enlisted with the 11th Georgia and was captured at he Battle of Gettysburg.  He died in the POW camp at Point Lookout Maryland in Sept. of 1664. He never married.

Elbert Roberds was born about 1840 he also enlisted in the 11th Georgia.  This group was known as the Gilmer Boys.  He was discharged by the Surgeon for some type of disablity in 1862.  He is last found in the 1870 census living with his father and sister Nancy.

James Hardy Roberds was born about 1842 in Buncombe to Pierce and Mary.  He was also a Gilmer Boy, he  enlisted in 1861 and was last in service in 1864.  He married in Texas Mary Catherine "Kate" Berry. They lived in Granbury, Texas and later in Port Arthur.  He died sometime after 1920.

William Roberds was born about 1845.  In many family trees his middle name is Weaver, if this is the case that his mother is probably Margaret Weaver as apposed to Mary Caroline. William did not serve in the Civil War.  He married Fatima Banks from Elijay, Georgia.  They stayed in Gilmer County until after 1880 when they left for Colorado.  In 1900 they were in Shawnee, Oklahoma but by 1910 they were back in Colorado.  Fatima's sister Martha Jennie Banks married Junius Roberds, William's nephew.  Junius' father was John M. Roberds.  Fatima died in 1902, William was still alive in 1920.

Laura L. Roberds Dupree
Laura L. Roberds was born in Oct. 1847 in Buncombe County, she was the last of the Roberds children, her mother was Margaret Weaver.  Laura married James Dupree in 1875.  She lived in Gilmer County for the rest of her life.  She died in August 1911.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Augustus Clayton Roberds Buncombe, Gilmer and Texas

Augustus Clayton Roberds was born 6 October 1803 in Buncombe County, NC.  He married Mary Anderson in 1823, he was 20 and she 15.  He moved the family to Gilmer, Georgia by the 1850 census. He worked as a housepainter.  In 1868 a large group of Gilmer residents including many Roberds/Roberts families left Georgia and headed for Texas.  It is said that they left in May of 67 and arrived in September.  There was a significant loss of life, probably from Cholera and other diseases.  Neither Augustus nor his wife Mary survived the journey.  It is believed that they died somewhere around the Mississippi River in Louisana. This family kept the old spelling of the name: Roberds. Here are their children:

Elizabeth Caroline Roberds born 25 July 1824 in Buncombe, NC.  She married John Sitton in 1842 in Cherokee, Georgia.  They and their 8 children were part of the group headed for Texas.  She and four of her children died on they way.  Her husband John  made it to Nacogdoches, Texas.
Nancy Levisa Roberds born 27 Feb 1828 in Buncombe County.  She married John Kirby in Gilmer, Georgia.  Her husband is last found in the 1880 Gilmer census.  Her son James Hamilton Kirby moved to McClennan County, Texas and Nancy joined them there.  That would have been near the town of Waco. Nancy died in Texas in 1891.
Laura Delany Roberds was born 21 July 1832 in Buncombe, NC.  She married William Cox in Gilmer, Georgia in 1856.  William served in Company H in the 1st Georgia Infantry.  His rank was 1st Lt. I don't know what the cause of death was, but it was possibly war related, he died in 1865.  Laura died in Elijay, Gilmer, Georgia in 1886.  None of her children left Georgia.
Basil Manley Roberds born 19 May 1834.  supposedly killed in action during the Civil War.
Robert John Roberds born 1838 no info after 1850 census
Mary Ann Roberds born 24 July 1843 married John W. Greer in Gilmer, Georgia. They were in Elijay, Georgia until the 1870 census.  In 1880 they had made their way to Las Animas, Colorado, where some of their cousins had settled after moving on from Texas.  John died in 1902 and Mary Ann died in 1920 in Los Angles California.
Augustus Clayton Roberds, Jr. was born 23 July 1848.  He and his wife and family left Gilmer and settled in Fairfield in Freestone County, Texas. He and his wife Sarah Antonette Vaughn had at least 11 children, most who lived in the Fairfield area.
Lillie Aravilla Roberds
Lillie Aravilla Roberds was born in 1850, in 1869 she married Dr. James R. Johnson.  They left Gilmer and settled in Stilwell, Oklahoma.  She died in 1909.

Robert Gains Roberts and Mary "Polly" Deweese

Robert Gains Roberts was the son of Robert and Nancy Roberts.  According to the family bible of the Buckner family, Robert was born on Jan 14, 1795 and his wife Mary Deweese on Oct. 29, 1796. Mary was the daughter of the Rev. Garrett Deweese and Susanna Palmer. 
As with his father, not much is known about the life of Robert, and we get the names of his children from the settlement of his estate.  Robert died just about the same time as his father, on June 3rd 1840. His children went to court to try to settle his estate.  
His children were:

Gaines Roberts was born around 1816, he married Eliza Unknown.  In the 1850 census he and his family were in Cherokee, Georgia and in 1860 they were in Jerusalem, Pickens, Georgia.  This is last census I can find him in.  He is sometimes confused with another Gaines Roberts who lived and died in Buncombe, County.  That Gaines married Eliza Guthrie. 

Susanna Roberts born May 1817  married James A. Buckner and lived her life in Buncombe County.  She died in 1878.

Malinda Roberts born around 1820 married Robert Levi Ingle. He was born in March of 1820.  He served in the 60th NC infantry, Light Artillery and was captured after the Battle of Nashville in Dec. 1864. After the war, he and his family moved to Marion County, Arkansas.  The last census I can find them in is 1880.
RZ Roberts

Matilda Roberts born about 1821 married T.J. Morrison.  Cannot find them.

Levicia Robert was born around 1826 she married James W. Patterson.  They also moved to Marion County, Arkansas. Last found in the 1880 census.

Ninevah Roberts born around 1823 he married Malinda Harwood.  They lived in Buncombe County, NC. He served in the 2nd  North Carolina Mounted Infantry. Last found in Bull Creek, Madison County  NC.

Hannah Roberts  born about 1828 cannot find anything on her.

Thursey Roberts was born in 1832 she married Robert Pickens and spent her life in Buncombe, County.  She died in 1926. 

Robert Zimri was born 1836 he married Margaret Waters.  He served in the 11 Georgia Infantry. He died in 1902 in Elijay, Gilmer, Georgia.  

Robert Zemery Roberts
Robert Zimri Roberts
Garrett Monroe Roberts was born Aug. 1837, he was only 3 when his father died.  Garrett  married twice. His first wife was Nancy Caroline McCurry and second was Norah Unknown.   He enlisted and served with the North Carolina 5th Cavalry Battalion.  He eventually moved to Gilmer, Georgia.  Last found 1910 census in Tails Creek, Gilmer, Georgia.

Mary Deweese Roberts died in 1845.  her younger children lived with their older siblings. In her daughter Thursey's death Certificate her name was given as Elivira. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Robert Roberds of Buncombe, North Carolina

When I first joined I started my tree with the Roberts family.  They are my husband's ancestors and of course my son's but I have walked around for almost 25 years with Roberts as my name so I feel some attachment for these people.  The Roberts' were a fun family to research, they moved in large family  units, married their neighbors and were fairly easy to trace. The furthermost back in the family that I can go and provide genealogical proof is Robert Roberds.  I have seen his father given as William, but no proof or documentaion was offered, so I am leaving him out.  It was also interesting to follow the changing spelling of the name from Robards, Roberds to Roberts.

Buncombe, North Carolina

map of Buncombe County
The Roberds family lived for sometime in Buncombe County in North Carolina. I have never been there but I have heard that the country is beautiful. The county was formed in 1791 and named for a Revolutionary War Hero.  The county is in the western part of the state, the part that looks like a tail.  The terrain is mountainous and I'm not sure how good it is for farming.  According to Wikipedia the majority of the first settlers in Buncombe were Baptists.   The Roberts land was in the North part of the state above Weaverville.

Robert Roberds

Robert Roberds or Robards and sometimes Roberts is as far back as I can trace the family and this narrative begins with his end, or at least his will.  The will gives us the all important names of his wife and children, it also very graphically show that this was a family of slave owners. Given the date and location, this shouldn't come as a shock, but it does all the same. His will was written in Bumcombe County on 10 April 1840.The following family is named in his wife:
Wife:  Nancy to recieve all household and kitchen furniture, all his stock and three "negros viz Julia, Jaz, Larkin for her lifetime and when she dies they are to be sold and profits given to his children. Nancy also is to receive $100.00.
Son: Shelton to receive one "negro girl named Almina and her increase" forever
Son: Robert to receive one "negro boy named Persey forever" and one tract of land containing fifty acres joining Charles McKinney James A Buckner and said  son Robert, also another tract of land joining Wm Anderson and the Deweese   tract I give to my said son Robert
Son: John to receive ten dollars
Daughter: Louisa Ann Tatum to receive "one negro girl named Mariah for her with her increase forever, but I will that same girl be and remain with wife during her natural life except she see proper to give her up to Louisa Tatum, and my wifes act in keeping or giving up said girl is my will entirely
Son: William to receive ten dollars
Son: Augustus C. to receive "one note of hand I hold on himself for the amount of sixty dollars"
Son: Pierce to receive "one negro boy named Harry to have and possess forever"
Son: Alfred B to receive "one negro boy named Sam and one rifle to have and possess forever"
Grandsons: Robert Bertes Roberts and Andrew Martin Roberts to receive one tract of land where my son William now lives and one negro girl named Lally for them to possess forever but the land and the negro to remain under the control of the executors  of the will
Grandaughter: Elizabeth C. to receive "one negro girl named Mary to have and possess the same forever  to be under the control of the executors
Executors: sons Pierce and Alfred B.
Presented in Oct. 1840

Robert's wife Nancy is said to be either Nancy Cody or Nancy Seavy but I cannot find any proof for either name.  She is said to have died in 1848. I cannot find any information about either son Shelton or William. Robert, Jr. is said to have died in June of 1840.  The other sons moved in the 1850's to Ellijay in Gilmer County, Georgia. I will try to do a profile of each of the children and their children.
If you know anything about this family please let me know.

Will of Robert Roberds

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Two John Moores of New Hampshire

According to family trees found on and other internet sites the parents of my ancestor Charles Moore of Chester, New Hampshire were John and Jane Morrison Moore of Londonderry, New Hampshire.  This assertion is probably based on the ancestry information found in the book "History of Old Chester" by Benjamin Chase.  He states that brothers John and Charles Moore came together from Ireland and that John brought his wife Jane Morrison with him.  John bought Gov. Wentworth's farm of 50 acres in 1738. According to Chase John and Jane Morrison Moore of Londonderry had the following children:

1.  James m. Mary Todd their children were William, Robert and James
2.  John m. dau of Andrew Jack d. 1778 in battle
3.  Henry d. unmarried 1801
4.  Charles m. Molly Whittier
5.  Polly (probably Mary)
6. Peggy (probably Margaret)
This was all well and good until today when I randomly found the wills of two men named John Moore who died in 1741 and 1747. I have written a brief synopsis of each will that includes the name of the wife and children and other persons named in the wills.

1741 Will of John Moore of Londonderry, New Hampshire
Date of Will: 19 June 1741
Wife:  Jane
Children named in Will:
mentioned in the will: his "honored father" William Cochran, cousin Hugh Wilson, my "brother" Andrew Todd
     David Vance
     Moses Barnett
     Robert Boyes
Proved: August 26, 1741

1747 Will of John Moore of Chester, New Hampshire
Date of Will:  22 June 1747
Wife:  Mary
Children named in Will:
     Mary Moore
     Margaret Moore
     Lidea Moore
     John Jr.
     Issac Foss
     Jean Moore
     James Wilson
     Hugh Wilson
     James Campbell
     Charles Moore
Note: none of the daughters are married, none of the sons are over 21

The John who was the father of my ancestor Charles seems to be #2 who was married not to Jane but to Mary.   And why does the John married to Jane call William Cochran his "honored father"?This of course has set me off on an internet chase for details about the two Johns.  Here goes:

Charter John Moor, II
Charter John Moor includes the family legend
1. John Moor, known as Charter John was born about 1698.  He was the son of John and Mary Moore. Family legend says that he was born during the massacre of Glencoe, Scotland on Feb 13, 1692, after which the family fled to County Antrim in what is now Northern Ireland.  The story is that  his father John was killed in his garden and his widow gave birth to John, in a kiln, that very day.  She later met up with her daughters in Londonderry, Ireland. John was supposedly adopted by his uncle Samuel Moore.

John emigrated with his parents, Samuel and Mary and other families  to Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1720 and died there in 1741 at the age of 49. John married Jean (Jane) Cochran, daughter of William and Agnes Cochran, also from Ireland.  John and Jean (Jane) were married by the Rev. James McGregor on 2 April, 1723.  John's sister Beatrix was married to Andrew Todd.  John and Jean had eight children, the seven mentioned in his will, and Euphemia who died at an early age. This is the John Moore in the 1741 will.

2. John Moore lived in both Londonderry and Chester.  He also leased in Feb. 1736 a house in Boston from John Wheelwright of Boston.  His wife was named Mary, there is no record of their marriage.  He and Mary had seven children, all named in his will dated 1747. This is my ancestor, the father of Charles Moore and the writer of will number two.

This story had led me to a Capt. John Moore who also lived in New Hampshire about the same time as these two Johns.  He was born May 6th 1723 in Ireland.  He married three times to Mary Ann Clendennin, Mary Cochran and Naomi McFarland.  He had the following children: William, Andrew, John, Abraham, James, Samuel and Mary.

There was also a John Moore, married to Janet who lived "in the English range of lots". He died Jan. 24, 1774.  They had the following children:  William, Elizabeth, Robert and Daniel.

I could not find a John Moore married to a Jane Morrison.  There was however a Hugh Moore who married Janet Morrison.

So, now I'm off to to amend my family tree.

Benjamin Chase, History of Old Chester 1719 to 1869, Auburn N.H., 1869
State of New Hampshire. Town Charters, Vol 33
Nutfield Genealogy
Genealogy of the Moore Family of Londonderry and Peterborough, New Hampshire, 1648-1924
Ezra Sterns, The Moore Families of Londonderry, New Hampshire, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol 51.

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