My first trip to the Southern Historical Collection at UNC

This weekend I visited the Southern Historical Collection located on the 4th floor of the Wilson Library at UNC.  I checked out a box from the William S. Powell Papers. This was my first visit to the Collection library. I was allowed to bring my laptop and digital camera in, but had to use the loose leaf paper and pencils they provided to me. They do not provide photocopying services, and if I had not had digital camera, I would have been able to check one of theirs out for free. The only two conditions to using digital cameras were 1) I cannot use a flash and 2) I had to sign a form that said I would not reproduce any images I photographed without the written permission from the Southern Historical Collection.

The purpose of my trip was to find the research notes of William S. Powell that he used in writing his book, “When the Past Refused to Die: The History of Caswell Count, North Carolina.” On page 71, he mentioned my ancestor, “Colonel Henry Williams” as a Revolutionary War soldier and I would like to know what source Powell used to indicate that my ancestor was a Colonel or that he was a Revolutionary War soldier. I have blogged previously here and here that I can’t find any other documentation that he was a Colonel or participated in the Revolutionary War.

The box I reviewed had 5 folders in it which were not named or numbered. As I took a folder out, I had to insert a placeholder in its place. The first folder had printed pages from the book with some corrections Powell made. The 2nd and 3rd folder had correspondence Powell had with his publisher, the Caswell County Historical Association members, and Caswell County residents, just to name a few.  I found a few index cards with notations made of other collections titles that Powell reviewed (although he did not list the repository – whether they were contained in the Southern Historical Collection, the Duke Manuscripts, or North Carolina State Archives, for example), but no reference to any Revolutionary War Records.

In one of his letters to his publisher, Powell mentioned that he had indexed every name and place title he found in each record he reviewed on index cards. These cards were not included with these materials. Maybe he sent these cards to his publisher?

I learned a lot about writing a North Carolina history book from reading Powell’s correspondence.  I learned about the administrative practices of securing an agreement with a publisher and securing funds. I learned about feasibility and finding enough subject material to write about. I learned about how to get the county residents involved and soliciting submissions for historical essays on the history of places like churches, mills, houses, and schools.  I also found in his papers a guide that was written about how to write a county history including a list of subject matter and outline material!  I also saw some correspondence Powell had with people who disagreed with the information he wrote about their ancestors. This gave me great insight into what it would be like to write a historical book, which is something I would like to do someday!

So all in all, my trip was good. I would love to do more research in the Southern Historical Collection. I found their online finding aids to be very information and specific enough to determine if a collection is what I am looking for. Although I did not find exactly what I was looking for, I will not lose hope.

Henry Williams’ Role in the NC Militia During the Revolutionary War

Last year I wrote a postabout my ancestor Henry Williams, asking the question, Was he really a Revolutionary War Soldier? like William S. Powell indicated in his book When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1977 (Durham, NC: Moore Publishing Company, 1977).

Although Powell did not provide sources in his book, he did note that he donated all research materials to the Gunn Memorial Library in Yanceyville, NC. I called the Library and they said they did not have any of Powell’s papers, but that they were probably located at UNC’s Wilson Library. The Finding Aid for Powell’s papers that are housed at the Wilson Library does mention papers relating to Caswell County History, but offers no specifics.

In the meantime, I happened to come upon the “Compiled service records of soldiers who served in the American Army during the Revolutionary war” – a set of microfilm put out by NARA that was scanned and digitized and put online for free public access on the Internet Archives website and can be downloaded for free here.

Henry Williams Service Card Front Page

Henry Williams Receipt Roll

Henry Williams Company Pay Roll

I downloaded 3 pages total.
The first page was the front of Henry Williams’ service card.
It had the following information on it:
Henry Williams
Collier’s Regiment
North Carolina Militia
(Revolutionary War)
Private | Private
Card Numbers:’
1. 37119798
2. 450594
Number of personal papers herein: 0

———————————–
Page 2:

W | Collier’s Regiment | N.C. Militia
Henry Williams
Appears on a Receipt Roll
under the following heading:
“Rec’d of Captin John Johnston specia tickets in
pay for the under Named for serving one Tour of
Duty under his Comand on the 16th of Decem.
1780 Discharged”
(Revolutionary War)
Roll Dated
July the 29th 1783
Remarks:
Number of Record: 1
W P Riply, Copyist

———————————–
Page 3:

W | Collier’s Regiment | N.C. Militia
Henry Williams
PW , Capt. John Johnstone’s Co. in Col.
John Collier’s Reg’t of No. Carolina
Militia, commanded by John Butler, Brigadier General.
(Revolutionary War)
Appears on
Company Pay Roll
of the organization named above,
dated: Dec 22, 1780
What time paid from Sept 8, 17__
What time paid to Dec 22, 17__
Number of Days 106
Pay per day in dollars 1
Subsistence per month 20
Total amount in dollars 176
Remarks:
Shannon Copyist
———————————–

And then another researcher I’ve been working with found the following on footnote.com – a scan of the Pay Receipt that included Henry Williams, a Private, no. 16 down on the left hand side.

Pay Roll for Capt John Johnstone’s Company

Pay Roll for Capt John Johnstone’s Company in John Collin’s Regiment of No. Carolina Militia Commanded by John Butler Brigadier General December 22, 1780.
No: 16
Name: Henry Williams
Rank: Pvt
What Time Paid from: 8 Sept
What Time Paid to: 22 Dec
Number of Days: 106
Pay per day in Dollars: 1
Subsistence per month: 20
Total amount in dollars: 176

———————————–

The existence of these documents is a good indication that our Henry Williams was a participant in the Revolutionary War, however, Powell’s book said he was a “Colonel” and these documents mention only a “Private” Henry Williams, so there is unfortunately some discrepancy.

I guess the hunt for Powell’s original source materials will continue. The Powell collection that is housed at the Wilson Library is huge. According to the finding aid, materials on Caswell County are in folders 121 and 16. I plan to peruse these folders in the new few weeks.

The Will of Henry Williams

Will of Henry Williams, written 1785 Caswell Co., NC

In the name of God Amen; I Henry Williams of the county of Caswell and state of North Carolina being in perfect health, thanks be to almightly God for his mercies but taking into consideration the shortness and uncertaintly of this Transitory life, and that this is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to va_y) First and principally I commend my soul onto almightly God my Creator assuredly Believing that I shall receive full pardon and free remission of all my sins; and be saved by the precious Death and merits of my saviour and Redeemer Christ Jesus; Item: my desire first and last is that all my lawful Debts be paid off; ……..

1st – To my Eldest son Daniel Williams three hundred and forty acres of land taken off the North side of the Track of land I purchased from John Henslee, two negros, Jacob and Amee…One feather bed and furniture one grey horse two cows and Calves; And two Ewes(?) and lambs and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to him and his heirs forever.

2nd – To my son Joseph Williams, the other three hundred acres of land that I purchased of said Henslee; and also two hundred and sixteen acres adjacent thereto lying on the waters of Toms Creek; and one Negro Boy named James, one Negro Girl named Dinah (?) one horse and saddle to the value of twenty pounds one Feather bed and furniture Two cows and calves Two Ewes and lambs and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to him and heirs forever;

3rd – To my son Nathan Williams a track of land I purchased of Thomas Hart containing three hundred and firfty acres, Negroes Tom and Pheobe, one horse and saddle to the value of twenty pounds. One feather bed and furniture, two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs and other Household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to him and his heirs for ever;

4th – To my son Henry Williams the track of land where I now live called McMeirs (?) old track at my wifes death or intermarriage, and also one hundred and twenty seven acres of land lying between where I now live and the land purchased from John Henslee; One Negro girl named Charlotte and one hundred pounds to purchase him a negro fellow, one horse and saddle to the value of twenty pounds, one feather bed furniture two cows and calves two ewes and lambs and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to him and his heir forever;

5th – I also give the remainder of my lands lying on the waters of country line creek to be equally divided between my four sons to support their other lands with timber;

6th – Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Nancy Rice one mare and saddle one feather bed and furniture two cows and calves two ewes and lambs half dozen pewter plates, two pewter bassons, one pewter dish and iron pot, one iron skillet to her and heirs forever; I also lend to my Daughter Nancy Rice one Negro woman named Rachel and one Negro Boy named Bob during her natural life at her death they and their Increase to be equally divided among the heirs of her body lawfully be begotten in wedlock.

7th – Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Elisabeth Williams one mare named Bounce, a womans saddle, one feather bed and furniture, two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs and other household furniture and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to her and her heirs forever; I also lend to my dauther Elisabeth, one negro woman named Sampson and fifty pounds during her natural life and at her death to be equally divided among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock;

8th – I give and bequeath to my daughter Sussanne Rice one bed and furniture, one mare and saddle half dozen pewter plates two pewter Bass___ one pewter dish, one iron pott, one iron skillet all which she has already received. And also two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs to her and her heirs forever. I aslo lend to my dauther Sussana Rice, one Negro girl named Rose, and one negro boy named Simon, during her natural life and at her death to be equally divided and their increase among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock; ___

9th – I give and bequeath to my daughter Ursaly Duke Peoples one feather bed and furniture, one woman’s saddle half dozen pewter plates, two pewter bassons, one pewter dish, one iron skillet all which she has already received. I likewise give her a mare colt that come out of Bounce and one iron pott, two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs to her and her heirs forever. I also lend to my daughter Ursaly Duke Peoples one negro Boy named Peter and one Negro girl named Jane during her natural life and at her death they and their increase to be equally diveded among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock;

10th – I give to my daughter Salley Brooks one feather bed and furniture to her and her heirs forever; I also lend to my daughter Salley Brooks ___ (Writing is squished and unclear and crossed out. I can read Sarah Peters? and more about Salley Brooks)

…During her natural life and at her death to be equally divided among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock;

11th I give to my daughter Jane Williams one horse and saddle to the value of twenty pounds, one feather bed and furniture, two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice. I also lend to my dauther Jane Williams one negro man named Will, and one negro girl named named Ester during her natural life and at her death they and their increase to be equally divided among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock;

12th – I lend to my well beloved wife Elizabeth Williams my manner plantation and all my slaves that is not mentioned in my former legacies and four work horses and all the remaining part of my stock of cattle. Hogs and sheep and two beds and furniture and the remaining part kitchen furniture during her widowhood to maintain and school the children upon. But if she should intermarry, I appoint that all my estate be taken out of her hands. Except five negros (to Witt), Frank, Sall, Fanny, Sarah, little Hannah, and one feather bed and furniture and all the stock of every kind, and all the kitchen furniture which I lend her during her natural life and at her decease to be equally divided between my sons and daughters or their heirs and my Grand Daughter Mary Slade and all the rest of my estate be it of what kind or quality so ever I appoint that it be sold and the money arrising there from to be equally divided among my sons and daughters and my grand daughter Mary Slade or their heirs; I also appoint that if my daughter Elisabeth should live longer than her mothers widowhood that at her Intermarriage my daughter Elisabeth and her Estate, I leave to be conducted by my son in law William Rice and if she should die without heir that then all her estate except her negro I leave to William Rice and her negro I leave to be equally divided with the other part of my estate that is divided…..

Lastly I appoint my wife, and my son in law William Rice and my son Daniel Williams at the arival of Twenty one years of age whole and sole executors and Executrix of this my last will and testament to be performed in witness where of I do hereunto set my hand and seal this Twelfth Day of April one thousand seven Hundred and Eighty Five.

Signed, sealed, published, and Declared

in presents of

John Henslee (Jurat)                                      Henry Williams

William Brown (Jurat)

Thomas Rice

Executors Elisabeth Williams William Rice

Qualified ______ ______

This will was proven in open court in January 1786, Caswell County, NC, by the oath of John Hensley and William Brown.

————————-

1777 Tax Lists Caswell County NC – Williams

In 1777 Caswell County, NC consisted of 6 districts – Richmond, Gloucester, St. David’s, St. Luke’s, St. James, and Nash. In 1792, St. Lawrence, St. Luke’s, St. James, and Nash counties became Person County.

According to the 1777 Caswell County Tax list, there were 8 Williams men being taxed:

St. David’s District – Henry Williams was taxed for 3722 acres, 6 white polls, and 6 black polls; Colonel John Williams was taxed for 1299 acres, 0 white polls, and 0 black polls

Gloucester District – 0 Williams families were taxed

St. James’ District – George Williams was taxed and Thomas Williams was taxed for 194 acres, 17 white polls and 6 black polls

St. Lukes District – Benjamin Williams was taxed

Nash District – Benjamin Williams and John Williams were taxed

Richmond District – William Williams

Source: Caswell Co., NC List of Taxables for 1777, 1780, & 1784 , microfilm, North Carolina State Archives, Call No. 020.70001

The Regulator Movement

Last weekend I drove to Siler City, North Carolina to attend a lecture on The Regulator Movement of Chatham County, North Carolina, given by Mr. John H. Emerson. The lecture was sponsored by the Chatham County Historical Society and took place at the Rives Chapel Church in Siler City, North Carolina.  Tours of the church and the nearby Old Tick Creek cemetery, where the Regulator James Emerson was buried, were given prior to the lecture.  I did not make it to the church in time for the cemetery tour, however I made it inside the hall in time to get a good seat. I think attendance was higher than they expected because the organizers had to set up more chairs. The lecture itself ran for just about an hour. The Chatham County Historical Society had some books and pamphlets on a table at the back of the room that we could visit after the lecture. Another gentleman also had some weapons on display for us to look at.

The Regulator Movement is said to be the precursor and possibly even the first battle of the American Revolutionary War.  What started out as a peaceful movement enacted to change the policies governing land and property taxation and to rid the colony of corrupt politicans, ended in a gun fight at the Battle of Alamance Creek.

I decided to attend this lecture for a couple of reasons: My ancestor, Henry Williams, was living in nearby Caswell County, NC during this time (1766-1771) and was believed to have been in the Caswell County Militia. I think he may have had some involvement in the Regulator Movement. There’s been some confusion about his involvement in the Revolutionary War (see previous post here) and I was hoping to clear it up by learning about his possible role in the Regulator Movement.

I also wanted to have any excuse to drive out that way. Siler City is on the outskirts of Randolph County, North Carolina. My Godwin family settled in Randolph County in 1800 in the small community of Seagrove. Seagrove is about a 20 minute drive West of Siler City. A few weeks ago I took my first trip out to Randolph County to visit the Genealogy room in the Randolph County public library located in downtown Asheboro. You can read about my visit on my other blog here. I hope to make more trips out there to take in more of the scenery.

I did not learn any new information about my ancestor, Henry Williams, believed to have been an officer in the Revolutionary War.  There was a copy of William Powell’s book, The Regulators in North Carolina: A documentary history, 1759-1766 on one of the tables.  I did not find any mention of my ancestory, Henry Williams, in it. This was not surprising as I had already read much of the book in 2006 when I wrote a paper on the Regulator Movement for my North Carolina History Class.

A Mr. Brooks Gilbert opened up his family home, originally owned and  occupied by Isaac Brooks, also a Regulator, to the lecture attendees.  His home is located at 1958 Ike Brooks Rd, which was just a quick turn off of the Rives Chapel Church Road in Siler City. Isaac Brooks was a descendant of John and Susan Brooks, whose descendants meet every August in Siler City for a huge family reunion.  I have yet to find a connection between this Brooks family and my own of Caswell County, North Carolina, however I believe both families came from the same part of Virginia prior to their migration to North Carolina.  This Brooks family even has a highway named after them!  More to come about my visit to Isaac Brooks’ House.

Henry Williams – A Revolutionary War Soldier?

Many researchers of my Henry Williams have indicated that he was a Colonel in the Revolutionary War, citing page 71 of William S. Powell’s book When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1977  (Durham, NC: Moore Publishing Company, 1977) as their source. This is the only source I can find indicating that Henry Williams was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  I did not find a pension application for him or his widow or heirs in Heritage Quest’s Revolutionary War database.

Maybe Henry Williams was in the Caswell County militia and maybe he was active in that militia during the Regulator Movement (of which William S. Powell also wrote a book about – The regulators in North Carolina: a documentary history, 1759-1776).  However, I do not believe he saw duty during the Revolutionary War.  His brother, Colonel James Williams, was instrumental in the War.  He was living in the 96th District of South Carolina at the time.  In 1780, James Williams travelled to Caswell County, NC to visit his brother. It was there he wrote his will and transferred much of his property and possibly his slaves to his brother’s house for safe-keeping from the Tories. That Henry Williams was at home with his family, instead of away at war also indicates to me that he did not participate in the War.

After James’ death during the Battle of King’s Mountain in October 1780, Henry Williams, his brother and executor of his estate, reported an accounting of $25,000 that had been given to his brother, James Williams from the State of North Carolina to use to raise militia in Caswell County and surrounding counties to fight against the Tories. James’ son John Williams testified that this money was used to rally troops who were taken to King’s Mountain with him.  There is no mention of Henry Williams’ active participation in the rallying or marching of said troops. [Source: Graves, William T., James Williams: An American Patriot in the Carolina Backcountry, San Jose: Writers Club Press, 2002, p. 56]

The Author, William S. Powell, did not provide any sources or a bibliography to his book aforementioned. He did, however, note that all notes, chapter materials, and source material was given to the Gunn Memorial Library in Yanceyville, NC.  I therefore intend to visit this library and review his notes to see what source he used for his list of Caswell men who saw action in the Revolutionary War.

Update

The Will of Daniel Williams, Granville Co., NC (1759)

Here is the will of Daniel Williams of Granville Co., NC. Daniel Williams was married to Ursula Henderson. They were the parents of my Henry Williams of Caswell Co., NC. I found two other Williams wills in Granville Co but I am not sure how they connect if at all to my Daniel Williams family. They are William Williams and Thomas Williams.

Williams, Daniel–wills to wife 3 negroes loaned to her for her lifetime, 12 cattle, one horse, feather bed and furniture, household goods, which I do not give away herafter, and at her death to be equally divided between my seven children: Merya Goodman, Henry Williams, John Williams, James Williams, Joseph Williams, Mary Mitchell, Daniel Williams; to my son-in-law Benjamin Goodman, 200 acres of landing being the land whereon he now lives at Capt. Mitchells line; to son John Williams, 350 acres which I purchased of Richard Bullock; to sons James and Joseph Williams, 800 acres of land in Halifax county, Virginia to be equally divided between them; to son Daniel Williams, 400 acres being land and plantation whereon I now live; to daughter Marya Goodman, for her lfietime, 3 negroes and, at her death, to go to her children; to son Henry Williams, 2 negroes and the use of a mullatto fellow to serve to age 21 years; to son John, 3 n3groes; to son James, 3 negroes; to daughter Mary Mitchell, 4 negroes; to son Daniel, 4 negroes; to my wife Ursula William, I lend for her lifetime 6 sheep, 12 hogs and, at her death, to be divided to my seven children; to my youngest children, James, Joseph, Mary Mitchell, and Daniel Williams, all rest of cattle, sheep, and hogs to divide between them; to son James, a horse and a feather bed and furniture; to son Joseph, a stallion, a feather bed and furniture; to daughter Mary Mitchell, a horse; to son Daniel Williams a horse and a mare, a feather bed and furniture; to son James Williams, land on Anderson swamp containing 400 acres; to son Joseph, land on Hico road and branches of Island creek—400 acres; my executors are to sell my crop of tobacco and pay my debts and to get 8000 ten penny nails and 8000 eight penny nails and give them to James and Joseph Williams and whereas Henry Williams and Marya Goodman have had pewter bought for them, it is my desire that John, James, Joseph, Mary Mitchell, and Daniel are to have pewter bought for them in equal amount by my executors and if any surplus from these sale, to be divided in eight parts for my wife and children; after wife’s death, all that is left to be divided to them.Exrs: my wife, Ursula Williams, John and James Williams

Wts: Luke Waldrup, William Sims

Source: Abstracts Of Granville County, NC, Unrecorded wills, 1746-1771, by Zae Gwynn
Page 64–Nov. 15, 1759–proved Dec. court 1759

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