Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy 103rd Cousin Allie Mae

Allie Mae Markham Moncrief
Born September 29, 1911
Allie at her 100th Celebration

Allie is my 1st cousin once removed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday
Thomas and Luisa Crossley

Thomas Silvester Crossley
Born 1819 - Died June 4 1899

Luisa Crossley
Born 1830 - Died July 12 1900

Pleasant Grove M. B. Church Cemetery
Smithdale, Amite County, Mississippi

Photograph Courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Time Line for Crossley Family Named in
Lewis Weathersby's Will

Pleasant Grove M.B. Church
Crossley Family's Church
Smithdale, Amite County, Mississippi

1843 Jul 05 - Lewis Weathersby's will was signed on this date bequeathing the slave family in trust to his son Lodwick Weathersby. Thomas and his wife Lucy and their children Matilda, Sylvester, Andrew, and Dicey were to be given land, house and other provisions. The couple two daughters, Matilda and Dicy, were to be purchased by their parents for $300 each so they could tend to their parents in their old age.

Lewis' sons Lodwick Weathersby and Hatton Weathersby, and friend James M Smiley were appointed executors of his will.

16 Sep 1843 - Lewis Weathersby died.

1843 Nov- Lodwick Weathersby died.

1846 Mar 26 - Lodwick's widow Elphanie Obier married John Martin. Elphanie and John became guardians of the minor children of Elphanie and Lodwick.

1846-1847 - Lodwick's siblings, with the exception of Hatton, asked that the Negroes remaining in their father's estate be sold. Various petitions were presented to the courts concerning the property of their father Lewis Weathersby.

Hatton Weathersby, the guardian of the slave family, tried to have his father's wishes fulfilled but lost in the courts because he could not prove meritorious service. The section of Lewis Weathersby's will concerning the slave family would not be executed.

1849 - The six slaves who were to be freed were now a part of the estate of Lodwick Weathersby who had died without a will. Lodwick's daughter Missouri Ann and her husband James R Godbold complained how her mother and her mother's new husband had handled her father's estate. Missouri wanted her father's estate divided among his children.

The Crossley family were separated into lots to be given to Lodwick's children. Yellow Thomas and his wife yellow Lucy were given to Virginia Ann; yellow Sylvester went to Missouri Ann; yellow Andrew, Matilda, Dicey, and Dicey's child Leland were given to Solomon C Weathersby.

1855 - Virginia Ann Weathersby died without a will. The court divided her estate, which included Thomas and Lucy who were described as Old Tom and Old Lucy valued at $500 together. Thomas and Lucy were given to Virginia's brother William Weathersby.

Oct 1865 - Sylvester (Thomas and Lucy's son) and his wife Louisa and their son Andrew were named in the Freedmen Bureau Labor Contract on the Woodside Plantation of James and Missouri Weathersby Godbold.

1870 - The Crossley family was living in Summit, Lincoln County, MS.

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your African American Roots
by Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom
The Slaves of Liberty, Freedom in Amite County, Mississippi 1820-1868
by Dale Edwyna Smith
Amite County Chancery Court Records, Case Number: 4588, Lewis Weathersby
Amite County Chancery Court Records, Case Number: 4598, Virginia Ann Weathersby
Freedmen's Bureau Labor Contract of James R Godbold
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
National Archives
Photograph Courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lewis Weathersby Couldn't Prove Meritorious Service

Siblings James Pearly Crossley and Mazie Crossley Robinson
Children of Nathaniel Crossley, Sr
Grandchildren of Andrew Crossley
Great Grandchildren of Sylvester Crossley
Great Great Grandchildren of Thomas and Lucy Crossley

Lewis Weathersby tried to emancipate six family members of one slave family prior to his death in 1843 but was deterred by the laws of Mississippi, which required the consent of the legislature upon proof of meritorious service.

Meritorious manumission could be granted to a slave who distinguished himself by saving the life of a white master or his property, inventing something that a white slave master could make a profit from or snitching on a slave rebellion. The laws of Mississippi specified that the owner had to cite some meritorious service by the slave as the ground for his petition.

Lewis Weathersby did not prove meritorious service; manumission for the family was denied. Lewis did not give up on emancipating the family, parents Thomas and Lucy, and their children Matilda, Sylvester, Andrew and Dicy. He made provisions in his will for the family to be nicely situated, offering them quasi freedom which his heirs saw as emancipating the family, circumventing the decision of the Mississippi legislature.

Between the state of Mississippi protecting the institution of slavery, deaths, and the greed of the family, the portion of Lewis Weathersby's will concerning the family was never fulfilled.

How are the siblings connected to my family?
The siblings' mother was Estella Scott Crossley
Estella Scott was the daughter of James Pearly Scott and Catherine Markham.
Catherine Markham Scott and my great grandfather Monroe Markham were siblings.

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your African American Roots
by Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom
The Slaves of Liberty, Freedom in Amite County, Mississippi 1820-1868
by Dale Edwyna Smith
Amite County Chancery Court Records, Case Number: 4588, Lewis Weathersby
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Photograph Courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Will of Lewis Weathersby

Amite County Courthouse
Amite County Courthouse
Courtesy of J Stephen Conn, on Flickr

The ancestors of my Crossley cousins were bequeathed a quasi freedom, land and provisions in the 1843 will of Lewis Weathersby. The Weathersby heirs were not thrilled with this provision in the will.

Extraction of Lewis Weathersby Will Pertaining to the Crossley Slaves

In the name of God Amen I Lewis Weathersby of the County of Amite and State of Mississippi being of sound mind and disposing memory do make ordain and publish this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills and codicils by me made...

15th I give and bequeath to my son Lodwick L Weathersby my faithful servants Thomas and his wife Lucy and their children Matilda, Sylvester, Andrew and Dicy in trust and under the following conditions, "to wit" in as much as the said Thomas and Lucy have served me for several years with great fidelity, it is my earnest desire and I do hereby enjoin it upon my said son Lodwick L Weathersby and that he enjoin it upon his heirs executors and administrators to make the said Slaves Thomas and Lucy as comfortable in life as possible, that he furnish them and their children with a house separate from others, that he provide a horse, farming tools, a small tract of land for their separate use, and that they have suitable time to work the same, and he attend to the sale of their little crops, furnish them with a cow for milk, and two hundred pounds of sugar, and one hundred pounds of coffee yearly, and that in consideration of these things, he require of them reasonable service and should the said slaves Thomas and Lucy at any time be able to raise a sum of money sufficient to compensate said Lodwick Weathersby say three hundred dollars for each, for the services of their daughters, Matilda and Dicy These he shall give to the said Matilda and Dicy to said Thomas and Lucy to serve and comfort, them in their old age.

Amite County Will Records 1818-1848, Vol 1, Pages 248-252, Microfilm Number: 6217
Microfilm found at Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Case Study of the Crossley Family

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Unraveling Grandma's Paternity Dilemma
Using DNA Tests

Richmond Overton

Paternity issues are complicated. My paternity issue is over a hundred years old, which makes it more complicated. One woman, two men and eleven children are involved. I will concentrate on one of the eleven children, my paternal grandmother.

Three years ago I wrote a post concerning my paternal grandmother's paternity dilemma, Who is the Daddy. Grandma Gertrude's mother died when she was 7 years old and the question of her paternity would not be answered by the mother but by speculating family and friends. Two names were given as grandma's father, Richmond Overton and Elijah Usher.

My grandmother Gertrude Overton-Usher Durr was born between 1893-1895 to Jane Furnace.

I am hopeful my 23andMe DNA test will solve grandma's paternity question. I have four matches linked to my grandmother's family and other cousins are promising to test.

Documents and oral history claim Match 1 is a descendant of Jane Furnace and Elijah Usher.

Match 2 is a third great granddaughter of Peggy Demyers, Richmond Overton's grandmother.

Matches 3 and 4, siblings, are the 4th great grandchildren of Peggy Demyers, Richmond Overton's grandmother.

Matches 2, 3 and 4 are not related to Jane but they match with Match 1.

Looking over our family trees, it appears that Elijah Usher may not be the father of Jane's child, Match 1's ancestor. DNA is pointing to Richmond Overton as my ancestor and also the ancestor of Match 1. I am waiting for other cousins to test before putting the question to rest.