Today, two weeks ago, I lost my oldest son. This is a special note to him:
I thought of you today, but that is nothing new. I thought about you yesterday and days before that, too. I think of you insilence, I often speak your name. But all I have are memories and a picture in a frame.
According to the U. S. Census recorded in 1850 in Warren County, Mississippi, John Patrick Netherland, a 46-year old carpenter, was living with his wife, Mary, 30, and a three-month old son, William. John's place of birth was recorded as Scotland, and Mary's birthplace was Kentucky. By all accounts, John Patrick was married first to Elizabeth Jane Smith, second to Mary Denkins, and third to Abigail Valentine. His marriage to Elizabeth Jane produced one child, a son named William Bailey Netherland, my maternal great-grandfather. Ironically, as the 1850 census shows, John Patrick's second marriage to Mary (Denkins) produced another son named "William." If John Patrick Netherland was born in Scotland, as the census record indicates, it seems certain that neither of his parents, Rachel Fenner and William Neatherlin, Sr., were born in Tennessee nor Georgia, as most family researchers have written. Maybe they were, indeed, born in Holland, as other researchers have suggested.
During my recent Neatherlin/Netherland research, I learned that Rachel Fenner and William Neatherlin were members of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Amite County, Mississippi. Established in 1809, this church is said to be the oldest Baptist Church in Mississippi. According to the church's minutes published online, in 1815, Rachel Neatherlin "applyed for...(a letter) of dismission," most likely after William's death and before her planned move to live with one of their adult children.
A list of those buried in the cemetery at Ebenezer Baptist Church is included on the website of Genealogy Trails, and Rachel and William are among those on the list. I still do not know for sure where either of my great-great-great-great-grandparents were born. Other family researchers say they may have been born in Tennessee or Georgia or even Holland. But one thing I now know for certain is where they are buried. Needless to say, a trip to the cemetery for some photos is near the top of my genealogy "to do" list. I will let you know what I find.
In tracing the marriages of children born to William Neatherlin and Rachel Fenner, I found that Louis (Lewis) Solomon Neatherlin, likely their oldest child, married Elizabeth Mabry. The marriage took place in Hinds County, Mississippi on February 3, 1831, when Elizabeth was just four months away from her 16th birthday. Born on June 9, 1815, Elizabeth was the daughter of Dr. James Thomas Mabry and Hattie Walker Mabry, and like Solomon, she had migrated with her parents from Georgia to Mississippi.
By 1840, some Neatherlin family members had already left Southwest Mississippi for Louisiana and Texas. But Mississippi state census information recorded in 1841 and 1845 show Solomon Netherland was still a resident of the state, having been enumerated in Newton County. Names of other members of Solomon's family at that time are unavailable, since only male adults appeared on these census records.
According to the U.S. Census recorded in 1850, Solomon and Elizabeth Neatherlin were living in Walker County (County Seat is Huntsville) Texas. Enumerated on the census as "Sol," he was 48 years old, born in Tennessee, and was living in the household with his wife, Elizabeth and six children. The children's names, ages, and places of birth were:
Lewis, 18 y/o
Mary, 16 y/o
James, 13 y/o
Sarah, 8 y/o
Franklin, 4 y/o
Melicia, 2 y/o
In 1860, Solomon and "Eliza" Neatherlin were enumerated on the U. S. Census recorded in Williamson County (Georgetown) Texas. Solomon was shown to be 57 years old, with a place of birth identified as "Tenn." Eliza's age was 57, and her birthplace was shown to have been "Georgia." Living with Solomon and Eliza were six children:
William W., age 14, MS
Malisia A., age 12, MS
Lydia C., age 9, TX
Manerva S., age 7, TX
Rachel F., age 4, TX
Martha, age 1, TX
Enumerated in the household next door to Solomon and Eliza was another Neatherlin family headed by L. W. Neatherlin, age 28. It seems certain that L.W. Neatherlin is "Lewis," the 18 year old living in Solomon's household and shown on the 1850 U. S. Census. Also included in the household headed by L. W. Neatherlin is Mary, age 23, born in Alabama. Three children, Alice, 4 years old, Frances, aged 6 months, and Thomas Neatherlin, lived in that same household. Texas was shown as the birthplace for all three children. Thomas Neatherlin's birthplace and presence in this household is somewhat of a mystery. He was not listed on the 1850 U. S. Census as a child in Solomon's household, and he is too old to be the son of Lewis (L.W.) and Mary Neatherlin. Possibly, Thomas belongs to another Neatherlin family living elsewhere.
Elizabeth died in 1863, and Solomon died three years after his remarriage in 1865. As pioneers of Williamson County, Texas, Elizabeth and Solomon have been immortalized in photos of early settlers of that county. A photograph of the couple taken before 1862 can be seen on display at The Williamson Museum in Georgetown, Texas, or by visiting the museum's website.
Descendants of Solomon and Elizabeth now number in the thousands and are spread throughout the country. If you would like to read more about the impact some of their descendants made on the histories of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, please visit Neatherlin Family Website.
References: Ancestry.com, Mississippi State and Territorial Census Collection, 1792 - 1866; Accessed on September 9, 2010 Ancestry.com, U. S. Federal Census Collection, 1850 and 1860; Accessed on September 9, 2010 Website for The Williamson Museum - Accessed on September 9, 2010
An early census of the Mississippi Territory indicates James, Joseph, Levi, and William Netherland (Jr.) were already residents of the southwest area of what later became the State of Mississippi. Most Netherland researchers believe the four men were brothers, having been born in Richmond County, Georgia to William Netherland (Sr.) and Rachel Fenner Netherland. According to the census, James was the head of a household in Wilkinson County, while the other three men were enumerated in Lawrence County. In 1816, a census taken in Wilkinson County validates that James continued to be a resident there, and in 1816, a census of Lawrence County confirmed that William, Joseph, and Levi were still residing in that county. In an earlier post I included the names of the ten children born to William Netherland (Sr.) and Rachel Fenner Netherland, my fourth great-grandparents. I am descended from their son, John Patrick Netherland and his first wife, Elizabeth Jane Smith. Their son, William Bailey Netherland, was my maternal great-grandfather. I invite you to follow me here for future posts about several Netherland families as they migrated from Mississippi into Louisiana and later to Texas.
References: Missisippi State and Territorial Census Records, 1792 - 1866, accessed online via ancestry.com on September 8, 2010
Lately, I have been doing some more Carroll County family research and ran upon a copy of a poem, entitled "Malmaison." The poem was written by Mrs. W. H. Neill of Greenwood, Mississippi, and published in the local newspaper on April 12, 1942, not long after Greenwood Leflore'sbeautiful old mansion of the same name burned in Carroll County, Mississippi. In the poem's entirely, the artistry of Mrs. Neill's words describe the feeling of loss and sadness experienced by other local Mississippians after the historical residence burned. But in the excerpt below, the poet's words focus on the powerful enemy of all mankind, the force known as time.
But Time, relentless vandal, hastens onward in his flight,
And destroys with ruthless fingers, beauty, majesty and might.
Unless the strong oppose him, and with zeal his ravage mends,
And ever watchful of his craft, deter him in his ends.
The term "Surname Saturday" is a term that describes a blogger's Saturday post that contains a list of all family surnames the blogger is researching. When I think about the names that could appear on any of these lists, I recall something I once read - that each of us is related to 1,000,011 other individuals. So you can see that a "Surname Saturday" list could morph into many pages. Recently, I added several names to my own surname list as a result of some Fenner family research. That having been said, here is my current list:
MARBLE MERIWEATHER MIDDLETON
SMITH STAMPLEY THORNTON
If one of the surnames above appears in your family tree, I would love to hear from you. Who knows?.....We may be related!
Several months ago, I stumbled upon a website for The Order of the First Families of Mississippi 1699 - 1817, an organization that will celebrate its 42nd anniversary next month. As stated on the organization's website, membership is open to "anyone who can prove lineal descent from a person who lived in what is now the State of Mississippi between 1699, when the French established the settlement of Old Biloxi, and December 10, 1817, when Mississippi was admitted to the Union." One of the Order's purposes is "To collect and preserve records, documents, and relics relating to the history and genealogy of Mississippi prior to its statehood."
Among the pages maintained on the Order's website is one entitled "Ancestor Roster." Four individuals on the list bear surnames of some of my ancestors: Fenner, Gibson, Middleton, and Stampley. And at least two more of my surnames, Baldridge and Porter, most certainly will be included on a future list. In fact, I am likely eligible for membership and plan to apply at some point in the near future.
It appears the Order works like this: Once an individual applies for membership and has been recommended by two current members, the new member works to develop the lineage of his/her ancestor (s). The website also includes some wonderful old photographs and biographies of early Mississippi settlers submitted by members who are descendants of the settlers. Of special interest to family researchers throughout the country is that genealogical records for over 1200 members can be obtained, for a fee, by contacting the OFFM Office, Post Office Box 821, Natchez, MS 39121-0821, or by contacting the Order through its website.