Legend of the Rolling Pin

Legend – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Nearly every family has some sort of legend. There’s the Indian Princess legend. We’ve got that. Busted! There’s the legend of the three immigrant brothers who went north, south, and west. We’ve got that several times. Also busted! There’s the legend of grandpa getting his name changed at Ellis Island. Not so much for us, since my folks all came before that and all came into the southern Colonies.

The Rolling Pin – Carved before 1760 and passed down through the Council family

Some families have legends around food or recipes. Some have legends around things that get passed down. For us, we wrap both of those together. We have “the rolling pin”. This rolling pin has come down through the family for over two hundred fifty years.

My grandmother, Susan Louise Bailey Dickson, told me that it was made before 1760 out of a single piece of apple wood. It’s clearly hand carved, uneven and imperfect. It’s not the sort of rolling pin that has an axle. It’s solid and you roll the whole thing. But it’s also not like some rolling pins used for fancy bread that lack handles.

I thought that it had come down through Grandmother’s Bailey family, but she corrected me and said that it came down through the family of her grandmother Sarah Louise Council. (There’s another story about why Grandmother and her grandmother shared a middle name, but that’s for another day.)

Sarah Louise Council Brewer Bailey (b. 1837, Alabama, d. 1915, Arkansas)

So, could the legend of the rolling pin coming down through this family be true? If it were, where would it have come from? I don’t see any reason to believe it could not be that old. It’s clearly old. And if Grandmother’s grandmother said it came down through her family, then it certainly went at least back 150 years.

Sarah Louise Council was born in 1837 in Alabama, probably in Jackson County, between Huntsville and the Georgia border. She was the daughter of Uriah Allison Council and Louisa Anna Green. Louisa has remained a mystery to me, but I have recently been trying to find out more about Uriah and his family.

Uriah Allison Council was born in 1807 in Knox County, Tennessee. Tracing out the deeds, tax lists, and other court records, we find that he stayed in Knox County until about 1833 when he moved to the next county over, Roane County. By 1840, he is in Jackson County, Alabama and by 1842 is a Justice of the Peace there. By 1850, he had moved to the next county west, Madison, and is a school teacher. FindaGrave says that he died in 1851. I have not found a good record for either his death or Louisa’s death. But by 1860, the three surviving children are all in Sebastian County, Arkansas and there is no sign of Uriah or Louisa. This is another place to go research. My guess is Louisa had family in Arkansas and went to them after her husband died.

We believe, as have many Council researchers, that Uriah Allison Council was the son of Isaac Council and Susan Allison. To date, I have not found any solid documentary evidence. But, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence: Isaac and Uriah lived next door to each other for a lot time. When Uriah moved to Roane, Isaac bought his land. Susan Allison (Uriah’s supposed mother) had a brother named Uriah Allison. Plus a whole lot more. This is something that I need to write up.

Isaac was born in 1785 in North Carolina. That’s not quite 1760 yet, so we really need another generation for this legend to completely ring true. We are not sure where in North Carolina he came from or who his parents were. Digging through the tax lists and deeds of Knox and Roane Counties, my current hypothesis is that Jesse Council is the father of Isaac, John, Matthew, Hodges. I think his father was likely Hodges as well. If this is the case, this Jesse was likely born in Virginia and served in the Revolutionary War. I’m working hard right now to figure out and prove what I can about Jesse and the other Councils in East Tennessee.

But, it seems to me that the legend of the rolling pin has a lot of truth to it.

But that’s not really what I remember about the rolling pin. To me, the legend that I tell about the rolling pin is of having breakfast at my grandparents’ house. We would often have breakfast at the dining room table. There, she could pull the toaster oven right up to the table. As we ate biscuits, Grandmother would roll out a few more with the rolling pin and pop them into the toaster oven. We would eat fresh, hot biscuits with real butter and strawberry freezer preserves until we could hold no more or until she ran out. Grandmother believed that the rolling pin ought to be used. No reason to have a dead legend when it can continue to have a life and a story. (The only reason my wife and I don’t use it is that she’s vegan and it has 250 years of lard rolled into it.)

My big challenge is how to make sure that the legend does not end with me and that it has a story in my Bailey family after me. My cousin, who had it for several years, passed it to me because he had no biological children. But, neither do we. My task is to find the next steward of the rolling pin so its legend continues for another 250 years.

Advertisements

First – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

This is the first post for a new year – 2019. I have been on the road and super busy this week, so I was all set to punt and republish a story about the first time I ever went to the library to research and my first ancestor discovery. But, starting the new year with a retread is lame, so maybe a short post about my first immigrant ancestor to this country would be in order.

While my wife, Kathleen, may have descended from a number of famous and infamous Mayflower immigrants (notably, the Billingtons), my ancestors were here to greet them when the Mayflower arrived.

Cicely Reynolds (b. 1600, England, d. about 1660, Virginia) is my first immigrant ancestor to the New World. She arrived in Jamestown in August 1611 aboard the Swan with Sir Thomas Gates. According to “The Second Boat”:

“Cecily Reynolds was born about 1600 at Waymouth, Dorsetshire, England, daughter of Thomas Reynolds and Cecily Fitzpen. Cecily arrived on August 1610 at Jamestown, VA on the ship “Swan” under the auspices of several near-relatives of Dorsetshire. She made her home with Capt. William Pierce and his wife, Joan. In 1615, in the Pierce home in Jamestown, VA, she married her first husband, Thomas Bailey. Thomas was a young Governor’s Guard and had come to Jamestown, VA in 1612. Thomas died of malaria in 1619, leaving their only child, Temperance, born 1617, which married Richard Cocke about 1632. Cecily Reynolds Bailey married (2) Samuel Jordan (of Jordan’s Journey) on 20 Sept 1620. The Jordons’ famous neighbors were, to the south, John Rolfe, who had married the young Indian Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan. After her death, Rolfe wed in 1619, Jane Pierce, daughter of Capt. William Pierce. John was killed by Indians in the 1622 “Great Massacre.” A neighbor to the north was Capt. John Woodlief who in 1619 hosted the first Thanksgiving in America at his Berkeley Plantation. Authentication to this as the first Thanksgiving – and not the one in 1621 in Plymouth Plantation – is contained in a mandate from the London Company to Capt. Woodlief, saying “We ordain the day of our ships’ arrival at the place for plantation on the land of Virginia (Berkeley Plantation) shall be yearly kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson officially recognized this event.”

“The Second Boat”, vol. 12, number 4, Sept-Oct 1991

If you have ever studied the history of Jamestown, you might recognize that Cicely arrived at a particularly bad time. The harvest of 1611 was poor and that winter was known as The Dying Time. By the next spring, the settlement was reduced to just a handful of people. Those that were still alive were considering their options for abandoning the settlement.

Connie Lapallo has written a trilogy of historical novels, or maybe you would call them fictionalized histories, of Cicely and the women and children of Jamestown. These are fascinating and really provide a view into what things might have been like during those difficult first days. She also has some well thought out and well reasoned new ideas for Cicely’s ancestry in England and how she came to Jamestown. The first book in the series, “Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky” traces Cicely and her arrival and first years in Jamestown. Take a look at this and Connie’s other books in the series

Cicely is also remembered for being the source of one of the first scandalous lawsuits in Jamestown. After Cicely’s second husband, Samuel Jordan, died, Cicely had a number of suitors. Apparently, Rev. Greville Pooley felt like she had engaged herself to marry him. So, when she married William Farrar instead, he brought suit for breach of promise. The suit is well documented in the colonial records.

Cicely Reynolds is the ancestor of a large number of famous families that can claim Jamestown lineage. She is my 10th great-grandmother:

  1. Susan Louise Bailey (1919-2006) m. Robert Harrison Dickson, Jr. (1919-2007) – my grandparents
  2. Charles Council Bailey (1868-1935) m. Viola Tennison (1875-1970)
  3. Hume Field Bailey (1829-1891) m. Sarah Louise Council (1837-1915)
  4. Francis Baker Bailey (1796-1855) m. Evalina Belmont Hill (1802-1854)
  5. Peter Cock Bailey (1765-1844) m. Sarah Baker (d. 1822)
  6. Roger Cocke Bailey (1727-1790) m. Mary Rennard (1732-1777)
  7. Temperance Cocke (1698-1770) m. Abraham Bailey, Jr. (1694-1774)
  8. William Cocke (1674-1717) m. Sarah Perrin
  9. Thomas Cocke (1638-1696) m. Agnes Powell
  10. Temperance Bailey (1617-1652) m. Richard Cocke (1597-1665)
  11. Cicely Reynolds (b. abt 1600, d. abt 1660) married Thomas Baley (b. abt 1580, d. 1619, Virginia)

So, there you have it. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would have been like to come to Jamestown and to live through all that, not only she and the Jamestown settlers, did, but the succeeding generations. That small group of settlers, the vast majority of whom died in their first years in the New World, laid the groundwork and foundation for us today. Hopefully, we can continue to live up to their ideal.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Down on the Farm

Down On the Farm – Isn’t that a Little Feat song?

Anyway, that’s the theme for this week.  Down on the Farm.  And I decided to do something a little different.  I want to introduce you a little bit to the Bailey Farm in Sebastian County, Arkansas.  Francis Baker Bailey first came to Arkansas around the time of statehood.  In a profile of Otway L. Bailey, son of F.B. Bailey, it was recounted that

[t]he father was a farmer by occupation, served as Justice of the Peace many years, made a prospecting tour through Texas in 1845, afterward roamed through Arkansas and Missouri, and subsequently returned to Arkansas, where he died in January, 1855.

HISTORY OF TEXAS TOGETHER WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF TARRANT AND PARKER COUNTIES, profile of Otway Licepious Bailey, Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago, 1895

BLM GLO Records, Francis Baker Bailey, Arkansas, Sebastian, S3 T7N R31WI suspect that the Bailey family was in Arkansas or southwest Missouri prior to Arkansas statehood in 1836, since some of the children went to Texas as early as 1838.  But, the first stake in the ground I can find is a patent for 40 acres on 10 July 1844 by F.B. Bailey.  He purchased this land in Section 3, Township 7 North, Range 31W which puts it right on the edge of Fort Chaffee outside of Ft. Smith, Arkansas.

I don’t think they stayed here very long since I find the family living in Pope County, in the town of Galla Rock by 1850 and they appear to have stayed there until around the time of the Civil War.  By then, F.B. Bailey was deceased and his son Hume Field Bailey was not a Rebel sympathizer.  Perhaps he moved his family nearer to Ft. Smith, the site of a fairly large U.S. Army garrison, for a measure of safety and stability during a dangerous time.  Being a border state, raiders were very active in Arkansas.  Remember Josey Wales?

Hume Bailey bought land in Sebastian County, around today’s City of Hackett, very near to the Oklahoma border.  Starting with most of a 1/16 of a section and growing his holdings to close to 100 acres by the time of his death, Hume had enough land to scratch out a living, but just barely.  He and his wife Sarah Louise Council Bailey raised ten children – three that Hume had with his first wife Amanda Shafer, one that Sarah had with her first husband John O. Brewer, and six together.

It’s somewhat difficult to trace Sebastian county land records from Atlanta.  FamilySearch.org has many indexes of the deeds online, but not many of the deed books themselves.  Combine that with the fact that there are two courthouses in Sebastian county where things are recorded.  So, I have not found as many deeds for the farm as I would like.

But my family is a bunch of pack rats.  Turns out I have property tax receipts from about 1850 until about 1940, almost every year.  Each one details the particular property that is owned and who paid the taxes.  So, you can see when land comes in and goes out, as well as when the head of household changed.

In April 1874, Hume paid tax on part of the SW 1/4 of the SW 1/4 of Section 16, Township 6N, Range 32W just on the outskirts of what is now Hackett.  This piece of land stayed in the family until the very end.  By 1890, the Bailey farm has taken its final form, containing most of the SW 1/4 SW 1/4 of S 16 T 6N R 32W and most of the NW 1/4 NW 1/4 of S 21 T6N R32W.  Also included are small slices immediately to the east of these pieces of land.  On the map, this is the green square.  Just for reference, the small red square was F.B. Bailey’s original patent.

Copy of mseba
North Sebastian County, Arkansas. Green square is Hume Bailey’s farm. Red square is F.B. Bailey’s original patent.

So long as Hume Bailey lived, taxes were for the most part paid on time each year until his death in 1891.  By then, the male children had for the most part moved away and the farm began to struggle.  Sarah Bailey is now the name on the tax receipts.  We see a lot of penalties for late payment on property taxes.  On some receipts, there is a notation that a payment is for multiple years of taxes.  And in fact, there are several instances through Sarah’s widowhood where the farm is sold for taxes and then redeemed.  I don’t know the details of this practice.  It seems like there must be a period where the farm is almost but not quite in foreclosure, when the original owner can redeem it for the back taxes and a penalty.

bailey-docs-0423-f-v01

After Hume died, Sarah applied for a widow’s pension from the U.S. Army, since her first husband, John O. Brewer, had died during the Civil War and Hume had never served.  This made her eligible for a small pension.  In the application, she and several people comment on the fact that the farm is not worth a lot and that she is nearly destitute with it as her sole income.

At Sarah’s death, Charles Council Bailey, the oldest son of Hume and Sarah, inherits the farm.  He is the father of my grandmother, Susan Louise Bailey Dickson.  Charles married Viola Tennison and goes on to have ten children, with Susan being the youngest.  Tax receipts hint that things were pretty tight for a family with so many children.  Once during the height of the Great Depression, the farm is again sold for taxes and then redeemed.  But, there are often penalties for late payment.

Everyone pitches in on the farm.  The boys work in the fields.  There is a great picture of “The Hay Crew” taking a break from working in the fields.  Some of the land was used to grow cotton, based on Cotton Allotment forms filed during the Depression.  Some appears to be rented.  But the farm was never a highly productive piece of land.  Charles worked as a merchant in addition to farming.  Some of his sons worked in local coal mines.  But, the family was close and many of the descendants remain in touch even today.  We are hoping to perhaps have a reunion of the descendants of Charles and Viola in 2019.

Of course, there were plenty of animals on the farm.  I love this photo of my grandmother Susan Louise Bailey and her calf, Blossom.  And this is a pretty good one of her dad, Charles Council Bailey and one of his working draft horses.

So, what can we take from all of this?  I think life on the farm was critical to the way this family grew together and how they turned out as adults.  I think that if you imagine a small farm on the edge of Oklahoma during the Great Depression, you might have a pretty good idea of what this farm was like.  But, it was home.  And it remained in the family for nearly 100 years.

Eventually, I will track down the rest of the deeds to see when each piece was purchased or sold.  I will continue to work to find out when Francis Baker Bailey arrived in Arkansas.  And I will continue to figure out what it was like down on the farm.

John Oliver Brewer, Co. E 1st Arkans. Infantry

I spent thirteen years living in State College, Pennsylvania, right next door to Boalsburg.  In addition to housing possessions from Christopher Columbus, Boalsburg makes another claim to fame.  The tiny little town of Boalsburg is one of several that claim to be the site of the first Memorial Day commemorations.  The graves of fallen Union soldiers were decorated starting in October 1864.  Of course, there are lots of places that claim this honor.  But Boalsburg is the one I am familiar with.  Every year, there is a large Memorial Day commemoration there.

There are many veterans in every generation in my family tree, some in my direct line, some among the uncles, aunts, and cousins.  John Oliver Brewer is one who is almost in my line. John Oliver Brewer was the first husband of my great-great-grandmother, Sarah Louise Council.

John and Sarah married in 1858 in Sebastian County, Arkansas and started a family there. Their first child, a daughter, Mary Angeline Brewer, was born in February 1860 and lived just a few months.  Their second child, a son, Philip Dodridge Brewer, was born in June of 1861.

Northwest Arkansas was a hotbed of border tensions during the Civil War.  Even though it was a part of the Confederacy, there apparently was a large degree of support for the Union in the area.  According to Grandmother Dickson, this led to things being pretty ugly from time to time and to people being pressed into service on one side or the other at the point of a rifle.

In the spring of 1863, on March 10, John Oliver Brewer enlisted in the 1st Arkansas Infantry of the Union Army.  His brother had joined the Union Cavalry already.  John never say service.  After being mustered in at Fort Smith, he went with his unit north to Fayetteville.  Were he caught the measles.  John Oliver Brewer died in hospital in Faytetteville on the 18th of May, 1863, barely two months into his service.  He left his young widow, Sarah, behind with a young son to care for.

Fold3_Page_4_Case_Files_of_Approved_Pension_Applications_of_Widows_and_Other_Dependents_of_Civil_War_Veterans_ca_1861_ca_1910-Brewer, Sarah
Sarah Louise Council Brewer Pension Application, 1864

In 1867, Sarah remarried to Hume Field Bailey and had a substantial family, including my great-grandfather, Charles Council Bailey.  in 1891, Hume died.  In her old age, Sarah again fell back on her status as the widow of a Union veteran who died in service.  She applied again for a pension, after proving that her second husband (Hume) had never served in the Union Army and had certainly never served the Confederacy.  Again she was awarded a small pension to assist in her old age that she continued to receive until her death.

Phil was adopted by Hume and grew up to have a successful career as an attorney.  He was the first commissioner of the Oklahoma State Supreme Court as Oklahoma transitioned from a territory into statehood.

bailey-docs-0232-f-v00
Philip Dodridge Brewer Obituary

In the end, had it not been for John Oliver Brewer’s service with the Union Army, I wouldn’t be here today, I suppose.  I don’t know how he felt about enlisting and serving.  But it seems sort of anticlimactic to be struck down by what we consider now to be a childhood disease while in camp.