Episode 12: Playing With Genealogy

Warning: This is complicated and might require several sittings to get through and/or a stiff drink.

In the U.S. Census of 1870, the Dysart family was represented quite well: John Dysart, age 45, and his wife Tabitha, age 42, had nine children living at home. Rebecca, 21, William W. 18, Sam 15, James 13, Emily 11, Davis 9, Sallie Ann 6, Elizabeth 4, and Janesa 2 (some places called Henrietta–the writing of court clerks can be very creative, and they change the course of history with their loop-de-dos.) Many of the Dysarts and their neighbors were active in the Civil War. According to a database, U.S. Civil War Soldiers 1861-1865, there were approximately 6.3 million soldiers, but it takes a lot of patience to track everyone. I will sum up the list by saying there were several James Dysarts fighting for both the Confederacy and the Union, from all over the country. There was even a J.Y. Dysart in the Confederate Infantry from Louisiana. Several Dysarts from Missouri.

According to a list of 549 Confederate Soldiers serving from McDowell County, 18 were buried at Drucilla, 16 at the Dysartsville Baptist cemetery, 13 at Trinity Methodist, and 9 at Harmony Grove. SVC Camp 379 listed their names and assignments on a website dated November 20, 2014. The dates of their deaths were not recorded here, but this is a good reference for ancestry probes.

The Dysartsville Dysarts were fortunate; when the Civil War was over, they still had a large family. And they had relatives in the township, as it was called. All of these guys were farmers, but some had less land than others and had to rethink their options.

Move West, young man, was one option. In the 1840 Census, there were a lot of Dysarts listed in Marshall County in Tennessee. But what about the home team?

For example, a Dysartsville Dysart such as William F. Dysart age 44, his wife Celia age 45, William 12, Whit age 10, John 8, and Joseph age 4, according to the 1870 Census. William F. had no acreage, but 175 in personal value, whatever that meant. On the other hand, William F. had married Celia C. Daves, and his property may have been part of the package. Their son James is listed on the 1850 Census as a Deputy Sheriff, not the more popular farmer description.

The records are kept in a different language from 2017. Help me out, if you have enlightenment to share.

BTW, on the same 1850 census, Joseph and B.M. Brackett are listed as miners. They are middle age here, so something must have been lucrative, and I have to mention Samuel Dysart at age 25 was then living with JYSD but working as a miner in 1850, not a farmer, according to the census.The Bracketts were still in the neighborhood; one of them built the house that the Mike Allisons remodeled and live in comfortably today. The Dysarts are scattering.

On the 1870 Census, John Dysart had nothing. Mary Dysart, the widow of JYSD’s and Jennet’s son, JYSD, Jr, had 2,000 acres. This may have something to do with her maiden name, Moore. She was the daughter of James Hilliard Moore and Henrietta Sherrill Moore.

John Dysart’s oldest son, William Washington, married Laura Cooper in 1886 and tried to make a living down on the farm he didn’t own. The census that spelled Dysart as Dysort does say that he owned his own home, there was no mortgage, but he piled up debt when he and Laura had children every two years for 18 years. Eventually, William got a job with the railroad and moved his family to Lenoir in Caldwell County, NC. This was a good move for his oldest son, Louis Albert, who became a banker and retired there. So that accounts for the disappearance of one Dysart family. But he had three brothers to carry on the Dysart name, and I am wondering where they are today. None in Dysartsville.

John Dysart’s family deserves much more research. In 1870, he also had nine children but he had a domestic servant, Mahala Jackson, to help. She was 60 at that time, and must have liked the job because she was on the 1880 Census also.

Mary Dysart’s family was easy to track down. She was widowed in 1837, raised her kids, and in 1860, she lived with her daughter Ann, age 31. Her son Samuel had died, never having married or had children. Mary died in 1886; she and Samuel are buried at the old family cemetery at Drucilla. Ann married Albert Beattie Taylor (buried at Dysartsville Baptist) and had a son in 1865, William H. Taylor, who is buried at Drucilla. William H. married Mary Carroll but they had no children. She is buried at Dysartsville Baptist Church. (A lot of church hopping even back then.)

Mary Dysart’s third child, John (1823-1909) married Telitha Dobson and they had three daughters. Two remained in Dysartsville and married the Laughridge boys. Irene had five sons and a daughter. Sister Emily Virginia married William Albert Laughridge and had four sons and a daughter she named Lillie Belle, born in 1896. Beautiful Lillie Belle married Zebulon Vance Daves whose father had obviously served in the Confederate Army. (He was not the only one who named his son after this popular Confederate officer who later became a two term Governor of North Carolina. One example is a Zebulon Vance Davis from Wilkesboro.) But Lillie Belle had her own claim to fame. She was famous as the designer of lady’s undergarments, some of which are on display at the county museum.

We mentioned Samuel David Laughridge in the last post, He may have stayed in Burke County when it split, but his son Joseph Larkin Laughridge, born in 1818, married Catherine Elvira Fox of Burke County and moved to Dysartsville in time for the 1870 Census. His son Joseph, born in 1843, was a private in the War Between the States, married Sarah Dale in 1879 and moved to Brackett Town in time for the 1900 Census. He had a six year old son at that time, named Joseph Larkin, of course. In 1880, I ran into confusion with a J.L. Lackridge married to a Sallie (which was a nickname for Sarah back then). They lived in the  gold mining town of Jamestown. Joseph and Catherine were the parents of William Alfred Laughridge who had several children before he married Emily Virginia Dysart in 1883 when she was 22. (In one census she was named Elmie U, in another Edmee U Langlondge. It should be a requirement that the census takers know how to listen and spell the name according to the victim. Creativity is very annoying here.) In the 1900 Census it is plain that the first wife is the mother of four, but there are eight living children for William Alfred.

BTW neighbors included the Fortunes, Kirkseys, Simmons, Bracketts and Dr. T. Davis next door.

I would award a creativity honorable mention to the Landis family for the name Mayo Elizabeth. And she brings a mystery. In 1907 Mayo Landis married a William Laughridge. However, in the 1910 Census, Mayo was married to James Lee Laughridge, and they were parents of Eda, age 1, and an infant named Owen, whose name was changed to William Erwin Laughridge (added by family in parenthesis). Later records for William show his father listed as James Lee, and I didn’t find a marriage certificate for Mayo and James. After all, this is a part time job. Digging further, I find out that the certificate listing William must be wrong or William died and James Lee took over. That kind of brotherly love is in the Bible. Why not in Dysartsville? And I must add that Emily’s sister Irene Dysart Laughridge named her daughter Mayo Alley in 1903; the father was Joseph Monroe Laughridge.

In the 1870 Census, Elisabeth, 52 year old widow of JYS Dysart, Jr., lived with a shoemaker, Caleb Crawford and his wife in Dysartsville. Okay, hard times? But Elisabeth’s son Samuel, age 26, who was credited as having 500 acres, worked as a merchant, and his brother, Joseph, age 22, was listed as a farmer, possibly on above mentioned 500 acres???? And there was Agnes Dysart, age 13, with her whole life in front of her. Where did she go? And why did they live with the Crawfords? Sisters? I need some help here!

The 1880 Census told me that Elisabeth and Agnes moved in with son John Dysart and his wife and four little boys under five years old. Poor Grandma. Reminds me of the Waltons, a TV show I really enjoyed because of the close knit family. I’m older now, and think about the noise!

My biggest consternation comes from the Higgins family through the Dysarts. In the 1850 Census, Alberto Higgins is listed as a merchant, age 29, owning real estate of 800 (I presume acres). With his wife Eveline, age 28, they have three children: Joseph, age 7, Sarah, age 5, and Emma, about 6 months. A death certificate was issued 30 June 1858 for (Henrietta) Eveline Higgins, reportedly buried at the Neal Cemetery in McDowell County, but I couldn’t find her grave on line.

I did find that Alberto Higgins wrote a contract or marriage proposal for the hand of Earlene or Eveline Dysart for January 1860. It was very much like the one between Samuel David Laughridge had for Sally, Christian Bartles daughter in the last Episode. I understand. He needs a mother for his children. In the census of 1860, children listed under Alberto, age 39, and Eveline, age 20, are William (Joseph?) age 17, Sarah, age 15, and Emma, now age 10. All understandable in the ten years that have passed from the last census. And now there is Jasper Bulow, age 7. Finally a different name but his records are wrong because of penmanship, making me wonder about all the Johns and Williams. And suddenly, Alberto Higgins has real estate of 10,000 acres and a personal value of 8,000? What happened here?

Since I am trying to find out what happened to Dysarts, I look at the family of JYS Dysart who has a daughter Henrietta born in 1840 and died in 1889, buried at Trinity Methodist Church in Dysartsville. Her middle initial is “E.” Jasper (or Joseph) Bulow Higgins 1852 to 1929 is also buried in the Neal Cemetery but he says his mother is Henrietta. There are two marriage records, Eveline Dysart to Alberto Higgins, 5 Jan 1860, and Earlen Dysart to Alberto Higgins on 6 Jan 1860. There is also a marriage contract for Eveline Dysart to Alberto Higgins on 19 Aug 1862. The marriage contract I read could be either Earlene or Eveline because of the handwriting flourishes so proudly presented.

The end of the story is that Alberto, born 30 Jan 1819, died 5 May 1900 and is buried at the Trinity Methodist Church cemetery in Dysartsville. On the Death Certificate, his spouse is listed as Henrietta Eveline Higgins. His children use different names for mama. The oldest one, Jasper Bulow, writes Henrietta Eveline as mother, as does Emma who is buried with her husband in Cleveland County. Joel Stewart, born in 1861, died in 1889 and buried at Trinity, referred to his mother as Henrietta. Likewise, Samuel, born in 1865, died in 1892 and buried at Trinity, and also Mattie Dorsett, born in 1873, died in 1911 and buried at Trinity. They called Henrietta “mama,” as did Robert Albert, born in 1877 and died in 1933, buried in AZ. But Wiley Reuben born in 1888, died in 1959, and buried in TN…I don’t know about this one.

I found Agnes! She married Alfred Kenneth Weaver in 1884, and they stayed in the county. She lived a long time, until 1939, and was buried at the Marion city cemetery, Oak Grove.

At least we are over the gluttony of James and John names. Unless the Laughridges are fond of them also. I am enjoying Ancestry.com research, but my father’s name may have died out in my generation. Is that easier or harder? Or more expensive if you have to hire a genealogist?


Copyright@2018 Georgia Wilson

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