Saturday, September 3, 2016

Source Saturday: Directories, Part 1

While doing your family or historical research, keep in mind that directories come in a variety of topics and offer a variety of information. The dictionary defines a directory as
a book listing alphabetically or thematically a particular group of individuals...or organizations with various details [Oxford American Dictionary and Language Guide, 1999 ed.]
Using that definition of directory, this post will discuss the variety of directories and what you can expect to find in each. I will be using examples from directories held by the Kellenberger Room.

City Directories

Cover of Charles Emerson's
New Bern City Directory
Courtesy of Wilson Special Collections
Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
City directories are probably the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions a directory. These are lists of people and businesses within a specific geographical area, usually a town. The earliest City Directory for New Bern is from 1880-1881 and titled, Chas. Emerson & Co.'s Newbern, N.C., City Directory.

DigitalNC has a list of the earlier City Directories for New Bern (1880s-1961). There is also one early Craven County Directory from 1913 on DigitalNC (use the same link as the City Directories). The Kellenberger Room also has additional City Directories for New Bern that have not been digitized (1962-present).

Business Directories

Business directories were an early form of advertising. If you needed a product, you would check a business directory to see who sold that product. In North Carolina, one of the leading business directories publishers was Levi Branson. Branson's North Carolina Business Directory was published from 1867-1896. These directories are broken down by county, and give some basic demographic information about each county (population, county seat) as well as county and city officials. As the directories progressed, Branson included more and more information, eventually including the names of prominent farmers in the counties, names of teachers, and names of preachers. Online copies of some of the directories are available at DigitalNC: 1867-68, 1869, 1872, 1890, and 1896.

R. A. Shotwell, the same year that Branson began publishing, published the New Bern Mercantile and Manufacturers' Business Directory and N.C. Farmers' Reference Book. Besides containing business advertisements, the directory also contained a brief history of New Bern, and a map of the town. The Google Book version of the directory (the link above) is missing the map.

The North Carolina Year Book and Business Directory was published by the News and Observer for a number of years around the turn of the twentieth century. This directory listed government officials at the state and local level. Counties are arranged alphabetically and towns within the county. Contact information for the larger Societies and Organizations is also given. Within the County listing, the directory included county officials, justices of the peace, school teachers, ministers, town officials, and leading businesses.

These two types of directories are just the beginnings of various directories. Future Source Saturday posts will include some of the other directories including: Telephone Directories, Religious Directories, Alumni Directories and others.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Church That Might Have Been

Design for a chapel, 1834, from Edward T. Davis and John L. Sanders,
A Romantic Architect in Antebellum North Carolina:
The Works of Alexander Jackson Davis

By John B. Green III

Judge William Gaston, lawyer, congressman, and state supreme court justice, was one of the founders and patrons of New Bern's fledgling Roman Catholic congregation in the early 19th Century.  The congregation met in private homes but Gaston soon sought to secure a permanent place of worship.  Through his son-in-law Robert Donaldson of New York, Gaston had become acquainted with the nationally-known architect Alexander Jackson Davis.  Davis was an energetic proponent of the various romantic-revival architectural styles then becoming popular.  Between 1834 and 1840 Davis supplied Gaston with at least two sets of plans and renderings for a Roman Catholic chapel in the Gothic style.  Buttressed and spired, with tracery windows, the chapel would be the purest expression of the Gothic-Revival style in New Bern and North Carolina and a dignified home for the town's Catholics.  But it was not to be.  Architectural exuberance and religious fervor soon ran head-long into a practical bishop with an eye on the bottom line.

Design for a chapel, 1840, from Mills Lane, Architecture in the Old South: North Carolina

The Right Reverend John England, Bishop of Charleston, had organised the parish of St. Paul in New Bern in 1824.  He had worked closely with William Gaston to promote the local congregation and to secure a place of worship.  But he balked at the cost and complexity of the proposed Gothic chapel.  Counseling Gaston to build a church at a cost and in a style which could easily be erected in New Bern, the Bishop supplied a sketch plan of a plain frame church.  With the plan in the hands of New Bern builder Hardy B. Lane, the result was the St. Paul's Catholic Church on Middle Street familiar to generations of New Bernians.  Completed in 1841, the wood-frame church combined late-Federal and Greek-Revival details.  Although significantly altered in appearance by the 1896 addition of an entrance tower, the church is still recognizable as the building which Bishop England approved.

St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, photo ca. 1862. U.S. Army Military History Institute

Although his grand Gothic chapel would never be constructed, Alexander Jackson Davis did leave one tangible reminder of his connection to William Gaston and New Bern.  Upon Gaston's death in 1844, his family asked Davis to design a suitable monument for his grave. The resulting classically styled sarcophagus, executed in Italian marble, marks Gaston's final resting place in Cedar Grove Cemetery to this day.

Grave of William Gaston, Cedar Grove Cemetery, New Bern, photo ca. 1910, from Mary Louise Waters, A Short Historical Sketch of New Bern, N.C.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mermaids in New Bern!  or the day the Manatees came to town.

By John B. Green III

On Wednesday, October 22, 1890, the New Bern Daily Journal reported the following front-page news:

A Curiosity in Port.
    Yesterday afternoon the schooner yacht Manatee arrived in port from Washington, D.C., in charge of Mr. J.W. Zellers, who has aboard two wonderful and rare curiosities known as the Manatee, or Sea Cow.  They weigh upwards of seven hundred pounds apiece and inhabit both land and water.  In appearance the head is like that of a cow and the body is similar to the whale.  They were taken off the Florida coast and belong to that order of animals that is fast becoming extinct.  The scientific name of this odd creature, which will be on exhibition here a few days, is Trichechus Latirostris. That's right, pronunciation and all.

The next day the Journal announced that the sea cows would be available for viewing at the foot of Craven Street through October 28th, "Admission 10 cents."  Their keeper and exhibitor, Capt. John W. Zellers, also known as Manatee Zellers, was renowned along the East Coast for his skill in capturing and keeping alive these warm-water marine mammals.  Zeller, a resident of Titusville, Florida, made a living by hauling freight, guiding sport fishermen, and capturing and exhibiting manatees.  He is said to have exhibited a live manatee at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876 and to have supplied several manatees to P.T. Barnum for his circus and menagerie.

The manatees displayed in New Bern were Florida Manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris), a subspecies of the West Indian Manatee.  There are three living species of manatee - the West Indian, the Amazonian, and the West African.  Together with the similar dugong of Asia, they comprise the order Sirenia whose name hints at the folklore linking the manatees and dugongs to the mythological mermaids and sirens.  Although Captain Zellers' manatees arrived in New Bern by schooner in 1890, Florida manatees regularly wander as far north as North Carolina and beyond during the warm-water months of summer and early autumn.  They have occasionally been spotted in the Neuse River as far inland as New Bern.

What did 1890s New Bernians think of these unusual visitors?  The Daily Journal reported that the manatees were "attracting the attention of the citizens of New Berne and exciting wonder and admiration on account of their being such strange creatures, and of their intelligence and very gentle nature."  Zellers and his manatees left New Bern sometime after October 28th and, with exhibition stops along the way, proceeded south to the manatees' home in the warm waters of Florida.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Source Saturday: American Revolutionary War Sources

With Independence Day upon us, I will take this opportunity to introduce you to some resources to research your Revolutionary War ancestor. I will include a few websites, since the library will be closed on Independence Day and will reopen on July 5.

If you have a library card with the Craven-Pamlico-Carteret Regional Library, there are two resources you can use that you would normally have to subscribe to...HeritageQuest Online (through NC LIVE) and Fold3 Library Edition.

Both HeritageQuest and Fold3 have the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files taken from the National Archives microfilm series M804. These approximately 80,000 application files are full of information on the military service of the individual applying. Sometimes, records from the Family Bible are included, as are marriage records, if the widow was applying for the pension. The National Archives has a descriptive pamphlet (PDF) describing what can be found in the pension files along with relevant pension laws and procedures for applying.

Before the advent of the Internet, Virgil D. White abstracted most of the pension files in a 4-volume set titled Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files. Alphabetically arranged by the applicant, with an index for other names, the entries give the name, service information, pension number, and other information. For example, the entry on Daniel Tolar reads:
TOLAR, Daniel, SC Line, S42043, appl 9 Jun 1818 a res of Craven Co NC, in 1820 sol had a wife aged 55, in Mar 1820 sol was living in Richland Dist SC & in Sep 1820 he had returned to Craven Co NC. [Virgil D. White, transcriber. Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Vol. 3, p. 3511.]
Another website with transcribed pension applications is Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements and Rosters by Will Graves and C. Leon Harris and various volunteers. Links to other Revolutionary sources can be found here, too.

Fold3 has other Revolutionary War era records besides the pensions applications. For example, the site also includes service records. Virgil White, too, indexed many of these service records in another 4-volume set titled Index to Revolutionary War Service Records. Arranged alphabetically by the soldier's name, it includes the regiment the soldier served. For example:
"CATEN, James, srv in the 1st NC Regt." [White, Index, Vol. 1, p. 451] 
White's index includes over 390,000 entries. Some soldiers may be listed more than once due to variant spellings of names and service in multiple units.

For those with African-American or Native American ancestors who may have fought in the American Revolution, Eric Grundset and others have compiled a book titled Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War. Broken down by state, each chapter gives an overview of service by African Americans and American Indians in that state followed by an alphabetical list of soldiers with source information. For example, "DOVE, WILLIAM, African American, 1790NC ("Other Free"), HAUN:journ.A:141, HEI-2, Craven Co." [Forgotten Patriots, p. 562] A review of the sources reveals HAUN:journ.A is from Weynette Haun's series (see below), and HEI-2 is Paul Heinegg's Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware online.

Once you determine the State from which your ancestor served, check to see if state resources are available to research. One newer source to review is being published by The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. The Society is producing a series titled DAR Source Guides of the American Revolution. So far, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts/Maine have been published in book form and as PDFs, with North Carolina available only as a PDF (the book edition should be available soon as I write this in July 2016). The library only has the first five books in the series, but will be purchasing the newer volumes in the future.

For North Carolina research, also check the Roster of Soldiers from North Carolina in the American Revolution. This source, though incomplete, contains thousands of names for North Carolina soldiers. Published by the NCDAR in 1932, the volume has been reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company.

J.D. Lewis has compiled a 3-volume set titled NC Patriots 1775-1783: Their Own Words. The appendices for the volumes includes alphabetical lists of soldiers and the regiment to which they belonged with some basic information (year, rank, served under, and notes).

The North Carolina State Archives MARS database includes some Revolutionary War information as well. Click the link above, then enter a name in the "Search Text" box and press search. You can also browse by clicking the Browse button beside "Class, Collection, Series". Clicking the + beside the entries opens more collections. Under "Popular Collections" for example is "Military Collections--Revolutionary War Army Accounts". Continuing to click + to expand selections will eventually bring a list of names. Clicking the name will give the source information that you can use to write to the Archives to get copies of the originals, or to add to your list of items to research when next in Raleigh.

The MARS entry may also lead to items found in Weynette Haun's transcripts of those Revolutionary era Treasurer's and Comptroller's Papers Account Books in an 18 volume series titled North Carolina Revolutionary Army Accounts.

MARS also has an index to Military Land Warrants for land in present day Tennessee given to NC soldiers for their service in the Revolutionary War. As part of the Secretary of State's Land Office: Land Warrants, Plats of Survey, and Related Records. To easily get a list of these land records, search MARS with "Military Warrant" in the basic search text box. Lloyd Bockstruck has indexed North Carolina Land Warrants as well as other State land grants in his book Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State Governments (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1996).

To find other resources for researching the Revolutionary War in the library's online catalog, try subject searches using the terms:
United States History Revolution, 1775-1783
United States History Revolution, 1775-1783 Registers
North Carolina History Revolution, 1775-1783
North Carolina History Revolution, 1775-1783 Registers
Military pensions Revolution, 1775-1783

Happy  researching and Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Source Saturday: Apprentice Bonds

Over the coming months, we will make occasional Saturday posts our "Source Saturday" and describe some sources that may be overlooked by researchers, historical or genealogical.

Today we will concentrate on Apprentice Bonds.

The earliest apprentice law on record in North Carolina is 1715 and it remained pretty much untouched until the early 1900s. See Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, volume 23, page 70-71 for Chapter XLIX. An Act Concerning Orphans.

Its purpose was to provide a method of equipping orphaned and/or poor children with skills to become a productive adult and not to become a burden to the county coffers. Males and black females were usually bound until they were 21 years of age; white females until 18 or married.

Besides teaching an occupation, the master provided food, clothing, lodging, and usually a rudimentary education to the apprentice. As time wore on, this last provision was denied to free black apprentices. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, the master was to provide a new suit of clothes, a new Bible, and some money.

Who was apprenticed?

  1. Orphans of small or no estates. Orphans in this sense means that at least the father had died, the mother could still be living.
  2. Children whose father had abandoned them and were gone for at least 1 year and without sufficient support.
  3. Children of unfit mothers.
  4. Children of free persons of color.
  5. Free baseborn chldren of color [i.e. illegitimate children of color]

When using apprentice bonds, be sure to read the entire bond. Since the child was apprenticed to a certain age, often the current age and sometimes the actual birth date is written on the bond, as in the example below.

The apprentice did not necessarily have to be an orphan, as a parent could consent to having a child apprenticed to learn a trade.

The procedure for apprenticeship was as follows:

  1. The Justices of the County Court were made aware there were orphans in the county, usually through the grand jury. 
  2. The Justices summoned the orphan to court. 
  3. The court appointed a Master for the orphan.
  4. The master posted a bond stating he would perform his duties as outlined above.
  5. If for some reason, the master failed to perform his duties or ill-treated the apprentice, the master could be called in to justify his actions. If neglect or ill-treatment was found, the justices could appoint another master and additional paperwork was created.
While reading the actual court minutes, you may find an indication of apprenticeship, as in this 1817 court minutes record. 
You should seek to find the original bonds and records concerning apprenticeships, though, as more information may be available there, as indicated in this record concerning the same individual.

The Kellenberger Room staff have abstracted many of the Craven County Apprentice Bonds that are located on microfilm from the North Carolina State Archives. Again, additional information may be located in the originals, but most genealogical information has been abstracted.

For further reading on apprentices, see Roy M. Brown's Public Poor Relief in North Carolina and Karin L. Zipf's Labor of Innocents: Forces Apprenticeships in North Carolina, 1715-1919.