My love affair with history…

My love affair with history began with the plantation house I grew up in. The  plantation house was named “Charlton Hall” and it was located in the one stoplight community of Hickory Tavern, Laurens County, South Carolina. Charlton Hall was built circa 1847 by George Washington Sullivan. It was all brick and had a large central hallway flanked by 2 rooms on either side. It was a 2 story house. My mother started to prep it for the “National Register for Historic Places” nomination form in 1986 She died in the early stages of getting the house ready so my dad and stepmother took over. After 8 long years of getting the house ready for the nominating committee, it was finally approved in 1995. I remember going to the National Register for Historic Places meeting in Columbia and seeing my  house get formally nominated. It was a really interesting thing to experience. It really made me appreciate my house and my parents who worked diligently to get it on the National Registry.

My first actual trip to a historic site was when my mother took me to Fort Sumter and Fort  Moultrie in the summer of 1986. I was almost 10 years old. I remember thinking that “history happened here, the very place where I am standing.” After that trip, I became a bonafide Civil War buff.  I begged my dad to get me the Time Life series of The Civil War when I was 10, which I did. He and my grandfather took me to my first Civil War reenactment when I was 10.

As time went by, my dad continued to take me to Civil War battlefields and historic sites. I have been to Petersburg, Bentonville, Chancellorsville, the place Stonewall Jackson died, Fort Fisher, Stratford Hall (Robert E Lee’s birthplace), the White House of the Confederacy, and others as well.

For college I decided to apply to and miraculously got accepted to the College of College (founded in 1770). It was here that my love affair with old buildings and history really blossomed. I majored in US History and took several architecture and historic preservation classes. On weekends, I would roam around the Charleston streets looking at the old buildings and imagining what life was like behind those walls centuries before. I learned more about history outside the classroom walls than in them.  In college, I shifted my focus away from Civil War history to Revolutionary War history. My expertise is now South Carolina History from 1775-1865. I did internships at the South Carolina Historical Society and Avery Research Institute for African American Culture.

After college, I moved to Greenville, SC and did a internship at the Historic Greenville Foundation and volunteered at the Confederate Museum. My interest in genealogy grew during that time.

I got married in 2004 and moved to Charlotte, NC. Life got busy with the addition of 2 children so my love of all things historical had to be put on the back burner. The past few years I have been able to do more genealogy and take my children to historical places. I am also an active member in my local DAR chapter. My family and I have been to Kings Mountain several times, Andrew Jackson State Park, Land of the Waxhaws Museum, Edisto Island, Savannah, St Helena Island, Old Sheldon Church Ruins, and other exciting places. I am going to Cowpens National Battlefield tomorrow with my family. I have never been before so I am looking forward to a new place that has a story to tell.

I still go to historic places with a reverence and awe of those who came here before me. Some of my ancestors walked on the battlefields and I may be walking in their footsteps. It is very humbling for to think about and I so small when I go to these places. I hope my children and the future generations will value these places of history as much as I do.

History happened here. This place matters.

Where is Greenham Church?

In 1801, Cornelius Cook joined Turkey Creek Baptist Church by letter from Greenham Church, North Carolina (bottom right corner of the Turkey Creek Church Record). I have looked high and low for a Greenham Church in North Carolina in the late 1700’s and I have found no such Greenham Church. I think if I could […]

via Where is Greenham Church? — Finding those Donaldsons and Cooks and perhaps finding myself in the process.

Where is Greenham Church?

In 1801, Cornelius Cook  joined Turkey Creek Baptist Church by letter from Greenham Church, North Carolina (bottom right corner of the Turkey Creek Church Record). I have looked high and low for a Greenham Church in North Carolina in the late 1700’s and I have found no such Greenham Church.record-image_3Q9M-CS4N-DQJ5-5

I think if I could find Greenham Church, I could pinpoint where Cornelius Cook and his relative, Mary Cook (Donaldson) were from. I thought Cornelius Cook was the son of John Cook who was killed at Hayes Station in 1781, but now I am skeptical.

I have narrowed down the time period of Cornelius’s and Mary’s arrival to the Laurens/ Abbeville Co area between 1790 and 1792. Mary was married to Thomas Donaldson by March 1793 because her first child was born December 1793. Cornelius Cook is also not on the census in Laurens or Abbeville in 1790. Cornelius Cook’s earliest record in Laurens is when he witnessed a land transaction in December 1794 between Benjamin Magee and Thomas Williamson. (Thomas Williamson was married to the sister of Cornelius Cook’s wife.)

If anyone knows the whereabouts of Greenham Church in North Carolina in the late 1700’s, please let me know.

 

What I have been working on for May….

I was able to find several land deeds for James Kinman, James Cook (son of Cornelius Cook) and William Cook (son of Cornelius  Cook). The  deeds proved the locations of where I thought they lived in Laurens County (near present day Princeton).

I also found a land deed from 1825 from James Medlock to Nimrod Donaldson for 10 acres of land on Line Creek (Greenville/ Laurens County Line). Nimrod purchased the land shortly after his marriage to Sarah McCullough in Nov 1824. In 1833, William McCullough conveyed 42 acres to his son in law, Nimrod Donaldson, on Horse Creek in Greenville County.  Nimrod lived on the 42 acres conveyed to him by his Father in Law. Nimrod Donaldson and his wife, Sarah (Sallie), William McCullough and Jane McCullough are buried on the former Donaldson property.

 

A Cook Untangling…..

For the past 3 months, I have been untangling all the Cook families in Laurens, South Carolina. I made private Ancestry trees for them so I can the right people in the right family.

The Cook families are as follows (by head person):

James Cook (1750?- 1816) married Ursula Mitchell. Ursula was the daughter of Isaac Mitchell and Mary Williams and granddaughter of Daniel Williams and Ursula Henderson Williams.  I believe James Cook was son of Clayton Cook and Henrietta Henderson. James Cook lived near the North Creek on the Little River in 1786.

John Cook (brother of James above 1756 to 1781)- He was killed, along with several other men at he massacre at Hayes Station by William Cunningham. I think he may be my direct ancestor but I am not sure. He may have married a Randolph because there is a lease and release from a James Randolph and wife to a John Cook between the years of 1770-1777.

Randolph Cook (1760’s -1840) married a daughter of Thomas Henderson and Francis Henderson first ( he is listed as a Legatee on Frances Henderson’s will in 1813 in Laurens County, SC. His second wife was Mary Potter. He died in Illinois. I believe Randolph may be a son to John Cook above.

Cornelius Cook ( 1770-1838) married Nancy Kinman. I think Cornelius had a sister named Mary Cook ( 1775-1813) who married Thomas Donaldson. Cornelius Cook may be a nephew to James Cook and son of John Cook. He was living near a son of James Cook in 1820. Cornelius Cook lived on the Saluda near the Greenville County on the Laurens Co side and sister Mary Cook lived across the Saluda on the Abbeville County  side.

John Cook ( 1765- 1835)- son of a Anne Jane Cook and stepson to John O’Neil.  He is executor on Anne O’Neil’s estate record in Laurens. He was married to Catherine Griffin. John Cook lived in the area of Mudlick Creek ( near the Little River).

Abraham Cook- (1790- 1843) was married to Henrietta Irby. Henrietta Irby was the daughter of William Irby and Henrietta Henderson. He lived on the Little River area of Laurens.

George Washington Cook (1792- 1845) was married to Mary Polly Garrett. She was the daughter of Jesse Garrett and Elizabeth Henderson. Elizabeth Henderson was the sister to Randolph Cook first wife and daughter to Thomas and Frances. Jesse Garrett is executor on Frances Henderson’ s will in 1813 in Laurens.

Mary Cook Mitchell Putman (1771- 1847) may be the mother of the above George W. Cook) from a first marriage. Mary Putman and George W. Cook are both married in Warrior Creek Cemetery in Laurens.

I have discovered a pattern of Cooks marrying into Henderson families or grandchildren of Henderson families. Most of the wives are descended from men who were killed or wounded at the Massacre of Hayes Station.

My research on the Cook families isn’t over. I am missing a generation of Cooks between 1760-1790, namely the parents of these men. I am in need of estate records for Clayton Cook and Henrietta Henderson Cook who died somewhere between Cumberland County, Virginia and Granville County, North Carolina. I also need to find more information on the Randolph family.

 

 

 

Goals for 2018….

My research goals for 2018 are a continuation from my 2 uncompleted goals from 2017…

  1. Finding the parents of Mary Cook Donaldson. I have a father for her in mind but I need actual documentation to either prove or disprove my theory. In order to do this, I will make a private tree on Ancestry of possible father since I know his relatives. I will be working backward starting with relatives and not the possible father.
  2. Find out where Thomas Donaldson came from.

Maybe if I can figure out Mary Cook Donaldson family first, then it will uncover information about Thomas Donaldson’s family.

Here is to a year of genealogy breakthroughs and broken brick walls!!!

 

I found Mary Donaldson’s estate record…..

Do you know where it was? It was nestled within the confines of her husband’s, Thomas Donaldson, estate record.

There were 2 separate bills of sales, one in Nov 1811 and one in March 1813. I always wondered about the one in 1813. I looked at the 1813 sales bill more closely today and realized that Mary Donaldson’s name was conspicuously absent. I looked at the items sold in the estate and realized they were they were the same items purchased by Mary from her husband’s estate in 1811.

I  also looked at the administration page for March 1813 and found that William Donaldson, Mary’s stepson, was the administrator. In 1811 on Thomas Donaldson’s estate record, William Donaldson and Mary Donaldson were both listed as administrators.

I have found other estate records where the wife’s estate record was within the husband’s estate record. The idea that Mary’s would be in Thomas’s was very possible even though it took me a while to make the actual discovery.

The only downside to this is that my great, great, great grandfather, Nimrod Donaldson, became an orphan at almost ten years of age and was probably raised by older siblings.

***Thomas Donaldson’s Estate Record (died 1811 in Abbeville, SC) is located at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and on Ancestry.com. It is accidently connected to Jennet Donaldson’s estate record. Jennet Donaldson is an entirely different person with no known connection to Thomas Donaldson ( or at least not found yet).***