Kitty and Her First Husband’s Will

This is another installment in a series of posts about my ancestor Catherine James Bellamy James. You can read from the beginning here: Kitty James & Child Marriage.

Lately, I’ve been working with a John Jacobi James researcher named Mary, who also happens to work in the Gallia County Genealogy office. Woo hoo! She reviewed Elliott Bellamy’s probate records and had some interesting observations.

Transcription:
Elliott Bellomy’s Estate
Gallia County SS Be it Remembered that on the twentieth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty five the appraisers heretofore appointed to appraise the goods and chattels belonging to the estate of Elliott Bellomy, deceased filed in the Clerks office of our court of Common Pleas Gallia County in the State of Ohio the following inventory to wit “Agreeably to the command of an order of the court of Common Pleas of Gallia County at their march from 1834 the undersigned have [illegible] and appraised certain articles the property of Elliot Bellomy decd late of the County ass[esse]d viz: 1 Bed and Bedding 20.01 1 Pewter Bason 1.06 1/4 $21.071/4
Respectfully submitted 24th March 1834 Wm F Gooldin, Philip Cubbage, Joseph Hazlett, appraisers.

We also certify that there is in the hands of Wm L Bellomy in notes and accounts for which the said William L Bellomy lord the chattel property of said Elliott Bellomy the sum of one hundred and forty nine dollars and thirty two cents $149.32
Wm Golding, Joseph Hazlett, Philip Cubbage

State of Ohio Gallia County SS I do hereby certify that the within named Wm F Gooldin Philip Cubbage and Joseph Hazlett appeared before me one of the acting justices of the peace of the County aforesaid on the 24 March 1834 and was sworn to faithfully & impartially appraise the goods & chattels which are of Elliott Bellomy late of Ohio Township dec[ease]d [illegible] Nehemiah Davis JP seal
End transcription

First off, there’s a date inconsistency there. Based on the other probate records involving Elliott’s estate, I assume this all took place between March 18 and March 24 of 1834 and the mention of “thirty five” is a typo.

Did anything strike you reading that record?

Three dudes appraised Elliott’s belongings and came up with a bed, sheets, a washbowl and $149.32. Why did it take three men to appraise three things?

Where is Elliott’s wife, Catherine? Why wasn’t she or their sons and daughter named at all? If she had refused to be executor it most likely would have been recorded here. Instead, Elliott’s father William is named executor, which isn’t unheard of but how could people assess the belongings of a man without mentioning the family members who use them every day. Why were they all handed to his father?

Curious.

These observations of Mary’s add doubt to my belief that Catherine James was still married to or living with Elliott when he died. But I still don’t think she was married to multiple men as the census records and the birth years of her children might suggest.

It also raised the possibility that the Elliott Bellamy who married Levina Cogshill in Greenup County, Kentucky, in 1827 might be the man who died in Gallia County in 1832. But on further inspection, I notice that “Ellet” Bellamy and Levina Cogshell had a double wedding with Andrew Bellamy and Lenna Cogshell. For both marriages, the women’s father gave consent. I find it hard to believe that a 31-year-old man with four kids would marry a set of (twin?) sisters with a family member. I think this might be the older Elliott’s nephews, sons of his brother Matthew, who lived in this county at the time.

Sources:

1. Ohio Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998, Probate Place: Gallia County, Ohio, Ancestry.com, Image 105, page 179. Accessed 12 Jul 2020.

2. Greenup County Kentucky Marriages, 1804-1850, Index (original record could not be found). FamilySearch.org. Accessed 12 Jul 2020.

My Longest-Living Ancestor

Nathaniel Lewis 97 birthdayTRANSCRIPT from The Flint Journal (Flint, Michigan), 6 Jan 1963, p. D7:
Still ‘Farming’
Flint Man Marks 97th Birthday

Nathaniel Lewis, who is 97 today, has been a farmer all his life. Last summer he cultivated a small plot of corn and berries.

Lewis lives with his daughter, Mrs. Nora Miley, at 1482 Alberta St. He was born on a farm near Mount Vernon, Ind. and has lived in Flint since 1951.

He has a son, Nathaniel Jr., Parma, Mo.; five other daughters, Mrs. Mattie Hicks, Flint, Mrs. Dora Alley and Mrs. Alice Spanick, both of Dearborn, Mrs. Lillian Myrick, Dexter, Mo., and Mrs. Elizabeth Zint, Parma; 18 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.

***

I am one of Nathaniel Lewis’s many great-great-grandchildren born after he passed away in 1964 at age 98. Our common first name is a coincidence; my parents didn’t know there were Nathaniels in the family when they named me.

Writing this for Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors. This week’s prompt was “longevity.”

The Known and the Unknown

When I started my family research in 2009, it was all lopsided. My mother’s family had annual reunions and shared churches and a huge piece of paper with all of our names on it in trim little boxes. I remember one year at the family reunion someone had tacked up the family tree on a wall of the church’s banquet room. Photos of most of the family were taped up next to their entry on the tree. I watched as my relatives would bring their son or granddaughter to the chart and show them the box in which their name was written and then trace their branch up the chart. Inevitably, they would turn to the room, and the older person would point at various people the child knew and tell them their relationship.

“That’s your great-aunt Margaret, Nicky. She’s your papa’s sister. See her over in the flowered dress talking to daddy?”

It was nice. If anyone felt insecure about their place in the family, they could look to the large tree drawn on the wall and know that they belong. It felt as if the ties between us were tangled beneath the grid of tables filling the room.

Wilma and Bernice Wilson, date and location unknown
The author’s maternal grandmother (right) with her sister, 1930s

My favorite photos of them are of when they were young. Seeing my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my parents before kids and divorces and funerals. All of the lifetimes they had before I knew them.

That was my mother’s side. The known side. My father’s side was hazier.

Dad grew up in foster care from age 8. He knew his brother, sister, half-sisters and half-brother, parents, aunts, and uncles lived in town, but he also knew he barely spoke to any of them, let alone lived with them. He knew his mother’s last name because it was written on his birth certificate. (We would later discover that last name was incorrect.) There were no photographs of these people, no stories. Occasionally Dad would mention something about his childhood—how his mom made the best blackberry cobbler or how the horses at the job he held in high school always seemed to buck when it was his turn to clean their stables, but he never lingered long in those memories.

Mary Lou
The author’s paternal grandmother, c. 1940s

I started researching his family with very little to go on. The first names of his mother and siblings. Found out dad had close family members living all around where he grew up. Found out I had deep roots in two unfamiliar states: Iowa and Missouri. I was lucky there was a huge network of researchers on that side of my family who posted to Ancestry. It didn’t take long for me to discover photos of my grandparents.

That first glimpse was a lightning strike. There was no doubt they were family. Seeing their familiar faces was like meeting ghosts who had haunted my childhood home. I even found a photograph of my dad as a boy. In all the shuffling around of his childhood, he hadn’t held onto his keepsakes.

These are my favorite photos of my dad’s side. The unknown side. That light I’d felt when I’d seen my grandparents’ faces and recognized my dad, my brothers, myself in them is what keeps me researching my family tree.

(The featured photo of this post is my maternal grandfather (in the hat) with his younger brothers, c. 1918.)

Writing for Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors.