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#52Ancestors: Tricky — Same names, different couples: Differentiating between the two Elizabeth and Andrew Leaks.

In a previous post, I wrote about Mary Polk/Pope and her children, Harriett, Katherine, Sarah, Lunda, and Malcom. At that time, I was not certain what had happened to Elizabeth, “Lissie.” Looking back through the records I had about the other siblings, I realized that she was living next door to Malcom, her brother Malcom Pope/Polk, and his wife, Nancy (Smitherman) in 1880 in Richmond County adjacent to Montgomery County, which is adjacent to Randolph County.[1]

Andrew and Lissie Leak 1880
Andrew and Elizabeth “Lissie” (Pope) Leak, 1880 Census, Richmond County, NC

Elizabeth and her husband Andrew Leak, along with their children had not shown up in the census until 1880. At that time, they could be found living in Steeles Township, in Richmond County, North Carolina. Richmond County abuts Montgomery County where her mother and brother could be found living previously.[2] In the home, are their children: Archie, Sarah, Lissie A(nn), Martha A., James, and (Le)Nora. Having found them in 1880, I tried to find them in 1870. That was not quite as easy.

Andrew and Lissie Marr Cert
Marriage Certificate for Andrew Leak and Elizabeth Pope, 13 April 1875, Montgomery County, NC

One curious discovery was that Andrew and “Lissie” didn’t marry until 13 April 1875, in Montgomery County.[3] Thus, of the children named in 1880, only Martha, James and Nora were born after their reported marriage. So, what about Archie, Sarah, and Lissie? They could be found in 1870  in Steeles Township, Richmond County, living with Rachel Little. So where were Andrew and Lissie? Good question.

Archie and Sarah Leak 1870
Mary C., Archie, Sarah, and Ann E. Leak, 1870 Census,  Steeles Township, Richmond County, NC

In 1866, an Andrew Leak and Eliza Hunsacker married in Richmond County.[4] In 1870, their household, in the Mineral Springs Township of Richmond County, included Andrew, Eliza, and three children, Thomas, Annie, and Mary.[5] Were these Andrew and Eliza the same as Andrew and Elizabeth Pope/Polk? If so, why were they living in Mineral Springs Township, while Mary, Archie, Sarah, and Ann E. (Lissie) were living in the Steeles community with Rachel Little?

Andrew and Eliza 1870
Andrew Leak and Eliza (Hunsacker) Leak, 1870 Census, Richmond County, NC

In 1880, Andrew and Eliza were in Williamson Township in Richmond County. They were living there with their children: Anna, Charlie, Jessie, Winston, Della, and Thomas.[6] Meanwhile, Andrew and Elizabeth Polk/Pope were living in  Steeles Township of Richmond County with their children: Archie, Sarah, Lissie, Martha, James, and (Le)Nora.[7] These clearly were not the same couple.  In addition, Andrew, who lived in Steeles, was born about 1827, while Andrew living in Rockingham was born about 1846. These were not the same Andrew. Despite these differences, some have become confused by the similarity of names and location in the same county, not noticing that they were of different ages, in different communities with different children. Thus examining the records showed that Andrew and Eliza Hunsacker were not our Andrew and Lissie. So, what happened to our Andrew and Lissie?

Sometime after 1886 when their youngest child Dovie was born, Lissie moved to Arkansas.[8] She probably traveled with her children. There in 1888, daughter Sarah married her cousin, Milton Hill who was born in Strieby, Randolph County, North Carolina.[9] Milton was the son of Nathan and Sarah Polk/Pope Hill.[10]  Sarah was Elizabeth’s older sister. There’s no evidence for whether Andrew, made the trip to Arkansas. According to the 1900 census, Lissie was widowed.[11] Thus, there is no additional information about Andrew. Lissie would continue to live amongst her family members, including her children and grandchildren, until her death sometime after 1920, when she appeared in the census for the last time.[12]

Lissie Leak in 1920
Elizabeth “Lissie” (Pope) Leak, 1920 Census, Jefferson County, Arkansas.

Over time, Lissie’s descendants and Milton’s family in North Carolina lost touch with one another. Lissie’s descendants knew they were from Randolph County, but didn’t know many details. Sadly, the family left in North Carolina had no idea about Milton and Sarah’s family in Arkansas. It was their DNA matches that helped reunite the two branches of the family. In 2018, they were able to reunite at a family reunion in North Carolina, during which Milton and Sarah’s descendants were able to visit Strieby Church and Cemetery Cultural Heritage Site, where Milton’s ancestors are buried.[13]

Figure 129-Strieby Cultural Heritage Sign
Strieby Church, School & Cemetery Cultural Heritage Site Marker, Randolph County, NC

 

References

[1] 1880 US Federal Census: Steeles, Richmond County, North Carolina; Andrew Leak, head; Dwelling/Family #125; Macam Pope, head; Dwelling/Family #126. NARA Roll: 978; Family History Film: 1254978; Page: 231D; Enumeration District: 165; Image: 0755. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[2] 1850 US Federal Census (Free population): Montgomery County, North Carolina; John McLeod, head; Mary Pope, age 40; Malcom Pope, age 4. NARA Roll: M432-637; Page: 127B; Image: 264. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[3] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [Database on-line]. Andrew Leak and Elizabeth Pope, 13 April 1865, Montgomery County, North Carolina. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[4] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [Database on-line]. Andrew Leak and Eliza Hunsacker, 5 Aug 1866, Richmond County, North Carolina. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[5] 1870 US Federal Census: Mineral Springs, Richmond County, North Carolina; Andrew Leak, head. NARA Roll: M593-1156; Page: 568A; Family History Library Film: 552655. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[6] 1880 US Federal Census: Williamson, Richmond County, North Carolina; Andrew Leak, head; Eliza Leak, wife. NARA Roll: 979; Page: 349C; Enumeration District: 171. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[7] 1880 US Federal Census: Steeles, Richmond County, North Carolina; Andrew Leak, head; Dwelling/Family #125. NARA Roll: 978; Family History Film: 1254978; Page: 231D; Enumeration District: 165; Image: 0755. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[8] 1900 US Federal Census: Jefferson, Jefferson County, Arkansas; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0087;  James Leak, head; Dovie Leak, Sister; Born Feb 1886; born North Carolina; Lissie Leak, Mother. FHL microfilm: 1240063. Retrieved from Ancestry.com

[9] Arkansas, County Marriages Index, 1837-1957 [Database on-line]. Milton Hill and Sarah Ann Leek, married 26 May 1888, Jefferson County, North Carolina. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[10]  1880 US Federal Census: Union, Randolph County, North Carolina; Nathan Hill, head; Sarah Hill, wife; Milton Hill, son. NARA Roll: 978; Family History Film: 1254978; Page: 196C; Enumeration District: 224; Image: 0683. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[11] 1900 US Federal Census: Jefferson, Jefferson County, Arkansas; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0087; James Leak, head; Lissie Leak, “widowed.” FHL microfilm: 1240063. Retrieved from Ancestry.com

[12] 1920 US Federal Census: Pastoria, Jefferson County, Arkansas; Leroy Hampton, head; Elizabeth Leek, grandmother. NARA Roll: T625-67; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 124; Image: 421. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[13] Williams, M. L. (2016). From Hill Town to Strieby: Education and the American Missionary Association in the Uwharrie “Back Country” of Randolph County, North Carolina. Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing, Inc.

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#52Ancestors – (22) So Far Away

Next weekend (22-24 June), descendants of the families who attended Strieby Church and School, in southwestern Randolph County, will gather for a reunion. Those planning the reunion wanted to make every effort to invite as many descendants as could be located from the core families, Hills and Lassiters, and those they married, including Laughlins, Phillipses, and Waldens. I understand about one hundred family members are expected to attend from around the country, including some who have never met anyone from any other ancestral branches.

Over the years, family members and descendants moved away in search of greater opportunities. One branch of the Hill family moved farther away than most living today in North Carolina were aware. Nathan Case Hill, oldest son of Edward “Ned” Hill and Priscilla Mahockly Hill, the principal progenitors of the Hills of Hill Town, later Strieby, and his wife, Sarah Polk Hill, had 10 known children.[1] By 1900, two of those children, Milton[2] and Thomas Julius,[3] had moved away to Jefferson County, Arkansas. Exactly why they moved away is not clear, since they are listed as farmers in Jefferson County, just as they had been in Randolph County, North Carolina. The areas had another similarity, both were significant lumber producing areas. Descendants of these two men knew to this day that their roots were in Randolph County. However, they had lost touch with those back in North Carolina. DNA and on-line family trees changed all that.

Figure 54-Milton Hill
Milton L Hill

The first contact with descendants I was able to make was through a site called “Tribal Pages.” A descendant had a public tree that listed these men and their descendants. She did not seem to know much about their ancestors back in Randolph County. I attempted to contact her, but she did not respond. Nevertheless, I was able to use her information to further my own research and confirm what had happened to descendants and other family members. Later, I would find this same woman had a public tree on Ancestry. Just as I had added the names of descendants identified because of her information on her publicly viewable family trees, so she had added the names of ancestors based on the information he was able to view on my public trees, both on Tribal Pages and on Ancestry. Though we had each benefited from the research of the other, we still had not talked personally. There things stood until I began to DNA test family members.

Figure 107-Aveus Ave Lassiter
Aveus Lassiter Edmondson

One family member I tested was my cousin, Aveus Lassiter Edmondson. At the time she was our oldest living family member. She was 100. Among Aveus’s matches was a man called “W. W.” whose results were managed by “ShanksSharon (Sharon Shanks).” By examining the associated tree, and other information on Sharon Shanks’ contact page, I learned that W. W. was descended from Thomas Julius Hill.

Thomas Julius Hill
Thomas Julius Hill

W. W. also had an ancestry hint shaky leaf. Since Aveus (who has since deceased)[4] was not a direct Hill descendant, the only connection between them was through Sarah Polk Hill, Thomas’s mother.[5] Aveus’s grandmother, Katherine Polk Lassiter (wife of Colier Phillips Lassiter) was presumed to be Sarah’s sister. Both women had been living in the home of Jack and Charity Lassiter in 1850.[6]

Figure 83-Granny Kate Polk Lassiter
Katherine Polk Lassiter

Colier Lassiter, who would marry Katherine Polk,[7] was the bondsman for Nathan and Sarah.[8]  However, since the 1850 census does not name the relationship of those in a household, one can only speculate based on later records or other non-census documents. DNA can also help. In this case, the only plausible reason for Aveus and W. W. to be biologically related would be because Sarah and Katherine were related. Thus, the DNA link between Aveus and W. W. helped confirm that Sarah and Katherine were most likely sisters. Test results of other descendants have continued to reaffirm this genealogical link and reunite our separated family branches. Consequently, I contacted Sharon and we began exchanging information and developed an on-going relationship. Sharon was instrumental in providing pictures of family members from these branches for use in my book on the history of Strieby Church, school, and community.

For the reunion, each of us was encouraged to reach out to those we knew were not in touch directly with the planners, but whom we knew and could invite personally. I knew that Sharon would be interested. She had already expressed a desire to have a reunion with descendants from the Arkansas families returning to North Carolina to see where their ancestors came from. Happily, I was right. Sharon was excited about the reunion in Winston Salem next weekend. I am excited because Sharon will be coming. So, in a way, the Arkansas descendants (who have themselves moved on to other cities, such as Chicago or St. Louis) were far away. They were not only physically far away, but they were, for those in North Carolina, emotionally far away, so far away that they were, in fact, for most, non-existent. It is almost like the prodigal son (daughter?) returning. I am very excited to know that we will be able to talk and hug this once lost, but now found cousin.

Endnotes

[1] 1860 US Federal Census; Western Division, Randolph County, North Carolina, Nathan Hill, head. NARA Roll: M653-910; Page: 213; Image: 431; Family History Library Film: 803910. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4237516_00431/38955993?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/66453873/person/36243470427/facts/citation/221841239328/edit/record; 1870 US Federal Census, New Hope Township, Randolph County, North Carolina; Nathan Hill, head. NARA Roll: M593-1156; Page: 409A; Image: 267; Family History Library Film: 552655. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4277632_00267/26491953?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/66453873/person/36243470427/facts/citation/221841239255/edit/record; and 1880 US Federal Census, Union Township, Randolph County, North Carolina; Nathan Hill, head. NARA Roll: 978; Family History Film: 1254978; Page: 195B; Enumeration District: 224; Image: 0682. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6742/4243412-00682/43215876?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/66453873/person/36243470427/facts/citation/221841238824/edit/record.

[2] 1900 US Federal Census, Old River, Jefferson County, Arkansas; Roll: 63; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0090; FHL microfilm: 1240063. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7602/4120032_00255/6320871?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/66453873/person/36243470436/facts/citation/223091664994/edit/record.

[3] 1900 US Federal Census, Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas; Milton Hill, head. NARA Roll: 63; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0108; FHL microfilm: 1240063. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7602/4120032_00829/6348455?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/66453873/person/36243470432/facts/citation/221849173466/edit/record

[4] Aveus Lassiter Edmondson. (October 23, 2014). Courier-Tribune. (Asheboro, North Carolina). Retrieved from:  http://courier-tribune.com/obituaries/aveus-lassiter-edmondson.

[5] 1880; Census Place: Union, Randolph, North Carolina; Roll: 978; Family History Film: 1254978; Page: 195B; Enumeration District: 224; Image: 0682. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6742/4243412-00682/43215876?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/66453873/person/36243470427/facts/citation/221841238824/edit/record

[6] 1850; Census Place: Southern Division, Randolph, North Carolina; Catherine Lassiter [sic] and Sarah Lassiter [sic]. NARA Roll: M432-641; Page: 136A; Image: 278. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8054/4204420_00278/12941818?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/66453873/person/36231719023/facts/citation/223081904763/edit/record

[7] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Calier Lassiter and Catherine Polk, Bond, 26 Sep 1854. Retrieved from: https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=60548&h=3548742&ssrc=pt&tid=66453873&pid=36231657676&usePUB=true

[8] North Carolina, Index to Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868 [database on-line]. Nathan Case [sic] and Sarey Poke, Bond, 15 Sep 1853. Retrieved from: https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=4802&h=1120672&ssrc=pt&tid=66453873&pid=36243470429&usePUB=true