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Solving the Mystery of Margaret Stevenson, wife of Shadrack Gatlin

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The matriarch of the Craven County Gatlins, Margaret Stevenson Gatlin, wife of Shadrach Gatlin, has been a frustrating mystery for many researchers, me included. That is, until, I started going through Craven County's historic deed books. My first clue comes from Deed Book 53, page 154: 26 January 1838, Margaret Gatlin, Elizabeth Sheffield and Hannah Rinehall sell to James Caton, for $132,

...a certain piece or parcel of land situate in Craven County on the North side of Neuse river and on West side of Upper Broad Creek, beginning at an oak a corner tree of Snider land running down the creek to the mouth of Mirey Branch then up the branch to the head and then by a line of marked trees a South West course to the head of a back line so along the line to Snider line and from thence to the first station being one hundred acres more or less out of a plat of 360 acres of land more or less which Christopher Dawson has a deed for....

Margaret signs her name while Hannah's mark is a capital H and Elizabeth signs with an X.

My first thought was that Elizabeth and Hannah were Margaret's sisters. However, when I looked at county marriage bonds, I found no Rhinehall marriages and the only Sheffield marriage was in 1788 when Elizabeth Tingle married John Sheffield 24 December. Huh? So it was back to the deed books. Book 62, page 298, showed John and Hannah Rinehold selling to James Caton 1/3 part of this same tract that "Christopher Dawson has a deed for..." 25 June 1823. Rhinehall was really getting me anywhere, so I tried Sheffield. Deed Book 29, page 260

...for the consideration of one hundred pounds currency of the State to us in hadn paid by Hannah Tingle have bargained sold and by these presents do bargain and sell all that Tract or parcel of Land formerly belonging to her Father Esau Tingle...bind ourselves our Heris Executors firmly by these presents to Execute and make out a warrantee Deed as soon as it is convenient...nineteenth day of April one thousand seven hundred and ninety one...
in the presence of                                                                  Francis Gardner
Amos Sheffield                                                                       John Sheffield

The "convenient" moment was, apparently, 22 January 1797 (Deed Book 33 page 72) when Francis & Mahalath Gardner and John & Elizabeth Sheffield sell their two-thirds to Hannah Hutchins, formerly Hannah Tingle. Interestingly, everyone, Mahalath and Elizabeth included, signed their names. This deed gives a bit more information about the tract's history.

...being one Hundred Acres more or less, which said tract of Land was Conveyed to Andrew Grinder by Christopher Dawson, by Deed bearing date, June 7th A.D. 1745, which said two thirds of said tract descended to the said Mahalath and Elizabeth from their Mother Ann Tingle...

From this, I extrapolated that Esau Tingle married Ann Grinder, daughter of Andrew Grinder, and that Mahalath Gardner, Elizabeth Sheffield and Hannah Hutchins were their daughters.

More, on 4 June 1772, James and Elizabeth Tingle sell to Esau and "Ansevelah" Tingle their share, "one undivided half", of this tract

...Conveyed by Deed from Christopher Dawson Deceased the seventh day of June 1745 unto Andrew Grinder Father of the said Elizabeth and Ansevelah, which said Andrew Grinder died Intestate and the said one hundred acres by Descent became the Property of the said Elizabeth an Ansevelah as Coheirs of their deceased Father... (Craven County Deed Book 20, page 356).

Thus Andrew Grinder and his wife, Elizabeth (Court and Estate records give this as her name. She may have been the daughter of Edward Williams of whose Estate Andrew was granted administration 21 December 1739 with Rees Price and John Jacob Grinder acting as surities. Elizabeth was granted administration of Andrew's estate 8 April 1761 with James and Esua Tingle as securities. The 1772 deed, probably, marks her death), had two daughters: Elizabeth married James Tingle and Ann Sevilla married Esau Tingle.  James was definitely one of the many sons of Hugh Tingle II, who came to North Carolina from Maryland in the early 1750s.  Esau may have been, as well, but there is an extremely frustrating piece of tape across a portion of Hugh's will.  It's about an inch wide and stretches across the entire width of the page, obscuring any possible mention of Esau, or Shadrack's own grandfather, Solomon Tingle.

These deeds make it unclear whether Hannah Rhinehall is Hannah Tingle Hutchings or her daughter, but my vote is for their being the same person, so Hannah and Elizabeth were Margaret's aunts. And, more, there is a marriage bond for Wheelwright Stevens to marry Margaret Gardner 21 March 1801. Shortly after that, 15 August 1801, Mahalath remarried to John Whitford. Also uncertain is what happened to Wheelwright. Margaret and Shadrack married 15 May 1811, so, obviously, he was most likely deceased by that date. This is one of those times when I really feel the lack of an 1810 census record! So, Margaret was the daughter of Francis Gardner and Mahalath Tingle and widow of Wheelwright Stevens[on].

Mahalath Tingle Gardner Whitford was still living as of April 1809 when she testified in Court during a case concerning the Estate of David Purifoy. Hannah Rhinehall died before 30 March 1840 when an inventory and sale of her Estate occurred. Elizabeth, probably, predeceased her since I can't find her in the 1840 census. There is no estate record for her, so it is difficult to know for certain. Margaret is listed on the 1840 census. She's in her fifties living with a young man between 10 and 14, probably her youngest, Shadrack, and a slave boy aged under 10 years. However, she died not long after the census was taken. One of the provisions laid out in Shadrack's will (12 December 1832) was that a sale of the Estate was take place after her death. That sale took place 30 November 1840.

A few other things:

  1. Francis, Mahalath and Hannah sold their shares in Lot 289, which Esau Tingle bought from Jacob White 30 April 1777 (Deed Book 23, page 76), to Elizabeth and John 22 January 1798 (Deed Book 33, page 107).
  2. Francis Gardner was born 16 January 1753 to William Gardner and his wife who is completely unknown.
  3. On 14 March 1769, Francis and his brother, James, made choice of John Knox as their guardian.
  4. James Gardner, orphan of William Gardner, "aged 14 ye 24 February last" was bound to James Davis, Esq. 16 September 1769 to "learn the art and mystery of a printer."
  5. Francis Gardner, "aged 18 years the 16th January next" was bound to Peter Brett 14 December 1770 to learn to be a joiner and cabinetmaker.

One mystery remains.  I don't know how the following connects, or even if it does.  From Craven County Deed Book 53, page 180:

Be it known that we Mary Tingle and Sarah Tingle of the County of Craven and State of North Carolina for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred Dollars to us in hand paid by James Caton to in hand paid by at and before the sealing and signed of these presents the receipt and payment whereof is hereby acknowledged have bargained sold aliened enfeoffed and confirmed and do hereby bargain sell enfeoff and confirm unto the James Caton and we the said Mary and Sarah Tingle heirs and assigns forever a certain piece or parcel of land lying and being as follows to wit situate in Craven County and North Carolina and on the North side of Neuse River beginning at a gum at the mouth of Mirey Branch running down the creek to the mouth of Branch called the White Oak Branch to a gum then up the branch to the head and then by a line of marked trees So. West course and to the back line and along that to Andrew Grinders line and to the first station containing one hundred acres be the same more or less lying and being on the South side of Upper Broad creek...this 10th day of April 1813...

and page 181:

Know all men by these presents that for and in consideration to me paid by the parties to the foregoing deed I do hereby bargain sell ratify and confirm unto the said parties all my estate interest and title contained in said deed. To have and to hold to them and their heirs
Witness my hand and seal then 14th July 1838

B. W. Wayne