Family Tree Fact Check: Cason and Averilla Scott

by | Jan 31, 2021 | 0 comments

Too many researchers conclude Cason and Averilla Scott were husband and wife. I have lost count of the number of trees, forum posts and other media to make this claim. In fact, they were brother and sister. This misapprehension may have begun with a hurricane.

The Second Great Hurricane of 1752

On 30 Sep 1752, a major hurricane hit Charlestown, South Carolina. It, then, made its way up the coast towards Wilmington. The storm was particularly bad in Onslow County. It destroyed the county seat, Johnston. This included the Courthouse. All deeds and other records were gone.

Portions of the courthouse were said to have washed “across the New River, there two miles wide.” Virtually every building in town was reportedly wrecked, and eight residents were killed. So great was the loss at Johnston that the town was abandoned and a new county seat was established at Wantland’s Ferry (known today as Jacksonville).

North Carolina’s Hurricane History: updated with a decade of new storms from Isabel to Sandy, Fourth Edition by Jay Barnes, p. 35 (read a sample here)

By act of General Assembly passed 27 Mar 1753, copies “…attested under the Hand of the Clerk who recorded the same…” were given the same weight and credit as the originals (State Records of North Carolina, Volume XXIII, p. 387). Thus, salvage occurred. Such as it was.

In the Abstract

As with all historic documents, we must all contend with faded ink, bled ink, crumbling paper, etc. And such was true for Mrs. Zae Hargett Gwynn and her invaluable Abstracts of the records of Onslow County. On page 94 of Volume 1, from Deed Book E, p. 18 (Note: I have never found this in the actual deed book to verify.  Modern Deed Book A records deeds through Original Deed Book D, where Original E is, I have no idea!):

So, first, Moses and Averilla Anderson sold David Gordon “…a tract…granted to Cason Scott, Sept 7, 1736, on north shore of New River and Averilla his wife, now Averilla wife of Moses Anderson….” Then, Gordon sold the Andersons the 200 acres in Onslow County. However, the Cason Scott land wasn’t on the New River, but the Neuse!

Rivers of Confusion

You see, the first transaction can be found in Craven County Deed Book 2, p. 321 and 322. On 5 Jan 1757, Moses Anderson and Averella Anderson his wife of Onslow County sell David Gordon of Johnston

all those seventy five acres of land situate lying and being on the north shore of Neuse River and on the head of the No. Et. Branch of Powell’s Creek being part of 150 acres of land situate as aforesaid which was by deed bearing date the seventh day of September in the year of our Lord 1736 by John Howard granted to on Cason Scott & Averella Scott now Averella Anderson….

Nowhere does it say Cason and Averilla were married. But I can see why it would be assumed. So, I went looking for the 1736 deed.

The Original

In September 1736 (I swear the day looks like 17, not 7), John Hord gave Cason and Averilla Scott the tract in question, as well as other sundry items. He did this “for and in consideration of the love good Will and affection which I have and do bear towards my loving son and daughter in law…Cason Scott and Averilla Scott the son and daughter of Thomas Scott late of this precinct deceased… (Craven County Deed Book 2, p. 373).”

This clearly states their relationship. On 17 Jun 1730, Margret Scot petitioned the Court in New Bern for letters of administration on the estate of her deceased husband, Thomas Scot. Cason and Averilla were the son and daughter of Thomas and Margaret Scott. At some point between Dec 1730 (She submitted an inventory during this Court) and Sep 1736, Margaret married John Horde.


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