Family Tree Fact Check: Miranda Ross Gaskins

by | Jul 26, 2020 | 1 comment

While Ancestry is notorious for spreading false information, you should also be wary of Find-a-Grave (link to her page). Remember, both sites depend on users, who are human, to create family trees/bios. Always, always, always check the facts against contemporary documents. Take, for example, my 4th great-grandmother, Miranda Ross Gaskins.

Her Personal Profile

Let’s begin with her name.  No where but here have I seen “Dawn” as her middle name.  No contemporary document that I’ve seen gives one.

The birth date is close enough.  Census data give a range between 1810 and 1815.  But the birth place is just plain wrong.  The death certificates of three of her children state that Miranda was born in Beaufort County.  That of her daughter, Margaret Louvenia Gatlin, goes even further and says she was born in Edwards.

Miranda’s date of death is given as Sep 1880.  This is, also, incorrect.  I have located a deed in Beaufort County Deed Book 62 signed by her dated 1 Sep 1881.  So, she lived, at least, another year.  This leads me to her parentage, about which Find-a-Grave could not be more wrong.

Her Parents

State of North Carolina
Beaufort County
Know all men by these presents that I Maranda Gaskins of the County of Craven & State of North Carolina of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of Five Dollars to me in hand paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged I do hereby bargain and sell & by these presents have bargained and sold quite claimed conveyed and set over to Riley Ross his heirs and assigns forever all my claim title and interest in the under[?] tract or parcel of land belonging to my father the late John Ross lying and being situated in Beaufort County on the South side of Pamlico River and west side of Durhams Creek and North side of Horsepin Swamp for boundaries refer to Deed.

To have and to hold the aforesaid Riley Ross his heirs and assigns forever.

And I the said Miranda Gaskins for myself my heirs executors administrators and assigns do further covenant and agree to warrant and forever defend the said bargained premises to him the said Riley Ross his heirs and assigns against the claims of all and every person lawfully claiming the same under me.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal.

This 1 day of Sept. A. D. 1881.

Witness: H. H. Ross                                                            Miranda Gaskins
James R. Ernul

Beaufort County Deed Book 62, p. 78

Miranda was the daughter of John Ross and his wife, Celia.  Riley was her brother.  They had, a least, two sisters I’ve been able to verify: Margaret R. Ross and  Sydney W. Ross Warren. 

Sons of the American Revolution Documents

These records state that John was the son of Benjamin Ross and Prudence Redditt.  Using, contemporary documentation, I can confirm his relationship to Benjamin.  Also, that Benjamin’s wife was named Prudence.  However, I cannot find any record of her maiden name.  I cannot say she was nor was not a Redditt.

Celia was the daughter of Joshua Hill.  She is mentioned in his will, dated 2 Nov 1833.  When it comes to her mother, Sons of the American Revolution documents differ.  Some say Sarah Purser.  Others say Sophia.  At the time of writing his will, Joshua’s wife was named Sarah.  But…

Sophronia Hill

State of North Carolina
Beaufort County

Know all men by these presents that We Joshua Hill & Sophronia Hill his Wife for and in consideration of the sum of fifty Dollars to us in hand paid by Gray Judkins, the receipt of which We do hereby acknowledge ourselves therewith full contented & paid have bargained and sold unto the said Gray Judkins a certain tract piece or parcel of land lying & being on the north side of Pamplico River and on the North side of Beaver dam Swamp commonly called Big Swamp, the tract of land hereby intended to be conveyed is an undivided half of a tract belonging to the heirs of Griffith Howell and we the said Joshua Hill & Sophronia his wife do hereby bargain sell convey & confirm unto the said Gray Judkins his heirs & assigns all the right, title & interest which We may have in the said undivided tract of land and We further covenant and agree to warrant the said undivided tract of land unto the said Gray Judkins his heirs & assigns forever. In Witness whereof We have hereunto set our hands & seals this 5th day of March Anno Dom. 1806.

Signed sealed & delivered}                                          Joshua Hill
in presence of }                                                             Sophronia Hill
J. Patton, Isaac ?

Beaufort County Deed Book 8, p. 221

Just how Sophronia Hill was related to Griffith Howell, I have no idea.  I do know that Griffith witnessed the will of Joshua’s great-uncle, Harman Hill, 4 Dec 1752.

Sophronia, or Sophie as she may have been called, died before 28 May 1808.  On that date, Joshua Hill, Sarah Hill, Benjamin Ross and Prudence Ross, among others, signed the Articles of the Baptist Church and the Covenant of Gerrard Chapel Primitive Baptist Church.  Given this information, Sophie was Celia’s mother.  I cannot verify her maiden name.

Miranda Gaskins to Riley Ross:   Beaufort County Deed Book 62, p. 78
Joshua and Sophronia Hill to Gray Judkins:   Beaufort County Deed Book 8, p. 221
Will of Joshua Hill (1833):  Page 1 and 2

1 Comment

  1. Steven Rowe

    Another sister would be Penelope Ross. Her son, the Elder Joshua R. Rowe wrote her obituary in volume 28 No. 14, the June 1, 1895 issue of Zion’s Landmark (found at the Internet Archives and I believe at ECU), stating that she was the daughter of John and Celia Ross. Born January 29, 1827. She married John Tillman Rowe in January 1848, and joined the Blount’s Creek Primitive Baptist Church in March 1850. When a closer Primitive Baptist Church was started at Sandy Grove, she transferred her membership there. No siblings are mentioned.


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