One day a couple of years ago, I googled the name of my elusive 4th great-grandfather, Wilson Daniels, whose parentage I still don’t know. One of the results was from the Internet Archive, the fourth volume of a collection of documents known as The John Gray Blount Papers. John Gray Blount and his brothers were merchants residing in Washington, Beaufort County. John, specifically, seemed to be trying his best to own as much land in North Carolina and Tennessee as he could. Anyway, on page 429 of this volume, I found a letter, dated 12 April 1825, addressed to Mr. Blount from a William Higson of Mattamuskeet in Hyde County concerning the heirs of Henry Williamson. It begins:
I wrote to you a few weeks ago concerning the Heny Williamson Business Stating the number of Children which I will again repeat that it may not escape your memory–as I wish some further Information respecting it–Nancy Hall Daughter of Heny Williamson–dead left two sons of age Fanny Swindall Daughter of H. Williamson dead left one Daughter who is now married to Wilson Daniels–also three sons under age.
I looked for this previous missive in the other volumes of the collection, but had no luck finding it. But this one alone was a great find for me. Not only was Wilson’s parentage a mystery, so was that of his wife, Prudence. I didn’t even know her maiden name. As it turned out, I still don’t!
Who was the husband of Fanny Williamson Swindall?
A look at Hyde County land and probate records found me the name of Fanny’s husband, Jonathan. A piece of that evidence is this deed from Hyde County Deed Book M, page 274:
State of No. Carolina Hyde County } This Indenture made this 25th day of December 1802 Between William Hall Solomon Swindell, Johnathan Swindell, Thomas Williamson, Pete Lacus Williamson and Sarah Williamson of the one part and John Credle of the other part, Know ye that we William Hall Solomon Swindell, Jonathan Swindell, Thomas Williamson Peter Lacuse Williamson and Sarah Williamson for and in Consideration of the Sum of Two Hundred pounds to us in hand paid have Bargained and Sold Conveyd and by these presents do fully freely and absolutely give grant, Bargain and Sell Convey & Confirm unto the Said John Credle a Certain peice or parcel of Land Situate and lying on Swan Quarter on the East Side of the Auster Creek. Beginning at James Jarvis and William Gibbs Corner where they join Runing with Said Gibb’s line and so to a Chinkapin post, Foster Jarvis Jun.r Corner then with Said Jarvis line north untill a direct line across to Masons line then with Masons line and James Jarvis’s line to the Beginning will include Sixty Six Acres and two thirds unto the Said John Credle his heirs and assigns forever from us the Said William Hall, Solomon Swindell, Jonathan Swindell, Thomas Williamson Peter Lacuse Williamson & Sarah Williamson do for and from us our heirs and assigns or any other person that shall or any other person that shall or may lay any Right title or Claim unto the Said land unto the Said John Credle his heirs and assigns, and we do forever warrant and defend unto the Said John Credle Clear from the Claim or Claims of any other person or persons. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and fixed our seals this day and date above written.
So, Prudence Daniels was the daughter of Jonathan & Fanny Williamson Swindell, right?
Mr. Higson’s letter also says that he wishes “to know what must be done with respect to the three sons of Fanny Swindall all under age and I presume no Guardians–their father is living and are all residents of Bay River….” Well, in 1825, Bay River meant either Craven or Beaufort County. Finally, in Beaufort County, among other things, I found Jonathan’s will.
July the 28 1847
this is my last will and testament
Britty daniels one dollar
my son isaac swndell one dollar
megattin swindell 50 acres of land begining on lintons line runing to [word that’s smudged but looks like] my middle bay gineing [joining?] Jerome Spain
Johnathan Swindell 50 acres of land begining on lintons line runing to middle bay gining gattin swindell
my daughter salina my house and plantation gining land 50 akers
the balance of my land to tomouse defoe [I think] swindell my grand Child
50 dollars to my son Joel Swindell is to Come out of my property
Joel Swindell execter to my property and Josiah Lupton
Johnathan Swindell [signed with a mark] J. B. Spain
Stephen Mason [signed with a mark]
Wait, Britty? I thought her name was Prudence. Apparently, she was the second wife. Don’t you hate it when that happens? The John Gray Blount Papers had even more surprising revelations than the discovery of Britannia “Britty” Swindell Daniels!