After fifty-three years of very time-consuming, frustrating, costly, and maddening research work both here and in England, Ireland and especially Germany, I have uncovered precious little documentation on the Bedsole ancestors. In the earliest days, 1600-1800, ships captains were not required to keep lists of passengers, much less where they came from or went to. A few kept such lists, but with no place and no one, in this country to turn them in to, they were thrown away. Records of births were not required until about 1912 and marriage, death, and land records were frequently burned along with their respective courthouses, if a courthouse even existed. Therefore, except for spotty land records, much of the 1600-1800 period is almost undocumented for the Bedsoles.
By reading, researching and documenting what little was available, I have put together my best-guess at what I feel is very close to the facts back then. I INVITE ANYONE TO PROVE ANYTHING by documenting that which I have not proved and documented.
Although I know that “Bedsole” originated in Prussia (Germany), Leviz Heinrich Bletzold (Lewis Henry Bledsoe, in english) was born about 1600 in Northamptonshire, England, as noted on the first list in this document. His family of German immigrants, were farm laborers working on farms and in grape vineyards. They were desperately poor and lived in mud-brick huts. Lewis, his parents and five siblings wore wornout and patched clothes and all of them usually went without shoes, the father being far too poor to acquire shoes for himself or his family.
Lewis’ brother George had heard wondrous stories about a “New Land”, the future United States, being advertised by the government of England. It was described as “ beautiful and a land of plenty”, meaning plenty of food and all the other accoutrements usually desired and sought by all human beings. Over a period of many months, they also heard that the English government was giving free and cheap land to any and all Germans who went there to settle and to live out their lives in this land. Little did he, or anyone else yearning to go, suspect that the English merely wanted the settlers to go there, clear off and farm the land and start producing goods needed by England, such as tobacco, cotton and tar, so they could receive these products and also coincidentally, tax these settlers, thereby fattening their own governments coffers. Then it was made known that the English government would also allow such settlers to leave the land to their children as entitlements from the parents, when the parents died. It seemed too good to be true and George began to dream of the new land and to make plans to leave England and go there to live. His parents encouraged him, but also warned that it would not be easy, going to a new land with practically nothing, except the clothes on his back, to travel and live among total strangers, with so many inherent unknowns involved. But true to his German ancestry, George was stubborn, and one day he said goodby to his family and together with a friend his own age and the friends older brother, began the trek to look for some way to catch a boat to the big seaport and then to leave England forever. Eventually, they found a small commercial boat working a river and convinced the owner to transport them downstream, to the seagoing port in return for 3 weeks of manual labor helping the owner load and unload trade goods with which he bartered and made a daily living. At the seaport, when their fare was finally paid, they were on their way. At that time, the captains of the large, seagoing ships had learned they could transport new settlers to what later became America and collect their fares upon arriving there. The “How” will be described and explained later. So, the ten-week trip across the ocean to what later became Jamestown, Virginia was begun on a very cold day. The ship was English, made of wood and powered by sails. It was one hundred two feet long, twenty-five feet wide and fifteen feet deep and the cracks between its many wooden planks were sealed with tar and tar-soaked twine. It was a miracle it could even survive such a hazardous trip without falling apart, considering the beating it was certain to incur from the constantly heaving, frothing and thrashing water of the open ocean for such a long period of time. For this trip, it carried a passenger load of 106 settlers and a crew of twelve men. Think of it; 118 Men, women and children on a vessel that small for ten to twelve weeks or longer under such conditions. No toilet facilities, except for buckets tied to ropes, no privacy and no provisions for taking a bath except for buckets of salt water dipped from the ocean. These were accepted hardships and baths were generally ignored. These ships were also loaded with trade goods, fresh water, food, a few medical supplies, and household goods of the passengers. Many times the ships captains would take the baggage carried by the passengers to steal and sell it, or load it onto a different ship for a price, with the settlers pitiful belongings never to be seen again by the owners. Their baggage usually contained dried fruit, butter, other foodstuffs, clothes, tools and money which they had planned to use to live, eat, pay for their fare and for supplies upon reaching their destination. They were not aware that their pitifully small amounts of money would be next to useless in the “New Land”.
Aboard ship, the passengers were crammed into very tight quarters. At first, they sat on the top deck on top of lashed-down household goods, boxes and bags of cargo, and personal belongings . Being powered by sails, such ships usually found themselves becalmed for several days and nights during these trips. It was a total nightmare always waiting to happen and too often it did.
Twenty five cannons were lashed on deck. They were needed to fend off any Spanish ships they were liable to encounter on the trip, in view of the fact that Spain and England were at odds at that time. Leaving port, the ship was heavily loaded, and with its sails full of wind, it slowly headed out into the open ocean. The next morning about two a.m., George and the rest of the passengers, awoke to find the ship heaving, tossing, pitching, rolling and yawing from side to side wildly, with loud crashing, and creaking and groaning sounds in the opening round of its long battle with the heaving ocean. By the end of the first day and with the exception of the experienced crew, all aboard were already deathly seasick and were lying below and above decks. They vomited until they were just heaving, but with nothing coming up. They were already pale in color and listless. Most of the adults were already having second thoughts about making this trip. But they were all committed now, as the ship thrashed slowly along gaining foot by foot, in its beginning fight for and against, the wind. This was a life or death fight they and the ship faced for more than ten agonizing weeks ahead. As they plodded along day after day, the hapless passengers did their best to deal with the never-ending pitching, rolling and yawing of the ship. The front end would point skyward as it climbed wave after wave, then dive down the other side, until the bow was terrifyingly underwater, then it would rear up again, pointing skyward, as thousands of gallons of salt water rushed across the decks from front to rear, slamming and sometimes injuring some of the more foolish passengers who ventured out on the heaving deck, against the rigging, cabin and bulwarks of the ship. Practically all the women with children spent most of their time below deck with the women tending to the constantly sick children, who would vomit as soon as they ate anything at all. Many of them were running a fever, probably from drinking the already-stagnant and contaminated fresh water onboard. They, and many of the men were lying and sitting, staring listlessly, in a brew of vomit and human excrement in the ships hold, for days. Some for weeks. The ships captain and crew advised the passengers to eat only rice, or bread, but no meat or anything greasy for the first 3 days or more. Of course, the passengers had no desire whatsoever for anything greasy and the mere thought sent most running for the “slop jars” used as commodes and toilets by all on board. These usually rolled and fell over, emptying their odorous mixture into the hold and on the flooring and all over any nearby passengers and their clothing. The stench below deck was indescribable. With no way to treat the passengers, all who were not sick watched helplessly as child after child and adult after adult slowly died, over the next 6 weeks. With no other choice in what to do with the dead bodies, they were simply dumped overboard and left at sea. The suffering, sorrow and heart-wrenching, gut-twisting anguish of those who had to do that with the bodies of their dead relatives, children and spouses, can only be imagined, as they watched the bodies bobbing and floating away with the waves. Several of the adults were now dead. Three of those were husbands, traveling with their families, leaving their hapless wives and children on their own in the middle of the ocean, among strangers, headed for a totally unknown land and the terrifying, unknown, unplanned and as proved later, disastrous consequences which awaited them. So it was, that this nightmarish trip finally ended at the beginning of the eleventh week at sea, when the ships Lookout yelled from the “Crows Nest” that he had spotted land. At this news, the passengers who were still able to move, rushed to the left side of the ship to look, with the joyful thought that this total nightmare was about to end. Little did they know their nightmare was only just beginning. When George began this journey, he was six feet tall and weighed one hundred sixty pounds. Now, he was down to one hundred twenty pounds and was so weak from lack of adequate nourishment, he could barely stand.
The ship approached land cautiously, the captain not being certain of the exact layout of the body of land the Lookout had spotted. Searching for the mouth of the St. James River (Virginia) and a fort with more than a hundred earlier settlers already there, was not easy, with no navigational methods now, except “EB” (Eyeball). He ordered the crew to lower sails and drop anchor, to allow an exploratory party on a dingy to paddle closer in to the shallower water and get a look at the land. Suddenly, from around a finger of land, sailing towards the English ship, was a Spanish Man-O-War ship, bristling with deck cannons. Upon seeing the English ship, the Spanish commander, ordered his crew to lower sails, come to a halt and drop anchor, perhaps half a mile distant, and then dispatched two row boats to the English ship for boarding and investigation. However, the English captain indicated his ship was in free waters and not subject to any authority of the Spanish king and ordered his crew to fire on the Spanish ship with two of the deck cannons. The two shots missed. The fire was answered almost instantly, with a volley from the Spanish ship, with one of the shells striking the main mast of the English ship, causing it to drop to the deck, killing three of the settlers and injuring 3 others, who had gathered to watch the confrontation. Working desperately to bring its cannons to bear amid all the household goods on deck, the English ship returned fire, but this time with five deck cannons. Two of its shells struck the Spanish ship almost amidship and severely damaged the vessel. With that, the Spanish captain waved the white flag, indicating surrender, but the English captain, not wanting to incur the problem of having to control the Spanish crew while trying to deliver the settlers to land, ordered a hasty departure from the area, picking up his exploratory boat and crewmen before doing so. Continuing his slow search, for the mouth of the St. James River, the ship finaly approached the entrance of the river. Continuing to sail up the river perhaps a mile, the ship finally approached a wooden fort, triangular in shape, measuring four hundred feet by four hundred feet by four hundred feet, constructed of logs set into the ground with sharpened tops and within which there were sixteen small, one-room log cabins with dirt floors. (Read “Fort” on the Virginia internet site). At each of the 3 points on the forts triangular walls were guard and lookout towers for protection against marauding Indians who attacked them from time to time. Within the fort, there were perhaps seventy-five settlers and outside its walls, the remainder, wildly cheering, shouting and waving a welcome to the ship and its newcomers, in the mistaken belief that the ship carried food, medicine and supplies for the fort. The captain finally ordered his crew to lower the sails and drop anchor, in six fathoms (thirty-six feet) of water, about 300 feet from shore. The captain ordered the rowboat lowered and again three crewmen were sent ashore to determine a satisfactory anchorage location for the ship which would allow the passengers to unload. Shortly, the three men returned with the news that the anchorage was satisfactory where the ship had stopped and its passengers would have to be unloaded a few at a time, and carried ashore in the ships two small rowboats, because of shallower water near shore. The captain was also advised that the settlers on shore thought his ship was arriving with food, medicine and other desperately needed supplies from England and they were not happy when they were told the ship contained mostly more settlers and only with their belongings and household goods. Already with inadequate supplies, especially food stuffs, these additional settlers just meant increased suffering and hardship for all concerned, for those already in the fort were also desperately short of clean, fresh water. In addition, many among them were seriously sick, with nothing left in the way of medicine.
The paying passengers were unloaded first, with all their belongings. Knowing that there were some among those already on shore who had money furnished by The London Company, a private english business, and that they desperately needed able, manual laborers and helpers, the captain offered the remaining men, and their families if any, and widowed women and their children for marriage and/or labor to the highest bidder on shore, who would pay their fares. Upon striking a bargain, the hapless victims of this auction, were required to sign a twelve-month contract, to perform free labor in return for the highest bidders payment, as the bidder should see fit. The “Sheriff” at the fort was also present to enforce the contracts. Families of men who had died or were killed, during the overseas trip, were then offered to the highest bidder as “Servants”. But most such families had to be separated and split up, because one man, or family, could not provide and care for another family of a mother and three to six children. Therefore, many families were thus destroyed at the fort, as the children and mothers were split up and assigned to several different bidders. The heartache of the mothers watching their children being divided up among different and unfamiliar families and as learned later, to have them leave the fort for parts unknown, never to be seen again by her or each other, can only be imagined. (Read “Early Settlers” on the Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland internet sites). Within the fort, life was a living hell. It was cold at the time and it rained just often enough to keep the grounds of the fort and the floors of the cabins in a swirl of nasty, sloppy, sticky mud almost knee deep from all the activity and people constantly moving about. Over the next few weeks, sickness from the lack of adequate food and nourishment, contaminated water, exposure to the weather and contagious diseases, steadily decimated the population. Restful sleep was out of the question, due to the constant noise, sickness, misery, hunger, cold, Indian attacks and worry. With no medical care, these luckless people could only pray for their loved ones and themselves to get well, with no hope of a better life in the future.
At this time, they realized they were helplessly lost in the situation and that they had no choice but to go forward and hope for the best. As time went on, a few brave men ventured away from the fort, sometimes traveling a few miles and back, looking for a route to move their families southwest, northwest and westward, so they could get to “The Carolinas” and obtain their own land as they had heard could be done. They wanted desperately to get out of that hellish fort and start their own lives, for they considered it certain death to remain there. So, in early spring and summer every year, a few and sometimes several in a group would leave the fort and seek their own future. Later, oxen, mules, carts and wagons would be available to travle with, but at that time, walking was the only way to travel, so the trip they made, looking for their own land was another long and difficult trial, having only animal and Indian trails to follow, which lead in the general direction desired. They traveled in daylight and camped at night, cautiously avoiding all contact with the Indians if at all possible. Many Indians were murderous and would kill any and all white people on sight, no questions asked. When Indian contact could not be avoided, all in the settlers groups, held their breaths, never knowing if they were about to be killed until it was too late for many. The settlers always tried first to trade their way out of any such confrontations, offering trinkets, beads, whatever they had brought for the purpose. The Indians, having never seen such shiny things, treasured them very highly and such trades were frequently successful, allowing the settlers to proceed on their journey. As for our ancestor George Bledsoe, he was destined to leave shortly. In Georges opinion, to say that was good, was a gross understatement. After working for several months, George decided he liked the countryside in Virginia and he acquired some land as “Squatters Rights”, along with several other newcomers. His log house was attacked several times by Indians, mostly hunting parties of six to eight men, but George managed to get his flintlock rifle and fire a shot at them. A few times, he killed an Indian. But it was the noise that drove them away, for they didn’t know what else that noisy thing might be able to do. Perhaps wipe them all out. Several times, the Indians were drunk on whiskey which they had traded for at the fort and in such cases, were not as afraid of his gun. George eventually married and had several children, including a son, William Henry Bledsoe, born in Virginia in 1700. George died in 1705, in Virginia.
Prior to his death, George and brother Abraham, bought 274 acres in St. Mary’s Parish, which later became part of Russell County, Virginia, not far from the fort. After working on this land for several years, Abraham, then bought one thousand acres in Spotsylvania County, Virginia on July 11, 1726. Also on May 30, 1726, he bought another one thousand acres in the same county. On September 28, 1728, and his other brother Isaac Bledsoe, also bought one thousand acres there. Georges son William Henry (Sr.) and wife Elizabeth, had sons William Henry, Jr., John, Vincent and Elisha. All born between 1726 and 1735. On March 12, 1739, a son of Georges brother, William, and his friend Hugh Jones bought 700 acres in Franklin County, Virginia and on June 16, 1768, this William . and Hugh Jones also bought 48 acres in Culpepper County, Virginia. (See old, hand-written Land Patents at the Library Of Virginia, of which I have copies). His friends also acquired adjoining acreages. William Sr’s neighbors were always on alert to help each other. They also had guns and with three or four firing and the others reloading, they usually avoided being seriously injured in the indian attacks and in driving the Indians away. Life was very hard for them in Virginia and in the winter, even with bear and deer skin coats, and blankets they froze during December, January, February and March, as these were the worst months of cold weather, snow and sleet.
Learning how to survive from the Indians themselves no doubt saved the lives of many of these early settlers including our own Bedsole ancestors, William Sr. and Jr. So in truth, we owe the Indians for saving their lives. If they had died, all us Bedsoles would never have existed. (See “Bledsoe” on the Virginia internet site and read the deeds, grants, abstracts, land patents and Indentures). In 1748, at age twenty-one, William Jr. had grown restless and decided to travel to “The Carolinas”, together with his brothers John, Vincent and Elisha, and with William Davis, a friend with whom they had grown up, all joined a group of other settlers, leaving Virginia, for North Carolina. They traveled with a group of twenty-one men, fifteen women and sixteen children. Traveling with eight, mule-drawn wagons full of their meager supplies, tools and household goods, all the men carried muskets, powder and shot and these weapons usually saved them from the Indians when a shot was fired. It terrified the indians even more when one or two of them were killed by these weapons, but it also made the Indians hate the settlers more and made them more murderous, if such were possible.
With two men going on ahead of the group to hunt deer and any other edible thing they could find along the planned trail, including trading with Indians, the group lived from day to day and traveled that way. When deer were found, the group could handle four or five, depending on the size of the deer, by dividing the meat to be carried among themselves. They had to eat the meat within two days, or it would begin to rot. They could have preserved it longer than that by smoking it, but that would have taken a couple of days. Also, the smoke and smell of the meat would sometimes attract Indians and dangerous wild animals such as bears and panthers. Early spring squash, corn and other vegetables were traded and acquired from the Indians and from a few trading posts, along the trail. They also found wild turnips and polk bushes whose leaves could be cooked like turnip greens and eaten, after boiling to remove most of its poisonous residue. During the trip, a few streams were flooded and many crossings were disastrous at best for the travelers, wagons, animals and supplies, even with the wagons loaded, they would easily half-float and just as easily overturn during any crossing attempt. Thus, they had to be kept upright by ropes tied to them and being stabilized on both sides by mules or oxen and riders keeping the ropes tight. Sometimes people drowned while the wagons were attempting such crossings and overturned in the fast-flowing water. Small children and especially infants were in the greatest danger during these crossings and many of them also died in the process. After 4 days or so of travel, the advance hunting party had killed six deer and hauled them to the trail along which the wagon train would soon be traveling. While waiting for them, the hunters skinned and butchered the fresh meat and made it ready for consumption. Every day a couple of hours before dark, the travelers stopped the wagons and formed them in a protective circle. Some men set to work gathering grass for the oxen and mules and watering the animals, while others cut and stacked enough firewood for the night.
Meanwhile, the women and older girls prepared places to sleep and cooked supper. After supper, the men watered the animals again and secured them for the night by tying them with “pigging strings” which were wires or ropes strung between two trees, or “hobbles” which simply means tying the feet of the animals together, to prevent them walking or running off during the night. The hobbles also served as a hindrance to any Indians who tried to make off with the animals, because the animals could not run well, or even trot. Knowing that Indians might steal their livestock, the wagonmaster assigned two shifts of night guards for the camp and the livestock for the night. Finally, just before midnight, all people not working were asleep and the night sounds of crying babies, chirps of crickets and small animal sunds were all that could be heard. A small fire was kept burning all night in order to scare away the bigger wild animals. During the night, the mosquitos buzzed incessantly around the heads and in the ears of those trying to sleep. Some nights it rained all night and everything stayed wet, making the travelers more miserable than would otherwise be the case. With muddy trails, mosquitos, snakes, cold weather, rain, sick children and things staying wet, the increased pain, misery and suffering quickly became a way of life. On any typical day, everyone on the wagon train was up at 4 a.m. and immediately set to work, repeating the jobs they had done the night before; Feeding and watering the animals, and filling all the water barrels while the women prepared breakfast, usually consisting of hoecakes, fried meat and coffee for everybody. Then the children had to be cared for and fed. After breakfast, everything had to be repacked, reloaded and lashed down on the wagons, all the livestock had to be rounded up and kept together until the wagons began moving. The hunters went first. By the time the group was ready to go, most people were already tired from lack of sleep and all the work that had been done at the beginning of the day. The night guards had most of the day to try for some sleep, but that was not easy on a loud, bumpy and very uncomfortable wagon. Finaly, with the wagon train on the move, the loose livestock were a huge problem because of the little control the settlers were able to exercise over them. Keeping them on the trail of the wagons required constant chasing, steering and caring for them all day. Along the way, they periodically passed outposts and supply/trading posts which were built of logs and occupied sometimes by soldiers, but usually by previous settlers who found living along the route to be a little easier by buying, selling and trading goods such as tools, weapons, animal hides and edibles from the Indians and other settlers and the passing wagon trains. In the absence of money, trade of goods was the prevalent way of doing business. These outposts also served as sources of information to all travelers concerning army troops, forts, and directions, but most importantly, they provided information on Indian troubles and trouble spots such as trees down, or landslides, or large trees across the road ahead.
ARRIVAL AT BEAVERDAM, NC AND HOW THEY LIVED
Finaly, after almost three weeks, the group arrived at Beaverdam, NC, near present-day Fayetteville, these early setters learned that the government would sell frontier land at a low cost per hundred acres, with the stipulation that the buyer would clear and plant 3 acres of the land every calendar year, for every hundred acres received, up to a limit of about 200 acres per family, depending upon the number of people in the family. Most in the group stayed at Beaverdam, but several others continued elsewhere. William Jr., Vincent, John and Elisha Bedsole, stayed. From earlier settlers in the area, they learned that although the land was ridiculously cheap, the vast majority of settlers could not afford to buy any for several years. So, many of them worked as share-croppers, or at other work for various periods of time, in the interim. Some worked as carpenters, wagon makers, “coopers” (barrel makers/carpenters), seamstresses, tailors, shoe makers and so forth. (See “Early Occupations” on the USGWENWEB. COM internet site)
But most worked as share-croppers and that means performing back-breaking, common labor, farming someone else’s land for them, for half of whatever is produced, after expenses are subtracted. The prevalent crops were corn, peanuts, tobacco, cotton, and tar or pitch, but with tobacco and cotton being the principal crops. The English government wanted lots of tar too, which the settlers harvested from the abundant pine trees in the area. The tar was used to seal the cracks in ships and to soak cord in for such sealing. England would buy this production for a pittance, and take trade in payment too.
In acquiring title to public land being sold for the first time by the Government back then, the buyer received a “Patent”. But when transferring ownership of that same land after that, the new buyer would receive a “Deed”. Therefore, these first arrivals received Patents, sometimes referred to as a “Grant”. But Grants were usually free land acquired from the government at that time. Upon arrival in North Carolina, the acquisition of land, or a job, was the first step in a monstrous, lifetime work project for everyone concerned, for the land had to be cleared not only of trees, but also of their stumps and many large rocks. Digging up and moving stumps is a hugely demanding job and I speak from personal experience. It takes two strong men about one hour of fast, hard work to expose all the roots of the stump of a mature tree. Once all the roots are cut loose from the main stump, there is almost always a very deep, long and large taproot, which grows straight downward from the base of the stump, meaning you cannot get at it to cut it because the stump and its upper roots cover it from above and it is so deep that much back-breaking digging with shovels, and chopping with axes is necessary. Once the stump has been cut loose however, a two-mule team was chained to it and if they were strong enough it could usually be pulled up. Then it would have to be dragged down into the swamp and left there, or stacked in the field to be burned after drying out for four or five weeks. One hour for one stump, when there are hundreds, usually thousands of them, meant a huge, back-breaking and time-consuming job which produced no food or any other benefit of any kind in the short term. But, with shelter being the immediate need on a new tract of land, the settlers set about working in teams, first clearing their spots for log houses. Those rich and fortunate enough to own wagons were lucky, because crude Lean-to’s made of sapling trees were the first shelters for the less fortunate. Those with wagons could live for a time in the wagon and even expand its space by attaching a lean-to to it.
The location of their log houses was important and they were located as close as possible to a source of good drinking water, preferably a spring. Having to dig a forty or fifty foot-deep well, was a luxury which could be ill-afforded, when they didn’t even have a house to live in. They worked together to get the jobs done, handling the big, heavy logs, working on first one house, then the other, cutting the trees down, trimming them and dragging the resulting logs to the house site. The debarking and splitting of the logs and putting up the framework and then making hundreds of thousands of handmade wooden shingles for the roofs, took several weeks. Dirt floors sufficed at the time. Houses were crude and consisted of only one room, with a dirt floor. Wooden floors and porches were other luxuries which would have to wait. The clearing of land and construction of houses took several of the summer months and the settlers were hard-pressed to get the houses done and a supply of firewood cut for the 5 months of winter which lay just ahead of them, beginning in November. They also needed lots of animal hides, dried and cured, prepared for the winter, by the women and children. Teamwork among all concerned was an absolute necessity and meant the difference between life and death most of the time.
Syrup and cornbread for breakfast, turnips or grease/gravy and cornbread for dinner and the same for supper, were their primary foods. Meat was a rarity because of their small supply of gunpowder and shot, which were expensive and needed for protection from Indians which was a priority. Vegetables were mostly non-existent most of that first summer season. At that time, they had no means of communicating over long distances with each other except by runner and in cases of Indian attacks, which occurred too frequently, the runner himself would become the prime target of the Indians. Before long however, those who could afford one, had put a large iron bell up on a 30 foot pole at the edge of the yard which was rung by pulling a rope. About noon every day, the ringing of these bells meant come and eat, to the field workers. With houses so far apart, it was clear whose bell was ringing. If the bell rang at any other time, especially at night, it meant an emergency had occurred at that particular house, and anyone hearing it ran to help. Five peals of the bell meant come and eat. Ten meant emergency here, need help. Twenty, meant a life or death situation had developed at that house and when an emergency occurred some rode their mules at a dead run, whether in daytime, or the dead of night. But when the bell rang at night, it filled everyone with dread, for it was a sure sign of very serious trouble at that house. The house was on fire, someone was dying, they were being attacked by Indians, or other disasters were occurring. The settlers were collectively hard working people who supported and cared for one another. Each depended on the others for help if anything happened because the situation could easily reverse tomorrow and usually did. Women worked themselves to death for their children. Everyone starved because of the lack of adequate and nourishing food. Most mothers were too starved themselves to feed the babies much and breast milk or cows milk were painfully inadequate and usually not available. Cows milk was very scarce. Medical care was non-existent and even if they could find a doctor, he was either too busy, gone to take care of someone else, or they had no money to pay him. Besides he usually only had herbs and/or Indian cures for medicine. So people, especially young ones, mothers and babies most of all, were sick a lot on top of the miserable life they lived. During childbirth, women were almost always attended by other women and many died from excessive loss of blood. More from being undernourished. Many babies died from all types of sicknesses usually brought on by their own malnourishment and unsanitary living conditions..
As previously described for our purposes, William Henry Bledsoe, Sr. and his wife is probably the first “Bedsole” family in this country and they apparently lived and died in Virginia. However, it is also possible that William Henry, Jr., Elisha, Vincent and John Bedsole were not sons of this William Sr., and THEY in fact, were the first Bedsoles into this country. But for my purposes, lets assume that William Sr. and his family led to the families of William Henry Bedsole, Jr., Elisha Bedsole/Bedsaul, Vincent Bedsole and John Bedsole in NC and Vincent Bedsole, without a wife or children, in North Carolina. Elisha’s last name was changed to Bedsaul in 1804, shortly after he died, by Elisha Jr. and a Scribe at the time. I did not research the Bedsaul name. But I do have a huge Bedsaul ancestor/descendant list, under Elisha Bedsole. The name change to Bedsaul was most likely done by an English Scribe, but with early settlers and their descendants back then, none of them could either read, write or spell and they probably never even knew the name changes had occurred. No wife or family was ever found for Vincent Bedsole and there is an old folks tale that he was killed by an Indian hunting party while working in his field near Beaverdam, NC. I do have land deed abstracts for him in NC through 1765.
Everybody usually went barefooted. Most, but not all women had one pair of shoe's called "Sunday go to meeting shoe's", because church services, visiting, marriages, or funerals were about the only times they were ever worn. Although the early settlers had no schools, when one was Finally built, the children had to walk back and forth to it every day. Sometimes, that was a long distance and school was usually considered a waste of time. That attitude prevailed until the early 1940’s. Very few children went higher than the second or third grade (age seven to eight) because they were needed to work in the fields and little knowledge was needed for that. This was a case of “strong backs and weak minds”. Consequently, even two hundred years after the early Bedsoles arrived here, many still could not read or write and for the few who could, they had very little “book learning” and usually forgot what little they knew in a short period of time. So, the vast majority of them never went to school at all. Those who did had to endure unmerciful hounding and being laughed at by all the others, who spent any free time ridiculing and pointing at each others bare butts, and falling-apart, hand me down, faded, hand-made pants, shirts, coats, dresses and blouses, which were made either of cloth, leather, or canvas-like material, usually held together with wire and pegs or nails. Girls, although barefooted like all the rest, usually wore dresses made of the lightest cloth available at the time. Unfortunately, this was usually also canvas-like, leather, or hand made cloth. In the winter, everyone suffered mightily from the lack of shoes, socks and winter clothing designed for the purpose. Although the soles of their feet were tough from going barefooted, their feet almost froze in the winter and when thawed-out, all the children cried for hours with the throbbing pain in their feet.
Prior to 1950, winter clothing was very inadequate and the majority of earlier settlers made them from deer and bear hides. Covers for their beds were also animal hides in the winter. Any such hides not properly cured, were infested with bugs and worms and this was a continuing problem for them. Imagine having to sleep on a bed made of tree limbs, lying on and under animal hides which were infested with these parasites, which you had to listen to crawling around in your bed all night. The women did learn to make shoes from heavy canvas-like cloth by triple-layering the cloth and sewing them several times. These were usually made only for the men because of all the walking they did in the fields and woods. However, such “Shoes” only lasted perhaps 4 weeks. Later, as softer cloth became available, shirts and dresses were made of fertilizer or flour sack material, in addition to “Store bought” cloth. The fertilizer sack material was so rough, thick and stiff, it was like wearing sandpaper. After turning their heads a few times, the necks of wearers would be raw and sore. Consequently, the fertilizer bag material was immensely disliked. Almost all clothing was hand-made by the women, regardless of how crude such clothing was and appeared to be. In the fall, several women would get together and make quilts by suspending a framework from the ceiling of the house and then sitting around this in wooden, straight-back chairs, they sewed together the thousands of small pieces of cloth they had collected all year, into a bottom sheet. This was then layered with cotton from which they had removed the seeds. This was then covered with another piece of cloth and Finally the finished quilt was sewed. The problem was, there were always small bugs, weevils and mites in the cotton and no way to get them out, except by boiling in lye soap, otherwise everyone lived with them. At night, they could be heard moving around inside the quilts and pillows.
Storing And Preserving Food
There was no way to store, preserve, or save vegetables except for dried peas, onions, corn, beans and potatoes. But even those were eaten by pests. Barns were filled to the roof with corn in the fall, but in the three months of December, January and February it was just about gone. Much of it eaten by the rats and mice. As the Bedsoles acquired additional livestock and had more children over time, this problem was magnified due to the initial houses, barns and cribs being painfully small and no longer capable of holding the increased need for an adequate supply of food and feed and the lack of vegetable preservation for long periods of winter weather. This of course, necessitated the enlargement of existing, and/or construction of new, larger storage buildings, all of which added to the already terrible daily workload.
In short order, with no way to protect their buildings from termites, rats and other destructive pests, but due primarily to leaks in the roofs, the barns and cribs became ramshackle, falling down, dilapidated buildings, sitting close to the ground, full of grub worms, weevils, rats by the thousands, snakes, beetles and other bugs coming in through the thousands of holes and cracks in the walls, floors and roofs. These pests were all eating the corn and other winter food which had been saved for the families. Bears quickly learned that the smokehouses contained meat and they lost no time in ripping and tearing their way into these flimsy structures and eating, scattering, spoiling and destroying the contents. This required immediate attention when it happened, because meat was a commodity which was widely and highly treasured as food and for trade. Many times the protection of the meat meant someone had to stay up and guard the smokehouse every night. This also meant one less person to work in the fields to produce food. Whatever corn could be salvaged for food, had to be taken to a mill or hand-ground with rocks into meal for cornbread from time to time. Since one-third of the meal had to be given to the mill owner in payment for the grinding, too little was left for the family to last out a long winter season.
Because of all the bugs and rats, when the women started to cook cornbread, they had to spend an hour before that picking the weevils, worms, and bugs out of the meal. Nobody worried about things like rat and mice droppings which were too small and numerous to pick out of the meal. It was just considered “Flavoring”, for lack of a better word. There was no way to keep green vegetables through the winter months, but potato's were stored by digging a hole in the ground about 4 feet across and 3 feet deep, lining it with dry pine straw, filling the hole with potato's, then covering them with more pine straw. The turpentine in the straw would keep out the rats, bugs and worms. Hand made wooden shingles were made and stuck in the ground around these holes at an angle leaning towards the center so they formed a kind of teepee. The shingles were then covered with about a foot of dirt. But the problem was, if just one potato started to rot, as they usually did for any reason at all, the entire lot was lost within 3 to 5 days. In general, the most the farmers could hope for was half of what was stored to last long enough to be eaten. That meant they had to produce and store twice as much as they needed in order to have enough for the winter months after spoilage and pests were taken into consideration. But that meant more cleared land, more planting and constant cultivation until harvest time. The various but increasing needs of these families constantly demanded more and more time and labor. Dried Peas and beans could be kept in bags but many times those were not available. When they were, the rats soon ate holes in the bags and pests of every kind got to them too. In the summer, everybody had so much work to do they had little time to prepare, plant and take care of a garden. Work in the fields was a twelve months a year, seven days a week, fourteen hours a day job. Hunting was limited to meat for food, or animal hides, for clothes and bed covers. It was generally not done for fun or pleasure.
Many people could not really afford a gun and with so many kids around all the time, they were afraid to have one. However, due to the danger from Indians and wild animals, almost everyone eventually acquired a gun from necessity. But with the smaller wild animals such as rabbits, possums and raccoons and the inaccuracy of the guns at longer distances, the only choice for getting these small animals was traps and animals were usually too smart to fall for traps. So meat was a real rarity and a huge treat when acquired. Invariably, all the neighbors came over to share when it was acquired by any family.
In due time, a log store was built near the Beaverdam settlement and trade became a way of life. The settlers and Indians traded with and among the store and themselves and of course, the people all traded with the store owner. They traded cloth, sugar, salt, grease, eggs, skins, leather, vegetables, fruit, lead, gunpowder, smoked meat, corn, lumber, shoes, farming tools and etc. and in a constant stream, more and more such goods made their way from the supply ships and ports from England to Louisiana, Virginia, North Carolina, New York, Philadelphia and other ports in the “New Land” and then to the frontier settlements via wagon trains. Marauding Indians quickly learned to rob and steal these supplies and many times, to kill the accompanying people. The addition of guards to these wagons followed, but this necessitated higher prices being paid by the settlers and farmers for the goods being transported, due to the cost of the guards to the transporter.
Washing Clothes; A Big Job
Carrying water for washing clothes was a long and tedious job added to the copious firewood requirement for this task. On washday, the work usually began at 3 o’clock in the morning, with the filling of the washpot, which was a big, 3-legged iron pot always sitting in the backyard. It held about 30 gallons of water, which meant 20 to 30 trips carrying water to the pot, then the same to get more for rinsing. When the spring or stream was a thousand feet away, that meant 60,000 feet, or about eleven miles of walking just to wash clothes. The fire was started with a huge pile of wood around and under the pot. This would allow the water to start heating up, while breakfast was prepared and the mules, oxen and cows were fed and watered. The washing of clothes would begin about five o’clock in the morning and would last until six o’clock in the evening. Days before this, soap had to be made by boiling fat meat and lye to produce a greasy type of “soap”. If no fat meat was available, clothes had to be washed in plain water. So on wash day, this blob of “Soap” was cut into bar shapes and used to wash the dirtiest of the clothes. The job of making soap and washing clothes always fell on the women and older daughters, if any were available. The clothes were boiled in the soapy water and each piece carried by a short, narrow board from the pot to the “battling block” (Batting Block)which was a block of hickory or oak wood mounted on 3 legs so that the flat end of this block was available like a cutting board upon which the clothes were placed one piece at a time and beaten and put back into the pot for more boiling, until clean.This beating acted sort of like an agitator does in present-day washing machines to clean the clothes. Of course, beating them wore them out a whole lot sooner too. When all the clothes were thus washed, boiled, beaten and then rinsed, they were hung out to dry on bushes, a fence, or whatever was available. The lye soap used for this, was so caustic, at the end of wash day, the small hands of the women and girls had big, very painful, raw places on them where large pieces of skin had been eaten and torn away by the caustic lye and hard work with the board. These raw places usually took about two weeks to heal, just in time for the next washday. This work was a nightmare in the summer, due to the heat of the fire around the pot. But during winters it was much worse. Imagine how cold one would get wearing thin, ragged clothes, standing outside in the ten degree-wind all day, also staying wet most of that time.
Mules And Oxen; True Beasts Of Labor
These animals were the backbone of just about every job the farmers did and labored constantly from dawn to dusk for endless days, weeks, months and years They were little-appreciated and seldom given any credit or recognition for all their labors and accomplishments. In fact, most early settlers usually beat their animals mercilessly all the time with long switches to make them pull harder to pull up stumps, pull plows, pull heavily loaded wagons, work faster and endless other such tasks. They were never given anything more than food and water, but were always kept penned or tied up when not working. They were never allowed to roam free because of the inability of their owners to control and recover them. Sometimes they broke out of their pens during the night, causing a major uproar when they were found to be missing. If they wandered off and were captured by someone else, the rightful owner had the problem of proving ownership and resulting arguments over this, frequently erupted into fights, killings and feuds between, by, and among, the parties involved, because the livelihood and very survival of the owner and his family depended to a very great extent, if not totally, on these animals. These beasts of burden however, were well known for being mean, hateful, stubborn, stupid and almost always murderous, and people were very wisely cautious around them. Weighing around twelve hundred to fifteen hundred pounds, maybe more, they would bite, kick, trample, hook and stomp whoever was ignorant or absent-minded enough to get within range, including their owners, and many adults and children were frequently seriously injured, disabled, or killed by them. Catching and harnessing or hitching these animals to plows, wagons, stumps and other things always required extreme caution on the part of their handlers who were many times relatively young. I remember one case in my own life, back in the 1930’s, when a fifteen year old neighbor of our’s was riding their mule from the field to the barn one late afternoon, when the mule suddenly went into a fit of rage, bucking and kicking and threw the boy head over heels up in the air. He landed on his back on top of a stump about thirty inches high. It broke his back in several places and there was nothing at all the doctors could do. He was bedridden and his parents had the difficult job of turning him every few hours, all day and all night, until he finally died, almost two weeks later. I can still hear him screaming every time they tried to move him. I cannot imagine the suffering and torture his parents had to have lived through, during that time.
In early spring, the cleared land had to be plowed under with a plow pulled by two mules, or oxen which were more plentiful than mules. These plows had a kind of steel “wing” on them, which turned a strip of dirt about 6 inches wide, upside down and when a field was finished, it was ready for planting. Imagine plowing a field of 200 acres, 6 inches at a time, taking about 20 minutes for one pass, or from one end of the field to the other. The amount of time and the walking and handling of the plow and team was very demanding, difficult and time-consuming. Once the field was prepared for planting, if not already on hand, the corn, cotton or other seeds had to be somehow acquired, either through purchase or some kind of trade. Corn was planted with two kernels every 30 inches. An extra kernel, in case the first didn’t sprout. We now know that corn planters in modern day Nebraska and Kansas, successfully plant 90 or more seeds in the same 30 inch strip, producing 30 to 50 times as much corn on the same piece of land. Nevertheless, the old way of planting persisted until about 1950. So the harvest back then was pitifully small for all crops, due to the ignorance of the settlers, further worsening their already pathetically deprived lives, due to small crop yields. Low production also meant they had less to trade, for things they desperately needed all year long. The reason they planted so few seeds was the belief that they would “overplant” and “Burn out” the land. At a time when their very survival depended upon their ability to produce, their actual knowledge, beliefs and actions in such production was vastly inadequate and contrary to their needs for production, consumption, survival and prosperity.
This was a long, hard job done in the fall, when everybody cut down the stalks of cane, dug a hole about four feet deep and sixty feet long, piled the stalks in it and covered them with about three feet of dirt. This was to preserve the cane through the winter and keep it from freezing and bursting, thereby becoming useless. However, during the coldest part of winter, some cane would be uncovered and the leaves stripped from each stalk, the stalks chopped into one-foot lengths and each piece planted in the field in preparation for growing and harvesting it and making syrup. This was a hated and dreaded job, because the cane was covered with ice in the winter and without gloves, the hands would freeze and become numb and then, over and over, had to be thawed out so they would work again. This meant frequent periods of excruciating pain when they were thawing out. Nobody had gloves back then and even if some had been available, the Bedsoles could not have afforded them, as they were considered an unnecessary “luxury”.
This was another back-breaking job, always performed in the worst of winter, usually January and February, because this was a period of relative “down time” in the fields and farming. The cane, which had been cut and stripped of leaves and tops was now hauled to the cane mill, usually located in the pasture. The mill consisted of two barrel-like iron rollers, mounted on 3 spraddled legs. The rollers turned against each other and crushed the cane between them. They were turned by a mule, which pulled a long pole round and round, turning the rollers through a set of steel gears. The juice poured from the rollers into a collector vat, or barrel, then strained through a piece of cloth, poured into a cooking vat about five inches deep, four feet wide and six feet long, tilted slightly, but with baffles in it to slow down the flow of the juice towards the spout at the opposite end of the vat, thus allowing it more time to cook. With a roaring fire (which means cut, split, haul, stack wood, for days), under the vat, the juice slowly cooked, evaporating the water in it, as it oozed to the other end of the pan where it poured out in a small, steady stream of syrup, into cans, jugs, or even into 55 gallon barrels. If this juice was undercooked, it had an awful, “flat” taste and if it was cooked too long, it was burnt and the taste, although different, was nevertheless just as awful. So, proper cooking time and temperature, were absolutely necessary. Great knowledge and skill were needed to avoid wasting this very important food and trade item.
Cold weather was a real problem back then and a never-ending source of suffering and sickness. But the constant shortage of adequate food, was the absolute worst of all problems they had to deal with every day. Mountains of firewood were needed all the time. In the summer, it was used for cooking. In the fall, cooking, smoking meat. In the winter, it was needed to heat the house. It was needed all the time for washing clothes, making soap and the cane mill. So, for long full-time periods of labor and in any spare time, the Bedsoles sawed down trees, trimmed trees, sawed up logs, chopped limbs, split logs, toted wood, loaded wood, hauled wood, stacked wood and then repeated it all in the hunt for "Literd" (Lighter wood), which was old, dry pine stumps and the hunt for what was called knots, or literd knots which were rich in pitch and resin and which were used by everyone to start fires. Because of this, pine stumps were kept and dried out. The literd was cut into fine splinters which were easily lit and which, due to its high turpentine content, burned fiercely for a very short time, but hopefully long enough to dry out and set fire to the regular firewood stacked on top of it, usually consisting of split pine. Oak or hickory wood was preferred because these burned slower and produced a hotter fire. But oak and hickory were hard, dense wood and required much backbreaking chopping and sawing to produce firewood. The problem was, with the unbelievably tiny fireplaces inside houses back then and with all the holes in the walls, floors and roof's, there was no way in the world to get warm in the winter time. Once they thought the settlers had enough mountains of wood, for the fireplace to last all winter, that work temporarily slacked off, but then it was discovered they had to do it all over again for the cane mill, washing clothes and for the making of soap. In the winter, they had to put so many covers and animal skins on the bed to keep from freezing, they could barely turn over with all that weight bearing down on them. After supper during winter, everyone always had to shell peanuts, shuck corn, work on leather, repair stuff, or do something for another three hours before going to bed. So they sat in the “living room”, which always had two or three double beds in it anyway and sniffled and froze to death while they did that work too. They couldn't wait to get in bed and hopefully warm up some. Nobody had adequate winter clothes, so everybody froze equally. Most people wore 2 pair of breeches, two shirts and some kind of coat, if any or all of that was available, which was seldom the case. Some wore animal hides as overcoats. But no matter how tired people got, there was no such thing as a vacation or time off. Any time off meant someone else had to take up the slack and this was usually followed by a period of less to eat.
Producing, preparing and storing corn, peanuts, cotton and other seeds meant they had to be bagged and stored as they were prepared. The shelling of peanuts and corn was always done for days and usually lasted long into the nights, until the smaller kids couldn't stay awake any longer. With the passage of time and the time-consuming tediousness of the seed work, someone hit on the idea of holding a "Peanut Shelling" at his house one Saturday night and the word spread that single people were invited and there would be a "cake walk" for them. That meant everybody there would have to shell one "pan" of peanuts (about five gallons), more or less. With people usually living two miles or more apart, the single people were desperate for a chance to at least see a member of the opposite sex if nothing else and they were all excited and showed up in droves and any single women always had their parents, or older brothers, as escorts/guardians. Three men, who could make a reasonable attempt at music, played a guitar, fiddle and banjo. After the peanuts were shelled (the farmer tried to get all of them shelled he could) the cake walk was held. In this case, everybody moved out into the front yard, kerosene lamps were placed on the front porch, lighting the yard at least some. A circle with numbered squares was drawn in the dirt. The music started, the single people found themselves a partner, usually someone they had never seen before and holding hands (the greatest thrill), began walking around the circle as the music played. This was considered very romantic, especially by the girls. Being able to hold a girls hands was more than the single guys had even hoped for. The music stopped and everybody stopped. A number was drawn out of a hat and called out and the couple in that numbered spot, was the lucky couple and they could go off in a corner somewhere together, but not too far away and certainly not out of sight, and eat their cake. Cake's were brought by several of the females and were considered an expense incurred to get the daughters married off. Eventually, over a period of time, these affairs evolved into full-blown music and dance get-togethers, but was not popular at the same house twice in any given year as one could almost always count on such turning into a knock-down, drag-out, free for all fight, before it was over, because someone would always bring moonshine (A big no-no) and start getting drunk and/or someone would do something or say something offensive to someone else. However, out of consideration for the homeowners and their wives, the party goers would stash their moonshine at the edge of the yard, or in the woods near the house and not actually bring it into the house, as the homeowner was certain to take offense. This homemade whiskey was called “Moonshine” because it was usually made by the light of the moon, deep in the woods, for privacy.
Gathering Pine Tar/Pitch
This is absolutely the nastiest, hottest, most exhausting and despicable job anyone could ever do. As it was done back in the 1700’s, it was still being done like this in my lifetime: The pine trees were scarred by cutting the bark 6 to 8 times in the shape of letter V’s, so that all the points of convergence of the cuts, caused the resulting “Bleeding” turpentine to flow down the cuts and drip ever so slowly into small oblong, metal cups. Every three days or so, each cup had to be cleaned and scraped out and all the turpentine collected from them emptied into small, thirty gallon barrels, which were then carried by two people, to the waiting mule or ox-drawn carts or wagons where it was poured and scraped into fifty-five gallon barrels. This was then carried to a “mill” where the turpentine was cooked until the majority of water in it had evaporated and what was left was a dark-colored, thick, sticky goo, which is true tar. This was sold and traded for other, more needed goods. It was also shipped to England where it was used to soak tough hemp cords which were then used to pack into and seal cracks between the planks of the hulls of ships. Much tar was needed by England and as time went on, with more and more such ships being produced in this country, more and more tar was bought, sold and traded here too. The big problem was, the worker invariably got the sticky turpentine all over himself, his hair, clothes, hands, tools, barrels, boxes and everything else he touched or came into contact with.
But all was not total misery back in those days. There were some funny things that happened and some fun times scattered among all the suffering and misery. When Thomas Bedsole was about seven, his dad told him and his older brother one day to take some corn to the mill and have it ground into meal. They harnessed the mule, hitched him to the old wooden cart, which was a six by eight feet wooden box mounted on two six feet high wooden wheels. (a most miserable way to travel, but also, the only choice unless they walked or rode a mule and carried the corn). So, they loaded the corn, which had been painstakingly shelled by hand ( Three, two hundred pound bags, is a lot of shelling) and, with a final admonishment from their dad to be home before dark, they took off for the mill, which was located about four miles away, on a small creek. It was summer time. Hot and dry. The road was dirt of course, dry and dusty. Flowers were blooming and bee's were buzzing. The mule, always notorious and infamous for "Running away" meaning they take off sometimes for no apparent reason and nothing can stop them, was being hateful, as usual. Mules are also well known for being extremely mean and excessively stupid, slow, slovenly, unresponsive and mean to their very core, was in fine form this day. Everyone knew that a mule would kill them if he got the chance, by kicking, biting and/or stomping them. This day, he plodded along as if dead, with both eyes half-closed, slowly putting one foot ahead of the other. The only sign of life exhibited by him was an occasional swat at a horse fly with his very strong tail.
After about five hours, they arrived at the mill. This was their first look at a mill. There was a large pond formed by an earthen dam across the creek. The millhouse was just below this dam. The building was tall, probably fifty feet and made of split logs. A long wooden spout funneled water from the dam in a very fast, narrow stream, striking the paddles of a huge wooden wheel mounted high up on the side of the building. This spinning wheel turned a maze of gears, pulleys and belts inside the mill, with the main function being to turn a huge stone smooth on one side and grooved on the other, and grind it against another huge stationary stone which had very small, outwardly-tapered grooves in it. The corn was fed into a large hopper over these stones, which allowed the kernals to pour out in a very small, steady stream and drop between the stones, lodging in the grooves where the rotating stone caught them and ground them into a powdered meal against the stationary stone. The meal then filtered down the grooves in the stationary stone and dropped into a trough which allowed it to slide down another short spout in a shaker, which by shaking, kept the meal moving along until it poured out into a sack or barrel. The meal was very hot as it poured out, from the friction of the grinding.
Since there had been several other wagons, carts and men riding mules there already, the Bedsole boys had to wait their turn. By the time the corn was ground it was very late afternoon. Finaly heading home, they plodded slowly down the road. The mule, which had been a pain all day, was still creeping along. Since it was so late, the oldest boy had been trying to speed him up by hitting him first with the rope reins, then a small switch. The mule was totally unimpressed. After about a mile, they could see lamplight in a house across the woods and Thomas said something about it getting dark and how Pa had said be home before dark. the older boy, Bill, replied there was nothing else he could do to the mule that he had not already done, whereupon Thomas handed him a pine cone and said "Sand his rump with this". Bill, who was thoroughly mad and fed up with the mule by this time, took the pine cone in his left hand and grabbed the mules tail with his right, jerked it up and jammed the pine cone directly into the mule's afterburner !. The mule's eyes flew wide open, he clamped down like a vise with his extremely strong tail, snatching the pine cone out of Bill's hand and clutching it tightly under his tail, he slammed on brakes and squatted down with a screech that would awaken a dead man. This sudden stop slammed the boys against the front boards of the cart. The mule now exploded straight up in the air, kicking as hard as he could and with a giant fart and kick with both feet together, he took off like a rocket on fire. This sudden acceleration now slammed the boys against the rear boards, causing the older boy to drop the reins. The mule, feeling the loose reins, took that as a sign that he was free to go and go he did. He ran, he bucked, he kicked and he jumped like something gone insane. He was screeching and half-braying and with every other jump and kick, he would screech and fart. This went on for about a quarter of a mile. Then the mule lay into some very serious running, with the boys now terrified at this insane mule, peeping over the front boards, screaming " Woe Mule" as loudly as they could, hanging on was all they could do under the circumstances. As they approached a house, they were setting a new land speed record, but didn’t know it. Back then, just about at every house would be two to five dogs, usually bulldogs, but always mean and aggressive dogs. This was no exception, so at every house they passed, all the dogs joined in the chase. By this time, they were laying a trail of dust a mile long and with the mule screeching, the hoover cart rattling, the cloud of dogs yapping and the boys screaming "Woe Mule", they were a sight to behold. Still clutching the pine cone tightly under his tail, the mule was putting on a simultaneous demonstration of some totally incredible acrobatics and rocket-type speed. One would never have believed any mule could run that fast. Bill, had been trying desperately to get the pine cone back but the strength of a mules tail is incredible and with the mule being stretched out so far, and with his kicking, jumping and bucking, Bill finally gave up and contented himself with giving some thought to what appeared to be their imminent demise, for he could see there was no way to get out of the cart alive. As they approached their house, their Pa walked out into the road, as he had heard them coming for a long time. He was waving his arms, which meant; Stop running that mule!. The boys would have been more than happy to oblige, if only they knew how. As the cart tore past their dad, at what seemed to be close to 200 miles an hour, Bill tried desperately to steer the mule toward the ramshackle barn, thinking perhaps the mule would see it and relate it to food and would at least slow down to a reasonable speed at which they could somewhat safely bail out. But this maneuver failed and the mule went between the huge corner post of the barn and an equally huge oak tree about five feet away. With the cart being six feet wide, they all stopped with a sudden and explosive KA-WHAM and ended up in a tangle of boards, spinning wheels, arms, legs and bags of meal. The mule had been jerked down, flat on his stomach, but struggled to his feet and continued on for a couple of screaming laps around the field, now twitching his tail, before the pine cone Finally dropped to the ground. Since he had not seen the pine cone, all the boys could tell their Pa was that the mule had AGAIN "Run away" and of course, they had no idea why and they had certainly done nothing to cause him to do that.
Religion Back Then
When without a church, and at the earliest opportunity, the people would gather and begin building a “Brush Arbor”, which consisted of several sapling trees, cut down and trimmed and set into the ground as uprights. This was then crisscrossed on top with more small limbs and covered with small, leafy limbs and grass, to provide a kind of shelter to ward off the hot sun and the nightly dews. Crude benches were also crafted from half-logs with wooden pegs as legs, which served as seats. The Brush Arbor was usually built in the edge of someone’s pasture and was used as a temporary church. People then were very religious and faithfully attended their churches and practiced what they preached in terms of their personal conduct, speech, and daily practices.
Almost all the early Bedsoles belonged to a church, usually of the Quaker faith. Those churches were very strict about their members and anyone living in the area who did not join, would be shunned and ostracized by church members. Little or no credit was extended to them. Trade with such neighbors was almost non-existent. The non-members could not count on help when it was needed from their neighbors. So, it greatly benefitted all to join the local church. Not to do so, was certain to end in numerous additional hardships for the family of the refuser. Any time a church found out that one of its members was drinking alcohol, mistreating his wife or children, being unfaithful to his wife, or was otherwise derelict in the conduct of his personal life, the church pastor and the church elders would meet and discuss the situation and approve a plan of action to force the wayward member to mend his ways. Two or three elders together, would go visit the person and point out the problems and outline what was required for him or her, to get back within the good graces of the church. If they failed to mend their ways, they were visited again and warned that this was their last chance. If that failed, the wayward member was kicked out of the church.
When a member in good standing, moved to another location, they could request a letter of transfer from their local church to the church at their new location and stay in good graces with the church. However, they were only allowed 30 days to be accepted into the new church. Church members enjoyed benefits such as; When anyone got sick, or injured, everyone gathered there and did whatever they could to help care for the party in need, including caring for babies and children, the family, cooking, milking cows and doing all the farming, cultivating, planting, harvesting and other chores normally done by that party. Knowing that tomorrow, the person in need could very well be any one of them, this practice was looked on as a very valuable thing to have in ones life, together with the ability to trade among themselves. Caring for each other meant survival, living or dying, in many cases. Preachers and pastors were key people in everyone’s lives and were always treated with the utmost respect and courtesy and was especially cared for by all the families in the area. It was common practice to invite the Preacher and his family to ones house for Sunday dinner where the host family always prepared the best food they had for the meal.
Picking Velvet Beans was pure torture. They were planted among the corn, so the bean vines would have something to grow and run up on and multiply. They were used primarily for cattle feed. Picking velvet beans was one of the most despicable jobs, next to cotton. The beans are each covered with a thick coating of small velvety hairs which all have reversed barbs all along the hair, so if the hair sticks in your skin which it will, the thing could not be pulled out and would break off instead. The itching and stinging of the skin were horrendous and impossible to describe. The settlers all wore heavy, thick, guano sack shirts and the thickest pants they had, which were usually made of leather or hides. The legs were tied around the ankles really tight. The shirt collars were buttoned all the way up. The sleeves were rolled all the way down and tied tight around the wrists. Still, the velvet got inside the shirts, up the sleeves, up the pants legs, and inside the clothes. With the weather around one hundred degrees in the summer and the humidity at about ninety-five percent and these beans being down among the corn where no breeze could get to the workers, picking them dressed as they were, was pure torture for days on end. The weaker workers frequently fainted from aggravation and heat exhaustion.
The ears of corn had to be pulled from the stalks and put in a sack with a strap which was worn around the neck. The leaves on corn stalks are also lined on each side of the leaf with reversed needle-like stingers and a leaf will cut ones skin like a knife. Then the sweat would get in the cuts and burn like fire. By the time they had been carrying that fifty pound bag of corn around their necks and dumping it in the wagon for twelve hours, their shoulders and backs would be throbbing and hurting so badly, they could hardly keep from crying. Working among the stalks of corn meant no breeze could get to them and the heat was torture. Every time their sacks were full, it was carried and emptied into the mule-drawn wagon. When the wagon was full, the corn was hauled to the barn and unloaded and stored inside. With one hundred or more, acres of corn, this was no small job. Corn was used primarily for animal feed and for meal and human consumption in the form of cornbread. If the family had children age five or higher, they did much of this work. Its hard to imagine today’s children doing any such job, even for five minutes.
This was one of the worst, hottest, time-consuming jobs that ever existed in any Bedsole’s life. With a 7-foot long canvas sack strapped around ones neck, the cotton was picked and put into the sack, which dragged on the ground behind the worker, who was either bent over at the waist, or on their knees, down among the cotton stalks. The cotton bolls all had needle-sharp prongs surrounding the ball of cotton and when the picker tried to get the cotton, these prongs would inevitably stick into the finger tips and break off under the skin, causing the pricks to fester and become swollen, red, inflamed and extremely painful. Within the short span of one day, several of these sores would already be infected in all the fingers which only made the work more painful and being more careful when picking the cotton, only added to the amount of time to harvest it. When workers were paid for this work, even in the 1940’s, it was half a cent per pound picked. A normal cotton picker would usually pick 100-125 pounds in a day. That would yield the mind-boggling sum of seventy-five cents to a dollar for the entire twelve-hour day. Of course, back in the 1700-1800’s, it was a lot less. When picking in the early morning, the landowner would pay a lot less per pound due to the dew being on the cotton which he claimed, added false weight to the cotton.
Harvesting Tobacco Leaves
With England demanding all the tobacco they could get, while paying cash for it and taking it in trade, our ancestors planted and harvested a lot of tobacco. When the tobacco plants were only about 2 feet tall, the leaves became covered with leaf-eating, long, ugly, green tobacco worms, which had to be picked off of each leaf by hand. Since these worms usually stayed on the bottom side of the leaves, that meant each leaf had to be turned upside down in order to see and remove these worms. Once removed, the worms had to be placed in a sack and destroyed when the sack was full. During the summer months, the tobacco crops had to be tilled to keep the grass from growing, because the grass reduced their leaf production and stunted the tobacco plants and resulting crop. In the fall, the tobacco leaves were picked and tied in bundles of perhaps twelves leaves. These were then hauled from the field in mule, or oxen-drawn wagons and the bundles were taken to a “Drying house”, which was usually a large barn with large vent holes in the roof so that the hot summer air could flow through the building and dry out the leaves. When the leaves had thus cured “just right”, meaning the leaves looked, felt and smelled right, meaning they were golden brown in color and felt leathery, they were removed from the drying building and were delivered to a collection point to be sold or traded and shipped to England to be used for smoking, dipping, or chewing tobacco.
One could always count on getting stuck with a couple of long and very painful fins. A favorite way of getting fish was to put out "set hooks". This meant hunting, cutting and preparing small cane poles, lines, hooks and bait and carrying them to the river and sticking them in the banks upstream from where the fishermen camped. Another way was called “Setting a trot line”. It was called “trot” because everyone would trot to the end of the line which was usually one hundred to two hundred feet long, tied between two trees, just below the waters surface, with a line and hook tied to it every 18 inches. Sometimes, the trot lines were tied on opposite sides of the river, or creek, but was usually tied across the mouth of a “slough” (“slew”), which was a pond backed off from the stream. This sounds like fun, but when you have to set 200 to 300 of these and go around to them 3 times during the night to take off the fish and re-bait the hooks, it ain't. Everybody constantly slid or fell into the river and stayed wet all night. Another big, pain-in -the- butt job which went with this was spending two to three days hunting and collecting "Puppy dogs" (salamanders, or spring lizards), for bait. They hid under logs and stumps and piles of wet leaves in the swamps, but only in the swamps, which meant you had to slogging through the muddy, nasty, swamp. This was the only bait which was free and which the big "Channel cat" catfish would bite. People couldn't afford to waste time and energy on anything fish would not bite. This exercise was to produce food for starving families. It was not a side dish, nor something they picked up at the supermarket, since there was no such thing then. They were fishing for their families to have food and for their very lives. The next day, it usually took several people an entire day to skin and clean the catfish, cut them up and fry them. At the table to eat, needless to say, was any neighbor crowd who had gotten the word.
These were little wooden, usually ramshackle, sheds for “bathrooms” out in the back yard as far away from the house as one could get them and still be in the yard. They were often one hundred feet from the house. This is usually how it worked for a fifteen year old boy: It is winter time, fifteen degree's inside the house and fifteen degree's outside. The wind is blowing thirty miles an hour. It is way beyond freezing. Even the water in the kitchens water bucket is frozen solid, hard as any rock he ever saw. He is in bed with nothing on but a shirt. It is 2 a.m. He is cold, but relatively warm . He is dying of thirst and about to bust to pee !. Eventually, he decides he has to go, but will do it very quickly. It is pitch black outside and no light, but he will run really fast to get it over with. But he also can't see outside either and there were no flashlights. There is no need to put on his pants, for it is pitch dark and this will be fast. Gritting his teeth, he grabs the covers, throws them back and runs like pure hell is after him. His shirttail is popping around him. As he goes out the back door, the wind blows his shirt up over his head and for all practical purposes, he is stark naked all the way to the outhouse. He sits down over the open hole. The ice-cold wind is blowing straight up about one hundred miles an hour out of the hole....he starts to pee. THEN, he discovers he has to do number two!. Eventually, he leaves the outhouse, frozen to the bone. He can barely move his legs. His teeth are chattering. His lips are blue. His fingers are numb from the cold. He flings the door open and takes off like a rocket for the back door of the house. He misjudges the approach angle in the pitch blackness of night and, running at breakneck speed, with his shirt again over his head, further blinding him, he slams into the back door of the house. Finally, he gets the door open and jumps inside. He gets to the water bucket, mouth dry as a corncob, grabs the dipper handle and lifts. Since the water is frozen solid, the 50 pound bucket, with the dipper firmly welded in ice, falls off the shelf, hitting the floor with a deafening crash. Everybody in the house runs to the living room screaming bloody murder and trying to crawl in the bed with their maw and paw. They light lamps. Paw gets the shotgun. That’s what it was really like going to the outhouse in the winter time. It wasn’t much better in the summer.
Settling Up: My Own Experience
For those Bedsoles fortunate enough to own their own land, harvest-time meant they picked, hauled, traded, stored and sold their produce and crops, for cash and/or trade-goods. But the vast majority of them, like us, ended up being share-croppers. That means they would work all year for a landowner and when the crops were harvested and sold in the fall and the costs deducted, the landowner would theoretically share the difference with the sharecropper. However, since the landowner had made advance arrangements with a store owner to allow the farmer a specified amount of credit during the year for food, clothing, and farming tools, the cost of all that had to be deducted from the profits before any profit was divided between them.
In sharecropping, the landowner would guarantee payment in the fall to the store owner and the farmer was always forced to almost starve his family because the landowner would set such a low credit limit, such as $300 for the entire year. Even back then, that was not a lot of money. The farmer simply could not adequately provide for his family on such a small pittance. In addition, the landowner and storekeeper but not the farmer, kept “the record” all year, since the farmers could neither read nor write, this left the storekeeper and landowner free to overcharge the poor farmers, whatever they could get away with. But, that’s how share-cropping was done and had been done as far back as anyone could remember. My own parents also were typical share-croppers their whole lives and that’s how we lived. In late 1926, when his own father died, my dad, being the oldest son and responsible for his fathers estate, entered into verbal agreements with a store owner in Alabama, who eventually foreclosed on him and took all my grandfathers land, eleven houses and property and left us no choice but to become share-croppers. This did not mean a lot of difference in living for us, though. Although my dad could probably have prevailed in court in this case, he was very ignorant of the law and procedures and his word was his bond. Unfortunately, he thought everyone else with whom he did business was also as honest. That was and still is, a very big, very costly, and very sad mistake. One I still make myself, which gives you some indication of my level of stupidity and total lack of intelligence. Anyway, share- cropping meant the landowners made their living, fortunes as it were, and very existence easier by riding on the backs of the poor, ignorant, desperately starving sharecroppers.
In their despicable ignorance, the Bedsole share-croppers were horribly mistreated in that regard from the beginning in this country until they quit being sharecroppers. "Settling up" was something which was done about the end of December, every year. I was fourteen or fifteen when I was finally allowed to go to one with my oldest brother, Bill. We went to the landowner's house, went inside and sat down with him at the table. He got out a shirt-pocket size notebook and started adding up the "costs". Since the way to settle up, was for the landowner and he alone, to determine how much the farmer owed, we just stood there as he read off the endless list. Once my brother said he didn't remember picking up four hundred pounds of fertilizer. Bill said it was three hundred pounds and the land owner immediately flew into a rage. How dare Bill question him. There it was in black and white in that notebook. In the end, as was the custom, the landowner told Bill he still owed three hundred fifty dollars, above what the “profits” were, and how we would have to stay and farm another year for him. As Bill and I were walking back home in the dark, although I was only fourteen, I was astounded and appalled at the obvious, total scalping we had just witnessed. I began to question Bill mercilessly about the total lack of evidence and how in the world did we know what the landowner said we owed was accurate. Why didn't we keep a list too and why didn't we have to sign for everything and how did we know the storekeeper didn't pad the bill to the landowner, together with the landowner's padding . I was furious at the total absence of any type of verification. Patiently, Bill told me that was just the way things had always been done. To question either the landowner or the storekeeper, was certain to result in their refusal to provide for us for the coming year. We went home, but I never let up. I seethed and boiled over the "settling up" situation. I complained and whined about it, until Bill finally began to see things my way. Then one day, about two weeks later, he told the landowner we would not be staying there and that he would be paid off in monthly payments. Then he and my sister's husband left and hitchhiked to Orlando, Florida, because they had heard you could work down there and get paid by the hour and be paid EVERY FRIDAY! That sounded like a total and unbelievable miracle. But they both got a job in the orange groves near Orlando and eventually rented two little houses in the woods and a couple of months later, they showed up in an old Pontiac and it took 4 trips from Opp, Alabama to Orlando, but we moved, lock stock and barrel. That was the end of the share-cropping business for us and eventually it totally disappeared and died a long, slow, agonizing and well-deserved death. But the landowners fought it all the way because they didn't want to lose a good thing. Three of my sisters and a brother stayed in the Opp, Alabama area and lived there, but the rest of us never moved back. However, I just moved back to Opp to live permanently, but I am now retired and do not have to worry about money any longer. But, Thank God, that sharecroppers life is finally and permanently DEAD for me, anyway.
THE 1830 MOVEMENTS OF SOME BEDSOLES FROM NORTH CAROLINA
Several children of Thomas Bedsole, Sr. and Rebecca Jones, moved from North Carolina,not long after Thomas and Rebecca had died. These included; Son Travis Bedsole and his whole family from Beaverdam, NC to Haywood County, Tennessee. Son William Henry Bedsole, III’s son Amos moved his whole family from North Carolina to Warren County, Georgia and son Thomas Bedsole, Jr., and wife Charlotte English , with all their children, spouses and grandchildren, together with the William Davis family, Thomas Wise family and the Thomas English family moved from Bladen County, North Carolina to Crenshaw and Lowndes Counties in Alabama, with Thomas Jr. and wife and William Davis and wife, at some point, moving to Ino, Alabama, east of Opp, Alabama, in Coffee County, at a later date. This move was lock, stock and barrel for all concerned and was made by mule-drawn wagons. Possibly as many as one hundred people and ten wagons were involved. When they arrived in Alabama, with the exception of Henry Bedsole, they apparently worked the first year before acquiring government land there, in the form of “patents”. Henry, a son of Thomas Jr. and Charlotte, appears to have wasted no time in acquiring such land and it appears that he and his brother Sessoms, had made earlier, initial “Scouting” trips to Alabama and back to NC the year prior to this larger movement of people. This was probably done to determine the type of land available, cost, location, housing and locations of any towns and army forts, and best routes, before moving the families and so many people at one time.
Henry Bedsole, appears to have acquired many tracts of land in several counties in Alabama, Louisiana and Florida, while the other Bedsoles initially settled primarily in Alabama,(unless otherwise noted below) on acquired land as follows. These land acquisitions were probably NOT the only ones made and others were probably purchased and acquired by deed, but these are the only ones available on the Alabama Land Patent internet site, at this time:
Name County Year
David Bedsole Baldwin (Mobile)..............1895 Thomas Jr's son
Duncan Bedsole New Orleans, Louisiana..... 1902
Edward Bedsole Walton ( Mossy Head), Florida 1859 270 Acres
Edward Bedsole Coffee (Opp).........................1891
Edward O. Bedsole Clarke (Grove Hill).........1891 Edward's son
Edward Bedsole Crenshaw ............................1840
Edward Bedsole Clarke .................................1890
Henry Bedsole Lowndes ...............................1833 Thomas Jr.'s son
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw (Luverne) 1833 The first in Alabama
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw................................ 1834
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw................................ 1896
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw................................ 1837
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw................................ 1837
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw ................................1837
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw................................ 1837
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw................................ 1837
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw................................ 1837
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw ................................1837
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw ................................1852
Henry Bedsole Crenshaw ................................1852
Henry Bedsole Montgomery ............................1837
Henry Bedsole Montgomery ............................1837
Henry Bedsole Rapides Parish, Louisiana ......1907
Henry Bedsole Leon County, Florida ..............1902
Henry Bedsole Leon County, Florida ..............1903
John B. Bedsole Geneva (Samson)................. 1904
John D. Bedsole Geneva (Samson)................. 1899
John W. Bedsole Geneva .................................1895 Son of John B.
Quincy F. Bedsole Clarke (Grove Hill) ..................1891
Rayford H. Bedsole Clarke ....................................1860
Sarah E. F. Bedsole Covington (Andalusia)........... 1900
Sessoms Bedsole Montgomery (Sellers)................. 1837
Sessoms Bedsole Montgomery ...............................1837
Thomas Bedsole Crenshaw (Luverne) ...................1834
Thomas Bedsole Houston (Dothan).........................1858
Thomas Bedsole Houston ........................................1858
Thomas Bedsole Coffee (Opp).................................1841
Thomas Bedsole Coffee ..........................................1849
Thomas Bedsole Coffee ..........................................1859
Thomas H. Bedsole Clarke (Grove Hill)................. 1875
Thomas Bedsole Dale (Ozark) ................................1837
Travis Bedsole Coffee............................................. 1893
Travis Bedsole Coffee............................................. 1860
Travis Bedsole Coffee .............................................1858
Travis F. Bedsole Rapides Parish, Louisiana........ 1905
William B. Bedsole Geneva (Samson).................... 1898
William F. Bedsole Clarke .....................................1891
William H. Bedsole Coffee..................................... 1891
EDWARD BEDSOLE'S STORY
Edward, a brother of Henry above, was also born to Thomas Bedsole, Jr. and Charlotte English in 1819 in Beaverdam, NC. He died in 1909 and is buried in Clarke County, Alabama. You can see above, that others also moved to or were born in, Clarke County. He was about fourteen years old when they moved to Alabama. He was married to Susan Blackwell and they lived in Crenshaw County, Alabama initially, but he moved his family to Mossy Head, Florida at some point. About 1892, they moved to Grove Hill, Alabama where he, his son Quincy and Edwards sister Elizabeth’s son Rayford, built a log store at the crossroads in Grove Hill, Alabama. Over the next couple of years, they developed a group of drinkers, smokers, snuff users, tobacco chewers, never-do-wells, hangers-on and trouble makers, who frequently gathered at the store and discussed politics and how they were all being wronged by the local politicians. Eventually, Edward and Rayford began selling moonshine whiskey from the store and the gang which gathered there from time to time now numbered perhaps 50-60 men. Over time, they turned to stealing from politicians and that practice grew until their victims included their own neighbors, who were just poor, ordinary farmers. The local sheriff was always “too busy”, or “out of town”, to do any law enforcement of this gang and shortly, (after all, the sheriff lived among them) they began taking whatever they wanted from whoever had it. If the victim objected, he was shot for his trouble. Finally, five good men from the area sent a telegram to the Governor of Alabama, explaining the situation to him and asking him to send army troops to arrest the gang. Instead, the Governor, not being the brightest bulb in town, telegraphed the Sheriff and the sheriff replied he had everything under control and downplayed the problem to the Governor. Finally, when they saw the Governor was not going to do anything, the same five men went to adjoining counties and rounded up a group of 300 men, each one armed with the new Winchester repeating rifles. These 300 men converged on Edwards house. They found Quincy there and killed him and a few others and ran the rest of Edwards gang out of the county. Ironically, although he was the ringleader, Edward was also a Mason and several of the three hundred men in the gang were also Masons and Edward was allowed to go because of that, provided he left the county and never returned. Edward stayed away for about twelve years, but moved back to Grove Hill where he lived to the ripe old age of ninety-three. Proving the adage that the meaner you are, the longer you live. Edward died in 1909.
This story can be found more or less in its entirety in a booklet entitled “The Mitchum War Of Clarke County, Alabama”, obtainable from The Clarke County Democrat (Newspaper), P.O. Box 39, Grove Hill, Alabama 36451. I recently read in the newspaper that a writer, perhaps unrelated to the Bedsoles had rewritten the Edward Bedsole story, in a much more comprehensive manner, perhaps flowering it up quite a bit and that it was becoming a best seller. In addition, a movie based on the story and that book is being contemplated. The name of the new book is “Hell At The Breech”, which was actually what Edward named his gang at Grove Hill. (weird name).
Larkin Bedsoles Fight For Food
This story shows how desperately people lived back then. Larkin Bedsole, b. 1826, a son of Duncan Bedsole (Thomas Sr. and Rebecca Jones’ son) and his wife, was a very poor farmer in North Carolina. After his first wife died, he married a woman named Atha Carter. At age 63, Larkin came home one day from his field work, to eat lunch only to find that Atha’s two grown sons had just finished off the last of the cornbread and grease. Enraged, Larkin attacked the two with his fists, but quickly realized he was in a losing battle and grabbed a long butchers knife from the kitchen counter. The two other men did likewise and a knife fight was launched in the tiny kitchen with butcher's knives, but quickly spread to the back yard for lack of maneuvering room. In the backyard, near the woodpile, Atha grabbed an axe and planted it in the middle of Larkins head, from the back. A newspaper article on this incident related that “Old man Bedsole, was loaded onto a mule-drawn wagon and hauled to the hospital at Fayetteville, where doctors said he was "not expected to live". However, it appears that he did indeed live another 20 years!! They called him “Old Man Bedsole” at age 63. Wonder what they would have called me now, at age 73?
It has been a curious finding to me that there are certain ancestor/descendant Bedsole lines which have an inordinately high number of mean, vicious, drunks and trouble-makers in them and other lines which have a high number of lawyers and doctors and others which have a high number of carpenters, those with lots of mechanical skills and finally, those with high numbers of school teachers in them. I have found none, save for my youngest brother Cecil, his daughter and myself, who were educated in, and/or worked in, the field of Engineering.
A despicable peculiarity I have also noted is that there are a few lines which contain Bedsole men who were excessively mean, brutal, hateful and cruel to their wives and children. One of these illustrious people, I am ashamed to say, appears to have been my own Grandpa. To those few, I claim no kin whatsoever, notwithstanding the obvious.
The Bedsole Curse
But there is one thing I have found prevalent in all the Bedsole lines as far back as I could trace it and that is what I call “The Bedsole Curse”. If you are a Bedsole by birth, you have more than likely been eaten up by this curse and are well aware of it already. “Murphy’s Law” states; “If anything can go wrong, it will”. But in the Bedsole Curse, I say “ If there are several things that can go wrong at the same time, and there always is, if a Bedsole is involved, the one thing which will cause the most damage, cost the most money and hardship and which will have the most detrimental effect on the Bedsole, will always go wrong FIRST “. The Bedsole Curse is something that comes with the name and I am eaten-up with it. It is always all over me. My new car won’t start, my new TV quits, my new clothes dryer catches on fire, the water supply to my house is cut off frequently, etc., etc. There is no defense whatsoever, against the dreaded Bedsole Curse. I have a daughter who is also eaten up with it. My brother has it. His son has it and so forth. A normal person, who has lived a normal life would never believe what The Curse does to you.
Here is an example: One day I came home from work and my wife was cooking supper (I know, Yankees call it “Dinner”). She asked me to go get a loaf of bread. It was perhaps 6 p.m. I got into my new car and turned the key. All I got was “clickety, clickety, click”. I tried and tried to start it, to no avail. To make a MUCH longer story short, it had to have a new starter solenoid, meaning I had to walk to the parts store and buy one and install it. By the time I got it replaced, it was almost 7 p.m. I again got in the car and turned the key, but now the battery was dead. I removed it, put it in my kids little red wagon and pulled it the mile to the gas station, waited for it to be charged, walked and pulled it back home and installed it in the car. Now it started (to my surprise). But now it was dark. I put the car into reverse and turned on the headlights. Now the headlights were blinking on and off because the newly-invented automatic-reset circuit breaker was detecting a short and was steadily resetting itself. By now, I was running short of patience (another Bedsole trait) and long on being tired and aggravated. My darling wife came to the door and said “JD, will you quit fooling around and go get that bread!!" Not being able to find a short in the wiring, I taped the circuit breaker down. A big no-no. Shortly afterwards and to no ones surprise but my own, smoke began pouring from underneath the dash accompanied by sparks. During all this, my wife was coming to the door asking me what I was waiting on and to “quit dragging around” and “hurry up and go get the bread”. I finally got to the store about 8 p.m. but it had closed at 7:59, of course.
Then, there was the time one of my neighbors found out I had just bought an eighteen-foot boat with a ninety horsepower motor, and trailer. He started hounding me to take him fishing out in the Gulf. I asked him if he was out of his mind wanting to go fishing with a Bedsole out in open water, without being escorted by five Coast Guard cutters, twenty life rafts and fifteen helicopters. When I told him what would probably happen, he laughed and said “nobody in the world has that kind of bad luck, you just have a negative attitude, lets just go fishing”. So, one Saturday morning, at 3 a.m., the two of us got into his new van which had a trailer hitch on it, and went to hook up the boat and trailer. Since Charlie couldn't back up a trailer, I backed his van up and hooked it for him. I told Charlie that since I couldn't see the trailer due to it being pitch dark and the van being so high and the trailer so low, he would have to guide me back. He replied “Ok, cut your wheels to the left and come on back”. I did that, continuing to back up and waiting for him to tell me that was far enough. However, the next sound I heard was the crashing, twisting and screeching of metal. Then Charlie screams “Hold it!“ I got out and walked to the rear of the van to find the trailer jack-knifed and the winch on the front of the trailer caved in and it had smashed both rear doors on Charlie's brand new van. When I asked Charlie why he didn't tell me to stop sooner, he replied “ I forgot”. Finally, we got on the road and stopped at a gas station and filled up the van and the boat's two gas tanks. I went inside to pay for the gas and bought a large combination lock with which to secure the van and trailer together and prevent theft of the trailer while we were fishing. I also bought a Styrofoam ice chest and two bags of ice to keep the fish in until we could clean them. I sat the ice chest inside the boat, but when I dropped a bag of ice into it, the bag went through the bottom of the chest, tearing the bottom out, of course. I went back inside and bought another ice chest and while walking back to the van, unable to see in the dark, I stepped in a glob of grease which had dropped from a car. Both feet went straight up in the air and the back of my head played rat-a-tat-tat on the concrete pavement. The new ice chest went flying up in the air and when it landed on the concrete, it split all the way down the side. By this time, I was determined to just go fishing anyway, regardless of the impending doom I was certain awaited us. At the boat ramp, we put the boat in the water and I told Charlie I would park the van and trailer out of the way and lock them together. Then I asked him where the fifteen dollar combination lock was, since it was not in the sack. Charlie finally found it where he had thrown it in the back of the van. When I asked where the combination was, he said he hadn't seen it. I said it was in the sack with the lock, and it was a small, yellow piece of paper. Charlie replied, “Oh yeah, I threw that out, way back down the road there somewhere”. So, without a lock, I parked the van and trailer and we got into the boat. But when I pressed the “down” button to lower the motor into the water, nothing happened. Since this was a ninety horsepower motor, it was very big and very heavy. But with no other choice, I jumped into the water, (it was then 4 a.m. and cold too) which came up to my neck, and manually lowered the motor, after first wrestling with it for fifteen minutes, because as I raised the motor, the boat would float away from me. Finally, we arrived at the spot where most of the other boats were anchored and I told Charlie to throw out the two new deep-sea anchors. Without tying the ropes to them, Charlie picked them up and threw them over the side, into the fifty foot-deep water. ($150 each) But we started fishing anyway. The speckled trout were really running that morning and biting too. In short order, we had no bait left. But, when we started back to shore to buy more bait, the motor quit. Without a motor and no anchors, we were headed for the deep blue sea and Fidel Castro, much too fast to suit me. Finally, a bigger boat came along headed for the bait house, but had no rope. So we used our anchor ropes to tie the two boats together. When we arrived at the bait house, we discovered that we were through fishing but, we were now twelve miles from the van and trailer. So, I called my wife to come the twenty miles and take us to pick the van and trailer up, drove to the boat and finally got home in one piece. After we cleaned the few trout we had kept and added up the total cost and divided the ounces of edible fish we had, the fish cost us about eight thousand dollars per ounce. The next Friday, I asked Charlie if he wanted to go fishing again next Saturday. He replied there was no way in the world he would EVER be caught dead within 500 miles of me, my boat or even a cup of water. I told him he just had a negative attitude. After that little fishing trip, Charlie was a true believer in the Bedsole Curse and never again said I “just have a negative attitude”.
The Curse Apparently Rubs Off
I just recently learned a couple of years ago, that the Bedsole Curse actually rubs off and infects those who are not even related. Living in Florida, we were regularly exposed to hurricanes and living near Daytona Beach means the beach is separated from the mainland by the huge St. Johns River. This river has 3 very large, high and long bridges connecting the beach and mainland. During a hurricane, law enforcement officers are assigned to guard the bridges because they have to be one-way only, at that time, to the mainland. Anyway, my neighbor across the street lives in a two story house. He is a deputy sheriff and during the hurricane of 1999, he was assigned to guard one of those bridges. As he told me, he stood in two to three foot-deep water all night, while the wind blew at about eighty miles an hour, gusting to a hundred. At daylight, he was relieved from that duty and told to go home and get some sleep because the hurricane had not yet arrived, but was expected within twenty-four hours. He started home and came across a house which was fully on fire. He called it in and ran into the house to rescue whoever he might find. What he didn’t know was, the floor was so weakened by the flames that it shortly caved in and dumped him into the basement which already had waist-deep water in it and then piled boards on top of him. Shortly thereafter, the fire department arrived and not seeing anyone, turned five fire hoses full blast on the house. The firemen could not hear him screaming (he had quit shouting) and really poured the water on. Eventually he said, he floated to the top as the basement filled to the brim and he crawled out and went home. When he got home, his wife was at work and his kids were at school. As he looked at his house, he decided he should do like his neighbors and nail heavy plywood over his windows, starting with the top floor. So he went upstairs, went out through a window and walked around on the roof looking to see how many sheets of plywood and what sizes he would need. While he was out on the roof, his wife came home from work to pick up something she had forgotten. Since his car was in the garage and it was closed, she assumed he had not arrived home yet. But in the process of picking up the item, she found the upstairs window open, so she closed and locked it, and went back to work. Meantime, he finally came back to the window to find it locked from the inside, of course. Seeing no way of getting down and being a policeman, he didn't want his neighbors to know he was in this predicament, so he went to the lowest point on the roof and bailed out. When he landed, he hit the ground leaning forward, which made him run so fast he lost his balance and fell face-first and slid out into the street just as a car came by. The driver, frantically trying to miss this guy who he thought was trying to commit suicide by diving in front of his car, swerved to the right, going across my neighbors lawn and plowing up their beautifully manicured flowerbeds. Upon hearing all this, I grilled my neighbor for an hour, knowing that somehow, he was a Bedsole or was kin in some way. But so far, I have been unable to make any connection with him, so it must be that the curse has rubbed off on him, while living that close to me.
Some Bedsole Marriages In NC
I am listing a few North Carolina Bedsole marriages below just to show you that I found the information. I noted during my research, that the witnesses were all relatives, or neighbors of those getting married. (W=White, I=Indian, M=Mulatto, JP=Justice Of The Peace, MG=Magistrate).
BEDSOLE Calton 5-22-1861, m. JACKSON, Fannie
BEDSOLE Duncan 5-06-1825, m. HAIR, Catherine
BEDSOLE Duncan 3-24-1852, m. GUTTEY, Anna Jane
BEDSOLE John 1-19-1828, m. HAIR, Catherine.... (Bond says HORN, not HAIR)
BEDSOLE Larkin 5-12-1847, m. BULLOCK, Charlotte
BEDSOLE Owen 7-14-1832, m. HAIR, Sarah
BEDSOLE Thomas 6-10-1854. m. BRYANT, Nancy V.
BEDSOLE Travis 3-31-1858, m. BULLOCK, Martha
BEDSOLE Travis 5-11-1868, m. SMITH, Melissa V.
BEDSOLE Nancy 2-09-1853, m. HALL, Amos J.
BEDSOLE Sarah 7-19-1810, m. MUCCEI, Benjamin (this is probably actually supposed to be spelled Meucci)
D.J. Bedsole Cedar Creek, NC 21/W to Lucinda Fisher Cedar Creek November 23, 1876
William S. Bedsole Cedar Creek, NC 21/W to Mary Autry Flea Hill January 7, 1879
John B. Bedsole Cedar Creek 24/W to Elizabeth Cashwell Cedar Creek November 26, 1885
Daniel J. Bedsole Cedar Creek 32/W Pricilla E. Faircloth Sampson County 21/ July 27, 1887
Rev. I.H. White, MG Witnesses: W.J. Faircloth, D.J. Faircloth, M.C. Horne
John B. Bedsole Cedar Creek 26/W Louvenia Jolly Cedar Creek 16/ January 18, 1888 Rev. T.H. Pritchard, MG Witnesses: J.L. Autry H.E. Fisher N.C.
Amos J. Bedsole Cedar Creek 26/W Sallie F. Averitt Cumberland Co 26/W January 29,1888 C.H. Cogdell, JP Witnesses: Willie A. Sewell W.H. Averitt Nannie L. Sewell
Evander E. Bedsole Cumberland Co 21/W Mariah Faircloth Cumberland Co. August 4, 1889 Rev. C.E. Beard, MG Witnesses: Isaac J. Hall, John R. Hall
Arthur Bedsole Bladen Co 24/W Mary Jane Averitt Cumberland Co 21/ Feb. 28, 1890 C.H. Cogdell, JP Witnesses: W.A. Chason J.R. Chason W.A. Sewell
Larkin Bedsole Cumberland Co 65/W Atha H. Carter Cumberland Co 25/ May 17, 1890 J. McP Geddie, JP Witnesses: J.H. Faircloth J.W. Faircloth
John D. Bedsole Cumberland Co 21/W Ella N. Guy Flea Hill 19/ July 17, 1890 R.W. Hardie, JP Witnesses: Geo W. Rose John Roddick
A.D. Bedsole Cumberland Co 21/W Laura A. Carty BeaverDam 17/ November 6, 1890 C.P. Overby, JP Witnesses: N. Ingram R.H. Buckingham A.T. Strickland
Charles H. Bedsole Robeson Co 25/W Maggie Sealy Robeson Co 20/ December 15, 1894 John Smith, JP Witnesses: J.A. Chason Sarah Smith Cora Smith
Farley Bedsole Cross Creek 24/W Mary E. Starling Cross Creek 22/ December 28, 1901 Rev. J.O. Tew, MG Witnesses: J.S. Bethea Farley Bedsole
G.N. Bedsole Beaver Dam 28/W Berta Starling Pearces Mill -- March 8, 1907 Rev. Jas J. Hall, MG Witnesses: Jas Jessup Bradley Wheeler Tom Parker
Larkin J. Bedsole Fayetteville 18/W Mary Howell Fayetteville 18/ Feb. 13, 1909 D.N. McLean,JP Witnesses: D.W. Green Emily Howell J.H. Melvin
Daniel J. Bedsole Parkersburg 21/W Minnie Peterson Hope Mills 19/ Sept. 21, 1913 Alex Simmons, JP Witnesses: Alex Simmons Stephen Melvin Alex Faircloth
Benjamin Bedsole 29/W Martha Goodman Cooper 21/ J.W. Johnson, JP Witnesses: J.W. Pittman
Alex E. Bedsole Autryville 19/W Eula Groom Autryville 18/ July 15, 1916 J.F. Faircloth, JP Witnesses: T.H. Faircloth C.L. Bedsole S. Smith
T.C. Bedsole Autryville 21/W Bessie Cashwell Autryville 14/ May 8, 1920 W.D.Gaster,JP Witnesses: C.C. Howard
John T. Bedsole 44/W Lelia Marvis Hudson Stedman 30/ March 31,1923 Adolphus Cheek, JP Witnesses: S.H. Scarborough E.M. Yates
J.S. Bedsole White Oak 24/W Emma Gertrude Simmons Cedar Creek 18/ July 8, 1923 Rev. G.Scott Turner, MG Witnesses: A.C. Hair Letha Bedsole Clayton Simmons
Ellen S. Bedsole Cedar Creek 20 Gipson L. Parker Cedar Creek 20 Oct. 27, 1874 J.C. Blocker, JP Witnesses: T.R. Parker L. Culbreth
Martha J Bedsole Cedar Creek 22 Wm B. Hall Cedar Creek 24 Jan. 27, 1875 Geo B. Downing Witnesses: J.A. Woodard J.J. Rogers T. Bedsole
Melissa Bedsole Cedar Creek 20 Stephen Autry Flea Hill 17 Feb, 25, 1879 Joshua Melvin, JP Witnesses: Alex Autry D.J. Bedsole
Emily A. Bedsole Cedar Creek 19 Wm B. Autry Flea Hill -- Oct. 29, 1879 Joshua Melvin, JP Witnesses: W.A. Melvin M.E. Melvin
Mary M. Bedsole Cedar Creek 21 Wm H. Averitt Cedar Creek 26 Dec. 25, 1879 Joshua Melvin, JP
Carrie Bedsole Cedar Creek 23 Geo F. Hair Cedar Creek 24 Oct. 16, 1882 T.J. Parker, JP
Addie L Bedsole Cedar Creek 20 Wm A. Jackson Cedar Creek -- Nov. 25, 1887 Rev. W.R. Johnson, MG Witnesses: J.C. Jackson J.G. Jackson B.A. Jackson
Ellen M. Bedsole Cedar Creek 23 Wm. D. Hargrove Flea Hill 26 Jan. 3, 1888 J.C. Poe, JP
Sudie Bedsole 17 D.M. Bundles Bladen Co 21 Sept.18, 1888 L.C. Straughn, JP
Mary M. Bedsole Beaver Dam 22 L.S. Willis Beaver Dam 27 Dec. 27,1897 Geo A. Hall, JP
Tishia Bedsole Cumberland Co 16 F.H. Smith Cumberland Co 21 Dec. 28, 1898 H.B. Downing
Mattie Bedsole Beaver Dam 27 A.W. Bedsole Sampson Co 24 July 8, 1900 J.S. Horne, JP Jennie
C. Bedsole Cedar Creek 16 C.W. Nunnery Cedar Creek 24 Sept. 25, 1907 Rev. W.A. Humphry, MG Witnesses: Geo B. Nunnery Mrs. D.P. Spell Mrs. G.B. Nunnery
S.E. Bedsole Cedar Creek 40 Wm Townsend Sampson Co 58 April 19, 1908 Rev. G.A. Bain, MG Witnesses: N.E. Williams A.E. Matthews A.D. Bedsole
Lizzie Bedsole Beaver Dam 22 D.M. Thomas Sampson Co 27 May 3, 1908 R.L. Hall, JP Witnesses: G.C. Lockamy
Frances Bedsole Autryville 17 Henry H. Hair Autryville 21 Jan. 22, 1910 J.M. Faircloth, JP
Ann Bedsole Fayetteville 30 Charles Autry Fayetteville 28 Aug. 14, 1910 D.H. McMillan, JP
Mary J. Bedsole Cross Creek 22 W.H. Hair Cross Creek 22 June 16, 1904 D.N. McLean, JP
Lee Bedsole Fayetteville 23 William Autry Fayetteville 38 July 10, 1915 F.H. Overby, JP
Cora Bedsole Fayetteville 23 Leslie Faircloth Fayetteville 21 Dec. 24, 1916
Louise Bedsole Cumberland Co 18 Eugene Ballard Cumberland Co 21 Sept. 15, 1917 Rev. W.D. Dean, MG
Mittie Bedsole Fayetteville 23 Clyde Autry Fayetteville 23 Nov. 6, 1920 F.M. Wiggins Witnesses: C.S. Jones
Mary C. Bedsole White Oak 23 Ava Lee Edge Cedar Creek 26 April 23, 1921
Thelma Bedsole Fayetteville 18 Jas Gibson Fayetteville 27 Dec. 22, 1921 Rev. D.E. Deaton, MG Witnesses: J.R. Buie Lizzie Bedsole
The following came from cousin Fay Sadler, who is a descendant of Henry Sessoms and Elizabeth Bedsole, below. Fay also sent me a picture of Henry and one of Elizabeth. Note how they listed “white” and “Indian”.
Henry Asbury Sessoms age 31 (white) married ELIZABETH S. BEDSOLE age 21 (white) at the home of Norris Bedsole by Rev. J.A. Tew on Dec. 16, 1894 witnessed by: P.M. Bullard, O.L. Owen, T.E. Rich (NOTE: Elizabeth was a daughter of Thomas Bedsole, Sr.)
B.J. BEDSOLE age 19 (Indian) (This is Benjamin James Bedsole, son of Docia Bedsole and Enoch Emanuel, Jr., listed further on as Indians) married Jennette Goodman age 23 (Indian) at their home by: P.M. Hotcher - minister on Nov. 30, 1913 witnessed by: J.H. Bedsole, C.A. Brewington, J.L. Warrick (In reality, Benjamin was at most, only half Indian).
CHARLIE BEDSOLE age 23 (white) married Bonnie Belle Carter age 20 (white) on July 26, 1914 at the brides home by: W.S. Vann -Justice of Peace witnessed by: W.M. Carter, A.R. Matthis, C.M. Carter
H.C. BEDSOLE age 24 (white) married Lula May Green age 19 (white) on Dec. 10,1916 at my home by: Uriah Sessoms -Justice of Peace witnessed by: E.L. Mathews, Dora Sessoms, Esphie Bedsole
Walnut Hill Cemetary, Vernon Parish, In Louisiana
Bedsole, Felder W. - 2 Sep 1895 / 2 Dec 1895 Bedsole, Rebecca S. - 1851 / 22 Sep 1895
Bedsole, Thos. L. - 30 Mar 1856 / 7 Nov 1928 [Masonic emblem]
From a newspaper in Louisiana: T. L. BEDSOLE Merchant, Lena, La. Mr. Bedsole is a member of the firm of C. W. Ainsley & Co. And is a wide awake, enterprising business man. He was originally from Alabama, his birth occurring in 1856, and is a son of T. H. and Mary A. (Sylvesta) Bedsole, natives of Alabama. The father was a farmer and merchant, and removed to Vernon Parish, La., where he now resides. He was quite a prominent citizen of Alabama. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, N. H. Bray Lodge No. 208, and both he and wife are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. T. L. Bedsole was educated in the common schools of Alabama. In 1879 he was married in that State to Miss Rebecca Norton, daughter of Mrs. Elizabeth Norton, and afterward, in 1880, removed to Rapides Parish where Mr. Bedsole was engaged in farming until the spring of 1886. He then removed to Lena, embarked in the mercantile business, and this he has since continued very successfully. He is a promising young business man, and will make his mark in the world. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, N. H. Bray Lodge No. 208. His marriage was blessed by the birth of five children, two sons and three daughters.
NOTE: Until about the late 1800’s, graves were marked with wooden markers which quickly rotted and disappeared. Therefore, no Bedsole graves were found in the older CEMETERIES.
Kinston, Ala. City Cemetery
NOTE: I include these just to show you I didn't miss or forget the CEMETERIES. This is only a sample.
Bedsole, Jener R.; b. 24 November 1884 d. 25 August 1969. s/w Monroe Bedsole
Bedsole, Monroe; b. 27 June 1881 d. 30 October 1969. " R. Bedsole. If I recall correctly, this is really Daniel Monroe Bedsole and wife, Gina (Jena).
Cleveland Carnahan Cemetary, Rapides Parish, Louisiana
Bedsole, Charles L. - 9 Apr 1885 / 3 Jul 1913
Bedsole, Lula - 9 Aug 1893? / 15 Aug 1901
Dubois, Ruby Bertha, daughter of M&M S. N. Dubois - 13 Sep 1907 / 30 Oct 1907
Bedsole, John Mayo, son of M&M T. L. Bedsole - 10 Mar 1913 / 2 Dec 1913
Corner Creek Cemetary, Geneva County, Ala.
Shelton BEDSOLE 3-3-1901/7-8-1924
Dr. James BEDSOLE 6-9-1871/11-2-1943
Missie Ward BEDSOLE 5-9-1876/2-2-1959
Sherwood BEDSOLE 2-13-1896/5-26-1969
Willie BEDSOLE 10-29-1894/11-13-1969
Ponce DeLeon Cemetary, Holmes County, Fla.
BEDSOLE, Raiford, b. Nov 18 1893 d. Mar 20 1960. In same plot as Vircey M. Bedsole. Married Dec 8 1918. Husband to Vircey M. Bedsole. BEDSOLE, Vircey M., b. Dec 24 1998 d. Mar 10 1983. Married Dec 8 1918. Wife to Raiford Bedsole.
Georgia Bedsoles In The Civil War
12544 Bedsele Abner W. K 27th Inf. Reg't. Private
12545 Bedsole Amos Garrison's Company, GA Inf. (Ogeechee Minutemen) Private
12546 Bedsole Isaac B 17th Inf. Reg't. Private
12547 Bedsole Isaiah B 17th Inf. Reg't. Private
12548 Bedsole James Garrison's Company, GA Inf. (Ogeechee Minutemen) Private
12549 Bedsole Travis B 48th Inf. Reg't. Private
Friendship Cemetary, Jackson County, Fla.
BEDSOLE John Clarence (Sr) Nov 10 1909 Dec 1 1967
BEDSOLE Josie O Nov 8 1892 Aug 27 1980
BEDSOLE Myrtle (Paulk) Sep 17 1919 Jun 23 1991
BEDSOLE Myrtle (Smith) Sep 21 1911 Dec 11 1935
BEDSOLE Roswell Jan 13 1887 Feb 15 1931
Kent/ForestLawn Cemetary, Panama City, Fla.
BEDSOLE, Adolph, b. 1914, " mausoleum BEDSOLE, Lillie, b. 1916, " w/of Adolph Bedsole, mausoleum"
Deaths: Green County, Ga.
BEDSOLE ALLENE 14-Nov 1892 Nov 1973 Greensboro
BEDSOLE CLAUDE 23-Jun 1898 Oct 1972 Greensboro
BEDSOLE NELLIE D 9-Jun 1897 Aug 1989 Greensboro
BEDSOLE WILLIAM 25-Sep 1893 Dec 1968 30642 Greensboro
Tallahassee Memory Gardens, Tallahassee, Florida
BEDSOLE Bertis M, b. 1908 d. 1987 "Married Aug 4 1928" D25
BEDSOLE Douglas, b. Dec 3 1931 d. Apr 12 1999 "ENC US Coast Guard Korea Vietnam" D25
BEDSOLE Ethel L, b. 1912 d. 1985 "Married Aug 4 1928" D25
BEDSOLE Margaret Cooper, b. Dec 7 1939 D25
Early Land documentation
As pathetic as it is, I am including copies of all the documentation I have found on the early Bedsoles, with few exceptions, such as the coat of arms and the certificate for country of origin (Germany-Betzold) for Bedsole. For the past fifty-three years, I have been blocked at every twist and turn by an almost total lack of records. Also blocking my research, were the various misspellings of the ancestors/descendants, such as Bedsoll, Batsol, Bledsau, Bletso, Batson, Bedsoal, Bedsowl, Blatsow and etc. Another problem was the tendency to name children after themselves, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I noted no less than eight Elizabeth Bedsoles for instance, whose fathers were named Thomas Bedsole. Also, way too many people went by their middle names, and/or nicknames, such as “Scooter”, or “Lizer”, or “Cotton” Bedsole.
Eventually, I found that the courthouse and its records in Bladen County, NC, where the earliest Bedsoles settled after Virginia, had burned down five times between 1768 or so and 1900, taking all land, marriage, death, birth, and other vital records up in smoke. These burnings prevented most duplicate records from also being on file in the capitol of NC, which is Raleigh. After the Bladen courthouse was burned down several times, the Bladen Court Clerk took the records to his own house and kept them for a long time trying to save them, but someone burned his house down too, for his trouble, along with the records again. More than likely these fires were the work of arsonists who did away with the records to avoid lawsuits, jail time, or other legal actions against them.
Due to the huge amount of time required to do so, I have not thoroughly gone through the archives at the courthouse in Raleigh and there are possibly some more records there. But I can give a word of advice to anyone who wants to go and look; Take a good flashlight, a good camera with flash, a work table, a portable lamp and a chair to sit in. Also, take a small copier and supplies and a small folding table, or something to lay stuff on. I invite anyone who has the grit, to go to that courthouse and do some research. But be prepared to stay not less than 7 days, to look through hundreds if not thousands of papers, in no kind of order, and to work really hard at it for not less than ten hours each and every day. As in Virginia, land records are about the only thing one can find with the word “Bedsole”, or equivalent/variation, on it. Its almost as if our ancestors never existed as far as shipping, birth, children, spouses, parents, death, marriage, divorce, court actions, and the majority of land records and other records are concerned. It didn’t help any either, that NC only began to require birth records in 1913, or so.
www.usgenweb.com, www.vagenweb.com, www.ncgenweb.com, www.algenweb.com, www.wvgenweb.com, The Pennsylvania internet site, The following primary Genweb counties in NC: Bladen, Dobbs, Sampson, and Johnson.
“Chalkleys Chronicles” on the Va. internet site, “William And Marys” on the Virginia internet site, US Census Records on the internet, The social Security Death Index on the internet, “Ships” on the USGenWeb site, “Formation Of Counties” on the internet, Library Of Virginia and numerous other internet sites, including the National Archives.
Books And Other Sources
1. "Bladen County, North Carolina Abstracts of Early Deeds 1738-1804 by:Brent H. Holcomb, C.A.L.S. 1979"
2. For complete listing of Bladen County, NC records available for searching at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, NC (other than census) please see: Guide To Research Materials in The North Carolina State Archives, County Records, eleventh revised edition published by the Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, Archives and Records Section, 1997.
3.Also see: "Bladen County, NC tax lists 1768-1774", Volume 1, page 21, by William L. Byrd, III. This book lists Thomas Bedsole, Sr. as living in the household at age 17, of James West, maternal grandfather of Thomas Sr.
4. Census records for all years available, for Bladen, Johnston, and Sampson counties, NC, from 1790 on.til 1950. www.usgenweb.com
5. 1783 through 1788 Bladen County, NC Tax List. www.ncgenweb.com , 1790 through 1880 NC Census, www.usgenweb.com , “Abstracts Of Wills-1784-1900, Bladen County”. Historical Society. “Abstracts Of Early Land Deeds”, Bladen County, NC; Volume 1 book 7, Volume 2, books 1,11, 12 and 13., Volume 3, books 8 and 10. “Bible And Family Records”, Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Bladen County, Courthouse. “Marriage Records And Bonds”, Bladen County, Courthouse; “History Of Bladen County”, by Cliff Crawford. Bladen Cemetaries.
6. “Anson County, NC Deed Abstracts, 1749-1766, by Brent Holcomb. “ A History Of Anson County, NC, 1750- 1976”, By: Mary L. Medley. “ The five Civilized Indian Tribes Of Eastern NC”, by Oscar Bizzell.
7. “Images Of Sampson County, NC” by Kent Wrench., “The Heritage Of Sampson County”, by Oscar Bizzell. “Founded Before Freedom”, by Micki Cottle., “Relatively Speaking On NC”, by Vickie McCullen Potter.
8. William L. BYRD III: Bladen County, North Carolina Tax Lists, 1768-1774 Vol. 1, p21. In this book, it shows Thomas Bedsole, Sr. (age 17, living with the family of James West in NC, in 1769. James West was the father of Thomas’ mother, Rhoda West.
"Bladen County,North Carolina Abstracts of Early Deeds 1738-1804 by: Brent H. Holcomb, C.A.L.S. 1979, For 1738-1779"
Abstracts of Land Entries: Bladen Co., NC 1778-1781 by Dr. A.B. Pruitt 1989:
9. 1790 Bladen County, NC Census, lists Thomas Bedsole (Sr.), with 2 white males over 16, 1 male under 16 and 7 white females in his house, plus himself. However, his name is spelled Thomas BEDSON. You learn to take such misspellings as a way of life back in the old days. Also listed are his neighbors; William Davis, John Sellars, Archibald McDaniel, and Samuel Sessoms. These, except the McDaniels’ also moved their families from NC to Alabama in 1833, when Thomas, Jr. moved his own family. William Davis and his wife bought land adjoining Thomas Jr’s land in Coffee County, Alabama, near Ino, east of Opp, Alabama and that’s where they all 4 lived and died and are buried. But, the CEMETERY has been a plowed field now, for over 150 years. Archibald McDaniel was shot and killed in the Civil War at Chancelorsville in 1863, at age 41.
Duplin County, NC land records show that James West, maternal grandfather of Thomas Sr., owned two tracts of land in that county in 1769. Land Patents book # 20, Raleigh, NC., pages 378, 379, 380 and 467. Prior to 1734, Duplin and Bladen Counties were both part of New Hanover County, NC.
Book “The Formation Of The North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943, by David Leroy Corbitt.
“Early Settlers Of Virginia”. www.vagenweb.com, “Early Settlers Of North Carolina”.
“Early Settlers of Pennsylvania, www.ncgenweb.com, “Occupations Of Early Settlers”, www.pagenweb.com. “Ships” www.vagenweb.com
Early NC Land Records
1. 04/23/1762. BLADEN COUNTY, NC. John Mellon, planter, of Bladen County, party of the first part, hereby sells and conveys unto Vincent Bedsole, planter, also of Bladen County, NC, party of the second part, for 4 pounds sterling, a certain track or parcel of land situate and lying in Bladen County, NC containing 300 acres as follows. To Wit Beginning at two white oaks near a ridge and running along Thomas Bedsole’s line, N 156 Poles 23 poles and 12 links.
2. 08/20/1764. BLADEN COUNTY, NC. Vincent Bedsole, planter of Bladen County, NC party of the first part hereby sells and conveys unto James Bailey, planter, also of Bladen County, NC party of the second part, for 6 pounds sterling a certain track or parcel of land containing 190 acres situate being and lying in Bladen County, NC as follows to Wit. Beginning at a pine and running S along .......190 Acres. NOTE: This land is also located near Beaverdam, NC.
3. 01/01/1793, BLADEN COUNTY, NC. William Bedsole, of Bladen County, planter, party of the first part sells, conveys and transfers unto William Gray, planter, party of the second part for 1 pound sterling 15 shillings also of Bladen County, NC the following track of parcel of land: To Wit; Beginning at a white oak and Running along the N side of the Beaverdam 32 poles, 43 chains and 12 links..............50 acres. NOTE: This land is also located near Beaverdam, NC.
4. Pp.463-464: 22 Jan 1793,William Gray of Bladen Co., to William Bedsole of same, for 15 pounds.50 A between Turnbull and the pine pond.William Grey (Seal),Wit: Hezekiah Jones (X), Saml Hales (X). Bladen, Feby Term 1793, prov.by Hezekiah Jones. NOTE: In 1793 , the only other known William Bedsole, was the son of Thomas Bedsole, Sr., but he was only 11 years old then, so this HAS to be the father of Thomas Bedsole, Sr.
5. Abstracts of Land Entries: Bladen Co, NC 1778-1781 by Dr. A.B. Pruitt 1989: Page 146 911 Feb.7, 1779 Thomas Bedsole enters 100 ac on NE side of Beaverdam Swamp; includes where he lives and runs up. ("Runs up" means it runs up the stream, or swamp, in this case).
6. Page 154 955.Mar.10, 1779 Thomas Bedsole enters 100 ac on the head of Short spring Br and runs up. (Br means Branch).
7. Page 173 1064. May 24,1779 Jesse Carter enters 100 ac on South River marshes; borders the upper side of Thomas Bedsole.("Upper side", means along his property line, on the north side).
8. Page 204 1231. Nov.2, 1779 Thomas Bedsole enters 100 ac on E side of Beaverdam Swamp; borders: his own line.
9. Thos Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #1238 issued Mar.10, 1780 by Thos Robeson to Thomas Bedsole for 100 ac on E side of Beaverdam Swamp, joins his own line, & entered Nov.2,1779;100 ac surveyed Jun.25,1786 by J Rhodes; Archibald McDonald & Ezekiah Jones, chain carriers; grant #1137 issued Oct.10,1787 (Archibald McDaniels, not McDonald, and Ezekiah, were neighbors, owning land adjoining Thomas Sr.'s)
10. 964(3768). Thomas Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #963 issued Jun.30,1780 by Thos Robeson to "Ezechiah" Jones for 100 ac on SW side of South R, ("R" means river), begins at mouth of Long Br, runs "up",& entered Mar. 15,1780 [note at bottom] "sold to Thos Bedsole as will appear by plats".
11. 100 ac surveyed Jun.25, 1786 for Thomas Bedsole (Ezehiah Jones-lined out] by J Rhodes; Ezehiah Jones & Archibald McDonald, chain carriers; grant #1153 issued Oct.10,1787.
12. 965(3769). Thomas Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #1447 issued Jun.30, 1779 by Thos Robinson (Robeson, not Robinson) to Thos Bedsole for 100 ac, begins on head of Short Spring Br, runs "up", & entered Mar.10,1779;100 ac surveyed Jun.24,1786 by J Rhodes; John Bedsole & Baxter Davis, chain carriers; grant #1154 issued Oct.10,1787. (It is very rare to come across ANYTHING with Johns name on it.
13. 1387(4192). Thomas Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #918 issued May 10,1779 by Thos Robeson to Thos Bedsole for 100 ac on NE side of Beaverdam Swamp, includes where he lives, runs "up",& entered Feb.7,1779;100 ac surveyed Sept.24,1783 by Will Bryan;[no chain carriers mentioned];grant #1054 issued Nov.7,1784.
14. 2278(5083). Thomas Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #1169 issued May 1,1795 by W R Singletary to Simon Pharis Hair for 100 ac, between Archebald McDaniel & Samuel Hails (also sometimes spelled HALES), joins both, along "the" road "on both sides,& entered
15. Jan.1,1795 [on back] warrant sold Oct.10, 1798 by Jesse Hair, heir of Simon Pharis Hair,to Thomas Bedsole (signed) Jesse Hair (no witness) and (no date) John "Pharies" swears purchase money for within mentioned land was paid & warrant obtained without fraud (signed) John Pharies (witness) Will White;100 ac surveyed Nov.24,1798 by A Weathersbee; Saml Pharis & H "Thos", chain carriers; grant #2183 issued Mar.9,1799.
16. 2821(5604). William Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #1541 issued Apr.4,1796 by W R Singletary to William Bedsole for 100 ac, begins at his own corner on Great White Pocoson, runs down his line,& entered Nov.16,1795;100 ac on N side of Weathersbee's mill Bay surveyed Nov.20,1799 by A Weathersbee;[no chain carriers mentioned].
17. # 616 Sept.30,1799 William Bedsole paid 0.75 (about ONE DOLLAR in today’s money) pounds for 150 ac in entries #1799 & "blank" dated Nov.16,1795 (signed) John Haywood,PT Grant #2686 issued Nov.27,1802.
18. 3088(0248). Thomas Bedsole 31 ac; warrant #508 issued Feb.28,1818 by Jas Campbell to Thos "Beadsole" (From JD: an interesting way to spell Bedsole. "Bead" is "Bed"?. They spelled it BED, then BEAD, in the same deed) for 50 ac, joins Francis Davis on S side of South R,& entered Aug.4,1817;31 ac surveyed May 12,1818 by P Kelly; Geo Blackwell & Levi Jones, chain carriers,[land on South R, begins at Archd McDaniel's corner pine in John Daniel's line at head of Juniper "Bulk",joins Wm Smith Sr,& Sessoms; 2 copies of survey in shuck].
(Note: From JD This "Sessoms" family is where Sessoms Bedsole got his first name. This George Blackwell, was the grandfather of Susan Blackwell, who married Edward Bedsole, son of Thomas Jr.)
19. 3089(0249). Thomas Beadsole 50 ac;warrant #136 issued Sept.2,1815 by Jas Campbell to This Bedsole for 50 ac, joins Francis Davis' line on S side of South R,& entered May 8,1815;50 ac surveyed Oct.16,1815 by James Kelly; John Daniel & Travas Bedsole (Travis Bedsole), chain carriers;[land begins at Ellis’ corner pine on SW side of Juniper "Bulk";2 copies of survey in shuck. ("Shuck" refers to the file folder, or onion skin paper enclosing something).
20. 6 Dec.1822-This. Bledsoe and Charlotte Bledsoe (This was Thomas Bedsole, Jr. and wife, Charlotte English) To Penelope McDaniel, Levi Jones and This. Smith for $100 all our right to a Negro wench and child by the names of Rachel and Minnie. Witness: Nathan Wheeler. May Term 1823. A McDowell, Clerk. (Note: although a different spelling the above entry was indexed under Bedsol)
21. 10 Oct. 1820-Thomas Bedsole, Jr. to Daniel Melvin-$140 for 50 acres adj lands of Francis Davis and including the plantation on which I now live and 10 acres on N side of Archibald McDaniel's Pond adj lands patented by Archibald McDaniel, Sr. Wit: Robert Melvin and Elizabeth Melvin. Feb. term 1825.
22. 7 July 1842-Sarah Bedsole, Levi Jones & his wife Elizabeth Jones, Ann Smith, Owen Jones & Clarry Jones his wife To Joab Smith-$160-all our right in 4 tracts of land on the S side of the Beaverdam Swamp, a branch of South River & both sides of the Stage Road granted to Thomas Smith, Sr. The above tracts belonging to Thomas Smith, deceased & Sarah Bedsol, Elizabeth Jones, Ann Smith & Clarry Jones, being 4 of the lawful heirs of Thomas Smith. . . Wit: Thomas Smith, Senr. Stephen Smith. August Term 1842. David Lewis. Commission to Robert Melvin & Love McDaniel, Esqs. to take private examinations of Elizabeth & Clarry Jones separate from their husbands Levi & Owen Jones-Said examination had on 9 Sept 1842 at Beaverdam Meeting House.
23. 23 March 1842-Daniel Bedsole, Thomas Parker & wife Charity Bedsole of Cumberland County, Nusen Autry & wife Clarey also of Cumberland County To Love McDaniel-$80 . . .all our right, title, interest & claim to lands of the estate of William Bedsole, it being undivided & containing 417 acres on the S. side of South River. First tract adj lands of Thomas Bedsole granted to William Bedsole on 12 Dec 1816-another tract of 107 acres being part of a tract granted to Samuel Hales on 9 March 1791 on the South side of South river East of the Stage road adj lands of Mathew Hales-3rd tract of 100 acres granted to Thomas Bedsole & by him conveyed to Benjamin Faircloth & by him to William Bedsole on W side of South river-5th tract of 10 acres-6th tract of 100 acres being part of tract granted to Samuel Hales on 9 March 1797 including that part not sold or give to John Bedsole & adj lands of Samuel Phares-also our interest in 100 acres "which we have not got the grant nor courses" to the 3/8th part of the above land. Wit: J. B. Simpson, John McDaniel. Feby Term 1843. David Lewis, Clerk
24. 10 Oct. 1820-Thomas Bedsole, Jr. to Daniel Melvin-$140 for 50 acres adj lands of Francis Davis and including the plantation on which I now live and 10 acres on N side of Archibald McDaniel's Pond adj lands patented by Archibald McDaniel, Sr. Wit: Robert Melvin and Elizabeth Melvin. Feb. term 1825.
25. 23 March 1842-Daniel Bedsole, Thomas Parker & wife Charity Bedsole of Cumberland County, Nusen Autry & wife Clarey also of Cumberland County To Love McDaniel-$80 . . .all our right, title, interest & claim to lands of the estate of William Bedsole, it being undivided & containing 417 acres on the S. side of South River. First tract adj lands of Thomas Bedsole granted to William Bedsole on 12 Dec 1816-another tract of 107 acres being part of a tract granted to Samuel Hales on 9 March 1791 on the South side of South river East of the Stage road adj lands of Mathew Hales-3rd tract of 100 acres granted to Thomas Bedsole & by him conveyed to Benjamin Faircloth & by him to William Bedsole on W side of South river-5th tract of 10 acres-6th tract of 100 acres being part of tract granted to Samuel Hales on 9 March 1797 including that part not sold or give to John Bedsole & adj lands of Samuel Phares-also our interest in 100 acres "which we have not got the grant nor courses" to the 3/8th part of the land. Wit: J. B. Simpson, John McDaniel. Feby Term 1843. David Lewis, Clerk
With the exception of proof of land ownership and a few Tax Lists, there is no documentation that brothers Vincent, John, Elisha and William Bedsole ever existed. Full deeds or patents were lost in courthouse fires, but I found some as listed here, in deed abstract and index books. (Check out the book numbers. It takes a long time to look through one book. They are not in order in boxes. In this case, there were more than 500 books.
From Books #1, 2 and 3 nothing. From book # 4 Old NC Deeds: Pp. 463-464: 22 Jan 1793, William Gray of Bladen Co., to William Bedsole of same, for (pounds symbol) 15...50 A between Turnbull and the pine pond...William Gray (Seal), Wit: Hezekiah Jones (X), Samuell Hales (X). Bladen, Feby Term 1793, prov. by Hezekiah Jones. From Book #12 ("sd" means "said").
5500 pg. 290 VINCENT BEDSOLE 10 May 1760 300 acres for two pounds sterling in Johnston County on the N. side of Neuse River between ANTHONY HERRING,.......?
Page # 390. 1757. Old Dobbs County: Vincent Bedsole (Spelled “Vinson” in the book) sells 157 acres to Thomas Thinkley.
NOTES FROM JD: John Bedsole, born about 1731 is listed on the 1790 Bladen County Census. That was 10-11 years prior to the birth of the only other known John Bedsole then, who was not born until 1800-1801. I know the William Bedsole above was not the son of Thomas Bedsole, Sr. because in 1793, Thomas’s William was only 1 year old. That leaves William (Henry) Bedsole, Jr., b. 1727.
From Book # 107: Capt. Johnston's District. Bedsole, John 200 acres 1779. Bedsole, Thomas 100 acres, 1779.
From Book # 119 Bladen County . # 859. Feb. 2, 1779 John Bedsole enters 100 ac about 600 yards below Watson's Br "by" a place called the "thick bolk".
04/23/1762. BLADEN COUNTY, NC. John Mellon, planter, of Bladen County, party of the first part, hereby sells and conveys unto Vincent Bedsole, planter, also of Bladen County, NC, party of the second part, for 4 pounds sterling, a certain track or parcel of land situate and lying in Bladen County, NC containing 300 acres as follows. To Wit Beginning at two white oaks near a ridge and running along Thomas Bedsole’s line, N 156 Poles 23 poles and 12 links..............NOTE: This land is located near Beaverdam, NC.
08/20/1764. BLADEN COUNTY, NC. Vincent Bedsole, planter of Bladen County, NC party of the first part hereby sells and conveys unto James Bailey, planter, also of Bladen County, NC party of the second part, for 6 pounds sterling a certain track or parcel of land containing 190 acres situate being and lying in Bladen County, NC as follows to Wit. Beginning at a pine and running S along .......190 Acres. NOTE: This land is also located near Beaverdam, NC.
01/01/1793, BLADEN COUNTY, NC. William Bedsole, of Bladen County, planter, party of the first part sells, conveys and transfers unto William Gray, planter, party of the second part for 1 pound sterling 15 shillings also of Bladen County, NC the following tract or parcel of land: To Wit; Beginning at a white oak and Running along the N side of the Beaverdam 32 poles, 43 chains and 12 links..............50 acres. NOTE: This land is also located near Beaverdam, NC.
Pp.463-464: 22 Jan 1793,William Gray of Bladen Co., to William Bedsole of same, for 15 pounds.50 A between Turnbull and the pine pond.William Grey (Seal),Wit: Hezekiah Jones (X), Saml Hales (X). Bladen, Feby Term 1793, prov.by Hezekiah Jones.
Page 146 911 Feb.7, 1779 Thomas Bedsole enters 100 ac on NE side of Beaverdam Swamp; includes where he lives and runs up. ("Runs up" means it runs up the stream, or swamp, in this case).
Page 154 955.Mar.10, 1779 Thomas Bedsole enters 100 ac on the head of Short spring Br and runs up. (Br means Branch).
Page 173 1064. May 24,1779 Jesse Carter enters 100 ac on South River marshes; borders the upper side of Thomas Bedsole.("Upper side", means along his property line, on the north side).
Page 204 1231. Nov.2, 1779 Thomas Bedsole enters 100 ac on E side of Beaverdam Swamp; borders: his own line.
Abstracts of Land Warrants Bladen County, NC 1778-1803 Part 1 by Dr. A.P. Pruitt 2001
This 100 ac; warrant #1238 issued Mar.10, 1780 by Thos. Robeson to Thomas Bedsole for 100 ac on E side of Beaverdam Swamp, joins his own line,& entered Nov.2,1779; 100 ac surveyed Jun.25,1786 by J Rhodes; Archibald McDonald & Ezekiah Jones, chain carriers; grant #1137 issued Oct.10,1787 (Archibald McDaniels, not McDonald, and Ezekiah, were neighbors, owning land adjoining Thomas Sr.'s)
964(3768). Thomas Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #963 issued Jun.30,1780 by This Robeson to "Ezechiah" (Probably Hezekiah) Jones for 100 ac on SW side of South R, ("R" means river), begins at mouth of Long Br, runs "up",& entered Mar. 15,1780 [note at bottom] "sold to This Bedsole as will appear by plats".
100 ac surveyed Jun.25, 1786 for Thomas Bedsole (Ezekiah Jones-lined out] by J Rhodes; Ezekiah Jones & Archibald McDonald (McDaniel) , chain carriers; grant #1153 issued Oct.10,1787.
965(3769). Thomas Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #1447 issued Jun.30, 1779 by This Robinson (Robeson, not Robinson) to Thos Bedsole for 100 ac, begins on head of Short Spring Br, runs "up", & entered Mar.10,1779; 100 ac surveyed Jun.24,1786 by J Rhodes; John Bedsole & Baxter Davis, chain carriers; grant #1154 issued Oct.10,1787. (Note from JD: It is rare to come across ANYTHING at all with John Bedsole’s name on it.).
1387(4192). Thomas Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #918 issued May 10,1779 by This Robeson to This Bedsole for 100 ac on NE side of Beaverdam Swamp, includes where he lives, runs "up",& entered Feb.7,1779;100 ac surveyed Sept.24,1783 by Will Bryant;[no chain carriers mentioned];grant #1054 issued Nov.7,1784.
2278(5083). Thomas Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #1169 issued May 1,1795 by W R Singletary to Simon Pharis Hair for 100 ac, between Archebald McDaniel & Samuel Hails (also sometimes spelled HALES), joins both, along "the" road "on both sides,& entered Jan.1,1795[on back] warrant sold Oct.10, 1798 by Jesse Hair, heir of Simon Pharis Hair, to Thomas Bedsole (signed) Jesse Hair (no witness) and no date) John "Pharies" swears purchase money for within mentioned land was paid & warrant obtained without fraud (signed) John Pharies (witness) Will White;100 ac surveyed Nov.24,1798 by A Weathersbee; Saml Pharis & H "This", chain carriers; grant #2183 issued Mar.9,1799.(Duncan, Owen and John Bedsole all married 3 of Hairs daughters. Hair and Pharis were neighboring landowners)
2821(5604). William Bedsole 100 ac; warrant #1541 issued Apr.4,1796 by W R Singletary to William Bedsole for 100 ac, begins at his own corner on Great White Pocoson, runs down his line,& entered Nov.16,1795;100 ac on N side of Weathersbee's mill Bay surveyed Nov.20,1799 by A Weathersbee;[no chain carriers mentioned]. # 616 Sept.30,1799 William Bedsole paid 0.75 (about ONE DOLLAR in today’s money) pounds for 150 ac in entries #1799 & "blank" dated Nov.16,1795 (signed) John Haywood, PT Grant #2686 issued Nov.27,1802.
2822 (5615). William Bedsole 50 ac; warrant #1799 issued Nov.14,1798 by Wm Robeson to William Bedsole for 50 ac on S side of South R, between & joins Archibld McDaniels & said Bedsole's own line,& entered Apr.26,1797;50 ac on N side of Weathersbee's mill Bay surveyed Nov.20,1799 by A Weathersbee;[no chain carriers mentioned];grant #2687 issued Nov.27,1802.
William Bedsole,b. 1782, Son Of Thomas Bedsole, Sr.
Williams son Amos, moved from NC to Georgia about 1830. He was also a farmer. Born in NC and the family of Amos is listed in the 1840 Georgia Census as follows, with the state each was born in. I believe that Amos moved to Warrenton, Ga. in 1833, but he and his wife must have been dead by 1840.
Bedsole, Amos 50 M mechanic NC
Bedsole, Martha 46 F GA
Bedsole, Aris 25 M laborer GA
Bedsole, Isaiah 21 M laborer GA
Bedsole, Travis 18 M laborer GA
Bedsole, George W. 15 M laborer GA
Bedsole, James A. 14 M GA
Bedsole, Sarah A. 17 F GA
Bedsole, Martha A. 9 F GA
It appears to me that after Thomas Bedsole, Sr. died in 1825, his NC family split up, with some staying in NC and others going and settling in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. His son Travis moved to Haywod County, Tennessee and another son, Thomas, Jr., moved his entire family to Alabama. So, it is Thomas Jr. who is the cause of us Bedsoles being born in Alabama. Thomas Jr. married Charlotte English in NC and for those of you familiar with the highway in Alabama between Samson and Elba, the brick house about halfway between the two towns on the west side of the highway, with the big, white letter “E” on the chimney, is the area where Charlotte's parents and their family settled in Alabama. That E stands for English. The rest of the children of Thomas Sr. and Rebecca remained in NC to my knowledge. I was in NC two weeks ago and drove through Beaverdam. The country there is very poor farming country. It is flat for practical purposes, covered with fields interspersed with narrow strips of woods. When I look at that country and think of having to clear 160 acres of it of all trees with an axe and two mules as our ancestors did, not to mention all the stumps, I am overwhelmed by the enormity of such a task, much less the thought of also having to provide food for my family back when that country was wild and unsettled. It helped a lot though, for me to think about myself now riding down the paved highway there, in a nice, plush, air-conditioned car, flush from having just eaten lunch in nice, air-conditioned Fullers Barbecue Buffet! The Bedsoles have come a long way since 1750, I thought to myself. Then I added, Thank you God.
NOTE: The following Land Patents were typed from the original, handwritten documents. I typed them as they were written (and spelled).
First Bedsole Land Records In This Country
The earliest available land records in this country are the following which were issued in Virginia beginning in 1719, to William Henry Bledsoe/Bedsole, Sr. These were typed from copies of the original hand-written documents. 11 July, 1719.
George the second by the grace of God , Britains king and defender of the faith, to all to whom these presents shall come,
GREETINGS. Know ye that for divers good causes and considerations but more especially for consideration for the importation of ten persons diverted to our Colony and Dominion Of Virginia and in consideration of twenty shillings of good and lawful money paid to our revenues of our Receiver General in this our Colony and Dominion, for Yarnell Grame, for Alexander Grame, William Brown, John Reberle, Thomas Wetherby, Christopher Collins, Richard Childs, Eleanor Childs, John Hall, and Richard Florence.
WE HAVE given, granted and confirmed and by these presents for us our heirs and enforcers do give grant and confirm unto William Bledsoe (Sr.) one certain tract or parcel of land containing seven hundred acres, lying and being in the County of Orange on the branches of the Black Walnut River and recorded as followeth, to wit;
BEGINNING at two white oaks at a corner of a patent formerly granted to Hugh Jones and running thence North 40 degrees and East 82 poles to a red oak and to a white oak thence North fifteen degrees and west one hundred poles to two white oaks and a red oak thence west two hundred and sixty two poles to three white oaks, thence south twenty degrees east one hundred and sixteen poles to three white oaks thence south seventy degrees two hundred and thirty poles thence to the point of beginning. With all ye said land to have and to hold per our well loved Governor, Alexander Spotswood at Williamsburg under the seal of our said Colony the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and nineteen in the fifth year of our reign. A. Spotswood.........................................................................................
30 May, 1726
GEORGE , whereas we have given granted and confirmed and by these presents we and our heirs do give grant and confirm unto Abraham Bledsoe and William Bledsoe, of St. George Parish of Spotsylvania County a certain tract or parcel of land containing one thousand acres lying and being in the county and parish aforesaid and upon the banks of the Mist River and bounded as follows; to wit;
BEGINNING at a white oak and a red oak in a line of a patent given and granted to Rev. Hugh lying on both sides of the Mist River thence run south eighty five degrees eleven hundred eighty six poles to three white oaks thence run south forty degrees west one hundred and forty poles to two white oaks near the head of a branch of the Black Walnut River thence south east four hundred and twenty poles thence south two hundred and fifty poles to two white oaks thence west four hundred and fifty poles to two white oaks and a red oak by the side of a branch of the Mist River, thence run down the river west to the Hugh Jones line thence north two hundred and fifty five poles to the Beginning point. WHEREAS the seal of the well beloved governor of our dominion is hereunto affixed on this thirtieth day of May, one thousand seven hundred and twenty six year of our King. HUGH DRYSDALE........................................................................................30 May, 1726
GEORGE 2ND TO ALL. KNOW YE that for divers and good other considerations but more especially for consideration of the sum of thirty shillings of good and lawful money to our use paid to our Dominion Governor of our revenues in this our Dominion and Colony of Virginia.
WE HAVE GIVEN, granted and confirmed and by these presents do give grant and confirm unto William Bledsoe a certain tract or parcel of land containing two hundred seventy four acres, lying and being in the parish of St. Mary’s in the county of Orange. To wit; BEGINNING at two white oaks by the upper side of Ned Bunking Run at the mouth of a branch, thence up the branch course to a white oak at the head of said branch. Thence south seventy five degrees west one hundred and ninety poles to a white and black oak. Thence east one hundred and thirty poles to a white oak. Thence north eighty six degrees one hundred and eighty poles thence north six degrees east one hundred and sixty poles thence down the runs of the river to the land granted to Thomas Mantou by patent bearing date of twenty second of February, 1717. With all woods, streams, branches, trees, and hunting privileges afforded like parcels and tracts of land in the area of said parcel or tract. Said William Bledsoe being obliged to pay the sum as set forth above in two payments the last of which is due in seventeen hundred and twenty eight, to the Governor of our colony and dominion, into our revenues. Provided however that one third of the amount unpaid is to be deducted for every fifty acres cleared and planted by the said William Bledsoe, per six months. Any improvements added to said parcel or tract of land by said William Bledsoe shall remain with said land in case of default on the part of said William Bledsoe.
WHEREAS our well loved Governor Hugh Drysdale of our dominion and of Virginia has hereunto caused his seal and hand to be set forth this thirtieth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and twenty six and of our beloved King. HUGH DRYSDALE........................................................................................
Robert Brooke, Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth Of Virginia, to all to whom these presents shall come; GREETINGS. KNOW YE that by virtue of a land office treasury warrant number seventeen thousand three hundred and twenty four, issued the twenty fifth day of June, one thousand seven hundred and eighty three, there is granted by the said Commonwealth unto Elisha Bedsol a certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred and eighty acres by survey bearing date the twenty eighth day of June one thousand seven hundred and eighty four, lying and being in the county of Montgomery on both sides of Chestnut Creek a branch of New River and is bounded as followeth, to wit: Beginning at a white oak on a ridge thence north twenty seven degrees west seventy poles to a white oak sapling north thirteen degrees west two hundred poles to a black oak sapling on the side of a ridge south eighty one degrees west sixty poles to a chestnut tree on the top of a ridge south thirty two degrees west two hundred and fifty four poles crossing the creek to a white oak sapling south eighty five degrees east two hundred and sixty eight poles to the beginning, with its appurtenances to have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land to the said Elisha Bedsol and his heirs forever. In Witness whereof, the said Robert Brooke, Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia hath hereunto set his hand and caused the Lessor seal of the Commonwealth to by affixed thereunto at Richmond on the eighteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and ninety six and of the Commonwealth the twentieth. ROBERT BROOKE........................................................................................
Beverly Randolph, Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth Of Virginia, to all to whom these presents shall come
Greetings; Know Ye, that in consideration of the composition of fifteen shillings sterling, paid by Elisha Bedsolt into the treasury of the Commonwealth, there is granted by the said Commonwealth unto the said Elisha Bedsolt, a certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred and fifty two acres by survey, bearing date the thirty first day of December, one thousand seven hundred and thirty four, lying and being in the county of Wythe, on the waters of Chestnut Creek, a branch of New River and on the east side of the creek and being part of an Order Of Council granted to the Loyal Company to take up and survey eight hundred thousand acres which order of council was established and confirmed by a decree of the court of appeals made in the city of Richmond seventh day of May, one thousand seven hundred and eighty three and bounded as follows, to Wit: Beginning at a red oak and on the side of a ridge by a spring and running north four degrees east seventy nine poles to two Spanish oaks on a ridge south ten degrees east seventy one poles to three white oaks saplings south seventy five degrees west two hundred and thirty five poles to a Spanish oak on a steep bank by a spring north thirty degrees west ninety one poles to two white oaks by a draft south eighty degrees east one hundred and eighty poles crossing the branch to the beginning. With its appurtenances to have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land with its appurtenances to the said Elisha Bedsolt and his heirs forever.
In Witness whereof, the said Beverly Randolph, Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth Of Virginia, hath hereunto set his hand and caused the Lessor seal of the Commonwealth to be affixed thereunto, at Richmond, this twenty fifth day of August, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety One and of the Commonwealth the sixtieth. BEVERLY RANDOLPH.........................................................................................
Patrick Henry, Esquire, Governor Of the Commonwealth Of Virginia, to all to whom these presents shall come:
GREETINGS, Know ye, that by virtue of a certificate in right of settlement given by the Commonwealth for adjusting the titles to unpatented lands in the district of Washington and Montgomery and in consideration of the ancient composition of two pounds sterling paid by Elisha Bedsoll into the treasury of the Commonwealth there is granted by the said Commonwealth unto the said Elisha Bedsoll a certain tract or parcel of land containing four hundred acres and by survey bearing date the nineteenth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and eighty two lying and being in the county of Montgomery on Chestnut Creek, a branch of New River as bounded as follows, to wit: Beginning at a white oak sapling on the point of a ridge, south thirty one degrees east one hundred and fourteen poles to a white oak by a branch south fifty two degrees east one hundred and sixteen poles to two chestnuts south sixty degrees east one hundred and fourteen poles to a white oak sapling on the bank of the creek and down the creek two hundred poles to a hickory sapling north thirty one degrees east sixty poles crossing the creek to a white oak sapling north twenty five degrees east ninety poles to a white oak on the top of a high hill north seventy five degrees west two hundred and fifty eight poles crossing the creek, thence south thirty degrees west. Whereof, the said Patrick Henry, Esquire, Governor of The Commonwealth Of Virginia hath hereunto set his hand and caused the Lesser seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond on the twenty fifth day of April in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty five and of the Commonwealth, the ninth. (Note From JD: This patent was signed by Patrick Henry) P HENRY
NOTE: The “P Henry” signature on this patent was the Patrick Henry who is in the history books.........................................................................................
Beverly Randolph, Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth Of Virginia, to all to whom these presents shall come, Greetings, Know ye that in consideration of the amount of composition of fifteen pounds sterling, paid by Elisha Bedsolt unto the treasury of the Commonwealth there is granted by the said commonwealth to the said Elisha Bedsolt a certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred and fifty two acres by survey bearing date of the thirty first day of December one thousand seven hundred and seventy four lying and being in the county of Wythe on the waters of Chestnut Creek a branch of New River and on the east side of the creek and being part of an order of council granted to the Loyal Company to take up and survey eight hundred thousand acres which order of the council was established and confirmed by a decree of the court of appeals made in the City Of Richmond made on the second day of May one thousand seven hundred and eighty three and bounded as followeth: To Wit: Beginning at a red oak on the side of a ridge by a spring and running thence north seventy four degrees east seventy nine poles to two Spanish oaks on a ridge south ten degrees east seventy one poles to three white oak saplings south seventy five degrees west two hundred and thirty five poles to a Spanish oak on a steep bank by a spring north thirty degrees west ninety five poles to two white oaks by a draft south eighty degrees east one hundred and eighty eight poles crossing a branch to the beginning with its appurtenances to have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land with its appurtenances to the said Elisha Bedsolt and his heirs forever. In Witness whereof the said Beverly Randolph, Esquire, Governor Of The Commonwealth of Virginia hath hereunto set his hand and caused the Lessor Seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond, on the twenty fifth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety one and of the Commonwealth the sixtieth. BEVERLY RANDOLPH (Seal) ........................................................................................
Following are copies of North Carolina land deeds from and between Thomas Bedsole (Sr.) and sons, and Thomas and neighbor, George Blackwell. Thomas Sr. died in 1825.
1821 LAND DEED FROM THOMAS BEDSOLE, SR. TO NEIGHBOR, GEORGE BLACKWELL
This Indenture made this 1st day of May AD 1821 between Thos. Bedsole, Sr. of the one part and George Blackwell of the other part both of the county of Bladen of the state of North Carolina. Witnesseth that sir Thos. Bedsole for and in consideration of 20 dollars hath given granted bargained sold conveys and confirm unto sir George Blackwell a tract of land bounded as follows. lying on the N side of a large pond and being part of 100 acres & beginning at the 2nd corner of a line runs N 31 chs. 63 lks. then E 12 chs. 57 lks. thence S 31 chs. 63 lks. to the beginning containing 40 acres. To have and to hold the aforesaid tract of land and premises thereto belonging unto the said George Blackwell & his heirs and assigns forever with all the improvements and appurtenances thereunto appertaining belonging to the said This. Bedsole who doth warrant and defend the said premises against the claim or claims of any and all other persons. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal on the date first above written. Thomas Bedsole, Sr. his mark X This deed was proved in open court, fall term 1821 and ordered to be registered. Teste: Willie J. Odom, Clerk........................................................................................
NORTH CAROLINA LAND DEED. WILLIAM BEDSOLE CONVERTED PATENT DEED
NOTE: This was William Henry Bedsole, the son of Thomas Bedsole, Sr.
State Of North Carolina No. 3845:
Know ye that we for and in consideration of the sum of ten dollars for every hundred aces hereby granted pain into the treasury by William Bedsole have given granted and by these presents do give and grant unto the said William Bedsole a tract of land containing 100 acres lying and being in the County of Bladen on the northwest side of South River, to wit: Beginning at a stake on the river bank the fifth corner of a hundred acre tract granted to John and Duncan Pharris and runs their line S 45W 22 chns to their 4th corner on the line of a 200 acre tract granted to said Pharris 15th December 1814 then with the said line So. 52E 7 chs. to his 4th corner of said tract then So. 45 W 8 chs. to the line of a 150 acre tract granted to Lamb Hales 28 March1791, then S 45E 5 chs. Know ye that we for and in consideration of the sum of ten dollars for every hundred acres hereby granted paid into the Treasury by William Bedsole have given and granted and by these presents do give and grant unto the said Wm Bedsole a tract of land containing 100 acres lying and being in the County Of Bladen on the north west side of South river Beginning at a stake on the river bank the fifth corner of a hundred acre tract granted to John and Duncan Pharris and runs with their line S 45 W 15 60 lks to their 4th corner on the line of a 200 acre tract granted to said Pharris 15th December 1814 then with said line So. 52 E 7 chs to his 4th corner of said tract then So. 45 W 8 chs to the line of a 150 acre tract granted to Lamb. Hales 28 March 1791, then S 45 E 5 chs to a pine Hales 7th corner of said tract then with his other line S 45 W 22 chs 60 lks to his 8th corner of said tract then S 81 E 47 chs to his corner on the line of a 130 acre tract then S 31 E 47 chs to his corner on the line of a 130 acre tract granted to Lamb Hales 18th December 1814 then with said line E 8 chs 50 lks to the line of a 700 acre tract granted to Thos Bedsole 10th October 1787 with said line S 85 W 24 chs. 50 lks to a line the beginning corner of said tract and the 2nd corner of another 100 acre tract granted to This Bedsole 10th Oct. 1787, with said line S 23 chs W 31 chs 68 lks to a stake in an old field then with his other line S 77 E 42 chs to the river, then of the various amiss of the river to the beginning.
WILLIAM BEDSOLE his mark X
Entered 7th July 1821 Granted dated 27th October, 1824. signed sealed and delivered in the presence of John Daniel (his mark) X
Ordered to be registered on the 27th Oct , 1824 P. Kelly, Clerk........................................................................................
WILLIAM BEDSOLE NC LAND DEED TO HIS SON, JOHN BEDSOLE
This Indenture made this 5th day of Novr in the year of our Lord 1829 between Wm Bedsole of the County Of Bladen State of North Carolina the one part & John Bedsole son of the said Wm Bedsole of the first part, county and state aforesaid the other part Witnesseth that the said Wm. Bedsole for the natural love and affection which he hath & beareth unto the said John Bedsole as also for the better maintenance & sufferment of the sd John Bedsole hath given granted alieved enforcessed conveyed & confirmed and by these presents doth give grant alieved enforce & confirmed unto the sd John Bedsole all that message or tenement of land lying on the north side of the Long Branch and runs N 15 chs then as the various courses of the said grant of Samuel Hales in such way as will make 50 acres including the plantation where the said John Bedsole now lives & all houses out-houses & all woods waters & all water courses unto the said land & premises belonging unto the said John Bedsole & his heirs executors & administrators assigns forever and the said Wm Bedsole for himself his heirs doth warrant and forever defend the foresaid land and premises unto the said John Bedsole & his heirs execs admns & assigns forever against the lawful claim or claims of any person or persons. In testimony whereof the said Wm Bedsole hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year above written. Signed sealed & delivered in the presence of
Daniel Jones, Witness his mark
WILLIAM BEDSOLE his mark X
This deed was proved in open court May Term by oath of Daniel Jones & Ordered to be registered. Attest LC Kelly, Clerk........................................................................................
THOMAS BEDSOLE, SR NORTH CAROLINA LAND DEED TO SON, THOMAS BEDSOLE, JR.
This Indenture made this 12th day of October in the year of our Lord 1815 Between Bedsoal, This. Sr. of the one part & This. Bedsoal, Jr. of the other part of the County of Bladen & State of North Carolina. Witnesseth that I the said This. Bedsoal for & in consideration for the sum of 10 pounds to me in hand paid by the said This Bedsoal, Jr. the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge & myself therewith fully satisfied contented & paid and by these presents do give grant bargain sell convey and confirm unto him the said This. Bedsoal, Jr. a certain message or parcel of land in the county and state aforesaid containing 50 acres. Beginning at Francis Davis Beginning corner at a scrub oak and pine & runs on his line until it makes up the 50 acres being a part of a 200 acre tract of mine & the said This. Bedsoal my Exr. and Adms or any of them & forever defend the said land & premises unto him the said This Bedsoal his heirs and assigns forever together every privilege profit and advantage & advantage belonging to as in any wise appertaining to the same land free from any former gifts of any kind only for him or them to pay the taxes as soon as that shall become due hereafter & if the said Thos.Bedsoal, Sr.do further bind myself my heirs Exct. or Adms or any of them firmly by these presents to sign seal & execute and deliver any other deed for the more sure and perfect deed of conveying of the said land & premises unto him the said This. Bedsoal , Jr. his heirs and assigns forever. In witness whereof I the said This. Bedsole Sr. have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal the day and year above written. Signed sealed and delivered in presence of us.
John McDaniel (his mark) X
This. Bedsoal, Sr. (his mark)X
Travis Bedsoal Jr. (his mark) X
November term 1816
This deed was acknowledged in Open Court by This. Bedsoal and ordered to be registered.
G. S. Purdie, Clk. ........................................................................................
THOMAS BEDSOLE, SR. NORTH CAROLINA LAND DEED TO SON, DUNCAN:
This Indenture made this 7th day of Sept A.D. 1820 between This Bedsole of the one part & Duncan Bedsole of the other part all of Bladen County State Of NC. Witnesseth that sd This Bedsole for the sum of $100 to him in hand pd his word confirms to Duncan Bedsole a certain tract of land lying and being in the Co of Bladen on the so side of so river & on the N side of Ardens Pond containing 140 acres beginning 42 chs on the N line at a stake & runs N 2 chns 73 lks then E 45 chs to a bay & 3 pines thence N 45 chs thence W 4 chs to S. McDaniels line then with it S 15 W 30 chs to a corner then N 75 W 31 chs 63 lks to the beginning corner a Red Oak & a branch then west 4 chs 50 lks S 10 chs then W 10 lks to the corner 21 chs to the beginning to have & to hold forever with all improvements I the sd This Bedsole Sr doth forever warrant the sd land to Duncan Bedsole his heirs excts admns & assigns from any & all claims that shall come and will defend against same forever. Witness my hand and seal the date and year first above written. Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of
Thomas Bedsole, Jr.
Thomas Bedsole Sr. S E A L
This deed was proved in Sept Term Open Court on oath of George Blackwell and ordered to be registered.
Test: Will J. Odom Clerk
STORY INVOLVING DUNCAN ABOVE, BROTHER OWEN AND SISTER, ELIZABETH
ELIZABETH BEDSOLE, married Steven Rials in Beaverdam, NC in 1795. By 1840, they owned a large plantation with several slaves and several slave houses in addition to the mansion house. It seems to me from the stories about them, Elizabeth was a stern, mean and hateful woman. One time after Steven died, one of Elizabeth’s male slaves ran away. She sent for Duncan, her favorite brother, who was probably as mean as she was. Duncan brought Owen, another of their brothers and they took a pack of hunting dogs from Elisabeth’s house to track down the slave.
Eventually, Duncan and Owen treed the slave in the top of a big oak tree.
Duncan told him to come down, but he would not. He told Duncan he would come down if Duncan would call off the pack of dogs, but Duncan refused and told the man he would be shot down if he didn’t come on down. Owen tried to call Duncan off, but Duncan eventually shot at the man, causing him to fall out of the tree, whereupon the pack of dogs attacked him. Owen then shot and killed several of the dogs and told Duncan that no man on earth deserved to be treated like that and that Duncan was no man for doing it either. He added that Duncan was to stay away from him from then on and he would stay away from Duncan. So, it appears they parted ways and never amended their relationship after that.
ELIZABETH BEDSOLE’S LAST WILL; 1847
Following is Elizabeth Bedsole’s Last Will in which she appointed both Duncan Bedsole and her friend Malcom Monroe as “Executor” of her estate. With Malcom being a lawyer and Duncan being illiterate, I have always wondered how this will was probated and settled. However, I notice that Elizabeth was living with her brother William's son, Owen Bedsole as she is listed in his household, on an 1860 Alabama Census, at age 83. So somehow, she must have lost, abandoned, or sold, the NC property during the 13 years between 1847 and 1860.
In the name of God, amen. I, Elizabeth Rials being of sound mind and perfect memory, do make and publish this, my last will and testament, revoking all former wills by me. I bequeath to Noal Rials fifty cents, to Hardy Rials fifty cents, to the heirs of David Rials fifty cents, heirs of Unity Pope fifty cents, Thomas Bedsole, Jr. fifty cents, Nancy Hall fifty cents, Sarah Blackwell fifty cents, Travis Bedsole fifty cents, heirs of William Bedsole fifty cents, Rhoda Parker one hundred dollars and to Duncan Bedsole, my brother my plantation where I now live and all lands belonging to the said plantation for all his natural life then to his son Thomas Bedsole, and his heirs. To Duncan Bedsole and to Malcom Monroe, all my lands lying in Bladen County, about the Beaverdam. I give all of my residences and personal property on my estate to my brother Duncan Bedsole and friend Malcom Monroe.
ELIZABETH BEDSOLE her mark X
Witnesses: Bluford Simmons and Daniel McDuffie
NOTE: It was interesting to me to note that Malcom Monroe, listed in Elisabeth’s Will, as a “Friend” was a lawyer who was also listed on many other widows Last Wills in NC also as their “Friend”. Wonder how he handled their Plantations in view of the fact that he was an educated, trained lawyer, named as the estates Administrator in all cases, and with her brother Duncan Bedsole who was a dirt-poor, illiterate farmer. It’s a safe bet that Duncan and others didn't see what hit them in the settling of these states, considering that Malcom and the Probate Judges were in all liklihood, in cahoots with each other.........................................................................................
ELIZABETH BEDSOLE SOLD LAND TO BROTHER OWEN
This Indenture made this third day of Jan 1847 between Elizabeth Rials of the first part and Owen Bedsole of the 2nd part both of the State Of No. Carolina County Of Bladen Witnesseth that Elizabeth Rial for & in consideration of the sum of $150 to me in hand paid the said Ow. Bedsole for 8 tracts of land in said Co. in between gauldberry & So. River beginning at a stake on the So side of the river in the line of a 100 acre tract and running to Sam'l Hales & runs at that line until No. 37629 Chains & 50 links to the corner So. 87 W32 & ½ Ch. to the corner thence So. E 22 ½ Ch. direct to the beginning & being the ½ of 100 acre survey 2nd piece beginning at This. Bedsole line thence with his line No. 127 W116 Ch.to a pine thence So. 24 W 6 chains to a pine thence N 380 E 50 chains thence with Hales 605 Chains N 65 E 181/2 chains to the beginning both of the pieces containing 50 acres each third piece of every 100 acres beginning at the w corner of a 100 acre & 50 acre survey Patent by Samuel Hales the 9th of March 1799 & runs along his line N 81 W 60 chains to his corner then N45 E 22 Chains & 60 links to his other corner then as his other N 45 W 10 in a line then N 45 E 18 to a stone in the river swamp then So. 50 E 281/2 Chains to a stake at the 4th corner of a 100 acre patented by This. Bedsole then with his line So. 77 W 82 chains to a stake his corner then So. 18 E 31 & 65 links to a pine his other corner then So. 35 & 24 ½ Ch. then So 82 W 28 Chs. to a stake then So. 8 Chains to the beginning containing 100 acres more or less I, Elizabeth Rials do warrant and forever defend from myself my heirs my assigns excts or admns and assigns to Owen Bedsole his heirs execs admns & assigns.
In witness whereof I here unto have set my hand & seal on the day and year 1st above written. Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of M Munroe.
Elizabeth Bedsole her mark X Seal
May Term 1847, this deed was proved on oath in Open Court by Malcom Munroe subscribing witness & ordered to be registered. Teste: H.H. Robinson, Clerk S E A L
DUNCAN BEDSOLE’S NORTH CAROLINA LAND DEED TO BROTHER, OWEN BEDSOLE- 1838
This indenture made this 11th day of Sept year of our lord one thousand eight hundred & thirty eight between Duncan Bedsole of the State Of North Carolina of the one part & Owen Bedsole of the County Of Bladen & state aforesaid of the other part, witnesseth that the said Duncan Bedsole for & in consideration of the sum of sixty dollars to him in hand paid by the said Owen Bedsole at and before the sealing & delivering of these presents the receipt hereof I do hereby acknowledge have given, granted & bargained, sold alieved revised and confirmed & do by these presence give grant bargain and sell alieve revise reliese and confirm unto the said Owen Bedsole all that tract of land or parcel of land situated lying & being in said county of Bladen and county aforesaid Bounded as follows, the first tract beginning at a stake on the south side of south river and on the north side of the Beverdam in the line of a hundred acre tract granted to Samuel Hales and runs as that line No. 3 West 27 ch & fifty links to the corner then So. 87 W 32 ch. and 50 Ls to the corner then So. 3 E 22 ch.& 50 Ls then direct to the beginning it being the one half of a one hundred acre survey & also one tract more for fifty acres. Beginning on Thomas Bedsole line then with his line N 12 W. 15 ch then N 80 W 12 ch & 25 Ls then So 63 W 16Ch So 24 W 6 Ch then N 80 & 16 Ch to the beginning. Fifty aces each tract to have and to hold the said land with its appertances to the only proper use behoof and benefit of the said Owen Bedsole his heirs & assigns forever & the said Duncan Bedsole for himself & his heirs Exectors & adms do covenant promise and agree to and with the said Owen Bedsole his heirs and assigns and every one of them that the said Owen Bedsole his heirs and assigns & every one of them shall have hold and occupy possess & inqory the said land with its appurtances without any let suit hindrance molestation or eviction from or by any lawful claim or claims of any person or persons whatsoever to warrant and & forever defend unto the said Owen Bedsole In witness whereof the said Duncan Bedsole hath hereunto set his hand & affixed his seal the day and year first above written. Sealed & delivered in the presence of us
John Hair X & A. Smith X
Duncan Bedsole his mark X SEAL
Feb term 1839 there was this deed proven in open court upon the oath of A. Smith and ordered to be registered.
John Hair, Clk........................................................................................
LAND DEED FROM NEIGHBOR, LOVE McDANIEL AND FRIEND, WILLIAM BEDSOLE TO WILLIAMS BROTHER, OWEN BEDSOLE, IN NORTH CAROLINA
This Indenture made this 25th of Aug. 1847 between Love McDaniel and W. Bedsole of the first part & Owen Bedsole of the 2nd part and both parts of it state of NC & co. of Bladen witnesseth for & in consideration of the sum of $30 each in hand paid to the said Love McDaniel and Wm. Bedsole unto Owen Bedsole for his right to title and interest he now has in the estate of his father Wm Bedsole we Love McDaniel & Wm Bedsole all of our right title & interest in the following piece of land . Beg. at a stake lightwood stake in the Bedsole field & runs at 85 N 46 Chs then So. 25 W 50 Chs. then E 150 Chs. then 55 E 12 Chs. to the beginning containing 185 acres more or less We the said Love McDaniel and Wm Bedsole release our right & title of land to Owen Bedsole his heirs excts adms & assigns forever we Love McDaniel & Wm Bedsole do for our selves and heirs we admit and assign forever release so far as our selves our heirs Excts & admns & assigns release so far as our right extends day and date above written
Signed sealed & delivered in presence of us.
Witness James Hall (his Mark)X
Love McDaniel Seal
Wm. Bedsole Seal his mark X
NC Bladen County Court Of Pleas & Quarter Sessions Aug 10 1850 Deed is duly proven in Open Court by the oath of James Hall the subscribing witness thereto and ordered deed to be registered.
Attest: J.D. McCree, Clerk........................................................................................11 July, 1719.
George the second by the grace of God , Britains king and defender of the faith, to all to whom these presents shall come,
GREETINGS. Know ye that for divers good causes and considerations but more especially for consideration for the importation of ten persons diverted to our Colony and Dominion Of Virginia and in consideration of twenty shillings of good and lawful money paid to our revenues of our Receiver General in this our Colony and Dominion, for Yarnell Grame, for Alexander Grame, William Brown, John Reberle, Thomas Wetherby, Christopher Collins, Richard Childs, Eleanor Childs, John Hall, and Richard Florence.
WE HAVE given, granted and confirmed and by these presents for us our heirs and enforcers do give grant and confirm unto William Bledsoe one certain tract or parcel of land containing seven hundred acres, lying and being in the County of Orange on the branches of the Black Walnut River and recorded as followeth, to wit;
BEGINNING at two white oaks at a corner of a patent formerly granted to Hugh Jones and running thence North 40 degrees and East 82 poles to a red oak and to a white oak thence North fifteen degrees and west one hundred poles to two white oaks and a red oak thence west two hundred and sixty two poles to three white oaks, thence south twenty degrees east one hundred and sixteen poles to three white oaks thence south seventy degrees two hundred and thirty poles thence to the point of beginning. With all ye said land to have and to hold per our well loved Governor, Alexander Spotswood at Williamsburg under the seal of our said Colony the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and nineteen in the fifth year of our reign. A. Spotswood ........................................................................................
30 May, 1726
GEORGE , whereas we have given granted and confirmed and by these presents we and our heirs do give grant and confirm unto Abraham Bledsoe and William Bledsoe, of St. George Parish of Spotsylvania County a certain tract or parcel of land containing one thousand acres lying and being in the county and parish aforesaid and upon the banks of the Mist River and bounded as follows; to wit;
BEGINNING at a white oak and a red oak in a line of a patent given and granted to Rev. Hugh lying on both sides of the Mist River thence run south eighty five degrees eleven hundred eighty six poles to three white oaks thence run south forty degrees west one hundred and forty poles to two white oaks near the head of a branch of the Black Walnut River thence south east four hundred and twenty poles thence south two hundred and fifty poles to two white oaks thence west four hundred and fifty poles to two white oaks and a red oak by the side of a branch of the Mist River, thence run down the river west to the Hugh Jones line thence north two hundred and fifty five poles to the Beginning point. WHEREAS the seal of the well beloved governor of our dominion is hereunto affixed on this thirtieth day of May, one thousand seven hundred and twenty six year of our King. HUGH DRYSDALE........................................................................................
30 May, 1726
GEORGE 2ND TO ALL. KNOW YE that for divers and good other considerations but more especially for consideration of the sum of thirty shillings of good and lawful money to our use paid to our Dominion Governor of our revenues in this our Dominion and Colony of Virginia.
WE HAVE GIVEN, granted and confirmed and by these presents do give grant and confirm unto William Bledsoe a certain tract or parcel of land containing two hundred seventy four acres, lying and being in the parish of St. Mary’s in the county of Orange. To wit; BEGINNING at two white oaks by the upper side of Ned Bunking Run at the mouth of a branch, thence up the branch course to a white oak at the head of said branch. Thence south seventy five degrees west one hundred and ninety poles to a white and black oak. Thence east one hundred and thirty poles to a white oak. Thence north eighty six degrees one hundred and eighty poles thence north six degrees east one hundred and sixty poles thence down the runs of the river to the land granted to Thomas Mantou by patent bearing date of twenty second of February, 1717. With all woods, streams, branches, trees, and hunting privileges afforded like parcels and tracts of land in the area of said parcel or tract. Said William Bledsoe being obliged to pay the sum as set forth above in two payments the last of which is due in seventeen hundred and twenty eight, to the Governor of our colony and dominion, into our revenues. Provided however that one third of the amount unpaid is to be deducted for every fifty acres cleared and planted by the said William Bledsoe, per 6 months. Any improvements added to said parcel or tract of land by said William Bledsoe shall remain with said land in case of default on the part of said William Bledsoe.
WHEREAS our well loved Governor Hugh Drysdale of our dominion and of Virginia has hereunto caused his seal and hand to be set forth this thirtieth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and twenty six and of our beloved King. HUGH DRYSDALE.
BEDSOLE INDIANS IN NORTH CAROLINA
ROBERT BEDSOLE, b. 1790. (Thomas Sr.) Married Rebecca Starling. I have 10 children listed for them. I frequently receive emails from other Bedsoles who claim their G-grandmother, or Grandfather or some other ancestor on the Bedsole side “was a full-blooded Indian” of some kind and would like to know if I have any information about that. I do know that in the late 1700’s and all of the 1800’s, the Bedsoles and Indians in North Carolina intermingled and a few with the Bedsole name did marry “Indians”, both men and women. Some of these “Indians” were full-blooded Indians and some were only part-Indian and part Caucasian. However, there is NO Bedsole who was EVER a full-blooded Indian, as that word is defined by the Federal Government. One Bedsole, who was half-Indian was William James Bedsole, a son of Mary Bedsole, daughter of Robert “Robin” Bedsole and he was only half-Indian, since his mother was white. Her parents were white and her grandparents were white. But it appears that William J’s father was a full-blooded Indian, although Mary would never divulge his name, for fear he would be killed by the white people, due to racial prejudices.
According to Enoch Emanuel's 1916 - 1920 booklet, SKETCH OF THE CLASSIFIED INDIANS OF SAMPSON COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, Molsie Bedsole Burnette was the daughter of William James Bedsole and his wife, Nancy Emanuel. Nancy Emanuel was the daughter of Mike Emanuel. The booklet also states that Molsie was married to Matthew Burnette (Jr.). Matthew Burnette (Jr.) was the son of Matthew Burnette (Sr.) and his wife, Elizabeth Chance. (Elizabeth Chance is the daughter of Ivens Chance. Note: The surname "Chance" is directly linked to the Mattemuskeet Indians of Hyde County, N.C. Molsie's father, William James Bedsole, is the son of Polly Bedsole. Polly Bedsole is the daughter of “Robin” Robert Bedsole, son of Thomas Bedsole, Jr. and Charlotte English. It appears to me, but unproven, that Robert Bedsole, was married to an Indian woman, probably before he married the white woman, perhaps afterwards.
Children of Robert “Robin” Bedsole. Some married Emanuels and Manuels who were known in NC as “Indians”, or at least part Indian. They were apparently good people. I am listing these, without really knowing how they fit together. They are likely wrong, but suffice it to say that they are under Robert Bedsole. I am also listing them separately from the main Bedsole List, because they are the only ones even remotely related to Indians and for most of those, it is still questionable. “Mulatto’s” were only part Indian, or mixed race.
1. “Lizer” (Eliza?..Elizabeth?) Bedsole married a mulatto by the name of Gideon Manuel they had 4 children: Narcissa, Lucinda, James H. & John H. all given the last name of Bedsole.
2. William James Bedsole who married a mulatto by the name of Nancy Manuel (probably Gideon's sister) they had 7 children. Elmyra, William L.(married Amanda Warrick), Docia, married Enoch Manuel, Isabela married Erias Brewington , James Henry married Hannah Warrick, Benjamin J. married Iola Brewington and Rutha married O.B. Brewington.
3. Mary Bedsole, b. 1821, NC
4. Rebecca Bedsole, b. 1824, NC
5. Thomas Bedsole, b. 1825, NC
6. Martin Bedsole, b. 1831, NC
7. Isaac Bedsole, b. 1833, NC
8. Docia Bedsole, married Enoch Emanuel
9. Docia Bedsole....known as “Docia, married Enoch Emanuel
10. Benjamin J. Bedsole...Known as Ben. Half Indian, half white
1. Luberta “Berta” Bedsole
+ Jonah Emanuel
2. Rutha Bedsole...Known as Ruthie
+ Ollie Brewington...Known as O.Z.
3. Molsey Bedsole.....Roberts brother, Thomas Jr., had daughter Lucy Molsie
+ Mathew Burnette, Jr
4. Isabella Bedsole
+ Erias Brewington
5. William Luther Bedsole...Known as W.L. Bedsole. Also as “Luther”
+ Amanda Warrick........a twin of Hannah
6. James Henry Bedsole
+ Hannah Warrick.........a twin of Amanda
8. Martin Bedsole, b. 1831
8. Isaac Bedsole, b. 1833
8. Elizabeth Bedsole, b. 1846, known as “Eliza”. Lastly, and to clarify an earlier post, the 1860 Census for Sampson County lists the following household in the Newton Grove district: Robin Bedsole, 80 years old, male, white.(Real name: Robert). Polly Bedsole, 35 years old, female, white. (Real name: Mary) William J. Bedsole, 12 years old, male, mulatto. Mother white. Father unknown Indian
I have heard several relatives claim in the past, that “My GG-Grandmother/Grandfather, was a pure-blooded Indian”. I have read the U.S. Governments list of North Carolina Indians and there is not one Bedsole among them, nor does even the possibility exist that a Bedsole is a pure-blooded Indian. The most-Indian was William James and Benjamin James Bedsole, and they were each only half Indian.
HERE IS A NC LAND DEED FOR THAT BENJAMIN J. BEDSOLE, ABOVE
This Indenture made this first day of March In the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & thirty two between Benjamin Bedsole of the County and State aforesaid of the one part & Grant Roberts of the same county & state aforesaid of the other part.
Witnesseth that the Sd Benjamin Bedsole for & in consideration of the sum of Two hundred Dollars to him in hand paid at & before this sealing and delivery of these presence the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath granted bargained sold & conveyed unto the said Grant Roberts his assigns all that tract or parcel of Land situate lying & being in the Eighth District of originally Coweta but now Campbell County known and distinguished in the plan of said District by Lot No. 8 Eight to have and to hold said Tract or parcel of land unto him the Sd Grant Roberts his heirs and assigns together with all and singular the rights members and appurtenances thereunto for his and their own proper use benefit and behoof in fee simple and the said Benjamin Bledsoe for himself his heirs Executors and administrators the said bargained premises unto the said Grant Roberts his heirs and assigns will warrant and forever defend the right and Title thereof against himself his heirs and assigns & against the claim or claims of all and every other person or persons.
In witness whereof the said Benjamin Bedsole hath hereunto set his hand & affixed his seal the day and year above written
Benjamin J. Bedsole, his mark X
Signed sealed and delivered in presence of JC Mcintosh, JP........................................................................................
Accolades To William James Bedsole, Above
Ever since I first heard about him, I have admired William J. Bedsole, above. When growing up, he hated the way the whites and Indians treated his mother and himself, for he was neither totally white nor Indian, and both sides mistreated him and her at every chance. At first, William fought whoever insulted his mother or himself, but he was always greatly outnumbered in such cases. Since he could speak both English and the Indian languages, he learned to act as a sort of “middle-man” in settling disputes between the races. He eventually became fairly famous in his area for his ability to settle disputes between the races without courts, judges, trials and fights. So, he spent much of his life as an Arbitrator for both sides. Eventually, even the court judges used his services as an Arbitrator to help settle disputes. There is a record of him being paid $3.00 “for meals and horse” to arbitrate between and Indian chief and the white people. Upon his death, the total value of William J’s estate was $34.30 and consisted of two pewter plates, two pair of breeches, one long coat, one wool coat, 4 shirts, and a pair of boots. After looking at that total value, it looks very familiar to me as being the total value of my own vast financial empire when my family moved from Alabama to Orlando, Florida in 1946, when I was 15. In fact my own vast financial empire still looks much like that to this day.
Some Bedsole Stories
One of my fondest memories is the various “Bedsole Stories” I have heard and in some cases, experienced in life. Back before TV and radios, the telling of stories was the only thing available at night after supper and before bedtime, for entertainment. With the fire in the fireplace being the only light, the children could listen to what was being told and visualize the scenes and the circumstances. In current times, when we try to tell a story to children, their eyes either glaze over, or you can see big “X”’s in them, meaning “Nobody home”. They usually try to either turn on the TV or just walk out and leave you talking to yourself. Anyway, here are a few Bedsole stories:
In the early summer of 1939, we lived near Hacoda, Alabama way out in the woods where we had hot and cold running rattlesnakes and panthers. Still living in a log house in a place called Jackson's Entry which was thousands of acres of land owned by the government, state, or some big company and I never knew which. Back then, still without electricity, the Bedsole crowd as usual, depended on the telling of ghost and horror stories, not to mention some well glossed-over outright lies, for entertainment.
Everybody related to us who lived within a distance of 5 miles, showed up at least 2 Saturday nights a month at our house, to eat (??) and spend the night. In these cases, there would be up to 40-50 people there. We slept wherever we could find a smooth place in the house and/or barn. But everyone knew from experience, to bring most of their own food. After supper, everybody would gather on the front porch and tell ghost stories and some scarey tales which were theoretically true, but highly suspect as lies. When it got to the point the mosquito's were carrying us off into the woods, everyone moved inside and piled up in what we called the “living room”, which also had 2 double beds in it. Week after week, this went on. Then my dads brother started telling about a black panther which hung out around the long, old, wooden bridge over panther creek just down the dirt road from our house. He said the panther came out at night and actually chased him across the bridge, screaming and swiping at his back with its huge claws and baring its long, curved white teeth. This did not set too well with me, because it was way too close to our house, yard, barn and field, where I spent way too many days alone, but sometimes with the rest of my family. Then another of his brothers said he had also been chased there one night crossing the bridge and the panther had slashed his back in a couple of places, which had unfortunately healed up now and left no scars. One of my dads married sisters said that the panther had also chased her across the bridge and she could feel his hot breath on her neck. These stories continued for several weeks and according to them, the panther was getting a lot meaner and it would be just a matter of time before someone was killed by him. My dads youngest brother stated that he was "layin" for the panther. We all took that to mean he was actually out looking for him, sneaking around, hiding and ready to pounce on him and more than likely he would kill the panther with his bare hands, pocket knife, or a stick, if he ever happened across that cat. All us kids were scared to death. We had always been taught that no grown person deliberately told a lie and that just made it worse for us, for that meant there was no doubt that panther was there alright. My dad kept telling us kids at home, when no one else was there, that it was possible that the panther did not exist, but we were beyond that. We knew the truth. We were afraid to go outside in the daytime, much less at night. He was having trouble getting us to do anything and to finish anything took us forever. Then, one night we were all at home. Our dad had left that afternoon to walk to Opp and back. It was getting dark. We were all 10 (mom and 9 kids) on the front porch. We were silent. We had 2 kerosene lamps on the porch, which lit up most of the yard towards the road which ran past the house. We were gathered in a tight group around our mom. My oldest sister asked her if Dad was gonna be able to get home and mom said yes, but we all knew he was as good as dead because he had to come across that bridge. Pretty soon it was so dark, you couldn't see your hand when you held it up in front of your face towards the sky. We were totally silent. I could hear the lamps burning kerosene and no other sounds anywhere except the crickets. We all stared at the road in the direction of the bridge and each knew what the others were thinking; Our Dad was a dead man.
Then, there was a blood-curdling scream from the direction of the bridge. The scream ended with an agonizing gurgle. We all jumped to our feet and screamed. My oldest brother made a mad dash for the wide open front door for the shotgun. The other nine of us, including my mom made for the door too, all at the same time. We arrived at the opening just as my brother came out carrying the shotgun across his chest. We slammed him backwards against the door frame, but the shotgun, being horizontal, blocked us all. As we looked back toward the road, Dad came streaking into the yard screaming ; “Its coming”, as loud as he could. We all faced my brother again. Then dad slammed up against those 2 or 3 in the rear and screamed "Its got me!!" Well, I don't have to tell you, we made mush out of my brother and the shotgun, as we all enlarged that opening and tore across the living room wide open as a barn gate. We rocketed past the beds headed for the kitchen, sweeping all the chairs from the living room in front of us, we all slid across the kitchen floor and hit the back wall in a pile of arms and legs. We were screaming so loud you couldn't have heard it thunder. We thrashed around on the floor for a while knowing this was the end. Then, we slowly began to realize we were all still alive, then by the light of the one lamp on the table, we could see to our total surprise, no panther at all. In spite of my own loud proclamations that he was under the beds. With all the lamps in the house burning though, I had to admit I didn't see him. Then, our dad admitted that he hadn't actually seen him either, but the panther was at the bridge alright, for he was running after him all the way across it and you could hear the patter of his feet no more than 20 feet behind him, just like all our relatives had said happened to them.
In the lamplight, my dad started getting braver and finally, he said he was going to put an end to this panther once and for all and kill him!! That sounded okay to me until he said my oldest two brothers and me had to go with him. Despite my claims that I was not big enough to do anything, he said I could carry the lamp. So, we four started down the road to the bridge. Slowly creeping and looking from side to side. I brought up the rear. Pretty soon, I realized that I should be more in the middle so they could all see better. So I ended up in the middle, but not near enough to the middle to suit me. With my dad in front with the shotgun and my oldest brother next with a club, we arrived at the dreaded bridge and stopped. Dead silence. We could hear our hearts pounding, but that was all. We walked about ten feet onto the bridge, trying desperately to see past the pitiful lamplight. I felt as if we were in the jaws of death at this point. Again we stopped and again, silence. Then we walked about twenty feet and stopped to listen. He was trotting on the bridge from the rear!! We whirled around, my dad ran to the other end of our lineup and fired the shotgun, reloading and firing again twice. The splinters and dust flew from the old wooden bridge. We waited. Deathly silence. Then we started walking back to the end of the bridge the way we had come, when we stopped. That panther was behind us and trotting towards us again, from the other direction!! We were scared doo-dooless. Again, Dad ran to the other end of our line and fired the shotgun. Then when the dust settled, he showed us under the bridge, a five foot long splinter which was split along a big, wooden support beam, under the bridge. Then, how the splinter would pat against the beam, as the bridge bounced when we walked on it.
Then he said "There's your panther, boys".
So we practiced. Sure enough, when we walked on the bridge and stopped, the bridge was bouncing ever so slightly which caused the splinter to pat the beam and if you were by yourself at night, scared to death anyway, you would swear that pat-patty-pat was a panther trotting towards you, in view of all the stories we had been hearing. We never again heard the panther story. But until the day he died, every time one of us kids said we didn't see how we could do this or that, our dad always said, "You don't know what you are going to do with a panther either until you have one by the tail." This statement always motivated us to get the job done, right away.
The Old Swimming Hole
I was about 13 or 14 and there must have been at least 50 of us there one Sunday. The hole was about 12 feet deep and it was on Shotbag Creek. It was near where the dirt road crossed over it on an old wooden bridge. There was an old, rickety wooden house at the top of the hill, with a porch all the way across the front and a swing hanging from the rafters of the porch. Three girls lived there, about our age. We had been there at the swimming hole most of the morning. It was summertime, hot and dry. Flowers were blooming and you could smell honeysuckle in the air. Butterfly's, bee's and Chickadee's were singing and flitting all over the place. The hole was shaped like a saucer and we had a trail around it. We had put a 30 ft. plank there with one end sticking in the ground and with a couple of pieces of log under it, we had a fine diving board. The land sloped steeply uphill back from the hole and we had put a stick about 20 feet from the water and on top of this slope. If your legs were long enough and you could run and dive far enough, you could go over the bushes, over the trail and clear the brush around the water and land in the deep end. Several of us were about the same age, height, and weight. All arms and legs at that age. We were all wearing our ragged overalls. One of my cousins who had just arrived, but had never made this dive before, had decided to try it, especially after all of us hounded him by saying he was afraid to do it. Having seen us do it, he was sure he could too. So he backed up to get a good start and here he came, arms and legs going round and round, flailing wildly like windmill blades. Then, at the last minute, just as he got to the stick, it looked too far and he made a U-turn and walked back to the starting point, with all of us jeering at him as loud as we could yell. Just then, the three girls from the hilltop arrived and were walking around the hole on the trail. I yelled at them loud enough that he could hear, to "wait a minute, Billy is gonna dive from up there " !. Well that was all it took. As Bill walked back to the stick, he was staring over his shoulder at the girls. Now, wound up, Bill stuck out his skinny little chest and poured on the coal, headed for the stick, but at the wrong angle. In full afterburner, knowing the girls were looking, he was wide open, skinny little arms and legs flailing the air. At the stick, he left the ground in what he considered a long, graceful dive, with his arms out like wings and his boney little legs all spread out, he went sailing through the air. About half way, he saw he was headed for the diving board instead of the water and he did not have the altitude, nor airspeed he needed to clear it. So he started flapping both arms and legs trying to stop in mid-air. In all this activity, he had somehow reversed ends and landed on the diving board with both feet and upright to his, and our, utter and total amazement. The diving board bent all the way to the water, then with a creak, it threw him way up in the air, where he made about 3 complete flips, with arms and legs still flailing wildly, then hit the water. When he came up, he yelled so all the girls could hear, to us "Lets see you do one like that you bunch of cowards". !!. I have to admit, he beat all of us on that, for he had not one taker.
When I was about 18, we had moved to the Orlando, Florida area and all our Bedsole kinfolks moved with, or after us, from Alabama. Most came as soon as they heard we were working and getting PAID. Then, when they heard we got paid EVERY Friday, that did it for the rest of them, with very few exceptions. So, I had an Uncle Robert who lived near Orlando, back in the woods in a wooden house, unpainted, but covered in tar paper. The house was about a thousand feet from the paved road (one of the first paved roads I had ever seen). The two-rut path leading to the house was deep sand, winding through the scrub oaks and pine trees. With my brother Charles driving the company truck, we turned in to take Roberts son "Red" home after working a day in the orange grove. Going in to the house it was deep sand, but no problem because it was slightly downhill, but when we started back to the pavement, the 2 and a half ton truck bogged down in the sand. The sand in Florida just "Crawls" out from under the wheels when they start spinning. So we had used shovels to dig out from in front of the truck and moved maybe 200 feet from the house in about an hour of very hard and hot work. About that time, Uncle Robert came chugging down the path towards home from his job. Several Bedsole's back then, upon acquiring a little money, had immediately bought a model A Ford car as soon as they got paid and converted them into "pickup trucks" with an axe. These were called "Jiggers".
Uncle Robert came up in his jigger. As soon as he had checked out the problem, he said he would just pull the truck out with his jigger (small, 4-cylinder motor and maybe 30 horsepower). Charles and I both told him there was no way in the world his jigger could pull that big truck out of the sand, but Robert said that his Jigger was no ordinary one and in fact, could pull anything just like a tractor. Also, since it was so light and strong, he never had any trouble with that sand at all. Since we could not talk him out of it and he was a lot older than us, Charles Finally said ok. We had a hundred foot-long chain in the truck which we used to pull up dead trees in the grove and we fastened one end to the front axle of the truck and the other to the little rear axle of the Jigger, after Robert had backed it up against the front of our truck.
We then got in our truck and Robert began racing the little motor of the jigger as we waited for him to take up the slack in the chain. Instead of doing that, he took off like a bat out of hell, with the jiggers little motor wide open, dirt flying and steam boiling from the radiator. By the time he took up the slack in the chain, he was going full bore, and in second gear. Then, he took up the slack and there was a deafening KA-WHAM. The little jiggers rear end flew up in the air about 4 feet and the rear bumper went flying out into the woods. Robert flew forward and hit the steering wheel and cracked the windshield with his head. He fell out of the jigger in a cloud of dust, smoke and steam and lay there for a minute, as if looking under the jigger. As Charles and I came running up, he was already in the seat and in reverse. He said he was fine, so I pulled the chain as he backed up to the truck again. This time, he really took off from our front bumper wide open, as if at the Daytona 500. Charles and I grabbed hold of anything we could find and latched onto it. The little jiggers motor was going way beyond any limit ever imagined by its design engineers. This time, when Robert took up the slack, he was flying. There was the usual explosion, dust, steam and smoke and the entire rear end was torn out from under the jigger and went flying up into the air., landing about 10 feet behind the jigger. Robert again flew forward and this time, he bent the steering wheel in and finished busting the windshield out with his head. Again, he fell on the ground beside the jigger and was still lying there looking under the jigger when we came running up. Charles asked if he was ok. Uncle Robert, sounding exasperated, replied " Yeah, but I keep hitting a stump or something!"
Some Occupations Back Then
Although the vast majority of early settlers were common laborers and certainly that applies to our Bedsole ancestors/descendants, who were what I call “Grubbers”, there were a few who specialized in occupations, but only AFTER a settlement of several people and houses had begun. These specialties included occupations such as Lawyer, Accomptant (Accountant), Arrowsmith (Maker of arrows), Baxter (Baker), Boniface (InnKeeper), Cooper (barrel maker/Carpenter) Brazier (One who works with brass), Brightsmith (Metal Worker), Caulker (One who filled up cracks in houses and windows by using tar or oakum-hemp fiber produced by taking old ropes apart, and/or mixing it with scrapings from Oak trees) Clergyman (Preacher) Clicker (The servant of a salesman who stood at the door to invite customers inside), Coaler (Maker of charcoal) Shoemaker, Peddler of fruits and vegetables Crocker Potter (one who tanned leather by incorporating oil or grease), Docker (Dock worker who loads and unloads cargo) Draper (A dealer in dry goods), Drummer (Whiskey salesman), Farrier/Farrior (A blacksmith, one who shoes horses and works iron and steel, Fell Monger (One who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making), Fuller (one who fulls cloth; one who shrinks and thickens woolen cloth by moistening, heating, and pressing; one who cleans and finishes cloth), Grubber (one who cleared land of underbrush and low growing greenery. This one applies to most Bedsoles) Granny Woman Midwife (Handled child births and provided care of mother, cooking, washing clothes, etc.), Hacker (maker of hoes), Hatcheler (one who combed out or carded flax, for cloth), Hawker (Whiskey salesman), Haymonger (Dealer in hay), Hayward (Keeper of fences), Hillier (Roof shingler/tiler) Husbandman (A farmer who cultivated the land. This one applies to those Bedsoles who were not “Grubbers”, above) Joyner / Joiner (A skilled carpenter) Lavender (Washer woman), Lederer (Leather maker), Skinner (one who collected turpentine/pitch/tar from pine trees).
Partial List Of More References
This list is BY NO MEANS, all-inclusive. These are only a few references to get the researcher started. A sample in other words, for your convenience.
1. Bible And Family Records Of Bladen County, North Carolina. By Wanda S. Campbell
2. The Highland Scots Of North Carolina. By Duane Meyer
3. Bladen County, North Carolina Abstracts Of Deeds, 1734-1804. By Brent Holcomb
4. Abstracts Of Duplin County, North Carolina Deeds 1784-1813. By Eleanor S. Draughon
5. Genealogical Abstracts, Duplin County, North Carolina Wills, 1830-1860. Wm. L. Murphy
6. Native Carolinians: The Indians Of North Carolina. By Theda Perdue
7. North And South Carolina Marriage Records. By Wm. M. Clements
8. North Carolina Tax Payer, 1679-1790, Vol. 1. By Clarence E. Ratcliff
9. North Carolina Wills: A Testator Index, 1665-1900. By Thornton W. Mitchell
10. Colony Of North Carolina, 1734-1764, Abstracts Of Land Patents, Vols. 1 and 2 By Thornton W. Mitchell.
11. Duplin County, North County, Marriage Records, 1755-1868. Frank T. Ingmire
12. Province Of North Carolina, 1663-1729, Abstracts Of Land Patents. Margaret Hoffman
13. Bladen County Heritage, North Carolina, Vols. 1 & 1. By Bladen Heritage Committee
14. Early Records Of North Carolina, Secretary Of State Papers Volumes 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8. By Stephen E. Bradley, Jr.
15. Carolina Cradle Settlement Of The NC Frontier, 1747-1762. Robert W. Ramsey
16. Records Of Emigrants From England And Scotland To NC, 1774-1775. A.R. Newsome
17. The Pirates Of Colonial NC. By Hugh Franklin
18. The Granville District Of North Carolina, 1748-1763, Abstracts Of Land Records By Margaret M. Hoffman
19. Abstracts Of Early Deeds Of Bladen County, North Carolina .Vols. 1, 3 & 4. Vol. 2 contains Books 1, 11 and 23 Vol. 3 contains Books 8 and 10. By Wanda S. Campbell
20. Bladen County, North Carolina Abstracts Of Wills, 1734-1900. By Wanda S. Campbell
21. 1763 Bladen County North Carolina Tax List. By Margaret M. Hoffman
22. North Carolina Planters And Their Children, 1800-1860. By Jane Turner Censer
23. Abstracts Of Land Entries: Bladen County, NC, 1778-1781. By Dr. A.B. Pruitt
24. North Carolina Tax Payer, 1701-1786, Vol. 1. By Clarence E. Ratcliff
DUPLIN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA LAND DEED, RICHARD SESSOMS TO THOMAS BEDSOLE, (SR.) RICHARD SESSOM to THOMAS BEDSOLE, 1774
This indenture made this 9th day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and seventy four 1774 between RICHARD SESSOMS of Duplin county in North Carolina of the one part and THOMAS BEDSOLE of the same county and provence aforesaid of the other part. Wenceforth that the said RICHARD SESSOMS for and in consideration of the sum of five pounds proclamation money to me in hand already paid and satisfied hath given granted aliened bargained sold and confirmed and by these present doth absolutely give grant bargain sell and alien enfeffer and confirmed unto the said THOMAS BEDSOLE his heirs and assigns forever One certain tract or parcel of land containing One hundred acres of land it lying and being on the Great Swamp its front of a patent granted unto RICHARD SESSOMS it bearing date the twenty second 22 day of May one thousand seven hundred and seventy two 1772 BEGINNING on the mouth of drowning swamp to a live oak on the great swamp thence running the vinious corridor of the said swamp the Patent line to a pine on the great swamp thence down the great swamp to the said Edge Branch to the BEGINNING make all and singular rights hereditaments appenertainced appendancy unto the said THOMAS BEDSOLE his heirs an assigns forever in as full clear perfect ample manner to all intents and purposes as he the said RICHARD SESSOMS ever did might or could have held before the making himself cleared and free from all widows dower in jointure or thirds and all manner of encumbrances whatsoever and this deed the said RICHARD SESSOMS himself binds and obliges himself to his executors administrator and assigns to warrant an forever defend to be good and valuable an sufficient to the said THOMAS BEDSOLE his heirs an assigns forever against his heirs an assigns an all other persons whatsoever claiming by from or under him any of them to make any lawful claim. In witness whereof I the said RICHARD SESSOMS have here unto set my hand an affixes my seal this day and year first above written.
Signed Sealed and Delivered in the presence of } RICHARD SESSOMS NICHOLAS SESSOMS } (his seal) CHARLES BUTLER}
North Carolina Duplin County The within deed from RICHARD SESSOMS to THOMAS BEDSOLE was proved in open court by the oath of CHARLES BUTLER one of the subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be registered with JAMES SAMPSON Clerk of our said county an court aforeward.
JAMES SAMPSON CC
North Carolina Duplin County Registered in the Register Office of the aforesaid County in Book Letter E Page 125 and 126 RICHARD CLINTON Regis.
Today, there are Bedsoles in almost all states. There is even one living in New Zealand. This book is a beginning. It is something for some other Bedsole to work from and with, to expand our history, knowledge and legacy. I sincerely wish anyone who has what it takes to do it, the very best of luck in your future Bedsole research, because you will surely need it.
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