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Fayette County, Alabama
~ Samuel Studdard ~
(of Laurens District, SC, and Fayette County, AL)

Generously contributed by
Ann Strickland Grainger

Factual History Notes No. 1

SAMUEL STUDDARD moved from Laurens District, SC, to Fayette Co., AL in the mid-1840's.  Very little has been passed down through family history about his first wife and  the mother of most of his children.  The following Court Case is offered to bridge that gap.
His first wife, MALTA GORDON, was a daughter of ADAM GORDON and MARY RICHEY.  Proof of this relationship follows:
MALTA's mother, MARY RICHEY had sailed with her parents, JOHN and MARGARET RICHEY, along with her siblings from Northern Ireland and reached Charleston, SC, in October 1772.  (This family was included in the book, The Scotch-Irish Migration To South Carolina, 1772, subtitled, Rev. William Martin and his Five Shiploads of Settlers, by Jean Stephenson, published in Washington, D.C., in 1970.)
At the time they arrived, South Carolina was no longer offering free land and start-up costs to poor Protestant immigrants, as previously advertisied, to settle the backcountry.  However, special consideration was given to these passengers and they eventually got their land grants, having to wait on the land to be laid out and then surveyed.  By the time this happened by 1775, MARY RICHEY was over 12 years old and qualified for her own land grant.  She received 100 acres on Jones Branch of Reaburn's Creek in the 96th District, in what would later fall in Laurens District, SC.
Sometime between 1775 and 1787, after MARY received her land, she married ADAM GORDON, and on 17 Dec 1787, he sold her land to SAMUEL DUNLAP for 80 pounds.  The deed made reference to the property, described as owned by MARY RICHEY, his wife.  ADAM had previously acquired his own land in both North and South Carolina.  Thus, even though South Carolina did not require marriages to be recorded, we have proof of this marriage from this land sale.
ADAM GORDON last appeared on the 1800 US Census in Laurens District, SC, only a few houses away from SAMUEL STUDDARD's parents, DAVID STUDDARD and MARTHA ANSLEY.  So we can presume that SAMUEL STUDDARD and MALTA GORDON had known each other from birth.

Court Case that Names SAMUEL STUDDARD's First Wife
The short-lived Washington Equity Court served Laurens, Newberry, and Greenville Districts.  It was able to reside over a few cases before being discontinued.  Of interest is Case No. 21, File Reference H 975.7, dated 1821.

(A copy of this case can be ordered from the South Carolina Archives, where I obtained my own copy of the original document.  I have condensed the proceedings, which were quite lengthy.  SAMUEL STUDDARD's wife, as MALTA GORDON, was repeated more than once.  This is interesting in that in SAMUEL's claim for a pension, her name was recorded as MARTHA GORDON.  Since SAMUEL was illiterate, the pension application was completed by relatives and therefore not as valid as the court record cited here.)
The case was a lawsuit by GEORGE ABERNATHY, who sued MARY GORDON, widow of ADAM GORDON, along with her five children and spouses, over the security of her sale to him of 102 acres of land.  He was seeking to either secure a valid title or a reimbursment of his purchase cost, plus interest.
ABERNATHY claimed that in 1790, ADAM GORDON died, leaving widow, MARY GORDON and the following children, which he included in his complaint:
ABERNATHY claimed that ten days before ADAM GORDON's death, in this Court District (which included Laurens District), GORDON had sold him the land.  MARY GORDON, the widow, claimed that her children had sold their distributive shares in the said tract of land to her and had received from her payment in full.
He further stated that MARY GORDON, claiming to be the only true and rightful owner, offered to sell the land to him; and, on 19 Dec 1813, he purchased the land for $162.00.  In return, she gave him general warranty titles, which he provided to the court.
Now, ABERNATHY claimed, the said ANDREW STUDDARD and SAMUEL STUDDARD and others were claiming that they intended to sue for a Writ of Partition to divide the land among ADAM GORDON's heirs, even though they had consented to the sale.
He said he had frequently called on ANDREW STUDDARD, SAMUEL STUDDARD, JOSEPH BURNS, and their wives, as well as JAMES and JOHN GORDON, who were outside the State in parts unknown to him.  ABERNATHY wanted the court to either have the defendants perfect the title of the land to him or to repay him the purchase money with interest.
ABERNATHY accused them of confederating with each other and persons unknown to contrive to injure him by refusing to grant his reasonable requests, giving him only the recourse of having the Court of Equity address his complaint.
The defendants responded to the accusations as follows.  They admitted ADAM GORDON died intestate (without a will) but denied that ADAM GORDON owned the land at the time of his death.  They stated ADAM GORDON had sold the land to ROBERT GILLIAND on the 14th day of September in the year 1801, who after the death of GORDON, sold and reconveyed the land to MARY GORDON, his widow.  They provided a copy of the deed, which was filed and marked as Exhibit A.
They admitted that MARY GORDON had sold and conveyed the land to ABERNATHY but denied that they had threatened to get a Writ of Partition to divide the land as the distributors of ADAM GORDON, both stated that MARY GORDON was the true and lawful owner of the land and the only person legally entitled to convey it.  They had never considered themselves legally entitled to any part of the land.  They denied all manner of fraud and combination with which they were charged and asked to be depossessed with reasonable costs and charges, and fully sustained in this behalf.
On 12 Jan 1821, JOSEPH BURNS and his wife, NELLY, denied they had received any consideration money from MARY GORDON and had not threatened to get a Writ of Partition to divide it - but, stated that if ADAM GORDON did have possession of the land as ABERNATHY claimed, they were entitled to one-fifth of two-thirds of the land.  Both signed this statement with their original signatures.  (Nellie's signature was poorly written, suggesting that she was probably mostly illiterate.)
MARY RICHEY, defendant, stated that ADAM GORDON did not die about the time stated in the said Bill and that he left her and the children as his only distributables.  She stated that at the time of his death, he no longer owned the land, repeating the above information on his conveyance to ROBERT GILLIAND and the resell, after ADAM GORDON's death, by GILLIAND to her.  She admited she sold and conveyed the land to ABERNATHY; but, that her son-in-law, ANDREW STUDDARD, had received the proceeds of the sale transfer.  She signed with her mark, which appeared to be a written capital "M."
The file did not include statements from any of the other defendants.
Since the Washington Equity Court did not remain in business but for a short time, the final outcome of the case is not known.  It certainly leaves us with several questions.  For example, why son-in-law, ANDREW STUDDARD, received the money. 
However, because of this case, those of us descended from SAMUEL STUDDARD and his first wife, are grateful to know not only her name but also those of her siblings, her parents, and her maternal grandparents.
We also now know that SAMUEL STUDDARD and his brother, ANDREW STUDDARD, married sisters.

SAMUEL STUDDARD's Second Wife: Proof of Identity

The identify of SAMUEL STUDDARD's second wife, as MARY A. COOPER, comes from the family records of their daughter, MANERVA STUDDARD.
MANERVA STUDDARD was born 31 Jan 1845, and is believed to be the first child of SAMUEL STUDDARD who was born in Fayette Co., AL.  MANERVA died 07 Nov 1910 in Lynn, Winston Co., AL.
She was married twice but had issue only by her second husband.  She married 1) about 1863, in Fayette Co., AL, to THOMAS R. KILGORE.  He was born about 1838 in Carbon Hill area of Walker Co., AL, a son of JOHN MICHAEL KILGORE and FATTIMA TIREY.  His parents died young and THOMAS and two of his younger sisters were on the 1860 US Census in Fayette County.  THOMAS R. KILGORE fought for the Union Army and died in Glendale, MS, on 01 Jul 1863.  He was mentioned as a son-in-law in SAMUEL STUDDARD's claim before the Southern Claims Commission in 1872.
MANERVA (STUDDARD) KILGORE married 2) on 14 Oct 1866, in Fayette Co., AL, to JOHN EDMONDS.  He was born 07 Apr 1834 in Oglethorpe Co., GA; died 31 Jul 1918 in Lynn, Winston Co., AL.
Since there has been much debate over the parents of JOHN EDMONDS, as well as the identity of MANERVA's mother, SAMUEL STUDDARD's second wife, the following data is presented:
In 1911, a biography of MANERVA's son, JAMES ANTHONY EDMONDS, still living at the time, was published in the Alabama Official and Statistical Register, compiled by THOMAS M. OWEN, director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, page 135.  Because of the age of the information, and the closer relationship, as a child of MANERVA, it is probably the most reliable source.  It states:

JAMES ANTHONY EDMONDS of Natural Bridge, Ala., was born August 1, 1877 at Berry Station, Fayette County, Ala., and is the son of JOHN and MANERVIA (STODDARD) EDMONDS, the former of Natural Bridge, Ala., the latter of Stoddard Cross Roads, Fayette County, Ala., and the grandson of NATHANIEL and SARAH EDMONDS of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and of SAMUEL and MARY (COOPER) STODDARD, of Fayette County, Ala.  [Italics added.]

JOHN EDMONDS [his father] served as a private in the Union army.  JAMES EDMONDS was educated in the public schools of the county.  He is a merchant, a miner, and a shipper of stone coal.  He held no office but J.P. [Justice of the Peace].  He is a Republican, a Methodist, and an I.O.O.F., district deputy grand master.  He married at Jasper, Ala., Dec. 25, 1899, MAUD KING, who was the daughter of JOEL A. and MARY (WEST) KING, of Natural Bridge, Ala.

An additional source of identifying SAMUEL STUDDARD's second wife as MARY A. COOPER comes via SELAH ELIZABETH EDMONDS, a grandaughter of MANERVA (STUDDARD) EDMONDS, and thus further removed from the validity of the information.  SELAH was born 30 Sep 1924 in Illinois and married KENNETH HOWARD MOORE.  She published her Family Tree in the Northeast Alabama Settlers, Vol. XXX, No. w, dated January 1992.  She was a daughter of ALBERT GREENBERRY EDMONDS, MANERVA's youngest child.  She provided that the parents of MANERVA STUDDARD were SAMUEL L. STUDDARD and MARY COOPER.  However, she claimed a different set of paternal grandparents, stating that the parents of JOHN EDMONDS were AMOS EDMONDS, born in Georgia; and wife, SEANY.
When most STUDDARD descendents began working on our family history a few years ago, we started with an initial small report by Pauline Remeley from Northport, Tuscaloosa Co., AL.  This information had stated, seemingly erroneously, that SAMUEL STUDDARD's second wife, was a COOK.  Ms. Remeley, not a descendant of MANERVA STUDDARD EDMONDS, did not continue her research but others accepted this identify without further research, being primarily interested in the male STUDDARD lines.  I am simply presenting the data that I have found that leads me to believe that the second wife of SAMUEL was MARY A. COOPER.  Also noting that there were COOPER settlers in Fayette Co., AL, might mean they were related; but I have not researched that line, since I am descended from the first wife.  Hopefully someone from the second wife's line will do more research on the COOPER family.

Please send additions/corrections to
Ann Strickland Grainger

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03 Aug 2009  |  03 Aug 2009