Fayette County, Alabama
~ Samuel Studdard ~
(of Laurens District, SC, and
Fayette County, AL)
Factual History Notes No. 1
Return to Fayette County Family Records
Return to Fayette
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
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
the book, The Scotch-Irish Migration
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
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
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.
can presume that SAMUEL STUDDARD
and MALTA GORDON had known
each other from birth.
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,
obtained my own copy of the original document. I have condensed
the proceedings, which were quite lengthy. SAMUEL STUDDARD's
as MALTA GORDON, was repeated
more than once. This is
interesting in that in SAMUEL's claim for a pension, her name was
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
who married ANDREW STUDDARD
MALTA GORDON who married SAMUEL STUDDARD
who married JOSEPH BURNS
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
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
contrive to injure him by refusing to grant his reasonable requests,
giving him only the recourse of having the Court of Equity address his
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
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
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
We also now know that SAMUEL STUDDARD and his brother, ANDREW STUDDARD,
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
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
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,
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.
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
EDMONDS were AMOS EDMONDS, born in
Georgia; and wife, SEANY.
JOHN EDMONDS [his father] served as a private in the Union army.
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,
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
03 Aug 2009 | 03