Beechland: Oral History versus Historical Records
and his wife is 39, born 1811 in NC.
Their oldest children are twins born in 1833, so their marriage
probably occurred in 1832 in Tyrrell County.
records do indeed exist for this timeframe and a marriage for Wallis
Twiford is not recorded. Searching
on Ancestry.com and Rootsweb.com provides (unsubstantiated) information
that Nancy’s maiden name was Payne.
It provides further information that Nancy died in 1884.
Early Tyrrell and Currituck Records
earliest available records for Tyrrell County were actually from when it
was a precinct of Albemarle County.
The 1729-1732 Quit Rent rolls exist.
Neither Payne, Paine nor Twiford are on these rolls, nor are any
of the other surnames mentioned by Twiford or others.
Tyrrell was formed in 1729 but it wasn’t until 1739 that the
precincts actually became counties.
district is reported on Genweb to have been in Currituck Precinct/County
prior to 1739. At this time
Currituck contained the entire area along the seaboard from Albemarle
Sound to the Pamlico River. The
northern portion became part of Tyrrell which is now the part of Dare
County from the Alligator River to the Sound. The southern portion of
Currituck County was annexed to Hyde County in 1745.
early Currituck County records, we find Sanderson there on the 1694-1696
rent rolls, never spelled any other way except Saunderson through the
1735 records which are the last Currituck records available before the
Beechland portion of Currituck becomes part of Tyrrell.
the 1696 -1697 Currituck Tithable list, we find Sandersons, Mr. Courroon,
Levi Smith, Samuel Barnes and William Bastett (possibly Barnett,
Basnet(t) or Basnight).
the 1714 Currituck Valuations list, we find the following:
John Neal 150 (value of property in pounds)
George Barnes 10
Richard Smith 50
Levi Smith 50
(Torn)siah White 1 year 18
(Torn)es Carroon Sr 20
(Torn)mes Carroon Jr 6
Samuel Paine 30
Capt. Richard Sanderson 400
John Smith free negro 26
Joseph Sanderson 300
Richard Sanderson Esq 750
Michael Oneal 75
James Brown 75
Jeremiah Smith 2-10-0
Samuel Payne is noted here, but is never listed again.
He is designated as having property, so perhaps Currituck County
deeds and grants should be searched, or, the surname could be
misspelled. Searching the
1715 and 1716 lists, we discover that his last name is then spelled
Poyner. In 1716 he is in
insolvent and then disappears from the record, although some years later
there are other Poyner males.
1714/1715 a list of money paid from the treasurer, John Carron, to the
1715 Tithable list adds Josiah and Luke White as well as Jeremiah Smith.
1715 levies received lists Sarah Smith, John Oneal and James Mann
in addition to earlier names.
1717 Currituck Tax Levy list adds David Ambrose.
1717 we also find John Penny, which might be Payne misspelled, but if
so, it is consistently misspelled for several years.
Matthew Migitt is also added this year.
1718 we find Webly Payve (sic), 3 tithables and no land.
1719 Tithables list adds Thomas Seayers.
John Penny is still listed as such, but Webly is now listed as
Payne with 3 tithables.
1719 list of Levies and Land Taxes shows Weebly Peyve again, with 3
tithes. It also notes that
Richard Sanderson has 1000 acres “for Rowneoake”.
1720 lands and tithables list shows Wbly Pavey with a negro man at the
head of Tulls Creek. James
Caron Sr. and Jr. are at Powells Point with Richard Sanderson, James
Brown, John Smith and Joseph Sanderson.
Luke White and Michael Oneal Sr. are on Currituck Shoar.
Michael Oneal Jr. is at Cowinjock.
John Penny is at Sand Banks and John Mann is noted as “Quarter:
of Ronak Island”.
1721 Webly’s last name is Peavy.
next records are only a fragment of the 1735 tax list, only those in
arrears where we find new names of Margaret Barret, 20 acres, and
William (a minor), Peter and James Pyner.
balance of the Currituck records available are after the 1729/1739
period when the Beechland portion of Dare County becomes Tyrrell.
next available Tyrrell record is the 1747/1748 processioners’ book
which also includes some partial tax rolls for this timeframe.
Sutton is mentioned, his lands not being processioned because the bounds
of his land are unknown. This
indicates he owns land either by deed or patent and this information
could possibly be located.
of the other Beechland surnames are on this list, indicating that the
surnames of men who owned land found in Currituck were not located in
the portion of Currituck that became Tyrrell in 1739, and eventually
Dare, which includes the Beechland area.
is a 1755 tax list. On this
list we find John Braveboy, no whites and 5 blacks.
Black and white are the only two options. A second household head listed who is not white is a man with
only one name, Quomone, and he has one black, no whites.
The one black is obviously himself and Quomone looks suspiciously
like a native name. Braveboy
does as well and is later associated with the Lumbee.
White is present with 3 whites and 2 blacks.
Owens is listed with 1 white (probably not herself, probably a male as
only white males were taxed).
other Beechland names are not listed.
This tax list is not restricted to landowners and should reflect
all homesteads of free men over the age of 21 or their widows.
1779 residents signed a petition to form a new County.
Typically petitioners had to be free, white and landowners,
although this petition does not state such.
Martin Dunton is shown.
William Sutton is shown.
Several Sawyers are
listed; Dinnis (twice), Ephram, Griffen, Isaac and James.
Frances Edwards is shown.
Adam Owens along with
Thomas, Zachariah Jr. and Sr. are shown.
James and William Basnight
Jr. are shown, along with William, Joseph and Jacob Basnet, probably a
misspelling of Basnight.
NC 1786 State Census for Tyrrell County
shows two very interesting tidbits.
The first district is “Miltail the Lake” and it provides us
with the following families:
district includes several of the names on the list of orally reported
“Beechland families”, which are highlighted, plus, interestingly
enough, William Twyford, although Marshall reports that his grandfather
(Willis born in 1801) was from Kitty Hawk.
Apparently some Twiford/Twyford family member was living here was
early as 1786. Perhaps the
Twiford/Twyford family was originally from Kitty Hawk, but Marshall had
his generations somewhat confused.
above list provides us with a comprehensive listing of Beechland in
1786. Who was native and
who was English? Were the
“native” families listed by name or were they perhaps included with
the “black”, presumably enslaved, population?
next tidbit is extremely frustrating.
Gum Neck, a neighboring area also involved in the history and
mystery of this area, located across the Alligator River from Beechland,
is shown, with totals, but with no names, as follows:
District: Gum Neck
Page 1 of 1
Census Taker: Col. Benj.
21 - 60
OR > 60
12 - 50
& < 12
This 1786 census has a list of the inhabitants in each household but no
family names were provided.
the fact that these two districts are included shows clearly that the
census taker was aware of these areas, both Beechland and Gum Neck, long
before the 1830/1840/1850 timeframe and also significantly before 1808
when the surveyors were reported to have entered the mainland of Dare
County for the first time.
the Beechland names in the 1786 census, Thomas and William White are
both enumerated in the “Old Court House Bridge to Upper end of
Basnights; James, Jacob, Joseph and two Williams are on Little Alligator
which is located on the northwest end of the Alligator River near the
Ambrose families; James Jr. and Sr., Jesse and Shemi (sic) were shown in
the district labeled “mark in poplar swamp to Scuppernog River”.
1786 census processioning order is by labeled districts.
The order in which those districts are recorded is as follows:
Miltail the Lake
Col. Hezekiah Spruill
Names not give, 400 white, 156 black, 556 total
Col. Benjamin Hassell
59 households, 407 white, 56 black, 473 total
Mark in Poplar Swamp to Scuppernog River
Old Court House Bridge to Upper End of County
are fortunate that the federal census was only 4 years later.
the 1790 Tyrrell County census, there are no families that include any
individuals enumerated as “other free” within white households.
This category means that the individual or family is not white,
but is free. This is the
category where free negroes would be counted as well as any Indians
"not taxed" and not enslaved or anyone of mixed racial
are a few Tyrell County 1790 families who are noted as “free
colored” and they are:
Page 378 - Column 2
Free Colored Persons
(*) - The
census total is 10, however the total of the entries is 11.
colored persons would have included all “mixed” race people,
including mulatto, black, Indian or mixtures between those races or of
any of them with white.
of all of the above “free colored” families, in 1800, we can only
find Philip Bibbons in Washington County, NC, which was split from
Tyrrell in 1799, with no white males.
This is not the area that includes Beechland or the Greater
Alligator District, although he could have moved between 1790 and 1800.
In 1800 in Tyrrell County, no other 'free colored" families
appear with the possible exception of Celia Hill who has some free
people of color living with her. We
know however that the Bryan/Bryant family was still in the area, because
they emerge later in the 1840 census with 3 Bryant males who are free
people of color.
Pierce is extremely interesting. He
is not found using Ancestry.com’s indexing in any county in 1800 or
1810 (nor are there any other Pierces in Tyrrell County), but in 1820 he
is found in Beaufort County with 3 males engaged in agriculture, no
whites or slaves, and an entire family of “free colored persons”, 1
male to 14, 1 male to 26, 1 male to 45, 1 male over 45, 2 females to 14,
1 female to 26, 1 female to 45, none over 45.
1840 Israel is no longer found, and no Pierces in Beaufort County, but
in Martin, we find in Jameston an Ann Pierce with a white family and 9
houses away, Emmy Pierce who is “free colored”, with one female
under 10 and one 10-26.
1850 there are both black and white Pierce families listed in
Chocowinity, in Beaufort County, NC.
The black family is headed by Lucy Ann Pierce, age 30.
the most interesting information about the Pierce family
comes from the 1916 report of Frank G. Speck published in the American
Anthropologist Magazine. Frank
had visited Eastern North Carolina in the hopes of finding descendants
of local Indian tribes with the hope of “rescuing some facts
concerning their early culture and language”.
Sadly, he was disappointed, because the few people he found had
no direct memory of their Native culture although he felt certain
medicinal and cultural aspects of their Native heritage, such as
basketmaking, specific types of tea brewing, etc., had been integrated
into their daily lives with no knowledge of their origins.
Speck says, “A visit to their old home,
however, and persistent inquiry among the settlers of Albemarle and
Pamlico sounds, brought to knowledge a few individuals who are descended
from Indians who came originally from Pungo River near Mattamuskeet
Lake, Hyde county. These are evidently remnants of the Machapunga tribe
who have left their name to Pungo River. Those whom I met traced their
descent from one Israel Pierce, who was known as a Pungo River Indian.
That English Christian names were common among the tribes of this
general region as early as 1718, is shown by a list of chief's names
from the Chowan Indians, neighbors of the Machapunga given in the
I traced Pierce's descendants through Mrs. M. H. Pugh, Pierce's
granddaughter, now a very old woman, estimating her age to be about
eighty years, who was born and
raised in the Pungo River district. Later in her life she moved to
Hatteras Island. She has four sons, daughters, and numerous
grandchildren. At present the dark-skinned people living on Roanoke,
Hatteras, and other neighboring islands of the Pugh, Daniels, and Berry
families, largely of negro blood, and some of those named Westcott, of a
lighter strain, are of this blood.
they vary greatly, from individuals with pronounced Indian
characteristics, through people with noticeable white or negro features,
the latter sort predominating in the younger generations. Not one of
these people knew a single word of the Indian language and not one knew
of any definite Indian customs or traditions, not even the name of their
Tracking the Israel Pierce family from early Tyrell
County in 1790 to Beaufort County in 1830 and confirming as best we can
that they are of Native heritage, begs the question of whether the rest
of the individuals listed on the 1790 census of Tyrrell as “free
colored persons” are also Indian, or perhaps admixed.
Perhaps additional work on the Bibbins, Hill, Bryan/t
and Pierce families, who seem to have left at least a cursory trail,
would be enlightening. The
Pierce family was covered recently in the January 2011 issue of the Lost
Colony Research Group newsletter.
Reconstructing the 1786 Tyrrell County Missing Gum Neck and Greater
attempt was made to reconstruct the 1786 Gum Neck and Greater Alligator
districts by using the 1790 census as a basis of comparison using the
Matching all 1786/1790
households. We know that if
they are listed in 1786 and 1790, they do not live in Gum Neck/Greater
Alligator (as the Gum neck 1786 list is missing).
We are searching for an
entire group of people, 59 families (473 people) in 1786, that are
“missing” from Gum Neck and about 69 households
(556 people) from the Greater Alligator District.
Men who are obviously
young (2 children or less, no white males under 16) should be eliminated
from the calculation because they would likely not have established
their own household yet in 1786.
some of the 1790 census districts are in semi-alpha order where letters
of the alphabet are generally grouped together, not processioning order
which is generally house by house, as follows by page:
enumerators in 1786 appear to have lived in their district.
Therefore, the first clue would be where Col. Benjamin Hassell,
the Gum Neck enumerator, is found in 1786 and 1790.
Col. Benjamin Hassell is found in 1790 on page 376, an alpha page.
for other known surnames and individuals, William Twyford is found
located very close to John Hooker, the Miltail enumerator, on page 379
which is in processioning order.
a few specific individuals in 1790 compared to their 1786 district in
order to determine who fell into which districts, we find the following:
Trueblood – first listing in district – page 374 – processioning
Perisho – towards end of district – page 379 – processioning order
Poole – 380 – processioning order - (enumerator of Greater Alligator
Devenport – first on list – 375 – alpha
Ambrose – last page on list –
375 – alpha
Old Court House Bridge:
individuals checked in this district were on pages, 375, 377 and 378,
appears, with the exception of Col. Benjamin Hassell, that the
Scuppernog and Court House districts were alpha and the Little Alligator
District, Miltail Lake and possibly the Gum Neck and Greater Alligator
Districts were in processioning order.
Unfortunately, with the Greater Alligator and Gum Neck appearing
to be adjacent districts, it is impossible to sort out whom was in Gum
Neck versus the Greater Alligator District, but we can indeed determine
which households that were not enumerated in 1786.
following lists were taken from the Tyrrell County Genweb site where the
transcribed 1790 census is available.
All of the individuals highlighted in yellow, pink or blue are
not present on the 1786 census. Of
course, there could be many reasons for this.
Families do move into the area from elsewhere and from place to
place within the county.
a woman, highlighted in pink, her husband might have died, although
there would likely have been a male with the same surname in 1786.
When a connection was obvious, I counted it as such.
males, if they married in 1786, they generally would have not had more
than 2 children under the age of 16 by 1790.
For families who could have fallen into this category, I have
used light blue highlighting instead of yellow.
Some of the individuals highlighted in blue may not be young,
they might be older, with their family mostly grown and gone. Hints of this might be found by the number of slaves owned.
Younger men often couldn’t afford slaves.
Any family with 2 males over the age of 16 was colored yellow,
not blue, although clearly there could have been an older male living
with the family, so this is not absolute.
indicates the balance of the families who were present in 1790 and
absent in 1786 and who had too many children to be considered
“possibly young”. Within
the group of families highlighted in yellow, we will find the
reconstructed Greater Alligator and Gum Neck Districts of 1786,
especially where we find groups of people clustered together who are
missing from the 1786 census.
entire grouping of pink, yellow and blue together should represent the
entire group of approximately 128 households not enumerated individually
in 1786 but counted in 1790. About
half would be found in the 2 missing district’s records, the rest
being scattered throughout the county.
Some families of course would have moved into the area, but
others were clearly already there in the Greater Alligator and Gum Neck
Districts. There are a
total of 207 yellow (absent in 1786, present in 1790, not a young
family) and pink families (absent 1786, female head of household 1790).
Determining which families comprise the 128 from Gum Neck and the
Greater Alligator districts and which fell into other districts is
not found in 1790 but who were present in Miltail in 1786 are Henry
Smith, one Zachariah Owens (Jr. and Sr. both found in 1786), Isaac
Carroon, William M. Daniel, Henry Fountain, Dorcas Cook, Dorothy Barnes,
Joseph Browne, and one John Hooker (Jr. and Sr. both found in 1786).
Nine of the 33 families present in 1786, or 27%, apparently died
or moved away.
are those provided by Twiford and others as “Beechland names” and underscoring
indicates the individuals on the 1786 “Miltail the Lake”
female households not present on the 1786 list but present in 1790.
families who may have been too young to have households established in
1786, are missing from the 1786 census, but present in 1790.
the balance of the families who were absent on the 1786 census and are
present in 1790. Unless
these families moved into the area in those 4 years, these families
should have been found on the 1786 census.
a colonist surname.
a surname of interest. In some context, this surname is either proven native or
closely associated with the colonist surnames.
373 - Column 1