Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Is a House Still a Home if You’re Chained to a Tree in the Front Yard?

I am finally finished with getting the initial information I have about my Yelverton line uploaded to HaywoodCountyLine.com.

It took longer than expected since they are an interesting bunch and I kept getting sidetracked. I noticed the houses in which they lived became a big part of the life story of many of them. From a house in the colonies where rebellions were planned to one built during the turn of the century that was recently added to the "National List of Historic Places" to another in a cotton field where the children were chained to a tree out front, nearly every generation had some interesting houses to offer.

The Barker-Moore House in Edenton, NC

John Yelverton, my 7th great grandfather is a nice little connection to the colonies and Edenton, NC. He was born in England around 1685 but by 1703 had traveled to North Carolina where he married Elizabeth Blount, the grand daughter of Captain James Blount, a colonial official and one of 18 leaders in Culpeper’s Rebellion.

Ironically, the town where John lived, Edenton, was actually named after Governor Charles Eden who was the stepfather of my sixth great grandmother, Penelope.

Before he died, John deeded land in Edenton that was described as:
“a tract of 100 acres of land which contained houses, orchards, gardens, fencing timbers & trees, woods, water & waters courses.”
Sounds like a nice place to live.

It was likely very much like the Barker-Moore House that was also in Edenton and built around the same time. That house was where Ms. Moore hosted the Edenton Tea Party at which my sixth great grandmother, Penelope was an attendee.

Dred and Ellen Yelverton House in Wayne County, NC

My third great grandfather, Samuel Yelverton, had a brother named Thomas who had a son who built a really great house you can still see today.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Thomas and his wife Nancy’s Wayne County, NC farmhouse burned to the ground. Their son, Dred Yelverton, purchased a blueprint from well-known architect George F. Barber and hired a contractor in Freemont, NC to construct a new two-story transitional Queen Anne/Colonial Revival-style house about 1900. Dred encountered a problem with the contractor, filed a lawsuit and lost.

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Photo from "History of Wayne County."

Photo of the Yelverton family in front of their house
with inset of Dred and Ellen Yelverton

The house stood unfinished for years. The census taker of 1910 recorded Dred and his twin sister, Nannie, aged 52 living in a house across the road from their homeplace. In 1912, Dred married which triggered the completion of the home in 1913.

The house is said to have been well maintained and nearly unchanged since it was completed. One of the most intact Barber houses in North Carolina, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 2009 for its “distinctive design and exceptional condition.”

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Another house, not on the National Register, but I’m sure, just as important to its owner was the house of Polly Whitney Yelverton who was born in November 1850 to my second great grandparents, Samuel and Ann Yelverton. Polly spent a lot of time at her home in Denmark TN. So much so that, when she died in March 1929, the above article was written that celebrated the fact that Polly had spent most of her time at home. She never rode in a car or a train and had never even been to the “county seat.” Apparently, she told someone, “I never cared about being a gadabout.” According to the article, even her funeral was held at her house. She really did have a hard time leaving home.

The non-gadabout Polly was the sister of two of my ancestors: Maggie Yelverton Marbury and Nancy Jane Yelverton Lovelace.

Maggie was my third great grandmother. Married to Benjamin Marbury, she was the mother of Hardy Joyner Marbury who was the father of Allie Urn Marbury Brantley who was the mother of Virginia Brantley Lovelace who was the mother of my mom, Shirley Lovelace Williams. You can read more about them on my blog or on the Marbury page.

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Charles B. and Nancy Jane Yelverton Lovelace

Maggie and Polly’s sister, Nancy Jane, was my second great grandmother. She was married to Charles Lovelace and they were the parents of Jim Lovelace who was the father of Guy Lovelace who was the father of my mom, Shirley Lovelace Williams. For more details on all the children of Charles Buchanan and Nancy Jane Yelverton Lovelace, see the Lovelace page.

So yes, that means my grandparents were like fourth cousins -- which is technically ok -- but I do forgive anyone reading this who just whispered under their breath, “well that explains a lot.”

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Yelverton House, photo from Elma Ross Library

Lastly, a Yelverton house I have not seen but ran across a photo of in the genealogy room of the Elma Ross Library in Brownsville, TN is off Highway 138 in the Woodland area of Haywood County and is supposed to have belonged to Etheldred (pronounced Eee-thell-dred) Yelverton, the brother of Polly, Maggie and Nancy Jane.

Dred,” as he was called, was apparently an angry man. Although the number of children he had could have contributed to his bad temper. If the research is correct, Dred was the father of:
Maggie, Ivy Franklin, Glenna, Willis Wilkins, Harry Lewis and Harvey with his first wife. Then came Samuel Edward, May Marie, Lessie Bebe, David Olie, Fred Rainer, Etheldred Hardy Jr., and Alsey Thomas with his second wife.
That’s 13 kids and certainly not a lucky number, especially when you are poor.

A Yelverton descendent, told me her grandmother remembered Etheldred as being a very mean man who was known for things like chaining his son up to a tree in the front yard and, once, causing a man to die by scaring him to death. He apparently lived up to his nickname, “Dred.”

I am pretty sure his sons didn't have the same problem as their Aunt Polly and got in the closest car, train or anything they could find with wheels, the moment they were old enough, and got the heck out of town.

Now that I have completed uploading the info I have to the Yelverton page, I am ready to move on to the family of my second great grandmother, Nancy Marianna Johnson.

1 comment:

  1. This is so interesting. My husband Richard B. Yelverton was born to Samuel R. Yelverton & Margaret Cox Yelverton. We found out his grandfather had been married twice. Edenton & the Blount name have come up in the genalogy records. thanks so much. could you please send this to Bobbie Yelverton on FB. I would love to share