Saturday, October 29, 2016

Catherine Sheffield's Residence 1819-1828

Catherine Sheffield and Ignatius Grantham were married in 1810. According to court documents, they lived together until 1819 and divorced in 1828.  Where was Catherine residing from 1819 until she married William Seaman in 1828?

The Grantham and Seaman households were enumerated in the 1820 United States Federal Census of Jackson County, Mississippi.  The census shows the Ignatius Grantham’s household had no females that would fit the age or race of Catherine.  In fact, there were no white females of any age in Ignatius’s household enumerated in the 1820 census.  However in the William C. Seaman household, there was counted a free white female less than 10 years of age and another free white female age 26-45. 

The 1820 US census was the fourth census on the United States.   This Wikipedia article gives some insight to the difficulties in using the census as genealogical proof. “Census taking was not yet an exact science. Before 1830, enumerators lacked pre-printed forms, and drew up their own, sometimes resulting in pages without headings, line tallies, or column totals. As a result, census records for many towns before 1830 are idiosyncratic. This is not to suggest that they are less reliable than subsequent censuses, but that they may require more work on the part of the researcher.”[1]

1820 United States Federal Census was conducted on 07-Aug-1820.  The census of Jackson County, Mississippi had this note at the top of the first page.  The number of persons within my division, consisting of Jackson County appears in the Schedule hereto annexed subscribed by me, the twelfth day of December one thousand Eight hundred and twenty. E. Williamson.” [2]

The above note confirms the census was reported on 12-Dec-1820, but the count was supposed to be recorded as of 07-Aug-1820.  Keeping these dates in mind, Catherine would have been 27 years old and would fit within the white female age range that was reported in the Seaman household. The only evidence that Julia was born on 17-Aug-1820 is taken from her obituary.  It is reasonable to assume that the white female under age 10 reported in the Seaman household is the infant Julia.

Even though the official date of the 1820 census was August 07, it is likely that Catherine and Julia were counted in the William Seaman household.  The leads to the question where was Ignatius and Catherine’s son West during this time period?  West was born in 1815, and would have only been 5 years old during the 1820 census.  According to census records, there are no white males of this age in the Grantham or Seaman household.  Perhaps after his parent’s separation he lived with relatives?

There is further proof that Catherine and William were living together (before marriage) during this time period.  I will write about that evidence in another blog.

Below is a recap of the 1820 census.  I have hi-lighted in green where I believe Catherine and Julia were counted. 

1820 US Census, Jackson County, Mississippi

[2] 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Jackson, Mississippi; Page: 44; NARA Roll: M33_58; Image: 62

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ignatius Grantham and Catherine Sheffield Divorce

Catherine Sheffield was the wife of William Christopher Seaman, my GGG Grandfather.
Catherine was first married to Ignatius Grantham on 09-Oct-1810 in Wayne County, Georgia. [1] 
Ignatius Grantham and Catherine Sheffield Marriage record
In 1815 they had a son, West Sheffield Grantham.  Court records show that they lived together as man and wife for nine years, but by the 1820 US census neither Catherine nor West were enumerated in Ignatius’s household, meaning they were likely no longer living with Ignatius at the time of the census. 
Uncommon in the era, Catherine filed for divorce in 1825 citing:

 “…soon after said intermarriage, the said Ignatius Grantham, disregarding the sanctity of his vows & the rights & duties incident to the married State, committed the crime of adultery with one Lavinia Grantham & with divers other lewd women to your Oratrix unknown.”   “… the said Ignatius hath willingly, constantly & obstinately deserted & abandoned your Oratrix.”[2]  Oratrix is a legal term for a female petitioner.
The court attempted to locate Ignatius during the divorce proceedings, but he could not be found.   

Interestingly, the divorce records show that she was legally represented by her “next friend” William Seaman.  Yes, this is the William Seaman that she later married. The divorce must have been granted about 1828, because in November 1828 Catherine married William Seaman.  The divorce petition records Catherine asking for equity, but the settlement required Catherine to pay the court cost of $23.03 and give up one slave girl.

Next up – where was Catherine living from 1819 -1828?

[1] Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.
[2] Mississippi High Court of Errors and Appeals, Drawer no. 65, Case no. 15, Catherine Grantham vs. Ignatius Grantham, 21 February 1825; Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Catherine Sheffield Grantham Seaman - Wife of William C. Seaman

Catherine Sheffield was born 11-Apr-1793 in Wayne County, Georgia.  She is the daughter of West Sheffield (13-Dec-1747 to 22-Sep-1830) and Susannah Sherrod (11-Oct-1754 to 02-Jun-1802).  Catherine was the youngest of 7 children.  When Catherine was 9 years old her mother died and a few years later her father remarried.

Catherine married Ignatius Grantham on 09-Oct-1810 in Wayne County, Georgia.[1] 

Ignatius Grantham and Catherine Sheffield Marriage Record

Together they had one son, West Sheffield Grantham (04-Jun-1815 to 21-Sep-1894), who was born in Mississippi.

On 18-Feb-1825, Catherine filed for divorce in Marion County, Mississippi.[2]  Oddly enough, William Seaman was called her “next friend” in the divorce papers.  The divorce decree cannot be located, but the divorce was probably finalized about 1827.

William Seaman and Catherine were married 02-Nov-1828 in Jackson County, Mississippi.[3]

According to Catherine’s tombstone she died 09-Sep-1853 and is buried next to William Seaman at the Biloxi City Cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Catherine Seaman Headstone
Photo by Michael Burnett 31-May-2014

Next up – Ignatius and Catherine’s Divorce

[1] Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.Original data: County Marriage Records, 1828–1978. The Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.
[2] Mississippi High Court of Errors and Appeals, Drawer no. 65, Case no. 15, Catherine Grantham vs. Ignatius Grantham, 21 February 1825; Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson.
[3] "Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch (,267841001 : accessed 14 June 2015), Wayne > Estates 1822-1855 > image 103 of 174; county probate court

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Birthplace and Year of my Paternal Ancestors

Below in an interesting chart showing where my father’s ancestors were born.  Also shown is the year they were born.  The geographic locations are grouped by color.  

The leftmost side of the chart is my father and the rightmost side is my GGG- Grandparents.  My father’s parental (Burnett) ancestor’s move diagonally upward and his material (Hollingsworth) ancestors are the lower part of the chart.

Interestingly enough; most all of my paternal lines are colonial or pre-colonial and not part of the more recent “Ellis Island” immigration.

If you mouse click on the chart, it will launch a larger chart that is easier to read.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Burnett Family Members Who Served in the American Civil War

Alfred and Julia Burnett’s family played an active role in the American Civil War.  One son and four son-in-laws were members of the Confederate States Army.  Amazingly, all survived the conflict.
The family members are:
  • Sherrod V. Burnett, son, who served as a private in Company K, 10th LA Infantry. At the war’s end he surrendered at Appomattox, VA.
  • Melinda Burnett’s husband, George W. Reeves, served as a private in Company A, Ragsdale’s Battalion, TX Cavalry.
  • Nancy Burnett’s husband, William C. Reeves, served as a private in Company K, 10th LA Infantry and the Army of Northern VA.  He fought in the battle of Gettysburg.
  • Dorinda Burnett’s husband, John A. Morrogh served a private in Company A, Waller’s Regiment, TX Cavalry.  John ran away from home and joined the army at age 15. 
  • Sidnah Burnett’s husband, Isaac Gilley, served as a private in Company B, 25th TX Calvary. Sadly, military records show Isaac was absent without leave and though Sidnah tried, she was never able to clear his name and collect a widow’s pension.
Rosteet, B. T., Miquez, S. F., & Southwest Louisiana Genealogical Society. (1994). The Civil War veterans of old Imperial Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis Parishes. Lake Charles, La: Southwest Louisiana Genealogical Society.
"Louisiana Confederate Pensions, 1898-1950." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. State Archives, Baton Rouge.

Monday, February 15, 2016

William C. Seaman Sr. Deeding Land To His Children - 1844

In October 1844, just one month before he died, William Christopher Seaman Sr. deeded land to his 7 youngest children. The 7 children; Nancy, Melinda, Henry, Pliney, Sherrod, Benson and George ranged in age from 19-7.

At this time, no record can be located of William deeding land to his two oldest children, Julia Jane Seaman (my line) or William Christopher Seaman Jr.  Julia would have been age 24 and William age 21 in October 1844, and no longer living in the Seaman home.

Some notable information contained in these documents -

·         Catherine is spelled Katherine. 

·         Catherine signed with an X “her mark “which is consistent with other documents of the period.  This is an indication that she could not read or write.

·         Nancy and Melinda were jointly deeded land.

·         Each child paid $500 for their land.  In today’s dollars that would be more than $16,000.

·         All of the deeded land is located along Lemeuse Street in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The deeds can be found in Harrison County, Mississippi courthouse Deed Book 2.  Pages 321 -337.  All of the deeds have similar language and below is the document where William and Catherine deeded land to their son Benson.  Following the handwritten court document is a decode of the contents.

Harrison County, Mississippi Deed Book 2, p. 332

Harrison County, Mississippi Deed Book 2, p. 333
Harrison County, Mississippi Deed Book 2, p. 334
This Indenture made the first day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and forty four between William C Seaman and Katharine Seaman his Wife of the State of Mississippi and County of Harrison of the first parts, and Benson Seaman his son of the second part.

Witnesseth, That the parties of the first part, for, and in consideration of the sum of five hundred Dollars to them in hand paid by the said Benson Seaman, before the executing of the present, the receipt whereof have granted, bargained and sold, and by these present do grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said Benson Seaman his heirs and assigns forever, in fee simple all that contain lot or parcel of Land described as follows, to wit.  One hundred seventy seven feet bounded on the East by the Claim of Hougenot, on the West by the road commonly called Lamuse road, on the North by the land of George Seaman running One acre South.  Situate lying and being in the County aforesaid together with all and singular the Rights, members and appurtenances thereof, to said certain Lot or Parcel of Land belonging or in any wise appertaining?  And the Remainder, Revisions, Rents issues and Profits thereof and every part thereof.

To Have and To Hold, the said certain Land of Parcel of Land, and all and singular the Premises and  appurtenances  thereunto belonging, as aforesaid, and every part there of unto the said Benson Seaman his heirs and proper use, benefit and behalf  of the said Benson Seaman his heirs and assigns forever.  And the said parties of the first part, and their heirs and assigns the certain Lot or Parcel of Land and Premises aforesaid and every part thereof unto the said Benson Seaman his heirs and assigns, and against all Claim of said parties of the first part, their heirs and assigns, and against the lawful demands of all and every other person or persons whosoever shall and will Warrant and forever Defend by the presents.

In Witness Whereof the said parties of the first part, have hereunto set their hands and affixed their Seals this day of year first above written.

Signed Sealed and Delivered in person of Wm C. Seaman Katherine x Seaman

The State of Mississippi Harrison County.  October the first 1844

Personally appeared before me the undersigned, George Holly Judge of the Probate Court of said County William C. Seaman whose names are subscribed to the foregoing Deed, on the day and year above specified.  And Katherine Seaman Wife of the said William C. Seaman also appeared, and on a private examination separate and apart from her husband acknowledged that she Signed, Sealed and Delivered the foregoing Deed, on the day and year therein specified without Fear, Threats or Compulsion of her Said Husband, as her Relinquishment of Dower.

Given under my hand and Seal this the first day of October in the Year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and forty four.

George Holly

The State of Mississippi Harrison County.

 I William C. Seaman Clerk of the Probate Court said County do hereby Certify that the within Deed was received in my office for Record the 8th day of Novbr1844 in Book No. 2, Pages 223, 333 and 334.

In Witness were of I have there unto set my and the Seal of said Court the 8th day of Novbe 1844.  William C. Seaman Clerk by his deputy W. Sohoenwiz.
For those who receive the blog by email and would like to read it online in their web browser here is the URL.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Burnett Family - Recollections by Mid D. Burnett

Mid Daniel Burnett was one of the last surviving grandchildren of the Loren Elbert Burnett descendants.  He was born 14-Nov-1924 to Loren Fred Burnett and Margaret Ware.  He died 29-Sep-2015 and is buried at Magnolia Cemetery, Ragley LA.

Some time ago, the Burnett family history was recollected by Mid.  As stated in the opening line, the story was written from hearsay.  Apart from being amusing, there is informative family history to be found in Mid’s memories.  

Thanks to Jerry and Linda Gimnich for providing this document.  Jerry is Mid’s nephew.