Friday, May 29, 2015

The Elusive Charlotte Martin


I often wonder, with all the generations, documents, DNA testing, and new technology, why some of our ancestors are elusive. Take Charlotte Martin, wife of Jeremiah Cole, for instance. With the hundreds, maybe even thousands of people who have tried to discover her parentage, why haven’t some documents or tidbits of information risen from obscurity and surprised us all?

Census records are no help. If only the early census takers understood the importance of writing down individual names for every family. So many more puzzles would have unraveled today with the addition of that information. Yet the census records claim our Charlotte Martin was born anywhere from 1790-1795, even though her tombstone claims she was born in 1805. Some argue to believe the census record over the tombstone, but as history has shown us, both sources have proven inaccurate from time to time.

County histories of the places the Coles resided confuse the subject even more. The Coles lived in that specific area of Tennessee once claimed by Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina at different times. Documents suggest Charlotte was born in North Carolina. We can only guess whether her birth took place in the long-established counties of that state or whether she was born in Tennessee when North Carolina claimed the territory. The possibilities are endless.

Further rumors arise because researchers have confused Charlotte Martin with the daughter of Valentine Martin who was born in Surry County, North Carolina. Valentine’s daughter, Charlotte, was born on the 5 May 1795. Yet, I continually find that information connected to that of Jeremiah Cole’s wife, Charlotte.

Another practice that adds to the muddle is the insistence of some researchers to site Charlotte’s middle name as Idella. I have yet to find a record that proves this.

One claim we do know, is that a particular Joseph Martin lived on the property abutting Jeremiah Cole’s land in Carrollton County, Georgia. My next target of research is to find this Joseph Cole in the census records and discover what family is attached to him. Maybe if a member of that family has taken DNA testing we can discover a connection. It’s worth a try if we are to dispel the unsubstantiated claims of the present research.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jeremiah Cole's Parentage

About fifteen years ago, a cousin of mine, Earl Gage Cole, contacted my mother about his research on  Jeremiah Cole's parentage. Earl sent his research to be included in the Pinson Pages, and he was determined to provide this information to the DAR in 2000. I never heard back on the results of his submittals, but I'd like to share what proof he puts forth that Jeremiah was the son of Solomon Cole and Mary Pinson.

Unfortunately, no vital records exist for Jeremiah Cole. I often wonder why a man who became First Lieutenant and Captain of the Carroll Company, Georgie Militia as well as a Justice of the Inferior Court of Carroll County has so many pieces of the puzzle missing concerning he and his wife Charlotte Martin's parentage? As in all genealogical mysteries, we must provide the pieces we have available so others who hold additional information might step forward and share. I look forward to the day when all of Jeremiah's life history will rise, like cream, to the surface of our understanding.

All we do know about Jeremiah's birth and death are on his tombstone. I am grateful members of the family have stepped forward to take care of the cemetery where he and Charlotte reside. A new tombstone has now been erected for him. Although, I understand from comments on the Internet that Charlotte's grave is almost unreadable now. I sigh with relief that my visit to the cemetery in 1980 resulted in some nice photos of her tombstone and that others have shared my pictures elsewhere. But I digress.

What else do we know about Jeremiah's parentage?  The following are the tidbits of information Earl Cole so dutifully presented:

  • 1800 and 1810 censuses of Laurens County, South Carolina show Jeremiah in the proper ages for the Solomon Cole family at ages 6 and 16.
  • Aaron Pinson's Will and Estate Settlement, 1807, names Jeremiah's three brothers, John, Joseph, and Solomon Jr. and states there is an under age heir as well. Jeremiah was 14 years old at the time of the estate settlement.
  • Additional proof of Joseph as son of Solomon Cole can be found in Henry Peden's book, Marylanders to Carolina.
  • State of South Carolina-23 October 1821-Jeremiah is witness to Solomon Cole buying land in the Laurens District. Jeremiah was 27 years old at the time. The land adjoining Solomon's plot is owned by Joesph Martin, possibly a relation to Jeremiah's wife, Charlotte. I am currently trying to discover which Joseph Martin was Solomon's neighbor.
  • On 7 January 1834, papers for the John D. Boyd estate show Solomon, Jeremiah, and Joseph Cole (father and two sons) buying equipment together. Moses Pinson's son, Isaac Pinson, is married to Catherin Boyd, John's daughter.
  • Showing family connections, Isaac Pinson, brother-in-law to Solomon Cole, wrote an affidavit in 1833 to convince the army of Solomon's participation in the Revolutionary War. Jeremish Cole witnessed a deed for this same Isaac Pinson who gave his son, Elihu Pinson, 100 acres in Laurens in 1826. The deed was contested when Isaac Pinson died.
  • Ample census evidence shows the Cole and Pinson families living in the same community of Laurens, South Carolina. John Cole: 1800, 1810, 1820; Joseph Cole: 1810, 1820, 1829, 1830; Solomon Cole: 1810, 1829; Jeremiah Cole: 1820, 1829, 1830 (he moves to Carroll County, Georgia in 1834). The Georgia census shows the Pinson family also moved to Georgia: Elijah Pinson: 1830 Halll County, Georgia; Moses and Elijah Pinson: 1850 Cass County, Georgia (Cass County is adjacent to Laurens County.)
  • Solomon dies about 1841 in Carroll County, Georgia. The 1790, 1800, 1810, and 1829 censuses show Solomon living in Laurens County where he bought land in 1821 and applied for a pension in 1833 (turned down). He is not in the 1840 Laurens County census.
  • Laurens District Coroner's Inquisitions of 1802-1865, filed on the 26 November 1822, refers to Jeremiah Cole as Jerry.
  • Special Census of 1829 in Laurens County lists Jerry Cole (Jeremiah), Solomon Cole, Joseph Cole with 9 other Pinson entries: Isaac, Marmeduke, John, and Aaron Jr. among them.
  • South Carolina 1840 Census Index lists no Coles at all, but the Pinsons are still present with one of the children being named Jeremiah Pinson.
  • Laurens, SC Wills: the estate sales of William Dandy-26 April 1823- shows collection and purchases by Marmarduke Pinson, Moses Pinson, and Jeremiah Cole.
  • Abstracts of early Laurens County, SC records: Before 1814 Solomon Cole, Jeremiah's brothers, and the Pinsons are involved in early transactions. After 1814, when Jeremiah is 21, he participates in the records. See below:
           1796-1797 - John Cole (age 22) and John Pinson
           1800-1806 - Solomon Cole and John Pinson
           May 1806 - Moses Pinson, Aaron Pinson, and Solomon Cole
           1805-1806 - Joseph Cole (age 22) and Solomon Cole
           1806-1807 - Moses Pinson, Aaron Pinson, and Solomon Cole
           1813-1816 - Moses Pinson and Solomon Cole

           After 1814
           March 1816 - Isaac Pinson and Jeremiah Cole
           June 1816 - John Fowler and Jeremiah Cole

Although the above information isn't absolutely conclusive, Earl Cole made a strong argument to support the case of Jeremiah as the son of Solomon Cole and Mary Pinson.