Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Trahern's in Virginia

This is probably not the right title, because the family of Nehemiah Trahern's brother, William Trahern resided in Loudon County, Virginia, and what I plan on talking about is Nehemiah's family who were in Pittsylvania county. You can find in the Loudon county probate records on Ancestry the will for James Trahern and his sister Sarah Trahern if you are from that branch.

Nehemiah and his sons are listed in the personal property tax lists of Pittsylvania which I detailed in an earlier blog. With the probate records available now, I have found a little more information on his will and his estate.  The will was first presented to the court on September 17, 1804. For some reason it was presented again on October 19, 1812 and that was when it was recorded. Since James Trahern was a non resident of Virginia (he was in Mississippi) and Samuel Hester, who was in Mecklenburg county refused to act as executor, Samuel Trahern and James Patterson were made the executors.

Oddly enough, we don't see any records until 1819 when the estate was inventoried and the sale is listed. Census records for the county are missing for 1810, but we know that in 1810 James Trahern was living in Brunswick County, VA without a family and a male who was 16-25 which is most likely his brother William. James Trahern assigned a deed September 17, 1804 from himself to Cunningham and Trahern, which is when he officially went into a business partnership with Alexander Cunningham.

Alexander Cunningham who was a trader appears to be in partnership with James until 1828. Duke University has a collection containing papers belonging to Alexander Cunningham and several family members which they indicate shows his brother Richard M. Cunningham dealt in cotton with James and William Trahern. They also have a collection of daybooks from the business of James and William Trahern. In 1811 Cunningham and Trahern were involved in a Chancery suit for a recovery of a debt. In 1828 Cunningham and Trahern sell to William Boyd the land that James Trahern sold to the company in 1804.

We know James Trahern was in Mississippi for most of the period between 1810-1819, at which time he had a son, my ancestor James N. Trahern. He is in the census of 1820 in Pittsylvania county with younger males and females, but the deeds of 1820 show no dowager, which appears to indicate that these are his nieces and nephews, and not his children. In 1820 John Trahern, Samuel Trahern, Polly Trahern, William Trahern and Ann Trahern (wife of William I believe), sell to their brother James Trahern their share in the land of their father Nehemiah Trahern. Also in 1820 James buys from the guardians of his sister's children, Elizabeth Hester and Serena Patterson more of the estate.

Although the will lists several more siblings, there is nothing to indicate that they were alive in 1820 because James goes on to sell the land purchased by his father in 1779 to Samuel Harston in 1822. In the sale of the estate of Nehemiah Trahern the purchasers are his children, William, John and Samuel, his son in law, James Patterson, a daughter in law Nancy Trahern (? wife of Samuel), and Edward Murphy, John Ware, James Smith and Stephen Beasley. Leading me to believe that Millie, Hester, and Mary Ann had died prior to 1819. We already know that Serena Trahern Patterson died by 1813, and both Elizabeth Trahern Hester and her husband, Samuel Hester were deceased by 1820.

Chancery cases in Henry county and Lynchburg indicate that John Trahern and his family moved to Tennessee in the 1820's. John Trahern has died by 1832 according to the court records. Wesley Trahern lived in Mississppi from 1808 and may have sold his share of the estate to his brother for part of the $5000 debt he had borrowed and still owed upon his death in 1825. The will of James Trahern written in 1824 and proven in 1831 leaves all of his estate to his brother William.

There is a James Trahern Jr., and a Mary Trahern (his widow), along with William Trahern and his wife Ann who show up in Hinds county, Mississippi between 1824 and 1830. There is also a Joel Trahern born around 1800 who appears in Louisiana around this time. It is quite possible that Joel and James were the sons of Samuel Trahern and his wife Nancy, as their is a complete lack of census records for him due to destruction of them, and his brother James does not have a family based on the evidence. William Trahern was not old enough to have been the father of either James or Joel.

Samuel Trahern has no estate or interstate records for Pittsylvania county. He was last living there in 1850. I have been unable to find any record of a marriage for Polly Trahern.

Jonathan Church the neighbor of Nehemiah Trahern mentioned in the deeds also came to the area from Maryland and was along with Nehemiah an early member of the Methodist Episcopalian Church on the circuit of John Asbury. I have often wondered if perhaps Jonathan is a relative of Amelia who we still have no maiden name for. 

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