Monday, October 31, 2005

Banns and Bonds

From Lucinda (Lucinda []):

I thought I would post the info about banns and bonds for those of you who are new to genealogy, as I get questions weekly on the differences:

Marriage Banns, an announcement to marry was read before the church congregatoin for 3 consecutive Sundays, and if no objections arose, a certificate to marry was issued at the end of the 3 weeks. authorizing the the marriage to take place. The fee in NC for banns was 1 shilling and 6 pence compared to 20 shillings paid to the Governor for each bond issued plus 5 shillings to the Clerk of Court for issuing the bond and recording it. Marriage by banns eliminated the time and expense of traveling to the county seat to post bond. The problem for genealogist is that few of these banns exist today outside the Quaker or Church of England records. Even though the law did require the marriage be filed with the county clerk it was rarely done.

Marriage bonds required travel to the county seat to secure the bond, the groom and his bondsman usually a male relative or close friend would sign the bond. The name of the bride would also be recorded. Parents names were not recorded unless the bride was under age. The bond was for the sum of 50 pounds then raised to 50pounds under the Act of 1778. It was not until after 1868 that marriage records became more complete and included parents names. However some counties were still slow to include names of parents. NC did away with marriage bonds after 1868.

It has been estimated that 2/3 of nc marriages were by banns and have been lost to time.

(Source: General Statutes of NC, Chaper 51; Dr. Norman E Wright of History Department of Brigham Young University; Liahona Research, Inc)


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Senator John W. Stephens who was murdered by Ku Klux Klan members at the old Caswell County Courthouse in 1870 is said to have had a house that was within site of the Courthouse. Does anyone know where this house was located? I would like to add a description of the house (and a photograph if available) to the CCHA website. The house eventually became a school for black children.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I am looking for a copy of A History of Leasburg, Ella Graves Thompson (1960).

All leads will be appreciated. The book eventually will be donated to the Caswell County Historical Association reference library. It is that library that CCHA volunteers use when replying to queries from the public.


There is a beautiful old house in Yanceyville, N.C., named Clarendon Hall. It was built by Thomas Donoho Johnston (President of the Bank of Yanceyville) in 1842. See the accompanying photograph that I took September 2005.

I am looking for all the subsequent owners of this property, and especially whether it was once owned by William B. (Billy Hickory) Graves (who married Mary Elizabeth Shuford). Their son was Barzillai Shuford Graves.

At one time the Jones family owned the property, and it now is owned by the Williams family.
The article on Thomas Donoho Johnston (#387) at pages 314-315 of The Heritage of Caswell County states that a son of Thomas Donoho Johnston, Nathaniel Lea Johnston (1846-1882), was shot by Felix Roan in 1882. I have never heard this story, which might be an interesting addition to the CCHA website. Does anyone know anything about it?

For Whom Was Yanceyville Named?

For whom was the Town of Yanceyville named?

Does it matter?

Some have concluded that it was named for Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828). William Powell in his History of Caswell County (1977) concludes that the weight of the evidence supports Bartlett Yancey, Jr. See pages 341-343 of his history.

However, other prominent historians, including some with much better connections to Caswell County than William Powell, believe that Yanceyville was named for James Yancey, the older brother of Bartlett Yancey, Jr. Supporters of James Yancey include Mrs A. Yancey Kerr and Katharine Kerr Kendall.

Do you have inside information? Is this a tempest looking for a pot? What about those who believe that Yanceyville honored the entire Yancey family? Were that the case, should the name have not been Gravesburg in honor of the family that owned all the land that became Yanceyville?

Bartlett Yancey, Jr. Portrait

Here is an image that generally is accepted as Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828). For a similar image see page 142 of William Powell's History of Caswell County.

Please compare this image to the images in the earlier posts: (1) the portrait that hangs in the Richmond-Miles Museum; and (2) the photograph of a portrait purportedly of Azariah Graves (1768-1850).

Bartlett Yancey, Jr. Portrait (?)

Here is a photograph of the portrait that hangs in the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville, N.C. It is labelled Bartlett Yancey, Jr.

Please see the earlier post with respect to the possible mislabelling of this portrait.

Can anyone identify this person?


PS For a larger image, click on the photograph.
Can anyone positively identify this person? He is believed to be Azariah Graves (1768-1850). However, he looks exactly like the portrait in the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville, N.C., that is labelled as Bartlett Yancey, Jr. (1785-1828).

However, several now question whether the portrait in the museum labelled as Bartlett Yancey, Jr., is actually an image of that most famous Caswell County citizen.

Any help on this will be most appreciated.

If you would like to see the portrait in the Museum, please send a message to me at Also, for a larger image click on the photo that accompanies this post.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Here is an interesting post card picture of the Hotel Caswell in Milton, N.C. Does anyone know anything about it? See the Milton, N.C., article on the CCHA Website. Does this building still stand? If not, where was it? What is its history?


Many of the articles posted to CCHA website would be improved greatly by the addition of photographs.

For example, we have biographical sketches of Dr. Charles Caldwell, John Blackwell Cobb, Nicholas Longworth Dillard, Oscar Penn Fitzgerald, Robert Thomas Fuller, Reverend Barzillai Graves, Captain John Herndon Graves, John Kerr, Romulus Mitchell Saunders, and others, but we have no photograph of these people.

I ask that those interested in improving the CCHA website review the various articles (including but not limited to the biographies) and help find photographs. Surely, you or someone that you know has a cache of old Caswell County photographs.

It is your heritage that is being memorialized and published for the world to see. Do you not believe it deserves photographs to accompany the stories?

For assistance with the technical aspects of having photographs posted to the CCHA website contact the CCHA Webmaster at:

Thanks for your help.