Thursday, June 21, 2012

Documents which E-X-P-A-N-D our understanding of family history: Part 7

Mapping the trek from North Harlowe to New Bern, NC in 1853
In the past few weeks we've been examining types of documents which help us to piece together our ancestors' story. The starting point was the 1850 U.S. Federal Census where my husband's 2nd great grandparents, Isaac and Rhoda (Braddock) Carter,  lived with their children: Comfort, William, Mary Ann, Isaac, Nancy Matilda, Ananias and Zach.

The next phase took me to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census where the children were living as apprentices in the household of William Temple. . . . and that led to the search for apprenticeship records (1853). From the court order, another document was generated: the indenture.

Following a re-examination of the 1860 Census, I was able to form an idea of how the William Temple household composition might have segregated the children from the main family with the presence of an older black house keeper and a mulatto boatman.

In September 1853, the Justice of the Peace ordered the Sheriff "have before this Court at the next term, Isaac Carter, Nancy Carter, Ananias Carter and Zach Carter free person of colour, and grandchildren of Kelso Braddock and Sarah Braddock who live one mile from William Temple on Clubfoot Creek, Attest, J.G. Stanly" [Endorsed on the back, Justices vs. Orphans to December term 1853"].

The Court date was on December 12, 1853.

The children, accompanied by William Temple, had to travel the distance from North Harlowe to New Bern, NC. Over land by mule wagon in the winter of 1853 would cover approximately twenty-eight miles, across the old Indian path to the post road, then by ferry across the Neuse River to New Bern.

A search of mileage and travel by mule cart estimates that they could travel at a rate of 3 mph for about 24 miles = 8 hours. At the end of this time the mules would have to be rested, or changed. Supposing they were changed. They would then have to travel another 3 miles. However, could it be possible that in the December cold, they might have stopped earlier...or pushed farther without stopping to make it there by evening, the night before their court appearance. Traveling with four children between the ages of 13 and 5 years old would prove a most trying experience.

To make such a trip in mid-December by boat is highly unlikely, even though such a direct route would cut ten miles from the trip.

In order to get a more definite idea of the route to the Courthouse, I looked for a map of New Bern within that era. When browsing the UNC North Carolina Map Collection by County, the first map in the search results was a map of New Bern circa 1820s entitled,  A plan of the town of New Bern and Dryborough: with the lands adjoining contained within the bounds of the original grant to Dan'l Richardson in 1713.  The only other map close to 1853 was Map of the city of New Bern, circa 1866. Assuming that the city would be much changed following the Civil War, I focused on the former.

By zooming in on the map, I was able to print twenty screen shots on legal-sized paper and piece them together to form a full-sized map, measuring 36 x 44 inches. By assembling other background information gathered previously, I was able to locate the old Courthouse at the intersection of Middle and Broad Streets.

My next task will be to find photos of prominent buildings they would have seen along the way...

1 comment:

  1. I will not complain anymore when I take a car trip with my own children. Thank you for this post. It really puts in mind the conveniences we have today. This trip today...easy by car, back then, you think "How do survive even doing this?"

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