Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Estate File of Isaac Dove (1826), Craven County, North Carolina

In all, there are forty-five images in the Estate File of Isaac Dove (1826). Each page contains clues to various aspects of his life and his hundred eighty-seven years ago.

This particular series of images is a petition of William Dove and the Heirs of Isaac Dove to the Craven County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.

Without printing the images, I find it easier to keep the image available in another window, enlarged enough to see the detailed elements of penmanship, in a tab directly next to your work station tab.

There are a few portions of the document which I have been unable to decipher. Those portions are contained within brackets.

Image 24/45
TO William Dove            Greeting:
For certain causes offered before the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, for the County of Craven; We Command and enjoin you, the said William Dove that laying all other matters aside, and notwithstanding any excuse, you personally appear before the Worshipful, the Justices of our said Court, at the Court to be held for the County of Craven, at the Court-house at Newbern, on the second Monday of November next, to answer concerning those things which shall be then and there objected to you, in and by the petition of George Carter & others (a copy of which said petition is hereto annexed) and further to do and receive what our said Court shall consider in this behalf, and this you shall no wise omit, as in case of your failing to appear, the said petition will be taken pro confesso and heard accordingly.
Witness, JAMES G. STANLY, Clerk of our said Court, at Newbern, the second Monday of August in the 49th Year of our Independence, A.D. 1824.
J.S. Stanly [signature]

[NOTE: The top page is stapled to the petition, thereby hiding the words in the top left corner of the document.]

Image 25/45
[To the] Worshipful the Justices of Craven County
[hidden] The Petition of George Carter & Sukey his wife,
[Steph]en Gaudet and Mary his wife, Gambo Fenno (sic) &
[De]borah his wife humbly sheweth that I [save]
[   ]ave late of Craven County, and one Anthony
Brown also of said County were seized in fee as tenants in common, in equal interest, of two tracts of land in Craven County which were conveyed to them by deed from Benners Vail on the 6th day of January 1803, one piece situate on the east side of Cahooky Creek, begins at a large Poplar & runs N. 59 E. 127 poles to a small pine, No. 36 Wt. 128 poles to Handcock's line callest the Cooper land, then So. 59 West 127 poles to the Creek, then with the same to the beginning containing 100 acres. The other piece begins at a pine in Handcock's line & runs So. 70 E. 240 poles to a pine, then No. 85 1/2 Wt. 278 poles [  ] a white oak on Cahooky Creek, then down the [  ]un of the branch, then to the first station estimated [ ]o contain 200 acres. The said Isaac Dove died
[ ]n the year             intestate, and his undivided half [ ]f said two tracts descended to his children theirs [ ]t law vis your petitioners Sukey, Mary & Deborah. & to Jacob Dove & William Dove [ ]hence became seized in fee, as tenants in common [ ]ach of one fifth part of the one undivided half part of said lands. Your petitioners further shew, that Anthony Brown has as they are informed conveyed some part of said lands, to the said Jacob Dove & William Dove, but no division having ever been made, the said Jacob & William hold on the said Brown [lets(?)] the same undivided & in common your Petitioners desire that Partition of said lands should be made & their respective shares thereof be assigned them in severalty. We pray that commissioners may be [a]ppointed for that purpose and that the said [A]nthony Brown, and the said Jacob Dove & William Dove may be summoned to shew cause, if any they have, wherefor the prayer of

Image 26/45
your Petitioners should not be granted. And they will ever pray. JS Stanly [      ]
for Petitioners

Made known by
[              ] the [            ] to
Wm  Dove ----------
J C. [           ]
by ---- A.W. Seabrook [   ]

The next step...Benners Vail
It might prove helpful to inquire a the Craven County Register of Deeds for a copy of the deed mentioned within these pages. I had never heard of a man named Benners Vail before, so I decided to look him up on He appears in to 1800 U.S. Federal Census as a white man, between the ages of 16 and 26, living in Craven County, the owner of 38 slaves.

It appears that he was married to Frances Mary Nash in 1802, and then to Elizabeth Lente in 1804.

Contributed to FindAGrave
by Blount Researcher
(inactive since Nov. 2011)
The daughter of Benners and Elizabeth Vail was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern, North Carolina. It would be wonderful to get a full transcription of this amazing burial stone. The only portion the contributor gave was Sarah Benners Vail: Born December 5, 1812; Died September 17, 1826. In the 14th year of her age, daughter of Benners and Elizabeth Vail.

Estate File of Benners Vail (1816): Land Holdings
The online holdings of the Craven County Public Library provide no records for Benners Vail. However, I was able to locate his estate file at The file dated (1816) contains 123 images. According to these records, his heir was his daughter, Sarah B. Vail. It is interesting to see that he had purchased 50 acres from George Perkins, 400 acres from William George, 100 acres from Peter Physioc, 100 acres from Samuel Cook, 193 acres from Chris Neal, 200 acres from Stephen Mahaws (?), 120 acres from Jas. Reed, two tracts containing 196 acres from John Benners, 80 acres from Jas. Bell, "together with five hundred acres lying on a creek known by the name of Cahooky, also the mills and other improvements lying on Long Creek--containing in all--one thousand one hundred and thirty-nine acres be the same more or less. We also allot to Sarah B. Vail the following property lying in the town of Newbern viz: Lott No. four hundred at the corner of East Front St. and Change St. (80 by100).

Image 10/123 outlines his complete holdings:
1393 acres on Long Creek = Saw & Grist Mill & other buildings
1832 acres on Clubfoot Creek = dwelling houses
720 acres on Cahooky Creek
500 acres on Handcocks' Creek
360 acres on Bogue Banks in Carteret County
3 acres in Dry Borough in Craven County
Also, 4 lots in Newbern: Part of Lot 410, Part of Lot 414, Part of Lot No. One on Front Street, and part of Lot No. 2 on Broad Street.

It appears that his widow, Eliza (Lente) Vail and Michael Lente, petitioned the court against the inheritance of Sarah Frances Benners Vail in March 1816. The sale of Vail's personal property spanned a six-page inventory, amounting to a total of $3220.50.

Slaves of Benners Vail

Image 23/123
I am including the following with the hope that it might assist any researchers of the slaves descending from the Benners Vail Estate. Image 23/123 is entitled, "Valuation of Negroes, belonging to the Estate of Benners Vail Esquire died made thy 31st day of December 1817,"  records the name, age and trade of each slave, a total valuation of $17300. A number of the slaves were granted to his widow, Mrs. Eliza Vail, and valued at $5750. The remaining slaves were to be "divided" by the rest of the Heirs, and payment made to her for them.
Image 24/123

Benner's daughter,Sarah, was only four years old when she came into her inheritance; and, ten years later, she too died.

Contributed to FindAGrave by Bernd Doss, May 12, 2008,
Memorial #26777013
The 1850 Census, the last time her mother, Eliza Vail, was enumerated (at age 66), records that she had been born in New York. Also living in her household is Dr. Jas. B. Emery and family. Apparently, she never remarried. On August 28, 1850, twenty-nine slaves of the original thirty-seven remained on her estate.

Eliza Vail died at the age of 71 on November 12, 1853.

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