Wednesday, June 15, 2011

From Pension Files to Occupations to Lumber Companies

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Township 5, Craven County, NC showed me that Hezekiah Carter was a laborer, hauling logs. I decided to determine how many other relations in that area also held that occupation and discovered that four of his brothers worked at a saw mill.

By 1910, however, Hezekiah was recorded as a farmer...but then, in 1912, he bought two tracts of land: one on the South side of the Neuse River and West side of Clubfoot Creek, the other on the South Side of the Neuse River and East of King's Creek, with one stipulation: "Subject to timber rights and rights of way: original owners maintain ownership of all timber above 10 inches in diameter for 20 years [until March 1932]. They can build tram roads and railroads across the land and run locomotives and rafting to remove said timber."

This opened a whole new avenue of exploration. I started out with trying to locate any information on the Grantors: C.W. Munger and his wife, Martha A. Munger of Craven County, and K.E.Bennett and his wife, Grace G. Bennett of Camden, NJ.

I began by looking for C.W. Munger in the 1910 Census. Chauncey W. Munger was living with his wife and three daughters at 173 Middle Street, New Bern, NC. His death certificate indicated that while he was buried in New Bern, he died in Asheville, Buncombe, NC on July 30 1912. . . .just less that four months after the land was deeded to my grandfather-in-law. According to The National Register of Historic Places, Chauncey W. Munger House in Black Mountain, Buncombe, NC has been preserved in the Dougherty Heights Historic District.

George Prowell wrote in History of Camden County, New Jersey (1886),  "George A. Munger & Bro. are manufacturers and wholesale dealers in North Carolina pine lumber. Their planing-mill in Camden is on North Delaware Avenue. George A. and Chauncey W. Munger, the members of this firm, began in 1883, the business of planing and preparing North Carolina pine lumber for the market.... (Part 2, Chapter 7)."

Also in this chapter is a report on Volney G. Bennett, owner of a lumberyard. It goes on to state, "On July 27, 1864, he was married to this marriage he has five children, Killam Edgar (who is associated with his father in the lumber business....." That was the same K.E. Bennett stated as the Grantor for the second tract of land purchased by by grandfather-in-law.

I then started emailing fellow researchers to see if they knew anything about early lumber companies operating  in Township 5 at that time; and while waiting for replies, I began looking through other deeds involving lumber companies in the area...checking the employers recorded on WWI Draft Registration papers for men from Township 5...and my list of lumber companies in the area began to grow.

That led me to research the timber culture of the area...

...and in the midst of waiting for responses to emails, I read a book: The Grace of Silence, by Michele Norris, which led me to ask myself some tough questions regarding family legends hiding within the spaces between entries in the timeline....

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