Monday, May 7, 2012

The death of Thomas Hutchins

Thomas Hutchins must have owned land in Rutherford County. When he died, he left all his land to one of his sons and a grandson. His will is available from the North Carolina State Archives.

"9th Day of December 1836 Thomas Hutchins sase [sic] he wants what he has left to support Sary his wife and William Dorson [handwriting is hard to read on last name] his grandchild. He sase [sic] he don't want nothing sold and thing away [sic] and he wants Isaac his son to stay and take care of them his mother and William Dorson. He sase [sic] agreeable to the article when William Dorson was bound to him he wants William Dorson to have [illegible]. He says William Dorson has three head of cattle of his own: one cow and one heffer [sic] and one yearling. He says he wants Isaac his son and William Dorson his grandson to have the land at the death of their mother."
He died on Dec. 7, 1843, according to his pension file. His will was entered into the court records on Feb. 7, 1844.
A witness to his will is William Proctor, who has the same last name as his wife Sarah Proctor. He is probably also a relative.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Revolutionary War soldier

William Hutchins (who was the father of Eligah Melton Hutchins and Alfred Burton Hutchins) was listed as the son of Thomas Hutchins, a revolutionary war soldier, in an member tree. I ordered Thomas Hutchins' pension file (W7836) from the National Archives and Records Association to see if it was true, and he was the father.
Three generations of Hutchins men were soldiers, as Thomas Hutchins fought in the Revolutionary War, William Hutchins fought in the War of 1812 and Alfred Burton Hutchins fought in the Civil War.
Here is details about Thomas Hutchins from his pension file:

Thomas Hutchins was born Jan. 22, 1753 in Augusta County, Virginia. The names of his parents were not stated.
While a resident of Wake County, North Carolina, Thomas Hutchins volunteered as a private in the year 1775. He fought in the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge under Captain James Hinton. The Loyalist forces were planning to march to Wilmington to defeat the Patriots and return North Carolina to British rule. The route was blocked by Patriot troops, so the British forces attempted to go around them by traveling a route that took them by Moore's Creek. There they were met by artillery and rifle fire from Patriot forces. Fifty Loyalist or British soldiers died and 850 were captured, ensuring that North Carolina did not fall under British rule again. He returned home after six weeks.

Pictured is Moore's Creek Bridge in North Carolina. Photo credit goes to user irisha_z.

In 1778, Thomas Hutchins fought again for five months, marching through both Charlotte and Savannah. He returned home but volunteered again a few months later with Captain Matthew McCulloch, and ranged through the middle of North Carolina. He returned home again but was quickly drafted for three months under Captain Dread Jones.
From his sworn statement in court: "We was [sic] at Hillsboro, at Salisbury, Beatisford [?] on the Catabau [probably the Catawba River in N.C.]. We from that place was forced to retreat at Torrences. The British fight horse overtook us and killed several and took a good many prisoners. We scattered and shifted for ourselves in small parties until we came up with the main army."
He then returned home but was drafted again for three months under Captain Martin Lain. They went to Thompson Fort but found it vacated.
"We were pursued on to the Cantaw Springs[?]. We had warm work and many of companions fell by my side. From that place I was one of the guard that was riding on with the prisoners to Salisbury, North Carolina, but they had left that place before we arrived there. We overtook them at Bells Wills. From that place I went home and was not called on any more during the war."
In Wake County in May 1786, he married Sarah Proctor. Reuben Proctor testified in court that he was present at the marriage and that it occured in that month and year, as they were unable to produce a marriage certificate. Reuben shares the same last name as Sarah, so is probably a relative. That is something to research further.
In 1790, Thomas and Sarah Hutchins moved to Rutherford County, North Carolina, which is how the Hutchins ended up there for the next three generations.
Thomas Hutchins was given a pension on Sept. 16, 1832, at the rate of $64.99 a year. He died in Rutherford County on Dec. 7, 1843. His wife, Sarah, died on Jan. 10, 1845.
Their children were: Richard (Young) Hutchins; Elizabeth Walters; Martha Beaty; William Hutchins, born June 15, 1794; Sarah Earley; Thomas Hutchins; Polly Weaver, born Jan. 16, 1801; John Hutchins; Isaac Hutchins, born April 14, 1806; and Moses Hutchins.
William Hutchins (my ancestor) volunteered for the War of 1812, according to court documents in the pension file.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Camp Creek Baptist Cemetery

I was searching on and found these photos uploaded in 2008 of the graves of Elijah Melton Hutchins and Adaline Hutchins. The graves are located in Camp Creek Baptist Cemetery in Rutherford County, North Carolina.
I found directions to the cemetery on
"To get to this cemetery go north, out of Rutherfordton, NC, on US64 about eight miles or so. After you go through the little community of Westminister and pass Brittain Presbyterian Church take the next road to the left, it will be Centennial Road. Go about two miles  and after you pass the Boy Scout road take the next right and it will be a mile or two on the left. Look for sign."
I may have to take a trip there someday. There are other Hutchins relatives buried there, including Alfred Burton Hutchins' parents.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The missing link

Eligah M. Hutchins (from

So who is this Eligah (or Elijah) M. Hutchins who links Alfred Burton Hutchins to his father, William Hutchins?

He married Susan Smart and had three children (Fillmore, Joseph and Mary) when he enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862. Susan's mother, Margaret Smart, was listed in the 1860 census as living with them. After the war, he returned to Rutherford County, N.C., and was living in the Camp Creek Township in 1870. He was a farmer with $700 in real estate and $325 in personal estate. Here is the record:

There is a chance that the Mary Hutchins listed just below him is his mother. This is the only possible sign I have seen of her since her husband, William Hutchins, died.

Eligah Hutchins' wife, Susan, died on November 11, 1875, according to a listing in the Camp Creek Baptist Cemetery with Eligah remarried on Feb. 9, 1876. Here is the record from

Then we find Eligah and Adline and the children still in Camp Creek in the U.S. Federal Census in 1880:

Both E.M. Hutchins and Adaline are also buried in the Camp Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. According to the the record, Eligah M. Hutchins died on Feb. 28, 1910 and Adaline Hutchins died on Nov. 30, 1904.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brothers fighting together

I discovered that a brother of Alfred Burton Hutchins - Eligah M. Hutchins - enlisted in the Confederate army on the exact same day. Both enlisted July 21, 1862, in Rutherford County, N.C., and were assigned to Capt. A. B. Cowan's Company in the 62nd Regiment. Both were privates. This is the same Eligah Hutchins who was the bondsman for Alfred Burton Hutchins when he married in 1857.

Then I began wondering if any of the other brothers (John, Thomas or James) enlisted also. I checked the National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database, and could not find them listed.

Though the actual military service records have to be ordered from the National Archive and Records Association, the National Park Service registry is a great starting point when looking for Civil War soldiers.

Here is Eligah's enlistment card from He enlisted as E.M. Hutchins.

Unfortunately, Alfred Burton Hutchins died five months later, but Eligah Hutchins survived the war. I wonder if he found a way to get word about the death to Alfred Burton Hutchins' widow?

I do not have Eligah's full record, so I don't have many details about his service. I did find this information about the regiment, however, from the National Park Service website:

 "The 62nd Infantry Regiment was formed at Waynesville, North Carolina, in July, 1862. Its members were raised in the counties of Haywood, Clay, Macon, Rutherford, Henderson, and Transylvania. The unit served in North Carolina, then in July, 1863, was assigned to General Gracie's Brigade and stationed at Cumberland Gap. Here many were surrendered in September, but a number escaped from being captured. They returned to the Asheville area and in April, 1864 had 178 men present. The records show 443 men of the 62nd were prisoners at Camp Douglas. It continued the fight under Generals Breckinridge, Vaughn, and Williams in East Tennessee, then became a part of Colonel J.B. Palmer's command at Asheville in March, 1865. Later it disbanded near the French Broad River."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The power of cluster genealogy

For all those researchers who have thought, "Why trace the brothers and sisters of my ancestor? Why look at the neighbors and others with the same surname in the area? I just care about my direct line?" Yes, I've been there. I had those exact same thoughts when I first began reading books about genealogy. I skimmed the chapter on cluster genealogy and thought it looked like a waste of time.
Then I found my first major brickwall. I was trying to find the parents of Alfred Burton Hutchins, who at the time I thought his name was Burton Hutchins. I started a file on every Hutchins in the Rutherford County census in 1860 and 1850, hoping that some detail would help me find his parents. Eventually, when I discovered Alfred Burton Hutchins first name, that research enabled me to find him living with his father in the 1850 census. Now, if I can't find the information I am looking for, I broaden my search.
What were their relatives doing? Where did other branches of the family live? And how are all the Hutchins in Rutherford County related. Well, I still don't know how ALL of them are related. But I have a much better picture of how my ancestor fits in.
Here is the census of Alfred Burton Hutchins with his father William Hutchins:

As we saw in a previous post, Alfred Burton Hutchins' father was named William Hutchins and his mother was named Mary. William's age is given as 53 and Mary's is given as 55.
When searching the North Carolina Archives, I found a will for a William Hutchins which was written July 29, 1858, in Rutherford County, N.C. The will was presented in court to be entered into probate on Aug. 10, 1858, by Y.R. Guffy, a witness.
The will reads: I William Hutchins, of the state and county aforesaid, being of sound mind and [illegible word] memory - blessed be God - do this day make and set forth this will and testament in the words following to wit-
First, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Mary Hutchins the fresh lot of land on which I hold a lease during her natural life.
Second, The old land which I hold a lease to be rented out and the A.S. [aforesaid?] Marry Hutchins to have the short corn and the fodder each year. The balance of the crop to be sold and the money let to interest during my wife's life. Then the money to be equally divided among all my lawful heirs, except the A.S. [Aforesaid?] Marry Hutchins should need apart thereof for her individual support.
My personal property I dispose of as follows. My wife to have one cow and calf her choice also one sow and one shotes [I think he means a shoat, which is a young pig] her choice. Also one two-year-old Barrow [castrated male pig] also three sheep, also one axil hoe and matlock, also ton bushels of wheat this year, also household furniture such as she needs; the balance to be sold. Also I give her 12 lbs. of copper.
The balance of my property to be sold and all my just debts paid out of the proceeds thereof- if any money left to be put to interest during my wife's lifetime then divided among my lawful heirs.
I do hereby appoint my sons John Hutchins [the words "and Eligah Hutchins" are crossed out here] my executer in this my last will and testament in wishes whereof I  have hereunto set my hand and seal this day and date above written.
William Hutchins
The witnesses were listed as G.E. Johnson and Y.N. Guffey.

Why could this be Alfred Burton Hutchins' father? Well, this will, Alfred Burton Hutchins' marriage license, and the census all mention a person named Elijah Hutchins. The will lists a son named Eligah Hutchins (albeit crossed out) and the above census record has a son named Elijah Hutchins. Also, Elijah Hutchins was the bondsman at Alfred Burton Hutchins' wedding in 1857. William Hutchins' wife's name is Mary in both the census and the will. No person the right age to be Alfred Burton's father is listed in the 1860 census. All the signs point towards this being his will.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tracing Mary Hutchins

After I discovered that Alfred Burton Hutchins had died in the Civil War, I began looking for what happened to his family. I found a combination of records that together convinced me that his wife, Mary (Polly) Smiley Hutchins, had gotten remarried and moved to another county.
I found a marriage record for Mary E. Hutchins and James M. Guffey on Feb. 12, 1865 in Marriages of Rutherford Co, NC 1779-1868 by Brent Holcomb (available at my local public library).
However, in the 1860 census, there were four people named Mary Hutchins in Rutherford County. In 1860, one was 30 and unmarried, one was married to John Hutchins with an 11-year-old son named Calvin, and the third was 11 years old in 1860, so she would have been 16 in 1865. Mary Hutchins was listed as 23 years old in 1860 and living with her husband, Alfred Burton Hutchins, and two children: Franklin, age 2, and Washington, 2 months.
Here is Alfred Burton Hutchins' record in the 1860 census:

Next, I began looking for James and Mary Guffey in the census to see if I could determine which Mary it was. I found them in Swain County, N.C., in the 1880 census, which made sense, since we know that the son, Franklin Pierce Hutchins, lived there as an adult. They were listed as J. M. Guffey, age 55, and wife Polly, age 42. A stepson is listed as F. Hutchins, age 22. Since only one Mary had a child with a first name that started with F, I determined I had found them.
Here is the record:

As we see, James Guffey was a farmer, and in 1880, he and Mary had five children.
Next, I searched the North Carolina Death Collection, 1908-2004, and found a death record for Pollie E. Guffey with a birth year of 1835 and a maiden name of Smiley. Her father is listed as Jessie Smiley.
These combination of records lead me to believe that I was tracing the right person.