Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Family History Writing Challenge - Feb 2012

Family History Writing Challenge - Feb 2012

I'm joining the Family History Writing Challenge.  My goal is 250 words per day--not that much, but it'll get me started, I hope.  I'm going to write here in the blog.  I am not including full citations at this time.  If anyone needs a full citation, please email.

My subject is Oliver Summerlin (1830-1911) of Mount Olive, NC.  He was born and presumably raised on a farm in the Summerlin Crossroads area of Duplin County.  In the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Oliver is found working as a laborer on a farm in Duplin County.  In 1860, he was living on a farm in the Buck Swamp district of Wayne County, with his wife Elizabeth Britt and their 8 month old baby, Claude (or Claudius).  His profession is listed as carriage repairer.

On October 18, 1864, Oliver was formally enlisted in the Confederate Army.  He and several other men from Wayne County joined Company E of the 20th NC Infantry.

About the time Gen. Early's command left the valley to
rejoin Gen. Lee at Petersburg, twelve men from Wavne
County that had heretofore been exempt from military duty
were sent to recruit the Company. They were John B. Bowden,
James Grady, Geo . W . Kornegay, C. F . R. Kornegay,
John H . Loftin, John C. Price, Oliver Summerlin, Nevil
Walker, James Williams, H . J . Williamson, Charles Denning
and Addison Fields.  (Regimental history, 1905)

I can only infer that Oliver did not join or was not conscripted until near the end of the war because he was older.  It is also possible that his occupation of wagon repairer was useful to the army.  (An analysis of the local conditions during the war is planned.  Much of Eastern NC was occupied by Federal troops during the war.)

After the war, in 1870, he is living in Brogden Twp., Wayne County, probably in the town of Mount Olive. He is the described as "carriage maker", possibly the owner of a buggy shop - see his real estate and personal estate values.  In the household are still Elizabeth, with children Claudius, Mary L., Alice, and Margaret.  There is also a 28-year-old domestic servant, Mary M? [I cannot interpret her surname].

Several of Summerlin's neighbors also had "working in buggy shop" listed in 1870.

According to several business sources, including this North Carolina Business History website [scroll down to Mount Olive],  Summerlin operated the buggy shop from 1877 to 1907, when it was renamed Summerlin  Brothers, and operated by Matthew and ?.  It's clear that the shop existed at least in 1870, but it is not known at this time whether Summerlin was the owner at that time.

This is a good place to stop, and I think I have at least 250 words.

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