Sunday, June 13, 2021

Joseph Sollis


My family tree was a mess.  I had brothers and sisters marrying and having children.  While that's not unheard of especially among Egyptian monarchs, that didn't happen much in 19th century America.  So, I contacted several genealogist cousins to help me out.

Rae and Jason suspected the pair in question (Sena Sollis and Adam Sollis) were cousins:  Sena was the daughter of Martha Taylor and Luke Sollis; Adam was possibly the son of Joseph Sollis and Elizabeth Allen.  . . . .Joseph Sollis? The one that was hanged for murder?. .. . .I guess that's better than incest. . .. .

It had been so long since I'd heard about Joseph that I needed a refresher thanks to Jason and the internet.  The Sollis family lived in Duplin, North Carolina as did the Kornegay family.  They were definitely neighbors and might have inter-married.  We don't know much about the Sollis family during the colonial period but the Kornegays are well documented being plantation owners.  There are several indications that they were not only wealthy but  also used their influence in court cases involving intoxication  with assault and battery.

I haven't found the cause of the disagreement between Abraham Kornegay and Joseph Sollis but the end result was Joseph killed Abraham Kornegay.  There was a reward for Joseph's live capture:

Aug,2,  1826  North Carolina Journal August 2, 1826
-- JOSEPH SOLLIS, for whose apprehension a reward of $300 was offered, as the
murderer of ABRAHAM KORNEGAY of Duplin County, was arrested in Cumberland
County on Friday last, and committed to the jail in Fayetteville for safe-keeping. Since the death of KORNEGAY, SOLLIS has been lurking about his former residence in Duplin, until lately, he made the attempt to get off, with his wife and child, to the Western Country, but in this attempt was discovered and taken. SOLLIS had called at a house near the road to get water, and was recognized by the occupant, who gave information to an officer, and the neighbors, by whom he was taken.

He was captured and put on trial. Although I haven't found documentation, Jason Sollis said Kornegay's brothers were on the jury that sentenced Joseph Sollis to death by hanging.  

Wed. May 9, 1827   North Carolina Journal April 27, 1827

   EXECUTION -- JOSEPH SOLLIS, who was convicted at the last term of the

Superior Court for Duplin Court, of the murder of ABRAHAM KORNEGAY, underwent

the sentence of the law on Friday,m the 27th ultimo.

The newspaper article describing his execution is also interesting.

But the story doesn't end with Joseph Sollis's hanging.  Two of the Kornegay brothers tried to collect the reward for finding Joseph Sollis when it is clear in the earlier article that the occupant of a house turned him in.

This information is contributed by Carolyn Shank
Petition for Reward for Murder of Abram KORNEGAY-1828
Duplin County
The Committee of Claims to whom was referred a Resolution instructing them to enquire into the expediency of allowing Bryan KORNEGAY and Henry KORNEGAY of Duplin County, three hundred dollars, for the apprehension of Joseph SOLLIS, who stood indicted in said County, for the murder of Abram KORNEGAY - have had the same under Consideration, and respectfully report -That the fact is as stated in the Resolution; but the Committee are of opinion, that in law, the parties in whose behalf this application is made are unquestionably not entitled to the remuneration, which they claim, nor do they believe that it is either expedient or politic to allow it. The Claimants had no right to look for it to the Legislative - the offer was voluntary on their part, and altho' their feelings, as Relations of the Murdered individual might have been more excited, yet they had no more authority to offer a reward in this case, than any other individual - It is made the duty of the Governor, when a criminal escapes, and flies beyond the pursuit of justice, to offer a reward for his apprehension - But this was not the case in this instance. From the relation in which the Citizen stands to Society, without any additional inducement it is his Duty to aid and assist in bringing to Justice the perpetrators of crimes - Allow, however, this application and the inevitable effect will be that but few men will move in an affair of this kind, until a sufficient inducement, by way of reward, is held out to them - Criminals, of course, will frequently escape, and there will be no end to applications to the Legislature similar to this. For these reasons, the Committee recommends the adoption of the following resolution - Resolved that it is inexpedient to grant the prayer of the Petitioners.
Respectfully submitted.
Thos. LOVE, Chm.

In the Senate Decem'r 29, 1828. Read and agreed to.
By Order.


Report of the Com'e of Claims on the Resolution in favour of Bryan & Henry KORNEGAY.

In Senate Decem'r 3, 1828. Read and on motion of Mr. WELLBORN ordered to be

postponed indefinitely.

By Order.


Mr. LOVE Chair'n

With so much detail, Jason  and I are left with a lot of questions.  What were they quarreling over?  Were they intoxicated?  Was it a dispute among neighbors? Were they cousins?  Jason and I both have DNA matches to Kornegays and we have two ancestors that we think may have been Joseph's children.  With a pattern of mental illness in both of our families, we also wonder if this dispute involved one or both of them being mentally ill.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Watson Roots

My grandmothers:  Vennie and Vivian

My grandmother Vennie was always a bit of a mystery having been raised in foster care.  She was 14 when she married my grandfather and the marriage license says she was an orphan which wasn’t quite true.  Her father had died from a horse accident but her mother was living in Farmington in an insane asylum. 

She had no known family since her brother had died young.  In 1976, I started researching genealogy to find more information about Vennie.  But, it wasn’t until the past two years that I’ve discovered her heritage through DNA.

Her maiden name was Watson, a Scottish surname.  When I asked what Grandma’s heritage was, Mother just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Scottish and Indian”.  Knowing the family was from Appalachia, I assumed Cherokee.  I had unravelled the mystery of Grandma’s mother, but her father, G. W.,  remained a mystery until a year or two ago.  With DNA on, I could search surnames but Watson was a name on Grandma’s AND Grandpa’s side. I had hundreds of people to contact and didn’t have much information about G. W.

Finally it occurred to me to consult those who shared the most DNA and had the Watson family name (Grandpa’s Watson was several generations further back).  I found a woman, Cheryl, whose ancestor was from Cape  Girardeau, Missouri which was promising.  Cheryl’s ancestor was Melvinia “Vinnie” Watson and her parents were Arthur and Manurva Watson. I’d known that Grandma’s name was originally Louvenia Minerva Watson or “Vennie”.   I had found Grandma’s grandparents since Cheryl’s ancestor was Grandma's aunt. 

That information allowed me to trace my ancestry back to David Solomon Collins and Thompsy Posen who lived in Virginia in the late 1700’s.  I decided to google them.   What I found answered a lot of questions my DNA had raised:  where did the Native American and African come in? My DNA showed that I descended from at least one slave but it was in such a small amount, it had to have been from Colonial America.

David Solomon Collins was Melungeon:  a derogatory name for people who were tri-racial (African, Native American and European) living in Virginia and North Carolina.  Often Melungeons lived in their own communities since they didn’t really “fit in”.  But, it’s important to emphasize they were not slaves although descended from slaves.  My family, early on, passed for white—I cannot find any reference to any of them being “mulatto”.

This is where some knowledge of Colonial American history is important. 

"Interracial relationships, common-law marriages and marriages occurred since the earliest colonial years, especially before slavery hardened as a racial caste associated with people of African descent in the British colonies. Virginia and other English colonies passed laws in the 17th century that gave children the social status of their mother, according to the principle of partus sequitur ventrem, regardless of the father's race or citizenship”.   

While the mixed race children of an African mother were slaves, the mixed race children of a European mother were free.  So, I descend from a European mother who was probably an Indentured Servant who lived with the household slaves.  I may never know who David Solomon Collins parents or grandparents were—records with names for indentured servants and slaves are not good.  And, some think that the family name Collins was adopted by David and his siblings.

I do know the names of some of my Native American ancestors from my grandmother Vivian's family because they were considered “royalty”, but I don’t know who the Watson-Collins Native Americans were.  With the label “Melungeon” I know they were partly Native American.  David Solomon Collins lived in eastern Virginia which is not Cherokee, but has several other Native tribes including Pamunkey.

One interesting side-note.  David Solomon Collins had 10 children.

Aaron William Collins d. 1855 Twin Bridges, Douglas County, Missouri

Elvira Collins Lawson d. 1855 Hawkins, Tennessee

Eleanor Collins Bull d. 1870, Douglas County, Missouri

Margaret Collins Dodson d. 1870, White County, Tennessee (my 4 great grandmother)

David Collins d. 1844 North Carolina

Nancy Collins Collins d.1850, Grainger Co. Tennessee

Levi Collins d. 1860 Falling Springs, Oregon County, Missouri

Isaiah Cuppy Collins d. 1888 Dora, Ozark County, Missouri

Solomon “old Sol” Collins d. 1882, Douglas Count , Missouri

Hiram John Collins d. 1857 Morgan County, Indiana

Five out of 10 settled in the Ozark area of Missouri with 50 children among them. Today, there are 60.000 people that live in the region (3 counties)  they settled in—I’m probably related to many  of them. . . .

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Dyers

 posted Feb. 9, 2014 on by lpwalsh1 with some editing by jmorgan 2021

From account by Andrea Dalen Larrivee, Descendant of early settler, Roger Dyer


            Roger Dyer was a middle-aged man when he moved with his wife, Hannah, and five children from Lancaster County, PA to the Moorefield area. He and his son, William, purchased 1,160 acres on the South Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River in 1747. The family moved onto the land in 1748 and were some of the first permanent settlers in the area. His three daughters, Hannah, Hester and Sarah, subsequently married men who owned or bought adjacent property. By the year 1758, four of Roger Dyer's children were married, and he had seven grandchildren. They were prosperous by the standards of the day, but life would have been quite difficult as their land was on the westernmost edge of the settled colonies. Native American tribes wandered freely in the area, hunting and trading. The settlers had to make a long, arduous journey over the Shenandoah to get to their markets and seat of government. 

The settlers' relations with the Indians who used this area were fairly cordial until about 1754. The French and Indian War had begun in 1753, and the Shawnee, one of the primary tribes in the area, were influenced by their Ohio kinsmen to be loyal to the French cause. This was understandable. The French used the areas they controlled in a way that didn't threaten the Indian way of life. They hunted and trapped, traded with the natives and often took Indian wives. The English, however, were true settlers. They bought the land, cleared and fenced it, built homes and settlements, and drove the game and the Indians farther west. Because of Indian raids in areas to the northwest, George Washington ordered that two forts be built on the upper South Branch. Fort Upper Tract and Fort Seybert were built in 1757. Fort Seybert (named for Jacob Seybert, who had moved to the area in 1753 and had been commissioned in 1757 as the first captain of militia in that section) was close to the Dyer family settlement.


            On April 27, 1758, many of the men and probably some of the women and children from the area left for a journey over the Shenandoah Mountain. The people who remained were staying at the fort, probably due to their vulnerability. They were no doubt aware of troubles in other areas with Indians who were sometimes accompanied by French. The morning of April 28 was foggy. Sarah Dyer Hawes, who had been widowed for about three years, and a boy named Wallace, who may have been an indentured servant, were outside the fort on their way to milk or to shear some sheep. Two Shawnee braves accosted them. Sarah attempted to stab one of the men with her sheep shears. During the scuffle Sarah pushed the brave over an embankment. The remaining Indian found the situation very funny, and in the midst of the laughter, Sarah and Wallace returned to the fort. 

William Dyer went out on that same morning to hunt. Not far from the fort, he was shot by the Shawnee and became the first casualty of that day. Nicholas Seybert, son of Jacob, heard the shots and fired at the Indians, hitting one brave who was the only Indian casualty. Killbuck, the Shawnee chief who was leading this group, spoke English and decided to negotiate with the settlers. He proposed to the settlers that they surrender. He guaranteed that there would be no blood shed and that, as his captives, the settlers would be well treated. Otherwise, everyone would be killed. Jacob Seybert, speaking for the settlers, agreed to Killbuck's proposal despite some dissension, notably by his son, Nicholas. Nicholas tried to shoot Killbuck, but his father disrupted his aim and the ball landed at Killbuck's feet. 

If the shot had met its mark, the events of the day may have been very different. Contrary to his word, Killbuck and his warriors moved the settlers to an area uphill from the fort where they were separated into two groups: those who would live as captives and those who would die. Among those who were to die were Sarah Dyer Hawes, James Dyer and Roger Dyer. Sarah saw her father hit in the mouth by a tomahawk, knocking out some of his teeth, and she fainted. This may have saved her life. For whatever reason, she was spared. James Dyer, who was 14 years old, managed to escape and tried to outrun his captors. Although he was recaptured, the Indians were impressed by his athletic prowess and spared his life as well. The doomed prisoners were made to sit on a log. An Indian stood behind each person, and on a command from Killbuck, the prisoners were murdered and scalped. 

Sarah and James along with nine other captives were forced to accompany the Shawnee, leaving 17 dead behind. They walked over the South Fork Mountain on that day. Along the way an infant who was crying was killed and left hanging in the forked branched of a dogwood tree. Their first night was spent at Greenawalt Gap near present day Kline. The second night was spent at Seneca. From there they journeyed to a Shawnee village near what is now Chilecothe, OH. James remained in captivity for two years. During that time he was often pitted against new captives in foot races called "running the gauntlet." Two racers would run between lines of Indians who hit them with sticks and whooped loudly in an effort to make the racers run more swiftly. The loser of the race was often killed. For the most part, however, the Shawnee treated their captives relatively well. The purpose of keeping captives was not to have slave labor but to acquire new tribe members, so the captives were encouraged to integrate into Indian life. James became a trusted tribe member and was allowed to hunt and go on trading trips. 

On one such trip to Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh, PA), he managed to allude his captors and slip into a cabin. A woman inside hid him under a pile of furs. The Shawnee searched for him, removing some of the furs as they looked through the cabin, but James wasn't discovered. He made his way to Lancaster County, PA, where he spent some time with family friends. Eventually he returned to the Fort Seybert area. Sarah was a captive for a longer time, probably about five years. James rescued her some years after he had made his escape. He returned to Ohio and found the camp where Sarah was. Hiding near a spring, he made contact with Sarah when she came to get water. They made arrangements to escape that night. Sarah gathered her few belongings, among them a spoon made of buffalo horn, which is still owned by her descendants. She and James rode away on horses James had brought, and they returned to the South Branch. 

Sarah had a daughter, Hannah, who was only two or three years old when her mother was captured. When Sarah returned, Hannah was terrified of her because of her Indian dress and mannerisms and her tanned skin. James and Sarah continued to live in what is now Pendleton County. Sarah married Robert Davis, had seven more children and lived on a farm near Brandywine, which is still owned by their descendants. James married three times and had a total of 16 children. The above story was written by Andrea Dalen Larrivee, g,g,g,g,great granddaughter of Roger Dyer.

Roger is my 8 great grandfather and William is my 7 great grandfather.


Death of Roger and William Dyer at Seybert's Fort


Fort Seybert Massacre

Extracted from Chronicles of Border Warfare by Alexander Scott Withers, edited and annotated by Reuben God Thwaites (1895)

On the south fork of the South Branch of Potomac, in, what is now, the county of Pendleton, was the fort of Capt. Sivert.* In this fort, the inhabitants of what was then called the "Upper Tract," all sought shelter from the tempest of savage ferocity; and at the time the Indians appeared before it, there were contained within its walls between thirty and forty persons of both sexes and of different ages. Among them was Mr. Dyer, (the father of Col. Dyer now of Pendleton) and his family. On the morning of the fatal day, Col. Dyer and his sister left the fort for the accomplishment of some object, and although no Indians had been seen there for some time, yet did they not proceed far, before they came in view of a party of forty or fifty Shawanees, going directly towards the fort. Alarmed for their own safety, as well as for the safety of their friends, the brother and sister endeavored by a hasty flight to reach the gate and gain admittance into the garrison; but before they could effect this, they were overtaken and made captives.

The Indians rushed immediately to the fort and commenced a furious assault on it. Capt. Sivert prevailed, (not without much opposition,) on the besieged, to forbear firing 'till he should endeavor to negotiate with, and buy off the enemy. With this view, and under the protection of a flag he went out, and soon succeeded in making the wished for arrangement. When he returned, the gates were thrown open, and the enemy admitted.

No sooner had the money and other articles, stipulated to be given, been handed over to the Indians, than a most bloody tragedy was begun to be acted. Arranging the inmates of the fort, in two rows, with a space of about ten feet between them, two Indians were selected; who taking each his station at the head of a row, with their tomahawks most cruelly murdered almost every white person in the fort; some few, whom caprice or some other cause, induced them to spare, were carried into captivity, - such articles as could be well carried away were taken off by the Indians; the remainder was consumed, with the fort, by fire.

The course pursued by Capt. Sivert, has been supposed to have been dictated by timidity and an ill founded apprehension of danger from the attack. It is certain that strong opposition was made to it by many; and it has been said that his own son raised his rifle to shoot him, when he ordered the gates to be thrown open; and was only prevented from executing his purpose, by the interference of some near to him. Capt. Sivert was also supported by many, in the plan which he proposed to rid the fort of its assailants: it was known to be weak, and incapable of withstanding a vigorous onset; and its garrison was illy supplied with the munitions of war. Experience might have taught them, however, the futility of any measure of security, founded in a reliance on Indian faith, in time of hostility; and in deep and bitter anguish, they were made to feel its realization in the present instance.

*Seybert's Fort was situated on the South Fork, twelve miles northeast of Franklin, in Pendleton County. At the time of this invasion, there was a fort located on the South Branch, garrisoned by Capt. James Dunlap and a company of rangers from Augusta county. Preston's Register states, that on the 27th of April, 1758, the fort at which Capt. Dunlap was stationed, was attacked and captured, the captain and twenty-two others killed; and, the next day, the same party, no doubt, attacked Seybert's Fort, killing Capt. Seybert and sixteen others, while twenty-four others were missing. Washington at the time, placed the number as "about sixty persons killed and missing."

A gazette account, published at Williamsburg, May 5th ensuing, says: "The Indians lately took and burnt two forts, where were stationed one of our ranging companies, forty of whom were killed and scalped, and Lieut. Dunlap and nineteen missing."

Kercheval's History of the Valley gives some further particulars: That Seybert's Fort was taken by surprise; that ten of the thirty persons occupying it, were bound, taken outside; the others were placed on a log and tomahawked. James Dyer, a lad of fourteen, was spared, taken first to Logstown, and then to Chillicothe, and retained a year and ten months, when as one of an Indian party he visited Fort Pitt, and managed to evade his associates while there, and finally reached the settlements in Pennsylvania, and two years later returned to the South Fork. It is added by the same historian, as another tradition, that after the fort had been invested two days, and two of the Indians had been killed, the garrison agreed to surrender on condition of their lives being spared, which was solemnly promised. That when the gate was opened, the Indians rushed in with demoniac yells, the whites fled, but were retaken, except one person; the massacre then took place, and ten were carried off into captivity.

Still another tradition preserved by Kercheval, says the noted Delaware chief, Killbuck, led the Indians. Seybert's son, a lad of fifteen, exhibited great bravery in the defense of the fort. Killbuck called out to Capt. Seybert, in English, to surrender, and their lives should be spared; when young Seybert at this instant, aimed his loaded gun at the chief, and the father seized it, and took it from him, saying they could not successfully defend the place, and to save their lives should surrender, confiding in Killbuck's assurances. Capt. Seybert was among the first of those sacrificed. Young Seybert was among the prisoners, and told the chief how near he came to killing him. " You young rascal," laughingly replied Killbuck, "if you had killed me, you would have saved the fort, for had I fallen, my warriors would have immediately fled, and given up the siege in despair." - L. C. D.

Fort Seybert Massacre Grave, Pendleton County, West Virginia, USA

Image and information pulled from "William was not in the Fort but caught outside and killed by Killbuck and his men. When the others were buried, William was buried in the same mass grave. William was married to Margaret Heitt and had two children, John and Roger. After William's death, Margaret Heitt Dyer married a John Craven(s). John Craven(s) was appointed guardien of Roger and John in 1759." "Roger Dyer owned land in Lancaster PA. He purchased the land in 1727. He moved his family from PA. to VA around 1747. He and his family moved to the South Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac. Roger leased land beginning in Nov. of 1747. In the spring of 1758 raiding parties of Shawnese were spotted in the area. Many of the inhabitants went to Seybert's Fort for safety. In late April, the Shawnee raiding party attacked another fort, killing all of the residents. They then went to Seybert's Fort and surrounded it. After a short fight, Capt. Seybert made an agreement with Killbuck, the Shawnee leader, that all would be spared. Upon the surrender Killbuck went back on his word and killed many of the people of the fort. It is believed that Hannah Smith Dyer, Rogers wife, managed to hide in the woods with some children, or she was off visiting family it is unknown as to where she was during the attack. Roger was killed and James the youngest son was taken by the Shawnese as a captive. "

Mary Richardson

Mary Richardson originally shared this on 13 Feb 2013

Among the dead were my ancestors Roger Dyer and his son William Dyer.  William Dyer (1728-1758) had a son John Dyer (1757-1812).  His son was William Dyer (1780-1835) who married Gracie McKee (1782-1815) whose grandmother Jane Logan McKee was also killed in a Shawnee attack.Click here about that attack.

Their daughter Nancy Dyer was my 4th great grandmother.  Her daughter was Ally Vaughn whose daughter Mary Ann Pullam was my great-great grandmother.  Her daughter Macy Williams had James Wesley Wicker, my grandfather.  My mother was Alice Louise Wicker Long.  It's a sad history but I also descended from Native Americans also killed in battle.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Important Houses in LeRoy's Life

Reed Home, 12932 Hencher Rd. De Soto, Missouri

Several years ago, Dave and I drove to DeSoto, Missouri with a list of addresses of where my ancestor's lived.  I had addresses for both sides of Dad's family for my great grandparents and my great great grandparents.  First, I found the beautiful stone house of my great-great grandparents Reed a little outside of town.  Then we located their home in De Soto as well as the home of my great grandparents Maupin.  Click here for more photos in De Soto. (The Long side of the family were mostly farmers and didn't live in town)

When I went to the address for my grandparents and my dad in 1920, I couldn't find the house anywhere.  It was now the parking lot for the De Soto Public Library. 710 South Main.  Dad wasn't much of a reader, so this is a form of "poetic justice" that his home when he was a year old is the parking lot of a library.

One of the stories my father often talked about was surviving the 1927 tornado in St. Louis while he was in elementary school.  He would tell about walking home from Stix School (9 years old) in the utter destruction.  My aunt said their home was totally destroyed and they never owned another house but only rented. For more, click here.

Several years ago Dave had to go for some cognitive testing through Barnes at 4444 Forest Park Avenue.  There wasn't much of a waiting room, so I walked around the neighborhood. There were several beautiful old homes across Forest Park Avenue from where we were but our side of the street there were none---just new buildings, Barnes hospital and parking lots/garages.  Then, I realized where I was standing---in the path of the 1927 tornado---it was as clear as day when I knew what I was looking at.  There were old homes (dating before 1927) on either side of the path.  I walked several blocks in either direction and my hypothesis was correct.

So, I knew Dad had lived near there.  I called Mom and she said he lived on the corner of Forest Park and Newstead and thought a bus shelter was there.  There was no bus shelter, but another parking lot.

My brother and sister recently asked me some questions about Dad's railroad work experience which sent me to to find some documents.  As usual, when I started out looking for one thing, I found another--Dad's World War II draft registration in 1940.  He and Mom were married September 1940, so I was surprised to see her name on it---they were newlyweds and living at 3626 Botanical Ave. near the Botanical Gardens.

So, I googled it and was so surprised at what a cute house it was even though they probably lived upstairs.

When I clicked through, that was 3634 Botanical, Mom and Dad's first home was. ... you guessed it, another parking lot. My sister Jane wrote me,"Empty space, filled with living spirit."  She nailed it!