Wednesday, April 13, 2011

James Godwin of Sampson Co NC

I've had the great fortune of working with some very good researchers (and librarians I might add ;-) these past few months on trying to piece together the various Godwin lines that were found in Randolph, Sampson, Edgecombe, and Johnston counties of North Carolina in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

One family of particular interest is James Godwin who married Elizabeth (last name believed to be Dawson). James Godwin died about 1801 in Sampson Co., NC. His estate records have been found and reviewed at the NC State Archives. His estate was divied out to 8 heirs - Milley, Elias, Aaron, William, and James Godwin; also, Rachel Watson, Rhody Beaman, and Silvey Beaman. Additional court records mentioned that minor heirs Charles, Allen, and Wiley Godwin chose Joseph Dawson as their guardian in 1802.

One way I like to try track men of the same name is by their land records. Fortunately, we believe there were only two James Godwins in Sampson Co between 1770-1800 - James Sr and his son, James Jr, so this was not that difficult to do. James Godwin Jr removed to Johnston Co by the time he was old enough to buy and sell land, so that made it easier as well.

In all, I found land grants totalling 800 Acres for James Godwin Sr. He sold one tract of land before his death, leaving 650 Acres to be divided up among his heirs when he died and his estate was settled in 1801. It just so happens that as we were reviewing deeds for his children, I noticed at least one tract from most all of the heirs being sold between 1804 and 1807 for 80 acres.  And a couple of the deeds mentioned that it was either land that had been a patent to James Godwin with the year listed or that it had been land that had been left to that heir as legacy; sometimes it said by "his father" and sometimes it just said it was left to him "by James Godwin."

One deed that has baffled us was from Silas Godwin in 1806. It was for 98 acres (which by the way one other deed was for 71 acres, so there were 6x deeds for 80 acres, + 1x for 71, + 1x for 98 = 649 Acres); However this deed differed from the others because it was from Silas Godwin and Elizabeth Godwin. We are not sure who this Elizabeth Godwin is.

Elizabeth Godwin was the wife of James Godwin who was still living at the time. Her share of the estate is unknown to us at this time. (James Godwin did have land that he purchased in addition to the land grants, so she could have received part of that). Elizabeth Godwin was also the name of Silas' wife. So was this Elizabeth Godwin Silas' wife or mother? And if she was his mother, why wasn't she listed on the deeds of the other heirs? 

Secondly, if you recall, Silas was not mentioned as an heir in the estate records mentioned above. We have determined that he was the same man as Charles listed above. He would have been 2 years older than Allen and 4 years older than Wiley also mentioned above, and he would have been 22 years old when he and Elizabeth Godwin sold this land in 1806, so he was not a minor.

Lastly, it is possible that Silas was a grandson of James and Elizabeth Godwin and therefore a minor which required the co-sign of Elizabeth Godwin, his Grandmother. If this is the case, then that means that Silas/Charles is an heir mentioned above in the estate who did not receive or sell a lot that was drawn from the estate and could possibly be the (dead) father of this minor Silas; or Elias Godwin, who also was listed in the estate but who also did not receive/sell a lot drawn from the estate.

I could really use some input here. Who is this Elizabeth and why did she put her name on Silas' deed?

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