Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Thankful for Online Transcriptions

Seeking the document which recorded the last will of Job "Tyson" was a challenge I presumed would have to be put off until I could make the cross-country trip to Glynn County, Georgia. Thankfully, though, we get a temporary reprieve in the form of two online sites containing transcriptions of his will.

One, which was shared by the researcher who is also puzzling through our mutual McClellan/Tison DNA connection, led me to the US GenWeb site, where a transcription of Job Tison's will had been included in the text files for the state of Georgia. The other, thanks to a tip from Google, re-introduced to me a prodigious collection of online transcriptions from Glynn County I had totally forgotten about over the years: the work of Amy Hedrick at There, among many other resources of which I'm availing myself during this particular phase of Tison research, I found an additional transcription of Job's will—this one much more readable.

While I've mentioned the details of the Tison will earlier this year while trying to determine the connection for King Stockton between my McClellan line and that of Job Tison, my purpose in revisiting this document now is to follow the indication of which of his slaves were sent to which family. Additionally, I want to follow the unusual notes included along with the usual designations.

Of course, just looking at this wording presents the awkward—at least to the modern mind—sense of not only the concept of one person owning another, but being able to direct that person's future well-being, including the splitting asunder of family connections. My main curiosity, in engaging in this exercise, is to follow what became of the woman named Hester—within the subsequent six years to have become pregnant by an as-yet-unnamed partner with the son she named King, at about the same time she left Georgia to follow her mistress to her married life as Mrs. George McClellan in Wellborn, Florida. But I am also wondering whether any of the other enslaved persons actually moved to Florida along with Hester.

To track the ultimate outcome of these transactions will mean not only listing the determination given in Job Tison's will—which I'll cover momentarily—but following that will through the many subsequent years in which Job's wife, Sidnah, acting as executrix while constrained by the minor ages of Job's heirs, finally put that will into action. Some of that requisite business was not completely attended to until after Sidnah's own death in 1855, when her son took up the responsibility of completing those arrangements.

Yesterday, I named Job Tison's children—all of them, at the point in February, 1824, when he drew up his will, being underage. Today, let's look at which of the enslaved population at the Tison plantation were designated to each of the named Tison children, once they came of age. I'll begin with the oldest, and follow the order of the will's transcription.

Before getting to that, though, Job mentioned in his will that he intended to "lend" his property to his wife until "at her death" it would be passed to his "four youngest children," Susan, William, John, and Theresa. This not only included the Tison land but the enslaved "property" as well. Until Sidnah died in 1855, then, the four named slaves—Tom, Judy, Ned, and Maria—were to be considered hers.

Job's oldest, son Aaron, was to receive a man named Ben. Next oldest, my third great-grandmother Sidney, was to receive Hester, confirming what I had suspected from family stories of her later years, and explaining why, upon Sidney's death in 1860, she, though a married woman, held "property" of her own which required the legal instrument of a will to distribute.

The next Tison child, Melinda, was to receive "Phillis," of whom there were subsequent notations in Job Tison's probate file. Her younger sister Susan was to receive a woman named Clarissa. For the next Tison child, a son named William, the designated slave was to be Peter, and for William's younger brother John, the slave inherited was to be Joe. Finally, the youngest child, daughter Theresa, was to receive a slave named Lydia.

Those were not the only descendants mentioned in Job Tison's will. He also intended to take care of two grandchildren, whose particular mention—without any explanation as to their parents' names—indicate that Job may have had another daughter who predeceased him. While I cannot find any record of such a daughter's marriage in the Glynn County marriage transcripts, the search now will be on to determine just who Eliza Carter and Job Carter might have been—and, of course, to track what became of the slaves, Patty and Frank, willed to each of them, respectively.

That, according to the transcript, named the enslaved persons claimed by Job Tison at the point of preparing his will in 1824: Tom, Judy, Ned, Maria, Ben, Hester, Phillis, Clarissa, Peter, Joe, Lydia, Patty, and Frank—thirteen persons in all. But it did not compare as conveniently with the twenty five enslaved persons accounted for in the 1820 census entry for Job Tison's household, leaving me to wonder whether any of the unnamed slaves had been sold to satisfy debts—or if the chosen individuals signified merely "favorite" slaves or any sort of family grouping.

There were, in the will itself, as well as among the subsequently-listed papers in the probate file, some other indications of possible family groupings which need to be mentioned. We'll take a look at that, tomorrow.

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