Posted in African American, genealogy, Logan, Uncategorized

Grave Hunting in Rutherfordton

I had a business meeting in Columbus, NC this morning which gave me my first opportunity to swing by Rutherfordton. Since this trip was for business and not for pleasure, I didn’t take the time to properly research what relatives were buried where. I knew that my wife’s GG Grandfather George W. Logan was buried at an episcopal church in town. I found St. Francis Episcopal Church and stopped there to take a look.

It was an absolutely beautiful stone church with many old graves. I did not have a great deal of time to peruse and I never did for G.W. Logan’s grave, but I verified this evening that he is indeed buried there. Also, my wife’s Great Grandfather James Andrew Logan is buried there as well.

There was one old tombstone that drew me in. I had to take a picture of it to read later. I honestly had no idea what it said at the time.


Here is the best that I could do for an inscription:

To the memory of
my faithful and lamented
servant Enoch

who departed this life
June 14th 1862 in the
9th year of his age

Take heed that ye despise not 
one of these little ones. 
Mat, Chap. 18 ver 10

And they shall be mine, saith
the LORD of hosts, in that day
when I make up my jewels
Malachi Chap 3 ver 17

Ida S. Duffy
Rutherfordton, NC

I don’t know this for sure, but it seems as if this is a tombstone for a young slave boy named Enoch. On my way home I listened to the Extreme Genealogy Podcast. Part of the episode had a discussion about the rarity of finding tombstone’s for slaves.


I hope to find out more about Enoch and Ida S. Duffy, and can’t wait to visit this cemetery again!

Posted in African American, Logan, Research Tips & Tricks

Building a Freedman’s Schoolhouse in Rutherfordton

An 1868 engraving of “James’s Plantation School” in North Carolina. This freedmen’s school is possibly one of those established by Horace James on the Yankee or Avon Hall plantations in Pitt County in 1866. North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library.

I was listening to the Genealogy Guys podcast last week when they started talking about the new database of Freedman’s Bureau records made available by Family Search.

At the end of 2016, FamilySearch International, the genealogical arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, turned over a newly indexed database of records of the Freedman’s Bureau to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

The indexing was the fruit of the labor of more than 25,000 volunteers from all over the world. They created a guide to handwritten records of the Freedman’s Bureau, which was organized during the Civil War to help newly freed slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Volunteers indexed 1.5 million digital images and uncovered the names of nearly 1.8 million former slaves.

My wife’s GG Grandfather, George W. Logan of Rutherford County, NC was a progressive voice during the reconstruction era. You can read more about that in this previous blog post. I decided to see if he had any records in this database and I came across a few hits.

I was particularly impressed by letters that he, a local Freedmen’s Bureau Agent, and Freedmen wrote to the Superintendent of Education.

First, there was the letter written by local Freedman, asking the bureau for funds to secure the materials required to build their school.


Rutherfordton, NC
Jun 19th, 1868

Rev. F.A. Fisk
Superintendent of Education  Bu. R. F&A. L.
Raleigh, NC

Dear Sir.

We the undersigned Freedman respectfully petition for Aid, to enable us to build a school house for the use of the Freedman of this place. Your the [?] of Wm Birnie Agent of the Bureau of [L?] N.C. That the Bureau would assist us in building a school house at this place. We have gone to ask and raised by Subscription about fifty (50) dollars for this object. There is no school here for the Freedmen of this county, and if we can receive sufficient aid in a [?] [?] from the Bureau, we can establish a school here of seventy five dollars, which we promise to carry on after the school house is built. 

The Freedmen will build the school house if the Bureau will buy the lumber, nails, glass, which will cost at least one hundred & fifty dollars. The money which we have already raised by subscription, will enable us to buy an acre of ground within the corporation of this town. Conceived to the Scholars, and the only place we could find that we could purchase for the school. We trust that the money $150 which we petition for herein may be granted us for the purpose of building a schoolhouse. We are unable to find a building which we can rent, and will therefore have to build a schoolhouse. 

Nelson Bryan
Louis Bryan
John Carrier
Vincent Michal

On the back of this letter, we see that these gentlemen enlisted the help of George W. Logan to write a recommendation on the character of the men and their ability to follow through with this request.



Rutherfordton, NC
19th Jun 1868

Rev. F.A. Fisk

Dear Sir,

Within is a petition signed by several Freedman of our Village & vicinity for the purpose of raising funds to build them a school house and carrying on a school.

The Freedman whose names are hereunto attached are respectable, industrious & able & will no doubt aid properly in this business. I hope you will give this subject some consideration and if possible… [need transcription help here] … very much in need of education. 

Very Respectfully,
G.W. Logan


Rutherfordton, NC
Jun 19th, 1868

Rev. F.A. Fisk
Superintendent of Education  Bu. R. F&A. L.
Raleigh, NC

Dear Sir.

I cheerfully recommend to you formable consideration this application for Aid from the Bureau to enable the Freedman of Rutherfordton to establish a school. 

I have met with a number of the Colored people since I have been here, and they are very anxious to start a school. They have but little money, but are willing and anxious to do all they can, and if they had the assistance which is asked for, I have no doubt that a school will be sustained by them. They will build the schoolhouse themselves. 

Gen. G.W. Logan – who will gladly do anything within his power for the benefits of the Freedman has consented to secure and take charge of any funds for building the School house which the Bureau can grant for that purpose. The school house will be held in trust by the Colored people for Educating their Children.

Very Truly,
Wm Birnie

Agent Bu. R. F&A. Lands



Bureau Refugees FAL (Freedmen Abandoned Lands Office)
Superintendent of Education Raleigh NC June 27, 1868

Respectfully forwarded to Col. Jacob F Chur

with the recommendation that the Bureau make the expenditure of $150.00 to assist in the erection of a school building at Rutherfordton, when a copy of the deed of land whereon the building is to be erected shall have been deposited in this office. F.A. Fiske Superintendent of Education

During a Freedmen’s Convention held in Raleigh in October of 1866, F.A. Fisk said, “North-Carolina, in regard to free schools for colored people, has a good reputation to sustain. According to a recent report of the Bureau inspector of Freedmen’s schools, (whose office is located in Washington, D. C.,) she stands second in the number of such schools, and third in the number of scholars under instructions in them.”

For more information about the Freedman’s Bureau in North Carolina, I highly recommend you read this article. To start researching the newly released Freedman’s Bureau database, click here.

Posted in Cannon/Fincannon, Craig, Research Tips & Tricks

Surviving the Civil War in an unusual way.

Alfred Harrison Craig with wife Nancy Cannon.
An old tin print of Alfred Harrison Craig and wife Nancy Cannon. Look closely and you will see the patch on his cheek that hides his wound from the Battle of Chickamauga. This photo will be featured in an upcoming book by Civil War historian Michael C. Hardy, about the 58th North Carolina Troops and will be published by McFarland and Company, of Jefferson, North Carolina.

Before I became interested in genealogy, my Dad used to tell me about a great-grandfather of ours that was shot in the cheek in the Civil War and swallowed the bullet.  It sounded like grandiose family-lore at the time, so I was pleasantly shocked when I found out it was a true story of my GGGgreat-grandfather Alfred Harrison Craig. I first saw the evidence of the story when my grandmother showed me his picture. You can clearly see a patch on his right cheek where he was wounded.  I also came across a Civil War document that described his wound.

Alfred was born 25 Dec 1840 in Caldwell County, NC. He was the son of Austin Holland Craig and Saphronia Fincannon.  He married Nancy Cannon in 1860.

He enlisted for the war in Caldwell County on May 12, 1862. Probably a recruit for Vance’s Legion.  He mustered in as a private in Company H, 58th North Carolina Troops, on July 29, 1862. Reported present January through June 1863. Wounded in the right check at Chickamauga, Georgia, on September 20, 1863. Reported absent wounded through August 31, 1864. Reported in the hospital at Montgomery, Alabama, on November 15, 1864.

Alfred and Nancy had the following children:

Laura Jane Craig (1862 – 1925) m. John Wesley Stallings
Anderson Asbury Craig (1864 – 1919) m. Mary M. Gibson
Eliza Craig (1869 – 1946) m. a German
Mary Emma Craig (1871 – 1945) never married
Margaret Craig (1873 – before 1900)
Louisa Corbelle Craig (1876 – 1967) m. Elisha A. Martin
Harrison Andrew Craig (1878 – 1953) m. Elma Leona Hatley
and 2 other children who died before 1900.

A helpful genealogy tip is to go to your local library and find the obituary for your ancestor.  The Caldwell County Public Library in Lenoir, NC have local newspapers on microfiche dating back to 1906.  I was able to find the following obit for Alfred:

In Memory of Mr. Alfred H. Craig

Alfred H. Craig was born Dec. 25 1840, and died May 30, 1920, being 79 years 4 months and 25 days old. He was married to Nancy Cannon in 1860. To this union were born 9 children, of whom 5 are living. He enlited in the Confederate Army in 1862, in Capt. Harper’s company of the 58th North Carolina regiment, and was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga Sept. 20, 1863.

He was a member of the Methodist Church for thirty years and lived a quiet Christian life. He was an honest, upright citizen. The funeral services were conducted at Mt. Hermon Church, in a very impressive manner, by Rev. M. H. Tuttle, and the body was laid to rest in the family burying ground near the home of the deceased. He has answered the last roll call and gone to dwell with the saints above.  ~A FRIEND

I love obits because they always provide a ton of great information. It’s also neat seeing the other stories that appear in the same paper to give you an idea of the times.  For instance, the article above his obit is an article about the population growth of key southern cities from 1910 to 1920.  Atlanta, at the time, had a population of only 200,616.

Next Post: Adventurous spirit takes John Franklin Puett from the Spanish-American War to the Klondike Gold Rush.

Posted in Hollar, Puett, Research Tips & Tricks, Surnames

Why young people should start researching their family tree today.

…and some helpful tips on how you can get started.

I started researching my genealogy almost 10 years ago.  I am now 27 years old and am still the youngest genealogy researcher I know.  I’m not sure why I am such an oddity, but I am used to it.  When I moved to Whiteville, NC a few years ago I started attending meetings of the Southeastern NC Genealogical Society. I’m usually the only one there not drawing social security.

The best time to get interested in your family history is not when you reach retirement, but TODAY.  Why? Because you should start while your family is still alive to tell their stories. It is easy to take your parents, grand-parents, great-aunts and uncles for granted, but one day, when they are gone you don’t want to look back and say to yourself, “I wish I would have asked grandma how her and grandpa met.”

Many times young people have told me that they had a great-aunt that did their genealogy going way back.  That’s kind of a poor excuse to me considering they never seem to have a copy of Aunt Betsy’s research, so what good is she? That and Aunt Betsy likely only did research on the side of the family that they are related to her through. Since each new generation has about twice the amount of ancestors as the previous one (unless your from Caldwell County and your tree rarely forks) there is still a lot of research to be done for you. Besides we are from the Internet generation and poor Aunt Betsy’s research can be seriously beefed up with access to today’s genealogical Internet databases.

Here are a few tips to help you start collecting information from your relatives:

1) Create an ancestral chart.

Print off a few copies of an ancestry chart (you can find one free here: and get help from your relatives to fill it out.  You are going to want to collect full names, birth dates & places, death dates & places, marriage dates & places  and the names of siblings.  This information will help you later when you try to search online databases so try to be as thorough as possible.

2) Invest in a tape recorder.

Consider buying a cheap digital audio recorder so that you can record family stories from grandma, that you will cherish forever. I interviewed my Great-Grandmother, Carrie Puett Hollar, a few months before she died and I was able to give each of my family members a CD of the interview the day of the funeral. allows you to attach audio recordings to specific people in your tree or you can transcribe the recordings for your written history.

3) Scan Photos.

Anyone who has ever been in my house knows that I am addicted to collecting old family photos.  Pictures really bring your research to life. When I go see family to talk genealogy I like to bring along my laptop and scanner. I then go to Walgreen’s and make reproductions and I also use them to make my tree more visual. I’ve noticed that many of the old pictures I come across do not have names on the back.  Just another crucial reason why you should start doing this today while someone is still living to help you with identification.

4) Create a tree on

I’ve used many different types of genealogy software over the years, but my research is now 100% web-based. is better than any desktop software I have ever used and it makes collaborating with other researchers a breeze.  I subscribe to their Annual U.S. Deluxe for $5.95/month. They have a World Deluxe option but there is too much research to be done on “this side of the pond” for me to warrant upgrading.

Genealogy research gets a lot more in depth than this, but this will certainly give you a great start.  If you are interested in getting started and have any questions along the way, please leave a comment below!