3/17/18

Irish Birth Blessed with Health, Dreams, Kindness and Featherbed

A few years ago I spit in a tube and sent it off to a DNA project on ancestry.com.  What a surprise to find out I am 29% Irish.  As they say in ancestry.com ads, "I had no idea". 

Really, 29% is a wee bit more than 'A Wee Bit Irish', and again to quote the 'Ad'..."I wanted to know more". 

The search began on my ancestry DNA Story with two family names.  Both from my father's maternal line.

It starts with my Great Grandmother Martha Jane Marley Carroll and her Mother, Mary Josephine Leatherwood Marley.  Neither of the names Carroll or Leatherwood to my ear had a ring of Irish.  As it turns out the Leatherwood line lead through at least five great grandmothers maiden names to reach an Irish descendent.  That's the 'Wee Bit Irish' DNA accounting.

Carroll, which is my father's middle name and the last name of his grandfather Stephen Bennett Carroll, lead to a 'Whole Lot More Irish'. 

William I. Carroll immigrated to the Virginia colonies with his parents. His father Thomas Edward Carroll died when William was 9 years old.  Records in ancestry.com state he married Elizabeth Spencer, daughter of neighbors William and Elizabeth Spencer in 1748.

The first records of William and Elizabeth show he leased two hundred acres of land with a payment agreement of 630 pounds of tobacco over a period of three years.  With that he became a tobacco farmer committed to a three year lease in Fairfax County, Virginia.

William and Elizabeth's son Thomas Carroll was born July 16, 1753, in Goochland, Virginia.  According to records and a yearly timeline, the family migrated to North Carolina around 1755.  Along the Catawba River, during the years of 1755 - 1763, the French and Indian War drove hundreds of settlers out of the area.  The Carroll family ultimately settled in Granville County, North Carolina, about 100 miles from the hostile Indian territory.

In 1762 William is listed in the Taxable's for the Bare Swamp District in Granville County.  Over a period of years, that county changed districts and county's several times, and in 1780 became part of Franklin County, North Carolina.  It is thought that William and his family resided there for about 20 years where he owned 240 acres of tobacco farm land.  Changes in county boundaries  made for difficulties in tracking land and counties, but the Carroll family were lastly recorded in Granville County.

William and Elizabeth Spencer Carroll had at least 9 children...all named in his 'Will'.  Of the five daughters and 4 sons, my direct descendant and 5th Great Grandfather Thomas received a small inheritance of 5 pounds in cash. The largest part of Williams estate went first to his wife Elizabeth until her death or remarrying, and upon either of those instances, son Jesse was to inherit the 240 acre plantation and his heirs forever. 

As for Thomas, along with his 5 pounds in cash and upon the death/marrying of his mother he stood to inherit a Featherbed.  Why only 5 pounds in cash to my Great 5x Grandfather Thomas...perhaps could be related to an Irish Birthday Blessing.

Telling Williams story in honor of Saint Patrick's Day 2018 seems a 'Wee Bit' incomplete without knowing his exact month and day of birth.  Therefore, I invoke my 'Fact to Fiction Writers License' and declare his birth month as March and his birth day as the 17th.  How else could it be for someone born in Limerick, Ireland?
Irish Birthday Blessing
May you live a long life full of gladness and health.
With a pocket full of gold as the least of your wealth.
May the dreams you hold dearest be those which come true.
May the kindness you spread, keep returning to you.
 
Happy 287th Birthday 6th Great Grandfather William Carroll.

Thank you 5th Great Grandfather Thomas Carroll for your long life,
your less than a pocket full of gold, the dreams you held dear,
 the kindness you spread and a Featherbed.
If not for you I would not be me.