Freeman Howell – Ancestor of the Native American Howells of Granville, Orange, Person, and Alamance Counties

This is a special blog post for me because Freeman Howell (1777-1870) was my 4th great-grandfather. He was also the progenitor of all of the Native American/”free colored” Howells living in Granville, Orange, Person, and Alamance Cos so it is important to correctly identify all of his descendants. Freeman Howell’s descendants married into most of the Native families in and around Granville, including: Pettiford, Anderson, Evans, Curtis, Brandon, Cousins, Tyler, Day, Richardson, Goins, Bass, Chavis, Guy, Hedgepeth and more. Thus if you are also researching these families, you’ll want to keep reading.

What has recently aided me in documenting Freeman’s descendants are the new wills and probate records that are available on Ancestry.com. These records have helped me verify his family as well as add in new family members I was previously unaware of.


Who was Freeman Howell?

Freeman Howell map
Map of Virginia and North Carolina, showing the movement of the Howell family via Freeman Howell, to Granville County.

Freeman Howell was the son of Matthew Howell (1752-1793) and Peggy Howell (1755- after 1830, maiden name unknown) of Charlotte County, VA. I briefly discussed Matthew Howell and earlier Howell lineage in my blog post about the Saponi Indian cabins in Amelia (Nottoway) Co, VA. Though the Howells have Pamunkey tribal origins, this particular branch of the Howell family moved into southside VA and intermarried with other tribes.

Freeman’s father Matthew Howell died in 1793, and as a result Freeman and his siblings were bound out as apprentices in the Charlotte County courts on 3 June 1793 to William Flood (1752-1806):

Freeman Howell court order
Freeman Howell and his siblings are called the “mulatto children” of Peggy Howell when they were ordered bound to William Flood by the Charlotte County, VA court.

William Flood (1752-1806) was from the Native American/”free colored” Flood family and I suspect that he was Freeman Howell’s maternal uncle. Like the Howells, William Flood moved from Amelia Co, VA to Charlotte and Mecklenburg Cos, VA. Interestingly, Freeman’s brother Matthew B Howell (b. 1784) married for a second time William Flood’s daughter Mary “Polly” Flood b. 1796 which would have been a first cousin marriage – a somewhat common occurrence in the community during this time period. So this would mean that Freeman’s mother Peggy Howell was originally Peggy Flood. If I find more evidence to support this theory, I’ll be sure to update this blog post.

Freeman Howell’s niece Betsy Howell (1814-1912) relocated her family to Gallia Co, Ohio where their descendants are “core” families of the Saponi Nation of Ohio. Betsy’s son Wesley Howell (b. 1843) was a known medicine man:

Wesley Howell medicine man Source: Midwest Saponi Nation
Wesley Howell (b. 1843) great nephew of Freeman Howell, was a medicine man
Source: Midwest Saponi Nation newsletter

Over the next few years, Freeman Howell appears in the tax lists for Charlotte County from 1794-1797. He then appears in the tax lists for neighboring Mecklenburg Co, VA beginning in 1806. It is there that he likely married his wife  Susan (Maiden name unknown) 1777-1870. Regrettably, I have not been able to locate their marriage record so I cannot say for certain what year they married or have confirmation of Susan’s maiden name. And it is also possible that Freeman Howell was married more than once. I have speculated in the past that Susan may have been the Susan Brandon who was the daughter of Thomas Brandon (1746-1834) and Margaret Evans/Walden (b. 1753, she used both surnames) of Mecklenburg Co, VA. Freeman Howell appeared on the same tax lists as Thomas Brandon in Mecklenburg Co. However, a close review of Thomas Brandon’s will and estate records, show that his daughter Susan is called “Susan Stewart” indicating that her husband was a Stewart.

Screen Shot 2020-10-09 at 8.02.25 PM
A section of Thomas Brandon’s will from 12 April 1830 in Mecklenburg County, VA. In it, he calls his daughter Susan, “Susanna Stewart” indicating that his daughter had married a member of the Stewart family. This confirm that Freeman Howell’s wife Susan was not Susan Brandon. Mecklenburg County Will Book Vol 13: Pages 440-1.

Freeman Howell was recorded in the Mecklenburg tax lists from 1806 through 1820 and was last recorded in the Mecklenburg census  in 1820 when he was enumerated  as the head of household of 8 people.

Freeman Howell 1818 tax list
Freeman Howell was recorded in the Mecklenburg tax list in 1818. The first column is the poll tax showing that he was charged for 1 poll tax. Free men over the age of 16 were considered tithables. Therefore this indicates that in 1818, none of Freeman Howell’s sons had yet reached the age of 16 because he was only charged with a poll tax on himself. The fourth column is the amount of horses and so this indicates that Freeman Howell owned 2 horses. The final column lists the total amount of tax, showing that he was charged $36.

In the 1820s, a number of Native/”free colored” families including the Howells, Brandons/Branhams, Guys, Cousins and Chavises living in Mecklenburg Co, VA moved a very short distance across the state border to Granville Co, NC.  The first located record for Freeman Howell in Granville is on 17 January 1824, when he paid $150 for 120 acres of land on Grassy Creek from Robert Cousins (b. 1796). Robert Cousins was the brother of Freeman’s son-in-law Nelson Cousins (b. 1794). Nelson Cousins was married to Freeman’s daughter Julia Howell (1797-1870). It is also possible that Robert Cousins was a son-in-law to Freeman Howell by marrying Freeman’s daughter Elizabeth Howell (This is discussed in further detail in the Elizabeth Howell section found later in this post).

freeman-howell-robert-cousins-land-deed
Land deed showing that Freeman Howell paid Robert Cousins, $150 for 120 acres of land on Grassy Creek.

Grassy Creek is a tributary of the Roanoke River located in northern Granville County. According to Ned Bearskin, the Saponi guide who accompanied Col. William Byrd II (1674-1744) on an expedition of the Virginia/North Carolina border, Grassy Creek was called Ohimpa-mony in the Saponi/Tutelo language. Ohimpa-mony translates to “jumping creek” and is a reference to the abundance of jumping fish in the creek. You can read more about the Saponi place names in Granville County, in my blogpost here.

Freeman Howell and his family were not the only Native/”free colored” households located in the Grassy Creek area in the early 1800s. The previously mentioned brothers, Nelson Cousins (b. 1794) and Robert Cousins (b. 1796) resided on Grassy Creek. Another interesting family was that of Collins Pettiford (b. 1777) and his wife Polly Chavis (b. 1781) who owned 88 acres of land. Two of their daughters, Margaret Pettiford (b. 1805) and Mary Pettiford(b. 1807) , married two of Freeman Howell’s sons – William Howell (1804-1860) and Matthew Howell (1806-1860), respectively. Polly Chavis (b. 1781) was the daughter of James Chavis (b. 1748) and Jane Evans (b. 1755) who also lived on Grassy Creek before previously living in Mecklenburg County, VA. Polly Chavis’ brother Evans Chavis (b. 1770) was another local. Brothers Willis Bass (b. 1791) and Racey Bass (b. 1789) who are the subject of this blogpost that can be read here, lived on Grassy Creek. Willis Bass’ wife Olive Chavis (b. 1790) may have come from the family of James Chavis (b. 1748) and Jane Evans (b. 1755).

Freeman Howell's land
According to the land deed and tax lists, Freeman Howell’s land was located on Grassy Creek. His land was located somewhere within the red circled area. This district used to be known as Abram’s Plains and is today known as Sassafras Fork. It is a district in northern Granville County, on the state border with Virginia. Map:https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/ncmaps/id/654

Freeman Howell’s household, which included his wife Susan and children, appears in the Granville County census in 1830, 1840, 1850 and 1860. By 1870, Freeman was deceased and he did not leave a will. Instead there are existing estate records which show how his estate was divided among his heirs.


Freeman Howell’s Estate Records

Lewisford A. Paschall (also known as Lunsford Paschall and L.A. Paschall), Granville County’s clerk was assigned as administrator of Freeman Howell’s estate on 19 Nov 1870. This confirms that Freeman Howell died intestate (without a will). As administrator, Paschall was responsible for selling Freeman’s assets which included 100 acres of land and any personal property. After paying off any outstanding debts, the remaining balance was to be divided among Freeman’s living heirs also known as legatees. It is important to point out that according to the 1824 land deed, Freeman Howell purchased 120 acres however he only owned 100 acres at the time of his death. I have not been able to determine what happened to that additional 20 acres of land. On 2 Oct 1871, Freeman’s 100 acres of land was sold to his white neighbor John Greenway for $499 cash.

Lewisford A Paschall named as administrator of Freeman Howell'e estate. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Lewisford A Paschall named as administrator of Freeman Howell’s estate.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Freeman Howell's land sold for $499 to John Greenway on October 2, 1871. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Freeman Howell’s land sold for $499 to John Greenway on October 2, 1871.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

After paying off Freeman’s debts with the $499 received from the land sale, administrator L.A. Paschall had a remaining balance of $117.17 to be divided among Freeman’s heirs. A white woman named Milly Wilkerson (1810-1879) received a judgement of $210.82 against Freeman Howell’s estate which accounted for most of Freeman’s debt. I’m unsure of Milly’s exact relationship to Freeman, but in the 1850 census she was residing in his household. Milly Wilkerson was a single woman, but she had children with Native American/”free colored” men from the community. I know one such man was Burton Cousins because he paid for her “bastard bond” in Feb 1835, but maybe she was also involved with a Howell. After all the debts were paid, an additional $25.60 was paid to county clerk Calvin Betts which brought down the remaining balance further.

Each of Freeman Howell’s children received $9.45. His son James Howell received $10.08 and I’m unsure why he received slightly more money. Because Freeman Howell lived to be almost 100 years old, he outlived many of his children. So the shares for his deceased children were divided among their living heirs. For example, Freeman Howell’s son John Howell was deceased but had 11 living children, so each child received 85 cents which is roughly 1/11 of $9.45.

Some of Freeman Howell’s children signed over their shares to pay off outstanding debts, and this included the estates of some of Freeman Howell’s deceased children. For example, Freeman’s daughter Elizabeth (Howell) Fain who was still living, signed over her $9.45 to A.H. Bumpass. And the estate for Freeman Howell’s deceased son William Howell signed over his share to James Amis.

Freeman Howell's daughter Elizabeth (Howell) Fain, widow of James Fain, signed over her share to A.H. Bumpass. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Freeman Howell’s daughter Elizabeth (Howell) Fain, widow of James Fain, signed over her share to A.H. Bumpass.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

What also further complicated the distribution of Freeman Howell’s estate was that many of his heirs had relocated to other counties and to the state of Ohio where many other Native/”free colored” families from Granville had resettled. Today these families can be found in the Saponi Nation of Ohio. As a result, administrator L.A. Paschall was required to publish in the newspaper the names of Freeman Howell’s heirs who had moved away to alert them of the land sale. For example:

Source: 18 May 1871 Raleigh Daily Telegram
Source: 18 May 1871 Raleigh Daily Telegram

As administrator of Freeman Howell’s estate, Paschall was also required to keep an line item account of the money in the estate. We can see that his heirs who were still lived locally received their cash share from the sale of his land. It also appears that those who had moved away and lost contact did not receive their shares. Here is the account for Freeman Howell’s estate:

First page of Freeman Howell estate's account. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
First page of Freeman Howell estate’s account.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Second page of Freeman Howell estate's account. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Second page of Freeman Howell estate’s account.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

Freeman Howell’s Descendants

In the following sections, I will provide an overview of Freeman Howell’s descendants. Freeman Howell’s estate records along with census records and vital records (birth, marriage and death records) are the main primary source documents that I used to create these charts.

Freeman Howell family tree
Family Tree chart for Freeman Howell (1777-1870) and his wife Susan and their children and spouses. Please note that Susan’s maiden name is unknown.

1. Julia Howell (1797 – 1870)

julia-howell-family-chart-003
Family Tree chart of Julia Howell (1797-1870) and her husband Nelson Cousins showing their offspring and their spouses. 

Julia Howell was the wife of Nelson Cousins (b. 1794). Nelson appears in the 1820 census for Mecklenburg Co, VA next to his father-in-law Freeman Howell. In 1830 and 1840, Nelson is counted in the Granville Co census. And by 1850, the family moved next door to Person Co, NC.

Nelson Cousins (b. 1794) and his brother Robert Cousins (b. 1796) were the children of a woman named Betty Cousins. This is documented in the Granville County court minutes when they were apprenticed out to William Yancey on 6 November 1800.

Nelson and Robert Cousins Court Minutes
Nelson Cousins (age 6) and Robert Cousins (age 4) the children of Betty Cousins were apprenticed out to William Yancey in 1800 in Granville County.

Starting in the 1860s, several of Julia Howell and Nelson Cousin’s children relocated to Ross Co, Ohio. And Julia Howell herself joined her children in Ohio because her death was recorded in Ross Co, OH on April 15, 1870.

Julia
Julia “Judith” (Howell) Cousins death record.
Source: Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001

Julia (Howell) Cousins’ children who relocated to Ohio were: John Cousins (1820-1891), Edmund Cousins (1824-1886), Robert Cousins (1830-1907), Elizabeth (Cousins) Day (b. 1832), Wiley Cousins (b. 1836) and William Cousins (b. 1838). The children who remained in North Carolina were: Frederick I Cousins (b. 1817), Emily (Cousins) Day (b. 1827), and Nelson Cousins Jr (b. 1844).

Because Julia predeceased her father, her share was divided among her heirs and her three children who remained in North Carolina each received a share of $1.33 of Freeman Howell’s estate. $9.45 divided by 7 shares, is $1.35. This indicates 7 living heirs of Julia (Howell) Cousins and according to my records, Elizabeth (Cousins) Day and William Cousins were deceased by 1870. And that would leave 7 living heirs.

Each heir who received a share of Freeman Howell's estate had to sign a receipt of payment. Because most people were semi literate, they signed with an
Each heir who received a share of Freeman Howell’s estate had to sign a receipt of payment. Because most family members were semi literate, they signed with an “x”. However Nelson Cousin Jr. (b. 1844) signed his own name.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

Son Edmund Cousins (1824-1886) lived long enough to file a Civil War pension in 1881 and his widow Julia Cousins filed one in 1890. If you’re a descendant of his, you’ll want to order the file from the War Department.

Edmund Cousins Civil War pension file number. Source: National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288, 546 rolls.
Edmund Cousins’ Civil War pension file numbers.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.
Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288, 546 rolls.
And son John Cousins (1820-1891) also fought in the Civil War and filed a pension in 1879 and his widow Martha (Hansberry) Cousins filed in 1892.

John Cousins Civil War Source: National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288, 546 rolls.
John Cousins’ Civil War pension file numbers.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.
Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288, 546 rolls.

2. Elizabeth Howell (1801-1879)

Elizabeth Howell family tree
Family Tree chart for Elizabeth Howell (1801-1879) and her first husband (of the Cousins family) and second husband James Fain and their offspring and spouses

Elizabeth Howell was first married to a member of the Cousins family and second married to  James Fain (b. 1789), a man who was born enslaved but was emancipated from slavery in 1822. There is likely no official record of their marriage because of James Fain’s enslaved status, but any children born to them would be free because Elizabeth Howell was a free-born woman. James Fain’s brother was Jacob Fain (1775-1837) and a transcription of his emancipation record in 1805 can be found here. From Jacob Fain’s 1836 will which can be found here, we learn that he bought the freedom of his brother James Fain and the freedom of his wife Sally Fain. Jacob Fain’s widow Sally Fain, named James Fain as her husband’s brother in her 1814 will that was proved in 1854. A transcription can be found here.

Though Elizabeth Howell was known was Elizabeth Fain (also spelled Phane and Fane), we learn from her 1872 will (proved in 1879) that she was previously married to a Cousins. In her will, Elizabeth divides her estate among her living heirs: her daughter Fanny Davis, her grandson James Henry Cousins, and her granddaughter Sally Ann Cousins (called wife of William Anderson Cousins).

Elizabeth Howell Phane will
Will of Elizabeth (Howell) Phane (also spelled Fain and Fane) dated 16 July 1872. Person County Will Book Vol 19, Pages 82-83.

Fanny Davis is the Frances Cousins (b. 1827) who married John Davis on 20 October 1848 in Granville. Frances Cousins and her husband John Davis were enumerated in the 1850 census in Granville adjoining the household of her mother Elizabeth Fain and enumerated in the 1870 census in Person also adjoining the household of her mother. Sally Ann Cousins is the Sally Ann Troler (b. 1839) who married William Anderson Cousins on 15 November 1858 in Person. The 1850 census in Person shows Sally Ann Troler as the daughter in the household of William Troler (b. 1812) and his wife Susan Cousins (b. 1823) who married on 19 November 1838 in Granville. This means Elizabeth Howell had at least two daughters: Susan Cousins (b. 1823) and Frances Cousins (b. 1827) with her first husband who was a Cousins. In the 1850 census in Granville, Elizabeth Howell  is enumerated with her husband James Fain and a 5 year old boy named James in her household. This is her grandson James Henry Cousins (b. 1845) who is named in her will. I have not yet been able to identify James Henry Cousins’ parents because he does not appear in a census with his parents, but this means that either his father or mother was a child of Elizabeth Howell.

The records I have reviewed do not identify the full name of Elizabeth Howell’s first husband from the Cousins family. I also do not know how long the marriage lasted because there is no marriage record for her second marriage to James Fain. By examining the available records and the close Cousins associations with the Howell family, I have identified several Cousins men whom I think could have been Elizabeth Howell’s spouse. The most likely and strongest candidate is Robert Cousins (b. 1796) who was the brother of Nelson Cousins (b. 1794) discussed in the section above. Nelson Cousins was married to Elizabeth Howell’s sister Julia Howell, so it would make sense for there to be another marriage within this group of siblings. Robert Cousins also sold Freeman Howell land in 1824 which is indicative of a close family relationship. Robert Cousins was enumerated in the 1820 census in Granville with a household of 7 people and so it’s clear that he was married and had children. That is also the last census he appeared in, so it would make sense for his widow Elizabeth Howell to later remarry James Fain.

On 9 November 1810, the Granville Court apprenticed out two brothers George Cousins (b. 1795) and Matthew Cousins (b. 1798). The record does not identify the parents of George and Matthew Cousins but it’s possible they may be brothers of Nelson Cousins and Robert Cousins. A road order from 1817 documented in the Granville court minutes (Order Book 1816-1820, Page 126), shows that George Cousins lived close to Robert Cousins. The 1820 census for Granville shows Matthew Cousins enumerated in the same district (County Line district) as Robert Cousins. Both George Cousins and Matthew Cousins disappear from the Granville records in the 1820s. Out of Robert Cousins, George Cousins, and Matthew Cousins, I believe Robert Cousins is the most likely husband of Elizabeth Howell and if I find more documentation to support this observation, I will update this post.

George and Matthew Cousins
Brothers George Cousins (age 15) and Matthew Cousins (age 12) were apprenticed out on 9 November 1810 in Granville according to the court minutes.

When Elizabeth Howell died in 1879, her estate was administered by A.H. Bumpass. Interestingly, this is the same man who Elizabeth signed over her $9.45 share from Freeman Howell’s estate to several years earlier.

Estate of Elizabeth (Howell) Fain Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Estate of Elizabeth (Howell) Fain
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

I had previously though that William Fain (b. 1829) of Person County could be a son that Elizabeth Howell had with James Fain. However her will and estate records make no mention of him even though he was very much alive when she wrote her will in 1872 and when her estate was settled in 1879. Therefore I no longer suspect that William Fain was Elizabeth Howell’s son.


3. William Howell (1804- before 1860)

william-howell-family-chart-005
Family Tree chart of William Howell (1804-before 1860) and first wife Margaret Pettiford and second wife Parthena Cousins and their offspring and their spouses. 

William Howell married Margaret Pettiford (b. 1805) on 22 Mar 1828 in Granville Co, NC. Burton Cousins was the bondsman. William Howell appears in the 1830 and 1840 censuses for Granville Co. In 1850 his household was in Caswell Co, NC. With Margaret Pettiford, William Howell had three children: Freeman Howell b. 1830, John Howell b. 1834, and Margaret Howell b. 1838. His wife Margaret died sometime before 1858 because on 30 Dec 1858, William Howell remarried Parthena Cousins b. 1833 in Person Co. With Parthena Cousins, William Howell had one additional son: Asa Howell (1860-1929).

William Howell died around 1860, so he predeceased his father Freeman Howell. William Howell’s estate received the $9.45 share and signed it over to James Amis:

William Howell's estate collected the $9.45 payment from Freeman Howell's estate and signed it over to James Amis. William Howell predeceased his father Freeman Howell. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
William Howell’s estate collected the $9.45 payment from Freeman Howell’s estate and signed it over to James Amis. William Howell predeceased his father Freeman Howell.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

William Howell’s son Freeman Howell (b. 1830) lived in Hillsboro, Orange Co and Pleasant Grove township, Alamance Co among ancestors of the present day Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation tribal members. He was married to Eliza Simmons (b. 1820) who was originally from Fayetteville, Cumberland Co and had been previously married to Henry Goins. After Goins death, Eliza and her three daughters relocated to Alamance Co and she married Freeman Howell.

Siblings George Goins (1877-1935) and Daisy Goins (1882-1938) of Hillsboro and Durham, NC. Their mother Josephine Goins was the step-daughter of Freeman Howell (b. 1830) Source: Ancestry, Username: seanyancey1968
Siblings George Goins (1877-1935) and Daisy Goins (1882-1938) of Hillsboro and Durham, NC. Their mother Josephine Goins was the step-daughter of Freeman Howell (b. 1830)
Source: Ancestry, Username: seanyancey1968

William Howell’s son John Howell (b. 1834) also lived in Pleasant Grove township, Alamance Co among ancestors of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation. John Howell does not appear to have ever married or had children. He last appears in the census in 1900.

That's John Howell (b. 1834), son of William Howell and Margaret Pettiford, residing in the household of John Hutson Jeffries and wife Mary Jane Jeffries. The couple are buried at Martin's Chapel Cemetery. Source: Year: 1900; Census Place: Pleasant Grove, Alamance, North Carolina; Roll: 1180; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 0011; FHL microfilm: 1241180
That’s John Howell (b. 1834), son of William Howell and Margaret Pettiford, residing in the household of John Hutson Jeffries and wife Mary Jane “Polly” Jeffriess. The couple are buried at Martin’s Chapel Cemetery.
Source: Year: 1900; Census Place: Pleasant Grove, Alamance, North Carolina; Roll: 1180; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 0011; FHL microfilm: 1241180

And William Howell’s youngest son Asa Howell (1860-1929) lived most of his life in Fishing Creek township, Granville Co. He was married three times: Dora Norwood (b. 1860), Virginia Crews (b. 1875) , and Nancy Howell (1871-1949).

A page from Asa Howell's estate records which indicate how his estate was to be divided. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
A page from Asa Howell’s (son of William Howell and second wife Parthena Cousins) estate records which indicate how his estate was to be divided.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

4. Edward Howell (1805-1874)

Edward Howell was not married and did not have any children. He appears in the 1850 and 1870 censuses for Pleasant Grove township, Alamance Co, NC which is where the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation is located. He received his $9.45 share of his father Freeman Howell’s estate. Edward died in 1874 and because he did not have any children, his estate was divided among his siblings and their living heirs. The administrator of Edward Howell’s estate published a notice in the newspaper regarding the estate.

Edward Howell died without a spouse or children, so his estate was divided among his siblings and their heirs. Like Freeman Howell's estate records, Edward Howell's estate records are a good source for documenting the Howell family. Source: The Alamance Gleaner, 11 Jan 1876, Tue, Page 4
Edward Howell died without a spouse or children, so his estate was divided among his siblings and their heirs. Like Freeman Howell’s estate records, Edward Howell’s estate records are a good source for documenting the Howell family.
Source: The Alamance Gleaner, 11 Jan 1876, Tue, Page 4

5. John Howell (1805-1867)

John Howell family chart
Family Tree chart of John Howell (1805-1867) and his wife Jane Harris and their offspring and their spouses.

John Howell married Jane Harris (1817-before 1900) on 5 Aug 1836 in Granville Co. He then appears in the census for Granville Co in 1840, 1850, and 1860. John died around 1867 and so he predeceased his father Freeman Howell. Jane (Harris) Howell continued to live in Fishing Creek, Granville Co and assisted in raising her grandchildren.

John Howell and Jane Harris had 11 children: Julia Howell (b. 1838), James E Howell (1840-1912), Indiana Howell (b. 1842), Polly Ann Howell (1844-1914), Harvey  Howell (b. 1846), Christopher C Howell (1848-1920), Sally Howell (1850-1923), Missouri Howell (1851-1918), Joanna Howell (b. 1852), Ida Howell (1855-1928), and Lucy Virginia “Jennie” Howell (b. 1858). Each of John Howell’s 11 living heirs received a share of the $9.45 payment which came to 85 cents but not all came to collect their shares.

Julia Howell (b. 1838) was married to Henry Chavis (1815-1882) and continued to live in Fishing Creek, Granville Co. James E Howell (1840-1912) was my 2nd great-grandfather and he married  Virginia “Jinnie” Richardson (1850-before 1880) on 11 Nov 1869 in Warren Co and they had three children: Edward Brodie Howell (1870-1942), Francis Ellen Howell (1872-1923), and Lucy J Howell (1873-1952). Virginia “Jinnie” Richardson Howell died sometime between 1872 and 1880. James E Howell remained a widow until he remarried Mary McGlemdon on 9 Aug 1887 in Granville Co and had one additional son William Isaac Howell (b. 1891). James E Howell spent his entire life in Fishing Creek, Granville Co and was once nominated as county coroner on the Radical Republican ticket.

James E Howell (1840-1912) called
James E Howell (1840-1912) called “Jim Howell” here, was paid for transporting bodies and burying graves. His experience in this field is probably why he was nominated for county coroner the following year.
Source: The Torchlight, 13 Dec 1881, Tue, Page 3
In 1882, the Radical Republican part nominated James E Howell as county coroner. His first cousin James A Howell was nominated for a House seat. However the following week, both James E Howell and James A Howell were replaced on the ticket. Source: The Torchlight, 10 Oct 1882, Tue, Page 4
In 1882, the Radical Republican party nominated James E Howell as county coroner. His first cousin James A Howell (1846-1934) was nominated for a House seat. However the following week, both James E Howell and James A Howell were replaced on the ticket.
Source: The Torchlight, 10 Oct 1882, Tue, Page 4
Dr. Edward Gaylord Howell was the grandson of James E Howell and Virginia Richardson. Source: Christie Carter Lynch
Dr. Edward Gaylord Howell (1898-1971) was the son of Edward Brodie Howell, and the grandson of James E Howell and Virginia “Jinnie” Richardson.
Source: Christie Carter Lynch
Beatrice Howell (1901-1967) was the daughter of Edward Brodie Howell, and the granddaughter of James E Howell and Virginia Richardson. She was married to Dr. Ledrue Turner. Source: Christine Carter Lynch
Beatrice Howell (1901-1967) was the daughter of Edward Brodie Howell, and the granddaughter of James E Howell and Virginia “Jinnie” Richardson. She was married to Dr. Ledrue Turner.
Source: Christine Carter Lynch
Beatrice Turner Source: Christine Carter Lynch
Beatrice Turner (1923-1969) was the daughter of Beatrice Howell, the granddaughter of Edward Brodie Howell, and great-granddaughter of James E Howell and Virginia “Jinnie” Richardson. She was married to James Young Carter.
Source: Christine Carter Lynch

Indiana Howell (b. 1842) was married to William Kersey (b. 1939) and lived in Townesville on the current Vance/Granville Co border. All of their children relocated to Brockton, MA by 1900. Polly Ann Howell (1844-1914) was first married to Aaron Curtis (1842-1883) and had a son named Harvey Curtis (b. 1885) who moved to New Haven, CT. She became widowed and second married John Green (1850-1915).

Harvey Howell (b. 1846) moved up to Danville, VA and married a woman named Sallie Burnett (b. 1848). Christopher C Howell (1848-1920) married Harriet Goins (b. 1850) and lived his whole life in Fishing Creek, Granville Co. He owned an insurance company named Masonic Insurance and most of his children relocated to Brockton, MA and New Haven, CT.

Christopher C Howell's will. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Christopher C Howell’s (1848-1920) will.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

Sally Howell (1850-1923) was first married to Lunsford Williford (b. 1847) and second married James Berry Cousins (1854-1926). She lived in Granville Co her entire life. Missouri Howell (1851-1918) was not married but had two daughters Plummer Howell (1880-1930) and Mittie Howell (b. 1888) born out of wedlock.

Mattie Howell Miller was the daughter of Plummer Howell, granddaughter of Misssouri Howell, and great-granddaughter of John Howell. Plummer Howell moved up to Bucks Co, PA. Source: The Bristol Daily Courier, 27 Jan 1961, Fri, Page 19
Mattie Howell Miller (1905-1961) was the daughter of Plummer Howell, granddaughter of Missouri Howell, and great-granddaughter of John Howell. Plummer Howell moved up to Bucks Co, PA.
Source: The Bristol Daily Courier, 27 Jan 1961, Fri, Page 19

Joanna Howell (b. 1852) received a share of her grandfather Freeman Howell’s estate but I’m not sure what happened to her after that and if she married and had children. Ida Howell (1855-1928) married James Mayo (1847-1910) on 22 Dec 1874 and continued to live in Granville Co. Lucy Virginia “Jennie” Howell (b. 1858) received a share of her grandfather Freeman Howell’s estate but I’m certain if she married and had children.


6. Matthew Howell (1806 – before 1860)

matthew-howell-family-chart-007
Family Tree chart for Matthew Howell and his wife wife Mary Pettiford.

Matthew Howell married Mary Pettiford (b. 1807) on 29 Mar 1831. He appears in the 1850 census for Alamance Co with his wife and children. Matthew died before the 1860 census, and his children are found spread among Orange Co, NC, Guilford Co, NC, Danville, VA, And it appears they became disconnected with the rest of the Howell family because although Freeman Howell’s estate published their names in the newspaper, none of Matthew Howell’s children came back to collect on their share of the estate.


7. James Howell (1810 – before 1870)

james-howell-family-chart-008
Family Tree chart of and his wife Ann Troler and their offspring and their spouses. 

James Howell married Ann Troler b. 1810 (also spelled Toler) on 14 Aug 1834 in Granville Co. He was counted in the 1850 and 1860 censuses for Granville Co and died sometime before 1870 so he predeceased his father Freeman Howell. As a result, James Howell’s estate was granted his share of Freeman Howell’s estate which was $10.08, slightly higher than the $9.45 that the rest of Freeman’s children received.

James Howell and Ann Troler’s children were: Minerva Howell (b. 1836), Louisa Howell (b. 1845), Margaret Howell (1849-1915), William Howell (1852-1926), Mary Eliza Howell (1856-1926), and Juda Howell (b. 1858) who continued to live around the Sassafras Fork/Oak Hill area of Granville Co.


8. Alexander “Doc” Howell (1811-1881)

alexander-howell-family-chart-009
Family Tree chart of Alexander “Doc” Howell (1811-1881) and his wife Betsy Ann Anderson and their offspring and spouses..

Alexander Howell married Betsy Ann Anderson (b. 1825) on 4 Jul 1839 in Granville Co. Alexander was a preacher and resided in Fishing Creek, Granville Co for his entire life. He was still living when his father Freeman Howell passed away, so Alexander received his $9.45 share of the estate. He had a large family that included 10 children and his family often appears living adjacent to the family of his brother John Howell (and wife Jane Harris).

Daughter Polly Ann Howell (b. 1840) was not married but had a son named Ben Howell (1867-1949). Son Elijah Howell (b. 1841) was first married to Harriet Evans (b 1847) and second to Eveline Watkins (b. 1854). Daughter Frances Howell (b. 1842) was married to Civil War veteran of the 54th Regiment Varnell Mayo (1837-1900) whom I previously blogged about here.

Son Freeman Howell (b. 1844) was also a preacher and was married first to Nancy Ash (b. 1849) and second to Mary Cowell (b. 1866). Son James A Howell (1846-1934) was first married to Emily Evans (b. 1853), second married to Mary Eaton (1865-1887), and third married to Sally Pettiford (1856-1934). Son Junius Thomas Howell (b. 1848) was married to Pantheyer Brandon (1851-1934).

James A Howell's (1846-1934) will. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
James A Howell’s (1846-1934) will. He was the son of Alexander “Doc” Howell and Betsy Ann Anderson.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Nancy Howell (1871-1947). Daughter of Junius Thomas Howell and Pantheyer Brandon. Granddaughter of Alexander
Nancy Howell (1871-1947). Daughter of Junius Thomas Howell and Pantheyer Brandon. Granddaughter of Alexander “Doc” Howell and Betsy Ann Anderson. Married to Herbert Junius Anderson and later married to Asa Howell. Nancy was a lifelong resident of Fishing Creek, Granville County.
Source: Ancestry, Username: Christopher Williams
Nancy Howell (1871-1947), daughter of Junius Thomas Howell and Pantheyer Brandon, is shown here again with one of her sons from her first marriage to Dennis Anderson. Fishing Creek, Granville Co, NC. Source: Christopher Williams
Nancy Howell (1871-1947), daughter of Junius Thomas Howell and Pantheyer Brandon, is shown here again with one of her sons from her first marriage to Herbert Junius Anderson (b. 1864). Fishing Creek, Granville Co, NC.
Source: Christopher Williams

Daughter Mickins Howell (b. 1850) does not appear in the records again as an adult. Daughter Judith Howell (1852-1924) was married first to Nehemiah Mayo (b. 1850) and second married to John Hedgepeth (b. 1860).

Claude Eugene Hedgepeth (1891-1962) was the son of Judith Howell and John Hedgepeth the grandson of Alexander Howell and Betsy Ann Anderson. Source: Ancestry, Username: hedgepeth_richardson
Claude Eugene Hedgepeth (1891-1962) was the son of Judith Howell and John Hedgepeth and the grandson of Alexander Howell and Betsy Ann Anderson.
Source: Ancestry, Username: hedgepeth_richardson
Ethel Mae Hedgepeth (1913-1981) was the daughter of Claude Eugene Hedgepeth, granddaughter of Judith Howell, and great-granddaughter of Alexander Howell and Betsy Ann Anderson. Source: Ancestry, Username: Iris Grant
Ethel Mae Hedgepeth (1913-1981) was the daughter of Claude Eugene Hedgepeth, granddaughter of Judith Howell, and great-granddaughter of Alexander Howell and Betsy Ann Anderson.
Source: Ancestry, Username: Iris Grant

Son Henry Howell (1857-1916) was married to Amanda Brandon (1858-1922) and lived in Fishing Creek, Granville Co and Kittrell, Vance Co. And daughter Adeline Jane Howell (b. 1858) was married to Dennis Stanley Hedgepeth (b. 1852).

Adeline Jane Howell (1858 - after 1900) Daughter of Alexander
Adeline Jane Howell (1858 – after 1900) was the daughter of Alexander “Doc” Howell and Betsy Ann Anderson.
Source: Ancestry, Username: Christopher Williams
Carrie Hedgepeth (1894-1960) was the daughter of Adeline Jane Howell and Dennis Stanley Hedgepeth. Source: Ancestry, Username: Christopher Williams
Carrie Hedgepeth (1894-1960) was the daughter of Adeline Jane Howell and Dennis Stanley Hedgepeth.
Source: Ancestry, Username: Christopher Williams

Alexander Howell died on June 15, 1881 and his obituary appeared in the newspaper:

Obituary of Alexander Howell (1811-1881) Source: The Torchlight, 21 Jun 1881, Tue, Page 3
Obituary of Alexander Howell (1811-1881)
Source: The Torchlight, 21 Jun 1881, Tue, Page 3

9. Mary Ann Howell (b. 1815)

mary-ann-howell-family-chart-010
Family Tree chart of Mary Ann Howell  (b. 1815) and her husband Owen Hart and their offspring and their spouses. 

Mary Ann Howell married Owen Hart (1810-1881) on 18 Sep 1832 in Granville Co. By 1850, the family was residing in Person Co, NC and by 1860, the family relocated to Pike Co, Ohio. Their children were: Susan Hart (b. 1845), Nancy Hart (1845-1869), Abigail Hart (1849- before 1880), Lorenzo Hart (1857-1870), and Robert Owen Hart (b. 1862).

Mary Ann (Howell) Hart was still living when her father Freeman Howell died but she had relocated to Ohio, so her name was published in the paper to alert her of the land sale. It does not appear Mary Ann received her $9.45 share of the estate likely because she had moved away.


10. Additional Howell Descendants

descendants-freeman-howell-family-chart-002
Family Tree chart of Freeman Howell descendants who received a share of his estate but their exact relationship back to Freeman Howell is not known as this time. Elizabeth Howell, Willie Ann Floyd/Howell, Elizabeth (Howell) Haithcock, and Lucy (Howell) Chavis, and Margaret Owen all received shares.

There are a few Howells that I know directly descend from Freeman Howell (1777-1870) because they are named legatees in the estate files, but I have some questions about exactly how they are related to Freeman Howell.

Allen Howell (1820-1850), married Malinda Parrish (b. 1827) on 12 Mar 1847 in Granville Co, NC, James Floyd bondsman. They had one daughter together – Elizabeth Howell (b. 1850) but Allen Howell died the same year. Allen Howell’s sister Eliza Howell (b. 1825) married James Floyd on 6 Sep 1845 in Granville Co, NC. This is the same James Floyd who was the bondsman for his brother-in-law Allen Howell’s marriage. James Floyd and Eliza Howell had two children: William Floyd (b. 1847) and Willie Ann Floyd (b. 1849) but James Floyd died in 1850. You can find the widowed sisters-in-law Eliza (Howell) Floyd and Malinda (Parrish) Howell living together with their children in the 1850 census:

Eliza (Howell) Floyd is showing widowed and living with her children, and sister-in-law Malinda (Parrish) Howell who was also widowed. Source: Year: 1850; Census Place: Oxford, Granville, North Carolina; Roll: M432_631; Page: 101B; Image: 202
Eliza (Howell) Floyd is shown widowed and living with her children, and her sister-in-law Malinda (Parrish) Howell who was also widowed.
Source: Year: 1850; Census Place: Oxford, Granville, North Carolina; Roll: M432_631; Page: 101B; Image: 202
Malinda Parrish (b. 1827) was first married to Allen Howell (1820-1850) and second married to Dennis Anderson (b. 1813). Source: Ancestry, Username: Waniehol
Malinda Parrish (b. 1827) was first married to Allen Howell (1820-1850) and second married to Dennis Anderson (b. 1813).
Source: Ancestry, Username: Waniehol

Malinda (Parrish) Howell remarried Dennis Anderson (b. 1813) on 18 Jun 1852 and had additional children with him. Dennis was a preacher and presided over many marriages for people in the community. I don’t know what happened to Eliza (Howell) Floyd. When Freeman Howell passed away, Allen Howell and Malinda Parrish’s daughter Elizabeth Howell (b.1850) received $1.58 for her share of the estate. And Eliza (Howell) Floyd’s daughter Willie Ann Floyd b. 1849 (she was called “Willie Ann Howell” in the estate records), received $1.05 for her share of Freeman Howell’s estate. So we know Allen Howell and Eliza Howell Floyd were related to Freeman, but I’m unsure if they were his children or grandchildren. I’m also unsure of how their shares of Freeman Howell’s estate were calculated.

Elizabeth Howell (b. 1850) daughter of Allen Howell and Malinda Parish, received a share of Freeman Howell's estate. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Elizabeth Howell (b. 1850) daughter of Allen Howell and Malinda Parish, received a share of Freeman Howell’s estate.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
William Ann Howell/Floyd (b. 1849), daughter of James Floyd and Eliza Howell received a share of Freeman Howell's estate. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Willie Ann Howell/Floyd (b. 1849), daughter of James Floyd and Eliza Howell received a share of Freeman Howell’s estate.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Napolean Bonapart Tyler (1916-1986) was the son of John Henry Tyler, the grandson of Elizabeth Howell and Benjamin Tyler, and the great-grandson of Allen Howell and Malinda Parrish. Source: Darrin Norwood
Napolean Bonepart Tyler (1916-1986) was the son of John Henry Tyler, the grandson of Elizabeth Howell and Benjamin Tyler, and the great-grandson of Allen Howell and Malinda Parrish.
Source: Darrin Norwood

There was a Margaret Owen who received a share of $3.15 of Freeman Howell’s estate. That is 1/3 of the $9.45 that was distributed to Freeman Howell’s children which suggests that this Margaret Owen was one of three siblings, who were grandchildren of Freeman Howell.

A Margaret Owen received a share of Freeman Howell's estate. The amount of $3.15 suggests that she was one of three siblings who were grandchildren of Freeman Howell. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
A Margaret Owen received a share of Freeman Howell’s estate. The amount of $3.15 suggests that she was one of three siblings who were grandchildren of Freeman Howell.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

There was a Lucy Chavis who received a share of $1.58 of Freeman Howell’s estate. This is Lucy (Howell) Chavis b. 1843 who married Lawson Chavis (b. 1833) on 20 Nov 1865 in Person Co, NC. I’m not sure who Lucy Howell’s parents were because the first time I find her in the census she’s living in the household of Nelson Cousins (b. 1794) and Julia Howell (1797-1870). So we know Lucy Howell is definitely a descendant of Freeman Howell. It’s also worth mentioning that both Lucy (Howell) Chavis and the previously discussed Elizabeth Howell (b. 1850) received $1.58 each, suggesting a close (sibling?) relationship between the two.

Lucy (Howell) Chavis (b. 1843) received a share of Freeman Howell's estate. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Lucy (Howell) Chavis (b. 1843) received a share of Freeman Howell’s estate.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

And finally there is an Elizabeth Haithcock who received a share of 85 cents from Freeman Howell’s estate. Her husband William Haithcok signed the receipt for her and stated that his wife Elizabeth’s maiden name was Howell. I found a William Haithcock (a blacksmith) and Bettie Haithcock in the 1860 census in Granville Co and they seem to fit. But this same William Haithcock appears in the 1870 and 1880 census as a blacksmith with a wife name Isabella Haithcock. Also Elizabeth (Howell) Haithcock received 85 cents which is the same amount that the children of John Howell and Jane Harris received. However there is no record of John Howell and Jane Harris having a daughter named Elizabeth. So I’m also not sure what to make of this.

Elizabeth (Howell) Haithcock received a share of Freeman Howell's estate and her husband William Haithcock signed the receipt on her behalf. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
Elizabeth (Howell) Haithcock received a share of Freeman Howell’s estate and her husband William Haithcock signed the receipt on her behalf.
Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

12 thoughts on “Freeman Howell – Ancestor of the Native American Howells of Granville, Orange, Person, and Alamance Counties

  1. Awesome Blog! My ancestors are also from Oxford, Vance, Fishing Creek…all mixed breeds Glover’s Woodard, Boddie, Johnson, Parham and collateral families.

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  2. Thanks to whomever did this blog!! You have no idea how you’ve help see my history on my fathers side!! I was able to go as far back as to my 8th great-grandmother DOROTHY HOWELL!! Here you speak of FREEMAN HOWELL who is my 5th great-grandfather then ALEXANDER HOWELL who is my 4th great-grandfather his son JUNIUS THOMAS HOWELL who is my 3rd great-grandfather his son HENRY HOWELL is my great-grandfather his son OSCAR HOWELL is my great-grandfather his son THOMAS HOWELL SR. Is my grandfather and my father was THOMAS HOWELL JR. I am so grateful to also learn of family and be able to have information that my siblings and I can pass on!!

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    1. Are you familiar with the name Ola Mae Bullock (May be spelled Bulluck) in relation to Oscar Howell? They might have been married,not sure but they had a daughter Minnie Lee Howell, several sons, of which one may have been named Clemon Howell originally from Granville County, NC?

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  3. Hello, This blog is a amazing. I just found out that I an a descendent of Freeman Howell’s daughter, Julia Howell and Nelson Cousin. Freeman Howell is my fifth Great Grandfather. I was always told that I have Native Ancestry but was not given any details. Since DNA tests becoming popular and so many black families being told that they don’t have Native Ancestry, I thought it was just a wishful myth in my family as well. I would love to ask you for any information that you have on some other family names I did not see on your website.

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  4. Hi, I believe I am the offspring of Jessie Chavis and Roddie Anderson, when I traced it back it went to my great, great grandfather Will Anderson from Charlotte West Virginia born 1852, his mother was Martha Anderson who was widowed and married a man whose last name was Burrell. He married Mary Hall, who had my grandmother Myrtle Anderson,who had my mothe Arline Claudia Revels.
    Will worked the coal mines until he moved to Cambridge, Guernsey Ohio. I know none of my ancestors. My mother was adopted. Will anderson married Mary Hall.

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