We’re tracing the ancestors on my paternal maternal side…okay, that’s my dad’s mother’s parents, the Bartons and the Stallings. Both families were established in North Carolina before the Revolutionary War. Both families were among the first settlers in Posey County, Indiana around the year 1800.
I was just about to bring us all to Indiana Territory when I came across an interesting item regarding the Stallings Family. One of my long-lost Stallings cousins has shared an entire folder from North Carolina Wills and Probate, 1665-1998.
It’s a little headache-inducing to read through it, so I’ll tell you the condensed version…
When 6x great Moses Stallings died in 1794 he had seven surviving adult children: sons Wright,44; John, 41; Josiah, 39; Reuben, 37; James, 31; and daughters Judith, 28; Milly, 26. All of them were married with children.
In late 1796, after several attempts at a peaceful settlement of Moses’ estate, Judith and her husband, Joshua Gay, and Milly and her husband, John Jackson, joined with brother Josiah Stallings to bring the distribution of the estate to the courts, claiming that the four brothers, my 5x great-grandfather Wright in particular, were acting in a shady manner.
The litigants claim that Wright, who was the administrator of the Will, had lied about the size of the estate, the amount of debt that Moses had at the time of his death, and that their father’s Will had specifically left them certain property (animals and slaves) which Wright would not hand over. They request that the court, whose justices they call “your worship”, intervene.
Included in the folder is a subpoena for Wright and for all of the accounting papers regarding the Will and several strange papers with figures and sums.
The settlement was finalized in Lewisburg, NC, on March 11, 1796 with all parties being given a “fair share”, but no one wins in these family feuds. By 1801, all four of the Stallings brothers who were named as defendants in the lawsuit (5x great-grandfather Wright, James, John, and Reuben) had relocated with their families to Posey County. Sadly, both Judith and Milly died not long after the case was settled…
I always think of the Northwest Territory as Canada, but then again, I think the Midwest should be west of the Mississippi, and back in the 18th century we didn’t know the continent went all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The Northwest Territory was basically all the land west of Pennsylvania and eventually was divided into smaller governing territories as the populations grew.
Figuring that the brothers came down the Ohio River to Posey County around 1800, they were just in time for the formation of the Indiana Territory in July 4 of that year. The territorial capital was at Fort Vincennes along the Wabash River and the first governor was William Henry Harrison. The Natives were still fighting the encroachment of the white settlers, especially the Shawnee Leader Tecumseh and his tribe.
All of the land was forested and trees were felled by the thousands as the pioneers cleared the land for farming and built homes and mills.. The first land patents were not entered until 1807, but by then the pioneers had already set up their homes and brought in their families.
The Quaker-ish Barton Family did not have any such arguments dividing them. 6x great-grandfather William Barton’s oldest three sons, Thomas, Alexander, and John had arrived in present-day Marrs Township, Posey County, Indiana by 1800 as well. Over the years, the rest of the family followed, including grandpa William, grandma Mary, and all thirteen of their children.
Tecumseh’s War started around 1810 and General William Henry Harrison’s victory at The Battle of Tippecanoe is often considered its end, but the Shawnee continued to fight throughout the War of 1812. A lot of the 1812 conflict took place in the Indiana Territory, including the invasion of Canada.
Many of my ancestors fought under General Harrison, most notably my 5x great-grandfather, Alexander Barton.