Finding Your Folks: Coleman Owen's estate sale

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

About five years ago when a bunch of us were desperately searching for any scrap of evidence which showed our Robert Boyd's ancestry, a fellow researcher and cousin, Dick Stewart, sent me a sheet of paper which popped my eyes wide open. It was the results of an estate sale in Newberry Co., S.C., for one John Boyd, known to most of us as John Boyd of Ballymena, great-grandfather of the Boyds buried at Bethany UMC in Fayette County.

It is not uncommon to find, in an estate abstract, the names of all the purchasers at an estate sale. Glenda Bundrick and Andy Suber's will and estate books on Newberry list hundreds of these. But Dick had gone a step farther and counted the number of purchases made by each person.

Census, court and land records had already pointed to the likelihood that our Robert was related to this family and a Robert Boyd was the administrator of this John Boyd's estate, to the exclusion of two supposed sons who were still living. To make a long story short, a tabulation of the number of purchases made by Robert showed he was the second highest purchaser, the first being the widow, Mary Boyd. Other purchasers were men who later became our Robert's in-laws and it pretty much wrapped things up. This was our Robert and he was probably John's son.

I mention the above only to show you how analyzing court documents can lead you farther down your path of discovery. Although there was no estate sale in Meriwether County for Brice Marshall Owen, the next generation down showed us Coleman P. Owen, Brice's son. Coleman left a will and a lengthy estate settlement which I copied word for word from the court books in Greenville. I not only have the name of every item that was sold at the estate sale, but also who bought it and what they paid for it.

I sent all this information on Coleman's estate to the Meriwether County GenWeb Archives and you who have computers may read it there. But, for the benefit of those who don't, I'd like to let you take a look at the estate sale and see if there's anything there to help you find your ancestors. Many surnames of those living in Meriwether County in the 1870s will be mentioned here.

The estate sale was held 25 Jan. 1876 and did not include the sale of land, which was sold the following October. It appears that the land was rented from January until October to W.R. Almon for $25. Almon also was the big spender at the estate sale, with a total of $197.24 in purchases but only seven items, including a mule, a cow, a shotgun, and various tools. I believe this W.R. Almon to be William Rowe Almon, son of Moses Almon and Mary Ann Rowe. William was practically a newlywed, having married Medora Brittain in 1871. He was a neighbor of the Owens in Rocky Mount. William's father, Moses Almon, was one of the witnesses to Coleman Owen's will.

By far the person who purchased the most items was Mrs. Nan Owen, wife of Coleman's son, Charles C. Owen. The former Nancy Conner, Mrs. Owen purchased 19 items but only spent $8.85. Her purchases included beds, bedsteads, tables, a cupboard, a desk, and various other items. Her sister-in-law, referred to as "Mrs. Dr. Owen," only purchased 6 items but paid $29.45. She also purchased several items of furniture. "Mrs. Dr. Owen" was actually Mary Clay Carreker, wife of Dr. Bricy M. Owen of Hollonville, Pike County.

Another family member at the sale was James C. Cole, who I believe was the grandson of Coleman Owen, and son of William T. Cole and his late wife, Mary Ann Owen. James purchased eight items for a total of $6.25, mostly tools and gauges, but he took home the family clock and several books.

Martha Moncrief also attended the sale and made a purchase. She is thought to be the former Martha Owen, Coleman Owen's sister, and widow of John Moncrief. Martha purchased a flat iron for 30 cents.

Others who attended the sale and made purchases were Amos Pinson, two items for $10.60; Green McWilliams, five items for $6.10; Y.B. York, five items for $4.30; Mark Morgan, one item for $1.75; Allen Upshaw, three items for $1.85; Dink York, two items for $2.55; Aron Watson, one item for 10 cents; J.S. Strozier, three items for $2.50; D.C. Dunlap. One item for 85 cents; R. Cochran, two items for 40 cents; Joseph Garner, three items for $7.40 (his big ticket item was a loom); J.W. Edwards, two items for 90 cents; D. Hopkins, 1 item for 25 cents (Hopkins also purchased Coleman's land 10 months later for $305); Nathan Ward, two items for 95 cents; M.C. Cochran, one item for 25 cents; W.T. Hardaway, two items for $1.25; and Lucy Owen, one item for 10 cents. This Lucy Owen may have been the young daughter of Charles and Nancy Conner Owen who would have been about 10. Or, she may have been a Lucy from one of the many other Owen families in Meriwether.

The total taken in for all items was $282.22. In the final settlement, payments from the estate were made to J.F. Miller, Brantley & Almon, A. Watson, Jno. J. York, F.M. Butler, J.W. Taylor, M.D., Teagle & Albright, G.W. Turnipseed, J.W. Banning, W.M. Lovett, W.T. Revill, J.W. Park and W.L. Cole. Taxes were paid for 1873 ($4.73), 1874 ($6.16), 1875 ($7.10) and 1876 ($5.25).

Next week, we'll discuss the family of William T. Cole and Mary Ann Owen.

Stories about your families who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send stories to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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