Thursday, February 24, 2011

On This Day: February 24

In 1768, my maternal 4th great-grandfather Henry Harris Gandy, Sr., was born in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey. He died 27 March 1849, and is buried in Brannon Cemetery in Union County, Ohio. [Source:, digital images ( : accessed 16 Feb 2011), Henry Harris Gandy, Memorial #28075271, originally created by Judy Price, 6 Jul 2008.]

This picture of his tombstone was added to the Findagrave memorial by Leona Gustafson:

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Saturday, February 19, 2011

On This Day: February 19

In 1663/64, my maternal 7th great-grandparents Thomas Holman and Abigail Rigby were married in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts. [Source: Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1630, Volumes I-III (N.p.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society 2010), II: 975.] I am descended from their son John Holman.

In 1847, Dialtha Jane Owens, my paternal great-grandmother, was born in Alabama. She died in 1893 and is buried at Hurricane Cemetery, in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. [Source: Kelly Christian Priestly, "Hurricane Cemetery, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana," transcription, USGenWeb Archives ( : accessed 12 Apr 2010), entry for Dialtha Owens Spurlock.]

This is a picture of her tombstone that I took while on a trip to Louisiana in 2007:

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Value of Cotton

Recent reports are that the price of cotton is higher than it has been since the Civil War. Likely we all will pay more for our socks and jeans as a result. This news brought to mind an interesting land purchase made by my 2nd great-grandfather Ransom Spurlock.

In August 1865, Ransom bought approximately 45 acres of land in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, from Mary Ann Pace. The consideration (what Ransom paid) was 800 pounds of lint cotton. Here’s a copy of the deed [Source: Claiborne, Louisiana, Conveyance Records, J:271, Mary Ann Pace to Ransom Spurlock, 19 Aug 1865; FHL microfilm 265,980.]

This is the only deed I have encountered where the consideration was not cash! Some historical research was needed to have a better understanding of this transaction.

Here is a summary of what I learned about cotton production:
  • In the Civil War era, cotton could be grown profitably on small farms as well as on large plantations.[1]
  • A person could pick about 150 pounds of cotton in a day.[2]
  • Production in northwest Louisiana averaged 15–30 bales per square mile in 1860.[3]
  • Cotton was planted in April, harvested in mid-August, and sent to the gin immediately after harvest.[4]
  • A wagon load held about 1,500 pounds of raw cotton and, after ginning, would yield 500 pounds of lint cotton.[5]
  • The price of cotton at the end of the Civil War was $1.89; equal to about $26.31 in today’s dollars.[6]

So, if all my math is correct, Ransom’s 800 pounds of cotton was roughly equivalent to $21,000 in today’s money. And the land he bought was valued at about $467 an acre!

[1] “Antebellum Louisiana: Agrarian Life,” article, Louisiana State Museum, The Cabildo: Two Centuries of Louisiana History, : accessed 18 February 2011.
[2] “Antebellum Louisiana: Agrarian Life.”
[3] “Cotton Production, 1860,” map,, The Civil War, : accessed 18 February 2011.
[4] “King Cotton,” article, Shotgun’s Home of the American Civil War: Civil War Potpourri, : accessed 18 February 2011.
[5] “Frequently Asked Questions,” article, Burton Cotton Gin & Museum, : accessed 18 February 2011.
[6] Edward Lotterman, “Cotton prices are real high – if one ignores inflation,” article, Twin PIONEER PRESS, : accessed 18 February 2011.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Stories: Our Golden Wedding Day

My paternal grandmother’s brother, Walter Ivan Martindale, married the love of his life, Snowdie Chambers, on 4 August 1903. Fifty years later, he wrote the following poem:

Dear One, Do you remember, it was fifty years ago,
That you waited at the mill pond, at evenings sunset glow,
For we were to be married, our lives be joined in one.
And we would walk together, till our day of life was done.

We stood before the preacher, and our marriages vows we said,
That we would love and cherish, until earthly life had fled.
And hand in hand we’d journey, until grown old and grey,
With loving hearts and happy, reach, our golden wedding day.

But oh, alas, ‘twas not to be, for comes that fateful day,
And though somewhere there is sunshine, and happy children play,
The sunshine can not brighten, my leaden skies of grey,
For I’m heart sick and so lonely, on our golden wedding day.

Though we had planned it otherwise, God did not will it so,
I was to know the lonely hours, you were the first to go.
He saw that you had weary grown, he called you home to rest,
I humbly bow before the will of him, who knoweth best.

Did I forget to tell you dear, how much you’ve meant to me,
Throughout those happy years of love, and tender sympathy,
You filled my life with happiness, each day new love, new joys,
You gave me five sweet daughters, and two strong manly boys.

They come to me, in each of them, I see of you a part,
Their coming serves to make me think, of you the more sweetheart.
And though they try their best to cheer, and ease my lonely way,
I long for you, my sweetheart, on our golden wedding day.

With sun of life descending, and I am soon to go,
And my life on earth is ending, tis so sweet for me to know,
That standing by life’s river, where those healing waters flow,
You’ll be waiting for me, waiting, as you did long, long ago.

Snodie Chambers Martindale passed from this life on 31 January 1946. Walter Ivan Martindale joined her on 2 August 1958, just two days short of their 55th wedding anniversary.
© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Monday, February 7, 2011

On This Day: February 7

In 1650/51, Daniel Quincy, my maternal 7th great-grandfather, was born. [Source: Henry S. Nourse, "Ancestry of the Hoar Family in America," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, July 1899, 299; digital images, New England Historic and Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( : accessed 5 Feb 2011).]

He died 10 August 1690 [Source: "Brief Memoirs and Notices of Prince's Subscribers," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, January 1857, 71; online images, New England Historic and Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (www.american : accessed 5 Feb 2011).]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Sunday, February 6, 2011

On This Day: February 6

In 1800, my maternal 4th great-grandparents William Campbell and Nancy Margaret Woodward were married in Culpeper County, Virginia. [Source: "U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900," database, Ancestry ( : accessed 12 Feb 2010), entry for William Campbell and Nancy Woodward; Source number: 1219.076; Source type: Family group sheet, FGSE, listed as parents; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: none.]

William and Nancy had eleven children: Sarah, Elizabeth, Margaret, Susannah (from whom I descend), James, David, Lydia, Nancy, William, Sophia, and Polly.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Saturday, February 5, 2011

On This Day: February 3

In 1708/09, my maternal 6th great-grandparents, Ephraim Cary and Hannah Waldo, were married in Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. [Source: New England Historic Genealogical Society, editor, Vital Records of Bridgewater, Massachusetts to the Year 1850. Online database, American Ancestors ( : accessed 5 Feb 2011), 379.]

I am descended from their son Ezra Cary.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On This Day: February 2

In 1724/25, Elizabeth (Lore) Gandy, my maternal 6th great-grandmother, was born. [Hezekiah Lore Bible Record as uploaded by Ancestry member SaraHoffman505 on 24 December 2010, Ancestry,, accessed 2 February 2011]. She died in 1798. [Source: Joiner, Rev. Darrell and Sallyann (, Cary Family History.]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock