Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Been Waiting 20 Years, Hope I Can Wait a Little Longer

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

They always say, the best research you will do or find will be during the last week, or the last day, or even more exciting and stressful, during the last couple of hours you are in a research facility.  And, it looks like what they say is gonna be true one more time.

Yesterday I was plugging along, trying to grab some of the things I had not quite finished, a deed here and there, then saw a note about getting copies of some wills. Actually, burnt wills, which I have seen, but thought I would like to have digital copies anyway.  Along side the information on 2 wills was a cryptic note I left myself to check the surname Marshall in Isle of Wight Virginia, to see if there are any wills there for two John Marshalls, father and maybe son.

So, rather tired, OK, close to dead (oh, ya, there she goes again, sick humor, play on words) tired, I looked at the catalog, found a film that said it was an index to Wills.  Retrieve the film, load it up, start spinning.  I was rather surprised and disappointed to find that there were a LOT of missing pages, per the notes filmed along with the pages they had filmed.  Great, how many pages she wonders, and did the MIA's have my names listed, probably, she sighs.

So, I spin away, skipping by some of the other surnames from Isle of Wight that I am researching, stopping here and there, never did find the Marshalls.  Then one of those serendipity spins happened, I stopped on a page, speed reading it, when I saw names that I recognized, Eley and Pierce.

I have been researching Solomon B. Eley and his wife, Sallie Darden Eley Pierce since about 1991, basically when I started my serious research addiction.  Solomon and Sallie are my great great grandparents on my father's side of the clan.  I have had photos of them for many years, well before 1991.  I have strong emotional ties to them, maybe because of the photos, actually I have stopped trying to figure out why.  I just am connected and emotional about Solomon and Sallie!

Solomon B. Eley and Sallie Darden Eley Pierce.
Solomon served during the Civil war in the 16th Virginia Infantry, Company D.  So did many members of his immediate and extended family.  Solomon was present at Appomattox on April 9th, 1865.  He signed surrender papers as an officer of the 16th.  I have copies of that 4 page (legal sized) document.

After the war Solomon came back to Isle of Wight, married Sallie Darden and on July 4, 1866 they celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter, my great grandmother, Lorena.  They had several more children, the number is a bit in question, I currently show a total of 4 children born to the union, 2 boys, and another daughter. Both sons died young.  In 1871 Solomon himself passed, partially because of health issues that started during the war.  Married about 6 years, Sallie was now a widow.

Every discovery about Solomon has been difficult, just finding him in the 1870 census was a challenge, remember, this was before internet based indexes.  He was found living in a nearby county where he died.  Contacting the county clerk there resulted in some wonderful documents concerning Solomon.  That said, his burial place remains a mystery still.  I am sure Sallie was quite poor, and there just was no money for the purchase of a headstone, none for Solomon, none for her babies, and many many years later, none for Sallie either.

Two years after Solomon died Sallie remarried, her new groom's name was Francis Pierce, and a few more babies came along.  The number is in question, 2 or 3 daughters.

I made several trips to Isle of Wight, researched in the court house, they are wonderful there, very helpful, but let you work away at your own speed.  I was in research courthouse heaven!  I also researched several times in the Library of Virginia, another fine research facility.  I found a few tidbits, but, I always wanted and hoped for more. For some reason, I felt there was more, but, WHAT and WHERE was it??

I think I may have found that 'something more' in that Will Index, Eley, heirs S. A. Pierce, et al.  I think my heart may have stopped beating for a few seconds there.  I read it again, yes, Eley, S. A. Pierce, yes, it is them.  Holy COW!!

Back at the catalog I discover, much to my dismay, that Will books 27 and 28 were filmed by the FHC, but that books 29 and those following, were not.  I need book 30.  And, at that point my heart started, stopped, fluttered, catch your breath Carol.  OH RATS!!!

So close. Almost.  I'm working on getting a copy of those pages.  Some of my genie friends/angels are already helping me figure out the next steps, thank you!!  I am being cautiously optimistic, cause the last time I looked at an index that said "List of heirs" I got the name of one, who signed for all, but, did not list the others.

I can wait a bit longer, well, I am going to have to wait a bit longer.  WOW!  Oh, WOW!  Here is to hope that the pages will be what I have felt was there and that I have finally found it.  WOW!  Oh, WOW!



PalmsRV said...

What a nice last minute find!

Becky said...

Yay, Carol. Hope you can get a copy of that will record... and soon!

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

Oh, see? There you go! Crazy stuff when you least expect it. Yep, did a bunch of those on my little trip and I will be piecing it all together for the rest of the year I feel certain. Great discoveries are out there. Yes they are.

LindaRe said...

The last minute finds are heart beaters. I hope you discover what you are looking for.

Greta Koehl said...

Gotta say that my experience also confirms the "last minute finds" rule. Always a good idea to keep flipping through those pages!