Thursday, July 14, 2016

Anthony Chamness - Indentured Servant

Anthony Chamness  - Indentured Servant

Anthony Chamness is my seventh great-grandfather on my Minnie Pearl Hatfield line (Hatfield-Jay-Hockett-Reynolds).
A history of indentured servitude in the American Colonies given at end of this post.

Our ancestor, Anthony Chamness, came to America in 1724 as an Indentured Servant.  While some family legends can be found online stating that Anthony was lured, kidnapped, or stowed-away to the American Colonies, it appears that Anthony instead came as an indentured servant.   

Anthony Chamness, son of John Chamness and Ann Weary, was born on February 17, 1713.  Anthony was baptized when he was 18 days old at St. John’s Church of Wapping.  (Wapping is a district of London situated on the north bank of the River Thames.) 
Anthony Chamness Baptism Certificate
A record of Anthony’s indenture gives the following information.  On February 9, 1724 he was indentured to John Cooke of London as a bond servant for 7 years. His home is listed as White Chapel in Middlesex County, which lies just east of Wapping. His destination was Maryland. The indenture lists his age as 15, but according to his birth date he was just turning 11 or 12 -- depending on whether the Julian or Georgian Calendar was used.
Below is a copy of the Anthony Chamness indenture.
Indenture for Anthony Chamness 1724
Transcription of above indenture:

"London the Ninth day of February One Thousand, Seven Hundred and 24
"Memorandum, That Anthony Chamness of White Chapel in County of Middlesex did by indenture bearing like date herewith, agree to serve John Cooke of London Vichular or his assigns seven years, in Maryland (his Majesty's Plantation in America) and did thereby declare himself to be of the age of fifteen years, a single person, and no covenant or contracted servant to any other person or persons. And the said master did thereby covenant at his own cost, to send his said servant to the said plantation; and at the like costs to find him all necessary clothes, meat, drink, washing, and lodging, as other servants in such cases are usually provided for, and allowed."
Jurat 9 Feb. 1724 Coran (?)
The Mark of Anthony Chamness (circle with dot in the middle)

Since the indenture presumably began in 1724 when he arrived in America, Anthony would have completed his 7 years indenture and become a free man in about 1731 when he was about 18 years old.  Sometime in the next few years, Anthony met Sarah Cole.  They married on Thursday, November 24, 1735, in St. Paul's Parish, Baltimore County, Maryland. 

Sarah was the daughter of Joseph and Susanna Cole. Her father, Joseph had died in 1720, leaving land to Sarah in Baltimore County.  One family legend states that all Anthony and Sarah had to start out their marriage was a broken wooden bowl in which she could mix her bread, and a wooden spoon Anthony made. These two articles comprised their kitchen equipment.  
Below is a photo of a broken wooden bowl that may look similar to the one our Sarah Chamness used.  The bowl pictured is circa 1710 and is from the National Park Service website of the Saratoga National Historical Park.  
Photo of broken wooden bowl circa 1710 -  National Park Service 

Early in their marriage, Anthony and Sarah converted to the Society of Friends – more commonly known as Quakers.  The Chamness family records can be found in the Monthly Meetings of Gunpowder (Baltimore County), Monocacy (Frederick County, Maryland), Fairfax (Virginia), and Cane Creek (Orange County, North Carolina).

Anthony and Sarah moved their family to North Carolina when he received a land grant of 490 acres lying on Cane Creek on June 24, 1751.  The area of Cane Creek was originally in Orange County but eventually became Alamance County.
Cane Creek Monthly Meeting Record
Anthony and Sarah were the parents of the following children: Elizabeth, Susanna, Joseph, Sarah, Mary, Martha, John, Anthony, Rachel, Ann, Lydia, Joshua, Stephanus.

One biographer of Anthony and Sarah stated the following:
"For many years in the early history of Cane Creek Monthly Meeting, the name of Anthony Chamness may frequently be found on committees. This shows that he was regarded as a man of integrity and good judgment and worthy to be entrusted with the work of the church. He was industrious and frugal, sociable, and given to much hospitality. He and his sons worked hard, cleared out a large farm, and put it in a good state of cultivation; and Sarah, the good wife and mother, taught her daughters to spin and weave and to many kinds of work now done only in factories."

Anthony's wife, Sarah died in about 1765.  Anthony married a widow, Rachel Haworth, in 1766.  After Rachel died in 1775, Anthony married Margaret Williams, a widow aged 56. 
Anthony died on September 20, 1777. 
Anthony and Sarah were buried at the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting Cemetery, Snow Camp, North Carolina.

Anthony Chamness Will - transcription below

Anthony Chamness Will
Transcription of will:
November 24, 1776
This twenty fourth day of the eleventh month, commonly called November, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred seventy and six; Being in health of body and of perfect mind and memory blessed by God, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, I do make and ordain this my last will and testament, and as touching our worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with. In this I give devise and dispose of in manner following:
First, I ordain and constitute my eldest son Joseph Chamness to be my only and soal executor of this my last will and testament: I allow my charges and just debts to be first paid out of my estate: Also I give and devise to my son, John Chamness, all the parcel of land whereon he now lives. Beginning at Betty Mayners south east corner running thence south to Richard Kemps corner thence west along Kemps line to the petition fence; thence of strait course to Betty Mayners line containing less or more to be freely possessed and enjoyed by him his heirs or asigns forever...
Also, I give to my son Joshua Chamness the remainder part of my land that I now live on to be freely possessed and enjoyed by him his heirs or asigns forever. But if my son Joshua should decease without an heir lawfully begotton of his body then his share of land to be sold and the money to be equally divided between my sons Joseph and Anthony. I also give to my son Joshua one feather bed furniture and bedstead the waggon and all the geers and the three dark creatures with all the plantation tools as two plows and an iron toothed harrow axes mattocks and hoes and as the working tools belonging to the plantation with chears table and chest and his and yearling the puter tankard fire tongs and shovel and the largest pot and hooks and rack.
I also give and devise to my daughters Ann Chamness the feather bead furniture and bedstead that was called Elizabeths and the cow bell story and her from this time with three puter basons and four puter plates and one puter dish. I also give and devise to my daughter Rachel Under three puter plates and two puter basons...I give to my daughter Susannah Reynolds five shillings. I also give to my daughter Sarah Vestal five shillings...I also give to my daughter Mary Davis five shillings...I also give to my daughter Martha Hussey five shillings. I also give to my son Anthony Chamness my worsted suite and best hat and tea kettle...I also allow the rest of my cattle to be equally devided between my two sons Joseph and Joshua...I a-lso allow my sheep to be equally devided between my son Joshua and his step mother and the gees and the rest of the fowls with the hogs after they have been killed their winters meat all to be equally devided...I also allow her to have the half of the grain that is raised on the plantation until my son Joshua comes to age and after he comes to age if she pleases to live with him and to do for him and he pleases to let her then she may have the third of what is raised the flax also to be devided he is to it and she to make it ready for wearing. I also allow her all the goods and chattles that she brought here that was her former husbands to be her own and my children to have no flame there....I also give to my daughter Lydia Ward the case of drawer the puter quart and fine flacks. I allow Sarah Wheeler to have the one black cow unmarked or puter dish the coffy pot and cannaster and a tin spin box and a large puter bason all that was called her grandmothers.
In witness and testamony I Anthony Chamness do hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written. Signed and sealed in the pressence of his
William Marshill
Joseph Cloud
Jacob Marshill

His Mark Anthony X Chamness

Indentured servitude in the American Colonies
From History Detectives
Indentured servants first arrived in America in the decade following the settlement of Jamestown by the Virginia Company in 1607.  The idea of indentured servitude was born of a need for cheap labor. The earliest settlers soon realized that they had lots of land to care for, but no one to care for it. With passage to the Colonies expensive for all but the wealthy, the Virginia Company developed the system of indentured servitude to attract workers. Indentured servants became vital to the colonial economy.
The timing of the Virginia colony was ideal. The Thirty Year's War had left Europe's economy depressed, and many skilled and unskilled laborers were without work. A new life in the New World offered a glimmer of hope; this explains how one-half to two-thirds of the immigrants who came to the American colonies arrived as indentured servants.
Servants typically worked four to seven years in exchange for passage, room, board, lodging and freedom dues. While the life of an indentured servant was harsh and restrictive, it wasn't slavery. There were laws that protected some of their rights. But their life was not an easy one, and the punishments meted out to people who wronged were harsher than those for non-servants. An indentured servant's contract could be extended as punishment for breaking a law, such as running away, or in the case of female servants, becoming pregnant.
For those that survived the work and received their freedom package, many historians argue that they were better off than those new immigrants who came freely to the country. Their contract may have included at least 25 acres of land, a year's worth of corn, arms, a cow and new clothes. Some servants did rise to become part of the colonial elite, but for the majority of indentured servants that survived the treacherous journey by sea and the harsh conditions of life in the New World, satisfaction was a modest life as a freeman in a burgeoning colonial economy.

An update for our Alamo Defender - Jonathan Lindley

Recently I found some new documents while browsing through the records on the Texas General Land Office website. (Yes - that's what I do for fun!)

I have also updated the original post on Jonathan Lindley to include these documents, which can be seen by clicking here.

There are three documents in particular that I would like to share; the first being a letter of recommendation from 1834, and the other two bounty land grants awarded posthumously to Jonathan Lindley for bravely defending the Alamo with his life.

The first document shown is a letter of recommendation written on 31st of October 1834 stating that Jonathan was an "honest industrious man and and a good Citizen."  The Mexican government required letters of recommendation from reliable citizens before a man could enter Texas and obtain land.  Since Jonathan was already in Texas in October 1834, this was probably a requirement in obtaining a land grant.  Jonathan's father, Samuel W Lindley, received a letter of recommendation before entering Texas, which can be seen here.  His brother-in-law, John Sadler, also received a letter of recommendation which is shown on the John Sadler post.

Jonathan Lindley letter of recommendation
This second document is a bounty land certificate dated May 14, 1839, Houston, Texas.  Jonathan Lindley was awarded 1280 acres of land situated in Panola County, ten and one-half miles south, twenty degrees west from Carthage, Texas. It was patented March 9, 1860.  This document clearly states that Jonathan Lindley was "killed at the Alamo."
Jonathan Lindley Bounty Land Certificate 1280 acres
This third document is a bounty land certificate for 640 acres and states, "That Jonathan Lindley having been killed at the Alamo 6th March 1836 is entitled to six hundred and forty acres of Donation land..."
Jonathan Lindley Bounty Land Certificate 640 acres
These documents and other land records for Jonathan Lindley were found on The Texas General Land Office website.  In the past, I have spent many hours and many dollars at the Texas General Land Office in Austin searching for records and then having copies made.  Now the records can be found online -- for free:).  And, the resolution of the copies are much better than the xerox copies I had made.   From the home page of the Texas GLO (, click on the History tab, then the Land Grant Search tab.  The Research Links tab also has many useful links.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

Remember our Revolutionary War Ancestors

Click here to see a list of our ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War or helped the cause of Freedom.