Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Is for Mothers: Nancy "Nannie" Harrison (1741 - After 1812)

Most of what we know about this paternal fifth great grandmother comes from the wills of the two most important men in her life, that of her father Joseph Hanson Harrison of  St. Andrew's Parish in Brunswick County, Virginia, dated March 8, 1763, and of her husband Joseph C. Chappell in Hancock County, Georgia, which was executed on December 10, 1807.

Unfortunately I've only been able to locate abstracts of her father's will, including the one shown below:
[Virginia Will Records, Records of Wills and Deeds in Brunswick County from The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary College Quarterly, and Tyler's Quarterly; Indexed by Judith McGhan, The Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1993. database on-line]

Other sources tell us that Nancy's bequest was "one negro slave named Phillis to her and her heirs forever." One of six children, all of her siblings were left a feather bed and furnishings but Nancy wasn't.*

As a result of his service in the 1st Virginia Regiment during the Revolution, John Chappell received land warrants in Georgia beginning in 1786 and the family appears to be living in Wilkes County, Georgia, by that year. Tax records place John Chappell at Shoulder Bone in Hancock County in 1794.

When he came to make his will in 1807, "Now being of sound mind & memory. But oald & infirm in Bodily Strength & Calling to mind the mortality of all men & knowing that I have a Natural Death once to Die" after commending his soul to God, asking for his body's decent burial and that his just debts be paid, his first thought was to provide for his "Beloved wife Nanny Chappell" by allowing her "one Room of my Dwelling House at the East End thereof. I also lend Her...the following Moveable Property first my negroes, Jane Pol & Henry, two Feather Beds & Furniture** with all other Necessary Houshold Furniture for Her Convenient support."

["Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch (,267766201 : accessed 13 April 2015), Hancock - Wills and administration records 1803-1826 vol C-F - image 412-413 of 687; county probate courthouses, Georgia.]

In the 4th Item of his will, John directed that his son Benjamin, whose bequest included the "Land & Plantation whereon I now live," that Benjamin "shall take care of & Provide for my Beloved wife Nanny Chappell During her natural Life or her widowhood at his own expense."
["Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch (,267766201 : accessed 13 April 2015), Hancock - Wills and administration records 1803-1826 vol C-F - image 413 of 687; county probate courthouses, Georgia.]

The enslaved persons, Jane, Pol and Henry "lent" to Nanny are valued in the inventory of John's estate. Note that a woman named Phillis*** is also listed with a relatively low value suggesting that she is not young. Is she the same Phillis left to Nancy by her father in 1763?
["Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch (,267766201 : accessed 13 April 2015), Hancock > Wills and administration records 1803-1826 vol C-F > image 414 of 687; county probate courthouses, Georgia.]

John's estate was appraised on January 29, 1808, at $9,452.77, including 23 slaves valued at $6,745. His sons Benjamin, John**** and Thomas were named as executors and appear to have been acting for their father's estate as late as 1827.

One record (in database form only) remains for Nanny, a tax list index for 1812 in Hancock County. The date and place of her death are unknown.

Or is it? In a book titled Historical Collection of Georgia, published in 1855, I found the following paragraph under the heading of Twiggs County.
[Historical collections of Georgia : containing the most interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, etc. relating to its history and antiquities, from its first settlement to the present time ; compiled from original records and official documents ; illustrated by nearly one hundred engravings of public buildings, relics of antiquity, historic localities, natural scenery, portraits of distinguished men, etc., etc. / by the Rev. George White, 1802-1887; Dutton, Alpha Christian, 1855. Internet Archive]

If the birth year we have for Nanny is correct, she would have been 81 in about 1822. As for Twiggs County, there are a number of Chappells buried there but there's no record of her grave (or John's) anywhere in Georgia.

*She married John C. Chappell around 1758 so perhaps she already had a bed.
**One room, but two feather beds and furniture. Maybe the fact that Nanny hadn't received a bed from her father wasn't forgotten?
***Phillis and another woman, Jinny, were left to the keeping of John and Nanny's daughter-in-law Dolley, the widow of Joseph Chappell, until such time as her four sons either reached legal age or married.
****Son John's granddaughter Martha Heath Hardy married J.T.S. Warren in 1849.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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