Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Is for Mothers: Mary Ann "Polly" Capell (1782 - After 1840)

The only daughter of Patty (Roberson?) and Sterling Capell, this paternal fourth great grandmother was born in Southampton County, Virginia.

[Detail from The State of Virginia from the best Authorities, By Samuel Lewis. Smither Sculpt. Engraved for Carey's American Edition of Guthrie's Geography improved. (1794-1795) Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

With the consent of her father, in 1799 Polly married Benjamin Bittle (Biddle), the son of Kirby Bittle and his wife Lucy Westbrook, and the young couple settled in Southampton County.

When Sterling Capell died in 1803 he left all of his estate to his wife for her lifetime and thereafter to be equally divided among his children.

When Kirby Bittle died in 1809 Benjamin, as his oldest son, acted as administrator of his estate.*

In the 1810 U.S. Census Benjamin's household in Southampton County included himself, his wife, their four children** and four enslaved persons.

[ 1810 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Third Census of the United States, 1810. (NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls). Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.]

By the 1820 U.S. Census the family had moved east to Amhurst County, Virginia, and there are no longer any slaves in their household.

[Detail from Virginia. Drawn & Published by F. Lucas Jr., Baltimore. Sam Harrison, Scl. Philada. (1822).
Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

And the 1830 U.S. Census found them living in Grainger County, Tennessee.

[Detail from Tennessee. Published by A. Finley Philada. Young & Delleker Sc. (1831) Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

The final U.S. Census where Polly and Benjamin appear was in 1840 in Illinois in Maucopin County Benjamin died in 1848 but we haven't been able to find a date of death for Polly.

[Detail from A New Map of Illinois with Its Roads & Distances from place to place along the Stage & Steam Boat Routes by H.S. Tanner (1842). Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

And that's all the official records we have for Polly but we're fortunate to know more about her through stories passed down to a descendant through her daughter-in-law Maria Evans Biddle*** who doesn't appear to have been her biggest fan.

[Page 29 from the online copy of "And This is Our Heritage", courtesy of the Hathi Trust Digital Library (original from University of Wisconsin).  Accessed 25 Jan 2016.]

 *And something he did in this capacity appears to have caused his mother Lucy to leave his younger brother the bulk of her estate upon her death in 1816.
**My three times great grandfather B.R. Biddle was their second son.
***Esther Moreland Leithold (1872-1959), author of  the saga of her maternal grandparents, Maria Evans (1814-1899) and Benjamin "B.R." Biddle (1808-1882) ""..And This Is Our Heritage"

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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