Will the Real Strawhorn Monk Please Stand Up? Documenting the Ancestry of Strachan Monk (1787 – 1850/1860), Son of Nottingham Monk and Rachel Strachan (1)

Nottingham Monk signatures: 13 July 1791, guardian account of George Kittrell’s orphans; 11 Feburary 1799, Noah Belote’s bond to administer estate of John Belote; 26 July 1795, allottment to Mary Kittrell of her dower in estate of George Kittrell.

So we’ve established that Strachan/Strahon/Strawhorn Monk (1778 – 1850/1860) was the son of Nottingham Monk and Rachel Strachan of Bertie County, North Carolina. In this posting, I’d like to move back a generation and begin sharing with you what I know about Strachan’s father Nottingham Monk. As we’ll see, the given name Nottingham is a surname used as a given name, just as with the name Strachan. Nottingham Monk’s grandparents were William Monk and Elizabeth Nottingham of Northampton County, Virginia.

I told you in my previous posting (it’s linked above) that Nottingham, the father of Strachan Monk, was a junior, the son of an older Nottingham Monk who moved, as did his son, from Northampton County, Virginia, to Bertie County, North Carolina. There’s a wealth of documentation for both Nottinghams, but, in particular, for the younger man, who amassed quite a bit of wealth, and for that reason, left an estate file full of rich genealogical information documenting the latter years of his life, in particular. Because the lives of the father and son overlapped and both bore the same name, there are instances in which, in the final years of the father’s life after his son had come of age, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out whether a particular record belongs to Nottingham Sr. or Nottingham Jr.

Since the only two federal censuses on which Nottingham Monk appears are the 1790 and 1800 censuses, census data are not very helpful in providing us with an accurate estimate of when the younger Nottingham Monk was born. In 1790, his household in Bertie County contains 1 free white male over 16 and three males under 16, with 3 free white females and 11 slaves.[1]

The 1800 census (which I’ll discuss in more detail in a moment) suggests that Nottingham Monk (the younger) was born between 1755 and 1774.[2] I also indicated to you in my last posting that Nottingham Monk Jr. is on the 1787 North Carolina state census in Bertie County (as is his father: the census lists the younger man as Jr.). Both men are in Capt. Speller’s district. This census, too, is not useful in giving us any accurate sense of when the younger Nottingham was born: it places his birth between 1727 and 1766.[3]

There are a number of non-census records that allow us to narrow down more accurately the time frame in which Nottingham was likely born. On 15 January 1777, he enlisted in Captain Howell Tatum’s company of the 1st North Carolina battalion commanded by Colonel Thomas Clarke.[4] Nottingham Monk received a North Carolina land grant in Tennessee for this service that he sold after having been granted the land. It seems to me very unlikely that the man doing Revolutionary service and receiving this land grant was Nottingham Monk Sr., who was of age in Northampton County, Virginia, by 1739, and died between 1790 and 20 July 1793.

I’ll discuss Nottingham Monk’s Revolutionary service record in a moment. For now, I simply want to note that the 1777 enlistment record suggests to me that Nottingham Monk was likely born by or before 1757 — though, as is well known, men younger than 20 did also sometimes enlist in Revolutionary military units.[5]

There’s also the following record, which appears to pertain to the younger Nottingham and not his father: Bertie court minutes for 10 May 1784 show Nottingham Monk ordered to pay 10 shillings for seven years to maintain a child born out of wedlock to Mary Mardre (Bertie Court Minutes 5, p. 486). At the same court session, Nottingham Monk Sr. is mentioned and is designated as such, so it seems certain, in my view, that the bastardy record refers to the son and not the father. This court record suggests that the son was definitely of age by 1784, and so born prior to about 1764. After 1784, Bertie court minutes tend to distinguish father from son by noting whether a court action refers to Sr. or Jr.

As I also told you in my previous posting (it’s linked at the head of this posting), we can pinpoint the time frame in which Nottingham Monk married Rachel, the daughter of George and Elizabeth Strachan, who was the widow of George Kittrell when Nottingham married her: documents to which that posting points you indicate that the marriage occurred between 22 February 1785 and 23 November 1786. I find no records suggesting that Nottingham Monk had married previously. I think this was likely a first marriage, and that he was a youngish man of between 20 and 30 when he married Rachel. If he was 20 when he enlisted for Revolutionary service, then I’d be inclined to think he may have been born around 1757 or perhaps somewhat after that date.

Bertie tax records might allow us to pinpoint even more precisely when he seems to have come of age. I have to confess that I have not yet done that bit of research. I have a longstanding note to myself in the planning file of my FTM program, which reads, “Go to North Carolina Archives and read tax records.” I have a plethora of North Carolina ancestors for which I need to scan county tax records, the majority of which have not been microfilmed and are available only by a visit to the archives in Raleigh — unless something has changed in this regard and I’m not up to date about the change. It’s very possible that the Bertie tax records would allow me to pinpoint with accuracy Nottingham Monk Jr.’s year of birth by showing me when he begins to appear as an adult taxed under his own name in that county.

As I’ll show you in a subsequent posting about the elder Nottingham Monk, various records place Nottingham Monk Sr. in Northampton County, Virginia, from 1739 to 1763, though his father William Monk’s 18 December 1749 will in that county makes a mysterious allusion to his son Nottingham being required to “come down to live” in Northampton in order to receive his inheritance. Given the stream of records up to 1763 that document Nottingham Monk the elder’s presence in that county from 1739 to 1763, including a mention of him in March 1754 loose court papers and his witness to the will of Joshua Nottingham on 26 December 1757, I think we can fairly confidently conclude that Nottingham Monk the younger was born in Northampton County, Virginia.

I mentioned previously records in Bertie that may refer to either Nottingham the father or the son. These include the following:

  1. On 19 September 1782, Nottingham Monk gave security for Henry Belote when he married Elizabeth Bentley. As I told you in my last posting, the Belotes came to Bertie from Northampton County, Virginia, as the Monks did, and had connections to the Monks prior to both families’ move to Bertie.[6]
  2. On 15 December 1787, Nottingham Monk gave bond with John Voss for his marriage to Frances Godfrey.[7]
  3. On 7 November 1791, Nottingham Monk gave bond with James Morris for his marriage to Loving Britt.[8]

The first clear set of records I find that I can state with confidence are documents of the life of the younger Nottingham Monk and not his father are his Revolutionary service and compensation records. As I mentioned above, his Revolutionary service packet shows him enlisting on 15 January 1777 for three years in Captain Howell Tatum’s company of the 1st North Carolina battalion commanded by Colonel Thomas Clarke.[9] A muster roll of the company dated 8 September 1778 shows him in service under Clarke at that date.[10]

Monk, Nottingham, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, M881, RG 92, roll 781 (1)
NARA, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, M881, RG 92, roll 781.

Monk, Nottingham, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, M881, RG 92, roll 781 (2)

Monk, Nottingham, Muster Roll
NARA, Muster Rolls, Payrolls, Strength Returns, and Other Miscellaneous Personnel, Pay, and Supply Records of American Army Units, 1775-83, M246, RG 93, folder 1, p. 29.

Monk, Nottingham, Muster rolls (close)

A North Carolina Revolutionary pay voucher dated 20 May 1783 shows Nottingham Monk being paid £12 at Edenton (voucher #1753) on that date as compensation for his Revolutionary service.[11] In 1786, he was paid (in the Warrenton series of payments authorized by North Carolina in 1785) an additional £95 10s (account #2998). Lieutenant Colonel Hardy Murfree received the payment on Nottingham Monk’s behalf.[12]

Monk, Nottingham, Revolutionary Pay Voucher
State Archives of North Carolina, “North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers, 1779-1782.”

Because this payment to Nottingham Monk for his Revolutionary service came to him through the hands of Hardy Murfree, a noted Revolutionary commander from Hertford County,[13] a number of published historical works have concluded that Nottingham Monk was himself from that county, and entered Revolutionary service there.[14] No records I’ve found place either Nottingham Monk anywhere except Bertie County after this Monk family left Northampton County, Virginia.

On 29 October 1784, Nottingham Monk also received a warrant for 274 acres in Davidson County, Tennessee — the county to which his son Strachan would move his family initially when Strachan Monk left North Carolina between 1810 and 1820. A stream of records about this tract of land indicate that Nottingham Monk sold the warrant on 4 May 1786 to Thomas Ryan Butler, who entered the land in his name on 22 September 1787, and again on 15 May 1809, with the entry noting that it was a duplicate military warrant Nottingham Monk had assigned to Butler.[15]

Monk, Nottingham, NC and TN Rev. Land Warrants, Roll 3, Revolutionary Warrants 1783-1799
Tennessee Land Office Records, 1783–1927: North Carolina Revolutionary War Land Warrants, 1783–1837, RG 50, warrant 1272 (military bounty file 4950, grant file 2070).

Monk, Nottingham, NC and TN Rev. Land Warrants, Roll 3, Revolutionary Warrants 1783-1799 (2)

Tennessee:North Carolina Land Records, 1783–1927, Record Group 50. Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee, Series 10, Warrants, 1785-1814
Tennessee State Library and Archives, Early Land Registers: North Carolina Revolutionary War Land Warrants, 1783–1837, RG 50, series 10: Warrants, 1785-1814, p. 124.

Tennessee:North Carolina Land Records, 1783–1927, Record Group 50. Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee, Series 10, Warrants, 1785-1814 (close)

Monk, Nottingham, TN Early Land Registers Series 2, Entries, 1787-1792
Tennessee State Library and Archives, Early Land Registers: North Carolina Revolutionary War Land Warrants, 1783–1837, RG 50, Series 2, Entries, 1787-1792, p. 26.
Monk, Nottingham, TN Early Land Registers, Series 2, Entries, 1808-1809
Tennessee State Library and Archives, Early Land Registers: North Carolina Revolutionary War Land Warrants, 1783–1837, RG 50, series 2, Entries 1808-1809, p. 286.

In my next installment in this series, I’ll tell you what I know of Nottingham Monk’s life in Bertie County, North Carolina, up to his death, which occurred between 28 January and 10 February 1818. My final installment in the series will focus on his estate papers and what they document about the last years of his life, his property, and his heirs.

[1]1790 federal census, Bertie County, North Carolina, p. 359. The Bertie census for this year is not arranged by districts and locations of households, but alphabetically. The older Nottingham Monk is enumerated beside his son, with 1 free white male over 16, 1 free white male under 16, and 1 free white female. The names of both men are given as Nottinghm. Monk, with no indication of which is the father and which the son. The composition of each of the two households allows us to conclude fairly easily that the man with three sons and daughters and 11 slaves is Nottingham Jr.

[2]1800 federal census, Bertie County, North Carolina, p. 62. Once again, this census is alphabetized and not arranged by districts and household locations.

[3]See Alvaretta K. Register, State Census of North Carolina, 1784-1787 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publ. Co., 2001), p. 10. The household of Nottingham Monk Jr. has 2 free white males 21-60, 2 free white males under 21 or over 60, 3 free white females, and 14 slaves. The household of the older Nottingham has 1 free white male 21-60, 1 free white male under 21 or over 60, and 2 free white females.

[4]See NARA, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, M881, RG 92, roll 781; NARA, Muster Rolls, Payrolls, Strength Returns, and Other Miscellaneous Personnel, Pay, and Supply Records of American Army Units, 1775-83, M246, RG 93, folder 1, p. 29; and Walter Clark, ed., The State Records of North Carolina, vol. 15 (Goldsboro, NC: Nash Bros., 1898), p. 726, transcribing the preceding document, the muster roll of Howell Tatum’s company of the First North Carolina Battalion of the Continental Army, 8 September 1778.

[5]See Edward C. Papenfuse and Gregory A. Stiverson, “General Smallwood’s Recruits: The Peacetime Career of the Revolutionary War Private,” William and Mary Quarterly 30,1 (Jan. 1973, pp. 117-132, whose statistical study of the age of Virginia enlistees shows the median age as 20-21, with 90% under 25. As John A. Ruddiman notes in citing this study in Becoming Men of Some Consequence: Youth and Military Service in the Revolutionary War (Charlottesville: Univ. of VA Press, 2014), data showing the ages of enlistees in North and South Carolina are more sparse — but it appears likely that the Carolinas followed the pattern exhibited by Virginia enlistees.

[6]J.R.B. Hathaway, “Abstract of Bertie County Marriage Bonds,” North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register 2,2 (April 1901), p. 318.

[7]Ibid., p. 320.

[8]Ibid., 2,3 (July 1901), p. 366.

[9]See supra, n. 4.

[10]See ibid.

[11]See State Archives of North Carolina, “North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers, 1779-1782,” at FamilySearch, “Mitchel, John to Murphy, Richard,” image 133 of 883; accessed May 2018.

[12]Walter Clark, ed. State Records of North Carolina, vol. 17 (Goldsboro, NC: Nash Bros., 1899), “Account of Pay to North Carolina Troops in the Continental Army,” p. 233.

[13]See Marshall De Lancey Haywood, “Hardy Murfree,” in Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present, vol. 2, ed. Samuel A. Ashe (Greensboro, NC: Van Noppen, 1905), pp. 307-314.

[14]See e.g.Benjamin Brodie Winborne, The Colonial and State Political History of Hertford County, Issue 3 (Murfreesboro: Edwards & Broughton, 1906), p. 42 citing Hardy Murfree’s report of Revolutionary payments he received on behalf of various soldiers.

[15]The survey order is in Tennessee State Library and Archives, Tennessee Land Office Records, 1783–1927: North Carolina Revolutionary War Land Warrants, 1783–1837, RG 50, warrant 1272 (military bounty file 4950, grant file 2070). See also Tennessee State Library and Archives, Early Land Registers: North Carolina Revolutionary War Land Warrants, 1783–1837, RG 50, series 10: Warrants, 1785-1814, p. 124; ibid., series 2, Entries, 1787-1792, p. 26; ibid., series 2, Entries 1808-1809, p. 286; and North Carolina -Tennessee Land Grants Bk. F, p. 277.

 

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