Will the Real Strawhorn Monk Please Stand Up? Documenting the Ancestry of Strachan Monk (1787 – 1850/1860), Son of Nottingham Monk and Rachel Strachan (4)

Monk, Nottingham Receipt, Estate File of John Pender, Bertie
28 December 1802 promissory note by John Pender and Nottingham Monk for a payment to the orphans of James Leggett, from loose-papers estate file of John Pender, Bertie County, North Carolina.

In this posting documenting the ancestry of Strachan/Strahon Monk (1787-abt. 1858), son of Nottingham Monk (abt. 1755-1818) and Rachel Strachan, I’ll begin winding up my account of the life of Nottingham Monk, which I began in two previous postings (here and here). Those discussed his birth about 1755 in Northampton County, Virginia, his Revolutionary service in North Carolina, and his marriage to Rachel, daughter of George and Elizabeth Strachan of Bertie County, North Carolina, between 22 February and 23 November 1786. Rachel had previously married 1) George Kittrell and 2) Benjamin Ward, both of whom died before she married Nottingham Monk. My previous postings also discuss Nottingham Monk’s involvement in the administration of the estate of his father Nottingham Monk elder, who died in Bertie County between 1790 and 20 July 1793.

Documenting Nottingham Monk’s Life from 1793 to His Death in 1818

An assortment of court and land records, estate documents, and store ledgers provides glimpses of the final period of Nottingham Monk’s life after his father’s death in 1793. In these documents, certain surnames including Pender and Whitfield recur, and their recurrence raises interesting questions about possible connections between the Monk family and those two families. At her excellent “Sally’s Family Place” website tracing the histories of families in the Roanoke-Chowan region of northeastern North Carolina, Sally Koestler suggests that Elizabeth, the wife of George Strachan and mother of Nottingham Monk’s wife Rachel Strachan, could possibly have been a Miss Elizabeth Whitfield. Sally Koestler bases this conjecture on the fact that Elizabeth was co-executor of the estate of her second husband Daniel Hendricks (she married him before 14 October 1760, per documents in George Strachan’s estate file) with Elisha Whitfield.

Please note how frequently in this posting I say things like I haven’t found absolute proof, and I’m conjecturing, or It seems possible that, etc. Much that I’m saying as I tell this final part of Nottingham Monk’s story is speculative, and I want readers to be well forewarned of that fact.

I haven’t found absolute proof that Rachel Strachan Monk’s mother Elizabeth was née Whitfield, but the repeated references to Whitfields in documents pertaining to Nottingham Monk following his marriage to Rachel Strachan in 1786 certainly do make me wonder if Sally Koestler’s hypothesis about the identity of Elizabeth might be correct.[1]

In this vein, it’s interesting to note that the estate file of Benjamin Whitfield shows Nottingham Monk giving bond on 11 August 1794 with Luke Warburton in Bertie County for Elizabeth Whitfield’s administration of the estate. The original bond is in the estate file. This Elizabeth was née Alvis and is not the Elizabeth who married 1) George Strachan and 2) Daniel Hendricks. Documents in the same estate file show that on 21 December 1795, Nottingham Monk and his sister Elishe, with her son Thomas Monk, were buyers at the estate sale of Benjamin Whitfield in Bertie County.

A 7 January 1797 account in the estate file of Benjamin Whitfield shows Nottingham Monk hiring Milly, one of the slaves of the estate. The estate file shows that previously, in November 1796, a division of Benjamin Whitfield’s estate had taken place, and Milly was apportioned to Benjamin and Elizabeth’s daughter Nancy. The estate file also has a 13 February 1796 bond by John Smithwick (with bondsmen Christian Reed and James Ross) for administration of the estate, indicating that Benjamin Whitfield died not long before that date. Nottingham Monk’s estate shows that he married a woman named Nancy sometime after Rachel Strachan’s death on 20-24 December 1816. I have no proof that this second wife was Nancy Whitfield, but these documents in the estate file of Benjamin Whitfield certainly tempt me to wonder about that possibility.

As I’ve noted, there are also a number of intriguing references in documents from the final period of Nottingham Monk’s life to a Pender family with whom he appears to have had some connection. Nottingham Monk was a buyer at the estate sale of Solomon Pender in Bertie County on 19 December 1787.[2] Other names found in this estate sale document are very familiar to anyone who looks at records pertaining to Nottingham Monk in Bertie County: they include members of the Belote, Smithwick, Kittrell, Armistead, Warburton, Collins, Speller, Whitfield, Swain, and Leggett families, all evidently neighbors of the Monks.

We’ve met Solomon Pender previously when I discussed Rachel Strachan’s administration of the estate of her husband George Kittrell in a previous posting. I noted that Rachel received letters of administration on Kittrell’s estate on 12 February 1782, giving bond with Solomon Pender and Henry Speller in the amount of£3,200,000.

There’s considerable confusion in Bertie County records — and it’s reflected in many online accounts of the Pender family — about Solomon Pender. I have done insufficient research on this family, and what I’m about to say should be taken with a big grain of salt, but here’s my reading of Solomon Pender’s story:

Many online family trees conflate the Solomon Pender who died in Bertie County before December 1787 with a man who died testate in Edgecombe County with a will dated 1783. I’m fairly confident that these two Solomon Penders are not the same man. My primary reason for questioning the conflation of the Edgecombe County man with the Bertie one is that the man who died in 1787 in Bertie had a wife Patience, who is not named in the 1783 will of the man who died in Edgecombe. In addition, Patience Pender died testate in Bertie with a will dated 5 November 1797.[3] The children named in her will do not match the children named in the 1783 will of Solomon Pender in Edgecombe County.

The Solomon Pender named in the 1797 will of Patience Pender as her son left an undated will in Bertie County probated in February 1800. This will makes Nottingham Monk executor along with Solomon’s brother John Pender.[4]

Pender, Solomon Will, Nottingham Monk exor.
Will of Solomon Pender, Bertie County, North Carolina, WB E, pp. 99- 101 (pr. Feb. 1800).

The 4 November 1769 will of Alexander Ray in Bertie County shows Solomon Pender’s wife Patience to be Ray’s daughter. Samuel Ray and Solomon Pender are named as executors.[5] Patience Pender gave bond in Bertie County on 20 August 1787 with Christian Reed and Edmund Dunston to administer the estate of the elder Solomon Pender.[6] In August 1792, Patience also gave bond with Nottingham Monk and John Walston to administer the estate of James Wiggins in Bertie.[7] Solomon with wife Patience is also, I suspect, the man of this name ordered by Bertie County court to leave the state in November 1777 because he was a Loyalist.[8] If he did, in fact, leave North Carolina at any point, it appears he returned to Bertie County by the mid-1780s.

Monk, Nottingham in Patience Pender Estate File
Part of account of sale of estate of Patience Pender, Bertie County, North Carolina, 20 December 1797, from her loose-papers estate file.

Nottingham Monk was a buyer at the 20 December 1797 estate sale of Patience Pender.[9] In addition, as he had done at the sale of the estate of the older Solomon in December 1787, Nottingham Monk bought items at the estate sale of the younger Solomon Pender in Bertie on 7 February 1800. An account of outstanding notes owed to the estate in 1800 found in the loose-papers estate file shows both Nottingham Monk and his sister Elishe Monk owing money to the estate.

Monk, Nottingham and Strachan, Will of John Pender, Bertie
Will of John Pender, 17 January 1805, Bertie County, North Carolina, WB E, p. 267.

On 17 January 1805, Nottingham Monk and his son Strachan/Strawhorn Monk witnessed the will of the younger Solomon Pender’s son John in Bertie County, with Strawhorn Monk signing by mark.[10] Strachan Monk proved the will at Bertie court in November 1805, with the original probate document in John Pender’s loose-papers estate file spelling his name as Streahorn Monk. John’s loose-papers estate file also contains a 28 December 1802 promissory note by John Pender and Nottingham Monk for a payment to the orphans of James Leggett (see the image at the head of this posting). The estate file also lists Nottingham Monk in a 7 January 1806 account of those paid by John Pender’s estate. I don’t yet have a clear picture of Nottingham Monk’s connection to the Pender family of Bertie, but the connection seems to have been definite.

Monk, Streahorn Provine Will John Pender, Bertie
Strachan Monk proving will of John Pender at Bertie court in November 1805; the original probate document is in John Pender’s loose-papers estate file and spells Monk’s name as Streahorn Monk.

Other than these intriguing suggestions of some connection of Nottingham Monk to the Whitfield and Pender families in Bertie, I simply have a list of undigested pieces of information about the final years of Nottingham Monk’s life. Taken together, these disconnected pieces of information paint an interesting picture of aspects of the life of an affluent planter in the Albemarle region of northeastern North Carolina in the early 1800s. Perhaps the most useful way I can make these available to anyone interested in this material is in a list:

  • 1 February 1796, Nottingham Monk bought a slate, a bible, and two enslaved girls named Nanny and Tatty from the estate of his step-son Jonathan Kittrell, per a document in the loose-papers estate file of Jonathan.
  • 14 November 1796, the will of James Jones in Bertie County has appended a February 1797 statement saying that Nottingham Monk and John Lester swore on 10 February 1797 in county court that they had been at Jones’ home when he said he intended to cut off all his children with a shilling except son Jesse. The 1787 state census of North Carolina shows Nottingham Monk’s father Nottingham elder living next to James Jones in Bertie County. The estate file of the father-in-law of the younger Nottingham Monk — George Strachan — shows James Jones summoned by Bertie County court on 16 October 1760 along with Thomas Collins and Thomas Howard to prove the will of Strachan. George Strachan’s estate file has no will in it, however, and other documents in the file state that he died intestate.[11]
  • 25 November 1796, the loose-papers estate file of John Belote shows Nottingham Monk buying a gun from the estate. As previously noted in this series on the ancestry of Strachan/Strahon Monk, the Belote family came to Bertie along with the Monks from Northampton County, Virginia, where the two families had already been connected.
  • 1 February 1799, Nottingham Monk gave bond with Solomon Belote for Noah Belote’s guardianship of Clarissa Belote, daughter of John Belote; the original bond is in John’s Bertie County estate file.
  • In 1800, Nottingham Monk appears on the federal census in Bertie County (p. 62), with 2 males under 10, a male 26-45, a female under 10, a female 10-16, and a female over 45, as well as 9 slaves.
  • 22 November 1800 and 15 January 1801, the loose-papers estate file of Thomas Collins, Bertie County, shows Nottingham Monk as a buyer. Amos Rayner, an administrator of Nottingham Monk’s estate, married Collins’ widow Hannah, according to the estate file. According to Sally Koestler’s “Sally’s Family Place” site, Hannah was née Holladay, and Amos was the son of John Rayner/Raynor and Judith Chappell.
  • 17 March 1804, Nottingham Monk sold to Duran Mizell in Bertie County a slave girl Zelpha/Zelphey.[12]
  • 14 November 1809, Nottingham Monk and J. Moore signed a promissory note to Solomon Cherry; the original note is in Nottingham Monk’s loose-papers estate file, with a 14 January 1816 court summons for payment of the debt.
  • I do not find Nottingham Monk’s family on the 1810 federal census in Bertie County, though it’s clear he and wife Rachel and their family were living there at this point.
  • 8 February 1812, Nottingham Monk sold a slave Mary to Absalom Tadlock in Bertie County, NC.[13] On 8 April 1785 in Bertie County, Absalom Tadlock was a buyer at the sale of Rachel Strachan’s second husband Benjamin Ward, according to the sale account in his loose-papers estate file.
  • 28 February 1814, Nottingham Monk purchased 5 pounds of sugar, a half pound of pepper and allspice, half pound of powder, and a half bushel of flour from an unidentified store in Windsor, North Carolina. Harry Lewis Thompson of Windsor sent me a photocopy of pages from the ledger, which was then in possession of Historic Hope’s Educational and History Center, on 27 August 1991. On 16 March 1815, Nottingham Monk bought 3 gallons of brandy and 1 glass tumbler from the same store, and on 9 May 1815, he bought a half (gallon?) of brandy, four dozen fish hooks, two pounds of tea, and more brandy. Harry Lewis Thompson told me that Nottingham Monk appears in many more of the ledger entries of the Windsor store, along with his son Nebuchadnezzar Monk, who is listed in the ledger in the same time frame as Nottingham Monk. The Windsor store is possibly Capehart & Watson, a firm whose accounts for Nottingham Monk in the period 1816-1818 are found in his estate file.
  • 20 March 1814, the loose-papers estate file of Nottingham Monk has a note of debt to William Pender for flax, tobacco, and soap. With this is a 10 March 1817 note to Pender for a pair of cartwheel boxes.
  • 2 September 1814, Nottingham Monk executed a promissory note to Jethro Holland and another name I cannot read, executors of James Warren, in Bertie; the note is in Monk’s loose-papers estate file.
  • 13 February 1815, a deed of Nottingham Monk’s wife Rachel to their son Stewartspeaks of him as still alive, but on 11 February 1818, Rachel’s son-in-law William Anderson (husband of Monk’s daughter Jane/Jennet) appealed for administration of Stewart’s estate, giving bond with Amos Rayner and Nebuchadnezzar Monk in the amount of £5000, so it appears Stewart Monk died between these dates. A complaint of Amos Rayner in Nottingham Monk’s estate file about William Anderson’s administration of the estate gives 1817 as Stewart’s year of death.
  • 21 April 1815, a receipt in Nottingham Monk’s estate file shows him buying 9775 herrings from William Pender.
  • 2 June 1815, Nottingham Monk and Matthew Bailey gave a promissory note to James Jordan; this is accompanied in Nottingham Monk’s estate file with a 20 March 1817 order to arrest them for the debt. William Anderson paid the note on behalf of the estate on 15 March 1818.
  • 7 Sept. 1815, Nottingham Monk bought items at the estate sale of Elizabeth (née Bentley), widow of Arthur Rayner.
  • An account dated only 1815 in the estate file of Nottingham Monk shows purchases he had made from Amos Rayner.
  • In Nottingham Monk’s estate file, there’s an 1816 (otherwise undated) note from Nottingham Monk to his son-in-law Thomas Sorrell (husband of Elizabeth Monk) for money lent. This was proven 24 September 1818, with a receipt by William Anderson to Sorrel.
  • 23 February 1816, Nottingham Monk signed a note to Whitmell Swain, which William Anderson paid on 4 May 1818. These documents are in Monk’s estate file.
  • 8 May 1816, Reuben Whitfield made a promissory note to Nottingham Monk, which is in Monk’s estate file.
  • 20 June 1816, Nottingham Monk signed a promissory note to William Minor at Cedar Landing for tobacco; William Anderson paid the debt for the estate — original documents are in Monk’s estate file.
  • 1816, Nottingham Monk’s estate file has his note of receipt to Philip McFerson for cutting a coat, waistcoat, and a pair of pantaloons for Stewart Monk, along with two coats for himself. This was proven 10 February 1817 by James Cherry.
  • 16 October 1816, Nottingham Monk bought three turkeys from John Holladay, and borrowed money; the note for this transaction was proven on 24 February 1818 by John Holladay and Nebuchadnezzar Monk. The original documents are in Nottingham Monk’s estate file.
  • 16 November 1816, Nottingham Monk’s estate file has a receipt of Monk to E.A. Rhodes for a half dozen segars [sic], and a 30 June 1816 receipt for sugar and copper.
  • 20 December 1816, Nottingham Monk’s estate file has a receipt to Dr. Benjamin B. Hunter for attending Monk’s wife Rachel; the doctor dosed Rachel with castor oil and something that appears to be called ortaceous mixture, and an astringent mixture. Four days later, Nottingham Monk paid William Davis for a coffin for Rachel. On the 27th, Nottingham Monk paid for a coffin for an unnamed slave woman, and in Jan. 1817, for his son Stewart. These receipts were proven on 13 Feb. 1818 by Anthony W. Putney — original documents are in Nottingham Monk’s estate file.
  • The estate file has an undated 1817 account of NM with son-in-law Thomas Sorrell, for molasses, cattle, fodder, corn, a sow, 8 chairs, and cheese.
  • 1817, an otherwise undated account in Nottingham Monk’s estate file shows him indebted to his son-in-law Thomas Sorrell for molasses, cattle, fodder, corn, a sow, eight chairs, and cheese.
  • 21 February 1817, Nottingham Monk and Whitmell Swain executed a promissory note to Starkey Skiles, executors of James Swain, Sr.; the note is in Nottingham Monk’s estate file.
  • 13 May 1817, Nottingham Monk executed a note to Joseph Blount. The note, found in Monk’s estate file, has an attached summons dated 12 January 1818 for Nottingham Monk to appear in Bertie court for the debt. On 27 January 1818, Nottingham Monk was ordered to pay the debt, and on 29 May 1818, his goods were attached. Other documents in the estate file indicate that Nottingham Monk had died by 29 May.
  • 13 May 1817, Nottingham Monk signed a note to James Peck for money lent. On 17 June, he was summoned to pay the debt, judgment being given on 21 June. Nottingham Monk prayed a stay of execution, with Philip McPherson as security. On 12 January 1818, his goods were attached. On 11 Aug., William Anderson paid the debt on behalf of Nottingham Monk’s estate.
  • 6 May 1817, Nottingham Monk executed a promissory note to Taylor Watson, signing by mark; this is in the estate file. Since numerous other documents show him signing his name prior to this point, it appears Nottingham Monk must have become feeble by this point and unable to sign his name.
  • 12 August 1817, Nottingham Monk signed a promissory to Thomas Bond; the note has an attached summons in the estate file for Nottingham Monk to appear in court at Windsor on 13 November 1817.
  • 1817, Nottingham Monk made a note of debt to Amelia Owens for four days work; the estate file shows this note proven on 27 April 1818.
  • 11 Nov. 1817, Nottingham Monk made a promissory note to Anthony W. Putney, with Monk signing by mark. This is accompanied in the estate file by a 14 November 1818 note of Thomas Speller saying that Nottingham Monk owed this debt.
  • 26 November 1817, Nottingham Monk’s estate file shows an account with this date to the firm of Sanderson & Lawson, of which I have a copy. The estate file also has an 1818 account of Nottingham Monk at the firm of Corey & Leggett.
  • 4 January 1818, a note of Nottingham Monk in his estate file to Thomas Rascoe shows Monk hiring his son (or a seine?) to Rascoe, who had provided 8000 herrings. This was proven on 11 August 1818. William Anderson paid the debt.
  • 15 Jan. 1818, Nottingham Monk signed a note (by mark) to Richard Poindexter for money borrowed. He is nearing his death, per the documents in his estate file.
  • 20 January 1818, Nottingham Monk signed a note (by mark) to Wm. Maer, Sr., with Maer transferring the note to Amos Rayner on 15 February, and William Anderson paying it on 24 September 1818.
  • On 28 January 1818, Nottingham Monk signed a promissory note to pay Joshua Leggett and Solomon Cory for money borrowed; on 18 July 1818, William Anderson summoned Leggett and Cory to prove the note.

Nottingham Monk died by 11 February in Bertie County, when William Anderson gave bond to administer his father-in-law’s estate. In my final installment about the life of Nottingham Monk, I’ll discuss documents in his loose-papers estate file.

[1]Daniel Hendricks died testate in Bertie County with a will dated 12 February 1768, naming Elisha Whitfield as his friend and co-executor of Hendricks’ estate along with wife Elizabeth. The will also bequeaths to Elizabeth’s children Daniel and Rachel Strawhon (Bertie County WB A, p. 101, #296). Bertie County court minutes, documents in Daniel Hendricks’ loose-papers estate file held by the North Carolina Archives, and Bertie County Estate Inventories and Sales show Elizabeth Hendricks and Elisha Whitfield acting as co-executors from March 1768 up to its settlement of the estate in the spring of 1782. A division of the estate of Elizabeth’s first husband George Strachan on 8 June 1765 in his loose-papers estate file also shows Elisha Whitfield as one of those appointed by the Bertie court to divide that estate.

[2]Bertie County Estate Inventories 1787-90, p. 20. See also the original sale account in the loose-papers estate file held by the North Carolina archives.

[3]Bertie County, North Carolina, WB E, p. 39. An undated division of land and lists of heirs in Patience Pender’s loose-papers estate file held by North Carolina archives confirm the names of the children of Solomon and Patience Pender given in her will. On 20 December 1797, sons John and Solomon Pender inventoried the estate and also sold its movable property.

[4]Bertie County, North Carolina, WB E, pp. 99- 101. Belson Kittrell witnessed the will. Bertie County, North Carolina, DB T, p. 62, shows John Pender and Nottingham Monk selling land from this estate to William Mair in Bertie on 14 February 1804. An estate file for Solomon Pender in Chowan County shows Nottingham Monk and John Pender summoned by that county’s court on 14 November 1800 in connection with the estate: see Solomon Pender’s loose-papers estate file, Chowan County, held by the North Carolina archives.

[5]Bertie County, North Carolina WB A, pp. 113-4. The will notes that Alexander Ray’s land bordered that of John Kittrell. See also the 10 July 1801 will of John Ray in Bertie County, probated August 1801, which notes that Ray’s mother was his sole heir, and also indicating that what Nottingham Monk owed to Ray was to be bequeathed to his mother. The will was witnessed by John Pender and Edward Walker (Bertie County, North Carolina, WB E, p. 131).

[6]The original bond is in Solomon Pender’s loose-papers estate file held by the North Carolina archives.

[7]Bertie County, North Carolina, Court Minutes, vol. 5, p. 956. The same month, Nottingham Monk was appointed administrator of the estate of Nathaniel and William Cooper, giving bond with Richard Dawson and John Wolfenden (ibid., p. 957). Wolfenden was Bertie senator in 1794-5, and lived at the Cashie settlement now known as the Hoggard Mill section, about two miles north of Windsor on the Cashie River: see Harry Lewis Thompson, “The Lost Town of `Cashy,” The Chronicle of the Bertie County Historical Association 15,2 (Oct. 1967), p. 1.

[8]Bertie County, North Carolina, Court Minutes, vol. 4, p. 268.

[9]The original sale account is in the loose-papers estate file of Patience Pender held by the North Carolina archives.

[10]Bertie County, North Carolina, WB E, p. 267.

[11]Bertie County, North Carolina, WB D, p. 369.

[12]Bertie County, North Carolina, DB S, p. 478.

[13]Bertie County, North Carolina, DB V, 639.

2 thoughts on “Will the Real Strawhorn Monk Please Stand Up? Documenting the Ancestry of Strachan Monk (1787 – 1850/1860), Son of Nottingham Monk and Rachel Strachan (4)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.