Or, Subtitled: Land Plats and Tax Assessments as Genealogical Resources
When I finished my account of the life of Dennis Lindsey (1793-1855/1860), son of Dennis Lindsey (abt. 1755-1795) of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, I told you I’d move on to an account of the children of Dennis younger and wife Anna Woodruff. As my postings about Dennis have indicated, due to the loss of early Franklin County, Alabama, records in a devastating courthouse fire in 1890, there are many gaps in the documentation of Dennis and his family after he moved to Franklin County, Alabama, about 1827-8. No estate record naming his children has survived.
Some General Notes on the Children of Dennis Lindsey and Anna Woodruf
On the basis of such slim documentation as has survived, researchers of this family have long identified the following four children for Dennis Lindsey and Anna Woodruff: Miles R. (abt. 1820-bef. 4 February 1888); Melissa (abt. 1823-1882); Robert D. (1829-1892); and Amanda (1839-1911). For a discussion of the 1840 and 1850 federal censuses, which provide a helpful snapshot of Dennis’s family at the time those two censuses were taken, see the last posting.
The 1850 federal census shows Dennis and Anna’s son Robert D. living next door to the older couple. It appears that Robert and wife Martha Susan Hester had married not long before the census was taken. I’ve failed to find Robert’s older brother Miles on the 1850 federal census. He shows up, however, on the 1850 Alabama state census in Franklin County, with a household comprised of a white male under 21, a white male over 21, a white male 18-45, and a white female over 21. Miles is on a page in which members of the Tubb(s), James, and Hovater families closely connected to the descendants of Dennis Lindsey are also enumerated.
Establishing Miles R. Lindsey’s Dates of Birth and Marriage
The date of birth of Miles’s oldest son, William R. Lindsey — June 1849, according to the 1900 census — coupled with the date of birth of Miles’s wife Jane S. Williams, who was born in December 1827, according to the same census — suggest that Miles likely married around 1848. The 1850 Alabama census I’ve just cited confirms that Miles had married prior to 1850 and had a son younger than 21 years of age in his household by 1850.
We can fairly confidently place Miles’s birth around 1820 due to information about him provided by a valuable set of documents: on 24 October 1872, he filed a claim with the Southern Claims Commission in Franklin County, Alabama. The Southern Claims Commission was set up by the federal government following the Civil War to hear claims of citizens of Confederate states who maintained that they had opposed secession, had been loyal to the Union, and had assisted the Union cause with goods and services and/or had lost property that had been confiscated by Union troops. The Commission adjudicated these claims and offered reimbursement if the claims appeared meritorious.
In Miles’s case (and in that of most Southerners filing such claims), the Commission judged the claim unacceptable and “barred” and disallowed it. One big obstacle faced by many Southerners filing such claims is that they often had relatives pressed into Confederate service. In Miles’s case, as we’ll see when we look at documents regarding his brother Robert D. Lindsey, Robert had been pressed into CSA service, though, at Miles’s urging and the urging of Robert’s wife Martha Susan Hester, Robert had deserted from his CSA unit and gone to the Union state of Illinois during the war. Even with affidavits stating this in Miles’s file, the Commission rejected his claim.
Miles’s Southern Claims Commission file contains an affidavit he gave at Russellville, Alabama, on 24 October 1872, in which he states that his age was 52. The file shows Miles testifying again on 13 December 1878, stating that he was 57 years of age. These documents tell us, then, that Miles was born in 1820-1, and allow us to conclude that he’s almost certainly the male aged 20-29 in his father’s household on the 1840 federal census. We can also conclude with fair certainty that Miles would have been born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, since every piece of information we have about his parents Dennis Lindsey and Anna Woodruff tells us that they and their children were in that county up to 1827-8.
Documenting Miles’s Life Up to His 1872 Claim with the Southern Claims Commission
I’ll return in my next posting to Miles’s Southern Claims Commission file and the valuable information it provides about him and his family. Before I do that, however, I want to mention some other important pieces of information that document Miles’s life up to the Civil War. Alabama’s civil register of county officials for 1844-1867 shows Miles being commissioned a constable in Franklin County on 28 April 1847.
In 1858 and 1859, Miles received several federal land grants in Franklin County. These grants were all in township 6, range 12 west, section 6. On 1 March 1858, Miles received grants of 39.94 acres and 119.79 acres in this township, range, and section from the Huntsville land office.
On 1 December 1859, Miles patented another 159.73 acres in the same township, range, and section at the Huntsville land office. As the map of township 6, range 12 west of Franklin County shows, these grants were in the same section of the county in the extreme northwest part of the county on the Colbert County line in which the town of Frankfort is located. Frankfort was Franklin County’s seat from 1849-1879. Township plats held by the National Archives for this township, range, and section of Franklin County show Miles’s plats on the Colbert County line in the northernmost part of Franklin County, near Frankfort.
Miles and his family are enumerated on the 1860 federal census in Franklin County. Miles R. Lindsey is listed as 29, a farmer with $1000 real property and $500 personal property, born in South Carolina. Wife Jane is 31, also born in South Carolina. In the household are children William R., 10, Franklin F., 8, Martha A., 6, Amos L., 5, Mary L., 4, Cynthia A., 2, and Amanda L., 3 months, all born in Alabama.
An 1866 IRS tax assessment for district 5, tax collection district 3, of the state of Alabama shows Miles living at or having a post office address in Frankfort, and owing a special excise tax in September 1866 for 20 gallons of brandy. Miles also appears on the 1866 Alabama census in Franklin County with a household that includes one male over 20, five females under 10, two females 10-20, and one female over 20. This census entry notes that Miles lived in township 6, range 12 of Franklin County. It shows him living near members of the Tubb(s) and Hester families, both connected to the Lindsey family in Franklin County by marriage, and near his cousin Patillo Woodruff, about whom I provided information in my last posting.
Alabama’s 1867 voter registration list shows Miles R. Lindsey as a registered voter in Franklin County, precinct one, 42nd voting district. This shows that he took the oath of loyalty to the Union on 26 July 1867 — a precondition for voting after the Civil War.
In 1870, Miles and his family appear on the federal census in Franklin County at Franfort post office. The census shows Miles as 49, a farmer born in South Carolina, with a real worth of $1000 and $774 personal worth. His wife Jane is 42 and also born in South Carolina. In the household are children William, 10, George, 18, Martha, 17, Mary, 13, Amos, 15, Cynthia, 12, Oscar, 7 Lawson, 3, and Modena, 1, all born in Alabama. Also enumerated in Miles’s household is Thomas Sparks, 17, who was born in Georgia, and who is working on Miles’s farm. Thomas’s death certificate reports that his parents were Coleman Sparks and Lizzie Holland; he died at Leighton in Colbert County in 1938 and is buried in Morning Star cemetery at Tuscumbia. This Sparks family is, in my view, likely related to the family of Miles R. Lindsey’s uncle William Sparks, who married Eunice, daughter of Joseph Woodruff and Anna Lindsey, but I am not certain of how the two families connect.
Living next door to Miles’s family in 1870 are the family of Martha Hester and Luther Elledge. On the 1866 Alabama census discussed above, Miles is enumerated next to both Mrs. Martha Hester and Marcus Ellidge/Elledge. Martha Hester appears to be connected to the Hester family into which Miles’s brother Robert and sister Melissa married. Living next to the Elledges in 1870 is the family of Robert and Mollie Hendrix, and two houses further along is the family of William and Nancy Hendrix, both born in South Carolina (in 1812 and 1814 respectively). These Hendrixes would seem to be relatives of Miles’ mother Anna Woodruff, whose sister Sarah married a William Hendrix.
In my next posting, I’ll focus on the claim that Miles R. Lindsey filed with the Southern Claims Commission on 24 October 1872, and the important information it provides us about the Lindsey family of Franklin and Colbert Counties and interrelated families, all of whom appear in a number of interconnected files of the Southern Claims Commission as Unionists during the Civil War. I’ll also discuss the other pieces of documentation I’ve found for Miles’s life in its final years. As we’ll see, his Southern Claims Commission file shows his widow Jane filing for administration of his estate on 4 February 1888, so he had died by that date. Documents in the file show Miles still alive on 13 December 1878. Since Jane appears on 18 June 1880 on the 1880 federal census as a widow, Miles evidently died between 13 December 1878 and 18 June 1880 in Franklin County.
A final brief note about Miles’s name: I think it’s very likely that Miles was named for Rev. Miles Rainwater of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, whose tombstone in Cedar Shoals Baptist cemetery at Hobbyville in Spartanburg County states that he died 5 July 1826, aged 38, and had been ordained a Baptist minister 24 May 1817. Cedar Shoals Baptist church was founded at the head of Cedar Shoals Creek, about 7 miles southeast of Woodruff, on 26 May 1804, with founding elders David Golightly, Thomas Greer, and George Brewton/Bruton. It was pastored by Spencer Bobo till his death on 20 February 1816, at which point Miles Rainwater became its pastor and remained in its pulpit up to his death.
 1850 state census, Franklin County, Alabama, unpaginated.
 1900 federal census, Colbert County, Alabama, p. 5, precinct 9 (Wheeler), ED 9 (dwelling and family 78). All other censuses from the 1860 federal census through the 1920 federal census consistently report William born about 1850.
 Ibid. Jane is widowed and living in the household of son William R. Lindsey in 1900.
 Southern Claims Commission file #16521, office 51, report 8, “Barred and Disallowed Claims,” NARA M1407.
 Alabama Civil Register of County Officials, 1844-1867, vol. 3, p. 216.
 Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office, Huntsville, Alabama, Land Office Patent Bk. 34, p. 125, #26547; Patent Bk. 380, p. 99, # 22626A.
 Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office, Huntsville, Alabama, Land Office Patent Bk. 388, p. 280, #28748.
 1860 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, p. 588, eastern subdivision, LaGrange post office (dwelling 361/family 360).
 Internal Revenue Service, IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918, NARA RG58.
 1866 Alabama census, Franklin County, unpaginated; township 6, range 12.
 Alabama 1867 Voter Registration, vol. 1, p. 65.
 1870 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, p. 476, township 6, range 12, Frankfort post office (dwelling and family 38).
 1880 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, p. 564B, ED 89, township 6, range 12 (family and dwelling 146).
 See E.C. Watson, “History of Cedar Shoals Baptist Church,” in Minutes of the Third Meeting of the Spartanburg Baptist Association, etc., ed. North Spartanburg Baptist Association (Model Book and Job Printing Co., 1878), p. 30.