Tag Archives: Northumberland County

The McCready-Hurley Ledger: “A Pleasant Romance,” story fragment

The following short story fragment appears in the McCready-Hurley Ledger amidst pages of penmanship practice and hymn lyrics. It’s unclear whether the writer was copying an existing story, or writing an original draft. I’ve searched Google for several specific phrases to see if the material was published, with no luck. Some of the periods might represent commas.

A Pleasant Romance

On the evening of the 27 of January 1869. We all assembled at our new home Chery Hill Va. We. I say we for there was 9 of us the old servants not indentured. Oh what a mery time we had we left our old home in Md on the 22nd and was on the Boat near a week and when we did get on land again we were Delighted. But what pleased us most was when we arrived at the Hill, there stood the Great Old House in all its Granduer the Lofty Elms spreading forth [thear?] Magnificen Branches in silen

Sadly, the story ends mid-word, but even so, these few sentences are fascinating. Today there is a Cherry Hill Road in Northumberland County, Virginia, fairly close to places mentioned in Meshack McCready’s journal entries such as Burgess Store and Heathsville. This fact, plus the reference to “Md” (Maryland), plus the trip on the boat, plus the fact that both Meshack McCready and the Hurley family were from Dorchester County, Maryland, strongly suggests that this fragment was intended to be a firsthand account of somebody’s trip across the Chesapeake Bay to Cherry Hill, or perhaps a fictional story based on it. The reference to “old servants not indentured” is especially interesting.

An article in the Rappahannock Record dated October 21, 1948, mentions a historic home called Cherry Hill which was believed to have been built nearly three centuries earlier by Roger Jones.

Despite some spelling errors, the writer obviously had talent; his or her image of the grand old house and its lofty elms is striking. Hopefully, further study of the ledger and the family who owned it will shed more light on this tantalizing piece of writing and its relationship to their story.

– Chris Slavens

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Dorchester County, Maryland history, McCready-Hurley Ledger, Virginia

The McCready-Hurley Ledger: Meshack McCready’s Weather Journal

Previously I shared a number of journal entries written by Meshack McCready between 1867 and 1872; they focused primarily on his walk with God, and the happenings at his local church in Northumberland County, Virginia. The McCready-Hurley Ledger also contains a weather journal covering several months in 1867. (Since the entries begin after a page of spiritual journal entries dated December 1867, initially I assumed that he had made the same mistake we’ve all made one day or another, and wrote the old year on the first day of the new one. However, since the days of the week are also noted, it’s easy to confirm that the series of entries is dated correctly.) McCready was 39 at the time.

A conjecture of the weather for the year 1867

Tuesday January 1th There is snow on the ground to the depth of six inches and is cloudy all day with mist of rain and snow all day with freezing and sleet

Wensday 2th It has snowed to day and is still cloudy with the wind N W

Thursday 3 Clear and worm this morning but cloudy and cold this evening

Friday 4th It is clear and worm over head today and the snow is melting very fast

Saturday 5th Clear and worm wind S. Snow melting

Sunday 6 Clear and worm wind S. W.

Monday 7 Cloudy and cool wind N. W.

Tuesday 8 It is cloudy to day N. W. snow to night

Wensday 9th It is clear and worm and the wind S. snow melting

Thursday 10th It is cloudy all day. North wind.

Friday 11 Clear to day

Saturday 12 Clear and warm this morning

Sunday 13 Snow this morning but clear this evening

Monday 14 Snow all day to day wind N. W.

Tuesday 15 Snow this morning but clear this evening

Wensday 16 Clear and cold here to day Wind S.

Thursday 17 Clear and very cold to day Wind W.

Friday 18 It is clear and cold here to day wind N. W.

Saturday 19 Clear and cold

Sunday 20 It is snowing very fast all day to to day and rain and blewing to night

Monday 21 Cloudy with plenty of snow to day

Tuesday 22 Clear and cold to day wind N. W.

Wensday 23 Clear and cold to day wind N. W.

Thursday 24 It is clear and moderate this morning it has been worm to day clear and cold hear to night wind N. W.

Friday 25 Cloudy and worm the snow is melting to day

Saturday 26 Cloudy and worm to day here but clear and cold to night wind N. W.

Sunday 27 Clear and moderate this morning

Monday 28 Clear and cold here to day wind N. W.

Tuesday 29 Clear and cold and freezing all day N W

Wensday 30th Clear and cold and wind N. W. in the morning and N. E. in the evening

Thursday 31th Cloudy with some snow this morning but clear and worm this evening Wind S.

February 1 1867 Friday It is smokey and very worm and it is thawing very much to day here

Saturday 2th Cloudy with rain and very worm and smokey with a general thaw wind S.

Sunday 3th Cloudy and worm wind S. and S. W. and W. and North West

Monday 4th It is cloudy and worm to day the ice in the river broke yesterday being 37 days that it has been frozen over this winter

Tuesday 5th Clear and worm to day Wind W. N. W. N. I have been spliting rails for the last two days itis the first towards farming we have don this year

Wensday 6th Clear and worm to day wind N. W.

Friday 8th It has rained all day wind N. E. the sun has not been seen here to day

Saturday 9th It has rained all day and late this evening it rained very fast wind S. S. W. and W.

Sunday 10th Clear and cold to day and freezing very hard and the wind blowing a gale from North. N. W.

Monday 11th Clear and cold to day. Wind N. W

Tuesday 12 Clear and worm wind S and S. E.

Wensday 13th Clear and worm this morning cloudy and worm this evening Wind E. S. E.

Thursday 14 Clear and very worm to day but cloudy to night Wind. S. E.

Friday 15th It has rained all day to day wind blowing from North East N. E.

Saturday 16th It is cloudy and smokey with some rain Wind North East but west to night

Sunday 17 Clear windy and worm Wind N. W.

Monday 18th Cloudy and worm Wind S East

Tuesday 19th Clear and worm this morning wind South. Cloudy and worm this evening wind S. E.

Wensday 20th It snowed some last night but has rained this morning wind east and it is cloudy and windy this evening and and to night wind N. E.

Thursday 21th Cloudy and rainy all day to day wind N. E. this morning and West this evening and blowing hard and raining to night

Friday 22th Cloudy and windy this morning clear and windy this evening Wind N. W.

Saturday 23 Cloudy and cold this morning Wind E Clear and pleasant this evening Wind E

Sunday 24th Cloudy and looks very much like rain this morning wind South East it has rained this evening wind N. W.

Monday 25 Cloudy and rainy to day Wind S. E.

Tuesday 26th Clear and worm to day Wind N. W.

Wensday 27th Clear and worm Wind N

Thursday 28th Cloudy and windy and cool Wind S. E

Friday March 1th It is rained all day to day there has been a big fall of water with the wind South east

Saturday 2th It has rained all day with the wind all a round the compass

Sunday 3th It is cloudy and cool this morning wind N. W. it rained this evening wind S. E.

Monday 4 It has rained all day Wind N. E.

Tuesday 5 It has rained and snowed all day to day with the wind N East

Wensday 6 It has snowed all day with Wind N. E.

Thursday 7 It rained this morning Wind N. E. It is variable this evening Wind N. W.

Friday 8 It was clear and worm this morning Wind N. W. Cloudy this evening and cool Wind E

Saturday 9th It was cloudy and pleasant this morning Wind E. It has rained this evening Wind N. E.

Sunday 10th It has rained all day with the Wind N. E.

Monday 10th Clear and worm Wind N. W.

Tuesday 12th Cloudy and rainy to day Wind N. E.

Wensday 13th Cloudy and rainy to day Wind S. and S. E.

Thursday 14th It has snowed all this morning Wind N. W. And cleared off this evening Wind N. W. And it will freeze hard to night

Friday 15 It has been clear and worm this morning Wind [N?] Cloudy and worm this evening with wind east E

Saturday 16th It has snowed all day fast wind N. E.

Sunday 17th It snowed all the morning but cleared off this evening and the sun shone bright and worm the wind N. W.

Monday 18th It has been clear and worm all day to day after the morning Wind N. W.

Tuesday 19th Cloudy and snowed this evening Wind N. E.

Wensday 20th Cloudy and snowed all day Wind N. E.

Thursday 21th It has rained and blew a storm to day with the wind at North east N. E.

Friday 22th It rained and blew a storm all this morning with the wind North east N. E. and it has snowed all this evening and is snowing and blowing a gale to night Wind North West N. W.

Saturday 23th Cloudy with rain this morning wind N. E. Cloudy this evening Wind North east

Sunday 24th Cloudy all day to day and cool Wind N. E.

Monday 25th Clear and worm to day Wind N. West

Tuesday 26th Clear and worm to day there was some ice this morning Wind North West

Wensday 27th It rained all this morning Wind South Cloudy and worm this evening West W.

Thursday 28 Cloudy and windy and cool this evening [W. N. ?] Cloudy cool and very windy this evening wind N. w

Friday 29th Cloudy cool and windy wind N. W.

Saturday 30th Clear and worm to day Wind N. E.

Sunday 31th Clear and worm to day Wind S. N. W.

Monday April 1th Cloudy and rain to day Wind S. W.

Tuesday 2th Clear and windy wind N. W.

Wensday 3th Clear and windy wind to day N. W.

Thursday 4th Clear and windy to day ind N. W.

Friday 5th It has rained to day wind S. E.  S. and S. W.

Saturday 6th Clear and windy to day wind N. W.

Sunday 7th Clear and windy to day wind N. W.

Monday 8th Clear and worm and windy wind N. W.

Tuesday 9th Clear and worm to day wind North

Wensday 10th Clear and worm to day wind E. S. E.

Thursday 11th Clear and worm to day wind W

Friday 12th Cloudy and worm to day wind S. W.

Saturday 13th Clear and worm to day wind W.

Sunday 14th Clear and worm to day wind N. E and E

Monday 15th Cloudy and worm to day wind South S

Tuesday 16th Cloudy and worm to day wind South S

Wensday 17th It has rained to day wind South S

Thursday 18th Clear and worm to day wind S. W. W. and N W

Friday 19th Clear and cool to day wind N. W.

Saturday 20th Cloudy and worm to day wind South S

Sunday 21th Clear and worm to day wind North east and E

Monday 22

One wonders why the entries stop at this point. Perhaps with the arrival of spring and consistently warm weather, McCready was just too busy to keep up with them.

– Chris Slavens

Leave a comment

Filed under Maryland history, McCready-Hurley Ledger, Virginia

The McCready-Hurley Ledger: Meshack McCready’s Journal

Several months ago I mentioned an old ledger I had bought at an auction. It had been incorrectly advertised as containing the names of Civil War soldiers from Dorchester County, Maryland; in fact, it seems that the ledger’s original purpose was to record the names, ranks, and status of Confederate soldiers from various Georgia regiments. Students of the war will be interested to know that a pig pen cipher key is written in pencil at the top of one of the first few pages. I still hope to transcribe and publish all of the information pertaining to the Confederacy, which will take some time, but in the meantime, the book contains numerous other records, journal entries, notes about the weather, hymn lyrics, and many pages of penmanship practice.

The following journal entries were written by Meshack McCready, who was from Dorchester County, but was living across the bay in Virginia in the 1860s and 1870s. A number of specific places are mentioned, including Burgess Store, Heathsville, Wainrights Chapel, and Corinth. I’ve edited the text slightly to make it more readable; many words are capitalized unnecessarily, some that should be capitalized (like “I” and “God”) are not, and he seems to have capitalized the first word of nearly every line, whether he was beginning a new sentence or not.

November 29th, 1867

To day is my fortieth birth day and I have been happy all day long I have experienced the blessings of God to my poor heart I feel as though God has been with me this whole day for I have felt his presence with me and could and did prais him for all of his goodness to me a poor sinner and to night I feel that I am on my road to Heaven.

November 30th, 1867

To day has been one of hope for I can claim the promise for I can prais God that I have been happy with the presence of the Holy Spirit to day

December 1th, 1867

Prais the lord, oh my soul and all within me rejoice for all his goodness to me for I feel him near me to day

December 2th

I can say with a truth that the Lord has been good to me to day and I can say before to his holy name pray for me and I will pray for you that is the way the Christians do I love the Lord for he first loved me

December 3th

To day I have felt that the Lord has been with me for I can pray his holy name I have been blest to day glory to his holy name I do believe with out a dout that if I hold out I shall be saved in heaven at last

December 4th

To day I have experienced divine blessings from on hy and I can pray God for it I do thank him for all of his goodness to me so [despondent?] for I feel my unwerthaness but I have the witness in my brest that I am a child of Gods

At this point the entries are interrupted by what appears to be a parallel journal of brief notes about the weather from January 1st, 1867, through April. (One wonders whether it was really 1867, or he made the same mistake that we’ve all made one time or another, and wrote the old year after 1868 had begun.) Then the spiritual entries resume for another page and a quarter.

December 5th

To day I have temptations and trials but I look to God and he helps me to over come I can prais him to night for all of his goodness to me I can do and will trust him for his grace

6th

To day I feel as though my Lord and my God is with me for I have lifted my poor heart to high in prayer all day and he has blessed me for it I can I do and I will put my whole trust in him I will throw my hole heart upon his promises I have had some temtations to day but I find if I go to him his grace will help me in time of need

7th

To day I have had crosses and trials but [illegible] God his grace has been poured out upon me and I have praised him for his goodness to me I feel to night that he is ever ready to answer prayer if we ask in the right spirit

8th

To day I went to the dedication of Wainrights Chapel and the surmont was preached from the XI chapter of Hebrew 5th verse, by faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death now by [mr weston?] and I was greatly blessed and have been full of the love of God all day

9th

To day I have felt divine presents with me and can say with the poet prais the Lord oh my soul and all within me rejoice for all his goodness to me

10th

I have to day experienced the goodness of God I thank him for the many blessings I enjoy I can say to night to prais the Lord oh my soul and that is within me bless his holy name for all of his goodness to me

11th

It has rained now two days the first for three months to wet vegatables to the roots 3rd Saturday and Sunday of September

Although I am deprived of going to hear the gospel preached to a dying people I can sit at home and read the word of God and be happy in his love for I love the Lord and I know he loves me as unworthy as I am for I have his promice that he will never leave or forsake them that puts their trust him him

M. J. McCready

After many pages of other material (mostly penmanship practice, and a few notes written in a different hand), there is another series of entries written by McCready.

January 1th 1872 Sunday

I went to church to preaching today and heard Dr James Smith preach from Hebrews the twelfth chapter first and second verses it was an able discorse and I hope I was profited

Wensday 10th

We have had fresh herrings for supper to night that was caught to day it is worm

Heathville January 13th 1872

I went to quarterly meting to day and brother Daves text was the 40th chapter of Isaiah and the 31st verse

January 14th Went to preaching and brother Daveses text Act the 14th chapter and 17th verse

January 21th Snowed to day and I did not git to go to church to day and I stayed at home and read the Bible and was very much edified as I prize it above all other books

January 28th Went to church to day but it was such bad weather there was no preaching as there was no pastor and no congregation there was but three of us Willie [illegible] Lewis [Littrell?] and my self although I was disapointed in hearing preaching I have read the Bible and prayed and was blessed very much

February 4th I could not go to preaching to day on the account of bad weather but I read a sermont delivered by the Rev. J. M.Mcentyre of the Louisiana Conference     M. J. McCready

February 11th I went to church to day there was no preaching although we expected to hear our circuit preacher but was disappointed he has not preached since the second Sabbath in October for us at Corinth. M. J. McCready

February 18th Yesterday was a stormy and snowey day and to day I did not get to go to church but have stayed at home and read my Bible and the home journal and have read five sermons on holiness by Rev Rufus Underwood and have been greatly blessed in so doing and in prayer I am still striving for the kingdom

February 25 Clear and worm went to church and heared a very surmon by Stark Jet from the text Luke 21th 36th verse

March 3th Snowed yesterday a storm and I did not get to go to church to day and therefore I did not get to hear preaching for the creek frozen over so that I could not git across and the snow was so deep I could not get across but I did not go to sleep am blest

March 10th The snow is not gone yet and it has rained to day and I did not get to go to church to day but I have read five sermons on perfect love and three chapters in the gospel by St. Mark and have been much edified by so doing

March 17th Sunday did not git to go to church to day

March 24th We were disapointed in hearing of preaching today on the account of our quarterly meeting at Smyrna and we have no other meeting but preaching and I am getting very tired of such coldness in both preachers and members of the M.E. church South we have four preachers on our circuit and we don’t have preaching one half of the time at Corinth

March 31st We had no preaching to day as it was not preaching day old father Evins is very sick at this time and brother Covington has been unable to preach any this year and brother Crocker has quit preaching as he cannot make money enough in that way and it leaves us with only two preachers the one to preach on the first and the other on the fourth Sabbath in each month

April 7th I went to church to day and there was no body at church but myself and as it rained I went in and neeled down and prayed and was much blessed in so doing and have had comfort all day

April 14th No preaching to go to to day had to stay at home and read and prais and have been much edified in so doing grace will help in time of need if we seek a in faith

April 21st Had no preaching at Corinth to day

April 28th Had preaching by Stark Jet to day

May 5th Had preaching to day by James Smith and we organized our Sabbath School

May 12th [no entry]

Although this is the last section, chronologically, that was clearly written by McCready (there are many other pages of notes, some signed by members of the Hurley family, others not signed at all), the following entry near the end of the book is signed by McCready and dated two years earlier. It seems to be a draft of a letter to the Methodist Home Journal alluded to above. I haven’t been able to find out whether the letter was published.

Dear Journal as you do not hear from this part of old virginia I take this opportunity of wrighting to inform you of what we are doing there in Northumberland County of three weeks with great success for the glory of God it has not been my privelidge to attend such meetings for many years there has been about sixty five (65) sinners that has professed to have thier sins forgiven and believers built up in their faith we are Methadist but poor we bilt a church in eighteen hundred and fifty six (1856) and have not got it paid for yet but hope by the grace of God to pay for it some time but we have to strugle hard to pay our preachers and the one that we have this year has laboured faithfully for us this year he is a man the people both in the church and out of it like much for he just tells us how we have got to live so as to enter into the straight gate there has been as many as (20) penitents at the alter at one time for prayers we have not had scarce any class meetings for many years past but we begin to revive them again this half we have not had any rain now for near three months that is to wet the corn to the roots and therefore shall not get much of a crop but thank God we shall get enough to eat

If you see proper to to publish this you are at liberty to do so but to God be all the glory through the name of Jesus Amen

Burgess Store Northumberland, September 5th 1870

M. J. McCready

I hope to publish more information from the ledger in the near future, probably beginning with McCready’s weather journal.

– Chris Slavens

1 Comment

Filed under Dorchester County, McCready-Hurley Ledger, Virginia, War Between the States

Auction Finds: Worcester Land Documents and a Peculiar Ledger

Last week I bid on a few items in an online auction held by Allen & Marshall, and managed to win four lots of Worcester County (and/or Wicomico County) land documents, as well as a ledger which was advertised as containing the names of Civil War soldiers from Dorchester County, but which turned out to be something rather different — and no less interesting.

In the interest of making the content of the documents available to the public (and I hope the winners of the other lots will do so as well), I’m sharing the following scans of some of the documents, as well as a little bit of information about each. Two, an 1810 deed from John and Elisha Parker to Billy Parker, and an 1882 deed to James Oliphant, are too large to scan.

I. Parker’s Delight Enlarged, 228 acres, surveyed for Elisha Parker in 1760

Parker’s Delight Enlarged, Elisha Parker, 1760, page 1

Parker’s Delight Enlarged, Elisha Parker, 1760, page 2

The original Parker’s Delight was surveyed for Elisha in 1756, and consisted of 54 acres. The addition of 175 acres of vacant land resulted in the a 228-acre tract appropriately named Parker’s Delight Enlarged. The description mentions “the Head of Wilkins’s Branch” as well as a tract named Mathvin’s Chance.

II. Platt of Elisha Parker Sen., his land

Lands of Elisha Parker, Sr., 1787

The above plat is dated April 11, 1787, the same day on which Elisha made his will. He died within the next few months, for the probate date is December 7, 1787. At that time, witness Ebenezer Handy was also said to be deceased.

III. Lands of Booz Walston and Levin Haymon

Lands of Booz Walston and Levin Haymon

This document was actually included with the certificate for Parker’s Delight Enlarged, but I’m not sure whether they’re related. A 40-acre tract named Canada was surveyed for Boaz Walston in 1771, and patented to him in 1773; it was described as being in “wicicomico forrest on the south side of a tract of land formerly granted unto David Smith and about two hundred yards to the westward of the aforesaid Walstons dweling Hous…”  In 1815, a rather large tract named Gibralter was surveyed for Walston, including parts of tracts named Canada, Canaan, Pea Patch, and Goshen.

IV. Deed: Billy Parker from John & Elisha Parker, 1810

Too large to scan, this indenture “between John Parker and Elisha Parker (both of Elisha) of Worcester County in the State of Maryland of the one part and Billy Parker (of John) of the same place of the other part…” is dated February 24, 1810. The land in question is part of a tract named Forrest Grove, which had been the property of the late Elisha Parker, and is described as:

Begining at the end of fifty eight and one quarter poles from a lightwood post (it being the bounder of Elisha Parkers resurvey called Conclusion and standing about twenty poles to the southest of Elisha Parkers Dwelling house) in a straight line from said lightwood post to a marked red oak notched with six notches on each side and being nearly north nine degrees east from the afsd post and not fare from Brewingtons land and from thence running straight to and by the said marked red oak till it Entersects the [origl?] lines of said Parkers land which said line is to be fixed as a permanent division line between the said Billy & Elisha Parker and from thence to follow the courses of forrest Grove [illegible] to the eastward and southward till it Entersects the east end of a division line between John Parker and Samuel [F?] Parker and from thence by and with the said division line south eighty [nine?] degrees west it being with a line of marked trees marked with three notches on either side to [the] first Begining containing in this parcel one hundred and sixty two acres of land…

V. Deed: James Oliphant from Samuel A. Graham

This deed describes the sale of a 7-acre lot known as or including “the Walsten Steam Mill Lot” located “on the north side of and binding on the County road leading from Salisbury to Parsonsburg and about five miles from the first mentioned place, and in Parsons District Wicomico County Maryland, and near Beave Dam Branch…”  The previous owner, George M. Richardson, had purchased the lot from Stansbury W. Smith.

VI. The McCready-Hurley Ledger

The sixth and final item, which was incorrectly described as a ledger containing the names of Civil War soldiers from Dorchester County, but which I’m calling the McCready-Hurley Ledger for the sake of convenience, is very interesting, and is going to take some time to research. Though one Winfield Hurley wrote “Drawbridge Dorchester County Maryland” next to his name on the inside front cover, and the first page is signed by M. J. McCready and dated 1868, the next few pages consist of a list of names (first and middle initials, and last names), followed by each man’s rank, company, regiment, and abbreviated remarks. The order seems to be random, and the men belonged to various companies in various Confederate regiments. So far I’ve been able to match a dozen or so to documented Confederate soldiers from Georgia. The first name I looked up, E. S. Mitchell, turned out to refer to Eugene Severn Mitchell, who was captured in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1865, and imprisoned at Fort Delaware. Mercer University holds a few of his personal letters, as well as a splendid dagguerrotype depicting the young man. Sadly, he died in 1871 at age thirty.

E. S. Mitchell is the second name listed in the ledger. At one point he was imprisoned in Fort Delaware before returning to Georgia after the war.

The coded or abbreviated remarks after each name are a bit difficult to read, and I confess that I have no idea what one of them — “CB” — means. Hopefully some knowledgeable person will remedy my ignorance. Other remarks like “Fur” and “Ret” probably stand for furloughed or retired, respectively.

The list goes on for a few pages, after which the ledger becomes even more interesting, in my opinion, including a sort of prayer journal written by Meshack McCready, notes about the weather, many pages of penmanship practice, and a number of poems and songs. Various items are signed by various members of the Hurley family. A bit of digging revealed that both McCready and the Hurleys were from Dorchester County, but moved to Northumberland County, Virginia, prior to 1867 (when McCready began writing in the ledger). McCready was living in the household of Joel and Sarah Hurley in Burgess Store in 1870. Sarah’s maiden name was McCready, so it’s likely that she was his sister.  Although I haven’t been able to discover his fate, the Hurleys moved back to Dorchester before 1880, and, apparently, kept the ledger and continued to write in it infrequently.

I plan to transcribe and publish as much of the ledger’s contents as possible (though some of the soldier’s names, in particular, are difficult to read), and hope to learn more about the family that preserved it for many years.

– Chris Slavens

2 Comments

Filed under Dorchester County, Maryland, Maryland history, Virginia, War Between the States