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Lizzie – Mother of John Wesley Taliaferro

Every Saturday presents . The topic for Saturday, November 21, 2009, was “Who Is Your MRUA”. I’m a few days late, but here goes. The mission:

1) Who is your MRUA – your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name.
2) Have you looked at your research files for this unknown person recently? Why don’t you scan it again just to see if there’s something you have missed?
3) What online or offline resources might you search that might help identify your MRUA?
4) Tell us about him or her, and your answers to 2) and 3) above, in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or a comment on Facebook or some other social networking site.

Lizze was the mother of my great grandfather John Wesley Taliaferro. I know this because in his biography my grandfather, John Robert Taliaferro, said his grandparents were Miles and Lizzie Taliaferro; there was no surname for Lizzie. He also indicated that Miles and Lizzie were both born in Georgia. However, this may not be accurate. My research indicates that Miles was actually born in North Carolina, so it’s possible that Lizzie was born elsewhere as well. I do know that John Wesley was born in Georgia about 1844. By the 1870 census, John Wesley was married to Martha Jane Dorsey, and living right next door was his father Miles and wife “Mary” along with three children. Mary was born about 1835 in Georgia, but of course was too young to be “Lizzie” mother of John Wesley. In an 1856 Inventory and Appraisement for the Estate of Richard Taliaferro of Fulton County, Georgia, there is listed among the slaves- “Miles and son John” – there was no Lizzie.

I believe that Lizzie was probably dead by the time of this inventory. Of course, I cannot rule out the possibility that Lizzie had been sold to another owner. The thought that John Wesley could have been separated from his mother in that way makes me sad beyond words. I am still searching for any earlier Taliaferro slave records that might name Lizzie, and give some clues to her family, but so far I have not had any luck. Since I bellieve that Lizzie died (or was sold) sometime before the 1856 inventory, I need to look for records prior to that date. Prior to 1852 Fulton County was a part of Dekalb County which suffered courthouse fires in 1842 and 1898. There may be no extant records. Unfortunately, I may never find any information about Lizzie- mother of John Wesley Taliaferro.

Miles Taliaferro (aka Miles Toliver) was my paternal great, great grandfather. Although Miles is the Taliaferro I know the least about, I feel a certain closeness to him that I cannot explain.

Miles was probably born in North Carolina circa 1824. Miles died sometime after October 1881. I have no reason to believe he died any place other than GA. However, there are other possible places of birth- Georgia and South Carolina. On the 1870 census Miles was born in GA. On the 1880 census Miles was born in NC, and so were both of his parents. The 1870 Voter Registration List for Fulton County also indicates that Miles was born in NC. The 1880 and 1900 census enumerations for Miles’ son, John Wesley Taliaferro, show his father was born in NC; in 1910 it was SC; and in 1920 it was GA. I think GA is the least likely of the three. I think NC is probably where Miles was born, but I cannot place him there. I think I can place Miles in SC with a former slave owner and relative of his last slave owners in GA, Richard Taliaferro and his son Edward Mobley Taliaferro.

Edward Mobley Taliaferro was the son of Richard Taliaferro and Susan Mobley. They were all born in SC. Susan’s father was Edward Mobley of Chester District, SC. In 1838 Edward Mobley made a will which included bequeaths for a large number of slaves, but there was no slave named Miles. Some months later in 1839, Edward Mobley made a second will. This will is almost identical to the first will with the exception that it contains some additional slaves-among them one slave named “Miles” valued at $775.00. (My Miles would have been about 15yrs old). The last section of the will states in part “And whereas the above legacies is in Lieu of all right title and interest to any part of the Estate of Ephrain M Mobley Deceased ….” Because of this statement, I believe that the additional slaves in Edward Mobley’s 1839 will probably came from the estate of this Ephrain M Mobley.

The estate packet for Edward Mobley that I ordered from the SC Archives did not contain a final distribution of slaves by name. I have not been able to locate a will for an Ephrain/Ephraim M. Mobley in either SC or GA. I don’t know who he is, or how he was related to the Mobley family. Maybe he is the NC connection. I found an Ephriam Mobley who was living in Henry County, GA in 1830, and he does not show up in the 1840 census. I found no will for an Eprhain/Ephraim Mobley there or in any of the surrounding counties. I believe he may be the key to tracking down info on the additional slaves named in Edward Mobley’s 1839 will.

A copy of Edward Mobley’s will was filed in Dekalb County, GA. Maybe a copy of the Ephrain M Mobley will was also filed there, but I may never know for sure. Dekalb is a burned county; there were courthouse fires in 1842 and 1898. If my worst fears are realized, any evidence that would assist me in proving or disproving this “Miles” as my “Miles” went up in smoke many, many years ago in that 1842 fire. For all my research thus far, I am still Miles from Miles.