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Home: Surnames: Sparkman Family Genealogy Forum

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Sparkman, Rhea/Ray and Todds -Bertie Co. NC.>Grainger Co. TN.
Posted by: Christi Partee (ID *****0419) Date: January 04, 2012 at 16:52:43
  of 755

I am looking for an Elizabeth "Betsy" Ray who was living in Grainger Co., TN. in 1831 (other than the one who was Samuel Ray and Angy/Aggy Sparkman's daughter? I'm looking for one who was older, perhaps born c1790 to 1805?
My 4th Great-grandfather was Aquilla Todd, son of Hardy Todd and Sarah Sparkman (dau. of Edward Jr.) of Bertie Co. NC. and sister to James and George who were in Grainger Co., before Aquilla moved there.
I have seen the court record of 1831 in which an Elizabeth "Betsy" Rhea/Rae/Ray, 'spinster', charged with the murder of Regina (Nicely)Sparkman, wife of John Jacob Sparkman, (as was John Jacob) & in which my Aquilla Todd was one of several men who were security for the bond to release her from jail. She and John J. Sparkman were later aquitted of the murder. Aquilla was named in the White Co. TN., court minutes regarding the estate of Edward Sparkman Jr., giving him power of attorney to help settle their 'uncle Edwards' estate matter..and which named the Sparkman cousins of White Co. This was how I knew that the marriage I had earlier found on Hardy Todd and Sarah Sparkman were in fact my Aquilla's parents.
Aquilla Todd left Grainger Co., sometime following the trial and moved to Madison Co. TN. by May 1840 where he and his wife joined the Zion Baptist Church of neighboring Haywood Co., by letter. (I also wonder what church they were members of before, as they transferred by letter, so perhaps on in Grainger Co.).
Aquilla Todd was the son of Hardy Todd and Sarah Sparkman of Bertie Co. NC., and was a head of household in Bertie in 1820 and 1830. He was then shown in the Grainger Co. TN. court record residing in said county in 1831 and in another record regarding the estate of his uncle, Edward Sparkman of Bertie Co. NC., and which also named his Sparkman cousins, John, George and Soloman, (and later records in 1836 of Lewis Sparkman, Wm. Sparkman, AND Micajah, Nancy, Drury, Tabitha, Francis, & Martha SIMMONS giving Letter of Attorney to Hardy Todd (Aquilla's father,of Bertie Co. NC. still) to handle the sell of the land (who all were at that time residing in White Co. TN.), in July 1835 & Sept. 1836.
Aquilla' next records found were him and wife joining the Zion Baptist Church in Haywood Co. TN. in April 1840, then found on the neighboring county of Madison on the census of 1840, and again on the 1850 census' in Madison Co.TN.

The 1850 census showed Aquilla Todd's wife's name at that time to be Elizabeth, born c1793 in NC. Aquilla had 6 known children, with the first 4 born in NC.; Mariah, b.c1820, James Monroe b. c1824, Frusy A. b.c1827, and Caroline b.c1829 but the two youngest sons' William b.c1832 and Soloman born c1836, were both born in TN.
To further peak my interest, son "William", born c1832 named a daughter of his, "Caroline RAE Todd" which makes me wonder if she was named for Elizabeth Rae, especially if Elizabeth Rae/Ray/Rhea was William's mother..

I have wondered why Aquilla left Grainger Co. and moved to Madison Co. when he had family in Grainger and nearby White Co's. I also was told by a descendant of William's that he read somewhere a record that Aquilla's first wife died in a home fire in Bertie Co., NC., which if true, meant he took a 2nd wife (who was likely William and Soloman's mother) and that would be the "Elizabeth" he was with on the 1850 census.

I have wondered why Aquilla volunteered to help bond this Elizabeth "Betsy" Ray/Rea/Rhea out of jail as I know of no known family connection to her, albeit I have learned of many Sparkman and Rhea/Ray marriages/connections, so perhaps this Elizabeth Rhea/Ray was a cousin? Was he in love with her, & if so, she may have become his 2nd wife as the 1850 census did name his wife as 'Elizabeth', (in Madison County). So, I see it as a possibility.

I see 'an' Elizabeth Ray, said to be the daughter of Samuel Ray and Angy Sparkman, was not born until c1817, and that she married Hameron Cameron on 17 Oct. 1833 in Grainger Co., so if this was "the Elizabeth/Betsy Ray/Rhea" accused of murder, she was only about 14 years old at the time of the murder (seems awfully young for someone to even be considered or accused of such and act ), and...the court record referred to that Elizabeth as a 'spinster', (hardly a term used for such a young unmarried girl).
So, I must believe that the Elizabeth "Betsy" Ray/Rhea (both given and surname spelled both ways in the records concerning the bond), accused of murder must have been an older Elizabeth Ray and must have been born as a 'Ray' since she was referred to as a "spinster." (unmarried woman over the age considered appropriate for the times).

I've seen at least one query posting suggesting that the Elizabeth of the murder trail was the Elizabeth who was Samuel's daugther. I'm hoping someone seeing this, might have some information to help me figure this out so I can at least conclude if the wife "Elizabeth" of my Aquilla might possibly have been the Elizabeth Ray of the murder trail or not, and if so, who she might have been the daughter of.

I know there was a William Ray living near Aquilla's father, "Hardy Todd" back in Bertie Co.,on the 1810 census, before any of this occurred. William Rea was head of hh on the 1800 Bertie Co. NC. census and also John and Henry Rea. Also a William Ray as a hh on the 1790 Bertie Co. census.
Bertie Co. NC., is where the Todds and Sparkmans came from before Grainger and White Co.'s in TN.

Christi C. Partee

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