This is my first blog post to include one of the many letters found during a recent genealogy road trip to Chapel Hill, N.C. to the University of North Carolina Southern Historical Collection.
This letter was in the "Jonathan Jacocks Papers, 1732-1908" collection. Included are letters to members of the Jacocks family in Bertie County, N.C. from their relatives in Haywood County, Tenn.
Because this particular two-page letter was never completed and doesn't include a name in the greeting, it was difficult to determine the author.
I transcribed it below but note that I corrected some of the punctuation and spelling to allow for better comprehension of her meaning.
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November 16, 1854
Haywood County, Tenn.
We received your letter some few weeks since. I feel truly thankful to learn you are all in good health, and from the tone and way of jesting, you must have been in fine spirits. A cheerful heart; what a blessing. Ah, that your sister could once more feel cheerful.
For several months, I mourned with a sad, aching heart, in a strait between hope and fear. Trouble comes not single-handed. The fears and uneasiness of mind that I experienced, none but an affectionate and loving sister and mother can form any idea. While watching my poor afflicted child, I was fearful that you were sore afflicted or gone to your long home. Daily I prayed if you still lived that you might be restored to health.
Our heavenly father required a sacrifice of the twaine. Elder brother was taken, we are yet in a gospel land. O let us improve the golden moments.
The 3rd of last November, Charles Blount was taken with a chill. On the 15 he came home. On his way home, his horse fell and threw him on the abutment of a bridge. He told me he lay a considerable time. He thought (he was) nearly killed.
Three times the horse fell with him on his way home owing to the stepping on the heel of the fore shoulder. He was much plagued with night sweats, (and) the return of chills and cough.
He inquired several times if I had received a letter from any of your family. Learning we had not, he was much concerned and said he was fearful something serious had taken place.The letter was never completed.
No doubt he thought you dead.
About the 24th or 25th of November, we were sitting alone after the family retired to bed. I am much afflicted with the rheumatism in my left hand and am frequently rubbing and elevating it for relief. He was sitting near me and commenced to rubbing his right thumb and said it appeared like a thousand needles was sticking in it. He began to run his fingers (and) remarked that the same was running up his arm, rubbing with the left hand to the shoulder. (He) clapped his hand on the right jaw and said it appeared like ringing out his teeth.
He was so sensitive that I flattered myself it was only sympathy for me and told him he felt too much for me. Ah little did I think what would follow. The same feelings came on the next night (and) the evening after.
Then (he had) from three to six spells. In a few days, his speech was much altered. (He) could scarcely raise his right hand or foot. A few days before, his speech failed. He saw shedding tears (and) looked at me so inquiringly. I told him I could not help weeping to see him suffer…
From some of the facts included in the letter, I am fairly certain it's from Margaret Stevenson Clayton Jacocks of Haywood County, Tenn. to a brother back in Windsor, Bertie County, N.C., the birthplace of both she and her husband.
Margaret was the wife of Jonathan Thomas Jacocks, who was a son of Charles Worth Jacocks (16 Dec 1767 – 10 Dec 1803) of Bertie County.
Jonathan was a coachmaker who was persuaded by his uncle, Colonel Richard Nixon, one of the earliest settlers of Haywood County, Tenn. to move his family to West Tennessee in 1823. Richard Nixon was the husband of Jonathan’s late aunt, Ann Jacocks Nixon. This is not my first introduction to this Jacocks who I included in a blog post last month.
Jonathan and Margaret had six children, one of which was Charles Worth Blount Jacocks who died at the age of 29 on 4 Jan 1854 in Haywood County.
In the 1850 Haywood County census, Jonathan Jacocks is 54 and Margaret is 52. Living with them is Charles B. who is 26, Mary who is 22, Joseph who is 20, John who is 19, and Jonathan who is 15.
The author of the letter refers to her son as “Charles Blount.”
She also refereed to him in the letter as "elder brother" which further corroborates this theory because Charles B. Jacocks is the next to oldest brother in the family of Jonathan and Margaret Jacocks.
The Jacocks and Blount families united when an earlier Jonathan Jacocks (1686 – 1735) married Mary Blount (1696 – 1735) in Bertie County. These were Jonathan Thomas Jacocks’ grandparents so it’s also reasonable to assume one of his sons would have “Blount” included in his name.
The Charles Blount in the letter received a head injury on 15 Nov 1853 and began having symptoms of a stroke by 24 or 25 of November 1853.
According to records, Charles Worth Blount Jacocks died 4 Jan 1854, shortly after the date of the accident of the Charles Blount in the letter.
All the facts seem to confirm Margaret wrote the letter about the death of her son, Charles Jacocks. However, it appears she was an only child and her husband had no brothers so I am stumped regarding the "brother" to whom she was writing the letter.
I have a couple of connections to this Jacocks family in my family tree.
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l to r: Robert Edward "Bob" Castellaw, Zula Zera Watridge Castellaw,
John Hilburn, Nora Castellaw Hilburn, Zach Fletcher Castellaw,
James Alonzo Jacocks and Mary Jennie Castellaw Jacocks.
Another of Jonathan and Margaret’s six children was John Hill Jacocks (24 Nov 1831 – 21 Dec 1902). He had a son named James Alonzo Jacocks (abt. 1865 – 11 Aug 1941). James was married to Mary Jennie Castellaw (19 Aug 1866 – 23 Jan 1946) who was a sister to my great-grandfather, Bob Castellaw (24 Dec 1868 – 15 Aug 1954). I included them in a blog entry last year.
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Guy Lovelace and J.T. Jacocks around 1939
Uncle J.T and my maternal grandfather, Guy Lovelace were partners in a construction business. I rode home from Uncle J.T.’s funeral with my grandfather and, when we got in the car, he shook his head and said, “I buried my best friend today.”
Thankfully, when Margaret Jacocks was grieving for her son Charles, she wrote down enough information that nearly 160 years later, we would be able to figure out his identity and remember him more that just a name and a date on a chart.
For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.