Monday, October 4, 2010

Mystery Monday: Open Questions and A Comforting Thought

When you read in 1798 that a man died intestate and his oldest son has pushed for the sale and division of the land with no mention of the mother.  You wonder mercy what was her son thinking of...oh wait...greed? 
No, a widow did not have rights to the land. According to Gale Cengage Learning site, Widows lost their claims to personal property, although they kept their one-third shares of real estate. Only Maryland and Virginia continued to allow widows a one-third share of personal property, a practice that Martha Griffith challenged in 1798.
Women's Land Rights History
This was the case: 
Griffith v. Griffith's Executors: 1798
Appellant: Martha Griffith
Appellees: Heirs of Samuel Griffith
Appellant's Claim: That under Maryland law a widow was entitled to a dower right of one-third her deceased husband's personal property, as well as his real property
Chief Lawyer for Appellees: Mr. Martin
Chief Lawyer for Appellant: Mr. Winchester
Justices: William Pinkney, Mr. Duvall, and Chief Justice Goldsborough
Place: Maryland
Dates of Decision: May term, 1798
Decision: The court of appeals awarded Martha Griffith one-third of her husband's personal property clear of debts — her dower rights to his real property (land, buildings) were not in question.
Significance: In this landmark decision Maryland allowed a widow a one-third share of her husband's personal estate as her dower-right. Because of this and other property decisions, Maryland women held higher status and had more control over their lives than elsewhere in early America. You can read more about by clicking here.
That answered my question about the son, but still my Barbara Kemp was basically left wanting. 
A find in the Bledsoe County Tennessee Deed Book Abstracts Books A-D was what gave the information to look for the Kemp family and proved the worth of my 4th great grandmother Barbara Kemp Hankins. 
This is what the Abstract said:
Page 95
Abstract of Pg 175  04 Aug 1825.  Barbara Hankins of County of Bledsoe, State of Tennessee in consideration of the Natural love and affection which I have and bareth unto Barbara Camp her aged mother and for her better support ...one mare of the value of 60 dollars, seven head of cattle at 45 dollars, eight head of sheep at sixteen dollars, three beds at thirty dollars, six chairs at 3 dollars, one table at 3 dollars, one loom at 6 dollars, one wheel and reel at 3 dollars, s/Barbara (x) Hankins.  Witnesses: George Vaughn, Daniel Hankins... registered 16 Sep 1825
Don't you feel Barbara's love for yer mother. I so wish I had a picture of Barbara.  She never left Bledsoe County.  We don't know when either of them died. 
What were the tables and chairs like?
Were they from the sale of her home?
Did the spinning wheel look like this?
Answers I will never know. From this I do know that Barbara Kemp was an industrious woman.  She managed a farm in her older age, and she spun yarn and made cloth.
I am glad my ancestor was the source of love and kindness to her mother.