Minerva Nancy BRINCEFIELD is my paternal 3rd great grandmother. She was born in North Carolina in February of 1813. One researcher believes her parents were Anderson BRINSFIELD and Francis DYE. I have nothing to prove or disprove that theory. My line of descent from Minerva goes through Minerva’s daughter Minerva, and the younger Minerva’s son (and my great grandfather) Ralph LARKIN. Since I haven’t talked much about Minerva (the elder one and the subject of today’s post) on the blog, I’m going to stick with introducing her through the census records today. That gives a background of her life and also fits in with this week’s blog theme of “in the census”.
I know nothing of Minerva’s younger years. The first record I pick her up on is her marriage to Bartlett Yancey UNDERWOOD. Minerva and Bartlett’s marriage bond was dated 4 May 1843 in Rockingham County, North Carolina. The bonsdman was Edward WHITT. The witness was Sampson L. CRYER. I don’t know at this time how these men are related to Minerva and/or Bartlett or even if they are related at all. At the time of their marriage, Minerva was 27 and Bartlett was 25. It’s within the realm of possibility that this was not Minerva’s first marriage.
Next, I found them in the 1850 Federal census for the state of North Carolina. They were living in the Eastern District of Rockingham County, North Carolina with three children- a girl and two boys. The only clarification I can give on the location is that in 1850 there were to North Carolinian districts- Eastern and Western. So take from that what you will. Bartlett gave his age as 35 and Minerva was 33. Bartlett was farming but I was unable to find an agricultural schedule that would describe their farm. Although Bartlett could read and write, Minerva could not. Everyone in the family was born in North Carolina. If you scroll down the page you will find Anderson and Fanny BRINSFIELD living with two adult males and two adult females- possibly their children (or two of their sons and their sons’ wives). In an effort to cover all the bases, I browsed many census schedules including agriculture, manufacturing, slave, tax rolls, mortality, etc. to see whether Bartlett or Minerva were listed there and they were not listed on any other schedules, censuses, or rolls available on Ancestry for the 1850 time period.
By 1860, Bartlett and Minerva have moved to Thomasville, Woodside Township, Oregon County, Missouri. Bartlett was still farming and Minerva was listed under the name Nancy. Both were listed as being 45 years old. Bartlett gave the value of his real estate as $200 and his personal property $200. Minerva was still the only one in the home who could not read or write. In 1860 Minerva and Bartlett had seven children living with them ranging in age from 1 to 14 years old. The children’s names were Jefferson, Mary, Worth, Dallas, Jane (my 2nd great grandmother whose name was Minerva but who went by Jane when still living with her mother), Brown, and Missouri. Again, after reviewing a variety of different census schedules, Bartlett and Minerva weren’t on any other schedules besides the US Federal Census for the state of Missouri.
The map above shows you the location of Thomasville as well as Alton- both were places that Bartlett and Minerva and their children lived. Thomasville Post Office was closed down in the 1970’s. One blogger calls the old Thomasville post office building “the goose”. You can find out why by reading her blog post at Claudia’s Surf City blog. (And that flood she’s talking about? Yeah- we got that one, too! It was terrible! We had to evacuate. I’m thinking maybe that story should be a future post for the “Stories for the Boys” series on my blog!)
By 1870, the family had moved to Alton, Piney Township, Oregon County, Missouri. I’ve marked Alton on the map above. In 1870, Bartlett is no longer living with the family. Minerva gave her age as 52. T. J. was marked as the Head of Household and Minerva along with her children (George, Minerva, James, Francis, and Washington) were living with T. J. The siblings (including T. J.) range in age from 7 to 22. I don’t know for sure what the ‘T’ in T. J. is short for but the ‘J’ stands for Jefferson. Worth A. UNDERWOOD and Missouri Ann UNDERWOOD are no longer living with the family in 1860. George is George Dallas UNDERWOOD; Jane is Minerva Jane UNDERWOOD (my 2nd great grandmother); James is James Brown UNDERWOOD. Francis is Francis Elizabeth UNDERWOOD and Washington is Washington Davis UNDERWOOD. Both Francis and Washington were born after the previous census was taken. T. J. was farming and Minerva was keeping house in 1870. T. J. listed his real estate value at $700 and his personal property at $400. On this census, the entire family is marked as unable to read or write which conflicts with previous census data on this family. Neither T. J. nor Minerva were in any other census schedules in the 1870 timeframe that I could find.
In 1880, Minerva was living in Elk Horn Township, McDonald County, Missouri. She gave her age as 64. Living with her were her children Jane, Washington Davis, and her granddaughter Alice (see note at the end of this paragraph). Living next door was Minerva’s daughter, Francis Elizabeth who was married to George BOWEN. Minerva was listed as being widowed. I’m assuming she had been widowed since at least 1870 when Bartlett was no longer living with the family. Minerva was keeping house. Washington was working as a laborer. No one in the family could read or write. I’ve blogged about whether or not Alice is the elder Minerva’s daughter or granddaughter. You can find more information about Alice and an explanation as to whom I think Alice’s mother is here and here (at this second link you’ll need to scroll down about ¾ of the page to find the section on Alice). The family was not on any other extraneous census schedules that I could find for the 1880 time period.
In 1900, at 87 years old, Minerva shows up in her final census record. She is living with her son, George Dallas UNDERWOOD and George’s family. They lived in Township 24 Range 23 East, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). This area was “West of the Grand River”. Looking at a map, this would be the area west of Monkey Island- between Monkey Island and the Bernice/Cleora area in what is currently Delaware County, Oklahoma. No extra census schedules were found for the family.
Minerva passed away in 1905. She is buried in an unmarked grave in Oaklawn Cemetery in Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma. If I’m remembering correctly, the grave was meant for her daughter (Francis BOWEN) or son-in-law (George BOWEN), but they buried her there first. The BOWEN’s ended their life in the state of Washington and are buried there.
I’m looking forward to future stories about Minerva and her family. I hope you are, too. I hope your week is fantastic!
Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog