2021 – 52 Ancestors Challenge – Week 39 – Steps

Martha Ella Quinn was my 2nd great-grandmother who married Robert Barbee. I have little information on her life. His first wife was Amanda Lawler. Amanda’s father, Samuel Lawler, a resident of Averyville, near Stevenson, Alabama, appeared on 26 February 1870, before Judge Lewis Douglas in Madison County, Alabama, to testify regarding the night of 18 January 1870. He saw some men wearing white cloths on their heads and black gowns trying to enter his residence. The next evening, he saw seven men try to enter his home. On 25 February 1870, some men with white cloths on their heads and black gowns dried to break down his door and shot him. Present in his home at the time was his wife Sarah, daughters Matt, Mary, Amanda, son-in-law, Robert Barbee, and son Henry. The men shot into his house, hitting him on the left arm and hitting his wife on her neck. He believed they did so because of the completion of the new school for colored children built by the Freedmen Bureau next door. Also testifying in front of the judge was Robert Barbee, son-in-law of Samuel Lawler. ( United States Congress. Joint Select Committee On The Condition Of Affairs In The Late Insurrectionary States.  [Washington, Govt. print. off, 1872] Web.. https://lccn.loc.gov/35031867)

Averyville was a Freedmen community that existed during the Reconstruction era in Jackson County, Alabama. Early advocates for the education of ex-slaves were Charles Avery, Wilmer Walton, Henrietta Starkweather, and William H. Councill. Under Wilmer Walton, an 1864 Freedmen Report listed the number of pupils enrolled in the Jackson County school as 150.

US, Freedmen’s Bureau, Records of the Super of Educ, 1865-1872, Wilmer Walton, Jackson County, Ala, NARA pub T142, RG 10.

After Walton’s departure, the Freedmen’s Aid Commission reported an arsonist had burned down the Averyville school.

Picture from Sylvia Alyssa Jordan, University of Maryland, “The Very Messengers of God: The teachers of Alabama’s Freedpeople, 1865-1870,” – History Theses & Dissertations, University Libraries, 2017 (drum.lib.umd.edu/handle/1903/19872)

Amanda later had four children (Emma (1868-), Sallie Ann (1870-1878), Ida May (1872-1941), and Samuel(1874-1952)) by Robert. They were married at Stevenson, Alabama, Jackson County, and lived there until March 1869. After that, they moved to Huntsville until May 1869, then to Hillsboro, Lawrence County, until March 1870, and then back to Huntsville. Amanda died in 1876. Robert married Ella Quinn Warford in Madison County, Alabama, in 1877. We can find records for Amanda in county marriages,  congress committee reports, 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Civil War Pension File, Madison County death records for herself and her son Samuel in Limestone County death records.

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