I begin the last part of “Mining for Gold”, I want to remind the
reader, once again, that for clarity I have named ALL the
different Joseph Erwins that
know of as follows:
Joseph, son of James N. Erwin and Agness (Patterson): “Joseph,
Joseph, son of Joseph Erwin, Sr. and who married Catherine
Joseph, son of Joseph Erwin, Jr. and Catherine Cowan, who
married Rebecca Nancy Davis: “Joseph,
Joseph, who married Elizabeth Rogers, and whom I believe to
be my third great-grandfather: “Joseph”.
Joseph, who married Charlotte ? and who may have been the
son of John and Lydia Ford:
Joseph of Yazoo Co., MS
Also a small descendant chart might be helpful to the reader to
understand the relationships of all the Josephs.
James N. Erwin, Sr. + Agness Patterson
.......2 Joseph Erwin, Sr. + Agness Reed or Lowther
.............3 Joseph Erwin, Jr. + Catherine Cowan
...................4 Joseph Erwin III + Nancy Rebecca Davis
.......2 James N. Erwin, Jr. + Jennet Andrews
................3 John Erwin + Lydia Ford
......................4 Joseph Erwin
................3 James N. Erwin, III + Sarah Jane Bickham
................3 Joseph S. Erwin + Elizabeth Rogers
......................4 Alexander Rogers Erwin + Louisa Eleanor
................3 Isaac Erwin
................3 Margaret Erwin + Zadock Barrow
................3 William H. Erwin + Mary Lacry Brasfield
have broken Part III into five sections.
First, a summation of what I know about Joseph, Jr., who
married Catherine Cowan, and why I believe I am not
descended from this Joseph.
Second, the documentation and some explanation of how I came
to believe the Joseph Erwin of Louisiana and Mississippi was
Third, Joseph and
Elizabeth Rogers Erwin's children.
Fourth, documentation about another Joseph Erwin who is, in
all likelihood, connected to the James N. Erwin, Sr. and
Jennet Andrews’ family.
with all genealogical articles, I think it is important to
remind everyone that as we find information, our conclusions may
change about who we are related to and why. I am still working
on proving Joseph Erwin’s connection to the James and Jennet
Andrews Erwin of Sandy Creek, Natchez District, MS. Please do
not take this information as absolute proof. I think it is
always important and prudent to do one’s own research. If
anyone finds errors, or has corrections to this information,
please let me know.
Joseph Erwin, Jr. and Catherine Cowan
Part I, I wrote about how I had come to the conclusion that I
was descended from Joseph, Jr. and Catherine Cowan. I mentioned
the tangible genealogical line submitted by Willie Erwin Daniel
The Compendium of American Genealogy.
Willie was the daughter of Joseph Boyd Erwin, the eldest son of
great grandfather, Alexander Rogers Erwin. I assumed her
material came from her father’s memory of family history.
Part II, I was able to prove that Joseph, Jr. lived in Rowan
County, NC, and then migrated to Tennessee about 1811-1812.
Part of the proof came from Hezekiah Franklin Erwin’s 1841
letter to his Uncle Abel Cowan with regard to when his family
moved to Tennessee. Joseph, Jr., lived most of his life in
Tennessee at least until the death of his wife in 1839. It is
clear from the letters and other documents, including census
records that he stayed in Tennessee until after Catherine’s
death. From the letters and the census records, I know Joseph,
Jr., was never a minister, or had land dealings, or ministered
to native Americans in Louisiana or Mississippi.
my search for my third
great grandfather, Joseph,
the documentation I found on Joseph, Jr. and Catherine Cowan
actually ended up proving that I was not directly descended from
them (though we are cousins). Through the census records I
realized Joseph, Jr., had never been in Mississippi or Louisiana
between 1800-1830. In my own search, I found the following
1790 Rowan Co, NC Census
2 Males 16 and upward, including heads of families
2 Females including heads of families
(This is probably Joseph Erwin, Sr. and his wife, Agnes.)
Please note: the addition of names to the census records is
1800 Rowan Co, NC
Reel: M32-33 Page: 320
Family on page: 13
4 M under 10 (Thomas B. b 1792; Joseph, III b 1794; James P. b
1796; Eli Y. b 1799)
1 M 26-44 (Joseph, Jr.)
1 F under 10 (Agnes W. “Nancy” b 1798)
1 F 26-44 (Catherine Cowan)
Listed on the same page are: Thomas, William, David, Alexander
and John Cowan as well as next door to him, William Erwin,
probably his brother.
There is also a Joseph Erwin in Henry Co, KY in 1800, but I do
not believe he is Joseph Erwin, Jr.
1810 Rowan Co, NC Census
Reel: M252-43 Page: 311
Family on page:
2 M < 10 (Squire b 1803; William B. b 1808)
3 M 10-15 (Eli b 1799; John J. b 1801)
3 M 15-25 (Thomas b 1792; Joseph,
b 1794; James P. b 1796)
1 M 26-44 (Joseph, Jr.)
1 M 45 and over (Unknown)
2 F < 10 (Catherine b 1805; Mary b 1807)
1 F 10-15 (Agnes W "Nancy" b 1798)
1 F 26-44 (Catherine Cowan)
Again, Joseph is living near William and Alexander Cowan as well
as Henry and William Irvin and next door to another William
Again, there is a Joseph Erwin living in Henry Co, KY in 1810,
but I do not believe he is Joseph Erwin, Jr.
1820 Giles Co, TN Census
Reel: M33-124 Page: 36
No. Family on page: 11 Page: 36
Joseph Erwin Senr
3 M < 10 (Hezekiah Franklin b 1811; Abel Alexander b 1815;
Michael Lincoln b 1819)
1 M 10 < 16 (William Barkley b 1809)
1 M 16-18 (Unknown)
2 M 16 < 26 (Squire Cowan b 1803; John Johnson b 1801)
1 M > 45 (Joseph. Jr. b 1769)
1 F < 10 (Margaret b 1813)
2 F 10 < 16 (Mary B. b 1807; Catherine L. b 1805)
1 F > 45 (Catherine b 1774)
3 Persons engaged in agriculture
1 F Slave > 45 yrs
As we know from the Cowan brothers’ letters, James Cowan gave
his sister, Catherine, a slave to try to appease her about her
share of her father’s estate (Captain Thomas Cowan).
1830 Henry Co, TN
Reel: M19-177 Page: 19
1 m 10-15 (Michael Lincoln b 1819)
1 m 15-20 (Abel Alexander b 1815)
1 m 20-30 (William B. b 1809*)
1 m 60-70 (Joseph b 1769)
1 f 15-20 (Margaret Clementine b 1813)
1 f 40-50 (Catherine Cowan b 1774)
*The 1 male 20-30 yrs old would not be Hezekiah Franklin b 1811
because he reports in a letter to his uncle Abel Cowan in 1841
that he left home at age 14 (1825) to live with his brother (see
Mining for Gold, Part II for Hezekiah’s letter).
1840 Census: I have been unable to find Joseph, Jr., who would
have been 71 yrs old in the 1840 census. He is supposed to have
moved to Mayhew,
MS, and lived with his son, James, until his death. There is
certainly a James Erwin in the 1840 Lowndes County, MS census
but not with a male his father’s age. I have looked at all the
census records and I could not find a man the age of Joseph,
Jr., living either alone or with one of his sons or daughters.
Another bit of proof that Joseph, Jr. was in Tennessee in the
early 1800s and not in
or Mississippi is a document I found on-line. It shows that
Joseph Erwin, Jr. and his son-in-law, Michael Biles were doing
business in Giles Co, TN in 1817.
TNGENWEB: Giles Co, TN Webpage
Submitted by Janell McCann
Agreement between John C. WALKER & James J. WALKER for how 210 A
of land where we now live on, the Co. surveyor to run a line due
N & S across the land so as to let John C. WALKER have 110 A on
the E side of the line, whereas there is a water mill & a
distillery on the said land. But it is to be understood that we
have an equal share in each & it is to be further understood
that the still house spring if in running the line it should
fall on the E side of the line there is to be an offset made so
as to throw it on the W of line & the using spring on the crk.,
if it should fall on the W side of the line, there is to be an
offset made so as to throw it on the E side, but if the still
house spring should give out of water or the water get bad then
John C. WALKER is to have the benefit of the spring where they
now use water out of & it is to be further +understood that
after the death of our mother the line shall be run & the said
John C. WALKER is to relinquish his title to the land on the E
side of the above named line & James J. WALKER is to relinquish
his title to the land on the W side of the said line under
penalty of $2,000. Given under our hands & seals
Wit. Joseph ERWIN & Michael BILES. Gi.
Co. D.B. F, p 409
Also, Ritalynn Erwin Jackson sent me some correspondence from
Lillian Toombs which confirms what I had found in the letters
and documents sent to me by Ruth Cook. Ritalynn is descended
from William Barkley Erwin and Eveline Simmons, son of Joseph,
Jr. and Catherine Cowan. William Barkley Erwin died 8/27/1837
probably in Henry Co, TN.
“In correspondence from Lillian Toombs of Nashville Tenn. on
May 16, 1985...,
a descendant from Hezekiah Franklin, she writes: ‘We know Joseph
and Catherine were living in Giles Co Tenn on 17 May 1819
because he appointed Alexander McCorkle of Lincoln Co, Tenn as
his Attorney to demand from Abel and Hezekiah Cowan (the
executors for deceased Thomas Cowan) what should come to his
wife, Catherine, the daughter of deceased….;” This has been
proven by several of the documents found in Part II of “Mining
With regard to the death of Joseph, Jr., several sources report
his death as 1846 in Mayhew, Lowndes Co., MS. Unfortunately, no
one has ever been able to find proof for the date and place of
death. But having been repeated so often in so many books, it
has been accepted as fact. Trying to prove this, as well as my
own Joseph Erwin’s death, Ritalynn Erwin Jackson went to the
Mississippi Archives in Jackson, MS this past summer (Ritalynn
is a descendant of Joseph, Jr. and Catherine Cowan’s son,
William Barkley Erwin and his wife, Eveline Simmons). She
looked for a will or some kind of mention of a death for
Joseph Erwin in Mississippi. Unfortunately, she was unable to
find documentation for any Joseph Erwin.
Especially important was the fact that Joseph, Jr.’s son,
Joseph, III, who was born on 2/2/1794, had married Nancy Rebecca
Davis on 1/18/1822 in Giles Co., TN. Not only would Joseph,
III, have been too young to purchase land in Louisiana and
Mississippi in the 1790s, I could prove beyond any reasonable
doubt through census records alone, that Joseph, III, was not
the Joseph who married Elizabeth Rogers.
these documents proved that Joseph, Jr. and Catherine Cowan were
not my third
great grandparents. I knew I had to look in another direction
since this Erwin family had never been in Louisiana or
must thank Don Erwin, editor of
and Cherie Olson for pointing me in the right direction. Their
facts were devastating, however, to the research I had
accumulated to that time. It was clear from the census records,
that Joseph, III, had never been a minister. Plus, he was
living with his parents when my Joseph was in Louisiana and
finally came to the conclusion that cousin Willie Daniel’s
information submitted to the
Compendium of American Genealogy
Joseph Erwin and Elizabeth Rogers
the end of Part I, I wrote about my desire to meet another
direct descendant of Joseph Erwin and Elizabeth Rogers. As time
past, I felt like I was the only one looking for them. It took
buying a home computer in 1998 powerful enough to access the web
and to start searching for my family using the internet.
met John Rison Jones through research on another family line. I
subscribed to an Edmiston family newsletter and the Editor told
me he knew of two people I should meet. One of them, John Rison
Jones, turned out to be not only descended from my Edmiston
line, but from the same Erwin line as I was. He was also
an avid genealogist!
long last, I had finally met someone who was descended from the
same line of Erwins that I was, and
who was interested in genealogy!
Now I had a second cousin who was also searching for answers and
trying to make the connection between Joseph Erwin and Catherine
Cowan and Joseph Erwin and Elizabeth Rogers.
Just before I met John Rison, I was contacted by Von Unruh, an
archivist for the Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. He sent
several items from the Methodist archives, primarily
contemporary newspaper articles. The articles proved that my
great grandfather, Alexander Rogers Erwin, had been born in
Louisiana, and that his father, Joseph, was a Baptist minister.
Genealogical Abstracts from Reported Deaths
The Nashville Christian Advocate
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1997
February 16, 1860
Resolutions of Respect for Rev. A. R. ERWIN, D. D., who died
recently; by Quarterly Conf., Huntsville Station, dated Jan. 23,
From Tennessee Conference 1860, pp 212-213: "Alexander R.
Erwin, a native of Caddo Parish, LA was born 1/12/1820 and died
1/10/1860. His father was a minister of the Baptist Church.
His mother was a pious woman, and, although death deprived him
of her watchful care when not quite eight years of age, yet her
example lived to do him good long after she had gone to her
reward. At a camp-meeting in Williamson County, Tenn, 1839, he
made a profession of religion, and joined himself to the
Methodist Episcopal Church; was licensed to preach in 1840; was
admitted into this Conference on trial in 1842, and appointed to
Madison Circuit. In 1843, he was appointed to the Limestone
Circuit; in 1844, to Wesley; 1845, to Columbia Station; 1846 to
Clarksville, where he remained two years; and in 1848, he was
appointed President of Clarksville Female Academy, which
position he occupied til 1854, when he was stationed in
Nashville at McKendree charge, where he continued 2 years. In
the summer of 1855, he received the degree of D.D. from the
Nashville University. The 2 years following he was stationed in
Huntsville (Alabama); in 1858, he was agent for our Publishing
House Fund; in 1859, was appointed President of Huntsville
Female College. Well did he sustain the responsibilities of the
various charges committed to him, laboring constantly and
successfully as a faithful minister of Jesus Christ."
April, 1860, the Rev. W. E. Doty of Greenwood, LA, wrote to
The Nashville Christian Advocate
that it was unlikely that Alexander Erwin was born in Caddo
Parish because the Indians had not yet left the area.
Shreveport, the parish site, was first settled in 1835 on lands
sold by the government, and the parish was organized in 1839.
the April 19, 1860 issue of
The Nashville Christian Advocate,
Edward C. Slater wrote:
an autobiography of the members of the last general conference
in my possession, I learned that Rev. A. R. Erwin, D.D. ‘was
born in Franklinton, Washington Parish, LA, January 12, 1820.
Born again, September 15, 1840. Licensed to preach Sept. 1841.
Joined the Tennessee Conference in 1842.”
These three articles had a great impact on my research. It
proved for certain that Alexander Rogers Erwin was born in
Louisiana. It also focused my search on Washington Parish
rather than Caddo Parish. These documents place his father,
Joseph, in Louisiana in 1820 because Alexander was born
1/20/1820. It also proved that Alexander’s father was a Baptist
minister. I also now knew that Joseph’s mother had died between
1827 and 1828. This pointed me to explore Louisiana and
Mississippi records in earnest.
time passed I began to meet other descendants of the Erwin
family, but none of them had any information on my Joseph, or
Elizabeth Rogers. Early into the search for records in
Louisiana and Mississippi, I met Sylvia Kelly Smith. Sylvia had
a copy of the William H. Erwin Bible. William H. Erwin was the
son of James N. Erwin, Jr. and Jennet Andrews. They also had a
The following is taken from the William H. Erwin Bible, East
Baton Rouge Parish:
“James Erwin and Jennet Andrews--married Oct. 12, 1766 (parents
of William H. Erwin)
The above is the father and mother of the family of which Wm. H.
Erwin is part.
John Erwin--born Jan. 21, 1769
James Erwin-- born Aug. 5, 1771
born May 1, 1774
Isaac Erwin--born May 5, 1776
Margaret Erwin-- born Nov. 22, 1778”
Please see the descendant chart at the beginning of this article
for James Erwin’s connection to Joseph, Jr.
Naturally, the entry of Joseph Erwin excited me greatly.
bit of history of the James N. Erwin, Jr. family is important
here to explain the relationship between Joseph and James:
James N. Erwin, Sr. was, I believe, the first of our Erwins to
emigrate to the Americas. James N. Erwin, Jr. was his son.
James, Jr., and Joseph, Sr. (who married Agnes) were brothers.
This, of course, makes James N. Erwin, Jr. the uncle of Joseph.
We know that Joseph, Sr. stayed in Rowan County, NC while his
son, Joseph, Jr., migrated to Tennessee. James, Jr., Joseph,
Sr.’s brother, migrated to Natchez, Sandy Creek, Adams County,
MS. He married Jennet Andrews on 10/12/1766 in Rowan County,
NC. James died intestate 9/1794 in Adams County, MS.
the Natchez Court Records, page 119:
"In consequence of the death of James Irwin who died intestate,
leaving several children, minors, Joseph Howard appointed tutor
and curator to said minors, namely James, aged 24 (1770);
Joseph, aged 22 (1772); Isaac, aged 20 (1774); Margaret aged 16
(l778); William, aged 14 (1780); appointment accepted.” It was
dated 21 October 1794 (Years of birth added by me).
The Bible and the history of James Erwin, Jr.’s family proved to
me that there was a possibility there was another Joseph Erwin
who might be my third great grandfather.
Another document surfaced on the LAGENWEB that really made me
focus on Washington Parish, LA. It was the
Minutes of the Half -Moon Bluff Baptist Church.
(Only a small portion of this document is listed here.)
This document confirmed the biographical information on
Alexander Rogers Erwin as well as confirmed his father was a
Baptist. It also disproved the misleading Caddo Parish reference
in Alexander Rogers Erwin’s obituary and proved Alex’s statement
that he was born in Franklinton Washington Parish, LA. The
Half-Moon Bluff document showed that Joseph Erwin had deeded
land to the church and served as a minister and representative
to the Baptist conventions in Mississippi in the early 1800s.
Also, Half-Moon Bluff Baptist Church was located on Joseph
Erwin’s headright. Also please note that Joseph Erwin’s
relationship with the Morris family will prove crucial later on
in this discussion.
History of Half Moon Bluff Baptist Church, 1812-1830,
Washington, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa Parishes, Louisiana,
Zuma Fendlason Magee and Co-author Dixie Sylvest Moss, 1978.
Page 2: 1812 Abstracts from Minutes of the Mississippi Baptist
“Half Moon Bluff Baptist Church Delegates to Mississippi Baptist
Association (From the Minutes of the Association).
1812 Joseph Lewis and
1816 Nathan Morris and
Page 3: 1820 Abstracts from the Minutes of the Pearl River
“Half Moon Bluff Baptist Church Delegates to Pearl River Baptist
Association (From the Minutes of the Association)
1824 Nathan Morris and
and Richard Albritton”
Page 53: 1933 Minutes of Washington Parish Baptist Association
Minutes, 1933, p. 20:
“Report of Committee on Memorial of Half Moon Bluff Church:
We, your committee on the Memorial of Half Moon Bluff Church,
beg to offer the following resolution:
it resolved by the Washington Parish Baptist Association that a
suitable marker be placed on the grounds where the original
building stood, to commemorate the sacred history of the First
Baptist church in the State; the cost of this marker not to
it further resolved, etc: That the following Historical sketch
be engraved on the marker:
The Half Moon Bluff Church was organized October 12th, 1812, and
the building was erected upon this plot. This was not only the
First Baptist church in the State, but was the first of
Evangelical Faith. In October 17th, 1812 Joseph Lewis and
were sent as Messengers to the Mississippi Baptist Association,
in which association this church remained until October 14th,
1820, when she together with a number of other church withdrew
and constituted the Pearl River County Baptist Association.
This Tablet is designed to mark the sacred spot on which stood
this church, until it was dissolved in 1830.
Henry Smith, Chair. DeLos R. Johnson, A Tom Mitchell”
Page 93: Half Moon Bluff La. Soldiers, War of 1812:
“Half Moon Bluff Names in Louisiana Soldiers, War of 1812
Pvt. 8 Reg't (Meriam's) La. Militia”
Page 97: “The Homestead Act was passed by Congress in 1820.
Many had acquired land by English or by Spanish Grants long
before that. For some plats the description is quite clear.
For some earlier claims the description is vague.
entered claims in 1806 for land on the Homochitto River in
Mississippi. Another claim made in 1813 on the Bogue Chitto
River near the thirty-first parallel at Walthall County.”
The William H. Erwin Bible and the Half-Moon Bluff document
reconfirmed that I was on the right path, and that I should
concentrate my research in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Using the census records, I began an exhaustive search for not
only Joseph and Elizabeth Rogers, but for all of their children
as well. I started by trying to make sense of all of my paper
files: information that I had received from various Erwin
cousins, as well as what I had found in books, on the internet,
etc. I also assembled bits and pieces of data I had found, or
had been given, over the years about “a” Joseph Erwin who lived
in Louisiana and Mississippi. As my research progressed I
learned that perhaps Elizabeth’s maiden name may have been
Rainwater rather than Rogers. Since I was going to try to
compile all the notes on Joseph, I also decided to trace the
possible children of Joseph Erwin and Elizabeth Rogers. A
cousin of Billie Bickham Garsee, a descendant of William
Henderson Erwin, had found a found a note which listed the
children of Joseph Erwin and an “Unknown”
Rainwater (William H. Erwin may be a son of Joseph and Elizabeth
Rogers Erwin). Billie wrote:
cousin in Covington went to Natchez and found the following at
'Joseph Erwin & ________ Rainwater
children -- Thomas, John, William H., Abner,
Alexander, Susan, Mary, Margaret'”
information that an Elbert F. Lee, a descendant of Jesse Edwards
and Mary Erwin,
had left a note about the Louisiana Erwins at the library in
McComb, MS. I got in touch with him and he confirmed some of
the information Billie Garsee’s cousin had found:
“…Most of the
information that Mama gave me is what I had already heard
through the years from her and Aunt Ida, but I didn’t have it in
writing. Mama said that her great grandfather was Joseph Erwin.
His daughter, Mary, was born in Washington Parish and married
Their children were:
Mary - married Jesse
Joseph (Nanci’s note:
This lends a small amount of credence to one of Joseph and
Elizabeth’s children being named Joseph.) a daughter who married
a Bickham (Nanci’s note: It is probably actually William,
Joseph’s son, who married Elizabeth Bickham.), a son who went to
Tennessee and taught in a college there (Nanci’s note:
Alexander Rogers Erwin) another son….”
I also met several people who were
descended from the Morris family who had been involved in the
Half-Moon Bluff Baptist Church with Joseph Erwin. They had
information that some of the Morris children had married
Erwins. Teresa Salonimer has been instrumental in sorting out
the Morris family line and how they were related to the Erwins.
With her information, I have been able to Margaret Erwin, who
may be one of the daughters of Joseph. It is also possible
there is another daughter who had not been mentioned in either
Billie Garsee’s information or the information given by Elbert
Lee’s mother. Her name was Martha.
Teresa wrote on GenForum:
“Re: Benjamin Morris, children
Posted by: T. Morris Salonimer
Date: December 29, 2001,
Based on my
g-grandfather's renditions, and the 1850 census from
Mississippi, Holmes County, we determined that Noah Morris and
Martha Erwin Morris were born in 1807.
Great-great-grandfather writes that Benjamin Morris moved from
South Carolina with his three sons, William, Noah, and Nathan in
Margaret Erwin; Noah married Martha Erwin---sisters and
daughters of Joseph S. Erwin.
Margaret Erwin Morris
and two of her daughters are buried in Hickory Springs Cemetery
in Holmes County.”
As it turns out—if I
understand the Morris lineage—according to Teresa Salonimer,
Nathan Morris of the Half Moon Baptist Church was the half
brother of Benjamin Morris. Benjamin was the father of Noah,
Nathan and William Morris (Nathan and William married two of
Joseph Erwin’s daughters). The Morris connection becomes even
more important as we look at the information around when and
where Joseph died.
As I searched the
Louisiana and Mississippi census records for Joseph I found the
1820 St. Tammany Parish, LA Census
Reel: M33-31 Page: 28
Family #: 20
males under 10 years (Alexander born 1820, William H. by about
1815 and ? – possibly a James or Joseph)
male between 10-16 years (Thomas born about 1809)
male 16 to 18 years (Abner born 4/3/1803)
male 18 to 26 years (possibly a Joseph or James)
male over 45 years (Joseph born 1774)
female under 10 (Mary born about 1816 or Susan born about 1818)
females 10 to 26 years (Margaret born 1805 and Martha born 1807)
female 26 to 45 years (Elizabeth Rogers)
This doesn’t answer all the
questions I have regarding the children, but it is a start.
Because of the Erwins' practice of using the Scottish Naming
Tradition, there would almost have had to be a James named after
Joseph's father and a son, Joseph, named after Joseph.
I have been unable to
locate a Joseph Erwin in the 1830 census.
1840 Holmes Co., MS Census
Reel: M704-214 Page: 250
Family on Page: 14
M 30-40 (William)
M 60-70 (Joseph Erwin)
F < 5 Harriett (born 1840)
F 5-10 (Martha b 1838, Mary born 1832)
F 30-40 (Margaret)
I believe the male listed as being
between 60-70 years of age is Joseph Erwin. He is living with
his daughter, Margaret and son-in-law, William Morris.
1850 Holmes Co., MS Census
Reel: M432-373, Page 231A
Dwelling 51 Family 51
William Morris, 46, M, Farmer, 800, SC
Margaret Morris, 45, F, Miss
Mary L. Morris, 18, F, Miss
Margaret Morris, 15, F, Miss
Martha A. Morris, 12, F, Miss
Harriet Morris, 9, F, Miss
Malinda Morris, 7, F, Miss
Joseph Erwin, 77, M, Farmer, SC
William Dent, 22, M, Raftman, Miss
The Joseph Erwin, age
in all probability,
my Joseph living with his daughter Margaret and son-in-law,
William Morris. I do have some concern that he is listed as a
“farmer” rather than a minister. Another concern is that his
birthplace is reported as South Carolina rather than North
Carolina. But as we all know, the information on the census was
dependent on who gave the information and the accuracy of the
census taker. In the case of Joseph’s occupation perhaps he was
retired from the ministry and was now farming. This will need
to be looked at more closely as we find more information on the
Morris and Erwin families.
I believe I have
found sufficient evidence to confirm that Alexander Rogers
Erwin’s father, Joseph, was in Mississippi and Louisiana between
the late 1700s and the mid 1850s. While I could not find census
records for Joseph Erwin in 1830, I did find many other records
which showed his movements in Louisiana and Mississippi. One of
the important things to remember is that a man had to be
twenty-one years of age to do land transactions. In 1797,
Joseph would have been twenty-three years of age, Joseph, III,
son of Joseph, Jr. and Catherine Cowan, would have been three
Also, the same
people’s names are repeatedly referenced in these documents.
Zadock Barrow (in many different spellings) and the surnames
Morris and Bickham are repeated often. Zadock Barrow married
Joseph’s sister, Margaret. If my research is accurate, Martha
and Margaret Erwin, daughters of Joseph and Elizabeth married
into the Morris family. Many of the Erwins married Bickhams and
the relationship between the Bickham and Erwin families continue
to the present day.
The most important
legal document I found was in E. Russ Williams, Jr.’s book:
Legal Records of Washington Parish, Louisiana. Abstracts of
Conveyance Book W-1 Tangipahoa Parish 1819-1840 and Duplicates
of Washington Parish Deeds 1819-1840,
1965, p. 73:
“(Top of Deed)
assign this Bill of Sale of Land to Edmund Andrews 1 October
Attest Thomas Green Davidson Jas. J. Bickham
Dudlay P. Curry
Know all men by these presents that
I Phillip Magee of Bogue Chitto district have bargind sold and
do promise to Deliver unto
Joseph Erwin or his order when Sower Called for My Claim
good will and Improvement lying on and about the half Moon bluff
bounded below by James Hayes and above by John Magee which sd
improvement I warrant and defend from My heirs or assigns
forever in testamony where off I have here unto assigned my name
Orleans Territory } Abner Bickham Esqr a Witness to the
Parish St. Tammany} acknowledged his Signature to the same
Abner Bickham before me
Thos C. Warner
I assign the within written bill of sale to James S. Bickham
9 August 1827
(Outside of deed: Philip Magee to
Joseph Erwin, Bill of Sale No 28
Page 13, Recorded in Book No 1 this day 28 January 1812. Their being no seal of office Thos
C. Warner P.J.)
State of Louisiana
Before me the undersigned
Judge of said parish Personally
Parish of Washington}
came and appeared Thomas
Bickham Secr and after being duly
sworn does declare that he was present day & date above written
(to wit 9
August 1827, and that he saw
of said Parish Sign his name to the above assignment or transfer
for the uses and purposes above & within mentioned and
contained. And that he also Subscribed his name as a witness to
the aforesaid Transfer or assignment
Know all men by these
presents that I JONATHAN MCGHEE of Bogue Chitto District have
bargained sold and Delivered unto James Gwin my Labor and
improvement bounded South by
North by Zadok Barrow lying on the East of Bogue Chitto which Sd
improvement in Labor I warrant defend from myself my heirs
Executors or assigns given under my hand this day
25 October 1809
Jonathan X McGhee
State of Louisiana }
Personally appeared before
me John Gwin judge of the parish
Parish of Washington }
aforesaid Jonathan Maghee
and deponent and saith that the tract of land for which the
is drawn was the first improvement that he ever settled and
cultivated and sold in West Florida so help him god
Jonathan X Mcghee
Sworn to before me this
first day of Nov. 1819
I sign the within written bill of
sale unto Zadob Barrow to be his heirs or assigns forever given
unto my hand this day 10 Jany 1810.
I assign the within bill of sail to
John James to be his heirs executors or assigns forever given
under my hand this day
26 Novr 1817
Zadoc X Barrow
Alexander D. Duvall
Proved before me by Benjamen Maghee this day
and recorded in Book A
Page 3 no 5
John Gwin Parish Judge”
This document proves without a
doubt that Joseph Erwin owned the land deeded to the Half Moon
Baptist Church. It also shows that he had relationships with
Zadock Barrow, Thomas and Abner Bickham (Thomas and Abner were
Sarah Ann Bickham Erwin’s brothers).
Joseph’s movements can be traced through other court documents
and land transactions.
Records 1767-1805 Abstracts of Early Records by Mary Wilson McBee, Clearfield Co.,
Greenwood, MS, 1953:
Records, Book C, Pg 130:
"p. 477. 19 May 1797. Sale of the effects of late
Obediah Brown by order of the Governor; Purchasers: Joseph
Erwin, Elijah Swasey, Daniel Swasey, Simon Presler, Peter
Presler, Zadoc Barrow, Isaac Johnson, Solomon Hopkins, Samuel
Coens, Gideon Hopkins, Samuel Heady, Stephen Stephenson, John
Mitchell, Samuel Swasey, Jr. Total $614."
Land Claims, Book B, Pg 384:
"p. 199. Claim No. 362,
12 March 1802.
Henry Jacobs to Abner Beckham, a place of land known by my own
improvement for $200. Henry (X) Jacobs. Wit: J. Stedman, James
Howard // File. Claimant, Abner Beckham, 28 Feb. 1804. Know
all men, etc. that I, Abner Beckham have sold, etc. all right to
above tract on the Homochitto, near the Ferry, conveyed by Henry
Jacobs to me. Wit: Joseph Erwin, Zadock Barrow. Proved
by Erwin, Feb. 17, 1806. (signed) T.R."
Land Claims, Book B, Pg 378:
"p 98. Claim No. 173. (Reg. 27 Jany, 1804.) Isaac Erwin
to Zadock Barrow, plantation on public road from
to the upper settlement of the Homochitto, 20 miles from Fort,
which I warrant, etc. (signed) Isaac Erwin. Wit: Joseph
Erwin, John Beckham. // 12 Dec 1801, Zadock Barrow assigns
above to John Chambers. Signed, Wit: Jesse Briant, William
Riley. (No file.)"
Land Claims, Unrecorded Land Claims, Pg 582:
"No. 1961. Claimant: Joseph Strong, 20 Nov. 1804. Wit:
Samual McCarly and Samuel Cooper, 20 Nov, 1804. Joseph Erwin,
17 Feb. 1806.
Note: See No. 1483. Rejected for want of sufficient evidence,
30 Dec. 1806. Joseph Strong, a citizen of the
Territory, Adams Couty, claims 250 acres in ad county on Dry
Bayou, founded on a transfer of the afsd. land from Jesse
Bryant, to Thomas J. Donelson, which sd Thos. J. Donelson
conveyed the same to the claimant by deed, 16 Nov. 1804. The sd
Jesse Briant did actually in habit and cultivate the sd tract
prior to and on the day the Mississippi Territory was evacuated
by Spanish troups, he being at that time above the age of 21
years and the head of a family."
From Lost Rapides Parish, LA Land Records:
No. 572 - Joseph Irwin claims a Tract of 640 acres
situated in the Prairie Boeuf which has been occupied and
cultivated, as required by law. A copy of a Deed of Sale is
herewith filed. Text in English. William Gardner of the County
of Opelousas sells to Joseph Irwin, Junior for $5.00 cash
an Improvement made by the said Gardner in the year 1807
upon the Bayou Boeuf at a place known as the Prairie of Bayou
From: Genealogical and Historical Abstracts of Legal Records
of Saint Helena Parish, Louisiana, 1804-1870, E. Russ
Williams, 1995: Joseph Erwin's name is listed as a
witness on a court record. It is a last will and testament of
"George Roberts, Snr." Joseph Erwin and Thomas Bickham
signed as of
21 September 1809.
George had written the will in 1805. It was signed by a Samuel
Washington Parish, LA Webpage as well as other books and
sources: “Washington Parish Headrighters”
is listed as being a “Headrighter” along the Bogue Chitto
River. This is a list of "headrights" granted to settlers in
Washington Parish by an Act of Congress in 1820. Most of them
had taken up land before 1810, and not later than 1815.
The Founding Families and Individuals of
Parish, LA 1798-1860
Compiled by Ernest Russ Williams, Jr, NE Louisiana University,
Monroe, LA, 1990, page 75:
1811 Petition to the Senate and Congress signed by
Isaac Erwin and Joseph Erwin.
John Rison Jones sent me the following:
Tax List, Franklinton, Washington Parish, LA:
1 man, 1 woman, 5 children; 1 number of improvements (probably
house); 2 useing horses; 30 stock cattle and the tax was $2.90.
Parish Land Records”:
Conveyance Book B (with Forward), West Florida Parishes, La.
June 29, 1812; STEPHEN BLOUNT sold to DAVID HOUSE of
St. Helena Par. a tract of land on the E side of the Amite swamp
& joining FRANCIS ??? 250 arpents, for $100. wits.: JNO.
ELLIS, ED. C. POWERS. 69b-104:
July 8, 1812; DAV. HOUSE assigned his right to above land to
URIEL KING. Wit.: JOSEPH IRWIN.
P. 380 - All filed
29 Oct 1812
No. 572 - Joseph Irwin claims a tract of six hundred and
forty acres situated in the Prairie Boeuf in the County of
Rapides, which has been occupied and cultivated as required by
law. A Deed of Sale from William Gardner to the claimant is
herewith filed. (Text in English) William Gardner of the
County of Opelousas, Orleans Territory sells for $5 cash in hand
paid by Joseph Irwin Junr. of the County and Territory aforesaid
and improvement made by
in the year 1807 upon Bayou Boeuf.
From LAGENWEB, St. Helena Parish, LA Webpage:
St. Helena Parish, LA, Conveyance Book A
Term of Shepherd Brown, Second Parish Judge
July 1813 - June 1815
Abstracts of Conveyance Records With a Brief Biography of
SHEPHERD BROWN by Warren B. Wall
Texas September, 1993:
Nov. 13, 1813 John GEORGE Junr. sold to Daniel
BOOKTER a slave named JOHN for $600. Slave had run away - sale
contingent upon his recovery. Wits.: Jos. IRWIN & Avery
In the next document, I believe William H., James, and John are
the brothers of Joseph Erwin and all are the sons of James N.
Erwin, Sr. and Jennet Andrews.
The following document was located by Mary Broussard and Sylvia
Kelly Smith on
Land document witnessed by William H. Erwin and Henry L.
Barber/Barbee; signed by John Erwin; John appeared on Dec. 23,
1824 with these papers;
Aug. 25, 1826,
papers received and recorded in Adams County office.
"State of Mississippi-Adams County-Know all men by these
presents that I, John Erwin, for and in consideration of the
affection I have for my daughter, Jane Erwin, do hereby grant,
give and convey to the said Jane Erwin, my daughter and her
heirs a certain parcel of land containing one hundred and twenty
five acres bounded as follows. Beginning at James Erwin corner
on Joseph Erwins line on which line as far as a line may
be run paralell to James Erwins including our hundred and twenty
five acres. to have and to hold the same unto Jane Erwin and her
heirs forever and I do warrant and will defend the same unto
Jane Erwin and her heirs forever against the claims and demands
of all persons.
In witness whereof I, hereunto set my hand and seal this first
day of January one thousand and eight hundred and twenty-four.
Signed, Sealed and delivered in presence of us (signed) Wm. H.
Erwin, Henry L. Barbee. Signed by John Erwin (Seal)
State of Mississippi -Adams County-Personally appeared before me
the undersigned Justice of the Peace in and for said county John
Erwin and acknowledge that he signed and sealed the within
instrument of Writing, for the use an dpurpose therein
mentioned. Given under my hand and Seal this 23
(signed) ________ Dougherty JP.
I certify the foregoing and within deed was received into my
office to be recorded on the 24th day of August 182__ (signed)
Woodson Wren Clk".
Mississippi Court Records, 1799 to 1835,
“Wilkinson, Micayah (Macajah).
May 7, 1806.
September 7, 1826. Of
Adams County, Miss. Leatees: wife and children (not named).
Exts. none named. Wit. Joseph Erwin, James Erwin and
Zadock Barron." (Nanci’s note: I believe Zadock Barron is
Zadock Barrow who was Joseph’s brother-in-law.)
Joseph Erwin was also in
in 1832 per his testimony before the Twenty-third
Congress, Second Session, U.S. Senate Committee Document
regarding the possible fraudulent purchase of lands from the
Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw tribes.
From the Primitive Baptist Association Webpage:
“Primitive Baptist.-This Association was constituted in 1839.
The Convention for the purpose of forming a new Association
convened according to previous arrangement at
Church, in Holmes County, Miss., on Friday before the fourth
Sunday in April, 1839. After preaching by Elder S. Parks,
the Convention was called to order by Elder N. Morris. Brother
S. Parks was chosen Moderator, and brother A. Erwin Clerk. The
following churches were represented by delegates, who, being
called on, presented their church letters. Names of churches and
delegates, viz.: Hickory Spring, Holmes County, Elder Simpson
Parks, Joseph Erwin, Granderson Harris and Abner Erwin;
Yazoo, Holmes County, Elder Nathan Morris, William Grisom, John
Bennett and Hilliard Fatheree; Rocky Spring, Holmes County,
Silas Mercer, Anderson West, H. Brister and Samuel Cook;
Lebanon, Attala County, Elder J. A. Scott, D. Stephens, Z. B.
Gess and R. Weeks. (Note: Abner Erwin is in all likelihood
the son of Joseph and Nathan Morris is the Joseph’s son-in-law.)
At of this date, I believe the records show Joseph’s movements between
Territory and Louisiana from the mid-1790s until about 1807 when
he moved to Washington Parish, LA. While I cannot prove it yet,
I believe Joseph moved to Holmes Co, MS between 1824 and 1828
more than likely with the Morris families who can be found in
the 1830, 1840 and 1850 census records living in Holmes and
While it was widely thought that the Joseph Erwin who married
Elizabeth Rogers died in 1837 in
MS, I do not believe it to be true. I believe the Joseph who
died in Yazoo County, MS, was the son of John and Lydia Ford
Erwin (please see next section on “Other Josephs”).
To date I have
not been able to find death information for the Joseph Erwin who
is listed with William and Margaret Erwin Morris in the 1850
census in Holmes Co.,
MS. I do not know where or when he died,
or where he is
Joseph and Elizabeth Rogers Erwin’s Children
Based on what Billie Garsee’s cousin found and what Elbert Lee
wrote that his mother remembered, I decided to see if I could
find any information on the children as listed by these two
sources. If my research is proven, I believe Joseph and
Elizabeth had the following children:
Joseph and James (complete speculation on my part and based
on the fact that the Erwins used the Scottish Naming
Tradition almost to a fault).
Abner Erwin who married first, Caroline Howard and then
possibly Susan Tribble. He was born 1807 in Adams Co, MS
and died in Union Co, AR in 1855.
Margaret Erwin who married William F. Morris. Margaret was
born about 1805 in
and died 1858 in Holmes County, MS.
Erwin was born about 1807 in
and died before 1865 in Holmes County, MS. She married
Thomas J. Erwin may have married a Clarissa. The Thomas I
have found was born about 1809 in Louisiana and may have
died in Hill County, TX. More work needs to be done to
prove this is the correct Thomas. Because of the names of
his children, this Thomas may belong to another Erwin line.
William Henderson Erwin married Elizabeth Bickham. He was
born about 1815 in
and died in 1866 in Caddo Parish, LA.
Mary Erwin was born about 1816 in
She died 9/1880 in East Baton Rouge Parish, LA. Her husband
was Jesse Eldridge Edwards, Sr.
Susan M. Erwin married Joseph Norris. She was born about
1818 in Louisiana and died between 1859-1860 in Caddo
Parish, LA. There is a possibility that Susan M. may be the
complete name of either Martha, Margaret or Mary Erwin.
Last, but certainly not least to me, is Alexander Rogers
Erwin. He was born
in Washington Parish, LA and died 1/10/1860 in Huntsville,
Madison County, AL. He married Louisa Eleanor Boyd.
Alexander and Louisa are my 2nd great
grandparents. Their son, William Hanna Erwin came to
TX in about 1880 and married Sarah Ann Tomlinson. Their
daughter, my grandmother, Sallie Will Erwin married Theodor
Other Joseph Erwins
Other records have surfaced that
that the Joseph Erwin of
Natchez District, Mississippi Territory, Washington Parish, LA
and Holmes County,
MS moved to Yazoo City, Yazoo County, MS. I cannot prove
are one and
the same. In fact, some of the records seem to indicate that
the Yazoo County Joseph may well have been the son of John Erwin
and Lydia Ford (John being another son of James N. Erwin and
Jennet Andrews). I am just not certain if the Yazoo Joseph is
the Joseph Erwin who married Elizabeth Rogers. Holmes County, MS
is just east of Yazoo County. I also found Abner, James and John
Erwin with land patents in Yazoo and Holmes Co, MS at the same
as well as in the 1840 census records. All this will all have
to be sorted out at a later time.
Land Patents from the Bureau of
Joseph Erwin: 4/24/1820: Yazoo County Document 2189
(Meridian: Choctaw) 160.37 acres, Issue date:
Joseph Erwin: 4/24/1820: Yazoo County Document 3562
(Meridian: Choctaw) 77.96 acres, Issue date:
Joseph Erwin: 4/24/1820: Yazoo County, Document 23102
(Baseline: Choctaw) 38.99 acres, Issue date:
The following records were found by Jill Kerry Erwin, a
descendant of James Erwin (italics are Jill’s):
Wiley Scarborough & Isaac J. Erwin To Thomas (italics in this
document are Jill Erwin’s notes):
Know all men by these presents that we Joseph Erwin,
Wiley A. Scarborough & Isaac J. Erwin of the County of Yazoo &
State of Mississippi, for and in consideration of the Sum of One
hundred and forty to us in hand paid by John Thomas of the
County of Franklin and state aforesaid the receipt whereof is
hereby acknowledged, have granted bargained, sold and assigned
and by these present do grant, bargain, sell and assign unto the
said John Thomas as the right title claim interest and ? which
we have and ? as the legal Representatives of Lydia Erwin,
deceased (Joseph Erwin her Son, Wiley Scarborough, her
son-in-law in right of his wife, Lancy (he married Jane),
Isaac Erwin, Son-in-law in right of his wife Margaret, in and to
all the property right and interest which we have acquired as
her representatives and which she was entitled to by virtue of
the Niece of Robert Ford, her late father deceased and which
said property is now in the hands of the Executors of the said
Provided however that nothing in ? presents shall be so
constrained as in any way to effect right title or claim which
we have or may have to the property which was devised to ? to
his wife Lydia Ford for use during her life and at her oath to
be distributed to the heirs and Legatus Specifice and
maintenance in the aforesaid last will and testament, as by
reference to the same may more fully appear. To have and hold
receive and enjoy the aforesaid property thereby bargained and
sold to the said John Thomas, his heirs and assigns forever, in
? whereof we have set our hands and affixed our seals the 16 day
of December, Eighteen hundred and twenty nine.
Isaac J. Erwin
State of Mississippi
Personally appeared before the undersigned Justice of the Peace
in and for said County & State, Joseph Erwin, Wiley Scarborough
& Isaac J. Erwin, who acknowledge that they signed sealed and
delivered the foregoing instrument of writing for purposes
therein maintained. Given under my hand and seal this day
16 December 1829.
John S. Young
Deposited and Recorded 16 December 1829
This indenture made and entered into this day 21 June one thousand eight hundred and thirty two between
James F. Erwin and Nancy Erwin, his wife, of the County of
Yazoo and state of Mississippi of the first part and Ralph Regan
of the County of Hinds and state aforesaid of the second part.
Witness that the said party of the first part for and in
consideration of the sum of one thousand Dollars to him in hand
paid by the said party of the second part the receipt whose of
is hereby acknowledged. Both granted, bargained, sold and
conveyed and by these presence both granted, bargained, sold and
conveyed and confirm unto Ralph Regan of the second part his
heirs and assigns forever a certain tract or parcel of land
lying and being in the County of Yazoo and state aforesaid known
and designated in the original survey of said land by the sout
west quarters of Section ?, Township Twelve, Range Two West in
the Coctaw District and State of Missisisppi containing about
one hundred and sixty acres by the same more or less. To have
and to hold the above described premises with all and singular
the rights and privileges ? and appearances to the same of ?
appertaining or in any wise belonging. And the said party of
the first party doth moreover ? himself, his heirs, ?
administration and ? unto the said party of the second part his
heirs and ? to warrant and forever defend the right, title and
claims to the above described premises with all and singular the
right, privileges ? and appearances these unto belonging on ?
against the claim or claims of all and every person or persons
whence serves lawfully or equitably claiming the same or any
part this of to the only proper use and benefit and behalf of
the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns forever
in Fee Simple.
In testimony whose of the said party of the first part hath ?
unto set his hand and affixed his seals the Day and Year above
Jas F. Erwin
State of Mississippi
Personally appeared before me William T. Henderson, Justice of
the Peace in and for Yazoo County. James F. Erwin who
acknowledges that he signed, sealed and delivered the foregoing
deed on the day and year theresaid mentioned as his Voluntary
Nanci’s note: Please see notes regarding James F. Erwin below.
This indenture made and entered into this day 21 June one thousand eight hundred and thirty two between
Joseph Erwin and Charlotte, his wife, of the county of Yazoo
and state of Mississippi of the first part and Ralph Regan of
the county of Hinds and state aforesaid of the second part. ?
that the said party of the first part for and in consideration
of the sum of one thousand dollars in hand paid by the said
party of the second part the receipt whose of is hereby
acknowledged hath granted, bargained, sold and conveyed and by
these persons grant, bargain, sell and convey and confirm unto
Ralph Regan of the second part, his heirs and assigns forever a
certain tract or parcel of land by being in the county of Yazoo
and state aforesaid known and designed the original survey of
said land by the north east quarter of section ? twelve Range
two west in the Choctaw district and state of
containing one hundred and sixty acres be the sum more or less.
To hold the above described premises with all said ? the rights,
privileges, and appertainances to the same of right appertaining
or many ?? And the said party of the first part ? moreover ?
himself, his heirs and assignes and forever defined the ? title
and claim to the above described premises with singular the
rights, privileges, ? and appertainances there unto belong
pertaining against the claim or claims of all and every person
or persons ? Lawfully or Equitably claiming the same or any part
thereof to the only ? benefit and behalf of the said party of
the second part, his heirs and assigns in Fee Simple. In
testimony whereof the said party of the first party unto set
their hands and affixed their seals the day and year above
State of Mississippi
Personally appeared before me Wm T. Henderson a Justice of the
Peace in and for said county, Joseph Erwin who
acknowledged that he signed, sealed and delivered the foregoing
deed on the day and year ttherein mentioned as his Voluntary act
and did ? under my hand ? and seal this day 21 June 1832.
Wm T. Henderson, J.P.
State of Mississippi
Personally appeared before me, Wm T. Henderson, a Justice of the
Peace in and for said County, Charlotte Erwin, wife of Joseph
Erwin, who being examined privately and apart from her
husband ? that she signed, sealed and delivered the above
relinquishment of her dower to the above described and conveyed
tract of land as her voluntary act and deed freely and without
any fear or threats or compulsion of her said husband from under
my hand and seal this day 21 June 1832.
Wm T. Henderson, J.P.
Recorded ? the 28 1833.
Deed book B page 165
Yazoo County Miss.
ERWIN TO ADAMS & JOHNSON
This indenture made and entered into This day 29 March
in the year of our Lord 1830, between Joseph Erwin of
Yazoo County and State of Mississippi of one part and Gerald?
Adams and Benjamin Johnson of the same county and state of the
other part, WITNESSETH that the said Joseph Erwin for and
in consideration of the sum of six hundred dollars to him in
hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have given
granted bargained and sold and by these presents do give grant
bargain and sell to said Adams & Johnson their heirs and assigns
forever a certain piece or parcel of land situated lying and
being in the county of Yazoo and state afsaid, on Piney Creek
and being the north east quarter of Section Eleven, and the west
half of the south east quarter of Section Two in township Twelve
and Range Two west of the Choctaw land District being the tract
of land heretofore occupied by said Joseph Erwin and now in the
occupancy of Abner Erwin. To have and to hold same tract of
land with all its appurtenances unto the said Adams and Johnson,
their heirs forever and the said Joseph Erwin for himself
his heirs do covenant to warrant and forever defend the title of
said tract of land unto the said Adams & Johnson against all
claims whatever. In testimony whereof the said Erwin has
hereunto set his hand and seal the day & date first above
JOSEPH ERWIN (seal)
Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of:
State of Mississippi ) This day personally appeared before me
John S. Young
County, SS } an acting Justice of the peace in and for said
who acknowledged that he signed sealed and delivered the within
deed as his voluntary act and deed and for the purposes therein
Acknowledged before me this day 20 March 1830
1830 (can't read the rest)
For quite some time it
among Erwin researchers,
that a will existed for a Joseph Erwin who died about 1837 in
MS, and that
his son, James F. Erwin, was
the administrator. Jill Kerry Erwin went to Yazoo County, MS,
but could not find
Ritalynn Erwin Jackson also searched the Mississippi
and could not find a will for ANY Joseph Erwin.
The Joseph Erwin in Yazoo County,
MS, may well have been the son of John Erwin and Lydia Ford
(John was the son of James N. Erwin, Jr. making John and MY
Joseph brothers). More work must be done to prove this. We do
know that a Joseph Erwin was in Yazoo Co.,
MS and we know there was a James F. Erwin in Yazoo Co.,
at the same time.
Recently, Jan Dunham, who is
descended from Nathaniel Erwin, sent me the following excerpts.
These documents lend even further credence to the Joseph Erwin
and James F. Erwin connection in Yazoo
MS. Jan writes:
“I also have a copy
of the Thirty-third US Congress where a ‘James Erwin’ applies for
reimbursement for expenses he had (during the Trail of Tears)
for Creek and Seminole Indians from Mississippi to Arkansas. The
1855 – and the
bills presented to congress prior to the adoption seem to
indicate that this James was the son of "Joseph Erwin".
Another bill reads (I
believe this may have do with Joseph’s son James): "That the
Secretary of War be, and he is hereby, directed to investigate,
audit, allow and pay, out of any money in the treasury not
otherwise appropriated, to James Erwin, of Arkansas, a fair and
full remuneration for the actual losses he sustained in
consequence of a contract he made with the United States in
September, eighteen hundred and thirty-four, to supply
provisions and transportation for the use of the Creek Indians
expected to emigrate from the eastern to the western side of the
Mississippi river, but who did not emigrate.
And be it further
enacted, That the Secretary of War be, and he is hereby,
directed to investigate, audit, allow and pay, out of any money
in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, to James Erwin, and
to the heirs or legal representatives of Daniel Greathouse,
deceased, a full and fair remuneration for the actual losses
sustained in consequence of a contract made by said Irwin and
said Daniel Greathouse, in his lifetime, and the United States,
in December, eighteen hundred and thirty-five, to supply
provisions and transportation for the use of the Seminole
Indians expected to emigrate from the eastern to the western
side of the Mississippi river, but who failed to emigrate."
One last tidbit on
another Joseph and James Erwin. Jan Dunham also sent this to
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That the
Secretary of War cause to be issued to James Erwin, the son, and
the other heirs-at-law of Joseph Erwin, a captain in the
Pennsylvania line of the Revolutionary army, a duplicate of
warrant numbered eleven hundred and sixty-one, issued to said
son and heirs on the twenty-first of February eighteen hundred
and twenty-six, for three hundred acres of military bounty land
June 23, 1840."
a reminder, this Joseph would have had to have been born between
1730 and 1740 to have received this land. We know that our
Erwins came from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. I wonder who
this Joseph and James are and how and if they are related to us.
Even in the face of all this
have not been able to prove
who the parents of my Joseph Erwin
are. Even so,
I think I have made a fairly good case for my connection to him
through his son, Alexander Rogers Erwin,
and his connection to James N. Erwin, Jr. and his wife, Jennet
don’t know if I will ever be
able to trace Joseph’s wife, Elizabeth Rogers. As of this
writing, the evidence leads me to look more carefully at the
Joseph, son of James N. Erwin, Jr., who died
1794 at Sandy Creek, Natchez, Adams County,
MS. James and his brother, Isaac, who died in 1810, both lived
and died in MS. They are the children of James N. and Agness
Erwin. James’ brother is
Joseph who married Agnes (Lowther or Reed). Their son, who
misled me for such a long time,
married Catherine Cowan. My Joseph is still unknown to me. I
will search on.
Without the help of the following
people, I would not have gotten as far in my search for Joseph
and Elizabeth Rogers Erwin as I have today: Lois Cleveland, Ruth
Cook, Laura Cowan Cooper, Curtis Craig, John Crane, Penny Daye,
Jan Dunham, Sandra Ellenburg, Don Erwin, Elson Erwin, Jill Kerry
Erwin, Robert Erwin, Billie Bickham Garsee, Ritalynn Erwin
Jackson, Sherry Johnson, John Rison Jones, Nita J. Erwin Kemsley,
Elbert F. Lee, Cherie Olson, Teresa Salonimer, Dorothy Smith,
Sylvia Kelly Smith and Lois Cowan Walker. Thank you all.
And last but not least, I want to
explain why I called my article “Mining for Gold”. When I
started the search for my family in the late 1970s, it was a
little piece here and a little piece there. Sometimes it was
like finding “fool’s gold,”
because it was sparkly and I thought I had found the mother
lode. But what genealogy really is to me is finding each nugget
that makes up the great riches of my family. I feel so fortunate
to have met and received so much help from so many different
people. I feel like the richest person in the world because of
these special relationships.
December 15, 2004