A Little Bit Closer to Charlotte Manson

Sometimes it seems as if ancestors choose to reveal themselves a little bit at a time.  The records and evidence may be out there somewhere, but they may not be apparent for years.

We have noted in this space several times before that I trace my paternal lineage to a Scots woman  named Charlotte Manson.    But she remains a figure shrouded in mystery.  We know of her because of a gift given to one of her granddaughters, Mary C. Manson, in 1856.  Mary and her sister Matilda (my direct ancestor) were daughters of Jane Manson, a so-called “free woman of color”  in Georgia before the Civil War.

The chain of evidence looks like this:

1. Me (my birth cert., marr. lic., mil. recs., newspaper articles, other state & fed. recs.)

2. My father (birth cert. marr.lic., mil. recs., newspaper articles, other state & fed. recs)

3. Quentin V.H. Manson (1913-1987) (school recs., census, city dir., death cert., other gov recs.)

4. Otis Manson (1874-1950)(census, city dir., death cert)

5. Matilda Manson (1843-1910?)(census records)

6. Jane Manson(1826-1880?)(census records, land records, court records)

Then comes Charlotte (1797?-?).  How do we know she existed and was the mother of Jane Manson?

I mentioned above that we know of her through a gift given one of her granddaughters, Matilda’s sister Mary (1846-?).   In 1852, a man named Nathaniel Brown deeded a piece of land to  Mary Manson, who was then a minor.

Nathaniel Brown to Mary Manson deed

Nathaniel Brown to Mary Manson deed, page 2

The deed, recorded in the Taylor County, Georgia, Superior Court, a (less-than-optimal) copy of which is reproduced above, reads as follows as I can make it out:

State of Georgia.
Taylor County.
Know all men by these presents that I Nathaniel Brown of the county and state aforesaid for and in the consideration of the love, good will and affection, which I have and now bear towards Mary C. Manson, daughter of Jane Manson of the County aforesaid do give and grant to the said Mary C. One-half acre of pinelands, where Jane Manson now lives it being in the Southwest corner of that lot of land conveyed to me on the fourth day of this June by J.C. McCants, A. McCants, and J.T. Gray, containing three acres of land, which lot of land as aforesaid I do hereby [unreadable] Mary C. Manson with the following caveat: that [unreadable] shall have the [unreadable] and control of the Land for and during her natural lifetime, but the aforesaid property is not at any kind to me subject to the debts, nor contracts of the said Jane Manson, which property I hereby give as above-mentioned, and that I do hereby relinquish all my claims, interests, right and title to the above named land against myself, my heirs, and assigns forever. In witness whereof, I the said Nathaniel Brown have here unto set my hand and seal this 8th day of October 1853.

N. Brown {seal}.

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of us

W. W. Wiggins

Isaac Mulkey J. I. C.

Recorded on the 14th day of November 1853
John A.W.M. McCants, Clk

[notes: “J.  I.  C.” stands for “justice of the inferior court.”  The McCants family was quite large and quite prosperous, apparently, as they appear in many, many land transactions in several counties in central and western Georgia in the mid-19th century.]

So how does that put us closer to Charlotte Manson?  Well, three years later, the affidavit which appears below was filed in Taylor County Superior Court.  My transcription follows.

Nathaniel Brown affidavit Re: Jane Manson

State of Georgia

Taylor County

This is to certify that Jane Manson, commonly called Jane Brown is and ever was a free born person her mother being a white woman married to James Curington of Marion County formerly now Taylor. Her mother’s maiden name was Chalotte [sic] Manson.  Jane is I suppose about Twenty Six or seven years old from the best information I can get and that the said girl’s color came from the father’s side who was the Creole or Indian race as information says which her appearance indicates references Starling Barlett, Eliakim Rhodes, Absolem Rhodes, former Tax Receiver of this county and many others of Taylor County who knew her mother and Jane before I did.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name.

N. Brown

John Sturdivant, JP

Button, Taylor County
May 30, 1856

Recorded 30th day of May 1856

Isaac Mulkey, Clerk

This is the first record mention of Charlotte Manson that I found.  For years it was the only record mention of Charlotte Manson that I could tie to Jane and her children.  It was the only record that I hand that Charlotte Manson even existed.  Then a few days ago, over at FamilySearch.org,  I discovered the following in the Georgia Marriages 1808-1967 collection:

Groom’s Name: James Curington

Bride’s Name: Charlotte Mansel (sic)

Marriage Date: 12 February 1837

Marriage Place: Sumter, Georgia

So who was Charlotte Manson?  Who were her parents?  Where was she born?  There are bits and pieces of evidence that suggest that she may have been born in either the Savannah, Georgia, area or in neighboring South Carolina.  There are hints that she may have been born sometime between 1790 and 1800. There are wisps and strands that seem to say she was born a first-generation American to Scots immigrants. But none of these things can I take to the bank and get any credit.

I may never know in my lifetime just who Charlotte Manson really was, but today I’m a little bit closer.


2 Responses to “A Little Bit Closer to Charlotte Manson”

  • Nikki LaRue says:

    Wow! What a wonderful find for you! The continuing efforts of FamilySearch to get more and more records digitized and online is really something to be grateful for. Good luck with the continued search for Charlotte. It sounds like such an interesting story!

  • Hopefully you will find more info on Charlotte. I was drawn in by the story of your research journey. Funny how you can go without finding evidence for years, and then something else surfaces. Keep the faith and good luck.

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