Monday, October 21, 2013

Mappy Monday - Following the Trail of Hawkins Pharsalia

I've posted a few times now about a tract of land in Queen Anne's County, Maryland called Hawkins Pharsalia. The land was mentioned in several wills and land transactions involving my Councill family. By following how the land was passed down, I've been able to come up with possible ancestors for my 2x great-grandfather Francis Councill.

A Queen Anne's County Land Commission formed in 1810 determined how the land would be distributed after Edward Carey Council died. The results were recorded in Queen Anne's County Court book JB 1, pages 7 to 9 and the images are available on the site.

The land was surveyed and found to contain 114 acres worth $7.50 an acre in 1810. The Land Commission would not allow the land to be divided and the eldest son John took the land and agreed to pay for the shares owed to the other heirs.

In 1811, several Councells were involved in selling and buying the land. From Book STW 9, pages 447-449 on the Maryland Land Records site (

Book STW 9, Page 447

John Councell Senior, son of John Councell, Thomas Councell of Talbot, William Councell, Elijah Councell, and John Councell Jnr, sons of Edward C. Councell of Caroline County, all of the one part and Henry Councell of Caroline of the other part were involved in the transaction.  Where John Councell the Elder left Hawkins Pharsalia to his son Edward Carey Councell for his natural life, Henry Councell is buying the land with the other named Councell's consent. John Councell the Elder's will of 1795 is referenced, so he was the son of the senior Henry Councell. John Councell Senior is the son of John Councell the Elder and John Councell Jnr is the son of Edward Carey Councell.

Book STW 9, Page 448
So, at that point, the land had passed out of hands of the heirs of Edward Carey Councell. I don't know how the buyer, Henry Councell fits into the Councell tree yet, but he may have been the brother of Edward.

In 1816, a John Councell buys a section of Hawkins Pharsalia that Henry Councell bought in 1729.

Book TM 5, Page 185
This may be how some of the land went back into the hands of John Councell, son of Edward Carey Councell, but I can't be sure. In comparing the survey from John Councell's estate, it is a larger tract of land than the one from Edward Carey Councell's estate. However, Edward only inherited a portion of the land, while his brothers Samuel and James also inherited sections.

Queen Anne's County Land Commission Book IT 1, page 96
John Councill's estate was divided between his widow Ann and sons Francis, William, John, James, and Thomas. After Ann died, a land commission sold the land in 1838 and the proceeds were divided between the brothers. The information in Land Commission Book IT 1 named Elijah Councell as the guardian of the minor brothers and gave the dates when the minor brothers would reach the age of 21 and be paid their inheritance. With that information, I was able to fill in a few dates on my tree. The maiden names for Elizabeth Banroche and Sarah Carey came from trees on, but I haven't seen any proof for them. This is my best guess at this point, based on information in the land, estate, and church records.

Thanks again to Heather of Leaves for Trees for her tip on using Excel for ancestor graphics.  

Mappy Monday is a GeneaBloggers prompt where you can post map images and how they relate to your research or discuss other aspects of land ownership and your ancestor.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - James N. Councell

  COUNCELL. -- At the residence of Wm. C. Callahan, in the Chapel District, on the 15th last, James N. Councell, aged about 56 years.

This death notice was published in the Easton Gazette of Talbot County, Maryland on May 20, 1871. From his age at death, James would have been born around 1815. He may be the brother of my 2x great-grandfather, Francis Councill.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mappy Monday - Hawkins Pharsalia, Queen Anne's County, Maryland

I've been working my way through land and probate records for my Councill family and a tract of land called Hawkin's Pharsalia keeps coming up. It was part of the estate of John Council sold for his five sons by a Land Commission when John died without a will. It was also part of the estate of Henry Counsil passed down to his son John. John then passed his share on to his sons Edward Carey, Samuel, and James Council.

I was curious about where this section of land was located and the history behind it. The Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties has a nice document on the house that was located in Queen Anne's County on Hawkins Pharsalia. Thanks to Karen S. for reminding me about this! This is an excerpt from document QA-92:

According to the document, the original tract of land was 2500 acres and was patented by John Hawkins. That explains half of the name! Interesting too, that the house was owned by the Baynards at one point since I think they may be linked to my Councill family.

The document also included a map of the house's location in Queen Anne's County:

Just above the property location, there is a Council Road. This land is to the east of the land my Francis Councill owned, but I believe he may have been one of John Council's five sons that sold their share of Hawkins Pharsalia.

The Republican Star of Easton, MD had a notice of part of the property for sale in 1802. The owner's name wasn't given, but the tenant was Isaac Baggs. One of Henry Counsil's daughters was Martha Baggs, but I don't know if that was her husband.

The Republican Star also had a notice of property taxes that were past due in 1811. The notice included taxes due by Edward Council's heirs for Hawkin's Pharsalia from 1807-1810. Of course, this has me wondering who Edward Council's heirs were, so I'm adding that to my list to investigate. This may be the same Edward that inherited part of the tract owned by John Council, the son of Henry.

One final thing I had to look up... What does Pharsalia mean?  According to Wikipedia, The Pharsalia is a Roman epic poem by the poet Lucan, telling of the civil war between Julius Caesar and the forces of the Roman Senate led by Pompey the Great. The poem's title is a reference to the Battle of Pharsalus, which occurred in 48 BC, near Pharsalus, Thessaly, in northern Greece.