Sunday, March 28, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2021 - Weeks 11 and 12 - Fortune and Loss - Edward C. Councell

Week 11's theme is "Fortune." Merriam-Webster gives several definitions for fortune: A large sum of money; prosperity attained partly through luck; or destiny, fate. Week 12's theme is "Loss." Loss is universal. There are many ways to explore this theme, whether it's the loss of a loved one, a livelihood, freedom.

Edward C. Councell was working for The Charleston Daily Courier newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina when he had the good fortune to win $15,000 in the Union Canal lottery of May 1828.  

The Charleston Daily Courier, May 16, 1828

In June of the same year he married Agnes Wallace, daughter of Thomas Wallace of Charleston.

The Charleston Daily Courier, June 09, 1828

Edward worked at several newspapers in Georgia and South Carolina before branching out to run his own book and job printing business. He was running a successful business in 1852 when misfortune struck and he was forced to sell his shop due to rapidly declining health. Edward died in May of 1854 due to consumption.

One of my Maryland ancestors is Edward Carey Councell of Maryland, so I was intrigued to see whether or not the lotto winning Edward C. Councell from Charleston was related to him. An obituary for Edward from May 19, 1854 in The Baltimore Sun confirmed my suspicion that Edward was from Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun, May 19, 1854

Another article from the Charleston Courier printed on June 22, 1854 states that Edward was a native of Talbot County, MD and left behind a widow, sister and an only son.

I found some mentions of Edward in Talbot County records that show he was the son of John Council. Edward C. Council was indentured to a printer in 1813 at the age of 15, placing his birth year at 1798. The following image is from the book Bound to serve: the indentured children of Talbot County, Maryland by R. Bernice Leonard. The book is available on

Indenture of Edward C. Council in 1813

Edward was named as a grandson in the will of Elizabeth Browning written in 1807 and filed in 1809 in Talbot County, MD. She left most of her estate to her three daughters Eleanor, Elizabeth and Mary and grandchildren Edward, Eleanor and John Council Jr., but also mentions her sister Ann Council, wife of John in the will.

From Maryland, U.S., Compiled Marriages, 1655-1850 on, Eleanor Counsell married Henry Newcomb in January 7, 1823 in Talbot County, MD. Eleanor Newcomb was named as a niece in the will of Mary Browning in 1826 in Talbot County.

In a Talbot County land sale recorded in book JP 62, page 288 Edward C. Councell and his wife Agnes sold land to Nicholas Willis. The record states that Edward and Agnes are living in Chatham County, GA and are selling land in Island Creek, Talbot County, MD. The tract of land was known by the names Hier Dyer Lloyd and Clora Dorsey and was from the estate of their deceased mother Ann Marie Councell. The deed was recorded on September 25, 1849.

There are additional land records in JP 59, starting on page 510 that show sales of parts of Hier Dyer Lloyd and Clora Dorsey from John Councell and his wife Ruth and from Ellen Newcomb. Both of these sales are also to Nicholas Willis and mention their deceased mother Ann Marie Councell. The land records are available on

The records and articles listed above establish that John Councell and his wife Ann Marie Browning had at least 3 children: John Jr., Edward C., and Eleanor and that their child Edward was the one from Charleston. I believe that John the father may be the brother of my 4x great-grandfather Edward Carey Councell, but need to do more research to be sure.

#52Ancestors is a series of weekly family history prompts developed by Amy Johnson Crow. Newspaper articles in this post are available on

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