Although Joel Newsom is documented as a son of Moses Newsom, information about his life is relatively sparse. In the 1810 Federal Census, Joel was the head of a household of 7 other free persons in Northampton County, North Carolina. By the 1820 Federal Census, his household increased to 9 other free persons including 4 males under 14, 1 male 14-25, 1 male 26-44, 2 females 14-25, and 1 female 26-44. Based on this record, Joel was born some time between 1776-1794.
When Joel’s father Moses died in 1805, Joel was not named individually in his will (but presumably included in the group of living children who were to receive the residue of his estate). The first probate record to name Joel Newsom was the 1807 will of his father’s widow, Winna (Winnifred) Newsom. Within the will, Winna left the money acquired from the sale of her livestock to be “divided between Howell Wade’s children and Joel Newsom’s children—the money put out upon interest until they come of age or marry.”
Joel Newsom, Penny Newsom (named as Winna’s daughter), and Lucy Newsom (named as Winna’s granddaughter) were the only Newsoms named in the will. Given Winna’s marriage to Joel’s father, it is documented that Winna was his step-mother but where are her other known step children in her will? This raises the question, “How was Joel’s relationship to Winna different than that of his siblings?“
There are two potential genealogical answers:
Later records reveal the names of Joel’s children. Around 1832, James Newsom—a brother of Joel—died inestate without a living wife or child to inherit his estate. In that same year, Henry Newsom—another brother of Joel—filed a petition in Champaign County, Ohio to partition the land of their deceased brother. This suit named each of the living heirs of James Newsom (including Nathaniel Newsom who was the executor of their father, Moses’s, estate). The fact that Joel’s children were named indicates that he was deceased in 1832 (he was also missing from the census in 1830). Joel’s children were identified as:
Later records also reveal the names of Penny’s children. Around 1830 her two sons, Andrew (born in 1816) and Joel (born in 1818), were apprenticed by the Justices of the Peace (indicating that Penny was deceased or too poor to care for them herself) in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. Penny was not named in earlier censuses (as she was likely under a male head of household), so it is difficult to determine where she lived and why her children ended up in Pasquotank County rather than remaining in Northampton County with the Newsom family core.
For the three Newsoms of Camden County, NC, this leaves two distinct possibilities:
Resolution to these questions lies in the details of the many Newsom estate distributions spanning from Northampton County, North Carolina to Logan County, Ohio and across three generations. In my next post, I will share more about what I have come to call the “cascading cases.”
1Note the early presence of Hunts in Pasquotank County, North Carolina.