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The Mystery of Henry Fulbright of NC and GA

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The Mystery of Henry Fulbright of NC and GA

Posted: 1303487143000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1303487600000
Dear Cousins,

I have a bad habit of trying to solve mysteries - it's a frustrating task for certain when it comes to genealogy. The problem is that my second bad habit is that I do not give up even when something seems impossible! One of those impossible tasks seems to untangle the mystery of Henry Fulbright and his descendants (of which I may be). Let me lay out mystery at hand...

Henry Fulbright was the son of Jacob and Barbara Weiser/Weisel Fulbright (Jacob being the son of Johann and Christenah Schuck Volbrecht/Fulbright). The dates repeatedly given for his birth are 1774 and 1785 (North Carolina). In addition, it has been stated by countless genealogist and family researchers that Henry married Susannah Mingers (Haywood County, NC records show that marriage occurred on Dec 10 1814). Her DOB is typically shown as 1778.

The first problem is apparent - why would they have been marrying at this late age, at ages of 36 and 40? This does not make much sense in my view. Thus, we have to question whether the Henry marrying Susannah in 1814 is even the same Henry who is the son of Jacob and Barbara Fulbright. Or, are the dates of their birth badly in error? Or, did they first marry others (this seems unlikely in my view, but at least possible)?

The list of their supposed children varies, but almost all family trees online show these offspring:

* Joseph Fulbright - said to have been born abt. 1800 in NC
* Eli Fulbright - presumably he would have been born after 1810/1811
* Mahaly Fulbright - presumably she would have been born before (my guess is that it was between 1809-1815, but that is part of another story)
* John Leonard or Leonard John Fulbright - born abt. 1820

As you can see, is that at least one of these children (Joseph) would have been born 14 years before his parents married! As to the others listed, the presumption that Eli, Leonard, and Eli are offspring of Henry and Susannah comes from a brief notation in court records in Franklin Co in Jan 1832 giving guardianship of these three individuals to Daniel Fulbright (who was by then, living in Carroll County, having previously resided for a short time in Franklin County and the brother of our mysterious Henry). Whether this is fact or not is difficult to determine at this point. Given the ages at the time of guardianship by Daniel, we would guess that these individuals were born about 1810/11 or after. But, we also must assume that if they were born much after that, and were very young, that after guardianship they would have been residing with Daniel and there is no evidence that is the case. There is a Leonard residing with Daniel in Carroll Co. and whether he is or is not Daniels son is not an important issue for now in this mystery. It is worth noting that there is at least one "Leonard John" who remains in the Franklin area (different than the one residing with Daniel in Carroll County that is).

Regardless of where this Leonard John is residing, neither Mahaly nor Eli show up anywhere near Daniel. And per early census data, Daniel and his wife had a number of children of their own. It remains possible that these three are Daniel's children and the guardianship related to his wife's death (she also may have died by 1831, since she is shown in the 1830 census, the family isn’t found in the 1840 census, and she is missing in the 1850 census). Daniel also ceases having children, another reason to believe she died sooner rather than later in that lapsed period of time.

Not much is known about this Eli nor can I locate much on him (although there is an Eli T. Fulbright in the 1840 Haywood Co, NC Census who would have been born between 1800-1810). My assumption at this point is either that he died or that he went by another name other than Eli typically and so is enumerated in another way in the census and other documents. I believe that Mahaly remained in Franklin Co, GA and had a number of offspring (but that is another very long story!).

One of the biggest questions at this point involves the death of Henry (and wife). It has been assumed by some that he died ca 1831 (I am presuming that this date of death is based on the belief that Eli, Mahaly, and Leonard are his children and that his death led to the guardianship to Daniel in 1832). If there is another document pertaining to the death of Henry, I have not found it and it has not been shared with me by anyone after requests. Thus, I assume then that no such document exists.

There is a Henry Fulbright (and I phrase it this way since I am not certain this is Henry, s/o Jacob and Barbara) who shows up in the Franklin/Habersham Counties area about the same time as the other Fulbright's who went south to this part of Georgia (including Henry's brother, Daniel) - ca 1830. In 1820 he appears to be in Haywood County, in 1830 he seems to have moved to Habersham County, GA (as with other Fulbright's).

-- In 1820 (Haywood Co, NC) he is shown as being born bet 1775-1794 and has 5 children under the age of 16.

-- In 1830 (Habersham Co, GA) he is shown as being born between 1780-1790 and as having approx. 6 children (one already an adult).

-- In 1840 (Habersham Co, GA) he is shown as being born between 1771-1780 and having 4 presumed children still in his home (potential ages 10-30). There is also a very elderly female there with them (presumed not to be Henry's mother since she was deceased by this time).

-- In 1850, the first "named" census, there is a Henry and Susannah Fulbright both born in NC residing in Franklin County (this likely after the point of county changes, Habersham being next door to Franklin Co). Here, Henry is shown as being b. abt 1785 (and Susannah is shown as a couple of years older). In the home are the following presumed offspring of the couple: Mary, George, and Silas (there is a Susan, but appears to possibly be the wife of Silas?).

-- In 1860, this couple (Henry and Susannah) are both shown as being born abt 1790 (enumerated as both being 70) and there are no other family members in the home.

What is clear here is that the Henry above is married to a Susannah - that this Henry did not die ca 1831 but died after 1860. As can be seen in the 1850 census, their children include Mary, George and Silas. It is clear that the Henry and Susannah above were very likely born sometime between 1780-1790 (likely more toward the latter part of that interval given the most frequent date of birth given). A DOB of 1785-1790 would make MUCH more sense regarding their 1814 date of marriage (and be well within the typical age of marriage, rather than the 36 and 40 ages otherwise suggested).

So, who is the Henry who married Susannah Mingers? If Henry who is in Habersham County married to a Susannah is a different man than Henry the son of Jacob and Barbara, then who is in Haberham? The questions are numerous. The data that has been set forth thus far does not fit from my analysis. There is a lot of inaccurate data and a lot of missing data. Perhaps the Henry in Habersham, who married Susannah, is the son of Henry son of Jacob/Barbara? Or perhaps the date of birth for Henry son of Jacob/Barbara is 1785-1790 vs. ca 1774-1784? Is there evidence of the death of Henry of which I am not aware (and if so, what/where is it?).

Unfortunately, questions just lead to more questions. Still, there must be better answers than we have so far. After all, arguably our most famous Fulbright (Sen. William Fulbright) appears to descend from this portion of the Fulbright family tree. I welcome any and all comments from those with interest in this line that includes Jacob Fulbright m. Barbara Elizabeth Weiser/Weisel, whose children include Daniel (abt 1785, m. a Nancy Unknown) and Henry (possibly Henry Joseph) Fulbright. I believe this line also includes the lines stemming from many of Fulbright’s who ended up in Franklin County (currently Stephen’s County) Georgia – such as William S. Fulbright, Parthenia Fulbright Dobbs, Daniel F. Fulbright, and Willis Leonard (W. L.) Fulbright.

(Please forgive any mistakes I may have made in typing numbers or counting children or specifying facts. As we say in my profession this was "dictated but not proofed"). Thanks for reading - this is my father's line and it is dear to me!

N. McBee
My-genealogy [at]

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