Rev. William Henry Cully: Probate Record # 3 & 4

A probate record can be a very revealing document as we have an opportunity to peer into the lives of our ancestors. We find out about the people close to them, the things they owned and many times we may find information that will break down brick walls.

This is a continuance of my Maternal 2x Great Grandfather’s probate file.  If you are just joining my blog and want to see the beginning to catch up, the archives are to the right of this post.  You can start here:


State of North Carolina,
Craven County

I, George W. Cully, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I believe W.H. Cully died without leaving any last will and testament: and that I will well and truly administer all and singular, the goods and chattels, rights and credits for the said W.H. Cully and a true and perfect inventory thereof return as provided by law; and all other duties appertaining to the charge reposed in me; I will faithfully and honestly perform with the best of my skill and ability.  So help me God.

Sworn and subscribed before me, this 29th
Day of September 1902 }

WM Watson C.S.C         }         George W Cully

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, }  Before the Clerk of the Superior Court.
Craven County.
IT BEING SATISFACTORILY PROVEN To the undersigned, Clerk of the Superior Court for Craven County, that W.H. Cully late of said County, is dead, without having made and published a Will and Testament and it appearing that George W. Cully is entitled to the Administration of the estate of said deceased, and having qualified as administrator according to law:
          NOW, THESE ARE THEREFORE TO EMPOWER the said Administrator to enter in and upon all and singular, the goods and chattels, rights and credits of the said deceased, and the same to take into possession whatsoever to be found, and all the just debts of the said deceased, to pay and satisfy, and the residue of said estate to distribute according to law.
          WITNESS, my hand and the seal of said Court, this the 29th day of September 1902
WM Watson Clerk Superior Court.

Now after these two documents, we are going to see more about the life of William H. Cully, and what he owned and how he lived.

Rev. William Henry Cully: Probate Record #2

If you are just joining us as we turn back the hands of time and peer into the probate record of my 2nd Great Grandfather William Henry Cully you can catch up by going to this link:


CRAVEN COUNTY                                      } Before W. M. Watson C.S.C


W.H. Cully Dec’d

James B. Robinson being sworn, doth say: That

WILL AND TESTAMENT, and that Geo. W. Cully is the proper person entitled to
LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION on the Estate of the said W.H. Cully Further, that the value of said Estate, so far as can be ascertained at the date of this application, is about $1450 of which $1200 is real property, and $250 is personal property, and that

Nancy E Cully, Widow
Sarah Frances Whittington- North Harlowe, N.C.
Ambrose Evans Cully- Worcester-Mass.
Malvina Robinson- New Bern, N.C.
George W. Cully- Havelock, N.C.

Are entitled as heirs and distributes thereof.

          Sworn and subscribed before me, this

29th day of Sept 1902                  James B. Robinson

W M Watson
Clerk Superior Court.

The greatest thing happened when I read this page.  I had not known my great grandfather Ambrose’s middle name.  I had always thought it was Elander.  Well..There it is in black and white “Evans”.  

Melvina Robinson, Sarah Frances Whittington, George W. Cully, Ambrose E. Cully, are the children of Nancy E & William H. Cully.  James B. Robinson was the witness sworn and was the husband of Melvina.

It is a wonderful thing to see your ancestors names in writing.  This document gave supporting evidence that all of the Cully children minus Ambrose, remained in Craven County, NC after Reconstruction, and that my Great Great Grandfather Ambrose had decided to migrate northward.

My mother had written down that Ambrose was given timberland when he migrated to Worcester, and that his father was a White plantation owner.  Through my research, I discovered that William H. Cully was not white but he did own land. I am giving this information, because it is so important that when you are writing family history, that you research and document everything.  You need to make sure the stories are correct.  So let’s see what we find out tomorrow.

Rev. William Henry Cully: Probate Record #1

My 2nd Great Grandfather William H. Cully was born in 1833 to William H. Cully, Sr. and Mary Barker in New Bern, North Carolina.  

William’s father, William H. Cully, Sr was born free in 1800 to his mother Prewilla Cully who had been a free person of color.This family line may not have ever been in slavery or they were free at least since the 1700’s. [More research will need to be done as the family stories handed down are that the Cully’s were of Native American Heritage and Irish Born.  The Cully’s assimilated into the African American population as early as the 1800’s, and were labeled as mulatto.

My 2nd Great Grandfather William H Cully died in 1902 as I had found in a New Bern, NC newspaper announcement.  This was the first document that I had found that recorded his death.

So of course I was ecstatic when I came across William’s probate record from 1902, which included 24 pages.  It has given me much more insight on the lives of my ancestors as farmers and land owners in the town of New Bern.  

The first page of William Henry Cully’s probate record:


In the matter of administration of the estate of
W. H. Cully deceased,
Take notice, that the undersigned, widow of W. H. Cully deceased and respectfully asks that George W. Cully may be appointed as the administrator of said estate in her stead.
This 31st day of August 1902
Nancy E Cully
James B Robinson

George W. Cully, the administrator of the estate is the son of William H. & Nancy Cully.  James B. Robinson, witness is the son-in-law who married their daughter Melvina.  Seeing these few family names confirmed that I had the correct family that I was researching. 

Let’s see what the next page has to reveal…

Part #5: Daniel Gilliam Found in the Paper Trail: Wanted Dead or Alive

Welcome back…If you are new to this post you can see the one prior to this at the following link..

WE COMMAND YOU, that of the Goods, Lands and Tenements of Danl Gilliam in the hands of Hannah Gilliam his admx you cause to be made the sum of
which lately, in our Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the County of Craven, was adjudged and taxed in the suit in which Hannah Gilliam [unreadable] – Plaintiff, and [Unreadable] – Defendant, for the COSTS and CHARGES in said suit expended, wherof the said, Hannah Gilliam, admx was convicted, as appears to us of record; and have you the said monies before our said Court, to be held for the County of CRAVEN, at the COURT-House in Newbern, on the second Monday of December next, then and there to render the Costs and Charges aforesaid.  Herein fail not, and have you then and there this Writ.

Witness William G. Bryan, Clerk of our said Court, at Newbern, the second Monday of September A.S., 1867, and in the Ninety 20 Year of our Independence.
Issued the [blank] day of [Unreadable] A.D., 1867
W G Bryan Clerk.
Petition For Year Provisions
Apparently this Year Provision was not satisfied.  Daniel Gilliam was a man that did not have anything substantial to care for Hannah, as he only had goods, no lands or tenements.  I am not surprised especially after almost two years after slavery.

I am just thankful that I had the opportunity to find  some paper-trail of the existence of my 2x Great Grandfather.  Initially the question I had about Daniel when I was learning more about Hannah is “Did Daniel migrate to Worcester, Massachusetts with Hannah?”  The answer was no as Hannah migrated to Worcester approximately in 1878.

So now that I have completed the probate file for Daniel Gilliam, my next task is to find out who the father is of Hannah’s children.

Part #4: Daniel Gilliam Found in the Paper Trail: Wanted Dead or Alive

So if you are following the Probate Estate Case of Daniel Gilliam, I am glad you are here…If this is your first time, you can go to this link  to see the prior post…
Daniel Gilliam, my 2nd Great Grandfather was never found to this date in any direct documents pertaining to him.  When I came across this probate record, I was ecstatic because it proved to me that he was not just a name, and that I could begin to make sense of his life.  In the process, I also realized that in all probability, Daniel’s wife Hannah had her children by a different man or men and therefore giving clues that I have another 2nd Great Grandfather, I need to be researching.
Below is the 3rd page of the probate file giving notice to all debtors and those who have claim against the estate to either make payment, or present estate for payment.
          The subscriber having qualified as administrator of the Estate of Daniel Gilliam deceased, at the March Term, A. D. 1867 of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Craven County, hereby notifies all persons having claims against said Estate, to present them for payment within the time prescribed by Law, or this notice will be pleaded in bar of their recovery.
          All persons indebted to said, Estate will make immediate payment.
Hannah Gilliam
March 18, 1867

An interesting thing with the peculiar Institute of Slavery is that the individuals that were former slaves may have had different surnames at various times as they were identified by their slave masters name.  The document below got my attention, even though it is not very readable due to some ink blot spills. I did make out the surname “Jones” in the document.  Hannah’s mother had the surname Jones as her Slave name.  Not sure if this Jones has any relationship to Hannah. [of course I am going to research this name].  I found in a 1870 Census a Kitty Jones living in the same household of Leander Gilliam, Jane Collins and William G.  
 [I had a difficult time making out the first name, so if you see the proper name, please comment.  Thank you.]
4th Page of Probate File

Kitty Jones makes oath that she saw a copy of the notice posted up at the Post Office at the Court House in the town of Newbern and at the Market Annex in the town of Newbern

Kitty  X Jones


[Unreadable Text] ? ? ?March 25, 1867
W.G. Bryan

Then I notice at the very top corner in light pencil writing :

Administrations Notice Heardy or Hearely Gilliam, March 1867 [This may be another clue as to my Gilliam family, that will enable me to stretch out the branches of the Gilliam Tree.

More To Come…