Friday, March 1, 2013

Celebrating Women's History Month-My Favorite Female Ancestor-At Least For Today!

It's Women's History Month and Lisa Alzo is helping us once again with these fantastic blogging prompts for the month of March. Check out her web site for all the details!

Back For A Fourth Year: Fearless Females:31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month

Today the prompt from Lisa is:

Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

  My favorite woman ancestor tends to be which ever one I am researching at the time.
I have been doing a lot of work on Find A Grave the last couple of weeks either adding memorials for my people or asking kindly for those already made to be transferred to me  (May I say that so far the folks who I have had contact with have been fabulous and are more than willing to transfer memorials to me.)
 Yesterday I received this picture from a volunteer who had traveled quite a distance from his home to fulfill picture requests at St. John's Methodist Cemetery in Lee County, SC.

Martha Dorrity Headstone
St. John's Methodist Church Cemetery
Lee County, SC
Find A Grave Memorial Picture
Michael Dillingham

          Martha  Dorrity was my Great Great Great Grandmother. She was born on June 13,1820 and .died April 14, 1905. She married William J. Dorrity and was the mother of at least 12 children.  From what I have been able to find out about her, she lived all of her life in the Springhill area of Sumter County, SC. Springhill became part of Lee County, SC after her death.
Notice the spelling of her last name. The stone days Dorraty. I have also found the family under the name Dorrity, Dority, Daugherty, and Daughrity as my Grandmother spelled it. Most consistent at this time period was Dorrity. Another interesting find was that the date of her death was recorded differently in a  book called  The Cemetery Surveys of Old Sumter County, South Carolina  Volume III, Lee County, SC. In it on page 37, under the St. John's Methodist Church section, her birth is recorded as June 19, 1820. Her stone actually says June 13, 1820.  Another in many examples I have of making sure to check originals.

  Martha's maiden name was most likely Mathis. I have death certificates from her children naming her as Martha Mathis, although one says Martha Stafford. She is buried in the Mathis plot of the cemetery.
 Martha lived her life on a rented farm where she is recorded  in several censuses as "Keeping House". There are several Mathis families recorded before and after the Dorrity family on these censuses.
 The 1880 Agricultural Census of Sumter County shows that the property was 22 acres with an orchard of peach and apples trees. They had only 1 ox. but many chickens that produced over 1,000 eggs that year.
 Some of their other crops were Cow Peas, Indian Corn and Sweet Potatoes.

  Martha lived through the hardship of the Civil War and sent not only her husband off to war, but her three sons as well.  All returned to live and work in rural Sumter County.

William J. Dorrity, Martha's husband, died sometime before 1897. He is listed in the 1880 census as being bed ridden with consumption.  By 1897, according to newspaper listings, Martha was receiving a widow's pension for her husband's service in the Civil War.  I have not been able to locate his actual death date or place of burial.

   By the 1900 Census, Martha was 83 and listed as the widowed head of household. She was living with her 55 year old single daughter Mary. Since they were listed as having no occupation I would like to believe that they were being cared for by her sons and members of the Mathis family who lived by.
  My next step will be to continue searching for information on Martha's many daughters. I have been able to find out who three of them married and have been able to trace their descendants.. Some I have been in contact with. There are several more daughters and families to find.
 I also will be contacting the church in whose cemetery she was buried  to see if they have any information on the family.
 A trip to the SC Archives in Columbia is on my list too! They have some Civil War Pension Records on line, but not Martha Dorrity's. I will need to look through their microfilmed records to see if there is a record for her there.

 So for today and several more, Martha Dorrity is my favorite female ancestor! Thanks Lisa Alzo for providing this great series of blogging prompts.


  1. You have done so much impressive research in so many records and databases: Find a Grave with a volunteer's picture, noticing variants of the family surname, a book of "Cemetery Surveys," death certificates from her children, census records, the Agricultural Census of 1880 Sumter County, Civil War records (I'm glad her husband and 3 sons returned!), newspapers, personal contacts . . . and more research to come.

    This is a lot of hard work! I hope you have excellent luck at the SCDAH. They are very nice there, I think, from their reputation and from my own experience.

    Congratulations on finding all this information!

    1. Thanks Mariann! I agree with you about the Archives. I attended the SCGS Conference there last summer. They were wonderful hosts and so helpful to those of us who researched while we were there.
      Can't wait to get back!