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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Whittingtons, Part 3: Agatha and Telitha

This is Part 3 of a series about the Whittington family of North Carolina and Tennessee and Texas.

Part 1: The James and Frankie Whittington Family
Part 2: William and Richard
Part 4: Gibson and Weston
Part 5: George, Solomon, and Othaneil
Part 6: Cason Coley, James Henderson, Quintillian, and Frances Ann

Agatha Bless Whittington 

Agatha Bless Whittington was born 27 October 1802 in Wake County, North Carolina, the third child and first daughter of James and Frankie Whittington. Her older brothers were William, age 3 years and 10 months, and Richard, age 2 years and 1 month.

We know very little factual information about Agatha, and even what is documented is shrouded in mystery. A bond was paid on February 16, 1823 in Johnston County, North Carolina for the marriage of Agatha Bless Whittington and Alexander S. Collins. Curiously, Alexander was unable to pay the bond for the marriage license, so Agatha’s brother William provided it. Agatha and Alexander married on that day or shortly thereafter—or did they?

North Carolina census indexes yield no Alexander Collins and wife in 1830 or 1840. There is a slight possibility that they were living with older relatives: in Wake County, North Carolina, in 1830 a man in his 50s named Uriah Collins had in his household a young man and woman in their 20s who could possibly be Alex and Agatha. Uriah’s household also had a woman in her 50s who is probably his wife, and two other young women, one in her 30s and one aged 10–15. It is nothing more than speculation that these people could be Alexander’s parents and sisters, and they do live quite close to Agatha’s brother Richard and his wife. No other Collins family in either Johnston County or Wake County has any people of the right age other than this one.

Alex died in 1860 all alone and his estate went to public auction as his effects were unclaimed.

Meanwhile, apparently Agatha moved to Tennessee with her father’s family and in 1850 was keeping house for her brother Solomon, just before his marriage. And her name on that census was “Agatha B. Whittington.” Did she ever marry Alex Collins, or did one of them back out at the last minute? Were they married and subsequently divorced, and did she resume her maiden name? There was a “Catherine Collins,” age 13, living with Agatha and her brother. Was this a relative of Alex? Could Catherine be the daughter of Agatha and Alex?

In 1851 Agatha joined the Baptist Church in Madison, Tennessee. That same year she was said to have married a man named Mr. Crabtree, but no source has been located to support this. In fact, nothing further is documented of her life after the 1850 Census. She was said to have died in 1889; again, no document has surfaced to support this.


Talitha Cumi Whittenton 

Some sources say her name is Tabitha but since in the Bible verse (Mark 5:41) the phrase is Talitha cumi, most likely her name was that very phrase.

Talitha was born in North Carolina on 13 March 1805. She was the fourth child of James and Frankie Whittington, with two older brothers and an older sister in the family when she arrived.

Her age changes in the census records over time. In the earliest record we have for her (the 1820 Census), her age is in the correct category. In 1830 she is in the 20–30 category and was 25 years old. In 1840 she is again in the 20–30 category although she was 35 years old. The 1850 Census reported that she was 40, but she was really 45. In 1860 she lived with her brother Othnel and his wife and infant son. She was reported to be 50, but she was actually 55.

She never married and lived with her parents until they had both died; then she apparently lived with her brother Othnel.

On November 28, 1858 her brother Othnel deeded her and their younger brother Quintillion jointly a piece of land in Madison County, Tennessee, described as “50 acres off the east end of 110 acres on which he lived, given to him by his father . . .”. This deed was registered on May 22, 1861.

The Civil War was just getting under way when this deed was recorded—in fact, North Carolina’s legislature had just voted two days before to secede from the United States and join the Confederate States of America. Quince went off to war and after that to Texas. But the records don’t show what happened to the land he and Talitha jointly owned. Perhaps she bought him out; perhaps there was no money and Quince simply left.

Talitha is reported to have died 27 July 1888, but no record has surfaced to prove that date. Oddly, I have a distinct memory of seeing a photograph of her gravestone online, but I didn’t save a copy and cannot find any trace on any website that I know of, so I must have been dreaming—or it disappeared in a mysterious way shortly after I viewed it.


Note: If you would like to purchase a complete book of the series with updates, sources, and more, please send me a message.

1 comment:

  1. I have been given information about Agatha and the Collins family, but right now it is not proven or even sourced, so I will continue to investigate . . .

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