Listening to Silent Ancestors
A few years ago Amy Johnson Crow, the creator of Deaf Biographies (deafbiographies.com), shared with me some biographical information about an Elizabeth Vanderpool she had found in the Eighth Annual Report of the Trustees and Superintendent of the Indiana Asylum for Educating the Deaf and Dumb — a source about which I was unaware and would had had no reason to examine. Deaf Biographies is a searchable website devoted to biographical information about deaf Americans through the early 20th century.
|Indiana School for Deaf|
- Her body was unclaimed and she was buried originally in the cemetery on the institution’s grounds.
- Cause of deafness: Congenital.
- She was connected to the Presbyterian Church.
- There’s a photo of her tombstone is in the pictures section of Deaf Biographies.
In the 1850 Owen County, Indiana census there is an Elizabeth Vanderpool, age 44, born in North Carolina and enumerated with three adult Vanderpools. What leads me to believe that I have found the right Elizabeth is that she is recorded as “deaf and dumb” — and in that enumeration, the head of the household is a 76-year-old female, Mary Vanderpool, who also was born in North Carolina. Additionally, there’s Pleasant Vanderpool, a male age 50, and Sarah Vanderpool, age 42. Pleasant and Sarah were born in North Carolina, both are single, and both are deaf and dumb.
This same family appears in the 1860 Owen County, Indiana census — minus Elizabeth (who evidently died in 1851). They are all gone by 1870 enumeration, except for Sarah. Two important clues enabled me to identify this family eventually. Those clues were the North Carolina birthplaces and the deafness.
The Mary Vanderpool, who evidently was the mother of these three deaf children found in the Indiana records, fits the profile to be the widow of Josiah Vanderpool. Her maiden name is unknown. He had died ca 1838-1840 probably in North Carolina. But how to make the link?
Another look at the 1830 Surry County, North Carolina enumeration for Josiah Vanderpool showed there were seven people in the family — and three of them were deaf. The ages of the deaf fit Pleasant, Elizabeth, and Sarah Vanderpool.
Descendants of Eli Vanderpool, born about 1804 in North Carolina, claim that his father also was Josiah Vanderpool, of Surry County, North Carolina, so a search for Eli in the 1840 census was conducted, but negative results turned up for Josiah and Mary in North Carolina. However, Eli Vanderpool was found in Washington County, Virginia with 12 people in the household in 1840 — about five too many for Eli, according to the ages of his known children. The household includes an older female (60-70) and three of the adults, ages 25 and up, are recorded as being deaf. Evidently this is Mary, widow of Josiah, and three of her grown children.
It is logical that a widowed Mary and her adult deaf children would go to Virginia from North Carolina to be near one of her older sons who also was the closest (in distance) as her two younger sons left North Carolina before 1840, probably soon after their father died, one going to Mississippi and the other to Louisiana and eventually Texas. One daughter, Amelia Vanderpool married Uriah Fleming in 1825 and another, Margaret “Peggy” Vanderpool married James M. Phillips in 1837 and they both were busy caring for their children and their own households.
But what was the reason Mary (the widow) and three grown deaf children removed to Indiana from Virginia between 1840 and 1848 (when a land record for Pleasant Vanderpool was found)?
Were they just part of a large migration that took place when many families moved from North Carolina to Indiana or was there some other reason?
Oh, dear, another mystery. And people ask me when I am going to complete my genealogy?
 1850; U.S. census, Clay, Owen County, Indiana, population schedule. Ancestry.com [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009, accessed 20 August 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls. Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Roll M432_164, p. 70A, image 144.
 1860 U.S. census. Owen County, Indiana, population schedule. Ancestry.com [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009, accessed 20 August 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Roll: M653_287; Page: 77; Image: 77; Family History Library Film: 803287. Original data: 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.
 1870 U.S. census, Clay Township, Owen County, Indiana, population schedule. Family History Library Film: 545847. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009, accessed 20 August 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, roll: M593_348; Page: 184B; Image: 375.
 1830 U.S. census. Surry County, North Carolina, population schedule [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004, accessed 29 April 2003. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifth Census of the United States, 1830. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1830. NARS Series M19, Roll 125, p. 109. This 1830 census would fit for the Vanderpool males to be: Littleberry, Cornelius, Pleasant and Josiah (father), but the females are missing one of the deaf daughters (evidently). The females would include Margaret (in the 15-20 bracket) and Mary (mother), but in 1830, Elizabeth and Sarah (both deaf) would have been 24 and 22 approximately and there is only one white female marked in the 20-30 bracket.
 1840 U.S. census, Washington County, Virginia; population schedule. National Archives micropublication M704, roll 574, p. 250A, arranged in alphabetically order.
North Carolina, Marriage Collection, 1741-2004 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp. (P.O. Box 740, Orem, Utah 84059) from county marriage records on microfilm located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (FHL #0546467-0546474) in published books cataloged by the Library of Congress, or county records in possession of the individual county clerks or courthouses. North Carolina State Archives. North Carolina County Marriage Indexes. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina. North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics. North Carolina Marriage Index, 1962-2004. North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
 U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: United States. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes. http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/. Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007. Pleasant Vanderpool, 40 acres, issued 1 May 1848, Owen County, Indiana, Township 9-N, Range 3-W, Section 33.