Enter Delilah

George Hodson (January 2, 1797-November 4, 1878) married, January 1818, Delilah Britton (the surname is often reported as Rayle or Hunt) (October 10, 1784 or 1794-November 21, 1883). They are buried in the Centre Friends burial ground. Perhaps eleven children, one of them born previous to George and Delilah’s marriage.

Delilah, my great-great-great-grandmother, presents us with many unresolved questions. For starters, her first name – Delilah – is not one anticipated in Piedmont Quaker culture. Although she is not the only woman named Delilah in Guilford County during that period, the name expresses a woman who brought down a Jewish hero – albeit, a flawed Nazarite. Perhaps there was a recognition of a powerful Biblical woman, regardless of her partisanship, and of Samson’s own responsibility in becoming ensnared; there may also be an attraction to the musical nature of the name itself, which is not that far removed from Dinah, a popular Quaker name carried to North Carolina by the Nantucket Friends. Again, we have questions.

Even getting her first name straight involved some initial confusion in my research: a carbon paper typescript of the Centre Friends gravestones, made by the Daughters of the American Revolution, had it Dellah, and my cousin and fellow researcher Floyd Hodson, attempting to decipher notes handed down in our family, had Delica and Delice as possibilities.

Her surname before marrying George is variously given as Rayle or Hunt. Her legal birthname, however, turns out to be Delilah Britton. The death certificate of her son, William Hodson, records that name, on information provided by J.H. Davis of Greensboro.

The linkage to the Rayle surname is found in the Spring 2009 issue of The Guilford Genealogist, where an article, “Guilford County Bastardy-Related Orders and Issues Taken From the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions Minutes,” reports two cases where Matthew Rail/Rayl is named as the father, the first time in November 1794, the month after Delilah’s birth, with Ruth Britton, “a single woman,” is named as the mother, and again in May 1800, where no mother is named.

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My Osban/Osborn/Ozbun connection

Pleasant Hodson/Hodgin (February 7, 1827-May 20, 1908) married, January 20, 1853, in Guilford County, Eunice Osban (May 1, 1834-September 27, 1910), daughter of Elisha and Nancy (Mendenhall?) Ozbun. Pleasant and Eunice, my great-great-grandparents, are buried at Concord Friends burial ground in Sumner Township, Guilford County. Four known children.

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The prolific Ozbun/Osban/Osborn family was among the early Quaker settlers who would form Centre Monthly Meeting in Guilford County, North Carolina. Even so, tracing Eunice’s maternal line has been difficult.

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