Generation six: George and Rachel Hodson

A member of the first American-born generation in my name-line, George (sometimes referred to as George Junior) provides glimpses into an emerging culture of Quakers who were not officially members of the Society of Friends, yet continued to attend Meeting for Worship and practice many of its distinctive ways. The fact that George and his wife are later readmitted into membership is, in itself, instructive. A pivotal event in his adult years was the American Revolution, which included the campaigns of General Nathanael Greene and Lord Charles Cornwallis as they fought through Guilford County.

Even with the second-cousin relationship between George and his wife, her identity presents questions: her surname is variously listed as Oldham or Christy.

Spousal lines: Oldham, Christy, Clark, Few, Dicks/Dix, Maddock, Simcock, Nichols.

*   *   *

George Hodson was born in 1737 in Adams County, Pennsylvania. He died in 1813, Guilford County, North Carolina, where his will was probated in February. He is buried in the graveyard at the New Garden Friends meetinghouse, Guilford County. He married, 1764, Rachel Oldham ( – ), in a manner contrary to Friends discipline, as recorded in the minutes of New Garden Friends Meeting, Eleventh Month 27.

*   *   *

According to George’s will, there were these children:

  1. William, born 1768, Guilford County; died intestate February 6, 1849, Guilford County; married, ca 1790, Diannah Saferight (1768-before May 17, 1852), the daughter of Henry Saferight/Sigfret. Occupation: miller. Eight known children.
  2. George Washington, born ca 1770, Guilford County; died 1837, Madison County, Indiana; married, 1798, Sarah Elizabeth Powell ( -1834 or 1835), daughter of (?). Twelve children. This family migrates first to Highland County, Ohio, where some of the children marry and remain; the later children marry in Madison County, Indiana.
  3. Phebe, born 1772, Guilford County; died (?); married, April 29, 1790, at Centre Friends Meeting, Samuel Ozbun (May 18, 1765- ), son of Samuel and Elizabeth of Randolph County. Six children.
  4. Ruth, born 1778, Guilford County; died (?); married first, August 13, 1801, Matthew Bennett (1765- ), son of (?). In 1826, the family is granted a certificate of transfer from Centre to Cherry Grove Meeting in Indiana. Ruth marries second, June 14, 1829, Francis Hester. (?) children. (Note the Guilford County will of Mary Hackett probated in August 1826, in which the executor is William Hodson and the witness is George Hodson.) Perhaps this is the Francis Hester who requests membership at New Garden, 1793, and there marries, 1794, Mary Hodgson, the daughter of John and Mary Mills Hodgson/Hodson; they move in 1805 to Miami Monthly Meeting in Ohio.
  5. Mary, born 1784, Guilford County; married, May 26, 1802, Obed Ward (-). They move in 1820 to Clear Creek Monthly Meeting, Ohio, and in 1822 move on West Grove Meeting, Indiana.
  6. Isaac, born September 24, 1786, Guilford County; married, March 4, 1804, at Centre Friends Meeting Ann Frazier (-), daughter of Isaac and Rebecca (Saferight) Frazier. [Ann’s cousins Matthew and Abel (sons of Aaron and Sarah) had already married two Hodson sisters who were second-cousins to Isaac.] Jeremiah Mills’ recollections add a second marriage, to Susannah Mills (September 25, 1789-January 30, 1879, Pretty Prairie, Kansas); she is the daughter of Micajah and Mary (Hiatt) Mills – making a first-cousin-once-removed his second wife; perhaps that is why he vanishes from the Quaker minutes; from the second marriage, two children: a son who died and a daughter, presumably Rachel, who marries Jacob Cox in Randolph County, Indiana. Correspondence with Merrill Jones of Torrance, California, indicates that Isaac moved north from Guilford County, but I am uncertain at this point of his death date or location, although Kansas is suggested here.
  7. Deborah, born March 15, 1789, Guilford County; died 1872; married, 1808, Jeremiah Mills (June 28, 1784-1829), son of Amos and Elizabeth (Horn) Mills. Eight children. Jeremiah was read out of Deep River Monthly Meeting, Twelfth Month 7, 1807, for “taking too much strong drink and fighting” and, despite the family’s petition of Sixth Month 4, 1829, to rejoin, he was never readmitted to the Society of Friends. In Eleventh Month of that year, after his death, Deborah, Rachel, and Ruth are received. Twelfth Month 5, 1833, Deborah and daughter Ruth are granted a certificate of transfer to Milford Monthly Meeting, Wayne County, Indiana. Another version, reported in The Guilford Genealogist, Spring 2008 (page 23), has Jeremiah and his entire family moving to Madison County, Indiana, in 1833..
  8. Zachariah (Zachary), born 1790, Guilford County; died 1843, Mount Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa; married, February 21, 1811, Elizabeth (Betsy) Dougherty ( ). One known child. I assume that Zachary is named after his kinsman, Zachariah Dicks, the widely travelled Friends minister who precipitated the Quaker migration from the slaveholding Carolinas into slave-free Ohio and Indiana. The reconstructed Centre Friends minutes have (1833?) “Zechariah, after having been disowned by Center, MM, N.C., granted permission by them to be received by request by Springfield MM, Ind.” Since Hughes’ map indicates Daugherty Presbyterian Meeting (1800) in the vicinity of Daugherty households, it appears that Zachariah married out of unity, and moved north sometime after 1826, where he and his family then rejoin the Society of Friends.
  9. Rachel, born 1791, Guilford County; died before February 3, 1827; married, 1807, Solomon Hiatt Mills (September 27, 1779-before February 17, 1830), son of Micajah and Mary (Hiatt) Mills. [Mary (Hiatt) Mills was the daughter of John and Sarah (Hodgson/Hodson) Hiatt.] The 1827[?] certificate of transfer from Centre to White River Meeting in Indiana names Solomon and six others, but no Rachel. Six children.
  10. Susannah, born (?), Guilford County; died (?), Guilford County; married, January 30, 1811, Aaron Maris (?), son of John and Jane Maris. The young couple then moves to the environs of New Garden Friends Meeting, March 16, 1811. (?) children.

Considering the span of more than three years between their marriage and the birth of their first known child, William – and the fact that his naming reflects Midland England practice, rather than the English Borderland usage in previous Hodgson generations, I would surmise there was an earlier daughter, Sarah, who died in childhood.

In 1764, when George became the last of George and Mary (Thatcher) Hodgson’s six children to marry, he was read out of Meeting for wedding a second cousin. There must have been some confusion within the Monthly Meeting when considering the matter, for North Carolina Yearly Meeting had not yet published its own Book of Discipline. Instead, Friends relied on the volumes they carried with them; the Pennsylvanians brought Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s (or possibly Baltimore’s, for Meetings west of the Susquehanna), while the Nantucket Islanders carried New England Yearly Meeting’s. While these books of discipline were similar in most regards, they differed on the marriage of cousins: in this period, New England was attempting to extend the ban on marriage of first cousins to cover second-cousin marriages as well. The matter of George and Rachel’s marriage was brought before the New Garden women’s business session held the 29th day of Ninth Month 1764:

It appears to this meeting that the case of Rachel Oldham not appearing at last was she went some time before a magestrate to join in marriage with George Hodgson Junr who is her Second Cousin and also been precautioned to the Contrary and it appeared that they have accomplished the Same this meeting therefore considering the great reproach that such disorderly proceeding hath brought upon the truth they have made profession of appoint Isaac Jones and request Jeremiah Reynolds to Draw a testification against the [erasure of m] said George Hodgson also assist our women Friends to prepare one against said Rachel Oldham in order to Disown them being members of our Society and produce them to Next meeting

The following month the subsequent minute was entered, the 27th day of Tenth Month 1764:

It appears to this Meeting that the case of Rachel Oldham not appearing Last Meet: was that she went some small time Before to a Magestrate in order to Joyn in marriage with George Hodgson Juner who is her [first is crossed through and second is inserted above] Cousin and also been precautioned to the contrary and it …

continues along the lines of the previous minute. The fact that first cousin was struck through indicates, to my mind, a degree of confusion regarding which discipline would apply. Unless they wanted to cast doubt on the revelation of truth itself, North Carolina Friends were stuck with the stricter discipline. Besides, even if the cousin issue were rendered moot, by this point the young couple had already married contrary to discipline, by going before a justice of the peace rather than through the traditional Quaker process, with its minimum 2½-month time span . And so, the following month, the minutes of the 27th of Eleventh Month observe:

We Friends appointed to Draw a testification against George Hodgson presented one to this meeting which was approved and signed and Jeremiah Reynolds is appointed to read it to him at the close of a first Day meeting at Senter and make report to our next meeting


The Women’s meeting produced a testification to this meeting against Rachel Hodgson formerly Oldham …

which continues as above. The following month’s minutes, dated Twelfth Month 24, record:

The Friend appointed Last meeting to read the papers of testification against George Hodgson and his wife report he has complied therewith

Thus we see that a lengthy process was involved, in part to give the young couple an opportunity to explain themselves, if they desired, or even to appeal the discipline to the Quarterly Meeting. We also get a sense of the sorrow felt by the Monthly Meeting in this process, naming neighbors and kinfolk to act as intermediaries. From these minutes we gain insights into the actions of both the men’s and women’s business meetings and their thinking. We can see that George and Rachel were counseled against marrying each other but defied the Meeting; in some ways this latter action was more severe than the issue of their being cousins. As Damon R. Hickey writes in The Southern Friend (Spring 1981):

… such marriages could be expressions of rebellion against the fairly narrow confines of the meeting’s discipline. It is not surprising that many young Friends chose not to “condemn their misconduct” and to remain instead outside the meeting. In any event, they were not “shunned” by the meeting as wayward Mennonites would have been, but were in most instances welcome to remain in the community and even attend Quaker meetings for worship from time to time, as long as their behavior did not create a scandal. They were, however, barred from the business meetings.

In addition,

… there were advantages to having been disowned by the Friends, the main being that he no longer had to worry about being disowned. Any of the actions forbidden by the discipline could be undertaken if conscience permitted.

I do want to emphasize that being disowned by Meeting – or “read out,” as it is also called – meant only that an individual was no longer permitted to participate in the government of the church until the disciplinary matter had been resolved, often by an open apology from the individual; until then, that person could continue to attend Meeting for worship, send children to Friends’ schools, even be buried in the meetinghouse yard. In all likelihood, the person continued to use Plain speech (“thee” and “thy,” in addition to the Quaker form of dating the week and months) and Plain dress. All that had changed was that he or she could no longer attend Monthly, Quarterly, or Yearly Meeting business sessions – and Meeting could no longer hold over them the threat of reading them out of Meeting. This was hardly the excommunication or shunning found in other denominations!

A generation earlier, as we find with the elopement of George’s parents, Friends had begun to perceive a consequence involved in marrying with a non-Quaker: distinctive testimonies of the faith were not taught sufficiently to children in the household, and the Society of Friends was facing a threat of losing its “peculiar” witness. As a consequence, Meetings were applying their disciplines more thoroughly, which sufficiently strengthened the Quaker community to rid itself of slave ownership and to maintain its pacifist witness through the Revolutionary War – but at a heavy cost over the next century.

An assiduous application of queries and advices contained in the Book of Discipline led to what Jack D. Marietta terms The Reformation of American Quakerism, 1748-1783 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984). He argues the discipline preserved the integrity of Friends testimonies but at the expense of closing ranks into sect rather than expanding as a denomination. This explanation as a sect/denomination dichotomy, incidentally, arises much later from Max Weber’s sociological model, which unlike the popular usage does not have a negative connotation. It merely refers to the ways in which religious groups organize themselves. Donald B. Kraybill and Donald R. Fitzkee, both of the Church of the Brethren, write (Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, April 1987):

Sects often emerge as a protest movement within a larger religious body in a quest to renew the original vision of the group’s religious heritage. Sectarian groups typically establish exclusive membership requirements, reject hierarchial levels of authority, emphasize voluntary membership, protest dominant social values, disdain professionally trained leadership, encourage high levels of lay involvement, prefer small-scale organization, and censure deviant members. The list of sectarian traits varies by theorist. … Observers of the so-called “sect cycle” have noted that over time sectarian religious groups tend to “grow up” organizationally and become sects.

This sectarian process, applied to the Society of Friends, encouraged an exercise of applying sets of queries stringently, both as individuals and as congregations; without it, the distinctive peace testimony would have no doubt fallen in the Revolutionary War and the stand against slavery likely never would have taken shape. And yet, the very process of strengthening group discipline and unique identity may have set the stage for calcification that made the separations and splinterings of the next century inevitable.

George and Rachel’s marriage was not the only upheaval in the Hodgson family at that time. George Senior drew up his will earlier in the year, and Mary (Thatcher) Hodgson died. In addition, George and Mary sold 321 acres on Russels Creek (not far from the Polecat Creek homestead) to William Reynolds.

Genealogist Glen C. Walker observes that George Junior began spelling his surname Hodson “soon after his disownment. And this spelling has always been used by most of the families in Indiana and Missouri.” While some observers attempt to make a case that George Junior changed the spelling as a form of rebellion, I find that hard to believe; for one thing, he places his mark, rather than a signature, on his will. (Like his father, the use of a mark may have reflected infirmity rather than illiteracy.) In addition, some descendants in his brothers’ lineage also adapt the Hodson spelling. Moreover, we see through some of the succeeding generations an apparent ambivalence, using the Hodson spelling at one time, the Hodgin variant at another.

George and Rachel’s generation also endured the Revolutionary War, which culminated for them in the winter months of 1781, when troops led by Continental Major General Nathanael Greene (himself raised as a Quaker in Rhode Island) and British Lord Charles Cornwallis skirmished throughout Guilford and Randolph counties before erupting in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in mid-March, a turning point in Greene’s brilliant Southern campaign of retreat and exhaustion, the Race for the Dan River. Although, by military standards, Greene lost that battle, his troops inflicted such losses on the British that Cornwallis was forced to retire his overextended army, burying some of his dead at the Quaker graveyards at New Garden and Deep River and setting the stage for the final encounter at Yorktown, Virginia. Indeed, Greene is widely respected as one of the most brilliant military strategists ever. In all of that, we must wonder how much George and Rachel – as well as their neighbors and kinfolk – suffered from foraging parties of both sides. Residents buried what valuables they had and scattered their livestock in the woods to prevent their procurement by scavenging armies. Nevertheless, civilians suffered losses: one Quaker, for instance, was so enraged after British troops had marched down his cornfield that he went out with his squirrel rifle the day of the battle. Neighbors, inquiring if he had shot anything, were told: nothing worth bringing back. Unlike others, he was not read out of Meeting for that day’s action. Certainly, there would have been attempts to conceal livestock, produce, and seed from the marauding troops. For a people who refused to bear arms, this must have been a particularly trying time in which they were suspect by both sides.

Reports from that campaign offer an accurate profile of the locale: “Sergeant Seymour of the Delaware regiment noted in his journal,” Burke Davis writes in his The Cowpens-Guilford Courthouse Campaign (Philadelphia and New York, 1962);

This part of the country is very thickly inhabited; the land indeed is not very productive, yielding corn and some grain. Along the Haw River you may see some good settlements, especially the Haw Fields, which abound … with fine corn fields, wheat, rye, oats and barley. The inhabitants here and about Guilford Courthouse are chiefly Irish, being very courteous, humane and affable to strangers. ..

His description of the inhabitants is instructive. These were not the Roman Catholic/St. Patrick Day stereotype that contemporary Americans envision when they hear “Irish,” but rather Irish Friends of Borderland England and Lowland Scotland extraction, coming from families that had been planted in Ireland since 1556, when Queen Mary initiated the plantation system in an effort to stabilize the island under British control. Historian David Hackett Fischer, in Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (Oxford University Press, 1989), details many characteristics of these Borderers, the so-called “Ulster Irish” or even “Scotch-Irish,” whose ancestral grounds include those of the English Hodgsons. (This remarkable history of the four major English migrations to colonial America also examines the Quaker traits of the Midlands and then the Middle Atlantic states, and the Puritan characteristics from East Anglia that shaped what we know as New England Yankees; because the Piedmont Quaker community was a blend of these Irish Quakers, Philadelphia Friends, and Nantucket Islanders, his volume is recommended as extended background on the different lifestyles each origin contributed to the Carolina experience.) Although itinerant Quaker ministers in the 1650s successfully gained new converts from the Protestant minority in Ireland, they generally failed to penetrate the Roman Catholic or native Celt majority. Over the years, hostile actions of these Roman Catholics, especially, spurred these pacifist Friends to seek safer ground, an escape not always approved by their former Meeting. Fischer’s examination of this culture in its many facets provides a solid overview of the lives of our Piedmont ancestors and the remarkable ways their Quaker faith reshaped that legacy.

To continue now from Davis:

The country nearer Guilford Courthouse was wilder, cut by ravines in the rolling timbered hills, its dense forest overgrown by mountains of peavines. … It had once been buffalo country.

… The British moved a few miles westward, toward a Quaker meetinghouse between the forks of the Deep River. [Cornwallis] camped there on March 13 … he had news that Greene … had reached Guilford Courthouse, some twelve miles distant.

Guilford Courthouse stood in a small clearing in the wilderness, at the edge of the Salisbury Road. The undulating ground fell away from it westward, to the valley of Little Horsepen Creek, half a mile away. Most of the neighborhood was clothed in timber, except for fields around the courthouse, and cornfields beside the road on the slope above Little Horsepen. There were a few dwellings, one of them the log cabin of a Quaker farmer, Joseph Hoskins, which stood on the south side of the road at the western edge of a cornfield.

Between this cabin and the courthouse Nathanael Greene made his stand.

In his retreat

On March 17 [Cornwallis] sent seventeen wagons loaded with wounded toward the New Garden Friends Meeting, to the west, under heavy guard and with an insistent order: “Each wagon to carry as many of the wounded men as can possibly be put into it.”

On March 18 … he had moved to New Garden …

On Sunday, March 18, when they had finished their burials one report said they burned some of the bodies …

… on Cane Creek, a few miles from Bell’s [Mills], where the British buried some of their dead in a Quaker churchyard, dug a well, and slaughtered eighty cattle and several sheep. Neighbors reported to the Americans that two cannon had been dropped into the well.

Other retreating British buried many of their dead at a site a few miles due north of the Hodgson homestead at Centre. Thus, both British and American troops moved through Guilford County – some on a path little more than two miles from Centre Meeting and the Hodgson homestead, and others along a ridge apparently overlooking Horsepen Creek, where George and Rachel may have been raising their brood.

There is some question of exactly where George and Rachel were living through some of these years. For instance, in 1764 he was attending Centre Friends Meeting. But in 1788, when George Hiatt sold a tract of 81½ acres to John Maris, the land was bounded by Horsepen Creek, Geo. Hodgson’s corner, Jacob Roger’s line, and Thomas Archer’s corner. Such descriptions seem to fit the joining of families as much as the land itself. Is this, for example, the same John Maris whose son, Aaron, would wed George and Rachel’s daughter, Susannah, in 1811? Horsepen Creek was in the northwestern part of Guilford County, not far from New Garden Friends Meeting and Guilford Courthouse. Glen C. Walker places some of the family at a confluence of “Beards Hatter Shop, Bruce Crossroads, and Dobson’s Potter Shop” – placing them to the north even of Horsepen Creek and, since Bruces Road veered northeasterly into what is now Rockingham County, perhaps even closer to the Virginia border. Yet Fred Hughes puts Beards Hat Shop, 1795, near Jamestown, in the southwestern part of Guilford County. Dobson’s Potter Shop remains an enigma.

The 1790 Census names George Hodgings as having two free white males of age 16 or more, three under that age, and six free white females in the household. Nearby are William Hodgings, Joseph Hodgings, John Hodgings, Heer Hodgings, Robert Hodgings, Richard Hodgings, Jonathan Hogings, and David Hodgings, leading me to believe this is near or on the Polecat Creek plantation.

This generation, too, found itself confronting the dilemma of living within a slaveholding society: should they remain, as a witness against the practice? Or should they remove themselves altogether? There was no easy answer.

George and Rachel reappear in the New Garden Friends minutes in 1797, asking to be reinstated as members. This involved preparing a statement “condemning their outgoings” to be read in front of the business meeting. In this instance, they addressed their request to New Garden Monthly Meeting. Whether this reflected a residence on nearby Horsepen Creek or is instead an attempt to maintain the “good order of Friends” by facing the body that had originally disciplined them as it reconsidered the matter is not clear. George appeared before the men’s business meeting to make contrition. But from the New Garden minutes of Twelfth Month 30, 1797, we learn

Rachel Hodgson through indisposition of body not being able to attend this meeting sent a paper condemning her outgoing which was accepted.

More than three decades after they appeared before a justice of the peace, they told the Meeting that they regretted getting married – at least in the way they did. I strongly suspect the reason behind Rachel’s failure to appear in person before the women’s session was that she simply could not say to them, in effect, “I’m sorry I got married”!

Having satisfied New Garden Monthly Meeting, they received a certificate of transfer, dated Second Month 24, 1798, to Centre Friends Meeting.

A reflection of rough frontier life, the New Garden women’s minutes of 1797 contain at least two cases of marrying contrary to discipline and being with child. In some cases, then, a couple simply could not wait the 2½ months involved in Quaker tradition.

George Hodson’s will was drawn up sometime after daughters Mary, Phebe, and Ruth had married, but sometime before daughters Deborah, Rachel, or Susannah had; it is dated First Month 1808 (likely First Month 1, 1808, a Fourth-day – or Wednesday). Its provisions indicate that sons William and George Washington had already settled homesteads of their own; Isaac, to receive fifty acres at the north end of the tract, may have already settled there. Zachariah would receive the bulk of the land upon the death of his mother. William and Isaac were named executors.

In drafting his will in 1808, George speaks of “living on waters of Pole Cat,” thus having a “plantation” not far from Centre Friends meetinghouse. For perspective, the Hughes map places a curious notation not far from Marlboro Friends Meeting on the western side of Guilford County: last buffalo killed, 1802.

A clearer understanding of a frontier economy would help here. In the Admas County, Pennsylvania, homestead, goods could be transported to Philadelphia or, perhaps more likely, Baltimore – an event akin to the annual journey Donald Hall describes in the Ox-Cart Man (the poem version, incidentally, has a more sober ending than the one in the popular children’s book). From what I can tell, Guilford County was far from any city, unless it was Charleston, South Carolina, where the goods may have been sold for export.

Although George’s will names his wife as living, there is currently no certainty that she was alive at the time of his death. The fact that George is buried at New Garden, rather than Centre, suggests that he had become infirm and was living in the household of a daughter; Susanna, for one, had resettled in that neighborhood.

Examining the lives of George and Rachel’s children provides another perspective: while five of the ten remain in Guilford County, another five move to “the West” – Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and probably Kansas. In addition, the family of daughter Rachel moves to Indiana, apparently shortly after her death. What makes this all the more remarkable in my mind is the fact that none of these lands were open to settlement when these children were born. There was a restlessness within them.

About their children

The life of William, by whom I descend, is detailed in a separate posting.

When we turn to the other children, the record quickly turns piecemeal. First is the problem arising from the fact that from George and Rachel’s 1764 marriage until their readmission into the Society of Friends in 1797, they are not included in the Quaker minutes. Thus, their children were not considered birthright Friends, even if they regularly attended Meeting for Worship. Those who, like Phebe and Isaac, chose to be married under the care of Meeting thus brought their families back into “the good order of Friends,” as did Deborah, possibly after the death of her husband. But complicating our efforts to trace the lines of both George and his brother Joseph is the loss of Centre Meeting’s minutes in a fire at Obed Ozbun’s residence shortly after the Civil War; missing are the men’s business minutes 1773-1835 and the women’s business minutes 1773-1825. A double issue of The Southern Friend (Autumn 1990-Spring 1991) presents a thorough attempt to reconstruct these minutes, drawing heavily from the records of other Friends’ Meetings. Even so, major holes remain, especially for those who chose to remain in one place; for Quakers, moving to a new locale meant a minute of transfer, which often lists the children as well.

A further complication, of course, also relates to the northward Quaker migration; because of the repetition of first names within various Hodgson/Hodson/Hodgin lines, it is often difficult to tell just which family is involved in any given move – to say nothing of which ones remain in North Carolina.

In households not covered by membership in the Society of Friends, we often encounter some ambiguity in the family’s religious life. Some were likely regular attenders of Quaker Meeting for Worship, but since they were not under Friends’ discipline, they might also drift into other denominations.

In the Ancestral Line of Nancy J. Overstreet (mimeographed, August 1957), Glen C. Walker quotes George Washington Hodson’s granddaughter, Mahala (Hodson) Reynolds, telling him: “My grandparents were born and married in North Carolina and lived about twenty years in Ohio before coming to Indiana. … He was quite a few years older than my grandmother. … He was very easy-going, while she was quite strict. Many of the Hodsons were subject to strokes, and I am told that my grandmother too died from one. My grandfather was not a Quaker, although his parents and grandparents were. And he was sort of brought up like one, and gave many of his children Biblical names.” Walker then cites an anonymous “Sketch of the Hodson Family” written about 1905 that, among other things, said, “These pioneers hailed from a community known to the Tar-Heelers as Beards’ Hatter Shop, Bruce Crossroads, and Dobson’s Potter Shop. … The Hodson family were great readers of the Bible, and some of them preached baptism by immersion – but they used the spirits of corn frumenti in the harvest field, when cradling wheat or at a log rolling, as the ague was prevalent and quinine was expensive.” Some of this line became Baptists, and some lines moved on to Missouri. Others remained in Henry County and other parts of Indiana.

We find Zachariah Hodson witnessing Guilford County marriage bonds in 1826 for Samuel Hodgin and Mary Dougherty, in 1820 for Henry Hodson and Polly Petty, and in 1821 for William Hodson and Keziah Harvey.

 Crucial points for further research

The Christy/Oldham puzzle requires clarification. If Rachel were not an Oldham, then why the second-cousin controversy at the time of her marriage? I am intrigued, too, by the repetition of Rachel as a first name in the Oldham lines. Does this also occur in the Christy lines?

One line of argument is that Rachel Oldham was adopted by Christys who then moved to North Carolina. This proposal, however, requires evidence; too many dates are missing in the Oldham line, especially, to support or disprove the contention.

In addition, we still need birth and death dates for Rachel, and a clearer picture of her movement and activities from birth to death. Did she arrive in North Carolina with the Lambs, the Dicks, or other relations? Was she, in many ways, a lot like George’s mother, nurtured and shaped by her Dicks cousins?


4 thoughts on “Generation six: George and Rachel Hodson”

    1. Good catch, as we said in the editing biz. My error here, which I’ve now corrected. The connection, according to Paul Mills’ marvelous Mills Family History, was for the sister Mary.

  1. Hi, Jnana,

    Great website; I look forward to reading all the detail!

    Isaac, Number 6 in George’s will, is my 4th great-grandfather. Jacob Cox and Rachel Hodson Cox are my 3rd great grandparents, and their son Elisha Bodkin ‘E B’ Cox is my 2nd great grandfather. Many a year, I helped my grandmother clean Elisha’s unique grave before Memorial Day. Jacob and Rachel are buried next to his grave. I’ve got a little rolling pin E B carved for my mother in 1922 from a tree on “the old home place”.

    If you are interested, I’ll gladly give you all the specifics on this family.


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