Friday, June 5, 2009

William C. Sutphin

William C Sutphin was born in March 1850 in Carroll County, Virginia to Cleveland and Martha Sutphin. On the 17th of January 1869, he married Felicia P Hull (born on 28 Aug 1849) in Carroll County, Virginia. They lived in Virginia for the birth of their first three children.

William worked in sawmills. By necessity, and because of the nature of the sawmill industry at the time, Willliam had to move his family frequently. Sometime between 1873 and 1876, the family moved to the North Carolina side of the mountains. At least two of their children were born there. Between 1878 and 1880 they moved to the Tennessee side.

The 1880 Census shows his wife and six children, Alice 1869, Cleaveland 1871, Emily 1873, Burton 1876, Sidney 1878 & Charley 1880) living in Buffalo, Unicoi County, Tennessee (a small community in the Appalachians).

By 1884 or 1885 he was in Carter County, Tennessee where he was part of a mob that imprisoned two Mormon Elders. The elders rather than quietly submitting to their fate, decided to preach to their captors. Listening carefully, William's heart was touched and from then on he began "to search for the truth." But it wasn't until 1893 when he met Elder Thomas W. Sloan and was baptised. Elder Sloan gave him "A Voice of Warning." But it would be 4 more years before he saw another Elder. In 1897, his wife Felicia (on May 16th by Elder John R Terry) and daughter Alice (June 16th) were baptised. Perhaps others of his children were baptised too, but whose baptisms, like William's, were not properly recorded.

In 1887 they were back in North Carolina where Geneve was born and in 1890 they again lived in Tennessee where George was born.

In the 1900 Census shows them living in Shawneshaw Township, Watauga County, North Carolina (outside of Boone). The older children have moved out or died, and only two children at home: Geneve E 1887, George A 1890. William's 75 year old widowed mother Martha has also moved in. In the Census Felicia said she was the mother of 11 children but that only 6 were living. I've identified only 8 of her children.

Felicia herself died on 4 Jan 1907. I have no explanation for how she died (at 58 years old), but she is buried in the Rowe Cemetery outside Johnson City, TN, at the end of Roweland Drive.

William's second wife was named Amanda. She was born in around 1867 in Sweden. Amanda had immigrated to the US in 1891 and was given citizenship in 1893, the same year she married her first husband. I don't know his name but he was born in Michigan. I don't have a marriage date for her to William.

In the 1920 Census, Amanda's son from her first marriage, 21 year old Edwin Olsen, and one of William's own grandchildren and Geneva's son, 15 year old Arnold Rash, have moved in with them. By then William owned his own home, he had no mortgage and was a merchant who owned his own store. They lived in Elizabethton, Carter County, Tennessee.

The 1930 census shows William and Amanda living alone, still in Elizabethton Carter County Tennessee. A quick scan of the census pages doesn't reveal any children or grand children living nearby.

Oddly, does not show a living baptismal date for William, and I have not completed a manual search of the microfilmed Tennessee baptism books. I have found no other references to William C Sutphin, in Mormon sources.


In The Doghouse said...

Just out of curiosity, how do you know he was actually baptized by Elder Sloan. Was it from a journal entry by Elder Sloan?

BruceCrow said...

It was in the letter he wrote. I posted it a few days ago. Arrest Bring Conversion

Anonymous said...

I think you need to check your math (or check your dates) for the age at death of Felicia? If she was born in 1849, and died in 1907, she would have been about 58, rather than 40.

Other than that, interesting site. I look forward to reading more of it.

BruceCrow said...

Right you are. Bad math. I've made the correction. Hopefully that is theworst of my errors. [Who am I kidding. I've already done worse]

Thomas Fortin-Sutfin said...

I sent a link to your Wm C. Sutphin post to our (Sutphen) family web address and received thanks from some of the Carroll County Virginia Sutphins.
Thank you for posting the letter and the info that you have. Too often people lock those letters up and they need to be shared.
Tom Fortin-Sutfin (one of the many spellings of Sutphin)

BruceCrow said...

Thanks. I love it when people with a person connection come for a visit. Sometimes I can share something new I have found with them, other times they can correct my information.