Lucraft and Luckraft One-name Study

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Leacrafts of North Carolina

Sale of Wife – 1804

This original item was found in the North Carolina State Archives, and was put into the Carteret County website by Joel S Russell.

NB The bill of sale give below is a coppy of the original that is in the archives of the Court House here and is among other papers that was ordered by the Clerk of Court to be recorded in the Registers Office. The reason this one was not recorded in said office the Purcher of the woman refused to tag the register’s furs (??). I certify this is a true coppy
P.B. Loftin

This indenture this the 14 day of December Eighteen Hundred & four between Abner Willis of the State of No. Carolina & County of Carteret the one part and William W. Oliver of the other Part

That I Abner Willis have bargained Sold & delivered unto Wil. W. Oliver one sertain white woman by the name of Marce Which is or was formally my wife for the sum of Two Dollars the Receipt I hereby
Acknowledge My Self dully Satisfied. In witness where of I place my hand Seal the day & year first written.
Abner Willis (his mark)

Signed Sealed & Delivered in presence of us.
Benj. Lecraft State North Carolina
June Term 1822 Carteret County Cort of Pleas
& Quarter sessions

I certify the Execution of the above bill of sale was then proved in open court by the oath of Benj. LeCraft the subscribing witness thereto and ordered to be registered.
G. Rumley C.C

P.S. I am now living in the house that G Rumley occupied at the time this bil of sale was made. P B L

The Benjamin Lecraft who acted for the State in this record is Benjamin Leecraft, born 1795 in Beaufort North Carolina. He was a successful merchant, after his father had been a successful trader with ships plying between England and America, having come originally from Bermuda. This Benjamin built the two identical houses in Beaufort for his two daughters, at least one of which still stands in the conservation area, and is known as the “Leecraft House”.

But what was going on? Apart from its shock value, one asks why, if the dates are recorded correctly, was an indenture for the sale of a wife in 1804 recorded and signed before the State’s Officer in 1822? Was there a property rights issue, or a change of heart? The comments in the first paragraph by P B Loftin might be construed as implying that there was either embarrassment or disagreement on the part of William Oliver, the “Purcher” [purchaser] about the whole matter. We don’t know the dates of the transcription by Loftin.

By the way, two dollars in 1804 would be worth about 400 dollars now, or would buy what about 40 dollars would now buy. And it also shows how a name can be spelled two ways even in a court document.

Susan Verell Leecraft

Susan was the sister of Benjamin and we had a marriage for her in 1803 to Abraham Piggott. Pat Fleury in the States, whose family this is, has now found that Susan was married twice. She re-married James Johnson Verell in 1814, which explains why she is later known as Susan Verrell Leecraft. Pat keeps me up to date with much of her work, and adds details and corrects my mistakes.

My Darling Edwina

One item from Pat’s records is a wonderful letter written in 1907 by Daisy Leecraft, the grand-daughter of the above Benjamin Leecraft.

Daisy was born in 1876 at the “Cabin Home” on Iron Ore Creek near Denison in Texas, to Benjamin Leecraft III and Susan Elizabeth Stowe. Benjamin III had been a Captain in the Confederate Army, and was a widower previously married to Mary Arendell. [Benjamin and Mary had at least nine children at least five of whom died at birth or in infancy, and two boys who survived, one also called Benjamin] Susan’s father was Col Samuel Neal Stowe who served on General Lee’s staff during the war between the states.

Both Daisy’s parents had been born in North Carolina, and after losing everything in the aftermath of the defeat of the South in the war they moved to the Sherman/Denison area of Texas. These are adjoining areas on the Texas Oklahoma border just north of present-day Dallas.

Daisy first married Edwin Eugene Moody, who was about 10 years older than Daisy. He had graduated with honours from Cumberland University in Tennessee, and became a Presbyterian Minister, moving to Denison, Texas. In Dennison the Rev EE Moody was the pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Edwin and Daisy had at least one child, called Edwina, born in 1895.

After Edwin died in 1896 Daisy remained in Denison, with her mother, and later went to Meridian Mississippi with Edwina when Edwina was about one year old. Edwin Moody’s brother, Francis [Frank] Sims Moody had asked her to marry him. She would not accept his proposal until after her mother’s death in 1904. The wedding was originally planned to be done in the First Presbyterian Church in Denison. However, because of a major yellow fever epidemic in Louisiana, traffic west across the Mississippi River was halted, and Frank Moody was unable to come to Dennison. She packed and proceeded to Mississippi with her daughter, then 9 years old. The wedding took place in Meridian, Mississippi in 1905.

This is a letter written to her daughter Edwina on 17th July 1907, when Edwina was about 12 years old. It was written the day before Daisy’s second daughter Daisy Dean Moody was born.

My Darling Edwina,

I am not well this morning and some day it may happen as it does to some little girls, that you may have no mother. In this case, I should like you to have a letter which I want you to read frequently, whenever you are troubled or tempted to do wrong – also when you miss me and want me very much, that you may know how much I have loved you and still love you. I believe in guardian angels, and will ask God to let me be yours to be with you constantly night and day, to guard you and comfort you and keep you from harm.

Mother wants you to be a pure sweet girl and grow up to be a fine, sweet, true woman. To do this, you must avoid making friendships with any boy or girl who tries to lead you into doing wrong things. You are now old enough for your conscience to tell you what is wrong, and through your prayers God will help you to resist it. Learn to say “No” to any suggestion of wrong-doing. And remember that your mother and your papa who had to leave his baby years ago will be grieved if you are not brave enough to do right.

I feel so glad to leave you with the one who is now your papa as he is capable of instilling into your mind only the bravest and noblest of thoughts. Listen to his every word of advice and do not grieve him by disobedience, and comfort him on any sorrow he may have.

Study hard and do not neglect music, but remember to take good care of your health.

With love and kisses, I am
Devotedly - Your Mother (“Daisy”)

Recent research in England on portraits of melancholy pregnant women from the 17th to 19th century suggests that they may be the upper-class equivalent of the ”mother’s letter” so eloquently exampled here. My thanks to Pat Fleury for this poignant letter from her archives.

Benjamin Leecraft : Sailor and Trader born c 1753

Pat’s research has turned up a bit more about the Benjamin Leecraft at the head of this family. We knew he was born about 1753 and died about 1799. There are two versions of how and where he died. One says at sea, and another suggests at Gastonia, North Carolina. It is also possible that he was born at Gastonia, though there are no records of that yet found, and it had been assumed that he arrived in North Carolina from Bermuda.

Pat’s papers now show that he sailed out of Philadelphia during the Revolution against Britain, on the ship “Active”. He is recorded as a Mate on this ship, under Captain Biddle of Philadelphia. He was commissioned on September 29th 1781 after previously serving several years. He applied for a Certificate of Marque as Privateer to Continental Congress in that year. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown hair and skin. Pat’s papers also note that he died at sea near Bermuda.

In 1790 he owned land in Beaufort North Carolina. Pat quotes a source “Dandridge, in his history of the English prison ship ‘Jersey’, lists a Banjamin [sic] Leecraft as one of the prisoners of war,” and suggests he may have been the father of this Benjamin Leecraft, though I suspect that the prisoner may have been this man himself.

Benjamin Leecraft IV

Pat has also passed on an e-mail from descendants of Daisy’s half-brother, Benjamin IV. From this we think that Benjamin Leecraft IV married Adelia Jones, and had eight children, called, Odell, Paul, Phyllis, Odessa, William, Robert, Haskew, and Mary Alice. We’ll have to find more space on the tree for them!


  • I am very greatful to see this. I am a direct decesent of Odessa Lecraft, I am her great-granddaughter. I was looking for my history and was able to find somethings out.

    By Blogger msbhavin, at 7:35 PM  

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