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My Fourth Visit to Anson County Historical Society


Steve gets his copy of Robin's new book.
Robin and Steve met at the Anson County Historical Society on November 26, 2021. Photo by Ellis McClure.

It was the day after Thanksgiving. Yes. That's when most people are out shopping, but I had to take advantage of Steve being at the Anson County Historical Society in Wadesboro. NC. He got his copy of My Best Genealogy Tips.


I had been preparing for my visit by trying to find Lucy Nelms (born abt. 1805), the mother of Buck Nelms. Steve had found her, if you can remember, in 1880. She was living in DeSoto County, Mississippi with Ed Nelms and his children. Lucy, her granddaughter, and her family were living next door. Next to Lucy lived Buck and Mary Nelms and their family.


Finding Former Enslaved in 1870


Buck, Ed, and Lucy, their mother, had come from Anson County, NC. I don't know yet when Lucy came to live in DeSoto County. I could not find her in 1870 in DeSoto County or Anson County. I was glad to spend the time at the society last Friday. Just being in that atmosphere helped me to figure out what to do next.


  1. Lucy, my great grandmother, died in Poinsett County, Arkansas. However, she was buried in Walls, Mississippi.

  2. Buck and Mary Nelms were living in that area, so I need to see if I can find out if they were buried in Walls, Mississippi.

  3. Lucy the 75-year-old, my 3rd great grandmother, may also be buried in Walls, Mississippi.

I am so grateful that the death certificate is now online for Lucy, my great grandmother. For a long time, there was just the death index. That's how I found out she died in Arkansas, but was buried in Walls, Mississippi:

Arkansas Department of Vital Records; Little Rock, Arkansas; Death Certificates; Year: 1929; Roll: 6

I guess I should look for even Hence to be buried there. Being at society has also brought me to the conclusion that I will have to search each census page for DeSoto County, Mississippi in 1870. Their names may have been abbreviated or misspelled. We have found a whole lot so far, and formulated all these questions.


Documenting the Death of a Former Enslaved Person


There was an obituary Steve was telling me did exist. York Smith was the husband of Charlotte Nelms Smith. Charlotte was the daughter of David and Lucy Nelms and the sister to Buck.


Here are York and Charlotte Nelms Smith in the 1880 Census with few of their children:


Year: 1880; Census Place: Ansonville, Anson, North Carolina; Roll: 951; Page: 453C; Enumeration District: 007

All the people I have described for you so far, I can sum them up in one word: Family. That's exactly how I feel. Keep that in mind as I tell you what happened just before I wrote this blog post. There is no end to this. I could go in any direction. There all family. Family that I never knew in this life.


Here you go Steve:

That's right. You told me that it existed, and tonight I found it:


The Messenger and Intelligencer Wadesboro, North Carolina 07 May 1908, Thu • Page 4

W A. Smith was the grandson of Presley Nelms, the son of Elizabeth Nelms Smith. The Nelms were the enslavers of my Nelms family. Charlotte passed away before York. York worked for W. A. Smith. He had been enslaved by the family of W. A. Smith. W. A. Smith was the writer of this obituary.


I suppose you might wonder why I would even post this obituary, but don't worry.

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