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Steve Bailey Found My Paternal 3rd Great Grandma

I am glad that Ellis was prepared to capture Steve Bailey and me when we went to the Anson County Historical Society. I had no idea who or what we would be searching for that day. Time had flown by and we were led to Steve sitting at the computer and me across from him on the other side of the desk. Anyone that knows me knows that does not look right.

Steve Bailey and Robin Foster doing a little searching at Anson County Historical Society, Wadesboro, NC. Taken by Ellis McClure on July 5, 2021.

Humility is what was leading us. Steve later said he was thinking, "she should be at the computer," when I said "You know this the first time I let anyone else help me." He said I should have come back here and worked the computer. I said, "No." We both felt guidance from someone else.

My words cannot express the gratitude I feel toward Steve. He found my 3rd great grandmother and more of her descendants. I only knew of Buck Nelms, her son. They lived in Anson County, NC during enslavement. Then they were taken to Mississippi. He found them in Desoto County, Mississippi in 1880. I had found Buck Nelms in DeSoto County, MS in 1870.

This family was enslaved in Marshall County and DeSoto County, MS., so that is why it has been so hard to track them. Well after we discovered them, I really got excited. I was not sitting at the desk anymore, but I was practically over the desk.

Steve Bailey and Robin Foster finding her 3rd great grandmother at Anson County Historical Society, Wadesboro, NC. Taken by Ellis McClure on July 5, 2021.

It was good for me to be in that position. For years, I have been in the position of Steve. I got to feel how others feel when I help them to find their ancestors. I hope Steve knows how much I appreciate him.

Here is my 3rd great grandmother, two sons, and several grandchildren:

Lucy Nelms - 75 and widowed

2 sons - Buck Nelms who is 52

Ed Nelms who is 39

Year: 1880; Census Place: Stewarts Store, DeSoto, Mississippi; Roll: 646; Page: 486A; Enumeration District: 054

Year: 1880; Census Place: Stewarts Store, DeSoto, Mississippi; Roll: 646; Page: 486B; Enumeration District: 054

I was so excited to know the mother of Buck was Lucy Nelms. Buck Nelms had named Lucy, a daughter after his mother. You can see her on the 1870 Census where she is listed with the family. The Lucy Nelms Bradford (listed above) is 20 years old and was married to Sam Bradford. Awhile ago I had discovered their daughter, Olean. Here is her death certificate:

Tennessee State Library and Archives; Nashville, Tennessee; Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958; Roll Number: 8

The Lucy Nelms listed as the mother of Olean is the same person as Lucy Bradford on the 1880 Census. Lucy Nelms Bradford Nelms was the daughter of Buck and Mary Nelms. She married Sam Bradford and on the 1900 Census she was married to Henderson Nelms. They both had Ora Nelms Foster who is my grandmother.

Henderson Nelms had been owned by Eben Nelms and was transferred to DeSoto County from Anson County, NC during enslavement. I need to also figure out who his parents were. This branch of my family were owned by two Nelms brothers. Even though Henderson has the same last name, he was not related to Lucy Nelms Bradford Nelms.

I guess by now you might be confused. It's okay if you are. African American genealogy is very challenging. I have used oral history, historical records, and DNA. This time I had Steve Bailey who went in and found my 3rd great grandmother. He has created more avenues for me to research. It was worth it to travel the distance from Fayetteville, NC to Wadesboro, NC (1 1/2 hrs.)


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