For all that this website is partly named for my grandmother’s paternal family, the Mariners, there’s precious little actually known about them to date. Her father, John Henry Mariner, was named for his father, who died sometime in the 1874-79 period in Alabama. His father has always been a mystery, but as it happens there was a petition filed by the sisters of three brothers, John, Henry, and Charles Mariner, in Gaston County, North Carolina on 2 October 1879 who claimed that their brothers had not been heard from in some thirty years, and they wanted to have them declared dead.Mariner-Estate-Charles-John-Henry
Transcribed, it reads:
The petition of EH Williams respectfully shows to the court. That John, Henry, and Charles Mariner emigrated from Gaston County, North Carolina some thirty years ago, and that more than seven years have elapsed since any one of them has been heard from though diligent inquiry has been made for ?? by your PETITIONER for a number of years.
FIRST THAT NO last will and testament of the said John, Henry, and Charles Mariner or any one of them has ever been offered for probate, nor have any letters TESTAMENTARY or any letters of administration upon the estate of any one of them ever been PROVED in this county.
That the only property belonging to the estates of the said John, Henry, and Charles is a FUND of $200.45 in money, in the HANDS of the Probate Judge of said County which FUND was DEPOSITED in the office of the said Probate Judge by Jon. Armstrong ADMIN of James SMITH AS the distribution SHARES of the said John, Henry and Charles in the ESTATE of his INTESTACY (Sisters: Polly Armstrong, Sally Stowe, Nancy Wagstaff)
The John and Henry make for suggestive, if not entirely solid, evidence that one of them might have been the father of John Henry Mariner, Sr.; it becomes a bit more solid when we look at the censuses for 1830, 1840, 1845, and 1850:
The 1830 census taken in North Carolina lists two women living with Charles; it’s possible that either/both of these could have been his sisters and/or mother. His age is given as between 20 and 29. Of course, Charles Mariner in Mississippi on the 1840 census is also listed as being between 20 and 29, which could mean they’re not the same person, or that people were making stuff up, or…
Regardless, as of 1850, Charles P. Mariner is 47 years old, which would make his birthdate approximately 1803, fitting the North Carolina census (which we are less certain belongs to him) and more like 37 as of the 1840 census. But since the 1840 census clearly lists him as Charles P. Mariner, which is carried over to the 1850 census, I’m prepared to say this is the same man, regardless of a lone tick in the “20-29” column of the census.
Living with Charles as of 1845 are two other males and one female. If we assume that the female is his wife (presumably Mary, although there’s no hard evidence of this), and that one of the males is John Henry Sr., who was seven at the time of the 1850 census, the dates line up. Particularly given that it was common to have either relatives or farm hands living in one’s household (and counted as part of it), the presence of male #3 isn’t particularly surprising.
Listed there as well is Cavilla Mariner, 6 months, and here’s our strongest link to Charles, insofar as DNA suggests that I’m related to a descendant of Cavilla’s, whose parentage is a bit clearer (particularly for having an unusual name). This would, of course, also align with the 1845 census, since she would not yet have been born.
By 1860, there’s no sign of Charles P. Mariner, who has presumably died. Mary, to all appearances, has moved in (and presumably married) E. Hendley, 35. Living with Hendley and Mary A. are Margaret J(ennie) Mariner, age 13, and Harriet S. Mariner, age 11. As Harriet was Cavilla’s middle name and the age fits, this is presumably Cavilla.
Margaret was apparently her sister, although we don’t know where she was in 1850 (again, not particularly unusual). But where’s John Henry Sr.?
Well, the 1860 census for another part of Choctaw County lists him as a “farm laborer” at the home of F. B. McLelland, 38, and his wife, Elizabeth, both originally from South Carolina.
By 1870, Mary A., Jennie, Francis and Elizabeth are all living under the same room, and Jennie now goes by the name “Margaret J. M. McClelland.”
So there’s clearly a relationship of some sort between the McClellands and the Mariners, at least on Mary’s side (is Francis her brother?), which tells us that the farm hand listed in the 1860 census is almost certainly John Henry Sr., son of Charles P. Mariner.
A Jno Marner is listed in the Galveston County Tax Rolls in 1874; since John Henry Jr. was born in 1875 in Henderson County, it’s possible that this is John Henry Sr.
As I wrote in this post, Zack and Annie Bizzell kept pretty good bible records of John and Nancy (/Mary) Mariner, and they raised John Henry Jr. from around the age of three, so that’s kind of where we split off from the Mariners. Since my sister lives not far from Lincoln/Gaston County, North Carolina, she may be able to dig up more information on Charles P. at some point. Until then, ponder this:
A descendant of Cavilla Mariner on Ancestry posted this picture of her and her husband, Samuel Reed (no relation to our Reeds, as far as I know):
Entirely coincidentally, I came across this tintype awhile back while sorting through family photos:
There’s a resemblance, no? I have no idea who the people are in the tintype, I can’t help but wonder if this is Cavilla, Samuel, and their eldest three children (which would date the picture c.1885, give or take), or possibly Mary and John Henry (which seems unlikely, given the age difference between the two younger children). And I also can’t help wonder how – if it is them – it came to be in our pictures. FYI, this is a picture of young John Henry Jr., for comparison’s sake with the woman (who, if Cavilla, would have been his aunt):
It’s a mystery.
- Bernice Eppy MARINER (1909-2003)
- John Henry MARINER (1875-1965)
- John Henry Mariner (1844-Aft. 1874)
- Charles P. Mariner (1803-Aft. 1850)