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Re: Looking for Harbard Frith & Mary Fountain kin in VA & MS
Posted by: Robert Ramsey-Lewis (ID *****0157) Date: April 23, 2009 at 10:17:24
In Reply to: Re: Looking for Harbard Frith & Mary Fountain kin in VA & MS by Richard Thrift of 613

Richard: I am taking a long shot here: I seek information on Rebecca Ann Frith, born 1802 and her son, Richard Ellison Bates. She was the daughter of John Edward Frith and Mary F. Castin. Rebecca married William Bates on February 25, 1814 in Liberty, Amite County, Mississippi. William was born Abt. 1785 in the Barnwell District, South Carolina. He was the son of Richard Bates, Sr. and Elizabeth Jane Weathersby. William Bates and Rebecca Ann Frith divorced. Rebecca Ann Frith is my 3rd great-grandmother.

Our privately published Mississippi Pioneers: The Bates Family, 1803-1962, pp. 8 and 9 records, in part, the following:

William was the younger brother of John and the elder of Richard, Jr. He, it will be recalled, became the ward of John upon Their father's death in 1811, and in 1813 this wardship was terminated presumably because William then attained his majority. On February 25 of the following year, William married Rebecca Ann Frith, daughter of John E. and Mary Frith. William and Rebecca had three children of record: Mary, Jane, and Richard Ellison. William and Rebecca separated, probably in the spring of 1823, and subsequently were divorced. The two girls went with their mother, while Richard Ellison stayed with his father, who was made his legal guardian.

At their separation, William and Rebecca left their house, and it was never occupied again. After a time, it came to be known as a haunted house, and no one wanted to go near it.

William became a very successful planter. He owned two plantations along the Amite River. One, located about nine miles north of Liberty, Mississippi on the east side of the West Prong of the Amite, was called the Upper Place. The other, situated just to the south, was known as the Lower Place. William acquired his first tract of land of record on July 9, 1816. It contained 164 acres and was the Southeast quarter of Section 13, Township 3 North, Range 3 East in Amite County. Most of William's property was swamp and cane land when he bought it. It was so filled with wild animals that for their protection his slaves carried guns on their backs when they cleared it. The bottom land was also subject to flooding, and so William had his slaves build levees of from 16 to 20 feet in height to protect it. These levees can still be seen today as one drives along the Zion Hill road as it crosses Bates Bridge, which was named after William. Once cleared and protected from inundation, the lands were fenced and divided into pasture and farm tracts, and the latter were brought under cultivation.

As his wealth increased, William imported many fine horses and dogs from England which were used in fox hunts. Because the fox hunters on his land let the fences down and failed to put them up again, with the result that panthers, wild boars, and other animals came in and killed his cattle, William had his slaves build a fence with posts made of piling around his lands. The piles were set so deep that the labor of 20 slaves was required to install each one.

William Bates died in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, evidently at the beginning of 1845, for his will was filed for probate on January 7 of that year and was recorded on February 10. The will, which was drawn on May 23, 1836 in Amite County, Mississippi, mentions as William's real property the home plantation and the lower plantation and two town lots in Holmesville. His personal property included 62 adult slaves and one child, as well as livestock and furniture and household goods.

Do you have any information on Richard Ellison Bates, son of Rebecca?

Thank you for your help,

Robert E. Ramsey-Lewis
Carmichael, CA

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