Remember how we’ve discussed the saga of Clara Mabry’s daughter, Irvinia, and the explosive 1856 legal case involving both she and Timothy Spates (Irvinia’s husband)?
What ever happened to Irvinia and Timothy after this legal victory? Irvinia’s fate, for the most part, has been elusive in the records of Greensville. Following the family ties via Timothy Spates; however, has provided more insight.
Ten years after the runaway incident of 1856, Timothy Spates was a merchant in Greensville. He appeared before the court to request a liquor license…During that session, Spates and another party, William H. Morris, were to be summoned before the grand jury during the next court term. Questions abound about the reasons.
In February 1866, Timothy Spates and his mother-in-law, Clara Mabry, received some type of levies against them, the ‘presentments’ were ordered to be certified and sent over to The Freedmen’s Bureau. As discussed here in the previous blog post, Clara Mabry and The Freedmen’s Bureau, this had everything to do with the liquor licenses being denied both to Clara, and as we have seen with this blog post, Timothy Spates.
Ordered that the presentments made this day against Clara Mabry and Timothy Spates Freedmen be certified to The Freedmen’s Court of this County to be disposed of.
Later, in late May 1866, Timothy Spates and his business partner, Andrew Carrington, were subject to a previous deed of trust and had to effectively sell their business in Hicksford, Greensville County, Virginia to one J.C. Sprigg because of debts. Apparently, the business partnership that Andrew Carrington dually operated with D.W. Cain also fell under this hammer that allowed the businesses to continue to operate, so long as payments were rendered on time.
Eleven years after the runaway attempt, Timothy Spates and his three children; George Washington, Clara Ann, and William Henry, received a land deed from local Greensville businessman and later clerk of court, William H. Judkins and his wife. (In 1869, Judkins also sold land to Clara Mabry.)
Ironically, or not, the old familiar face of John W. Potts resurfaced as trustee of this deed between Judkins and the Spateses. Potts or “Captain Potts”, as he was named in the news articles surrounding the runaway attempt, cuts an odd figure of alliance as he was the ‘owner’ of Irvinia during the time.
The question begs, where was Irvinia, Timothy’s wife, with all of these turn of events?
The answer was delivered in the form of an 1867 marriage record, between a widowed Timothy Spates and his young bride, Cornelia Cooper.
Irvinia was gone…
Let’s recall that earlier in 1867, that January, Timothy and his three children received the land deed from William H. Judkins. From this we can surmise that Irvinia was the birth mother of George, Clara, and William.
From a practical standpoint, Timothy needed a mother for his children. His marriage later that year, in June, to Cornelia made no delay in that.
Thanks to the records of The Freedmen’s Bureau, we know a bit about what Timothy was doing in the early part of 1868. A certain man by the name of Henry Robinson brought a labor complaint to the Bureau for working for but not being paid by Timothy Spates:
We learn that Timothy Spates was living in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1868. A letter to the Bureau dated February 8, 1868, documented that Timothy Spates was “authorized to employ all the labor…”.
Well, a few months later in May of 1868, the Bureau said that they had spoken with our Timothy Spates and he basically told them that he’d never heard of Henry Robinson. More facts are revealed by this letter; we learn that Timothy Spates was working as a foreman at the company, Robinson + Hunter.
Let’s venture to the year 1870 via the U.S. Census of that year. Will we find Timothy Spates?
According to the 1870 U.S. Census, the Spates household in Montross, Westmoreland County, Virginia included Timothy Spates and his wife, Cornelia. The children listed in the January 1867 deed from William H. Judkins and his wife, George and Clara (Clarie), were also in the 1870 household, per the census record. Additionally, two children named Lucinda and Laura were enumerated in the 1870 Spates household.
Here’s what I’ve been fortunate enough to learn about Timothy Spates’ children with his wives, Irvinia and Cornelia, respectively:
George Washington Spates (b.1858) was single and living with his sister, Clara Ann, and her husband (Edward Tate), and children (James, Willie, and Lucy), in the 1910 U.S. Census. George was working as a steamboat operator and he owned his own boat, according to the census record. In the 1900 U.S. Census, George was the head of a household that included two brothers, Joseph (b.1876) and Arthur (b.1879).
Clara Ann Spates (1863–1944) married Edward Tate (b.1859) in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1880. Clara and Edward had at least three children: James H. Tate (b.1883), Willie E. Tate (1891), and Lucy Jane Tate (1894-1976).
William H. Spates (1864-1921) married Rhoda Alice (Rhodie) Mills in 1897, in Greensville County, Virginia. William and Rhodie had at least three children: Mamie D. Spates (b.1899), Floyd William Spates (b.1901), Howard G. Spates (1904-1990).
Lucinda Spates (b.1862) married Thomas Carter Roane (b.1865) in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1889.
Laura Jane Spates (1867-1950) married Walter E. Tate, Sr. in 1888. They had at least seven children: May E. Tate Tolson (1889-1971), Victor Tate (1893-1946), Walter E. Tate, Jr (b.1895), Andrew H. Tate (b.1899), Charles Tate (1904-1924), Willie Tate (b.1905), Allie Tate (b.1909), Alexander R. Tate (b.1913).
Joseph Spates (b.1876) appeared in the 1900 U.S. Census with brothers George, Arthur and other extended family members.
Annie Cornelia Spates (1878-1965) married William H. Thompson, Sr. in 1894. They had at least three children: Lucy Thompson Smith (b.1901), Clara Ann Thompson Mahoney (1905-1979), and William H. Thompson, Jr. (1905-1979).
Arthur Spates (b.1876) appeared in the 1900 U.S. Census with brothers George, Joseph and other extended family members.
What about the Spates progeny?
As I was researching my Joyner family in Emporia, Virginia, the Google search results directed me to the website of R.E. Pearson and Son Funeral Home. This mortuary is no doubt an important community touchstone for a number of reasons and I have found that in viewing their website, the obituaries are often replete with virtual genealogical treasures. What a labor of love by the families who share their history in the final narratives of their departed loved ones.
I discovered one such treasure of information via the recent obituary of Mr. Alvin B. Spates (September 10, 1967 – December 23, 2021). 🕊
Alvin Spates’ parents were listed: Lewis B. Spates and Mabel H. Spates.
The family graciously shared the names of Alvin’s grandparents: “Hubert and Lula Hickman, Howard and
Otelia Spates all of whom were from Emporia, VA.”
As soon as I saw Alvin Spates’ name, I had a feeling that he was connected to our Timothy Spates. With poignant resolve, I decided to check Ancestry. Sure enough, the records spoke.
In fact, the October 22, 1990 Virginia death certificate of Howard G. Spates (1904-1990), paternal grandfather of Alvin B. Spates, revealed that he was the son of William H. Spates and Rhodie Mills.
William H. Spates was the son of our own Timothy Spates and his first wife, Irvinia Mabry…
An amazing discovery, tempered by the reality that this connection was because of the loss of Alvin B. Spates. May his soul rest in peace and may his family be comforted in knowing that his loss is Heaven’s gain.
What a journey it’s been! From 1856 to the twenty-first century and beyond, the state of the family Spates is proof positive that we need to find our people, learn their stories, and be ever proud of an enduring legacy.
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