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Hettie Part 2: To publish or not to publish

Updated on August 2, 2012

Hettie' Heritage

Hettie pictured with her eldest son as an adult Edwin James Brown. Later his name was changed to James Brown, Jr.
Hettie pictured with her eldest son as an adult Edwin James Brown. Later his name was changed to James Brown, Jr.
Hettie's great grandfather's headstone
Hettie's great grandfather's headstone
Hettie's updated great grandfather's headstone, behind his is Hettie's maternal grandfather William Lewis Cook's headstone
Hettie's updated great grandfather's headstone, behind his is Hettie's maternal grandfather William Lewis Cook's headstone

Enter the Kelley Family

The Kelley's taken in Hettie and raise her as their own. The father is Abraham Kelley and is wife was Nancy Kelley and their names can be found on Hettie's death certificate from 1940. It is now 1870 and the Kelley's live in Dekalb Township in Kershaw County located in Camden, South Carolina. In the meanwhile, the Cooks (Hettie's biological maternal grandparents) decided to leave as stated before and are living in Wateree Township, which just across the bridge that separates Camden from Lugoff, South Carolina. The irony in the situation is that in 1860 Captain William Lewis Cook's occupation is listed as toll gatherer, he would collect the monies received for those crossing the river and now it serves the purpose of their escape from the shame.

Hettie's mother, however, does not join the family in the move in the across the river escape. She is sent down to Louisiana, to further erase the shameful reality. Believe me when I tell you, the Irish-Scottish can keep a secret. They erased every trace of Hettie's mother on paper. There is literally one census record that places her with her mother, father, and siblings. During the research process, I ran into one of our Cook relatives, one of the great great great grandson's of William Lewis Cook, who filled me in on the Cooks, also Hettie's mother was finally added to the family tree.

Her tree is still barren, because I, nor do any of my other relatives appear on her branch as an extension. She remains on the website without any information, maybe someday that will change, it remains to be seen. Now back to the Cooks's in 1870, the Cooks suffered tragedy when their two youngest children listed as R.K. Cook, a son and M.A. Cook, a daughter, was four months old dies.

I suppose the move was to get a fresh start for the family. Although, they suffered losing two children, te family expanded now the household was made up of: Alice, who is 16 and now the eldest child in the home. Alice became their prized child and she was given all the rights and privileges that were taken from Mary (Hettie's mother) and later her family members join the Daughters of the American Revolution under the social status of Captain William Lewis Cook and his part in the War.

Also in the home was, Charles, 14, Margaret, 13, Dupree, 9, William Lewis Cook, Jr., 7, Epsey, 5, and twins Caleb and Susan are seven months old. The Cooks's are now overseers of the farm and their property is valued at 870 dollars, which is a step down from their last social standing. While they are going through their transitioning into a new place, what they did not count on was the yearning to see the granddaughter, they had given a way.

There was only one thing to do. There was only one way to ease the pain of not only sending away their eldest daughter, but also her baby, their granddaughter. They yearned to have at least of piece of the daughter, but to bring back their daughter presented too much of an issue, so what would they do, maybe they could cling to the last bit of Mary they had left. They could see her without recognizing her birth right and connection to them, at least they could be near her.

As we travel to Dekalb Township, in 1870, it is July 9th, baby Hettie is now five years old. She lives with the Kelley family that includes: Abraham kelly, who is employed on the farm, he is 28 years old. He is married to Nancy, who is 26 and she keeps the house. The Kelley children in their home include: Jane, who is 6 years old, Hettie, who is 5, and a son William, who is one years old. According to the Census Record, Abraham is unable to read or write, but is only able to read.

I remember very vividly my Great Grandma Nancy saying that her Grandma Hettie was raised and knew her biological family. Now, we move to 1880, Hettie is now 15 years old. However, in the Census record, they lie about her age. Despite her Scottish and Irish descendant, she is listed as Mulatto to conceal her true identity further. She is married with a one year old named Edwin James Brown, he is named after her maternal Great Grandfather Edwin Barnes.

So, she is living in Dekalb Township with her husband James, who is 20 years old. He is a farmer in June 18, 1880. Hettie's next door neighbors are the Kelley's. The Kelley's eldest daughter Jane is 15, turning 16, and still resides at the home of the Kelleys. Which makes one wonder why is Hettie aged to 19, married, and has a one year old. Had she been a teen mom like her mother, having been the same age her mother was when she had her? Was the marriage to conceal a birth out of wedlock or to conceal an true identity?

Also, maybe Jane is not turning 16 and she and Hettie are the same age, but in order to make Hettie a viable member of the family Jane was aged a year, because clearly they couldn't have been twins.The reason I am mentioning Jane is because later on, when Jane dies Hettie takes in her two youngest sons and raises them as her own adoptive sons. This attests to the closeness and familiar kindship between Hettie and her adoptive family, the Kelley's. In the Kelley's household there was Abrham, Nancy, their children: Jane, 15, William, 12, Joe, 8, and two other children that are boys ages 5 and 4, due to the names not being legible, they are omitted. Also the last two children are Randolph, 3, and Boston, 11 months.

Across the street from Hettie and her family were some new neighbors, the Cook's, her maternal grandparents. This affirms my great grandmother's account of her growing up and knowing her family. Captain William Lewis Cook and his wife are now in the their 50s. He is listed as a farmer and his wife keeps the home. Also a door down from them, was Hettie's Uncle Charles (the Cook's eldest son) and his wife and daughters. Also a couple doors from them were Hettie's maternal great grandparents Edwin, 76 and Lavinea Barnes, 69.

Edwin works as a farmer and Lavinea keeps the home and they are raising their grandson Fletcher Sparrow and their great-grandson Tally Harris. Both grandson are in school. One wonders how they came to raised by their grandparents? What were the circumstances of their birth that eventually landed them with their grandparents and great grandparents? What separated their situation from Hettie? One word, legatimacy, which means accountability and shame. Despite the legalities, Hettie was their great granddaugther, too.

This ends part 2 coming soon are parts 3 and the final part 4. Tell me what you think?

Songs that tell a story, what is your song?

Mariah's story, what's yours?

What do you think?

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    • brittvan22 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      @Stillwaters, thanks for reading all three. I agree that family history is very intriguing. I find that sometimes some of the themes and dispositions that drove them, then to generationally drive others.

    • stillwaters707 profile image


      6 years ago from Texas

      You're most welcome, brittvann22. i have now read all three parts. Family history really intrigues me: even my own.

    • brittvan22 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks stillwaters, I will definitely look at, also to answer your question on Hettie 1, she was fourteen during conception and 15 when Hettie was born. If you follow the part 3 I have a photo of her grandfather and great grandfather. Thanks for your input, I have saved some of the juicy juicy for the actual book this is more of an overview of some events. To give the family an opportunity to take a glance at grandma hettie. Thanks for your invaluable input, it is much appreciated.

    • stillwaters707 profile image


      6 years ago from Texas

      If you'd like to compile and publish all of these, I'd like to recommend Then, the rest of your family can have a physical copy if they'd like.


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