Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some Early Self Family Settlers in Union

The surname Self has a long history, going back at least to the time of the Vikings, who in their ships made ocean voyages and explored lands they found long before Columbus discovered America in 1492. This group of hardy people, explorers, were called (anglicized) Seawolf. That surname was eventually shortened, probably by pronouncing it as one syllable, to Self. It is spelled variously Self, Selffe, Selph, Selphe. But to link the surname up to those first daring explorers, we need to remember it as Seawolf.

In Union County in 1834 when the first census was taken, we find three families with the surname Self, and one with a much different spelling which I will list, not knowing quite whether to include it with Self settlers. These I found listed as living in Union in 1834:

Job Self’s household had 6 males and 6 females;

Thomas Self, one male and one female;

Francis Self, one male and one female.

These made the Self population in 1834 total 8 males and 8 females. Then I found the unusual spelling Seffle, for a household with Isom as head, and 6 males and 6 females living in that household. I did not find a last name spelled Seffle in subsequent census records for the county, nor an Isom as head of household with a similar last name. This is one of those odd mysteries of old census records.

Since she was my great, great grandmother, I know of another Self, married to Thompson Collins who lived in Union and was recorded in the 1834 census.

I refer to Celia Self Collins who married Thompson Collins in 1810 in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Thompson Collins was born about 1785 in North Carolina and Celia Self was born about 1787 in North Carolina. Much research has been done to try to identify the parents of Thompson Collins and Celia Self. We can be fairly sure that a Nancy (maiden name unknown) Collins was Thompson’s mother and that his father might have been named Thomas.

Celia Self’s father was believed to be Francis Self. Since no age is given for the Francis Self family, residents of Union in 1834, these may have been Celia Self Collins’s parents. The Job Self, with 6 males and 6 females in the family in Union in 1834 is believed to be her brother, as was the Thomas Self, with one male, one female as residents. Maybe Self researchers who read this can give illumination to more specific tracing of the lines of Celia Self Collins, Job, Thomas and Francis Self, all of whom were residents of Union County in 1834.

The 1840 census shows that Job Self and Thomas R. Self were still in Union, and two more households of Self had settled here, Robert B. Self and William Self. The Francis Self listed in 1834 does not appear in the 1840 census. This leads me to wonder if, indeed, they were the elderly parents of my great, great grandmother, Celia Self Collins, and that they had died between 1834 to 1840. No marked gravestones of same are present in county cemeteries to answer this question.

The 1840 population of Self families had a total of 28 persons. The families registered in that census had constituents as follows:

Job self, 5 males, 7 females

Thomas R. Self, 3 males, 4 females

Robert B. Self, 1 male, 2 females

William Self, 4 males, 2 females

Checking the Union County marriage records for this early period of the county’s history, I looked for Self and found the following registrations of marriages of Self surnames by 1840:

Thomas Self married Nancy Cook on July 11, 1833, with John Thomas, Justice of the Inferior Court, performing the ceremony.

Robert Self married Marthy (sic) Cook on January 25, 1838, with Jarrett Turner, Justice of the Peace, performing the ceremony.

Since their marriage occurred in July, 1833, Thomas and Nancy Cook Self did not have children by the time of the 1834 census. But, in looking at the 1840 census for their household, they had two male children and 3 female children, all under 10. Since Robert and Martha’s marriage on 1838, the 1840 census showed they were the parents of one female child before the 1840 census.

Were Nancy Cook and Martha Cook, who married the Self men, sisters? And were Robert and Thomas Self brothers? This writer assumes they were. Maybe our readers can help us with these puzzles about the early Self settlers of Union County.

c2011 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published March 24, 2011 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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