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

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dreams Deferred: Hix Souther and Caroline Burgess Souther

Sometime in 1840, Hix Souther (May 7, 1815 – ca 1843) and his wife, Caroline Burgess Souther (1812 - ?) left their home near Old Fort, North Carolina, and migrated to Choestoe in Union County. The lure to move was partially initiated by the fact that Hix Souther already had siblings Joseph, John, Kizziah and Jesse Souther who had migrated to Union County, Georgia earlier. The lure of land and a better way of life enticed this couple to pursue their dreams and move. Little did they know that the move would meet with heartache and change, become a dream deferred.

Hix Souther, born in 1815, was the eighth of eleven known children of Jesse Souther (1774-1858) and Jane Combs Souther (1782-1858) who lived in Wilkes County, NC. Hix married Caroline Burgess in North Carolina, probably in 1837. The young couple had two children before the lure of moving hit them with force. Catherine Saphronia Souther was born in North Carolina in 1838 and Jesse Wilburn Souther was born there on November 11, 1840. When Jesse Wilburn was a baby, the couple moved to Georgia, settling near Hix’s brother John in Choestoe. A third child, son John Jefferson Souther, was born in Union County, Georgia after his parents moved from North Carolina. His birth date has been given as 1841 or 1842.

Hix Souther may have worked on the farm of his brother, John Souther, or at the mill established by another brother, Jesse Souther. A third brother, Joseph Souther who married Sarah Davis also had settled in Union County and owned land and a farm. Hix’s sister, Kizziah Souther Humphries and her husband John Humphries, had also migrated to Union and settled here. Two of Hix’s grown nephews, sons of his brother James Souther, namely James Logan Souther and John “Rink” Souther had also settled in Union County; but these two nephews would soon move west to Colorado, seeking their fortunes there.

But how was the dream of Hix and Caroline Burgess Souther deferred when they seemed to have much going for them—a new place to live, surrounded by kinfolks in a supportive community? Hix became suddenly ill. We know not the nature of his disease or what took his life in 1843 or early 1844. He died, leaving Caroline with three young children. He was buried in a family grave plot, his being the first grave dug “in a pasture on a hill north of John Souther’s house” on Choestoe. Later, some of John’s children were buried in the same family plot: Kizziah Souther (who was named for John’s sister, Kizziah Souther Humphries) who died May 16, 1845; his son, Alfred Hix Souther (1839-June 11, 1849); and Nancy (1844-1864). The markings of filed stones have disappeared from the grave sites. Now we are trying to establish the exact burial site of Hix Souther, husband of Caroline Burgess Souther, and his two nieces and one nephew.

Legal documents show that Joseph Souther and John Souther were appointed administrators of the estate of Hix Souther on September 3, 1844, each giving a bond of $1,000. For reasons unknown, John Souther was made sole administrator of Hix Souther’s will on December 5, 1844. An inventory of the estate was made. It showed that the amount of $500 was still owed on parts of Land Lots 86 and 87, which, we assume by this entry, Hix Souther was buying. The will was probated in court on February 5, 1845, Spencer Burnett, Ordinary. But settlement, as we will see, was not over.

Bereft as a widow, and no doubt facing financial difficulties, Caroline Burgess Souther turned to her (widower) neighbor, Rollin (or Roland?) Wimpey, who himself was left with three small children to rear, namely William D. Wimpey, Daniel Wimpey, and Roland D. Wimpey, Jr. Union County marriage records show that Rollin Wimpey and Caroline Souther(n) [misspelling of her last name in records] were married August 25, 1844, with the Rev. John Prewitt officiating at the ceremony.

Family stories hold that the Southers thought Hix’s widow too quickly married after her husband’s death. Since we have not found an exact date of his death (whether 1843 or early 1844), we don’t know how many months she mourned her husband’s passing before she wed Rollin (or Roland D. Wimpey, Sr.) in August of 1844. The reports passed down are to the effect that “there was a lot of dissatisfaction in the family.”

Roland Wimpey, Sr. (also noted as Rollin) and Caroline Burgess Souther Wimpey moved from Union County to Gilmer County, Georgia. In the 1860 census of Gilmer County, the household of R. A. (the initial had been rendered D. in earlier records)Wimpey was listed, he as age 47 and born in South Carolina, and his wife Caroline, age 42, born in North Carolina. Evidently Caroline’s daughter, Catherine Saphronia was already married to Frank Wells and gone from Roland and Caroline’s household by 1860, for she was not listed as a resident. But Caroline’s sons, Jesse Wilburn Souther (age 21, b. NC) and John Jefferson Souther (age 17, b. GA), as well as Roland’s children, William D. Wimpey, age 15, Daniel Wimpey, age 13, and Roland B. Wimpey, age 12, all three born in Georgia, and younger children Martha J. Wimpey (8), Robert Wimpey (6), and Andrew Wimpey (2) made up this household of ten people.

Court records show that Catherine Saphronia Souther, Hix and Caroline’s daughter, sued her uncle John Souther and received a settlement from her father’s estate of $176.00 on March 30, 1860. In other court action, one Lorenzo Spivey of Gilmer County sued for “his part” of the Hix Souther estate and received $69.62 “in full payment” on May 1, 1861. Who was Lorenzo Spivey? This person was not listed in the Inventory of the Hix Souther estate as one to whom Hix owed money, but must have been one of those noted thusly: “etc.—other sales not listed here,” to whom Hix Souther, at his death, owed money.

A dream deferred? Yes. I can imagine that Hix and Caroline Souther moved to Union County, Georgia with great hopes for their young family. But death visited their home soon, taking the breadwinner, husband and father, Hix Souther. Caroline did what she could to get her life back on track. Now a host of descendants from her and Hix’s three children would like to find the gravesite of one Hix Souther “buried on a hill north of John Souther’s home” and marked with a field stone that has long since been moved or disappeared with time and the elements.

c2011 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Aug. 4, 2011 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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