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Otis Edgerton, parentage unknown.



New York State.


August 1830; Barnwell Co., SC.



December 16, 1824; South Carolina.


Elizabeth Henrietta Wolfe, daughter of Jacob and Ann (Pou) Wolfe.



February 12, 1803; South Carolina.


June 1880; Barnwell Co., SC.



  1. Henrietta Elizabeth, b. 1825; South Carolina.
  2. Edwin Tracy, b. April 5, 1827; South Carolina.
  3. Otis E.


The parentage of Otis Edgerton is not known.  According to later census enumerations reported by his son, Edwin Tracy Edgerton, Otis was born in the state of New York, probably circa 1795 – 1800.  To date, this is the only evidence of Otis’ heritage. 


The research presented here pertaining to the the family and descendents of Otis Edgerton has been provided by Thomas Edgerton Van Ness of Hoover, Alabama, who is descended through Otis’ son, Edwin Tracy Edgerton.  Anyone interested in this branch of the Edgerton family is invited to contact him.


Otis Edgerton was married on December 16, 1824 (probably in South Carolina) to Elizabeth Henrietta Wolfe, daughter of Jacob and Ann (Pou) Wolfe.  Elizabeth was born February 12, 1803, probably at or about Orangeburg District, South Carolina.  Later court records cited below show that Otis and Elizabeth had three children:  one daughter, Henrietta Elizabeth; and two sons, Edwin Tracy and Otis E.  Henrietta was married to Wheeling G. Smith and died at Barnwell County, South Carolina on April 1, 1849 (as reported in the Southern Christian Advocate).  Edwin Tracy was married to Ann Trotti Sweat and later removed to Bienville Parish, Louisiana; he had a large family of ten children.


Crucial information on the family of Otis and Elizabeth (Wolfe) Edgerton is found in the Chancery Court files (South Carolina Equity Report Book, “Dudley b”, pp. 179-183 and “2 Hill” pp. 51-53, from Kolman Karesh Law Library at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC; Chancery Court Case of Otis Egerton & Wife vs Jacob Wolfe and Benjamin Bruton, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Box 2, Group 3, Frames 43).  The following transcript of the original petition has been provided by Thomas Edgerton Van Ness:


Otis Egerton & Wife vs. Jacob Wolfe admin. & Benj. Bruton, Exor


Filed 25th Nov, 1826


The State of South Carolina

Barnwell District

In Chancery


To the Honorable Waddy Thompson and H. W. De Sanpere Chancellors of said State Humbly complaining your Orator Otis Egerton & Elizabeth his wife, late Elizabeth Wolfe Shew to your Honors that Jacob Wolfe the father of your Oratrix departed this live in testate some time about the year of our Lord one Thousand Eight Hundred and possessed of a very considerable estate real & personal , & leaving Nine Children besides your Oratrix among & between whom the ????? was distributable as his next of Kin. That on the death of the said intestate his two sons John and Jacob Wolfe took administration on his personal estate & this possessed themselves of the same. That your Oratrix was then of very Tender years & is unable to form any opinion as the manner in which the administration was conducted. But it appears by the records of the Court of Ordinary for Orangeburg District that sometime in the year of our Lord one Thousand Eight Hundred & Sixteen, application from some quarter was made to the said ordinary for authority to divide the personal Estate of the said intestate among the ten distributees, his children, & the ordinary accordingly granted release, & appointed William Pou, J. J. Beattie, Wm Causion, and John Jennings, commissioners to divide the said estate. That as your Oratrix is informed and believes that when the aforesaid application was made for partition, Jacob Wolfe one of the administrators was appointed her guardian by the said Court of Ordinary, & John Wolfe the other administrator was the Security on a guardianship bond taken by the ordinary that in pursuance of the power and authority given by the ordinary the commissioners above named, did on the Eleventh day of June Anno Domini 1816 did divide all the Negroes belonging to the estate of said intestate between all his children and in that division the following Negroes were allotted to your Oratrix, to wit, Frank, February, Jim, Miley & old Sasy, amounting in value by the appraisement to One thousand Nine Hundred and fifty Dollars, and Andrew Wolfe was to pay your oratrix Seventy Dollars to equalize said division, all of which will appear by the records of the Ordinary's office in Orangeburg.


Your Orator & Oratrix further shew that in the Partition aforesaid, her brother John Wolfe, one of the administrators did or had assigned to him among others, a negro man named Peter and that shortly afterward, without any leave or authority whatever, Jacob Wolfe the guardian of your Oratrix, swapped or exchanged negro Frank belonging to your oratrix with the said John Wolfe the other administrator for Peter a negro which had been allotted to him as aforesaid. That the said negro Peter lived but a short time & died, while the said Frank is still alive & a valuable fellow in the possession of the Executor of said John Wolfe hereinafter mentioned. Your orator & oratrix further shew, that all the rest of the distributees of the intestate being then of full age, or who have arrived at full age since have long acquiesced & confirmed the said partition, nor it is the object or desire of your orator & oratrix now to disturb it. But while they are willing to abide by it,


They insist that they are entitled to all the benefits secured to them thereby - That the exchange of negroes was without authority & Therefore void - that the said John Wolfe himself being an administrator could not contract with his co-administrator for a part of the estate of the intestate, but has always held that said negro Frank as trustee for your oratrix and that his Executor is now bound to deliver the said negro & account for his services.


Your Orator & oratrix futher shew that the said Jacob Wolfe & John Wolfe have never accounted with them for their administration, al tho as they are informed & believe, the had received large sums of money & land the same in their hads for your oratrix, at the time of the division before alluded to - nor have they as administrators or the said Jacob Wolfe as her guardian, ever in any way accounted for the labor, hire & service of the negroes alloted to her in the division above mentioned. An your orator submits that the appointment of said Jacob as guardian ??? ????? (does not?) release the said John form his liability as administrator.


Your orator & oratrix further shew that, John Wolfe his departed this live, leaving of force ?? ??? ???? of his deathe a last will


BUT NOW SO IT IS may it please your Honors that the said Jacob Wolfe and Benjamin Bruton combining together how (now?) to defeat the just ????? (requests?) or your orator & oratrix in the premises, have both wholly refused to comply with their reasonable requests above mentioned - all of which actings and doings of the said defendants are contrary to Equity and good conseiance & Lend to the manifest ?????? said oppression of your orator & oratrix. In Tender consideration whereof & for ?????? ???? your orator & oratrix an remid????ss in the premises by the strict rules of Common Law & releivable only in this Honorable Court where matters of this sort are peculiarly Cognizable - To the End Therefore that the said defendants my true and perfect answers make to all and lay all the matters and things gefore stated as fully and as particularly as if they were here again requested? & they thereunto specially interrogated - and more particularly that the said defendants may set forth the value & services or hire received for the negroes allotted to your oratrix on the aforesaid division - and that they may come to a full account of the administration of the intestates estate & may your oratrix have proportion thereof and account for the hire of the negroes alloted to her and that the said Benjamin Bruton may be compelled ot deliver up the said negro - Frank and account for his services as from the estate of said John Wolfe


May it please your Honors to grant to your orator & oratrix a writ of Subpoena directed to the said defendants Jacob Wolfe and Benjamin Bruton commanding them to appear before the Court of Chancery at a time therein specified & to answer all the matters herein before alleged aggainst them - and that your Honors would grant to your Orator & Oratrix such other & further relief as to your Honors shall see consistent with equity & substantial Justice.


Your Orator and Oratrix will ever pray

Martin & Hay


In a later case in the year 1832, James W. Maxwell, uncle to Elizabeth’s children, “Henrietta E. Edgerton, E. T. Edgerton and O. E. Edgerton” sued Elizabeth and her second husband George Muse over the children’s share of Otis Edgerton’s share of that same inheritance.


According to the previously cited South Carolina Equity Report Book, Otis Edgerton died in August 1830, probably very near or about Barnwell County, South Carolina.  His widow, “Elizabeth H. Edgerton” was recorded as a head of household in the 1830 Federal Census of Barnwell District, Barnwell County, South Carolina (pg. ), with the following enumeration:


2 males “under 5”  (sons Edwin and Otis);

1 female “20 – 30”  (Elizabeth);

1 female “15 – 20”  (?); and,

1 female “under 5”  (daughter Henrietta).


Mrs. Elizabeth Edgerton was remarried on May 5, 1831 at Barnwell County, South Carolina to George Washington Muse.  Elizabeth had two sons with her second husband – Thomas Harrison Muse and George Washington Muse Jr.


The household of “G. W. Muse” was recorded in the 1850 Federal Census of Barnwell District, Barnwell County, South Carolina (pg. 468; dwelling #2320; enum. November 7, 1850), as follows:


G. W. Muse


b. SC

$3,000 real estate



b. SC




b. SC




b. SC


E. T. Edgerton


b. SC


H. Smith


b. SC


B. W. Crowell


b. SC



Mrs. Elizabeth (Wolfe) Edgerton Muse was recorded in the 1880 Federal Census of Fish Pond Township, Barnwell County, South Carolina (pg. 220; dwelling #216; family #219; enum. June 16, 1880), in the household of her son, “Geo. W. Muse”.  She was enumerated as,  “Elizabeth [Muse], mother, aged 77, dead, b. SC (both parents b. SC)”.   Since this enumeration supposedly consists of “The Names of each Person whose place of abode, on 1st day of June, 1880, was in this family”,  it is inferred that Elizabeth must have died between June 1st and June 16th, when the actual enumeration took place.