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Our Lives Beyond Sumner's Bounds

Powell and Comfort Northam

Submitted by Jan J. Barnes

Powell Northam, born about 1806, was the son of George Northam (deceased 1820) and Sarah Powell.  He is listed in his father's will in Richmond County, NC  (Will Book I, page 214), "I give to my son Powell all the property that is left to my wife Sarah after her death or all the property that may be then left belonging to my wife's estate also the whole of the Land I purchased of Hector McKinnon and the Ten acres excepted out of the tract of Land I bought of Samuel Cope also three acres purchased of William Smith the whole to belong to my son Powell or before mentioned at his mothers' death."  There are no deed records to indicate the sale of this land by Powell or his mother Sarah.

It is not known when he met and married his wife Comfort but she appears on the 1850 census as being born in NC.  Powell left Richmond Co., NC in about 1827 as he appears in Simpson County, KY Circuit Court records as being a member of a jury:  "Sheriff to cause to come here twelve good and lawful men. . .Jury:  Edward Callaham, Jno Miller, Geo. T. Scott, David Price, Wm. L. Walton, D. Hail, J. Hudspeth, G. W. Clark, R. G. Young, Jesse Jones, C. H. Courts, & Powel Northam" dated April 11, 1827.  Brothers Eli and William Northam were residing in Simpson Co., KY at this time as well.  Powell is listed on Simpson County Tax Records for the years 1827 and 1828 as a free, white male, 21 years or older with no property listed.  In the 1830 Sumner Co., TN. , page 143 census record, there is a "Peter Northan" shown that perhaps might be our Powell.  Brother Eli was listed a few households away.  This census gives the following information:

1 male under 5
1 male of 20 and under 30
1 female under 5
1 female of 5 and under 1
1 female of 20 and under 30

Powell next appears in the Henry Co., TN.,  1840 census with the following listed:

1 male under 5  
1 male 10 and under 15
 1 male 30 and under 40
2 females under 5
1 female 10 and under 15
1 female 15 and under 20,1
female 30 and under 40.

A land grant for 79 14/100 acres, costing 12 and one-half cents per acre, was recorded in Henry County, TN., on December 11, 1841.  Deed records for Henry Co., TN., show that in 1848 (recorded September 22, 1852,) this 79 acres was sold by Powell Northam to  Wm N. Willis for the sum of five hundred and twenty dollars.

Powell moved his family to Stoddard Co., MO., Pike Township,  and the 1850 census information lists the following:

Pewel Northham, age 44, Male, Farmer, Born in NC.
Comfort Northam, age 43, Female, Born in NC.
Nancy Northam, age 15, Female, Born in TN.
Jane Northam, age 13, Female, Born in TN.
William Northam, age 9, Male, Born in TN.
Comfort Northam, age 7, Female, Born in TN.
Margaret Northam, age 5, Female, Born in TN.
Rachel Northam, age 2, Female, Born in MO

Also in the 1850 Stoddard Co., MO. census, Pike Township, is:
Eli Northam, age 22, born in TN.
Martha Northam, age 20, born in AL.
George Northam, age 1, born in MO.  
This Eli Northam would have been born about 1828/1829, at about the same time that Powell was living in Simpson Co., KY or Sumner Co., TN.

In the 1860 Dyer Co., TN. census, Powell is listed as A Northam age 59, a wagoner, born in NC,  C. Northam is 49, a doctress, born in NC, W. Northam, age 18, Male, a wagoner, born in TN., C Northam, 16, Female, Born in TN., M. Northam, 13, Female, Born in TN., R. Northam, 10, Female, born in MO.  Dyer County, TN. deed records records a Deed of Trust from Powell Northam to B. C. Burgie, Registered August 8, 1860:

"Know all men by these presents that Powell Northam this day bargained and sold and do hereby presents convey unto B C. Burgie the following property to wit - Four mules, ___ of them geldings and one mare ____ all the mules I have, One Horse Wagon, ___ yoke of oxen and one ox wagon in consideration of One Dollar to me in hand paid and and other considerations herein mentioned.  The above sale is made for the following uses and trusts and none other that is to say I am indebted to the said B. C. Burgie in the sum of Sixty Dollars payable the 25th December next and am desirous of making sure the payment thereof and the said B. C. Burgie is my security for my appearance on the Tuesday after the 1st Monday in October next at the Court House in the Town of Dyersburg to answer the State of Tennessee for profane swearing and I am also indebted to Moss & McDaniel in the sum of Ten Dollars on account.  Now should I make my appearance as aforesaid according to the terms of our obligation and also pay off said debts on or before the 25th of December next and the expenses of this Trust then this sale is to be void, but if not then my said Trustee is hereby authorized to sell said property and pay first the expenses of this trust, then the said debts and then pay whatever damage the said Burgie may sustain if any by reason of his going my security and balance to me.  The sale may be either public or private provided the best cash price is obtained.  The property is to remain in my possession until the 25th Decr next provided only I take good care of it etc. and do not undertake to remove it.  I waive the necessity of Burgie giving bond as Trustee or being qualified in any way as such.  Whereas my hand and Seal this 7th August 1860.  Powell Northam (Seal).

State of Tennessee, Dyer County - Personally appeared before me Will M. Watkins Clerk of the County Court of said county Powell Northam the within named bargainor with whom I am personally acquainted and who acknowledged the execution of the foregoing Deed of Trust to be his act and deed for the purposes therein contained.  Witness my hand at Office this 7th day of August A. D. 1860.  Will M. Watkins, Clerk.  Rec'd August 8th 1860 at 2 O'clock P. M."

"Deed of Trust - Powell Northam to Bel C. Burgie - Registered Jany 23rd 1861:  For and in consideration of the sum of One Dollar to me in hand paid by B. C. Burgie and the other considerations hereinafter mentioned I have sold and do hereby sell transfer and convey to said Burgie Two Horse Mules and four mare mules it being the mules I now work in a wagon also one four horse wagon and one ox wagon and one yoke of oxen the only yoke I now own.  But this sale is on this condition whereas I am owing the said Burgie the sum of Sixty Dollars due by note the 25th of next December and whereas I have heretofore made the said Burgie a Deed of Trust on this same property and as I am desirous of securing him in the Sixty Dollar note.  Now if I shall pay off the debts mentioned in said deed of Trust at time therein mentioned and the said Sixty Dollar note at its maturity, then this sale to be void but should I fail to do so then the said Burgie may by giving notice as in execution sales of such property & proceed to sell said property at the Court House in Dyersburg for cash and out of the proceeds pay first the cost of this proceeding then the debts mentioned in the trust mentioned - then the debt in this trust mentioned and the balance to me if any - it is expressly agreed that the said Burgie may execute this trust without making oath or giving bond - Witness my hand and seal this Jan 23rd 1861.  Powel Northam (Seal)

State of Tennessee, Dyer County - Personally appeared before me Will M. Watkins Clerk of the County Court of said County Powel Northam the bargainor above named with whom I am personally acquainted and acknowledged that he executed the foregoing Deed of Trust for the purposes therein contained.  Witness my hand at Office this 23 day of January 1861.  Will M. Watkins Clerk

Rec'd. Jany 23 1861 at 5 O'clock P. M.

Powell does not appear on the 1870 census, but his wife Comfort and daughter Rachel are found in Hickman Co., KY records.  

Comfort Northam age 62 Keeping House born in NC
Rachel age 19 At Home born in MO

Son William Northam appears in the 1870 Stoddard Co., MO census:

Northem, William age 30 Farmer Born in TN
Josephine age 22 Born in TN
Powell age 4 Born in KY
Chas age 2 Born in KY


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