Henry Hyde of Tuscumbia, Alabama 1788-1860

Henry Hyde was one of the earliest settlers in Tuscumbia, Alabama, appearing on censuses there between 1840-60. Below is a description of the research that convinces us that Henry Hyde descends from William Hyde of Norwich, CT.

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1830 census – Franklin County, Alabama – William Hide: one male 30-39, one female 20-29, three slaves. Relationship to Henry, is unproven, but indications are that he may be a younger brother. Henry would have appeared in the 1820 and 1830 censuses in Tuscumbia, but his part of Franklin (later Colbert) experienced records loss. It’s possible that Henry left a will which was destroyed in the courthouse fire.

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1840 census – Franklin County, Alabama. one male 10-14 (James Henry). one male 15-19 (son William, who married Martha A. Miller and appears in Russellville in 1860, whose daughter Annie Messenger Hyde is buried near Henry and Celia in the Tompkins-Hyde cemetery. The farm in Russellville appears to be in the same area where Henry’s brother William lived prior to his move to Texas). One male 20-29 (Lewis). One male 60-69 (Henry). One female 50-59 (Celia). The writeup concerning dates in the Tompkins-Hyde Cemetery asserts Henry born 1778 and Celia born 1788 but their age gap was only about 3-6 years, not 10. Her headstone gives her death date as 1847 but I’m unable to read her inscribed age on the photo, and her having been mistaken for Rebecca Warren may be part of the issue. Slaves: four males under 10. two males 10-23. three males 24-35. three males 36-54. one female under 10. two females 36-54. A total in all of 20 people.

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A Samuel Hyde appears in 1840 census in Russellville, Franklin County, by himself, male age 20-29, no further information.

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1850 census – Franklin County, Alabama, District 5. Henry Hyde age 70, born New York, farmer, next to daughter Harriet (age 35, born North Carolina around 1815 (1810 on headstone) and son-in-law William Tompkins and their children (all children born Tuscumbia). Also living next to son Lewis, born North Carolina. Henry had 12 slaves, female age 55, female age 17. Males age 11, 14, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 44, 48, and 50. Alabama state census for 1850 shows same information in slightly different format.

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1860 census – Tuscumbia, Franklin County, Alabama. Henry Hyde, age 80, born New Jersey, living in the household of son-in-law William Tompkins and daughter Harriet. William Tompkins had 20 slaves who may have adopted surname Tompkins, Hyde or another surname by 1865. Eastern subdivision, Russellville, Franklin County. William Hyde age 35, Martha A (Miller, per death cert.) age 21, Kate age 5, Thomas H age 1. Nine slaves, males ages 1, 2, 5 and 60. Females ages 1, 4, 20, and two who were 23. Eastern subdivision, Russellville, Lewis Hide age 42 born North Carolina (est. year 1818), Nancy (Phillips, per death cert. of son Thomas) age 42 born TN, children Robert H age 12, Mary A age 11, John F age 9, Isaac N age 8, Eliza age 6, Thomas age 3, infant age 3 months. John Norwood age 19. Four slaves, males 8, 23, 28 and 1 female age 24.

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January, 1819 – Henry Hyde‘s name appears on a list of unclaimed letters in the Huntsville, Alabama post office. Huntsville was founded in 1805 and became an incorporated town in 1811, one of the first in the state. Territorial Papers of the US, Vol 18, pg 519, Family #4.

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The book “Two Hundred Years at Muscle Shoals: Being an Authentic History of Colbert County 1700-1900” by Nina Leftwich publ 1935 mentions that Henry was paying taxes at Tuscumbia by 1821, as that part of Franklin County became Colbert after the Civil War. Franklin County was created in 1818 from Native American land and Henry and a handful of other men are mentioned as being the earliest settlers in what became Tuscumbia. We know that Henry was born in NJ or NY then moved at some point to NC where at least two of his children, Harriet and Lewis, were born. So sometime between 1819-1820 he moved from somewhere in NC to AL. He was around 31-32 years old, so we should find him in the 1810 census in NC and possibly earlier (but not the 1820, as he had already left for AL).

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There were only two Henry Hide/Hydes living in NC in this time period who owned slaves. One is the Henry Hyde of Northampton County who married Rebecca Warren and moved to Nashville, Davidson County, TN, where he died. The other is Henry of Tuscumbia. We find this Henry first in the land grant files of Onslow County, NC, receiving 50 acres, grant #1049 issued 4 Dec 1813 on the “Knigston Rd”, a probable mistranscription of Kingston Rd. 2nd land grant, #1103 for 50 acres, issued 30 Mar 1816, East Side of NW Branch of New River. Military record: War of 1812 Muster Rolls of Soldiers, Detached Militia, 3rd Regiment, Onslow County NC, Henry Hyde.

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He appears in the 1810 census for Onslow County, NC on page 12 as “Harry Hyde“: one male under 10 (born between 1800-1810, unknown as he is too old to be Lewis, likely a child of the other couple Henry and Celia are living with), one male 16-25 (unknown, possibly Henry’s brother William, born between 1785 – 1794), one male 26-44 (Henry), one female under 10 (Harriet) , two females 16-25 (Celia, no older than 25, and another female, possibly the wife of the other male). Three slaves, no further information given. Two household members under 16 (unknown boy and Harriet both under 10), One household member over 25 (Henry), total 9 persons. From the given ages, this appears to be Henry and Celia living with a slightly younger couple, likely Henry’s brother William. This could be the same William who appears in the 1830 census in Franklin. I’m identifying the female child as Harriet based on the date provided on Harriet Tompkins headstone in the Tompkins – Hyde cemetery. This would make Harriet the eldest, and possibly the only, daughter. The local history center in Colbert County might have information that is not online that would help cover the deficits from the courthouse fire. I find a very confusing reference to William Tompkins’ probate papers in Colbert County, filed 1 Feb 1881, suggesting that widow Harriet is “of the age of 21”, possibly they mean over the age of 21 or possibly her age is meant to be over 71. This appears to be a copy of an earlier record, as Tompkins death and estate settlement occurred prior to 1881.

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I can find no reference to a daughter “Caldona” or “Caldonia”, it’s not clear if this is a records loss issue or not. What is clear is that Catharine Hyde married Richard Beasley on 16 Jan 1838 in Sumter County, Alabama, approximately 150 miles away from Tuscumbia. There was an unrelated Hide/Hyde family in Sumter during this time period so it’s likely that Catherine was part of that family.

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In the 1810 census for Onslow County, NC, a Luther Hyde appears on page 11, one page before Henry, so might be a potential father. The Onslow County Deed Books are online as part of North Carolina’s excellent digital collections (always search under “Hide” and “Hyde”) here: https://digital.ncdcr.gov/digital/collection/p249901coll37/id/31713 – One thing that might make it easier to cross-reference is by doing a search here: https://archive.org/details/abstractsofrecor02gwyn/page/1150/mode/2up?q=hyde

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Three Hydes are mentioned in Onslow County Deeds, Luther, Henry, and William. The deeds themselves don’t tie William into this family but possibly other Onslow County records might. The deeds confirm that Luther Hyde was Henry’s father and that they both were blacksmiths. They also show that Luther died in early 1819 and we see Henry selling off his land and at least one slave, before all Hydes – including William – disappeared completely from Onslow County records after Feb of 1819, which is consistent with Henry‘s and William‘s appearance several months later in Alabama.

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As previously mentioned Luther Hyde appears in the 1810 census for Onslow County NC near son Henry. Luther is listed as having two males 10-15, one male 45 and over (Luther), one female 16-25, one female 45 and over (Luther’s wife), one slave, no age given, total for household 6 people.

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Luther Hide appears in the 1800 census in Onslow County, NC on page 47 of 50. It’s difficult to read, but appears to show two males under 10, two males 10-16 (Henry and William), one male 45 and over (Luther), one female under 10, one female 10-16, one female 45 and over (Luther’s wife). Slave information is not available online for this census.

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There are no records in Onslow County for this family prior to 1790. Looking in the extended area, we find Luther in 1790 New Bern District, Craven County, NC census, one male over 16 (Luther), one male under 16 (Henry), four females, one of whom is Luther’s wife. One slave, no age or sex given. There were no other Hyde or Hide families in Onslow County, NC in the time period 1790 – 1820.

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In “John Hopkins of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1634 and Some of His Descendants” by Timothy Hopkins, page 36, https://archive.org/details/johnhopkinsofcam00hopk/page/36/mode/2up?q=richards we see that Luther Hyde’s wife was named Achsah (alt sp in town records Axhsah, Asshsah) Richards, and from there, CT vital records can trace most all of her ancestors to their points of origin in America. Achsah was born 22 Jan 1756, and married Luther Hyde between 1774-1784 in CT, VT or NY. It’s not yet known where they married but as both of Achsah’s parents were deceased by 1773, she would most likely have gone to live with one of her siblings. She died in 1813 at “New Town, North Carolina”. Remember that initially, many places were named “New Town” before receiving a more permanent moniker. She did not die in Newton, Catawba County, NC but in New Town, Onslow County, NC. This area was named Swansborough after a semi-local politician in 1783, but it took some time for the new name to fall into common usage.

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Finding Achsah helps us to find Luther. The name “Luther Hyde” is surprisingly uncommon in the late 18th century and can only be found in one Hyde family. Several members of this family moved to Vermont and a few moved to NY. Recall that in the Alabama census of 1850, Henry lists his place of birth as New York, then in 1860, his place of birth is listed as New Jersey. There can be many reasons for inconsistencies in census records, it’s possible that Henry spent his childhood in both places, possibly near some of his Collins cousins. A marriage record may turn up eventually and clarify where Luther and Achsah met and married.

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Our writeup of William Hyde of Norwich contains links to Walworth’s Hyde Genealogy book, where we find, in Vol 1 page 78, that Luther was born 25 September 1751, the eldest son of Joshua Hyde and Rhoda Collins, both descendants of William Hyde of Norwich. Walworth lost track of Joshua’s sons Luther and Joshua Jr. We know that Luther trained as a blacksmith and lived for a time in NY before heading south to New Bern.

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There are currently four descendants of William Hyde of Norwich in the Hyde DNA Project.

Page updated for typos and language December 8, 2021 – Dan Hyde.

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