William Hyde of Autauga, AL (approx 1795-1835) and Charlotte Parker (approx 1803-1885)

The extended family of William Hyde is unknown. The marriage record between William and Charlotte Parker that appears in most family trees is actually that of another couple, William B Hood and Charlotte Parker of Wake County, NC who migrated to TN. William Hood left a will in Carroll County, TN probated in 1842.  It seems that so little is known of William of Autauga AL that most of what I’m about to do is talk about the families with whom William Hyde is not related. But, hopefully, also show you how you can get the information to connect him with the right family.

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There are many online trees that assert that William Hide was the illegitimate son of the Benjamin Hyde who married Elizabeth Leatherwood. This is unlikely.

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Benjamin’s son William died in 1895 in TN, there were no other Williams born circa 1795 in Benjamin’s household or the households of his half-sisters, Margaret, wife of Elijah Johnson, Rachel, wife of Solomon Messer, or Annie, wife of James Hughs/Hughes. (Benjamin Hide/Hyde is often referred to as “Benjamin Wesley Hyde”, after his grandson, but as far as I know, there’s nothing to prove that was his middle name. There’s also nothing to prove that Elizabeth “Betsy” Leatherwood had the middle name of Rebecca. If you have proof of either of these things, please let me know, so I can chill out about it.) Wrong initials make things unnecessarily difficult. William of Autauga is listed in many online trees as “William A Hyde”, with no documentation showing that this is correct. A different William A. Hyde purchased several parcels of land in Alabama. If you’re checking land records for William of Autauga, the name “William Hyde” should be entered with no middle initial, otherwise you’ll get the wrong person.

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The assertion that William was Benjamin’s illegitimate son is probably based on a misreading of NC Bastardy Bonds for Rowan County, 30 July 1796, where a (different) Benjamin Hide was the bondsman for Margaret Hughes, whom he later married, never leaving Rowan County. In both of these cases, the geography doesn’t quite work. William of Autauga met Charlotte Parker in Edgecombe County, NC. Edgecombe was created from Bertie County. The Benjamin of the Hyde-Leatherwood family had a father named John Hyde. He moved his family from Lancaster County, PA to the Burke/Lincoln County NC area, where they were around 1779. They then moved to Haywood County. Here’s a map of NC County evolution https://homepages.rootsweb.com/~george/countyformations/northcarolinaformationmaps.html

As long as I’m on the subject of the Hyde-Leatherwood family, Benjamin’s father John did not come from England. Attempts to link him to John Hyde, Clerk of Denton Chapel in Cheshire, England, and his wife Lucy Bosstock are almost pearl-clutch inducing. We know all of John and Lucy’s children and grandchildren and there’s no connection there. John Hyde married Catherine (Rouse) Sharp in Lancaster County, PA. We know this because Catherine (Hyde) Johnson, daughter of John Hyde Jr and Elizabeth Shuch/Shook, wrote an account of her family in 1879 after reading a newspaper article about the great Hyde fortune in England (a scam, see our first newsletter). She mentioned England because she wanted her family to have a stake in that if possible, and who could blame her?

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Brothers Hartwell and Henry Hyde (of the Richard the Pirate line) were in the Edgecombe/Halifax area. That line is fairly extensively documented and although William doesn’t appear to be part of the documentation at the present time, from a geographical standpoint, they were in the right area. And one or two of the families that William and Charlotte lived near in Sumter County AL were also from the Bertie/Northampton County area. But the thing is, we need more than just geography. Many Hide/Hyde families passed through the Edgecombe area.

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On at least one census, William and Charlotte’s eldest son was born in Alabama and there’s an assertion somewhere that his birthplace was specifically Montgomery. Autauga was eventually created from Montgomery and was just barely beginning to be settled by 1818. There was only one Hyde family anywhere near Montgomery at that time, and it was William’s. The land office that William went to was at Tuskaloosa and he was the only Hyde to obtain land from that office. The family probably spent time in bustling “Alabama Town” which eventually became the present-day city of Montgomery.

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Debra, and others with relatives who went to Alabama, here’s what I would do:

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1. Go here: https://glorecords.blm.gov/search/default.aspx#searchTabIndex=0&searchByTypeIndex=0

2. Type in Hyde and go to page 2 (or type in the County, Sumter and the last name Hyde).

3. There are four properties under William Hyde in Sumter County listed. These give you all the information you need to request the patent application files from the AL State Archives. Remember to ask for any genealogical contents inside those four files specifically – you’re not interested in copies of deeds because those are right there on the website.   

4. You can call them and find out if it’s possible for them to pull the files and make copies of any paperwork that might have genealogical information on it for you. Sometimes there’s nothing there, sometimes there’s a lot. What we’re looking for is any information that might tie William to any other members of his extended Hyde family. If I can get one or two relatives, we can figure it out. 

5. These records only show land purchased directly from the government. William’s family probably sold at least some of the land after his death, as Charlotte returned to Edgecombe with most of her children. Sales between individuals can be found in a number of different places. If you have a friendly archivist on the phone, you can ask them about land records and whether or not they’re online. History centers in Autauga and Sumter will also have this information, plus some records not online. FamilySearch has some, but possibly not all, of this information online. The county courthouses at Autauga and Sumter may also have records that are not available online.  

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What we know for sure is that Charlotte Parker’s parents were Jonas Parker and Zilphea/Zilphia Wells, and that Charlotte (bc 1803 – 1885) was mentioned in her father’s will. She appears in all the censuses, tax rolls and other documentation for Deep Creek, Tarboro PO, Edgecombe County between 1840-1885. She and William might have had more than four children as there’s a ten year age gap between the middle two, and some marriages in “Sumpter” County most likely belong to this family. One is William Hyde to Mariah Beazley, another is Catherine Hyde to Richard Beazley.   

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Charlotte lived to at least age eighty and suffered from dementia in her later years. On 11 April, 1885, her surviving grandchildren petitioned the county to be able to sell some of her land to pay off her debts. What these documents provide is a snapshot of all her surviving grandchildren at that point in time. John W Hyde Jr, the son of Charlotte’s eldest son, had been her guardian, but did not appear in court to renew his guardianship in 1881. He was replaced by a court appointed guardian, a Mr Fauntain. James T Hyde, who went by his middle name Thomas, was Charlotte’s youngest son. He appears to have been the only one of her children still living at that time. He was married to Martha Pittman and is mentioned in the inventories. Henry Parker, possibly a brother or nephew, is also mentioned. Grandchildren are John W Hyde Jr of Edgecombe, age 36; Eugene H Hyde of Edgecombe age 34: William T Baker of Halifax age 30; George Baker, who could not be located and was somewhere outside the state, Mollie E Weaver of Martin, age 37; David Hyde of Nash age 34; Stephen H Hyde of Edgecombe age 34; Benjamin J Hyde is listed once in the summons with Stephen H, no age or location given; and Lewis Anderson of Halifax, age 8. Lewis had been named “Whit” but this was crossed out and replaced in all the documents. The court appointed his father, James Anderson, as his guardian.

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William of Autauga isn’t connected to a Hyde family yet, but Alabama Land records or court records that mention extended family would be really helpful. Male-only Y-DNA would also be very helpful in identifying his line. When we find out more about William and Charlotte, I’ll move the Hyde-Leatherwood family to their own space, as well as the family of Richard the Pirate.