Ezekiel and Patsy

It could be said, according to the way things were going, that Elihu Pool’s widow needed a new husband pretty fast, and one she could count on for stability and financial support. Here too, it was as it was with Elihu Pool’s marriage record. Out of all the documents that were generated during the settlement of his estate, the one mention of his widow to receive provisions was the only reference made of his spouse and her name was never revealed.

Logically speaking, a good way for a woman to woo a man into marriage is through the act of bearing his child. Of course, to say that the widow Pool pondered this notion would be nothing shy of pure speculation. Nevertheless, she did give birth to another son in the year that followed her husband’s death. But if she thought that this most recent child’s father would be her next husband, she had another thing coming. By all accounts he was a married man. The child is listed in the household of Elihu Pool’s widow, along with his older sister and brother on the 1820 Federal Census of Rowan County, North Carolina. This boy’s name at birth, was Caleb James Pool. But those who have been following this story know him as, Ezekiel.

Although, the name of Elihu Pool’s wife could not be located in any of the documents searched. There were two records which implied that she and Catherine Pool was one in the same. One was the 1820 Federal Census, which was just mentioned. The other is the following Bond that was issued on Caleb James Pool’s (Ezekiel) father, Caleb (James) Webb on November 24, 1821 in Rowan County. In part it stated that Caleb Webb was the:

“reputed father of a baseborn child begot on the body of Catherine Pool, a single woman of said County.” The conditions of this agreement was that Caleb Webb: “keep the said County of Rowan free and indemnified from all cost and charges in and about the maintenance of said child, and do and fulfill every order of the court of said County relative to the said child, then this obligation to be void, else to remain in full force and virtue.”

Over the years, life for Catherine Pool seemed to go from bad to worse. In the two years that followed Ezekiel’s birth, she gave birth to two daughters, Nancy and Jane. The exact dates of their births are unknown, and so to are the father or fathers. Upon their arrival, Catherine still wasn’t married and had five young children to care for. Her situation was a big problem, not only for her, but also for Elihu Pool’s relatives, their community and the court system as well. Thus in 1824, her two oldest children were placed under the guardianship of their uncle, and the property once belonging to her deceased husband, which she and her family were living on was put up for sale. It’s believed, and very certain, that the two previous events were  attempts to force Catherine Pool to get married. If so, it worked because she married a man by the name of John Courtney, and shortly thereafter gave birth to another son, whom they named Henry Pool (Courtney). Once Catherine married, you would think that everyone could then break open the hard cider and celebrate. But not so fast, it appears that her new husband had a difficult time finding work and supporting his family. He too, no doubt faced the same underlying problems that she faced every day. Given that her two oldest children had something of value, via their father’s death. They weren’t mentioned in their grandmother, Mary Barkley’s 1827 Deed of Gift to her grandchildren. However, the others were, and it would sort of put Catherine and her family situation into perspective, and is as follows:

“for and in consideration of the natural love and affection, which I have and bear to my grandchildren of the body of my daughter Catherine Courtney. Namely, Nancy Eliza Pool, Caleb James Pool, Jane Amanda Pool & Henry Pool Courtney. All of the said County of Rowan & State of North Carolina.

     As also, for the better maintenance and support, I give unto them my Negro woman Linda, (who is now in the service and use of my daughter Catherine Courtney) together with all the issues that shall or may come of or from her body.

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