Regarding Peter Self (1787 – after 1860) of Chatham Co., NC and Benton Co., TN, there has long been disagreement over who his wife was, either Martha Moss or Elizabeth Vick. Some on Ancestry have gone so far as to merge these two into one in an effort to reconcile the differences, dubbing her Elizabeth Martha Moss. Recently, a researcher assured me that “popular opinion” holds that she is Martha Moss. Frankly, my preference is documentation or at the very least a preponderance of the evidence. Oral history is of value because is usually contains a grain of truth. Secondary sources are usually fraught with errors, but can often be of value. Popular opinion is just that, opinion.
All that being said let’s turn to the issue of who Peter Self’s wife was.
On the 1850 census of Benton County, Tennessee her name is simply Elizabeth Self.
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On the 1860, when she is living in Benton County, Tennessee with her daughter, Elizabeth (Self) Park, her name is still Elizabeth Self. No hint of Martha. Plus, now we see some disagreement over whether she was born in Virginia or North Carolina.
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A lawsuit in Benton County filed in Chancery Court establishes who the children of Peter Self were:
“No 52 Rule
Elizabeth Self et al
VS A Bill
Peter Self Jr
Filed 14th Sept 1859
D.P. Hudson Clerk & Court Master
To the Hon Stephen C Pavatt presiding in chancery at Camden.
The bill of complaint of Elizabeth Self the widow of Peter Self deceased, Wiley Ellis and his wife Nancy, Joseph Park and his wife Elizabeth, Duncan H Self, Iley N Self all citizens of Benton County TN except Iley N and Duncan the latter of whom is a citizen of Rutherford County TN & the former of Decatur County. Humbly complaining your orators & oratrixes would most respectfully show unto your Hon, that your oratrix Elizabeth Self is the widow of the late Peter Self, and that your oratrix Nancy is a daughter of the said Peter Self, and that she has intermarried with your orator Wiley Ellis. That your oratrix Elizabeth Park is a daughter of the said Peter and that she has intermarried with the said Josiah Park and that your orators Duncan H. Self & ILey N Self are the sons of the said Peter Self.”
It is important at this point to put Peter Self’s children, based on the Chancery Court lawsuit, in birth order. They are as follows:
1 Nancy (Self) Ellis b. 1818
2 Peter Selph b. 1820
3 Duncan Hyder Selph b. 1825
4 Elizabeth (Self) Park b. 1827
Iley Nunn Selph b. 1830
The question then becomes are they all the children of Elizabeth? Reading further into the lawsuit the following information sheds some light on that:
“They charge that the claim set up to said land by the said Peter Jr is a fraud upon the rights of your oratrix Elizabeth Self and upon the balance of your orators. They charge that the said deft refuses to premit his said Mother to enjoy any portion of his father's estate unless she will reside with him, And that his treatment to her is such as to make his house a very unpleasant abode for her. That his language towards her is disrespectful and insulting. That on one occasion when a friend was endeavoring to induce him to premit a portion of the property to be used for the support of his mother, he after enumerating a few articles of little value said if she would not accept that, she might go to Hell & pump thunder.”
Now we know in quite colorful language that Elizabeth was the mother of Peter Self Jr., and, therefore, of the children born after Peter: Duncan Hyder, Elizabeth, and Iley Nunn. We only need to figure out if she is also the mother of Nancy.
Since Elizabeth Self had a granddaughter and great-granddaughters through Duncan Hyder Selph named Elizabeth Vick Selph and others named Betty Vick Selph, it seems more profitable first to research the possibility that she is Elizabeth Vick and see if that yields an answer.
In the probate settlement of Giles Vick of Chatham, North Carolina which begins in 1797, but continues well into the early 1800s, there is a document in which Peter Self, Presley Moore, and Penny Vick, on behalf of William and Richard Vick, appoint John Stroud as their attorney to represent their interests in Giles Vick’s estate. That document is signed 25 January 1816. Peter Self is evidently signing in right of his wife, as is Presley Moore. This record also indicates that Nancy Self, born 1818, was a daughter of Peter Self and a daughter of Giles Vick since the document predates her birth by two years.
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Now the question is, did Giles Vick have a daughter named Elizabeth? Usgenweb.org contains this record transcript:
”File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:
Donnie Pickard firstname.lastname@example.org March 5, 2014, 6:03 pm
Photo can be seen at:
Image file size: 82.7 Kb
Nancy Vick married Presley Moore August 1810 Chatham Co., North Carolina. According to Presley Moore's 1812 pension no record is available for their marriage.
Married by Wright Kirby. Nancy Moore's post office address was lone Elm, Henderson Co., TN. Nancy had no record of her marrige and no bible. Witnesses to her widow's pension for the War of 1812 were T.H. Davis, Elisha Hendrix, William Stone and G.G. Moore. The marriage was August 1810 Chatham Co., NC.
Chatham Co., N.C. Guardian Records -page 94 (reel 38)
Wright Kirby return as Guardian for the Heirs of G.Vick, nothing comes to hand in the fund ___ great (? the sum not at this time known..........Wright Kirby Guardian
Nancy (Vick) Moore was one of the orphans listed in the Guardianship record. She was the daughter of Giles Vick and Delilah (Flowers) Vick.
Nancy (Vick) Moore was married to Presley Moore (my ancestors)
These are the other heirs as listed in the bible records below:
Elizabeth Vick was bornd 16 day of Oct 1789
Nancy Vick was bornd the 18 day of September 1791
Jenny Vick was bornd the 23 Day of November 1793
Richard Vick and William Vick was bornd the 12 of Nov 1795
Richard Vick his hand and pen 1810 [or 1818?]
Drawned of from the old record by Duncan I. Ellis January the 27 1875 for ant
(Image letter/note came from Henderson Co., TN. It listed the heirs of Giles and
Deliah (Flowers) Vick)
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Of note is that Duncan I Ellis, grandson of Peter Self transcribed this record for his Aunt Nancy Moore. Nancy (Vick) Moore died in 1879 in Henderson County, Tennessee and in 1875 needed documentation for her claim to Presley Moore’s pension. This would seem to indicate that Richard Vick had transcribed the Giles Vick bible and gave it to Elizabeth (Vick) Self or Peter Self of Benton County, Tennessee and that transcription was in the possession of the Ellis family, descendants of Peter Self. In fact, Richard Vick may have copied the Giles Vick family into a bible that he presented to Elizabeth Vick and Peter Self on the occasion of their marriage.
The combination of all this information indicates that Peter Self of Benton County, Tennessee was married to Elizabeth Vick, daughter of Giles Vick of Chatham County, North Carolina. It also, reinforces the idea that Peter Self was from Chatham County, North Carolina.
There is no indication that Peter Self of Benton County, Tennessee was ever married to a woman named Martha Moss, who is linked to the Peter Smith Self of Southampton County, Virginia. That naturally raises the question, was Peter Self of Benton County, Tennessee the same person as Peter Smith Self of Southampton County, Virginia?