Friday, August 15, 2014

Theo Bellinger, Blacksmith and his wife, Louisa Ammey Bellinger

Theodore Bellinger

Theodore Bellinger was born in January of 1826 in South Carolina.  We believe he was a slave of Edmond Bellinger.  The census records identified Theodore as being "mu.", an abbreviation for mulatto.  According to the WPA interview of Harriet Gresham, she was born on December 6, 1838 and was one of many biracial slaves of Edmond Bellinger in Barnwell, South Carolina.

1850 Slave Schedule for Edmund Bellinger shows he owned a male black slave born abt 1830; This was one of four slaves owned by Edmund

Edmund Bellinger's family lineage is well documented.  According to various sources:
Edmund Bellinger was born in Beaufort, S. C., March 4, 1802, received a classical education and completed a full collegiate course of study at Columbia College, South Carolina. He was prevented from graduating, but received a certificate of high standing in all his classes by the faculty. In 1826 he married Miss Ann Le Gare Roach, a native of Charleston, S. C., a daughter of William Roach, of Bristol, England. Through her mother she was a descendant of the "Huguenots " through the Le Gare family, and through her grandfather her family reaches back to the McGregor clan, in Scotland, to the year 700 A. D. Hugh Swinton Le Gare, her first cousin, was Attorney General of the United States. By marriage she was connected with William Gilmore Simms. Mr. Bellinger was directly descended from the "Landgraves" of South Carolina, a title hereditary conferred by one of the Georges of England on Edmund Bellinger of Westmorland County, England, who married Elizabeth Cartwright, and emigrated to America about the year 1688, at which time he was created first Landgrave. His son Edmund was second Landgrave. He married Elizabeth Butler; their son Edmund became third Landgrave. He in turn married Mary Lucia Bull; their son Edmund was fourth Landgrave. William Bellinger, the youngest brother of the fourth Landgrave, was the father of this Edmund Bellinger, who, with his wife, soon after his marriage, moved to Illinois. He remained there six years, and came to Texas in 1839, and assisted in the early development of this country, then "The Republic of Texas."(From DeWitt Colony Biographies on the web at:

They moved to Gonzales, Texas in March 1837 and assisted in the early development of this country; then called the "Republic of Texas".  In 1839 Edmund Bellinger and his family were Prairie Lea's 1st settlers. Other early Prairie Lea settlers were largely slave-holding families. Edmund Bellinger took part in the Indian troubles and participated in the Battle of Plum Creek and other skirmishes. These struggles were hard on his wife, Anne; a woman reared in luxury and refinement of the Charleston, South Carolina aristocracy. In the summer of 1840 the Comanche Indians swept down the Gaudalupe Valley, killing settlers, stealing horses, plundering and burning settlements. Several times Anne abandoned her home with her family to avoid these raids. Finally, the Texans organized a volunteer army and with the Texas Rangers under Ben McCulloch overtook the Indians at Plum Creek in the vicinity of the present town of Lockhart on 11 August 1940. There a decisive defeat on the following day pushed the Comanches westward. Edmund Bellinger acquired land in the 1840s & 1850s, farmed and raised horses & cattle on the ranch. He served as a county judge and was a man of established reputation. During the Civil War Prairie Lea men served with Hood's Texas Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia. During the Civil War Edmund Bellinger was a Union man and opposed to the war, as were Sam Houston and others. However, three of Edmund & Anne Bellinger's sons were in the Confederate service. One son gave his life to the cause. While residing near Springfield, Illinois Edmund Bellinger came to know and admire Abraham Lincoln. At a time when it was almost treason to speak Lincoln's name in kindness, Edmund Bellinger had the courage to express his admiration for that great man.[]

From what we could gather from SLAVE TRANSACTIONS OF GUADALUPE COUNTY, TEXAS. Mark Gretchen. Softcover, 2009, 8.5" x 11", Illus, Index, x + 342 pp, after the Civil War, Edmund was injured during the war. He is found living with his son's family, financially destitute. Injured and broke he or his wife sold (Theodore) to a man name James Pinckney Henderson, the first governor of Texas. Later, Henderson in turn sold him to Joseph Henry Polley, on the steps of Guadalupe Courthouse for $2200.   

James Pinckney Henderson-p.jpg
James Pinckney Henderson
Historical designation awarded to Polley Cemetery
Joseph Henry Polley

Texas formally seceded on March 2, 1861.  On June 19, 1865 word that the Civil War had ended and the slaves freed arrived in Texas.  The Texas holiday Juneteenth commemorates this date
By 1867 Theodore was living in Caldwell County, Texas and registered to vote.

P.B. Chiles also referenced here was the slave owner
of Charlotte Bellinger's husband, John Chiles
Theo married Louisa Ammey in 1855.
Louisa Bellinger (nee Ammey)

Louisa was born about 1835 in Tennessee.  Her parents were Ben Ammey (also spelled as Amey) and J. Brown.  Ben was born  around 1800 in Maury County, Tennessee where his wife J. Brown was also born about 1805.  I noted that the 1870 Census had a black farmer with the last name Amis.
Name:Hicks Amis
[Amos Hicks
Age in 1870:56
Birth Year:abt 1814
Home in 1870:District 6, Maury, Tennessee
Post Office:Culleoka
Value of real estate:View image

Thus, Amis might be another variation of the spelling of Ben's last name.

Together, Theodore and Louisa had the following children:

Benjamin Bellinger (1855 - 1914)
Ben Bellinger
Charlotte Bellinger (1856 - 1933)
Charlotte Bellinger Chiles
Charlotte Bellinger

Theodore Bellinger Jr. (1857 - 1931)
Theodore Bellinger Jr
Theodore Bellinger Jr
Jack Bellinger (1858 - 1916)

Jack Bellinger
Jack Bellinger
Sam Bellinger (1863 - 1927)
Betty Besty A. Bellinger (1864 - 1950)
Harriett Bellinger (1866 - 1896)
Henry Bellinger Sr. (1867 - 1940)
Woody Bellinger (1869 - 1924)
William Bellinger (1872 -)
Wheat Bellinger Sr. (1874 - 1931)
Charles Bellinger (1875 - 1937)
Charles Bellinger
Charles Bellinger
Fred Bellinger (1879 - 1947)
Woody Bellinger (1885 - 1980)

Charlotte Bellinger was my great great grandmother.

1870 Census shows Theo is a Blacksmith

1880 Census

1900 Census Record still shows that Theo is a Blacksmith

Theodore's Blacksmith was apparently very lucrative.  According to an article int the The San Antonio Light 1937; Theodore "was the city's outstanding blacksmith and wheelright, enjoying an extensive and lucrative business."

From article about the death of Charles Bellinger

By 1902, Louisa apparently had taken over operation of the blacksmith shop.
Advertisement from Lockhart News Echo February 28, 1902, p. 5

Theo died in 1906 from Bright's Disease, which is a historical classification for kidney disease that is no longer used.

Report of Death for Theo Bellinger 1906

Louisa died four years later on March 3, 1910 in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas.

Our Great, Great, Grand Mother,  Louisa (Ammey) Bellinger
Louisa Bellinger, Death Certificate

Paula Lauren Gibson's photo.