Wednesday, October 21, 2009

William Sloan, died Aug. 17, 1906, Age 107 years

That's what his tombstone in the Carolina Cemetery says. William Sloan died on August 17, 1906, and if 107 years old at his death, he was born in 1799 and thus would have lived in three centuries. Quite an unusual feat for sure.

At the Sloan Family Reunion this past Labor Day, I was thrilled when this photograph of my great-great-great grandfather was shared. Without a doubt, William is the oldest ancestor for whom I have a picture. Doesn't he look old? Really old? I can only speculate when the photograph was made, but it was probably around 1900-1905. The copy that was shared with me had some damage, but Cousin Rita fixed it right up.

Family lore indicates that William was a merchant marine who sailed the seven seas from his home in South Carolina, before moving to Alabama and Mississippi. Many of his seafaring tales that were told to his children and grandchildren have been passed down through the generations. His father, Samuel, was a cooper by profession and at one time there was a violin made by Samuel that was in the possession of his descendants.

The Sloans moved to Alabama from Kershaw District, South Carolina, although they may have also lived in Charleston at some point. I've been unable to pin William down in the 1830 and 1840 censuses. His daughter Louisa was born about 1834 in Alabama so we know the family should be in Alabama for the 1840 census. There is a record for a William Stearn (but looks like could be Sloan) in Fayette County, Alabama that is a close match, and we know that Samuel Sloan was living in Fayette County when he received a land patent for land in Marion County.

William was married to Caroline Irvin. The death certificate of their son, Jackson, indicated that his mother's maiden name was Irvin. Also, long-time Sloan family researcher, Una Sloan Newton, great-granddaughter of William and Caroline, indicates Caroline was an Irvin. Some researchers have Lowery as Caroline's last name, probably due to the April 18, 1835 issue of the Camden Journal (of Kershaw County, South Carolina) that references the marriage of Mr. William Sloan to Miss Caroline Lowry. The Lowerys and Irvins and Sloans lived near each other in Kershaw County, and there were several marriages among the families. I suspect that the newspaper may have erred in Caroline's last name. It is possible that Caroline Irvin was a second wife for William Sloan, due to the newspaper's marriage date of 1835 and the date of William's first child, Louisa, who was born August 28, 1834.

In 1860, William and his family were enumerated in the Fayette County, Alabama census:

1860 Census
Fayette County, Alabama
Western Division
living next to father and siblings:
William Slone 48 SC farmer, real estate 260/personal property 300
Caroline 35 SC (born 1825, note daughter Louise was just 11 years younger)
Louise 23 AL
Elizabeth 22 AL
Sintha 19 AL
William 16 AL
Mary 14 AL
Eleander 12 AL
Eliza 10 AL
John 8 AL
Caroline 6 AL
Dickson 4 AL (This is actually "Jackson")
Jeremiah 1 AL

By 1870, William had moved his family to Itawamba County. Caroline died in May 1880.

Census records for William place his year of birth variously from 1800 to 1812. His last census, in 1900, gives a May 1807 birthdate for him, but it also lists Alabama as his birthplace which is definitely wrong.

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