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Several years ago when I began to research my Rudd family I knew only three things; my grandfather who I had met once when I was about 12 years old was named Eulis Rudd, his father was named Walter Rudd and they both had lived in Gadsden County, FL. But I was very fortunate that many others who were researching the same Rudd family were generous in sharing with me information they had collected on our family.
One of the very first documents I received was this Deed of Gift from George Lounsdell Rudd to his four sons. I’m sure most of you have also seen this document. I was told it was the Last Will and Testament of George L. Rudd, Sr. but it didn’t read like a Last Will to me. Later I discovered it was a document that had been filed in the South Carolina State Papers under Wills. Evidently, it was filed as a result of George Lounsdell Rudd’s death. It’s strange that no other documents have been found relating to his death, so I guess we are left to assume whatever other property he had at the time had either been sold, distributed to his heirs, or left to his wife, Margaret.
The four sons listed in the South Carolina record led us to read them as George Jr., Ely, James and Luis. And since my ancestor line runs back through Elias David Rudd, most researchers leaned towards Ely as the designated son. I became curious why a son of an English colonial father would name a son Luis since it is clearly a Hispanic spelling of the name that in English would most likely be Lewis or Louis but not at all a very common English name for the time. I was also curious that a document that originated in Screven County, Georgia had surfaced in South Carolina. One day while I was at my genealogy library I looked through the Georgia Deed Book microfilm and to my surprise, there it was, registered on August 30, 1797. When I compared the two documents, you could clearly see the name believed to be Luis was actually Lias. Another noteworthy difference in the two records is that the record in South Carolina does not include the header, Deed of Gift Forwarding Stock. Therefore it was naturally assumed to be his Last Will.
Now this raises the question that I don’t think we will ever answer, why would GLR name a son Ely and another son Lias and what are their actual given names? Are they both Elias?
But getting back to the Deed, it’s clear that George Lounsdell Rudd’s intent was to distribute stock and moveable property he owned in Screven County, Georgia to four sons:
my stock of hogs with their increase, likewise any stock of cattle with their increase and two mares and one gelding and all my moveable propertyYou will notice GLR list cattle, horses and moveable property. It sounds very much like he was living on land in Screven Co., GA but there is no mention of the distribution of the land. I could find no record of the deeding of the land in the Georgia records. But those records are very lacking indeed. So did GLR sell his land in GA or was his land given to another son, perhaps his oldest son as was the tradition back then. And if so, perhaps that son is not listed in this document. That raises the questions ..
Did GLR have more than these four named sons? Was George Jr. as the oldest son given the land in Georgia? Did he live on this land and keep the stock there from 1797 to 1804 when the deed was filed as a probate of GLR’s estate?
Here’s another key part of the Deed:
appoint my son George Rudd and Ely Rudd to take in their possession all the property aforesaid and to keep it carefully until these two younger brothers become of age
I’ve asked many genealogy researchers, more knowledgeable than I, what would "become of age" mean in 1797 Georgia, including the archivist at State of Georgia. The consensus is that age would have been 21. So we can assume that in 1797 George Jr. and Ely are over 21 but James and Lias are not.
If we look to the available census data in trying to determine the ages of the four sons we can clearly see in the 1790 Fairfield census that GLR has three males under 16 years old. George Jr. is obviously alive and over 21 in 1797. If he is counted in this census then he is under 16 in 1790, but at least 22 in 1797 if the sons are listed in birth order and Ely is the second oldest. That would mean Lias is not yet born.
In the 1800 Charleston census GLR has 2 males listed as 26/45 years old. Is this an error in the transcription? Are these 2 males actually 16/26, and therefore, James and Lias? They can’t be under the age of 21 in 1797 and then be at least 26 years old 3 years later. It seems to be an error. If so, then that backs us up to the 1790 census again and places Lias in the household and George Jr. has left the house. If the 1800 census is James and Lias, then Ely has now left the household. I think this theory is supported by the evidence of a 1798 survey for 500 acres paid for by George Rudd and granted to Ely Rudd. Perhaps a wedding gift.
It gets very confusing when we look at the 1810 Charleston census. We see an Elias who is 26/45 with his oldest child, a male, 10/16 among his children. Then there’s Elijah with 2 males 16/26 and then there is O’riley who is 26/45 with his oldest child, a female, 16/26 and another child, a male, 10/16. Both Elias and O’riley have children old enough to indicate they would have been head of household in the 1800 census but they don’t show up. Either they were not counted in the census or they’re living in the 1790 Burlingham Rudd or George L. Rudd households because by this time this branch of the Rudd family has moved from Anson Co. NC to St. James Goose Creek in SC. Also by the 1810 census, GLR has died and most likely the household of Margaret 45+ years old listed in between Elijah and O’riley is his widow. So 1810 is no help in determining ages.
But in 1820 we see Eli, Burrel and James. If this is the same Ely in the Deed we can narrow down his birth year. He’s under 16 in 1790 so born between 1774 and 1790. The Deed indicates he is at least 21 in 1797 so born before August 30, 1776. In 1820 he says he’s 45+ so born by 1775. That would place his birth year between 1774 and 1775. If the birth order is correct in the Deed, then George Jr. is older than Ely by at least a year and that would place his birth year by 1773/4.
But where is George Jr.?
This analysis of Ely’s birth year is a key piece of information for descendants of Elias David Rudd when we add another key piece of information that surfaced later (thanks to Tim Inman); Elias David had a brother named George Washington. Of course, this also will add to the confusion since there is both a George, Ely/and Lias mentioned in the Deed. But my investigation of George Washington Rudd indicates he was born between 1780 and 1784 and that means he is too young to be of age in 1797. Therefore, he is not the George Jr. in the Deed. And since he is the brother of Elias David, neither the Ely nor the Lias in the Deed are Elias David. That brings us to the conclusion that George Lounsdell Rudd is NOT the father of Elias David Rudd or George Washington Rudd.