Mystery Monday ~ Charity Baker aka Charity Denby Eley

Well, well, well….(I know…don’t remind me…mighty deep subject for such a shallow mind) I solved one mystery this weekend for myself but lawdy have mercy did it ever create more!!  I kept wondering why things did not tally out on my 5th great-grandmother, Charity Baker, born 1757, Franklin, North Carolina, married Josiah Eley and died in 1803. She listed herself as Charity Denby when she married Josiah in 1771 but according to court documents it wasn’t until Feb 1771 that James Denby was given guardianship over Charity.  If that, being the case, it means she married at 14 and at age 19 James Denby was listed as her guardian.  Her biological father died in 1776. She is listed in James Denby’s will but not individually as his children were.  Josiah, her husband was also one of James executors of his will.  So many trees on different sites has James Denby listed as her father and Patience Norfleet, his wife listed as her mother, which according to the documents are wrong, unless they are accepting them as her adoptive parents. 

The following questions now arise – Why was James Denby given guardianship of Charity at age 19 when she was already married?  Who is William Baker and where did he come from.  Who is Charity’s biological mother? Does this mean I no longer have to search out the James Denby and Patience Norfleet lines but get on the trail of Baker?  And last but not least….how the sam thunder do I list all this in my tree in order for it to be correct?  Scratches head and sighs……I need a blame time machine to go back in time and be a fly on the wall during Charity’s life!!!



Filed under Baker, Johnson, Mystery Monday

10 responses to “Mystery Monday ~ Charity Baker aka Charity Denby Eley

  1. Geri

    I have the same questions about this family. The brother of Charity was James Baker and that is my line.
    Where the estate is sold, Charity is buying and listed as Charity Baker.
    Other sister Alice had a guardian and she went to court for three years to get her money from the estate of Patewell Milner.

  2. I do not have any listing on where and what was sold or to whom at the estate sale. I would love to ahve a copy of that!….The following information is what I have found so far if this will help any….Hopefully, together we can find the answers to the questions we both seek.
    1776, April 24 – Bute Co., NC

    Miscellaneous Bute Co., NC Records (File 4615, LDS Library, Salt Lake City, UT)

    Will of William Baker gives to son James Baker, after my father’s death, land in Nansemond County, Virginia, daughters Charity Baker, Alice Baker, and Mary Baker.

    Executors, friends James Denby and William Andress, Sr.

    Witnesses: Wm. Denson, Thomas Hunt, Hinde Hilsman, (when probate was granted February Court 1777, the widow Mary Baker objected)

    1777, February – Bute Co., NC Guardian Accounts 1770-1778

    James Denby is appt guardian to Charity Baker, orphan of William Baker, deceased.

    1777, May – Bute Co., NC

    On motion of Bennit Hillsman and Mary Baker to prevent the administration of James Denby on behalf of the orphans of William Baker, deceased on one negro winch called Ester, and one bed and furniture, one pot and one heifer, it is the opinion of the court that James Denby return said Negro to Bennit Hilsman and the goods to be returned to Mary Baker.

    Apparantly Charity took the Denby name of her guardian for that is what is on her marriage license to Josiah according to the LDS records. Whether or not Mary, William’s wife is her biological mother or not remains to be proven as of this date 16 april 2011

  3. Jenee (Horne) Day

    I’m so glad I found this! I’ve been researching my own tree, and I am stuck in this spot. I’m sorry I can’t be of help to you but I wanted to post and say how much I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. My maiden name is Horne, descended from James Micajah Jackson and Susanna(h) Jones, daughter of Mary “Polly” Eley, and I’ve traced up to Charity and Josiah. Does that make sense? Just wanted to explain how I’m ‘related’. 😉

  4. Jenee

    p.s., RootsWeb lists a Rachel Perry as Wm Baker’s spouse, so if Charity had a brother named Henry (?) this is probably her mother’s name. Forgive me if I’m wrong, I’m very new to this.

    • Hi Jenee,
      It’s great to find cousins I didn’t know I had!!! Let me pull my records back out and see who her siblings were and I will post it in a new post….May be late Thursday before I do – have to go help a cousin move back to this area tomorrow from Tupelo. Email me and put Charity Baker in the subj matter at and if you don’t mind me calling you I will or I can send you my contact info back. Would be great to talk and compare notes!! Take care!

  5. Wanda Pitt

    Here’s a fly in your ointment.

    1776, April 24 – Bute Co., NC
    Will of William Baker gives to son James Baker, after my father’s death, land in Nansemond Co.,, Virginia, daughters Charity Baker, Alice Baker and Mary Baker. Executors, friends James Denby and William Andress, Sr. Witnesses: Wm. Denson, Thomas Hunt, Hinde Hilsman, (when probate was granted February Court 1777, the widow Mary Baker objected)

    3 June 1770, Granville Co, NC, John Stallings, joiner, to James Hunt, planters both of Bute Co, 25 pds VA money for 100 acres in Bute Co, in fork of the Buffalo Swamp, part of a grant from Earl of Granville, 30 October 1752 to Osborn Jefferys and bought from him on 27 July 1761. Wit: James Denby, Kezia Denby and Charity Denby (over age 18, m Josiah Eley c 1772).

    1777, February – Bute Co, NC Guardian Accounts
    James Denby is appt guardian to Charity Baker, orphan of William Baker, deceased (she under age 18, b c 1772)
    1777, Charity Baker is buyer at estate sale (not dtr, sis/i/l of Wm Baker?)

    James Baker married married Sarah Stallings abt 1790 in Franklin Co NC, dtr of Reuben Stallings who was brother of Wright Stallings. Barsheba Denby, dtr of James & Patience, m Jesse Stallings, brother of Sarah. Reuben & Wright and their families went to KY & IN 1809. Wright died 1836.

    John Bird (wife Charity) went to Logan Co, KY c 1805 (probably with Westray & Simmons kids) then to Posey Co, Ind. 1816. John Stallings, made bond for Letters of Adm of estate of Wright Stallings 1836, Moses Stallings & John Bird his security.

    John Bird & wife Charity b c 1772 m c 1794. I believe she is Charity Baker, but I could be wrong. John Bird security because of relation to Denby, Stallings, Baker & Bird marriages.
    BUTE COUNTY RECORD BOOK 2 Account of Sale of Estate of WILLIAM BAKER, decd.


    Will of James Denby made April 24, 1795

    • At least that fly isn’t lit up on side of the wall laughing at me!!! Thanks for the info….Most of it i had but there was some that i didn’t!!! Again, thanks!!!

      • Geri

        In the court records for Charity Baker having James Denby appointed as her guardian, she is listed as a minor and the year is 1777. Alice the sister had a guardian as well . What is so confusing is that there are two James Baker and they are about the same age. The James Baker that married Sarah Stallings ( daughter of Reuben Stallings) is not the brother of Charity and Alice. That James Baker and wife Sarah remained in Franklin County, NC. The other James Baker starts selling the land he received from his father William Baker in 1786 through 1804. Joseph Baker is my best bet for being the father of William, James, and Henry all there at the same time 1769-1840.

  6. Rudy D. Burd

    Are the abovementioned B/B/B’s (BIRD’S) any relation to the Wm Burd family originally from Spartanburg SC, whom ended up over in Barren/Hart County KY around 1800?
    Thanks Rudy.

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