This jives with information I have about an ancestor of my own: Josiah Relfe, who also lived in Madison County, Indiana from about 1860-1880 who also was from the Pasquotank/Perquimans area and born about 1817.
Second, The 1850 US Federal Census lists a Josiah Relfe in Perquimans County, NC.Perquimans is next door to Pasquotank.In this census, he lives with a Leah Ralph, but not as the head of household.
Pasquotank Marriage licenses lists a Joseph Relfe who married a Leah Hudson in abt 1829.Additionally, the 1850 Mortality Census lists a Joseph Relfe who died from small pox in 1850.
This leads me to believe that Josiah was helping Joseph's widow after his death, and implies a sense of kinship.
Additionally, the following website: http://library.uncg.edu/slavery/details.aspx?pid=10117http://library.uncg.edu/slavery/details.aspx?pid=10117 lists a petiion for Joseph, Josiah and Malachi Relfe to sell three slaves in Pasquotank County, NC."As joint owners, Joseph Relfe and others, including a minor, seek permission to sell the following slaves: "Negro man Mathias- Negro woman Matilda & child Mary.""This suggests that Joseph is acting as the head of household and the others have joint ownership.
This corresponds with the suggested birth order of the three brothers: Joseph, abt. 1808, Malachi, abt. 1811, and Josiah, abt. 1817.
This is also about the time that Malachi moves to Indiana from Pasquotank based on the birthplaces of his children as listed in various federal censuses.
(I'm hoping to substantiate this from estate records I've requested from the NC archives but do not have at this moment -- but a Joseph Relfe is listed with a 1818 date)
The information in website leads to the conclusion that after Mary's death, Joseph remarried and he and his second wife had Malachi and Josiah, who are half-brothers of Joseph Relfe (b. 1807) and when Joseph Sr died abt 1820, Joseph Jr became the head of household and helped set Malachi up in Indiana.
This path of migration makes senses as Mary Trueblood was of Quaker hertiage and several Quakers migrated out of NC to Indiana to avoid the slavery question and/or advocate for abolition.The Relfe's however seem to be slave owners and so I imagine there is some discord between the two families.
This website also lists Joseph Relfe's parents as William Relfe and Dorcas Davis.
The Relfe family in Pasquotank, who's initial ancestor was Captain Thomas Relfe, had many William offspring, suggesting that there is a connection between the two families.
This is long and convuluted, and I apologize.I'm just starting to piece together the information as I've had a brick wall with Josiah until just recently.
Hope this helps and if you have anything since you posted this message I would love to share.