Thanks for the reply.My great grandmother was Lavinia Esquelina Stell, daughter of Capt. Shadrack (Shadreck?) Stell of the War of 1812 and his second wife, Tabitha Coleman.Shadrack's will (1838)leaves 250 acres to his wife and her "expected Heir".He died before Lavinia was born.The will mentions a son, JOSEPH Stell , and grandson Daniel Stell...also an Augusta Butts (perhaps Daughter?) and Daniel Butts who was Executor.
I believe Shadrack Stell had grown children from his deceased first wife..perhaps the children were Joseph and Augusta.He must have known he was dying and left the Bear Swamp property to the second pregnant wife in order to provide for them. As it turned out, his wife died in the same year shortly after Lavinia's birth,leaving her an orphan.I'll be happy to send a copy of the will to your daughter.I can't seem to find the connection to Lavinia...don't have name of first wife and can't seem to get any 1812 records on him.It's strange that a family friend, Boisseau, became Lavinia's guardian rather than any family members.Perhaps he was estranged from the other children for some reason.At any rate, Lavinia married the son of her guardian at 16 years of age (in Weldon,NC) and they had to take his father to court in Dinwiddie to petition for her property in 1856,...a copy of which I have.If you have any in formation which contains the name Shadrack Stell...or even Joseph Stell, perhaps it would lead us to the name of his first wife.Thank you for responding.Irene Schreiner, Cape May Point, NJ.