A Tale of Two Roberts  and Two Charlottes Chesnut

I have done some research and I feel that I would try to correct what I believe is an error in most ancestry.com members information on Charlotte Chestnut (b.1836) who married Samuel Mack Stevens (Stephens) Sr. (b. 1830).  I also had this information as incorrect myself and probably assisted in perpetuating it. Mostly the problem relates to what her mother's name is and birth dates.

Charlotte's father is cited by all of the sources I've seen as being Robert Chestnut (Chesnut). There is a Robt Chesnut on the Kingston, Horry, SC 1850 census on page 24. He is listed as being 53 years old (b.abt 1797). His wife's name is given as E D Chesnut, age 40. They have a daughter C C Chesnut, age 5.

On the Kingston, Horry, SC 1860 census, page 71 we obviously have the same family since all of the initials are now thankfully actual names that all match up to the same family on the 1850 census and the ages are consistent which is often not the case. So Robert is now age 63. His wife is Elizabeth Chesnut, age 51 and daughter Charlotte C Chesnut, age 15 (note on several later census records and her death certificate she has the name Charlott so I feel that the spelling without the trailing e is probably correct).

So this is where some of the information on Charlotte Chestnut Stevens seems to come from. At least for the mother’s name and sometimes Robert Chestnut’s age. Most members have 1836 for a birth date for Charlotte which is not consistent with the census records above.

The problem is this is not the correct Charlotte Chestnut and Robert Chestnut!!

On the Kingston, Horry, SC, 1850 census, page 5 there is a Robert (Robt) Chesnut, age 45 (b.abt 1805). There is no wife listed and a daughter Charlotte, age 15 (b.abt 1835). So her age is consistent with our Charlotte Chestnut. I could not locate an 1860 census record for either of these names though. Our Charlotte let home to marry Samuel Stevens in about 1856 but I haven’t been able to find a matching census record for the Stevens family in 1860 yet (I do have one for 1870). I also couldn’t find this Robert Chestnut on any 1860 census record but I don’t know if he died, moved or the name is just indexed incorrectly.

So this Robert Chestnut/Charlotte Chestnut is much more consistent with being our Charlotte. The age is correct. Also the Charlott Chestnut on the 1850 census page 24 is on the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900 and 1910 census records as being single. So the age is incorrect and she obviously didn’t marry Samuel Stevens.

So unless there is some fantastic coincidence I don’t think our Charlotte’s mother is named Elizabeth D. I don’t know what her mother’s name actually is and any help would be appreciated. And our Robert should be listed as being born in abt 1805 unless someone can find a more accurate birth date. And of course anyone with an 1850 census record attached should use the one from page 5.

So I’m writing this little story as a sort of open letter to try to get the records corrected since this seems very pervasive and to try to correct my part in perpetuating it. And if anyone has any family records that would correct anything I have mentioned here then it would be much appreciated.

Hopefully you won’t copy this into other records since I hope to just delete it once most of the information is corrected.

Thanks very much.

Darrell McDaniel
Columbia, SC
Charlotte Chestnut Stevens Great-Great-Grandson.