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FIVE BEST QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH

The research on possible BEST relations that lived in the Allendale area of South Carolina was done while writing an update to the article "The Best of the Mitchiners" which I wrote and was originally published in 1989 in MITCHENER and MITCHINER by William A. Mitchiner. In doing the work for a ten year update to this article on WILLIAM B. (H. BEST) MITCHINER who was born October 27, 1792 in South Carolina and died on July 19, 1865 in Randolph Co., Georgia, the five following critical questions regarding BEST relations remain to be answered:

1. Who was the biological father of WILLIAM B. (H. BEST) MITCHINER? He was born October 27, 1792 in South Carolina and died on July 19, 1865 in Randolph Co., Georgia. There are three possible answers.

(A.   A "best undocumented guess" is that HENRY BEST, who was killed in 1780, and his wife MARY (BROWN) BEST had three sons and probably owned property in South Carolina and also in Georgia since he came from that state. When a married man and father died without a Will his widow only received a child's portion. A guardian was appointed for any minor children to manage their share of the property until the children became adults. HENRY probably died without a Will when he was killed by Tories in South Carolina. JOHN B. BEST and WILLIAM B. BEST are possibly two of their sons. The only reference to WILLIAM B. BEST is in a land transaction by JAMES OLIVER on August 31, 1822. The land involved was partly in Burke and Screven Co., Georgia and was described as being "South westwardly" bounded by the land of WILLIAM B. BEST.  JOHN B. BEST and WILLIAM B. BEST could be the males in the household of MARY BEST in the 1790 South Carolina Census for Orangeburg District. TARLTON B. BEST could be the son of HENRY (2) BEST, a possible third son of HENRY and MARY, in the same 1790 South Carolina Census for Orangeburg District. Perhaps TARLTON's father died and he was raised by his uncle and probable guardian, JOHN B. BEST. Through his possible father WILLIAM B. BEST, WILLIAM B. MITCHINER could have inherited property in Georgia as could have TARLTON B. BEST through his possible father HENRY (2) BEST. JOHN B. BEST could have inherited property in South Carolina.)

(B.  His father or a grandfather could be Dr. WILLIAM BEST of Charleston, South Carolina.  Dr. WILLIAM BEST purchased a slave named ISAAC on August 29, 1803. There was a slave named ISAAC mentioned in the Will of LUVICY MITCHINER in 1815. The other five slaves named in her Will she inherited from her husband, JOHN MITCHINER, in 1814. Perhaps as the daughter or wife of Dr. WILLIAM BEST, LUVICY, had inherited the slave, ISAAC. There are a number of references to Dr. WILLIAM BEST in Charleston. Dr. WILLIAM BEST is recorded in the 1800 South Carolina Census for Charleston Co.  with two males under ten, two males between ten and sixteen, two males between twenty-six and forty-five, and one male over forty-five. It will be helpful when South Carolina Bests descendants outside the Orangeburg area trace out their ancestors as well as the Bests in Georgia trace out theirs to find if there are any Best relationships with those from the Orangeburg area.)

(C.  Because the father of WILLIAM H. BEST has not been identified, it raises the possibility that he was born out of wedlock. Apparently illegitimate children could not inherit property. In the BENEJAH BEST account of the legal problems over the estate of ELIZABETH PURVIS it says, "JOHN PURVIS was the illeg. son of ANN PURVIS and therefore could not inherit." If WILLIAM H. BEST was born out of wedlock he probably could not have inherited property from his mother, LUVICY MITCHINER.) 

2. What, if any, was the relationship of TARLTON BROWN's brother-in-law HENRY BEST and ABSALOM BEST? ABSALOM BEST died around 1790 in Orangeburg District, South Carolina. HENRY BEST was killed by Tories around 1780 in the Orangeburg District of South Carolina. HENRY was married to MARY BROWN, sister of TARLTON BROWN. MARY BEST lived near her brother, TARLTON BROWN, after the death of her husband. TARLTON BROWN receive a widow's pension for his sister and child in 1791.

(Related to this question is the widow's pension that MARY BEST received in 1791 for "her and child". The child was probably LEODICA.)

3. What is the relationship of ABSALOM BEST with the three Best families headed by MARY BEST, SARAH BEST, and HENRY BEST in 1790 South Carolina census for the Orangeburg District (South Part)? On February 7&8, 1791 ELIZABETH BEST came into court and made oath that she saw ABSALOM BEST sign his Will, but no copy of his Will has been found. There was also a GEORGE BEST that reportedly moved from South Carolina to Screven Co. Georgia.

(No other reference has been found to the ELIZABETH BEST above. She could not be the wife of JOHN B. BEST or the wife of BENEJAH B. BEST. Perhaps her name was SARAH ELIZABETH and she is listed as SARAH BEST in the 1790 Orangeburg District Census.)

(The 50 acres on Jackson Branch that TARLTON B. BEST leaves in his Will could be part of an inheritance he received. Perhaps it was a quarter part of 200 acres owned by ABSALOM BEST, but no leads. It would be helpful to know where the property was located and who owned the surrounding lands.)

(There are three different George Bests in early Screven Co., Georga records. First there is  the George Best (b. 1787 and d. 1822) mentioned in a 1822 Augusta, Georgia newspaper article concerning his death at the age of 35. He had a business as a Clothier on Broad St. and died after seeming to recover from a illness but going to his store on a hot day and being in the sun. no information was provided on a possible family. Note that the death of TARLTON B. BEST was also reported in the same paper as being a resident of the city. The many legal troubles of TARLTON B. BEST were well covered in the paper prior to his death. 

Second there is a GEORGE W. BEST mentioned in Footprints on the Sands of Time by Youmans. A GEORGE BEST was licensed to preach around 1844 and also issued a "traveling license" to preach in 1849 by the Middle Ground Church, Sylvania, Georgia.  He married MARY CONE LEE, widow of DAVID LEE. She was first married about 1804-1806. She had children from both husbands. Reportly, however, her husband came from Barnwell in the early 1800's. In 1862 a MARY BEST died and was buried at Sand Pond Cemetery, next to the Middle Ground Baptist Church, Screven Co. She was 75 and born in 1787. If GEORGE W. BEST came for Barnwell he is probably also related to one of the three Best families above.

Third there is the GEORGE BEST, son of JOHN BEST of NC that moved to Screven Co., Georgia after the Revolutionary War. He apparently moved to Irwin Co., Georgia based on a 1839 tax return.)

 4. Is there a common verifiable Brown ancestor for JOHN B.(BROWN) BEST (b. May 5, 1773 and estate administered 1841 Barnwell District, South Carolina) and BENAJAH B.(BROWN) BEST (b. about 1775 in Orangeburg District, South Carolina and his Will filed June 4 1832 in Barnwell District, South Carolina), and TARLTON B.(BROWN) BEST (b. October 13, 1789 and his Will filed on October 5, 1824 at the age of 34 in Screven Co., Georgia with JOHN B. BEST and WILLIAM B. MITCHINER the executors)? There is a copy of a page from the JOHN B. BEST Bible that records the birth date of TARLTON B. BEST along with the children of JOHN B. BEST and his wife ELIZABETH (COLDING) BEST. It is unknown it this Bible still exists or who has it in their possession.

(Both ABSALOM BLANCHARD BEST, oldest son of BENEJAH B. BEST and ORSAMUS HARDEN BEST, second son of JOHN B. BEST are buried at the Swallow Savannah Cemetery, Allendale. BENEJAH B. BEST and JOHN B. BEST must have owned property near each other which they probably inherited from a common BEST or BROWN ancestor and which was later passed on to their children and grandchildren.)

(The last known reference to the Bible of JOHN B. BEST was made in a letter in 1942 by Eunice Keel of Allendale. See the comments on question 5.)

5. Based on the names in the Will of TARLTON B. BEST filed in 1824 in Screven Co., Georgia what is the relationship between WILLIAM B. MITCHINER and TARLTON B. BEST and JOHN B. BEST and JOHN H. SMITH and LEODICA (BEST) CAMPBELL MEARS? Also what would be the HARDEN connection with JOHN HARDEN MITCHINER, the son of WILLIAM B. MITCHINER, and ORSAMUS HARDEN BEST, son of JOHN B. BEST, that inherited property with WILLIAM D. CAMPBELL?

(The most logical but undocumented conclusion to be made from the Will is that JOHN B. BEST was the uncle of TARLTON B. BEST and that JOHN H. SMITH and JOHN MEARS, the husband of LEODICA (BEST) CAMPBELL MEARS, were his uncles-in-law. Eunice Keel of Allendale, South Carolina noted this conclusion in the following letter she wrote on April 1, 1942 to Walter Speight Bryan about spending a day with Mrs Langley who was researching for.

"Neither did Mrs Langley have much about the Bests. She has looked up some things in Sylvania and she had a few Best names. Tarlton Brown Best, b May 5, 1789 listed in the Bible I have was unaccounted for. In checking the 1790 census I find that in the entire state there were listed only three Best families and they were in lower Orangeburg Dist., Mary was given as head of one, and I think she was Mary Brown, sister of Tarlton Brown and widow of Henry Best and that they were the parents of my John Brown Best. In that family there was one male over sixteen (JBB was 17 then) one under 16, and three females including the head of the family. One was the above mentioned Mary and the other two were her daughters. The Henry Best given in that census, I think, was an older child of Mary and Henry and the male under 16 was the above mentioned Tarlton Brown Best, then one year old. That supposition was bourne (I'm mixed up in my spelling, but I hope you know what I mean) out in Tarlton Brown Best's will found in Sylvania, Will Book B, p 35. He leaves his heirs, John B Best, John H Smith, and John Mears 75c each and the rest of his property to John H Michiner, Orsamus H Best and William D. Campbell. The first three Johns were his uncle and uncles-in-law. There were other Bests in Sylvania records as far back as 1920, but I was not able to fit many of them in.")

(It would be helpful to know the identity of the wife of the JOHN H. SMITH named in the Will. It does not appear possible to make any logical conclusion from the Will about the relationship of WILLIAM H. (BEST) MITCHINER who was a coexecutor and the deceased. It also is not logical why the deceased gave property to ORSAMUS HARDEN BEST and not HENRY COLDING BEST or MARY ANN BEST  who were the older children of JOHN B. BEST the other coexecutor. The Bible mentioned in the letter quoted above that EUNICE KEEL had in her possession with the birth date of TARLTON B. BEST recorded in it could be the JOHN B. BEST Bible. It is unknown if the Bible still exists or who has it. A careful examination of all the records made in the Bible might help clarify the Best relationships.)

(In the section on the Mears Family, page 225, in "A History of Screven County, Georgia", DICY (BEST) CAMPBELL MEARS is identified as the daughter of TARLTON B. BEST. There is no documentation to support the claim. What can be documented is that TARLTON B. BEST married SARAH JELKS. She died shortly after the marriage and there was no issue. If DICY was his daughter she and/or her children would probably have inherited all of TARLTON BEST's property. DICY's son,  WILLIAM D. CAMPBELL was born in 1801. TARLTON BEST was born in 1789. The math is not there for TARLTON to even be the father of WILLIAM D. CAMPBELL much less his grandfather.)

(At this stage no HARDEN link has been established between JOHN HARDEN MITCHINER and ORSAMUS HARDEN BEST. There was a WILLIAM and MARY HARDEN in the area. In 1798 she was on a list of residents whose property was valued as worth over $100 in Burke Co., Georgia. There is also ISAAC HARDEN, a brother-in-law of TARLTON BROWN and also of MARY (BROWN) BEST that is memtioed in the settlement of the estate of WILLIAM BROWN. There is no other known reference to ISAAC HARDEN or to the name of his wife. TARLTON BROWN served with Col. WILLIAM BEST that died on November 28, 1785 in Charleston.)

(There is another troublesome aspect to the Will of TARLTON BEST. He did not inherit HENRY COLDING BEST, the oldest son of JOHN B. BEST or the oldest daughter, MARY ANN BEST, born December 3, 1811. HENRY COLDING BEST was born July 16, 1809. He inherited instead the second son, ORSAMUS HARDEN BEST, born September 6, 1815.  The question is, "Why?" )


Copyright © January 1999 - Thomas W. Mitchiner, Greenville, NC. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy. However, this document is copyrighted by Thomas W. Mitchiner and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same.

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