Joab Lafayette McCollum Sr-Sarah's Chapel
You may recall the story of the McCollum/Collum immigrant, John Neil, “Old John” McCollum; he was born in 1657 and came here on a prison ship. Exiled from Scotland, he remained here, and started raising a family. This man had four sons and a daughter. These sons started their own families as they reached the age of manhood. Some of the boys retained the “Mc” on their names. Others dropped the prefix. The subject of this story is a great great great grandson of John Neil,
“Old John” McCollum.
There were some very famous men born in America in 1807. January started the year off with a baby boy from Virginia named Robert E Lee. He would go in the history books as a very famous man. Only one month later, in Portland Maine (Massachusetts) a baby boy was born with a thirst for knowledge, and a talent for recording it. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would also be in the history books as one of the most notable poets of all time. After these two babies enjoyed the limelight for most of the year, our own Joab Lafayette McCollum Sr was born in October of 1807. His parents were David McCollum and Sarah Graham. This man would not go in history books, nor would he be a notable poet, but his contribution to the lineage of McCollum/Collum would be forever important to many decades thereafter. Little Joab McCollum would certainly make his mark in history!
Robert Fulton’s steamboat was gaining prevailing notoriety, as it also began in 1807. Our United States was only thirty one years old, and Thomas Jefferson was our third president. Everyday life was archaic compared to the standard of living today. Smelly coal oil lamps, dripping candles, or God’s beautiful sunshine were the only sources of lights. Cooking was done on an open fireplace. It was not costly, but very time consuming. It was also hot in the summer. Gathering wood in those days was a constant chore, as the wood was not only heat, but fuel for the cooking. Laundry was also a major chore, as it required taking the garments to a nearby creek to wash, or bring water to the “scalding pot” so they could be boiled over an open fire. This called for more wood. Nothing was easy in those days. Medical knowledge was primitive; medical personnel were not easily obtained. For this reason, sickness, childbirth, and injuries more often than not, resulted in death. Our female ancestors had a very short life expectancy because of the hard life, and lack of medical treatment.
When Joab was only five years old, James Madison was the fourth president, and the talk of war was the main topic of conversation. The War of 1812 lasted three years, so until Joab was eight or nine years old, the subject of war was a constant source of conversation. Even though South Carolina had more than five thousand men in the war, and had raised a lot of money for its defense, there was not a skirmish or battle fought within the state. I’m quite certain that the fear of battle within the area kept the citizens in invariable panic.
Joab was a typical young boy, and grew to be a typical teenager. He started working as a teenager, as most boys did in those times. If the boys learned to read and write, they usually learned it at home from mom or sister, because the chores could not suffer for the boys’ education. Employment in that era included, but was not limited to: farming, wood cutting, trapping, and making furniture. I’m sure that cattle ranches also employed quite a few men. I can picture my ancestors on horseback with their gun strapped to their side. The cowboys on TV are not good representation of what it was really like. If he rode twenty miles on a smelly horse, he smelled. If he was on a cattle drive for two months; he needed a haircut, shave, and a bath. Since there was no other mode of transportation, they all rode horses, or walked. Most men carried guns during that time for protection. It would not be feasible to carry the pistol in a pocket. For this reason, a holster on the hip was the answer. A gun holster on the side was the most logical way to carry a much needed pistol. This was during a time that men respected the gun for protection. They were trained early on the proper use of the firearms. With this being established, it is safe to say that our ancestors were cowboys.
By the time Joab was twenty one years old, he married his sweetheart Sarah Charity Wood. She was five years younger than Joab. They started their family in 1830 with a boy named John Nelson. Their second child was another boy. David was born in 1832. Joab was very happy; he had two sons now to help with chores, he looked forward to the time they could start working. Most men didn’t coddle and coo over the babies. They were generally too tired from all the hard work. Their third child was another boy. William was born in 1833. Perhaps by this time, Joab was strutting like a rooster, because he now had three boys, and would soon have a house full of all boys. His boastful attitude didn’t last long; his fourth child was a girl. Sweet Maryann was born in 1835. When Joab saw her, she captured his heart. Joab’s next three children were girls. Matilda was born in 1837. A beauty named Suffira was born in 1838, and died a few months later. This was a dreadful hardship for this family. Their first loss of a family member was hard to overcome. Little Suffira was laid to rest in a place called “Sarah’s Chapel”. She was the first of this family to be buried here, but she will be joined by others.
Rebecca came along in 1840. She was the last daughter for Joab and Sarah Wood. When the eighth child was born in 1842, it was a boy. He was given the name Joab Lafayette McCollum Jr. Three years later, in 1845, Sarah gave birth to her ninth child. This was another boy, Thomas Munsey. Sadly, Sweet Sarah, only thirty four years old, lost her life with this childbirth. Sarah was laid to rest near her daughter Suffira in Sarah’s Chapel.
With eight children to care for, Joab needed to marry again. He married in 1845. The girl he chose was Sarah Prince. She was eighteen years younger than Joab. Their first child was born in 1846. It was a girl. Her name was Charity Ellen. It is quite possible that she was named after his first wife. Sadly, little Thomas from his first wife, died the same year little Charity was born. Thomas was laid to rest near his mom and sister in Sarah’s Chapel.
This was a very unusual family. Joab was almost forty years old, and his wife was twenty one. This was not an unusual occurrence in that time period. In 1847, his eleventh child was born. Lina was her name. The older children knew that it was their duty to help care for the little ones. Whether it was for giving them a bath, helping with homework, teaching them how to do chores, or just keeping them pacified during a time of childbirth or sickness.
Three years later, another daughter was born. Marietta was born in 1850. She was born into a family of many caretakers. Big families required more food, more sleeping quarters, and more room to play. These big families also offered more love, more laughter, more hugs, and more prayers.
Three years later, James Wesley Brady McCollum was born. This was the thirteenth child of Joab Lafayette McCollum Sr. This child brought happiness and excitement in this large family. Some of the older children had already started working away from home, but they still helped out when needed.
Joab’s father David died in 1855, he also rests in Sarah’s Chapel. This time had to be difficult for Joab and Sarah. She was expecting his fourteenth child. Josephine was born in 1856. The later children were not so hard for mom to take care of, because she had so many helpers. Having a house full of children during that time was actually necessary for all concerned.
The fifteenth child of Joab was Neighoma, born in 1858. I can only imagine all the additions Joab and his sons made to the house for all this family to have a place to sleep. The older children didn’t marry and start having children until all of Joab’s children had been born. I can envision additions made to each side of the house, with bunks stacked against the wall.
Joab and Sarah had a son in 1860; he was number sixteen in this huge family. This son, the last son, was called Goodson. Were they saying that their hopes were pinned on this one? Were they saying the others were not good sons? Who knows what they were thinking in that era when they picked out names.
They were not finished with sixteen children. In 1863, a beautiful angelic girl was born as the seventeenth child. Her name was Martha. She only lived a very short time. She rests in peace with so many of her family members in Sarah’s Chapel.
Marietta, the twelfth child, died at age twenty five. She did not marry. I found no cause of death.
The fourteenth child, Josephine, died at an early age of twenty three. She never married. I did not find a cause of death.
The fifteenth child of Joab’s, Neighoma, died at nineteen years old. She never married, and I also did not find any cause of death
Goodson, the seventeenth child, died at age twenty. He never married. I did not find a cause of death.
In Sarah’s Chapel, there are fifteen McCollums resting in sublime calmness. All of these are immediate family members of Joab Lafayette McCollum Sr. This list includes the names of his children mentioned above who never married.
Joab Lafayette McCollum Sr made quite a mark in history with seventeen children, many grandchildren, and many many great grandchildren.
In Dade County Georgia, lies a peaceful cemetery next to an old church. It is called Sarah’s Chapel. Within the boundaries of this cemetery, many of our ancestors sleep peacefully until the time we are all together again. Three of these ladies were named Sarah; Joab’s mother and both of his wives were called Sarah. It is quite possible that some of these seventeen children named this cemetery Sarah’s Chapel in honor of these three ladies in their life.
John Neil “Old John” 1657= his son Samuel Sr. 1692,= his son Samuel Jr, 1720= Daniel 1760, =David 1777,= then Joab Lafayette McCollum Sr. 1807
John Neil “Old John” McCollum was my 8th great grandfather he was the 3rd great grandfather of Joab Lafayette McCollum Sr.