52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 1: John Louis Laramore
In January 2014, blogger Amy Johnson Crow issued a challenge to readers called The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. The idea is to write about a specific ancestor each week for 52 weeks, to hopefully inspired blogger to write about those who walked before us and, hopefully, learn a bit more about the person in the process.
John Louis Laramore
When I was young, two large framed photos of a couple of dead relatives hung in the family dining room. I was told who they were but the names meant nothing to me at the time. But, later in life, as I become interested in family history those framed photographs came alive to me. The photos were John Louis Laramore and his wife, Mary Elmina Bryan.
John Louis Laramore was a fascinating man. His life ranged from prosperous land and slave owner to a bankrupt farmer who died intestate. For someone seemingly well to do, vital records about his life don’t exist such as birth records or a will. It’s not even known for sure when he was born or died. Most researchers seem to understand that he was born approximately 1824 in Abbeville, South Carolina. [1, 2] Numerous attempts have been attempted to find his exact date of birth, to no avail.
The father of John Louis Laramore was James Laramore, proven when John Louis acted as executor of the estate of his father in 1861.  As well, John will be involved in a law suit later in life over property having belonged to his father (who is named in the documents). Not much is known about old James: he was born somewhere between 1789 and 1797 and in either Abbeville (old 96th District), South Carolina or France, near Marseille. In the 1860 Lee, Georgia census, he indicates his birth year as 1797 and birth place as Georgia. Researcher Eva Laramore believes that he came to Abbeville before the 1790 census. It has also been reported by Eva Laramore that the Laramore name was previously spelled “Leirumour” or “Leirumore.”  In the 1830 census his name is spelled “James Laraeymbe.”  The mother of John Louis Laramore was Anna Covin. 
On 08 Aug 1844 the first possible written record about the life of John Louis Laramore appears: his marriage to Mary Elmina Bryan, born in 1830 in Lee county, Georgia. Supposedly the DAR (The Daughters of the American Revolution) has a listing for his marriage record but this researcher has yet to find the record or proof of this date (but is determined to keep looking). However, as he was residing in Lee County, Georgia, it would make sense that this is where he married. John and his brother, Peter W. Laramore, married two sisters; Mary Elmina Bryan and Harriette Melvina Bryan, daughters of Needham Bryan and Mary Ann Green. 
After his marriage, records of the life of John Louis and Mary Elmina Bryan start to become available. Some are quite fascinating.
In the 1850 Lee, Georgia census John is 26 and lists his occupation as farmer. He provides an estimated Value of Real Estate of $3,300; three children are listed. By 1860 he and Elmina have seven children and are prospering. His recorded Value of Real Estate is now up to $9,000 and his Value of Personal Estate is $21,000. The nearest neighbor is his sister, Jane Staley Laramore, Jane’s husband William Chastain and their children.  Unfortunately, much of this positive growth in financial status was based on the labors of his 24 slaves noted in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules.  In the 1850 slave schedule, he listed eight slaves.
Though John Louis Laramore is not known to have served in the military several records (though one person has a story attached to him on Ancestry.com of his supposed participation in the 23rd Infantry Regiment of Montgomery, Alabama) exist of a slave owner named J. L. Laramore having slaves serve in some unknown capacity on the Confederate side of the CSA. Another man, James Laramore, who should be the brother of J L Laramore, also had slaves registered for the Confederacy.  Slaves and free blacks were present in the Confederate lines as hand servants and manual laborers.
Now the fun records begin:
U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918: Name: John Laramore. Year: 1865. Articles listed: two carriages and a piano.  His brother, Peter W. Laramore, also appears on this list.
Newspaper article: Charleston Courier. 19 Nov 1862. “Fine Syrup.” We acknowledge the receipt, from Mr. John L. Laramore, of Lee county of a sample of most excellent syrup, from cane of this year’s growth. We have never seen better. Mr. Laramore informs us that he will have about 3000 gallons for market, besides a quantity of sugar, of which he promises us a sample. There is no reason why Southwest Georgia might not always supply her own demand for sugar and syrup, and furnish a large quantity of both for consumption in other sections. Sumter (Ga) Republican 
Newspaper article: Charleston Courier. 16 December 1862. Page One. “Georgia Made Sugar.” Mr. Jno. L. Laramore, of Lee county, has laid upon our tab’e a few pounds of sugar manufactured by himself. It is of a rich golden color, beautifully granulated, and entirely dry. Of this article Mr. Laramore has made about 1200 pounds. He has also made about 60 pounds of beautiful syrup, the whole having turned out an excellent operation. Sumter (Ga.) Republican. 
The National Archives, Confederate bond: John L. Laramore from Georgia listed in the Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-65. Known as the “Citizens File,” these original records pertain to goods furnished or services rendered to the Confederate government by private individuals or business firms. It states that John L. Laramore sold (purchased?) 71 bushels and a half of corn @ $4.00 on August 5, 1864 for a total of $286.00. It indicates that he paid it for his taxes for the 22 District of Georgia. Another document notes the hauling of 3976 pounds of corn four miles @ 10 cents for every four miles. He got paid $15.90; dated Aug 5, 1864. 
The National Archives, Confederate bond: On March 9, 1864 John purchased a Confederate States of America bond for $400, bearing interest of 4% per annum, payable half yearly. The bond reads, “CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, DEPOSITORY OFFICE, MACON, GA., March 9th, 1864. This will certify, that Jno. L. Laramore has paid in this office Four Hundred Dollars for which amount Registered Bonds of the CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, bearing interest from this date, at the rate of Four per cent per annum, payable half yearly, will be issued to him under the Act of February 17th, 1864, entitled “An act to authorize a reduction of the currency and issue of Bonds for funding Treasury Notes,” upon the surrender of this Certificate at this Office, and receivable without interest for taxes for the year 1864. 
The National Archives, Confederate sale of corn by Mary Laramore: Mary Laramore (assumed to be the wife of John Louis Laramore, though this could be their daughter, Mary Ann Laramore who was still single in 1864.) from Georgia listed in the Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-65. A contract available online at Fold3.com states that Mrs. Mary Laramore sold (or purchased?) 95 bushels and twenty-one pounds of corn @ $4.50 on Sept 25, 1864 for $429.18. 
The National Archives, Confederate sale of corn by Mary Laramore: Another document found on Fold3.com certifying a sale made between the Confederate States and Mrs. Mary Laramore notes that on September 26, 1864, Mrs. Mary Laramore was paid $21.36 for hauling 5341 pounds of corn four miles at $.10 per mile. Again, this could possibly be the daughter of Mary Elmina (Bryan) Laramore and John L. Laramore. 
The 1870s roll around and John and Mary now have ten children and his Value of Real Estate is up to $20,000 [Note: figure is difficult to read; it may be $30,000] in the Americus, Sumter, Georgia census, where he now resides. His listed Value of Personal Estate is up to $7,000. 
It’s unknown why John moved his family to Americus, though we know approximately when he moved there. In the Georgia, Returns of Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867-1869, a listing exists for John L. Laramore swearing under oath that he was born in South Carolina, has been a citizen of the State of Georgia for 250 months and that he now resides in the 789 Election Precinct of Sumter, having lived in Sumter County, Georgia for “6 months.” It also notes that he has “not been disfranchised for participation in any rebellion or civil war against the United States, nor for felony committed against the laws of any State.” The document is dated 19 July 1867.
He seems to be doing well but, as they say, looks can be deceiving: Soon after, John loses a legal battle over the rights to 200+ acres of land that had belonged to his father and is ejected from it. 
What happens next? This–
Macon Weekly Telegraph Newspaper article: October 10, 1871. Advertisement: “Plantation For Sale.’ The undersigned offers to sell his well-known plantation, in Lee county, consisting of 1800 acres of good land, about 800 cleared and in a state of cultivation and good repairs. A fine residence and all other good improvements are on the place to make it desirable. The place is well watered and healthy, and is one of thee most desirable places in Southwestern Georgia, and will average with the best farms in the county. Its locality, eight miles east of Smithville, on the Southwestern Railroad; twelve miles northeast of Wooten’s; eleven miles south of the city of Americus, and adjoining the lands of Col. James Gardner and Maj. Bryan and others, and if desired will sell every thing on the place, consisting of corn, fodder, peas, cane, potatoes, and wagons and farming utensils of all kind.
Stock– a lot of fine mules, cattle, hogs, in fact everything to carry on a first-class farm. I will sell the entire property for one-half cash, the balance in one, two or three years’ time, with interest from date. Any person wishing to buy can confer with me at Americus, or my agent, J. W. Baring, on the place, which he will show to any one who will call on him.
P.S.- Also, I will sell my desirable house and lot in the city of Americus, convenient to business, and in a good neighborhood, joining Col S.R. Lalor, A. R. Brown and others, containing four acres. The entire property will be offered until the first of November.
JNO. L. LARAMORE 
Hhmmm, he must still be farming though:
Newspaper article, 1872: Caterpillar in Lee County. Mr. John L. Laramore writes us from Lee county under date of the 16th, that he had just examined his crop and found “millions” of caterpillars in it, and that they seemed to be increasing. His opinion is, that if they work as energetically as they generally do, they will cut the crop off one half. 
But then bankruptcy hits. On 16 Feb 1875 John L. Laramore of Leesburg, in Lee county, and Peter W. Laramore of Starkville, in Lee county, declared bankruptcy. United States District Court. These two men are brothers. 
Now he’s back to farming again.
Newspaper article, 1880: Sumter Republican: Jno. L. Laramore, of Lee county, cut his wheat on Friday, 10th inst. The yield was about ten bushels to the acre, when he had expected twice that amount. Ten bushels is an average in a wheat country, and Mr. Laramore will probably eat the first biscuit from new wheat, in Georgia, this year. 
The 1880 Starkville, Lee, Georgia census notes that he is 55 years of age and living next door to his son, Louis N. B. Laramore and wife. 
A couple of records that appear during this time:
Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 about Jno L Laramore. Location: District 915, Lee, Georgia, USA. Enumeration Date: 15 Jun 1880. Schedule Type: Agriculture. OS Page: 11. Line Number: 10. Owner. Tilled acres including fallow and grass in rotation: 500. Permanent pasture, meadows, orchards and vineyards: 30. Woodland & Forest: 740 ac. Farm Value: Of farm, including land, fences & buildings: $7500. Value of farming implements & machinery: $600. Value of livestock: $1000. Fences: Cost of building and repairing in 1877: $50. Cost of fertilizer purchased: $200. Labor: Amount paid for wages of farm labor, including value of board: $1300. Weeks hired labor in 1879 upon farm (and dairy), excluding house work: White: left blank. Colored: 674. Estimated value of all farm productions (sold, consumed or on hand) in 1879: $4000. Acreage mown: left blank. Acreage not mown: left blank. Products harvested: hay: left blank. Covered seed: left blank. Grass seed: left blank. Horses of all ages: 2. Mules and asses of all ages on hand June 1, 1880: 2. On hand June 1, 1880: Working oxen: left blank; milk cows: 7; other: 30. Movement in 1879: Calves dropped: 8. Purchased: 0. Slaughtered: left blank. Died or strayed: 1. Sheep questions: left blank. Swine on hand: 6; Eggs produced in 1879: 50 doz. Butter made on the farm: 520 lbs. Number of barnyard poultry on hand: 33. 
Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892. Name: John L Laramore. Year: 1878-1882. Post Office: Starkville. District: Chokee. District Number: 1238. Place: Lee, Georgia, USA. Also listed in this tax record are the additional family members living close by: Peter W. Laramore (a brother of John L. Laramore), Benjamin S. Laramore (son of Peter W.), John A. Laramore (son of Peter W.), William M. Laramore (son of Peter W.), Lewis Laramore (son of John L; also written as Louis Napolean B. Laramore), Augustus Laramore (son of Peter W.). It is noted that John L. Laramore is white, has 40 hands employed for him, farms 1,000 total acres of land (Numbers: 27.28, 34.35, 36, 924.25; Districts: 14 and 15, with an aggregate value of $2,500 
The History of Lee County, Georgia lists John Laramore acting as executor of the estates of his wife, Mrs. M.E. Laramore as well as his father. Images of the wills are available in Wills, Vol A, 1854-1955, 146 and 58, respectively.  It is frustrating to realize that John Louis Laramore himself probably died intestate. Probate records don’t appear to exist in either Lee, Georgia or Americus, Georgia for a John Louis Laramore (attempts have been made by this researcher). There is also not an obituary for him found to date.
An obituary for Mary Elmina (Bryan) Laramore appeared 20 May 1889 in The Constitution of Atlanta, Georgia. It read as follows:
NEWS FROM AMERICUS. Mrs. John L. Laramore, a most estimable Christian lady, died yesterday morning at her home in Lee county. The remains were brought here today for burial and interred in Oak Grove Cemetery. 
It is recorded that John Louis Laramore died 20 November 1882 in Americus, Georgia. However, with the exceptions of his grave marker listing this date and a Find A Grave (www.findagrave.com) submission , records haven’t been found to prove this fact. In fact, it was immediate family members of my own, now deceased, who are the persons who had the grave marker made a number of years ago. It’s not known where they obtained the information regarding John’s death date.
John Louis Laramore and Mary Elmina (Bryan) Laramore are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Americus, Georgia. 
The citation numbers provided within the body of this document correspond to a bibliography list I possess. If the source to a written fact is needed, contact me and I will provide the information.
If this research is of interest to you and/or you descend from a Laramore line—especially from an offspring of John Louis Laramore and Mary Elmina Bryan, please reach out and let me know. I would welcome hearing from you.
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