SUBMITTED BY: Caitlin Crenshaw
Elizabeth Gaylord, the daughter of Samuel Gaylord and Azubah Atkins, was born in Middletown, Connecticut on January 6, 1791 (Middletown Upper Houses Genealogical Book). In April 1809, Elizabeth married William Nott; William Nott was born in 1788. Elizabeth and William had a total of nine children during their lives; their names were Elizabeth, Frances, Caroline, Clarissa, Samuel G., John J., James D., and William F. Sometime between 1815 and 1820, the Nott family moved from Middletown, Connecticut to Fayetteville, North Carolina. According to an insurance policy from 1845, Elizabeth and her family lived on the north side of Russell street and the corner of Dick Street.
Elizabeth’s husband, William was a co-owner of a business that was located downtown; William was business partners with John Duncan Starr. According to William’s probate records, the store was located near the Lafayette Hotel, and based on an article in the Fayetteville Observer, that hotel was located on the corner of Hay Street and Donaldson Street during that time. The family, especially William Sr., was very involved in the community and were prominent members in society. In December of 1834, the Fayetteville Weekly Observer published an article that discussed William’s nomination for the position of commissioner for the Whig party of 1835.
In November of 1840, William Nott died while he was visiting family and friends in Connecticut. When William died, his business partner, John D. Starr, was left to dissolve the remaining accounts in their store and to settle William’s financial affairs, redistributing their remaining assets from their partnership together. According to William’s estate records, Elizabeth was not pleased with how Starr dispersed her late husband’s money. Elizabeth and her children took Starr to court; she sued for equity because the items and money were not being divided equally. Following the settlement of the case, Elizabeth and her children were given 1,850 dollars in allowance.
According to William’s estate records, the Nott’s enslaved people were listed as property, and there were nine in total; six adults and three children: Their names were Moses, Joseph, Antony, Rachael, Dolly, and Philly and his children: George, Andrew, and Nancy. There is also a slave schedule from 1850 that lists Elizabeth Nott as the enslaver of eleven black men and women; their ages ranged from 6 to 70, and it did not list them by name.
Even during the Civil War, Elizabeth and her family were still prominent members of society. In 1862, an article was published in the Fayetteville Semi-Weekly Observer which acknowledged contributions from Elizabeth and Frances to the Richmond Hospitals, each daughter donated two dollars. According to a different article from the Fayetteville Weekly Observer in 1863, a daughter, Elizabeth, donated one dollar to the Juvenile Knitting Society. Starr, William’s former business partner, was not as fortunate during that time: he died on September 25, 1862. Starr was married to Mary Macy Flack and had a total of six children; they named one of their children after William Nott. John Duncan Starr was buried in Cross Creek Cemetery 1.
According to the 1870 Census, Elizabeth and five of her children, Frances, Clarissa, Carolina, Elizabeth, and James, were living together. There was also a young man named Thomas Nott listed on the census with them. He was a young black man, only 17 years old. In the 1880 Census record, four of her children were living with her, Frances, Clarissa, Carolina, and James and Thomas was not listed.
On September 16, 1882, Elizabeth Nott died at the age of 97 years old. She left behind her children and her estate. She was buried in Cross Creek Cemetery 2 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Six years after Elizabeth’s death, on July 21, 1888, her daughter, Frances, died. Following Frances, William F., died on September 20, 1895. James D. died on October 2, 1900. Not much time after James’ passing, Samuel died on June 13, 1902. Clarissa died on May 28, 1906. When Clarissa died, the Fayetteville Weekly Observer published an obituary for her on May 31, 1906. It mentioned that she passed away due to a “long period of feeble heath, induced by a paralytic stroke and a fall two or three years ago.”