Gabriel Rabon died on Oct 8, 1862. Following his death there appeared to be a fight between his father, brothers, wife, and minor children for control of his property and guardianship of the children. It sometimes becomes cumbersome trying to separate what really occurred. The following documents are a true representation, transcribed by me, Carl E. Bailey of those documents retained in the Horry County Probate Court Archives. In many cases, words were illegible and I have taken a guess. You will find my guesses enclosed by parentheses.
Perhaps a short overview of what seems to have happened will help the reader understand what took place. Facts indicate that Gabriel Rabon died intestate. Following Gabriel's death, Abraham Rabon, Sr., brought charges against his son George and Gabriel's widow Mary, for living an immoral life without being married, in which he sought custody of the four minor children, Duke, Catherine, Jane, and Melissa, along with the sale of the property owned by Mary and the Children so he could provide support for them. Abraham gained custody of the children but when he died in 1872, George petitioned the court and gained guardianship of the children and land. (Notes by: Carl E. Bailey)
by next friend Abraham Rabon
To Joseph J Harrell, Esquire, Ordinary
The petition of Duke Rabon, Catherine Rabon, Jane Rabon and Melissa Rabon, by their next friend Abraham Rabon, (?) and your worship. That their father Gabriel Rabon, late of this district and state aforesaid deceased, departed this life on or about the 8 day of Oct A.D. 1862, intestate. That administration of his personal estate was granted to the aforesaid Abraham Rabon, who has duly administered the same. That their said father at the time of his death was seized and (owned) the following real estate. To wit, one tract of land in the District and state aforesaid on Chinners Swamp containing one hundred and ninety acres more or less, as represented on a plat of the same made by J. C. Beady, deputy surveyor. And one more tract in said district and state containing seventy five acres more or less, which is duly recorded in the conveyance of the same by one Duke Rabon, (turning) it over (to) said father on date 24th day of (December) A.D. 1859. Their petition further states that they together with their mother Mary Rabon are the heirs and distributers of the estate of their said father and are permitted to have the same divided or sold for a partition among them and their said mother. Your Petitioner further shows that they are infants of tender age, the oldest your petitioner Duke Rabon, being only seven years of age. That their mother, the said Mary Rabon, is unable to support and maintain them, and that the said Abraham Rabon their grandfather appearing with them here as their next friend, is able, willing, and desirous to take care of them. Further, (your Worship) that their said mother has since the death of their father, led an immoral life, living as his wife but unmarried with a brother of their said father. That whatever may be realized as their shares of the said proceeds of the sale of said real estate is absolutely necessary for the (upkeep) and for their support and education. Your petitioners therefore pray your Worship to grant the usual (summons) in partition for the division of or sale for division of the real estate of the said Gabriel Rabon deceased, and for all such partition orders as will effect the effort of your petiioner and as to your Worship shall seem (necessary) and they will use pray ye.
Abraham x Rabon
(Fest) Joseph Walsh
To Abraham Rabon - next friend Duke Rabon, Catherine Rabon, Melissa Rabon minors and Mary Rabon legal heir and distributress of Gabriel Rabon deceased late of this District.
You are herby required to be and appear at the Court of Ordinary, to be holden at Conwayboro for Horry District on the 26th day of October A.D., 1866, to shew cause, if any you can, why the Real Estate of Gabriel Rabon deceased, situated in said District, on Chinners Swamp - one tract containing one hundred ninety Acres more or less, and another tract containing one hundred and seventy five acres more or less should not be sold or divided; allotting to the above mentioned Heirs, their distributive share thereof, either in money or in land, according to the law in such cases made and provided.
GIVEN under my Hand and Seal, this the fourth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty six and in the 91st year of American Independence.
Abraham Rabon accused Mary Rabon, wife of his deceased son Gabriel of living an immoral life with George Rabon, son of Abraham and brother of Gabriel. He seeks the sale of the land and custody of the children. The documents are copies of 136 year old handwritten records. In some cases the archaic language and the illegibility of the handwriting proved too difficult to interpret. Therefore, I have placed what seems to be an appropriate word in parentheses to make the information flow smoothly.
(Notes by: Carl E. Bailey)
Plaintiff and defendant appear with their witnesses. Plaintiff Abraham plead that the widow is incompetent from character and ability to (care) and protect the children and that they petition grandfather of the children custody and for the sale of the land for the support of the children.
A Rabon - Sworn there is only a hundred and eighty acres of farm land sir. (It) is in bad condition and that the land will not improve in value - that the actual acres soon will not exceed in value $10.
Cross Exam by defendant
Is there not another means of supporting said children other than the labour of her own hands and sale of lands, except a small sale of stock? Answer-
G. (George W., Magistrate) Cartret - Sworn
Says land and plantation is going to sack badly - thinks is a bad situation for the mother to maintain the children and the place - does not think plantation can improve by delay --perhaps the sale of land will do as well now as anytime.
S. (Solomon) Rabon - Sworn
Land is sorry and badly handled - thinks the mother cannot support the children without a good deal of the work (done by) children - thinks it to the interest of the children to sell now as it will (only lose more in value to the detriment of the children) - thinks it would be to the interest of the children to change their house - thinks the petitioner is seeking the beneficent of the children by his petition.
Elizabeth Baker - Sworn
Does not know much about the place - does not think that on a poor place defendant can support children without assistance - has been sending her son to school - children do not lack a parenting.
Cross Exam by Plaintiff
Would you think morals of children endangered by (George) remaining with mother? If she puts George away and keeps him away, she should have her children.
George Rabon - Sworn
Has seen the children 2 or 3 times a week. Does not think children are perishing - place in question is gone to sack - it is like other (farm) land - can't tell whether land will improve or not (?).
Cross Exam by Plaintiff
Have you not been living an immoral life with your brother's wife?
(Answer) You can't expect me to answer that question. If the place is not sold, I expect to go there if I want to - - If I have slept with her, you prove it. (I've) helped her with her crops.
State of South Carolina
Duke Raban, (Pet)
Personally appeared Jas C. Beaty and G.W. Mishoe who made oath that they are well as acquainted with the quantity, quality, and location of the lands which were the property of Gabriel Rabon deceased, and that they really believe that the same are not worth more han the sum of six hundred dollars.
James C. Beaty
Sworn before me
Oct 1, 1866
Summons to the case was issued on October 4th returnable Oct 26, 1866 -
The proper returns made and the parties at interior was not ready for investigation and our addition of GW Mishoe to case was continued until 9th of Nov. Defendant objects in person for a while and after the examination of E. Baker, George Rabon, Sol Rabon, and Mary Rabon, on oath - waved objection but preferred division by acres - without offering satisfactory reasons - and it appeared that said lands could not be so divided with profit - and the following decree is therefore entered.
Now know all men by these presents that I Daniel Lewis, Sheriff as aforesaid for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred and five dollars to me in (?)paid for secured to be paid according to the terms and conditions of fair (Sales) have granted bargained , sold and converted unto the said Abraham Raban his heirs and assigned, all that tract of land situated in Said District where Gabriel Raban formerly lived containing one hundred and ninety acres more or less.
To have and to hold all and singular the premises aforesaid unto the said Abraham Raban his heirs and assigns forever. Hereby warranting the same as fully as I might ought, or should warrant by virtue of the order of sale aforesaid and the stature in such case made and provided will authorize me to warrant.
Witness my hand and seal this
(?) day of (January) AD 1867 and
in the 91st year of American dependence
Contributed by Carl and Velma Bailey
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