140 Years of Harvell Family History

My great-great grandparents Hamilton “Pleasant Ham” Harvell (1856–1928) and Caroline Henderson Harvell (1862–1941) of Long Creek Township, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Descendants of Ham and Caroline at the 2017 Harvell Family Reunion in Charlotte, North Carolina
January 24, 1877 Marriage Record for P (Pleasant) Ham (Hamilton) Harvell and Caroline Henderson.
The Harvells were from Long Creek Township in Huntersville which is about 10 miles north of Charlotte, NC. Long Creek is named for Captain John Long who was a Revolutionary War patriot. Captain Long owned the land through which the creek flowed. He farmed the land and he also built a grist mill — which is a mill for grinding grain — on the land sometime before the Revolutionary War. Grist mills back then were essential for successful farming. Captain Long’s mill was water powered, which explains the mill’s location along the creek. Captain Long died in 1799 at age fifty-five and is buried in the Hopewell Presbyterian Church Cemetery. After Long’s death the land including Long’s mill and farm was acquired by Colonel John “Jacky” H. Davidson who replaced Long’s mill with the Long Creek Mill in 1820. Ruins of that 1820 mill still stand today.
Harvell family bible records (left) list the last name of William and Elisa — parents of Ham Harvell — as Blythe. The 1870 US Census (right) lists their last name as Harvell. How could this be? Last names of formerly enslaved people were quite fluid. Slave holders generally gave the people they owned first names, but not surnames. Historical sources however reveal that enslaved people gave themselves surnames prior to emancipation. Post emancipation things get really fluid. A formerly enslaved person might keep the surname they gave themselves while enslaved, adopt the surname of their former owner or their mother or their father, or their mother’s former owner or their father’s former owner. Perhaps they were the offspring of a white man and enslaved woman and took the name of the man they thought was their father. Perhaps they decided to give themselves a brand new name. I’ve often wondered where the last name Harvell came from. We may never know. What we do know is that the name they gave themselves lives on through us.
Miranda Cemetery, which is west of Beatties Ford Road in Huntersville, is the original location for Miranda Presbyterian Church . The Harvells were founders of Miranda Presbyterian church which was formed in 1869 by black members of Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Hunterville. The land was originally part of the Carr plantation. The church merged with the Catawba Presbyterian Church in 1958. The Hendersons and Spauldings who are Harvell descendants are members of Catawba Presbyterian.
Charles Manuel “Sweet Daddy” Grace, founder and first bishop of the United House of Prayer For All People. Harvell offspring are active members and leaders within the United House of Prayer and other denominations.
My great grandparents Isabella Harvell Kerns and Andrew Kerns. Isabella known throughout here life as Bell was the 8th of 11 children born to Ham and Caroline Harvell.

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