Whitmel Cotten & Mary Foreman

Descendants of John Cotten ca 1674-1728
and Martha Godwin ca 1683:
John, John, Joab, Whitmel

Whitmel Cotten 1772(?) – March 1831 | his parents
& 1811 Mary (Polly) Foreman 1783/95 – 1844 | her parents
of Scotland Neck, Halifax Co


This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!
Thanks to David B Gammon for dates and records
looking for male line Cotten/on desc. To take part http://cottondna.family.nf/


Whitmel Cotten 1772(?) – March 1831 Scotland Neck, Halifax Co
married 24 Oct 1811 Mary (Polly) Foreman 1783/95 – 1844 of Halifax Co
daughter of Mildred Rutland and Benjamin Foreman
mentions in will money due her from the estate of brother Moses Horn in TN

Whitmel Cotten is a son of Joab Cotten and Anna Wilson of Halifax.

Children of Whitmel Cotten and Polly Foreman:
1. Benjamin Whitmel Cotten 1812 – Dec 1880
[new ts says 1814 – 1880]
married 26 Feb 1840 Martha Eliza Lawrence 15 Nov 1818 – 8 April 1892
Dau of Thomas Duke Lawrence of Halifax and Mary Bailey Powell d of Jesse Powell

a. Whitmel Lawrence Cotten – died 1914 near Scotland Neck, NC
married 20 Jan 1866 Emma S [Susan Emily] Bryan.
Daughter of Joseph Bryan and Louisa Higgs
i. Charles Mabry Cotten 27 Oct 1868 – 10 June 1947
Married Lilia Cherry six children
ii. Joseph Walter Cotten lived SC five children
married Mattie M Sheveatt
iii. Wayland Cotten 1870 – 19 Feb 1956 dsp
iv. Mary Foreman Cotten 4 June 1873 -Dec 1942
Married Joseph L Barnes
v. Ethel Cotten
married Floyd C Patterson
b. Mary Foreman Cotten 1843 – 28 Oct 1862 at age 17
c. Dr. Joseph R Cotten 12 Aug 1845 – 16 May 1877 age 32
both buried at Trinity Church, Scotland Neck
married 19 June 1867 Anna Baker [Nannie B] Paull 5 April 1848 – 4 Jan 1931
Married at Grace Church, Woodville
dau. of W H Paull and Cornelia A Smith of Scotland Neck
i. Mary Cornelia Cotten 16 Sept 1868 – 12 Dec 1946
married 23 Dec 1891 William Henry Josey 22 Aug 1861 – 29 June 1927 Scotland Neck
son of Napoleon Bonaparte Josey and Mary Louisa Powell
1. Nannie Louise Josey
married Newsome Allsbrook Riddick
2. Mary Josephine Josey
married Dr. Albert Sidney Page
3. Elizabeth Webb Josey
married Balfour Dunn Jr.
ii. Etta Hall Cotten 22 Mar 1873 – 1 Feb 1951
Married Capt. Augustus [Gus] Smith White 1 Aug 1863 – 4 Jan 1942
1. Janet White of Scotland Neck 1899 – 1982
She is Known locally for her paintings
iii. Nannie Cotten 1870 – 1938
married Charles Speed of Scotland Neck buried 1932
son of John H Speed and Ellen Edmondson of Scotland Neck
1. J Paull Speed dsp
2. Ellen Edmondson Speed 1903 – 1973
married William McDowell Dunn died 15 Oct 1931
Son of Balfour Dunn and Annie Vaughan
a. Willie Dunn
b. Paull Speed Dunn
3. Lois Speed
married Mr. Cooley
iv. Mattie W Cotten 6 Dec 1875 – 16 Sept 1950
married Dr. Charles Anthony Beck 24 Mar 1874 – 19 May 1932
son of Robert Beck and Elenor Townley of Wilmington, Del
1. Charles A Beck 25 Nov 1908 – 9 Sept 1926
2. Nancy Paull Beck 1904 – 1981
Married Henry Vance Waff
d. Martha [Pattie] Cotten 1848 – 1922 living at Suffolk Va in 1921 dsp
e. James Wilson Cotton 12 Mar 1850 – 22 July 1922 Scotland Neck
married 14 Oct 1873 Margaret [Lula] Morisette Cotton 20 Apr 1855 – 26 May 1951
Buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Scotland Neck
i. Lilian Morisette Cotten 3 May 1882 – 21 Oct 1970 sp
ii. Joseph Whitmel Cotten 9 Feb 1884 – 18 Apr 1949
married Cleve Andrews 12 July 1884 – 24 Aug 1965
Daughter of George W Andrews & Jennie Allsbrook
f. Thomas Cotten 1854 – 1920 [recent ts says 1852 – 1920]
Married and separated – no issue
g. Elizabeth [Bettie] L Cotten 1856 – 1929 [ts says 1855 – 1929]
married 20 Feb 1884 Capt Zachariah Taylor Vincent 1848 – 1926
Lived Norfolk VA
i. Zachariah Taylor Vincent Jr
ii. Sarah E Vincent
iii. Lucy E Vincent
h. Nannie Cotten dy.
i. Susan [ Susie] Cotten 1857 – 1930 no issue
married H C Walter
j. Sarah Cotten dy
2. Mary C Cotten – buried 25 Feb 1877 Trinity Church Reg.
Married 14 April 1843 James M Peebles of Halifax Co buried 18 Nov 1857
a. Virginia S Peebles ca 1843 – aft 1920
she was living with son Edward and wife in 1920 Washington DC
married 9 June 1863 Morton L Venable ca 1835 – 23 Dec 1907 DC
[school teacher] buried in Bethesda MD
by the Rev. Joseph Blount Cheshire
“Morton Venable came to Scotland Neck as the principal of Vine Hill Academy.”
This family was living in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1880.
Morton and Virginia were living in Washington DC as late as 1900.
i. Hattie Venable 1865 –
ii. Edward M Venable 1872 – aft 1930 living Washington DC
married Daisy Marie —-
iii. Charles Venable 1874 –
in 1900 worked as an engraver in Washington DC
iv. Archibald Venable 1877 –
b. Andrew Peebles ca 1844 – buried 30 June 1893
c. Emmett Peebles ca 1846 – buried 3 Oct 1866
d. J Wesley Peebles 1849 –
Married 14 Oct 1874 Catherine Edmondson Pittman ca 1856 – buried July 1881
daughter of Marmaduke W Pittman
married 2nd wife – buried 10 Aug 1908
e. Breckenridge Peebles ca 1851 – buried 7 July 1866
3. William H Cotten dy
4. Samuel Cotten dy
5. Emily Ann Cotton 1817 – aft 1880
married Oct 1834 William Bryant Dickson 1813 -1863
rem. to Jackson County, FL
both buried Methodist Church Cemetery in Greenwood, Florida
Ancestors of Shirley Smith Alday

EmilyCottonDicksonWilliam Bryant Dickson and Emily Ann Cotton
“his hat and coat were made of animal skins”
ca 1838

a. Mary M. Dickson
married W. W. Harvey
b. James Whitfield [Whitmel] Dickson 1836 –
Married Mary A. Gray
c. Georgia A. Dickson 1838 –
Married William Applewhite
d. William F. Dickson 1841 – 1929
Married 1st Lottie Powers
married 2nd Harriett Dozier
married 3rd Mollie Johnson
married 4th Molly Rogers
e. Marmaduke Dickson 1845 – 1912
married Hattie Ann Cook 1855 – 1930
i. William Bryant Dickson 1873 – 1875
ii. Rachel Mae Dickson 1876 – 1947
iii. Emily Smith Dickson 1877 – 1918
iv. James Cook Dickson 1879 – 1943
married Irene Hinote
v. Robert Long Dickson 1882 – 1968
Married Ida Clara Hart
vi. Anna Clark Dickson 1884 – 1926
Married Lewis Floyd
vii. Bell Cotten Dickson 1886 – 1971
Married Benjamin S. Waller
viii. Jenny Lidden Dickson 1888 – 1950
Married Arbe Hartzog
ix. Maggie Dickson 1891 – 1971
married Turner Thomas Smith 1890 – 1954
1. Evelyn Estelle Smith 1910 – 1985
married Virgil Odell Hobbs 1910 –
2. Duke Smith 1912 – 1993
married 1st Nadine Miller
married 2nd Blanche Whitaker 1918 – 1984
married 3rd Ruth Gilbert
3. Hattie Inez Smith 1913 – 1980
married Jessie James Benton 1912 – 1996
4. Reba Mae Smith 1915 – 1986
married I.W. Pete Enfinger 1916 – 1985
5. Willie Thomas Smith 1917 –
Married 1st Ollie Cunningham
married 2nd Margaret Pickren Gowan
6. Geraldine Smith 1919 – 1963
married Burton Rochell Halks 1910 – 1986
7. Robert Edward Smith 1920 – 1982
married Lois Forehand
8. John Henry Smith 1922 – 1976
married Audrey Mae Bodiford 1928 –
9. April Christine Smith 1925 –
Married Jiley Mack Cross 1920 –
10. Ralph Lynwood Smith 1926 –
Married Ethel Marie Ingram 1932 –
11. Emily Juanita Smith 1929 –
Married Fred Chevis Ingram 1929 – 1997
12. Son Smith 1931 – 1931
13. Richard Russell Smith 1932 –
Married Lillian Gertrude McCalvin 1935 –
x. Mittie B. Dickson 1893 – 1942
Married Nick Forehand
xi. Marmaduke Dickson 1896 – 1971
married Lila Granger
xii. John Hall Dickson 1900 – 1939
married 1st Sydney
married 2nd Ruby
f. Edward H. Dickson 1848 –
g. Susan S. Dickson 1851 – 1889
married 1st George Bevis
married 2nd John Bevis
h. Emily Bell Dickson 1856 – 1931
married Robert Frank Bevis


Descendants of John Cotten ca 1674-1728
and Martha Godwin ca 1683:
John, John, Joab, Robert

Robert Cotten ca 1780 – 12 Nov 1836 TN | his parents
& Mary Norfleet Jeffreys 1791 – 1871 | her parents
of Halifax Co, NC & TN


looking for male line Cotten/on desc. to take part http://cottondna.family.nf/


Robert Cotten ca 1780 – 12 Nov 1836 TN
married Mary Norfleet Jeffreys 1791 – 1871
(about 1823 Col Robert sold all his property in NC and
removed with his family to LaGrange, Fayette Co, TN)

This Robert Cotten was a son of Joab Cotten and Anna Wilson of Halifax.

Children of Robert Cotten and Mary Norfleet Jeffreys:
1. Leonidas Cotten 21 Dec 1817 – 4 Jan 1848 TN
his descendants posted on Ancestry.com by Blanchard D Smith
married 1 Feb 1838 Sarah Elizabeth Wright
27 Oct 1820 Wilmington NC – aft 1900 Birmingham AL
a. Alice London Cotten 10 Nov 1838 – 25 Oct 1897
married William Alexander Houston
i. Mary Houston dy
ii. Robert Houston dsp
iii. Sophy Houston
married Marion E Seabrock
1. Marion E Seabrock Jr
iv. Anna May Houston
married John Henry McWilliams had children
1. Houston McWilliams
2. Anna May McWilliams
v. Harry Gray Houston
vi. Allice Houston
married Paul Freeman had, at least, six children
b. Robert N Cotten 24 Aug 1840 – 1901 had eight children
married 22 Dec 1869 Eliza S Davenport 1842 – 1898
c. John Mercer Cotten 2 Feb 1842 – had five children
married 16 Feb 1870 Sally [Sneed] Green 1845 –
d. Leonidas Cotten 8 May 1847 – 1900
married Anna Beard Wright 1851 FL – 1880 Waco, TX
dau of the Rev. Benjamin Wright and wife Susan Beard
Susan married 2nd 1860 Maj. George Rainsford Fairbanks

info posted on Ancestry.com by Joseph N Fairbanks
i. Ashbel Lee Cotten 1872 texas –
ii. Benjamin Wright Cotten 1875 TX –
iii. Anna Wright Cotten 1876 TX –
married Edwin Raymond Williams
1. Anna Williams
2. Susan Williams
3. Edwin Williams
4. Ashbel Williama
iv. George Rainsford Fairbanks Cotten 15 Oct 1878 TX – Philadelphia
married Mary Huddleston
1. Rainsford Fairbanks Cotten Jr 1901 Marion, MS – Jan 1963 Jacksonville, FL
married July 1927 Augusta Robertson of Fayette, AL
living 1927 in Greensboro, NC
married 2nd 1950 Josephine Irene Mooney 1912 Winthrop, Massachusetts –
a. George Cotten
v. Charles B Cotten 1879 TX – NC
married ca 1885 TX Jennie Madden
vi. Shepard Marrast Cotten 1888 –
2. Robert W Cotten 18 Oct 1819 – 24 May 1839
3. James Wilson Cotten 24 Oct 1821 – 9 Aug 1828
4. John Henry Cotten 26 Feb 1824 – 13 Sept 1838
5. Mary Eliza Cotten 30 Mar 1826 – 24 June 1877
married John Mercer Wright no issue
6. Sally Ann Cotten 31 July 1828 – 24 June 1877
married William C Smith
a. Ernest Smith
b. Selwyn Smith
c. Edwin Smith
7. Edwin Hamilton Cotten 4 Aug 1831 –
married 23 June 1853 Fannie M. Logwood
a. Walter E. Cotten — of Pine Bluff, Ark.
b. Henry Cotten
i. Kittie Cotten
ii. Elmer Cotten
iii. Clarence Cotten — Balisville, Ark.
married 2d. Elizabeth Gloster
a. Arthur Cotten
b. Bessie Cotten
c. Pearl Cotten
d. Mary Cotten – Sheffield, Ala
e. Hubert Cotten – San Francisco, Ca
8. Norfleet Hill Cotten 21 July 1833 – 15 Feb 1871
married 20 Feb 1861 Fannie E. Black died 23 Nov 1899
a. Ida Norfleet Cotten 5 Jan 1862 –
married 1879 Thomas M. Swift
b. John Mercer Cotten 29 Apr 1863 – 25 Oct 1901
c. Edwin Leonidas Cotten 27 Feb 1865 – 14 May 1891
d. Lena Cotten 29 Dec 1867 has issue
married 1891 Alpheus T Blaine


Descendants of John Cotten ca 1674-1728
and Martha Godwin ca 1683:
John, John, Joab, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Cotten bef 1779 – 1848 | her parents
& bef Aug 1795 Josiah Nelms ca 1768 – 1812 | his parents
of Halifax Co, NC


Elizabeth Cotten was a daughter of Joab Cotten and Anna Wilson of Halifax.

Children of Elizabeth Cotten and Josiah Nelms:
1. Jeremiah Nelms
2. William Josiah Nelms
3. Sally Addison [Adline] Nelms
married 3 Nov 1831 John G Harvey
4. Ann [Nancy] Whitmel Nelms ca 1804 – 1877
married 13 Mar 1821 George N Steptoe d bef 1850
a. Virginia A Steptoe ca 1822 – July 1870
married Greenville NC 5 June 1838
Marshall Jefferson Lovejoy ca 1810 Vermont –

professor of languages
i. George Lovejoy ca 1839 –
student at West Point 1860
ii. Charles C Lovejoy ca 1842 –
Living single in 1880 Marion Co SC listed as teacher
iii. Henry Lovejoy ca 1844 –
iv. Annie E Lovejoy ca 1846 –
Married Halifax Co NC 9 April 1868 William T Jones
son of T. W. and Tempy Jones
v. Ross Lovejoy ca 1848 –
vi. Kate Lovejoy ca 1850 –
married Halifax Co NC 21 Feb 1871
Louis Godwin Cotten 1 Oct 1846 – 19 Nov 1875
1. Godwin Lovejoy Cotten 17 Oct 1872 – May 1952
lived Jamestown SC

cottengl3
married ca 1895 Eva C. 4 children
a. Lewis L Cotten ca 1896 NC –
b. Lou Cotten Best ca 1899 NC –

c. Blanch Cotten Mathis ca 1902 SC –
d. Kate Cotten Skipper 1905 SC –
married 2nd Annie Make Wilkerson
2. Jefferson Marshall Cotten 28 Mar 1875 – dy?
Kate married 2nd Oct 1881 G W Hudgins
moved to Palmyra NC
vii. Maud Lovejoy ca 1852 –
viii. Guy Manning Lovejoy ca 1856 – 9 Dec 1936 Birmingham Al aged 80
moved to Birmingham AL
married AL Eula – [maiden name unknown] died after 1936
ix. Helen C Lovejoy ca 1860 –
x. Jefferson M Lovejoy ca 1864 – 21 April 1921 Birmingham AL attended UNC
b. Helen Elizabeth Steptoe 1827 Halifax Co NC – 1898
married Dr. William Steptoe Christian 1830 – of Middlesex Co VA 1st cousins
Son of Dr. Richard Allen Christian and his wife Elizabeth Ann Robinson Steptoe
c. Mary Steptoe ca 1827 –
d. William Nelms Steptoe ca 1831 – April 1895 age 64
married Edgecombe Co 1 Dec [19 Nov] 1857 Eugenia M Daniel ca 1835 – Aug 1908
i. William [Willie] N Steptoe 28 Feb 1859 – 3 Sept 1924
married March 1885 Willie F Cushing 27 Oct 1858 – 28 Aug 1927
1. Charles Nelms Steptoe 1890 – 1924
married Bess White
2. Hilda Steptoe
married Arthur Wright
3. Mary Steptoe 1894 – 1930
Married Charles Edward Vanlandingham
ii. George N Steptoe 1863 – Aug 1891 age 28
iii. Margaret Lee Steptoe buried Aug 1889
e. Martha C Steptoe ca 1832 – Aug 1908
married 26 Nov 1856 Eli Cheshire Biggs 1831 – Sept 1894 age 63
Dry Goods
i. Mary Lee Biggs 18 Sept 1857 – 16 Aug 1885
married 10 Jan 1877 J Frank Brinkley 21 Sept 1854 – 17 Feb 1927
son of Spencer Powell Brinkley and wife Martha
he married 2nd Julia Perry
ii. Georgianna Biggs 22 Nov 1857 – 27 Aug 1949 [ts says 1857]
married Halifax Co 26 April 1882 William Thomas Riddick 18 May 1850 – 24 July 1892
1. Lilian Steptoe Riddick
2. Bessie Lee Riddick
3. Annie Laura Riddick
4. Eli Biggs Riddick
iii. Mattie C Biggs ca 1861 – [female]
iv. William S Biggs Oct 1862 – living 1900 in Halifax Co
married Halifax Co 23 Sept 1885 Susan W Shields
daughter of Charles W Shields and Mary Martin Burgess
v. Eli Cheshire Biggs ca 1865 – April 1888 buried at Old Trinity
vi. Lena Christian Biggs ca 1867 – 1876 buried at Old Trinity
vii. E W Biggs ca 1869 – [male]
viii. Henry W Biggs ca 1875 –
f. Georgianna Steptoe ca 1836 – Nov 1910

1860 Census for Halifax County shows:
William N. Steptoe, 29
Eugenia M., 23
George W., 1
Anne A. Steptoe, 56
Georgianna S., 23

According to Parish Register, these were the children of Wm. T. Riddick & Georgianna Biggs:
Lillian Steptoe Riddick
Bessie Lee Riddick
Annie Laura Riddick
Eli Biggs Riddick

Also in the Steptoe plot at Old Trinity:
William N. Steptoe, buried April 1895, age 64.
Georgianna Steptoe buried Nov. 1910
George N. Steptoe, buried August 1891, age 28
Margaret Lee Steptoe buried August 1889
Willie Steptoe, born Oct. 27, 1858 (no death date)
Willie N. Steptoe, Feb. 28, 1859 – Sept. 3, 1924
Mrs. W.N. Steptoe buried August 1908.

From 1850 Census, Halifax County:
Ann Steptoe, age 45
Helen, age 26
Mary, age 23
William, age 20
Martha, age 18
Georgianna, age 15

Josiah Nelms was apparently born ca 1768 or early 1769, as his father’s will, dated August 1768, mentions “my wife is now with child” and mentions no other children.

The will of Josiah Nelms is recorded in Halifax Will Book 3, page 529. Dated 22 Feb. 1812 and proved May Court 1812.
He mentions his wife but does not call her by name.
His estate is to be kept together to support my wife, my mother (unnamed), and my children, who are minors.
Son Jeremiah Nelms – the old plantation and the adjoining tract called the meeting house, and the land where Jones Pair now lives. Also, my mill lately recovered from James Higgs.
If Jeremiah dies, this land shall fall to my son William Josiah Nelms.
If all my children die, this land is to be divided with 1/3 to Harriott Wilson and 2/3 to Josiah Wilson.
Daughters Sally Nelms and Nancy Nelms – Negroes
To Saley Armistead (daughter of Robert Armistead) – $100.
To Mrs. Marks – $50
David Clark and Thomas Barrow are to give bonds to my mother.
Executor – Thomas Barrow
Witnessed by R. Tunstall, William Wiggins

Halifax CO. Deed Book 22, page 351
June 22, 1813 – Sally Nelms to her grandchild Sally Addison Nelms of Halifax County – Negroes Belford, Judy, and Betty.

Halifax Co. Deed Book 22, page 352
June 22, 1813 – Sally Nelms to her grandchild Nancy Whitmel Nelms of Halifax County.
Negroes Fanny, Anne, and Tom

This would be the Ann W. Nelms Steptoe.

The will of Elizabeth Cotton Nelms –dated Aug. 2, 1834, proved August Court 1848
Halifax Co. Will Book 4, page 264
Granddaughter Virginia Steptoe – Negro, but if she dies without issue, this will fall to her brothers and sisters.
My brother James W. Cotton – to hold in trust the tract of land where I now live, which I purchased at the Sheriff’s sale, also one-half my estate, for the use and benefit of my daughter Ann W. Steptoe during her lifetime.
My said brother is to hold the other half of my estate in trust for the use and benefit of my daughter Adline Hervey if she is widowed without sufficient support, and at her death, this property is to fall to the children of my daughter Ann W. Steptoe.
Executor – friend William R. Smith, Jr.
Witnessed by James Young, Willis Webb

Trinity Parish Register shows Ann W. Steptoe was buried in March 1877.
Halifax County marriage bond – George N. Steptoe & Anne W. Nelms, 13 March 1821.

From the North Carolina Free Press, Nov. 15, 1831: John G. Harvey (sic), a lieutenant in the US Army, married Adeline Nelmes (sic) at Greenville, Nov. 3, 1831.

From the Southerner, Nov. 29, 1856
Eli C. Biggs married Martha C. Steptoe in Scotland Neck, Nov. 26, 1856.

From the Tarborough Press, June 16, 1838
Jefferson M. Lovejoy md. Virginia A. Steptoe in Greenville, June 5, 1838.

From Trinity Parish Register:

Eli C. Biggs was buried Sept. 1894, age 63.
Mrs. E.C. Biggs was buried August 1908.
Virginia Lovejoy was buried July 1870.

Will of Ann W. Steptoe of Scotland Neck – May 2, 1877, proved March Court 1877
Halifax County Will Book 6, page 165
Son William N. Steptoe – lend all my real estate with reversion at his death to his children.
Granddaughter Mary Lee Biggs – my parlor furniture.
Daughter Georgeanna Steptoe – bed, chairs, etc.
Grandson Eli Cheshire Biggs – table, bed, etc.
Granddaughter Lena Biggs – work stand.
Balance to be divided between my children William N. Steptoe, Martha Biggs, and Georgeanna Steptoe
Ex. – my son William
Witnessed by R.H. Smith, Jr., L.M. Pittman

Willie Cushing, the wife of William N. Steptoe, died Aug. 28, 1927. (NC Death Certificates)
She and Mr. Steptoe had three children:

Charles Nelms Steptoe (you have him already) married Bess White
Hilda Steptoe married Arthur Wright
Mary Steptoe (1894-1930), married Charles Edward Vanlandingham

e-mail from James E Moore:
Dear Fellow Detectives: While piddling around on Rootsweb, I made this discovery: Dr. William Steptoe Christian (b. 1830) of Middlesex County, VA married his first cousin Helen Elizabeth Steptoe (b. 1827) of Halifax County, NC. Dr. Christian was the son of Dr. Richard Allen Christian and his wife, Elizabeth Ann Robinson Steptoe. Elizabeth’s brother George N. Steptoe married Ann W. Nelms and sired Helen Elizabeth Steptoe and William Nelms Steptoe. All of those other children are not mentioned. Elizabeth Ann and George W. Steptoe had a brother Joseph. The 1850 census shows him living in Virginia with William S. Christian, 19, physician and Helen E. Steptoe 24 – NC among others in the household. I still think Dr. Charles C. Christian, who married Mary F. Perry is the son of Dr. William Steptoe Christian. To be continued.

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