This is my 17th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
52 Ancestors: #17
Rachel HONAKER, wife of Elijah WOOD
My 3rd great-grandmother Rachel HONAKER, one of eight children of Frederick HONAKER and his second wife Rachel WISEMAN, was born about 1804 (1850 age 46, 1860 age 56) in Monroe County in Old Virginia, now West Virginia. Besides her two brothers and five sisters, she also had two half-brothers and two half-sisters.
The Honaker Family Association (HFA)
Before I get into how I know that my Rachel HONAKER was the daughter of Frederick and Rachel, I want to introduce you to the National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families, Inc.
The Honaker Family Association (HFA) was organized in 1989, at Pulaski, Virginia. In 1992 the Association was incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Virginia as the National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families, Inc. with its headquarters in Alexandria. In 1998 they published the book The Honaker Family in America, edited by Frieda Patrick Davison (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD, © 1998 by The National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families). As updates and corrections from descendants are sent to the HFA they produce supplements to the book updating the material. The HFA has sold all copies of the book and there are no plans to reprint or publish an updated version due to the cost.
Which Rachel was the daughter of Frederick HONAKER?
On 24 April 2014 Lyle LeMasters wrote the following to me:
I had a time trying to convince the Honaker Family that [our] Rachel was from this line. Her half and full siblings sold their part of Frederick’s land and she was listed in the deed records right in the middle of the rest of their deeds. The Honaker association finally accepted her as the daughter of Frederick with the deed. It just goes to show not to stay focused on your specific ancestor but the whole group of related or possible relations…..
[I underlined for emphasis.]
As he wrote above Lyle was able to clear up part of a mix-up concerning several ladies named Rachel HONAKER in 2001. The HFA considered him the research authority on the WOOD line and wrote the following in their supplement:
“There is mass confusion among Rachels here. Researchers reported that this and two other Rachels married William Brown in Monroe Co., W.Va. The others were this Rachel’s niece, Rachel (Frederick, Jacob) and her cousin Rachel (Jacob). Present evidence is sufficient to determine that this Rachel married Elijah Wood. We are unable to determine now which of the other Rachels married William Brown. To further complicate things, Elijah Wood married, second, Rachel Louisa McGraw prior to the 1870 census.”
[Source: The Honaker Family in America, 5 October 2001 Supplement, Chapter 3 - Frederick Honaker]
Even this explanation is confusing as we see two men named Jacob. One of them was Frederick’s brother and the other was Frederick’s son. The brother Jacob left a will in Russell County, Virginia, naming his children [Christeny Jones, wife of John Jones, Nancy Smith, wife of John Smith, Mary Penson, wife of John Penson, Elizabeth May, wife of John May] but no daughter named Rachel, single or married to William Brown. I believe that the elder Jacob was confused with Frederick’s oldest son Jacob who had daughter named Rachel. But we are interested in Frederick’s daughter Rachel who married Elijah WOOD.
Rachel’s father Frederick HONAKER left a will (images 149 and 150) naming all of his children, several being under age. He wrote his will on 20 [or 30] November 1824. It was presented in December Court 1824 and proven in January Court 1825. Rachel married Elijah WOOD on 4 January 1825 [line 6]. The following month Elijah and Rachel WOOD sold her part of her father’s estate as seen in:
Monroe County, (West) Virginia Deed References:
1825 Elijah & Rachel Wood to Andrew and George Beirne Deed Bk H pg 218
Description says land only.
Rachel Honaker Wood’s brother Jacob sells land in 1825 to Andrew and George Beirne in Deed Bk H pg 219 Int Frederick Honiker Land
This Indenture made this 21st day of February 1825 between Elijah Wood and
Rachel his wife late Rachel Honiker of the one part and Andrew & George
Beirne & Co of the other part the first named parties of the County of
Nicholas and latter of the County of Monroe each of the state of Virginia
Witnesseth that the said Elijah ?(middle initial can’t make it out) Wood and
Rachel his wife for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar in hand
paid by the said Andrew and George Beirne & Co on or before the delivering of
these presents the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged have granted
bargained and sold and by these presents do grant sell and convey unto the
said Andrew and George Beirne & Co their heirs and assigns forever all that
part or parcel of land lying and being in the said County of Monroe which was
devised to the said Rachel Wood formerly Honiker by the will of said
Frederick Honiker decd be the same more or less with such appurtenances as
may be thereunto belonging & at the same time subject to such restrictions as
are mentioned in the will aforesaid and the said Elijah Wood & Rachel his
wife for themselves and heirs do covenant with the said Andrew & George
Beirne & Co and their heirs the land with its appurtenances aforesaid from
themselves & their heirs & from all other person or persons whatever to the
said Andrew & George Beirne & Co & their heirs or assigns will warrant and
In witness whereof the said Elijah Wood & Rachel his wife have hereunto set
their hands and seals the day & year first written.
Elijah Wood seal
Rachel her x mark Wood
Monroe County Clerks Office 22nd Feb 1825
This deed of bargain and sale from Elijah Wood and Rachel his wife to Andrew
& George Beirne & Co was acknowledged before the Clerk and the same is
admitted to be recorded.
Teste Isaac Hutchinson C.M.C.
This proves that Rachel HONAKER who married Elijah WOOD was the daughter of Frederick HONAKER. I don’t have a copy of this deed which Lyle LeMasters found and transcribed helping him to have the mixup corrected in The Honaker Family in America. On my wish list: copies of the entire batch of deeds that pertain to Frederick HONAKER’s estate.
Rachel’s life as a wife and mother
In twenty years, from 1825 to 1845, Rachel gave birth to eleven known children. By 1830 she had a son Allen Alexander and three daughters, Amanda Jane, Sarah Ann, and Mary Salinas. Two sons, James Simpson and Elijah Stuart, and three daughters, Turze Lucresia, Nancy E. and Rebecca Ann, brought the number of children up to nine in 1840. In the 1850 census we see two more sons, William Frederick and Lewis L. All have been documented as seen in Elijah’s story.
According to the 1850 census, unlike her husband Elijah who would become Justice of the Peace from 1852-1858, Rachel could not read & write.
Rachel was last seen in the 1860 census. She died sometime during the 1860s decade as Elijah is seen with his second wife Rachel Louisa McGRAW in the 1870 census. Unless the Elijah WOOD family kept a family bible that was passed on to an unknown descendant, we will probably never know exactly when Rachel died as many records during this era were lost due to the Civil War.
In my research I’ve found 71 grandchildren, 276 great-grandchildren….and still counting.
Please don’t hesitate to submit corrections, additions, or comments. They are always welcome!
© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey