52 Ancestors: #5 Laura Belle INGRAM 1868-1940

Writing for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is helping me take a closer look at the who, what, when, where, why, and how for each ancestor.

#5 Laura Belle INGRAM 1868-1940

When I lived with my paternal grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP in 1976-1977 she gave me an old book that had belonged to her mother-in-law, my great-grandmother Laura Belle INGRAM. It has that unique old book smell and is missing the cover. The pages have a yellowish stain and brown spots. The binding is cracked and the book opens to what I think might have been a page that Laura referred to often.

Morning Sickness & Relation of Husband and Wife

Search Lights on Health (short title) was sold only by subscription. I was surprised to find that it has been included in the Project Gutenberg as an eBook. The Internet Archive has images of the book online. It is public domain and I’m using images that I photographed from the book to illustrate Laura’s story.

My great-grandparents Laura Belle INGRAM and William Henderson DEMPSEY. I love this picture! In their faces, I see my father, my uncles, my aunts.

Family on Ingram Branch of Loup Creek Grows

Following the Civil War a little family of three, Irvin Lewis INGRAM, his wife Mary M. DEMPSEY, and their daughter Octavia Dell born in March 18661 was living on Ingram Branch of Loup Creek in Fayette County in the newly formed state of West Virginia. Irvin and Mary married on 23 May 1867.2 The family grew when their second daughter Laura Belle was born on 24 April 1868.3 Neither Octavia’s nor Laura’s births were recorded in the birth register of the county. The family of four was not enumerated on the 1870 census. The year after the census on 6 March 1871 a third daughter Harriet F. was born on Loup Creek.4

1880census
1880 U.S. Federal Census

By the time the 1880 census was enumerated, the family was still made up of only the parents and their three daughters.

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Fayetteville District
Enumeration District No. 27, Sheet No. 17A
Enumerated the 8th day of June 1880, John T. Smith, enumerator
HH #53
Ingram, Irvin W M 35 married Blacksmith WV WV WV
Ingram, Mary M. W F 31 Wife married Keeping house VA VA VA
Ingram, Octavi D. W F 14 Dau single At home attended school WV WV WV
Ingram, Laura B. W F 12 Dau single At home attended school WV WV WV
Ingram, Harriet F. W F 9 Dau single attended school WV WV WV5

Dempsey Boys Court and Marry Ingram Girls

Octavia INGRAM married Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY on 19 October 1882.6 It isn’t known how Octavia and Elijah came to meet and court. She lived in the Fayetteville District and he lived in the Mountain Cove District, both districts in Fayette County.

Laura, 14 years old at the time, most likely had finished her eight years of education that spring.

We can assume that the INGRAM and DEMPSEY families must have gotten along as two years later Laura Belle INGRAM and William Henderson DEMPSEY, brother of Elijah, were married.

On Wednesday, 1 October 1884, I. C. Cavendish performed the marriage of W. H. Dempsey, 24, and Laura B. Ingram, 16, in Fayette County. The bride and groom were both born and residing in that county at the time of marriage. William was a miner.7

Mary M. DEMPSEY, the mother of the bride, appears to have died before 11 February 1888, as Irvin Lewis INGRAM, widowed, is seen marrying on that day.8  Two children were born to this marriage although little is known about this second family. But I am getting sidetracked and that is a story for another time.

Family Life

Laura gave birth to her first child Viola in 18859  and carried her to her grave in 1887 after the child died of consumption.10  A year later we see William and Laura living at Keeneys Creek where sons Willie and Ernest were born in 1888 and 1890.11,12

By 1892 the family of four had moved on to live in Prince (Fayette County) or across the New River in Royal (Raleigh County). Royal Coal and Coke Company, the first coal mine in Raleigh County was opened at Royal in 1891. Necessary company buildings were constructed and workers commuted from Prince or nearby farms on the Royal side of the river until accommodations were available. At this time, it is only an assumption on my part, that Laura’s husband William, who worked as a miner, was employed at the Royal Coal Co. when son Oscar was born on 24 September 1892.13 The fact that Oscar’s birthplace has been seen as Prince and Royal points to this possibility.

Two years later Laura’s fourth son Roy was born in Victor, a mile east of Ansted.14 The family continued to grow with five more children being born in Victor where the family had set up their permanent residence when William bought a piece of land in 1899.15 A daughter Pearl was born on 25 January 1897.16 My grandfather Fred Rothwell was born on 30 October 1899.17 Clyde Lewis was born on 13 April 1902.18 Hester Ethel was born on 21 September 1904.19 Lastly, Earl Stanley was born on 15 November 1910.20

Six months prior to the 1899 land purchase Laura and William lost their daughter Pearl at the age of 1 year 7 months 2 days to Diptheria.21

Laura Gives Birth To Her Youngest

In January of 1910 Laura’s first grandchild Olive, daughter of son Willie, died at age 3 months 15 days.22 She must have felt the loss of her own first child all over again. While mourning the loss of her first granddaughter she lost her father Irvin Lewis INGRAM who died on 4 March 1910, in Turkey Creek, Fayette County.23 This was about the same time that Laura became pregnant with her 10th child at the age of 42.

Laura gave birth to 10 children over a period of 25 years and raised 8 of them to adulthood. All of her children attended at least 8 years of school. Son Clyde finished 10 years. Daughter Hester attended two years of college and became a school teacher. Son Roy may have also attended 2 years of high school as it is unlikely that he had only a second-grade education as indicated on the 1940 census.24

By 1910 Laura’s husband William was no longer working as a miner. William and their oldest son Willie (22) were working as carpenters; Ernest (20), Oscar (17), and Roy (15) were coal miners. While the men were at work Laura was caring for Fred (10), Clyde (8), and Hester (5) and pregnant with Earl who was born in November 1910.25

Laura with her daughter Hester, ca. 1910. Photo courtesy of John Holsclaw, 30 January 2015.

The Family Worshipped & Served Their Lord at Hopewell Baptist Church

Laura and William and their children attended Hopewell Baptist Church in the early 1900s. William, Laura, Ernest, and Hester were identified in this photo by Becky Fox Shuff. The photo was originally shared by Geraldine Dempsey Workman.

Changing Times

Times were changing when the Great War I began on 28 June 1914. Before the end of the war on 11 November 1918, Laura and William lost their oldest son Willie, killed on 5 October 1915.26 He had gone into a small mine at his home, accompanied by his wife and little son Gordon, to mine some coal for home use. While his wife was watching him a heavy fall of slate came in on him, killing him instantly.

By 1920 Laura’s three oldest living sons and her daughter-in-law Mallie, Willie’s widow, had married. She was the grandmother of ten. Fred and Clyde were still living at home, working as miners. Hester (15) and Earl (9) were attending school.27

In 1923 Laura’s sister Octavia died at age 57.28,29 No trace has been found of their younger sister Harriet who may have died in the 1880s or 1890s.

Laura Belle INGRAM, ca. 1930. Photo courtesy of John Holsclaw, 30 January 2015.

By 1930 Laura and William were living alone in their home. Their son Ernest was renting a home nearly next door.30 All of their seven living children were married and raising their own families. The couple would have ten more years together before their son Fred, his wife Myrtle, and their children would come to live with them and care for them until their deaths.

Laura died on Tuesday, 8 October 1940, of myocardial degeneration following a cerebral hemorrhage in August.31

MRIN08552 Laura Dempsey obit
Charleston Gazette (Charleston, West Virginia)
Wednesday, 9 October 1940, Page 13

Mrs. Laura Dempsey
Mrs. Laura Ingram Dempsey, 72, of Victor died yesterday at her home after an illness of 12 days. The body was removed to the Thomas mortuary, Ansted. Services will be held tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Hopewell Baptist church with Rev. George B. Deaver officiating. Burial will be in McVey cemetery on Shade creek.
Survivors include her husband, William H. Dempsey; a daughter, Mrs. Hester Skaggs of Ansted, and five sons, Ernest Dempsey of Ansted, Roy Dempsey of Fayetteville, Clyde Dempsey of Kaymoor, Fred Dempsey of Victor and Earl Dempsey of Lansing.

Her husband William Henderson DEMPSEY joined her in their heavenly home on 24 January 1941.32

Gravemarker of Laura B. and William H. Dempsey with their son Oscar L. Dempsey, in the background, left, with the flag in McVey-Skaggs Cemetery in Victor. Photo courtesy of Vernon Fox, received 2000.

Laura and William had 36 living grandchildren in January of 1941. Three more grandsons would be born by 1944. As of this writing, six are still living. (Four are living as of 28 January 2022.)

This Post Was Updated on 28 January 2022: Missing source citations were added, the photos were watermarked, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm: 1241758; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, Enumeration District17, Sheet 21B, lines 54-60, HH #361-372, Elijah Dempsey household (accessed 25 January 2022). 
  2. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764/, image 244, Fayette County, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1867, page 6, line 14, Irvin Ingram and Mary M. Dempsey, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00244.jpg : accessed 22 January 2022). 
  3. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983556, Fayette, West Virginia, Certificate of Death, Registered No. 12945, Laura Ingram Dempsey, 08 Oct 1940, citing Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://archive.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=1063678&Type=Death : accessed 8 January 2022). Birthday on the death certificate: 24 April 1868. 
  4. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584755, image 32, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Births 1871, line 83, March 1871, Harriet Ingram, citing Loop Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584755/00032.jpg : accessed 25 January 2022). 
  5. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1402; West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, Enumeration District 027, page 17A, lines, 16-20, HH #53, Irvin Ingram household (accessed 25 January 2022). 
  6. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1882, image 284, page 45, line 29, E L Dempsey and Octavia D. Inghram, 19 Oct 1882, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00286.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1884, image 293, page 52, line 40, W H Dempsey and Laura B. Ingram, 1 Oct 1884, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00293.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  8. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 166, Fayette County, West Virginia, Clerk’s Certificate and Marriage License, page 288 (stamped), Irvin Lewis Ingram (widower) and Susan Octava Holstin, citing Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00166.jpg : accessed 22 January 2022). 
  9. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584755, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Births 1885, pages 106-107 (stamped), line 48, Viola Dempsey; citing District of W. S. Thomas in Fayette, County, West Virginia. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=584755&ImageNumber=166 : accessed 15 January 2022). 
  10. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 584755, Register of Deaths 1887, page 356-357 (stamped), line 35, 4 July 1887, Violad Dempsey, consumption, citing District of W. S: Thomas in Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584755/00298.jpg : accessed 17 January 2022). 
  11. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584761, image 302, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Births 1888, pages 10-11 (stamped), entry 10, (no name) Dempsey; citing Keeneys Creek, Fayette, County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584761/00302.jpg : accessed 17 January 2022). Note: The child’s name was not given. The father was (erroneously) listed as English and born in England. 
  12. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584761, image 362, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Births 1888, pages 104-105 (stamped), entry 4, 19 Feb 1890 Earnest Dempsey; citing Keeneys Creek, Fayette, County, West Virginia. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=584761&ImageNumber=362 : accessed 17 January 2022). 
  13. “U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” (index and images), Ancestry, citing original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., FHL microfilm M1509, 4,582 rolls, Roll 1992960, West Virginia, Raleigh County, Oscar Lawrence Dempsey, white, born 24 Sep 1892 in Royal, West Virginia. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  14. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584762, image 9, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Births 1894, pages 9-10 (stamped), entry 68, 19 Oct 1894 Roy Dempsey; citing Mountain Cove, Fayette, County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584762/00009.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  15. Fayette County (West Virginia), Clerk of the County Court, “Deed book, 1831-1902; deed book index, 1831-1951” (database with images), FamilySearch, filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County courthouse, Film 584109, DGS 8589002, Deed book, v. 21-22 1899-1900, Deed book 21, pages 545-546, images 280-281 of 696. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C37T-M6X2?i=279&cat=100754 and https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C37T-MD8J?i=280&cat=100754 : accessed 22 January 2022). 
  16. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584762, image 65, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Births 1894, pages 113-114 (stamped), entry 111, 25 Jan 1897 Pearl Dempsey; citing Victor, Fayette, County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584762/00065.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  17. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584762, Fayette County, West Virginia, Register of Births, line 40, Fred Dempsey, 30 Oct 1899, citing Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://archive.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=584762&ImageNumber=98: accessed 29 December 2021). 
  18. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584762, Register od Birth, line 15, Clyde Lewis Dempsey, 13 Apr 1902, citing Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=584762&ImageNumber=145 : accessed 2 January 2022). 
  19. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1992738, 1904 Delayed Birth Certificate (reviewed 19 April 1955), Hester Ethel Dempsey, 21 Sep 1904, citing Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=004017262&ImageNumber=2983 : accessed 11 Jan 2014). 
  20. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1992947, Birth certificates no. 1751-4000, 1910 (Registration dates 1940-1942), image 319 of 3811, Delayed Birth Certificate, Earl Stanley Dempsey, 15 Nov 1910, citing Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=3291597&Type=Birth : accessed 2 January 2022). 
  21. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 584754, image 26, Register of Deaths 1898, page 43-44 (stamped), line 32, 27 Aug 1898, Pearl Dempsey, age 1 yr 7 mos 2 days, citing Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584754/00026.jpg : accessed 22 January 2022). 
  22. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 584754, image 85, Register of Deaths 1910, page 34 (stamped), line 4, 12 Jan 1910, Olive Dempsey, age 3 mos. 15 days, citing Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584754/00085.jpg : accessed 22 January 2022). 
  23. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 584754, image 107, Register of Deaths 1910, page 77 (stamped), line 28, 4 Mar 1910, Irvin Ingram, citing Turkey Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://archive.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=584754&ImageNumber=107 : accessed 27 Apr 2014). 
  24. 1940 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2442/), citing Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D. C., NARA microfilm publication T647, 4,643 rolls, Roll: m-t0627-04402, West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove magisterial district, Victor, enumeration district 10-36A, sheet 4A, lines 19-21, household 63, William H. Dempsey (accessed 4 Apr 2012). 
  25. 1910 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7884/), citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove magisterial district, enumeration district 20, sheet 6A+B, lines 48-55, household 71-71, William H. Dempsey (accessed 23 Dec 2014). 
  26. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 584755, Register of Death, right page, line 39, Willie W. Dempsey, 05 Oct 1915, citing Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=584755&ImageNumber=351 : accessed 2 January 2022). 
  27. 1920 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6061/), citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls, West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove District, Victor Precinct, enumeration district 33, sheet 7A, household 107-109, William H. Dempsey (accessed 11 Jan 2014). 
  28. The Hallie Dempsey Memorial, Terry Cemetery, Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia (three pictures courtesy of Becky Fox Shuff, photographed 21 February 2005), Octavia D. Dempsey 1866-1923. Becky oversees the care and maintenance of the Terry Cemetery. She and her sister Betty Fox LeMasters were co-admins of the myfamily.com genealogy site “Fayette County Footprints” where the photographs were first posted. 
  29. Bobbie Jane McGraw Taylor to Cathy Meder-Dempsey, letter, 2001, privately held by the recipient. Octavia Dell Ingram’s date of death, 1 August 1923, was confirmed by her great-granddaughter. 
  30. 1930 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6224/), citing Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T626, 2,667 rolls, West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove magisterial district and precinct, enumeration district 10-27, sheet 1B, lines 86-87, household 18-19, William H. Dempsey (accessed 15 July 2002). 
  31. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983556, Fayette, West Virginia, Certificate of Death, Registered No. 12945, Laura Ingram Dempsey, 08 Oct 1940, citing Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://archive.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=1063678&Type=Death : accessed 8 January 2022). 
  32. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983558, Fayette, West Virginia, Certificate of Death, Registered No. 1724, William Henderson Dempsey, 02 Jan 1941, citing Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://archive.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=1067455&Type=Death : accessed 8 January 2022). 

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

7 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: #5 Laura Belle INGRAM 1868-1940”

  1. Cathy – this is getting real interesting. Laura Belle Ingram is my great-grandmother also. I am the son of Bernard L. Dempsey, whose father was Ernest Rupert Dempsey, whose father was William Henderson Dempsey, who married Laura Belle Ingram. Which sibling are you descended from? Steve

    Like

    1. Steve – My father was Fred Roosevelt Dempsey (52 Ancestors: #1) and my grandfather was your Ernest’s brother Fred Rothwell Dempsey (52 Ancestors #2). I’ll be doing Ernest and Fred’s grandparents in #8, 9, 10, and 11. Glad you are enjoying this. Cathy

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Konzen Genealogy

Tracing the Konzen family line

Laura J. Hanson

City writer with a country view

Look into my eye

Mijn ervaring met Acanthamoeba Keratitis, meer dan alleen een ernstige oogaandoening

Secrets et ancêtres

Généalogie familiale

B&F: Jewish Genealogy and More

Navigating Jewish Genealogy

Through The Byzantine Gate

The Serrapede and Muro Families-From Agropoli to America

Blackthorn Genealogy

tales of ancestral adventure, genealogical pursuit, and greater belonging

Many Branches, One Tree

...Understanding our roots helps us grow

Roots Revealed

Viewing African American History Through a Genealogical Lens

Decluttering the Stuff

Our Journey in Decluttering the Stuff so we can Live a Decluttered Life

Genealogy Bites

Little bites of genealogy.

Past Presence

A site for genealogists and family historians

Finding Progenitors

Ask Questions........Share Stories

Caroline's Chronicles

My family & other oddities

DNAsleuth

incorporating DNA in genealogy research

Opening Doors in Brick Walls

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell

This Is Us

The Browns & The Moores, A Few Gauffreaus & Gustins

noisybrain

As my life goes by, the past gets closer and the future further away.

%d bloggers like this: