52 Ancestors: #10 Irvin Lewis INGRAM 1846-1910

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”
This is my 10th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #10 Irvin Lewis INGRAM 1846-1910

Irvin Lewis INGRAM, my 2nd great-grandfather, died in 1910. I don’t have access to West Virginia newspapers for that time period and do not even know if an obituary was printed for him. I’ve used the information in my genealogy database to write this impromptu obituary in honor of him.

Obituary of Irvin L. Ingram
Irvin Lewis Ingram, 64, passed away at his home in Turkey Creek near Ansted, Thursday, March 4, 1910, as a result of kidney trouble.
He was a blacksmith and a member of the Loop Creek Baptist Church in the early days of its formation.
Irvin was born about 1846 to Robert Ingram and Huldah Johnson on land patented by his father Robert and uncle Matthew in 1843 on Ingram Branch of Loup Creek (also seen as Loop Creek) in Fayette County, Virginia (now West Virginia).
He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife Mary M. Dempsey Ingram; daughter Harriet F. Ingram; granddaughters, Lillie Dempsey (1908), Cora Dempsey (1887), Victoria Dempsey (1896), Viola Dempsey (1887), and Pearl Dempsey (1898); great-granddaughter Olive Dempsey (12 Jan 1910); sister Amy Ingram Payne and brother Vincent Ingram.
Survivors include three daughters Octavia Dell (Elijah L.) Dempsey of Turkey Creek, Laura Belle (Fred R.) Dempsey of Victor, and Ocie Ola (Michael C.) Watts of South Caperton; 18 grandchildren Edward Dempsey, Hallie Dempsey, Walt Dempsey, Ada Dempsey, Clara Dempsey, Bert Dempsey, Henrietta Dempsey, Carl Dempsey, Willie Dempsey, Ernest Dempsey, Oscar Dempsey, Roy Dempsey, Fred Dempsey, Clyde Dempsey, Hester Dempsey, Homer Watts, Arizona Watts and Myrtle Watts; two sisters, Maggie Bowling and Mary E. Blake; two brothers, William P. Ingram and Richard E. Ingram; an aunt, Cynthia Ingram Tincher; many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was also survived by his former wife Octava Susan “Susie” Aliff Walk and her children Thomas Holstein, Julian Lee Walk, Mary Ann Walk, and Joseph Walk.
His 24th grandchild is expected in November.
Funeral arrangements are unknown. Burial may have been in Hendrick’s Cemetery, Turkey Creek.

The Details of Irvin’s Life

1850censusingram
1850 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Sheet 365B [online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0943unix#page/n334/mode/1up : accessed 3 March 2014]
Irvin Lewis INGRAM was the second son of Huldah JOHNSON (1818-aft.1880) and Robert INGRAM (1819-1902). The family of five was seen on the 1850 census in Fayette County, Virginia. Vincent was born abt. 1841, Irvin abt. 1846 and William in 1848.

1850censusingram2
1850 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Sheet 366A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0943unix#page/n335/mode/1up : accessed 3 March 2014]
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated on 27 August 1850
HH #461-461
Robert Ingram 31 M W Farmer $100 VA
Huldah Ingram 32 F W Virginia
Vincent Ingram 9 M W Virginia
Irvin L. Ingram 4 M W Virginia
Wm. P. Ingram 2 M W Virginia

The next door household was that of Irvin’s grandmother Margaret Ingram, née KINCAID. Her three youngest children were living at home.

During the 1850’s the family grew with the births of Irvin’s three sisters: Amy, Nancy Margaret “Maggie”, and Mary Elizabeth INGRAM.

1860censusingram
1860 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Page 45 > Sheet 355 [online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n341/mode/1up : accessed 3 March 2014]

1860 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
District No. 1, Page No. 25, Sheet No. 335
Enumerated the 20th day of June 1860,
P. Morton, Ass’t Marshall
Gauley Bridge Post Office
HH # 183-161
Robert Ingram 41 M W Farmer $1000 $200 Virginia
Huldah Ingram 42 F W Virginia
Vincent Ingram 19 M W Farm Laborer Virginia
Ervin L. Ingram 14 M W Virginia
William P. Ingram 12 M W Virginia
Amy Ingram 8 F W Virginia
Nancy M. Ingram 7 F W Virginia
Mary E. Ingram 3 F W Virginia
Amanda Blake 20 F W day laborer Virginia
John A. Blake 1 M W illegitimate Virginia

It is believed that Irvin’s oldest brother Vincent INGRAM died during the 1860’s as no further records are found for him following this census. Did he serve in the Union or Confederate army during the Civil War (1861-1865)? Did he have a middle name that he was known by after the 1860 census?

In 1862 the family was complete with the birth of Irvin’s youngest brother Richard Edward INGRAM.

Irvin was a Baptist

The Loop Creek Baptist Church of Christ was constituted in August 1865 by a presbytery appointed by the Hopewell Baptist Church. The church was organized with a membership of 19. Religious services were held in the homes of the faithful until a church could be built. The Methodists also allowed the Baptists to use their Lincoln Chapel, a small log building constructed about the time the Civil War ended. The first house of worship owned by Loop Creek Baptist Church built in 1874 was used only a brief time before it was destroyed by fire. Once again Lincoln Chapel was used until 1892.

Irvin and Mary Ingram as well as Mary’s parents, Seaton and Clementine Dempsey, were on the church rolls of Loop Creek Baptist Church in 1875. The church was located in the Wriston community area on the south bank of Loop Creek at the mouth of Carter’s Branch.  M. BIBB, W. P. WALKER, Eli WOOD and Washington McGRAW were the brethen of the fourth oldest Baptist church in Fayette County when it was formed.

Irvin was the first of the Ingram children to marry. On 23 May 1867 Eli WOOD, Minister of the Gospel, performed the marriage ceremony for Irvin L. INGRAM and his bride Mary M. DEMPSEY, daughter of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine GOWING. [line 37]

Irvin marries and becomes a father (maybe not in that order)

Irvin and Mary’s first daughter Octavia Dell INGRAM was born in March 1866 per the 1900 census. The age calculation is consistent in census listings. However this was over a year prior to the marriage. Their second daughter Laura Belle INGRAM was born 24 April 1868 at Ingram Branch per her death record. I had hopes of clearing up the confusion with the 1870 census but the small family of four appears to have been missed.

Irvin’s parents and four youngest siblings were found in HH #13-13 in the Falls of Kanawha Township (Fayette County) followed several households later, in HH #16-16, by his brother William Preston, his wife Minerva LIGHT (1849-1920) whom he married 8 April 1869, and their son.

Could Irvin’s absence in the 1870 census mean that he was not in Fayette County? Was his brother Vincent with him and his family? By 1871 we see Irvin and Mary living in Loup Creek at the time of the birth of their third daughter Harriet F. INGRAM (1871-bef. 1900) born 10 March 1871. [line 83]

Irvin’s younger siblings began to marry in the 1870’s: Nancy Margaret “Maggie” INGRAM married 2 February 1872 Marion L. BOWLING (1836-1900) and Mary Elizabeth INGRAM married 22 October 1874 Martin Van Buren BLAKE (1846-1900).

In 1880 we see Irvin and Mary with their three daughters. No other children are known to have been born to this couple.

1880censusingram
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > ED #27 Sheet #17A [online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n36/mode/1up : accessed 8 Mar 2014]

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Fayetteville District
ED 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 (sic, VA)
Ingram, Laura B. W F 12 Dau single At home attended school WV WV WV (sic, VA)
Ingram, Harriet F. W F 9 Dau single attended school WV WV WV (sic, VA)

The mystery years between 1880-1910 (due to missing census)

The absence of the 1890 census makes it difficult to determine when Irvin’s mother Huldah JOHNSON died. No death record was recorded in West Virginia and by 1900 her husband Robert was seen as widowed, therefore she died between 1880-1900.

Irvin’s oldest daughter Octavia Dell INGRAM married Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY (1862-1943) on 19 October 1882. Nearly two years later his daughter Laura Belle INGRAM married William Henderson DEMPSEY (1860-1941), the brother of Elijah, on 1 October 1884. Both marriages took place in Fayette County, West Virginia.

Irvin remarries after his wife’s death

Irvin’s wife Mary M. died after the 1880 census and before 1888. We see Irvin, a widower, marrying Octava Susan “Susie” ALIFF (1865-1932), a widow, on 11 February 1888 in Fayetteville. They were married by Irvin’s double second cousin Rev. Henry LIGHT.  On the marriage certificate Susie was listed as Mrs. HOLSTEIN and more research was done to determine her maiden name. [marriage license and return; left page]

Susie brought a son, Thomas Holstein, from her first marriage into the union. Irvin and Susie had a daughter Ocie Ola INGRAM (1889-1949) born 8 July 1889 in Fayette County, West Virginia. [line 185]

His second union is a troubled marriage….

I suspect that Irvin and his second wife Susie were living a troubled marriage long before they were divorced in 1904. In 1897 the birth of a son was recorded twice with similar information. Julian Lee INGRAM (1897-1960) born 9 July 1897 in Star, Fayette County, West Virginia, was the third child of the mother Susie. [page 414, entry 2] and [page 406, entry 4]. The age of the mother is seen as 23 but should be 32. In both records Irvin age 52 is listed as the father. However the child is seen as Julian Lee WALK in 1910 to 1940 census records and his 1960 death record. Julian is listed as a half-brother in the obituary of Ocie Ola Ingram Davis Watts. This would suggest that Julian’s father was not Irvin INGRAM. Samuel Russell WALK, whose obituary listed Julian as his son, gave him his surname and raised him. Note that Thomas Holstein, Susie’s son from her first marriage, is also listed as a son of Mr. Walk in the obituary. Susie INGRAM had two children with Samuel Russell WALK before they were married in 1905.

The 1900 census might have shed more light on the number of children that Irvin and his second wife Susie had. Unfortunately there are several families in my family tree who were missed in Fayette County enumeration including Irvin and his second family (Susie Ingram, Thomas Holstein, Ocie Ola Ingram, and Julian Lee Ingram aka Julian Lee Walk) as well as his brother William P. Ingram and his family. I did locate Samuel Russell WALK, single, with his mother, stepfather and half-siblings.

….ends in divorce….

The divorce of Irvin Lewis INGRAM and Octava Susan ALIFF was recorded at Fayette County courthouse on 15 December 1904. [Note: copy of this record needs to be obtained; would cause for divorce be included in the entry?]

Susan INGRAM did not wait long to remarry. She married Samuel Russell WALK on 23 April 1905 [9th entry from bottom] in Fayette County. As it turns out, Sam Walk was the father of three of the children Susie gave birth to while married to Irvin. I have always suspected this and finally found the records to prove it.

….and three children born during his 2nd marriage were another man’s

A new search on WVCulture turned up a delayed birth certificate (1952) for Julian Lee WALK naming Samuel WALK and Susie ALIFF as his parents. Further a delayed birth certificate (1958) was found for Joseph WALK who was born 22 October 1904, several weeks before Susie’s marriage to Irvin was dissolved. The third child that Susie gave birth to while she was still the wife of Irvin INGRAM was Mary Ann WALK who killed herself in 1918 at the age of nearly 17 years. Her certificate of death shows that Samuel Russell WALK was her father.

While Irvin was having his difficulties with his second wife his siblings continued to marry. His youngest brother Richard Edward INGRAM married Lucy F. HAMILTON (1856-1884) on 21 March 1883. Lucy died in February 1884 two weeks after the birth of their child from a deep cold. The child died about the same time at age 2 weeks. Richard then married Rebecca Wilmuth RINEHART (1856-1909) on 27 May 1888. Irvin and Richard’s “old maid” sister Amy INGRAM married James B. PAYNE (1846-1916) on 23 October 1895 and both died between 1900-1910.

Irvin’s father Robert INGRAM died about 1902 at the home of his cousin Preston KINCAID.

Irvin’s daughter Ocie Ola INGRAM married Clay DAVIS (1883-1906) on 2 February 1906 at Coal Run in Fayette County. The marriage lasted less than three weeks as the young groom was killed in a mine accident on 21 February 1906. Ocie Ola then married Michael Curtis WATTS (1879-1948) on 5 June 1906 at Coal Run.

Irvin Lewis INGRAM died 4 March 1910 at Turkey Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. His daughter Octava DEMPSEY was the informant on his death record where his marital status is listed as single. [fourth entry from bottom]

Addendum: Irvin died 104 years ago. It is not likely that his obituary would have been written the way I wrote it. I wanted it to show all of the people who were in his life: parents, siblings, spouses, children, grandchildren, stepchildren, and, yes, even the children he did not father but were born to his second wife while they were still legally married.

If anyone reading this has more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

As a military brat I've lived in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, Texas, and Luxembourg. Married 39 years with two grown children. When I’m not doing genealogy, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful countryside in Luxembourg and surrounding countries.

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