52 Ancestors: #20 Seaton Y. DEMPSEY abt. 1803-bet. 1880-1890

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 entry #20 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #20 Seaton Y. DEMPSEY abt. 1803-bet. 1880-1890

It is my belief that my third great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY’s middle name was Younger after his [grand-uncle] Captain Younger LANDRUM, who served during the American Revolutionary War. This is supported by the fact that a great-grandson Edgar Younger DEMPSEY also had this unusual middle name. But,until I find proof, he is Seaton Y. DEMPSEY.

Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM (1778-1834) and William DEMPSEY (1779-bef. 1836) were married in 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia. Seaton was their second child born abt. 1803 in the same county. He had the following siblings:

Sib 1: Wilson M. DEMPSEY (1802-1883) born abt. 1802; married(1) Evalina Carolyn RHODES ( -1848) on 30 December 1839 in Amherst County, Virginia; married(2) Paulina [–?–] Dempsey (1815-1881) abt. 1848
Sib 3: Isham Coleman DEMPSEY (1806-1854) born abt. 1806; married Sarah Elvira THOMAS (1809-1879) on 5 March 1827 in Rockbridge County, Virginia
Sib 4: Wesley G. DEMPSEY (1808-1890) born abt. 1808; married Mary HUGHES (1823-1889) on 6 May 1856 in Rockbridge County, Virginia
Sib 5: Louisa J. DEMPSEY (1812-1888) born abt. 1812; married Simeon A. BURCH (1790-1870) on 8 October 1840 in Amherst County, Virginia, at the residence of S. Y. DEMPSEY
Sib 6: Eliza DEMPSEY (1815-aft. 1860) born bet. 1815-1820; married Patrick H. ROWSEY (1814-1858) on 4 February 1843 in Amherst County, Virginia

Seaton and his family were neighbors of Benjamin SANDIDGE who first exploited Buffalo Springs, the sulphur springs situated in the foothills of northern Amherst County, near Allwood. “In an 1820 tavern bond, Sandidge pledged to provide a wholesome diet, clean lodging and stabling, no unlawful gaming, and no more drinking than was necessary on Sunday.” [Source: Sherrie McLeRoy and William McLeRoy, More Passages: A New History of Amherst County, Virginia, Heritage Books, 1995, page 77]

Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Landon S. GOWING , father of Clementine, went bond on 3 January 1829 for the marriage of Seaton and Clementine.

1829bond
1829 Marriage Bond (photocopy courtesy of Geraldine Dempsey Workman)

In the Register of Marriages for Amherst County, Virginia, we see that Landon S. GOWING was security witness and Phillip SMITH Sr. and Robert TINSLEY were witnesses for the marriage of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine GOWING on 3 January 1829.

1829marriage
Register of Marriages, Amherst County, Virginia (LDS Film 30273, pg. 301)

Following his marriage Seaton was seen with his young wife Clementine and a male age 10 and under 15 years in the 1830 census. This young man was most likely his brother Wesley. Their mother, not their father, was enumerated with her two daughters. The 1810 through 1830 census listings and their complications will be discussed when I do Seaton’s parents’ stories.

1830censusdempsey
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst> Sheet 519 (left) [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
1830censusdempsey2
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst> Sheet 519 (right) [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
Three children were born between 1830 and 1840: George W. abt. 1831, Geneva Elizabeth abt. 1836, and William S. abt 1839. These children are reflected in the 1840 census. Also in Seaton’s household was a young lady 20 and under 30 years old, most likely his sister Louisa who married later in the year at his residence.

1840censusdempsey
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst > Sheet 214 (left) [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
1840censusdempsey2
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst > Sheet 214 (right)[ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
Seaton’s mother died on 27 September 1834. Her death notice was published in the Lynchburg Virginian along with a request for papers in the state of Ohio to publish the same for the information of Mr. William DEMPSEY who was supposed to be somewhere in that state. Apparently her husband did not see the notice and in June 1836, a year after publication, their son Wilson M. DEMPSEY was made administrator of the estate of William DEMPSEY. It took a dozen years to settle the estate. Deeds found by Norma Barnett Dempsey prove that Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G., Louisa J. and Eliza were the children of William DEMPSEY and Martha LANDRUM.

In 1842 Seaton sold his interest in the estate of William DEMPSEY dec’d, 1/6th of 330 acres, to John J. Morgan. His brother Wilson bought the rest of his siblings’ share, 220 acres, in 1845. Wilson had quite a head for business, or profited from his first marriage, while Seaton did not appear to do as well. However in 1850 we see Seaton, a farmer, with real estate valued at $500 while Wilson had no real estate and was an overseer. It is not known how Wilson disposed of the 275 acres that he had from his father’s estate.

In the 1840s four more children were born to Seaton and Clementine: Thomas G. abt. 1840, John J. abt. 1843, Mary M. abt. 1845, and Martha Ann abt. 1847.

1850censusdempsey
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst > Sheet 76 > HH#40 [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
Before his last child was born Seaton saw his oldest son George W. marrying Rhoda A. STATON on 20 December 1852 in Amherst County, Virginia. The following year Julia Victoria, the baby of the family, was born. Seaton’s second oldest son William S. married Mary Elenor CLEMENTS on 26 April 1857 in Amherst County, Virginia. Seaton’s first grandchild Clementine was born abt. 1857 to his unmarried daughter Geneva Elizabeth.

Sometime following the above events Seaton and his brother Wilson moved their families from Amherst to Fayette County in western Virginia. This was the late 1850s and tension over slavery had begun to disrupt Virginia. Was this the reason that they moved farther west or was it because land was cheap? They established their homes in the Laurel Creek area. Later the place would be known as Dempsey, a quiet little ccommunity situated in a valley just five miles west of Fayetteville, called Laurel Creek by some of the residents from the stream of water which flows through it.

In 1860 Seaton had only $100 of personal estate while his brother Wilson is seen with real estate valued at $1000 and personal estate valued at $8000. Wilson may have used his personal funds to set up the country store operated by his only son John Edward “Ed”. The store, one of two in the area, was the location of the first post office established in 1865 giving the community its name – Dempsey.

1860censusdempsey
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayette > Fayetteville > HH#687&688 [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
The 1860 census listing is a bit confusing. Seaton is seen with his wife Clementine and in the next household his oldest son George is with his wife Rhoda, their son Seaton A. and his siblings Thomas G., John J., Mary M., Martha A. and “Juda” V. I believe that George was living on his father’s farm.

Two of Seaton’s sons died during the Civil War or immediately following the war: William S.  bet. 1864-1869 and Thomas G. bet. 1865-1870. Also following the war Seaton’s daughters began to marry:

  • Martha Ann “Matties” married George L. “Little George” JOHNSON (1846-1874) on 20 September 1866 in Fayette County, West Virginia
  • Geneva Elizabeth “Jennie” “Janie” married Marshall S. TERRY (1843-1920) bet. 1866-1869 in Virginia
  • Mary M. DEMPSEY married Irvin Lewis INGRAM (1846-1910) on 23 May 1867 in Fayette County, West Virginia

This left only Julia Victoria, age 16, at home with her parents in 1870. Seaton had acquired real estate valued at $500 and had $130 in personal property. Also in his household was a man named Joseph Hardy, a farmer with real estate valued at $1500 and personal property valued at $180. Could the enumerator have forgotten to fill in the household number which would have made this man the head of his own household?

1870censusdempsey
1870 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Fayetteville > Page 39 > HH #257-256 [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
Seaton’s youngest daughter Julia Victoria married Joseph Henry PRESSON (1850-1934) on 3 June 1872 in Fayette County, West Virginia.

Seaton, his wife Clementine, their daughter Mary and her husband Irvin INGRAM 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. 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.

1880censusdempsey
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > ED 27 Sheet HH # [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
In 1880 Seaton and his wife Clementine were alone, all living children being married and on their own. Victoria, as she was usually known, was living next door to her parents. She was with her husband Joseph Henry PRESSON and their children. Martha Ann “Matties” was widowed and remarried on 18 July 1880 to Joseph Henry ARBAUGH (1853-1927) in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia.

No death record has been found for Seaton Y. DEMPSEY. I believe that due to the fact that he was not mentioned in the chancery records concerning the estate of his brother Wesley G. DEMPSEY he may have died before  1890. There is a possibility that Seaton and/or Clementine were living at the time of the 1900 census but were not enumerated as was the case of their daughters Mary (Irvin INGRAM) and Victoria (Joseph PRESSON).

I am very grateful to Norma Barnett Dempsey who shared all of her DEMPSEY research with me after I first contacted her in April 2000. Not only did she research the DEMPSEYs in Amherst, she also looked into other DEMPSEY families in Virginia and West Virginia in hopes of finding a connection. Norma’s husband descends from Seaton Y. DEMPSEY through his oldest son George W. DEMPSEY and then through three generations of strong DEMPSEY women who passed on the DEMPSEY name to their children.

© 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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