“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 #33 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
52 Ancestors: #33 Rachel WISEMAN 1769-bet. 1821-1824
My 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN was born on 1 March 1769 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. She was the 6th child of Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807).
Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS, both born in August 1738 in Berks County, were married about 1758, most likely in that county. They were the parents of 11 known children all born in Berks County, Pennsylvania:
- Joseph D. (1759-1836) born 29 Mar 1759
- John (1760-1842) born 18 Aug 1760
- Sarah (1762-aft. 1841) born 17 Jul 1762
- Isaac (1764-1852) born 19 Jun 1764
- Jacob (1767-1839) born 12 Jan 1767
- Rachel (1769-bef. 1824) born 1 Mar 1769
- Samuel (1771-1861) born 15 Feb 1771
- Abner (1772-1830) born abt. 1772
- Elizabeth (1774-1830s) born abt. 1774
- Margaret (1777-1869) born abt. 1777
- William (1779-1842) born 6 May 1779
WISEMAN Family and the American Revolutionary War
Rachel was six when the American Revolutionary War began on 19 April 1775. By this time Isaac and Elizabeth had nine children aged between 1 and 16.
In August 1776 Rachel’s oldest brother Joseph D. WISEMAN was drafted in the first militia that went out of Berks County. This was only the beginning as can be seen in the declaration of service given by Joseph D. WISEMAN in 1832 at the age of 73 to obtain his Revolutionary War pension. His pension file includes the family records that his son Samuel submitted in 1847 when he applied for pension money on behalf of himself and his siblings as their parents were both deceased. These papers show the dates of birth and death of Rachel’s parents Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS.
WISEMAN Family Moves from Pennsylvania to Virginia
Family tradition is that Isaac and his brood, both married and single, left Berks County, Pennsylvania, and went up the Shenandoah Valley to Rockingham County, Virginia. In his declaration, Joseph states that he lived in Rockingham County, Virginia, about 10 years before moving in 1794 to Greenbrier County [the area which would later be Monroe County, West Virginia].
By the end of the war on 14 January 1784 the family had increased to 11 children, the oldest son Joseph and the oldest daughter Sarah were married. The marriage record for Sarah shows that she married on 3 November 1782 in Rockingham County. This would suggest that the WISEMANs made their move in 1782 [or earlier] and Joseph may have followed them only after he married his second wife.
Marriages of the WISEMAN siblings
- 1782 – Sib 1: Joseph D. WISEMAN married(1) Susannah MANLY abt. 1782 in Berks County, Pennsylvania
- 1782 – Sib 3: Sarah WISEMAN married James BARLEY on 3 November 1782 in Rockingham County, Virginia
- 1785 – Sib 1: Joseph D. WISEMAN married(2) Elizabeth BATEMAN on 10 February 1785 in Robeson (Rabbesin) Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania (location confirmed by son Samuel)
- 1786 – Sib 2: John WISEMAN married Sarah GREEN on 10 May 1786 in Rockingham County, Virginia
- 1790 – Sib 4: Isaac WISEMAN married Mary Magdalene ARMENTROUT on 9 August 1790 in Rockingham County, Virginia [record not located]
- ???? – Sib 5: Jacob WISEMAN married Rachael [–?–]. She is listed as his wife in his will in 1839 and seen in the 1840 census as the head of household.
- 1795 -Rachel WISEMAN married Frederick HONAKER on 28 September 1795 in Rockingham County, Virginia (marriage bond recorded in Shenandoah County)
- 1797 – Sib 7: Samuel WISEMAN married Polly BOWYER on 10 May 1797 in Rockingham County, Virginia
- 1798 – Sib 9: Elizabeth WISEMAN married John BLANTON on 9 August 1798 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
- 1799 – Sib 10: Margaret WISEMAN married Bartholomew RAMSEY on 21 October 1799 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [Bond]
- 1800 – Sib 8: Abner WISEMAN married Isabel BLANTON on 18 February 1800 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [Bond]
- 1801 – Sib 11: William WISEMAN married Polly RAMSEY on 22 Oct 1801 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [Bond]
- 1804 – Sib 11: William WISEMAN married Phebe KILBURN on 31 January 1804 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [record not located]
 Dodd, Jordan. Virginia, Marriages, 1660-1800 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997. Original data: Electronic transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Virginia.
 Pennsylvania Church Records – Adams, Berks, and Lancaster Counties, 1729-1881 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: Extracted from microfilmed transcriptions of the original church records. The microfilmed records are located at the Family History Library.
Rachel WISEMAN Marries Frederick HONAKER
As seen above the marriage of Rachel WISEMAN and Frederick HONAKER took place in 1795 in Rockingham County and the marriage bond was recorded in Shenandoah County as follows:
Know all men, by their presents, that we Frederick Conickor and Isaac Wiseman are held and firmly bound unto his Excellency Robert Brooke, Esquire, Governor of Virginia, and his Successors, in the sum of one hundred fifty dollars to the payment whereof, well and truly to be made, we do bind ourselves, our heirs, and each of our joint and several heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally firmly by their presence, felled with our feats, and dated the 24th day of September 1795 in the 24th year of the Commonwealth. The condition of the above Obligation is such, that whereas there is a Marriage suddenly to be solomized between the above bound Frederick Coniker and Rachel Wiseman, daughter of Isaac Wiseman of Rockingham County; if therefore there shall be no lawful cause to object of said Marriage, then this obligation be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.
Witness: M. Gambill. Signed Frederick Honaker, Isaac Wiseman
[Source: Honaker Family Newsletter]
Rachel and Frederick Had 8 Known Children
- Ch 1: Isaac Morgan (1796-1885) born Bet.1796-1799
- Ch 2: Elizabeth “Betsy” (1797- ) born Bet. 1797-1800
- Ch 3: Margaret “Peggy” (1798-1879) born Abt 1798
- Ch 4: Rachel (1804-1860) born Abt 1804
- Ch 5: Sarah (1805-1862) born Bet. 1805-1806
- Ch 6: Anna (1806-1873) born 10 Sep 1806
- Ch 7: Letty (1810-1825) born Aft 1810
- Ch 8: Frederick Styrus (1810-1836) born Aft 1810
As Rachel lived with her husband Frederick in Monroe County, (West) Virginia, following their marriage until her death, her children were most likely all born in that county. Estimated years of birth were calculated after analysis of the pre-1850 censuses for children who did not live to be seen in 1850 and later censuses.
Many changes took place in Rachel’s life. She gave Frederick six children before her mother Elizabeth DAVIS died on 19 July 1807. Rachel had two more children following the 1810 census. Her father Isaac WISEMAN died 3 May 1818. Isaac and Elizabeth spent the rest of their days in Monroe County and were buried in the Old Rehoboth Churchyard near Union, the county seat. Three of their children, Abner, Jacob and Elizabeth who married John Blanton went to Kentucky; Samuel, John, and Isaac II went to Ohio; Sarah who married James Barley remained in Rockingham County, Virginia; Joseph, William, and Margaret, who married Bartholomew Ramsey, and Rachel, who married Frederick Honaker, stayed in West Virginia.
Following the 1820 census Rachel saw her oldest son Isaac Morgan HONAKER marry Rebecca Ann SAMS (1799-1860) on 28 October 1820 in Monroe County [bond]. The next two marriages in the HONAKER house were those of Betsy and Peggy. As we do not know the exact date of Rachel’s death, she may or may not have seen these daughters marrying.
- Elizabeth “Betsy” HONAKER married William SANDERS (1795- ) on 17 January 1822 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia. Betsy’s half-brother John HONAKER went bond with William SANDERS on 15 January 1822 in Monroe.
- Margaret “Peggy” HONAKER married Alexander CAMPBELL (1798-1881) on 30 Oct 1823 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia. Peggy’s brother Isaac HONAKER went bond with Alexander CAMPBELL on the 20 October 1823.
Rachel was the first of the WISEMAN children to pass away. She died between 1 April 1821 and December 1824 in Monroe County. She predeceased her husband Frederick HONAKER who died about December 1824 in Monroe County. Three of Rachel’s daughters married within the year following Frederick’s death:
- Rachel HONAKER married Elijah WOOD (1806-1885) on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
- Sarah HONAKER married Thomas J. REYNOLDS (1785- ) on 3 March 1825 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [bond]
- Anna HONAKER married Owen DUFFY (1800-1867) on 1 Sep 1825 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [bond]
The Burial Place of Rachel’s Parents
The log structure that was named Rehoboth was constructed in 1786 on land donated by Edward KEENAN and in 1788 the first American Methodist bishop, Francis ASBURY, preached the dedication service. In 1796 he ordained Frederick’s brother-in-law John WISEMAN as a Methodist minister. Nearly 50 years after Frederick HONAKER joined his parents-in-law in the grounds surrounding Old Rehoboth, a new meeting house was constructed. The old log relic lay abandoned for another half century until it was restored in 1927. Another 30 years later a shed was constructed to further preserve the structure.
Robert N. Wiseman, Senior Historian of the Wiseman Family Association, gave me permission to use this photo of the church taken in 1934 before the “shed” was added.
And this is what the building looked like 70 years later when Irene Warner and her husband took her parents to visit the cemetery and meeting house.
After giving me permission to use her photos Irene sent more with this explanation: “I have attached pictures of the inside of the church. It was so special to get to see this old building in it’s original shape – very small inside; but it had a balcony…..[in this picture at the bottom and on the balcony are what] look like flat boards or similar; unfortunately cameras didn’t do 3 dimensional pictures. They are pictures of the LOG seats – a log was split in half; a person sat on the inside part of the seat, the bark was at the bottom; there are “peg legs” on the logs. I’ll bet there weren’t too many long sermons in that church….don’t know how anyone could sit very long on a seat that hard…..”
A New Discovery – What Do You Think?
Working my way back on my paternal line has me looking at things that I haven’t worked on in a long time. In the case of the HONAKER and WISEMAN lines I never really went in and checked on all the census and vital records for collateral lines. Both families have associations with historians who are keeping track of these families and updating as new information is uncovered. The list of Rachel’s siblings grew and then shrunk as I checked, checked, checked for supporting records while writing.
I thought I’d found another child for Rachel’s parents but she turned out to be a granddaughter.
Supporting documentation? I don’t have three sources for every event but I’d say, “Yes!”
On 23 May 1803, in Monroe County, Frederick HONAKER went bond with Seth BOGGESS for the marriage of Edith WISEMAN to Seth. [bond at left] Edith and Seth were married on 9 June 1803 in Monroe by John WISEMAN. [marriage register, 4th entry on left page] I did not find a permission slip from her parents.
After finding the marriage I searched for the couple/family in the census, found them in 1820 and 1830, and then hit a dead end. As a last resort I searched the internet for possible queries about the couple. An old genforum posting helped me locate the death record [line 6] of Edith BOGGESS. I had been so focused on trying to locate the entire family in the census that I didn’t check for her death record.
On 5 February 1857 in Monroe County Edith BOGGESS died of cancer at the age of 72 years and 1 day. She was the daughter of Rachel WISEMAN (no father listed) and the consort of Seth BOGGESS. The informant was Wm SMITH, a relative.
Further research shows that William SMITH was a son-in-law, husband of Edith’s daughter Elizabeth. Per Edith’s death record she was born in Monroe and the date of birth can be calculated to 4 February 1785. The place of birth is not reliable as Monroe wasn’t formed until 1799. Her birth would have taken place about the time that the WISEMAN family came down the Shenandoah Valley to Rockingham. At this time, the only Rachel WISEMAN in the area who would have been old enough to have a child was Isaac and Elizabeth’s daughter Rachel who would turn 16 on 1 March 1785.
Was my 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN the mother of an illegitimate daughter? Please leave a comment telling me what you think.
© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey