52 Ancestors: #38 William DEMPSEY, son of Susannah of Amherst County, Virginia

“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 #38 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

#38 William DEMPSEY abt. 1779-bef. 20 Jun 1836

On 29 June 1835, the Lynchburg Virginian published a notice concerning the death of the wife of William DEMPSEY.1

DSCN2259
The Lynchburg Virginian, June 29, 1835, p. 3, c. 2.: Photocopy of page from microfilm roll #6 of the Lynchburg Virginian from Aug 18, 1834 to July 28, 1836.

Norma Barnett Dempsey found the article referenced in Marriages and Deaths from Lynchburg, Virginia Newspapers, 1794-1836 [by Lucy H. M. Baber Louise A. Blunt, and Marion A. L. Collins, Genealogical Publishing Co. 1980, page 174]. She located it using the microfilm reader at the Roanoke Public Library in the late 1990s.

William DEMPSEY was supposed to be somewhere in the state of Ohio at the time this notice was published. We do not know why he was in Ohio or if he ever returned to Amherst County, Virginia. More records may one day be found. William may have been away from home for quite some time and was presumed dead.

A year after the notice of Mrs. Martha DEMPSEY’s death, the estate of her husband William DEMPSEY was being administered by their son Wilson M. DEMPSEY. William apparently died intestate (without a will) and a certificate was granted to his oldest son Wilson to obtain letters of administration. Wilson entered into and acknowledged a bond together with Peter RUCKER.2

The state of Virginia has no estate packets or probate packets. If the administrator didn’t act correctly, the offended party could bring suit in chancery. The scanned chancery records for the county of Amherst are not available on the Library of Virginia site. [Update: Amherst County digital images available for the years 1779-1869 as of January 2021.]

Norma did a wonderful job of finding the records documenting how the estate was handled.

20 June 1836 – Administrator bond
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28; Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
129 Wm.Dempsey
9:228 AB Wilson Dempsey and Peter Rucker, June 20, 1836, for WD

DSCN2260
Amherst Co Va Will Book 9 1834-1838 page 228 (photocopy provided by Norma)

Know all men by these presents that we Wilson Dempsey and Peter Rucker
are held and firmly bound unto Edmund Penn, Ambrose Rucker, James Powell, Arthur B. Davies, John [illegible], William H. Garland and Henry I. Rose Gentleman Justices of the Court of Amherst County sitting and to their successors in Office in the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars current money of Virginia to which payment will and truly to be made we bind ourselves and each of us and each of our heirs, executors and administrators jointly and severally firmly by these present is sealed with our seals and dated this 20th day of June (1836) one thousand eight hundred and thirty six and in the 60th year of the Commonwealth.
The conditions of this obligation is that if the said Wilson Dempsey administrator of the goods, chauses and credits of William Dempsey deceased do make a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the goods chauses and credits of the said deceased which have or/ shall come to the hands possession or knowledge of him the said Wilson Dempsey or into the hands or possession of any other person or persons for him and the same so made do exhibit into the County Court of Amherst when he shall be there unto required by the said Court and such goods chauses and credits do well and truly administor according to Law and further to make a just and true account of his actings and doings therein when thereto required by the said Court and all the rest of the said goods chauses and credits which shall be found remaining upon the account of the said administrator the same being first examined and allowed by the Justices of the said Court for the time being shall deliver and pay unto such persons respectively as entitled to the same by Law. And if it shall hereafter appear that any last Will and Testament was made by the deceased and the same be proved in Court and the executor obtain a certificate of the probate thereof and the said Wilson Dempsey do, in such case being required to render and deliver up his letters of administration then this obligation to be void else to remain in full force                         W. M. Dempsey (seal)
acknowledged in open court                        Peter Rucker (seal)

At a  Court held for Amherst County on the 20th of June 1836.
This bond was acknowledged in open court by the parties therein and ordered to be
recorded.                               Teste
Robert Lindsey

Note: The photocopy was cut off on the left side. While transcribing the deed the missing words were added by comparing it with other deeds of the same period.

15 May 1837 – Inventory3
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28 – Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
129 Wm.Dempsey
9:315 Inv. $88.32, May 15, 1837. Lee Millner, Wm. B Shepherd, Wm. B.Toler.

DSCN2263In obedience to an order of the County Court of AMherst we have proceeded to appraise the personal Estate of William Dempsey decd as shown to us by WIlson Dempsey, admr.
2 Beds, Bedstead and furniture 10.001
1 Bed, Bedstead and furniture 5.00
1 Chest 0.25
1 Trunk 0.25
1 Flax Wheel 0.25
1 Cotton Wheel 1.25
1 Desk & Book Case 5.00
1 Chest 1.50
Plates, Knives and forks 0.25
Lot Earthenware 0.75
Shot Gun 4.00
Loom 0.25
Safe 0.13
Skillet & lid 0.12
Lot Castings 4.00
Cags 0.37
Lot Pewter 2.00
Wire Sifter 0.25
Lot Chairs 1.00
Hand Saw & Draw Knife 1.00
7 old Hoes 1.00
1 Auger and 2 Chissels 0.50
1 Lot old Irons 0.50
2 old Plows 0.50
1 old culling Knife & Steel 0.25
2 New Trace Chains 0.50
1 Black Cow & Calf 15.00
1 Red Cow & Calf 15.00
1 Pot Rack 0.50
1 Copper Still 15.00
2 Pad Locks 0.25
1 Axe 0.25
2 flat Irons and trivet 1.00
1 Coulder 0.20
1 Iron Wedge 0.25
Total $88.32

8 Aug 1839 – Dempsey to Hicks deed4
Deed Book X (Amherst County, Virginia); page 239:
lists 5 names on Dempsey to Hicks land deed. August 8 1839. Wilson M., Seton Y., W. G., Louisa, and Eliza Dempsey.
Note: The deed reads “two and three fourths acres.” Did they only sell 2 3/4 acres to Nelson Hicks?

July 19, 1841 Administrator’s Accounts5
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28 – Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
129 Wm.Dempsey
10:368 AA from 1828; accts of Wilson M. and Westley G. Dempsey — for the family in 1835. July 19, 1841: W. L. Saunders and Pitt Woodroof.

DSCN2262July 18, 1842 Administrator’s Accounts6
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28- Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
129 Wm.Dempsey
11:82 AA William M. Dempsey acct.–Wilson M. & others–business trip to King William; land rent by Wilson M. Dempsey, same for Westley G. and Seaton Y. Dempsey, Admr. is called Wm. M. at end in summary Ju1y 18, 1842.

DSCN2264croppedThe estate of William Dempsey In account with William M. Dempsey (sic, Wilson M. Dempsey)
This sum paid John B. Duncan 5.00
paid Lewis Harrison 0.75
paid sheriff Amherst 1838 0.67
paid ditto ditto 1839 2.42
paid ditto ditto 1841 1.12
paid Peter Rucker 1.35
paid William Coleman 4.57
Paid Peter Rucker 1.50
amount my expenses to & from King William County on business for Est. 7.87
paid Pitt Woodroof & Addison Taliaferro 4.00
Total $29.25

May 16, 1842 and August 18447
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, Amherst County Va. Deeds 1761-1765
page 18 Deed Book
(Libray # VR 929.3755 Am 47d D29a)
183. 16 May 1842 Seaton Y. Dempsey to Jno. J. Morgan $175 int. in est. of William Dempsey dec’d– 1/6th of 330a. Aug. 1844, to —.

May 27, 18448
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, Amherst County Va. Deeds 1761-1765
Vol. # 5
page 15 Deed Book Z
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am 47d D29a)
163. 27 May 1844 Seaton Y. Dempsey 1, Patrick Drummond 2, Wilson M. Dempsey 3, $1.00 Stock, tools, crops.

January 20, 18459
Deed Bk. AA (Amherst County, Virginia)
Page 368:
Jan. 20 1845,  …210 acres by bid to Wilson M. Dempsey from William Dempsey dec’d. (Note: 210 acres would be 4 times 55 acres; Wilson is buying Wesley, Isham, Louisa and Eliza’s share; Seaton’s share went to Jno. J. Morgan)

August 31, 184810
Amherst County Circuit Court Chancery Files
No. 2 1841-1849
page 448
#431
Sixth Day August 31, 1848 Thursday Amherst County
Wilson M Dempsey_____________________________________Plaintiff
against
Isham C Dempsey, Seaton Y Dempsey, Wesley G Dempsey, Patrick Rowsy and Eliza his wife, Simeon A Burch and Louisa his wife, Zacharias Drummond and John J Morgan, James Powell Sheriff of the County of Amherst Young & Meem ___________Finley and ___________and Morgan ___________Defendants
This cause came on this day to be heard upon the papers formerly read and the report of the commissioner Zach Drummond made in the pursuance of the decretal order of the 7th day of November 1844 and was argued by consul. Upon consideration whereof the court doth ratify and confirm the said report except so much thereof as relates to the portion of Seaton Y Dempsey. The courts being of opinion that the lien of Young & Meem to said Seaton’s portion of the fund is superior to that set up by the said Drummond doth adjudge order and decree that the said Zacharias Drummond do pay to Young & Meem the sum of ninety six dollars and seventeen cents with interest thereon to be computed at the rate of six per cent per annum from the 20th day of January 1846 till paid.
And the court doth further order that the said Zacharias Drummond who is hereby appointed a commissioner for the purpose do convey by deed with special warranty the lands in the bill and proceedings mentioned to the respective purchasers thereof at their several costs.
And the purposes of this suit having been attained the court doth order that the same be discontinued.

William’s wife Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM died on 27 September 1834 in Amherst County, Virginia. As seen above William never returned to Amherst and by 1848 all matters having to do with his estate had been settled. Why did Wilson M. DEMPSEY have to travel to King William County on the business of the estate? When did William DEMPSEY actually disappear? When did the family last hear from him?

In 1830, his wife Martha Dempsey is listed in the Amherst County census with her two young daughters.11 William DEMPSEY was last seen on the 1820 census in Amherst County, Virginia. He was listed as “Will Dempey.” There is no mark in the age category that he would have fit in. Was he away from home on some kind of business? “Will” was not his nickname, this was a quirk of the enumerator who wrote “Will” for every man with the name William.

Let’s jump back to the time when William was in Amherst County. Norma searched everywhere even through a box of loose papers that was accessible to the public at the Amherst County Courthouse. In this box, she found a permission slip dated 21 August 1799 signed by Susannah DEMPSEY who had no objections to her son William DEMPSEY marrying to any person that he choose (illegible due to its being crossed through – this is a close guess). I believe that when his mother signed the slip she did not know that Patsey LANDRUM would be the bride. The bride’s name was apparently added later, perhaps by another person. 

MRIN09274 1799 William Dempsey + Patsey Landrum Marriage Consent 1MARRIAGE CONSENT
This is Certify that I have no objections against
my son William Dempseys marrying to [text marked out] Patsy Landrum
provided she is willing
given under my hand this the 21. day of August 1799
Test   George Wright
Allen Cameron                     Susannah Dempsey

On the same day William DEMPSEY and Allen CAMERON, who had witnessed the permission slip, went bond on the marriage “intended shortly to be had and solemnized between Patsey Landrum (Spinster) and the above bound William Dempsey.”

MRIN09274 1799 William Dempsey + Patsey Landrum Marriage BondMARRIAGE BOND
Know all men by these presents that we William Dempsey & Allen Cameron
are held and firmly bound unto James Wood Esquire the Governor of
Virginia for the time being and to his successors in office for the
use of the Commonwealth in the sum of one hundred and
fifty Dollars current money to which payment well and truly
to be made we bind ourselves and each of us our and each of
our heirs executors and administrators jointly and severally
firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated
this 21st day of August 1799
The condition of the above obligation is such that
whereas there is a marriage intended shortly
to be had and solemnized between Patsey
Landrum (Spinster) and the above bound
William Dempsey
Now if there should be no legal cause to
obstruct the said marriage then the above
obligation to be void or else to remain in full
force and virtue
Signed & ackd                        Wm Dempsey (his mark & seal)
in presence of                          Allen Cameron (his mark & seal)
S Garland

Both of these documents show that Susannah DEMPSEY was the mother of William DEMPSEY who married Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM on 21 August 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia. Without these documents I would have believed the information given in the following:

1799marriageerror
William Montgomery Sweeny, “Marriage Bonds and Other Marriage Records of Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1800”, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1937.

Here we see that Susannah DEMPSEY is listed as “her mother,” therefore the mother of the bride. What complications this would have caused in further research! The mention of the certificate of marriage by the Rev. James BOYD (sic, FLOYD) is information not found on the permission slip or bond.12

Other than the DEMPSEY to LANDRUM marriage, there were two other DEMPSEY marriages found in Amherst County during this time period.

◉ Jane DEMPSEY (ca 1774-aft 1820) married Allen CAMERON (ca 1771-aft 1820) on 21 December 1795 in Amherst County, Virginia13
◉ Tandy DEMPSEY (ca 1777-1836) married Nancy THOMPSON (?-aft 1830) on 19 January 1801 in Amherst County, Virginia14

Notice that Allen CAMERON who married Jane DEMPSEY in 1795 was a witness on the 1799 permission slip and went bond with William DEMPSEY when he married. Could it be that Jane and William, and maybe even Tandy, were siblings?

In 1800 William and Tandy, both seen with the surname spelled DEMSEY, were on the Amherst Tax List with 1 tithable each (white male over 21 years old) and 0 horses.15

Following William’s marriage to Patsey they had six known children as seen in the records found for the estate of William DEMPSEY:

◉ Wilson M. DEMPSEY (ca. 1802-aft. 1883)
◉ Seaton Y. DEMPSEY (ca. 1803-aft. 1880)
◉ Isham C DEMPSEY (ca. 1806-aft. 1854)
◉ Wesley G. DEMPSEY (ca. 1808-1890)
◉ Louisa J. DEMPSEY (ca. 1812-1888)
◉ Eliza DEMPSEY (ca. 1815-aft. 1860)

By 1810 William and Patsey’s four older boys seen above are enumerated for the first time in the census taken in Amherst County. The image found on Ancestry is not as legible as the one found on the Internet Archive. The transcription of the census on Ancestry shows that there were also 3 slaves in the household (see arrow on the second image). There may have been a fifth son who pre-deceased his parents. Also in the household was a young woman aged between 10-16. Was she a child of William’s wife from a previous relationship, a girl hired to help in the household, or a relative?

1810censusdempsey
1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst (ancestry.com)

1810censusdempsey1810 U.S. Federal Census16
Amherst County, Virginia
William Dempsey
5 males under 10 yo (Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G. & unknown)
1 male 26 & under 45 yo (William b. 1765-1779)
1 female 10 & under 16 yo (unknown b. 1795-1800)
1 female 26 & under 45 yo (Martha b. 1765-1778)
Numbers of Slaves: 3
Number of Household Members Under 16: 6
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 11

During the 1810s William DEMPSEY bought land in Amherst County and witnessed his neighbors’ deeds. The 330 acres of land that he owned at the time of his death was located in Buffalo Springs, Amherst County, now known as Forks of Buffalo, located twelve miles west of the present town of Amherst on U.S. Route 60. Many land deeds from 1813 to 1830 show that William shared lines with several neighbors, notably Higginbotham, Sandidge, Rucker, Coleman, Gillespie, Rowsey, and Toler.

15 June 181017
Land Purchase (120 acres)
WILLIAM WILLMORE and wife, SUSANNA, Amherst County, to WILLIAM DEMPSEY, Amherst County.  7000 pounds inspected tobacco – 120 acres. Lines:  JOSEPH HIGGINBOTHAM, BENJAMIN SANDIDGE, RACHEL ATKINSON. Witnesses:  NELSON CARTER.  To WILLIAM DEMPSEY, 20 October 1815.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 135, #367]

1 June 181118
Land Purchase
JONATHAN C. DEVASHER and wife, ELIZABETH, Amherst County. $400  no acres.  Lines:  mouth of a branch running into Long Branch. To WILLIAM DEMPSEY, 20 October 1815.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 43, #487]

17 June 181119
Land Purchase (96 acres)
CHARLES L. BARRETT and his wife, SARAH, Amherst County. £100 96 acres. Lines: JOSEPH HIGGINBOTHAM, Horsleys Creek, Childress’ Gap Road, WILLIAM SCHOFIELD dec’d. To WILLIAM DEMPSEY, 20 October 1815.

Note: This entry wasn’t included in the many entries Norma sent from the Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures. It is unknown if she missed it or if it was missed by Davis in his compilation.

27 January 181720
Witnesses deed
JAMES  SMITH. to heirs of my brother WIATT SMITH…for $1.00 and love; two slaves named. Witnesses: WILLIAM DEMPSEY, WILLIAM COLEMAN, BENJAMIN HIGGINBOTHAM, ROWLAND GILLESPIE.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 117, #225]

20 October 181721
Witnesses deed
JOSEPH HIGGINBOTHAM, Amherst County, to BENJAMIN SANDIDGE, Amherst County.. .no amount; 14 1/2 acres south side Buffaloe. Lines:  the road.  Witnesses:  CHARLES L. BARRET, WILLIAM COLENA, WILLIAM DEMPSEY, DAVID CLARKSON, WILLIAM COLEMAN.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 140, #518]

In 1820 we see William as the head of household in the census, however, he is not included in the count. Also in the household are his wife, the six known children as well as an unknown male under 10 and an unknown female 10-16.

1820censusdempsey
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst (ancestry.com)

1820 U.S. Federal Census22
Amherst County, Virginia
Will Dempey (sic)
2 males under 10 yo (Wesley G. and unknown)
3 males 10 & under 16 yo (Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman)
3 females 10 & under 16 yo (Louisa, Eliza and unknown)
1 female 26 & under 45 yo (Martha)
2 persons engaged in agriculture

William’s sons began to marry in the late 1820s:

◉ Isham Coleman DEMPSEY married Sarah Elvira THOMAS (1809-1879) on 5 March 1827 in Rockbridge County, Virginia23
◉ Seaton Y. DEMPSEY married Clementine M. GOWING (1814-1880) on 3 January 1829 in Amherst County, Virginia24

By 1830, as was mentioned previously, William DEMPSEY was not seen in the census. His wife Martha, no longer using her nickname Patsey, had their two youngest daughters in her household. Their married sons Isham and Seaton had their own households. Young Wesley may have been with his brother Seaton. Wilson who didn’t marry until 1839 hasn’t been located.

While William’s estate was being taken care of his oldest son and young daughters, first seen with their maiden names, married:

◉ Wilson M. DEMPSEY married(1) Evalina Carolyn RHODES (d. bef. 1848) on 30 December 1939 in Amherst County25
◉ Louisa J. DEMPSEY married Simeon A. BURCH (1790-1870) on 8 October 1840 in Amherst County at the residence of her brother S. Y. Dempsey26
◉ Eliza DEMPSEY married Patrick H. ROWSEY (1814-1858) on 4 February 1843 in Amherst County27
◉ Wilson M. DEMPSEY married(2) Paulina (maiden name unknown) (1815-1881) abt 1848

After William DEMPSEY’s estate was finally settled his youngest son Wesley G. DEMPSEY married Mary HUGHES (1823-1889) on 6 May 1856 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.28

ღ ღ ღ ღ ღ

The story of my 4th great-grandfather William DEMPSEY of Amherst County, Virginia, is dedicated to Norma Barnett Dempsey and her husband Richard, my 4th cousin. I found Norma when I began researching my paternal family history on the internet in 2000. She sent me large envelopes full of copies of everything she had found on the DEMPSEY families in old Virginia. I’m amazed at her determination in researching the DEMPSEY family as her husband does not carry the Y-DNA of the line. His mother Cindy, grandmother Nannie, and great-grandmother Polina did not marry but had children to whom they gave their maiden name – DEMPSEY. Three strong single women raised their families in an era when the rights and privileges of women were limited.

This Post was Updated on 18 September 2022Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format. Records found by Norma and mentioned in abstracts were located on FamilySearch as the collections are now available to the public. They have been cited in the footnotes. Chancery records for Amherst became available in late 2020. All sources used by Norma have been kept in the text of this post to give her credit for the preliminary work.

Several years after this was published, a new theory on the death of William DEMPSEY was formed as DNA evidence came to light. If you are interested, please continue by reading: Dempsey Research Question Crafted During the Research Planning Magic Challenge written 9 January 2021.

© 20142022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Virginia Chronicle, a historical archive of Virginia newspapers, providing free access to full-text searching and digitized images of over a million newspaper pages by the Library of Virginia, Lynchburg Virginian, Volume 13, Number 95, 29 June 1835, page 3, column 5. “—–, on the 27th September, 1834, at her residence, Mrs. Martha Dempsey, of Amherst county, Virginia. The papers in the State of Ohio are requested to publish the foregoing, for the information of Mr. William Demspey, the husband of the deceased, who is supposed to be somewhere in that State.” (https://virginiachronicle.com/?a=d&d=LV18350629.1.3 : accessed 7 May 2022). 
  2. Virginia. County Court (Amherst County), “Order books, 1766-1904,” browse-only images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Amherst County Courthouse in Amherst, Virginia, Order books 1836-1840, 1844-1848 (1840-1844 missing at time of filming), Film 1888563, DGS 8151602, image 27 of 478, page 33, 20 Jun 1836, admin bond for est. of William Dempsey acknowledged by Wilson M Dempsey and Peter Rucker, appraisers appointed. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKJ-3S6W-S?i=26&cat=275660 : accessed 4 February 2022). 
  3. “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (index and images), Ancestry, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Amherst Will Books, Vol 7-9, 1827-1838 > image 589+590 of 651, Will Book 9, page 315-316, 15 May 1837, Wm Dempsey inventory (accessed 19 January 2018). NOTE: “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 > https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/ is not available in Ancestry‘s catalog. It is only viewable using a backdoor link. The collection “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1900” is available and searchable at https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/62347/ but the quality is poor compared to the first. 
  4. Virginia. County Court (Amherst County), “Deed books, 1761-1900; general indexes to deed books, 1761-1903,” (database with images), FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949; citing microfilm of original records at the Amherst County Courthouse in Amherst, Virginia., Film 30294, DGS 8571075, Deed books, v. 1847-1853, image 358 of 509, Deed Book X, page 239-240, 8 Aug 1839, Wilson M, Ceaton Y., Wesley G., Louesia, and Eliza Dempsey to Nelson Hicks, 2 and 3/4 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C3Q1-K91D-F?i=357&cat=282807 : accessed 15 May 2022). 
  5. Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983, Amherst Will Books, Vol 10-12, 1838-1852 > image 191 of 831, Will Book 10, page 368, administrator’s accounts of Wilson M.and Westley G. Dempsey – for the family in 1835. 19 Jul 1841: W. L. Saunders and Pitt Woodroof (accessed 19 January 2018). 
  6. Ibid., Amherst Will Books, Vol 10-12, 1838-1852 > image 257 of 831, Will Book 11, page 82-83, administrator’s accounts of the estate of Wm Dempsey from 1838-1842, 18 Jul 1842 (accessed 15 May 2022). 
  7. Amherst County Deeds, Film 30295, DGS 8316258, Deed books, v. Y-Z 1841-1846, image 102 of 623, Deed Book Y, pages 183-184, 16 May 1842, Dempsey to Morgan, 55 acres (1/6 of 330 acres). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRY-XQLZ-G?i=101&cat=282807 : accessed 14 May 2022). 
  8. Ibid., Film 30295, DGS 8316258, Deed books, v. Y-Z 1841-1846, image 388 of 623, Deed Book Z, pages 163-164, 29 May 1844, an indenture: Seaton Y Dempsey of the first, Patrick Drummond of the second, and Wilson M. Dempsey of the third. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRY-XQ2V-4?i=387&cat=282807 : accessed 14 May 2022). 
  9. Ibid., Film 30296, DGS 8571076, image 200 of 623, Deed Book AA, page 368, 20 Jan 1845, Drummond to Dempsey, 210 acres, highest bidder on tract, acknowledged 21 March 1849. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C3Q1-T9QH-P?i=199&cat=282807 : accessed 10 May 2022). 
  10. Chancery Records of Virginia, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, Local Government Records Collection, Virginia Memory (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/), Amherst Court Records, Amherst County Chancery Causes 1779-1912, W M Dempsey/Wilson M Dempsey v. Isham C Dempsey etc Zachariah Drummond etc, 1848-003 (36 pages). (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=009-1848-003 : accessed 28 October 2020). 
  11. 1830 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8058/), citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Nara Roll M19_194, FHL Film: 0029673, Virginia, Amherst County, page 506 (double-page spread), line 6, Martha Dempsey (accessed 19 Feb 2013). 
  12. “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 724 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 437, 5th entry from bottom of page, Aug 1799, William Dempsey and Patsey Landrum married by James Floyd. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-N8P3?i=723 : accessed 21 Jan 2021). 
  13. Ibid., Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 392 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 106, 21 Dec 1795, Allen Cammeron (sic) and Jane Dempsey (Dempsie in parenthesis above her name), parent or guardian of wife is “Spencer, Thomas” giving consent. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-NZV4?i=391 : accessed 13 September 2022). 
  14. Ibid., Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 435 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 149, 19 Jan 1801, Tandy Dempsey and Nancy Thompson, securities Charles Thompson and S. Garland. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-NCVQ?i=434 : accessed 13 September 2022). 
  15. The Virginia Genealogist (magazine), John Frederick Dorman (Editor), Vol. 5-6 (1961-62), page 82. 
  16. 1810 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7613/), citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, Roll 66, FHL Film 0181426, image: Vam252_66-0309, Virginia, Amherst County, page 296, line 10, William Dempsey (accessed 31 September 2015). 
  17. Amherst County Deeds, Film 30289, DGS 8140711, image 547 of 633, Deed Book L, page 367, 15 Jun 1810, Willmore to Dempsey deed. 120 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKW-FQMF-P?i=546&cat=282807 : accessed 10 May 2022). 
  18. Ibid., Film 30289, DGS 8140711, image 607 of 633, Deed Book L, page 487-488, Devasher to Dempsey, no acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKW-FQ9J-P?i=606&cat=282807 : accessed 15 May 2022). 
  19. Ibid., Film 30289, DGS 8140711, images 606+607 of 633, Deed Book L, page 486-487, 17 Jun 1811, Barrett to Dempsey, 96 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKW-FQ9J-P?i=606&cat=282807 : accessed 10 May 2022). 
  20. Ibid., Film 30290, DGS 8316257, image 545 of 733, Deed Book N, page 225 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRY-XQZM-4?i=544&cat=282807
  21. Ibid., Film 30290, DGS 8316257, image 658 of 733, Deed Book N, page 518 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRY-XQH1-F?i=684&cat=282807
  22. 1820 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7734/), citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll: M33_131, Virginia, Amherst County, page 191 (handwritten), sheet 24 (stamped), line 4, William Dempsey (accessed 19 November 2004). 
  23. “Virginia, Marriages 1740-1850,” (index-only), Ancestry, citing Dodd, Jordan R., et al., Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850, Precision Indexing Publishers, Bountiful, Utah. Two marriages are listed: 1. Coleman Dempsey and Elvina Thomas married on 5 March 1827 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and 2. Coleman Dempsey and Sarah E. Dempsey married on 6 March 1827 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. I am assuming that it is the same marriage and different dates refer to bond, license, and/or return. 
  24. Amherst Marriages 1763-1853, Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 589 of 786, Amherst County Register of marriages, page 301, entry 2, 3 Jan 1829, Seaton Y Dempsey and Clementina Gowing, security and witnesses: Landon S. Gowing, Philip Smith Sr., Ro. Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-N8WJ : accessed 26 February 2022). 
  25. Ibid., Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 647 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 359, first entry, 30 Dec 1839, Wilson M. Dempsey and Carolyne Rhoads, father Reuben Rhoads, security or witness Edward Rhoads. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9XF-NZ6Y?i=646 : accessed 26 February 2022). 
  26. Ibid., Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 652 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 364, 3rd entry, 8 Oct 1840, Simeon A. Burch and Louis Demsey, brother of Louisa: Seaton Y Dempsey, witnesses: John A. Staton, Clementine Dempsey, and W. S. Saunders. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-NZB1?i=651&cat=680855 : accessed 7 May 2022). 
  27. Ibid., Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 668 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 379, 6th entry, 4 Feb 1843, Patrick H. Rowsey and Eliza Dempsey, Seaton Y Dempsey security. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9XF-NZ8C?i=667&cat=680855 : accessed 7 May 2022). 
  28. Rockbridge County (Virginia) County Clerk, Birth records, 1853-1896 and marriage records, 1782-1913; general indexes to marriage & birth registers, 1778-1918, FamilySearch, Film 33799 (Item 3), DGS 7579057, Register of marriages (licenses), 1854-1866 (original), image 235 of 329, 1856 Marriage Licenses, right page, 4th entry, license 14 Apr 1856, Wesley G. Dempsey & Marry Hughes married 6 May 1856 by Rev. J. James Largent. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-2BFK?i=234&cat=473852 : accessed 7 May 2022). Note: daughter of Thomas Hughes, deceased, affidavit of A. Entsminger that she is above 21. 

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.

10 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: #38 William DEMPSEY, son of Susannah of Amherst County, Virginia”

    1. Karen, unfortunately marriage records in America at that time did not have the amount of information that we see in marriage records in Europe. Would have been nice if William’s residence had been listed on the marriage license, bond, or record. Thanks for the comment.

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  1. It takes so much time to input all you did for this story – but you reap the rewards even more having it in order as a story. Yes I love their handwriting inreading deeds and documents. And sometimes it takes several reads to Read and Understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jeanne. I appreciate your taking the time to read through my posts. Once everything is inputted, documented, cited, and analyzed it’s easy to write the story. In this case I was lucky that Norma did a lot of research at the courthouse and shared it!

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  2. Good Morning, Thank you for the tremendous amount of work you have accomplished in helping to save the history of our early Virginia settlers of the Amherst County “wilderness”. I am not a genealogist, per se, only “dabble”. I’ve never responded to this sort of online format but was moved to share a bit of my current experience with you. (BTW, love your wonderful story telling & writing! Much better than mindless TV). I am an Amherst County Virginian, living in Charleston, WV (thank you for your kind words about our good cultural center state archive programs)

    My grandfather, E.C. Bradley, purchased the upper Haas & lower Haas tracts next to Wm Dempsey property line (on old deed) & the old Buffalo Springs Hotel in 1942. I have inherited it from my mother & my husband and I are restoring it as a second home. I am researching (as an armature) the house history & have become familiar with so many of the ancient settler names, some you mention; Rucker, Milstead, Higginbotham, Rowsey, Drumheller, Sandidge, Haas, to name a few. My paternal grandmother (DAR member) was a Wood from Woodson (Piney River area Nelson Co) and I have memories of sitting in the floor of the Baptist parsonage home of Bailey Davis( at age 12) while they worked on the transcripts of the first Amherst deed books. I was in Amherst high school with Sherry Snead McElroy; joint author, Amherst Passages.

    The road Buffalo Springs Turnpike, on which these lands border, leads a few miles down the road to a newly proposed future Amherst County Historic District. This has prompted us to be more thorough in our restoration & spurred my interest in the old house history. We’ve traced the deed back to 1810 & our local museum curator believes there was a home here (perhaps log) as early as 1761.

    I would love to know if you have a better understanding from your research & numerous connections of the Dempsey property lines/house or any tidbit regarding his Amherst life & that of his neighbors? It’s fascinating you do so much research from Germany! Sorry for such a long reply. Again, thank you for your wonderful work & I hope you don’t mind sharing such information.
    Best Regards, D. Moses

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    1. Hello Doris,
      No need to apologize for the long comment. It was so interesting to read about the land and surrounding land where my 4th great-grandfather lived. Unfortunately all the information I have on the land deeds in Amherst County came from OCR scans of the (done by another descendant researcher) of the Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia.
      I would love to hear more about the deed you have traced, the early 1761 home, and the proposed Amherst County Historic District.
      I’ll be in touch with you per email.

      Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to write this wonderful comment.

      Best wishes,
      Cathy

      Like

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