52 Ancestors: #39 Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM, An Orphan

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

#39 Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM, An Orphan

My 4th great-grandmother Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM, born about 1778, was the orphan of James  LANDRUM (d. bef. 21 Aug 1797). A guardian bond was taken out on 21 August 1797 by George WRIGHT and Thomas SPENCER with George as the guardian of Patsy LANDRUM.1 The abstract from the source reads:

August 21, 1797
Guardian Bond
20 Patsy Landrum — 4:305 GB Geo. Wright and Thos. Spencer, Aug. 21,1797, for GW as gdn of Patsy Landrum, orph of Jas. Landrum, dec’d.

George WRIGHT, seen above as Patsy’s guardian, married Elizabeth LANDRUM in Amherst County, Virginia, on 19 January 1789 with Young LANDRUM as surety.2,3

Robert N. Grant has suggested that Elizabeth LANDRUM’s father was Young LANDRUM since he was surety for the marriage.

UPDATE (31 March 2018): The extract from Davis’ compilation of Amherst County miniatures has an error in the date of the guardian bond. The bond was found on 31 March 2018 in Amherst Will Book 4, page 305. A guardian bond was taken out on 21 August 1799 by George WRIGHT and Thomas SPENCER with George as the guardian of Patsy LANDRUM.4

I’ve tried to learn more about the LANDRUM line, however, it seems like everyone who has worked on them is as confused as I am. Young LANDRUM Sr. lived in Amherst at the time that Patsy was orphaned which would suggest that James LANDRUM, Patsy’s father, may have been related to Young LANDRUM. It is interesting to note that Young had a son named James LANDRUM who died in 1840 and therefore could not have been James, the father of Patsy. Were Young and James brothers?

UPDATE (25 March 2018): The will of Elizabeth (Wortham) LANDRUM, widow of Samuel LANDRUM, was found naming sons, James and Young, and daughter Rosey.5 A son Samuel was not mentioned in her will. Her husband did not leave a will. A son Samuel, however, was named in his paternal grandmother’s 1754 will as the son of her deceased son Samuel.6

Susannah DEMPSEY consented to the marriage of William DEMPEY* and Patsey* LANDRUM on 21 August 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia. Witnesses were: George WRIGHT, guardian of the bride, and Allen CAMERON, possibly a brother-in-law of the groom.7 (* spelling used in the document)

MRIN09274 1799 William Dempsey + Patsey Landrum Marriage Consent 1
Photocopy of the marriage consent found by Norma Dempsey in a box of loose papers accessible to the public at the Amherst County Courthouse in the 1990s.

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

William DEMPSEY and Allen CAMERON signed, in the presence of S. GARLAND, the marriage bond dated 21 August 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia for marriage between Patsey LANDRUM (spinster) and William DEMPSEY.

MRIN09274 1799 William Dempsey + Patsey Landrum Marriage Bond
Photocopy of the marriage bond found by Norma Dempsey in a box of loose papers accessible to the public at the Amherst County Courthouse in the 1990s.

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

Can a link be established between Patsy and Elizabeth, the wife of Patsy’s guardian George WRIGHT? I find the following interesting: Elizabeth and George WRIGHT named their children:

Wesley J., Elizabeth, Matilda, and Wilson

Patsy and William DEMPSEY named their children:

Wilson, Seaton Y., Wesley G., Eliza, and Louisa.

Is it a coincidence that they used Wilson, Wesley, and Eliza/Elizabeth? Did they use a naming pattern for their children? Could Wesley or Wilson be a clue to Patsy’s maternal line?

As was previously mentioned in 52 Ancestors: #38 William DEMPSEY, son of Susannah of Amherst County, Virginia, Patsy and her husband William DEMPSEY lived in Amherst County following their marriage. This was also the place where their children were born and raised. They may have had two children, reflected in the 1810 and 1820 census, who did not reach adulthood.8,9

By 1830 we see that Patsy has stopped using the name listed in the guardian bond, marriage consent, and marriage record. She is seen in the 1830 census as Martha DEMPSEY and has only her two young daughters with her. In the screenshot below it looks like there may have also been a male in the household, however, the total number of persons in the household, seen on the second page of the census, is three. The mark in the second column [“1 male 5 & under 10 yo” field] after Martha’s name may only be a pen scratch or smudge.10

1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst (ancestry.com)

1830 U.S. Federal Census
Amherst County, Virginia
Martha Dempsey
2 females 10 & under 15 yo (Louisa and Eliza)
1 female 50 & under 60 yo (Martha)
Total persons in household: 3

Four years after the census was enumerated Martha may have been attended by Dr. Ezekiel B. GILBERT in the days prior to her death on 27 September 1834 at her residence in Amherst County, Virginia. In 1842 when her husband William DEMPSEY’s estate was being settled, Dr. Gilbert’s medical account was listed as having been paid on 28 September 1836. The voucher was for $15.00.11

Martha’s death was documented in an advertisement placed in the Lynchburg Virginian, nine months after her death.12

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

Martha left six children and three grandchildren: son Wilson M.; son Seaton Y. and wife Clementine and their son George W.; son Isham C. and wife Sarah Elvira and their children Nancy and James W.; son Wesley G.; and daughters Louisa J. and Eliza.

Martha’s husband never replied to the advertisement and his children went through a long process of settling the estate which lasted until the end of August 1848.

This Post was Updated on 25 September 2022Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

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



  1. Bailey Fulton Davis, compiler; Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, Amherst Court, Virginia Wills, Vol. 2, E-O, page 5 L Wills. 
  2. Robert N. Grant, author/compiler of Wright family information. 
  3. “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 331 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 47, 19 Jan 1789 marriage bond, George Wright and Elizabeth Landrum, no parents listed, witnesses/securities Young Landrum and Wm Loving Jr. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9XF-NZNH?i=330&cat=680855 : accessed 23 September 2022). 
  4. “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 3-4, 1786-1810 > image 507 of 831, Will Book 4, page 305, 21 August 1799 guardian bond for Patsy Landrum orphan of Jas. Landrum decd. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007643858_00507 : accessed 31 March 2018). 
  5. Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 8-10, 1747-1757, page 77, image 473 of 519,  Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth Landrum dated 22 October 1755, presented and recorded on 18 November 1755. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007645972_00473 : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  6. Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 9-10, 1750-1756, 1760-1761, image 315 of 539, page 310, 1751 Will of Mary Landrum. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007644537_00315 : accessed 31 March 2018). 
  7. “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 724 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 437, 5th entry from the 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). 
  8. 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). 
  9. 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). 
  10. 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). 
  11. “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” 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 (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007643861_00257 : accessed 15 May 2022). 
  12. 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). 

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.

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