52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R – Kesiah LIVELY

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

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

52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R – Kesiah LIVELY

An interesting tidbit for cousins who like to find royalty and celebrities in their family tree: My 4th great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY’s maternal grandparents, Robert Howard CASH and Ruth Walker EPPINGTON, were the 5th great-grandparents of “one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century,”[1] John R. “Johnny” CASH.

Johnny Cash was also an amateur genealogist. His interest was piqued by a chance encounter with Major Michael Crichton-Stuart on a transatlantic flight in the 1970s. The then Hereditary Keeper of Falkland Palace in Fife explained how abundant the CASH name was in Fife. Johnny Cash visited the Major several times in Scotland to fill in the gaps in his paternal CASH family tree which goes back to the 11th century.[2]

Clipped from “Virginia 1751 Map” drawn by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson in 1751, United States Digital Map Library, a USGenWeb Archives project, online http://usgwarchives.net/maps/virginia/statemap/1751virginia.jpg : accessed 23 Nov 2014

Johnny CASH’s first cousin five times removed, my 4th great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY was the youngest child of Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793) and Mary L. CASH (1740-1793). Both of her parents were likely born in Goochland County, Virginia. Many family trees have Albemarle as the place of birth however if we consult the formation of the Virginia counties we see that Albemarle was not formed until 1744 from Goochland. Mary and Joseph’s teen and early adult years were during the French and Indian War (28 May 1754-10 Feb 1763). They married before 1761, the year of the formation of Amherst County from Albemarle. If a marriage record ever existed in Albemarle County it was most likely destroyed along with all order books except the first and many loose papers between 1748 and 1781, by British general Banastre Tarleton’s raid on Charlottesville in 1781 during the Revolutionary War.[3]

1782 Personal Property Tax List of Amherst County, VIrginia, page 6; online http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/FreeSample/CDR-000413/1782/1782Personal/06.pdf
1782 Personal Property Tax List of Amherst County, VIrginia, page 5; online http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/FreeSample/CDR-000413/1782/1782Personal/05.pdf

In 1782, when the first personal property taxlists were taken in Virginia, Joseph LIVELY and his oldest son Joseph were both on the list. They were not listed as Sr. and Jr. The first listing above would be for Joseph Sr. with 1 tithable, 1 slave, 27 cattle, and 12 horses. His son Joseph Jr. had 3 cattle and 2 horses. In the years after, from 1783 to 1793, when Joseph and Mary’s sons turned 16 but not yet 21 years of age, they were seen in Joseph’s tax assessment. Below, in 1790 Robert, Benjamin, and John were seen with Joseph and his oldest son was seen as Joseph Jr.

1790 Personal Property Tax List for Amherst County, Virginia, page 16; online http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Amherst/1790PersonalA/16.jpg
1790 Personal Property Tax List for Amherst County, Virginia, page 15; online http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Amherst/1790PersonalA/15.jpg

“Joseph paid taxes in Amherst Co. in 1782 and 1783 on 398 and 400 acres and from 1787 to 1793 on 398 acres. His estate paid taxes on the 398 acres in 1794. Joseph Lively received 400 acres of land on Thresher’s Creek in Amherst Co. adjacent lands of James Smith and Pierce Wade on 4 Aug 1777. This land Joseph and wife Mary deeded to Robert Cash of Amherst Co. on 5 Mar 1780. Another tract of 400 acres on Dutch Creek in Amherst Co. was purchased by Joseph from John Harmer on 1 Sept 1782 and sold by Joseph and wife Mary to William Cabell on 1 Jan 1787 (Amherst Co. Deeds, D:447, E:218, F:110). The origin of the remaining 398 acres has not been determined and may have been a land grant.“[4]

Not being able to go to the courthouse or archives in Virginia to research land records I often use the Library of Virginia’s Land Office Grants database:


1782landdocJoseph LIVELY was granted 400 acres on both sides of the Dutch Creek in Amherst County in 1782. This would be the land mentioned above that he sold to William Cabell in 1787. I will let John F. Vallentine continue as he compiled the following information:

“Joseph died intestate in Amherst Co. (now Nelson Co.), Va., in 1793 (Amherst Co. Wills, 3:282, 293, 450). Letters of administration were granted to Mark Lively, a son, on 22 Oct 1793 with John Hill and William Hill as bondsmen. An inventory of the estate of Joseph Lively made on 16 Dec 1793 included a considerable number of livestock, an old negro woman Sarah, a negro woman Betty, and a negro boy George. The Joseph Lively estate sale on 19 Aug 1797 listed a few of the relatives and many neighbors as purchasers. Subsequently the estate was settled but no record of final partition was included in the Amherst Co. probate records.

That the 398 acres remaining in the possession of Joseph Lively at the time of his death was later divided into 9 tracts of approximately 44 acres is shown by subsequent land sales recorded in the Amherst Co. Deeds. Eight of the heirs of Joseph Lively have been identified by this means. The same eight heirs are recorded in a common sale of personal property in Albemarle Co. belonging to Joseph’s estate (Albemarle Co. Order Books, 1795-8:331). What happened to the remaining 9th part or 44 acres in the estate partition is uncertain. No mention of Joseph’s wife Mary after his death has been found. The 398-acre tract was located on Pucker’s Creek and Babb’s Creek.”[4]

The eight identified heirs of Joseph LIVELY mentioned in the above excerpt were all born before the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775- 14 Jan 1784):

  • Sib 1: Joseph LIVELY (1761-1838) born 16 June 1761 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Sarah “Salley” TILLER on 4 November 1784 in Amherst County. Joseph died on 11 May 1838.
  • Sib 2: Benjamin LIVELY (1762-1797) born about 1762 in Amherst County, Virginia. Benjamin was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father and as a taxpayer in 1795, 1796, and 1797 on 44 acres. He was not found later and it has been assumed that he died after 1797. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As Benjamin was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774. As he was seen as a taxpayer in 1795-1797 he would have been born 1774 or earlier.
  • Sib 3: John LIVELY (1764- ) born about 1764 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father. John married Clara CARNALL on 19 August 1794 in Amherst County. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As John was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774.
  • Sib 4: Mark LIVELY (1766-1857) born 11 January 1766 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Mary HILL on 30 November 1791 in Amherst County. He was on the 1799 Amherst tax list. He died on 23 November 1857 in Taylor County, Kentucky.
  • Sib 5: Robert Cash LIVELY (1768- ) born about 1768 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father. He married Elizabeth BETHEL on 20 August 1793 in Amherst County. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As Robert was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774.
  • Sib 6: Ruth LIVELY (1770- ) born about 1770 in Amherst County, Virginia. She married William GRIFFIN on 17 June 1793 in Amherst County.
  • Sib 7: Nancy LIVELY (1772- ) born about 1772 in Amherst County, Virginia. Nancy Lively Married Peter JOHNSON on 5 April 1794 in Amherst County, Virginia.
  • Kesiah LIVELY born about 1774 in Amherst County, Virginia.

Kesiah’s father Joseph LIVELY died before 22 October 1793 in Amherst County. It is possible that his wife Mary L. CASH predeceased him as she is not mentioned after his death. At the time of Joseph’s death his two youngest daughters, Nancy and Kesiah, and his son John were not yet married.

A little over a year after Joseph LIVELY’s death his youngest daughter Kesiah LIVELY was married to Zachariah PETERS by Rev. Ezekiel Campbell on 18 November 1794 in Amherst County.[5]

Kesiah gave birth to her first child, my 3rd great-grandfather, Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) on 10 October 1796 in Amherst County. A month later she and her husband Zachariah sold her share of her father’s estate, 1/9th of the 398 acres he left.

1796 November 21:
Zachariah Peters and his wife, Keziah, sold 44 acres in Amherst County, Virginia, for £60 (60 pounds) to William Loving.
Deed abstract: Deed Book H, p. 126.  21 November 1796.  WM. GRIFFIN & wife RUTH; ZACH. PETERS & wife KEZIAH, AC, to WM. LOVING, AC, (Orig. del. to WL, 26 Jun 1798) for 60 pounds, S branches Rucker’s Run – 2 adj. tracts.  Lines: grantee, where he lives; part of tract of JOSEPH LIVELY, dec’d, and upon equal division to RUTH & KEZIAH by JOS. LIVELY as his legatees by settlement – 44 acres each.  (Note discrepancy in acres) Page 127, order to quiz wives done and rec. 23 Nov 1796.  Wit:  JOS. LOVING, JAS. HANSBROUGH, JNO. BRYANT, JNO. STAPLES.[6]

Before leaving Amherst County for Franklin County, Kesiah and Zachariah had two daughters and another son. The names are only known for Mary and William. The other daughter remains a mystery.

The move to Franklin County occured after Zachariah was seen on the 1803 Amherst tax list. Kesiah then gave birth to Betsy about 1805 and Lucy about 1807. She also had two sons, one born between 1801-1810 whose his identity is not known, and the other being Willis born on 23 April 1808. Note: The unknown son may fit in between William b. abt. 1798 and Betsy b. abt. 1805.

After the enumeration of the 1810 census Kesiah had four more children: Joseph born 10 December 1810, a male and a female child both born between 1811-1815, and her youngest, Susannah born about 1815.

Following the birth of her last child Kesiah’s brood of a dozen children began to shrink as the oldest children began to marry. She saw the following six marry before the 1830 census.

Kesiah LIVELY  and her spouse Zachariah PETERS died between 1830-1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. It is not known who preceded whom. It is likely that they both saw their youngest known son Joseph PETERS marry Martha “Patsy” SMITH (1811-1888) on 1 September 1830 in Franklin County, Virginia (surety John Powers) as this was shortly after the 1830 census in which both were found.

Following Kesiah’s death, her youngest daughter Susannah married and two of her sons were widowed, one twice, and remarried.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Cash
[2] Celtic connection as Cash walks the line in Fife, Scotland on Sunday (The Scotsman) updated on 5 June 2006, accessed 22 Nov 2014.
[3] Lost Records Localities: Counties and Cities with Missing Records, in Library of Virginia (accessed 22 Nov 2014).
[4] Vallentine, John F. Livelys of America, 1690-1968. n.p.: National Association of Lively Families, 1971. FHL Book 929.273 L748v. As seen on Anna Young’s gedcom file “Our Family Tree” last updated 6 May 2007]
[5] William Montgomery Sweeny, Marriage Bonds and Other Marriage Records of Amherst County, Virginia 1763-1800 (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973). Paula K. Ward, email dated 21 Nov 2004, her source: letter dated 1978 to PKW from Mrs. Gertrude C. Mann, Rocky Mount, Virginia]
[6] Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Deeds of Amherst County, Virginia, 1761-1807, and Albemarle County, Virginia, 1748-1763, Southern Historical Press, 1979, pages 126-127.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey


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.

11 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R – Kesiah LIVELY”

  1. Great Post! You and I are also related. Robert Howard Cash is my 7th great grand father. Stephen Cash, his son, is my line. I did not have the information you posted about Mary. Nicely done and I love the footnotes. Thanks for posting!


    1. Hello cousin! Thank you Anne for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’m still learning how to do footnotes. It’s not always easy. 52 Ancestors is coming to an end but some of my cousins want me to do the next generation so I may be doing something on Mary next year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cathy, I’ve spent several hours this Christmas Day, 2014, reading this blog. I’m very impressed with your organization of information. Your work is as formal as a College Freshman English reference paper, in 1955, at least.

    I’m a big fan of Marguerite Tise who published a book, “The Lester Family”. The book was formatted very well with a table of contents that included every person mentioned. The amazing thing is that she did it on a typewriter. So, she had to precisely tab and number each person entered and remember to include the persons entered in the Index with proper page number. She included personal information as available for each person, and the book is 226 pages of 8-1/2 x 11 sheets…and enormous work

    You have the advantage of being computer capable. Marguerite was not. She died at 89 in 2002 and never acquired computer skills. But, you both are careful researchers. I can tell that you are by reading this blog today. It would have been easy for you to “adopt” John Peters as Zachariah’s father, especially as a professional researcher had paved the way. Marguerite opened many doors with her research but also closed some that had been the pathway to DAR membership for some of my Lester relatives.

    Many that publish genealogy information to the Internet simply adopt other’s work, and embellish. But, you and Marguerite are/were conscientious researchers. I have confidence in your work.

    I thank you for revealing my oldest “proven” ancestors: Joseph Lively and Mary L. Cash.

    Jerry C. Lester


    1. Jerry, thank you for spending so many hours of your Christmas Day reading my blog. I appreciate your praise. I think my writing may sound “formal” as I don’t have the advantage of being able to speak and listen to English since I live overseas.
      I have a paper copy and two digital copies of Marguerite Tise’s book. It was very helpful in my early years of research. Today I try to make the connection and then look at published or online family trees to see if I am getting it right or if I have made a discover that others have overlooked.
      Best wishes,


  3. Very informative. My six times great grandmother is Mary Ann Cash daughter of Robert Howard Cash 4 x great grandfather of John R. Cash (Johnny Cash). I would love to find more information on Mary Ann Cash she married John Camden. I live in Bedford County Virginia a county away from Amherst County, VA.
    I would appreciate any other emails and input.


    1. Thank you Victoria for leaving a comment. I haven’t done collateral research on the Cash line. I have the names of Robert Howard Cash’s children from his will but have not followed each child. I’ll send you an email to get us started on sharing.


  4. Hi, I have been reading your blog and love the work you have put into it thank you for all the information it helps a lot.Robert Howard Cash is my 8th great grandfather and i’m trying to figure out how that makes me related to Johnny Cash, I’m not good at that part however I will figure it out. I’m doing all of my family tree for my kids and grand babies because I never really had much of a family growing up,So i feel this is very important and exciting for them to know where they come from.Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

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