Difficulty Getting Around the Hill

In The Mysterious Ann Eliza HILL, wife of William CLONCH I brought up the question of  another child born to the marriage of my 3rd great-grandfather and his wife (not my ancestor) Ann Eliza. Their daughter Mariah Jane was mentioned in William’s last will and testament with “three dollars to Mariah Jane Patterson.” Mariah Jane and her husband John PATTERSON protested the will but were overruled.

My 3rd great-grandmother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS lived with William in what may have been considered a common-law marriage. She gave him eight children, seven who lived to adulthood and were named with their mother’s surname in William’s 1863 will.

Mariah Jane was the only child outside of his DOSS children who was acknowledged by him. No other child came forward to protest the will.

gettingaroundthehillHowever there remains the question of the parentage of a child named Dennis CLONCH found living with William CLONCH’s mother Nancy in 1850. He was likely a grandchild named after his grandfather Dennis CLAUNCH who died in the 1810s leaving Nancy to raise their four known children: Elizabeth, John, William, and Sarah. Before 1850 the surname was spelled CLAUNCH, both spellings were used interchangeably for a decade or two before the CLONCH spelling became common to most members of the family in West Virginia.

Who was Dennis CLONCH and What Became of Him?

The short story is:

Dennis CLONCH was born 8 March 1838 in (West) Virginia. He married Mary Ann BAKER on 16 November 1858 in Gallia County, Ohio. They had a son John William CLONCH born on 19 March 1860 and died on 9 February 1861. The first name given to the child may have caused an earlier researcher to assume Dennis was the son of William’s brother John. Dennis began using the HILL surname after the 1860 census and before 21 February 1862 when he enlisted in the Union Regular Army at Gallipolis, Ohio. Neither Dennis CLONCH nor Dennis HILL were mentioned in the will of William CLONCH in 1863. Dennis moved to Missouri about 1871 and died in Miami, Saline County, Missouri, on 31 July 1893.

It is my belief Dennis, who switched from using CLONCH to HILL as his surname, was the son of Ann Eliza HILL and may not have been acknowledged by her husband William CLONCH. Could this be the reason they parted ways?

And this is the long story:

Dennis CLONCH may be the male child aged under 5 in the 1840 census listing for Eliza CLAUNCH found in Gallia County, Ohio, across the river from Mason County, West Virginia.

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Gallia County, Ohio
Galliapolis
Eliza Claunch
1 male under 5 yo
1 male 5 & under 10 yo
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Eliza)

  • No male child under the age of 5 was found in the household of William CLAUNCH (the assumed father)
  • No male child under the age of 5 was found in the household (of the assumed grandmother) Nancy CLAUNCH in 1840. John CLONCH was most likely still living at home with his mother Nancy in 1840 and represented by a tick on the census listing.
  • Elizabeth CLAUNCH, the oldest child of Dennis and Nancy, married Meredith PARSONS in 1825 and was likely deceased by 1840. Her widower did not have a male child under the age of 5 in his household in 1840.
  • Sarah CLAUNCH, the youngest child of Dennis and Nancy, married William WILLIAMS in 1832. Their children are accounted for in 1840.
  • Neither Elizabeth nor Sarah, sisters of my William, would have a son who carried their maiden name as they were married at the time of Dennis’ birth.
1850censusclaunch
1850 > VA > Mason >38th District > Sheet 385A > HH#333-334 > household of John W. Clark 56 with Nancy Clonch 75 and Dennis Clonch 12 (Ancestry)

In 1850 Dennis CLONCH was 12 years old and living in the same household as Nancy CLONCH.

1850 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
The 38th District, Sheet No. 385A
Enumerated by me on the 14th day of August, 1850. C. B. Waggener, Ass’t Marshal.
HH #333-334
John W. Clarke 56 M Laborer Virginia cannot read & write
Nancy Clonch 75 F Virginia cannot read & write
Dennis Clonch 12 M Virginia

Note: The relationship between Dennis and Nancy is not mentioned on the census however the ages suggest a grandchild/grandparent relationship.

1858DennisClaunchmarriage
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XD4K-4LM : accessed 13 Jul 2013), Dennis Claunch and Mary Ann Baker, 1858.

On 16 November 1858 Dennis CLAUNCH, who was four months shy of 21,  and Mary Ann BAKER went across the Ohio River to Gallia County, Ohio, to marry. The record does not mention places of residence, names of parents, or places of birth. After their marriage they were found back in Mason County with their son John W. who was three months old.

1860 > (W)VA > Mason > District 2 > page 23 > HH#188-164 > household of Dennis Claunch (Ancestry)
1860 > (W)VA > Mason > District 2 > page 23 > HH#188-164 > household of Dennis Claunch (Ancestry)

1860 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Township: Murcers Bottom P.O. Page: 851
HH #188-164
Dennis Claunch 23 M Laborer 0 55
Mary A. Claunch 18 F
John W. Claunch 3/12 M

Their son’s birth and death were recorded in the registers of Mason County under the name CLONCH. His death was reported by his grandfather William BAKER on 9 February 1861. His age was erroneously listed as 9 yrs 9 months 20 days; he was only 10 months and 22 days.

On 21 February 1862 Dennis HILL, no longer going by CLONCH, enlisted in Gallipolis, Ohio, in the Regular Army 19th Infantry Regiment (Union). His rank at enlistment was Private. Born in Virginia, he was 23 years old, blue eyes, brown hair, light complexion, and 6 feet tall. He was given a disability discharge on 2 April 1862 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Following his discharge Dennis returned to Mason County to his wife and baby daughter Sarah who was born on 4 February 1862,  seventeen days before her father was recruited. In 1870 the family was living in Clendenin, Mason County, and had grown to include Dennis 28, Mary A. 26, Sarah C. 8, Mary E. 6, and Barbra 4. The image of the census page is very light still the surname HILL can be deciphered.

1870censushillwvmason
1870 > WV > Mason > Clenendin > page 42 > HH #305-307 > household of Dennis Hill (Ancestry)

The family likely moved to Missouri after the birth of son James Isaac on 19 April 1871 and before the birth of daughter Ida about 1873. In 1880 they were found in Chariton County.

1880 > MO > Chariton > Mendon > Sheet 600B > HH#14-14 > household of Dennis Hill (Ancestry)
1880 > MO > Chariton > Mendon > Sheet 600B > HH#14-14 > household of Dennis Hill (Ancestry)

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Chariton County, Missouri
Mendon, Sheet 600B
HH#14-14
Hill, Dennis W M 40 married WV VA VA
Hill, Mary A. W F 36 wife married WV VA VA
Hill, Sarah F. W F 18 daughter single at home WV WV WV
Hill, Amanda W F 16 daughter single at home WV WV WV
Hill, Barbara E. W F 13 daughter single at home WV WV WV
Hill, Isaac W M 9 son single WV WV WV
Hill, Ida W F 7 daughter single MO WV WV
Hill, Albert W M 4 son single MO WV WV
Hill, Emety W M 2 son single MO WV WV

MRIN00501 Hill, Dennis and Mary A.
Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934; Name: Dennis Hill; State Filed: Missouri; Widow: Mary A. Hill

In December 2009 I was contacted by a researcher about Dennis CLONCH and Mary Ann BAKER in my database. The couple had the same date of marriage as his daughter-in-law’s ancestors Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER.

He’d obtained the Civil War Pension documents relating to Mary A. HILL’s application for a federal pension on her husband Dennis HILL’s service. The file included an affidavit from the attending physician relating the time and place of death, 31 July 1893 in Miami, Saline County, Missouri.

In the package was also a certified copy dated 1897 of the marriage record of Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER for their marriage in Gallia County, Ohio, on 16 November 1858. When he found my information he thought it was a clerical error (on my part or the county clerk) and after checking with me he requested verification from the county. I never heard back from him. In the meantime I found the marriage record which confirmed the surname was CLAUNCH at the time of marriage and not HILL. I contacted him June 26 and am waiting for a response.

The date of death found in the pension file was confirmed by a cemetery reading of Miami Cemetery, Miami, Saline County, Missouri, compiled by Shirley Haynes & Avlyn Conley and available as a PDF online (page 37 of 92). My annotations to the information are in brackets.

  • Hill, Dennis d. 31 Jul 1893 Aged 55 yrs 4 mos 23 ds.
  • Hill, Sarah E., dau of D. & M. A., d. 1 Jul 1892 aged 30 yrs 4 mos 25 ds
  • Hill, Bernard W. b. 6 Aug 1906 d. 19 Jul 1915 [s/o James I.]
  • Hill, Etta B. 1874-1952 [wife of James I.]
  • Hill, James I. 1871-1945 [son of Dennis]

After Dennis HILL’s death I tried to follow his children. Some were not traceable while others led to some interesting finds.

  1. John William CLONCH 1860-1861. Died at less than a year of age.
  2. Sarah E. HILL 1862-1892. Seen as Sarah C. in 1870, Sarah F. in 1880, and Sarah E. on cemetery reading. Apparently never married.
  3. Anna Bell HILL 1865-1919. Seen as Mary E. in 1870, Amanda in 1880, and Annie in 1900. A death record confirmed her name was Anna Belle and daughter of John (sic) HILL and Mary BAKER. The first name of the father was not a match however she was found in the 1900 census, listed as Annie WANNAMAKER, a widow, and sister of head of household James Isaac HILL. She had a daughter Corinne, born in August 1895 per 1900, who married a widower and raised his daughter. Corinne and her husband did not have any children of their own.
  4. Barbara Ellen HILL 1867-?. Her birth on 21 March 1867 was recorded in Mason County, West Virginia. Seen as Barbra in 1870 and Barbara E. in 1880. No marriage or death record found.
  5. James Isaac HILL 1871-1945. He was found in 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 census in Saline County, Missouri, where he married Etta Belle NICHOLS in 1903. His 1945 death record confirms he was the son of Dennis HILL. He had three sons with his wife, one is known to have died young.
  6. Ida HILL 1873-?. Seen only in the 1880 census. No marriage or death record found.
  7. Albert HILL 1876-1910. Seen as Albert in 1880. He married about 1898 Blanche FORQUER, whose parents had moved to Saline County, Missouri before 1900. No marriage record was found. Albert was in Bruno, Butler County, Kansas, in 1900 and in Sedgwick County, Kansas, for the 1905 state census. He died in Sedwick in 1909 or 1910 (discrepancy found, no death record), in any case, prior to the census. His widow was seen with four children in 1910, the youngest would die soon after (the 3rd of 3 to die bet. 1905-1910). By 1915 she’d married a widower Charles H. WAUGH and gave him a son in 1915. They were in Sedgwick for the 1920, 1925, and 1930 census. Albert and Blanche’s son, Robert A. went to California by 1928, was in Los Angeles in 1930. By 1940 his brother Clifton G. had joined him in Bernadino County. Robert died 1965 and Clifton in 1961 in Bernadino County. It is not known what happened to the oldest child, a daughter Bessie b. Sep 1899.
  8. Emety HILL 1878-?. Seen as Emety on the 1880 census. No marriage or death record found.
  9. Zettie May HILL 1882-1967. Born after the 1880 census she was found in 1900 with her brother Isaac and sister Annie. By 1904 she had traveled back to her parents’ home state and county and married in Mason County, West Virginia, Charles Franklin CHAPMAN. They were in Oklahoma for the birth of their first two children, New Mexico for the third, and Texas for the fourth. Following Frank’s death in the early 1930s (she was seen as a his widow in an OK city directory in 1935) Zettie May remarried in 1936 to an older man, Adolphus “Delphus” BOTCHLETT (1853-1945). After his death in 1945 she married Rufus CAREY in 1948.

As Dennis HILL’s wife tried to obtain a pension for his Civil War service we know she was living in 1897. She was not found in the 1900 census with three of her children who were living together in Saline County or with son Albert Henry living in Kansas. She appeared in the household of his son James Isaac HILL in 1920. I assumed she remained in Missouri but could she have gone back to West Virginia before 1900 or when Zettie May went there and married? I widened my search and found her living next door to Zettie May in New Mexico in 1910. How did I miss her?

Where was she in 1900? Was she with one of her other children? Where was she after the 1920 census? No record of death was found in Missouri (records are online). Did she go back to living near her youngest daughter Zettie May? Oklahoma, where Zettie May lived, does not have death records online. She was not found on Find A Grave in the area Zettie May lived nor in Saline County, Missouri.

Two of Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER’s children are known to have died young. Four of their children married and had children yet three children were impossible to locate after 1880. What became of these children? Where else can information be found on this elusive family? The questions led me to an amazing discover. Join me in doing the genealogy happy dance next week, same time, same place.

bestwishescathy1

P.S. Of course I left a comment for Cheri Hudson Passey about my genealogy happy dance on her weekly post Celebration Sunday~Genealogy Happy Dance!

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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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 36 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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