The last will and testament documents of William Johnston and his wife Jane included the names of eight slaves. To find out if any of them could be followed I searched for wills of the children of William and Jane.
Following Jane’s death, her sons George and William remained bachelors, lived together, and cared for their sister’s orphaned Terry children as can be seen in the will of William Johnston written in 1849.
1849 Last Will and Testament of William Johnston
I William Johnston of the County of Greenbrier State of Virginia do make this my last will & Tesament as follows. Viz. I give and bequeath to my brother George Johnston the whole of my estate of every kind & description whatever, commanding to his care & kindness my nieces, Rebecca, Martha & Sally Tyree. I appoint my said brother George executor of this my last will & Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 29th day of October 1842. ……………………………………………………………………..William Johnston *Seal* Signed sealed & delivered by Wm Johnston as for his last will & Testament in our presence John A. North Samuel Price Johnson Reynolds
Greenbrier County Court September Term 1849 This paper perporting to be the last will & Testament of William Johnston decd was produced in Court and proved by the oaths of Samuel Price & Johnson Reynolds two of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded and on the motion of George Johnston the Executor therein made who made oath and together with James Withrow & John A. North his securities entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of $ 14,000 conditioned as the law requires. Certificate is granteed the said Geo. Johnston for obtaining probate of said will. ……………………………………………………………………A copy Test ………………………………………………………………………………..John A. North (Clerk)
William’s entire estate went to his brother George who wrote his will in 1859 when slavery was still practiced.
1859 Last Will and Testament of George Johnston, proven 1866
I, George Johnston, of Greenbrier County, Virginia, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore. 1st It is my will that all my funeral expences (sic) and just debts be paid as soon as my executors hereinafter appointed shall be able to collect money enough from others due me to do so. 2nd I give and bequeath to Marth (sic) Wills (former Marthe Tyree) one hundred dollars to her and her heirs forever. 3rd I give and bequeath to George Tyree my three slaves Aggy, Nancy, and Sampson, with this understanding, that he take good care of them so long as they live, and farther that the said George Tyree pay to Samuel Tyree the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars. 4th I give and bequeath to my brother, Andrew D. Johnston all the residue of my estate, personal, real or mixed, or of whatever kind it may be, to him and his heirs forever. 5th I hereby appoint my said brother, Andrew D. Johnston and his son, James William Johnston, executors of this my last will and testament, and hereby request the court not to require of them surety. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal, this 27th of May, 1859. …………………………………………George Johnston *Seal* Signed by us as witnesses in the presence of each other, and in the pres- ence of the testator and at his request. ……………James Withrow ……………Mark S. Spotts
Recorder’s Office of Greenbrier County, July 9th, 1866: A paper purporting to be the last will and testament of George Johnston, decd, was produced to the Recorder in his office, and proved by the oaths of James Withrow and Mark S. Spotts, subscribing witnesses thereto, and admitted to record. …………………………………….Teste …………………………………………Joel McPherson …………………………………………………………Recorder
George Johnston lived until after the end of the Civil War and the will presented to the court in July 1866, after slavery was abolished, included the names of Aggy, Nancy, and Sampson. The same names seen in the last will and testament of his father William Johnston (Sampson) and of his mother Jane Johnston (Aggy and Nancy).
The same names but were they also the same persons?
The information on the number, gender, and ages of slaves owned by George and William Johnston on the 1820 through 1860 census records did not help to identify Sampson, Aggy, or Nancy in their household. Hopefully, a descendant will recognize their ancestor and be able to answer this question.
The 1810 census of Greenbrier County was “lost” as were those of the counties of Cabell, Hardy, and Tazewell. [Source: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by Wm. Thorndale and Wm Dollarhide]
By 1820 the only Johnston household in Greenbrier County with slaves was that of William & George Johnston. The men were in one household with both names listed together on the census sheet. They were likely the two oldest of the younger sons of William Johnston (see post). Their mother Jane, the widow of William Johnston, appears to be in this household as well as her two youngest sons and another male. There were 5 slaves in the household: 2 males under 14, 1 male 45 and over, and 2 females under 14. Only the male 45 and older would have been living when the 1802 will was written.
On 7 August 1825 Jane Johnston made her last will and testament. She names her sons William and George Johnston with whom she was likely living in 1820, a daughter Polly Feamster, and son Andrew Johnston. She also names two slaves: Aggy and her daughter Nancy.
In the name of God amen I Jane Johnston of the County of Greenbrier and State of Virginia being of sound & disposing mind and memory but sick in body do make & ordain this my Last will and Testament. In the first place I will and bequeath to my son George and William Johnson (sic) my Negro Woman Aggy to them & their heirs forever. In the second place I bequeath to my daughter Polly the wife of Johan Feamster and to Andrew Johnston my son my Negro Girl Nancydaughter of said Aggyto them & their heirs forever. I do hereby appoint my sons George and William Johnston Executors of this my Last will and Testament & do hereby revoke any and Every former will heretofore made by me In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 7th day of August Eighteen Hundred & Twenty five. Jane X (her mark) Johnson *Seal* Signed Sealed and acknowledged in the presence of us Ballard Smith Polly Smith Greenbrier County Court October Term 1825 This paper purporting to be the Last will and Testament of Jane Johnston decd. was presented in Court & proved by the oath of Ballard Smith and Polly Smith the subscribing Witnesses thereto to have been duly Executed & acknowledged by the within decedent and the same is ordered to be recorded. Teste Lewis Stuart CGC (Clerk Greenbrier County)
Was Aggy one of the two females under 14 years old in the 1820 census listing for Jane’s sons George and William? Was her daughter Nancy born between 1820-1825? Or were they older and living in a different household?
Did any of the Johnston siblings mentioned in Jane Johnston’s will also leave wills or other documents which can be used to trace Aggy and Nancy?
There’s no need to wait until you find an ancestor who was a slaveholder to be part of the Slave Name Roll Project.
A distant cousin and descendant of our Johnson common ancestor wondered if the will entered into the Greenbrier County, West Virginia, Will Book 1 in 1803 for one William Johnston was for our 5th great-grandfather. Since our ancestor William Johnson died in 1805 in Nicholas County, I quickly replied it was most likely not the same person.
To be sure I looked up the Last Will and Testament and the Appraisement in the Greenbrier Will Book. The name of the wife of the deceased did not match our ancestor’s wife’s name nor did the children named. However, since the documents included the names of several slaves, I saved the link to share in this post.
Wm Johnston’s Last Will
In the Name of God Amen ~ I William Johnston of Greenbrier County and State of Virginia, being at present in a doubtfull State of health, and well aware of my Mortallity, and the uncertainty of Life, Doin (sic) Duty to my Family and such Creditors as has pleased to indulge me in just Debts, Make ordain and Declare this Instrument of willing to be my last Will and Testatment revolking all other by me before made. 1st Item. To my well beloved wife Jane I give and bequeath the plantation whereon I now live during her natural Life time, on the condition that the profits and Encoluments from the same shall be applied as well to her own use as to the use of my Children; as long as they or such of them as shall continue to live with her, in such manner as she may deem most equitable and necessary to their respective Circumstances, and Conditions; and I also leave to her in the same manner and for the same purpose aforesaid my three Negroes, To wit, Litt, Giles, & Eby. But if my said wife sould (sic) die before the said Negroes, or any of them, then the said Negroes or the Survivors of them shall be sold by my Executors and the money arising from such Sale to be divided between my four oldest Children. To wit James, Polly, Samuel, and Sally. 2d Item. To my son James I bequeath my little negroe Boy Sampson, which I have heretofore disposed of to him in consignance of much Services rendered by him to me this small recompense I hope will be accepted by him as the only reward in my ___fore his many Services. I also bequeath to him the Bay horse now his riding Horse and a sorrel mare which is at present in the possession of my Brother Silas in Kentucky. 3d Item. To my Daughter Polly I Bequeath my little negroe Girl named Bridgett and her bay riding Mare known now to be her claim, and the Panteloon Philly which came of the said mare, & three Cows the Choice of my Stock. 4th Item. To my son Samuel I bequeath a young black horse and dark bay Mare both rising four years old and of the blood of the stud Horse kept by Joseph McNut. Also a sorrel horse of the Bachelor bread now four year old. 5th Item. To my Daughter Sally I bequeath my little negro child named Levill, also a Mare and Colt now at my Brother James Johnstons, and the same that was the claim of my Daughter Rebecka Deceased. 6th Item. To my four youngest sons, to wit, William, George, John & Andrew I bequeath my plantation whereon I now live, after the Decease of their Mother allowing the same to be sold and the money divided equally between them and the Title to be conveyed by my Executors to the purchaseor, or by their legal representatives in case of their Decease. But if my wife should die before my youngest son Andrew should arrive to full age of twenty one years the sale of the said Land to be suspended until he shall be of full age, or the youngest survivor of them shall be of such age, and not before. But the rents and profits of the said place shall be applied while such period as is heretofore directed in the 1st Item in this INstrument. Item 7th. All my household and Kitchen Furniture with plantation Utensils to remain in the use and possession of my wife with my waggon and gears and necessary working Horses such as are no occupied in Labouring the plantation, all which are to be kept by my wife for the use of the plantation and disposed of at her Discression for her use and the use of the Children. 8th Item. To my son William I bequeath a young last spring’s Colt that came of the mare heretofore bequeathed to my son Samuel in the fourth Item of this Instrument. 9th Item. All the rest of my Stock of Horses and Cattle of every kind to be kept on my plantation to be sold annually by my Executors as they may become felt for market, and applied by my said Executors to the use of my
Family in as equal and Just a manner to each of them as they __ convocunity(?) do, so to the discharge of my Just debts. 10th Item. All my Land lying on Anthony’s Creek in this County, and such lands as I hold in partnership with Patrick Boyd in Monroe County or any other Lands whereof I am now possed and not here before mentioned to be sold by my Executors or their legal representatives and the money arising with all Debts due to me by Bond Bill or open accounts to be applied to the discharged of my Just Debts and the overplus if any to be divided equally amongst my four oldest Children or otherwise to Educate my my (sic) son John as in the Judgement of my said Executors shall be thought best. But if applied to the Education of John the same to be reimbursed by him out of his part of the Land Bequeathed in the 6th Item of this Instrument. 11th Item. My panteloon Stud Horse to be sold and the money applied as in the 10th Item next above. And this I do declare to be my last will and for the Due Execution of the same I do hereby appoint my trusty and well blessed Friend Majr. William Renick and my son James Johnston Executors hoping & trusting that all things done by them will oblige the rec___ and reward of the Just. In Testimoney whereof I have hereonto set my Seal and Subscribed my name this 25th day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight Hundred and two. Wm Johnston *Seal* Signed Sealed & acknowledged in the presence of us Jame Davis Charles Arbuckle James Withrow
At a Court held for Green (sic, Greenbrier) County the 25th day of January 1803 This last will and Testament of William Johnston Deceasd was presented in County & proven by the Oaths of Charles Arbuckle and James Withrow, who also made oath that they seen James Davis the other Witness sign the same in their presence & William Renick and James Johnston the Executors named in the said Will made oath according to Law and thereupon entered into Bond with Joseph Mathews and Christopher Vanhab their Securities in the penal sum of 4000 Dollars with condition as the Law directs. Teste John Stuart C.G.C.
The Appraisement of the Estate of the late William Johnston deceased was returned into Court and ordered to be recorded at the Greenbrier June Court 1803. Included in the appraisement were Giles, Litt, Hebe, Sampson, Briget, and Lewisa. The names appear to be the same as those seen in the will except that Ebe is seen here as Hebe and the child named Levill may be Lewisa. Since the will was written by the slaveholder I have used his version of the names for the time of this post.
Following the death of William Johnston, the next census was the 1810. From Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by Wm. Thorndale and Wm Dollarhide, the 1810 censuses for Cabell, Greenbrier, Hardy and Tazewell counties were “lost”–no details as to how.
By 1817 son Samuel had died and left a will naming his sister Mary (seen as Polly in the 1803 will of father) and his brother William. Samuel, who had not received an enslaved person from his father, mentioned only leaving his real and personal property to his sister.
By 1820 the only Johnston household in Greenbrier County with slaves was that of William & George Johnston who were in one household with both names. They were likely the two oldest of the younger sons of William Johnston who died in 1803. Their mother appears to be in this household as well as the two youngest sons and another male. There are 5 slaves in the household.
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Greenbrier County, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 18: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 2
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 3
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 45 and over: 1
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 2
Total Slaves: 5
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 12
Could Giles, Litt, and Eby be three of the five slaves in the household? When did William Johnston’s widow die? Did she leave a will?
Last year my brother had his DNA tested and turned the results over to me. As I write these last articles on my maternal 4th great-grandparents, I will be checking his matches to see if any hold the key to open a door in a brick wall on this side of the family tree. These brick walls being mostly descendants of my maternal ancestors who have not been traced mainly due to emigration.
I have been waiting impatiently to write about this couple, Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER. This is what I know about their lives and where I found information which has not all been documented.
Where the Information Was Found
Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER of Ernzen, Germany, were my 4th great-grandparents. The bits and pieces I have for them come mostly from Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 – such a long title for the family book of the town of Ernzen and environs. I call it simply FB Ernzen.
Church records are available online at FamilySearch for Ernzen up to 1797 as it was then part of the parish of Echternach in Luxembourg. Civil records for births from about 1798 to 1907, marriages from 1798 to 1937, and deaths from 1798 to 1987 are not online. Although a short 20 minutes drive from where I live, the Kreisarchiv in Bitburg, Germany, houses these records. Tentative plans are being made to visit the archives with my genealogy society Luxracines next spring.
From WILTINGER to WILDINGER
Wilhelm WILTINGER was born about 1770 in Ettelbrück, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He was the son of Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG of Ettelbrück. These two “facts” were likely taken from his 1849 death record. As he died in Ernzen, this record will have to be obtained from the archives in Bitburg. I am hoping the person who took the information off of the death record may have made an error in noting both parents were from Ettelbrück.
I have tried to shed more light on Wilhelm’s parents. I am inclined to think Margaretha DIESBURG was not originally from Ettelbrück. My guess is she is from the DIESBURG line which originated on Diesburgerhof near Ferschweiler, the next village over from Ernzen. I found a child with the same name born in 1744 who would be a perfect match. Her family group is recorded in the FB Ferschweiler and I found her in the 1766 census living with one of her married sisters. She was not yet married. This leaves me with a four year period from 1766-1770 when Michel and Margaretha could have met and married. But where? Marriages in Luxembourg have been indexed for the time period and I have tried all variations of the names without locating a marriage. It has crossed my mind that a different surname may have been used by the groom, i.e. a house name.
As for Wilhelm’s father I have searched all available GEDCOM files online to find persons with the WILDINGER name – the spelling which has been used in my family from 1798 to present. It is my mother’s maiden name. The only hits I get on the Luxracines website (members only access to GEDCOMs) are my own file. I am beginning to suspect that while my ancestor’s name may have been WILTINGER and changed to WILDINGER, the original surname may have evolved to the more common and widespread WILDANGER. Most were found in the Girst and Dickweiler area and spread out to Echternach. These are all in Luxembourg.
For now Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG, the parents of Wilhelm WILTINGER will remain a brick wall. A more time consuming one-name study of the WILDANGER individuals in Luxembourg and the nearby German area may the only way to solve this brick wall. Or could DNA also be part of the solution.
The WELTER line
Margaretha WELTER was the daughter of Michael WELTER and Katharina KLEIN. Michael and Katharina married in Ernzen on 22 November 1764.
They had not yet had any children when the 1766 census was taken. Their names were spelled Michel and Catherine and they were living in a KLEIN household.
Their first child was born the year the census was enumerated, followed by a set of twins in 1768, a son in 1770, another set of twins in 1773, and finally their youngest in 1777. Both sets of twins were a boy and a girl.
Margaretha was their youngest, born and baptized on 18 April 1777 in Ernzen (present-day Germany). Her godparents were Margaretha KLEIN and Nicolaus HUSS, both of Ernzen.
A Marriage Before 1798?
Margaretha married Wilhelm WILTINGER before 1798. The marriage is estimated from the time their first known child was born. No marriage record has been found. Church and civil records were checked in Ettelbrück and Echternach to no avail.
Wilhelm and Margaretha had the following children, all born in Ernzen:
Nicolas born on 29 September 1798.
Elisabeth born on 21 August 1805.
Franciscus “Franz” born on 6 Aug 1810. He died on 8 December 1812 in Ernzen.
Bernardus born on 12 May 1813.
The only daughter Elisabeth married Dominik WEBER (1803-1840), son of Johann WEBER and Katharina PETRI of Hoesdorf, on 13 December 1831 in Ernzen. Hoesdorf (Luxembourgish: Héischdref) is a village in the commune of Reisdorf, in eastern Luxembourg.
Margaretha WELTER, the mother of Nicolas, Elisabeth, and Bernard, died on 8 January 1833 in Ernzen. Her oldest son Nicolas was 35 years old and still single. Her youngest son Bernard was going on 20. Her daughter Elizabeth had been married a little more than a year.
On 12 October 1833, nine months after the death of her mother, Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, a daughter Maria. She chose her brother Nicolas to be the godfather. Maria THEIS of Hoesdorf was the godmother.
My third great-grandparents, Nicolas WILDINGER and Catherine SCHRAMEN married on 18 January 1834 in Ferschweiler. Catherine was the daughter of Michael SCHRAMEN and Elizabeth SCHMITT. She was born on 23 October 1812 in Ferschweiler and was baptized the next day. Their story can be found here: 52 Ancestors: #42 The WILDINGER-SCHRAMEN Family of Ferschweiler .
Elisabeth’s husband Dominik WEBER died on 9 May 1840 in Ernzen and was buried two days later. He left Elisabeth with four children.
Wilhelm WILTINGER, likely now using the WILDINGER spelling, died on 28 September 1849 in Ernzen and was buried two days later.
Where Are the Children?
Wilhelm’s death came at a time when many were thinking about moving across the newly established border to Luxembourg or even further abroad, to America. Elisabeth’s brother-in-law Theodor JARDIN went to America with all of his living children after the death of his wife Katharina WELTER, sister of Dominik, in 1855. Elisabeth and her brother Bernard had been close to the JARDIN family, both being godparents to JARDIN children.
Elisabeth WILDINGER was 53 years old and had been widowed seventeen years when she obtained an Auswanderungsgenehmigung (emigration approval) on 9 October 1857 for herself and her two children, Mathias, born on 10 November 1840, and Maria, born on 12 October 1833. The petition was admitted to the hearing without a stamp due to poverty. Elisabeth made her mark on the petition.
There is no mention of where the family immigrated to or of the other two children, Anna Katharina born 1835 or Theodor born in 1838. However….
Richard Schaffner was not the first to compile a family book for the parish of Ernzen. A copy of Familienbuch Ernzen 1 (1823-1900) is in the parish of Ernzen according to Schaffner. He does not mention the compiler’s name. In the entry for Elisabeth WILDINGER in Schaffner’s version, he notes on page 45 of the first book the following information was found: “Die Witwe Elis. Weber zog im Jahr 1857 mit ihren 4 Kindern und ihrem Bruder Bernard Wildinger nach Nordamerika.” The widow Elisabeth WEBER moved in the year 1857 with her four children and her brother Bernard Wildinger to North America.
Early on I searched for Elisabeth and her brother Bernard WILDINGER in the USA but never found either of them or her WEBER children. Perhaps they went to Canada or Mexico. Not having experience with these countries I left this research problem for another day.
My third great-grandparents Catherine SCHRAMEN and Nicolas WILDINGER had five children born between 1835 and 1852. Catherine died on 2 November 1869 in Ferschweiler and was buried on 4 November 1869. Four and a half years later Nicolas, the only child of Wilhem WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER to remain in Germany, died on 3 June 1874 in Ferschweiler. They left three living children, two of whom have been traced. All that was known of their youngest son Peter is that he fled from military service – “militärflüchtig laut Anzeiger z. Amtsbl. Trier 1873, Seite 243.”
Let’s Talk About DNA
As mentioned earlier I now manage my brother’s DNA. As our mother is from Luxembourg (and all of her ancestry is centered in this tiny area) the DNA we share with her is either not getting many matches or is difficult to find within the thousands of matches showing on AncestryDNA.
There are several ways to sort matches on AncestryDNA. The most obvious (easiest) are those who have matching ancestors in their trees followed by matching surnames. Many users have private trees. When you search for a surname, matches with private trees will turn up in the list but you cannot access to the information and therefore do not know who their ancestor is with the surname.
Even today searching for the WILDINGER surname on AncestryDNA turns up zero hits. Checking the box to Include similar surnames is not helpful as it turns up too many matches. I tried the known spellings and still had no results.
Then in April 2017, a match was found which looked promising.
This predicted 4th cousin match showed PETERS as a shared surname. My Peters line is not a German line. There were no Shared matches with this person. Shared matches are only listed up to 4th cousins.
Clicking on Location I found he had a WEBER ancestor from Ernzen. This is not one of my ancestral surnames and at the time I was not expecting a match to a family on our maternal side. Taking a closer look at the attached tree I realized the connection could be WELDINGER on his tree. A spelling I had not tried.
Predicted 4th cousin is a 4C1R
The year of birth for the daughter of the WEBER-WELDINGER couple in the pedigree chart above is 1818. My 3rd great-grand aunt Elisabeth WILDINGER was born in 1805 and would have been only 13 when this child was born. Even with this error, it looked promising as the husband’s name matched that of Elisabeth’s husband and the location fit.
I got to do US research – checking census, BMD, etc. – and found Elisabeth WILDINGER had emigrated to America before 1860. She was living in Berwick in Seneca County, Ohio, with her married daughter Catherine in 1860. She was listed with the surname WEAVER. Her daughter was only 24, born abt. 1835, and a good match for the child seen in the pedigree chart above with year of birth being 1818. Although she was still living, I have not found Elisabeth in the 1870 or 1880 census. She died on 10 March 1891 in Big Spring, Seneca County, Ohio, at the age of 86 years.
Two of her children were also found. Catherine, who was the ancestor of the match with my brother, and her younger brother Mathias. I have not found the older daughter Maria or the son Theodor nor have I found the immigration records. I entered this match’s line back to my WILDINGER ancestor into the tree I have attached to my brother’s DNA.
This was done only after confirming this match’s line back to my WILDINGER ancestor. The tree has only the direct ancestors – no siblings, children, etc. I am considering the pros and cons of adding each confirmed match’s line back to the MRCA (most recent common ancestor). This tree includes sources but I have not attached records from Ancestry. I don’t usually work with it and have not considered the hints (shaky leaves) that are showing up.
2nd Great-Grand Uncle Discovered
However while entering this match’s line, I took the time to check the hints for Ancestry Member Trees. I was surprised to find Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER’s grandson Peter WILDINGER through their son Nicolas (my third great-grandfather) in four trees. All four had my Nicolas as the earliest known ancestor. No mention of Wilhelm and Margaretha. One member tree has for Peter: “Killed in WWI Action on the German Lines” in 1873. That is not what I would call a reliable statement.
The other three member trees are for a Peter WELDINGER who married in Illinois, had children there, and later moved to Iowa. The 1900, 1910, and 1920 census show he came to America in 1870 and was naturalized in 1880 (U.S. Naturalization Record confirms 30 October 1880). If this Peter WELDINGER is my second great-granduncle (there is presently no match or the owner/descendant has not done a test) then he must have fled from military service by emigrating to America.
Another DNA discovery was made as several new matches showed up when I did a new search for the locations Ernzen and Ferschweiler while writing this. I will have to work through these first but it looks promising as one of them may be the key to unlock the door in the DIESBURG brick wall.
Sources:  Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (compiled in 2000), p. 246, Family #869. Wiltinger-Welter.  Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Sancta Lucia Ferschweiler mit: Diesburgerhof (ab 1803) und L(a)eisenhof (ab1830) 1680-1899, PDF (Kordel, 1999), p. 43-44, Family #193. Diesburg-Schmitt.  Luxembourg, Dénombrement, 1766 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles), Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Feischveiler (paroisse d’Echternach) > Image 250 of 753. Household Nr. 13, Mathias Petri. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DK-Y?i=249&cat=1184675 : accessed 6 October 2017).  Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages, décès 1706-1778 > image 145 of 293. 1764 Marriage Record, right page, 1st entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32399-12418-50?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).  Luxembourg 1766 Census, Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Erntzen (paroisse d’Echternach) > Image 245 of 753. Household Nr. 7, Jean Klein (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DL-W?cat=1184675 : accessed 6 October 2017).  FB Ernzen, p. 240, Family #846. Welter-Klein.  Luxembourg Church Records, Echternach > Baptêmes 1761-1797 > image 83 of 131. 1777 Baptismal Record, left page, 7th entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32399-12819-27?cc=2037955 : accessed 9 November 2016).  FB Ernzen, p. 246, Family #869. Wiltinger-Welter.  Ibid., p. 225, Family #800. Weber-Wildinger.  FB Ferschweiler, p. 349, Family #1625. Wildinger-Schramen.  Ibid., p. 295, Family #1378. Schramen-Schmitt.  FB Ernzen, p. 117-118, Family #380. Jardin-Welter.  Josef Mergen, Die Amerika-Auswanderung aus dem Kreis Bitburg im 19.-Jahrhundert  “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F6CM-WJX : accessed 5 October 2017), Elizabeth Weaver, 10 Mar 1891; citing Death, Big Spring, Seneca, Ohio, United States, source ID v 4 p 216, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 388,771.
I found a marriage that could match in Clemency, 28/08/1810, but I can’t access Family Search, it’s probably too busy. You could check yourself later.
I didn’t wait until later and was able to pull up the record she believed was the marriage of Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER.
In 1810 on the 28th of August at 8 in the morning Pierre SCHMITT age 31 born in Bertrange the 3 April 1779, a domestic living in the commune of Fingig, the of age son of Pierre SCHMITT and Rose CLEMMENT, a married couple living in the commune of Bertrange…. and a young woman Anne Margaretha WEICKER age 25 born in Hagen the 7 September 1785, a servant living in the same commune of Fingig, the of age daughter of Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margaretha HARTMANN, a married couple living in the commune of Hagen… all were present and consenting to the marriage for which banns had been read before the entrance of the Clemency civil office.
The paperwork of the bride and groom was presented according to the legal requirements of the time. The bride and groom were declared husband and wife after affirming this was their choice. Four witnesses were present and signed along with the civil officer, the mayor of Clemency. The bride and groom declared not being able to write. The fathers of the bride and groom signed first as seen above.
Five and a half months later, Peter and Margaretha became the parents of their first child Magdalena, my children’s 4th great-grandmother.
One Record Leads to the Next
The marriage record led to the 1785 baptismal record of Anna WEICKERS [sic, Margaretha was not included on this record], daughter of Nicolai WEICKERS and Anna Margaretha HARTMAN. Why didn’t I notice abt. 1795 could not have been her year of birth? She would have been only 16 when her first child was born.
With the names of the parents, I was able to add three generations to the WEICKER line. I had suspected Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margarethe HARTMANN were the bride’s parents because….
The godmother of Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER’s first child Magdalena was Magdalena KÜNSCH from Hohen (or Hagen) in the parish of Sterpenich. Anna Margaretha HARTMANN was the widow of Peter KÜNSCH when she married Nicolas WEICKER. Was Magdalena KÜNSCH an older half-sister of Margaretha WEICKER? Further research may tell.
With the names of three new couples in the family tree, I will be busy finding the records to document them and may even be able to add more ancestral names.
Special thanks to my friend Linda for taking the time to read my posts, give me advice, and for telling me where to find the marriage record of Peter SCHMIT and Anne Margaretha WEICKER. *Linda has helped me out several times already. A Latin Rule You May Not Have Known was the result of one of her tips.
Happy Family History Month to all. Wishing you lots of keys to open the doors in your brick walls.
Sources:  Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Clemency > Naissances, mariages, décès 1804-1805 Naissances 1805-1890 Mariages 1796-1885 > image 1034 of 1491. 1810 Marriage Record (bottom left, top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XHPS-511?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-SP8%3A129628001%2C129815201 : accessed 30 September 2017).  Belgique, Luxembourg, Registres paroissiaux, (images), FamilySearch (original records at België Nationaal Archief, Brussels / Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Paroisse de Sterpenich (Luxembourg) now part of Autelbas, Luxembourg, Belgium > Baptêmes, mariages, sepultures 1779-1793 > Film/DGS 1658890 > Film # 008126375 > Item 8 > image 1106 of 1430. 1785 Baptismal Record (left page, last entry > right page, first entry). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVK-Y8VF-9?i=1105&cat=203740 : accessed 1 October 2017).
Today, I’m especially pleased to bring to you a guest article written by Susan Speers. She reached out to me by sending a message to my Facebook page Opening Doors in Brick Walls. She’d found the image of the last will and testament of an ancestor in Georgia which included names of slaves and thought I would be interested in using it. I doubt I could bring across the connectivity I feel when writing about the names I find in West Virginia and Virginia as I have no experience researching families in Georgia. I believe the post will be much more powerful coming from a descendant of the slaveholder. Susan was a bit “blown away” when I asked her to be my first guest writer. After taking a day to consider, she came back thanking me “for offering the space and platform.”
Take it away, Susan…..
The Slaves of John Nicholson, Scriven County, Georgia, 1817
In searching for my maternal ancestors on Ancestry.com, I came across the last will and testament of John Nicholson, Jr. (born about 1768, South Carolina – died after 12 March 1817) of Screven County, Georgia. Nicholson’s will lists the names of nine enslaved people which may be of interest to anyone looking for enslaved ancestors in this part of Georgia.
Screven County (formerly called “Scriven” County) is on the Savannah River; the first county seat was Jacksonboro but it was moved to Sylvania in about 1847. German immigrants who arrived on the coast in the 1740s pushed inland to establish farms along the Savannah River in the second half of the 18th Century. Nicholson’s family was originally from Scotland.
From his will and a later deed, it appears that John Nicholson and his heirs were working several hundred acres in Scriven County, but I am not yet sure where his home farm was located. According to Wikipedia and local sources, cotton was the main crop by the turn of the century. For those searching for their ancestors in this part of Georgia, there are apparently additional wills on record in the Screven County Courthouse which may be helpful to search.
I have attempted to transcribe the will to make reading easier.
Will of John Nicholson
In the name of God, Amen. I, John Nicholson, of the state of Georgia & County of Scriven, Planter, being very sick & weak in body but of perfect mind & memory thanks be given unto God, calling into mind the mortality of my body & knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make & ordain this my last will & Testament; That is to say principally & first of all, I Give & recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God that gave it & my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian Burial at the discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the Almighty power of God; and as touching such worldly state wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life. I give demise & dispose of the same in the following manner & form. First I give & bequeath to Elizabeth my dearly beloved wife during her natural life_ the following property namely one hundred acres more or less lying & being in the state & County aforesaid, bounded by Sarah Nicholson’s land on the south & Thomas Nicholson’s land on the north_ Also five negroes namely Tom or McKinney, Larry, Ame, Silvia & Nan, to have & to hold the said property during her natural life, at the expiration of which the aforesaid property shall be equally divided betwixt my three beloved children, Sarah, Thomas & Mary for their individual & particular use severally forever__ I also order & ordain that the present negroes which are deeded off say York, Tom, Jack & Jenny do remain in the present situation they are now in until the Debts are paid off__
I also demise & bequeath unto my daughter in law Margaret Streigle one hundred Dollars__ Also to her daughter Mary Streigle fifty_Dollars_ I also bequeath unto Sarah Streigle daughter to Martha Herrington fifty dollars _ Also to my Grandson John Sewall [Sowell] fifty dollars___ I Do hereby utterly disallow revoke & disannul all & every other former Testaments, Wills, Legacies, bequests & so forth, by me in any wise before named willed & bequeathed, ratifying & confirming this & no other to be my last will & testament, In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this twelfth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & Seventeen__ Signed, Sealed published pronounced & declared by the said John Nicholson as his last will & testament in the presence of us – who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereto subscribed our names. __
Nicholas Streigle Joby Herrington John his mark Nicholson Georgia Scriven County Personally appeared in open Court Nicholas Streigle, who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth & saith that he was present & saw John Nicholson Dec.d acknowledge & make his mark to the within written will & T. [the] deponent further saith that he saw Job Herrington together with himself subscribe the same as witness thereto Sworn to in open Court of 7th July 1817. Nicholas Streigle.
Seaborn Goodall Cl’k, Recorded this 8th day of July 1817 by me S. Goodall, CCOSC
[Transcribed by Susan Speers]
Nicholson named five men and women who would remain with his widow Elizabeth Streigle (originally Streagle) Nicholson after his death and four others who were working out in 1817 but may have been sold as soon as his debts were paid.
The people listed to remain with Elizabeth Nicholson were: “Tom or McKinney, Larry, Ame, Silvia and Nan.” Nicholson stated that after his widow passed, these people were to be included in the division of the rest of his estate and divided among his three children: Thomas Nicholson, Sarah Nicholson, and Mary Nicholson, who later married James Gamble.
The people who were deeded out at the time Nicholson wrote his will in March of 1817 were: “York, Tom, Jack & Jenny.” It is not clear where they were working out or what would have happened to these people when Nicholson’s debts were paid.
In the 1830 U.S. Federal Census, Thomas Nicholson appears in “District 37” Scriven County with a total of 7 enslaved people and 11 free colored people. The ages range from children under 10 to adults. Other property owners on the same page include John Meades, who did not own slaves; James Gamble (2 female slaves and 9 free colored); and Robert M. Williamson (21 enslaved boys and men; 11 enslaved girls and women.)
In 1836, John Nicholson’s heirs Sarah Nicholson and James Gamble, who had married Mary Nicholson about 1816 and thus owns the land she inherited, sold three parcels of land totaling 375 acres to Thomas Nicholson. The deed description includes the names of adjacent owners which may be helpful to note: Thomas Green, James Meades, Alexander Herrington and Richard Herrington, Sr. The Herringtons were related by marriage to the Nicholsons; public trees on Ancestry indicate that Martha Striggles/Streagle Nicholson, born in 1787, had married Richard Herrington, Sr. in 1807. I have found no record that Sarah Nicholson ever married and no record for her past 1840.
Sarah Nicholson had a total household of 25 people, including of whom 21 were slaves. At this time, Sarah’s age is reported to be between 20 and 30 years old.
Thomas Nicholson had a larger immediate family of 10 with 6 slaves.
Richard M. Herrington reported a family of 4 with one slave. Richard M. would die before the end of the year.
Martha Herrington, between 30 and 40 years old, had a household of 23 people, including 15 slaves. This Martha could be the daughter of Richard M. and Martha, born about 1806.
This one page of Scriven County lists 31 households with a total of 503 people on these 31 farms, of whom 310 were slaves. 61% of the area residents were enslaved, and 108 of those people were children under age 10, fully 21% of the overall population and 34% of the enslaved population.
I come into this tree because my mother was a descendant of Martha Gamble Carter, who I believe was a daughter of James Gamble and Mary Nicholson, although the records are not clear. I continue to research this line and would be interested in hearing from anyone in the Gamble, Carter, Streagle/Strigle or Nicholson families.
 Nicholson was a Revolutionary War soldier and his service is the basis for several membership applications to The Sons of the Revolution society.
 In 1840, in contrast to the 1830 census for members of the Nicholson family, there were no free blacks listed.
 The 1840 census form had different age brackets for white and slaves: white children were counted in columns for under 5, 5-10, 10-15, and 15-20 while enslaved children were counted as under 10, 10-24, on up. The census taker was asked to report how many individuals were actively working in agriculture or a trade. In Scriven County, anyone who worked worked in agriculture. These property owners did not report (or the taker did not enumerate) that the enslaved children were working in the fields.
Thank you, Susan, for releasing the names of Tom or McKinney, Larry, Ame, Silvia, Nan, York, Tom, Jack, and Jenny. If you are interested in getting in touch with Susan, please leave a comment for her below.
About the time Nathaniel Landcraft died, his daughter Adaline, widow of John S. Roberts, married the Baptist minister Edwin W. Woodson. They made their home in Monroe County, (West) Virginia. In 1840 Woodson had two slaves in his household, a male and a female, both were 10 thru 23 years old. Could either of them be one of the slaves mentioned in the Landcraft appraisement?
In 1850 E W Woodson owned one female slave age 20. In 1860 Adaline Woodson owned one female slave age 30. Who was this female slave?
Edwin W. Woodson died on 14 May 1853 leaving a will and an appraisement which named the enslaved person, Evaline.
Last Will and Testament of Edwin W. Woodson of Monroe County, (West) Virginia
In the name of God Amen. I Edwin W. Woodson of the County of Monroe and State of Virginia being of sound mind and disposing memory do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following to wit Item 1st. I desire that after my death my representatives may sell all of my personal property that can be spared from the support of my family my library and Tobacco excepted, the latter of which is to remain in a partnership concern with N. H. Roberts and Andrew Campbell and myself for twelve months as per partnership agreement, at the expiration of which time, my interest in the Tobacco concern the amount of sale for my personal property and amt. from any debts due me is to be appropriated to my debts. Item 2d. Any deficit in the payment of my debts after the appropriation of the above funds as above named is to be made up out of my negro gril & her increase & my tract of Land on on (sic) which Nehemiah Bonham now lives, or either as my representatives may deem most expedient. Item 3d. In the event that the funds already named above & set apart for the payment of my debts should not be sufficient to pay the same, in that event I desire my home tract of land to be sold on a reasonable credit & the whole of my debts to be paid out of the same, & the residue if any remaining together with that arising or remaining from any other portion of my estate to be divided as follows, one third to my wife Adaline and the ballance equaly amongst my children. Item 4th. Any of my lands that may be left after the payment of my debts, I give to my wife Adaline until the youngest child has arrived at the age of twenty one years at which time it is to be equally divided amongst my children subject to the dower of my wife Adaline. Item 5th. In the event that my negro girl Evaline and her increase in part or whole should not be appropriated to the payment of my debts in that case, I give the same to my wife Adaline so long as she may live and at her death to be equally divided amongst my children. Item 6th. I desire that my Library shall not be sold, but equally apportioned between my children
the oldest to have choice of lots. Item 7th. I do hereby appoint my dearly beloved wife Adaline to be my Executrix and Grandison C. Landcraft my Executor of this my last will & testament. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this the 12th day of May 1853. Edwin W. Woodson *seal* Teste Boswell Vass John Woodram N.H. Roberts At Monroe June Court 1853. The Last Will and Testament of Edwin W. Woodson decd was presented in Court by Grandison C. Landcraft one of the Executors therein named and was proved by the oaths of John Woodram and Nathaniel H. Roberts two of the subscribing witneses thereto and the same is ordered to be recorded and thereupon the said Landcraft together with Rufus Pack, Robert L. Shanklin, Mathew Campbell and Nathaniel H. Roberts his securities entered into & acknowledged his bond in the penalty of $5000 with condition according to the law, probate of the said will in due form is granted him, reserving the liverty to Mrs. Woodson the Executrix named in said will to join in the probate hereafter if she choose. A Copy Teste Geo W. Hutchinson CMC (Clerk, Monroe County)
Appraisement of the Estate of Edwin W. Woodson
In Obedience to an order made at the June term to us directed John Vass, Boswell Vass and Nathaniel H. Roberts who were appointed to appraise the personal Estate of Edwin W. Woodson decd do now proceed as follows after being duly sworn
1 Negro Girl named Evaline $ 600.00 1 White Mare 50.00 1 Brown Horse 65.00 1 Grey Yearling Colt 45.00 1 Iron Gray Mare 85.00 1 Black Cow 12.00 1 Spotted Do. 12.00 1 Mewly Heifer 10.00 1 White face Do. 10.00 1 Speckled Cow 15.00 (subtotal 904.00) 20 head of Sheep at $1 20.00 2 Calves at $4 8.00 15 Hogs at $2 30.00 5 shrats at $1 5.00 1 wheat Fan 22.00 1 Scythe & Cradle 1.50 1 mowing sythe & snaith 0.75 2 Sets Plow Gears at $1.37 1/2 2.75 1 two Horse Wagon & 3 Bodys 65.00 (subtotal 155.00) 2 Single Trees & 1 Double do 1.00 1 Sog chain 1.50 1 Big Plow 5.00 1 shovel Plow, clevis do. 1.25 1 Bull Tounge Do. 0.75 1 Coalter Plow & Clevis 1.25 1 Plow shovel 0.37 1 Choping Axe 1.25 1 mattock 2.75 1 Iron Tooth Harrow 3.00 (subtotal 18.12) $1077.12 Amount brot. over $1,077.12 2 Hilling Hoes 1.50 1 Weeding do 0.25 1 Bee stand 1.50 1 Brass Clock 4.00 5 feather Beds & Bedding 50.00 2 New Bed steads at $5.00 Ea. 10.00 2 old do at $2.00 Ea 4.00 2 old do at $1.00 Ea 2.00 1 shot gun 2.50 (subtotal 75.75) 1 Jack Reel 0.75 1 Flax spinning wheel 3.00
1 big wheel 1.50 1 man’s saddle & 2 riding bridles 12.00 1 Cupboard & contents 16.00 1 Beauro & Book Case 8.00 1 small table with drawer 1.00 1 Cooking glass 0.50 (subtotal 42.75) 1 Dining Table 2.50 10 Chairs 5.00 1 pr. small steelyears 0.34 1 old Hand saw 0.25 1 drawing Knife 0.25 2 Iron Wedges 0.50 Kitchen furniture including Pots, Ovens, Skillets Kettles, Buckets, Pans & & & 5.00 (subtotal 13.84) July 29th 1853 $1,209.46 Boswell Vass John Vass N.H. Roberts Boswell Vass, John Vass, N. H. Roberts appeared before me and was duly sworn by me a justice of the peace for said County. Given under my hand. Joseph Ellis J.O. At Monroe County Court Octo. Tm. 1853 An appraisment of the Estate of E. W. Woodson decd was returned & ordered to be recorded A Copy Teste Geo W. Hutchinson CMC
I do not normally go to Ancestry to check on wills etc. for West Virginia as they are on FamilySearch. In this case I discoved fiduciary records for the estate of Edwin W. Woodson which included 200 images in the West Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985 database.
I only skimmed through the images until I found this record which shows Evaline was included in the personal property which went to the widow Adaline B. Woodson.
Received from G. C. Landcraft Exr. of E. W. Woodson decd., as of the 29th day of July 1853, nine hundred and forty one dollars & 46 cents, in personal property belonging to the estate of said E. W. Woodson decd. at its appreaised value. The above includes one negro girl named Evaline, appraised at $600.00. Given under my hand this 25 day of April 1873 A.B. Woodson Widow of E. W. Woodson decd.
Evaline was most likely the young girl Evoline mentioned in Landcraft’s appraisement in 1835. By 1870 she would have been about 40 years old (1850 age 20 and 1860 age 30 as seen in the slave schedules). I was not able to locate her in the 1870 census but hope that by releasing her name a descendant may recognize her, make the connection, and leave a comment.
In Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Henry, a Slave in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, the slaveholder of the enslaved Henry was John S. Roberts. Further research turned up connections to others who owned slaved. John Shelton Roberts was the son of Alexander Roberts and Sarah Shepherd of Nelson County, Virginia. He married Adeline B. Landcraft, daughter of Nathaniel Landcraft and Sarah B. Hardin, on 6 September 1829 in Nelson County. John and Adeline very likely came to the Fayette/Nicholas counties area with Adeline’s parents. By 1830 John was living in Nicholas County where he (male 20 thru 29) was seen on the census with his wife (female 20 thru 29) and two young slaves under 10 years of age. When he died the appraisement of his estate included only the enslaved Henry. Was it possible the other slave belonged to his widow Adeline B. Landcraft? Did she receive the enslaved person in their 1830 household from her parents?
Nathaniel Landcraft was seen in Nelson County, Virginia, with the following household in 1820:
1820 United States Federal Census
Home in 1820 (City, County, State):
Buckingham, Nelson, Virginia
August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15:
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25:
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over:
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10:
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15:
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44:
Slaves – Males – Under 14:
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25:
Slaves – Females – Under 14:
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25:
Slaves – Females – 26 thru 44:
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture:
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures:
Free White Persons – Under 16:
Free White Persons – Over 25:
Total Free White Persons:
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other:
Source: 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Buckingham, Nelson, Virginia; Page: 196; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 374; Ancestry.com
In 1830 Nathaniel Landcraft was found in Summersville, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, where his daughter Adeline and son-in-law John S. Roberts were also living. The image is very light, however, I was able to confirm the entry is for Nathaniel Landcraft and not Sanderson as indexed below.
1830 United States Federal Census
Nathaniel Sanderson [Nathaniel Snderapt]
Home in 1830 (City, County, State):
Summersville, Nicholas, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19:
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29:
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59:
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19:
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59:
Slaves – Males – Under 10:
Slaves – Males – 24 thru 35:
Slaves – Females – Under 10:
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35:
Free White Persons – Under 20:
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49:
Total Free White Persons:
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored):
Source: 1830; Census Place: Summersville, Nicholas, Virginia; Series: M19; Roll: 198; Page: 193; Family History Library Film: 0029677; Ancestry.com
As can be seen in the census listings above, Landcraft had 11 slaves in his household in 1820 and 9 (6 of whom were born after 1820) in 1830. At the time of his death, the appraisement of his estate included only three enslaved persons: Violate, Evoline and Samuel.
1835 Appraisement of the Estate of Nathaniel Landcraft
We the undersigned (after first duly sworn)
have proceeded to appraise in Current money the
person (sic) estate and Negro Belonging to the Estate
of Nathaniel Landcraft decd as followeth, to wit.
One Negro Woman named Violate $375
One Do Girle ” Evoline 150
One Do Boy ” Samuel 125
One Cupboard & Furniture 35
One Safe & furniture 10
One Sideboard & Table 5
One Clock 10
One Bed & furniture 30
Two Beds, Bedsteads & furniture 60
One Trunk, Chist & Bedstead 4
One Looking Glass 2
Two Waiters 1.50
Nine Chairs 4.50
One Tea Kittle and Irons & Shovels & Tongs 3
Kitchen furniture 15
Given under our hand this 2nd day
of January 1855_
. . . . . . . . . . . .T.B. Hamilton
. . . . . . . . . . . .P. Keenan Appraisers
. . . . . . . . . . . .Wm. Morris
Fayette County Court Clerks Office Jany Term 1835
The Appraisement Bill of the Estate of Nathaniel Land-
craft decd was Recd and ordered to be recorded_
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Test
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Hiram Hill CK
End of transcription
About the time Nathaniel Landcraft died, his daughter Adeline, widow of John S. Roberts, married the Baptist minister Edwin W. Woodson. They made their home in Monroe County, (West) Virginia. In 1840 Woodson had two slaves in his household, a male and a female, both were 10 thru 23 years old. Could either of them be one of the slaves mentioned in the Landcraft appraisement?
In 1850 E W Woodson owned one female slave age 20. In 1860 Adeline Woodson owned one female slave age 30. Who was this female slave? Did Rev. Woodson die before 1860? Did he leave a will, inventory, or appraisement mentioning the slave enumerated under his name in 1850?
Earlier this month I discovered a wonderful batch of pre-Civil War records for the counties in the western Virginia which would become West Virginia in 1863. FamilySearch’s collections of digital images have been growing at an amazing speed in recent years. Every now and then I will do fairly simple searches for birth, marriage, and/or death records in Fayette County, West Virginia, for the surname DEMPSEY. This surname is in two branches of my family tree. I am always looking for new information to possibly connect the two lines or to fill in some blanks in either line.
I was not disappointed when something new showed up in a search for births in Fayette County, (West) Virginia. The hit indicated a son born to my 3rd great-grand uncle Wilson M. DEMPSEY. A son I did not have in my database. When I opened up the details of the search results, I found the birth record was not for a son but for a slave.
From experience, I know when FamilySearch shows a record is not available (see camera icon with the notation in the above image) this actually means there is no image attached to the indexed material. However, the film may be available online and browse-only. I checked their catalog for the FHL microfilm number given and found Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia, microreproduction of original manuscripts at the Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, for West Virginia counties.
I spend hours working with the browse-only records at FamilySearch. Being experienced made it easy for me to find the image to the record indexed above. This post deals with the content of the record, not how I found it. If you are interested, please ask, and I will explain how in a comment to this post.
The birth of William, a son of Mary, was recorded in the birth register of Fayette County. He was born at Meadow Fork on 11 February 1857. The column for the name of the father is titled: Father’s Name in full if Child be free and born in wedlock, or Name of Owner if Child born a Slave. Wilson M. Dempsey’s name is in this column as well as the column for the informant. In the column, Relationship of Informant, he is noted as Owner.
I took a bit of time to browse through the entire batch of registers for Fayette County and found another entry with Wilson M. Dempsey as the informant. This one did not turn up in my original search which made me wonder if the entire collection has been indexed. Different search criteria turned up this indexed record in the Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917.
This indexed record shows “Orange Dempsy” was a child of “Wilson Dempsy” and “Mary.” A closer look at the actual entry in the register shows Orange was a slave.
On this entry, the child Orange was born in June 1855 on the Loop in Fayette County. He was a slave owned by Wilson Dempsey. The mother’s name was Mary. The occupation of the father is blank and his residence is listed as Amherst. Another child born as a slave of another slaveholder on the same page has blanks for the occupation and residence of the father. It’s possible Amherst refers to the residence of the father of Orange, indicating the enslaved family was separated due to Wilson Dempsey’s recent move to Fayette County. Or, Wilson Dempsey had not yet moved his family and may have taken his slave(s) there to prepare for his move.
In 1840 Wilson Dempsey was recently married to Evalina Carolyn Rhodes, a daughter of Reuben Rhodes and Tabitha Rowsie of Amherst County, Virginia. In the 1840 census of the same county, Wilson was seen with his bride and two slaves, one male 10 thru 23 and one female under 10 years. In 1850 Wilson was listed as an overseer in the Eastern District of Amherst. His wife had died in the 1840s and he’d remarried. His second wife’s maiden name is not known. The 1850 slave schedule does not have a listing for him and it is unknown for whom he was working as an overseer.
Before finding the above records, we knew Wilson moved to Fayette County in western Virginia in the 1850s. The records place him in the county in 1855, either setting up his household or permanently settled.
In 1860 the slave schedule of Fayette County includes the following enslaved black persons for Wilson M. Dempsey:
one male age 35 (possibly the male seen in 1840?)
one female age 30 (possibly Mary)
one female age 22 (or, possibly Mary)
one female age 12
one female age 8
two females age 7
one male age 3 (possibly William)
one male age 1
I have known since I first began researching my 3rd great-grandfather Seaton Y. Dempsey that his brother Wilson had slaves as well as their father William Dempsey of Amherst. However, the only indication of their keeping enslaved persons had been the 1810 census for William (3 slaves), the 1840 census for Wilson (2 slaves), and the 1860 census for Wilson (9 slaves). The birth records found this month help to name at least three of the enslaved people: Orange, William, and their mother Mary.
John S. Roberts of Nicholas County, Virginia (present-day West Virginia) owned one negro boy named Henry as seen in the appraisal of his estate recorded during the March 1832 term of Nicholas County court.
John S. Roberts – 1832 Appraisement Bill
Nicholas County to wit
In pursuance of the within order of Nicholas County Court We Robert Kelly, Robert Hamilton and William D. Cottle after having been duly sworn proceeded to appraise the Estate of John S. Roberts dec’d and make the following return.
One Cow $8.00
Two bed & furniture at $25 each $50
One folding leaf table $5.00
One dressing table $3.00
One shot gum $10.00
One cupboard furniture knives etc. $6.00 One negro boy named Henry $250.00
One set of bed steads $1.00
One ditto ditto $2.00
A pile of corn in the ears $2.50
4 Bushels of potatoes at 25 cts $1.00
One barrel and boxes $0.50
Half a Doz chairs $3.00
One big wheel $2.00
One weeding hoe $0.50
One pot and hooks $2.00
Two skillets and lids $2.50
One oven and lid $2.25
One tin kettle $2.00
. . . . . . (total) $343.25
all which is respectfully submitted by ous (sic)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. Kelly
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. Hamilton
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wm. D. Cottle
At a court held for Nicholas County March Term 1832 This appraisement bill of the estate of John S. Roberts was returned duly certified by the appraisers and ordered to be recorded.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Teste
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Saml Price C??
Who Was John S. Roberts?
John Shelton Roberts was the son of Alexander Roberts and Sarah Shepherd of Nelson County, Virginia. He married Adeline B. Landcraft, daughter of Nathaniel Landcraft and Sarah B. Hardin, on 6 September 1829 in Nelson County. They very likely came to the Fayette/Nicholas counties area with Adeline’s parents. By 1830 John was living in Nicholas County where he (male 20 thru 29) was seen on the census with his wife (female 20 thru 29) and two young slaves under 10 years of age. Following his death, his widow remarried.
How Did John S. Roberts Become A Slaveholder?
A quick check turned up the names of more slaves as both John’s and Adeline’s parents were slaveholders, as was Rev. Edwin Washington Woodson who married Adeline after John’s death. The names will be shared in several Slave Name Roll Project posts to come.