Saturday GeneaQuote

022 used© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey


52 Ancestors: #17 Rachel HONAKER, wife of Elijah WOOD

52ancestors“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 my 17th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #17
Rachel HONAKER, wife of Elijah WOOD

My 3rd great-grandmother Rachel HONAKER, one of eight children of Frederick HONAKER and his second wife Rachel WISEMAN, was born about 1804 (1850 age 46, 1860 age 56) in Monroe County in Old Virginia, now West Virginia. Besides her two brothers and five sisters, she also had two half-brothers and two half-sisters.

The Honaker Family Association (HFA)

Before I get into how I know that my Rachel HONAKER was the daughter of Frederick and Rachel, I want to introduce you to the National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families, Inc.

The Honaker Family Association (HFA) was organized in 1989, at Pulaski, Virginia. In 1992 the Association was incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Virginia as the National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families, Inc. with its headquarters in Alexandria. In 1998 they published the book The Honaker Family in America, edited by Frieda Patrick Davison (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD,  © 1998 by The National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families). As updates and corrections from descendants are sent to the HFA they produce supplements to the book updating the material. The HFA has sold all copies of the book and there are no plans to reprint or publish an updated version due to the cost.

Which Rachel was the daughter of Frederick HONAKER?

On 24 April 2014 Lyle LeMasters wrote the following to me:

I had a time trying to convince the Honaker Family that [our] Rachel was from this line. Her half and full siblings sold their part of Frederick’s land and she was listed in the deed records right in the middle of the rest of their deeds. The Honaker association finally accepted her as the daughter of Frederick with the deed. It just goes to show not to stay focused on your specific ancestor but the whole group of related or possible relations…..
[I underlined for emphasis.]

As he wrote above Lyle was able to clear up part of a mix-up concerning several ladies named Rachel HONAKER in 2001.  The HFA considered him the research authority on the WOOD line and wrote the following in their supplement:

“There is mass confusion among Rachels here. Researchers reported that this and two other Rachels married William Brown in Monroe Co., W.Va. The others were this Rachel’s niece, Rachel[3] (Frederick[1], Jacob[2]) and her cousin Rachel[2] (Jacob[1]). Present evidence is sufficient to determine that this Rachel married Elijah Wood. We are unable to determine now which of the other Rachels married William Brown. To further complicate things, Elijah Wood married, second, Rachel Louisa McGraw prior to the 1870 census.”
[Source: The Honaker Family in America, 5 October 2001 Supplement, Chapter 3 – Frederick Honaker]

Even this explanation is confusing as we see two men named Jacob. One of them was Frederick’s brother and the other was Frederick’s son. The brother Jacob left a will in Russell County, Virginia, naming his children [Christeny Jones, wife of John Jones, Nancy Smith, wife of John Smith, Mary Penson, wife of John Penson, Elizabeth May, wife of John May] but no daughter named Rachel, single or married to William Brown. I believe that the elder Jacob was confused with Frederick’s oldest son Jacob who had daughter named Rachel. But we are interested in Frederick’s daughter Rachel who married Elijah WOOD.

Rachel’s father Frederick HONAKER left a will (images 149 and 150) naming all of his children, several being under age. He wrote his will on 20 [or 30] November 1824. It was presented in December Court 1824 and proven in January Court 1825. Rachel married Elijah WOOD on 4 January 1825 [line 6]. The following month Elijah and Rachel WOOD sold her part of her father’s estate as seen in:

Monroe County, (West) Virginia Deed References:
1825 Elijah & Rachel Wood to Andrew and George Beirne Deed Bk H pg 218
Description says land only.
Rachel Honaker Wood’s brother Jacob sells land in 1825 to Andrew and George Beirne in Deed Bk H pg 219 Int Frederick Honiker Land

This Indenture made this 21st day of February 1825 between Elijah Wood and
Rachel his wife late Rachel Honiker of the one part and Andrew & George
Beirne & Co of the other part the first named parties of the County of
Nicholas and latter of the County of Monroe each of the state of Virginia
Witnesseth that the said Elijah ?(middle initial can’t make it out) Wood and
Rachel his wife for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar in hand
paid by the said Andrew and George Beirne & Co on or before the delivering of
these presents the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged have granted
bargained and sold and by these presents do grant sell and convey unto the
said Andrew and George Beirne & Co their heirs and assigns forever all that
part or parcel of land lying and being in the said County of Monroe which was
devised to the said Rachel Wood formerly Honiker by the will of said
Frederick Honiker decd be the same more or less with such appurtenances as
may be thereunto belonging & at the same time subject to such restrictions as
are mentioned in the will aforesaid and the said Elijah Wood & Rachel his
wife for themselves and heirs do covenant with the said Andrew & George
Beirne & Co and their heirs the land with its appurtenances aforesaid from
themselves & their heirs & from all other person or persons whatever to the
said Andrew & George Beirne & Co & their heirs or assigns will warrant and
forever defend.

In witness whereof the said Elijah Wood & Rachel his wife have hereunto set
their hands and seals the day & year first written.
Elijah Wood seal
Rachel her x mark Wood

Monroe County Clerks Office 22nd Feb 1825
This deed of bargain and sale from Elijah Wood and Rachel his wife to Andrew
& George Beirne & Co was acknowledged before the Clerk and the same is
admitted to be recorded.
Teste Isaac Hutchinson C.M.C.

This proves that Rachel HONAKER who married Elijah WOOD was the daughter of Frederick HONAKER. I don’t have a copy of this deed which Lyle LeMasters found and transcribed helping him to have the mixup corrected in The Honaker Family in America. On my wish list: copies of the entire batch of deeds that pertain to Frederick HONAKER’s estate.

Rachel’s life as a wife and mother

In twenty years, from 1825 to 1845, Rachel gave birth to eleven known children. By 1830 she had a son Allen Alexander and three daughters, Amanda Jane, Sarah Ann, and Mary Salinas. Two sons, James Simpson and Elijah Stuart, and three daughters, Turze Lucresia, Nancy E. and Rebecca Ann, brought the number of children up to nine in 1840. In the 1850 census we see two more sons, William Frederick and Lewis L. All have been documented as seen in Elijah’s story.

According to the 1850 census, unlike her husband Elijah who would become Justice of the Peace from 1852-1858, Rachel could not read & write.

Rachel was last seen in the 1860 census. She died sometime during the 1860s decade as Elijah is seen with his second wife Rachel Louisa McGRAW in the 1870 census. Unless the Elijah WOOD family kept a family bible that was passed on to an unknown descendant, we will probably never know exactly when Rachel died as many records during this era were lost due to the Civil War.

In my research I’ve found 71 grandchildren, 276 great-grandchildren….and still counting.

Please don’t hesitate to submit corrections, additions, or comments. They are always welcome!

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #16 Elijah WOOD abt. 1806-1885

52ancestors“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 #16 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

New generation — 3rd great-grandparents — 8 sets on my paternal line, one set is unknown. This will get me through another 14 weeks!

52 Ancestors: #16 Elijah WOOD abt. 1806-1885

I’ve never thought of Elijah WOOD as being a brick wall. While preparing his story I realized that I don’t have anything that shows [or proves] that my 3rd great-grandfather was the son of William WOOD (1777-1835) and Mary Ann McGRAW (1781-1845).

1825 – First Record Found for Elijah WOOD

Elijah WOOD and Rachel HONAKER were married by John CAMPBELL on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia. The entry in the marriage register does not give the names of the bride and groom’s parents. [line 6]


Elijah and Rachel had 4 children by the time the 1830 census was taken: Allen Alexander (1825-aft.1900), Amanda Jane (1826-aft. 1885), Sarah Ann (1827-1887), and Mary Salinas (1829-bef. Aug 1901).

1830 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Greenbrier > Sheet 209A; online : accessed 20 April 2014

1830 U.S. Federal Census
Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1830
Sheet No. 209A&B
Elijha Wood
1 male under 5 yo (Allen Alexander)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Elijah)
3 females under 5 yo (Amanda Jane, Sarah Ann, Mary Salinas)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Rachel)
6 person in household

In June 1831 Elijah was seen on the first tax list for Fayette County along with James, Bailey, Eli, and William WOOD.

On the 2nd day of October 1835 Elijah and Amos WOOD were administrators at the sale of the personal property of William WOOD. At the sale, Elijah bought one foot adz, plank per hundred, one stone hammer, one shovel, and one mooly (sic, muley) bull.

William WOOD – 1835 Bill of Sale (page 1)
William WOOD – 1835 Bill of Sale (page 2 & 3)
For quicker reference the Bill of Sale was also typed up and placed in the back of the Book of Wills.


Elijah and his wife had 5 more children by the time the 1840 census was enumerated: Turze Lucresia “Turzey” (1832-bet. 1885-1888), James Simpson (1833-1887), Nancy E. (1835-1898), Elijah Stuart “Sty” (1836-1921), and Rebecca Ann (1840-1866).

1840 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet 149A; online : accessed 20 April 2014

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1840
Sheet No. 149A&B
Elijah Wood
2 males under 5 yo (James Simpson, Elijah Stuart)
1 male 10 & under 15 yo (Allen Alexander)
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (Elijah)
2 females under 5 yo (Nancy E., Rebecca Ann)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Turze Lucresia)
3 females 10 & under 15 yo (Sarah Ann, Amanda Jane, Mary Salinas)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Rachel)
11 persons in household
2 persons engaged in agriculture

Shirley Donnelly wrote a column published in the Beckley Post-Herald (West Virginia) entitled “Yesterday and Today”. On 28 April 1975 his article “River Towns Full of History” included the following about land in the Lansing area that Elijah WOOD sold in 1841 [this needs to be researched; 11/26/1858 Elijah Wood to Eliza A. Townsend Bk E pg 282 Nr Chestnutburg – this deed may reference back to the 1841 land sale]:

“Lansing….is an old Fayette County settlement. It is located on the Chestnutburg road that runs out of Ansted and into the Edmond community. It is near where the high bridge is now under construction over New River Gorge. The land at Lansing was first owned by Elijah Wood of the Ansted area. Wood sold some of his land in the Lansing section to John Townsend in 1841.”

In 1844 Elijah WOOD was the crier for the estate of Richard SKAGGS and in 1846 for the estate of Joseph FOX.

In 1845 Amos WOOD wrote his last will and testament and named his brothers Elijah and Allen as executors. The handwritten pages 107-110 in the Book of Wills, where Amos’ will would be found, are missing however this collection of records was also typed up at one time and added to the back of the will book.

Elijah and his wife had their two youngest children in the 1840s: William Frederick (1842-1916) and Lewis L. (1845-bef. 1885). Their three oldest daughters married: Amanda Jane married Joshua J. PARRISH on 1 June 1843; Sarah Ann married William A. W. DEMPSEY abt. 1845; and Mary Salinas married George A. McGRAW on 1 June 1850.


His oldest son Allen Alexander was working as a blacksmith in Greenbrier County in 1850.

1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet 337A > HH#94-94; online : accessed 20 April 2014

1850 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District, Sheet 337A
Enumerated by me on the 26th day of July, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
HH #94-94
Elijah Wood 43 M Farmer $700 Virginia
Rachel Wood 46 F Virginia cannot read & write
Turze Wood 18 F Virginia attended school
Simpson Wood 17 M Laborer Virginia attended school
Nancy Wood 15 F Virginia attended school
E. S. Wood 13 M Virginia attended school
Ann E. Wood 11 F Virginia attended school
Wm. Wood 8 M Virginia
Lewis Wood 5 M Virginia

Elijah was seen purchasing one horse beast on 26 March 1853 at the estate sale of George R. JOHNSON and a small table, one hand saw, and three jugs on 13 August 1853 at the estate sale of William TERRY.

During the 1850s six of Elijah’s children married: Allen Alexander married Margaret Ann HOOVER on 12 February 1851; Turze Lucresia “Turzey” married John H. NEAL in 1854; Rebecca Ann married William W. RYAN on 25 December 1855; James Simpson married Ellen E. ALEXANDER on 1 Jun 1856; Nancy E. married Charles B. JOHNSON on 11 December 1856; and Elijah Stuart “Sty” married Margaret Virginia TOWNSEND before 1860.

Elijah WOOD was a Justice of the Peace in Fayette County as seen in the following bonds:
6/10/1852 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 332
6/15/1854 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 539
6/12/1856 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 713
[Source: Lyle LeMasters, per email 21 April 2014]


This left Elijah and his wife with only their two youngest sons living at home and attending school in 1860.

1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Page 11 > Sheet 321 > HH#76-69; online : accessed 20 April 2014

1860 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
District No. 2, Page No. 11
Enumerated by me on the 11th day of June, 1860. P. Morton, Ass’t Marshal.
Fayetteville Post Office, Sheet No. 321
HH #76-69
Elijah Wood 53 M Farmer $2500 $500 Virginia
Rachel Wood 56 F Virginia
William Wood 18 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school
Lewis L. Wood 15 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school

There were several deaths in the family in the 1860s: Elijah’s wife Rachel HONAKER died during the decade, his daughter Rebecca Ann died 19 March 1866, and his sons-in-law, William A. W. DEMPSEY died about 1867 and George A. McGRAW about 1868.

Elijah’s son William Frederick married Martha Ann HESS on 4 February 1864. Elijah  remarried before the 1870 census however no marriage record has been found for Rachel Louisa McGRAW and Elijah WOOD.


After the death of Elijah’s son-in-law William A. W. DEMPSEY, his widowed daughter Sarah Ann had to  put her children in the care of her siblings and father. Elijah took in Eunice and John DEMPSEY.

1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Page 99 > Sheet 144A > HH#74-74; online : accessed 20 April 2014

1870 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Mountain Cove Township, Page No. 99
Enumerated by me on the 14th day of  July 1870. Wm. T. Lowry, Ass’t Marshal.
Fayetteville Post Office, Sheet No. 144A
HH #74-74
Wood, Elijah 63 M W Farmer $1300 $350 Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Wood, Rachael L. 45 F W Keeping House Virginia
Dempsey, Unis 14 F W At Home Virginia
Dempsey, John 12 M W Farm Laborer Virginia

Two of Elijah’s daughters, both widowed, remarried in the 1870s. Mary Salinas married Michael Price ARBAUGH on 26 Apr 1871 and, following his death, she married Milton SIMS on 4 February 1876. Her sister Sarah Ann had planned to marry James R. REID (a marriage license was taken out on 27 November 1872 but not used) and seven weeks later married John M. FOX, a widower, on 14 January 1873.


By 1880 Elijah’s granddaughter Eunice DEMPSEY who had been living with her grandfather in 1870 had married. His grandsons John and Elijah DEMPSEY were living with him in 1880.

Also in his household was his mother-in-law Polly McGRAW. Her presence in his household has been very helpful in proving that Elijah was married twice. The age difference in the 1870 and 1880 census as compared to the 1850 and 1860 for Elijah’s wife Rachel/Rachel L. suggested that Elijah was married twice – both ladies being named Rachel. Earlier census listings for Polly McGRAW show that she was the mother of Rachel Louisa McGRAW.

1880 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > ED 30 > Page 21 > Sheet 104A > HH#185-185; online : accessed 20 April 2014

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Mountain Cove, Page No. 21
Enumerated by me on the 10th day of June 1880. W. C. Miller, enumerator.
Enumeration District No. 30, Sheet No. 104A
HH #185-185
Wood, Elijah W M 73 Farmer WV WV WV
Wood, Rachel L. W F 54 wife married Keeping house WV WV VA Wife
Dempsey, Elijah W M 17 laborer single Farm laborer WV WV WV
Dempsey, Jno H. W M 22 laborer single Works in coal yard WV WV WV
McGraw, Polly W F 72 mother-in-law widowed Keeping house WV WV WV

1885 – Elijah WOOD left a last will and testament!

Page 7 (right page)
Last Will and Testament of Elijah Wood Decd
I Elijah Wood in the name of God Amen do make and publish this as my last Will and Testament.
First: I direct that I shall be buried in a suitable manner in accordance
with my station in life.
Second: I will and bequeath to my beloved wife Rachel Louisa the home place
where I now live during her natural life, should she prefer that the place be
sold she is to receive one third of the proceeds of sale or so much thereof
as she may need for support. I also give to her one cow of her choice, one
hog of her choice, one bed and my kitchen furniture. I also give to her
interest on four hundred dollars of my personal estate or more if she should
need it during her life.
Third: I give and bequeath to my grandson John H. Dempsey my farm situate on
horse shoe Creek Consisting of two tracts containing Sixty acres more or less
and he is charged with the payment of one hundred Dollars to be paid to the
rest of my heirs but it is my wish and I direct that he shall not be
oppressed in the payment of said one hundred dollars. $100.00
Fourth: I give and bequeath to my grandson Elijah Lewis Dempsey one hundred
dollars to be paid out of my personal estate.
Fifth: I give and bequeath to my granddaughter Jerusha Rogers the sum of
fifty dollars to be paid out of my personal estate..
Sixth: I will and bequeath all the rest of my estate to my nine living
children Viz Allen A. Wood, Amanda J. Parrish, Sarah A. Fox, Mary Salina Sims,
Tersey Lucresia Neal, James S. Wood and Nancy E. Johnston, Elijah S. Wood, W. F.
Wood and I do make them the residuary legatees of my estate to them equally
portion and portion alike.
Seventh: I do appoint and constitute G. W. Imboden and James Simpson Wood my
son as the executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all
former wills by me made.
Given under my hand  and seal this 14th day  of March ad 1885
Elijah Wood seal

Page 8 (left page)
We the subscribing witnesses have this day witnessed the foregoing will
signed and declared by Elijah Wood as his Will and in his presence and signed
in the presence of each of us and we have signed in the presence of each
other this 14th day of March 1885.
Allen McGraw
George L. McClung
G. W. Imboden

In Vacation

In the office of the clerk of the county Court of Fayette County West
Virginia September 23, 1885.
This day the last Will and Testament of Elijah Wood late of this county
deceased was presented and offered for probate by James Simpson Wood one of
the Executors named in said will and after having upon oath the evidence of
Allen McGraw, George L. McClung and G. W. Imboden the three subscribing witnesses
thereto as to the signature of said Elijah Wood deceased to said will and the
genuineness of the same.
It is ordered that the said will be and the same is hereby admitted to
And whereas the said G. W. Imboden the other executor named in said will
refused to qualify as such executor the said James Simpson Wood Executor
appointed and named as aforesaid Appeared and took the oath required by law
and together with J. A. Taylor and F. M. McClung his surety entered into and
acknowledged a bond in the penalty of six thousand dollars conditional
according to law And on motion of the said James Simpson Wood Executor as
aforesaid, Wm Deitz, Franklin Hess, and Wm Martin are hereby appointed
appraisers to appraise the personal estate of the said Elijah Wood deceased
and report to this office according to law.
Teste: E B Hawkins Clerk
Fayette County Court Clerks Office September 23rd 1885
The foregoing will was this day presented in my office proved by the oaths
of the subscribing witnesses thereto and admitted.

Elijah named his nine living children: Allen A. Wood, Amanda J. Parrish, Sarah A. Fox, Mary Salina Sims, Tersey Lucresia Neal, James S. Wood and Nancy E. Johnston, Elijah S. Wood, W. F. Wood. His daughter Rebecca Ann had died in 1866 and son Lewis L. may have died between 1860-1885. No trace of him was found after the 1860 census. I believe it can be assumed that Lewis predeceased his father as he is not listed as one of the living children.

Elijah made bequeaths to John and Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY, sons of his daughter Sarah Ann, and to Jerusha ROGERS, daughter of his deceased daughter Rebecca Ann.

Elijah’s death record

Elijah WOOD, a white male farmer, died on 10 September 1885 in Fayette County, West Virginia. The cause of death was “hemorrhage”. His widow Rachel L. Wood, the informant, did not give the names of his parents. [entry 73]

Getting back to his parentage

Unfortunately WOOD is a common surname in Old Virginia. I need to analyze the pre-1850 census listings for Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, and Fayette counties for WOOD and WOODS. The county lines were changing as new counties were being formed in Old Virginia. Woodville, now known as Ansted, once part of Greenbrier County, fell to Monroe County in 1799, to Nicholas County in 1818 and finally to Fayette County in 1831 as the counties were formed.  Image quality of the census has gotten better over the last dozen or so years and I am finding some errors in work I previously did on the census. I believe that by taking a new look, maybe even starting from scratch, could help. This project will be discussed in a later post.

I put out some feelers to see if other descendants [of Elijah WOOD; William WOOD, believed to be his father; or Bailey WOOD Sr., believed to be his grandfather] may have some keys that will help unlock and push open the door in this brick wall!

Lyle LeMasters’ work has been used as a guide by many descendants of the WOOD families in the Fayette County, West Virginia, area. He did early census work and searched for land records, wills, etc. I am happy to say that he replied right away:

Hello Cathy nice to talk to you again. There is no 100 percent proof without a will and all of the children or surviving grandchildren of a child being named. Elijah and 2 brothers being named in relationship as you stated is proof but still does not establish their parents without one of them having a death record naming their parents. The same goes for Bailey Wood Sr. and some of his children selling land in a deed as their part of Bailey Wood Sr.’s estate. This is not 100 percent proof but they would have to be heirs or entitled to sell the land. No will for Bailey Wood Sr. was found to date to establish his children. Considering they were the only Wood family in that area while the others were using Woods helps but it is not 100 percent proof. The Bailey Wood Sr. land grants and the land sold also help prove a possible relationship of his heirs but not 100 percent.

And so the research to prove the parentage of Elijah WOOD continues.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #15 Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY 1861-1913

52ancestors“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 my 15th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #15 Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY 1861-1913

I used the information in my genealogy database to write this impromptu obituary in honor of my great-great-grandmother. I don’t have access to West Virginia newspapers for the time period and do not know if an obituary was printed for Tobitha.

Obituary of Tobitha Cooley Clonch

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” Clonch, 52, passed away in December 1913 of unknown causes.

Tobitha was born in Ohio on 11 February 1861 to John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadway.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Alexander “Alex” Clonch; three children, Timothy, Bertha and an unnamed babe; stepdaughter Barbara Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gillispie; her siblings, Calvin Cooley, Melissa F. “Lucy” Bird, Harrison Cooley, Robert Ulysses S. Grant Cooley, Ida Cooley, Minnie O. Wilson and Timothy Cooley; grandchildren Bertha Almeda Smith, Lallie P. Dunlap, Georgie Dunlap, Arnold Dunlap, Arlena Dunlap, and Piercie Roop.

Survivors include her daughters and sons-in-law, Lorena Ellen and John Tomshack, Frances “Fanny” and George W. Dunlap, Rebecca Jane and Walter F. Roop, Sarah Ann “Sallie” and John H. “Harry” Krise, and Ida Bell and Lewis W. Holbert; her son Harrison Sanders Clonch; her stepdaughter and stepson-in-law Emma Sidosa “Emily” and William Alexander Clonch; her stepson and stepdaughter-in-law Joseph E. “Joe” and Jenny Clonch; her sister and brother-in-law, Sarah Ann “Sallie” and Joseph Riley Waugh; two sisters-in-law, Mary Cooley and Lilly E. Cooley; 16 grandchildren, Lorenzo Aber Smith, James Leonard Smith, Edward Moses Smith, Joseph Tomshack, Josephine Tomshack, Alex H. Tomshack, Virgie Dunlap, Earl Lawrence Dunlap, Lacy Shelton Roop, Myrtle Hazel Roop, James Henry Roop, Walter Gordon Roop, Edith Estelle “Edie” Roop, Reeva Estelle “Reeba” Krise, Harry B. Krise, and Alton Elmer Krise; 5 stepgrandchildren George William Clonch, Iva Mae Clonch, Edith Emmeline Clonch, Eber Joseph Clonch, and Alexander Michael “Alex” Clonch.

Funeral arrangements are unknown. Burial was in Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive.

MRIN00038 Clonch, Tobitha and Ida
Tabitha Ann COOLEY with her youngest daughter Ida Bell CLONCH. Photo courtesy of James A. Smith (2000)

My great-great-grandmother Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY was born on 11 February 1861 in Ohio, a week after the beginning of the Civil War. She was the 4th child of John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY (TREADWELL). It is not known where in Ohio she was born. Her date of birth was taken from her gravemarker.

1860 U.S. Federal Census > MO > Lafayette > Lexington > HH#523-582; online : accessed 6 April 2014

If her mother had a normal pregnancy, then Tobitha was conceived in Missouri! Sarah was about four months pregnant when Mr. Shields, Assistant Marshall, visited the COOLEY family in Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri, on 8 September 1860. He found John, Sarah and their children, Calvin, Lucy F., and Harrison, living with seven other families in the boarding house of Frederick and Elizabeth King, immigrants from Germany.

The little family had been on the move from the time of John and Sarah’s marriage on 9 September 1851 in Meigs County, Ohio. They lived in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia, where Tobitha’s father John worked as a sawyer in 1853. They may have lived in Cedarville, Ohio, or made a stop there in 1855 before going on to Missouri. They did not remain in Missouri for long as they were back in Ohio in 1861 when Tobitha was born.

1870 U.S. Federal Census > OH > Meigs > Olive > HH#319-304; online : accessed 6 Apr 2014

She remained the baby of the family until the end of the Civil War when her sister Sallie was born. Tobitha’s family lived in the Arbuckle District of Mason County, West Virginia, in 1868 when another  brother Robert was born.

The family was enumerated in the 1870 census in Portland Post Office in the Olive Township of Meigs County, Ohio.  Father John was working in a sawmill and feeding a family of six children which now  included baby Ida.

1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Arbuckle > Sheet No. 210A > HH # ; : accessed 6 Apr 2014

The 1870’s were spent for the most part in Mason County, West Virginia, were Tobitha’s two youngest siblings, Minnie O. and Timothy were born. On the 1880 census we see Tobitha as Ann T. She was the oldest of the children still at home as her older brother and sister had married. Tobitha, like her parents, could not read or write.

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY married Alexander CLONCH on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio. Alex was divorced from his first wife and the father of children (ages 4, 6 and 13) he had with another woman, his ex-wife’s sister. He was 19 years older than Tobitha — or twice her age! All of these things could have put quite a strain on the new relationship but Alex and Tobitha made things work. She helped raise Alex’s little ones and had 9 children with him during their 30 years of marriage:

Ch 1: Timothy CLONCH born 20 December 1881 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 7]. He died before 1898.
Ch 2: Lorena Ellen CLONCH (1883-1961) born 10 March 1883 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 10]
Ch 3: Frances “Fanny” CLONCH (1885-1943) born 30 April 1885 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 4: Bertha CLONCH (1887-1898) born 9 December 1887 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 14]. She died before 1898.
Ch 5: Rebecca Jane CLONCH (1888-1950) born 6 Jan 1888 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 6: Sarah Ann “Sallie” CLONCH (1890-1979) born 20 Jun 1890 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 7: Harrison S. CLONCH (1893-1970) born 11 February 1893 Beech Hill, Mason County, West Virginia [line 25] [delayed certificate of birth]
Ch 8: [–?–] CLONCH (1894-1894) born 6 Oct 1894 [line 32] died 13 October 1894 [line 13], both in Clay County, West Virginia
Ch 9: Ida Bell CLONCH (1896-1981) born 5 March 1896 Smithers Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia [line 63]

As previously discussed in Alex’s story, Tobitha’s young family lived in Mason County until about 1893 when they moved to Clay County and then to Fayette County about 1895-1896.

I believe that Tobitha’s parents John and Sarah COOLEY may have made the move from Mason County to Clay County and then Fayette County at the same time as Tobitha and Alex. John age 72 and Sarah age 71 were living in Belva, Falls District of Fayette County in 1900. They may have died between 1900-1910 or before 1920 if they were missed in the 1910 census. I doubt that they lived longer and no records have been found for their deaths in West Virginia.

Tobitha’s daughters Lorena, Fanny, Rebecca, and Sallie were married by 1908. When Alexander CLONCH died 9 June 1910 at the age of 68 he left Tobitha with daughter Ida 14 and son Harrison 17.

Tobitha received Alex’s Civil War pension as a widow and for Ida who was considered a minor until she turned 16. Harrison most likely lived at home with his mother and sister but we cannot be sure as they were not found in the 1910 census.

“United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 Nov 2013), Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 581 of 681.

On the Veterans Administration Pension Payment Card Tobitha’s date of death is seen as 10 December 1913. This conflicts with the date 16 December 1913 seen on her gravemarker. Was the marker misread? Did the Veterans Administration employee make an error? When the bureau was notified on 19 March 1914, did they receive a death certificate?

Tobitha died three and a half years after Alex and six months before the beginning of World War I at the age of 52 years. She was buried beside her husband of 30 years in the Clonch Family Cemeterey in Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia. Their markers read:

Alex Clonch
March 2, 1842 – June 9, 1910

Tobitha Cooley Clonch
“His Wife”
February 11, 1861 – December 16, 1913

James Grady Auxier (2C1R ) shared per email 2 June 2000 the dates of birth and death he read off of the gravemarkers of Alexander and Tobitha Clonch in the Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive. Kaci Foster (4C1R, 6C, 7C) read the cemetery on 17 March 2005 and shared the cemetery listing on Fayette County Footprints, a site administered by Betty LeMasters and Becky Shuff. The dates from both readings match. However I would be very happy if someone would visit the cemetery and share photos of the markers with me.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #14 Alexander CLONCH Known as “The one who killed the beef at 200 paces”

52ancestors“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.”

We are starting the 2nd quarter of the challenge! This is my 14th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #14 Alexander CLONCH Known as “The one who killed the beef at 200 paces”

MRIN00038 Clonch, Alex
“The one who killed the beef at 200 paces” Alexander Clonch 1842-1910

My Grandfather, Joe, told about the BEEF at 200 Paces to us when I was about 10.  We were shooting a rifle and he said we were as good as his dad that killed the beef at 200 paces.
Apparently they had some cattle in camp to provide meat and one swam a river or deep creek and was escaping.  Grandpa Alex shot it and killed it across the stream with his muzzle loader (musket?).  From that point on until Alex was put in the hospital, the Captain would yell “Send the man that killed the beef at 200 paces, to the front” anytime they were firing at the enemy.

Daniel CLONCH, our 2nd cousin once removed, shared the story that his grandfather Joe told him about 1941, with my 2nd cousin Robert BAKER  per email on 20 May 2000.

Alex During the American Civil War 1861-1865

Alexander CLONCH was mustered into service as a private in Company C of the 13th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry on 8 October 1862 at the age of 21. The regiment, organized in October 1862, served in the Kanawha Valley during the first year of the war, mostly doing guard duty and scouting by detachments of companies. Alex was present until 31 October 1862.

“West Virginia Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865” : accessed 12 Feb 2014

Records show that Alex was sick and absent from duty in November and December 1862. It does not give any detail as to what the illness was. His father was suffering from typhoid fever at this time and died on 20 January 1863.

Alex was once again present for duty in January and February 1863. He appeared on a Special Muster Roll as present on 10 April 1863 and then on a Company Muster Roll dated 30 April 1863 as sick in Post Hospital at Point Pleasant. His stay in the hospital continued from May 1863 until February 1864 and each time it was noted that he had been there since 12 Feb 1863. After a year of being sick in the Post Hospital he appears to have been transferred to the army’s General Hospital in Gallipolis, Ohio, on 3 March 1864.


“West Virginia Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865” : accessed 12 Feb 2014

The government erected a general hospital near the site of Camp Carrington, a wheat field on the Barlow farm “at the upper end” of Gallipolis in 1862, and maintained it until the close of the war. At greatest capacity the hospital had 4,000 patients tended by military staff and people from Gallipolis. [Source: History of Gallia County, 1882, Hardesty Publishing]

This might be a bit exagerated as another source indicates that the hospital was “equipped with 350 beds, at its peak, the hospital treated 769 soldiers at a single time.” A historical marker has been erected for the “U.S. Army General Hospital” in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.


“West Virginia Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865” : accessed 12 Feb 2014

Alex remained in General Hospital until the end of October 1864. Apparently he had been drawing pay the entire time that he was hospitalized as he was last paid on 31 October 1864. From November 1864 until April 1865 he was once again listed as present and I assume fit for duty. He was mustered out on 22 June 1865. His clothing account was “last settled on 30 June 1864; drawn since $39.10.” He had been paid $25 of his bounty and $75 was due him.

A federal bounty of $100.00 was paid for all volunteers or regulars enlisting for three years and serving at least two years or to the end of the war. This $100.00 bonus was paid at discharge only.



Back to the Beginning ~ Alex’s Childhood

William CLONCH (1807-1863) and Mary E. “Polly” DOSS (1816-1890) were the parents of my great-great-grandfather Alexander DOSS a.k.a. Alexander CLONCH born on 2 March 1842 in Mason County, West Virginia (then Virginia). Alex was their second child.

William and Polly, although never married, had eight known children including John William (1840-1919), Alex (1842-1910), Lavina Ann (1846-1945), Jeremiah (1847-bef. 1860), Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” (1851-aft. 1899), Joel (1852-aft. 1910), Thomas Eli (1852-1913) , and Charles Henry (1855-1925).

1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 422A HH#842-853; online : accessed 27 March 2014

On the 1850 census we see Alex DOSS with his parents William CLONCH and Polly DOSS, older brother John W. DOSS, and younger siblings Lavina DOSS and Jeremiah DOSS. The enumerator used the ditto mark (“) to show a repeat of the surname DOSS. This is not an error as we will see later.

1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > District 2 > Page 46 > HH#345-316; online : accessed 27 March 2014

On the 1860 census Alex, his 6 siblings and both of his parents are seen with the CLAUNCH (sic, CLONCH) surname. Note: The surname has been seen spelled/transcribed as Claunch, Clounch, Clonch, Clouch, and even Clanuch which makes the search for records a bit more difficult.


Alex’s Father Made His Will Before Dying

As mentioned Alex’s father William CLONCH died 20 January 1863 of typhoid fever. He left a will dated the 17th of January in which he wrote, “I do wish to will my Land to Mary Doss and her Children John William Doss, Alexander Doss, Loving Ann Doss, Elizabeth Jane Doss, Thomas Eli Doss, Joel Doss and Charles Henry Doss.” William did not write “my” or “our” when he named the children in his will.

West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875; Page 166-167 (image 104); online

All of the boys used the CLONCH surname after their father’s death. Mary DOSS also used the CLONCH name after William’s death. She had not been able to marry William CLONCH as he was still married to another woman. This has been discussed in A Little “Peyton Place” (Part 1) and will be looked into again when I do William CLONCH’s story for the 52 Ancestors Challenge.

Lavina Ann DOSS married James William PATTERSON (1836-1911) on 16 July 1863 in Point Pleasant, Mason County, West Virginia. Her parents were listed as Wm CLONCH and Mary DOSS however Wm CLONCH was struck out on the marriage license. Lavina married less than 6 months after her father’s death. Why Wm CLONCH was marked out on the license is unknown.

A Little “Peyton Place” (Part II)

Alex’s brother John W. CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER on 20 February 1862 [left page, 5th entry]. Alexander CLONCH married Mary Ellen LEMASTER on 10 November 1863 [right page, last entry]. This was when, according to the military records, Alex was sick in Post Hospital in Point Pleasant. He must have been too sick to serve in the army but well enough to leave the hospital to get married. Both of these marriages took place in Gallia County, Ohio, and neither marriage lasted.

On 18 July 1864 Sarah J. CLONCH, wife of John W. CLONCH, sued by her next friend, John W. FOSTER, for divorce. Three years ago at the age of 21, she left her father’s house and married John CLONCH. “Since that time [she] has been to him a constant, faithful and dutiful wife and has borne him two children to wit: William A. now two years old and an infant daughter three months old. Her husband on the other hand has been negligent and insufferably abusive and violent to her within the last two years frequently beating and choking her for no cause whatever on her part. He has left his house and home taking with him her oldest child and living in adultry with another woman… further alledges that he has been seen in bed with his own brother’s wife and has failed to furnish support to your oratrix and her child which she is oblige to labor for their entire support, or they would come to starvation. The only property owned by your oratrix and her husband is the household and kitchen furniture and one house the most of which your oratrix bought from her father”. Sarah called three witnesses to include John’s own sister and they told it like it was. They testified that John and Rebecca LEMASTER spent the night together in each other’s arms while the light in the fireplace went out. Peter Dewitt testified that “I saw Rebecca Lemaster sitting in his lap mighty close together and he was hugging her, and this happened after dark.” Lavina Ann PATTERSON, John’s sister, testified that John and Mary Ellen LEMASTER CLONCH had been in bed together. Mary Ellen was married to John’s brother, Alexander CLONCH. [Sep 1864 in the Circuit Court of Mason County, West Virginia]

“Now wasn’t that a little Peyton’s Place?” wrote Ralph Hays who I credit for researching the divorce. About the time that John and Sarah got their divorce in 1864, Alexander and Mary Ellen, who did not have children, called it quits but were not divorced until 1880. John and Mary Ellen, who were expecting their first child, “shacked up together” for over 30 years until 7 May 1895 when they finally got married – after 13 children were born. [Marriage Book 8, p 5, Item 15, Gallia County, Ohio]

Alex Has Children With His Wife’s Sister

On 7 November 1865 Rebecca LEMASTER, Mary Ellen’s sister, had an illegitimate son Austin Richard LEMASTER [line 11]. His father was listed as unknown. Later this son went by the name Oscar R. CLONCH. His 1943 death record shows that he was the son of Rebecca LEMASTER and an unknown father. Family tradition is that Alexander CLONCH had a son named Austin and it has been assumed that the child died young as he was not mentioned in the 1898 pension papers* (more below). Most likely Alexander took on the father roll for  Rebecca’s illegitimate child in early years and Oscar chose to use the CLONCH surname. Alex did not acknowledge him in his 1898 pension papers*.

Alex’s daughter Emma Sidosa “Emily” was born 5 March 1866 per the 1898 pension papers* (no birth record found; 1 March 1868 per death record). When she married for the first time in 1892 her name was seen as Emma LAMASTICE (sic, LEMASTER). Unfortunately the Ohio marriage record does not list names of parents of the bride and groom. [right page, middle entry]

The birth record of Alex’s son Joseph E. “Joe” CLONCH born 18 December 1874 [entry line 8] shows the mother as Rebecca CLONCH and most likely this is the reason it has been believed that the parents were married.

The next child born and acknowledged by Alex in his 1898 pension papers* was Barbara Elizabeth born on 5 March 1875 (no birth record found). Unfortunately this date cannot be trusted as it is too close to the birth of son Joe. It is more likely that she was born in 1876 as she was later seen as age 4 on the 1880 census. Last minute find (less than 3 hours before scheduled publishing time of this article): 1900 census was finally located for Barbara, her husband, three sons (previously only two sons were known) and her husband’s nephew. She was enumerated as Lizzie and her month and year of birth were March 1876! What made me look again was that her youngest son William J.’s 1943 death record showed that he was born 2 November 1900. Gallia county birth records 1894-1903 however show that he was born 2 November 1899. I searched for this child in the 1900 census and found the family!

The 1870 census listing has not been found for Alexander CLONCH or Rebecca LEMASTER nor has a marriage record been found for them. At one time someone came up with 13 May 1864 as the date of marriage for Alex and Rebecca however I have not found documentation, i.e. West Virginia or Ohio Marriage Records, to prove it. I do not believe that Alex actually married Rebecca with whom he raised four children: Oscar, Emma, Joseph and Barbara. Rebecca may have died before 1880.

Alex is Finally Divorced from his First Wife

The divorce of Alexander CLONCH and Mary Ellen CLONCH was found in Mason County, West Virginia Chancery Order Book March term 1880, p 274. The marriage was dissolved, Mary did not appear and she did not get her dower and had to pay costs. Alexander had at least three children (most likely all with Rebecca LEMASTER as seen above) and Mary Ellen had eight children by John CLONCH, Alexander’s brother, by the time their divorce was final. [Source: Ralph Hayes, 17 May 2002, CLAUNCH-L Archives]

I suspect that Rebecca may have died before 1880 (as no record has been found for her) and, having such young children, Alex may have seen it necessary to get a divorce from his estranged wife so that he could legally marry. He was seen as divorced in the 1880 census with his children Emily, Joe, and Barbara in his household. Austin or Oscar has not been located.

1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendenin > ED 93 Page 22 Sheet 245B > HH#197-202; online : accessed 30 March 2014

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, West Virginia
Clendennin Township, Page No. 22
ED No. 93, Sheet No. 245B
Enumerated by me on the day of June, 1880. R. J. Neale, enumerator.
HH #197-202
Claunch, Alex W M 38 divorced Farm Labor WV VA VA
Claunch, Emily W F 13 daughter single At Home WV WV WV
Claunch, Joel E. W M son single 6 WV WV WV
Claunch, Barbara W F 4 daughter single WV WV WV

Alexander Marries a Second Time

Alexander CLONCH married my great-great-grandmother Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY (1861-1913) on 19 August 1880 Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio. [right page, bottom entry]

Birth records for six of the nine children born to this marriage have been found. The dates for Fanny, Rebecca and Sallie were seen in Alex’s 1898 pension papers*. Children of this marriage were:

Ch 1: Timothy CLONCH born 20 December 1881 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 7]. He died before 1898*.
Ch 2: Lorena Ellen CLONCH (1883-1961) born 10 March 1883 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 10]
Ch 3: Frances “Fanny” CLONCH (1885-1943) born 30 April 1885 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 4: Bertha CLONCH (1887-1898) born 9 December 1887 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 14]. She died before 1898*.
Ch 5: Rebecca Jane CLONCH (1888-1950) born 6 Jan 1888 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 6: Sarah Ann “Sallie” CLONCH (1890-1979) born 20 Jun 1890 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 7: Harrison S. CLONCH (1893-1970) born 11 February 1893 Beech Hill, Mason County, West Virginia [line 25] [delayed certificate of birth]
Ch 8: [–?–] CLONCH (1894-1894) born 6 Oct 1894 [line 32] died 13 October 1894 [line 13], both in Clay County, West Virginia
Ch 9: Ida Bell CLONCH (1896-1981) born 5 March 1896 Smithers Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia [line 63]

MRIN00038 1887-03-09 Alex Clonch
The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 09 March 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

On 9 March 1887 an article appeared in the Point Pleasant (Mason County, West Virginia) Weekly Register under Five Mile Items:

“Mr. Alex Clounch, the sole proprietor of the Swisher corn mill, can grind a bushel of corn per day, that is as much as a man can eat in a week, and says if he gets an early start he can grind two bushels after deducting the toll.”

This is the first time tha I’ve heard that Alex owned a corn mill. More research is needed to determine if this is our Alex CLONCH. It is possible that his cousin John Alexander CLONCH 1842-1889 or his nephew/son-in-law William Alexander CLONCH 1862-1925 may have used their middle names in business matters although both have only been seen as farm laborers or farmers.

Alex Applies for his Civil War Pension

MRIN00038 1888-05-30 Alex Clonch
The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 30 May 1888. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

The following month, on 14 April 1887,  Alexander CLONCH applied for his Civil War pension.

In May 1888 the Weekly Register published a list of veterans of the Civil War who were living in the neighborhood and had been recently issued a pension. Alexander CLOUNCH of Beech Hill was listed with a pension of $12 per month.

MRIN00038 1890-04-23 Alex Clonch
The Wheeling daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, W. Va.), 23 April 1890. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.






The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer published a Special Dispatch concerning West Virginia pensions on 23 April 1890. In this dispatch we see that Alex Clouch (sic) of Beech Hill was granted an increase in pension.

Alexander CLONCH was enumerated on the 1890 Veterans Schedule for Arbuckle District of Mason County, West Virginia. This confirms that he was a private in Company C of the 13th West Virginia Infantry from 8 May 1862 (sic) to 22 June 1865 and that he had a disability which affected his heart and lung. [line 23]

Alex’s mother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS died in Mason County, West Virginia. This event took place after the 1880 census and before 29 Apr 1892 when her children sold the land left to her in William CLONCH’s will.

Alex Moves From Mason County to Bell Creek, Clay County…

By 1893 Alex and his young family had moved to Bell Creek, Clay County, West Virginia. Although his son Harrison was born in Beech Hill, Alex had the birth recorded in Clay County which leads me to believe that the move took place soon after Tabitha gave birth. They were in residence in Clay County as the marriage of Alex’s son Joe took place on 29 August 1894 at the home of the groom’s parents in that county. Also while living there Alex and his wife had a daughter who lived only a week in October 1894.

….and then to Fayette County

They then moved to Fayette County where their youngest daughter Ida Bell was born at Smithers Creek in 1896. Civil War papers show that he was living in Dixie, Fayette County, West Virginia, in 1898. In the genealogy work of Ralph Hayes, a CLONCH family researcher, I kept seeing references to Civil War papers and events taking place before or after 1898. In June 2004 I emailed Ralph about the Civil War records for Alex CLONCH and the 1898 date. He wrote:

The date 1898 came from Alexander’s Civil War record which reads in part:
“Department of  the Interior Bureau of Pensions, 15 Jan 1898, reply dated 4 Jun 1898. Alexander Clonch of Dixie, WV provided the following info: He was married to Tabitha Clonch, maiden name Cooley; m. in Gallapolis, OH on 19 Aug 1880; has a marriage certificate; married previously to Rebecca Lemasters (deceased) on 13 May 187_  (cannot read); living children: Emila born 5 Mar 1866; Joseph born 20 Dec 18__(cannot read); Barbara born 5 Mar 1875; Lorena born 10 Mar 1882; Frances born 30 Apr 1884; Rebecca born 6 Jan 1886; Sarah Ann born 20 Jun 1890; Harrison born 11 Feb 189_(cannot read); and Ida born 5 Mar 1896.”
Info from Mrs. W.F. Machir, Anne Christy and Kara McWilliams. Kara McWilliams received a copy of his records.

I requested more information from Kara McWilliams, a niece of Daniel CLONCH, concerning her copy of Alex’s Civil War records. She will  be getting back to me as soon as she has time to access her genealogy papers. I am hoping that there may be information that was missed. If she sends me images of the papers I might be able to read the information she was not able to decipher. It must be noted that not all of the dates given by Alex for the children match birth records found.

Was Alex Clonch a Bigamist?

This is the most important detail that I noticed in Alexander’s pension records (transcript seen above): married previously to Rebecca Lemasters (deceased) on 13 May 187_  (cannot read). This must be where the marriage date 13 May 1864 came from. So many questions and no way to ask the person who could answer them! Why would Alex marry Rebecca when he was already married to her sister? Why would he get a divorce from Mary Ellen in 1880 when (if) he married Rebecca in the 1870s?

Although Alex left a nice paper trail up until 1898, I have not been able to locate him in the 1900 or 1910 census. This is really frustrating as it means that I have no census listing showing Alex with his wife Tabitha and their children! As with the census, I’ve tried all variations of his name in order to find his death record on but to no avail. Finally I found a database on FamilySearch that is 80% complete and Alexander CLONCH is in it! The Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933 [images 579-582].

These cards have information missing in earlier documents and, best of all, his date of death. Alex’s disability was disease of the heart, resulting from measles. Did he have the measles while he was serving during the Civil War? His widow Tabitha continued to receive his pension following his death and their youngest daughter Ida, being a minor, brought in an additional $2 per month until 4 March 1912, the day before her 16th birthday.

Alexander CLONCH died 9 June 1910 and was buried in Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia. His wife of 30 years, Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY, followed him on 16 December 1913.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #13 Milla Susan “Millie” PETERS 1856-1891

52ancestors“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 my 13th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #13 Milla Susan “Millie” PETERS 1856-1891

Do you remember when you were young and one of your parents wanted to scold you and ran through the names of all your siblings before they got to yours? Image what it was like for Milla’s father, “Cynthia, Henry, Zachariah, Stephen, Mary, Jonathan, James, Jane, Martha,William, Peninah, Sallie, Joseph, Moses, Kesiah, Mandy, Callie, Elizabeth, Nannie, Milla!!!“[1]

The 19th Child of Twenty-one

Milla Susan “Millie” PETERS[2] was born 6 December 1856 in Raleigh County, (West) Virginia [line 44] to Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) and Rachel PROFFITT (1817-1899). She was the 19th child of her 60 year old father Jordan[3] and the 7th child of her thirty-something 39 year old mother Rachel.

Family on the Move

1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin > Long Branch > Page 35 HH #234-231 > ; online : accessed 23 March 2014

Milla’s parents seem to have been constantly on the move. They were married in Franklin County, Virginia, in 1844 and by 1850 were living in Raleigh County, formed on January 23, 1850 from portions of Fayette County, then a part of Virginia, now West Virginia. Their daughters Mandy and Callie were born in Floyd County in October 1850 and June 1853 per their marriage records. Jordan was in Raleigh County in June 1855 when he testified to claim the bounty land due him for his service in the War of 1812. In September 1856 he was in Floyd County when he received a Bounty Land Warrant for 160 acres. By December 1856 he was back in Raleigh when his wife Rachel gave birth to Milla. After her birth they moved again and were in Franklin County in 1860.

Milla Lives Through a House Fire

In February of 1865 a major event took place in the life of 8 year old Milla Susan PETERS. According to statements made by her parents their house “got burnt up” in Floyd County and all of her father’s papers, including the family bible, were lost.[4]

1870 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Floyd > Jacksonville > Page 29 Sheet 57A HH#213-201; online : accessed 23 March 2014

Was the place of residence in 1860, 1865 and 1870 the same? A portion of Franklin County was added to Floyd County in 1870. I wonder if the changes in the county line between Floyd and Franklin may make it appear that the family was moving around when they were actually in the same place.

Milla Marries a Younger Man

1880rooppetersmarriage 002
Photocopy of Marriage License obtained by Louise Roop Anderson Akers on 24 Feb 2001 from the records of the Circuit Court, County of Floyd, Virginia. Louise sent the original certified copy to me in April 2001.

Milla Susan PETERS married Gordon Washington ROOP on 1 January 1880 in Floyd County, Virginia, at her father Jordan Peters’ residence. The bride and groom, or whomever gave the information, were not honest about their ages. Milla’s age was given as 20 but she had turned 23 the month before and Gordon’s age was given as 21 although he was 17 and would not turn 18 until four months later.







1880 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd > Alum Ridge > ED 25 Page 4 Sheet 264B > HH#59-59; online : accessed 19 March 2014

Milla and Gordon were first seen together on the 1880 census. They lived on Alum Ridge in Floyd County near the Montgomery County line.

Milla and her husband Gordon did not wait long to start their family. She gave birth to five children, four sons and a daughter, in ten years:

Ch 1: George Washington ROOP (1880-1950) born 19 September 1880in Floyd County, Virginia. Note: no birth record however WWI and WWII draft cards match date seen on his death certificate.
Ch 2: Walter Farmer ROOP (1883-1971) born 16 April 1883 in Montgomery County, Virginia.

Ch 3: Charles Turner ROOP (1885-1966) born 15 June 1885 in Montgomery County, Virginia. The father’s residence at the time was Raleigh County, West Virginia, and the birth was recorded there.

Ch 4: James H. “Old Man Jim” ROOP (1887-1962) born 30 May 1887 at Snuffer’s Branch, Clear Creek, Raleigh County, West Virginia.
Ch 5: [–?–] ROOP (1890-1891) born in June 1890 in Kanawha County, West Virginia. She died in a house fire in 1891.

When she was expecting her fifth child or perhaps after the birth of her only daughter in 1890, Milla’s father Jordan N. PETERS died on 14 October 1890 in Nettle Ridge, Patrick County, Virginia. His wife, Milla’s mother, Rachel PROFFITT died there on 5 March 1899.

Second House Fire is Fatal

Milla Susan ROOP, née PETERS, died at the age of 34 with her only daughter, an unnamed baby, in a house fire in 1891. Family tradition is vague and does not tell us enough of the story. I cannot imagine the horror of living through one house fire and then perishing in another twenty-six years later. How was the fire started? Was it during the day or at night? Who else was in the house? When the fire broke out, where were Milla’s sons, aged between 10 and 3 years, and her husband? If it happened during the day, had the boys been playing outside? Did she save her sons from a fiery death, or was it Gordon? Was she overcome by smoke and flames? Was she suffocated or burned to death?

Milla’s grief stricken husband Gordon Washington ROOP placed his sons George, Walter, Charles and James with two Snuffer families until he was able to care for them.

[1] Her siblings:
Child 1: Cynthia Peters (1819-?) born 18 October 1819 Franklin County
Child 2: Henry T. Peters (1821-1890) born 17 March 1821 Franklin County
Child 3: Zachariah Peters (1822-1899) born 14 May 1822 Franklin County
Child 4: Stephen Peters (1824-1869) born 13 March 1824 Franklin County
Child 5: Mary Peters (1825-1856) born 6 August 1825 Franklin County
Child 6: Jonathan Peters (1827-1910) born 23 April 1827 Franklin County
Child 7: James Peters (1829-1880) born 25 January 1829 Franklin County
Child 8: Jane Peters (1831-1867) born 23 June 1831 Franklin County
Child 9: Martha Ann Peters (1832-1902) born 19 January 1832 Franklin County
Child 10: William Edward Peters (1834-1863) born 2 October 1834 Franklin County
Child 11: Peninah Peters (1839-1859) born 14 November 1839 Franklin County
Child 12: [–?–] Peters (1841-1841) born 1 July 1841, died 1 July 1841 Franklin County
Child 13: Sarah “Sallie” Peters (1842-1899) born 2 November 1842 Franklin County
Child 14: Joseph W. Peters (1844-1862) born 12 May 1844 Franklin County
Child 15: Moses Samuel Peters (1846-1915) born 25 January 1846 Franklin County
Child 16: Keziah Lucy Peters (1847-1934) born abt 1847 Floyd County
Child 17: Amanda Angeline “Mandy” Peters (1850-1895) born 2 October 1850 Floyd County
Child 18: Caroline “Callie” Peters (1853-1930) born 13 June 1853 Floyd County
Child 19: Milla Susan “Millie” PETERS (1856-1891) born 6 December 1856 Raleigh County
Child 20: Elizabeth F. “Emma” Peters (1860-1944) born 22 March 1860 Floyd County
Child 21: Nancy Ellen “Nannie” Peters (1864-1942) born July 1864 Franklin County

[2] Milla Susan “Millie” PETERS has been incorrectly seen as Willa or Willie in online GEDCOM files. Her 1856 birth record clearly shows Milla S. On the 1870 census I compared names beginning with M and W on the same page and her name was written as Millie Susan. B. P. Elliott, the enumerator of the 1870 census, was also the clerk who filled out the 1880 Marriage License for Milla. The handwriting is the same and it is an M and not a W. Millie is seen on the 1880 census. Her son George’s death certificate has her name listed as Millie Peters. Son Walter’s 1971 death certificate has Mary Peters listed, an obvious error. The persons who gave the information on her younger sons Charles and James’ death certificates did not know the name of the mother. I rest my case.

[3] Jordan N. PETERS married first Mary “Polly” TROUP on 6 Oct 1817 in Franklin County. They had 10 children. Polly died on 5 January 1837 Franklin County. Jordan married second Sarah COX (?-1841) on 15 August 1837 Franklin County. Sarah died 8 July 1841 in Franklin County a week after giving birth of her second child. Jordan married third Rachel PROFFITT on 8 December 1841 in Franklin County. They had 9 children.

[4] In 1977 Paula Kelley Ward obtained Jordan’s complete War of 1812 file from the National Archives and Records Administration. From the information gleaned from the file she wrote “Jordan’s Story” included on pgs. 24-29 of Whenever We Wander, compiled, designed and edited by Carolyn Hale Bruce.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey