My GEDCOM file has been online at RootsWeb’s WorldConnect for 15 days short of fourteen years. Many people have written to me over the years. And when a person takes the time to send me the key to open a door in one of my brick walls, I do a happy dance and say, “Thank you very much for taking the time to get in touch.”
Oliver Jenkins III of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is one of these people. He sent his email to both of my addresses (to be sure I would receive it) last August and wrote:
Elijah W. NEAL was my great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY‘s first cousin. They were very close in age, Elijah being the elder by three years. Their mothers were both daughters of Elijah WOOD (1806-1885) and I wonder if the younger Elijah’s middle name may have been Wood. But I’m getting away from the subject. I want to stress that this is speculation concerning the middle name!
For a long time, I’ve had “between 1896-1900” for the year of death of Elijah W. NEAL. I hadn’t found a death record for him and estimated his death as between the time his last child was born and the 1900 census when his wife, Rebecca F. (ARBAUGH) NEAL, was seen as widowed.
Fast forward to this past August when Oliver sent me the above-mentioned email with the transcription and citation for the source giving the date and cause of death for Elijah W. NEAL.
Killed by a Steam Locomotive in a Coal Mine on 3 June 1897
Fatal Accidents 1897
June 3d and 4th. Elijah Neal and George W. Crump, Gauley Mountain mine, Fayette county, were killed by a steam locomotive in the mine. The following report was furnished by Mr. W. N. Page: “I regret to report the death of Elijah Neal and George W. Crump in our new mine Tunnell, on Thursday, June 3d, both white and leaving families. Neal’s head was crushed between the cab and rib, from which death must have been instantaneous, and Crump, who was badly scalded by steam from the safety valve, died the following morning. This accident was in no way connected with the working, but was the result of carelessness in running too fast over a new track. Only one pair of drivers left the rail, but at the high rate of speed the safety valve was knocked off against the roof. It is supposed that there was a small scale of slate on the rail, but this is not certain, but it is known positively that they were running at the time beyond the safety limit, with practically an empty engine. Neal was about 35 and Crump about 40 years of age.” On June 10th Mine Inspector John I. Absolom visited the scene of this accident and found the facts to be as stated above. [Source: Annual Report of the Chief Mine Inspector to the Governor of West Virginia. W.E. Forsyth: Charleston, WV.1898. page 84-85; online at: https://archive.org/stream/annualreportdept18961897west#page/84/mode/2up]
Oliver also did a newspaper search and came up with this article which suggested Elijah’s widow might soon follow him to the grave.
Publication: The Evening Republican, Columbus, Indiana Published: 4 June 1897 Page 1 ANSTEAD, W. Va., A locomotive was wrecked in the coal mines here today. Elijah Neal, engineer, was killed and assistant mine superintendent died from his injuries received. Neal’s wife is prostrated and will die from the shock.
Elijah’s wife Rebecca did not die from the shock. She was found in the census in 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940, always in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia. No death record was found for her on WVCulture.org.
However, her obituary published in the Beckley Post-Herald was located and attached as a source for her death. Aunt Becky, as she was known, outlived her husband by 52 years, dying on 3 July 1949 in Ansted.
Publication: Beckley Post-Herald (Raleigh Co., WV)
Published: Sunday Morning, July 4, 1949
Headline: Neal Funeral Set For Today
Oak Hill, July 3 – Funeral services for Mrs. Rebecca (Aunt Becky) Neal, 87, of Ansted will be held Monday at 2:00 p.m. at the Ansted Baptist Church with the Rev. Stanley Neuman officiating.
Mrs. Neal, who was born in Greenbrier County, died at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Lola Boalt of Ansted, Saturday at 7:15 p.m. following an illness of six weeks.
She was a member of the Ansted Baptist Church.
Survivors include two daughters, Mrs. Lola Boalt and Mrs. Ada Dufour, and one son, Raleigh, all of Ansted. Also surviving are 15 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren.
The body will be at the home of Mrs. Lola Boalt.
The Benefits of Having My Family Tree Online
Oliver’s email was very much appreciated as have been all correspondence received in the past twenty years my family tree has been online. My database may have missing information, it may not always have sources cited, it may even have errors. In short, it may not be perfect. But the benefits of having it online far outnumber the embarrassment of mistakes or missing citations especially when people take the time to write to me and offer corrections and additions.
Thank you to all who have contacted me during the past 20 years!
P.S. On 23 November 2016 I heard from Oliver Jenkins III. I wrote to him letting him know I mentioned him (first name only) and his random act of genealogical kindness in my post. He is not a related to Elijah W. Neal and found the information while researching for a client. He wrote, “Feel free to use my full name and email if you’d like. Extra clients always help 🙂 ” owjenkins3 @ gmail.com.
52 Ancestors: #20 Seaton Y. DEMPSEY abt. 1803-bet. 1880-1890
It is my belief that my third great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY’s middle name was Younger after his [grand-uncle] Captain Younger LANDRUM, who served during the American Revolutionary War. This is supported by the fact that a great-grandson Edgar Younger DEMPSEY also had this unusual middle name. But, until I find proof, he is Seaton Y. DEMPSEY.
Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM (1778-1834) and William DEMPSEY (1779-bef. 1836) were married in 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia. Seaton was their second child born abt. 1803 in the same county. He had the following siblings:
Sib 1: Wilson M. DEMPSEY (1802-1883) born abt. 1802; married(1) Evalina Carolyn RHODES ( -1848) on 30 December 1839 in Amherst County, Virginia; married(2) Paulina [–?–] Dempsey (1815-1881) abt. 1848
Sib 3: Isham Coleman DEMPSEY (1806-1854) born abt. 1806; married Sarah Elvira THOMAS (1809-1879) on 5 March 1827 in Rockbridge County, Virginia
Sib 4: Wesley G. DEMPSEY (1808-1890) born abt. 1808; married Mary HUGHES (1823-1889) on 6 May 1856 in Rockbridge County, Virginia
Sib 5: Louisa J. DEMPSEY (1812-1888) born abt. 1812; married Simeon A. BURCH (1790-1870) on 8 October 1840 in Amherst County, Virginia, at the residence of S. Y. DEMPSEY
Sib 6: Eliza DEMPSEY (1815-aft. 1860) born bet. 1815-1820; married Patrick H. ROWSEY (1814-1858) on 4 February 1843 in Amherst County, Virginia
Seaton and his family were neighbors of Benjamin SANDIDGE who first exploited Buffalo Springs, the sulphur springs situated in the foothills of northern Amherst County, near Allwood. “In an 1820 tavern bond, Sandidge pledged to provide a wholesome diet, clean lodging and stabling, no unlawful gaming, and no more drinking than was necessary on Sunday.” [Source: Sherrie McLeRoy and William McLeRoy, More Passages: A New History of Amherst County, Virginia, Heritage Books, 1995, page 77]
Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Landon S. GOWING, father of Clementine, went bond on 3 January 1829 for the marriage of Seaton and Clementine.
In the Register of Marriages for Amherst County, Virginia, we see that Landon S. GOWING was security witness and Phillip SMITH Sr. and Robert TINSLEY were witnesses for the marriage of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine GOWING on 3 January 1829.
Following his marriage, Seaton was seen with his young wife Clementine and a male age 10 and under 15 years in the 1830 census. This young man was most likely his brother Wesley. Their mother, not their father, was enumerated with her two daughters. The 1810 through 1830 census listings and their complications will be discussed when I do Seaton’s parents’ stories.
Three children were born between 1830 and 1840: George W. abt. 1831, Geneva Elizabeth abt. 1836, and William S. abt 1839. These children are reflected in the 1840 census. Also in Seaton’s household was a young lady 20 and under 30 years old, most likely his sister Louisa who married later in the year at his residence.
Seaton’s mother died on 27 September 1834. Her death notice was published in the Lynchburg Virginian along with a request for papers in the state of Ohio to publish the same for the information of Mr. William DEMPSEY who was supposed to be somewhere in that state. Apparently, her husband did not see the notice and in June 1836, a year after publication, their son Wilson M. DEMPSEY was made administrator of the estate of William DEMPSEY. It took a dozen years to settle the estate. Deeds found by Norma Barnett Dempsey prove that Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G., Louisa J. and Eliza were the children of William DEMPSEY and Martha LANDRUM.
In 1842 Seaton sold his interest in the estate of William DEMPSEY dec’d, 1/6th of 330 acres, to John J. Morgan. His brother Wilson bought the rest of his siblings’ share, 220 acres, in 1845. Wilson had quite a head for business, or profited from his first marriage, while Seaton did not appear to do as well. However, in 1850 we see Seaton, a farmer, with real estate valued at $500 while Wilson had no real estate and was an overseer. It is not known how Wilson disposed of the 275 acres that he had from his father’s estate.
In the 1840s four more children were born to Seaton and Clementine: Thomas G. abt. 1840, John J. abt. 1843, Mary M. abt. 1845, and Martha Ann abt. 1847.
Before his last child was born Seaton saw his oldest son George W. marrying Rhoda A. STATON on 20 December 1852 in Amherst County, Virginia. The following year Julia Victoria, the baby of the family, was born. Seaton’s second oldest son William S. married Mary Elenor CLEMENTS on 26 April 1857 in Amherst County, Virginia. Seaton’s first grandchild Clementine was born abt. 1857 to his unmarried daughter Geneva Elizabeth.
Sometime following the above events Seaton and his brother Wilson moved their families from Amherst to Fayette County in western Virginia. This was the late 1850s and tension over slavery had begun to disrupt Virginia. Was this the reason that they moved farther west or was it because land was cheap? They established their homes in the Laurel Creek area. Later the place would be known as Dempsey, a quiet little community situated in a valley just five miles west of Fayetteville, called Laurel Creek by some of the residents from the stream of water which flows through it.
In 1860 Seaton had only $100 of personal estate while his brother Wilson is seen with real estate valued at $1000 and personal estate valued at $8000. Wilson may have used his personal funds to set up the country store operated by his only son John Edward “Ed”. The store, one of two in the area, was the location of the first post office established in 1865 giving the community its name – Dempsey.
The 1860 census listing is a bit confusing. Seaton is seen with his wife Clementine and in the next household, his oldest son George is with his wife Rhoda, their son Seaton A. and his siblings Thomas G., John J., Mary M., Martha A. and “Juda” V. I believe that George was living on his father’s farm.
Two of Seaton’s sons died during the Civil War or immediately following the war: William S. bet. 1864-1869 and Thomas G. bet. 1865-1870. Also following the war Seaton’s daughters began to marry:
Martha Ann “Matties” married George L. “Little George” JOHNSON (1846-1874) on 20 September 1866 in Fayette County, West Virginia
Geneva Elizabeth “Jennie” “Janie” married Marshall S. TERRY (1843-1920) bet. 1866-1869 in Virginia
This left only Julia Victoria, age 16, at home with her parents in 1870. Seaton had acquired real estate valued at $500 and had $130 in personal property. Also in his household was a man named Joseph Hardy, a farmer with real estate valued at $1500 and personal property valued at $180. Could the enumerator have forgotten to fill in the household number which would have made this man the head of his own household?
Seaton’s youngest daughter Julia Victoria married Joseph Henry PRESSON (1850-1934) on 3 June 1872 in Fayette County, West Virginia.
Seaton, his wife Clementine, their daughter Mary and her husband Irvin INGRAM were on the church rolls of Loop Creek Baptist Church in 1875. The church was located in the Wriston community area on the south bank of Loop Creek at the mouth of Carter’s Branch. M. Bibb, W. P. Walker, Eli Wood and Washington McGraw were the brethren of the fourth oldest Baptist church in Fayette County when it was formed. The Loop Creek Baptist Church of Christ was constituted in August 1865 by a presbytery appointed by the Hopewell Baptist Church. The church was organized with a membership of 19. Religious services were held in the homes of the faithful until a church could be built.
In 1880 Seaton and his wife Clementine were alone, all living children being married and on their own. Victoria, as she was usually known, was living next door to her parents. She was with her husband Joseph Henry PRESSON and their children. Martha Ann “Matties” was widowed and remarried on 18 July 1880 to Joseph Henry ARBAUGH (1853-1927) in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia.
No death record has been found for Seaton Y. DEMPSEY. I believe that due to the fact that he was not mentioned in the chancery records concerning the estate of his brother Wesley G. DEMPSEY he may have died before 1890. There is a possibility that Seaton and/or Clementine were living at the time of the 1900 census but were not enumerated as was the case of their daughters Mary (Irvin INGRAM) and Victoria (Joseph PRESSON).
I am very grateful to Norma Barnett Dempsey who shared all of her DEMPSEY research with me after I first contacted her in April 2000. Not only did she research the DEMPSEYs in Amherst, she also looked into other DEMPSEY families in Virginia and West Virginia in hopes of finding a connection. Norma’s husband descends from Seaton Y. DEMPSEY through his oldest son George W. DEMPSEY and then through three generations of strong DEMPSEY women who passed on the DEMPSEY name to their children.
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
Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1830
Sheet No. 209A&B
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
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.
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
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1840
Sheet No. 149A&B
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 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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 record. 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. The 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.
Mary M. DEMPSEY, one of my 4 paternal great-great-grandmothers, is from the other DEMPSEY line in my family tree. The lines are connected as Mary’s daughters Octava and Laura INGRAM married sons of William A. W. DEMPSEY. However a common DEMPSEY ancestor has not been found to connect the two DEMPSEY lines.
52 Ancestors: #11 Mary M. DEMPSEY abt. 1845-bet. 1880-1888
Mary M. DEMPSEY was born about 1845 to Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING who were married on 3 January 1829. They had 5 children before Mary was born and then two more bringing the total to eight children. All of these events took place in Amherst County, Virginia.
Sib 1: George W. Dempsey (1831-aft. 1870)
Sib 2: Geneva Elizabeth “Jennie” Dempsey (1836-aft. 1910)
Sib 3: William S. Dempsey (1839-1860s)
Sib 4: Thomas G. Dempsey (1840-1860s)
Sib 5: John J. Dempsey (1843-1860s)
Sib 7: Martha Ann “Matties” Dempsey (1847-1909)
Sib 8: Julia Victoria Dempsey (1853-1926)
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Amherst County, Virginia
Dempsey, C. Y. 47 M Farmer 500 Virginia
Dempsey, C. M. 35 F
Dempsey, Geo W. 19 M
Dempsey, Elizabeth 14 F
Dempsey, Wm S. 11 M
Dempsey, Thomas G. 10 M
Dempsey, John J. 7 M
Dempsey, Mary M. 5 F
Dempsey, Martha A. 2 F
Following the 1850 census Mary’s older siblings began to marry and have children. Her sister Jennie had illegitimate children, a daughter about 1857 and twin daughters about 1859. Her brother George married Rhoda A. STATON (1825-aft. 1870?) on 20 December 1852 and her brother William married Mary Eliza CLEMENTS (1839-?) on 26 April 1857, both in Amherst County.
The family moved to Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Mary’s father Seaton and her uncle Wilson M. DEMPSEY moved their families to Fayette County, (West) Virginia, in the late 1850’s. Mary’s brother William and sister Jennie remained in Amherst County with their young families.
The 1860 census listing shows Mary’s parents in one household followed by her brother George’s household. Mary and and her siblings Thomas, John, Martha, and Julia were listed in George’s household. Normally Mary and her siblings would have been listed in her parents household. I suspect that the entire family group was living together and George was given a household and family number making it look like his siblings were living in his household.
1860 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Dempsey Ceton Y. 57 M W farmer Virginia
Clementine M. 47 F W wife Virginia
George 28 M W farm labor Virginia
Rhoda 35 F W wife Virginia
Ceton A. 5 M W Virginia
Thomas G. 18 M W farm labor Virginia
John J. 15 M W farm labor Virginia
Mary M. 13 F W Virginia
Martha A. 10 F W Virginia
Juda V. 7 F W Virginia
Older siblings returned to eastern Virginia in the 1860s
Following the 1860 census Mary’s brother Thomas returned to eastern Virginia and joined the 58th Virginia Infantry in August 1861 in Amherst County. It is possible that her brother John also went east and joined up in Rockbridge County where their brother William was living. There is no trace of William, Thomas, or John in 1870 or later. Mary’s brother George and his wife disappear after the 1870 census. Their sons remained in Fayette County while a daughter went back to Amherst and later lived in Rockbridge County.
Mary’s sister Jennie had more illegitimate children and married Marshall S. TERRY (1843-aft. 1920) about 1866-1869 (per 1900 and 1910 census). She died between 1910-1920 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. No marriage record has been found for Jennie and Marshall Terry. In 1895 Chancery Records found in Rockbridge County concerning the estate of her uncle Wesley G. DEMPSEY, one of Seaton and Wilson’s brothers, Jennie was seen as Wesley’s niece Jennie TERRY (née DEMPSEY) wife of Marshall TERRY. Prior to finding the chancery records it had been assumed that the daughter seen only as Elizabeth in 1850 had died by 1860. Finding her as Jennie Terry, wife of a man who was seen as a mulatto in the earlier census listings, has brought up a whole bunch of questions that need to be answered. This discovery also gives me faith in the documents that are going to help open the doors in the DEMPSEY brick walls!
Back in Fayette County, West Virginia
Mary’s parents Seaton and Clementine remained in Fayette County with the three youngest daughters Mary M., Martha A., and Julia V. By 1870 Mary and her sister Martha had married and only Julia was living at home with her parents.
Mary’s sisters Martha and Julia marry
Martha Ann “Matties” DEMPSEY married George L. “Little George” JOHNSON (1846-bef 1880) on 20 September 1866. They had four children before Little George left her a widow. She married second Joseph Henry ARBAUGH (1853-1927) on 18 July 1880 in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia. They were the parents of three children. “Matties” died on 11 March 1909.
Julia Victoria DEMPSEY married Joseph Henry PRESSON (1850-1934) on 3 June 1872. They were the parents of 7 children. Julia died 1 May 1926 in Ansted.
What became of Mary M. Dempsey?
On 23 May 1867 Eli WOOD, Minister of the Gospel, performed the marriage ceremony in Fayette County, West Virginia, for Mary M. DEMPSEY and her groom Irvin Lewis INGRAM, son of Robert INGRAM and Huldah JOHNSON. [line 37]
The 1870 census listing for Mary and her young family has not been located. I suspect that the family may have been missed. From later records we know that Mary’s first daughter Octavia Dell INGRAM (1866-1923) was born 14 March 1866 Fayette County, West Virginia. This was a year prior to Mary’s marriage to Irvin Lewis INGRAM on 23 May 1867. Following the marriage their second daughter Laura Belle INGRAM (1868-1940) was born 24 April 1868 at Ingram Branch on Loop Creek in Fayette County. There are no birth records for Octava and Laura and we must rely on the information passed on to descendants, in Octava’s case, and given on Laura’s death certificate.
Mary and Irvin’s third daughter’s birth was entered in the register of births: Harriet F. Ingram (1871- ) born 8 March 1871 at Loup Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. This daughter most likely died before 1900 as she has not been found in the 1900 census nor has a marriage record been found for her at WVCulture.org. Note that her father Irvin was missed in the 1900 census and it is possible that Harriet may have also been missed.
In 1880 we see Mary age 31 with her husband Irvin age 35 and their three daughters, Octavi D. age 14; Laura B. age 12 and Harriet F. age 9. This is the last record we find to document Mary’s life.
Was Mary still living when her daughters married in the early 1880’s? Octavia Dell married Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY (1862-1943) on 19 October 1882 and Laura Belle married William Henderson DEMPSEY (1860-1941) on 1 October 1884. Both marriages were performed by I. C. Cavendish.
Mary’s husband Irvin Lewis INGRAM’s marital status was widower when he married Susie Aliff on 11 February 1888 therefore Mary must have died after the 1880 census and prior to Irvin’s marriage in February 1888. She would have been 43 years old in 1888.
I planned out my 52 Ancestors in January and only noticed today that I would be blogging about the same ancestral line as I did last year on St. Patrick’s Day. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!