Rewriting the Biography: The Livelihood of James SIMS (1754-1845)

After working on the census records of James SIMS and his sixteen children I’m taking a break from researching this family. But before we put them to bed for a while, I would like to share information from a post I wrote in 2015 as a guest blogger on Mark Smith’s blog Hampshire County Long Rifles. 

When Mark requested permission to re-post the biography of James SIMS I’d written in 2002 on his blog, I came up with a different idea. I suggested writing a shorter piece on James SIMS and his sons’ work as gunsmiths. It was a wonderful opportunity to focus on an aspect of my ancestor’s life which I knew little about. The original post can be found here: James Sims (1754-1845), Gunsmith of Nicholas County

The Livelihood of James SIMS (1754-1845)

Several articles written between 1883 and 1983 tell of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS being a gunsmith and blacksmith, however, I would like to begin with an interesting document found which gives another source of income.

The Kanawha Wilderness

Jeff Prechtel Art & Illustration – used with permission.

In the early days when James SIMS lived in the wilderness of western Virginia, the county court of Kanawha offered a bounty for scalps of wolves. On 8 June 1802, James SIMS and his son William SIMS were seen on a list of men who received $2.50 for each wolf-scalp presented.1 These payments were part of the routine work of the Kanawha County court as seen in the record book of the period.

Record Book of Kanawha County, Virginia

There is no mention of how the wolves were killed – by using pits or snares or by gun or other methods. However, Mrs. Ruberta Malva “Bertie” SIMMS WICKER (1871-1971), a daughter of Miletus SIMMS (1832-1927), wrote a three-page letter to Rev. Shirley DONNELLY in 1969, which included the following:2

His (Miletus’) grandfather, William Sims, was a fine gunsmith and lived at the mouth of Little Elk, now Swiss, W. Va. There the family built a log cabin that was two stories high. It had a little ladder arrangement in one corner, where they could climb up to shoot at the wolves which prowled through there at that time. I remember the house very well as I am now 97 years old.

James SIMS gives a new rifle gun to a substitute

Jeff Prechtel Art & Illustration – used with permission.

In 1835 James SIMS was 80 years old. He sent this statement (letter of reply) to the Pension Bureau following questions of the authenticity of his claim of being a veteran of the Revolution. James states he gave a new rifle gun and $500 in continental money to one William NOLL whom he hired as a substitute, most likely about 1775 as James was born in 1754 and was about twenty or twenty-one at the time.

Was NOLL the name he meant to give in the statement? Could the substitute have been a NALL or NALLE?  Perhaps his uncle William NALLE or a NALLE cousin? Was the new rifle given to the substitute one of the first James manufactured as a young man?3

MRIN02312 James Sims RW 27 croppedJames Sims Pensioner Servd 9 mo. Receives $30 pension. I the undersigned James Sims in pursuance of the requisites of the Secretary of the War gives the following narrative of my services as a Soldier in the War of the Revolution & statement of my age to-wit. I am in my 79th year of age. I am a native of Culpepper County & lived in that county during the War of the Revolution. In my nieneteenth or twentieth year of age (I cant tell in what year) I was drafted for 3 mo. & marched from Cupepper Country under Capt. John Tutt (don’t recollect the names of his subaltern officers) Capt Tutts company was attached to a Regt commanded by Col Jno. Slaughter which went from Culpepper. The Regt. Marched to Norfolk. Can’t recollect the names of any towns through which we marched on going to Norfolk. We were discharged at Norfolk in time to get home before the three months expired. In less than one year after the preceding term, (I cant tell in what year) I was drafted again for 3 mo. And hired a substitute whose name was William Noll (?) gave him $500 in continental money and a new rifle gun. In the year in which Cornwallis was captured at Yorktown I was drafted again for 3 mo. Set out from Culpepper under a Capt. whose name I have forgotten. We were preparing to set out on the march for nearly one week, when the news of Cornwallis’ defeat was received & we were ordered to return home & done so, having been in service this latter term about one week – I was a Sergeant & they ended my services — Saml Price wrote my Declaration to whom I gave this same narrative of my service. That I now give. I agreed to give him $20 if he brought me my money In witness of all which I hereto subscribe my name. Jany 10, 1835
His
James      X      Sims
Mark

The original Revolutionary War application papers were sent to W. G. Singleton, U.S. District Attorney, at Winchester, Virginia, on 13 March 1835. Upon examination of his claim by the U.S. District Attorney, James SIMS’ name was dropped from the pension rolls on 21 March 1835 as it was shown he did not render the alleged service.

Although James SIMS’ service during the Revolutionary War was not accepted as proof for a pension, the Daughters of the American Revolution have accepted his “providing supplies” and approved him as a Revolutionary War patriot. Were the supplies he provided arms of his own making?

Memoirs of Col. Campbell

Col. Edward Campbell, the son of John Campbell and Nancy Hughes, was born in 1800 and acquired the basics of an education from his parents. Shortly after the formation of Nicholas County in 1818, he was appointed justice of the peace and traveled throughout the county performing legal services for many of the outlying settlers who found it inconvenient if not impossible to make the long trip into Summersville. Campbell possessed an extraordinary memory for names and facts about the earliest inhabitants of Nicholas County, and some sixty years following his days as a traveling justice, he wrote down his reminiscences of the early settlers and the way in which they lived. Campbell’s memoirs have always been held in high esteem by historians, and where validation is possible he has seldom been found in error in any of his remarks. They were published in the Chronicle in 1883.4

As James SIMS had died only 35 years before Col. Campbell’s memoirs were published, one can imagine they had known each other well enough for the Colonel to write the following without embellishing.5

Going up Gauley River to the mouth of Little Elk, which empties into the river two miles above the ford, we come to the settlement made by J. Windsor. James Sims also made a small improvement at this place. He came from Jackson’s River in Bath County, Virginia. He was a gunsmith and blacksmith, and did but little farming. He had a large family of children, both male and female. Mr. Sims also brought the first darkies that were ever seen in these parts. He had two sons that were also gunsmiths and made the best of rifle guns. As these guns were much in demand with the increasing settlers they did a lucrative business. They both married young, and settled near their father and did some farming in addition to their work on guns. James lived to see his family settled here and elsewhere. His sons, William and Martin, remained here until they were old men and died leaving large families. James Sims was said to be 90 years old when he died.

An old plug horse and a muzzle-loading rifle

In 1926 J.T. Peters and H.B. Carden, authors of History of Fayette County, West Virginia, wrote that William SIMS, one of the older sons of James SIMS, was a gunsmith of wide fame. They also related a story likely heard from James’ great-grandson Miletus SIMS who was living at the time.6

James Sims, great-grandfather of Miletus Sims (who is now living at Swiss and is 94 years of age), came from Culpepper county, Virginia, in 1795, and bought a 600-acre tract of land from Morris and Jones for which he paid on (sic, one) old plug horse and a muzzle-loading rifle. This tract of land was partly in Nicholas and partly in Fayette county.

No court record of the above transaction has been found. The only land James acquired and retained until his death was the 123 acres of land on Gauley conveyed to him by John JONES for the sum of five shilling on 8 April 1800.7

1800 Land Deed John and Frances Jones to James Sims

Descendants who owned Sims guns

After Indians were driven away from the Kanawha valley about 1794, gunsmiths and hunters were still in demand in this region because of the abundance of wolves, bears and other wild beasts.

Among the gunsmiths and hunters of the period were James Sims of Gauley river and his son, William. 

And so begins newspaper reporter William H. Maginnis’ article written for The Charleston Gazette in 1947.8 Several descendants of James SIMS who owned rifles were interviewed by the reporter.

No known gun made by James had preserved according to Maginnis although several made by his son William, who learned the trade and took over the business from his father, were known to exist and were owned by the following descendants. [Note: Near the turn of the twentieth century several lines down from James SIMS began using SIMMS, with a double M, instead of SIMS for their surname.]

Agnes Eugenia “Jean” SIMMS (1897-1965), the 2nd great-granddaughter of James through his son Charles and the 3rd great-granddaughter of James through his son William, is seen here holding a rifle and a toothpuller made by her ancestor William.

Newspaperarchive.com : accessed 15 February 2006

Mayme Hazel SIMMS (1897-1984), a great-granddaughter of James through his son Charles, got her gun from her father Aaron Floyd SIMMS (1862-1940).

Cecil Ray SIMMS (1897-1979) also owned a Sims gun. Like Mrs. WHITE he was descended twice from James SIMS, a great-grandson through son Charles and a 3rd great-grandson through son William.

The Hughes family on Bell Creek near Swiss also owned one of these family treasures. James SIMS had two daughters who married HUGHES men but only the male descendants of Peggy who married Matthew HUGHES remained in the Swiss area.

Jeff Prechtel Art & Illustration – used with permission.

Mr. Maginnis thought it probable that James SIMS, a native of Culpeper County, may have learned the blacksmith and gunsmith trades before 1780 in Falmouth or Fredericksburg, both in Stafford County, Virginia. Fredericksburg was a center of the iron industry in colonial times.

The reporter also spoke with Eugene Norton SIMMS (1864-?) before his death. Eugene’s father Miletus SIMS (1831-1927), who was about 14 years old when his great-grandfather James SIMS died, described him as “a physical giant, fair of complexion, a great hunter and woodsman and inclined to thrift. He built the best house on Gauley in those days – two story, hewn oak logs and a massive chimney.” 

Sims rifle compared to Honaker and Carper rifles

Rev. Clarence Shirley Donnelly (1895-1982) wrote a well-known column in the Beckley Post-Herald titled “Yesterday and Today.” Several of his columns mentioned James SIMS, his descendants, and his enslaved people.  One of these compared the SIMS rifle with several other fine rifles produced by well-known gunmakers in the area.

His rifles became noted and won an enviable reputation. Some years ago, one of these guns was shown to me but they now have all but disappeared from local circles. The Simms rifle ranked with the fine rifles produced in Raleigh County by James A. Honaker, J. B. Honaker, Joseph Carper, and Samuel Carper, as well as the Henderson rifles of Summers County and the Miller rifles of Monroe County.

Rev. Donnelly wrote of Nicolas County being the early stomping ground of the SIMS family and that James brought enslaved persons and the tools of his blacksmith and gunsmith trades with him when he came with his large family to the area before the county was formed from Kanawha County.9

A plug horse and a flintlock rifle

Lela Wolfe Prewitt who compiled genealogy information on the SIMS families of Culpeper County, Virginia, included an interesting family tradition in her work. It tells of James SIMS, learning of the illness of his dear cousin Frances SIMS, wife of Joshua MORRIS, going to Kanawha Valley about 1796.10

Following her death (Phebe), James Sims married Nancy (sic, Elizabeth) Cotton. Soon after this marriage, he went to Kanawha Valley to visit a cousin and also visited the Henry Morris home on Peter’s Creek. Henry tried to persuade him to buy near him, but James being a great hunter, said, “No, this section is too thickly settled.” So Henry took him on a hunting expedition down Peter’s Creek, out across the Little Elk Mountain and started down Little Elk Creek where they found signs of bear, deer and wild turkey. James Sims then said, “Henry, if I can buy land on this creek, I’ll be your neighbor soon.” The land belonged to John Jones who lived at what is now Pratt. He had married a Morris and had purchased thousands of acres of land. He at once went to see Mr. Jones and they soon agreed on a price for 500 acres on Little Elk Creek: a plug horse and a flint lock rifle. As soon as he could make arrangements, he moved his family there.”

Frances SIMS was the daughter of Thomas SIMS Jr. and Mary NALLE. The statement of Frances and James being cousins should not be misconstrued as they were not cousins through their paternal SIMS side. Frances and James were first cousins through their maternal lines – Mary NALLE being a sister of James’ mother Agatha NALLE. After proper analysis, this part of the story appears believable.

However, once again the old plug horse and rifle are seen as part of the land deal.  Since the 1926 telling, the acreage has decreased from 600 to 500 acres in this version but is still four times the amount of land seen on the 1800 deed. Did the story originate in 1800 when James bought the land? Did he offer a horse and rifle instead of hard cash for the land he bought from JONES? Or did Melitus SIMS elaborate on stories told by his father William Jr. or his grandfather William Sr.?

Others who mentioned rifle making

In the late 1970s, George R. Penick Jr. noted that James SIMS moved to Bath County, Virginia, about 1787 where he engaged in rifle making.11

In 1983 James P. Whisker, author of several books on gunsmiths, wrote he had never seen a Sims rifle but heard of them through Rev. Donnelly’s writings.12

Mountain rifle made by William SIMS

Rose Mary Sims Rudy related the following to me in 2002 about a gun known to be in the possession of a descendant in 1993.

I used to correspond with a “relative” who has since died (1998). He sent me this photograph of the “Mountain Rifle that William (Billy Gunsmith) Sims made.” It was in his possession at the time the photo was made in 1993. We talked just before he died and he was giving it to his son!! He was responsible for securing a grave marker for our ancestor James – the date was assumed to be 1838. In correspondence he stated “his great uncle Eugene Simms reported that James was still drawing his RW pension when he died.” He says that the Mountain Rifle has been in the family for many years passed to him by his grandfather and father. William Sims is written on the barrel. His father once told him of a wild hog chasing him up a tree and his brother coming to his rescue with this gun.

1993 photo courtesy of Rose Mary Sims Rudy

Once again a story passed down in the family is in error. James SIMS was not drawing a pension for military service during the Revolutionary War. However much the stories differ from the records found, the rifle theme seems to be consistent from as early as 1883 when Col. Campbell wrote:

He was a gunsmith and blacksmith, and did but little farming.

Occupations on the census

Col. Campbell was a witness from the time James SIMS and his son William SIMS lived while the other persons who wrote about them were not and relied on information passed on to them.

Another source which comes to mind which includes occupations would be the census.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for William Sims, a gunsmith

William SIMS Sr. lived long enough to be enumerated on the 1850 census where his occupation was listed as Gun Smith.13 Previously in 1820 and 1840 when professions were included on the census, he was seen as engaging in manufacturing. His brother Martin SIMS supposedly set up a gun and blacksmith shop with him in Summersville. I have not found the source of this statement or been able to confirm it. In 1820 Martin was seen as engaging in manufacturing on the census while in 1840 and 1850 his employment was farming. Their father James probably turned the business over to William, and perhaps Martin, by 1820 as James was seen employed in agriculture in 1820 and 1840.

Tools of trade in an inventory?

What other documentation would possibly prove the occupations of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS? An inventory of his estate might include the tools of his trade.

In the Order Book 1844-1871 of Nicholas County, I found entries concerning the appraisers of the estate of the deceased James SIMS as well as an entry made when the appraisement and bill of sale of his estate were presented to the court and ordered to be recorded. Where were they recorded? They were not found in Will Book 1. The book is incomplete. There is a gap between the terms of April 1844 and November 1865 with only one entry for October 1856. Two decades of records which should have been recorded in the will book are missing.

I questioned other researchers familiar with Nicholas County earlier this year. One person who had visited the courthouse said at least two will books are missing and the clerks are unsure of what happened to these books.

James SIMS earned his living as a blacksmith, gunsmith, and farmer as seen in the records, the memoirs of a witness from his time period, and the stories passed down through the family. He also supplemented his income by collecting a bounty for a wolf-scalp. Was this the only time he collected a bounty? Being a great hunter, he likely also secured the necessities of life by hunting game and selling hides.

Regarding the artwork featured in this post

After I wrote the original post for Mark Smith in 2015, he gifted me the original sketches he had commissioned from his artist friend Jeff Prechtel to illustrate the article. Written permission was obtained earlier this year from Jeff Prechtel to use the images of the original sketches.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Rewriting the Biography: The Livelihood of James SIMS (1754-1845)

  1.  Kanawha County, West Virginia, County Court Record Book, 1788-1803 (images), FamilySearch (Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1967), FHL Film 530753, DGS 8218841, image 218 of 291, p 395. 1802 James Sims and William Sims on wolf-scalp bounty list. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSG6-X9SZ-Q?i=217&cat=55519 : accessed 13 September 2018). 
  2. Rev. Shirley Donnelly, “Yesterday And Today – Hinton Woman, 97, Writes Well, Spells,” Beckley Post-Herald, Thursday, 9 January 1969, p 4. 
  3.  U.S. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900 (index and images), Ancestry (Original data: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls. National Archives, Washington, D.C.), image 243 of 1164. Pension Application File SR19464 for James Sims. (www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 October 2011). 
  4. Edward Campbell, “Early Settlers of Nicholas County, Virginia,” Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Records of the Pioneers 1818-1860, Upper Glade, West Virginia, Webster County Historical Society, Inc., 1985., p 54. 
  5. Ibid., p 63. 
  6. J.T. Peters and H.B. Carden, History of Fayette County, published by the Fayette County Historical Society, Inc., 1926, p 610. 
  7.  Kanawha County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Record of deeds, 1790-1946 (images), FamilySearch, (126 microfilm reels of original records at the Kanawha County courthouse, Charleston, West Virginia), Deed books, v. A-B 1790-1804, image 206 of 468, Deed Book A, p 91. 1800 Land Deed John and Frances Jones to James Sims. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSG6-FSQG-6?i=205&cat=56556 : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  8. William H. Maginnis, “Guns Made by Pioneer on Gauley River, Mute Testimonials of Settlers’ Lives” (The Charleston Gazette, Sunday, 10 August 1947 p. 20). (Newspaperarchive.com : accessed 15 February 2006). 
  9. Rev. Shirley Donnelly, “Nicholas County Had Fine Gunsmith, Too,” Beckley Post Herald, 24 September 1965, page 4. 
  10. Lela Wolfe Prewitt, “James Sims of Culpeper, Fayette & Nicholas Cos., (West) Virginia,” Ancestors & Descendants of Thomas Sims of Culpeper County, Virgina Edmund Butler of Virginia and Kentucky with Allied Families & Other Culpeper Data, compiled and published by Lela Wolfe Prewitt, Fairfield, Iowa, 1972, p. 156. 
  11. George R. Penick Jr., comp., The Penick Papers (a Sims family compilation) (compiled in 1978-1980). 
  12. James P. Whisker, Gunsmiths of West Virginia, 1983, page 105. 
  13.  1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_963, Virginia, Nicholas County, District 43, sheet 360A, lines 33-35, HH #272-272, William Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 April 2018). 

Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #41 Minnie Campbell

This lady has a name but no other information is known about her.

CampbellMinniesmPhotographer: F.E. Johns, 55 E. Main Street, Lexington, Kentucky (in business in the 1880s until 1920s). Francis E. “Frank” Johns (1852-1943) was a printer in 1870; photographer in 1880, 1900, and 1920; no occupation in 1930.

CampbellMinnieback Rooney collection

On the reverse side two different persons wrote the name, Minnie Campbell. Was this her maiden name or married name? How would you date this photo and estimate her year of birth?

More about this collection, how it came to be in my possession,
and links to previous posts in the series can be found here.

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #33 Rachel WISEMAN 1769-bet. 1821-1824

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #33 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #33 Rachel WISEMAN 1769-bet. 1821-1824

My 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN was born on 1 March 1769 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. She was the 6th child of Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807).

Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS, both born in August 1738 in Berks County, were married about 1758, most likely in that county. They were the parents of 11 known children all born in Berks County, Pennsylvania:

  1. Joseph D. (1759-1836) born 29 Mar 1759
  2. John (1760-1842) born 18 Aug 1760
  3. Sarah (1762-aft. 1841) born 17 Jul 1762
  4. Isaac (1764-1852) born 19 Jun 1764
  5. Jacob (1767-1839) born 12 Jan 1767
  6. Rachel (1769-bef. 1824) born 1 Mar 1769
  7. Samuel (1771-1861) born 15 Feb 1771
  8. Abner (1772-1830) born abt. 1772
  9. Elizabeth (1774-1830s) born abt. 1774
  10. Margaret (1777-1869) born abt. 1777
  11. William (1779-1842) born 6 May 1779

WISEMAN Family and the American Revolutionary War

Rachel was six when the American Revolutionary War began on 19 April 1775. By this time Isaac and Elizabeth had nine children aged between 1 and 16.

In August 1776 Rachel’s oldest brother Joseph D. WISEMAN was drafted in the first militia that went out of Berks County. This was only the beginning as can be seen in the declaration of service given by Joseph D. WISEMAN in 1832 at the age of 73 to obtain his Revolutionary War pension. His pension file includes the family records that his son Samuel submitted in 1847 when he applied for pension money on behalf of himself and his siblings as their parents were both deceased. These papers show the dates of birth and death of Rachel’s parents Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS.

Wiseman1
Elisabeth Wiseman daughter to Samuel Davis was born August 26th, 1838 and died July 19th, 1807.
Wiseman3
Isaac Wiseman son to Isaac and Nancy Wiseman was born August 18, 1738 and died May the 3 in 1818.

WISEMAN Family Moves from Pennsylvania to Virginia

Family tradition is that Isaac and his brood, both married and single, left Berks County, Pennsylvania, and went up the Shenandoah Valley to Rockingham County, Virginia. In his declaration, Joseph states that he lived in Rockingham County, Virginia, about 10 years before moving in 1794 to Greenbrier County [the area which would later be Monroe County, West Virginia].

By the end of the war on 14 January 1784 the family had increased to 11 children, the oldest son Joseph and the oldest daughter Sarah were married. The marriage record for Sarah shows that she married on 3 November 1782 in Rockingham County. This would suggest that the WISEMANs made their move in 1782 [or earlier] and Joseph may have followed them only after he married his second wife.

Marriages of the WISEMAN siblings

  • 1782 – Sib 1: Joseph D. WISEMAN married(1) Susannah MANLY abt. 1782 in Berks County, Pennsylvania
  • 1782 – Sib 3: Sarah WISEMAN married James BARLEY on 3 November 1782 in Rockingham County, Virginia[1]
  • 1785 – Sib 1: Joseph D. WISEMAN married(2) Elizabeth BATEMAN on 10 February 1785 in Robeson (Rabbesin) Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania[2] (location confirmed by son Samuel)
  • 1786 – Sib 2: John WISEMAN married Sarah GREEN on 10 May 1786 in Rockingham County, Virginia[1]
  • 1790 – Sib 4: Isaac WISEMAN married Mary Magdalene ARMENTROUT on 9 August 1790 in Rockingham County, Virginia [record not located]
  • ???? – Sib 5: Jacob WISEMAN married Rachael [–?–]. She is listed as his wife in his will in 1839 and seen in the 1840 census as the head of household.
  • 1795 -Rachel WISEMAN married Frederick HONAKER on 28 September 1795 in Rockingham County, Virginia[1] (marriage bond recorded in Shenandoah County)
  • 1797 – Sib 7: Samuel WISEMAN married Polly BOWYER on 10 May 1797 in Rockingham County, Virginia[1]
  • 1798 – Sib 9: Elizabeth WISEMAN married John BLANTON on 9 August 1798 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
  • 1799 – Sib 10: Margaret WISEMAN married Bartholomew RAMSEY on 21 October 1799 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [Bond]
  • 1800 – Sib 8: Abner WISEMAN married Isabel BLANTON on 18 February 1800 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [Bond]
  • 1801 – Sib 11: William WISEMAN married Polly RAMSEY on 22 Oct 1801 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [Bond]
  • 1804 – Sib 11: William WISEMAN married Phebe KILBURN on 31 January 1804 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [record not located]

[1] Dodd, Jordan. Virginia, Marriages, 1660-1800 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997. Original data: Electronic transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Virginia.
[2] Pennsylvania Church Records – Adams, Berks, and Lancaster Counties, 1729-1881 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: Extracted from microfilmed transcriptions of the original church records. The microfilmed records are located at the Family History Library.

Rachel WISEMAN Marries Frederick HONAKER

As seen above the marriage of Rachel WISEMAN and Frederick HONAKER took place in 1795 in Rockingham County and the marriage bond was recorded in Shenandoah County as follows:

Know all men, by their presents, that we Frederick Conickor and Isaac Wiseman are held and firmly bound unto his Excellency Robert Brooke, Esquire, Governor of Virginia, and his Successors, in the sum of one hundred fifty dollars to the payment whereof, well and truly to be made, we do bind ourselves, our heirs, and each of our joint and several heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally firmly by their presence, felled with our feats, and dated the 24th day of September 1795 in the 24th year of the Commonwealth. The condition of the above Obligation is such, that whereas there is a Marriage suddenly to be solomized between the above bound Frederick Coniker and Rachel Wiseman, daughter of Isaac Wiseman of Rockingham County; if therefore there shall be no lawful cause to object of said Marriage, then this obligation be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.
Witness: M. Gambill. Signed Frederick Honaker, Isaac Wiseman
[Source: Honaker Family Newsletter]

Rachel and Frederick Had 8 Known Children

  • Ch 1: Isaac Morgan (1796-1885) born Bet.1796-1799
  • Ch 2: Elizabeth “Betsy” (1797- ) born Bet. 1797-1800
  • Ch 3: Margaret “Peggy” (1798-1879) born Abt 1798
  • Ch 4: Rachel (1804-1860) born Abt 1804
  • Ch 5: Sarah (1805-1862) born Bet. 1805-1806
  • Ch 6: Anna (1806-1873) born 10 Sep 1806
  • Ch 7: Letty (1810-1825) born Aft 1810
  • Ch 8: Frederick Styrus (1810-1836) born Aft 1810

As Rachel lived with her husband Frederick in Monroe County, (West) Virginia, following their marriage until her death, her children were most likely all born in that county. Estimated years of birth were calculated after analysis of the pre-1850 censuses for children who did not live to be seen in 1850 and later censuses.

Many changes took place in Rachel’s life. She gave Frederick six children before her mother Elizabeth DAVIS died on 19 July 1807. Rachel had two more children following the 1810 census. Her father Isaac WISEMAN died 3 May 1818. Isaac and Elizabeth spent the rest of their days in Monroe County and were buried in the Old Rehoboth Churchyard near Union, the county seat. Three of their children, Abner, Jacob and Elizabeth who married John Blanton went to Kentucky; Samuel, John, and Isaac II went to Ohio; Sarah who married James Barley remained in Rockingham County, Virginia; Joseph, William, and Margaret, who married Bartholomew Ramsey, and Rachel, who married Frederick Honaker, stayed in West Virginia.

Following the 1820 census Rachel saw her oldest son Isaac Morgan HONAKER marry Rebecca Ann SAMS (1799-1860) on 28 October 1820 in Monroe County [bond]. The next two marriages in the HONAKER house were those of Betsy and Peggy. As we do not know the exact date of Rachel’s death, she may or may not have seen these daughters marrying.

Rachel was the first of the WISEMAN children to pass away. She died between 1 April 1821 and December 1824 in Monroe County. She predeceased her husband Frederick HONAKER who died about December 1824 in Monroe County. Three of Rachel’s daughters married within the year following Frederick’s death:

The Burial Place of Rachel’s Parents

The log structure that was named Rehoboth was constructed in 1786 on land donated by Edward KEENAN and in 1788 the first American Methodist bishop, Francis ASBURY, preached the dedication service. In 1796 he ordained Frederick’s brother-in-law John WISEMAN as a Methodist minister. Nearly 50 years after Frederick HONAKER joined his parents-in-law in the grounds surrounding Old Rehoboth, a new meeting house was constructed. The old log relic lay abandoned for another half century until it was restored in 1927. Another 30 years later a shed was constructed to further preserve the structure.

Robert N. Wiseman, Senior Historian of the Wiseman Family Association, gave me permission to use this photo of the church taken in 1934 before the “shed” was added.

MRIN13888 Rehoboth courtesy of Robert N. Wiseman
Old Rehoboth Methodist Church, near Union, WV — Oldest existing Protestant church west of the Alleghany Mountains. Left to right: Cousin Ambrose SLAGLE, Uncle Ernest Newton WISEMAN, Grandpa John Newton WISEMAN. Their ancestors Isaac WISEMAN I and Elizabeth (Davis) WISEMAN (my 4th great grandparents) are buried near the right back corner of the church. Submitted by : Robert Newton Wiseman, Wiseman Family Association. Photo courtesy of Robet N. Wiseman, used with permission.

And this is what the building looked like 70 years later when Irene Warner and her husband took her parents to visit the cemetery and meeting house.

FAG Irene (Rose) Warner (#46586932) WV Monroe Old Rehoboth Cemetery church building
Old Rehoboth Meeting House near Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. Courtesy of Irene (Rose) Warner (Find A Grave Contributor #46586932)

After giving me permission to use her photos Irene sent more with this explanation: “I have attached pictures of the inside of the church.  It was so special to get to see this old building in it’s original shape – very small inside; but it had a balcony…..[in this picture at the bottom and on the balcony are what] look like flat boards or similar; unfortunately cameras didn’t do 3 dimensional pictures.  They are pictures of the LOG seats – a log was split in half; a person sat on the inside part of the seat, the bark was at the bottom; there are “peg legs” on the logs.  I’ll bet there weren’t too many long sermons in that church….don’t know how anyone could sit very long on a seat that hard…..”

FAG Irene (Rose) Warner (#46586932) WV Monroe Old Rehoboth Cemetery church building5
Old Rehoboth Meeting House near Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. Courtesy of Irene (Rose) Warner (Find A Grave Contributor #46586932)
FAG Irene (Rose) Warner (#46586932) WV Monroe Old Rehoboth Cemetery church building2
Balcony in Old Rehoboth Meeting House near Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. Courtesy of Irene (Rose) Warner (Find A Grave Contributor #46586932)
FAG Irene (Rose) Warner (#46586932) WV Monroe Old Rehoboth Cemetery church building8
Outside walls of Old Rehoboth Meeting House near Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. Courtesy of Irene (Rose) Warner (Find A Grave Contributor #46586932)

A New Discovery – What Do You Think?

Working my way back on my paternal line has me looking at things that I haven’t worked on in a long time. In the case of the HONAKER and WISEMAN lines I never really went in and checked on all the census and vital records for collateral lines. Both families have associations with historians who are keeping track of these families and updating as new information is uncovered. The list of Rachel’s siblings grew and then shrunk as I checked, checked, checked for supporting records while writing.

I thought I’d found another child for Rachel’s parents but she turned out to be a granddaughter.

1803marriageWhen Rachel WISEMAN married Frederick HONAKER on 28 September 1895 Rachel brought Edith, her 10 years old daughter, into the marriage.

Supporting documentation? I don’t have three sources for every event but I’d say, “Yes!”

On 23 May 1803, in Monroe County, Frederick HONAKER went bond with Seth BOGGESS for the marriage of Edith WISEMAN to Seth. [bond at left] Edith and Seth were married on 9 June 1803 in Monroe by John WISEMAN. [marriage register, 4th entry on left page] I did not find a permission slip from her parents.

After finding the marriage I searched for the couple/family in the census, found them in 1820 and 1830, and then hit a dead end. As a last resort I searched the internet for possible queries about the couple. An old genforum posting helped me locate the death record [line 6] of Edith BOGGESS. I had been so focused on trying to locate the entire family in the census that I didn’t check for her death record.

On 5 February 1857 in Monroe County Edith BOGGESS died of cancer at the age of 72 years and 1 day. She was the daughter of Rachel WISEMAN (no father listed) and the consort of Seth BOGGESS. The informant was Wm SMITH, a relative.

Further research shows that William SMITH was a son-in-law, husband of Edith’s daughter Elizabeth. Per Edith’s death record she was born in Monroe and the date of birth can be calculated to 4 February 1785. The place of birth is not reliable as Monroe wasn’t formed until 1799. Her birth would have taken place about the time that the WISEMAN family came down the Shenandoah Valley to Rockingham. At this time, the only Rachel WISEMAN in the area who would have been old enough to have a child was Isaac and Elizabeth’s daughter Rachel who would turn 16 on 1 March 1785.

Was my 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN the mother of an illegitimate daughter? Please leave a comment telling me what you think.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #32 Did Frederick HONAKER Use An Alias?

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

52 Ancestors: #32 Did Frederick HONAKER Use An Alias?

2014-08-08 12.35.24My fourth great-grandfather Frederick HONAKER’s father Hans Jacob HONEGGER emigrated from Switzerland to America in 1749. Hans Jacob left Switzerland with his young wife and one year old son. Both perished at sea and Hans Jacob arrived alone in Philadelphia.[1]

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

Frederick HONAKER was born about 1757 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, to Hans Jacob HONEGGER (1718-1796) and his second wife Maria GOETZ (1737-1805). At the time of Frederick’s birth his parents had been married 4 years and had two sons, Jacob (1755) and Henry (1756).

Frederick County, Maryland

Around 1758 Frederick’s father moved the family to Frederick County, Maryland. Hans Jacob leased 56 acres of land owned by Lord Baltimore at Mount Pleasant on 16 March 1758 for £25. He brought his land holdings up to 121 acres on 3 December 1761 by adding two adjacent tracts of 51 and 14 acres for £18. Not only did he increase his land holdings, he also increased the size of his family giving Frederick two more brothers, Peter (1762) and Benjamin (1764).

Land was getting scarce in Frederick County, Maryland, and the 121 acres of land that Frederick’s father had leased would not be enough to support the growing family. The 7-year stopover in Maryland ended when Hans Jacob and Maria executed a deed for the three tracts of land for £108.15 on 20 March 1765 to Frederick Eyson and headed for the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

Shenandoah Valley in Virginia

Frederick was eight years old when the family made the move to Frederick County, Virginia. They settled on Passage Creek, at what is now Waterlick, where Hans Jacob bought 97 acres on 2 August 1765. Five more siblings were born: Joseph (1765), Nicholas (1767), Mary (1768), Elizabeth (1769), and Martin (1770). In the early 1770s Hans Jacob began the lengthy process of acquiring a land grant from Lord Fairfax. Most of this land had been originally surveyed for Lord Fairfax by George Washington. On 5 March 1773 the grant for 121 acres was deeded to him. It adjoined his 97 acres tract and brought his holdings to 218 acres.

Frederick now had seven brothers and two sisters and the family was still growing. In 1772 the area of Frederick County where the HONAKER family was living became Dunmore County. Frederick’s brothers Abraham (1774) and Isaac (1775) and his sister Anna (1777) were born in this new county. In 1778 the name of the county was changed to Shenandoah County.

American Revolutionary War 19 Apr 1775 – 14 Jan 1784

Honaker, Fredrick Page 1Honaker, Fredrick Page 2“His [Frederick’s] early adult life involved him in an historic event of great importance to America. At about the same time that General George Washington and the Continental Army were emerging from a terrible winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Gen. George Rogers Clark was dispatched from Virginia with a small military force to break British control in the so-called Northwest Territory in the Illinois countery. Among the 178 recruits were three of Hans Jacob Honaker’s sons, Frederick, Henry, and Peter. Frederick was the first of the brothers to enlist with General Clark on 29 August 1777, in Capt. Thomas Buck’s Dunmore Militia in Woodstock, Dunmore (later Shenandoah) County, Virginia while his brothers enlisted on 1 March 1778. The determined force set out from Redstone on the Monongahela River in the spring of 1778, reaching the present site of Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky. It continued marching for six exhausting days to Fort Kaskaskia, Illinois, through tackless wilderness inhabited by hostile Indians, in icy, high waters sometimes up to the men’s shoulders, with rations so short that the men were two days without food.”[2]

I am grateful to the researchers who have worked on the HONAKER family and have left a wealth of information. When no citations are given I cannot take the information at face value without searching for documents that confirm the given history. And this is good because it helps me make new discoveries!

Contrary to the above, I found that Frederick and Henry both enlisted on 29 August 1777. By searching through the United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 at FamilySearch I found the original list of persons who enlisted with Capt. Thomas Buck’s Dunmore Militia.

frederick
Frederick Honaker enlisted on August 29. Courtesy of FamilySearch.org. [online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-33307-5516-13?cc=2068326&wc=M61K-G38:355093201%5D

 

Henry
Henry Honaker elisted on August 29. Courtesy of FamilySearch.org. [online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-33307-5516-13?cc=2068326&wc=M61K-G38:355093201%5D

Gen. George Rogers Clark’s Illinois Campaign ended with this dramatic climax:

March_to_Vincennes
Illustration of George Rogers Clark’s march to Vincennes in the American Revolutionary War, 1779. The Hero of Vincennes: The Story of George Rogers Clark, by Lowell Thomas 1929. Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.

“The sudden emergence from this waterlogged wilderness of Clark’s muddy, buckskin-clad warriers, with their flintlock rifles and tomahawks, took the Vincennes garrison so completely by surprise that the fort fell, after a brief struggle. It was one of the most heroic feats of arms ever performed, and it saved Illinois and Kentucky from falling to the British. When the treaty of peace was signed in 1783, Clark’s conquests were the major factor in the award of the entire northwest to the Americans.”[3]

After the Illinois Campaign, Capt. William Harrod spent the winter 1778-1779 building a town at the Falls of the Ohio, present day Louisville. Frederick and Henry HONAKER were listed on this muster roll.[4]

As payment for their services in the Illinois expedition, Frederick, Peter, and Henry each were awarded 108 acres of land in Clark’s grant along the Ohio River in Indiana. They later sold their claims.[2]

Did Frederick HONAKER Use an Alias?

I have a slight problem with the above statement about the three brothers. In William Hayden English’s Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, 1778-1783 and Life of Gen. George Rogers Clark I found Henry and Peter received 108 acres each (page 846), Henry and P. sold their allotments (page 1072), and Henry and Frederick were on a payroll (page 1034). However what has me puzzled is that, while I haven’t seen a list that includes Frederick receiving or selling his 108 acres, I did find the following on page 1100:

Peter alias Frederick
Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, 1778-1783 and Life of Gen. George Rogers Clark by William Hayden English (page 1100)

What does “Peter, alias Frederick Honaker” mean? Did Frederick go by the name Peter? Were there only two HONAKER brothers in Capt. Thomas Buck’s Dunmore Militia? If Peter enlisted on 1 March 1778 he would have been only 16 years old.

Frederick Returns Home, Marries, and Begins Raising A Family

Frederick returned to Shenandoah County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Golliday (1759-1794) of that county about 1782. In 1785, Frederick bought 243 acres of land in Rockingham County, Virginia.[2] In 1788, he was reported to be in Capt. John Ruddell’s Company.[2] In 1790 he was seen on the Rockingham County Tax List as Frederick Honnaken with 4 white souls, 1 dwelling and 1 other building.

Frederick and Elizabeth had Magdalene, Polly, Jacob (1783), and John (1793) before Elizabeth died. These children were listed, in this order, in a deed executed by themselves with their father Frederick, 21 July 1812, when they were all residents of Monroe County, (West) Virginia. The deed conveyed their undivided interest in the estate of Jacob Golliday, Elizabeth’s father, to a William Baserman. This was recorded in Shenandoah County Deed Book T, pp. 383-386.

On 12 August 1795 at the age of 77 years Frederick’s father Hans Jacob executed his last will and testament. The original will is in a file drawer marked “Wills Etc. 1796-1814-1820” in Bundle 2 in Wythe Courthouse, per Rev. Al Elswick, Honaker Family Association Historian. Hans Jacob had moved to what is now Draper in Pulaski County in 1784. At the time that he lived there the area was part of the county of Wythe, formed in 1790 from part of old Montgomery County. The will was probated on 10 May 1796 narrowing the time of Hans Jacob’s death to between August 1795 and May 1796.

As Hans Jacob’s will was probated in May 1796 it is very likely that he was still living when Frederick remarried in September of 1795, a little over a month after Hans Jacob wrote is will.

Frederick Conickor and Isaac Wiseman went bond on 24 September 1795 in Shenandoah County on the marriage of Frederick Coniker and Rachel Wiseman, daughter of Isaac Wiseman of Rockingham County.

Frederick’s second wife Rachel WISEMAN (1769-1821) was born 1 March 1769 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, to Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS.

From Rockingham County to Monroe County

Following the marriage Frederick made plans to move his family from Rockingham County to what would become Monroe County in 1799. In 1798 he bought a farm from Edward Keenan near the Rehoboth Meeting House in the Sinks in Greenbrier County:

Greenbrier County WV Deeds Book 2 1798-1803 p 66-67
26 Jun 1798; Edward Keenan and wife Nancy Keenan 243 acres for 5 sh to Frederic Honiker land conveyed from Patrick Keenan adj Wiseman, Scarbrough. Wit; William Tennis, John Johnson, John Blanton

As this transaction took place the year before the formation on Monroe County it was recorded in the Greenbrier County.

In 1799 “Frederick Honecor” was listed on the first list of personal property owners in Monroe County, the earliest known list of citizens of the newly formed county.

1800 Frederick Honaker Greenbrier
Library of Virginia

In July 1800, Frederick received a land grant of 57 acres on Lick Run adjoining the land of Edward Keenan and Keenan’s father’s land. The location of the grant is seen (right) as being in Greenbrier. When the land was surveyed it was “lying and being in” that county. Frederick HONAKER now owned 300 acres in Monroe County.

Frederick HONAKER was on the Monroe Voters list in 1800. This was a list of qualified voters for the presidential election of 3 November 1800. It is of interest as the suffrage at that time was very much restricted and a voter was a person of some property and consequence.

Frederick’s mother Maria GOETZ died about 1805 in Wythe County, Virginia.

By the time that the 1810 census was taken Frederick and his wife Rachel had seven children: Isaac M., Elizabeth B., Margaret P., Sarah, Anna, Letty and Rachel, my third great-grandmother. Exact order of birth is unknown as birthdates are not known for all of the children. A son Frederick Styrus was born following the census as no male under 10 is seen in the household in 1810.

1810 U.S. Federal Census
Monroe County, (West) Virginia
Monroe
Name: Fredk Honaker
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (Isaac M.)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25:   1 (John H.)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (Frederick)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 4 (Rachel, Sarah, Anna, Letty)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Betsey, Margaret)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Rachel, age range is off)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 7
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 10

1820 U.S. Federal Census
Monroe County, Virginia
Peterstown
Sheet No. 171
Frederic Honachar
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 3 (Frederick Styrus, 2 grandsons?)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Isaac)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (Frederick)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3 (Letty, 2 granddaughters?)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Sarah, Anna)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 3 (Betsy, Margaret, Rachel)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Rachel)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 2
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 8
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 14
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 14

Frederick’s four children from his first marriage married in 1803, 1808 and 1814. The first of his children from his second marriage Isaac Morgan HONAKER married Rebecca Ann Sams (1799-1860) 28 Oct 1820 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia.

Monroe County Deed Book G shows Frederick and Rachel selling 13 acres to Hugh Caperton and Henry Alexander “near Rehoboth Meeting House where Honaker lives” on 31 March 1821. Frederick died in 1824 without mentioning Rachel in the will he left. Rachel WISEMAN must have died following the land transaction and before Frederick’s will was written on 30 November 1924.

Two of Frederick and Rachel’s girls married before he died: Elizabeth “Betsy” married William SAUNDERS on 15 January 1822 and Margaret “Peggy” married Alexander Campbell on 20 October 1823.

Frederick HONAKER died about December 1824 and left a will naming all of his children.

Will of Frederick HONAKER

In the name of God, Amen. I, Frederick Honicker of the Co. of Monroe and state of Virginia being sick in body but of sound and disposing mind, do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner following that is to say. First I will and bequeath unto my beloved son John Honicker sixty acres of land part of the tract of land whereon I now live to be taken off that part of it where the S. John now lives so as to include the house and improvements which he has made, to him and his heirs forever. Second, I will and bequeath unto my son Isaac Honiker all my blacksmith tools of every description to him and his heirs forever. Third, I will and bequeath unto my daughter, Magdaline Cantley the sum of one dollar to be paid her by my executors. Fourth, after my death and after my children all come of the age of twenty one years I desire that the balance of the tract of land whereon I now live be sold by my Executor to the best advantage, and the proceeds thereof I desire to be equally divided between my children to-wit: Mary Davis, Jacob Honicker, Peggy Campbell, Rachel Honicker, Sarah Honicker, Anna Honicker, Letty Honicker, Betsy Saunders, and Frederick Styrus Honicker and until that event takes place I desire that my son John Honicker see to the management of my affairs and take care of the property which may remain on the place for use of such of my children as any choose to live here until the same shall be sold and such of the perishable part of my estate as may (on the sound discretion of my executor) be of use to support my children who may live on the plantation until the same be sold as aforesaid to be kept and supported on the plantation until the period aforesaid, and the balance of the personal property which may not be deemed necessary for the purpose aforesaid by my executor I desire may be sold immediately after my death, and the money arising therefrom after paying my just debts and funeral charges be equally divided between my last mentioned nine children and whenever my land shall be sold as herein before directed, I desire that all the property which may have been kept for the use of my children as aforesaid be sold and the money be equally divided between the aforesaid nine children to-wit: Mary, Jacob, Peggy, Rachel, Sarah, Anna, Letty, Betsy , and Frederick Styrus. Fifth, it is my will and desire that my son Isaac together with my children who now live with me, still continue to live on the plantation as usual and farm the same as they now do until my plantation be sold as I have before directed and the proceeds thereof be enjoyed in common as usual – I also desire my debts and funeral expenses to be paid out of the money arising from the sale of my personal property which may be directed to be sold by my executor Lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint Richard Shanklin executor of my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other wills by me made and declaring this only to be my true last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 30th day of November 1824. Signed, sealed and ackd. in presence of Charles Keenan, George Whitcomb, and Jno. Hutchinson, Jr. (Frederick signed by mark).
At Monroe Court, December 1824: This last will and testament of Frederick Honiker dec. was presented in Court and proved by the oath of John Hutchinson, Jr. a subscribing witness thereto and the same is continued for further proof.
At Monroe Co., Court, 1825: The last will and testament of Frederick Honiker decd. was further proved by the oaths of Charles Keenan and Geo. Whitcomb two of the subscribing witnesses thereto whereupon the same is ordered to be recorded. (It appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that Richard Shanklin, executor named therein refused to take upon himself the execution thereof and thereupon Hugh Caperton is appointed Admr. with the will annexed, who came into Court and made oath and together with Richard Shanklin his security entered into and acknowledged bond in the penalty of One Thousand dollars, conditioned as the law directed, certificate for attaining probate thereof in due form is granted him.

Before the appraisement of the personal estate of Frederick HONAKER on 18 January 1825, his daughter Rachel HONAKER married Elijah WOOD on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County. His daughter Letty died soon after him and later in the year his daughters Sarah and Anna married. His son Frederick Styrus had a guardian, Henry Alexander, and boarded with his sister Anna and her husband Owen DUFFY in 1825.

Appraisement of the personal estate

Bill of Sale

Guardianship of Frederick “Styers” HONAKER and Letty HONAKER

FAG Irene (Rose) Warner (#46586932) WV Monroe Old Rehoboth Cemetery sign
Courtesy of Irene (Rose) Warner (Find A Grave Contributor #46586932)

Frederick’s parents-in-law Isaac and Elizabeth WISEMAN are buried in the church cemetery. Frederick and Rachel’s burial place are not known but must have been nearby, maybe among the many unmarked graves surrounding Old Rehoboth Church. In 1988 the Honaker Family Association placed veterans’ memorial markers in the church cemetery for Frederick and his son Jacob beside the marked grave of Jacob’s son John B. I don’t have a photo of the marker and have not yet received permission to use the photo seen on Find A Grave Memorial# 12277437.

Sources:
[1] Nadine W. Larson, Hans Jacob Honaker-From Switzerland to America, (1987, 249 pgs)
[2] Frieda Patrick Davison, Editor, Honaker Family in America, (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD, Copyright 1998 by The National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families)
[3] Virginius Dabney, Virginia – the New Dominion, (Doubleday & Co., New York, 1971)
[4] Howard L., Leckey, The Tenmile County and Its Pioneer Families, A Genealogical History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, (Apollo, PA: Closson, Press, 1993)
[5] Honaker Family Newsletter, National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families, Inc., misc. issues (2000-2014).

© 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]

1830s

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).

1830woodcensus
1830 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Greenbrier > Sheet 209A; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18300190unit#page/n423/mode/1up : 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.

1840s

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).

1840woodcensus
1840 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet 149A; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsch1840555unit#page/n306/mode/1up : 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.

1850s

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

1850woodcensus
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet 337A > HH#94-94; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0943unix#page/n277/mode/1up : 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]

1860s

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

1860woodcensus
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Page 11 > Sheet 321 > HH#76-69; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n327/mode/1up : 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.

1870s

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.

1870woodcensus
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Page 99 > Sheet 144A > HH#74-74; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n289/mode/1up : 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.

1880s

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.

1880woodcensus
1880 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > ED 30 > Page 21 > Sheet 104A > HH#185-185; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n210/mode/1up : 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
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.

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

52 Ancestors: #9 Sarah Ann WOOD 1827-1887 – Her Husband Came From Outer Space

52ancestorsHope that caught your eye! No, I’m not convinced that one of my ancestors was an alien from another world. After last week’s entry about my most frustrating brick wall, William A. W. DEMPSEY, I had to do something to lighten things up before I go on with his wife Sarah’s story.

This is my 9th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #9 Sarah Ann WOOD 1827-1887

Sarah Ann WOOD was born about 1827 in (present day) Fayette County, West Virginia, the third child of Elijah WOOD and Rachel HONAKER who were married in 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

In 1885 Elijah WOOD named his nine living children in order of birth in his last will and testament. Sarah was named third after Allen Alexander and Amanda Jane; Mary Salina was named fourth. Allen, Amanda, Sarah, and Mary were born between 1825-1830 per the 1830 census when the family was living in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. Allen was their first child born nine months after the marriage in October 1825 per the 1900 census. The 1840 census numbers are consistent with the 1830. There are no birth records for this time period so I have to trust the census for an estimate of when the children were born.

I am puzzled by the fact that the family was enumerated in Greenbrier County in 1830 as the area that they lived in was part of Nicholas County at that time. Or did they move out of that area for a short time? Sarah’s great-grandfather Bailey WOOD first settled in Woodville (also known as New Haven, Westlake and now Ansted) in the 1790’s when the area was part of Greenbrier County. Due to the changing county lines it fell to Nicholas County in 1818 and then Fayette County in 1831.
[See this nifty interactive map on the formation of the Virginia counties.]

I’m multi-lingual and sometimes the right term in English just doesn’t want to come to me when I need it. There is a wonderful German word to describe the vital records for the time period that my Sarah lived in: lückenhaft (incomplete, sketchy, fragmentary, scrappy, gappy). When documentation is “lückenhaft” and your ancestor fits into the gaps found between the records it’s disappointing. Looking on the bright side, it is encouraging to find records for siblings and other relatives to put things into perspective.

Sarah marries and begins having children

When Sarah was about 16 years old her sister Amanda Jane married Joshua J. PARRISH on 1 June 1843 in Fayette County. The marriage record [right page, entry 8] was found at West Virginia Vital Research Records (my #1 favorite free site).

Sarah was most likely the next of Elijah and Rachel’s children to marry. She married William A. W. DEMPSEY about 1846 as we see Wm. A. W. age 28 and Sarah A. age 22 in the 1850 census with their oldest child Elizabeth Rachel age 3 and James Alexander age 1. The young family was living in HH#85, in the immediate area of Sarah’s parents in HH#94, in Fayette County.

1850census
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > 14th District >Sheet 336B
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0943unix#page/n275/mode/2up%5D
In the 1850’s Sarah gave birth to three more children: Mary Virginia in June 1854, Eunice J. on 1 May 1855, and John Henry on 7 November 1857. The closeness of these births makes me wonder if she may have had more pregnancies between 1849-1854, children who did not survive.

1860census1
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet No. 365
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n371/mode/2up%5D
1860census2
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet No. 365
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n371/mode/2up%5D

In 1860 the family was living in the household of the widower John A. McGRAW and his three motherless children. John’s deceased wife Nancy M. McGRAW (maiden name McGRAW) was Sarah’s double first cousin once removed. I would like to think that the families were living together because Sarah was helping with the care of the widower’s children who had lost their mother in 1855. I believe that the families may have been living together for several years. Both families had sons named James. Sarah’s son James was seen with only his middle name, Alexander, possibly an attempt to avoid confusion as the boys were close in age. That same year Sarah gave birth to her sixth child, my great-grandfather, William Henderson DEMPSEY, born on 14 September 1860.

Sarah’s husband is arrested as a rebel

During the Civil War while pregnant with her youngest child Elijah Lewis (b. 19 October 1862), Sarah’s husband William A. W. DEMPSEY, a farmer and citizen residing on Dogwood Ridge, was arrested as a rebel by the Union army. He had left home on the 18th of May 1862 to get work in the valley when he heard firing at the Court House. He gave the names of his brothers-in-law Simpson Wood, Styris Wood, and G. W. McVay of the Oil Works as references as well as saying he knew Hamilton of Hawks Nest. James B. Hamilton was well known and his marriage linked him to the large WOOD family. He had married Sarah’s first cousin Matilda Wood in 1853.

rebel
Provost Marshal File 2323
Rebel: Dempsey, William A. W.

The Difficult Years Following The Civil War

Times were hard for Sarah and her family following the Civil War. Sarah’s mother Rachel died in the 1860’s and her father Elijah remarried. About 1867 Sarah’s husband William was killed in a logging accident leaving her with a passel of children aged between twenty-one and five. Her oldest child Elizabeth Rachel “Lizzie” DEMPSEY married Robert HUGHES, a widower, in 1868.

The family is dispersed

Sarah still had six children to feed and raise. The extended WOOD family came to her rescue. The family was scattered at the time of the 1870 census. James was living with his Aunt Amanda Jane (WOOD) PARRISH:

1870censusjames
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 147B
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n296/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Eunice and John were with their grandfather Elijah WOOD:

1870censusjohn
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 144A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n289/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Elijah, the youngest, and his mother Sarah were with his aunt Turzey (WOOD) NEAL:

1870censussarah
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 148A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n297/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]

William, age 10 at the time and working as a farm laborer, was living with the Abraham “Abram” FORSYTHE family. Mr. FORSYTHE was first married to Sarah HENDRICK (d. 1859) and second to Mary WESTLAKE in 1862. Both Abram’s brother Samuel and Mary’s sister Mathilda were married into the large WOOD family.

1870censuswm
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 147A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n295/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Lizzie was with her husband, raising his two motherless boys from his first marriage and their own son.

1870censushughes
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Falls of Kanawha > Sheet No. 111A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n223/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]

Sarah’s daughter Mary Virginia, about 16 years old at the time, was not found. She was in the area as she was the next of Sarah’s children to marry. She married John A. SNELL (1850-1897) on 16 September 1872 in Fayette County.

Two marriage licenses found for Sarah

A few months later Sarah had an offer to marry as a marriage license was taken out on 27 November 1872 in Fayette County, West Virginia, for James B. REID born in Scotland, widowed, son of Wm & Mary, and Sarah Ann DEMPSEY, widowed, daughter of Elijah WOOD. Geraldine Dempsey Workman believed that this marriage did not take place as there was no minister’s return. This would make sense as several weeks later, on 14 January 1873, Sarah married John M. FOX. The marriage licenses were found on the same page of the marriage register. [Reid line 17; Fox line 32]

Sarah’s children were growing and coming of age to marry. Eunice J. DEMPSEY married John Isaac SCAGGS (1841-1903) on 11 May 1873 and James Alexander “Buck” DEMPSEY married Mary E. SADDLER (1855-1920) on 25 December 1874, both marriages in Fayette County. This left her with her three youngest sons still unmarried in 1880. John and Elijah were living with their grandfather Elijah WOOD:

1880censusjohn
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 104A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n209/mode/2up : acccessed 3 Mar 2014]
and my great-grandfather William, adopted, was with the John CAMPBELL family. No record has been found to show that this was a legal adoption.

1880censuswm
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 114A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n229/mode/2up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
In earlier research some confusion was caused by the presence of a grandson named Charles A. DEMPSEY in the 1880 household of John Fox and his second wife Sarah. Since Sarah first marriage was to a Dempsey one could assume that the grandson was the son of one of her children. But he was not. This is a lesson to those who do not look at all the persons involved in their ancestors lives. Charles was the son of John Fox’s eldest daughter Mary and her husband Seton B. DEMPSEY. To date no relationship has been found between the families of Sarah’s first husband William DEMPSEY and Seton B. DEMPSEY.

1880censussarah
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > 105C
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n211/mode/2up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Sarah’s son James Alexander was living next door to her in the above.

Sarah’s youngest sons marry in the early 1880’s

Following the 1880 census Sarah saw her youngest sons marry their life partners. John Henry DEMPSEY married Amanda Ann “Mandy” McCLUNG (1864-1938) on 22 February 1882; Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY married Octavia Dell INGRAM (1866-1923) on 19 October 1882; and my great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY married my great-grandmother Laura Belle INGRAM (1868-1940) on 1 October 1884.

Sarah and her father Elijah die a year and half apart

In 1885 Sarah’s father Elijah WOOD passed away. Sarah followed him a year and a half later on 1 April 1887 [2nd entry]. It is believed that she is buried in Good Luck Cemetery also known as Fox-Wood Cemery on Chestnutburg, Ames Hgts Rd. 1.75 mi. off Rt. 19, Fayette County, West Virginia. She was survived by six or seven children, about 20 grandchildren, and her second husband John M. FOX who died 12 January 1896. Sarah’s seven children gave her a total at least fifty grandchildren, although about seven did not live to adulthood, and nearly 180 great-grandchildren.

Flat rock tombstone may be Sarah’s

MRIN08669 S C Fox Stone at Fox Cemetery
Fox tombstone courtesy of Becky Fox

Lyle LeMasters wrote in December 2000 that he believed that my great-great-grandmother Sarah Ann Wood Dempsey Fox is buried in the old cemetery on the old Chestnutburg Road now known as the Old Mill Creek Road. The Foxes are buried at the very top of the hill and different families are buried in lines coming down the hill. The Wood family graves are about the 3rd or 4th row down the hill. The graves are all facing east to meet the rising sun. He further said that her stone is like the old Fox stones, a rock tombstone in the ground and roughly carved initials and years in the stone. She is not buried with the Foxes but is buried down along the line of the Woods graves. The reason that he believes that this is her stone is that she was the only one that came close enough to fit. His aunt Becky Fox shared a photo of the marker with me.

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.