“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 #20 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
#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 Captain Younger LANDRUM, who served during the American Revolutionary War and may have been Seaton’s mother’s uncle. This is supported by the fact that a great-grandson Edgar Younger DEMPSEY also had this unusual middle name.1 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.2 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;3 married(2) Paulina _____ (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, Virginia4
Sib 4: Wesley G. DEMPSEY (1808-1890) born abt. 1808; married Mary HUGHES (1823-1889) on 6 May 1856 in Rockbridge County, Virginia5
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. DEMPSEY6
Sib 6: Eliza DEMPSEY (1815-aft. 1860) born bet. 1815-1820; married Patrick H. ROWSEY (1814-1858) on 4 February 1843 in Amherst County, Virginia7
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.”8
Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Landon S. GOWING, father of Clementine, went bond on 3 January 1829 for the marriage of Seaton and Clementine.9
In the Register of Marriages for Amherst County, Virginia, we see that Landon S. GOWING was security and Phillip SMITH Sr. and Robert TINSLEY were witnesses for the marriage of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine GOWING on 3 January 1829.10
Following his marriage, Seaton was seen with his young wife Clementine and a male aged 10 and under 15 years in the 1830 census.11 This young man was most likely his brother Wesley. Their mother, not their father, was enumerated with her two daughters.12 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.13 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.14 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.15 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.16 His brother Wilson bought the rest of his siblings’ share, 210 acres, in 1845.17 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. They were enumerated with Seaton and Clementine in the 1850 census of Amherst County, Virginia.18
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.19 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.20 Seaton’s first grandchild Clementine was born in Amherst County 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 they moved farther west or the promise of a better life? 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 that flows through it.
In 1860 Seaton had only $100 of personal estate while his brother Wilson is seen with real estate valued at $1000, personal estate valued at $8000, and 9 slaves.21,22,23 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.
Three of Seaton’s sons died during the Civil War or immediately following the war: John J. died on 3 April 1864, William S. between August 1867 and February 1868, and Thomas G. between 1865 and 1870.24,25
There were not only deaths during this decade. 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 Virginia26
Geneva Elizabeth “Jennie” “Janie” married Marshall S. TERRY (1843-1920) bet. 1866-1869 in Virginia27
Mary M. DEMPSEY married Irvin Lewis INGRAM (1846-1910) on 23 May 1867 in Fayette County, West Virginia28
This left only Julia Victoria, age 16, at home with her parents in 1870.29 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.30
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.31
In 1880 Seaton and his wife Clementine were alone, all living children being married and on their own.32 Victoria, as she was usually known, was living next door to her parents. She was with her husband Joseph Henry PRESSON and their children.33 Martha Ann “Matties” was widowed and remarried on 18 July 1880 to Joseph Henry ARBAUGH (1853-1927) in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia.34
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 1890.35 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.
This Post Was Updated on 15 May 2022: Missing source citations were added and some corrections were made to the text and format.
© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.
- West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983746, image 2071, Certificate of Death 16546, Edgar Younger Dempsey, died 21 Feb 1944, Leevale, Raleigh County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983746/0002071.gif : accessed 7 May 2022). ↩
- “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 724 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 437, 5th entry from bottom of page, Aug 1799, William Dempsey and Patsey Landrum married by James Floyd. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-N8P3?i=723 : accessed 21 Jan 2021). ↩
- Ibid., Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 647 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 359, first entry, 30 Dec 1839, Wilson M. Dempsey and Carolyne Rhoads, father Reuben Rhoads, security or witness Edward Rhoads. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9XF-NZ6Y?i=646 : accessed 26 February 2022). ↩
- “Virginia, Marriages 1740-1850,” (index-only), Ancestry, citing Dodd, Jordan R., et al., Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850, Precision Indexing Publishers, Bountiful, Utah. Two marriages are listed: 1. Coleman Dempsey and Elvina Thomas married on 5 March 1827 in Rockbridge County, Virginia and 2. Coleman Dempsey and Sarah E. Dempsey married on 6 March 1827 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. I am assuming that it is the same marriage and different dates refer to bond, license, and/or return. ↩
- Rockbridge County (Virginia) County Clerk, Birth records, 1853-1896 and marriage records, 1782-1913; general indexes to marriage & birth registers, 1778-1918, FamilySearch, Film 33799 (Item 3), DGS 7579057, Register of marriages (licenses), 1854-1866 (original), image 235 of 329, 1856 Marriage Licenses, right page, 4th entry, license 14 Apr 1856, Wesley G. Dempsey & Marry Hughes married 6 May 1856 by Rev. J. James Largent. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-2BFK?i=234&cat=473852 : accessed 7 May 2022). Note: daughter of Thomas Hughes, deceased, affidavit of A. Entsminger that she is above 21. ↩
- Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 652 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 364, 3rd entry, 8 Oct 1840, Simeon A. Burch and Louis Demsey, brother of Louisa: Seaton Y Dempsey, witnesses: John A. Staton, Clementine Dempsey, and W. S. Saunders. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-NZB1?i=651&cat=680855 : accessed 7 May 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 668 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 379, 6th entry, 4 Feb 1843, Patrick H. Rowsey and Eliza Dempsey, Seaton Y Dempsey security. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9XF-NZ8C?i=667&cat=680855 : accessed 7 May 2022). ↩
- Sherrie McLeRoy and William McLeRoy, More Passages: A New History of Amherst County, Virginia, Heritage Books, 1995, page 77. ↩
- Virginia, Amherst County, A collection of loose papers at the Amherst County Courthouse, Marriage Bond dated 3 January 1829 Seaton Y Dempsey and Landon Gowing bound for the marriage of Seaton Y Dempsey and Clementine Gowing, copy of original obtained by Geraldine Dempsey Workman from the Clerk Circuit Court Amherst County before 1997. ↩
- Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, DGS 7578824, Film 30273, image 589 of 786, Amherst County Register of marriages, page 301, entry 2, 1829 Jan 3, Dempsey Seaton Y and Gowing Clementina, security and witnesses: Landon S. Gowing, Philip Smith Sr., Ro. Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-N8WJ : accessed 26 February 2022). ↩
- 1830 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8058/), citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Nara Roll M19_194, FHL Film: 0029673, Virginia, Amherst County, page 519 (double-page spread), line 1, Seaton Y. Dempsey (accessed 19 February 2013). ↩
- Ibid., Virginia, Amherst County, page 506 (double-page spread), line 6, Martha Dempsey (accessed 19 Feb 2013). ↩
- 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 550, FHL Film: 0029683, Virginia, Amherst County, Page: 214, line 28, Seaton Dempsey (accessed 19 February 2013). ↩
Virginia Chronicle, a historical archive of Virginia newspapers, providing free access to full-text searching and digitized images of over a million newspaper pages by the Library of Virginia, Lynchburg Virginian, Volume 13, Number 95, 29 June 1835, page 3, column 5. “—–, on the 27th September, 1834, at her residence, Mrs. Martha Dempsey, of Amherst county, Virginia.
The papers in the State of Ohio are requested to publish the foregoing, for the information of Mr. William Demspey, the husband of the deceased, who is supposed to be somewhere in that State.” (https://virginiachronicle.com/?a=d&d=LV18350629.1.3 : accessed 7 May 2022). ↩
- “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/62347/), citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Amherst Will Books, Vol 7-9, 1827-1838 > image 545 of 651, page 228, administrator’s bond, Wilson Dempsey and Peter Rucker for the estate of William Dempsey (accessed 19 January 2018). ↩
- Virginia. County Court (Amherst County), “Deed books, 1761-1900; general indexes to deed books, 1761-1903,” (database with images), FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949; citing microfilm of original records at the Amherst County Courthouse in Amherst, Virginia., Film 30295, DGS 8316258, Deed books, v. Y-Z 1841-1846, image 102 of 623, Deed Book Y, pages 183-184, 16 May 1842, Dempsey to Morgan, 55 acres (1/6 of 330 acres). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRY-XQLZ-G?i=101&cat=282807 : accessed 14 May 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Deed books, v. AA-BB 1847-1853, Film 30296, DGS 8571076, image 200 of 623, Deed Book AA, page 368, 20 Jan 1845, Drummond to Dempsey, 210 acres, highest bidder on tract, acknowledged 21 March 1849. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C3Q1-T9QH-P?i=199&cat=282807 : accessed 10 May 2022). ↩
- 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), 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: 933, Virginia, Amherst County, Eastern, page: 76A (stamped), lines 1-9, household 40-40, C. Y. Dempsey (accessed 13 February 2013). ↩
- Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, DGS 7578824, Film 30273, image 784 of 786, left page, 5th entry from bottom, Geo W Dempsey and Rhoda A. Staton married 20 Dec 1852. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9XF-NZMP?i=783 : accessed 21 January 2021). ↩
- Amherst County (Virginia) County Clerk, “Marriage registers, 1854-1920, 1974-1977; indexes to marriages, 1854-1970,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Amherst County Courthouse in Amherst, Virginia., Film 1888584 Items 3-4, DGS 7735324, Marriage registers, v. [2-3], 1854-1900, image 54 of 525, page 25-26, 12th entry, 26 Apr 1857, William S Dempsey and Mary Elenor Clements, citing Amherst County, Virginia. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-F88F?i=53 : accessed 27 February 2022). ↩
- 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653, FHL film 805344, West Virginia, Fayette County, District 2, page 142, sheet 317, lines 28-37, households 1352-687 and 1353-688, Ceton Y and George Dempsey (accessed 19 February 2013). ↩
- Ibid., Roll: M653_1344, FHL Film 805344, Virginia, Fayette County, District 2, page 50, sheet 360 (not written on the sheet, see previous 359 and next 361), household 364-327, lines 7-12, Wilson M. Dempsey (accessed 19 Feb 2013). The official enumeration day of the 1860 census was 1 June 1860. “.” ↩
- 1860 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Virginia, Fayette County, DIstrict 1, page 2, column 2, lines 11-19, Wilson M Dempsey (accessed 28 Aug 2015). ↩
- Robert J. Driver, Jr., The Confederate Soldiers of Rockbridge County, Virginia: A Roster, McFarland, Aug 23, 2016, p. 75, Dempsey, John J. and Dempsey, William S. (https://books.google.lu/books : accessed 31 March 2018) ↩
- Robert J. Driver, Jr., 58th Virginia Infantry, Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, 1990, p. 102, Dempsey, Thomas G. ↩
- WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 241, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1865-1866, page 3, line 33 of 45, 20 Sep 1866, George L. Johnson and Martha Ann Dempsey, citing Fayetteville. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00241.jpg : accessed 27 February 2022). ↩
- Per the 1870 census Geneva Dempsey was living in the household of Marshall Terry and using his surname. The 1910 census shows that they had been married 41 years (married about 1869) while the 1900 census showed 34 years (married about 1866). This could mean they married between 1866 and 1869. However, when their daughter Ella was born in 1871 a note that the parents were not married was made to the register. Further, in May 1872 a son was born out of wedlock with no father named. ↩
- WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764/, image 244, Fayette County, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1867, page 6, line 14, Irvin Ingram and Mary M. Dempsey, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00244.jpg : accessed 22 January 2022). ↩
- 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1686; FHL film 553185, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, page 39, sheet 132A (stamped), lines 21-24, household 257-256, Seton Dempsey (accessed 25 January 2022). ↩
- WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 259, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1872, page 19, line 18, 3 Jun 1872, Joseph H Presson and Julia V Dempsey, citing Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00259.jpg : accessed 28 February 2022). ↩
- Beckley Post-Herald (Beckley, West Virginia), database created from microfilm copies of the Beckley, West Virginia, newspaper, Ancestry, Historical Newspapers Collection, Wednesday Morning, 31 March 1965, page 4, Yesterday and Today, column by Shirley Donnelly, “Loop Creek Church Dates From Civil War”. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/51098/images/News-WE-BE_PO.1965_03_31-0004 : accessed 5 Feb 2021). This article gives the history of Loop Creek Church and includes the names of Seaton and Clementine Dempsey and Irvin and Mary Ingram. ↩
- 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1402, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, Enumeration District 027, page 31, Sheet 28C, lines 13-14, household 264, Seaton Y. Dempsey (accessed 25 January 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Roll: 1402, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, Enumeration District 027, page 31, Sheet 28C, lines 15-19, household 265, Henry H. Preyston [sic, Presson] (accessed 25 January 2022) ↩
- WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 279, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1880, page 38, line 29, 18 Jul 1880, Jos H. Arbaugh and Martha A. Johnson, citing Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00279.jpg : accessed 27 February 2022). ↩
- Chancery Records of Virginia, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, Local Government Records Collection, Virginia Memory (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/), Rockbridge County (Va.) Chancery Causes 1781-1931, W H Maxwell & wife v. Admr. of W G Dempsey etc, 1895-044, original case number 205.625, 185 images, citing original records housed at the Rockbridge County Circuit Court Clerk’s office. (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=163-1895-044 : accessed 15 March 2013). ↩