D-I-V-O-R-C-E : Sarah Jane Foster vs John W. Clonch

It’s a complicated story

John W. CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER on 20 February 1862 in Gallia County, Ohio. A judge of the Probate Court of Gallia County issued the marriage license. They were joined in marriage by Robert WORH, a justice of the peace. The marriage record does not include the names of parents.1

Their first child, a son William Alexander was born on 2 October 1862.2 A year and a half later, about April 1864, a daughter was born. By this time the marriage was already in trouble and divorce was the next step for Sarah.

This post includes the chancery records found by Ralph L. Hayes in Mason County’s courthouse over two decades ago.3 He was kind enough to share them with me and gave me permission to use them.

Dramatis personae

These are the persons who played a part in the chancery case Sarah Jane FOSTER vs John W. CLONCH in 1864:

  • Sarah Jane FOSTER , age of 21, married John W. CLONCH also 21 on 20 February 1862. She was the plaintiff (oratrix) in this case.
  • John W. CLONCH , the oldest son of William CLONCH and Mary E. DOSS, and husband of Sarah Jane FOSTER . They married in Gallia County, Ohio. He was the defendant in this cause.
  • John W. FOSTER assumed to be the father (or brother) of Sarah Jane and seen as the next friend in this cause.
  • Sarah DEWITT, a young lady of about 24 years who was questioned as a witness.
  • Peter DEWITT, a man of 36 years who was questioned as a witness.
  • William Alexander CLONCH, the two-year-old son of John W. and Sarah J.
  • Lavinia PATTERSON, also known as Lavinia DOSS (her mother’s surname) and Lavinia CLONCH (her father’s surname). She was a sister of John W. and Alexander and wife of James William PATTERSON. She was a witness.
  • Rebecca LEMASTER, sister of Mary Ellen CLONCH. She was one of the persons implicated in the questioning of the witnesses.
  • Mary Ellen CLONCH née LEMASTER, the wife of Alexander CLONCH. She was no longer living with him and having an affair with John W. CLONCH.
  • Alexander CLONCH, the second son of William CLONCH and Mary E. DOSS. He married Mary Ellen LEMASTER on 10 November 1863. He is not named in the proceedings but referred to as the husband of Mary Ellen.
  • William CLONCH and Mary E. DOSS, parents of John, Alexander, and Lavinia. They were never married and their children were known by both surnames.
  • James DEWITT and Rebecca ATKINSON, parents of Sarah and Peter who were witnesses. It was at their house in the Clendenin township that some incidents took place.

Iudex, advocatus, et notarius publicus 

The judge, lawyer, and public notary who were mentioned in the proceedings.

Daniel Haymond POSLEY (1803-1877) was a judge of the seventh judicial circuit of West Virginia. Before this chancery case, he was the Lieutenant Governor of the Restored Government of Virginia (the Unionist government of Virginia during the Civil War) until two weeks before West Virginia became a state. After this chancery case, he would go on to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1866, serving from 1867 to 1869. Mr. Polsley was the judge for this case.4

Benjamin J. REDMOND was a Notary Public born in 1840. During the war between the States, Mr. REDMOND served the government as provost marshal of Mason County. After this chancery case, from 1868-1870, he served as a justice in the Robinson district followed by four years as president of the Mason County court.5

William H. TOMLINSON, an attorney at law who questioned the witnesses for the plaintiff.6

 

 

Joseph S. MACHIN, a Notary Public for the county and state and a Master Commissioner for Chancery for the County of Mason.

Vinculo matrimonii

The Chancery Records concerning the divorce of Sarah Jane CLONCH from John W CLONCH.

To the Honorable Daniel Polsley Judge of the Circuit Court for Mason County Humbly complaining thereto unto your Honor your oratrix Sarah J. Clonch wife of John W. Clonch, who sues by John W. Foster her next friend that she is now twenty four years old at the age of twenty one she left her fathers house, and was married to the said John W. Clonch and since that time has been to him a constant, faithful and dutiful wife and has borne him two children to wit: William A. now two years old and an infant daughter three month old. Her husband on the other hand has been negligent and insufferable abusive and violent to her within the last two years frequently beating and choking her for no cause whatever on her part. he has left his house and home taking with him her oldest child and living in adultry with another woman, your oratrix further alledges that he has been seen in the bed with his own brothers wife and has failed to furnish support to your oratrix and her child that she is obliged to labor for their entire support, or they would come to starvation. The only property owned by your oratrix and her husband is the household and kitchen furnature and one horse, the most of which your 


oratrix brought from Her Father’s and helped him to same. To the end therefore oratrix prays that the said John W. Clonch may be made a defendant to this bill and acquired to render a full true and perfect answer to the same upon his corporal oath; that he may be enjoined and restrained from interfering with or in any maner (sic) molesting her and her child that is with her; that your Oratrix my (sic) be entirely divorced from him and the marriage be dissolved (two lines marked out) that he may be compelled to deliver up her child to her and to surrender to her and them for the maintenance of herself and her children The property aforesaid mentioned; and for such other and further relief as her case requires, and to equity may seem meet; May it pleas (sic) your honor to grant & @ And your oratrix will ever pray & @

West Virginia Mason County to wit This day Sarah J. Clonch, personally appeared before me B. J. Redmond N.P. and made oath that the allegations in the above bill are true to the best of her remembrance information and belief.

Given under my hand this 18 day of July 1864
B. J. Redmond N.P.


Sarah J. Clonch
vs In Chancery
John W. Clonch

This cause came on this day to be heard upon the bill, the exhibits filed and examination of witnesses and was argued by council for the plaintiff. On consideration whereof the Court being of opinion that the plaintiff is ? ? ? ? ? ? ? (marked out: all the allegations in the bill mentioned against the defendant and fully ?) doth adjudge order and decreed that the marriage heretofor solemnized between Sarah J. Clonch and John W. Clonch be and the same is hereby dissolved and the said Sarah J. Clonch is forever divorced from her husband. The said John W. Clonch X (in the right margin: X and it is further a? ? that the complainant is entitled to the care and custody infant children in the bill mentioned and that) (text marked out: and all the right title and interest of the said John W. Clonch in or to the household and  kitchen furniture shall belong to the said Sarah J. Clonch and the two children in the bill mentioned shall remain in the care and custody of the said Sarah J. Clonch) the said John W. Clonch do surrender up the said William A. Clonch (marked out: infant son) to the care and custody of the  said Sarah J. Clonch and that the plaintiff recover from the defendant her costs by her expended in the prosecution of this Suit


Cover sheet for the depositions in the chancery record

Sarah J. Clonch
vs …….De?ed
John W. Clonch
Sept Term 1864

 

 

 

 

 



The depositions of Sarah Dewit and others taken before me Joseph S. Machin, a Master Commissioner for Chancery for the County of Mason and State of West Virginia pursuant to notice hereto annexed at the office of Wm. H. Tomlinson in the town of Point Pleasant on the 15th day of August (fold in document may have a missing line) and 6 o’clock p.m. to be read as evidence on behalf of Sarah J. Claunch in a certain suit in equity depending in the circuit court for the County of Mason wherein Sarah J. Claunch is plaintiff and John W. Claunch is defendant.
Present Wm. H. Tomlinson attorney for plaintiff, Sarah Dewit, being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth and saith as follows:
1st Question by Wm. H. Tomlinson for defendant. What is your age?
Answer – I do not knew exactly, but think I am about twenty four years of age.
2nd Question – By same. Do you know the parties to this suit?
Answer – Yes Sir, I do.
3rd Question – By same – Did you ever see the defendant, at your mother’s house in company with Rebecca Lemaster on or about the first day of July 1864, and if so, state how long they were together at that place and under what circumstances?
Answer – I saw them there together, they set up all night together.
4th Question – By same – While they were setting up together state whether he was laying


in her lap or her in his, and whether he was hugging her or what they even doing?
Answer – She was laying in his arms.
5th Question – By same – Was there a light in the house or was there note?
Answer – Sometimes there was a light and sometimes none.
6th Question – By same – Was it a light given by the fire or candle?
Answer – It was given by fire.
7th Question – By same – Who put out the light?
Answer – I do not know.
8th Question – By same – How often have they been there together at your mother’s house?
Answer – They were there together occasionally but do not remember how often.
9th Question – By same – Did you ever see them hugging and playing together at other times than the one answered?
Answer – Yes, I have seen them playing and romping together.
10th Question – by same – Was Mrs. Claunch his wife present at either of these times?
Answer – No Sir, she was not.
11th Question – By same – Did you ever see John W. Claunch and Mary Ellen Claunch, his sister-in-law passing by your mother’s house with his arms around her, and hers around him?
Answer – They were going along after dark, as well as I could see hugged up together, and this I think occurred during the Spring of 1864.
And further this deponent saith not.
………..her
Sarah + Dewit
……….mark


Peter Dewit, being duly sworn, on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth and saith as follows:
1st Question – By Wm. H. Tomlinson attorney for the Plaintiff. What is your age?
Answer – I am about thirty six years of age.
2nd Question – By same – Are you acquainted with the parties to this suit?
Answer – Yes Sir, I know them.
3rd Question – By same : Were you at your mother’s house at anytime when John W. Claunch and his brother’s wife were there together, and if so, state under what circumstances you saw them?
Answer – I think I never saw them there together.
4th Question – By same – Did you ever see John W. Claunch the defendant to this suit within the last year hugging and kissing any other other (sic) woman other than his wife?
Answer – I saw Rebecca Lemaster setting on his lap mighty close together and he was hugging her, and this happened after night.
And further this deponent saith not.
……..his
Peter x Dewit
…….mark

Lavinia Patterson, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith as follows:
1st Question – By Plaintiff’s Counsel. What is your age?

Answer – I am eighteen years of age.
2nd Question – Was you at home one night


within the last year while your brother John W. Claunch defendant to this suit was complaining of being unwell, and if so did you see Mary Ellen Claunch his sister-in-law go to bed to him?
Answer – I seen her lay down on the same bed with him, and they were then together about one hour.
And further this deponent saith not.
…………her
Lavinia x Patterson
………..mark

State of West Virginia
Mason County, to wit:
I, Joseph S. Machin, a Notary Public for the county and state aforesaid, so hereby certify that the foregoing depositions were duly taken, sown to and subscribed before me at the times and place mentioned therein.
Given under my hand, this 15th day of August 1864
Joseph S. Machin Master Commission
in Chancery

Costs:
Sarah Dewit witness 1 day 0.50
Peter Dewit witness 1 day 0.50
Lavinia Patterson witness 1 day 0.50
Ferriages each 10 cents 0.30
Jos. S. Machin Comm. charges 2.25
Total $4.05

This is a true statement of costs
Jos. S. Machin, Master Comm.
August 15/64


The Chancery case was recorded in the orders book of Mason County for the September Term of 1864.7

In Chancery
Sarah J. Clonch
vs
JohnW.Clonch

This cause came on this day to be heard upon the bill, the exhibits filed and examination of Witnesses and was argued by counsel for the Plaintiff on consideration whereof the court being of opinion that the plaintiff is entitled to the relief prayed for: doth adjudge order and decree that the marriage heretofore Solemnized between Sarah J. Clonch and John W. Clonch be and the same is hereby dissolved and the said Sarah J. Clonch is forever divorced from her husband the said John W. Clonch: and it is further ordered and decreed that the complainant is entitled to the care and custody of the infant children in the bill mentioned and that the said John W. Clonch do Surrender up the said William A. Clonch to the care and custody of the said Sarah J. Clonch, and that the plaintiff recover from the defendant her costs by her expended in the prosecution of the suit.


At the March term of 1865, Sarah J. CLONCH returned to court to have her son William A. CLONCH surrendered to her by his father John W. CLONCH.8

On Motion of Sarah J. Clonch and for reasons appearing to the Court it is ordered that John W. Clonch be summoned to appear here on the first day of the next term to shew cause if any he can [illegible] he shall not be find (sic, fined) and attached for refusing to surrender William A. Clonch his infant child to the custody of its mother in pursuance of a decree of this court rendered at the September term then of 1864.


Sarah J. FOSTER and her son William A. CLONCH

Following the divorce from John W. CLONCH, Sarah disappeared without a trace – at least in the census and records available. Her daughter remains unnamed. Her son William Alexander CLONCH was missing in the 1870 and 1880 census. He did not live with his father. Was he living with his mother who may have remarried?

In any event, the son William A. CLONCH married twice. First to Ellen FOWLER9 and second to his first cousin Emma Sidosa LEMASTER (also known as CLONCH).10 The marriage records do not include the names of parents. Emma was the daughter of Rebecca LEMASTER and Alexander CLONCH. He died in 1925 and left a will naming his wife Emma as his only heir.11 On the death record, his parents were listed as John Wm CLONCH and Sarah FORRESTER (sic).12

John William CLONCH

Following the divorce of Sarah and John, Alexander CLONCH and Mary Ellen LEMASTER separated. They had been married less than a year and did not have children. They were not divorced until March 1880.13

Mary Ellen (still married to Alex) went to live with the newly divorced John W. CLONCH. They had thirteen children between 1865 and 1892. Finally on 7 May 1895 John, 54, and Mary Ellen, 47, married in Gallia County, Ohio.14

In the name of all CLONCH descendants, I would like to thank Ralph L. Hayes for ferreting out the records to back up this CLONCH family story. It sounded fantastic and a bit unbelievable but the records he found in the old dusty unindexed boxes in the courthouse backed it up. How many more stories are hidden away, waiting for someone to tell them?

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013” (index and images), FamilySearch (Digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio.), Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 14 of 276. John W. Clonch and Jane Foster, 20 Feb 1862. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-SKRT?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7R2%3A121350101%2C121498701 : accessed 18 Dec 2013). 
  2. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (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 http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), Mason County, West Virginia, Birth Register, page 69, line 27. William Alexander Clonch birth record. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=2955142&Type=Birth : accessed 15 March 2019). 
  3. Sarah J. Clonch vs John W. Clonch, September Term 1864, Chancery Records of Mason County, West Virginia. Digital images of photocopies of the original records found in the court house by Ralph L. Hayes. Received per email 22 February 2019 from Ralph L. Hayes with permission to share on Opening Doors in Brick Walls blog. 
  4. Daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]), 15 June 1863. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026845/1863-06-15/ed-1/seq-1/
  5. The weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 26 May 1864. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1864-05-26/ed-1/seq-6/
  6. The weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 20 Aug. 1863. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1863-08-20/ed-1/seq-1/
  7. “Mason County, West Virginia, Circuit Court, Chancery orders, 1831-1929” (database with images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of originals at the county courthouse, Point Pleasant, West Virginia.), Film 1861961, DGS 7615568, Chancery orders, Vols. 1-2 1843-1877 (1 from 469 & 4 to 401 – Back of v. 1 has separate pages of land records), Image 286 of 949, Folio 386, September Term 1864. 1864 Divorce of John Clonch from Sarah Ann Foster.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89VP-7KDF?i=285&cat=660659 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Image 303 of 949, Folio 421, March Term 1865. 1864 Divorce of John Clonch from Sarah Ann Foster.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89VP-7KDF?i=285&cat=660659 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  9. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-SV7T?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-6T5%3A121350101%2C121651001 : accessed 23 March 2019), Gallia > Marriage records 1884-1890 vol 6 > image 132 of 338; county courthouses, Ohio. 
  10. Ibid., (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-3J1F?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-6BY%3A121350101%2C121580101 : 15 July 2014), Gallia > Marriage records 1890-1895 vol 7 > image 159 of 339; county courthouses, Ohio. 
  11. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C99Q-BS?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MLC%3A179687901%2C179798901 : accessed 23 February 2019), Mason > Will book, v. 005 1916-1930 > image 153 of 240; citing Mason County, County Clerk, West Virginia. 
  12. WVCulture.org, William A. Clonch death record details (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_dcdetail.aspx?Id=2126490 : accessed 29 March 2019) and Death Certificate No. 8914 for William A. Clonch (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=2126490&Type=Death : accessed 29 March 2019) 
  13. “Mason County, West Virginia, Circuit Court, Chancery orders, 1831-1929” (database with images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of originals at the county courthouse, Point Pleasant, West Virginia.), Film 1861962 Item 1, DGS 7615569, Chancery orders, Vols. 4 1877-1880, image 321 of 899, Folio 274 and 275, March Term 1880. 1880 Divorce of Alexander Clonch from Mary Ellen Lemaster. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99VP-2SNQ?i=320&cat=659762 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  14. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013” (index and images), FamilySearch (Digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio.), Gallia > Marriage records and index 1895-1899 vol 8. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22447-41148-85?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-VH7:315901437 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 

Gathering Records to Tell the Story – An Update

Less than two hours after I posted Gathering Records to Tell the Story in late February my fourth cousin Ralph L. Hayes sent emails with images of the Chancery records for the 1864 divorce of John William CLONCH and Sarah Jane FOSTER – records which are not online.

Cousin Bait!

I was surprised and happy to finally see the records he had discovered years ago when he searched through old dusty unindexed boxes at the courthouse in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

In Gathering Records to Tell the Story, I shared the entry in the court records concerning the divorce of my 2nd great-grandfather Alexander CLONCH from his first wife Mary Ellen LEMASTER. I’d only recently found this record and could not wait to share with my cousins who descend from the CLONCH line.

By sharing what I’d found I may have been subconsciously baiting cousins. Don’t we do this all the time? Sharing bits and pieces in hopes of a relative coming forward with new information. I wasn’t expecting Ralph to message me via Facebook so soon after I’d published the post. We hadn’t done email in 15 years but have been keeping up with each other via Facebook for 10 years.

It’s a complicated story

John W. CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER on 20 February 1862 in Gallia County, Ohio. Many residents of Mason County crossed the Ohio River and state line to marry in Gallia. If Sarah Jane carried her first child to full term, she may have been with child when they married. Their son William Alexander was born on 2 October 1862. A year and a half later, about April 1864, a daughter was born to John and Sarah. By this time the marriage was already in trouble and divorce was the next step for Sarah.

I found a couple of entries in the Chancery orders and in a fee book concerning the divorce in 1864 when I located my ancestor Alex’s 1880 divorce records. My mentioning the 1864 documents in Ralph’s possession were not yet online pushed him to get in touch and email them to me.

In the meantime…

I’ve been a bit slow working on the documents as other things have kept me busy during the past few weeks.

I watched several of the 2019 RootsTech live sessions and got caught up in the DNA whirlwind caused by Ancestry and MyHeritage’s new tools. I’ve used up all 24 of the colors offered for grouping matches in the New & Improved DNA Matches (Beta). I’ve played with MyTreeTags on the small tree linked to the test I manage on Ancestry and found they are an excellent new tool for tree management. ThruLines is still aggravating me. They have a known problem with step-parents being considered as the ancestor. MyHeritage’s Theory of Family Relativity did not take long to look at as only 29 matches were offered. Several were spot-on. Several were not. Their AutoClustering was a bit disappointing as I was already spoiled by Jonathan Brecher and his Shared Clustering tool.

Ralph said, “Go for it!” In the days to come, I’ll share the transcriptions of the records he sent from the chancery case Sarah Jane Clonch vs John W. Clonch.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Gathering Records to Tell the Story

The stories passed down by descendants who have researched the CLONCH family history are fantastic and a bit unbelievable. Ralph L. Hayes heard of the scandals which went on in the family and shared the stories in mailing lists and genealogy forums on the internet nearly two decades ago. Being a good researcher, Ralph went to the courthouse in Point Pleasant in Mason County, West Virginia, to ferret out the records to back up the family history. He found the divorce of his 3rd great-grandfather “only by going through some OLD dusty unindexed boxes in the courthouse.”

Seeking Documentation

I’ve wanted to find the documents Ralph discovered as the story of the CLONCH brothers is so difficult to believe. Since FamilySearch has added more collections from Mason County to their online records, I’ve been looking for this and that record to better tell the story.

Ralph L. Hayes is my fourth cousin. He descends from John William CLONCH (1840-1919) and Mary Ellen LEMASTER (1847-1921) while I descend from Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) and Tabitha Ann COOLEY (1861-1913). John and Alex were the sons of our 3rd great-grandparents William CLONCH (1807-1863) and Mary E. “Polly” DOSS (c. 1816-c. 1892).

If you’ve been following recent posts about William CLONCH’s estate, you’ll have learned William and Mary were not married but had eight children, seven grew to adulthood and married, six had children. William kept the family together beyond the grave by leaving a will in which he stipulated the land the family lived on was to remain in the family. Did he know at the time of his death in 1863 that his two oldest sons would become part of an incredible story equal to a primetime soap opera?

I wrote A Little “Peyton Place” (Part I) and A Little “Peyton Place” (Part II) in December 2013 but the posts only recount what Ralph learned while researching and don’t include documentation.

Living overseas and nowhere near the American courthouses of the counties my ancestors lived in, I must rely on record collections found online. FamilySearch’s catalog is my go-to place whenever researching and gathering records to tell their stories.

Two Marriages

1862 marriage entry courtesy of FamilySearch

John W. CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER on 20 February 1862 in Gallia County, Ohio, across the Ohio River from Mason County.1

1863 marriage entry courtesy of FamilySearch

Alexander CLONCH married Mary Ellen LEMASTER on 10 November 1863, also in Gallia County.2

Two Divorces

Neither of the marriages lasted. In the September Court of 1864 John and Sarah were divorced.3 The records of the circuit court in which Ralph found more details are not yet online but I found another mention a few pages further in the Chancery orders4 and in a fee book.5 [Click on over to the links in the citations below to learn why this divorce produced more records.]

Alexander and Mary Ellen never had children even though by 1880 they were legally married a little over seventeen years. To be more precise, they never had children with each other. Alex’s brother John and Mary Ellen had eight children between 1865-1880 and Alex had 3 children with Mary Ellen’s sister Rebecca from 1868-1876. Many online trees list Rebecca LEMASTER as Alex’s second wife. A marriage record was not found in West Virginia or Ohio. Is it possible they were married and the record has yet to be found?

I think not. Alexander was still married to Mary Ellen LEMASTER when her sister Rebecca gave him three children. Alex and Mary Ellen’s marriage was not dissolved until the March term on 1880, when the divorce was mentioned in the Chancery orders.6

1880 chancery order courtesy of FamilySearch

March term 1880

Alexander Clonch
     vs                                          In Chancery
Mary E. Clonch

This cause come on this day to be heard upon the bill, exhibits and depositions filed therewith and the process having been duly served upon the defendant and she still failing to appear answer or demur to plaintiffs bill and the cause set-for hearing and was argued by counsel on consideration of all which the court is of the opinion that the

1880 chancery order courtesy of FamilySearch

plaintiff is entitled to the relief prayed for in his said bill, it is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed that the marriage heretofore solemnized between the plaintiff and defendant be dissolved and annulled and the plaintiff forever divorced from his said wife from the bonds of matrimony and that she be forever barred of dower in any lands the plaintiff had or now has or hereafter has and the plaintiff recover from the defendant his costs including a fee of ten dollars as prescribed by law in and about his suit in this behalf expended and that execution issue therefor & c.

Importance of the Records

Why was finding this record so important to me? Five months after the above divorce, on 19 August 1880, Alexander CLONCH married Tabitha Ann COOLEY, my great-great-grandmother. They were the parents of nine children, six of whom married and had children, including my great-grandmother Rebecca Jane CLONCH (1888-1950). Also with the above record I have proof for the part of the story which goes:

The marriage was dissolved, Mary did not appear and she does not get her dower and must pay costs.

One document at a time, the complete story may one day be told.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Alexander CLONCH
Parents: William CLONCH and Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
Spouse: Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY
Parents of Spouse: John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY
Whereabouts: Mason and Fayette, West Virginia
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 2nd great-grandfather

1. Alexander CLONCH
2. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
3. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
4. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
5. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013” (index and images), FamilySearch (digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio), Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 14 of 276. John W. Clonch and Jane Foster, 20 Feb 1862. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-SKRT?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7R2%3A121350101%2C121498701 : accessed 18 Dec 2013). 
  2. Ibid., Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 19 of 276. Alexander Clonch and Mary Ellen Lemaster, 10 November 1863. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SVR3?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7R2%3A121350101%2C121498701 : accessed 19 February 2019). 
  3. “Mason County, West Virginia, Circuit Court, Chancery orders, 1831-1929” (database with images), <i>FamilySearch</i> (Microfilm of originals at the county courthouse, Point Pleasant, West Virginia.), Film 1861961, DGS 7615568, Chancery orders, Vols. 1-2 1843-1877 (1 from 469 & 4 to 401 – Back of v. 1 has separate pages of land records), image 286 of 949, Folio 386, September Term 1864. 1864 Divorce of John Clonch from Sarah Jane Foster.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89VP-7KDF?i=285&cat=660659 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  4. Ibid., image 303 of 949, folio 421, March Term 1865. 1865 John W. Clonch ordered to surrender his child William A. Clonch to the mother Sarah A. Clonch.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89VP-7K6Z?i=302&cat=660659 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  5. “Fee books, 1804-1881” (database with images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of originals at the West Virginia University Library, Morgantown.), Film 174649, DGS 7616441, Fee Book 1859-1867, 1859-1869 1860-1866 1862-1868, image 76 of 425, page 62, bottom of page. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9VR-Z4TY?i=75&cat=248082 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  6. “Mason County, West Virginia, Circuit Court, Chancery orders, 1831-1929”, Film 1861962 Item 1, DGS 7615569, Chancery orders, Vols. 4 1877-1880, image 321 of 899, Folio 274 and 275, March Term 1880. 1880 Divorce of Alexander Clonch from Mary Ellen Lemaster. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99VP-2SNQ?i=320&cat=659762 : accessed 6 January 2019). 

I Found the Coolest Site to Use for Land Records in West Virginia

Since learning land records of Mason County, West Virginia, are online at FamilySearch for the years 1803-1901, I’ve been trying to find answers. I wanted to figure out how the land assumed to have been owned by my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH came to be owned by him and his heirs. I also wanted to know what became of it in 1892. I covered these questions in my posts:

Time to Move on to a New Research Task?

I thought I was at a good stopping point and was thinking about new research tasks when I published the last post. But comments made had me doing new online searches for taxes on land, etc. This led to my discovering a site which pointed me to almost the exact location of the land once owned by my CLONCH ancestors. Before I share the site, bear with me while I show you how I plotted the land.

Abstracting the Call Lines

This is part of the 1885 land deed which gives the description of the boundaries of the 148 acres tract my 2nd great-grandparents Alexander and Tobitha CLONCH conveyed to Mary E. DOSS and her DOSS children: John William, Alexander, Lavinia, Betsy Jane, Thomas E., Joel, and Charles H.

I used Jacob Boerema’s tool Transcript to transcribe all of the land deeds in my previous posts concerning the land of William CLONCH. Here is the transcription of the above snippet.

Beginning at a small white oak
corner to a survey of 91 acres (Clark’s) Thence
with Beal’s line S 5° E crossing Bryants
fork at 71 poles, 124 poles to an ash tree on
a south hill side, thence leaving Beal’s S 63°
E 120 poles to a stake in a run bottom dog-
wood and hickory pointers, thence N 34 1/2° E
crossing the right hand fork of Bryants run
at 6 poles and the left hand fork of the same
at 26 poles 116 poles in all to a small white oak
N 44° W 52 poles to a white oak then N 17° W 84
poles to a stone in Patterson’s line, thence with
his line, S 65° W 94 poles to a small white oak
corner to Clark’s 91 acres, thence with a line of
the same N 85° W 33 poles to the beginning con-
taining One hundred and forty eight acres

Converting Poles to Feet

I put the call lines into a table and converted the poles to feet using Convert Pole to Feet.
Call lines in the deed
S5E 124 poles
S63E 120 poles
N34.5E 116 poles
N44W 52 poles
N17W 84 poles
S65W 94 poles
N85W 33 poles
Call lines converted to feet
S5E 2046f
S63E 1980f
N34.5E 1914f
N44W 858f
N17W 1386f
S65W 1551f
N85W 544.5f

Plotting the Tact

I then went to Tract Plotter and inserted the call lines in feet. After checking the box Show Labels, I submitted the call lines and the following plat was generated. The blue notes were added using Evernote (which I like to use for this type of quick annotating).

The land was now plotted but where was it located? I knew it was somewhere along Crab Creek in Clendenin District of Mason County, West Virginia. Still, this is a large area and I wasn’t able to find other geographical locations (Bryant’s Run) to zoom in on a specific area.

West Virginia Property Viewer

This is where the cool site I found comes into play. The West Virginia Property Viewer is an interactive map to search and display property ownership and location information in West Virginia. You can zoom in on the map of the state by county or use the search feature to search in a county for an owner’s name, parcel number, or parcel address. A search for CLONCH brought up a few owners in Mason County including one very interesting parcel. A tract of one acre on Crab Creek used as a cemetery and exempt from tax. The owner or name of the piece of land is Clonch Cemetary.

The tiny purple square of land known as the Clonch Cemetary (sic).

The land surrounding the cemetery is owned by a Patterson, a great-grandson of Lavina Ann CLONCH and James William PATTERSON. It’s a parcel with 76.54 acres, a bit larger than the 42 acres deeded to the Pattersons in 1892 and less than the original 148 acres owned by the heirs of William CLONCH. The fact that this is the location of the Clonch Cemetery, also known as the Patterson Clonch Cemetery, makes me certain this is the land William CLONCH and Mary E. DOSS lived on over 150 years ago.

In the pop-up at the bottom of the map, information about the parcel is listed. An interesting feature is the parcel assessment report which can be accessed by clicking at the bottom of the pop-up. In the assessment, under General Information, the deed book and page number can be found. In the case of the Clonch Cemetary there is no deed listed. The Patterson land has a deed book and page number which could be consulted – if the records were online for the time period.

Other Uses for the Site

Very often in county genealogy groups on Facebook, I see people asking for the location of cemeteries. West Virginia Property Viewer would be the perfect place to look them up.

Nicholas County Public Records Search includes online versions of the deed books of the county. You can sign in as a guest to search the site. A piece of land can be followed from the present time owner to the first owner and vice versa. With the assessment report’s information on the deed book and page, the starting point is easy to find.

West Virginia Property Viewer was found on Map West Virginia where all of their maps are free for use by the public.

A quick online search turned up other county and state parcel or property viewers. Am I the only one who did not know about these sites?

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

William CLONCH’s Estate – and It Gets More Complicated

After finding the land records I transcribed in my previous posts: The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia and The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia – Part 2 I wanted to know when William CLONCH (1807-1863) bought the 148 acres tract and who the grantor had been.

Searching the Land Deed Index

In the land deed index for grantor and grantee, I could not find an entry for my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH even with different spellings of the name, i.e. CLAUNCH, CLOUNCH. Neither his father Dennis CLAUNCH nor his mother Nancy BEASLEY owned land per the deed books. Neither left a will conveying land to William and/or to of his siblings: Elizabeth, John, and Sarah.

► Was it possible William CLONCH did not legally own land when he made his last will and testament on 17 January 1863?1
► If he didn’t own land, how could he will his land to Mary DOSS and her DOSS children?
► How could his heirs later convey land as a group to three of the DOSS siblings, also known as CLONCH, in 1892 allowing it to remain in the family?

A Tract of Land Containing 148 Acres

Once I had the deeds concerning the heirs of William CLONCH transcribed and written up, I took a closer look at two deeds I found for my 2nd great-grandfather Alexander CLONCH, also known as Alexander DOSS. The first land deed was dated 27 June 1866, over three years after the death of William CLONCH. Alexander was the grantee of a tract of land containing 148 acres.2 In 1885 Alexander was the grantor and sold the same piece of land to Mary DOSS and all of her DOSS children named in the will of William CLONCH.3

William CLONCH lived with Mary DOSS from sometime before 1840 until his death in 1863. They were not married. Eight children were born between 1840 and 1855 during the years William and Mary were together. William left a last will and testament naming Mary DOSS and her seven living children as his heirs. These children later went by the CLONCH surname. DNA results show descendants of these children carry Clonch/Claunch and Doss DNA.

The 148 acres sold in 1885 had similar call lines as the three tracts of land which were sold in April 1892 by the heirs of William CLONCH.4 I had been able to plot two of the tracts but the third had a problem call and I could not plot it. I thought by plotting the three tracts I would be able to put the pieces together to form the original 148 acres.

Was it only a coincidence William’s and Alex’s lands contained the same amount of acreage?

The 1866 Land Deed

Reading and transcribing the land deeds of Alexander CLONCH brought to light some thought-provoking information. The grantor of the land sold in 1866 was a group of persons, children and their spouses of the deceased Richard GERNON, who were being represented by their attorney’s representatives through a power of attorney.

This deed made on the 27th day of June A.D. 1866 between John Jaques Richard Gernon and Claire Paule Anna Gernon his wife (born Davies) Joseph Edward Gernon and Catherine Tolsey Gernon his wife (born Toussat) Louis Loreal & Emilie Antoinette Loreal his wife late Reneufoe daughter of Jeane E. Reneufoe who was daughter of Richard Gernon deceased; Jean Louis Culon and Emilie Culon his wife late Gernon, daughter of the said Gernon (Richard) deceased by Edward Naret their attorney in fact who is substituted as such by Power of Attorney from John Keating & William V. Keating dated 27th April 1850 of the first part and Alexander Clonch of Mason County and State of West Virginia of the other part witnesseth: that in consideration of One hundred & eighty Eight dollars to him in hand paid the said Edward Naret attorney in fact as aforesaid doth grant unto the said Alexander Clonch The following tract of land Situate in the County of Mason and State of West Virginia being part of a large Survey Known as the Gernon Tract below the Great Kanawha bounded as follows: Beginning at a Small white oak corder to a Survey of 91 acres (Clarks) Thence with Beal’s line S 5° E crossing Bryants fork at 71 poles, 124 poles to an ash Tree on a South hill side. Thence leaving Beals S 63° E 120 poles to a Stake on a run bottom Dogwood and Hickory pointers. Thence N 34 1/2° E crossing the right hand fork of Bryans Run at 6 poles & the left hand fork of the same at 26 poles, 116 poles in all to a small white oak N 44° W 52 P to a white oak. Thence N 17° W 84 poles to a stone in Patterson’s line, Thence with his line S 65° W 94 poles to a small white oak corner to Clarks 91 acres. Thence with a line of the same N 85° W 33 poles to the beginning containing One hundred & forty eight acres be the same more or less. To have & to hold The Said Tract of land to him The said Alexander Clonch his heirs & assigns forever & The said Grantors by their attorney in fact as aforesaid do covenant with the said Alexander Clonch that they will warrant generally the land & premises hereby conveyed.
Witness the following Signature & Seals
……………………………………..John Jaques Richard Gernon seal
……………………………………..Claire Paule Anna Gernon seal
……………………………………..Joseph Edward Gernon seal
……………………………………..Catherine Tolsey Gernon seal
……………………………………..Louis Loreal seal
……………………………………..Emilie Antoinette Loreial seal
……………………………………..Jean Lewis Culon seal
……………………………………..Emilie Culon seal
……………………………………..by Edward Naret Their attorney in fact

The State of West (sic, Virginia missing)
Putnam County ss Before me Allen J. Holstein a Justice of the Peace in & for the said County of Putnam appraisal

the within named John Jaques Richard Gernon and Clair Paule Ann Gernon his wife Joseph Edward Gernon and Catherine Tolsey Gernon his wife, Amelie Antoinett Loreal & Louis Loreal her husband, Emilie Culon & Jean Louis Culon her husband by Edward Naret their within named Attorney in fact & acknowledged the signing and Sealing of the within conveyance to be their voluntary act & Deed.
In witness Whereof I have signed my name and affixed my seal this 27th day of June A. D. 1866.
……………………………………..A. J. Holstein J.P. seal

West Virginia Mason County Recorders Office December 3rd 1866 The annexed Deed with U.S. Internal Revenue Stamp thereon for fifty cents was this day exhibited in said office and together with the Certificate thereon admitted to Record.
………………………………….Teste
……………………………………..James H. Holloway
………………………………………………..Recorder

The Gernon Tract

As seen in the above deed, the land was part of a larger survey known as the Gernon Tract. I checked the index again to see if others had been granted land from this tract.

The first mention of the Gernon Tract was found in a deed dated 1821. The deed is a history lesson in itself. It mentions acts of Congress which allowed direct taxes to be collected from landowners.

On 9 January 1815 Congress passed “an act to provide additional revenues for defraying the expenses of government and maintaining the public credit, by laying a direct tax upon the United States, and to provide for assessing and collecting the same.”5 On 5 March 1816, this was repealed by Congress reverting back to an act passed in 1813.6 Both of these acts are mentioned in the 1821 deed.

Taxes were due on the Gernon Tract and the whereabouts of the owner were unknown. In fact, the tax collector did not mention the name of the owner, Richard GERNON, in the 1821 deed. Under an act of Congress to lay and collect a direct tax (July 14, 1798), before the collector could sell the land for non-payment of tax, he was required to advertise a copy of the list of lands and the statement of the amount due for the tax along with the notification to pay in sixty days. The tax due on the Gernon property was advertised in the Richmond Enquirer. John L. MERTENS of Hanover County paid the tax and acquired the three tracts of land containing 4,375 acres, 1,500 acres, and 200 acres for a total of 6,075 acres.7

In 1823 MERTENS sold the land back to the owner who had been delinquent on his tax payments, Richard GERNON, formerly a U.S. citizen living in Philadelphia, now residing in Paris, France. Was GERNON’s non-residence in America the reason he did not pay his taxes?

As later deeds were consulted, I learned the tract was being reduced by surveys as pieces were sold, apparently, to the persons who had been living on and working the land. The original tract situated (per 1834 deed) in Mason County originally containing twenty one thousand five hundred Acres, Patented to Richard Smyth assignee of Henry Banks the Sixth day of December one thousand Seven hundred and Ninety four & conveyed by the said Patentee to the above named Richard Gernon, by deed dated 29 August 1795 Recorded in the clerks office of the General Court of Virginia at Richmond 16 Novr. 1795. 

The land deeds for the Gernon Tract are a genealogical find for those interested in the family of Richard GERNON and his wife Antoinette GAUSE whose name was mentioned in the 1834 deed.8 I was intrigued when I found his wife’s maiden name was GAUSE as, after separating from William CLONCH, his ex-wife Ann Eliza HILL married a man named Andrew J. GAUSE, later seen as GAUZE. It was one of her GAUZE descendants’ fault I’ve been writing about the land deeds since my post, I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks!

Following the Land Records

As I perused each of the land records for Gernon land being sold, I found the descriptions of the land changing as the land was being divided up into lots. New proprietors of the adjoining land were mentioned. Also, lots adjoining the land would be described as land on which certain persons lived – not land owned by that person. Later the individuals living on the land were found buying the lot. For example, in 1861 John SHELINE bought a tract of land comprising 442 acres which had been surveyed in 1856 by John J. POLSEY:

Beginning at a small ash corner made for Wm Clonch on Beale’s line; Thence with Beals line S 5° E 83 poles to two black oaks on the west side of the hill, Thence S 35 1/2° W 24 poles to a white oak, Thence with the Gratz line S 50° E crossing the Road fork of Horselick Branch at 214 poles, 272 poles in all to a Stake & pointer corner to the Madden Survey, Thence with a line of the same N 61° E 168 poles to a poplar, Thence leaving the Madden Tract N 28° W 420 poles to a Stake Corner to Patterson, Thence with his line S 65° W 53 poles to a Stone Corner to Clounch, Thence with the lines run for Clounch S 17° E 84 poles to a white oak S 44° E 52 poles to a white oak, S 34 1/2° W 116 poles to a Stake and run Bottom, Thence N 63° W 120 poles to the beginning, containing 442 acres more or less.9

It would appear that William CLONCH was living on land which had been surveyed for him as late as 1856. At the time of his death, he was likely expecting to buy the land but the deeds had not been drawn up and recorded.

The 1885 Land Deed

In 1885 Alexander Clonch and his wife Tobitha deeded land to his mother Mary DOSS and ALL of her DOSS children, including himself. There is no mention in the following deed that Alexander CLONCH is the same person as Alexander DOSS but the deeds discussed in the previous posts show the sons of William CLONCH went by CLONCH and DOSS.

In the margin:
Delivered to C. W. Messick May 2nd ’85

This Deed made this 9th day of April 1885 between Alexander Clonch and Tobitha Clonch his wife of the County of Mason and State of West Virginia of the first part and Mary Doss, John Wm Doss, Alexander Doss, Lavinia N. Doss, Betsy Jane Doss, Thomas E. Doss, Joel Doss, and Charles H. Doss, of the second part. Witnesseth: That the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.°°) the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged Do grant unto the parties of the second part, all that certain tract or parcel of land situate lying and being in the County of Mason and State of West Virginia and in the District of Clendenin bounded and described as follows, To wit: Beginning at a small white oak corner to a survey of 91 acres (Clark’s) Thence with Beal’s line S 5° E crossing Bryants fork at 71 poles, 124 poles to an ash tree on a south hill side, thence leaving Beal’s S 63° E 120 poles to a stake in a run bottom dogwood and hickory pointers, thence N 34 1/2° E crossing the right hand fork of Bryants run at 6 poles and the left hand fork of the same at 26 poles 116 poles in all to a small white oak N 44° W 52 poles to a white oak then N 17° W 84 poles to a stone in Patterson’s line, thence with his line, S 65° W 94 poles to a small white oak corner to Clark’s 91 acres, thence with a line of the same N 85° W 33 poles to the beginning containing One hundred and forty eight acres, be the same more or less, being the same tract or parcel of land conveyed to the said Alexander Clonch by John Jaques Richard Gernon, and others by deed dated the 27th day of June 1866, and duly of record in the Mason County Court Clerk’s Office in Deed Book No. 20 folio 256 & 7. To have and to hold to the said Mary Doss for and during her natural life and at her death to the said John W. Doss, Alexander Doss, Lavinia N. Doss, Betsy Jane Doss, Thomas E. Doss, Joel Doss and Charles H. Doss and their heirs

and assigns forever, and the said parties of the first part do hereby covenant with the parties of the second part, that they will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed.
Witness the following signatures and seals.
Test John R. Dabucy
……………………………………..Alexander Clonch Seal
……………………………………..Tobitha Clonch x her mark Seal

State of West Virginia Mason County. ss:
I D. S. Van Matre a Notary Public in and for the County and State aforesaid do certify that Alexander Clonch whose name is signed to the writing above bearing date of the 9th day of April 1885 had this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County. Given under my hand this 9th day of April 1885.
……………………………………..D. S. Van Matre
…………………………………………………..Notary Public

State of West Virginia, Mason County ss:
I John R. Dabucy a Justice of the Peace in and for the County and State aforesaid, do certify that Tobitha Clonch the wife of Alexander Clonch whose names are signed to the writing above bearing date on the 9th day of April 1885 personally appeared before me in the County aforesaid and being examined by me privily and apart from her husband and having the said writing fully explained to her she the said Tabitha Clonch acknowledged the said writing to be her act and declared that she had willingly executed the same and does not wish to retract it. Given under my hand this 13th day of April 1885.
……………………………………..John R. Dabucy J.P.

West Virginia, Mason County Court Clerk’s Office April 14th 1885. This Deed was this day presented in my office and thereupon, together with the certificates thereto annexed, is admitted to Record.
Teste:
……………………………………..J P R B Smith Clerk

What I Learned While Doing the Research

I think it’s possible my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH was living on the land for several decades before he died in 1863 and he intended to pass it on to his DOSS children and their mother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS. In 1860 when the census was enumerated his Value of Estate Owned was $444 for Value of Real Estate and $120 for Value of Personal Estate. Why would he have real estate valued when he did not legally own it? I am not aware of the practices of the time. Did William CLONCH have the land he was living on and working surveyed? And did he consider it his land after the survey? I checked the index to surveys and his name was not listed.

While searching the deeds index I found my great-great-grandfather Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) obtained land in 1866 and sold the same in 1885. It was interesting to find Alex owned land in Mason County, West Virginia, from 1866 until 1885. The sale of the land fit into the time period when he was known to be moving to Fayette County as well as applying for his Civil War pension.

From the above, would you also say the land Alexander CLONCH bought in 1866 and sold to his mother and siblings in 1885 was the same piece of land William CLONCH lived on during his later years and willed to Mary DOSS and her children? Or do I have to do more work and plot all of the lots from the Gernon tract and fit the pieces of the land puzzle together to prove the three lots sold by the heirs in 1892 were the land Alexander bought in 1866 and sold in 1885?

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Alexander CLONCH
Parents: William CLONCH and Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
Spouse: Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY
Parents of Spouse: John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY
Whereabouts: Mason and Fayette, West Virginia
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 2nd great-grandfather

1. Alexander CLONCH
2. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
3. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
4. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
5. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1.  “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971” (database with images), FamilySearch (digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia), FHL Film #567420, Item 2; DGS 4715359; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875, image 104 of 165, page 166-167. Last will and testament of William Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722 : accessed 12 January 2019). 
  2. “Mason County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Deed books, 1803-1901” (database with images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Mason County Courthouse), Film 567257, DGS 8292937, Deed book, v. 20-21 1866-1868, image 163 of 694, folio 256+257. 1866 Land Deed Gernon to Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRQ-DSRL-9?i=162&cat=76718 : accessed 12 January 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Film 567360, DGS 8292992, Deed book, v. 38-39 1883-1885, image 563 of 706, Folio 359 and 360. 1885 Land Sale Clonch to Doss. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-CWGT-B?i=562&cat=76718 : accessed 4 February 2019). 
  4. See the previous post here
  5. The Library of Congress > Law Library > Research & Reports > Legal Reports > Statutes at Large > 13th Congress > pdf > page 164. ( http://loc.gov/law//help/statutes-at-large/13th-congress/c13.pdf : accessed  5 February 2019). 
  6. Ibid., 1th Congress > pdf > page 255. (https://www.loc.gov/law/help/statutes-at-large/14th-congress/c14.pdf : accessed 5 February 2019). 
  7. Mason County Deed Books. Film 567248, DGS 7896952, Deed book, v. D-E 1815-1823, image 469+470 of 568, Folio 362 thru 364. 1821 Land Deed between William D. Taylor and John L. Mertens.   (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4F-N9S7-4?i=468&cat=76718 : accessed 6 February 2019) 
  8.  Ibid., Film 567250, DGS 8292932, Deed book, v. H, 9 1830-1837, image 439 of 628, Folio 332 and 333. 1834 Land Deed Heirs of Gernon to Charles Beale. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRQ-D9PK-F?i=438&cat=76718 : accessed 5 February 2019) 
  9. Ibid., Film 567255, DGS 8285409, Deed book, v. 16-17 1852-1863, images 592-593 of 725, folio 381-383. 1861 Land Deed Gernon et al to John Sheline. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS51-236?i=591&cat=76718 : accessed 5 February 2019) 

The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia – Part 2

Recap: William CLONCH married Ann Eliza HILL in 1832. She left him or they separated before 1840. She remarried in 1842 and was listed as the widow of Wm C CLAUNCH. William lived with Mary DOSS from about 1840 until his death in 1863. Eight children were born between 1840 and 1855 during the years William and Mary were together. William left a last will and testament naming Mary DOSS and her seven living children as his heirs. 

January the 17th 1863
This is my Last Will and testimony wherein I do wish to will my Land to Mary Doss and her Children John William Doss, Alexander Doss, Loving Ann Doss, Elizabeth Jane Doss, Thomas Eli Doss, Joel Doss and Charles Henry Doss and my wish is that the said Mary Doss and her said heirs shall hold the percession of said Land and to work it at their option untill the said Mary Dosses Death and then to be Equally Divided between said Children and that the said Land shall not be transfered out of the family if it is that the said transfer shall not stand …

In The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia . Part 1, John W. CLONCH (commonly known as John W. DOSS) granted the land to James W. PATTERSON in 1865 for $75. In 1875 J. W. PATTERSON and his wife Lavina A. (Loving Ann DOSS mentioned in the will) sold the land back to John W. CLONCH DOSS for $85.


Four Land Deeds Involving the Heirs in Law of William CLONCH Deceased

As William had stipulated in his will, the land had remained in the family. Apparently Mary E. DOSS died before 26 October 1891 as her children began selling their parts of the land lying in the County of Mason in 1891 and 1892. In 1892 and 1893 Mr. Smith, the clerk for Mason County, West Virginia, was busy recording deeds for the estate.

John W. CLONCH to Charles H. CLONCH

John W. CLONCH and his wife Mary E. conveyed John’s 1/7th interest in his father’s estate to his youngest brother Charles H. CLONCH on 26 October 1891.1

At this time I need to point out that although Mary E. is seen here as his wife, they did not legally marry until 7 May 1895. Mary Ellen LEMASTER had lived with John since his divorce from his first wife in 1864. They could not marry as she was still married to John’s brother Alexander CLONCH. Alexander and Mary Ellen’s divorce was not pronounced until March 1880.

More important is the wording in this deed – his father’s estate. This is the first record I have seen which shows a father-child relationship between William and one of the DOSS children mentioned in his will.

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 51-52 1891-1892, page 166

In margin:
Delivered to J. M. Bugg Sept 8/92 (8 September 1892)

This deed made this 26th day of Oct. 1891 between John W. Clonch & Mary E. his wife of Cabell County, West Virginia parties of the first part, and Charles H. Clonch party of the second part.
Witnesseth That the said parties of the first part, for and in consideration of one hundred and fifty dollars in hand paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant unto the party of the second part all of there (sic) interest

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 51-52 1891-1892, page 167

in the undivided tract of land on the waters of Crab Creek in the County of Mason and known as the William Clonch land and bounded as follows with line of Andrew Roberts on the S0uth side to the land of Chas Beals with same to John Deems line to John Sheline’s line with his line to the place of beginning.
This deed is only intended to convey the one seventh of said tract being the interest of said John W. Clonch in his father’s estate.
And the said parties of the first part doth hereby covenant with the party of the second part, that they will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed.
Witness the following signatures and seals.
………………………………………John W. Clonch
………………………………………Mary E. Clonch

State of West Virginia
Cabell County ss:
I James H. Wright a Notary Public, in and for the County aforesaid, do certify, that John W. Clonch & Mary E. Clonch his wife whose names are signed to the foregoing writing, bearing date the 26th day of Oct. 1891, have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County.
Given under my hand this 26th day of Oct. 1891.
………………………………………James W. Wright
………………………………………Notary Public

West Virginia, Mason County Court Clerk’s Office May 6, 1892
The foregoing deed was this day presented in said office and with the certificate thereon is admitted to record.
………………………………………Teste
………………………………………J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk


Heirs at Law of William CLONCH deceased to Charles CLONCH

Six months later, on 26 April 1892, Alexander Clonch and his wife Tobitha,  Thomas Clonch and his wife Missouri, Lovinia and her husband James W. PATTERSON, Joel CLONCH, and Betsy CLONCH were conveying about 73 acres, their part in the estate, to the same Charles CLONCH.2

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book v. 53 1892-1893, page 31

In the margin:
Delivered to John P. Austin Aug 25/93 (25 August 1893)

This deed made this 26th day of April 1892 between Alexander Clonch and Bertha his wife Thomas Clonch and Mousourie Clonch his wife Lovinia Patterson and James W. Patterson her husband Joel Clonch and Betsy Clonch, of the first part heirs at law of William Clonch deceased and and (sic) Charles Clonch party of the second part.
Witnesseth That for and in consideration of one hundred dollars and other valuable considerations the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant unt (sic, unto) party of the second part all of a certain tract or parcel of land situate on the waters of Crab Creek in the District of Clendenin County of Mason State of West Virginia bounded and described as follows To wit
Beginning at a white oak corner in original out line thence S 50° E 124 poles to a stake thence S 63° E 120 poles to a stake thence N 34 1/2° E 32 poles to a stake thence S 82° W 92 poles to a stake thence N 7° E 30 poles to a stake thence N 45° 30 W 101 poles to place of beginning estimated to contain seventy three acres more or less. To have and to hold to party of second part his heirs and asigns (sic) forever and the parties of the first part warrants generally the property hereby conveyed.
Witness the following signatures and seal
………………………………………Alexander Clonch
………………………………………Tobitha Clonch
………………………………………Thomas Clonch
………………………………………Mousourie Clonch
………………………………………Lavinna Patterson
………………………………………James W. Patterson
………………………………………Joel Clonch
………………………………………Betsey Clonch

State of West Virginia
County of Mason
To Wit
I John P. Austin a Notary of the said County do certify that Alexander Clonch and ___ Clonch his wife Thomas Clonch and Mousourie Clonch his wife Lovinia Patterson and James W. Patterson her husband Joel Clonch and Betsey Clonch whose names are signed to the writing hereto

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book v. 53 1892-1893, page 32

annexed bearing date the 26th day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said county.
Given under my hand this 29th day of April 1892.
………………………………………John P. Austin Notary Public
………………………………………John R. Vest Jr. ” “

State of West Virginia
County of Mason
To wit
I John R. Vest Jr. a Notary P of the said County do certify that Alexander Clonch and Tobitha Clonch his wife whose names are signed to the writing hereunto annexed bearing date the 26th day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County.
Given under my hand this 17 day of May 1892.
………………………………………John R. Vest Jr.
………………………………………Notary Public

West Virginia, Mason County Court Clerks Office November 14, 1892.
The foregoing deed was this day presented in said office and with the certificate thereon is admitted to record
………………………………………Teste:
………………………………………J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk


Heirs at law of William CLONCH deceased to Joel CLONCH

On the same day John W. CLONCH and his wife, Alexander CLONCH and his wife, Thomas CLONCH and his wife, Charles CLONCH and his wife, Lovenia CLONCH and her husband J.W. PATTERSON, and Betsy CLONCH granted to their brother Joel CLONCH a tract of land estimated at about 22 acres.3

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 54-55 1893-1895, page 156

In margin:
Delivered to Joel Clonch Aug 22/94 (22 August 1894)

This deed made this 26th day of April 1892 between John W. Clonch and Mary E. Clonch his wife Alexander Clonch and Bitha Clonch his wife Thomas Clonch and Missouri Clonch his wife Charles Clonch and Nancy Clonch his wife Lovenia Patterson and James W. Patterson her husband and Betsy Clonch parties of the first part heirs at law of William Clonch deceased and Joel Clonch party of the second part Witnesseth that the said parties of the first for and in consideration of Fifty Dollars and other valuable consideration the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant unto the party of the second part all of a certain tract or parcel of land situate on the waters of Crab Creek in the District of Clendenin County of Mason and State of West Virginia Bounded and described as follows Beginning at a stake in original out line and corner to land of John Deem thence S 65° W 70 poles to a stake thence S 15° E 50 poles to a stake Thence N 67° E 70 poles to a stake Thence N 13° W 50 poles to place of beginning estimated to contain Twenty two acres more or less To have and to hold to party of second part his heirs and assigns forever and the parties of the first part warrants generally the property hereby conveyed Witness the followin (sic) signatures and seal.
………………………………………Alexander Clonch

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 54-55 1893-1895, page 157

………………………………………Tabitha Clonch
………………………………………Thomas Clonch
………………………………………Missourie Clonch
………………………………………Betsey Clonch
………………………………………Charles Clonch
………………………………………Nancy Clonch
………………………………………Lovinia Patterson
………………………………………James W. Patterson
………………………………………John W. Clonch
………………………………………Mary E. Clonch

State of West Virginia
County of Mason
To wit:
I John P. Austin a Notary of the said County of Mason do certify that Thomas Clonch and Missourie (sic) Clonch his wife and Charles Clonch and Nancy Clonch his wife Lovinia Patterson and James W. Patterson her husband and Betsy Clonch whose names are signed to the writing hereto annexed bearing date 26 day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County.
Given under my hand this 29th day of April 1892.
………………………………………John P. Austin Notary Public

State of West Virginia
Mason County
To wit
I Ashbell Hughes a Justice of the peace of the said County of Mason do certify that Alexander Clonch and Tabitha Clonch his wife whose names are signed to the writing hereto annexed bearing date 26th day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County.
Given under my hand this 16th day of February 1893.
………………………………………Ashbell Hughes J.P.

West Virginia, Mason County Court Clerks Office October 3rd 1893
The foregoing Deed was this day presented in said office and with the certificate thereon is admitted to Record.
………………………………………Teste:
………………………………………J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk


Heirs at law of William CLONCH deceased to Lovina PATTERSON

Then three days later on 29 April 1892, John W. CLONCH and his wife, Alexander CLONCH and his wife, Charles CLONCH and his wife, Thomas CLONCH and his wife, Joel CLONCH, and Betsy CLONCH  conveyed 42 acres to their sister Lavina PATTERSON.4

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, page 202

This deed made this 29 day of April 1892 between John W. Clonch and Mary E. Clonch his wife Alexander Clonch and Betha Clonch his wife Charles Clonch and Nancy Clonch his wife Thomas Clonch and Mousourie (sic, Missouri) Clonch his wife Joel Clonch and Betsey Clonch heirs at law of William Clonch deceased of the first part and Lovenia Patterson of the second part Witnesseth that the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of one hundred dollars and other valuable considerations the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant unto party of the second part all of a certain tract or parcel of land situate in the District of Clendenin County of Mason and State of West Virginia and on the waters of Crab Creek Bounded and described as follows Beginning at a stake in original line thence N 34°

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, page 203

E 30 poles to a stake thence N 44° W 82 poles to a stake thence N 17° W 34 poles to a stake thence S 67° W 90 poles to a stake thence S 45° 30 W 29 poles to a stake thence S 7 W 30 poles to a stake thence N 82° E 92 poles to place of beginning estimated to contain 42 acres more or less to have and to hold to party of second part her heirs and asigns (sic) forever and parties of first part warrants generally the property hereby conveyed Witness the following signatures and seals.
………………………………………John W. Clonch
………………………………………Mary E. Clonch
………………………………………Alexander Clonch
………………………………………Bitha Clonch
………………………………………Charles Clonch
………………………………………Nancy Clonch
………………………………………Joel Clonch
………………………………………Thomas Clonch
………………………………………Mousourie Clonch
………………………………………Betsey Clonch

State of West Virginia, County of Mason to wit
I John P. Austin a Notary of the said County of Mason do certify that Charles Clonch and Nancy Clonch his wife Thomas Clonch and Mousourie Clonch his wife and Joel Clonch and Betsy Clonch whose names are signed to the writing hereto

annexed bearing date 26 day of April 17892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County. Given under my hand this 29 day of April 1892.
………………………………………John P. Austin Notary Public

State of West Virginia
Mason County
To Wit
I Ashbell Hughes a Justice of the peace of the said County of Mason do certify that Alexander Clonch and Betha Clonch his wife whose names are signed to the writing above bearing date the 26th day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County Given under my hand this 5th day of July 1892.
………………………………………Ashbell Hughes J. P.

West Virginia Mason County Court Clerk’s office January 30th 1893.
The foregoing Deed was

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, page 204

this day presented in said office and with the certificate thereon is admitted to Record.
………………………………………Teste
………………………………………J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk


What was going on?

We have here deeds mentioning 1/7th of a part (likely of the 73 acres), 73 acres, 22 acres, and 42 acres which add up to about 137 acres. In 1865 and 1875 (deeds seen in Part 1) the tract or parcel of land contained one hundred and forty-eight acres more or less.

It would seem that Charles was interested in keeping the tract of land with about 73 acres, Joel the 22 acres, and Lovina the 42 acres – all of this being part of the original tract of 148 acres. What of the 10 acres difference? Was it lost in the division of the three tracts?

I tried to plot the tracts of land with the calls mentioned in the deeds. Joel’s tract was 22 acres while Lovina’s calculated to 39 acres, close to the 42. There appears to be one or more problem calls in the 73 acres deed and I was not able to plot the tract using Tract Plotter. I was hoping by plotting the three tracts I would be able to put the pieces together to form the original 148 acres.

The index for the grantor is available up to 1935. Charles and his wife Nancy leased out the oil and gas rights on the 73 acres property in 1896. In 1918 they sold 73 and 1/2 acres in Clendenin district. This is likely the same piece of land but deeds are only available online up to 1901. Joel sold his 22 acres to Lovina’s son Thomas E. PATTERSON in 1894. The land which went to Lovina and her husband appears to have remained in the family well into the new century.

While searching for these deeds I also checked to see how William CLONCH came to be the owner of this 148 acres tract of land in Clendenin District of Mason County, West Virginia. No deed was found. This appears to be a task for another day.

Was William CLONCH the father of Mary E. DOSS’s children?

The purpose of following the land was to find any details in the deeds which would show Mary E. DOSS’s children’s father was William CLONCH. Three of the deeds show her children were heirs at law of William CLONCH deceased while only one mentions a parental relationship with this line: This deed is only intended to convey the one seventh of said tract being the interest of said John W. Clonch in his father’s estate.

DNA may hold the answer

I’ve been able to attribute segments from the DNA test I manage to William’s parents. There are at this time two descendants of his daughter from his marriage to Ann Eliza HILL matching the test. The only known MRCA is William CLONCH. Secondly, the DOSS line is one of those old Virginia families with many matches and I’ve been able to paint segments for Mary DOSS’ grandparents eliminating these from the segments which would be coming from CLONCH. At this time, I believe the DNA shows William and Mary were my Alexander’s parents – unless a match comes along and messes everything up.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: William CLONCH
Parents: Dennis CLONCH and Nancy BEASLEY
Spouse: Ann Eliza HILL, non-spouse *Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
Children: Mariah Jane, John W., Alexander, Lavinia Ann, Jeremiah, Elizabeth Jane, Joel, Thomas Eli, Charles Henry
Whereabouts: Mason County, West Virginia
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandfather

1. William CLONCH
2. Alexander CLONCH
3. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “Mason County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Deed books, 1803-1901” (database with images), FamilySearch (microfilm of original records at the Mason County Courthouse), Film 567367, DGS 8293094, Deed book, v. 51-52 1891-1892, image 484 of 706, pages 166-167. 1891 John W. Clonch (1/7 of William Clonch’s estate) to Charles H. Clonch.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-Q94J-G?i=483&cat=76718 : accessed 23 January 2019). 
  2. Ibid., Film 567368, DGS 8293095, Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, image 74+75 of 382, page 31+32. 1892 Heirs of William Clonch to Charles Clonch.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-Z96Z-8?i=73&cat=76718 : accessed 12 January 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Film 567369, DGS 8293096, Deed book, v. 54-55 1893-1895, image 132 of 757, pages 156-157. 1892 Heirs of William Clonch to Joel Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-H9NY-S?i=131&cat=76718 : accessed 24 January 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Film 567368, DGS 8293095, Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, image 160+162 of 382, pages 202-204. 1892 Heirs of William Clonch to Lovinia Patterson. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-Z9XS-2?i=159&cat=76718 : accessed 12 January 2019). 

The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia

Up until a few weeks ago, I knew very little about the land owned by my third great-grandfather William CLONCH (1807-1863). He wrote his last will and testament on 17 January 1863, It was recorded on 6 April 1863 in Mason County1 less than three months before West Virginia was admitted to the Union on 30 June 1863.

For background information please refer to the links in the Genealogy Sketch Box at the end of this post. For the short story see my reply to Amy in the comments below. 🙂

The Land is Mentioned in a Will

In his will William left a certain tract of land to Mary DOSS and her children  John William Doss, Alexander Doss, Loving Ann Doss, Elizabeth Jane Doss, Thomas Eli Doss, Joel Doss, and Charles Henry Doss. William stipulated in his will:

Mary Doss and her said heirs shall hold the percession (sic) of said Land and to work it at their option untill the said Mary Dosses Death and then to be Equally Divided between said Children and that the said Land shall not be transfered out of the family if it is that the said transfer shall not stand

Mary DOSS and her children had been found living with William CLONCH in 18502 and 18603 on the census. In 1850 Mary and the children were enumerated with the DOSS surname but in 1860 the entire household were listed as CLONCH.

William CLONCH the inferred father of the DOSS children

Earlier research had turned up a land deed in the Mason County deed book 53, page 202, dated 29 April 1892 in which the heirs of William CLONCH sold the property to Louvenia PATTERSON, seen as Loving Ann DOSS in the will. Only the source of the record was given, not the actual wording.

Great importance was given to this document and it was surmised from the content of the record that the children of Mary DOSS, who were now using the CLONCH surname in 1892, were, in fact, the children of William CLONCH and Mary DOSS.

I am extremely grateful to the persons who have researched this line before me and shared their work online and via emails. However, I am no longer a beginner and I want to see the evidence, not just know it is out there.

New Records on FamilySearch

The Deed Books of Mason County, West Virginia, for the period 1803-1901 are now online at FamilySearch. I located the 1892 deed mentioned above as well as several more which led up to this one.

John W. CLONCH to James W. PATTERSON, 30 August 1865

Two years after the death of William CLONCH we find the first mention of his estate in the deed books. John W. CLONCH, commonly known as John W. DOSS, grants to James W. PATTERSON his undivided interest in a certain tract of land devised to his mother Mary DOSS during her lifetime by William CLONCH. The tract of land having 148 acres more or less and bounded by the land of John W. Deem, James H. Hooff, Charles T. Beale & John Sheline.

James W. PATTERSON was the brother-in-law of John W. CLONCH. Lavina Ann DOSS married about three months after her father’s death. Her parents are listed as Wm Clonch and Mary Doss on the marriage record, however, the name of the father, Wm Clonch, has been struck out on the document.

The land, therefore, remained in the family. This is the 1865 record with transcription.

John W. Clonch to James W. Patterson, 30 August 18654

This deed made this 30th day of August 1865 between John W. Clonch of the first part heir at law of William Clonch deceased and James W. Patterson of the second part Witnesseth that for and in consideration of Seventy five dollars in hand paid to the party of the first part by the party of the second part the receipt when of is hereby acknowledged the said John W. Clonch, commonly known as John W. Doss doth grant unto the said James W. Patterson all his undivided interest in a certain tract or parcel of land lying in the County of Mason and State of Virginia and adjacent & bounded by the land of John W. Deem, James H. Hooff, Charles T. Beale & John Sheline and is devised to his mother Mary Doss during her life by William Clonch whos (sic) Will is recorded in the Recorders office in Mason County and at her death to her heirs wherein the said John W. Clonch is one of said heirs which tract or parcel of land contains one hundred and forty eight acres more or less the said James W. Patterson to have and to hold after his said Mothers death to him and his heirs forever the said John W. Clonch undivided interest right or title therein either at law or in equity Witness the following Signature and Seal the day and year above written.
……………………………………………John W. Clonch (x his mark)

West Virginia Mason County Recorders Office August 30th 1865
This day personally appeared before me the undersigned Recorder of said county in said office John W. Clonch whose name is signed to the within Deed bearing even date herewith and acknowledged the same to be his act and deed. And thereupon the same being Stamped with Internal Revenue Stamp for fifty cents is admitted to Record.
……………………………………………Teste
……………………………………………James H. Holloway, Recorder

J.W. and Lavinia A. PATTERSON to John W. CLONCH DOSS, 17 September 1875

In 1875 James and Lavina PATTERSON sold the tract of land back to John W. CLONCH DOSS. Both surnames are on the land deed for the grantee. The 1865 land deed is referenced in the 1875 deed. Mary Ellen DOSS and her heirs are also mentioned in the deed showing the mother of the DOSS children was still living. This is the first record I’ve seen with her middle name.

The land remained in the family. This is the 1875 record with transcription.

J.W. and Lavinia A. Patterson to John W. Clonch Doss, 17 September 1875 5

This Deed made this 17th day of September 1875 between J. W. Patterson and Lavina A. his wife of the first part and John W. Clonch Doss of the second part. Witnesseth: that for and in consideration of the sum of Eighty five Dollars cash in hand paid to the said parties of the first part the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged they the said parties of the first part do hereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said party of the second part all of one undivided interest in and to the following described tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Mason and State of West Virginia and bounded as follows, to wit: by the land of John W. Deem, James H. Hooff, Charles T. Beale, & John Sheline which said tract or parcel of land contains one hundred and forty eight acres more or less and being the same land which was conveyed by the said party of the second part to the said parties of the first part by Deed dated on the 30th day of August 1865 and duly recorded in the Mason County Court Clerks office in Deed Book No. 19 folios 224 & c. to which said deed reference may be had for a more complete description of said land. To have and to hold the same unto the said John W. Clonch Doss during his natural life and at the death of the said John W. Clonch the said land is to go to Mary Ellen Clonch & her heirs forever. And the said parties of the first part hereby covenant that they will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed.
Witness the following signatures and seals.
……………………………………………J. W. Patterson
……………………………………………Lavina A. Patterson (x her mark)

West Virginia Mason County Court Clerks office September 17th 1875.
J. E. Kimberling Clerk of the County Court in and for the County and State aforesaid do certify that J. W. Patterson and Lavina A. his wife whose names are signed to the writing hereto annexed bearing even date herewith have this day acknowledged the same before me in said office to be their act and deed and the said Lavina A. Patterson wife of the said J. W. Patterson being examined by me privily and apart from her said husband and having the writing aforesaid fully explained to her she the said Lavina A. Patterson acknowledged the same to be her act and declared that she had willinglyly (sic) executed the same and does not wish to retract it and thereupon the same is admitted to record.
……………………………………………Teste
……………………………………………E. Kimberling Clerk

What Happened to the Land after 1875?

After 1875 there are no entries for Clonch or Doss individuals selling the land from the estate of William CLONCH until four deeds are made in 1891 and 1892 and recorded in 1892 and 1893. These will be shared together in the next post.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: William CLONCH
Parents: Dennis CLONCH and Nancy BEASLEY
Spouse: Ann Eliza HILL, non-spouse *Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
Children: Mariah Jane, John W., Alexander, Lavinia Ann, Jeremiah, Elizabeth Jane, Joel, Thomas Eli, Charles Henry
Whereabouts: Mason County, West Virginia
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandfather

1. William CLONCH
2. Alexander CLONCH
3. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971” (database with images), FamilySearch (digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia), FHL Film #567420, Item 2; DGS 4715359; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875, image 104 of 165, page 166-167. Last will and testament of William Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722 : accessed 12 January 2019). 
  2. 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_959; Image 371; Virginia, Mason, District 38, image 121 of 165, Sheet No. 422A, Lines -23, HH #842-853, William Clonch household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  3.  1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, 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_1361; FHL Film: 805361; Virginia, Mason County, District 2, image 25 of 68; Page No. 46, Lines 21-30, HH #345-316, Wm Claunch household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  4. “Mason County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Deed books, 1803-1901” (database with images), FamilySearch (microfilm of original records at the Mason County Courthouse), Film 567256, DGS 8292936, Deed book, v. 18-19 1863-1866, image 416 of 598 pages 224-225. 1865 John W. Clonch (his part of William Clonch’s estate) to James W. Patterson.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRQ-DSCQ-T?i=415&cat=76718 : accessed 23 January 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Film 567355, DGS 8292989, Deed book, v. 28-29 1873-1877, image 207 of 651, pages 358+359. 1875 James W. Patterson to John W. Clonch the land conveyed in William Clonch’s will to Mary Ellen Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-S38Z-6?i=206&cat=76718 : accessed 24 January 2019). 

I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks!

A little over a week ago a Facebook friend, the descendant of a half-sibling of my 2nd great-grandfather’s half-sister (let that sink in), shared a post I wrote in 2014.

52 Ancestors: #26 William Clonch abt. 1807-1863

Note: As of 13 January 2019, the 2014 post has been updated with sources and images. 

My 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH was a challenge to research. Ralph Hayes worked on the CLONCH families years before I did and posted his finding on the CLAUNCH surname mailing list on Rootsweb as well as in other forums popular over 17 years ago. Most of the descendants of William’s father Dennis CLAUNCH use the CLONCH spelling. Dennis had brothers whose descendants go by CLAUNCH.

William CLONCH never married my 3rd great-grandmother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS. He left land to her and her children in his will in 1863. In 2011 after FamilySearch added the collection of West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971, I went in and found his will and transcribed it. It was only then that I actually saw the words he had written, naming her children with the DOSS surname.

In my 2014 post, the transcriptions were included for the will and three other records produced at the time the will was ordered to be recorded.

I wrote further in the post:

The land left to Mary E. DOSS and her children by William was sold by his heirs in 1892 to Louvenia PATTERSON, seen as Loving Ann DOSS in the will:

In Mason County deed book 53, page 202, dated 29 April 1892, John W. and wife Mary E. Clonch, Alexander and wife Bertha (sic, Tobitha), Charles and wife Mary, Thomas and wife Missouri, Joel and wife Betsy, heirs of William Clonch to Louvenia Patterson all of the Mason County, West Virginia, property in Clendenin District, Mason County, West Virginia. According to these records, William Clonch is the father of the Doss children. Note: I don’t have images of or a true transcript of this record. A look-up would be appreciated. 

When my Facebook friend shared the link to William’s post, one of her friends made a comment about the missing record. This lead me to take a new look at FamilySearch‘s catalog to see if land records for Mason County, West Virginia, might have been added since the last time I checked.

I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks!

Last year while working on my Rewriting the Biography of James SIMS 1754-1845 series, I found tax records for the area he lived. And it seemed each time I went in to look for something another collection had the camera icon indicating the digital images were available. If the counties of Kanawha, Nicholas, and Fayette where the SIMS families lived were going online then wouldn’t the rest of the West Virginia counties also be updated?

I went to the catalog and searched for Mason County, West Virginia, and began looking at the list of records. I opened up Land and Property and found Deed books, 1803-1901. These are browse-only records and include the grantor and grantee indexes as well as the deed books for 1803 to 1901.

I went straight for the record I’d requested over four years ago. It was there in Deed Book 53, on pages 202 through 204 – but I won’t be sharing an image or transcription in this post.

The deed books have an index at the front and I noticed there was another record for a CLONCH individual, my Alexander CLONCH, the son of the above mentioned William. When I read the record I knew I had to take a closer look at the grantor and grantee indexes. I found, in all, five deeds dealing with the land left to the children of William CLONCH. Transcriptions will be shared in a separate post next week.

Folks, pass the word around to check the FamilySearch catalog. They may have collections of interest to you with the camera icon instead of the camera with a key (indicating restrictions) or the microfilm icon.

Clonch cousins, sorry for keeping you hanging. If you can’t wait until next week, go to the catalog, and do the searches I did. Happy huntings!

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Rocking the Shared Matches on AncestryDNA

This year I planned on spending more time working with my brother’s AncestryDNA results and sharing discoveries here but…

The census analysis I’m doing for James SIMS and his sixteen (16) children for the Rewriting the Biography series is taking a lot more time than I had expected. I normally give myself a break the day after a post is published to look over new matches on AncestryDNA. OK, I admit I find myself checking more often than the day following a post.

Nearly two years ago, I wrote about the 6 AncestryDNA Notes for Easier Comparison and How I Use and Manage AncestryDNA Notes. Since writing those posts not much has changed with the content of the notes or how I use them. But there is one neat Chrome extension I can no longer do without – and I hadn’t heard about it when I wrote the posts in 2016.

A Time-Saving Chrome Extension

MedBetterDNA has an option you can check to “always show Notes” of your matches on AncestryDNA (see link at the end of this post for more information about this extension). All notes made for matches will show on the page you are viewing without your having to click each to open them. You see all your notes! And this simple trick is helping me to feel like a DNA rock star!

Take this match, for example. When she first turned up there was no tree linked to the DNA. She had a public tree which was viewable but it did not have a paternal side. Public trees which you can see do not necessarily have to have the match as the home person or even be the match’s tree.

Shared Matches on AncestryDNA

When I looked at the Shared Matches (SM) with all the notes open, I saw a pattern which indicated the match was coming from a particular line. Right off I could tell she is a paternal match for my brother. I use an emoji of a bride for maternal matches, a groom for paternal matches, and a leaf for Shared Ancestor Hints (SAH). The groom was showing up in many of the notes for the Shared Matches.

1st and 3rd cousin shared matches
Shared 4th cousin matches (1 thru 4)
Shared 4th cousin matches (5 thru 8)
Shared 4th cousin matches (9 thru 13)
  • The first cousin is a paternal match, i.e. points to DEMPSEY or ROOP. There are no shared matches with second cousins. The two 3C matches are cousins who share Alexander CLONCH, who was the grandfather of my paternal grandmother, Myrtle Hazel ROOP.
  • The first two matches in the 4th cousin category have Alexander CLONCH as the MRCA or most recent common ancestor. The next two have William CLONCH and Mary “Polly” DOSS, Alexander’s parents.
  • The next four 4C matches have as MRCA, the CLONCH-DOSS couple or Alexander CLONCH.
  • The next four of five 4C matches have the CLONCH-DOSS couple as the MRCA. One match has no tree and their name is not familiar to me. However, this test has a match with a cousin who also shares the CLONCH-DOSS couple as the MRCA.

There are 22 more predicted 4C shared matches (Possible range: 4th – 6th cousins). Nearly half of these do not include trees and an MRCA has not been determined. Seven have the CLONCH-DOSS couple. One match is a double 4C1R through Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY (parents of William) AND through Levina DOSS (mother of Polly DOSS) – which will make for interesting chromosome comparisons. Four matches are at least 5C1R and have Jeremiah CLAUNCH (father of Dennis) as the MRCA.

Taking a Look at The Big Picture

Viewing the shared matches’ notes at the same time makes this part of “guessing” where the match may be sharing DNA much easier. In this case, I was able to assume she must have a connection to Martha Angeline CLONCH, a daughter of Thomas Eli CLONCH and granddaughter of William CLONCH and Polly DOSS. This may not be obvious from the above notes. I have access to one of Martha Angeline’s descendant’s tests (one of the shared matches above) who is a much higher 3C match to this lady. The Shared Matches he has also point to this area of the family tree.

And Then A Tree Was Linked

Now for the ta-dah moment. Early in July while checking out the DNA matches I noticed the match now had a tree attached. She’s on the first page (top 50 matches) with 60 cMs on 4 segments which made it easy to spot when all notes are open. Skimming through the notes I notice when a match who had No Family Tree or a Private Tree in mention in their notes are now showing an attached family tree. When I viewed the public tree she’d linked to her DNA results I saw it included her paternal side which was missing in the public tree I had viewed.

Cropped screenshot of her tree in the area I suspect the match.

Who did I see as her great-grandfather? Thomas Eli CLONCH, the son of William and Polly and the father of Martha Angeline. Her grandmother Fanny was Martha’s sister. Her great-grandfather Thomas Eli was my 2nd great-grandfather Alexander CLONCH’s brother.

Can you imagine my excitement [insert genealogy happy dance here] at finding our match is exactly where I thought it would be? I shortened the note to read: 60 cMs 4 segs. 3C1R thru William CLONCH and Mary E. “Polly” DOSS. MRCA found 9 July 2018. Need to follow up with a message.

I sent a message on July 22 including the link to my post, Dear Cousin – We Have a DNA Match, Now What? and received a reply less than 48 hours later followed quickly by a second with her Gedmatch kit number. She matches known cousins descended from the CLONCH-DOSS couple on Gedmatch on chromosomes and segments which can now be attributed to the couple.

We’ve shared a few more messages. She’s given me permission to use her match, without identifying information, as an example. To help others understand how they can use Shared Matches on AncestryDNA – to figure out which part of the family tree the match is coming from or to zoom in on the possible most recent common ancestor.

How This Helps in the Long Run

Rebecca Jane CLONCH is the mother of my paternal grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP.

The fourth cousin shared matches to DNA matches who are related through one of the CLONCH ancestors are going to be the keys to open the doors in several brick walls. Both sets of grandparents of my 2nd great-grandmother Tabitha Ann COOLEY, wife of Alexander CLONCH, are unknown. The father of my 3rd great-grandmother Mary “Polly” DOSS, “wife” of William CLONCH, is also unknown. Matches are also showing up for people who descend from siblings of Dennis CLAUNCH whose mother’s name is unknown.

MedBetterDNA can do more than always show notes. Click here to see more filtering options.

I’d love to hear about the methods you use to help work with your AncestryDNA results. Anything which makes this complicated subject easier is always welcome.

P.S. My apologies to my followers who receive notifications per email. The post was inadvertently published on the day I began writing it instead of the moment I hit the publish button.

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

A West Virginia Coal Miner’s Poetic Memories

My great-grandfather Walter Farmer ROOP (1883-1971) was a blacksmith, coal miner, artist, poet, photographer, and cartoonist. He was 17 years old when the 1900 census was taken and worked as a day laborer for six months during the previous year. He was living in the Cabin Creek District of Kanawha County in West Virginia in his father Gordon‘s household. When he married Rebecca Jane CLONCH on 12 July 1903 his occupation was listed as a miner. This is the profession he would engage in until his retirement.

Walter and Rebecca’s family was missed by the enumerator in 1910. On 12 September 1918 Walter was a mine blacksmith with the Gauley Mountain Coal Company of Ansted per his Draft Card. His place of employment was Jodie, Fayette County.

walter-farmer-roop-wwi-draft-card
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Per the census, in 1920 and 1930 he was a miner in a coal mine and in 1940 a utility man in a coal mine. In 1939 he worked 44 weeks and received a private wage. The number of weeks he worked in 1939 appears to be the average for the miners in the community.

walter-f-roop-family-with-his-father-gordon-ca-1920-1921In 1942 the Registration Card (for men born on or after April 28, 1877, and on or before February 16, 1897), also known as the “old man’s registration,” has the Gauley Mountain Coal Company of Ansted as my great-grandfather’s employer.

walter-farmer-roop-wwii-card-front
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
walter-farmer-roop-wwii-card-back
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

The place of residence on the 1920, 1930, and 1940 census for the ROOP family was Jodie in Fayette County.

The community which would become Jodie was started up when the first houses were built by local logging companies in the late 1800s. The first post office was established in 1894 or 1896 (conflicting sources) when the town was named Imboden. The name of the town was changed to Jodie in 1910. In 1915, the Gauley Mountain Coal Company established Jodie as a coal town. The company utilized the existing lumber company houses and built additional ones. A company store, movie theater, and boarding house were also built but they are now long gone. The houses were sold off to residents in the mid-1940s, and the local mines closed less than ten years later. My great-grandfather very likely worked for the Gauley Mountain Coal Company from the time they established in Jodie until his retirement.

Christopher Taylor, a Shepherd University (Shepherdstown, WV) history major, kindly shared maps, photographs, and explanations to give me an idea of the geographical location of the mine Walter worked in.

1928-jodie-wv-usgs-map-fayetteville-quadrangle
Image and text courtesy of Christopher Taylor.

Here is Jodie as it appeared in a USGS topographical map from 1928. I added labels showing various locations and parts of town. The Buck Run Mine loaded coal into a tipple along the river. In later years as operations expanded southeasterly across the mountain, they discontinued the tipple on the river and sent the coal down to Rich Creek.

tipple
Photo and text courtesy of Christopher Taylor.

The Jodie Tipple on Rich Creek, c. 1940s. Coal from the left hillside came from the No. 1 (Buck Run) Mine, and across a conveyor into the tipple. Coal from the right side came from the No. 2 (Rich Creek) Mine.

My Great-grandfather’s Poetry

Walter’s poetry, written after the 1950 death of his wife Rebecca Jane CLONCH, has been passed down in the family. I have no idea if he wrote poems before my great-grandmother’s death. I think he may have discovered his love for expressing his feeling in poetry following his beloved’s death.

Although most were written for his darling wife, he also wrote two poems reflecting his love of mining. He wrote Buck Run after re-visiting the site of the old mine he spent so many years of toil and happy times.

buckrunbywalterfroop

Buck Run

Old Buck Run Mine has played its part
With vigor, zeal and zest;
Through two great wars that we have fought
She gave her very best.

We miss the rhythmic tramp of feet
Of those we used to know,
Who worked with us at Buck Run Mine
Some forty years ago.

I strolled alone the other day
To visit Buck Run Mine,
The scene of many years of toil
And many happy times.

The old landmarks had disappeared
And all was calm and still.
The only things familiar now
Are Buck Run’s brushy hills.

Old memories gathered thick and fast
Of pals who used to be;
Some rest perhaps on native hills
And some across the sea.

There crept upon my aged form
A feeling strange and cold;
I bowed my head and walked away;
I, too, am growing old.

— W. F. Roop, Jodie, W. Va.

What Remains of Rich Creek Mine No. 2

Similar to the stroll Walter took to visit Buck Run Mine, Christopher hiked up to the remains of Rich Creek Mine No. 2 in 2013. He took photos which he has kindly allowed me to use.

richcreekno2mine1richcreekno2mine2richcreekno2mine3

A Coal Miner Remembers

The second poem, When We Retire, describes what it was like to work in a mine. Clipped and dated January 1952, it was published in the United Mine Workers Journal.

mrin00030-1952-01-19-when-we-retire-by-walter-farmer-roop
“When We Retire,” a poem published in the United Mine Workers Journal, January 15, 1952, pg. 15

When We Retire

I’m just an Old Miner, retired from the mines,
Still I yearn for the days that are dead,
When we labored and toiled, in the dust and the grime,
While dangers lurked over our heads.

Though we pray and we pine till we’re weary and sick,
Fate never will answer our prayer;
To feel the old thrill, of the shovel and pick,
And to be with the gang that was there.

Where we labored and toiled in a world of our own,
By the gleam of a flickering light;
Where the change of the seasons is ever unknown,
And the day is eternally night.

Why we yearn to go back, I cannot understand,
For the dangers and hardships were great,
And many a miner who played a good hand
Has lost in the gamble with Fate.

— By Walter Farmer Roop, Belva W. Va.

Walter Farmer ROOP was an all around artistic talent. He left wonderful gifts for his children, grandchildren, and all later descendants. While re-reading his poems and reviewing his art I realized he left much more than photos, drawings, and words – he actually bequeathed us with parts of his own autobiography.

bestwishescathy1

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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