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.

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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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Will DNA Help in Getting Around the Hill?

In the twenty-four years of doing genealogy I’ve learned to not take other researchers’ information for granted without retracing their work. I knew this fairly early on and when reviewing my database I still find branches of the family tree which need pruning and a bit or a lot of support.

For the CLONCH line I relied heavily on Ralph Hayes’ genealogy work as a guide. I gave him credit for information I quoted and was not able to corroborate through my own research. In time I was able to confirm much of his work but questions have remained.

One of these was the parentage of Dennis CLONCH, a twelve years old boy living in the same household as Nancy CLONCH, widow of Dennis CLAUNCH (spelling of the surname changed after his death). Someone at some time thought his parents were John CLONCH and Elizabeth DOSS. In a timeline frame this just didn’t work for me.

It is my belief he was the son of John’s brother William CLONCH and his wife Ann Eliza HILL. Dennis CLONCH aka Dennis HILL was not mentioned in the will of William CLONCH which may have lead an earlier researcher to assume he was the son of John CLONCH, John being the only other known male CLONCH in the area during this time period. The CLONCH families in Mason County, West Virginia, were all descendants of Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY through their sons, William CLONCH and John CLONCH. They also had two daughters whose children passed on the husbands’ surnames, not the CLONCH name.

In my last two posts Difficulty Getting Around the Hill and Here We Go Dancing ’round the Hill I discussed the paper trail I found which supports my assumption that Dennis CLONCH and Dennis HILL were the same person.

When I shared Difficulty Getting Around the Hill with Ralph I wondered if he knew what I planned for this post when he replied:

Actually this Dennis was the son of the milkman.

How does DNA fit into the picture?

When I received the results of my brother’s DNA test at Ancestry I first looked at the closest matches. I searched for surname matches. Nothing new showed up so I began looking deeper into the more distant matches to help with some of my brick walls.

One of my brick walls is John COOLEY b. 1827 in Missouri. During this period of time ALL of my American ancestors were in Old Virginia. I searched for matches with ancestors in Missouri and found a match in the Distant Cousin range with the Missouri location but not for the COOLEY surname. You get the gist of this. I was all over the place, grasping at straws.

Although I wouldn’t suggest this method of searching through DNA results, it turned up, by accident or coincidence, a match with R.S., an Ancestry member with a small tree of 15 people. In the tree was R.S.’s great-grandfather Albert Henry HILL born 11 September 1876 in Missouri. He did not have parents but the year and place of birth was a match for Albert seen in Dennis HILL’s household in Saline County, Missouri, in 1880. This was before I began going over the HILL (line), before I wrote The Mysterious Ann Eliza HILL, wife of William CLONCH, and the two posts which followed.

rsfamilytreeIs the date of birth seen in the Dennis Hill family Bible enough proof?

If R.S.’s Albert Henry HILL was the son of Dennis HILL and Dennis was the son of my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH, then R.S. and my brother would be (half) 4th cousins (being descendants of William’s two relationships). The 6.5 cMs shared DNA (across 1 segment) fits in the relationship range fourth cousins once removed or third cousins three times removed. I know less than 7 cMs is not considered reliable – only about 5% of  matches in this area may have a common ancestor. R.S. has no shared matches with any of my brother’s matches. I was stumped until I learned Ancestry does not show shared matches for persons who share at the Distant Cousin level. They only show shared matches up to fourth cousins.

HillmatchMO

There are at least a dozen people who descend from Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY who have tested and have matches with my brother. I need to:

  1. request access to their DNA results on Ancestry or
  2. ask them to check their matches for R.S. as a distant cousin or
  3. request they upload their results to GEDMatch for comparison.

When my brother’s DNA results came in I waited a few weeks before I began reaching out to his matches. R.S. quickly replied but was a bit wary of my theory pertaining to his Albert Henry HILL being the son of Dennis HILL aka Dennis CLONCH. I fully understood his hesitation to not accept everything I was telling him as fact. Our contact is touch and go. Ancestry messaging from the DNA page didn’t work. My email provider was blocked by his and I had to use a different email account. His computer was fried and had to be rebuilt.

While trying to keep in touch with R.S. I began checking out the CLONCH matches. Some I messaged back in June and others this past week. So far only one person has gotten back to me. Since I have done a lot of reverse genealogy for the CLONCH line I already had many of the matches’ lines at least partly documented. These are the ones who had trees or who I recognized.

DNAmatchesNow the waiting begins….

Since making contact with the matches is taking longer than I expected it may be a while before we can test Ralph’s (just joking) theory about Dennis being the son of the milkman. Or even begin thinking about DNA giving us proof Dennis HILL was the son of William CLONCH and Ann Eliza HILL or the son of Ann Eliza HILL and another man or the son of an unknown child of Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY.

It’s a bit frustrating to have to wait but I’m going to look on the bright side. While working on the paper trail for Ann Eliza HILL and Dennis HILL, I found a bible transcription and an obituary, and located the married children of Dennis HILL. I don’t give up easily when doing genealogy research. In this case finding a living descendant of Dennis’ son Albert  – with a DNA match to my brother – pushed me find more or was it genetic memory?

Will DNA help in getting around the Hill? I’ll keep you posted on any new developments.

bestwishescathy1

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

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Here We Go Dancing ’round the Hill

Last week I had a bit of Difficulty Getting Around the Hill. I wondered what became of several of Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER’s children who seemed to disappear after 1880. Where else can information be found on this elusive family? The question led me to an amazing discover.

I was getting desperate to find information. Not only is HILL a common surname, it is also a word found in so many location names. I tried different internet search combinations. “Dennis Hill” + family + Saline pulled up first my GEDCOM and then two sites with “Dennis Hill Family Bible,” a combination I would never have thought to search. This led me to the MoSGA (Missouri State Genealogical Association) site with their Journal in PDF form – online and free.

Genealogy Happy Dance (1)

Have I mentioned lately that genealogy associations and societies have the best hidden genealogy treasures? Not everything is on the internet but some associations have begun to share their publications online.

I was doing the genealogy happy dance when I found MoSGA’s website which includes their Journal for the years 1985-2005 (more current issue are available in the Members Only section)  and their newsletter for the years 2011-2016. If you have families in Missouri don’t pass up the information you might find on them in the Journal or the newsletters.

The first article in the second issue of the Journal was a transcript of the marriage, birth, and death information found in the Dennis HILL family bible. A new key to open the door in this brick wall!

DSC_0008 1Genealogy Happy Dance (2)

Information found in the bible transcript (we’ll get it in a moment) led to a further online search which turned up another piece to the puzzle. I searched for “Timothy Hill” + Saline + 1900 and found this obituary cut from the Miami News and pasted into a scrapbook kept by Wilbert S. Myers (1871-1940) and now in the possession of The State Historical Society of Missouri.

ARTHUR TIMOTHY HILL
Died, at his home in Slater, Wednesday, March 28, 1900, at 3 o’clock a.m., at the age of nearly 22-years, Arthur Timothy Hill, after 2 1/2 weeks’ illness, the result of pneumonia.
The deceased was the son of Dennis and Mary Hill and was born in Chariton County, and for 8 years up to last May lived at Miami, when he moved to Slater, where he drove a dairy wagon for Claude Fields. He joined the Christian Church at this place in 1893, and was a consistent member.
Funeral services were conducted at the family residence in Slater by Elder Shelton, and the remains were interred at the Baptist cemetery at this place Thursday, Elder Prewitt officiating.

[Source: Miami News clipping, Wilbert S. Myers diaries and scrapbook, transcribed by Meredyth Lee (Myers) Devin, used with permission]

So much information in two short paragraphs. The HILL family lived in Chariton County until about 1881 when they went to Miami in Saline County. They lived in Miami until May 1899 when they moved to Slater. We are talking about the time period between the 1880 and 1900 census!! Missing years for so many of us. Mr. Myers diaries and scrapbooks may have some tidbits for others with ancestors living in Saline County during the period.

Welcome to a journey back in time….

I wrote to Meredyth Lee (Myers) Devin and she kindly gave me permission to quote the obituary I found on her site. Her grandfather kept diaries which “preserve a way of life in a little town that really doesn’t exist anymore…..just a post office and church among the farms.” Meredith also wrote, “Like you, there are many times when I wish that he (my grandfather) had written more about certain events and more about the people of Miami, but I guess we should be grateful for what we have.” Please take a moment to leaf through Mr. Myers’ diaries on the Rootsweb site Welcome to a journey back in time…. developed by his granddaughter Meredyth Lee (Myers) Devin.

Let’s discuss what I found in the bible transcription

ScreenClipForPermissionDennisHillBible
[Source: Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, pg. 69, “Dennis Hill Family Bible” (http://www.mosga.org/upload/journal/Volume_1,_1981_edited.pdf : accessed 30 Jun 2016)] Thank you to Nancy Waller Thomas and Jenna Mills for their help in getting permission from the MoSGA to use this screenshot of the article from the Journal
The introduction to the bible transcription includes census information and the same assumptions I made about the family’s move to Missouri. The year of print of the bible places it’s purchase at 1890 or later. Which means the date of marriage and the dates of birth had to have been written down after the fact. Before I go into the ownership, let’s discuss what I found in the transcription:

    • 16 Nov 1858 – The date of marriage for Dennis HILL and Mary A. BAKER was a match with the marriage record found for Dennis CLAUNCH and Mary Ann BAKER in Gallia County, Ohio.
    • 8 Mar 1838 – The date of birth for Dennis matches what I calculated from the age at death on the cemetery record.
    • 1 Aug 1842 – The date of birth for Mary Ann BAKER – no record has be found to confirm this.
    • 18 Mar 1860 – The date of birth for John W. HILL was a match with the birth record found on WVCulture.org.
    • 4 Feb 1862 – The date of birth for Sarah E. was a match with the birth date calculated from age at death on the cemetery record.
    • 20 Jul 1864 – The date of birth for Anna was a match for day and month as seen on her death record. The year given on the death record was the same as the year of death, 1919 – an obvious mistake. Her age at death was 52 yrs 3 mos 3 dys on the death record, exactly 3 years less than age calculated from birth date in bible and death date on the death record.
    • 21 Mar 1867 – The date of birth for Ella was a match with Barbara Ellen’s birth record found on WVCulture.org.
    • 19 Apr 1871 – The date of birth for James Isaac was a match with the date seen on his death record.
    • 4 Apr 1873 – Date of birth for Ivonia – this “fits” for the child named Ida age 7 seen on the 1880.
    • 11 Sep 1876 – The date of birth for Henry A. was a match with the date seen on a descendant’s family tree on Ancestry for Albert Henry HILL.
    • 16 Jun 1878 – The date of birth for Arthur P. “fits” the child “Emety” a son age 2 years in 1880. Arthur P. in the bible entry may be a transcription error and should be Arthur T. as seen in the obituary found in Mr. Myers’ scrapbook (transcription).
    • 20 Sep 1881 – The date of birth of Zettie M. was an off-match with the date found on the grave marker (photo on FAG) of Zetta CAREY (Zettie M. HILL), exactly one year off.
    • 9 Feb 1861 – The date of death for John W. HILL was a match with the death record found on WVCulture.org.
    • 1 Jul 1892 – The date of death for Sarah E. was a match with the cemetery record.
    • 31 Jul 1893 – The date of death for Dennis matched the pension file and the cemetery record.
    • 12 Sep 1898 – Date of death for Ida V. appears to confirm Ida seen on 1880 census is the same child as Ivonia and Ida V.
    • 28 Mar 1900- The date of death for Timothy is a match with the obituary of Arthur Timothy.

The last date recorded in the bible was the death of the youngest son Timothy in 1900. At the time his mother Mary Ann, his sisters Anna Belle and Zettie May, and his brothers James Isaac and Albert Henry were still living. Four people, excluding Albert who was in Kansas as early as September 1899, could have been in possession of the bible at the time of Timothy’s death.

Last Known Owner of the Dennis Hill Family Bible

I researched Haddon HILL of Leawood, Kansas, the last known owner of the bible, to determine his relationship to the Dennis HILL family.

George Haddon HILL (1898-1980) lived in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1900 and 1910. By the time the WWI draft cards were filled out he was working on his father’s farm in Waldron, Platt County, Missouri, were he was also living in 1920. He was living in Jackson when he married Lena OBERDIEK from Platt in 1925. They lived in Kansas City in 1930 and 1940 and had two daughters.

In 1900 while Haddon was living with his parents Lee Jackson HILL (1862-1940) and Sarah Diana LUSEN (1864-1942) in Kansas City, Missouri, his grandfather Samuel Henry HILL (1817-1906), widower of Jamima WORSHAM (1864-1897), was living in Slater, Saline County, Missouri, with his son Samuel Henry Jr. and his family. The Samuel Henry Hill Sr. family came to Missouri from Lunenburg County, Virginia, after the 1880 census. Before living in Lunenburg they were in the adjoining county of Nottoway in 1850.

The history of Haddon’s family does not show a connection to Dennis HILL other than Haddon’s grandfather living in the same town as Timothy at the time of the later’s death. Interesting to note is that Algernon Archer HILL, Haddon’s uncle, also lived in Slater. He  had two sons, Sam and Claude, who owned the Hill Brothers Funeral Home from 1910-1958.

Was the family bible saved by a non-related HILL family? Following Haddon’s death, did it pass to one of his daughters or was it donated to The State Historical Society of Missouri or a similar association? Or, did Mr. Hill find a home for the bible with a descendant of Dennis HILL?

Updated List of Children of Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER

  1. John William CLONCH b. 18 March 1860 and d. 9 February 1861
  2. Sarah E. HILL b. 4 February 1862 and d. 1 July 1892
  3. Anna Bell HILL b. 20 July 1864 and d. 23 October 1919
  4. Barbara Ellen “Ella” HILL b. 21 March 1867 and d. 14 March 1890
  5. James Isaac HILL b. 19 April 1871 and d. 11 February 1945
  6. Ida Vonia “Ivonia” HILL b. 4 April 1873 and d. 12 September 1898
  7. Albert Henry HILL b. 11 September 1876 and d. 12 Feb 1910
  8. Arthur Timothy HILL b. 16 Jun 1878 and d. 28 March 1900
  9. Zettie May HILL b. 20 September 1881 and d. 19 May 1967

Why Have I Gone Through This Exercise?

The main reason I wanted to learn as much as possible about Dennis HILL and his family was because I believe he may have been the oldest son of my third great-grandfather William CLONCH. Collateral lines are important to my genealogy research. You never know when you’ll find a distant cousin who has the answers to your questions.

childrenAfter the first of this series, The Mysterious Ann Eliza HILL, wife of William CLONCH, was posted Janet Webster Brown, creator of the Genealogy Bloggers group on Facebook, left this comment: “DNA testing might help resolve whether Anna Eliza was the same in both families, yes? no?” All I could say was, “I’m working on it!”

Will DNA help in getting around the hill? Join me next week when I take my first plunge into the genetic pool to figure out what I have and what I need to make DNA work.

bestwishescathy1

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

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Difficulty Getting Around the Hill

In The Mysterious Ann Eliza HILL, wife of William CLONCH I brought up the question of  another child born to the marriage of my 3rd great-grandfather and his wife (not my ancestor) Ann Eliza. Their daughter Mariah Jane was mentioned in William’s last will and testament with “three dollars to Mariah Jane Patterson.” Mariah Jane and her husband John PATTERSON protested the will but were overruled.

My 3rd great-grandmother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS lived with William in what may have been considered a common-law marriage. She gave him eight children, seven who lived to adulthood and were named with their mother’s surname in William’s 1863 will.

Mariah Jane was the only child outside of his DOSS children who was acknowledged by him. No other child came forward to protest the will.

gettingaroundthehillHowever there remains the question of the parentage of a child named Dennis CLONCH found living with William CLONCH’s mother Nancy in 1850. He was likely a grandchild named after his grandfather Dennis CLAUNCH who died in the 1810s leaving Nancy to raise their four known children: Elizabeth, John, William, and Sarah. Before 1850 the surname was spelled CLAUNCH, both spellings were used interchangeably for a decade or two before the CLONCH spelling became common to most members of the family in West Virginia.

Who was Dennis CLONCH and What Became of Him?

The short story is:

Dennis CLONCH was born 8 March 1838 in (West) Virginia. He married Mary Ann BAKER on 16 November 1858 in Gallia County, Ohio. They had a son John William CLONCH born on 19 March 1860 and died on 9 February 1861. The first name given to the child may have caused an earlier researcher to assume Dennis was the son of William’s brother John. Dennis began using the HILL surname after the 1860 census and before 21 February 1862 when he enlisted in the Union Regular Army at Gallipolis, Ohio. Neither Dennis CLONCH nor Dennis HILL were mentioned in the will of William CLONCH in 1863. Dennis moved to Missouri about 1871 and died in Miami, Saline County, Missouri, on 31 July 1893.

It is my belief Dennis, who switched from using CLONCH to HILL as his surname, was the son of Ann Eliza HILL and may not have been acknowledged by her husband William CLONCH. Could this be the reason they parted ways?

And this is the long story:

Dennis CLONCH may be the male child aged under 5 in the 1840 census listing for Eliza CLAUNCH found in Gallia County, Ohio, across the river from Mason County, West Virginia.

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Gallia County, Ohio
Galliapolis
Eliza Claunch
1 male under 5 yo
1 male 5 & under 10 yo
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Eliza)

  • No male child under the age of 5 was found in the household of William CLAUNCH (the assumed father)
  • No male child under the age of 5 was found in the household (of the assumed grandmother) Nancy CLAUNCH in 1840. John CLONCH was most likely still living at home with his mother Nancy in 1840 and represented by a tick on the census listing.
  • Elizabeth CLAUNCH, the oldest child of Dennis and Nancy, married Meredith PARSONS in 1825 and was likely deceased by 1840. Her widower did not have a male child under the age of 5 in his household in 1840.
  • Sarah CLAUNCH, the youngest child of Dennis and Nancy, married William WILLIAMS in 1832. Their children are accounted for in 1840.
  • Neither Elizabeth nor Sarah, sisters of my William, would have a son who carried their maiden name as they were married at the time of Dennis’ birth.
1850censusclaunch
1850 > VA > Mason >38th District > Sheet 385A > HH#333-334 > household of John W. Clark 56 with Nancy Clonch 75 and Dennis Clonch 12 (Ancestry)

In 1850 Dennis CLONCH was 12 years old and living in the same household as Nancy CLONCH.

1850 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
The 38th District, Sheet No. 385A
Enumerated by me on the 14th day of August, 1850. C. B. Waggener, Ass’t Marshal.
HH #333-334
John W. Clarke 56 M Laborer Virginia cannot read & write
Nancy Clonch 75 F Virginia cannot read & write
Dennis Clonch 12 M Virginia

Note: The relationship between Dennis and Nancy is not mentioned on the census however the ages suggest a grandchild/grandparent relationship.

1858DennisClaunchmarriage
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XD4K-4LM : accessed 13 Jul 2013), Dennis Claunch and Mary Ann Baker, 1858.

On 16 November 1858 Dennis CLAUNCH, who was four months shy of 21,  and Mary Ann BAKER went across the Ohio River to Gallia County, Ohio, to marry. The record does not mention places of residence, names of parents, or places of birth. After their marriage they were found back in Mason County with their son John W. who was three months old.

1860 > (W)VA > Mason > District 2 > page 23 > HH#188-164 > household of Dennis Claunch (Ancestry)
1860 > (W)VA > Mason > District 2 > page 23 > HH#188-164 > household of Dennis Claunch (Ancestry)

1860 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Township: Murcers Bottom P.O. Page: 851
HH #188-164
Dennis Claunch 23 M Laborer 0 55
Mary A. Claunch 18 F
John W. Claunch 3/12 M

Their son’s birth and death were recorded in the registers of Mason County under the name CLONCH. His death was reported by his grandfather William BAKER on 9 February 1861. His age was erroneously listed as 9 yrs 9 months 20 days; he was only 10 months and 22 days.

On 21 February 1862 Dennis HILL, no longer going by CLONCH, enlisted in Gallipolis, Ohio, in the Regular Army 19th Infantry Regiment (Union). His rank at enlistment was Private. Born in Virginia, he was 23 years old, blue eyes, brown hair, light complexion, and 6 feet tall. He was given a disability discharge on 2 April 1862 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Following his discharge Dennis returned to Mason County to his wife and baby daughter Sarah who was born on 4 February 1862,  seventeen days before her father was recruited. In 1870 the family was living in Clendenin, Mason County, and had grown to include Dennis 28, Mary A. 26, Sarah C. 8, Mary E. 6, and Barbra 4. The image of the census page is very light still the surname HILL can be deciphered.

1870censushillwvmason
1870 > WV > Mason > Clenendin > page 42 > HH #305-307 > household of Dennis Hill (Ancestry)

The family likely moved to Missouri after the birth of son James Isaac on 19 April 1871 and before the birth of daughter Ida about 1873. In 1880 they were found in Chariton County.

1880 > MO > Chariton > Mendon > Sheet 600B > HH#14-14 > household of Dennis Hill (Ancestry)
1880 > MO > Chariton > Mendon > Sheet 600B > HH#14-14 > household of Dennis Hill (Ancestry)

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Chariton County, Missouri
Mendon, Sheet 600B
HH#14-14
Hill, Dennis W M 40 married WV VA VA
Hill, Mary A. W F 36 wife married WV VA VA
Hill, Sarah F. W F 18 daughter single at home WV WV WV
Hill, Amanda W F 16 daughter single at home WV WV WV
Hill, Barbara E. W F 13 daughter single at home WV WV WV
Hill, Isaac W M 9 son single WV WV WV
Hill, Ida W F 7 daughter single MO WV WV
Hill, Albert W M 4 son single MO WV WV
Hill, Emety W M 2 son single MO WV WV

MRIN00501 Hill, Dennis and Mary A.
Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934; Name: Dennis Hill; State Filed: Missouri; Widow: Mary A. Hill

In December 2009 I was contacted by a researcher about Dennis CLONCH and Mary Ann BAKER in my database. The couple had the same date of marriage as his daughter-in-law’s ancestors Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER.

He’d obtained the Civil War Pension documents relating to Mary A. HILL’s application for a federal pension on her husband Dennis HILL’s service. The file included an affidavit from the attending physician relating the time and place of death, 31 July 1893 in Miami, Saline County, Missouri.

In the package was also a certified copy dated 1897 of the marriage record of Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER for their marriage in Gallia County, Ohio, on 16 November 1858. When he found my information he thought it was a clerical error (on my part or the county clerk) and after checking with me he requested verification from the county. I never heard back from him. In the meantime I found the marriage record which confirmed the surname was CLAUNCH at the time of marriage and not HILL. I contacted him June 26 and am waiting for a response.

The date of death found in the pension file was confirmed by a cemetery reading of Miami Cemetery, Miami, Saline County, Missouri, compiled by Shirley Haynes & Avlyn Conley and available as a PDF online (page 37 of 92). My annotations to the information are in brackets.

  • Hill, Dennis d. 31 Jul 1893 Aged 55 yrs 4 mos 23 ds.
  • Hill, Sarah E., dau of D. & M. A., d. 1 Jul 1892 aged 30 yrs 4 mos 25 ds
  • Hill, Bernard W. b. 6 Aug 1906 d. 19 Jul 1915 [s/o James I.]
  • Hill, Etta B. 1874-1952 [wife of James I.]
  • Hill, James I. 1871-1945 [son of Dennis]

After Dennis HILL’s death I tried to follow his children. Some were not traceable while others led to some interesting finds.

  1. John William CLONCH 1860-1861. Died at less than a year of age.
  2. Sarah E. HILL 1862-1892. Seen as Sarah C. in 1870, Sarah F. in 1880, and Sarah E. on cemetery reading. Apparently never married.
  3. Anna Bell HILL 1865-1919. Seen as Mary E. in 1870, Amanda in 1880, and Annie in 1900. A death record confirmed her name was Anna Belle and daughter of John (sic) HILL and Mary BAKER. The first name of the father was not a match however she was found in the 1900 census, listed as Annie WANNAMAKER, a widow, and sister of head of household James Isaac HILL. She had a daughter Corinne, born in August 1895 per 1900, who married a widower and raised his daughter. Corinne and her husband did not have any children of their own.
  4. Barbara Ellen HILL 1867-?. Her birth on 21 March 1867 was recorded in Mason County, West Virginia. Seen as Barbra in 1870 and Barbara E. in 1880. No marriage or death record found.
  5. James Isaac HILL 1871-1945. He was found in 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 census in Saline County, Missouri, where he married Etta Belle NICHOLS in 1903. His 1945 death record confirms he was the son of Dennis HILL. He had three sons with his wife, one is known to have died young.
  6. Ida HILL 1873-?. Seen only in the 1880 census. No marriage or death record found.
  7. Albert HILL 1876-1910. Seen as Albert in 1880. He married about 1898 Blanche FORQUER, whose parents had moved to Saline County, Missouri before 1900. No marriage record was found. Albert was in Bruno, Butler County, Kansas, in 1900 and in Sedgwick County, Kansas, for the 1905 state census. He died in Sedwick in 1909 or 1910 (discrepancy found, no death record), in any case, prior to the census. His widow was seen with four children in 1910, the youngest would die soon after (the 3rd of 3 to die bet. 1905-1910). By 1915 she’d married a widower Charles H. WAUGH and gave him a son in 1915. They were in Sedgwick for the 1920, 1925, and 1930 census. Albert and Blanche’s son, Robert A. went to California by 1928, was in Los Angeles in 1930. By 1940 his brother Clifton G. had joined him in Bernadino County. Robert died 1965 and Clifton in 1961 in Bernadino County. It is not known what happened to the oldest child, a daughter Bessie b. Sep 1899.
  8. Emety HILL 1878-?. Seen as Emety on the 1880 census. No marriage or death record found.
  9. Zettie May HILL 1882-1967. Born after the 1880 census she was found in 1900 with her brother Isaac and sister Annie. By 1904 she had traveled back to her parents’ home state and county and married in Mason County, West Virginia, Charles Franklin CHAPMAN. They were in Oklahoma for the birth of their first two children, New Mexico for the third, and Texas for the fourth. Following Frank’s death in the early 1930s (she was seen as a his widow in an OK city directory in 1935) Zettie May remarried in 1936 to an older man, Adolphus “Delphus” BOTCHLETT (1853-1945). After his death in 1945 she married Rufus CAREY in 1948.

As Dennis HILL’s wife tried to obtain a pension for his Civil War service we know she was living in 1897. She was not found in the 1900 census with three of her children who were living together in Saline County or with son Albert Henry living in Kansas. She appeared in the household of his son James Isaac HILL in 1920. I assumed she remained in Missouri but could she have gone back to West Virginia before 1900 or when Zettie May went there and married? I widened my search and found her living next door to Zettie May in New Mexico in 1910. How did I miss her?

Where was she in 1900? Was she with one of her other children? Where was she after the 1920 census? No record of death was found in Missouri (records are online). Did she go back to living near her youngest daughter Zettie May? Oklahoma, where Zettie May lived, does not have death records online. She was not found on Find A Grave in the area Zettie May lived nor in Saline County, Missouri.

Two of Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER’s children are known to have died young. Four of their children married and had children yet three children were impossible to locate after 1880. What became of these children? Where else can information be found on this elusive family? The questions led me to an amazing discover. Join me in doing the genealogy happy dance next week, same time, same place.

bestwishescathy1

P.S. Of course I left a comment for Cheri Hudson Passey about my genealogy happy dance on her weekly post Celebration Sunday~Genealogy Happy Dance!

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

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