My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2021

It’s time for my Ancestor Score! 

We would not be here without the ancestral couples who came before us. What better day to feature them than on Valentine’s Day. Nearly all of my ancestors were married, some cut it close, and two ancestresses never bothered to marry.

I’ve been writing about The Ancestors since I began blogging, going back one generation at a time. Generations 2 through 7 are complete except for one set of 4th great-grandparents. The 8th generation is off to a good start with nearly a dozen couples’ stories already written. Vital statistics, spouses, children, residence, occupation, ownership, military service, and miscellaneous biographical information were used in the stories.

There are close to 400 known ancestors in the next four generations – many have baptism, marriage, and burial records, some have more biographical detail,  while others may only be names gleaned from their children’s records.

In the past, I’ve kept track of the ancestors back to the earliest known ancestor in the 21st generation. This year I decided to count only the ancestors back to my 7th great-grandparents.

My Ancestor Score

Nearly 90% of my ancestors are known up to generation 8. The numbers go down significantly in the next two generations due to the brick walls in my paternal lines in the US.

New Names in the Family Tree

The name of Henry TREADWAY’s first wife was found this past year in a book with a series of sketches on early families of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio, written by Mrs. Mary Donaldson Sinclair  (1862-1940) in the early 1930s, and published at that time by The Steubenville Herald-Star. The article included not only Henry TREADWAY’s wife’s name but also her parents’ names and where they were from. Three new names in the family tree (generations 7 and 8) need to be researched. Perhaps they will firm up the assumption that Henry TREADWAY and Sarah JOHNSON were the parents of my 3rd great-grandmother Sarah Ann TREADWAY. DNA matches to descendants of three other children of Henry have been found in one cluster and are the reason I’ve taken a closer look at available publications.

Henry TREADWAY and his wife are the 4th great-grandparents I mentioned above that have not yet been featured on my blog. I plan to take time to review the research I’ve done and, finally, write about them sometime this year.

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s numbers are looking a lot better than mine as their paternal line is Luxembourgish. The 4% missing in the subtotal up to generation 8 is due to my DEMPSEY, DOSS, and COOLEY brick walls, as well as, one set of 5th great-grandparents that is unknown on their paternal side.

How do you keep track of your ancestors?

I learned this way of keeping tabs on the progress of genealogy research on Barbara Schmidt’s blog Connecting the Worlds in 2014. This is my 8th year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day.

The posts from previous years can be found here:

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Gathering Records to Tell the Story

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

Seeking Documentation

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

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

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

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

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

Two Marriages

1862 marriage entry courtesy of FamilySearch

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

1863 marriage entry courtesy of FamilySearch

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

Two Divorces

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

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

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

1880 chancery order courtesy of FamilySearch

March term 1880

Alexander Clonch
     vs                                          In Chancery
Mary E. Clonch

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

1880 chancery order courtesy of FamilySearch

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

Importance of the Records

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

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

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

Genealogy Sketch

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

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

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


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

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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Look Who’s Using DNA for Genealogy Research

In mid-March I received this message from one of my siblings:

Just wanted to let you know that I ordered a DNA kit from ancestry.com. I will send you the results when I get them. Hopefully it will be useful in your research.

When his results came in late May he sent me this message and screenshot:

Hope this doesn’t mess up your research too much.

ethnicityI thought he was holding out on me, waiting to let me know only after he came to visit for Mom’s 80th birthday. But the results truly did not come in until the early morning of the day he was to arrive in Luxembourg.

He turned administration over to me as he thought I would know better what to do with the test results as he does not do genealogy.

I haven’t done DNA testing but my second cousin Laura [daughter of Geraldine Dempsey Workman (1931-2007) – the first person I know of who worked on our family tree] shared her DNA page with me earlier this year. Since Laura and I share great-grandparents (William Henderson DEMPSEY and Laura Belle INGRAM) 3/4 of her matches did not have anything to do with our common line. It, however, helped me to get a feel for Ancestry’s DNA page before my brother’s results came in.

The ethnicity results (above) of 100% European were to be expected although it blew the theory of a Native American connection right out of the water. Or so I thought. Where do the 10% Italy/Greece fit into our family tree?

After a week or so of trying to figure out some kind of system to work through the matches on Ancestry, I decided to download the raw DNA data and upload it to GEDmatch. After the kit was tokenized and while I was waiting for the batch processing to complete I did a heritage test.

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent
1 Early Neolithic Farmer 43.00
2 Western European/Unknown Hunter-Gatherer 25.49
3 Ancestral South Eurasian 18.91
4 Caucas-Gedrosia 7.59
5 NearEast 1.65
6 Amerindian 1.43
7 Ancestral South Indian 1.20

1.43% Native American DNA for my brother. I understand he got about 50% of his DNA from our father and 50% from our mother (European). Family tradition is the NA connection is through our paternal grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP‘s mother Rebecca Jane CLONCH. If I keep doubling the percentage (which may not be scientifically correct) I get 91.52% at the 4th great-grandparent level. Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY are the only known set. Another ancestor at this level was Levina DOSS who had her children with an unknown man. The unknowns are COOLEYs and TREADWAYs.

I admit this was just a game I was playing before I begin to get serious about using the DNA results for research purposes. But who knows, maybe I’m on the right track.

Oh yes, Laura and my brother are “predicted 2nd cousins” and share 381 centimorgans across 15 DNA segments.

bestwishescathy1

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

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52 Ancestors: #29 Sarah Ann TREADWAY 1828-bet. 1900-1910

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

This is entry #29 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

#29 Sarah Ann TREADWAY 1828-aft. 1900

My 3rd great-grandmother married in 1851.1 In the marriage records of Meigs County, Ohio John COOLEY, the name of the groom, and Sarah A. TREADWELL, the name of the bride, were entered by the same person who made all other entries on the page.

“The State of Ohio Meigs County, ss. This is to certify that on the 9th day of September A. D. 1851 I joined in marriage John Cooley & Sarah Ann Treadwell by virtue of a license for that purpose (signed) H. S. Lawrence J.P.”

All entries on the page included the annotation “A true copy” except for this one. Does the original scrap of paper still exist? All entries for 1851 are in the same handwriting. I skipped back through the “Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1” database at FamilySearch, 50 images at a time, and discovered that the entire volume appears to have been written by the same person, most likely at the same time. This would mean that the register was made at a later date. Is it a copy of the original register of marriage records and/or a collection of entries compiled from loose-leaf papers found in the courthouse?

Did the clerk who copied the Justice of the Peace’s information make a mistake? Did H. S. Lawrence, J.P., make the error in his records? In all records produced after this event, Sarah Ann’s maiden name was spelled TREADWAY.

TREADWELL or TREADWAY, that is the question!

• Daughter Ida’s 1870 birth record has as mother Sarah Jane TREADWAY, not Sarah Ann TREADWAY.2
• Son Calvin and daughter Sally’s death records have TREADWAY for the mother’s maiden name.3,4
• Finally, an unknown great-granddaughter of granddaughter Lorena Ellen CLONCH (md. 1st James Noyce SMITH, 2nd John TOMSHACK) has the family bible in which Sarah Ann is listed as TREADWAY. [For more than 10 years I haven’t been able to find out who the great-granddaughter of Lorena Ellen CLONCH is or where this statement came from. Maybe she will see this and get in touch.]

Why am I worried about one record that may have the name wrong? I wonder if the Justice of the Peace and the clerk gave the correct name on the marriage record and records produced later were in error.

To further complicate things, I don’t know who Sarah’s parents were. She has not been located in the 1850 census taken before her marriage. I’ve tried all combinations of Treadway, Treadwell, and even Tracewell. In later census records, she was listed as being born in Virginia and West Virginia. Her parents’ places of birth are also seen as Virginia or West Virginia in the census years this information is included. It is very likely that she/they was/were born in an area of Virginia that became part of West Virginia in 1863.

Opening a Little Door in a Brick Wall

As previously discussed in 52 Ancestors: #28 John COOLEY, Sarah was seen in the 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900 censuses with her husband John COOLEY.5,6,7,8

I dug a bit deeper into the 1900 census this week and made a wonderful discovery!

1900censuscooley
1900 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Falls > Belva

1900 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District, Belva Precinct
Enumerated on the 29th day of June 1900
HH #358-358
Cowley, John head W M Oct 1827 72 married 45 yrs MS MS MS day laborer
_____, Sarah wife W F Apr 1828 71 married 45 yrs mother of 12, 0 living WV WV WV
Wilson, George boarder W M Oct 1849 (sic) 50 widowed WV WV WV day laborer
_____, Jenett granddaughter W F Apr 1891 9 single WV WV WV

In my story about Sarah’s husband John, I wrote:

At first, the census listing for 1900 was overlooked as the surname was misspelled and John and his parents’ places of birth were seen as Mississippi instead of Missouri. A marriage record for John’s youngest daughter Minnie O. COOLEY helped to make the connection. Minnie married George WILSON (1849-aft. 1900) on 8 March 1900. She did not live long enough to be enumerated on the 1900 census but her widowed husband and a daughter from a previous relationship are seen living with John and Sarah COOLEY (misspelled Cowley) in Belva.

It bothered me that George WILSON was listed as widowed and a boarder in 1900 as he had married the COOLEY’s daughter Minnie three months before the census was enumerated.9 Shouldn’t he be seen as a son-in-law?

When I first found the marriage record for George WILSON and Minnie O. COOLEY I noticed that “mail Geo. Wilson” was written on the register under Remarks. When was it mailed in? Could the license have been dated 8 March 1900 but the marriage took place later, after the census?

I dug deeper and found that George WILSON was not 50 years old as seen on the marriage and census entries. He was 12 years older, born about 1838 to John G. J. and Delilah WILSON of Wood County. This was the county where Sarah and John had lived when their first child was born. Could there be another connection?

What to do? Whenever I’m at an impasse I look at the children. Sarah’s daughter Minnie O. was the mother of two illegitimate daughters.

The youngest was Ellen COOLEY whose 1894 birth record included the name of her father E. E. BAKER.10 Since she was not given the father’s surname I assume that her parents were not married. I found no trace of her after this.

The older daughter was Nettie COOLEY who was seen as Jenett in 1900 with her COOLEY grandparents. No birth record was found for her. Does the line on the census for the surname indicate a repeat of the head of the household’s surname or of the person enumerated just above her? Could George WILSON have been her father?

I followed Nettie through her marriage to Carl Iven GLENN in 1917 (no parents listed) and her death in 1926 (mother Minnie COOLEY, father not known).11,12 In the 1920 census Carl and Nettie were seen with her daughter Freda COOLEY age 8 and a brother-in-law (of the head of household) Charles E. HAYES age 8.13 As I had already laid Minnie to rest in 1900 I did not even consider that the HAYES boy could be Nettie’s brother. Then I wondered if Nettie’s father might be a HAYES but without documentation, this was only speculation.

Not considering ALL possibilities had been a big mistake! I checked the births in Mason County for the parents of Charles E. HAYES. Luckily Mason has a birth register that is typewritten and in alphabetical order – many children were recorded without their given names. In 1911 I found a male child born on 25 January 1911 to Ben and Minnie HAYSE (sic).14

A quick search of the marriage records and I had Benjamin Sterrett HAYES Jr. age 60 marrying Minnie O. WILSON age 37 on 19 October 1910, three months before the birth of the child.15 A search for Benjamin HAYES in the 1910 census clinched it! Minnie, his housekeeper, and her children Nettie and Ellen are in Benjamin’s household and listed with the BAKER surname.16 Why BAKER on the census when she used WILSON a few months later when she married? Where are Ben and Minnie in 1920? Why was Charles seen with his sister Nettie in 1920?

I knew that Nettie died in 1926 and that her widower had remarried.17,18 A search for Charles E. HAYES in the 1930 and 1940 censuses did not turn up any results. At FamilySearch using the parents’ names to search, I found Charles’ death certificate. He died in 1927, six months after his sister Nettie (both of tuberculosis), the informant was her widower Carl GLENN.19 Could this mean that Nettie raised her brother and her husband had taken over when she died?

Time to check Find A Grave, one of the last places I look for information. I should have tried there first as several of my questions were answered.

Find A Grave, Angela Harkins (#46845221) WV Mason Hambrick Cemetery Minnie O. Hayes, used with permission.

Angela Harkins (Find A Grave contributor #46845221) had photos of grave markers and information on Minnie20 and her daughter Ellen21 who married in 191222 and in 191523, had a son in 191624, and died a few days later. Her mother Minnie O. COOLEY died in 1919. There were no death records for either lady. However, the mystery of Minnie O. COOLEY’s whereabouts and death have now been solved.

Sarah’s Children

And now the information on the children of my third great-grandparents Sarah and John is more complete (47 grandchildren):

• Ch 1: Calvin COOLEY (1853-1912) was born on 10 October 1853 in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia.25 Calvin married Mary MacNeal CAMDEN (1855-1931) on 14 November 1872 in Cooper Township, Mason County, West Virginia.26 They had 10 children. Calvin died on 10 June 1912 in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio.27 His widow never remarried.

• Ch 2: Melissa F. “Lucy” COOLEY (1855-1898) was born about 1855 in Cedarville, Ohio.28 Melissa married Henry Hartman BIRD (1833-1900) on 19 March 1871 in Meigs County, Ohio.29 Henry was a widower with 4 children. Melissa and Henry had 10 children. She died on 23 March 1898 in Bashan, Meigs County, Ohio.30 Her widower is not known to have remarried.

• Ch 3: Harrison COOLEY (1859-1870) was born about 1859 in Missouri.31 Harrison died before the 1870 census.

• Ch 4: Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY (1861-1913) was born on 11 February 1861 in Ohio.32 Tobitha married Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.33 Tobitha and Alex were the parents of 9 children. She was widowed in 1910 and died on 16 December 1913.34

• Ch 5: Sarah Ann “Sallie” COOLEY (1865-1939) was born on 25 June 1865 in West Virginia.35 Sallie married Joseph Riley WAUGH (1860-1921) on 14 March 1882 in Gallia County, Ohio.36 Sallie and Joseph had 10 children. She was widowed in the 1920s and died on 7 December 1939 in Standard, Kanawha County, West Virginia.37

• Ch 6: Robert Ulysses S. Grant COOLEY (1868-1882) was born about 1868 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia. Robert died on 2 November 1882 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia.38

• Ch 7: Ida COOLEY (1870- ) was born on 5 April 1870 in Letart Township, Meigs County, Ohio.39 No record has been found for her after the 1880 census. It is not known if she ever married or had children. She is the next mystery child who needs to be solved.

• Ch 8: Minnie O. COOLEY (1873-1919) was born on 3 May 1873 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia. Minnie had two illegitimate daughters, one with E. E. BAKER.  Minnie married(1) George WILSON (1838-1900?) on 8 March 1900 in Dixie, Fayette County, West Virginia. She married(2) Benjamin Sterrett HAYES (1850-aft. 1911) on 19 Oct 1910 in Mason County, West Virginia. They had one son. Minnie died on 21 December 1919.

• Ch 9: Timothy COOLEY (1876-1913) was born on 6 June 1876 in Hannan District, Mason County, West Virginia.40 Timothy married Lilly E. CROOKSHANK (1879-1961) on 19 September 1897 in Clay County, West Virginia.41 They were the parents of five children. Timothy died in December 1912 or 1913 (not confirmed).42 His widow remarried, had two children with her 2nd husband, divorced, married again, divorced, and went back to using the COOLEY name until her death.

Sarah Ann TREADWAY died sometime after the 1900 census. No death record has been found for her or her husband John COOLEY. They were in their early 70s when the 1900 census was enumerated and it is likely that they died before the 1910 census. However, as there is still the possibility that they were missed in 1910 and died before 1920, I continue to list their death as after the 1900 census.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about how I go about solving these little problems in my family tree. I didn’t mean for this to turn into a research lesson. What would you have done differently? Your comments may help me with Sarah’s daughter Ida COOLEY.

This Post was Updated on 17 July 2022:Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio, Meigs, Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1, image 270 of 277, page 451 (stamped), 3rd entry, John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadwell, 9 Sep 1851. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-91QD-F3?cc=1614804&wc=ZRM1-N38%3A121348301%2C121348302 : accessed 25 October 2011). 
  2. “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing county courthouses, Ohio, Microfilm 313460, Meigs > Birth registers 1867-1882 vol 1 > image 104 of 345, Ida Cooley, 05 Apr 1870; citing pg 67-68 no 1515. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6DH9-MCD?cc=1932106&wc=Q6QM-SLY%3A227591901%2C227596401 : accessed 09 Jul 2014). 
  3. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” index with images, FamilySearch, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, citing digital images of originals housed at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, Film 1953420, DGS 4021197, Deaths, file no. 30701-33500, 1912 > 30701-33500 > image 2094 of 3222. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DTV3-YCW?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-K29%3A287600801%2C294473601 : accessed 7 January 2008). 
  4. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  5. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_628, Family History Library Film: 803628, Missouri, Lafayette County, Lexington P.O., page 60, sheet 274 (handwritten), lines 13-17, household 523-582, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  6. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, M593_1242, Ohio, Meigs County, Olive Township, page 42, sheet 121A (stamped), lines 26-33, household 319-304, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  7. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1408, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle, enumeration district: 91, sheet 210A (stamped), page 21, lines 1-10, household 200, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  8. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm 1241757, West Virginia, Fayette County, Falls District Belva Precinct, enumeration district 11, sheet 16B, lines 60-63, household 358-358, John Cowley (sic), (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  9. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 392, Fayette County Register of Marriages, line 7, 8 Mar 1900, George Wilson and Minnie O Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00392.jpg : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  10. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 42, Mason County Register of Births, page 342-343 (stamped, double-page spread), entry number 27, Ellen Cooley, 1 July 1894. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00042.jpg : accessed 11 July 2022). 
  11. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567397, image 271, Mason County Marriage Record, page 434 (stamped), Carl Iven Glenn and Nettie Cooley, 22 July 1917. (http://images.wvculture.org/567397/00271.jpg : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  12. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1953326, image 1962, Certificate of Death 10926, Nettie K. Glenn, 27 Aug 1926. (http://images.wvculture.org/1953326/0001962.gif : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  13. 1920 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6061/), citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls, Roll: T625_1962; West Virginia, Mason County, Archuckle, enumeration district 72, sheet 2A, lines 19-22, household 25-25, Carl Glenn (accessed 15 June 2009). 
  14. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 780, Mason County Register of Births, page 74 (stamped, double-page spread), entry 5, not named Hayse (sic, Hayes), born 25 Jan 1911. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00780.jpg : accessed 21 July 2014). 
  15. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567396, image 141, Mason County Marriage Record, page 179 (stamped), Benjamin S. Hayes and Minnie O. Wilson, 19 Oct 1910. (http://images.wvculture.org/567396/00141.jpg : accessed 7 February 2020). 
  16. 1910 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7884/), citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, Roll: T624_1689; FHL microfilm: 1375702, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle district, enumeration district 95, sheet 3B, lines 92-97, household 57-57, B S Hayes (accessed 14 July 2022). The official enumeration day of the 1910 census was 15 April 1910. 
  17. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1953326, image 1962, Certificate of Death 10926, Nettie K. Glenn, 27 Aug 1926. (http://images.wvculture.org/1953326/0001962.gif : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  18. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 494264, image 363, Mason County Marriage Record, page 63 (stamped), line 7, Carl Glenn and Macel Craze, 25 Jan 1929. (http://images.wvculture.org/494264/00363.jpg : accessed 14 July 2022). 
  19. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1953329, image 2002, Certificate of Death 1963, Charles Elmer Hayes, 17 Feb 1927. (http://images.wvculture.org/1953329/0002002.gif : accessed 20 July 2014). 
  20. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14766046/minnie-o-hayes : accessed 14 July 2022), memorial page for Minnie O Cooley Hayes (3 May 1873–21 Dec 1919), Find a Grave Memorial ID 14766046, citing Hambrick Cemetery, Mason County, West Virginia, USA; Maintained by Angela Harkins (contributor 46845221). 
  21. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/53901654/ellen-e-gearhart : accessed 14 July 2022), memorial page for Ellen E Cooley Baker Gearhart (1 Jul 1894–15 Jan 1916), Find a Grave Memorial ID 53901654, citing Harmony Cemetery, Southside, Mason County, West Virginia, USA; Maintained by Angela Harkins (contributor 46845221). 
  22. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567396, image 284, Mason County Marriage Record, page 465 (stamped), N C Hudson and Ellen E Baker, 13 Jan 1912. (http://images.wvculture.org/567396/00284.jpg : accessed 14 July 2022). 
  23. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567397, image 83, Mason County Marriage Record, page 59 (stamped), J S Gearheart and Ellen E Baker, 11 Dec 1915. (http://images.wvculture.org/567397/00083.jpg : accessed 14 July 2022). 
  24. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 567386, image 445, Mason County Register of Births, page #285, entry 4, unnamed male Gearhart child, 6 Jan 1916. (http://images.wvculture.org/567386/00445.jpg : accessed 15 July 2022). 
  25. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 580538, image 7, Wood County Register of Births, page 8 (stamped) (double-page spread), line 100 (4th line) Calvin Cooley, 10 Oct 18, parents John and Sarah Cooley, father’s occupation: sawyer. (http://images.wvculture.org/580538/00007.jpg : accessed 9 July 2014). 
  26. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567390, image 420, Mason County marriage license, certificate, and return, page 289 (stamped) Calvin Cooley and Mary M Camden married 14 Nov 1872. (http://images.wvculture.org/567390/00420.jpg : accessed 11 June 2009). 
  27. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records in the county courthouses, Franklin, Death certificates, 1912, image 1501 of 3294. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QCS-9GX?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-PQM%3A1296032501%2C1296743402 : accessed 3 July 2022). 
  28. Ibid., Meigs, Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1, image 297 of 373,  line 170 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : 30 September 2014). 
  29. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL microfilm 313455, Meigs, Marriage records 1869-1873 vol 5, image 138 of 330, page 222, reference certificate number 446, Henry H Bird and Melissa F Cooley, license dated 18 March 1871, married 19 March 1871. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-BJSM-3Q?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7YZ%3A121348301%2C121535001 : accessed 17 March 2019). 
  30. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Meigs, Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1, image 297 of 373, page 3 (stamped, double-page spread), line 170, Melissa F. Bird, 23 Mar 1898, died in Bashan, born in Cedarville, O., age at death 43 yrs 1 month 9 days, heart disease. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  31. 1860 census listing for the Cooley family in Missouri. 
  32. Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia (photos of gravemarkers taken by Heather Manley-Duncan), gravemarker of Alex Clonch Mar 2, 1842 – June 3, 1910 and Tobitha Cooley His Wife Feb 11, 1861 – Dec. 16, 1913, photographed 31 May 2014. 
  33. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL Film 317653 > Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 19 of 276, page 23 (stamped), entry 7, Alexander Clonch and Mary Ellen Lemaster married 10 November 1863 in Gallia County, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SV3N?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-V7T%3A390869322 : accessed 18 December 2013). 
  34. “United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” index and images, FamilySearch, NARA, RG 15, M850, citing microfilm of original records in The National Archives, Washington, District of Columbia., Roll 418, Film 1634453, DGS 4694973, Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 579-582 of 681, Alexander Clonch and Tabitha Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-17556-56413-13?cc=1832324&wc=M9WY-MC3:881461769 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 
  35. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  36. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL microfilm 317655, Gallia, Marriage records 1878-1884 vol 5, image 226 of 352, page 357, certificate number 1066, Joseph R. Waugh and Sarah Ann Cooley, 14 Mar 1882. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SVWQ?cc=1614804&wc=ZRH8-JWL%3A121350101%2C121595201 : accessed 9 Jul 2014). 
  37. WVCulture.org, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh. 
  38. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 250, Mason County Register of Deaths, 1882, page 553-554 (stamped, double-page spread), line 5, Robert U.S.G. Cooley, 2 Nov 1882, age at death 14 yrs 8 months, born and died Arbuckle District. “.” (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00250.jpg : accessed 25 May 2011). 
  39. Meigs County, Ohio, Birth register, page 67-68, no 1515, 5 April 1870, Ida Cooley. 
  40. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 573, Mason County Register of Deaths, page 581-582 (stamped, double-page spread), line 27, 6 Jun 1876, Timothy, Hannan District, parents John and Sarah Ann Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00573.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  41. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567443, image 360, Clay County marriage license, certificate, and return, page 264 (stamped), Timothy Cooley and Lilly E. Cruikshank 19 Sep 1897. (http://images.wvculture.org/567443/00360.jpg : accessed 3 July 2022). 
  42. “West Virginia, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985,” database with images, Ancestry, citing original data: West Virginia County, District and Probate Courts., Clerk of the County Court; Probate Place: Roane, West Virginia, Bonds, Vol 3-4, 1916-1928, page 484. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9087/images/007615578_00904?pId=83028 : accessed 3 July 2022). B.C. Cruikshank was appointed guardian of 5 children, infants being the heirs at law of Timothy Cooley, deceased, 14 September 1916. No record of death has been found for Timothy Cooley. 

52 Ancestors: #28 John COOLEY 1827-aft. 1900

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

This is entry #28 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

#28 John COOLEY 1827-aft. 1900

John COOLEY is the second brick wall in my series of posts for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. I’ve walked the full length of this brick wall searching for a door that will get me to the other side.

A small window that allows me to take a peek at what may be on the other side of this brick wall was created by Michael COOLEY, owner and administrator of Michael Cooley’s Genealogy Pages.

Michael and members of the John Cooley Mailing List work on finding information on the early American COOLEY lines and male descendants who are willing to take the Y-DNA test to prove the connections. Although the emphasis is on the male line, members may opt to discuss a female line to get around roadblocks.

My John COOLEY has been included in the list of Patrilineal Descendants of John COOLEY (ca.1740-1811) of Stokes County, North Carolina.  His line is “greyed out” as the assumed connection has not been proven. I shared information on living male descendants with Michael and hope at least one will take the Y-DNA test and be included in the Y-DNA Signatures of Early American Cooleys.

This Side of the Brick Wall

My 3rd great-grandfather John COOLEY was born in October 1827 in Missouri. I don’t know who his parents were. I know that they, or at least his mother, had to be in Missouri in late 1827 when John was born.1

The earliest record found for John was for his marriage in Meigs County, Ohio, in 1851.2

1851marriage
1851 Marriage Record of John Cooley and Sarah A. Treadwell

John COOLEY married Sarah Ann TREADWELL on Tuesday the 9th of September 1851 in Meigs County, Ohio. They were married by H. S. Lawrence, Justice of the Peace. The bride’s maiden name is most likely not correct.

There are several reasons for this belief:

• Their daughter Ida’s 1870 birth record lists Sarah Jane TREADWAY.3
• Their children Calvin and Sally’s death records list TREADWAY as the mother’s maiden name.4, 5
• Finally, a great-granddaughter of their granddaughter Lorena Ellen CLONCH (md. 1st James Noyce SMITH, 2nd John TOMSHACK) has the family bible in which Sarah Ann is listed as TREADWAY. [For more than 10 years I have not been able to find out who the great-granddaughter of Lorena Ellen CLONCH is or where this statement came from. Maybe she will see this and get in touch.]

John was not located in the 1850 census. It is not known if he left Missouri soon after his birth, before he married Sarah, or sometime in between. He could have lived anywhere between the time of his birth in 1827 and his marriage in 1851.

In 1853 John and his wife Sarah were living in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia when their first child Calvin was born.6 John’s occupation was listed as a sawyer on his son’s entry in the birth register.

Daughter Melissa F. was born about 1855 in Cedarville, Ohio, according to her death certificate.7 Was this Cedarville in Greene County or Cedarville (historical) in Clinton County? If this is reliable, Melissa may have been born while John and his little family were on their way west to Missouri. Was he going back to be with his family?

By 1860 John, a laborer had moved his family to Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri.8 John, Sarah, and their children Calvin, Melissa (seen below as Lucy), and Harrison, age omitted, were living in the boarding house of Frederick and Elizabeth King, immigrants from Germany. Young Harrison was born in Missouri.

1860Cooleycensus
1860 U.S. Federal Census > MO > Lafayette > Lexington > HH#523-582

They didn’t remain in Missouri for long as they were back in Ohio when my 2nd great-grandmother Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY was born on 11 February 1861.9

After Tobitha’s birth, John was moving his family back and forth between Mason County, West Virginia, and Meigs County, Ohio. Or at least it appears this way when comparing the places of birth of the children on the census. Sallie (b. 1865) and Robert (b. abt. 1868) are seen as born in West Virginia in the 1870 census when the family was living in Meigs County, Ohio. Ida, born in April before the census, was found in the Meigs birth register. Harrison, who was the youngest member of the family in 1860, appears to have died before the 1870 census. John,  a sawyer in 1853, is once again working in a sawmill in 1870.10

1870censuscooley
1870 U.S. Federal Census > OH > Meigs > Olive > HH #319-304

John’s oldest children began to marry in the early 1870s giving us an idea of when the move to Mason County may have become more permanent. Daughter Melissa F. “Lucy” COOLEY married Henry Hartman BIRD (1833-1900) on 19 March 1871 in Meigs County, Ohio.11 Son Calvin COOLEY married Mary MacNeal CAMDEN (1855-1931) on 14 November 1872 in Mason County, West Virginia.12 Both of these children are seen as residents of the county they married in. The move to Mason most likely was between March 1871 and November 1872.

After coming to Mason County two more children were born: Minnie O. on 3 May 1873 in Arbuckle District and Timothy on 6 June 1876 in Hannan District.13.14 Even with six children in his household in 1880 John “adopted” two young children whose mother was born in Missouri. Was their mother a sister, niece, or cousin of John COOLEY?15

1880censuscooley
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Arbuckle > Sheet 210A > HH #200

Following the 1880 census John’s daughters Tobitha and Sarah married.

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY married Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) on Thursday the 19th of August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.16 The day after their marriage, in Mason County, “a heavy storm of wind, rain, and lightning, came up. The rain poured down in torrents, with flash after flash of lightning and peal after peal of thunder. It was a fearful afternoon and got so dark that lamps had to be lighted in the business rooms. During the time the lightning struck the Court House at the extreme point of the cupula, and descending the lightning rod jumped from it to the metallic roof, and from there to the spouting, clearing away about one half of the spouting on the east side of the house, following the spouting along until it again came in contact with the rod, when the fluid passed on down the rod into the ground. The rod is probably what saved the building.17 What a dramatic day after the marriage of my 2nd great-grandparents. It must have been a good omen as the marriage lasted 30 years, until the death of Alex at age 68. And to think that five months earlier Alex’s marriage to his first wife had been dissolved at that same court house.18

Sarah Ann “Sallie” COOLEY married Joseph Riley WAUGH (1860-1921) on the 14th of March 1882 in Gallia County, Ohio.19

Unfortunately, not all news was good news during these times. John and Sarah’s 14-year-old son Robert Ulysses S. Grant COOLEY died of typho-malarial fever on 2 November 1882 in Arbuckle District.20 Malarial fever was prevalent in the area at the time. The parents may have been ill or caring for others in the family as one of Robert’s sisters gave the information on his death record. This may have been one of the older married sisters as Ida and Minnie were 10 and 8 years old at the time.

article2
Horse had to be killed.

John and his son Calvin had some bad luck with horses in 1884-1885. Calvin lost one of his team horses in June 1884. It had “died from scours, supposed to be caused from eating some weed that has made its appearance in our pastures, and of which considerable complaint is being made.21 In February of 1885 John’s horse fell on the ice on Nine Mile creek and hurt itself so badly it had to be killed.22

John’s son Timothy COOLEY married Lilly E. CRUIKSHANK (1879-1961) on 19 September 1897 in Clay County, West Virginia.23 The COOLEY and the CLONCH families most likely moved to Clay County about the same time.

John and Sarah lost a daughter Melissa F. “Lucy” BIRD who died on 23 March 1898 in Bashan, Meigs County, Ohio.24 This was also about the time that the COOLEY and the CLONCH families moved to the Dixie/Belva area of Fayette County, West Virginia.

At first, the census listing for 1900 was overlooked as the surname was misspelled and John and his parents’ places of birth were seen as Mississippi instead of Missouri. A marriage record for John’s youngest daughter Minnie O. COOLEY helped to make the connection. Minnie married George WILSON (1849-aft. 1900) on 8 March 1900.25 She did not live long enough to be enumerated on the 1900 census but her widowed husband and a daughter from a previous relationship are seen living with John and Sarah COOLEY (misspelled Cowley) in Belva.26

1900censuscooley
1900 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Falls > Belva

John and his wife Sarah were in their early 70s in 1900. Calvin, Tobitha, Sallie, and Timothy were the only children remaining. No record has been found of their daughter Ida born in 1870 and last seen in 1880.

Update 3 July 2022: Minnie Ophelia COOLEY didn’t die before the 1900 census. New information has come to light. Pieces of the puzzle need to be found before I write a post.

John and his wife were not found in the 1910 census. It’s possible that they passed away during the decade as they were getting on in age. I would have liked to have found a death record for John COOLEY with the names of his parents listed on it but that was not to be.

By the end of 1913, his daughter Sallie WAUGH was the only living child and would live 26 more years dying on 7 December 1939.27 Calvin died on 10 June 1912, Timothy died on in 1912 or 1913, and Tobitha died on 16 December 1913.28,29,30

This Post was Updated on 10 July 2022Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Census records in 1860, 1870, and 1880 consistently list Missouri as his place of birth. However, in 1900 the enumerator likely did not know the old-style abbreviation for Missouri was Mo. He wrote Ms which I don’t believe was meant to be for Mississippi that at the time was abbreviated Miss. 
  2. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio, Meigs, Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1, image 270 of 277, page 451 (stamped), 3rd entry, John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadwell, 9 Sep 1851. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-91QD-F3?cc=1614804&wc=ZRM1-N38%3A121348301%2C121348302 : accessed 25 October 2011). 
  3. “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6DH9-MCD?cc=1932106&wc=Q6QM-SLY%3A227591901%2C227596401 : 22 December 2016), Meigs > Birth registers 1867-1882 vol 1 > image 104 of 345; county courthouses, Ohio. [line 1515] 
  4. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” index with images, FamilySearch, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, citing digital images of originals housed at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, Film 1953420, DGS 4021197, Deaths, file no. 30701-33500, 1912 > 30701-33500 > image 2094 of 3222. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DTV3-YCW?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-K29%3A287600801%2C294473601 : accessed 7 January 2008). 
  5. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History, citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  6. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 580538, image 7, Wood County Register of Births, page 8 (stamped) (double-page spread), line 100 (4th line) Calvin Cooley, 10 Oct 18, parents John and Sarah Cooley, father’s occupation: sawyer. (http://images.wvculture.org/580538/00007.jpg : accessed 9 July 2014). 
  7. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing county courthouses, Ohio. Meigs, Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1, image 297 of 373,  line 170 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : 30 September 2014). 
  8. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_628, Family History Library Film: 803628, Missouri, Lafayette County, Lexington P.O., page 60, sheet 274 (handwritten), lines 13-17, household 523-582, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  9. Tabitha’s place of birth was noted as Ohio in the 1870 and 1880 censuses. The 1900 and 1910 censuses were not found. Her date of birth was engraved on her grave marker. 
  10. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, M593_1242, Ohio, Meigs County, Olive Township, page 42, sheet 121A (stamped), lines 26-33, household 319-304, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  11. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL microfilm 313455, Meigs, Marriage records 1869-1873 vol 5, image 138 of 330, page 222, reference certificate number 446, Henry H Bird and Melissa F Cooley, license dated 18 March 1871, married 19 March 1871. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-BJSM-3Q?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7YZ%3A121348301%2C121535001 : accessed 17 March 2019). 
  12. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567390, image 420, Mason County marriage license, certificate, and return, page 289 (stamped) Calvin Cooley and Mary M Camden married 14 Nov 1872. (http://images.wvculture.org/567390/00420.jpg : accessed 11 June 2009). 
  13. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 392, Fayette County Register of Marriages, line 7, 8 Mar 1900, George Wilson and Minnie O Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00392.jpg : accessed 15 June 2009)., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 542, Mason County Register of Births, page 531-532 (stamped, double-page spread), line 43, 3 May 1873, Minie O., Arbuckle District, parents John and Sarah Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00542.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  14. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 573, Mason County Register of Deaths, page 581-582 (stamped, double-page spread), line 27, 6 Jun 1876, Timothy, Hannan District, parents John and Sarah Ann Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00573.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  15. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1408, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle, enumeration district: 91, sheet 210A (stamped), page 21, lines 1-10, household 200, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  16. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL Film 317653 > Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 19 of 276, page 23 (stamped), entry 7, Alexander Clonch and Mary Ellen Lemaster married 10 November 1863 in Gallia County, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SV3N?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-V7T%3A390869322 : accessed 18 December 2013). 
  17. The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 25 Aug. 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
    <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1880-08-25/ed-1/seq-2/
  18. “Mason County, West Virginia, Circuit Court, Chancery orders, 1831-1929,” database with images, FamilySearch,  citing microfilm of originals at the county courthouse, Point Pleasant, West Virginia, Film 1861962 Item 1, DGS 7615569, Chancery orders, Vols. 4 1877-1880, image 321 of 899, Folio 274 and 275, March Term 1880. 1880 Divorce of Alexander Clonch from Mary Ellen Lemaster. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99VP-2SNQ?i=320&cat=659762 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  19. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL microfilm 317655, Gallia, Marriage records 1878-1884 vol 5, image 226 of 352, page 357, certificate number 1066, Joseph R. Waugh and Sarah Ann Cooley, 14 Mar 1882.  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SVWQ?cc=1614804&wc=ZRH8-JWL%3A121350101%2C121595201 : accessed 9 Jul 2014). 
  20. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 250, Mason County Register of Deaths, 1882, page 553-554 (stamped, double-page spread), line 5, Robert U.S.G. Cooley, 2 Nov 1882, age at death 14 yrs 8 months, born and died Arbuckle District. “.” (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00250.jpg : accessed 25 May 2011). 
  21. The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 25 June 1884. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1884-06-25/ed-1/seq-3/
  22. Ibid., 25 Feb. 1885. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1885-02-25/ed-1/seq-3/
  23. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567443, image 360, Clay County marriage license, certificate, and return, page 264 (stamped), Timothy Cooley and Lilly E. Cruikshank 19 Sep 1897. (http://images.wvculture.org/567443/00360.jpg : accessed 3 July 2022). 
  24. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Meigs > Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1 > image 297 of 373 > page 3 (stamped, double-page spread), line 170, Melissa F. Bird, 23 Mar 1898, died in Bashan, born in Cedarville, O., age at death 43 yrs 1 month 9 days, heart disease. “.” (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  25. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 392, Fayette County Register of Marriages, line 7, 8 Mar 1900, George Wilson and Minnie O Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00392.jpg : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  26. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm 1241757, West Virginia, Fayette County, Falls District Belva Precinct, enumeration dIstrict 11, sheet 16B, lines 60-63, household 358-358, John Cowley (sic), (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  27. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  28. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” Film 1953420, DGS 4021197, Deaths, file no. 30701-33500, 1912 > 30701-33500 > image 2094 of 3222. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DTV3-YCW?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-K29%3A287600801%2C294473601 : accessed 7 January 2008). 
  29. “West Virginia, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985,” index with images, Ancestry, citing West Virginia County, District and Probate Courts. Roane County (West Virginia). Clerk of the County Court, Probate, Bonds, Vol 3-4, 1916-1928, page 484, 14 September 1916, guardianship of the underage children of Timothy Cooley was granted to B.C. Cruikshank  (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9087/images/007615578_00904?pId=83028 : accessed 3 July 2022). Note: Undocumented dates of death are 11 December 1912 and 2 December 1913 however no death record has been found. 
  30. United States. Veterans Administration, “United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” index and images, FamilySearch, NARA, RG 15, M850, citing microfilm of original records in The National Archives, Washington, District of Columbia., Roll 418, Film 1634453, DGS 4694973, Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 579-582 of 681, Alexander Clonch and Tabitha Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-17556-56413-13?cc=1832324&wc=M9WY-MC3:881461769 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 

52 Ancestors: #27 Mary E. “Polly” DOSS ~ An Unwed Mother, Not a Spinster

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

This is entry #27 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Hard to believe that we are halfway through the year and beginning the 2nd half of the challenge this week.

#27 Mary E. “Polly” DOSS ~ An Unwed Mother, Not a Spinster

My 3rd great-grandmother Polly never married. She wasn’t a spinster. She couldn’t have been since she was my ancestor. She was the mother of eight children all from a bond she had with one man, my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH.

Polly was the daughter of Levina DOSS. Period. One unmarried mother in my family tree would be easy to take. But two is a bit harder. Polly’s mother Levina had up to seven children and left no trace of who the father of these children may have been. Or maybe she did leave something to identify the father(s) but it hasn’t been found [yet]. Why did these ladies, mother and daughter, never marry? Did they want to avoid total dependency on a husband?

Single Woman vs. Married Woman

Although life may have been harsh, Polly possessed more rights as a single woman than a woman who was married. A single woman had a say over certain matters in her life. She could own property, enter into contracts, act as executor of an estate, or serve as a guardian. A married woman’s legal identity essentially ceased to exist when she married. A husband owned whatever belonged to his wife with the exception of personal items such as clothes and jewelry.

Levina or Lavina

Polly was born in Pittsylvania County around 1816. Per her mother Levina DOSS’s 1820 and 1830 census details she was the 6th of 7 children in the household.1,2 The censuses are the only documents I have seen with Polly’s mother’s name – Levina. No documents have been found for Polly’s mother’s name being spelled Lavina. I believe, that since Polly named a daughter “Lavina” after her mother, others have assume that her mother’s name was also spelled this way.

Roots in Pittsylvania County, Virginia

The DOSS family has strong roots in Halifax and Pittsylvania County, Virginia. In 1762 Levina’s grandfather James DOSS received a land grant for 272 acres in Halifax County, an area soon to become part of the newly created Pittsylvania County in 1767. This land grant was located on Valentines Creek of Staunton River and shared a line with land James DOSS already owned.3 The land granted to James DOSS was surveyed for him in 1755.4

Pittsylvania County lies in south midland Virginia, bordering on the North Carolina line. Bordering counties are Bedford (northwest), Campbell (northeast), Halifax (east), Caswell in North Carolina (southeast), Rockingham in North Carolina (southwest), Henry (west/southwest), and Franklin (west/northwest). The neighboring counties are important as we find marriages of Polly’s brothers, Thomas DOSS in Caswell in 1827 and Phillip DOSS in Campbell in 1835.

Early Census Analysis

In 1820 Polly is the youngest female in Levina’s household. Other members are four brothers, an older sister, her mother, and most likely her grandmother Elizabeth DOSS née LESTER who was widowed in 1812.5

1820censusdoss
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Pittsylvania

1820 U.S. Federal Census
Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Levina Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (William b. abt. 1811 & Phillip b. abt. 1814)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (unknown son b. bet. 1804-1810)
Note: no males 16-18 yo (therefore Thomas was 19 & under 26 yo)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Thomas b. abt. 1801)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Mary E. b. abt. 1816)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (unknown daughter born bet. 1795-1804)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Levina b. abt. 1775)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (poss. mother Elizabeth b. abt. 1750)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 2
Free White Persons – Under 16: 4
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 8

Can you tell that I love to do these?

By 1830 Polly and her younger sister Elizabeth were the only children living with their mother Levina. Next door was Polly’s brother William and her uncle Eben ANGEL, a Baptist minister and husband of Levina’s sister Elizabeth.

1830censusdoss
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Pittsylvania

1830 U.S. Federal Census
Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Page No. 348
Levina Doss
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Elizabeth bet. 1821-1825)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Mary E. b. abt. 1816)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Levina, b. 1771-1775)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 3

Polly’s Siblings

Sib. 1: Thomas DOSS (abt.1801-1881) was born about 1801 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He married(1) Elizabeth EADS (abt.1802-bet.1860-1867) on 6 March 1827 in Caswell County, North Carolina.6 He married(2) Martha Forbes GORDON (1824-1881) on 28 April 1867 in Chariton County, Missouri.7 Thomas died on 1 April 1881 in Chariton County and was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in the same county.8
• Sib. 2: _____ (female) DOSS born bet. 1795-18049
• Sib. 3: _____ (male) DOSS born bet. 1804-181010
• Sib. 4: William DOSS (abt.1811-1888) was born about 1811 in Pittsylvania County. He married(1) Elizabeth BARBER (abt.1814-1898) on 12 May 1828 in Pittsylvania County.11 He married(2) Elizabeth HENRY on 28 December 1837 in Mason County.12 William died on 22 November 1888 in Mason County, West Virginia.13
• Sib 5: Phillip Valorius “Phil” DOSS (abt.1814-aft.1880) was born about 1814 in Pittsylvania County. He married Elizabeth BAILESS (abt.1815-aft.1880) on 25 December 1835 in Campbell County, Virginia.14 Phillip died after 1880.
Subject of this post: Mary E. “Polly” DOSS born about 1816 in Pittsylvania County, died bef. 1892 in Mason County, West Virginia
• Sib. 7: Elizabeth “Betsy” DOSS born bet. 1821-1825. She married(1) John CLONCH (abt.1810-bet.1844-1847) on 15 February 1842 in Gallia County, Ohio.15 She married(2) John William STEED (abt.1806-aft.1880) on 26 October 1848 in Gallia County, Ohio.16 Betsy died after 1880.

DOSS Families Move to Mason County, (West) Virginia

In the 1830s Polly and her siblings, with the exception of Phillip, moved to Mason County in what would later become West Virginia. The DOSS siblings were a tight bunch. It is not known if their mother Levina was still living and made the move with the group or if she had died and the children moved on.

William CLAUNCH (aka CLONCH), with whom Polly DOSS was living, was enumerated between her brothers William and Thomas in 1840 in Mason County.17 In William DOSS’s household was a young lady who fits the age group of their sister Elizabeth. None of the households had an older woman, and neither did their brother Phillip, who remained in Pittsylvania.18 It is believed that Levina DOSS died between 1830-1840.

1840censusdossclaunch
1840 U.S. Federal Census > (W)VA > Mason > page 214

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 214
Thomas Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (Philip, Charles & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (too old to be a son from this marriage)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Thomas)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Judah)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7
William Claunch
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mariah J.)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Polly)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 3
William Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (William & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (could this be John Clonch?)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (sister Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (wife Betsy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8

Polly’s Life with William CLONCH

In 1850 Polly DOSS is seen in William CLONCH’s household with their four children enumerated with the DOSS surname.19 The fourth child, Jeremiah age 2, is believed to have died before the 1860 census as he is not listed in that census or later mentioned in the will of William CLONCH. Jeremiah was the name of William’s grandfather.

1850censusclonch
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 422A HH#842-853

During the 1850s Polly’s oldest brother Thomas moved with his family to Chariton County, Missouri. Her brother William and sister Elizabeth remained in Mason County.

By 1860 Polly was no longer using her nickname and is seen as Mary CLAUNCH (CLONCH). She is in William’s household with their children John W., Alex, Luvina, Elizabeth, Thos. E., Joel, and Charles H. Also in the household was John W. CLARK age 64 whose relationship to the family has not been determined.20

1860censusclonch
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > District 2 > Page 46 > HH#345-316

Mary E. DOSS and her partner William CLONCH had four children before and four after the 1850 census. They are listed here with the surnames they were known to have used in later years.

• John William CLONCH (1840-1919) was born in December 1840.21
•  Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910), husband of Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY, was born on 2 March 1842.22
• Lavina Ann DOSS (1846-1945) was born about 18 March 1846.23,24,25 Note: Inconsistency concerning the date of birth is discussed in footnotes.
• Jeremiah DOSS (1847-1850) was born abt. 1847 and died bet. 1850-1860.26
• Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” CLONCH (1851-1899) born abt. 1851.27
• Joel CLONCH (1852-1910) was born abt. January 1854. 28
• Thomas Eli CLONCH (1852-1913) was born in November 1852.29
• Charles Henry CLONCH (1855-1925) was born in November 1855 (on 10 November 1855 per death record).30,31

The American Civil War period (4 Feb 1861-23 Jun 1865) brought changes for Mary E. DOSS and her family. Mary’s oldest son John William CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER (1840- ) on 20 February 1862 in Gallia County, Ohio.32

Less than a year later the father of her children, William CLONCH, died on 20 January 1863.33 William had the foresight [or maybe Mary influenced him] to write a will leaving his land to Mary and her children.34

will
1863 Last Will and Testament of William Clonch

There was a bit of trouble caused by his will. Mary’s step-daughter Mariah Jane also brought forward a will which was not admitted as and her husband contested the last will and testament. The will was admitted to probate and John and Mariah Jane PATTERSON were ordered to pay the expenses of Mary DOSS and the other legatees. The will found in the Will Book is not an original, only a copy. William left his mark on the will and Matthias LONG must have been the person who wrote the will for William. On the 1840 and 1850 censuses, both adults in the household of William CLONCH could not read and write.

Life After William

I can’t imagine what Mary’s life would have been like if William had not left her the land that her children farmed. In 1863 Mary’s daughter Lavina Ann married James William PATTERSON (1836-1911) in Point Pleasant and her son Alexander married Mary Ellen LEMASTER (1847-1921) in Gallia County, Ohio.35,36 Alex’s marriage did not last as Mary Ellen was involved with her brother-in-law John whose marriage ended in divorce in 1864 when John and Mary Ellen moved in together. [A Little “Peyton Place” (Part II)]

By 1870 only three children were living at home with Mary: Joel, Elizabeth, and Charles Henry [who was mistakenly listed as Francis].37 Next door was her sister Elizabeth DOSS with her second husband John STEED. Mary’s daughter Lavina was living with her husband in the same district several households away.

1870censusclonch
1870 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendenen > Sheet No. 147B > HH#228-230

John W. and Mary Ellen and children; Alexander and Mary Ellen’s sister Rebecca and children; and Thomas Eli, who was single, were not located in the 1870 census. John’s son Emanuel was born in February 1870 in Mason County per his death register entry which places him in the county in 1870.38 How could it be that Mary’s three sons were missed? Could they have been omitted when the census was copied? Are they on the original census?

Life may appear to have been quiet during the 1870s for Mary and her family. There were no marriages but thirteen grandchildren were born. Her daughter Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” had two children out of wedlock. Alexander [who was still legally married to Mary Ellen] fathered two more children with Rebecca LEMASTER. John fathered five children with Mary Ellen. Only Lavina’s four children born in the 1870s were legitimate.

A Divorce and Three Marriages

The 1880s began with a divorce and three marriages.

Alexander CLONCH finally divorced Mary Ellen LEMASTER in March 1880 in Mason County, West Virginia.39 I wonder if he might have taken advice from his mother. Mary may have wished that William had done the same with his wife Ann Eliza HILL so that she could marry the father of her children.

At about the same time, Charles Henry CLONCH married Nancy Susan WOODS (1864-1928) on 24 March 1880 in Gallia County, Ohio, and Thomas Eli CLONCH married Missouri Catherine SCHULTZ (1862-1942) on 14 May 1880 in Gallia County, Ohio.40,41

In 1880 Mary and all of her children except for John are enumerated on Sheet No. 245A+B in households 195-200 (Lavina), 197-202 (Alex), 198-203 (Thomas), 202-207 (Joel and Charles with their mother Mary) and 203-208 (Elizabeth Jane).42 Only Mary’s oldest son John W. CLONCH was in Cabell County with Alex’s ex-wife Mary Ellen LEMASTER with whom he now had seven children.43

1880censusclonch2
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendennin > ED 93 Sheet 245B HH#202-207

Mary’s son Alexander married Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY (1861-1913) on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.44 He was the last of her children that she would see getting married.

As harsh as life could be for single women, they ironically possessed more rights than those who married. A single woman had her own legal identity, could enter into contracts and own property, allowing her to have some say over certain matters in her life.Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_10071412_life-like-single-women-1800s.html

Mary E. DOSS died before 1892 when her children are seen selling the land left to her in William CLONCH’s 1863 will to their sister Lavina.45 All of Mary’s children, except for young Jeremiah, survived her.

Joel who had remained single finally married in 1893 at the age of 41.46 John W. at long last married his Mary Ellen in 1895.47 Betsy who had a third child out of wedlock in 1884 married a man half her age in 1899 and disappeared [I have not been able to trace her after the marriage].48

Mary E. DOSS’s children continued “to be fruitful and multiplied” bringing the total grandchildren to 60. The youngest and last surviving died in 1994.49

This Post Was Updated on 3 July 2022Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

Genealogy Sketch

Name:  Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
Parents: Levina DOSS and unknown father
Spouse: William CLONCH
Children: John W., Alexander, Lavinia Ann, Jeremiah, Elizabeth Jane, Joel, Thomas Eli, Charles Henry
Whereabouts: Pittsylvania County, VA and Mason County, WV
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandmother

1. Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
2. Alexander CLONCH
3. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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


  1. 1820 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7734/), citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll: M33_140, Virginia, Pittsylvania County, page 827, sheet 75 (76 stamped on next page), line 33, Levina Doss (accessed 3 July 2014). 
  2. 1830 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8058/), citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Nara Roll M19_201, FHL Film: 0029680, Virginia, Pittsylvania County, page 348(double-page spread), line 18, Levina Doss (accessed 3 July 2014). 
  3. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants” (index and images from microfilm), Library of Virginia Archives (https://lva-virginia.libguides.com/land-grants), Virginia State Land Office, Grants A-Z, 1-124, reels 42-190; Virginia State Land Office, Grants 125- , reels 369-. The collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Patents No.34, 1756-1765, (VOL.1, VOL.2, VOL.3, & VOL.4), page 1084, Reel 033_0572, James Doss land grant, 25 September 1762, 272 acres on Valentines Creek of Staunton River in Halifax County. (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/altrmk/alma990007479520205756 : accessed 28 June 2022) Note: incorrectly indexed as Boss. 
  4. Halifax County (Virginia). County Surveyor, “Survey and plat books, 1746-1901, 1975-1976; general indexes, 1747-1966,”, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Halifax County Courthouse in Halifax, Virginia, Film 31940, DGS 8151700, Survey book, v. 1 1751-1901, image 167 of 288, page 132, 25 April 1755 survey of 272 acres for James Doss.  (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKJ-9SLN-M?i=166&cat=367219 : accessed 28 June 2022). 
  5. “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/62347/), citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Pittsylvania > Accounts Current, No 5-7, 1812-1824 > image 83+84 of 769, Book 5, pages 139-140, Inventory of James Doss dated 16 November 1812 pursuant to an order of the Pittsylvania Court bearing date of September Court 1812. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007646034_00083 : accessed 9 June 2019). 
  6. “North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing North Carolina State Archives Division of Archives and History, FHL microfilm 478485, Caswell > Marriage bonds, 1780-1868, vol D > image 202 of 273. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D14N-JB?cc=1726957&wc=QD8P-6KH%3A1588772755%2C1588773214 : accessed 1 July 2022). 
  7. “Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002,” database with images, Ancestry, citing original data: Missouri Marriage Records. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives, Chariton > Record images for Chariton > 1821-1888 > image 141 of 435 > page 111. (https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/8814536:1171? : accessed 27 December 2012). 
  8. Find A Grave, database and images. (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11078817/thomas-doss : accessed 01 July 2022), memorial page for Thomas Doss (1801–1 Apr 1881), Find a Grave Memorial ID 11078817, citing Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Musselfork Township, Chariton County, Missouri, USA; maintained by Vivian Pattee (contributor 46577214). 
  9. 1820 U.S. Federal Census analysis seen in this post under the heading, “Early Census Analysis.” 
  10. Ibid. 
  11. “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” database with images, FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 33326, Marriage bonds book, 1767-1861; Marriage bonds book, no. 1, 1767-1861, page 91, William Doss and Betsey Barber, 12 May 1828; citing Pittsylvania, Virginia. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99LX-MHDP?i=143 : accessed 1 July 2022). 
  12. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567389, image 20, Mason County marriages, page 32, line 2, William Doss and Elizabeth Henry 28 Dec 1837. (http://images.wvculture.org/567389/00020.jpg : accessed 26 October 2019). 
  13. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 381, Mason County Register of Deaths, page 26 (stamped, double-page spread), entry 77, William Doss, died 22 Nov 1888, age 77. (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00381.jpg : accessed 15 November 2018). 
  14. “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” database with images, FamilySearch, FHL Film Number: 31050, Book 1, page 44, line 17, Phillip Doss and Elizabeth Bailiss married 25 Dec 1835 in Campbell County, VIrginia. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-V6Y7?i=268&cat=281365 : accessed 1 July 2022). 
  15. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio, Gallia > Marriage records 1803-1843 vol 1 > image 213 of 240 > Record of Marriages of Meigs County, page 400 (stamped), 4th entry, 15 Sep 1842, John Clonch and Elizabeth Doss. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-S2Q4?i=212&cc=1614804 : accessed 21 June 2022). 
  16. Ibid., Gallia > Marriage records 1843-1862 vol 2 > image 53 of 238, page 123, entry 3, Steed, John md. Clontch, Elizabeth on 26 October 1848 in Gallia County, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-S2TC?cc=1614804&wc=ZRCJ-T38%3A121350101%2C121462701 : accessed 1 July 2022). 
  17. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029689; NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Mason; image 4+5 of 69, Sheet 214A+B, line 8-10, William Doss, William Claunch, and Thomas Doss (accessed 13 January 2019). 
  18. Ibid., NARA Roll: M704_573, FHL Film: 0029691, Virginia, Pittsylvania, Regiment 107, page 91 (double-page spread), line 22, Phillip Doss (accessed 5 May 2009). The official enumeration day of the 1840 census was 1 June 1840. “.” 
  19. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_959, West Virginia, Mason County, District 38, Sheet No. 422A, lines 18-23, household 842-853, William Clonch (accessed 13 January 2019). 
  20. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1361, FHL Film: 805361, West Virginia, Mason County, District 2, Page No. 46, lines 21-30, household 345-316, Wm Claunch (accessed 13 January 2019). 
  21. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, Roll: 1756, FHL microfilm: 1241756, West Virginia, Cabell County, Barboursville, enumeration district 2, sheet 4B, lines 83-90, household 78-82, John W. Clonch (accessed 15 March 2019). 
  22. Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia (photos of gravemarkers taken by Heather Manley-Duncan), gravemarker of Alex Clonch Mar 2, 1842 – June 3, 1910, and Tobitha Cooley His Wife Feb 11, 1861 – Dec. 16, 1913, photographed 31 May 2014. 
  23. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983804, image 290, Certificate of Death 9284, Lavina Patterson b. 18 March 1838 (sic) d. 1 Aug 1945. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983804/0000290.gif : accessed 20 June 2022). 
  24. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Roll T623_1765, FHL microfilm: 1241765, West Virginia, Mason County, Clendenin, enumeration district 50, sheet 14A, lines 9-14, household 230-231, Luvina Patterson (accessed 20 June 2022). 
  25. When Lavina died the family added several years to her age at death on her death records and in a newspaper article. She was tooted as the oldest person in Mason County when she died at the age of 109 years! An exaggeration of 10 years as she was not quite 100 at the time of her death. The 18 March 1838 date seen on her death certificate is incorrect and off by 8 years. Lavina Ann Doss consistently gave her true age on the census except in 1930. In 1900 she gave March 1846 as her month and year of birth. Her date of birth has been estimated at about 18 March 1846. 
  26. He was enumerated with his family on the 1850 census as a 2-year-old. No records of birth or death have been found. 
  27. She was seen in the census: 1850 age 9, 1860 age 15, and 1880 age 29. 
  28. He was seen in the census: 1860 age 6, 1870 age 14, 1880 age 25, 1900 age 46 born Jan 1854 (indexed as 1864 however calculation of age would be 1854), and 1910 age 60. 
  29. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Roll T623_1765, FHL microfilm: 1241765, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle, enumeration district 49, sheet 10B, lines 55-66, household 189-189, Thomas Clonch (accessed 7 February 2020). 
  30. WVculture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 129, Register of Births for Mason County, page 18 (double-page spread), line 3, Nov 1856, Charles Clonch. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00129.jpg : accessed 20 June 2022). 
  31. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, citing digital images of originals housed at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, Film 1992616, DGS 4001611, Deaths, file no. 11801-14700, 1925, image 2895 of 3251, Certificate of Death 14375, Charles Henry Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GPKX-K36?i=2894&cc=1307272 : accessed 7 February 2020). 
  32. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016, Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 14 of 276. John W. Clonch and Jane Foster, 20 Feb 1862. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-SKRT?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7R2%3A121350101%2C121498701 : accessed 18 Dec 2013). 
  33. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 168, Mason County Register of Deaths, 1862-1863, line 24, William Clonch, 20 Jan 1863, typhoid fever, parents not known, born Kanawha County, Va., gunsmith, consort of Mary Clonch. (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00168.jpg : accessed 15 December 2009). 
  34. “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). Transcribed by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, 25 September 2011. 
  35. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567389, image 218, West Virginia, Mason County Register of Marriages, page 120, James Wm Patterson and Lavina Ann Doss, 16 July 1863 at the Virginia House in Point Pleasant. (http://images.wvculture.org/567389/00218.jpg : accessed 25 January 2019). 
  36. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016, FHL Film 317653 > Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 19 of 276, page 23 (stamped), entry 7, Alexander Clonch and Mary Ellen Lemaster married 10 November 1863 in Gallia County, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SVR3?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7R2%3A121350101%2C121498701 : accessed 19 February 2019). 
  37. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1692, West Virginia, Mason County, Clendenin, page 32, sheet 147B, household 228-230, lines 30-33, Mary Clonch (accessed 5 July 2014). 
  38. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 559881, image 101, Mason County Register of Deaths, page 96 (stamped, double-page spread), line 11, Manuel Clonch, died 10 Aug 1894, born Mason County. (http://images.wvculture.org/559881/00101.jpg : accessed 14 November 2007). 
  39. “Mason County, West Virginia, Circuit Court, Chancery orders, 1831-1929” (database with images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of originals at the county courthouse, Point Pleasant, West Virginia.), Film 1861962 Item 1, DGS 7615569, Chancery orders, Vols. 4 1877-1880, image 321 of 899, Folio 274 and 275, March Term 1880. 1880 Divorce of Alexander Clonch from Mary Ellen Lemaster. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99VP-2SNQ?i=320&cat=659762 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  40. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016, FHL microfilm 317655, Gallia > Marriage records 1878-1884 vol 5 > image 114 of 352, page 156 (stamped), No. 463, Clonch, Charles H. md. Woods, Nancy F. on 24 March 1880 in Gallia County, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-22512-70651-21?cc=1614804 : accessed 29 June 2014). 
  41. Ibid., FHL microfilm 317655, Gallia > Marriage records 1878-1884 vol 5 > image 120 of 352, page 168 (stamped), No. 500, Clonch, Thomas E. md. Shultz, Missouri C. on 14 May 1880 in Gallia County, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22512-71421-72?cc=1614804 : accessed 29 June 2014). 
  42. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1408, West Virginia, Mason County, Clendennin, enumeration district 93, page 22, sheet 245A+B in households 195-200 (Lavina), 197-202 (Alex), 198-203 (Thomas), 202-207 (Joel and Charles with their mother Mary) and 203-208 (Elizabeth Jane) (accessed 13 August 2007). 
  43. Ibid., Roll: 1401, West Virginia, Cabell County, Guyandotte, enumeration district 18, sheet 175C, lines 1-9, household 24-24, John W. Clonch (accessed 15 March 2019). The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. 
  44. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016, Marriage records (Gallia County, Ohio), 1803-1955 ; index, 1803-1950 > Marriages, v. 5 1878-1884 > image 132 of 352 > page 193 > no. 576 > Alexander Clonch and Tabitha Cooley, 19 August 1880. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SV3N?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-V7T%3A390869322 : accessed 18 December 2013). 
  45. “Mason County, West Virginia, County Clerk, Deed books, 1803-1901,” database with images, FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Mason County Courthouse), 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). 
  46. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016, FHL microfilm 317657, Gallia > Marriage records 1890-1895 vol 7 > image 214 of 339, page 342 (stamped), No. 1026, Joel Clonch and Emma Ames, 08 Feb 1893; in Gallia, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22512-98081-62?cc=1614804 : accessed 27 March 2014). 
  47. Ibid., FHL FIlm 317658, Gallia > Marriage records and index 1895-1899 vol 8., page 5 (stamped), No. 15, John W. Clonch married Mary Lemasters on 7 May 1895 in Gallia County, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22447-41148-85?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-VH7:315901437 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 
  48. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567394, image 35, Mason County marriage license, certificate, and return, page 31, Joseph White and Betsy J. Clonch married 14 Dec 1899. (http://images.wvculture.org/567394/00035.jpg : accessed 11 September 2011). 
  49. “New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017,” index only, Ancestry, citing original data: Death Indexes. New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey, Year Range: 1994; Surname Range: A-F; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000; Name: Sylvia V Clonch, Age: 84, Birth Date: 20 Aug 1909, Death Date: 23 May 1994, Death Place: New Jersey, USA. 

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

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

This is entry #26 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. It’s hard to believe the first half of this wonderful challenge is ending this week.

#26 William CLONCH abt. 1807-1863

On the 17th of January 1863, my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH wrote his Last Will and Testament.1

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 and I do will Mariah Jane Petterson three Dollars and I do will John William Doss one horse and Alexander Doss one young mare and Loving Ann one 2 year old Colt and my tools and implements stay on the farm of all kinds to stay on the farm for the use of the family and I have made this my will and do acknowledge the same to be my volunter act and have this the day above written caused my name to be written and have fixed my mark and seal to be made.
William -his mark- Clonch
Attest
Matthias Long
Mary Ellen -her mark- Doss
Sarah Jane -her mark- Doss
in addition to the foregoing will it is my will that Thomas Doss Has My Big Gun.

Mary E. DOSS and William CLONCH were never married and the children mentioned are the children born in the relationship. The five sons and daughter Elizabeth Jane used the CLONCH surname following William’s death. Only their daughter Lovina Ann used the DOSS surname when she married a year later in 1863.2

I believe there is a reason why William and Mary never married. This being that Ann Eliza HILL, the woman he married in 1832, was still living and had likely not divorced him.3 She was the mother of Mariah Jane mentioned in the will. This is a complicated story that I will get to as we go back in time.

After drawing up his will, William CLONCH died three days later on 20 January 1863 in Mason County, (West) Virginia, of typhoid fever.4 His occupation was listed as a gunsmith. The informant was Mary CLONCH, his widow. His widow? They lived together for over 20 years and had 8 children together, does this make her his widow?

Was Mary CLONCH the same person as Mary E. DOSS seen in his will? I would say yes as she was seen with him in the 1860 census as Mary CLONCH and in the 1850 census as Polly DOSS.

Two months later William’s will was presented at a court held for the county of Mason at the courthouse:5

At a Court held for the County of Mason at the courthouse therof on Monday the 2nd day of March 1863.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of William Clonch deceased, was this day produced in Court and proven by the oaths of Matthias Long, Mary Ellen Doss, and Sarah Jane Doss, the subscribing Witnesses thereto, who made oath that said writing was signed and acknowledged by the said William Clonch by his marking his mark thereto, and at the same time acknowledging the same as and for his last Will and Testament in their presence and at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other, they signed their names as witnesses thereto, and that the said Testator was of sound mind and disposing memory to the best of their knowledge, and belief. Whereupon it is ordered that said writing be recorded and admitted to probate, as and for the last Will and Testament of the said William Clonch decd.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.

Mariah Jane and her husband John PATTERSON also tried to present a writing they purported to be the last will and testament of William CLONCH after the first had been applied. came to court with a motion to reverse the judgment on the will presented.6

John Patterson and Maria Jane Pattersons Children and heirs at law of William Clonch deceased having come into court after the application had been made to Submit a certain writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of said Clonch to probate moved the court to recind their Judgement on said Application. And thereupon the Court having condisered thereof doth reconsider the same, and doth continue the further hearing of the same to the next term of this court.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.

A month later at the next term of court, the hearing was continued and a decision was made concerning the writing purporting to be William CLONCH’s last will and testament:7

At a court held for the County of Mason, at the Courthouse thereof on Monday the 6th day of April 1863.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of William Clonch deceased, bearing date on the 17th day of January 1863 was this day again produced in Court by Mary Doss and other legatees named in said will, in order to be proved: and John Patterson and Maria Jane Patterson his wife appeared by Charles P. T. Moore Esq. their Attorney and opposed the proof of the said Will. Whereupon divers Witnesses were sworn and examined and the parties aforesaid, by their counsel fully hears; on consideration whereof it is the opinion of the court, that the said William Clonch deceased, at the time of executing the writing dated on the 17th day of January 1863 was of sound and disposing Mind and Memory, and that he was under no influence, And Matthias Long, Mary Ellen Doss, and Sarah Jane Doss, subscribing witnesses to the said writing, having testified in court, that the said William Clonch signed and published the same in their presence as and for his last Will and Testament, that they subscribe their names as witnesses thereto in the presence of the said Testador, and in the presence of each other, and at his request, and that the said Testador was of sound mind and memory as far as they knew or believed; it is ordered that the said writing bearing date as aforesaid, be recorded as and for the last Will and Testament of the said William Clonch, deceased, Except the memorandum thereto annexed, and that same be also admitted to probate. And it further ordered by the court, that the said John Patterson, and Maria Janes Patterson, pay to the said Mary Doss and other legatees in said Will their costs by them in this behalf expensed.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.

The will was admitted to probate and John and Mariah Jane PATTERSON were ordered to pay the expenses of Mary DOSS and the other legatees. Did Mariah Jane’s $3 inheritance cover the costs?

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.8

In Mason County deed book 53, page 202, a deed 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 this record, 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. 

UPDATES: 
18 January 2019: I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks!
25 January 2019: The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia
1 February 2019: The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia – Part 2
8 February 2019: William CLONCH’s Estate – and It Gets More Complicated 

Moving Backwards

With his last will and testament out of the way, I can continue back through the years and hopefully answer some of the questions about the relationship William CLONCH had with Mary DOSS.

1860censusclonch
1860 Census listing for William Claunch and family

William was last seen in the 1860 census9, his surname spelled CLAUNCH, with his inferred wife Mary and their children John W., Alex, Luvina, Elizabeth, Thos. E., Joel, and Charles H. Also in his household was John W. CLARK, age 64. Unfortunately, before 1880, the relationship to a head of household was not noted in the census. Therefore the connection of the family to John W. CLARK is unknown.

1850censusclonch
1850 Census listing for William Clonch and family

In 1850 William CLONCH  is seen with Polly DOSS and four DOSS children.10 Three of these are the same as seen in 1860  with the CLAUNCH name. The fourth DOSS child, Jeremiah age 2, is believed to have died before the 1860 census as he is not listed in that census or mentioned in the will. Jeremiah was the name of William’s paternal grandfather.

Now that we’ve seen the 1850 and 1860 census, here is a complete list of the children William had with Mary E. “Polly” DOSS:

• John William CLONCH (1840-1919) was born in December 1840.11
•  Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910), husband of Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY, was born on 2 March 1842.12
• Lavina Ann DOSS (1846-1945) was born about 18 March 1846.13,14,15 Note: Inconsistency concerning the date of birth is discussed in footnotes.
• Jeremiah DOSS (1847-1850) was born abt. 1847 and died bet. 1850-1860.16
• Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” CLONCH (1851-1899) born abt. 1851.17
• Joel CLONCH (1852-1910) was born abt. January 1854. 18
• Thomas Eli CLONCH (1852-1913) was born in November 1852.19
• Charles Henry CLONCH (1855-1925) was born in November 1855 (on 10 November 1855 per death record).20,21

MRIN00536 1945 Lavina Patterson death announcement
Charleston Daily Mail, August 3, 1945

Lavina Ann and Jeremiah never used the CLONCH or CLAUNCH surname. In 1945 Lavina, the last surviving child of William CLONCH died. The informant on her death certificate didn’t know who her father was. Polly DOSS was listed as the mother.22 Her relatives boasted that she was 109 years old when she died. Her age on her death certificate was 106 years 4 months 18 days. She was actually 10 years younger than the age in this clipping — but still, nearly 100 when she died!23

In the Beginning

My 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH was the son of Dennis CLONCH and Nancy BEASLEY. They were married on 8 November 1803 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.24 They moved to Kanawha County, Virginia [now West Virginia],  about 1806 as Dennis was on the tax lists of Mecklenburg County in 1805 and of Kanawha County in 1806 and 1809.25 He was on the 1810 Kanawha County census with his wife and three children: William and his older sister Elizabeth and another female who remains unidentified.26 Dennis died during the 1810s as his wife Nancy was the head of household in 1820 through 1840 in Mason County.27,28,29

William had three known siblings and possibly one unknown sister:

Sib 1: _____ CLONCH (female), born bet. 1805-1809 in Kanawha County. This sister remains unidentified and is reflected in the 1810 and 1820 censuses.
Sib 2: Elizabeth CLONCH, born bet. 1805-1809 in Kanawha County. She married Meridith PARSONS (1805- ) on 26 February 1825 in Mason County, (West) Virginia.30 She died before 1840.
Subject of this post: William CLONCH was born about 1807 in Kanawha County.
Sib 3: John CLONCH was born about 1810 in Kanawha County. He married Elizabeth DOSS (1817-1880) on 15 September 1842 in Gallia County, Ohio.31 He died between 1844-1847 most likely in Mason County.
Sib 4: Sarah CLONCH was born about 1811 in Kanawha County. She married William WILLIAMS (1808-the 1850s) on 4 January 1832 in Mason County.32 After his death and before 1860 she married James William GALLIWAY (1832-1880).33

The Years in Between

William CLONCH of Mason County, Virginia, married Ann Eliza HILL (1812-1895) of Gallia County, Ohio, on 20 August 1832 in Gallia County, Ohio.34

claunchhillmarriage
1832 Marriage record of William Claunch and Ann Eliza Hill

By 1840 William and Ann Eliza were living in separate households in two states.35,36

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 214
Claunch, William
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (William)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Mariah)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Mary)
3 persons in household
1 person engaged in agriculture

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

William did not have children in his 1850 household who would have been old enough to also be seen in 1840. So what are we seeing in these listings? Apparently, William and Ann Eliza broke up and William took Mariah Jane who was born about the time that her parents were married. Mary E. DOSS may be the woman living in William’s household as she would be giving birth to their first child John William CLONCH in December 1840. But who are the young boys seen with “Eliza CLAUNCH” in Gallia County?

When researching our family history we never know what bones we may dig up that might have best been kept buried. This lady intrigued me enough to search further. As far as I could tell most CLONCH researchers believed that Ann Eliza HILL died or divorced William CLONCH, however, no record of divorce was found.

Imagine my surprise when I found a record for Anna Eliza CLAUNCH, widow of Wm. C. CLAUNCH, marrying Andrew GAUSE on 26 March 1842 in Kanawha County, Virginia.37

1842marriage1
1842 Marriage Return for Andrew Gause and Anna Eliza Claunch (part 1)
1842marriage2
1842 Marriage Return for Andrew Gause and Anna Eliza Claunch (part 1)

Could this be a coincidence or was this the same lady who married William in 1832? Ann Eliza HILL’s husband William CLAUNCH (later seen as CLONCH) did not die between the time of the 1840 census and her remarriage on 26 March 1842. Why did she give this false statement? When William made his will in 1862 he mentioned only his daughter Mariah Jane from his marriage to Ms. HILL – no sons!

Mariah Jane CLONCH (1831-1863) was born bet. 1831-1833 in Mason County, (West) Virginia, married John PATTERSON (1814-1863) before the 1850 census. Mariah Jane and her husband John were last seen in April 1863 when her father’s will was recorded in court and they were ordered to pay expenses. They have not been located in the 1870 census. Three of their five children (their daughters but not their sons) and two daughters from John’s previous marriage were located. It has been assumed that Mariah Jane and John died bet. 1863-1870.38

What about the boys seen with Ann Eliza in the 1840 census? Since the pre-1850 censuses name only the head of household, we cannot be sure that the boys were even related to Ann Eliza. But what if they were her children? The older boy, or one of about the same age, was found with her in 1850 (Thomas J.)  along with her new husband and younger children. The youngest of the two boys in 1840 was not with her in 1850.39 Her story does not end here as I followed her until her death. It will be saved for another day.

In 1850 John W. CLARK, who was seen with the William CLONCH family in 1860, had his own household.40 In this household was only Nancy CLONCH age 75 and Dennis CLONCH age 12. How is Dennis related to William CLONCH and his mother Nancy CLONCH? Could he be Ann Eliza’s younger son?

1850censusclark
1850 census listing for John W. Clark with Nancy Clonch and Dennis Clonch

The young boy named Dennis CLONCH enumerated in the 1850 census appears to be a grandson of Nancy BEASLEY and DENNIS CLONCH. But who was his father? Earlier researchers believed him to be the son of William’s brother John CLONCH. John did not have his own household in 1840 and may have been in his mother’s household. He married in 1842 and died between 1844-1847; his widow remarried in 1847. Since John died before the 1850 census it was assumed by others that Dennis was his son as he was living with Nancy CLONCH.

It is my belief that Dennis was the son of Ann Eliza HILL and may not have been acknowledged by her husband William CLONCH. Was Dennis the result of an extramarital relationship that caused the breakup of their marriage?

Dennis (1838-1893) was born on 8 March 1838 in (West) Virginia.41 Dennis CLONCH married Mary Ann BAKER (1842-1920) on 16 November 1858 in Gallia County, Ohio.42 They had a son named John William CLONCH born on 19 March 1860 and died on 9 February 1861.43,44 The first name given to the child may have been what caused an earlier researcher to assume that he was the son of John. Dennis began using the HILL surname as late as 21 February 1862 when he enlisted in the Union Regular Army at Gallipolis, Ohio.45 Neither Dennis CLONCH nor Dennis HILL was mentioned in the will of William CLONCH in 1863. He moved to Missouri about 1871 and died in Miami, Saline County, Missouri on 31 July 1893.46

Postscript I:

Over a dozen years ago when Ralph Hayes shared his research and the scandalous happenings in the CLONCH family, he wrote, “Now wasn’t that a little Peyton’s Place.” Last December I used his phrase as the title of two blog posts about the “scandals”:
A Little “Peyton Place” (Part I) and A Little “Peyton Place (Part II).

Postscript II:

I thought this would be an easy write-up. Writing in chronological order didn’t work as I kept getting hung up on the wife’s part in the story. But the wife was not my ancestor. I wanted Polly to have a larger part in William’s story than his wife had. How did I do?

Mary E. “Polly” DOSS, my 3rd great-grandmother, will be the leading lady of next week’s 52 Ancestors installment.

This Post Was Updated on 26 June 2022Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Wiliam 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

© 2014-2022, 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). Transcribed by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, 25 September 2011. 
  2. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567389, image 218, West Virginia, Mason County Register of Marriages, page 120, James Wm Patterson and Lavina Ann Doss, 16 July 1863 at the Virginia House in Point Pleasant. (http://images.wvculture.org/567389/00218.jpg : accessed 25 January 2019). 
  3. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio, Gallia > Marriage records 1803-1843 vol 1 > image 118 of 240 > Record of Marriages of Meigs County, page 220 (stamped), 2nd entry, 20 Aug 1832, William Claunch and Ann Eliza Hill. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-S2C5?cc=1614804&wc=Z51G-N38%3A121350101%2C121422401 : accessed 20 June 2022). 
  4. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 168, Mason County Register of Deaths, 1862-1863, line 24, William Clonch, 20 Jan 1863, typhoid fever, parents not known, born Kanawha County, Va., gunsmith, consort of Mary Clonch. (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00168.jpg : accessed 15 December 2009). 
  5. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875, page 166, presentation of will to the court. 
  6. Idem., page 167, the Pattersons’ contest of the will. After several read-throughs of the text, I have come to the conclusion that the Pattersons only came to court to contest the will presented and didn’t actually produce another writing. 
  7. Idem., page 167, the decision of the court concerning the wills. 
  8. “Mason County, West Virginia, County Clerk, Deed books, 1803-1901” (database with images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Mason County Courthouse), 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). 
  9. 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, page 46, lines 21-30, household 345-316, Wm Claunch (accessed 13 January 2019). 
  10. 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 County, District 38, sheet 422A, lines 18-23, household 842-853, William Clonch (accessed 13 January 2019). 
  11. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, Roll: 1756, FHL microfilm: 1241756, West Virginia, Cabell County, Barboursville, enumeration district 2, sheet 4B, lines 83-90, household 78-82, John W. Clonch (accessed 15 March 2019). 
  12. Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia (photos of gravemarkers taken by Heather Manley-Duncan), gravemarker of Alex Clonch Mar 2, 1842 – June 3, 1910, and Tobitha Cooley His Wife Feb 11, 1861 – Dec. 16, 1913, photographed 31 May 2014. 
  13. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983804, image 290, Certificate of Death 9284, Lavina Patterson b. 18 March 1838 (sic) d. 1 Aug 1945. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983804/0000290.gif : accessed 20 June 2022). 
  14. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Roll T623_1765, FHL microfilm: 1241765, West Virginia, Mason County, Clendenin, enumeration district 50, sheet 14A, lines 9-14, household 230-231, Luvina Patterson (accessed 20 June 2022). 
  15. When Lavina died the family added several years to her age at death on her death records and in a newspaper article. She was tooted as the oldest person in Mason County when she died at the age of 109 years! An exaggeration of 10 years as she was not quite 100 at the time of her death. The 18 March 1838 date seen on her death certificate is incorrect and off by 8 years. Lavina Ann Doss consistently gave her true age on the census except in 1930. In 1900 she gave March 1846 as her month and year of birth. Her date of birth has been estimated at about 18 March 1846. 
  16. He was enumerated with his family on the 1850 census as a 2-year-old. No records of birth or death have been found. 
  17. She was seen in the census: 1850 age 9, 1860 age 15, and 1880 age 29. 
  18. He was seen in the census: 1860 age 6, 1870 age 14, 1880 age 25, 1900 age 46 born Jan 1854 (indexed as 1864 however calculation of age would be 1854), and 1910 age 60. 
  19. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Roll T623_1765, FHL microfilm: 1241765, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle, enumeration district 49, sheet 10B, lines 55-66, household 189-189, Thomas Clonch (accessed 7 February 2020). 
  20. WVculture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 129, Register of Births for Mason County, page 18 (double-page spread), line 3, Nov 1856, Charles Clonch. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00129.jpg : accessed 20 June 2022). 
  21. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, citing digital images of originals housed at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, Film 1992616, DGS 4001611, Deaths, file no. 11801-14700, 1925, image 2895 of 3251, Certificate of Death 14375, Charles Henry Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GPKX-K36?i=2894&cc=1307272 : accessed 7 February 2020). 
  22. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983804, image 290, Certificate of Death 9284, Lavina Patterson b. 18 March 1838 (sic) d. 1 Aug 1945. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983804/0000290.gif : accessed 20 June 2022). 
  23. Charleston Daily Mail, August 3, 1945, “Woman, 109, Succumbs”(http://access.newspaperarchive.com/ : accessed 30 March 2014) 
  24. Mecklenburg County (Virginia). County Clerk, “Marriage bonds, 1770-1912,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library & Archives in Richmond, Virginia, Film 1870762, DGS 7734579, Marriage bonds, C (con’t.)-G (con’t.) 1770-1810, images 36+37 of 902 (cover and bond), 1803 Dennis Claunch and William Justice bond for the marriage of William Claunch and Nancy Beasley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C91S-R9FS?i=36&cc=2134304&cat=641904 : accessed 20 March 2021). 
  25. At the time this was written, the personal property tax lists were not available online. Since about 2021, they are now online at FamilySearch. The Kanawha Personal Property Lists show Dennis was in Kanawha from 1806 to 1817. This places his possible death at between 1817 and the 1820 census in either Kanawha or Mason. As of 18 March 2021 I changed Dennis Clonch’s estimated date of death from bet. 1811 and 1820 to bet. 17 March 1817 and 7 August 1820. 
  26. 1810 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7613/), citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, Roll: 69, Family History Library Film: 0181429, Virginia, Kanawha, image 411, page 135, line 10, Denis Clounch household ( accessed 9 December 2014). 
  27. 1820 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7734/), citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll: M33_138, Image: 135, Virginia, Mason, page 121, first line, Nancy Claunch household (accessed 13 December 2014). 
  28. 1830 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8058/), citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Nara Roll M19_198, FHL Film: 0029677, Virginia, Mason County, page 138 (double-page spread), line 13, Nancy Clonch (accessed 13 Dec 2014). 
  29. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, NARA Roll: M704_568, FHL Film: 0029689, Virginia, Mason County, page 219 (double-page spread), line 17, Nancy Clonch (accessed 15 December 2014). 
  30. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm /567389, image 10, Mason County marriages, line 10, Meridith Parsons and Elizabeth Clonch 6 Feb 1825 by William R. Gould. (http://images.wvculture.org/567389/00010.jpg : accessed 18 June 2022). 
  31. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016, Gallia > Marriage records 1803-1843 vol 1 > image 213 of 240 > Record of Marriages of Meigs County, page 400 (stamped), 4th entry, 15 Sep 1842, John Clonch and Elizabeth Doss. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-S2Q4?i=212&cc=1614804 : accessed 21 June 2022). 
  32. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567389, image 17, Mason County marriages, line 8, William Williams and Sarah Clonch 4 Jan 1832 married by Daniel Smithers. (http://images.wvculture.org/567389/00017.jpg : accessed 18 June 2022). 
  33. Seen in the census with James William Galliway in 1860 and 1880 (1870 missing?) and named Sarah Galloway in a suit in November 1883 against her heirs. 
  34. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-S2C5?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7GH%3A121350101%2C121422401 : 15 July 2014), Gallia > Marriage records 1803-1843 vol 1 > image 118 of 240; county courthouses, Ohio. 
  35. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, FHL Film 0029689; NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Mason; image 4+5 of 69, Sheet 214A+B, line 9, William Claunch (accessed 13 January 2019). 
  36. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, FHL Film: 0020165, Ohio, Gallia County, Gallipolis City, page 42 (stamped on second page, double-page spread), line 1, Eliza Claunch (accessed 26 June 2022). 
  37. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages 1853-1970, FHL Film 521719, DGS 4226396, 1842 Marriage Return for Andrew Gause and Anna Eliza Claunch. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12568001&Type=Marriage : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  38. There is a possibility that the younger of John Patterson’s daughters from his assumed first marriage, Catherine Amanda Patterson, may have been his and Mariah’s first child. Several descendants of Mandy, as she was seen in some records, show distant DNA matches in common with matches who descend from William CLONCH and Mary “Polly” DOSS. Mariah would have been about 14 years old at the time of the child’s birth. 
  39. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Roll: M432_701, Ohio, Lawrence County, Upper, sheet 449A, household 8-8, lines 35-42, Andrew Gause (accessed 26 June 2022). The official enumeration day of the 1850 census was 1 June 1850. 
  40. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Roll: M432_959; Image 297; Virginia, Mason, District 38, image 47 of 165, Sheet No. 385A, Lines 28-30, HH #333-334, John W. Clark household (accessed 13 January 2019). 
  41. Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, pg. 69, article “Dennis Hill Family Bible” (http://www.mosga.org/upload/journal/Volume_1,_1981_edited.pdf : accessed 30 June 2016) 
  42. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio, Marriage records (Gallia County, Ohio), 1803-1955; index, 1803-1950 > Marriages, v. 1-2 1803-1862 > image 195 of 238 > Record of Marriages of Gallia County, page 376, 5th entry, 16 Nov 1858, Dennis Claunch and Mary Ann Baker. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-S2KX?i=194 : accessed 1 July 2013). 
  43. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 483, Register of Births for Mason County, page 445-446 (stamped, double-page spread), line 28, 18 Mar 1860, John Wm Clonch. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00483.jpg : accessed 2 September 2009). 
  44. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 166, Mason County Register of Deaths, line 44, John W Clonch, died 9 Feb 1861, age 9 yrs 9 months, 20 days (sic, 10 months, 22 days). (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00166.jpg : accessed 14 Dec 2009). 
  45. “U.S., Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914,” database with images, Ancestry, citing Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M233, 81 rolls); Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C., 1859-1862, Duplicates; H-Z; image 51 of 620. Name: Dennis Hill; Birthyear: abt 1839; Birthplace: Virginia; Enlistment Age: 23; Enlistment: Feb. 21 in Gallipolis, Ohio; Description: blue eyes, brown hair, light complexion, 6 ft; Discharge: 2 April 1862 Disability D. at Indianapolis, Ind. (https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/271599:1198 : accessed 18 Dec 2009). 
  46. Shirley Haynes & Avlyn Conley, compilers, Tombstone Inscriptions (with added information) from cemeteries in Saline County, Missouri, Volume 2, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org/library/books/idurl/1/241538), image 37, page 10, Miami Cemetery, Miami, Saline County, Missouri > Hill, Dennis d. 31 Jul 1893 Aged 55 yrs 4 mos 23 ds. Note: age at death calculates to a birth date of 8 March 1838 (accessed 26 June 2022). 

52 Ancestors: #15 Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY 1861-1913

Featured image courtesy of Rita Koch Brumley, a 3C thru Alex and Tobitha’s daughter Frances. Used with permission received 9 January 2021.

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

This is my 15th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

#15 Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY 1861-1913

I used the information in my genealogy database to write this impromptu obituary in honor of my great-great-grandmother. I don’t have access to West Virginia newspapers for the time period and do not know if an obituary was printed for Tobitha.

Obituary of Tobitha Cooley Clonch

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” Clonch, 52, passed away on 16 December 1913 of unknown causes.

Tobitha was born in Ohio on 11 February 1861 to John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadway.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Alexander “Alex” Clonch; three children, Timothy, Bertha, and an unnamed babe; stepdaughter Barbara Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gillispie; her siblings, Calvin Cooley, Melissa F. “Lucy” Bird, Harrison Cooley, Robert Ulysses S. Grant Cooley, Ida Cooley, Minnie O. Wilson, and Timothy Cooley; grandchildren Bertha Almeda Smith, Lallie P. Dunlap, Georgie Dunlap, Arnold Dunlap, Arlena Dunlap, and Piercie Roop.

Survivors include her daughters and sons-in-law, Lorena Ellen and John Tomshack, Frances “Fanny” and George W. Dunlap, Rebecca Jane and Walter F. Roop, Sarah Ann “Sallie” and John H. “Harry” Krise, and Ida Bell and Lewis W. Holbert; her son Harrison Sanders Clonch; her stepdaughter and stepson-in-law Emma Sidosa “Emily” and William Alexander Clonch; her stepson and stepdaughter-in-law Joseph E. “Joe” and Jenny Clonch; her sister and brother-in-law, Sarah Ann “Sallie” and Joseph Riley Waugh; two sisters-in-law, Mary Cooley and Lilly E. Cooley; 16 grandchildren, Lorenzo Aber Smith, James Leonard Smith, Edward Moses Smith, Joseph Tomshack, Josephine Tomshack, Alex H. Tomshack, Virgie Dunlap, Earl Lawrence Dunlap, Lacy Shelton Roop, Myrtle Hazel Roop, James Henry Roop, Walter Gordon Roop, Edith Estelle “Edie” Roop, Reeva Estelle “Reeba” Krise, Harry B. Krise, and Alton Elmer Krise; 5 stepgrandchildren George William Clonch, Iva Mae Clonch, Edith Emmeline Clonch, Eber Joseph Clonch, and Alexander Michael “Alex” Clonch.

Funeral arrangements are unknown. Burial was in Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive.

Tobitha

My great-great-grandmother Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY was born on 11 February 1861 in Ohio, a week after the beginning of the Civil War.1 She was the 4th child of John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY (TREADWELL). It is not known where in Ohio she was born. Her date of birth was taken from her grave marker.

1860Cooleycensus
1860 U.S. Federal Census > MO > Lafayette > Lexington > HH#523-582

If her mother had a normal pregnancy, then Tobitha was conceived in Missouri! Sarah was about four months pregnant when Mr. Shields, Assistant Marshall, visited the COOLEY family in Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri, on 8 September 1860. He found John, Sarah, and their children Calvin, Lucy F., and Harrison, living with seven other families in the boarding house of Frederick and Elizabeth King, immigrants from Germany.2

The little family had been on the move from the time of John and Sarah’s marriage on 9 September 1851 in Meigs County, Ohio.3 They lived in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia, where Tobitha’s father John worked as a sawyer in 1853.4 They may have lived in Cedarville, Ohio, or made a stop there around 14 February 1855 before going on to Missouri.5 They did not remain in Missouri for long as they were back in Ohio in 1861 when Tobitha was born.

She remained the baby of the family until the end of the Civil War when her sister Sallie was born.6 Tobitha’s family lived in the Arbuckle District of Mason County, West Virginia, in 1868 when another brother Robert was born.7

1870cooleycensus
1870 U.S. Federal Census > OH > Meigs > Olive > HH#319-304

The family was enumerated in the 1870 census in the Portland P.O. in the Olive Township of Meigs County, Ohio.  Father John was working in a sawmill and feeding a family of six children that now included baby Ida.8

1880cooleycensus
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Arbuckle > Sheet No. 210A > HH #

The 1870s were spent for the most part in Mason County, West Virginia, where Tobitha’s two youngest siblings, Minnie O. and Timothy were born.9,10 On the 1880 census, we see Tobitha as Ann T. She was the oldest of the children still at home as her older brother and sister had married. Tobitha, like her parents, could not read or write.11

Tobitha marries a man twice her age

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY married Alexander CLONCH on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.12 Alex was divorced from his first wife. He was the father of three children (ages 4, 6 and 13) he had with another woman, his ex-wife’s sister. He was 19 years older than Tobitha — or twice her age! All of these things could have put quite a strain on the new relationship but Alex and Tobitha made things work. She helped raise Alex’s little ones and had 9 children with him during their 30 years of marriage:

Ch 1: Timothy CLONCH born on 20 December 1881 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia.13 He died before 1898.14
Ch 2: Lorena Ellen CLONCH (1883-1961) born on 10 March 1883 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia15
Ch 3: Frances “Fanny” CLONCH (1885-1943) born on 30 April 1885 in Mason County, West Virginia16
Ch 4: Bertha CLONCH (1887-1898) born on 9 December 1887 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia.17 She died before 1898.18
Ch 5: Rebecca Jane CLONCH (1888-1950) born on 6 January 1888 in Mason County, West Virginia19
Ch 6: Sarah Ann “Sallie” CLONCH (1890-1979) born on 20 June 1890 in Mason County, West Virginia20
Ch 7: Harrison S. CLONCH (1893-1970) born on 11 February 1893 in Beech Hill, Mason County, West Virginia21,22
Ch 8: ___ (unnamed) CLONCH (1894-1894) born on 6 October 189423 and died on 13 October 1894,24 both in Clay County, West Virginia
Ch 9: Ida Bell CLONCH (1896-1981) born on 5 March 1896 in Smithers Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia.25

She raised her family in three counties

As previously discussed in 52 Ancestors: #14 Alexander CLONCH Known as “The one who killed the beef at 200 paces,” Tobitha’s young family lived in Mason County until about 1893 when they moved to Clay County and then to Fayette County about 1895-1896.

I believe that Tobitha’s parents, John and Sarah COOLEY may have made the move from Mason County to Clay County and then Fayette County at the same time as Tobitha and Alex. John age 72 and Sarah age 71 were living in Belva, Falls District of Fayette County in 1900.26 They may have died between 1900 and 1910 or before 1920 if they were missed in the 1910 census. I doubt that they lived longer and no records have been found for their deaths in West Virginia.

Tobitha’s daughters Lorena, Fanny, Rebecca, and Sallie were married by 1908.27,28,29,30 When Alexander CLONCH died on 9 June 1910 at the age of 68 he left Tobitha with daughter Ida 14 and son Harrison 17.31

Tabitha Ann COOLEY with her youngest daughter Ida Bell CLONCH. Photo courtesy of James A. Smith (23 December 2000)

A Civil War Pension for the widow

Tobitha received Alex’s Civil War pension as a widow and for her daughter Ida who was considered a minor until she turned 16. Harrison most likely lived at home with his mother and sister but we cannot be sure as they were not found in the 1910 census.

2014-04-09_185027
Tabitha Clonch’s Veterans Administration Pension Payment Card

On the Veterans Administration Pension Payment Card, Tobitha’s date of death is seen as 10 December 1913.32 This conflicts with the date seen on her grave marker: 16 December 1913. Was the marker misread? Did the Veterans Administration employee make an error? When the bureau was notified on 19 March 1914, did they receive a death certificate?

Grave Marker

Tobitha died three and a half years after Alex and six months before the beginning of World War I at the age of 52 years. She was buried beside her husband of 30 years in the Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia. Their markers read:

Alex Clonch
March 2, 1842 – June 9, 1910

Tobitha Cooley
“His Wife”
February 11, 1861 – December 16, 1913

James Grady Auxier (2C1R ) shared per email on 2 June 2000 the dates of birth and death he read off of the grave markers of Alexander and Tobitha Clonch in the Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive. Kaci Foster (4C1R, 6C, 7C) read the cemetery on 17 March 2005 and shared the cemetery listing on Fayette County Footprints, a myfamily.com site administered by Betty LeMasters and Becky Shuff. The dates from both readings match. However, I would be very happy if someone would visit the cemetery and share photos of the markers with me.

Update: Heather Manley-Duncan (3C2R) shared a photo (with permission to use) of the marker with me on 31 May 2014. The date on the stone is December 16, 1913. Susan Jane Clonch Ryan took a photo of the marker on 5 May 2021 and gave permission to use it on 2 April 2022.

The grave marker of Alex Clonch and his wife Tobitha Cooley courtesy of Susan Jane Clonch Ryan (used with permission)

Many thanks to all of the CLONCH cousins who have shared their research, photos, and memories.

This Post Was Updated on 10 April 2022: Missing source citations were added, a new watermarked photo was added, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia (photos of gravemarkers taken by Heather Manley-Duncan), gravemarker of Alex Clonch Mar 2, 1842 – June 3, 1910 and Tobitha Cooley His Wife Feb 11, 1861 – Dec. 16, 1913, photographed 31 May 2014. 
  2. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls; Roll: M653_628, Family History Library Film: 803628, Missouri, Lafayette County, Lexington P.O., page 60, sheet 274 (handwritten), lines 13-17, household 523-582, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013) 
  3. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,”database with images, FamilySearch (citing digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio), Meigs > Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1 > image 270 of 277 > page 451 (stamped), 3rd entry, John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadwell, 9 Sep 1851. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-91QD-F3?cc=1614804&wc=ZRM1-N38%3A121348301%2C121348302 : accessed 25 October 2011). 
  4. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 580538, image 7, Wood County Register of Births, page 8 (stamped) (double-page spread), line 100 (4th line) Calvin Cooley, 10 Oct 18, parents John and Sarah Cooley, father’s occupation: sawyer. (http://images.wvculture.org/580538/00007.jpg : accessed 9 July 2014). 
  5. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images,  FamilySearch, Microfilm of original records in the vounty courthouses, Meigs > Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1 > image 297 of 373 > page 3 (stamped, double-page spread), line 170, Melissa F. Bird, 23 Mar 1898, died in Bashan, born in Cedarville, O., age at death 43 yrs 1 month 9 days, heart disease. “.” (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  6. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 250, Mason County Register of Deaths, 1882, page 553-554 (stamped, double-page spread), line 5, Robert U.S.G. Cooley, 2 Nov 1882, age at death 14 yrs 8 months, born and died Arbuckle District. “.” (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00250.jpg : accessed 25 May 2011). 
  8. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls; Roll: M593_1242, Ohio, Meigs County, Olive Township, page 42, sheet 121A (stamped), lines 26-33, household 319-304, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  9. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 542, Mason County Register of Births, page 531-532 (stamped, double-page spread), line 43, 3 May 1873, Minie O., Arbuckle District, parents John and Sarah Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00542.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  10. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 573, Mason County Register of Deaths, page 581-582 (stamped, double-page spread), line 27, 6 Jun 1876, Timothy, Hannan District, parents John and Sarah Ann Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00573.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  11. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls; Roll: 1408, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle, enumeration district 91, sheet 210A (stamped), page 21, lines 1-10, household 200, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  12. Ohio, County Marriages 1789-2016, Marriage records (Gallia County, Ohio), 1803-1955 ; index, 1803-1950 > Marriages, v. 5 1878-1884 > image 132 of 352 > page 193 > no. 576 > Alexander Clonch and Tabitha Cooley, 19 August 1880. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SV3N?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-V7T%3A390869322 : accessed 18 December 2013). 
  13. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 449, West Virginia, Mason County, Register of Births 1881, line 7, 20 Dec 1881, Timothy Clonch, citing Arbuckle district, Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00449.jpg : accessed 1 February 2022). 
  14. Civil War pension file of Alexander Clonch, received 31 May 2014 per email from Heather Manley-Duncan. A questionnaire the pensioner replied to on 4 June 1898 includes the names of all living children at the time. Timothy was not mentioned, therefore this child likely died before 4 June 1898. 
  15. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 462, West Virginia, Mason County, Register of Births 1883, page 560-561 (stamped), line 10, 10 Mar 1883, Rena E. Clonch, citing Arbuckle district, Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00462.jpg : accessed 4 February 2022). 
  16. Alex Clonch’s CW pension file. A questionnaire the pensioner replied to on 4 June 1898 includes the names of all living children and their dates of birth including Frances born 30 Apr 1884. 
  17. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 496, West Virginia, Mason County, Register of Births 1887, page 676-675 (stamped), line 14, Bertha Clonch, 9 Dec 1887, citing Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00496.jpg : accessed 4 February 2022). 
  18. Alex Clonch’s CW pension file. A questionnaire the pensioner replied to on 4 June 1898 includes the names of all living children and their dates of birth. Bertha was not mentioned and therefore likely died before 4 June 1898. 
  19. Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia (photos of gravemarkers taken by Heather Manley-Duncan), gravemarker of Rebecca Clonch Roop 6 January 1888-3 February 1950 photographed 31 May 2014. 
  20. “U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014” (index only), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/3693/), citing Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA. Original data Social Security Death Index, Master File. SS #233-96-8112 issued in West Virginia, Sallie Krise, born 20 Jun 1890, died Jan 1979, last residence Belva, Nicholas County, West Virginia 26656. 
  21. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 567453, image 225, West Virginia, Clay County Register of Births 1893, line 25, H. S. Clonch, 11 February 1893, citing Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/567453/00225.jpg : accessed 5 February 2022). 
  22. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 4017226, image 3078, 1940 Delayed Certificate of Birth 5793, Harrison Sanders Clonch, 11 February 1893, citing Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/4017226/03078.jpg : accessed 9 March 2013). 
  23. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 567453, image 236, West Virginia, Clay County Register of Births 1894, line 32, 6 Oct 1894, unnamed female child, citing Bell Creek, Clay County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/567453/00236.jpg : accessed 5 February 2022). 
  24. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567453, image 242, West Virginia, Clay County Register of Death, line 13, unnamed female Clonch, 13 October 1894, citing Clay County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/567453/00242.jpg : accessed 5 February 2022). 
  25. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584762, image 37, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Births, page 57-58 (stamped), line 63, 5 Mar 1896, Ida B. Clonch, citing Smithers Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584762/00037.jpg : accessed 5 February 2022). 
  26. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm 1241757, West Virginia, Fayette County, Falls District Belva Precinct, enumeration dIstrict 11, sheet 16B, lines 60-63, household 358-358, John Cowley (sic), (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  27. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 373, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1897-1898, no page number (double-page spread), line 32, 3 Apr 1898, J. N. Smith and Lorena E. Clonch, citing Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00373.jpg : accessed 1 April 2022). 
  28. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 300, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1902-1903, no page number (double-page spread), line 4, G. W. Dunlap and Frances Clonch, 6 July 1902, citing Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00300.jpg : accessed 1 April 2022). 
  29. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 58476, image 366, Fayette County, West Virginia, Register of Marriages, 1903, (double-page spread), line 5, 12 July 1903, Walter F. Roop, Rebecca J. Clonch, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00366.jpg : accessed 2 February 2022). 
  30. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 443, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages, page 87 (double-page spread), line 24, 5 April 1908, Harry Krise and Sarah A Clonch, citing DIxie, Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00443.jpg : accessed 1 April 2022). 
  31. “United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” index and images, FamilySearch, NARA, RG 15, M850, citing microfilm of original records of the Veterans Administration in The National Archives, Washington, District of Columbia., Roll 418, Film 1634453, DGS 4694973, Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 579-580 of 681, Alexander Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-17556-56413-13?cc=1832324&wc=M9WY-MC3:881461769 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 
  32. Ibid., Roll 418, Film 1634453, DGS 4694973, Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 581-582 of 681, Tabitha Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-FWSS-FM?i=580&cc=1832324 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 

John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY

Door18COOLEY

John COOLEY (Oct 1827-aft. Jun 1900) and Sarah Ann TREADWELL (sic) (Apr 1828-aft. Jun 1900) married in Meigs County, Ohio, 9 September 1851. In 1853 they were living in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia, when their oldest son Calvin was born. John COOLEY’s occupation was listed as sawyer on his son’s birth record. By 1860 the family was living in Missouri. In 1870 they were back in Meigs County, were John was working in a sawmill. In 1880 they were living in Mason County, West Virginia. By 1900 John and Sarah were in Fayette County, West Virginia. In their household was a widowed son-in-law and a granddaughter.

In the 1850s when John COOLEY was in Wood County there was another man of this surname in the county, William COOLEY and his wife Drusilla Stewart. Their marriage record has not been found however descendants say that they married in Ohio were Drusilla was born. They had the following children in Wood County: Rachael born 18 Jun 1856, Sarah Angeline born 4 Oct 1857, and Sarah A. born 12 Dec 1859.

I believe that there must be a connection between John (b. Oct 1827) and William (b. 1825) as both were born in Missouri, married in Ohio, lived in Wood County at about the same time. Census listings for William have been found from 1860 to 1920; William’s and Drusilla’s death records have been found.

The 1850 census listings for John and William COOLEY may be a very important piece to the puzzle. William Washington COOLEY’s death certificate lists his father as Isaac COOLEY. Online postings from descendants tell the story that his parents died when he was 7 and that he had a brother Charles and a sister Sarah. It is not known if this is documented.

TREADWAY or TREADWELL

Sarah’s surname has been seen as TREADWELL and as TREADWAY. Two of her children’s death certificates list her as Sarah TREADWAY. Daughter Ida’s birth record lists Sarah Jane TREADWAY. A family bible lists TREADWAY. However, the marriage record lists TREADWELL.

Although there is no conclusive evidence to show that Sarah Ann TREADWAY was the daughter of Henry TREADWAY of Wood County, (West) Virginia, I have attached her to his family in my GEDCOM file. I like to do this “for research purposes” as it makes it easier to compare things. Henry had children named Calvin and Melissa and these are names that Sarah gave to her firstborn children. Sarah has not been located in the 1850 census. Was she living with one of her siblings? Henry’s oldest daughter per 1830 census has not been identified. Calvin, Helena, Alcinda, and Melissa, the other children of Henry TREADWAY have been located in 1850 — Sarah is not living with them.

This couple has me hitting my head against a brick wall that doesn’t want to budge.

Addendum:

The will of Isaac COOLEY (below) names four children: William, James, Thomas Marian, and Harriet. Therefore John COOLEY and William Washington COOLEY were not brothers. Could they have been cousins?

Submitted by michael_95073
Note added Mon Mar 4 20:30:55 2013

Transcription of the will of Isaac Cooley, dated April 3, 1838, in Randolph County Missouri:

Known all men by these present that on the third day of April in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty-eight that I, Isaac Cooley, of Randolph County in the State of Missouri being of sound mind and disposing judgement, but low and weak in bodily strength and health do on this day dispose of my effects in the following manner. I give and bequeath to my son William one dollar. To my son James one dollar. To my son Thomas Marian one dollar and to my daughter Harriet one dollar. And I give and bequeath to my beloved wife [my home place] (crossed out) Nancy Cooley to have and to hold during her life time, my land and at her death I want the land to revert back to my son Thomas Marian and his heirs and assigns forever. After all my just debts are paid I want the above disposition of my effects made between my children of the one part and my dear wife Nancy Cooley of the other.

I leave my friend Thomas K White my executor to carry into effect __ _ In testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand and affixed my seal on the above.

[Source: http://ancestraldata.com/Notes/index.cgi?1167835947+%2Fahnentafel%2F256%2Flineages%2Fjohncooley-desc.html]

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.