52 Ancestors: #4 William Henderson DEMPSEY 1860-1941

I spent the last weekend moving 52 Ancestors #1, #2, and #3 to my blog. Rewriting, formatting and adding images took longer than expected. 52 Ancestors #4 is a bit late getting published but I am now back on schedule to post on Mondays starting next week.

52ancestors

Proving Parentage of Wm H. DEMPSEY in a Roundabout Way

In 1995 I received a package from my aunt Lois Dempsey Lee containing family group sheets, marriage certificates, other misc. notes were written by her first cousin Geraldine Dempsey Workman. Included was a letter written by Geraldine explaining how she had gotten started with this hobby. In the late 1970’s her younger daughter had taken a mini-course in high school and passed her work on to her older sister who soon tired of the project. Geraldine picked it up as a hobby, took a night class in genealogy, and began searching at the local courthouse, then ventured on to other courthouses in other states.

She wrote that William Henderson DEMPSEY was the son of Wm A. Dempsey and Sarah Wood. I believed this to be true however I was only able to “prove” this in a roundabout way.

  • William Henderson DEMPSEY was never seen with his parents on a census.
  • 1870 census: with a Forsythe family, no relationship listed.
  • 1880 census: with a Campbell family,  listed as adopted.
  • 1884 marriage record: listed his parents as W. & S. Dempsey.
  • 1941 death record: father Wood Dempsey and mother as unknown.
  • 1941 obituary: mentioned a brother Elijah L. Dempsey.
  • 1885 will of Elijah Wood: “bequeath to my grandson Elijah Lewis Dempsey”.
  • 1943 death record for Elijah Lewis Dempsey has not been found at WVCulture.
  • 1850 and 1860 census found for Wm. A. W. and Sarah
  • pre-1850 marriage record for Wm. A. W. Dempsey and Sarah A. Wood not found.
  • All marriage records for children of this couple were found, parents were listed as Wm and Sarah.
  • 1930 death record of John Henry Dempsey: father seen as Wm Dempsey BUT instead of his mother’s name, John’s wife’s name was listed under the maiden name of mother.
  • No death records were found for the other siblings.
  • 1870 census: Elijah and his mother Sarah Dempsey were found together in a household but no relationship is listed.
  • Recent find: Provost Marshal File. 1862 “William A. W. Dempsey – citizen residing on Dogwood Ridge, Fayette Co., farmer, left home on the 18″ [May 1862]. Started when they heard firing at the Court House, came down to get work in the Valley, refers to Simpson Wood, Styris Wood, and G. W. McVay, of the Oil Works, (brothers-in-law of his). Knows Hamilton as Hamilton of Hawks Nest.”

After analyzing all records found, this is the story I would like to tell about my great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY.

A Family Continues to Grow

William Henderson DEMPSEY was born in Clifty, Fayette County, West Virginia, on 14 September 1860, a few months after the enumeration of the 1860 census. He was the sixth child of William A. W. DEMPSEY (1860 age 40) and his wife Sarah Ann WOOD (1860 age 36). William’s older siblings were Elizabeth Rachel “Lizzie” (1846-1880), James Alexander “Buck” (1848-1909), Mary Virginia (1854-1900), Eunice V. (1855-1940), and John Henry (1857-1930).

The Civil War Years

The American Civil War began 4 February 1861. In that year a separate government for the western section of Virginia was organized under the name of Kanawha. In 1862 Virginia separated from western Virginia. The DEMPSEY family continued to grow with the birth of William’s youngest brother Elijah Lewis (1862-1943) during the war. West Virginia was admitted into the union as the thirty-fifth state on 20 June 1863. The American Civil War ended 23 June 1865.

A Family Is Split Up

William’s father died soon after the end of the war (abt. 1867). In 1868 his sister Lizzie married Robert J. HUGHES. By 1870 the family had split up and the children were living with different WOOD relatives. James was living with his Aunt Amanda Jane (WOOD) PARRISH; Eunice and John were with their grandfather Elijah WOOD; Elijah, the youngest, and his mother Sarah were with his aunt Turzey (WOOD) NEAL; and Mary Virginia age abt. 16 was not found.

1870census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Mountain Cove, Fayette, West Virginia; Roll: M593_1686; Page: 147A; Image: 297; Family History Library Film: 553185.

William, age 10 at the time and working as a farm laborer, was living with the Abraham “Abram” FORSYTHE family. Mr. FORSYTHE was first married to Sarah HENDRICK (d. 1859) and second to Mary WESTLAKE in 1862. Both Abram’s brother Samuel and Mary’s sister Mathilda were married to WOOD’s. This is likely the connection and reason that we see William with the FORSYTHE’s in 1870. Abraham FORSYTHE moved to Colorado in the 1870’s.

Siblings Began To Marry

In the 1870’s three of his older siblings married:
Mary V. married John A. SNELL in 1872
Eunice married John Isaac SCAGGS in 1874
James A. “Buck” married Mary E. SADDLER in 1874

Adoption of William H. DEMPSEY

1880census
“United States Census, 1880,” images; Internet Archives (https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n230/mode/1up : accessed 27 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove ED 30 Sheet 114A, citing NARA microfilm publication T9-1402

William is seen with the John CAMPBELL family in 1880. He is listed as “adopted” however no record has been found to show that this was a legal adoption. It is not known how long he lived with this family before or after the 1880 census. John CAMPBELL was first married to Mary KESLER (the mother of Nancy seen in census) and second to Amanda Francis ALDERSON (mother of Joseph and Fanny seen in census). John CAMPBELL died in 1895 leaving a will. William H. DEMPSEY was not mentioned.

Two of William’s brothers married in 1882: John Henry married Amanda Ann McCLUNG and Elijah Lewis married Octavia Dell INGRAM.

Life as a Married Man and Father

1884marriage
1884 marriage register entry for W. H. Dempsey and Laura B. Ingram

William, at the age of 24, was the last of the DEMPSEY children to marry. He was joined in matrimony with Laura Belle INGRAM age 16 on 1 October 1884
[line 6 from bottom], nearly two years after his brother Elijah and her sister Octavia married.

William and Laura’s first child Viola was born in 1885 and died in 1887. Three months prior to the death of his first child, William’s mother Sarah Ann WOOD died on 1 April 1887.

Five more children were born before 1899: William W. “Willie” in 1888 and Ernest Rupert in 1890, both in Keeneys Creek; Oscar Lawrence in 1892 in Prince or across New River in Royal, now a ghost town; Roy Lee in 1894 and Pearl in 1897, both in Victor.

From the places of birth of the children, we know that William and Laura lived in Keeneys Creek in 1888 and 1890, in Royal (Raleigh) or in Prince (Fayette) in 1892, and in Victor from 1894. There is conflicting information on the residence in 1892. No birth record has been found for son Oscar whose WWI Draft Card shows his place of birth as Royal. When he entered the V.A. Facility in Huntington as a patient in 1940 he gave information used for his 1940 death record including Royal as the place of birth. Both records were produced with the information given by Oscar. On his record of marriage in 1914 the place of birth is seen as Prince.

This conflicting information on the place of birth for Oscar made me look more closely into the area since one place was in Raleigh County and the other in Fayette County. I learned that the first coal mine in Raleigh County was opened at Royal in 1891. Royal Coal and Coke Company used Prince as their post office address. A unique suspended cable system was used to transport the coal down the mountain and across New River to the railroad at Prince. William H. Dempsey may have been a miner at the Royal Coal Mine at the time of Oscar’s birth.

“Royal was once a booming coal town. Now it’s just some metal artifacts, stone walls, and gravestones.” Ghost Town: Royal, WV

William Becomes A Land Owner

 

MRIN08552 William Henderson Dempsey
William Henderson Dempsey (1860-1941)

On February 25, 1899, W. H. DEMPSEY bought a parcel of land in Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia, for the sum of $225. In later years the home was passed on to his son Fred and was sold in 1998 after the death of Fred’s widow Myrtle Hazel ROOP DEMPSEY BOLES.

Deed:
R. W. Coleman To W. H. Dempsey
This Deed, made the 25th day of February 1899, between R. W. Coleman, party of the first part, and W. H. Dempsey, party of the second part, both of the county of Fayette, and State of West Virginia, Witnesseth, That for and in consideration of the sum of Two Hundred and Twenty-Five Dollars, ($225.00), payable as follows to-wit: Fifty Dollars, ($50.00), cash in hand before the delivery of this deed, Fifty Dollars ($50.00), in six months from this date with interest from date, Fifty Dollars, ($50.00), in twelve months from this date, with interest from date, and the residue, to-wit, Seventy Five Dollars, ($75.00), in two years from this date, with interest from date, for which defered payments the said W. H. Dempsey has this day executed his promisory notes to the said R. W. Coleman; the said R. W. Coleman has bargained and sold, and by these presents doth grant and convey unto the said W. H. Dempsey, a certain parcel or tract of land, situated on the North side of The James River and Kanawha Turnpike, East of Victor, in Mountain Cove District, in Fayette county, West Virginia, adjoining the land of H. Nunnery, Ed. Legg and others and bounded and described as follows, to-wit: Beginning at a bunch of maples on the North bank of the said turnpike; thence, N. 59‘ E. 52 poles, to a stake on Nunnery’s line; thence, with Nunnery, N. 4‘ E. 10 poles, to a stake East of a small pine, thence leaving Nunnery, S. 81‘ W. 32 poles, to a hickory, corner to Ed. Legg; thence, with Legg, N. 73 W. 19 poles to the S.E. corner of the School-House lot, thence, with the turnpike, S. 6‘ E. 20 poles, to a stake; thence S. 36‘ E. 28 poles to the beginning, containing Eight and one-fourth acres, Being a part of a 47 acres tract heretofore conveyed to the said R.W . Coleman by John A. Hawver, Trustee. To have and to hold to the said W. H. Dempsey, his heirs and assigns, forever, with covenants of general warranty. And the vendor’s kin is hereby specially reserved to secure the defered payments above described. Witness the following signatures and seals.
R. W. Coleman -Seal
State of West Virginia, County of Fayette, to-wit:
I, J. R. Koontz, a notary public of the said county of Fayette, do certify that R. W. Coleman, whose name is signed to the writing above, bearing date on the 25th day of February, 1899, has this day acknowledged the same before me in my said county. Given under my hand this 25th day of February, 1899.
J. R. Koontz, N. P. Fayette County, West Virginia
West Virginia, Fayette County Court Clerk’s Office, July 26, 1899.

"United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11931-68695-71?cc=1325221&wc=M94B-XQX:n435351443 : accessed 24 Jan 2014), West Virginia > Fayette > ED 17 Mountain Cove district (north side) Ansted & Hawks Nest towns; citing NARA microfilm publication T623
“United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11931-68695-71?cc=1325221&wc=M94B-XQX:n435351443 : accessed 24 Jan 2014), West Virginia > Fayette > ED 17 Mountain Cove district (north side) Ansted & Hawks Nest towns; citing NARA microfilm publication T623

On the 1st of June 1900, William was listed on the census as owning a mortgage-free farm. From the deed above we know how payment was arranged. The farm was not fully paid for at the time and the deed had not yet been recorded in the County Court Clerk’s Office. The important thing was that the family had their own home. William H. was working as a coal miner and had been employed during the past 12 months.

Following the purchase of their home four more children were born in Victor: Fred Rothwell in 1899, Clyde Lewis in 1902, Hester Ethel in 1904 and Earl Stanley in 1910.

 

1910 census
“United States Census, 1910,” images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/13thcensus1910po1680unit#page/n246/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 20 Mountain Cove district; citing NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375693.

By 1910 William had changed occupations and was now a carpenter doing housework for a wage. Three sons ages 15, 17, and 25 were working as miners in the coal mines.

Tragedy Strikes the Dempsey Family

William’s oldest son Willie married Mallie Lee GRAY. Their first two children, William’s first grandchildren, Olive (1909-1910) and Herbert (1911-1911) both died young. Willie was killed on October 5, 1915. He had gone into a small mine at his home, accompanied by his wife and little son Gordon, to mine some coal for home use. While his wife was watching him a heavy fall of slate came in on him, killing him instantly.

Three more children married shortly before and after the beginning of World War I in 1914: Oscar Lawrence married Fannie Belle Noble, Roy Lee married Liliane Madelene Nunnery, and Ernest Rupert married Virginia Lenora “Lee” Wills.

1920 census 2
“United States Census, 1920,” images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu1948unit#page/n332/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 33 Mountain Cove District, Victor Precinct; citing NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1821948

On the 1920 census, we see that William is now a self-employed carpenter doing housework.

By 1930 all children had left home and William age 69 and Laura age 61 were living alone in their home valued at $3000.

1940census
“United States Census, 1940,” images, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27896-14870-71?cc=2000219&wc=M9QD-FXP:264584504)

In 1940 their divorced son Oscar had come back home to live. By this time both William and Oscar were unable to work and no longer working. The 1940 census was enumerated as of the 1st of April and the page was dated May 7 while May 20 was written in the margin showing the date of visit. Oscar was admitted to the V.A. Facility in Huntington on May 8 and died on May 14. Therefore by the time, the enumerator came around to the Dempsey place Oscar had died but was included in the count as he was living on April 1st. William’s wife Laura Belle died about five months later on October 8, 1940, in Victor.

William H. Dempsey Dies After a Short Illness

MRIN08552 William Henderson Dempsey death
http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=1067455&Type=Death

William Henderson Dempsey died Friday, January 24, 1941, after a short illness. His daughter Hester SKAGGS was the informant. Not all information that she gave was correct on the death certificate. The father’s name was given as Wood Dempsey and mother’s maiden name as Unknown.

Obituary of William H. DEMPSEY

 

MRIN08552 William Henderson Dempsey obit
The Charleston Gazette, January 26, 1941

Publication: The Charleston Gazette
Published: January 26, 1941
Headline: William H. Dempsey
Services for William Henderson Dempsey, 80, of Victor, retired carpenter, who died Friday after a short illness, will be held today at 2 p.m. at the Hopewell Baptist church, Victor. Rev. George B. Denver of Lansing will officiate.
Burial will be in the McVey cemetery on Shady creek in charge of the Thomas mortuary, Ansted.
Survivors include a brother, Elijah L. Dempsey of Ansted; five sons, E.R. Dempsey of Ansted, R. L. Dempsey of Fayetteville, Fred Dempsey of Victor, Clyde Dempsey of Garten and Earl Dempsey of Lansing; and a daughter, Mrs. William R. Skaggs of Ansted.

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

52 Ancestors: #3 Myrtle Hazel ROOP 1906-1997

52ancestorsThis is my third installment for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small. I’m still experimenting with different styles, this time using the storyline and timeline. I hope that you’ll  enjoy reading about the doors opening in brick walls on the paternal side of my family tree.

Grandma's passport picture for her trip to Europe in 1971
Myrtle Hazel (ROOP) DEMPSEY’s passport picture for her trip to Europe in 1971
Cathy with her Grandma
Cathy (me) with (my) Grandma

Myrtle Hazel ROOP was a wonderful wife, mother of 7, grandmother of 24, great-grandmother of 39, and great-great-grandmother of one. She was my Grandma. To others in the family she was Mother, Grandma Dempsey or MawMaw. I wasn’t as lucky as others in the family who grew up close to the Dempsey home and I don’t have as many memories of her as they do. We lived in Hopewell in 1968-1969 while Dad (Freddy) was in Thailand; I lived with her for about 9 months in 1976-1977 when I went to WV Tech; and we visited as often as possible when we were in the United States.

Cathy on one of Grandma's quilts.
Cathy (me) on one of Grandma’s quilts.

She made beautiful quilts and I’m the proud owner of three. I remember her going next door to the schoolhouse, after it was no longer used as a school, to meet with the ladies and work on quilts and braided rag rugs. She taught me to crochet and I still have the afghan that I worked on in the evenings while we watched TV together when I went to college.

She played the piano and I regret not taking the piano lessons she offered to pay for when I was living with her.

She was a wonderful cook. The smell that came from the kitchen on Sunday mornings when she would prepare fried chicken and keep it warm in the electric frying pan while she was at church is unforgettable. She was a member of Hopewell Baptist Church and of their Woman’s Mission Society. When she had company for dinner on Sundays I remember that the leftovers were placed on the kitchen table and covered with a table-cloth so that everyone could help themselves whenever they were hungry. I still love dipping cold chicken or other meat or a roll in cold gravy. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Once she made a sweet potato pie and passed it off as a pumpkin pie since her son Freddy wouldn’t eat sweet potatoes. He said it was the best pumpkin pie he’d ever eaten. He was teased a lot about this by his siblings.

Leland’s boys would always know when she made her famous Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Logs. A granddaughter-in-law said, “….from the first time I met her she treated me like I had always been part of her family. Every time we had a gathering she would meet me at the door. Hug me and tell me to go get a peanut butter log before all the boys ate them all. She was a very sweet woman and I still miss her.”

Her youngest son said, “I miss my Mom’s bread pudding. No one else makes it like she did. I would love to have one of her clover leaf hot rolls and would enjoy a piece of her chocolate pie.” 

letter
Letter written by Myrtle (Roop) Dempsey to the mother of her daughter-in-law. The last line of the first page was cut off and should read “much for the beautiful material”.

My maternal grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE kept a letter that Myrtle wrote to her in 1958. It is wonderful to be able to see her handwriting and “hear” what she writes.

From this letter, I know that she worked 5 days a week. She was retired from Wall’s Department Store in Ansted. Her youngest son said, “Mom worked at Wall’s Department Store so that she could afford to buy jeans and clothing for Leland and I to wear to school. She did this because Dad worked in the mines and they were out of work a lot of the time.”

Myrtle was born on 26 March 1906, a Monday, in Belva to Walter Farmer ROOP and Rebecca Jane CLONCH. She was their third child and first daughter. I was always confused about what county Belva is located in until I found that it is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in west Nicholas County and north Fayette County. Myrtle’s birth was registered in 1906 in the Nicholas County register, her name being listed only as “Murtle” without a middle name. Later in 1963, on her delayed certificate of birth, her place of birth was listed as Belva in Fayette County. Supporting evidence given for her birth were an affidavit by her father dated 1963, her 1942 Voter’s Permanent Registration Record, her 1955 WV Motor Vehicle Operator’s License #55620, and the 1920 census.

Myrtle, age 16, was the first of the ROOP children to marry. She married Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY on 20 January 1923. She turned 17 two months later. Myrtle’s father was a mine blacksmith at Gauley Mountain Coal Co. at the same time that Fred worked there. Myrtle and Fred were the parents of 7 children as discussed in Fred’s write-up.

In April 1940 when the census was taken Myrtle and her husband Fred were living in Jodie with 5 children. Lloyd was able to confirm that they moved to Victor to take care of Fred’s Mom and Dad in 1940. Fred bought out his brothers and sisters — Lloyd thinks that there was not so much a transfer of money but an agreement that he would inherit the house and property for taking care of his parents.

Myrtle most likely did not always have an easy time raising her children. Lloyd can remember that once her son Freddy and Jimmy Minter rode a bicycle down skating rink hill with Freddy on the handlebars; there was no weight on the rear wheel so they couldn’t stop when told to do so by the town police, Tom HALL. They were finally caught at the company store. Lloyd didn’t say what happened after this but they probably got off easy since Tom Hall was “family”. His wife Clara Dorris DEMPSEY, daughter of Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY and Octavia Dell INGRAM, was Fred Sr.’s first cousin.

Lloyd also reminisced about his own teen years, “After getting my Learner’s Permit, she would let me drive the 1948 Chevy with vacuum gear shift. Boy that was an exciting challenge! RAKE! RAKE!”

He shared this humorous anecdote: “Telemarketers were always calling Mom trying to sell her magazines. She became tired and aggravated with this: One day the telemarketer called trying to sell her a magazine – she listened to his sales speech and said “Mister, I don’t read”. He hung up and she was very proud of herself for chasing him off. She always smiled when she told this story.”

From the family bible, we know that Myrtle and Fred received Jesus and were baptized at Cavendish Hole on 19 February 1950. They had to break the ice to baptize them. They became members at Hopewell Baptist Church at Hopewell. Fred was also a deacon. Lloyd has a copy of his certificate of ordination. In 1963 Myrtle was one of the committee members in charge of arrangements for the Hopewell Baptist Church Homecoming. In 1967 she was the church clerk and, with Mrs. Ora LEGG, a teacher for the intermediate girls’ bible class. In 1968 she was the outgoing clerk and along with Mrs. Edna LEGG and Mrs. Mary BALLARD, Myrtle was named to transfer the church membership names to a recently purchased clerk’s book.

In the early 1960s, her husband Fred, brother-in-law Bill SKAGGS and son Lloyd built the house in Florida. Lloyd says his cousin Eugene Noble DEMPSEY may have helped some. The house was sold to a Henry HARRAH in late 60’s – approximately 67 or 68.

Upper right: Grave of General George S. Patton Jr. Upper left: Myrtle Dempsey with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Hamm, Luxembourg. Lower left: Myrtle at The Mardasson Memorial (Battle of the Bulge) in Bastogne, Belgium, in front of the West Virginia section of the five-pointed American star. Lower right: Cathy and her Grandma with Vianden castle in the background.

Myrtle visited her son Freddy and his family in Royal Oaks (Torrejón AFB housing) in Madrid, Spain in May/June 1971. They took her to Luxembourg to meet Josette’s mother. She visited several sites with them while in Luxembourg.

Unfortunately, while she was in Luxembourg her father Walter F. ROOP died and she was not able to get a flight out to go home for the funeral. Since she could not go back in time she decided to stick to her planned trip, returning to Spain and then flew home on her scheduled flights.

Several years after her husband Fred’s death in 1975 she married Marvin Shirley BOLES (1908-1986) on 7 July 1980.

Myrtle Hazel ROOP’s grandchildren are now between 42 and 71 years old. We all had different relationships with her due to our age differences and the distance we lived from her. She wasn’t in Grandma mode yet when the older grandchildren were born as she was still raising her younger children. Her 7th child was born two years after the birth of the first grandchild.

Her oldest granddaughter shared this: “Grandma Dempsey was a real lady that I was proud to call my grandmother, but since I was the oldest grandchild, I didn’t have some of the same memories that you younger ones did. She was still a mother of two at home and working and didn’t really have the time to spend with some of us older grandchildren. I can’t remember doing things like some of you did, but I understand why it was that way. I do remember her sharing her quilting and crocheting with me. I wish I could have been more like her, a kind, caring and sweet spirit!”

Her youngest daughter-in-law shared this: “Myrtle was a very special lady and I was blessed to have her as my mother-in-law. She was very particular about her clothing and had to go every Saturday to the beauty shop. She always enjoyed getting all dressed up and going to church on Sunday. She was very faithful to God and her church. She dearly loved her family and each of you grandchildren were so very special to her. If she didn’t hear from some of you for a while, she would make a comment. You were each in her heart and prayers. She looked forward to visits from her family. Many times after family get-togethers, I would straighten up the house. She would ask me not to clean the sliding glass doors so she could see the grandchildren’s hand prints. She said it made her feel as if they were still with her. We all know how she enjoyed baking and having goodies when everyone came to visit.

I always felt as if Lloyd’s Mom was of royalty. She carried herself in such a proper manner. She always seemed so regal as she would sit in her chair in her later years looking so pretty and all dressed up, just in case someone would happen to come for a visit. She was a very gentle, loving person, yet confronted adversity with great strength through her faith in God. I marveled at the way she endured the death of her husband and children. The loss was great to her, yet she faced each day with determination to live life to it’s fullest and even though she was suffering internally, she continued to be a strong loving influence to her family. Yes, she was very dear to me and I admit the memories have brought a few tears. I spent many cherished moments with her as we had the privilege to help with her care. The blessing and privilege were mine. After all, my Mother-in-Law was one of earth’s angels.

In 1997 she was looking forward to having us visit her. It was our first visit since 1979. She had a stroke and was hospitalized before we got there. Lloyd believed that she was holding on just to see us. Although we knew what to expect it was heartbreaking. I can still see her lying in the hospital bed but I have more intense memories of her hugging me all the other times we visited her.

Myrtle H. Dempsey Boles, 91, of Victor, Fayette County, died Wednesday, 13 August 1997, in Ansted Health Care Center. She was buried on August 16th in Restlawn Memory Gardens, Victor, next to her first husband Fred R. Dempsey and her son MSgt Fred R. Dempsey.

© James Skaggs, used with permission.

TIMELINE
1904 – Sib 1: Lacy Shelton ROOP was born in Feb 1904
1905 – Sib 2: Piercie ROOP was born 15 Mar 1905 and died 5 May 1905
1906 – “Murtle” ROOP was born 26 Mar 1906
1908 – Sib 4: James Henry ROOP was born 11 Feb 1908 (1908-1957)
1910 – Sib 5: Walter Gordon ROOP was born 9 Mar 1910 (1910-1984).
1913 – Sib 6: Edith Estelle “Edie” ROOP born 9 Jun 1913 (1913-2003), Myrtle’s only sister
1914 – World War I (begin) 28 Jun 1914
1918 – World War I (end) 11 Nov 1918
1919 – Sib 7: Alfred Lee ROOP (1919-1981) was born on 22 Aug 1919
1920 – On the 1920 census the family name was seen as ROOPE.
1923 – Myrtle ROOP and Fred DEMPSEY married
1927 – Sib 4: James Henry ROOP married 20 Aug 1927 Goldie M. WALKER (1908-1991)
1929 – Stock Market Crash 29 Oct 1929
1929 – Sib 6: Edith Estelle “Edie” ROOP md. 23 Dec 1929 James David RAMSEY (1907-2001)
1930 – Myrtle and Fred were living in Jodie with their daughters Thelma, Lois, and Leona
1931 – Sib 5: Walter Gordon ROOP married 18 Jul 1931 Ica Laurel CARR (1913-1993)
1932 – Sib 1: Lacy Shelton ROOP married 28 Mar 1932 Lulu Irene HAYS (1915-1992)
1937 – Sib 7: Alfred Lee ROOP Married 15 May 1937 Lorena Lea ELSWICK (1918-1992)
1939 – World War II (begin) 1 Sep 1939
1940 – Fred and Myrtle moved from Jodie to Victor with Thelma, Lois, Leona, Doyle and Freddy
1945 – World War II (end) 14 Aug 1945 (39)
1947 – Sib 6: Edith Estelle “Edie” ROOP divorced James D. RAMSEY and later (date unknown) married Albert HITE (spelling of surname is uncertain).
1950 – Mother: Rebecca Jane CLONCH died 3 Feb 1950
1951 – Myrtle received Jesus and was baptized
1961 – To the best of Lloyd’s knowledge, Fred retired when he 62, approximately 30 Oct
1960s – Had a home in Florida
1967 – Sib 6: Edith Estelle “Edie” ROOP married 4 Oct 1967 James David RAMSEY. They had been divorced 20 years earlier
1971 – Trip to Europe
1971 – Father: Walter Farmer ROOP died 1 Jun 1971
1975 – Sp 1: Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY died 3 Feb 1975
1980 – Myrtle Hazel ROOP married Sp 2: Marvin Shirley BOLES (1908-1986)
1986 – Sp 2: Marvin Shirley BOLES died 26 Sep 1986
1997 – Myrtle Hazel ROOP died 13 Aug 1997
2014 – Myrtle had 45 great-grandchildren and 30 great-great-grandchildren

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

52 Ancestors: #2 Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY 1899-1975

52ancestorsThis is my second post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I’m still experimenting with how I want these write ups to look. This time, I tried working with a timeline generated by my genealogy program Ancestral Quest 14.

Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY with his son Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY (abt. 1973)
Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY with his son Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY (abt. 1973)

Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY was born October 30, 1899, in Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia, to William Henderson DEMPSEY, a coalminer, and his wife Laura Belle INGRAM. The Register of Births [line 4 from bottom] for Fayette County lists his mother Laura as the informant. Fred was their 5th son and 7th child. He applied for his Social Security Number before 1951 and most likely this was when he applied for his delayed certificate of birth which was signed by his older brother Ernest R. DEMPSEY. On the certificate, his father was listed as 38 years old and his mother as 31 years old at the time of his birth. Two children born to the mother had died before Fred’s birth. These angels were his sisters Viola (1885-1887) and Pearl (1897-1898).

Delayed Certificate of Birth No. 1368 [Source: “West Virginia Births, 1853-1930,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KSG5-DXF : accessed 24 Jan 2014), Fred Rothwell Dempsey, 1899. Image, West Virginia Division of Culture and History (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=4017243&ImageNumber=365 : accessed 24 Jan 2014)]

In 1900 we see Fred enumerated for the first time on the United States Federal Census:

1900 U.S. Federal Census, Mountain Cove District, Fayette County, West Virginia.

1902 – birth of brother Clyde Lewis (1902-1974). [line 15]

1904 – birth of sister Hester Ethel (1904-2001).

1907 – marriage of his oldest brother William W. “Willie” (1888-1915) to Mallie Lee GRAY. [line 7 from bottom]

In 1910 we see Fred for the second time in a census:

1910 census
“United States Census, 1910,” images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/13thcensus1910po1680unit#page/n246/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 20 Mountain Cove district; citing NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375693.

1910 – birth of brother Earl Stanley (1910-1968).

1914 – World War I began and his three older brothers married:
Oscar Lawrence (1892-1940) md. Fannie Belle NOBLE [line 37]
Roy Lee (1894-1947) md. Liliane Madelene NUNNERY [line 43]
Ernest Rupert (1890-1955) md. Virginia Lenora “Lee” WILLS. [line 14]

Fred, who attended 8 years of school, most likely began working at around the age of 15.

Fred’s oldest brother Willie was killed on October 5, 1915 (left page, line 39). He had gone into a small mine at his home, accompanied by his wife and little son Gordon, to mine some coal for home use. While his wife was watching him a heavy fall of slate came in on him, killing him instantly.

On September 12, 1918, Fred filled out his World War I Draft Registration Card. He was 18 years old, of medium height, medium weight, with black hair and black eyes. His middle name was written correctly (Rothwell) on the card but then corrected to match the spelling he used in his signature. He was working as a miner for Edward MORRIS in Jodie. Per 1920 census Edward L. MORRIS was the representative of Gauley Mountain Coal. At about the same time in 1917-1918 Fred’s brothers Roy and Ernest were working for the Signal Knob Coal Co. in Ansted and Oscar was working at Pemberton C & C Co. in Affinity.

1918 – end of World War I

In 1920 Fred was enumerated twice on the census. On the 13-14th of January, he was living at home in Victor with his parents and three youngest siblings: Clyde, Hester, and Earl.

1920 census 2
“United States Census, 1920,” images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu1948unit#page/n332/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 33 Mountain Cove District, Victor Precinct; citing NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1821948

Then on the 22nd of January, he was living in Jodie, same county, in his brother Roy’s household. Fred may have just moved in with his brother’s family or he could have been living at both places, spending working days in Jodie and free time at home.

https://archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu1947unit#page/n589/mode/1up
“United States Census, 1920,” images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu1947unit#page/n589/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 11 Jodie Falls Magisterial District; citing NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1821947.

1921 – brother Clyde Lewis married Mary Etta “Marietta” HOLLY. [line 40]

Fred, 23, and Myrtle Hazel ROOP, 17, both of Jodie, were married on January 20, 1923, in Fayetteville by A. H. Perkins. [line 4]

1923 – daughter Thelma Louise (d. 1991) was born on August 11.

1925 – daughter Lois Emma (d. 2006) was born on April 24.

1926 – sister Hester Ethel (d. 2001) married James Arthur GROSE. [line 31]

1927 – daughter Leona Mae was born.

In 1930 Fred, a coal miner, is seen for the first time as the head of household on the census. The family of 5 was living in Jodie, paying $8 a month rent, and owned a radio set.

1930 census
“United States Census, 1930,” images, Archive Internet ( https://archive.org/stream/15thcensus2531unit#page/n174/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 10-5 Falls; citing NARA microfilm publication

1931 – son Doyle Stanley (d. 1990) was born May 20 .

1935 – son Fred Roosevelt (d. 1974) was born November 3.

1937 – sister Hester Ethel married William R. “Bill” SKAGGS.

On Sunday, September 12, 1937, the sixth reunion of the Dempsey family was held near Lover’s Leap.

The Charleston Gazette Saturday, September 18, 1937
The Charleston Gazette published Saturday, September 18, 1937

1939 – World War II began; son Oscar and his wife Fannie divorced about this time.

On the 1940 census Fred is the head of a household with his wife and 5 children. He had 8 years of schooling and was a coal loader in the coal mines. He worked 35 hours a week and had worked 44 weeks in 1939 with an income of $1,451. They rented their home which was not a farm for $8 a month.

1940 census
“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-27896-11842-71?cc=2000219&wc=M9QD-F6J:1840445939 : accessed 24 Jan 2014), West Virginia > Fayette > Falls Magisterial District > 10-5 Falls Magisterial District in Voting Precinct 7 Gamoca, Voting Precinct 8 Belva, and Voting Precinct 9 Jodie; Jodie, Vanetta (part); citing NARA digital publication of T627.

1940 – daughter Thelma married Fred Lawrence “Freddie” FITZWATER in Kentucky.

Fred’s brother Oscar die in May and his mother Laura in October 1940. His father followed in January 1941. Fred and Myrtle who were living in Jodie at the time of the census moved to Victor during the year. Their youngest son confirmed that they moved to Victor to take care of Fred’s Mom and Dad in 1940. Fred bought out his brothers and sisters — there was not so much a transfer of money but an agreement that he would inherit the house and property for taking care of his parents.

1941 – son Walter Leland (d. 1993) was born April 15.

1941 – Daughter Lois married Nathan B. LEE [left page].

1942 – first grandchild was born

Fred was too young for the “old man’s registration” conducted on 27 April 1942. It was for  men not already in the military and born on or between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897 – men who were between 45 and 64 years old.

1944 – son Lloyd Allen was born.

1945 – World War II ended in August and daughter Leona married Frank J. “Buck” MULLINS in November. [line 24]

1952 – son Doyle married Mavis Ivalene WOOD. [line 29]

1957 – son Fred married Catherine Josette WILDINGER.

1957 021 visiting in WV
Fred and his wife Myrtle at their home in Victor.

1958 – son Leland married Nancy Lou ZICKAFOOSE. [line 33]

1959 – brother Earl married Mabel Lucille WILKERSON. [line 24]

1961 – Fred, a member of the United Mine Workers, retired the end of October at the age of 62. Fred and his wife began spending the winters at their home in Masaryktown, Florida.

1966 – son Lloyd married Anndra Kay McCLUNG.

Between 1942 and 1971 twenty-four grandchildren were born.

[Source: Raleigh Register (Beckley), Wednesday Afternoon, January 10, 1973]
Raleigh Register (Beckley), Wednesday Afternoon, January 10, 1973
January 21, 1973, Fred and his wife Myrtle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Their seven children and spouses were present with most of the grandchildren.

Golden Wedding Anniversary - 20 January 1973
Golden Wedding Anniversary – January 20, 1973 – Celebrated on January 21, 1973

Fred was Sunday School assistant superintendent at Hopewell Baptist Church and a teacher for the men’s Bible class. He died at home after a short illness on Monday, Feburary 3, 1975.

Charleston Gazette, Wednesday February 5, 1973
Charleston Gazette, Wednesday February 5, 1973

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

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52 Ancestors: #1 Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY 1935-1974

52ancestorsI decided to [silently] accept Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks at the beginning of the year and posted the first 3 weeks to our closed family group on Facebook. Things went well and I’ve decided [maybe] it’s time to try the blogging world. This is a slightly revised version of the original #1 posted on January 9th.

Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY was born November 3, 1935, the fifth child and second son of Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY and Myrtle Hazel ROOP, in Jodie, Fayette County, West Virginia. His maternal grandmother, Rebecca Jane (CLONCH) ROOP was the midwife.

1940 census
“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch – Fred R Dempsey, Falls Magisterial District, Fayette, West Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 10-5, sheet 20A, family 375, NARA digital publication of T627, roll 4401.

In 1940 he was first enumerated on a census along with his parents Fred 40 and Myrtle 34; sisters, Thelma 16, Lois 15, Leona 13; and brother Doyle 8. His two youngest brothers, Leland and Lloyd, were born after 1940.

Victor School group photo ca. 1945
Victor School group photo ca. 1945

While growing up he attended Hopewell Baptist Church. The family moved into the Dempsey home in Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia, in 1940 following the census. Freddy and his brothers only had to go next door to get to school. By 1945 his three sisters had all married.

On October 4th, 1948, a Sunday morning, at the age of 12 he fractured his right arm when he fell from a swing at his home and was taken to Charleston General Hospital. A couple of years later, while playing basketball in high school, he broke the same arm on the same day. In later years he would have chosen to stay home on the anniversary if he could as he considered it his bad luck day.

Fred R. Dempsey 1966
Fred R. Dempsey 1966

The New Year 1954 started with a bang at the Army and Air Force recruiting station on Main St. in Beckley, when Freddy, 18, of Victor, enlisted in the Air Force for four years and was sent to Sampton AFB, New York. The four years passed and he made the USAF his career. During his 21 years in the military, he served in Germany, Georgia, France, Idaho, Thailand, Spain, South Carolina, and Texas. A certificate of Honorable Service was awarded as a testimony of his honest and faithful service to the Air Force and his country.

1956 near Born, Luxembourg

While stationed in Germany he took 1st place in the hill climb race (motorcycle) in Born (Luxembourg).

On March 2, 1957, he married Catherine Josette Wildinger in Luxembourg.

Following the births of their first two daughters, he complained that he would probably never have a son and then became the father of three sons!

This ‘n That

He was a First Aid instructor while stationed in Georgia.
He was a crew chief and enjoyed telling about how he would hide a foreign object in the cockpit of a plane to test his crew.
He tried out different crafts (attended a ceramic class, did leather and woodwork) and left several treasured pieces.
He was the family photographer and the reason that we have so few photos of him.
He enjoyed watching his boys play little league baseball, would be seen in the bleachers helping with the scorekeeping, and even helped coach one of his son’s teams.
He didn’t play many sports as an adult but was very proud of a 300 game he once bowled.
He enjoyed owning “special” cars. While in SC he bought a dune buggy which he drove to TX when the family moved there.
During his tour of duty in Thailand, he took classes in Catholicism but never converted.

Freddy DEMPSEY died on May 19, 1974, of a myocardial infarction, but he lives on in our hearts.

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

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge

I’ve accepted Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Image

My plan is to post on Mondays. I’ve already shared #1, #2, and #3 on our closed group on Facebook. Beginning with my father #1, followed by his parents #2 and #3, and continuing with their parents (#4-7), grandparents (#8-15), great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. By the end of the year I should have a nice little book on the ancestors of Fred Dempsey and Myrtle Roop.

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

LANDRUM Brick Wall

door-12.jpg

Guardian Bond
20 Patsy Landrum — 4:305 GB Geo. Wright and Thos. Spencer, Aug. 21, 1797, for GW as gdn of Patsy Landrum, orph of Jas. Landrum, dec’d.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, compiled by Bailey Fulton Davis, Amherst Court, Virginia ” Wills”, Vol. 2, E-O, page 5 L Wills.]

What I wouldn’t do to see this document!

Patsy LANDRUM, orphaned daughter of James LANDRUM, married William DEMPSEY in Amherst County, Virginia, on 21 August 1799. This was exactly two years after the guardian bond date. On the original marriage bond (photocopy) she was listed as a spinster.

I’ve looked at other LANDRUMs in Amherst County during this time period and searched all over for someone who may have done more research on this family. New searches “show” that James was the son of Elizabeth and Samuel LANDRUM, a son of James LANDRUM and Mary BROWNE who married in 1696 in Old Rappahannock County. This James LANDRUM was one of two brothers who first came to America in the 1680s.

The first LANDRUMs in America were two brothers, John and James LANDRUM, who arrived in America in about 1688 and lived in Old Rappahannock County (present Essex County), Virginia. The theory that LANDRUM is a variant spelling of LENDRUM comes from early records in America pertaining to the same person where the name is spelled as “Landrum” and as “Lendrum”, a Scottish family name. The LENDRUMs were originally of the COMYN family. When Robert Bruce defeated the COMYNs, the name was banned, and they took the name, LENDRUM, from a place called “LENDRUM” in Scotland.

I am very suspicious when I see descendants’ charts with all the dots connected. So once again I will save everything I have found and hope that one day I can prove that my James LANDRUM was the son of Samuel and grandson of James the immigrant.

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

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!

The phrase “luck of the Irish” is an American term and not of Irish origin. So on St. Patrick’s Day let’s just say it was the luck of the Irish that dropped a new key in my lap that helped me open a door in an Irish-American brick wall this weekend.

The Irish Surname: DEMPSEY

The Key: The Chancery Records Index – archival processing and indexing projects overseen by the Library of Virginia.

My 3rd great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY had three brothers, one of them being Wesley G. DEMPSEY who lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia, from a little after 1850 until his death in 1890. In the Chancery Records Index I found three bunches of court papers referring to him in 1861, 1876, and 1895. Per the last bunch, Wesley had no children or descendants of children, no mother, no father, no brothers or sisters living when he died in 1890.

The papers show that he had a nephew John E. Dempsey, a niece Jennie Terry (née Dempsey), two great-nieces Fannie Montgomery (née Dempsey) and Eliza A. Maxwell (née Dempsey) and a great-nephew W. E. Dempsey. All were living in Rockbridge County except for J. E. Dempsey, a non-resident. These are not all known nephews and nieces who were living at the time but very likely the ones with whom he had the most contact.

Note: John E. was the son of Wilson M. DEMPSEY and the great-nieces and great-nephew were the children of William S. Dempsey, s/o Seaton Y. DEMPSEY.

The Brick Wall:
Jennie Terry, the wife of Marshall S. Terry, was a new name. I searched for them in the census and found Jennie with her husband in 1870 to 1910 as Geneve, Janie E., and Jane E. I checked the stray Dempsey individuals in my GEDCOM file as the name sounded familiar. Jenna Dempsey, a pauper with 3 young daughters, was found in Amherst County in the 1860 census. I had never been able to trace this family group forward nor backward. I believed that in some way they must be connected to my Seaton Y. DEMPSEY as his wife and Jenna’s oldest daughter were named Clementine. The other two daughters were twins. They matched a set of twins listed with the Terry surname in Marshall Terry’s household in 1870.

By 1860 Seaton had moved with his family to Fayette County, West Virginia. All children seen with him in 1850 were with him in 1860 except for Elizabeth (1850 age 14) and William S. Dempsey who was seen with his wife in Rockbridge County. I believe that Elizabeth was the middle name of Jennie/Geneve/Janie E./Jane E. To possibly prove this a marriage record for Marshall S. Terry and his wife Jennie Dempsey needs to be found. Per 1900 and 1910 census they had been married 34 and 41 years, i.e. about 1866-1869.

The hunt continues but this little wall is tumbling.

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

William DEMPSEY b. abt. 1779 d. bef. 20 June 1836

Door 8This is not a repeat posting of a brick wall. I have two DEMPSEY lines with a William DEMPSEY – both are brick walls.

William DEMPSEY was first seen in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1799 when his mother Susannah DEMPSEY gave consent for his marriage to Patsy LANDRUM [Hurrah! for marriage consents].
He was on the 1800 Tax List and 1810 & 1820 census for Amherst. He bought land in that county in 1810 and is mentioned in land deeds for land that adjoined his property up until 1830.
On 29 June 1835, the “Lynchburg Virginian” published a notice of Martha DEMPSEY’s death on 27 September 1834 with a request for the papers in the state of Ohio to publish the information for Mr. William DEMPSEY, the husband of the deceased, who was supposed to be somewhere in that state. A year later, as William did not return home, a bond was filed making Wilson DEMPSEY the administrator of William DEMPSEY’s estate. The division of the estate was well documented as court records were found from 1836 until 1848 when the suit was discontinued. These records show that his children were Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G., Louisa J. (wife of Simeon J. Burch), and Eliza (wife of Patrick H. Rowsey).
Did William go to Ohio with his son Coleman who lived in Ross County, OH, from 1830 until 1854 when the family immigrated to Missouri?
Were Jane DEMPSEY, wife of Allen CAMERON (md. 1795) and Tandy DEMPSEY, husband of Nancy THOMPSON (md. 1801) William’s siblings?
Was William DEMPSEY, a man who had land in Amherst in 1771, the husband of Susannah?
Were John and Jane DEMPSEY, a planter and his wife who lived in Amherst as seen in court records from 1762 to 1768, the parents-in-law of Susannah?
Hopefully, these questions will one day be answered.
A special thank you to Norma Dempsey for sharing the court and land records!

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

William A. W. DEMPSEY (1822-1867)

DSCN1021 OPiBWI’d planned on having a few days to do a “little” write-up on this brick wall. But I just have to tell you about this new breakthrough I made yesterday. The short story is that my paternal great-great-grandfather William A. W. Dempsey lies in a grave marked with another man’s name! This error could lead other genealogists down the wrong path.

William’s parentage has been a mystery for the longest time. It’s been nearly impossible to prove family tradition with documents from the time period that he lived in. Although he was found on the 1850 and 1860 census in Fayette County, (West) Virginia, with his wife and children, no marriage record has been located. Before coming to Fayette County he was seen on the 1841 tax list of Rockbridge County, Virginia. Part of the family tradition was that he served during the Civil War and died in a logging accident during or after the war. No documentation has been found to confirm his death and cause of death.

MRIN08669 William A. Dempsey GravemarkerI credit my father’s cousin Geraldine Dempsey Workman (1931-2007), a respected researcher from Fayette County, for the work she did on this family during the pre-internet days. However, I’ve suspected for several years now that Geraldine applied for and laid a Civil War marker for the wrong veteran on William’s grave in the cemetery in Chestnutburg on Ames Heights Road, 1.75 mi. off Rt. 19, Fayette County, West Virginia. The marker reads “Wm A. Dempsey Pvt Co C 7 Va Inf 1822-1867”.

In search of William’s parentage, I studied all of the Dempsey families in the Virginia/West Virginia area during that time period hoping to make a connection. I had help from Norma Dempsey who in 2001 sent me copies of everything she accumulated in the search for her husband Richard’s Dempsey line. I checked on the 7th Virginia Infantry. To make a long story short, I found enough information to show that William A. Dempsey of Orange Co. was the man who served in the 7th Va. Inf. and not William A. W. Dempsey of Fayette Co. I incorporated all of this information in the notes of my William and included photos and images of information found in my database.

Yesterday, while reviewing his file in preparation for a “little” write-up on this brick wall, I noticed that an image of a Civil War document saved in his scrapbook was not high quality enough to read. A new search at Ancestry.com brought up images that could only be viewed on Fold3.com. Laura Keaton Morrison, a descendant of another Dempsey family in Fayette Co., was kind enough to send me the images.

Three of the images were for William A. Dempsey of Orange County. The last image, from a different collection, contained only 4 lines:

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

I’d never heard of “Provost Marshal File”. The provost (pronounced provo) marshals served in territorial commands, armies, and Army corps as military police. I found two databases: “United States, Union Provost Marshal Files of Individual Civilians, 1861-1866” and “Union Provost Marshals’ File of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilians” on FamilySearch.com. From information about the files and their content, I learned that some cross-reference slips in the first database are stamped “PROVOST MARSHAL FILE” and show the name of a civilian and a number that cites a document in the second database. The image I received from Laura was from the first database, called “Union Citizens File” on Fold3. I located a two page document with the heading “List of prisoners with their own statement.” and cross ref. #2323 in the second database. “May to Sep ’62 Cits” was written on the back of the folded document. In the document I found my great-great-grandfather’s statement:

“William A. W. Dempsey – citizen residing on Dogwood Ridge, Fayette Co., farmer, left home on the 18th. Started when they heard firing at the Court House, came down to get work in the Valley, refers to Simpson Wood, Styris Wood, and G. W. McVay, of the Oil Works, (brothers-in-law of his). Knows Hamilton as Hamilton of Hawks Nest.”

Dates mentioned in the other statements in the document brought me to the conclusion that the 18th was in the month of May. James Simpson Wood and Elijah Stuart “Sty” Wood were William’s wife Sarah Ann Wood’s brothers. George Washington McVey (of the Cannelton Oil Works) may have been mentioned as a reference as he was an outstanding citizen. He was not a brother-in-law but lived in the same area as the Wood families.

This document shows that my William was taken prisoner by the Union army between May and September of 1862 and his statement proves that he was a citizen of Fayette County.

The search continues for the parentage of William A. W. Dempsey.

© 2012, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.