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

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

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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.