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

It’s a complicated story

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

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

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

Dramatis personae

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

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

Iudex, advocatus, et notarius publicus 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Vinculo matrimonii

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

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


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

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

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


Sarah J. Clonch
vs In Chancery
John W. Clonch

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


Cover sheet for the depositions in the chancery record

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

 

 

 

 

 



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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

In Chancery
Sarah J. Clonch
vs
JohnW.Clonch

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


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

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


Sarah J. FOSTER and her son William A. CLONCH

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

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

John William CLONCH

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

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

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

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


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

William CLONCH’s Estate – and It Gets More Complicated

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

Searching the Land Deed Index

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

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

A Tract of Land Containing 148 Acres

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

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

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

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

The 1866 Land Deed

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

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

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

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

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

The Gernon Tract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Following the Land Records

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

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

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

The 1885 Land Deed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I Learned While Doing the Research

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

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

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

Genealogy Sketch

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

John W. CLONCH to Charles H. CLONCH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Heirs at Law of William CLONCH deceased to Charles CLONCH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Heirs at law of William CLONCH deceased to Joel CLONCH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Heirs at law of William CLONCH deceased to Lovina PATTERSON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What was going on?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DNA may hold the answer

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

Genealogy Sketch

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The Land is Mentioned in a Will

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

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

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

William CLONCH the inferred father of the DOSS children

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

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

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

New Records on FamilySearch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Happened to the Land after 1875?

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

Genealogy Sketch

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

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

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


  1. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971” (database with images), FamilySearch (digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia), FHL Film #567420, Item 2; DGS 4715359; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875, image 104 of 165, page 166-167. Last will and testament of William Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722 : accessed 12 January 2019). 
  2. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_959; Image 371; Virginia, Mason, District 38, image 121 of 165, Sheet No. 422A, Lines -23, HH #842-853, William Clonch household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  3.  1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1361; FHL Film: 805361; Virginia, Mason County, District 2, image 25 of 68; Page No. 46, Lines 21-30, HH #345-316, Wm Claunch household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  4. “Mason County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Deed books, 1803-1901” (database with images), FamilySearch (microfilm of original records at the Mason County Courthouse), Film 567256, DGS 8292936, Deed book, v. 18-19 1863-1866, image 416 of 598 pages 224-225. 1865 John W. Clonch (his part of William Clonch’s estate) to James W. Patterson.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRQ-DSCQ-T?i=415&cat=76718 : accessed 23 January 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Film 567355, DGS 8292989, Deed book, v. 28-29 1873-1877, image 207 of 651, pages 358+359. 1875 James W. Patterson to John W. Clonch the land conveyed in William Clonch’s will to Mary Ellen Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-S38Z-6?i=206&cat=76718 : accessed 24 January 2019). 

Rocking the Shared Matches on AncestryDNA

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

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

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

A Time-Saving Chrome Extension

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

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

Shared Matches on AncestryDNA

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

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

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

Taking a Look at The Big Picture

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

And Then A Tree Was Linked

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

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

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

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

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

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

How This Helps in the Long Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here We Go Dancing ’round the Hill

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

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

Genealogy Happy Dance (1)

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

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

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

DSC_0008 1Genealogy Happy Dance (2)

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

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

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

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

Welcome to a journey back in time….

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

Let’s discuss what I found in the bible transcription

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

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

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

Last Known Owner of the Dennis Hill Family Bible

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

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

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

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

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

Updated List of Children of Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER

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

Why Have I Gone Through This Exercise?

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

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

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

bestwishescathy1

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Difficulty Getting Around the Hill

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

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

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

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

Who was Dennis CLONCH and What Became of Him?

The short story is:

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

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

And this is the long story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bestwishescathy1

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

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Mysterious Ann Eliza HILL, wife of William CLONCH

My third great-grandfather William CLONCH (1807-1863) had eight known children with my third great-grandmother Mary “Polly” DOSS (1816-bef. 1892). They were never married. Seven of the children were named in William’s last will and testament – with DOSS as their surname. Five of the seven were boys and used the CLONCH surname for the rest of their lives passing it on to their children.

1863williamclonchwill
West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875; Page 166-167 (image 104); online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722

Also mentioned in the will was his daughter Mariah Jane PATTERSON, née CLONCH. She was a child from his marriage to Ann Eliza HILL (1812-1895). There are several mysteries surrounding this wife.

1863williamclonchwill2
West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875; Page 166-167 (image 104); online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722

In early records, the CLONCH surname was spelled CLAUNCH. William CLAUNCH, as he was seen in this entry, of Mason County, Virginia, married Ann Eliza HILL of Gallia County, Ohio, on 20 August 1832 in Gallia County.

claunchhillmarriage
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XD4V-KPD : accessed 21 Jun 2014), William Clauseck (sic, Claunch) and Ann Eliza Hill, 20 Aug 1832; citing Gallia, Ohio, United States, reference p220; FHL microfilm 317652.

They had a daughter Mariah Jane who may have been born about the time of the marriage or soon after. William CLAUNCH was found in the 1840 census in Mason County with a young female 5 and under 10 years old, assumed (by me) to be his daughter Mariah Jane, and a woman 20 and under 30 years old. In my early years of researching this family, as far as I could tell, most CLONCH researchers believed Ann Eliza HILL died or divorced William CLONCH however no record of divorce has been found. I suspect there is none as you will see in a moment.

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 J.)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (wife or common-law wife)
3 persons in household
1 person engaged in agriculture

The daughter Mariah Jane was married by 1850 and was never seen by name with her father on a census. On the census, she was 19 in 1850 and 27 in 1860.

The woman seen with William in 1840 could not be his wife as Eliza CLAUNCH was found in the census of Gallia County, Ohio, with two young males in her household. William and Ann Eliza were living in separate households in two states.

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

Were they her sons and sons of William CLAUNCH? When William made his will in 1862 he mentioned only his daughter Mariah Jane from his marriage to Ms. HILL – no sons! If Eliza had her own household, are we seeing Polly DOSS in William’s household? She would give birth to William’s son John William in December.

For a better understanding of what was going on I needed to discover what happened to Eliza in later years.

The marriage between William and Eliza may have been in difficulties early on. Who was to blame, William or Eliza, or both parties? The short of it is we know William never married the mother of his DOSS (later known as CLONCH) children. Was this because he was never legally divorced from Eliza? His wife Eliza, however, remarried as a widow!

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.

1842marriage1
http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12568001&Type=Marriage
1842marriage2
http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12568001&Type=Marriage

Ann Eliza HILL’s husband William CLAUNCH did not die between the time of the 1840 census and her remarriage on 26 March 1842. Could the names be a coincidence? Who was this lady who married Andrew GAUSE?

Let’s continue looking for Ann Eliza CLAUNCH, now Mrs. GAUSE. I followed the lady and her second husband as well as their descendants. Would the children she had with her second husband have her maiden name on their death records?

In 1850 she was with Andrew GAUSE in Lawrence County, Ohio, with five children.

1850 U.S. Federal census
Lawrence County, Ohio
Upper Township, Sheet 449A
Enumerated by me on the 16th day of August, 1850.
HH #8-8
Andrew Gause 28 M Miner Pennsylvania cannot write
Eliza Gause 39 F New York cannot read & write
Thomas J. Gause 14 M Ohio cannot read
Elinor Gause 12 F Ohio
Francis E. Gause 6 M Ohio
Henry F. Gause 4 M Ohio
Mary A. Gause 1 F Ohio
Benj. Bosner 28 M England

It is not known if Thomas J. age 14 and Elinor age 12 are children of Andrew and/or Eliza or Andrew’s relations. Neither have been traced in later census or other records. The three younger children were born after the marriage took place in 1842.

In December 1855 another son was born into the family. By 1860 all children seen in 1850, except for Henry F., were missing in the household and the surname was now spelled GAUZE:

1860 U.S. Federal census
Gallia County, Ohio
Ohio Township, South New Castle
Andrew Gauze 38 Pennsylvania
Eliza Gauze 48 New York
Henry Gauze 14 Ohio
Alexander Gauze 5 Ohio
Cynthia Ross 27 Ohio
John Ross 4 Ohio
John Thompson 28 Ohio
Frederick Ginder 17 Germany

Andrew GAUZE and his wife Eliza’s little family included only sons Henry F. and Alexander. These would be the only two possibilities of finding death records with the maiden name of the child’s mother.

In 1870 Eliza did not appear on the census however her two sons were found. Henry F., the elder, was married with two children living in West Township, Columbiana County, Ohio. Alexander at age 15 was living with a Johnson family and working as a coal miner in Canton Township, Stark County, Ohio.

Eliza’s husband Andrew GAUZE remarried in 1862. Did Eliza die soon after the 1860 census?

1862GauzeClarkmarriage
Marriage Record Groom’s Name: Andrew Gauze Bride’s Name: Lovina Jane Clark Marriage Date: 08 May 1862 Marriage Place: Gallia,Ohio Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M51322-2 System Origin: Ohio-ODM Source Film Number: 317653 Collection: Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22512-71913-67?cc=1614804

Andrew GAUZE and his new wife were found in the 1870 census, living in Rome Township, Lawrence County, Ohio.

1870 U.S. Federal Census
Lawrence County, Ohio
Rome Township, Page No. 16
Enumerated by me on 22nd the day of July, 1870. Wm H Sloan, Ass’t Marshal.
Bartramville Post Office
HH #120-115
Gauze, Andrew 48 M W Coal miner WV cannot write
Gauze, Lavina 30 F W Keeping house WV cannot write
Clarke, Geo. 15 M W Farm work WV attended school within year
Note: Lovina’s maiden name was Clark; George may be her relative.

Andrew and Lovina Jane were not found in 1880. On 27 March 1897 a 45 years old Levina GAUZE (was she Andrew’s widow?) was marrying the 70 years old Lem (Lemuel) BAILEY in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia. By 1900 the bride may have died as the groom is listed with his son on the Huntington census as widowed.

The search for Andrew GAUZE and his second wife Lovina Jane CLARK came to a dead end between 1870 and 1900. Or so I thought! I found Vina GAUZE (widow of Andrew) listed in the city directory of Huntington.What happened to Andrew and his second wife is not important to the continuation of Eliza’s story but I’d hope it would give me more clues.

What happened to Andrew and Eliza’s sons after 1870?

The older son Henry F. GAUZE was found in:

  • 1880: Shiawassee County, Michigan
  • 1890: Special Schedule (Stark County, Ohio)
  • 1895: Clay County, Indiana
  • 1900: missing; wife and children found in Saginaw County, Michigan
  • 1910: alone in Saginaw County, Michigan (wife died in 1912)
  • 1920: with another woman in Saginaw County, Michigan; he married her following the census in April and his parents were listed as father A. J. GAUZE, mother Eliza HILL.

The younger son Alexander GAUZE remained in Stark County, Ohio, and was found there at the time of the 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 census. In 1880 his mother Eliza GAUZE was found with him and his family:

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Stark County, Ohio
Canton Township,  Page No. 24
Enumeration District No. 135, Sheet No. 300D
Enumerated by me on the 11th day of June, 1880. Henry R. Packer, Enumerator.
HH #200-208
Gauze, Alexander M W 25 married Miner unemployed 4 months during census year Ohio Virginia New York
Gauze, Sarah Jane F W 26 wife married Keeping House Ohio Pennsylvania Ohio
Gauze, Emery W. M W 4 son single Ohio Ohio Ohio
Gauze, Albert Byron M W 3 son single Ohio Ohio Ohio
Gauze, Howard Ellsworth M W 8/12 son single Ohio Ohio Ohio
Gauze, Eliza F W 68 Mother widowed New York New York New York

Eliza was listed as widowed even though her husband Andrew had remarried. Or did I follow the wrong Andrew GAUZE?

Finding her in the 1880 census with her son led to the death record of Ann Eliza GAUZE. She died in Howenstine, Pike Township, Stark County, Ohio, on 28 October 1895. Neither the names of her parents nor her maiden name were mentioned on the entry in the death register. New York was the place of birth, consistent with the 1850, 1860, and 1880 census.

1895annelizagauzedeath1
Left page of ledger
1895annelizagauzedeath2
Right page of ledger

[Source: “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F665-HWB : 13 December 2014), Ann Eliza Gauze, 28 Oct 1895; citing Death, Howenstine, Pike Township, Stark, Ohio, United States, source ID v 3 p 184, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 897,621.]

Per her Find A Grave memorial, cemetery records show she was buried in Melscheimer Cemetery in Canton. Her son Alexander, as well as many of his descendants, are also buried in the same cemetery.

I left the sons’ death records for last. Her younger son Alexander died 7 February 1920 in Stark County, Ohio. His death certificate names Eliza HILL as his mother. There is a discrepancy on the name of his father.

1920AlexanderGauzedeath
“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X8LF-4J9 : 8 December 2014), Alexander Gauze, 07 Feb 1920; citing Canton, Stark, Ohio, reference fn 16829; FHL microfilm 1,985,129.

Her older son Henry F. died a year later on 13 February 1921 in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois. No image of the death certificate was found however the indexed information shows the mother’s maiden name was HILL and the father’s name as Andrew.

1921HenryFGauzedeath
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQFY-D5Z

Why did I spend so much time researching the GAUZE children of Ann Eliza HILL? First to prove the wife of my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH did not die. This may have been the reason he never married the mother of his children, my 3rd great-grandmother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS.

Secondly, I hoped it would lead me to more information on the children Eliza had with William CLONCH. Mariah Jane was the only child outside of his DOSS children he acknowledged in his will. She and her husband John PATTERSON protested the will in which he gave “three dollars to Mariah Jane Patterson.” The attorney they hired to represent them was not able to oppose the will and they had to pay the expenses of the court.

Is it possible Eliza and William had another child? I believe there is the likelihood of another child but who were his parents? Eliza and William, Eliza and another man, or William and another woman? Stay tuned for more to come.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Ann Eliza HILL
Parents: Unknown, per 1880 census born in New York
Spouse: William CLONCH(*) and Andrew J. GAUZE
Children: Mariah Jane CLONCH, Henry F. GAUZE, Alexander GAUZE
Whereabouts: Mason WV, Gallia OH, Lawrence OH, Stark OH
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: wife of 3rd great-grandfather

1. William CLONCH‘s wife Ann Eliza HILL
2. Alexander CLONCH
3. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Judy, Beck, Dick, and Mourning

Following my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims I’ve made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors. Today I’m RELEASING Judy, Beck, Dick, and Mourning.

In 2014 I wrote about the ancestors in my paternal line from my father to my 4th great-grandparents. None owned slaves – or to be more specific, I have not found documents showing they held slaves. Going back one or two generations further I do find ancestors who left wills with names of slaves. One of these was Edward NIX lastly of Camden District in South Carolina.

I believe that it may be of importance to the slaves’ descendants to know where my ancestor, the slave owner, Edward NIX spent his long life. This is a quick rundown of information Libbie Griffin shared in the article “The Lineage of Frances Nix Doss” in The Doss Connection, Volume 2, No. 1, July 1996. The article was based on information compiled by Wanda Gregory who researched the Nix family for many years.

Edward NIX 1686-1776

Edward NIX was christened on 7 November 1686 in St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia. His father John (seen as James on the christening record) had recently come to Virginia from Barbados. Edward was very likely an only child and his father died about the time of his birth. His mother Elizabeth married Abraham VENABLE Sr. in 1687.

Hanover County was formed in 1721 from part of New Kent County. In 1731, Edward NIX received a patent for 400 acres in Hanover County. In 1734 he was named executor of his father-in-law Thomas Gibson’s will.

In 1745 Edward received a grant for 2977 acres of land in Amelia County. In 1746-1747 Edward was 60 years old and living in Amelia when he sold his land in Hanover. By 1750 numerous deeds can be found in Amelia County showing he transferred ownership of tracts of about 200 acres. Many of these were to his sons and sons-in-law who in the early 1750s moved with their families to Lunenburg County in the area that is now the north east corner of Pittsylvania County. In 1754 Prince Edward County was formed from part of Amelia County. In 1756 Edward NIX began selling his land now in Prince Edward County.

At the age of 70 he was planning to move to South Carolina. He appears in both Prince Edward and South Carolina records until 1762. In 1763 he received a 400 acres grant in South Carolina and lived in the Camden District from 1763 through 1776. He died in 1776 leaving a will.

WILL of Edward NIX

South Carolina, Camden District. In the name of God Amen on this Eighth day of October 1776 I Edward Nix of the Province & Dist aforesaid being sick & weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be to God, therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make & ordain this my last Will and Testament, that is to say principally & first of all. I give and recommend my Soul unto the hands of Almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in a decent Christian Manner at the discretion of my Executors, nothing doubting but at the general Resassection (sic, Resurrection) I shall receive the same by the mighty power of God, and as touching such worldly Estate where with it hath pleased God to Blefs (sic, Bless) me in this life I give demise & dispose of the same in the following manner & form.

Item: I give & bequeath to my grandson James Nix son of James Nix one shilling sterling.

Item: I give & bequeath to my son Volintine (sic, Valentine) Nix one Shilling Sterling.

Item: I give & bequeath to my son George Nix one Shilling Sterling.

Item: I give & bequeath to my daughter Sabra Lax (sic, Lox) one Shilling Sterling.

Item: I give & bequeath to my daughter Francis Dafs (sic, Doss), one Shilling Sterling.

Item: I give and bequeath to my grand son Ambrose Nix one hundred & twenty five acres of Land lying on the north side of Santee River in Camden District begining (sic) on a Mark’d Hickory & running down the Sd (sic, Santee) River, for the compliment of one hundred & twenty acres be the same more or lefs (sic, less), it being part of a large tract of Land granted By His Excellency Thomas Boone to Edward Nix.

Item: I give & bequeath to my grand son John Lyon & his heirs, after the death of my beloved wife my Plantation whereon, I now live, on the South side of Sandy River with all the Remaining part of my Land it being part of a larger Tract of Land granted by his Excellency Thomas Bonne Esq., the 18th day of August 1763 to Edward Nix.

Item: I give & bequeath to my grandson Jno (sic, John) Lyon to him and his Heirs the following negroes, Judy, Beck, Dick, and mourning (sic, Mourning) after the decease of my wife during her natural Life, & after his decease, to be equally divided between his two sons Elijah and Elisha.

Item: I give to my grandson Jno Lyon all the remaining part of my Stock of Horses, Hogs, and Black Cattle, House hold Furniture, and plantation Tools after paying my just debts Funeral Expenses, and Legacies.

Item: I likewise constitute make & ordain my loving wife Unice Nix and Jno Lyon Executors of this my Present Last Will and Testament, & I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke, and dis annul, all and every other Former Testament Wills Legacies and bequests, & Executors by me in any ways before mentioned Will’d or bequeathed, rectifying & confirming this & no other to be my Last Will & Testament. In witness whereof I have here unto set my hand & seal the day & year first above written.

Edward Nix His X Mark (LS).

Signed, Sealed, published pronounced & declared by the I Edward Nix as his last Will & Testament in presence of us the subscribers.

Wm. Farr, Richard Crosby, William Crosby

Recorded in Will Book 1774-1779 page 418

Source of transcript of will:
“South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19387-5488-91?cc=1919417&wc=M6N4-F68:210905601,211749101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Wills, 1774-1779, Vol. 017 > image 171 of 424; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.

The original will can be found on p. 418 of the Charleston County Will Book 1774-1779 per the will index found here:
“South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19387-6863-0?cc=1919417&wc=M6N4-F68:210905601,211749101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Wills, 1774-1779, Vol. 017 > image 12 of 424; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.

The inventory of Edward NIX’s estate may help with the ages of Judy, Beck, Dick, and Mourning:

1 old Negroe Wench & a boy about 9 or 10 year old
1 ditto and a Girl about 7 year old

Judy and Beck may have been the older women and Dick and Mourning the two young children.

inventory
Source: “South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19424-81785-20?cc=1919417&wc=M6NW-Y3D:210905601,211110101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Inventories, 1774-1785, Vol. 098 > image 365 of 425; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.

The original inventory is on p. 229 of the Charleston County 1774-1785 A-A Inventories book per the index found on:
“South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19424-88508-35?cc=1919417&wc=M6NW-Y3D:210905601,211110101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Inventories, 1774-1785, Vol. 098 > image 14 of 425; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.

John Lyon, the grandson

I have not researched the descendants of Edward NIX. A quick look at the South Carolina Probate Records in Charleston turns up the will of one John LYON who died in 1781 leaving a wife Elizabeth and three children John, Thomas and Margaret. In the will he names one slave, his negro boy Dick. This may be a coincidence and requires further research.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Edward NIX
Parents: John NIX and his wife Elizabeth
Spouse: Eunice “Nice” GIBSON
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey:
7th great-grandfather

  1. Edward NIX
  2. Francis NIX
  3. James DOSS Jr.
  4. Levina DOSS
  5. Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
  6. Alexander CLONCH
  7. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
  8. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
  9. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
  10. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #52 Levina DOSS – Another Unmarried Mother and How She Helped Me Bring This Challenge Finale to an End with a Bang!

“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 #52 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

I’d apologize for the long title but I couldn’t resist! Thank you, Amy Johnson Crow, for a wonderful journey. To all my readers, thank you for coming back time and time again. After reading the last entry for this year, I’d appreciate it if you would please leave a comment letting me know what you liked, disliked, loved or even hated about this challenge. Thank you and Happy New Year!

52 Ancestors: #52 Levina DOSS – Another Unmarried Mother and
How She Helped Me Bring This Challenge Finale to an End with a Bang!

One unmarried mother in my family tree would be easy to take. But two is a bit harder especially since they were mother and daughter. In July I wrote about my 3rd great-grandmother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS being a single mother. Her mother, my 4th great-grandmother, Levina DOSS was also a single mother.

Vapittsylvania
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Accessed online: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/File:Vapittsylvania.jpg

The Doss family had strong roots in Halifax and Pittsylvania County, Virginia. In 1755 Levina’s grandfather James DOSS Sr. 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 adjacent to Beechtree Creek and Staunton River.

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).

Parents and Siblings of Levina DOSS

My 4th great-grandmother Levina DOSS was born between 1771-1775 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to James DOSS Jr. and his wife Elizabeth1. James was born about 1742 in Amelia County, he married Elizabeth about 1771 and died 1812 in Pittsylvania. Levina had 5 known siblings:

Sib 1: Elizabeth DOSS (1772-1830) born about 1772. Elizabeth DOSS married Ebenezer ANGEL (1769-1850) on 15 December 1794 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. She died between 1830-1840.
Sib 2: Phillip Valorius DOSS (1775-1814) born about 1775. Phillip married Rhoda Elizabeth THURMAN (1787-1850) about 1804 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He died before 14 June 1814 (date his widow Rhoda was mentioned in court records). Descendants of this line might be interested in some old photos that Vickie Beard Thompson posted on her blog I Dig My Roots and Branches.
Sib 3: Mary Ann DOSS (1780- ) born about 1780 [I am not very comfortable with this estimate considering her marriage in 1811]. She married(1) Preston DUDLEY (1773-1816) on 2 January 1811 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. She may have married(2) James BELL about 1820.
Sib 4: William DOSS (1785-1820) born about 1785. William married Martha CREWS (1789- ) on 29 April 1812 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.2 He died before 1820.
Sib 5: Edward DOSS (1795-1850) born about 1795. Edward married Nancy MITCHELL (1803-1860) on 19 December 1822 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He died before 1850.

The 1790, 1800, and 1810 census of Pittsylvania County are lost but a substitute is available. The loss is unfortunate and the substitute is wonderful but doesn’t do for me what the 1810 census would have done. I was hoping to see what the household of James DOSS looked like in 1810 and if his daughter Levina had her own household or was living in her father’s home with her three children.

Levina’s father James DOSS Jr. died about 1812 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

Levina’s Life as a Mother

In 1820 Levina DOSS was living in Pittsylvania County most likely on or near the land granted to her grandfather in 1755. She was an unmarried mother and the head of a household that included her four sons, two daughters, and most likely her mother Elizabeth who was widowed about 1812.

1820censusdoss
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Pittsylvania (ancestry.com)

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

By 1830 Levina had given birth to another daughter she named after her mother. Young Elizabeth and my 3rd great-grandmother Mary E. were the only children still living at home. Next door was Levina’s son William with his wife and young son. Also next door was her brother-in-law Eben ANGEL, a Baptist minister, with his wife, Levina’s sister Elizabeth and their children.

1830censusdoss
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Pittsylvania (ancestry.com)

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

As can be seen in the above listing Levina’s mother, or the older woman who had been seen in her household in 1820, was no longer with her. Let’s take a look at another person who was very close to Levina on this census.

1830doss
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Pittsylvania (ancestry.com)

1830 United States Federal Census
Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Name: Bettsy Doss
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – 70 thru 79: 1 (“Bettsy” widow of James DOSS)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 4

If the lady who was the head of household was also the older female then her age was 70 and under 80 years and could have been Levina’s widowed mother. Who was the younger lady living with Elizabeth in 1830? Was she a granddaughter with two small children? She couldn’t have been a daughter-in-law with such young children as Phillip and William died before 1820 and Edward was living in Campbell County.

Levina DOSS and her mother Elizabeth both died between 1830 and 1840.

Levina’s Children

In the 1830s Levina’s children Thomas, William, Polly, and Elizabeth 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 before the children moved. Only her son Phillip remained in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

Child 1: Thomas DOSS (abt.1801-1881) born about 1801 in Pittsylvania County. He married(1) Elizabeth EADS (abt.1802-bet.1860-1867) on 6 March 1827 in Caswell County, North Carolina. He married(2) Martha Forbes GORDON (1824-1881) on 28 April 1867* in Chariton County, Missouri. Thomas died on 1 April 1881 in Chariton County and was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in same county. *The index of the marriage record at ancestry.com and at familysearch.org both have 8 February 1867 as the date of marriage. Ancestry.com has the image of the pages of the marriage record. These clearly show that they married on 28 April 1867.
Child 2: [–?–] (female) DOSS born bet. 1795-1804
Child  3: [–?–] (male) DOSS born bet. 1804-1810
Child  4: William DOSS (abt.1811-1888) born about 1811 in Pittsylvania County. He married Elizabeth BARBER (abt.1814-1898) on 12 May 1828 in Pittsylvania County. It is possible that his wife died as he married again on 28 December 1837 in Mason County to Elizabeth HENRY.3 William died 22 November 1888 in Mason County, West Virginia.4
Child 5: Phillip Valorius “Phil” DOSS (abt.1814-aft.1880) born about 1814 in Pittsylvania County. He married Elizabeth BAILESS (abt.1815-aft.1880) on 25 December 1835 in Campbell County, Virginia. Phillip died after 1880.
Child 6: Mary E. “Polly” DOSS born about 1816 in Pittsylvania County, died bef. 1892 in Mason County, West Virginia. She never married but had eight children with William CLONCH.
Child 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. She married(2) John William STEED (abt.1806-aft.1880) on 26 October 1848 in Gallia County, Ohio. Betsy died after 1880.5

The only documentation I have found for Levina are the two census listings in which she was named as the head of a household. None of her children’s marriage records have the name of their mother listed. No death records were found for her children. All of her known children died after 1880 and before 1900.

Credits and a New Cousin

While preparing to write this last blog post for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge I learned Libbie Griffin started up the Doss Family Association in 1994 for the purpose of sharing information among all Doss descendants. She should be credited for researching and compiling genealogical information was published in their newsletter The Doss Connection. In our world of social media today it is so easy to find other researchers but what do you do when the person has “retired” her hobby? If I can find my ancestors shouldn’t I be able to find Libbie? In the days prior to Facebook, Twitter, etc. we used the messages boards and mailing lists. I searched through them until I found the most recent email address.

A Christmas Present and the Grand Finale

Saturday before Christmas I got an early present. Libbie replied to my email and told me about a bundle she found which included depositions that proved many connections in the Virginia Doss families.

“On one trip to Richmond for research I discovered that the information I needed to find the original papers was in Lynchburg, more than 100 miles away.  I went there and obtained the detailed title of the case and case number.  When I returned to Richmond the next day with that information I was handed a bundle of papers that had not been opened since a string was tied around them nearly 200 years earlier….I can’t tell you how excited I was!”

Reading this gave me goosebumps. Isn’t it the dream of all genealogists to find the mother lode? She told me she had written an entire issue of The Doss Connection about the find with transcripts of the important documents. She offered to scan and email it to me. YES! Thank you very much! She also wrote, “It felt wonderful to be reminded of that ‘find’.”

ScreenClip
The Doss Connection, Vol. 2 No. 1 July 1996, bottom of page 2. Used with permission of Libbie Griffith.

What Libbie found was a bundle that has not been scanned and therefore is not available in the Library of Virginia‘s collection of Chancery Records which are online. The case details of the bundle are indexed online here. In the issue of the newsletter Libbie sent to me, pages 2-12, 17-18, and 22 were filled with information on the case and the families involved. A plat drawing of the land in question was included:

ScreenClip
The Doss Connection, Vol. 2 No. 1 July 1996, bottom of page 4. Used with permission of Libbie Griffith.

Although I would love to share all of the information found in this issue of The Doss Connection I have chosen to only share excerpts, with Libbie’s permission, concerning my 4th great-grandmother Levina Doss. First, the deposition given by Levina, spelled Lavina in this excerpt, and second, the deposition of her mother Elizabeth. Words in brackets are Libbie’s and some punctuation and spelling corrections were made for easier reading but doesn’t change the meaning:

The Testimony of Lavina Doss
Deposition taken in Pittsylvania Co., Va., 7 May 1817: Lavina Doss … deposeth and sayeth that in the last sickness of her Grandfather, James Doss Senr. & but a Short time before his death, he sent for her Father James Doss Junr to come & see him, accordingly he went & this deponant went with him & we both went together, into the room where my Grandfather lay alone. He spoke to my father & said I am glad to see you Jamey, I have been uneasy & have sent for you to have some talk with you about our affairs. I am about soon to leave you my son & want you to have your rite. I know that I am owing you money that ought to have been paid before now but it was not in my power to do it, but I have now directed my Ext [Executor] to pay you without putting you to any trouble about it. As to the land, it is yours. It was gave to you & I wish you to have it for you have an undoubted rite to it & cannot be kept out of it after my death, your uncle Edward Nicks, gave you the land by Deed of Gift & I have no Claim to it any longer than I live; altho I have directed the land to [defer?, unclear] other ways than I ought to have done, it is not intended to keep you out of your Rite, but only to try to keep peace a little longer over my old head, for I wish to leave my family in peace & I know you will get the land after my death — altho it may put you to the trouble of goin’ or sending for the deed of gift, which I did no want you to have the trouble of. But for the sake of peace in my family, I could not help doing as I have, you know when I agreed to give you up the land below the Shop branch, what an oneasiness [uneasiness] & interruptions it made in my family, till you consented for the business to rest as it was till my death.

This deponent further sayeth that in the life time of the said James Doss Senr. he frequently said that the land belonged to his son James Doss Junr. after his death, that it was gave to him by uncle Edward Nicks and that he held no claim to it any longer than life. This deponent further states that her grandfather James Doss senr. dec’d., put her father James Doss Junr. into possession of the said land below the Shope branch, as above mentioned, & her father began to run a fence on the said land, but was stopped at the request of his father, on account of the disturbance & uneasiness it made in his family, but told my father, James Doss Junr. he would get the whole of the said land after his death. [signed: Lavina (X) Doss, her mark]

Notes (by Libbie): We should keep in mind that Lavina had something of a vested interest in the outcome of this case, and might have stressed her father’s right in the land a bit overmuch. In addition to providing us with an account of James Sr.’s last day, and his love for and concern for his family, Lavina’s testimony also tells what we had previously suspected: that although Lavina had 5 or 6 children, she never married. More on her family appears later in this issue.”

The Testimony of Elizabeth Doss
“Pittsylvania County, 27 September, 1816 [omitting the beginning]…. the tract of land in the bill mentioned was in the possession of my husband James Doss Junr. at the time of his death but was afterward sold (sometime in the year of 1812) at publick sale to the hightest bidder, subject to my dower, by the defendant Samuel Pannill, under a deed of trust executed by my said husband James Doss Junr. to the said Samuel Pannill to secure the payment of a debt due from my husband….to David Pannill’s Estate … neither the said complainant [Nathan Thurman] nor any other person forbid the sale, but since the sale the said Complainant Nathan Thurmon [sic] hath applied to this Respondent to purchase the dower land she holds in her possession & having thus fully answered this Respondant prayes to be hence  dismissed with her Costs. [signed: Elizabeth (X) Doss, her mark]

Note (by Libbie): Elizabeth was taxed for 56 acres until 1827, when this land was taken by the county (see Pittsylvania Co. Deed Bk. 28, p. 121). She and her children and grandchildren may have continued to live there afterward.”

This post was ready for publication before I heard from Libbie. I did not want to change what was written and have added footnotes to items which have additional remarks or information.

I’m going to let Libbie have the final word.

“I’m sure you can imagine it how hard it was for me to keep from cheering loudly in the hushed halls of the Virginia State Library when I cut that string and read those old documents!  A similar experience led me to the answers I needed about my own Doss family.  It’s amazing what’s there to find if we look long enough.”

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Levina DOSS
Parents: James DOSS Jr. and his wife Elizabeth
Spouse: not applicable
Children: Thomas, William, Phillip Valorius, Mary E. “Polly”, and Elizabeth “Betty”
Surnames: Doss, Clonch, Roop, Dempsey, Eads, Rodman, Barber, Bailess, Steed
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey:
4th Great-grandmother

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

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


  1. The wife of James DOSS Jr. is seen in many family trees as Elizabeth LESTER. Libbie Griffin gives strong evidence that she was the daughter of Thomas LESTER, however stressed that the maiden name is unproved. “Thomas LESTER purchased the land of George Wilcocks, adjacent to James Doss Sr., in 1779 (Pittsylvania Deed Bk. 5, p. 137). Lester was dead by March 1789 when his widow Lithe (probably Elizabeth’s step-mother) married John Ballinger. In 1824 Elizabeth Doss and John and Anna Lester sold what appears to be the same land to Asa Craddock (Pitts. Co. Deed Bk. 26, p. 224). This suggests that she was the sister of either John Lester or his wife Ann Minter Lester. Lester’s lived near (adjoining?) James Doss Jr.” [Source: Libbie Griffin, The Doss Connection, Vol. 2. No. 1, page 8] 
  2. Ibid. 
  3.  The death record of William DOSS’s daughter Sarah Jane NEVILLE shows her mother was Elizabeth HENRY. Therefore all children seen with William and Elizabeth in 1850 were from his 2nd marriage except for sons John 22 and William 14. 
  4.  According to Libbie’s article, William DOSS died 21 November 1888. His death record names “Lavina” as his mother, father unknown, and indicates he was born in 1812. [Source: Libbie Griffin, The Doss Connection, Vol. 2. No. 1, page 17] 
  5. Libbie believed Levina’s youngest daughter seen in the 1830 census may have died young. She may not have had all the information on marriages of DOSS individuals in Mason County, West Virginia, and Gallia County, Ohio, where many residents of Mason married. It is my belief Elizabeth was this young daughter, named after her grandmother, and she came to Mason County with her brothers and sister in the 1830s, most likely before December 1837 when brother William married Elizabeth HENRY.