Here We Go Dancing ’round the Hill

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

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

Genealogy Happy Dance (1)

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

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

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

DSC_0008 1Genealogy Happy Dance (2)

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

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

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

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

Welcome to a journey back in time….

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

Let’s discuss what I found in the bible transcription

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

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

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

Last Known Owner of the Dennis Hill Family Bible

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

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

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

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

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

Updated List of Children of Dennis HILL and Mary Ann BAKER

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

Why Have I Gone Through This Exercise?

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

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

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

bestwishescathy1

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

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Difficulty Getting Around the Hill

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

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

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

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

Who was Dennis CLONCH and What Became of Him?

The short story is:

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

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

And this is the long story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bestwishescathy1

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

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

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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.

bestwishescathy1

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.

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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 Elizabeth[1]. 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 that 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.[1] 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.

The only documentation I have found for Levina are the two census listings in which she was named head of 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 blogpost for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge I learned that 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 that 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 that 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 that 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 that 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 some remarks concerning things that I numbered.

[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] The death record of William DOSS’s daughter Sarah Jane NEVILLE shows that 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.

[3] According to Libbie’s article, William DOSS died 21 November 1888. His death record names “Lavina” as his mother, father unknown, and indicates that he was born in 1812. [Source: Libbie Griffin, The Doss Connection, Vol. 2. No. 1, page 17]

[4] Libbie believed that 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 that Elizabeth was this young daughter, named after her grandmother, and that she came to Mason County with her brothers and sister in the 1830s, most likely before December 1837 when brother William married Elizabeth HENRY.

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.”

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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

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52 Ancestors: #51 Nancy BEASLEY, wife of Dennis CLAUNCH or Dennis CLONCH

52ancestors“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 #51 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

We are nearly there! I’ve made it this far – didn’t miss a week – this one and then THE LAST!!!

52 Ancestors: #51 Nancy BEASLEY, wife of Dennis CLAUNCH or Dennis CLONCH

My 4th great-grandmother Nancy BEASLEY is another one of my brick walls. I have no idea who or from where her parents were. She was first seen in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, on 8 November 1803. On that day William JUSTICE was security on Nancy’s marriage to my 4th great-grandfather Dennis CLAUNCH.

Nancy was born in Virginia before the end of the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775-14 Jan 1784). From early census listings I calculate her birth at about 1781-1784.

Year         Range            (Calculated)
1810       26 thru 44      (26 thru 29)
1820       26 thru 44      (36 thru 39)
1830       40 thru 49      (46 thru 49)
1840       50 thru 59       (56 thru 59)
1850            75                 (66 thru 69)

In 1850 she was listed as 75. This is not reliable as it doesn’t match the age range on the pre-1850 censuses which appear to be consistent. I took the 1840 range of 50 thru 59 and worked back; 1830 was 40 thru 49; 1820 would be 30 thru 39; 1810 would be 20 thru 29. Since the 1810 range was 26 thru 44, the range 20 thru 29 can be narrowed further to 26 to 29. Then I went forward added 10 years for each decade as seen in the parenthesis. The range 66 thru 69 for 1850 is off by 6-9 years compared to what is seen on the actual 1850 census. Could it be that the 1850 age of 75 was correct and the previous years were off?

Following their marriage, Nancy’s husband Dennis CLAUNCH was seen on the 1804 and 1805 tax lists of Mecklenburg County. By 1806 Nancy and Dennis had moved to Kanawha County in what would later become West Virginia. Her husband Dennis was on the 1810 census of that county with his name spelled CLOUNCH. Nancy had given birth to two girls and a boy by this time.

1810censusclounch
1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Kanawha (ancestry.com)

Following the 1810 census Dennis CLOUNCH, as he was last seen, disappears and it is believed that he died between 1811-1820 as Nancy is seen with her own household from 1820 until 1850. Nancy and Dennis’ children were most likely all born in Kanawha County:

  • Child 1: [–?–] CLONCH, born bet. 1805-1809. A tick for her is on the 1810 and 1820 census. This daughter remains unidentified.
  • Child 2: Elizabeth CLONCH, born bet. 1805-1809. She married Meridith PARSONS (1805- ) on 26 February 1825 in Mason County, (West) Virginia. She died before 1840.
  • Child 3: William CLONCH (1807-1863) was born about 1807. He married Ann Eliza HILL (1812-1895) on 20 August 1832 Gallia County, Ohio. They went separate ways and William had a relationship with Mary E. “Polly” DOSS with whom he had 8 children. He died 20 January 1863 in Mason County, (West) Virginia.
  • Child 4: John CLONCH was born about 1810. He married Elizabeth DOSS (1817-1880), sister of Mary E. “Polly” DOSS, on 15 September 1842 in Gallia County, Ohio. He died between 1844-1847 most likely in Mason County.
  • Child 5: Sarah CLONCH was born about 1811. She married William WILLIAMS (1808-1850s) on 4 January 1832 in Mason County. After his death and before 1860 she married James William GALLIWAY (1832-1880). She died after 1880.
1820claunch
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason (ancestry.com)

1820 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 121
Name:     Nancy Claunch
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (John and unknown b. bet. 1811-1815)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (John W. Clark? age 24-25)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Elizabeth & unknown b. bet. 1805-1809)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Nancy)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 1
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 8

Nancy was engaged in some kind of manufacturing in 1820. She wasn’t engaged in agriculture or commerce. What was she doing to earn a living for her family? Who was the young man living in her household? Is the other unknown younger male seen in her household another son born between 1811-1815?

Nancy’s oldest known daughter Elizabeth married Meridith PARSONS (1805- ) on 26 February 1825 in Mason County.

1830claunch
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason (ancestry.com)

1830 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 138
Name: Nancy Claunch
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (John and unknown b. bet. 1811-1815)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (John W. Clark? age 34-36)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (unknown b. bet. 1816-1820)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 7
2 persons cannot read & write
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 7

By 1830 Nancy’s children William, John and Sarah are still at home. But, as in 1820, there are also other persons in the household who cannot be identified. I wonder if the age range for the girls is correct. Could the older girl be the unknown daughter and the younger girl Sarah? This census did not include the column for the occupation of the adults in the household. Was Nancy or the man living in her household still working in manufacturing or in agriculture as seen later in 1840?

Two of Nancy’s children married in 1832, her youngest daughter Sarah and her oldest son William. Her oldest known daughter Elizabeth died during the 1830s.

1840claunch
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason (ancestry.com)

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 219
Name: Claunch, Nancy
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (John W. Clark? age 44-46)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (unknown b. bet. 1816-1820)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Nancy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 4
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4

In 1840 one person in Nancy’s household was engaged in agriculture. This was most likely the older man who was living in her household or perhaps her youngest son John who would be marrying in 1842. And who is this young lady b. bet. 1816-1820? Is it possible that I’ve gotten the family group wrong and Nancy had a daughter who was younger than Sarah and the older daughter was married by 1820?

Nancy’s son John CLONCH died bet. 1844-1847 most likely in Mason County, (West) Virginia. Her son William’s wife Ann Eliza left him leaving two children. William raised their daughter Mariah Jane but the “son” Dennis lived with his grandmother Nancy.

It is my belief that Dennis was the son of Ann Eliza HILL and may not have been acknowledged by her husband William CLONCH as his. Could this be the reason that they parted ways? Dennis CLONCH (1838-1893) was born 8 March 1838 in (West) Virginia. Dennis married Mary Ann BAKER (1842-1920) on 16 Nov 1858 in Gallia County, Ohio. They had a son named John William CLONCH born on 19 March 1860 and died on 9 February 1861. The first name given to the child may have been what caused an earlier researcher to assume that he was the son of John. Dennis began using the HILL surname on 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. He moved to Missouri about 1871 and died in Miami, Saline County, Missouri on 31 July 1893.

In 1850 John W. CLARK is the head of the household in which Nancy and Dennis are living in.

1850censusclaunch
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason (ancestry.com)

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. Clark 56 M Laborer Virginia cannot read & write
Nancy Clonch 75 F Virginia cannot read & write
Dennis Clonch 12 M Virginia

Nancy BEASLEY died between 1850-1860 most likely in Mason County, (West) Virginia. Surviving were her son William, my 3rd great-grandfather, and her daughter Sarah. John W. CLARK must have had a close relationship with the CLONCH family as he was found in William’s household in 1860.

1860censusclaunch
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason (ancestry.com)

As early as 1820 Nancy had a male in her household who was not a son. He consistently shows up in the later census listings until we see Nancy living in the household of John W. CLARK in the 1850 census. There are also a male and a female seen in 1820 and 1830 who could have been children of Nancy and her husband Dennis but I wonder if they could be children of John W. CLARK. The female is still living in Nancy’s household in 1840. Later in 1860, as seen above, John CLARK is seen living in the household of Nancy’s son William CLONCH. Who was John W. CLARK? Was he a widower with two small children hired by Nancy to help out? Was there a relationship between Mr. CLARK and Nancy? Was he a son-in-law? The husband of the unidentified daughter seen in 1810 and 1820 as born between 1805-1809? So many questions that need to be answered.

ღ ღ ღ ღ ღ

Last week I left you with a cliffhanger:

You might ask why I call my 4th great-grandfather Dennis CLONCH and not Dennis CLAUNCH as he was seen in all records except the 1810 census where his name was spelled CLOUNCH? I’ll tell you that story next week.

During the early years after Hieronymus GLANTZ came to America the surname evolved from Glantz to Glance to Glansh, Clansh, Clanch, Claunch, Clounch, Clonch. Dennis didn’t change his surname. After Nancy and Dennis died the children and grandchildren were seen with their surname spelled CLONCH. Dennis’ brothers who went to Kentucky had children who kept the spelling CLAUNCH. All of the names – Claunch, Clounch, and Clonch . were pronounced the same.

Now that I’ve re-evaluated all of the records available to me (I admit there weren’t many), I see that Dennis should be listed as Dennis CLAUNCH and the change in the spelling of the surname should only show up in the next generation. It was easier to think of him as Dennis CLONCH as his son, my 3rd great-grandfather, was William CLONCH but, to be consistent and avoid confusion, it is best to use the spelling seen in the records, Dennis CLAUNCH.

Sources:
[1] Stratton Nottingham, comp., The Marriage License Bonds of Mecklenburg County, Virginia from 1765 to1810, Onancock, VA, USA, 1928 (online http://books.google.lu/ : accessed 7 Dec 2014), pg. 10.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

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

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

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

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

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

Single Woman vs. Married Woman

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

Levina or Lavina

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

Roots in Pittsylvania County, Virginia

The Doss family has strong roots in Halifax and Pittsylvania County, Virginia. In 1755 Levina’s grandfather James DOSS received a land grant for 272 acres in Halifax County, an area soon to become part of the newly created Pittsylvania County in 1767. This land grant was located 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). The neighboring counties are important as we find marriages of Polly’s brothers, Thomas DOSS in Caswell in 1827 and Phillip DOSS in Campbell in 1835.

Early Census Analysis

In 1820 Polly is the youngest female in Levina’s household. Other members are four brothers, an older sister, her mother, and most likely her grandmother Elizabeth DOSS née LESTER who was widowed in 1812.

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

Can you tell that I love to do these?

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

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

Polly’s Siblings

  • Sib 1: Thomas DOSS (abt.1801-1881) born about 1801 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He married(1) Elizabeth EADS (abt.1802-bet.1860-1867) on 6 March 1827 in Caswell County, North Carolina. 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.
  • Sib. 2: [–?–] (female) DOSS born bet. 1795-1804
  • Sib. 3: [–?–] (male) DOSS born bet. 1804-1810
  • Sib. 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. William died 22 November 1888 in Mason County, West Virginia.
  • Sib 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.
  • Mary E. “Polly” DOSS born about 1816 in Pittsylvania County, died bef. 1892 in Mason County, West Virginia
  • Sib. 7: Elizabeth “Betsy” DOSS born bet. 1821-1825. She married(1) John CLONCH (abt.1810-bet.1844-1847) on 15 February 1842 in Gallia County, Ohio. She married(2) John William STEED (abt.1806-aft.1880) on 26 October 1848 in Gallia County, Ohio. Betsy died after 1880.

DOSS Families Move to Mason County, (West) Virginia

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

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

1840censusdossclaunch
1840 U.S. Federal Census > (W)VA > Mason > page 214 [ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2014]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 214
Thomas Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (Philip, Charles & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (too old to be a son from this marriage)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Thomas)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Judah)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7
William Claunch
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mariah J.)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Polly)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 3
William Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (William & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (could this be John Clonch?)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (sister Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (wife Betsy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8

Polly’s Life with William CLONCH

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

1850censusclonch
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 422A HH#842-853; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0959unix#page/n368/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

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

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

1860censusclonch
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > District 2 > Page 46 > HH#345-316; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1361unix#page/n434/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

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

  • John William CLONCH (1840-1919) born in December 1840
  • Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) born 2 March 1842
  • Lavina Ann DOSS (1846-1945) born about 18 March 1846
  • Jeremiah DOSS born about 1847, died bet. 1850-1860
  • Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” CLONCH (1851-aft.1899) born about 1851
  • Joel CLONCH (1852-aft.1910) born in January 1852
  • Thomas Eli CLONCH (1852-1913) born in November 1852
  • Charles Henry CLONCH (1855-1925) born on 10 November 1855

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

Less than a year later the father of her children, William CLONCH, died on 20 January 1863. William had the foresight [or maybe Mary influenced him] to write a will leaving his land to Mary and her children.

will
[Source: 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%5D
There was a bit of trouble caused by his will. Mary’s step-daughter Mariah Jane also brought forward a will which was not admitted as the last will and testament. The will found in the Will Book is not an original, only a copy. William left his mark on the will and Matthias Long must have been the person who wrote the will for William. On the 1840 and 1850 censuses both adults in the household of William CLONCH could not read and write.

Life After William

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

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

1870censusclonch
1870 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendenen > Sheet No. 147B > HH#228-230 [ancestry.com]
John W. and Mary Ellen and children; Alexander and Mary Ellen’s sister Rebecca and children; and Thomas Eli, who was single, were not located in the 1870 census. John’s son Emanuel was born in February 1870 in Mason County per his death register entry which places him in the county in 1870. How could it be that Mary’s three sons were missed? Could they have been omitted when the census was copied? Are they on the original census?

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

A Divorce and Two Marriages

The 1880s began with a divorce and two marriages.

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

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

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

1880censusclonch2
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendennin > ED 93 Sheet 245B HH#202-207 [ancestry.com]
Mary’s son Alexander married Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY (1861-1913) on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio. He was the last of her children that she would see getting married.

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

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

Joel who had remained single finally married in 1893 at the age of 41. John W. at long last married his Mary Ellen in 1895. Betsy who had a third child out of wedlock in 1884 married a man half her age in 1899 and disappeared [I have not been able to trace her after the marriage].

Mary E. DOSS’s children continued “to be fruitful and multiplied” bringing the total grandchildren to 60. The youngest and last surviving died in 1994.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

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

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

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

January the 17th 1863
This is my Last Will and testimony wherein I do wish to will my Land to Mary Doss and her Children John William Doss, Alexander Doss, Loving Ann Doss, Elizabeth Jane Doss, Thomas Eli Doss, Joel Doss and Charles Henry Doss and my wish is that the said Mary Doss and her said heirs shall hold the percession of said Land and to work it at their option untill the said Mary Dosses Death and then to be Equally Divided between said Children and that the said Land shall not be transfered out of the family if it is that the said transfer shall not stand and I do will Mariah Jane Petterson three Dollars and I do will John William Doss one horse and Alexander Doss one young mare and Loving Ann one 2 year old Colt and my tools and implements stay on the farm of all kinds to stay on the farm for the use of the family and I have made this my will and do acknowledge the same to be my volunter act and have this the day above written caused my name to be written and have fixed my mark and seal to be made.
William -his mark- Clonch
Attest
Matthias Long
Mary Ellen -her mark- Doss
Sarah Jane -her mark- Doss
in addition to the foregoing will it is my will that Thomas Doss Has My Big Gun.[1]

Mary E. DOSS and William CLONCH were never married and the children mentioned are “theirs.” The five boys and Elizabeth Jane used the CLONCH surname following William’s death. Only “Loving Ann” used the DOSS surname when she married a year later in 1863.

I believe that there is a reason why William and Mary never married. That reason is Ann Eliza HILL, the woman he married in 1832. She was the mother of Mariah Jane mentioned in the will. This is a complicated story which I will get to as we go back in time.

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

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

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

At a Court held for the County of Mason at the courthouse therof on Monday the 2nd day of March 1863.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of William Clonch deceased, was this day produced in Court and proven by the oaths of Matthias Long, Mary Ellen Doss, and Sarah Jane Doss, the subscribing Witnesses thereto, who made oath that said writing was signed and acknowledged by the said William Clonch by his marking his mark thereto, and at the same time acknowledging the same as and for his last Will and Testament in their presence and at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other, they signed their names as witnesses thereto, and that the said Testator was of sound mind and disposing memory to the best of their knowledge, and belief. Whereupon it is ordered that said writing be recorded and admitted to probate, as and for the last Will and Testament of the said William Clonch decd.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.[1]

Mariah Jane and her husband John PATTERSON also tried to present a writing that they purported to be the last will and testament of William CLONCH after the first had been applied.

John Patterson and Maria Jane Pattersons Children and heirs at law of William Clonch deceased having come into court after the application had been made to Submit a certain writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of said Clonch to probate moved the court to recind their Judgement on said Application. And thereupon the Court having condisered thereof doth reconsider the same, and doth continue the further hearing of the same to the next term of this court.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.[1]

A month later at the next term of court the hearing was continued and a decision was made concerning which writing was his last will and testament:

At a court held for the County of Mason, at the Courthouse thereof on Monday the 6th day of April 1863.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of William Clonch deceased, bearing date on the 17th day of January 1863 was this day again produced in Court by Mary Doss and other legatees named in said will, in order to be proved: and John Patterson and Maria Jane Patterson his wife appeared by Charles P. T. Moore Esq. their Attorney and opposed the proof of the said Will. Whereupon divers Witnesses were sworn and examined and the parties aforesaid, by their counsel fully hears; on consideration whereof it is the opinion of the court, that the said William Clonch deceased, at the time of executing the writing dated on the 17th day of January 1863 was of sound and disposing Mind and Memory, and that he was under no influence, And Matthias Long, Mary Ellen Doss, and Sarah Jane Doss, subscribing witnesses to the said writing, having testified in court, that the said William Clonch signed and published the same in their presence as and for his last Will and Testament, that they subscribe their names as witnesses thereto in the presence of the said Testador, and in the presence of each other, and at his request, and that the said Testador was of sound mind and memory as far as they knew or believed; it is ordered that the said writing bearing date as aforesaid, be recorded as and for the last Will and Testament of the said William Clonch, deceased, Except the memorandum thereto annexed, and that same be also admitted to probate. And it further ordered by the court, that the said John Patterson, and Maria Janes Patterson, pay to the said Mary Doss and other legatees in said Will their costs by them in this behalf expensed.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.[1]

[1] Transcribed by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, 25 September 2011
[Source: 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]

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

The land left to Mary E. DOSS and her children by William was sold by his heirs in 1892 to Louvenia PATTERSON, seen as Loving Ann DOSS in the will:

In Mason County deed book 53, page 202, dated 29 April 1892, John W. and wife Mary E. Clonch, Alexander and wife Bertha (sic, Tobitha), Charles and wife Mary, Thomas and wife Missouri, Joel and wife Betsy, heirs of William Clonch to Louvenia Patterson all of the Mason County, West Virginia, property in Clendenin District, Mason County, West Virginia. According to these records, William Clonch is the father of the Doss children. Note: I don’t have images of or a true transcript of this record. A look-up would be appreciated.

Moving Backwards

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

1860censusclonch
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > District 2 > Page 46 > HH#345-316; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1361unix#page/n434/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

William was last seen in the 1860 census, his surname spelled CLAUNCH, with his “wife” Mary and their children John W., Alex, Luvina, Elizabeth, Thos. E., Joel and Charles H. Also in his household was John W. CLARK age 64. Unfortunately prior to 1880 the relationship to a head of household was not noted on the census.

 

1850censusclonch
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 422A HH#842-853; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0959unix#page/n368/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

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

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

  • John William CLONCH (1840-1919) born in December 1840
  • Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) born on 2 March 1842, husband of Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY
  • Lavina Ann DOSS (1846-1945) born about 18 March 1846
  • Jeremiah DOSS (1847-1850) born abt. 1847 and died bet. 1850-1860
  • Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” CLONCH (1851-1899) born abt. 1851
  • Joel CLONCH (1852-1910) born abt. January 1852
  • Thomas Eli CLONCH (1852-1913) born in November 1852
  • Charles Henry CLONCH (1855-1925) born 10 November 1855
MRIN00536 1945 Lavina Patterson death announcement
Charleston Daily Mail, August 3, 1945

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

In the Beginning

My 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH was the son of Dennis CLONCH and Nancy BEASLEY. They were married on 8 November 1803 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. They moved to Kanawha County, Virginia [now West Virginia],  about 1806 as Dennis was on the tax lists of Mecklenburg County in 1805 and of Kanawha County in 1806 and 1809. He was on the 1810 Kanawha County census with his wife and three children: William and his older sister Elizabeth and another female who remains unidentified. Dennis died during the 1810s as his wife Nancy was the head of household in 1820 through 1840 in Mason County.

William had 3 known siblings:

  • Sib 1: [–?–] CLONCH, born bet. 1805-1809 in Kanawha County. This sister remains unidentified.
  • Sib 2: Elizabeth CLONCH, born bet. 1805-1809 in Kanawha County. She married Meridith PARSONS (1805- ) on 26 February 1825 in Mason County, (West) Virginia. She died before 1840.
  • William CLONCH was born about 1807 in Kanawha County.
  • Sib 3: John CLONCH was born about 1810 in Kanawha County. He married Elizabeth DOSS (1817-1880) on 15 September 1842 in Gallia County, Ohio. He died between 1844-1847 most likely in Mason County.
  • Sib 4: Sarah CLONCH was born about 1811 in Kanawha County. She married William WILLIAMS (1808-1850s) on 4 January 1832 in Mason County. After his death and before 1860 she married James William GALLIWAY (1832-1880).

The Years in Between

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

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 and Ann Eliza Hill, 20 Aug 1832; citing Gallia, Ohio, United States, reference p220; FHL microfilm 317652

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1850censusclark
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 185A HH#333-334

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

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

Dennis (1838-1893) was born 8 March 1838 in (West) Virginia. Dennis CLONCH married Mary Ann BAKER (1842-1920) on 16 Nov 1858 in Gallia County, Ohio. They had a son named John William CLONCH born on 19 March 1860 and died on 9 February 1861. The first name given to the child may have been what caused an earlier researcher to assume that he was the son of John. Dennis began using the HILL surname on 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. He moved to Missouri about 1871 and died in Miami, Saline County, Missouri on 31 July 1893.

Postscript I:

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

Postscript II:

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

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

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #14 Alexander CLONCH Known as “The one who killed the beef at 200 paces”

52ancestors“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.”

We are starting the 2nd quarter of the challenge! This is my 14th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #14 Alexander CLONCH Known as “The one who killed the beef at 200 paces”

MRIN00038 Clonch, Alex
“The one who killed the beef at 200 paces” Alexander Clonch 1842-1910

My Grandfather, Joe, told about the BEEF at 200 Paces to us when I was about 10.  We were shooting a rifle and he said we were as good as his dad that killed the beef at 200 paces.
Apparently they had some cattle in camp to provide meat and one swam a river or deep creek and was escaping.  Grandpa Alex shot it and killed it across the stream with his muzzle loader (musket?).  From that point on until Alex was put in the hospital, the Captain would yell “Send the man that killed the beef at 200 paces, to the front” anytime they were firing at the enemy.

Daniel CLONCH, our 2nd cousin once removed, shared the story that his grandfather Joe told him about 1941, with my 2nd cousin Robert BAKER  per email on 20 May 2000.

Alex During the American Civil War 1861-1865

Alexander CLONCH was mustered into service as a private in Company C of the 13th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry on 8 October 1862 at the age of 21. The regiment, organized in October 1862, served in the Kanawha Valley during the first year of the war, mostly doing guard duty and scouting by detachments of companies. Alex was present until 31 October 1862.

alexcw2
“West Virginia Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865” http://www.fold3.com : accessed 12 Feb 2014

Records show that Alex was sick and absent from duty in November and December 1862. It does not give any detail as to what the illness was. His father was suffering from typhoid fever at this time and died on 20 January 1863.

Alex was once again present for duty in January and February 1863. He appeared on a Special Muster Roll as present on 10 April 1863 and then on a Company Muster Roll dated 30 April 1863 as sick in Post Hospital at Point Pleasant. His stay in the hospital continued from May 1863 until February 1864 and each time it was noted that he had been there since 12 Feb 1863. After a year of being sick in the Post Hospital he appears to have been transferred to the army’s General Hospital in Gallipolis, Ohio, on 3 March 1864.

 

alexcw1
“West Virginia Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865” http://www.fold3.com : accessed 12 Feb 2014

The government erected a general hospital near the site of Camp Carrington, a wheat field on the Barlow farm “at the upper end” of Gallipolis in 1862, and maintained it until the close of the war. At greatest capacity the hospital had 4,000 patients tended by military staff and people from Gallipolis. [Source: History of Gallia County, 1882, Hardesty Publishing]

This might be a bit exagerated as another source indicates that the hospital was “equipped with 350 beds, at its peak, the hospital treated 769 soldiers at a single time.” A historical marker has been erected for the “U.S. Army General Hospital” in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.

 

alexcw3
“West Virginia Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865” http://www.fold3.com : accessed 12 Feb 2014

Alex remained in General Hospital until the end of October 1864. Apparently he had been drawing pay the entire time that he was hospitalized as he was last paid on 31 October 1864. From November 1864 until April 1865 he was once again listed as present and I assume fit for duty. He was mustered out on 22 June 1865. His clothing account was “last settled on 30 June 1864; drawn since $39.10.” He had been paid $25 of his bounty and $75 was due him.

A federal bounty of $100.00 was paid for all volunteers or regulars enlisting for three years and serving at least two years or to the end of the war. This $100.00 bonus was paid at discharge only.

 

 

Back to the Beginning ~ Alex’s Childhood

William CLONCH (1807-1863) and Mary E. “Polly” DOSS (1816-1890) were the parents of my great-great-grandfather Alexander DOSS a.k.a. Alexander CLONCH born on 2 March 1842 in Mason County, West Virginia (then Virginia). Alex was their second child.

William and Polly, although never married, had eight known children including John William (1840-1919), Alex (1842-1910), Lavina Ann (1846-1945), Jeremiah (1847-bef. 1860), Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” (1851-aft. 1899), Joel (1852-aft. 1910), Thomas Eli (1852-1913) , and Charles Henry (1855-1925).

1850censusclonch
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 422A HH#842-853; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0959unix#page/n368/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

On the 1850 census we see Alex DOSS with his parents William CLONCH and Polly DOSS, older brother John W. DOSS, and younger siblings Lavina DOSS and Jeremiah DOSS. The enumerator used the ditto mark (“) to show a repeat of the surname DOSS. This is not an error as we will see later.

1860censusclonch
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > District 2 > Page 46 > HH#345-316; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1361unix#page/n434/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

On the 1860 census Alex, his 6 siblings and both of his parents are seen with the CLAUNCH (sic, CLONCH) surname. Note: The surname has been seen spelled/transcribed as Claunch, Clounch, Clonch, Clouch, and even Clanuch which makes the search for records a bit more difficult.

 

Alex’s Father Made His Will Before Dying

As mentioned Alex’s father William CLONCH died 20 January 1863 of typhoid fever. He left a will dated the 17th of January in which he wrote, “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.” William did not write “my” or “our” when he named the children in his will.

will
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

All of the boys used the CLONCH surname after their father’s death. Mary DOSS also used the CLONCH name after William’s death. She had not been able to marry William CLONCH as he was still married to another woman. This has been discussed in A Little “Peyton Place” (Part 1) and will be looked into again when I do William CLONCH’s story for the 52 Ancestors Challenge.

Lavina Ann DOSS married James William PATTERSON (1836-1911) on 16 July 1863 in Point Pleasant, Mason County, West Virginia. Her parents were listed as Wm CLONCH and Mary DOSS however Wm CLONCH was struck out on the marriage license. Lavina married less than 6 months after her father’s death. Why Wm CLONCH was marked out on the license is unknown.

A Little “Peyton Place” (Part II)

Alex’s brother John W. CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER on 20 February 1862 [left page, 5th entry]. Alexander CLONCH married Mary Ellen LEMASTER on 10 November 1863 [right page, last entry]. This was when, according to the military records, Alex was sick in Post Hospital in Point Pleasant. He must have been too sick to serve in the army but well enough to leave the hospital to get married. Both of these marriages took place in Gallia County, Ohio, and neither marriage lasted.

On 18 July 1864 Sarah J. CLONCH, wife of John W. CLONCH, sued by her next friend, John W. FOSTER, for divorce. Three years ago at the age of 21, she left her father’s house and married John CLONCH. “Since that time [she] 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 months old. Her husband on the other hand has been negligent and insufferably 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… further alledges that he has been seen in bed with his own brother’s wife and has failed to furnish support to your oratrix and her child which she is oblige 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 furniture and one house the most of which your oratrix bought from her father”. Sarah called three witnesses to include John’s own sister and they told it like it was. They testified that John and Rebecca LEMASTER spent the night together in each other’s arms while the light in the fireplace went out. Peter Dewitt testified that “I saw Rebecca Lemaster sitting in his lap mighty close together and he was hugging her, and this happened after dark.” Lavina Ann PATTERSON, John’s sister, testified that John and Mary Ellen LEMASTER CLONCH had been in bed together. Mary Ellen was married to John’s brother, Alexander CLONCH. [Sep 1864 in the Circuit Court of Mason County, West Virginia]

“Now wasn’t that a little Peyton’s Place?” wrote Ralph Hays who I credit for researching the divorce. About the time that John and Sarah got their divorce in 1864, Alexander and Mary Ellen, who did not have children, called it quits but were not divorced until 1880. John and Mary Ellen, who were expecting their first child, “shacked up together” for over 30 years until 7 May 1895 when they finally got married – after 13 children were born. [Marriage Book 8, p 5, Item 15, Gallia County, Ohio]

Alex Has Children With His Wife’s Sister

On 7 November 1865 Rebecca LEMASTER, Mary Ellen’s sister, had an illegitimate son Austin Richard LEMASTER [line 11]. His father was listed as unknown. Later this son went by the name Oscar R. CLONCH. His 1943 death record shows that he was the son of Rebecca LEMASTER and an unknown father. Family tradition is that Alexander CLONCH had a son named Austin and it has been assumed that the child died young as he was not mentioned in the 1898 pension papers* (more below). Most likely Alexander took on the father roll for  Rebecca’s illegitimate child in early years and Oscar chose to use the CLONCH surname. Alex did not acknowledge him in his 1898 pension papers*.

Alex’s daughter Emma Sidosa “Emily” was born 5 March 1866 per the 1898 pension papers* (no birth record found; 1 March 1868 per death record). When she married for the first time in 1892 her name was seen as Emma LAMASTICE (sic, LEMASTER). Unfortunately the Ohio marriage record does not list names of parents of the bride and groom. [right page, middle entry]

The birth record of Alex’s son Joseph E. “Joe” CLONCH born 18 December 1874 [entry line 8] shows the mother as Rebecca CLONCH and most likely this is the reason it has been believed that the parents were married.

The next child born and acknowledged by Alex in his 1898 pension papers* was Barbara Elizabeth born on 5 March 1875 (no birth record found). Unfortunately this date cannot be trusted as it is too close to the birth of son Joe. It is more likely that she was born in 1876 as she was later seen as age 4 on the 1880 census. Last minute find (less than 3 hours before scheduled publishing time of this article): 1900 census was finally located for Barbara, her husband, three sons (previously only two sons were known) and her husband’s nephew. She was enumerated as Lizzie and her month and year of birth were March 1876! What made me look again was that her youngest son William J.’s 1943 death record showed that he was born 2 November 1900. Gallia county birth records 1894-1903 however show that he was born 2 November 1899. I searched for this child in the 1900 census and found the family!

The 1870 census listing has not been found for Alexander CLONCH or Rebecca LEMASTER nor has a marriage record been found for them. At one time someone came up with 13 May 1864 as the date of marriage for Alex and Rebecca however I have not found documentation, i.e. West Virginia or Ohio Marriage Records, to prove it. I do not believe that Alex actually married Rebecca with whom he raised four children: Oscar, Emma, Joseph and Barbara. Rebecca may have died before 1880.

Alex is Finally Divorced from his First Wife

The divorce of Alexander CLONCH and Mary Ellen CLONCH was found in Mason County, West Virginia Chancery Order Book March term 1880, p 274. The marriage was dissolved, Mary did not appear and she did not get her dower and had to pay costs. Alexander had at least three children (most likely all with Rebecca LEMASTER as seen above) and Mary Ellen had eight children by John CLONCH, Alexander’s brother, by the time their divorce was final. [Source: Ralph Hayes, 17 May 2002, CLAUNCH-L Archives]

I suspect that Rebecca may have died before 1880 (as no record has been found for her) and, having such young children, Alex may have seen it necessary to get a divorce from his estranged wife so that he could legally marry. He was seen as divorced in the 1880 census with his children Emily, Joe, and Barbara in his household. Austin or Oscar has not been located.

1880censusclonch
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendenin > ED 93 Page 22 Sheet 245B > HH#197-202; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801408unit#page/n80/mode/1up : accessed 30 March 2014

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, West Virginia
Clendennin Township, Page No. 22
ED No. 93, Sheet No. 245B
Enumerated by me on the day of June, 1880. R. J. Neale, enumerator.
HH #197-202
Claunch, Alex W M 38 divorced Farm Labor WV VA VA
Claunch, Emily W F 13 daughter single At Home WV WV WV
Claunch, Joel E. W M son single 6 WV WV WV
Claunch, Barbara W F 4 daughter single WV WV WV

Alexander Marries a Second Time

Alexander CLONCH married my great-great-grandmother Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY (1861-1913) on 19 August 1880 Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio. [right page, bottom entry]

Birth records for six of the nine children born to this marriage have been found. The dates for Fanny, Rebecca and Sallie were seen in Alex’s 1898 pension papers*. Children of this marriage were:

Ch 1: Timothy CLONCH born 20 December 1881 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 7]. He died before 1898*.
Ch 2: Lorena Ellen CLONCH (1883-1961) born 10 March 1883 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 10]
Ch 3: Frances “Fanny” CLONCH (1885-1943) born 30 April 1885 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 4: Bertha CLONCH (1887-1898) born 9 December 1887 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 14]. She died before 1898*.
Ch 5: Rebecca Jane CLONCH (1888-1950) born 6 Jan 1888 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 6: Sarah Ann “Sallie” CLONCH (1890-1979) born 20 Jun 1890 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 7: Harrison S. CLONCH (1893-1970) born 11 February 1893 Beech Hill, Mason County, West Virginia [line 25] [delayed certificate of birth]
Ch 8: [–?–] CLONCH (1894-1894) born 6 Oct 1894 [line 32] died 13 October 1894 [line 13], both in Clay County, West Virginia
Ch 9: Ida Bell CLONCH (1896-1981) born 5 March 1896 Smithers Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia [line 63]

MRIN00038 1887-03-09 Alex Clonch
The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 09 March 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

On 9 March 1887 an article appeared in the Point Pleasant (Mason County, West Virginia) Weekly Register under Five Mile Items:

“Mr. Alex Clounch, the sole proprietor of the Swisher corn mill, can grind a bushel of corn per day, that is as much as a man can eat in a week, and says if he gets an early start he can grind two bushels after deducting the toll.”

This is the first time tha I’ve heard that Alex owned a corn mill. More research is needed to determine if this is our Alex CLONCH. It is possible that his cousin John Alexander CLONCH 1842-1889 or his nephew/son-in-law William Alexander CLONCH 1862-1925 may have used their middle names in business matters although both have only been seen as farm laborers or farmers.

Alex Applies for his Civil War Pension

MRIN00038 1888-05-30 Alex Clonch
The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 30 May 1888. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

The following month, on 14 April 1887,  Alexander CLONCH applied for his Civil War pension.

In May 1888 the Weekly Register published a list of veterans of the Civil War who were living in the neighborhood and had been recently issued a pension. Alexander CLOUNCH of Beech Hill was listed with a pension of $12 per month.

MRIN00038 1890-04-23 Alex Clonch
The Wheeling daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, W. Va.), 23 April 1890. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

 

 

 

 

 

The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer published a Special Dispatch concerning West Virginia pensions on 23 April 1890. In this dispatch we see that Alex Clouch (sic) of Beech Hill was granted an increase in pension.

Alexander CLONCH was enumerated on the 1890 Veterans Schedule for Arbuckle District of Mason County, West Virginia. This confirms that he was a private in Company C of the 13th West Virginia Infantry from 8 May 1862 (sic) to 22 June 1865 and that he had a disability which affected his heart and lung. [line 23]

Alex’s mother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS died in Mason County, West Virginia. This event took place after the 1880 census and before 29 Apr 1892 when her children sold the land left to her in William CLONCH’s will.

Alex Moves From Mason County to Bell Creek, Clay County…

By 1893 Alex and his young family had moved to Bell Creek, Clay County, West Virginia. Although his son Harrison was born in Beech Hill, Alex had the birth recorded in Clay County which leads me to believe that the move took place soon after Tabitha gave birth. They were in residence in Clay County as the marriage of Alex’s son Joe took place on 29 August 1894 at the home of the groom’s parents in that county. Also while living there Alex and his wife had a daughter who lived only a week in October 1894.

….and then to Fayette County

They then moved to Fayette County where their youngest daughter Ida Bell was born at Smithers Creek in 1896. Civil War papers show that he was living in Dixie, Fayette County, West Virginia, in 1898. In the genealogy work of Ralph Hayes, a CLONCH family researcher, I kept seeing references to Civil War papers and events taking place before or after 1898. In June 2004 I emailed Ralph about the Civil War records for Alex CLONCH and the 1898 date. He wrote:

The date 1898 came from Alexander’s Civil War record which reads in part:
“Department of  the Interior Bureau of Pensions, 15 Jan 1898, reply dated 4 Jun 1898. Alexander Clonch of Dixie, WV provided the following info: He was married to Tabitha Clonch, maiden name Cooley; m. in Gallapolis, OH on 19 Aug 1880; has a marriage certificate; married previously to Rebecca Lemasters (deceased) on 13 May 187_  (cannot read); living children: Emila born 5 Mar 1866; Joseph born 20 Dec 18__(cannot read); Barbara born 5 Mar 1875; Lorena born 10 Mar 1882; Frances born 30 Apr 1884; Rebecca born 6 Jan 1886; Sarah Ann born 20 Jun 1890; Harrison born 11 Feb 189_(cannot read); and Ida born 5 Mar 1896.”
Info from Mrs. W.F. Machir, Anne Christy and Kara McWilliams. Kara McWilliams received a copy of his records.

I requested more information from Kara McWilliams, a niece of Daniel CLONCH, concerning her copy of Alex’s Civil War records. She will  be getting back to me as soon as she has time to access her genealogy papers. I am hoping that there may be information that was missed. If she sends me images of the papers I might be able to read the information she was not able to decipher. It must be noted that not all of the dates given by Alex for the children match birth records found.

Was Alex Clonch a Bigamist?

This is the most important detail that I noticed in Alexander’s pension records (transcript seen above): married previously to Rebecca Lemasters (deceased) on 13 May 187_  (cannot read). This must be where the marriage date 13 May 1864 came from. So many questions and no way to ask the person who could answer them! Why would Alex marry Rebecca when he was already married to her sister? Why would he get a divorce from Mary Ellen in 1880 when (if) he married Rebecca in the 1870s?

Although Alex left a nice paper trail up until 1898, I have not been able to locate him in the 1900 or 1910 census. This is really frustrating as it means that I have no census listing showing Alex with his wife Tabitha and their children! As with the census, I’ve tried all variations of his name in order to find his death record on WVCulture.org but to no avail. Finally I found a database on FamilySearch that is 80% complete and Alexander CLONCH is in it! The Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933 [images 579-582].

These cards have information missing in earlier documents and, best of all, his date of death. Alex’s disability was disease of the heart, resulting from measles. Did he have the measles while he was serving during the Civil War? His widow Tabitha continued to receive his pension following his death and their youngest daughter Ida, being a minor, brought in an additional $2 per month until 4 March 1912, the day before her 16th birthday.

Alexander CLONCH died 9 June 1910 and was buried in Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia. His wife of 30 years, Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY, followed him on 16 December 1913.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

A Little “Peyton Place” (Part II)

MRIN00038 Clonch, AlexAfter William CLONCH’s death in 1863 his sons John William CLONCH (aka John William DOSS) and Alexander CLONCH (aka Alexander DOSS) continued the “tradition” that their parents and maternal grandmother began.

John W. Clonch (1840-1919) married Sarah Jane Foster in 1862. Alexander Clonch (1842-1910) married Mary Ellen Lemaster on 10 Nov 1863. Neither marriage lasted.

Now for the interesting part:

On 18 July 1864 Sarah J. Clonch, wife of John W. Clonch, sued by her next friend, John W. Foster, for divorce. Three years ago at the age of 21, she left her father’s house and married John Clonch. “Since that time [she] 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 months old. Her husband on the other hand has been negligent and insufferably 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… further alledges that he has been seen in bed with his own brother’s wife and has failed to furnish support to your oratrix and her child which she is oblige 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 furniture and one house the most of which your oratrix bought from her father”. Sarah called three witnesses to include John’s own sister and they told it like it was. They testified that John and Rebecca Lemaster spent the night together in each other’s arms while the light in the fireplace went out. Peter Dewitt testified that “I saw Rebecca Lemaster sitting in his lap mighty close together and he was hugging her, and this happened after dark.” Lavina Ann Patterson, John’s sister, testified that John and Mary Ellen Lemaster Clonch had been in bed together. Mary Ellen was married to John’s brother, Alexander Clonch. [Sep 1864 in the Circuit Court of Mason County, West Virginia]

“Now wasn’t that a little Peyton’s Place?” wrote Ralph Hays who should be credited for researching the divorce. About the time that John and Sarah got their divorce in 1864, Alexander and Mary Ellen called it quits but were not divorced until 1880. John and Mary Ellen, who were expecting their first child, “shacked up together” for over 30 years until 7 May 1895 when they finally got married – after 13 children were born. [Marriage Book 8, p 5, Item 15, Gallia County, Ohio]

In November 1865 Rebecca Lemaster had an illegitimate son Austin Richard Lemaster. His father was listed as unknown. Later this son went by the name Oscar R. Clonch. His death record shows that he was the son of Rebecca Lemaster and an unknown father. Family tradition is that Alexander Clonch had a son named Austin and it has been assumed that the child died young as no trace was found. Most likely Alexander acted as a father to Rebecca’s illegitimate child in early years and he took the Clonch surname.

The 1870 census listing has not been found for Alexander Clonch or Rebecca Lemaster nor has a marriage record been found for them. [I believe that no record will be found as Alexander was still married to Mary Ellen Lemaster and the marriage was legally dissolved in 1880.]

Alex’s daughter Emma Sidosa “Emily” was born in 1868 (no birth record found). The birth record of his son Joseph E. Clonch born in 1872 lists the mother as Rebecca Clonch and most likely the reason that it has been believed that the parents were married. No record of birth has been found for his daughter Barbara Elizabeth born in 1875.

The divorce of Alexander Clonch and Mary Ellen Clonch was found in Mason County, West Virginia Chancery Order Book March term 1880, p 274. The marriage was dissolved, Mary did not appear and she did not get her dower and had to pay costs. Alexander had at least three children (most likely all with Rebecca Lemaster as seen above) and Mary Ellen had eight children by John Clonch, Alexander’s brother, by the time their divorce was final.
[Source: Ralph Hayes, 17 May 2002, CLAUNCH-L Archives]

I suspect that Rebecca may have died before 1880 as no record has been found for her. Having such young children Alex may have seen it necessary to get a divorce from his estranged wife so that he could legally marry. He was seen as divorced in the 1880 census with his children Emily, Joe, and Barbara in his household. During the same year he married Tabitha Cooley. They were married 30 years and had nine children by the time Alex died in 1910.

Although John and Alexander did not get off to a good start with their first marriages, they remained with their second wives until parted by death.