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.

Genealogy Sketch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note: As of 13 January 2019, this post has been updated with sources and images. 

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.1

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

Mary E. DOSS and William CLONCH were never married and the children mentioned are “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 there is a reason why William and Mary never married. The reason being 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 a gunsmith. The informant was Mary CLONCH, his widow. His widow? They lived together for over 20 years and had 8 children together, does this make her his widow?

Was 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:2

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

Mariah Jane and her husband John PATTERSON also tried to present a writing they purported to be the last will and testament of William CLONCH after the first had been applied.3

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

A month later at the next term of court, the hearing was continued and a decision was made concerning which writing was his last will and testament:4

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.

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. 

UPDATE: add the link to post when it is published!

Moving Backwards

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

1860censusclonch
1860 Census listing for William Claunch and family

William was last seen in the 1860 census5, 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 Census listing for William Clonch and family

In 1850 William CLONCH  is seen with Polly DOSS and four DOSS children.6 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 clipping7 — 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.8

claunchhillmarriage
1832 Marriage record of William Claunch and Ann Eliza Hill

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

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.9

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

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

Mariah Jane CLONCH (1831-1863) 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 with 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.10 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 census listing for John W. Clark with Nancy Clonch and Dennis Clonch

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 was mentioned in the will of William CLONCH in 1863. He moved to Missouri about 1871 and died in Miami, Saline County, Missouri on 31 July 1893.

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.

Genealogy Sketch

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

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

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


  1.  “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971” (database with images), <i>FamilySearch</i> (digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia), FHL Film #567420, Item 2; DGS 4715359; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875, image 104 of 165, page 166-167. Last will and testament of William Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722 : accessed 12 January 2019). Transcribed by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, 25 September 2011. 
  2. Idem., presentation of will to the court. 
  3. Idem., presentation of another will to the court. 
  4. Idem., decision of the court concerning the wills. 
  5.  1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1361; FHL Film: 805361; Virginia, Mason County, District 2, image 25 of 68; Page No. 46, Lines 21-30, HH #345-316, Wm Claunch household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  6.  1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_959; Image 371; Virginia, Mason, District 38, image 121 of 165, Sheet No. 422A, Lines -23, HH #842-853, William Clonch household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  7. Charleston Daily Mail, August 3, 1945, “Woman, 109, Succumbs”(http://access.newspaperarchive.com/ : accessed 30 March 2014) 
  8. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-S2C5?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7GH%3A121350101%2C121422401 : 15 July 2014), Gallia > Marriage records 1803-1843 vol 1 > image 118 of 240; county courthouses, Ohio. 
  9.  West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), FHL Film number 521719; Digital GS number: 4226396; West Virginia Marriages 1853-1970. 1842 Marriage Return for Andrew Gause and Anna Eliza Claunch. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12568001&Type=Marriage : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  10.  1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_959; Image 297; Virginia, Mason, District 38, image 47 of 165, Sheet No. 385A, Lines 28-30, HH #333-334, John W. Clark household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 

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 role 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 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

The following month, on 14 April 1887,  Alexander CLONCH applied 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.
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, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

A Little “Peyton Place” (Part II)

MRIN00038 Clonch, Alex
Alexander CLONCH 1842-1910

After William CLONCH’s death in 1863 his sons John William CLONCH (aka John William DOSS) and Alexander CLONCH (aka Alexander DOSS) continued the “tradition” 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 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 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 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 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 it has been believed 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 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 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.

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

A Little “Peyton Place” (Part I)

will

While reading about black-sheep and skeletons recently, I was reminded of my DOSS and CLONCH lines in Mason County, West Virginia.

Lavina DOSS, daughter of James DOSS Jr. and Elizabeth LESTER, lived in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, with four known and possibly three unknown children (per 1830 and 1840 census). The children were born out of wedlock as Lavina never married. Two of her children, William and Polly, went to live in Mason County, (West) Virginia, before 1840.

Mary E. “Polly” DOSS, like her mother Lavina, also had all of her children out of wedlock. The children are mentioned in the will of William CLONCH dated 17 January 1863. 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. 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 could not marry William CLONCH as he was still married to another woman.

William CLONCH married Ann Eliza HILL on 20 Aug 1832 in Gallia County, Ohio. They had one child Mariah Jane CLONCH mentioned in his will. They may have had a son named Dennis CLONCH (named after William’s father and seen with William’s mother in 1850) but he was not mentioned in the will. Dennis appears to have begun using the HILL surname about 1862 when he enlisted to serve during the Civil War. Could it be that he was a son of Ann Eliza HILL and another man? “Eliza Claunch” had her own household in 1840 and had two more children before she married Andrew GAUSE on 26 March 1842 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia. The bride was listed as Anna Eliza Claunch, widow of Wm. C. Claunch. William did not die nor was he divorced from Anna Eliza. William was living with another woman (most likely Mary DOSS) and his daughter Mariah from his marriage to Anna Eliza in 1840.

Was Ann Eliza Hill who married 1st William CLONCH and 2nd Andrew GAUSE a bigamist? Or could there have been a divorce and papers have not yet been found?

And the saga continues….(part II to come)

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