Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Benjamin F. Hopkins b. abt. 1851

My monthly posts for the Slave Name Roll Project have been absent from my blog since the end of March 2020. As many things slowed down or came to a stop during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding names of enslaved persons in records in the US was put on hold.

In February 2020 I released the names of five enslaved persons found in the 1834 Last Will and Testament of Thomas Hannan of Mason County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Thomas had several sons who left wills. One of these was Charles who wrote his will twenty-two years later. In March 2020 I released the names of six enslaved persons found in the 1856 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan. Planned for April 2020, but not written, was this post releasing the name of a former enslaved person mentioned in the 1879 will of Charles’ wife Ann W. Fox.1

1879 Last Will and Testament of Ann Hannan of Mason County, Virginia

This last will and testament of Ann W. Hannan of Mason County and State of West Virginia, –
First after the payment of my just debts, I give and bequeath to my three nieces Ann H. Steed, Lucy Butler, and Ida May Fox all my real estate in the State of West Virginia: – Second I give and bequeath to the said Ida May Fox all my personal property in this state – Third I give and bequeath to Benjamin Hopkins (who was formerly my salve, (sic, slave)) one hundred dollars provided he remains with me and is kind and serviceable to me as long as I live – Fourth I give and bequeath to my niece Caroline Goolsby all my estate in the State of Virginia and all debts due me or to which I may be entitled to in law or equity in said State, but out of this legacy she is to pay my sister Jinnie one hundred dollars if my said sister should be then alive. It is my desire that my executor shall sell at public sale all my real and personal estate in the State of West Virginia, and that he shall out of the proceeds of the sale of said realty pay to the said Hopkins the sum aforesaid, divide the remaining proceeds equally between my three nieces first mentioned and shall after the payments of my debts pay over to Ida May the amt. left of the proceeds of the personal estate. I hereby appoint William R. Gunn of Mason County and State of West Virginia sole executor of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 11th day of June 1873.
her
Ann W X Hannan
mark
Signed and sealed by the said Anne W. Hannan as and for her last will and testament in our presence and we at the same time in her presence and in the presence of each other witnessed the same at her request.
William R. Gunn
his
John M. X Chapman
mark

Codicil — I Ann W. Hannan whose name is signed to the foregoing will dated dated (sic) the 11th day of June

1873, do hereby make and add this codicil to my said foregoing will and do now hereby revoke and change so much thereof as devises or bequeaths or gives to the said Lucy Butler any part of my said estate and desire that she shall take nothing thereby. I also do hereby further desire and do so will that the said Ida May Fox shall not as provided in any said will take all my personal property in this State but desire that said property shall be equally divided between her and the said Ann H. Steed. As witness my hand and seal this 24th day of June, 1876.
his (sic, her)
Ann W. X Hannan
mark
Signed and sealed by the said Ann W. Hannan in our presence and we at the same time in her presence & the presence of each other witnessed the same at her request & she declared that the same was a codicil to her said foregoing will
Abner McCoy
William Hudson

At a County Court continued and held for the County of Mason at the Court House thereof on Tuesday May 20th 1879.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of Ann W. Hannan deceased late of this County, was this day present in Court and fully proved according to law by the oaths of W. R. Gunn and John W. Chapman, the subscribing witnesses thereto, and the Codicil thereto attached was also fully proved according to law by the oaths of Abner McCoy and William Hudson the subscribing witnesses thereto. It is therefore ordered by the Court that the said writing be recorded as and for the last will and testament of the said Ann W. Hannan decd and on motion of W.R. Gunn the Executor therein named, who made oath and together with Joseph N. Daigh, his security, who justified on oath as to his sufficiency, entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of one thousand dollars conditioned according to law, certificate is granted the said W.R. Gunn for obtaining probate of the said Will in due form, and it is further ordered that Abner McCoy, William Hudson, & Jno. W. Chapman after being first duly sworn for that purpose do truly and justly appraise in current money the personal estate of the said Ann W. Hannan, decd,

and the appraisement so made return under their hands to this Court.
A Copy Teste: J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk
by Jas H. Holloway, Deputy

Benjamin Hopkins

In the 1870 census Anna W. Hannan had her own household with her young niece Ida M. Fox age 12, and six black persons, all named HOPKINS, in Hannan, Mason County, West Virginia.2 Three young boys appear to be children of Matilda HOPKINS but this is assumed as the 1870 census did not include relationships. They were not located in 1880.

Screenshot of the 1870 census index as the image is too light to be legible.

Benjamin HOPKINS, the formerly enslaved man of Anna W. Hannan, was living in her household in 1870. He was 19 years old, i.e. would have been about 10 years old in 1861. Bettie may be the young girl seen in the inventory of Anna’s husband in 1861. [Below, in brackets are the names given in the will.]

Excerpt from the 1861 inventory of Charles Hannan:
one Negro man named Nelson $800 [Nelson Cudyo]
one Negro woman named Milie $650 [Milley]
one Negro girl named Bettie $450
one Negro boy named Ben $500 [Ben Packson]
one Negro boy named Dick $500 [Peter Dicky]
one Negro girl named Hettie $300 [Hetty]

Is it possible that Mathilda, Bettie, and Benjamin were siblings and the children of Nelson and Milley? Or worded differently, were the man and woman and children mentioned in the inventory a family group?

In 1880, Benjamin HOPKINS was found in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia, as the head of a household.3 Also in his household were his sister Belle HOPKINS and his nephew Montague ALLEN. Montague was Belle’s son. She would marry his father John Henry ALLEN in 1886. She died in 1913 and the death register did not include the names of her parents.

Belle had at least three children with John Henry ALLEN.

  1. No descendants were found for their son Montague HOPKINS  (1876-1944) who was married twice. His 1944 death certificate names Belle HOPKINS  born in Nelson County, Virginia, and John Henry ALLEN born in Louisa County, Virginia, as his parents.
  2. In 1940 Montague was the head of a household that included his sister Anna Lois ALLEN. She is unaccounted for prior to this census listing other than a marriage record in 1900 to William CALLAWAY. In 1940 her husband was named William SALES. He died in 1949 and she was listed as the informant on the certificate of death. Anna Lois’s 1960 death certificate confirms she was the daughter of John Henry ALLEN and Belle HOPKINS.
  3. The third child was John Henry ALLEN Jr. (1885-1932). He and his wife Susie H. CHADWICK (1890-1978) had three sons. They were all married and had children. I have not taken their lines into the present time.

Belle HOPKINS was not found in 1870. The 1870 census for Anna W. Hannan with the HOPKINS in her household is faint and hard to decipher. Could Belle have been the same person as Bettie?

I was unable to locate Benjamin HOPKINS after the 1880 census. However, working on the assumption that Nelson may have been his father, I searched for a likely candidate.

Ramblings…

I found Nelson HOPKINS (1824-1907), a black man, born about 1824 in Virginia living in Mason County, West Virginia, from 1870 until 1907. He was on the 1870 census with a wife named Susan and two young sons, Alfred J. and Thomas. In 1880 he was widowed with two young boys, Alfred J. and Payton. In 1900 he was with a wife of 6 years named Bertha (b. 1872) and two sons, Harry (b. 1883) and Marion (b.  1888). He died 30 June 1907 in Mason County. He was living on the Poor Farm and was married at the time of death. No parents were listed on the record nor the name of a spouse.

The 1927 death certificate of Alfred J. HOPKINS (1867-1927), seen with Nelson in 1870 and 1880, named his parents Nelson HOPKINS and Susan SAUNDERS. He was single at the time of death.

The 1912 marriage record of Marion HOPKINS (1888-1967) named his parents as Nelson HOPKINS and Bertha EARLY. Further searches for Bertha indicate she was likely 10 years older than noted in 1900 and therefore old enough to be the mother of both boys. As her age may be incorrect, it is possible that the number of years married is also wrong.

Marriage records for Nelson HOPKINS were not found nor were death records for Susan or Bertha. The records left by these two children show that the households found in 1870, 1880, and 1900 were the same Nelson HOPKINS.

Although Benjamin HOPKINS, whose name was released in the last will and testament of Anna W. (Fox) Hannan, has not been traced after the 1880 census, his sister Belle has. She left descendants who are living today. My ramblings about the man named Nelson HOPKINS may be helpful to these descendants if they are interested in proving/disproving the parentage of Belle and her brother Benjamin.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I 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 or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing Mason County Clerk, West Virginia. Mason > Will book, v. 002 1874-1896 > image 51 of 242 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HN92-8P?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1Y5%3A179687901%2C179748201 : accessed 27 January 2021) and image 52 of 242 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HN92-37?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1Y5%3A179687901%2C179748201 : accessed 27 January 2021) 
  2. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1692, Family History Library Film: Film: 553191, West Virginia, Mason, Hannan, page 106A, lines 9-16, HH #17-17, Annie W Hannen. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 27 January 2021). Note: The official enumeration day of the 1870 census was 1 June 1870. 
  3. 1880 U.S. Federal Census; Census Place: Huntington, Cabell, West Virginia; Roll: 1401; Page: 159A; Enumeration District: 016 

52 Ancestors: #45 Cynthia SUMNER abt. 1815-aft. 1880

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

A Note of Appreciation
I am extremely grateful to Barb Reininger for transcribing the images of the Floyd County, Virginia Marriages for the years 1831 to 1900 from copies of the microfilmed records made by Rena Worthen and for making the transcription available online. Rena wrote 7 Oct 2014 in a comment on the Facebook group Floyd County Virginia Genealogy, “It was a big project, took a lot of work and money to make it possible.” From Barb’s transcription I was able to make a list of 218 marriages performed by my 5th great-grandfather Owen SUMNER during the years 1838-1874, one-tenth of which were performed at his residence. Imagine 218 events that I know he participated in!

52 Ancestors: #45 Cynthia SUMNER abt. 1815-aft. 1880

Cynthia SUMNER, my 4th great-grandmother, went by many names during her lifetime. From the time that she was little until her death her first name was spelled in several different ways – Sintha, Cintha, Cyntha, Sinthy, Sintia, Cynthia – but she was never known as Cindy. She went from using her maiden name SUMNER to using her married name LESTER until the death of her husband and her remarriage when she took the surname of her second husband, COX.

Cynthia was the daughter of the Reverend Owen SUMNER (1796-1874) and his first wife Sarah “Sally” NEWTON (1800-1860). Owen and Sally were married on 23 November 1813 in Montgomery County, Virginia. This was during the War of 1812 (18 Jun 1812-24 Dec 1814), a war that Owen served in. Sally was from neighboring Patrick County. [I’m impatiently waiting for them to get around to digitizing the War of 1812 Pension Records for names beginning with P for Peters and S for Sumner.]

Cynthia SUMNER was born about 1815 in what was then Montgomery County, Virginia. She was the first of eleven known children born to Owen and Sally. Her siblings were:

  • Sib 2: Sarah “Sary” SUMNER (1817-1842) born about 1817 in Montgomery County, Virginia. She married Joel ROSS (1801-aft.1870) on 24 September 1835 in Floyd County. They were the parents of two children. Sarah died 20 February 1842 in Floyd County. When Joel remarried two years later his father-in-law (from his first marriage) Owen SUMNER performed the marriage.
  • Sib 3: Joel “Owen” SUMNER (1820-1900) born January 1820 in Montgomery County, Virginia. He married Lucinda E. THOMPSON (1826-1900) on 15 February 1844 in Floyd County, Virginia. They were the parents of eleven children. Joel died between 1900-1910.
  • Sib 4: Jesse SUMNER (1824-1861) born about 1824 in Montgomery County, Virginia. He married Timandra SUMPTER (1826-1912) on 9 December 1845 in Floyd County, Virginia. They were the parents of six children. Jesse died 10 November 1861 in Floyd County, Virginia
  • Sib 5: Susan A. SUMNER (1828-1913) born 24 March 1828 in Montgomery County, Virginia. She married Jacob CORRELL (1817-1888) on 22 January 1852 in Floyd County, Virginia. They were the parents of six children. Susan died 20 August 1913
  • Sib 6: John G. “Jehu” SUMNER (1835-1880) born about 1830 in Floyd County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth SOWERS (1841-1915) on 20 August 1863 in Floyd County at the home of Owen SUMNER. They were the parents of six children. John died between 1880-1900.
  • Sib 7: Joshua SUMNER (1833-1919) born December 1832 in Floyd County, Virginia. Joshua married(1) Mary G. EARLY (1821- ) on 19 July 1854 in Floyd County, Virginia. They were the parents of three children. He married(2) the widow Joe Ellen CRENSHAW (maiden name unknown) on 24 Aug 1892 in Bedford County, Virginia. They had one son. Joshua died 19 November 1919 in Bedford County, Virginia
  • Sib 8: Joseph L. SUMNER (1835-1888) born 17 January 1835 in Floyd County, Virginia. He married Julia Ann HARRIS (1837-1889) on 4 September 1856 in Floyd County, Virginia. They were the parents of six children. Joseph died 30 January 1888 in Brookline, Greene County, Missouri
  • Sib 9: Jonathan Newton “Jathan” SUMNER (1838-1882) born about 1838 in Floyd County, Virginia. He married Sarah Ann BOOTH (1836-1893) on 18 September 1855 in Floyd County, Virginia. They had eight children. Even though he was married, Jathan had a “permanent liason” with Fannie Duncan. He eventually left his wife to settle in Tennessee with Fannie and their children. He died about 1882 Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee.
  • Sib 10: Jubal SUMNER (1841-1892) born about 1841 in Floyd County, Virginia. He never married. Jubal died 8 November 1892.
  • Sib 11: Jane SUMNER (1845-1900) born about 1845 in Floyd County, Virginia. She married Jacob WADE (1849-1937) on 5 December 1867 in Floyd County, Virginia, at Owen Sumner’s residence. They were the parents of six children. Jane and Jacob divorced before 24 August 1879. Jane died between 1900-1910.

Cynthia’s known siblings “fit” into the family group of Owen SUMNER as seen in his pre-1850 and 1850 census listings. However from 1826 to 1830 the family may have grown by another 2 boys as reflected in the 1830 and 1840 censuses but they remain unknown. Owen and Sally named all their boys with names beginning with a J. – Joel, Jesse, Joshua, Joseph, John or Jehu, Jonathan or Jathan, and Jubal. Only their youngest daughter Jane was giving the same honor. If we consider that my Cynthia’s name was also spelled with an S, it could be said that they named all their girls, except Jane, with names beginning with an S – Syntha, Sarah, and Susan.

Getting back to the boys, could this mean that there are two SUMNER men b. bet. 1825-1830, perhaps with names beginning with a J, who did not remain in Floyd County in 1850 or later? Did these boys die before the 1850 census? Could one of them have married a lady named Nancy – a 20 years old girl of this name is seen in Owen’s household in 1850 – but she does not fit into the family group as seen in the pre-1850 census?

1820censussumner
1820 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Montgomery > Blacksburg [ancestry.com]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Montgomery County, Virginia
Blacksburg
Page No. 183
Owen Sumner
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 1 (Joel)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Owen)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Cynthia and Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Sally)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 3
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 5

1830censussumner
1830 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Montgomery > Christiansburg [ancestry.com]
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Montgomery County, Virginia
Christiansburg
Page No. 91
Owen Sumner
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (John, 2 unknown b. bet. 1826-1830)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Joel and Jesse)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (unknown, too old to be a son)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Owen)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Susan)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Cynthia)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Sally)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 8
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 11
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 11

1840censussumner
1840 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd [ancestry.com]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
Page No. 186
Owen Sumner
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (Joseph, Jonathan, and 1 unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Joshua)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 2 (John and 1 unknown, seen in 1830)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (Jesse and 1 unknown, seen in 1830)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Joel)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49:  1 (Owen)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Susan)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Sally)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 5
White Persons – Deaf and Dumb – Under 14: 1 (son John)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 9
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 12
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 12

1850censussumner
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd > Western District 15 [ancestry.com]
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
The Western District No. 15
Enumerated the 21st day of August, 1850. Joseph Howard, Ass’t Marshal.
Page No. 431
HH #759-759
Owen Sumner 54 M Bapt. Minister $2500
Sarah Sumner 49 F
Joshua Sumner 17 M Laborer attended school within year
Joseph Sumner 15 M
John Sumner 20 M cannot read & write Deaf & Dumb
Jonathan Sumner 12 M
Jabell Sumner 9 M
Susan Sumner 21 F cannot read & write
Jane Sumner 4 F
Nancy Sumner 20 F (does not fit into the family group, a daughter-in-law?)
Note: All persons in the household were noted as born in North Carolina. I believe that the place of birth column was incorrectly filled out by the enumerator. In later years they are listed as born in Virginia.

Let’s Talk About Cynthia

Cynthia SUMNER was about 19 years old when she married 22 years old Jacob LESTER on 4 September 1834 in Floyd County, Virginia. They were married by Jesse Jones. Elder Jones had baptized Cynthia’s father Owen on 17 March 1822 when he united with the Primitive Baptist Church at West Fork, in Floyd County, Virginia.

A couple of years later Cynthia became a mother for the first time when she gave birth to her daughter, my 3rd great-grandmother, Emaline LESTER about 1836. About a year later her son George Washington LESTER was born. Both children were born in Floyd County and were reflected in the 1840 census record of their father Jacob LESTER.

1840censuslester
1840 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd [ancestry.com]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
Page No. 181
Jacob Lester
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (George W.)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Jacob)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Emaline)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Cynthia)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4

Cynthia was only 27 when her husband Jacob died about 1842 in Floyd County leaving her with two small children. She was not a widow for long as she married John W. COX on 1 June 1843 in Floyd County, Virginia. She had one child with John, a daughter Susan L. COX (1846-1861) born about 1846. She was not born in North Carolina as seen on the following census listing:

1850censuscox
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd > Western District 15 [ancestry.com]
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
The Western District No.15
Enumerated the 21st day of August, 1850. Joseph Howard, Ass’t Marshal.
Page No. 431
HH # 758-758
John W. Cox 30 M Laborer North Carolina
Cintha Cox 35 F North Carolina cannot read & write
Susan Cox 4 F North Carolina
Emeline Lester  14 F North Carolina

The enumerator wrote in North Carolina for state of birth for John W. COX and then “do” (ditto) for the rest of the family and the next household, that of Owen SUMNER. Cynthia, her daughters, and everyone in her father’s household were born in Virginia.

In the mid-1850s Cynthia saw her two older children marrying a daughter and a son of James ROOP and Elizabeth CARROLL:

Both couples had two children each before the 1860 census, giving Cynthia her first four grandchildren, all born in Floyd County. Unfortunately life was not all about marriages and births as Cynthia lost her second husband, John W. COX sometime during the 1850s. Her older children had their own households leaving her along with her youngest daughter Susan.

1860censuscox
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd [ancestry.com]
1860 U.S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
Enumerated the 23/25 June, 1850. Geo. M. Wells, Ass’t Marshal.
Flat Head Post Office, Page No. 48, Sheet No. 482
HH #345-324
Cyntha Cox 45 F Farming $0 $50 Virginia cannot read & write
Susan Cox 14 F Virginia

Following the enumeration of the 1860 census another death took place. Cynthia’s mother  Sarah “Sally” NEWTON died 22 September 1860 in Floyd County, Virginia.

The American Civil War year (1861-1865) brought more marriages, births, and deaths in Cynthia’s life.

Five months after her mother died, Cynthia’s daughter Susan L. COX married Marshall Elijah Francis MOORE (1841-1862) on 7 February 1861 in Floyd County. A month later another wedding took place. Cynthia’s father Owen (65) married Lucinda SOWERS on 11 March 1861 in Floyd County. Even though Lucinda (26) was young when they married, they would not have any children during their nearly fourteen years of marriage.

Cynthia’s daughter Susan became pregnant as soon as she married as she gave birth to a daughter Cynthia MOORE (1861-1861) on 7 November 1861 in Floyd County. The child, named after her maternal grandmother, lived less than three weeks, dying on 24 November 1861. The mother Susan died the next day.

Three more grandchildren were born, including my second great-grandfather Gordon Washington ROOP (1862-1930) who was born on 6 May 1862 in Floyd County. His father Gordon H. ROOP, Cynthia’s son-in-law, would not come home from the war to see his wife Emaline LESTER holding their youngest babe. He died on the 1st of November 1863 in Georgia.

After the end of the Civil War Cynthia’s widowed daughter Emaline LESTER married Pleasant D. EPPERLY (1848-1920) on 8 February 1869 in Floyd County. Their marriage of eight years would not bare fruit.

In 1870 Cynthia had a young lady named Dolly Ann Eldridge in her household. I believe that this may be her granddaughter Dollie Ann Ellen ROOP but have no explanation as to why she would be listed with the Eldridge surname. There were no other people with this surname in Floyd County. Although Dollie and her two brothers were enumerated with their mother Emaline in 1870, it’s possible that Dollie was with her grandmother. Also with Cynthia was her baby sister Jane SUMNER and Jane’s first born daughter Elizabeth WADE.

1870censuscox
1870 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd > Alum Ridge [ancestry.com]
1870 U. S. Federal census
Floyd County, Virginia
Alum Ridge Township, Page No. 8
Enumerated the 4th day of August, 1870. B. P. Elliott, Ass’t Marshal.
Floyd Court House Virginia Post Office, Sheet No. 4B
HH #55-53
Cox, Cynthia 50 F W Keeping House $0 $100 Virginia
Eldridge, Dolly Ann 15 F W At Home Virginia
Wade, Jane 23 F W without occupation Virginia
Wade, Elizabeth 1 F W Virginia

The first of Cynthia’s grandchildren to marry was Dollie Ann Ellen ROOP. She married Giles SUMNER (1855-1929) on 7 November 1873 in Floyd County. A year later Cynthia’s father Owen SUMNER died 20 November 1874 in Alum Ridge, Floyd County.

Cynthia would lose her oldest daughter Emaline LESTER to consumption on 3 December 1877 in Floyd County. This left her with only one living child, her son George W. LESTER who moved to Raleigh County, West Virginia, with his family before 1880.

Although her son was no longer in Floyd County, her deceased daughter Emaline’s three children were married and still living in the area. Cynthia had only a servant with her in 1880 but some of her siblings lived nearby. Her baby sister Jane, who was living with their step-mother Lucinda, was divorced and, strange for the times, the children were living with her ex-husband who had remarried. Her youngest brother Jubal, still a bachelor, was living with their sister Susan’s family and brothers Joel and John were in the county with their families. Joshua had left Floyd County for Bedford County sometime in the 1870s. Jonathan had finally left his wife and moved to Tennessee to be with the second family he had with the “other woman” Fannie DUNCAN. Cynthia had most likely not seen her brother Joseph since he moved to Tennessee about 1859.

1880censuscox
1880 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd > Alum Ridge [ancestry.com]
1880 U. S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
Alum Ridge Township, Pge No. 31
Enumeration District No. 25, Sheet No. 276B
Enumerated the 25th day of June, 1880. H. M. Booth, enumerator.
HH # 278-278
Cox, Cynthia W F 67 widowed Keeping House Virginia Virginia Virginia
Iddings, China W F 24 single Servant Virginia Virginia Virginia

Cynthia’s step-mother Lucinda SOWERS died in 1886 at the age of 50. Was Cynthia still living when she died sometime between 1880 and 1890 in Floyd County? Family tradition recounted on 22 February 1999 by Peggy Burton Rich:

“It is said that Cynthia (Sumner) would light her pipe by the rays of the sun and that she died of smoker’s cancer.”

After her death, Cynthia’s only living child, George left his wife and married Lucy Diane DILLON (1868-1948) on 12 November 1890 in Carroll County, Virginia. They had seven children before George died. The last child was born in 1905, the family was not found in 1910, and by 1920 Lucy was with a much younger George E. LESTER. It is not known when George died. Family tradition according to Charlotte Bristow goes like this:

“According to my mother, Lucy married George’s cousin who lived nearby, but she cannot recall his name. As a child, she was told that the second marriage didn’t last long because the cousin died from a gunshot. She believes someone thought he was an intruder. I don’t know of any documentation on this marriage. Lucy married for the third time in 1922 to Albert Burdick, who was the father of my maternal grandfather, Carl Burdick…..My mother thinks this may have been a marriage of convenience, so that Dessie’s mother [Lucy] and Carl’s father [Albert] could share a home.”

Now wouldn’t that be a story worth finding documentation on?

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey