Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Violate, Evoline, and Samuel

In Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Henry, a Slave in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, the slaveholder of the enslaved Henry was John S. Roberts. Further research turned up connections to others who owned slaved. John Shelton Roberts was the son of Alexander Roberts and Sarah Shepherd of Nelson County, Virginia. He married Adeline B. Landcraft, daughter of Nathaniel Landcraft and Sarah B. Hardin, on 6 September 1829 in Nelson County. John and Adeline very likely came to the Fayette/Nicholas counties area with Adeline’s parents. By 1830 John was living in Nicholas County where he (male 20 thru 29) was seen on the census with his wife (female 20 thru 29) and two young slaves under 10 years of age. When he died the appraisement of his estate included only the enslaved Henry. Was it possible the other slave belonged to his widow Adeline B. Landcraft? Did she receive the enslaved person in their 1830 household from her parents?

Nathaniel Landcraft was seen in Nelson County, Virginia, with the following household in 1820:

1820 United States Federal Census

Name: Nathaniel Landcraft
Home in 1820 (City, County, State): Buckingham, Nelson, Virginia
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 2
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25: 2
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 4
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25: 1
Slaves – Females – 26 thru 44: 2
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 3
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures: 2
Free White Persons – Under 16: 5
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total Slaves: 11
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 19

Source: 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Buckingham, Nelson, Virginia; Page: 196; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 374; Ancestry.com

In 1830 Nathaniel Landcraft was found in Summersville, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, where his daughter Adeline and son-in-law John S. Roberts were also living. The image is very light, however, I was able to confirm the entry is for Nathaniel Landcraft and not Sanderson as indexed below.

1830 United States Federal Census

Name: Nathaniel Sanderson
[Nathaniel Snderapt] 
Home in 1830 (City, County, State): Summersville, Nicholas, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 3
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1
Slaves – Males – Under 10: 4
Slaves – Males – 24 thru 35: 1
Slaves – Females – Under 10: 2
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total Slaves: 9
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 16

Source: 1830; Census Place: Summersville, Nicholas, Virginia; Series: M19; Roll: 198; Page: 193; Family History Library Film: 0029677; Ancestry.com

As can be seen in the census listings above, Landcraft had 11 slaves in his household in 1820 and 9 (6 of whom were born after 1820) in 1830. At the time of his death, the appraisement of his estate included only three enslaved persons: Violate, Evoline and Samuel.

1835 Appraisement of the Estate of Nathaniel Landcraft

 

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-64?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : accessed 30 July 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 28 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

We the undersigned (after first duly sworn)
have proceeded to appraise in Current money the
person (sic) estate and Negro Belonging to the Estate
of Nathaniel Landcraft decd as followeth, to wit.

One Negro Woman named Violate $375
One    Do    Girle          ”     Evoline 150
One    Do    Boy            ”      Samuel 125
One Cupboard & Furniture 35
One Safe & furniture 10
One Sideboard & Table 5
One Clock 10
One Bed & furniture 30
Two Beds, Bedsteads & furniture 60
One Trunk, Chist & Bedstead 4
One Looking Glass 2
Two Waiters 1.50
Nine Chairs 4.50
One Tea Kittle and Irons & Shovels & Tongs 3
Kitchen furniture 15
Books 2.50
TOTAL $832.50

Given under our hand this 2nd day
of January 1855_
. . . . . . . . . . . .T.B. Hamilton
. . . . . . . . . . . .P. Keenan             Appraisers
. . . . . . . . . . . .Wm. Morris

Fayette County Court Clerks Office Jany Term 1835
The Appraisement Bill of the Estate of Nathaniel Land-
craft decd was Recd and ordered to be recorded_
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Test
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Hiram Hill CK

End of transcription

About the time Nathaniel Landcraft died, his daughter Adeline, widow of John S. Roberts, married the Baptist minister Edwin W. Woodson. They made their home in Monroe County, (West) Virginia. In 1840 Woodson had two slaves in his household, a male and a female, both were 10 thru 23 years old. Could either of them be one of the slaves mentioned in the Landcraft appraisement?

In 1850 E W Woodson owned one female slave age 20. In 1860 Adeline Woodson owned one female slave age 30. Who was this female slave? Did Rev. Woodson die before 1860? Did he leave a will, inventory, or appraisement mentioning the slave enumerated under his name in 1850?

To be continued in next month’s post….

bestwishescathy1

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.

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: William, Mary, and Orange

Earlier this month I discovered a wonderful batch of pre-Civil War records for the counties in the western Virginia which would become West Virginia in 1863. FamilySearch’s collections of digital images have been growing at an amazing speed in recent years. Every now and then I will do fairly simple searches for birth, marriage, and/or death records in Fayette County, West Virginia, for the surname DEMPSEY. This surname is in two branches of my family tree. I am always looking for new information to possibly connect the two lines or to fill in some blanks in either line.

I was not disappointed when something new showed up in a search for births in Fayette County, (West) Virginia. The hit indicated a son born to my 3rd great-grand uncle Wilson M. DEMPSEY. A son I did not have in my database. When I opened up the details of the search results, I found the birth record was not for a son but for a slave.

“West Virginia Births and Christenings, 1853-1928,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X5PK-X25 : 12 December 2014), William Dempsey, 11 Feb 1857; citing Meadow Fork, Fayette, Virginia, reference ; FHL microfilm 34,485.

From experience, I know when FamilySearch shows a record is not available (see camera icon with the notation in the above image) this actually means there is no image attached to the indexed material. However, the film may be available online and browse-only. I checked their catalog for the FHL microfilm number given and found Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia, microreproduction of original manuscripts at the Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, for West Virginia counties.

I spend hours working with the browse-only records at FamilySearch. Being experienced made it easy for me to find the image to the record indexed above. This post deals with the content of the record, not how I found it. If you are interested, please ask, and I will explain how in a comment to this post.

Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia; Film # 007499353; Calhoun – Hampshire counties; image 120 of 554. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9Z5-FZV3?i=119&cat=308753 : accessed 10 June 2017)

The birth of William, a son of Mary, was recorded in the birth register of Fayette County. He was born at Meadow Fork on 11 February 1857. The column for the name of the father is titled: Father’s Name in full if Child be free and born in wedlock, or Name of Owner if Child born a Slave. Wilson M. Dempsey’s name is in this column as well as the column for the informant. In the column, Relationship of Informant, he is noted as Owner.

I took a bit of time to browse through the entire batch of registers for Fayette County and found another entry with Wilson M. Dempsey as the informant. This one did not turn up in my original search which made me wonder if the entire collection has been indexed. Different search criteria turned up this indexed record in the Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917.

“Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VRR7-K1C : 5 December 2014), Orange Dempsy, Jun 1855; citing Loop, Fayette, VA, reference ; FHL microfilm 34,485.

This indexed record shows “Orange Dempsy” was a child of “Wilson Dempsy” and “Mary.” A closer look at the actual entry in the register shows Orange was a slave.

Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia; Film # 007499353; Calhoun – Hampshire counties; image 112 of 554. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89Z5-F8FM?i=111&cat=308753 : accessed 29 June 2017)

On this entry, the child Orange was born in June 1855 on the Loop in Fayette County. He was a slave owned by Wilson Dempsey. The mother’s name was Mary. The occupation of the father is blank and his residence is listed as Amherst. Another child born as a slave of another slaveholder on the same page has blanks for the occupation and residence of the father. It’s possible Amherst refers to the residence of the father of Orange, indicating the enslaved family was separated due to Wilson Dempsey’s recent move to Fayette County. Or, Wilson Dempsey had not yet moved his family and may have taken his slave(s) there to prepare for his move.

In 1840 Wilson Dempsey was recently married to Evalina Carolyn Rhodes, a daughter of Reuben Rhodes and Tabitha Rowsie of Amherst County, Virginia. In the 1840 census of the same county, Wilson was seen with his bride and two slaves, one male 10 thru 23 and one female under 10 years. In 1850 Wilson was listed as an overseer in the Eastern District of Amherst. His wife had died in the 1840s and he’d remarried. His second wife’s maiden name is not known. The 1850 slave schedule does not have a listing for him and it is unknown for whom he was working as an overseer.

Before finding the above records, we knew Wilson moved to Fayette County in western Virginia in the 1850s. The records place him in the county in 1855, either setting up his household or permanently settled.

In 1860 the slave schedule of Fayette County includes the following enslaved black persons for Wilson M. Dempsey:

  • one male age 35 (possibly the male seen in 1840?)
  • one female age 30 (possibly Mary)
  • one female age 22 (or, possibly Mary)
  • one female age 12
  • one female age 8
  • two females age 7
  • one male age 3 (possibly William)
  • one male age 1

I have known since I first began researching my 3rd great-grandfather Seaton Y. Dempsey that his brother Wilson had slaves as well as their father William Dempsey of Amherst. However, the only indication of their keeping enslaved persons had been the 1810 census for William (3 slaves), the 1840 census for Wilson (2 slaves), and the 1860 census for Wilson (9 slaves). The birth records found this month help to name at least three of the enslaved people: Orange, William, and their mother Mary.

bestwishescathy1

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 which can be found on Schalene Jennings Dagutis’ blog Tangled Roots and Trees

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Henry, a Slave in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia

John S. Roberts of Nicholas County, Virginia (present-day West Virginia) owned one negro boy named Henry as seen in the appraisal of his estate recorded during the March 1832 term of Nicholas County court.

John S. Roberts – 1832 Appraisement Bill

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-22608-67?cc=1909099 : accessed 20 January 2016), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 48 of 158; page 68 ; county courthouses, West Virginia.

Nicholas County to wit
In pursuance of the within order of Nicholas County Court We Robert Kelly, Robert Hamilton and William D. Cottle after having been duly sworn proceeded to appraise the Estate of John S. Roberts dec’d and make the following return.
One Cow $8.00
Two bed & furniture at $25 each $50
One folding leaf table $5.00
One dressing table $3.00
One shot gum $10.00
One cupboard furniture knives etc. $6.00
One negro boy named Henry $250.00
One set of bed steads $1.00
One ditto ditto $2.00
A pile of corn in the ears $2.50
4 Bushels of potatoes at 25 cts $1.00
One barrel and boxes $0.50
Half a Doz chairs $3.00

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-22608-67?cc=1909099 : accessed 20 January 2016), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 48 of 158; page 69 ; county courthouses, West Virginia.

One big wheel $2.00
One weeding hoe $0.50
One pot and hooks $2.00
Two skillets and lids $2.50
One oven and lid $2.25
One tin kettle $2.00
. . . . . . (total) $343.25
all which is respectfully submitted by ous (sic)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. Kelly
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. Hamilton
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wm. D. Cottle
At a court held for Nicholas County March Term 1832 This appraisement bill of the estate of John S. Roberts was returned duly certified by the appraisers and ordered to be recorded.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Teste
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Saml Price C??

Who Was John S. Roberts?

John Shelton Roberts was the son of Alexander Roberts and Sarah Shepherd of Nelson County, Virginia. He married Adeline B. Landcraft, daughter of Nathaniel Landcraft and Sarah B. Hardin, on 6 September 1829 in Nelson County. They very likely came to the Fayette/Nicholas counties area with Adeline’s parents. By 1830 John was living in Nicholas County where he (male 20 thru 29) was seen on the census with his wife (female 20 thru 29) and two young slaves under 10 years of age. Following his death, his widow remarried.

How Did John S. Roberts Become A Slaveholder?

A quick check turned up the names of more slaves as both John’s and Adeline’s parents were slaveholders, as was Rev. Edwin Washington Woodson who married Adeline after John’s death. The names will be shared in several Slave Name Roll Project posts to come.

bestwishescathy1

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 which can be found on Schalene Jennings Dagutis’ blog Tangled Roots and Trees

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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In Memory of Sgt. Warren Earl Zickafoose (1922-1945) of Fayette County, West Virginia

Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE was born 24 February 1922 in Nallen, Fayette County, West Virginia, to Joseph Elmer ZICKAFOOSE and Eva Myrtle HEDRICK. He was the fourth of eight children.

Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE; World War II Young American Patriots, 1941-1945; Ancestry.com : accessed 28 April 2017

After graduating from Nuttall High School, Warren was an employee of Ford, Bacon, and Davis in Dunbar. On 7 March 1942, he married Pauline Alice RAMSEY, daughter of Jarrett Theodore RAMSEY and Louie Ann CAVENDISH, in Russell, Greenup County, Kentucky.

On 29 December 1942 he entered the U.S. Army and received his training at Camp Hood, Texas; Camp Carson, Colorado; Camp Gruber, Oklahoma; Camp Livingston, Louisiana; and had desert training in California.

Three weeks after he entered the U.S. Army his wife Pauline gave birth to a baby girl.

Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE was attached to Company C of the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion and was sent to Europe in August 1944 arriving at Cherbourg, France, on 15 September 1944.

Damaged Sherman tank in the museum at The Mardasson Memorial in Bastogne, Belgium.

The battalion moved to Luxembourg in November and participated in the Battle of the Bulge in December. Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action in December 1944.

Into January 1945 the 811th was widely scattered as it was attached to many divisions. In February and March, they supported operations against the Siegfriedstellung (Siegfried Line).

In late March the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion advanced to the Rhine River crossing it on 30 March.

Every day of World War II, a 3 1/4 by 7-inch Morning Report was issued. These are the events recorded for the first few day of April 1945.

1 April 1945:
Station: WH 2384 Melgerhausen Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn (Battalion) FA (Field Artillery) TD (Tank Destroyer)
No change (in personnel)
Record of Events: Left WH Schwarzenborn, Germany enroute to Wh 2384 Melgerhause, Germany. Arrived destination.
4 officers were present for duty.
118 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA (Warrant Office Junior Grade)

2 April 1945:
Station: WH 2290 Grexhagen, Germany (Guxhagen)
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
No change (in personnel)
Record of Events: Left WH 2384 Melgerhausen, Germany enroute to WH 2290 Grexhagen Guxhagen, Germany. Arrived destination.
4 officers were present for duty.
118 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA

3 April 1945:
Station: WH 2290 Guxhagen, Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
Three men were absent from duty due to sickness: Tec 5 Howard C. Kerns (SN 35692008); Tec 4 Thomas J. Donnelly (SN 32288320), and Pfc Johnny P. Garcia (SN 39286737). All were transferred to Evac Hospital. The first two were non-battle casualties in the line of duty. The third was non-battle casualty, not in the line of duty [acute alcholism (sic)].
4 officers were present for duty.
115 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA

In early April the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion supported the 80th Infantry Division when Kassel was captured. Sgt. Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE was killed in action on 3 April 1945 only a day before Kassel was captured.

4 April 1945:
Station: WH 2699 Crumbach, Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
Cpl Ernest A. Corrado (SN 35765502) was reduced to Pvt per Special CMO # 1 Headquarters 811th Tank Destroyer effective 31 March 1945.
Record of Events: Left WH 2290 Guxhagen, Germany enroute to WH 2699 Crumbach, Germany. Arrived destination. Distance traveled 6 miles.
4 officers were present for duty.
115 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA

5 April 1945:
Station: WH 2699 Crumbach, Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
Pfc Harold W. McNatt (SN 3941540) was promoted to Cpl effective 5 April 1945. Pvt Finis Craft (SN 35426452) was promoted to Tec 5 effective 5 April 1945. Pvt. Thomas J. Heitzman (SN 67134753) change in duty effective 5 April 1945. Pvt. Robert L. Sansbury (SN 35817099) change in duty effective 5 April 1945.
Pvt. Carl W. Rhoades (SN 35240303) and Tec 5 Robert L. Tidwell, both enlisted men, were lightly wounded in action, battle casualties in line of duty on 3 April 1945. The 305th Medical Battalion transferred him to Evac Hospital. He was dropped from assignment effective 27 March 1945.
Pvt. Alex M. Sandler (SN 39422544) was Lightly Injured in Action, battle casualty in line of duty on 3 April 1945. The 305th Med Bn transferred him to Evac Hospital. He was dropped from assignment effective 27 March 1945.
Sgt. Warren E. Zickafoose (SN 35645379) was Killed in Action, battle casualty in line of duty on 3 April 1945.
Record of Events: All casualties occurred in Germany.
4 officers were present for duty.
111 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA

Mrs. Pauline ZICKAFOOSE was informed by the war department of the death of her husband, Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE in May 1945. She remarried two years later.

Sunday Register (Raleigh Register, Beckley, West Virginia); May 13, 1945 (Ancestry.com)

Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE’s body was returned to American soil in 1948. He was buried in End of the Trail Cemetery in Clintonville on Sunday, 19 December 1948. The service was held by Rev. M. J. Painter and Rev. John Bragg. Military rites were conducted by the Ansted American Legion Post at the grave.

His father applied for a military marker in a month later, on 18 January 1949.

(Ancestry.com : accessed 28 April 2017)
(Ancestry.com : accessed 28 April 2017)

Sgt. Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE’s name is engraved on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial. As well as the Purple Heart Medal, he received three Battle Stars, a Silver Star (posthumous), and the Presidential Unit Citation.

UPDATE (31 May 2017): More information from the MilitaryTimes Hall of Valor about the Silver Star Medal Sgt. Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE received posthumously.

Silver Star medal
SILVER STAR Medal

General Orders: Headquarters, 80th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 131 (May 20, 1945)
Action Date: April 4, 1945 (sic, April 3, 1945)
Battalion: 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion
Division: 80th Infantry Division

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant Warren E. Zickafoose (ASN: 35645379), United States Army, for gallantry in action while serving with the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 80th Infantry Division in connection with military operations against an enemy of the United States on 4 April 1945 in Germany. On that date, while supporting infantry troops in holding Vollmarshausen, Germany, Sergeant Zickafoose, a gun commander of a tank destroyer, observed four enemy tanks approaching the town. Realizing that he was outnumbered he nevertheless elected to move into a firing position to prevent the enemy from overrunning the infantry. By taking up an advantageous position he repelled the attack, although his destroyer received a direct hit which mortally wounded him. The courage, aggressive leadership, and supreme devotion to duty as displayed by Sergeant Zickafoose was in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE was my 4th cousins 2 times removed through our common ancestor, James SIMS (1754-1845) and my 5th cousins 1 time removed through our common ancestors, (the same) James SIMS and his first wife Phebe. His daughter, who is still living, is my aunt by marriage and her four sons are my first cousins.

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

A West Virginia Coal Miner’s Poetic Memories

My great-grandfather Walter Farmer ROOP (1883-1971) was a blacksmith, coal miner, artist, poet, photographer, and cartoonist. He was 17 years old when the 1900 census was taken and worked as a day laborer for six months during the previous year. He was living in the Cabin Creek District of Kanawha County in West Virginia in his father Gordon‘s household. When he married Rebecca Jane CLONCH on 12 July 1903 his occupation was listed as a miner. This is the profession he would engage in until his retirement.

Walter and Rebecca’s family was missed by the enumerator in 1910. On 12 September 1918 Walter was a mine blacksmith with the Gauley Mountain Coal Company of Ansted per his Draft Card. His place of employment was Jodie, Fayette County.

walter-farmer-roop-wwi-draft-card
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Per the census, in 1920 and 1930 he was a miner in a coal mine and in 1940 a utility man in a coal mine. In 1939 he worked 44 weeks and received a private wage. The number of weeks he worked in 1939 appears to be the average for the miners in the community.

walter-f-roop-family-with-his-father-gordon-ca-1920-1921In 1942 the Registration Card (for men born on or after April 28, 1877, and on or before February 16, 1897), also known as the “old man’s registration,” has the Gauley Mountain Coal Company of Ansted as my great-grandfather’s employer.

walter-farmer-roop-wwii-card-front
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
walter-farmer-roop-wwii-card-back
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

The place of residence on the 1920, 1930, and 1940 census for the ROOP family was Jodie in Fayette County.

The community which would become Jodie was started up when the first houses were built by local logging companies in the late 1800s. The first post office was established in 1894 or 1896 (conflicting sources) when the town was named Imboden. The name of the town was changed to Jodie in 1910. In 1915, the Gauley Mountain Coal Company established Jodie as a coal town. The company utilized the existing lumber company houses and built additional ones. A company store, movie theater, and boarding house were also built but they are now long gone. The houses were sold off to residents in the mid-1940s, and the local mines closed less than ten years later. My great-grandfather very likely worked for the Gauley Mountain Coal Company from the time they established in Jodie until his retirement.

Christopher Taylor, a Shepherd University (Shepherdstown, WV) history major, kindly shared maps, photographs, and explanations to give me an idea of the geographical location of the mine Walter worked in.

1928-jodie-wv-usgs-map-fayetteville-quadrangle
Image and text courtesy of Christopher Taylor.

Here is Jodie as it appeared in a USGS topographical map from 1928. I added labels showing various locations and parts of town. The Buck Run Mine loaded coal into a tipple along the river. In later years as operations expanded southeasterly across the mountain, they discontinued the tipple on the river and sent the coal down to Rich Creek.

tipple
Photo and text courtesy of Christopher Taylor.

The Jodie Tipple on Rich Creek, c. 1940s. Coal from the left hillside came from the No. 1 (Buck Run) Mine, and across a conveyor into the tipple. Coal from the right side came from the No. 2 (Rich Creek) Mine.

My Great-grandfather’s Poetry

Walter’s poetry, written after the 1950 death of his wife Rebecca Jane CLONCH, has been passed down in the family. I have no idea if he wrote poems before my great-grandmother’s death. I think he may have discovered his love for expressing his feeling in poetry following his beloved’s death.

Although most were written for his darling wife, he also wrote two poems reflecting his love of mining. He wrote Buck Run after re-visiting the site of the old mine he spent so many years of toil and happy times.

buckrunbywalterfroop

Buck Run

Old Buck Run Mine has played its part
With vigor, zeal and zest;
Through two great wars that we have fought
She gave her very best.

We miss the rhythmic tramp of feet
Of those we used to know,
Who worked with us at Buck Run Mine
Some forty years ago.

I strolled alone the other day
To visit Buck Run Mine,
The scene of many years of toil
And many happy times.

The old landmarks had disappeared
And all was calm and still.
The only things familiar now
Are Buck Run’s brushy hills.

Old memories gathered thick and fast
Of pals who used to be;
Some rest perhaps on native hills
And some across the sea.

There crept upon my aged form
A feeling strange and cold;
I bowed my head and walked away;
I, too, am growing old.

— W. F. Roop, Jodie, W. Va.

What Remains of Rich Creek Mine No. 2

Similar to the stroll Walter took to visit Buck Run Mine, Christopher hiked up to the remains of Rich Creek Mine No. 2 in 2013. He took photos which he has kindly allowed me to use.

richcreekno2mine1richcreekno2mine2richcreekno2mine3

A Coal Miner Remembers

The second poem, When We Retire, describes what it was like to work in a mine. Clipped and dated January 1952, it was published in the United Mine Workers Journal.

mrin00030-1952-01-19-when-we-retire-by-walter-farmer-roop
“When We Retire,” a poem published in the United Mine Workers Journal, January 15, 1952, pg. 15

When We Retire

I’m just an Old Miner, retired from the mines,
Still I yearn for the days that are dead,
When we labored and toiled, in the dust and the grime,
While dangers lurked over our heads.

Though we pray and we pine till we’re weary and sick,
Fate never will answer our prayer;
To feel the old thrill, of the shovel and pick,
And to be with the gang that was there.

Where we labored and toiled in a world of our own,
By the gleam of a flickering light;
Where the change of the seasons is ever unknown,
And the day is eternally night.

Why we yearn to go back, I cannot understand,
For the dangers and hardships were great,
And many a miner who played a good hand
Has lost in the gamble with Fate.

— By Walter Farmer Roop, Belva W. Va.

Walter Farmer ROOP was an all around artistic talent. He left wonderful gifts for his children, grandchildren, and all later descendants. While re-reading his poems and reviewing his art I realized he left much more than photos, drawings, and words – he actually bequeathed us with parts of his own autobiography.

bestwishescathy1

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

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Killed by a Steam Locomotive in a Coal Mine

My GEDCOM file has been online at RootsWeb’s WorldConnect for 15 days short of fourteen years. Many people have written to me over the years. And when a person takes the time to send me the key to open a door in one of my brick walls, I do a happy dance and say, “Thank you very much for taking the time to get in touch.”

Oliver Jenkins III of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is one of these people. He sent his email to both of my addresses (to be sure I would receive it) last August and wrote:

I’m hoping you are the same person who posted the following info to rootsweb: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=meder-dempsey&id=I8229
If so:
Regarding the death of Elijah Neal, thought you might appreciate this information.

Who was Elijah NEAL?

Elijah W. NEAL was my  great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY‘s first cousin. They were very close in age, Elijah being the elder by three years. Their mothers were both daughters of Elijah WOOD (1806-1885) and I wonder if the younger Elijah’s middle name may have been Wood. But I’m getting away from the subject. I want to stress that this is speculation concerning the middle name!

For a long time, I’ve had “between 1896-1900” for the year of death of Elijah W. NEAL. I hadn’t found a death record for him and estimated his death as between the time his last child was born and the 1900 census when his wife, Rebecca F. (ARBAUGH) NEAL, was seen as widowed.

Fast forward to this past August when Oliver sent me the above-mentioned email with the transcription and citation for the source giving the date and cause of death for Elijah W. NEAL.

Killed by a Steam Locomotive in a Coal Mine on 3 June 1897

mrin26342-1897-fatal-accidents-cover-of-source

mrin26342-1897-fatal-accidents

Fatal Accidents 1897
June 3d and 4th. Elijah Neal and George W. Crump, Gauley Mountain mine, Fayette county, were killed by a steam locomotive in the mine. The following report was furnished by Mr. W. N. Page: “I regret to report the death of Elijah Neal and George W. Crump in our new mine Tunnell, on Thursday, June 3d, both white and leaving families. Neal’s head was crushed between the cab and rib, from which death must have been instantaneous, and Crump, who was badly scalded by steam from the safety valve, died the following morning. This accident was in no way connected with the working, but was the result of carelessness in running too fast over a new track. Only one pair of drivers left the rail, but at the high rate of speed the safety valve was knocked off against the roof. It is supposed that there was a small scale of slate on the rail, but this is not certain, but it is known positively that they were running at the time beyond the safety limit, with practically an empty engine. Neal was about 35 and Crump about 40 years of age.” On June 10th Mine Inspector John I. Absolom visited the scene of this accident and found the facts to be as stated above.
[Source: Annual Report of the Chief Mine Inspector to the Governor of West Virginia. W.E. Forsyth: Charleston, WV.1898. page 84-85; online at: https://archive.org/stream/annualreportdept18961897west#page/84/mode/2up]

Oliver also did a newspaper search and came up with this article which suggested Elijah’s widow might soon follow him to the grave.

Publication: The Evening Republican, Columbus, Indiana
Published: 4 June 1897
Page 1
ANSTEAD, W. Va.,
A locomotive was wrecked in the coal mines here today. Elijah Neal, engineer, was killed and assistant mine superintendent died from his injuries received.
Neal’s wife is prostrated and will die from the shock.

Elijah’s wife Rebecca did not die from the shock. She was found in the census in 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940, always in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia. No death record was found for her on WVCulture.org.

However, her obituary published in the Beckley Post-Herald was located and attached as a source for her death. Aunt Becky, as she was known,  outlived her husband by 52 years, dying on 3 July 1949 in Ansted.

mrin26342-1949-rebecca-neal-obit-beckley-post-heraldPublication: Beckley Post-Herald (Raleigh Co., WV)
Published: Sunday Morning, July 4, 1949
Headline: Neal Funeral Set For Today
Oak Hill, July 3 – Funeral services for Mrs. Rebecca (Aunt Becky) Neal, 87, of Ansted will be held Monday at 2:00 p.m. at the Ansted Baptist Church with the Rev. Stanley Neuman officiating.
Mrs. Neal, who was born in Greenbrier County, died at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Lola Boalt of Ansted, Saturday at 7:15 p.m. following an illness of six weeks.
She was a member of the Ansted Baptist Church.
Survivors include two daughters, Mrs. Lola Boalt and Mrs. Ada Dufour, and one son, Raleigh, all of Ansted. Also surviving are 15 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren.
The body will be at the home of Mrs. Lola Boalt.

The Benefits of Having My Family Tree Online

Oliver’s email was very much appreciated as have been all correspondence received in the past twenty years my family tree has been online. My database may have missing information, it may not always have sources cited, it may even have errors. In short, it may not be perfect. But the benefits of having it online far outnumber the embarrassment of mistakes or missing citations especially when people take the time to write to me and offer corrections and additions.

Thank you to all who have contacted me during the past 20 years!

bestwishescathy1

P.S. On 23 November 2016 I heard from Oliver Jenkins III. I wrote to him letting him know I mentioned him (first name only) and his random act of genealogical kindness in my post. He is not a related to Elijah W. Neal and found the information while researching for a client. He wrote, “Feel free to use my full name and email if you’d like. Extra clients always help 🙂 ” owjenkins3 @ gmail.com.

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

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Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Great-grandfather Roop’s Poetry

I’m presently concentrating my research on the RUPP, RUPE, ROOP, ROUP, ROOPE, ROUPE, RUPPE families and shared my great-grandpa ROOP’s artwork last week.

Walter Farmer ROOP was a blacksmith, coal miner, artist, poet, photographer, and cartoonist. He left us precious memories one of them being this photograph I shared last week.

MRIN00030 IMG_8590“Gauley River” by Walter F. ROOP 1921

Great-grandpa ROOP also left poems he wrote for his wife, about his place of work, and his surroundings. Living in Jodie, Fayette County, West Virginia, on the Gauley River Walter was fond of the waterway he photographed and wrote this poem about it 99 years ago.

1917_on_gauley_by_Walter_F_RoopWalter wrote poetry to mourn the death of his wife:

  • “The Letters You Loved and Kept”
  • “That Darling Pal of Mine”
  • “Admiration”
  • “My Garden: Gethsemane”
  • an unnamed poem which begins with “Dear heart, since you have gone to rest I only think of you”.

Recently my 2nd cousin Robert sent me “On Gauley,” shared above, and another poem written by our great-grandfather. “Buck Run” was penned after the two great wars were fought and is about Buck Run No. 1, the coal mine he worked in for the Gauley Mountain Coal Company. “Buck Run” may have been published in the UMW Journal as the copy Robert sent has a published look of a book page.

We know at least one of Walter’s poems “When We Retire” was published in the United Mine Workers Journal, January 15, 1952 issue. David C. Duke author of Writers and Miners: Activism and Imagery in America (published by University Press of Kentucky, 2002) referred to it in the notes on a chapter in the book. I have not found any cousins with a copy of this poem.

I’ve been asked if Walter’s talents were passed on to others in the family. I know his youngest son Alfred Lee ROOP 1919-1981 wrote the poem “Old Fighters Last Battle” which Robert sent to me. I would love to know if any of my other cousins inherited one of his special “heirloom” talents.

Click here to see a list of other bloggers doing the heirloom posts.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #52 Resolution: A Visit to the James SIMS Property

Week 52 (December 24-31) – Resolution. A resolution can be something that you resolve to do. It can also be the end or conclusion of something. What ancestor do you resolve to find more about in 2016? What ancestor have you resolved conflicting evidence about?

We’ve come to the end of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks : 2015 Edition. 2015 was the year of my children’s ancestors in Luxembourg. It’s been a wonderful year of discovery, correcting errors, adding new information and SOURCES, finding even more distant ancestors, and, best of all, stories were written for nearly 100 ancestors. Two weeks were dedicated to my cousin Joe Rooney’s ancestors as I could not pass up the chance to feature them and the wonderful collection of old photographs he shared with me. It may be the end of the challenge but I resolve to continue researching and writing about my genealogical discoveries in the year to come.

There are no favorites but one of my American ancestors, James SIMS 1754-1845 of Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, has placed himself in the limelight several times this year. Early in 2002 I wrote his biography with the help of several cousins. I posted an updated version of the biography on my blog, backdated 25 March 2013 as I began my blog on 23 January 2014.

In February 2015 I wrote Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS (in three parts). It gave Schalene Jennings Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees the wonderful idea of creating the Slave Name Roll Project. It was also published in The Trading Path, the journal of the Durham-Orange Genealogical Society in April 2015.

In May 2015 Mark Smith approached me and we agreed on my being a guest blogger on his blog Hampshire County Long Rifles. I wrote a post on James SIMS and his sons discussing their gun-making. This allowed me to focus on an aspect of this ancestor’s life I did not know very much about.

These posts have become chapters in James SIMS’ life and times. This week I’m happy to share with you another chapter written by my 5th cousin Jason N. Lombardi.

A Visit to the James SIMS Property

In August, I had the pleasure of making an impromptu four-hour trip to visit a home built by James SIMS near Swiss in Nicholas County, West Virginia. It has been on my to-do list since I first saw a post published on the Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy Facebook group detailing its existence.

Even though I was battling a summertime cold bug that had bitten me, complete with runny nose and cough, the genealogy bug had bitten me as well….and it prevailed! It’s amazing what a genealogist will overcome in effort to search out history when, under similar circumstances, might afford a day off of work or school.

What an experience! Seeing firsthand the property that once belonged to my 4th great-grandfather was without words. Knowing that he was here….his family was here….my people were here. Little did James know that 200 years later, seven generations down the line, someone would be standing in awe at a place he owned.

A perfect last-minute trip. I stood at the front corner of the home and placed my hand on the paint-deprived door frame of the ancient building. The awesome power of family seemed to rush through my veins. At that moment I was connected to James and his family. It was a phenomenal experience as a genealogist for 25 years as many of the homes occupied by my family in the past have been destroyed to time.

James SIMS….you have family that still care and are breathing new life into your legacy.

© Jason N. Lombardi

Thank you, Jason.

52ancestors-2015This is my LAST weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #50 My Naughty Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY

Week 50 (December 10-16) – Naughty. We all have an ancestor who probably received coal in their stocking.

I’ve made a list, checked it twice and found who’s been naughty and nice.

If you’ve been following along these past two years you’ll know who’s locked the door to my most frustrating brick wall. Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY, my 3rd great-grandparents!

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Mr. DEMPSEY
Parents: Unknown
Spouse: Mrs. DEMPSEY
Children: Willliam A. W. DEMPSEY (1820-1867)
Whereabouts: Unknown (some say outer space)
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandparents

1. Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY
2. William A. W. DEMPSEY
3. William Henderson DEMPSEY
4. Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

What do I know about Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY? They were the parents of my great-great-grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEY born about 1820 in Virginia per the Fayette County, (West) Virginia census. He was seen as 28 years old in 1850 and 40 years old in 1860. He was also on the 1841 tax list of Rockbridge County which means he had to have been at least 21 yrs old at the time.

DSCN1021 OPiBW
The door in this brick all is firmly shut and no one left the key under the mat!

The most likely documents in which I might find the names of the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY would be his birth, marriage and/or death record.

Death Record

Unfortunately no death record has been found. This means no death record with names of parents or any kind of information to corroborate the family tradition of William’s dying in a logging accident in the late 1860s. This would have been after October 1866 when he was listed as having an account due, owing Joel B. Wills $8.50. By 1870 his children and wife were living (farmed out) in several different households.

Marriage Record

To date, no marriage record has been found for William A. W. DEMPSEY and Sarah Ann WOOD. Their first known child was born about 1846 placing their marriage in the early to mid-1840s. Sarah was from Fayette County and most of her siblings married in Fayette, one in Greenbrier and one in Kanawha.

Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940 at FamilySearch was consulted and the WVCulture.org site has been checked repeatedly as they continue to add records.

I put a query to the Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy group on Facebook requesting information on the likelihood of loose marriage papers being in the West Virginia archives and/or at county level.

I also asked the group about the possibility of there being a marriage ledger for Hopewell Baptist Church. This church being a likely place for the couple to marry as Sarah’s great-grandfather Baily WOOD was a founding member. The church burned down in the 1960s and all records in the church were destroyed. There were some records kept at members’ homes and several people offered to ask around.

I’m sure my father’s first cousin Geraldine Dempsey Workman (1931-2007) searched high and low in the 1970s and 1980s for more information on William’s parents and possible siblings. In 1995 she wrote “We still do not know his parents or family members” in a short summary of her research.

Birth Record

For the time period William was born, ca. 1820-1822 there were no birth records as we know today. A Bible would be a likely alternative but none is known to exist. It is very unlikely one survived, if there was any, as the family did not live together after his death.

Keeping with the Naughty theme, could it be Mrs. DEMPSEY was not a Missus? Should I be looking for a woman with the surname/maiden name DEMPSEY who had a son out of wedlock? This possibility has not been taken into consideration.

Pre-1850 Census Analysis

The lack of birth, marriage and death records with the names of his parents means I need to use a different tactic to find the parents. Regrettably William A. W. DEMPSEY was born and spent his childhood during the pre-1850 census era and cannot be found in a census which included the names of all household members.

I’ve followed the golden rule of genealogy and worked backward from myself to my great-great-grandfather. I’ve also traced his descendants forward to living relatives who may have the key I need to open the door in his brick wall.

After doing traditional and reverse genealogy I analyzed the pre-1850 Virginia census of DEMPSEY families in which William A. W. DEMPSEY may have been born.

1840 Census

There were no DEMPSEYs in Rockbridge in 1840. These are the DEMPSEY households found in what was then Virginia and includes counties which later became part of West Virginia:

  • John DEMPSEY in Fayette
  • Daniel DEMPSEY and sons Thomas, Lewis, and James in Orange
  • Daniel DEMPSEY in Spotsylvania County (son of Daniel of Orange)
  • Seaton and Wilson DEMPSEY in Amherst
  • Absalom DEMPSEY in Botetourt
  • William, John, Joseph, James, and Andrew DEMPSEY in Logan (sons of John Sr.)
  • Willis of DEMPSEY in Nansemond (free colored person)
  • Polley DEMCEY or DEMGEY of King William (free colored person)

1830 Census

  • Tandy DEMPSEY of Logan (father of John of Fayette)
  • Daniel DEMPSEY of Orange
  • Martha DEMPSEY of Amherst (mother of Seaton and Wilson)
  • Absalom DEMPSEY of Botetourt
  • Hugh DEMPSEY of Montgomery
  • John DEMPSEY Sr. and sons William, Thomas (dec’d, his widow Dicy), John Jr., and Joseph in Logan (formed from Cabell, Giles, and Kanawha in 1824)

1820 Census

  • Tandy DEMPSEY in Rockbridge
  • Daniel DEMPSEY in Orange
  • Will DEMPSEY in Amherst (husband of Martha)
  • John DEMPSEY and sons William, Thomas, and Joseph in Cabell
  • Absalom and Hugh DEMPSEY in Botetourt
  • James DEMPSEY in Caroline

1810 Census

Although 1810 is too early for William A. W. DEMPSEY it is interesting to see if the individuals found in 1820 were also in the same area in 1810. The 1810 census was lost for Orange County and tax lists have been used to reconstruct it.

  • Tandy DEMPSEY in Rockbridge
  • William DEMPSEY in Amherst
  • Mildred DEMPSEY in Botetourt (sister-in-law of John of Giles)
  • John DEMPSEY in Giles
  • James DEMPSEY in Caroline

1810 Census reconstructed from tax lists

  • Daniel DEMPSEY in Orange
  • Lewis DEMPSEY in Orange (son of Daniel)

1800 Census reconstructed from tax lists

  • 1800 James DEMPSEY in Orange
  • 1799 James DEMPSEY in Caroline
  • 1799 Nathan DEMPSEY in Franklin

1790 Census reconstructed from tax lists

  • 1791 James DEMPSEY in Greenbrier
  • 1789 William DEMPSEY in Botetourt
  • 1789 Michael DEMPSEY in Shenandoah

mapEven before doing more serious research on the DEMPSEY lines found in Virginia I gave them names to identify and differentiate between them.

The Rockbridge DEMPSEYs

Tandy did not have a young male in his household in 1820 or 1830. He was the father of John W., William S., Andrew S., Jane, Elizabeth, Mary B., and Margaret. These children are proven as they were mention as the children of Nancy Thompson, wife of Tandy, in chancery and land records in Nelson County.

Tandy married Nancy Thompson in Amherst County on 19 January 1801. He lived in Rockbridge in 1810 and 1820 and moved to Logan County by 1827 where he was on the 1827 tax list and 1830 census. His son William S. was in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia in 1830 and 1840. His son Andrew S. was in Logan in 1830 and in Lawrence County, Ohio, in 1840. William S. and Andrew S. both named sons William but have not been included in the census analysis as their sons were seen with them on the 1850 census.

The known children of John W. do not include a son named William. John W. does not appear to be with his father Tandy in 1820. He married(1) in 1824 in Rockbridge, was not found in the 1830 census, and lived in Fayette County in 1840 through 1870. There are no known children for John W. and his first wife for the time period from their marriage in 1824 and until the birth of son John A. born abt. 1830 in Rockbridge. The 1840 census listing includes 1 male 10 & under 15 yo – this person is unaccounted for.

Was William A. W. DEMPSEY the unaccounted for male and was he

  • actually younger than seen on the 1850 and 1860 census?
  • the son of John W. and his first wife born before or soon after the 1824 marriage?
  • the son of John W. and a relationship prior to his 1824 marriage?
  • the son of John W.’s first wife from a previous relationship?

The Amherst DEMPSEYs

This group has also been well researched as William DEMPSEY of Amherst was my 4th great-grandfather. His children are proven to be Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G., Louisa J. and Eliza through land and court records produced after his death. In 1830, his wife Martha was listed in Amherst County with their two young daughters. There were no young males in the household.

William at some time went to Ohio and did not return as newspapers in the state of Ohio were requested to publish information on his wife’s death in 1834. On 20 June 1836, a year after the last notice was published, William and Martha’s son Wilson signed an administrator bond for the deceased William.

After the 1850 census Wilson and Seaton moved to Fayette County. Their brother Wesley, who was not found in 1830 and 1840 censuses, was in Botetourt in 1850 and lived in Rockbridge from 1860 until his death in 1890. The children of William of Amherst were too young to be parent candidates for William A. W. DEMPSEY.

I believe Tandy DEMPSEY and William DEMPSEY may have been brothers. Tandy married in Amherst less than a year and a half after William. There was also a Jane DEMPSEY who married Allen CAMERON in 1795 in Amherst. Allen CAMERON went bond with William DEMPSEY when William married which may suggest a close relationship. The CAMERON couple raised their family in Rockbridge. William’s mother Susannah DEMPSEY gave her consent for his marriage. No such record was found for Tandy and Jane.

The Orange DEMPSEYs

Daniel and his wife were past the childbearing years in 1820. His oldest son Thomas Allen was already married and had a son John L. The census numbers in 1820 show in Daniel’s household eight known children as well as his oldest son’s wife, their son and possibly a daughter. Daniel was seen in Orange County as early as 1810 (tax list) but may have come from Caroline County where his first son was born abt. 1778 per death record. Could there be a connection between James DEMPSEY of Caroline and Daniel DEMPSEY of Orange?

Daniel’s second son Lewis had a son named William A. born abt. 1825. This William A. DEMPSEY’s Civil War service was used to obtain a marker for my William A. W. DEMPSEY’s grave. The daughters of Geraldine, who did the paperwork for the marker, are aware of and have thought of rectifying the error.

The Botetourt DEMPSEYs

The next two groups have not been as thoroughly researched as the previous three. There are errors in online databases –  a meshing of two generations and many Dempsey individuals found in Virginia in the early 1800s. I recently found chancery records on the Library of Virginia site which may help correct the errors in this line.

William DEMPSEY Senr. died intestate before 12 February 1798 and his wife Jane died before 1826 (year of chancery case). He left heirs William Jr., John, Mark, and Mary wife of Joseph Miller. John and Mark were not in the Commonwealth and Mary and Joseph Miller resided in Blackwater in Franklin County in 1826.

William Senr.’s line splits into what I refer to as the Botetourt DEMPSEYs and Logan DEMPSEYs.

William Jr. died before 1806 and left widow Mildred “Milly” who resided in Fincastle; children: Elizabeth Dempsey resided in Fincastle, John and Samuel Dempsey outside of Commonwealth, Joel Dempsey and William Dempsey 3rd both decd/no issue, Absalom Dempsey in Fincastle, Dubartis Dempsey in NC, Judith the wife of Thomas Wilmore residing Giles court house, Susan wife of John Snyder residing in Christianburg, and Milly wife of David Campbell in NC.

For William Jr.’s line there was only one son (mentioned in the chancery records) who remained in Virginia. Absalom was a Baptist preacher; he and his wife did not have any children of their own.

Hugh DEMPSEY seen in Botetourt in 1820 may have been a son of William Jr. and omitted in the chancery records. He was in Montgomery County, Virginia, in 1830 and went to Cooper County, Missouri, abt. 1838 and was seen there in the 1840 and 1850 census. He had a son named William R. b. abt. 1810 and, therefore, was not the father of William A. W. DEMPSEY.

The Logan DEMPSEYs

John was in Giles County in 1810, Cabell County in 1820, and Logan County in 1830 – all due to the changing country lines during the time period. The Logan DEMPSEYs are a complete puzzle to me even though John’s second youngest son Mark left a genealogical note written in 1889 which gives the names and approximate years of birth of eleven children of John DEMPSEY and Rachel SOLOMON. I am not sure how reliable the transcription of the note is as he wrote his mother died about 1849. I found Rachel DEMPSEY age 85 in the household of James DEMPSEY, possibly a 12th child of John and Rachel.

I’ve added pre-1850 census records for the Logan DEMPSEYs in my database but have not done extensive census analysis.

Birth, marriage and death records need to be checked at WVCulture.org. Note: Many Logan County records were  destroyed during the Civil War, and records were not kept for several years following the war.

James DEMPSEY of Greenbrier

James DEMPSEY in Greenbrier (1791) was in the county as early as 1782. James Dymsey was seen as a resident of Greenbrier County in 1782 in Mr. Jas. Henderson’s District with 1 tithable, 3 horses and 4 cattle. In Oren F. Morten’s A History of Monroe County, West Virginia James Dempsey and wife Rosey/Rosanna are mentioned as having 375 acres of patented land on Second Creek in Greenbrier County, 180 acres patented by Dempsey and Ralph Gates in 1783 and 195 acres patented by Dempsey in 1787. Ralph Gates bought the 375 acres from James Dempsey and his wife Rosey Dempsey on 28 July 1795. A year later, on 6 January 1796 James and Rosanna Dempsey sold 100 acres to Mathew Lynn on Second Creek / Greenbrier River adj. Thomas Lewis and Ralph Gates, who was a witness. In 1808 David Henderson bought land from John and Agatha Stuart that adjoined land of James Dempsey. The 1810 census for Greenbrier is lost and James DEMPSEY was not found on the 1810 tax lists.

He would have been 21 or older at the time he was first seen on the 1782 tax list. This would put his age in 1820 to over 59 years. No trace of him has been found in Virginia after he and his wife sold land in 1796. It is unknown if they had children.

Speculation: Could he be the same person as James DEMPSEY convicted in 1772 in London and transported to Virginia in January 1773 on the ship Justitia?

Misc. DEMPSEYs

These have not been traced:

  • Nathan DEMPSEY in Franklin (1799)
  • Michael DEMPSEY in Shenandoah (1789) – Michael Dimsey md. Eliz. Barnhart in Shenandoah County on 17 Dec 1788. Another marriage seen in the county was Jane Dempsey to Jacob Savage on 1 Dec 1808. Was she a daughter of Michael?

What do you think of my analysis of the census of the DEMPSEY families found in Virginia at the time of my great-great-grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEYs birth and childhood? Have I missed something that caught your eye? What else would you try?

Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY don’t be naughty, please be nice and send some comments my way on how I can find out your names and what happened to you.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Frank

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

The paternal side of my father’s family lived in Fayette County, (West) Virginia before the Civil War. I checked the Slave Schedules for 1850 and 1860 for Fayette County looking for a familiar or family name. My 3rd great-grand uncle Wilson M. Dempsey turned up on the 1860 schedule with nine slaves between 1-35 however I cannot find any documentation with names of slaves owned by him.

I then went through the other names from 1850 and compared them with the wills, appraisals, and bills of sale found in the West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971. It took several attempts to find a record mentioning a slave.

Frank, a slave of Henry Montgomery of Fayette County, West Virginia

Henry MONTGOMERY was seen on the 1850 schedule with two slaves, a 20 years old girl and a 2 years old boy.

1850census
1850 U.S. Federal Census > (West) Virginia >Fayette County
1850slave
1850 U.S. Federal Census > (West) Virginia >Fayette County > Slave Schedule

Henry was found in the 1810 (1 slave), 1820, 1830 (2 slaves) census of Kanawha County and the 1840 (1 slaves) and 1850 (2 slaves, as seen above) census of Fayette County.

Henry Montgomery died before September 1852. The appraisement of his estate included “One Negro Boy (Frank)” appraised at $300.

frank
Snippet of page with the name of the Negro Boy Frank.
1852appraisal
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-59094-32?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 28 August 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 134 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

Typewritten transcription of the above image and two following can be found here.

Young Frank does not show up on the sale bill of the personal property of Henry Montgomery.

1852bill
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-59094-32?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 28 August 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 134 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.
1852bill1854
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-59191-56?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 28 August 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 135 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

In 1860 Henry’s widow Nancy MONTGOMERY was seen on the 1860 schedule with one 10 years old male slave. Could this be Frank? Although the age is off by 2 years compared to the young male slave seen with Henry in 1850 I believe he is very likely young Frank mentioned in the appraisement.

1860census
1850 U.S. Federal Census > (West) Virginia >Fayette County
1860slave
1850 U.S. Federal Census > (West) Virginia >Fayette County > Slave Schedule

Nancy Montgomery died about June 1866 and her estate was appraised on 31 July 1866 and recorded 10 September 1866.

1866appraisal
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18272-69094-20?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-1N5:179689901,179717401 : accessed 28 August 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 002 1861-1885 > image 17 of 255; county courthouses, West Virginia.

As would be expected no slave is listed on the appraisement which took place 3 years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1 January 1863.

The bill of the sale was found on page 82 and the settlement of Nancy Montgomery’s estate on page 93.

1867billofsale
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18272-68551-44?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-1N5:179689901,179717401 : accessed 28 August 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 002 1861-1885 > image 48 of 255; county courthouses, West Virginia.
1868settlement
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18272-68318-37?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-1N5:179689901,179717401 : accessed 28 August 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 002 1861-1885 > image 54 of 255; county courthouses, West Virginia.

Without a surname for Frank my attempts to locate him in the census in 1870 were futile.True's statement© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey