Unraveling the Mystery of George W. Dempsey, son of Seaton Y. Dempsey and Clementine Gowing (Part 3)

George W. DEMPSEY, son of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING, was born in Amherst County, Virginia, about 1831. He moved to Fayette County about 1855 before West Virginia became a state. After the 1870 census, George disappeared or died without records. He was discussed in Unraveling the Mystery of George W. Dempsey, son of Seaton Y. Dempsey and Clementine Gowing (part 1).

I hadn’t thought to investigate the whereabouts of George W. DEMPSEY, my 2nd great-granduncle until I discovered a group of DNA matches who descend from Mollie Lee DEMPSTER (1880-1950). Her story was told in Unraveling the Mystery of George W. Dempsey, son of Seaton Y. Dempsey and Clementine Gowing (part 2).

Mollie’s father was Wesley G. DEMPSTER, a man who appeared in Scott County, Virginia, shortly before the 1880 census. He likely died between 23 November 1886 and 15 December 1887. A death record was not found.

Mollie married at the age of 16 and had a family of nine children born between 1898 and 1917. Six of these children have descendants who’ve had their DNA tested. Descendants of the other three may have tested. They haven’t been found on the match lists of the tests I have access to.

Can DNA unravel the mystery of George W. Dempsey’s disappearance?

It’s complicated! I’ve been learning about DNA since the end of May 2016 when my brother turned his AncestryDNA test over to me. It has been a slow, uphill climb learning to work with the DNA results. I know this post may be hard to follow, I hope I haven’t made it too complicated. I’m assuming my readers have a basic understanding of autosomal DNA.

AncestryDNA

This is an example of one of my notes on Ancestry for a match:
[C8] 1C (Lois) Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY and Myrtle Hazel ROOP.
In brackets is the cluster number (from the first time I clustered my matches) followed by the level of cousinship. In parenthesis is the name of the child of the most recent common ancestors (MRCA) that the match descends from followed by the MRCA.

My private but searchable family tree is attached to the DNA tests I manage. Confirmed matches are connected in this tree. The tree is also used to work out unknown matches.

As I have few maternal matches and my mother has tested, all maternal matches are starred. This allows me to use all 24 colors for custom groups for my paternal matches. I created custom groups for each of my paternal 4th great-grandparent couples. The four blue colors were used a bit differently than the green, pink, and yellow as there is a brick wall at the 3rd great-grandparent level for my William A. W. DEMPSEY. He is not from the same line as Seaton Y. DEMPSEY.

16 custom color groups for the paternal 4th great-grandparent couples

Ancestral Quest’s Color Coding feature made it easy to work out the custom color groups on Ancestry.

My paternal grandfather’s pedigree.
My paternal grandmother’s pedigree.

Paternal first cousins share the DEMPSEY-ROOP couple with me and are given each of the 16 custom groups (4 shades of the 4 colors). Second cousins who share DEMPSEY-INGRAM receive 8 custom groups (4 shades of blue and of green). Third cousins who share INGRAM-DEMPSEY receive 4 custom groups (4 shades of green). This is one way to visually cluster matches.

Note: The same system can be used for both maternal and paternal matches. In this case, the 5th generation (3rd great-grandparents) is used instead of the 6th generation (4th great-grandparents) as seen in my example.

This is my top match in the group of matches who descend from Mollie on Ancestry. The top shared matches (ICW = in common with) with Match 1 are two of my first cousins with whom I share grandparents Fred R. DEMPSEY and Myrtle H. ROOP. The next two ICW matches are both 1C1R but not from the same generation. This is confirmed by the colored groups. The match with only blue and green is a 1C1R through my paternal grandfather’s parents.

AncestryDNA

I have guest or collaborator access to a few of my DEMPSEY cousins’ AncestryDNA. They have given me permission to use their tests as examples along with their first names or initials. In the image above, the two cousins with trees are the 1C1R (E.D.) and 1C (Laura) in the table below.

DNA matches descending from 6 of Mollie’s 9 children were found to match 6 tests I have access to. E.D. (1C1R) is my father’s paternal first cousin. She is a generation closer to Seaton and Clementine than myself, my brother, my first cousin Danny, and my second cousins, Laura and Sheila. The second cousins are E.D.’s nieces through two of her siblings. If they had been her children I would not have used them as they would carry the same DNA and would only duplicate the results. All of the cousins have their DNA uploaded to Gedmatch or MyHeritage except for Sheila.

Shared Clustering Tool

My brother’s and my AncestryDNA tests were clustered using Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering Tool. Clustering has given me a relatively good idea of where in the family tree a match or group of matches fit in.

Jonathan’s method uses all matches and shared matches (ICW) down to 6-8 cMs on Ancestry to form clusters that point to a shared ancestor. A cluster represents a DNA segment shared by the clustered matches. Even though Ancestry does not offer a chromosome browser, the segments can be ascertained (guessed) by comparing to matches who’ve transferred their AncestryDNA to FTDNA, MyHeritage, or Gedmatch.

The data needed for clustering was downloaded from Ancestry using the Shared Clustering Tool. I’ve been manually adding new matches since Jonathan disabled downloading of data from Ancestry in May 2020. Soon after this, Ancestry sent cease and desist orders to many third-party tools.

Early this month, I subscribed to DNAGedcom for $5/month to get an up-to-date list of matches and of ICW matches from Ancestry using the DNAGedcom Client. The ICW match list can be used to generate clusters using the Shared Clustering Tool.

Screenshot of part of a cluster report generated by Shared Clustering Tool. Clusters have a blue outline and may overlap. The green highlights in this clip were added later.
Genealogical DNA Analysis Tool (GDAT)

Becky Mason Walker’s Genealogical DNA Analysis Tool (GDAT) is the repository I use to manage my DNA tests.

The database is stored locally on my computer and has no connection to the internet. I can import all DNA matches from the different testing companies, do triangulation and in common with (ICW) comparisons, map the chromosomes of common ancestors, mark the most recent common ancestors (MRCA), add Ahnentafels of the matches, and do analysis work that helps with the family tree research. With all information in one place, the tool provides easier-to-see patterns and clues to solve the genetic genealogy questions.

The Barron-Dempster matches who descend from Mollie were found to be in clusters [C54], [C29], [C30], and [C8]. All notes on Ancestry have been imported into GDAT. Since my notes begin with the cluster number, I can sort matches to view a list of only the relatives (matches) in a particular cluster.

Screenshot of GDAT Relative List sorted to show only [C54] matches with privatized names.
Cluster [C54] is large with over 400 matches ranging from 229 cMs down to 7 cMs. The identified relatives have the following MRCA: Dempsey-Ingram, Dempsey-Gowing, Going-Potter, and Crisp-Lucy. These are parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of Mary M. DEMPSEY, daughter of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING. The cluster appears to be pointing to the GOWING branch but the many matches that are still unknown will help to “walk the segment back” to the shared distant ancestor.

Of these over 400 matches, nine were found on sites with chromosome browsers. None of these have a confirmed MRCA but they share DNA on the same segment (different lengths) on chromosome 9. This segment is also shared with E.D., Danny, and Laura seen in the DNA comparison table (above, in the Ancestry section). The red segments (below) are Danny, his sister, and my Dad’s Lazarus kit. They share my paternal grandfather (PGF) and paternal grandmother’s (PGM) lines, i.e. DEMPSEY-ROOP. The blue segments are people who share only my PGM’s line, i.e. DEMPSEY-INGRAM, and include Laura and E.D.

Screenshot of GDAT Chromosome Browser information with privatized names.

Using the same process as above, I found:

  • [C29] includes about 200 matches. Only two in the cluster have chromosome data and share a segment on Chr. 6. An MRCA has not been found for either. The segment triangulates with a known 4C1R (George W.) Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING as well as E.D. Danny did not receive this segment but his sister (who did not test with Ancestry) is one of the matches who triangulate with the [C29] matches.
  • [C30] has about 100 matches. MRCAs in the cluster include Ingram-Dempsey(1), Dempsey-Gowing(20), Gowing-Crisp(3), Going-Potter(1), and Crisp-Lucy(4). The cluster is associated with a segment on Chr. 2 shared with E.D., Danny’s sister, and Laura.
  • [C8] has about 120 matches. This is E.D., Danny, and Laura’s cluster. They correlate with many other clusters but this is their main cluster. MRCAs in the cluster include Dempsey-Wood, Wood-Honaker, Wood-McGraw which suggest the cluster is coming from the PGF (blue) side. The two Barron-Dempster matches (Match 2 and 5, father and daughter) associated with this cluster share at two segments with several of us. One of these segments may have a distant connection to the blue side.

My brother received very little DNA shared with the Barron-Dempster matches – only a 12 cMs segment with Match 1 and 9 cMs of the same segment with Match 1a (child of 1).

Shared Clustering

Clusters fluctuate as new matches are added. Since my test was clustered in September 2019 many new matches have been added. I ran a new cluster report this week including all new matches and ICW matches since 2019 with 20 cMs or greater. In most cases, the matches in the original clusters have remained the same, i.e. are still clustering with the same matches. The new heatmap shows the two [C8] matches are now clustering with a [C29] and a [C30] match, on the edge of the larger [C29] cluster and correlating with a cluster made up of [C54] matches.

To give a clearer picture of the clusters, here is a screenshot of my E.D.’s heatmap. It was generated using the data of her top 333 matches with 50 cMs or higher. All of the Barron-Dempster matches (highlighted in green) over 50 cMs are found in this heatmap of clusters 4 through 8.

Screenshot of part of a report generated by Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering Tool
  • Clusters 4 & 5 have descendants of Mary M. DEMPSEY, d/o Seaton
  • Cluster 6 has descendants of William S., George W., Martha Ann, and Julia DEMPSEY, all children of Seaton
  • Cluster 7 has a descendant of Geneva DEMPSEY, d/o Seaton
  • Cluster 8 has only Barron-Dempster descendants
  • The Barron-Dempster matches correlate only with clusters 4 through 8. They don’t correlate with clusters 1-3 or 9-33 (not seen in this close-up of the heatmap). The correlation can be seen by the red outside of the cluster boxes.
  • Of the 35 matches shown above, 6 are mystery matches, 8 are Barron-Dempster matches, and the rest are descendants of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING through six of their eight children. The two missing children are sons who served in the Civil War, died during or soon after the war, never married, and had no known descendants. The mystery matches, like the Barron-Dempster matches, correlate only with clusters 4 through 8 and are likely descendants of Seaton and Clementine through one of their children.
What Are the Odds?

I used the What Are the Odds? tool on DNA Painter to chart Mollie’s family tree down to her descendants who are matches. This is not the real purpose of the tool.

What Are the Odds? by DNA Painter

The matches, descendants of Mollie, are shaded green. I used my E.D.’s shared cMs amounts for all matches. The numbers in parenthesis are the range of cMs shared between the match and the other tests I have access to. The bottom row represents the line that I share with my cousins and is used for comparison: my great-great-grandmother Mary M. DEMPSEY, my great-grandmother Laura Belle INGRAM, my grandfather Fred R. DEMPSEY and his brother Earl S. DEMPSEY, my father’s generation represented by E.D. (1C1R), and my generation (with my cousins and brother).

What Are the Odds? by DNA Painter

The WATO tool is used to check the probability that the amount of cM shared corresponds to the relationship in the tree. As I had already used it to chart the tree of the Barron-Dempster matches, I tried doing the reverse of what is intended with the tool. I used it to determine if the amount of cM shared by E.D. with the matches would place her in the correct position in our family tree.

  • Hypothesis 2: E.D. is the child of Hypothesis 1 and grandchild of Laura Belle INGRAM scored 9 (About 3 times more likely than the next hypothesis
    This is the most likely hypothesis.)
  • Hypothesis 3: E.D. is the child of Hypothesis 2 and grandchild of Hypothesis 1 scored 3 (About 3 times more likely than the next hypothesis)
  • Hypothesis 1: E.D. is the child of Laura Belle INGRAM and grandchild of Mary M. DEMPSEY scored 1 (Possible but not significantly more likely than the other hypotheses.)

Hypothesis 2 with a score of 9 is the most likely and puts E.D. in the right place in our family tree and shows that it is possible that Mollie was the grandchild of Seaton and Clementine.

How does Mollie fit into my family tree?

Genetic genealogy uses DNA testing along with traditional genealogy. Using all of the tools mentioned above as well as genealogy research, I have come to a conclusion on how Mollie fits into my family tree.

The cluster heatmap above shows the Barron-Dempster matches are relatives of my 1C1R E.D. and share the same ancestry as the DEMPSEY-GOWING matches. The same is true for the other tests I used in this example: my brother, Danny, Laura, Sheila, and myself. The WATO tool also backs up this assumption.

If the matches who descend from Mollie Lee DEMPSTER fit into the DEMPSEY-GOWING family group, could Wesley G. DEMPSTER be an alias for a son or nephew of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING?

I don’t think the relationship was a nephew as:

  1. Seaton’s brother Wilson M. DEMPSEY was found in the 1840 census with two persons in his household: himself and his wife. No children from the marriage that took place in 1839 and no children born before this marriage.
  2. Seaton’s brother Isham Coleman DEMPSEY married in 1827 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and removed to Ross County, Ohio, by 1830. He emigrated from Ohio to Missouri in 1854.
  3. Seaton’s brother Wesley G. DEMPSEY was likely with Seaton in 1830, wasn’t found in 1840, was single in 1850, married in 1856, and died in 1890. “W. G. Dempsey left surviving him no children nor the descendants of a child, no father, no mother, no brother, no sister” per a chancery case.
  4. Seaton’s sisters Louisa J. (md. 1840) and Eliza (md. 1843) were 18 or younger and it is not likely that one of them was the mother.
  5. As the clusters are pointing to the GOWING-CRISP branch of the DEMPSEY-GOWING family group, the matches are likely related through the GOWING side, i.e. other possibilities are the two sisters of Clementine GOWING.
  6. Clementine’s sister Emmeline GOWING married William Dison LAWHORNE in 1828 and in 1840 the only male child in their household has been identified and cannot be Wesley.
  7. Clementine’s sister Martha C. “Martissa” GOWING married Wyatt F. LILLY in 1833 and in 1840 the three male children have been identified and none can be Wesley.

I believe from about 1880 George W. DEMPSEY, the only living son of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING, used the alias Wesley G. DEMPSTER, and was the father of Mollie.

Consequently, Mollie Lee DEMPSTER would have been a half-sibling to George’s three children. Her descendants would share on average the same amount of DNA as the descendants of all of Seaton and Clementine’s other children. The amount shared with any of George’s descendants would not be greater as the common ancestral couple would be Seaton and Clementine. Early on in my analysis, I had not considered this and thought George’s descendants should have higher amounts of DNA which is not the case.

What else can I do to solve this mystery?

I haven’t exhausted the DNA tools to prove the possibility of Wesley G. DEMPSTER’s being the same person as George W. DEMPSEY. I’m just at a standstill as none of the Barron-Dempster matches are on any of the sites with chromosome browsers. Being able to compare the DNA segments would help to confirm I am on the right track or not.

I’ve sent messages to all of the matches. First, a short teaser asking if they were interested in figuring out who Mollie’s father was. Then messages to the same persons with the link to my second post in this series. I even mentioned the offer to upload their raw DNA file to MyHeritage and get FREE access to all DNA features. I’ve received no replies to date and none of the tests are showing up on MyHeritage. I’d hoped my messages were read even though no replies have been received.

I was only given access to E.D.’s AncestryDNA test last week. Maybe once I begin working more with her match list I will begin to make connections with people who are interested in solving the mystery.

Have I completely confused you? Have I piqued your interest in some of the tools I’m using for DNA analysis? Do you have a similar DNA mystery you are trying to solve?

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

52 Ancestors: #41 Sally CRISP – Parentage PROVEN!!

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

52 Ancestors: #41 Sally CRISP daughter of William and Lucy CRISP

For 175 years the names of the children of William and Lucy CRISP have remained hidden in the Chancery Records of Nelson County, Virginia.

chancery“The Chancery Records Index (CRI) is a result of archival processing and indexing projects overseen by the Library of Virginia (LVA) and funded, in part, by the Virginia Circuit Court Records Preservation Program (CCRP). Each of Virginia’s circuit courts created chancery records that contain considerable historical and genealogical information. Because the records rely so heavily on testimony from witnesses, they offer a unique glimpse into the lives of Virginians from the early 18th century through the First World War.”

Virginia J. Murphy, who wrote The Purvis Family, by George! (Manchester, Tennessee : V.J. Murphy, 1990), sent some information she had on the CRISP family by email in July 2000. David Howard was included in the conversation. Virginia shared bits and pieces she had taken from Nelson County deed books. The three of us looked at marriages of CRISP individuals in Amherst and Nelson counties during the period between 1795 and 1820. In the end we had a list of six proven children and one possible child, my 4th great-grandmother Sally CRISP. There were a couple that we were not certain about and did not include on the list.

When I learned about the Chancery Records on Virginia Memory on the Library of Virginia’s site, I didn’t immediately check for records in Nelson County. This was mostly due to the fact that Sally CRISP married in Amherst County in 1803 and I never associated her closely with Nelson County, formed in 1807 from Amherst. Last May I finally searched and found case files dated between 1809-1851 that prove that William and Lucy CRISP were the parents of eleven children.

eleventh
[online http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1809-010 : accessed 30 Sept 2014]
I’ve been in touch with David Howard and Robert N. Grant, a Wright researcher, about the discovery but have not been able to contact Virginia J. Murphy.

It took a lot of time to read through the records and find a document that actually lists 10 of the eleven children….

10children
1839-006 Nelson County, Virginia; Rives & Murphy vs Thomas Harrison etc. [image 3 left page online http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1839-006 : accessed 19 May 2014]
and then continues to list the names of the daughters’ husbands.

crispmarriages
1839-006 Nelson County, Virginia; Rives & Murphy vs Thomas Harrison etc. [image 3 right page online http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1839-006 : accessed 19 May 2014]
Peggy, the eleventh and youngest child, died before September 1815. She is documented in the 1814 case file as being underage and in the 1820 case file in a document dated September 1815 in which her mother Lucy was seen as “admr of Peggy dec’d.”

We’d gotten seven of them right! Mary (proven by consent), Lucy (proven by consent), Frances (proven by her widower Thomas & her sons John C. & Wm R. Alford’s attempt to get her part in Wm Crisp’s estate after the death of Lucy), William (proven by land deed), Peggy (proven by admr), John (proven by association*), and Sally (not proven, assumed).
* John CRISP married Milly ALFORD and Frances CRISP married Thomas ALFORD. Family tradition being that the CRISPs and the ALFORDs had been brothers and sisters.

The names found in the chancery records prove the parentage of ELEVEN children. The four other children who can now be included in the count are Stilly, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Simon. Better yet, the records tell the stories of the persons involved! I would love to be able to give all the details here but Sally is the one in the spotlight and the others will have to wait their turn. And I need some time to transcribe and arrange the ca. 250 images in chronological order. If you are curious, and can’t wait, go for it!

My 4th great-grandmother Sally CRISP was the daughter of William CRISP who died about October 1806 in Nelson County, Virginia, and his wife Lucy who died bef. 29 Jun 1818. It is difficult to write about Sally’s life without giving a short summary of her siblings, who must have influenced her life as she did theirs.

Although we now know that there were eleven children we can only calculate their order of birth. Four of Sally’s siblings married before her but I believe that she may have been the oldest as she was seen in the 1820 and 1830 census as being older than her husband Landon S. GOWING who was born about 1777.

  • Sally CRISP born Cal 1770 in Virginia
  • Sib 2: Mary “Polly” CRISP (1775-1830) born Cal 1775. Polly married Charles PURVIS (1763-1853) on 1 August 1795 in Amherst County, Virginia. She may have died before 1830 as Charles PURVIS is seen in the 1830 and 1840 census without an older woman in his household. Polly and Charles were the parents of eight children.
  • Sib 3: Frances CRISP (1775-1836) born Cal 1775. Frances married Thomas ALFORD on 10 October 1795 in Amherst County, Virginia. She died 26 October 1836 in Bedford County, Tennessee. Frances and Thomas had two sons, William R. and John C. who are documented in the chancery records concerning the estate of Thomas’ father William ALFORD.
  • Sib 4: John CRISP (1778- ) born Cal 1778. John married Milly ALFORD ( -1809) on 16 December 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia. John died before 1839 and his sons Anthony Jefferson and William Madison are mentioned in the 1839 case file.
  • Sib 5: Lucy CRISP (1780-1839) born Cal 1780. Lucy CRISP married James WRIGHT (d. 1824) on 1 February 1800 in Amherst County, Virginia. She died before 1839 and her children George WRIGHT, Mahala COVENT, and ELizabeth SKIDMORE are mentioned in the 1839 case file.
  • Sib 6: William CRISP born unknown. He was seen as the son of William and Lucy and died without issue before 1839 per case file of that year.
  • Sib 7: Stilla B. “Stilly” CRISP (1784-1850) born Abt 1784. Stilly married Thomas MELTON ( -1829) on 1 November 1804 in Amherst County, Virginia. She died after October 1850. Per early census listings she may have had at least 8 children.
  • Sib 8: Elizabeth “Betsy” CRISP (1786- ) born Bef 1786. Betsy married Thomas HARRISON on 10 April 1820 in Nelson County, Virginia. Betsy and Thomas both died before 1839 without issue.
  • Sib 9: Catherine CRISP (1789- ) born Cal 1789. Catherine married Richard BRYANT  on 11 November 1809 in Nelson County, Virginia. Catherine became the stepmother of 5 children and the mother of 4 children per the 1810-1830 census.
  • Sib 10: Simon CRISP (1790-1850) born Abt 1790. Simon married Susan FLOYD (1805-1874) on 15 September 1828 in Nelson County, Virginia. He died bet. 1850-1860. His only child, a son William C. CRISP died in 1862 leaving no issue.
  • Sib 11: Peggy CRISP born aft. 1790 and died before September 1815. She never married.
1829marriage
1829 Marriage Bond (photocopy courtesy of Geraldine Dempsey Workman)

Sally CRISP married Landon S. GOWING on 17 January 1803 in Amherst County, Virginia. Nearly four years later, about October 1806, her father William CRISP died. Her mother Lucy is seen on the 1810 census with her unmarried children: Simon, Elizabeth and Peggy.

Sally’s husband Landon was not a head of household in 1810. Without the names of members of households on the pre-1850 census we can only speculate about where Landon and Sally may have been. What we do know is that Sally did not have any children born between 1803 and 1809. This has been determined by analyzing the 1820 census.

1820censusgowing
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Landon S. Gowing
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Landon)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Clementine and Martissa C.)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Emmeline)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Sally)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 3
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 5
Note: No sons listed. Sally and Landon were married 17 yrs at the time of census.

Did she miscarry, give birth to a stillborn child, or have babies who died young? It seems very strange that she didn’t have any children in the first 6-7 years of her marriage and then had three daughters spaced about two years apart.

  • Emmeline born about 1810, died aft. 1880
  • Martha C. “Martissa” born about 1812, died aft. 1880
  • Clementine M. born about 1814, died aft. 1880

By the time her third daughter Clementine was born Sally was most likely close to 45 years old and coming to the end of her childbearing years. A few years later, before the end of June 1818, her mother Lucy died.

Towards the end of the 1820s Sally’s daughters were courting and marrying. Her oldest, Emmeline married William Dison LAWHORNE on 16 June 1828 and her youngest, Clementine married Seaton Y. DEMPSEY 3 January 1829. Both marriages took place in Amherst County, Virginia

In 1830 Landon, Sally, and their middle daughter Martissa were living in Amherst County near their daughter Clementine and her husband Seaton Y. DEMPSEY. Landon was in the 50 & under 60, Martissa in the 15 & under 20, and Sally was in the 60 & under 70 age group. As in 1820 the listing is consistent in showing that Sally was older than Landon.

From the chancery records I learned that Sally must have died between 1830 and 1838. Was she living when her middle child Martissa married Wyatt F. LILLY (1811-1880) on 29 May 1833 in Amherst County, Virginia? Or did Martissa care for her mother, being the last child to leave home, and married only after her mother died? Further study of the chancery records may help to narrow this range. Amherst chancery records, which are not online, may be hiding more information on her and her family.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #40 Landon S. GOWING Discovered a Fountain of Youth

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.”

The last quarter begins with entry #40 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #40 Landon S. GOWING Discovered a Fountain of Youth

signature
Signature of Landon S. Gowing on document dated 28 November 1814. Chancery Records online at Library of Virginia: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1836-012

Landon S. Gowing, my 4th great-grandfather, was the son, likely the second, of Philip GOING and Judith POTTER. There are no actual documents that come right out and say this but I’m quite sure I’m on the right tract.

Philip GOING was born about 1745 or earlier as he was taxable in Goochland County, Virginia, in 1767 and 1769. [1]

The Reverend William Douglas served as a minister of the Church of England in St. James Northam Parish, Goochland County, Virginia, from 1750-1777. In 1756 he began keeping a register book in which he recorded marriages, baptisms, and burials he performed. On page 87 of his register is an entry for the “first” child of Philip GOING and his wife Judith POTTER, a daughter named Molly born 4 March 1770 and baptized 27 May 1770. In the same reference book there is a list of marriages which were not recorded by Rev. Douglas however were “indicated” by entries in the Birth Registry. The date given beside the names of the couple, unless otherwise specified, is the birth date of first child shown in Douglas’ register. Several researchers, who overlooked the notation at the top of the list of marriages, have mistakenly used Molly’s date of birth as her parents’ date of marriage.[2]

It is my belief that Philip GOING and Judith POTTER were married before 1770, most likely not in the same parish as their daughter was baptized.

signaturegoing
December 10, 1785, Amherst, Against assessment bill. Early Virginia Religious Petitions; American Memory Home; The Library of Congress [accessed 6 Oct 2014 online http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=relpet&fileName=200%5D/254/254page.db&recNum=6&itemLink=P%3Frelpet%3A1%3A.%2Ftemp%2F~ammem_NaOS%3A%3A
It may have been during the years of the American Revolutionary War (19 April 1775-14 January 1784) that Philip moved his family to Amherst County, Virginia. His signature was found on a 1785 petition circulated in Virginia during the Revolutionary War. An image of this document can be found on the website of the Library of Congress. It is part of the “American Memory” Collection of Early Virginia Religious Petitions.

Philip GOING was also found on the tax lists of Amherst County from 1782 until 1807[3].  Amherst was formed in 1761 therefore the GOING family must have moved there from Goochland. By 1807 Nelson County was formed from about half of Amherst County. Philip is then seen on the 1810 and 1820 census of the new county. This time he didn’t move his family as he was living in the area of Amherst that became Nelson County.

tax
Amherst County, Virginia, Personal Property Tax List 1782-1822; Library of Virginia microfilm reels 18 and 19; online http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/Amherst.htm

In the earliest tax lists Philip was the only GOING in Amherst until 1793 and 1794 when his son William is mentioned as being the second male over 16 in the household. This would suggest that William was his oldest son. The 1795 to 1798 lists continue to show 2 males over 16 in the household however the name of the second male is not listed. William is not seen again in the tax lists until 1800 which may be an indication of his having left the area for a period of time. Landon, the next son to show up on the tax lists, may be the second male in the 1795 to 1798 households.

1790census
1790 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst [online https://archive.org/stream/headsoffamiliesa00nort#page/48/mode/2up/search/going : accesed 3 OCt 2014]
Aaron appears in 1799-1800 while Samuel appears in 1801 until 1807. No further record of Aaron has been found. As no other GOING/GOWEN/GOWING families were in the area at the time I believe that William, Landon, Aaron, and Samuel are bothers and sons of Philip.

Marriages of females by the same surname during the time period were found for Polly and Milley.

  • Polly GOING married Joseph HARVEY on 18 December 1802 in Amherst County, Virginia. SW (Security/Witness): Philip GOING. Married by John Young.
  • Milley GOWING married Elijah FITZGERALD on 25 March 1806 in Amherst County, Virginia. SW: Saml. GOING (GOWING) and Saml. GARLAND.

This brings the total to 4 sons and 3 daughters, still 4 short of the total white persons (13) seen in the household of Philip GOING in the 1790 census at right.

1799tax
1799 Personal Property Tax List A > VA > Amherst [online http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Amherst/1799PersonalA/06.jpg : accessed 3 Oct 2014]
1799 Personal Property Tax List A
Amherst County, Virginia
Landon Going 1000
Philip Going 1002

My fourth great-grandfather Landon S. GOWING was first seen on a Personal Property Tax List in 1798 therefore I estimate his year of birth at about 1777. This estimate works for the 1820 and 1830 census but Landon stopped growing older once he reached 60! In 1830 and 1840 he was enumerated in the 50-60 age group and in 1850 he was still 60 years old! Did he find a fountain of youth?

Landon S. GOWING married Sally CRISP on 17 January 1803 in Amherst County, Virginia. Philip GOING and Samuel GARLAND were witnesses. The marriage was performed by Wm. CRAWFORD. Landon’s absence in the 1805 to 1807 Amherst tax lists and the 1810 census make me wonder if he may have left the area for a while. His father Philip was the only GOING in the area in 1810. William and Samuel were also missing in 1810 and 1820 and did not show up again in Nelson until 1830. Perhaps Landon went “somewhere” without his wife? I find it strange that Landon and Sally were married about seven years before their first child Emmeline was born, possibly just prior to the 1810 census enumeration. As Landon was not a head of household could he have been in his father’s household in 1810?

1810censusgoing
1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
Following the 1810 census two more daughters were born: Martha C. “Martissa” GOWING about 1812 [in Nelson County per 1911 death certificate of a daughter] and my 3rd great-grandmother Clementine M. GOWING about 1814. Before the 1820 census was enumerated Landon went bond on the marriage of his sister-in-law Betsy CRISP to Thomas HARRISON on 10 April 1820.

1820censusgowing
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Landon S. Gowing
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Landon)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Clementine and Martissa)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Emmeline)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Sally)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 3
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 5
Note: No sons listed. Sally and Landon were married 17 yrs at the time of census.

Towards the end of the 1820s Landon’s daughters were courting and marrying:

  • Emmeline GOWING married William Dison LAWHORNE (1811-1880) on 16 June 1828 in Amherst County, Virginia
  • Clementine M. GOWING married Seaton Y. DEMPSEY (1803-1880) on 3 January 1829 in Amherst County, Virginia
1829marriage
1829 Marriage Bond (photocopy courtesy of Geraldine Dempsey Workman)

Landon went bond with Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and signed the 1829 document (above). The signature here is the same as the one seen in the 1814 chancery records (at top).

1830censusgowing
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst [ancestry.com]
In 1830 Landon, his middle daughter Martissa and his wife Sally were living in Amherst County near his son-in-law Seaton Y. DEMPSEY. Landon was in the 50 & under 60, Martissa in the 15 & under 20, and Sally was in the 60 & under 70 age group. As in 1820 the listing is consistent in showing that Sally was older than Landon.

Landon and Sally’s middle daughter Martha C. “Martissa” GOWING married Wyatt F. LILLY (1811-aft. 1880) on 29 May 1833 in Amherst County, Virginia. They moved to Caldwell County, Kentucky, after the births of their three oldest sons and before the 1840 census.

Several batches of chancery records were found concerning the estate of Landon’s father-in-law William CRISP. In one batch it appears that Landon’s wife Sally died before October 1838 [125_1839_006_0019].

In 1840 Landon has a younger woman with three children in his household. His daughters are all accounted for, being with their husbands in their respective households. Did Landon marry again? No marriage record was found and I suspect that the woman was living with him.

1840censusgoing
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Name: Landon Going
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (poss. son)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (poss. Celia’s son Shelton Preston Ramsey)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (Landon)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (poss. Celia’s daughter Sophia Ramsey)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (poss. Celia seen in 1850)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

1850censusgoing1
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Sheet 267A
HH #702-702
Landon Going M 60 Virginia (sic, age should be abt. 73)
Celia Going F 50 Virginia
Sophia Going F 17 (sic) Virginia

Landon must have stopped drinking and bathing in his fountain of youth as he aged rapidly between 1850 and 1853. Wayne B. Smith wrote in an e-mail dated 19 August 2003, “In the book Amherst County in the Revolution, Landon Gowing is mentioned in the pension application of John Massey. Landon is listed as 87 years old, the application is dated 1853.” His source[4].

1853Landon1
A page from the Revolutionary War package of John Massey and his wife Susannah Wright [accessed 8 Sep 2007 on HeritageQuest]
On 8 Sep 2007 I located the Revolutionary War papers of John MASSEY, husband of Susannah WRIGHT. In these papers Landon S. GOWING gives affidavit that children named are children of John Massey, deceased, who was a Cornett in the United States service in the Revolutionary War. Sophy RAMSEY was a witness to the document at left. Sophy was also a witness to the declaration made by Thomas MASSEY, son of John and Susannah.

Landon S. GOWING was not enumerated in the 1860 census which leads to the conclusion that he died after making the above declaration on 24 September 1853 and before 1860. His daughters were living at the time of the 1880 census and most likely all died during the two decades before 1900.

What happened to the woman living with Landon in 1840 and 1850? Was Sophy RAMSEY who witnessed his declaration the same person as Sophia GOING seen with him in 1850? Could she have been his daughter?

The 1850 census shed a little more light on the woman with Landon in 1840 but questions remained. I pulled some tricks to identify “Celia.” In 1850 John F. CAMDEN was Landon’s neighbor. I checked for him in 1860 and found him living next door to Celia RAMSEY. This got the ball rolling!

1860censusramsey
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nelson [ancestry.com]
1860 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Massies Mill
Celia Ramsey 71 F 0 20 b. Nelson Co., VA cannot read & write

ramseyAt RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project I found Lilly Martin’s gedcom file with this note (left). From this I know that Celia RAMSEY had two children out of wedlock: 1. Shelton Preston Ramsey born in 1830 and 2. Sophy (Sophia) Ramsey born in 1837. This is documented in her family bible.

To wrap things up, Sophia RAMSEY married James N. BRYANT in 1854, her mother Celia RAMSEY died in May 1870. Sophia’s age in the 1860 and 1870 census indicates that the bible entry of 1837 as her year of birth is reliable. The question remains, was Landon her father?

Sources:
[1] Goochland County List of Tithables 1767-1780, Library of Virginia microfilm nos. 83, frames 18, 52, 109; transcription accessed 4 Oct 2014 online http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/goochcolonial.htm
[2] William Douglas, The Douglas Register, Genealogical Publishing Co. 1966, originally published in Richmond in 1929; pgs. 106, 141, 201; accessed 4 Oct 2014 online http://books.google.lu/books?id=U_xpc2k0N8kC&hl=de&source=gbs_navlinks_s
[3] Amherst County Personal Property Tax List 1782-1822; Library of Virginia microfilm reels 18 and 19; online http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/Amherst.htm
[4] Lenora Higginbotham Sweeny, Amherst County, Virginia In the Revolution: Including Extracts from the “”Lost Order Book”” 1773-1782, Southern Historical Press, 1998

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey