Our ancestors didn’t live in bubbles. Their interaction with others can often help with the research questions we have – or the questions others have about their own ancestors.
Last month my search for the parents of my 6th great-grandmother Elizabeth Smith (ca. 1737-1793) of Amherst County, formerly of Goochland County, was not successful. But it led to the inventory of a man named John Smith whose goods and chattels were inventoried on 29 January 1755 in Goochland County, Virginia. The inventory included an enslaved person named Nan. She was not the only person I found while trying to solve the question of who Mr. and Mrs. Smith may have been.
Often I find myself reviewing an ancestor’s documentation, checking what has been looked into and what may still need to be searched for. These bits and pieces bring our ancestors’ stories to life. Elizabeth Smith’s story includes a husband and children. She married David Proffitt on 7 April 1757 in St. James Northam Parish, Goochland County, Virginia. When I skimmed over his timeline I realized I didn’t have a record to support his date of death.
To prove when he had died, or at least narrow down an estimate for when the event may have taken place, I checked the Will Books of Amherst County, Virginia. The Letters of Administration for his estate, his Inventory, and Guardian Bond for his grandchildren Augustine and David (my 4th great-grandfather), the sons of his deceased son Augustine (my 5th great-grandfather), were found.
1803 Letters of Administration for John and Rowland Proffitt
On the 19th of April 1803, John and Rowland Proffitt were bound as administrators of the estate of the deceased David Proffitt. John and Rowland were his two oldest sons. They were given letters of administration as their father did not leave a last will and testament.1
1803 Inventory of David Proffitt of Amherst County, Virginia
On the 6th day of May 1803, three undersigned subscribers appraised the Estate of David Profitt decd.
The inventory began with:
One old negro man Shocoe £25 one negro woman Neaten £80 one negro boy Nicholas £65
and continued with livestock, tools, household goods, furniture, etc. from the estate of David Profitt (as the name was spelled).2
Given under our hands the 6th day of May 1803.
At a court held for Amherst County the 20th day of June 1803. This Inventory & Appraisement of the Estate of David Profitt decd was this day returned into Court & ordered to be Recorded.3
Releasing: Shocoe, Neaten, and Nicholas
My 6th great-grandfather David Proffitt died before 19 April 1803, the date his sons were bound as administrators of his estate. He likely died the same or previous month.
Tax lists for Amherst County are available free online on Binns Genealogy for the years 1782, 1790, and 1799. These show David had one enslaved person in 1782 and 1790 and two in 1799. Shocoe may have been part of David’s household as early as 1782 as he was described as an old man. Did Neaten become part of the household between 1790 and 1799? What about Nicholas? Was he a son of Shocoe and Neaten, or only of Neaten, or neither of them? Did he become part of the household in the period between 1790 and 1799 or only after 1799?
At the time of David’s death there were ten living children, only my 5th great-grandfather Augustine pre-deceased his father. I have only found the 1830 administrator’s bond and inventory for the estate of John Proffitt, David’s oldest son. There were no enslaved persons in the inventory. Will Shocoe, Neaten, or Nicholas be found with one or more of the other children of David Proffitt? Future research may answer this question.
“Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (images), Ancestry.com, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Amherst Will Books, Vol 3-4, 1786-1810, Will Book 4, page 366, image 538 of 673. Letters of Administration for the estate of David Proffitt. (Ancestry.com : accessed 21 July 2018). ↩
Ibid., Will Book 4, page 117, image 412 of 673. Inventory of the estate of David Profitt(part 1). (Ancestry.com : accessed 21 July 2018). ↩
Ibid., Will Book 4, page 118, image 413 of 673. Inventory of the estate of David Profitt (part 2). (Ancestry.com : accessed 21 July 2018). ↩
Vera Marie Badertscher wrote a post recently on her blog Ancestors in Aprons about an ancestor she had been reluctant to research. In her post, Anne Marie Smith, Church and Family, I was reminded I have an ancestress whose maiden name was Smith and I had also been ignoring her.
My 6th great-grandparents David Proffitt and Elizabeth Smith married in St. James Northam Parish, Goochland County, Virginia, on 7 April 1757. This was recorded by Rev. William Douglas who kept a register from 1750 to 1797 known as The Douglas register. It is a detailed record of births, marriages, and deaths for St. James Northam Parish. The entry for David and Elizabeth’s marriage does not give the names of their parents but it does indicate they were both of the St. James Northam Parish.
Who were her parents? (Spoiler: I’m still searching!) Which Smith families were living in the parish at the time? Since this register included births, marriages, and deaths I checked to see if there were any Smith’s who might have been married at the time my Elizabeth Smith was born. I estimate her birth at about 1736, assuming she was 21 at the time of her marriage in 1757. The only marriage in the parish which was a possibility was for a John Smith and Susannah Raison on 7 October 1736. There are also birth entries for six children of this couple in the register. None were named Elizabeth.
I then took a different approach. In hopes of finding a will mentioning Elizabeth Proffitt formerly Elizabeth Smith as a daughter of a Mr. [first name unknown] Smith, I checked the wills of Goochland County for the time period. I found a John Smith whose inventory was presented and ordered to be recorded in Goochland County court on 18 February 1755. This John Smith could not be the same John Smith seen above as his wife Susannah gave birth to twins 29 November 1756, nearly two years later.
Although I cannot confirm John Smith whose goods and chattels were inventoried on 29 January 1755 was related to my 6th great-grandmother Elizabeth Smith, I did discover this man likely owned a slave named Nan. The inventory list does not stipulate Nan was a man, woman, or child but the value given on the list certainly points to Nan being an enslaved person.
1755 Inventory of John Smith of Goochland County, Virginia
Inventory of the Goods & Chattles of John Smith Decd of Goochland County January the 29th 1755. Nan £35 1 Horse 1 Maire 4 Iron Potts 1 Tub 2 old pans 1 Cask 1 old Tub 1 pail 3 Piggens 1 brass kettle 1 bottle 1 looking Glass 1/2 Dozn. knives & forks 1 Ladle 1 Tub 2 Sifters 1 Can 4 hoes 2 Iron Wedges 5 Hoes 2 broad axes 1 Saddle 2 bridles 1 womans saddle 1 Coller & Hames 1 bag 2 Books 1 Bed & furniture 1 Dito & Dito 1 Chest 1 Trunk 1 Butter Pott 1 Bos A percill of puter 2 Mugs 2 Vials 2 Ticklers 1 drinking Glass gra? 2 Rasors 1 pr. Spectacles 1 lb. Shott 1 box Iron & heters 1 Skillett 1 pr. Tongues & Shovell 1 Gun 1 peper Box Ink Glass 1 Candlestick & tin Can 1 Cross Cutt 2 Chairs 1 pr. Shares a parcell of Carpenders Tools Shoe Tools 7 head of Cattle 1 Trowel Hoe
In Obediance to an Order of Goochland Court We the Subscribers being first Sworn have Appraised the Estate of John Smith Decd. Given under our Hands. John Mosely Charles Rice Joseph Pace At a Court held for Goochland County February 18th 1755 This Inventory was presented in Court and Ordered to be Recorded. Teste. Val Wood, Clerk
The search was not fruitful for the parents of my Elizabeth Smith. However, I also took another look at her husband David Proffitt and realized I did not have records proving his date of death. The Proffitt or Prophet line is yet another I have been reluctant to research. I located the Letters of Administration for his estate, his Inventory (which also included names of enslaved persons), and Guardian Bond for his grandchildren David (my 4th great-grandfather) and Augustine, the sons of his deceased son Augustine (my 5th great-grandfather). I’d like to thank Vera for pushing me to take a closer look at ancestors I’ve been ignoring.
Last month I shared Elizabeth Squires’ last will and testament when I released the names of Sarah and Benjamin. I had planned on continuing with her two sons who also left wills with slaves named. However, releasing the name of Nan who I found while searching for my unknown Smith 7th great-grandfather took precedence. Next up, in a week, will be the names found in the inventory of David Proffit. Elijah and Asa Squires’ wills will be shared during August.
52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R – Kesiah LIVELY
An interesting tidbit for cousins who like to find royalty and celebrities in their family tree: My 4th great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY’s maternal grandparents, Robert Howard CASH and Ruth Walker EPPINGTON, were the 5th great-grandparents of “one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century,” John R. “Johnny” CASH.
Johnny Cash was also an amateur genealogist. His interest was piqued by a chance encounter with Major Michael Crichton-Stuart on a transatlantic flight in the 1970s. The then Hereditary Keeper of Falkland Palace in Fife explained how abundant the CASH name was in Fife. Johnny Cash visited the Major several times in Scotland to fill in the gaps in his paternal CASH family tree which goes back to the 11th century.
Johnny CASH’s first cousin five times removed, my 4th great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY was the youngest child of Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793) and Mary L. CASH (1740-1793). Both of her parents were likely born in Goochland County, Virginia. Many family trees have Albemarle as the place of birth however if we consult the formation of the Virginia counties we see that Albemarle was not formed until 1744 from Goochland. Mary and Joseph’s teen and early adult years were during the French and Indian War (28 May 1754-10 Feb 1763). They married before 1761, the year of the formation of Amherst County from Albemarle. If a marriage record ever existed in Albemarle County it was most likely destroyed along with all order books except the first and many loose papers between 1748 and 1781, by British general Banastre Tarleton’s raid on Charlottesville in 1781 during the Revolutionary War.
In 1782, when the first personal property taxlists were taken in Virginia, Joseph LIVELY and his oldest son Joseph were both on the list. They were not listed as Sr. and Jr. The first listing above would be for Joseph Sr. with 1 tithable, 1 slave, 27 cattle, and 12 horses. His son Joseph Jr. had 3 cattle and 2 horses. In the years after, from 1783 to 1793, when Joseph and Mary’s sons turned 16 but not yet 21 years of age, they were seen in Joseph’s tax assessment. Below, in 1790 Robert, Benjamin, and John were seen with Joseph and his oldest son was seen as Joseph Jr.
“Joseph paid taxes in Amherst Co. in 1782 and 1783 on 398 and 400 acres and from 1787 to 1793 on 398 acres. His estate paid taxes on the 398 acres in 1794. Joseph Lively received 400 acres of land on Thresher’s Creek in Amherst Co. adjacent lands of James Smith and Pierce Wade on 4 Aug 1777. This land Joseph and wife Mary deeded to Robert Cash of Amherst Co. on 5 Mar 1780. Another tract of 400 acres on Dutch Creek in Amherst Co. was purchased by Joseph from John Harmer on 1 Sept 1782 and sold by Joseph and wife Mary to William Cabell on 1 Jan 1787 (Amherst Co. Deeds, D:447, E:218, F:110). The origin of the remaining 398 acres has not been determined and may have been a land grant.“
Not being able to go to the courthouse or archives in Virginia to research land records I often use the Library of Virginia’s Land Office Grants database:
Joseph LIVELY was granted 400 acres on both sides of the Dutch Creek in Amherst County in 1782. This would be the land mentioned above that he sold to William Cabell in 1787. I will let John F. Vallentine continue as he compiled the following information:
“Joseph died intestate in Amherst Co. (now Nelson Co.), Va., in 1793 (Amherst Co. Wills, 3:282, 293, 450). Letters of administration were granted to Mark Lively, a son, on 22 Oct 1793 with John Hill and William Hill as bondsmen. An inventory of the estate of Joseph Lively made on 16 Dec 1793 included a considerable number of livestock, an old negro woman Sarah, a negro woman Betty, and a negro boy George. The Joseph Lively estate sale on 19 Aug 1797 listed a few of the relatives and many neighbors as purchasers. Subsequently the estate was settled but no record of final partition was included in the Amherst Co. probate records.
That the 398 acres remaining in the possession of Joseph Lively at the time of his death was later divided into 9 tracts of approximately 44 acres is shown by subsequent land sales recorded in the Amherst Co. Deeds. Eight of the heirs of Joseph Lively have been identified by this means. The same eight heirs are recorded in a common sale of personal property in Albemarle Co. belonging to Joseph’s estate (Albemarle Co. Order Books, 1795-8:331). What happened to the remaining 9th part or 44 acres in the estate partition is uncertain. No mention of Joseph’s wife Mary after his death has been found. The 398-acre tract was located on Pucker’s Creek and Babb’s Creek.”
The eight identified heirs of Joseph LIVELY mentioned in the above excerpt were all born before the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775- 14 Jan 1784):
Sib 1: Joseph LIVELY (1761-1838) born 16 June 1761 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Sarah “Salley” TILLER on 4 November 1784 in Amherst County. Joseph died on 11 May 1838.
Sib 2: Benjamin LIVELY (1762-1797) born about 1762 in Amherst County, Virginia. Benjamin was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father and as a taxpayer in 1795, 1796, and 1797 on 44 acres. He was not found later and it has been assumed that he died after 1797. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As Benjamin was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774. As he was seen as a taxpayer in 1795-1797 he would have been born 1774 or earlier.
Sib 3: John LIVELY (1764- ) born about 1764 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father. John married Clara CARNALL on 19 August 1794 in Amherst County. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As John was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774.
Sib 4: Mark LIVELY (1766-1857) born 11 January 1766 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Mary HILL on 30 November 1791 in Amherst County. He was on the 1799 Amherst tax list. He died on 23 November 1857 in Taylor County, Kentucky.
Sib 5: Robert Cash LIVELY (1768- ) born about 1768 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father. He married Elizabeth BETHEL on 20 August 1793 in Amherst County. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As Robert was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774.
Sib 6: Ruth LIVELY (1770- ) born about 1770 in Amherst County, Virginia. She married William GRIFFIN on 17 June 1793 in Amherst County.
Sib 7: Nancy LIVELY (1772- ) born about 1772 in Amherst County, Virginia. Nancy Lively Married Peter JOHNSON on 5 April 1794 in Amherst County, Virginia.
Kesiah LIVELY born about 1774 in Amherst County, Virginia.
Kesiah’s father Joseph LIVELY died before 22 October 1793 in Amherst County. It is possible that his wife Mary L. CASH predeceased him as she is not mentioned after his death. At the time of Joseph’s death his two youngest daughters, Nancy and Kesiah, and his son John were not yet married.
A little over a year after Joseph LIVELY’s death his youngest daughter Kesiah LIVELY was married to Zachariah PETERS by Rev. Ezekiel Campbell on 18 November 1794 in Amherst County.
Kesiah gave birth to her first child, my 3rd great-grandfather, Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) on 10 October 1796 in Amherst County. A month later she and her husband Zachariah sold her share of her father’s estate, 1/9th of the 398 acres he left.
1796 November 21:
Zachariah Peters and his wife, Keziah, sold 44 acres in Amherst County, Virginia, for £60 (60 pounds) to William Loving.
Deed abstract: Deed Book H, p. 126. 21 November 1796. WM. GRIFFIN & wife RUTH; ZACH. PETERS & wife KEZIAH, AC, to WM. LOVING, AC, (Orig. del. to WL, 26 Jun 1798) for 60 pounds, S branches Rucker’s Run – 2 adj. tracts. Lines: grantee, where he lives; part of tract of JOSEPH LIVELY, dec’d, and upon equal division to RUTH & KEZIAH by JOS. LIVELY as his legatees by settlement – 44 acres each. (Note discrepancy in acres) Page 127, order to quiz wives done and rec. 23 Nov 1796. Wit: JOS. LOVING, JAS. HANSBROUGH, JNO. BRYANT, JNO. STAPLES.
Before leaving Amherst County for Franklin County, Kesiah and Zachariah had two daughters and another son. The names are only known for Mary and William. The other daughter remains a mystery.
The move to Franklin County occured after Zachariah was seen on the 1803 Amherst tax list. Kesiah then gave birth to Betsy about 1805 and Lucy about 1807. She also had two sons, one born between 1801-1810 whose his identity is not known, and the other being Willis born on 23 April 1808. Note: The unknown son may fit in between William b. abt. 1798 and Betsy b. abt. 1805.
After the enumeration of the 1810 census Kesiah had four more children: Joseph born 10 December 1810, a male and a female child both born between 1811-1815, and her youngest, Susannah born about 1815.
Following the birth of her last child Kesiah’s brood of a dozen children began to shrink as the oldest children began to marry. She saw the following six marry before the 1830 census.
Kesiah LIVELY and her spouse Zachariah PETERS died between 1830-1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. It is not known who preceded whom. It is likely that they both saw their youngest known son Joseph PETERS marry Martha “Patsy” SMITH (1811-1888) on 1 September 1830 in Franklin County, Virginia (surety John Powers) as this was shortly after the 1830 census in which both were found.
Following Kesiah’s death, her youngest daughter Susannah married and two of her sons were widowed, one twice, and remarried.
52 Ancestors: #40 Landon S. GOWING Discovered a Fountain of Youth
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. 
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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).
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.
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
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
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.
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!
1860 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Celia Ramsey 71 F 0 20 b. Nelson Co., VA cannot read & write
At 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?
These doors represent David PROFFITT and his great-grandfather Silvester PROPHET.
I’ve been putting off doing research on David PROFFITT and Sarah “Sallie” COCKRAM [4th great-grandparents] for so long. Married in 1813 in Franklin County, Virginia, they were the parents of Rachel PROFFITT, 3rd wife of Jordan N. PETERS.
Yesterday I began by attaching the census records for 1820-1870 to David PROFFITT b. abt. 1793 d. aft. 1870. Next step would be to transcribe them or at least go through the pre-1850 to determine ages of possible children. This will help when comparing children seen in other family trees for this couple. Normally I would try to follow each of the children by checking for marriage records, census, and death records to see if there is proof of parentage. But I’m not interested in the children (at least right now). I want to know who David’s parents and ancestors were.
Online searches show that David was the son of Augustine PROFFITT b. abt. 1770 and Elizabeth ROBERTSON of Amherst County, Virginia. Their marriage transcript shows that Augustine was the son of David PROFFITT b. abt. 1730. The elder David was married in 1757 in Goochland County, Virginia, to Elizabeth SMITH, and was the son of Silvester/Sylvester PROPHET/PROFFITT and his wife Alice. Silvester PROPHET, a Scottish rebel, came to America in 1716 on the ship “Elizabeth and Ann”.
As a guide, I like to consult families trees found online. I have not checked Ancestry.com because I am not a fan of the trees grown using their shaky leaves. The trees I found on Rootsweb nearly all had the same text attached to Silvester PROPHET but without a source citation. I did not check all spelling variations of the name so there may be other trees with more information and better citations.
Searching a portion of the quoted text online turned up a hit on a message board. Bonnie Mann, the author of Prophet Progeny (July 1983), posted the text of the chapter Prophet Beginnings in Virginia. In this 1999 post, she wrote, “Some of the information I wrote in 1983 has been passed on to others who are doing research on their Proffit/Proffitt genealogy. I am writing a copy of that story so everyone will now have it in its entirety and know that this was written by me.” [Source: Proffitt Family Genealogy Forum message #324, online https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/proffitt/324/]
These quick searches gave me a framework for four generations of the PROFFITT family from David PROFFITT to Silvester PROPHET. Further research has to be done to fill in the blanks but at least the groundwork is done.