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.
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,”1John R. “Johnny” CASH.
Johnny Cash was 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.2
My 4th great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY was Johnny CASH’s 1C5R (first cousin five times removed).
Joseph LIVELY and Mary L. CASH
Kesiah was the youngest child of Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793) and Mary L. CASH (1740-1793). Both 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, Albemarle was formed from Goochland but not until 1744.
Mary and Joseph’s teen and early adult years were during the French and Indian War (28 May 1754-10 February 1763). They married before 1761, the year Amherst County was formed from Albemarle. If a marriage record ever existed in Albemarle County it was most likely destroyed. All order books except the first and many loose papers for the years 1748 to 1781 were destroyed during the British general Banastre Tarleton’s raid on Charlottesville in 1781 during the Revolutionary War.3
Tax and Land Records
In 1782, when the first personal property tax lists 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.4,5 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.6 His oldest son was seen as Joseph Jr.7
Note (5 Nov 2022): The Personal Property Tax Lists were originally found on BinnsGenealogy. The owner of the website, Stephen Binns passed away in June 2020. Only selected years of tax lists were free on the site and have since been removed. The good news is that the tax lists for the years from 1782 until 1851 for Amherst can be found in FamilySearch‘s catalog: Personal property tax lists, 1782-1851 for Amherst County, Virginia.
Joseph paid taxes on land in Amherst County according to research done by John F. Vallentine, author of Livelys of America, 1690-1968.8 The land tax records for Amherst are not available to the public on FamilySearch at this time. Vallentine notes that Joseph paid taxes on three tracts of land, two tracts of 400 acres and a tract of 398 acres. Land deeds are available to back this up.
On 4 August 1777, Joseph bought 400 acres of land on Thesher’s Creek from Wiatt and Sarah POWELL.9 Joseph and his wife Mary deeded the same land to Robert CASH on 5 March 1780.10
Joseph LIVELY was granted 400 acres on both sides of Dutch Creek in Amherst County on 1 September 1782.11 He and his wife Mary sold it to William CABELL on 1 January 1787.12
Joseph died in 1793 and did not leave a will. The letters of administration were granted to his son Mark LIVELY on 22 October 1793. John Hill and William Hill were his bondsmen.13 An inventory of the estate of Joseph Lively was presented on 16 December 1793 by Mark. It included “an old negro woman Sarah, a negro woman Betty, and a negro boy George” as well as livestock and household goods.14 The estate sale was held about 23 November 1793 per the account given on 19 August 1797 by Mark LIVELY and ordered to be recorded on 16 October 1797.15
As seen earlier, Joseph also owned land. The two tracts of 400 acres were acquired and subsequently sold leaving only the 398 acres. There is no entry in the index of deeds for the acquisition of the land and no land grant was found in Joseph’s name. A record of the final partition of Joseph LIVELY’s 398 acres of land located on Pucker’s Creek and Babb’s Creek was not found in the probate records. After his death, the land was divided into 9 tracts of circa 44 acres as can be seen by land sales recorded in Amherst County deeds. Eight of Joseph’s heirs were identified by these.
The eight identified heirs of Joseph LIVELY mentioned above were all born before the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775- 14 Jan 1784).
◉ Sib 1: Joseph LIVELY Jr. (1761-1838) was born on 16 June 1761 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Sarah “Sally” TILLER on 4 November 1784 in Amherst County.16 Joseph died on 11 May 1838.
◉ Sib 2: Nancy LIVELY (1772- ) was born about 1763 in Amherst County, Virginia. Nancy Lively married Peter JOHNSON on 5 April 1784 in Amherst County, Virginia.17 This marriage was incorrectly listed in a compilation of marriages in Amherst as 1794 instead of 1784. Nancy’s estimated year of birth given in Vallentine’s Livelys of America, 1690-1968, about 1772, was calculated from the erroneous date of marriage. It has to be corrected to reflect an age at marriage of 21 years.
◉ Sib 3: John LIVELY (1764- ) was 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.18
◉ Sib 4: Mark LIVELY (1766-1857) was born on 11 January 1766 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Mary HILL on 30 November 1791 in Amherst County.19 He was on the 1799 Amherst tax list. He died on 23 November 1857 in Taylor County, Kentucky.
◉ Sib 5: Robert Cash LIVELY (1768- ) was 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.20
◉ Sib 6: Ruth LIVELY (1770-aft. 1850) was born about 1770 in Amherst County, Virginia. She married William GRIFFIN on 17 June 1793 in Amherst County.21
◉ Sib 7: Benjamin LIVELY (1762-1797) was born about 1772 in Amherst County, Virginia. In 1793 he was still listed with his father on the PPT list, therefore still under 21 years of age and the youngest son. No trace has been found after 1797.
◉ Kesiah LIVELY was born about 1774 in Amherst County, Virginia.
The estimates for the years of birth of the LIVELY children are from Vallentine’s Livelys of America, 1690-1968 with the exception of Nancy and Benjamin. Their estimates have been corrected and are supported by the records mentioned.
Kesiah’s father Joseph LIVELY died before 22 October 1793 in Amherst County. At the time of Joseph’s death Kesiah, Benjamin, and John were not yet married.
Kesiah LIVELY and Zachariah PETERS marry
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.22
Kesiah gave birth to her first child, my 3rd great-grandfather, Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) on 10 October 1796 in Amherst County.23 A month later she and her husband Zachariah sold her share of her father’s estate, 1/9th of the 398 acres he left.24
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 older daughter’s name remains unknown.
From Amherst to Franklin
The move to Franklin County occurred after Zachariah was seen on the 1804 Amherst tax list.25 Kesiah then gave birth to Betsy about 1805 and Lucy about 1807. She also had two sons, one born between 1801-1810 whose 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 born between 1811-1815, and her youngest two daughters, Nancy born about 1812 and Susan born about 1815.
The children begin to marry
Following the birth of her last child, Kesiah’s brood of a dozen children shrank as the oldest children began to marry. She saw the following six marry before the 1830 census.
Soon after the 1830 census, their youngest son, named after his maternal grandfather, married.
◉ Joseph PETERS married Martha “Patsy” SMITH (1811-1888) on 1 September 1830. Surety John Powers.32
In the second half of the 1830s, three more marriages took place. The oldest son Jordan was widowed and married for a second time. The two youngest daughters married in 1836 and 1839. Their marriage documents show that their mother Kesiah was still living as she gave her permission for both marriages.
◉ Nancy PETERS married Reuben COOPER on 2 December 1836. Her mother Kesiah gave her permission to the marriage on 1 December 1836.33
◉ Jordan N. PETERS married(2) Sarah COX ( -1841) 15 August 1837 in Franklin County.34
◉ Susan PETERS married Andrew REEL (1813-1870) 16 October 1839 in Franklin County. Surety Wm. Dixon.35
Kesiah is widowed
Kesiah LIVELY’s spouse Zachariah PETERS likely died between 1830-1840 in Franklin County, Virginia, as neither of them is named in the 1840 census. Zachariah was last seen on a personal property tax list in 1830.
As Kesiah gave permission for her daughters to marry, it can be assumed that Zachariah, if he had been exempt from tax due to old age, may have died before the first marriage that Kesiah gave permission for in 1836. No older woman was found in the households found for the children in 1840. Two more marriages took place after the 1840 census.
◉ William PETERS married(2) Lydia KEMPLIN (1821-1866) on 27 March 1841 in Franklin County.36
◉ Jordan N. PETERS married(3) Rachel PROFFITT (1817-1899) on 8 December 1841 in Franklin County.37
Kesiah passed away after 16 October 1839 and possibly before the 1840 census or these last two marriages in 1841.
This Post was Updated on 20 November 2022: Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.
“Deed books, 1761-1900; general indexes to deed books, 1761-1903,” database with images, <i>FamilySearch</i>, citing microfilm of original records at the Amherst County Courthouse in Amherst, Virginia, Film 30286, DGS 7893711, Deed books, v. D-E 1773-1785, image 238 of 617, Deed Book D, page 447-448, 4 Aug 1777, Wyatt Powell and wife Sarah to Joseph Lively 400 acres on Thresher’s Creek adjacent lands of James Smith and Pierce Wade. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4C-CNH3?cat=282807 : accessed 6 November 2022). ↩
“Deed books, 1761-1900; general indexes to deed books, 1761-1903,” Film 30287, DGS 7893712, Deed books, v. F-G 1785-1796, image 62 of 702, Deed Book F, pages 110-111, 1 Jan 1787 Joseph Lively and wife Mary to Wm Cabell, 400 acres on both sides of Dutch Creek. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4C-Q97R-K?cat=282807 : accessed 6 November 2022). ↩
“Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (index and images), Ancestry, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Amherst County, Will Books, Vol 3-4, 1786-1810, Book 3, page 282-283, 22 Oct 1793, Admin Bond by Mark Lively for the estate of Joseph Lively. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007643858_00167 : accessed 6 November 2022). ↩
“Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 305 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 21, 2nd entry, 4 Nov 1784, Joseph Lively Jr. and Salley Tiller, father William Tiller, witnesses William Tiller and Betty Loving. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-NC1H?i=304&cc=4149585&cat=680855 : accessed 8 November 2022). ↩
“War of 1812 Pension Files,” database and images, Fold3, citing “War of 1812 Pension and Bounty land Warrant Application Files,” compiled ca. 1871–1900, documenting the period 1812–ca.1900, National Archives, Washington, D.C., original data from The National Archives (http://www.archives.gov), RG15-1812PB-Bx2693, National Archives Catalog ID: 564415, service of Jordan N. Peters (Pvt Capt Robert Hairston Va Militia, War of 1812), widow Rachel Proffitt, images 42 and 43 of 218. Affidavit of T. G. Tatum, dated 18 April 1891, with information Jordan N. Peters requested him to write down before his death as his house was burnt up and all papers lost. This includes his date of birth, two previous marriages, the deaths of his previous wives, his pension certificate number, and his date and place of death. (https://www.fold3.com/image/642937438 and https://www.fold3.com/image/642937439 : accessed 27 March 2022). ↩
“Deed books, 1761-1900; general indexes to deed books, 1761-1903,” Film 30288, DGS 8189992, Deed books, v. H-I 1796-1802 (no v. J), image 87 of 669, Deed Book H, page 126, Wm. Griffin & wife Ruth and Zach. Peters & wife Keziah to Wm. Loving two tracts of land containing 44 acres each. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLD-13D6-X?i=86&cat=282807 : accessed 4 November 2022). ↩
“Marriage bond register, 1786-1853; loose marriage bonds and licenses, 1785-1900,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Franklin County Courthouse in Rocky Mount, Virginia, and at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia., Film 1977991, DGS 7490230, Marriage bonds 1813-1818, image 638 to 641 of 880, 1817 Jordan N Peters and Jacob Troup bond for marriage of Jordan Peters and Mary Troup and Jacob and Dorothy Troup’s permission for daughter Mary to marry Jordan Peters. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9ZG-87MT?cat=765574 : accessed 7 June 2022). ↩
Ibid., Film 31523 (Item 1), DGS 7578970, Marriage bonds register 1786-1853 (Gives husband’s name, wife’s name, date of bond, name of surety, name of minister), image 82 of 608, No. 2167, Jarrell Joseph and Peters Lucy 4 Oct 1827 Peters Zachariah security. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9XF-VXYJ?i=81 : accessed 12 June 2022). ↩
#40 Landon S. GOWING Discovered a Fountain of Youth
My 4th great-grandfather Landon S. GOWING 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 think I’m on the right track.
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 (1708-1798) 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 that were not recorded by Rev. Douglas but were inferred by entries in the Birth Registry. The date given beside the names of the couple, unless otherwise specified, is the birth date of the 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.2,3
Philip GOING and Judith POTTER were married before 1770, before their daughter was baptized. As the date is not noted in Douglas’ register, it likely didn’t take place in his parish.
From Goochland to Amherst
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 religious petition circulated in Virginia after the Revolutionary War. An image of this document was found on the Library of Congress website as part of the “American Memory” Collection of Early Virginia Religious Petitions, a collection that has now been moved. The document is now available on the Library of Virginia website.4
Philip GOING was also found on the tax lists of Amherst County from 1782 until 18075. 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 in the 1810 and 1820 censuses 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 but the name of the second male is not listed. William is not seen again in the tax lists until 1800. This may be an indication of his having left the area for a while. Landon, the next son to show up on the tax lists, is likely 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.5,6
No other GOING/GOWEN/GOWING families were in the area at the time suggesting that William, Landon, Aaron, and Samuel are likely brothers and sons of Philip. [27 September 2022: At least a dozen DNA matches with persons who descend from Samuel have been found as well as two from Polly.]
Marriages of females by the same surname during the time were found for Polly and Milley.
◉ Polly GOING married Joseph HARVEY (also seen as HARVIE) on 18 December 1802 in Amherst County, Virginia. SW (Security/Witness): Philip GOING. Married by John Young.7
◉ Milley GOWING married Elijah FITZGERALD on 25 March 1806 in Amherst County, Virginia. SW: Saml. GOING (GOWING) and Saml. GARLAND.8
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 above.9
1799 Personal Property Tax List A10
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 and 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 marries Sally CRISP
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.11 Landon’s absence in the 1805 to 1807 Amherst tax lists and the 1810 census made 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? Unusually, Landon and Sally were married about seven years before their first child Emmeline was born, possibly just before the 1810 census enumeration. As Landon was not a head of household, could he have been in his father’s home in 1810?
1810 U.S. Federal Census12
Nelson County, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (??)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Landon)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (Phillip)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Emmeline, d/o Sally and Landon)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Sally, wife of Landon)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Judith)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 2
Number of Household Members Over 25: 3
Number of Household Members: 6
Note: Landon was not found in his own household; could he be with his father Phillip as assumed above?
Following the 1810 census, two more daughters were born: Martha C. “Martissa” GOWING about 1812 in Nelson County.13 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 1820.14
1820 U.S. Federal Census15
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 had been married 17 years at the time of the 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, Virginia16
◉ Clementine M. GOWING married Seaton Y. DEMPSEY (1803-1880) on 3 January 1829 in Amherst County, Virginia17
Landon went bond with Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and signed the 1829 document (above). The signature above is nearly identical to the one found in an 1814 chancery record (below).18
In 1830 Landon, his middle daughter Martissa, and his wife Sally were living in Amherst County near his son-in-law Seaton Y. DEMPSEY. As in 1820, the listing consistently shows that Sally was older than Landon.
1830 U.S. Federal Census19
Amherst County, Virginia
Landon S. Gowing
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (Landon)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Martissa C.)
Free White Persons – Females – 60 thru 69: 1 (Sally)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 3
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.20 They moved to Caldwell County, Kentucky, after the births of their three oldest sons and before the 1840 census.
Landon is widowed before 1838
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 1838.21
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.
1840 U.S. Federal Census22
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 Census23
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 from 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 is a book I have not been able to consult.24.
On 8 Sep 2007, I located the Revolutionary War papers of John MASSEY, husband of Susannah WRIGHT. In these papers, Landon S. GOWING gives an 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. Sophy was also a witness to the declaration made by Thomas MASSEY, son of John and Susannah.25
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 light on the woman with Landon in 1840 but questions remained. I worked out the 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.
1860 U.S. Federal Census26
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 the above note. Celia RAMSEY had two children out of wedlock: Shelton Preston Ramsey born in 1830, and Sophy (Sophia) Ramsey born in 1837. This is apparently documented in her family bible.
To wrap things up, Sophia RAMSEY married James N. BRYANT in 1854, and 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?
This Post was Updated on 2 October 2022: Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.
Paul Heinegg, Free African Americans (https://www.freeafricanamericans.com/), “Colonial Tax Lists, Virginia personal property tax lists, Census, and Court Records for Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennesse and Virginia,” Goochland County Colonial Tithables 1756-1780, Philip Going in 1767 and 1769, citing abstracts of Library of Virginia microfilm nos. 83, frames 18, 52, 109 (http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/goochcolonial.htm : accessed 4 Oct 2014). ↩
Virginia. Commissioner of the Revenue (Amherst County), “Personal property tax lists, 1782-1851,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch Microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Personal property tax lists, 1782-1803, Film 2024457, DGS 7846299, and Personal property tax lists, 1804-1823, Film 2024458, DGS 7846300, misc. images in the collections. (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/775689 : accessed 8 May 2022). ↩↩
Virginia. Commissioner of the Revenue (Nelson County), “Personal property lists 1809-1845,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch Microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Personal property lists 1809-1845, Film 1870172, DGS 7856150, misc. images in the collections. (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/637434 : accessed 29 September 2022). ↩
“Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 449 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 162, 18 Dec 1802, Joseph Harvey and Polly Going, witnesses Philip Going and S. Garland. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-NCNM?i=448&cat=680855 : accessed 29 September 2022). ↩
“Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 450 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 163, 5th entry, 17 Jan 1803 Landon Going and Sally Crisp, Philip Going and S. Garland in the column for security and witnesses. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-NZ6G?i=449 : accessed 11 January 2022). ↩
1810 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7613/), citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, Roll 70, FHL Film 0181430, image 21, Virginia, Nelson County, Albemarle, page 694, line 7, Phillip Going (accessed 19 May 2014). ↩
“Marriage registers, 1808-1985 ; indexes to marriage registers, 1808-1985,” browse-only images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/361788), citing microfilm of original records and photocopies at the Nelson County Courthouse in Lovingston, Virginia, and photostat copies at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia. Film 32714, DGS 7724886, Marriage register 1808-1878 (photostat copies), image 216 of 402, A list of marriage licenses issued of [from] the clerk’s office, page 14, 10 Apr 1820, Thomas Harrison and Betsy Crisp, security Landon S. Gowing, married by James Boyd. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9BK-G77C?i=215&cc=2134304&cat=361788 : accessed 29 September 2022). ↩
1820 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7734/), citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll: M33_130, image: 371, Virginia, Nelson County, page 194A, line 15, Landon S. Gowing (accessed 19 May 2014). ↩
“Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 586 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 298, 7th entry, 5 Jul 1828, Dison Langhorne and Emmeline Gowing, Landon S. Gowing – father, witnesses: Robert Langhorne Jr., Robert Tinsley, Arthur B. Davies. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-NDW2?i=585 : accessed 15 May 2022). ↩
Ibid., Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 589 of 786, Amherst County Register of marriages, page 301, entry 2, 3 Jan 1829, Seaton Y Dempsey and Clementina Gowing, security and witnesses: Landon S. Gowing, Philip Smith Sr., Ro. Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-N8WJ : accessed 26 February 2022). ↩
1830 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8058/), citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Nara Roll M19_194, FHL Film: 0029673, Virginia, Amherst County, page 519 (double-page spread), line 12, Landon Gowing (accessed 19 Feb 2013). ↩
“Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 611 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 323, 3rd entry, 29 May 1833, Wiatt Lily and Martha C. (Martissa) Gowing, Landon S. Gowing – father, witnesses: James Fitzgerald and Robert Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-ND36?i=610 : accessed 15 May 2022). ↩
1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, NARA Roll: M704_569, FHL Film: 0029690, Virginia, Nelson County, page 57 (double-page spread), line 25, Landon Gowing (accessed 19 May 2014). ↩
1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_963, image 172; Virginia, Nelson County, sheet 267A, lines 27-30, household 702-702, Landon Gowing (accessed 3 October 2014). ↩
Lenora Higginbotham Sweeny, Amherst County, Virginia In the Revolution: Including Extracts from the “Lost Order Book” 1773-1782, Southern Historical Press, 1998 ↩
“Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900,” database and images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1995/), citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls. Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C., M > Marshal, Benjamin – Maxwell, William > Massay, John – Massy, Jacob > John Massey file ( images 685 to 707 of 1029) > image 689 > affidavit of Landon S. Gowing (accessed 16 May 2022). ↩
1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1365; Family History Library Film: 805365; Virginia, Nelson County, sheet 732, page 44, line 21, household 316-316, Celia Ramsey (accessed 29 September 2022). ↩
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.