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.

Unraveling the Mystery of George W. Dempsey, son of Seaton Y. Dempsey and Clementine Gowing (part 2)

The life of George W. DEMPSEY was discussed in my post, George W. Dempsey, son of Seaton Y. Dempsey and Clementine Gowing (part 1).

A Brief Review

George W. DEMPSEY was born about 1831 in Amherst County, Virginia, and lived in Fayette County, Virginia (before the state of West Virginia was formed), from about 1855 when his father moved the family there until sometime after the 1870 census. George did not die on 16 November 1879 as many online family trees indicate. He was not found on the 1880 census as George W. DEMPSEY. His 13 years old daughter Polina was found in Amherst County, his oldest son Andrew remained in Fayette County, and his son Robert (found in later years) is unaccounted for in 1880. If he was still living, where was George in 1880?

Mollie Lee DEMPSTER (1880-1950)

The mystery of George W. DEMPSEY’s disappearance was not a question I was looking into. I hadn’t thought to investigate the whereabouts of my 2nd great-granduncle until I discovered a group of DNA matches with an unusual surname in their trees that was similar to DEMPSEY.

Using my DNA tools, I found a group of matches associated with several clusters that point to my GOWING-CRISP family group AND/OR those branches further back. Landon S. GOWING and Sally CRISP were the parents of Clementine M. GOWING, mother of George W. DEMPSEY.

The matches have a common ancestor named Mollie Lee DEMPSTER (1880-1950). By comparing the ICW (in common with) matches and working out their trees, I was able to find 14 matches that descend from Mollie through seven of her children: 2 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, 4 2xgreat-grandchildren, and 1 3xgreat-grandchild. [23 Feb 2021 Update: Number of matches and their relationship to Mollie adjusted after charting the matches.]

I built a documented tree for Mollie adding all records found on Ancestry as well as FamilySearch. A little over a week ago, I discovered an interesting article written in 1893.1 For the most part, it confirms much of the information I found and even gives a bit more insight into the man who was Mollie’s father.

A Little Waif – Mollie’s Story

“A Litte Waif” part 1 of 4. Image courtesy of Chronicling America, database, on the Library of Congress website.

About fifteen years ago a man by the name of ___ Dempster, with his young wife, moved into the neighborhood of Rye Cove, Scott county, Va. Dempster was a man of perhaps forty, while his wife was several years younger. They were both handsome and intelligent, and Dempster possessed an education which placed him above the average. After a time a daughter was born in the newly established household, who was the joy and pride of her fond parents.

Mollie’s parents’ names were unknown when I searched the 1880 census for persons with the DEMPSTER surname. Only one couple was found in the southwestern part of Virginia.

1880 U.S. Federal Census, Virginia, Scott, Taylor, household of Wesley Demster with wife Mary J. (Ancestry.com)

In 1880 the possible parents of Mollie Lee DEMPSTER were living in Taylor District, Scott County, Virginia. Wesley DEMSTER (sic) doesn’t appear to have an occupation as the field indicates At home.  His wife Mary was keeping house. Both were born in Virginia as were their parents. Wesley was 50 years old, nearly a decade older than noted in the article. The columns for Cannot Read and Cannot Write are not marked and therefore both were literate confirming the statement in the article that Mr. DEMPSTER was an educated man.2

Mollie’s 1880 birth record was located by browsing the Virginia birth registers for Scott County, Virginia, on FamilySearch. She was born on 11 July 1880 – after the census was enumerated. The informant on the register of the county is listed as a friend named Wm P. GOOD. He was the head of the household listed just above the DEMPSTER couple on the 1880 census. The parents of Mollie L. were Wesley G. DEMPSTER and Mary J. DEMPSTER.3

“A Litte Waif” part 2 of 4. Image courtesy of Chronicling America, database, on the Library of Congress website.

Near the Dempsters lived at that time Mr. W. W. Taylor, now of this place. About the time of the birth of the little girl to the Dempsters a girl baby was born to Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. The children grew up together, and there was quite an attachment formed between the two families.

Mrs. Dempster died when her child was about four years old. Soon a step-mother was brought in over the child. At the age of eight years her father died, and, in the meantime Mr. Taylor’s little girl had died.

Again, browsing the registers of Scott County for deaths, I found Mollie’s mother Mary J. died of consumption on 12 January 1883 when Mollie was 2 and a half years old. Wesley reported the death and gave the name of her mother as Virginia LARKEY. No father was named. Mary J. was 30 years 2 months and 13 days old on the day of her death placing her birth on 30 October 1852. Ditto marks were made in the field for the place of birth indicating she was born in Scott County.4 I was unable to trace her before the 1880 census.

Over a year and a half later, on 23 September 1884, Wesly DEMSTER (sic), widowed, age 50, born in Nelson County, Virginia, married Polly CAMBELL, age 35, born in North Carolina. The parents of the groom were Wilson and Mary; the father of the bride was Wyat CAMBELL.5

The death records of two of the TAYLOR children were located. On 10 September 1885 Emoline TAYLOR age 5 years 1 month 10 days died of Diptheria.6 On 30 July 1887 Nancy E. TAYLOR age 11 months died of Flux.7 Both girls were daughters of William W. and Mary TAYLOR. Emoline would have been the child born about the same time as Mollie.

If Wesley died when Mollie was about 8 years old, Mr. and Mrs. TAYLOR likely asked the stepmother to turn her over to them after the death of their second daughter in 1887. On the 1900 census, Mrs. TAYLOR is listed as the mother of 7, 2 living. The two living children were the sons who were still at home.8

Per the article, Wesley died about 1888. No death record was found in Scott County for the years between 1885 to 1890. I was, however, able to narrow the range of the date of death.

Wesley G. DEMPSTER gave a deposition in a chancery cause on 23 November 1886 in Estilville. He traveled 14 miles to give evidence on behalf of the complainant, W. P. GOOD, owner of a lumber mill near Natural Tunnel. The case file is 287 images. I found it yesterday and only had time to skim through it. I found mention of Wesley DEMPSTER who was “clerking in the store & measuring lumber in the yard” and kept the books for Mr. GOOD. At the time of the deposition, DEMPSTER had quit working for Mr. GOOD.9

“A Litte Waif” part 3 of 4. Image courtesy of Chronicling America, database, on the Library of Congress website.

After the death of Dempster Mr. and Mrs. Taylor went to his second wife and asked that the little girl be turned over to them to raise, which was done. Shortly after this Dempster’s second wife went deranged, and is now an inmate of an insane asylum.

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have, since taking charge of the little girl, cared for her just as if she was their own. She is now a bright, intelligent girl of thirteen, and is very fond of her foster parents.

The information about the step-mother being an inmate of an insane asylum confirmed the 1900 census listing found for a widowed lady named Polly DEMPSTER, an inmate in the Southwestern State Hospital.10 The article, written in 1893 pre-dates the census.

Two cases were found in the Library of Virginia’s Chancery Records mentioning Polly CAMPBELL aka Polly DEMPSTER. A judgment dated 16 May 1906 in the cause of Southwestern State Hospital vs B.J. Broadwater committee of Polly DEMPSTER awarded payment of nearly $5,000 to the hospital for the period 15 September 1887 to 29 March 1905. The case was not closed until 1912. The date range for the payment due to the hospital would suggest that Polly may have been an inmate since 15 September 1887. This would have been two months after the youngest TAYLOR girl died.11

I had not located a 1910 census listing for Polly prior to this find. With the knowledge that she may still be living, I searched again in the location of the hospital. Polly age 72 and widowed was in the hospital and therefore still living on 15 April 1910.12 She was indexed as “Polly Dunfota”

“A Litte Waif” part 4 of 4. Image courtesy of Chronicling America, database, on the Library of Congress website.

Dempster, during his residence in Scott county, was very particular to never tell where he came from, and when approached on this subject always evaded an answer; nor was he ever heard to mention the name of a relative; so that now the little girl’s identity, so far as kinship goes, is entirely lost.

Dempster is described as having been a large, stoutly-built man, weighing over 200 pounds.

As discussed in part 1, on 23 May 1862, during the Civil War, George W. DEMPSEY was arrested by Lt. Col. Henry W. BRAZEE of the 9th Virginia Volunteers. He said he had done nothing to cause the arrest. The record concerning the arrest gave this physical description of George: age 31 years, 5 feet 9 1/2 inches, light complexion, dark hair, blue eyes, and long sprouts (whiskers).13

There was no mention of George W. DEMPSEY’s weight or build in the description and no mention of Mr. DEMPSTER’s height, complexion, hair, or eyes in the article.

Mollie’s Story continues after 1893

When I began researching Mollie Lee DEMPSTER, I found an extract of her 1896 marriage record with W. W. TAYLOR and Mary E. TAYLOR as her parents.14 Mollie was single and only 16 years old. Her parents’ surname did not match hers suggesting they may not have been her parents. The record can only be viewed at a family history library or a FamilySearch affiliated library.

Even though I was not able to access the marriage record, I found a short mention of the marriage in The Post in a series called “Looking Backward 50 Years Ago Today In The Post.” It confirms that Robert P. BARRON and Miss Mollie DEMPSTER were united in the holy bonds of matrimony at the home of W. W. TAYLOR in 1896.15

Although the relationship of the TAYLORs to the bride and groom is not mentioned in the clipping, it is now known that Mollie was taken in and raised by them.

Wesley G. DEMPSTER

As seen in the chancery records found, Wesley’s death can be narrowed down to between 23 November 1886 and 15 December 1887.

The name Wesley G. DEMPSTER sent off warning bells as my third great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY, father of George W. DEMPSEY, had a brother names Wesley G. DEMPSEY (1808-1890). Wesley G. DEMPSTER  and Wesley G. DEMPSEY were not one and the same person as both were found in the 1880 census in different places. Wesley DEMPSTER age 50 was in Scott County and Wesley DEMPSEY age 71 was in Rockbridge County.

There is no trace of Wesley G. DEMPSTER before he shows up in the Scott County records. He should not be confused with Wesley DEMPSTER (1833-1913) born in New York and died in Chicago, Illinois. Some trees on Ancestry have the death of this man in Chicago attached to Mollie’s father, Wesley G. DEMPSTER.

Who were Wilson and Mary DEMPSTER, the couple named as the parents of Wesley G. DEMPSTER when he married in 1884? No person named Wilson DEMPSTER of the age to be the father of Wesley born between 1830-1834 was found in the census including in Nelson County, Virginia, where Wesley was supposedly born per the 1884 marriage record.

However, Wilson M. DEMPSEY is a familiar name in the DEMPSEY family history. He was the brother of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Wesley G. DEMPSEY. Wilson was married twice, in 1839 and abt. 1848, both marriages being later than the estimated birth of Wesley G. DEMPSTER.

The article notes Wesley’s evasion of any questions about his family or where he came from. Is it a coincidence that the first names of two of Seaton’s brothers were the names used in records found for Wesley G. DEMPSTER? Is it possible the name he gave on his marriage record for his father was not his father’s and only a name he gave to cover up his true identity?

The story that came to life in “The Little Waif” was not known when I wrote about George W. DEMPSEY, the person of interest in my first post. The article was only found while I was writing about Mollie Lee DEMPSTER, my second person of interest. The newspaper article supports the information found for Mollie and her parents, both biological and foster.

Part 3 will cover the DNA tools I used to analyze the DNA matches and a conclusion/theory of where Mollie fits into my family tree. It would be incredible if I could refute the 128 years old claim: now the little girl’s identity, so far as kinship goes, is entirely lost.

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


  1. “A Litte Waif,” The Big Stone Gap post [Vol. 1, No. 24] (Big Stone Gap, Wise County, Virginia), 18 May 1893, p. 3, col. 3; image copy Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88061179/1893-05-18/ed-1/seq-1/ : accessed 11 February 2021). 
  2. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1389; Virginia, Scott County, Taylor, Enumeration District 076, page 245A, Lines 24-25, HH #208-208, Wesley Dempster. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 6 February 2021). 
  3. “Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, GS Film Number: 2046967, Digital Folder Number: 004254526, image 191, line 155, Mollie L. Depster (sic) birth entry, (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9YG-5VSX?i=190 : accessed 19 January 2021). 
  4. “Death registers, 1853-1906 (Virginia),” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics citing microfilm of the original records at the Virginia State Library at Richmond, Virginia, Collection Record 1853-1912, Film 2048584, DGS 4225408, image 121 of 687, line 14, entry of death Mary J. Dempster. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DWT7-T8C?i=120&cat=780106 : accessed 11 February 2021). 
  5. “Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940,” (index only), Ancestry.com, citing FamilySearch collection only available through FHL, FHL Film Number: 337187, Reference ID: 337187. Wesly Demster, male, widowed, age 50, born abt. 1834 in Nelson VA, father Wilson, Mother Mary, married 23 Sep 1884 in Scott VA, Polly Cambell, female, age 35, born abt. 1849 in NC, father Wyat Cambell. 
  6. “Death registers, 1853-1906 (Virginia),” Film 2048584, DGS 4225408, image 137 of 687, line 99, entry of death Emoline Taylor. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DWT7-YSB?i=136&cat=780106 : accessed 11 February 2021). 
  7. Ibid., Film 2048584, DGS 4225408, image 148 of 687, line 110, entry of death Nancy E. Taylor. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DWT7-TNB?i=147&cat=780106 : accessed 11 February 2021). 
  8. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm: 1241732, Virginia, Wise County, Richmond, Enumeration District 127, Page 2A, HH #19-20, line 1-4, William W. Taylor. The official enumeration day of the 1900 census was 1 June 1900. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 February 2021). 
  9. Scott County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1816-1942, (Digital images available for the years 1816-1912. Indexed information and originals available through 1942), Local Government Records Collection, Scott Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. W P Good v. S M Winchester, 1897-046. (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=169-1897-046 : accessed 20 February 2021). 
  10. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Virginia, Smyth, Marion, Enumeration District 145, Page 2A, line 17, Polly Dempster, patient. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 February 2021). 
  11. Scott County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1816-1942, Southwestern State Hospital v. COMT OF Polly Dempster ETC, 1912-043. (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=169-1912-043 : accessed 20 February 2021). 
  12. 1910 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, Roll: T624_1649, FHL microfilm: 1375662, Virginia, Smyth, Marion, Enumeration District 80, Page 5A, line 23, Polly Dempster. The official enumeration day of the 1910 census was 15 April 1910. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 February 2021). 
  13. “United States Union Provost Marshal Files of Individual Civilians, 1861-1866,” images, FamilySearch, citing NARA microfilm publication M345 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), Dej-Den > image 856-858 of 1785. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939X-XF9K-8P?cc=1834304&wc=M6Y2-LP8%3A162217301 : 22 May 2014). 
  14. “Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940,” FHL Film Number: 34394, Reference ID: p 63 cn 112. Mellie L. Dempster, female, single, white, age 16, born 1880 in Natural Tunnel (Scott County VA), father W.W. Taylor, mother Mary E. Taylor, married 28 Sep 1896 in Big Stone Gap (Wise County VA), Robert P. Barton, male, single, white, age 28, born 1868 in Turkey (Lee County VA), father Wm. N. G. Barron, mother Louisa J. Barron. 
  15. “Looking Backward 50 Years Ago Today In The Post”, The Post (Big Stone Gap, Virginia), 24 Oct 1946, p. 10, col. 4; image copy, Newspaper.com (http://newspaper.com : accessed 11 February 2021), Historical Newspapers from 1700s to 2000s by Ancestry.com

Unraveling the Mystery of George W. Dempsey, son of Seaton Y. Dempsey and Clementine Gowing (part 1)

I have a theory I’m working on. It might not be very smart of me to share it here, but I see no other way to get others involved in helping me solve this mystery.

I know what happens when the wrong information is posted on the internet. People believe it, re-post it, and, suddenly, it becomes an accepted but unproven fact. The ancestor or relative’s story is changed as people go click-happy accepting hints.

In this first of two parts, a bit of background information will be shared on the person of interest.

Who was George W. Dempsey (b. abt. 1831)?

George W. DEMPSEY was the oldest child of my 3rd great-grandparents Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING who married 3 January 1829 in Amherst County, Virginia.1 Seaton, per the census, was the head of a household in 1830 with a young man, likely his younger brother Wesley, and a young woman, his wife Clementine.2 The young married couple didn’t yet have children. By 1840 they had three children including George who was less than 10 years old and over five.3 In 1850 George was still living at home and 19 years old.4 No birth records were found for Amherst County at this time and George’s birth has been estimated at about 1831.

On 20 December 1852, George married Rhoda A. STATON in Amherst County.5 Less than a year later, on 19 November 1853, their son Andrew Seaton DEMPSEY was born.6 Sometime after Andrew’s birth, Seaton Y. DEMPSEY’s family moved to the Fayetteville Township area of Fayette County, (West) Virginia. George and Rhoda were in his father’s household in 1860 with their son “Ceton A.” listed as age 5.7 If other children had been born to the couple before 1860, they did not survive. George’s oldest sister Geneva Elizabeth DEMPSEY remained in Amherst County and his brother William S. DEMPSEY, the second oldest son, had married and remained in Rockbridge County.

On 23 May 1862, during the Civil War, George W. DEMPSEY was arrested by Lt. Col. Henry W. BRAZEE of the 9th Virginia Volunteers. George, age 31 years, was described as 5 feet 9 1/2 inches, light complexion, dark hair, blue eyes, and long sprouts (whiskers). He said he had done nothing to cause the arrest.8

A year later George and Rhoda’s son Robert L. DEMPSEY was born in March 1863.9 Four years later, George and Rhoda had a daughter on 11 May 1867 in Fayetteville Township.10 She was named Polina E. and would go by Bettie and Lina in later years. In 1870 the little family was found in the census in Fayetteville Township: George A. (sic), Rhoda, Andrew S., Robert L., and Pertina E.11

On 29 December 1874, Andrew S. DEMPSEY, son of Geo. W. and R. A. DEMPSEY, married in Fayetteville. The marriage register entry does not indicate if the parents were living or deceased.12

There is the possibility that George was the man mentioned in a document dated 8 March 1876 when a contract with one Geo. W. DEMPSEY for road work on Arbuckle road in Fayette County was annulled.

I’ve researched all three DEMPSEY lines who lived in Fayette County at this time. There was a younger George Washington DEMPSEY, son of John W. DEMPSEY and Amelia RIDDLE, born in December 1851 who would have also been old enough to be the man mentioned in the record above. I cannot at this time say if this contract was for George b. 1831 or George b. 1851. I had planned on sharing the images and transcription of the document but decided against it. Anyone interested in the document can view it at the link in the citation.13

George W. DEMPSEY and his wife were not found in the 1880 census. Therefore, there is a decade from 1870 to 1880 in which their whereabouts are unknown.

The death of George W. DEMPSEY

George W. DEMPSEY did not die on 16 November 1879 and he was not buried in Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton, Virginia, in grave number 5369.

1880 U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedule. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com

The man buried in Hampton National Cemetery served as a volunteer in Company K of Regiment 8 of New Jersey.14, 15 He was a 70 years old widower and had been a resident of the National Soldiers Home for 5 years16. He was born about 1809 and over 20 years older than George W. DEMPSEY of Fayette County. Records found for this man’s death have been erroneously attached to George W. DEMPSEY, son of Seaton Y. and Clementine.

I learned the date of death was wrong, i.e. not for George W. DEMPSEY of Virginia, by viewing the documents. This is why we should always view the available images and not rely on the index. If only an index is offered, it is wise to review the source information to learn if the records are available in image form on the same site or on another.

With the confusion concerning George’s death in 1879 out of the way, what happened to him? Where was he in 1880?

The Children of George W. DEMPSEY and Rhoda A. STATON from 1880 until…

In 1880, two of the three known children of George W. DEMPSEY and Rhoda A. STATON were found in the census. They lived about 165 miles apart. That may not seem like much in our days but in 1880 this was not a quick drive on the interstate.

Andrew Seaton DEMPSEY (1853-1924) was 27 years old, married with two children, and living in Fayetteville17 where the family had been since coming from Amherst County around 1855.18

Andrew would remain in Fayetteville and raise a family of nine children. No death record has been found but his tombstone in Huse Memorial Park indicates he died in 1924.

The whereabouts of Robert L. DEMPSEY (1863-aft. 1930) in 1880 is unknown. Robert married Mary Frances DARR in Kanawha County in 1892. None of the records found name his parents and a record of death is missing. Robert and his wife gave their children unusual middle names which strongly support his being George’s son. His oldest son was named Paul Seaton, his youngest son Edgar Younger (the assumed middle name of his great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY), and his son Robert Darr was given his mother’s maiden name.

Polina Elizabeth DEMPSEY (1867-1941) was 13 years old in 1880, a servant living in Pedlar District of Amherst County with a MASON household.19

Bettie, as she was more often known, lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia, from at least 1884 when her first daughter was born in Cornwall.20 Bettie had eight children before marrying William W. SORRELS in 1916. Her 1941 death certificate gives her mother’s name as Rhoda STATON and her father’s name as not known.21

What Happened to George W. DEMPSEY?

With two of the three children of George and Rhoda accounted for in the 1880 census, several questions remain. Where were George, Rhoda, and Robert in 1880? Why was their 13-year-old daughter found in Amherst? Were both George and Rhoda still living, only one of them living, or neither?

Assuming George W. DEMPSEY was living in 1880, where might he have gone? Could he have started a new family? Have descendants of his known and maybe unknown children had their DNA tested?

The second part of this post will be published in two weeks’ time as next Sunday’s post will be My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2021.

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

 


  1. 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, DGS 7578824, Film 30273, image 589 of 786, Date: 1829 Jan 3; Name of husband: Dempsey, Seaton Y.; Name of wife: Gowing, Clementina; Security and witnesses: Landon S. Gowing, Philip Smith Sr., Ro. Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-N8WJ : accessed 6 February 2021). 
  2. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Roll: 194; History Library Film: 0029673, Virginia, Amherst, page 519, line 1, Seaton Y. Dempsey household. The official enumeration day of the 1830 census was 1 June 1830. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 February 2013). 
  3. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 550, Family History Library Film: 0029683, Virginia, Amherst, Page: 214, line 28, Seaton Dempsey. The official enumeration day of the 1840 census was 1 June 1840. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 19 February 2013). 
  4. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry, 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: 933, Virginia, Amherst County, Eastern District, page: 76a (stamped), lines 1-9, HH #40-40, Dempsey. The official enumeration day of the 1850 census was 1 June 1850. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 13 February 2013). 
  5. Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853, image 784 of 786, left page, 5th entry from bottom, Geo W Dempsey and Rhoda A. Staton married 20 Dec 1852. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9XF-NZMP?i=783 : accessed 21 January 2021). 
  6. Audrey Blankenship Gill, photographer, photo of a grave marker in Huse Memorial Park, Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia, taken on 3 April 2007. Inscription: Dempsey, Andrew Seaton Nov. 19, 1853-Mar. 12, 1928 and Dempsey, Caroline Burgess June 12, 1852-May 10, 1933. 
  7. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, 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, Family History Library Film: 805344, West Virginia, Fayette County, District 2, page No. 142, lines 28-37, HH #1352-687 and #1353-688, Dempsey households. The official enumeration day of the 1860 census was 1 June 1860. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 19 February 2013). 
  8. “United States Union Provost Marshal Files of Individual Civilians, 1861-1866,” images, FamilySearch, citing NARA microfilm publication M345 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), Dej-Den > image 856-858 of 1785. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939X-XF9K-8P?cc=1834304&wc=M6Y2-LP8%3A162217301 : 22 May 2014). 
  9. Month and year of birth from the 1900 census. I have not found records supporting his middle name being Luther as seen on many family trees. A son’s delayed birth certificate and a daughter’s obituary name the father as Robert Lee DEMPSEY. 
  10.  “West Virginia Births, 1853-1930,” database, FamilySearch, citing Fayetteville Twp, Fayette, West Virginia, United States, county courthouses, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 584,755,  line31, Polina E Dempsey, May 1867, image on WVCulture (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=584755&ImageNumber=13 : accessed 6 February 2021) 
  11. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1686, Family History Library Film: 553185, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, page 113A, line 40, and page 113B, lines 1-4, HH #9-9, Dempsey George A (sic). The official enumeration day of the 1870 census was 1 June 1870. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 19 February 2013). 
  12. West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970 (database index, FamilySearch, database images <I>West Virginia Division of Culture and History</I>), 29 Dec 1874, Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia, Andrew S. Dempsey, 21y, single, born Fayette, residing Fayette, s/o Geo W. and R. A. Dempsey, Caroline Burgess, 21y, single, born Fayette, residing Fayette, d/o Andrew and ~ Burgess. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12086567&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 February 2021). 
  13. Loose papers, ca. 1787-1875 (1901), (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the West Virginia University Library in Morgantown, West Virginia. Contains original deeds, guardianship, wills, road records, and other types of documents that were recorded before the courts. DGS 7616766, Film 186347, Loose papers (boxes 1-2), env. ?-1 to ?-3 (no dates), env. 1787-1, 1824-1, 1841-1, 1851-1 to 1869-3, image 498 (lower right) and 499 (upper right) of 584. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9VT-QCR9?cat=302047 : accessed 5 February 2021). 
  14. U.S., National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962. Ancestry.com. (database online) citing Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2590/images/40479_1521003239_0476-03252?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true&_ga=2.250633295.855475264.1612270652-785982050.1593849185&pId=2196090 : accessed 3 February 2021) 
  15. The National Cemetery Administration; Hampton National Cemetery, Burial Register, 1833-1935. Ancestry.com (online database), U.S., Burial Registers, Military Posts and National Cemeteries, 1862-1960 citing Department of Defense. Department of the Army. Office of the Quartermaster General. (09/18/1947–08/01/1962). Burial Registers of Military Post and National Cemeteries, compiled ca. 1862–ca. 1960. ARC ID: 4478151. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/3135/images/B0121384-00171?usePUB=true&_phsrc=Wbz35595&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=496218 : accessed 3 February 2021) 
  16. U.S., Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885. Ancestry.com (online database) citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Non-population Census Schedules for Virginia, 1850-1880; Archive Collection: T1132; Archive Roll Number: 18; Census Year: 1879; Census Place: Hampton National Soldiers Home, Elizabeth City, Virginia; Page: 471. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/8756/images/VAT1132_18-0312?usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true&pId=2170177 : accessed 3 February 2021) 
  17. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1402, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, Enumeration District 27, page 31B, lines 17-20, HH #339, Andrew S Dempsey. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 6 February 2021). 
  18. Seaton’s youngest child was born in Amherst in 1853. His brother Wilson was in Fayette County for the birth of a slave named Orange on 11 June 1855. Wilson’s residence at the time was listed as Amherst. He may have set up temporary housekeeping in Fayette with Mary, the mother of Orange, and preparing for the permanent move from Amherst to Fayette with his second wife and children from both marriages. 
  19. 1880 Census, Roll: 1353; Virginia, Amherst County, Pedlar, Enumeration District 20, page 238D, line 22, HH #27-27, Marvel Mason. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 6 February 2021). 
  20. “Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, State file no. 23586, Registration area no. 815B, Registered no. 9. Nanny Dempsey, female, white, age 64, born 10 May 1884, died 20 Oct 1948 in Vesuvius, Rockbridge, Virginia, registration date 3 Nov 1948, mother Betty Dempsey. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 January 2016). 
  21. Ibid., State file no. 25092, Registration area no. 815A, Registered no. 9. Betty P Dempsey Sorrels, female, white, age 71, born 11 May 1870, died 8 Sep 1941 in Rockbridge, Virginia, registration date 9 Nov 1941, mother Rhoda Staton, spouse W W Sorrels. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2016). 

Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #11 In Remembrance of Everett Isaac LILLIE (1915-1944)

On this Memorial Day 2015…

eil2
Everett with a photo of his grandmother Florence Royalty Lillie on desk at left.

….in remembrance of Everett Isaac LILLIE who gave his life 71 years ago while serving his country during World War II.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Everett Isaac LILLIE (1915-1944)
Parents: Reese Gentry LILLY (1892-1965) and Dovie Deen (1894-1918)
Spouse: name unknown
Child: Patricia M. LILLIE (1944-2012)
Whereabouts: Massac County, IL; Detroit, MI; and France
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 4th cousin once removed

* Everett Isaac LILLIE
* son of Reese Gentry LILLIE
* grandson of Isaac Spencer LILLIE
* great-grandson of Albert Spencer LILLIE
* 2nd great-grandson of Martha C. Martissa GOWING
* 3rd great-grandson of Landon S. GOWING
* 2nd great-grand nephew of Clementine M. GOWING
* 1C3R of Mary M. DEMPSEY
* 2C2R of Laura Belle INGRAM
* 3C1R of Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY
* 4C of Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
* 4C1R of Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Everett was inducted into the U.S. Army in March 1941.

everett
Inspection Day outside when I was a coporal. ~ Everett I. Lillie

He wrote on the back of this photo, Inspection Day outside when I was a Corporal.

everettback
Inspection Day outside when I was a coporal. ~ Everett I. Lillie

Everett and his family were proud of his service as seen in these photos (top and below) taken in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, when he was on furlough and visited with his Uncle Raymond and Aunt Ruth.

eil1
Everett with his uncle Raymond (left) and his aunt Ruth Lillie (right).
eil3
Everett with his uncle Raymond (middle).

eil4Wounded on D-Day and Died Two Days Later

tribute
Courtesy of Joe Rooney

Publication: Metropolis News
First Published: July 15, 1948
Funeral services for Staff Sgt.
Everett I. Lillie were held Tuesday
afternoon in the Brookport Baptist
Church with Rev. Albert Moore of-
ficiating, followed by burial in the
Pell Cemetery.
S/Sgt. Lillie was born in 1915 to
Reese & Dovie Lillie and was in-
ducted into the U.S. Army in
March, 1941. He was wounded in
France on June 6, 1944 and died
two days later. He is survived by
his wife and daughter of New Jer-
sey, father, step-mother and several
siblings.

Everett is listed on the World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing for the State of Michigan with serial #36106054.

Gravemarker

marker
Courtesy of Joe Rooney

Everett I. Lillie
Illinois
S Sgt Co G 8 Inf 4 Inf Div
World War II PH
Sept 3 1915   June 8 1944

Location of marker: Pell Cemetery, Brookport, Massac County, Illinois

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻

This is a spin-off of my 52 Ancestors: #14 Albert Spencer LILLIE (1848-1913) ~ Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can blogpost in which I featured a few photos from a collection of old photographs my 4C1R Joe Rooney shared with me. I asked Joe about using the photos and he kindly wrote, Please use them at your will. I feel it is keeping it in the family and don’t need credit. If anything, I appreciate your evaluations, identifications and detective work. I’m hopeful you and yours enjoy them. On a blog, in a book, above a cloud.”

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

Links to posts in this series may be found in Old Photographs

© 2015, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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52 Ancestors: #14 Albert Spencer LILLIE (1848-1913) ~ Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can

Week 14 (April 2-8) – Favorite Photo: Who is in a favorite photo of yours? Or tell the story of the photo itself — where was it taken, what was the event?

With Easter weekend coming up, I was procrastinating, and I went off and did something completely different.

The family I had planned for this week was not quite finished. The information was in draft form and sources were cited. I had to write in details to make it an interesting read. Only I didn’t have a favorite photograph (or any at all) for the family to fit the proposed theme. Amy Johnson Crow says there is no 52 Ancestors police but I’m enjoying trying to fit the theme each week.

Did I mention how I was dawdling and dragging my feet? There are always things I want to get done and I usually find something more interesting to do instead.

Six weeks ago I received a zip file with 251 images of about 150 old photographs from my 4th cousin once removed, Joe ROONEY. His cousin Sandra LILLIE had saved them from the trash  can. Joe and I share my 4th great-grandparents Landon S. GOWING and Sally CRISP as ancestors. The story of how these old photographs came into his possession is included in this note he wrote:

15 February 2015: This collection of photographs was scanned at 300 dpi color by me. The original photos were sent by Sandra Lillie about ten years ago after she found them cleaning out a relative’s garage in Southern Illinois, finding no other takers (suckers). She believes they were a collection by L Vance Lillie. Many of the pictures seemed to be removed from frames or were in albums evidenced by fading characteristics and may have been from other’s collections. I scanned the reverse if there was laboratory advertising or writing. Some of the authors’ identification may be figured out of the handwriting matches. I did not scan the reverse of photos where there was only a three digit number that I believe to be sequence numbers on a roll of film. I didn’t spot any obvious helpful commonalities.

How do you choose your favorite photograph out of a 150 when many are of people who aren’t even in your database?

On Friday I was home alone (no interruptions) and decided to have a quick look through the photos and compare names with my database.

Cousin Joe derived file names from personal recognition or what was written on the reverse side. He used surnames first, given names next, and tried to find some means of differentiating photos of the same person by including detail: sitting, standing, wearing a hat, a date or some other detail from the photo. The pictures that were not identifiable he labeled with UNK and details.

I was able to match the most obvious LILLIE family members. Landon S. GOWING and his wife Sally CRISP’s daughter Martha C. “Martissa” GOWING married Wyatt F. LILLY in 1833 in Amherst County, Virginia. They moved to Caldwell County, Kentucky, where they raised 9 children. One son, Joe’s great-grandfather, Albert Spencer LILLIE, changed the spelling of his surname.

Albert S. LILLIE (1848-1913) is actually the closest relative in the entire batch of photos, being the nephew of my 3rd great-grandmother Clementine (Gowing) DEMPSEY. There were three photos of him in the batch along with scans of the reverse sides giving more information.

The first photo was taken when Albert was 22 years old.

ASLFour different persons wrote information on the back of this tinplate. In ink at the top: Albert S. Lillie. Directly below in pencil and very faded only the beginning of Albert can be read. In the center, again in pencil, A. S. Lillie 22 yrs. At the bottom, in yet another handwriting in ballpoint pen, Isaac Lillie father.

ASLbackIn the second photo of Albert S. LILLIE, he is with a woman. On the back Samuel Royalty LILLIE or his sister, Ruth J. LILLIE wrote, “My Grand Pa was going to marry Mrs. Roper But she died. Then he married Geneva.” From this information, the photo can be dated at between 1900-1904 as his first wife died in 1899 and he was married to Geneva MASON 6 years in 1910 as seen on the census.

aslroperMy favorite of the three is this one:

aslold

Joe Rooney has kindly given me permission to use these photographs on my blog.

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

Old Photographs Help Solve Relationships in Family Tree

While I worked through the other names, the pieces of the puzzle began to form a larger picture of the family tree. I ended up attaching nearly 120 photos to 51 persons in my database. About 30 photos remain, 10 with names, and the rest being unidentified persons.

Lynn Vance LILLIE and Joe ROONEY’s grandmother Florence ROYALTY, wife of Isaac Spencer LILLIE, appears to be the lady who plays the leading roll in the story of how these photos came to be collected. Not only did she collect photos of her siblings and their families, her husband Isaac Spencer LILLIE’s family, her mother-in-law Pernecia Elizabeth GLASS’s family,  but also of her stepmother Johanna PADDOCK’s family. I believe her children Samuel and Ruth who lived with her until her death in 1946 may have taken over her collection of photos which then went to Samuel’s son Lynn Vance LILLIE.

When Joe sent me the digital files he wrote, “Or I can mail the originals to you .” I didn’t take him up on offer as I didn’t know how serious he was. When I let him know how all the photos fit into his family tree he may be happy that he kept the originals.

I asked Joe about using the photos and he kindly wrote, Please use them at your will.  I feel it is keeping it in the family and don’t need credit.  If anything, I appreciate your evaluations, identifications and detective work.  I’m hopeful you and yours enjoy them.  On a blog, in a book, above a cloud.” So a spin-off of this blog post will be coming as I share the photos, one person at a time.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Albert Spencer LILLIE
Parents: Wyatt F. LILLY and Martha C. “Martissa” GOWING
Spouse: Pernecia Elizabeth GLASS(*) and Geneva MASON
Children: Isaac S., George W., Frank G., Rosa L., Thomas N., John C., Albert P., Edward B., Reuben D., Jesse L., and Robert W.
Whereabouts: Caldwell County, KY; Trigg County, KY; and Pope County, IL
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 1st cousin 4 times removed

* Albert Spencer LILLIE
* son of Martha C. Martissa GOWING
* grandson of Landon S. GOWING
* nephew of Clementine M. GOWING
* 1C of Mary M. DEMPSEY
* 1C1R of Laura Belle INGRAM
* 1C2R of Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY
* 1C3R of Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
* 1C4R of Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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

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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

52 Ancestors: #39 Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM, An Orphan

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

52 Ancestors: #39 Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM, An Orphan

My 4th great-grandmother Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM, born about 1778, was the orphan of James  LANDRUM (d. bef. 21 Aug 1797). A gardian bond was taken out on 21 August 1797 by George WRIGHT and Thomas SPENCER for George as the guardian of Patsy LANDRUM.

August 21, 1797
Guardian Bond
20 Patsy Landrum — 4:305 GB Geo. Wright and Thos. Spencer, Aug. 21,1797, for GW as gdn of Patsy Landrum, orph of Jas. Landrum, dec’d.
[Source: Bailey Fulton Davis, compiler; Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, Amherst Court, Virginia Wills, Vol. 2, E-O, page 5 L Wills.]

George WRIGHT, seen above as Patsy’s guardian, married Elizabeth LANDRUM in Amherst County, Virginia, on 19 January 1789 with Young LANDRUM as surety.
[Source: Robert N. Grant, author and compiler of Wright family information]

Robert N. Grant has suggested that Elizabeth LANDRUM’s father was Young LANDRUM since he was surety for the marriage.

I’ve tried to learn more about the LANDRUM line however it seems like everyone who has worked on them is as confused as I am. Young LANDRUM Sr. lived in Amherst at the time that Patsy was orphaned which would suggest that James LANDRUM, Patsy’s father, may have been related to Young LANDRUM. It is interesting to note that Young had a son named James Wesley who died in 1840 and therefore could not have been James, the father of Patsy. Were Young and James brothers?

Susannah DEMPSEY gave her consent to the marriage of William DEMPEY* and Patsey* LANDRUM on 21 August 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia. Witnesses were: George WRIGHT, guardian of the bride, and Allen CAMERON, possibly a brother-in-law of the groom. (* spelling used in document)

MRIN09274 1799 William Dempsey + Patsey Landrum Marriage Consent 1MARRIAGE CONSENT
This is Certify that I have no objections against
my son William Dempseys marrying to [text marked out] Patsy Landrum
provided she is willing
given under my hand this the 21. day of August 1799
Test   George Wright
Allen Cameron                     Susannah Dempsey

William DEMPSEY and Allen CAMERON signed, in the presence of S. GARLAND, the marriage bond dated 21 August 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia for marriage between Patsey LANDRUM (spinster) and William DEMPSEY.

MRIN09274 1799 William Dempsey + Patsey Landrum Marriage BondMARRIAGE BOND
Know all men by these presents that we William Dempsey & Allen Cameron
are held and firmly bound unto James Wood Esquire the Governor of
Virginia for the time being and to his successors in office for the
use of the Commonwealth in the sum of one hundred and
fifty Dollars current money to which payment well and truly
to be made we bind ourselves and each of us our and each of
our heirs executors and administrators jointly and severally
firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated
this 21st day of August 1799
The condition of the above obligation is such that
whereas there is a marriage intended shortly
to be had and solemnized between Patsey
Landrum (Spinster) and the above bound
William Dempsey
Now if there should be no legal cause to
obstruct the said marriage then the above
obligation to be void or else to remain in full
force and virtue
Signed & ackd                        Wm Dempsey (his mark & seal)
in presence of                          Allen Cameron (his mark & seal)
S Garland

Can a link be established between Patsy and Elizabeth, the wife of Patsy’s guardian George WRIGHT? I find the following interesting: Elizabeth and George WRIGHT named their children: Wesley J., Elizabeth, Matilda, and Wilson. Patsy and William DEMPSEY named their children Wilson, Seaton Y., Wesley G., Eliza, and Louisa. A coincidence (Wilson, Wesley, and Eliza/Elizabeth) or did they use a naming pattern for their children? Wesley appears to be a LANDRUM favorite as Young LANDRUM named a son James Wesley LANDRUM. Could Wilson be a clue to Patsy’s maternal line?

As was previously mentioned in 52 Ancestors: #38 William DEMPSEY, son of Susannah of Amherst County, Virginia Patsy and her husband William DEMPSEY lived in Amherst County following their marriage. This was also the place that their children were born and raised. They may have had two children, reflected in the 1810 and 1820 census, who did not reach adulthood.

By 1830 we see that Patsy has stopped using the name listed in the guardian bond, marriage consent, and marriage record. She is seen in the 1830 census as Martha DEMPSEY and has only her two young daughters with her. In the screenshot below it looks like there may have also been a male in the household however the total number of persons in the houshold, seen on the second page of the census, is three. The mark in the second column [“1 male 5 & under 10 yo” field] after Martha’s name may only be a pen scratch or smudge.

1830censusdempsey
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst (ancestry.com)

1830 U.S. Federal Census
Amherst County, Virginia
Martha Dempsey
2 females 10 & under 15 yo (Louisa and Eliza)
1 female 50 & under 60 yo (Martha)
Total persons in household: 3

Four years after the census was enumerated Martha may have been attended by Dr. Ezekiel B. GILBERT in the days prior to her death on 27 September 1834 at her residence in Amherst County, Virginia. In 1842 when her husband William DEMPSEY’s estate was being settled Dr. Gilbert’s medical account was listed as having been paid on 28 September 1836. The voucher was for $15.00.

Martha’s death was documented in an advertisement placed in the Lynchburg Virginian, nine months after her death.

dscn2259
The Lynchburg Virginian, June 29, 1835, p. 3, c. 2.: Photocopy of page from microfilm roll #6 of the Lynchburg Virginian from Aug 18, 1834 to July 28, 1836.

Martha left six children and three grandchildren: son Wilson M.; son Seaton Y. and wife Clementine and their son George W.; son Isham C. and wife Sarah Elvira and their children Nancy and James W.; son Wesley G.; and daughters Louisa J. and Eliza.

Martha’s husband never replied to the advertisement and his children went through a long process of settling the estate which lasted until the end of August 1848.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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52 Ancestors: #38 William DEMPSEY, son of Susannah of Amherst County, Virginia

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

52 Ancestors: #38 William DEMPSEY abt. 1779-bef. 20 Jun 1836

On 29 June 1835 the Lynchburg Virginian published a notice concerning the death of the wife of William DEMPSEY.

DSCN2259
The Lynchburg Virginian, June 29, 1835, p. 3, c. 2.: Photocopy of page from microfilm roll #6 of the Lynchburg Virginian from Aug 18, 1834 to July 28, 1836.

Norma Barnett Dempsey found the article referenced in Marriages and Deaths from Lynchburg, Virginia Newspapers, 1794-1836 [by Lucy H. M. Baber Louise A. Blunt, and Marion A. L. Collins, Genealogical Publishing Co. 1980, page 174]. She located it using the microfilm reader at the Roanoke Public Library in the late 1990s.

William DEMPSEY was supposed to be somewhere in the state of Ohio at the time that this notice was published. We do not know why he was in Ohio or if he ever returned to Amherst County, Virginia. More records may one day be found but for now it is my belief that William must have been away from home for quite some time and was presumed dead.

A year after the notice of Mrs. Martha DEMPSEY’s death, the estate of her husband William DEMPSEY was being administered by their son Wilson M. DEMPSEY. William apparently died intestate (without a will) and the court appointed his oldest son Wilson as administrator. He went bond with Peter RUCKER.

The state of Virginia has no estate packets or probate packets. If the administrator didn’t act correctly, the offended party could bring suit in chancery. The scanned chancery records for the county of Amherst are not available on the Library of Virginia site. But Norma did a wonderful job of finding the records documenting how the estate was handled.

20 June 1836 – Administrator bond
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28; Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
129 Wm.Dempsey
9:228 AB Wilson Dempsey and Peter Rucker, June 20, 1836, for WD

DSCN2260
Amherst Co Va Will Book 9 1834-1838 page 228

Know all men by these presents that we Wilson Dempsey and Peter Rucker
are held and firmly bound unto Edmund Penn, Ambrose Rucker, James Powell, Arthur B. Davies, John [illegible], William H. Garland and Henry I. Rose Gentleman Justices of the Court of Amherst County sitting and to their successors in Office in the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars current money of Virginia to which payment will and truly to be made we bind ourselves and each of us and each of our heirs, executors and administrators jointly and severally firmly by these present is sealed with our seals and dated this 20th day of June (1836) one thousand eight hundred and thirty six and in the 60th year of the Commonwealth.
The conditions of this obligation is that if the said Wilson Dempsey administrator of the goods, chauses and credits of William Dempsey deceased do make a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the goods chauses and credits of the said deceased which have or/ shall come to the hands possession or knowledge of him the said Wilson Dempsey or into the hands or possession of any other person or persons for him and the same so made do exhibit into the County Court of Amherst when he shall be there unto required by the said Court and such goods chauses and credits do well and truly administor according to Law and further to make a just and true account of his actings and doings therein when thereto required by the said Court and all the rest of the said goods chauses and credits which shall be found remaining upon the account of the said administrator the same being first examined and allowed by the Justices of the said Court for the time being shall deliver and pay unto such persons respectively as entitled to the same by Law. And if it shall hereafter appear that any last Will and Testament was made by the deceased and the same be proved in Court and the executor obtain a certificate of the probate thereof and the said Wilson Dempsey do, in such case being required to render and deliver up his letters of administration then this obligation to be void else to remain in full force                         W. M. Dempsey (seal)
acknowledged in open court                        Peter Rucker (seal)

At a  Court held for Amherst County on the 20th of June 1836.
This bond was acknowledged in open court by the parties therein and ordered to be
recorded.                               Teste
Robert Lindsey

Note: The photocopy was cut off on the left side. While transcribing the deed the missing words were added by comparing with other deeds of the same period.

15 May 1837 – Inventory
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28 – Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
129 Wm.Dempsey
9:315 Inv. $88.32, May 15, 1837. Lee Millner, Wm. B Shepherd, Wm. B.Toler.

DSCN2263In obedience to an order of the County Court of AMherst we have proceeded to appraise the personal Estate of William Dempsey decd as shown to us by WIlson Dempsey, admr.
2 Beds, Bedstead and furniture 10.001
1 Bed, Bedstead and furniture 5.00
1 Chest 0.25
1 Trunk 0.25
1 Flax Wheel 0.25
1 Cotton Wheel 1.25
1 Desk & Book Case 5.00
1 Chest 1.50
Plates, Knives and forks 0.25
Lot Earthenware 0.75
Shot Gun 4.00
Loom 0.25
Safe 0.13
Skillet & lid 0.12
Lot Castings 4.00
Cags 0.37
Lot Pewter 2.00
Wire Sifter 0.25
Lot Chairs 1.00
Hand Saw & Draw Knife 1.00
7 old Hoes 1.00
1 Auger and 2 Chissels 0.50
1 Lot old Irons 0.50
2 old Plows 0.50
1 old culling Knife & Steel 0.25
2 New Trace Chains 0.50
1 Black Cow & Calf 15.00
1 Red Cow & Calf 15.00
1 Pot Rack 0.50
1 Copper Still 15.00
2 Pad Locks 0.25
1 Axe 0.25
2 flat Irons and trivet 1.00
1 Coulder 0.20
1 Iron Wedge 0.25
Total $88.32

8 Aug 1839 – Dempsey to Hicks deed
Deed Book X (Amherst County, Virginia); page 239:
lists 5 names on Dempsey to Hicks land deed. August 8 1839. Wilson M., Seton Y., W. G., Louisa, and Eliza Dempsey.
Note: The deed reads “two and three fourths acres.” Did they only sell 2 3/4 acres to Nelson Hicks?

July 19, 1841
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28 – Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
129 Wm.Dempsey
10:368 AA from 1828; accts of Wilson M. and Westley G. Dempsey — for the family in 1835. July 19, 1841: W. L. Saunders and Pitt Woodroof.

DSCN2262July 18, 1842
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28- Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
129 Wm.Dempsey
11:82 AA William M. Dempsey acct.–Wilson M. & others–business trip to King William; land rent by Wilson M. Dempsey, same for Westley G. and Seaton Y. Dempsey, Admr. is called Wm. M. at end in summary Ju1y 18, 1842.

DSCN2264croppedThe estate of William Dempsey In account with William M. Dempsey (sic, Wilson M. Dempsey)
This sum paid John B. Duncan 5.00
paid Lewis Harrison 0.75
paid sheriff Amherst 1838 0.67
paid ditto ditto 1839 2.42
paid ditto ditto 1841 1.12
paid Peter Rucker 1.35
paid William Coleman 4.57
Paid Peter Rucker 1.50
amount my expenses to & from King William County on business for Est. 7.87
paid Pitt Woodroof & Addison Taliaferro 4.00
Total $29.25

May 16, 1842 and August 1844
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, Amherst County Va. Deeds 1761-1765
page 18 Deed Book
(Libray # VR 929.3755 Am 47d D29a)
183. 16 May 1842 Seaton Y. Dempsey to Jno. J. Morgan $175 int. in est. of William Dempsey dec’d– 1/6th of 330a. Aug. 1844, to —.

May 27, 1844
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, Amherst County Va. Deeds 1761-1765
Vol. # 5
page 15 Deed Book Z
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am 47d D29a)
163. 27 May 1844 Seaton Y. Dempsey 1, Patrick Drummond 2, Wilson M. Dempsey 3, $1.00 Stock, tools, crops.

January 20, 1845
Deed Bk. AA (Amherst County, Virginia)
Page 368:
Jan. 20 1845,  …210 acres by bid to Wilson M. Dempsey from William Dempsey dec’d. (Note: 210 acres would be 4 times 55 acres; Wilson is buying Wesley, Isham, Louisa and Eliza’s share; Seaton’s share went to Jno. J. Morgan)

August 31, 1848
Amherst County Circuit Court Chancery Files
No. 2 1841-1849
page 448
#431
Sixth Day August 31, 1848 Thursday Amherst County
Wilson M Dempsey_____________________________________Plaintiff
against
Isham C Dempsey, Seaton Y Dempsey, Wesley G Dempsey, Patrick Rowsy and Eliza his wife, Simeon A Burch and Louisa his wife, Zacharias Drummond and John J Morgan, James Powell Sheriff of the County of Amherst Young & Meem ___________Finley and ___________and Morgan ___________Defendants
This cause came on this day to be heard upon the papers formerly read and the report of the commissioner Zach Drummond made in the pursuance of the decretal order of the 7th day of November 1844 and was argued by consul. Upon consideration whereof the court doth ratify and confirm the said report except so much thereof as relates to the portion of Seaton Y Dempsey. The courts being of opinion that the lien of Young & Meem to said Seaton’s portion of the fund is superior to that set up by the said Drummond doth adjudge order and decree that the said Zacharias Drummond do pay to Young & Meem the sum of ninety six dollars and seventeen cents with interest thereon to be computed at the rate of six per cent per annum from the 20th day of January 1846 till paid.
And the court doth further order that the said Zacharias Drummond who is hereby appointed a commissioner for the purpose do convey by deed with special warranty the lands in the bill and proceedings mentioned to the respective purchasers thereof at their several costs.
And the purposes of this suit having been attained the court doth order that the same be discontinued.

William’s wife Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM died on 27 September 1834 in Amherst County, Virginia. As seen above William never returned to Amherst and by 1848 all matters having to do with his estate had been settled. Why did Wilson M. DEMPSEY have to travel to King William County on business of the estate? When did William DEMPSEY actually disappear or when did the family last hear from him?

In 1830, his wife Martha Dempsey is listed in Amherst County census with her two young daughters. William DEMPSEY was last seen on the 1820 census in Amherst County, Virginia. He was listed as “Will Dempey.” There is no mark in the age category that he would have fit in. Was he away from home on some kind of business? “Will” was not his nickname, this was a quirk of the enumerator who wrote “Will” for every man with the name William.

Let’s jump back to the time when William was in Amherst County. Norma searched everywhere even through a box of loose papers that was accessable to the public at the Amherst County Courthouse. In this box she found a permission slip dated 21 August 1799 signed by Susannah DEMPSEY saying that she had no objections to her son William DEMPSEY marrying to any person that he choose (illegible due to it’s being crossed through but this is a close guess). I believe that when his mother signed the slip she did not know that Patsey LANDRUM would the bride. The bride’s name was apparently added later, perhaps by another person. 

MRIN09274 1799 William Dempsey + Patsey Landrum Marriage Consent 1MARRIAGE CONSENT
This is Certify that I have no objections against
my son William Dempseys marrying to [text marked out] Patsy Landrum
provided she is willing
given under my hand this the 21. day of August 1799
Test   George Wright
Allen Cameron                     Susannah Dempsey

On the same day William DEMPSEY and Allen CAMERON, who had witnesses the permission slip, went bond on the marriage “intended shortly to be had and solemnized between Patsey Landrum (Spinster) and the above bound William Dempsey.”

MRIN09274 1799 William Dempsey + Patsey Landrum Marriage BondMARRIAGE BOND
Know all men by these presents that we William Dempsey & Allen Cameron
are held and firmly bound unto James Wood Esquire the Governor of
Virginia for the time being and to his successors in office for the
use of the Commonwealth in the sum of one hundred and
fifty Dollars current money to which payment well and truly
to be made we bind ourselves and each of us our and each of
our heirs executors and administrators jointly and severally
firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated
this 21st day of August 1799
The condition of the above obligation is such that
whereas there is a marriage intended shortly
to be had and solemnized between Patsey
Landrum (Spinster) and the above bound
William Dempsey
Now if there should be no legal cause to
obstruct the said marriage then the above
obligation to be void or else to remain in full
force and virtue
Signed & ackd                        Wm Dempsey (his mark & seal)
in presence of                          Allen Cameron (his mark & seal)
S Garland

Both of these documents help to show that Susannah DEMPSEY was the mother of William DEMPSEY who married Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM on 21 August 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia. Without these documents I would have believed the information given in the following:

1799marriageerror
William Montgomery Sweeny, “Marriage Bonds and Other Marriage Records of Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1800”, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1937.

Here we see that Susannah DEMPSEY is listed as “her mother”, therefore the mother of the bride. What complications this would have caused in further research! The mention of the marriage certificate being by the Rev. James BOYD is new information not found on the permission slip or bond.

Two other DEMPSEY marriages were found in Amherst County during this time period.

Notice that Allen CAMERON who married Jane DEMPSEY in 1795 was a witness on the 1799 permission slip and went bond with William DEMPSEY when he married. Could it be that Jane and William, and maybe even Tandy, were siblings?

In 1800 William and Tandy, both seen with the surname spelled DEMSEY, were on the Amherst Tax List with 1 tithable each (white male over 21 years old) and 0 horses. [Source: The Virginia Genealogist (magazine) Vol. 5-6 1961-62 page 82]

Following William’s marriage to Patsey they had six known children as seen in the records found for his estate:

  • Wilson M. DEMPSEY (ca. 1802-aft. 1883)
  • Seaton Y. DEMPSEY (ca. 1803-aft. 1880)
  • Isham C DEMPSEY (ca. 1806-aft. 1854)
  • Wesley G. DEMPSEY (ca. 1808-1890)
  • Louisa J. DEMPSEY (ca. 1812-1888)
  • Eliza DEMPSEY (ca. 1815-aft. 1860)

By 1810 William and Patsey’s four older boys seen above are enumerated for the first time in the census taken in Amherst County. The image found on ancestry.com is not as legible as the one found on the Internet Archive. The transcription of the census on Ancestry.com shows that there were also 3 slaves in the household (see arrow on second image). There may have been a fifth son who pre-deceased his parents. Also in the household was a young woman aged between 10-16. Was she a child of William’s wife from a previous relationship, a girl hired to help in the household, a relative?

1810censusdempsey
1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst (ancestry.com)

1810censusdempsey1810 U.S. Federal Census
Amherst County, Virginia
William Dempsey
5 males under 10 yo (Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G. & unknown)
1 male 26 & under 45 yo (William b. 1765-1779)
1 female 10 & under 16 yo (unknown b. 1795-1800)
1 female 26 & under 45 yo (Martha b. 1765-1778)
Numbers of Slaves: 3
Number of Household Members Under 16: 6
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 11

During the 1810s William DEMPSEY bought land in Amherst County and witnessed neighbor’s deeds. The 330 acres of land that he owned at the time of his death was located in Buffalo Springs, Amherst County, now known as Forks of Buffalo and located twelve miles west of the present town of Amherst on U.S. Route 60. Many land deeds from 1813-1830 show that William shared lines with several neighbors notably Higginbotham, Sandidge, Rucker, Coleman, Gillespie, Rowsey, and Toler.

15 June 1810
Land Purchase
WILLIAM WILLMORE and wife, SUSANNA, Amherst County, to WILLIAM DEMPSEY, Amherst County.  7000 pounds inspected tobacco – 120 acres. Lines:  JOSEPH HIGGINBOTHAM, BENJAMIN SANDIDGE, RACHEL ATKINSON. Witnesses:  NELSON CARTER.  To WILLIAM DEMPSEY, 20 October 1815.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 135, #367]

1 June 1811
Land Purchase
JONATHAN C. DEVASHER and wife, ELIZABETH, Amherst County. $400  no acres.  Lines:  mouth of a branch running into Long Branch. To WILLIAM DEMPSEY, 20 October 1815.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 43, #487]

27 January 1817
Witnesses deed
JAMES  SMITH. to heirs  of my brother WIATT SMITH…for $1.00 and love; two slaves named. Witnesses: WILLIAM DEMPSEY, WILLIAM COLEMAN, BENJAMIN HIGGINBOTHAM, ROWLAND GILLESPIE.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 117, #225]

20 October 1817
Witnesses deed
JOSEPH HIGGINBOTHAM, Amherst County, to BENJAMIN SANDIDGE, Amherst County.. .no amount; 14 1/2 acres south side Buffaloe. Lines:  the road.  Witnesses:  CHARLES L. BARRET, WILLIAM COLENA, WILLIAM DEMPSEY, DAVID CLARKSON, WILLIAM COLEMAN.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 140, #518]

In 1820 we see William as the head of household in the census however he is not included in the count. Also in the household are his wife, the six known children as well as an unknown male under 10 and an unknown female 10-16.

1820censusdempsey
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst (ancestry.com)

1820 U.S. Federal Census
Amherst County, Virginia
Will Dempey
2 males under 10 yo (Wesley G. and unknown)
3 males 10 & under 16 yo (Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman)
3 females 10 & under 16 yo (Louisa, Eliza and unknown)
1 female 26 & under 45 yo (Martha)
2 persons engaged in agriculture

William’s sons began to marry in the late 1820s:

By 1830, as was mentioned previously, William DEMPSEY was no longer seen in the census. His wife Martha, no longer using her nickname Patsey, had their two youngest daughters in her household. Their married sons Isham and Seaton had their own households. Young Wesley may have been with his brother Seaton. Wilson who didn’t marry until 1839 hasn’t been located.

While William’s estate was being taken care of his oldest son and young daughters, first seen with their maiden names, married:

After William DEMPSEY’s estate was finally settled his youngest son Wesley G. DEMPSEY married Mary HUGHES (1823-1889) on 6 May 1856 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

ღ ღ ღ ღ ღ

The story of my 4th great-grandfather William DEMPSEY of Amherst County, Virginia, is dedicated to Norma Barnett Dempsey and her husband Richard, my 4th cousin. I found Norma when I began researching my paternal family history on the internet in 2000. She sent me large envelopes full of copies of everything she had found on the DEMPSEY families in old Virginia. I’m amazed her determination in researching the DEMPSEY family as her husband does not carry the Y-DNA of the line. His mother Cindy, grandmother Nannie, and great-grandmother Polina did not marry but had children to whom they gave their maiden name – DEMPSEY. Strong single women who raised their families in an era when rights and priviliges of women were limited.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #21 Clementine GOWING 1814-1880+

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #21 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #21 Clementine GOWING abt. 1814-bet. 1880-1900

My third great-grandmother Clementine GOWING was the youngest of three daughters of Landon S. GOWING and Sally CRISP who were married 17 January 1803 in Amherst County, Virginia. Clementine’s sisters were Emmeline born abt. 1810 and Martha C., also known as Martissa, born abt. 1812. Clementine M. (her middle initial was seen in the 1850 and 1860 census) was born abt. 1814.

Analysis of the pre-1850 census listings for the GOWING family show that Clementine’s mother was older than her father by about 5-10 years. By 1820 Sally and Landon had been married 17 years and their daughters were about 10, 8, and 6 years old. It makes me wonder if there may have been more babies who did not survive.

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

Landon S. GOWING was security witness on the marriages of each of his daughters. Clementine’s sister Emmeline married William Dison LAWHORNE (1811-aft. 1880) on 5 July 1828. Six months later on 3 January 1829 Clementine, the baby of the family, married Seaton Y. DEMPSEY. She was about 15 years old at the time. Her sister Martha C. “Martissa” married Wyatt F. LILLY (1811-aft. 1880) on 29 May 1833.

1829marriage
Register of Marriages, Amherst County, Virginia (LDS Film 30273, pg. 301)

Although the Gowing family was living in Nelson County in 1810 and 1820 all of the daughters were married in Amherst where Landon was seen in the 1830 census. Martissa and her husband Wyatt moved to Caldwell County, Kentucky, after the births of their first three sons and prior to the 1840 census.

Clementine’s mother appears to have died after 1830 as her husband Landon is seen with a younger woman in his household in 1840. Clementine’s “stepmother’s” name was seen as Celia in the 1850 census. No marriage record was found for this marriage. I have a theory but will save it for Landon’s story.

As previously seen in Clementine’s husband Seaton’s story, she was the mother of 8 children, all born in Amherst County, Virginia:

  • George W. was born abt. 1831; married Rhoda A. STATON on 20 December 1852; father of two sons and a daughter.
  • Geneva Elizabeth “Jennie” “Janie” born abt. 1836; mother of six illegitimate children; married Marshall S. TERRY bet. 1866-1869; mother of three children with her husband.
  • William S. born abt. 1839; married Mary Elenor CLEMENTS on 26 April 1857; father of two daughters and a son; died bet. 1864-1869. Note: His widow Mary married his cousin Sterling LAWHORNE (son of Clementine’s sister Emmeline) and had two more sons and a daughter.
  • Thomas G. born abt. 1840, died bet. 1864-1870.
  • John J. born abt. 1843, served as a substitute for Andrew Scott Montgomery in Carpenter’s Company, Virginia Light Artillery (Alleghany Rough Artillery), he did not survive the war.
  • Mary M. b. abt. 1845; married Irvin Lewis INGRAM on 23 May 1867 in Fayette County, West Virginia; mother of three daughters.
  • Martha Ann “Matties” born abt. 1847; married(1) George L. “Little George” JOHNSON on 20 September 1866 with whom she had two sons and two daughters; married(2) Joseph Henry ARBAUGH on 18 Jul 1880 with whom she had a son and two daughters.
  • Julia Victoria born in 1853; married Joseph Henry PRESSON on 3 June 1872; mother of two daughters and five sons.

On 8 September 2007, I located the Revolutionary War papers of John MASSEY, husband of Susannah WRIGHT. In these papers, Landon S. GOWING age 87 gives affidavit on 24 September 1853. This is the last document found that mentions Clementine’s father. He was not seen in the 1860 census and therefore may have died between 1853-1860.

In the late 1850s when Clementine and her husband Seaton Y. DEMPSEY moved with their family to Fayette County, in western Virginia, she left behind her son William S. who married in 1857 and her unmarried daughter Jennie with baby Clementine, her first grandchild.

Clementine’s sons Thomas G. and John J. returned to eastern Virginia after the 1860 census and joined the Confederacy. Her son George W. was taken prisoner in Fayette County:

Friday Morning, May 30, 1862
The Lewisburg Prisoners – One hundred and fifteen prisoners arrived in the city yesterday on board the steamer Glenwood, and were marched to the Atheneum in charge of a heavy guard. These prisoners were captured the other day at Lewisburg by Col. Crooks, who attacked and routed the rebels at that place. They were uniformed in all sorts of styles. They looked about as hard as the general run of secesh (sic) who come to this city to visit the Atheneum, but would doubtless present a different appearance if they had an opportunity to wash and brush themselves up. Among the prisoners are four commissioned officers, one of whom is a Lieutenant Colonel.
Many of the privates among the prisoners seem to be very much dispirited. Some claim to have been pressed into the service. They say that in the counties where they reside, every man capable of holding arms is compelled either to volunteer or leave the State. Some of the officers, on the other hand, talk impudently and defiantly.
The following are the names of the prisoners:
[I’ve left out the entire list here which included George]
G. W. Dempsey, Fayette county
The prisoners will be sent to Camp Chase to-day.
[Source: Daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]), 30 May 1862. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026845/1862-05-30/ed-1/seq-3/>]

George came home after the war but Clementine’s other three sons did not live to see the 1870 census enumerated. George died after the 1870 census leaving Clementine with only her three youngest daughters living in her area and daughter Jennie living in Rockbridge County.

Clementine and Seaton were last seen in the 1880 census. I’ve gone through the 1900 census page by page for Fayette County searching for several of my families who did not turn up on the index. Either the families were missed or pages/places are missing. As death records are scarce for the 1880-1910 period and I have no 1900 listing, I estimate that Clementine died between 1880-1900.

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