The Ancestors: Bailey WOOD and Nancy, his wife (392 & 393)

Once you’ve worked your way back to ancestors who lived in America in the late 18th and early 19th century, it becomes more difficult to gather the records to tell their stories. This is the case with most of my paternal 5th great-grandparents.

Difficult does not mean impossible.

Bailey and Nancy WOOD are a set of these 5th great-grandparents. They lived in the counties of Greenbrier, Monroe, and Nicholas in western Virginia (present-day West Virginia) as early as 1781 and as late as 1826. Neither were ever listed by name on a census. Neither left a known marriage record. Neither left a birth or death record.

They were likely born about 1750 in unknown parts. Bailey as will be seen below, died about 1820 while Nancy lived at least until 1826.

Two important records have been found by previous family researchers that help to tell a part of their story. One of these is from 1781 and gives insight into the religion of the family while the other is from 1826 and concerns land owned by Bailey WOOD.

Original Members of the Old Greenbrier Church

On 24 November 1781, the Baptist faith gained a more permanent footing in the Greenbrier region when Pastor John ALDERSON organized the Old Greenbrier Church at Alderson. It was the first Baptist organization west of the Alleghenies and the oldest of any denomination to be established in this section of the country. Its twelve original members were John ALDERSON, Mary ALDERSON, Thomas ALDERSON, John KIPPERS, John SHEPPERD, John SKAGGS, Katherine SKAGGS, Joseph SKAGGS, Lucy SKAGGS, Bailey WOOD, Ann WOOD, and James WOOD.1

Is has been assumed by many WOOD descendants that Ann WOOD who was a charter member of the church was Bailey’s wife. However, an 1826 record names his wife as Nancy WOOD. Were Ann WOOD and Nancy WOOD the same person? To answer this, the record from 1826 needs to be examined.

1826 Indenture

This 1826 indenture is a deed of bargain and sale by the heirs of Bailey WOOD to John ALDERSON.2 For easier reading commas missing in the original have been added to this transcription in red.

This indenture made the 21st day of September one thousand eight hundred and twenty six between James Wood & Polly his wife, Bailey Wood and Lucretia his wife, William Wood & Mary his wife, Richard Skaggs and Susannah his wife, Martin McGraw & Nancy his wife, Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth his wife, Katherine Wood, heirs and legal representatives of Bailey Wood decd and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood decd of the county of Nicholas and state of Virginia of the one part and John Alderson of the County of Monroe and state aforesaid of the other part. Witnesseth that the said heirs & widow of Bailey Wood Decd for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar to them in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have bargained and sold and by these presents do bargain and sell unto the said John Alderson and his heirs a certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred acres more or less lying on the south side of the Greenbrier river in Monroe County adjoining the lands of William Johnson and James Graham and bounded as followeth. To wit: Beginning at a popular and beech corner to John Lusk on the south side of the river and with his line S12° E74 poles to 2 Beaches S55° E64 poles to a poplar & sugar tree S22 poles to a poplar and white oak nigh a draugh S75° E38 poles to 2 Buckeye N30° E27 poles to a buckeye and sugar tree N22° W8 poles to 2 Elms N30° E50 poles to 2 hickories N10° E42 poles to 2 Buckeyes N23° W36 poles crossing the river to 2 birches on the river bank and from there to the beginning with all its appurtenances. To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of Land with its appurtenances & with all and singular the appurtenances heriditriments thereunto belonging and the said heirs & widow aforesaid do covenant with the said John Alderson the said tract or parcel of Land from themselves & from their heirs Executors & administrators the tract or parcel of land aforesaid from all and every person or persons will warrant and forever defend in witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this day and date first above written.

James Wood (seal)
Polly (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Bailey Wood (seal)
Lucretia (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Wm Wood (seal)
Mary (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Richard (his o mark) Skaggs (seal)
Susannah (her X mark) Skaggs (seal)
Martin Magraw (seal)
Nancy (her X mark) McGraw (seal)
Saml McGraw (seal)
Elizabeth (her X mark) McGraw (seal)
Katherine (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Nancy (her X mark) Wood (seal)

Nicholas County to wit:
We William Carnefix and James Skaggs justice of the Peace of the County of Nicholas and the state of Virginia do hereby certify that James Wood, Bailey Wood, William Wood, Richard Skaggs, Martin McGraw, Samuel McGraw parties to a certain deed bearing date 21st September 1826 and hereunto annexed personally appeared before us in our county aforesaid and acknowledged the same to be their act and deed & desired us to certify the said acknowledgment to the Clerk of the County Court of Monroe in order that the said deed may be recorded. Given under our hands and seals this 21st day of Septr 1826.

W. Carnefix (seal)
James Skaggs (seal)

Nicholas County
We William Carnefix and James Skaggs justices of the peace in the County of Nicholas aforesaid in the state of Virginia do hereby certify the Polly Wood the wife of James Wood Lucretia Wood the wife of Bailey Wood, Mary Wood the wife of William Wood, Susannah Skaggs the wife of Richard Skaggs, Nancy McGraw the wife of Martin McGraw, Elizabeth McGraw the wife of Samuel McGraw, Katherine Wood and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood, decd parties to a certain Deed bearing date the 21st of September 1826 and hereunto annexed personally appeared before us in our county aforesaid and being examined by us privily and apart from their said (said marked out) husbands and having the deed aforesaid fully explained to them they the said Polly Wood, Lucretia Wood, Mary Wood, Susannah Skaggs, Nancy McGraw, Elizabeth McGraw, Katherine Wood and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood decd acknowledge the same to be their act and Deed and declared that they had willingly signed sealed and delivered the same and that they wished not to retract it.
Given under our hands and seals this 21st day of Septr 1826

W. Carnefix (seal)
James Skaggs (seal)

Monroe county clerks office February 10, 1842:
     This deed of bargain & sale from Bailey Woods heirs to John Alderson was acknowledged before two Magestrates in the county of Nicholas & certified and admitted to record.

Teste: Geo. Hutchinson, Jr, CMC

Transcription vs Original Record

Until last week I’d never seen the actual document. On New Year’s Day, I found the original record on FamilySearch. It seemed like a good omen for my genealogy research and a great start for the New Year 2020.

I did my own transcription even though I’ve had a transcript of this indenture for nearly two decades. I received it from a WOOD researcher and descendant, Vernon A. Fox (1924-2002), in an email dated 31 May 2001. My transcription is not 100% the same as the work sent to me by Mr. Fox. Some of the call lines did not match, several words were different, commas had been added, some words were missing, and abbreviated words and symbols had been written out. All of these differences could mean the transcriber was working from a different or less legible copy of the deed.

Narrowing the range for the date of death of Baily WOOD

It has been assumed Bailey WOOD died before 21 September 1826, the date of this indenture. He was not found in the 1810 or 1820 census, i.e. he was not found as a head of household. The 1800 census is lost for Virginia. Bailey did not leave a will in any of the counties he was known to have lived in. No administrative bonds for his estate were found. What other records did he produce which might narrow the range of death?

While checking the catalog at FamilySearch for records in Monroe County, West Virginia, I not only found the above indenture in the Deed Book but also the Land Books, registers in which the tax on land was recorded for each year since Monroe County was formed in 1799.

In the Land Book, I found the 100 acres mentioned in the deed above was taxed from 1810 until 1842. From 1810 to 1819 the owner is listed as Bailey WOOD. From 1821 to 1842 the owner is listed as “Bailey WOOD heirs.” The district in which the land was listed is missing for 1820. How was the landowner listed in 1820? As Bailey WOOD or his heirs? Even with this missing year, the death of Bailey WOOD can be estimated at between 1819-1821 as taxes were paid by him in 1819 and by his heirs in 1821.3

The Heirs and Legal Representatives of Bailey WOOD

Let’s take a look at the heirs and legal representatives. Who were they and when were they married? If their marriage records did not prove Bailey WOOD was their father, would they at least show the individuals were old enough to be children of Bailey and not grandchildren of deceased children?

The indenture shows Bailey WOOD left a widow named Nancy WOOD and the following heirs and legal representatives:

  • James Wood & Polly his wife
  • Bailey Wood & Lucretia his wife
  • William Wood & Mary his wife
  • Richard Skaggs & Susannah his wife
  • Martin McGraw & Nancy his wife
  • Samuel McGraw & Elizabeth his wife
  • Katherine Wood

Of the heirs who were married, records have been found for of all except Bailey WOOD Jr. and his wife Lucretia SKAGGS. All were performed by John ALDERSON – not unusual as the WOOD family were practicing Baptists and members of Alderson’s Old Greenbrier Church.

Susannah WOOD married Richard SKAGGS on 10 March 1789.4 The marriage entry does not name the parents of either the bride or groom.

William WOOD married Mary Ann McGRAW on 18 June 1800.5, 6, 7 Martin and Margaret McGRAW gave permission for their daughter to marry. John WOOD went bond with William WOOD on this marriage. The identity of John WOOD is unknown.

Nancy WOOD married Martin McGRAW Jr. on 3 May 1806.8 The marriage entry does not name parents of either Nancy or Martin.

Bailey WOOD Jr. married Lucretia SKAGGS, likely before 1807. No marriage record has been found. A similar indenture to the 1826 Wood indenture with heirs was found. This 1841 John SKAGGS heirs to Joshua ELLIS deed of bargain and sale includes Bailey WOOD and wife Lucretia as heirs of John SKAGGS who left a widow Catherine SKAGGS. This couple was two of the charter members of the Baptist church formed by John ALDERSON. This record proves Bailey WOOD Jr.’s wife Lucretia was a SKAGGS, daughter of John SKAGGS and Catherine HICKS.9

James WOOD married Mary HALSTEAD on 26 April 1810.10, 11, 12 Neither the marriage entry nor the bond gives information on the parentage of the bride and groom.

Elizabeth WOOD married Samuel McGRAW on 28 May 1812.13, 14 The marriage bond identifies Bailey WOOD as the father of Elizabeth WOOD.

Bailey WOOD was only identified as the father of Elizabeth, the youngest child who was the last to marry. As all of the other heirs married prior to Elizabeth they cannot be grandchildren and therefore must be children of Bailey WOOD.

As Katherine WOOD was named as an heir in 1826 she must have been of age (21 or older) at the time and born 1805 or earlier. An 1850 census listing for Fayette County was found for one Catherine WOOD age 56 (born abt. 1794) living in a SKAGGS household along with a man named James C. WOOD age 27.15 The two WOOD individuals are alone in a household in 1860. The occupation of the woman is governess but crossed out and replaced by wife even though the age of the man is 30 and the woman 60.16 This was done on several other listings on this census and cannot be reliable. I suspect this could be Bailey’s daughter Katherine and that she had a son out of wedlock. Further research is needed as neither were located in the census after 1860.

Who was Bailey WOOD’s wife?

Was Nancy WOOD named as the widow of Bailey WOOD in the indenture the mother of all of the children?

Bailey acquired 450 acres by grant in Greenbrier County in 1788.17 In 1803 he sold 127 acres of the 450 acres land grant to William GRAHAM.18 The other 323 acres were sold to Robert GWINN by Bailey WOOD and his wife Nancy in 1804.19 Nancy was, therefore, his wife as early as 1804.

Ann WOOD, a charter member of the baptist church (1781), was dismissed from the church on 23 April 1825 as was another woman named Polly WOOD.20 Members were dismissed when they left the church for other parts. As both of these women were dismissed on the same date, it would seem probable that they were from the same family. Polly WOOD could be Mary HALSTEAD, wife of James WOOD. If Polly was Mary, could Ann who had been a member for 44 years be her mother-in-law Nancy?

In 1820 Richard SKAGGS (husband of Susannah WOOD)21, William WOOD22, Martin McGRAW (husband of Mary WOOD)23, and Bailey WOOD Jr. were in Nicholas County. They had all moved to Nicholas County before the census.

James WOOD24 and Samuel McGRAW25 (husband of Elizabeth WOOD) were in Monroe County in 1820. James WOOD would move to Nicholas County by 1830. Samuel McGRAW would be in Greenbrier by 1825.

Only James WOOD’s census listing includes an older woman who could be his mother Nancy and a young woman who could be his single sister Katherine.

These census listings account for all of Bailey’s children and his widow in 1820. If my analysis is correct, Bailey WOOD must have died 1819-1820 after the land tax was recorded for 1819 and before the census was taken in 1820. This would support the assumption that the older woman in James’ household was Bailey’s widow Nancy.

Putting the speculation to rest

I strongly believe Ann and Nancy were used interchangeably by Bailey WOOD’s wife. To date, Nancy’s maiden name is unknown. There are hundreds of family trees on Ancestry that have her listed as Nancy HICKS. The maiden name is undocumented.

I found an old post on the Hicks Surname Forum on Genforum by Kitty Steele Barrera dated October 2006 in which she wrote, “I know that the Nancy Hicks/Bailey Wood connection is tentative because I was the first to make the connection. I posted “Bailey Wood married Nancy Hicks?” and before long, it was all over the internet as a fact.26 Kitty mentioned in another message in the same forum that she can be blamed for starting the rumor and the Hicks part is pure speculation.

It is pure speculation that Bailey’s wife Nancy was born Nancy HICKS.

Bailey and Nancy’s son William WOOD was my 4th great-grandfather. No record has been found indicating he had a middle initial or a middle name. As with his mother’s maiden name, William has also been given Hicks as a middle name by some unknown person and the mistake has been copied into hundreds of family trees.

The internet is an amazing tool for genealogy research however misinformation grows quickly and is widely spread. In hopes that this post will help clear up some of the misconceptions and encourage descendants of Bailey and Nancy WOOD to find the records to push back another generation.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Otis K. Rice, A History of Greenbrier County, Lewisburg, W. Va. : Greenbrier Historical Society, 1986, page 193. 
  2. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969” (manuscript on film, browse-only images), FamilySearch (Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969; 34 microfilm reels; 35 mm), Film 589502, DGS 8219401, Deed book, v. N 1840-1846, pages 187-189, image 124+125 of 411. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1826 Bailey Wood heirs to John Alderson deed of bargain and sale. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSGX-491G-C?i=123&cat=98998 : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  3. Monroe County (West Virginia) County Assessor, “Land book, 1799-1900” (manuscript on film, browse-only images), FamilySearch (Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1968; 12 microfilm reels, 35 mm). Citing microfilm of original records at the State Auditor’s Office, Charleston. (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/60462?availability=Family%20History%20Library : accessed 5 January 2020). 
  4. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia, Greenbrier County, 10 March 1789, Susannah Wood and Richard Scags married by John Alderson. 1789 Marriage Record (right page, 7th entry from bottom). Note: bride indexed as Ward and image could be Ward or Wood. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10975982&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  5. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 18 June 1800, William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw, permission slip from her parents. “June /newline/ Sir, this coms (sic) to let you now (sic) that I Marten and Marget Mcgraw is wiling that William Wood should have our daughter Mary Ann /newline/ To John Hutchason (Clerk) /newline/ The above was sworn to by John Wood one of the witnesses present.” 1800 Marriage Permission Slip. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370465&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  6. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, Marriage Bond dated 18 June 1800 for the marriage of William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw. “Marriage Bond #39 William Wood and John Wood went bond on the marriage of William Wood and Mary Anne McGraw (both of Monroe) on 18 June 1800 in Monroe County, Virginia.” 1800 Marriage Bond (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370480&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 18 June 1800 William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw married by John Alderson. 1800 Marriage Record entry (right page, 1st entry under Alderson). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369625&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  8. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 3 May 1806, Nancy Wood and Martin McGraw married by John Alderson, banns were published. 1806 Marriage Record (right page, 4th entry from bottom). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369727&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  9. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969,” Film 589504, DGS 8219402, Deed book, v. P-Q 1846-1852, pages 487-490, image 686+687 of 743. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1841 John Skaggs heirs to Joshua Ellis deed of bargain and sale. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSGX-49SY-L?cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  10. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project, West Virginia, Monroe County, 17 April 1810, James Wood and James M. Condon went bond for the marriage of James Wood to Mary Halstead. 1810 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11371453&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  11. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 26 April 1810, James Wood and Mary Halstead by John Alderson. 1810 Application for the marriage license. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369951&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  12. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 26 April 1810, James Wood and Mary Halstead married by John Alderson. 1810 Marriage Record entry (right page, last entry). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369380&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  13. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, marriage bond dated 19 May 1812, Samuel McGraw and Bailey Wood went bond on the marriage of Bailey’s daughter Elizabeth Wood and Samuel McGraw. 1812 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11371819&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  14. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 28 May 1812, Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth Wood married by John Alderson. 1812 Marriage Record entry (right page, 6th entry). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369509&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  15. 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, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 14, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M432_943; Page: 336B; Image: 278. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  16. 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, Year: 1860; Census Place: District 3, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M653_1344; Page: 373; Family History Library Film: 805344. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  17. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants” (index and images from microfilm), Virginia State Land Office, Grants A-Z, 1-124, reels 42-190; Virginia State Land Office, Grants 125- , reels 369-. The collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Library of Virginia Archives, https://www.lva.virginia.gov/ (Records on Library of Virginia site accessible through the new Collections Discovery System https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/search?vid=01LVA_INST:01LVA&lang=en), Land Office Grants No. 18, 1788-1789, p. 269 (Reel 84). Wood, Bailey Land grant 31 July 1788, 450 acres on the south side of Greenbrier River adjoining the land or James Givin and the land of Mathias Keen.(https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/18mtacj/alma990008443800205756 : accessed 24 April 2013). 
  18. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969,” Film 589348, GDS 8152873, Deed book, v. A 1789-1805, pages 280-281, image 369+370 of 463. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1803 Bailey Wood to William Graham 127a. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-23MT-F?i=368&cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  19. Ibid., Film 589348, GDS 8152873, Deed book, v. A 1789-1805, pages 330-331, image 394+395 of 463. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1804 Bailey Wood and Nancy to Robert Gwinn 323a.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-23M5-S?i=393&cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  20. Journal of the Greenbrier Historial Society, page 92. Greenbrier Historical Society, Lewisburg, West Virginia (a yearly publication, year unknown). (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 August 2017, courtesy of Kitty Steele Barrera) 
  21. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, 1820 US Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 204A; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 388. Richard Skaggs household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  22. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 205A; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 389. William Wood and Bailey Wood households (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  23. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 204; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 387. Martin McGraw household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  24. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Union, Monroe, Virginia; Page: 188; NARA Roll: M33_133; Image: 227. James Wood household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  25. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Peterstown, Monroe, Virginia; Page: 179; NARA Roll: M33_133; Image: 218. Samuel McGraw household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  26. Kitty Steele, “Re: Bailey Woods and Nancy Hicks,” Hicks Surname Forum, 29 October 2006, message 9940, Genealogy.com, GenForum (https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/hicks/9940/ : accessed 1/1/2020) 

Walking the Land Back to the Original Grant

A few weeks ago I shared The 1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William Johnson Sr. (1755-1805) and followed it up with last week’s post Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on about the land William and Amy sold in 1798 in Greenbrier County before moving to Kanawha County in what is now West Virginia.

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) were my 5th great-grandparents. From the wording of the two land deeds, they were a part of an original 150 acres land grant. These are the steps I took to show the land they sold was the same land granted to William in 1796.

Plotting the Tracts

Early this year I tried my hand at abstracting call lines from a deed and plotting the tract. I found the tract on a present-day map and wrote about the tools I used in I Found the Coolest Site to Use for Land Records in West Virginia.

As I had been successful with my CLONCH ancestor’s land, I tried the same tactic with William and Amy’s two land tracts. I used the following tools:

Pole to Foot Converter

Tract Plotter

Johnston to Tennis, 62 acres on Lick Run

As I had already transcribed the deeds all I needed to do was to abstract the call lines and convert the poles to feet for the Tract Plotter. For the Johnston to Tennis land deed:

Begining at a Double white oak and chesnut corner to the old survey & thence through the survey south Eighty three Degrees East one Hundred & twenty pole
Call Line: S83E 120 poles (1980 ft)

to an aposite Corner of the old survey & Flathers & with old line North Thirty six Degrees west one Hundred and sixty eight pole 
Call line: N36W 168 poles (2772 ft)

to four Locusts and soth (sic) Seventy Degrees wet forty four Pole
Call line: S70W 44 poles (726 ft)

to two white oaks & South thirteen Degrees East one Hundred and fourteen pole to the Begining
Call line: S13E 114 poles (1881 ft)

As can be seen below the call lines for the Johnston to Tennis tract calculate to 59.6 acres while 62 acres were seen in the deed.

Tract Plotter

Johnston to Kounts, 88 acres on Lick Run

The same was done for the Johnston to Kounts land deed:

Beginning at a black Oake & White Oake Corner to Kouns and with South thirty Eight Degrees East forty pole 
Call line: S38E 40 poles (660 ft)

to two white oaks and North fifty two Degrees East one Hundred and Eighty two pole
Call line: N52E 182 poles (3003 ft)

to Red Oak & two white oaks Corner to Keenan and the old Survey, thence through the Survey with Tineses line North Eighty three Degrees West one Hundred and twenty pole 
Call line: N83W 120 poles (1980 ft)

to the apasite Corner of old Survey and c? to Tennis on a Double White Oak and Chesnutt Oake on a Ridge and with old line South thirty two Degrees West Sixty six pole 
Call line: S32W 66 poles (1089 ft)

to Chesnutt Oake and black Oake and South Seventy Degrees West Ninety pole
Call line: S70W 90 poles (1485 ft)

to two white oaks and South ten degrees west fifty pole
Call line:  S10W 50 poles (825 ft)

to two White Oak Corner to Kounses own and with North Sixty Degree East Ninety one pole to the Beginning
Call line: N60E 91 poles (1501.5 ft)

The Johnston to Kounts tract calculates to 81.13 acres while 88 acres seen in the deed.

Tract Plotter (annotated with Evernote)

Merging the two tracts

After plotting the tracts I combined the two. The call lines N83W 1980 ft (Kounts) and S83E 1980 ft (Tennis) are the common boundary mentioned in the deeds. To combine them I used PicMonkey. The Tennis tract was reduced in size to match the scale of the Kounts tract.

Tract Plotter

The original 150 acres land grant

I looked at the original land grant of 150 acres only after I’d plotted the two land tracts side by side. I transcribed the description of the land, plotted the call lines, and came up with the same boundaries seen in the image (above) where the two were attached to each other.

…lying and being in the County of Greenbrier on the waters of Indian Creck a branch of New River and adjoining the Land of Patrick Kenan, Edward Fleathers and Samuel Black and bounded as followeth to wit. Beginning at a black and white oak, corner to Kenan and with the same South thirty eight degrees East forty poles two white oaks North fifty two degrees East one hundred and eighty two poles to a red oak and two white oaks on Fleathers’s line and leaving the same, North thirty six degrees West one hundred and sixty eight poles to four Locusts, South seventy degrees West forty four poles to two white oaks, South thirteen degrees East one hundred & fourteen poles to a double white and Chesnut oak, on the top of a hill thence South thirty two degrees West sixty six poles to a Chesnut and black oak, South seventy degrees West ninety poles to two white oaks, South ten degrees West fifty poles to two white oaks corner to Kenan thence North sixty degrees East ninety one poles to the beginning…

Call lines:
S38E 40 poles (660 ft)
N52E 182 poles (3003 ft)
N36W 168 poles (2772 ft
S70W 44 poles (726 ft)
S13E 114 poles (1881 ft)
S32W 66 poles (1089 ft)
S70W 90 poles (1485 ft)
S10W 50 poles (825 ft)
N60E 91 poles (1501.5 ft)

Tract Plotter

Where was the land grant found?

Years ago I discovered The Library of Virginia‘s collection Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants/Northern Neck Grants and Surveys. A search turned up a land grant in Greenbrier County for one William JOHNSTON described as 150 acres on the waters of Indian Creek a branch of New River and adjoining the lands of Patrick Kenan (sic), Edward Heathers (sic), & c.

At the time I knew Patrick KEENAN was a neighbor as my 6th cousin David Fridley had found the records of sale for two tracts of land totaling 150 acres and extracted only the short description of the land. It appeared to be a match but without the 1798 records which I transcribed in my previous post, I couldn’t be 100% certain.

Now with all three deeds “in hand,” I was able to compare and prove the 150 acres granted to William JOHNSON on 10 May 1796 is the same land he sold in two parcels in June 1798 to TENNIS and KOUNTS.

Questions remain

William JOHNSON used the Land Office Treasure Warrant number 12841 issued 2 July 1782 to obtain the grant of 150 acres in 1796.

On the Kentucky.gov Portal, they have a searchable database that includes all Virginia Treasury Warrants. I searched for the warrant number William used and found it was in the name of Edward KENON for 1470 acres.

Why would William JOHNSON use a treasury warrant issued to Edward KENON (KEENAN)?

The Library of Virginia has an interesting guide states, “At any time in the grant process after the treasury warrant was purchased, the purchaser could assign (sell) the right to part or all of the land described in the warrant.”

Apparently, Edward KEENAN assigned or sold the right to 150 acres of the original 1470 acres he purchased to William JOHNSON. Could there be a story behind this? Why did William JOHNSON sell the land only two years after he received the grant?

A complete transcription of the 1796 land grant to William JOHNSON will be share in a later post. Next week I’ll be making an announcement…

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) were my fifth great-grandparents. I wrote about their son William JOHNSON Jr. (1793-1845) and his wife Nancy Ann SIMS (abt. 1793-1860s) in 2014 during my first year blogging.

I’m reviewing William and Amy’s records and looking into opening some doors which have remained closed mainly due to my not having access to Virginia records from their period. Instead of starting with the earliest records, I’m going to move back into time.

A few weeks ago I wrote about The 1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William Johnson Sr. (1755-1805). An inventory of his estate has yet to be found. With the Administrator Bond, we learned William died before 9 April 1806 and likely during the winter of 1805. I have not found a primary or secondary source confirming he died 22 December 1805.1

In the General Index to Deeds of Kanawha County William JOHNSON Sr. wasn’t listed as a grantor nor as a grantee. He was not found on the land tax records of the county. Apparently, he did not acquire land during the seven years he lived in Kanawha County.

David Fridley, my double 6th cousin through William JOHNSON Sr. and Amy NELSON and through James SIMS and his first wife Phebe _____, has been supportive when it comes to researching our common ancestors over the years. We e-met in the days when mailing lists were active on Rootsweb and still keep up via email and Facebook.

David once mentioned two land records he’d abstracted from the deed books of Greenbrier County. He hadn’t noted the book or page number at the time. The deeds indicated William JOHNSON and his wife Amy deeded a total of 150 acres on Lick Run on 25 and 26 June 1798. As this was the last mention of them in Greenbrier County we believe they must have left for Kanawha County around 1798.

At the end of July, I located the deeds David found many years ago while checking into new collections on FamilySearch. The first thing I did was to send David the citations.

Johnston to Tennis, 62 acres on Lick Run

William JOHNSTON and Amy his wife sold 62 acres on Lick Run to William TENNIS as seen in the following deed.2

This Indenture made this 25 Day of June one Thousand seven Hundred and Ninety eight Between WIlliam Johnston and Amy his wife of the one Part and William Tennis of the other Each of the county of Greenbrier & State of Virginia Witnesseth that the said William Johnston and Amey his wife for & in consideration of the some (sic) of Five Shillings Current money of sd [said] State to them in hand Paid on or before the seling and delivering of their presents the Receipt whereof the Dead (sic) Hereby acknowledged have Bargained & sold & by these presents doe Bargain & sell unto the sd William Tennis and his heirs or assigns a certain tract or Percil of Land Containing sixty two acres it being part of a survey of one Hundred & fifty acres Granted to the sd Johnston by paten, lying & being in the county of Greenbrier on the Waters of lick run where sd Tennis now lives & is Bounded as followeth (to wit) Begining at a Double white oak and chesnut corner to the old survey & thence through the survey south Eighty three Degrees East one Hundred & twenty pole to an aposite Corner of the old survey & Flathers & with old line North Thirty six Degrees west one Hundred and sixty eight pole to four Locusts and soth (sic) Seventy Degrees wet forty four Pole to two white oaks & South thirteen Degrees East one Hundred and fourteen pole to the Begining with its appertainances to the sd William Tennis and his Heirs to the sole yeo? & behoof of the sd William Tennis his heirs or assigns forever and the sd William Johnston & Amy his wife for themselves and their Heirs Doth covenant with the said William Tennis and his heirs the said tract or parcel of land from themselves and their heirs to the said William Tennis and his Heirs or assigns against all and every person or persons whatsoever will warrent and will forever Defend in Witness Whereof we have hereunto set our Hands and seals the Day and the year above Written. 

Signed seald & Delivered
In the Presents off………………………..Williams (his mark) Jonston Seal
Edward Keenan
John Johnston………………………………Emey (her mark) Jonston Seal
Michael Kounts

At a Court held for Greenbrier County June the 26th 1798
This Deed from William Johnston to Wm Tennis was prest in Court & provd by the Oaths of Edward Keenan John Johnston & Michl Kounts and ordered to Record.
………………………………………Teste
………………………………………John Stuart C.G.C. (Clerk Greenbrier County)

Johnston to Kounts, 88 acres on Lick Run

William JOHNSTON and his wife Amy sold 88 acres on Lick Run to Michael KOUNTS as seen in the following deed.[^3]

This Indenture maid this Twenty ___ day of June one Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Eight between William Johnston and Eamy his wife of the one part and Michael Kouns of the other Each of the County of Greenbrier and State of Virginia Witnesseth that the said William Johnston and Eamy his Wife for and in consideration of the sum of one Dollar current Money of said State to them in hand paid on or before the Sealing and delivering of these presents the receit whereof the do hereby Acknowledge have bargained and sold and by these presents doe bargain and Sell unto the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs and Assigns a Certain Tract or parcell of Land containing Eighty eight Acres & being the Land sd Johnston now lives on Lying and being in the County of Greenbrier on the Lick Run Joining the Land of Edward Keenan Isaac Palton and Kounces own Land Bough of Keenan & being the S.W. End of said Survey of 150 Acres and is bounded as followeth (to Wit) Beginning at a black Oake & White Oake Corner to Kouns and with South thirty Eight Degrees East forty pole to two white oaks and North fifty two Degrees East one Hundred and Eighty two pole to Red Oak & two white oaks Corner to Keenan and the old Survey, thence through the Survey with Tineses line North Eighty three Degrees West one Hundred and twenty pole to the apasite Corner of old Survey and c? to Tennis on a Double White Oak and Chesnutt Oake on a Ridge and with old line South thirty two Degrees West Sixty six pole to Chesnutt Oake and black Oake and South Seventy Degrees West Ninety pole to two white oaks and South ten degrees west fifty pole to two White Oak Corner to Kounses own and with North Sixty Degree East Ninety one pole to the Beginning with all the appertainances thereunto belonging to the said Michael Kounts and his Heirs and Assignes to the sole use and behoof of the said Michael Kounts and his Heirs and Assignes forever and the said William Johnston and Eamy his Wife for themselves and their Heirs doth Covenant with the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs the said Tract or Parcil of Land from themselves and their Heirs to the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs, against all and every Person or Persons whatsoever will Warrant and will forever defend in Witness whereof we have hereunto set our Hands and Seals the Day and year above Written
Signd, Seald & Acknowledgd
in the Presents off……………………………William (his mark) Jonston Seal
Edward Keenan
John Johnson………………………………….Eamey (her mark) Jonston Seal
Wm Tennis

At a Court held for Greenbrier County June the 26th 1798
This Deed from William Johnston to Michael Kounts was presented in Court and proved by the Oaths of Edwd Keenan John Johnston and William Tennis and the same is order to Record
………………………….Teste
…………………………..John Stuart

Interesting thoughts from David

When I contacted David with the citations he wrote, “Thanks so much for following up with these citations! There’s an awful lot of data I have still from my days decades ago of visiting courthouses that need adequate citation today, and I’m thankful for the increasing amount of digitized records on FamilySearch.

He further wrote, “It’s also useful to revisit the original documents, since there’s more to be learned from a current perspective, for example noticing that “Eamey E. Jonston” included a middle initial, which I don’t think I’ve seen before.

I hadn’t noticed the use of the middle initial. When I transcribed the deeds I saw where David thought a middle initial was used. However, I believe it is a scribble and meant to be her mark.

Here are close-ups of the “signatures” on the recorded deeds. I don’t think these are their actual signatures.

“Signatures” on Johnston to Tennis deed (top) and Johnston to Kounts deed (bottom)

Taking a closer look at the names, on the bottom image, it is clearly noted these are their marks. William appears to have signed with an x. The mark copied into the book by the clerk for the second deed (bottom) looks similar to the E in the first name Eamey and likely why David thought she was using a middle initial. I believe Amy’s mark is two close or consecutive circles. It must be noted that Amy’s name was spelled Amey, Eamy, and Eamey in the records above.

David also considered the price paid for the land and sent me a map with the location of the land. He wrote:

I also looked at the neighbors and grantees to see if there might be a family relationship given the very low price William sold his land for, but I’m not finding any right away. The price is a relative pittance compared to what land in the Shenandoah Valley was going for at the same time, but then, this was fairly remote, and I doubt William had any quantity of good bottom land that would make it more valuable. I’m attaching a map I created showing Lick Run in context of Monroe Co. with an inset showing the specific topography of Lick Run. It is a branch of Indian Creek, so the bottom land was only down by the creek. (There is another Lick Run in the SW portion of the county that emptied into Hans Creek, but looking at the other records of Tennis/Keenan/Counts-Koontz, it is apparent it is the Indian Creek one.)
William Tennis resold this land sometime after 1800 and headed to Adams Co., OH (bordering KY on the Ohio River). A list of his transactions (including the one with William) is compiled at https://www.ancestry.com/boards/localities.northam.usa.states.westvirginia.counties.monroe/439/mb.ashx. In this list are a number of land transactions from 26 June 1798 that involved William Tennis and Edward Keenan, some of which were also witnessed by John Johnson (doesn’t appear as Johnston), and one by a Thos Johnson. I wonder if either is related.

Map courtesy of David Fridley.

David refers to the land being in Monroe County. He is correct in terms of present-day geography. When William and Amy sold it in 1798 it was in the part of Greenbrier which would become Monroe County the following year.

Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on

With the sale of the land in Greenbrier County in 1798, the family of William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON were getting ready for their northwest move to Kanawha County where William died in 1805.
Next week will take us further back when I discuss how William JOHNSON came into the 150 acres he and his wife sold in 1798.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Greenbrier County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Deeds (Greenbrier County, West Virginia), 1780-1901” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia), Film 593545, DGS #7765144, Deeds, v. 2 1798-1803, images 37 of 380 (page 52). Johnston to Tennis deed for 62 acres (25 June 1798, entered 26 June 1798). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSM7-V4RY?i=36&cat=98577 : accessed 31 July 2019). 
  2. Greenbrier County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Deeds (Greenbrier County, West Virginia), 1780-1901” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia), Film 593545, DGS #7765144, Deeds, v. 2 1798-1803, image 80 of 380 (page 145). Johnston to Kounts deed for 88 acres (__ June 1798, entered 26 June 1798)(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSM7-V45L?i=79&cat=98577 : accessed 31 July 2019). 

Rewriting the Biography: A Darling Little Boy

Rewriting the Biography has become a catch-all for not only the biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) but also his children and their descendants. I took a break from working on this series after doing the census work and posts for his sixteen children.

While I was working on these last year, Patricia Simms Williams shared this lovely tribute written by her grandfather following the death of one of his children. The Genealogy Sketch box puts this family in perspective to James SIMS, Patricia, and myself.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Charles Edward SIMMS
Parents: William Thomas SIMS and Mary Catherine WILLIAMS
Spouse: Lydia Ellen WILLIAMS and Cora Estella HURLEY (*)
Children: Ophelia Virginia, Chusvert, Laura, Cecil James, Charles Erman, Carman, Claude, and Cluster Erwin
Whereabouts: West Virginia counties: Fayette, Nicholas, Braxton, and Greenbrier
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd cousin 3 times removed

1. James SIMS and his wife Phebe
2. Martin SIMS and Susannah JOHNSON
3. Nelson SIMS and Nancy JONES
4. William Thomas SIMS and Mary Catherine WILLIAMS
5. Charles Edward SIMMS and Cora Estella HURLEY
6. Charles Erman SIMMS and Nina Mae MILES
7. Patricia Ann SIMMS

Charles Edward SIMMS was born in 1866 to William Thomas SIMS and Mary Catherine WILLIAMS. His father died in 1870 and his mother remarried in 1872. He had two siblings and 5 half-siblings.

Charles married his first wife Lydia Ellen WILLIAMS in 1887. She gave him two sons and a daughter before her death. Charles married again in 1896 to Cora Estella HURLEY.

By 1900 the two sons from his first marriage had died and his household included his wife Cora, his daughters Ophelia from his first marriage and Laura B. from his second marriage. Cora was listed as the mother of two children, one living. This would mean Charles had lost three children by 1900.

In 1902 a son was born to Charles and Cora. No record of birth has been found for him nor a record of his death in September 1905. His name and years of birth and death have been passed down in the family history. Cecil James SIMMS died after his father came in contact with measles while stopping off at a neighbor’s house.

This is his recollection and tribute to his son. The scans of the pages with the handwritten poem did not include a title. I’ve taken the liberty to give it this title.

A Darling Little Boy

Returning once unto my home
Along a muddy way
The path that through the fields did come
I took that fatal day.

Near by a neighbor farmhouse stood
I, weary, sad, thought best
to stop with them partake of food
and gain a little rest.

Fate lays her hand in silent state
Unwarned on all of earth
Regardless of the small or great,
Or those of noble birth

Fate, silent stroke here fell on me
I, measles did inhale,
The bellows of life troubled sea
Rose by the stirring gale.

There was a flower in my home,
A darling little boy;
No dearer object there could come,
This precious little toy.

I used to take my darling son
When near the close of day
The busy cares then being done
And sing in joyful lay.

“I never will cease to love him
My, Jimmy, my Jimmy!
I will never cease to love him
He’s done so much for me.”

But when the sickness seized this flower,
It drooping, withered, died
We strove to save it from that power;
It perished by our side.

We sadly laid him in the grave
To wait that coming day;
And trusting Jesus power to save,
Our heats will ever say:

One by one the Savior gathers,
choicest flowers rich, and rare,
He’ll transplant them in his garden,
They will bloom forever there.

Charles Edward Simms (1866-1936)

This poem conveys Charles’ feelings, his love for his son Jimmy, and the sadness of losing him. It was written like a hymn which is not unusual as Charles was a preacher and teacher. In the years which followed Charles was also a manager for Singer sewing machines as well as a jewelry shop owner.

Following the death of his only living son in 1905, Charles’ wife Cora gave him four more sons. Charles, Carman, Claude, and Cluster. Claude died of influenza in 1918 during the epidemic at the age of 4 years and 15 days. Charles and Cora’s daughter Laura had died the previous year. Patricia wrote:

Laura was not married to Joseph Edward Bruffey, the father of her son Joseph Eugene Bruffey. For some reason, Laura’s mother Cora didn’t want her to get married. Laura had polio as a child, childbirth was hard for her and she died the following day after giving birth to Joseph Eugene. The Bruffey’s wanted to raise the baby but grandma Cora refused to let them.

After all of these losses in Charles’ family, his children Ophelia, Charles, Carman, and Cluster lived long lives. Ophelia lived to be 82, Charles 69, Carman 70, and Cluster 93.

When Patricia shared the scans of the poem with me, she wrote:

It should be shared with someone who will take care of it after I’m gone.
By featuring it here, I hope it will not be lost to future generations interested in our SIMS ancestry.
© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Rewriting the Biography: Edward SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

Rewriting the Biography is an ongoing theme for the rough draft notes of a new/updated biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) of Nicholas County.

My head has been spinning with the family I’m presently working on. I’ve run into mistaken identities and misattributed information. I ended up splitting a person into two and attaching different events to each individual. It has taken time to do the correction and figure out how to present all of this as can be seen by the delay in this installment.

I had a hard time keeping my focus on Edward SIMS. A large part of this is due to my not being 100% convinced he was a son of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS. Years ago I spent weeks researching the descendants of Edward SIMS and his wife Hannah Mary ROBINSON. I followed them and their descendants out west to Missouri and Kansas and even as far as California.

It Always Comes Back to the Partition Suit

James SIMS was the only child of Jeremiah SIMS and Agatha NALLE and, therefore, he did not have nephews or nieces. He did, however, have 15 to 16 children with two wives. After his death in late 1845, a partition suit was brought before the court in 1848. [The original record is not available to me. I cannot be certain the transcription includes the names of all of his children.]

The 1848 partition suit which names James’ children (and grandchildren if the parent was deceased) does not include Edward SIMS although he was still living and in the area. The omission of his name in the document was the reason he was not considered a son of James SIMS at the time I wrote the original biography of James SIMS.

Was he a son of James SIMS or, as he could not be a nephew, a cousin? Two of James’ mother Agatha NALLE’s sisters married SIMS men, sons of Thomas SIMS and Rebecca PETTY. Neither as far as I know, had known sons named Edward. [Family tradition which has not been substantiated: James’ first wife Phoebe was his cousin. Some say a SIMS, others say a NALLE. Was Edward related to Phoebe? Should I even be asking these questions publicly, where others may misconstrue them? To make things clear, to date, no record has been found giving the first wife of James SIMS a surname or family connection to him.]

James’ father Jeremiah, in his 1768 will, referred to an Edward SIMS as his “beloved friend.” Did James SIMS name one of his sons Edward after his father’s friend? Was it only be a coincidence that Edward SIMS (1785-1852) married Hannah ROBINSON in Champaign County, Ohio, in 1805, the same county James’ oldest son Jeremiah moved to about 1804? And was it a coincidence that Edward lived in Greenbrier (a part which would later become Fayette County) while owning land in Nicholas County at the same time as James SIMS?

Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact—like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly—i.e., without the need for any additional evidence or inference.

If Edward SIMS was not a son of James SIMS, who was he? Why did he live so close to James SIMS during the same time period?

Edward SIMS, a Candidate for Sonship?

Edward SIMS married Hannah Mary ROBINSON in August 1805 in Urbana, Champaign County. He may have gone to Ohio with (his brother) Jeremiah SIMS (son of James) in 1804 or followed him there. Or did Jeremiah follow him there? Edward was eight years younger than Jeremiah and would have been only 19 years old in 1804.

In August 1806, a year after their marriage, Edward and Hannah may have lived for a short time in Tennessee where their first daughter was born per the 1870 and 1880 census. They were back in Kanawha County in western Virginia by October 1808 when Edward was the administrator of the estate of John FOWLER, a son-in-law of James SIMS.

In 1806 and 1809 Edward was not listed on the Personal Property Tax Lists of Kanawha County per annotations in 1810 Kanawha County, (W)Va Census, compiled by David A. Turner and Sigfus Olafson and published by Kanawha Valley Genealogical Society, Inc. in 1991.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

In 1810 Edward and Hannah were in Kanawha County in the Charleston district. Also in the household was a second man in the same age range as Edward. Two daughters had been born by this time.

1810 U.S. Federal Census for Kanawha County, Virginia. Sheet 142, line 6, Edward Sims

1810 U.S. Federal Census 1
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Charleston
Sheet 142, Line 6
Name: Edward Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 2 (Edward and unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Rebecca and Miriam)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Hannah)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 2
Number of Household Members: 5

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

Edward SIMS was found in Greenbrier County in 1820. In his household were his wife Hannah, five daughters and two sons. One of the daughters is unknown.

1820 U.S. Federal Census for Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, Virginia, page 193, line 18, Edward Sims

1820 U.S. Federal Census 2
Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
Lewisburg
Page 193, Line 18
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Name: Edward Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Hale and Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Edward)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3 (Polly, unknown, and Helen)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Rebecca and Miriam)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Hannah)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 7
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 9

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Edward was still living in Greenbrier County with his wife Hannah in 1830. They had three more daughters born into the family during the decade. Five daughters and two sons are found in the listing. The daughter in the 15 thru 19 range is likely Miriam who becomes a mother in 1832 but doesn’t marry until about 1845. This means the unknown girl who was with the family in 1820 in the under 10 category is now missing.

However, if Miriam had left home and was elsewhere, could the daughter in the 15 thru 19 range be the unknown daughter? I will come back to who she may be at the end of this post.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Greenbrier County, Virginia, page 201, line 23, Edward Simms

1830 U.S. Federal Census3
Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: Edward Simms
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Hale)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (Edward)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 3 (Helen, Aletha, Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Mary E. “Polly”)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Miriam OR unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Hannah)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 9

Rebecca SIMS and William M. GILKERSON

Edward and Hannah’s oldest daughter Rebecca married William M. GILKERSON in 1827 and had a daughter Jane who was about a year old.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Greenbrier County, Virginia, page 177, line 9, William Gilkerson

1830 U.S. Federal Census4
Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
Lewisburg
Sheet A & B, Line
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: William Gilkerson
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Rebecca)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 3

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

In 1840 Edward and Hannah were both in their mid-fifties and hadn’t had any more children in the previous decade. Their daughter Miriam had a son out of wedlock, William SIMS, in 1832. He is likely the young boy listed in the family group. Miriam does not seem to be living at home with her parents. Her three youngest sisters and her two brothers were in the household. The unknown girl found with the family in 1820 and possibly 1830 is no longer in the family.

Fayette County was formed in 1831 from Kanawha, Nicholas, Greenbrier and Logan Counties. The part of Greenbrier in which Edward lived in 1820 and 1830 was probably a part of the county which was ceded to Fayette County. Edward and his son-in-law William GILKERSON are found living next to each other.

1840 U.S. Federal Census, Fayette County, Virginia, page 158, line 29, Edward Sims and William Gilkerson

1840 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 158, Line 29
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Edward Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (William Sims, son of Miriam)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 2 (Charles & Hale)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (Edward)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 2 (Jane & Helen)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Aletha)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Hannah)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Persons Employed in Learned Professional Engineers: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8

Rebecca SIMS and William GILKERSON

Rebecca and William’s family grew by three sons and a daughter.

1840 U.S. Federal Census, Fayette County, Virginia, page 158, line 29, Edward Sims and William Gilkerson

1840 U.S. Federal Census6
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 158, Line 30
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: William Gilkerson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Josiah age 4)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Isaac age 9-10 & Edward age 8)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Rebecca age 2)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Jane age 10-11)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Rebecca)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7

Mary E. “Polly” SIMS and Abraham Seay McGUFFIN

Edward’s daughter Mary married Abraham Seay McGUFFIN in 1835 and had two sons by 1840.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Abraham S. McGuffin household

1840 U.S. Federal Census7
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 144, Line 7
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Abraham S McGuffin
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (William and Preston)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Abraham)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Mary)
Persons Employed in Manufacture and Trade: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Edward SIMS and his wife Hannah Mary ROBINSON were enumerated twice in the 1850 census. They were found in the household of their oldest child Rebecca and her husband William GILKERSON (also seen as GILKINSON and GILKESON).

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for William Gilkerson household with Edward Sims

1850 U.S. Federal Census8
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District 359B-360A
Enumerated the 17th day of August 1850
Sheet 359B lines 38-42 and 360A lines 1-7, HH #381-381
William Gilkinson 48 M Farmer $1000 Virginia
Rebecca Gilkinson 44 F Virginia
Jane Gilkinson 21 F Virginia
Isaac Gilkinson 19 M Laborer Virginia attended school
Edward Gilkinson 18 M Laborer Virginia attended school
Josias Gilkinson 14 M Virginia
Rebecca Gilkinson 12 F Virginia
Wm. Gilkinson 10 M Virginia
Charles W. Gilkinson 3 M Virginia
Edward Sims 64 M Farmer $500 Virginia (father-in-law)
Hannah Sims 63 F Virginia (mother-in-law)
Letha Sims 26 F Virginia (sister-in-law)
Note: Column with the place of birth was not filled in indicating all persons were born in Virginia.

They were also seen with their youngest daughter Jane who married Lilburn SIMS, son of John SIMS, a known son of James SIMS. (see listing further below)

Most of Edward and Hannah’s children had gone to live in Cass County, Missouri, before the 1850 census leaving only the members of the two households in which Edward was found still in (West) Virginia.

Miriam SIMS and James Right SUDDARTH

Miriam married James Right SUDDARTH sometime before 1845. He was a widower and brought two children into the marriage. Miriam and James had two sons born in Virginia in 1845 and 1847 placing their move to Cass County, Missouri after 1847 and before 1850. If they left (West) Virginia at the same time as Miriam’s son William SIMS then their departure was 19 March 1849.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Cass County, Missouri for James R. Suddarth household

1850 U.S. Federal Census9
Cass County, Missouri
Sixteenth District
Enumerated the 21st day of October 1850
Sheet 111A, lines 20-25, HH #719-724
James R. Suddarth 45 M Tenant $800 Virginia
Myriam Suddarth 42 F Virginia
Margaret Suddarth 18 F Virginia (dau from his first marriage)
James M. Suddarth 17 M Farmer Virginia (son from his first marriage)
Benjamin R. Suddarth 4 M Virginia
Andrew J. Suddarth 3 M Virginia

Hale SIMS and Mary MORRIS

Edward’s son Hale SIMS married Mary MORRIS on 12 November 1844 in Nicholas County. He likely died before 1850 as his widow and children were found with her parents.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for William Morris household with Mary Sims and daughters.

1850 U.S. Federal Census10
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated on 27 August 1850 by D. Oliver Kelly Ass’t Marshal
Sheet 372B lines 38-42 and 373A lines 1-8, HH #433-433
Morris, William, Es. 63 M W Farmer $3,000 Virginia
Morris, Ann 50 F W Kentucky
Morris, Benjamin 26 M W Farmer Virginia
Morris, William 21 M W Farmer $200 Virginia
Morris, Levi 18 M W Farmer Virginia
Morris, Harraman 16 F W Farmer Virginia
Morris, James 13 M W Virginia
Morris, Frances 12 F W Virginia
Morris, Angaline 8 F W Virginia
Morris, Ann 5 F W Virginia
Sims, Mary 27 F W Virginia
Sims, Virginia 3 (sic, 5) F W Virginia
Sims, Eunis 3 F W Virginia
Note: no mark was made on the census sheet indicating the Sims girls were twins.

Mary E. “Polly” SIMS and Abraham S. McGUFFIN

Mary and her husband Abraham moved to Cass County, Missouri, following the birth of their daughter Rebecca born about 1849. It is possible they made the move with the SUDDARTHs and the MARTINs.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Cass County, Missouri for Abraham S. McGuffin household

1850 U.S. Federal Census11
Cass County, Missouri
Sixteenth District
Sheet 114B, lines 6-14, HH #770-775
Abraham S. McGuffin 43 M Farmer Virginia
Polly McGuffin 36 F Virginia
Sarah McGuffin 14 F Virginia
Wm. McGuffin 13 M Virginia attended school
Preston McGuffin 12 M Virginia attended school
John McGuffin 9 M Virginia attended school
Charles McGuffin 5 M Virginia attended school
Robert McGuffin 3 M Virginia
Rebecca McGuffin 1 F Virginia

Charles SIMS and Mary Ann BRISCOE

This is likely NEW information for researchers who have studied the Edward SIMS family. There was some confusion as to the identity of Charles SIMS. After spending days on end reviewing all of the information, I have come to the conclusion that Charles W. SIMS who married Mary GIGER in 1834 in Fayette County was NOT Edward’s son. I believe he is a grandson of James SIMS through one of these three sons: William, Martin, or John (with Martin being the most likely candidate when reviewing the pre-1850 census).

Edward’s son Charles went west before 1843. The first mention of him was found on 13 February 1843 in Van Buren County, Missouri. The county was organized in 1835 and renamed Cass County in 1849. Charles married Mary Ann BRISCOE in 1844. He was a prominent lawyer and served as a Representative for Van Buren, later Cass County, in 1848, 1850, and 1852. He may have been the magnet which brought most of the Edward SIMS family to Cass County, Missouri.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Cass County, Missouri for Charles Sims household

1850 U.S. Federal Census12
Cass County, Missouri
Sixteenth District
Sheet 123B, Lines 32-33, HH #903-912
Charles Sims 31 M Attny $6000 Virginia
Maryan Sims 21 F Missouri

Helen SIMS and William MARTIN

Helen and her husband William moved to Cass County, Missouri, about 1849 likely at the same time as the SUDDARTHs and the McGUFFINs. The census listing is strange in that Helen is listed first, followed by the children, and finally her husband William.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Cass County, Missouri for Helen Martin household

1850 U.S. Federal Census13
Cass County, Missouri
Sixteenth District
Enumerated the 21st day of October 1850
Sheet 111B, lines 4-10, HH #723-728
Helen Martin 30 F Virginia
Edna Martin 8 F Virginia
Hannah M. Martin 6 F Virginia
Mildred Martin 4 F Virginia
Charles E. Martin 2 M Virginia
Wm. H. Martin 8/12 M Missouri
Wm. Martin 32 M Farmer Virginia

Jane SIMS and Lilburn SIMS

Jane SIMS married Lilburn SIMS in 1842. She and her husband were likely planning their move to Cass County, Missouri, at the time of the 1850 census when her parents, Edward and Hannah, as well as her sister Aletha, were enumerated in the Lilburn SIMS household. Lilburn was previously married and had a son William H. SIMS who was living with his grandparents, John and Mildred SIMS, in 1850, in the adjacent household.

1850 U.S. Federal Census14
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 22A, lines 116-18
HH #279-283
John Sims 63 M Farmer Virginia
Mildred Sims 60 F Virginia
William H. Sims 11 M attended school Virginia
HH #280-284
Lilburn Sims 35 M Farmer Virginia
Jane Sims 25 F Virginia
Charles W. Sims 1 M Virginia
Edward Sims 64 M Virginia
Hannah Sims 60 F
Aletha Sims 27 F

The Years Before the 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Edward SIMS, his wife Hannah, their daughter Aletha, and their youngest daughter Jane and her family followed the SUDDARTH, MARTIN, and McGUFFIN families out west to Cass County, Missouri, after the 1850 census. Edward died on 31 March 1852 and was buried in Harrisonville, Cass County. His wife Hannah died 11 October 1858 in Freeman, Cass County. They are not buried in the same cemetery. Their daughter Letha died three months after her mother on 20 January 1859 and is buried in the Freeman Cemetery likely near her mother. Their grave markers are similar.

The Years After the Deaths of Edward and Hannah

Rebecca remained in Fayette County, West Virginia, where she died in 1894.

Miriam moved to Pottawatomie County, Kansas from Cass County, Missouri, before 1865 and died there in 1897.

Hale who died before 1850 left a widow and two daughters. The widow remarried. In 1870 the youngest daughter was found in Pottawatomie County, Kansas, with Virginia SMITH, a 52-year-old widow from Virginia.

Mary moved to Miami County, Kansas from Cass County, Missouri, before 1865. She died between 1880 and 1885 as her widower was found in the 1885 Kansas state census with their son Preston.

Charles moved to Lykens County, Kansas, before 1860. The name of the county would change to Miami County in 1861. Charles was seen with his wife in the household of his sister Mary and Abraham McGUFFIN in 1865 in Miami County. Charles and his wife divorced in 1870. This was discovered when claims to his estate were made after his death in 1875. They did not have children. He remarried and had two children who lived with his sister Helen after his death.

Helen moved to Miami County, Kansas, in 1860 when it was still known as Lykens County, and died there in 1889.

Jane was seen in Miami County, Kansas, in 1865 but by 1876 she was back in Cass County, Missouri, were her husband Lilburn died, leaving a will in which she was mention, in 1887. When she died is not known.

The unknown daughter seen in the 1820 and possibly in the 1830 census may have survived, married, moved west about the same time as the rest of Edward’s children. I am looking into Virginia SMITH with whom Hale’s daughter Eunice was living in 1870. I traced her back to Cass County in 1860 and 1850 where she is seen with her husband Enoch M. SMITH and children. Husband, wife, and all of the children except for the two youngest (born abt. 1848 and 1855) were born in Virginia dating their move to Cass County at between 1846-1848. In 1860 they lived 7 households away from Lilburn SIMS and his sister Miriam SUDDARTH (who lived next door to each other). An Enoch M. V. SMITH was found in Fayette County, (West) Virginia, in 1840. One of the SMITH sons went to Yolo County, California, where William SIMS, son of Miriam, settled. A record of marriage in (West) Virginia around 1839 has not been found. Two sons lived after 1900 and may have death records which include their mother’s maiden name. No family trees on Ancestry have a maiden name for Virginia or parents for husband Enoch M. SMITH.

I am more convinced than ever that Edward SIMS was likely not a son of James SIMS. I will, however, do follow-up posts on his children as several interesting biographical sketches were found which tie them to each other. The entanglements of the Edward SIMS families with the James SIMS families, hopefully, will be untangled by the time I finish this census study.

As I final note and question,  wouldn’t Edward SIMS, whose son Charles was a prominent lawyer, have become involved in the partition suit if he was a son of James SIMS?

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Rewriting the Biography: Edward Sims in the U.S. Federal Census

  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 395, Virginia, Kanawha, Charleston, page 119, sheet 142, line 6, Edward Sims (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 February 2018). 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_132, Image 169, Virginia, Greenbrier, Lewisburg, page 193, line 18, Edward Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029669, NARA Roll M19_190, Virginia, Greenbrier, image 61+62 of 80, page 201A+B, line 23, Edward Simms. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  4. Ibid., Virginia, Greenbrier, image 19+20 of 22, page 177A+B, line 9, William Gilkerson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  5. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, page 158A, line 29, Edward Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  6. Ibid., NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, page 158A, line 30, William Gilkerson. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  7. Ibid., NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, image 11&12 of 54, sheet 144, line 7, Abraham S. McGuffin household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 May 2018). 
  8. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_943, image 324+325, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 60+61 of 91, sheet 359B lines 38-42 and 360A lines 1-7, HH #381-381, William Gilkinson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 May 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Roll: M432_395, image 228; Missouri, Cass, District 16, image 105 of 135, sheet 111A, lines 20-25, HH #719-724 , James Suddarth household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 May 2018). 
  10. Ibid., Roll: M432_963, image 307+308, Virginia, Nicholas County, Western District, image 66+67 of 93, sheet 372B lines 38-42 and 373A lines 1-8, HH #433-433, William Morris household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 May 2018). 
  11. Ibid., Roll: M432_395, image 235; Missouri, Cass, District 16, image 112 of 135, sheet 114B, lines 6-14, HH #770-775, Abraham S. McGuffin household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 May 2018). 
  12. Ibid., Roll: M432_395, image 253; Missouri, Cass, District 16, image 130 of 135, sheet 123B, lines 32-33, HH #903-912, Charles Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 May 2018). 
  13. Ibid., Roll: M432_395, image 229; Missouri, Cass, District 16, image 106 of 135, sheet 111B, lines 4-10, HH #723-728, Helen Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 May 2018). 
  14. Ibid., Roll: M432_954, image49, Virginia, Kanawha County, District 29, image 23 of 271, sheet 22A, lines 19-24, HH #280-284, Lilburn Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 May 2018). 

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

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

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

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

Genealogy Sketch

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

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

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

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

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

Death Record

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

Marriage Record

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

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

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

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

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

Birth Record

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

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

Pre-1850 Census Analysis

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

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

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

1840 Census

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

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

1830 Census

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

1820 Census

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

1810 Census

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

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

1810 Census reconstructed from tax lists

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

1800 Census reconstructed from tax lists

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

1790 Census reconstructed from tax lists

  • 1791 James DEMPSEY in Greenbrier
  • 1789 William DEMPSEY in Botetourt
  • 1789 Michael DEMPSEY in Shenandoah
map
Location of misc. DEMPSEY individuals in Virginia and West Virginia in the early 1800s.

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

The Rockbridge DEMPSEYs

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

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

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

Was William A. W. DEMPSEY the unaccounted male in John W.’s 1840 census listing and was he:

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

The Amherst DEMPSEYs

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

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

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

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

The Orange DEMPSEYs

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

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

The Botetourt DEMPSEYs

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Logan DEMPSEYs

John was in Giles County in 1810, Cabell County in 1820, and Logan County in 1830 – all due to the changing country lines during the time period. The Logan DEMPSEYs are a complete puzzle to me even though John’s second youngest son Mark left a genealogical note written in 1889 which gives the names and approximate years of birth of eleven children of John DEMPSEY and Rachel SOLOMON. I am not sure how reliable the transcription of the note is as he wrote his mother died about 1849. I found Rachel DEMPSEY age 85 in the household of James DEMPSEY, possibly a 12th child of John and Rachel, in 1850.

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

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

James DEMPSEY of Greenbrier

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

He would have been 21 or older at the time he was first seen on the 1782 tax list. This would put his age in 1820 to over 59 years. It is unknown if they had children. No trace of him was found in Virginia after he and his wife sold land in 1796. UPDATE: The Personal Tax List of Kanawha County was browsed on FamilySearch in January 2018. A James DEMPSEY was seen on the list for the years 1797, 1798, and 1800 suggesting he may have moved from Greenbrier to Kanawha after he sold land in 1796.

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

Misc. DEMPSEYs

These have not been traced:

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

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

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

© 2015-2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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.

52 Ancestors: #36 William JOHNSON Jr. 1793-1845

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

I’m a bit behind on this week’s entry. Setting up my new laptop is taking me longer than I thought. And there are other things in my life that have priority – spending time with my husband and children, keeping myself healthy (310 kilometers/11+ hours on my bike since the 1st of the month), and creating memories.

52 Ancestors: #36 William JOHNSON Jr. 1793-1845

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) married about 1774. Most family trees have their place of marriage as Bath County in Virginia but I cannot agree with this.

As is the case with all research in old Virginia, the county formations need to be considered. Bath County was created in 1790 from parts of Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier counties. Greenbrier was formed in 1778 from Botetourt and Montgomery counties. Botetourt County was established in 1770 from Augusta County. The marriage of William and Amy most likely took place in the area of Botetourt County that later went to Greenbrier or in Augusta County where the Johnston families lived. As this is a portrait of William JOHNSON Jr., I will go into the Johnston connection in Augusta County in a later post.

William and Amy were the parents of at least 8 known children, one of them being my fourth great-grandfather William JOHNSON (1793-1845) born about 1793 on Lick Run, Greenbrier County in old Virginia, now West Virginia.

William’s oldest brother Rev. John Brown JOHNSON was born in 1777 in Botetourt or Augusta County. Their father may have been away from home for long periods of time due to his military service during the Revolutionary War (1775-1784). In any case, the next child Nelson JOHNSON was born about 1782. In Laidley’s 1911 History1 Nelson is named as one of the four sons of William JOHNSON Sr. Other sources2 have him listed as the son of Benjamin JOHNSON.

In a biography of Julian M. Johnson, grandson of William Jr., William Sr. moved to what is now Monroe County, West Virginia, after the end of the Revolutionary War and lived there a number of years.

New records brought to light by Wayne L. Johnson, a direct descendant of William Jr., may prove that William Sr. was actually in the area when Greenbrier County was formed in 1778.3 This would mean that John B. and Nelson were born “in the Sinks” as the JOHNSONs were there in 1784:4

“Among the people who were living in the Sinks at the close of the Revolution were several Methodist families. Among these were the Blantons, the Christys, the Johnsons, and the Warrens. They held religious meetings at their homes, and as their membership was growing, they organized a regular society late in the summer of 1784. This date, it will be observed, is also that of the independence of the Methodist Church.”

James M. (1783-1834), Susannah* (1784-1840), Mary “Polly” (1790-1850), my 4th great-grandfather William (1793-1845), and Nancy (1794-1825) were born on Lick Run then part of Greenbrier County.

Between 1795 and 1798 the JOHNSON family moved to Peters Creek, at the time in Kanawha County, where William Sr. patented 500 acres. He settled and remained there for the rest of his life. Amy (1795-1859) may have been the first child to be born on Peters Creek which would become part of Nicholas County when the county was formed in 1818.5

“The murder of one individual or a dozen families did not deter the sturdy pioneer from his onward march in the conquest of the wilderness, and accordingly, before a year has passed after the destruction of Kelly’s settlement, we find Leonard and William Morris both residing almost in sight of the fatal spot. Their settlement is elsewhere noticed [pg. 58, Kelly was killed in early 1773]. Among those who here found homes and become actual settlers in the next few years were John Hansford, Sr., Thomas Foster, Ransom Gatewood, Robert Perry, John Jarrett, John D. Massey, Gallatin G. Hansford, William Johnson, John Wheeler, Shadrach Childers, Peter Likens, Spencer Hill, William Pryor, Barney Green, Thomas Trigg and Shadrach Hariman.”

Two land records extracted from the deed books of Greenbrier County many years ago by David Fridley (who did not note the book or page on these). They would indicate that William and Amy left for Kanawha around 1798 selling a total of 238 acres:

  • 25 June 1798. William Johnson and Amy deeded out 150 acres Lick Run. Witn: John Johnston
  • 26 June 1798. William Johnson and Amy sold 88 acres Lick Run. Witn: John Johnston, et al.

This matches a statement in the biography of Julian M. Johnson by Laidley:6

“Then he and his sons, William, John, Nelson and James, moved to Gauley River in what is now Nicholas County, WV, near and below the mouth of Little Elk about 1798.”

William’s youngest sister Elizabeth (1799-1840) was born the year after the family moved to Kanawha County.

*At the turn of the century William’s sister Susannah JOHNSON was the first to marry. She married Martin SIMS (1783-1853) on 28 March 18007 in Greenbrier County. The permission slip for Susannah’s marriage was signed by her father William JOHNSON. I don’t have a copy of this document however Tim Spradling has put it on his list for his trip to the courthouse this fall. A comparison of the signature on the permission slip with other signatures found for William Sr. will help to determine if this young lady was the daughter of our William JOHNSON Sr. or the William JOHNSTON who died and left a will in 1803 in Greenbrier County. The will mentions his four oldest children James, Polly, Samuel and Sally, and his younger sons William, George, John, and Andrew. There is no mention of a daughter Susannah.

Photo courtesy of Carl L. Johnson.

William’s brother John Brown JOHNSON married Elizabeth SIMS (1782-1845), sister of the above mentioned Martin SIMS, on 2 June 18028 in Kanawha County.

These would be the only two marriages of his children that William JOHNSON Sr. would live to see. William died 22 December 1805 and was buried near Swiss in present-day Nicholas County, West Virginia.

Following their father’s death, the children lived with their mother Amy until one by one they married and started their own families. Mary “Polly” married Benjamin DARLINGTON (1775-1853) on 23 April 1810 in Kanawha County and was with her new husband when the 1810 census was enumerated. Amy was with her single children and close to son John and daughter Susannah who had married SIMS siblings.

1810censusjohnson
1810 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha > Kanawha > image 4 of 16 [ancestry.com]
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Johnston, Anne (sic, Amy; listed just above her son John)
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (James & Alexander)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 2 (Amy & Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Amy)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 8

During the time our nation was at war (War of 1812), William and his two unmarried brothers married.

    • James M. JOHNSON married Elizabeth MILLER ( -1823) on 29 April 1813 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
    • Nelson JOHNSON married Nancy MURPHY in 1813 in Kanawha County
    • William JOHNSON married Nancy Ann SIMS on 15 October 1814 in Kanawha County.

Soon after William married my 4th great-grandmother Nancy Ann SIMS, sister of Martin and Elizabeth SIMS mentioned earlier, their first child Nelson JOHNSON (1815-1855) was born about 1815 in Kanawha County. In all records found for Nelson, I have only seen “Nelson” as his first name. Denise Jackson of “Our Family Heritage” is a great-great-granddaughter of this son. Family lore is that his full name was Joseph Nelson JOHNSON and his grandson Joseph Nelson “JN” JOHNSON was named after him. On 9 May 2014 she wrote “It is only word of mouth about JN’s grandfather being Joseph Nelson Johnson and he (JN) being named for him” in response to my email to her about the full name. Before replying she checked with two of her cousins, sons of her father’s sister, and her two brothers as she said, “I wanted to check with all of them to make sure I had heard (and remembered) correctly.” They confirmed that she was right about the family lore.

William JOHNSON Jr. and his family originally lived at the mouth of Laurel Creek, a tributary of the Gauley River which empties about one mile above Swiss. In 1810 the JOHNSON and SIMS families were neighbors and it is known that James SIMS, father of Nancy Ann SIMS, made his home at Swiss. William’s son John Brown JOHNSON was born at the mouth of Rich Creek on Gauley in 1823 per the 1911 biography of his son Julian M. JOHNSON. This would have been in the area of Swiss. Later, most likely after 1823, the JOHNSON family moved to a place on Loop Creek (Loup Creek) in the area of what is known as Robson in present-day Fayette County, West Virginia.

“Loop Creek flows for its entire length in western Fayette County. It rises in the city of Oak Hill and flows initially west-northwestward through the unincorporated communities of Lick Fork, Wriston, Ingram Branch, and Hamilton; then northward through the unincorporated communities of Kincaid, Page, North Page, and Robson, to Deep Water, where it flows into the Kanawha River.” [Source: Wikipedia]

Before William and Nancy’s next child was born two of his sisters married brothers in Kanawha County: Nancy JOHNSON married Peyton FOSTER (1793- ) on 11 January 1815 and Amy JOHNSON married Turley FOSTER (1794-1859) on 16 November / 18 November 1816.

And William’s family continued to grow with the birth of my third great-grandmother Huldah JOHNSON (1817-1880) about 1817 and Alexander JOHNSON (1819-1887) on 10 June 1819.

The 1820 and 1830 census were enumerated in alphabetical order rather than in order of household visitation. This makes it less useful for locating the actual place that the family lived.

The family was in Nicholas County in 1820 and then next seen in Kanawha County in the 1830 census which supports the theory that their move to Loop Creek was in the 1820s, most likely between 1824-1830. Robson is 10 miles south of present-day Gauley Bridge. Fayette County was created on 28 February 1831 from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Logan counties. From then on William’s children were born on Loop Creek in Fayette County where they were seen in the 1840 census.

1820censusjohnson
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nicholas [https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18200130unit#page/n388/mode/1up : accessed 10 May 2014]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No: 204B
Enumerated by: Hedgman Triplett on the 26th day of December 1820
William Johnson
2 males under 10 yo (Nelson and Alexander)
2 males 10 & under 16 yo (not sons of Wm and Nancy who were married only 6 yrs)
1 male 16 & under 26 yo (William)
1 female under 10 yo (Huldah)
1 female 16 & under 26 yo (Nancy Ann b. bet. 1794-1804)
1 person engaged in agriculture
7 persons in household

Following the enumeration of the 1820 census, William’s fourth child Mary JOHNSON (1820-1898) was born on 20 August 1820.

William’s sister Elizabeth JOHNSON married Presley FOSTER (1798-1873), a brother of Turley and Peyton FOSTER, on 12 March 1822 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, and his brother James M. JOHNSON, recently widowed, married(2) Sarah LEGG (1795- ) on 6 March 1823 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

Shortly before Christmas in 1823 another son, John Brown JOHNSON (1823-1902), was born on 23 December 1823. The family was very fond of this name!

The first of William’s siblings, Nancy (Johnson) FOSTER died before 6 September 1825 leaving only one known child, a son she named Johnson FOSTER.

Nancy gave William three more children before the 1830 census: Amy JOHNSON (1825-1904) on 4 November 1825, Lewis JOHNSON (1828-1845) on 6 March 1828, and Elizabeth JOHNSON (1829-1833) about 1829.

1830censusjohnson
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Kanawha [https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18300191unit#page/n397/mode/1up : accessed 11 May 2014]
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Johnston, William
2 males under 5 yo (Lewis b. 1828, John Brown b. 1823)
1 male 5 & under 10 yo (Alexander b. 1819)
1 male 10 & under 15 yo (Nelson b. ca. 1815)
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (William Jr. b. 1793)
1 female under 5 yo (Amy b. 1825)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Mary b. 1820)
1 female 10 & under 15 yo (Huldah b. ca. 1818)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Nancy Ann Sims Johnson b. bet. 1791-1800)
1 female 70 & under 80 yo (Amy Nelson Johnson b. 1757)
7 free white persons under 20
2 free white person 20 thru 9
10 total free white persons
10 total – all persons

In William’s household, we see an older woman in his household. This must be his mother as family tradition is that she lived among her children until her death.

William’s family was not yet complete: William Hunter JOHNSON (1832-1899) was born 27 July 1832, Nancy JOHNSON (1835-1915) was born in August 1835. Sadly, young Elizabeth, about 4 years old, died about 1833 of the flux.

A year later William’s brother James M. JOHNSON died in 1834 on Loop Creek, Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s oldest child Nelson JOHNSON married Elizabeth HUGHES (1817-1900) on 14 September 1837 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

Sadly there would be another death in the family during the 1830s. William’s elderly mother Amy NELSON died on 23 December 1837 in Robson, Fayette County, (West) Virginia, and was buried in Nichols Cemetery on Loop Creek also seen as Nichols Hollow Cemetery, Robson. From the writings of Laura Blake, a local historian:

Courtesy of Gary Johnston (Facebook message dated 1 May 2013)

“Amie Nelson Johnson lived among her children after coming to Loup Creek but her last days were at the home of her son William, whose home was near that of Mutt Ellis. This was very close to the cemetery known then as the Kelly grave yard but now called the Nuchils cemetery. This is a beautiful location for a cemetery. In a row in this cemetery is the grave of William and Nancy Simms Johnson, two children, and the mother Amie Nelson Johnson. William and Nancy died around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. Afterwards, most of his family went to Kanawha County to an area called the Grape Vine, near Charleston.”

Unfortunately, Laura Blake did not get all the fact correct in the above statement. William’s wife Nancy SIMS did not die around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. She was seen living with her son William Hunter JOHNSON in Kanawha County in 1860.

After his mother’s death, William’s wife Nancy gave him his last child Morris Houston JOHNSON (1839-1845) on 21 January 1839 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s daughter Mary JOHNSON married David Alexander MILLER (1820-1871) on 13 December 18399 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s sisters Elizabeth FOSTER and Susannah SIMS died before the 1840 census.

1840censusjohnson
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayette > page 145 [https://archive.org/stream/populationsch1840555unit#page/n298/mode/1up : accessed 11 May 2014]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Johnson, William Sr. (page 145)
2 males under 5 yo (William Hunter and Morris Houston)
1 male 5  & under 10 yo (Lewis)
1 male 15 & under 20 yo (John Brown)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Alexander)
1 male 40 & under 50 yo (William)
1 female under 5 yo (Nancy)
1 female 15 & under 20 yo (Amy)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Huldah)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Nancy Ann; should be listed as 40 & under 50 yo)
10 persons in household
2 persons engaged in agriculture

William and Nancy’s oldest daughter Huldah JOHNSON married Robert INGRAM (1819-1902) about 1841 in Fayette County (West) Virginia.

Courtesy of Gary Johnston (Facebook message dated 1 May 2013)

In 1845 during an epidemic of typhoid fever, three members of the family died.

William’s sons died within three weeks of each other: Morris Houston JOHNSON died 11 August 1845 and Lewis JOHNSON died 31 August 1845.

William JOHNSON followed his sons on 18 December 1845. They are all buried in the Nichols Cemetery in Fayette County.

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Laidley, William Sydney, History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens, Richmond Arnold Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1911; pg. 979 (https://archive.org/stream/historyofcharles00laid#page/n5/mode/2up : accessed September 2014). 
  2. Christine Beckelheimer, submitter; “Benjamin Johnson”; The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993; sponsored and published by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, page 32. 
  3. Wayne L. Johnson and Carl L. Johnson; These Lost Children of the Marquis of Annandale, Johnstone-Johnston-Johnson, Notes & Compilations in three volumes, Vol. II First Americans, Charleston, West Virginia. A copy of this draft (a work in progress) received in the mail on 16 July 2014 from Wayne via Tim Spradling. 
  4. Oren F. Morton, The History of Monroe County, West Virginia, published by McClure Company, Inc., Staunton, Va. 1916; online https://archive.org/stream/historyofmonroec00mort#page/n5/mode/2up 
  5. Laidley’s History; pg. 235 
  6. Laidley’s History; pg. 979 
  7. Larry Heffner, email dated 10 August 2004 in reply to my request for information on marriage papers of Martin Sims and Susanna Johnson in the archives of the Greenbrier Historical Society. 
  8. The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993; sponsored and published by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. 
  9. Sissonville A Time to Remember, The Sissonville Historical Awareness Committee, pg. 108; online http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvkanawh/Sissonville/index.html 

52 Ancestors: #35 Margaret KINCAID abt. 1794-abt. 1865

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

52 Ancestors: #35 Margaret KINCAID abt. 1794-abt. 1865

Margaret KINCAID was my four times great-grandmother. Although many family researchers have her nicknamed Peggy, I haven’t seen any document with this name and cannot bring myself to refer to her as “Peggy.” Margaret was the daughter of John KINCAID (1760-1834) and Elizabeth Hannah GILLESPIE (1760-1829). Her parents were both born the year George III became the King of England.

John KINCAID and Elizabeth Hannah GILLESPIE married on 11 February 1782 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia by John ALDERSON. This was towards the end of the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775-14 Jan 1784) and in the middle of the little over one year that John served his country: 6 or 7 months from February 1781, 3 months from September 1782, and 3 months in the summer of 1783.

Court Records Prove A Lot of the Children, In-Laws and Outlaws

While visiting West Virginia in June 2007, Linda Crowder Perdue found the “micro film for the Kanawha County Court Records in which the case against John Kincaid and Matthew Kincaid for burning down the bridge across the Gauley River in July 1826 is recorded.”

Gauley River Bridge Burning (part 1)

At a Court held for Kanawha County at the court house thereof on Monday the 24th day of July 1826 for the examination of Matthew Kincaid and John Kincaid who have charged with having on the 11th of July 1826 feloniously burned the bridge across the Gauley River.

Gauley River Bridge Burning (part 2)

This wonderful find included the names of witnesses called for the defendants, Margaret’s brother Matthew and her father John, and for the Commonwealth. The persons listed, as Sarah Kincaid so aptly wrote, prove some relationships in the KINCAID family including in-laws and outlaws.

Update as of 1 January 2020: Since this post was written five years ago, the content from the old archives of Rootsweb’s mailing lists has been imported into new archives. The links to the Kincaid Mailing List (kincaid@rootsweb.com) for the posts made by Linda Perdue and Sarah Kincaid have been updated. Thank you to one of my cousins/readers for bringing the broken links to my attention.

Who Were Margaret’s Siblings?

I needed help on this question. Who better to ask than Linda who found the court records. I had one or two persons who were not correct and a couple of siblings were missing. At the present time, with the research that has been done so far, this is, I believe, a reliable list although I question the estimated birth of son Samuel.

John KINCAID and Elizabeth Hannah GILLESPIE were the parents of the following children, all born in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia:

  • Sarah “Sallie” KINCAID (1783- ) born about 1782
  • Hannah KINCAID (1783- ) born about 1783
  • Matthew KINCAID (1785-1857) born about 1785
  • Samuel KINCAID (1787- ) born between 1787-1791 [or about 1802??]
  • James Gillespie KINCAID (1792-1852) born 19 December 1792
  • Elizabeth “Betsey” KINCAID (1793-1850) born 2 December 1793
  • Margaret “Peggy” KINCAID (1793-1865) born about 1794
  • Virginia Jane Vance KINCAID (1795-1870) born about 1795
  • Nancy KINCAID (1801-aft 1880) born about 1801
  • Magdaline “Lina” KINCAID (1806-1876) born 7 March 1806
  • Lanty KINCAID (1806- ) born 7 March 1806

Marriages of Margaret’s Siblings

In 1798 when Margaret was about four years old her two oldest sisters married, Sarah in October and Hannah in December. They appear to have been very close in age but not yet of age as their father signed permission slips for both. It is not known if they were twins like Lina and Lanty.

  • Sarah “Sallie” KINCAID married Thomas Alexander TERRY ( -1839) on 23 Oct 1798 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
  • Hannah KINCAID married James M. WALKER on 13 December 1798 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
  • Matthew KINCAID married Mary “Polly” MURDOCK (1788-1839) on 2 Jun 1807 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia
  • Samuel KINCAID married Elizabeth “Betsy” WALKER ( – ) 26 Apr 1809 ?? – I have a problem with this one as I found a marriage for a couple with the same names in Kanawha County on 26 September 1826. This could be a match with Samuel Kincaid b. abt. 1802 who is seen in the 1850 census in Fayette County with two children Mary and Alex. Is there a document that proves that Samuel who married Elizabeth Walker was the son of John and Elizabeth?
  • Margaret “Peggy” KINCAID married James INGRAM on 24 October  1809 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
  • James Gillespie KINCAID married Mary “Molly” Magdalene TRITT (1792-1869) on 17 December 1809 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. No marriage record found.
  • Virginia Jane Vance KINCAID married William “Moccasin Bill” KINCAID (1787-1870) on 20 November 1810 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
  • Elizabeth “Betsey” KINCAID married(1) Samuel LINEGAR (1789- ) about 1810. No marriage record found.
  • Magdaline “Lina” KINCAID married Reuben WYATT (1796-1853) on 25 June 1823 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
  • Elizabeth “Betsey” KINCAID married(2) Squire James STURGEON (1785- ) before 1823. No marriage record found.
  • Nancy KINCAID married Thomas HUGHES (1778-1853) on 24 February 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
  • Lanty KINCAID married Nancy FLANAGAN (1802- ) on 25 December 1827 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia

Margaret’s Life With/Without James INGRAM

Margaret “Peggy” KINCAID married James INGRAM on 24 October 1809 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. She was only 15 at the time of her marriage (1850 age 56) and James, her groom, was more than twice her age, about 35 years old (1860 age 86).

In 1810 when the census was taken Margaret and James were most likely in their own household and not yet parents. Greenbrier is one of the counties that were “lost”. We see James INGRAM as head of household in the 1820, 1830, and 1840 census with his wife Margaret and children:

1820censusingram
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Greenbrier [ancestry.com]. Listing: 3 males under 10 yo (James Jr., Joshua, Robert), 1 male over 45 yo (James), 1 female under 10 yo (unknown daughter), 1 female over 45 yo (Margaret, her age would be ca. 26 per 1850 census), 1 person engaged in agriculture, 6 persons in household.
1830censusingram
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Kanawha [ancestry.com]. Listing: 1 male under 5 (Matthew), 1 male 5-10 (John), 2 males 10-15 (Joshua & Robert), 1 male 15-20 (James Jr.), 1 male 50-60 (James), 1 female under 5 (Cynthia), and 1 female 40-50 (Margaret), 8 persons in household.
1840censusingram
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayett [ancestry.com]. Listing: 2 males 10-15 (Matthew & John), 1 male 15-20 (Robert), 1 male 60-70 (James), 1 female 5-10 (Ruth), 1 female 10-15 (Cynthia), 1 female 50-60 (Margaret), 7 persons in household, 2 engaged in agriculture.

Margaret’s Children

  • Ch 1: James INGRAM (1811-1835) was born about 1811 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia and died before April 1835 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia. He did not marry or have children.
  • Ch 2: Joshua INGRAM (1813-1860) was born about 1813 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. Joshua married Mahala C. STEELE (1823-1888) bet. 1841-1845 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia. They were the parents of six children. Joshua died between 1860-1862. His widow remarried and applied for a Mexican War Pension after the death of her second husband.
  • Ch 3: [–?–] (daughter) INGRAM was born between 1811-1820 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. This child was not with the family in 1830.
  • Ch 4: Robert INGRAM (1819-1902) born about 1819 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. Robert married Huldah JOHNSON (1817-1880) about 1841 in Fayette County (West) Virginia. They were the parents of seven children. He died about 1902 in Fayette County at the home of his cousin Preston KINCAID, son of Margaret’s brother James Gillespie KINCAID.
  • Ch 5: John INGRAM (1820-1870) was born about 1820 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. John married(1) Lucy Jane SKAGGS (1824-1853) on 13 February 1851 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia; married(2) Delilah CRAIG (1826-1869) on 12 July 1860 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia; and married(3) Mary F. LEGG (1843-1870) on 1 December 1869 in Kanawha County, West Virginia. John had a son with his first wife and a daughter and a son with his second wife. He died after 1870 and was burried near his home on the Poca according to family tradition.
  • Ch 6: Matthew INGRAM (1824-1900) was born on 9 January 1824 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. Matthew married Sarah Francis MARTIN (1834-1906) on 20 August 1854 in Meigs County, Ohio. They were the parents of ten children. He died on 12 July 1900 in Sissonville, Kanawha County, West Virginia, and was buried in Pauley Cemetery on Little Sandy in Elk District in Kanawha County.
  • Ch 7: Cynthia INGRAM (1828-1910) was born on 25 March 1828 in (West) Virginia. Cynthia married John B. “Johnny” TINCHER (1815-1890) on 23 March 1851 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia. They were the parents of six children. She died on 3 May 1910 and was buried in Carter Cemetery, Dempsey, Fayette County, West Virginia.
  • Ch 8: Ruth INGRAM (1832-1880) was born about 1832 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia. Ruth married John Johnson DARLINGTON (1826-1900) on 9 January 1851 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia. They were the parents of a dozen children. She died between 1880-1900.

Other Events in the Life of Margaret

In 1826 while Margaret was raising her family, her husband James INGRAM was one of the persons who had to make a personal appearance to give evidence at the trial of his father-in-law John and his brother-in-law Matthew. They were on trial for the 11 July 1826 burning of the first bridge built across the Gauley River.

Following the trial Margaret’s sister Hannah and her husband James WALKER moved from Kanawha County in (West) Virginia to Darke County, Ohio. The move must have been soon after Hannah was a witness for the trial and before 1830. In a biographical sketch of their son-in-law Samuel LITTON we see that the WALKERs, Hannah and James, moved to Adams County, Indiana, in 1850 where they died in 1871.

Margaret’s mother Elizabeth Hannah GILLESPIE died in 1829 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

Margaret’s youngest brother Lanty KINCAID, who was last seen in a land deed dated 1832, disappeared around this time. The search for him has been hampered by another Lanty KINCAID of approximately the same age who lived in Greenbrier and Fayette counties. This second Lanty left a few more records which prove that he was the son of Lancelot “Lanty” KINCAID and Catherine SCOTT.

Margaret’s father John KINCAID applied for the pension due him for his service during the Revolutionary War. He appeared in the court of Fayette County on the 15th day of  February 1834 to give his statement about service rendered. His death is not mentioned in the pension papers and is estimated at after 15 February 1834.

Margaret’s sister Elizabeth STURGEON was most likely the first of her siblings to pass away about 1850. This is assuming that her youngest brother Lanty did not die between 1832-1850.

In 1850 Margaret had her own household while her husband James INGRAM was living in the household of John TINCHER who would become his son-in-law in less than a year.

1850censusingram
1850 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > HH #462-462 [ancestry.com]
In the 1850s Margaret lost two brothers and a sister. James Gillespie KINCAID died on 1 July 1852 in Kincaid, Fayette County, (West) Virginia. Matthew KINCAID died after 1857, possibly in Missouri. Sarah TERRY died between 1850 and 1860.

In 1860 Margaret was not found in the census. Her children were married and had their own households. Her husband James INGRAM was listed alone in a household.  There are two family traditions concerning the deaths of Margaret and James. One being that James moved to Sissonville to live with their son Matthew after Margaret died. The other is that James died first and Margaret lived with her nephew James Gillespie KINCAID Jr. until her death several years later. The year 1865 seems to be the pivot point as Margaret’s husband James is said to have died in the fall of 1865.

Margaret’s surviving siblings were Virginia Jane Vance KINCAID who died after 1870; Hannah WALKER died in 1871 in Adams County, Indiana; Magdaline “Lina” WYATT died 21 July 1876 in Lawrence County, Ohio; and Nancy HUGHES died after the 1880 census. Her brothers Samuel and Lanty KINCAID, whose whereabouts remain a mystery (for now), may have also survived her.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #34 James INGRAM, Where Did You Hide the Key?

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

52 Ancestors: #34 James INGRAM, Where Did You Hide the Key?

Oral tradition, passed on through the generations, can help our genealogy research but it can also be a hinderance. When I started my Facebook page, more than a year before I started blogging, I wrote short summaries about my brick walls. My 4-times great-grandfather James INGRAM, born between 1771-1774 in Virginia and died fall of 1865 in West Virginia, was the subject of the post I wrote in December 2012. Unfortunately no headway has been made on his parentage. One of these days I’ll find the key to open the door in the Ingram brick wall.

Speculation

Ester INGRAM (also seen as Esther and Easter) may have been the mother of my James INGRAM. She is the first INGRAM to be found in Greenbrier County Personal Property Tax Lists in 1792 suggesting that she was a widow by this time. She sold a 95 acres land grant received in 1795 in 1800 and had at least two daughters who married in Greenbrier with her permission.

  • Patience INGRAM and David STAY
    Jim Talbert of the Greenbrier Historical Society confirmed on 8 Aug 2006 there is a marriage permission slip for Patience INGRAM in the Greenbrier records. Easter INGRAM signed for “my daughter” on 19 May 1790. David STAY and John KING went bond. There was no husband of Easter named in any of these records.
  • Elizabeth INGRAM and Francis STORY
    Nancy C. Story Adkins obtained a photocopy of the original marriage bond from the Greenbrier Historical Society. Elizabeth’s mother Esther INGRAM gave permission. The couple married on 20 December 1798.

I had a slight panic attack when I was pulling this together and realized that Ester could have been the first name for a male. I checked the original land grant for the 95 acres that she sold in 1800 at the Library of Virginia and it shows that she was a female.

grant
Virginia State Land Office. Grants A-Z, 1-124, reels 42-190; Virginia State Land Office. Grants 125- , reels 369-. Mentions: Ester Ingram (grantee) assignee of James Dyche; land near Richard Humphries, John Viney and Thomas Cooper 1795. Library of Virginia. Archives.

Was Ester INGRAM the mother of our James INGRAM? Who was the husband of Ester INGRAM? Was James the brother of Nancy INGRAM (md. 1787 William SLAVEN) and Parnal INGRAM (md. 1793 Eliza Carmons) who also married in Greenbrier? Note: Nancy has been listed as the daughter of Abraham INGRAM and but without supporting evidence.

Speculation Aside, Let’s Have a Look His Life

James INGRAM is first found in Greenbrier County on a list of rangers in 1793. The Rangers militia was organized to protect the frontier and its settlers from Indians attacks. On 27 May 1793 Captain Hugh CAPERTON’s company of rangers were at Fort Lee on the Elk and Kanawha Rivers guarding the Kanawha Valley settlers near what is now Charleston, West Virginia. “Mad Anthony” WAYNE’s victory over the Indians in 1794 ended the Indian threat in what is now West Virginia.

roster
Virgil A. Lewis, M.A., State Historian and Archivist; “The Soldiery of West Virginia”, originally published 1911, reprinted for Clearfield Co.,Inc. by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland 1991, 1996, 1998; pg. 131.

James INGRAM was not with rangers on 6 May 1792. Was he too young at the time?

In 1795 and 1797 James is seen in the Greenbrier County court orders:

  • 31 March 1795 – John MATHEWS vs. James INGRAM in debt
  • 1 April 1797 – Jonathan MATHEWS assee of James INGRAM vs. William GILLILAND in debt

James was on a Personal Property Tax List on 16 April 1799 in Greenbrier County with 1 tithable and 2 horses. This was the first time he was on a list. His surname was spelled INGRIM. Also on this list was a John INGRIM with 1 tithable and 1 horse. No further trace of him has been found. Was he a brother?

Taxation: Virginia began keeping records of residents’ payments of personal property and land taxes in 1782. The Library of Virginia has these on microfilm. Published abstracts of some of these can be found online. I am convinced that this may be the key to opening the doors in many of my brick walls in Virginia. Living overseas I can only hope that the full collection will someday be found on the internet. I want to be able to look at each year, study the neighbors of each ancestor, and see the things that may not have been included in the abstracts.

A month later, on 28 May 1799, James was “on jury” in Greenbrier. He was next seen on the 1803 (below) and 1805 tax lists of Greenbrier County, both times with 1 titable and 1 horse.

1803tax
Source: http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Greenbrier/1803PersonalB/10.jpg

On 28 February 1809 John CONNER and wife Mary sold 120 acres for $1.00 to James INGRAM on Meadow River and Sewel on the ridge opposite Buffalow Lick in Greenbrier County.

Later in the year James INGRAM married Margaret KINCAID, daughter of John KINCAID and Elizabeth GILLESPIE, on 24 October 1809 in Greenbrier County. They were married by Rev. Josiah OSBURN of the Baptist church.[1]

James and Margaret were not found on the 1810 census as Greenbrier was one of the “lost” counties. He was still in the county as he is on the 1810 Personal Property List B with 1 titable:

1810tax
1810 Personal Property List B > Greenbrier County, Virginia. Source: http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/FreeSample/CDR-000484/1810/1810PersonalB/06.pdf

James and Margaret’s first child, a son James Jr., was born about 1811 most likely on the land in Greenbrier County that James bought from the CONNERs in 1809.

On 25 February 1812 James and wife Margaret sold the 120 acres that James bought in 1809 for $1.00 to Newbury STOCKTON. The land, conveyed to James INGRAM by John CONNER in 1809, was “on point of ridge that leads to Buffaloe Lick in Greenbrier County.”

During the War of 1812 (18 Jun 1812-24 Dec 1814) James and Margaret’s second son, Joshua (1813-ca.1861) was born. His birth has been estimated at about 1813 in Greenbrier. In 1815 James was on the Personal Property Tax Lists of Greenbrier with 1 tithable, 3 horses, and 5 cows. The next child, a daughter, born during the 1810s, was followed by my 3-times great-grandfather Robert (1819-1902) born about 1819 in Greenbrier.

1820censusingram
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Greenbrier [ancestry.com]
James was listed in the 1820 census of Greenbrier County with the following persons in his household: 3 males under 10 yo (James Jr., Joshua, Robert), 1 male over 45 yo (James), 1 female under 10 yo (unknown daughter), 1 female over 45 yo (Margaret, her age would be ca. 26 per 1850 census), 1 person engaged in agriculture, 6 persons in household.

Three more children were born during the 1820s: John about 1820, Matthew on 9 January 1824, and Cynthia on 25 March 1828.

Ingram Cabin

“A century and a half ago, a pioneer cabin stood in a little valley drained by a branch that flows down from cotton Hill to New River at the Narrow Falls, opposite and slightly above the mouth of Cane Branch. The little stream was known as Ingram Branch, from the name of the family that lived in the cabin. Two surveys made there in 1829 refer to Ingram’s house, to his road leading down to the river, and to Ingram Branch, the tiny tributary of New River. Though the first name of the settler is not given, it may be suspected that this was James Ingram who married Margaret (Peggy) Kincaid, daughter of John and Elizabeth Kincaid, who settled on the opposite side of the river at Cane Branch as early as 1811, and who patented land there and at the mouth of Gauley.
Ingram apparently took no steps to secure formal title to his improvement, however, and in 1829 two residents of Kanawha Falls set up rival claims to Ingram’s improvement and to some hundreds of acres surrounding it, by reason of entries and surveys made for them in that year. The map accompanying these surveys shows the location of the Ingram house to be on the branch approximately one hundred thirty poles above its mouth. This was doubtless the first cabin in that little nook of the hills. Ingram was not a permanent settler, however. He was succeeded there by Andrew and Mary Blake, and soon after the above date, James and Margaret Ingram appeared as settlers on the upper part of Loup Creek at a branch which also came to be called Ingram Branch. There they were permanent settlers and the name has survived both as a place name and family.
Ingram, also written as Inghram and Ingraham, was originally Ingelram, a Norman-French personal name.”[2]

It is said that James probably settled on Loup Creek/Loop Creek about the same time as James KINCAID (1792-1852), brother of Margaret, or soon after. The place he selected was at the mouth of a branch three miles farther up Loup Creek/Loop Creek than Kincaid’s cabin. The branch is now called Ingram Branch. The 120-acre tract, including Ingram’s improvement, was patented by his sons, Robert and Matthew, in 1843, several years after the settlement. The move may have been in the 1820s.  Ingram Branch become part of Fayette County in 1831 when the county was formed. At the time of the 1830 census it was most likely part of Kanawha County as the family was on the census of that county.

120acres
a certain Tract of Land, containing one hundred and twenty acres: lying and being in Fayette County on Loop creek and bounded as follow, towit Beginning at a white oak and gum corner to John Kincaid, on the Left hand side of the creek & with crossing the same S6W54 poles to a sugar tree & beech corner to same and leaving S67W60 poles to two chestnut oaks on a point S88W106 poles to a white oak North 48 poles to a white oak on a ridge N19W66 poles to a maple and hickory N48 W24 poles to a maple and beech N8W (crossing the creek) 34 poles to two chestnuts on a South hillside S69E230 poles to the beginning with its appurtenances. [Virginia State Land Office. Library of Virginia. Archives]

First Ingram Child Married in 1829?

During this period of time James INGRAM and his family were the only family of this name in the area of Greenbrier, Kanawha, Monroe and Nicholas counties. I have not done a complete study of all Ingram, Ingrum, Inghram, Ingharam in the early censuses of Virginia. There were Inghram and Ingharam individuals in Lewis, Wood, Tyler, and Ohio counties. Lewis and Wood bordered on Kanawha County in 1829 (see Interactive Map of West Virginia County Formation History).

Charles WALKER married Elizabeth INGRAM on 4 August 1829 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia. No further information has been found on this marriage or couple. Was Elizabeth the unknown daughter listed in the 1820 census?

1830censusingram
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Kanawha [ancestry.com]
James was listed in the 1830 census of Kanawha County with the following persons in his household: 1 male under 5 (Matthew), 1 male 5-10 (John), 2 males 10-15 (Joshua & Robert), 1 male 15-20 (James Jr.), 1 male 50-60 (James), 1 female under 5 (Cynthia), and
1 female 40-50 (Margaret), 8 persons in household.

James and Margaret’s youngest child Ruth was born about 1832 in Fayette County. Between 1831 and 1835, the oldest son, James Jr., died in early manhood without marrying. He is buried in the Kincaid Cemetery in Kincaid, Fayette County, West Virginia.

In 1834 James was listed as having an account with Mr. LANDCRAFT, a store owner. I discovered the September 1834 inventory and appraisement of the estate of Melitus J. Landcraft while searching through the early Will Books for Fayette County. Mr. LANDCRAFT appears to have been a merchant (goods are listed) and many of my Fayette County relatives had accounts on his books and/or notes of debts. Very helpful are several “son of” mentions following the names.

In an election held 1 April 1835 in Fayette County to determine the location of the new Court House and County Seat, “James INGRAHM” and his son “Joshua INGRAHAM” voted for Kanawha Falls.

In 1839 James INGRAM’s name appears on the Fayette County jury list.

1840censusingram
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayett [ancestry.com]
James was listed in the 1840 census of Fayette County with the following persons in his household: 2 males 10-15 (Matthew & John), 1 male 15-20 (Robert), 1 male 60-70 (James), 1 female 5-10 (Ruth), 1 female 10-15 (Cynthia), 1 female 50-60 (Margaret), 7 persons in household, 2 engaged in agriculture. James’ oldest living child Joshua had his own household nearby.

Following the 1840 census James’ sons began to marry. Geraldine Dempsey Workman wrote, “….pages are missing from the Marriage book at the courthouse.” We can only assume that Robert married Huldah JOHNSON (1817-1880) about 1841 and Joshua married Mahala C. STEELE (1823-1888) bet. 1841-1845 and that their marriage records may have been on these missing pages.

According to family tradition James’ son John was the first to leave the area. He moved to the Poca River in Kanawha County before the 1850 census.

In 1850 James, age 70, a laborer, unable to read or write, is in the household of John TINCHER, a widower with three young children and his widowed mother. At the same time, Margaret INGRAM, 56, is with her/their children Ruth, 18, Matthew, 25, and Cynthia, 23 living next door to her/their son Robert. Was James boarding with the family while working aways from home? Or were James and Margaret separated?

1850censusingram
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayette [ancestry.com]
In 1851 James INGRAM and his wife Margaret saw three of their children marrying and setting up housekeeping. On January 9, Ruth was married to John DARLINGTON, youngest son of Benjamin DARLINGTON and Mary JOHNSON, and lived at various places on Loup Creek/Loop Creek. On February 13, John married Lucy Jane SKAGGS, daughter of Joseph Preston SKAGGS and Mary LEWIS in Fayette County. On March 23, Cynthia INGRAM married John “Johnny” TINCHER, son of William and Patsy TINCHER of Loup Creek/Loop Creek.

In 1852 Matthew followed his brother John to Sissonville on the Poca River in Kanawha County. Robert bought Matthew’s interests in the 120-acre grant and became the sole owner. Matthew was the last of James’ children to marry on 20 August 1854 in Meigs County, Ohio, to Sarah Francis MARTIN, daughter of Dio Clesian MARTIN and Catherine KIDD.

James’ son John, who was widowed in the 1850s, married Delilah CRAIG (1826-1869) on 12 July 1860 in Kanawha County.

1860census
1860 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > District 4 > Rock Hill > Page 126/422 > HH # 917-864 [ancestry.com]
In 1860 James is, once again, not living with his wife Margaret. He is listed as 86 years old and a laborer living alone in between James and Eleanor BERRY and John and  Lovina GODDARD in the Rocky Hill P.O. district. Margaret may have been living at the home of her nephew James Gillespie KINCAID Jr. in Kincaid as this is where she died about 1865 according to family tradition.

James’ son Joshua died between 1860-1862. The death record has not been found however his widow Mahala C. INGRAHAM remarried on 23 August 1862 in Meigs County, Ohio, to Isaac E. LEWIS, a veteran of the Mexican War.

According to family tradition in the summer of 1865, after the death of his wife, James went to live with his son Matthew in Sissonville in Kanawha County. James may have held his youngest grandchild Absolam, son of Matthew, born 30 September 1865, in his arms before the child died on 3 October 1865. James died in the fall of 1865 at the home of his son Matthew. He is estimated to have been about 90 years old and may be buried near the Methodist Church in Sissonville but this has not been proven.

James INGRAM was survived by his sons Robert, John, and Matthew; his daughters Cynthia TINCHER and Ruth DARLINGTON, and at least 30 grandchildren and possibly a great-grandchild through his son Joshua’s eldest daughter Mary.

The family would continue to grow with a total of 42 grandchildren. Son John, once again widowed, married a third time to Mary F. LEGG (1843-1870) on 1 December 1869 in Kanawha County. He died before 1880. Daughter Ruth died before 1900. Son Matthew died on 12 July 1900 in Sissonville and was buried in Pauley Cemetery on Little Sandy in Elk Distrist in Kanawha County. Son Robert died about 1902 at the home of his cousin Preston KINCAID. And finally daughter Cynthia died on 3 May 1910 and was buried in the Carter Cemetery in Dempsey, Fayette County.

Sources:
[1] J.R. Cole, History of Greenbrier County (published 1917 in Lewisburg, West Virginia) pg. 35
[2] L. Neil Darlington, Cabins of the Loop and Environs of the Southern Half of Fayette County Virginia (Now West Virginia)” (December 1987, McClain Printing Company, Parsons, West Virginia, 1988) pg. 222-223

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #33 Rachel WISEMAN 1769-bet. 1821-1824

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks“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 #33 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #33 Rachel WISEMAN 1769-bet. 1821-1824

My 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN was born on 1 March 1769 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. She was the 6th child of Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807).

Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS, both born in August 1738 in Berks County, were married about 1758, most likely in that county. They were the parents of 11 known children all born in Berks County, Pennsylvania:

  1. Joseph D. (1759-1836) born 29 Mar 1759
  2. John (1760-1842) born 18 Aug 1760
  3. Sarah (1762-aft. 1841) born 17 Jul 1762
  4. Isaac (1764-1852) born 19 Jun 1764
  5. Jacob (1767-1839) born 12 Jan 1767
  6. Rachel (1769-bef. 1824) born 1 Mar 1769
  7. Samuel (1771-1861) born 15 Feb 1771
  8. Abner (1772-1830) born abt. 1772
  9. Elizabeth (1774-1830s) born abt. 1774
  10. Margaret (1777-1869) born abt. 1777
  11. William (1779-1842) born 6 May 1779

WISEMAN Family and the American Revolutionary War

Rachel was six when the American Revolutionary War began on 19 April 1775. By this time Isaac and Elizabeth had nine children aged between 1 and 16.

In August 1776 Rachel’s oldest brother Joseph D. WISEMAN was drafted in the first militia that went out of Berks County. This was only the beginning as can be seen in the declaration of service given by Joseph D. WISEMAN in 1832 at the age of 73 to obtain his Revolutionary War pension. His pension file includes the family records that his son Samuel submitted in 1847 when he applied for pension money on behalf of himself and his siblings as their parents were both deceased. These papers show the dates of birth and death of Rachel’s parents Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS.

Wiseman1
Elisabeth Wiseman daughter to Samuel Davis was born August 26th, 1838 and died July 19th, 1807.
Wiseman3
Isaac Wiseman son to Isaac and Nancy Wiseman was born August 18, 1738 and died May the 3 in 1818.

WISEMAN Family Moves from Pennsylvania to Virginia

Family tradition is that Isaac and his brood, both married and single, left Berks County, Pennsylvania, and went up the Shenandoah Valley to Rockingham County, Virginia. In his declaration, Joseph states that he lived in Rockingham County, Virginia, about 10 years before moving in 1794 to Greenbrier County [the area which would later be Monroe County, West Virginia].

By the end of the war on 14 January 1784 the family had increased to 11 children, the oldest son Joseph and the oldest daughter Sarah were married. The marriage record for Sarah shows that she married on 3 November 1782 in Rockingham County. This would suggest that the WISEMANs made their move in 1782 [or earlier] and Joseph may have followed them only after he married his second wife.

Marriages of the WISEMAN siblings

  • 1782 – Sib 1: Joseph D. WISEMAN married(1) Susannah MANLY abt. 1782 in Berks County, Pennsylvania
  • 1782 – Sib 3: Sarah WISEMAN married James BARLEY on 3 November 1782 in Rockingham County, Virginia[1]
  • 1785 – Sib 1: Joseph D. WISEMAN married(2) Elizabeth BATEMAN on 10 February 1785 in Robeson (Rabbesin) Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania[2] (location confirmed by son Samuel)
  • 1786 – Sib 2: John WISEMAN married Sarah GREEN on 10 May 1786 in Rockingham County, Virginia[1]
  • 1790 – Sib 4: Isaac WISEMAN married Mary Magdalene ARMENTROUT on 9 August 1790 in Rockingham County, Virginia [record not located]
  • ???? – Sib 5: Jacob WISEMAN married Rachael [–?–]. She is listed as his wife in his will in 1839 and seen in the 1840 census as the head of household.
  • 1795 -Rachel WISEMAN married Frederick HONAKER on 28 September 1795 in Rockingham County, Virginia[1] (marriage bond recorded in Shenandoah County)
  • 1797 – Sib 7: Samuel WISEMAN married Polly BOWYER on 10 May 1797 in Rockingham County, Virginia[1]
  • 1798 – Sib 9: Elizabeth WISEMAN married John BLANTON on 9 August 1798 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
  • 1799 – Sib 10: Margaret WISEMAN married Bartholomew RAMSEY on 21 October 1799 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [Bond]
  • 1800 – Sib 8: Abner WISEMAN married Isabel BLANTON on 18 February 1800 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [Bond]
  • 1801 – Sib 11: William WISEMAN married Polly RAMSEY on 22 Oct 1801 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [Bond]
  • 1804 – Sib 11: William WISEMAN married Phebe KILBURN on 31 January 1804 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia [record not located]

[1] Dodd, Jordan. Virginia, Marriages, 1660-1800 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997. Original data: Electronic transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Virginia.
[2] Pennsylvania Church Records – Adams, Berks, and Lancaster Counties, 1729-1881 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: Extracted from microfilmed transcriptions of the original church records. The microfilmed records are located at the Family History Library.

Rachel WISEMAN Marries Frederick HONAKER

As seen above the marriage of Rachel WISEMAN and Frederick HONAKER took place in 1795 in Rockingham County and the marriage bond was recorded in Shenandoah County as follows:

Know all men, by their presents, that we Frederick Conickor and Isaac Wiseman are held and firmly bound unto his Excellency Robert Brooke, Esquire, Governor of Virginia, and his Successors, in the sum of one hundred fifty dollars to the payment whereof, well and truly to be made, we do bind ourselves, our heirs, and each of our joint and several heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally firmly by their presence, felled with our feats, and dated the 24th day of September 1795 in the 24th year of the Commonwealth. The condition of the above Obligation is such, that whereas there is a Marriage suddenly to be solomized between the above bound Frederick Coniker and Rachel Wiseman, daughter of Isaac Wiseman of Rockingham County; if therefore there shall be no lawful cause to object of said Marriage, then this obligation be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.
Witness: M. Gambill. Signed Frederick Honaker, Isaac Wiseman
[Source: Honaker Family Newsletter]

Rachel and Frederick Had 8 Known Children

  • Ch 1: Isaac Morgan (1796-1885) born Bet.1796-1799
  • Ch 2: Elizabeth “Betsy” (1797- ) born Bet. 1797-1800
  • Ch 3: Margaret “Peggy” (1798-1879) born Abt 1798
  • Ch 4: Rachel (1804-1860) born Abt 1804
  • Ch 5: Sarah (1805-1862) born Bet. 1805-1806
  • Ch 6: Anna (1806-1873) born 10 Sep 1806
  • Ch 7: Letty (1810-1825) born Aft 1810
  • Ch 8: Frederick Styrus (1810-1836) born Aft 1810

As Rachel lived with her husband Frederick in Monroe County, (West) Virginia, following their marriage until her death, her children were most likely all born in that county. Estimated years of birth were calculated after analysis of the pre-1850 censuses for children who did not live to be seen in 1850 and later censuses.

Many changes took place in Rachel’s life. She gave Frederick six children before her mother Elizabeth DAVIS died on 19 July 1807. Rachel had two more children following the 1810 census. Her father Isaac WISEMAN died 3 May 1818. Isaac and Elizabeth spent the rest of their days in Monroe County and were buried in the Old Rehoboth Churchyard near Union, the county seat. Three of their children, Abner, Jacob and Elizabeth who married John Blanton went to Kentucky; Samuel, John, and Isaac II went to Ohio; Sarah who married James Barley remained in Rockingham County, Virginia; Joseph, William, and Margaret, who married Bartholomew Ramsey, and Rachel, who married Frederick Honaker, stayed in West Virginia.

Following the 1820 census Rachel saw her oldest son Isaac Morgan HONAKER marry Rebecca Ann SAMS (1799-1860) on 28 October 1820 in Monroe County [bond]. The next two marriages in the HONAKER house were those of Betsy and Peggy. As we do not know the exact date of Rachel’s death, she may or may not have seen these daughters marrying.

Rachel was the first of the WISEMAN children to pass away. She died between 1 April 1821 and December 1824 in Monroe County. She predeceased her husband Frederick HONAKER who died about December 1824 in Monroe County. Three of Rachel’s daughters married within the year following Frederick’s death:

The Burial Place of Rachel’s Parents

The log structure that was named Rehoboth was constructed in 1786 on land donated by Edward KEENAN and in 1788 the first American Methodist bishop, Francis ASBURY, preached the dedication service. In 1796 he ordained Frederick’s brother-in-law John WISEMAN as a Methodist minister. Nearly 50 years after Frederick HONAKER joined his parents-in-law in the grounds surrounding Old Rehoboth, a new meeting house was constructed. The old log relic lay abandoned for another half century until it was restored in 1927. Another 30 years later a shed was constructed to further preserve the structure.

Robert N. Wiseman, Senior Historian of the Wiseman Family Association, gave me permission to use this photo of the church taken in 1934 before the “shed” was added.

MRIN13888 Rehoboth courtesy of Robert N. Wiseman
Old Rehoboth Methodist Church, near Union, WV — Oldest existing Protestant church west of the Alleghany Mountains. Left to right: Cousin Ambrose SLAGLE, Uncle Ernest Newton WISEMAN, Grandpa John Newton WISEMAN. Their ancestors Isaac WISEMAN I and Elizabeth (Davis) WISEMAN (my 4th great grandparents) are buried near the right back corner of the church. Submitted by : Robert Newton Wiseman, Wiseman Family Association. Photo courtesy of Robet N. Wiseman, used with permission.

And this is what the building looked like 70 years later when Irene Warner and her husband took her parents to visit the cemetery and meeting house.

FAG Irene (Rose) Warner (#46586932) WV Monroe Old Rehoboth Cemetery church building
Old Rehoboth Meeting House near Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. Courtesy of Irene (Rose) Warner (Find A Grave Contributor #46586932)

After giving me permission to use her photos Irene sent more with this explanation: “I have attached pictures of the inside of the church.  It was so special to get to see this old building in it’s original shape – very small inside; but it had a balcony…..[in this picture at the bottom and on the balcony are what] look like flat boards or similar; unfortunately cameras didn’t do 3 dimensional pictures.  They are pictures of the LOG seats – a log was split in half; a person sat on the inside part of the seat, the bark was at the bottom; there are “peg legs” on the logs.  I’ll bet there weren’t too many long sermons in that church….don’t know how anyone could sit very long on a seat that hard…..”

FAG Irene (Rose) Warner (#46586932) WV Monroe Old Rehoboth Cemetery church building5
Old Rehoboth Meeting House near Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. Courtesy of Irene (Rose) Warner (Find A Grave Contributor #46586932)
FAG Irene (Rose) Warner (#46586932) WV Monroe Old Rehoboth Cemetery church building2
Balcony in Old Rehoboth Meeting House near Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. Courtesy of Irene (Rose) Warner (Find A Grave Contributor #46586932)
FAG Irene (Rose) Warner (#46586932) WV Monroe Old Rehoboth Cemetery church building8
Outside walls of Old Rehoboth Meeting House near Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. Courtesy of Irene (Rose) Warner (Find A Grave Contributor #46586932)

A New Discovery – What Do You Think?

Working my way back on my paternal line has me looking at things that I haven’t worked on in a long time. In the case of the HONAKER and WISEMAN lines I never really went in and checked on all the census and vital records for collateral lines. Both families have associations with historians who are keeping track of these families and updating as new information is uncovered. The list of Rachel’s siblings grew and then shrunk as I checked, checked, checked for supporting records while writing.

I thought I’d found another child for Rachel’s parents but she turned out to be a granddaughter.

1803marriageWhen Rachel WISEMAN married Frederick HONAKER on 28 September 1895 Rachel brought Edith, her 10 years old daughter, into the marriage.

Supporting documentation? I don’t have three sources for every event but I’d say, “Yes!”

On 23 May 1803, in Monroe County, Frederick HONAKER went bond with Seth BOGGESS for the marriage of Edith WISEMAN to Seth. [bond at left] Edith and Seth were married on 9 June 1803 in Monroe by John WISEMAN. [marriage register, 4th entry on left page] I did not find a permission slip from her parents.

After finding the marriage I searched for the couple/family in the census, found them in 1820 and 1830, and then hit a dead end. As a last resort I searched the internet for possible queries about the couple. An old genforum posting helped me locate the death record [line 6] of Edith BOGGESS. I had been so focused on trying to locate the entire family in the census that I didn’t check for her death record.

On 5 February 1857 in Monroe County Edith BOGGESS died of cancer at the age of 72 years and 1 day. She was the daughter of Rachel WISEMAN (no father listed) and the consort of Seth BOGGESS. The informant was Wm SMITH, a relative.

Further research shows that William SMITH was a son-in-law, husband of Edith’s daughter Elizabeth. Per Edith’s death record she was born in Monroe and the date of birth can be calculated to 4 February 1785. The place of birth is not reliable as Monroe wasn’t formed until 1799. Her birth would have taken place about the time that the WISEMAN family came down the Shenandoah Valley to Rockingham. At this time, the only Rachel WISEMAN in the area who would have been old enough to have a child was Isaac and Elizabeth’s daughter Rachel who would turn 16 on 1 March 1785.

Was my 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN the mother of an illegitimate daughter? Please leave a comment telling me what you think.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey