The Ancestors: Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)

This was a hard piece to write. A month ago, after spending weeks gathering and reviewing all the information I had on these ancestors, I began writing this post. While drafting the post I kept finding other things to do. I went back and forth considering how I should write it. I’m now at the point that I just want to get it out of the way by publishing it as is.

Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807) were my 5th great-grandparents and the parents of my 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN (1769-bet. 1821-1824) who married Frederick HONAKER (1757-1824).

When I was new to genealogy research, I trusted the information I found and did not challenge it. As I began to do my own research, I questioned work done by others. In some cases, I made an effort to prove or disprove their research. I’m especially fond of working on my female lines but the WISEMAN family has always been put on the back burner.

For the WISEMAN line, I  attempted to locate evidence of the parents, siblings, husband, and children of my 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN and wrote about my findings in my 2014 post 52 Ancestors: #33 Rachel WISEMAN 1769-bet. 1821-1824.

The post was written during my first year of blogging. I didn’t include source citations. Links to online documents were used throughout the post but I doubt many readers clicked on them to view the records.  When I revisited my post and research I added 28 citations to make it easier for the reader or researcher to review the sources. [Did I mention the other things I’ve been doing?] 

Rachel’s story includes the names of all of her siblings as well as their spouses’ names and their dates of marriage. I’ve pondered how to write about Rachel’s parents Isaac and Elizabeth. Should I start from scratch or should I build on what has already been published?

Taking the middle road

I’ve decided to take the middle road which led me to work done by dedicated historians and genealogists of the WISEMAN family.

The Wiseman Family Association was first organized in 1908 by Dr. B. W. S. WISEMAN, compiler and author of a WISEMAN genealogy.1 Benjamin Winfield Scott WISEMAN was a great-grandson of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 through his son Samuel (1771-1861). WISEMAN descendants and members of the association have continued to update the WISEMAN family tree originally created from information in B.W.S.’s book. Their website was initiated on 22 August 2003 and appears to have been last updated in 2017, likely before Ancestry took down the RootsWeb site. I don’t know if more recent additions to the family tree are available online.

B.W.S. WISEMAN, in his 1908 publication, acknowledged the work of his second cousin C.M.L. WISEMAN who published in 1902. B.W.S. gives a more detailed genealogy of most of the sons of Isaac WISEMAN 1738. Neither of the authors had any biographical information on the four daughters of Isaac other than their married names.

Charles Milton Lewis WISEMAN of the 1902 publication was a great-grandson of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 through his son Rev. John WISEMAN (1760-1842). He wrote the following:

Brief Sketch of the Wiseman Family

My grandfather, Rev. John Wiseman was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, before the War of the Revolution; indeed, was old enough and served in that war, and was in the memorable winter quarters at Valley Forge with Washington. His father, Isaac Wiseman, moved from Berks county, Pennsylvania, with a large family of sons and daughters to Rockingham county, Virginia, soon after the war, and there my grandfather married Sarah Green, one of another large family. From that county they moved to Monroe county, Virginia, where my father, Philip S. Wiseman, was born. Of the descendants of Isaac Wiseman and James Green some few remained in Virginia, others moved to Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. The greater number moved to Ohio and Kentucky. The descendants of Isaac Wiseman alone must exceed 1,000 persons in number. The names of father’s uncles were William, Joseph, Isaac, Abner, Jacob and Samuel. Samuel died near New Salem at 90 years of age; Jacob and Abner in Kentucky, William and Joseph in Virginia, and Isaac near Gallipolis, Ohio. One of his aunts married a Blanton, who moved to Kentucky, and one a Honiker, who died in Virginia. I have been in the graveyard in Virginia, near Union, Monroe county, where Isaac Wiseman and wife are buried, and where father’s sister and brother are buried, and I have also been in the church near by, where they all attended Methodist church, and where my grandfather often preached. It is a lovely spot, with a hight range of mountains in full view for more than twenty miles.2

A bit further into the sketch of his family, C.M.L. wrote:

Rev. John Wiseman was commissioned a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the year 1785, by the first American Bishop of that church, Francis Asbury. The commission, in the Bishop’s own writing, is in the possession of the late Judge Wiseman’s widow at New Salem.3

I used the document he mentioned as the background of the featured image of this post. Immediately following this statement, the author listed names and dates for his line down from Isaac beginning with this list of the children of Isaac WISEMAN 1738:

FAMILY RECORD OF ISAAC WISEMAN, OF VIRGINIA.

Joseph Wiseman, born March 29th 1759.
John Wiseman, born August 18th, 1760.
Sarah Wiseman, born July 17th, 1762.
Isaac Wiseman, born June 19th, 1764.
Jacob Wiseman, born January 12th, 1767.
Rachael Wiseman, born March 1st, 1769.
Samuel Wiseman, born February 15th, 1771.
Abner Wiseman, born 1772.
Betsey Wiseman, born 1774.
Peggy Wiseman, born 1777.
William Wiseman, born 1779.

Rachael is my 4th great-grandmother and all the rest are my 4th great-grand uncles and 4th great-grand aunts. Does a WISEMAN family Bible still exist today with the dates found in this derivative source?

The many men named Isaac WISEMAN

According to Robert N. WISEMAN, a historian of the Wiseman Family Association, the Isaac WISEMAN situation gets a bit confusing when it comes to how Isaac WISEMAN’s name is seen in family genealogies. Shortly after B.W.S. published his book in 1908 he discovered that Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) who he considered “Isaac I” had a father whose name was also Isaac. [I believe I’ve found how he made the discovery and will discuss this in a moment.] The Wiseman Family Association decided to dub the father “Isaac Sr.”4 One of Robert’s lines goes through Isaac Sr., Isaac I, Isaac II, Isaac III.

Personally, I believe it would be more helpful to consider the men by the year they were born as no records are to be found with the suffixes I, II, or III. I’ve opted to refer to my 5th great-grandfather as Isaac WISEMAN 1738 instead of Isaac I. His father will be considered Isaac the elder or Isaac Sr. as no year of birth is known.

As noted previously, historians of the Wiseman Family Association have been researching the family and sharing their information. The research notes and part of The Story of a Wiseman by Robert Dean WISEMAN (1933-2015) can be found here: Bob Wiseman Research. He included different steps taken to gather information and prove events as well as marking unproven or questionable information as such. Mr. Wiseman and the researchers he worked with spent years putting the information together. It would take a lifetime to check and follow-up on the research.

Many entries on tax lists for Berks County for Isaac Wiseman are listed by year and township in Bob’s research. I recently found the Tax Lists, 1752-1856 for Berks County, Pennsylvania are available online at FamilySearch. They are not indexed and browse-only. With the years and townships given in Robert D. Wiseman’s research notes, I may be able to locate some of these. A to-do item for a later date as it should be thorough and not restricted to locating the records already found. What if something important to the timeline has been missed?

Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)

Isaac’s oldest son Joseph (1759-1836) applied for a pension in 1832 for his service during the Revolutionary War.5 He stated he “was born in the year 1759 in the County of Berks and State of Pennsylvania, as he has read the record of it in his Father’s bible, from which he recorded it in his own bible which is now in his possession.” After his death in 1836 and his widow’s death in 1842, his son Samuel applied for pension money on behalf of himself and his surviving siblings in 1847. He submitted his father’s family record with the dates of birth and date for my 5th great-grandparents Elizabeth DAVIS and Isaac WISEMAN.

In Joseph’s hand, as copied from his father Isaac’s Bible, “Elisabeth Wiseman daughter to Samuel Davis was born August 26th 1738 and Decst (deceased) July 19th 1807.

Pages of Joseph Wiseman’s family Bible found in his Revolutionary War Pension Application file.

Also, “Isaac Wiseman son to Isaac and Marey Wiseman was born August 18, 1738 and Decest (deceased) May the 3 in 1818.

Pages of Joseph Wiseman’s family Bible found in his Revolutionary War Pension Application file.

The above images are only two of the five images from the family Bible included in the file. The pension file also includes correspondence dated 1911 from B.W.S. WISEMAN requesting copies of the entire file. As Joseph’s family record gives the names of the parents of Elizabeth and Isaac, I believe this is the source that led to B.W.S.’s discovery that Isaac WISEMAN 1738’s father was also an Isaac.

Samuel DAVIS, father-in-law of Isaac 1738

Only the name of Elizabeth’s father is known from the family record submitted by his grandson Samuel (son of Joseph). Even with the maiden name, a marriage record of Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS has not been found. It is assumed they married before the birth of their oldest child in 1759.

Isaac and Mary WISEMAN, parents of Isaac 1738

The maiden name of Isaac 1738’s mother Mary is unproven although some genealogists report it to be MARSHALL. While writing this, I have pruned the tree, removing John MARSHALL as the father of Mary and now showing her name as Mary _____.

Isaac 1738’s father Isaac, according to an old family traditional story, was born aboard a ship en route to America. Two dates are often noted: 1699 and about 1706. The first – 1699 – is from the theory that the father of Isaac the elder came over with William Penn on the Canterbury Merchant in 1699. No known passenger list exists for the ship. The second – about 1706 – is from the theory that Isaac the elder was the son of Thomas WISEMAN first seen in Germantown, Philadelphia County in 1706 when he purchased land from Matthias Van Bebber. Professional genealogists were hired by the Wiseman Family Association to obtain records but neither theory has been proven.

Isaac WISEMAN, the father of Isaac 1738, left Berks County around 1768 and was first seen on a tax list in Rowan County, North Carolina, in 1772.6 He bought land in Rowan County in 1778 and left it to his heirs in his will in 1779.7,8 His widow Mary left a will written 28 December 1790 and proven 10 November 17919,10 as well as an inventory dated February 1792.11 Although Isaac and Mary named some of their children in their wills, they did not mention Isaac.

The daughters of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 and Elizabeth DAVIS

Isaac and Elizabeth were the parents of eleven children born between 1759 and 1779. Much is known of their seven sons’ lines as they were looked into by the great-grandsons. Neither of the authors of the early genealogies of the WISEMAN family knew much of the four daughters.

From the brief sketch of the WISEMAN family it is knows that the family was in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and then moved to Rockbridge County, Virginia. Sarah, the oldest, married in Rockbridge County, Virginia, in 1782 where she and her husband James BARLEY raised their children.12

The next oldest daughter, Rachel also married in Rockbridge County. She married Frederick HONAKER in 1795.13 It was a second marriage for Frederick and Rachel brought a 10-year-old daughter into the marriage. Rachel and Frederick went with her parents and siblings to Greenbrier County around 1797-1798. They settled in the area that would become Monroe County in 1799. Rachel and Frederick raised their family in Monroe and are buried in the Rehoboth Church Cemetery where her parents are also said to be buried.

Elizabeth married John BLANTON in 1798 in Greenbrier County.14 They went to Kentucky where her brothers Abner and Jacob had also gone.

The youngest daughter Margaret, also known as Peggy, married Bartholomew RAMSEY in 1799 in Monroe County.15,16 They raised their family in Nicholas County and Fayette County when it was formed in 1831.

Now that I know where the information found in so many family trees is coming from, I have a better feel of what I can work on to leave a documented history of my 5th great-grandparents Isaac WISEMAN 1738 and Elizabeth DAVIS.

It would be awesome if someone reading this post would reach out to me with more information, especially on Elizabeth DAVIS during Women’s History Month.

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


  1. Dr. Benjamin Winfield Scott Wiseman, Wiseman genealogy and biography, digital images of original, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/163120-wiseman-genealogy-and-biography : accessed 12 February 2020), FL52150_TN-1474326, digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2008 [originally published: Culver, Indiana, 1910] 
  2. C. M. L. Wiseman, The Wiseman Family and the Old Church at New Salem : a brief sketch, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/57919-the-wiseman-family-and-the-old-church-at-new-salem-a-brief-sketch : accessed 12 February 2020), FL1103481_TN-76231, digitized by FamilySearch International, 2013, [originally published: Columbus, Ohio : Fred J. Heer, 1902], p. 7-8. 
  3. Ibid., p. 23-24. 
  4. Robert N. Wiseman, Senior Historian of the Wiseman Family Association, comment posted 3 February 2020 in the Nicholas County WV Genealogy group on Facebook and personal message conversation between Robert and Cathy on 24-25 February 2020. 
  5. “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900,” database and images, Ancestry.com, citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls. Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Images of the papers in the Revolutionary War file of Joseph Wiseman including images of family bible pages with the names and dates of birth and death of his parents. 
  6. Bob Wiseman Research
  7. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” index and images, Ancestry, North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts, Wills and estate papers (Rowan County), 1663-1978, North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file of Isaac Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  8. Ibid., North Carolina, Rowan County, Wills, Vol A-F, 1757-1807, Isaac Wiseman, page 184. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  9. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file of Mary Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  10. “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” Rowan > Wills, 1781-1791, Vol. B > image 94+95 of 230, Will of Mary Wiseman, pages 179-181. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S7WF-3Q9C-79?cc=1867501&wc=32LR-7M3%3A169928201%2C170967101 : accessed 6 March 2020). 
  11. “North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing State Archives, Raleigh., Rowan County > W > Wiseman, Mary (1792) > image 2 of 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PPC-9MZF?cc=1911121&wc=Q6W1-9GT%3A184173301%2C183410401%2C198415701 : accessed 6 March 2020). 
  12. 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. 
  13. Ibid. 
  14. 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, Jno. Blanton and Eliza. 1797/9 (1798), left page, last entry. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10970066&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). 
  15. Ibid., Monroe County, 1799, Margaret Wiseman and Bartholomey Ramsey. 1799 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370451&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). 
  16. Ibid., Monroe County, 22 October 1799, Margaret Wiseman and Bartholomey Ramsey. 1799 Marriage Record. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369649&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). 

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Mary and her child Esther

While researching my families who lived in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now West Virginia) I found the following record which names two enslaved persons.

This indenture names female slave Mary & her child Esther, together with all and singular the natural increase of both said slaves.1

1846 Hix to J. B. Cobbs Indenture

In the margin:

Hix to J.D. Cobbs final

Tax paid J.A.N.

Delivered to
Jno. Clowes for ____
his mother.

This Indenture made and entered into this 22nd day of September 1845 by and between William Hicks of Amherst County of the first part. Emma Clowes the wife of Sidney B. Clowes and James M. Cobbs of the Town of Lynchburg of the second and third parts. Witnesseth: that whereas the said William Hicks is desirous to settle upon and secure to the sole & separate use of the said Emma Clowes, one female slave named Mary and her child Esther, together with the increase of both said slaves, to be held and enjoyed by the said Emma for and during her natural life, and at her death to go to & belong to the child or children of said Emma, share & share alike or the survivors of them by the present or any future husband, and the descendants of any who may die before the mother, such descendants taking such share or shares as their parents or parents would have taken, had he she or they survived the said Emma. Now therefore in considerations of the premises, and the further consideration of the sum of one dollar in hand paid to the said William Hicks, at & before the enscaling and delivery of these presents, the receipts of which is hereby fully acknowledged, he the said Hicks hath bargained & sold & delivered and by these presents do bargain sell and deliver unto the said James M. Cobbs, the said female slave Mary & her child Esther, together with all and singular the natural increase of both said slaves. To have & to hold the said slaves together with their increase, the said William Hicks for himself his Exors & admins doth hereby warrant & defend a good lawful and sufficient right & titles as against himself his executors & admrs. & as against all & every person or persons, claiming by through or under him and not otherwise. In trust nevertheless that it shall be the duty of the said James M. Cobbs to permit the said Emma Clowes to have take & enjoy the hires use & profits of the said slaves & their increase for and during her natural life as a sole and separate estate free from the actual contracts or liabilities of her said husband or of any future husband. And at her death shall cause the said slaves together with all & singular their future increase to be equally divided amongst the children or child of said Emma who may survive her, and amongst the descendants of any child who may have died before her, giving to such descendant or descendants only such share as their parent or parents would have taken had he or she survived her or her mother. In testimony of all which the parties hereto have signed their names sealed with their seals the day & year above written.
Witness
J. J. Watson

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . William Hix
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emma Clowes
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James M. Cobbs
In the Clerks Office of the Lynchburg Hustings? Court, March 10th 1846.
. . . . . . This deed from William Hix to James M. Cobbs for the benefit of Emma Clowes, which was acknowledged by all the parties before the clerk on the 15th January 1846, was this day admitted to record, the tax thereon being paid.
. . . . . . . Teste
. . . . . . . . . James Benagh clk

Clerks Office of Greenbrier
County Court October 13th 1847
. . . . . . . . This deed was this day presented in the office and with the above certificates of the acknowledgments, is admitted to record.
. . . . . . . Teste
. . . . . . . . . John A. North D.C

About the persons in the indenture

William Hicks was found in Amherst County in 1840 as William Hix with 12 slaves.2

Emma Clowes was born Emma Handley, daughter of Alexander Handley. She married Sydney Bailey Clowes in Botetourt County, Virginia, in 1833.3 Both of her parents were deceased when the indenture was drawn up.

In 1850 S. B. Clowes was on the Slave Schedule of Greenbrier County, Virginia, with one 25 years old female black and one 7 years old female black.4

By 1860 the Clowes family had moved to Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia. S. B. Clowes was on the Slave Schedule with four black females ages: 35, 18, 9, and 6.5 Could they be Mary and her daughter Esther as well as two daughters born to Mary after 1850?

Sydney B. Clowes was listed on the 18506, 18607, and 18708 census as a Stage Agent.

As the slave schedule does not give names of the enslaved persons it is a guess on my part that Mary may have been born about 1825 and Esther may have been born about 1843 and seen on the 1850 schedule. Mary was the mother of Esther per the indenture. Mary may have also been the mother of the two younger girls born about 1851 and 1854 and seen on the 1860 schedule.

It has been a while since I’ve been able to release the names found in records as I am only now getting back to doing US research. In hopes that Mary and Esther will be recognized by descendants and this will help them to break through their brick wall.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post every month until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2020, 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 593555, DGS #8152881, Deeds, v. 17-18 1843-1851, image 174+175 of 612, page 333-334. Hix to J. D. Cobb Indenture. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-J7MX-8?i=173&cat=98577 : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  2. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 550, Family History Library Film: 0029683, Virginia, Amherst, Page: 209, line 3, William Hix. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  3.   “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940” (index), Ancestry, citing FamilySearch, Index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City., FHL Film Number: 30734, page 366. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  4. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Slave Schedule, Virginia, Greenbrier, image 2 of 7, line 1-2, S. B. Clews. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  5. 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, Slave Schedule, Virginia, Rockbridge, Lexington, page 6, line 14-17, S. B. Clowes. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  6. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Virginia, Greenbrier, District 18, image 252, page 283A, S. B. Clows household. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  7. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Virginia, Rockbridge, Lexington, page 24, Sidney B. Clowes household. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  8. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1675, Family History Library Film: 553174, Virginia, Rockbridge, Lexington, page 477B, Sydnor Clows household. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 

The Ancestors: Martin McGRAW and his wife Margaret (394 & 395)

The parents of my 4th great-grandmother Mary Ann McGRAW were Martin McGRAW and his wife Margaret. This was proven by a tiny slip of paper in which they gave permission for their daughter to marry William WOOD in June 1800.1

June
Sir, this coms (sic) to let you now (sic) that
I Marten and Marget Mcgraw
is willing that William Wood should

have our daughter Mary Ann
To John Hutchason (Clerk)
The above was sworn to by
John Wood one of the witnesses
present.

The bond2 entered 18 June 1800 for the marriage of William and Mary Ann doesn’t give information on their parentage nor does the entry made in the register for marriages performed in the county of Monroe by John ALDERSON.3

Martin McGRAW and his wife Margaret

Very few records link my 5th great-grandparents Martin and Margaret McGRAW to their possible children.

Were Martin and Margaret the only family of this name in the area at the time? Were they or could they be the parents of each of the young McGRAW men and women who married in Greenbrier, Monroe, and Nicholas counties from 1798 to 1820?

[1] Anthony McGRAW married Elizabeth BRYANT 3 October 1798 in Greenbrier4
[2] John McGRAW married Sally ANDERSON 15 February 1799 in Greenbrier5
[3] Mary Ann McGRAW married William WOOD 18 June 1800 in Monroe (see above)
[4] Martin McGRAW Jr. married Nancy WOOD 3 May 1806 in Monroe6
[5] William McGRAW married Lucretia WITHROW 11 March 1813 in Monroe7
[6] Elender McGRAW married Solomon NELSON 1 March 1810 in Greenbrier8
[7] Samuel McGRAW married Elizabeth WOOD 28 May 1812 in Monroe9
[8] Thomas McGRAW married Catherine WITHROW 30 July 1820 in Nicholas10
[9] Henry McGRAW married likely before 1821. No marriage record found.

These marriages took place during a period when census records were lost for Virginia (1800) and Greenbrier County (1810) where Martin and Margaret were living. This makes analyzing the family group(s) in a census impossible. What other records are available to replace the missing records?

Personal Property Tax Lists

The early laws required the tax commissioner in each district to record in “a fair alphabetical list” the names of the person chargeable with the tax, the names of white male tithables over the age of twenty-one, the number of white male tithables between ages sixteen and twenty-one, the number of slaves both above and below age sixteen, various types of animals such as horses and cattle, carriage wheels, ordinary licenses, and even billiard tables.11

Personal property tax records provide important data. Individuals with the same names may be distinguished by a junior or senior or named by the districts or location they resided. Parentage may be inferred by the number of male tithables between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one in the household of the taxpayer. When a free male appeared in his own name rather than in the household of another, he was probably twenty-one years of age. The name of a woman appeared only when owning property in her own right or as the widow of a property owner.

The Personal property tax lists, 1782-1850 for Greenbrier County and the Personal property tax lists, 1831-1850 for Fayette County are presently only available online with additional restrictions, i.e. accessing the FamilySearch site at a family history center or at a FamilySearch affiliate library.

Julie McGrew Ayres accessed these records and shared her transcriptions in February 1999 on USGenWeb Archives Special Projects. I used her lists of McGRAW tithables in Greenbrier County for 1792 to 183312  and in Fayette County for 1831-183913  to form the possible family group of Martin and Margaret.

Martin McGRAW and Anthony McGRAW first appear in the 1796 Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia Personal Property Tax List. In 1792 and 1795 no McGRAW was listed. This would suggest the McGRAWs came to the area just before 1796.

[1] Anthony McGRAW b. abt. 1775

As Anthony married in 1798 and was the only McGRAW other than Martin on the tax list of 1796, he was likely the oldest son. He was continuously seen on the tax list up until 1812. From 1813 to 1816 there were no McGRAW men on the lists for Greenbrier. Anthony served as a Private in Capt. McClung’s Company of the 4th Regiment of the Virginia Militia during the War of 1812. He died on 1 August 1814 per documents in his widow’s War of 1812 widow’s pension application.14 It may have been later in the month as she gave in this statement in her an application in 1853:

 …that her said husband the aforesaid Anthony McGraw died at Norfork about the last days of August 1814 in consequence of decease contracted while in the Service of the United States and in the line of his duty…

[2] John McGRAW b. abt. 1776 in Pennsylvania

John shows up on the 1797 tax list which would suggest he was born about 1776. He was seen on the tax list until 1800, the year after his marriage. In 1810 he was found on a tax list for Russell County, Virginia.15 According to descendants of the Russell County McGRAWs, his wife Sally died in 1805.  If this is the case, John must have remarried as there are children born after 1805. In 1850 he was listed as born in Pennsylvania.16

[3] Mary Ann McGRAW b. abt. 1781

Mary Ann’s age can only be determined by the year of her marriage. She married in 1800 and was likely not yet 21 years of age as her parents gave their permission. This record proves she was a child of Martin and Margaret.

[4] Martin McGRAW Jr. b. abt. 1785 in Pennsylvania

Note: Martin McGRAW, son of Martin, has not been seen with the suffix Jr. following his name. It is used here to distinguish him from his father Martin.)

Martin Jr. was married in 1806. He was likely the second white tithable in his father’s tax listing from 1803 to 1805. His father Martin was last listed on the 1805 tax list. His mother Margaret was listed from 1810. Martin Jr. lived in Monroe County in 1810 and was on the census as a male white age 26 thru 44.17 He died 25 October 1858 in Fayette County per his widow’s War of 1812 widow’s application.18 His widow was his second wife Sarah JOHNSON who died about July 1890. His first wife Nancy WOOD died 1 July 1833 (proven by Neighbors’ Affidavits in the pension file). In 1850 Martin was listed on a census in Putnam County as born in Pennsylvania.19 Ages weren’t listed for persons enumerated in this area of the county in 1850. His year of birth has been estimated at about 1785.

[5] William McGRAW b. abt. 1787-1788

William first showed up on the tax list in 1809 and 1811. No tax was collected in 1808 as no law was passed. As he was on the 1809 list he must have been born 1787-1788. William has not been traced after his marriage in 1813.

[6] Elender McGRAW b. abt. 1789

Elender was likely 21 years of age when she married in 1810. She died in 1846 in her 57th year per her tombstone.20

[7] Samuel McGRAW abt. 1792 in Augusta County, Virginia

Samuel, born about 1792, may have been one of the two tithables noted on his mother’s tax list in 1810. His age was consistent on the census of 1850 to 1870, allowing his year of birth to be estimated at about 1792.21,22,23 Samuel gave his age as 74 years and his place of birth as Augusta County, Virginia, on 15 September 1866 on a voters’ list.24

[8] Thomas McGRAW b. abt. 1795 in Virginia

Thomas’ wife gave the names of his parents as Martin and Margaret McGRAW when she reported his death in 1855. He died at the age of 60.25 Using this record, his birth was estimated at about 1795 making him 22 years old when he was first seen on a tax list in Greenbrier on 11 April 1817 with 1 white male over 16, no slaves, 1 horse. He was born in Virginia per the 1850 census26 but unknown was listed on the death register by his wife.

[9] Henry McGRAW abt. 1797 in Greenbrier County

Henry was seen on the census from 1850 to 1870 with the ages 52, 63, and 72 which places his birth at about 1797.27,28,29 In 1820 he was the head of household in Monroe in the age category 16 thru 25. Also in the household was an older woman age 45 and over, likely his mother, and a younger boy age 10 thru 15.30 Henry may have married in late 1820 after the census was enumerated as his first child was born in 1821. In 1830 Henry had an older woman in his household age 70 thru 79.31 This was the last time an older woman was seen in the household of the presumable youngest child of Martin and Margaret.

Martin McGRAW and Margaret McGRAW on the Tax Lists

As can be seen on the list below, Martin was in Greenbrier County as early as 1796 and up until at least 1805. From 180332 to 1805 he had at least one son who was over 16 and under 21 years of age. This was likely Martin Jr. The sons William, Samuel, Thomas, and Henry were all under 17 years of age in 1805.

1796 April 17 – Martin Mgraw, 1 white tithable, 3 horses
1798 May 4 – Martin Megraw, 1 white tithable, 1 horse
1799 April 19 – Martin Megraw, 1 white tithable
1802 May 22 – Martin McGraw, 1 white tithable
1803 April 5 – Martin McGraw, 2 white tithables, 1 horse
1804 March 14 – Martin McGraw, 2 white tithables, 2 horses
1805 – Martin Magraw, 2 white tithables, 3 horses

Margaret McGRAW, the widow of Martin, showed up on the Tax List in 1810 with 2 white tithables and 4 horses.33 Her sons Samuel and Thomas were likely these tithables. Henry was younger than 17 and not counted. In 1811 Margaret was on the Tax List with only 3 horses. No tithables. Her three unmarried sons would have been between 14 and 19 years of age and two tithables would have been enumerated if they were living at home. Were the two older boys accounted for in someone else’s household in Greenbrier or Monroe?

Missing Land and Probate Records

Land deeds in the area were consulted. Martin McGRAW did not own land in Greenbrier or in Monroe (the counties of Nicholas and Fayette were formed after his demise). He did not leave a will nor was there an estate administered, inventoried, or sold. All of these records which might have included information about the children of Martin and Margaret were not produced.

Proven Children

The parentage of my fourth great-grandmother Mary Ann McGRAW and her brother Thomas McGRAW is proven as seen above. As Martin and Margaret were the only McGRAW couple in the area at the time can it be inferred that the other seven children were theirs as well?

More Questions

With the proven and assumed children of Martin and Margaret established, several more questions remain. Where did they come from? Who were the parents of Martin McGRAW? What was Margaret’s maiden name? Who were Margaret’s parents?

Martin’s older sons John b. abt. 1776 and Martin b. abt. 1785 both claim to have been born in Pennsylvania. His son Samuel claimed to have been born in Augusta County in 1792. Martin was first seen on a tax list in Greenbrier in 1796. Can it be assumed the McGRAWs came from Pennsylvania after 1785 via Augusta County in 1792 to Greenbrier by 1796?

Learning more about Pennsylvania research appears to be one of the next steps in solving the question of the parentage of my 5th great-grandparents Martin McGRAW and his wife Margaret.

Confirming Relationships with DNA

Can DNA open the door in this brick wall? How much work needs to be put into analyzing DNA matches to confirm the assumed relationships seen above?

Ancestry’s ThruLines™ is showing 159 matches for Martin McGRAW’s children for my test and 187 for my brother’s. Matches for each child are (mine/his): Anthony (15/24), John (27/32), Mary Ann (45/32), Martin (21/48), William (1/1), Ellender (2/2), Samuel (26/17),  Thomas (8/11), and Henry (14/19).

Interesting is the high number of matches for John who left the area and raised his family in Russell County, Virginia. Also interesting is the very low number of matches for William and Ellender. I suspect William is a false match. Ellender’s matches are close family members and one of them is showing up on Gedmatch. The chromosome segment overlaps the segment shared with a known descendant of Henry McGRAW.

Three of the McGRAW children (in bold) married WOOD siblings. This produces many double cousins through the McGRAW and the WOOD lines. This will make walking the segments back to the common ancestors more challenging – if the matches transfer their raw DNA to sites with chromosomes browsers.

And now it’s your turn, dear McGRAW descendants, to comment and question the family group established for my 5th great-grandparents, Martin and Margaret McGRAW.

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


  1. 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, Monroe County, June 1800, William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw, permission slip from her parents. 1800 Marriage Permission Slip. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370465&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  2. 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). 
  3. 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). 
  4. Ibid., West Virginia, Greenbrier County, 3 October 1799 marriage entry for Anthony McGraw and Betsy Brien married by John Alderson. 1799 Marriage Entry (right page, 11th entry from bottom). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10975169&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  5. Ibid., West Virginia, Greenbrier County, 15 February 1799 marriage entry for John McGraw and Sally Anderson married by B. Grigsby. 1799 Marriage Entry (right page, 12th entry from bottom).
    (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10975169&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  6. 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). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 11 March 1813, William McGraw and Lucretia Withrow married by John Alderson. 1813 Marriage entry (right side, middle). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369506&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  8. Ibid., West Virginia, Greenbrier County, 1 March 1810, Solomon Nelson and El McGraw married by Joshua Osborn. 1810 Marriage entry (right page, second to last entry)
    (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10976269&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  9. 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). 
  10. Ibid., West Virginia, Nicholas County, 31 July 1820, Thomas McGraw and Caty Withrow married by James Ellison. 1820 Marriage Register (line 2). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11432815&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  11. Using Personal Property Tax Records in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Library of Virginia (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/rn3_persprop.pdf : accessed 18 January 2020) 
  12. Julie McGrew-Ayres, “Greenbrier County, WV – McGraw’s in the Greenbrier Co. Tax Lists – 1792-1833,” abstract of the tax lists submitted in February 1999, USGenWeb Archives Special Projects,  (http://files.usgwarchives.net/wv/greenbrier/taxlists/mcgraw.txt : accessed 9 January 2020). 
  13. Julie McGrew-Ayres, “Fayette County, WV – McGraw’s in the Fayette Co. Tax Lists – 1831-1839,” abstract of the tax lists submitted in February 1999, USGenWeb Archives Special Projects, (http://files.usgwarchives.net/wv/fayette/taxlists/mcgrawtx.txt : accessed 9 January 2020). 
  14. “War of 1812 Pension Files,” database and images, Fold3, citing “War of 1812 Pension and Bounty land Warrant Application Files, compiled ca. 1871–1900, documenting the period 1812–ca.1900, National Archives, Washington, D.C., original data from The National Archives (http://www.archives.gov), Record Group 15, Roll RG15-1812PB-Bx2276, National Archives Catalog ID: 564415, service of Anthony McGraw (Capt McClung 4th Reg’t, Virginia Militia, War of 1812), widow Elizabeth Gill formerly Elizabeth McGraw. (https://www.fold3.com/image/316993307 : accessed 4 January 2020). 
  15. 1790 / 1800 / 1810 Virginia Tax List Censuses, (reconstructed 1790, 1800, and 1810 federal censuses using tax list, microfilm images with every name indexes), Binns Genealogy (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/) citing original records from Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia or Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, Russell County, Virginia, 1810 Personal Tax List A, page 13, right line, line 12, John McGraw. 1810 Russell County, Virginia Tax List. (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/FreeSample/CDR-000497/1810/1810PersonalA/13.pdf : accessed 16 January 2020). 
  16. 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 54, Russell, Virginia; Roll: M432_975; Page: 307A; Image: 184. John McGraw (head of household) listed as born in Pennsylvania. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 9 January 2020). 
  17. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, Year: 1810; Census Place: Monroe, Monroe, Virginia; Roll: 70; Page: 575; Image: 00022; Family History Library Film: 0181430Family History Library Film: 0181420. “.” (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  18. War of 1812 Pension Files, Roll RG15-1812PB-Bx2276, National Archives Catalog ID: 564415, service of Martin McGraw (5th Regiment, Capt. James R. Nemal’s Company, Virginia Militia, War of 1812), widow Sarah Jane (Johnson) McGraw. (https://www.fold3.com/image/316993473 : accessed 4 January 2020). 
  19. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 46, Putnam, Virginia; Roll: M432_971; Page: 287A; Image: 243. Martin McGraw (head of household) born in Pennsylvania. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  20. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 22 January 2020), memorial page for Elender “Nellie” McGraw Nelson (1788–2 Aug 1845), Find A Grave Memorial no. 55298224, citing Nelson Cemetery, Richland Township, Madison County, Indiana, USA; Maintained by Bonnie Morris Conrad (contributor 46480766). 
  21. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 14, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M432_943; Page: 351A; Image: 307. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  22. 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: 367; Family History Library Film: 805344. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  23. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Year: 1870; Census Place: Mountain Cove, Fayette, West Virginia; Roll: M593_1686; Page: 140B; Family History Library Film: 553185. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  24. County Clerk, Register of the Names of Voters in Fayette County, West Virginia 1866, FamilySearch, Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1958 (Microfilm of originals at the West Virginia University Library, Morgantown), Names of persons voting and tally of votes, Item 7, Mountain Cove, image 130 of 154, last line. 15 September 1866 Samuel McGraw gave his age as 74 years and his place of birth as Augusta County, Virginia. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34W-543H?i=129&cat=220730 : accessed 16 January 2020). 
  25. 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). 1855 Death Register entry for Thomas McGraw line 68. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=4786546&Type=Death : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  26. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: District 46, Putnam, Virginia; Roll: M432_971; Page: 281B; Image: 232. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  27. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: District 14, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M432_943; Page: 338A; Image: 281+282. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  28. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: District 3, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M653_1344; Page: 410; Family History Library Film: 805344. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  29. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: Mountain Cove, Fayette, West Virginia; Roll: M593_1686; Page: 156A; Family History Library Film: 553185. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  30. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 U Census Place: Peterstown, Monroe, Virginia; Page: 179; NARA Roll: M33_133; Image: 218. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  31. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archive and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Census Place: Greenbrier, Virginia; Series: M19; Roll: 190; Page: 192; Family History Library Film: 0029669. “.” (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  32. Virginia Tax List (Binnsgenealogy), Greenbrier, 1803 Personal Tax List B, page 14, line 18, Martin McGraw. (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Greenbrier/1803PersonalB/14.jpg : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  33. Ibid., Virginia, Greenbrier County, 1810 Personal Tax List B, page 8, right side, line 2, Margaret McGraw. (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/FreeSample/CDR-000484/1810/1810PersonalB/08.pdf : accessed 16 January 2020). 

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