Rewriting the Biography: James SIMS Jr. 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.

James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON’s first known child was a son, James, born about 1801. James and Elizabeth were married in Bath County, Virginia, in October 1796 and moved to Kanawha County by 1800. This was where young James was born.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

James SIMS Jr. was the young boy under the age of 10 with his parents in 1810. He had by this time three younger sisters as seen in the analysis of his father James SIMS’ census records.

1810 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James Simms (top line)

1810 U.S. Federal Census 1
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sheet 207A, Line 23
Name: James Simms
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 1 (James Jr.)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3 (Margaret, Sarah, Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Numbers of Slaves: 5 (Isaac, Black Jude, Black Fanny, Robert, and ?)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 11

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

By 1820 James was no longer showing up in the census with his parents. His half-brother William, the second oldest son of James Sr., was married with six children at the time of the 1820 census. Also in the household was a young man 16 thru 25 years old. Could this be James Jr.?

Two persons in the William SIMS household were engaged in manufactures. William may have been apprenticing his young half-brother James. William, as well as his brother Martin, were well-known rifle makers.

1820 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for William Sims

1820 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 17
Enumeration Date: 7 August 1820
Name: William Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Jonathan & Edward)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 2 (William Jr. & Jeremiah)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (poss. brother James)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Miriam)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures: 2
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
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

James SIMS Jr. married Elizabeth STANLEY in Kanawha County, Virginia, on 26 August 1821. By 1 June 1830, they had two daughters and a son. Their first child, Susan, if born after the date of marriage, should be seen here in the 5 thru 9 years range. Her age would continue to fluctuate in 1840 through 1860. James’ occupation was not indicated on this census listing.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James Sims Jr.

1830 U.S. Federal Census3
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sheet 213A&B Line 17
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James Wesley age 4)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (James age 29)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Seneth age 1)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Susan 1850 age 23, 1860 age 40)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 5

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

By 1840 the family of James and Elizabeth grew by two daughters and two sons. According to this listing, everyone in the family was engaged in farming except for two persons. They could only be the two youngest children who were under 5 years old. In the 30 thru 39 years range with James is a second male who remains unknown.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for Jas. Sims

1840 U.S. Federal Census4
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sheet 51A&B, Line 13
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (William and James)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 2 (James and unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Rachel and Seneth)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Susan)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 8
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 10
Note: Annotated ages are from the 1850 census.

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

In 1850 we finally see the names of the children of James and Elizabeth on the census sheet. Two more sons were born during the 1840s bringing the total children to nine. Only eight of these were living at home. The missing child was their oldest son James Wesley SIMS who married in October 1848.

James and Elizabeth’s daughter Nancy was enumerated as being deaf in 1850. This fact would later be useful in finding the 1860 census listing.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James Sims household (part 1)
1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James Sims household (part 2)

1850 U.S. Federal Census5
Kanawha County, Virginia
District No. 29
Enumerated by me, on the 25th day of June 1850, A.P. Fry Ass’t Marshall
Sheet 102A, Lines 39-42, Sheet 102B, Lines 1-6, HH #1476-1510
James Sims 49 M Farmer Virginia cannot read & write
Elizabeth Sims 47 F Virginia
Seneth Sims 21 F Virginia
Rachael Sims 18 F Virginia
Susan Sims 23 F Virginia
William H. Sims 16 M Laborer Virginia
Nancy Sims 12 F Virginia deaf
John E. Sims 10 M Virginia attended school within the year
Charles Sims 7 M Virginia attended school within the year
Daniel S. Sims 2 M Virginia

As mentioned above, James Wesley SIMS married in 1848 and was seen with his wife Sarah Jane HALL and their first child, a daughter Elizabeth. They lived next door to Sarah Jane’s parents and siblings and a little more than a dozen households away from James’ parents. James W. was working as a laborer and could not read and write.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James W. Sims household

1850 U.S. Federal Census6
Kanawha County, Virginia
District No. 29
Enumerated by me, on the 24th day of June, 1850, A.P. Fry Ass’t Marhall
Sheet 101A, Lines 39-41, HH #1462-1495
James W. Sims 23 M Laborer Virginia cannot read & write
Sarah J. Sims 18 F Virginia
Elizabeth Sims 9/12 F Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

James SIMS and his family moved to Texas during the 1850s according to family tradition leaving only son James Wesley SIMS in (West) Virginia. This would mean the eight children seen in the 1850 census went to Texas with James and Elizabeth. Texas is a huge state. If the story is true, where in Texas did they settle?

Four of the children were found in two households in Colorado County, Texas. Nancy Jane, the youngest daughter who was seen as deaf in 1850, married John A. PIERCE in Colorado County in 1857. She was listed in 1860 as deaf & dumb. Next door are her brother John E., seen as Everete, her oldest sister Susan, and her brother Charles W.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Colorado County, Texas for John A. Pierce and Everete Sims households

1860 U.S. Federal Census7, 8
Colorado County, Texas
Columbus Post Office
Enumerated by me on the 9th day of July, 1860. George W. Breeding, Ass’t Marshall.
Sheet No. 146B, Lines 31-33, HH #412-391
John A. Pierce 32 M Gunright $1000 $450 Tennessee
Nancy Pierce 21 F Virginia deaf & dumb
Charles Pierce 10/12 Texas
Sheet No. 146B, Lines 34-36, HH #413-392
Everete Sims 20 M Farmer Virginia
Susan Sims 40 F Virginia
Charles Sims 19 M Virginia

Another SIMS marriage had taken place in Colorado County in 1852 placing the move from Kanawha to Texas at between 1850-1852. Rachel E. SIMS married James W. ALLEN on 11 September 1852. By 1860 they were living in Houston County, Texas, and had three children.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Houston County, Texas for the James W. Allen household

1860 U.S. Federal Census9
Houston County, Texas
Elkhart Post Office
Page No. 135, Lines 15-19, HH #960-886
James W. Allen 31 M Brickmason $250 $0 Tennessee
R. E. Allen 28 F Housewife Virginia
James W. Allen 7 M Texas
Mary Allen 3 F Texas
Julia Allen 1 F Texas

Three of the children of James SIMS Jr. were not located in 1860 or later census years: Seneth, William H. and Daniel S. Did they marry? Do they have descendants?

Where were James SIMS Jr. and his wife?

Where were James SIMS Jr. and his wife Elizabeth STANLEY? From the two marriages found in Colorado County, it can be assumed the family was in the county as early as 11 September 1852 when Rachel married. Unfortunately, the marriage records of both girls do not include the names of the parents or if they were living.

1860 Mortality Schedule of Colorado County, Texas (top of page)
1860 Mortality Schedule of Colorado County, Texas (bottom of page)

1860 U.S. Federal Census10
Colorado County, Texas
Schedule 3: Persons Who Died During the Year Ending June 1, 1860
Page 5, Line 32
Elizabeth Sims (59, female, widowed, born in Virginia, died in May of “rising in the head” after an illness of six months)

On Schedule 3, also known as the mortality schedule, of the 1860 census for Colorado County a widowed Elizabeth SIMS age 59 and born in Virginia was found. She died in May of “rising in the head” after an illness of six months. The dreadful “rising in the head” is also known as an ear abscess.11

As the children were found in this county it is possible this woman was James SIMS’ wife Elizabeth STANLEY. Her age is off by two years compared to the 1850 census but Virginia as her place of birth is correct. James SIMS likely died before her as she was listed as a widow.

The names found in Colorado County in 1860 match the names found in the SIMS family in 1850. Four of the children were found living together and/or next door. The daughter Nancy was seen as deaf in 1850 and deaf and dumb in 1860. Nancy and Rachel married in Colorado County.  Is this conclusive evidence that these SIMS in Texas were the James SIMS family formerly of Kanawha County in old Virginia?

The only child to remain in western Virginia was the oldest son James Wesley SIMS. In 1850 he had a daughter Elizabeth, likely named after his mother. She was no longer with the family in 1860. Although no record of death has been found in Kanawha or Putnam, it is assumed she died between 1850-1860. Two sons were born to Sarah Jane during the decade prior to the 1860 census. William James was born while they were living in Kanawha and Thomas was born in Buffalo in Putnam County where the family settled in the mid-1850s. James Wesley was working as a laborer at this time.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Putnam County, Virginia for the J. W. Sims household

1860 U.S. Federal census12
Putnam County, (West) Virginia
Buffalo Post Office (790)
Enumerated the 5th day of July 1860, W. E. Herndon, Ass’t Marshal
HH #630-553
J. W. Sims 33 M Laborer Virginia
S. Sims 29 F Virginia
W. J. Sims 7 M Virginia
T. Sims 2 M Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

James SIMS and his wife Elizabeth STANLEY died in Texas before the enumeration of the 1860 census. Three of their children have, up to now, not been located in 1860 or later: Seneth, William H., and Charles W.

Susan and her brothers, John Everete and Charles W., who had been living together in 1860 have not been found in the 1870 census or later. Charles W. SIMS was one of the 517 Colorado County men who were identified as Confederate soldiers.

Simms, Charles W. (private) age 19 in 1860; enrolled in Company A, 5th Texas Cavalry, on August 17, 1861 at Columbus; discharged for medical reasons, about October 1861; enlisted in Company F, 35th Texas Cavalry, on April 10, 1862; left with illness, April 24, 1863; returned to company; arrested by civil authorities in Brazoria County, May 1864; hospitalized in Tyler, October 15, 1864.13

Nancy Jane SIMS likely died following the birth of a daughter seen as Sallie age 2 in 1870 or in the period between the birth and the 1870 census. No death record has been found for Nancy Jane. She left a widower, two sons, and a daughter.

The only child of James and Elizabeth known to be living in Texas in 1870 was their daughter Rachel E. (SIMS) PIERCE. She was widowed and living in Nacogdoches County, Texas. Rachel was a challenge to research and without the help of one of her descendants, it may have never been known she was married 3 (proven) or 4 times and died in 1918 in Waelder, Gonzales County, Texas.

James Wesley SIMS who remained in old Virginia was a riverboat pilot who ferried soldiers and supplies from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Charlestown, Virginia, during the Civil War. Supplies were stored in Gallipolis, Ohio, just across from Putnam County were he lived.

A daughter Caroline had been born soon after the 1860 census. In 1864 his second son Thomas died of scarlet fever. After the war, James W. moved his family across the Ohio River to Gallia County, Ohio. Another daughter Melinda, named after the maternal grandmother, was born just before the 1870 census in Gallia. James and Sarah Jane would remain in the county until his death in 1897. The three living children married in Gallia County: James William in 1875, Caroline in 1879, and Melinda, who was known as Linnie, in 1896. James W.’s widow Sarah Jane lived with her youngest daughter until her death in 1910 in Coshocton County, Ohio.

Like Jeremiah, the oldest son of James SIMS (1754-1845), James Jr., the oldest son from James’ second marriage, left the family he grew up with. Jeremiah moved to Ohio while James moved to Texas. None of their descendants remained in the area the elder James SIMS chose for his family when he moved to the Kanawha area (later Nicholas County) at the turn of the 19th century.

Coming next, Margaret SIMS. She was my 4th great-grandaunt and the mother of my great-granduncle. How could that be?

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

Rewriting the Biography: James SIMS Jr. 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 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 23, James Simms ( : accessed 6 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_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 17, William Sims. ( : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 67+68 of 84, page 213A+B, line 17, James Sims. ( : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  4. 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, FHL Film 0029689, NARA Roll M704_566, Virginia, Kanawha, page 51A+B, line 13, James Sims. ‎( : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  5. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_954; image 207; Virginia, Kanawha, image 181 of 271, sheet 102A, lines 39-42, sheet 102B, lines 1-6, HH #1476-1510, James Sims household. ( : accessed 21 June 2018). 
  6.  Ibid., Virginia, Kanawha, image 179 of 271, sheet 101A, lines 39-41, HH #1462-1495, James W. Sims household. ( : accessed 28 June 2018). 
  7.  1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1291; FHL Film: 805291; Texas, Colorado, image 58 of 102, page 146, lines 31-33, HH #412-391, John Pierce household. ( : accessed 21 June 2018). 
  8.  Ibid., Roll: M653_1291; FHL Film: 805291; Texas, Colorado, image 58 of 102, page 146, lines 34-36, HH #413-392, Everete Sims household. ( : accessed 21 June 2018). 
  9.  Ibid., Roll: M653_1297; FHL Film: 805297; Texas, Houston, Beat 12, image 9 of 9, page 276, lines 15-19, HH #960-886, James W. Allen household. ( : accessed 21 June 2018). 
  10.  Mortality schedules of Texas (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880); mortality schedules of Utah (1870), (database with images), FamilySearch, Mortality schedules, 1850; 1860, Anderson County – Titus County (continued) (NARA Series T1134, Roll 54), Film 1421044, DGS 4206503, image 344 of 717, Texas, Colorado, page 5, line 32, Elizabeth Sims. ( : accessed 27 June 2018). 
  11. Francis Marion Walters, The principles of health control, Revised edition, Boston: D.C. Heath & Co. (1920), pg. 329. ( : accessed 29 June 2018) 
  12.  1860 Census, Roll: M653_1373; FHL Film: 805373; Page: 790; Virginia, Putnam, Buffalo, image 2 of 8, page no. 86, lines 2-5, HH #630-553, J. W. Sims household. ( : accessed 29 June 2018). 
  13.  Bill Stein, Dorothy Albrecht, Ernest Mae Seaholm, and Tracey Wegenhoft (compilers), Colorado County Confederate Soldiers, Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus, Texas; Originally appeared in Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 111-142; ( : accessed 28 June 2018) 

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Amy, Addison, Henry and his Enslaved Family

Samuel Pack (1779-1850) wrote his Last Will and Testament on 1 January 1850 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia. Three weeks later, on 23 January 1850, Raleigh County was formed. The will was the first item recorded in the Will Book for Raleigh County.

RELEASING Amy, Addison, and Henry

Saml Pack’s Will (in margin)

In the name of God Amen I Samuel Pack of the County of
Fayette & state of Virginia, calling to mind that is alotted (sic) once for
man to die do make and constitute this my last Will an (sic) testment (sic)
revoking all Wills or writings heretofore made by me in the manner
an (sic) form following (to wit)
first After my decease I desire my body may be buried in neat and
Christian like manner, that all my funeral expenses an (sic) just debts be paid
2 I give an (sic) bequeath unto my Deer (sic) Beloved wife Sally Pack absolutely
the whole of my estate both Real an (sic) personal and (sic) at disposal at her death
3rd The heirs of William Pack each one I give an (sic) bequeath One dollar
to Each one to be paid by my Executor
4th To my son Andrew Pack I give an (sic) bequeath One Dollar
5/ To my son Augustus Pack I give an (sic) bequeath One dollar
6/ To my daughter Rachel Honaker I give an (sic) bequeath One dollar
7/ With this special Reservation that my three Negroes Amy, Addison,
& Henry at the death of my wife Sally Pack shall have the
Liberty of chewsing (sic) ther (sic) own Master out of all my schildren (sic) or
grand schildren (sic) an (sic) if that dont suit they shall be at Liberty to
take some other master by him paying the valuation of said Negro
or Negroes over to said heirs.
I have omitted certain of my children with this my last will
testament which is in consequence of the Land conveyed to William
Pack at the mouth Greenbrier River. Land to Andrew Pack on Cole
River, Land to Augustus Pack on Cole River
I do hereby appoint James M. Byrnsides as my executor
at this my last Will & testament
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand
and affixed my seal this 1 day January 1850
test                                             mark
Anderson Pack               Samuel   X   Pack      Seal
Washington H. Boyd                    his                
Jackson Vest

At a Court held for the County of Raleigh on Monday the
28th day of October 1850.
                                         The last Will and Testament of Samuel
Pack deceased was proved according to law by the Oaths of Anderson
Pack, and Jackson Vest, Witnesses thereto, and is ordered to be
                                          A Copy
                                                         Daniel Shumate clk

True's statement

When doing genealogy research you realize how small the world really is. Samuel’s widow Sarah (Wyatt) Pack was living only a few households away from my 3rd great-grandparents Jordan N. Peters and Rachel Proffitt in 1850. Samuel and Sarah’s daughter Rachel Byrnside Pack was married to Henry Honaker (my 2C4R), grandson of my 4th great-grandfather Frederick Honaker‘s brother Henry. This led me to do a bit more research than usual on the slaves Amy, Addison, and Henry mentioned in Samuel Pack’s will.

After the Last Will and Testament

Samuel Pack died in July 1850 per the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules Index. I found only one GEDCOM on RootsWeb with this date of death. All others have the day his will was proved in court as his date of death – 28 October 1850. On Ancestry there are over 550 trees and a little over 1/5 have the correct date of death. He was not on the 1850 census – a red flag that something must be wrong!

In 1850 his widow Sarah (Wyatt) Pack was living in Raleigh County and was enumerated on Schedule 2 for Slave Inhabitants with a 50 years old black female, a 29 years old black male, and a 25 years old black male. The schedule was dated 5 July 1850 and the three slaves mentioned are likely Amy, Addison, and Henry. As Samuel was not on the schedule his death must have been before July 5. Further, as the official enumeration day of the 1850 census was 1 June 1850 it is more likely he died before July or even June. Why else would Sarah be alone as of 1 June 1850 on the census?

By 1860 Sarah had moved in with her daughter Rachel and son-in-law Henry Honaker in Newbern, Pulaski County, Virginia. Once again she was enumerated on the Slave Schedule. This time with a 38 years old black male and a 35 years old mulatto male. From this I assume Amy may have died between 1850-1860. I believe the two males were Addison and Henry.

By the end of the year 1860 Sarah Pack was deceased. I have not found a record to confirm the 13 December 1860 date of death found on Find A Grave. Per her husband’s will at her death his Negroes should have the liberty to choose their own master out of his children or grandchildren or “take some other master.” I don’t know if they chose to remain with Rachel and Henry Honaker with whom they, as well as Sarah, were living. However I am sure Henry remained in Pulaski County. But what of Addison?


At this point I would like to note that I did not find any trace of Addison. “A cohabitation register, or as it is properly titled, Register of Colored Persons…cohabiting together as Husband and Wife on 27th February 1866, was the legal vehicle by which former slaves legitimized both their marriages and their children.” ~ Library of Virginia.  Pulaski County is not included on the site and may be one of the counties for which this register does not exist. I checked the surrounding counties and none had a Pack or Addison on their register. Without Addison‘s surname it is nearly impossible to locate him in the census or other records or even to guess if he was related to Amy and Henry.


I found Henry in the 1870 census as Henry Pack with wife Margaret Ann, five children, and an older woman named Jane Hall. All were listed as mulattoes except Jane Hall who was black. Henry was a carpenter and owned 60 acres of land. By 1880 his family had grown to nine children. His place of birth as well as his parents’ were listed as West Virginia which supported my assumption that this was the same Henry as seen in Samuel Pack’s will. The 1880 census included the relationships missing on the 1870 census and prove Jane Hall (b.  1800-1802) was the mother of Henry’s wife Margaret Ann Hall.

I began following the children of Henry Pack using the nine names found in the census and their mother’s maiden name. A tenth child was born after 1880. Several death records found had years of birth which did not match the census and suggested that Henry fathered more than one child in the 1880s. I found a couple of trees on Ancestry which have confused him with another Henry Pack who lived in Wythe County and died in 1925. Because of the conflicting information I decided to input all information into a family tree on Ancestry and attach the records found. This is something I have never done. I always work directly from my genealogy software, downloading the records and attaching them to the correct individuals in my GEDCOM file. But I was not sure I was following the correct persons and decided to try a different approach, i.e. a family tree on Ancestry.

Amy Was Henry’s Mother

It was while attaching all the records that I found the indexed death record of Henry Pack.

1881HenryPackDeathThere is no image for this record however the indexed information matches on several points.

  • The age at death and estimated year of birth match with the ages seen for the younger male slave of Sarah Pack in 1850 and 1860.
  • Although Raleigh County did not exist in 1825 it is where Henry lived in 1850 and likely where he was born. Pre-1850 census records of Samuel Pack were found and with changing county lines taken into consideration he lived at the same place in 1825.
  • Henry’s occupation matches the occupation seen on the 1870 and 1880 census.
  • Although seen as mulatto on the 1860 slave schedule, 1870 and 1880 census the death index has black.
  • His wife is a match with Margaret Ann Pack, her married name.
  • But the most important entries are the names of father and mother and confirm that Amy was Henry’s mother. Mr. Pack who is listed as his father very likely was not a black man as Amy was black and Henry was mulatto.

Henry’s Children, Enslaved and Free

As I researched Henry’s children I was so fixed on the three slave names in the last will and testament of Samuel Pack that I did not consider that some of Henry’s children were born into slavery. Two were born before the Emancipation Proclamation on 1 January 1863 and another was born before the abolition of slavery in Virginia in 1865: Louis, Mary Belle, and Henry Ollie.

A daughter was born two months after Henry’s death bringing the total children of Henry Pack and Margaret Ann Hall to ten:

  1. Louis PACK b. 20 January 1860 d. 8 December 1942
  2. Mary Belle PACK b. 18 March 1862 d. 4 April 1913
  3. Henry Ollie PACK b. 14 November 1864 d. 10 January 1943
  4. James Warren PACK b. 17 January 1867 d. 27 March 1940
  5. Lucy Ann PACK b. abt. 1869 d. 4 September 1881
  6. Joseph William PACK b. 27 January 1872 d. 25 Feb 1941
  7. Thomas Philip PACK b. 28 Oct 1874 d. 29 Dec 1950
  8. Walter A. PACK b. Feb 1877 d. 27 Feb 1944
  9. Creasy Jane PACK b. abt 1879 d. bet. 1917-1920
  10. Henrietta PACK b. Dec 1881 d. 3 May 1955

A death record was not found for Margaret Ann Hall. The unmarried children are missing from the 1900 census. Was their mother still living? Had she remarried? Could they be enumerated with a different surname? The family does not appear to have stayed in Pulaski County as marriages were found in Montgomery County for nearly all the children beginning in 1886. Most spent their entire lives in Auburn, Montgomery County.

The connection to Montgomery County may go back to Margaret Ann Hall’s side of the family. There were no Hall slave owners in Pulaski County in 1850 and 1860 but several in Montgomery County including Asa Hall Jr., son of Asa Hall Sr. a Revolutionary War soldier.

After inputting all information found I had 143 persons in the family tree for Amy, Addison, and Henry. I temporarily attached Addison as the son of Amy and brother of Henry. This can easily be undone if and when more information is found on Addison to prove or disproves his relationship to Amy. The tree includes ten children of Henry Pack, 32 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and counting. I did not do an exhaustive search for the second and later generations of Henry Pack’s descendants.

This exercise of using Ancestry to build a family tree was a first for me. I plan to keep the tree private as I am not a fan of the ability to click and add information from other public trees. I will reach out to those who have Henry’s children in their public trees and will give them access if they are interested. If you are related to this family, please feel free to get in touch with me by leaving a comment below.

Many thanks to my blog sister True Lewis of NoTeS To MySeLf for her feedback on my draft.

. . . . . .
The Slave Name Roll Project page can be found on
Schalene Jennings Dagutis’ blog Tangled Roots and Trees
.... ..

Following my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis 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.


© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.








































52 Ancestors: #12 Civil War Baby, Gordon Washington ROOP 1862-1930

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 my 12th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #12 Civil War Baby, Gordon Washington ROOP 1862-1930

My great-great-grandfather Gordon Washington ROOP, a photographer, miner, and farmer, was born 6 May 1862 in Floyd County, Virginia, during the Civil War.

Gordon’s father enlisted in Jacksonville as a private on 10 September 1861 in Company A, 54th Regiment of the Virginia Infantry, for a period of one year. He may not have known at the time that his wife was pregnant with their third child. The 54th was engaged in battles in Bourbon County, Kentucky, on 15 April 1862 and at Princeton, (West) Virginia, on 16 May 1862. Was Gordon’s father given furlough to be at home for the birth of his son?

Gordon’s father must have worried about his young family while he continued to serve in the Confederate army. He was NOT one of the nearly 23 percent of Floyd County men who chose to abandon the cause. The Confederate Conscription Act of April 1862 may have forced him to extend his service, when his initial commitment of one year expired, to a total of three years.

On the 19th and 20th of September 1863, while Gordon was learning to walk and beginning to talk, his father was fighting his last battle at Chickamauga in Georgia. On 1 November 1863, when young Gordon was a year and a half, his father died in Flewellan Hospital, in Cassville, Bartow County, Georgia.

Parents and Siblings

Gordon’s parents Gordon H. ROOP (1838-1863) and Emaline LESTER (1836-1877) married on 10 March 1856 in Floyd County, Virginia. They had two children by 1860: Dollie Ann Ellen (1857-1937) born 24 February 1857 and John Thomas (1859-1902) born 6 March 1859, both in Floyd County, Virginia.

When the American Civil War began on 4 February 1861 the young family of four was living in Floyd County. Emaline gave birth to her second son and third child, Gordon Washington ROOP, on 6 May 1862. He was given his father’s first name and, as a middle name, the surname of the first U.S. President. Sadly we do not know how much time Gordon Sr. was able to spend with his family while serving in the Civil War until his early death at the age of 25 in 1863.

Mother Remarries

The end of the Civil War in June 1865 brought changes to America, Virginia, and families in Floyd County. We don’t know what price Gordon, his mother Emaline, and his sibings paid for his father’s loyalty to the Confederacy. Gordon’s mother Emaline waited nearly six years to remarry. She was 32 when she married Pleasant D. EPPERLY, 21, son of Solomon EPPERLY and Rachel RATLIFF, on 6 February 1869 in Floyd County. A year later we see Gordon and his siblings in the household of their step-father and mother in the 1870 census.

1870 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd > Alum Ridge > Page 2 > HH#13-13; online : accessed 19 March 2014
1870 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Floyd > Alum Ridge > Page 3 > HH#13-13; online : accessed 19 March 2014

Siblings Marry

Gordon’s sister Dollie Ann Ellen married her 2nd cousin 1 time removed Giles SUMNER (1855-1920) on 1 7 November 1873 in Floyd County. His brother John Thomas married Ardelia E. WAITMAN (1858-?) on 16 November 1876 in Camp Creek, Floyd County.

Orphaned at Fifteen

A little over a year after John’s marriage, Gordon was orphaned at the age of 15 when his mother died on 13 December 1877. Did Gordon stay with his step-father or did he go to live with his sister or his brother? Gordon and his siblings were close to their ROOP and LESTER grandparents as well as the SUMNER family, their great-grandparents. I hope that he was well taken care of until he married two years later.

Screenshot of five-generation pedigree for Gordon Washington ROOP generated by Ancestral Quest 14

Marries at Seventeen

1880rooppetersmarriage 002
Photocopy of Marriage License obtained by Louise Roop Anderson Akers on 24 Feb 2001 from the records of the Circuit Court, County of Floyd, Virginia. Louise sent the original certified copy to me in April 2001.

William L. SIMMONS joined Gordon Washington ROOP, age 17, and Milla Susan PETERS, age 23, in marriage on 1 January 1880 in Floyd County at Jordan PETERS’ residence. On the marriage record the ages of the bride and groom were fudged. Gordon was listed as 21 and Milla as 20.

Gordon and Milla were first seen together on the 1880 census. They lived on Alum Ridge in Floyd County near the Montgomery County line.

1880 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Floyd > Alum Ridge > ED 25 Page 4 Sheet 264B > HH#59-59; online : accessed 19 March 2014

Becomes a Father at Eighteen

Gordon and his wife Milla did not wait long to start their family. They had five children, four sons and a daughter, in ten years:

Ch 1: George Washington ROOP (1880-1950) born 19 September 1880in Floyd County, Virginia. Note: no birth record however WWI and WWII draft cards match date seen on his death certificate.
Ch 2: Walter Farmer ROOP (1883-1971) born 16 April 1883 in Montgomery County, Virginia.

Ch 3: Charles Turner ROOP (1885-1966) born 15 June 1885 in Montgomery County, Virginia. The father’s residence at the time was Raleigh County, West Virginia, and the birth was recorded there.

Ch 4: James H. “Old Man Jim” ROOP (1887-1962) born 30 May 1887 at Snuffer’s Branch, Clear Creek, Raleigh County, West Virginia.
Ch 5: [–?–] ROOP (1890-1891) born in June 1890 in Kanawha County, West Virginia. She died in a house fire in 1891.

Moves his Family to West Virginia

By 1885 Gordon moved his family to Raleigh County in West Virginia where he had the birth of his son Charles recorded. After the birth of their fourth son James, Gordon and Milla and their four sons moved to Kanawha County where their only daughter was born in 1890.

Wife and Daughter Die in a House Fire

Sadly the daughter born in June 1890 was not named and died with her mother in a house fire in 1891 according to family tradition as recounted in genealogy notes by Linda Pearl Dickey Roop. Neither death records nor newspaper articles have been found to confirm the story and year of this event.

Linda Pearl Dickey Roop (1943-1994) collaborated with Everette L. McGrew (1923-2008) on a book on the Roop family. The summer of 1994 she was diagnosed with cancer and died a month later. Everette took over the task of finishing the book which he titled My Mother Was A Rupe. He gave me an updated copy in 2002. Linda had done most of the work on our direct line as her husband is the grandson of Old Man Jim, Gordon’s fourth son.

Motherless Children Go into Foster Care

The four motherless boys were placed in the home of Henry Snuffer, the Sheriff of Kanawha County, and his brother, Lee Snuffer, until Gordon was able to care for them. Linda wrote, “Gordon married second to Nancy E. Johnson. When Gordon returned for his children, Walter, Charles and George went with him but James wanted to stay with the only family he knew, the Snuffers, so Gordon let him stay rather than insist he go with him. Henry and Martha E. Snuffer were a loving married couple who could not have children of their own. They took in and raised with loving care many children who had lost their parents.”

Further research brought to light that Lee and Eliza Snuffer, like Henry and Martha, did not have children of their own. James was living in Henry Snuffer’s and Charles was in Lee Snuffer’s households in 1900. Walter was with Gordon and his second family. George was not found. Is it possible that Charles, like his brother James, also wanted to remain with the Snuffer family he had been living with?

Mentioned in his Grandfather’s Will in 1890

Gordon’s grandfather James ROOP dated his will 31 January 1890. He died 2 November 1890 and final settlement of the will was made on 18 September 1897 in Floyd County, Virginia. In his will James ROOP mentioned among others, his son Gordon ROOP’s children Thomas, Gordon, and Dolly.

Marries a Second Time and Fathers More Children

Gordon Washington ROOP and Nancy Elizabeth JOHNSON (1860-1949) were married on 25 August 1894 in Pond Gap, Kanawha County, West Virginia, by L. D. Hill. [line 76]

They had five children in five years:

Ch 6: Samuel Pasley “Sam” ROUPE (1895-1956) born 30 October 1895 in Blue Creek, Kanawha County, West Virginia [line 39].
Ch 7: Julia Ann ROOP (1897-1990) born 4 January 1897 in Cannelton, Kanawha County, West Virginia [line 40].
Ch 8: Amanda O. “Mandy” ROOP (1898-1994) born 20 March 1898 in Hughes Creek, Kanawha County, West Virginia [line 12].
Ch 9: Hallie Beatrice ROOP (1899-1944) born 10 September 1899 in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
Ch 10: Hazel Vern ROOP (1900-1976) was born 28 December 1900 in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

1900 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Kanawha > Cabin Creek > ED 41 Sheet 2B > HH #33-33; online : accessed 19 March 2014
1910 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Kanawha > Roe > ED 54 Sheet 6A > HH #100-106; online : accessed 19 March 2014
1920 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Kanawha > Cabin Creek > ED 79 Sheet 7B > HH#38; online : accessed 19 March 2014

Dies at the Home of his Daughter

According to Linda Pearl Dickey Roop, Gordon was living with his daughter, Amanda WITHROW in Donnally Hollow in Kanawha City, West Virginia, before he died so that he could get to the doctors more easily. Gordon Washington ROOP died at 6:30 a.m. on 30 January 1930 in Kanawha City; cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis with contributory factor being cardio-renal disease. He was buried in Jodie, Fayette County.

Gordon’s son Walter Farmer ROOP was the informant on the death certificate. Walter didn’t know the name of his grandmother and he got the name of his grandfather wrong. Or did he? The name he gave was Ham ROOP. Gordon’s father’s middle initial was H. in Civil War records. Is it possible that the H. was for Hamilton even though Gordon Sr.’s youngest brother was named Hamilton Null ROOP? Could Uncle Hamilton have raised Gordon Jr. after both his parents’ deaths?

Gordon Washington ROOP was survived by his second wife, all of his children except for the baby girl who died in the house fire, and his sister Dollie. His children’s families continued to grow giving him a total of 50 known grandchildren, 10 still living in 2014.

Gordon’s second wife Nancy Elizabeth Johnson died 14 June 1949 in Charleston.

The Charleston Gazette, Wednesday, June 15, 1949

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