Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER from Gronn to Strassen

Église Saint-Jean-du-Grund. The featured image was taken in December 2008 while walking in Luxembourg City’s Grund. At the time I had no idea I was looking at the church where Margretha BREGER’s parents were married in 1758.

I’m finally at a point where I can write about my 5th great-grandparents Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852) and Margretha BREGER (1767-1851). As I mentioned in The Farm Where the Majerus Family Lived in the 1700s I’ve spent a lot of time researching their descendants.

The main objective of the research was to find out how many children Jean and Margretha had and which ones produced families. By the time I had gone through ALL civil birth, marriage, and death records in Strassen as well as census records, I was able to generate a descendants report for the couple in question with nine generations, 74 pages, and over 350 source citations. The number of citations will likely reach 400 by the time I finish adding more census records, recent church records, and newspaper clippings.

After taking the time to evaluate and cite the records found, I now have a clear picture of several generations of descendants of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER.

Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852)

As we learned in How the Jean MAJERUS Brick Wall Crumbled – The Keys and Doors Which Made It Happen! my 5th great-grandfather was born in France. He was born on 2 June 1766 in Boulay-Moselle to the single mother Anne Catherine ALBERT.1 She married Jean MAJERUS of Scherfenhof (near Medernach in Luxembourg) on 17 August 1767 in Boulay.2 It was at this time that Jean’s birth was legitimized and he became Jean MAJERUS. He was not quite 18 years old when his widowed mother died on 2 January 1784.3 His father had already passed away but when and where this event took place is not known.

Between Jean’s birth in 1766 and his mother’s death in 1784, I found he had two younger brothers, Joannes born in 17694 and Barthélémy who lived only ten days in 1772.5 Joannes was born in Larochette, Luxembourg, while Barthélémy was born in Boulay, France. No trace of Joannes has been found after his baptism.

What brought Jean MAJERUS back to Luxembourg? Did he return to his father’s home place before or after his mother’s death? When did he settle in Luxembourg City where he was found in 1797?

Margretha BREGER (1767-1851)

Margretha BREGER was baptized on 12 January 1767 in the church of Saint Michel in Luxembourg City.6 She was the daughter of Jean Baptiste BREGER (1738-1805) and Susanne MERTENS (1728-bef. 1801). She had one older brother Michel (1760-1810). Margretha’s surname was spelled many different ways in the records found, evolving from BREYER to BREGER during her father’s lifetime and including these spellings: BREGERDT, BROEGER, BRIGERT, BRETER, BRECKER, and BREDER.

Interesting details about her father were uncovered while researching the family group. The records connecting Jean Adam BREYER to Jean Baptiste BREGER will be revealed in a later post.

When and where were Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER married?

When I wrote about Jean and Margretha’s son in 52 Ancestors: #46 Jean Baptiste Majerus and Catharina Cornely of Strassen I mentioned a marriage record had not been found for his parents. However, they were a legally married couple in 1797 when Jean Baptiste was born. Birth records of the children born after him also indicate they were a married couple.

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Jean Baptiste, their oldest son, was born on 9 Germinal in the year V or 29 March 1797 in the Faubourg de Grund, a suburb located on the banks of the Alzette River in the valley below the center of Luxembourg City. In Luxembourgish, it is known as Gronn. Witnesses to the birth record were the maternal grandfather Jean Baptiste BRETER, age 64 years, and Michel BRETER’s wife Anne Catherine GRASBERGER, age 36 years, the maternal aunt by marriage.7

As the birth records of their first three children indicate, Jean and Margretha lived their early years of marriage in the Gronn. Elisabeth was the second child, born on 2 April  17998, and their third was a son, Jean born on 10 June 1801.9

In 1797 Jean was a clothier (drapier) but, with the births of the children who followed, his occupation was seen as a wool spinner (fileur de laine). He continued to practice this occupation until he was at least in his mid-sixties as seen in the 1830 marriage record of his daughter Elisabeth.

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Following Jean’s birth in 1801 the family moved to Strassen where their youngest child Marie was born on 19 December 1806.10 The five-year gap between the two children has always made me wonder if the change of residence was direct – from Gronn to Strassen – or if they may have lived somewhere else – a place where another child may have been born. If the move was from Gronn to Strassen, in what year did it take place?

Same place, same surname research

The oldest three children were fairly easy to research. Their marriage records, the birth records for their children, the grandchildren of Jean and Margretha, as well as census records from 1843 to 1900 were found. They lived in Strassen, had their children in Strassen, and died in Strassen. No other families with the MAJERUS name were found living in Strassen before 1923. Their living in one place for a long period of time made the research easier even though in several generations many children did not survive infancy.

A discovery made by error and omission

The youngest child Marie caused difficulties while researching but also helped with a new discovery. Her father Jean MAJERUS, the informant on her birth record dated 19 December 1806, stated she was born the same day at one in the morning. As no marriage record or trace of Marie were found following her birth, I assumed she must have died. FamilySearch has only civil records for this time period and no death record was found.

I located her baptismal record on Matricula Online where Catholic church records for Luxembourg are now available. The priest who recorded her baptism gave her date of birth and baptism as 18 December 1806, the day before she was born per the civil birth record.11 The switch from the Republican calendar to the Gregorian calendar in January 1806 in the civil records may explain this discrepancy. Generally, the Catholic church didn’t use the Republican calendar during the 13 years it was in use.

Next, I searched for a death and burial record in the church records. As these are browse-only I had to find a point of entry for a death which took place in late 1806 or later. No death record was found for Marie. However as I jumped in a bit early in 1806 I found a death record for a child named Margaretha MAJERUS, daughter of Jean MAJERUS, who died on 9 June 1806.12 I was able to translate most of the record but was stumped at the part which revealed her age at death.

I asked for help with the translation from my friend Linda who has helped me several times after reading one or the other of my posts. She came through with a transcription for the record.

Anno Dni Millesimo octingentisimo sexto die nonae mensis primi horae nonae matutinae in Strassen mortua est Margaretha, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, filia legitima Joannis MAJERUS lanifici et Margarethae BRIGER conjugum hie habitantium.

Linda translated the part I could not read, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, as meaning the child Margaretha was two years and two months old at the time of death.

I went back to the civil records to find the birth of a child in April 1804. The 1804 handwritten index for Luxembourg City had been cut off at the bottom of the page with the M’s and I had to look at every record for the year 1804. There was no MAJERUS child born in the city in 1804. Next, I checked Strassen’s index. Again no MAJERUS birth. There was a Margaretha MEYERS born 16 Germinal in the year XII which computes to 6 April 1804. MEYERS is a variation of MAJERUS. After viewing hundreds of records for this family, this was the first time I’d seen it spelled this way. Jean and Margretha were living in Strassen in April 1804 when their second daughter and fourth child was born.13

Margaretha’s death in 1806 was not found in the civil records. Could Marie’s death also have been omitted?  The first person of the surname to die in Strassen according to the civil records was a granddaughter of Jean and Margretha, Marie Catherine MAJERUS who died in 1823 at the age of three months.14

Three marriages in thirteen years

I now had five children for the MAJERUS couple who moved to Strassen between June 1801 and April 1804. I’m convinced only three of them grew to adulthood, married, and had children. Margaretha was proven to have died at two years and two months. No trace of Marie has been found after her birth.

My 4th great-grandfather Jean Baptiste MAJERUS was the first to marry on 25 April 1817 in Strassen to Catharina CORNELY.15 Of the parties involved, only the father of the groom was able to sign his name. The groom Jean Baptiste was only twenty years old and the bride Catharina was twenty-three and expecting their first child. A month later their son Jean was born.16 The first grandchild of Jean and Margretha and my 3rd great-grandfather.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1817 marriage record of his son Jean Baptiste

The next wedding took place in Dippach on 16 August 1823 when Jean MAJERUS married Josephine HESS of Sprinkange in the commune of Dippach.17 Jean’s brother Jean Baptiste was one of the four witnesses at the marriage. Neither of the brothers nor their mother was able to sign their names but Jean MAJERUS signed as the father of the groom.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1823 marriage record of his son Jean

The third marriage took place on 20 January 1830 in Strassen when Elisabeth MAJERUS, thirty years old, married Jean DAMY, twenty-eight years old.18 Jean MAJERUS, the father of the bride, signed the marriage record while the bride and her mother did not.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1830 marriage record of his daughter Elisabeth

Twenty-five grandchildren born between 1817 to 1841

Jean and Margretha’s three married children gave them twenty-five grandchildren in fourteen years.

  • Jean Baptiste and his wife Catharina had eleven children from 1817 to 1840 with only one child dying at the age of two months in 1823 (Marie Catherine mentioned earlier). All of their children married with the exception of their son Nicolas (still being researched). Their sons Nicolas (b. 1835) and Michel (b. 1840) went to America in 1853 and 1865. Later three grandsons and a granddaughter would go to America and one granddaughter to England.
  • Elisabeth and her husband Jean DAMY had six sons between 1830 and 1841. Three of these died as babies. The two older sons married and lived in Strassen while their son Jean (b. 1838) went to America likely at the same time as his cousin Michel MAJERUS in 1865. In 1870 they were living next door to each other in St. Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota.
  • Jean and his wife Josephine HESS had five sons and then three daughters. One daughter died as a baby and a son died at the age of 19 years. All of the children except for one daughter married.

Jean and Margretha lived another decade after the last of their grandchildren were born. They were found ont the census of 184319, 184620, 184721, and 184922 in their own household without any other persons. Finally, in 1847 the answer to when they moved to Strassen was found in the census. The census sheet for 1847 included a column with the number of years they had lived in the commune – forty-five years which placed their move to Strassen at during the year 1802.

Margretha died at the age of 84 years on 1 April 1851.23 Her oldest son Jean Baptiste was the informant on her death record. He had not been able to sign his name when he married in 1817. On the birth records of his first nine children born between 1817 and 1835 he had declared each time that he could not write or sign. In 1837 he had finally learned to sign his name and his signatures were found on the 1837 and 1840 birth records of his two youngest children as well as on his mother’s death record.

Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1851 death record of his mother Margretha BREGER
Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1837 birth record of his son Jean Pierre MAJERUS
Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1840 birth record of his son Michel MAJERUS

Jean appeared on the 1851 census with the family of his oldest son Jean Baptiste.24 His name was added to the top of the list likely after the names of his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren were listed.

1851 Luxembourg Census sheet No. 48 with the MAJERUS family of Strassen

Jean lived a little over a year longer, dying on 5 July 1852. His death was reported by his grandson Jean Baptiste, 5th son of his son Jean Baptiste. Jean was 86 years old.25

I once compared my second great-grandmother Marie MAJERUS (1850-1931) to a knothole in a fence. She was the only child of Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) and Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875). Jean being the first grandchild of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER. On one side of the fence, Marie was the mother of ten children, eight of whom married and continued the line. On the other side of the fence I found her parents, grandparents, and now at last count 185 relatives with the MAJERUS name.

I still don’t know what Jean MAJERUS’ life was like before he met and married Margretha BREGER nor when or where the marriage took place. However, their marriage produced a large number of descendants in Luxembourg, America, England, and who knows where else….

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


  1. Archives départementales de la Moselle (57), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/mdr/index.html), Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772), Image: RAD057_100EDGG8_0028.jpg, image 28 of 193. 1766 Baptismal Record (bottom left and top right).(http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). Images from this site are free to use by the public per conditions viewed on 26 May 2019. 
  2. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil : BOULAY et Après 1760 et avant 1770; Description : Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772); Image: FRAD057_100EDGG8_0061.jpg. (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG10 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1780-1792), Image: FRAD057_100EDGG10_0108.jpg, image 108 of 307. Death Record No. 1. (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606016/605804:613196:606016/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  4. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Nommern > Baptêmes 1744-1787, confirmations 1750-1789, mariages 1751-1765, 1769-1787, sépultures 1752-1787 > image 45 of 170. 1769 Baptismal Record No. 324. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SX7?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-L2V%3A1500981117%2C1501018978 : accessed 27 May 2019). 
  5. Archives 57, Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY; Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772); Image: FRAD057_100EDGG8_0173.jpg. 1772 Birth Record (left page, top) and 1772 Death Record (right page, middle). (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  6. Luxembourg Church Records, Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1764-1788 > image 27 of 360. 1767 Baptismal Record (right page, left column, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S47?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3Y3%3A1500891707%2C1500937102 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 905 of 1504. 1797 Birth Record (9 Germinal year V). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9L6-3D?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  8. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1200 of 1504. 1799 Birth Record, right, top (13 germinal an VII). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LF-X1?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : 5 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1473 of 1504. 1801 Birth Record, right, bottom (21 prairial an IX). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LD-TK?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 8 January 2018). 
  10. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 108 of 1464. 1806 Birth Record (lower left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61VS-QK8?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38%3A130458601%2C130573201 : 17 July 2014),. 
  11. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 314; GV.MF 349, Strassen, KB-01, Firmungen – Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1799 – 1844, no page number, image 16 of 138, left page, 4th entry. 1806 Baptismal Record (left page, 4th entry). (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/strassen/KB-01/?pg=16 : accessed 11 June 2019). 
  12. Ibid., Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 314; GV.MF 349, Strassen, KB-01, Firmungen – Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1799 – 1844, no page number, image 53 of 138, right page, 3rd entry. 1806 Death Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/strassen/KB-01/?pg=53 : accessed 18 June 2019). 
  13. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 55 of 1464. 1804 Birth Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61VS-QZX?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38%3A130458601%2C130573201 : accessed 19 June 2019). 
  14. Ibid., Strassen > Décès 1796-1823 > image 148 of 149. 1823 Death Record No. 16. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-2966-96?cc=1709358 : accessed 5 December 2015). 
  15. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 1000 of 1464. 1817 Marriage No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-58675-14?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  16. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 214 of 1464. 1817 Birth Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-61261-75?cc=1709358 : accessed 27 March 2010). Note: mother listed as Maria Cornely. 
  17. Ibid., Dippach > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1386 of 1485. 1823 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DT1L-5C?cc=1709358&wc=9RY9-L2S%3A129628301%2C129829701 : accessed 29 August 2017). 
  18. Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 23 of 1416. 1830 Marriage Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X8S-736?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 7 January 2018). 
  19. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > 1843 > image 309 of 407. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32355-17392-51?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  20. Ibid., Bertrange > 1846 > image 324 of 431. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32358-11377-81?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  21. Ibid., Bertrange > 1847 > image 198 of 448. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32349-25407-72?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  22. Ibid., Bertrange > 1849 > image 388 of 474. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32350-6437-36?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  23. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 8 of 446. 1851 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-163713-71?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  24. Luxembourg Census Records, Strassen > 1851 > image 67 of 222. “Jean Majerus, his son Jean Baptiste Majerus, his daughter-in-law Catherine Cornely, their children Jacques, Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, and Marie.” Jean Majerus household No. 48. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32351-8999-55?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  25. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 21 of 446. 1852 Death Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-161808-75?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 

52 Ancestors: #31 Mary Ann McGRAW abt. 1781-1840s

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

52 Ancestors: #31 Mary Ann McGRAW abt. 1781-1840s

You’ve got to love an ancestor who leaves evidence of who her parents were! In 1800 my 4th great-grandfather William WOOD wanted to hitch up with Mary Ann McGRAW. But Mary Ann wasn’t old enough and had to have her parents’ permission to tie the knot.

1800permission
West Virginia Division of Culture and History http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370465&Type=Marriage

                  June the 2
Sir, this coms to let you now 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

 

And so it came to be that Martin and Margaret McGRAW, my 5th great-grandparents, gave permission for their daughter, my 4th great-grandmother, Mary Ann McGRAW to marry William WOOD, my 4th great-grandfather. This took place in the newly formed county of Monroe formerly part of Greenbrier County.

1800bond
West Virginia Division of Culture and History. http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370480&Type=Marriage

Know all men by these presents that we William Wood
and John Wood are held & firmly Bound unto
James Monroe Esq. governor or Chief Majestrate of the
Commonwealth of Virg. in the Sum of one hundred and
fifty Dollars, with Condition that there is no lawful cause
to obstruct a marriage intended to be Solemnized between
the above named William Wood & Mary Anne McGraw,
Both of this County of Monroe, then this obligation to
be Void, otherwise to be & remain in full force and
Virtue – Sealed with our Seals & dated this
third day of June one thousand Eight hundred.
       Attest.                                   William Wood
John Hutchison, Clk.                   John Wood

John WOOD, one of the witnesses present when permission was given by Martin and Margaret McGRAW, went bond with William WOOD of Monroe on William’s marriage to Mary Ann McGRAW of Monroe on Tuesday the 3rd of June 1800 in Monroe County, Virginia.

1800marriage
West Virginia Division of Culture and History. http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369625&Type=Marriage

Two weeks later on Wednesday, the 18th day of June, Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. solomnized the marriage of William and Mary Ann.

The WOOD family and Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. knew each other well. Bailey WOOD, William’s father, had been one of the original 12 Baptists who organized the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church.

On the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Rev. Robert B. McDanel preached on Sunday morning, November 26, 1911, of the brave little band of twelve members with sturdy convictions whose “names are surely immortal.” He also shared the following about the membership:

In those early years the membership was scattered over a wide extent of territory. It is recorded in the minutes, July 26, 1788, that those who lived nigh were required to attend the services once a month. Those who lived within fifteen miles must come once a quarter, and those at further distance once a year.

As part of the second night of celebration of the 200th annual session of the Greenbrier Baptist Association held in Alderson, West Virginia in July 2000,  Rev. Jon Jennings portrayed Rev. John Alderson Jr. in a historical overview of the establishment of the Greenbrier Baptist Association and the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church. His monologue included the following:

So, for four years I continued this struggle as a traveling preacher, until November 24, 1781, we gathered together, 12 faithful Baptists and organized the Greenbrier Baptist Church. (Let me see if I can recall the names: Myself, and my wife, Mary, and Thomas Alderson; then John Kippers, John Shepherd, then there was John, Katherine, Joseph and Lucy Scaggs, and the Woods family: Bailey and Ann, and James Woods).

Siblings of Mary Ann McGRAW

To make the following list I studied the tax lists submitted by Julie McGrew-Ayres; the early marriages in the Greenbrier, Monroe, Kanawha, Nicholas, Fayette counties area; and the pre-1850 as well as later censuses – with all persons named.

  • Sib 1: Anthony (1775-1814) born abt. 1775 Pennsylvania
  • Sib 2: John (1776- ) born abt. 1776 Pennsylvania
  • Sib 4: Martin (1785-1858) born 1785 Pennsylvania
  • Sib 5: William (1788- ) born abt. 1788
  • Sib 6: Elender (1788-1845) born abt. 1788
  • Sib 7: Samuel (1792-1874) born abt. 1792 (West) Virginia
  • Sib 8: Henry (1797-1873) born abt. 1797 (West) Virginia
  • Sib 9: Thomas M. (1799-1855) born 9 Feb 1799 (West) Virginia

The marriage of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW was the only one of the following which had a bond showing her parents to be Martin and Margaret McGRAW. Thomas McGRAW’s wife Catharine gave the names of his parents as Martin and Margaret McGRAW on his 1855 death record [line 68].

marriagesI believe that all of these McGRAWs were children of Martin and Margaret EXCEPT for William McGraw who married Elizabeth Gill. This William was a grandson through their son Anthony.

Parents of Mary Ann McGRAW

After studying the possible children of Martin and Margaret McGRAW I believe that the estimated years of birth seen for the couple on nearly all online gedcom files need to be revised.

Martin: He was most likely 21 or older when he married. Anthony, the oldest known child, was born abt. 1775. If he was the first child and born within a year of the marriage Martin and Margaret might have been married about 1774 or earlier. Martin would therefore have been born about 1753 or earlier. Martin was last seen on tax lists in 1805 and Margaret was first seen on them in 1810. Martin died after 1805 and before 1810.

Margaret: In 1820 and 1830 her son Henry McGRAW had an older woman living in his household. In 1820 Henry was not yet married and the woman age 45 or older must be his mother. I believe that the woman aged between 70 and 79 in 1830 is also his mother although it is possible that she could be his mother-in-law or any other older woman. But let’s assume she is Henry’s mother. This range in 1830 would put her birth at between 1751-1760. She would have been between 15-24 when her oldest child Anthony was born. Margaret would therefore have been born between 1751-1760. Margaret died most likely between 1830-1840.

Mary Ann McGRAW was born in Pennsylvania

Mary Ann McGRAW’s brother Martin McGRAW Jr. (1785-1858) married William WOOD’s sister Nancy WOOD by publication of banns on 3 May 1806 in Monroe County. The marriage was solemnized by Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. A marriage by license was more expensive than a marriage by publication of banns. This public notice of an intended marriage had to be published, verbally or by written notice, for three consecutive meetings at the churches of the bride and groom making the waiting time longer than with a license.

Was there a reason that the couple would marry “by banns” in 1806? Martin McGRAW Sr., as mentioned previously, was last seen on the Greenbrier tax lists in 1805 which may suggest that he was deceased when his son Martin Jr. married. Could he not afford a marriage license?

Martin Jr. lived long enough to be enumerated on the 1850 census. We rely on the census for valuable pieces of information concerning our ancestors however the information is only as reliable as the person who answered the enumerator’s questions. In the case of Martin Jr. no ages were listed for any of the persons in his household in 1850. However their places of birth were included; Martin Jr. was born in Pennsylvania. As Mary Ann was his older sister it is very likely that she was also born in Pennsylvania. Martin Jr.’s War of 1812 pension papers may have more information on his place of birth.

Children of Mary Ann McGRAW and William WOOD

In 1810 Mary Ann and her husband William WOOD were enumerated next door to her brother Martin McGRAW and her father-in-law Bailey WOOD. By 1810 Mary Ann had given birth to 5 children. Four would follow in the next 14 years.

1810censuswood
1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Monroe [ancestry.com]
  • Ch 1: Enoch J. (1801-aft. 1870) born about 1801 in Monroe
  • Ch 2: Margaret “Peggy” (1801-1856) born about 1801 in Monroe
  • Ch 3: [–?–] (1804- ?) female born bet. 1804-1809 in Monroe
  • Ch 4: Elijah (1806-1885) born about 1806 in Monroe
  • Ch 5: Amos (1807-1845) born about 1807 in Monroe
  • Ch 6: Allen (1814-1862) born about 1814 in Monroe
  • Ch 7: Bailey (1816-?) born bet. 1816-1819 in Monroe or Nicholas
  • Ch 8: [–?–] (1816-?) female born bet. 1816-1819 in Monroe or Nicholas
  • Ch 9: Mary Ann “Polly” (1824-aft. 1900) born 5 Jun 1824 in Nicholas County

Following the birth of her last child Mary Ann’s children began to marry:

These six children gave Mary Ann and William WOOD 47 grandchildren and close to 200 great-grandchildren. I do not have all great-grandchildren as I have only recently begun research on Peggy and Thomas WITHROW.

Mary Ann’s husband William WOOD died in September 1835 in Fayette County. Her sons Elijah and Amos were the administrators of William’s estate. It’s possible that Mary Ann was in Amos’ household in 1840. He may have taken on the responsibility of caring for his widowed mother as he hadn’t been married as long as Elijah and didn’t have as many dependents.

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Amos Wood
1 male 5 & under 10 yo (Felix)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Amos)
2 females under 5 yo (Virginia and Matilda)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Susan)
1 female 40 & under 50 yo (poss. Mary Ann Wood)

Following the 1840 census there were several deaths in the family. Amos WOOD died leaving a will dated 24 May 1845 which was presented in open court in June 1845. Although he provided for his 5 children he did not mention his wife Susan who must have predeceased him. Mary Ann’s son Bailey, who was last seen in the 1840 census, may also have died during this time period.

Mary Ann was not enumerated in the 1850 census and therefore may have died during the 1840 decade. Although many have her date and place of death as abt. 1845 in Nicholas County, I believe that she died in the 1840s in Fayette County, where she lived her married life.

On the anniversary of Mary Ann McGRAW and William WOOD’s 100th wedding anniversary only one of their children was still living. Mary Ann “Polly” WOOD and her husband Martin HESS, married 56 years, were living on the south side of Mountain Cove District in Fayette County. [line 50 and lines 51-52]

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #30 William WOOD died 1835 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia

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

This is entry #30 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

I’m starting a new generation of paternal ancestors with my 4th great-grandfather William WOOD. This generation has 23 known of a possible 32 individuals. They will take me to the end of the year and the end of this challenge.

52 Ancestors: #30 William WOOD died 1835 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia

During the early years of the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775-14 Jan 1784) my 4th great-grandfather William WOOD (b. abt. 1776-1779) was born in Greenbrier County, Virginia, to Bailey WOOD (d. 1826) and his wife Nancy (d. aft. 1826). As no date is known I calculated the range for his birth using the year of his marriage and the age groups that he was enumerated in for the 1810 through 1830 census:

1800 age 21 or older at time of marriage->->->born 1779 or earlier
1810 age group 26-44 (i.e. 31-44)->->->->->->born bet. 1766-1779
1820 age group 26-44 (i.e. 41-44)->->->->->->born bet. 1766-1779
1830 age group 50-59 (i.e. 51-54)->->->->->->born bet. 1776-1779

Several family historians list William WOOD as William Hicks WOOD. I haven’t found documentation that shows a middle name or even a middle initial. Recent discussions with other researchers nearly convinced me that Nancy was the daughter of Joseph HICKS (aka HIX) and Melvina COLE. However I found an old post on genforum post from October 2006 by Kitty Steele Barrera 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.” 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.

For now I would like to emphasize that William WOOD (no middle name or initial) was the son of Bailey WOOD and his wife Nancy (no maiden name). As with all brick walls further research is needed to prove the Wood to Hicks connection. I’m open to discussions and/or suggestions on the subject.

William WOOD’s father died before 21 September 1826 as an indenture with that date mentions the heirs and legal representatives of Bailey WOOD, deceased, as well as Nancy WOOD, his widow. It begins as follows:

This indenture made the 21st day of September one thousand and eight hundred and twenty six between James Wood and Polly his wife, Bailey Wood and Lucertia his wife, William Wood and Mary his wife, Richard Skaggs and Susannah his wife, Martin McGraw and Nancy his wife, Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth his wife, Katherine Wood, heirs and legal representatives of Bailey Wood, deceased, and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood, deceased, of the county of Nicholas and state of Virginia of the one part….
[Source: Fox, Vernon A.  Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Land Deed. Heirs of Bailey Wood to John Alderson. 21 September 1826. e-mail. May 31, 2001].

From this we can “assume” that the following individuals were Bailey’s children:

  • Susannah b. abt 1776 md. Richard SKAGGS 1789
  • William b. abt. 1776-1779 md. Mary Ann McGRAW 1800
  • Nancy b. abt. 1785 md. MARTIN McGRAW 1806
  • Bailey b. abt. 1785 md. Lucretia SKAGGS bef. 1807
  • James b. abt. 1790 md. Mary “Polly” HALSTEAD 1810
  • Elizabeth b. abt. 1796 md. Samuel McGRAW 1812
  • Katherine b. abt. ?? no record of marriage

Lyle Lemasters, who has done an immense amount of work on the WOOD family, suggested that heirs does not neccessarily mean children of the deceased. Heirs could also have been grandchildren. Bailey’s sons James and Bailey Jr. both had daughters named Catherine. Katherine may have been a daughter or a granddaughter (daughter of a deceased son) as the name ran in the family. She may be the Catherine WOOD (born bet. 1794-1800) seen in the 1850 and 1860 census with a younger James C. WOOD (b. bet. 1823-1830). Neither have been located after 1860.

In June 1800 Martin and Margaret McGRAW gave permission for their daughter Mary Ann to marry William WOOD.

1800permission
Martin and Margaret McGraw give permission for their daughter Mary Ann to marry William Wood. West Virginia Division of Culture and History http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370465&Type=Marriage

On the 3rd of June 1800 William WOOD and John WOOD went bond on the marriage of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW in Monroe County, (West) Virginia.

1800bond
Marriage Bond of Wiliam WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370480&Type=Marriage

Who was John WOOD who witnessed the permission slip and went bond with William WOOD when he married Mary Ann McGRAW? John WOOD and Stephen WOOD were in the same area as William in 1820. Could he have been an older brother?

William and Mary Ann were married by Rev. John Alderson on the 18th of June 1800.

1800marriage
Entry in the marriage register. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369625&Type=Marriage

Six months after his marriage on 16 January 1801 William was granted 109 acres in the Valley and on Peters Mountain adjoining his own land called the Cave Survey &c in Greenbrier County. [Source: Land Office Grants No. 46, 1797-1801, p. 624-625 (Reel 112)]

On 21 February 1809 David GRAHAM sold to William WOOD 214 acres for $1.00 on Hunget Creek adj. Henry Bank’s surveys. [Source: “Monroe Co., WV Abstracts” by Larry G. Shuck]

As the amount of land he owned grew, so did the family of William and Mary Ann:

  • Enoch J. abt. 1801
  • Margaret “Peggy” abt. 1801
  • [–?–] (female) bet. 1804-1809
  • Elijah abt. 1806
  • Amos abt. 1807
  • Allen abt. 1814
  • Bailey bet. 1816-1819
  • [–?–] (female) bet. 1816-1819
  • Mary Ann “Polly” 5 June 1824

1810 U.S. Federal Census
Monroe County, (West) Virginia
William Wood
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Elijah 4 and Amos 3)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (Enoch 9)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44 : 1 (William 33)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Margaret 9 and [–?–] <10)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (wife, Mary Ann)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 5
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 7

On 9 September 1812 William WOOD, grantee, received 200 acres: 1) 100 acres on the Trace Fork of Mud River adjoining and above a survey made for John McCalister called the Bridge Creek Survey in Kanawha County [Land Office Grants No. 63, 1812-1813, p. 195 (Reel 129)] and 2) 100 acres on Bryans Fork of Browns Creek in Kanawha [Land Office Grants No. 63, 1812-1813, p. 196 (Reel 129)]

1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
William Wood (pg. 205)
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 3 (Bailey, Allen, and ?)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15:  2 (Elijah 14 and Amos 13)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44 : 1 (William 43)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: ([–?–] <5)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: ([–?–] 16-19)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44 : 1 (wife, Mary Ann)
Note: On same sheet are Bailey, Stephen and John!!!

On 22 March 1822 William WOOD was granted 50 acres on the waters of New River in Nicholas County. [Land Office Grants No. 71, 1822-1824, p. 47 (Reel 137)]

A little over seven months later, on 1 November 1822 William WOOD, James SKAGGS and Samuel WISEMAN were granted 75 acres on the Sugar Camp Creek a south branch of Gauley River in Nicholas County. [Land Office Grants No. 71, 1822-1824, p. 408 (Reel 137)]

By this time William had acquired nearly 650 acres of land. Did he still own all of it or did he sell some or give parcels to his children?

Six months after the birth of his youngest child Mary Ann, William’s son Elijah WOOD married Rachel HONAKER (1804-1860) on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

A year later William’s father Bailey WOOD was dead. We do not know when he died but his legal heirs sold his land on 21 September 1826 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia to John ALDERSON. William’s mother Nancy was still living; it is not known when she died.

At about the same time two more of William’s children married: 1) Margaret “Peggy” WOOD married Thomas WITHROW (1806-1880) on 12 October 1826 in Nicholas County and 2) Enoch J. WOOD married Margaret JOHSON (1800-1850) bef. 1827.

I had a hard time with the 1830 census. In the early days I’d found an abstract of the census 1830 by Neva Jane Stout Bryant. The numbers for William WOOD fit the family group. However when I checked ancestry.com years later I found that their abstract did not match Neva’s and the image was not legible enough to see which was correct. Last week I checked the Internet Archive [Caroline tells you how] and found a much better image and was able to get this transcription which was the same as Neva’s:

1830census
1830 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Nicholas > William Wood. [Internet Archive https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18300198unit#page/n387/mode/1up%5D
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
William Woods (sic)
Home in 1830 (City, County, State): Nicholas, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 ([–?–])
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Bailey)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Allen)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29 : 1 (Amos)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mary Ann)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 ([–?–] 10-14)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 ([–?–] 26-35)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (wife, Mary Ann)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 4
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 9
(in file)

Proprietors of the Famous Stage Stands
“It is interesting to know the names of the houses and of the proprietors who made famous the great state stands along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike.”
The list includes William WOOD at Dogwood Gap.
[J. T. Peters and H.B. Carden; “History of Fayette County, West Virginia” pg. 135]

1831 Tax Lists
Fayette County, Virginia
June 5, 1831
Wm. Wood

William WOOD was not moving around from 1800 until this 1831 tax list. The formation of the Virginia counties were at fault that he was seen living in Monroe, Nicholas and finally Fayette County.

Before William’s death in 1835 his sons Amos and Allen married. Amos WOOD married Susan PARRISH (d. bef. 1845) on 12 May 1831 in Nicholas County and Allen WOOD married Elizabeth JOHNSON (1808-1881) on 14 November 1832 in Monroe County.

William WOOD died about September 1835. To date no will has been found. His sons Elijah and Amos were administrators of his estate per the 1836 Bill of Sale found in Fayette County. At the time that William died his son Enoch was living in Ohio. Bailey, Polly, and an unknown daughter may have been under age. His widow Mary and sons Elijah and Amos bought items on his inventory.

The Appraisement Bill of the Estate of Wm Wood decd Fayette County September 14th 1835. In compliance with an order made by the County Court of Fayette at the August term. We Jones McCutcheon, William S. McVey and George Hunter after having been duly sworn by James Skaggs a Justice of the Peace for said County proceeded to appraise the following property, to-wit:

1 table 4.00
1 cutting knife and steel 1.50
1 foot adds .50
1 jug .371/2
1 Hoe and shovel .871/2
1 grindstone .50
2 old sickles .50
300 feet of plank 3.00
1 hoe .371/2
1 pig in the pen 1.00
1 man’s saddle 6.00
1 Books .75
1 pail .25
1 chain log hook and ox yoke 1.75
1 pair hames and chains 1.25
1 half bushel .25
1 wind mill 16.00
1 lot of wheat in the sheaf 10.00
1 lot of oats in the sheaf 75.00
unbroke flax 1.00
1 Barshear plow 5.00
12 head of sheape 10.50
1 yearling heifer 3.50
1 ox 20.00
1 small black bull 8.00
1 cow with a bull 12.00
1 large spotted cow 10.00
1 muly cow 8.00
9 geese 2.25
13 head of hogs 34.00
1 gray filly 35.00
1 bay mare 15.00
2 1/2 acres of corn 8.00
9 acres of corn 20.00
1 calf 1.00
1 mattock 1.25
1 axe 2.00
1 kittle 3.00
1 oven and lid 1.50
1 pot .50
1 oven 1.00
1 tub and churn 1.00
1 barrel and pail .62 1/2
1 shovel plow 1.00
1 pot rack 1.00
1 tub .50
1 woman’s saddle 3.00
1 hand saw 1 auger and two chisels 2.00
1 shovel .50
1 meal sifter .37 1/2
1 rifle gun and shot pouch 10.00
1 big wheel 2.00
1 spinning wheel 1.00
1 clock 15.00
1 press 8.00
1 small chest .25
1 old table .25
1 looking glass .75
1 smoothing iron, blowing horn and strainer .50
1 coffee mill .37 1/2
1 skillet and lid 1.00
1 pot and two pair of hooks 1.00
4 chairs 1.00
1 coffee pot .37 1/2
1 pair cords .37 1/2
1 cooler .25
Cupboard ware 2.75
1 loom 2.00
3 beads and bedding 50.00
1 due bill on Samuel Shawver .75
1 note on John Gwinn Signr. 10.00
1 note on Samuel Withrow 2.25
1 oald ax and tomahawk .25
Chairs and iron wedge .50
——————————— 429.41
James McCutcheon, William S. McVey, George Hunter Appraisers Fayette County Court-The Appraisement Bill of the Estate of William Wood deceased was received in open court and ordered to be recorded. Teste: Hiram Hill cfc.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #16 Elijah WOOD abt. 1806-1885

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

New generation — 3rd great-grandparents — 8 sets on my paternal line, one set is unknown. This will get me through another 14 weeks!

52 Ancestors: #16 Elijah WOOD abt. 1806-1885

I’ve never thought of Elijah WOOD as being a brick wall. While preparing his story I realized that I don’t have anything that shows [or proves] that my 3rd great-grandfather was the son of William WOOD (1777-1835) and Mary Ann McGRAW (1781-1845).

1825 – First Record Found for Elijah WOOD

Elijah WOOD and Rachel HONAKER were married by John CAMPBELL on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia. The entry in the marriage register does not give the names of the bride and groom’s parents. [line 6]

1830s

Elijah and Rachel had 4 children by the time the 1830 census was taken: Allen Alexander (1825-aft.1900), Amanda Jane (1826-aft. 1885), Sarah Ann (1827-1887), and Mary Salinas (1829-bef. Aug 1901).

1830woodcensus
1830 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Greenbrier > Sheet 209A; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18300190unit#page/n423/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

1830 U.S. Federal Census
Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1830
Sheet No. 209A&B
Elijha Wood
1 male under 5 yo (Allen Alexander)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Elijah)
3 females under 5 yo (Amanda Jane, Sarah Ann, Mary Salinas)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Rachel)
6 person in household

In June 1831 Elijah was seen on the first tax list for Fayette County along with James, Bailey, Eli, and William WOOD.

On the 2nd day of October 1835 Elijah and Amos WOOD were administrators at the sale of the personal property of William WOOD. At the sale, Elijah bought one foot adz, plank per hundred, one stone hammer, one shovel, and one mooly (sic, muley) bull.

William WOOD – 1835 Bill of Sale (page 1)
William WOOD – 1835 Bill of Sale (page 2 & 3)
For quicker reference the Bill of Sale was also typed up and placed in the back of the Book of Wills.

1840s

Elijah and his wife had 5 more children by the time the 1840 census was enumerated: Turze Lucresia “Turzey” (1832-bet. 1885-1888), James Simpson (1833-1887), Nancy E. (1835-1898), Elijah Stuart “Sty” (1836-1921), and Rebecca Ann (1840-1866).

1840woodcensus
1840 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet 149A; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsch1840555unit#page/n306/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1840
Sheet No. 149A&B
Elijah Wood
2 males under 5 yo (James Simpson, Elijah Stuart)
1 male 10 & under 15 yo (Allen Alexander)
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (Elijah)
2 females under 5 yo (Nancy E., Rebecca Ann)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Turze Lucresia)
3 females 10 & under 15 yo (Sarah Ann, Amanda Jane, Mary Salinas)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Rachel)
11 persons in household
2 persons engaged in agriculture

Shirley Donnelly wrote a column published in the Beckley Post-Herald (West Virginia) entitled “Yesterday and Today”. On 28 April 1975 his article “River Towns Full of History” included the following about land in the Lansing area that Elijah WOOD sold in 1841 [this needs to be researched; 11/26/1858 Elijah Wood to Eliza A. Townsend Bk E pg 282 Nr Chestnutburg – this deed may reference back to the 1841 land sale]:

“Lansing….is an old Fayette County settlement. It is located on the Chestnutburg road that runs out of Ansted and into the Edmond community. It is near where the high bridge is now under construction over New River Gorge. The land at Lansing was first owned by Elijah Wood of the Ansted area. Wood sold some of his land in the Lansing section to John Townsend in 1841.”

In 1844 Elijah WOOD was the crier for the estate of Richard SKAGGS and in 1846 for the estate of Joseph FOX.

In 1845 Amos WOOD wrote his last will and testament and named his brothers Elijah and Allen as executors. The handwritten pages 107-110 in the Book of Wills, where Amos’ will would be found, are missing however this collection of records was also typed up at one time and added to the back of the will book.

Elijah and his wife had their two youngest children in the 1840s: William Frederick (1842-1916) and Lewis L. (1845-bef. 1885). Their three oldest daughters married: Amanda Jane married Joshua J. PARRISH on 1 June 1843; Sarah Ann married William A. W. DEMPSEY abt. 1845; and Mary Salinas married George A. McGRAW on 1 June 1850.

1850s

His oldest son Allen Alexander was working as a blacksmith in Greenbrier County in 1850.

1850woodcensus
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet 337A > HH#94-94; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0943unix#page/n277/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

1850 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District, Sheet 337A
Enumerated by me on the 26th day of July, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
HH #94-94
Elijah Wood 43 M Farmer $700 Virginia
Rachel Wood 46 F Virginia cannot read & write
Turze Wood 18 F Virginia attended school
Simpson Wood 17 M Laborer Virginia attended school
Nancy Wood 15 F Virginia attended school
E. S. Wood 13 M Virginia attended school
Ann E. Wood 11 F Virginia attended school
Wm. Wood 8 M Virginia
Lewis Wood 5 M Virginia

Elijah was seen purchasing one horse beast on 26 March 1853 at the estate sale of George R. JOHNSON and a small table, one hand saw, and three jugs on 13 August 1853 at the estate sale of William TERRY.

During the 1850s six of Elijah’s children married: Allen Alexander married Margaret Ann HOOVER on 12 February 1851; Turze Lucresia “Turzey” married John H. NEAL in 1854; Rebecca Ann married William W. RYAN on 25 December 1855; James Simpson married Ellen E. ALEXANDER on 1 Jun 1856; Nancy E. married Charles B. JOHNSON on 11 December 1856; and Elijah Stuart “Sty” married Margaret Virginia TOWNSEND before 1860.

Elijah WOOD was a Justice of the Peace in Fayette County as seen in the following bonds:
6/10/1852 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 332
6/15/1854 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 539
6/12/1856 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 713
[Source: Lyle LeMasters, per email 21 April 2014]

1860s

This left Elijah and his wife with only their two youngest sons living at home and attending school in 1860.

1860woodcensus
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Page 11 > Sheet 321 > HH#76-69; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n327/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

1860 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
District No. 2, Page No. 11
Enumerated by me on the 11th day of June, 1860. P. Morton, Ass’t Marshal.
Fayetteville Post Office, Sheet No. 321
HH #76-69
Elijah Wood 53 M Farmer $2500 $500 Virginia
Rachel Wood 56 F Virginia
William Wood 18 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school
Lewis L. Wood 15 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school

There were several deaths in the family in the 1860s: Elijah’s wife Rachel HONAKER died during the decade, his daughter Rebecca Ann died 19 March 1866, and his sons-in-law, William A. W. DEMPSEY died about 1867 and George A. McGRAW about 1868.

Elijah’s son William Frederick married Martha Ann HESS on 4 February 1864. Elijah remarried before the 1870 census, however, no marriage record has been found for Rachel Louisa McGRAW and Elijah WOOD.

1870s

After the death of Elijah’s son-in-law William A. W. DEMPSEY, his widowed daughter Sarah Ann had to put her children in the care of her siblings and father. Elijah took in Eunice and John DEMPSEY.

1870woodcensus
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Page 99 > Sheet 144A > HH#74-74; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n289/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

1870 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Mountain Cove Township, Page No. 99
Enumerated by me on the 14th day of  July 1870. Wm. T. Lowry, Ass’t Marshal.
Fayetteville Post Office, Sheet No. 144A
HH #74-74
Wood, Elijah 63 M W Farmer $1300 $350 Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Wood, Rachael L. 45 F W Keeping House Virginia
Dempsey, Unis 14 F W At Home Virginia
Dempsey, John 12 M W Farm Laborer Virginia

Two of Elijah’s daughters, both widowed, remarried in the 1870s. Mary Salinas married Michael Price ARBAUGH on 26 Apr 1871 and, following his death, she married Milton SIMS on 4 February 1876. Her sister Sarah Ann had planned to marry James R. REID (a marriage license was taken out on 27 November 1872 but not used) and seven weeks later married John M. FOX, a widower, on 14 January 1873.

1880s

By 1880 Elijah’s granddaughter Eunice DEMPSEY who had been living with her grandfather in 1870 had married. His grandsons John and Elijah DEMPSEY were living with him in 1880.

Also in his household was his mother-in-law Polly McGRAW. Her presence in his household has been very helpful in proving that Elijah was married twice. The age difference in the 1870 and 1880 census as compared to the 1850 and 1860 for Elijah’s wife Rachel/Rachel L. suggested that Elijah was married twice – both ladies being named Rachel. Earlier census listings for Polly McGRAW show that she was the mother of Rachel Louisa McGRAW.

1880woodcensus
1880 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > ED 30 > Page 21 > Sheet 104A > HH#185-185; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n210/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Mountain Cove, Page No. 21
Enumerated by me on the 10th day of June 1880. W. C. Miller, enumerator.
Enumeration District No. 30, Sheet No. 104A
HH #185-185
Wood, Elijah W M 73 Farmer WV WV WV
Wood, Rachel L. W F 54 wife married Keeping house WV WV VA Wife
Dempsey, Elijah W M 17 laborer single Farm laborer WV WV WV
Dempsey, Jno H. W M 22 laborer single Works in coal yard WV WV WV
McGraw, Polly W F 72 mother-in-law widowed Keeping house WV WV WV

1885 – Elijah WOOD left a last will and testament!

Page 7 (right page)
Last Will and Testament of Elijah Wood Decd
I Elijah Wood in the name of God Amen do make and publish this as my last Will and Testament.
First: I direct that I shall be buried in a suitable manner in accordance
with my station in life.
Second: I will and bequeath to my beloved wife Rachel Louisa the home place
where I now live during her natural life, should she prefer that the place be
sold she is to receive one third of the proceeds of sale or so much thereof
as she may need for support. I also give to her one cow of her choice, one
hog of her choice, one bed and my kitchen furniture. I also give to her
interest on four hundred dollars of my personal estate or more if she should
need it during her life.
Third: I give and bequeath to my grandson John H. Dempsey my farm situate on
horse shoe Creek Consisting of two tracts containing Sixty acres more or less
and he is charged with the payment of one hundred Dollars to be paid to the
rest of my heirs but it is my wish and I direct that he shall not be
oppressed in the payment of said one hundred dollars. $100.00
Fourth: I give and bequeath to my grandson Elijah Lewis Dempsey one hundred
dollars to be paid out of my personal estate.
Fifth: I give and bequeath to my granddaughter Jerusha Rogers the sum of
fifty dollars to be paid out of my personal estate..
Sixth: I will and bequeath all the rest of my estate to my nine living
children Viz Allen A. Wood, Amanda J. Parrish, Sarah A. Fox, Mary Salina Sims,
Tersey Lucresia Neal, James S. Wood and Nancy E. Johnston, Elijah S. Wood, W. F.
Wood and I do make them the residuary legatees of my estate to them equally
portion and portion alike.
Seventh: I do appoint and constitute G. W. Imboden and James Simpson Wood my
son as the executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all
former wills by me made.
Given under my hand  and seal this 14th day  of March ad 1885
Elijah Wood seal

Page 8 (left page)
We the subscribing witnesses have this day witnessed the foregoing will
signed and declared by Elijah Wood as his Will and in his presence and signed
in the presence of each of us and we have signed in the presence of each
other this 14th day of March 1885.
Allen McGraw
George L. McClung
G. W. Imboden

In Vacation

In the office of the clerk of the county Court of Fayette County West
Virginia September 23, 1885.
This day the last Will and Testament of Elijah Wood late of this county
deceased was presented and offered for probate by James Simpson Wood one of
the Executors named in said will and after having upon oath the evidence of
Allen McGraw, George L. McClung and G. W. Imboden the three subscribing witnesses
thereto as to the signature of said Elijah Wood deceased to said will and the
genuineness of the same.
It is ordered that the said will be and the same is hereby admitted to
record.
And whereas the said G. W. Imboden the other executor named in said will
refused to qualify as such executor the said James Simpson Wood Executor
appointed and named as aforesaid Appeared and took the oath required by law
and together with J. A. Taylor and F. M. McClung his surety entered into and
acknowledged a bond in the penalty of six thousand dollars conditional
according to law And on motion of the said James Simpson Wood Executor as
aforesaid, Wm Deitz, Franklin Hess, and Wm Martin are hereby appointed
appraisers to appraise the personal estate of the said Elijah Wood deceased
and report to this office according to law.
Teste: E B Hawkins Clerk
Fayette County Court Clerks Office September 23rd 1885
The foregoing will was this day presented in my office proved by the oaths
of the subscribing witnesses thereto and admitted.

Elijah named his nine living children: Allen A. Wood, Amanda J. Parrish, Sarah A. Fox, Mary Salina Sims, Tersey Lucresia Neal, James S. Wood and Nancy E. Johnston, Elijah S. Wood, W. F. Wood. His daughter Rebecca Ann had died in 1866 and son Lewis L. may have died between 1860-1885. No trace of him was found after the 1860 census. I believe it can be assumed that Lewis predeceased his father as he is not listed as one of the living children.

Elijah made bequeaths to John and Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY, sons of his daughter Sarah Ann, and to Jerusha ROGERS, daughter of his deceased daughter Rebecca Ann.

Elijah’s death record

Elijah WOOD, a white male farmer, died on 10 September 1885 in Fayette County, West Virginia. The cause of death was “hemorrhage”. His widow Rachel L. Wood, the informant, did not give the names of his parents. [entry 73]

Getting back to his parentage

Unfortunately WOOD is a common surname in Old Virginia. I need to analyze the pre-1850 census listings for Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, and Fayette counties for WOOD and WOODS. The county lines were changing as new counties were being formed in Old Virginia. Woodville, now known as Ansted, once part of Greenbrier County, fell to Monroe County in 1799, to Nicholas County in 1818 and finally to Fayette County in 1831 as the counties were formed.  The image quality of the census has gotten better over the last dozen or so years and I am finding some errors in work I previously did on the census. I believe that by taking a new look, maybe even starting from scratch, could help. This project will be discussed in a later post.

I put out some feelers to see if other descendants [of Elijah WOOD; William WOOD, believed to be his father; or Bailey WOOD Sr., believed to be his grandfather] may have some keys that will help unlock and push open the door in this brick wall!

Lyle LeMasters’ work has been used as a guide by many descendants of the WOOD families in the Fayette County, West Virginia, area. He did early census work and searched for land records, wills, etc. I am happy to say that he replied right away:

Hello Cathy nice to talk to you again. There is no 100 percent proof without a will and all of the children or surviving grandchildren of a child being named. Elijah and 2 brothers being named in relationship as you stated is proof but still does not establish their parents without one of them having a death record naming their parents. The same goes for Bailey Wood Sr. and some of his children selling land in a deed as their part of Bailey Wood Sr.’s estate. This is not 100 percent proof but they would have to be heirs or entitled to sell the land. No will for Bailey Wood Sr. was found to date to establish his children. Considering they were the only Wood family in that area while the others were using Woods helps but it is not 100 percent proof. The Bailey Wood Sr. land grants and the land sold also help prove a possible relationship of his heirs but not 100 percent.

And so the research to prove the parentage of Elijah WOOD continues.

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