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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gauley River Bridge Burning (part 1)

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

Gauley River Bridge Burning (part 2)

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

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

Who Were Margaret’s Siblings?

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

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

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

Marriages of Margaret’s Siblings

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

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

Margaret’s Life With/Without James INGRAM

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

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

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

Margaret’s Children

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

Other Events in the Life of Margaret

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #20 Seaton Y. DEMPSEY abt. 1803-bet. 1880-1890

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

52 Ancestors: #20 Seaton Y. DEMPSEY abt. 1803-bet. 1880-1890

It is my belief that my third great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY’s middle name was Younger after his [grand-uncle] Captain Younger LANDRUM, who served during the American Revolutionary War. This is supported by the fact that a great-grandson Edgar Younger DEMPSEY also had this unusual middle name. But, until I find proof, he is Seaton Y. DEMPSEY.

Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM (1778-1834) and William DEMPSEY (1779-bef. 1836) were married in 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia. Seaton was their second child born abt. 1803 in the same county. He had the following siblings:

Sib 1: Wilson M. DEMPSEY (1802-1883) born abt. 1802; married(1) Evalina Carolyn RHODES ( -1848) on 30 December 1839 in Amherst County, Virginia; married(2) Paulina [–?–] Dempsey (1815-1881) abt. 1848
Sib 3: Isham Coleman DEMPSEY (1806-1854) born abt. 1806; married Sarah Elvira THOMAS (1809-1879) on 5 March 1827 in Rockbridge County, Virginia
Sib 4: Wesley G. DEMPSEY (1808-1890) born abt. 1808; married Mary HUGHES (1823-1889) on 6 May 1856 in Rockbridge County, Virginia
Sib 5: Louisa J. DEMPSEY (1812-1888) born abt. 1812; married Simeon A. BURCH (1790-1870) on 8 October 1840 in Amherst County, Virginia, at the residence of S. Y. DEMPSEY
Sib 6: Eliza DEMPSEY (1815-aft. 1860) born bet. 1815-1820; married Patrick H. ROWSEY (1814-1858) on 4 February 1843 in Amherst County, Virginia

Seaton and his family were neighbors of Benjamin SANDIDGE who first exploited Buffalo Springs, the sulphur springs situated in the foothills of northern Amherst County, near Allwood. “In an 1820 tavern bond, Sandidge pledged to provide a wholesome diet, clean lodging and stabling, no unlawful gaming, and no more drinking than was necessary on Sunday.” [Source: Sherrie McLeRoy and William McLeRoy, More Passages: A New History of Amherst County, Virginia, Heritage Books, 1995, page 77]

Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Landon S. GOWING, father of Clementine, went bond on 3 January 1829 for the marriage of Seaton and Clementine.

1829bond
1829 Marriage Bond (photocopy courtesy of Geraldine Dempsey Workman)

In the Register of Marriages for Amherst County, Virginia, we see that Landon S. GOWING was security witness and Phillip SMITH Sr. and Robert TINSLEY were witnesses for the marriage of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine GOWING on 3 January 1829.

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

Following his marriage, Seaton was seen with his young wife Clementine and a male age 10 and under 15 years in the 1830 census. This young man was most likely his brother Wesley. Their mother, not their father, was enumerated with her two daughters. The 1810 through 1830 census listings and their complications will be discussed when I do Seaton’s parents’ stories.

1830censusdempsey
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst> Sheet 519 (left) [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
1830censusdempsey2
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst> Sheet 519 (right) [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
Three children were born between 1830 and 1840: George W. abt. 1831, Geneva Elizabeth abt. 1836, and William S. abt 1839. These children are reflected in the 1840 census. Also in Seaton’s household was a young lady 20 and under 30 years old, most likely his sister Louisa who married later in the year at his residence.

1840censusdempsey
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst > Sheet 214 (left) [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
1840censusdempsey2
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst > Sheet 214 (right)[ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
Seaton’s mother died on 27 September 1834. Her death notice was published in the Lynchburg Virginian along with a request for papers in the state of Ohio to publish the same for the information of Mr. William DEMPSEY who was supposed to be somewhere in that state. Apparently, her husband did not see the notice and in June 1836, a year after publication, their son Wilson M. DEMPSEY was made administrator of the estate of William DEMPSEY. It took a dozen years to settle the estate. Deeds found by Norma Barnett Dempsey prove that Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G., Louisa J. and Eliza were the children of William DEMPSEY and Martha LANDRUM.

In 1842 Seaton sold his interest in the estate of William DEMPSEY dec’d, 1/6th of 330 acres, to John J. Morgan. His brother Wilson bought the rest of his siblings’ share, 220 acres, in 1845. Wilson had quite a head for business, or profited from his first marriage, while Seaton did not appear to do as well. However, in 1850 we see Seaton, a farmer, with real estate valued at $500 while Wilson had no real estate and was an overseer. It is not known how Wilson disposed of the 275 acres that he had from his father’s estate.

In the 1840s four more children were born to Seaton and Clementine: Thomas G. abt. 1840, John J. abt. 1843, Mary M. abt. 1845, and Martha Ann abt. 1847.

1850censusdempsey
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Amherst > Sheet 76 > HH#40 [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
Before his last child was born Seaton saw his oldest son George W. marrying Rhoda A. STATON on 20 December 1852 in Amherst County, Virginia. The following year Julia Victoria, the baby of the family, was born. Seaton’s second oldest son William S. married Mary Elenor CLEMENTS on 26 April 1857 in Amherst County, Virginia. Seaton’s first grandchild Clementine was born abt. 1857 to his unmarried daughter Geneva Elizabeth.

Sometime following the above events Seaton and his brother Wilson moved their families from Amherst to Fayette County in western Virginia. This was the late 1850s and tension over slavery had begun to disrupt Virginia. Was this the reason that they moved farther west or was it because land was cheap? They established their homes in the Laurel Creek area. Later the place would be known as Dempsey, a quiet little community situated in a valley just five miles west of Fayetteville, called Laurel Creek by some of the residents from the stream of water which flows through it.

In 1860 Seaton had only $100 of personal estate while his brother Wilson is seen with real estate valued at $1000 and personal estate valued at $8000. Wilson may have used his personal funds to set up the country store operated by his only son John Edward “Ed”. The store, one of two in the area, was the location of the first post office established in 1865 giving the community its name – Dempsey.

1860censusdempsey
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayette > Fayetteville > HH#687&688 [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
The 1860 census listing is a bit confusing. Seaton is seen with his wife Clementine and in the next household, his oldest son George is with his wife Rhoda, their son Seaton A. and his siblings Thomas G., John J., Mary M., Martha A. and “Juda” V. I believe that George was living on his father’s farm.

Two of Seaton’s sons died during the Civil War or immediately following the war: William S.  bet. 1864-1869 and Thomas G. bet. 1865-1870. Also following the war Seaton’s daughters began to marry:

  • Martha Ann “Matties” married George L. “Little George” JOHNSON (1846-1874) on 20 September 1866 in Fayette County, West Virginia
  • Geneva Elizabeth “Jennie” “Janie” married Marshall S. TERRY (1843-1920) bet. 1866-1869 in Virginia
  • Mary M. DEMPSEY married Irvin Lewis INGRAM (1846-1910) on 23 May 1867 in Fayette County, West Virginia

This left only Julia Victoria, age 16, at home with her parents in 1870. Seaton had acquired real estate valued at $500 and had $130 in personal property. Also in his household was a man named Joseph Hardy, a farmer with real estate valued at $1500 and personal property valued at $180. Could the enumerator have forgotten to fill in the household number which would have made this man the head of his own household?

1870censusdempsey
1870 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Fayetteville > Page 39 > HH #257-256 [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
Seaton’s youngest daughter Julia Victoria married Joseph Henry PRESSON (1850-1934) on 3 June 1872 in Fayette County, West Virginia.

Seaton, his wife Clementine, their daughter Mary and her husband Irvin INGRAM were on the church rolls of Loop Creek Baptist Church in 1875. The church was located in the Wriston community area on the south bank of Loop Creek at the mouth of Carter’s Branch.  M. Bibb, W. P. Walker, Eli Wood and Washington McGraw were the brethren of the fourth oldest Baptist church in Fayette County when it was formed. The Loop Creek Baptist Church of Christ was constituted in August 1865 by a presbytery appointed by the Hopewell Baptist Church. The church was organized with a membership of 19. Religious services were held in the homes of the faithful until a church could be built.

1880censusdempsey
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > ED 27 Sheet HH # [ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2013]
In 1880 Seaton and his wife Clementine were alone, all living children being married and on their own. Victoria, as she was usually known, was living next door to her parents. She was with her husband Joseph Henry PRESSON and their children. Martha Ann “Matties” was widowed and remarried on 18 July 1880 to Joseph Henry ARBAUGH (1853-1927) in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia.

No death record has been found for Seaton Y. DEMPSEY. I believe that due to the fact that he was not mentioned in the chancery records concerning the estate of his brother Wesley G. DEMPSEY he may have died before  1890. There is a possibility that Seaton and/or Clementine were living at the time of the 1900 census but were not enumerated as was the case of their daughters Mary (Irvin INGRAM) and Victoria (Joseph PRESSON).

I am very grateful to Norma Barnett Dempsey who shared all of her DEMPSEY research with me after I first contacted her in April 2000. Not only did she research the DEMPSEYs in Amherst, she also looked into other DEMPSEY families in Virginia and West Virginia in hopes of finding a connection. Norma’s husband descends from Seaton Y. DEMPSEY through his oldest son George W. DEMPSEY and then through three generations of strong DEMPSEY women who passed on the DEMPSEY name to their children.

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

52 Ancestors: #9 Sarah Ann WOOD 1827-1887 – Her Husband Came From Outer Space

52ancestorsHope that caught your eye! No, I’m not convinced that one of my ancestors was an alien from another world. After last week’s entry about my most frustrating brick wall, William A. W. DEMPSEY, I had to do something to lighten things up before I go on with his wife Sarah’s story.

This is my 9th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #9 Sarah Ann WOOD 1827-1887

Sarah Ann WOOD was born about 1827 in (present day) Fayette County, West Virginia, the third child of Elijah WOOD and Rachel HONAKER who were married in 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

In 1885 Elijah WOOD named his nine living children in order of birth in his last will and testament. Sarah was named third after Allen Alexander and Amanda Jane; Mary Salina was named fourth. Allen, Amanda, Sarah, and Mary were born between 1825-1830 per the 1830 census when the family was living in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. Allen was their first child born nine months after the marriage in October 1825 per the 1900 census. The 1840 census numbers are consistent with the 1830. There are no birth records for this time period so I have to trust the census for an estimate of when the children were born.

I am puzzled by the fact that the family was enumerated in Greenbrier County in 1830 as the area that they lived in was part of Nicholas County at that time. Or did they move out of that area for a short time? Sarah’s great-grandfather Bailey WOOD first settled in Woodville (also known as New Haven, Westlake and now Ansted) in the 1790’s when the area was part of Greenbrier County. Due to the changing county lines it fell to Nicholas County in 1818 and then Fayette County in 1831.
[See this nifty interactive map on the formation of the Virginia counties.]

I’m multi-lingual and sometimes the right term in English just doesn’t want to come to me when I need it. There is a wonderful German word to describe the vital records for the time period that my Sarah lived in: lückenhaft (incomplete, sketchy, fragmentary, scrappy, gappy). When documentation is “lückenhaft” and your ancestor fits into the gaps found between the records it’s disappointing. Looking on the bright side, it is encouraging to find records for siblings and other relatives to put things into perspective.

Sarah marries and begins having children

When Sarah was about 16 years old her sister Amanda Jane married Joshua J. PARRISH on 1 June 1843 in Fayette County. The marriage record [right page, entry 8] was found at West Virginia Vital Research Records (my #1 favorite free site).

Sarah was most likely the next of Elijah and Rachel’s children to marry. She married William A. W. DEMPSEY about 1846 as we see Wm. A. W. age 28 and Sarah A. age 22 in the 1850 census with their oldest child Elizabeth Rachel age 3 and James Alexander age 1. The young family was living in HH#85, in the immediate area of Sarah’s parents in HH#94, in Fayette County.

1850census
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > 14th District >Sheet 336B
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0943unix#page/n275/mode/2up%5D
In the 1850’s Sarah gave birth to three more children: Mary Virginia in June 1854, Eunice J. on 1 May 1855, and John Henry on 7 November 1857. The closeness of these births makes me wonder if she may have had more pregnancies between 1849-1854, children who did not survive.

1860census1
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet No. 365
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n371/mode/2up%5D
1860census2
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet No. 365
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n371/mode/2up%5D

In 1860 the family was living in the household of the widower John A. McGRAW and his three motherless children. John’s deceased wife Nancy M. McGRAW (maiden name McGRAW) was Sarah’s double first cousin once removed. I would like to think that the families were living together because Sarah was helping with the care of the widower’s children who had lost their mother in 1855. I believe that the families may have been living together for several years. Both families had sons named James. Sarah’s son James was seen with only his middle name, Alexander, possibly an attempt to avoid confusion as the boys were close in age. That same year Sarah gave birth to her sixth child, my great-grandfather, William Henderson DEMPSEY, born on 14 September 1860.

Sarah’s husband is arrested as a rebel

During the Civil War while pregnant with her youngest child Elijah Lewis (b. 19 October 1862), Sarah’s husband William A. W. DEMPSEY, a farmer and citizen residing on Dogwood Ridge, was arrested as a rebel by the Union army. He had left home on the 18th of May 1862 to get work in the valley when he heard firing at the Court House. He gave the names of his brothers-in-law Simpson Wood, Styris Wood, and G. W. McVay of the Oil Works as references as well as saying he knew Hamilton of Hawks Nest. James B. Hamilton was well known and his marriage linked him to the large WOOD family. He had married Sarah’s first cousin Matilda Wood in 1853.

rebel
Provost Marshal File 2323
Rebel: Dempsey, William A. W.

The Difficult Years Following The Civil War

Times were hard for Sarah and her family following the Civil War. Sarah’s mother Rachel died in the 1860’s and her father Elijah remarried. About 1867 Sarah’s husband William was killed in a logging accident leaving her with a passel of children aged between twenty-one and five. Her oldest child Elizabeth Rachel “Lizzie” DEMPSEY married Robert HUGHES, a widower, in 1868.

The family is dispersed

Sarah still had six children to feed and raise. The extended WOOD family came to her rescue. The family was scattered at the time of the 1870 census. James was living with his Aunt Amanda Jane (WOOD) PARRISH:

1870censusjames
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 147B
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n296/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Eunice and John were with their grandfather Elijah WOOD:

1870censusjohn
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 144A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n289/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Elijah, the youngest, and his mother Sarah were with his aunt Turzey (WOOD) NEAL:

1870censussarah
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 148A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n297/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]

William, age 10 at the time and working as a farm laborer, was living with the Abraham “Abram” FORSYTHE family. Mr. FORSYTHE was first married to Sarah HENDRICK (d. 1859) and second to Mary WESTLAKE in 1862. Both Abram’s brother Samuel and Mary’s sister Mathilda were married into the large WOOD family.

1870censuswm
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 147A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n295/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Lizzie was with her husband, raising his two motherless boys from his first marriage and their own son.

1870censushughes
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Falls of Kanawha > Sheet No. 111A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n223/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]

Sarah’s daughter Mary Virginia, about 16 years old at the time, was not found. She was in the area as she was the next of Sarah’s children to marry. She married John A. SNELL (1850-1897) on 16 September 1872 in Fayette County.

Two marriage licenses found for Sarah

A few months later Sarah had an offer to marry as a marriage license was taken out on 27 November 1872 in Fayette County, West Virginia, for James B. REID born in Scotland, widowed, son of Wm & Mary, and Sarah Ann DEMPSEY, widowed, daughter of Elijah WOOD. Geraldine Dempsey Workman believed that this marriage did not take place as there was no minister’s return. This would make sense as several weeks later, on 14 January 1873, Sarah married John M. FOX. The marriage licenses were found on the same page of the marriage register. [Reid line 17; Fox line 32]

Sarah’s children were growing and coming of age to marry. Eunice J. DEMPSEY married John Isaac SCAGGS (1841-1903) on 11 May 1873 and James Alexander “Buck” DEMPSEY married Mary E. SADDLER (1855-1920) on 25 December 1874, both marriages in Fayette County. This left her with her three youngest sons still unmarried in 1880. John and Elijah were living with their grandfather Elijah WOOD:

1880censusjohn
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 104A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n209/mode/2up : acccessed 3 Mar 2014]
and my great-grandfather William, adopted, was with the John CAMPBELL family. No record has been found to show that this was a legal adoption.

1880censuswm
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 114A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n229/mode/2up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
In earlier research some confusion was caused by the presence of a grandson named Charles A. DEMPSEY in the 1880 household of John Fox and his second wife Sarah. Since Sarah first marriage was to a Dempsey one could assume that the grandson was the son of one of her children. But he was not. This is a lesson to those who do not look at all the persons involved in their ancestors lives. Charles was the son of John Fox’s eldest daughter Mary and her husband Seton B. DEMPSEY. To date no relationship has been found between the families of Sarah’s first husband William DEMPSEY and Seton B. DEMPSEY.

1880censussarah
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > 105C
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n211/mode/2up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Sarah’s son James Alexander was living next door to her in the above.

Sarah’s youngest sons marry in the early 1880’s

Following the 1880 census Sarah saw her youngest sons marry their life partners. John Henry DEMPSEY married Amanda Ann “Mandy” McCLUNG (1864-1938) on 22 February 1882; Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY married Octavia Dell INGRAM (1866-1923) on 19 October 1882; and my great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY married my great-grandmother Laura Belle INGRAM (1868-1940) on 1 October 1884.

Sarah and her father Elijah die a year and half apart

In 1885 Sarah’s father Elijah WOOD passed away. Sarah followed him a year and a half later on 1 April 1887 [2nd entry]. It is believed that she is buried in Good Luck Cemetery also known as Fox-Wood Cemery on Chestnutburg, Ames Hgts Rd. 1.75 mi. off Rt. 19, Fayette County, West Virginia. She was survived by six or seven children, about 20 grandchildren, and her second husband John M. FOX who died 12 January 1896. Sarah’s seven children gave her a total at least fifty grandchildren, although about seven did not live to adulthood, and nearly 180 great-grandchildren.

Flat rock tombstone may be Sarah’s

MRIN08669 S C Fox Stone at Fox Cemetery
Fox tombstone courtesy of Becky Fox

Lyle LeMasters wrote in December 2000 that he believed that my great-great-grandmother Sarah Ann Wood Dempsey Fox is buried in the old cemetery on the old Chestnutburg Road now known as the Old Mill Creek Road. The Foxes are buried at the very top of the hill and different families are buried in lines coming down the hill. The Wood family graves are about the 3rd or 4th row down the hill. The graves are all facing east to meet the rising sun. He further said that her stone is like the old Fox stones, a rock tombstone in the ground and roughly carved initials and years in the stone. She is not buried with the Foxes but is buried down along the line of the Woods graves. The reason that he believes that this is her stone is that she was the only one that came close enough to fit. His aunt Becky Fox shared a photo of the marker with me.

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