“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 #41 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
#41 Sally CRISP, daughter of William and Lucy CRISP
For 175 years the names of the children of William and Lucy CRISP remained hidden in the Chancery Records of Nelson County, Virginia.
“The Chancery Records Index (CRI) is a result of archival processing and indexing projects overseen by the Library of Virginia (LVA) and funded, in part, by the Virginia Circuit Court Records Preservation Program (CCRP). Each of Virginia’s circuit courts created chancery records that contain considerable historical and genealogical information. Because the records rely so heavily on testimony from witnesses, they offer a unique glimpse into the lives of Virginians from the early 18th century through the First World War.”1
Early Crisp Research
Virginia J. Murphy, author of The Purvis Family, by George! (Manchester, Tennessee : V.J. Murphy, 1990), sent some information she had on the CRISP family by email in July 2000. David Howard was included in the conversation. Virginia shared bits and pieces she had taken from Nelson County deed books. Virginia, David, and I looked at marriages of CRISP individuals in Amherst and Nelson counties from 1795 to 1820. We came up with a list of six proven children and one possible child, my 4th great-grandmother Sally CRISP, for William and Lucy CRISP. There were a couple we weren’t certain about and didn’t include on the list.
Fourteen years later…
When I learned about the Chancery Records on the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Memory on the Library of Virginia’s site, I didn’t immediately check for records in Nelson County. Mostly due to the fact that Sally CRISP married in Amherst County in 1803 and I never associated her closely with Nelson County, formed in 1807 from Amherst. Last May I finally searched and found case files dated between 1809 and 1851 that prove William and Lucy CRISP were the parents of eleven children.
It took a lot of time to read through the records and find a document that actually lists 10 of the eleven children…3
and then continues to list the names of the daughters’ husbands.4
Peggy, the eleventh and youngest child, died before September 1815. She is documented in the 1814 case file as being underage and in the 1820 case file in a document dated September 1815 in which her mother Lucy was seen as “admr of Peggy dec’d” or administratrix of Peggy’s estate.5,6
We’d gotten seven of them right! Mary (proven by consent), Lucy (proven by consent), Frances (proven by her widower Thomas & her sons John C. & Wm R. Alford’s attempt to get her part in Wm Crisp’s estate after the death of Lucy), William (proven by land deed), Peggy (proven by administration), John (proven by association*), and Sally (not proven, assumed).
* John CRISP married Milly ALFORD and Frances CRISP married Thomas ALFORD. Family tradition is that the CRISPs and the ALFORDs had been brothers and sisters.
The names found in the chancery records prove the parentage of ELEVEN children. The four other children who can now be included in the count are Stilly, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Simon. Better yet, the records tell the stories of the persons involved! I would love to be able to give all the details here but Sally is the one in the spotlight. The others will have to wait their turn. And I need some time to transcribe and arrange the circa 250 images in chronological order. If you are curious or can’t wait, go for it! Update (30 September 2022): There are also records in Lynchburg City for this family, i.e. many more images to view and transcribe.
Sally and her siblings
My 4th great-grandmother Sally CRISP was the daughter of William CRISP who died about October 1806 in Nelson County, Virginia, and his wife Lucy who died before 29 June 1818. It’s difficult to write about Sally’s life without giving a short summary of her siblings, who must have influenced her life as she did theirs.
Although it is now known that there were eleven children, we can only calculate their order of birth. Four of Sally’s siblings married before her. However, she may have been the oldest as she was seen in the 1820 and 1830 census as being older than her husband Landon S. GOWING who was born about 1777.
◉ Sally CRISP born Cal 1770 in Virginia
◉ Sib 2: Mary “Polly” CRISP (1775-1830) born Cal 1775. Polly married Charles PURVIS (1763-1853) on 1 August 1795 in Amherst County, Virginia.7 She may have died before 1830 as Charles PURVIS is seen in the 1830 and 1840 censuses without an older woman in his household. Polly and Charles were the parents of eight children.
◉ Sib 3: Frances CRISP (1775-1836) born Cal 1775. Frances married Thomas ALFORD on 10 October 1795 in Amherst County, Virginia.8 She died on 26 October 1836 in Bedford County, Tennessee. Frances and Thomas had two sons, William R. and John C. who are documented in the chancery records concerning the estate of Thomas’ father William ALFORD.
◉ Sib 4: John CRISP (1778- ) born Cal 1778. John married Milly ALFORD (? -1809) on 16 December 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia.9 John died before 1839 and his sons Anthony Jefferson and William Madison are mentioned in the 1839 case file.
◉ Sib 5: Lucy CRISP (1780-1839) born Cal 1780. Lucy CRISP married James WRIGHT (d. 1824) on 1 February 1800 in Amherst County, Virginia.10 She died before 1839 and her children George WRIGHT, Mahala COVENT, and Elizabeth SKIDMORE are mentioned in the 1839 case file.
◉ Sib 6: William CRISP born unknown. He was seen as the son of William and Lucy and died without issue before 1839 per the case file of that year.
◉ Sib 7: Stilla B. “Stilly” CRISP (1784-1850) was born about 1784. Stilly married Thomas MELTON ( -1829) on 1 November 1804 in Amherst County, Virginia.11 She died after October 1850. Per early census listings, she may have had at least 8 children.
◉ Sib 8: Elizabeth “Betsy” CRISP (1786- ) born before 1786. Betsy married Thomas HARRISON on 10 April 1820 in Nelson County, Virginia.12 Betsy and Thomas both died before 1839 without issue.
◉ Sib 9: Catherine CRISP (1789- ) born Cal 1789. Catherine married Richard BRYANT on 11 November 1809 in Nelson County, Virginia.13 Catherine became the stepmother of 5 children and the mother of 4 children per the 1810-1830 census.
◉ Sib 10: Simon CRISP (1790-1850) was born about 1790. Simon married Susan FLOYD (1805-1874) on 15 September 1828 in Nelson County, Virginia.14 He died between 1850 and 1860. His only child, a son William C. CRISP died in 1862 leaving no issue.
◉ Sib 11: Peggy CRISP was born after 1790 and died before September 1815. She was never married.
Sally CRISP married Landon S. GOWING on 17 January 1803 in Amherst County, Virginia.15 Nearly four years later, about October 1806, her father William CRISP died. Her mother Lucy is seen on the 1810 census with her unmarried children: Simon, Elizabeth, and Peggy.16
Sally’s husband Landon was not a head of household in 1810. Without the names of members of households on the pre-1850 census, we can only speculate about where Landon and Sally may have been. What we do know is that Sally did not have any children born between 1803 and 1809 who lived. This has been determined by analyzing the 1820 census.17
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nelson County, Virginia
Landon S. Gowing
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Landon)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Clementine and Martissa C.)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Emmeline)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Sally)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 3
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 5
Note: No sons listed. Sally and Landon were married 17 yrs at the time of census.
Did she miscarry, give birth to a stillborn child, or have babies who died young? It seems strange that she didn’t have any children in the first 6-7 years of her marriage and then had three daughters spaced about two years apart.
◉ Emmeline born about 1810, died aft. 1880
◉ Martha C. “Martissa” born about 1812, died aft. 1880
◉ Clementine M. born about 1814, died aft. 1880
By the birth of her third daughter Clementine, Sally was most likely close to 45 years old and coming to the end of her childbearing years. A few years later, before the end of June 1818, her mother Lucy died.
Towards the end of the 1820s, Sally’s daughters were courting and marrying. Her oldest, Emmeline married William Dison LAWHORNE on 16 June 1828.18 Her youngest, Clementine married Seaton Y. DEMPSEY on 3 January 1829.19 Both marriages took place in Amherst County, Virginia.
In 1830 Landon, Sally, and their middle daughter Martissa were living in Amherst County near their daughter Clementine and her husband Seaton Y. DEMPSEY. Landon was in the 50 & under 60 age group, Martissa in the 15 & under 20, and Sally was in the 60 & under 70.20 As in 1820, the listing consistently shows that Sally was older than Landon.
From the chancery records, I learned that Sally must have died between 1830 and 1838. Was she living when her middle child Martissa married Wyatt F. LILLY (1811-1880) on 29 May 1833 in Amherst County, Virginia?21 Or did Martissa care for her mother, being the last child to leave home, and married only after her mother died? Further study of the chancery records may help to narrow this range. Amherst’s chancery records, which are not online, may be hiding more information on her and her family. Update (October 2022): Digital images for Amherst are available for the years 1779-1869.
This Post was Updated on 9 October 2022: Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.
© 2014–2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.
- Introduction to the Chancery Records Index on the Library of Virginia website (https://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/chancery/ : accessed 10 October 2014). ↩
- Chancery Records of Virginia, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, Local Government Records Collection, Virginia Memory (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/), Nelson County (Va.) Chancery Causes 1808-1912, Thomas Hawkins vs. James Wright etc., 1809-010. (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/full_case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1809-010#img : accessed 30 September 2014). ↩
- Ibid., Nelson County (Va.) Chancery Causes 1808-1912, Rives & Murphy vs Thomas Harrison etc., 1839-006, image 3, left page. (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1839-006 : accessed 19 May 2014). ↩
- Ibid., image 3, right page. ↩
- Ibid., Nelson County (Va.) Chancery Causes 1808-1912, Charles Purvis vs. Peggy Crisp etc., 1814-001. (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1814-001: accessed 19 May 2014). ↩
- Ibid., Nelson County (Va.) Chancery Causes 1808-1912, Charles Purvis & WIFE vs. ADMX OF Peggy Crisp ETC, 1820-022. (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/full_case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1820-022#img: accessed 19 May 2014). ↩
- “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853” (browse-only images), <i>FamilySearch</i>, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 388 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 102, 1 Aug 1795, Charles Purvis and Mary Crisp both of Amherst parish, Crisp father personally (sic) gave consent, William Crisp and Reuben Crawford sureties. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-NZF8?i=387&cat=680855 : accessed 7 October 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 104, 10 Oct 1795, Thomas Alford and Frances Crisp, John Crisp brother, securities John Crip, W.R. Crawford, and Saml. Meredith. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-NZFH?i=389&cat=680855 : accessed 7 October 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 137, 16 Dec 1799, John Crisp and Milly Alford, securities John Camm and S. Garland . (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9XF-NZQR?i=422&cat=680855 : accessed 7 October 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 140, James Wright and Lucy Crisp, parents of bride William Crisp and Lucy Crisp, securities John Crisp, S. Garland, and Lucy Crisp. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9XF-NC9C?i=424&cat=680855 : accessed 7 October 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 179, 1 Nov 1804, Thomas Melton & Stilly B. Crisp, consent John & Mary Melton, consent William & Lucy Crisp, sec. Wm Crisp Jr., John Wright, John Melton Jr. & Jno Crisp. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9XF-NZ9J?i=465&cat=680855 : accessed 7 October 2022). ↩
- “Marriage registers, 1808-1985 ; indexes to marriage registers, 1808-1985,” browse-only images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/361788), citing microfilm of original records and photocopies at the Nelson County Courthouse in Lovingston, Virginia, and photostat copies at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film, 32714, DGS 7724886, Marriage register 1808-1878 (photostat copies), image 216 of 402, A list of marriage licenses issued of [from] the clerks office, page 14, 10 Apr 1820, Thomas Harrison and Betsy Crisp, security Landon S. Gowing, married by James Boyd. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9BK-G77C?i=215&cc=2134304&cat=361788 : accessed 29 September 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Marriage register 1808-1878 (photostat copies), image 204 of 402, A list of marriage licenses issued of [from] the clerks office, page 2, 11 Nov 1809, Richard Bryant and C. Crisp, John Crisp security, married by William Wright. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9BK-G7S3?i=203&cc=2134304&cat=361788 : accessed 7 OCtober 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Marriage register 1808-1878 (photostat copies), image 226 of 402, A list of marriage licenses issued of [from] the clerks office, page 24, 15 Sep 1828, Simon Crisp and Susan Floyd, security [illegible]. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9BK-G7SD?i=225&cc=2134304&cat=361788 : accessed 7 OCtober 2022). ↩
- “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 450 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 163, 5th entry, 17 Jan 1803 Landon Going and Sally Crisp, Philip Going and S. Garland in the column for security and witnesses. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-NZ6G?i=449 : accessed 11 January 2022). ↩
- 1810 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7613/), citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, Roll 70, FHL Film 0181430, image: Vam252_70-0124, Virginia, Nelson County, page 682, line 11, Lucy Crisp (accessed 10 October 2014). ↩
- 1820 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7734/), citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll: M33_130, image: 371, Virginia, Nelson County, page 194A, line 15, Landon S. Gowing (accessed 19 May 2014). ↩
- “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 586 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 298, 7th entry, 5 Jul 1828, Dison Langhorne and Emmeline Gowing, Landon S. Gowing – father, witnesses: Robert Langhorne Jr., Robert Tinsley, Arthur B. Davies. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-NDW2?i=585 : accessed 15 May 2022). ↩
- Ibid., Amherst County Register of marriages, page 301, entry 2, 3 Jan 1829, Seaton Y Dempsey and Clementina Gowing, security and witnesses: Landon S. Gowing, Philip Smith Sr., Ro. Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-N8WJ : accessed 26 February 2022). ↩
- 1830 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8058/), citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Nara Roll M19_194, FHL Film: 0029673, Virginia, Amherst County, page 519 (double-page spread), line 12, Landon Gowing (accessed 19 Feb 2013). ↩
- “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” Film 30273, DGS 7578824, image 611 of 786, Amherst County Register of Marriages, page 323, 3rd entry, 29 May 1833, Wiatt Lily and Martha C. (Martissa) Gowing, Landon S. Gowing – father, witnesses: James Fitzgerald and Robert Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-ND36?i=610 : accessed 15 May 2022). ↩