Rewriting the Biography: Mildred “Milly” SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

Rewriting the Biography is an ongoing theme for the rough draft notes of a new/updated biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) of Nicholas County.

Mildred “Milly” SIMS was the 4th child and 3rd daughter of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON. Milly, as she was seen in the 1850 to 1880 census, was born about 1807.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

At the time of the 1810 census, she was about three years old and the youngest of the three females under the age of 10 in the household of her father James SIMS in Kanawha County.

1810 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James SIMMS (top line) and his two oldest sons living in the state and county.

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

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

By 1820 Milly was thirteen years old and fitted into the 10 thru 15 years category on the census sheet. She was still living at home with her father James, mother Elizabeth, two brothers, three sisters, and nine slaves. The land James SIMS had bought in 1800 in Kanawha County was now part of Nicholas County which had been formed in 1818.

1820 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James SIMS

1820 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 19
Enumeration Date: 7 August 1820
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Dryden, Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Jane & Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Margaret, Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25: 2 (Isaac and Robert)
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 3
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25: 2 (Black Jude and Black Fanny)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total Slaves: 9
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 17

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

On 12 November 1826, Milly SIMS and Joel SETTLE were married by John CAMPBELL. By 1830 the couple had two daughters under the age of 5. They likely lived on land owned by Joel’s father Abner SETTLE. Abner had added to James KELLY’s “improvement by making entries above and below it in 1823. The survey which followed in 1825 mentioned his fields and affirmed his ownership of the Kelly lands which, with the new additions, amounted to more than a hundred acres. One field in the mouth of Right Hand Fork was long known as Joel’s Field, named for Joel Settle, the settler’s son.3

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Joel SETTLE (the image was very faint and exposure had to be adjusted).

1830 U.S. Federal Census4
Nicholas County, Virginia
Sheet 188, line 23
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: Joel Settle
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Joel)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Mary Ann Elizabeth and Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Milly)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 4
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 4

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

By 1840 Milly’s family had grown. There were three daughters and two sons now in the household.  One of the daughters who was seen with Milly and Joel in 1830 was likely Nancy R. who was born about 1830 – soon enough to be included in the 1830 census count but too late in the year to be considered as a 10-year-old in 1840.

The area of Nicholas County in which the family lived became part of Fayette County in 1831.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Joel SUTTLE

1840 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, Virginia
Page 146, Line 4
Name: Joel Suttle
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (Abner and Campbell)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Joel)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Nancy and Araminta Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Mary Ann Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Milly)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

By 1850 Milly had given birth to eight children who were still living. Seven were living at home. Her oldest daughter Mary Ann Elizabeth had married Henry ARTHUR about 1846 and was living with him and their son several households away.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Joel SUTTLE household

1850 U.S. Federal Census6
Fayette County, Virginia
The 14th District
Sheet No. 366A, Lines 8-16, HH #463-463
Joel Suttle 44 M Farmer Virginia
Milly Suttle 44 F Virginia cannot read & write
Nancy R. Suttle 20 F Virginia cannot read & write
Jane Suttle 18 F Virginia
Abner Suttle 12 M Virginia
Campbell Suttle 11 M Virginia
Jas. Wesley Suttle 8 M Virginia
Francis A. Suttle 4 M Virginia
Joel D. Suttle 1 M Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Milly gave birth to one more child, a daughter, a couple of years after the 1850 census. She was the last of nine children.

In 1856 Joel bought fifty-two acres of bottom land in the small valley of a stream that came to be called Joel’s Branch but later was known as Taylor Branch, a left-hand branch of Jenkins Fork of Loop Creek.

Joel and Milly had five children still living at home. Abner was living with his wife and his brother Campbell next door and in the next household was their oldest daughter with her husband Henry ARTHUR. Only their daughter Nancy was away from the family. She had married William TINCHER of Greenbrier and was living with him and their two sons in a stable in that county.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Joel SETTLE, Abner SETTLE, and Henry ARTHUR households

1860 U.S. Federal Census7
Fayette County, Virginia
District 1, Fayetteville Post Office
Sheet No. 338, Page No. 28, HH #204-181
Joel Settle 53 M farmer $200 $100 Virginia cannot read & write
Milly Settle 52 F Virginia cannot read & write
Jane Settle 26 F Farm laborer Virginia cannot read & write
James Settle 18 M Farm laborer Virginia attended school
Berry Settle 15 M Farm laborer Virginia attended school
Dixon Settle 10 M Virginia attended school
Rebecca Settle 7 F Virginia attended school
Ellen Atkerson 18 F servant Virginia
Note: The column for literacy was for people over 20 years of age.

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

Joel and his son Campbell cleared adjoining farms in the head of Open Fork, a small right-hand tributary to Loop Creek, a branch of Kanawha River in Fayette County, following the Civil War.

By 1870 only the two youngest children of Joel and Milly were living at home. Araminta Jane had married William Madison PRINCE soon after the 1860 census and was the mother of five. Abner had married Locky Jane PRINCE just before the 1860 census. Campbell Washington married Anna Elizabeth TAYLOR in 1864.  James Wesley married Mary Melvina BLAKE In 1866. Francis Asbury married Lucinda TREADWAY in 1867.

Mary Ann Elizabeth and her husband Henry ARTHUR were still living near her parents in household  #7. Nancy and her husband William TINCHER were in Greenbrier County.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for Joel SETTLE household

1870 U.S. Federal Census8
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls of Kanawha Township
Gauley Bridge Post Office
Sheet No. 95B, Page No. 2, Lines 4-7, HH #8-8
Settle, Joel 63 M W farmer $150 $130 Virginia cannot read & write male US Cit. over 21 yo
Settle, Millie 63 F W housekeeper Virginia
Settle, Joel D. 20 M W farm laborer Virginia
Settle, Rebecca 18 F W housekeeper Virginia

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Joel and his son Campbell were the first settlers on Open Fork along with Joel’s son-in-law Henry ARTHUR but did not remain there. They moved away after Joel sold his improvement. This would be Joel and Milly’s last move as they ended their days at a place known as Millie’s Bottom or Milly Place opposite McVey Hollow.

Only the youngest daughter of Joel and Milly was still unmarried and living at home in 1880. Their youngest son Joel Dixon married Charlotte Marsh DARLINGTON in 1874. Their son James Wesley’s wife had died about 1871. He married Clarissa KILLINGSWORTH, a widow, in 1874. The marriage did not last long, perhaps ending with the death of Clarissa as James was listed as widowed when he married Martha Jane McKinney, a single lady, in 1875. James had three children from his first marriage. His oldest son has not been located but his daughter was in his household and his youngest son Charles Asbury was found with the SETTLE grandparents Joel and Milly in 1880.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for Joel SETTLE household

1880 U.S. Federal Census9
Fayette County, West Virginia
Fayetteville District
Enumeration District No. 27
Page No. 10, Sheet No. 17B, Lines 18-21, HH #64
Settle, Joel W M 73 married Farmer VA VA VA
Settle, Milly W F 73 wife married Keeping House WV VA VA
Settle, Rebeckey W F 26 daughter single At Home WV VA WV
Settle, Charley A. W M 10 grandson single WV WV WV

After the 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Milly’s husband Joel died in June 1881 and Milly followed in May 1882. They are said to be buried in Moseley Cemetery, Loop Creek in Fayette County but no stones mark their graves.

Milly had seen all of her children married and starting families of their own. Her son Campbell was widowed at the same time his father Joel died. He then married Mary Margaret FOSTER in March 1882. Milly and Joel’s youngest daughter Becky married Henry S. MITCHELL in April 1882, only a month before Milly’s death.

In the next installment James SIMS’ youngest daughter from his second marriage, Jane L. SIMS will be featured.

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

Rewriting the Biography: Mildred

  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 23, James Simms ( : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. ( : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3.   L. Neil Darlington, Cabins of the Loop and Environs of the Southern Half of Fayette County Virginia (Now West Virginia), 1988, McClain Printing Company, Parsons, West Virginia, pgs. 246-247. 
  4. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Fim 0029677, NARA Roll M19_198, Virginia, Nicholas, images 33+34 of 42, page 188, line 23, Joel Settle. ( : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  5. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, image 15 of 54, page 146A+B, line 4, Joel Suttle. ‎( : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  6. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_943; Image: 289; Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 73 of 91, Sheet No. 366A, Lines 8-16, HH #463-463, Joel Suttle household. ( : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  7. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1344; Page: 290; FHL Film: 805344; Virginia, Fayette, District 1, image 26 of 26, Sheet No. 338, Page No. 28, Lines 1-8, HH #204-181, Joel Settle household. ( : accessed 17 July 2018). 
  8. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1686; History Library Film: 553185; West Virginia, Fayette, Falls of Kanawha, image 2 of 36, Page No. 2, Sheet No. 95B, Lines 4-7, HH #8-8, Joel Settle household. ( : accessed 21 July 2018). 
  9. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1402; West Virginia, Fayette, Fayetteville, image 10 of 46, Enumeration District No. 27, Page No. 10, Sheet No. 17B, Lines 18-21, HH #64, Joel Settle household. “.” ( : accessed 17 July 2018). 

52 Ancestors: #34 James INGRAM, Where Did You Hide the Key?

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

52 Ancestors: #34 James INGRAM, Where Did You Hide the Key?

Oral tradition, passed on through the generations, can help our genealogy research but it can also be a hinderance. When I started my Facebook page, more than a year before I started blogging, I wrote short summaries about my brick walls. My 4-times great-grandfather James INGRAM, born between 1771-1774 in Virginia and died fall of 1865 in West Virginia, was the subject of the post I wrote in December 2012. Unfortunately no headway has been made on his parentage. One of these days I’ll find the key to open the door in the Ingram brick wall.


Ester INGRAM (also seen as Esther and Easter) may have been the mother of my James INGRAM. She is the first INGRAM to be found in Greenbrier County Personal Property Tax Lists in 1792 suggesting that she was a widow by this time. She sold a 95 acres land grant received in 1795 in 1800 and had at least two daughters who married in Greenbrier with her permission.

  • Patience INGRAM and David STAY
    Jim Talbert of the Greenbrier Historical Society confirmed on 8 Aug 2006 there is a marriage permission slip for Patience INGRAM in the Greenbrier records. Easter INGRAM signed for “my daughter” on 19 May 1790. David STAY and John KING went bond. There was no husband of Easter named in any of these records.
  • Elizabeth INGRAM and Francis STORY
    Nancy C. Story Adkins obtained a photocopy of the original marriage bond from the Greenbrier Historical Society. Elizabeth’s mother Esther INGRAM gave permission. The couple married on 20 December 1798.

I had a slight panic attack when I was pulling this together and realized that Ester could have been the first name for a male. I checked the original land grant for the 95 acres that she sold in 1800 at the Library of Virginia and it shows that she was a female.

Virginia State Land Office. Grants A-Z, 1-124, reels 42-190; Virginia State Land Office. Grants 125- , reels 369-. Mentions: Ester Ingram (grantee) assignee of James Dyche; land near Richard Humphries, John Viney and Thomas Cooper 1795. Library of Virginia. Archives.

Was Ester INGRAM the mother of our James INGRAM? Who was the husband of Ester INGRAM? Was James the brother of Nancy INGRAM (md. 1787 William SLAVEN) and Parnal INGRAM (md. 1793 Eliza Carmons) who also married in Greenbrier? Note: Nancy has been listed as the daughter of Abraham INGRAM and but without supporting evidence.

Speculation Aside, Let’s Have a Look His Life

James INGRAM is first found in Greenbrier County on a list of rangers in 1793. The Rangers militia was organized to protect the frontier and its settlers from Indians attacks. On 27 May 1793 Captain Hugh CAPERTON’s company of rangers were at Fort Lee on the Elk and Kanawha Rivers guarding the Kanawha Valley settlers near what is now Charleston, West Virginia. “Mad Anthony” WAYNE’s victory over the Indians in 1794 ended the Indian threat in what is now West Virginia.

Virgil A. Lewis, M.A., State Historian and Archivist; “The Soldiery of West Virginia”, originally published 1911, reprinted for Clearfield Co.,Inc. by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland 1991, 1996, 1998; pg. 131.

James INGRAM was not with rangers on 6 May 1792. Was he too young at the time?

In 1795 and 1797 James is seen in the Greenbrier County court orders:

  • 31 March 1795 – John MATHEWS vs. James INGRAM in debt
  • 1 April 1797 – Jonathan MATHEWS assee of James INGRAM vs. William GILLILAND in debt

James was on a Personal Property Tax List on 16 April 1799 in Greenbrier County with 1 tithable and 2 horses. This was the first time he was on a list. His surname was spelled INGRIM. Also on this list was a John INGRIM with 1 tithable and 1 horse. No further trace of him has been found. Was he a brother?

Taxation: Virginia began keeping records of residents’ payments of personal property and land taxes in 1782. The Library of Virginia has these on microfilm. Published abstracts of some of these can be found online. I am convinced that this may be the key to opening the doors in many of my brick walls in Virginia. Living overseas I can only hope that the full collection will someday be found on the internet. I want to be able to look at each year, study the neighbors of each ancestor, and see the things that may not have been included in the abstracts.

A month later, on 28 May 1799, James was “on jury” in Greenbrier. He was next seen on the 1803 (below) and 1805 tax lists of Greenbrier County, both times with 1 titable and 1 horse.


On 28 February 1809 John CONNER and wife Mary sold 120 acres for $1.00 to James INGRAM on Meadow River and Sewel on the ridge opposite Buffalow Lick in Greenbrier County.

Later in the year James INGRAM married Margaret KINCAID, daughter of John KINCAID and Elizabeth GILLESPIE, on 24 October 1809 in Greenbrier County. They were married by Rev. Josiah OSBURN of the Baptist church.[1]

James and Margaret were not found on the 1810 census as Greenbrier was one of the “lost” counties. He was still in the county as he is on the 1810 Personal Property List B with 1 titable:

1810 Personal Property List B > Greenbrier County, Virginia. Source:

James and Margaret’s first child, a son James Jr., was born about 1811 most likely on the land in Greenbrier County that James bought from the CONNERs in 1809.

On 25 February 1812 James and wife Margaret sold the 120 acres that James bought in 1809 for $1.00 to Newbury STOCKTON. The land, conveyed to James INGRAM by John CONNER in 1809, was “on point of ridge that leads to Buffaloe Lick in Greenbrier County.”

During the War of 1812 (18 Jun 1812-24 Dec 1814) James and Margaret’s second son, Joshua (1813-ca.1861) was born. His birth has been estimated at about 1813 in Greenbrier. In 1815 James was on the Personal Property Tax Lists of Greenbrier with 1 tithable, 3 horses, and 5 cows. The next child, a daughter, born during the 1810s, was followed by my 3-times great-grandfather Robert (1819-1902) born about 1819 in Greenbrier.

1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Greenbrier []
James was listed in the 1820 census of Greenbrier County with the following persons in his household: 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.

Three more children were born during the 1820s: John about 1820, Matthew on 9 January 1824, and Cynthia on 25 March 1828.

Ingram Cabin

“A century and a half ago, a pioneer cabin stood in a little valley drained by a branch that flows down from cotton Hill to New River at the Narrow Falls, opposite and slightly above the mouth of Cane Branch. The little stream was known as Ingram Branch, from the name of the family that lived in the cabin. Two surveys made there in 1829 refer to Ingram’s house, to his road leading down to the river, and to Ingram Branch, the tiny tributary of New River. Though the first name of the settler is not given, it may be suspected that this was James Ingram who married Margaret (Peggy) Kincaid, daughter of John and Elizabeth Kincaid, who settled on the opposite side of the river at Cane Branch as early as 1811, and who patented land there and at the mouth of Gauley.
Ingram apparently took no steps to secure formal title to his improvement, however, and in 1829 two residents of Kanawha Falls set up rival claims to Ingram’s improvement and to some hundreds of acres surrounding it, by reason of entries and surveys made for them in that year. The map accompanying these surveys shows the location of the Ingram house to be on the branch approximately one hundred thirty poles above its mouth. This was doubtless the first cabin in that little nook of the hills. Ingram was not a permanent settler, however. He was succeeded there by Andrew and Mary Blake, and soon after the above date, James and Margaret Ingram appeared as settlers on the upper part of Loup Creek at a branch which also came to be called Ingram Branch. There they were permanent settlers and the name has survived both as a place name and family.
Ingram, also written as Inghram and Ingraham, was originally Ingelram, a Norman-French personal name.”[2]

It is said that James probably settled on Loup Creek/Loop Creek about the same time as James KINCAID (1792-1852), brother of Margaret, or soon after. The place he selected was at the mouth of a branch three miles farther up Loup Creek/Loop Creek than Kincaid’s cabin. The branch is now called Ingram Branch. The 120-acre tract, including Ingram’s improvement, was patented by his sons, Robert and Matthew, in 1843, several years after the settlement. The move may have been in the 1820s.  Ingram Branch become part of Fayette County in 1831 when the county was formed. At the time of the 1830 census it was most likely part of Kanawha County as the family was on the census of that county.

a certain Tract of Land, containing one hundred and twenty acres: lying and being in Fayette County on Loop creek and bounded as follow, towit Beginning at a white oak and gum corner to John Kincaid, on the Left hand side of the creek & with crossing the same S6W54 poles to a sugar tree & beech corner to same and leaving S67W60 poles to two chestnut oaks on a point S88W106 poles to a white oak North 48 poles to a white oak on a ridge N19W66 poles to a maple and hickory N48 W24 poles to a maple and beech N8W (crossing the creek) 34 poles to two chestnuts on a South hillside S69E230 poles to the beginning with its appurtenances. [Virginia State Land Office. Library of Virginia. Archives]

First Ingram Child Married in 1829?

During this period of time James INGRAM and his family were the only family of this name in the area of Greenbrier, Kanawha, Monroe and Nicholas counties. I have not done a complete study of all Ingram, Ingrum, Inghram, Ingharam in the early censuses of Virginia. There were Inghram and Ingharam individuals in Lewis, Wood, Tyler, and Ohio counties. Lewis and Wood bordered on Kanawha County in 1829 (see Interactive Map of West Virginia County Formation History).

Charles WALKER married Elizabeth INGRAM on 4 August 1829 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia. No further information has been found on this marriage or couple. Was Elizabeth the unknown daughter listed in the 1820 census?

1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Kanawha []
James was listed in the 1830 census of Kanawha County with the following persons in his household: 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.

James and Margaret’s youngest child Ruth was born about 1832 in Fayette County. Between 1831 and 1835, the oldest son, James Jr., died in early manhood without marrying. He is buried in the Kincaid Cemetery in Kincaid, Fayette County, West Virginia.

In 1834 James was listed as having an account with Mr. LANDCRAFT, a store owner. I discovered the September 1834 inventory and appraisement of the estate of Melitus J. Landcraft while searching through the early Will Books for Fayette County. Mr. LANDCRAFT appears to have been a merchant (goods are listed) and many of my Fayette County relatives had accounts on his books and/or notes of debts. Very helpful are several “son of” mentions following the names.

In an election held 1 April 1835 in Fayette County to determine the location of the new Court House and County Seat, “James INGRAHM” and his son “Joshua INGRAHAM” voted for Kanawha Falls.

In 1839 James INGRAM’s name appears on the Fayette County jury list.

1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayett []
James was listed in the 1840 census of Fayette County with the following persons in his household: 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. James’ oldest living child Joshua had his own household nearby.

Following the 1840 census James’ sons began to marry. Geraldine Dempsey Workman wrote, “….pages are missing from the Marriage book at the courthouse.” We can only assume that Robert married Huldah JOHNSON (1817-1880) about 1841 and Joshua married Mahala C. STEELE (1823-1888) bet. 1841-1845 and that their marriage records may have been on these missing pages.

According to family tradition James’ son John was the first to leave the area. He moved to the Poca River in Kanawha County before the 1850 census.

In 1850 James, age 70, a laborer, unable to read or write, is in the household of John TINCHER, a widower with three young children and his widowed mother. At the same time, Margaret INGRAM, 56, is with her/their children Ruth, 18, Matthew, 25, and Cynthia, 23 living next door to her/their son Robert. Was James boarding with the family while working aways from home? Or were James and Margaret separated?

1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayette []
In 1851 James INGRAM and his wife Margaret saw three of their children marrying and setting up housekeeping. On January 9, Ruth was married to John DARLINGTON, youngest son of Benjamin DARLINGTON and Mary JOHNSON, and lived at various places on Loup Creek/Loop Creek. On February 13, John married Lucy Jane SKAGGS, daughter of Joseph Preston SKAGGS and Mary LEWIS in Fayette County. On March 23, Cynthia INGRAM married John “Johnny” TINCHER, son of William and Patsy TINCHER of Loup Creek/Loop Creek.

In 1852 Matthew followed his brother John to Sissonville on the Poca River in Kanawha County. Robert bought Matthew’s interests in the 120-acre grant and became the sole owner. Matthew was the last of James’ children to marry on 20 August 1854 in Meigs County, Ohio, to Sarah Francis MARTIN, daughter of Dio Clesian MARTIN and Catherine KIDD.

James’ son John, who was widowed in the 1850s, married Delilah CRAIG (1826-1869) on 12 July 1860 in Kanawha County.

1860 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > District 4 > Rock Hill > Page 126/422 > HH # 917-864 []
In 1860 James is, once again, not living with his wife Margaret. He is listed as 86 years old and a laborer living alone in between James and Eleanor BERRY and John and  Lovina GODDARD in the Rocky Hill P.O. district. Margaret may have been living at the home of her nephew James Gillespie KINCAID Jr. in Kincaid as this is where she died about 1865 according to family tradition.

James’ son Joshua died between 1860-1862. The death record has not been found however his widow Mahala C. INGRAHAM remarried on 23 August 1862 in Meigs County, Ohio, to Isaac E. LEWIS, a veteran of the Mexican War.

According to family tradition in the summer of 1865, after the death of his wife, James went to live with his son Matthew in Sissonville in Kanawha County. James may have held his youngest grandchild Absolam, son of Matthew, born 30 September 1865, in his arms before the child died on 3 October 1865. James died in the fall of 1865 at the home of his son Matthew. He is estimated to have been about 90 years old and may be buried near the Methodist Church in Sissonville but this has not been proven.

James INGRAM was survived by his sons Robert, John, and Matthew; his daughters Cynthia TINCHER and Ruth DARLINGTON, and at least 30 grandchildren and possibly a great-grandchild through his son Joshua’s eldest daughter Mary.

The family would continue to grow with a total of 42 grandchildren. Son John, once again widowed, married a third time to Mary F. LEGG (1843-1870) on 1 December 1869 in Kanawha County. He died before 1880. Daughter Ruth died before 1900. Son Matthew died on 12 July 1900 in Sissonville and was buried in Pauley Cemetery on Little Sandy in Elk Distrist in Kanawha County. Son Robert died about 1902 at the home of his cousin Preston KINCAID. And finally daughter Cynthia died on 3 May 1910 and was buried in the Carter Cemetery in Dempsey, Fayette County.

[1] J.R. Cole, History of Greenbrier County (published 1917 in Lewisburg, West Virginia) pg. 35
[2] L. Neil Darlington, Cabins of the Loop and Environs of the Southern Half of Fayette County Virginia (Now West Virginia)” (December 1987, McClain Printing Company, Parsons, West Virginia, 1988) pg. 222-223

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #11 Mary M. DEMPSEY abt. 1845-bet. 1880-1888

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

This is my 11th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A Small Explanation Up Front

I have two DEMPSEY lines in my paternal family tree. My entries for this challenge have included my father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, all with the surname DEMPSEY:

#1 Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY 1935-1974
#2 Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY 1899-1975

#4 William Henderson DEMPSEY 1860-1941
#8 William A. W. DEMPSEY 1822-1867

Screenshot of five-generation pedigree generated by Ancestral Quest 14

Mary M. DEMPSEY, one of my 4 paternal great-great-grandmothers, is from the other DEMPSEY line in my family tree. The lines are connected as Mary’s daughters Octava and Laura INGRAM married sons of William A. W. DEMPSEY. However a common DEMPSEY ancestor has not been found to connect the two DEMPSEY lines.

52 Ancestors: #11 Mary M. DEMPSEY abt. 1845-bet. 1880-1888

Mary M. DEMPSEY was born about 1845 to Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING who were married on 3 January 1829. They had 5 children before Mary was born and then two more bringing the total to eight children. All of these events took place in Amherst County, Virginia.

Sib 1: George W. Dempsey (1831-aft. 1870)
Sib 2: Geneva Elizabeth “Jennie” Dempsey (1836-aft. 1910)
Sib 3: William S. Dempsey (1839-1860s)
Sib 4: Thomas G. Dempsey (1840-1860s)
Sib 5: John J. Dempsey (1843-1860s)
Sib 7: Martha Ann “Matties” Dempsey (1847-1909)
Sib 8: Julia Victoria Dempsey (1853-1926)

1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Amherst > Eastern District > Sheet 76A > HH #40 [online : accessed 11 March 2014]
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Amherst County, Virginia
Eastern District
HH #40-40
Dempsey, C. Y. 47 M Farmer 500 Virginia
Dempsey, C. M. 35 F
Dempsey, Geo W. 19 M
Dempsey, Elizabeth 14 F
Dempsey, Wm S. 11 M
Dempsey, Thomas G. 10 M
Dempsey, John J. 7 M
Dempsey, Mary M. 5 F
Dempsey, Martha A. 2 F

Following the 1850 census Mary’s older siblings began to marry and have children. Her sister Jennie had illegitimate children, a daughter about 1857 and twin daughters about 1859. Her brother George married Rhoda A. STATON (1825-aft. 1870?) on 20 December 1852 and her brother William married Mary Eliza CLEMENTS (1839-?) on 26 April 1857, both in Amherst County.

The family moved to Fayette County, (West) Virginia

Mary’s father Seaton and her uncle Wilson M. DEMPSEY moved their families to Fayette County, (West) Virginia, in the late 1850’s. Mary’s brother William and sister Jennie remained in Amherst County with their young families.

The 1860 census listing shows Mary’s parents in one household followed by her brother George’s household. Mary and and her siblings Thomas, John, Martha, and Julia were listed in George’s household. Normally Mary and her siblings would have been listed in her parents household. I suspect that the entire family group was living together and George was given a household and family number making it look like his siblings were living in his household.

1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > District 2 > Sheet 304 [online : accessed 11 March 2014]

1860 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Fayetteville Twp
HH #1352-687
Dempsey Ceton Y. 57 M W farmer Virginia
Clementine M. 47 F W wife Virginia
HH #1353-688
George 28 M W farm labor Virginia
Rhoda 35 F W wife Virginia
Ceton A. 5 M W Virginia
Thomas G. 18 M W farm labor Virginia
John J. 15 M W farm labor Virginia
Mary M. 13 F W Virginia
Martha A. 10 F W Virginia
Juda V. 7 F W Virginia

Older siblings returned to eastern Virginia in the 1860s

Following the 1860 census Mary’s brother Thomas returned to eastern Virginia and joined the 58th Virginia Infantry in August 1861 in Amherst County. It is possible that her brother John also went east and joined up in Rockbridge County where their brother William was living. There is no trace of William, Thomas, or John in 1870 or later. Mary’s brother George and his wife disappear after the 1870 census. Their sons remained in Fayette County while a daughter went back to Amherst and later lived in Rockbridge County.

Mary’s sister Jennie had more illegitimate children and married Marshall S. TERRY (1843-aft. 1920) about 1866-1869 (per 1900 and 1910 census). She died between 1910-1920 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. No marriage record has been found for Jennie and Marshall Terry. In 1895 Chancery Records found in Rockbridge County concerning the estate of her uncle Wesley G. DEMPSEY, one of Seaton and Wilson’s brothers, Jennie was seen as Wesley’s niece Jennie TERRY (née DEMPSEY) wife of Marshall TERRY. Prior to finding the chancery records it had been assumed that the daughter seen only as Elizabeth in 1850 had died by 1860. Finding her as Jennie Terry, wife of a man who was seen as a mulatto in the earlier census listings, has brought up a whole bunch of questions that need to be answered. This discovery also gives me faith in the documents that are going to help open the doors in the DEMPSEY brick walls!

Back in Fayette County, West Virginia

Mary’s parents Seaton and Clementine remained in Fayette County with the three youngest daughters Mary M., Martha A., and Julia V. By 1870 Mary and her sister Martha had married and only Julia was living at home with her parents.

Mary’s sisters Martha and Julia marry

Martha Ann “Matties” DEMPSEY married George L. “Little George” JOHNSON (1846-bef 1880) on 20 September 1866. They had four children before Little George left her a widow. She married second Joseph Henry ARBAUGH (1853-1927) on 18 July 1880 in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia. They were the parents of three children. “Matties” died on 11 March 1909.

Julia Victoria DEMPSEY married Joseph Henry PRESSON (1850-1934) on 3 June 1872. They were the parents of 7 children. Julia died 1 May 1926 in Ansted.

What became of Mary M. Dempsey?

On 23 May 1867 Eli WOOD, Minister of the Gospel, performed the marriage ceremony in Fayette County, West Virginia, for  Mary M. DEMPSEY and her groom Irvin Lewis INGRAM, son of Robert INGRAM and Huldah JOHNSON. [line 37]

The 1870 census listing for Mary and her young family has not been located. I suspect that the family may have been missed. From later records we know that Mary’s first daughter Octavia Dell INGRAM (1866-1923) was born 14 March 1866 Fayette County, West Virginia. This was a year prior to Mary’s marriage to Irvin Lewis INGRAM on 23 May 1867.  Following the marriage their second daughter Laura Belle INGRAM (1868-1940) was born 24 April 1868 at Ingram Branch on Loop Creek in Fayette County. There are no birth records for Octava and Laura and we must rely on the information passed on to descendants, in Octava’s case, and given on Laura’s death certificate.

Mary and Irvin’s third daughter’s birth was entered in the register of births: Harriet F. Ingram (1871- ) born 8 March 1871 at Loup Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. This daughter most likely died before 1900 as she has not been found in the 1900 census nor has a marriage record been found for her at Note that her father Irvin was missed in the 1900 census and it is possible that Harriet may have also been missed.

1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > ED #27 Sheet #17A [online : accessed 8 Mar 2014]

In 1880 we see Mary age 31 with her husband Irvin age 35 and their three daughters, Octavi D. age 14; Laura B. age 12 and Harriet F. age 9. This is the last record we find to document Mary’s life.

Was Mary still living when her daughters married in the early 1880’s? Octavia Dell married Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY (1862-1943) on 19 October 1882 and Laura Belle married William Henderson DEMPSEY (1860-1941) on  1 October 1884. Both marriages were performed by I. C. Cavendish.

Mary’s husband Irvin Lewis INGRAM’s marital status was widower when he married Susie Aliff on 11 February 1888 therefore Mary must have died after the 1880 census and prior to Irvin’s marriage in February 1888. She would have been 43 years old in 1888.

I planned out my 52 Ancestors in January and only noticed today that I would be blogging about the same ancestral line as I did last year on St. Patrick’s Day.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!

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

William JOHNSON 1755-1805


Pioneer settler of present-day Nicholas County, West Virginia

When I first began doing genealogy research on the internet in 2000 I found William JOHNSON, husband of Amy NELSON, listed with ancestors going back to the 1400s. Lack of sources made me suspicious and, to date, I haven’t found “documented” parents for William JOHNSON.

He is mentioned in several history books:
West Virginians in the Revolution
History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens (1911)
A History of Monroe County, West Virginia (1916)
History of Nicholas County, West Virginia (1954)
A Record of the Early Settlement of Lower Loup Creek-Fayette Co. WV-1798-1805 (1933).

In the last, L. Neil Darlington wrote, “John Johnson and his brother, William, came to Loup Creek in 1827, from Gauley River. They were sons of William Johnson, Sr., one of the first settlers of Nicholas Co. He had come about 1795, from Bath Co. Va, and settled on Peter’s Creek, a branch of the Gauley. Here he died in 1805 and was buried on the farm now occupied by a Mr. Summers. His headstone states that he was a soldier in the Rev. War.

In regard to William’s Revolutionary War service, I would like to see pgs. 372-373 of Augusta County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1785 by Bevin Creel which may mention that he was a constable in Capt. Campbell’s Co. in 1782 (as per DAR#A063847). I would also like to see the Revolutionary War pension application S7220 which I assume was for his widow Amy.

I found “William Edward Johnson” on Find A Grave (Memorial# 29135496) with a photo of this headstone taken by a descendant. I don’t know where the middle name comes from and if it is correct or not. Further searches showed that the person who took the photo, Carl Johnson, believes that William was the son of James Johnston and Mary Elizabeth Ware. I contacted Carl and we’ll be discussing his information.

Hopefully, I’ll soon be able to post updates on our discussions.

UPDATE: David Fridley provided me with pgs. 372-373 of Augusta County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1785 by Bevin Creel AND solved the mystery of the Revolutionary War pension application S7220. He looked it up by app number on and it belonged to John Merrill of NJ who died in Buncombe Co, NC. The error was caused when some footnotes were converted incorrectly into a new genealogy program. Fixed and checked off my list.

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.