Updates on the Family of William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reviewing the sources for my fourth great-grandparents William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW. The posts written in 2014 were updated with source citations and shared on social media on July 24 and 31. However, readers who follow by email don’t receive notifications of changes to posts.

While reviewing and adding sources, I try not to make significant changes to the original posts. Short update notices were added to correct small mistakes.

Some corrections and additional information need to be discussed in depth for the family of William WOOD (1777-1835) and Mary Ann McGRAW (1781-bet. 1836-1840).

Correcting a death estimate

In many GEDCOM files Mary Ann McGRAW’s date and place of death are seen as about 1845 in Nicholas County. I believe this to be incorrect. Due to changing county lines, the land owned by her deceased husband William WOOD was originally in Monroe County, fell to Nicholas County when it was formed in 1818, and then to Fayette County when formed in 1831.

In my early research into the WOOD-McGRAW couple, I found Ann WOODS (age 40 to 49) in Nicholas County on the 1840 census with a male age under 5 and a female age 5 to 9.1 At the time, I thought this might be Mary Ann with unknown younger children. However, as new records came to light, I dismissed this possibility.

Personal property tax lists (PPT) were searched in Nicholas County for WOOD and WOODS. Two distinct groups were found:

◉ William WOOD and his sons were in Nicholas County until the formation of Fayette County.

◉ Stephen, John, and Zachariah WOODS were in Nicholas County at the same time as the WOOD men and remained in Nicholas County from 1831.

Dates of visits on the PPT list also indicate the men with the surnames WOOD and WOODS didn’t live in the same area. In 1833, and only in 1833, Ann WOODS was listed.2 Would this be the same person as seen in the 1840 census?

From the PPT list, it is clear that William, his brothers Bailey and James, and his sons Enoch and Elijah lived in an area of Nicholas County that became Fayette County in 1831.

All 1840 census records for William and Mary Ann’s children were checked. None of the households include an older woman. Nor was Mary Ann listed as the head of a household in 1840.

Mary Ann McGRAW wasn’t living in Nicholas County when she died. She was not found on tax lists or census in 1840 or later.

I went looking for more records to fill in the timeline…

Court minutes

New collections have been added online in the last two years at FamilySearch including court minutes, land deeds, and tax records.

The will books of West Virginia counties have been online and searchable for quite some time. In this collection, there was no will for William WOOD but his estate was appraised and a bill of sale drawn up. Would the court minutes reveal records ordered to be recorded other than the appraisal and bill of sale?

While searching the index of the court minutes for the administrator’s bond entry for the estate of the deceased William WOOD, I found several other entries of interest.

On 18 August 1835, Elijah WOOD and Amos WOOD, sons of the deceased, entered into a bond for the letters of administration of the estate of William WOOD.3

On 15 September 1835, the appraisement bill of the estate of William WOOD, deceased, was presented in court, inspected, and ordered to be recorded.4 Another entry made the same day was more revealing.5

On motion of Amos Wood it is ordered that Miles Manser, James B. Westlake, Thomas McVay, Jacob Kious, and Joseph Paxton or any two of them do lay off and assign to Mary Wood her dower in the lands of her late husband Wm Wood deceased in this county and make report to this court.

Several months later, at a court held on 19 January 1836 Mary’s dower rights to the land were assigned. The entry included a description of the land tract.6

An assignment of the dower of Mary Wood in the lands of her late husband William Wood was this day returned and is as follows Pursuant to an order of the county court of Fayette made at the Sept Term of said court 1835) We the undersigned did go upon the land of William Wood deceased and at the request of Mary Wood wife of Wm Wood deceased we laid of her right of dower of a tract of land containing fifty acres at the lower end including the house and other buildings which is bounded as follows To wit Beginning at a poplar near the Road corner to the original survey and with a call there of N°45W 100 poles to two white oaks and maple in a flat beginning corner of said survey thence with an other call there of S°1W75 poles to two white oaks corner to same thence through the survey N°87 1/2 E75 poles to the beginning containing 16 acres and 88 poles given under our hands this 19th of November 1835.
Jacob Kious
Thomas McVey
Whereupon the same is established as the dower of the said Mary Wood in the lands of her late husband William Wood decd and it is ordered that the Mary Wood hold the said land assigned her as aforesaid as and for her dower.

At the same session of court, Elijah WOOD was assigned guardianship of his younger siblings Bailey and Mary Ann.7

The court doth assign Elijah Wood Guardian of Bailey Wood and Mary Ann Wood Children of William Wood deceased who together with J B Hamilton & John Young his securities entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of $200 conditioned according to law.

As of 19 January 1836 Mary Ann McGRAW, widow of William WOOD, had the right to occupy the dwelling place and live off the land. While her older children were married and on their own, she cared for two underage children, Bailey and Mary Ann, who were legally under the guardianship of their older brother Elijah.

No mention was found in the court minutes of Mary Ann McGRAW aka Mary WOOD’s death.

Land deeds

Assuming that her children would divide up the land or sell their interests after their mother’s death, I searched the land deeds of Fayette County.

The grantor index of Fayette County was checked for the children’s names for the years from William’s death until the mid-1840s.

On 15 July 1841 Enoch WOOD and his wife Margaret, Elijah WOOD and his wife Rachel, Bailey WOOD and his wife Lucinda, and Martin HESS and his wife Mary sold their interest in the 50 acres tract to their brother Amos WOOD.8

On 12 August 1841 Margaret and her husband Thomas WITHROW sold Margaret’s interest in the 50 acres tract to her brother Amos WOOD.9

Mary Ann McGRAW appears to have died after 19 January 1836 and before 15 July 1841 when the first of her children gave up their interest in their father’s land.

More questions came up

Question #1

The land deeds account for all of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW’s children except for the son Allen. Was Allen WOOD not their child? A quick review of the records showed that Amos WOOD appointed his brothers Elijah and Allen WOOD executors of his last will and testament dated 24 May 1845.10 This doesn’t explain why Allen’s interest in William’s estate isn’t documented but it shows that Allen, Elijah, and Amos were brothers and therefore Allen was a son of William WOOD and his wife Mary Ann McGRAW.

Question #2

The first land deed brings up a discrepancy in the timeline. On 15 July 1841, the date the deed was dated, it was explained to the wives apart from their husbands. They acknowledged that they had signed the deed under their own free will and not by threat or promise of reward. The deed was presented to the court and ordered to be recorded on 11 March 1842.

Martin HESS and Mary Ann WOOD were married by John JOHNSON on 1 October 1841.11 How could they be named as husband and wife in a land deed dated 15 July 1841? Is the date recorded by John JOHNSON not correct? Did they backdate the deeds to the time their mother died?

Question #3

In January 1836 Bailey WOOD was underage and in need of a guardian. In 1840 he was old enough to have his own household on the census.12 He was enumerated in the 20 thru 29 years range. Also in his household were two young ladies. The elder was in the same age range as Bailey. The younger, age 15 thru 19, could only be his sister Mary Ann who would marry Martin HESS on 1 October 1841.

No trace of Bailey had been found after the 1840 census. As I looked further in the court minutes, I found that Elijah WOOD was appointed administrator of Bailey WOOD Jr.’s estate on 10 November 1842.13 He was considered Jr. as his uncle Bailey WOOD was still living.

With this entry, I learned that Bailey WOOD had died by 10 November 1842. From the land deed dated 15 July 1841, I discovered that he had a wife named Lucinda. This was new information. They likely married before the 1840 census and the woman in the 20 thru 29 years range could be Lucinda.

I searched the West Virginia marriages. No marriage between Bailey WOOD and a lady named Lucinda was found. Marriage records for the 1840s are known to be missing in Fayette County. Could this be one of them?

A marriage between Lucinda WOOD and Archibald PARRISH took place in Fayette County on 4 July 1843. The record is a minister’s entry and includes no further information.14

I have many WOOD individuals from this area in my database. Until now, I had not come across a woman named Lucinda WOOD. Could she have been the widow of Bailey WOOD?

In 1850 A. P. Parrish, a blacksmith, was enumerated with his wife Lucinda and their three children: Median age 5, James age 3, and E. J. (female) 5 months. Lucinda was born in Vermont.15 As none of the WOOD individuals in the area at the time were born in Vermont, I suspect she was a widow, i.e. possibly the widow of Bailey WOOD. The husband and wife were both 33 in 1850, born about 1817. Lucinda’s age would have been 23 in 1840 and a match for the woman in the household of Bailey WOOD.

Interestingly, Archibald and Lucinda were living only two households away from Bailey’s brother Elijah WOOD in 1850.

Rabbit Hole

The marriage of Archibald PARRISH and Lucinda WOOD on 4 July 1843 sent me down a rabbit hole.

To prove/disprove this Lucinda WOOD was the widow of Bailey WOOD, I needed to follow her trail. And what a trail it was.

The PARRISH families have ties to many families in my family tree. I haven’t researched them to the extent that all persons with the surname PARRISH in the Fayette County area have been connected in my database.

I had information on one of the earliest family groups. William PARRISH died about the same time as William WOOD leaving a will that was ordered to be recorded at the September court term of 1835. He named children Joshua, Archibald, William, Nicholas, Rachel (Burton), Susan (Coleman), Polly (Coleman), and Nancy (Arthur).16

A man named Archibald PARRISH lived in Fayette County in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. He was not, however, listed with a wife named Lucinda. His age during those years places his birth between 1804-1810. He would be the son of William PARRISH.

A. P. PARRISH with a wife named Lucinda on the 1850 census of Fayette County couldn’t be Archibald, son of William. He was likely the son of one of William’s sons. But I will leave it to PARRISH researchers to figure out this relationship.

I followed Lucinda’s family to Linn County, Missouri, in 1860 and to the neighboring Sullivan County, Missouri, in 1870 and 1880.17,18,19

Archibald and Lucinda had two children who survived them. A death record for the son James H. PARRISH was not found. The 1924 death record of daughter Isabelle PARRISH (seen as E. J. in 1850) showed her mother was Lucinda WITHERELL.20

From 1860 to 1880 the census listings indicated that Lucinda was born in Massachusetts. Further, in the 1900 and 1910 censuses, Isabelle’s mother (Lucinda) was noted as being born in Massachusetts.21,22 The place of birth isn’t Vermont as seen on the 1850 census but the names of the husband and children match those in the censuses from 1860 to 1880. Only the 1920 census has the places of birth for Isabelle (Missouri instead of Virginia or West Virginia), her mother Lucinda (Ohio instead of Massachusetts), and her father (Kentucky instead of Virginia or West Virginia) that conflict with the earlier records.23

WITHERELL is not a name found in Fayette County but it is a common surname in Vermont and Massachusetts. How did Lucinda WITHERELL, born in Massachusetts (or Vermont), come to be in Fayette County as early as 1843 when she married Archibald PARRISH?

Bottom Line

Although I was very tempted to burrow deeper into the PARRISH rabbit hole, I forced myself to keep on track with things that need more attention. These are the corrections and additions I’ve made to the family of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW.

William WOOD died shortly before 18 August 1835 when his sons filed an administrator’s bond for his estate. I had previously listed his death at about September 1835 when his estate was appraised.

His widow Mary Ann McGRAW most likely died after 19 January 1836 when her dower right to the land of her deceased husband was assigned and before 15 July 1841 when the first of her children sold their interest in this land. Her place of death was presumably Fayette County. I had previously listed her death as being between 1840 and 1850.

Bailey WOOD, son of William and Mary Ann, married a young woman named Lucinda, likely before the 1840 census. He died shortly before 10 November 1842 when his brother Elijah filed an administrator’s bond for his estate and motioned for the personal estate to be appraised. It had not been known that he was married before finding the land deed mentioning his wife Lucinda.

Looking forward to hearing from descendants…

© 2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 571; Family History Library Film: 0029690; Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 3; Ann Woods. 
  2. “Personal property tax lists, 1818-1850,” (browse-only images), Virginia Commissioner of the Revenue (Nicholas County), FamilySearch, microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia. Personal property tax lists, 1818-1850, 19 March 1833, Ann Woods, 1 0 0 0 tax 0 cents. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKJ-W9JB-P?cat=637422 : accessed 8 August 2022). 
  3. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” browse-only images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County, West Virginia courthouse., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 12 of 470, August Term 1835, 18 Aug 1835, page 11, 3rd entry, Amos and Elijah Wood, bond for letters of administration. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9J7-H?i=11&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  4. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 17 of 470, September Term 1835, 15 Sep 1835, page 20, first entry, appraisement bill of the estate of William Wood presented and ordered to be recorded. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FQ-Z?i=16&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  5. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 16 of 470, September Term 1835, 15 Sep 1835, page 19, 3rd entry, Amos Wood’s motion to assign Mary Wood her dower in the land of her deceased husband William Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FW-X?i=15&cat=100698 : accessed 31 July 2022). 
  6. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 24 of 470, January Term 1836, 19 Jan 1836, page 34-35, Mary Wood’s dower rights. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FB-T?i=23&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  7. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 24 of 470, January Term 1836, 19 Jan 1836, page 35, Elijah assigned as guardian of young Bailey and Mary Ann Wood, children of William Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FB-T?i=23&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  8. Fayette County (West Virginia), Clerk of the County Court, “Deed book, 1831-1902; deed book index, 1831-1951” (database with images), <i>FamilySearch</i>, filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County courthouse, Film 583734, DGS 8152866, image141 of 419, Deed book, v. C 1839-1841, pages 255-256, 15 July 1841, Enoch Wood and wife Margaret, Elijah and wife Rachel, Bailey and wife Lucinda, and Martin Hess and wife Mary to Amos Wood, 50 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-FSR4-3?i=140&cat=100754 : accessed 9 August 2022) This is the 50 acres from Mary Ann McGraw’s dower rights. 
  9. Ibid., Film 583734, DGS 8152866, image 150 of 419, Deed book, v. C 1839-1841, page 274, 11 Aug 1841, Thomas Withrow and wife Margaret to Amos Wood, 50 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-FSRN-3?i=149&cat=100754 : accessed 9 August 2022) This is the 50 acres from Mary Ann McGraw’s dower rights. 
  10. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch, digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia, Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 224 of 292 > page 66-67, Last Will and Testament of Amos Wood dated 24 May 1845, proven June term 1845. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-58322-39?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 9 August 2022). 
  11. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History, citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 201, page 23, entry 3, Martin Hess and Mary A Wood, 1 Oct 1841, married by John Johnson. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00201.jpg : accessed 30 July 2022). 
  12. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 704_555; FHL Film: 0029685, Virginia, Fayette County, page 149, line 5, Bailey Wood (accessed 30 July 2014). 
  13. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 287 of 470, November Term 1842, 10 Nov 1842, page 521, 1st and 2n entry, Amos and Elijah Wood, bond for letters of administration and appraisers of estate of Bailey Wood Jr. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9KW-6?i=286&cat=100698 : accessed 31July 2022). 
  14. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 206, 4 Jul 1843 Archibald Parish and Lucinda Wood married by W. Carnafix. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00206.jpg : accessed 10 August 2022). 
  15. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), 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: 943, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, sheet 337A (stamped), household 92-92, lines 6-10, A.P. Parrish (accessed 3 April 2022). 
  16. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 33 of 292 > Will Book 1 page 42, 5 Oct 1831 Last Will and Testament of William Parrish, proven Fayette County Court Sept. Term 1835 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-75?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : accessed 10 August 2022) 
  17. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), 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_630; Family History Library Film: 803630; Township 57 Range 20, Linn, Missouri; Page: 693; Arch Parish household. 
  18. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), 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_823; Duncan, Sullivan, Missouri; Page: 189A; Archibold Parish household. 
  19. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), 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: 738; Scottsville, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 199; Page: 178B; Archibald Parish household. 
  20. “Missouri Death Certificates, 1910 – 1971,” database with images, Missouri Digital Heritage, citing original data: Missouri Death Certificates, Missouri State Archives; Sullivan, 1924, Certificate of Death 30822, Isabelle Bagwell  (https://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1924/1924_00033784.PDF). 
  21. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, Roll: 905; FHL microfilm: 1240905; Polk, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 0161; Page: 14; Leonard Creason household. 
  22. 1910 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7884/), citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, Roll: T624_826; FHL microfilm: 1374839; Polk, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 0172; Page: 22A; Leonard Creason household. 
  23. 1920 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6061/), citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls, Roll: T625_964; Milan Ward 3, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 175; Page: 20B; Leonard Creason household. 

The Ancestors: Martin McGRAW and his wife Margaret (394 & 395)

The parents of my 4th great-grandmother Mary Ann McGRAW were Martin McGRAW and his wife Margaret. This was proven by a tiny slip of paper in which they gave permission for their daughter to marry William WOOD in June 1800.1

June
Sir, this coms (sic) to let you now (sic) that
I Marten and Marget Mcgraw
is willing that William Wood should

have our daughter Mary Ann
To John Hutchason (Clerk)
The above was sworn to by
John Wood one of the witnesses
present.

The bond2 entered 18 June 1800 for the marriage of William and Mary Ann doesn’t give information on their parentage nor does the entry made in the register for marriages performed in the county of Monroe by John ALDERSON.3

Martin McGRAW and his wife Margaret

Very few records link my 5th great-grandparents Martin and Margaret McGRAW to their possible children.

Were Martin and Margaret the only family of this name in the area at the time? Were they or could they be the parents of each of the young McGRAW men and women who married in Greenbrier, Monroe, and Nicholas counties from 1798 to 1820?

[1] Anthony McGRAW married Elizabeth BRYANT 3 October 1798 in Greenbrier4
[2] John McGRAW married Sally ANDERSON 15 February 1799 in Greenbrier5
[3] Mary Ann McGRAW married William WOOD 18 June 1800 in Monroe (see above)
[4] Martin McGRAW Jr. married Nancy WOOD 3 May 1806 in Monroe6
[5] William McGRAW married Lucretia WITHROW 11 March 1813 in Monroe7
[6] Elender McGRAW married Solomon NELSON 1 March 1810 in Greenbrier8
[7] Samuel McGRAW married Elizabeth WOOD 28 May 1812 in Monroe9
[8] Thomas McGRAW married Catherine WITHROW 30 July 1820 in Nicholas10
[9] Henry McGRAW married likely before 1821. No marriage record found.

These marriages took place during a period when census records were lost for Virginia (1800) and Greenbrier County (1810) where Martin and Margaret were living. This makes analyzing the family group(s) in a census impossible. What other records are available to replace the missing records?

Personal Property Tax Lists

The early laws required the tax commissioner in each district to record in “a fair alphabetical list” the names of the person chargeable with the tax, the names of white male tithables over the age of twenty-one, the number of white male tithables between ages sixteen and twenty-one, the number of slaves both above and below age sixteen, various types of animals such as horses and cattle, carriage wheels, ordinary licenses, and even billiard tables.11

Personal property tax records provide important data. Individuals with the same names may be distinguished by a junior or senior or named by the districts or location they resided. Parentage may be inferred by the number of male tithables between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one in the household of the taxpayer. When a free male appeared in his own name rather than in the household of another, he was probably twenty-one years of age. The name of a woman appeared only when owning property in her own right or as the widow of a property owner.

The Personal property tax lists, 1782-1850 for Greenbrier County and the Personal property tax lists, 1831-1850 for Fayette County are presently only available online with additional restrictions, i.e. accessing the FamilySearch site at a family history center or at a FamilySearch affiliate library.

Julie McGrew Ayres accessed these records and shared her transcriptions in February 1999 on USGenWeb Archives Special Projects. I used her lists of McGRAW tithables in Greenbrier County for 1792 to 183312  and in Fayette County for 1831-183913  to form the possible family group of Martin and Margaret.

Martin McGRAW and Anthony McGRAW first appear in the 1796 Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia Personal Property Tax List. In 1792 and 1795 no McGRAW was listed. This would suggest the McGRAWs came to the area just before 1796.

[1] Anthony McGRAW b. abt. 1775

As Anthony married in 1798 and was the only McGRAW other than Martin on the tax list of 1796, he was likely the oldest son. He was continuously seen on the tax list up until 1812. From 1813 to 1816 there were no McGRAW men on the lists for Greenbrier. Anthony served as a Private in Capt. McClung’s Company of the 4th Regiment of the Virginia Militia during the War of 1812. He died on 1 August 1814 per documents in his widow’s War of 1812 widow’s pension application.14 It may have been later in the month as she gave in this statement in her an application in 1853:

 …that her said husband the aforesaid Anthony McGraw died at Norfork about the last days of August 1814 in consequence of decease contracted while in the Service of the United States and in the line of his duty…

[2] John McGRAW b. abt. 1776 in Pennsylvania

John shows up on the 1797 tax list which would suggest he was born about 1776. He was seen on the tax list until 1800, the year after his marriage. In 1810 he was found on a tax list for Russell County, Virginia.15 According to descendants of the Russell County McGRAWs, his wife Sally died in 1805.  If this is the case, John must have remarried as there are children born after 1805. In 1850 he was listed as born in Pennsylvania.16

[3] Mary Ann McGRAW b. abt. 1781

Mary Ann’s age can only be determined by the year of her marriage. She married in 1800 and was likely not yet 21 years of age as her parents gave their permission. This record proves she was a child of Martin and Margaret.

[4] Martin McGRAW Jr. b. abt. 1785 in Pennsylvania

Note: Martin McGRAW, son of Martin, has not been seen with the suffix Jr. following his name. It is used here to distinguish him from his father Martin.)

Martin Jr. was married in 1806. He was likely the second white tithable in his father’s tax listing from 1803 to 1805. His father Martin was last listed on the 1805 tax list. His mother Margaret was listed from 1810. Martin Jr. lived in Monroe County in 1810 and was on the census as a male white age 26 thru 44.17 He died 25 October 1858 in Fayette County per his widow’s War of 1812 widow’s application.18 His widow was his second wife Sarah JOHNSON who died about July 1890. His first wife Nancy WOOD died 1 July 1833 (proven by Neighbors’ Affidavits in the pension file). In 1850 Martin was listed on a census in Putnam County as born in Pennsylvania.19 Ages weren’t listed for persons enumerated in this area of the county in 1850. His year of birth has been estimated at about 1785.

[5] William McGRAW b. abt. 1787-1788

William first showed up on the tax list in 1809 and 1811. No tax was collected in 1808 as no law was passed. As he was on the 1809 list he must have been born 1787-1788. William has not been traced after his marriage in 1813.

[6] Elender McGRAW b. abt. 1789

Elender was likely 21 years of age when she married in 1810. She died in 1846 in her 57th year per her tombstone.20

[7] Samuel McGRAW abt. 1792 in Augusta County, Virginia

Samuel, born about 1792, may have been one of the two tithables noted on his mother’s tax list in 1810. His age was consistent on the census of 1850 to 1870, allowing his year of birth to be estimated at about 1792.21,22,23 Samuel gave his age as 74 years and his place of birth as Augusta County, Virginia, on 15 September 1866 on a voters’ list.24

[8] Thomas McGRAW b. abt. 1795 in Virginia

Thomas’ wife gave the names of his parents as Martin and Margaret McGRAW when she reported his death in 1855. He died at the age of 60.25 Using this record, his birth was estimated at about 1795 making him 22 years old when he was first seen on a tax list in Greenbrier on 11 April 1817 with 1 white male over 16, no slaves, 1 horse. He was born in Virginia per the 1850 census26 but unknown was listed on the death register by his wife.

[9] Henry McGRAW abt. 1797 in Greenbrier County

Henry was seen on the census from 1850 to 1870 with the ages 52, 63, and 72 which places his birth at about 1797.27,28,29 In 1820 he was the head of household in Monroe in the age category 16 thru 25. Also in the household was an older woman age 45 and over, likely his mother, and a younger boy age 10 thru 15.30 Henry may have married in late 1820 after the census was enumerated as his first child was born in 1821. In 1830 Henry had an older woman in his household age 70 thru 79.31 This was the last time an older woman was seen in the household of the presumable youngest child of Martin and Margaret.

Martin McGRAW and Margaret McGRAW on the Tax Lists

As can be seen on the list below, Martin was in Greenbrier County as early as 1796 and up until at least 1805. From 180332 to 1805 he had at least one son who was over 16 and under 21 years of age. This was likely Martin Jr. The sons William, Samuel, Thomas, and Henry were all under 17 years of age in 1805.

1796 April 17 – Martin Mgraw, 1 white tithable, 3 horses
1798 May 4 – Martin Megraw, 1 white tithable, 1 horse
1799 April 19 – Martin Megraw, 1 white tithable
1802 May 22 – Martin McGraw, 1 white tithable
1803 April 5 – Martin McGraw, 2 white tithables, 1 horse
1804 March 14 – Martin McGraw, 2 white tithables, 2 horses
1805 – Martin Magraw, 2 white tithables, 3 horses

Margaret McGRAW, the widow of Martin, showed up on the Tax List in 1810 with 2 white tithables and 4 horses.33 Her sons Samuel and Thomas were likely these tithables. Henry was younger than 17 and not counted. In 1811 Margaret was on the Tax List with only 3 horses. No tithables. Her three unmarried sons would have been between 14 and 19 years of age and two tithables would have been enumerated if they were living at home. Were the two older boys accounted for in someone else’s household in Greenbrier or Monroe?

Missing Land and Probate Records

Land deeds in the area were consulted. Martin McGRAW did not own land in Greenbrier or in Monroe (the counties of Nicholas and Fayette were formed after his demise). He did not leave a will nor was there an estate administered, inventoried, or sold. All of these records which might have included information about the children of Martin and Margaret were not produced.

Proven Children

The parentage of my fourth great-grandmother Mary Ann McGRAW and her brother Thomas McGRAW is proven as seen above. As Martin and Margaret were the only McGRAW couple in the area at the time can it be inferred that the other seven children were theirs as well?

More Questions

With the proven and assumed children of Martin and Margaret established, several more questions remain. Where did they come from? Who were the parents of Martin McGRAW? What was Margaret’s maiden name? Who were Margaret’s parents?

Martin’s older sons John b. abt. 1776 and Martin b. abt. 1785 both claim to have been born in Pennsylvania. His son Samuel claimed to have been born in Augusta County in 1792. Martin was first seen on a tax list in Greenbrier in 1796. Can it be assumed the McGRAWs came from Pennsylvania after 1785 via Augusta County in 1792 to Greenbrier by 1796?

Learning more about Pennsylvania research appears to be one of the next steps in solving the question of the parentage of my 5th great-grandparents Martin McGRAW and his wife Margaret.

Confirming Relationships with DNA

Can DNA open the door in this brick wall? How much work needs to be put into analyzing DNA matches to confirm the assumed relationships seen above?

Ancestry’s ThruLines™ is showing 159 matches for Martin McGRAW’s children for my test and 187 for my brother’s. Matches for each child are (mine/his): Anthony (15/24), John (27/32), Mary Ann (45/32), Martin (21/48), William (1/1), Ellender (2/2), Samuel (26/17),  Thomas (8/11), and Henry (14/19).

Interesting is the high number of matches for John who left the area and raised his family in Russell County, Virginia. Also interesting is the very low number of matches for William and Ellender. I suspect William is a false match. Ellender’s matches are close family members and one of them is showing up on Gedmatch. The chromosome segment overlaps the segment shared with a known descendant of Henry McGRAW.

Three of the McGRAW children (in bold) married WOOD siblings. This produces many double cousins through the McGRAW and the WOOD lines. This will make walking the segments back to the common ancestors more challenging – if the matches transfer their raw DNA to sites with chromosomes browsers.

And now it’s your turn, dear McGRAW descendants, to comment and question the family group established for my 5th great-grandparents, Martin and Margaret McGRAW.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia, Monroe County, June 1800, William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw, permission slip from her parents. 1800 Marriage Permission Slip. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370465&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  2. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, Marriage Bond dated 18 June 1800 for the marriage of William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw. “Marriage Bond #39
    William Wood and John Wood went bond on the marriage of William Wood and Mary Anne McGraw (both of Monroe) on 18 June 1800 in Monroe County, Virginia.” 1800 Marriage Bond (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370480&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  3. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 18 June 1800 William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw married by John Alderson. 1800 Marriage Record entry (right page, 1st entry under Alderson). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369625&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  4. Ibid., West Virginia, Greenbrier County, 3 October 1799 marriage entry for Anthony McGraw and Betsy Brien married by John Alderson. 1799 Marriage Entry (right page, 11th entry from bottom). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10975169&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  5. Ibid., West Virginia, Greenbrier County, 15 February 1799 marriage entry for John McGraw and Sally Anderson married by B. Grigsby. 1799 Marriage Entry (right page, 12th entry from bottom).
    (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10975169&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  6. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 3 May 1806, Nancy Wood and Martin McGraw married by John Alderson, banns were published. 1806 Marriage Record (right page, 4th entry from bottom). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369727&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 11 March 1813, William McGraw and Lucretia Withrow married by John Alderson. 1813 Marriage entry (right side, middle). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369506&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  8. Ibid., West Virginia, Greenbrier County, 1 March 1810, Solomon Nelson and El McGraw married by Joshua Osborn. 1810 Marriage entry (right page, second to last entry)
    (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10976269&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  9. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, marriage bond dated 19 May 1812, Samuel McGraw and Bailey Wood went bond on the marriage of Bailey’s daughter Elizabeth Wood and Samuel McGraw. 1812 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11371819&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  10. Ibid., West Virginia, Nicholas County, 31 July 1820, Thomas McGraw and Caty Withrow married by James Ellison. 1820 Marriage Register (line 2). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11432815&Type=Marriage : accessed 10 January 2020). 
  11. Using Personal Property Tax Records in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Library of Virginia (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/rn3_persprop.pdf : accessed 18 January 2020) 
  12. Julie McGrew-Ayres, “Greenbrier County, WV – McGraw’s in the Greenbrier Co. Tax Lists – 1792-1833,” abstract of the tax lists submitted in February 1999, USGenWeb Archives Special Projects,  (http://files.usgwarchives.net/wv/greenbrier/taxlists/mcgraw.txt : accessed 9 January 2020). 
  13. Julie McGrew-Ayres, “Fayette County, WV – McGraw’s in the Fayette Co. Tax Lists – 1831-1839,” abstract of the tax lists submitted in February 1999, USGenWeb Archives Special Projects, (http://files.usgwarchives.net/wv/fayette/taxlists/mcgrawtx.txt : accessed 9 January 2020). 
  14. “War of 1812 Pension Files,” database and images, Fold3, citing “War of 1812 Pension and Bounty land Warrant Application Files, compiled ca. 1871–1900, documenting the period 1812–ca.1900, National Archives, Washington, D.C., original data from The National Archives (http://www.archives.gov), Record Group 15, Roll RG15-1812PB-Bx2276, National Archives Catalog ID: 564415, service of Anthony McGraw (Capt McClung 4th Reg’t, Virginia Militia, War of 1812), widow Elizabeth Gill formerly Elizabeth McGraw. (https://www.fold3.com/image/316993307 : accessed 4 January 2020). 
  15. 1790 / 1800 / 1810 Virginia Tax List Censuses, (reconstructed 1790, 1800, and 1810 federal censuses using tax list, microfilm images with every name indexes), Binns Genealogy (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/) citing original records from Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia or Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, Russell County, Virginia, 1810 Personal Tax List A, page 13, right line, line 12, John McGraw. 1810 Russell County, Virginia Tax List. (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/FreeSample/CDR-000497/1810/1810PersonalA/13.pdf : accessed 16 January 2020). 
  16. 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, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 54, Russell, Virginia; Roll: M432_975; Page: 307A; Image: 184. John McGraw (head of household) listed as born in Pennsylvania. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 9 January 2020). 
  17. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, Year: 1810; Census Place: Monroe, Monroe, Virginia; Roll: 70; Page: 575; Image: 00022; Family History Library Film: 0181430Family History Library Film: 0181420. “.” (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  18. War of 1812 Pension Files, Roll RG15-1812PB-Bx2276, National Archives Catalog ID: 564415, service of Martin McGraw (5th Regiment, Capt. James R. Nemal’s Company, Virginia Militia, War of 1812), widow Sarah Jane (Johnson) McGraw. (https://www.fold3.com/image/316993473 : accessed 4 January 2020). 
  19. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 46, Putnam, Virginia; Roll: M432_971; Page: 287A; Image: 243. Martin McGraw (head of household) born in Pennsylvania. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  20. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 22 January 2020), memorial page for Elender “Nellie” McGraw Nelson (1788–2 Aug 1845), Find A Grave Memorial no. 55298224, citing Nelson Cemetery, Richland Township, Madison County, Indiana, USA; Maintained by Bonnie Morris Conrad (contributor 46480766). 
  21. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 14, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M432_943; Page: 351A; Image: 307. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  22. 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, Year: 1860; Census Place: District 3, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M653_1344; Page: 367; Family History Library Film: 805344. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  23. 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, Year: 1870; Census Place: Mountain Cove, Fayette, West Virginia; Roll: M593_1686; Page: 140B; Family History Library Film: 553185. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  24. County Clerk, Register of the Names of Voters in Fayette County, West Virginia 1866, FamilySearch, Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1958 (Microfilm of originals at the West Virginia University Library, Morgantown), Names of persons voting and tally of votes, Item 7, Mountain Cove, image 130 of 154, last line. 15 September 1866 Samuel McGraw gave his age as 74 years and his place of birth as Augusta County, Virginia. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34W-543H?i=129&cat=220730 : accessed 16 January 2020). 
  25. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History, (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr). 1855 Death Register entry for Thomas McGraw line 68. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=4786546&Type=Death : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  26. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: District 46, Putnam, Virginia; Roll: M432_971; Page: 281B; Image: 232. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  27. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: District 14, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M432_943; Page: 338A; Image: 281+282. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  28. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: District 3, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M653_1344; Page: 410; Family History Library Film: 805344. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  29. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Census Place: Mountain Cove, Fayette, West Virginia; Roll: M593_1686; Page: 156A; Family History Library Film: 553185. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  30. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, 1820 U Census Place: Peterstown, Monroe, Virginia; Page: 179; NARA Roll: M33_133; Image: 218. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  31. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archive and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Census Place: Greenbrier, Virginia; Series: M19; Roll: 190; Page: 192; Family History Library Film: 0029669. “.” (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  32. Virginia Tax List (Binnsgenealogy), Greenbrier, 1803 Personal Tax List B, page 14, line 18, Martin McGraw. (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Greenbrier/1803PersonalB/14.jpg : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  33. Ibid., Virginia, Greenbrier County, 1810 Personal Tax List B, page 8, right side, line 2, Margaret McGraw. (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/FreeSample/CDR-000484/1810/1810PersonalB/08.pdf : accessed 16 January 2020). 

The Ancestors: Bailey WOOD and Nancy, his wife (392 & 393)

Once you’ve worked your way back to ancestors who lived in America in the late 18th and early 19th century, it becomes more difficult to gather the records to tell their stories. This is the case with most of my paternal 5th great-grandparents.

Difficult does not mean impossible.

Bailey and Nancy WOOD are a set of these 5th great-grandparents. They lived in the counties of Greenbrier, Monroe, and Nicholas in western Virginia (present-day West Virginia) as early as 1781 and as late as 1826. Neither were ever listed by name on a census. Neither left a known marriage record. Neither left a birth or death record.

They were likely born about 1750 in unknown parts. Bailey as will be seen below, died about 1820 while Nancy lived at least until 1826.

Two important records have been found by previous family researchers that help to tell a part of their story. One of these is from 1781 and gives insight into the religion of the family while the other is from 1826 and concerns land owned by Bailey WOOD.

Original Members of the Old Greenbrier Church

On 24 November 1781, the Baptist faith gained a more permanent footing in the Greenbrier region when Pastor John ALDERSON organized the Old Greenbrier Church at Alderson. It was the first Baptist organization west of the Alleghenies and the oldest of any denomination to be established in this section of the country. Its twelve original members were John ALDERSON, Mary ALDERSON, Thomas ALDERSON, John KIPPERS, John SHEPPERD, John SKAGGS, Katherine SKAGGS, Joseph SKAGGS, Lucy SKAGGS, Bailey WOOD, Ann WOOD, and James WOOD.1

Is has been assumed by many WOOD descendants that Ann WOOD who was a charter member of the church was Bailey’s wife. However, an 1826 record names his wife as Nancy WOOD. Were Ann WOOD and Nancy WOOD the same person? To answer this, the record from 1826 needs to be examined.

1826 Indenture

This 1826 indenture is a deed of bargain and sale by the heirs of Bailey WOOD to John ALDERSON.2 For easier reading commas missing in the original have been added to this transcription in red.

This indenture made the 21st day of September one thousand eight hundred and twenty six between James Wood & Polly his wife, Bailey Wood and Lucretia his wife, William Wood & Mary his wife, Richard Skaggs and Susannah his wife, Martin McGraw & Nancy his wife, Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth his wife, Katherine Wood, heirs and legal representatives of Bailey Wood decd and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood decd of the county of Nicholas and state of Virginia of the one part and John Alderson of the County of Monroe and state aforesaid of the other part. Witnesseth that the said heirs & widow of Bailey Wood Decd for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar to them in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have bargained and sold and by these presents do bargain and sell unto the said John Alderson and his heirs a certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred acres more or less lying on the south side of the Greenbrier river in Monroe County adjoining the lands of William Johnson and James Graham and bounded as followeth. To wit: Beginning at a popular and beech corner to John Lusk on the south side of the river and with his line S12° E74 poles to 2 Beaches S55° E64 poles to a poplar & sugar tree S22 poles to a poplar and white oak nigh a draugh S75° E38 poles to 2 Buckeye N30° E27 poles to a buckeye and sugar tree N22° W8 poles to 2 Elms N30° E50 poles to 2 hickories N10° E42 poles to 2 Buckeyes N23° W36 poles crossing the river to 2 birches on the river bank and from there to the beginning with all its appurtenances. To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of Land with its appurtenances & with all and singular the appurtenances heriditriments thereunto belonging and the said heirs & widow aforesaid do covenant with the said John Alderson the said tract or parcel of Land from themselves & from their heirs Executors & administrators the tract or parcel of land aforesaid from all and every person or persons will warrant and forever defend in witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this day and date first above written.

James Wood (seal)
Polly (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Bailey Wood (seal)
Lucretia (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Wm Wood (seal)
Mary (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Richard (his o mark) Skaggs (seal)
Susannah (her X mark) Skaggs (seal)
Martin Magraw (seal)
Nancy (her X mark) McGraw (seal)
Saml McGraw (seal)
Elizabeth (her X mark) McGraw (seal)
Katherine (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Nancy (her X mark) Wood (seal)

Nicholas County to wit:
We William Carnefix and James Skaggs justice of the Peace of the County of Nicholas and the state of Virginia do hereby certify that James Wood, Bailey Wood, William Wood, Richard Skaggs, Martin McGraw, Samuel McGraw parties to a certain deed bearing date 21st September 1826 and hereunto annexed personally appeared before us in our county aforesaid and acknowledged the same to be their act and deed & desired us to certify the said acknowledgment to the Clerk of the County Court of Monroe in order that the said deed may be recorded. Given under our hands and seals this 21st day of Septr 1826.

W. Carnefix (seal)
James Skaggs (seal)

Nicholas County
We William Carnefix and James Skaggs justices of the peace in the County of Nicholas aforesaid in the state of Virginia do hereby certify the Polly Wood the wife of James Wood Lucretia Wood the wife of Bailey Wood, Mary Wood the wife of William Wood, Susannah Skaggs the wife of Richard Skaggs, Nancy McGraw the wife of Martin McGraw, Elizabeth McGraw the wife of Samuel McGraw, Katherine Wood and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood, decd parties to a certain Deed bearing date the 21st of September 1826 and hereunto annexed personally appeared before us in our county aforesaid and being examined by us privily and apart from their said (said marked out) husbands and having the deed aforesaid fully explained to them they the said Polly Wood, Lucretia Wood, Mary Wood, Susannah Skaggs, Nancy McGraw, Elizabeth McGraw, Katherine Wood and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood decd acknowledge the same to be their act and Deed and declared that they had willingly signed sealed and delivered the same and that they wished not to retract it.
Given under our hands and seals this 21st day of Septr 1826

W. Carnefix (seal)
James Skaggs (seal)

Monroe county clerks office February 10, 1842:
     This deed of bargain & sale from Bailey Woods heirs to John Alderson was acknowledged before two Magestrates in the county of Nicholas & certified and admitted to record.

Teste: Geo. Hutchinson, Jr, CMC

Transcription vs Original Record

Until last week I’d never seen the actual document. On New Year’s Day, I found the original record on FamilySearch. It seemed like a good omen for my genealogy research and a great start for the New Year 2020.

I did my own transcription even though I’ve had a transcript of this indenture for nearly two decades. I received it from a WOOD researcher and descendant, Vernon A. Fox (1924-2002), in an email dated 31 May 2001. My transcription is not 100% the same as the work sent to me by Mr. Fox. Some of the call lines did not match, several words were different, commas had been added, some words were missing, and abbreviated words and symbols had been written out. All of these differences could mean the transcriber was working from a different or less legible copy of the deed.

Narrowing the range for the date of death of Baily WOOD

It has been assumed Bailey WOOD died before 21 September 1826, the date of this indenture. He was not found in the 1810 or 1820 census, i.e. he was not found as a head of household. The 1800 census is lost for Virginia. Bailey did not leave a will in any of the counties he was known to have lived in. No administrative bonds for his estate were found. What other records did he produce which might narrow the range of death?

While checking the catalog at FamilySearch for records in Monroe County, West Virginia, I not only found the above indenture in the Deed Book but also the Land Books, registers in which the tax on land was recorded for each year since Monroe County was formed in 1799.

In the Land Book, I found the 100 acres mentioned in the deed above was taxed from 1810 until 1842. From 1810 to 1819 the owner is listed as Bailey WOOD. From 1821 to 1842 the owner is listed as “Bailey WOOD heirs.” The district in which the land was listed is missing for 1820. How was the landowner listed in 1820? As Bailey WOOD or his heirs? Even with this missing year, the death of Bailey WOOD can be estimated at between 1819-1821 as taxes were paid by him in 1819 and by his heirs in 1821.3

The Heirs and Legal Representatives of Bailey WOOD

Let’s take a look at the heirs and legal representatives. Who were they and when were they married? If their marriage records did not prove Bailey WOOD was their father, would they at least show the individuals were old enough to be children of Bailey and not grandchildren of deceased children?

The indenture shows Bailey WOOD left a widow named Nancy WOOD and the following heirs and legal representatives:

  • James Wood & Polly his wife
  • Bailey Wood & Lucretia his wife
  • William Wood & Mary his wife
  • Richard Skaggs & Susannah his wife
  • Martin McGraw & Nancy his wife
  • Samuel McGraw & Elizabeth his wife
  • Katherine Wood

Of the heirs who were married, records have been found for of all except Bailey WOOD Jr. and his wife Lucretia SKAGGS. All were performed by John ALDERSON – not unusual as the WOOD family were practicing Baptists and members of Alderson’s Old Greenbrier Church.

Susannah WOOD married Richard SKAGGS on 10 March 1789.4 The marriage entry does not name the parents of either the bride or groom.

William WOOD married Mary Ann McGRAW on 18 June 1800.5, 6, 7 Martin and Margaret McGRAW gave permission for their daughter to marry. John WOOD went bond with William WOOD on this marriage. The identity of John WOOD is unknown.

Nancy WOOD married Martin McGRAW Jr. on 3 May 1806.8 The marriage entry does not name parents of either Nancy or Martin.

Bailey WOOD Jr. married Lucretia SKAGGS, likely before 1807. No marriage record has been found. A similar indenture to the 1826 Wood indenture with heirs was found. This 1841 John SKAGGS heirs to Joshua ELLIS deed of bargain and sale includes Bailey WOOD and wife Lucretia as heirs of John SKAGGS who left a widow Catherine SKAGGS. This couple was two of the charter members of the Baptist church formed by John ALDERSON. This record proves Bailey WOOD Jr.’s wife Lucretia was a SKAGGS, daughter of John SKAGGS and Catherine HICKS.9

James WOOD married Mary HALSTEAD on 26 April 1810.10, 11, 12 Neither the marriage entry nor the bond gives information on the parentage of the bride and groom.

Elizabeth WOOD married Samuel McGRAW on 28 May 1812.13, 14 The marriage bond identifies Bailey WOOD as the father of Elizabeth WOOD.

Bailey WOOD was only identified as the father of Elizabeth, the youngest child who was the last to marry. As all of the other heirs married prior to Elizabeth they cannot be grandchildren and therefore must be children of Bailey WOOD.

As Katherine WOOD was named as an heir in 1826 she must have been of age (21 or older) at the time and born 1805 or earlier. An 1850 census listing for Fayette County was found for one Catherine WOOD age 56 (born abt. 1794) living in a SKAGGS household along with a man named James C. WOOD age 27.15 The two WOOD individuals are alone in a household in 1860. The occupation of the woman is governess but crossed out and replaced by wife even though the age of the man is 30 and the woman 60.16 This was done on several other listings on this census and cannot be reliable. I suspect this could be Bailey’s daughter Katherine and that she had a son out of wedlock. Further research is needed as neither were located in the census after 1860.

Who was Bailey WOOD’s wife?

Was Nancy WOOD named as the widow of Bailey WOOD in the indenture the mother of all of the children?

Bailey acquired 450 acres by grant in Greenbrier County in 1788.17 In 1803 he sold 127 acres of the 450 acres land grant to William GRAHAM.18 The other 323 acres were sold to Robert GWINN by Bailey WOOD and his wife Nancy in 1804.19 Nancy was, therefore, his wife as early as 1804.

Ann WOOD, a charter member of the baptist church (1781), was dismissed from the church on 23 April 1825 as was another woman named Polly WOOD.20 Members were dismissed when they left the church for other parts. As both of these women were dismissed on the same date, it would seem probable that they were from the same family. Polly WOOD could be Mary HALSTEAD, wife of James WOOD. If Polly was Mary, could Ann who had been a member for 44 years be her mother-in-law Nancy?

In 1820 Richard SKAGGS (husband of Susannah WOOD)21, William WOOD22, Martin McGRAW (husband of Mary WOOD)23, and Bailey WOOD Jr. were in Nicholas County. They had all moved to Nicholas County before the census.

James WOOD24 and Samuel McGRAW25 (husband of Elizabeth WOOD) were in Monroe County in 1820. James WOOD would move to Nicholas County by 1830. Samuel McGRAW would be in Greenbrier by 1825.

Only James WOOD’s census listing includes an older woman who could be his mother Nancy and a young woman who could be his single sister Katherine.

These census listings account for all of Bailey’s children and his widow in 1820. If my analysis is correct, Bailey WOOD must have died 1819-1820 after the land tax was recorded for 1819 and before the census was taken in 1820. This would support the assumption that the older woman in James’ household was Bailey’s widow Nancy.

Putting the speculation to rest

I strongly believe Ann and Nancy were used interchangeably by Bailey WOOD’s wife. To date, Nancy’s maiden name is unknown. There are hundreds of family trees on Ancestry that have her listed as Nancy HICKS. The maiden name is undocumented.

I found an old post on the Hicks Surname Forum on Genforum by Kitty Steele Barrera dated October 2006 in which she wrote, “I know that the Nancy Hicks/Bailey Wood connection is tentative because I was the first to make the connection. I posted “Bailey Wood married Nancy Hicks?” and before long, it was all over the internet as a fact.26 Kitty mentioned in another message in the same forum that she can be blamed for starting the rumor and the Hicks part is pure speculation.

It is pure speculation that Bailey’s wife Nancy was born Nancy HICKS.

Bailey and Nancy’s son William WOOD was my 4th great-grandfather. No record has been found indicating he had a middle initial or a middle name. As with his mother’s maiden name, William has also been given Hicks as a middle name by some unknown person and the mistake has been copied into hundreds of family trees.

The internet is an amazing tool for genealogy research however misinformation grows quickly and is widely spread. In hopes that this post will help clear up some of the misconceptions and encourage descendants of Bailey and Nancy WOOD to find the records to push back another generation.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Otis K. Rice, A History of Greenbrier County, Lewisburg, W. Va. : Greenbrier Historical Society, 1986, page 193. 
  2. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969” (manuscript on film, browse-only images), FamilySearch (Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969; 34 microfilm reels; 35 mm), Film 589502, DGS 8219401, Deed book, v. N 1840-1846, pages 187-189, image 124+125 of 411. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1826 Bailey Wood heirs to John Alderson deed of bargain and sale. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSGX-491G-C?i=123&cat=98998 : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  3. Monroe County (West Virginia) County Assessor, “Land book, 1799-1900” (manuscript on film, browse-only images), FamilySearch (Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1968; 12 microfilm reels, 35 mm). Citing microfilm of original records at the State Auditor’s Office, Charleston. (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/60462?availability=Family%20History%20Library : accessed 5 January 2020). 
  4. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia, Greenbrier County, 10 March 1789, Susannah Wood and Richard Scags married by John Alderson. 1789 Marriage Record (right page, 7th entry from bottom). Note: bride indexed as Ward and image could be Ward or Wood. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10975982&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  5. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 18 June 1800, William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw, permission slip from her parents. “June /newline/ Sir, this coms (sic) to let you now (sic) that I Marten and Marget Mcgraw is wiling that William Wood should have our daughter Mary Ann /newline/ To John Hutchason (Clerk) /newline/ The above was sworn to by John Wood one of the witnesses present.” 1800 Marriage Permission Slip. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370465&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  6. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, Marriage Bond dated 18 June 1800 for the marriage of William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw. “Marriage Bond #39 William Wood and John Wood went bond on the marriage of William Wood and Mary Anne McGraw (both of Monroe) on 18 June 1800 in Monroe County, Virginia.” 1800 Marriage Bond (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370480&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 18 June 1800 William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw married by John Alderson. 1800 Marriage Record entry (right page, 1st entry under Alderson). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369625&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  8. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 3 May 1806, Nancy Wood and Martin McGraw married by John Alderson, banns were published. 1806 Marriage Record (right page, 4th entry from bottom). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369727&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  9. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969,” Film 589504, DGS 8219402, Deed book, v. P-Q 1846-1852, pages 487-490, image 686+687 of 743. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1841 John Skaggs heirs to Joshua Ellis deed of bargain and sale. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSGX-49SY-L?cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  10. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project, West Virginia, Monroe County, 17 April 1810, James Wood and James M. Condon went bond for the marriage of James Wood to Mary Halstead. 1810 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11371453&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  11. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 26 April 1810, James Wood and Mary Halstead by John Alderson. 1810 Application for the marriage license. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369951&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  12. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 26 April 1810, James Wood and Mary Halstead married by John Alderson. 1810 Marriage Record entry (right page, last entry). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369380&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  13. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, marriage bond dated 19 May 1812, Samuel McGraw and Bailey Wood went bond on the marriage of Bailey’s daughter Elizabeth Wood and Samuel McGraw. 1812 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11371819&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  14. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 28 May 1812, Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth Wood married by John Alderson. 1812 Marriage Record entry (right page, 6th entry). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369509&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  15. 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, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 14, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M432_943; Page: 336B; Image: 278. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  16. 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, Year: 1860; Census Place: District 3, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M653_1344; Page: 373; Family History Library Film: 805344. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  17. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants” (index and images from microfilm), Virginia State Land Office, Grants A-Z, 1-124, reels 42-190; Virginia State Land Office, Grants 125- , reels 369-. The collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Library of Virginia Archives, https://www.lva.virginia.gov/ (Records on Library of Virginia site accessible through the new Collections Discovery System https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/search?vid=01LVA_INST:01LVA&lang=en), Land Office Grants No. 18, 1788-1789, p. 269 (Reel 84). Wood, Bailey Land grant 31 July 1788, 450 acres on the south side of Greenbrier River adjoining the land or James Givin and the land of Mathias Keen.(https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/18mtacj/alma990008443800205756 : accessed 24 April 2013). 
  18. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969,” Film 589348, GDS 8152873, Deed book, v. A 1789-1805, pages 280-281, image 369+370 of 463. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1803 Bailey Wood to William Graham 127a. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-23MT-F?i=368&cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  19. Ibid., Film 589348, GDS 8152873, Deed book, v. A 1789-1805, pages 330-331, image 394+395 of 463. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1804 Bailey Wood and Nancy to Robert Gwinn 323a.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-23M5-S?i=393&cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  20. Journal of the Greenbrier Historial Society, page 92. Greenbrier Historical Society, Lewisburg, West Virginia (a yearly publication, year unknown). (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 August 2017, courtesy of Kitty Steele Barrera) 
  21. 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, 1820 US Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 204A; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 388. Richard Skaggs household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  22. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 205A; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 389. William Wood and Bailey Wood households (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  23. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 204; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 387. Martin McGraw household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  24. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Union, Monroe, Virginia; Page: 188; NARA Roll: M33_133; Image: 227. James Wood household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  25. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Peterstown, Monroe, Virginia; Page: 179; NARA Roll: M33_133; Image: 218. Samuel McGraw household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  26. Kitty Steele, “Re: Bailey Woods and Nancy Hicks,” Hicks Surname Forum, 29 October 2006, message 9940, Genealogy.com, GenForum (https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/hicks/9940/ : accessed 1/1/2020) 

Wowsers! Ancestry Fixed My ThruLines

Last Sunday I gave feedback to Ancestry on my ThruLines™. As I was writing the feedback message I realized it might be good material for a blog post. At the end of the feedback message, I let them know I might use it in a post.

Dear Ancestry, My Feedback on the Step Relationship Bug in ThruLines sat around in my drafts until Wednesday. I took a few moments to check my ThruLines™ as I’ve done every few days since they came out – getting more and more irritated.

Wowsers! Those ugly grrr!! images I’d added to my great-grandfather’s step-mother and all of her ancestors are missing.

Could it be Ancestry took my feedback into consideration and got the step-relationships fixed? Had they been ready to roll out a fix before or after I sent my feedback? Does it matter? Well, yes, I would like to know why it happened so quickly following the feedback I gave. I want to know if this step relationship bug in the ThruLines™ was solved for everyone or just for me.

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

I’m seeing Milla Susan PETERS as my great-great-grandmother. I’ve been hoping to see her ever since they gave me Nancy Elizabeth JOHNSON, the 2nd wife of Gordon Washington ROOP, as a potential 2nd-great-grandmother showing half-cousins as full cousins.

Why, you ask, was I so excited about one ancestor being corrected? One right ancestor means I should be seeing her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents in my ThruLines™. All of these ancestors are from lines with many descendants who have had their DNA tested.

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

Although Milla Susan’s ThruLines shows only two DNA matches, the next generations have many more matches:

  • 107 DNA matches through Jordan N. PETERS (father of Milla Susan)
  • 33 DNA matches through Rachel PROFFITT (mother of Milla Susan)
  • 68 DNA matches through Zachariah PETERS (father of Jordan)
  • 129 DNA matches through Kesiah LIVELY (mother of Jordan)
  • 113 DNA matches through David PROFFITT (father of Rachel)
  • 110 DNA matches through Sarah COCKRAM (mother of Rachel)
  • 123 DNA matches through Joseph LIVELY (father of Kesiah)
  • 128 DNA matches through Mary L. CASH (mother of Kesiah)
  • 97 DNA matches through Augustine “Austin” PROFFITT (father of David)
  • 97 DNA matches through Elizabeth “Betsy” ROBERTSON (mother of David)
  • 231 DNA matches through Edward COCKRAM (father of Sarah)
  • 232 DNA matches through Mary WORTHAM (mother of Sarah)

It’ll take time to confirm each match is a descendant of the ancestor he/she is listed under as the lines down are only as reliable as the trees ThruLines™ uses to make the connection. The large number of matches for the PETERS, LIVELY, PROFFITT, and COCKRAM lines was expected due to the families being large and having many descendants.

But wait! Not only was the step-relationship corrected for Milla Susan PETERS, but I am now seeing  <<drumroll>>

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

William A. W. DEMPSEY and Sarah Ann WOOD as my 2nd great-grandparents. They’ve been missing from the ThruLines™ since they came out.

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

William is my most frustrating brick wall. Sarah Ann’s branch and all matches associated with it are very important. I hope they will help me to sort out all the matches for her side.  This would leave only matches which will point to William’s unknown parents and ancestry. At least that is the way I believe it should work. ThruLines™ is showing potential parents for him which I cannot accept at this time.

Sarah Ann WOOD’s ancestry is bringing in many matches which will also have to be verified.

  • 41 DNA matches through William A. W. DEMPSEY.
  • 45 DNA matches through Sarah Ann WOOD (wife of William A. W.)
  • 87 DNA matches through Elijah WOOD (father of Sarah Ann)
  • 93 DNA matches through Rachel HONAKER (mother of Sarah Ann)
  • 92 DNA matches through William WOOD (father of Elijah)
  • 90 DNA matches through Mary Ann McGRAW (mother of Elijah)
  • 162 DNA matches through Frederick HONAKER (father of Rachel)
  • 154 DNA matches through Rachel WISEMAN (mother of Rachel)
  • 70 DNA matches through Bailey WOOD (father of William)
  • 95 DNA matches through Nancy _____ (mother of William)
  • 147 DNA matches through Martin McGRAW (father of Mary Ann)
  • 109 DNA matches through Margaret “Polly” _____ (mother of Mary Ann)
  • 173 DNA matches through Hans Jacob HONEGGER (father of Frederick)
  • 30 DNA matches through Maria GOETZ (mother of Frederick)
  • 202 DNA matches through Isaac WISEMAN (father of Rachel)
  • 204 DNA matches through Elizabeth DAVIS (mother of Rachel)

Another New Feature

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

ThruLines™ are now connected to the tree linked to a DNA test. On the pedigree view of the tree, there is now a DNA symbol in on the left to turn on this feature which adds a little blue ThruLines™ icon next to the ancestors’ names. William, Sarah, and Milla are ThruLines™ ancestors but in the pedigree view above they haven’t been updated. I discovered this about the same time my ThruLines™ were fixed on Wednesday.

Did the feedback I sent on Sunday to Ancestry on the ThruLines™ help them to get this fixed? I will likely never know. But I believe this was a lesson in giving the best feedback possible to help the team to get ThruLines™ working correctly. As I wrote in my feedback to them, ThruLines™ could be a powerful tool.

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

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

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

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

#31 Mary Ann McGRAW abt. 1781-1840s

You’ve got to love an ancestor who leaves evidence of who her parents were! In 1800 my 4th great-grandfather William WOOD wanted to hitch up with Mary Ann McGRAW. But Mary Ann wasn’t old enough and had to have her parents’ permission to tie the knot.1

1800permission
1800 Permission slip for Mary Ann McGraw to marry

                  June the 2
Sir, this coms to let you now that
I Marten and Marget Mcgraw
is willing that William Wood
should have our daughter Mary Ann
To John Hutchason (Clerk)
The above was sworn to by
John Wood one of the witnesses
present

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

1800bond
1800 bond by Willliam and John Wood for the marriage of William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw

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

John WOOD, one of the witnesses present when permission was given by Martin and Margaret McGRAW, went bond with William WOOD of Monroe on William’s marriage to Mary Ann McGRAW of Monroe on Tuesday the 3rd of June 1800 in Monroe County, Virginia.2

1800marriage
1800 Minister’s return on the marriage

Two weeks later on Wednesday, the 18th day of June, Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. solemnized the marriage of William and Mary Ann.3

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

On the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Rev. Robert B. McDanel preached on Sunday morning, 26 November 1911, of the brave little band of twelve members with sturdy convictions whose “names are surely immortal.” He also shared the following about the membership.4

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

As part of the second night of celebration of the 200th annual session of the Greenbrier Baptist Association held in Alderson, West Virginia in July 2000,  Rev. Jon Jennings portrayed Rev. John Alderson Jr. in a historical overview of the establishment of the Greenbrier Baptist Association and the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church. His monologue included the following:5

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

Siblings of Mary Ann McGRAW

To make the following list I studied the tax lists submitted by Julie McGrew-Ayres6; the early marriages in the Greenbrier, Monroe, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Fayette counties area; and the pre-1850 as well as later censuses – for all persons named.

• Sib 1: Anthony (1775-1814) born abt. 1775 Pennsylvania
• Sib 2: John (1776- ) born abt. 1776 Pennsylvania
• Sib 4: Martin (1785-1858) born 1785 Pennsylvania
• Sib 5: William (1788- ) born abt. 1788
• Sib 6: Elender (1788-1845) born abt. 1789
• Sib 7: Samuel (1792-1874) born abt. 1792 (West) Virginia
• Sib 8: Thomas (1795-1855) born abt. 1795 (West) Virginia
• Sib 9: Henry (1797-1873) born abt. 1797 (West) Virginia

The marriage of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW was the only one that had a bond showing her parents to be Martin and Margaret McGRAW. Thomas McGRAW’s wife Catharine gave the names of his parents as Martin and Margaret McGRAW on his 1855 death record.7

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

Parents of Mary Ann McGRAW

After studying the possible children of Martin and Margaret McGRAW, I found the estimated years of birth seen for the couple in many online GEDCOM files need to be revised.

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

Margaret: In 1820 and 1830 her son Henry McGRAW had an older woman living in his household. In 1820 Henry was not yet married and the woman age 45 or older must be his mother.8 I believe that the woman aged between 70 and 79 in 1830 is his mother although any other older woman.9 But let’s assume she is Henry’s mother. This range in 1830 would put her birth between 1751-1760. She would have been between 15-24 when her oldest child Anthony was born. Margaret would therefore have been born between 1751-1760. Margaret died most likely between 1830-1840.

Mary Ann McGRAW was born in Pennsylvania

Mary Ann McGRAW’s brother Martin McGRAW Jr. (1785-1858) married William WOOD’s sister Nancy WOOD by the publication of banns on 3 May 1806 in Monroe County. The marriage was solemnized by Rev. John ALDERSON Jr.10 A marriage by license was more expensive than marriage by the publication of banns. This public notice of an intended marriage had to be published, verbally or by written notice, for three consecutive meetings at the churches of the bride and groom making the waiting time longer than with a license.

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

Martin Jr. lived long enough to be enumerated on the 1850 census.11 We rely on the census for valuable pieces of information concerning our ancestors. Nevertheless, the information is only as reliable as the person who answered the enumerator’s questions. In the case of Martin Jr., no ages were listed for any of the persons in his household in 1850. Still, their places of birth were included. Martin Jr. was born in Pennsylvania. As Mary Ann was his older sister she was likely also born in Pennsylvania. Martin Jr.’s War of 1812 pension papers may have more information on his place of birth. (Note: The pension file was downloaded and reviewed 4 January 2020. Martin McGraw Jr.’s place of birth is not mentioned.)

Children of Mary Ann McGRAW and William WOOD

In 1810 Mary Ann and her husband William WOOD were enumerated next door to her brother Martin McGRAW and her father-in-law Bailey WOOD.12 By 1810 Mary Ann had given birth to 5 children. Four would follow in the next 14 years.

1810censuswood
1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Monroe

• Ch 1: Enoch J. (1801-aft. 1870) was born about 1801 in Monroe
• Ch 2: Margaret “Peggy” (1801-1856) was born about 1801 in Monroe
• Ch 3: Unknown (1804- ?) female was born bet. 1804-1809 in Monroe
• Ch 4: Elijah (1806-1885) was born about 1806 in Monroe
• Ch 5: Amos (1807-1845) was born about 1807 in Monroe
• Ch 6: Allen (1814-1862) was born about 1814 in Monroe
• Ch 7: Bailey (1816-1842) was born bet. 1816-1819 in Monroe or Nicholas
• Ch 8: Unknown (1816-?) female was born bet. 1816-1819 in Monroe or Nicholas
• Ch 9: Mary Ann “Polly” (1824-aft. 1900) was born 5 June 1824 in Nicholas County

Note (30 July 2022): PPT (personal property tax) lists are now available online for all Virginia counties. The entries for Wood in Monroe and Nicholas counties were checked. William was in Monroe County until Nicholas County was formed in 1818.

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

• Ch 4: Elijah WOOD married Rachel HONAKER (1804-1860) on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County13
• Ch 2: Margaret “Peggy” WOOD married Thomas WITHROW (1806-1880) on 12 October 1826 Nicholas County14
• Ch 1: Enoch J. WOOD married Margaret JOHNSON (1800-1850) before 1827
• Ch 5: Amos WOOD married Susan PARRISH ( -1845) on 12 May 1831 in Nicholas County15
• Ch 6: Allen WOOD married Elizabeth JOHNSON (1808-1881) on 14 November 1832 in Monroe County16
• Ch 9: Mary Ann “Polly” WOOD married Martin HESS (1818-1900) on 1 October 1841 in Fayette County17

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

Mary Ann’s husband William WOOD died before 18 August 1835 in Fayette County when his sons Elijah and Amos were appointed administrators of his estate.18

Years ago an indexing error on Ancestry for Amos WOOD’s 1840 census showed two women in his household. It has been corrected and reflects the household correctly. At the time, I didn’t pay close attention to the numbers and columns on the census sheet and assumed the older woman was Mary Ann McGRAW. This mistake caused me to estimate her death in the 1840s.

Following the 1840 census, there were several deaths in the family. Bailey WOOD died before 10 November 1842 when his brother Elijah WOOD was appointed administrator of his estate and appraisers were chosen.19

Amos WOOD died leaving a will dated 24 May 1845 that was presented in open court in June 1845.20 Although he provided for his 5 children he did not mention his wife Susan who must have predeceased him.

Mary Ann McGRAW, the widow of William WOOD, was living on 19 January 1836 when her dower rights were established for the land of her deceased husband.21 She likely died before the 1840 census. The census records of each of her children were studied and none had an older woman in their household. Although many have her date and place of death as abt. 1845 in Nicholas County, I believe that she died in Fayette County, where she was living when her husband died.

On the anniversary of Mary Ann McGRAW and William WOOD’s 100th wedding anniversary, only one of their children was still living. Mary Ann “Polly” WOOD and her husband Martin HESS, married 56 years, were living on the south side of Mountain Cove District in Fayette County.22

This Post was Updated on 31 July 2022Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format. Further records were found that necessitate a new post updating information on one of the children.

© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia, Monroe County, June 1800, William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw, permission slip from her parents (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370465&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  2. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, Marriage Bond dated 18 June 1800 William Wood and John Wood went bond on the marriage of William Wood and Mary Anne McGraw (both of Monroe). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370480&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  3. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 18 June 1800 William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw married by John Alderson. 1800 Marriage Record entry (right page, 1st entry under Alderson). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369625&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  4. West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, “1781-1911: One Hundred and Thirtieth Anniversary, Old Greenbrier Baptist Church,” “One Hundred and Thirtieth Anniversary Sermon Preached by the Pastor, Rev. Robert B. McDanel, Sunday Morning, November 26, 1911.”
     (https://archive.wvculture.org/history/religion/greenbrierbaptist01.html : accessed July 2014). 
  5. Historical Monologue of Greenbrier Baptist Association, “Dramatic Monologue by Elder John Alderson, Jr.,” a historical overview of the establishment of the Greenbrier Baptist Association and the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church (originally found online http://www.shuckmemorial.com/GBAHistory.html : site last updated 27 August 2006). The article has been saved to the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20070707021923/https://www.shuckmemorial.com/GBAHistory.html : accessed 30 July 2022. 
  6. Julie McGrew-Ayres, “Greenbrier County, WV – McGraw’s in the Greenbrier Co. Tax Lists – 1792-1833,” submitted February 1999 (http://files.usgwarchives.net/wv/greenbrier/taxlists/mcgraw.txt : accessed July 2014) 
  7. WVCulture.org, 1855 Death Register entry for Thomas McGraw line 68. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=4786546&Type=Death : accessed 22 January 2020). 
  8. 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_133, Image: 218, Virginia, Monroe, Peterstown, page 179, Henry McGraw household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  9. 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, Roll: 190; History Library Film: 0029669, Virginia, Greenbrier, page 192, Henry McGraw household (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 September 2014). 
  10. WVCulture.org, West Virginia, Monroe County, 3 May 1806, Nancy Wood and Martin McGraw married by John Alderson, banns were published. 1806 Marriage Record (right page, 4th entry from bottom). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369727&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  11. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), 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_971, Virginia, Putnam County, District 46, sheet 287A, household 274-282, lines 14-22, Martin McGraw (accessed 22 January 2020). Ages were not listed. This is a known omission on the 1850 census of Putnam County. 
  12. 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, Family History Library Film: 0181430, Virginia, Monroe, image 22, page 575, William Wood (accessed 2 January 2020). 
  13. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 495643, image 130, West Virginia, Re-Index and Copy of Marriage Record No. 1–Nicholas County, line 6, 4 Jan 1925, Elijah Wood and Rachel Hannaker, married by Jno Campbell, citing Nicholas County. (http://images.wvculture.org/495643/00130.jpg : accessed 25 April 2013). 
  14. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 495643, image 130, Re-Index and Copy of Marriage Record No. 1—Nicholas County, no page number, 9th entry, 12 Oct 1826, Thos Withrow, Margaret Wood, married by John Campbell. (http://images.wvculture.org/495643/00130.jpg : accessed 22 July 2014). 
  15. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 495643, image 130, Re-Index and Copy of Marriage Record No. 1—Nicholas County, no page number, 14th entry, 12 May 1831, Amos Wood, Susan Parish, married by W. Carnefix. (http://images.wvculture.org/495643/00130.jpg : accessed 22 July 2014). 
  16. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 1710879, image 516, 14 Nov 1832, Allen Wood and Charles W Johnson bond for the marriage of Allen Wood and Elizabeth Johnson. (http://images.wvculture.org/1710879/00516.jpg : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  17. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 201, page 23, entry 3, Martin Hess and Mary A Wood, 1 Oct 1841, married by John Johnson. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00201.jpg : accessed 30 July 2022). 
  18. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” browse-only images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County, West Virginia courthouse., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 12 of 470, August Term 1835, 18 Aug 1835, page 11, 3rd entry, Amos and Elijah Wood, bond for letters of administration for the estate of William Wood, deceased. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9J7-H?i=11&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  19. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 287 of 470, November Term 1842, 10 Nov 1842, page 521, 1st and 2n entry, Amos and Elijah Wood, bond for letters of administration and appraisers of estate of Bailey Wood Jr. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9KW-6?i=286&cat=100698 : accessed 31July 2022). 
  20. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch, Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 224 of 292 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-5S?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 23 October 2018) 
  21. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 24 of 470, January Term 1836, 19 Jan 1836, page 34-35, Mary Wood’s dower rights. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FB-T?i=23&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  22. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, Roll T623_1757, FHL microfilm 1241758; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, enumeration district 18, sheet 3A+3B, lines 50-52, household 48-49, Martin Hess (accessed 31 July 2022). 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update (24 July 2022): Recent research uncovered the first entry on the personal property tax list of Greenbrier County for William WOOD. The estimate for his birth has been changed from between 1776 and 1779 to about 1777 as he would have been 21 in 1798.1

Several family historians list William WOOD as William Hicks WOOD. I haven’t found documentation that shows a middle name or even a middle initial. Recent discussions with other researchers nearly convinced me that Nancy was the daughter of Joseph HICKS (aka HIX) and Melvina COLE. However, I found an old GenForum post from October 2006 by Kitty Steele Barrera in which she wrote, “I know that the Nancy Hicks/Bailey Wood connection is tentative because I was the first to make the connection. I posted “Bailey Wood married Nancy Hicks?” and before long, it was all over the internet as a fact.2 Kitty mentioned in another message in the same forum that she can be blamed for starting the rumor and the Hicks part is pure speculation.3

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

William WOOD’s father died before 21 September 1826 as an indenture mentioning the heirs and legal representatives of Bailey WOOD, deceased, and Nancy WOOD, his widow, reads as follows:4,5

This indenture made the 21st day of September one thousand and eight hundred and twenty six between James Wood and Polly his wife, Bailey Wood and Lucertia his wife, William Wood and Mary his wife, Richard Skaggs and Susannah his wife, Martin McGraw and Nancy his wife, Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth his wife, Katherine Wood, heirs and legal representatives of Bailey Wood, deceased, and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood, deceased, of the county of Nicholas and state of Virginia of the one part…

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

• Susannah b. abt 1776 md. Richard SKAGGS 17896
• William b. abt. 1776-1779 md. Mary Ann McGRAW 18007
• Nancy b. abt. 1785 md. MARTIN McGRAW 18068
• Bailey b. abt. 1785 md. Lucretia SKAGGS bef. 1807
• James b. abt. 1790 md. Mary “Polly” HALSTEAD 18109
• Elizabeth b. abt. 1796 md. Samuel McGRAW 181210
• Katherine b. abt. ?? no record of marriage

Lyle Lemasters, who did an immense amount of work on the WOOD family, suggested that heirs do not necessarily mean children of the deceased. Heirs could also have been grandchildren. Bailey’s sons James and Bailey Jr. both had daughters named Catherine. Katherine may have been a daughter or a granddaughter (daughter of a deceased son) as the name ran in the family. She may be the Catherine WOOD (born between 1794 and 1800) seen in the 185011 and 186012 census with a younger James C. WOOD (b. between 1823 and 1830). Neither has been located after 1860.

In June 1800 Martin and Margaret McGRAW gave permission for their daughter Mary Ann to marry William WOOD.13

1800permission
Martin and Margaret McGraw give permission for their daughter Mary Ann to marry William Wood. West Virginia Division of Culture and History

On the 3rd of June 1800, William WOOD and John WOOD went bond on the marriage of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW in Monroe County, (West) Virginia.14

1800bond
Marriage Bond of Wiliam WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW. West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

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

William and Mary Ann were married by Rev. John Alderson on the 18th of June 1800.15

1800marriage
Entry in the marriage register. West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

Six months after his marriage on 16 January 1801 William was granted 109 acres in the Valley and on Peters Mountain adjoining his own land called the Cave Survey &c in Greenbrier County.16

On 21 February 1809, David GRAHAM sold to William WOOD 214 acres for $1.00 on Hunget Creek adj. Henry Bank’s surveys.17

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

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

1810 U.S. Federal Census18
Monroe County, (West) Virginia
William Wood
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Elijah 4 and Amos 3)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (Enoch 9)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44 : 1 (William 33)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Margaret 9 and _____ <10)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (wife, Mary Ann)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 5
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 7

On 9 September 1812 William WOOD, grantee, received 200 acres: 1) 100 acres on the Trace Fork of Mud River adjoining and above a survey made for John McCalister called the Bridge Creek Survey in Kanawha County19 and 2) 100 acres on Bryans Fork of Browns Creek in Kanawha.20

1820 U.S. Federal Census21
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
William Wood (pg. 205)
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 3 (Bailey, Allen, and ?)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15:  2 (Elijah 14 and Amos 13)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44 : 1 (William 43)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: (_____ <5)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: (_____ 16-19)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44 : 1 (wife, Mary Ann)
Note: On the same sheet are Bailey, Stephen, and John!!!

On 22 March 1822 William WOOD was granted 50 acres on the waters of New River in Nicholas County.22

A little over seven months later, on 1 November 1822 William WOOD, James SKAGGS, and Samuel WISEMAN were granted 75 acres on the Sugar Camp Creek a south branch of Gauley River in Nicholas County.23

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

Six months after the birth of his youngest child Mary Ann, William’s son Elijah WOOD married Rachel HONAKER (1804-1860) on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.24

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

At about the same time two more of William’s children married: 1) Margaret “Peggy” WOOD married Thomas WITHROW (1806-1880) on 12 October 1826 in Nicholas County25 and 2) Enoch J. WOOD married Margaret JOHNSON (1800-1850) bef. 1827.

I had a hard time with the 1830 census. In the early days, I’d found an abstract of the census 1830 by Neva Jane Stout Bryant.26 The numbers for William WOOD fit the family group. However, when I checked Ancestry years later I found that their abstract did not match Neva’s and the image was illegible. Last week I checked the Internet Archive using a tip by another blogger27 and found a much better image.

I was able to get this image.28 My transcription matched Neva’s:

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

“It is interesting to know the names of the houses and of the proprietors who made famous the great state stands along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike.” The list of proprietors of the famous stage stands included William WOOD was at Dogwood Gap.29

A tax list places William WOOD in the newly formed Fayette County on 5 June 1831 1831.30

William WOOD was not moving around from 1800 until this 1831 tax list. He lived in Monroe, Nicholas, and Fayette counties but his location remained the same. The formation of new counties in old Virginia was the reason he lived in several counties but never actually moved from his homeplace.

Before William’s death in 1835 his sons Amos and Allen married. Amos WOOD married Susan PARRISH (d. bef. 1845) on 12 May 1831 in Nicholas County and Allen WOOD married Elizabeth JOHNSON (1808-1881) on 14 November 1832 in Monroe County.31,32

William WOOD died in the summer of 1835, before 18 August 1835 when his sons Amos and Elijah filed a bond for the letters of administration.33 He left no will and his estate was appraised.34

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

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

His sons Elijah and Amos were administrators of his estate per the 1836 Bill of Sale found in Fayette County.35 His widow Mary and sons Elijah, Amos, and Allen (A. Wood on the bill) bought items in his inventory. His oldest son Enoch was living in Ohio. Elijah, the next oldest son, was assigned as the guardian of Bailey and Mary Ann, children of William WOOD, deceased.36

This Post was Updated on 24 July 2022Missing 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.


  1. Virginia. Commissioner of the Revenue (Greenbrier County), “Personal property tax lists, 1782-1850,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch Microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 2024557, DGS 7849126, Personal property tax lists, 1782-1816 > 1782 > image 361 of 891 > 1798 Personal Property Tax List > William Wood 1 0 0 1 9¢ tax. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQ2-3S3V-D?i=359&cat=777465 : accessed 16 July 2022). 
  2. GenForum, Hicks Surname Forum, message 9940, Re: Bailey Woods and Nancy Hicks by Kitty Steele 29 October 2006 in reply to: Re: Bailey Woods and Nancy Hicks by Larry Surface 29 October 2006 (https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/hicks/9940/ : accessed July 2014) 
  3. Ibid., Wood Surname Forum, message 13961, Re: WOOD family–where in VIRGINIA? by Kitty Steele 25 November 2004 in reply to: Re: WOOD family–where in VIRGINIA? by Alice Hanson 15 November 2004 (https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/wood/13961/ : accessed July 2014) 
  4. Fox, Vernon A.,  Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Land Deed, Heirs of Bailey Wood to John Alderson, 21 September 1826, transcription received per email 31 May 2001. 
  5. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969” (manuscript on film, browse-only images), FamilySearch (Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969; 34 microfilm reels; 35 mm), Film 589502, DGS 8219401, Deed book, v. N 1840-1846, pages 187-189, image 124+125 of 411. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1826 Bailey Wood heirs to John Alderson deed of bargain and sale. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSGX-491G-C?i=123&cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  6. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia, Greenbrier County, 10 March 1789, Susannah Wood and Richard Scags married by John Alderson. 1789 Marriage Record (right page, 7th entry from bottom).  (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10975982&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, Marriage Bond dated 18 June 1800 William Wood and John Wood went bond on the marriage of William Wood and Mary Anne McGraw (both of Monroe). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370480&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  8. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 3 May 1806, Nancy Wood and Martin McGraw married by John Alderson, banns were published. 1806 Marriage Record (right page, 4th entry from bottom). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369727&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  9. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 26 April 1810, James Wood and Mary Halstead married by John Alderson. 1810 Marriage Record entry (right page, last entry). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369380&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  10. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, marriage bond dated 19 May 1812, Samuel McGraw and Bailey Wood went bond on the marriage of Bailey’s daughter Elizabeth Wood and Samuel McGraw. 1812 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11371819&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  11. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 14, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M432_943; Page: 336B; Image: 278. The official enumeration day of the 1850 census was 1 June 1850. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  12. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), 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, Year: 1860; Census Place: District 3, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M653_1344; Page: 373; Family History Library Film: 805344. The official enumeration day of the 1860 census was 1 June 1860. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  13. WVCulture.org, West Virginia, Monroe County, June 1800, William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw, permission slip from her parents. “June /newline/ Sir, this coms (sic) to let you now (sic) that I Marten and Marget Mcgraw is wiling that William Wood should have our daughter Mary Ann /newline/ To John Hutchason (Clerk) /newline/ The above was sworn to by John Wood one of the witnesses present.” 1800 Marriage Permission Slip. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370465&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  14. Marriage Bond dated 18 June 1800 William Wood and John Wood went bond on the marriage of William Wood and Mary Anne McGraw (both of Monroe) 
  15. WVCulture.org, West Virginia, Monroe County, 18 June 1800 William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw married by John Alderson. 1800 Marriage Record entry (right page, 1st entry under Alderson). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369625&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  16. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants” (index and images from microfilm), Library of Virginia Archives (https://lva-virginia.libguides.com/land-grants), citing Virginia State Land Office, the collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Land Office Grants No. 46, 1797-1801, p. 624-625 (Reel 112), Wood, William (grantee), Land grant 16 January 1801, 109 acres in the Valley and on Peters Mountain adjoining his own land called the Cave Survey &c. (Greenbrier County). (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/altrmk/alma990008446350205756 : accessed 22 July 2014). 
  17. Monroe County (West Virginia), Clerk of the County Court, “Deed book, 1789-1901; deed index, 1789-1969,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union, Deed book, v. B-C 1805-1812, images 349-350 of 636, Deed Book B, page 632-633, 21 February 1809 David Graham to William Wood 214 acres for $1.00 on Hunget Creek adj. Henry Bank’s Surveys. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-KSN9-J?i=348&cat=98998 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  18. 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, Family History Library Film: 0181430, Virginia, Monroe, image 22, page 575, William Wood household. The official enumeration day of the 1810 census was the 1st Monday in August (6th). “.” (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  19. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants,”  Land Office Grants No. 63, 1812-1813, p. 195-196 (Reel 129), Wood, William (grantee), Land grant 9 Sep 1812, 100 acres on the Trace Fork of Mud River adjoining and above a survey made for John McCalister called the Bridge Creek Survey (Kanawha County). (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/altrmk/alma990008446370205756 : accessed 22 July 2014). 
  20. Ibid., Land Office Grants No. 63, 1812-1813, p. 196-198 (Reel 129), Wood, William (grantee), Land grant 9 September 1812, 100 acres on Bryans Fork of Browns Creek (Kanawha County). (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/altrmk/alma990008446380205756 : accessed 22 July 2014). 
  21. 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, 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 205A; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 389. The official enumeration day of the 1820 census was the 1st Monday in August (7th). (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  22. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants,” Land Office Grants No. 71, 1822-1824, p. 47 (Reel 137), Wood, William. grantee, Land grant 22 March 1822, 50 acres on the waters of New River (Nicholas County). (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/altrmk/alma990008446390205756 : accessed 22 July 2014). 
  23. Ibid., Land Office Grants No. 71, 1822-1824, p. 408-409 (Reel 137), Grantee(s): Skaggs, James; Wm. Wood, and Samuel Wiseman, Land grant 1 November 1822, 75 acres (Nicholas County). (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/altrmk/alma990008446400205756 : accessed 22 July 2014). 
  24. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 495643, image 130, West Virginia, Re-Index and Copy of Marriage Record No. 1–Nicholas County, line 6, 4 Jan 1925, Elijah Wood and Rachel Hannaker, married by Jno Campbell, citing Nicholas County. (http://images.wvculture.org/495643/00130.jpg : accessed 25 April 2013). 
  25. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 495643, image 130, Re-Index and Copy of Marriage Record No. 1—Nicholas County, no page number, 9th entry, 12 Oct 1826, Thos Withrow, Margaret Wood, married by John Campbell. (http://images.wvculture.org/495643/00130.jpg : accessed 22 July 2014). 
  26. 1830 Federal Census Nicholas County, Virginia (File 3 of 3), Submitted by Neva Jane Stout Bryant July 25, 2001 (http://files.usgwarchives.net/wv/nicholas/census/1830c.txt
  27. Pointer, Caroline M, 4yourfamilystory.com blog and website, “Census Records for Free with the One-Two Punch {While Wearing Pink Bunny Slippers},” (https://www.4yourfamilystory.com/blog/census-records-for-free-with-the-one-two-punch-while-wearing-pink-bunny-slippers : published 16 July 2013). 
  28. Internet Archive, 1830 Virginia Federal Population Census Schedules – Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Mason, Nicholas, and Ohio Counties, Reel 0198, image 388 of 588, Virginia, Nicholas County, page 191, line 10, William Wood (https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18300198unit#page/n387/mode/1up : accessed about 21 July 2014) 
  29. J. T. Peters and H.B. Carden, History of Fayette County, West Virginia, Jarrett Print Co., Charleston, WV, 1926, page 135. 
  30. Virginia. Commissioner of the Revenue (Fayette County), “Personal property tax lists, 1831-1850,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch Microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 2024536, DGS 7849112, image 22 of 589, 1831 page 20. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-19VN-9?i=21&cat=777450 : accessed 3 April 2022). 
  31. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 495643, image 130, Re-Index and Copy of Marriage Record No. 1—Nicholas County, no page number, 14th entry, 12 May 1831, Amos Wood, Susan Parish, married by W. Carnefix. (http://images.wvculture.org/495643/00130.jpg : accessed 22 July 2014). 
  32. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 1710879, image 516, 14 Nov 1832, Allen Wood and Charles W Johnson bond for the marriage of Allen Wood and Elizabeth Johnson. (http://images.wvculture.org/1710879/00516.jpg : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  33. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” browse-only images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County, West Virginia courthouse., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 12 of 470, August Term 1835, 18 Aug 1835, page 11, 3rd entry, Amos and Elijah Wood, bond for letters of administration. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9J7-H?i=11&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  34. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch, Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 33 of 292  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-75?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 23 October 2018) 
  35. Ibid., Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 39 of 292 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-97?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 23 October 2018), 
  36. Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928, Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 24 of 470, January Term 1836, 19 Jan 1836, page 35, Elijah assigned as guardian of young Bailey and Mary Ann Wood, children of William Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FB-T?i=23&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 

52 Ancestors: #17 Rachel HONAKER, wife of Elijah WOOD

“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 17th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

#17 Rachel HONAKER, wife of Elijah WOOD

My 3rd great-grandmother Rachel HONAKER, one of eight children of Frederick HONAKER and his second wife Rachel WISEMAN, was born about 1804 (1850 age 46, 1860 age 56) in Monroe County in Old Virginia, now West Virginia. Besides her two brothers and five sisters, she also had two half-brothers and two half-sisters.

The Honaker Family Association (HFA)

Before I get into how I know that my Rachel HONAKER was the daughter of Frederick and Rachel, I want to introduce you to the National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families, Inc.

The Honaker Family Association (HFA) was organized in 1989, in Pulaski, Virginia. In 1992 the Association was incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Virginia as the National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families, Inc. with its headquarters in Alexandria. In 1998 they published the book The Honaker Family in America, edited by Frieda Patrick Davison (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD,  © 1998 by The National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families). As updates and corrections from descendants are sent to the HFA they produce supplements to the book updating the material. The HFA has sold all copies of the book and there are no plans to reprint or publish an updated version due to the cost.

Which Rachel was the daughter of Frederick HONAKER?

On 24 April 2014 Lyle LeMasters wrote me the following:

I had a time trying to convince the Honaker Family that [our] Rachel was from this line. Her half and full siblings sold their part of Frederick’s land and she was listed in the deed records right in the middle of the rest of their deeds. The Honaker association finally accepted her as the daughter of Frederick with the deed. It just goes to show not to stay focused on your specific ancestor but on the whole group of related or possible relations…..
[underlined for emphasis]

Lyle was able to clear up part of a mix-up concerning several ladies named Rachel HONAKER in 2001.  The HFA considered him the research authority on the WOOD line and wrote the following in their supplement:

“There is mass confusion among Rachels here. Researchers reported that this and two other Rachels married William Brown in Monroe Co., W.Va. The others were this Rachel’s niece, Rachel[3] (Frederick[1], Jacob[2]) and her cousin Rachel[2] (Jacob[1]). Present evidence is sufficient to determine that this Rachel married Elijah Wood. We are unable to determine now which of the other Rachels married William Brown. To further complicate things, Elijah Wood married, second, Rachel Louisa McGraw prior to the 1870 census.”
[Source: The Honaker Family in America, 5 October 2001 Supplement, Chapter 3 – Frederick Honaker]

Even this explanation is confusing as we see two men named Jacob. One of them was Frederick’s brother and the other was Frederick’s son. The brother Jacob left a will in Russell County, Virginia, naming his children [Christeny Jones, wife of John Jones, Nancy Smith, wife of John Smith, Mary Penson, wife of John Penson, Elizabeth May, wife of John May] but no daughter named Rachel, single or married to William Brown. I believe that the elder Jacob was confused with Frederick’s oldest son Jacob who had a daughter named Rachel. But we are interested in Frederick’s daughter Rachel who married Elijah WOOD.

Rachel, daughter of Frederick HONAKER

Rachel’s father Frederick HONAKER left a will naming all of his children, several being underage. He wrote the will in November 1824. The date is not legible and is either the 20th or the 30th. It was presented in December Court 1824 and proven in January Court 1825.1

Rachel married Elijah WOOD on 4 January 1825.2 The following month Elijah and Rachel WOOD sold her part of her father’s estate as seen in:3

Monroe County, (West) Virginia Deed References:
1825 Elijah & Rachel Wood to Andrew and George Beirne Deed Bk H pg 218
The description says land only.
Rachel Honaker Wood’s brother Jacob sells land in 1825 to Andrew and George Beirne in Deed Bk H pg 219 Int Frederick Honiker Land

This Indenture made this 21st day of February 1825 between Elijah Wood and
Rachel his wife late Rachel Honiker of the one part and Andrew & George
Beirne & Co of the other part the first named parties of the County of
Nicholas and latter of the County of Monroe each of the state of Virginia
Witnesseth that the said Elijah ?(middle initial can’t make it out) Wood and
Rachel his wife for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar in hand
paid by the said Andrew and George Beirne & Co on or before the delivering of
these presents the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged have granted
bargained and sold and by these presents do grant sell and convey unto the
said Andrew and George Beirne & Co their heirs and assigns forever all that
part or parcel of land lying and being in the said County of Monroe which was
devised to the said Rachel Wood formerly Honiker by the will of said
Frederick Honiker decd be the same more or less with such appurtenances as
may be thereunto belonging & at the same time subject to such restrictions as
are mentioned in the will aforesaid and the said Elijah Wood & Rachel his
wife for themselves and heirs do covenant with the said Andrew & George
Beirne & Co and their heirs the land with its appurtenances aforesaid from
themselves & their heirs & from all other person or persons whatever to the
said Andrew & George Beirne & Co & their heirs or assigns will warrant and
forever defend.

In witness whereof the said Elijah Wood & Rachel his wife have hereunto set
their hands and seals the day & year first written.
Elijah Wood seal
Rachel her x mark Wood

Monroe County Clerks Office 22nd Feb 1825
This deed of bargain and sale from Elijah Wood and Rachel his wife to Andrew
& George Beirne & Co was acknowledged before the Clerk and the same is
admitted to be recorded.
Teste Isaac Hutchinson C.M.C.

This proves that Rachel HONAKER who married Elijah WOOD was the daughter of Frederick HONAKER. I don’t have a copy of this deed which Lyle LeMasters found and transcribed helping him to have the mixup corrected in The Honaker Family in America. On my wishlist: copies of the entire batch of deeds that pertain to Frederick HONAKER’s estate.

Update (1 January 2020): The deed was located on FamilySearch. In the transcription above, Lyle couldn’t decipher what he thought might be a middle initial. I don’t believe the very light mark between Elijah WOOD’s first and last name was meant to be a middle initial. Further in the document, his name was written several times as Elijah WOOD without a space or initial.

Monroe County, Virginia, Deed Book H, page 218, 21 Feb 1825, deed of bargain and sale for land devised to Rachel Honaker in her father’s will, Frederick Wood and his wife Rachel formerly Honaker to Andrew and George Beirne.

Rachel’s life as a wife and mother

In twenty years, from 1825 to 1845, Rachel gave birth to eleven known children. By 1830 she had a son Allen Alexander and three daughters, Amanda Jane, Sarah Ann, and Mary Salinas. Two sons, James Simpson and Elijah Stuart, and three daughters, Turze Lucresia, Nancy E., and Rebecca Ann, brought the number of children up to nine in 1840. In the 1850 census, we see two more sons, William Frederick and Lewis L. All have been documented as seen in Elijah’s story.

According to the 1850 census, unlike her husband Elijah who would become Justice of the Peace from 1852 to 1858, Rachel could not read & write.4

Rachel was last seen in the 1860 census.5 She died sometime during the 1860s as Elijah is seen with his second wife Rachel Louisa McGRAW in the 1870 census.6 Unless the Elijah WOOD family kept a family bible that was passed on to an unknown descendant, we will probably never know exactly when Rachel died as many records during this era were lost due to the Civil War.

In my research, I’ve found 71 grandchildren, 276 great-grandchildren….and still counting.

Please don’t hesitate to submit corrections, additions, or comments. They are always welcome!

This Post Was Updated on 24 April 2022Missing source citations were added, the image of the transcribed deed was included, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch, digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia, Monroe > Will book, v. 002 1819-1829 > images 149-150 of 295 > page 255-257, Last Will and Testament of Frederick Honaker, presented and proven in court (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HRS3-Z?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-B38%3A179686801%2C179709801 : accessed 17 August 2014). 
  2. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 495643, image 130, West Virginia, Re-Index and Copy of Marriage Record No. 1–Nicholas County, line 6, 4 Jan 1925, Elijah Wood and Rachel Hannaker, married by Jno Campbell, citing Nicholas County. (http://images.wvculture.org/495643/00130.jpg : accessed 25 April 2013). 
  3. “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969” (manuscript on film, browse-only images), FamilySearch citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union, filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969; 34 microfilm reels; Film 589465, DGS 7895627, Deed book v. H-I 1823-1831, image 138 of 686, Deed Book H, page 218, 21 Feb 1825, deed of bargain and sale for land devised to Rachel Honaker in her father’s will, Frederick Wood and his wife Rachel formerly Honaker to Andrew and George Beirne.  (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4F-NXX2?i=137&cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  4. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), 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: 943, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, sheet 337A (stamped), household 94-94, lines 19-27, Elijah Wood (accessed 3 April 2022). 
  5. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), 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, FHL 805344, Virginia, Fayette County, District 2, page 11, sheet 321, household 76-69, lines 20-23, Elijah Wood (accessed 5 April 2022). 
  6. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), 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; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, page 11, sheet 144A (stamped 144), household 74-74, lines 31-34, Elijah Wood (accessed 21 January 2022). 

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

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

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

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

#16 Elijah WOOD abt. 1806-1885

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

1825 – First Record Found for Elijah WOOD

Elijah WOOD and Rachel HONAKER were married by John CAMPBELL on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia. The entry in the marriage register does not give the names of the bride and groom’s parents.1

The 1830s

Elijah and Rachel had 4 children by the time the 1830 census was taken: Allen Alexander (1825-aft.1900), Amanda Jane (1826-aft. 1885), Sarah Ann (1827-1887), and Mary Salinas (1829-bef. Aug 1901). A son and three daughters under the age of 5 years as seen in the 1830 census.

1830woodcensus
1830 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Greenbrier > Sheet 209A

1830 U.S. Federal Census
Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1830
Sheet No. 209A&B
Elijha Wood
1 male under 5 yo (Allen Alexander)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Elijah)
3 females under 5 yo (Amanda Jane, Sarah Ann, Mary Salinas)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Rachel)
6 persons in household2

In June 1831 Elijah was seen on the first personal tax list for Fayette County along with uncles James and Bailey, cousin Eli, and father William WOOD.3

On 2 October 1835, Elijah and Amos WOOD were administrators at the sale of the personal property of William WOOD. At the sale, Elijah bought one foot adz, plank per hundred, one stone hammer, one shovel, and one mooly (sic, muley) bull.4

The 1840s

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

1840woodcensus
1840 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet 149A

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1840
Sheet No. 149A&B
Elijah Wood
2 males under 5 yo (James Simpson, Elijah Stuart)
1 male 10 & under 15 yo (Allen Alexander)
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (Elijah)
2 females under 5 yo (Nancy E., Rebecca Ann)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Turze Lucresia)
3 females 10 & under 15 yo (Sarah Ann, Amanda Jane, Mary Salinas)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Rachel)
11 persons in household
2 persons engaged in agriculture5

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

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

In 1844 Elijah WOOD was the crier for the sale of the estate of his uncle Richard SKAGGS6, widower of Susannah WOOD, and in 1846 for the estate of Joseph FOX.7

In 1845 Amos WOOD wrote his last will and testament and named his brothers Elijah and Allen as executors. The handwritten pages 107-110 in the Book of Wills, where Amos’ will would be found, are missing however this collection of records was also typed up at one time and added to the back of the will book.8

Elijah and his wife had their two youngest children in the 1840s: William Frederick (1842-1916) and Lewis L. (1845-bef. 1885). Their three oldest daughters married: Amanda Jane married Joshua J. PARRISH on 1 June 18439; Sarah Ann married William A. W. DEMPSEY abt. 1845; and Mary Salinas married George A. McGRAW on 1 June 1850, page 54, 7th entry.10

The 1850s

His oldest son Allen Alexander was working as a blacksmith in Greenbrier County in 1850 per the census.11 Elijah was a farmer with his wife Rachel and their seven younger children in Fayette County.

1850woodcensus
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet 337A > HH#94-94

1850 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District, Sheet 337A
Enumerated by me on the 26th day of July, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
HH #94-94
Elijah Wood 43 M Farmer $700 Virginia
Rachel Wood 46 F Virginia cannot read & write
Turze Wood 18 F Virginia attended school
Simpson Wood 17 M Laborer Virginia attended school
Nancy Wood 15 F Virginia attended school
E. S. Wood 13 M Virginia attended school
Ann E. Wood 11 F Virginia attended school
Wm. Wood 8 M Virginia
Lewis Wood 5 M Virginia12

Elijah was seen purchasing one horse beast on 26 March 1853 at the estate sale of George R. JOHNSON13 and a small table, one hand saw, and three jugs on 13 August 1853 at the estate sale of William TERRY.14

During the 1850s six of Elijah’s children married: Allen Alexander married Margaret Ann HOOVER on 12 February 1851;14 Turze Lucresia “Turzey” married John H. NEAL in March 1855;15 Rebecca Ann married William W. RYAN on 25 December 1855;16 James Simpson married Ellen E. ALEXANDER on 1 June 1856;17 Nancy E. married Charles B. JOHNSON on 11 December 1856;18 and Elijah Stuart “Sty” married Margaret Virginia TOWNSEND before 1860.

During the 1850s Elijah WOOD wasn’t only a farmer. He was elected to the Office of the Constable in district No. 3 of Fayette County in 1852, 1854, and 1856 for two-year periods. He took the legal oaths and entered into bonds as prescribed by law.19,20,21,22

The 1860s

The marriages of the children left Elijah and his wife with only their two youngest sons living at home and attending school in 1860.

1860woodcensus
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Page 11 > Sheet 321 > HH#76-69

1860 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
District No. 2, Page No. 11
Enumerated by me on the 11th day of June, 1860. P. Morton, Ass’t Marshal.
Fayetteville Post Office, Sheet No. 321
HH #76-69
Elijah Wood 53 M Farmer $2500 $500 Virginia
Rachel Wood 56 F Virginia
William Wood 18 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school
Lewis L. Wood 15 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school23

There were several deaths in the family in the 1860s. Elijah’s wife Rachel HONAKER died during the decade, his daughter Rebecca Ann died on 19 March 1866,24 and his sons-in-law, William A. W. DEMPSEY died about 1867 and George A. McGRAW about 1868.

Elijah’s son William Frederick married Martha Ann HESS on 4 February 1864.25 Elijah remarried Rachel Louisa McGRAW before the 1870 census, however, no marriage record has been found.

The 1870s

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

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

1870 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Mountain Cove Township, Page No. 99
Enumerated by me on the 14th day of  July 1870. Wm. T. Lowry, Ass’t Marshal.
Fayetteville Post Office, Sheet No. 144A
HH #74-74
Wood, Elijah 63 M W Farmer $1300 $350 Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Wood, Rachael L. 45 F W Keeping House Virginia
Dempsey, Unis 14 F W At Home Virginia
Dempsey, John 12 M W Farm Laborer Virginia26

Two of Elijah’s daughters, both widowed, remarried in the 1870s. Mary Salinas married Michael Price ARBAUGH on 26 April 1871 27 and, following his death, she married Milton SIMS on 4 February 1876.28 His daughter Sarah Ann had planned to marry James R. REID (a marriage license was taken out on 27 November 1872 but not used)29 and seven weeks later married John M. FOX, a widower, on 14 January 1873.30

The 1880s

By 1880 Elijah’s granddaughter Eunice DEMPSEY who had been living in his household in 1870 had married.31 His grandsons John and Elijah DEMPSEY were living with him in 1880.32

1880woodcensus
1880 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > ED 30 > Page 21 > Sheet 104A > HH#185-185

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

Also in his household was his mother-in-law Polly McGRAW. Her presence in his household has been very helpful in proving that Elijah was married twice. The age difference in the 1870 and 1880 census for Rachel L.  compared to the 1850 and 1860 for Elijah’s first wife Rachel suggested that Elijah was married twice – both ladies being named Rachel. Earlier census listings for Polly McGRAW show that she was the mother of Rachel Louisa McGRAW.33,34

1885 Last Will and Testament

Elijah WOOD left a last will and testament dated 14 March 1885. It was proven on 23 September 1885.35

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

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

In Vacation

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

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

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

Elijah’s death record

Elijah WOOD, a white male farmer, died on 10 September 1885 in Fayette County, West Virginia. The cause of death was “hemorrhage.” His widow Rachel L. Wood, the informant, did not give the names of his parents.36

Getting back to his parentage

WOOD is a common surname in Old Virginia. I need to analyze the pre-1850 census listings for Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, and Fayette counties for WOOD and WOODS.

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

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

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

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

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

This Post Was Updated on 9 April 2022Missing source citations were added and some corrections were made to the text and format.

© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 495643, image 130, West Virginia, Re-Index and Copy of Marriage Record No. 1–Nicholas County, line 6, 4 Jan 1925, Elijah Wood and Rachel Hannaker, married by Jno Campbell, citing Nicholas County. (http://images.wvculture.org/495643/00130.jpg : accessed 25 April 2013). 
  2. 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, Roll 190, FHL Film 0029669, West Virginia, Greenbrier, page 209A&B, line 15, (Elijha) Elijah Wood (accessed 8 February 2022). 
  3. “Personal property tax lists, 1831-1850” (images), FamilySearch, Virginia Commissioner of the Revenue (Fayette County), microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 2024536, DGS 7849112, image 22 of 589, 1831 page 20. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-19VN-9?i=21&cat=777450 : accessed 3 April 2022). 
  4. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > images 39-40 of 292 > page 55-57, sale bill of the personal property of William Wood (Elijah and Amos Wood were administrators). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-97?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG%3A179689901%2C179689902 : accessed 3 April 2022). 
  5. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll 555, FHL Film 0029685, Virginia, Fayette, page 149 (stamped), line 4, Elijah Wood (accessed 8 February 2022). 
  6. West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971, Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 68 of 292; (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9S7-5W?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG%3A179689901%2C179689902 : accessed 3 April 2022) 
  7. Ibid., Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 72 of 292 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SW-WP?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG%3A179689901%2C179689902 : accessed 3 April 2022) 
  8. Ibid., Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 224 of 292 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-5S?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG%3A179689901%2C179689902 : accessed 3 April 2022) 
  9. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 203, West Virginia, Fayette, page 28, entry 8, 1 June 1843, Joshua Parish Jr. and Amanda Wood, by W. Carnafix. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00203.jpg : accessed 8 February 2022). 
  10. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 217, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages, page 54, 7th entry, 1 Jun 1850, George A. McGraw and Mary S. Wood by Martin T. Bibb. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00217.jpg : accessed 3 April 2022). 
  11. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), 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: 947, Virginia, Greenbrier, District 18, Sheet 235A (stamped), page 469, household 7-7, lines 7-22, Geo W Sydenstricker (accessed 3 April 2022). 
  12. Ibid., Roll: 943, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, sheet 337A (stamped), household 94-94, lines 19-27, Elijah Wood (accessed 3 April 2022). 
  13. Ibid., Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 262 of 292 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-NY?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG%3A179689901%2C179689902 : accessed 3 April 2022) 
  14. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 595040, image 98, West Virginia, Register of Marriages in Greenbrier, page 14 (double-page spread), line 12, 10 Feb license, Alexander Wood and Margaret Ann Hoover, 12 Feb 1851 by James Remly. (http://images.wvculture.org/595040/00098.jpg : accessed 3 April 2022). 
  15. “Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microreproduction of original manuscripts at the Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, Calhoun – Hampshire counties, Film 34485, DGS 7499353, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1855, image 135 of 554, no page number (double-page spread), line 12, March 1855, John Neal and Turze Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89Z5-F8HB?i=134&cat=308753 : accessed 19 January 2022). 
  16. Ibid., Fayette County Register of Marriages 1855, image 135 of 554, no page number (double-page spread), line 38, 25 Dec 1855, William W. Ryan and Rebecca A. Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89Z5-F8HB?i=134&cat=308753 : accessed 19 January 2022). 
  17. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 521720, image 14, West Virginia, Kanawha County Register of Marriages, page 9 (double-page spread), line 53, 1 Jun 1856, James S. Wood and Ellen E. Alexander. (http://images.wvculture.org/521720/00014.jpg : accessed 5 April 2022). 
  18. Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia, Calhoun – Hampshire counties, Film 34485, DGS 7499353, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1855, image 137 of 554, no page number (double-page spread), line 29, 11 Dec 1856, Chas. Johnson and Nancy E. Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9Z5-FZXH?i=136 : accessed 6 December 2020). 
  19. Lyle LeMasters, email dated 21 April 2014, Re: Feedback received from your friend for “52 Ancestors: #16 Elijah WOOD abt. 1806-1885,” These were the bonds for Elijah being a Justice of the Peace in Fayette County: 10 June 1852 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 332, 15 June 1854 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 539, 12 June 1856 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 713. Note: I have not located the VA Comwth Bond Bk cited by Lyle. However, I found entries in the court minutes and order books to confirm the bonds were entered into. 
  20. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” browse-only images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County, West Virginia courthouse., Film 585503, DGS 8613698, Minute books, v. 3-4 1848-1861, image 107 of 393, page 489, June Court 1852, last entry, 10 June 1852 Elijah Wood took oaths and entered into a bond for his election to the Office of the Constable in district 3. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-1P9M?i=106&cat=100698 : accessed 4 April 2022). 
  21. Ibid., image 173 of 393, page 611, June Court 1852, 5th entry, 15 June 1854, Elijah Wood took oaths and entered into a bond for his election as constable in District 3. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-1G5M?i=172&cat=100698 : accessed 5 April 2022). 
  22. Ibid., image 229 of 393, page 720, June Court 1856, 4th entry, 12 June 1856, Elijah Wood took oaths and entered into a bond for his election as constable in District 3. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-1GB9?i=228&cat=100698 : accessed 5 April 2022). 
  23. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), 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, FHL 805344, Virginia, Fayette County, District 2, page 11, sheet 321, household 76-69, lines 20-23, Elijah Wood(accessed 5 April 2022). 
  24. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 584755, image 86, Fayette County Register of Death 1866, page 2-3 (double-page spread), line 29, 19 March 1866, Rebecca A. Ryan, Mountain Cove. (http://images.wvculture.org/584755/00086.jpg : accessed 5 April 2022). 
  25. Rhoda Applegate, letter to Eli J. Harrah dated 2 February 1990, sent by Vernon Fox to Sherranlynn Kincaid Nichols (received 15 August 1998). William Frederick Wood mar. Martha Hess 4 Feb 1864, they were first cousins. 
  26. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), 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; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, page 11, sheet 144A (stamped 144), household 74-74, lines 31-34, Elijah Wood (accessed 21 January 2022). 
  27. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 225, Fayette County Register of Marriages, page 15 (double-page spread), line 21, 26 April 1871, Michael P. Arbaugh and Mary S. McGraw, married by I.C. Cavendish. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00255.jpg : accessed 5 April 2022). 
  28. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 269, Fayette County Register of Marriages, page 28 (double-page spread), line 22, 4 Feb 1876, Milton Sims and Mary S. Arbaugh married by I.C. Cavendish. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00269.jpg : accessed 5 April 2022). 
  29. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 260, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages, page 20, entry 17, 27 Nov 1872, James R. Reid and Sarah Ann Wood (marked out) Dempsey, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00260.jpg : accessed 9 February 2022). 
  30. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 260, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages, page 20, entry 32, 14 Jan 1873, John M. Fox and Sarah A. Dempsey, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00260.jpg : accessed 9 February 2022). 
  31. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1873, image 261, page 21, line 9, John I. Skaggs and Eunice Dempsey, 11 May 1873, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00261.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  32. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), 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 County, Mountain Cove, enumeration district 30, sheet 104A, household 185-185, lines 16-20, Elijah Wood (accessed 9 February 2022). 
  33. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Roll: M432_943, Image: 281+282. Virginia, Fayette, District 14, sheets 338A+B (stamped), household 107-107, Henry McGraw (accessed 7 September 2014). 
  34. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Roll: M653_1344, FHL Film: 805344, Virginia, Fayette County, District 3, page 100, sheet 410 (handwritten), household 743-680, lines 17-22, Henry McGraw (accessed 7 September 2014). 
  35. West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971, Fayette County Will books, 1832-1969 > Fayette Will book, v. 03 1885-1901 > image 33+34 of 274 (pages 7+8) > 1885 Elijah Wood. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18272-69978-57?cc=1909099&wc=10916503 : accessed 8 February 2022). 
  36. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 584755, image 291, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Death, page 342-343 (stamped) line 73, Elijah Wood, 10 Sep 1885, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584755/00291.jpg : accessed 9 February 2022). 

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

Hope 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.

#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.1

In 1885 Elijah WOOD named his nine living children in order of birth in his last will and testament.2 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.3 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 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.e. Allen in Oct 1825, Amanda abt. 1826, Sarah abt. 1827, and Mary abt. 1829.

I am puzzled by the fact that the family was enumerated in Greenbrier County in 1830 as the area that they lived in was then part of Nicholas County. 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 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.4 The marriage record 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 E.R. (Elizabeth Rachel) age 3 and Jas A. (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.5

1850census
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > 14th District >Sheet 336B

In the 1850s Sarah gave birth to three more children: Mary Virginia in June 1854, Eunice Jane 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
1860census2
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet No. 365

In 1860 the family was living in the household of the widower John A. McGRAW and his three motherless children.6 John’s deceased wife Nancy M. McGRAW (maiden name McGRAW) was Sarah’s double first cousin once removed. The families may have been living together because Sarah was helping with the care of the widower’s children who had lost their mother in 1855. 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. The 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 (sic, McVEY) 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 1853.7

rebel
Provost Marshal File 2323 for 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 1860s 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 1868.8

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:9

1870censusjames
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 147B

Eunice and John were with their grandfather Elijah WOOD:10

1870censusjohn
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 144A

Elijah, the youngest, and his mother Sarah were with his aunt Turzey (WOOD) NEAL:11

1870censussarah
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 148A

William, age 10 at the time and working as a farm laborer, was living with the Abraham “Abram” FORSYTHE family.12 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

Lizzie was with her husband, raising his two motherless boys from his first marriage and their own son.13

1870censushughes
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Falls of Kanawha > Sheet No. 111A

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.14

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.15 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.16

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.17,18

This left her with her three youngest sons still unmarried in 1880. John and Elijah were living with their grandfather Elijah WOOD:19

1880censusjohn
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 104A

and my great-grandfather William, adopted, was with the John CAMPBELL family.20 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

Sarah was living with her new husband in 1880.21 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’s 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 A. W. DEMPSEY and Seton B. DEMPSEY.

1880censussarah
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > 105C

Sarah’s son James Alexander was living next door to her in the above census listing.22

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 William Henderson DEMPSEY married Laura Belle INGRAM (1868-1940) on 1 October 1884.23,24,25 William and Laura were my great-grandparents.

Sarah and her father Elijah die a year and a half apart

In 1885 Sarah’s father Elijah WOOD passed away.26 Sarah followed him a year and a half later on 1 April 1887.27 It is believed that she is buried in Good Luck Cemetery also known as Fox-Wood Cemetery on Chestnutburg, Ames Hgts Rd. 1.75 mi. off Rt. 19, Fayette County, West Virginia. She was survived by seven children, about 20 grandchildren, and her second husband John M. FOX who died on 12 January 1896. Sarah’s seven children gave her a total of at least fifty grandchildren, although about seven did not live to adulthood, and nearly 180 great-grandchildren.

Flat rock tombstone could be Sarah’s marker

Fox tombstone courtesy of Becky Fox

Lyle LeMasters wrote in an email to me in December 2000 that he believed 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 WOOD graves. The reason he believes 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.

This Post Was Updated on 27 February 2022: Missing source citations were added, images were watermarked, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History, citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 495643, image 130, West Virginia, Re-Index and Copy of Marriage Record No. 1–Nicholas County, line 6, 4 Jan 1925, Elijah Wood and Rachel Hannaker, married by Jno Campbell, citing Nicholas County, (http://images.wvculture.org/495643/00130.jpg : accessed 25 April 2013). 
  2. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971” (database with images), FamilySearch (digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia), Fayette County Will books, 1832-1969 > Fayette Will book, v. 03 1885-1901 > image 33+34 of 274 (pages 7+8) > 1885 Elijah Wood (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18272-69978-57?cc=1909099&wc=10916503 : accessed 8 February 2022). 
  3. 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, Roll 190, FHL Film 0029669, West Virginia, Greenbrier, page 209A&B, line 15, Eligha Wood. (accessed 8 February 2022). 
  4. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 203, West Virginia, Fayette, page 28, entry 8, 1 June 1843, Joshua Parish Jr. and Amanda Wood, by W. Carnafix . (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00203.jpg : accessed 8 February 2022). 
  5. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, page 336B, lines 5-8, household 85-85, Wm A W Dempsey household (accessed 18 January 2016). 
  6. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), 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, Virginia, Fayette County, District 3, page 365 lines 35-40, page 366 lines 1-5, household 408-368, John A McGraw household including Wm Dempsey family (accessed 18 January 2016). 
  7. “United States Union Provost Marshal Files of Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866,” images, FamilySearch, citing NARA microfilm publication M416 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration), Records by Number and Date > 02132-02398, Sept. 1862 (NARA Series M416, Roll 9) > image 724 of 1041. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939V-MKHK-D?cc=1845948&wc=M6KL-Y38%3A165419801%2C165561201 : accessed 4 December 2012). 
  8. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1868, image 248, page 9, Robert Huse and Elizabeth Dempsey, 8 April 1868, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00248.jpg : accessed 30 June 2018). 
  9. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), 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; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, page 18, sheet 147B (147 stamped on page 17), household 124-124, Jesse J. Parrish household (accessed 21 January 2022). 
  10. Ibid., Roll: M593_1686; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, page 11, sheet 144A (stamped 144), lines 31-34, household 74-74, Elijah Wood household (accessed 21 January 2022). 
  11. Ibid., Roll: M593_1686; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, page 19, sheet 148A (stamped 148), lines 19-30, household 129-129, John Neal household (accessed 21 January 2022). 
  12. Ibid., Roll: M593_1686; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, page 17, sheet 147A (stamped 147), lines 12-16, household 116-116, Abram Forsythe (accessed 25 Dec 2014). 
  13. Ibid., Roll: M593_1686, West Virginia, Fayette County, Falls of Kanawha, page 33, sheet 111A, lines 6-20, household 220-215, Robert Hughes (accessed 3 July 2018). 
  14. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1872, image 259, page 19, John Snell and Mary V. Dempsey, 16 Sep 1872, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00259.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  15. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 260, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages, page 20, entry 17, 27 Nov 1872, James R. Reid and Sarah Ann Wood (marked out) Dempsey, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00260.jpg : accessed 9 February 2022). 
  16. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 260, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages, page 20, entry 32, 14 Jan 1873, John M. Fox and Sarah A. Dempsey, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00260.jpg : accessed 9 February 2022). 
  17. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1873, image 261, page 21, line 9, John I. Skaggs and Eunice Dempsey, 11 May 1873, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00261.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  18. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1874, image 264, page 24, line 41, James Dempsey and Mary Saddler, 25 Dec 1874, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00264.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  19. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), 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 County, Mountain Cove, enumeration district 30, sheet 104A, lines 16-20, household 185-185, Elijah Wood (accessed 9 February 2022). 
  20. Ibid., West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, enumeration district 30, sheet 114A, lines 35-41, household 332-345, John Campbell (accessed 25 Dec 2014). 
  21. Ibid., West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, enumeration district 30, sheet 105C, lines 1-5, household 193-194, John M. Fox (accessed 8 February 2022). 
  22. Ibid., West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, enumeration district 30, sheet 105C, lines 6-9, household 194-195, James Dempsey (accessed 8 Feb 2022). 
  23. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1882, image 284, page 43, line 23, John H Dempsey and Amanda McClung, 22 Feb 1882, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00284.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  24. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1882, image 284, page 45, line 29, E L Dempsey and Octavia D. Inghram, 19 Oct 1882, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00286.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  25. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1884, image 293, page 52, line 40, W H Dempsey and Laura B. Ingram, 1 Oct 1884, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00293.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  26. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 584755, image 291, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Death, page 342-343 (stamped) line 73, Elijah Wood, 10 Sep 1885, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584755/00291.jpg : accessed 9 February 2022). 
  27. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 584755, image 299, Register of Deaths 1887, page358-359, line 46, 1 Apr 1887, Sarah A. Fox, consort of J M Fox, citing Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584755/00299.jpg : accessed 17 January 2022).