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.
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.
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.
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>>
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two weeks later on Wednesday, the 18th day of June, Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. solomnized the marriage of William and Mary Ann.
The WOOD family and Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. knew each other well. Bailey WOOD, William’s father, had been one of the original 12 Baptists who organized the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church.
On the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Rev. Robert B. McDanel preached on Sunday morning, November 26, 1911, of the brave little band of twelve members with sturdy convictions whose “names are surely immortal.” He also shared the following about the membership:
In those early years the membership was scattered over a wide extent of territory. It is recorded in the minutes, July 26, 1788, that those who lived nigh were required to attend the services once a month. Those who lived within fifteen miles must come once a quarter, and those at further distance once a year.
As part of the second night of celebration of the 200th annual session of the Greenbrier Baptist Association held in Alderson, West Virginia in July 2000, Rev. Jon Jennings portrayed Rev. John Alderson Jr. in a historical overview of the establishment of the Greenbrier Baptist Association and the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church. His monologue included the following:
So, for four years I continued this struggle as a traveling preacher, until November 24, 1781, we gathered together, 12 faithful Baptists and organized the Greenbrier Baptist Church. (Let me see if I can recall the names: Myself, and my wife, Mary, and Thomas Alderson; then John Kippers, John Shepherd, then there was John, Katherine, Joseph and Lucy Scaggs, and the Woods family: Bailey and Ann, and James Woods).
Siblings of Mary Ann McGRAW
To make the following list I studied the tax lists submitted by Julie McGrew-Ayres; the early marriages in the Greenbrier, Monroe, Kanawha, Nicholas, Fayette counties area; and the pre-1850 as well as later censuses – with all persons named.
Sib 1: Anthony (1775-1814) born abt. 1775 Pennsylvania
Sib 2: John (1776- ) born abt. 1776 Pennsylvania
Sib 4: Martin (1785-1858) born 1785 Pennsylvania
Sib 5: William (1788- ) born abt. 1788
Sib 6: Elender (1788-1845) born abt. 1788
Sib 7: Samuel (1792-1874) born abt. 1792 (West) Virginia
Sib 8: Henry (1797-1873) born abt. 1797 (West) Virginia
Sib 9: Thomas M. (1799-1855) born 9 Feb 1799 (West) Virginia
The marriage of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW was the only one of the following which had a bond showing her parents to be Martin and Margaret McGRAW. Thomas McGRAW’s wife Catharine gave the names of his parents as Martin and Margaret McGRAW on his 1855 death record [line 68].
I believe that all of these McGRAWs were children of Martin and Margaret EXCEPT for William McGraw who married Elizabeth Gill. This William was a grandson through their son Anthony.
Parents of Mary Ann McGRAW
After studying the possible children of Martin and Margaret McGRAW I believe that the estimated years of birth seen for the couple on nearly all online gedcom files need to be revised.
Martin: He was most likely 21 or older when he married. Anthony, the oldest known child, was born abt. 1775. If he was the first child and born within a year of the marriage Martin and Margaret might have been married about 1774 or earlier. Martin would therefore have been born about 1753 or earlier. Martin was last seen on tax lists in 1805 and Margaret was first seen on them in 1810. Martin died after 1805 and before 1810.
Margaret: In 1820 and 1830 her son Henry McGRAW had an older woman living in his household. In 1820 Henry was not yet married and the woman age 45 or older must be his mother. I believe that the woman aged between 70 and 79 in 1830 is also his mother although it is possible that she could be his mother-in-law or any other older woman. But let’s assume she is Henry’s mother. This range in 1830 would put her birth at between 1751-1760. She would have been between 15-24 when her oldest child Anthony was born. Margaret would therefore have been born between 1751-1760. Margaret died most likely between 1830-1840.
Mary Ann McGRAW was born in Pennsylvania
Mary Ann McGRAW’s brother Martin McGRAW Jr. (1785-1858) married William WOOD’s sister Nancy WOOD by publication of banns on 3 May 1806 in Monroe County. The marriage was solemnized by Rev. John ALDERSON Jr. A marriage by license was more expensive than a marriage by publication of banns. This public notice of an intended marriage had to be published, verbally or by written notice, for three consecutive meetings at the churches of the bride and groom making the waiting time longer than with a license.
Was there a reason that the couple would marry “by banns” in 1806? Martin McGRAW Sr., as mentioned previously, was last seen on the Greenbrier tax lists in 1805 which may suggest that he was deceased when his son Martin Jr. married. Could he not afford a marriage license?
Martin Jr. lived long enough to be enumerated on the 1850 census. We rely on the census for valuable pieces of information concerning our ancestors however the information is only as reliable as the person who answered the enumerator’s questions. In the case of Martin Jr. no ages were listed for any of the persons in his household in 1850. However their places of birth were included; Martin Jr. was born in Pennsylvania. As Mary Ann was his older sister it is very likely that she was also born in Pennsylvania. Martin Jr.’s War of 1812 pension papers may have more information on his place of birth.
Children of Mary Ann McGRAW and William WOOD
In 1810 Mary Ann and her husband William WOOD were enumerated next door to her brother Martin McGRAW and her father-in-law Bailey WOOD. By 1810 Mary Ann had given birth to 5 children. Four would follow in the next 14 years.
Ch 1: Enoch J. (1801-aft. 1870) born about 1801 in Monroe
Ch 2: Margaret “Peggy” (1801-1856) born about 1801 in Monroe
Ch 3: [–?–] (1804- ?) female born bet. 1804-1809 in Monroe
Ch 4: Elijah (1806-1885) born about 1806 in Monroe
Ch 5: Amos (1807-1845) born about 1807 in Monroe
Ch 6: Allen (1814-1862) born about 1814 in Monroe
Ch 7: Bailey (1816-?) born bet. 1816-1819 in Monroe or Nicholas
Ch 8: [–?–] (1816-?) female born bet. 1816-1819 in Monroe or Nicholas
Ch 9: Mary Ann “Polly” (1824-aft. 1900) born 5 Jun 1824 in Nicholas County
Following the birth of her last child Mary Ann’s children began to marry:
These six children gave Mary Ann and William WOOD 47 grandchildren and close to 200 great-grandchildren. I do not have all great-grandchildren as I have only recently begun research on Peggy and Thomas WITHROW.
Mary Ann’s husband William WOOD died in September 1835 in Fayette County. Her sons Elijah and Amos were the administrators of William’s estate. It’s possible that Mary Ann was in Amos’ household in 1840. He may have taken on the responsibility of caring for his widowed mother as he hadn’t been married as long as Elijah and didn’t have as many dependents.
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
1 male 5 & under 10 yo (Felix)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Amos)
2 females under 5 yo (Virginia and Matilda)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Susan)
1 female 40 & under 50 yo (poss. Mary Ann Wood)
Following the 1840 census there were several deaths in the family. Amos WOOD died leaving a will dated 24 May 1845 which was presented in open court in June 1845. Although he provided for his 5 children he did not mention his wife Susan who must have predeceased him. Mary Ann’s son Bailey, who was last seen in the 1840 census, may also have died during this time period.
Mary Ann was not enumerated in the 1850 census and therefore may have died during the 1840 decade. Although many have her date and place of death as abt. 1845 in Nicholas County, I believe that she died in the 1840s in Fayette County, where she lived her married life.
On the anniversary of Mary Ann McGRAW and William WOOD’s 100th wedding anniversary only one of their children was still living. Mary Ann “Polly” WOOD and her husband Martin HESS, married 56 years, were living on the south side of Mountain Cove District in Fayette County. [line 50 and lines 51-52]
I’m starting a new generation of paternal ancestors with my 4th great-grandfather William WOOD. This generation has 23 known of a possible 32 individuals. They will take me to the end of the year and the end of this challenge.
52 Ancestors: #30 William WOOD died 1835 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia
During the early years of the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775-14 Jan 1784) my 4th great-grandfather William WOOD (b. abt. 1776-1779) was born in Greenbrier County, Virginia, to Bailey WOOD (d. 1826) and his wife Nancy (d. aft. 1826). As no date is known I calculated the range for his birth using the year of his marriage and the age groups that he was enumerated in for the 1810 through 1830 census:
1800 age 21 or older at time of marriage->->->born 1779 or earlier
1810 age group 26-44 (i.e. 31-44)->->->->->->born bet. 1766-1779
1820 age group 26-44 (i.e. 41-44)->->->->->->born bet. 1766-1779
1830 age group 50-59 (i.e. 51-54)->->->->->->born bet. 1776-1779
Several family historians list William WOOD as William Hicks WOOD. I haven’t found documentation that shows a middle name or even a middle initial. Recent discussions with other researchers nearly convinced me that Nancy was the daughter of Joseph HICKS (aka HIX) and Melvina COLE. However I found an old post on genforum post from October 2006 by Kitty Steele Barrera in which she wrote, “I know that the Nancy Hicks/Bailey Wood connection is tentative because I was the first to make the connection. I posted “Bailey Wood married Nancy Hicks?” and before long, it was all over the internet as a fact.” Kitty mentioned in another message in the same forum that she can be blamed for starting the rumor and the Hicks part is pure speculation.
For now I would like to emphasizethat William WOOD (no middle name or initial) was the son of Bailey WOOD and his wife Nancy (no maiden name). As with all brick walls further research is needed to prove the Wood to Hicks connection. I’m open to discussions and/or suggestions on the subject.
William WOOD’s father died before 21 September 1826 as an indenture with that date mentions the heirs and legal representatives of Bailey WOOD, deceased, as well as Nancy WOOD, his widow. It begins as follows:
This indenture made the 21st day of September one thousand and eight hundred and twenty six between James Wood and Polly his wife, Bailey Wood and Lucertia his wife, William Wood and Mary his wife, Richard Skaggs and Susannah his wife, Martin McGraw and Nancy his wife, Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth his wife, Katherine Wood, heirs and legal representatives of Bailey Wood, deceased, and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood, deceased, of the county of Nicholas and state of Virginia of the one part…. [Source: Fox, Vernon A. Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Land Deed. Heirs of Bailey Wood to John Alderson. 21 September 1826. e-mail. May 31, 2001].
From this we can “assume” that the following individuals were Bailey’s children:
Lyle Lemasters, who has done an immense amount of work on the WOOD family, suggested that heirs does not neccessarily mean children of the deceased. Heirs could also have been grandchildren. Bailey’s sons James and Bailey Jr. both had daughters named Catherine. Katherine may have been a daughter or a granddaughter (daughter of a deceased son) as the name ran in the family. She may be the Catherine WOOD (born bet. 1794-1800) seen in the 1850 and 1860 census with a younger James C. WOOD (b. bet. 1823-1830). Neither have been located after 1860.
In June 1800 Martin and Margaret McGRAW gave permission for their daughter Mary Ann to marry William WOOD.
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.
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.
Six months after his marriage on 16 January 1801 William was granted 109 acres in the Valley and on Peters Mountain adjoining his own land called the Cave Survey &c in Greenbrier County. [Source: Land Office Grants No. 46, 1797-1801, p. 624-625 (Reel 112)]
On 21 February 1809 David GRAHAM sold to William WOOD 214 acres for $1.00 on Hunget Creek adj. Henry Bank’s surveys. [Source: “Monroe Co., WV Abstracts” by Larry G. Shuck]
As the amount of land he owned grew, so did the family of William and Mary Ann:
Enoch J. abt. 1801
Margaret “Peggy” abt. 1801
[–?–] (female) bet. 1804-1809
Elijah abt. 1806
Amos abt. 1807
Allen abt. 1814
Bailey bet. 1816-1819
[–?–] (female) bet. 1816-1819
Mary Ann “Polly” 5 June 1824
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Monroe County, (West) Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Elijah 4 and Amos 3)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (Enoch 9)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44 : 1 (William 33)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Margaret 9 and [–?–] <10)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (wife, Mary Ann)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 5
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 7
On 9 September 1812 William WOOD, grantee, received 200 acres: 1) 100 acres on the Trace Fork of Mud River adjoining and above a survey made for John McCalister called the Bridge Creek Survey in Kanawha County [Land Office Grants No. 63, 1812-1813, p. 195 (Reel 129)] and 2) 100 acres on Bryans Fork of Browns Creek in Kanawha [Land Office Grants No. 63, 1812-1813, p. 196 (Reel 129)]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
William Wood (pg. 205)
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 3 (Bailey, Allen, and ?)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 2 (Elijah 14 and Amos 13)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44 : 1 (William 43)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: ([–?–] <5)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: ([–?–] 16-19)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44 : 1 (wife, Mary Ann)
Note: On same sheet are Bailey, Stephen and John!!!
On 22 March 1822 William WOOD was granted 50 acres on the waters of New River in Nicholas County. [Land Office Grants No. 71, 1822-1824, p. 47 (Reel 137)]
A little over seven months later, on 1 November 1822 William WOOD, James SKAGGS and Samuel WISEMAN were granted 75 acres on the Sugar Camp Creek a south branch of Gauley River in Nicholas County. [Land Office Grants No. 71, 1822-1824, p. 408 (Reel 137)]
By this time William had acquired nearly 650 acres of land. Did he still own all of it or did he sell some or give parcels to his children?
Six months after the birth of his youngest child Mary Ann, William’s son Elijah WOOD married Rachel HONAKER (1804-1860) on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.
A year later William’s father Bailey WOOD was dead. We do not know when he died but his legal heirs sold his land on 21 September 1826 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia to John ALDERSON. William’s mother Nancy was still living; it is not known when she died.
At about the same time two more of William’s children married: 1) Margaret “Peggy” WOOD married Thomas WITHROW (1806-1880) on 12 October 1826 in Nicholas County and 2) Enoch J. WOOD married Margaret JOHSON (1800-1850) bef. 1827.
I had a hard time with the 1830 census. In the early days I’d found an abstract of the census 1830 by Neva Jane Stout Bryant. The numbers for William WOOD fit the family group. However when I checked ancestry.com years later I found that their abstract did not match Neva’s and the image was not legible enough to see which was correct. Last week I checked the Internet Archive [Caroline tells you how] and found a much better image and was able to get this transcription which was the same as Neva’s:
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
William Woods (sic)
Home in 1830 (City, County, State): Nicholas, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 ([–?–])
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Bailey)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Allen)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29 : 1 (Amos)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mary Ann)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 ([–?–] 10-14)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 ([–?–] 26-35)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (wife, Mary Ann)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 4
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 9
Proprietors of the Famous Stage Stands
“It is interesting to know the names of the houses and of the proprietors who made famous the great state stands along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike.”
The list includes William WOOD at Dogwood Gap.
[J. T. Peters and H.B. Carden; “History of Fayette County, West Virginia” pg. 135]
1831 Tax Lists
Fayette County, Virginia
June 5, 1831
William WOOD was not moving around from 1800 until this 1831 tax list. The formation of the Virginia counties were at fault that he was seen living in Monroe, Nicholas and finally Fayette County.
Before William’s death in 1835 his sons Amos and Allen married. Amos WOOD married Susan PARRISH (d. bef. 1845) on 12 May 1831 in Nicholas County and Allen WOOD married Elizabeth JOHNSON (1808-1881) on 14 November 1832 in Monroe County.
William WOOD died about September 1835. To date no will has been found. His sons Elijah and Amos were administrators of his estate per the 1836 Bill of Sale found in Fayette County. At the time that William died his son Enoch was living in Ohio. Bailey, Polly, and an unknown daughter may have been under age. His widow Mary and sons Elijah and Amos bought items on his inventory.
The Appraisement Bill of the Estate of Wm Wood decd Fayette County September 14th 1835. In compliance with an order made by the County Court of Fayette at the August term. We Jones McCutcheon, William S. McVey and George Hunter after having been duly sworn by James Skaggs a Justice of the Peace for said County proceeded to appraise the following property, to-wit:
1 table 4.00
1 cutting knife and steel 1.50
1 foot adds .50
1 jug .371/2
1 Hoe and shovel .871/2
1 grindstone .50
2 old sickles .50
300 feet of plank 3.00
1 hoe .371/2
1 pig in the pen 1.00
1 man’s saddle 6.00
1 Books .75
1 pail .25
1 chain log hook and ox yoke 1.75
1 pair hames and chains 1.25
1 half bushel .25
1 wind mill 16.00
1 lot of wheat in the sheaf 10.00
1 lot of oats in the sheaf 75.00
unbroke flax 1.00
1 Barshear plow 5.00
12 head of sheape 10.50
1 yearling heifer 3.50
1 ox 20.00
1 small black bull 8.00
1 cow with a bull 12.00
1 large spotted cow 10.00
1 muly cow 8.00
9 geese 2.25
13 head of hogs 34.00
1 gray filly 35.00
1 bay mare 15.00
2 1/2 acres of corn 8.00
9 acres of corn 20.00
1 calf 1.00
1 mattock 1.25
1 axe 2.00
1 kittle 3.00
1 oven and lid 1.50
1 pot .50
1 oven 1.00
1 tub and churn 1.00
1 barrel and pail .62 1/2
1 shovel plow 1.00
1 pot rack 1.00
1 tub .50
1 woman’s saddle 3.00
1 hand saw 1 auger and two chisels 2.00
1 shovel .50
1 meal sifter .37 1/2
1 rifle gun and shot pouch 10.00
1 big wheel 2.00
1 spinning wheel 1.00
1 clock 15.00
1 press 8.00
1 small chest .25
1 old table .25
1 looking glass .75
1 smoothing iron, blowing horn and strainer .50
1 coffee mill .37 1/2
1 skillet and lid 1.00
1 pot and two pair of hooks 1.00
4 chairs 1.00
1 coffee pot .37 1/2
1 pair cords .37 1/2
1 cooler .25
Cupboard ware 2.75
1 loom 2.00
3 beads and bedding 50.00
1 due bill on Samuel Shawver .75
1 note on John Gwinn Signr. 10.00
1 note on Samuel Withrow 2.25
1 oald ax and tomahawk .25
Chairs and iron wedge .50
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.
52 Ancestors: #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.
Which Rachel was the daughter of Frederick HONAKER?
On 24 April 2014 Lyle LeMasters wrote the following to me:
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 the whole group of related or possible relations….. [I underlined for emphasis.]
As he wrote above 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 (Frederick, Jacob) and her cousin Rachel (Jacob). 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’s father Frederick HONAKER left a will (images 149 and 150) naming all of his children, several being underage. He wrote his will on 20 [or 30] November 1824. It was presented in December Court 1824 and proven in January Court 1825. Rachel married Elijah WOOD on 4 January 1825 [line 6]. The following month Elijah and Rachel WOOD sold her part of her father’s estate as seen in:
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.
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 1852-1858, Rachel could not read & write.
Rachel was last seen in the 1860 census. She died sometime during the 1860s decade as Elijah is seen with his second wife Rachel Louisa McGRAW in the 1870 census. 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!
New generation — 3rd great-grandparents — 8 sets on my paternal line, one set is unknown. This will get me through another 14 weeks!
52 Ancestors: #16 Elijah WOOD abt. 1806-1885
I’ve never thought of Elijah WOOD as being a brick wall. While preparing his story I realized that I don’t have anything that shows [or proves] that my 3rd great-grandfather was the son of William WOOD (1777-1835) and Mary Ann McGRAW (1781-1845).
1825 – First Record Found for Elijah WOOD
Elijah WOOD and Rachel HONAKER were married by John CAMPBELL on 4 January 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia. The entry in the marriage register does not give the names of the bride and groom’s parents. [line 6]
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).
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1830
Sheet No. 209A&B
1 male under 5 yo (Allen Alexander)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Elijah)
3 females under 5 yo (Amanda Jane, Sarah Ann, Mary Salinas)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Rachel)
6 person in household
On the 2nd day of October 1835 Elijah and Amos WOOD were administrators at the sale of the personal property of William WOOD. At the sale, Elijah bought one foot adz, plank per hundred, one stone hammer, one shovel, and one mooly (sic, muley) bull.
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).
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated as of 1 June 1840
Sheet No. 149A&B
2 males under 5 yo (James Simpson, Elijah Stuart)
1 male 10 & under 15 yo (Allen Alexander)
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (Elijah)
2 females under 5 yo (Nancy E., Rebecca Ann)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Turze Lucresia)
3 females 10 & under 15 yo (Sarah Ann, Amanda Jane, Mary Salinas)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Rachel)
11 persons in household
2 persons engaged in agriculture
Shirley Donnelly wrote a column published in the Beckley Post-Herald (West Virginia) entitled “Yesterday and Today”. On 28 April 1975 his article “River Towns Full of History” included the following about land in the Lansing area that Elijah WOOD sold in 1841 [this needs to be researched; 11/26/1858 Elijah Wood to Eliza A. Townsend Bk E pg 282 Nr Chestnutburg – this deed may reference back to the 1841 land sale]:
“Lansing….is an old Fayette County settlement. It is located on the Chestnutburg road that runs out of Ansted and into the Edmond community. It is near where the high bridge is now under construction over New River Gorge. The land at Lansing was first owned by Elijah Wood of the Ansted area. Wood sold some of his land in the Lansing section to John Townsend in 1841.”
In 1845 Amos WOOD wrote his last will and testament and named his brothers Elijah and Allen as executors. The handwritten pages 107-110 in the Book of Wills, where Amos’ will would be found, are missing however this collection of records was also typed up at one time and added to the back of the will book.
Elijah and his wife had their two youngest children in the 1840s: William Frederick (1842-1916) and Lewis L. (1845-bef. 1885). Their three oldest daughters married: Amanda Jane married Joshua J. PARRISH on 1 June 1843; Sarah Ann married William A. W. DEMPSEY abt. 1845; and Mary Salinas married George A. McGRAW on 1 June 1850.
His oldest son Allen Alexander was working as a blacksmith in Greenbrier County in 1850.
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.
Elijah Wood 43 M Farmer $700 Virginia
Rachel Wood 46 F Virginia cannot read & write
Turze Wood 18 F Virginia attended school
Simpson Wood 17 M Laborer Virginia attended school
Nancy Wood 15 F Virginia attended school
E. S. Wood 13 M Virginia attended school
Ann E. Wood 11 F Virginia attended school
Wm. Wood 8 M Virginia
Lewis Wood 5 M Virginia
During the 1850s six of Elijah’s children married: Allen Alexander married Margaret Ann HOOVER on 12 February 1851; Turze Lucresia “Turzey” married John H. NEAL in 1854; Rebecca Ann married William W. RYAN on 25 December 1855; James Simpson married Ellen E. ALEXANDER on 1 Jun 1856; Nancy E. married Charles B. JOHNSON on 11 December 1856; and Elijah Stuart “Sty” married Margaret Virginia TOWNSEND before 1860.
Elijah WOOD was a Justice of the Peace in Fayette County as seen in the following bonds:
6/10/1852 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 332
6/15/1854 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 539
6/12/1856 Elijah Wood to VA Comwth Bond Bk D pg 713
[Source: Lyle LeMasters, per email 21 April 2014]
This left Elijah and his wife with only their two youngest sons living at home and attending school in 1860.
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
Elijah Wood 53 M Farmer $2500 $500 Virginia
Rachel Wood 56 F Virginia
William Wood 18 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school
Lewis L. Wood 15 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school
There were several deaths in the family in the 1860s: Elijah’s wife Rachel HONAKER died during the decade, his daughter Rebecca Ann died 19 March 1866, and his sons-in-law, William A. W. DEMPSEY died about 1867 and George A. McGRAW about 1868.
Elijah’s son William Frederick married Martha Ann HESS on 4 February 1864. Elijah remarried before the 1870 census, however, no marriage record has been found for Rachel Louisa McGRAW and Elijah WOOD.
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.
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
Wood, Elijah 63 M W Farmer $1300 $350 Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Wood, Rachael L. 45 F W Keeping House Virginia
Dempsey, Unis 14 F W At Home Virginia
Dempsey, John 12 M W Farm Laborer Virginia
Two of Elijah’s daughters, both widowed, remarried in the 1870s. Mary Salinas married Michael Price ARBAUGH on 26 Apr 1871 and, following his death, she married Milton SIMS on 4 February 1876. Her sister Sarah Ann had planned to marry James R. REID (a marriage license was taken out on 27 November 1872 but not used) and seven weeks later married John M. FOX, a widower, on 14 January 1873.
By 1880 Elijah’s granddaughter Eunice DEMPSEY who had been living with her grandfather in 1870 had married. His grandsons John and Elijah DEMPSEY were living with him in 1880.
Also in his household was his mother-in-law Polly McGRAW. Her presence in his household has been very helpful in proving that Elijah was married twice. The age difference in the 1870 and 1880 census as compared to the 1850 and 1860 for Elijah’s wife Rachel/Rachel L. suggested that Elijah was married twice – both ladies being named Rachel. Earlier census listings for Polly McGRAW show that she was the mother of Rachel Louisa McGRAW.
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
Wood, Elijah W M 73 Farmer WV WV WV
Wood, Rachel L. W F 54 wife married Keeping house WV WV VA Wife
Dempsey, Elijah W M 17 laborer single Farm laborer WV WV WV
Dempsey, Jno H. W M 22 laborer single Works in coal yard WV WV WV
McGraw, Polly W F 72 mother-in-law widowed Keeping house WV WV WV
1885 – Elijah WOOD left a last will and testament!
Page 7 (right page) Last Will and Testament of Elijah Wood Decd I Elijah Wood in the name of God Amen do make and publish this as my last Will and Testament. First: I direct that I shall be buried in a suitable manner in accordance with my station in life. Second: I will and bequeath to my beloved wife Rachel Louisa the home place where I now live during her natural life, should she prefer that the place be sold she is to receive one third of the proceeds of sale or so much thereof as she may need for support. I also give to her one cow of her choice, one hog of her choice, one bed and my kitchen furniture. I also give to her interest on four hundred dollars of my personal estate or more if she should need it during her life. Third: I give and bequeath to my grandson John H. Dempsey my farm situate on horse shoe Creek Consisting of two tracts containing Sixty acres more or less and he is charged with the payment of one hundred Dollars to be paid to the rest of my heirs but it is my wish and I direct that he shall not be oppressed in the payment of said one hundred dollars. $100.00 Fourth: I give and bequeath to my grandson Elijah Lewis Dempsey one hundred dollars to be paid out of my personal estate. Fifth: I give and bequeath to my granddaughter Jerusha Rogers the sum of fifty dollars to be paid out of my personal estate.. Sixth: I will and bequeath all the rest of my estate to my nine living children Viz Allen A. Wood, Amanda J. Parrish, Sarah A. Fox, Mary Salina Sims, Tersey Lucresia Neal, James S. Wood and Nancy E. Johnston, Elijah S. Wood, W. F. Wood and I do make them the residuary legatees of my estate to them equally portion and portion alike. Seventh: I do appoint and constitute G. W. Imboden and James Simpson Wood my son as the executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made. Given under my hand and seal this 14th day of March ad 1885 Elijah Wood seal
Page 8 (left page) We the subscribing witnesses have this day witnessed the foregoing will signed and declared by Elijah Wood as his Will and in his presence and signed in the presence of each of us and we have signed in the presence of each other this 14th day of March 1885. Allen McGraw George L. McClung G. W. Imboden
In the office of the clerk of the county Court of Fayette County West Virginia September 23, 1885. This day the last Will and Testament of Elijah Wood late of this county deceased was presented and offered for probate by James Simpson Wood one of the Executors named in said will and after having upon oath the evidence of Allen McGraw, George L. McClung and G. W. Imboden the three subscribing witnesses thereto as to the signature of said Elijah Wood deceased to said will and the genuineness of the same. It is ordered that the said will be and the same is hereby admitted to record. And whereas the said G. W. Imboden the other executor named in said will refused to qualify as such executor the said James Simpson Wood Executor appointed and named as aforesaid Appeared and took the oath required by law and together with J. A. Taylor and F. M. McClung his surety entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of six thousand dollars conditional according to law And on motion of the said James Simpson Wood Executor as aforesaid, Wm Deitz, Franklin Hess, and Wm Martin are hereby appointed appraisers to appraise the personal estate of the said Elijah Wood deceased and report to this office according to law. Teste: E B Hawkins Clerk Fayette County Court Clerks Office September 23rd 1885 The foregoing will was this day presented in my office proved by the oaths of the subscribing witnesses thereto and admitted.
Elijah named his nine living children: Allen A. Wood, Amanda J. Parrish, Sarah A. Fox, Mary Salina Sims, Tersey Lucresia Neal, James S. Wood and Nancy E. Johnston, Elijah S. Wood, W. F. Wood. His daughter Rebecca Ann had died in 1866 and son Lewis L. may have died between 1860-1885. No trace of him was found after the 1860 census. I believe it can be assumed that Lewis predeceased his father as he is not listed as one of the living children.
Elijah made bequeaths to John and Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY, sons of his daughter Sarah Ann, and to Jerusha ROGERS, daughter of his deceased daughter Rebecca Ann.
Elijah’s death record
Elijah WOOD, a white male farmer, died on 10 September 1885 in Fayette County, West Virginia. The cause of death was “hemorrhage”. His widow Rachel L. Wood, the informant, did not give the names of his parents. [entry 73]
Getting back to his parentage
Unfortunately WOOD is a common surname in Old Virginia. I need to analyze the pre-1850 census listings for Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, and Fayette counties for WOOD and WOODS. The county lines were changing as new counties were being formed in Old Virginia. Woodville, now known as Ansted, once part of Greenbrier County, fell to Monroe County in 1799, to Nicholas County in 1818 and finally to Fayette County in 1831 as the counties were formed. The image quality of the census has gotten better over the last dozen or so years and I am finding some errors in work I previously did on the census. I believe that by taking a new look, maybe even starting from scratch, could help. This project will be discussed in a later post.
I put out some feelers to see if other descendants [of Elijah WOOD; William WOOD, believed to be his father; or Bailey WOOD Sr., believed to be his grandfather] may have some keys that will help unlock and push open the door in this brick wall!
Lyle LeMasters’ work has been used as a guide by many descendants of the WOOD families in the Fayette County, West Virginia, area. He did early census work and searched for land records, wills, etc. I am happy to say that he replied right away:
Hello Cathy nice to talk to you again. There is no 100 percent proof without a will and all of the children or surviving grandchildren of a child being named. Elijah and 2 brothers being named in relationship as you stated is proof but still does not establish their parents without one of them having a death record naming their parents. The same goes for Bailey Wood Sr. and some of his children selling land in a deed as their part of Bailey Wood Sr.’s estate. This is not 100 percent proof but they would have to be heirs or entitled to sell the land. No will for Bailey Wood Sr. was found to date to establish his children. Considering they were the only Wood family in that area while the others were using Woods helps but it is not 100 percent proof. The Bailey Wood Sr. land grants and the land sold also help prove a possible relationship of his heirs but not 100 percent.
And so the research to prove the parentage of Elijah WOOD continues.
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.
Sarah Ann WOOD was born about 1827 in (present day) Fayette County, West Virginia, the third child of Elijah WOOD and Rachel HONAKER who were married in 1825 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.
In 1885 Elijah WOOD named his nine living children in order of birth in his last will and testament. Sarah was named third after Allen Alexander and Amanda Jane; Mary Salina was named fourth. Allen, Amanda, Sarah, and Mary were born between 1825-1830 per the 1830 census when the family was living in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia. Allen was their first child born nine months after the marriage in October 1825 per the 1900 census. The 1840 census numbers are consistent with the 1830. There are no birth records for this time period so I have to trust the census for an estimate of when the children were born.
I am puzzled by the fact that the family was enumerated in Greenbrier County in 1830 as the area that they lived in was part of Nicholas County at that time. Or did they move out of that area for a short time? Sarah’s great-grandfather Bailey WOOD first settled in Woodville (also known as New Haven, Westlake and now Ansted) in the 1790’s when the area was part of Greenbrier County. Due to the changing county lines it fell to Nicholas County in 1818 and then Fayette County in 1831.
[See this nifty interactive map on the formation of the Virginia counties.]
I’m multi-lingual and sometimes the right term in English just doesn’t want to come to me when I need it. There is a wonderful German word to describe the vital records for the time period that my Sarah lived in: lückenhaft (incomplete, sketchy, fragmentary, scrappy, gappy). When documentation is “lückenhaft” and your ancestor fits into the gaps found between the records it’s disappointing. Looking on the bright side, it is encouraging to find records for siblings and other relatives to put things into perspective.
Sarah was most likely the next of Elijah and Rachel’s children to marry. She married William A. W. DEMPSEY about 1846 as we see Wm. A. W. age 28 and Sarah A. age 22 in the 1850 census with their oldest child Elizabeth Rachel age 3 and James Alexander age 1. The young family was living in HH#85, in the immediate area of Sarah’s parents in HH#94, in Fayette County.
In the 1850’s Sarah gave birth to three more children: Mary Virginia in June 1854, Eunice J. on 1 May 1855, and John Henry on 7 November 1857. The closeness of these births makes me wonder if she may have had more pregnancies between 1849-1854, children who did not survive.
In 1860 the family was living in the household of the widower John A. McGRAW and his three motherless children. John’s deceased wife Nancy M. McGRAW (maiden name McGRAW) was Sarah’s double first cousin once removed. I would like to think that the families were living together because Sarah was helping with the care of the widower’s children who had lost their mother in 1855. I believe that the families may have been living together for several years. Both families had sons named James. Sarah’s son James was seen with only his middle name, Alexander, possibly an attempt to avoid confusion as the boys were close in age. That same year Sarah gave birth to her sixth child, my great-grandfather, William Henderson DEMPSEY, born on 14 September 1860.
Sarah’s husband is arrested as a rebel
During the Civil War while pregnant with her youngest child Elijah Lewis (b. 19 October 1862), Sarah’s husband William A. W. DEMPSEY, a farmer and citizen residing on Dogwood Ridge, was arrested as a rebel by the Union army. He had left home on the 18th of May 1862 to get work in the valley when he heard firing at the Court House. He gave the names of his brothers-in-law Simpson Wood, Styris Wood, and G. W. McVay of the Oil Works as references as well as saying he knew Hamilton of Hawks Nest. James B. Hamilton was well known and his marriage linked him to the large WOOD family. He had married Sarah’s first cousin Matilda Wood in 1853.
The Difficult Years Following The Civil War
Times were hard for Sarah and her family following the Civil War. Sarah’s mother Rachel died in the 1860’s and her father Elijah remarried. About 1867 Sarah’s husband William was killed in a logging accident leaving her with a passel of children aged between twenty-one and five. Her oldest child Elizabeth Rachel “Lizzie” DEMPSEY married Robert HUGHES, a widower, in 1868.
The family is dispersed
Sarah still had six children to feed and raise. The extended WOOD family came to her rescue. The family was scattered at the time of the 1870 census. James was living with his Aunt Amanda Jane (WOOD) PARRISH:
Eunice and John were with their grandfather Elijah WOOD:
Elijah, the youngest, and his mother Sarah were with his aunt Turzey (WOOD) NEAL:
William, age 10 at the time and working as a farm laborer, was living with the Abraham “Abram” FORSYTHE family. Mr. FORSYTHE was first married to Sarah HENDRICK (d. 1859) and second to Mary WESTLAKE in 1862. Both Abram’s brother Samuel and Mary’s sister Mathilda were married into the large WOOD family.
Lizzie was with her husband, raising his two motherless boys from his first marriage and their own son.
Sarah’s daughter Mary Virginia, about 16 years old at the time, was not found. She was in the area as she was the next of Sarah’s children to marry. She married John A. SNELL (1850-1897) on 16 September 1872 in Fayette County.
Two marriage licenses found for Sarah
A few months later Sarah had an offer to marry as a marriage license was taken out on 27 November 1872 in Fayette County, West Virginia, for James B. REID born in Scotland, widowed, son of Wm & Mary, and Sarah Ann DEMPSEY, widowed, daughter of Elijah WOOD. Geraldine Dempsey Workman believed that this marriage did not take place as there was no minister’s return. This would make sense as several weeks later, on 14 January 1873, Sarah married John M. FOX. The marriage licenses were found on the same page of the marriage register. [Reid line 17; Fox line 32]
Sarah’s children were growing and coming of age to marry. Eunice J. DEMPSEY married John Isaac SCAGGS (1841-1903) on 11 May 1873 and James Alexander “Buck” DEMPSEY married Mary E. SADDLER (1855-1920) on 25 December 1874, both marriages in Fayette County. This left her with her three youngest sons still unmarried in 1880. John and Elijah were living with their grandfather Elijah WOOD:
and my great-grandfather William, adopted, was with the John CAMPBELL family. No record has been found to show that this was a legal adoption.
In earlier research some confusion was caused by the presence of a grandson named Charles A. DEMPSEY in the 1880 household of John Fox and his second wife Sarah. Since Sarah first marriage was to a Dempsey one could assume that the grandson was the son of one of her children. But he was not. This is a lesson to those who do not look at all the persons involved in their ancestors lives. Charles was the son of John Fox’s eldest daughter Mary and her husband Seton B. DEMPSEY. To date no relationship has been found between the families of Sarah’s first husband William DEMPSEY and Seton B. DEMPSEY.
Sarah’s son James Alexander was living next door to her in the above.
Sarah’s youngest sons marry in the early 1880’s
Following the 1880 census Sarah saw her youngest sons marry their life partners. John Henry DEMPSEY married Amanda Ann “Mandy” McCLUNG (1864-1938) on 22 February 1882; Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY married Octavia Dell INGRAM (1866-1923) on 19 October 1882; and my great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY married my great-grandmother Laura Belle INGRAM (1868-1940) on 1 October 1884.
Sarah and her father Elijah die a year and half apart
In 1885 Sarah’s father Elijah WOOD passed away. Sarah followed him a year and a half later on 1 April 1887 [2nd entry]. It is believed that she is buried in Good Luck Cemetery also known as Fox-Wood Cemery on Chestnutburg, Ames Hgts Rd. 1.75 mi. off Rt. 19, Fayette County, West Virginia. She was survived by six or seven children, about 20 grandchildren, and her second husband John M. FOX who died 12 January 1896. Sarah’s seven children gave her a total at least fifty grandchildren, although about seven did not live to adulthood, and nearly 180 great-grandchildren.
Flat rock tombstone may be Sarah’s
Lyle LeMasters wrote in December 2000 that he believed that my great-great-grandmother Sarah Ann Wood Dempsey Fox is buried in the old cemetery on the old Chestnutburg Road now known as the Old Mill Creek Road. The Foxes are buried at the very top of the hill and different families are buried in lines coming down the hill. The Wood family graves are about the 3rd or 4th row down the hill. The graves are all facing east to meet the rising sun. He further said that her stone is like the old Fox stones, a rock tombstone in the ground and roughly carved initials and years in the stone. She is not buried with the Foxes but is buried down along the line of the Woods graves. The reason that he believes that this is her stone is that she was the only one that came close enough to fit. His aunt Becky Fox shared a photo of the marker with me.