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.
Bailey WOOD Sr. of Woodville, Virginia (present-day Ansted, West Virginia)
b. bet. 1755-1758 d. bef. 21 Sep 1826
On November 24, 1781, Pastor John Alderson of the Greenbrier River area organized the Old Greenbrier Church at Alderson, the first Baptist organization west of the Alleghenies. Bailey WOOD, Ann WOOD, and James WOOD were three of the twelve original members.
At this time he had been married about five years and lived with his wife Nancy and several children in a cabin near the foot of Keeney’s Knob near Alderson where wild game hunting was so plentiful.
The relationship between him and Ann WOOD and James WOOD is not known. Could they have been his parents or siblings?
In 1788 he was granted 450 acres of land on the south side of Greenbrier River. It is possible that he also acquired 280 acres in 1785. Bailey was seen on tax lists in Greenbrier County from 1782 until 1799 when the area that he lived in became Monroe County.
Around 1792 he was one of a group of “squatters” who were the first settlers in the Ansted area. In 1796 Bailey WOOD was instrumental in organizing Hopewell Baptist Church, the first Baptist Church in the area of Woodville, now known as Ansted, (Fayette County, West Virginia). The initial membership of the new church included members who had been dismissed from the Greenbrier Baptist Church, most likely due to a westward migration of families. The Woodville area fell in Nicholas County in 1818 and then in Fayette County in 1831 when the counties were formed. The family moved only once, though they appeared to move several times due to the changing of county boundaries.
By 1804 Bailey had disposed of 450 acres of land. In 1826, after his death, his heirs sold 100 acres on the south side of Greenbrier River, then in Monroe County, to John Alderson.
Few families know their history as well as the descendants of Hans Jacob HONEGGER (HONAKER), a Swiss-German immigrant who sailed to Philadelphia in 1749. Credit is given to:
– Nadine W. Larson who researched Honegger’s ancestors and wrote Hans Jacob Honaker – From Switzerland to America, 1987, 249 pgs.
– Frieda Patrick Davison who edited Honaker Family in America, Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD, Copyright 1998 by The National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families
– The National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families as they continue to make annual updates to the above book as well as publishing a quarterly newsletter.
My line is through Hans Jacob’s son Frederick Honaker who married Rachel Wiseman. They are buried in Rehoboth Church Cemetery, Union, Monroe County, West Virginia.
**I’m hoping someday FamilySearch.org will have the images of the Swiss records online so that I can see the documents that Nadine used to add 8 generations to the HONEGGER family tree back to the 1500s.