Rewriting the Biography: Jane L. SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

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

The fifth child, fourth and youngest daughter of James SIMS and Elizabeth COTTON was born after the 1810 census, likely between 1810 and 1813. Jane SIMS was enumerated in 1820 age under 10, 1830 age 15-19, 1840 age 20-29, 1850 age 40, 1860 age 47, 1870 age 56, and 1880 age 67.

Her census analysis has not been easy. She lived long enough to be enumerated on the first census with relationships – the 1880 census. But how I wish the three before, from 1850 to 1870, also had the relationship to the head of household included.

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

Jane was born in Kanawha County before the creation of Nicholas County in 1818. In 1820 she was the baby girl of the family but had two younger brothers.

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

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

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

In 1830 Jane was a young lady just under 20 and the only daughter still living in the household of James SIMS. She now had three younger brothers. Along with her parents and brothers, there were five slaves in the household, four less than a decade earlier.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James SIMS

1830 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (George W.)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (Dryden & Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 70 thru 79: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Elizabeth 46-49)
Slaves – Males – 10 thru 23: 1
Slaves – Males – 24 thru 35: 1 (Isaac?)
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 2
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total Slaves: 5
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 11

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

Jane SIMS married Joseph DARLINGTON, son of Benjamin DARLINGTON and Mary “Polly” JOHNSON on 25 August 1831. They were married by Rev. John JOHNSON. Her mother-in-law was the sister of her half-siblings’ spouses: Rev. John JOHNSON (md. Elizabeth SIMS), Susannah JOHNSON (md. Martin SIMS), and William JOHNSON (md. Nancy Ann SIMS).

The 1840 census was enumerated by visit and not in alphabetical order. Jane and Joseph were living next door to her father James. There were two men in the household who were engaged in agriculture, her husband Joseph and an unknown man who was also in the 20 thru 29 years old age range. Since their marriage in 1831, Jane had given birth to five children: three daughters and two sons.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James SIMS and Joseph DARLINGTON

1840 U.S. Federal Census3
Nicholas County, Virginia
Name: Joseph Darlington
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Benjamin)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 2 (Joseph & ?)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Rhoda)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Mary, Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Jane)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

In 1850 we find the family living next door to Jane’s half-nephew Jonathan SIMS (son of her half-brother William) and her brother Dryden SIMS. Dryden was involved in the settlement of his father James’ estate which could mean that he and his sister Jane were actually living on the land which was part of the estate of James SIMS.

A naming pattern was seen when the names of the children were found in the 1850 census. Jane and Joseph had named their first four children after their parents:

  • Elizabeth after her maternal grandmother
  • Mary after her paternal grandmother
  • Benjamin after his paternal grandfather
  • James after his maternal grandmother.

These children were followed by Rhoda Ann, Lorenzo Dow, Catherine, Houstin, and David. The last two would be missing in the next census. Joseph was a farmer and his two older sons, Benjamin 14 and James 12, likely helped on the farm and were not listed with occupations.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for the Joseph DARLINGTON household

1850 U.S. Federal Census4
Nicholas County, Virginia
The 43rd District
Enumerated on 26 August 1850 by D. Oliver Kelly Ass’t Marshal
Sheet No. 371A (line 41-42) & 371B (line 1-9), HH #414-414
Darlington, Joseph 38 M W Farmer Virginia
Darlington, Jane 40 F W Virginia
Darlington, Elizabeth 18 F W Virginia
Darlington, Mary 16 F W Virginia
Darlington, Benjamin 14 M W Virginia
Darlington, James 12 M W Virginia
Darlington, Roda 10 F W Virginia
Darlington, Lorenzo 9 M W Virginia
Darlington, Catharine 7 F W Virginia
Darlington, Houstin 5 M W Virginia
Darlington, David 1 M W Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

In 1857 two of Jane and Joseph’s children married. Their oldest daughter Elizabeth married George PETTIT in January and their second son James F. married Mary Frances WHALEN in March. The PETTIT family was living near Dryden SIMS in 1860 while James and his family were likely missed.

Jane and Joseph were living near other SIMS families as well as Isaac SIMS, the enslaved man James SIMS had emancipated. Isaac owned land which bordered on the land of previously owned by James SIMS. There were, however, unoccupied households on both sides of the DARLINGTON family in 1860. This sets the household apart from the rest of the persons enumerated on the page. But perhaps this is not of great importance as the enumerator, as seen on other pages of the census, appears to have kept track of all unoccupied dwellings he visited in the area.

The members of the household in 1860 caused a lot of head scratching. Elizabeth and James, as mentioned, were married and no longer at home. Joseph and Jane were seen with eight children between the ages of 21 and 9. Rhoda, Lorenzo, and Catherine were carried over from 1850 to 1860 aging 10 years.

Missing on the 1860 census were Mary, Benjamin, Houstin, and David. New on the 1860 census were Rowdy M. age 21, Andrew D. age 15, Sarah A. age 13, Martha M. age 11, and Susan J. age 9? Are their ages correct? Why weren’t the first four found on the 1850 census? Could Andrew D. be the son David age 1 in 1850? If so, were the ages of the girls also off by up to four years? Was Jane the mother of these three girls or were they children taken in by the family? Sarah and Martha were not found in 1850 with the Darlington surname. The three girls were not found in 1870 nor in the register of marriages for Nicholas or surrounding counties.

And what of Rowdy M.? Was he supposed to be Benjamin? Rhoda Ann also went by Rhodie. Could there have been a mix-up in the name for the young man and Rhoda/Rhodie’s name was listed twice?

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for the Joseph DARLINGTON household

1860 U.S. Federal Census5
Nicholas County, Virginia
Nicholas Court House
Page No. 100, Sheet No. 1018, Lines 28-37, HH #919-683
Darlington, Joseph 45 M Farmer $1100 $300 Virginia
Darlington, Jane L. 47 F Wife Virginia
Darlington, Rowdy M. 21 M Laborer Virginia
Darlington, Roda Ann 20 F Domestic Virginia
Darlington, Lorenzo 19 M Farmer Virginia
Darlington, Catherine 18 F Domestic Virginia
Darlington, Andrew D. 15 M LaborerVirginia
Darlington, Sarah A. 13 F Virginia
Darlington, Martha M. 11 F Virginia
Darlington, Susan J. 9 F Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

The 1870 census would not solve the questions caused by the 1860 census. Jane and Joseph’s oldest daughter Elizabeth must have died as her PETTIT children were found living with their DARLINGTON grandparents. George PETTIT, the father of the children, was in the previous household. Jane and Joseph’s son James also died in the 1860s, possibly in 1865 as his youngest child, a daughter was born in December 1865 and named Edith James. His widow and children were living with her mother in Fayette County. Lorenzo Dow married Jane “Jennie” NEAL in 1863 and was living in Kanawha County.

Only two children were living at home, Rosa and Dixon. Rosa is likely an error and should be Rhoda. She would be married with one child by 1880. Dixon age 15 would have been 5 in 1860 but there was no child this young in the family at the time. Would the 1880 census clear this up?

As in 1860, Joseph owned real estate, however, no record has as yet been found to document this.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia for the Joseph DARLINGTON household

1870 U.S. Federal Census6
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township
Page No. 8, Sheet No. 166B, Lines 8-14, HH #53-53
Darlington, Joseph 57 M W Farmer $700 $500 West Virginia male US Cit. over 21yo
Darlington, Jane 56 F W West Virginia
Darlington, Rosa 30 F W At home West Virginia
Darlington, Dixon 15 M W Farm Laborer West Virginia
Pettit, William 12 M W At home West Virginia cannot read & write
Pettit, Jane 11 F W At home West Virginia cannot read & write
Pettit, Elizabeth 10 F W At home West Virginia cannot read & write

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Jane was the informant for the death of her husband Joseph when he died on 1 February 1875. In 1880 Jane was living with her daughter Rhoda who had married the widower William B. MORRIS and was enumerated as his mother-in-law. Jane was three years younger than her son-in-law William. Rhoda and William had a daughter Valena Victoria born on 5 June 1876.

Also in the household was Joseph A. D. DARLINGTON age 25 and whose relationship to the head of household was brother-in-law. Is this the same young man as Dixon 1870 age 15 and Andrew D. 1860 age 15? Should the age in 1860 have been 5? Was he the youngest son of Jane and Joseph as the relationship to William Morris would suggest? Did he begin to use the first name Joseph after the death of his father?

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia for the William B. MORRIS household with Jane (Sims) DARLINGTON

1880 U.S. Federal Census7
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township
Enumeration District No. 105
Page No. 6, Sheet No. 98B, Lines 2-7, HH #39-39
Morris, William B. W M 70 married Physician WV WV WV
Morris, Rhoda W F 41 wife married Keeping house WV WV WV
Morris, Sarah J. W F 24 daughter single WV WV WV
Morris, Velena V. W F 3 daughter single cannot read & write WV WV WV
Darlington, Jane W F 67 Mother-in-law widowed cannot read & write WV WV WV
Darlington, Joseph A. D. W M 25 Brother-in-law single Works on farm WV WV WV

After the 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Jane SIMS, the widow of Joseph DARLINGTON, was not found in the 1900 census. She likely died after the 1880 census in a time period in which death records are sparse for Nicholas County. Where were her children?

Elizabeth had died between 1860-1870 leaving three known children and a widower. I had not been able to trace any of the children until I found a birth record for Elizabeth’s son William L. The date of birth matches that found on a death certificate for a man by the same name who died in 1942. An error was made by the son who declared his death, giving the informant’s mother’s name instead mother of the deceased. The name of the father was not known. The 1889 marriage record of William L. PETTITT and Maria SMITH included the names of his parents: George and Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s son had moved to the southern part of West Virginia, living in Mercer and Mingo counties.

Traces of Mary, Benjamin, Houstin, and David were lost after 1850. I had also lost Catherine after the 1860 census. With the recent find of Elizabeth’s son William, I searched for him in the Ancestry user trees and found a tree for him which includes his aunt Catherine. She married Rev. Anderson Marion NEAL in 1864 or earlier and they had ten children, eight living in 1900 per the census. A quick perusal of delayed birth records and death records for her children show their mother was a DARLINGTON with the middle name Jane, born in Swiss, Nicholas County. Swiss is the town in which James SIMS’ original land tract was located. Records for her family will have to be added to my database as this was found only hours before I was to publish this post.

James’ widow Mary Frances WHALEN died 13 December 1904 per records kept by descendants of this line. She lived Fayette County. The death records of three of the four children who lived to adulthood prove their parents were James DARLINGTON and Mary WHALEN. The death record (index only) of the fourth child who died in Chicago in 1908 does not include the names of his parents who were from West Virginia.

Rhoda who married William B. MORRIS before 5 June 1876 was widowed 5 May 1886 and reported his death. She was not found in the 1900 census. By 1910 she was living in the household of John S. DARLINGTON who had married her only child Valena. Rhoda died in 1915 at the age of 78 in Jefferson district of Nicholas County.

Lorenzo Dow lived in Jefferson, Nicholas County until his death caused by liver and kidney trouble in 1905 at the age of 64. He was the father of nine, four of whom died in infancy while the other five lived long lives dying in their 60s and 70s. His son John S. who married his sister’s daughter Valena lived to be 81 dying in 1952.

No trace of Joseph Andrew Dixon DARLINGTON was found after his marriage in 1882 in Kanawha County to his first cousin Mary F. SIMS (1857-1887), daughter of Charles SIMS and Minerva J. SUMMERS.

In the next installment Charles Fulton SIMS (1815-1891), the third youngest son of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON will be featured. Charles was the father of Mary F. SIMS mentioned in the previous paragraph. Perhaps while working on his census analysis I will pick up a trace of his son-in-law and nephew Joseph A. D. DARLINGTON.

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

Rewriting the Biography: Jane SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

  1. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  2. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film: 0029677, NARA Rol M19_198, Nicholas, Virginia, image 35+36 of 42, page 189A+B, line 17, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  3. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Nicholas, image 26+27 of 37, Sheet 10A+B, Line 9, Joseph Darlington. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  4. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_963; Images: 304-305; Virginia, Nicholas County, Western District, images 63+64 of 93, Sheet No. 371A (line 41-42) & 371B (line 1-9), HH #414-414, Joseph Darlington household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 August 2018). 
  5. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1365; FHL Film: 805365; West Virginia, Nicholas County, Nicholas, image 94 of 118, Page No. 100, Sheet No. 1018, Lines 28-37, HH #919-683, Joseph Darlington household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 August 2018). 
  6. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1695; FHL Film: 553194; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 8 of 17, Page No. 8, Sheet No. 166B, Lines 8-14, HH #53-53, Joseph Darlington household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  7. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1410; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 6 of 17, Enumeration District No. 105, Page No. 6, Sheet No. 98B, Lines 2-7, HH #39-39, William B. Morris household. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 August 2018). 

Killed by a Steam Locomotive in a Coal Mine

My GEDCOM file has been online at RootsWeb’s WorldConnect for 15 days short of fourteen years. Many people have written to me over the years. And when a person takes the time to send me the key to open a door in one of my brick walls, I do a happy dance and say, “Thank you very much for taking the time to get in touch.”

Oliver Jenkins III of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is one of these people. He sent his email to both of my addresses (to be sure I would receive it) last August and wrote:

I’m hoping you are the same person who posted the following info to rootsweb: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=meder-dempsey&id=I8229
If so:
Regarding the death of Elijah Neal, thought you might appreciate this information.

Who was Elijah NEAL?

Elijah W. NEAL was my  great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY‘s first cousin. They were very close in age, Elijah being the elder by three years. Their mothers were both daughters of Elijah WOOD (1806-1885) and I wonder if the younger Elijah’s middle name may have been Wood. But I’m getting away from the subject. I want to stress that this is speculation concerning the middle name!

For a long time, I’ve had “between 1896-1900” for the year of death of Elijah W. NEAL. I hadn’t found a death record for him and estimated his death as between the time his last child was born and the 1900 census when his wife, Rebecca F. (ARBAUGH) NEAL, was seen as widowed.

Fast forward to this past August when Oliver sent me the above-mentioned email with the transcription and citation for the source giving the date and cause of death for Elijah W. NEAL.

Killed by a Steam Locomotive in a Coal Mine on 3 June 1897

mrin26342-1897-fatal-accidents-cover-of-source

mrin26342-1897-fatal-accidents

Fatal Accidents 1897
June 3d and 4th. Elijah Neal and George W. Crump, Gauley Mountain mine, Fayette county, were killed by a steam locomotive in the mine. The following report was furnished by Mr. W. N. Page: “I regret to report the death of Elijah Neal and George W. Crump in our new mine Tunnell, on Thursday, June 3d, both white and leaving families. Neal’s head was crushed between the cab and rib, from which death must have been instantaneous, and Crump, who was badly scalded by steam from the safety valve, died the following morning. This accident was in no way connected with the working, but was the result of carelessness in running too fast over a new track. Only one pair of drivers left the rail, but at the high rate of speed the safety valve was knocked off against the roof. It is supposed that there was a small scale of slate on the rail, but this is not certain, but it is known positively that they were running at the time beyond the safety limit, with practically an empty engine. Neal was about 35 and Crump about 40 years of age.” On June 10th Mine Inspector John I. Absolom visited the scene of this accident and found the facts to be as stated above.
[Source: Annual Report of the Chief Mine Inspector to the Governor of West Virginia. W.E. Forsyth: Charleston, WV.1898. page 84-85; online at: https://archive.org/stream/annualreportdept18961897west#page/84/mode/2up]

Oliver also did a newspaper search and came up with this article which suggested Elijah’s widow might soon follow him to the grave.

Publication: The Evening Republican, Columbus, Indiana
Published: 4 June 1897
Page 1
ANSTEAD, W. Va.,
A locomotive was wrecked in the coal mines here today. Elijah Neal, engineer, was killed and assistant mine superintendent died from his injuries received.
Neal’s wife is prostrated and will die from the shock.

Elijah’s wife Rebecca did not die from the shock. She was found in the census in 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940, always in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia. No death record was found for her on WVCulture.org.

However, her obituary published in the Beckley Post-Herald was located and attached as a source for her death. Aunt Becky, as she was known,  outlived her husband by 52 years, dying on 3 July 1949 in Ansted.

mrin26342-1949-rebecca-neal-obit-beckley-post-heraldPublication: Beckley Post-Herald (Raleigh Co., WV)
Published: Sunday Morning, July 4, 1949
Headline: Neal Funeral Set For Today
Oak Hill, July 3 – Funeral services for Mrs. Rebecca (Aunt Becky) Neal, 87, of Ansted will be held Monday at 2:00 p.m. at the Ansted Baptist Church with the Rev. Stanley Neuman officiating.
Mrs. Neal, who was born in Greenbrier County, died at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Lola Boalt of Ansted, Saturday at 7:15 p.m. following an illness of six weeks.
She was a member of the Ansted Baptist Church.
Survivors include two daughters, Mrs. Lola Boalt and Mrs. Ada Dufour, and one son, Raleigh, all of Ansted. Also surviving are 15 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren.
The body will be at the home of Mrs. Lola Boalt.

The Benefits of Having My Family Tree Online

Oliver’s email was very much appreciated as have been all correspondence received in the past twenty years my family tree has been online. My database may have missing information, it may not always have sources cited, it may even have errors. In short, it may not be perfect. But the benefits of having it online far outnumber the embarrassment of mistakes or missing citations especially when people take the time to write to me and offer corrections and additions.

Thank you to all who have contacted me during the past 20 years!

bestwishescathy1

P.S. On 23 November 2016 I heard from Oliver Jenkins III. I wrote to him letting him know I mentioned him (first name only) and his random act of genealogical kindness in my post. He is not a related to Elijah W. Neal and found the information while researching for a client. He wrote, “Feel free to use my full name and email if you’d like. Extra clients always help 🙂 ” owjenkins3 @ gmail.com.

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #7 Robert Wiley LILLIE (1895-1940)

This is a spin-off of my 52 Ancestors: #14 Albert Spencer LILLIE (1848-1913) ~ Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can blogpost in which I featured a few photos from a collection of old photographs my 4C1R Joe Rooney shared with me. I asked Joe about using the photos and he kindly wrote, Please use them at your will.  I feel it is keeping it in the family and don’t need credit.  If anything, I appreciate your evaluations, identifications and detective work.  I’m hopeful you and yours enjoy them.  On a blog, in a book, above a cloud.”

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

Links to previous posts in this series may be found in Old Photographs

#7 Robert Wiley LILLIE (1895-1940)

After seeing a link to the Illinois State Archives on Facebook I checked to see if I could update some of the information on the families featured in this series of photographs. Albert Spencer LILLIE and Pernecia Elizabeth GLASS most likely married about 1871 were married 29 April 1872 in Pope County, Illinois, per the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index.

Their 11th and youngest child was Robert Wiley LILLIE born in 1895, the same year as his oldest brother Isaac’s second son Samuel Royalty LILLIE. He married Neele Audrey OWENS on 10 April 1920 in Kentucky. Robert and Neele had two daughters, Roberta Neele (Lillie) BOYER (1921-1991) and Marian Gene (Lillie) NEAL (1924-1975).

Robert Wiley LILLIE (1895-1940)

lillieRobert (left) with his nephew
Samuel Royalty LILLIE
1895-1979

Wife of Robert Wiley LILLIE

neeleNeele Audrey Owens Lillie 1898-1942

Daughter of Robert Wiley LILLIE and Neele Audrey OWENS

robertaRoberta Neele Lillie Boyer 1921-1991

Joe Rooney kindly gave me permission to use these photographs on my blog.

Joe ROONEY wrote on 15 February 2015: This collection of photographs was scanned at 300 dpi color by me. The original photos were sent by Sandra Lillie about ten years ago after she found them cleaning out a relative’s garage in Southern Illinois, finding no other takers (suckers). She believes they were a collection by L Vance Lillie. Many of the pictures seemed to be removed from frames or were in albums evidenced by fading characteristics and may have been from other’s collections. I scanned the reverse if there was laboratory advertising or writing. Some of the authors’ identification may be figured out of the handwriting matches. I did not scan the reverse of photos where there was only a three digit number that I believe to be sequence numbers on a roll of film. I didn’t spot any obvious helpful commonalities.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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52 Ancestors: #37 Nancy Ann SIMS abt. 1793-bet. 1860-1870

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

This is entry #37 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #37 Nancy Ann SIMS abt. 1793-bet. 1860-1870

My fourth great-grandmother Nancy Ann SIMS (1793-1860s) was the youngest child of James SIMS (1754-1840)  and his first wife Phebe (1755-1794). Their marriage record, which would show Phebe’s maiden name, has not been found. Old family lore, which has not been substantiated, tells of James marrying his cousin. This has led many on a wild goose chase as they only considered that she may have been a SIMS. It is believed that they married before 1777 in Culpeper County, Virginia, as this is where James was known to have been living.

On the 18th day of February 1834, James SIMS personally appeared before the Justice of the Peace of Nicholas County (who happened to be his son William) and gave an oath and made his declaration to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed 7 June 1832 for service rendered during the Revolutionary War. In the statement, he told of his living in Culpeper County in June 1777 when he was drafted.

declaration
James Sims Revolutionary War papers (ancestry.com accessed 7 Oct 2011)

James SIMS and his wife Phebe had seven children before their youngest, Nancy Ann was born about 1793 in Bath County, Virginia.

  • Sib 1: Jeremiah SIMS (1777-1824) born 24 May 1777 in Culpeper County, Virginia
  • Sib 2: William SIMS (1780-1854) born 6 November 1780 in Culpeper County, Virginia
  • Sib 3: Elizabeth SIMS (1782-1845) born 1782 in Culpeper County, Virginia
  • Sib 4: Martin SIMS (1783-1853) born about 1783 in Virginia
  • Sib 5: Edward “Ned” SIMS (1785-1852) born 7 June 1785 in Virginia
  • Sib 6: John SIMS (1787-1869) born 15 May 1787 in Virginia
  • Sib 7: Mary “Polly” SIMS (1788-1824) born between 1788-1792 in Virginia

On 17 December 1779[1] James and Phebe sold 118 acres of land in Bromfield parish, in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock River in Culpeper County, Virginia. The land had been acquired 30 October 1762[2] by Jeremiah SIMS and left to his only child James. It is not known if James and Phebe left Culpeper immediately for the area which would become Bath County, in 1790, where their youngest was born, or if they lived in different locations between 1780 and 1793.

Baby Nancy’s Mother Phebe Dies in a Tragic Accident

Nancy’s mother Phebe died shortly before 22 January 1794 in Clifton Forge, Bath County, Virginia. Nancy, who was seen as 66 years old in the 1860 census, was born in 1794 or earlier. It is more likely that she was born in 1793 and not during the early part of January 1794. Family tradition is that James’ wife was coming home from caring for a sick friend, fell from her horse, and drowned in the Jackson River. I cannot imagine the mother of a newly born baby leaving home to visit a sick friend. The story of the drowning has been verified with the coroner’s inquest report dated 22 January 1794, which includes the following statement: “Phebe was accidently drowned occasioned by the horse whereon she rode rearing and plunging and throwing her into the water.” There is no mention of who was traveling with Phebe when this happened.

MRIN02312 1794-01-22 Phebe Simms Inquisition 3
Bath County, Virginia records, Coroner’s Inquest Report. Photocopy of original courtesy of Rose Mary Sims Rudy, a descendant of James SIMS and Elizabeth COTTON through their son James SIMS Jr. (received per email 9 October 2001)
MRIN02312 1794-01-22 Phebe Simms Inquisition 4
Bath County, Virginia records, Coroner’s Inquest Report. Photocopy of original courtesy of Rose Mary Sims Rudy, a descendant of James SIMS and Elizabeth COTTON through their son James SIMS Jr. (received per email 9 October 2001)

Transcript of the Coroner’s Inquest

Phebe Simms
Inquisition Taken
the 22nd of January
1794 Before John
Dean Gent. Coroner

Bath County to wit

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Inquisition indented taken [illegible]
[illegible] in the County aforesaid on the twenty second day of January in the
year One thousand seven hundred and ninety four before me John Dean a
Gentleman and of the Coroners of the Commonwealth for the County aforesaid
upon view of the body of Phebe Sims late of said County then and there lying
dead; and upon the Oathes of Robert Armstrong Jr., William Morris, John Scott,
John Bird, Andrew Baurland, Thomas Barber, James Armstrong, Robert
McClintic, William McClintic, John Somwalt, Paul Harpole and
Adam Kimberlan, good and lawful men of the County aforesaid, who being
Jurors and charged to inquire on the part of the Commonwealth, when where how and
after what manner the said Phebe Sims came to her death, do say upon their
Oathes, that the said Phebe was accidently drowned occasioned by the horse
whereon she rode Rearing and plunging and throwing her into the water.
The witness whereof as well the aforesaid Coroner as the Jurors aforesaid
have in this Inquisition put their Seals on the day and year aforesaid
and at the place aforesaid.
John Dean                Robt. Armstrong
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . William Morris
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Scott
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Bird
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andr. Baurland
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Barber
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jas. Armstrong
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Robert McClintic
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . William McClintic
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johannes Zumqualt
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Paul Harpole
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Adam Kimberlan

Nancy’s Brother Jeremiah is Accused of Causing Phebe’s Death

This was not the last that would be heard of Phebe’s death. Her oldest son Jeremiah SIMS was accused by John SCOTT of causing his mother’s death. His father James defended him and brought suit against Scott demanding damages of 100 pounds.

writ

Sir Please to Issue a Writ vs John Scott for saying my son
was the Dam son of a Bitch that Drowned his Mother
Col. C. Cameron                                              Jas. Sims

MRIN02311 1794-04-16 Jeremiah Simms court case 3MRIN02311 1794-04-16 Jeremiah Simms court case 4

A Stepmother for Nancy Ann

James SIMS married Elizabeth COTTON on 25 October 1796 in Bath County, Virginia. During the first 4 or 5 years of their marriage, they did not have any known children. James was making plans to move to Kanawha County where, in 1800, he bought land “lying & being in the County of Kanawha Containing one hundred & twenty three acres on Gauley River above the Ferry.” This would later be the location of Swiss, Nicholas County, West Virginia, where all of the children of the second marriage were born.

  • Half-Sib 1: James SIMS (1801-1860) born about 1801 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 2: Margaret SIMS (1801-1840) born between 1801-1804 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 3: Sarah SIMS (1804-1837) born between 1804-1806 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 4: Mildred “Milly” SIMS (1806-1882) born about 1806 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 5: Jane L. SIMS (1810-1880) born about 1810 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 6: Charles Fulton SIMS (1815-1891) born 13 August 1815 Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 7: Dryden SIMS (1818-1880) born about 1818 Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 8: George Washington “Wash” SIMS (1821-1880) born about 1821 in Nicholas County

Nancy’s Siblings Marry Within Eight Years of Each Other

When Nancy’s father James and her stepmother Elizabeth were beginning to have children, her older siblings were marrying:

  • Martin SIMS married Susannah JOHNSON (1784-1840) on 28 March 1800 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia[3]
  • Jeremiah SIMS married Sarah MILHOLLEN (1777-1838) on 26 November 1800 in Bath County, Virginia[4]. Jeremiah had not made the move with the rest of the family and would later move to Ohio.
  • Elizabeth SIMS married John Brown JOHNSON (1777-1861) on 2 June 1802 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
  • Edward “Ned” SIMS married Hannah Mary ROBINSON (1786-1858) on 8 August 1805 in Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio
  • William SIMS married Elizabeth WINDSOR (1784-1852) before 1806 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia [William Sims was the son-in-law of Jonathan Windsor]
  • Mary “Polly” SIMS married John FOWLER ( -1808) on 28 February 1808 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia. She was widowed during the year and then married Thomas HUGHES (1778-1853) on 25 August 1809 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia

By the time that the enumerator came around visiting the families all of Nancy siblings except for John were married. Her father James did not have a young lady of her age in his household. I’ve studied all of her siblings’ census listings and only her brother William, the oldest of James’ children living in the area, had a female of the correct age group.

1810censussims
1810 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha (ancestry.com)

1810 U.S. Federal Census
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Simms, William
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (sons, William Jr. and Jeremiah)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (daughter Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (sister Nancy Ann)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Elizabeth)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 6

Nancy’s absence her in father’s household lead earlier researchers to assume that she married in 1810. This was not the case. Before she would marry it was her brother John’s turn. John SIMS and Mildred HUNTER (1790-1850) were married by Edw. R. HUGHES on 13 April 1811 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia.

Nancy Marries at about 21 Years of Age

Close to the end of the War of 1812 (18 Jun 1812-24 Dec 1814), Nancy Ann SIMS married William JOHNSON Jr. in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia, on 15 October 1814.  They soon started a family and by 1839 had eleven children:

  1. Nelson JOHNSON (1815-1855) born about 1815
  2. Huldah JOHNSON (1817-1880) born about 1817
  3. Alexander JOHNSON (1819-1887) born 10 June 1819
  4. Mary JOHNSON (1820-1898) born 20 August 1820
  5. John Brown JOHNSON (1823-1902) born 23 December 1823
  6. Amy JOHNSON (1825-1904) born 4 November 1825
  7. Lewis JOHNSON (1828-1845) born 6 March 1828. He died 31 August 1845 of typhoid fever.
  8. Elizabeth JOHNSON (1829-1833) born about 1829. She died at the age of 4 years of flux.
  9. William Hunter JOHNSON (1832-1899) born 27 July 1832
  10. Nancy JOHNSON (1835-1915) born August 1835
  11. Morris Houston JOHNSON (1839-1845) born 21 January 1839. He died 11 August 1845 of typhoid fever.

In 1824, Nancy lost two of her siblings. Her oldest brother Jeremiah, who had gone to Ohio soon after his marriage, died on 12 January 1824 in German Township, Clark County, Ohio, and was buried in Callison Cemetery in that township. Her youngest sister Polly, who had married Thomas HUGHES, died leaving 4 young children. It is very likely that she died in childbirth as her youngest was born about the time that she died.

After the birth in August 1835 of their tenth child Nancy, named after her mother, William and Nancy’s children began to marry. At the time they had only nine living children as four-year-old Elizabeth had died of flux about 1833.

  • Ch 1: Nelson JOHNSON married Elizabeth HUGHES (1817-1900) on 14 September 1837 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia
  • Mary JOHNSON married David Alexander MILLER (1820-1871) on 13 December 1839 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia[5]
  • Huldah JOHNSON married Robert INGRAM (1819-1902) about 1841 in Fayette County (West) Virginia

Another marriage that took place around this time was that of Nancy’s brother Martin who was recently widowed. Martin SIMS married Margaret “Peggy” HUGHES (1801- ) on 6 June 1840 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia

Typhoid Fever Epidemic in 1845

Nancy’s sister Elizabeth, wife of John Brown JOHNSON, died 1 June 1845 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia and was buried in Johnson Cemetery in Kincaid. Their father James SIMS died between 1840-1848 in Swiss, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

A typhoid fever epidemic is said to have been raging in 1845. This infectious, often fatal, febrile disease caused by the typhoid bacillus which is usually introduced with food or drink came to plague the JOHNSON family. The disease usually seen in the summer months, characterized by intestinal inflammation and ulceration, quickly took two of Nancy’s youngest boys. Morris Houston died on 11 August and Lewis followed him 20 days later on 31 August.

Nancy’s husband William JOHNSON died 18 December 1845 in Loup Creek, Fayette County, (West) Virginia and was buried in Nichols Cemetery on Loop Creek, also seen as Nichols Hollow Cemetery, Robson.

Following these deaths, the family moved on and there were several more marriages:

  • John Brown JOHNSON married Mary Ann SETTLE (1821-1896) on 14 July 1846 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia
  • Amy JOHNSON married Charles McClung HUFFMAN (1826-1913) in 1849 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
  • Alexander JOHNSON married Isabella HUGHES (1827- ) before 1850. He was living in Fayette County at the time of the 1850 census with his wife Isabella and their daughter Lucinda.

Nancy Moves to Sissonville with her Single Children

The 1850 census was enumerated as of 1 June 1850. Nancy, her son William Hunter and her daughter Nancy were missed on this census. Family tradition is that they moved about 1849 from Nancy’s farm in Fayette County to Grapevine in Kanawha County after the death of Nancy’s husband and their father. Nancy’s oldest son Nelson, a cabinet maker, had moved to Madison County, Missouri, before the 1850 census but would return to Kanawha County where he died in 1855.

Once Nancy was settled in Kanawha County the last of her children married:

  • Nancy JOHNSON married William B. MARTIN (1831-1920) on 7 September 1853 in  Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
  • William Hunter JOHNSON married Louisa Lavinia SAMUELS (1839-1884)  on 26 October 1856 in Sissonville, Kanawha County, (West) Virginia

Nancy’s brother John SIMS, whose wife had died after the 1850 census was enumerated, married(2) Elizabeth NEAL, a widow, (1794-1861) in Sept/Oct 1850 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia.

In the years that followed Nancy lost three more of her siblings: Edward “Ned” SIMS died 31 March 1852 in Cass County, Missouri and was buried in Orient Cemetery in Harrisonville; Martin SIMS died after 1853; and William SIMS died on 15 October 1854 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia. Only Nancy and her brother John remained.

Nancy lived with her youngest living son, William Hunter JOHNSON, and was seen in his household in 1860. Next door was her son Alexander and a few households away was her daughter Amy HUFFMAN.

1860censusjohnson1
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha > Sissonville > HH #787 and #788
1860censusjohnson2
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha > Sissonville > HH #784

By 1870 we no longer find Nancy Ann SIMS with any of her children and it has been said that she died in the 1860s in the Poca District, Kanawha County, West Virginia. She may have predeceased her last living sibling, John SIMS who died 15 October 1869 in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Nancy Ann (SIMS) JOHNSON was survived by her children Huldah INGRAM (died between 1880-1900); Alexander JOHNSON (died 8 Apr 1887 in Sissonville); Mary MILLER (died 4 Mar 1898 in Legg District, Kanawha County); William Hunter JOHNSON (died 6 January 1899 in Sissonville); John Brown JOHNSON (died 30 Jul 1902 in Clifton, Kanawha County); Amy HUFFMAN (died 28 Feb 1904 in Sycamore, Clay County); and Nancy MARTIN (died 1 December 1915 in Sissonville). She was also survived by five of her eight half-siblings: Milly SETTLE, Jane DARLINGTON, Charles Fulton SIMS, Dryden SIMS, and Wash SIMS.

Sources:
[1] Culpeper County, Virginia, Land Records, Deed Book H, 1775 – 1778, pages 475-477
[2] Culpeper County, Virginia, Land Records, Deed Book D, 1762 – 1765 c, pages 547-550 (digital copies of photocopies)
[3] Larry Heffner, email dated 10 August 2004 in reply for request of information on marriage papers of Martin Sims and Susanna Johnson in the archives of the Greenbrier Historical Society
[4] Eliza Warwick Wise,  Bath County Marriage Bonds and Ministers Returns 1791-1853, (Bath County Historical Society, Inc. 1978)
[5] Sissonville A Time to Remember, The Sissonville Historical Awareness Committee of The Sissonville Village Association, 1988, pg. 108  (http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvkanawh/Sissonville/index.html)

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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

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

This is entry #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!

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]

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).

1830woodcensus
1830 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Greenbrier > Sheet 209A; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18300190unit#page/n423/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

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 person in household

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

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.

William WOOD – 1835 Bill of Sale (page 1)
William WOOD – 1835 Bill of Sale (page 2 & 3)
For quicker reference the Bill of Sale was also typed up and placed in the back of the Book of Wills.

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; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsch1840555unit#page/n306/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

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 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 1844 Elijah WOOD was the crier for the estate of Richard SKAGGS and in 1846 for the estate of Joseph FOX.

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.

1850s

His oldest son Allen Alexander was working as a blacksmith in Greenbrier County in 1850.

1850woodcensus
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet 337A > HH#94-94; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0943unix#page/n277/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

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 Virginia

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

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]

1860s

This 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; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n327/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

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 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.

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 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.

1880s

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.

1880woodcensus
1880 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > ED 30 > Page 21 > Sheet 104A > HH#185-185; online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n210/mode/1up : accessed 20 April 2014

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

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 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 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.

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

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

52ancestorsHope 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.

52 Ancestors: #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.

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 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. The marriage record [right page, entry 8] 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 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.

1850census
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > 14th District >Sheet 336B
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0943unix#page/n275/mode/2up%5D
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.

1860census1
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet No. 365
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n371/mode/2up%5D
1860census2
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > Sheet No. 365
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1344unix#page/n371/mode/2up%5D

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.

rebel
Provost Marshal File 2323
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 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:

1870censusjames
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 147B
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n296/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Eunice and John were with their grandfather Elijah WOOD:

1870censusjohn
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 144A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n289/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Elijah, the youngest, and his mother Sarah were with his aunt Turzey (WOOD) NEAL:

1870censussarah
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 148A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n297/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]

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.

1870censuswm
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 147A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n295/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
Lizzie was with her husband, raising his two motherless boys from his first marriage and their own son.

1870censushughes
1870 U.S. Federal Census > West Virginia > Fayette > Falls of Kanawha > Sheet No. 111A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1686unit#page/n223/mode/1up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]

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:

1880censusjohn
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 104A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n209/mode/2up : acccessed 3 Mar 2014]
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.

1880censuswm
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > Sheet No. 114A
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n229/mode/2up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
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.

1880censussarah
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Mountain Cove > 105C
[online https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801402unit#page/n211/mode/2up : accessed 3 Mar 2014]
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

MRIN08669 S C Fox Stone at Fox Cemetery
Fox tombstone courtesy of Becky Fox

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.

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