Walking the Land Back to the Original Grant

A few weeks ago I shared The 1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William Johnson Sr. (1755-1805) and followed it up with last week’s post Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on about the land William and Amy sold in 1798 in Greenbrier County before moving to Kanawha County in what is now West Virginia.

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) were my 5th great-grandparents. From the wording of the two land deeds, they were a part of an original 150 acres land grant. These are the steps I took to show the land they sold was the same land granted to William in 1796.

Plotting the Tracts

Early this year I tried my hand at abstracting call lines from a deed and plotting the tract. I found the tract on a present-day map and wrote about the tools I used in I Found the Coolest Site to Use for Land Records in West Virginia.

As I had been successful with my CLONCH ancestor’s land, I tried the same tactic with William and Amy’s two land tracts. I used the following tools:

Pole to Foot Converter

Tract Plotter

Johnston to Tennis, 62 acres on Lick Run

As I had already transcribed the deeds all I needed to do was to abstract the call lines and convert the poles to feet for the Tract Plotter. For the Johnston to Tennis land deed:

Begining at a Double white oak and chesnut corner to the old survey & thence through the survey south Eighty three Degrees East one Hundred & twenty pole
Call Line: S83E 120 poles (1980 ft)

to an aposite Corner of the old survey & Flathers & with old line North Thirty six Degrees west one Hundred and sixty eight pole 
Call line: N36W 168 poles (2772 ft)

to four Locusts and soth (sic) Seventy Degrees wet forty four Pole
Call line: S70W 44 poles (726 ft)

to two white oaks & South thirteen Degrees East one Hundred and fourteen pole to the Begining
Call line: S13E 114 poles (1881 ft)

As can be seen below the call lines for the Johnston to Tennis tract calculate to 59.6 acres while 62 acres were seen in the deed.

Tract Plotter

Johnston to Kounts, 88 acres on Lick Run

The same was done for the Johnston to Kounts land deed:

Beginning at a black Oake & White Oake Corner to Kouns and with South thirty Eight Degrees East forty pole 
Call line: S38E 40 poles (660 ft)

to two white oaks and North fifty two Degrees East one Hundred and Eighty two pole
Call line: N52E 182 poles (3003 ft)

to Red Oak & two white oaks Corner to Keenan and the old Survey, thence through the Survey with Tineses line North Eighty three Degrees West one Hundred and twenty pole 
Call line: N83W 120 poles (1980 ft)

to the apasite Corner of old Survey and c? to Tennis on a Double White Oak and Chesnutt Oake on a Ridge and with old line South thirty two Degrees West Sixty six pole 
Call line: S32W 66 poles (1089 ft)

to Chesnutt Oake and black Oake and South Seventy Degrees West Ninety pole
Call line: S70W 90 poles (1485 ft)

to two white oaks and South ten degrees west fifty pole
Call line:  S10W 50 poles (825 ft)

to two White Oak Corner to Kounses own and with North Sixty Degree East Ninety one pole to the Beginning
Call line: N60E 91 poles (1501.5 ft)

The Johnston to Kounts tract calculates to 81.13 acres while 88 acres seen in the deed.

Tract Plotter (annotated with Evernote)

Merging the two tracts

After plotting the tracts I combined the two. The call lines N83W 1980 ft (Kounts) and S83E 1980 ft (Tennis) are the common boundary mentioned in the deeds. To combine them I used PicMonkey. The Tennis tract was reduced in size to match the scale of the Kounts tract.

Tract Plotter

The original 150 acres land grant

I looked at the original land grant of 150 acres only after I’d plotted the two land tracts side by side. I transcribed the description of the land, plotted the call lines, and came up with the same boundaries seen in the image (above) where the two were attached to each other.

…lying and being in the County of Greenbrier on the waters of Indian Creck a branch of New River and adjoining the Land of Patrick Kenan, Edward Fleathers and Samuel Black and bounded as followeth to wit. Beginning at a black and white oak, corner to Kenan and with the same South thirty eight degrees East forty poles two white oaks North fifty two degrees East one hundred and eighty two poles to a red oak and two white oaks on Fleathers’s line and leaving the same, North thirty six degrees West one hundred and sixty eight poles to four Locusts, South seventy degrees West forty four poles to two white oaks, South thirteen degrees East one hundred & fourteen poles to a double white and Chesnut oak, on the top of a hill thence South thirty two degrees West sixty six poles to a Chesnut and black oak, South seventy degrees West ninety poles to two white oaks, South ten degrees West fifty poles to two white oaks corner to Kenan thence North sixty degrees East ninety one poles to the beginning…

Call lines:
S38E 40 poles (660 ft)
N52E 182 poles (3003 ft)
N36W 168 poles (2772 ft
S70W 44 poles (726 ft)
S13E 114 poles (1881 ft)
S32W 66 poles (1089 ft)
S70W 90 poles (1485 ft)
S10W 50 poles (825 ft)
N60E 91 poles (1501.5 ft)

Tract Plotter

Where was the land grant found?

Years ago I discovered The Library of Virginia‘s collection Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants/Northern Neck Grants and Surveys. A search turned up a land grant in Greenbrier County for one William JOHNSTON described as 150 acres on the waters of Indian Creek a branch of New River and adjoining the lands of Patrick Kenan (sic), Edward Heathers (sic), & c.

At the time I knew Patrick KEENAN was a neighbor as my 6th cousin David Fridley had found the records of sale for two tracts of land totaling 150 acres and extracted only the short description of the land. It appeared to be a match but without the 1798 records which I transcribed in my previous post, I couldn’t be 100% certain.

Now with all three deeds “in hand,” I was able to compare and prove the 150 acres granted to William JOHNSON on 10 May 1796 is the same land he sold in two parcels in June 1798 to TENNIS and KOUNTS.

Questions remain

William JOHNSON used the Land Office Treasure Warrant number 12841 issued 2 July 1782 to obtain the grant of 150 acres in 1796.

On the Kentucky.gov Portal, they have a searchable database that includes all Virginia Treasury Warrants. I searched for the warrant number William used and found it was in the name of Edward KENON for 1470 acres.

Why would William JOHNSON use a treasury warrant issued to Edward KENON (KEENAN)?

The Library of Virginia has an interesting guide states, “At any time in the grant process after the treasury warrant was purchased, the purchaser could assign (sell) the right to part or all of the land described in the warrant.”

Apparently, Edward KEENAN assigned or sold the right to 150 acres of the original 1470 acres he purchased to William JOHNSON. Could there be a story behind this? Why did William JOHNSON sell the land only two years after he received the grant?

A complete transcription of the 1796 land grant to William JOHNSON will be share in a later post. Next week I’ll be making an announcement…

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

Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) were my fifth great-grandparents. I wrote about their son William JOHNSON Jr. (1793-1845) and his wife Nancy Ann SIMS (abt. 1793-1860s) in 2014 during my first year blogging.

I’m reviewing William and Amy’s records and looking into opening some doors which have remained closed mainly due to my not having access to Virginia records from their period. Instead of starting with the earliest records, I’m going to move back into time.

A few weeks ago I wrote about The 1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William Johnson Sr. (1755-1805). An inventory of his estate has yet to be found. With the Administrator Bond, we learned William died before 9 April 1806 and likely during the winter of 1805. I have not found a primary or secondary source confirming he died 22 December 1805.1

In the General Index to Deeds of Kanawha County William JOHNSON Sr. wasn’t listed as a grantor nor as a grantee. He was not found on the land tax records of the county. Apparently, he did not acquire land during the seven years he lived in Kanawha County.

David Fridley, my double 6th cousin through William JOHNSON Sr. and Amy NELSON and through James SIMS and his first wife Phebe _____, has been supportive when it comes to researching our common ancestors over the years. We e-met in the days when mailing lists were active on Rootsweb and still keep up via email and Facebook.

David once mentioned two land records he’d abstracted from the deed books of Greenbrier County. He hadn’t noted the book or page number at the time. The deeds indicated William JOHNSON and his wife Amy deeded a total of 150 acres on Lick Run on 25 and 26 June 1798. As this was the last mention of them in Greenbrier County we believe they must have left for Kanawha County around 1798.

At the end of July, I located the deeds David found many years ago while checking into new collections on FamilySearch. The first thing I did was to send David the citations.

Johnston to Tennis, 62 acres on Lick Run

William JOHNSTON and Amy his wife sold 62 acres on Lick Run to William TENNIS as seen in the following deed.2

This Indenture made this 25 Day of June one Thousand seven Hundred and Ninety eight Between WIlliam Johnston and Amy his wife of the one Part and William Tennis of the other Each of the county of Greenbrier & State of Virginia Witnesseth that the said William Johnston and Amey his wife for & in consideration of the some (sic) of Five Shillings Current money of sd [said] State to them in hand Paid on or before the seling and delivering of their presents the Receipt whereof the Dead (sic) Hereby acknowledged have Bargained & sold & by these presents doe Bargain & sell unto the sd William Tennis and his heirs or assigns a certain tract or Percil of Land Containing sixty two acres it being part of a survey of one Hundred & fifty acres Granted to the sd Johnston by paten, lying & being in the county of Greenbrier on the Waters of lick run where sd Tennis now lives & is Bounded as followeth (to wit) Begining at a Double white oak and chesnut corner to the old survey & thence through the survey south Eighty three Degrees East one Hundred & twenty pole to an aposite Corner of the old survey & Flathers & with old line North Thirty six Degrees west one Hundred and sixty eight pole to four Locusts and soth (sic) Seventy Degrees wet forty four Pole to two white oaks & South thirteen Degrees East one Hundred and fourteen pole to the Begining with its appertainances to the sd William Tennis and his Heirs to the sole yeo? & behoof of the sd William Tennis his heirs or assigns forever and the sd William Johnston & Amy his wife for themselves and their Heirs Doth covenant with the said William Tennis and his heirs the said tract or parcel of land from themselves and their heirs to the said William Tennis and his Heirs or assigns against all and every person or persons whatsoever will warrent and will forever Defend in Witness Whereof we have hereunto set our Hands and seals the Day and the year above Written. 

Signed seald & Delivered
In the Presents off………………………..Williams (his mark) Jonston Seal
Edward Keenan
John Johnston………………………………Emey (her mark) Jonston Seal
Michael Kounts

At a Court held for Greenbrier County June the 26th 1798
This Deed from William Johnston to Wm Tennis was prest in Court & provd by the Oaths of Edward Keenan John Johnston & Michl Kounts and ordered to Record.
………………………………………Teste
………………………………………John Stuart C.G.C. (Clerk Greenbrier County)

Johnston to Kounts, 88 acres on Lick Run

William JOHNSTON and his wife Amy sold 88 acres on Lick Run to Michael KOUNTS as seen in the following deed.[^3]

This Indenture maid this Twenty ___ day of June one Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Eight between William Johnston and Eamy his wife of the one part and Michael Kouns of the other Each of the County of Greenbrier and State of Virginia Witnesseth that the said William Johnston and Eamy his Wife for and in consideration of the sum of one Dollar current Money of said State to them in hand paid on or before the Sealing and delivering of these presents the receit whereof the do hereby Acknowledge have bargained and sold and by these presents doe bargain and Sell unto the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs and Assigns a Certain Tract or parcell of Land containing Eighty eight Acres & being the Land sd Johnston now lives on Lying and being in the County of Greenbrier on the Lick Run Joining the Land of Edward Keenan Isaac Palton and Kounces own Land Bough of Keenan & being the S.W. End of said Survey of 150 Acres and is bounded as followeth (to Wit) Beginning at a black Oake & White Oake Corner to Kouns and with South thirty Eight Degrees East forty pole to two white oaks and North fifty two Degrees East one Hundred and Eighty two pole to Red Oak & two white oaks Corner to Keenan and the old Survey, thence through the Survey with Tineses line North Eighty three Degrees West one Hundred and twenty pole to the apasite Corner of old Survey and c? to Tennis on a Double White Oak and Chesnutt Oake on a Ridge and with old line South thirty two Degrees West Sixty six pole to Chesnutt Oake and black Oake and South Seventy Degrees West Ninety pole to two white oaks and South ten degrees west fifty pole to two White Oak Corner to Kounses own and with North Sixty Degree East Ninety one pole to the Beginning with all the appertainances thereunto belonging to the said Michael Kounts and his Heirs and Assignes to the sole use and behoof of the said Michael Kounts and his Heirs and Assignes forever and the said William Johnston and Eamy his Wife for themselves and their Heirs doth Covenant with the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs the said Tract or Parcil of Land from themselves and their Heirs to the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs, against all and every Person or Persons whatsoever will Warrant and will forever defend in Witness whereof we have hereunto set our Hands and Seals the Day and year above Written
Signd, Seald & Acknowledgd
in the Presents off……………………………William (his mark) Jonston Seal
Edward Keenan
John Johnson………………………………….Eamey (her mark) Jonston Seal
Wm Tennis

At a Court held for Greenbrier County June the 26th 1798
This Deed from William Johnston to Michael Kounts was presented in Court and proved by the Oaths of Edwd Keenan John Johnston and William Tennis and the same is order to Record
………………………….Teste
…………………………..John Stuart

Interesting thoughts from David

When I contacted David with the citations he wrote, “Thanks so much for following up with these citations! There’s an awful lot of data I have still from my days decades ago of visiting courthouses that need adequate citation today, and I’m thankful for the increasing amount of digitized records on FamilySearch.

He further wrote, “It’s also useful to revisit the original documents, since there’s more to be learned from a current perspective, for example noticing that “Eamey E. Jonston” included a middle initial, which I don’t think I’ve seen before.

I hadn’t noticed the use of the middle initial. When I transcribed the deeds I saw where David thought a middle initial was used. However, I believe it is a scribble and meant to be her mark.

Here are close-ups of the “signatures” on the recorded deeds. I don’t think these are their actual signatures.

“Signatures” on Johnston to Tennis deed (top) and Johnston to Kounts deed (bottom)

Taking a closer look at the names, on the bottom image, it is clearly noted these are their marks. William appears to have signed with an x. The mark copied into the book by the clerk for the second deed (bottom) looks similar to the E in the first name Eamey and likely why David thought she was using a middle initial. I believe Amy’s mark is two close or consecutive circles. It must be noted that Amy’s name was spelled Amey, Eamy, and Eamey in the records above.

David also considered the price paid for the land and sent me a map with the location of the land. He wrote:

I also looked at the neighbors and grantees to see if there might be a family relationship given the very low price William sold his land for, but I’m not finding any right away. The price is a relative pittance compared to what land in the Shenandoah Valley was going for at the same time, but then, this was fairly remote, and I doubt William had any quantity of good bottom land that would make it more valuable. I’m attaching a map I created showing Lick Run in context of Monroe Co. with an inset showing the specific topography of Lick Run. It is a branch of Indian Creek, so the bottom land was only down by the creek. (There is another Lick Run in the SW portion of the county that emptied into Hans Creek, but looking at the other records of Tennis/Keenan/Counts-Koontz, it is apparent it is the Indian Creek one.)
William Tennis resold this land sometime after 1800 and headed to Adams Co., OH (bordering KY on the Ohio River). A list of his transactions (including the one with William) is compiled at https://www.ancestry.com/boards/localities.northam.usa.states.westvirginia.counties.monroe/439/mb.ashx. In this list are a number of land transactions from 26 June 1798 that involved William Tennis and Edward Keenan, some of which were also witnessed by John Johnson (doesn’t appear as Johnston), and one by a Thos Johnson. I wonder if either is related.

Map courtesy of David Fridley.

David refers to the land being in Monroe County. He is correct in terms of present-day geography. When William and Amy sold it in 1798 it was in the part of Greenbrier which would become Monroe County the following year.

Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on

With the sale of the land in Greenbrier County in 1798, the family of William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON were getting ready for their northwest move to Kanawha County where William died in 1805.
Next week will take us further back when I discuss how William JOHNSON came into the 150 acres he and his wife sold in 1798.

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


  1. Greenbrier County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Deeds (Greenbrier County, West Virginia), 1780-1901” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia), Film 593545, DGS #7765144, Deeds, v. 2 1798-1803, images 37 of 380 (page 52). Johnston to Tennis deed for 62 acres (25 June 1798, entered 26 June 1798). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSM7-V4RY?i=36&cat=98577 : accessed 31 July 2019). 
  2. Greenbrier County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Deeds (Greenbrier County, West Virginia), 1780-1901” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia), Film 593545, DGS #7765144, Deeds, v. 2 1798-1803, image 80 of 380 (page 145). Johnston to Kounts deed for 88 acres (__ June 1798, entered 26 June 1798)(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSM7-V45L?i=79&cat=98577 : accessed 31 July 2019). 

The 1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William Johnson Sr. (1755-1805)

Over the years I’ve received several inquiries for help from women wanting to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. Many want to prove lineal, bloodline descent from my fifth great-grandfather William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805), a Revolutionary soldier, who died in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia.

I have few records for William JOHNSON Sr. which were created during his lifetime or immediately following his death. While checking into new records available online at FamilySearch, I found a record which has not been alluded to in compilations or family trees I’ve viewed.

Did William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) leave a will?

I recently found the Administrator’s Bond for the estate of the late William JOHNSTON (sic).1 His son John applied for the bond which is dated 9 April 1806 a little over three months after 22 December 1805, the date of death many researchers show for William in their family tree.

1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William JOHNSON

The Administrator’s Bond for the estate of William JOHNSTON, p. 122

Know all men by these Presents that we John Johnston Henry Morris & Charles Woodey King are held and firmly bound unto David Ruffner William Morris Henry Brown & Fleming Cotts Gentlemen Justices now setting for the County Kanawha. In the penal sum of one Thousand dollars to be paid to them or their Successors and for the payment we bind ourselves our heirs Executors or Administrators Jointly & severaly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 9th day of April 1806.
The Condition of the above Obligation is such that whereas the Said John Johnston hath Obtained letters of Administration of the Estate of William Johnston Dec out of the County cour (sic) of Kanawha. Now if the said John Johnston Administrator of the goods chattels & credits of the said Deceased do make a True and perfect Inventory of all & singular the Goods Chattels & credits of the Said Deceased which have or shall come into the hands, Possession or Knowledge of him the said John Johnston as in the hands or Possession of any other person or persons for the said John Johnston and the same so made do exhibit unto the County Court of Kanawha when he shall be Thereunto required

The Administrator’s Bond for the estate of William JOHNSTON, p. 123

by the said court and such goods chattels & credits do well and Truly Adminestor according to Law, and further do make a Just and True Account of his actings and doings therein when thereto required by the said Court and all the rest of the said Goods and Chattels & credits which shall be found remaining upon the account of the said Administrator the same being first Examined and allowed by the Justices of the said court for the Time shall Deliver and pay unto such persons respectively az are entitled to the same by Law; and if it shall hereafter appear that any last Will and Testament was made by the Deceased and the same be Proved in Court and the Executor Obtain a Certificate of the Probit thereof and the Said John Johnston do in such case being required render and deliver up his letters of administration then this obligation to be void else to remain in Force and Virtue.
Acknowledged in Open Court……………………..John Johnston Seal
Teste…………………………………………………………….Henry S. Morris (his mark) Seal
A Donnally Ckl…………………………………………….Chs. W. King Seal

The bond was acknowledged in Open Court however no date was given. The entries before and after the bond were entered during Kanawha County April Court 1806. The bond itself was dated 9 April 1806.

William JOHNSON did not leave a will

The wording of the bond indicates William JOHNSON did not leave a will. This is unfortunate as a will might have included the names of his children. A document desperately sought after by descendants who are trying to prove descent from this Revolutionary War veteran.

John JOHNSON’s obtaining letters of administration of the estate of “William JOHNSTON” is suggestive of a relationship but not proof John was his son.

The consensus is William JOHNSON Sr. died on 22 December 1805. An early source with this date is Ross B. Johnston’s articles on West Virginians in the Revolution2 written between 1939-1947. Per the front matter in the republished work, “the sources of this material are notes from the files of the Pension Office at Washington, from the pension applications in West Virginia counties, and from the minute books of the older West Virginia counties, copied by W. P. A. workers on the project sponsored by the West Virginia Commission on Historic and Scenic Markers; from notes of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of the Revolution, and other patriotic societies; and from a large miscellaneous group of published and private sources.

I placed a query to the Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy group on Facebook asking for help with a reliable source for the date of death. Lucy Light Slaich who applied and was accepted to the DAR in 2010 through William JOHNSON did not need to prove his date of death. She indicated Mr. Johnston’s article on William JOHNSON in the 1998 reprint, was originally published in the April 1943 issue of the West Virginia History journal. The compilation which was used by prior applicants is no longer accepted by DAR.

Not satisfied, I continued to sift through information which has been collected over the years and found a 1911 publication which gives the dates of death for William JOHNSON and his wife Amy NELSON.3 Laidley in his compilation of representative citizens of the city of Charleston and Kanawha County wrote an article on Julian M. JOHNSON (1847-1932), a great-grandson of William JOHNSON through his son William JOHNSON Jr. This is the earliest source, although not primary, I have for the dates of death of William and Amy.

Did the estate generate other records?

While the administrator bond was found in the “Record of deeds, 1790-1946” collection, I turned to the “Court record book, 1803-1880” collection in search of entries about William JOHNSON’s estate in Kanawha County.

As William supposedly died on 22 December 1805, I checked entries in 1805 and 1806. The court was held on the 12th and 13th of November 1805; 11th day of February 1806; 11th day of March 1806; 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th day of April 1806; 13th of May; and 10th day of June. Little business was taken care of during the winter months. By April business had picked up and the court was held four days instead of the usual one or two days. It was in April when John JOHNSON made a motion to obtain an administrator bond for the estate of his father.4

Motion granted for administration

County Court record book entry for 9 April 1806
County Court record book entry for 9 April 1806

On the motion of John Johnston who made oath and together with Henry Morris, Charles W. King his securities entered into & acknowledged their bond in the penalty of $1000 conditioned as the law directs certificate of administration of the estate of William Johnston dec’d granted him in due form.

Appraisal of personal property ordered

Immediately after the bond of administration motion was granted another entry was made referencing the estate of William JOHNSON. (see image above)

Ordered that Edward Rion, Edward Hughs, James Sims & John Campbell (or any three of them) being first sworn before a Justice of the Peace for said do appraize the Personal property of the said William Johnston decd and return appraisement to the next court.

From entries during the year in the court orders as well as in the land books (which include personal property tax lists of the period), I was able to determine Edward RION should be Edward RYAN.

Interesting was the mention of James SIMS as one of the four men who were ordered to appraise the personal property of the deceased William JOHNSON. James and William were neighbors. Three of the JOHNSON children married three of the SIMS children:  Susannah JOHNSON  and Martin SIMS in 1800, John JOHNSON and Elizabeth SIMS in 1802, and William JOHNSON Jr. and Nancy Ann SIMS in 1814. I was not expecting to find a record for James SIMS who like William JOHNSON was my 5th great-grandfather.

Further searches in the collections available for viewing online on FamilySearch did not turn up the appraisement of the estate.

Finding the bond documents William JOHNSON died before 9 April 1806 and likely during the winter of 1805. Is it possible there is a family Bible in the home of one of his descendants which would prove the dates given in Laidley’s 1911 article?

I have a few more records for William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON which I’ll be sharing. Recent discoveries which I have not had time to evaluate. It would be nice if other descendants would join in on the fun and share records they’ve uncovered. Together we can do a better job researching these ancestors.

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


  1. Kanawha County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Record of deeds, 1790-1946” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Kanawha County courthouse, Charleston, West Virginia.), Film # 008152450, Deed books v. C-D 1805-1817, Deed Book C, page 122-123, image 69 of 582. 9 April 1806 Administrator’s Bond for John Johnson for the estate of William Johnson.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-KSNR-L?i=68&cat=56556 : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  2. Ross B. Johnston, compiler, West Virginians in the American Revolution (Baltimore, MD: Clearfield Publishing Co, 1998 (originally published in the West Virginia Archives and History’s journal West Virginia History from October 1939 to October 1947 as West Virginians in the Revolution)), p. 151. (https://books.google.lu/books/about/West_Virginians_in_the_American_Revoluti.html?id=_mg1bCpc1KAC&redir_esc=y : accessed 8 September 2019) 
  3.  William Sydney Laidley (1839-1917), History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens (Richmond-Arnold Publishing, Chicago, Illinois, 1911), page 979. “William Johnson, Sr. died on Gauley December 22, 1805. His wife lived until December 23, 1837.” Article on Julian M. Johnson, great-grandson of William Johnson and his wife Amy. (https://archive.org/details/historyofcharles00laid/page/978 : accessed 8 Oct 2015). 
  4. Kanawha County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Court record book, 1803-1880” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Kanawha County courthouse, Charleston, West Virginia.), Film #521643, DGS #8613717, Record book v. 3 1803-1819, image 178+179 of 857. Administrator Bond and Order to Appraise estate of William Johnson, dec’d. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34Z-SSJ3-N?i=177&cat=295049 : accessed 8 October 2015). 

Rewriting the Biography: Elizabeth 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.

Warning: This analysis of the census records of the family of Elizabeth SIMS is a bit on the long side.

Elizabeth SIMS (1782-1845), the oldest daughter of James SIMS and his first wife Phebe, was the mother of a dozen children. Eleven of these married and had a total of 86 children (possibly 88 as two are still under investigation). A lot of behind the scenes research was done and is ongoing for Elizabeth’s family group.

In the partition suit filed in the Circuit Supreme Court of Law and Chancery for Nicholas County, George H. Lee, Judge, seeking to have the court provide for the sale of the 125-acre farm near Beech Glen which was left by James SIMS when he died, the names of nine of Elizabeth’s children were given.

…also the children of Elizabeth Johnson, dec’d, formerly Elizabeth Sims: to-wit, John Johnson, Wm. Johnson, Harrison Johnson, James Johnson, James Settle and Rachel his wife; William H(?)ale [sic, Kelly] and Amy his wife, John Backhouse and Phoebe his wife; ______Montgomery and Elizabeth his wife; Sarah Hyphy, John Kincaid and Mary his wife…

I don’t have a digital copy of the original partition suit. This is an excerpt received by email from a typewritten letter with the transcription of the record which may have been a copy entered into a court ledger. Three or four instances when an error could have slipped in or an addition made by a well-meaning person. I am trying to track down the original.

Missing in this list were two daughters, Barbara and Susannah. Elizabeth’s youngest daughter Susannah predeceased her, possibly the reason for the omission.

As an aside, Sarah Hyphy is likely a transcription error and should be Sarah HUGHES, daughter of Margaret SIMS and Matthew HUGHES. Margaret was deceased and her children were named in the partition suit. I have since found another original document which includes Sarah HUGHES, a minor. This will be shared in a later post.

Let’s get on with the census analysis for the households of Elizabeth SIMS, her husband, and their children.

The 1800 U.S. Federal Census

Elizabeth SIMS married John JOHNSON, son of Amy NELSON and William JOHNSON Sr., in 1802. Her husband John was found on the 1802 Kanawha County Tax List, a substitute for the 1800 census.1 He was the one white male over 16 years of age on the list. As wives were not listed on these tax lists, we cannot tell if John and Elizabeth were married at the time the tax list was prepared.

The pre-1850 U.S. Federal Census Records

As only the head of household’s name is found on the pre-1850 census records, we can only assume Elizabeth SIMS was the woman found in the household of John JOHNSON in 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1840. She bore him eleven known children (and one unknown) in twenty years between 1803 and 1823 and therefore must be the older female found in his pre-1850 census records.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

By 1810 Elizabeth had given birth to two sons and three daughters per the tick marks on the census. In order of birth, these children were Phebe, James, Amy, John, and an unknown girl.

I find it interesting that the first two children were named after Elizabeth’s parents, James SIMS and Phebe (whose maiden name is unknown). The second daughter was named after John’s mother Amy NELSON. The second son carried the same name as his father. The third daughter reflected in this listing remains unknown.

1810 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON, seen as JOHNSTON

1810 U.S. Federal Census 2
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 21
Name: John Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (James & John Brown)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3 (Phebe, Amy & unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Elizabeth)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 5
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 7

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

By 1820 the Johnson family was found in the newly formed county of Nicholas. They did not move, the county lines changed. Elizabeth, the wife of John JOHNSON and oldest daughter of James SIMS, had ten children when the 1820 census was taken. She had given birth to two more sons and four daughters during the 1810s. The unknown daughter from 1810 had likely died before this census. John and Elizabeth named their children born in the 1810s by order of birth: William, Rachel, Mary, Barbara, Elizabeth, and Harrison. Elizabeth’s husband John was engaged in agriculture. Their oldest sons, who were 10 thru 15 years of age, were not included in the count of working persons, likely considered too young to work.

1820 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON

1820 U.S. Federal Census 3
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 30
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Name: John Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (William & Harrison)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 2 (James & John Brown)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 4 (Rachel, Mary, Barbara, Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Phebe & Amy)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 10
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 12
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 12

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Elizabeth gave birth to her 11th and 12th child during the 1820s. Her husband John was 53 years old and Elizabeth was 48 in 1830. They had four daughters and two sons living at home. Five of their children had married during the last decade. John and Elizabeth were living in a part of Kanawha County which would become Fayette County in 1831. [Land deeds need to be checked to determine if there was an overlap in the neighboring county of Nicholas.]

1830 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Sr.

1830 U.S. Federal Census4
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 198A & 198B, line 23
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: John Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Harrison)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (John Brown)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Susannah)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 2 (Mary, Barbara)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 6
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 8

Phebe JOHNSON and John BACKHOUSE

Elizabeth and John’s oldest daughter Phebe, named after her maternal grandmother, had married John BACKHOUSE in 1822. They were the parents of five children born during their first eight years of marriage. The identity of one of the three sons under age 5 is unknown and he is no longer seen with the family in 1840 as will be seen further below in this post.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – John BACKHOUSE

1830 U. S. Federal Census5
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 172A & 172B, Line 18
Name: John Backhouse
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (Josiah, John & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Polly)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Phebe)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 7

James JOHNSON and Mary Elizabeth MURPHY

James, the oldest son of Elizabeth and John married Mary Elizabeth “Betsey” MURPHY in 1829 and had not yet had children when the 1830 census was enumerated.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – James JOHNSON

1830 U.S. Federal Census6
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 198A & 198B, Line 11
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Mary Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 2

Amy JOHNSON and William KELLY

John and Elizabeth’s daughter Amy married William KELLY in 1826. They had a pair of twins, Anderson and Jackson. The fact that they were twins is not reflected in the 1830 or 1840 census but will be seen in the 1850 census.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – William KELLY

1830 U.S. Federal Census7
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 199A & 199B, Line 10
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: William Kelly
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (Anderson and Jackson)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Amy)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 3

John JOHNSON Jr. And Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE

The fourth child John Jr. married Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE in 1829. John’s wife was pregnant with their first child when the census was taken in 1830. Of course, this cannot be deducted from the census but the child would be born in September of 1830.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Jr.

1830 U.S. Federal Census8
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 198A & 198B, Line 22
Name: John Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Mary Ann)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 2

Rachel JOHNSON and James SETTLE

Rachel, the sixth living child of Elizabeth and John, married James SETTLE in 1829. They were married less than six months when the census was taken and did not have children. James was the brother of Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE, wife of Rachel’s brother John JOHNSON Jr.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – James SETTLE, seen as SETLES

1830 U.S. Federal Census9
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 213A & 213B, Line 24
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Setles
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Rachel)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 2

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

By 1840 Elizabeth and John had only two children living at home. There was a young male under the age of 5 years of age in the household. Could he have been a grandson? It is very unlikely he was a late child as Elizabeth would have been between 48 and 52 years old when he was born.

Elizabeth’s husband John and their youngest son Harrison were engaged in agriculture as 2 persons were marked. Also in the occupation columns was the heading for a learned professional engineer. This category was marked with 1 indicating one of the men in the household had likely been schooled in the profession. Harrison, the only male old enough to work, was later only seen as a farmer.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Sr.

1840 U.S. Federal Census10
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet No. 146A+B, Line 13
Name: John Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (poss. a grandson)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Harrison)
Free White Persons – Males – 60 thru 69: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
Persons Employed in Learned Professional Engineers: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

Phebe JOHNSON and John BACKHOUSE

Phebe and her husband John BACKHOUSE had five sons (a sixth son born between 1826-1830 must have died before 1840) and four daughters by the time the 1840 census was taken. John and likely the two older sons, Josiah and John, were engaged in agriculture.

Originally I had dates of birth for most of the children of Phebe and John BACKHOUSE in my database. They fit well with the pre-1850 census listing. However, the 1850 census did not match. I have since removed all dates except one as they were unsourced.

In comparing of the ages of each child in the later census listings I found large discrepancies. Most of the children were aging faster than they should. Although the 1900 census with the month and year of birth cannot be considered reliable I have added these to my database for the children who were living in 1900. They were, however, not very helpful in the long run.

In the analysis for the 1840 census for this family group, the names in parenthesis are the original order I had from the dates of birth. The names in brackets are the order they were found on the 1850 census (seen below in the section for the 1850 census). The son John was born 14 September 1828 per his death record and gravemarker. This would make him 11-12 years old at the time of the 1840 census however the comparison with the 1850 shows he was only 9. Another discrepancy is the age range for Phebe. She was 37 at the time but in the 20 thru 29 range.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – John BACKHOUSE

1840 U. S. Federal Census11
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 9, line 18
Name: John Backhouse
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James) [William 0]
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Jonathan & William) [James 4 & Jonathan 6]
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 2 (Josiah & John) [John 9 & Josiah 11]
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (John) [John 39]
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Nancy & Hannah) [Nancy 2 & Hannah 3]
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Elizabeth) [Elizabeth 10]
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Polly) [Polly 13]
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Phebe) [Phebe 38]
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 20: 9
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 11
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 11

James JOHNSON and Mary Elizabeth MURPHY

James and his wife Mary were newlyweds without children in 1830. A decade later they had three sons and four daughters. One of the daughters under the age of 5 is unknown. James supported his family by farming.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – James JOHNSON

1840 U.S. Federal Census12
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 146, line 1
Name: James Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (David, Henry)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Hiram)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Amy, unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Mariah, Phebe)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Mary)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 9

Amy JOHNSON and William KELLY

Amy and William’s family grew by only by two between 1831-1835. No children appear to have been born in the second half of the 1830s. William and their twin sons were engaged in farming.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – James KELLY

1840 U.S. Federal Census13
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 145, line 30 (images 13&14 of 54)
Name: William Kelly
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 2 (Anderson and Jackson)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mary Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Amy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6
Note: Enumerator must have marked the wrong column for the age of the wife in this household.

John JOHNSON Jr. and Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE

John and Mary Ann would have only daughters! During the 1830s five daughters were born at intervals of about two years. John supported his family by farming.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Jr.

1840 U.S. Federal Census14
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 146, line 14
Name: John Johnson Jr.
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 3 (Elizabeth, Malvine, Amanda)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Virginia & Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Mary Ann)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7

William JOHNSON and Virginia SETTLE

William and Virginia were married in 1835 and the ages of the children born by the time the census was taken fit into the 1836-1840 time period. They had first a daughter and then two sons. William was farming at this time.

William was seen as a junior on the census as his uncle, my 4th great-grandfather William JOHNSON also lived in Fayette County.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – William JOHNSON Jr.

1840 U.S. Federal Census15
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 146, line 11
Name: William Johnson Jr.
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (James & Miles)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (William B.)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Octava)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Virginia)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

Rachel JOHNSON and James SETTLE

Rachel and James had five sons during the 1830s. Rachel’s husband James was engaged in agriculture. One of the youngest males could be a son who died before 1850.

Another possibility would be that their son William whose age varies in each census (1850 age 8; 1860 age 20; 1880 age 39) may have been born in late 1840 or early 1841 and included in the count. Per Ancestry, “All questions asked were supposed to refer to that date (1st of June). The count was due within nine months, but the due date was extended by law to allow completion within eighteen months.”

1840 U.S. Federal Census – James SETTLE, seen here as SUTTLE

1840 U.S. Federal Census16
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Page 145, line 28
Name: James Suttle
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (John, Alfred, William or unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Henry, Abner)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Rachel)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7

Mary JOHNSON and John KINCAID

Mary and John likely married before 1835 and their first three children born between 1835-1840 are reflected in the census. John was a farmer.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – John KINCAID

1840 U.S. Federal Census17
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Page 146, line 7
Name: John Kincaid
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Mark)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Catherine and Emeretta)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Mary)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

Barbara JOHNSON and Jesse JARRETT

Barbara is the only child of Elizabeth SIMS and John JOHNSON to not live in close vicinity of her parents and siblings. Her older sister Phebe lived in Nicholas County but this was just a stone’s throw away from the rest of the JOHNSONs.

Barbara married Jesse JARRETT before 1835. They had a daughter and two sons by 1840. Both Barbara and Jesse could not read & write. (This column was blank for her siblings.) They were likely both working the farm they lived on as two persons were employed in agriculture.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Jesse JARRETT, seen here as JAROTT

1840 U.S. Federal Census18
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Page 16, line
Name: Jesse Jarott
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (Harrison and Bentley)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (Jesse)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Mary Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 Barbara
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

Susannah JOHNSON and Thomas CURRY

Susannah was the youngest child of Elizabeth and John. She married Thomas CURRY, a farmer, in 1839 at the age of 17. They did not yet have children.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Thomas CURRY

1840 U.S. Federal Census19
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 145, line 24
Name: Thomas Curry
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Thomas)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Susannah)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 2

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Elizabeth SIMS would not live to be enumerated in the 1850 census. She died in 1845.

Elizabeth’s widower, John married Mary “Polly” CHILDRESS, widow of Benjamin “Benijah” WINDSOR in 1846. John married his sister-in-law’s sister-in-law and his nephew’s mother-in-law. [Polly and Benijah were the parents of Elizabeth “Betsy” WINDSOR who married Jonathan SIMS (son of William SIMS and Elisabeth WINDSOR) in 1836. Elisabeth, the wife of William, was the sister of Benijah.] See: The Windsor Connection

As will be seen below, all of Elizabeth’s children were married by 1850. All grandchildren were single and living with their parents except for two. Three of her sons were living next door to their father as can be seen on this page of the census.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – in order of household: Harrison JOHNSON, William JOHNSON, John JOHNSON, and John JOHNSON Jr.

John JOHNSON, the Widower of Elizabeth SIMS

Elizabeth’s widower was still a farmer in 1850 and had real estate valued at $150. In his household were his second wife Mary and a young widow with a child who likely were connected to the head of household’s wife.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Sr.

1850 U.S. Federal Census20
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 28th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366A, lines 21-24, HH #470-470
John Johnson 72 M farmer $150
Mary Johnson 62 F Virginia married within the year
Catherine Farlin 30 F widow Virginia
Mary E. McFarlin 5 F Virginia
Note: An Ancestry user added an annotation that Farlin should be McFarlin

Phebe SIMS and John BACKHOUSE

In the 1850 census, we see all of the children of Phebe and John between the ages of 23 and 10 years. The ages below were used to calculate their ages in 1840 and in brackets above in the section on the 1840 census. All of Phebe and John’s children survived from 1840 to 1850. The head of household, John was a farmer as well as his sons Josiah, John, and Jonathan. John owned real estate valued at $300.

In 1870 the spelling of the surname BACKHOUSE would change for many to BACKUS.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – John BACKHOUSE

1850 U.S. Federal Census21
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
The 43rd District
Enumerated on 26 August 1850 by D. Oliver Kelly Ass’t Marshal
Sheet 371A, Line 25-35, HH #406-406
John Backhouse 48 M W Farmer $300 Pennsylvania
Pheby Backhouse 47 F W Virginia
Polly Backhouse 23 F W Virginia
Josiah Backhouse 21 M W Farmer Virginia
Elizabeth Backhouse 20 F W Virginia
John Backhouse 19 M W Farmer Virginia
Johnathan Backhouse 16 M W Farmer Virginia
James Backhouse 14 M W Virginia
Hannah Backhouse 13 F W Virginia
Nancy Backhouse 12 F W Virginia
William Backhouse 10 M W Virginia

James JOHNSON and Mary Elizabeth MURPHY

James and Mary, if you only consider the ages of the children seen below, had three more children in the 1840s. A daughter Elizabeth and a set of twins, William and Jane. James was a farmer without any real estate. [Note for further research: Elizabeth, age 8 – is it possible she was a bit older and the daughter seen in 1840 in the under 5 age category? She has not been located in later census records.]

1850 U.S. Federal Census – James JOHNSON (with his sister Rachel next door)

1850 U.S. Federal Census22
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 26th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 365A, Lines 12-22, HH #449-449
James Johnson 45 M W Farmer Virginia
Mary Johnson 44 F W Virginia cannot read & write
Mariah Johnson 19 F W Virginia
Phobe Johnson 18 F W Virginia
Hiram Johnson 17 M W Virginia
David Johnson 16 M W Virginia
Henry Johnson 12 M W Virginia
Amy Johnson 10 F W Virginia
Elizabeth Johnson 8 F W Virginia
Wm Johnson 6 M W Virginia
Jane Johnson 6 M W Virginia
Note: A bracket between names and age indicate Wm and Jane were twins.

Amy JOHNSON and William KELLY

Amy, like her brother James above, had twins who were marked on the 1850 census. They were her firstborn. During the 1840s Amy and William had two more daughters. William was a farmer and owned land worth $650.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Wm KELLY

1850 U.S. Federal Census23
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 27th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 365B, Lines 13-21, HH #457-457
Wm Kelly 42 M farmer $650 Virginia
Amy Kelly 43 F Virginia cannot read & write
Jackson Kelly 21 M Laborer Virginia
Anderson Kelly 21 M Laborer Virginia
John Kelly 16 M Laborer Virginia
Mary E. Kelly 14 F Virginia
Manerva Kelly 11 F Virginia
Jamima Kelly 6 F Virginia
Alviry Jane Kelly 2 F Virginia
Note: A bracket between names and age indicate Jackson and Anderson were twins.

John Brown JOHNSON and Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE

John and Mary Ann had four more daughters during the 1840s. Two more daughters would be born in 1852 and 1853 bringing the total children, all daughters, to eleven. Nine would marry and have children. Their youngest would die at the age of nearly 2 years and 4 months. Their third daughter, Elizabeth never married and died at the age of 27.

Their oldest daughter Virginia married in 1848 – the first grandchild of Elizabeth SIMS to marry. The second oldest daughter, Nancy Right, was missed in the enumeration and added as “Mary” between lines 26 and 27. John was a farmer and owned land worth $500.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Jr.

1850 U.S. Federal Census24
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 28th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366B, Lines 25-33, HH #471-471
John Johnson 42 M W farmer $500 Virginia
Mary Johnson 41 F W Virginia
Mary (sic) Johnson 18 F W Virginia
Elizabeth Johnson 15 F W Virginia
Malvina Johnson 14 F W Virginia
Amanda Johnson 11 F W Virginia
Miram Johnson 7 F W Virginia
Lucinda Johnson 10 F W Virginia
Sarah A. Johnson 4 F W Virginia
Martha C. Johnson 11/12 F W Virginia

William JOHNSON and Virginia SETTLE

William and Virginia also had three more daughters during the 1840s. Two more sons would be born in 1852 and 1853 bringing the total children to eight. William owned land worth $500 and farmed.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Wm JOHNSON

1850 U.S. Federal Census25
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 28th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366B, Lines 13-20, HH #469-469
Wm. Johnson 39 M Farmer $500 Virginia
Virginia Johnson 31 M Virginia
Octava Johnson 13 F Virginia
James A. Johnson 11 M Virginia
Miles Johnson 10 M Virginia
Electean Johnson 8 F Virginia
Manerva Johnson 5 F Virginia
Sarah J. Johnson 2 F Virginia
Note: Electa’s name is hard to decipher on this census image and looks like Electean or Electeau.

Rachel JOHNSON and Enoch LIGHT

Rachel’s husband James SETTLE died before 1845. Rachel remarried about 1847. Her husband, Enoch LIGHT, a widower, came from Indiana about 1847. His deceased wife was Mary “Polly” KELLY, a sister of William KELLY who married Amy JOHNSON, Rachel’s sister. Enoch and his first wife had likely married in Kanawha County prior to the 1820 census. By 1830 they had moved to Indiana.

In 1850 Enoch and Rachel had two children of their own, a son and a daughter. Also in their household were Rachel’s five sons from her first marriage. A daughter and a son would be born after 1850. Their daughter Rhoda would die of inflammation of the bowels in 1855. Both Enoch and Rachel could not read and write. Enoch was a farmer and did not own land in 1850. According to L. Neil Darlington who wrote a booklet entitled, A Record of the Early Settlement of Lower Loup Creek (which was later published in the Fayette Tribune in 1933), Rachel and Enoch were living on the James Settle fork of Mulberry. They then lived in the present Summerlee region for a few years, coming back to Loup Creek where he bought land in 1858.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Enoch LIGHT, next door to his brother-in-law James JOHNSON

1850 U.S. Federal Census26
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District, Sheet No. 365A
Enumerated on the 26th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 365A, Lines 23-31, HH #450-450
Enoch Light 50 M Farmer Virginia cannot read & write
Rachel Light 36 F Virginia cannot read & write
Henry Suttle 18 M Farmer Virginia
Abner Suttle 17 M Farmer Virginia
John J. Suttle 14 M Virginia
Alfred Suttle 10 M Virginia
Wm. A. Suttle 8 M Virginia
Morris H. Light 2 M Virginia
Rhoda Light 11/12 F Virginia

Mary JOHNSON and John KINCAID

During the 1840s Mary and John had five children. Three more would be born in the 1850s bringing the total number of children up to eleven. John was a farmer and owned land valued at $1000. He would later become a Methodist minister.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – John KINCAID

1850 U.S. Federal Census27
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 27th day of August, 1850. H.B.- Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366A, Lines 30-39, HH #466-466
John Kincaid 39 M Farmer $1000 Virginia
Mary Kincaid 35 F Virginia cannot read & write
Catherine Kincaid 15 F Virginia
Emeretta Kincaid 13 F Virginia
Mark Kincaid 11 M Virginia
Jane Kincaid 9 F Virginia
Morris Kincaid 7 M Virginia
Susan Kincaid 5 F Virginia
Reed Kincaid 3 M Virginia
Jincy Kincaid 3/12 F Virginia

Barbara JOHNSON and Jesse JARRETT

Barbara and Jesse who were living in Kanawha County on land valued at $600 had three sons and a daughter during the 1840s. Their oldest daughter Mary Elizabeth married St. Clair ABBOTT in November 1849 at the age of 14, the second grandchild of Elizabeth SIMS to marry. The young couple was living with her parents. About 1851 Jesse and Barbara would name a son after their son-in-law. Three more sons would be born during the 1850s. The last two would be twins. They had a total of eleven children.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Jessee JARRETT

1850 U.S. Federal Census28
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
District No. 29
Enumerated on the 6th day of September 1850 by A.P. Fry, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 67A, Lines 27-36, HH #996-1000
Jessee Jarrett 45 M Farmer $600 Virginia cannot read & write
Barbara Jarrett 35 F Virginia cannot read & write
Harrison Jarrett 12 M Virginia
Bentley Jarrett 10 M Virginia
John Jarrett 7 M Virginia
Lewis Jarrett 6 M Virginia
Irvin Jarrett 5 M Virginia
Martha Jarrett 4 F Virginia
St. Clair Abbott 24 M Laborer Virginia cannot read & write
Mary Abbott 14 F Virginia

Elizabeth JOHNSON and Michael MONTGOMERY

Elizabeth married Michael MONTGOMERY in 1841. He brought a son John into the marriage. During the 1840s, Elizabeth gave birth to three daughters. Her fourth daughter Willie Ellen born in 1855 would be listed as a male William E. on the 1860 census. By 1870 the error was fixed when she was enumerated as Willie E., a female.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – M. MONTGOMERY

1850 U.S. Federal Census29
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated the 12th day of August by J.B. Hamilton
Sheet 353A, Lines 37-42, HH#306-306
M. Montgomery 36 M Farmer $50 Virginia
E. Montgomery 32 F Virginia
John Montgomery 13 M Virginia
E. Montgomery 8 F Virginia
Nancy Montgomery 4 F Virginia
Ann M. Montgomery 1 F Virginia
Note: John age 13 may be a child from a previous relationship as Michael and Elizabeth married in 1841.

Harrison JOHNSON and Adeline JARRETT

John and Elizabeth’s youngest son Harrison married Adeline JARRETT soon after the 1840 census. Adeline’s parentage is unknown to me. Was she related to Jesse JARRETT who married Harrison’s sister Barbara?

By 1850 they had five children, three daughters and two sons. Three more sons and two daughters would be born to them by July 1860. Harrison farmed but did not own property in 1850.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Harrison JOHNSON

1850 U.S. Federal Census30
Fayette County (West) Virginia
Enumerated on the 27th day of August, 1850. H.B.- Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366B, Lines 6-12, HH #468-468
Harrison Johnson 29 M Farmer Virginia cannot read & write
Adline Johnson 30 F Virginia cannot read & write
Mary Johnson 8 F Virginia
Clark Johnson 6 M Virginia
Jackson Johnson 5 M Virginia
Caroline Johnson 4 F Virginia
Amalethe Johnson 1 F Virginia

Susannah JOHNSON and Thomas CURRY

Susannah and Thomas both died in the typhoid epidemic in 1846.31 Their son William was raised by his paternal uncle William CURRY.

The uncle’s 1850 census listing includes two other CURRY children, Martha and Washington. Were they Uncle William’s children or could they have been siblings of young William? His parents had married in 1839 and the children would fit in the time frame.

The uncle William CURRY and married Margaret LIKENS on 28 November 1824 in Kanawha County. In 1840 they had a young male 10 thru 15 in the household. One person was counted as deaf and dumb. This would most likely be Margaret who was marked deaf and dumb in 1850.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – William CURRY

1850 U.S. Federal Census32
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated on the 15th day of August, 1850. H.B.- Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 354A, Lines 29-34, HH #316-316
Wm Curry 48 Farmer $2000 Virginia
Margaret Curry 40 Virginia cannot read & write Deaf & Dumb
Martha Curry 10 Virginia
Washington Curry 7 Virginia
Wm Curry 3 Virginia
Margt. Lykins 8 F Virginia

After the 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Elizabeth SIMS died in 1845 however, as her widower was still living, I continued with the 1850 census for John JOHNSON and their children. The census listings of her children after 1850 will not be analyzed at this time.

During the April Term 1854 in Fayette County, Rev. John JOHNSON was released from the payment of taxes upon himself and one tithable.33 He was not found in the 1860 census.

His second wife, Mary CHILDRESS (widow of WINDSOR) was in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio with her daughter from her first marriage, Emeretta BROWN née WINDSOR and her family. A comparison with the 1850 listing convinced me that this is the correct person. The young Mary E. McFARLIN seen with John JOHNSON and his wife Mary in 1850 is in the 1860 household. Was Mary JOHNSON only visiting with her daughter? Or was she widowed and moved to Ohio to live with her daughter?

1860 U.S. Federal Census – James BROWN household with Mary JOHNSON

1860 U.S. Federal Census34
Gallia County, Ohio
Gallipolis Township
Enumerated on the 25th day of July 1860. W. R. Morgan Ass’t Marshal.
Page No. 179, Lines 37-40, and Page No. 180, Lines 1-5
HH #1178-1151
James Brown 39 M W Blacksmith $2000 $200 Ohio
Emeretta Brown 31 F W Virginia
Alvin Brown 13 M W Virginia attended school within the year
Mary Brown 10 F W Ohio attended school within the year
William Brown 8 M W attended school within the year
James Brown 4 M W Ohio
Mary McFarland 16 F W Virginia
Mary Johnston 68 F W Virginia
Frank Chapder 17 M W Blacksmith Apprentice Ohio

In 1870 Mary JOHNSON was 82 years old and still with her daughter Emeretta’s family in Gallipolis Township. No death record was found for her in Gallia County. Further research showed Mary McFARLAND (also seen as McFARLIN) was Mary’s granddaughter. The widowed Catherine seen with her in 1850 was her daughter and mother of Mary. Catherine and Mary were also enumerated in the BROWN household in 1850. Catherine remarried late in 1850 and moved to Iowa.

John JOHNSON’s grave marker has his year of death as 1861. However, finding his second wife Mary living in Gallipolis in 1860 (unfortunately before marital status was included on the census) and his missing 1860 census listing makes me wonder if he may have died before the 1860 census.

Next up is Edward SIMS (1785-1852) who may or may not have been a son of James SIMS (1754-1845) and his wife Phebe.

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

GENEALOGY: Census analysis for family group!!

  1. 1790 / 1800 Virginia Tax List Censuses (Binns Genealogy, original records from Library of Virgina, Richmond, Virginia or Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah), Kanawha, 1802 Personal Tax List, page 12, line 18, John Johnson. (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Kanawha/1802Personal/12.jpg : accessed 23 April 2018). 
  2. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 21, John Johnston (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  3. 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 204B, line 30, John Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  4. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 37+38 of 84, page 198A+B, line 23, John Johnston. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  5. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 Roll M19_198, Virginia, Nicholas, image 1+2 of 42, page 172A+B, line 18, John Backhouse. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  6. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 37+38 of 84, page 198A+B, line 11, James Johnston. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  7. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 39+40 of 84, page 199A+B, line 10, William Kelly. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  8. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 37+38 of 84, page 198A+B, line 22, John Johnston. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  9. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 67+68 of 84, page 213A+B, line 24, James Setles. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  10. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_, Virginia, Fayette, No township, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 13, John Johnson household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  11. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_, Virginia, Nicholas, image 24&25 of 37, page 9, line 18, John Backhouse. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  12. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_, Virginia, Fayette, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 11, James Johnson household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  13. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_, Virginia, Fayette, image 13&14 of 54, sheet 145, line 30, William Kelly household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 January 2016). 
  14. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_, Virginia, Fayette, No township, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 14, John Johnson Jr. household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  15. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_, Virginia, Fayette, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 11, William Johnson Jr. household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  16. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_, Virginia, Fayette, image 13&14 of 54, sheet 145, line 28, James Suttle household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 January 2016). 
  17. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_, Virginia, Fayette, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 7, John Kincaid household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  18. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 0029689, NARA Roll M704_566, Virginia, Kanawha, image 36+37 of 129, sheet 16, line 5, Jesse Jarett household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  19. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, image 13&14 of 54, sheet 145, line 24, Thomas Curry household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 January 2016). 
  20. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 338, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 74 of 91, sheet 366B, lines 21-24, HH #470-470, John Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  21. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 image 303, Virginia, Nicholas County, Western District, image 62 of 93, sheet 370B, lines 25-35, HH#406-406 John Backhouse. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 April 2018). 
  22. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 335, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 71 of 91, sheet 365A, lines 12-22, HH #449-449, James Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  23. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 336, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 72 of 91, sheet 365B, lines 13-21, HH #457-457, Wm Kelly. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  24. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 338, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 74 of 91, sheet 366B, lines 25-33, HH #471-471 John Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  25. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 338, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 74 of 91, sheet 366B, lines 13-20, HH #469-469 Wm Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  26. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 335, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 71 of 91, sheet 365A, lines 23-31, HH #450-450 Enoch Light. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  27. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 337, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 73 of 91, sheet 366A, lines 30-39, HH #466-466 John Kincaid. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  28. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_954, image 137, Virginia, Kanawha County, District 29, image 111 of 271, sheet 67A, lines 27-36, HH #996-1000 Jesse Jarrett. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  29. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 311, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 47 of 91, sheet 353A, Sheet 353A, lines 37-42, HH #306-306 M. Montgomery. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  30. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 338, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 74 of 91, sheet 366B, lines 6-12, HH #468-468 Harrison Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  31. Hardesty, Henry H. Hardesty’s Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia. New York: H. H. Hardesty and Company, 1884. Rpt. in West Virginia Heritage encyclopedia. Ed. Jim Comstock. Richwood: Comstock. 1974; online http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/wv/wv-footsteps/1999/v99-15.txt%5D&#160;
  32. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 313, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 49 of 91, sheet 354A, lines 29-34, HH #416-416 Wm Curry. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  33. J. T. Peters and H. B. Carden, History of Fayette County, West Virginia, published 1926, Jarrett Printing Co., Charleston, West Virginia, pg. 190. 
  34. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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_966, page 485, Ohio, Gallia County, Gallipolis Township, page 179, lines 7-40 and page 180 lines 1-5, HH #1178-1151, James Brown. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 April 2018). 

Rewriting the Biography: Martin 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.

Martin SIMS (abt. 1781-aft. 1853) was the third son of James SIMS and his first wife Phebe. He was the father of six known children, possibly 2-3 more (unknown) children, and at least 34 grandchildren.

The 1790 U.S. Federal Census

In 1790 when the first census was taken, Martin was living with his father James SIMS whose census records were discussed in Rewriting the Biography: James SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census in Bath County, Virginia. They would move to Kanawha County before 1800.

The 1800 U.S. Federal Census

Martin SIMS had married Susannah JOHNSON, daughter of William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON, in 1800 in Greenbrier County which bordered on Kanawha County at the time. The marriage bond for Martin SIMS and Susanna JOHNSON dated 28 March 1800 is on file with the Historical Society of Greenbrier County. There is also a permission slip dated 24 March 1800 signed by Susanna’s father William JOHNSON.1

As he was found on the 1802 tax list of Kanawha County he would have been 21 in 1802, i.e. born about 1781 or earlier.2

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

In 1810 Martin and Susanna had three children, sons Nelson and John and daughter Sarah.

1810 U.S. Federal Census – Martin SIMS in Kanawha County, Virginia

1810 U.S. Federal Census 3
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 24
Name: Martin Simms
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Nelson & John)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Susannah)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 3
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 5

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

The part of Kanawha County in which Martin lived became Nicholas County in 1818. He likely lived on the same land as his brother William. They were deeded 135 acres on the Gauley River in 1816 and were paying tax on the land in Nicholas County at the time of the census. The tract was the other half of an original tract of 260 acres which was not deeded by John JONES to James SIMS in 1800. [Land records will be discussed at another time.]

In Martin’s household were his wife, four known sons, an unknown son, and an unknown daughter. Also seen in the age range of his wife Susannah is another young woman. This may be Elizabeth JOHNSON, sister of Susannah, who was not yet married. Martin and another person, likely his oldest son Nelson, were engaged in manufacturing.

1820 U.S. Federal Census – Martin SIMS in Nicholas County, Virginia

1820 U.S. Federal Census 4
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 18
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Name: Martin Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 3 (unknown, James J., and Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (unknown daughter)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 2 (Susannah and unknown)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures: 2
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 3
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 10

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Martin SIMS and his wife Susannah JOHNSON had five sons and a daughter in the 1830 census. The ages of the sons in later census year vary a great deal. However, when comparing to the 1830 and 1840 census it would appear that the unknown son seen in 1820 is likely now in the 15 thru 19 age group. Anderson was the only child born in the 1820s. Lewis, who is seen here as 5 thru 9 (1840 in 15 thru 19), may have been born very late in the 1810s or in 1820 before the census. The unknown daughter born between 1810-1820 is no longer in the household.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – Martin SIMS (bottom) in Nicholas County, Virginia

1830 U.S. Federal Census5
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: Martin Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Anderson)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (James J. & unknown b. 1811-1815)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John 20-25)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Sarah 20-25)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Susannah)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 4
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 8

Nelson SIMS and Nancy JONES

Martin and Susannah’s oldest son Nelson had married Nancy JONES in 1828. Before the census, they had one son they named Martin.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – Nelson SIMS (top) in Nicholas County, Virginia

1830 U.S. Federal Census6
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: Nelson Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 3

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

Martin’s wife Susannah died before 6 June 1840. Her widower Martin married Margaret HUGHES on this date.

The official enumeration day of the 1840 census was 1 June 1840. All questions asked were supposed to refer to that date. The count was due within nine months, but the due date was extended by law to allow completion within eighteen months. ~ Ancestry.com

Margaret appears to have been counted in the household even though the marriage took place after the official enumeration date. Martin’s daughter Sarah was not yet married but she had a daughter Mary J. born about 1839 (she was 17 in 1856 when she married) who may be in the grandfather’s household. The possibility that Margaret HUGHES brought a child into the marriage or that she and Martin had a child should also be considered. The unknown male seen in 1820 and 1830 is not in the household. Was he deceased or had he married and moved to other parts? Without a name or a document listing the names of the children of Martin, it is probably impossible to trace this person.

All of the males in the household were engaged in agriculture. There was one female slave age 36 thru 54 counted. None of the adults in the household could read or write.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Martin SIMS in Nicholas County, Virginia

1840 U.S. Federal Census7
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 10, Line 5
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Martin Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Anderson)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Mary J. Sprinkle, daughter of Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Margaret, md. June 1840)
Slaves – Females – 36 thru 54: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 4
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 4
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total Slaves: 1
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8

Nelson SIMS

Martin’s son Nelson’s family had grown to include a son Thomas and daughters Sarah Jane and Virginia. Nelson was engaged in agriculture and he did not have any slaves.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Nelson SIMS in Fayette County, Virginia

1840 U.S. Federal Census8
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 147, Line 30
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Nelson Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Thomas)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Virginia)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Sarah Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Nancy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6

There was a second census listing for a man named Nelson SIMS in 1840 in Kanawha County. His age is too young to be a match for Nelson seen above. Several tick marks were X-ed out. There were 4 persons in the household: a man and a woman aged 20 thru 29 and one girl and one boy under 5. Three persons were engaged in agriculture, most likely not correct as there was only one male over 20 in the household.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Nelson SIMS in Kanawha County, Virginia

1840 U.S. Federal Census9
Kanawha County, (West Virginia)
Page 60, Line 29
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Nelson Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 marked out with an X (looks like *)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 marked out with an X (looks like *)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 marked out with an X (looks like *)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 4
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4

James J. SIMS and Elizabeth DARLINGTON

Martin’s son James J. SIMS married Elizabeth DARLINGTON in 1832. By the time the census was taken they had three daughters under 5 years of age. James J. was engaged in agriculture.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – James J. SIMS in Fayette County, Virginia

1840 U.S. Federal Census10
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 147, Line 3
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (James J. Sims)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 3 (Nancy, Mary J., Amanda)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Nelson, James, Martin, and Lewis SIMS in Fayette County, Virginia

In 1850 we see Martin SIMS and all of his children except for his youngest son Anderson on the same page of the census. One household after the other suggesting they lived on the same land or very close to each other. Only Martin has the value of real estate listed which likely means his sons were living on his property. On the census page, they are listed in this order: Nelson, James, Martin, and Lewis but are discussed below by age.

Note: In households #171-171 to #174-174 are Martin’s brother William and his son Edward and Martin and William’s half-brothers George W. and Charles. William and Charles own land. The land owned by the SIMS family was originally in Nicholas County but with the formation of Fayette County, a large part was on the Fayette side of the Gauley River.

Martin SIMS

Martin was 60 years old and a farmer. He owned real estate valued at $1000. In his household was his daughter Sarah, seen here as Sally, with her two daughters Mary and Hannah. Sarah had married George W. Sprinkle in 1840.  No trace has been found of her husband.

Also in the household was Martin’s second oldest son John who had not yet married. Missing is Martin’s second wife Margaret.

1850 U.S. Federal Census11
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheet 343B, Lines 22-26, HH #177-177
Martin Sims 60 M Farmer $1000 cannot read & write
Sally Sprinker (sic) 40 F cannot read & write
Mary Sprinker (sic)  8 F
Hannah Sprinker (sic) 7 M
John Sims 40 M Laborer cannot read & write

Margaret was seen in the 30 thru 39 years group in the 1840 census listing. She would be 40 thru 49 years in 1850 if still living. On 19 November 1849 Martin and his wife Margaret sold two tracts of land to Fenton MORRIS. This establishes her being alive without a year of the 1850 census. She was not found on the Mortality Schedule in 1850.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Margaret SIMS in the KINCAID household in Fayette County, Virginia

Four households away from Martin SIMS (a McNutt and an O’Dell family are listed in between) were Francis KINCAID and his wife Ann HUGHES. In their household was Margaret SIMS age 49. Was she Martin’s wife? Why was she with the KINCAID couple? Ann was Margaret’s younger sister. Ann’s husband Francis would die before March 1852 after making his will in April 1851. Was Margaret helping out at her sister’s or was she separated from Martin?

1850 U.S. Federal Census12
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheets 343B+344A, Lines 42 and 1-2, HH #181-181
Francis Kincaid 41 M Farmer Virginia
Ann Kincaid 40 F Virginia cannot read & write
Margaret Sims 49 F Virginia cannot read & write

Nelson SIMS

Nelson and his wife Nancy had three more daughters in the 1840s. Nelson was working as a farmer but not on his own land as he did not own real estate. His sons were laborers.

1850 U.S. Federal Census13
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheet 343B, Lines 5-13, HH #175-175
Nelson Sims 40 M Farmer cannot read or write
Nancy Sims 30 (sic) F cannot read or write
Martin Sims 20 M Laborer
Thomas Sims 17 M Laborer
Sarah Jane Sims 15 F
Virginia Sims 12 F
Nancy A. Sims 9 F (sic, Margaret in later years)
Jinnetta Sims 7 F
Unice A. Sims 2 F

James J. SIMS

James J. SIMS and his wife Elizabeth had three more children in the 1840s. Charles, William A., and Manerva. Daughter Amanda is seen here as 9. I counted her in the 1840 census as, later in 1860, she was enumerated as being 20 years old, i.e. born 1840. James is working as a farmer but like his brother Nelson, he did not own property.

1850 U. S. Federal Census14
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheet 343B, Lines 14-21, HH #176-176
James Sims 36 M Farmer Virginia
Elizabeth Sims 36 F Virginia
Nancy Sims 14 F Virginia
Mary J. Sims 12 F Virginia
Amanda Sims 9 F Virginia
Charles Sims 8 M Virginia
William A. Sims 4 M Virginia
Manerva Sims 1 F Virginia

Lewis SIMS and Caroline J. TUCKER

Lewis SIMS married Caroline J. TUCKER on 16 June 1849. They had an unnamed child born in May 1850 (1-month-old at the time of census enumerated as of 1 June 1850). The gender of the child is blank but looks like ditto marks close to the lower line indicating female. However, Lewis and Caroline’s oldest known child was a boy who died of croup in 1857. His age at death (which may not be correct) place his birth in January 1849 before his parents’ marriage.

Lewis worked as a farmer and did not have real estate.

1850 U.S. Federal Census15
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheet 343B, Lines27-29, HH #178-178
Lewis Sims 29 M Farmer Virginia
C. J. Sims 23 F Virginia
__ Sims 1/12 ” (not named) Virginia

 Anderson SIMS and Elizabeth UNDERWOOD

Anderson SIMS is the only child of Martin and Susannah not living in Fayette County in 1850. Anderson married Elizabeth UNDERWOOD on 11 March 1850 in Nicholas County where they lived at the time of the census. The column for married within the census year was not checked.

Was Elizabeth a widow and did she bring three children into the marriage? Why are they enumerated as SIMS in 1850? No trace of Ann after 1850 and none of the boys James and John after 1860 was found.

Anderson was a farmer and did not own real estate.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Anderson SIMS in Nicholas County, Virginia

1850 U.S. Federal Census16
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
The 43rd District (Western crossed out)
Sheet 382A, Lines 19-23, HH #548-548
Anderson Sims 26 M Farmer Virginia
Elizabeth Sims 35 F Virginia
Ann Sims 12 F Virginia
James Sims 8 M Virginia
John Sims 6 F Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Martin and his second wife Margaret have not been found in the 1860 census. No record of death was found for either of them.

“Martin V. Sims, son of the pioneer James Sims, owned about 200 acres of land extending from Rich Creek to a point on the opposite side of the river from Swiss. Nelson, James, Anderson and Lewis Sims, sons of Martin Sims, inherited this tract of land but afterwards disposed of same and moved elsewhere.”17

The information quoted from a history of Fayette County published in 1926 does not indicate when Martin SIMS died. An entry two paragraphs prior to this one concerning his father James SIMS is exaggerated. Can this statement be taken seriously?

The Fayette County will book for the years 1832-1866, as well as the Nicholas County will book for the years 1820-1899, were checked for a possible will, inventory, appraisement and/or sale bill of personal property which would help to narrow down the possible death of Martin SIMS. Nothing was found.

Land deeds of Nicholas County were consulted. In 1849 Martin and his wife Margaret sold 190 acres to Fenton MORRIS. In 1850 Martin was seen with real estate valued at $1000. This land must have been entirely in Fayette County as there is no record in Nicholas for a tract of land sold by the sons of Martin as noted above. Land records for Fayette County are not online.

On the  1860 census, Nelson SIMS was found in Nicholas County, James J. SIMS was still in Fayette County, and Lewis SIMS was in Kanawha County. Anderson SIMS, who was already in Nicholas County in 1850, was still there in 1860. John SIMS, who was not mentioned in the above statement, has not been definitely found (1860 and 1870 census records found are inconsistent). Daughter Sarah SPRINKLE, not mentioned above, was in Nicholas County.

The statement appears to have a notion of truth about the sons moving elsewhere after they disposed of the land. As the children were not living in Fayette County, with the exception of James J., I believe Martin must have died in the 1850s and before the 1860 census.

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

U.S. Federal Census Analysis for Martin SIMS

  1. Larry Heffner, email dated 10 August 2004 in reply to a request for information on marriage papers of Martin Sims and Susanna Johnson in the archives of the Greenbrier Historical Society. 
  2. 1790 / 1800 Virginia Tax List Censuses (Binns Genealogy, original records from Library of Virgina, Richmond, Virginia or Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah), Kanawha, Personal Tax List, page 21, line 1. Martin Sims.(http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Kanawha/1802Personal/21.jpg : accessed 13 March 2018). 
  3. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 24, Martin Simms (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  4. 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 18, Martin Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  5. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 16, Martin Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  6. Ibid., Nicholas, Virginia, image 35+36 of 42, page 189A+B, line 15, Nelson Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  7. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 67, page 10A+B, line 5, Martin Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  8. Ibid., FHL Film 0029689, NARA Roll M704_566, Virginia, Kanawha page 60A+B, line 29, Nelson Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  9. Ibid., FHL Film 0029689, NARA Roll M704_566, Virginia, Kanawha page 60A+B, line 29, Nelson Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  10. Ibid., FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette page 147A, line 3, James Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  11. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 292, Virginia, Fayette County, Western District, image 28 of 91, page 343B, lines 22-26, HH#177-177 Martin Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  12. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette County, Western District, image 28+29 of 91, page 343B and 344A, lines 42 and 1-2, HH#1817-181 Francis Kincaid. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  13. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette County, Western District, image 28 of 91, page 343B, lines 5-13, HH#175-175 Nelson Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  14. Ibid., lines 14-21, HH#176-176 James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  15. Ibid., lines 27-29, HH#178-178 Lewis Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  16. 1850 Census, Virginia, Nicholas County, Western District, image 85 of 93, sheet 382A, lines 19-23, HH#548-548 Anderson Sims. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  17. J.T. Peters and H.B. Carden, History of Fayette County, West Virginia, copyright Fayette County Historical Society, Inc., 1926, printed by Jarrett Printing Company, Charleston, West Virginia, p. 610 

52 Ancestors: #36 William JOHNSON Jr. 1793-1845

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

I’m a bit behind on this week’s entry. Setting up my new laptop is taking me longer than I thought. And there are other things in my life that have priority – spending time with my husband and children, keeping myself healthy (310 kilometers/11+ hours on my bike since the 1st of the month), and creating memories.

52 Ancestors: #36 William JOHNSON Jr. 1793-1845

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) married about 1774. Most family trees have their place of marriage as Bath County in Virginia but I cannot agree with this.

As is the case with all research in old Virginia, the county formations need to be considered. Bath County was created in 1790 from parts of Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier counties. Greenbrier was formed in 1778 from Botetourt and Montgomery counties. Botetourt County was established in 1770 from Augusta County. The marriage of William and Amy most likely took place in the area of Botetourt County that later went to Greenbrier or in Augusta County where the Johnston families lived. As this is a portrait of William JOHNSON Jr., I will go into the Johnston connection in Augusta County in a later post.

William and Amy were the parents of at least 8 known children, one of them being my fourth great-grandfather William JOHNSON (1793-1845) born about 1793 on Lick Run, Greenbrier County in old Virginia, now West Virginia.

William’s oldest brother Rev. John Brown JOHNSON was born in 1777 in Botetourt or Augusta County. Their father may have been away from home for long periods of time due to his military service during the Revolutionary War (1775-1784). In any case, the next child Nelson JOHNSON was born about 1782. In Laidley’s 1911 History1 Nelson is named as one of the four sons of William JOHNSON Sr. Other sources2 have him listed as the son of Benjamin JOHNSON.

In a biography of Julian M. Johnson, grandson of William Jr., William Sr. moved to what is now Monroe County, West Virginia, after the end of the Revolutionary War and lived there a number of years.

New records brought to light by Wayne L. Johnson, a direct descendant of William Jr., may prove that William Sr. was actually in the area when Greenbrier County was formed in 1778.3 This would mean that John B. and Nelson were born “in the Sinks” as the JOHNSONs were there in 1784:4

“Among the people who were living in the Sinks at the close of the Revolution were several Methodist families. Among these were the Blantons, the Christys, the Johnsons, and the Warrens. They held religious meetings at their homes, and as their membership was growing, they organized a regular society late in the summer of 1784. This date, it will be observed, is also that of the independence of the Methodist Church.”

James M. (1783-1834), Susannah* (1784-1840), Mary “Polly” (1790-1850), my 4th great-grandfather William (1793-1845), and Nancy (1794-1825) were born on Lick Run then part of Greenbrier County.

Between 1795 and 1798 the JOHNSON family moved to Peters Creek, at the time in Kanawha County, where William Sr. patented 500 acres. He settled and remained there for the rest of his life. Amy (1795-1859) may have been the first child to be born on Peters Creek which would become part of Nicholas County when the county was formed in 1818.5

“The murder of one individual or a dozen families did not deter the sturdy pioneer from his onward march in the conquest of the wilderness, and accordingly, before a year has passed after the destruction of Kelly’s settlement, we find Leonard and William Morris both residing almost in sight of the fatal spot. Their settlement is elsewhere noticed [pg. 58, Kelly was killed in early 1773]. Among those who here found homes and become actual settlers in the next few years were John Hansford, Sr., Thomas Foster, Ransom Gatewood, Robert Perry, John Jarrett, John D. Massey, Gallatin G. Hansford, William Johnson, John Wheeler, Shadrach Childers, Peter Likens, Spencer Hill, William Pryor, Barney Green, Thomas Trigg and Shadrach Hariman.”

Two land records extracted from the deed books of Greenbrier County many years ago by David Fridley (who did not note the book or page on these). They would indicate that William and Amy left for Kanawha around 1798 selling a total of 238 acres:

  • 25 June 1798. William Johnson and Amy deeded out 150 acres Lick Run. Witn: John Johnston
  • 26 June 1798. William Johnson and Amy sold 88 acres Lick Run. Witn: John Johnston, et al.

This matches a statement in the biography of Julian M. Johnson by Laidley:6

“Then he and his sons, William, John, Nelson and James, moved to Gauley River in what is now Nicholas County, WV, near and below the mouth of Little Elk about 1798.”

William’s youngest sister Elizabeth (1799-1840) was born the year after the family moved to Kanawha County.

*At the turn of the century William’s sister Susannah JOHNSON was the first to marry. She married Martin SIMS (1783-1853) on 28 March 18007 in Greenbrier County. The permission slip for Susannah’s marriage was signed by her father William JOHNSON. I don’t have a copy of this document however Tim Spradling has put it on his list for his trip to the courthouse this fall. A comparison of the signature on the permission slip with other signatures found for William Sr. will help to determine if this young lady was the daughter of our William JOHNSON Sr. or the William JOHNSTON who died and left a will in 1803 in Greenbrier County. The will mentions his four oldest children James, Polly, Samuel and Sally, and his younger sons William, George, John, and Andrew. There is no mention of a daughter Susannah.

Photo courtesy of Carl L. Johnson.

William’s brother John Brown JOHNSON married Elizabeth SIMS (1782-1845), sister of the above mentioned Martin SIMS, on 2 June 18028 in Kanawha County.

These would be the only two marriages of his children that William JOHNSON Sr. would live to see. William died 22 December 1805 and was buried near Swiss in present-day Nicholas County, West Virginia.

Following their father’s death, the children lived with their mother Amy until one by one they married and started their own families. Mary “Polly” married Benjamin DARLINGTON (1775-1853) on 23 April 1810 in Kanawha County and was with her new husband when the 1810 census was enumerated. Amy was with her single children and close to son John and daughter Susannah who had married SIMS siblings.

1810censusjohnson
1810 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha > Kanawha > image 4 of 16 [ancestry.com]
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Johnston, Anne (sic, Amy; listed just above her son John)
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (James & Alexander)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 2 (Amy & Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Amy)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 8

During the time our nation was at war (War of 1812), William and his two unmarried brothers married.

    • James M. JOHNSON married Elizabeth MILLER ( -1823) on 29 April 1813 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
    • Nelson JOHNSON married Nancy MURPHY in 1813 in Kanawha County
    • William JOHNSON married Nancy Ann SIMS on 15 October 1814 in Kanawha County.

Soon after William married my 4th great-grandmother Nancy Ann SIMS, sister of Martin and Elizabeth SIMS mentioned earlier, their first child Nelson JOHNSON (1815-1855) was born about 1815 in Kanawha County. In all records found for Nelson, I have only seen “Nelson” as his first name. Denise Jackson of “Our Family Heritage” is a great-great-granddaughter of this son. Family lore is that his full name was Joseph Nelson JOHNSON and his grandson Joseph Nelson “JN” JOHNSON was named after him. On 9 May 2014 she wrote “It is only word of mouth about JN’s grandfather being Joseph Nelson Johnson and he (JN) being named for him” in response to my email to her about the full name. Before replying she checked with two of her cousins, sons of her father’s sister, and her two brothers as she said, “I wanted to check with all of them to make sure I had heard (and remembered) correctly.” They confirmed that she was right about the family lore.

William JOHNSON Jr. and his family originally lived at the mouth of Laurel Creek, a tributary of the Gauley River which empties about one mile above Swiss. In 1810 the JOHNSON and SIMS families were neighbors and it is known that James SIMS, father of Nancy Ann SIMS, made his home at Swiss. William’s son John Brown JOHNSON was born at the mouth of Rich Creek on Gauley in 1823 per the 1911 biography of his son Julian M. JOHNSON. This would have been in the area of Swiss. Later, most likely after 1823, the JOHNSON family moved to a place on Loop Creek (Loup Creek) in the area of what is known as Robson in present-day Fayette County, West Virginia.

“Loop Creek flows for its entire length in western Fayette County. It rises in the city of Oak Hill and flows initially west-northwestward through the unincorporated communities of Lick Fork, Wriston, Ingram Branch, and Hamilton; then northward through the unincorporated communities of Kincaid, Page, North Page, and Robson, to Deep Water, where it flows into the Kanawha River.” [Source: Wikipedia]

Before William and Nancy’s next child was born two of his sisters married brothers in Kanawha County: Nancy JOHNSON married Peyton FOSTER (1793- ) on 11 January 1815 and Amy JOHNSON married Turley FOSTER (1794-1859) on 16 November / 18 November 1816.

And William’s family continued to grow with the birth of my third great-grandmother Huldah JOHNSON (1817-1880) about 1817 and Alexander JOHNSON (1819-1887) on 10 June 1819.

The 1820 and 1830 census were enumerated in alphabetical order rather than in order of household visitation. This makes it less useful for locating the actual place that the family lived.

The family was in Nicholas County in 1820 and then next seen in Kanawha County in the 1830 census which supports the theory that their move to Loop Creek was in the 1820s, most likely between 1824-1830. Robson is 10 miles south of present-day Gauley Bridge. Fayette County was created on 28 February 1831 from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Logan counties. From then on William’s children were born on Loop Creek in Fayette County where they were seen in the 1840 census.

1820censusjohnson
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nicholas [https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18200130unit#page/n388/mode/1up : accessed 10 May 2014]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No: 204B
Enumerated by: Hedgman Triplett on the 26th day of December 1820
William Johnson
2 males under 10 yo (Nelson and Alexander)
2 males 10 & under 16 yo (not sons of Wm and Nancy who were married only 6 yrs)
1 male 16 & under 26 yo (William)
1 female under 10 yo (Huldah)
1 female 16 & under 26 yo (Nancy Ann b. bet. 1794-1804)
1 person engaged in agriculture
7 persons in household

Following the enumeration of the 1820 census, William’s fourth child Mary JOHNSON (1820-1898) was born on 20 August 1820.

William’s sister Elizabeth JOHNSON married Presley FOSTER (1798-1873), a brother of Turley and Peyton FOSTER, on 12 March 1822 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, and his brother James M. JOHNSON, recently widowed, married(2) Sarah LEGG (1795- ) on 6 March 1823 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

Shortly before Christmas in 1823 another son, John Brown JOHNSON (1823-1902), was born on 23 December 1823. The family was very fond of this name!

The first of William’s siblings, Nancy (Johnson) FOSTER died before 6 September 1825 leaving only one known child, a son she named Johnson FOSTER.

Nancy gave William three more children before the 1830 census: Amy JOHNSON (1825-1904) on 4 November 1825, Lewis JOHNSON (1828-1845) on 6 March 1828, and Elizabeth JOHNSON (1829-1833) about 1829.

1830censusjohnson
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Kanawha [https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18300191unit#page/n397/mode/1up : accessed 11 May 2014]
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Johnston, William
2 males under 5 yo (Lewis b. 1828, John Brown b. 1823)
1 male 5 & under 10 yo (Alexander b. 1819)
1 male 10 & under 15 yo (Nelson b. ca. 1815)
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (William Jr. b. 1793)
1 female under 5 yo (Amy b. 1825)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Mary b. 1820)
1 female 10 & under 15 yo (Huldah b. ca. 1818)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Nancy Ann Sims Johnson b. bet. 1791-1800)
1 female 70 & under 80 yo (Amy Nelson Johnson b. 1757)
7 free white persons under 20
2 free white person 20 thru 9
10 total free white persons
10 total – all persons

In William’s household, we see an older woman in his household. This must be his mother as family tradition is that she lived among her children until her death.

William’s family was not yet complete: William Hunter JOHNSON (1832-1899) was born 27 July 1832, Nancy JOHNSON (1835-1915) was born in August 1835. Sadly, young Elizabeth, about 4 years old, died about 1833 of the flux.

A year later William’s brother James M. JOHNSON died in 1834 on Loop Creek, Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s oldest child Nelson JOHNSON married Elizabeth HUGHES (1817-1900) on 14 September 1837 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

Sadly there would be another death in the family during the 1830s. William’s elderly mother Amy NELSON died on 23 December 1837 in Robson, Fayette County, (West) Virginia, and was buried in Nichols Cemetery on Loop Creek also seen as Nichols Hollow Cemetery, Robson. From the writings of Laura Blake, a local historian:

Courtesy of Gary Johnston (Facebook message dated 1 May 2013)

“Amie Nelson Johnson lived among her children after coming to Loup Creek but her last days were at the home of her son William, whose home was near that of Mutt Ellis. This was very close to the cemetery known then as the Kelly grave yard but now called the Nuchils cemetery. This is a beautiful location for a cemetery. In a row in this cemetery is the grave of William and Nancy Simms Johnson, two children, and the mother Amie Nelson Johnson. William and Nancy died around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. Afterwards, most of his family went to Kanawha County to an area called the Grape Vine, near Charleston.”

Unfortunately, Laura Blake did not get all the fact correct in the above statement. William’s wife Nancy SIMS did not die around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. She was seen living with her son William Hunter JOHNSON in Kanawha County in 1860.

After his mother’s death, William’s wife Nancy gave him his last child Morris Houston JOHNSON (1839-1845) on 21 January 1839 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s daughter Mary JOHNSON married David Alexander MILLER (1820-1871) on 13 December 18399 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s sisters Elizabeth FOSTER and Susannah SIMS died before the 1840 census.

1840censusjohnson
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayette > page 145 [https://archive.org/stream/populationsch1840555unit#page/n298/mode/1up : accessed 11 May 2014]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Johnson, William Sr. (page 145)
2 males under 5 yo (William Hunter and Morris Houston)
1 male 5  & under 10 yo (Lewis)
1 male 15 & under 20 yo (John Brown)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Alexander)
1 male 40 & under 50 yo (William)
1 female under 5 yo (Nancy)
1 female 15 & under 20 yo (Amy)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Huldah)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Nancy Ann; should be listed as 40 & under 50 yo)
10 persons in household
2 persons engaged in agriculture

William and Nancy’s oldest daughter Huldah JOHNSON married Robert INGRAM (1819-1902) about 1841 in Fayette County (West) Virginia.

Courtesy of Gary Johnston (Facebook message dated 1 May 2013)

In 1845 during an epidemic of typhoid fever, three members of the family died.

William’s sons died within three weeks of each other: Morris Houston JOHNSON died 11 August 1845 and Lewis JOHNSON died 31 August 1845.

William JOHNSON followed his sons on 18 December 1845. They are all buried in the Nichols Cemetery in Fayette County.

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


  1. Laidley, William Sydney, History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens, Richmond Arnold Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1911; pg. 979 (https://archive.org/stream/historyofcharles00laid#page/n5/mode/2up : accessed September 2014). 
  2. Christine Beckelheimer, submitter; “Benjamin Johnson”; The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993; sponsored and published by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, page 32. 
  3. Wayne L. Johnson and Carl L. Johnson; These Lost Children of the Marquis of Annandale, Johnstone-Johnston-Johnson, Notes & Compilations in three volumes, Vol. II First Americans, Charleston, West Virginia. A copy of this draft (a work in progress) received in the mail on 16 July 2014 from Wayne via Tim Spradling. 
  4. Oren F. Morton, The History of Monroe County, West Virginia, published by McClure Company, Inc., Staunton, Va. 1916; online https://archive.org/stream/historyofmonroec00mort#page/n5/mode/2up 
  5. Laidley’s History; pg. 235 
  6. Laidley’s History; pg. 979 
  7. Larry Heffner, email dated 10 August 2004 in reply to my request for information on marriage papers of Martin Sims and Susanna Johnson in the archives of the Greenbrier Historical Society. 
  8. The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993; sponsored and published by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. 
  9. Sissonville A Time to Remember, The Sissonville Historical Awareness Committee, pg. 108; online http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvkanawh/Sissonville/index.html 

William JOHNSON 1755-1805

Door13

Pioneer settler of present-day Nicholas County, West Virginia

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE: David Fridley provided me with pgs. 372-373 of Augusta County, Virginia Court Orders 1774-1785 by Bevin Creel AND solved the mystery of the Revolutionary War pension application S7220. He looked it up by app number on fold3.com and it belonged to John Merrill of NJ who died in Buncombe Co, NC. The error was caused when some footnotes were converted incorrectly into a new genealogy program. Fixed and checked off my list.

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