Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Matt, Egg, Judge, Jinny, Jack, Rachel, Mose, Mary, George, Franky, and Wilson

RELEASING: Matt, Egg, Judge (Jude), Jinny, Jack, Rachel Mose, Mary, George, Franky (Frank), and Wilson

The names listed above were found in the Appraisement Bill of the Estate of James Robinson of Nicholas County, (West) Virginia as well as in his Last Will and Testament.

The estate was appraised on the 23rd day of November 1831 by Samuel Price, Samuel McClung, and R. Kelly.

1831jamesrobinsonappraisementbill1
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-4LPR-7?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1PJ%3A179686001%2C179686002 : 22 June 2016), Nicholas > image 45 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.

Included in the appraisement (below) were:

Wilson a negro man $450.-
Frank a negro girl $300 (sic, Franky per will below)
Mary a negro girl $50

1831jamesrobinsonappraisementbill
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-4L5N-2?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1PJ%3A179686001%2C179686002 : 22 June 2016), Nicholas > image 46 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.

The personal property of James Robinson was sold on the 24th and 25th of November 1831. The Bill of Sale was presented to the court held for Nicholas County January Term 1832. No slaves were sold.

The Last Will and Testament was presented and proven during the March Term 1832 and April Term 1832.

1828jamesrobinsonwillproved1832part1
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-4LR3-V?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1PJ%3A179686001%2C179686002 : 21 June 2016), Nicholas > image 48 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.
James Robinson Will

I James Robinson of the County of Nicholas do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say.
1st I desire the perishable part of my estate be immediately sold after my decease and out of the monies arising therefrom all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid. Should the perishable part of my property prove insufficient for the above purpose then I desire that my executors hereafter names may sell my land that lies between the land of James Reed and David McCay’s survey of five hundred acres on Glade Crick and out the monies arising from the sale of said part of three hundred acres pay and satisfy such of my just debts as remain unpaid out of the sale of the perishable part of my estate.
2dly After the payment of my debts and funeral expenses, I give to my wife Elizabeth Robinson one third part of my estate both real and personal which is to include four negroes to wit my negro man Matt & two black women Egg & Judge her youngest child & Jinny for and during her natural life and after her decease I give the three first mentioned negroes Matt, Egg and Jude to my children herein after mentioned to wit Cynthia Callison, Rebecca Hamilton, Peggy Perkins, Miriam L. Robinson, Agness Robinson and Elizabeth Robinson the three negro’s above mentioned to be sold and the proceeds of their sales to be equally divided among my sid children daughters above named to be enjoyed by them forever. And the last mentioned negro woman Jinny after the decease of my wife Elizabeth Robinson may go to any of my heirs that she the said Jinny may choose to live with.
3dly Whereas I have conveyed to my son John H. Robinson three several parts of land and one negro boy named Jack which is more than his equal part of my estate with my other heirs I therefore or give give no part of my other estate either real or personal to him the said John H. Robinson more than the

1828jamesrobinsonwillproved1832part2
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-4L58-S?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1PJ%3A179686001%2C179686002 : 22 June 2016), Nicholas > image 49 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.

three tracts of land & the negro boy Jack before mentioned which I conveyed by deed of gift to him but will the residue of my estate to my other heirs in manner following that is to say.
4thly I give to my daughter Cynthia Callison wife of Isaac Callison the part of land whereon the said Isaac Callison now lives containing two hundred acres and all the property & stock which I before gave her for her share of my estate.
5thly I give to my daughter Rebecca Hamilton wife of John McKee Hamilton one negro girl named Rachel.
6thly I give to my daughter Miriam L. Robinson one negro boy named Mose.
7thly I give to my daughter Peggy Perkins wife of David Perkins one negro girl calld Mary.
8thly I give to my daughter Agness Robinson one negro boy called George.
9thly I give my youngest daughter Robinson one negro girl calld Franky.
10thly I desire that my yellow boy Wilson be hired out and and the hire of said Wilson to be applied by my executors to the benefit of my wife Elizabeth Robinson & my youngest daughter Elizabeth.
11thly I desire that all the rest of my estate both real and personal of what nature and kind so were it may be not herein before particularly disposed of may be equally divided between my six daughters Rebecca, Miriam L., Peggy, Agness & Elizabeth (sic, only 5 names) herein before named which I I (sic) give to them their heirs & forever.
And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my friends John Boggs and Thomas Callaghan Executors to this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills and testaments heretofore made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this twenty fifth day of February in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight signed sealed and delivered as and for the last will of the above named James Robinson in presence of us
E. R. Hutchison                                                           James Robinson *Seal*

Samuel Hutchison
At a court held for Nicholas County March Term 1832 The execution of this the last will and testament of James Robinson deceased was duly proved by the oath of E. R. Hutchison a subscribing witness thereto and at the April Term of said Court 1832 it was duly proven by the oath of Saml Hutchison the other subscribing witness thereto and ordered to be recorded accordingly.
Teste
Saml Price *Seal*

Notes for further research

The will was written in 1828, James Robinson died 9 October 1831. In 1830 the census included 3 slaves while in 1820 4 were listed:

1830 U.S. Federal Census
Slaves -Males – 24 thru 35: 1 (Wilson)
Slaves – Females – Under 10: 1 (Mary)
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 1 (Franky)

The appraisement and sale of the estate of the widow Elizabeth Robinson were noted in the same Will Book on pages 73 and 74. No slave names were found.

In 1840 John H. Robinson (Jack) had two slaves, a female under 10 and a female 36 thru 54; Isaac Callison, husband of Cynthia Robinson who received no slave, had no slaves; John Hamilton, husband of Rebecca Robinson (Rachel), had one male slave 10 thru 23; Margaret Perkins, possibly Peggy Robinson (Mary), had no slaves; Miriam (Mose) and Agnes (George) married Rader men who did not have slaves in 1840.

bestwishescathy1

True's statementFollowing my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors. These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project which can be found on Schalene Jennings Dagutis’ blog Tangled Roots and Trees

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING 9 Slaves of Braxton County, (West) Virginia

RELEASING: Mary and her husband; their children Washington, Granville (a girl), Catharine, and Lucinda; Maddison, Callohill, and Granville (a woman).

Last month I wrote about Cato who was sold on Christmas Day in 1821 to Robert Kelly.

Robert Kelly was found on the Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, slave schedule in 1850 but he was enumerated in his son’s household in the neighboring county of Braxton.

1850robertkellycensus
Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Year: 1850; Census Place: District 4, Braxton, Virginia; Roll: M432_937; Page: 211A; Image: 82
1850robertkellyslaves
Ancestry.com. 1850 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules [database on-line]. Year: 1850; Census Place: District 43, Nicholas, Virginia.
Cato was a young man in 1821 and would have been at least in his late 40s in 1850. From the above slave schedule listing, Cato was very likely no longer owned by Kelly who had 8 slaves in 1850. Robert Kelly’s last will and testament was located in Braxton County and names 8 enslaved persons and mentions one unnamed man.

RELEASING: Mary and her husband; their children Washington, Granville (a girl), Catharine, and Lucinda; Maddison, Callohill, and Granville (a woman).

The Last Will and Testament of Robert Kelly of Braxton County, (West) Virginia
r-kellywill1
Citation: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HYK7-4?cc=1909099&wc=Q8BW-MZL%3A179688701%2C179712101 : 21 June 2016), Braxton > image 160 of 177; county courthouses, West Virginia.

Know all men by These presents that I, Robert Kelly of the County of Nicholas and State of Virginia do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and form following, That is to say,
1st. I desire that the perishable part of my Estate be immediately sold after my decease (with the exception of such property as is hereafter willed) and out of the monies arising Therefrom all my Just debts and funeral expenses be paid.
2ndly. I will and bequeath to my two sons John McH. Kelly and Charles William Kelly my farm on Elk River lately purchased from George Molahon and bind my said two sons to pay to said Mollahon five hundred dollars being the last installment of the purchase money due forsaid land, and also to board, clothe and take care of my daughter Mary Virginia Kelly during her natural life and in the event of my Daughter Mary Virginia Kelly being unwilling to live with either of them then in that event they shall out of the value of my land this day willed to them pay to such person as may board clothe and take care of her in a genteel manner a reasonable amount for such board and clothing.
3rdly. I will and bequeath to my son John McH. Kelly my negro man slave Maddison to him and his heirs forever.
4thly. I will and bequeath to my son Charles William Kelly my negro slave Callohill to him and his heirs forever.
5thly. I will and bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Jane Ann Duffy Two negro girls named Catharine & Lucinda The children of my negro woman slave named Mary to her and her (sic) and the heirs of her own body forever together with the future increase of said negro girls to her and her heirs forever.
6thly. I will and bequeath to my son David O. Kelly my negro boy Washington and my negro girl named Granville two children of my slave Mary. The said negro boy Washington to serve my said son David O. Kelly or his heirs until he arrives at the age of thirty years, and at that age the said negro boy Washington to be free, to him and his heirs forever.
7thly. I will and bequeath to my Daughter Mary Virginia Kelly my negro slave named Granville, one feather bed and bedding to be enjoyed by her during her natural life and at her death I will and desire that the negro woman slave Granville share be free, in consequence of her kindness and attention to my family.
8thly. I will and order that any executors herein after named and my heirs shall if atall in their power conveniently to try and prevent the seperation of my negro woman slave Mary & her husband.
9thly. I will and bequeath to my two sons John McH. Kelly & Charles William Kelly each of them one feather bed and bedding to them and their heirs forever.
10thly. I will and bequeath that all my Estate both real and personal not herein before willed shall after my death be sold and out of the monies arising therefrom first my two sons John McH. Kelly & Charles William Kelly are each to have one hundred dollars and the balance of said proceeds of said sale to be equally divided amongst all my children or their heirs.

r-kellywill2
Citation: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HYV1-D?cc=1909099&wc=Q8BW-MZL%3A179688701%2C179712101 : 21 June 2016), Braxton > image 161 of 177; county courthouses, West Virginia.

And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my two sons John McH. Kelly and Charles William Kelly Executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other or former wills or Testaments by me heretofore
made. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 2nd day of August 1849.
Signed sealed published and declared by              R. Kelly *Seal*
Robert Kelly as and for his last will
and Testament in the presence and
hearing of us who at his request and
in his presence have subscribed our
names as witnesss.
David Eagle
John McD. Grose
Ro. Hamilton
Codicil to the foregoing last will & testament of Robert Kelly, viz. when the foregoing will was made I thought that the two slaves viz. Washington and Granville could be freed by me, at the time mentioned in said will without any confliction with the laws of Virginia. But on mature reflection, I have concluded that if the new constitution of Virginia shall be adopted, which I believe it will that in that event the said Washington‘s freedom is hereby revoked by me, and that he shall be and remain the property of the said D. O. Kelly to him & his heirs forever, and the said Granville‘s freedom is revoked so far as this, that she shall remain & live with my daughter Virginia so long as she lives, and at her death she shall have a right to live with any of my children that she choses during her lifetime. And it is my desire that whichever child of mine that she should make choice to live with to pay her revenue tax as a slave, so as to secure to her a right to live in the state, without her being molested or disturbed by the laws of the state. This codicil signed & sealed by me on this 26th day of September 1851.
Teste                                                R. Kelly *Seal*
Jno. P. Byrne
W. Newlon
Braxton County Court September Term 1853.
The last will and testament of Robert Kelly Deceased, with a codicil Thereto [illegible] was this day produced in Court, and the will was proved by the oaths of David Eagle and John McD. Grose subscribing witnesses thereto, and the codicil was proved by the oaths of William Newlon & John P. Byrne subscribing witnesses thereto, which will together with the codicil thereto is ordered to be recorded.
Teste Jno. P. Byrne Clk

Due to blog format I transcribed without line breaks in the main text of the will and placed numbered items at the beginning of a new line.

Robert Kelly a Resident of Nicholas and Braxton Counties

Robert Kelly appears to have lived in the part of Nicholas County which became Braxton County – his land likely lying in both counties. Note: Braxton County was formed in 1836 from parts of Lewis, Kanawha and Nicholas counties.

In 1820 Robert Kelly had 5 slaves in his household: 1 male under 14 and 4 females 14 thru 25. In 1830 he had 7 slaves in his household: 2 males under 10, 1 male 24 thru 35, 2 females under 10, 1 female 10 thru 23, 1 female 24 thru 35. In 1840 he had 6 slaves in his household: 1 male under 10, 1 male 10 thru 23, 1 male 24 thru 35, 1 male 36 thru 54, 2 females 10 thru 23.

From the information on the 1850 slave schedule and the will of Robert Kelly, I believe these are the names and ages of the enslaved persons. The name Granville was mentioned twice in the will, for a girl and for a woman. Mary’s husband’s name was not given.

1850slavenames
Ancestry.com. 1850 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules [database on-line]. Year: 1850; Census Place: District 43, Nicholas, Virginia.
I analyzed the ages of the slaves in the pre-1850 census, compared with the 1850 schedule and the will. I believe it is possible Cato was the father of Granville, Mary, and Callohill and may have died before the will was written. This is an assumption on my part and I have no documentation to back it up.

In 1860, several of Robert Kelly’s children are on the slave schedule of Braxton and Nicholas counties:

  • Braxton: Charles William Kelly with a 23 yrs old male mulatto (Callohill)
  • Braxton: Mary Virginia Kelly with a 40 yrs old female mulatto (Granville) and a 3 yo female mulatto
  • Braxton: John McHamilton Kelly with a 33 yrs old male black (Maddison)
  • Nicholas: David Oliver Kelly with a 30 yrs old female mulatto, a 23 yo male mulatto (Washington), a 6 yo male mulatto, 4 yo male mulatto, and a 2 yo male mulatto.
The Codicil

Robert Kelly, at the time he wrote his will, believed he could easily arrange for two of his slaves to be freed. Within two years he was writing a codicil to the will as he expected a new constitution to be adopted by Virginia which would make it impossible to carry out his wishes.

This codicil makes me wonder how many slave holders changed their minds about freeing their enslaved people because of the laws of their state?

bestwishescathy1

True's statementFollowing my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors. These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project which can be found on Schalene Jennings Dagutis’ blog Tangled Roots and Trees

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

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Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Cato, Sold on Christmas Day 1821

On Christmas Day, one hundred and ninety-five years ago, Sophia and her child as well as a boy named Cato were sold in estate sales in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

William Hamilton (1795-1821) died about a month after his sister Jane. His inventory and sale were recorded at the same time as Jane’s which were shared last month in the post releasing Sophia and her child.

William Hamilton owned a man named Cato as seen in the Inventory & Appraisal of his personal estate:

williamhamiltoninventory500
Citation: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-21772-76?cc=1909099 : accessed 20 January 2016), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 18 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.

William Hamilton
Inventory & Appraisal
(in margin)

We the Subscribers agreeable to an an order of the
Worshipfull the County Court of Nicholas County,
the November term 1821 of Said Court being first
Duly Sworn have proceed to appraise the personal
estate of William Hamilton Dec’d as produced
to us by Robert Kelly & John Mc. Hamilton the
administrators on said Estate to wit, on the
18th day of December 1821
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ – Cts
one Negro man named Cato . . . . . 400 – 00
Watch & Chain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 – 00
one pair of Saddle Bags . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 – 00
one horse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 – 00
one Bed & furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 – 00
one Book History of America . . . . . . . .  – 75
one Sword & Belt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 – 00
tow appletts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 – 00
one pair of spears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . – 75
one Saddle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 – 00
two Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 – 50
Razor Box & Razor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 – 00

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Samuel Neil
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Groves
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nathaniel Foster
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Fitzwater
. . . . . . . . . . . . Sworn to before me Edward Rion
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. Kelly . . . . . . . . . .adminst
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J. Mc. Hamilton . . adminst.

At the time of the sale of the estate which took place on Christmas Day in 1821, Cato was described as a boy and sold to William Hamilton’s brother-in-law and partner Robert Kelly:

williamhamiltonestatesale500
Citation: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-21768-88?cc=1909099 : accessed 20 January 2016), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 29 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.

W. Hamilton . . . .An account of the Sale of the Estate of William Hamilton Dec’s on
account of sale . . . . . . .the 25th of December 1821 to wit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
Robert Hamilton . . . . 1 Saddle of the appraisement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 – 00
. . . . . ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . .History of America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  – 75
Robert Kelly . . . . . . . . .one negro Boy named Cato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505 – 00
. . . . . ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . .one Bed & furniture, the head & Layings Excepted . . 15 – 00
. . . . . “. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Two Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 – 75
Miss Mary A. Hamilton . . one Horse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 – 00
Edwar Rion Guardian . . 1 Watch : . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 – 00
of David Hamilton
Robert Kelly . . . . . . . . . 1 Pair Saddle Bags by appr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 -00
. . . . . ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Appaulett. . . . . . . . .do. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 – 00
. . . . . ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 pr.  Spears. . . . . . . . .do. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . – 75
John Hamilton . . . . . . . 1 Sword & Belt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 – 00
. . . . . ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Epauten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 – 00
                                                    R. Kelly
                                                    J. Mc. Hamilton administrators

Jane Laverty Hamilton (1793-1821) and William Hamilton (1795-1821) were two children of John Hamilton (1748-1818) and Rebekah Laverty (1765-1811). In 1820 their older married brother Robert Hamilton had three slaves in his household, two males under 14 years of age and one male 45 years or older. There were several white adults in the household but since Jane had a female slave she was probably not in this household. Robert was the only Hamilton on the 1820 census. One or more of his unmarried brothers, perhaps William, may have been in this household.

Jane and William’s older sister Margaret was married to Robert Kelly who had five slaves in his household, one male under 14 years of age and four females between 14 and 25 years of age. As in Robert Hamilton’s household, there were several white adults in Robert Kelly’s. It is more than likely that Jane was in this household as it also included a female enslaved person who may have been Sophia who was released in last month’s post.

William may have been in either household as both included male slaves under the age of 14 years. As Cato was seen as a man in the inventory and then as a boy when he was sold, he could have been nearly 14 in 1820. It is more than likely that William and Cato were in the household of Robert Kelly as the brothers-in-law were partners in the firm Kelly & Hamilton. The inventory and appraisal of the estate of the firm Kelly & Hamilton followed the inventory and appraisal of the estate of William Hamilton and did not include any slaves. As seen above in the sale of the estate, Robert Kelly became the slave holder of Cato.

bestwishescathy1

True's statementFollowing my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors. These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project which can be found on Schalene Jennings Dagutis’ blog Tangled Roots and Trees

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

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Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Sophia and Her Child

Releasing one Negro Woman and child mentioned in the inventory of the estate of Jane Hamilton presented to the Court of Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, during the November term of 1821.

jane-hamilton-estate-inventory-1
Citation: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-21651-60?cc=1909099 : accessed 20 January 2016), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 17 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.

In the left margin:
Jane Hamilton
Inventory & appt

We the Subscribers agreeable to an order of the Worshipful the
County Court of Nicholas at the November term 1821 of
Said Court being first duly sworn have proceeded to appraise
the personal Estate of Jane Hamilton Dec’d – as produced
to us by Robert Kelly & John Mc. Hamilton The administra-
=tors on said Estate to wit, on the 18th day of December 1821
                                                                  $ – Cents
one Negro woman & child                  425=00
Saddle Sddle (sic) bags & Bridle           17=00
Bed Stead Bed & beding                        40=00
one Wheel                                                 3=00
one Set of Silver tea spoons                    6=00
one trunk                                                     2=00
Morses Geography                                    0=75
Wool & Cotton & thread                         11=00
Callico for a quilt                                       3=00
one Umbrilla                                               2=50

jane-hamilton-estate-inventory-2
Citation: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-21772-76?cc=1909099 : 22 June 2016), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 18 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.

                                                  Samuel Neil
                                                  John Groves
                                                  Nathaniel Foster
                                                  John Fitzwater
Sworn to before me Edward Rion

The inventory of the Estate of Jane Hamilton was sold on 25 December 1821. The enslaved woman and child are seen as Sophia & child and were sold to Jane’s brother John Hamilton for $585.

jane-hamilton-estate-sale
Citation: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-21768-88?cc=1909099 : accessed 20 January 2016), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 29 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.

Jane Hamilton
a/c                                     Jane Hamilton’s Estate, an account of the sale thereof
Sale                                    on the 25 of December 1821 by the Admtr. to wit
                                                                                                            $  Ct.
Polly Hamilton . . . . . . . . 1 Spindle Wheel Inventry . . . . . . . . . . .3 00
John Hamilton . . . . . . . . Sophia & Child . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 585 00
Polly Hamilton . . . . . . . . Saddle wo. Bridle & Saddlebags Inventry . .17 00
      ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bed & furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 00
      ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Set of Tea Spoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 87 1/2
      ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Trunk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 00
      ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wool & Cotton thd. Invy . . . . . . . . . . . 11 00
Robert Hamilton . . . . . . Morses Geography Invy . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
Miss Mary A. Hamilton . 1 Umbrella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 50
      ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Callico for a quilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 00
                                                                                 R. Kelly
                                                                                 J. Mc. Hamilton   Adtrs.

Jane Laverty Hamilton (1793-1821) was the daughter of John Hamilton (1748-1818) and Rebekah Laverty (1765-1811). In 1820 her older married brother Robert Hamilton had three slaves in his household, two males under 14 years of age and one male 45 years or older. There were several white adults in the household but since Jane had a female slave she was probably not in this household. Robert was the only Hamilton on the 1820 census. One or more of his unmarried brothers may have been in this household.

Jane’s older sister Margaret was married to Robert Kelly who had five slaves in his household, one male under 14 years of age and four females between 14 and 25 years of age. As in Robert Hamilton’s household, there were several white adults in Robert Kelly’s. It is more than likely that Jane was in this household as it also included a female enslaved person who may have been Sophia.

William Hamilton died about a month after his sister Jane. His inventory and sale were recorded at the same time as Jane’s and will be shared next month.

bestwishescathy1

True's statementFollowing my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors. These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project which can be found on Schalene Jennings Dagutis’ blog Tangled Roots and Trees

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

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52 Ancestors: #52 Resolution: A Visit to the James SIMS Property

Week 52 (December 24-31) – Resolution. A resolution can be something that you resolve to do. It can also be the end or conclusion of something. What ancestor do you resolve to find more about in 2016? What ancestor have you resolved conflicting evidence about?

We’ve come to the end of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks : 2015 Edition. 2015 was the year of my children’s ancestors in Luxembourg. It’s been a wonderful year of discovery, correcting errors, adding new information and SOURCES, finding even more distant ancestors, and, best of all, stories were written for nearly 100 ancestors. Two weeks were dedicated to my cousin Joe Rooney’s ancestors as I could not pass up the chance to feature them and the wonderful collection of old photographs he shared with me. It may be the end of the challenge but I resolve to continue researching and writing about my genealogical discoveries in the year to come.

There are no favorites but one of my American ancestors, James SIMS 1754-1845 of Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, has placed himself in the limelight several times this year. Early in 2002 I wrote his biography with the help of several cousins. I posted an updated version of the biography on my blog, backdated 25 March 2013 as I began my blog on 23 January 2014.

In February 2015 I wrote Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS (in three parts). It gave Schalene Jennings Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees the wonderful idea of creating the Slave Name Roll Project. It was also published in The Trading Path, the journal of the Durham-Orange Genealogical Society in April 2015.

In May 2015 Mark Smith approached me and we agreed on my being a guest blogger on his blog Hampshire County Long Rifles. I wrote a post on James SIMS and his sons discussing their gun-making. This allowed me to focus on an aspect of this ancestor’s life I did not know very much about.

These posts have become chapters in James SIMS’ life and times. This week I’m happy to share with you another chapter written by my 5th cousin Jason N. Lombardi.

A Visit to the James SIMS Property

In August, I had the pleasure of making an impromptu four-hour trip to visit a home built by James SIMS near Swiss in Nicholas County, West Virginia. It has been on my to-do list since I first saw a post published on the Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy Facebook group detailing its existence.

Even though I was battling a summertime cold bug that had bitten me, complete with runny nose and cough, the genealogy bug had bitten me as well….and it prevailed! It’s amazing what a genealogist will overcome in effort to search out history when, under similar circumstances, might afford a day off of work or school.

11 22What an experience! Seeing firsthand the property that once belonged to my 4th great-grandfather was without words. Knowing that he was here….his family was here….my people were here. Little did James know that 200 years later, seven generations down the line, someone would be standing in awe at a place he owned.

33A perfect last-minute trip. I stood at the front corner of the home and placed my hand on the paint-deprived door frame of the ancient building. The awesome power of family seemed to rush through my veins. At that moment I was connected to James and his family. It was a phenomenal experience as a genealogist for 25 years as many of the homes occupied by my family in the past have been destroyed to time.

44 55 66 77 88 99James SIMS….you have family that still care and are breathing new life into your legacy.

© Jason N. Lombardi

52ancestors-2015This is my LAST weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 3

Celebrating Black History Month – I did not want February to end without giving recognition to African-Americans in the United States. I hope that by sharing this information I may help someone open the door to their African-American brick wall.

If you missed the first installments, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Isaac Sims, a Free Man

As seen in the petition drawn up and signed by the residents of Nicholas County, Isaac Sims was considered trustworthy and industrious. He was allowed to reside in Nicholas County where he remained until his death.

Several newspaper articles have been written about Isaac Sims. Some of the information in these articles may have been word of mouth or the storyteller laid it on thick.

Isaac Place On Gauley Settled By Old Slave, a newspaper clipping that was shared with me, does not have a date or name of the newspaper. I believed that it was written before 1951 as it was clipped by Edward Sims (1878-1953), a great-great-grandson of James Sims.  Similar information was found in several articles written by Clarence Shirley Donnelly (1895-1982) in his daily column “Yesterday and Today” for the Beckley Post-Herald.

As the wording of the first article was so similar to Mr. Donnelly’s later writings I searched again for the original source of the information. And I found the same article with a slightly different title, History of “Isaac Place” – A Bit of Pioneer History Relating to Slavery. It was contributed (unknown date) to the Nicholas Republican by A. J. Legg and reprinted in the Raleigh Herald on 4 February 1916. The Nicholas Republican was a weekly paper which started up in 1903. I could not find it on the Newspaper Archives or Chronicling America.

Yesterday Amy from Brotmanblog: A Family Journey wrote this comment:

I do wonder how Isaac managed to obtain the money necessary for emancipation. Did James pay him wages?

I haven’t found documentation to prove this but the pioneer history by A. J. Legg gives a good account of how Isaac (may have) earned the money to buy his freedom.

1916 History of Isaac Place A Bit of Pioneer History Relating to Slavery
The Raleigh Herald (Beckley, West Virginia), Friday February 4, 1916, page 2, column 1 (bottom) and 2 (top). [http://newspaperarchive.com/ : accessed 26 Feb 2015]
I did find one record that confirms that Isaac, when he was still a slave, was allowed to have business dealings. When the storekeeper Mr. Landcraft died his store inventory and appraisal were received and recorded by the Fayette County court at the September 1834 term. Isaac’s account is included on this list, two years before he was emancipated.
[Source: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-57447-29?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 26 February 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 26 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.]

On 20 October 1837 Isaac Sims was granted 17 1/2 acres of land in Nicholas County on both sides of the Gauley River.

By 1850 Isaac was seen on the census in the household of James Sims’ son-in-law Mathew Hughes, widower of Margaret Sims. Next to Isaac’s name in parenthesis is the word Free. His real estate, the 17 1/2 acres he was granted in 1837, are valued at $87.

1850census
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > 43rd District > Sheet No. 371A > HH #407-407 [ancestry.com]
In 1855 Isaac bought several items at the estate sale of Joseph McNutt. Sadly, also on McNutt’s inventory were Isaac’s children George Addison and Harriett Jane. The estate items sold are found following the inventory however the fate of Isaac’s children is not mentioned. Tradition is (also seen in article above) that they were bought by Robert L. Neil, husband of Jenetta McNutt, a daughter of Joseph McNutt.
[Source: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-57923-52?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 26 February 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 273 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.]

In 1860 and in 1870 Isaac Sims was listed on the census in his own household. He did not have anyone living with him. In 1870 he was listed as a mulatto instead of a black person as seen in 1850 and 1860. His real estate was valued at $1000 in 1860 and $500 in 1870; his personal estate was valued at $200 in 1860 and $400 in 1870.

Isaac Sims died before 9 Jun 1875 leaving a last will and testament in which he lists more land that he acquired after the 17 1/2 acres in 1837. He left the land to Robert L. Neil in exchange for his supporting Isaac’s granddaughter Rebecca Jane (Sims) Johnson. He also named Mr. Neil his executor. I have not transcribed or extracted all facts from the will.
[Source: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-22175-57?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5MS:179686001,179686002 : accessed 26 February 2015), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 90 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia. and
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-22099-66?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5MS:179686001,179686002 : accessed 26 February 2015), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 91 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.]

Rebecca Jane Sims, daughter of one of Isaac’s two children, was raised in the Robert L. Neil family. She was listed as a mulatto on the 1870 census in his household. She married David Johnson on 1 May 1874. It is possible that the 5 year old mulatto child named Myrta E. Johnson, living in the Robert L. Neil household in 1880, was the daughter of Rebecca Jane who died in childbirth on 1 November 1878 as reported by her neighbor Robert L. Neil.

I have not been able to locate Rebecca’s husband in 1880 or later. No trace of Myrta E. Johnson, who I believe was Isaac’s great-granddaughter, has been found.

Hopefully, if Tom, Juda, George, Jinncy, Jude, Fanny, July Hulen, Robert and Isaac Sims’ lines did not die out, a descendant will find this and be able to fill in the missing pieces in their family tree.

My blog sister True A. Lewis of NoTe’s To MySeLf… commented on my post:

“It’s Honorable to do… You’re RELEASING their Names and their Souls for their Descendants to hopefully find them one day. Every time this Happens they are Rejoicing. They have been in a book or what have you for so long.”

True’s statement about this being honorable may change people’s minds about sharing what they might be ashamed of.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 2

Celebrating Black History Month – I did not want February to end without giving recognition to African-Americans in the United States. I hope that by sharing this information I may help someone open the door to their African-American brick wall.

If you missed the first installment, go here.

Isaac Sims, a Slave

James Sims to Isaac Sims Deed

By March 1836 James Sims had disposed of all his real and personal estate including his slave property except for his Negro man Isaac who he intended to emancipate and set free. The steps he took were not as easy as one would think.

James had a deed drawn up detailing the conditions. Isaac had to pay James $150 in three instalments of $50 for his freedom. This sounds like a lot however he continues to note that if he (James) should die before all three instalments were paid Isaac would not have to pay the rest. Further if Isaac should die before him then James would use the monies received for Isaac’s children who were mentioned in this document as was their deceased mother Emily.

MRIN02312 1836-03-09 James Sims to Isaac Sims 1MRIN02312 1836-03-09 James Sims to Isaac Sims 2MRIN02312 1836-03-09 James Sims to Isaac Sims 3 cropped“1836 James Sims to Isaac Sims
(note in margin “Delivered to Isaac Sims Sept. 9th 1842”)

Know all men by these presents that I James Simms Sr. of the County
of Nicholas and State of Virginia having heretofore made my last
Will and Testament in which I have disposed of all my Estate real
and personal including my slave property except one slave ….
my Negro man Isaac which said Negro slave Isaac I heretofore
intended to emancipate and set free according to the laws of this
Commonwealth upon certain Conditions thereafter to be mentioned
and put to writing. Now this Instrument of writing Witnesseth
that in Consideration of the premises and for others ……
good causes moving me thereto. I do hereby and by virtue and force of these
presents emancipate and set free forever my aforesaid Negro slave Isaac upon
the following condition to wit that is to say that the said Isaac causes to be
paid to me one hundred and fifty dollars good and lawful money of Virginia
fifty dollars of which is to be paid in hand which said fifty dollars is this
day paid to me and the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged fifty dollars
of which the said Isaac shall cause to be paid on or before the 1st day of
April 1836 and fifty dollars the last payment thereof the said Isaac
shall cause to be paid to me on or before the first day of May 1836 and
it is furthermore agreed to on my part and which I hereby in addition
to the foregoing make known that in the event of my death before the
payment of the fifty dollars which is next due after the date of this writing
that then and in that case the said fifty dollars nor the aforesaid fifty
dollars the last instalment or payment above mentioned nor either of
said payments or instalments shall be required or exacted by my heirs,
Executors, administrators or assigns nor shall they or either of them
cause the said Isaac to pay either of said payments or instalments of fifty
dollars nor shall his failure to pay the same in any manner affect or
do away with the force of these presents in emancipating and setting free
the said Isaac after my death according to the laws of this Commonwealth
now in force. And it is furthermore agreed to on my part that in the
event of my death after the payment to me of the aforesaid fifty dollars
which next becomes due after the date of this writing as above mentioned
that then and in that case the last payment or instalment of fifty dollars
the said Isaac shall be exempt from the payment of in the same manner
and to the same effect as I have exempted him from the payment of the
fifty dollars which first becomes due as is mentioned and set forth in the
preceding paragraph. And it is furthermore agreed upon my part
that in the event of the death of the said Isaac before my death that then
and in that case I do hereby promise and agree that any money or monies
or payments which the said Isaac may cause to be made paid to me
or which may have been in any way paid to me on account of the promises
shall be appropriated by me or my heirs Executors ? in cause of my
death, in the following manner: That is to say that whereas the said Isaac
has two children named George Addison and Harriett Jane by his wife
Emily now dead and owned in her life time by Joseph McNutt
and feeling a natural love and affection for his aforesaid children and wishing
to provide for the comfort and happiness of the same I do hereby
promise and agree as before mentioned to appropriate the money
paid to me after his death that happening before mine as above
stated to such use or uses for the benefit of the above named children
of the said Isaac as will best promote their spiritual and temporal
welfare agreeable to their condition and character in this state and
according to the Laws and usages of this Commonwealth. To the
true performance of the above I do hereby bind myself my
heirs Executors Administrators
as witness my hand and seal this 19th day of March 1836
James Sims
Witness
Joseph McNutt
John Huddleston
Bernard Hendrick

I have this day received this full consideration
in good and lawful money cald for in this foregoing Instrument of
writing as witness my hand & Seal
James Sims
Witness
Joseph McNutt
John Huddleston
Bernard Hendrick”

Isaac Sims Manumission Letter

Below the “Information” sign at the Nicholas County Courthouse in Summersville, West Virginia, there is a framed letter written by James Sims freeing his slave named Isaac.

Isaac Simms emancipation
Photo © Rock Foster. Used with permission.

Sims Manumission Letter-1836

Know all men by these presents that I James Sims
of the County of Nicholas in consideration of a large
sum of money paid to me by my slave Isaac
as for the additional considerations of his fidelity
to me I have on this day manumitted and let
him the said Isaac free. To remain and continue
from hence forward to all intents and purposes
entirely free and discharged from servitude to
me my heirs and assigns forever. And for the purpose
of removing any difficulty as to the identity of the said
Isaac and to enable him to enjoy his Freedom in
the most absolute and perfect manner. I also hereby
certify and state that the said Isaac was born my
slave, that he has resided with me up to this date
that he is very black, his stature about five feet
five inches, of slender make and about forty three
years old, that he has had his right leg broken
just above his ankle. In testimony whereof I
have hereto set my hand and seal this 26th day of
September 1836.
                                                       James Sims
in the presence of
Andrew M. Dickinson
Joseph McNutt
John Huddleston
Edward Rion
Bernerd Hendrick
John Hill”

Petition to Grant Residence to Isaac Sims

Nicholas County residents signed a petition to the Legislature of Virginia to grant permanent residence to Isaac Sims. The original can be found in the archives division of the Virginia State Library. It reads as follows:

A PETITION FROM NICHOLAS COUNTY, VIRGINIA
TO GRANT PERMANENT RESIDENCE TO ISAAC SIMS
1836

To the Legislature of Virginia

Your Petitioners humbly represent that JAMES SIMS
of the County of Nicholas has recently emancipated ISAAC
a blackman who is desirous of remaining in the Commonwealth,
your Petitioners represent that there are but very few
slaves in the County of Nicholas not exceeding sixty –
nor is there more than one other coloured person in the
County who is free — your Petitioners further state the
said black man ISAAC is an exceedingly honest industrious
and useful man addicted to no vicious habits whatsoever,
but peaceful & inoffensive & meek in all his intercourse
& business with the country — your Petitioners would be
truly gratified should this Legislature in its wisdom think
proper to grant his application — your Petitioners are
well convinced that no mischief can result to the country
by doing so and as a precedent in this part of the state
nothing of evil is to be apprehended.

Saml Price                              David Mays
John H. Robinson                 William Sims
E. S. Duncan                          Robert Hughes Jr
Johnson Reynolds               Edward Sims Jr
Benj. H. Smith                       Jeremiah Sims
P. B. Wethered                       Martin Sims
John McWhorter                   Co. John Sims
Ro Hamilton                          Anderson Sims
L. D. Wilson                           Charles Sims
Addison McLaughlin         William Morris
John McDermott                   Joshua Morris
Thomas Miller                      John H. Morris
Jacob D. McClain                  Thomas Elliott
Thm. Hill                                Aron Loyd
Mathew Hughes                   G. C. Landcraft
Charley Reynolds                William Sims
Robert Hill                              Edward Rion
Harrison A. Low                  William R. Summers
George Reynolds                  Edward Campbell
Andrew Odle                         George Rader Sr
John Kincaid                          John Foster
James Nichols                       Jas. G. Murray
James Walkub                       James Bryant
William Hamrick                 G. W. Grose
John Dunbar                          David Bare
Robert McCutchen               Lemasters Stephenson
William Miller                      Jacob C. Chapman
Allen Ewing                           John Groves
Jacob Drennen                       John G. Stephenson
Joseph Darlington               Jacob Chapman
J. D. Sutton                              Michael Rader
J. M. Alderson                        John Linch
J. McClung                              Andre Skidmore
James R. Henderson           Isaac Gregory
James a. Walker                    Fielding McClung
R. Duffield                              Abner Stephenson
Seth Thayer                            Wm. Bell
Thomas Legg                         Cortes Stephenson
Joshua Stephenson              John Rader
Wm. D. Cottle                        J. G. Neel
Samuel Nichols                    T. B. Thomas
Joel Hamrick                          Alexander Grove
David Stuart                          James Simany
Jefferson Grose                      Joseph McClung
(?) Dorsey                                Daniel Falkler
J. Warren                                Henry (?)
Richard A. Arters                 William Chapman
William Taylor                     David Moore
Wilson Arters                        David R. Hamilton
Philip Duffy                           Moses Hill
R. Kelly                                   Ira Davis
Elij. Lightner                          Jacob Odell
James Lightner                      Wm. Hughs
James Kelly                            Wm. Bryant
J. M. Hamilton                       George Fitzwatters
John McCue                           Andrew Neil
John McClung                       Robert Neil
S. A. Hamilton                      Samuel Hutchison
Edward McClung                George Hardweg
Nathan Groves                     John Morris
Peter Duffy                             John Duffy
J. McMillian                           B. L. Boggs
Wm. Livesay                          M. A. Triplett
Jacob Hutchison                   William M. Boggs
David Hanna                        John Trout
David Peebles                        James Grose
Adam Given                          Robert Keenan
Elverton T. Walker               Isaac Fitzwater
Thomas M. Fitzwater         Nathaniel Hughes
Thomas B. Morris                Hiram S. Marsh
W. Summers Sr.                    S. Backhouse
Henry Morris                         Jos. Montgomry
John Smith                             L. C. Buster
Thomas T. Marton               Thos. Hawkins
Peter Coleman                       Thos. Hines
John Backhouse                    Cyrus Hedge
William Bird                          John Slack
Cornelius Dorsey                 James B. Cole
Pascal Backhouse               Austin McCorgil
Joseph Backhouse                Nathan Huddleston
Jeremy G. Odel                      William Kincaid
Joseph Backhouse                James Settle
William Hillard                    Bolen Ballenger
William Smith                      John Johnson Jr.
Bernard Hendrick                James Likens
Mathew Kaincaid              John P. Huddleston
John Dorsey                           W. Tyree
John Fitzwater                       Hiram Curry
John Dorsey Sr                      P. Keenan
Dryden Sims                          E. Hutson
Hudson N. Dickenson       Henry Montgomery
Miles Hansen                        John Huddleston
Jas. H. Miller                          John Hill
P. W. Buster                            Joseph Huddleston
Pleasant Hawkins               Henry Tritt
Seaton B. Prowsy                  William Huggins
James B. Murray                   Robert Huggins
James J. Sims                         Robert Heuse
(Name Illegible)                    John Heuse
Leonard Cury                        S. A. Masterson
William Johnson                  Joseph W. Nutt
Jno. McNutt                            Jno. Carton
F. T. Hughes                           Adam Johnson
Fenton McMorrow               Wm. Kelly
Job Huddleston                     Taswell W. Hues
Nelson Sims                          Andrew Kenan
Joseph Reams                        (?) Price
Francis Cincaid                    E. R. Hutchison
William Loyd                        Joseph Young
Thos. S. Buster                       Edda Young
Moses Coleman                    William Martin
T. B. Hamilton                       Thos. L. Lewis
John Kincaid                          Wm. Myles
Thos. J. Huddleston            William Kincaid Jr.
John Johnson                         Gataspher Kincaid
Me_?_ J. Conly                      Benjamin Darlington
Levi B. Murrey                       H_?_ Long
Edward Hughs                     Joel Alexander
Joshua Foster
[Source: Webster County Historical Society, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Records of the Pioneers, 1818-1860. Upper Glade, West Virginia, Webster County Historical Society, Inc., 1985. 929.3 N597w.]

Isaac Sims, a Free Man

continued in Part 3…..

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 1

Celebrating Black History Month – I did not want February to end without giving recognition to African-Americans in the United States. I hope that by sharing this information I may help someone open the door to their African-American brick wall.

My 5th great-grandfather James Sims (1754-1845) of Nicholas County, (West) Virginia was a former slaveholder at the time of his death. Over a dozen years ago I had the privilege to work with several other researchers who shared their information and documentation that I used to write a detailed biography for James SIMS in 2002.

James, born in Culpeper County, reportedly brought eighteen slaves with him to Nicholas County (then Kanawha County) when he moved there from Bath County, Virginia, sometime around 1798-1800. The number may be exaggerated as he had 5 slaves in 1810, 9 slaves in 1820, 5 slaves in 1830, and 1 in 1840.

The known names of nine slaves owned by James SIMS are:

Tom, Juda and George

Jeremiah SIMS, the father of James SIMS, wrote his will on 4 March 1768, it was probated on 18 August 1768 in Culpeper County, Virginia. In his will he left one half of his estate to his wife Agatha and the other half to his son James. There was no mention of slaves in the will however the inventory returned to the court on 19 October 1769 listed:

One Negro man Tom £60. One negro Woman Juda & her child George £70

The slaves were valued at £130. The entire inventory totaled £195 making Tom, Juda, and George the most valuable part of Jeremiah’s estate.

Jinncy

John Nalle, the maternal grandfather of James Sims, wrote his will on 16 September 1780. It was probated in Culpeper County, Virginia, on 19 August 1782, and mentions amongst his legatees his daughter Agatha Hill, wife of Russell Hill and widow of Jeremiah Sims, and mother of James Sims.

“Item. I Lend to my daughter Agatha Hill half the Service of a Negro Woman named Jinncy During my Daughters life the other half of the said Negroes Service to my Grandson James Sims from the time of My Daughters marriage to Russel Hill, and after My Daughters Descease I give the Said Negro Woman Jinncy and her Increase to my Grandson James Sims to him and his Heirs for Ever also Ten Shillings to my Daughter Agatha Hill and her Heirs for Ever.”
[Source: Culpeper County, Virginia Will Book B, pg. 519.]

Jude and Fanny

William Griffee Brown in his History of Nicholas County, West Virginia (Dietz Press, 1954, 425 pages) mentions on pgs. 165-166 while discussing the Bethel Methodist church that he owned an old class-book dated 1821 which includes the names of members of the class in 1821 including black Jude and black Fanny, slaves of the Sims family. James Sims “brought the first negro slaves to Nicholas County” according to Mr. Brown on pg. 30. Note: Jude and Fanny were “slaves belonging to William Simms,” a son of James Sims.

July Hulen and her mother

Lawrence M. Huddleston, author of The Huddlestons My Kin had in his possession the original bill of sale from James Sims to John Huddleston for the slave July Hulen when June Settle Ciocca visited him at home in 1990. At the time she did not realize her relationship to James Sims. On 9 February 2002 in an e-mail in which she shared the photo of this bill of sale, she wrote: “Larry told me that James Sims had previously sold July Helen’s mother to the Huddlestons and that both mother and daughter were so heart-broken, he agreed to sell them the child also. Larry had no children and my understanding is that his immense genealogical collection was donated to the archives in Charleston. I would assume that is where this document can now be found.”

MRIN02312 1833 Sims bill of sale for slave

Robert Sims

Clarence Shirley Donnelly (1895-1982) wrote in his column “Yesterday and Today” in the Beckley-Post Herald:

“Isaac’s brother, Robert Simms, ‘flew the coop,’ as a saying of that day had it. Keeping his eye on the north star as he traveled at night, he reached Canada and freedom.”

Isaac Sims, a Slave

continued in Part 2….

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baby Nancy’s Mother Phebe Dies in a Tragic Accident

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

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

Transcript of the Coroner’s Inquest

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

Bath County to wit

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

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

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

writ

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

A Stepmother for Nancy Ann

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

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

Nancy’s Siblings Marry Within Eight Years of Each Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy Marries at about 21 Years of Age

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

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

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

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

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

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

Typhoid Fever Epidemic in 1845

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy Moves to Sissonville with her Single Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #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 History[1] Nelson is named as one of the four sons of William JOHNSON Sr.. Other sources[2] 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.[1]

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:

“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.”[4]

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 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.

“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.”[5]

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:

“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.”[6]

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 1800[7] 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.

MRIN02347 William Johnson gravemarker 2
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 1802[8] 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 that 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: 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:

MRIN02347 Amy Nelson Johnson gravemarker
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 1839[9] 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.

MRIN02003 William Johnson Jr. gravemarker
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.

 

Sources:
[1] Laidley, William Sydney, History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens, Richmond Arnold Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1911.; pg. 979; online https://archive.org/stream/historyofcharles00laid#page/n5/mode/2up
[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 (work in progress) received in 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 for request of 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

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey