D-I-V-O-R-C-E : Sarah Jane Foster vs John W. Clonch

It’s a complicated story

John W. CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER on 20 February 1862 in Gallia County, Ohio. A judge of the Probate Court of Gallia County issued the marriage license. They were joined in marriage by Robert WORH, a justice of the peace. The marriage record does not include the names of parents.1

Their first child, a son William Alexander was born on 2 October 1862.2 A year and a half later, about April 1864, a daughter was born. By this time the marriage was already in trouble and divorce was the next step for Sarah.

This post includes the chancery records found by Ralph L. Hayes in Mason County’s courthouse over two decades ago.3 He was kind enough to share them with me and gave me permission to use them.

Dramatis personae

These are the persons who played a part in the chancery case Sarah Jane FOSTER vs John W. CLONCH in 1864:

  • Sarah Jane FOSTER , age of 21, married John W. CLONCH also 21 on 20 February 1862. She was the plaintiff (oratrix) in this case.
  • John W. CLONCH , the oldest son of William CLONCH and Mary E. DOSS, and husband of Sarah Jane FOSTER . They married in Gallia County, Ohio. He was the defendant in this cause.
  • John W. FOSTER assumed to be the father (or brother) of Sarah Jane and seen as the next friend in this cause.
  • Sarah DEWITT, a young lady of about 24 years who was questioned as a witness.
  • Peter DEWITT, a man of 36 years who was questioned as a witness.
  • William Alexander CLONCH, the two-year-old son of John W. and Sarah J.
  • Lavinia PATTERSON, also known as Lavinia DOSS (her mother’s surname) and Lavinia CLONCH (her father’s surname). She was a sister of John W. and Alexander and wife of James William PATTERSON. She was a witness.
  • Rebecca LEMASTER, sister of Mary Ellen CLONCH. She was one of the persons implicated in the questioning of the witnesses.
  • Mary Ellen CLONCH née LEMASTER, the wife of Alexander CLONCH. She was no longer living with him and having an affair with John W. CLONCH.
  • Alexander CLONCH, the second son of William CLONCH and Mary E. DOSS. He married Mary Ellen LEMASTER on 10 November 1863. He is not named in the proceedings but referred to as the husband of Mary Ellen.
  • William CLONCH and Mary E. DOSS, parents of John, Alexander, and Lavinia. They were never married and their children were known by both surnames.
  • James DEWITT and Rebecca ATKINSON, parents of Sarah and Peter who were witnesses. It was at their house in the Clendenin township that some incidents took place.

Iudex, advocatus, et notarius publicus 

The judge, lawyer, and public notary who were mentioned in the proceedings.

Daniel Haymond POSLEY (1803-1877) was a judge of the seventh judicial circuit of West Virginia. Before this chancery case, he was the Lieutenant Governor of the Restored Government of Virginia (the Unionist government of Virginia during the Civil War) until two weeks before West Virginia became a state. After this chancery case, he would go on to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1866, serving from 1867 to 1869. Mr. Polsley was the judge for this case.4

Benjamin J. REDMOND was a Notary Public born in 1840. During the war between the States, Mr. REDMOND served the government as provost marshal of Mason County. After this chancery case, from 1868-1870, he served as a justice in the Robinson district followed by four years as president of the Mason County court.5

William H. TOMLINSON, an attorney at law who questioned the witnesses for the plaintiff.6

 

 

Joseph S. MACHIN, a Notary Public for the county and state and a Master Commissioner for Chancery for the County of Mason.

Vinculo matrimonii

The Chancery Records concerning the divorce of Sarah Jane CLONCH from John W CLONCH.

To the Honorable Daniel Polsley Judge of the Circuit Court for Mason County Humbly complaining thereto unto your Honor your oratrix Sarah J. Clonch wife of John W. Clonch, who sues by John W. Foster her next friend that she is now twenty four years old at the age of twenty one she left her fathers house, and was married to the said John W. Clonch and since that time has been to him a constant, faithful and dutiful wife and has borne him two children to wit: William A. now two years old and an infant daughter three month old. Her husband on the other hand has been negligent and insufferable abusive and violent to her within the last two years frequently beating and choking her for no cause whatever on her part. he has left his house and home taking with him her oldest child and living in adultry with another woman, your oratrix further alledges that he has been seen in the bed with his own brothers wife and has failed to furnish support to your oratrix and her child that she is obliged to labor for their entire support, or they would come to starvation. The only property owned by your oratrix and her husband is the household and kitchen furnature and one horse, the most of which your 


oratrix brought from Her Father’s and helped him to same. To the end therefore oratrix prays that the said John W. Clonch may be made a defendant to this bill and acquired to render a full true and perfect answer to the same upon his corporal oath; that he may be enjoined and restrained from interfering with or in any maner (sic) molesting her and her child that is with her; that your Oratrix my (sic) be entirely divorced from him and the marriage be dissolved (two lines marked out) that he may be compelled to deliver up her child to her and to surrender to her and them for the maintenance of herself and her children The property aforesaid mentioned; and for such other and further relief as her case requires, and to equity may seem meet; May it pleas (sic) your honor to grant & @ And your oratrix will ever pray & @

West Virginia Mason County to wit This day Sarah J. Clonch, personally appeared before me B. J. Redmond N.P. and made oath that the allegations in the above bill are true to the best of her remembrance information and belief.

Given under my hand this 18 day of July 1864
B. J. Redmond N.P.


Sarah J. Clonch
vs In Chancery
John W. Clonch

This cause came on this day to be heard upon the bill, the exhibits filed and examination of witnesses and was argued by council for the plaintiff. On consideration whereof the Court being of opinion that the plaintiff is ? ? ? ? ? ? ? (marked out: all the allegations in the bill mentioned against the defendant and fully ?) doth adjudge order and decreed that the marriage heretofor solemnized between Sarah J. Clonch and John W. Clonch be and the same is hereby dissolved and the said Sarah J. Clonch is forever divorced from her husband. The said John W. Clonch X (in the right margin: X and it is further a? ? that the complainant is entitled to the care and custody infant children in the bill mentioned and that) (text marked out: and all the right title and interest of the said John W. Clonch in or to the household and  kitchen furniture shall belong to the said Sarah J. Clonch and the two children in the bill mentioned shall remain in the care and custody of the said Sarah J. Clonch) the said John W. Clonch do surrender up the said William A. Clonch (marked out: infant son) to the care and custody of the  said Sarah J. Clonch and that the plaintiff recover from the defendant her costs by her expended in the prosecution of this Suit


Cover sheet for the depositions in the chancery record

Sarah J. Clonch
vs …….De?ed
John W. Clonch
Sept Term 1864

 

 

 

 

 



The depositions of Sarah Dewit and others taken before me Joseph S. Machin, a Master Commissioner for Chancery for the County of Mason and State of West Virginia pursuant to notice hereto annexed at the office of Wm. H. Tomlinson in the town of Point Pleasant on the 15th day of August (fold in document may have a missing line) and 6 o’clock p.m. to be read as evidence on behalf of Sarah J. Claunch in a certain suit in equity depending in the circuit court for the County of Mason wherein Sarah J. Claunch is plaintiff and John W. Claunch is defendant.
Present Wm. H. Tomlinson attorney for plaintiff, Sarah Dewit, being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth and saith as follows:
1st Question by Wm. H. Tomlinson for defendant. What is your age?
Answer – I do not knew exactly, but think I am about twenty four years of age.
2nd Question – By same. Do you know the parties to this suit?
Answer – Yes Sir, I do.
3rd Question – By same – Did you ever see the defendant, at your mother’s house in company with Rebecca Lemaster on or about the first day of July 1864, and if so, state how long they were together at that place and under what circumstances?
Answer – I saw them there together, they set up all night together.
4th Question – By same – While they were setting up together state whether he was laying


in her lap or her in his, and whether he was hugging her or what they even doing?
Answer – She was laying in his arms.
5th Question – By same – Was there a light in the house or was there note?
Answer – Sometimes there was a light and sometimes none.
6th Question – By same – Was it a light given by the fire or candle?
Answer – It was given by fire.
7th Question – By same – Who put out the light?
Answer – I do not know.
8th Question – By same – How often have they been there together at your mother’s house?
Answer – They were there together occasionally but do not remember how often.
9th Question – By same – Did you ever see them hugging and playing together at other times than the one answered?
Answer – Yes, I have seen them playing and romping together.
10th Question – by same – Was Mrs. Claunch his wife present at either of these times?
Answer – No Sir, she was not.
11th Question – By same – Did you ever see John W. Claunch and Mary Ellen Claunch, his sister-in-law passing by your mother’s house with his arms around her, and hers around him?
Answer – They were going along after dark, as well as I could see hugged up together, and this I think occurred during the Spring of 1864.
And further this deponent saith not.
………..her
Sarah + Dewit
……….mark


Peter Dewit, being duly sworn, on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth and saith as follows:
1st Question – By Wm. H. Tomlinson attorney for the Plaintiff. What is your age?
Answer – I am about thirty six years of age.
2nd Question – By same – Are you acquainted with the parties to this suit?
Answer – Yes Sir, I know them.
3rd Question – By same : Were you at your mother’s house at anytime when John W. Claunch and his brother’s wife were there together, and if so, state under what circumstances you saw them?
Answer – I think I never saw them there together.
4th Question – By same – Did you ever see John W. Claunch the defendant to this suit within the last year hugging and kissing any other other (sic) woman other than his wife?
Answer – I saw Rebecca Lemaster setting on his lap mighty close together and he was hugging her, and this happened after night.
And further this deponent saith not.
……..his
Peter x Dewit
…….mark

Lavinia Patterson, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith as follows:
1st Question – By Plaintiff’s Counsel. What is your age?

Answer – I am eighteen years of age.
2nd Question – Was you at home one night


within the last year while your brother John W. Claunch defendant to this suit was complaining of being unwell, and if so did you see Mary Ellen Claunch his sister-in-law go to bed to him?
Answer – I seen her lay down on the same bed with him, and they were then together about one hour.
And further this deponent saith not.
…………her
Lavinia x Patterson
………..mark

State of West Virginia
Mason County, to wit:
I, Joseph S. Machin, a Notary Public for the county and state aforesaid, so hereby certify that the foregoing depositions were duly taken, sown to and subscribed before me at the times and place mentioned therein.
Given under my hand, this 15th day of August 1864
Joseph S. Machin Master Commission
in Chancery

Costs:
Sarah Dewit witness 1 day 0.50
Peter Dewit witness 1 day 0.50
Lavinia Patterson witness 1 day 0.50
Ferriages each 10 cents 0.30
Jos. S. Machin Comm. charges 2.25
Total $4.05

This is a true statement of costs
Jos. S. Machin, Master Comm.
August 15/64


The Chancery case was recorded in the orders book of Mason County for the September Term of 1864.7

In Chancery
Sarah J. Clonch
vs
JohnW.Clonch

This cause came on this day to be heard upon the bill, the exhibits filed and examination of Witnesses and was argued by counsel for the Plaintiff on consideration whereof the court being of opinion that the plaintiff is entitled to the relief prayed for: doth adjudge order and decree that the marriage heretofore Solemnized between Sarah J. Clonch and John W. Clonch be and the same is hereby dissolved and the said Sarah J. Clonch is forever divorced from her husband the said John W. Clonch: and it is further ordered and decreed that the complainant is entitled to the care and custody of the infant children in the bill mentioned and that the said John W. Clonch do Surrender up the said William A. Clonch to the care and custody of the said Sarah J. Clonch, and that the plaintiff recover from the defendant her costs by her expended in the prosecution of the suit.


At the March term of 1865, Sarah J. CLONCH returned to court to have her son William A. CLONCH surrendered to her by his father John W. CLONCH.8

On Motion of Sarah J. Clonch and for reasons appearing to the Court it is ordered that John W. Clonch be summoned to appear here on the first day of the next term to shew cause if any he can [illegible] he shall not be find (sic, fined) and attached for refusing to surrender William A. Clonch his infant child to the custody of its mother in pursuance of a decree of this court rendered at the September term then of 1864.


Sarah J. FOSTER and her son William A. CLONCH

Following the divorce from John W. CLONCH, Sarah disappeared without a trace – at least in the census and records available. Her daughter remains unnamed. Her son William Alexander CLONCH was missing in the 1870 and 1880 census. He did not live with his father. Was he living with his mother who may have remarried?

In any event, the son William A. CLONCH married twice. First to Ellen FOWLER9 and second to his first cousin Emma Sidosa LEMASTER (also known as CLONCH).10 The marriage records do not include the names of parents. Emma was the daughter of Rebecca LEMASTER and Alexander CLONCH. He died in 1925 and left a will naming his wife Emma as his only heir.11 On the death record, his parents were listed as John Wm CLONCH and Sarah FORRESTER (sic).12

John William CLONCH

Following the divorce of Sarah and John, Alexander CLONCH and Mary Ellen LEMASTER separated. They had been married less than a year and did not have children. They were not divorced until March 1880.13

Mary Ellen (still married to Alex) went to live with the newly divorced John W. CLONCH. They had thirteen children between 1865 and 1892. Finally on 7 May 1895 John, 54, and Mary Ellen, 47, married in Gallia County, Ohio.14

In the name of all CLONCH descendants, I would like to thank Ralph L. Hayes for ferreting out the records to back up this CLONCH family story. It sounded fantastic and a bit unbelievable but the records he found in the old dusty unindexed boxes in the courthouse backed it up. How many more stories are hidden away, waiting for someone to tell them?

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


  1. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013” (index and images), FamilySearch (Digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio.), Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 14 of 276. John W. Clonch and Jane Foster, 20 Feb 1862. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-SKRT?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7R2%3A121350101%2C121498701 : accessed 18 Dec 2013). 
  2. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), Mason County, West Virginia, Birth Register, page 69, line 27. William Alexander Clonch birth record. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=2955142&Type=Birth : accessed 15 March 2019). 
  3. Sarah J. Clonch vs John W. Clonch, September Term 1864, Chancery Records of Mason County, West Virginia. Digital images of photocopies of the original records found in the court house by Ralph L. Hayes. Received per email 22 February 2019 from Ralph L. Hayes with permission to share on Opening Doors in Brick Walls blog. 
  4. Daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]), 15 June 1863. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026845/1863-06-15/ed-1/seq-1/
  5. The weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 26 May 1864. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1864-05-26/ed-1/seq-6/
  6. The weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 20 Aug. 1863. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1863-08-20/ed-1/seq-1/
  7. “Mason County, West Virginia, Circuit Court, Chancery orders, 1831-1929” (database with images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of originals at the county courthouse, Point Pleasant, West Virginia.), Film 1861961, DGS 7615568, Chancery orders, Vols. 1-2 1843-1877 (1 from 469 & 4 to 401 – Back of v. 1 has separate pages of land records), Image 286 of 949, Folio 386, September Term 1864. 1864 Divorce of John Clonch from Sarah Ann Foster.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89VP-7KDF?i=285&cat=660659 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Image 303 of 949, Folio 421, March Term 1865. 1864 Divorce of John Clonch from Sarah Ann Foster.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89VP-7KDF?i=285&cat=660659 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  9. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-SV7T?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-6T5%3A121350101%2C121651001 : accessed 23 March 2019), Gallia > Marriage records 1884-1890 vol 6 > image 132 of 338; county courthouses, Ohio. 
  10. Ibid., (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-3J1F?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-6BY%3A121350101%2C121580101 : 15 July 2014), Gallia > Marriage records 1890-1895 vol 7 > image 159 of 339; county courthouses, Ohio. 
  11. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C99Q-BS?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MLC%3A179687901%2C179798901 : accessed 23 February 2019), Mason > Will book, v. 005 1916-1930 > image 153 of 240; citing Mason County, County Clerk, West Virginia. 
  12. WVCulture.org, William A. Clonch death record details (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_dcdetail.aspx?Id=2126490 : accessed 29 March 2019) and Death Certificate No. 8914 for William A. Clonch (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=2126490&Type=Death : accessed 29 March 2019) 
  13. “Mason County, West Virginia, Circuit Court, Chancery orders, 1831-1929” (database with images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of originals at the county courthouse, Point Pleasant, West Virginia.), Film 1861962 Item 1, DGS 7615569, Chancery orders, Vols. 4 1877-1880, image 321 of 899, Folio 274 and 275, March Term 1880. 1880 Divorce of Alexander Clonch from Mary Ellen Lemaster. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99VP-2SNQ?i=320&cat=659762 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  14. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013” (index and images), FamilySearch (Digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio.), Gallia > Marriage records and index 1895-1899 vol 8. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22447-41148-85?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-VH7:315901437 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 

The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia – Part 2

Recap: William CLONCH married Ann Eliza HILL in 1832. She left him or they separated before 1840. She remarried in 1842 and was listed as the widow of Wm C CLAUNCH. William lived with Mary DOSS from about 1840 until his death in 1863. Eight children were born between 1840 and 1855 during the years William and Mary were together. William left a last will and testament naming Mary DOSS and her seven living children as his heirs. 

January the 17th 1863
This is my Last Will and testimony wherein I do wish to will my Land to Mary Doss and her Children John William Doss, Alexander Doss, Loving Ann Doss, Elizabeth Jane Doss, Thomas Eli Doss, Joel Doss and Charles Henry Doss and my wish is that the said Mary Doss and her said heirs shall hold the percession of said Land and to work it at their option untill the said Mary Dosses Death and then to be Equally Divided between said Children and that the said Land shall not be transfered out of the family if it is that the said transfer shall not stand …

In The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia . Part 1, John W. CLONCH (commonly known as John W. DOSS) granted the land to James W. PATTERSON in 1865 for $75. In 1875 J. W. PATTERSON and his wife Lavina A. (Loving Ann DOSS mentioned in the will) sold the land back to John W. CLONCH DOSS for $85.


Four Land Deeds Involving the Heirs in Law of William CLONCH Deceased

As William had stipulated in his will, the land had remained in the family. Apparently Mary E. DOSS died before 26 October 1891 as her children began selling their parts of the land lying in the County of Mason in 1891 and 1892. In 1892 and 1893 Mr. Smith, the clerk for Mason County, West Virginia, was busy recording deeds for the estate.

John W. CLONCH to Charles H. CLONCH

John W. CLONCH and his wife Mary E. conveyed John’s 1/7th interest in his father’s estate to his youngest brother Charles H. CLONCH on 26 October 1891.1

At this time I need to point out that although Mary E. is seen here as his wife, they did not legally marry until 7 May 1895. Mary Ellen LEMASTER had lived with John since his divorce from his first wife in 1864. They could not marry as she was still married to John’s brother Alexander CLONCH. Alexander and Mary Ellen’s divorce was not pronounced until March 1880.

More important is the wording in this deed – his father’s estate. This is the first record I have seen which shows a father-child relationship between William and one of the DOSS children mentioned in his will.

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 51-52 1891-1892, page 166

In margin:
Delivered to J. M. Bugg Sept 8/92 (8 September 1892)

This deed made this 26th day of Oct. 1891 between John W. Clonch & Mary E. his wife of Cabell County, West Virginia parties of the first part, and Charles H. Clonch party of the second part.
Witnesseth That the said parties of the first part, for and in consideration of one hundred and fifty dollars in hand paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant unto the party of the second part all of there (sic) interest

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 51-52 1891-1892, page 167

in the undivided tract of land on the waters of Crab Creek in the County of Mason and known as the William Clonch land and bounded as follows with line of Andrew Roberts on the S0uth side to the land of Chas Beals with same to John Deems line to John Sheline’s line with his line to the place of beginning.
This deed is only intended to convey the one seventh of said tract being the interest of said John W. Clonch in his father’s estate.
And the said parties of the first part doth hereby covenant with the party of the second part, that they will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed.
Witness the following signatures and seals.
………………………………………John W. Clonch
………………………………………Mary E. Clonch

State of West Virginia
Cabell County ss:
I James H. Wright a Notary Public, in and for the County aforesaid, do certify, that John W. Clonch & Mary E. Clonch his wife whose names are signed to the foregoing writing, bearing date the 26th day of Oct. 1891, have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County.
Given under my hand this 26th day of Oct. 1891.
………………………………………James W. Wright
………………………………………Notary Public

West Virginia, Mason County Court Clerk’s Office May 6, 1892
The foregoing deed was this day presented in said office and with the certificate thereon is admitted to record.
………………………………………Teste
………………………………………J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk


Heirs at Law of William CLONCH deceased to Charles CLONCH

Six months later, on 26 April 1892, Alexander Clonch and his wife Tobitha,  Thomas Clonch and his wife Missouri, Lovinia and her husband James W. PATTERSON, Joel CLONCH, and Betsy CLONCH were conveying about 73 acres, their part in the estate, to the same Charles CLONCH.2

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book v. 53 1892-1893, page 31

In the margin:
Delivered to John P. Austin Aug 25/93 (25 August 1893)

This deed made this 26th day of April 1892 between Alexander Clonch and Bertha his wife Thomas Clonch and Mousourie Clonch his wife Lovinia Patterson and James W. Patterson her husband Joel Clonch and Betsy Clonch, of the first part heirs at law of William Clonch deceased and and (sic) Charles Clonch party of the second part.
Witnesseth That for and in consideration of one hundred dollars and other valuable considerations the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant unt (sic, unto) party of the second part all of a certain tract or parcel of land situate on the waters of Crab Creek in the District of Clendenin County of Mason State of West Virginia bounded and described as follows To wit
Beginning at a white oak corner in original out line thence S 50° E 124 poles to a stake thence S 63° E 120 poles to a stake thence N 34 1/2° E 32 poles to a stake thence S 82° W 92 poles to a stake thence N 7° E 30 poles to a stake thence N 45° 30 W 101 poles to place of beginning estimated to contain seventy three acres more or less. To have and to hold to party of second part his heirs and asigns (sic) forever and the parties of the first part warrants generally the property hereby conveyed.
Witness the following signatures and seal
………………………………………Alexander Clonch
………………………………………Tobitha Clonch
………………………………………Thomas Clonch
………………………………………Mousourie Clonch
………………………………………Lavinna Patterson
………………………………………James W. Patterson
………………………………………Joel Clonch
………………………………………Betsey Clonch

State of West Virginia
County of Mason
To Wit
I John P. Austin a Notary of the said County do certify that Alexander Clonch and ___ Clonch his wife Thomas Clonch and Mousourie Clonch his wife Lovinia Patterson and James W. Patterson her husband Joel Clonch and Betsey Clonch whose names are signed to the writing hereto

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book v. 53 1892-1893, page 32

annexed bearing date the 26th day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said county.
Given under my hand this 29th day of April 1892.
………………………………………John P. Austin Notary Public
………………………………………John R. Vest Jr. ” “

State of West Virginia
County of Mason
To wit
I John R. Vest Jr. a Notary P of the said County do certify that Alexander Clonch and Tobitha Clonch his wife whose names are signed to the writing hereunto annexed bearing date the 26th day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County.
Given under my hand this 17 day of May 1892.
………………………………………John R. Vest Jr.
………………………………………Notary Public

West Virginia, Mason County Court Clerks Office November 14, 1892.
The foregoing deed was this day presented in said office and with the certificate thereon is admitted to record
………………………………………Teste:
………………………………………J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk


Heirs at law of William CLONCH deceased to Joel CLONCH

On the same day John W. CLONCH and his wife, Alexander CLONCH and his wife, Thomas CLONCH and his wife, Charles CLONCH and his wife, Lovenia CLONCH and her husband J.W. PATTERSON, and Betsy CLONCH granted to their brother Joel CLONCH a tract of land estimated at about 22 acres.3

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 54-55 1893-1895, page 156

In margin:
Delivered to Joel Clonch Aug 22/94 (22 August 1894)

This deed made this 26th day of April 1892 between John W. Clonch and Mary E. Clonch his wife Alexander Clonch and Bitha Clonch his wife Thomas Clonch and Missouri Clonch his wife Charles Clonch and Nancy Clonch his wife Lovenia Patterson and James W. Patterson her husband and Betsy Clonch parties of the first part heirs at law of William Clonch deceased and Joel Clonch party of the second part Witnesseth that the said parties of the first for and in consideration of Fifty Dollars and other valuable consideration the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant unto the party of the second part all of a certain tract or parcel of land situate on the waters of Crab Creek in the District of Clendenin County of Mason and State of West Virginia Bounded and described as follows Beginning at a stake in original out line and corner to land of John Deem thence S 65° W 70 poles to a stake thence S 15° E 50 poles to a stake Thence N 67° E 70 poles to a stake Thence N 13° W 50 poles to place of beginning estimated to contain Twenty two acres more or less To have and to hold to party of second part his heirs and assigns forever and the parties of the first part warrants generally the property hereby conveyed Witness the followin (sic) signatures and seal.
………………………………………Alexander Clonch

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 54-55 1893-1895, page 157

………………………………………Tabitha Clonch
………………………………………Thomas Clonch
………………………………………Missourie Clonch
………………………………………Betsey Clonch
………………………………………Charles Clonch
………………………………………Nancy Clonch
………………………………………Lovinia Patterson
………………………………………James W. Patterson
………………………………………John W. Clonch
………………………………………Mary E. Clonch

State of West Virginia
County of Mason
To wit:
I John P. Austin a Notary of the said County of Mason do certify that Thomas Clonch and Missourie (sic) Clonch his wife and Charles Clonch and Nancy Clonch his wife Lovinia Patterson and James W. Patterson her husband and Betsy Clonch whose names are signed to the writing hereto annexed bearing date 26 day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County.
Given under my hand this 29th day of April 1892.
………………………………………John P. Austin Notary Public

State of West Virginia
Mason County
To wit
I Ashbell Hughes a Justice of the peace of the said County of Mason do certify that Alexander Clonch and Tabitha Clonch his wife whose names are signed to the writing hereto annexed bearing date 26th day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County.
Given under my hand this 16th day of February 1893.
………………………………………Ashbell Hughes J.P.

West Virginia, Mason County Court Clerks Office October 3rd 1893
The foregoing Deed was this day presented in said office and with the certificate thereon is admitted to Record.
………………………………………Teste:
………………………………………J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk


Heirs at law of William CLONCH deceased to Lovina PATTERSON

Then three days later on 29 April 1892, John W. CLONCH and his wife, Alexander CLONCH and his wife, Charles CLONCH and his wife, Thomas CLONCH and his wife, Joel CLONCH, and Betsy CLONCH  conveyed 42 acres to their sister Lavina PATTERSON.4

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, page 202

This deed made this 29 day of April 1892 between John W. Clonch and Mary E. Clonch his wife Alexander Clonch and Betha Clonch his wife Charles Clonch and Nancy Clonch his wife Thomas Clonch and Mousourie (sic, Missouri) Clonch his wife Joel Clonch and Betsey Clonch heirs at law of William Clonch deceased of the first part and Lovenia Patterson of the second part Witnesseth that the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of one hundred dollars and other valuable considerations the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged doth grant unto party of the second part all of a certain tract or parcel of land situate in the District of Clendenin County of Mason and State of West Virginia and on the waters of Crab Creek Bounded and described as follows Beginning at a stake in original line thence N 34°

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, page 203

E 30 poles to a stake thence N 44° W 82 poles to a stake thence N 17° W 34 poles to a stake thence S 67° W 90 poles to a stake thence S 45° 30 W 29 poles to a stake thence S 7 W 30 poles to a stake thence N 82° E 92 poles to place of beginning estimated to contain 42 acres more or less to have and to hold to party of second part her heirs and asigns (sic) forever and parties of first part warrants generally the property hereby conveyed Witness the following signatures and seals.
………………………………………John W. Clonch
………………………………………Mary E. Clonch
………………………………………Alexander Clonch
………………………………………Bitha Clonch
………………………………………Charles Clonch
………………………………………Nancy Clonch
………………………………………Joel Clonch
………………………………………Thomas Clonch
………………………………………Mousourie Clonch
………………………………………Betsey Clonch

State of West Virginia, County of Mason to wit
I John P. Austin a Notary of the said County of Mason do certify that Charles Clonch and Nancy Clonch his wife Thomas Clonch and Mousourie Clonch his wife and Joel Clonch and Betsy Clonch whose names are signed to the writing hereto

annexed bearing date 26 day of April 17892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County. Given under my hand this 29 day of April 1892.
………………………………………John P. Austin Notary Public

State of West Virginia
Mason County
To Wit
I Ashbell Hughes a Justice of the peace of the said County of Mason do certify that Alexander Clonch and Betha Clonch his wife whose names are signed to the writing above bearing date the 26th day of April 1892 have this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County Given under my hand this 5th day of July 1892.
………………………………………Ashbell Hughes J. P.

West Virginia Mason County Court Clerk’s office January 30th 1893.
The foregoing Deed was

Mason County, West Virginia Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, page 204

this day presented in said office and with the certificate thereon is admitted to Record.
………………………………………Teste
………………………………………J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk


What was going on?

We have here deeds mentioning 1/7th of a part (likely of the 73 acres), 73 acres, 22 acres, and 42 acres which add up to about 137 acres. In 1865 and 1875 (deeds seen in Part 1) the tract or parcel of land contained one hundred and forty-eight acres more or less.

It would seem that Charles was interested in keeping the tract of land with about 73 acres, Joel the 22 acres, and Lovina the 42 acres – all of this being part of the original tract of 148 acres. What of the 10 acres difference? Was it lost in the division of the three tracts?

I tried to plot the tracts of land with the calls mentioned in the deeds. Joel’s tract was 22 acres while Lovina’s calculated to 39 acres, close to the 42. There appears to be one or more problem calls in the 73 acres deed and I was not able to plot the tract using Tract Plotter. I was hoping by plotting the three tracts I would be able to put the pieces together to form the original 148 acres.

The index for the grantor is available up to 1935. Charles and his wife Nancy leased out the oil and gas rights on the 73 acres property in 1896. In 1918 they sold 73 and 1/2 acres in Clendenin district. This is likely the same piece of land but deeds are only available online up to 1901. Joel sold his 22 acres to Lovina’s son Thomas E. PATTERSON in 1894. The land which went to Lovina and her husband appears to have remained in the family well into the new century.

While searching for these deeds I also checked to see how William CLONCH came to be the owner of this 148 acres tract of land in Clendenin District of Mason County, West Virginia. No deed was found. This appears to be a task for another day.

Was William CLONCH the father of Mary E. DOSS’s children?

The purpose of following the land was to find any details in the deeds which would show Mary E. DOSS’s children’s father was William CLONCH. Three of the deeds show her children were heirs at law of William CLONCH deceased while only one mentions a parental relationship with this line: This deed is only intended to convey the one seventh of said tract being the interest of said John W. Clonch in his father’s estate.

DNA may hold the answer

I’ve been able to attribute segments from the DNA test I manage to William’s parents. There are at this time two descendants of his daughter from his marriage to Ann Eliza HILL matching the test. The only known MRCA is William CLONCH. Secondly, the DOSS line is one of those old Virginia families with many matches and I’ve been able to paint segments for Mary DOSS’ grandparents eliminating these from the segments which would be coming from CLONCH. At this time, I believe the DNA shows William and Mary were my Alexander’s parents – unless a match comes along and messes everything up.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: William CLONCH
Parents: Dennis CLONCH and Nancy BEASLEY
Spouse: Ann Eliza HILL, non-spouse *Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
Children: Mariah Jane, John W., Alexander, Lavinia Ann, Jeremiah, Elizabeth Jane, Joel, Thomas Eli, Charles Henry
Whereabouts: Mason County, West Virginia
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandfather

1. William CLONCH
2. Alexander CLONCH
3. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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


  1. “Mason County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Deed books, 1803-1901” (database with images), FamilySearch (microfilm of original records at the Mason County Courthouse), Film 567367, DGS 8293094, Deed book, v. 51-52 1891-1892, image 484 of 706, pages 166-167. 1891 John W. Clonch (1/7 of William Clonch’s estate) to Charles H. Clonch.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-Q94J-G?i=483&cat=76718 : accessed 23 January 2019). 
  2. Ibid., Film 567368, DGS 8293095, Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, image 74+75 of 382, page 31+32. 1892 Heirs of William Clonch to Charles Clonch.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-Z96Z-8?i=73&cat=76718 : accessed 12 January 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Film 567369, DGS 8293096, Deed book, v. 54-55 1893-1895, image 132 of 757, pages 156-157. 1892 Heirs of William Clonch to Joel Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-H9NY-S?i=131&cat=76718 : accessed 24 January 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Film 567368, DGS 8293095, Deed book, v. 53 1892-1893, image 160+162 of 382, pages 202-204. 1892 Heirs of William Clonch to Lovinia Patterson. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-Z9XS-2?i=159&cat=76718 : accessed 12 January 2019). 

The Estate of William Clonch (1807-1863) of Mason County, West Virginia

Up until a few weeks ago, I knew very little about the land owned by my third great-grandfather William CLONCH (1807-1863). He wrote his last will and testament on 17 January 1863, It was recorded on 6 April 1863 in Mason County1 less than three months before West Virginia was admitted to the Union on 30 June 1863.

For background information please refer to the links in the Genealogy Sketch Box at the end of this post. For the short story see my reply to Amy in the comments below. 🙂

The Land is Mentioned in a Will

In his will William left a certain tract of land to Mary DOSS and her children  John William Doss, Alexander Doss, Loving Ann Doss, Elizabeth Jane Doss, Thomas Eli Doss, Joel Doss, and Charles Henry Doss. William stipulated in his will:

Mary Doss and her said heirs shall hold the percession (sic) of said Land and to work it at their option untill the said Mary Dosses Death and then to be Equally Divided between said Children and that the said Land shall not be transfered out of the family if it is that the said transfer shall not stand

Mary DOSS and her children had been found living with William CLONCH in 18502 and 18603 on the census. In 1850 Mary and the children were enumerated with the DOSS surname but in 1860 the entire household were listed as CLONCH.

William CLONCH the inferred father of the DOSS children

Earlier research had turned up a land deed in the Mason County deed book 53, page 202, dated 29 April 1892 in which the heirs of William CLONCH sold the property to Louvenia PATTERSON, seen as Loving Ann DOSS in the will. Only the source of the record was given, not the actual wording.

Great importance was given to this document and it was surmised from the content of the record that the children of Mary DOSS, who were now using the CLONCH surname in 1892, were, in fact, the children of William CLONCH and Mary DOSS.

I am extremely grateful to the persons who have researched this line before me and shared their work online and via emails. However, I am no longer a beginner and I want to see the evidence, not just know it is out there.

New Records on FamilySearch

The Deed Books of Mason County, West Virginia, for the period 1803-1901 are now online at FamilySearch. I located the 1892 deed mentioned above as well as several more which led up to this one.

John W. CLONCH to James W. PATTERSON, 30 August 1865

Two years after the death of William CLONCH we find the first mention of his estate in the deed books. John W. CLONCH, commonly known as John W. DOSS, grants to James W. PATTERSON his undivided interest in a certain tract of land devised to his mother Mary DOSS during her lifetime by William CLONCH. The tract of land having 148 acres more or less and bounded by the land of John W. Deem, James H. Hooff, Charles T. Beale & John Sheline.

James W. PATTERSON was the brother-in-law of John W. CLONCH. Lavina Ann DOSS married about three months after her father’s death. Her parents are listed as Wm Clonch and Mary Doss on the marriage record, however, the name of the father, Wm Clonch, has been struck out on the document.

The land, therefore, remained in the family. This is the 1865 record with transcription.

John W. Clonch to James W. Patterson, 30 August 18654

This deed made this 30th day of August 1865 between John W. Clonch of the first part heir at law of William Clonch deceased and James W. Patterson of the second part Witnesseth that for and in consideration of Seventy five dollars in hand paid to the party of the first part by the party of the second part the receipt when of is hereby acknowledged the said John W. Clonch, commonly known as John W. Doss doth grant unto the said James W. Patterson all his undivided interest in a certain tract or parcel of land lying in the County of Mason and State of Virginia and adjacent & bounded by the land of John W. Deem, James H. Hooff, Charles T. Beale & John Sheline and is devised to his mother Mary Doss during her life by William Clonch whos (sic) Will is recorded in the Recorders office in Mason County and at her death to her heirs wherein the said John W. Clonch is one of said heirs which tract or parcel of land contains one hundred and forty eight acres more or less the said James W. Patterson to have and to hold after his said Mothers death to him and his heirs forever the said John W. Clonch undivided interest right or title therein either at law or in equity Witness the following Signature and Seal the day and year above written.
……………………………………………John W. Clonch (x his mark)

West Virginia Mason County Recorders Office August 30th 1865
This day personally appeared before me the undersigned Recorder of said county in said office John W. Clonch whose name is signed to the within Deed bearing even date herewith and acknowledged the same to be his act and deed. And thereupon the same being Stamped with Internal Revenue Stamp for fifty cents is admitted to Record.
……………………………………………Teste
……………………………………………James H. Holloway, Recorder

J.W. and Lavinia A. PATTERSON to John W. CLONCH DOSS, 17 September 1875

In 1875 James and Lavina PATTERSON sold the tract of land back to John W. CLONCH DOSS. Both surnames are on the land deed for the grantee. The 1865 land deed is referenced in the 1875 deed. Mary Ellen DOSS and her heirs are also mentioned in the deed showing the mother of the DOSS children was still living. This is the first record I’ve seen with her middle name.

The land remained in the family. This is the 1875 record with transcription.

J.W. and Lavinia A. Patterson to John W. Clonch Doss, 17 September 1875 5

This Deed made this 17th day of September 1875 between J. W. Patterson and Lavina A. his wife of the first part and John W. Clonch Doss of the second part. Witnesseth: that for and in consideration of the sum of Eighty five Dollars cash in hand paid to the said parties of the first part the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged they the said parties of the first part do hereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said party of the second part all of one undivided interest in and to the following described tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Mason and State of West Virginia and bounded as follows, to wit: by the land of John W. Deem, James H. Hooff, Charles T. Beale, & John Sheline which said tract or parcel of land contains one hundred and forty eight acres more or less and being the same land which was conveyed by the said party of the second part to the said parties of the first part by Deed dated on the 30th day of August 1865 and duly recorded in the Mason County Court Clerks office in Deed Book No. 19 folios 224 & c. to which said deed reference may be had for a more complete description of said land. To have and to hold the same unto the said John W. Clonch Doss during his natural life and at the death of the said John W. Clonch the said land is to go to Mary Ellen Clonch & her heirs forever. And the said parties of the first part hereby covenant that they will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed.
Witness the following signatures and seals.
……………………………………………J. W. Patterson
……………………………………………Lavina A. Patterson (x her mark)

West Virginia Mason County Court Clerks office September 17th 1875.
J. E. Kimberling Clerk of the County Court in and for the County and State aforesaid do certify that J. W. Patterson and Lavina A. his wife whose names are signed to the writing hereto annexed bearing even date herewith have this day acknowledged the same before me in said office to be their act and deed and the said Lavina A. Patterson wife of the said J. W. Patterson being examined by me privily and apart from her said husband and having the writing aforesaid fully explained to her she the said Lavina A. Patterson acknowledged the same to be her act and declared that she had willinglyly (sic) executed the same and does not wish to retract it and thereupon the same is admitted to record.
……………………………………………Teste
……………………………………………E. Kimberling Clerk

What Happened to the Land after 1875?

After 1875 there are no entries for Clonch or Doss individuals selling the land from the estate of William CLONCH until four deeds are made in 1891 and 1892 and recorded in 1892 and 1893. These will be shared together in the next post.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: William CLONCH
Parents: Dennis CLONCH and Nancy BEASLEY
Spouse: Ann Eliza HILL, non-spouse *Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
Children: Mariah Jane, John W., Alexander, Lavinia Ann, Jeremiah, Elizabeth Jane, Joel, Thomas Eli, Charles Henry
Whereabouts: Mason County, West Virginia
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandfather

1. William CLONCH
2. Alexander CLONCH
3. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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


  1. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971” (database with images), FamilySearch (digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia), FHL Film #567420, Item 2; DGS 4715359; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875, image 104 of 165, page 166-167. Last will and testament of William Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722 : accessed 12 January 2019). 
  2. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_959; Image 371; Virginia, Mason, District 38, image 121 of 165, Sheet No. 422A, Lines -23, HH #842-853, William Clonch household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  3.  1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1361; FHL Film: 805361; Virginia, Mason County, District 2, image 25 of 68; Page No. 46, Lines 21-30, HH #345-316, Wm Claunch household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  4. “Mason County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Deed books, 1803-1901” (database with images), FamilySearch (microfilm of original records at the Mason County Courthouse), Film 567256, DGS 8292936, Deed book, v. 18-19 1863-1866, image 416 of 598 pages 224-225. 1865 John W. Clonch (his part of William Clonch’s estate) to James W. Patterson.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRQ-DSCQ-T?i=415&cat=76718 : accessed 23 January 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Film 567355, DGS 8292989, Deed book, v. 28-29 1873-1877, image 207 of 651, pages 358+359. 1875 James W. Patterson to John W. Clonch the land conveyed in William Clonch’s will to Mary Ellen Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSR7-S38Z-6?i=206&cat=76718 : accessed 24 January 2019). 

The Mysterious Ann Eliza HILL, wife of William CLONCH

My third great-grandfather William CLONCH (1807-1863) had eight known children with my third great-grandmother Mary “Polly” DOSS (1816-bef. 1892). They were never married. Seven of the children were named in William’s last will and testament – with DOSS as their surname. Five of the seven were boys and used the CLONCH surname for the rest of their lives passing it on to their children.

1863williamclonchwill
West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875; Page 166-167 (image 104); online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722

Also mentioned in the will was his daughter Mariah Jane PATTERSON, née CLONCH. She was a child from his marriage to Ann Eliza HILL (1812-1895). There are several mysteries surrounding this wife.

1863williamclonchwill2
West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875; Page 166-167 (image 104); online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722

In early records, the CLONCH surname was spelled CLAUNCH. William CLAUNCH, as he was seen in this entry, of Mason County, Virginia, married Ann Eliza HILL of Gallia County, Ohio, on 20 August 1832 in Gallia County.

claunchhillmarriage
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XD4V-KPD : accessed 21 Jun 2014), William Clauseck (sic, Claunch) and Ann Eliza Hill, 20 Aug 1832; citing Gallia, Ohio, United States, reference p220; FHL microfilm 317652.

They had a daughter Mariah Jane who may have been born about the time of the marriage or soon after. William CLAUNCH was found in the 1840 census in Mason County with a young female 5 and under 10 years old, assumed (by me) to be his daughter Mariah Jane, and a woman 20 and under 30 years old. In my early years of researching this family, as far as I could tell, most CLONCH researchers believed Ann Eliza HILL died or divorced William CLONCH however no record of divorce has been found. I suspect there is none as you will see in a moment.

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 214
Claunch, William
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (William)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Mariah J.)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (wife or common-law wife)
3 persons in household
1 person engaged in agriculture

The daughter Mariah Jane was married by 1850 and was never seen by name with her father on a census. On the census, she was 19 in 1850 and 27 in 1860.

The woman seen with William in 1840 could not be his wife as Eliza CLAUNCH was found in the census of Gallia County, Ohio, with two young males in her household. William and Ann Eliza were living in separate households in two states.

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Gallia County, Ohio
Galliapolis
Eliza Claunch
1 male under 5 yo
1 male 5 & under 10 yo
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Eliza)

Were they her sons and sons of William CLAUNCH? When William made his will in 1862 he mentioned only his daughter Mariah Jane from his marriage to Ms. HILL – no sons! If Eliza had her own household, are we seeing Polly DOSS in William’s household? She would give birth to William’s son John William in December.

For a better understanding of what was going on I needed to discover what happened to Eliza in later years.

The marriage between William and Eliza may have been in difficulties early on. Who was to blame, William or Eliza, or both parties? The short of it is we know William never married the mother of his DOSS (later known as CLONCH) children. Was this because he was never legally divorced from Eliza? His wife Eliza, however, remarried as a widow!

Imagine my surprise when I found a record for Anna Eliza CLAUNCH, widow of Wm. C. CLAUNCH, marrying Andrew GAUSE on 26 March 1842 in Kanawha County, Virginia.

1842marriage1
http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12568001&Type=Marriage
1842marriage2
http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12568001&Type=Marriage

Ann Eliza HILL’s husband William CLAUNCH did not die between the time of the 1840 census and her remarriage on 26 March 1842. Could the names be a coincidence? Who was this lady who married Andrew GAUSE?

Let’s continue looking for Ann Eliza CLAUNCH, now Mrs. GAUSE. I followed the lady and her second husband as well as their descendants. Would the children she had with her second husband have her maiden name on their death records?

In 1850 she was with Andrew GAUSE in Lawrence County, Ohio, with five children.

1850 U.S. Federal census
Lawrence County, Ohio
Upper Township, Sheet 449A
Enumerated by me on the 16th day of August, 1850.
HH #8-8
Andrew Gause 28 M Miner Pennsylvania cannot write
Eliza Gause 39 F New York cannot read & write
Thomas J. Gause 14 M Ohio cannot read
Elinor Gause 12 F Ohio
Francis E. Gause 6 M Ohio
Henry F. Gause 4 M Ohio
Mary A. Gause 1 F Ohio
Benj. Bosner 28 M England

It is not known if Thomas J. age 14 and Elinor age 12 are children of Andrew and/or Eliza or Andrew’s relations. Neither have been traced in later census or other records. The three younger children were born after the marriage took place in 1842.

In December 1855 another son was born into the family. By 1860 all children seen in 1850, except for Henry F., were missing in the household and the surname was now spelled GAUZE:

1860 U.S. Federal census
Gallia County, Ohio
Ohio Township, South New Castle
Andrew Gauze 38 Pennsylvania
Eliza Gauze 48 New York
Henry Gauze 14 Ohio
Alexander Gauze 5 Ohio
Cynthia Ross 27 Ohio
John Ross 4 Ohio
John Thompson 28 Ohio
Frederick Ginder 17 Germany

Andrew GAUZE and his wife Eliza’s little family included only sons Henry F. and Alexander. These would be the only two possibilities of finding death records with the maiden name of the child’s mother.

In 1870 Eliza did not appear on the census however her two sons were found. Henry F., the elder, was married with two children living in West Township, Columbiana County, Ohio. Alexander at age 15 was living with a Johnson family and working as a coal miner in Canton Township, Stark County, Ohio.

Eliza’s husband Andrew GAUZE remarried in 1862. Did Eliza die soon after the 1860 census?

1862GauzeClarkmarriage
Marriage Record Groom’s Name: Andrew Gauze Bride’s Name: Lovina Jane Clark Marriage Date: 08 May 1862 Marriage Place: Gallia,Ohio Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M51322-2 System Origin: Ohio-ODM Source Film Number: 317653 Collection: Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22512-71913-67?cc=1614804

Andrew GAUZE and his new wife were found in the 1870 census, living in Rome Township, Lawrence County, Ohio.

1870 U.S. Federal Census
Lawrence County, Ohio
Rome Township, Page No. 16
Enumerated by me on 22nd the day of July, 1870. Wm H Sloan, Ass’t Marshal.
Bartramville Post Office
HH #120-115
Gauze, Andrew 48 M W Coal miner WV cannot write
Gauze, Lavina 30 F W Keeping house WV cannot write
Clarke, Geo. 15 M W Farm work WV attended school within year
Note: Lovina’s maiden name was Clark; George may be her relative.

Andrew and Lovina Jane were not found in 1880. On 27 March 1897 a 45 years old Levina GAUZE (was she Andrew’s widow?) was marrying the 70 years old Lem (Lemuel) BAILEY in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia. By 1900 the bride may have died as the groom is listed with his son on the Huntington census as widowed.

The search for Andrew GAUZE and his second wife Lovina Jane CLARK came to a dead end between 1870 and 1900. Or so I thought! I found Vina GAUZE (widow of Andrew) listed in the city directory of Huntington.What happened to Andrew and his second wife is not important to the continuation of Eliza’s story but I’d hope it would give me more clues.

What happened to Andrew and Eliza’s sons after 1870?

The older son Henry F. GAUZE was found in:

  • 1880: Shiawassee County, Michigan
  • 1890: Special Schedule (Stark County, Ohio)
  • 1895: Clay County, Indiana
  • 1900: missing; wife and children found in Saginaw County, Michigan
  • 1910: alone in Saginaw County, Michigan (wife died in 1912)
  • 1920: with another woman in Saginaw County, Michigan; he married her following the census in April and his parents were listed as father A. J. GAUZE, mother Eliza HILL.

The younger son Alexander GAUZE remained in Stark County, Ohio, and was found there at the time of the 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 census. In 1880 his mother Eliza GAUZE was found with him and his family:

1880 U.S. Federal Census
Stark County, Ohio
Canton Township,  Page No. 24
Enumeration District No. 135, Sheet No. 300D
Enumerated by me on the 11th day of June, 1880. Henry R. Packer, Enumerator.
HH #200-208
Gauze, Alexander M W 25 married Miner unemployed 4 months during census year Ohio Virginia New York
Gauze, Sarah Jane F W 26 wife married Keeping House Ohio Pennsylvania Ohio
Gauze, Emery W. M W 4 son single Ohio Ohio Ohio
Gauze, Albert Byron M W 3 son single Ohio Ohio Ohio
Gauze, Howard Ellsworth M W 8/12 son single Ohio Ohio Ohio
Gauze, Eliza F W 68 Mother widowed New York New York New York

Eliza was listed as widowed even though her husband Andrew had remarried. Or did I follow the wrong Andrew GAUZE?

Finding her in the 1880 census with her son led to the death record of Ann Eliza GAUZE. She died in Howenstine, Pike Township, Stark County, Ohio, on 28 October 1895. Neither the names of her parents nor her maiden name were mentioned on the entry in the death register. New York was the place of birth, consistent with the 1850, 1860, and 1880 census.

1895annelizagauzedeath1
Left page of ledger
1895annelizagauzedeath2
Right page of ledger

[Source: “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F665-HWB : 13 December 2014), Ann Eliza Gauze, 28 Oct 1895; citing Death, Howenstine, Pike Township, Stark, Ohio, United States, source ID v 3 p 184, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 897,621.]

Per her Find A Grave memorial, cemetery records show she was buried in Melscheimer Cemetery in Canton. Her son Alexander, as well as many of his descendants, are also buried in the same cemetery.

I left the sons’ death records for last. Her younger son Alexander died 7 February 1920 in Stark County, Ohio. His death certificate names Eliza HILL as his mother. There is a discrepancy on the name of his father.

1920AlexanderGauzedeath
“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X8LF-4J9 : 8 December 2014), Alexander Gauze, 07 Feb 1920; citing Canton, Stark, Ohio, reference fn 16829; FHL microfilm 1,985,129.

Her older son Henry F. died a year later on 13 February 1921 in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois. No image of the death certificate was found however the indexed information shows the mother’s maiden name was HILL and the father’s name as Andrew.

1921HenryFGauzedeath
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQFY-D5Z

Why did I spend so much time researching the GAUZE children of Ann Eliza HILL? First to prove the wife of my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH did not die. This may have been the reason he never married the mother of his children, my 3rd great-grandmother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS.

Secondly, I hoped it would lead me to more information on the children Eliza had with William CLONCH. Mariah Jane was the only child outside of his DOSS children he acknowledged in his will. She and her husband John PATTERSON protested the will in which he gave “three dollars to Mariah Jane Patterson.” The attorney they hired to represent them was not able to oppose the will and they had to pay the expenses of the court.

Is it possible Eliza and William had another child? I believe there is the likelihood of another child but who were his parents? Eliza and William, Eliza and another man, or William and another woman? Stay tuned for more to come.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Ann Eliza HILL
Parents: Unknown, per 1880 census born in New York
Spouse: William CLONCH(*) and Andrew J. GAUZE
Children: Mariah Jane CLONCH, Henry F. GAUZE, Alexander GAUZE
Whereabouts: Mason WV, Gallia OH, Lawrence OH, Stark OH
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: wife of 3rd great-grandfather

1. William CLONCH‘s wife Ann Eliza HILL
2. Alexander CLONCH
3. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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

52 Ancestors: #27 Mary E. “Polly” DOSS ~ An Unwed Mother, Not a Spinster

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

Hard to believe that we are halfway through the year and beginning the 2nd half of the challenge this week.

52 Ancestors: #27 Mary E. “Polly” DOSS ~ An Unwed Mother, Not a Spinster

My 3rd great-grandmother Polly never married. She wasn’t a spinster. She couldn’t have been since she was my ancestor. She was the mother of eight children all from a bond she had with one man my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH.

Polly was the daughter of Levina DOSS. Period. One unmarried mother in my family tree would be easy to take. But two is a bit harder. Polly’s mother Levina had up to seven children and left no trace of who the father of these children may have been. Or maybe she did leave something to identify the father(s) but it hasn’t been found [yet]. Why did these ladies, mother and daughter, never marry? Did they want to avoid total dependency on a husband?

Single Woman vs. Married Woman

Although life may have been harsh, Polly possessed more rights as a single woman than a woman who was married. A single woman had a say over certain matters in her life. She could own property, enter into contracts, act as executor of an estate, or serve as a guardian. A married woman’s legal identity essentially ceased to exist when she married. A husband owned whatever belonged to his wife with the exception of personal items such as clothes and jewelry.

Levina or Lavina

Polly was born in Pittsylvania County around 1816. Per her mother Levina DOSS’s 1820 and 1830 census details she was the 6th of 7 children in the household. The censuses are the only documents I have seen with Polly’s mother’s name – Levina. No documents have been found for Polly’s mother’s name being spelled Lavina. I believe, that since Polly named a daughter “Lavina” after her mother, others have assume that her mother’s name was also spelled this way.

Roots in Pittsylvania County, Virginia

The Doss family has strong roots in Halifax and Pittsylvania County, Virginia. In 1755 Levina’s grandfather James DOSS received a land grant for 272 acres in Halifax County, an area soon to become part of the newly created Pittsylvania County in 1767. This land grant was located adjacent to Beechtree Creek and Staunton River.

Pittsylvania County lies in south midland Virginia, bordering on the North Carolina line. Bordering counties are Bedford (northwest), Campbell (northeast), Halifax (east), Caswell in North Carolina (southeast), Rockingham in North Carolina (southwest), Henry (west/southwest), and Franklin (west/northwest). The neighboring counties are important as we find marriages of Polly’s brothers, Thomas DOSS in Caswell in 1827 and Phillip DOSS in Campbell in 1835.

Early Census Analysis

In 1820 Polly is the youngest female in Levina’s household. Other members are four brothers, an older sister, her mother, and most likely her grandmother Elizabeth DOSS née LESTER who was widowed in 1812.

1820censusdoss
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Pittsylvania [ancestry.com]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Levina Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (William b. abt. 1811 & Phillip b. abt. 1814)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (unknown son b. bet. 1804-1810)
Note: no males 16-18 yo (therefore Thomas was 19 & under 26 yo)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Thomas b. abt. 1801)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Mary E. b. abt. 1816)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (unknown daughter born bet. 1795-1804)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Levina b. abt. 1775)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (poss. mother Elizabeth b. abt. 1750)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 2
Free White Persons – Under 16: 4
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 8

Can you tell that I love to do these?

By 1830 Polly and her younger sister Elizabeth were the only children living with their mother Levina. Next door was Polly’s brother William and her uncle Eben ANGEL, a Baptist minister and husband of Levina’s sister Elizabeth.

1830censusdoss
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Pittsylvania [ancestry.com]
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Page No. 348
Levina Doss
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Elizabeth bet. 1821-1825)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Mary E. b. abt. 1816)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Levina, b. 1771-1775)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 3

Polly’s Siblings

  • Sib 1: Thomas DOSS (abt.1801-1881) born about 1801 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He married(1) Elizabeth EADS (abt.1802-bet.1860-1867) on 6 March 1827 in Caswell County, North Carolina. He married(2) Martha Forbes GORDON (1824-1881) on 28 April 1867 in Chariton County, Missouri. Thomas died on 1 April 1881 in Chariton County and was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in same county.
  • Sib. 2: [–?–] (female) DOSS born bet. 1795-1804
  • Sib. 3: [–?–] (male) DOSS born bet. 1804-1810
  • Sib. 4: William DOSS (abt.1811-1888) born about 1811 in Pittsylvania County. He married Elizabeth BARBER (abt.1814-1898) on 12 May 1828 in Pittsylvania County. William died 22 November 1888 in Mason County, West Virginia.
  • Sib 5: Phillip Valorius “Phil” DOSS (abt.1814-aft.1880) born about 1814 in Pittsylvania County. He married Elizabeth BAILESS (abt.1815-aft.1880) on 25 December 1835 in Campbell County, Virginia. Phillip died after 1880.
  • Mary E. “Polly” DOSS born about 1816 in Pittsylvania County, died bef. 1892 in Mason County, West Virginia
  • Sib. 7: Elizabeth “Betsy” DOSS born bet. 1821-1825. She married(1) John CLONCH (abt.1810-bet.1844-1847) on 15 February 1842 in Gallia County, Ohio. She married(2) John William STEED (abt.1806-aft.1880) on 26 October 1848 in Gallia County, Ohio. Betsy died after 1880.

DOSS Families Move to Mason County, (West) Virginia

In the 1830s Polly and her siblings, with the exception of Phillip, moved to Mason County in what would later become West Virginia. The DOSS siblings were a tight bunch. It is not known if their mother Levina was still living and made the move with the group or if she had died and the children moved on.

William CLAUNCH (aka CLONCH), with whom Polly DOSS was living, was enumerated between her brothers William and Thomas in 1840 in Mason County. In William DOSS’s household was a young lady who fits the age group for their sister Elizabeth. None of the households had an older woman, and neither did their brother Phillip, who remained in Pittsylvania. It is believed that Levina DOSS died between 1830-1840.

1840censusdossclaunch
1840 U.S. Federal Census > (W)VA > Mason > page 214 [ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2014]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 214
Thomas Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (Philip, Charles & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (too old to be a son from this marriage)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Thomas)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Judah)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7
William Claunch
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mariah J.)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Polly)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 3
William Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (William & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (could this be John Clonch?)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (sister Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (wife Betsy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8

Polly’s Life with William CLONCH

In 1850 Polly DOSS is seen in William CLONCH’s household with their four children who are seen with the DOSS surname. The fourth child, Jeremiah age 2, is believed to have died before the 1860 census as he is not listed in that census or later mentioned in the will of William CLONCH. Jeremiah was the name of William’s grandfather.

1850censusclonch
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 422A HH#842-853; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0959unix#page/n368/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

During the 1850s Polly’s oldest brother Thomas moved with his family to Chariton County, Missouri. Her brother William and sister Elizabeth remained in Mason County.

By 1860 Polly was no longer using her nickname and is seen as Mary CLAUNCH (CLONCH). She is in William’s household with their children John W., Alex, Luvina, Elizabeth, Thos. E., Joel and Charles H. Also in the household was John W. CLARK age 64 whose relationship to the family has not been determined.

1860censusclonch
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > District 2 > Page 46 > HH#345-316; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1361unix#page/n434/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

Mary E. DOSS and her partner William CLONCH had four children before and four after the 1850 census. They are listed here with the surnames they were known to have used in later years.

  • John William CLONCH (1840-1919) born in December 1840
  • Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) born 2 March 1842
  • Lavina Ann DOSS (1846-1945) born about 18 March 1846
  • Jeremiah DOSS born about 1847, died bet. 1850-1860
  • Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” CLONCH (1851-aft.1899) born about 1851
  • Joel CLONCH (1852-aft.1910) born in January 1852
  • Thomas Eli CLONCH (1852-1913) born in November 1852
  • Charles Henry CLONCH (1855-1925) born on 10 November 1855

The American Civil War period (4 Feb 1861-23 Jun 1865) brought changes for Mary E. DOSS and her family. Mary’s oldest son John William CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER (1840- ) on 20 February 1862 in Gallia County, Ohio.

Less than a year later the father of her children, William CLONCH, died on 20 January 1863. William had the foresight [or maybe Mary influenced him] to write a will leaving his land to Mary and her children.

will
[Source: West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875; Page 166-167 (image 104); online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722%5D
There was a bit of trouble caused by his will. Mary’s step-daughter Mariah Jane also brought forward a will which was not admitted as the last will and testament. The will found in the Will Book is not an original, only a copy. William left his mark on the will and Matthias Long must have been the person who wrote the will for William. On the 1840 and 1850 censuses both adults in the household of William CLONCH could not read and write.

Life After William

I can’t imagine what Mary’s life would have been like if William had not left her the land that her children farmed. In 1863 Mary’s daughter Lavina Ann married James William PATTERSON (1836-1911) in Point Pleasant and her son Alexander married Mary Ellen LEMASTER (1847-1921) in Gallia County, Ohio. Alex’s marriage did not last as Mary Ellen was involved with her brother-in-law John whose marriage ended in divorce in 1864 when John and Mary Ellen moved in together. [A Little “Peyton Place” (Part II)]

By 1870 only three children were living at home with Mary: Joel, Elizabeth, and Charles Henry [who was mistakenly listed as Francis]. Next door was her sister Elizabeth DOSS with her second husband John STEED. Mary’s daughter Lavina was living with her husband in the same district several households away.

1870censusclonch
1870 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendenen > Sheet No. 147B > HH#228-230 [ancestry.com]
John W. and Mary Ellen and children; Alexander and Mary Ellen’s sister Rebecca and children; and Thomas Eli, who was single, were not located in the 1870 census. John’s son Emanuel was born in February 1870 in Mason County per his death register entry which places him in the county in 1870. How could it be that Mary’s three sons were missed? Could they have been omitted when the census was copied? Are they on the original census?

Life may appear to have been quiet during the 1870s for Mary and her family. There were no marriages but thirteen grandchildren were born. Her daughter Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” had two children out of wedlock. Alexander [who was still legally married to Mary Ellen] fathered two more children with Rebecca LEMASTER. John fathered five children with Mary Ellen. Only Lavina’s four children born in the 1870s were legitimate.

A Divorce and Two Marriages

The 1880s began with a divorce and two marriages.

Alexander CLONCH finally divorced Mary Ellen LEMASTER in March 1880 in Mason County, West Virginia. I wonder if he might have taken advice from his mother. Mary may have wished that William had done the same with his wife Ann Eliza HILL so that she could marry the father of her children.

At about the same time, Charles Henry CLONCH married Nancy Susan WOODS (1864-1928) on 24 March 1880 in Gallia County, Ohio, and Thomas Eli CLONCH married Missouri Catherine SCHULTZ (1862-1942) on 14 May 1880 in Gallia County, Ohio.

In 1880 Mary and all of her children except for John are enumerated on Sheet No. 245A+B in households #195-200 (Lavina), #197-202 (Alex), #198-203 (Thomas), #202-207 (Joel and Charles with their mother Mary) and #203-208 (Elizabeth Jane). Only Mary’s oldest son John W. CLONCH was in Cabell County with Alex’s ex-wife Mary Ellen LEMASTER with whom he now had seven children.

1880censusclonch2
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendennin > ED 93 Sheet 245B HH#202-207 [ancestry.com]
Mary’s son Alexander married Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY (1861-1913) on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio. He was the last of her children that she would see getting married.

As harsh as life could be for single women, they ironically possessed more rights than those who married. A single woman had her own legal identity, could enter into contracts and own property, allowing her to have some say over certain matters in her life.Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_10071412_life-like-single-women-1800s.html

Mary E. DOSS died before 1892 when her children are seen selling the land left to her in William CLONCH’s 1863 will to their sister Lavina. All of Mary’s children, except for young Jeremiah, survived her.

Joel who had remained single finally married in 1893 at the age of 41. John W. at long last married his Mary Ellen in 1895. Betsy who had a third child out of wedlock in 1884 married a man half her age in 1899 and disappeared [I have not been able to trace her after the marriage].

Mary E. DOSS’s children continued “to be fruitful and multiplied” bringing the total grandchildren to 60. The youngest and last surviving died in 1994.

Genealogy Sketch

Name:  Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
Parents: Levina DOSS and unknown father
Spouse: William CLONCH
Children: John W., Alexander, Lavinia Ann, Jeremiah, Elizabeth Jane, Joel, Thomas Eli, Charles Henry
Whereabouts: Pittsylvania County, VA and Mason County, WV
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandmother

1. Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
2. Alexander CLONCH
3. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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

52 Ancestors: #26 William CLONCH abt. 1807-1863

“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 #26 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. It’s hard to believe the first half of this wonderful challenge is ending this week.

Note: As of 13 January 2019, this post has been updated with sources and images. 

52 Ancestors: #26 William CLONCH abt. 1807-1863

On the 17th of January 1863, my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH wrote his Last Will and Testament.1

January the 17th 1863
This is my Last Will and testimony wherein I do wish to will my Land to Mary Doss and her Children John William Doss, Alexander Doss, Loving Ann Doss, Elizabeth Jane Doss, Thomas Eli Doss, Joel Doss and Charles Henry Doss and my wish is that the said Mary Doss and her said heirs shall hold the percession of said Land and to work it at their option untill the said Mary Dosses Death and then to be Equally Divided between said Children and that the said Land shall not be transfered out of the family if it is that the said transfer shall not stand and I do will Mariah Jane Petterson three Dollars and I do will John William Doss one horse and Alexander Doss one young mare and Loving Ann one 2 year old Colt and my tools and implements stay on the farm of all kinds to stay on the farm for the use of the family and I have made this my will and do acknowledge the same to be my volunter act and have this the day above written caused my name to be written and have fixed my mark and seal to be made.
William -his mark- Clonch
Attest
Matthias Long
Mary Ellen -her mark- Doss
Sarah Jane -her mark- Doss
in addition to the foregoing will it is my will that Thomas Doss Has My Big Gun.

Mary E. DOSS and William CLONCH were never married and the children mentioned are “theirs.” The five boys and Elizabeth Jane used the CLONCH surname following William’s death. Only “Loving Ann” used the DOSS surname when she married a year later in 1863.

I believe there is a reason why William and Mary never married. The reason being Ann Eliza HILL, the woman he married in 1832. She was the mother of Mariah Jane mentioned in the will. This is a complicated story which I will get to as we go back in time.

After drawing up his will, William CLONCH died three days later on 20 January 1863 in Mason County, (West) Virginia, of typhoid fever. His occupation was listed as a gunsmith. The informant was Mary CLONCH, his widow. His widow? They lived together for over 20 years and had 8 children together, does this make her his widow?

Was this Mary CLONCH the same person as Mary E. DOSS seen in his will? I would say yes as she was seen with him in the 1860 census as Mary CLONCH and in the 1850 census as Polly DOSS.

Two months later William’s will was presented at a court held for the county of Mason at the courthouse:2

At a Court held for the County of Mason at the courthouse therof on Monday the 2nd day of March 1863.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of William Clonch deceased, was this day produced in Court and proven by the oaths of Matthias Long, Mary Ellen Doss, and Sarah Jane Doss, the subscribing Witnesses thereto, who made oath that said writing was signed and acknowledged by the said William Clonch by his marking his mark thereto, and at the same time acknowledging the same as and for his last Will and Testament in their presence and at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other, they signed their names as witnesses thereto, and that the said Testator was of sound mind and disposing memory to the best of their knowledge, and belief. Whereupon it is ordered that said writing be recorded and admitted to probate, as and for the last Will and Testament of the said William Clonch decd.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.

Mariah Jane and her husband John PATTERSON also tried to present a writing they purported to be the last will and testament of William CLONCH after the first had been applied.3

John Patterson and Maria Jane Pattersons Children and heirs at law of William Clonch deceased having come into court after the application had been made to Submit a certain writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of said Clonch to probate moved the court to recind their Judgement on said Application. And thereupon the Court having condisered thereof doth reconsider the same, and doth continue the further hearing of the same to the next term of this court.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.

A month later at the next term of court, the hearing was continued and a decision was made concerning which writing was his last will and testament:4

At a court held for the County of Mason, at the Courthouse thereof on Monday the 6th day of April 1863.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of William Clonch deceased, bearing date on the 17th day of January 1863 was this day again produced in Court by Mary Doss and other legatees named in said will, in order to be proved: and John Patterson and Maria Jane Patterson his wife appeared by Charles P. T. Moore Esq. their Attorney and opposed the proof of the said Will. Whereupon divers Witnesses were sworn and examined and the parties aforesaid, by their counsel fully hears; on consideration whereof it is the opinion of the court, that the said William Clonch deceased, at the time of executing the writing dated on the 17th day of January 1863 was of sound and disposing Mind and Memory, and that he was under no influence, And Matthias Long, Mary Ellen Doss, and Sarah Jane Doss, subscribing witnesses to the said writing, having testified in court, that the said William Clonch signed and published the same in their presence as and for his last Will and Testament, that they subscribe their names as witnesses thereto in the presence of the said Testador, and in the presence of each other, and at his request, and that the said Testador was of sound mind and memory as far as they knew or believed; it is ordered that the said writing bearing date as aforesaid, be recorded as and for the last Will and Testament of the said William Clonch, deceased, Except the memorandum thereto annexed, and that same be also admitted to probate. And it further ordered by the court, that the said John Patterson, and Maria Janes Patterson, pay to the said Mary Doss and other legatees in said Will their costs by them in this behalf expensed.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.

John and Mariah Jane PATTERSON were ordered to pay the expenses of Mary DOSS and the other legatees in the will. Did Mariah Jane’s $3 inheritance cover the costs?

The land left to Mary E. DOSS and her children by William was sold by his heirs in 1892 to Louvenia PATTERSON, seen as Loving Ann DOSS in the will:

In Mason County deed book 53, page 202, dated 29 April 1892, John W. and wife Mary E. Clonch, Alexander and wife Bertha (sic, Tobitha), Charles and wife Mary, Thomas and wife Missouri, Joel and wife Betsy, heirs of William Clonch to Louvenia Patterson all of the Mason County, West Virginia, property in Clendenin District, Mason County, West Virginia. According to these records, William Clonch is the father of the Doss children. Note: I don’t have images of or a true transcript of this record. A look-up would be appreciated. 

UPDATE: add the link to post when it is published!

Moving Backwards

With his last will and testament out of the way, I can continue back through the years and hopefully answer some of the questions about the relationship William CLONCH had with Mary DOSS.

1860censusclonch
1860 Census listing for William Claunch and family

William was last seen in the 1860 census5, his surname spelled CLAUNCH, with his “wife” Mary and their children John W., Alex, Luvina, Elizabeth, Thos. E., Joel, and Charles H. Also in his household was John W. CLARK age 64. Unfortunately prior to 1880 the relationship to a head of household was not noted on the census.

1850censusclonch
1850 Census listing for William Clonch and family

In 1850 William CLONCH  is seen with Polly DOSS and four DOSS children.6 Three of these are the same as seen in 1860 but with the CLAUNCH name. The fourth DOSS child, Jeremiah age 2, is believed to have died before the 1860 census as he is not listed in that census or mentioned in the will. Jeremiah was the name of William’s grandfather.

Now that we’ve seen the 1850 and 1860 census, here is a complete list of Willliam’s children that he had with Mary E. “Polly” DOSS:

  • John William CLONCH (1840-1919) born in December 1840
  • Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) born on 2 March 1842, husband of Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY
  • Lavina Ann DOSS (1846-1945) born about 18 March 1846
  • Jeremiah DOSS (1847-1850) born abt. 1847 and died bet. 1850-1860
  • Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” CLONCH (1851-1899) born abt. 1851
  • Joel CLONCH (1852-1910) born abt. January 1852
  • Thomas Eli CLONCH (1852-1913) born in November 1852
  • Charles Henry CLONCH (1855-1925) born 10 November 1855
MRIN00536 1945 Lavina Patterson death announcement
Charleston Daily Mail, August 3, 1945

Lavina Ann and Jeremiah never used the CLONCH or CLAUNCH surnames. In 1945 Lavina, the last surviving child of William CLONCH, died. The informant on her death certificate did not know who her father was. Polly DOSS was listed as the mother. Her relatives boasted that she was 109 years old when she died. Her age on her death certificate was 106 yrs 4 mos 18 days. She was actually 10 years younger than the age in this clipping7 — but still nearly 100!

In the Beginning

My 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH was the son of Dennis CLONCH and Nancy BEASLEY. They were married on 8 November 1803 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. They moved to Kanawha County, Virginia [now West Virginia],  about 1806 as Dennis was on the tax lists of Mecklenburg County in 1805 and of Kanawha County in 1806 and 1809. He was on the 1810 Kanawha County census with his wife and three children: William and his older sister Elizabeth and another female who remains unidentified. Dennis died during the 1810s as his wife Nancy was the head of household in 1820 through 1840 in Mason County.

William had 3 known siblings:

  • Sib 1: [–?–] CLONCH, born bet. 1805-1809 in Kanawha County. This sister remains unidentified.
  • Sib 2: Elizabeth CLONCH, born bet. 1805-1809 in Kanawha County. She married Meridith PARSONS (1805- ) on 26 February 1825 in Mason County, (West) Virginia. She died before 1840.
  • William CLONCH was born about 1807 in Kanawha County.
  • Sib 3: John CLONCH was born about 1810 in Kanawha County. He married Elizabeth DOSS (1817-1880) on 15 September 1842 in Gallia County, Ohio. He died between 1844-1847 most likely in Mason County.
  • Sib 4: Sarah CLONCH was born about 1811 in Kanawha County. She married William WILLIAMS (1808-1850s) on 4 January 1832 in Mason County. After his death and before 1860 she married James William GALLIWAY (1832-1880).

The Years in Between

William CLONCH of Mason County, Virginia, married Ann Eliza HILL (1812-1895) of Gallia County, Ohio, on 20 August 1832 in Gallia County, Ohio.8

claunchhillmarriage
1832 Marriage record of William Claunch and Ann Eliza Hill

By 1840 William and Ann Eliza were living in separate households in two states.

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 214
Claunch, William
1 male 30 & under 40 yo
1 female 5 & under 10 yo
1 female 20 & under 30 yo
3 persons in household
1 person engaged in agriculture

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Gallia County, Ohio
Galliapolis
Eliza Claunch
1 male under 5 yo
1 male 5 & under 10 yo
1 female 20 & under 30 yo

William did not have children in his 1850 household who would be old enough to also be seen in 1840. So what are we seeing in these listings? Apparently, William and Ann Eliza broke up and William took Mariah Jane who was born about the time that her parents married. Mary E. DOSS may be the woman living in William’s household as she would be giving birth to their first child John William CLONCH in December 1840. But who are the young boys seen with “Eliza CLAUNCH” in Gallia County?

When researching our family history we never know what bones we may dig up that might have best been kept buried. This lady intrigued me enough to search further. As far as I could tell most CLONCH researchers believed that Ann Eliza HILL died or divorced William CLONCH however no record of divorce was found.

Imagine my surprise when I found a record for Anna Eliza CLAUNCH, widow of Wm. C. CLAUNCH, marrying Andrew GAUSE on 26 March 1842 in Kanawha County, Virginia.9

1842marriage1
1842 Marriage Return for Andrew Gause and Anna Eliza Claunch (part 1)
1842marriage2
1842 Marriage Return for Andrew Gause and Anna Eliza Claunch (part 1)

Could this be a coincidence or was this the same lady who married William in 1832? Ann Eliza HILL’s husband William CLAUNCH (later seen as CLONCH) did not die between the time of the 1840 census and her remarriage on 26 March 1842. Why did she give this false statement? When William made his will in 1862 he mentioned only his daughter Mariah Jane from his marriage to Ms. HILL – no sons!

Mariah Jane CLONCH (1831-1863) born bet. 1831-1833 in Mason County, (West) Virginia, married John PATTERSON (1814-1863) during the year before the 1850 census. Mariah Jane and her husband John were last seen in April 1863 when her father’s will was recorded in court and they were ordered to pay expenses. They have not been located in the 1870 census. Four of their five children and one child from John’s previous marriage were located. It has been assumed that Mariah Jane and John died bet. 1863-1870.

What about the boys seen with Ann Eliza in the 1840 census? Since the pre-1850 censuses name only the head of household, we cannot be sure that the boys were even related to Ann Eliza. But what if they were her children? The older boy, or one of about the same age, was found with her in 1850 along with her new husband and younger children. The youngest of the two boys was not with her in 1850. Her story does not end here as I followed her until her death. It will be saved for another day.

In 1850 John W. CLARK, who was seen with the William CLONCH family in 1860, had his own household.10 In this household were only Nancy CLONCH age 75 and Dennis CLONCH age 12. How is Dennis related to William CLONCH? Could he be Ann Eliza’s younger son?

1850censusclark
1850 census listing for John W. Clark with Nancy Clonch and Dennis Clonch

The young boy named Dennis CLONCH seen in the 1850 census appears to be a grandson of Nancy BEASLEY and DENNIS CLONCH. But who was his father? Earlier researchers believed him to be the son of William’s brother John CLONCH. John did not have his own household in 1840 and may have been in his mother’s household. He married in 1842 and died between 1844-1847; his widow remarried in 1847. Since John died before the 1850 census it was believed that Dennis was his son as he was living with Nancy CLONCH.

It is my belief that Dennis was the son of Ann Eliza HILL and may not have been acknowledged by her husband William CLONCH as his. Was Dennis the result of an extramarital relationship that caused the breakup of their marriage?

Dennis (1838-1893) was born 8 March 1838 in (West) Virginia. Dennis CLONCH married Mary Ann BAKER (1842-1920) on 16 Nov 1858 in Gallia County, Ohio. They had a son named John William CLONCH born on 19 March 1860 and died on 9 February 1861. The first name given to the child may have been what caused an earlier researcher to assume that he was the son of John. Dennis began using the HILL surname on 21 February 1862 when he enlisted in the Union Regular Army at Gallipolis, Ohio. Neither Dennis CLONCH nor Dennis HILL was mentioned in the will of William CLONCH in 1863. He moved to Missouri about 1871 and died in Miami, Saline County, Missouri on 31 July 1893.

Postscript I:

Over a dozen years ago when Ralph Hayes shared his research and the scandalous happenings in the CLONCH family, he wrote, “Now wasn’t that a little Peyton’s Place.” Last December I used his phrase as the title of two blog posts about the “scandals”:
A Little “Peyton Place” (Part I) and A Little “Peyton Place (Part II).

Postscript II:

I thought this would be an easy write-up. Writing in chronological order didn’t work as I kept getting hung up on the wife’s part in the story. But the wife was not my ancestor. I wanted Polly to have a larger part in William’s story than his wife had. How did I do?

Mary E. “Polly” DOSS, my 3rd great-grandmother, will be the star of next week’s 52 Ancestors installment.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Wiliam CLONCH
Parents: Dennis CLONCH and Nandy BEASLEY
Spouse: Ann Eliza HILL, non-spouse Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
Children: Mariah Jane, John W., Alexander, Lavinia Ann, Jeremiah, Elizabeth Jane, Joel, Thomas Eli, Charles Henry
Whereabouts: Mason County, West Virginia
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandfather

1. William CLONCH
2. Alexander CLONCH
3. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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


  1.  “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971” (database with images), <i>FamilySearch</i> (digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia), FHL Film #567420, Item 2; DGS 4715359; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875, image 104 of 165, page 166-167. Last will and testament of William Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722 : accessed 12 January 2019). Transcribed by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, 25 September 2011. 
  2. Idem., presentation of will to the court. 
  3. Idem., presentation of another will to the court. 
  4. Idem., decision of the court concerning the wills. 
  5.  1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1361; FHL Film: 805361; Virginia, Mason County, District 2, image 25 of 68; Page No. 46, Lines 21-30, HH #345-316, Wm Claunch household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  6.  1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_959; Image 371; Virginia, Mason, District 38, image 121 of 165, Sheet No. 422A, Lines -23, HH #842-853, William Clonch household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  7. Charleston Daily Mail, August 3, 1945, “Woman, 109, Succumbs”(http://access.newspaperarchive.com/ : accessed 30 March 2014) 
  8. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRMD-S2C5?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7GH%3A121350101%2C121422401 : 15 July 2014), Gallia > Marriage records 1803-1843 vol 1 > image 118 of 240; county courthouses, Ohio. 
  9.  West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), FHL Film number 521719; Digital GS number: 4226396; West Virginia Marriages 1853-1970. 1842 Marriage Return for Andrew Gause and Anna Eliza Claunch. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12568001&Type=Marriage : accessed 13 January 2019). 
  10.  1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_959; Image 297; Virginia, Mason, District 38, image 47 of 165, Sheet No. 385A, Lines 28-30, HH #333-334, John W. Clark household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). 

A Little “Peyton Place” (Part II)

MRIN00038 Clonch, Alex
Alexander CLONCH 1842-1910

After William CLONCH’s death in 1863 his sons John William CLONCH (aka John William DOSS) and Alexander CLONCH (aka Alexander DOSS) continued the “tradition” their parents and maternal grandmother began.

John W. Clonch (1840-1919) married Sarah Jane Foster in 1862. Alexander Clonch (1842-1910) married Mary Ellen Lemaster on 10 Nov 1863. Neither marriage lasted.

Now for the interesting part:

On 18 July 1864 Sarah J. Clonch, wife of John W. Clonch, sued by her next friend, John W. Foster, for divorce. Three years ago at the age of 21, she left her father’s house and married John Clonch. “Since that time [she] has been to him a constant, faithful and dutiful wife and has borne him two children to wit: William A. now two years old and an infant daughter three months old. Her husband on the other hand has been negligent and insufferably abusive and violent to her within the last two years frequently beating and choking her for no cause whatever on her part. He has left his house and home taking with him her oldest child and living in adultry with another woman… further alledges that he has been seen in bed with his own brother’s wife and has failed to furnish support to your oratrix and her child which she is oblige to labor for their entire support, or they would come to starvation. The only property owned by your oratrix and her husband is the household and kitchen furniture and one house the most of which your oratrix bought from her father”. Sarah called three witnesses to include John’s own sister and they told it like it was. They testified that John and Rebecca Lemaster spent the night together in each other’s arms while the light in the fireplace went out. Peter Dewitt testified that “I saw Rebecca Lemaster sitting in his lap mighty close together and he was hugging her, and this happened after dark.” Lavina Ann Patterson, John’s sister, testified that John and Mary Ellen Lemaster Clonch had been in bed together. Mary Ellen was married to John’s brother, Alexander Clonch. [Sep 1864 in the Circuit Court of Mason County, West Virginia]

Now wasn’t that a little Peyton’s Place?” wrote Ralph Hays who should be credited for researching the divorce. About the time John and Sarah got their divorce in 1864, Alexander and Mary Ellen called it quits but were not divorced until 1880. John and Mary Ellen, who were expecting their first child, “shacked up together” for over 30 years until 7 May 1895 when they finally got married – after 13 children were born. [Marriage Book 8, p 5, Item 15, Gallia County, Ohio]

In November 1865 Rebecca Lemaster had an illegitimate son Austin Richard Lemaster. His father was listed as unknown. Later this son went by the name Oscar R. Clonch. His death record shows he was the son of Rebecca Lemaster and an unknown father. Family tradition is that Alexander Clonch had a son named Austin and it has been assumed the child died young as no trace was found. Most likely Alexander acted as a father to Rebecca’s illegitimate child in early years and he took the Clonch surname.

The 1870 census listing has not been found for Alexander Clonch or Rebecca Lemaster nor has a marriage record been found for them. [I believe no record will be found as Alexander was still married to Mary Ellen Lemaster and the marriage was legally dissolved in 1880.]

Alex’s daughter Emma Sidosa “Emily” was born in 1868 (no birth record found). The birth record of his son Joseph E. Clonch born in 1872 lists the mother as Rebecca Clonch and most likely the reason it has been believed the parents were married. No record of birth has been found for his daughter Barbara Elizabeth born in 1875.

The divorce of Alexander Clonch and Mary Ellen Clonch was found in Mason County, West Virginia Chancery Order Book March term 1880, p 274. The marriage was dissolved, Mary did not appear and she did not get her dower and had to pay costs. Alexander had at least three children (most likely all with Rebecca Lemaster as seen above) and Mary Ellen had eight children by John Clonch, Alexander’s brother, by the time their divorce was final.
[Source: Ralph Hayes, 17 May 2002, CLAUNCH-L Archives]

I suspect Rebecca may have died before 1880 as no record has been found for her. Having such young children Alex may have seen it necessary to get a divorce from his estranged wife so he could legally marry. He was seen as divorced in the 1880 census with his children Emily, Joe, and Barbara in his household. During the same year, he married Tabitha Cooley. They were married 30 years and had nine children by the time Alex died in 1910.

Although John and Alexander did not get off to a good start with their first marriages, they remained with their second wives until parted by death.

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