“We found potential new ancestors—just by looking at your DNA.”
A month after my brother’s AncestryDNA results came in I started seeing New Ancestor Discoveries. These are potential new ancestors or relatives who are not already in the attached family tree on the DNA page.
I found this a bit misleading until I realized what we can do with these “shaky leaves” from Ancestry.
The first one to pop up was for the Alexander McDonald Boles DNA Circle. It had 15 members and 3 had DNA matches with my brother. I say “had” because after a few weeks it disappeared.
However, before it disappeared the Mary Ann Burks DNA Circle showed up with nearly the same members as the Boles circle. At first, I was stumped by the names Mary Ann BURKS and Alexander McDonald BOLES. They could hardly be potential new ancestors as they were born around 1852, a time period in which all my ancestors are known and well documented.
In the Mary Ann Burks DNA Circle are 13 members, 3 of these have matches with my brother. One match belongs to a larger family group of 10 persons – none of the others in this group match my brother.
After taking a look at the trees of L. and G., two of the matches, I discovered the connection. The Alexander McDonald Boles DNA Circle had shown up because he was the father of Mary Ann BURKS’ children – but they were not married.
One of their children, J.P. “Hard” BURKS, has been in my database for a dozen years. He was married to Susie REELS, daughter of Isaac “Ike” REELS and Margaret Ann WEAVER. Because I do a lot of collateral research the surname REELS was familiar to me and I knew right away where this was taking me.
Genealogy Happy Dance
In 2004 and 2007 I corresponded with David, a descendant (2nd great-grandson) of Ike REELS through his son Millard Green REELS.
At the time I was part of a group of PETERS researchers working together under the guidance of Paula Kelley Ward who has been doing genealogy for over 40 years. We have her to thank for the work she did on Jordan N. PETERS’ War of 1812 pension file.
When David first contacted me we were not certain if the wife of Andrew REEL, Susannah PETERS, was a daughter of Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah “Keziah” LIVELY of Franklin County, Virginia. Born about 1815 she was the right age to be their youngest daughter. However, at the time there were two groups of PETERS families in Franklin County which further complicated matters. One of English ancestry (ours) and the other being of German ancestry. By process of elimination, we determined Susannah had to be the daughter of my 4th great-grandparents, Zach and Keziah.
I needed more than finding the REEL/REELS surname in the families trees of these people who have matches with my brother. When I checked the Shared Matches I found L. and my brother had 4 shared matches – 3 of these have very small or no family trees attached. The 4th has 6 DNA Circle connections with my brother which point to the PETERS family.
G. has two shared matches with my brother. One of these has a private tree but since our PETERS group had worked on the collateral lines I recognized her as a descendant of my Jordan N. PETERS through his first wife Mary “Polly” TROUP. As her tree is private she is not in the DNA Circles.
I believe these DNA matches are further proof of the connection between Susannah PETERS, wife of Andrew REEL, and her until now assumed parents, Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah “Keziah” LIVELY. I contacted David, L., and G. about my discovery and am waiting to hear back from them.
Don’t wait to check out your New Ancestor Discoveries. Take a good look at them as soon as they appear because they might disappear as quickly as they showed up. If a circle does disappear and you didn’t have time to look into it, don’t despair. It may show up again. While I was finishing up this post the Alexander McDonald Boles DNA Circle reappeared!
52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R – Kesiah LIVELY
An interesting tidbit for cousins who like to find royalty and celebrities in their family tree: My 4th great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY’s maternal grandparents, Robert Howard CASH and Ruth Walker EPPINGTON, were the 5th great-grandparents of “one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century,” John R. “Johnny” CASH.
Johnny Cash was also an amateur genealogist. His interest was piqued by a chance encounter with Major Michael Crichton-Stuart on a transatlantic flight in the 1970s. The then Hereditary Keeper of Falkland Palace in Fife explained how abundant the CASH name was in Fife. Johnny Cash visited the Major several times in Scotland to fill in the gaps in his paternal CASH family tree which goes back to the 11th century.
Johnny CASH’s first cousin five times removed, my 4th great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY was the youngest child of Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793) and Mary L. CASH (1740-1793). Both of her parents were likely born in Goochland County, Virginia. Many family trees have Albemarle as the place of birth however if we consult the formation of the Virginia counties we see that Albemarle was not formed until 1744 from Goochland. Mary and Joseph’s teen and early adult years were during the French and Indian War (28 May 1754-10 Feb 1763). They married before 1761, the year of the formation of Amherst County from Albemarle. If a marriage record ever existed in Albemarle County it was most likely destroyed along with all order books except the first and many loose papers between 1748 and 1781, by British general Banastre Tarleton’s raid on Charlottesville in 1781 during the Revolutionary War.
In 1782, when the first personal property taxlists were taken in Virginia, Joseph LIVELY and his oldest son Joseph were both on the list. They were not listed as Sr. and Jr. The first listing above would be for Joseph Sr. with 1 tithable, 1 slave, 27 cattle, and 12 horses. His son Joseph Jr. had 3 cattle and 2 horses. In the years after, from 1783 to 1793, when Joseph and Mary’s sons turned 16 but not yet 21 years of age, they were seen in Joseph’s tax assessment. Below, in 1790 Robert, Benjamin, and John were seen with Joseph and his oldest son was seen as Joseph Jr.
“Joseph paid taxes in Amherst Co. in 1782 and 1783 on 398 and 400 acres and from 1787 to 1793 on 398 acres. His estate paid taxes on the 398 acres in 1794. Joseph Lively received 400 acres of land on Thresher’s Creek in Amherst Co. adjacent lands of James Smith and Pierce Wade on 4 Aug 1777. This land Joseph and wife Mary deeded to Robert Cash of Amherst Co. on 5 Mar 1780. Another tract of 400 acres on Dutch Creek in Amherst Co. was purchased by Joseph from John Harmer on 1 Sept 1782 and sold by Joseph and wife Mary to William Cabell on 1 Jan 1787 (Amherst Co. Deeds, D:447, E:218, F:110). The origin of the remaining 398 acres has not been determined and may have been a land grant.“
Not being able to go to the courthouse or archives in Virginia to research land records I often use the Library of Virginia’s Land Office Grants database:
Joseph LIVELY was granted 400 acres on both sides of the Dutch Creek in Amherst County in 1782. This would be the land mentioned above that he sold to William Cabell in 1787. I will let John F. Vallentine continue as he compiled the following information:
“Joseph died intestate in Amherst Co. (now Nelson Co.), Va., in 1793 (Amherst Co. Wills, 3:282, 293, 450). Letters of administration were granted to Mark Lively, a son, on 22 Oct 1793 with John Hill and William Hill as bondsmen. An inventory of the estate of Joseph Lively made on 16 Dec 1793 included a considerable number of livestock, an old negro woman Sarah, a negro woman Betty, and a negro boy George. The Joseph Lively estate sale on 19 Aug 1797 listed a few of the relatives and many neighbors as purchasers. Subsequently the estate was settled but no record of final partition was included in the Amherst Co. probate records.
That the 398 acres remaining in the possession of Joseph Lively at the time of his death was later divided into 9 tracts of approximately 44 acres is shown by subsequent land sales recorded in the Amherst Co. Deeds. Eight of the heirs of Joseph Lively have been identified by this means. The same eight heirs are recorded in a common sale of personal property in Albemarle Co. belonging to Joseph’s estate (Albemarle Co. Order Books, 1795-8:331). What happened to the remaining 9th part or 44 acres in the estate partition is uncertain. No mention of Joseph’s wife Mary after his death has been found. The 398-acre tract was located on Pucker’s Creek and Babb’s Creek.”
The eight identified heirs of Joseph LIVELY mentioned in the above excerpt were all born before the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775- 14 Jan 1784):
Sib 1: Joseph LIVELY (1761-1838) born 16 June 1761 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Sarah “Salley” TILLER on 4 November 1784 in Amherst County. Joseph died on 11 May 1838.
Sib 2: Benjamin LIVELY (1762-1797) born about 1762 in Amherst County, Virginia. Benjamin was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father and as a taxpayer in 1795, 1796, and 1797 on 44 acres. He was not found later and it has been assumed that he died after 1797. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As Benjamin was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774. As he was seen as a taxpayer in 1795-1797 he would have been born 1774 or earlier.
Sib 3: John LIVELY (1764- ) born about 1764 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father. John married Clara CARNALL on 19 August 1794 in Amherst County. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As John was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774.
Sib 4: Mark LIVELY (1766-1857) born 11 January 1766 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Mary HILL on 30 November 1791 in Amherst County. He was on the 1799 Amherst tax list. He died on 23 November 1857 in Taylor County, Kentucky.
Sib 5: Robert Cash LIVELY (1768- ) born about 1768 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father. He married Elizabeth BETHEL on 20 August 1793 in Amherst County. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As Robert was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774.
Sib 6: Ruth LIVELY (1770- ) born about 1770 in Amherst County, Virginia. She married William GRIFFIN on 17 June 1793 in Amherst County.
Sib 7: Nancy LIVELY (1772- ) born about 1772 in Amherst County, Virginia. Nancy Lively Married Peter JOHNSON on 5 April 1794 in Amherst County, Virginia.
Kesiah LIVELY born about 1774 in Amherst County, Virginia.
Kesiah’s father Joseph LIVELY died before 22 October 1793 in Amherst County. It is possible that his wife Mary L. CASH predeceased him as she is not mentioned after his death. At the time of Joseph’s death his two youngest daughters, Nancy and Kesiah, and his son John were not yet married.
A little over a year after Joseph LIVELY’s death his youngest daughter Kesiah LIVELY was married to Zachariah PETERS by Rev. Ezekiel Campbell on 18 November 1794 in Amherst County.
Kesiah gave birth to her first child, my 3rd great-grandfather, Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) on 10 October 1796 in Amherst County. A month later she and her husband Zachariah sold her share of her father’s estate, 1/9th of the 398 acres he left.
1796 November 21:
Zachariah Peters and his wife, Keziah, sold 44 acres in Amherst County, Virginia, for £60 (60 pounds) to William Loving.
Deed abstract: Deed Book H, p. 126. 21 November 1796. WM. GRIFFIN & wife RUTH; ZACH. PETERS & wife KEZIAH, AC, to WM. LOVING, AC, (Orig. del. to WL, 26 Jun 1798) for 60 pounds, S branches Rucker’s Run – 2 adj. tracts. Lines: grantee, where he lives; part of tract of JOSEPH LIVELY, dec’d, and upon equal division to RUTH & KEZIAH by JOS. LIVELY as his legatees by settlement – 44 acres each. (Note discrepancy in acres) Page 127, order to quiz wives done and rec. 23 Nov 1796. Wit: JOS. LOVING, JAS. HANSBROUGH, JNO. BRYANT, JNO. STAPLES.
Before leaving Amherst County for Franklin County, Kesiah and Zachariah had two daughters and another son. The names are only known for Mary and William. The other daughter remains a mystery.
The move to Franklin County occured after Zachariah was seen on the 1803 Amherst tax list. Kesiah then gave birth to Betsy about 1805 and Lucy about 1807. She also had two sons, one born between 1801-1810 whose his identity is not known, and the other being Willis born on 23 April 1808. Note: The unknown son may fit in between William b. abt. 1798 and Betsy b. abt. 1805.
After the enumeration of the 1810 census Kesiah had four more children: Joseph born 10 December 1810, a male and a female child both born between 1811-1815, and her youngest, Susannah born about 1815.
Following the birth of her last child Kesiah’s brood of a dozen children began to shrink as the oldest children began to marry. She saw the following six marry before the 1830 census.
Kesiah LIVELY and her spouse Zachariah PETERS died between 1830-1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. It is not known who preceded whom. It is likely that they both saw their youngest known son Joseph PETERS marry Martha “Patsy” SMITH (1811-1888) on 1 September 1830 in Franklin County, Virginia (surety John Powers) as this was shortly after the 1830 census in which both were found.
Following Kesiah’s death, her youngest daughter Susannah married and two of her sons were widowed, one twice, and remarried.
52 Ancestors: #46 Zachariah PETERS of Franklin County, Virginia, Father of a War of 1812 Veteran
Zachariah PETERS was born between 1766-1770 in Amherst County, Virginia, and died between 1830-1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. Although much genealogy research has been done on him by people before me, his parents are to date not known (proven).
Paula Kelley Ward, who is to be credited for her work on this family, hired Andrew S. Webb, of Lineages, Inc., to do research in 2001-2002. After seven sessions of research Mr. Webb concluded that circumstantial evidence suggests that John PETERS was the father of Zachariah PETERS as well as James PETERS and Elisha PETERS.
First let’s analyze the census and tax lists to determine when my 4th great-grandfather Zachariah was born. The estimation “between 1766-1770” was made from the age ranges seen on the 1810 to 1830 census of Franklin County, Virginia.
1810 – age 26 & under 45 (1766 or later)
1820 – age 45 & over (1775 or earlier > 1766-1775)
1830 – age 60 & under 70 (between 1761-1770 > 1766-1770)
If the age range was correct in these three census years then he should have appeared in personal property tax lists beginning no later than 1791. Mr. Webb wrote in his report on the first session, “Personal property tax lists of Amherst County, Virginia, were searched for anyone with the surname PETERS or PETER.” He found and listed all PETERS men for the years 1788 to 1797. Zachariah was found on:
18 June 1793 with 1 tithable, 3 horses
1794 – not found
13 Apr 1795 with 1 tithable, 2 horses
15 May 1796 with 1 tithable, 1 horse
21 Jul 1797 with 1 tithable, 0 horses
Why did Zachariah go from having 3 horses to two to one to none? I had to ask the question, even though I don’t have an answer.
Surviving personal tax records for Virginia counties starting in 1782 are available on microfilm at the Library of Virginia or through interlibrary loan. Two sets for Amherst, 1790 and 1799, are available online, and can be used as a substitute for the 1790 and 1800 census.
I found Zachariah in the Personal Property Tax list of Amherst County, Virginia, in 1790. In this case Zachariah was a white tithable listed with the taxpayer Thomas NEVIL, the white tithable over the age of twenty-one. As Zachariah was not the person charged with tax he most likely was a tithable between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one. What can this mean? Is there a family relationship between Zachariah PETERS and Thomas NEVIL or his wife of two years Elizabeth TILLER?
Mr. Webb missed Zachariah PETERS in 1790. In his report he wrote, “The appearance of Zachariah in Amherst in 1793 suggests that he lived in another county before 1793.” He does not speculate on why he was not on the 1794 tax list.
I suspect that Mr. Webb consulted only the pages with the surnames beginning with P. If he had searched through all pages he would have found Zachariah in 1790. I realize that a hired researcher works under the restraints of the client’s purse and doesn’t have the time to search page for page.
This brings up the question: Was Zachariah perhaps listed with another taxpayer in 1791 and 1792 as he was with Thomas NEVIL in 1790? I am nearly certain that Zachariah was not with a NEVIL or NEVILLE individual as researchers on the NEVILLE mailing list discussed the tax records of that family in January and February 2000 and mention finding Zachariah in 1790 with Thomas NEVIL. I discovered this conversation only after viewing the 1790 tax lists online.
Mr. Webb suggested that as a young, single man, Zachariah may have found work outside of the county of his birth, returning to Amherst County to marry and settle down, at least until he moved to Franklin County, Virginia. This could in fact be a good possibility as I recently received this listing of marriage bonds of Amherst County in which the groom was listed as being from Bedford County. I submitted a photo duplication request for the marriage record found in “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940” on FamilySeach.org. Will it have more information? I’ve only used this service a few times and so far all requests were received between 7-9 days. At this rate I should have it in time for 52 Ancestors: #47 Kesiah LIVELY, wife of Zachariah PETERS. (UPDATE!)
Zacharias PETERS and Kesiah LIVELY were married in Amherst County on 18 November 1794. Bondsman (surety) on the marriage bond was Austin WOODY. The marriage was celebrated by the Rev. Ezekiel CAMPBELL. 
Two years later, on 21 November 1796, Zacharias and Kesiah were seen selling her part of her father Joseph LIVELY’s estate, 44 acres in Amherst County, to William LOVING.
The image for the 1799 Personal Property Tax list shows Zachariah followed by Elisha Peters. As the lists are in alphabetical order one cannot tell if they lived close to one another or not. However on the earlier tax lists found by Mr. Webb, Elisha and Zachariah were visited the same day in 1795 indicating that they must have lived close to each other.
On 7 February 1800 Zachariah PETERS and Elisha PETERS were witnesses on the following deed:
Amherst County, Virginia, Deed Book I, page 129: Abstract: Rich BREEDLOVE & wife Mildred, to Nelson ANDERSON for $300, 180 acres branches S fork Rockfish. Lines: Jno. BALL, Wm. KEY, Glade road, Wm. CABELL, Jas. NEVIL, Thos. KEYS. Witnesses: Zach. NEVIL, Elisha PETERS, Zach. PETERS, Carel EADS.
Once again the NEVIL name comes up as well as KEY and KEYS. Only neighbors or is there a closer relationship?
Zachariah’s Possible Parentage and Siblings
A closer analysis of abstracted records that were found previously found evidence suggesting that James, Zachariah, and Elisha PETERS were the sons of John PETERS. John does not appear to have owned land in Amherst County, but the deeds that he witnessed give a fairly clear picture of where and when he lived. John lived in the same area in which James, Zachariah, and Elisha lived. John was also closely associated with many of the same people and families with which Elisha and Zachariah were closely associated. John appears to have lived as an adult in Amherst County from 1761 through 1772. John might have died about 1773, leaving at least three very young children.
This was one of the summaries made by Mr. Webb in his research reports which total 77 pages. In another summary he wrote:
Although no document clearly stating their relationship has been found yet, their ages suggest that they might have been brothers, with James born about 1765, Zachariah born between 1765 and 1770, and Elisha born in 1772. All three owned land in what is today the southern part of Nelson County.
Without going into this any further I would like to give a brief run-through of the persons who may be the father and brothers of my Zachariah PETERS.
Father: John PETERS (1730- ) Birth Abt 1730/1731 in England. In September 1755, John PETER enlisted in Captain David BELL’s Company in Albemarle County. John was twenty-four years old, and five feet, four and a half inches tall. He was a weaver by occupation. John was born in England, was dark with black hair and pitted with small pox.
Sibling 1: James PETERS (1765-1823) born about 1765. He married Elizabeth STEVENS (1776-1850) on 11 March 1793 in Amherst County, Virginia. He died 1 November 1823 in Nelson County, Virginia.
Sibling 2: Elisha PETERS (1773-1862) born about 1773. He married(1) Jane TILLER (d. bef. 1806) on 1 June 1792 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married(2) Cynthia TURNER on 17 February 1806 in Amherst County. Elisha died before 24 Mar 1862 in Bedford County, Virginia.
DNA May Put a New Spin on Zachariah’s Ancestry
A descendant of Elisha PETERS and Cynthia TURNER has done autosomal DNA testing and has a match with a descendant of Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah LIVELY. He wrote, “Ancestry.com said there was a 95% confidence level that [the test person] is a 4th to 6th cousin. By the birth dates, Zachariah and Elisha would be either brothers or cousins.” When it comes to DNA I am lacking in knowledge and, although normally optimistic, wonder if the connection might be for another ancestor.
Sylvia who shared the page with the Amherst marriage bonds (above) wrote on 14 November 2014, “You might be interested to know that before my father’s nephew’s death, he submitted 2 DNA samples for analysis. Both proved to be closer in match to men with the surnames of KEY and MUNDY.” We have not discussed this further and Mundy is a name I haven’t run across.
From Amherst County to Franklin County
We know that Zachariah PETERS remained in Amherst County until 1803 when he was last seen in the Personal Property Tax lists of the county. While living in Amherst Zachariah and his wife Kesiah had at least four children. My 3rd great-grandfather Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) born 10 October 1796 was most likely their first born.
By 1810 Zachariah had moved his little family to Franklin County, Virginia, were he was seen in the census with 4 sons, 4 daughters and his wife Kesiah. His family was no longer little!
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
2 males under 10 yo (Willis & son b. 1801-1810)
2 males 10 & under 15 yo (Jordan & William)
1 male 26 & under 45 (Zachariah)
2 females under 10 yo (Elizabeth & Lucy)
2 females 10 & under 15 (Mary and daughter b. bet. 1796-1800)
1 female 26 & under 45 (Kesiah)
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
2 males under 10 yo (Joseph b. 1810 and 1 son b. 1811-1815)
1 male 45 yo & upwards (Zachariah)
2 females under 10 yo (Susannah and daughter b. 1811-1815)
2 females 10 & under 16 yo (Elizabeth & Lucy)
2 females 16 & under 26 yo (Mary and daughter b. bet. 1796-1800)
1 female 45 yo & upwards ( Kesiah)
1 person engaged in commerce
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
2 males 15 & under 20 yo (Joseph and son b. 1811-1815)
1 male 60 & under 70 yo (Zachariah range 1761-1770)
1 female under 5 yo (granddaughter?)
2 females 15 & under 20 yo (Susannah and daughter b. 1811-1815)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (daughter b. bet. 1796-1800?)
1 female 50 & under 60 yo (Kesiah)
At this time not all of Zachariah and Kesiah’s children are known by name. These are the known and unknown children:
Ch 1: Jordan N. PETERS born 10 October 1796. Jordan married(1) Mary “Polly” TROUP (1799-1837) on 6 October 1817 in Franklin County, Virginia. Jordan married(2) Sarah COX ( -1841) on 15 August 1837 in Franklin County, Virginia. Jordan N. PETERS married(3) Rachel PROFFITT (1817-1899) on 8 December 1841 in Franklin County, Virginia. He died 14 Octocber 1890 in Nettle Ridge, Patrick County, Virginia.
Ch 2: Mary PETERS born bet. 1796-1800. Mary married Samuel SMITH (1800-1884) on 18 December 1823 in Franklin County, Virginia. Her brother William PETERS was surety.
Ch 3: [–?–] PETERS (female) born bet. 1796-1800
Ch 4: William PETERS born about 1798. William married Alice “Alla” TROUP (1795-1841) 12 December 1818 in Franklin County, Virginia. William married(2) Lydia KEMPLIN (1821-1866) on 27 March 1841 in Franklin County, Virginia. Jesse EDWARDS, husband of Betsy, was surety on marriage which took place after Zachariah PETERS’ death.
Ch 5: Elizabeth “Betsy” PETERS born about 1805. Betsy married Jesse EDWARDS (1803-1870) on 17 June 1826 in Franklin County, Virginia. Zachariah PETERS was surety. She died between 1880-1890.
Ch 6: Lucy PETERS born about 1807. Lucy married Joseph JARRELL (1807- ) on 4 October 1827 in Franklin County, Virginia. Zachariah PETERS was surety. They may have gone to Tennessee.
Ch 7: [–?–] PETERS (male) born bet. 1801-1810
Ch 8: Willis PETERS born 23 Apr 1808. Willis married Ruth SMITH (1809-1884) on 21 March 1829 in Franklin County, Virginia. He died 30 March 1882 in Franklin County, Virginia. His death record names Zachariah PETERS as his father.
Ch 9: Joseph PETERS born 10 Dec 1810. Joseph married Martha “Patsy” SMITH (1811-1888) on 1 September 1830 in Franklin County, Virginia. He died 14 February 1892 in Rocky Station, Lee County, Virginia.
Ch 10: [–?–] PETERS (male) born bet. 1811-1815
Ch 11: [–?–] PETERS (female) born bet. 1811-1815
Ch 12: Susannah PETERS born about 1815. Susannah married Andrew REEL (1813-1870) on 16 October 1839 in Franklin County, Virginia. Her father was most likely already deceased as Wm Hixon went bond. Susannah died after 1880.
Research of the Zachariah PETERS’ family is made more difficult by the fact that another group of people of German origin with the surname PETERS were living in Franklin County when Zachariah moved there.
Zachariah PETERS and his wife Kesiah LIVELY died sometime after the 1830 census and before the 1840 census.
 William Montgomery Sweeny, Marriage Bonds and Other Marriage Records of Amherst County, Virginia 1763-1800 (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973). Paula K. Ward, email dated 21 Nov 2004, her source: letter dated 1978 to PKW from Mrs. Gertrude C. Mann, Rocky Mount, Virginia.
 Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Deeds of Amherst County, Virginia, 1761-1807, and Albemarle County, Virginia, 1748-1763, Southern Historical Press, 1979, pages 126-127.
 Ibid., page 360
 Andrew S. Webb, Genealogist at Lineages Inc., Research Report (#38772 – Ward) 21 January 2002
 Andrew S. Webb, Genealogist at Lineages Inc., Research Report (#38772 – Ward) 17 September 2001
 Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1988), 64. Reference document 8.
52 Ancestors: #24 Jordan N. PETERS 1796-1890 – War of 1812 Pensioner
Update (21 June 2014): A correction has been made to the name of this ancestor. Jordan N. PETERS’ supposed middle name, “Nichols,” has never been proven. His records only include the middle initial “N.” The middle name “Nichols” has been removed/changed to the middle initial in this blogpost.
My 3rd great-grandfather Jordan N. PETERS was born in Amherst County, Virginia, on 10 October 1796 to Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah LIVELY. Zach and Kesiah were married nearly two years when Jordan was born. Following his birth the PETERS family continued to grow and moved to Franklin County, Virginia, some time before the 1810 census. By 1810 Jordan, 14 years old, had 7 brothers and sisters. Four more would be born by the end of the War of 1812.
Of the dozen children born to Jordan’s parents, the names are not known for two girls and two boys however they are documented in the pre-1850 census statistics. Jordan’s known siblings were Mary, William, Betsy, Lucy, Willis, Joseph and Susannah.
War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 18 February 1815)
In 1977 Paula Kelley Ward obtained Jordan’s complete War of 1812 file from the National Archives and Records Administration. She transcribed and typed all the documents in the file. The complete transcription and the full story contained in the records came to nearly 50 typewritten pages. With information gleaned from his War of 1812 records Paula wrote “Jordan’s Story”.
In the years that I have done genealogy I’ve learned that it is very important to share with other researchers. We can’t do everything on our own. A different perspective often helps push past the problems we have in our research. Paula, my 4C1R and 4C, has kindly allowed me to use her images of documents she has found. Excerpts from “Jordan’s Story” are included here to allow Jordan to tell his story in his own voice and through Paula.
Jordan said he enlisted in 1814 “to keep my father from being drafted.” He was about 17 years old then, six feet tall, with black hair, black eyes, and a dark complextion. He gave his occupation as “farmer” when he volunteered at Franklin Court House under Captain William Jones…..During his first term of service, Jordan said he “worked in the trenches and mustered every day for two months and 22 days.” He then became ill with the “bloody flux” and at about the same time his shoulder was dislocated…..Jordan was granted a discharge…
The second time he enlisted he was 18 years old and volunteered at Franklin Court House on February 6, 1815 in Captain Robert Hairston’s Company…. The Company had marched as far as Chester (or possibly Chesterfield), Virginia when word reached them that a Treaty of Peace had been ratified on February 16. “Peace was made, and we marched over the Bridge and were paid for our time,” he said. The Company was discharged at Richmond on February 19, 1815, and Jordan went home to Franklin County.
The Jordan and Polly Era (1817-1837)
Mary “Polly” TROUP was 18 years old when she married Jordan N. PETERS on 6 October 1817 in Franklin County, Virginia. Her parents Henry and Dorothy TROUP gave permission for their daughter Mary to marry Jordan PETERS. He was the first of the PETERS children to marry. His brother William married Polly’s sister Alice in December 1818.
In 1820 Jordan is first seen in the census as the head of household with his wife and young daughter. Interesting is that Jordan is enumerated after Austin PROFFITT, the uncle of the young lady he would later marry, have children and spend the rest of his life with.
By 1830 Jordan’s family had grown to include 5 boys and 3 girls. One of these girls may have died young OR daughter Jane who is said to have been born 22 June 1831 may have actually been born in 1830 as reflected in the above census.
Jordan’s wife Mary “Polly” TROUP died on 5 January 1837 in Franklin County, Virginia. She died at the age of 37 after bringing ten children into the world. When she died, her oldest child Cynthia was 17 and her youngest William was just 1 year and 3 months.
Cynthia born 8 Oct 1819
Henry T. born 17 Mar 1821
Zachariah born 14 May 1822
Stephen born 13 Mar 1824
Mary born 6 Aug 1825
Jonathan born 23 Apr 1827
James born 25 Jan 1829
Jane born 22 Jun 1831
Martha Ann born 19 Jan 1833
William Edward born 2 Oct 1835
In a letter written to Zachariah PETERS on 2 July 1864, James PETERS wrote, “Dier Brother I comply with your request and send you the register of our ages as furnished me by our father I send it in short hand and you can copy it.” The dates of birth seen above followed. I received a transcript of the letter in 2003 but was not sure that all information was transcribed correctly. Genealogy research has been Paula’s life work since the age of 16 so it was no surprise to me that she had a photocopy of the original letter which she shared with me. I found that the things I questioned in the transcription were errors. Lesson learned: Do not rely on transcriptions – always verify with an image of the original when available.
Jordan’s Siblings and Parents
Let’s back up here a bit. While Polly and Jordan’s family was growing, his siblings were marrying in Franklin County and starting their own families:
William PETERS married Alice “Alla” TROUP on 12 December 1818
Mary PETERS married Samuel SMITH on 18 December 1823
Elizabeth “Betsy” PETERS married Jesse EDWARDS on 17 June 1826
Lucy PETERS married Joseph JARRELL on 4 October 1827
Willis PETERS married Ruth SMITH on 21 March 1829
Joseph PETERS married Martha “Patsy” SMITH on 1 September 1830
Susannah PETERS married Andrew REEL on 16 October 1839
Their parents most likely saw most of them marry except for their youngest Susannah. It has been assumed that Kesiah LIVELY and Zachariah PETERS both died between 1830–1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. There is no record of their deaths. Neither was enumerated as a head of household in 1840. None of their “known” children had older individuals in their households in 1840.
The Jordan and Sarah Era (1837-1841)
Jordan wasted little time in marrying again. Polly died in January and seven months later on 15 August 1837, he married Sarah COX. Her mother Peninah COX had given permission for Sarah to marry Jordan on 9 August 1837. We don’t know how old Sarah was but she immediately became the stepmother of ten children. Three months later Jordan’s oldest child Cynthia married Sarah’s brother Moses COX on 26 November 1837. Both marriages took place in Franklin County.
Sarah’s first child, Penenah, born on 14 November 1839, was named after her mother, Penniah WALDEN, widow of Francis COX.
Jordan and Sarah’s second child was born on 1 July 1841 and died the same day without being given a name. Sarah died about a week later on 8 July 1841.
Jordan now had eleven children, all presumably still living at home except for Cynthia who married in 1837. Zachariah would marry in 1846, Henry in 1847, and Stephen and possibly Jane in 1848. The rest of his children from his first marriage were married by 1855.
The Jordan and Rachel Era (1841-1890)
On 8 December 1841, just five months after Sarah’s death, Jordan, age 45, married a third time to my 3rd great-grandmother Rachel PROFFITT, age 24. They married in Franklin County. In the next 23 years she gave him 9 more children while the family moved back and forth between Franklin County, Raleigh County and Floyd County. This is well documented in the War of 1812 papers, births of children, and census.
Sarah “Sallie” PETERS (1842-1899) born 2 Nov 1842
Joseph W. PETERS (1844-1862) born 12 May 1844
Moses Samuel PETERS (1846-1915) born 25 Jan 1846
Keziah Lucy PETERS (1847-1934) born Abt 1847
Amanda A “Mandy” PETERS (1850-1895) born 2 Oct 1850
Caroline “Callie” PETERS (1855-1930) born 31 Jan 1855
Milla Susan PETERS (1856-1891) born 6 Dec 1856
Mary Elizabeth F. “Emma” PETERS (1860-1944) born 22 Mar 1860
Nancy Ellen “Nannie” PETERS (1864-1942) born Jul 1864
In 1850 we see Jordan living next door to several COX families in Raleigh County which would later be part of West Virginia. Daniel COX and his family are next door to his mother Peninah and three siblings. Jordan’s daughter Cynthia and her husband Moses COX are in the next household followed by Jordan and his family.
By 1860 they were once again in Franklin County.
For reasons unknown today, Jordan did not declare his first termof service when he testified in 1855 to claim the bounty land due him.He received a Bounty Land Warrant for 160 acres in 1856. In later yearswhen he provided sworn statements to the Government in an attempt toprove his first term of service, the records could not be found. Inaddition, he had received two discharges which would have proven his service but unfortunately these papers were burned along witheverything else he owned in a fire which destroyed his house in Februaryof 1865.
The statements made by Jordan and Rachel Peters concerning the fire could be interpreted today as suggesting that the house was burned deliberately. “The year of the Surrender we got our house and Family Record Bible of Ages and Marriage and Deaths all burnt up with everything else we had,” said Rachel. When the Civil War began, it must have been a sad event to those who had served in the War of 1812. Witness Jordan’s statement: “I loved the Stars and the Stripes that was the old Flag I went under. When I saw them pull them down [the old flag] and raise the Rebel Flag, I could not hardly keep…from shedding tears. I told them they would get enough of it, so they did. When I lived in Floyd County, Virginia, I got my house burnt up and all my papers.”
Congress approved the Act to provide pension for service in the War of 1812 on 14 February 1871. Jordan, 74 years old, submitted his first pension claim.
In 1874, after three years of testimony and correspondence, the Government notified Jordan that his claim was rejected on the grounds that “evidence of 60 days service” was not proven.
Following the rejection notice there is a four-year gap in Jordan’s file, indicating that the Government may have misfiled or lost the records during those years. Then on February 23, 1878 at the age of 81, Jordan submitted another pension claim. Seven years had passed since he had first declared his service for a pension in 1871.
The Pension Office seems to have processed this claim hurriedly. In July of 1878 he was granted a pension of $8.00 per month. Then a Government examiner reviewed the claim and recommended that “this case should be rejected and certificate cancelled.” In October of that year Jordan’s name was dropped from the pension rolls and payment of pension was suspended because of “insufficient service.”
With persistence Jordan once again declared his service of two terms. Throughout 1879 and 1880 the Government offices inspected the muster rolls again. Several months passed before the Auditor reported to the Pension Office: “There are no rolls of Capt. Mackhenry, Mackhaney, McHoney or McHaney’s Company of Virginia Militia. Nor are there any rolls of Capt. Jack or John Wade’s Company of Virginia Militia on file in this office.”
While Jordan was fighting for his pension his children from his third marriage were growing old enough to marry. Several of his children are seen marrying at his residence in Floyd County. One of these was my great-great-grandmother Milla Susan PETERS who married Gordon Washington ROOP (1862-1930) on 1 Jan 1880 in Floyd County, Virginia.
By 1880 only Jordan’s two youngest daughters were still living at home. In two years they also would be married.
It was not until April of 1881 that someone was kind enough to listen carefully as Jordan told his story. That person was Mr. C. M. Stigleman. He interviewed Jordan and wrote down Jordan’s words on the letterhead of the Floyd County Superintendent of Public Schools. Jordan was 84 years old by this time and Mr. Stigleman remarked that “his memory is not good.” Even so, Jordan recalled the names of soldiers who had served with him in Captain William McHaney’s Company in Norfolk……
Mr. Stigleman seems to have been solely responsible for providing the information that at long last resulted in a pension. For ten years Jordan had steadfastly pursued his pension and finally in 1881 the Government restored his payments of $8.00 per month. In addition, he received the accrued pension from the time in 1878 when his name had been dropped from the rolls.
Jordan died of old age on October 14, 1890 near Nettle Ridge in Patrick County, Virginia. He was 94 years old. This is not the end of the story.
 Paula Kelley Ward, “Jordan’s Story”, Wherever We Wander pgs. 24-29; compiled, designed, and edited by Carolyn Hale Bruce; cover designed by Charles Randolph Bruce. All stories in this book are copyrighted, 2005, by their authors and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author(s), except for brief quotes in reviews or for publicity purposes.
[Source: Floyd County, Virginia Mailing List Web Site maintained by Rena Worthen; online http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~barbs/]