When I began doing family research on the internet, I connected with Robert N. Grant, author of Sorting some of the Wrights of Southern Virginia. I found him on a mailing list (pre-Facebook days) where he mentioned a couple of my surnames. This was back in May 2000 when he was working on the draft of his work on 1825 Achilles WRIGHT of Oldham County, Kentucky (the year before his name indicates the year of death in the said county). Bob sent me a paper version of this draft via snail mail (yes, it was that long ago) that included information on my LANDRUM and CRISP lines of Amherst County, Virginia as Achilles had lived in Amherst and Nelson counties in Virginia before moving to Kentucky.
Repaying an Act of Genealogical Kindness
The book is part of a series of books that are available on FamilySearch. Years later I was able to return the favor. In October 2014 I found chancery records involving a James WRIGHT and sent the link to Bob. I received a reply the same day thanking me. I’d caught him pre-retirement and in July 2015 he wrote:
I wanted to thank you again for the very helpful reference to the Nelson County Chancery Court cases involving James Wright. They clearly identified James, the son of 1825 Achilles Wright of Oldham County, KY, as the James who married Lucy Crisp. Thank you!
In addition, the case clarified that Elizabeth Wright who married Elijah Skidmore was a daughter of James and not, as had been reported previously, a daughter of his brother 1845 George Wright of Trimble County, KY. That rewrote a portion of my materials as well.
I have an updated version of my material on 1825 Achilles Wright and his descendants and would be happy to send that to you, if that would be of interest to you. It includes a transcription of the chancery court case that lays out the family of James and the family of Lucy’s parents.
A Lesson Learned from Bob’s Research
When I found those chancery records I knew I had to send the information to Bob to repay him for sharing his work with me. I never forgot this act of kindness on his part as he also taught me the importance of personal property tax and land tax lists without knowing it.
By reading through his draft, I learned how the PPT and land tax lists can be used in our research. Although the annual PPT lists may appear to include very little information compared to census records, when they are viewed as a whole, the information can be used to fill in the missing years between the census. For persons of the same surname, relationships may have been expressly or implicitly stated. They can also help with determining when a person lived in a certain place and when he may have moved or died. Most importantly, the names found on the lists can help identify the male members of households in pre-1850 census listings.
The early laws required the tax commissioner in each district to record in “a fair alphabetical list” the names of the person chargeable with the tax as well as all “tithables,” or taxable individuals and goods in the household. Included were the names of white male tithables over the age of twenty-one, the number of white male tithables between ages sixteen and twenty-one, the number of enslaved people both above and below age sixteen, various types of animals such as horses and cattle, carriage wheels, ordinary licenses, and even billiard tables.
During the past five years or so, I’ve been checking the catalog at FamilySearch for collections that are available to all users on the site and not only at the Family History Library or associated libraries. Land tax records for several counties in West Virginia were found to be accessible in 2019.
Earlier this week in the Facebook group Rockbridge County Virginia Genealogy, I replied to a query. Someone asked if the tax lists were available online. Not knowing the answer, I checked the catalog and I discovered the Personal Property Tax lists for Rockbridge County, Virginia, are online on FamilySearch.
Rockbridge Couty, Virginia, Personal Property Tax Lists
I’d been waiting to be able to work with tax lists for many of my lines since I first read Bob’s draft. Discovering their availability for Rockbridge pushed me to do some browsing in these records.
One of my DEMPSEY brick walls began to crumble in 2007 when I found Wm. A. W. DEMPSEY listed on the 1841 tax list of Rockbridge County, Virginia. The initials are the same as those he used on the 1850 census in Fayette County, (West) Virginia, and in 1862 on the Provost Marshals’ List (a Civil War document). I am convinced these initials were very important to him.
In Section VII of A History of Rockbridge County, Virginia1 the taxpayers of the county for 1841 were listed. The numbers after their names refer to the road precincts in which the persons lived.
Appendix D in the book gives a description of the precincts.
By searching through the taxpayer’s list for others who were in precinct 43, I was able to put together this list of persons who were likely his neighbors.
Rockbridge County, Virginia
43 – Nathaniel Gaylor’s to Cumings and Carter’s, intersecting Gilmore’s Road
Dempsey, William A. W.
Others who lived in the same road precinct:
George Agnor, Jacob Agnor, Sr., Jacob Agnor, Little Jake Agnor, John Agnor, John H. Agnor, David Entsminger, Albert Gilliat, and William T. Ruley. (Note to self: Agnor was later seen as Agnew)
The problem was that the source was not a primary source. Finding the mention in the book was not the same as accessing a digital copy of the tax list collection: Personal property tax lists, 1782-1850, main author: Commissioner of the Revenue (Rockbridge County, Virginia).
I searched first for the image of the 1841 tax list naming William A. W. Dempsey.
Wm. A. W. DEMPSEY was enumerated on 29 March 1841. In the column for white males of 16, there is a 1 indicating one person 16 or older was tithable. It is my understanding that the person named had to be of age therefore 21 years old or older. William was therefore born about 1820 or earlier.
In 1842, William was not found. In 1843 he was visited by Samuel Walkup in the southwest district on 5 April 1843. The entire list was viewed. I found William was the only person who was visited on that day. Is this an indication that he lived in a sparsely populated area?
No Dempsey was found in Rockbridge County on the PPT for the years 1844 to 1851.
William A. W. DEMPSEY was in Fayette County at the time of the 1850 census. The PPT for Fayette County, available for the years 1831 to 1850, showed a William DEMPSEY in 1846, 1849, and 1850. No initials are noted.
Working backward, I checked in Rockbridge before 1841.
William A. W. DEMPSEY was listed as 28 in 1850 and as 40 in 1860 on the census of Fayette County. If this William DEMPSEY was William A. W. DEMPSEY and only men 21 or older were named then he was born 1818 or earlier. He was visited a month after John W. DEMPSEY. If they had been closely related or living near each other, wouldn’t they have been visited within a day or two?
John W. DEMPSEY (1802-1873) married in Rockbridge in 1824. He was on the Fayette County census in 1840 and the PPT lists from 1840 to 1850. He has been proven to be the son of Tandy DEMPSEY who was in Rockbridge in 1820 (per census) and earlier (per tax list), in Logan (now WV) in 1830 (per census), and in Jay County, Indiana, by early fall 1835 until 8 August 1836 when his death was the first recorded in the township of Bear Creek.
If John W. DEMPSEY was the father of William A. W. DEMPSEY, the 1836 to 1838 tax lists (above) do not help to show this as male white tithables 16 and older were not noted. If this category had been included then John and all males 16 and older (possible sons in the household) would have been included in the count. Further, if John was the father, he would have had to have been married before his 1824 marriage.
From 1835 back to 1822 (W.C. Lewis district) no Demsey or Dempsey was found on the PTT.
Personal property tax books, 1824-1850 for Logan County are restricted at this time on FamilySearch. When they are available, I need to check if Tandy, John W., and other siblings were in Logan before 1835. Tandy was in Indiana by 1835, is known to have been in Logan for the 1830 census and the 1827 tax list (from a transcript).
Other Virginia Counties Need to be Checked
Rockbridge County is surrounded by the counties of Augusta, Nelson, Amherst, Bedford, Botetourt, Alleghany, and Bath. I’ve searched Botetourt and will be working through each of the other counties to find Dempsey individuals who may have crossed over the county lines. Formation of the counties will also be considered.
Botetourt had the expected Rev. Absalom C. DEMPSEY (1787-1872) on the tax list from 1809 to 1851. The Reverend was the son of another William DEMPSEY who died before June 1806 and grandson of a William DEMPSEY who died about 1806. The estimated deaths of Absolom’s father and grandfather were found in chancery records that also name children of the younger William, including William the 3rd who died intestate, unmarried, and without issue before 1822 (see images 4 and 5).
Montgomery has also been added to the list of counties to check as there is a connection between men found on the Botetourt tax lists and at least one known to have been in Montgomery. Hugh DEMPSEY (born 1785 or earlier) was not named as a son of the senior William mentioned in the chancery records. He was seen in Botetourt from 1808 to 1828, was on the 1830 census in Montgomery before going to Missouri before 1840.
Orange County will also be carefully checked as I have researched the DEMPSEY family coming out of this county in my process of elimination.
Recap for William A. W. Dempsey
My review of the Rockbridge County PPT brought to light two tax listings for my great-great-grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEY. Listed with the middle initials he used during his lifetime, he was found in the county in 1841 and 1843. The 1839 listings may or may not be for my William.
As other counties in Virginia (including present-day West Virginia) are checked, I hope to be able to sort all of the DEMPSEY individuals into their appropriate family groups.
As my William A. W. DEMPSEY went to Fayette County after 1843 and by 1846, it has been speculated that he may have been a son of John W. DEMPSEY who married Margaret FITZPATRICK in 1824. This John moved to Fayette County by July 1839 when he married his second wife, Amelia RIDDLE. I also once considered this possibility. As genealogy research has not so far turned up any supporting evidence for this assumption, I’ve turned to genetic genealogy and evaluating DNA matches. If my William A. W. DEMPSEY were the son of John W. DEMPSEY and the half-sibling of John’s children from both marriages, I should be seeing matches with some of their descendants. So far, none have been found.
And the search continues, for the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY.
Oren F. Morton, B. Lit.; A History of Rockbridge County, Virginia; published by The McClure Co., Inc., Staunton, Virginia 1920; pgs. 380, 552. Images of the pages in the book courtesy of Archive.org. ↩
George W. DEMPSEY was born about 1831 in Amherst County, Virginia, and lived in Fayette County, Virginia (before the state of West Virginia was formed), from about 1855 when his father moved the family there until sometime after the 1870 census. George did not die on 16 November 1879 as many online family trees indicate. He was not found on the 1880 census as George W. DEMPSEY. His 13 years old daughter Polina was found in Amherst County, his oldest son Andrew remained in Fayette County, and his son Robert (found in later years) is unaccounted for in 1880. If he was still living, where was George in 1880?
Mollie Lee DEMPSTER (1880-1950)
The mystery of George W. DEMPSEY’s disappearance was not a question I was looking into. I hadn’t thought to investigate the whereabouts of my 2nd great-granduncle until I discovered a group of DNA matches with an unusual surname in their trees that was similar to DEMPSEY.
Using my DNA tools, I found a group of matches associated with several clusters that point to my GOWING-CRISP family group AND/OR those branches further back. Landon S. GOWING and Sally CRISP were the parents of Clementine M. GOWING, mother of George W. DEMPSEY.
The matches have a common ancestor named Mollie Lee DEMPSTER (1880-1950). By comparing the ICW (in common with) matches and working out their trees, I was able to find 14 matches that descend from Mollie through seven of her children: 2 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, 4 2xgreat-grandchildren, and 1 3xgreat-grandchild. [23 Feb 2021 Update: Number of matches and their relationship to Mollie adjusted after charting the matches.]
I built a documented tree for Mollie adding all records found on Ancestry as well as FamilySearch. A little over a week ago, I discovered an interesting article written in 1893.1 For the most part, it confirms much of the information I found and even gives a bit more insight into the man who was Mollie’s father.
A Little Waif – Mollie’s Story
About fifteen years ago a man by the name of ___ Dempster, with his young wife, moved into the neighborhood of Rye Cove, Scott county, Va. Dempster was a man of perhaps forty, while his wife was several years younger. They were both handsome and intelligent, and Dempster possessed an education which placed him above the average. After a time a daughter was born in the newly established household, who was the joy and pride of her fond parents.
Mollie’s parents’ names were unknown when I searched the 1880 census for persons with the DEMPSTER surname. Only one couple was found in the southwestern part of Virginia.
In 1880 the possible parents of Mollie Lee DEMPSTER were living in Taylor District, Scott County, Virginia. Wesley DEMSTER (sic) doesn’t appear to have an occupation as the field indicates At home. His wife Mary was keeping house. Both were born in Virginia as were their parents. Wesley was 50 years old, nearly a decade older than noted in the article. The columns for Cannot Read and Cannot Write are not marked and therefore both were literate confirming the statement in the article that Mr. DEMPSTER was an educated man.2
Mollie’s 1880 birth record was located by browsing the Virginia birth registers for Scott County, Virginia, on FamilySearch. She was born on 11 July 1880 – after the census was enumerated. The informant on the register of the county is listed as a friend named Wm P. GOOD. He was the head of the household listed just above the DEMPSTER couple on the 1880 census. The parents of Mollie L. were Wesley G. DEMPSTER and Mary J. DEMPSTER.3
Near the Dempsters lived at that time Mr. W. W. Taylor, now of this place. About the time of the birth of the little girl to the Dempsters a girl baby was born to Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. The children grew up together, and there was quite an attachment formed between the two families.
Mrs. Dempster died when her child was about four years old. Soon a step-mother was brought in over the child. At the age of eight years her father died, and, in the meantime Mr. Taylor’s little girl had died.
Again, browsing the registers of Scott County for deaths, I found Mollie’s mother Mary J. died of consumption on 12 January 1883 when Mollie was 2 and a half years old. Wesley reported the death and gave the name of her mother as Virginia LARKEY. No father was named. Mary J. was 30 years 2 months and 13 days old on the day of her death placing her birth on 30 October 1852. Ditto marks were made in the field for the place of birth indicating she was born in Scott County.4 I was unable to trace her before the 1880 census.
Over a year and a half later, on 23 September 1884, Wesly DEMSTER (sic), widowed, age 50, born in Nelson County, Virginia, married Polly CAMBELL, age 35, born in North Carolina. The parents of the groom were Wilson and Mary; the father of the bride was Wyat CAMBELL.5
The death records of two of the TAYLOR children were located. On 10 September 1885 Emoline TAYLOR age 5 years 1 month 10 days died of Diptheria.6 On 30 July 1887 Nancy E. TAYLOR age 11 months died of Flux.7 Both girls were daughters of William W. and Mary TAYLOR. Emoline would have been the child born about the same time as Mollie.
If Wesley died when Mollie was about 8 years old, Mr. and Mrs. TAYLOR likely asked the stepmother to turn her over to them after the death of their second daughter in 1887. On the 1900 census, Mrs. TAYLOR is listed as the mother of 7, 2 living. The two living children were the sons who were still at home.8
Per the article, Wesley died about 1888. No death record was found in Scott County for the years between 1885 to 1890. I was, however, able to narrow the range of the date of death.
Wesley G. DEMPSTER gave a deposition in a chancery cause on 23 November 1886 in Estilville. He traveled 14 miles to give evidence on behalf of the complainant, W. P. GOOD, owner of a lumber mill near Natural Tunnel. The case file is 287 images. I found it yesterday and only had time to skim through it. I found mention of Wesley DEMPSTER who was “clerking in the store & measuring lumber in the yard” and kept the books for Mr. GOOD. At the time of the deposition, DEMPSTER had quit working for Mr. GOOD.9
After the death of Dempster Mr. and Mrs. Taylor went to his second wife and asked that the little girl be turned over to them to raise, which was done. Shortly after this Dempster’s second wife went deranged, and is now an inmate of an insane asylum.
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have, since taking charge of the little girl, cared for her just as if she was their own. She is now a bright, intelligent girl of thirteen, and is very fond of her foster parents.
The information about the step-mother being an inmate of an insane asylum confirmed the 1900 census listing found for a widowed lady named Polly DEMPSTER, an inmate in the Southwestern State Hospital.10 The article, written in 1893 pre-dates the census.
Two cases were found in the Library of Virginia’s Chancery Records mentioning Polly CAMPBELL aka Polly DEMPSTER. A judgment dated 16 May 1906 in the cause of Southwestern State Hospital vs B.J. Broadwater committee of Polly DEMPSTER awarded payment of nearly $5,000 to the hospital for the period 15 September 1887 to 29 March 1905. The case was not closed until 1912. The date range for the payment due to the hospital would suggest that Polly may have been an inmate since 15 September 1887. This would have been two months after the youngest TAYLOR girl died.11
I had not located a 1910 census listing for Polly prior to this find. With the knowledge that she may still be living, I searched again in the location of the hospital. Polly age 72 and widowed was in the hospital and therefore still living on 15 April 1910.12 She was indexed as “Polly Dunfota”
Dempster, during his residence in Scott county, was very particular to never tell where he came from, and when approached on this subject always evaded an answer; nor was he ever heard to mention the name of a relative; so that now the little girl’s identity, so far as kinship goes, is entirely lost.
Dempster is described as having been a large, stoutly-built man, weighing over 200 pounds.
As discussed in part 1, on 23 May 1862, during the Civil War, George W. DEMPSEY was arrested by Lt. Col. Henry W. BRAZEE of the 9th Virginia Volunteers. He said he had done nothing to cause the arrest. The record concerning the arrest gave this physical description of George: age 31 years, 5 feet 9 1/2 inches, light complexion, dark hair, blue eyes, and long sprouts (whiskers).13
There was no mention of George W. DEMPSEY’s weight or build in the description and no mention of Mr. DEMPSTER’s height, complexion, hair, or eyes in the article.
Mollie’s Story continues after 1893
When I began researching Mollie Lee DEMPSTER, I found an extract of her 1896 marriage record with W. W. TAYLOR and Mary E. TAYLOR as her parents.14 Mollie was single and only 16 years old. Her parents’ surname did not match hers suggesting they may not have been her parents. The record can only be viewed at a family history library or a FamilySearch affiliated library.
Even though I was not able to access the marriage record, I found a short mention of the marriage in The Post in a series called “Looking Backward 50 Years Ago Today In The Post.” It confirms that Robert P. BARRON and Miss Mollie DEMPSTER were united in the holy bonds of matrimony at the home of W. W. TAYLOR in 1896.15
Although the relationship of the TAYLORs to the bride and groom is not mentioned in the clipping, it is now known that Mollie was taken in and raised by them.
Wesley G. DEMPSTER
As seen in the chancery records found, Wesley’s death can be narrowed down to between 23 November 1886 and 15 December 1887.
The name Wesley G. DEMPSTER sent off warning bells as my third great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY, father of George W. DEMPSEY, had a brother names Wesley G. DEMPSEY (1808-1890). Wesley G. DEMPSTER and Wesley G. DEMPSEY were not one and the same person as both were found in the 1880 census in different places. Wesley DEMPSTER age 50 was in Scott County and Wesley DEMPSEY age 71 was in Rockbridge County.
There is no trace of Wesley G. DEMPSTER before he shows up in the Scott County records. He should not be confused with Wesley DEMPSTER (1833-1913) born in New York and died in Chicago, Illinois. Some trees on Ancestry have the death of this man in Chicago attached to Mollie’s father, Wesley G. DEMPSTER.
Who were Wilson and Mary DEMPSTER, the couple named as the parents of Wesley G. DEMPSTER when he married in 1884? No person named Wilson DEMPSTER of the age to be the father of Wesley born between 1830-1834 was found in the census including in Nelson County, Virginia, where Wesley was supposedly born per the 1884 marriage record.
However, Wilson M. DEMPSEY is a familiar name in the DEMPSEY family history. He was the brother of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Wesley G. DEMPSEY. Wilson was married twice, in 1839 and abt. 1848, both marriages being later than the estimated birth of Wesley G. DEMPSTER.
The article notes Wesley’s evasion of any questions about his family or where he came from. Is it a coincidence that the first names of two of Seaton’s brothers were the names used in records found for Wesley G. DEMPSTER? Is it possible the name he gave on his marriage record for his father was not his father’s and only a name he gave to cover up his true identity?
The story that came to life in “The Little Waif” was not known when I wrote about George W. DEMPSEY, the person of interest in my first post. The article was only found while I was writing about Mollie Lee DEMPSTER, my second person of interest. The newspaper article supports the information found for Mollie and her parents, both biological and foster.
Part 3 will cover the DNA tools I used to analyze the DNA matches and a conclusion/theory of where Mollie fits into my family tree. It would be incredible if I could refute the 128 years old claim: now the little girl’s identity, so far as kinship goes, is entirely lost.
1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1389; Virginia, Scott County, Taylor, Enumeration District 076, page 245A, Lines 24-25, HH #208-208, Wesley Dempster. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 6 February 2021). ↩
“Death registers, 1853-1906 (Virginia),” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics citing microfilm of the original records at the Virginia State Library at Richmond, Virginia, Collection Record 1853-1912, Film 2048584, DGS 4225408, image 121 of 687, line 14, entry of death Mary J. Dempster. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DWT7-T8C?i=120&cat=780106 : accessed 11 February 2021). ↩
“Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940,” (index only), Ancestry.com, citing FamilySearch collection only available through FHL, FHL Film Number: 337187, Reference ID: 337187. Wesly Demster, male, widowed, age 50, born abt. 1834 in Nelson VA, father Wilson, Mother Mary, married 23 Sep 1884 in Scott VA, Polly Cambell, female, age 35, born abt. 1849 in NC, father Wyat Cambell. ↩
1900 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm: 1241732, Virginia, Wise County, Richmond, Enumeration District 127, Page 2A, HH #19-20, line 1-4, William W. Taylor. The official enumeration day of the 1900 census was 1 June 1900. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 February 2021). ↩
Scott County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1816-1942, (Digital images available for the years 1816-1912. Indexed information and originals available through 1942), Local Government Records Collection, Scott Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. W P Good v. S M Winchester, 1897-046. (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=169-1897-046 : accessed 20 February 2021). ↩
1900 U.S. Federal Census, Virginia, Smyth, Marion, Enumeration District 145, Page 2A, line 17, Polly Dempster, patient. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 February 2021). ↩
1910 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, Roll: T624_1649, FHL microfilm: 1375662, Virginia, Smyth, Marion, Enumeration District 80, Page 5A, line 23, Polly Dempster. The official enumeration day of the 1910 census was 15 April 1910. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 February 2021). ↩
“Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940,” FHL Film Number: 34394, Reference ID: p 63 cn 112. Mellie L. Dempster, female, single, white, age 16, born 1880 in Natural Tunnel (Scott County VA), father W.W. Taylor, mother Mary E. Taylor, married 28 Sep 1896 in Big Stone Gap (Wise County VA), Robert P. Barton, male, single, white, age 28, born 1868 in Turkey (Lee County VA), father Wm. N. G. Barron, mother Louisa J. Barron. ↩
“Looking Backward 50 Years Ago Today In The Post”, The Post (Big Stone Gap, Virginia), 24 Oct 1946, p. 10, col. 4; image copy, Newspaper.com (http://newspaper.com : accessed 11 February 2021), Historical Newspapers from 1700s to 2000s by Ancestry.com. ↩
This was a hard piece to write. A month ago, after spending weeks gathering and reviewing all the information I had on these ancestors, I began writing this post. While drafting the post I kept finding other things to do. I went back and forth considering how I should write it. I’m now at the point that I just want to get it out of the way by publishing it as is.
When I was new to genealogy research, I trusted the information I found and did not challenge it. As I began to do my own research, I questioned work done by others. In some cases, I made an effort to prove or disprove their research. I’m especially fond of working on my female lines but the WISEMAN family has always been put on the back burner.
The post was written during my first year of blogging. I didn’t include source citations. Links to online documents were used throughout the post but I doubt many readers clicked on them to view the records. When I revisited my post and research I added 28 citations to make it easier for the reader or researcher to review the sources. [Did I mention the other things I’ve been doing?]
Rachel’s story includes the names of all of her siblings as well as their spouses’ names and their dates of marriage. I’ve pondered how to write about Rachel’s parents Isaac and Elizabeth. Should I start from scratch or should I build on what has already been published?
Taking the middle road
I’ve decided to take the middle road which led me to work done by dedicated historians and genealogists of the WISEMAN family.
The Wiseman Family Association was first organized in 1908 by Dr. B. W. S. WISEMAN, compiler and author of a WISEMAN genealogy.1 Benjamin Winfield Scott WISEMAN was a great-grandson of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 through his son Samuel (1771-1861). WISEMAN descendants and members of the association have continued to update the WISEMAN family tree originally created from information in B.W.S.’s book. Their website was initiated on 22 August 2003 and appears to have been last updated in 2017, likely before Ancestry took down the RootsWeb site. I don’t know if more recent additions to the family tree are available online.
B.W.S. WISEMAN, in his 1908 publication, acknowledged the work of his second cousin C.M.L. WISEMAN who published in 1902. B.W.S. gives a more detailed genealogy of most of the sons of Isaac WISEMAN 1738. Neither of the authors had any biographical information on the four daughters of Isaac other than their married names.
Charles Milton Lewis WISEMAN of the 1902 publication was a great-grandson of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 through his son Rev. John WISEMAN (1760-1842). He wrote the following:
Brief Sketch of the Wiseman Family
My grandfather, Rev. John Wiseman was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, before the War of the Revolution; indeed, was old enough and served in that war, and was in the memorable winter quarters at Valley Forge with Washington. His father, Isaac Wiseman, moved from Berks county, Pennsylvania, with a large family of sons and daughters to Rockingham county, Virginia, soon after the war, and there my grandfather married Sarah Green, one of another large family. From that county they moved to Monroe county, Virginia, where my father, Philip S. Wiseman, was born. Of the descendants of Isaac Wiseman and James Green some few remained in Virginia, others moved to Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. The greater number moved to Ohio and Kentucky. The descendants of Isaac Wiseman alone must exceed 1,000 persons in number. The names of father’s uncles were William, Joseph, Isaac, Abner, Jacob and Samuel. Samuel died near New Salem at 90 years of age; Jacob and Abner in Kentucky, William and Joseph in Virginia, and Isaac near Gallipolis, Ohio. One of his aunts married a Blanton, who moved to Kentucky, and one a Honiker, who died in Virginia. I have been in the graveyard in Virginia, near Union, Monroe county, where Isaac Wiseman and wife are buried, and where father’s sister and brother are buried, and I have also been in the church near by, where they all attended Methodist church, and where my grandfather often preached. It is a lovely spot, with a hight range of mountains in full view for more than twenty miles.2
A bit further into the sketch of his family, C.M.L. wrote:
Rev. John Wiseman was commissioned a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the year 1785, by the first American Bishop of that church, Francis Asbury. The commission, in the Bishop’s own writing, is in the possession of the late Judge Wiseman’s widow at New Salem.3
I used the document he mentioned as the background of the featured image of this post. Immediately following this statement, the author listed names and dates for his line down from Isaac beginning with this list of the children of Isaac WISEMAN 1738:
FAMILY RECORD OF ISAAC WISEMAN, OF VIRGINIA.
Joseph Wiseman, born March 29th 1759. John Wiseman, born August 18th, 1760. Sarah Wiseman, born July 17th, 1762. Isaac Wiseman, born June 19th, 1764. Jacob Wiseman, born January 12th, 1767. Rachael Wiseman, born March 1st, 1769. Samuel Wiseman, born February 15th, 1771. Abner Wiseman, born 1772. Betsey Wiseman, born 1774. Peggy Wiseman, born 1777. William Wiseman, born 1779.
Rachael is my 4th great-grandmother and all the rest are my 4th great-grand uncles and 4th great-grand aunts. Does a WISEMAN family Bible still exist today with the dates found in this derivative source?
The many men named Isaac WISEMAN
According to Robert N. WISEMAN, a historian of the Wiseman Family Association, the Isaac WISEMAN situation gets a bit confusing when it comes to how Isaac WISEMAN’s name is seen in family genealogies. Shortly after B.W.S. published his book in 1908 he discovered that Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) who he considered “Isaac I” had a father whose name was also Isaac. [I believe I’ve found how he made the discovery and will discuss this in a moment.] The Wiseman Family Association decided to dub the father “Isaac Sr.”4 One of Robert’s lines goes through Isaac Sr., Isaac I, Isaac II, Isaac III.
Personally, I believe it would be more helpful to consider the men by the year they were born as no records are to be found with the suffixes I, II, or III. I’ve opted to refer to my 5th great-grandfather as Isaac WISEMAN 1738 instead of Isaac I. His father will be considered Isaac the elder or Isaac Sr. as no year of birth is known.
As noted previously, historians of the Wiseman Family Association have been researching the family and sharing their information. The research notes and part of The Story of a Wiseman by Robert Dean WISEMAN (1933-2015) can be found here: Bob Wiseman Research. He included different steps taken to gather information and prove events as well as marking unproven or questionableinformation as such. Mr. Wiseman and the researchers he worked with spent years putting the information together. It would take a lifetime to check and follow-up on the research.
Many entries on tax lists for Berks County for Isaac Wiseman are listed by year and township in Bob’s research. I recently found the Tax Lists, 1752-1856 for Berks County, Pennsylvania are available online at FamilySearch. They are not indexed and browse-only. With the years and townships given in Robert D. Wiseman’s research notes, I may be able to locate some of these. A to-do item for a later date as it should be thorough and not restricted to locating the records already found. What if something important to the timeline has been missed?
Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)
Isaac’s oldest son Joseph (1759-1836) applied for a pension in 1832 for his service during the Revolutionary War.5 He stated he “was born in the year 1759 in the County of Berks and State of Pennsylvania, as he has read the record of it in his Father’s bible, from which he recorded it in his own bible which is now in his possession.” After his death in 1836 and his widow’s death in 1842, his son Samuel applied for pension money on behalf of himself and his surviving siblings in 1847. He submitted his father’s family record with the dates of birth and date for my 5th great-grandparents Elizabeth DAVIS and Isaac WISEMAN.
In Joseph’s hand, as copied from his father Isaac’s Bible, “Elisabeth Wiseman daughter to Samuel Davis was born August 26th 1738 and Decst (deceased) July 19th 1807.”
Also, “Isaac Wiseman son to Isaac and Marey Wiseman was born August 18, 1738 and Decest (deceased) May the 3 in 1818.”
The above images are only two of the five images from the family Bible included in the file. The pension file also includes correspondence dated 1911 from B.W.S. WISEMAN requesting copies of the entire file. As Joseph’s family record gives the names of the parents of Elizabeth and Isaac, I believe this is the source that led to B.W.S.’s discovery that Isaac WISEMAN 1738’s father was also an Isaac.
Samuel DAVIS, father-in-law of Isaac 1738
Only the name of Elizabeth’s father is known from the family record submitted by his grandson Samuel (son of Joseph). Even with the maiden name, a marriage record of Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS has not been found. It is assumed they married before the birth of their oldest child in 1759.
Isaac and Mary WISEMAN, parents of Isaac 1738
The maiden name of Isaac 1738’s mother Mary is unproven although some genealogists report it to be MARSHALL. While writing this, I have pruned the tree, removing John MARSHALL as the father of Mary and now showing her name as Mary _____.
Isaac 1738’s father Isaac, according to an old family traditional story, was born aboard a ship en route to America. Two dates are often noted: 1699 and about 1706. The first – 1699 – is from the theory that the father of Isaac the elder came over with William Penn on the Canterbury Merchant in 1699. No known passenger list exists for the ship. The second – about 1706 – is from the theory that Isaac the elder was the son of Thomas WISEMAN first seen in Germantown, Philadelphia County in 1706 when he purchased land from Matthias Van Bebber. Professional genealogists were hired by the Wiseman Family Association to obtain records but neither theory has been proven.
Isaac WISEMAN, the father of Isaac 1738, left Berks County around 1768 and was first seen on a tax list in Rowan County, North Carolina, in 1772.6 He bought land in Rowan County in 1778 and left it to his heirs in his will in 1779.7,8 His widow Mary left a will written 28 December 1790 and proven 10 November 17919,10 as well as an inventory dated February 1792.11 Although Isaac and Mary named some of their children in their wills, they did not mention Isaac.
The daughters of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 and Elizabeth DAVIS
Isaac and Elizabeth were the parents of eleven children born between 1759 and 1779. Much is known of their seven sons’ lines as they were looked into by the great-grandsons. Neither of the authors of the early genealogies of the WISEMAN family knew much of the four daughters.
From the brief sketch of the WISEMAN family it is knows that the family was in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and then moved to Rockbridge County, Virginia. Sarah, the oldest, married in Rockbridge County, Virginia, in 1782 where she and her husband James BARLEY raised their children.12
The next oldest daughter, Rachel also married in Rockbridge County. She married Frederick HONAKER in 1795.13 It was a second marriage for Frederick and Rachel brought a 10-year-old daughter into the marriage. Rachel and Frederick went with her parents and siblings to Greenbrier County around 1797-1798. They settled in the area that would become Monroe County in 1799. Rachel and Frederick raised their family in Monroe and are buried in the Rehoboth Church Cemetery where her parents are also said to be buried.
Elizabeth married John BLANTON in 1798 in Greenbrier County.14 They went to Kentucky where her brothers Abner and Jacob had also gone.
The youngest daughter Margaret, also known as Peggy, married Bartholomew RAMSEY in 1799 in Monroe County.15,16 They raised their family in Nicholas County and Fayette County when it was formed in 1831.
Now that I know where the information found in so many family trees is coming from, I have a better feel of what I can work on to leave a documented history of my 5th great-grandparents Isaac WISEMAN 1738 and Elizabeth DAVIS.
It would be awesome if someone reading this post would reach out to me with more information, especially on Elizabeth DAVIS during Women’s History Month.
Robert N. Wiseman, Senior Historian of the Wiseman Family Association, comment posted 3 February 2020 in the Nicholas County WV Genealogy group on Facebook and personal message conversation between Robert and Cathy on 24-25 February 2020. ↩
“Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900,” database and images, Ancestry.com, citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls. Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Images of the papers in the Revolutionary War file of Joseph Wiseman including images of family bible pages with the names and dates of birth and death of his parents. ↩
“North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” index and images, Ancestry, North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts, Wills and estate papers (Rowan County), 1663-1978, North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file of Isaac Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). ↩
Ibid., North Carolina, Rowan County, Wills, Vol A-F, 1757-1807, Isaac Wiseman, page 184. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). ↩
“North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file of Mary Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). ↩
Dodd,Jordan, Virginia, Marriages, 1660-1800, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997. Original data: Electronic transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Virginia. ↩
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), West Virginia, Greenbrier, Jno. Blanton and Eliza. 1797/9 (1798), left page, last entry. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10970066&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). ↩
While researching my families who lived in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now West Virginia) I found the following record which names two enslaved persons.
This indenture names female slave Mary & her child Esther, together with all and singular the natural increase of both said slaves.1
1846 Hix to J. B. Cobbs Indenture
In the margin:
Hix to J.D. Cobbs final
Tax paid J.A.N.
Delivered to Jno. Clowes for ____ his mother.
This Indenture made and entered into this 22nd day of September 1845 by and between William Hicks of Amherst County of the first part. Emma Clowes the wife of Sidney B. Clowes and James M. Cobbs of the Town of Lynchburg of the second and third parts. Witnesseth: that whereas the said William Hicks is desirous to settle upon and secure to the sole & separate use of the said Emma Clowes,one female slave named Mary and her child Esther, together with the increase of both said slaves, to be held and enjoyed by the said Emma for and during her natural life, and at her death to go to & belong to the child or children of said Emma, share & share alike or the survivors of them by the present or any future husband, and the descendants of any who may die before the mother, such descendants taking such share or shares as their parents or parents would have taken, had he she or they survived the said Emma. Now therefore in considerations of the premises, and the further consideration of the sum of one dollar in hand paid to the said William Hicks, at & before the enscaling and delivery of these presents, the receipts of which is hereby fully acknowledged, he the said Hicks hath bargained & sold & delivered and by these presents do bargain sell and deliver unto the said James M. Cobbs, the saidfemale slave Mary & her child Esther, together with all and singular the natural increase of both said slaves.To have & to hold the said slaves together with their increase, the said William Hicks for himself his Exors & admins doth hereby warrant & defend a good lawful and sufficient right & titles as against himself his executors & admrs. & as against all & every person or persons, claiming by through or under him and not otherwise. In trust nevertheless that it shall be the duty of the said James M. Cobbs to permit the said Emma Clowes to have take & enjoy the hires use & profits of the said slaves & their increase for and during her natural life as a sole and separate estate free from the actual contracts or liabilities of her said husband or of any future husband. And at her death shall cause the said slaves together with all & singular their future increase to be equally divided amongst the children or child of said Emma who may survive her, and amongst the descendants of any child who may have died before her, giving to such descendant or descendants only such share as their parent or parents would have taken had he or she survived her or her mother. In testimony of all which the parties hereto have signed their names sealed with their seals the day & year above written. Witness
J. J. Watson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . William Hix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emma Clowes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James M. Cobbs In the Clerks Office of the Lynchburg Hustings? Court, March 10th 1846. . . . . . . This deed from William Hix to James M. Cobbs for the benefit of Emma Clowes, which was acknowledged by all the parties before the clerk on the 15th January 1846, was this day admitted to record, the tax thereon being paid. . . . . . . . Teste . . . . . . . . . James Benagh clk
Clerks Office of Greenbrier County Court October 13th 1847 . . . . . . . . This deed was this day presented in the office and with the above certificates of the acknowledgments, is admitted to record. . . . . . . . Teste . . . . . . . . . John A. North D.C
About the persons in the indenture
William Hicks was found in Amherst County in 1840 as William Hix with 12 slaves.2
Emma Clowes was born Emma Handley, daughter of Alexander Handley. She married Sydney Bailey Clowes in Botetourt County, Virginia, in 1833.3 Both of her parents were deceased when the indenture was drawn up.
In 1850 S. B. Clowes was on the Slave Schedule of Greenbrier County, Virginia, with one 25 years old female black and one 7 years old female black.4
By 1860 the Clowes family had moved to Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia. S. B. Clowes was on the Slave Schedule with four black females ages: 35, 18, 9, and 6.5 Could they be Mary and her daughter Esther as well as two daughters born to Mary after 1850?
Sydney B. Clowes was listed on the 18506, 18607, and 18708 census as a Stage Agent.
As the slave schedule does not give names of the enslaved persons it is a guess on my part that Mary may have been born about 1825 and Esther may have been born about 1843 and seen on the 1850 schedule. Mary was the mother of Esther per the indenture. Mary may have also been the mother of the two younger girls born about 1851 and 1854 and seen on the 1860 schedule.
It has been a while since I’ve been able to release the names found in records as I am only now getting back to doing US research. In hopes that Mary and Esther will be recognized by descendants and this will help them to break through their brick wall.
Greenbrier County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Deeds (Greenbrier County, West Virginia), 1780-1901” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia), Film 593555, DGS #8152881, Deeds, v. 17-18 1843-1851, image 174+175 of 612, page 333-334. Hix to J. D. Cobb Indenture. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-J7MX-8?i=173&cat=98577 : accessed 2 January 2020). ↩
1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 550, Family History Library Film: 0029683, Virginia, Amherst, Page: 209, line 3, William Hix. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). ↩
“Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940” (index), Ancestry, citing FamilySearch, Index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City., FHL Film Number: 30734, page 366. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). ↩
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, Slave Schedule, Virginia, Greenbrier, image 2 of 7, line 1-2, S. B. Clews. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). ↩
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, Slave Schedule, Virginia, Rockbridge, Lexington, page 6, line 14-17, S. B. Clowes. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). ↩
1850 U.S. Federal Census, Virginia, Greenbrier, District 18, image 252, page 283A, S. B. Clows household. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). ↩
1860 U.S. Federal Census, Virginia, Rockbridge, Lexington, page 24, Sidney B. Clowes household. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). ↩
1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1675, Family History Library Film: 553174, Virginia, Rockbridge, Lexington, page 477B, Sydnor Clows household. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 January 2020). ↩
We’ve seen the RUPE family in the early years in Baltimore County, Maryland from 1765-1793 and in Rockbridge County, Virginia from 1793-1801. They were in Rockbridge County when Henry’s sister-in-law Polly NULL married on 13 January 1801. Sometime after Henry ROOP gave oath she was of age to marry his family of ten once again gathered up their personal and household goods, livestock and children and continued south. Did the twins Henry and John celebrate with 12th birthday on 27 February 1801 in Rockbridge or were they already on their way to Montgomery County?
Henry was 36 years old and his wife Catherine was 33 years old and expecting her ninth child when they traveled from Buffalo Creek in Rockbridge County farther south to Montgomery County. The distance was only 80 miles however they were not traveling as we would today. At a rate of 10 to 15 miles a day they may have taken about a week to make the journey by wagon to the area of Auburn in Montgomery County. It may have taken longer if Henry was scouting for a new place to settle along the way. We know only that the family ended up in Auburn which was renamed Riner in 1882 in honor of David Riner, a representative of Montgomery County in the state House of Delegates in 1887-1888.
The trip with eight children, animals, and household goods was not a trip to the store. The oldest son Jacob was fifteen and his brothers Henry and John, the twins, were twelve, all three old enough to help their father. Their little brother George being seven years old probably followed them everywhere they went not wanting to be considered a sissy by sticking around his sisters and mother. Elizabeth, the oldest daughter and fourteen, may have been responsible for keeping her siblings in line, maybe bossing 9 years old Barbara around, and watching over little Caty who was six while their mother cared for baby William.
The family reached Montgomery County in time for Catherine to give birth to Samuel on 4 September 1801. He was the pivotal point in the family’s timeline as his birth is said to have taken place in Montgomery County, placing them there in 1801.
Tracts of Land Acquired by Henry RUPE aka Henry ROOP
“He erected another mill on this farm, as he and a son, Jacob, were both expert millwrights. He and his hardy sons felled the forest and cleared most of this land where they erected a large log dwelling on an eminence overlooking the spring, stillhouse, and mill, and to protect them from a surprise attack by the Indians, who were then quite numerous.”
Although there may have still been raids and skirmishes in the westernmost counties of Virginia in the late 18th century I very much doubt Indians were attacking settlers in Montgomery County in the first decade of the 19th century when Henry was acquiring and making improvements to his land. Peter Wallenstein wrote about Blacksburg which lies 17 miles north of Riner, “Indians surely traveled throughout the New River Valley, and they hunted in the area, but they seem not to have had villages near Blacksburg when white newcomers began to call the area home and to establish their own settlements.”
Henry RUPE aka Henry ROOP became a large landowner by purchasing a number of tracts and patenting others. He purchased his first 326 acres in 1804. The history of the tract of land he bought may support my belief that the family lived off of the tract before it was bought.
An early pioneer of Fincastle County, Virginia, Abner LESTER acquired 326 acres of land by grant in Montgomery County, Virginia, in 1796 on Pelham branch of Meadow Creek, a branch of Little River waters of New River of Montgomery County. He lived there for several years before moving to Russell County, Virginia, about 1801. Again he purchased land and settled for a few years before moving to Floyd County, Kentucky, before 1810. The original grant for the land in Montgomery County is described follows:
….a Certain Tract or parcel of Land Containing three hundred and twenty Six acres by Survey bearing date the twenty fourth day of September one thousand seven hundred and ninety four lying and being in the County of Montgomery on Palms branch Waters of Meadow Creek a branch of little River Waters of New River and bounded as followeth to wit. Beginning at a white oak Corner to a Survey of Ezkiel Howards and with the lines there of North forty nine degrees East one hundred and thirty four poles Crossing said branch to two Black oaks on a hill side North four degrees West twenty Six poles to two white oaks North forty seven degrees East seventy poles to two pines North fifty eight degrees East twenty poles to a pine on the north side of a Ridge North forty Seven degrees East thirty poles to two pines thence leaving said line North forty degrees West one hundred and twelve poles to Augustine Akers’s line and with it to a pine and two white oaks North Seventy one degrees West one hundred and fifty Six poles crossing said branch to two white oaks on the top of a Ridge thence leaving said line South twenty five degrees West one hundred and eighteen poles to two pines South thirty eight poles to a pine, South fifteen degrees West forty two poles to three Spanish oak saplings by a path South thirty eight degrees East ninety two poles to two white oaks South nine degrees East twenty poles to a black oak and white oak sapling by a fence, South thirty two and a half degrees East forty poles to the Beginning.
Abner LESTER sold Henry RUPE the 326 acres tract of land on Pelham Branch of Meadow Creek, a branch of Little Waters of the New River in Montgomery County on 17 August 1804 for 200 pounds. Since Abner LESTER had resided on the land until he removed from the county in 1801 there had to have been some kind of dwelling on the tract. Did Henry have use of the land from 1801 until he bought it in 1804? Did he make improvements to the land even before he owned it?
On 19 December 1805 James and Sarah SIMPKINS sold to Henry RUPE of Montgomery County “for $200 being on Mill Creek waters a branch of Meadow Creek water Little River part of a survey of 455 acres.” The deed was recorded in Deed Book D, page 291. As with several other deeds I have only an abstract of this land deed. The “part of a survey” makes me wonder if he acquired 455 acres or only “a part.” Ezekiel Howard, one of Henry’s neighbors, had a land grant for 455 acres “on the waters of Mill Creek waters of Meadow Creek,waters of Little River adjoining Jacob Akers, John Thompson.” Could this be the land SIMPKINS sold to Henry?
Henry continued to acquire land. This time it was 45 acres of land granted to him, Henry ROOP, on 1 September 1809 on the head waters of Meadow Creek a branch of Little River in Montgomery County.
……a certain tract or parcel of Land, containing forty five acres, by survey bearing date, the nineteenth day of march, one thousand eight hundred and seven; lying and being in the County of Montgomery, on the head waters of Meadow creek, a branch of Little river and bounded as followeth, to wit: Beginning at two Spanish oaks corner to Austin Akers land thence with the lines thereof, north thirty nine degrees, west one hundred and thirty two poles to a black oak on a ridge, north seventy degrees, west two hundred and forty two poles crossing a branch to two white oak saplings on a ridge corner to Northup Fullers land thence with a line thereof south thirty nine and a half degrees east one hundred and twenty seven poles to two pine saplings, on a line of his own land, thence with the lines thereof north twenty three degrees, east forty two poles to two white oak saplings on a ridge, south seventy one degrees east one hundred and fifty six poles crossing a branch to a pine and two white oaks and thence, south forty two degrees east one hundred poles to the beginning with its appurtenances…
On 1 August 1820 Henry RUPE purchased from his nephew Jacob WEAVER for $100 46 acres situated on waters of Mill Creek a branch of Meadow Creek.
On 22 August 1821 Henry ROOP acquired a land grant for 65 acres on Little River a branch of New River in Montgomery County.
Thomas M. Randolph Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia: To all to whom These presents shall come Greeting: Know Ye that in conformity with a survey made on the tenth day of August 1820, by virtue of a Land Office Exchange treasury warrant Number 2158; issued the 14th February 1812; there is granted by the said Commonwealth, unto Henry Roop A certain tract or parcel of Land Containing Sixty five acres Situate in the County of Montgomery on Little River a branch of New river and bounded as followeth to wit: Beginning at a white Oak on a ridge South forty seven degrees East twenty six poles to a mulberry walnut and Sycamore on the River bank and down the Several Courses thereof and binding thereon two hundred and Sixty Five poles to three hickories under a Clift of rocks and thence South thirty nine degrees West One hundred and ninety eight poles to the Beginning. To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of Land with its appurtenances, to the said Henry Roop and his heirs forever. In witness whereof, the said Thomas M. Randolph Esq. Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia hath hereunto set his hand, and Caused the lesser Seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond on the twenty second day of August in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty One and of the Commonwealth the forty Sixth.
Thos. M. Randolph 
On 5 April 1822 Henry RUPE purchased from Elias VANCIL 110 acres known as Wolf Spring in consideration of $200.
On 24 June 1826 Henry ROOP acquired a land grant for 100 acres on the head of the Flag Branch (as seen on the LVA Catalog but not in the transcription below) in Montgomery County.
John Tyler, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia: To all ye whom these presents shall come Greeting: Know Ye, That in conformity with a Survey, made on the twelfth day of March 1824, by virtue of a Land Office Treasury warrant No. 7097 issued June 22nd, 1821, there is granted, by the said Commonwealth, unto Henry Roop a certain Tract or Parcel of Land, containing One hundred Acres, situate in the County of Montgomery on the head of New river, and bounded as followeth, to wit: Beginning at a chesnut oak and pine on the head of a hollow on the north side of the Pilot Mountain and near the top South two degrees, East one hundred and forty four poles crossing said branch to a white oak and chesnut on the South side of the mountain and along it South forty three degrees, West Seventy four poles crossing a branch to a pine and white oak, North Seventy one degrees, west one hundred and forty poles to two black oak and a white oak sapling on top of the Mountain, and thence North fifty degrees, East two hundred and thirty four poles to the beginning. To have and to hold the said Tract or Parcel of Land, with its appurtenances, to the said Henry Roop and his heirs forever. In witness whereof, the said John Tyler, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, hath hereunto set his Hand, and caused the lesser Seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed, at Richmond, on the twenty fourth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty Six and of the Commonwealth the fiftieth. John Tyler
The abstracts of the Montgomery County Deed Book entries included by Louise AKERS in her book, , ,  have the grantee’s name listed as Henry RUPE while the land grants found on the Library of Virginia site were all for Henry ROOP. The later are correct as I have seen the images of the deeds (and transcribed them as seen above) however as the county Deed Books have not been viewed I cannot be sure the abstracted name “Henry RUPE” is correct in all four cases.
The total acres of the above deeds and grants is 1,147 acres. Did all of the land remain in his possession until his death? This may be answered in the next installment when the source of the name “Old Henry Roop Place” will be revealed.
Disclaimer: The image used in this post is not of the mill on the Old Henry Roop Place. It is a pencilized photograph taken by my husband of an old mill in Germany.
One hundred and ten years ago today on 26 March 1906 a great-great-great-granddaughter of Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL was born.
Happy Birthday to my grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP (1906-1997).
From family tradition and documents which point to new locations, we know my fifth great-grandparents Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL prepared to leave Maryland. They packed up their personal and household goods, rounded up their livestock and five children and made their way to a destination which may not have been known when they set out. Did they have a wagon for the journey ahead or did they buy a Lancaster Conestoga wagon? Did they travel alone or with others? Unless someone kept a diary, we will never know the answers to all of our questions. Some facts, or is it fiction, were passed down and recounted by Henry’s great-grandson Redmond Ira ROOP at a family reunion in 1927 in Carroll County, Maryland (extracts in italics in the boxes).
Traveling on what was once the Baltimore and Memphis Turnpike, the Rupe caravan crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry in 1796.
In 1793 Henry was about 28, his wife Catherine 25, son Jacob 7, daughter Elisabeth 6, twin sons John and Henry 4, and baby daughter Barbara was less than a year old. If they did not make the trip until 1796 as recounted by Redmond another three years need to be added to the ages.
However 1793 would seem to be more logical as their next child, son George was born in Virginia per his three living children’s 1880 census listings. George who was not found on the 1850 census died the summer of 1859 at the age of 65. This would place his birth at about 1794.
The Three Older Brothers of Henry?
The caravan included Henry, his wife Catherine, and their family of several sons and daughters, the three older brothers of Henry, and their families.
Catherine left behind her elderly father Anthony NOLL age 70, a younger step-mother Catharina, brothers Francis and John, sisters Lovis, Elizabeth, Magdalena and Betsey, and a half-sister also named Catharina. All were mentioned in the will Anthony NOLL left in 1801 in Baltimore County. My fifth great-grandmother Catherine Barbara NOLL and another daughter Polly NOLL were not mentioned in the will.
Henry left behind his brother Michael and sister Anna Maria, both married with children. His oldest brother Jacob has not been traced as well as George, who is only known because he signed the Oath of Alligiance in 1778 in Baltimore County. A brother named John, included in the family group by early researchers, has not been documented.
It is not known if his parents were still living in 1793. There has been some speculation by earlier researchers that the older RUPE couple may have accompanied Henry and his family on the Great Wagon Trail through the Shenandoah Valley. Redmond did not mention the parents in his narrative.
Henry’s brother Martin most likely took to the trail several years earlier as his daughter Sophia was born in Virginia abt. 1790. He was in Surry County, North Carolina, by 1795.
Henry’s sister Barbara and her husband George WEAVER also made the trip with their family – but when? George WEAVER sold his land in Baltimore County in 1785 when his wife Barbara relinquished her dower rights. However they remained in the county for five more years having children in 1786, 1789, and 1790. Is it possible the WEAVERs traveled with the RUPE family or the did the RUPE family follow the WEAVERs?
Who hasn’t read of the hardship our ancestors endured while traveling overland. Horse and oxen pulled the covered wagons over rutted and narrow dirt roads or trails. Streams and rivers had to be crossed, dry or swollen from rains. Not all crossings went well.
In crossing the Potomac the cattle and other larger animals were forced to swim, and the sons of Henry held the ropes attached to the horns of the cows. One wild cow pulled one of the unsuspecting Rupe boys overboard while crossing and he might have been lost had they not missed the cow, which finally reached shore with the boy swinging to her tail some distance down stream.
The first leg of the journey had taken them from Manchester southwest through Frederick on to Harpers’ Ferry where they entered Virginia after crossing the Potomac River. A crossing retold over the years to become part of the family legend. Imagine the scene! If only I had my great-grandfather Walter Farmer ROOP’s talent for drawing.
The three brothers of Henry split with one of them going to Ohio, one to Western North Carolina, and the other to Georgia.
Per family tradition following the crossing of the Potomac the caravan split up. However I cannot find proof of a RUPE brother going to Ohio or Georgia. As mentioned earlier, Martin RUPE, the brother who went to North Carolina, traveled through Virginia in 1790 when a child was born in the state, and lived in Surry County, North Carolina, from at least 1795 until before 1810.
The End of the First Leg of the Journey
The trail entered the Shenandoah Valley between two mountain ranges, the Blue Ridge on the east and the Allegheny Mountains on the west, near Winchester. At times it was not unusual to see a half a dozen wagons a day passing through a point in the Shenandoah Valley. The RUPE family were bound for the southwestern part of the state but their journey would end, for a while, before they reached the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County. At a rate of 10 to 15 miles a day it would have taken them about 2-3 weeks to travel from Manchester, Maryland, to this point in Rockbridge County.
Henry and family journeyed through the Shenandoah Valley and into Rockbridge County, bound for the southwestern section of the state, then rather sparsely settled. When they reached Buffalo Creek, four miles north of Natural Bridge, a great flood overtook them and they were forced to remain for several days. A report reached them that Natural Bridge had washed away, and it being the only passage, it would require four years to restore the bridge. They settled on Buffalo Creek and built a mill there, which they operated for years before they learned that the report of the bridge destruction was like Mark Twain’s comment on the first report of his death, considerable exaggereated (sic).
If the WEAVER family had been traveling with RUPE family through the Shenandoah Valley to Rockbridge they likely separated when Henry’s family built the mill and settled on Buffalo Creek. George and Barbara WEAVER were in Stokes County, North Carolina, by 1798 when their oldest son married.
In 1798 Henry RUPE was living in Rockbridge County, Virginia. This is a fact documented in Baltimore County’s land records. Rineharts Folly, the land he sold in 1793, once again plays a role in the family tale.
Henry Roop This Indenture made the nineteenth day
To of May seventeen hundred and ninety Eight
Jacob Boblits Between Henry Roop of Rockbrdig County
and State of Virginia of the one part and Jacob Boblits of Baltimore
County and State of Maryland of the other part Witnesseth that
the said Henry Rop for and in consideration of the sum of one
hundred and fifteen Pounds Current Money did Convey unto the
said Jacob Boblits by a deed of Conveyance bearing date the
nineteenth day of April Seventeen hundred and ninety three one
hundred acres of land all that Tract of land called Rine=
=harts Folley Resurveyed lying and being in Baltimore County
aforesaid as by said Deed may more fully appear and for as
much as the said Deed is found to be erronious in several parts
therefore the said Henry Roop in order to Correct the Errors in the
aforesaid ded of Conveyance as well as for and in consideration
of the sum of one hundred and fifteen pounds Current money
afsd to him in hand paid before the ensealing and delivering of
the afsd Deed of Conveyance by the said Jacob Boblits the receipt
whereof the said Henry Roop doth hereby Acknowledge and him
selfe to be therewith fully sattisfyed contented and Paid Hath
and by these Presents doth give grant Bargain sell alien
enfeoff and confirm unto him the said Jacob Boblits his heirs and
assigns forever all that Tract of land called Rineharts Folley
resurveyed situate lying and being in Baltimore County aforesaid
Beginning at the original beginning and running and boun
=ding as is expressed in the original Certificate and Grant
of said land which Expresses to contain one hundred acres
of land more or less To have and To hold all the afsd Tract
of land called Rineharts Folley Resurveyed and all the ap=
=purtanances thereunto belonging or in any wise appurtaining
unto hin the said Jacob Boblits his heirs and assigns for
=ever: and for and unto their only Proper use and behoofe
and the said Henry Roop doth hereby for himselfe and his heirs
Exrs. and Admrs. Convenant grant and agree to Warrant and
forever defend the aforesaid bargained land and appertanances
and every part and Parcel thereof with all rights Titles previledges
proffits and benefitts thereunto belonging or in any wise appurtaining
unto him the said Jacob Boblits his heirs and assigns forever against
all manner Persons whatever. Claiming or to Claime any right Title
or interest in or unto the afsd bargained land and appurtanances
or any Part or parcel thereof and In Witness whereof the said Henry
Roop hath hereunto sett his hand and affixed his seal the day
and year first above written Henry his X mark Roop Seal
signed sealed and Delivered Received the day of the within
in the Presents of date of Jacob Boblits one hundred
Alexis Lemmon and fifteen pounds Current
Charles his KB mark Boblits
money the full Consideraton for the land appertainances with
=in mentioned pr me Henry his + mark Roop
witnessed by Baltimore County Cst on the nineteenth day
Alexis Lemmon of May 1798 Came the within named Henry
Roop before us the subscribers two of Justices of the peace for
said County and acknowledged the within Instrument of
writing to be his act and deed and the land and appertain=
=ances within mentioned to the Right Title and Estate of the within
named Jacob Boblits his heirs and assigns forever according
to the true intent and meaning thereof Alexis Lemmon
Received to be Recorded the 15th day of George Kerlinger
September 1798 same Day Recorded and Examinded p. Wm. Gibson Clk
[Transcription by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, 12 March 2016]
Note: afsd = aforesaid; pr= per; Cst= scilicit (latin meaning that is to say or to wit)
Due to an error or omission in the original land deed dated 19 April 1793 the document had to be recorded again. I may be incorrect about this but Alexis Lemmon and Charles Boblitz may have traveled to Rockbridge County to have the deed signed by Henry Roop who left his mark on 19 May 1798 and then had it recorded in Baltimore County on 15 September 1798. Was Charles Boblitz the son or a relative of Jacob Boblitz, the grantee? Was he taking care of family business by going to Rockbridge? The 1793 deed was missing the day of the month at the beginning but the description of the tract was identical to that found in the 1788 deed in which Jacob RUPE sold the land to his son Henry RUPE. In the deed above the complete description was omitted.
A Wedding Before Moving On
Early in the year 1800 they left Rockbridge Co. and wound up in Lunenburg Co., VA where they had at least one child before settling on Pelham’s Branch, near Little River, about eight miles southwest of Christiansburg, Montgomery Co., VA.
This last statement is incorrect. Henry was still in Rockbridge in early 1801 when he gave witness to the age of a young lady who was married the same day. Later in the year when the tax list was drawn up, he would no longer be in the county.
Rockbridge County To Wit
This Day Came before me a Justice
of the Peace for said County Henry Roop and
made oath that Polly Null who is about
to be married to James Hart is of his own
knowledge above the age of Twenty one
years — Certified under my hand this 13th Jany
1801 Alex Sheilds (sic)
The marriage which took place in Rockbridge County on 13 January 1801 brings up a question. Who was Polly NULL?
Know all men by these presents that we
James Hart and John Berryhill
are held and firmly bound to James Monroe
governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia or
his successor in the sum of one hundred and
fifty Dollars to which payment well and
truly to be made we bind ourselves our heirs
Exors & jointly and severally firmly by these
Presents – Witness our hands and seals this
13th Day of January 1801
The Condition of the above obligation is such
that whereas there is a marriage shortly intended
to be solemized (sic) between the above bound James
Hart and Polly Null Daughter of
Anthony Null of Baltimore County
and State of Maryland
If therefore there shall be no lawful cause to obstruct
the same then this obligation to be void or else to
remain in full force
James (his +mark) Hart seal
James (his o mark) Berryhill seal
A. Reid Jr.
Polly NULL, daughter of Anthony NULL of Baltimore County, Maryland, married in Rockbridge and had her age witnessed by Henry. Neither document points to Henry’s relationship to the bride. There was only one Anthony NOLL in Baltimore County, Maryland, during this time period. The NULL and NOLL spelling of the surname was found in the land records of Anthony NOLL. Polly NULL has to be a younger sister of Catherine NOLL and a sister-in-law of Henry.
Finding Polly raises several questions. Did she accompany the RUPE family or did she join them several years later? She would have been a young teenager in 1793 and may have gone along to help her sister Catherine with the five young children. Did she choose to join Catherine instead of staying with her father and step-mother? Why did Catherine and Polly’s father omit them from his last will and testament in 1801? Did the RUPE family keep in touch with the families in Baltimore County over the years?
This 1801 marriage is the last documented proof of Henry RUPE, seen at this time as ROOP, being in the county of Rockbridge. Soon after, while Polly NULL and her husband James HART remained in Rockbridge, Henry pulled up stakes and continued south with his family which now numbered 10 persons: Henry was 36 years old, his wife Catherine 33, their children Jacob 15, Elizabeth 14, twins John and Henry 12, Barbara 9, George 7, Caty 5, and William less than a year old.
The RUPE family left for a new destination and it couldn’t have been Lunenburg County, Virginia.
Week 50 (December 10-16) – Naughty. We all have an ancestor who probably received coal in their stocking.
I’ve made a list, checked it twice, and found who’s been naughty and nice.
If you’ve been following along these past two years you’ll know who’s locked the door to my most frustrating brick wall. Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY, my 3rd great-grandparents!
Name: Mr. DEMPSEY Parents: Unknown Spouse: Mrs. DEMPSEY Children:Willliam A. W. DEMPSEY (1820-1867) Whereabouts: Unknown (some say outer space) Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandparents
What do I know about Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY? They were the parents of my great-great-grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEY born about 1820 in Virginia per the Fayette County, (West) Virginia census. He was seen as 28 years old in 1850 and 40 years old in 1860. He was also on the 1841 tax list of Rockbridge County which means he had to have been at least 21 yrs old at the time.
The most likely documents in which I might find the names of the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY would be his birth, marriage and/or death record.
Unfortunately, no death record has been found. This means no death record with names of parents or any kind of information to corroborate the family tradition of William’s dying in a logging accident in the late 1860s. This would have been after October 1866 when he was listed as having an account due, owing Joel B. Wills $8.50. By 1870 his children and wife were living (farmed out) in several different households.
To date, no marriage record has been found for William A. W. DEMPSEY and Sarah Ann WOOD. Their first known child was born about 1846 placing their marriage in the early to mid-1840s. Sarah was from Fayette County and most of her siblings married in Fayette, one in Greenbrier and one in Kanawha.
Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940 at FamilySearch was consulted and the WVCulture.org site has been checked repeatedly as they continue to add records.
I put a query to the Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy group on Facebook requesting information on the likelihood of loose marriage papers being in the West Virginia State Archives and/or at the county level.
I also asked the group about the possibility of there being a marriage ledger for Hopewell Baptist Church. This church being a likely place for the couple to marry as Sarah’s great-grandfather Baily WOOD was a founding member. The church burned down in the 1960s and all records in the church were destroyed. There were some records kept at members’ homes and several people offered to ask around.
I’m sure my father’s first cousin Geraldine Dempsey Workman (1931-2007) searched high and low in the 1970s and 1980s for more information on William’s parents and possible siblings. In 1995 she wrote “We still do not know his parents or family members” in a short summary of her research.
For the time period William was born, ca. 1820-1822 there were no birth records as we know today. A Bible would be a likely alternative but none is known to exist. It is very unlikely one survived, if there was any, as the family did not live together after his death.
Keeping with the Naughty theme, could it be Mrs. DEMPSEY was not a Missus? Should I be looking for a woman with the surname/maiden name DEMPSEY who had a son out of wedlock? This possibility has not been taken into consideration.
Pre-1850 Census Analysis
The lack of birth, marriage and death records with the names of his parents means I need to use a different tactic to find the parents. Regrettably William A. W. DEMPSEY was born and spent his childhood during the pre-1850 census era and cannot be found in a census which included the names of all household members.
I’ve followed the golden rule of genealogy and worked backward from myself to my great-great-grandfather. I’ve also traced his descendants forward to living relatives who may have the key I need to open the door in his brick wall.
After doing traditional and reverse genealogy I analyzed the pre-1850 Virginia census of DEMPSEY families in which William A. W. DEMPSEY may have been born.
There were no DEMPSEYs in Rockbridge in 1840. These are the DEMPSEY households found in what was then Virginia and includes counties which later became part of West Virginia:
John DEMPSEY in Fayette
Daniel DEMPSEY and sons Thomas, Lewis, and James in Orange
Daniel DEMPSEY in Spotsylvania County (son of Daniel of Orange)
Seaton and Wilson DEMPSEY in Amherst
Absalom DEMPSEY in Botetourt
William, John, Joseph, James, and Andrew DEMPSEY in Logan (sons of John Sr.)
Willis of DEMPSEY in Nansemond (free colored person)
Polley DEMCEY or DEMGEY of King William (free colored person)
Tandy DEMPSEY of Logan (father of John of Fayette)
Daniel DEMPSEY of Orange
Martha DEMPSEY of Amherst (mother of Seaton and Wilson)
Absalom DEMPSEY of Botetourt
Hugh DEMPSEY of Montgomery
John DEMPSEY Sr. and sons William, Thomas (dec’d, his widow Dicy), John Jr., and Joseph in Logan (formed from Cabell, Giles, and Kanawha in 1824)
Tandy DEMPSEY in Rockbridge
Daniel DEMPSEY in Orange
Will DEMPSEY in Amherst (husband of Martha)
John DEMPSEY and sons William, Thomas, and Joseph in Cabell
Absalom and Hugh DEMPSEY in Botetourt
James DEMPSEY in Caroline
Although 1810 is too early for William A. W. DEMPSEY it is interesting to see if the individuals found in 1820 were also in the same area in 1810. The 1810 census was lost for Orange County and tax lists have been used to reconstruct it.
Tandy DEMPSEY in Rockbridge
William DEMPSEY in Amherst
Mildred DEMPSEY in Botetourt (sister-in-law of John of Giles)
John DEMPSEY in Giles
James DEMPSEY in Caroline
1810 Census reconstructed from tax lists
Daniel DEMPSEY in Orange
Lewis DEMPSEY in Orange (son of Daniel)
1800 Census reconstructed from tax lists
1800 James DEMPSEY in Orange
1799 James DEMPSEY in Caroline
1799 Nathan DEMPSEY in Franklin
1790 Census reconstructed from tax lists
1791 James DEMPSEY in Greenbrier
1789 William DEMPSEY in Botetourt
1789 Michael DEMPSEY in Shenandoah
Even before doing more serious research on the DEMPSEY lines found in Virginia I gave them names to identify and differentiate between them.
The Rockbridge DEMPSEYs
Tandy did not have a young male in his household in 1820 or 1830. He was the father of John W., William S., Andrew S., Jane, Elizabeth, Mary B., and Margaret. These children are proven as they were mention as the children of Nancy Thompson, wife of Tandy, in chancery and land records in Nelson County.
Tandy married Nancy Thompson in Amherst County on 19 January 1801. He lived in Rockbridge in 1810 and 1820 and moved to Logan County by 1827 where he was on the 1827 tax list and 1830 census. His son William S. was in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia in 1830 and 1840. His son Andrew S. was in Logan in 1830 and in Lawrence County, Ohio, in 1840. William S. and Andrew S. both named sons William but have not been included in the census analysis as their sons were seen with them on the 1850 census.
The known children of John W. do not include a son named William. John W. does not appear to be with his father Tandy in 1820. He married(1) in 1824 in Rockbridge, was not found in the 1830 census, and lived in Fayette County in 1840 through 1870. There are no known children for John W. and his first wife for the time period from their marriage in 1824 and until the birth of son John A. born abt. 1830 in Rockbridge. The 1840 census listing includes 1 male 10 & under 15 yo – this person is unaccounted for.
Was William A. W. DEMPSEY the unaccounted male in John W.’s 1840 census listing and was he:
♦ actually younger than seen on the 1850 and 1860 census?
♦ the son of John W. and his first wife born before or soon after the 1824 marriage?
♦ the son of John W. and a relationship prior to his 1824 marriage?
♦ the son of John W.’s first wife from a previous relationship?
The Amherst DEMPSEYs
This group has also been well researched as William DEMPSEY of Amherst was my 4th great-grandfather. His children are proven to be Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G., Louisa J. and Eliza through land and court records produced after his death. In 1830, his wife Martha was listed in Amherst County with their two young daughters. There were no young males in the household.
William at some time went to Ohio and did not return as newspapers in the state of Ohio were requested to publish information on his wife’s death in 1834. On 20 June 1836, a year after the last notice was published, William and Martha’s son Wilson signed an administrator bond for the deceased William.
After the 1850 census, Wilson and Seaton moved to Fayette County. Their brother Wesley, who was not found in 1830 and 1840 censuses, was in Botetourt in 1850 and lived in Rockbridge from 1860 until his death in 1890. The children of William of Amherst were too young to be parent candidates for William A. W. DEMPSEY.
I believe Tandy DEMPSEY and William DEMPSEY may have been brothers. Tandy married in Amherst less than a year and a half after William. There was also a Jane DEMPSEY who married Allen CAMERON in 1795 in Amherst. Allen CAMERON went bond with William DEMPSEY when William married which may suggest a close relationship. The CAMERON couple raised their family in Rockbridge. William’s mother Susannah DEMPSEY gave her consent for his marriage. No such record was found for Tandy and Jane.
The Orange DEMPSEYs
Daniel and his wife were past the childbearing years in 1820. His oldest son Thomas Allen was already married and had a son John L. The census numbers in 1820 for Daniel’s household show eight known children as well as his oldest son’s wife, their son, and possibly a daughter. Daniel was seen in Orange County as early as 1810 (tax list) but may have come from Caroline County where his first son was born about 1778 per death record. Could there be a connection between James DEMPSEY of Caroline and Daniel DEMPSEY of Orange?
Daniel’s second son Lewis had a son named William A. born about 1825. This William A. DEMPSEY’s Civil War service was used to obtain a marker for my William A. W. DEMPSEY’s grave. The daughters of Geraldine, who did the paperwork for the marker, are aware of and have thought of rectifying the error.
The Botetourt DEMPSEYs
The next two groups have not been as thoroughly researched as the previous three. There are errors in online databases – a meshing of two generations and many Dempsey individuals found in Virginia in the early 1800s. I recently found chancery records on the Library of Virginia site which may help correct the errors in this line.
William DEMPSEY Senr. died intestate before 12 February 1798 and his wife Jane died before 1826 (year of chancery case). He left heirs William Jr., John, Mark, and Mary, wife of Joseph Miller. John and Mark were not in the Commonwealth and Mary and Joseph Miller resided in Blackwater in Franklin County in 1826.
William Senr.’s line splits into what I refer to as the Botetourt DEMPSEYs and Logan DEMPSEYs.
William Jr. died before 1806 and left widow Mildred “Milly” who resided in Fincastle; children: Elizabeth Dempsey resided in Fincastle, John and Samuel Dempsey outside of Commonwealth, Joel Dempsey and William Dempsey 3rd both decd/no issue, Absalom Dempsey in Fincastle, Dubartis Dempsey in NC, Judith the wife of Thomas Wilmore residing Giles court house, Susan wife of John Snyder residing in Christianburg, and Milly wife of David Campbell in NC.
For William Jr.’s line there was only one son mentioned in the chancery records who remained in Virginia. Absalom Dempsey was a Baptist preacher; he and his wife did not have any children of their own.
Hugh DEMPSEY seen in Botetourt in 1820 may have been a son of William Jr. and omitted in the chancery records. He was in Montgomery County, Virginia, in 1830 and went to Cooper County, Missouri, abt. 1838 and was seen there in the 1840 and 1850 census. He had a son named William R. b. abt. 1810 and, therefore, was not the father of William A. W. DEMPSEY.
The Logan DEMPSEYs
John was in Giles County in 1810, Cabell County in 1820, and Logan County in 1830 – all due to the changing country lines during the time period. The Logan DEMPSEYs are a complete puzzle to me even though John’s second youngest son Mark left a genealogical note written in 1889 which gives the names and approximate years of birth of eleven children of John DEMPSEY and Rachel SOLOMON. I am not sure how reliable the transcription of the note is as he wrote his mother died about 1849. I found Rachel DEMPSEY age 85 in the household of James DEMPSEY, possibly a 12th child of John and Rachel, in 1850.
I’ve added pre-1850 census records for the Logan DEMPSEYs in my database but have not done extensive census analysis.
Birth, marriage and death records need to be checked at WVCulture.org. Note: Many Logan County records were destroyed during the Civil War, and records were not kept for several years following the war.
James DEMPSEY of Greenbrier
James DEMPSEY in Greenbrier (1791) was in the county as early as 1782. James Dymsey was seen as a resident of Greenbrier County in 1782 in Mr. Jas. Henderson’s District with 1 tithable, 3 horses and 4 cattle. In Oren F. Morten’s A History of Monroe County, West Virginia James Dempsey and wife Rosey/Rosanna are mentioned as having 375 acres of patented land on Second Creek in Greenbrier County, 180 acres patented by Dempsey and Ralph Gates in 1783 and 195 acres patented by Dempsey in 1787. Ralph Gates bought the 375 acres from James Dempsey and his wife Rosey Dempsey on 28 July 1795. A year later, on 6 January 1796 James and Rosanna Dempsey sold 100 acres to Mathew Lynn on Second Creek / Greenbrier River adj. Thomas Lewis and Ralph Gates, who was a witness. In 1808 David Henderson bought land from John and Agatha Stuart that adjoined land of James Dempsey. The 1810 census for Greenbrier is lost and James DEMPSEY was not found on the 1810 tax lists.
He would have been 21 or older at the time he was first seen on the 1782 tax list. This would put his age in 1820 to over 59 years. It is unknown if they had children. No trace of him was found in Virginia after he and his wife sold land in 1796. UPDATE: The Personal Tax List of Kanawha County was browsed on FamilySearch in January 2018. A James DEMPSEY was seen on the list for the years 1797, 1798, and 1800 suggesting he may have moved from Greenbrier to Kanawha after he sold land in 1796.
Speculation: Could he be the same person as James DEMPSEY convicted in 1772 in London and transported to Virginia in January 1773 on the ship Justitia?
These have not been traced:
♦ Nathan DEMPSEY in Franklin (1799)
♦ Michael DEMPSEY in Shenandoah (1789) – Michael Dimsey md. Eliz. Barnhart in Shenandoah County on 17 Dec 1788. Another marriage seen in the county was Jane Dempsey to Jacob Savage on 1 Dec 1808. Was she a daughter of Michael?
What do you think of my analysis of the census of the DEMPSEY families found in Virginia at the time of my great-great-grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEYs birth and childhood? Have I missed something that caught your eye? What else would you try?
Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY don’t be naughty, please be nice and send some comments my way on how I can find out your names and what happened to you.
This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.
52 Ancestors: #42 James ROOP 1808-1890 – Found on 8 Consecutive Censuses!
Descendants of the 1752 immigrant Johann Jacob RUPP used different spellings of the surname — RUPP, RUPE, ROOP, ROUP, ROOPE, ROUPE, RUPPE — from one generation to the next, even in the same family and same generation.
James ROOP was the baby of the RUPE family until his brother Joseph was born three years later. They were the 13th and 14th children of Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL.
I can’t imagine my 4th great-grandfather James ROOP being called Jimmie. I think he may have been given the nickname “Jimmie” after his death, maybe from a well meaning descendant. When he was old enough to marry, have his own household, see his children marry, make his will – he was always James ROOP, without a middle initial. This will be discussed, below, after the 1880 census listing.
James was the youngest of 17 people in his father Henry RUPE’s household in 1810. By this time James’ oldest sister Elizabeth had been married about seven years to James COMPTON. Was this couple and their son part of the household?
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Montgomery County, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 4 (James 2, Samuel 9, William 10, and ?)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 3 (George 19, John 21, Henry 21, William 24)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 2 (Henry 45 and ?)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Nancy 4, Rachel 6)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Mary 8)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 3 (Barbara 18, Catherine 15, and ?)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 2 (Catherine 42 and ?)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 7
Number of Household Members Over 25: 4
Number of Household Members: 17
Living next door to Henry RUPE was his nephew Jacob WEAVER with his wife, a son, two brothers, a sister, and his mother – Henry’s sister.
James’ parents Henry and Catherine were born in Virginia per census listings of their four living children William, Rachel, Nancy, and James in 1880. This is not correct. Family tradition is that Heinrich Thomas “Henry” RUPE (1765-1845) was born about 1765 in Baltimore County, Maryland. We know that his wife Catherine Barbara NOLL (1768-aft. 1845) was born on 24 February 1768 and christened on 13 March 1768 in Manchester, Baltimore County, Maryland per church records. Manchester was originally part of Baltimore County, before the creation of Carroll County in 1837.
Following the end of the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775-14 Jan 1784), Henry married Catherine in Baltimore County, Maryland. Catherine was a Lutheran and Henry was German Reformed. The church they attended was called Zion and it was a union church. Both the Lutherans and the Reformed used the same building. The births and christenings of their first five children were recorded at this church: Jacob born 15 June 1786 and christened 30 July 1786; Elizabeth born 4 September 1787 and christened 31 October 1787; twins Heinrich Thomas “Henry” and Johannes “John” born 27 February 1789 and christened 26 April 1789; and Barbara E. born 29 October 1792 and christened after 29 October 1792.
James’ father Henry owned 100 acres of land in Baltimore County, Maryland, that he had bought from his father Johann Jacob RUPP who acquired 115 acres in 1770 with Pennsylvania money. The land was known as Rhineharts Folly and was sold to Jacob Boblitz in 1793. Henry and Catherine were preparing to move their family farther south.
They left Maryland in 1793 and made at least one stop along the way in Rockbridge County before continuing on to their destination. They arrived in Montgomery County, Virginia, in 1800. There is an interesting anecdote about why it took them so long.
Traveling on what was once the Baltimore and Memphis Turnpike, the Rupe caravan crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry in 1796. The caravan included Henry, his wife Catherine, and their family of several sons and daughters, the three older brothers of Henry, and their families. In crossing the Potomac the cattle and other larger animals were forced to swim, and the sons of Henry held the ropes attached to the horns of the cows. One wild cow pulled one of the unsuspecting Rupe boys overboard while crossing and he might have been lost had they not missed the cow, which finally reached shore with the boy swinging to her tail some distance down stream. The three brothers of Henry split with one of them going to Ohio, one to Western North Carolina, and the other to Georgia. Henry and family journeyed through the Shenandoah Valley and into Rockbridge County, bound for the southwestern section of the state, then rather sparsely settled. When they reached Buffalo Creek, four miles north of Natural Bridge, a great flood overtook them and they were forced to remain for several days. A report reached them that Natural Bridge had washed away, and it being the only passage, it would require four years to restore the bridge. They settled on Buffalo Creek and built a mill there, which they operated for years before they learned that the report of the bridge destruction was like Mark Twain’s comment on the first report of his death, considerable exaggereated. Early in the year 1800 they left Rockbridge Co. and wound up in Lunenburg Co., VA where they had at least one child before settling on Pelham’s Branch, near Little River, about eight miles southwest of Christiansburg, Montgomery Co., VA. The first recorded document for Henry in this area was the purchase of 326 acres on Aug. 17, 1804 from Abner Lester, to whom it had been granted by the Commonwealth in 1795. ~a report given by Henry’s great-grandson Redmond Ira ROOP at a family reunion in 1927
During their travels three more children were born: George P. ca. 1794, Catherine ca. 1795, and William in 1800 in Rockbridge. Once in Montgomery the family continued to grow. Samuel B. was born 1801, Mary “Polly” abt 1802, Rachel abt 1804, and Nancy abt 1806 before the two youngest, James abt 1808 and Joseph abt 1811 were born.
After Joseph was born, James’ parents must have decided that fourteen was enough. The oldest of their brood were beginning to have a look around at possible spouses in preparation for marrying and starting families of their own. Before the 1820 census five marriages took place and two of James’ sisters had illegitimate children:
John RUPE married Elizabeth THOMPSON (1795-1870) on 14 January 1813 in Montgomery County, Virginia
Jacob ROOP married Susannah ALLEY (1790-1860) 15 April 1815 in Montgomery County, Virginia
Catherine “Caty” RUPE married Jacob AKERS (1775-1860) on 27 June 1815 in Montgomery County, Virginia
George RUPE married Margaret BALDWIN (1799- ) on on 5 December 1818 in Jefferson County, Tennessee
William RUPE married Ester AKERS (1802-1846) on 7 June 1820 in Montgomery County, Virginia
Barbary RUPE created a bit of a scandal by giving birth to a male bastard child on the 20th day of November 1815. Barbary signed a statement on the 25th day of July 1816 that it was George PETERMAN who got her with child. They did not marry.
Mary “Polly” ROOP had a daughter abt. 1818. Per the daughter’s marriage record her father was a DOBBINS.
One would think with so many children marrying Henry’s household would be shrinking. This was not the case as his two unmarried daughters and their children remained in the home. James was twelve in 1820 and may have been responsible for chores that his older married brothers once took care of. His single brothers Henry 31 and Samuel 18 were living at home and may have taken James along when they went hunting or worked their father’s land.
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Montgomery County, Virginia
Henry Roop Sr.
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Joseph 9 and George 5, s/o Barbara)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (James 12)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 18: 1 (Samuel 18)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Samuel 18)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Henry 31)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (Henry 55)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Barbary 2, d/o Mary)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Nancy 14)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 3 (Rachel 16, Mary 18, Barbara 28)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Catherine 52)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 16: 5
Free White Persons – Over 25: 3
Total Free White Persons: 12
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 12
In 1823 James saw two more of his siblings marry. Henry ROOP Jr. married Mary “Polly” THOMPSON (1802-1880) on 7 June 1823 and Rachel RUPE married John B. PHARIS (1797-1866) on 20 October 1823. Both marriages took place in Montgomery County, Virginia.
When John R. Charlton came around the RUPE place in June of 1830, James was 23 and still living at home. His parents were growing old and his sisters Barbara, Mary and Nancy were unmarried mothers of 5 boys and 3 girls and still living in the RUPE household. Jacob, Henry Jr., John, and William had their own households.
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Montgomery County, Virginia
Enumerated by John R. Charlton
Henry Roope Sr.
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (grandsons: Byrd 3, s/o Barbara; Henry 4, s/o Mary; and James R. 4, s/o Mary)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (grandson Crockett 7, s/o Mary)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (grandson George 15, s/o Barbara)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Joseph 19)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 2 (James 23, Samuel 29)
Free White Persons – Males – 60 thru 69: 1 (Henry 65)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (granddaughters: Susan 7, d/o Barbara, and Elizabeth 7, d/o Mary)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (granddaughter Barbary 12, d/o Mary)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 2 (Mary 28, Nancy 24)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 2 (Barbara 38, unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – 60 thru 69: 1 (Catherine 62)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 9
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 8
Total Free White Persons: 17
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 17
James ROOP married Elizabeth CARROLL on 23 July 1830 in Montgomery County, Virginia. Did they live with his parents during the early years of their marriage? His father, who did not own slaves, had quite a large amount of land by then and needed his sons’ help to farm it.
The last of James’ brothers married in the 1830s in Montgomery County. Joseph ROOP married Mary “Polly” CARROLL (1809-1909) on 13 September 1831 and Samuel B. ROOP married Martha “Patsy” TOWNSLEY (1815-1870) on 7 January 1834. Joseph and James’ wives were sisters, daughters of Robert and Anne CARROLL.
James and Elizabeth had a half dozen children born in Montgomery County in the 1830s:
Ch 1: Amanda “Manda” ROOP (1831-1894) born September 1831
Ch 2: Floyd ROOP (1833-1923) born 12 May 1833
Ch 3: Evaline ROOP (1835-1888) born 3 March 1835
Ch 4: Peradine ROOP (1835-1909) born 30 November 1835
Ch 6: Barbary Ellen ROOP (1839-1910) born 28 June 1839
In 1840 John R. Charlton once again walked or rode through the division, this time enumerating 9 RUPE households. James’ sisters Barbary and Mary had their own households. Their father Henry was not listed as a Revolutionary War pensioner.
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Montgomery County, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Gordon 2)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Floyd 7)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (James 32)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 3 (Avaline 5, Peradine 4, and Barbary Ellen 1)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Amanda 9)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 ((Elizabeth 32)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 6
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8
Three more children were born in Montgomery County following the 1840 census:
Ch 7: Giles Henderson ROOP (1841-1863) born 2 February 1841
Ch 8: William H. T. ROOP (1843-1863) born 6 November 1843
Ch 9: Rachel Monacha ROOP (1845-1901) born about 1845
James’ father Henry RUPE prepared a will on 18 November 1845 and died suddenly of heart failure at the age of 80, while out walking on the farm sometime between the date of the will and the date of probate, which was 1 December 1845. He was survived by his wife Catherine whose date of death remains unknown. James and his siblings buried their father on the Old Henry Rupe Homeplace.
Catherine and her daughters Elizabeth Compton, Barbara Rupe, Mary Roop, and Nancy Roop were missing in the 1850 census. Redmond Ira ROOP, a lawyer and great-grandson of old Henry, in his presentation at the 1927 family reunion, said that Catherine died in 1861 at the age of 95. She would have been 93 if she died in 1861, but what’s a year or two when you are in your nineties? She was not found in the 1860 census.
James’ brother William lost his wife, mother of nine children, about the same time as their father died. William then married Catherine CARROLL (1819-1879) on 4 November 1846 in Montgomery County, Virginia. Catherine was the third daughter of Robert and Anne CARROLL to marry one of the ROOP boys.
The year before the 1850 census was an eventful year for James, his wife, and their nine children. Elizabeth was pregnant with her 10th child. James wanted to get his own piece of land as his father’s estate would require several years to be settled. His father had left a large estate and James’ brother Jacob was named as executor in the will. On account of there being so many heirs widely scattered over the country, Jacob almost despaired a number of times before the estate was finally settled. Once in his desperation he exclaimed, “Well, it has been so troublesome and vexatious that I am almost sorry that old gentleman ever died.”
James and Elizabeth’s 10th child was born in September of 1849 and was named James Anderson ROOP. He was the first of their children to be born in Floyd County on the land that James would own. He’d made the decision to buy a piece of land containing 600 acres about 9 1/2 miles northwest of Floyd, in Floyd County, Virginia, on what is now known as the White Oak Grove Road. Alvin GRAHAM sold the 600 acres to James ROOP and the deed was recorded on 17 November 1849 in Floyd County’s Deed Book E on page 377.
James cleared up the land and hewed the logs to build their house. He built a one-room, log structure, about 24 feet by 12 feet. The logs were daubed with mortar. The chimney was located on the southwest end and made with rocks. He built an unusually large fireplace with an arch of homemade bricks over the fireplace and a plain log mantel. The one-story log house had a hip roof with shingle and very plain wood cornices. There was no porch and the entrance was a plain yellow pine door made by nailing large planks together. It had common iron hinges and an old-fashioned door lock on the outside. Two unshuttered windows with 16 7″ by 10” panes brought light into the single room. The ceiling was 8 feet high. James must have had help to lift the logs so high. Broad even planks made from hand-hewed logs covered the floor. There was no cellar and therefore no stairway. He built the kitchen about 8-10 feet away from the house as was common in those days.
Years later the building was in such poor condition that it was torn apart and moved. In 1938 it was being used for a cow house by James’ grandson Amos L. ROOP (1855-1941) who lived on the property at the time.
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
The Western District No. 15, Page No. 445
Enumerated by me, on the 7th day of September 1850. Joseph L. Howard Ass’t Marshal.
James Roop 42 M Farmer $600 Montgomery cannot read & write
Elizabeth Roop 42 F Floyd cannot read & write
Amanda Roop 18 F Montgomery
Floyd Roop 17 M Laborer Montgomery
Evaline Roop 15 F Montgomery
Peradine Roop 14 F Montgomery attended school within year
Gordon Roop 12 M Montgomery attended school within year
Barbary C. Roop 10 F Montgomery attended school within year
Giles Henderson Roop 8 M Montgomery
William H. T. Roop 6 M Montgomery
Rachel Manerva Roop 5 F Montgomery
James Roop 8/12 M Floyd
Starting in 1850 until 1880 James was always seen as a farmer in the census. In 1850 the enumerator Joseph L. Howard misread the column “Place of Birth Naming the State, Territory, or Country” and filled in the name of the county that the individual was born in. Thank you Mr. Howard! This is how I know that little James was the first child to be born on the new homeplace. Two more children were born there:
Ch 11: Hamilton N. ROOP (1854-1919) born abt. December 1853
Ch 12: Charles Monroe ROOP (1854-1928) born 10 August 1854
Five marriages took place in 1855-1856. Manda, Floyd and Peradine married in 1855, the year before the White Oak Grove Church was built by neighbors of the community about a mile southeast of the James ROOP home. The first pastor of the church was my 5th great-grandfather, Rev. Owen SUMNER. The church was used as a school during the week. Evaline and Gordon may have married too early in 1856 to have their marriages performed in the new building but both were married by Rev. SUMNER, the grandfather of Gordon’s wife Emaline LESTER.
More information on the marriages of James and Elizabeth’s children will be included in Elizabeth’s story next week.
1860 U.S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
Page No. 99+100, Sheet No. 533+534
Enumerated by me, on the 16th day of July, 1960. Geo M. Well, Ass’t Marshal.
Post Office Floyd C.H. Va.
James Roop 50 M Farmer $2000 $292 Virginia
Elizabeth Roop 50 F Virginia cannot read & write
Amanda Lester 28 F Virginia
Giles H. Roop 19 M Virginia attended school
William H. T. Roop 17 M Virginia attended school
Barbary C. Roop 20 F Virginia attended school
Rachel M. Roop 14 F Virginia attended school
Jas Roop 10 M Virginia attended school
Hamilton N. Roop 7 M Virginia attended school
Charles M. Roop 5 M Virginia attended school
Jas R. Lester 4 M Virginia (son of Amanda)
Lafayette Lester 2 M Virginia (son of Amanda)
American Civil War (4 Feb 1861-23 Jun 1865)
At the beginning of the War Between the States the soldiers were gathered in the White Oak Grove Church and mustered. The ladies of the community prepared food and took it to the church for the men. Four of James ROOP’s sons (Floyd, Gordon, Giles Henderson and William H. T.) and two of his daughters’ husbands (Amanda’s husband George Washington LESTER and Peradine’s husband Sylvester MILLS) served in Company A, 54th Infantry Regiment Virginia. Daughter Evaline’s husband Mathias RATLIFF served in Company E of the same regiment. Seven men in the family served and three did not come home: my third great-grandfather Gordon and his brothers Giles and William died in Georgia in 1863 while serving.
James and Elizabeth’s daughter Rachel married at home in 1866. Rev. SUMNER came to the house to perform the ceremony. Their son James married in 1868 in Montgomery County.
1870 U. S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
Page No. 9+10, Sheet 5A+5B
Alum Ridge Township
Enumeratd by me on the 5th day of August, 1870. B. P. Elliott, Ass’t Marshal.
Post Office Floyd C. H. Va.
Roop, James 62 M W Farmer $1,500 $430 Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Roop, Elizabeth 62 F W Keeping house Virginia cannot read & write
Roop, Hamilton N. 17 M W farm laborer Virginia cannot read & write
Roop, Charles M. 15 M W farm laborer Virginia cannot read & write
Roop, Barbara E. 30 F W without occupation Virginia cannot read & write
In 1870 James’ household included his wife, two youngest sons, and Barbara Ellen who was on her way to being an old maid. James and Elizabeth’s youngest sons Hamilton and Charles were married by Rev. SUMNER at his home in 1872 and 1873. This left James and Elizabeth alone in 1880 as Barbary was living with her sister Rachel and her family.
1880 U.S. Federal Census
Montgomery County, Virginia
Page No. 18
Christiansburg Magisterial District
Enumeration District No. 50, Sheet No. 356B
Enumerated the 11th day of June, 1880. John C. Wade, enumerator.
Roop, James Sr. W M 71 married Farmer cannot read & write VA VA VA
Roop, Elizabeth W M 71 wife married Keeping House cannot write VA VA VA
James ROOP was never listed with a middle initial in any of the above censuses or on marriage records of his children. Ancestry.com has him indexed as James W. ROOP in the 1880 census. A close look at the census image shows that he was listed as Sr. and his son James A. ROOP who lived next door was listed as Jr. This does not mean that James shared the same middle initial or middle name with his son. The abbreviation Sr. was misread for a W. [I needed to get that straigthened out!]
The last of James and Elizabeth’s children finally married in 1888. Barbary was 49 years old the first time she married. It would not be the last. She was widowed twice and married again in 1898 and 1906. She didn’t remain an old maid after all.
James’ wife Elizabeth passed away during the 1880s. James most likely was enumerated on the Montgomery County census in 1890 as he is not seen on the substitute used for Floyd. The actual 1890 Floyd County, Virgina, census was among those destroyed in the fire/flood in Washington in 1921. An abbreviated copy was made before the original was sent off and can be found in the Court House in Floyd. In 1890 James made his will, dated 31 January 1890, in Floyd County and died there on 2 November 1890. If he had been on the 1890 substitute for Floyd he would have been found in nine consecutive censuses.
James Roop’s Will Recorded in Floyd County, Virginia Will Book F Page 486
Will and Testament of James Roop – In the name of God, Amen. I James Roop of the County of Floyd and State of Virginia, being weake of body, but of mind and memory and calling to mind the mortality of my body make and ordain this my Will and Testament – and as vouching my worldly estate. When with it has pleased God to bless me with this life – I deaded to Floyd Roop, my son, he being heir of my body one hundred akers of land being part, this land lying in the County of Floyd and the State of Virginia, joining land of James Simmons and John Altizer and others. – I also bond James Roop, my son, being heir of my body, one hundred akers of land, this land being sold to George W. Lester of said James Roop and this deed were made to George W. Lester instead of James Roop, this land joining Cornelius Altizer. – I also bond Hamilton N. Roop, my son, being heir of my body, one hundred and twenty akers of land, said Hamilton N. Roop sold to A. L. Roop and this dead being made to A. L. Roop instead of Hamilton N. Roop, this land joining George Nixon. – I also deaded Charley Roop, my son, one hundred akers of land, he being heir of my body, this deed were made to his wife and heirs instead of said Charley Roop, this land joining Perdine Peterman. I allso desire Gordon Roop, my son, he be heir of my body, his heirs to have fifteen dollars, a peace, there names being Thomas Roop, and Gordon Roop and Dolley Roop. Perdine Roop, my daughter, she being heir of my body, has received her part in land this dead was made to Silvester Mills her husban instead of said Perdine his wife, This land is none (sic, known) as the Canaan Simons land lying on the Waters of Little River joining lands of C. D. Lester, this land lying in the County of Floyd and State of Virginia. – The amount of Perdine money that I paid for this land is mention in Silvester’s deed. I allso desire at my death for the rest of my estate to be eaqely divided amongst my four daughters. They being heirs of my body, Amanda Roop, and Avealine Roop, and Barbery Roop, and Rachel M. Roop. My requests is that A. L. Roop to be my Administrator. – This 31st day of January 1890. His James X Roop Mark Witness: James A. Simmons H. D. Simmons
Virginia – In Floyd County Court held on this 14th day of September 1897, a paper in writing, purporting to be the last Will and Testament of James Roop, deceased, was produced in court proven by the Oaths of James A. Simmons and H. D. Simmons, the Subscribing Witnesses thereto. Admitted to probate and ordered to be recorded. Thereupon, A. L. Roop, the Executor named in same Will. Together with Ira S. Hylton and J. M. Roop, his surieties, entered unto said acknowledged a Bond in the Penalty of $1000.00 conditioned according to law. A certificate is granted said A. L. Roop for obtaining probate of said will in due form.
Final settlement of James ROOP’s will was made on 18 September 1897 in Floyd County, Virginia.
 C. T. Zahn and Frederick S. Weiser, translators and editors, Maryland German Church Records Volume 10, Zion Church “The German Church”, Manchester, Carroll County — today Trinity United Church of Christ Records, 1760-1836 and Immanuel Lutheran Church Records, 1760-1853 (published by the Historical Society of Carroll County, Westminster, Maryland).
 Everette L. McGrew, My Mother Was A Rupe (revised August 2000).
 Peters, Genevieve H., “The Jimmie Roop Homeplace” Richmond, Va. : Library of Virginia, 1999. 4 image files. This write-up is a part of the Virginia W.P.A. Historical Inventory Project sponsored by the Virginia Conservation Commission under the direction of its Division of History.
 Louise Roop Anderson Akers, comp., The Family Rub, Rup, Rupe, Roop, Roope (2001 Printed by Jamont Communications, 339 Luck Ave., Roanoke, VA 24016). Photocopy of page from Will Book found in this publication, transcribed 18 Oct 2014.
52 Ancestors: #38 William DEMPSEY abt. 1779-bef. 20 Jun 1836
On 29 June 1835 the Lynchburg Virginian published a notice concerning the death of the wife of William DEMPSEY.
Norma Barnett Dempsey found the article referenced in Marriages and Deaths from Lynchburg, Virginia Newspapers, 1794-1836 [by Lucy H. M. Baber Louise A. Blunt, and Marion A. L. Collins, Genealogical Publishing Co. 1980, page 174]. She located it using the microfilm reader at the Roanoke Public Library in the late 1990s.
William DEMPSEY was supposed to be somewhere in the state of Ohio at the time that this notice was published. We do not know why he was in Ohio or if he ever returned to Amherst County, Virginia. More records may one day be found but for now it is my belief that William must have been away from home for quite some time and was presumed dead.
A year after the notice of Mrs. Martha DEMPSEY’s death, the estate of her husband William DEMPSEY was being administered by their son Wilson M. DEMPSEY. William apparently died intestate (without a will) and the court appointed his oldest son Wilson as administrator. He went bond with Peter RUCKER.
The state of Virginia has no estate packets or probate packets. If the administrator didn’t act correctly, the offended party could bring suit in chancery. The scanned chancery records for the county of Amherst are not available on the Library of Virginia site. But Norma did a wonderful job of finding the records documenting how the estate was handled.
20 June 1836 – Administrator bond
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28; Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
9:228 AB Wilson Dempsey and Peter Rucker, June 20, 1836, for WD
Know all men by these presents that we Wilson Dempsey and Peter Rucker are held and firmly bound unto Edmund Penn, Ambrose Rucker, James Powell, Arthur B. Davies, John [illegible], William H. Garland and Henry I. Rose Gentleman Justices of the Court of Amherst County sitting and to their successors in Office in the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars current money of Virginia to which payment will and truly to be made we bind ourselves and each of us and each of our heirs, executors and administrators jointly and severally firmly by these present is sealed with our seals and dated this 20th day of June (1836) one thousand eight hundred and thirty six and in the 60th year of the Commonwealth. The conditions of this obligation is that if the said Wilson Dempsey administrator of the goods, chauses and credits of William Dempsey deceased do make a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the goods chauses and credits of the said deceased which have or/ shall come to the hands possession or knowledge of him the said Wilson Dempsey or into the hands or possession of any other personor persons for him and the same so made do exhibit into the County Court of Amherst when he shall be there unto required by the said Court and such goods chauses and credits do well and truly administor according to Law and further to make a just and true account of his actings and doings therein when thereto required by the said Court and all the rest of the said goods chauses andcredits which shall be found remaining upon the account of the said administrator the same being first examined and allowed by the Justices of the said Court for the time being shall deliver and pay unto such persons respectively as entitled to the same by Law. And if it shall hereafter appear that any last Will and Testament was made by the deceased and the same be proved in Court and the executor obtain a certificate of the probate thereof and the said Wilson Dempsey do, in such case being required to render and deliver up his letters of administration then this obligation to be void else to remain in full force W. M. Dempsey (seal) acknowledged in open court Peter Rucker (seal)
At a Court held for Amherst County on the 20th of June 1836. This bond was acknowledged in open court by the parties therein and ordered to be recorded. Teste Robert Lindsey
Note: The photocopy was cut off on the left side. While transcribing the deed the missing words were added by comparing with other deeds of the same period.
15 May 1837 – Inventory
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28 – Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
9:315 Inv. $88.32, May 15, 1837. Lee Millner, Wm. B Shepherd, Wm. B.Toler.
In obedience to an order of the County Court of AMherst we have proceeded to appraise the personal Estate of William Dempsey decd as shown to us by WIlson Dempsey, admr. 2 Beds, Bedstead and furniture 10.001 1 Bed, Bedstead and furniture 5.00 1 Chest 0.25 1 Trunk 0.25 1 Flax Wheel 0.25 1 Cotton Wheel 1.25 1 Desk & Book Case 5.00 1 Chest 1.50 Plates, Knives and forks 0.25 Lot Earthenware 0.75 Shot Gun 4.00 Loom 0.25 Safe 0.13 Skillet & lid 0.12 Lot Castings 4.00 Cags 0.37 Lot Pewter 2.00 Wire Sifter 0.25 Lot Chairs 1.00 Hand Saw & Draw Knife 1.00 7 old Hoes 1.00 1 Auger and 2 Chissels 0.50 1 Lot old Irons 0.50 2 old Plows 0.50 1 old culling Knife & Steel 0.25 2 New Trace Chains 0.50 1 Black Cow & Calf 15.00 1 Red Cow & Calf 15.00 1 Pot Rack 0.50 1 Copper Still 15.00 2 Pad Locks 0.25 1 Axe 0.25 2 flat Irons and trivet 1.00 1 Coulder 0.20 1 Iron Wedge 0.25 Total $88.32
8 Aug 1839 – Dempsey to Hicks deed
Deed Book X (Amherst County, Virginia); page 239:
lists 5 names on Dempsey to Hicks land deed. August 8 1839. Wilson M., Seton Y., W. G., Louisa, and Eliza Dempsey.
Note: The deed reads “two and three fourths acres.” Did they only sell 2 3/4 acres to Nelson Hicks?
July 19, 1841
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28 – Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
10:368 AA from 1828; accts of Wilson M. and Westley G. Dempsey — for the family in 1835. July 19, 1841: W. L. Saunders and Pitt Woodroof.
July 18, 1842
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Wills of Amherst County, Virginia 1796-1919 Vol. 1 A-D
page 28- Book D Wills
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am47w D29a)
11:82 AA William M. Dempsey acct.–Wilson M. & others–business trip to King William; land rent by Wilson M. Dempsey, same for Westley G. and Seaton Y. Dempsey, Admr. is called Wm. M. at end in summary Ju1y 18, 1842.
The estate of William Dempsey In account with William M. Dempsey (sic, Wilson M. Dempsey) This sum paid John B. Duncan 5.00 paid Lewis Harrison 0.75 paid sheriff Amherst 1838 0.67 paid ditto ditto 1839 2.42 paid ditto ditto 1841 1.12 paid Peter Rucker 1.35 paid William Coleman 4.57 Paid Peter Rucker 1.50 amount my expenses to & from King William County on business for Est. 7.87 paid Pitt Woodroof & Addison Taliaferro 4.00 Total $29.25
May 16, 1842 and August 1844
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, Amherst County Va. Deeds 1761-1765
page 18 Deed Book
(Libray # VR 929.3755 Am 47d D29a)
183. 16 May 1842 Seaton Y. Dempsey to Jno. J. Morgan $175 int. in est. of William Dempsey dec’d– 1/6th of 330a. Aug. 1844, to —.
May 27, 1844
Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, Amherst County Va. Deeds 1761-1765
Vol. # 5
page 15 Deed Book Z
(Library # VR 929.3755 Am 47d D29a)
163. 27 May 1844 Seaton Y. Dempsey 1, Patrick Drummond 2, Wilson M. Dempsey 3, $1.00 Stock, tools, crops.
January 20, 1845
Deed Bk. AA (Amherst County, Virginia)
Jan. 20 1845, …210 acres by bid to Wilson M. Dempsey from William Dempsey dec’d. (Note: 210 acres would be 4 times 55 acres; Wilson is buying Wesley, Isham, Louisa and Eliza’s share; Seaton’s share went to Jno. J. Morgan)
August 31, 1848
Amherst County Circuit Court Chancery Files
No. 2 1841-1849
#431 Sixth Day August 31, 1848 Thursday Amherst County Wilson M Dempsey_____________________________________Plaintiff against Isham C Dempsey, Seaton Y Dempsey, Wesley G Dempsey, Patrick Rowsy and Eliza his wife, Simeon A Burch and Louisa his wife, Zacharias Drummond and John J Morgan, James Powell Sheriff of the County of Amherst Young & Meem ___________Finley and ___________and Morgan ___________Defendants This cause came on this day to be heard upon the papers formerly read and the report of the commissioner Zach Drummond made in the pursuance of the decretal order of the 7th day of November 1844 and was argued by consul. Upon consideration whereof the court doth ratify and confirm the said report except so much thereof as relates to the portion of Seaton Y Dempsey. The courts being of opinion that the lien of Young & Meem to said Seaton’s portion of the fund is superior to that set up by the said Drummond doth adjudge order and decree that the said Zacharias Drummond do pay to Young & Meem the sum of ninety six dollars and seventeen cents with interest thereon to be computed at the rate of six per cent per annum from the 20th day of January 1846 till paid. And the court doth further order that the said Zacharias Drummond who is hereby appointed a commissioner for the purpose do convey by deed with special warranty the lands in the bill and proceedings mentioned to the respective purchasers thereof at their several costs. And the purposes of this suit having been attained the court doth order that the same be discontinued.
William’s wife Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM died on 27 September 1834 in Amherst County, Virginia. As seen above William never returned to Amherst and by 1848 all matters having to do with his estate had been settled. Why did Wilson M. DEMPSEY have to travel to King William County on business of the estate? When did William DEMPSEY actually disappear or when did the family last hear from him?
In 1830, his wife Martha Dempsey is listed in Amherst County census with her two young daughters. William DEMPSEY was last seen on the 1820 census in Amherst County, Virginia. He was listed as “Will Dempey.” There is no mark in the age category that he would have fit in. Was he away from home on some kind of business? “Will” was not his nickname, this was a quirk of the enumerator who wrote “Will” for every man with the name William.
Let’s jump back to the time when William was in Amherst County. Norma searched everywhere even through a box of loose papers that was accessable to the public at the Amherst County Courthouse. In this box she found a permission slip dated 21 August 1799 signed by Susannah DEMPSEY saying that she had no objections to her son William DEMPSEY marrying to any person that he choose (illegible due to it’s being crossed through but this is a close guess). I believe that when his mother signed the slip she did not know that Patsey LANDRUM would the bride. The bride’s name was apparently added later, perhaps by another person.
MARRIAGE CONSENT This is Certify that I have no objections against my son William Dempseys marrying to [text marked out] Patsy Landrum provided she is willing given under my hand this the 21. day of August 1799 Test George Wright Allen Cameron Susannah Dempsey
On the same day William DEMPSEY and Allen CAMERON, who had witnesses the permission slip, went bond on the marriage “intended shortly to be had and solemnized between Patsey Landrum (Spinster) and the above bound William Dempsey.”
MARRIAGE BOND Know all men by these presents that we William Dempsey & Allen Cameron are held and firmly bound unto James Wood Esquire the Governor of Virginia for the time being and to his successors in office for the use of the Commonwealth in the sum of one hundred and fifty Dollars current money to which payment well and truly to be made we bind ourselves and each of us our and each of our heirs executors and administrators jointly and severally firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 21st day of August 1799 The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas there is a marriage intended shortly to be had and solemnized between Patsey Landrum (Spinster) and the above bound William Dempsey Now if there should be no legal cause to obstruct the said marriage then the above obligation to be void or else to remain in full force and virtue Signed & ackd Wm Dempsey (his mark & seal) in presence of Allen Cameron (his mark & seal) S Garland
Both of these documents help to show that Susannah DEMPSEY was the mother of William DEMPSEY who married Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM on 21 August 1799 in Amherst County, Virginia. Without these documents I would have believed the information given in the following:
Here we see that Susannah DEMPSEY is listed as “her mother”, therefore the mother of the bride. What complications this would have caused in further research! The mention of the marriage certificate being by the Rev. James BOYD is new information not found on the permission slip or bond.
Two other DEMPSEY marriages were found in Amherst County during this time period.
Notice that Allen CAMERON who married Jane DEMPSEY in 1795 was a witness on the 1799 permission slip and went bond with William DEMPSEY when he married. Could it be that Jane and William, and maybe even Tandy, were siblings?
In 1800 William and Tandy, both seen with the surname spelled DEMSEY, were on the Amherst Tax List with 1 tithable each (white male over 21 years old) and 0 horses. [Source: The Virginia Genealogist (magazine) Vol. 5-6 1961-62 page 82]
Following William’s marriage to Patsey they had six known children as seen in the records found for his estate:
By 1810 William and Patsey’s four older boys seen above are enumerated for the first time in the census taken in Amherst County. The image found on ancestry.com is not as legible as the one found on the Internet Archive. The transcription of the census on Ancestry.com shows that there were also 3 slaves in the household (see arrow on second image). There may have been a fifth son who pre-deceased his parents. Also in the household was a young woman aged between 10-16. Was she a child of William’s wife from a previous relationship, a girl hired to help in the household, a relative?
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Amherst County, Virginia
5 males under 10 yo (Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G. & unknown)
1 male 26 & under 45 yo (William b. 1765-1779)
1 female 10 & under 16 yo (unknown b. 1795-1800)
1 female 26 & under 45 yo (Martha b. 1765-1778)
Numbers of Slaves: 3
Number of Household Members Under 16: 6
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 11
During the 1810s William DEMPSEY bought land in Amherst County and witnessed neighbor’s deeds. The 330 acres of land that he owned at the time of his death was located in Buffalo Springs, Amherst County, now known as Forks of Buffalo and located twelve miles west of the present town of Amherst on U.S. Route 60. Many land deeds from 1813-1830 show that William shared lines with several neighbors notably Higginbotham, Sandidge, Rucker, Coleman, Gillespie, Rowsey, and Toler.
15 June 1810
WILLIAM WILLMORE and wife, SUSANNA, Amherst County, to WILLIAM DEMPSEY, Amherst County. 7000 pounds inspected tobacco – 120 acres. Lines: JOSEPH HIGGINBOTHAM, BENJAMIN SANDIDGE, RACHEL ATKINSON. Witnesses: NELSON CARTER. To WILLIAM DEMPSEY, 20 October 1815.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 135, #367]
1 June 1811
JONATHAN C. DEVASHER and wife, ELIZABETH, Amherst County. $400 no acres. Lines: mouth of a branch running into Long Branch. To WILLIAM DEMPSEY, 20 October 1815.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 43, #487]
27 January 1817
JAMES SMITH. to heirs of my brother WIATT SMITH…for $1.00 and love; two slaves named. Witnesses: WILLIAM DEMPSEY, WILLIAM COLEMAN, BENJAMIN HIGGINBOTHAM, ROWLAND GILLESPIE.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 117, #225]
20 October 1817
JOSEPH HIGGINBOTHAM, Amherst County, to BENJAMIN SANDIDGE, Amherst County.. .no amount; 14 1/2 acres south side Buffaloe. Lines: the road. Witnesses: CHARLES L. BARRET, WILLIAM COLENA, WILLIAM DEMPSEY, DAVID CLARKSON, WILLIAM COLEMAN.
[Source: Amherst County Virginia Courthouse Miniatures, The Deeds of Amherst County – Deeds Books 1-5, by Bailey Fulton Davis, A.B. Th. M., Pastor of Baptist Church, Amherst Courthouse, Virginia; page 140, #518]
In 1820 we see William as the head of household in the census however he is not included in the count. Also in the household are his wife, the six known children as well as an unknown male under 10 and an unknown female 10-16.
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Amherst County, Virginia
2 males under 10 yo (Wesley G. and unknown)
3 males 10 & under 16 yo (Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman)
3 females 10 & under 16 yo (Louisa, Eliza and unknown)
1 female 26 & under 45 yo (Martha)
2 persons engaged in agriculture
By 1830, as was mentioned previously, William DEMPSEY was no longer seen in the census. His wife Martha, no longer using her nickname Patsey, had their two youngest daughters in her household. Their married sons Isham and Seaton had their own households. Young Wesley may have been with his brother Seaton. Wilson who didn’t marry until 1839 hasn’t been located.
While William’s estate was being taken care of his oldest son and young daughters, first seen with their maiden names, married:
The story of my 4th great-grandfather William DEMPSEY of Amherst County, Virginia, is dedicated to Norma Barnett Dempsey and her husband Richard, my 4th cousin. I found Norma when I began researching my paternal family history on the internet in 2000. She sent me large envelopes full of copies of everything she had found on the DEMPSEY families in old Virginia. I’m amazed her determination in researching the DEMPSEY family as her husband does not carry the Y-DNA of the line. His mother Cindy, grandmother Nannie, and great-grandmother Polina did not marry but had children to whom they gave their maiden name – DEMPSEY. Strong single women who raised their families in an era when rights and priviliges of women were limited.
Mary M. DEMPSEY, one of my 4 paternal great-great-grandmothers, is from the other DEMPSEY line in my family tree. The lines are connected as Mary’s daughters Octava and Laura INGRAM married sons of William A. W. DEMPSEY. However a common DEMPSEY ancestor has not been found to connect the two DEMPSEY lines.
52 Ancestors: #11 Mary M. DEMPSEY abt. 1845-bet. 1880-1888
Mary M. DEMPSEY was born about 1845 to Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING who were married on 3 January 1829. They had 5 children before Mary was born and then two more bringing the total to eight children. All of these events took place in Amherst County, Virginia.
Sib 1: George W. Dempsey (1831-aft. 1870)
Sib 2: Geneva Elizabeth “Jennie” Dempsey (1836-aft. 1910)
Sib 3: William S. Dempsey (1839-1860s)
Sib 4: Thomas G. Dempsey (1840-1860s)
Sib 5: John J. Dempsey (1843-1860s)
Sib 7: Martha Ann “Matties” Dempsey (1847-1909)
Sib 8: Julia Victoria Dempsey (1853-1926)
1850 U.S. Federal Census
Amherst County, Virginia
Dempsey, C. Y. 47 M Farmer 500 Virginia
Dempsey, C. M. 35 F
Dempsey, Geo W. 19 M
Dempsey, Elizabeth 14 F
Dempsey, Wm S. 11 M
Dempsey, Thomas G. 10 M
Dempsey, John J. 7 M
Dempsey, Mary M. 5 F
Dempsey, Martha A. 2 F
Following the 1850 census Mary’s older siblings began to marry and have children. Her sister Jennie had illegitimate children, a daughter about 1857 and twin daughters about 1859. Her brother George married Rhoda A. STATON (1825-aft. 1870?) on 20 December 1852 and her brother William married Mary Eliza CLEMENTS (1839-?) on 26 April 1857, both in Amherst County.
The family moved to Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Mary’s father Seaton and her uncle Wilson M. DEMPSEY moved their families to Fayette County, (West) Virginia, in the late 1850’s. Mary’s brother William and sister Jennie remained in Amherst County with their young families.
The 1860 census listing shows Mary’s parents in one household followed by her brother George’s household. Mary and and her siblings Thomas, John, Martha, and Julia were listed in George’s household. Normally Mary and her siblings would have been listed in her parents household. I suspect that the entire family group was living together and George was given a household and family number making it look like his siblings were living in his household.
1860 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Dempsey Ceton Y. 57 M W farmer Virginia
Clementine M. 47 F W wife Virginia
George 28 M W farm labor Virginia
Rhoda 35 F W wife Virginia
Ceton A. 5 M W Virginia
Thomas G. 18 M W farm labor Virginia
John J. 15 M W farm labor Virginia
Mary M. 13 F W Virginia
Martha A. 10 F W Virginia
Juda V. 7 F W Virginia
Older siblings returned to eastern Virginia in the 1860s
Following the 1860 census Mary’s brother Thomas returned to eastern Virginia and joined the 58th Virginia Infantry in August 1861 in Amherst County. It is possible that her brother John also went east and joined up in Rockbridge County where their brother William was living. There is no trace of William, Thomas, or John in 1870 or later. Mary’s brother George and his wife disappear after the 1870 census. Their sons remained in Fayette County while a daughter went back to Amherst and later lived in Rockbridge County.
Mary’s sister Jennie had more illegitimate children and married Marshall S. TERRY (1843-aft. 1920) about 1866-1869 (per 1900 and 1910 census). She died between 1910-1920 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. No marriage record has been found for Jennie and Marshall Terry. In 1895 Chancery Records found in Rockbridge County concerning the estate of her uncle Wesley G. DEMPSEY, one of Seaton and Wilson’s brothers, Jennie was seen as Wesley’s niece Jennie TERRY (née DEMPSEY) wife of Marshall TERRY. Prior to finding the chancery records it had been assumed that the daughter seen only as Elizabeth in 1850 had died by 1860. Finding her as Jennie Terry, wife of a man who was seen as a mulatto in the earlier census listings, has brought up a whole bunch of questions that need to be answered. This discovery also gives me faith in the documents that are going to help open the doors in the DEMPSEY brick walls!
Back in Fayette County, West Virginia
Mary’s parents Seaton and Clementine remained in Fayette County with the three youngest daughters Mary M., Martha A., and Julia V. By 1870 Mary and her sister Martha had married and only Julia was living at home with her parents.
Mary’s sisters Martha and Julia marry
Martha Ann “Matties” DEMPSEY married George L. “Little George” JOHNSON (1846-bef 1880) on 20 September 1866. They had four children before Little George left her a widow. She married second Joseph Henry ARBAUGH (1853-1927) on 18 July 1880 in Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia. They were the parents of three children. “Matties” died on 11 March 1909.
Julia Victoria DEMPSEY married Joseph Henry PRESSON (1850-1934) on 3 June 1872. They were the parents of 7 children. Julia died 1 May 1926 in Ansted.
What became of Mary M. Dempsey?
On 23 May 1867 Eli WOOD, Minister of the Gospel, performed the marriage ceremony in Fayette County, West Virginia, for Mary M. DEMPSEY and her groom Irvin Lewis INGRAM, son of Robert INGRAM and Huldah JOHNSON. [line 37]
The 1870 census listing for Mary and her young family has not been located. I suspect that the family may have been missed. From later records we know that Mary’s first daughter Octavia Dell INGRAM (1866-1923) was born 14 March 1866 Fayette County, West Virginia. This was a year prior to Mary’s marriage to Irvin Lewis INGRAM on 23 May 1867. Following the marriage their second daughter Laura Belle INGRAM (1868-1940) was born 24 April 1868 at Ingram Branch on Loop Creek in Fayette County. There are no birth records for Octava and Laura and we must rely on the information passed on to descendants, in Octava’s case, and given on Laura’s death certificate.
Mary and Irvin’s third daughter’s birth was entered in the register of births: Harriet F. Ingram (1871- ) born 8 March 1871 at Loup Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. This daughter most likely died before 1900 as she has not been found in the 1900 census nor has a marriage record been found for her at WVCulture.org. Note that her father Irvin was missed in the 1900 census and it is possible that Harriet may have also been missed.
In 1880 we see Mary age 31 with her husband Irvin age 35 and their three daughters, Octavi D. age 14; Laura B. age 12 and Harriet F. age 9. This is the last record we find to document Mary’s life.
Was Mary still living when her daughters married in the early 1880’s? Octavia Dell married Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY (1862-1943) on 19 October 1882 and Laura Belle married William Henderson DEMPSEY (1860-1941) on 1 October 1884. Both marriages were performed by I. C. Cavendish.
Mary’s husband Irvin Lewis INGRAM’s marital status was widower when he married Susie Aliff on 11 February 1888 therefore Mary must have died after the 1880 census and prior to Irvin’s marriage in February 1888. She would have been 43 years old in 1888.
I planned out my 52 Ancestors in January and only noticed today that I would be blogging about the same ancestral line as I did last year on St. Patrick’s Day. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!