Unraveling the Mystery of George W. Dempsey, son of Seaton Y. Dempsey and Clementine Gowing (part 1)

I have a theory I’m working on. It might not be very smart of me to share it here, but I see no other way to get others involved in helping me solve this mystery.

I know what happens when the wrong information is posted on the internet. People believe it, re-post it, and, suddenly, it becomes an accepted but unproven fact. The ancestor or relative’s story is changed as people go click-happy accepting hints.

In this first of two parts, a bit of background information will be shared on the person of interest.

Who was George W. Dempsey (b. abt. 1831)?

George W. DEMPSEY was the oldest child of my 3rd great-grandparents Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING who married 3 January 1829 in Amherst County, Virginia.1 Seaton, per the census, was the head of a household in 1830 with a young man, likely his younger brother Wesley, and a young woman, his wife Clementine.2 The young married couple didn’t yet have children. By 1840 they had three children including George who was less than 10 years old and over five.3 In 1850 George was still living at home and 19 years old.4 No birth records were found for Amherst County at this time and George’s birth has been estimated at about 1831.

On 20 December 1852, George married Rhoda A. STATON in Amherst County.5 Less than a year later, on 19 November 1853, their son Andrew Seaton DEMPSEY was born.6 Sometime after Andrew’s birth, Seaton Y. DEMPSEY’s family moved to the Fayetteville Township area of Fayette County, (West) Virginia. George and Rhoda were in his father’s household in 1860 with their son “Ceton A.” listed as age 5.7 If other children had been born to the couple before 1860, they did not survive. George’s oldest sister Geneva Elizabeth DEMPSEY remained in Amherst County and his brother William S. DEMPSEY, the second oldest son, had married and remained in Rockbridge County.

On 23 May 1862, during the Civil War, George W. DEMPSEY was arrested by Lt. Col. Henry W. BRAZEE of the 9th Virginia Volunteers. George, age 31 years, was described as 5 feet 9 1/2 inches, light complexion, dark hair, blue eyes, and long sprouts (whiskers). He said he had done nothing to cause the arrest.8

A year later George and Rhoda’s son Robert L. DEMPSEY was born in March 1863.9 Four years later, George and Rhoda had a daughter on 11 May 1867 in Fayetteville Township.10 She was named Polina E. and would go by Bettie and Lina in later years. In 1870 the little family was found in the census in Fayetteville Township: George A. (sic), Rhoda, Andrew S., Robert L., and Pertina E.11

On 29 December 1874, Andrew S. DEMPSEY, son of Geo. W. and R. A. DEMPSEY, married in Fayetteville. The marriage register entry does not indicate if the parents were living or deceased.12

There is the possibility that George was the man mentioned in a document dated 8 March 1876 when a contract with one Geo. W. DEMPSEY for road work on Arbuckle road in Fayette County was annulled.

I’ve researched all three DEMPSEY lines who lived in Fayette County at this time. There was a younger George Washington DEMPSEY, son of John W. DEMPSEY and Amelia RIDDLE, born in December 1851 who would have also been old enough to be the man mentioned in the record above. I cannot at this time say if this contract was for George b. 1831 or George b. 1851. I had planned on sharing the images and transcription of the document but decided against it. Anyone interested in the document can view it at the link in the citation.13

George W. DEMPSEY and his wife were not found in the 1880 census. Therefore, there is a decade from 1870 to 1880 in which their whereabouts are unknown.

The death of George W. DEMPSEY

George W. DEMPSEY did not die on 16 November 1879 and he was not buried in Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton, Virginia, in grave number 5369.

1880 U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedule. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com

The man buried in Hampton National Cemetery served as a volunteer in Company K of Regiment 8 of New Jersey.14, 15 He was a 70 years old widower and had been a resident of the National Soldiers Home for 5 years16. He was born about 1809 and over 20 years older than George W. DEMPSEY of Fayette County. Records found for this man’s death have been erroneously attached to George W. DEMPSEY, son of Seaton Y. and Clementine.

I learned the date of death was wrong, i.e. not for George W. DEMPSEY of Virginia, by viewing the documents. This is why we should always view the available images and not rely on the index. If only an index is offered, it is wise to review the source information to learn if the records are available in image form on the same site or on another.

With the confusion concerning George’s death in 1879 out of the way, what happened to him? Where was he in 1880?

The Children of George W. DEMPSEY and Rhoda A. STATON from 1880 until…

In 1880, two of the three known children of George W. DEMPSEY and Rhoda A. STATON were found in the census. They lived about 165 miles apart. That may not seem like much in our days but in 1880 this was not a quick drive on the interstate.

Andrew Seaton DEMPSEY (1853-1924) was 27 years old, married with two children, and living in Fayetteville17 where the family had been since coming from Amherst County around 1855.18

Andrew would remain in Fayetteville and raise a family of nine children. No death record has been found but his tombstone in Huse Memorial Park indicates he died in 1924.

The whereabouts of Robert L. DEMPSEY (1863-aft. 1930) in 1880 is unknown. Robert married Mary Frances DARR in Kanawha County in 1892. None of the records found name his parents and a record of death is missing. Robert and his wife gave their children unusual middle names which strongly support his being George’s son. His oldest son was named Paul Seaton, his youngest son Edgar Younger (the assumed middle name of his great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY), and his son Robert Darr was given his mother’s maiden name.

Polina Elizabeth DEMPSEY (1867-1941) was 13 years old in 1880, a servant living in Pedlar District of Amherst County with a MASON household.19

Bettie, as she was more often known, lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia, from at least 1884 when her first daughter was born in Cornwall.20 Bettie had eight children before marrying William W. SORRELS in 1916. Her 1941 death certificate gives her mother’s name as Rhoda STATON and her father’s name as not known.21

What Happened to George W. DEMPSEY?

With two of the three children of George and Rhoda accounted for in the 1880 census, several questions remain. Where were George, Rhoda, and Robert in 1880? Why was their 13-year-old daughter found in Amherst? Were both George and Rhoda still living, only one of them living, or neither?

Assuming George W. DEMPSEY was living in 1880, where might he have gone? Could he have started a new family? Have descendants of his known and maybe unknown children had their DNA tested?

The second part of this post will be published in two weeks’ time as next Sunday’s post will be My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2021.

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

 


  1. Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853 (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, DGS 7578824, Film 30273, image 589 of 786, Date: 1829 Jan 3; Name of husband: Dempsey, Seaton Y.; Name of wife: Gowing, Clementina; Security and witnesses: Landon S. Gowing, Philip Smith Sr., Ro. Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-N8WJ : accessed 6 February 2021). 
  2. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Roll: 194; History Library Film: 0029673, Virginia, Amherst, page 519, line 1, Seaton Y. Dempsey household. The official enumeration day of the 1830 census was 1 June 1830. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 February 2013). 
  3. 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: 214, line 28, Seaton Dempsey. The official enumeration day of the 1840 census was 1 June 1840. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 19 February 2013). 
  4. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: 933, Virginia, Amherst County, Eastern District, page: 76a (stamped), lines 1-9, HH #40-40, Dempsey. The official enumeration day of the 1850 census was 1 June 1850. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 13 February 2013). 
  5. Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853, image 784 of 786, left page, 5th entry from bottom, Geo W Dempsey and Rhoda A. Staton married 20 Dec 1852. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9XF-NZMP?i=783 : accessed 21 January 2021). 
  6. Audrey Blankenship Gill, photographer, photo of a grave marker in Huse Memorial Park, Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia, taken on 3 April 2007. Inscription: Dempsey, Andrew Seaton Nov. 19, 1853-Mar. 12, 1928 and Dempsey, Caroline Burgess June 12, 1852-May 10, 1933. 
  7. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653, Family History Library Film: 805344, West Virginia, Fayette County, District 2, page No. 142, lines 28-37, HH #1352-687 and #1353-688, Dempsey households. The official enumeration day of the 1860 census was 1 June 1860. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 19 February 2013). 
  8. “United States Union Provost Marshal Files of Individual Civilians, 1861-1866,” images, FamilySearch, citing NARA microfilm publication M345 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), Dej-Den > image 856-858 of 1785. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939X-XF9K-8P?cc=1834304&wc=M6Y2-LP8%3A162217301 : 22 May 2014). 
  9. Month and year of birth from the 1900 census. I have not found records supporting his middle name being Luther as seen on many family trees. A son’s delayed birth certificate and a daughter’s obituary name the father as Robert Lee DEMPSEY. 
  10.  “West Virginia Births, 1853-1930,” database, FamilySearch, citing Fayetteville Twp, Fayette, West Virginia, United States, county courthouses, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 584,755,  line31, Polina E Dempsey, May 1867, image on WVCulture (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=584755&ImageNumber=13 : accessed 6 February 2021) 
  11. 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_1686, Family History Library Film: 553185, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, page 113A, line 40, and page 113B, lines 1-4, HH #9-9, Dempsey George A (sic). The official enumeration day of the 1870 census was 1 June 1870. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 19 February 2013). 
  12. West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970 (database index, FamilySearch, database images <I>West Virginia Division of Culture and History</I>), 29 Dec 1874, Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia, Andrew S. Dempsey, 21y, single, born Fayette, residing Fayette, s/o Geo W. and R. A. Dempsey, Caroline Burgess, 21y, single, born Fayette, residing Fayette, d/o Andrew and ~ Burgess. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12086567&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 February 2021). 
  13. Loose papers, ca. 1787-1875 (1901), (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the West Virginia University Library in Morgantown, West Virginia. Contains original deeds, guardianship, wills, road records, and other types of documents that were recorded before the courts. DGS 7616766, Film 186347, Loose papers (boxes 1-2), env. ?-1 to ?-3 (no dates), env. 1787-1, 1824-1, 1841-1, 1851-1 to 1869-3, image 498 (lower right) and 499 (upper right) of 584. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9VT-QCR9?cat=302047 : accessed 5 February 2021). 
  14. U.S., National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962. Ancestry.com. (database online) citing Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2590/images/40479_1521003239_0476-03252?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true&_ga=2.250633295.855475264.1612270652-785982050.1593849185&pId=2196090 : accessed 3 February 2021) 
  15. The National Cemetery Administration; Hampton National Cemetery, Burial Register, 1833-1935. Ancestry.com (online database), U.S., Burial Registers, Military Posts and National Cemeteries, 1862-1960 citing Department of Defense. Department of the Army. Office of the Quartermaster General. (09/18/1947–08/01/1962). Burial Registers of Military Post and National Cemeteries, compiled ca. 1862–ca. 1960. ARC ID: 4478151. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/3135/images/B0121384-00171?usePUB=true&_phsrc=Wbz35595&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=496218 : accessed 3 February 2021) 
  16. U.S., Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885. Ancestry.com (online database) citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Non-population Census Schedules for Virginia, 1850-1880; Archive Collection: T1132; Archive Roll Number: 18; Census Year: 1879; Census Place: Hampton National Soldiers Home, Elizabeth City, Virginia; Page: 471. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/8756/images/VAT1132_18-0312?usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true&pId=2170177 : accessed 3 February 2021) 
  17. 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: 1402, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, Enumeration District 27, page 31B, lines 17-20, HH #339, Andrew S Dempsey. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 6 February 2021). 
  18. Seaton’s youngest child was born in Amherst in 1853. His brother Wilson was in Fayette County for the birth of a slave named Orange on 11 June 1855. Wilson’s residence at the time was listed as Amherst. He may have set up temporary housekeeping in Fayette with Mary, the mother of Orange, and preparing for the permanent move from Amherst to Fayette with his second wife and children from both marriages. 
  19. 1880 Census, Roll: 1353; Virginia, Amherst County, Pedlar, Enumeration District 20, page 238D, line 22, HH #27-27, Marvel Mason. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 6 February 2021). 
  20. “Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, State file no. 23586, Registration area no. 815B, Registered no. 9. Nanny Dempsey, female, white, age 64, born 10 May 1884, died 20 Oct 1948 in Vesuvius, Rockbridge, Virginia, registration date 3 Nov 1948, mother Betty Dempsey. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 January 2016). 
  21. Ibid., State file no. 25092, Registration area no. 815A, Registered no. 9. Betty P Dempsey Sorrels, female, white, age 71, born 11 May 1870, died 8 Sep 1941 in Rockbridge, Virginia, registration date 9 Nov 1941, mother Rhoda Staton, spouse W W Sorrels. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2016). 

52 Ancestors: #11 Mary M. DEMPSEY abt. 1845-bet. 1880-1888

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

This is my 11th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

#11 Mary M. DEMPSEY abt. 1845-bet. 1880-1888

An Explanation Up Front

I have two DEMPSEY lines in my paternal family tree. My entries for this challenge have included my father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, all with the surname DEMPSEY:

#1 Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY 1935-1974
#2 Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY 1899-1975

#4 William Henderson DEMPSEY 1860-1941
#8 William A. W. DEMPSEY 1822-1867

Screenshot of five-generation pedigree generated by Ancestral Quest 14

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.

Mary M. DEMPSEY was born about 1845 to Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING who were married on 3 January 1829.1 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)

1850censusAmherst
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Amherst > Eastern District > Sheet 76A > HH #40

1850 U.S. Federal Census2
Amherst County, Virginia
Eastern District
HH #40-40
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 1852.3 Her brother William married Mary Eliza CLEMENTS (1839-?) on 26 April 1857.4 Both marriages took place 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 1850s. 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 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 appear that his siblings were living in his household.

1860censusseaton
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > District 2 > Sheet 304

1860 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Fayetteville Twp
HH #1352-687
Dempsey Ceton Y. 57 M W farmer Virginia
Clementine M. 47 F W wife Virginia
HH #1353-688
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.6 Her brother John also went east and joined up in Rockbridge County where their brother William was living.7 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.

UPDATE (February 2021): Unraveling the Mystery of George W. Dempsey, son of Seaton Y. Dempsey and Clementine Gowing (part 1), part 2, and part 3.

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.8 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.9

Mary’s sisters Martha and Julia marry

Martha Ann “Matties” DEMPSEY married George L. “Little George” JOHNSON (1846-bef 1880) on 20 September 1866.10 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.11 They were the parents of three children. “Matties” died on 11 March 1909.12

Julia Victoria DEMPSEY married Joseph Henry PRESSON (1850-1934) on 3 June 1872.13 They were the parents of 7 children. Julia died 1 May 1926 in Ansted.14

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.15

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 in 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,16 and given on Laura’s death certificate.17

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.18 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.

1880censusingram
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > ED #27 Sheet #17A

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 9.19 This is the last record we find to document Mary’s life.

Was Mary still living when her daughters married in the early 1880s? Octavia Dell married Elijah Lewis DEMPSEY (1862-1943) on 19 October 1882.20 Laura Belle married William Henderson DEMPSEY (1860-1941) on  1 October 1884.21 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 1888.22 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!

This Post Was Updated on 13 March 2022: Missing source citations were added, images were watermarked, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

© 2014-2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853 (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, DGS 7578824, Film 30273, image 589 of 786, Amherst County Register of marriages, page 301, entry 2, 3 Jan 1829, Seaton Y Dempsey and Clementina Gowing, security and witnesses: Landon S. Gowing, Philip Smith Sr., Ro. Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-N8WJ : accessed 26 February 2022). 
  2. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: 933, Virginia, Amherst County, Eastern, page 76A (stamped), lines 1-9, household 40-40, C. Y. Dempsey (accessed 13 February 2013). 
  3. Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853, DGS 7578824, Film 30273, image 784 of 786, left page, 5th entry from bottom, Geo W Dempsey and Rhoda A. Staton married 20 Dec 1852. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9XF-NZMP?i=783 : accessed 21 January 2021). 
  4. Amherst County (Virginia) County Clerk, “Marriage registers, 1854-1920, 1974-1977; indexes to marriages, 1854-1970,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Amherst County Courthouse in Amherst, Virginia., Film 1888584 Items 3-4, DGS 7735324, Marriage registers, v. [2-3], 1854-1900, image 54 of 525, page 25-26, 12th entry, 26 Apr 1857, William S Dempsey and Mary Elenor Clements, citing Amherst County, Virginia. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89XF-F88F?i=53 : accessed 27 February 2022). 
  5. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653, FHL film 805344, West Virginia, Fayette County, District 2, page 142, lines 28-37, household 1352-687 and 1353-688, Ceton Y and George Dempsey (accessed 19 February 2013). 
  6. “Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1124/), citing National Archives at Washington DC; Washington, DC. USA; War Department Collection of Confederate Records; NARA film publication M598; Record Group: War Department Collection of Confederate Records; Record Group Number: 109, Thomas G. Dempsey and T. G. Dempsey, records of. 
  7. Robert J. Driver, Jr., The Confederate Soldiers of Rockbridge County, Virginia: A Roster, McFarland, Aug 23, 2016, p. 75, Dempsey, John J. and Dempsey, William S. (https://books.google.lu/books : accessed 31 March 2018) 
  8. Chancery Records of Virginia, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, Local Government Records Collection, Virginia Memory (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/), Rockbridge County (Va.) Chancery Causes 1781-1931, W H Maxwell & wife v. Admr. of W G Dempsey etc, 1895-044, original case number 205.625, 185 images, citing original records housed at the Rockbridge County Circuit Court Clerk’s office. 
  9. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), 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_1686; FHL film 553185, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, page 39, sheet 132A (stamped), lines 21-24, household 257-256, Seton Dempsey (accessed 25 January 2022). 
  10. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (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 https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 241, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1865-1866, page 3, line 33 of 45, 20 Sep 1866, George L. Johnson and Martha Ann Dempsey, citing Fayetteville. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00241.jpg : accessed 27 February 2022). 
  11. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 279, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1880, page 38, line 29, 18 Jul 1880, Jos H. Arbaugh and Martha A. Johnson, citing Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00279.jpg : accessed 27 February 2022). 
  12. Becky Fox and Anita McClung, Westlake Cemetery (59 Cemetery St, Ansted, Fayette County, West Virginia), Mattie A., Wife of Joseph Arbaugh, Died Mar 11, 1909, Age 57y, cemetery reading by Fox and McClung shared on Fayette County Footprints, a MyFamily.com website retired on 30 September 2014 by Ancestry. 
  13. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 259, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1872, page 19, line 18, 3 Jun 1872, Joseph H Presson and Julia V Dempsey, citing Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00259.jpg : accessed 28 February 2022). 
  14. James Skaggs, comp. and photographer, Hendricks Cemetery, Gauley Mountain, Route 60, Turkey Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia, photo of double tombstone for Joseph Henry Presson and wife Julia Victoria Dempsey (http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?username=jim_skaggs : accessed 5 December 2001). 
  15. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764/, image 244, Fayette County, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1867, page 6, line 14, Irvin Ingram and Mary M. Dempsey, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00244.jpg : accessed 22 January 2022). 
  16. The Hallie Dempsey Memorial, Terry Cemetery, Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia (three pictures courtesy of Becky Fox Shuff, photographed 21 February 2005), Octavia D. Dempsey 1866-1923. Becky oversees the care and maintenance of the Terry Cemetery. She and her sister Betty Fox LeMasters were co-admins of the myfamily.com genealogy site Fayette County Footprints where the photographs were first shared. 
  17. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983556, Fayette, West Virginia, Certificate of Death, Registered No. 12945, Laura Ingram Dempsey, 08 Oct 1940, citing Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://archive.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=1063678&Type=Death : accessed 8 January 2022). Her age at the time of death (72 yrs 5 months 14 days) and the birthdate (24 April 1868) calculate correctly for her date of death. 
  18. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584755, image 32, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Births 1871, line 83, March 1871, Harriet Ingram, citing Loop Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584755/00032.jpg : accessed 25 January 2022). 
  19. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry  (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), 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: 1402; West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, Enumeration District 027, page 17A, lines, 16-20, HH #53, Irvin Ingram household (accessed 25 January 2022). 
  20. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1882, image 284, page 45, line 29, E L Dempsey and Octavia D. Inghram, 19 Oct 1882, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00286.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  21. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Marriage 1884, image 293, page 52, line 40, W H Dempsey and Laura B. Ingram, 1 Oct 1884, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00293.jpg : accessed 21 January 2022). 
  22. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 166, Fayette County, West Virginia, Clerk’s Certificate and Marriage License, page 288 (stamped), Irvin Lewis Ingram and Susan Octava Holstin, citing Fayetteville, Fayette County, WV. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00166.jpg : accessed 22 January 2022).