My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2022

It’s time for my Ancestor Score! 

This is my 9th year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day. I first read about this way keeping tabs on the progress of genealogy research on Barbara Schmidt’s blog Connecting the Worlds in 2014.

Last year I cut off the ancestors after the 10th generation.  This year I’m bringing back the full scoreboard with comparisons to even years only since the chart was getting too large.

My Ancestor Score

In generation 6, I’m still missing the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY. I wonder if this generation will ever hit 100%. The increase in generation 7 was an ancestor I discovered last year.

While researching 5th great-grandparents in my maternal line, parents and grandparents of the persons of interest were discovered increasing the numbers in generations 9 and 10. At least one record confirming the names was found and reasonably exhaustive research still needs to be conducted.

In the early generations, the numbers fluctuate when I find a branch that needs a bit of pruning. More often than not, when I prune a branch it starts sprouting new shoots.

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s ancestor score seems to have an error in generation 10. I think I may have miscounted back in 2020 and carried it over in 2021.

Their first eight generations are nearly 96% known. They have all been written up except for Henry TREADWAY and Sarah JOHNSON (5th greats) and the living persons in the first three generations.

How do you keep track of your ancestors?

And what does your Ancestor Score look like? Do you keep track of your ancestors differently?

Happy Valentine’s Day.

The posts from previous years can be found here:

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

My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2021

It’s time for my Ancestor Score! 

We would not be here without the ancestral couples who came before us. What better day to feature them than on Valentine’s Day. Nearly all of my ancestors were married, some cut it close, and two ancestresses never bothered to marry.

I’ve been writing about The Ancestors since I began blogging, going back one generation at a time. Generations 2 through 7 are complete except for one set of 4th great-grandparents. The 8th generation is off to a good start with nearly a dozen couples’ stories already written. Vital statistics, spouses, children, residence, occupation, ownership, military service, and miscellaneous biographical information were used in the stories.

There are close to 400 known ancestors in the next four generations – many have baptism, marriage, and burial records, some have more biographical detail,  while others may only be names gleaned from their children’s records.

In the past, I’ve kept track of the ancestors back to the earliest known ancestor in the 21st generation. This year I decided to count only the ancestors back to my 7th great-grandparents.

My Ancestor Score

Nearly 90% of my ancestors are known up to generation 8. The numbers go down significantly in the next two generations due to the brick walls in my paternal lines in the US.

New Names in the Family Tree

The name of Henry TREADWAY’s first wife was found this past year in a book with a series of sketches on early families of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio, written by Mrs. Mary Donaldson Sinclair  (1862-1940) in the early 1930s, and published at that time by The Steubenville Herald-Star. The article included not only Henry TREADWAY’s wife’s name but also her parents’ names and where they were from. Three new names in the family tree (generations 7 and 8) need to be researched. Perhaps they will firm up the assumption that Henry TREADWAY and Sarah JOHNSON were the parents of my 3rd great-grandmother Sarah Ann TREADWAY. DNA matches to descendants of three other children of Henry have been found in one cluster and are the reason I’ve taken a closer look at available publications.

Henry TREADWAY and his wife are the 4th great-grandparents I mentioned above that have not yet been featured on my blog. I plan to take time to review the research I’ve done and, finally, write about them sometime this year.

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s numbers are looking a lot better than mine as their paternal line is Luxembourgish. The 4% missing in the subtotal up to generation 8 is due to my DEMPSEY, DOSS, and COOLEY brick walls, as well as, one set of 5th great-grandparents that is unknown on their paternal side.

How do you keep track of your ancestors?

I learned this way of keeping tabs on the progress of genealogy research on Barbara Schmidt’s blog Connecting the Worlds in 2014. This is my 8th year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day.

The posts from previous years can be found here:

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

Rewriting the Biography: Mildred “Milly” SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

Rewriting the Biography is an ongoing theme for the rough draft notes of a new/updated biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) of Nicholas County.

Mildred “Milly” SIMS was the 4th child and 3rd daughter of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON. Milly, as she was seen in the 1850 to 1880 census, was born about 1807.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

At the time of the 1810 census, she was about three years old and the youngest of the three females under the age of 10 in the household of her father James SIMS in Kanawha County.

1810 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James SIMMS (top line) and his two oldest sons living in the state and county.

1810 U.S. Federal Census 1
Kanawha County, Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 23
Name: James Simms
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 1 (James Jr.)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3 (Margaret, Sarah, Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Numbers of Slaves: 5 (Isaac, Black Jude, Black Fanny, Robert, and ?)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 11

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

By 1820 Milly was thirteen years old and fitted into the 10 thru 15 years category on the census sheet. She was still living at home with her father James, mother Elizabeth, two brothers, three sisters, and nine slaves. The land James SIMS had bought in 1800 in Kanawha County was now part of Nicholas County which had been formed in 1818.

1820 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James SIMS

1820 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 19
Enumeration Date: 7 August 1820
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Dryden, Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Jane & Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Margaret, Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25: 2 (Isaac and Robert)
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 3
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25: 2 (Black Jude and Black Fanny)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total Slaves: 9
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 17

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

On 12 November 1826, Milly SIMS and Joel SETTLE were married by John CAMPBELL. By 1830 the couple had two daughters under the age of 5. They likely lived on land owned by Joel’s father Abner SETTLE. Abner had added to James KELLY’s “improvement by making entries above and below it in 1823. The survey which followed in 1825 mentioned his fields and affirmed his ownership of the Kelly lands which, with the new additions, amounted to more than a hundred acres. One field in the mouth of Right Hand Fork was long known as Joel’s Field, named for Joel Settle, the settler’s son.3

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Joel SETTLE (the image was very faint and exposure had to be adjusted).

1830 U.S. Federal Census4
Nicholas County, Virginia
Sheet 188, line 23
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: Joel Settle
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Joel)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Mary Ann Elizabeth and Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Milly)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 4
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 4

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

By 1840 Milly’s family had grown. There were three daughters and two sons now in the household.  One of the daughters who was seen with Milly and Joel in 1830 was likely Nancy R. who was born about 1830 – soon enough to be included in the 1830 census count but too late in the year to be considered as a 10-year-old in 1840.

The area of Nicholas County in which the family lived became part of Fayette County in 1831.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Joel SUTTLE

1840 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, Virginia
Page 146, Line 4
Name: Joel Suttle
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (Abner and Campbell)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Joel)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Nancy and Araminta Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Mary Ann Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Milly)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

By 1850 Milly had given birth to eight children who were still living. Seven were living at home. Her oldest daughter Mary Ann Elizabeth had married Henry ARTHUR about 1846 and was living with him and their son several households away.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Joel SUTTLE household

1850 U.S. Federal Census6
Fayette County, Virginia
The 14th District
Sheet No. 366A, Lines 8-16, HH #463-463
Joel Suttle 44 M Farmer Virginia
Milly Suttle 44 F Virginia cannot read & write
Nancy R. Suttle 20 F Virginia cannot read & write
Jane Suttle 18 F Virginia
Abner Suttle 12 M Virginia
Campbell Suttle 11 M Virginia
Jas. Wesley Suttle 8 M Virginia
Francis A. Suttle 4 M Virginia
Joel D. Suttle 1 M Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Milly gave birth to one more child, a daughter, a couple of years after the 1850 census. She was the last of nine children.

In 1856 Joel bought fifty-two acres of bottom land in the small valley of a stream that came to be called Joel’s Branch but later was known as Taylor Branch, a left-hand branch of Jenkins Fork of Loop Creek.

Joel and Milly had five children still living at home. Abner was living with his wife and his brother Campbell next door and in the next household was their oldest daughter with her husband Henry ARTHUR. Only their daughter Nancy was away from the family. She had married William TINCHER of Greenbrier and was living with him and their two sons in a stable in that county.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Joel SETTLE, Abner SETTLE, and Henry ARTHUR households

1860 U.S. Federal Census7
Fayette County, Virginia
District 1, Fayetteville Post Office
Sheet No. 338, Page No. 28, HH #204-181
Joel Settle 53 M farmer $200 $100 Virginia cannot read & write
Milly Settle 52 F Virginia cannot read & write
Jane Settle 26 F Farm laborer Virginia cannot read & write
James Settle 18 M Farm laborer Virginia attended school
Berry Settle 15 M Farm laborer Virginia attended school
Dixon Settle 10 M Virginia attended school
Rebecca Settle 7 F Virginia attended school
Ellen Atkerson 18 F servant Virginia
Note: The column for literacy was for people over 20 years of age.

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

Joel and his son Campbell cleared adjoining farms in the head of Open Fork, a small right-hand tributary to Loop Creek, a branch of Kanawha River in Fayette County, following the Civil War.

By 1870 only the two youngest children of Joel and Milly were living at home. Araminta Jane had married William Madison PRINCE soon after the 1860 census and was the mother of five. Abner had married Locky Jane PRINCE just before the 1860 census. Campbell Washington married Anna Elizabeth TAYLOR in 1864.  James Wesley married Mary Melvina BLAKE In 1866. Francis Asbury married Lucinda TREADWAY in 1867.

Mary Ann Elizabeth and her husband Henry ARTHUR were still living near her parents in household  #7. Nancy and her husband William TINCHER were in Greenbrier County.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for Joel SETTLE household

1870 U.S. Federal Census8
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls of Kanawha Township
Gauley Bridge Post Office
Sheet No. 95B, Page No. 2, Lines 4-7, HH #8-8
Settle, Joel 63 M W farmer $150 $130 Virginia cannot read & write male US Cit. over 21 yo
Settle, Millie 63 F W housekeeper Virginia
Settle, Joel D. 20 M W farm laborer Virginia
Settle, Rebecca 18 F W housekeeper Virginia

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Joel and his son Campbell were the first settlers on Open Fork along with Joel’s son-in-law Henry ARTHUR but did not remain there. They moved away after Joel sold his improvement. This would be Joel and Milly’s last move as they ended their days at a place known as Millie’s Bottom or Milly Place opposite McVey Hollow.

Only the youngest daughter of Joel and Milly was still unmarried and living at home in 1880. Their youngest son Joel Dixon married Charlotte Marsh DARLINGTON in 1874. Their son James Wesley’s wife had died about 1871. He married Clarissa KILLINGSWORTH, a widow, in 1874. The marriage did not last long, perhaps ending with the death of Clarissa as James was listed as widowed when he married Martha Jane McKinney, a single lady, in 1875. James had three children from his first marriage. His oldest son has not been located but his daughter was in his household and his youngest son Charles Asbury was found with the SETTLE grandparents Joel and Milly in 1880.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for Joel SETTLE household

1880 U.S. Federal Census9
Fayette County, West Virginia
Fayetteville District
Enumeration District No. 27
Page No. 10, Sheet No. 17B, Lines 18-21, HH #64
Settle, Joel W M 73 married Farmer VA VA VA
Settle, Milly W F 73 wife married Keeping House WV VA VA
Settle, Rebeckey W F 26 daughter single At Home WV VA WV
Settle, Charley A. W M 10 grandson single WV WV WV

After the 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Milly’s husband Joel died in June 1881 and Milly followed in May 1882. They are said to be buried in Moseley Cemetery, Loop Creek in Fayette County but no stones mark their graves.

Milly had seen all of her children married and starting families of their own. Her son Campbell was widowed at the same time his father Joel died. He then married Mary Margaret FOSTER in March 1882. Milly and Joel’s youngest daughter Becky married Henry S. MITCHELL in April 1882, only a month before Milly’s death.

In the next installment James SIMS’ youngest daughter from his second marriage, Jane L. SIMS will be featured.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Rewriting the Biography: Mildred

  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 23, James Simms (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3.   L. Neil Darlington, Cabins of the Loop and Environs of the Southern Half of Fayette County Virginia (Now West Virginia), 1988, McClain Printing Company, Parsons, West Virginia, pgs. 246-247. 
  4. 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, FHL Fim 0029677, NARA Roll M19_198, Virginia, Nicholas, images 33+34 of 42, page 188, line 23, Joel Settle. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  5. 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, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, image 15 of 54, page 146A+B, line 4, Joel Suttle. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  6. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_943; Image: 289; Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 73 of 91, Sheet No. 366A, Lines 8-16, HH #463-463, Joel Suttle household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  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_1344; Page: 290; FHL Film: 805344; Virginia, Fayette, District 1, image 26 of 26, Sheet No. 338, Page No. 28, Lines 1-8, HH #204-181, Joel Settle household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 July 2018). 
  8. 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; History Library Film: 553185; West Virginia, Fayette, Falls of Kanawha, image 2 of 36, Page No. 2, Sheet No. 95B, Lines 4-7, HH #8-8, Joel Settle household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 July 2018). 
  9. 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, Fayetteville, image 10 of 46, Enumeration District No. 27, Page No. 10, Sheet No. 17B, Lines 18-21, HH #64, Joel Settle household. “.” (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 July 2018). 

Look Who’s Using DNA for Genealogy Research

In mid-March I received this message from one of my siblings:

Just wanted to let you know that I ordered a DNA kit from ancestry.com. I will send you the results when I get them. Hopefully it will be useful in your research.

When his results came in late May he sent me this message and screenshot:

Hope this doesn’t mess up your research too much.

ethnicityI thought he was holding out on me, waiting to let me know only after he came to visit for Mom’s 80th birthday. But the results truly did not come in until the early morning of the day he was to arrive in Luxembourg.

He turned administration over to me as he thought I would know better what to do with the test results as he does not do genealogy.

I haven’t done DNA testing but my second cousin Laura [daughter of Geraldine Dempsey Workman (1931-2007) – the first person I know of who worked on our family tree] shared her DNA page with me earlier this year. Since Laura and I share great-grandparents (William Henderson DEMPSEY and Laura Belle INGRAM) 3/4 of her matches did not have anything to do with our common line. It, however, helped me to get a feel for Ancestry’s DNA page before my brother’s results came in.

The ethnicity results (above) of 100% European were to be expected although it blew the theory of a Native American connection right out of the water. Or so I thought. Where do the 10% Italy/Greece fit into our family tree?

After a week or so of trying to figure out some kind of system to work through the matches on Ancestry, I decided to download the raw DNA data and upload it to GEDmatch. After the kit was tokenized and while I was waiting for the batch processing to complete I did a heritage test.

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent
1 Early Neolithic Farmer 43.00
2 Western European/Unknown Hunter-Gatherer 25.49
3 Ancestral South Eurasian 18.91
4 Caucas-Gedrosia 7.59
5 NearEast 1.65
6 Amerindian 1.43
7 Ancestral South Indian 1.20

1.43% Native American DNA for my brother. I understand he got about 50% of his DNA from our father and 50% from our mother (European). Family tradition is the NA connection is through our paternal grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP‘s mother Rebecca Jane CLONCH. If I keep doubling the percentage (which may not be scientifically correct) I get 91.52% at the 4th great-grandparent level. Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY are the only known set. Another ancestor at this level was Levina DOSS who had her children with an unknown man. The unknowns are COOLEYs and TREADWAYs.

I admit this was just a game I was playing before I begin to get serious about using the DNA results for research purposes. But who knows, maybe I’m on the right track.

Oh yes, Laura and my brother are “predicted 2nd cousins” and share 381 centimorgans across 15 DNA segments.

bestwishescathy1

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

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52 Ancestors: #29 Sarah Ann TREADWAY 1828-bet. 1900-1910

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

This is entry #29 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

#29 Sarah Ann TREADWAY 1828-aft. 1900

My 3rd great-grandmother married in 1851.1 In the marriage records of Meigs County, Ohio John COOLEY, the name of the groom, and Sarah A. TREADWELL, the name of the bride, were entered by the same person who made all other entries on the page.

“The State of Ohio Meigs County, ss. This is to certify that on the 9th day of September A. D. 1851 I joined in marriage John Cooley & Sarah Ann Treadwell by virtue of a license for that purpose (signed) H. S. Lawrence J.P.”

All entries on the page included the annotation “A true copy” except for this one. Does the original scrap of paper still exist? All entries for 1851 are in the same handwriting. I skipped back through the “Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1” database at FamilySearch, 50 images at a time, and discovered that the entire volume appears to have been written by the same person, most likely at the same time. This would mean that the register was made at a later date. Is it a copy of the original register of marriage records and/or a collection of entries compiled from loose-leaf papers found in the courthouse?

Did the clerk who copied the Justice of the Peace’s information make a mistake? Did H. S. Lawrence, J.P., make the error in his records? In all records produced after this event, Sarah Ann’s maiden name was spelled TREADWAY.

TREADWELL or TREADWAY, that is the question!

• Daughter Ida’s 1870 birth record has as mother Sarah Jane TREADWAY, not Sarah Ann TREADWAY.2
• Son Calvin and daughter Sally’s death records have TREADWAY for the mother’s maiden name.3,4
• Finally, an unknown great-granddaughter of granddaughter Lorena Ellen CLONCH (md. 1st James Noyce SMITH, 2nd John TOMSHACK) has the family bible in which Sarah Ann is listed as TREADWAY. [For more than 10 years I haven’t been able to find out who the great-granddaughter of Lorena Ellen CLONCH is or where this statement came from. Maybe she will see this and get in touch.]

Why am I worried about one record that may have the name wrong? I wonder if the Justice of the Peace and the clerk gave the correct name on the marriage record and records produced later were in error.

To further complicate things, I don’t know who Sarah’s parents were. She has not been located in the 1850 census taken before her marriage. I’ve tried all combinations of Treadway, Treadwell, and even Tracewell. In later census records, she was listed as being born in Virginia and West Virginia. Her parents’ places of birth are also seen as Virginia or West Virginia in the census years this information is included. It is very likely that she/they was/were born in an area of Virginia that became part of West Virginia in 1863.

Opening a Little Door in a Brick Wall

As previously discussed in 52 Ancestors: #28 John COOLEY, Sarah was seen in the 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900 censuses with her husband John COOLEY.5,6,7,8

I dug a bit deeper into the 1900 census this week and made a wonderful discovery!

1900censuscooley
1900 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Falls > Belva

1900 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District, Belva Precinct
Enumerated on the 29th day of June 1900
HH #358-358
Cowley, John head W M Oct 1827 72 married 45 yrs MS MS MS day laborer
_____, Sarah wife W F Apr 1828 71 married 45 yrs mother of 12, 0 living WV WV WV
Wilson, George boarder W M Oct 1849 (sic) 50 widowed WV WV WV day laborer
_____, Jenett granddaughter W F Apr 1891 9 single WV WV WV

In my story about Sarah’s husband John, I wrote:

At first, the census listing for 1900 was overlooked as the surname was misspelled and John and his parents’ places of birth were seen as Mississippi instead of Missouri. A marriage record for John’s youngest daughter Minnie O. COOLEY helped to make the connection. Minnie married George WILSON (1849-aft. 1900) on 8 March 1900. She did not live long enough to be enumerated on the 1900 census but her widowed husband and a daughter from a previous relationship are seen living with John and Sarah COOLEY (misspelled Cowley) in Belva.

It bothered me that George WILSON was listed as widowed and a boarder in 1900 as he had married the COOLEY’s daughter Minnie three months before the census was enumerated.9 Shouldn’t he be seen as a son-in-law?

When I first found the marriage record for George WILSON and Minnie O. COOLEY I noticed that “mail Geo. Wilson” was written on the register under Remarks. When was it mailed in? Could the license have been dated 8 March 1900 but the marriage took place later, after the census?

I dug deeper and found that George WILSON was not 50 years old as seen on the marriage and census entries. He was 12 years older, born about 1838 to John G. J. and Delilah WILSON of Wood County. This was the county where Sarah and John had lived when their first child was born. Could there be another connection?

What to do? Whenever I’m at an impasse I look at the children. Sarah’s daughter Minnie O. was the mother of two illegitimate daughters.

The youngest was Ellen COOLEY whose 1894 birth record included the name of her father E. E. BAKER.10 Since she was not given the father’s surname I assume that her parents were not married. I found no trace of her after this.

The older daughter was Nettie COOLEY who was seen as Jenett in 1900 with her COOLEY grandparents. No birth record was found for her. Does the line on the census for the surname indicate a repeat of the head of the household’s surname or of the person enumerated just above her? Could George WILSON have been her father?

I followed Nettie through her marriage to Carl Iven GLENN in 1917 (no parents listed) and her death in 1926 (mother Minnie COOLEY, father not known).11,12 In the 1920 census Carl and Nettie were seen with her daughter Freda COOLEY age 8 and a brother-in-law (of the head of household) Charles E. HAYES age 8.13 As I had already laid Minnie to rest in 1900 I did not even consider that the HAYES boy could be Nettie’s brother. Then I wondered if Nettie’s father might be a HAYES but without documentation, this was only speculation.

Not considering ALL possibilities had been a big mistake! I checked the births in Mason County for the parents of Charles E. HAYES. Luckily Mason has a birth register that is typewritten and in alphabetical order – many children were recorded without their given names. In 1911 I found a male child born on 25 January 1911 to Ben and Minnie HAYSE (sic).14

A quick search of the marriage records and I had Benjamin Sterrett HAYES Jr. age 60 marrying Minnie O. WILSON age 37 on 19 October 1910, three months before the birth of the child.15 A search for Benjamin HAYES in the 1910 census clinched it! Minnie, his housekeeper, and her children Nettie and Ellen are in Benjamin’s household and listed with the BAKER surname.16 Why BAKER on the census when she used WILSON a few months later when she married? Where are Ben and Minnie in 1920? Why was Charles seen with his sister Nettie in 1920?

I knew that Nettie died in 1926 and that her widower had remarried.17,18 A search for Charles E. HAYES in the 1930 and 1940 censuses did not turn up any results. At FamilySearch using the parents’ names to search, I found Charles’ death certificate. He died in 1927, six months after his sister Nettie (both of tuberculosis), the informant was her widower Carl GLENN.19 Could this mean that Nettie raised her brother and her husband had taken over when she died?

Time to check Find A Grave, one of the last places I look for information. I should have tried there first as several of my questions were answered.

Find A Grave, Angela Harkins (#46845221) WV Mason Hambrick Cemetery Minnie O. Hayes, used with permission.

Angela Harkins (Find A Grave contributor #46845221) had photos of grave markers and information on Minnie20 and her daughter Ellen21 who married in 191222 and in 191523, had a son in 191624, and died a few days later. Her mother Minnie O. COOLEY died in 1919. There were no death records for either lady. However, the mystery of Minnie O. COOLEY’s whereabouts and death have now been solved.

Sarah’s Children

And now the information on the children of my third great-grandparents Sarah and John is more complete (47 grandchildren):

• Ch 1: Calvin COOLEY (1853-1912) was born on 10 October 1853 in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia.25 Calvin married Mary MacNeal CAMDEN (1855-1931) on 14 November 1872 in Cooper Township, Mason County, West Virginia.26 They had 10 children. Calvin died on 10 June 1912 in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio.27 His widow never remarried.

• Ch 2: Melissa F. “Lucy” COOLEY (1855-1898) was born about 1855 in Cedarville, Ohio.28 Melissa married Henry Hartman BIRD (1833-1900) on 19 March 1871 in Meigs County, Ohio.29 Henry was a widower with 4 children. Melissa and Henry had 10 children. She died on 23 March 1898 in Bashan, Meigs County, Ohio.30 Her widower is not known to have remarried.

• Ch 3: Harrison COOLEY (1859-1870) was born about 1859 in Missouri.31 Harrison died before the 1870 census.

• Ch 4: Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY (1861-1913) was born on 11 February 1861 in Ohio.32 Tobitha married Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.33 Tobitha and Alex were the parents of 9 children. She was widowed in 1910 and died on 16 December 1913.34

• Ch 5: Sarah Ann “Sallie” COOLEY (1865-1939) was born on 25 June 1865 in West Virginia.35 Sallie married Joseph Riley WAUGH (1860-1921) on 14 March 1882 in Gallia County, Ohio.36 Sallie and Joseph had 10 children. She was widowed in the 1920s and died on 7 December 1939 in Standard, Kanawha County, West Virginia.37

• Ch 6: Robert Ulysses S. Grant COOLEY (1868-1882) was born about 1868 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia. Robert died on 2 November 1882 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia.38

• Ch 7: Ida COOLEY (1870- ) was born on 5 April 1870 in Letart Township, Meigs County, Ohio.39 No record has been found for her after the 1880 census. It is not known if she ever married or had children. She is the next mystery child who needs to be solved.

• Ch 8: Minnie O. COOLEY (1873-1919) was born on 3 May 1873 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia. Minnie had two illegitimate daughters, one with E. E. BAKER.  Minnie married(1) George WILSON (1838-1900?) on 8 March 1900 in Dixie, Fayette County, West Virginia. She married(2) Benjamin Sterrett HAYES (1850-aft. 1911) on 19 Oct 1910 in Mason County, West Virginia. They had one son. Minnie died on 21 December 1919.

• Ch 9: Timothy COOLEY (1876-1913) was born on 6 June 1876 in Hannan District, Mason County, West Virginia.40 Timothy married Lilly E. CROOKSHANK (1879-1961) on 19 September 1897 in Clay County, West Virginia.41 They were the parents of five children. Timothy died in December 1912 or 1913 (not confirmed).42 His widow remarried, had two children with her 2nd husband, divorced, married again, divorced, and went back to using the COOLEY name until her death.

Sarah Ann TREADWAY died sometime after the 1900 census. No death record has been found for her or her husband John COOLEY. They were in their early 70s when the 1900 census was enumerated and it is likely that they died before the 1910 census. However, as there is still the possibility that they were missed in 1910 and died before 1920, I continue to list their death as after the 1900 census.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about how I go about solving these little problems in my family tree. I didn’t mean for this to turn into a research lesson. What would you have done differently? Your comments may help me with Sarah’s daughter Ida COOLEY.

This Post was Updated on 17 July 2022:Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

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


  1. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio, Meigs, Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1, image 270 of 277, page 451 (stamped), 3rd entry, John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadwell, 9 Sep 1851. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-91QD-F3?cc=1614804&wc=ZRM1-N38%3A121348301%2C121348302 : accessed 25 October 2011). 
  2. “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing county courthouses, Ohio, Microfilm 313460, Meigs > Birth registers 1867-1882 vol 1 > image 104 of 345, Ida Cooley, 05 Apr 1870; citing pg 67-68 no 1515. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6DH9-MCD?cc=1932106&wc=Q6QM-SLY%3A227591901%2C227596401 : accessed 09 Jul 2014). 
  3. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” index with images, FamilySearch, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, citing digital images of originals housed at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, Film 1953420, DGS 4021197, Deaths, file no. 30701-33500, 1912 > 30701-33500 > image 2094 of 3222. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DTV3-YCW?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-K29%3A287600801%2C294473601 : accessed 7 January 2008). 
  4. 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 Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  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_628, Family History Library Film: 803628, Missouri, Lafayette County, Lexington P.O., page 60, sheet 274 (handwritten), lines 13-17, household 523-582, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  6. 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, M593_1242, Ohio, Meigs County, Olive Township, page 42, sheet 121A (stamped), lines 26-33, household 319-304, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  7. 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: 1408, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle, enumeration district: 91, sheet 210A (stamped), page 21, lines 1-10, household 200, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  8. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), 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 1241757, West Virginia, Fayette County, Falls District Belva Precinct, enumeration district 11, sheet 16B, lines 60-63, household 358-358, John Cowley (sic), (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  9. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 392, Fayette County Register of Marriages, line 7, 8 Mar 1900, George Wilson and Minnie O Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00392.jpg : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  10. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 42, Mason County Register of Births, page 342-343 (stamped, double-page spread), entry number 27, Ellen Cooley, 1 July 1894. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00042.jpg : accessed 11 July 2022). 
  11. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567397, image 271, Mason County Marriage Record, page 434 (stamped), Carl Iven Glenn and Nettie Cooley, 22 July 1917. (http://images.wvculture.org/567397/00271.jpg : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  12. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1953326, image 1962, Certificate of Death 10926, Nettie K. Glenn, 27 Aug 1926. (http://images.wvculture.org/1953326/0001962.gif : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  13. 1920 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6061/), citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls, Roll: T625_1962; West Virginia, Mason County, Archuckle, enumeration district 72, sheet 2A, lines 19-22, household 25-25, Carl Glenn (accessed 15 June 2009). 
  14. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 780, Mason County Register of Births, page 74 (stamped, double-page spread), entry 5, not named Hayse (sic, Hayes), born 25 Jan 1911. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00780.jpg : accessed 21 July 2014). 
  15. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567396, image 141, Mason County Marriage Record, page 179 (stamped), Benjamin S. Hayes and Minnie O. Wilson, 19 Oct 1910. (http://images.wvculture.org/567396/00141.jpg : accessed 7 February 2020). 
  16. 1910 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7884/), 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_1689; FHL microfilm: 1375702, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle district, enumeration district 95, sheet 3B, lines 92-97, household 57-57, B S Hayes (accessed 14 July 2022). The official enumeration day of the 1910 census was 15 April 1910. 
  17. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1953326, image 1962, Certificate of Death 10926, Nettie K. Glenn, 27 Aug 1926. (http://images.wvculture.org/1953326/0001962.gif : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  18. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 494264, image 363, Mason County Marriage Record, page 63 (stamped), line 7, Carl Glenn and Macel Craze, 25 Jan 1929. (http://images.wvculture.org/494264/00363.jpg : accessed 14 July 2022). 
  19. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1953329, image 2002, Certificate of Death 1963, Charles Elmer Hayes, 17 Feb 1927. (http://images.wvculture.org/1953329/0002002.gif : accessed 20 July 2014). 
  20. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14766046/minnie-o-hayes : accessed 14 July 2022), memorial page for Minnie O Cooley Hayes (3 May 1873–21 Dec 1919), Find a Grave Memorial ID 14766046, citing Hambrick Cemetery, Mason County, West Virginia, USA; Maintained by Angela Harkins (contributor 46845221). 
  21. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/53901654/ellen-e-gearhart : accessed 14 July 2022), memorial page for Ellen E Cooley Baker Gearhart (1 Jul 1894–15 Jan 1916), Find a Grave Memorial ID 53901654, citing Harmony Cemetery, Southside, Mason County, West Virginia, USA; Maintained by Angela Harkins (contributor 46845221). 
  22. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567396, image 284, Mason County Marriage Record, page 465 (stamped), N C Hudson and Ellen E Baker, 13 Jan 1912. (http://images.wvculture.org/567396/00284.jpg : accessed 14 July 2022). 
  23. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567397, image 83, Mason County Marriage Record, page 59 (stamped), J S Gearheart and Ellen E Baker, 11 Dec 1915. (http://images.wvculture.org/567397/00083.jpg : accessed 14 July 2022). 
  24. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 567386, image 445, Mason County Register of Births, page #285, entry 4, unnamed male Gearhart child, 6 Jan 1916. (http://images.wvculture.org/567386/00445.jpg : accessed 15 July 2022). 
  25. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 580538, image 7, Wood County Register of Births, page 8 (stamped) (double-page spread), line 100 (4th line) Calvin Cooley, 10 Oct 18, parents John and Sarah Cooley, father’s occupation: sawyer. (http://images.wvculture.org/580538/00007.jpg : accessed 9 July 2014). 
  26. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567390, image 420, Mason County marriage license, certificate, and return, page 289 (stamped) Calvin Cooley and Mary M Camden married 14 Nov 1872. (http://images.wvculture.org/567390/00420.jpg : accessed 11 June 2009). 
  27. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records in the county courthouses, Franklin, Death certificates, 1912, image 1501 of 3294. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QCS-9GX?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-PQM%3A1296032501%2C1296743402 : accessed 3 July 2022). 
  28. Ibid., Meigs, Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1, image 297 of 373,  line 170 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : 30 September 2014). 
  29. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL microfilm 313455, Meigs, Marriage records 1869-1873 vol 5, image 138 of 330, page 222, reference certificate number 446, Henry H Bird and Melissa F Cooley, license dated 18 March 1871, married 19 March 1871. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-BJSM-3Q?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7YZ%3A121348301%2C121535001 : accessed 17 March 2019). 
  30. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Meigs, Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1, image 297 of 373, page 3 (stamped, double-page spread), line 170, Melissa F. Bird, 23 Mar 1898, died in Bashan, born in Cedarville, O., age at death 43 yrs 1 month 9 days, heart disease. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  31. 1860 census listing for the Cooley family in Missouri. 
  32. Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia (photos of gravemarkers taken by Heather Manley-Duncan), gravemarker of Alex Clonch Mar 2, 1842 – June 3, 1910 and Tobitha Cooley His Wife Feb 11, 1861 – Dec. 16, 1913, photographed 31 May 2014. 
  33. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL Film 317653 > Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 19 of 276, page 23 (stamped), entry 7, Alexander Clonch and Mary Ellen Lemaster married 10 November 1863 in Gallia County, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SV3N?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-V7T%3A390869322 : accessed 18 December 2013). 
  34. “United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” index and images, FamilySearch, NARA, RG 15, M850, citing microfilm of original records in The National Archives, Washington, District of Columbia., Roll 418, Film 1634453, DGS 4694973, Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 579-582 of 681, Alexander Clonch and Tabitha Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-17556-56413-13?cc=1832324&wc=M9WY-MC3:881461769 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 
  35. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  36. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL microfilm 317655, Gallia, Marriage records 1878-1884 vol 5, image 226 of 352, page 357, certificate number 1066, Joseph R. Waugh and Sarah Ann Cooley, 14 Mar 1882. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SVWQ?cc=1614804&wc=ZRH8-JWL%3A121350101%2C121595201 : accessed 9 Jul 2014). 
  37. WVCulture.org, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh. 
  38. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 250, Mason County Register of Deaths, 1882, page 553-554 (stamped, double-page spread), line 5, Robert U.S.G. Cooley, 2 Nov 1882, age at death 14 yrs 8 months, born and died Arbuckle District. “.” (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00250.jpg : accessed 25 May 2011). 
  39. Meigs County, Ohio, Birth register, page 67-68, no 1515, 5 April 1870, Ida Cooley. 
  40. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 573, Mason County Register of Deaths, page 581-582 (stamped, double-page spread), line 27, 6 Jun 1876, Timothy, Hannan District, parents John and Sarah Ann Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00573.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  41. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567443, image 360, Clay County marriage license, certificate, and return, page 264 (stamped), Timothy Cooley and Lilly E. Cruikshank 19 Sep 1897. (http://images.wvculture.org/567443/00360.jpg : accessed 3 July 2022). 
  42. “West Virginia, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985,” database with images, Ancestry, citing original data: West Virginia County, District and Probate Courts., Clerk of the County Court; Probate Place: Roane, West Virginia, Bonds, Vol 3-4, 1916-1928, page 484. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9087/images/007615578_00904?pId=83028 : accessed 3 July 2022). B.C. Cruikshank was appointed guardian of 5 children, infants being the heirs at law of Timothy Cooley, deceased, 14 September 1916. No record of death has been found for Timothy Cooley. 

52 Ancestors: #28 John COOLEY 1827-aft. 1900

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

This is entry #28 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

#28 John COOLEY 1827-aft. 1900

John COOLEY is the second brick wall in my series of posts for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. I’ve walked the full length of this brick wall searching for a door that will get me to the other side.

A small window that allows me to take a peek at what may be on the other side of this brick wall was created by Michael COOLEY, owner and administrator of Michael Cooley’s Genealogy Pages.

Michael and members of the John Cooley Mailing List work on finding information on the early American COOLEY lines and male descendants who are willing to take the Y-DNA test to prove the connections. Although the emphasis is on the male line, members may opt to discuss a female line to get around roadblocks.

My John COOLEY has been included in the list of Patrilineal Descendants of John COOLEY (ca.1740-1811) of Stokes County, North Carolina.  His line is “greyed out” as the assumed connection has not been proven. I shared information on living male descendants with Michael and hope at least one will take the Y-DNA test and be included in the Y-DNA Signatures of Early American Cooleys.

This Side of the Brick Wall

My 3rd great-grandfather John COOLEY was born in October 1827 in Missouri. I don’t know who his parents were. I know that they, or at least his mother, had to be in Missouri in late 1827 when John was born.1

The earliest record found for John was for his marriage in Meigs County, Ohio, in 1851.2

1851marriage
1851 Marriage Record of John Cooley and Sarah A. Treadwell

John COOLEY married Sarah Ann TREADWELL on Tuesday the 9th of September 1851 in Meigs County, Ohio. They were married by H. S. Lawrence, Justice of the Peace. The bride’s maiden name is most likely not correct.

There are several reasons for this belief:

• Their daughter Ida’s 1870 birth record lists Sarah Jane TREADWAY.3
• Their children Calvin and Sally’s death records list TREADWAY as the mother’s maiden name.4, 5
• Finally, a great-granddaughter of their granddaughter Lorena Ellen CLONCH (md. 1st James Noyce SMITH, 2nd John TOMSHACK) has the family bible in which Sarah Ann is listed as TREADWAY. [For more than 10 years I have not been able to find out who the great-granddaughter of Lorena Ellen CLONCH is or where this statement came from. Maybe she will see this and get in touch.]

John was not located in the 1850 census. It is not known if he left Missouri soon after his birth, before he married Sarah, or sometime in between. He could have lived anywhere between the time of his birth in 1827 and his marriage in 1851.

In 1853 John and his wife Sarah were living in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia when their first child Calvin was born.6 John’s occupation was listed as a sawyer on his son’s entry in the birth register.

Daughter Melissa F. was born about 1855 in Cedarville, Ohio, according to her death certificate.7 Was this Cedarville in Greene County or Cedarville (historical) in Clinton County? If this is reliable, Melissa may have been born while John and his little family were on their way west to Missouri. Was he going back to be with his family?

By 1860 John, a laborer had moved his family to Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri.8 John, Sarah, and their children Calvin, Melissa (seen below as Lucy), and Harrison, age omitted, were living in the boarding house of Frederick and Elizabeth King, immigrants from Germany. Young Harrison was born in Missouri.

1860Cooleycensus
1860 U.S. Federal Census > MO > Lafayette > Lexington > HH#523-582

They didn’t remain in Missouri for long as they were back in Ohio when my 2nd great-grandmother Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY was born on 11 February 1861.9

After Tobitha’s birth, John was moving his family back and forth between Mason County, West Virginia, and Meigs County, Ohio. Or at least it appears this way when comparing the places of birth of the children on the census. Sallie (b. 1865) and Robert (b. abt. 1868) are seen as born in West Virginia in the 1870 census when the family was living in Meigs County, Ohio. Ida, born in April before the census, was found in the Meigs birth register. Harrison, who was the youngest member of the family in 1860, appears to have died before the 1870 census. John,  a sawyer in 1853, is once again working in a sawmill in 1870.10

1870censuscooley
1870 U.S. Federal Census > OH > Meigs > Olive > HH #319-304

John’s oldest children began to marry in the early 1870s giving us an idea of when the move to Mason County may have become more permanent. Daughter Melissa F. “Lucy” COOLEY married Henry Hartman BIRD (1833-1900) on 19 March 1871 in Meigs County, Ohio.11 Son Calvin COOLEY married Mary MacNeal CAMDEN (1855-1931) on 14 November 1872 in Mason County, West Virginia.12 Both of these children are seen as residents of the county they married in. The move to Mason most likely was between March 1871 and November 1872.

After coming to Mason County two more children were born: Minnie O. on 3 May 1873 in Arbuckle District and Timothy on 6 June 1876 in Hannan District.13.14 Even with six children in his household in 1880 John “adopted” two young children whose mother was born in Missouri. Was their mother a sister, niece, or cousin of John COOLEY?15

1880censuscooley
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Arbuckle > Sheet 210A > HH #200

Following the 1880 census John’s daughters Tobitha and Sarah married.

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY married Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) on Thursday the 19th of August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.16 The day after their marriage, in Mason County, “a heavy storm of wind, rain, and lightning, came up. The rain poured down in torrents, with flash after flash of lightning and peal after peal of thunder. It was a fearful afternoon and got so dark that lamps had to be lighted in the business rooms. During the time the lightning struck the Court House at the extreme point of the cupula, and descending the lightning rod jumped from it to the metallic roof, and from there to the spouting, clearing away about one half of the spouting on the east side of the house, following the spouting along until it again came in contact with the rod, when the fluid passed on down the rod into the ground. The rod is probably what saved the building.17 What a dramatic day after the marriage of my 2nd great-grandparents. It must have been a good omen as the marriage lasted 30 years, until the death of Alex at age 68. And to think that five months earlier Alex’s marriage to his first wife had been dissolved at that same court house.18

Sarah Ann “Sallie” COOLEY married Joseph Riley WAUGH (1860-1921) on the 14th of March 1882 in Gallia County, Ohio.19

Unfortunately, not all news was good news during these times. John and Sarah’s 14-year-old son Robert Ulysses S. Grant COOLEY died of typho-malarial fever on 2 November 1882 in Arbuckle District.20 Malarial fever was prevalent in the area at the time. The parents may have been ill or caring for others in the family as one of Robert’s sisters gave the information on his death record. This may have been one of the older married sisters as Ida and Minnie were 10 and 8 years old at the time.

article2
Horse had to be killed.

John and his son Calvin had some bad luck with horses in 1884-1885. Calvin lost one of his team horses in June 1884. It had “died from scours, supposed to be caused from eating some weed that has made its appearance in our pastures, and of which considerable complaint is being made.21 In February of 1885 John’s horse fell on the ice on Nine Mile creek and hurt itself so badly it had to be killed.22

John’s son Timothy COOLEY married Lilly E. CRUIKSHANK (1879-1961) on 19 September 1897 in Clay County, West Virginia.23 The COOLEY and the CLONCH families most likely moved to Clay County about the same time.

John and Sarah lost a daughter Melissa F. “Lucy” BIRD who died on 23 March 1898 in Bashan, Meigs County, Ohio.24 This was also about the time that the COOLEY and the CLONCH families moved to the Dixie/Belva area of Fayette County, West Virginia.

At first, the census listing for 1900 was overlooked as the surname was misspelled and John and his parents’ places of birth were seen as Mississippi instead of Missouri. A marriage record for John’s youngest daughter Minnie O. COOLEY helped to make the connection. Minnie married George WILSON (1849-aft. 1900) on 8 March 1900.25 She did not live long enough to be enumerated on the 1900 census but her widowed husband and a daughter from a previous relationship are seen living with John and Sarah COOLEY (misspelled Cowley) in Belva.26

1900censuscooley
1900 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Falls > Belva

John and his wife Sarah were in their early 70s in 1900. Calvin, Tobitha, Sallie, and Timothy were the only children remaining. No record has been found of their daughter Ida born in 1870 and last seen in 1880.

Update 3 July 2022: Minnie Ophelia COOLEY didn’t die before the 1900 census. New information has come to light. Pieces of the puzzle need to be found before I write a post.

John and his wife were not found in the 1910 census. It’s possible that they passed away during the decade as they were getting on in age. I would have liked to have found a death record for John COOLEY with the names of his parents listed on it but that was not to be.

By the end of 1913, his daughter Sallie WAUGH was the only living child and would live 26 more years dying on 7 December 1939.27 Calvin died on 10 June 1912, Timothy died on in 1912 or 1913, and Tobitha died on 16 December 1913.28,29,30

This Post was Updated on 10 July 2022Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

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


  1. Census records in 1860, 1870, and 1880 consistently list Missouri as his place of birth. However, in 1900 the enumerator likely did not know the old-style abbreviation for Missouri was Mo. He wrote Ms which I don’t believe was meant to be for Mississippi that at the time was abbreviated Miss. 
  2. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio, Meigs, Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1, image 270 of 277, page 451 (stamped), 3rd entry, John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadwell, 9 Sep 1851. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-91QD-F3?cc=1614804&wc=ZRM1-N38%3A121348301%2C121348302 : accessed 25 October 2011). 
  3. “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6DH9-MCD?cc=1932106&wc=Q6QM-SLY%3A227591901%2C227596401 : 22 December 2016), Meigs > Birth registers 1867-1882 vol 1 > image 104 of 345; county courthouses, Ohio. [line 1515] 
  4. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” index with images, FamilySearch, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, citing digital images of originals housed at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, Film 1953420, DGS 4021197, Deaths, file no. 30701-33500, 1912 > 30701-33500 > image 2094 of 3222. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DTV3-YCW?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-K29%3A287600801%2C294473601 : accessed 7 January 2008). 
  5. 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 Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  6. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 580538, image 7, Wood County Register of Births, page 8 (stamped) (double-page spread), line 100 (4th line) Calvin Cooley, 10 Oct 18, parents John and Sarah Cooley, father’s occupation: sawyer. (http://images.wvculture.org/580538/00007.jpg : accessed 9 July 2014). 
  7. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing county courthouses, Ohio. Meigs, Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1, image 297 of 373,  line 170 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : 30 September 2014). 
  8. 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_628, Family History Library Film: 803628, Missouri, Lafayette County, Lexington P.O., page 60, sheet 274 (handwritten), lines 13-17, household 523-582, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  9. Tabitha’s place of birth was noted as Ohio in the 1870 and 1880 censuses. The 1900 and 1910 censuses were not found. Her date of birth was engraved on her grave marker. 
  10. 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, M593_1242, Ohio, Meigs County, Olive Township, page 42, sheet 121A (stamped), lines 26-33, household 319-304, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  11. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL microfilm 313455, Meigs, Marriage records 1869-1873 vol 5, image 138 of 330, page 222, reference certificate number 446, Henry H Bird and Melissa F Cooley, license dated 18 March 1871, married 19 March 1871. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-BJSM-3Q?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-7YZ%3A121348301%2C121535001 : accessed 17 March 2019). 
  12. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567390, image 420, Mason County marriage license, certificate, and return, page 289 (stamped) Calvin Cooley and Mary M Camden married 14 Nov 1872. (http://images.wvculture.org/567390/00420.jpg : accessed 11 June 2009). 
  13. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 392, Fayette County Register of Marriages, line 7, 8 Mar 1900, George Wilson and Minnie O Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00392.jpg : accessed 15 June 2009)., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 542, Mason County Register of Births, page 531-532 (stamped, double-page spread), line 43, 3 May 1873, Minie O., Arbuckle District, parents John and Sarah Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00542.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  14. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 573, Mason County Register of Deaths, page 581-582 (stamped, double-page spread), line 27, 6 Jun 1876, Timothy, Hannan District, parents John and Sarah Ann Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00573.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  15. 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: 1408, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle, enumeration district: 91, sheet 210A (stamped), page 21, lines 1-10, household 200, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  16. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL Film 317653 > Gallia > Marriage records 1862-1874 vol 3 > image 19 of 276, page 23 (stamped), entry 7, Alexander Clonch and Mary Ellen Lemaster married 10 November 1863 in Gallia County, Ohio. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SV3N?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-V7T%3A390869322 : accessed 18 December 2013). 
  17. The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 25 Aug. 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
    <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1880-08-25/ed-1/seq-2/
  18. “Mason County, West Virginia, Circuit Court, Chancery orders, 1831-1929,” database with images, FamilySearch,  citing microfilm of originals at the county courthouse, Point Pleasant, West Virginia, Film 1861962 Item 1, DGS 7615569, Chancery orders, Vols. 4 1877-1880, image 321 of 899, Folio 274 and 275, March Term 1880. 1880 Divorce of Alexander Clonch from Mary Ellen Lemaster. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99VP-2SNQ?i=320&cat=659762 : accessed 6 January 2019). 
  19. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” FHL microfilm 317655, Gallia, Marriage records 1878-1884 vol 5, image 226 of 352, page 357, certificate number 1066, Joseph R. Waugh and Sarah Ann Cooley, 14 Mar 1882.  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SVWQ?cc=1614804&wc=ZRH8-JWL%3A121350101%2C121595201 : accessed 9 Jul 2014). 
  20. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 250, Mason County Register of Deaths, 1882, page 553-554 (stamped, double-page spread), line 5, Robert U.S.G. Cooley, 2 Nov 1882, age at death 14 yrs 8 months, born and died Arbuckle District. “.” (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00250.jpg : accessed 25 May 2011). 
  21. The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 25 June 1884. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1884-06-25/ed-1/seq-3/
  22. Ibid., 25 Feb. 1885. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1885-02-25/ed-1/seq-3/
  23. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 567443, image 360, Clay County marriage license, certificate, and return, page 264 (stamped), Timothy Cooley and Lilly E. Cruikshank 19 Sep 1897. (http://images.wvculture.org/567443/00360.jpg : accessed 3 July 2022). 
  24. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Meigs > Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1 > image 297 of 373 > page 3 (stamped, double-page spread), line 170, Melissa F. Bird, 23 Mar 1898, died in Bashan, born in Cedarville, O., age at death 43 yrs 1 month 9 days, heart disease. “.” (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  25. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 392, Fayette County Register of Marriages, line 7, 8 Mar 1900, George Wilson and Minnie O Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00392.jpg : accessed 15 June 2009). 
  26. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), 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 1241757, West Virginia, Fayette County, Falls District Belva Precinct, enumeration dIstrict 11, sheet 16B, lines 60-63, household 358-358, John Cowley (sic), (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  27. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  28. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” Film 1953420, DGS 4021197, Deaths, file no. 30701-33500, 1912 > 30701-33500 > image 2094 of 3222. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DTV3-YCW?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-K29%3A287600801%2C294473601 : accessed 7 January 2008). 
  29. “West Virginia, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985,” index with images, Ancestry, citing West Virginia County, District and Probate Courts. Roane County (West Virginia). Clerk of the County Court, Probate, Bonds, Vol 3-4, 1916-1928, page 484, 14 September 1916, guardianship of the underage children of Timothy Cooley was granted to B.C. Cruikshank  (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9087/images/007615578_00904?pId=83028 : accessed 3 July 2022). Note: Undocumented dates of death are 11 December 1912 and 2 December 1913 however no death record has been found. 
  30. United States. Veterans Administration, “United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” index and images, FamilySearch, NARA, RG 15, M850, citing microfilm of original records in The National Archives, Washington, District of Columbia., Roll 418, Film 1634453, DGS 4694973, Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 579-582 of 681, Alexander Clonch and Tabitha Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-17556-56413-13?cc=1832324&wc=M9WY-MC3:881461769 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 

52 Ancestors: #15 Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY 1861-1913

Featured image courtesy of Rita Koch Brumley, a 3C thru Alex and Tobitha’s daughter Frances. Used with permission received 9 January 2021.

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

This is my 15th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

#15 Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY 1861-1913

I used the information in my genealogy database to write this impromptu obituary in honor of my great-great-grandmother. I don’t have access to West Virginia newspapers for the time period and do not know if an obituary was printed for Tobitha.

Obituary of Tobitha Cooley Clonch

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” Clonch, 52, passed away on 16 December 1913 of unknown causes.

Tobitha was born in Ohio on 11 February 1861 to John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadway.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Alexander “Alex” Clonch; three children, Timothy, Bertha, and an unnamed babe; stepdaughter Barbara Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gillispie; her siblings, Calvin Cooley, Melissa F. “Lucy” Bird, Harrison Cooley, Robert Ulysses S. Grant Cooley, Ida Cooley, Minnie O. Wilson, and Timothy Cooley; grandchildren Bertha Almeda Smith, Lallie P. Dunlap, Georgie Dunlap, Arnold Dunlap, Arlena Dunlap, and Piercie Roop.

Survivors include her daughters and sons-in-law, Lorena Ellen and John Tomshack, Frances “Fanny” and George W. Dunlap, Rebecca Jane and Walter F. Roop, Sarah Ann “Sallie” and John H. “Harry” Krise, and Ida Bell and Lewis W. Holbert; her son Harrison Sanders Clonch; her stepdaughter and stepson-in-law Emma Sidosa “Emily” and William Alexander Clonch; her stepson and stepdaughter-in-law Joseph E. “Joe” and Jenny Clonch; her sister and brother-in-law, Sarah Ann “Sallie” and Joseph Riley Waugh; two sisters-in-law, Mary Cooley and Lilly E. Cooley; 16 grandchildren, Lorenzo Aber Smith, James Leonard Smith, Edward Moses Smith, Joseph Tomshack, Josephine Tomshack, Alex H. Tomshack, Virgie Dunlap, Earl Lawrence Dunlap, Lacy Shelton Roop, Myrtle Hazel Roop, James Henry Roop, Walter Gordon Roop, Edith Estelle “Edie” Roop, Reeva Estelle “Reeba” Krise, Harry B. Krise, and Alton Elmer Krise; 5 stepgrandchildren George William Clonch, Iva Mae Clonch, Edith Emmeline Clonch, Eber Joseph Clonch, and Alexander Michael “Alex” Clonch.

Funeral arrangements are unknown. Burial was in Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive.

Tobitha

My great-great-grandmother Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY was born on 11 February 1861 in Ohio, a week after the beginning of the Civil War.1 She was the 4th child of John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY (TREADWELL). It is not known where in Ohio she was born. Her date of birth was taken from her grave marker.

1860Cooleycensus
1860 U.S. Federal Census > MO > Lafayette > Lexington > HH#523-582

If her mother had a normal pregnancy, then Tobitha was conceived in Missouri! Sarah was about four months pregnant when Mr. Shields, Assistant Marshall, visited the COOLEY family in Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri, on 8 September 1860. He found John, Sarah, and their children Calvin, Lucy F., and Harrison, living with seven other families in the boarding house of Frederick and Elizabeth King, immigrants from Germany.2

The little family had been on the move from the time of John and Sarah’s marriage on 9 September 1851 in Meigs County, Ohio.3 They lived in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia, where Tobitha’s father John worked as a sawyer in 1853.4 They may have lived in Cedarville, Ohio, or made a stop there around 14 February 1855 before going on to Missouri.5 They did not remain in Missouri for long as they were back in Ohio in 1861 when Tobitha was born.

She remained the baby of the family until the end of the Civil War when her sister Sallie was born.6 Tobitha’s family lived in the Arbuckle District of Mason County, West Virginia, in 1868 when another brother Robert was born.7

1870cooleycensus
1870 U.S. Federal Census > OH > Meigs > Olive > HH#319-304

The family was enumerated in the 1870 census in the Portland P.O. in the Olive Township of Meigs County, Ohio.  Father John was working in a sawmill and feeding a family of six children that now included baby Ida.8

1880cooleycensus
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Arbuckle > Sheet No. 210A > HH #

The 1870s were spent for the most part in Mason County, West Virginia, where Tobitha’s two youngest siblings, Minnie O. and Timothy were born.9,10 On the 1880 census, we see Tobitha as Ann T. She was the oldest of the children still at home as her older brother and sister had married. Tobitha, like her parents, could not read or write.11

Tobitha marries a man twice her age

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY married Alexander CLONCH on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.12 Alex was divorced from his first wife. He was the father of three children (ages 4, 6 and 13) he had with another woman, his ex-wife’s sister. He was 19 years older than Tobitha — or twice her age! All of these things could have put quite a strain on the new relationship but Alex and Tobitha made things work. She helped raise Alex’s little ones and had 9 children with him during their 30 years of marriage:

Ch 1: Timothy CLONCH born on 20 December 1881 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia.13 He died before 1898.14
Ch 2: Lorena Ellen CLONCH (1883-1961) born on 10 March 1883 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia15
Ch 3: Frances “Fanny” CLONCH (1885-1943) born on 30 April 1885 in Mason County, West Virginia16
Ch 4: Bertha CLONCH (1887-1898) born on 9 December 1887 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia.17 She died before 1898.18
Ch 5: Rebecca Jane CLONCH (1888-1950) born on 6 January 1888 in Mason County, West Virginia19
Ch 6: Sarah Ann “Sallie” CLONCH (1890-1979) born on 20 June 1890 in Mason County, West Virginia20
Ch 7: Harrison S. CLONCH (1893-1970) born on 11 February 1893 in Beech Hill, Mason County, West Virginia21,22
Ch 8: ___ (unnamed) CLONCH (1894-1894) born on 6 October 189423 and died on 13 October 1894,24 both in Clay County, West Virginia
Ch 9: Ida Bell CLONCH (1896-1981) born on 5 March 1896 in Smithers Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia.25

She raised her family in three counties

As previously discussed in 52 Ancestors: #14 Alexander CLONCH Known as “The one who killed the beef at 200 paces,” Tobitha’s young family lived in Mason County until about 1893 when they moved to Clay County and then to Fayette County about 1895-1896.

I believe that Tobitha’s parents, John and Sarah COOLEY may have made the move from Mason County to Clay County and then Fayette County at the same time as Tobitha and Alex. John age 72 and Sarah age 71 were living in Belva, Falls District of Fayette County in 1900.26 They may have died between 1900 and 1910 or before 1920 if they were missed in the 1910 census. I doubt that they lived longer and no records have been found for their deaths in West Virginia.

Tobitha’s daughters Lorena, Fanny, Rebecca, and Sallie were married by 1908.27,28,29,30 When Alexander CLONCH died on 9 June 1910 at the age of 68 he left Tobitha with daughter Ida 14 and son Harrison 17.31

Tabitha Ann COOLEY with her youngest daughter Ida Bell CLONCH. Photo courtesy of James A. Smith (23 December 2000)

A Civil War Pension for the widow

Tobitha received Alex’s Civil War pension as a widow and for her daughter Ida who was considered a minor until she turned 16. Harrison most likely lived at home with his mother and sister but we cannot be sure as they were not found in the 1910 census.

2014-04-09_185027
Tabitha Clonch’s Veterans Administration Pension Payment Card

On the Veterans Administration Pension Payment Card, Tobitha’s date of death is seen as 10 December 1913.32 This conflicts with the date seen on her grave marker: 16 December 1913. Was the marker misread? Did the Veterans Administration employee make an error? When the bureau was notified on 19 March 1914, did they receive a death certificate?

Grave Marker

Tobitha died three and a half years after Alex and six months before the beginning of World War I at the age of 52 years. She was buried beside her husband of 30 years in the Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia. Their markers read:

Alex Clonch
March 2, 1842 – June 9, 1910

Tobitha Cooley
“His Wife”
February 11, 1861 – December 16, 1913

James Grady Auxier (2C1R ) shared per email on 2 June 2000 the dates of birth and death he read off of the grave markers of Alexander and Tobitha Clonch in the Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive. Kaci Foster (4C1R, 6C, 7C) read the cemetery on 17 March 2005 and shared the cemetery listing on Fayette County Footprints, a myfamily.com site administered by Betty LeMasters and Becky Shuff. The dates from both readings match. However, I would be very happy if someone would visit the cemetery and share photos of the markers with me.

Update: Heather Manley-Duncan (3C2R) shared a photo (with permission to use) of the marker with me on 31 May 2014. The date on the stone is December 16, 1913. Susan Jane Clonch Ryan took a photo of the marker on 5 May 2021 and gave permission to use it on 2 April 2022.

The grave marker of Alex Clonch and his wife Tobitha Cooley courtesy of Susan Jane Clonch Ryan (used with permission)

Many thanks to all of the CLONCH cousins who have shared their research, photos, and memories.

This Post Was Updated on 10 April 2022: Missing source citations were added, a new watermarked photo was added, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

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


  1. Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia (photos of gravemarkers taken by Heather Manley-Duncan), gravemarker of Alex Clonch Mar 2, 1842 – June 3, 1910 and Tobitha Cooley His Wife Feb 11, 1861 – Dec. 16, 1913, photographed 31 May 2014. 
  2. 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_628, Family History Library Film: 803628, Missouri, Lafayette County, Lexington P.O., page 60, sheet 274 (handwritten), lines 13-17, household 523-582, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013) 
  3. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,”database with images, FamilySearch (citing digital images of originals housed at the county courthouses in Ohio), Meigs > Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1 > image 270 of 277 > page 451 (stamped), 3rd entry, John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadwell, 9 Sep 1851. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-91QD-F3?cc=1614804&wc=ZRM1-N38%3A121348301%2C121348302 : accessed 25 October 2011). 
  4. 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 Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 580538, image 7, Wood County Register of Births, page 8 (stamped) (double-page spread), line 100 (4th line) Calvin Cooley, 10 Oct 18, parents John and Sarah Cooley, father’s occupation: sawyer. (http://images.wvculture.org/580538/00007.jpg : accessed 9 July 2014). 
  5. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images,  FamilySearch, Microfilm of original records in the vounty courthouses, Meigs > Death records, 1867-1897, vol 1 > image 297 of 373 > page 3 (stamped, double-page spread), line 170, Melissa F. Bird, 23 Mar 1898, died in Bashan, born in Cedarville, O., age at death 43 yrs 1 month 9 days, heart disease. “.” (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-695Q-M1C?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GYK%3A1296112677%2C1296112678 : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  6. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983475, image 1056, Certificate of Death 16029, Sallie Waugh, died 7 Dec 1939, born 25 Jun 1865. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983475/0001056.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567384, image 250, Mason County Register of Deaths, 1882, page 553-554 (stamped, double-page spread), line 5, Robert U.S.G. Cooley, 2 Nov 1882, age at death 14 yrs 8 months, born and died Arbuckle District. “.” (http://images.wvculture.org/567384/00250.jpg : accessed 25 May 2011). 
  8. 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_1242, Ohio, Meigs County, Olive Township, page 42, sheet 121A (stamped), lines 26-33, household 319-304, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  9. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 542, Mason County Register of Births, page 531-532 (stamped, double-page spread), line 43, 3 May 1873, Minie O., Arbuckle District, parents John and Sarah Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00542.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  10. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855007, image 573, Mason County Register of Deaths, page 581-582 (stamped, double-page spread), line 27, 6 Jun 1876, Timothy, Hannan District, parents John and Sarah Ann Cooley. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855007/00573.jpg : accessed 2 April 2022). 
  11. 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: 1408, West Virginia, Mason County, Arbuckle, enumeration district 91, sheet 210A (stamped), page 21, lines 1-10, household 200, John Cooley (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  12. Ohio, County Marriages 1789-2016, Marriage records (Gallia County, Ohio), 1803-1955 ; index, 1803-1950 > Marriages, v. 5 1878-1884 > image 132 of 352 > page 193 > no. 576 > Alexander Clonch and Tabitha Cooley, 19 August 1880. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RMD-SV3N?cc=1614804&wc=M94Q-V7T%3A390869322 : accessed 18 December 2013). 
  13. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 449, West Virginia, Mason County, Register of Births 1881, line 7, 20 Dec 1881, Timothy Clonch, citing Arbuckle district, Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00449.jpg : accessed 1 February 2022). 
  14. Civil War pension file of Alexander Clonch, received 31 May 2014 per email from Heather Manley-Duncan. A questionnaire the pensioner replied to on 4 June 1898 includes the names of all living children at the time. Timothy was not mentioned, therefore this child likely died before 4 June 1898. 
  15. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 462, West Virginia, Mason County, Register of Births 1883, page 560-561 (stamped), line 10, 10 Mar 1883, Rena E. Clonch, citing Arbuckle district, Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00462.jpg : accessed 4 February 2022). 
  16. Alex Clonch’s CW pension file. A questionnaire the pensioner replied to on 4 June 1898 includes the names of all living children and their dates of birth including Frances born 30 Apr 1884. 
  17. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 1855008, image 496, West Virginia, Mason County, Register of Births 1887, page 676-675 (stamped), line 14, Bertha Clonch, 9 Dec 1887, citing Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1855008/00496.jpg : accessed 4 February 2022). 
  18. Alex Clonch’s CW pension file. A questionnaire the pensioner replied to on 4 June 1898 includes the names of all living children and their dates of birth. Bertha was not mentioned and therefore likely died before 4 June 1898. 
  19. Clonch Family Cemetery, Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia (photos of gravemarkers taken by Heather Manley-Duncan), gravemarker of Rebecca Clonch Roop 6 January 1888-3 February 1950 photographed 31 May 2014. 
  20. “U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014” (index only), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/3693/), citing Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA. Original data Social Security Death Index, Master File. SS #233-96-8112 issued in West Virginia, Sallie Krise, born 20 Jun 1890, died Jan 1979, last residence Belva, Nicholas County, West Virginia 26656. 
  21. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 567453, image 225, West Virginia, Clay County Register of Births 1893, line 25, H. S. Clonch, 11 February 1893, citing Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/567453/00225.jpg : accessed 5 February 2022). 
  22. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 4017226, image 3078, 1940 Delayed Certificate of Birth 5793, Harrison Sanders Clonch, 11 February 1893, citing Mason County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/4017226/03078.jpg : accessed 9 March 2013). 
  23. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 567453, image 236, West Virginia, Clay County Register of Births 1894, line 32, 6 Oct 1894, unnamed female child, citing Bell Creek, Clay County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/567453/00236.jpg : accessed 5 February 2022). 
  24. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 567453, image 242, West Virginia, Clay County Register of Death, line 13, unnamed female Clonch, 13 October 1894, citing Clay County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/567453/00242.jpg : accessed 5 February 2022). 
  25. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584762, image 37, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Births, page 57-58 (stamped), line 63, 5 Mar 1896, Ida B. Clonch, citing Smithers Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584762/00037.jpg : accessed 5 February 2022). 
  26. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), 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 1241757, West Virginia, Fayette County, Falls District Belva Precinct, enumeration dIstrict 11, sheet 16B, lines 60-63, household 358-358, John Cowley (sic), (accessed 26 June 2013). 
  27. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 373, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1897-1898, no page number (double-page spread), line 32, 3 Apr 1898, J. N. Smith and Lorena E. Clonch, citing Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00373.jpg : accessed 1 April 2022). 
  28. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 300, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages 1902-1903, no page number (double-page spread), line 4, G. W. Dunlap and Frances Clonch, 6 July 1902, citing Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00300.jpg : accessed 1 April 2022). 
  29. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 58476, image 366, Fayette County, West Virginia, Register of Marriages, 1903, (double-page spread), line 5, 12 July 1903, Walter F. Roop, Rebecca J. Clonch, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00366.jpg : accessed 2 February 2022). 
  30. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 443, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Marriages, page 87 (double-page spread), line 24, 5 April 1908, Harry Krise and Sarah A Clonch, citing DIxie, Fayette County. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00443.jpg : accessed 1 April 2022). 
  31. “United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” index and images, FamilySearch, NARA, RG 15, M850, citing microfilm of original records of the Veterans Administration in The National Archives, Washington, District of Columbia., Roll 418, Film 1634453, DGS 4694973, Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 579-580 of 681, Alexander Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-17556-56413-13?cc=1832324&wc=M9WY-MC3:881461769 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 
  32. Ibid., Roll 418, Film 1634453, DGS 4694973, Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 581-582 of 681, Tabitha Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-FWSS-FM?i=580&cc=1832324 : accessed 13 Nov 2013). 

John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY

Door18COOLEY

John COOLEY (Oct 1827-aft. Jun 1900) and Sarah Ann TREADWELL (sic) (Apr 1828-aft. Jun 1900) married in Meigs County, Ohio, 9 September 1851. In 1853 they were living in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia, when their oldest son Calvin was born. John COOLEY’s occupation was listed as sawyer on his son’s birth record. By 1860 the family was living in Missouri. In 1870 they were back in Meigs County, were John was working in a sawmill. In 1880 they were living in Mason County, West Virginia. By 1900 John and Sarah were in Fayette County, West Virginia. In their household was a widowed son-in-law and a granddaughter.

In the 1850s when John COOLEY was in Wood County there was another man of this surname in the county, William COOLEY and his wife Drusilla Stewart. Their marriage record has not been found however descendants say that they married in Ohio were Drusilla was born. They had the following children in Wood County: Rachael born 18 Jun 1856, Sarah Angeline born 4 Oct 1857, and Sarah A. born 12 Dec 1859.

I believe that there must be a connection between John (b. Oct 1827) and William (b. 1825) as both were born in Missouri, married in Ohio, lived in Wood County at about the same time. Census listings for William have been found from 1860 to 1920; William’s and Drusilla’s death records have been found.

The 1850 census listings for John and William COOLEY may be a very important piece to the puzzle. William Washington COOLEY’s death certificate lists his father as Isaac COOLEY. Online postings from descendants tell the story that his parents died when he was 7 and that he had a brother Charles and a sister Sarah. It is not known if this is documented.

TREADWAY or TREADWELL

Sarah’s surname has been seen as TREADWELL and as TREADWAY. Two of her children’s death certificates list her as Sarah TREADWAY. Daughter Ida’s birth record lists Sarah Jane TREADWAY. A family bible lists TREADWAY. However, the marriage record lists TREADWELL.

Although there is no conclusive evidence to show that Sarah Ann TREADWAY was the daughter of Henry TREADWAY of Wood County, (West) Virginia, I have attached her to his family in my GEDCOM file. I like to do this “for research purposes” as it makes it easier to compare things. Henry had children named Calvin and Melissa and these are names that Sarah gave to her firstborn children. Sarah has not been located in the 1850 census. Was she living with one of her siblings? Henry’s oldest daughter per 1830 census has not been identified. Calvin, Helena, Alcinda, and Melissa, the other children of Henry TREADWAY have been located in 1850 — Sarah is not living with them.

This couple has me hitting my head against a brick wall that doesn’t want to budge.

Addendum:

The will of Isaac COOLEY (below) names four children: William, James, Thomas Marian, and Harriet. Therefore John COOLEY and William Washington COOLEY were not brothers. Could they have been cousins?

Submitted by michael_95073
Note added Mon Mar 4 20:30:55 2013

Transcription of the will of Isaac Cooley, dated April 3, 1838, in Randolph County Missouri:

Known all men by these present that on the third day of April in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty-eight that I, Isaac Cooley, of Randolph County in the State of Missouri being of sound mind and disposing judgement, but low and weak in bodily strength and health do on this day dispose of my effects in the following manner. I give and bequeath to my son William one dollar. To my son James one dollar. To my son Thomas Marian one dollar and to my daughter Harriet one dollar. And I give and bequeath to my beloved wife [my home place] (crossed out) Nancy Cooley to have and to hold during her life time, my land and at her death I want the land to revert back to my son Thomas Marian and his heirs and assigns forever. After all my just debts are paid I want the above disposition of my effects made between my children of the one part and my dear wife Nancy Cooley of the other.

I leave my friend Thomas K White my executor to carry into effect __ _ In testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand and affixed my seal on the above.

[Source: http://ancestraldata.com/Notes/index.cgi?1167835947+%2Fahnentafel%2F256%2Flineages%2Fjohncooley-desc.html]

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