Rewriting the Biography: Martin 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.

Martin SIMS (abt. 1781-aft. 1853) was the third son of James SIMS and his first wife Phebe. He was the father of six known children, possibly 2-3 more (unknown) children, and at least 34 grandchildren.

The 1790 U.S. Federal Census

In 1790 when the first census was taken, Martin was living with his father James SIMS whose census records were discussed in Rewriting the Biography: James SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census in Bath County, Virginia. They would move to Kanawha County before 1800.

The 1800 U.S. Federal Census

Martin SIMS had married Susannah JOHNSON, daughter of William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON, in 1800 in Greenbrier County which bordered on Kanawha County at the time. The marriage bond for Martin SIMS and Susanna JOHNSON dated 28 March 1800 is on file with the Historical Society of Greenbrier County. There is also a permission slip dated 24 March 1800 signed by Susanna’s father William JOHNSON.1

As he was found on the 1802 tax list of Kanawha County he would have been 21 in 1802, i.e. born about 1781 or earlier.2

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

In 1810 Martin and Susanna had three children, sons Nelson and John and daughter Sarah.

1810 U.S. Federal Census – Martin SIMS in Kanawha County, Virginia

1810 U.S. Federal Census 3
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 24
Name: Martin Simms
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Nelson & John)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Susannah)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 3
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 5

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

The part of Kanawha County in which Martin lived became Nicholas County in 1818. He likely lived on the same land as his brother William. They were deeded 135 acres on the Gauley River in 1816 and were paying tax on the land in Nicholas County at the time of the census. The tract was the other half of an original tract of 260 acres which was not deeded by John JONES to James SIMS in 1800. [Land records will be discussed at another time.]

In Martin’s household were his wife, four known sons, an unknown son, and an unknown daughter. Also seen in the age range of his wife Susannah is another young woman. This may be Elizabeth JOHNSON, sister of Susannah, who was not yet married. Martin and another person, likely his oldest son Nelson, were engaged in manufacturing.

1820 U.S. Federal Census – Martin SIMS in Nicholas County, Virginia

1820 U.S. Federal Census 4
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 18
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Name: Martin Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 3 (unknown, James J., and Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (unknown daughter)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 2 (Susannah and unknown)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures: 2
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 3
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 10

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Martin SIMS and his wife Susannah JOHNSON had five sons and a daughter in the 1830 census. The ages of the sons in later census year vary a great deal. However, when comparing to the 1830 and 1840 census it would appear that the unknown son seen in 1820 is likely now in the 15 thru 19 age group. Anderson was the only child born in the 1820s. Lewis, who is seen here as 5 thru 9 (1840 in 15 thru 19), may have been born very late in the 1810s or in 1820 before the census. The unknown daughter born between 1810-1820 is no longer in the household.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – Martin SIMS (bottom) in Nicholas County, Virginia

1830 U.S. Federal Census5
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: Martin Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Anderson)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (James J. & unknown b. 1811-1815)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John 20-25)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Sarah 20-25)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Susannah)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 4
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 8

Nelson SIMS and Nancy JONES

Martin and Susannah’s oldest son Nelson had married Nancy JONES in 1828. Before the census, they had one son they named Martin.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – Nelson SIMS (top) in Nicholas County, Virginia

1830 U.S. Federal Census6
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: Nelson Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 3

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

Martin’s wife Susannah died before 6 June 1840. Her widower Martin married Margaret HUGHES on this date.

The official enumeration day of the 1840 census was 1 June 1840. All questions asked were supposed to refer to that date. The count was due within nine months, but the due date was extended by law to allow completion within eighteen months. ~ Ancestry.com

Margaret appears to have been counted in the household even though the marriage took place after the official enumeration date. Martin’s daughter Sarah was not yet married but she had a daughter Mary J. born about 1839 (she was 17 in 1856 when she married) who may be in the grandfather’s household. The possibility that Margaret HUGHES brought a child into the marriage or that she and Martin had a child should also be considered. The unknown male seen in 1820 and 1830 is not in the household. Was he deceased or had he married and moved to other parts? Without a name or a document listing the names of the children of Martin, it is probably impossible to trace this person.

All of the males in the household were engaged in agriculture. There was one female slave age 36 thru 54 counted. None of the adults in the household could read or write.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Martin SIMS in Nicholas County, Virginia

1840 U.S. Federal Census7
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 10, Line 5
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Martin Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Anderson)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Mary J. Sprinkle, daughter of Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Margaret, md. June 1840)
Slaves – Females – 36 thru 54: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 4
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 4
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total Slaves: 1
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8

Nelson SIMS

Martin’s son Nelson’s family had grown to include a son Thomas and daughters Sarah Jane and Virginia. Nelson was engaged in agriculture and he did not have any slaves.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Nelson SIMS in Fayette County, Virginia

1840 U.S. Federal Census8
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 147, Line 30
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Nelson Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Thomas)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Martin)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Virginia)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Sarah Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Nancy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6

There was a second census listing for a man named Nelson SIMS in 1840 in Kanawha County. His age is too young to be a match for Nelson seen above. Several tick marks were X-ed out. There were 4 persons in the household: a man and a woman aged 20 thru 29 and one girl and one boy under 5. Three persons were engaged in agriculture, most likely not correct as there was only one male over 20 in the household.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Nelson SIMS in Kanawha County, Virginia

1840 U.S. Federal Census9
Kanawha County, (West Virginia)
Page 60, Line 29
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Nelson Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 marked out with an X (looks like *)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 marked out with an X (looks like *)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 marked out with an X (looks like *)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 4
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4

James J. SIMS and Elizabeth DARLINGTON

Martin’s son James J. SIMS married Elizabeth DARLINGTON in 1832. By the time the census was taken they had three daughters under 5 years of age. James J. was engaged in agriculture.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – James J. SIMS in Fayette County, Virginia

1840 U.S. Federal Census10
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 147, Line 3
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (James J. Sims)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 3 (Nancy, Mary J., Amanda)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Nelson, James, Martin, and Lewis SIMS in Fayette County, Virginia

In 1850 we see Martin SIMS and all of his children except for his youngest son Anderson on the same page of the census. One household after the other suggesting they lived on the same land or very close to each other. Only Martin has the value of real estate listed which likely means his sons were living on his property. On the census page, they are listed in this order: Nelson, James, Martin, and Lewis but are discussed below by age.

Note: In households #171-171 to #174-174 are Martin’s brother William and his son Edward and Martin and William’s half-brothers George W. and Charles. William and Charles own land. The land owned by the SIMS family was originally in Nicholas County but with the formation of Fayette County, a large part was on the Fayette side of the Gauley River.

Martin SIMS

Martin was 60 years old and a farmer. He owned real estate valued at $1000. In his household was his daughter Sarah, seen here as Sally, with her two daughters Mary and Hannah. Sarah had married George W. Sprinkle in 1840.  No trace has been found of her husband.

Also in the household was Martin’s second oldest son John who had not yet married. Missing is Martin’s second wife Margaret.

1850 U.S. Federal Census11
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheet 343B, Lines 22-26, HH #177-177
Martin Sims 60 M Farmer $1000 cannot read & write
Sally Sprinker (sic) 40 F cannot read & write
Mary Sprinker (sic)  8 F
Hannah Sprinker (sic) 7 M
John Sims 40 M Laborer cannot read & write

Margaret was seen in the 30 thru 39 years group in the 1840 census listing. She would be 40 thru 49 years in 1850 if still living. On 19 November 1849 Martin and his wife Margaret sold two tracts of land to Fenton MORRIS. This establishes her being alive without a year of the 1850 census. She was not found on the Mortality Schedule in 1850.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Margaret SIMS in the KINCAID household in Fayette County, Virginia

Four households away from Martin SIMS (a McNutt and an O’Dell family are listed in between) were Francis KINCAID and his wife Ann HUGHES. In their household was Margaret SIMS age 49. Was she Martin’s wife? Why was she with the KINCAID couple? Ann was Margaret’s younger sister. Ann’s husband Francis would die before March 1852 after making his will in April 1851. Was Margaret helping out at her sister’s or was she separated from Martin?

1850 U.S. Federal Census12
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheets 343B+344A, Lines 42 and 1-2, HH #181-181
Francis Kincaid 41 M Farmer Virginia
Ann Kincaid 40 F Virginia cannot read & write
Margaret Sims 49 F Virginia cannot read & write

Nelson SIMS

Nelson and his wife Nancy had three more daughters in the 1840s. Nelson was working as a farmer but not on his own land as he did not own real estate. His sons were laborers.

1850 U.S. Federal Census13
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheet 343B, Lines 5-13, HH #175-175
Nelson Sims 40 M Farmer cannot read or write
Nancy Sims 30 (sic) F cannot read or write
Martin Sims 20 M Laborer
Thomas Sims 17 M Laborer
Sarah Jane Sims 15 F
Virginia Sims 12 F
Nancy A. Sims 9 F (sic, Margaret in later years)
Jinnetta Sims 7 F
Unice A. Sims 2 F

James J. SIMS

James J. SIMS and his wife Elizabeth had three more children in the 1840s. Charles, William A., and Manerva. Daughter Amanda is seen here as 9. I counted her in the 1840 census as, later in 1860, she was enumerated as being 20 years old, i.e. born 1840. James is working as a farmer but like his brother Nelson, he did not own property.

1850 U. S. Federal Census14
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheet 343B, Lines 14-21, HH #176-176
James Sims 36 M Farmer Virginia
Elizabeth Sims 36 F Virginia
Nancy Sims 14 F Virginia
Mary J. Sims 12 F Virginia
Amanda Sims 9 F Virginia
Charles Sims 8 M Virginia
William A. Sims 4 M Virginia
Manerva Sims 1 F Virginia

Lewis SIMS and Caroline J. TUCKER

Lewis SIMS married Caroline J. TUCKER on 16 June 1849. They had an unnamed child born in May 1850 (1-month-old at the time of census enumerated as of 1 June 1850). The gender of the child is blank but looks like ditto marks close to the lower line indicating female. However, Lewis and Caroline’s oldest known child was a boy who died of croup in 1857. His age at death (which may not be correct) place his birth in January 1849 before his parents’ marriage.

Lewis worked as a farmer and did not have real estate.

1850 U.S. Federal Census15
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 2nd day of August 1850
Sheet 343B, Lines27-29, HH #178-178
Lewis Sims 29 M Farmer Virginia
C. J. Sims 23 F Virginia
__ Sims 1/12 ” (not named) Virginia

 Anderson SIMS and Elizabeth UNDERWOOD

Anderson SIMS is the only child of Martin and Susannah not living in Fayette County in 1850. Anderson married Elizabeth UNDERWOOD on 11 March 1850 in Nicholas County where they lived at the time of the census. The column for married within the census year was not checked.

Was Elizabeth a widow and did she bring three children into the marriage? Why are they enumerated as SIMS in 1850? No trace of Ann after 1850 and none of the boys James and John after 1860 was found.

Anderson was a farmer and did not own real estate.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Anderson SIMS in Nicholas County, Virginia

1850 U.S. Federal Census16
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
The 43rd District (Western crossed out)
Sheet 382A, Lines 19-23, HH #548-548
Anderson Sims 26 M Farmer Virginia
Elizabeth Sims 35 F Virginia
Ann Sims 12 F Virginia
James Sims 8 M Virginia
John Sims 6 F Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Martin and his second wife Margaret have not been found in the 1860 census. No record of death was found for either of them.

“Martin V. Sims, son of the pioneer James Sims, owned about 200 acres of land extending from Rich Creek to a point on the opposite side of the river from Swiss. Nelson, James, Anderson and Lewis Sims, sons of Martin Sims, inherited this tract of land but afterwards disposed of same and moved elsewhere.”17

The information quoted from a history of Fayette County published in 1926 does not indicate when Martin SIMS died. An entry two paragraphs prior to this one concerning his father James SIMS is exaggerated. Can this statement be taken seriously?

The Fayette County will book for the years 1832-1866, as well as the Nicholas County will book for the years 1820-1899, were checked for a possible will, inventory, appraisement and/or sale bill of personal property which would help to narrow down the possible death of Martin SIMS. Nothing was found.

Land deeds of Nicholas County were consulted. In 1849 Martin and his wife Margaret sold 190 acres to Fenton MORRIS. In 1850 Martin was seen with real estate valued at $1000. This land must have been entirely in Fayette County as there is no record in Nicholas for a tract of land sold by the sons of Martin as noted above. Land records for Fayette County are not online.

On the  1860 census, Nelson SIMS was found in Nicholas County, James J. SIMS was still in Fayette County, and Lewis SIMS was in Kanawha County. Anderson SIMS, who was already in Nicholas County in 1850, was still there in 1860. John SIMS, who was not mentioned in the above statement, has not been definitely found (1860 and 1870 census records found are inconsistent). Daughter Sarah SPRINKLE, not mentioned above, was in Nicholas County.

The statement appears to have a notion of truth about the sons moving elsewhere after they disposed of the land. As the children were not living in Fayette County, with the exception of James J., I believe Martin must have died in the 1850s and before the 1860 census.

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

U.S. Federal Census Analysis for Martin SIMS

  1. Larry Heffner, email dated 10 August 2004 in reply to a request for information on marriage papers of Martin Sims and Susanna Johnson in the archives of the Greenbrier Historical Society. 
  2. 1790 / 1800 Virginia Tax List Censuses (Binns Genealogy, original records from Library of Virgina, Richmond, Virginia or Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah), Kanawha, Personal Tax List, page 21, line 1. Martin Sims.(http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Kanawha/1802Personal/21.jpg : accessed 13 March 2018). 
  3. 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 24, Martin Simms (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  4. 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 18, Martin Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  5. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 Film: 0029677, NARA Rol M19_198, Nicholas, Virginia, image 35+36 of 42, page 189A+B, line 16, Martin Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  6. Ibid., Nicholas, Virginia, image 35+36 of 42, page 189A+B, line 15, Nelson Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  7. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 0029690, NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Nicholas, image 26+27 of 67, page 10A+B, line 5, Martin Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  8. Ibid., FHL Film 0029689, NARA Roll M704_566, Virginia, Kanawha page 60A+B, line 29, Nelson Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  9. Ibid., FHL Film 0029689, NARA Roll M704_566, Virginia, Kanawha page 60A+B, line 29, Nelson Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  10. Ibid., FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette page 147A, line 3, James Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  11. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, 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 292, Virginia, Fayette County, Western District, image 28 of 91, page 343B, lines 22-26, HH#177-177 Martin Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  12. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette County, Western District, image 28+29 of 91, page 343B and 344A, lines 42 and 1-2, HH#1817-181 Francis Kincaid. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  13. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette County, Western District, image 28 of 91, page 343B, lines 5-13, HH#175-175 Nelson Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  14. Ibid., lines 14-21, HH#176-176 James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  15. Ibid., lines 27-29, HH#178-178 Lewis Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  16. 1850 Census, Virginia, Nicholas County, Western District, image 85 of 93, sheet 382A, lines 19-23, HH#548-548 Anderson Sims. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 April 2018). 
  17. J.T. Peters and H.B. Carden, History of Fayette County, West Virginia, copyright Fayette County Historical Society, Inc., 1926, printed by Jarrett Printing Company, Charleston, West Virginia, p. 610 

52 Ancestors: #48 Who was the father of Rachel PROFFITT? ~ A Study of Family Groups

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #48 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #48 Who was the father of Rachel PROFFITT? ~ A Study of Family Groups

Since writing Rachel’s story back in June 2014 I’ve been working on and off, and more intensively the past two weeks, on the two men who may have been her father: David PROFFITT and his brother Austin PROFFITT. I had planned on discussing both sets of possible parents in two post as I still had unresolved questions concerning Rachel’s parentage. Then I changed my mind because I think that it is more likely that David and his wife Sally were her parents than Austin and his wife Patsy. Is it a gut feeling or based on evidence?

1942 Nannie Ellen Cates death
Certificate of Death for Mrs. Nannie Ellen Cates [Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975 : accessed 20 June 2014]
Rachel PROFFITT, my third great-grandmother, was born about 1817 in Franklin County, Virginia. Although her married life is well documented, the names of her parents have not been found in any written records. Her maiden name is seen on the death certificate of her youngest child Nannie Ellen CATES who died in 1942.

Many online gedcoms show that Rachel was a daughter of David PROFFITT and Sarah “Sally” COCKRAM who married on 21 October 1813 in Franklin County, Virginia[1]. Another possibility is that she was the daughter of Austin PROFFITT and Martha “Patsy” RAKES who married on 4 June 1813 in Franklin County, Virginia.

Austin and David were brothers and the only children of Austin PROFFITT who died before 1803. Their mother “Betsey PROPHET” is enumerated with her two young sons ages between 10 and 15 years on the 1810 census of Franklin County and may also be reflected in the household of her son Austin in 1820 and 1830. The ages found for the brothers on the 1850 and later censuses show they were quite young when they married in 1813.

Grandsons of David PROFITT

Chancery Records Index – Close Case Details
Locality: Nelson County, Virginia
Index Number: 1810-005
Plaintiff(s): John Profitt etc.
Defendant(s); Heir(s) of David Profitt
Surname(s): Cameron, Joslin, Profitt, Wilcher
Wills: blank   Plat?: No
Format: 4 Scanned images

chancery1
Chancery Records online http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1810-005
chancery2
Chancery Records online http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=125-1810-005

These Chancery Records mention the deceased David PROFITT’s son Austin PROFITT, who predeceased his father, and his minor children David and Austin PROFITT. This establishes that David and Austin were the only children of Austin PROFITT, deceased. Also mentioned are the other 10 children of David: John PROFITT, Randolph PROFITT, Jesse PROFITT, Rowland PROFITT, Elizabeth PROFITT, Nancy PROFITT, Molly (née PROFITT) and Duncan CAMERON, Sally (née PROFITT) and William JOSLIN, Susannah (née PROFITT) and Joseph WILCHER, and David PROFITT.

Austin, son of David

Austin PROFFITT (1770-1803) was born 17 January 1770 in Amherst County, Virginia, to David PROFFITT and his wife Elizabeth SMITH. In 1790 he was not yet 21 years of age when he was seen on the Tax List of Amherst County with his father David Sr.

1790taxproffit
1790 Tax List of Amherst County, Virginia [ online http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/ ]
Austin married Elizabeth “Betsey” ROBERTSON on 22 November 1790 in Amherst County, Virginia. Austin’s name was seen as Augusten on the marriage record. Betsey was born about 1773 in Amherst County, Virginia, to Arthur ROBERTSON and his wife Milly. Austin and Betsey, as established above, had two sons born in Amherst County: David PROFFITT born about 1793 and Austin PROFFITT (1796-1871) born about 1796.

Austin’s father David’s will was probated on 31 October 1803. His sons John and Rowland were administrators of their father’s will.[2]

The inventory of the estate of David PROFFITT was done by Shelton CROSTHWAIT, Charles EDMUNDS, and Zachary WHITE. Administrators were John PROFFITT, Rowland PROFFITT, and James MURPHY. A guardian bond was filed for Betsy PROFFITT to be guardian of David and Augustine PROFFITT, orphans of Augustine PROFFITT. The estate of David PROFFITT was valued at £262, 6 shillings, 9 pence.[3]

It is not known when Betsey and her boys moved to Franklin County or even if Austin may have been living there when he died. The chancery record seen above does not include the location of the persons involved other than the fact that four of the children of David were not living in the Commonwealth of Virginia. By 1810 Betsey was living next door to her father Arthur ROBERTSON in Franklin County. There was an unknown older man in her household.

1810censusprophet
1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin [ancestry.com]
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Betsey Prophet
2 males 10 to 15 yo (David and Austin b. bet. 1795-1800)
1 male 45 and older (unknown person)
1 female 26 thru 44 yo (Betsey)
no other free persons or slaves

During the time period of the War of 1812 (18 Jun 1812-24 Dec 1814) both of Betsey’s son married:

  • Austin PROFFITT married Martha “Patsy” RAKES (1796-1871) on 4 June 1813 in Franklin County, Virginia
  • David PROFFITT married Sarah “Sally” COCKRAM on 21 October 1813 in Franklin County, Virginia

Family Groups Study

The fact that David and Austin were the only children of Austin and Betsey and the only men with the surname PROFFITT in the Franklin County during the years from 1810 to 1840 makes the study of the two family groups a bit easier. Before going into the census listings here are the lists of the children I have for each of Betsey’s boys.

Children of David PROFFITT and Sarah “Sally” COCKRAM

  • Ch 1: Hessie “Esther” PROFFITT (1814-aft. 1800) born about 1814 in Franklin County, Virginia. She married Owen STEVENS (1821-1880) on 19 August 1835 in Franklin County, Virginia. “David PROPHET” was surety.[4] Hessie died between 1880-1900.
  • Ch 2: Rachel PROFFITT (1817-1899) born about 1817 in Franklin County, Virginia. She married Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) on 8 December 1841 in Franklin County, Virginia.[5] Rachel died 5 March 1899 in Nettle Ridge, Patrick County, Virginia. No record found to prove that she was the daughter of David and Sarah.
  • Ch 3: Austin PROFFITT (1822-aft. 1910) born April 1822 in Franklin County, Virginia. He married Vincey NEWBERRY (1827-1910) on 14 September 1844 in Franklin County, Virginia[6] Austin died after April 1910. In 1870 his father David was in his household however the relationship is not specifically stated.
  • Ch 4: Preston PROFFITT (1825-aft. 1880) born about 1825 in Franklin County, Virginia. He married Martha WRIGHT (1820-1880) on 1 June 1844 in Floyd County, Virginia.[7] He went to Morgan County, Kentucky, with his family before 1860. Preston died between 1880-1900. No record found to prove that he was the son of David and Sarah.
  • Ch 5: David PROFFITT (1827-1887) born about 1827 in Franklin County, Virginia. He married Jane PINION (1838- ) before 1855. David died 27 December 1887 in Lebanon, Russell County, Virginia.[8] The death record lists David PROFIT as his father.
  • Ch 6: [–?–] PROFFITT (female) born between 1826-1830 in Franklin County, Virginia
  • Ch 7: Edward “Ned” PROFFITT (1831-1894) born about 1831 in Franklin County, Virginia. He married Sarah “Sally” KEEN (1825- ) 6 January 1848 in Tazewell County, Virginia. Edward died 15 February 1894 in Doran, Tazewell County, Virginia.[9] Parents are listed as David and Sally PROFFITT on the death record.
  • Ch 8: Samuel PROFFITT (1834-aft. 1910) born 1837 in Franklin County, Virginia. He married(1) Tabitha PINION (1840-1880) before 1860. Samuel PROFFITT married(2) his cousin Malinda PROFFITT (1838-1884) on 18 December 1883 in Tazewell County, Virginia. The abstract of the marriage record shows that Samuel was the son of David and Sallie PROFFIT while Malinda was the daughter of “Ostin” and Patsy PROFFIT. Malinda may have died before August 1888 as Samuel married(3) Elizabeth “Lizzie” HUFMAN on 24 August 1888 in Russell County, Virginia. His father is seen as David PROFIT on the abstract. Samuel PROFFITT died 27 July 1910.
  • Ch 9: Stabina “Stella” PROFFITT (1840-1874) born about 1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. She married Jessee R. MUSICK (1830- ) on 13 September 1855 in Russell County, Virginia. David and Sarah are listed as her parents. Stabina “Stella” PROFFITT died 15 October 1874 in Lawrence County, Kentucky.[10] The death record lists David and Sally PROPHET as her parents.

Children of Austin PROFFITT and Martha “Patsy” RAKES

  • Ch 1: Harvey PROFFITT (1815-1885) born about 1815 in Franklin County, Virginia. He married(1) Sarah Jane BARTON (1818-1893) on 3 December 1835 in Floyd County, Virginia. [11] They appear to have divorced as Harvey married(2) Rosannah NEWBERRY (1845-1885) on 17 November 1876 in Russell County, Virginia. Parents were listed as Austin and Martha PROPHET. Harvey died after 30 December 1885 (date that his 2nd wife died).
  • Ch 2: Delilah PROFFITT (1818-1892) born about 1818. She married(1) Berry WOOD on 11 July 1836 in Franklin County, Virginia. Surety was Austin Prophet.[12] She married(2) William HICKS on 16 June 1841 in Hawkins County, Tennessee. Delilah died 1892.[13]
  • Ch 3: Lewis PROFFITT (1820-1898) born about 1820 in Franklin County, Virgina. He married Eliza GEORGE (1821-1881) on 27 December 1842 in Patrick County, Virginia. Lewis died on 10 October 1898 in Missouri. No record found to prove that he was the son of  Austin and Martha. He lived in Hancock County, Tennessee, 15 households away from Austin and Martha PROFFITT in 1850.
  • Ch 4: Elisha PROFFITT (1826- ) born about 1826 in Franklin County, Virginia. He married Malinda UNDERWOOD (1826- ) on 22 May 1845 in Franklin County, Virginia. The marriage record shows that he was the son of Austin.[14] He died after 1880. His wife was still living in 1910.
  • Ch 5: [–?–] PROFFITT (daughter) born bet. 1826-1830
  • Ch 6: [–?–] PROFFITT (son) born bet. 1831-1835
  • Ch 7: Joseph M. PROFFITT (1838-1911) born 17 March 1838 in Franklin County, Virginia. He married Margaret F. CARTER (1840-1877) in 1860. Joseph died 14 April 1911 in Buchanon County, Missouri. The death certificate lists “Oscar” and Martha PROFFIT.[15]
  • Ch 8: Malinda PROFFITT (1838-1884) born about 1838 in Franklin County, Virginia. She married(1) David BROOKS on 11 January 1854 in Claiborne County, Tennessee.[16] She married(2) John BRUNT before 1870. She married(3) her first cousin Samuel PROFFITT (1834-1884) on 18 December 1883 in Tazewell County, Virginia. The names of her parents are seen as Austin and Patsy. Malinda may have died between 1883-1888.

The pre-1850 census analysis

vafranklin
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From 1810 until 1840 we see David and his brother Austin living in Franklin County, Virginia. It is important to know that while both PROFFITT families lived in Franklin County there was no change in the boundaries which were nearly the same as they are today. Franklin County was formed from Bedford and Henry Counties in 1785-1786. In 1844 Franklin gained a small area from Patrick County, the little peninsula-like piece on the southern border. In the 1870s a tiny bit of Floyd County, where Floyd, Patrick and Franklin join, went to Franklin County. See
Virginia Formation Maps

In 1820 both David and Austin had been married 7 years and each had two children. And this is where I thought things would get complicated. My 3rd great-grandmother Rachel was born about 1817 and “fit” into both households.

1820censusproffit
DAVID – 1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin [ancestry.com]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Name: David Proffit
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (David)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Esther and Rachel)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Sarah)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Commerce: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 2
Free White Persons – Over 25: 1
Total Free White Persons: 4
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 4

1820censusaustin
AUSTIN – 1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin [ancestry.com]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Name: Austin Proffit
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 1 (Harvey)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Austin)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Delilah)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Patsy)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and older: 1 (poss. Austin’s mother Betsey)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 2
Free White Persons – Over 25: 1
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 5
1 person engaged in agriculture

By 1830 David and Sarah had 3 boys and 3 girls; Austin and Patsy had 4 boys and 2 girls. The age ranges of the children varied, showing some as younger or older than in 1820.

1830censusproffit
DAVID & AUSTIN – 1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin [ancestry.com]
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Name: David Proffit
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (David Jr.)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Preston and Austin)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (David)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Lucinda)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Rachel)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Esther)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 6
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 8

1830 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Name: Austin Proffit
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (son b. bet. 1821-1825 & Elisha)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Harvey)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Austin)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (daughter b. bet. 1826-1830)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Delilah)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Patsy)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (poss. Austin’s mother Betsey)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 6
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 9

I believe that the older woman seen in Austin’s household in 1820 and 1830 was his mother Betsey. Austin’s parents-in-law were both living at this time. On 25 November 1834 Elisha RAKES and his wife Agness of Franklin County sold land for $1 to Reuben RAKES of Floyd County.[17] Elizabeth “Betsey” ROBERTSON most likely died between 1830-1840 in Franklin County, Virginia, as she is not longer reflected in the 1840 census.

By 1840 David and Sarah had 2 more sons and a daughter and their oldest daughter had married. Austin and Patsy also had 2 more sons and a daughter and their oldest son had married. And this is where it becomes problematic. Their daughter Delilah married in 1836; Austin was seen as surety. However a female of her age appears to be at home in 1840. It is not known how her marriage ended but “Delia Proffet” was seen marrying in 1841. My dilemna was that without evaluating the information on all persons in each household it looked like both David and Austin could have been the father of Rachel who married Jordan N. PETERS until 1841.

1840censusdavid
DAVID – 1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin [ancestry.com]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Name: David Proffett
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (Samuel and Edward)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (David and Preston)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Austin)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (David)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Statira)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (unknown female)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Rachel)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 8
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 10

1840censusaustin
AUSTIN – 1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin [ancestry.com]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Name: Austin Proffet
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Joseph)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (son b. 1831-1835)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Elisha)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29:    1 (Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 60 thru 69: 1 (Austin, wrong column for age?)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Malinda)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (daughter b. bet. 1826-1830)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (??Delilah, md.(1) 1836; md.(2) 1841)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Patsy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 3
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 9

I hope that you have been able to follow how I studied the two family groups to come to the conclusion that my 3rd great-grandmother Rachel PROFFITT was the daughter of David PROFFITT and his wife Sarah COCKRAM.

Rachel’s father David Proffit from 1850 until death

During the 1840s both David and Austin moved their families a little bit farther west. David ended up in Russell County, Virginia, while Austin crossed the stateline to live in Hancock County, Tennessee, in 1850 and 1860. Austin was in Lee County, Virginia, in 1870, and died in Maiden Spring, Tazewell County, Virginia, in 1871.

Tnhancock
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varussell
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Accessed online: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/File:Varussell.jpg

1850censusdavid
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Russell [ancesty.com]
The 1850 census listing shows that David was born in Amherst County and his wife and three children still living at home were born in Franklin County. The move was made after David’s youngest daughter was born. I checked the entire agricultural schedule for Russell County for 1850 through 1870 and found only David’s son Austin in 1860 and 1870. David did not own land in Russell County. This is also seen in the 1860 and 1870 census where the column for real estate is blank.

1860censusdavid
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Russell [ancesty.com]
In 1860 David and Sally were in Rose Dale, Russell County. In their household was also a granddaughter Mary STEVENS, daughter of their oldest daughter Hessie.

Sarah “Sally” COCKRAM died between 1860-1870 most likely in the Rose Dale area of Russell County, Virginia, were she had been living with her husband David in 1860.

1870censusdavid1
1870 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Russell (part 1) [ancesty.com]
1870censusdavid2
DAVID – 1870 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Russell (part 2) [ancesty.com]
By 1870 David had moved in with his oldest son Austin (named after his grandfather) who lived in the Elk Garden Township in Russell County. Austin had 20 acres of improved land in 1860 and this increased to 25 acres of improved and 120 acres of woodland in 1870.

David PROFFITT died between 1870-1880 most likely in Elk Garden, Russell County, Virginia, were he was living in 1870.

Sources:
[1] Ancestry.com. Franklin County, Virginia Marriage Bonds, 1786-1858 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Wingfield, Marshall. Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia. Memphis, TN, USA: West Tennessee Historical Societ, 1939.
[2] Amherst County, Virginia Wills, 1761-1919
[3] Amherst County Will Book 4, page 117
[4] Ancestry.com. Franklin County, Virginia Marriage Bonds, 1786-1858 pg. 217 “Stephens, Owen and Hessie Proffit, Aug. 19, 1835. Sur. David Prophet. 129.” [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Wingfield, Marshall. Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia. Memphis, TN, USA: West Tennessee Historical Societ, 1939.
[5] War of 1812 Pension Papers of Jordan N. PETERS.
[6] Ancestry.com. Franklin County, Virginia Marriage Bonds, 1786-1858 pg. 187 “Profit, Austin and Viney Newberry, dau. Sarah, Sept. 14, 1858. Sur. John A. Newberry.” [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Wingfield, Marshall. Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia. Memphis, TN, USA: West Tennessee Historical Societ, 1939.
[7] Barbara Reininger, compiler and website owner, Floyd County, Virginia, Marriages, Transcribed by Barbara Reininger from images of microfilm records obtained by Rena Worthen from the Library of Virginia.  (online: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barbr/zz_marriages.htm). FCVA1844_0023; FCVA1844_0024. Register: 2. Page: 135. “Preston Proffit m. Martha Right 06-01-1844 Floyd Co., VA bond. Samuel Cockram certified that Martha Right is over & above the age of 21.”
[8] Ancestry.com. Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: “Virginia Deaths and Burials, 1853–1912.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.
[9] Ancestry.com. Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Virginia Deaths and Burials, 1853–1912.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.
[10] Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
[11] Barbara Reininger, compiler and website owner, Floyd County, Virginia, Marriages, Transcribed by Barbara Reininger from images of microfilm records obtained by Rena Worthen from the Library of Virginia.  (online: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barbr/zz_marriages.htm). FCVA1835_0012; FCVA1835_0069. Register: 2. Page: 129. “Harvey Proffit m. Sarah Jane Barton 12-03-1835 Floyd Co., VA by Michael Howry.”
[12] Ancestry.com. Franklin County, Virginia Marriage Bonds, 1786-1858; page 245; “Wood, Berry and Delilah Proffit, July 11, 1836. Sur. Austin Prophet. 60.” [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Wingfield, Marshall. Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia. Memphis, TN, USA: West Tennessee Historical Societ, 1939.
[13] “Hicks, William and Proffet, Delia license 16 June married 17 June 1841″ online http://tngenweb.org/hawkins/some-1824-1846-marriages/
[14] Ancestry.com. Franklin County, Virginia Marriage Bonds, 1786-1858; page 187; “Proffit, Elisha, s. Austin, and Elizabeth Underwood, dau. Samuel, May 22, 1845. Sur. John Underwood.” [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Wingfield, Marshall. Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia. Memphis, TN, USA: West Tennessee Historical Societ, 1939.
[15] Death Certificate File No. 13472; online http://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1911/1911_00013442.PDF
[16] Ancestry.com. Dodd, Jordan R. Tennessee, Marriages, 1851-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.
[17] Calvin Rakes, information found by him in 1975 in the Deed Book during a visit to Floyd County, emailed to Marie Meyer in March 2001; online http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=:3168500&id=I621737153.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey