Same Name Confusion: Sorting Out Three Men Named Lyddal Bacon Estes/Lyddal Estes

by Robin Rankin Willis

Occasionally, I despair. The amount of lousy information “out there” on the internet about my ancestors is distressing, especially considering that it is available for all the world to see for infinity (or until The Donald accidentally activates a nuclear attack while searching for a flattering picture of his coif on his desktop). I have talked to a couple of my favorite family history researchers about this – you know who you are, Jody and Roberta – and we share a certain undesirable trait of character: we take offense when people publish absolute crap about our ancestors. I don’t need my cousin Diane Rankin, a genuine psychiatrist, to tell me that this is a silly thing to get het up about. What difference can it possibly make that some people publish bad information on our ancestors?

I don’t know. None. All I know is that it incites me to publish articles to correct erroneous information. This is one of those posts.

The stuff one can find on the web about Lyddal Bacon Estes provides a great example of bad information. In this case, the errors are partly attributable to the understandable confusion caused by the fact that a number of men shared that name or a close variation, and three of them were alive at the same time. Throw in some incomplete research on top of that, and you’ve got the makings of a really funky family tree. I will resist the temptation to provide examples, including a couple of my own errors (blush). Instead, here is an updated version of an article I wrote that was originally published in June 2010 in Estes Trails, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2.

I doubt seriously that this post will change anyone’s mind who seriously believes that Doctor Lyddal Bacon Estes of Maury County, TN married Ann (nickname Nancy) Ann Allen Winn in Lunenburg, VA while simultaneously being married to Sally Alston Hunter in Maury, or that Dr. LBE and Sally Alston Hunter were the parents of Mary F. Estes Rankin (they were not). I can only hope that someone who is struggling with an ancestor who traces his or her Estes line back to that unusual name will find some help in here.

Here’s how I stumbled onto these three confusing Estes. Early in my family history research, I learned that Mary F. Estes Rankin, the wife of my ancestor Samuel Rankin, was a daughter of Lyddal Bacon Estes of Tishomingo County, Mississippi (hereafter, “LBE”). I was absolutely delighted to learn this. Having dealt with ancestors who recycled the same men’s given names ad nauseam – John, William, Thomas, Richard and Samuel – finding the parents of a man who had two unusual surnames for given and middle names looked to me like a potential research cakewalk.

I was dead wrong. There was nothing easy about identifying LBE’s parents. I immediately found myself entangled in a genealogical hazard called “same name confusion,” because there were three men alive in the early 1800s who shared the name Lyddal Estes or Lyddal Bacon Estes. Thus, my first task in finding LBE’s parents was to sort out these three men: (1) Doctor Lyddal Bacon Estes, who died in Maury County, Tennessee; (2) Lyddal Estes, who died in Troup County, Georgia; and (3) my proved ancestor LBE, who died in Tishomingo County, Mississippi. It soon became clear that these men have frequently been conflated by family history researchers. Let’s start untangling the confusion with a look at Doctor Estes, who is relatively (but not entirely) uncontroversial.

Dr. Lyddal Bacon Estes (1775 – 1814) of Lunenburg Co., VA, North Carolina, and Maury Co., TN.

Estes Trails has had several articles over the years mentioning Doctor Lyddal Bacon Estes (hereafter, “Doc Estes”). He is the man who married Sarah (“Sally”) Alston Hunter in Warren County, North Carolina in 1805.[1] He is identified in Charles Estes’s 1894 compiled history Estes Genealogies as a son of Benjamin Estes and his wife Frances Bacon Estes of Lunenburg County, Virginia.[2] So far as I can tell from my own research, that is 100% correct. Doc Estes was undoubtedly born and raised in Lunenburg, since Benjamin and Frances lived there from at least 1758 until 1811, when Benjamin last appeared on the Lunenburg tax lists.[3]

There is very little trace of Doc Estes in the Lunenburg records, except that he appeared on the personal property tax lists from 1798 through 1802 in the same district as his father Benjamin.[4] It is certain that the Lyddal Estes on those lists was not LBE of Tishomingo, who wasn’t born until the early 1790s (see discussion below). Further, this Lunenburg tithable was not the Lyddal Estes who died in Troup County, GA, because that man was already in the Carolinas by 1790 (also discussed below). In short, the man on the Lunenburg tax lists was Doc Estes, son of Benjamin and Frances Bacon Estes.

In 1805, Doc Estes appeared in Warren County, North Carolina long enough to marry Sally Hunter. He was in Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee by 1807.[5] He was appointed Columbia postmaster the same year. In 1809, he was a justice of the Maury County court. He owned three lots in the town of Columbia, two of which he mortgaged in 1813.[6] He died there in 1814 owing fairly substantial debts, although a host of people owed him money, as well. A list of the debts due his estate contains more than 150 names, including his brothers Chesley Estes and John H. Estes, first cousin and brother-in-law Bartlett Estes, and brothers-in-law John and Josiah Alderson.[7] The obituary for Doc Estes published in the Nov. 15, 1814 issue of The Tennessee State Gazette of Nashville says simply that “Estes, Dr. L. B. of Columbia, departed this life Sunday last on ‘the day he completed his 39th year of his age.’ Husband … father … public officer.”[8]

Doc Estes has not escaped the “same name confusion” problem. Several GEDCOMs on Ancestry.com and family trees posted on the web confuse him with LBE of Tishomingo County by asserting — incorrectly that Doc Estes also married Nancy/Ann Allen Winn of Lunenburg. However, Doc Estes was still married to Sarah Hunter, his wife since 1805, when he died in 1814. She appeared in the Maury County records as Sarah or Sally Estes, clearly identified as his widow in November 1814 (when she received her widow’s provision and was appointed administrator of his estate) and in March 1815 (appearing as Doc Estes’s administrator in a lawsuit).[9] The other LBE married Nancy A. Winn in Lunenburg in March 1814. Because that was during the time when Doc Estes was married to Sarah, it follows that Doc Estes of Maury County was definitely not Nancy Winn’s husband.[10]

Doc Estes and Sarah’s children, all identified in Estes Genealogies, were (1) Edwin Chesley Estes (1806 – 1886), (2) Alston Bacon Estes (1808 – 1888), (3) Ludwell Hunter Estes (1810 – 1887), (4) William Isaac Addison Estes (1812-1893), and (5) Martha Louise or Louisa Estes (1814 – 1878). After Doc Estes died, Sarah married Buford Turner, also of Maury County, and had several more children.[11]

Lyddal Estes (1763 – 1850) of Amelia and Henry Co., VA, Stokes Co., NC, Chester Co., SC and Troup County, GA (1763 – 1850).

An “Editor’s Note” in the September 2001 issue of Estes Trails briefly mentioned the second Lyddal Estes, a man who died in 1850 in Troup County, Georgia. This Lyddal’s application to the state of Virginia for a Revolutionary War pension (reproduced in a 1984 issue of Estes Trails) provides some good information about him.[12] He was born in Amelia County, Virginia in 1763 and enlisted in Henry County, Virginia in 1780, at about age seventeen. After the war, he lived in Henry County, in North and South Carolina, and in Troup County, Georgia. He applied for a pension from Troup County in 1843. According to the Editor’s Note in Estes Trails, Lyddal married Martha Thomason on 7 April 1789 in Henry County, Virginia.[13]

Census and other records flesh out the information in Lyddal’s pension application, which was rejected for failure to serve the requisite six months. He was enumerated as “Lyddle Estes” in the 1790 census for Stokes County, North Carolina.[14] He was taxed as a free white poll owning no land in the Stokes County tax lists for 1791, 1792 and 1796, in the same district as his father-in-law John Thomason.[15] Since Lyddal was the only Estes included in either the tax lists or the 1790 census for Stokes County, he apparently migrated initially with his Thomason in-laws rather than with his family of origin. The 1826 Stokes County will of John Thomason named his daughter Patsy (a nickname for Martha) “Easty,” per the abstractor.[16]

Lyddal was not listed in either North or South Carolina as a head of household in 1800. He may have been living in the household of his father, William Estes, in Chester County, South Carolina.[17] By 1810, Lyddal was definitely in Chester County, where he was listed in the census adjacent his mother Elizabeth.[18] The Chester County will of William Estes Sr., dated August 11, 1807, names Lyddal as one of his sons.[19] Lyddal was still in Chester County in 1820, and is probably the man listed as “L. Estes,” born in the 1760s, in the 1830 Chester County census.[20]

Lyddal’s pension application says that he moved to Troup County, Georgia in about 1838, and he was enumerated there in the 1840 census.[21] His widow Martha, age eighty and born in Virginia, was listed as a head of household in the 1850 Troup County census.[22] I have not found any probate records identifying their heirs, but information at my library for Troup County is limited. The census records suggest seven children, probably including daughters named Elizabeth and Mary.[23]

Some researchers believe that LBE of Tishomingo was a son of Lyddal Estes of Troup County. That is highly unlikely, if not totally impossible. Lyddal Estes was living in Stokes County, North Carolina by the 1790 census and was there through at least 1796. LBE of Tishomingo, on the other hand, was unquestionably born in Virginia during 1790-94 (see discussion below). Moreover, Lyddal was in Chester County, South Carolina by no later than 1810 and was still there twenty years later. The other LBE, however, was a resident of Lunenburg, Virginia when he married there in 1814.

Lyddal Bacon Estes (“LBE”) (b. 1790-94, d. 1845) of Lunenburg, VA, Madison Co., ALA?, McNairy Co., TN and Tishomingo Co., MS

Estes Trails has provided considerable information about LBE’s family. He is the man who married Ann Allen Winn (nicknamed “Nancy,” the name she was known by) in Lunenburg in 1814. The marriage bond – which gave their names as “Lyddal B. Estes” and “Nancy A. Winn” – described him as “of Lunenburg.”[24] The evidence establishes that the LBE who lived in Tishomingo County, Mississippi was the same man as the LBE who married Nancy in Lunenburg. LBE appeared as “Lyddal B. Estes” in the Tishomingo probate records in 1845, and his widow is identified as “Nancy A. Estes.”[25] The names of their children, which include some distinctive Winn family names, and the family cluster with which LBE and Nancy migrated (including some Winn families), help confirm that they are the same couple who married in Lunenburg in 1814.[26]

After marrying Nancy, LBE appeared on the Lunenburg personal property tax lists in 1815 and 1816 as “Lidwell B. Estes,” one of many variants of the spelling of his given name. Their first son, Benjamin Henderson Estes, was born in Virginia in 1815.[27] After 1816, LBE and Nancy disappeared from the Lunenburg records. They probably moved initially to Madison County, Alabama, along with Nancy’s mother Lucretia Andrews Winn and Nancy’s siblings.[28] However, I have not found LBE or Nancy in the Madison County records, although three of their children were most likely born in Alabama.[29]

By at least 1826, LBE and Nancy had arrived in McNairy County, Tennessee, because he obtained two McNairy land grants in January 1826 and their son LBE (Jr.) was born in Tennessee in September of that year.[30] LBE and his family were enumerated in the 1830 McNairy County census near Gideon B. Winn, one of Nancy’s brothers.[31] LBE began appearing in the records in Tishomingo County in 1836, the year the county was created.[32] He died there in 1845, and Nancy died some time after 1860, when she last appeared in the census.[33]

There is at least one Tishomingo record which expressly gives LBE’s middle name as Bacon.[34] Interestingly, he was a hog farmer: his estate inventory listed over 300 head of hogs.[35] My husband Gary, who is occasionally irreverent about our ancestors (among other things), has dubbed LBE “Little Sizzler.” For my part, I admire the fact that the man managed to survive and prosper in a business that, unlike cotton and tobacco growing, did not require slaves. He owned no slaves when he died.

He did own several tracts in the northeastern corner of Tishomingo (now Alcorn) County totaling 800 acres.[36] The land remained in the estate until Nancy and Benjamin petitioned the court in 1854 for permission to sell it to make distribution to the heirs.[37] LBE (Jr.) bought the entire acreage for $4,392 on twelve months credit.[38] He then resold parts of it to family members, including his sister Martha Estes Swain, his brother Benjamin Henderson Estes, his mother Nancy and brother Allen W. Estes, and Riley Myers, a relative of Nancy’s youngest sister Alsadora Winn Looney.[39] My husband and I visited the area in late 2006. Nancy and LBE are probably buried somewhere on their acreage, although the landowner wasn’t aware of any cemetery on the property. Their tombstones, if any, have undoubtedly long since disappeared.

LBE and Nancy’s children, most of whom are conclusively proved by Tishomingo deeds, were (1) Benjamin Henderson Estes (1815 – 1897), (2) Mary F. (Frances?) Estes Rankin (abt 1818 – after 1888), (3) Martha Ann Estes Swain (1819 – 1905), (4) Lucretia Estes Derryberry (abt. 1822 – after 1888), (5) John B. Estes (abt. 1823 – ??), (6) Lyddal Bacon Estes (Jr.) (1826 – 1903), (7) Alsadora Estes Byers (abt. 1829 – ??), (8) William P. Estes (abt. 1830 – ??), and (9) Allen W. Estes (1832 -1864).[40]

And that’s that, except for one piece of unfinished business … who were LBE’s parents? That’s up next.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

[1] Frances T. Ingmire, Warren County North Carolina Marriage Records 1780-1867 (Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co. reprint, 1993).

[2] Charles Estes, Estes Genealogies 1097 – 1893 (Salem, MA: Eben Putnam, 1894), reprint available from Higginson Book Company, Salem, MA. Charles incorrectly stated that Benjamin Estes and Frances Bacon were married in Maury Co., TN, which is not possible since they were married by at least 1758 (see following note), before the state of Tennessee was created.

[3] Benjamin and Frances Bacon Estes were married before October 1758, when her father John Bacon named them both in his will, see Lunenburg Will Book 1: 258. Benjamin appeared regularly on the Lunenburg land and personal property tax lists through 1811. He and Frances sold their Lunenburg tract in 1810, Lunenburg Deed Book 22: 134. They reportedly moved to Maury Co., TN, where some of their children lived, including Doc Estes.

[4] Clayton Library Film Nos. 180, 181, 238 and 239, microfilm of Lunenburg County, Virginia Land Tax Records and Personal Property Tax Records for various years beginning in 1782.

[5] D. P. Robbins, Century Review of Maury County, Tennessee, 1805-1905 (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press 1980).

[6] Virginia Wood Alexander, Maury Co., Tennessee Deed Abstracts Books D, E, and F (Columbia, TN: 1972), abstracts of Deed Book C: 10, 13 and Deed Book E: 229.

[7] Jill Knight Garrett & Marise Parrish Lightfoot, Maury County, Tennessee Will Books A, B, C-1, D and E, 1807-1832 (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1984), abstract of Will Book A-1: 220, list of debts due the estate of L. B. Estes. Bartlett Estes was a son of George Estes, a brother of Doc’s father Benjamin Estes. Bartlett married Susannah Estes, a sister of Doc Estes. Sarah Estes, another sister, married John S. Alderson in Lunenburg, bond dated 15 Jan 1801. Doc Estes’s sister Alla or Alley (probably Alsadora) Estes married Josiah Alderson, also in Lunenburg, bond of 12 Jul 1803. Emma R. Matheny and Helen K. Yates, Marriages of Lunenburg County Virginia 1746-1853 (Richmond: Clearfield Company, 1967). Charles Estes’s book Estes Genealogies incorrectly identified Sarah Estes Alderson’s husband as Mr. Turner, see note 11.

[8] Marise P. Lightfoot and Evelyn B. Shackleford, They Passed This Way, Maury County, Tennessee Death Records, Volume II (Mt. Pleasant, TN: 1970).

[9] Garrett & Lightfoot, abstract of Will Book B: 84; Katharine Curtice, Records of Maury County, Tennessee, Minute Book, Volume A 1810 – 1815 (Houston: Ann Poage Chapter of the DAR, 1991), abstract of Minute Book A: 225, 266.

[10] Matheny and Yates, Marriages of Lunenburg County.

[11] Estes Genealogies states that the Sarah Estes who married a Turner was Sarah, daughter of Benjamin and Frances Bacon Estes. However, Maury Co. records prove that Buford Turner married Doc Estes’s widow Sarah rather than Doc Estes’s sister Sarah. Maury Co. Minute Book A: 24, lawsuit styled William Bradshaw v. Wade v. Admrs of L. B. Estes, dec’d, Buford Turner admr in wright [sic] of his wife Sara A. Turner in estate of Lydville B. Estes, dec’d. See also Estes Trails, Vol. XIX No. 3, Sept. 2001 at p. 3.

[12] John Frederick Dorman, Virginia Revolutionary Pension Applications, Volume Thirty-Four (Washington, D.C.: 1980).

[13] The marriage bond abstract for Henry County available at my library does not include any record for Lyddal and Martha. Virginia Anderton Dodd, Henry County, Virginia, Marriage Bonds, 1778 – 1849 (Baltimore: Clearfield Company reprint, 1989; originally published Richmond: 1953). There is little doubt, however, that Lyddal’s wife was Martha Thomason, a fact established by her father’s Stokes Co., NC will.

[14] 1790 census, Stokes Co., Salisbury Dist., NC, p. 552, listing for Lyddle Estes, 1 male > 16 and 2 females.

[15] Iris Moseley Harvey, Stokes County, North Carolina Tax List 1791 (Raleigh: 1998). Ms. Moseley has also abstracted the tax lists for 1792 through 1797. She abstracts Lyddal Estes’s name as “Suddle Eastus” (1791), “Suddle Eustus” (1792), and “Lydwell Estees” (1796).

[16] Mrs. W. O. Absher, Stokes County, North Carolina Wills Volumes I- IV 1790 – 1864 (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1985), abstract of Stokes Co., NC Will Book 3: 162.

[17] 1800 census, Chester Co., SC, p. 77, listing for William Estes, 30111-32211.

[18] 1810 census, Chester Co., SC, p. 292, listing for Lydal Estes, 11001-30210.

[19] Brent H. Holcomb, Chester County, South Carolina Will Abstracts 1787-1838 [1776-1838] (Columbia, SC: 2006), abstract of the will of William Estes Sr. of Chester District naming wife Elizabeth, sons Liddal, Silvanus, William (Jr.) and John, and daughters Polly Carter, Peggy Gather, Betsy Lockart and Sally Walker; grandson William Clement. Will dated 11 August 1807.

[20] 1820 census, Chester Co., SC, p. 110, Lyddal Estes, 000101-11101; 1830 census, Chester Co., SC, p. 293, L. Estes, 010000001-111201001.

[21] 1840 census, Troup Co., GA, p. 362, listing for Lyddel Esters.

[22] 1850 census, Troup Co, GA, p. 102, household of Martha Easters, 80, b. VA.

[23] Martha’s household in the 1850 census (see prior note) included Mary Sanders, 23, and Elizabeth Hoyl, 20, both b. SC, with two children, M. K. Sanders and Martha E. Hoyl.

[24] Matheny and Yates, Marriages of Lunenburg County.

[25] FHL Film 895,897, Tishomingo Co., MS Probate Record C: 391, administrators’ bond dated 3 Mar 1845, Benjamin H. Estes and Nancy A. Estes, administrators of Lyddal B. Estes, dec’d, securities Samuel Rankin and H. B. Derryberry.

[26] LBE and Nancy had a daughter named Lucretia (for Nancy’s mother, Lucretia Andrews Winn), a son named Allen (Nancy Winn’s middle name), and a daughter Alsadora (the name of Nancy’s youngest sister). Nancy’s sister Alsadora Winn Looney and brother Richard B. Winn also resided in Tishomingo, and Nancy’s brother Gideon B. Winn lived near LBE and Nancy in McNairy Co., TN in 1830.

[27] E.g., 1850 census, Tishomingo Co., MS, p. 42, listing for B. H. Estes, b. VA; Robinson Cemetery, McLennan Co., TX, tombstone of “B. H. Estes, Dec. 12, 1815 – Jan. 6, 1897.” Central Texas Genealogical Society, Inc., McLennan County, Texas Cemetery Records, Volume II (Waco, TX: 1973).

[28] Mary Chandler, who wrote an ET article about LBE and Nancy’s family, states that their marriage was also recorded in Madison County, AL with the same date as the Lunenburg marriage. Estes Trails, Vol. XIX, No. 3 (Sept. 2001), “More on Lyddal Bacon Estes,” p. 6.

[29] Although the census records are inconsistent, LBE and Nancy’s son John B. Estes, and their daughters Mary F. Estes Rankin and Martha Ann Estes Swain, were probably born in Alabama. See, e.g., 1870 census, Jefferson Co., AR, p. 575, Mary F. Rankin, b. AL; 1860 census, Nacodoches Co., TX, p. 122, John B. Estes, b. AL; 1850 census, Tishomingo Co., MS, p. 40, Martha Swain, b. AL. Other census records give their states of birth as TN or MS. What is now Alabama was originally part of the Mississippi Territory, which is one possible source of confusion.

[30] http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/ (BLM land grants); 1860 census, Tishomingo Co., MS, p. 87, listing for Lyddal Estes, b. TN; McLennan County, Texas Cemetery Records, Volume II, tombstone of L. B. Estes giving birth date of Sept. 20, 1826, Fletcher Cemetery.

[31] 1830 census, McNairy Co., TN, p. 119, line 12 (Lyddal B. Estes) and line 15 (Jiddeon B. Winn). Nancy Allen Winn’s siblings are identified in the Lunenburg Guardian Accounts, FHL Film 895,897 at p. 136, account dated 1 Jan 1808 filed by the guardian of Nancy Allen, Elizabeth, Sally Washington, Susanna Moor, Banister, Richard Bland, Gideon Booker and Alsodora Abraham, orphans of Benjamin Winn; eight children.

[32] Fan A. Cockran, History of Old Tishomingo County, Mississippi Territory (Oklahoma City: Barnhart Letter Shop,1969), Lyddal B. Estes was surety for the Tishomingo tax collector in May 1836.

[33] FHL Film 895,897, Tishomingo Co., MS Probate Record C: 391, 3 Mar 1845 bond of Benjamin H. Estes and Nancy A. Estes, administrators of the estate of Lyddal B. Estes; 1860 census, Tishomingo Co., MS, p. 87, listing for Nancy A. Estes, 71, b. VA.

[34] Original of Tishomingo Probate Book K: 4, viewed by the author at the Chancery Courthouse in Corinth, annual account of the estate of Lyddal Bacon Estes, dec’d, by B. H. Estes and Nancy Estes, Aug 1846.

[35] FHL Film 895,897, Tishomingo Probate Vol. C: 428, inventory of L. B. Estes, 27 March 1845.

[36] FHL Film 895,898, Tishomingo DB R: 15, 30 May 1854 deed from B. H. Estes and Nancy Estes, administrators of L. B. Estes, identifying LBE’s tracts by section, township and range.

[37] Original of Tishomingo Probate Book M: 484 viewed by the author at Corinth, MS, 14 Mar 1854 order for sale of land refers to the Administrators’ petition and finds sale is needed to divide the estate among the heirs.

[38] FHL Film 895,878, Tishomingo Deed Book R: 15.

[39] FHL Film 895,878, Tishomingo Deed Book R: 18, 19; FHL Film 895,881, Deed Book U: 155, 531.

[40] Robin Rankin Willis, Estes Trails, Vol. XXIV, No. 1, March 2006, p. 5-7, “More About the Family of Lyddal Bacon Estes and Nancy A. Winn.”

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