A post on this website in June 2016 (see it here) dealt with three men named Lyddal Bacon Estes or Lyddal Estes who have been the subject of considerable “same name confusion.” One of the three was the Lyddal Bacon Estes (hereafter, “LBE”) who married “Nancy” Ann Allen Winn in 1814 and then moved to Madison County, AL (probably), McNairy County, TN, and Tishomingo County, MS, where he died.
At the end of the post about the three Lyddals, I promised to address the question of LBE’s parents, who are unproved. Better late than never, I hope.
First, let’s dispose of the erroneous theories. Some trees on Ancestry.com identify LBE’s parents as Benjamin and Frances Bacon Estes, a “same name confusion” issue: Ben and Frances were the parents of Dr. L. B. Estes of Maury Co., TN — not LBE of Tishomingo. Other trees on Ancestry identify LBE’s father as Chesley Estes, another son of Benjamin and Frances Bacon Estes. However, Chesley never married; he lived with his parents most of his life. There are also researchers who identify Lyddal Estes of Troup County, GA as LBE’s father, a theory that is disproved by the locations/migration patterns of the two men.
It’s usually not difficult to disprove incorrect theories. It’s not as easy to formulate a good one and marshal convincing evidence. Moreover, the uncertainty about LBE’s parents is understandable, since there appears to be no conclusive proof that I have found. Any theory about his parents must consequently be deemed speculative. My own theory relies largely on the process of elimination, which is a tough sell, proof-wise.
Let’s begin this quest for LBE’s parents with some undisputed facts about him that are relevant to the issue.
Place of birth: LBE was born in Virginia, according to five of his children who survived to participate in the 1880 or 1900 census, both of which reported the birth state of each person’s parents.
Date of birth: 1790 – 1794. The 1830 and 1840 censuses establish that LBE was born during 1790 – 1800. He first appeared on the Lunenburg personal property tax lists in 1815, at which time free males were taxable beginning at age twenty-one. That suggests that he was born in 1793-94, assuming that he was listed when he first reached taxable age. However, close examination of the tax lists reveals almost routine failure to report young adult males in a timely fashion. In any event, LBE was undoubtedly at least age twenty-one by 1815, the year after he married. Thus, the tax list and the census records establish that LBE was born in 1790 or after, but not later than 1794 (or he would not have been taxable in 1815).
Date and place of marriage: LBE was identified as a resident of Lunenburg in 1814 when he and Nancy were married there that year.
Other: LBE never owned any land in Lunenburg. Since he was a Lunenburg resident in 1814, he must have been living in another’s household prior to his marriage, almost certainly with his family of origin (if still living).
On those facts, the best bet in genealogy is that LBE belongs to the line of Robert Estes Sr., a son of the immigrant Abraham Estes and his wife Barbara LNU. Robert Sr. was the only one of Abraham’s sons who migrated to Lunenburg and stayed there until he died. All of the Estes men who lived in Lunenburg during the last quarter of the eighteenth century can be identified as Robert Sr.’s descendants with considerable confidence. Given LBE’s unusual name, it is also reasonable to presume that he belongs somewhere in the line of Frances Bacon (niece of Lyddal Bacon) and her husband Benjamin Estes, a son of Robert Sr. In light of LBE’s date of birth, he would probably have been Frances and Benjamin’s grandson, whose children were born beginning in 1758.
But that’s getting ahead of the story. The obvious first place to look for LBE’s parents was in Lunenburg probate records. However, I found none that shed any light on the issue. The Lunenburg deed, court and tax records were similarly unproductive.
Census records were the last alternative, although some assumptions are necessary since the census prior to 1850 names only the head of household. Specifically, I assume (or hope?) that LBE’s father was still alive and living in Lunenburg in 1810, and that LBE was residing in his household. With those assumptions, it might be possible to identify LBE’s family of origin by spotting him in a household in the 1810 census. (There is no extant Lunenburg census for 1800.)
There were seven Estes men enumerated as heads of households in the 1810 Lunenburg census:
- Abraham Estes, over 45, thus born by 1765, a proved son of Robert Estes Jr. and a grandson of Robert Estes Sr.
- Benjamin Estes, over 45, with a second male over 45 in his household, . Benjamin is a proved son of Robert Estes Sr.; Chesley, the second male, is Benjamin’s son, born in 1762.
- Elisha Estes, age 26 < 45, thus born between 1765 and 1784. He moved to Maury County, TN and then appeared in Giles County, created from Maury. The 1850 and 1860 censuses indicate he was born 1784-1785. The identity of his parents is not proved, so far as I know. He is almost certainly the Elisha Estes who was bondsman for the 1814 marriage of LBE and Nancy, and is likely (IMO) LBE’s elder brother.
- John Estes, over age 45. John was a proved son of Robert Sr.’s son Elisha (not the same man as the Elisha named immediately above).
- Thomas Estes, over age 45. Thomas is a son of either Robert Sr.’s son Elisha or George. Both Elisha and George had sons named Thomas. I have not found conclusive evidence one way or the other which one is the man who was still in Lunenburg in 1810.
- Matthew Estes, over 45, a proved son of Robert Estes Jr.
- Samuel Estes, over 45, a proved son of Robert Estes Jr.
LBE, born during 1790 through 1794, would have been enumerated in the 16 < 26 age bracket in the 1810 census. There are only two people in the above list, both of whom were grandsons of Robert Estes Sr., whose household included a male in that age category: John (son of Elisha) and Samuel (son of Robert Jr.). Samuel can be eliminated as a reasonable candidate to be LBE’s father because he left Lunenburg shortly after the 1810 census, and was therefore no longer in Lunenburg when LBE married Nancy there in 1814. Samuel moved to Madison County, Tennessee, and his children are well established by a lawsuit concerning his estate. They do not include a son named Lyddal Bacon Estes.
If, in fact, LBE was (as assumed) living in his father’s household in Lunenburg in 1810, that leaves John Estes, son of Elisha, as the only Estes head of household who is a reasonable candidate to be LBE’s father. John is the last man standing, so to speak.
John Estes, son of Elisha Estes and grandson of Robert Estes Sr.
So what do we know about John Estes? Although the Lunenburg records establish that John spent his entire adult life there, they don’t reveal much about him. He evidently died sometime between 1840 and 1850, when he disappeared from the census. I have found no record of a will or estate administration for him.
The Lunenburg deed records and land tax lists establish that John never owned any land there. He appeared in the deed records only once, when he mortgaged some property in 1822. The pledged property included five feather beds, suggesting a reasonably large family. He was not terribly poor, because he did not apply for a Revolutionary War pension until 1833, after the law was changed to remove the requirement that an applicant had to prove he was destitute to qualify.
John’s pension application indicates that he was born February 7, 1756 in Louisa County, Virginia. He served two tours, having been drafted in September 1777 and again on January 1781, both times from Lunenburg. His war record included no major battles, and his most colorful military memory was of a colonel who rode in front of the troops waving his hat when he discharged them from service. John continued to live in Lunenburg after the War. His pension affidavit was attested on 11 February 1833, which confirms along with the details of his testimony that he is the John Estes who was enumerated in Lunenburg in each census from 1810 through 1840.
John was married at least twice and perhaps three times: (1) Mary Estes (bond dated 23 Jan 1778), (2) perhaps Elizabeth Pamplin (9 March 1804), and (3) maybe Patsy Locke (16 Oct 1806), all Lunenburg marriage bonds. Some researchers identify John Harrod Estes, a son of Benjamin and Frances Bacon Estes, as the man who married both Elizabeth Pamplin and Patsy Locke. They might well be correct. However, John Harrod Estes typically used his middle initial, while the marriage bonds for both Elizabeth and Patsy just identify the groom as John Estes, with no middle initial.
It is impossible to say for certain that the groom in both the marriage to Elizabeth and to Patsy was John, son of Elisha. However, Elisha’s son John was surely one of them, because his household in 1820 included six children born between 1810 and 1820. Those six were not likely the children of the Mary Estes who married John in 1778, who would have been past childbearing age by then (and, if I am right about her identity, died in 1799).
Taken together, the census records for 1810 and 1820 suggest that John may have had thirteen children and/or stepchildren, possibly more, since some children born to his 1778 marriage to Mary would most likely have left his household before the 1810 census (including, in my opinion, a son Elisha). In short, it is quite possible and at least reasonably likely – although still speculative – that John Estes, a proved son of Elisha and grandson of Robert Sr., was LBE’s father.
Question: who was the Mary Estes who married John in 1778?
Answer: his first cousin Mary Estes, who was identified by Charles Estes in Estes Genealogies as a daughter of Benjamin and Frances Bacon Estes. She was the only Mary Estes who was “available” to be John’s bride in 1778. The other young women named Mary Estes (also granddaughters of Robert Estes Sr.) either married someone else, moved away, or were not available to marry John because of close kinship. The process of elimination – the only apparent way to reach that conclusion – is a bit tedious and fairly lengthy, so I will put it in a footnote with a bit of information on the sons of Robert Estes Sr.
The bottom line is that, among the Lunenburg Estes families, only Benjamin Estes and his wife Frances Bacon had an unmarried daughter named Mary who resided in Lunenburg and was “available” to marry John Estes. According to Estes Genealogies, Mary was born in 1761 and died in 1799. In 1778, she was of marriageable age – seventeen – and her family lived on Couch’s Creek on a tract immediately adjacent to Elisha Estes and his son John. Mary had undoubtedly known John, her first cousin, all her life. She was still alive when LBE was born in 1790-94. Finally, Mary had a brother named Lyddal Bacon Estes (namely, Doctor L. B. Estes of Maury Co., TN) and a prominent great-uncle named Lyddal Bacon. It would not be the least bit surprising for Mary to name a son Lyddal Bacon Estes.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I would like to close by emphasizing again that my conclusion – that LBE was a son of John Estes and his cousin Mary Estes – must be deemed ***speculative***. Unfortunately, with no probate records for John, no known family Bible, no gift deeds identifying a parent-child relationship, and no tax lists identifying taxable males in John’s household by name, there appears to be no conclusive proof of the identities of his children. However, anyone who traces his or her Estes ancestry to a brick wall in Lunenburg should consider taking a hard look at John and Mary or a later wife! I would be happy to trade information with anyone who is interested in that possibility.
 1880 census, Brown Co., TX, listing for Benjamin Estes, b. VA, both parents b. VA; 1880 census, McLennan Co., TX, listing for Lydal P. [sic] Estes, b. TN, both parents b. VA; 1880 census, Little River Co., AR, listing for H. D. B. Derryberry and wife Lucresa Derryberry, b. TN, both parents b. VA; 1880 census, Dorsey Co., AR, listing for Robert Bearden with mother-in-law Mary Rankin, b. AL, both parents b. VA; 1900 census, McLennan Co., TX, listing for Martha Swain, b. MS, both parents b. VA.
 1830 census, McNairy Co., TN, p. 119, listing for Lyddal B. Estes, age 30 < 40; 1840 census, Tishomingo Co., MS, p. 231, L. B. Estes, age 40 < 50.
 Elisha Estes Sr., brother of Robert Sr., lived in Lunenburg briefly prior to 1772 along with his son William and William’s child Lyddal Estes, later of Troup Co., GA.
 Estes Genealogies gives precise dates of birth for the ten children of Benjamin and Frances Estes.
 Chesley was listed by name in the 1810 Lunenburg personal property tax list, but not as a head of household in the census. He owned no land, so he was undoubtedly living with family. His father Benjamin’s household is the only Estes census profile with two males in the over-45 age category.
 1850 census, Giles Co., TN, p. 348, listing for Elisha Estes, age 65, b. VA; 1860 census, Giles Co., TN, p. 22, Elisha Estes, 76, b. VA.
 For information about Robert Estes Sr.’s son Elisha and his family, see Robin Rankin Willis, Estes Trails, Vol. XXIII, No. 2, June 2005, p. 11 – 16, “Using the Tax Lists to Correct Longstanding Published Errors: Elisha Estes of Lunenburg County, Virginia.”
 Samuel and his wife Rebecca sold their 213.25-acre Lunenburg tract in August 1810, the last year Samuel was taxed on that acreage. Lunenburg Deed Book 22: 97, deed of 8 Aug 1810 from Samuel Estes and wife Rebecca of Lunenburg conveying 213.25-acre tract. Samuel was taxed on 213.25 acres in 1806, 1807, 1809 and 1810.
 See Joy Herron, Estes Trails, Vol. XXIV, No. 2, June 2006, p. 5-7, “Samuel Estes Family,” and Robin Rankin Willis, Estes Trails, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, Sept 2006, p. 11- 21, “The Estes Family of Lunenburg, Virginia and Samuel Estes Sr. of Madison County, Tennessee.”
 June Banks Evans, abstract of Lunenburg Deed Book 25: 440, deed of trust.
 John Frederick Dorman, Virginia Revolutionary Pension Applications, Vol. 34 (Washington, D.C.: 1980) at 52.
 Lunenburg Co. census listings for John Estes in 1810 (p. 642, 21101-20010), 1820 (p. 165, 220001-4101), 1830 (p. 9, 0012100001-00121001), and 1840 (p. 281, 00002000001-10000001, with John listed as a Revolutionary War veteran, age 84).
 See, e.g., Maury Co., TN, Will Book A-1: 220, debtors of the estate of Dr. Lyddal B. Estes included John H. Estes; 1830 census, Maury Co., p. 47, listing for John H. Easters.
 1820 census, Lunenburg Co., VA, p. 165, listing for John Estes, 220001-4101.
 Elisha’s son John was the only John Estes of marriageable age in Lunenburg in 1778. Further, the bondsman at the marriage of John Estes and Mary Estes in 1778 was John White, the husband of Elisha’s daughter Francis Estes White. FHL Film 30,804, Charlotte Co., VA Order Book 16: 175, lawsuit naming Elisha’s heirs.
 The six sons of Robert Estes Sr. who survived him were Robert Jr., Elisha, George, Bartlett, Zachariah, and Benjamin. (1) Robert Estes Jr., whose 1784 will named his children, had no daughter Mary. June Banks Evans, abstract of Lunenburg Will Book 3: 387, will of Robert Estes Jr., naming sons Abraham, Benjamin, Matthew, Bartlett and Samuel and daughters Sarah, Elizabeth and Martha Estes. (2) Elisha Estes, the father of John, had a daughter named Mary, but she married a man named Anthony Hundley – and she was obviously not a candidate to marry her brother John in any event. Charlotte Co., VA Court Order Book 16: 175, lawsuit naming Elisha’s heirs. (3) George Estes, who died about 1777, had a daughter Mary who had married either James Moore or William Thompson by 1791. See 10 Jun 1791 account of the orphans of George Estes, Lunenburg Will Book 4: 8b, listing payments to George Estes, James Moore & wife Nancy, Wm. Dixon & wife Francis, Thomas Estes, Bartlett Estes, Wm. Rudder & wife Milly, Wm. Thompson & wife Mary. Another record identifies Mr. Moore’s wife as Mary. In any event, George’s daughter Mary did not marry John Estes in 1778. (4) Bartlett Estes most likely had no children. He was definitely not married when his father Robert Sr. wrote his 1775 will. He died intestate in 1796, the Lunenburg probate records do not identify a wife or heirs, and his estate inventory strongly suggests he was a bachelor. Bartlett was unmarried when his father Robert Estes Sr. wrote his will. Robert Sr. attempted to structure his will so that the spouses of the sons and son-in-law whom he deemed irresponsible would have no control over their inheritance. Instead, Robert Sr.’s will attempted to devise property to their spouses. Bartlett clearly had no spouse who could fill that role, because Robert Sr. provided instead that Bartlett must give security “for the return [of his inheritance] to estate in case he does not entirely refrain from drunkenness and gaming.” Lunenburg Will Book 2: 417. Bartlett doesn’t sound like an attractive marriage prospect. See also July 1796 inventory of Bartlett’s estate, Lunenburg Will Book 4: 136b. (5) Zachariah or Zachary Estes made his last appearance in the Lunenburg tax lists in 1769 and moved away well before John and Mary Estes married. (6) Benjamin Estes and his wife Frances Bacon had, according to Estes Genealogies, a daughter Mary Estes, born January 22, 1761 and died October 12, 1799.
 Landon C. Bell, Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg County, Virginia 1746 – 1816, Vestry Book, 1746 – 1816 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1994, originally published in Richmond, VA, 1930), vestry book entry of 15 April 1784, the boundary line between Benjamin Estes and Elisha Estes was processioned. See also FHL Film 32,393, deed of 14 May 1778 from Robert and Elisha Estes of Lunenburg, executors of the estate of Robert Estes Sr., to Benjamin Estes, 92 acres on Couches Creek; FHL Film 32,393, Lunenburg Deed Book 13: 92, 93, deeds conveying 170 acres on Couches Cr. from the estate of Robert Estes Sr. to Nicholas Hobson and then to Elisha Estes.