Will of Mary Huston Rankin, wife of William, with a brief chart

This is a cautionary tale: be careful what you wish for.

One of my Rankin researcher friends says I need to consolidate information about the descendants of William and Mary Huston Rankin into one article. She complained that one must read several posts to assemble information on that family. Even that, she says, is hit-and-miss as to the identity of descendants, because I don’t provide charts.

I plead guilty.[1] I shall try to respond to her request.

William was one of the three sons of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin, a famous immigrant Rankin couple claimed by many hopeful descendants. Actually, my friend wants a chart for all of Adam and Mary’s line — not just William’s. OK … A draft of one is underway. It is already more than twenty pages long as a Word document because I occasionally succumb to the urge to provide evidence. I will obviously have to post it in multiple parts. Charts of that nature do not make good reading. They don’t even make reading. That’s the “be careful what you wish for” aspect of this.

The upside is that descendancy charts provide an abundance of easy-to-follow information that might help you know where, or if, your family fits into a specific ancestral pool, and where you might need to flesh out the research on your line.

Adam’s line is the main course: to come. This article hardly even counts as an appetizer.

I have started with Mary Huston Rankin’s will because I have mentioned it on this blog before but never abstracted it. It is an important document because it helps prove which of the two David Rankins in Franklin County — one was a son of James, and one was a son of William and Mary, and both were grandsons of Adam — was her son. It also proves fourgranddaughters of William and Mary who are not established by any other records, so far as I know.[2]

Here is an abstract of Mary’s will, followed by an outline descendant chart using information from the will. Then I will flesh it out with more descendants. This will be a “skeleton” chart because it includes only names with very few dates and spouses. No evidentiary clutter. Its utility may be (1) as a starting place for your own research or (2) as confirmation of your existing charts. If it isn’t helpful, hang on for the series on all of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin’s line.

Mary Huston Rankin’s Franklin County will was dated April 11, 1818; it was proved in 1824. Mary expressly identified her relationships to each beneficiary and, except for one, identified the beneficiary’s Rankin parent. Mary did not name Betsy Rankin, her only proved daughter. She also omitted her eldest son Dr. Adam Rankin, who had moved to Kentucky. Otherwise, she mentioned all of her children.

Mary’s will recites that she resided in Peters Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. She was almost certainly living with her son David.[3] Here are her beneficiaries, all of whom received cash bequests:

  • Sons John and Jeremiah Rankin. They were William and Mary’s two youngest sons, although they are the first-named beneficiaries in Mary’s will.
  • Granddaughter Easter Robison, cash when she reached age 18. Easter’s parents aren’t identified. Her mother was probably Mary’s only daughter, Betsy Rankin, who evidently married a Robison and may have died by the time Mary wrote her will.
  • Grandson William, son of her son William, cash for the purchase of books. The will doesn’t say so, but he was a medical student.
  • Granddaughters Betsy, Martha, and Mary Rankin, daughters of her son David.
  • Grandson David Huston Rankin, son of her son David.
  • Granddaughters Betsy and Maria Rankin, daughters of her son Archibald.
  • Granddaughter Maria Rankin, daughter of her son James.
  • Executors: sons Archibald and William Rankin.
  • Witnesses: Robert W. Kerby and Martha Kerby.[4]

Here is a skeleton outline chart one can create for Mary’s family from her will. This chart begins with Adam and Mary Steele Alexander, William Rankin’s parents, as Generation 1.[5] I’ve included some information obviously not available from Mary’s will. The chart ignores descendants of William’s siblings James, Jeremiah, and Esther, who are waiting their turns. This chart lists William and Mary Huston Rankin’s children in birth order and provides their birth dates from a family Bible.[6] They are shown in boldface type.

1  Adam Rankin, d. 1747, Lancaster Co., PA. His wife was Mary Steele Alexander, daughter of John Steele of New Castle Co., DE and widow of James Alexander of Cecil Co., MD. Adam and Mary were married between August 1718 and 1724 in the Colonies.[7] Adam’s reputed father, grandfather, and alleged first wife are unproved, although their names are cast in concrete (or bronze) in the conventional wisdom. The conventional wisdom also claims Adam had a brother John; that notion is now conclusively disproved by Big Y. Adam was the immigrant in his line. Adam and Mary’s four children are not listed here in birth order: James was likely the eldest, Jeremiah likely the youngest, and I have no idea where Esther and William should appear between those two. I put William last because his is the line that is extended in this chart.

     2 James Rankin, who left a will in Franklin dated 1788 and proved 1795.[8] Wife Jean MNU. Four sons, two daughters.

     2 Jeremiah Rankin, died in Franklin (then Cumberland) in 1760. Wife Rhoda Craig. Four sons, all of whom went to Kentucky. I am not aware of daughters, if any.

     2 Esther Rankin Dunwoody. I know virtually nothing about her.

     2 William Rankin and wife Mary Huston. He died in 1792 in Franklin.[9] She probably died in 1824, the year her will was probated.

       3 Adam Rankin, b. 10 Nov 1762, not named in Mary’s will.[10]

       3 Archibald Rankin, b. 10 Apr 1764.

          4 Betsy Rankin, apparently not proved anywhere except Mary’s will.

          4 Maria Rankin, ditto.

       3 James Rankin, b. 20 Apr 1766.

          4 Maria Rankin, apparently not proved anywhere except Mary’s will.

       3 William Rankin, b. 5. Nov 1770.

          4 William Rankin, the med student who received money for books.

       3 Betsy Rankin, b. 13 Oct 1774. Apparently m. Mr. Robison and d. by 1818.

          4 Easter Robison, not proved anywhere except Mary’s will.

       3 David Rankin, b. 5 Feb 1777.

          4 Betsy Rankin

          4 Martha Rankin

          4 Mary Rankin

          4 David Huston Rankin

       3 John Rankin, b. 1 May 1779.

       3 Jeremiah Rankin, b. 26 Nov 1783.

OK, the expanded chart below adds William and Mary Huston Rankin’s descendants down to their great-grandchildren, where proved. I have omitted Generation 1 (Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin) and their children except for William and Mary Huston Rankin of Generation 2. I’ve generally omitted evidence, spouses, dates, and locations, saving all that for later. William and Mary’s children (the generation numbered 3) are again shown in boldface.

2 William Rankin and wife Mary Huston, daughter of Archibald and Agnes Huston. William died in 1792, devising land in his will that makes it easy to track his sons with confidence.[11] According to The Pennsylvania Archives, he was a Revolutionary War soldier. If you are descended from William and Mary, you will have no problem obtaining membership in the DAR or SAR. If you are a male descendant named Rankin, for heaven’s sake, man, please do a Y-DNA test! His wife Mary evidently died in 1824. There is no evidence of a birth year for either William or Mary. William appeared in a plethora of county records. He is NEVER shown with a middle initial, much less a middle name, in any of them. The middle name “Steele” shown for him in internet trees is fiction.

     3 Dr. Adam Rankin, b. 10 Nov 1762. He went from Franklin to Henderson Co., KY, where he died. He married three times: (1) Elizabeth Speed, m. 1 Nov 1792 in Danville, KY (six children, she died 15 Aug 1803); (2) Ann Gamble, m. 23 Oct 1804 (one son, she died 14 Aug 1806); and (3) Susan (Susannah) Anderson, m. 3 Sep 1807 (six children).

       4 Mary Huston Rankin

       4 William Rankin

          5 Adam Rankin

          5 Gwatkin Rankin

          5 Juliet S. Rankin

       4 Elizabeth Speed Rankin

       4 James Speed Rankin

       4 Juliet Spencer Rankin, 1800 – 1871, Henderson Co., KY. Married Dr. Thomas J. Johnson.

          5 Benjamin Johnson

          5 Elizabeth Speed Johnson

          5 Confederate Brigadier General Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson, see article with photographs at this link.

          5 Thomas J. Johnson

          5 William Stapleton Johnson

          5 Campbell Haussman Johnson

       4 Adam Rankin

       4 John David Rankin

          5 Adam Rankin

          5 Sallie Rankin

          5 Juliet Rankin

       4 Nathaniel Alexander Rankin

          5 Adam Rankin

       4 James Edwin Rankin

          5 Ann E. (Nannie?) Rankin

          5 Sarah A. (Sallie?) Rankin

          5 James Edwin Rankin

          5 Rev. Alexander Taylor Rankin

          5 Coalter Wardlaw Rankin

          5 Samuel W. Rankin

          5 Alice H. Rankin.

          5 Fannie M. Rankin

          5 C. Wardlaw Rankin, the second child by that name.

       4 Lucy Rankin

       4 Archibald Rankin

       4 Susan Daniel Rankin

       4 Weston Rankin

   3 Archibald Rankin, b. 10 Apr 1764. Remained in Franklin County his entire life. His wife was Agnes Long. Only three daughters are proved; one son is probable.

       4 Betsy Rankin, proved by her grandmother’s will.

       4 Maria Rankin, ditto.

       4 Fanny Rankin, proved by a record of the Upper Conococheague Presbyterian Church.

       4 William Rankin, a probable son.

           5 Archibald Huston Rankin

           5 Olivia Catherine Rankin

           5 James Irvine Rankin

     3 James Rankin, b. 20 Apr 1766. Went to Centre Co., PA. Either died or moved away. Had a large family, but only one daughter is proved.

          4 Maria Rankin, proved by Mary Huston Rankin’s will.

     3 William Rankin (Jr.), b. 5 Nov 1770. Went to Centre Co., PA, where he died. Married (1) Abigail McGinley and (2) Susannah Huston.

       4 Adam Rankin

       4 Dr. William Rankin (III), the med student who inherited money for books. Wife Caroline Niven.

          5 Rev. William Alexander Rankin

            6 Annie J. Rankin

            6 William W. Rankin

            6 Percy Randolph Rankin

        5 Mary Adaline Rankin

        5 Dr. David Niven Rankin

        5 Abigail McGinley Rankin

        5 Alfred J. Rankin

        5 James Henry Rankin

        5 Elizabeth Rankin

        5 Joseph Pierce Rankin

        5 Caroline Olivia Rankin

        5 Anna Margaretta Rankin

    4 Dr. James Rankin

        5 Dr. William M. Rankin

          6 Dr. James Rankin

       5 Dr. Andrew Hepburn Rankin

       5 Emily J. Rankin

    4 John M. Rankin

       5 Oliver Rankin

       5 Susannah Rankin

       5 John Rankin

       5 James Rankin

    4 Joseph Alexander Rankin

       5 Abigail M. Rankin

       5 William Blair Rankin

       5 Sarah C. Rankin

       5 Anna M. Rankin

       5 Caroline E. Rankin

       5 John A. Rankin

    4 Dr. Archibald Rankin

    4 Abigail Rankin

    4 Susannah Rankin

  3 Betsy Rankin, evidently married a Mr. Robison. May have died by 1818.

    4 Easter Robison, proved by her grandmother’s will.

  3 David Rankin, b. 5 Feb 1777. Wife Frances Campbell, daughter of Dougal Campbell. Eventually moved to Des Moines Co., IA, where he died. For information on this family, see the links in Note 1.

     4 William Rankin

        5 Frances Elizabeth (“Libby”) Rankin

        5 Samuel Bruce Rankin

        5 Areta Catherine Rankin

     4 Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Rankin

     4 Martha C. Rankin m. Mr. Sweeny.

        5 Frances C. Sweeny

     4 Mary H. Rankin m. Mr. Bruce.

        5 Martha (“Mattie”) Bruce

        5 Lawrence H. C. Bruce

        5 David R. Bruce

        5 Sarah Bruce

        5 Margaret Bruce

     4 Dougal/Dugal Campbell Rankin

        5 David C. Rankin

        5 Hezekiah Johnson Rankin

        5 Sarah F. Rankin

        5 John William Rankin

    4 Frances Rankin (Jr.)

    4 David Huston Rankin

        5 Martha (“Mattie”) C. Rankin

        5 Fannie Rankin

          6 Rankin Rice

    4 Archibald Rankin

        5 Elizabeth J. Rankin

        5 Frances Margaret or Margaret Frances Rankin

        5 Martha Catharine Rankin

    4 Adam John Rankin

 3 John Rankin, b. 1 May 1779. Moved to Centre Co., PA, where he died. Wife Isabella Dundass.

     4 Mary Rankin

     4 Isabella Rankin

     4 Jane Rankin

     4 Eliza Rankin

     4 William D. Rankin

     4 Dr. John C. Rankin

     4 James H. Rankin

        5 Alice Rankin

        5 Jane A. Rankin

     4 J. Duncan Rankin

     4 Luther Calvin Rankin

        5 Mary J. Rankin

        5 Anabella (“Anna”) Rankin

        5 George F. Rankin

        5 Charles Rankin

        5 William Rankin

        5 Edith? Rankin

        5 Eliza Rankin

  3 Jeremiah Rankin, b. 26 Nov 1783. Went to Centre Co., PA with his three brothers. Wife  Sarah Whitehill.

     4 Mary H. Rankin

     4 David W. Rankin

        5 Oscar Rankin

     4 Rachel Rankin

     4 William Rankin

     4 Adam Rankin

        5 Mary Rankin

        5 James Foster Rankin

     4 Robert Rankin

I was amazed to find that this chart, with information largely limited to names with virtually no evidence, required four pages in a Word document — and that is with normal spacing, not the crazy spacing the WordPress format uses.

Jeremiah Rankin, the son of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin who died in a mill accident in 1760, is up next. Maybe. There are several Rankin projects in the mill, including good stuff happening at the Rankin DNA Project. Meanwhile, a chart for Adam’s entire line continues to grow.

See you on down the road.

Robin

            [1] One can find blog articles about William and Mary’s line here  and  here  and here  and still more here.

            [2] Jessica Guyer, a Rankin data mining bulldog, provided a link to Mary’s will from a new source she found for Franklin County records. My attempts to access the website once produced a message saying “service not available.” Perhaps the website was undergoing maintenance. Sometimes it asks for a password, with no clue how to get one. In any event, the link is accessible as I type it here.

            [3] The 1820 census for Peters Township, Franklin Co., PA, has an entry for David Rankin with a woman over 45, almost certainly his mother Mary, in the household.

            [4] I don’t know how Robert and Martha Kerby were connected to the Rankins, if at all.

            [5] Adam’s parents are unproved, although his purported father and grandfather are identified in a family legend along with an alleged first wife.

            [6] Disc 4, Cloyd tapes. I have lost my references to the Cloyd disk page numbers, for which I apologize. Wading through those disks is a serious MEGO challenge. The information in the Bible appears in the form of chart accompanying a letter dated May 6, 1954, from Rev. J. O. Reed, pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Opelousas, LA, to Flossie Cloyd. Rev. Reed, a descendant of William and Mary Huston Rankin, was the owner of the Bible and drew a small chart for Flossie.

            [7] For proof of Adam and Mary’s marriage date, see the article at this link.

            [8] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 345, will of James Rankin Sr.

            [9] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 256, will of William Rankin dated and proved in 1792.

            [10] This Adam (in the third generation) is named in his father William’s 1792 will. Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 256. William named his wife Mary and children (in this order) Adam, Archibald, James, William, Betsy, David, John and Jeremiah. William identifies Betsy, John, and Jeremiah as being less than 21 years old. The family Bible identifies the same children, see Note 6.

            [11] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A-B: 256. William named his wife Mary and children (in this order) Adam, Archibald, James, William, Betsy, David, John and Jeremiah. William identifies Betsy, John, and Jeremiah as being less than 21 years old. The family Bible identifies the same children, see Note 6.

Breaking Down a Brick Wall: a Researcher’s Thrill

by Jessica Guyer

Note: the last guest author on this blog was such a success we’re doing it again. Jessica Guyer is one of the two best Rankin data mining researchers I know. When I first “met” Jess, she wasn’t acquainted with deeds. I suggested she take a look at deeds in Pennsylvania counties relevant to her brick wall, telling her only that deed images are available at FamilySearch.Org. I didn’t explain grantor/grantee indexes, how to navigate the Family Search catalog, or what constitutes meaningless deed boilerplate. Next thing I knew, she had blitzed through deeds in a half-dozen counties looking for clues on her brick wall. This article is a story about the trail of clues that finally knocked it down. Enjoy!

Robin

 Introduction

This is a story about Don D. Rankin’s brick wall. The story includes a rich old 19TH century man who was apparently popular with the ladies, some bigotry that probably prevented sharing important information, and a clue that finally allowed me — his great-great niece — to correctly break down the brick wall and fix his very public error.

A California schoolteacher, Don had to travel cross-country to conduct family history research on his Pennsylvania Rankins in the 1970s and ’80s — the pre-internet dark ages.  His goal was to identify the parents of his great-grandfather, Chambers Rankin (1805-1835). He dubbed his trips “High Adventure Genealogical Safaris” and wrote humorous letters to relatives about his finds.

After decades of work, Don did something every family history researcher has done at least once. He identified the wrong couple as Chambers Rankin’s parents. That is usually a “so what?” Unfortunately, Don typed up his conclusions and sent copies to every relative, friend, library, genealogical association, and historical organization in Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney Phil probably received a copy.  What ensued is predictable: Don’s error became the conventional wisdom. It can now be found in 99% of the family trees on Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org that include Chambers Rankin.

We’re going to follow his excellent detective work. However, we will identify the correct parents of Chambers Rankin: David (1776-1857) and Martha Culbertson Rankin of Westmoreland County, PA.

Road to Error

   Lee Rankin in 1954 at the gravesite of his grandfather, Chambers Rankin

Don’s father, Lee Rankin, took him to visit Chambers’ grave in the Old Log Church cemetery in Schellsburg, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Lee’s father was Franklin Rankin; Chambers was Lee’s grandfather. Chambers had died when Franklin, his only child, was about 9 months old. Above are some 1954 pictures Don took of Lee by Chambers’ tombstone.

During Don’s visit, Lee shared an old velvet photo album of family pictures. One photo in the album was a very old tintype of a woman Lee called an “Indian Lady” — a Native American. When Don asked questions, Lee refused to discuss her further. Don’s daughter Marjorie subsequently asked Lee about her. He became agitated and said only, “she is one of your great great grandmothers” and told her not to ask any more questions.

That silence was probably a result of prejudice and misplaced family shame. It is a pity on several levels. Among other things, surely Lee had some information about her.[1] After all, she was his grandmother – the mother of Chambers Rankin’s only child, Lee’s father Franklin R. Rankin.  The family has never determined whether she and Chambers were married or any other circumstances about their relationship — not even her given name.

Don didn’t have much to go on in his quest for Chambers’ parents. All he knew for certain was that Chambers (1) fathered a son (Franklin) with a Native American woman, (2) died in 1835 about 9 months after Franklin’s birth, and (3) had a brother named J. C. Rankin of Harrison City.  The brother is proved by Chambers’ gravestone, which is engraved “Chambers Rankin died Mar. 16, 1835. Aged 30 years. Erected by his brother J. C. Rankin, Harrison City.”[2] This brotherly kindness will prove to be the clue that ultimately led to breaking down Don’s brick wall.

Sometime in the early 1980s, Don connected with a mother and son from Pitcairn, Allegheny County. On his behalf, the pair visited a number of cemeteries and sent Don information and photos of Rankin gravestones they came across. One of these was J. C. Rankin’s grave in Harrison City. His stone mentions his wife, Nellie Rankin, a name that Don remembered from his father’s old photo album. At the foot of J. C.’s grave is a marker for his sister, Martha Rankin Bisel. The proved nuclear family was growing: it now including Chambers, J. C., and Martha Rankin Bisel. Her stone was also purchased by J. C. This should have been a step in the right direction for Uncle Don, who already suspected that J. C. was “the long missing link” towards uncovering the mystery.

What Went Wrong?

The mother and son duo had ancestral ties to the Bisel family (Martha Rankin Bisel’s inlaws). So instead of focusing on researching J. C. and the Westmoreland County area, they followed the trail of the Bisel family, which took them to Bedford and Fulton Counties. Upon finding Rankins buried at the Big Spring Cemetery in Fulton County, they convinced themselves that those burials were Chambers’ parents – with literally zero evidence. Don accepted their conclusions and considered them his “Big Breakthrough.” In January 1985, he excitedly typed up his “case-solved-here-is-our-lineage” piece, now memorialized as the conventional wisdom.

Don claimed Chambers Rankin’s father was John Rankin (1754-1829) buried in Big Spring Cemetery in Fulton County. But he confused that John Rankin with a different John Rankin, born the same year, who married Martha Waugh, and moved to Tennessee.  Don used the Tennessee John’s lineage for the remainder of his erroneous Rankin lineage write up.

There were so many red flags (such as a father who was only 13 when a son was born) that the people in his chart might as well have been fictional. Instead, the erroneous information spread like a virus.

Uncle Don’s excitement was short lived. He passed away in May, just five months after completing and distributing his work. Perhaps he was worried about his health, which contributed to his acceptance of unvetted information to finish his life’s work before it was too late. This feeling is a relatable anxiety for researchers – hoping to “finish” our work before we die with our findings only in our minds and scribbled on mountains of notes that would make no sense to anyone else.

Setting the Record Straight

To begin, I went back to the place where evidence was pointing – Chambers’ siblings J. C. Rankin and Martha (Rankin) Bisel in Harrison City, Westmoreland County.  I spent hours of research hoping to find them in a will or deed pointing toward their family of origin. The only thing I found was another sibling – Culbertson Rankin of Somerset County, for whom J. C. also purchased a gravestone that was identical to Chambers’ marker. This find was interesting because it turns out J. C.’s given name was John Culbertson Rankin. That made two Culberson names among the siblings.

I began corresponding with one of J. C.’s descendants who shared her theory that the parents of the Rankin siblings were David and Martha (Culbertson) Rankin of Westmoreland County. Based solely on the importance of the Culbertson maiden name, the theory that they were Chambers’ parents seemed far more plausible than anything else I’d come across.  In her theory, David Rankin was the son of another David Rankin (Sr.) who died in Westmoreland County in 1790.

Our Rankin siblings didn’t fit in with any other Rankin clan in Pennsylvania, so I decided to research the David Rankins of Westmoreland County to search for clues.

David (Sr.) was a Westmoreland County innkeeper whose land was located in Unity Township along the Loyalhanna Creek. He died in 1790, leaving a will for which there are two transcriptions.[3] One leaves his estate to his “well beloved wife James” (obviously a transcription error) and which subsequently identifies his wife as Mary. The second transcription wrongly identified James as David’s son. However, estate records prove that James Rankin was actually David Sr.’s brother. Estate records also provided the names of David and Mary’s children: Daniel, David (Jr.), Jane, William, Matthew, Margaret, Martha, and Chambers.[4]YES, CHAMBERS! No, this wasn’t my Chambers, but it WAS another clue. Family names can be important circumstantial evidence, particularly in the case of unusual names such as “Chambers” and “Culbertson.”

Further down the rabbit hole, I learned that this Chambers died when he was in his teens. It seemed plausible that his brother, David Jr., would name one of his sons (my Chambers) after a deceased brother.  I gathered enough information about David Sr. and his wife Mary Cochran (and her family) to create a detailed timeline for him.[5] Unfortunately, I can’t find additional records about his son, David Jr. The only known detail about his life is that he married Martha Culbertson by 1800.[6] She and her family moved to Westmoreland County around 1785 from “Culbertson Row” in Franklin County.[7]

I changed direction to focus again on Chambers’ brother, John Culbertson Rankin. He married near Culbertson Row in Franklin County. In 1840, he moved his family to Westmoreland County, where he purchased coal and timberland and founded Harrison City. He also ran a store and a hotel. In the process, he became incredibly wealthy: many of the landowners in Westmoreland County wound up sitting atop thick seams of anthracite coal.

Researchers originally believed that his wife died shortly after their 9th child was born. That is because J. C. was married by 1850 to a second wife with whom he had three children. She was around the same age as his oldest daughter. However, his first wife was still very much alive. That first marriage evidently ended in divorce, as did his second marriage. Around 1865, he married a third time, to a woman named Nellie who was nearly 45 years younger. He conforms to an old cliche:  a rich guy who keeps getting divorced and marrying younger women – add a silk robe and smoking pipe for a stereotypical 19th century image.

God bless his heart, though, because he did something caring and useful with his overflowing money pot. He bought gravestones for his siblings that included his own name, without which this brick wall might have stood forever. And for that, Uncle J. C., we thank you.[8]  J. C.’s gravestone itself was about to provide another clue!

After COVID allowed, I was finally able to visit J. C.’s enormous gravestone. It was engraved “J.R. Oursler, Latrobe” – presumably, the tombstone engraver. I took note, hoping it would lead to something. I still lacked any direct evidence that David (Jr.) was the same David who married Martha Culbertson. And that David and Martha’s children were John C., Chambers, Martha, and Culbertson.

Serendipity Rewards the Prepared

That proof came in a way I least expected. I happened upon a single newspaper article that tied together all the random notes and circumstantial evidence I had collected for two years.  I said out loud to my laptop, “oh my god, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL THIS TIME, ARTICLE!?” It conclusively proves that J. C.’s family lived along Loyalhanna Creek near Hannastown, and the only Rankin family documented in that area is David (Sr.).

The Latrobe Bulletin newspaper reported that, in 1891, J. C. Rankin was in town meeting with John R. Oursler for ordering a cemetery monument. During this visit to Latrobe, J. C. stopped to visit the newspaper, which reported this:

“In the course of conversation, we learned that Mr. Rankin was one of the pioneers of this section of the country, being at the present time 87 years of age. He is a large, fine looking specimen of manhood, and not withstanding his advanced age, is as sprightly and active as a man of 45 or 50 years. He informed us that all his relatives were raised along the Loyalhanna and that his [father was[9]] at Hannastown the time it was besieged and burned by the Indians. They were forced to flee for their lives and escaped. He said that the town or fort was thickly surrounded by hazel bushes. These were cut off, piled up and burned. The stumps of these bushes were sticking out of the ground and had been burned to needle-like sharpness by the fire. In making his escape, his father was compelled to run over these spear-like points in his bare feet and in doing so, his feet were terribly lacerated. At the time of his death having a number of holes in the soles in which Mr. Rankin said he often inserted his fingers. He is blessed with excellent eyesight and an elegant memory and related many stirring scenes of early days.”

Hannastown was attacked and burned in July 1782. David Rankin (Jr.) would have only been around 6 years old at the time. The Rankin family home along the Loyalhanna was only a few miles away from Hannastown. So … why would the David Rankin (Sr.) family have been in Hannastown that day?  More direct evidence provides the answer.

Quarterly Court was in session the day of the attack, and on the docket was business regarding tavern keepers and selling “spirituous liquors in small measure.” Twelve tavern keepers attended, although they weren’t identified. David (Sr.) had been an innkeeper since at least 1781, per court records.[10] Surely he was there with the other county innkeepers.  Perhaps he brought his son, David Jr., with him on the trip – or maybe even the whole family, since it wasn’t safe yet on the homesteads due to continuing Native American attacks.

There were no other Rankins with land along the Loyalhanna except for David Sr. and his children, who remained in the area after his death.

Good ‘ol Uncle J.C….. that “fine looking specimen of manhood”…. irresistible to the younger ladies…and with money to burn….. once again came through in our quest to break through this brick wall to tell us that the earliest known Rankin ancestor in our line is undoubtedly David Rankin (Sr.) who died in 1790.

That brief celebration was interrupted by the realization that I’ve just left one brick wall (Chambers) only to hit another (his grandfather David.)[11]  Nevertheless – progress! I hope Uncle Don would be thrilled with this discovery, and not upset that his conclusion turned out to be error. Surely he was accustomed to the twists and turns — and errors — along our “High Adventure Genealogical Safaris.”

[1] She was probably Shawnee, the prevalent Native American tribe in the area.

[2] This gravestone was an 1890s replacement of Chambers’ original stone.

[3] Westmoreland County Pennsylvania Probate Records, Will Book Vol.1, Pg. 101.

[4] Children’s names are documented in the following records: 1.) OC Vol.A, Pg. 59   2.) OC Vol.2B, Pg.27 and Pg.31   3.) OC Vol.A, Pg.92   4.) Deed Book Vol.17, Pg.186   5.) Deed Book Vol.6, Pg.53.  6.) Undocketed estate papers for David Rankin and his father-in-law William Cochran in Records Management storage at the Westmoreland County Courthouse.

[5] This timeline document can be found on Ancestry when searching for David Rankin (1750-1790) or at this link: https://www.ancestry.com/mediaui-viewer/collection/1030/tree/8318305/person/112357108913/media/943c87d8-493e-4e44-81bc-07c40a879728?_phsrc=jHG7&usePUBJs=true&sort=-created

[6] Deed Book Vol.6, Pg.35

[7] Culbertson Row refers to a large area of land in Letterkenny Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, settled by several members of the Scots-Irish Culbertson family in the early 1700s.

[8] There is one more very likely sibling in this family. His name was also David Rankin, and he died in 1866 in Grapeville, Westmoreland County.

[9] The article actually reads “parents were” but I believe there was slight error to the way the story was printed. His mother would have only been a baby. Further, her Culbertson family didn’t come to Hannastown until at least three years later.

[10] Documentation includes: 1.) The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, Volume 7, Issues 2-3, Pg. 172-174 and 2.) History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania: With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Volume 1 Pg. 136.

[11] Information on David Rankin (d.1790) remains elusive. The lack of any documents helping to reveal the origin story for he and his brother James, has nearly convinced me they were dropped there by aliens. I kid,…

Same Name Confusion: William Buckley Jr. of Loudoun, Virginia

Subtitle: Dead Men Weren’t Tithable

            A good friend believes that “same name confusion” is the most common error in family history research. She is probably right, although careless errors — e.g., failure to note that a child was born when its purported mother was four years old — surely rank a close second. “Same name confusion” occurs, for example, when a man named George Washington, born in 1799, is identified in a tree as the first President of the United States. That also counts as a careless error.

            A frequent candidate for the “same name” error is William Buckley Jr. of Loudoun County, Virginia. He was a son of William Buckley Sr.[1] His wife was Amy MNU Buckley.[2] William Jr. had several brothers, including one named John and another named Joshua.[3] The only conclusively proved child of William Buckley Jr. and Amy is a son, Elijah, named in his grandfather’s will.[4] William Jr. also had daughters named Frances, Sarah, and Ann, who are established (IMO) by a convincing web of circumstantial evidence.[5] The daughters married Claiborne Martin, Gibson Martin, and Elijah Moseley, respectively.[6]

            Same-name-wise, William Jr. is confused with a William Buckley who died in 1776 while in military service during the Revolutionary War. The vast majority of online trees about this family identify William Jr., father of Elijah, husband of Amy, and son of William Sr., as the soldier who died in 1776. I did a search at Ancestry on William Jr. (also using father William Sr., wife Amy, son Elijah, mother Elizabeth, and death = 1776 as search terms). That search produced seven-hundred seventy-one trees identifying William Jr. as the soldier who died in 1776. There were only fourteen trees showing William Jr.’s death as 1780 (correct) or 1779 (close).

            Numbers, however, aren’t evidence, much less proof. All those trees prove is how easy it is to copy someone else’s tree without confirming research. In fact, it simply cannot be the case that William Jr. (husband of Amy, father of Elijah, and son of William Sr.) was the same man as the soldier who died in 1776. With apologies to my 5th cousin L. E., this is not a theory, it is an in-dis-effing-putable fact. Pardonnez mon français, s’il vous plait.

            If you accept original military and abstracted tax records as direct and weighty documentary evidence, that’s the unavoidable conclusion. Let’s consider the evidence …

            First, check out the military muster roll for Capt. Thomas Berry’s Company of the 8th Virginia Regiment at this link. The roll has a list of privates, including #17 Abram Buckley, appointed 22 Feb 1776, and #18 William Buckley (no “Junior” included), also appointed 22 Feb 1776. The muster roll states that William Buckley died on 16 Sept 1776. 

            Second, please see Loudoun County tax list abstracts by Ruth and Sam Sparacio.[7] Here’s a quick summary of tithables (i.e., taxable persons) from relevant years:

1773 — Samuel Love’s list included William Buckley Sr., who was listed with Joshua Buckley and Ben for a total of 3 taxables. I made a note of this because we know from Wm. Sr.’s will that Joshua was a son of his. The enslaved man Ben is important because he continues to be taxed with William Sr. in subsequent tax lists … so we can be confident that some stray William Buckley hasn’t snuck into the Loudoun lists. There was a separate listing in 1773 for “William Bukley,” who may or may not be William Jr.

1777 — the tax list of Samuel Love included William Buckley Sr. with Joshua, William Jr., and slave Ben — a total of 4 tithes. Dead men weren’t tithable,[8] so William Buckley Sr.’s son William Jr. was still alive in 1777. If you are descended from the soldier named William Buckley who died in 1776, then you can write off William Sr. as an ancestor and Amy MNU Buckley as an ancestress. This might cause 771 Ancestry tree owners some distress. Or perhaps not. I wonder how many claims of descent from William Sr. and Jr. the D.A.R. has accepted?

1779 — William Buckley Sr. was listed with Jas or Jos Gold (I don’t know him) and slave Ben for 3 tithables. William Buckley Jr. was listed with slave Suck (usually Suckie, a nickname for Susannah) for 2 tithables. Joshua Buckley was listed with slave Amey for 2 tithables.

1780 — George Summer’s list included both Joshua Buckley (slave Tom, 2 tithables) and William Buckley Jr. (1 tithable). William Jr. was therefore still alive when the 1780 tax list was made. William Buckley Sr. was still on Love’s list. He was taxed on himself, a man named Halbert, and enslaved man Ben, for 3 tithables.[9]

            Finally, there is an entry in the Loudoun County order book that establishes that William Jr. died between the time the 1780 tax list was made and the end of 1780. The order book for 11 December 1780 says, “[O]n the motion of Amy Buckley who made oath according to the Law & together with John Buckley and Joshua Buckley her securities …bond of 10,000 pounds … letters on the estate of Wm Buckley Junr dec.d.”[10]

            For icing on the cake, the 8th Virginia Regiment didn’t recruit in Loudoun County. It recruited in a half-dozen other Virginia counties.[11]

            If you can figure out a reasonable way to explain away these facts, I will give you a lifetime free subscription to this blog. Emphasis on reasonable.

            Considering the evidence, Pvt William Buckley of the 8th Virginia Regiment, who died in Sept 1776, was not the same man as the William Buckley Jr. who died in 1780. The tax lists conclusively prove (IMO) that William Buckley Sr.’s son William Jr. was alive through the time the tax list was taken in 1780, but he had died by December 1780 when his widow Amy applied for letters of administration on his estate.

            And that’s it for now. Some other ancestors are calling my name.

            See you on down the road.

            Robin

[1] Loudoun Co., VA Will Book D: 36, will of William Buckley of Loudoun Co. dated 12 Jul 1786, proved 8 Jun 1789. Sons John, Joshua, and Samuel Buckley and daughters Elizabeth Harris, Sarah Harris, Catherine Harris, Rosanna Halbert. Grandson Elijah Buckley, son of William Buckley, dec’d.

[2] Loudoun County Order Book G: 313, LDS Film #32,349, order dated 11 Dec 1780: “[O]n the motion of Amy Buckley who made oath according to the Law & together with John Buckley and Joshua Buckley her securities … bond of 10,000 pounds … letters on the estate of Wm Buckley Junr dec.d.” There is reportedly a record ordering Amy Buckley Huff and her husband James Huff to appear to administer on the estate of Elijah Buckley. I haven’t been able to find either the record itself or a citation.

[3] See Note 1.

[4] Id.

[5] There is a 5-part series on the Buckleys and Martins on this blog. Displaying an utter lack of imagination, I designated them Part 1 ,  Part 2,  Part 3,  Part 4,  and Part 5.

[6] Id.

[7] The Sparacios abstracted so many Virginia records they founded their own publishing company (“The Antient Press”). They don’t exactly abstract, they copy deeds and other records verbatim. See Tithables Loudoun County, Virginia 1775 – 1781 (McLean, VA: The Antient Press, 1992); Ruth & Sam Sparacio, Tithables Loudoun County, Virginia 1770 – 1774 (McLean, VA: The Antient Press, 1992).

[8] A deceased person’s estate (land and taxable personal property) was taxable. The deceased person was not himself tithable (or taxable).

[9] William Sr.’s daughter Rosannah married a man named Halbert. See Note 1.

[10] Loudoun Co., VA Order Book G: 313, LDS Film #32,349, order of 11 Dec 1780. The 10,000 pounds refers to lbs of tobacco, not pounds sterling). Some people might rationalize that probate of the estate of person who died in September 1776 might be delayed until December 1780. If you can produce an example of such a lengthy delay, I will eat both my hat and my laptop. As a practical matter, family,  heirs, or creditors typically filed for probate within a very short time after death in order to care for assets (crops to be harvested, e.g.) and assure prompt and orderly disposition of the.

[11]  https://revolutionarywar.us/continental-army/virginia/.

 

Find-a-Grave Bloopers: a Really Cool One

First, I need to acknowledge that Find-a-Grave is a wonderful source for family history researchers. The information on tombstone images can be invaluable. Of course, the website itself doesn’t commit “bloopers,” e.g., confusing two men having the same name. Instead, Find-a-Grave members who post on memorials or add pictures sometimes provide bad information.

I am now aware of three Find-a-Grave bloopers for Rankins, all of which are wrong identifications of men named William. See articles about the first two here and  here. But the third Rankin blooper takes the cake. It’s not only that some Find-a-Grave poster has claimed the wrong William Rankin is interred in the Mahnes Cemetery in Ridersville, Morgan County, West Virginia. In this case, the grave has an image of a tombstone that wrongly identifies him! Better yet, the tombstone image is attached to two William Rankins who allegedly have different birth dates. Somebody has some ‘splaining to do, Lucy …

Here are the facts. If you go to the Find-a-Grave page for the Mahnes Cemetery and search on Rankin listings, it will take you to this page. There are three men named William Rankin who were born in the 18th century in that list of Rankin burials:

  1. William Rankin, 1760 – 25 Feb 1830
  2. William Rankin, 1748 – 22 Feb 1830
  3. Private William Rankin, 1720 – 1783

There is no tombstone photo for Private William, who was allegedly the father of the William born in 1748, according to a poster’s information.

Both the William born in 1748 and the William born in 1760 have tombstone images. It is the exact same stone for both men, although the two photos were clearly taken at different times. Here is the tombstone image for the William allegedly born in 1748, with what appears to be a slightly altered birthdate that is clearly not 1748. And here is the tombstone image for the William allegedly born in 1760, again with a slightly fuzzy birthdate on the stone.

You will notice that the marker doesn’t look like an almost 200-year-old stone. It looks more 20th century-ish. I wonder (1) when the stone was installed and (2) who paid for it. I have not yet tried to find answers to those questions.

The tombstone has this inscription:

PVT BRADYS CO ROWLING’S REGT

REVOLUTIONARY WAR

This is great information because it is subject to easy verification. In fact, there was a Private William Rankin who enlisted in Capt. Brady’s Company, Stephenson’s Regiment, later known as Rawling’s Regiment (not Rowling’s, although that’s close). His Revolutionary War pension application says he enlisted in July 1776 in Berkeley County, Virginia. Morgan County was created from part of Berkeley in 1820. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, the rest of the facts present serious problems. Private William Rankin of Brady’s Company, Rawling’s Regiment, filed his pension application from Mason County, Kentucky in 1833 — three years after the Mahnes Cemetery Williams reportedly died.[1] He lived in Frederick County, Virginia after the war. He may have moved to Mason County by at least 1800, based on tax lists. He was definitely in Mason County by 1810, when he was listed in the federal census there with a profile that fit his family. He died in Mason County on 12 April 1836. His estate was probated there. For detailed information about Private William Rankin of Brady’s Company, see articles about him here and here. His war story is fabulous and you might enjoy it, even if you aren’t related.

I don’t have any information about the William Rankin in the Mahnes Cemetery whose tombstone is attached to two listings. There is virtually no  chance that he is the same man as Private William Rankin of Brady’s Company, Rawling’s Regiment, who died in Mason County in 1836 — not in 1830, as the two listings in the Mahnes Cemetery claim. FYI, it is 500 miles from Washington, Mason County, Kentucky to Ridersville, West Virginia. Even if the Mahnes Cemetery Williams had the same death date as William Rankin of Mason, it is highly unlikely that the family would transport a body that distance for burial.

The William Rankin who died in Mason County in 1836 may be buried in the Old Washington Cemetery there, although there was a cemetery plot on the land William owned. When his children sold his land after he died, the deed reserved a 70 square foot graveyard.[2] It is a reasonable bet that William and his wife, who also died in 1836, were both buried in that family cemetery.

Finally, the odds are absolutely nil that there were two Private William Rankins in Brady’s Company, Rawling’s Regiment. Military records are clear on that point. The one and only William Rankin who served in those units lived in Mason County, Kentucky, where he applied for a pension in 1833, died in 1836, and is surely buried.

I would love to know more about the Morgan County Rankins. There are quite a few of them buried in the Mahnes Cemetery in Ridersville. Perhaps there is a living male Rankin descendant who might be persuaded to Y-DNA test? It wouldn’t be surprising to find that he is related to Private William of Mason County. There were more Rankin families in Virginia’s Northern Neck and into West Virginia than I can count. And we need more information about Private William’s important family.

Here’s hoping someone reading this knows about the Mahnes Cemetery Rankins. If so, I would love to hear from you.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] I have omitted citations to supporting records because my two articles about William Rankin’s war story provide considerable documentation, readily available for anyone who is interested. See links here and here.

[2] Mason Co., KY Deed Book 43: 65, deed dated 24 Sep 1836 from the heirs at law of the late William Rankin, dec’d, of Mason County, tract near Washington on the Waters of Lawrence’s Creek adjacent Berry, et al., 70 square foot graveyard excepted.

Revolutionary War Story: William Rankin of Virginia’s Northern Neck (part 3 of 4)

The previous article in this series ended with the Battle of Ft. Washington on November 16, 1776. William Rankin was captured there and imprisoned in Manhattan. Against long odds, he survived. His elder brother Robert Rankin was not in that battle, so far as we can determine.[1] Their war experience diverged after Ft. Washington, despite the fact that both had enlisted in Captain Brady’s Company of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment. Most that regiment fought at Ft. Washington.[2]

Let’s turn to their individual war stories. We’ll start with William because there is so much detail in his pension application file. Robert, bless his heart, didn’t have much to say about his war experience.

Private William Rankin[3]

The facts William states in his pension application dovetail with military history to a “T.”[4] His memory was awesome. His military service had been over for more than fifty-four years when he made his application declaration in November 1833 from Mason County, Kentucky. Here is part of what his declaration said:

    • He enlisted in July 1776 for a term of three years in Berkeley County, Virginia. He enlisted in Capt. William Brady’s company of Col. Hugh Stephenson’s regiment. He notes that Stephenson soon died and the company was attached to Col. Moses Rawlings regiment. William didn’t say so, but Rawlings was Stephenson’s second-in-command of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment. The regiment to which William’s company belonged didn’t change after Stephenson’s death, it just had a new commander.
    • William marched first to Philadelphia, then went to Trenton by water, then marched to Princeton.[5] All of his regiment went first to Philadelphia, where Washington was having his men inoculated for smallpox.[6] Next, William marched to Ft. Lee and Ft. Washington.[7] He stated the precise date of the battle at Ft. Washington. I’ll bet he could also have testified to the weather conditions.
    • The British imprisoned William in one of the notorious “sugar houses” in Manhattan before transferring him “after some time” to the British ship “the Duttons.”[8] The majority of British prisoners in New York City – four out of five – did not survive captivity.[9] Instead, they died of starvation or disease. William must have been a pretty tough teenager.

That gets us to the point in the previous article where we left William.  In February or March 1777, the British paroled him and he went from New York to Philadelphia. In April 1777, said William, “he was sent home by direction of Gen. Daniel Morgan who happened to be a personal acquaintance.”[10] He was recalled from home a year later to rejoin some remains of Rawlings’ Regiment at Ft. Frederick in Frederick, Maryland.[11] From there he went to Ft. Pitt in Pittsburgh, where he worked as an “artificer” – someone who constructed fortifications.[12] He was discharged at Ft. Pitt when his three-year enlistment ended in mid-1779.

Now let’s go back to when Morgan sent him home from Philadelphia. Thomas Jones filed an affidavit in support of William’s pension application, confirming that Morgan ordered him to take William home to Virginia. Jones said “in the year 1777 he received from the hand of General Morgan … William Rankin in … Philadelphia, a sick soldier … to convey Rankin to Virginia, his former state of residence.”[13]

Jones took William home in a wagon.[14] In my imagination, William was horizontal on the wagon bed, on top of and under (I hope) some blankets. A John Kercheval also filed an affidavit in support of William’s pension application. Kercheval stated that “he met the said William Rankin returning to Virginia then in a low state of health in the wagon of Thomas Jones who lived in the neighborhood.”[15]

Where the heck was William’s home? He was still a teenager in April 1777, about eighteen. You would think he was going home to recuperate under the care of his family of origin, wouldn’t you? Inquiring minds want to know who they were …

William leaves us dangling on that question. Kercheval was more helpful. In the middle of his affidavit is this attention-grabber: Kercheval said he understood “from Mr. [William] Rankin’s brother Robert Rankin, who was an officer, that his brother William” was at one time ordered to Pittsburgh. Yes, indeed, William Rankin was once in Pittsburgh, where he was discharged. William’s brother is the man I nicknamed “Lt. Robert” in the  first article in this series.

William may not have identified his parents, but his file gave us his brother, which is one clue to his family of origin. There’s more. William also provides the link between the Rankin and Kercheval families. William said that “John Kercheval and his wife Jane Kercheval both know that he did serve in the war of the Revolution and the latter recollects the day he marched from her fathers in Frederick County Virginia.”

John Kercheval’s wife was Jane Berry, a daughter of Thomas Berry of Frederick County.[16] One of Jane Berry Kercheval’s sisters was Margaret “Peggy” Berry, who married Lt. Robert Rankin in Frederick County. Seventeen or eighteen-year-old William Rankin may have enlisted in Berkeley County, but he marched off to war from Frederick County – to be exact, from Thomas Berry’s house. My imagination has Jane Berry and her sister Peggy, both still single, watching Robert Rankin (Peggy’s fiancee)[17] and his brother William march off to war from their father Thomas Berry’s house in Frederick County.[18]

Kercheval also testified that “William Rankins not long after the war was done settled in … Frederick” County, where he was still living when Kercheval moved to Mason County, Kentucky about 1798-1799.[19] That seems to imply that William wasn’t living in Frederick County before the war, which comports with him having enlisted from Berkeley. William was definitely in Frederick by 1792, because a Frederick County lease and release[20] recites that William was “of Frederick” in that year. Two Frederick deeds prove William had a wife named Mary Ann and a son named Harrison.[21] Thomas Berry was a witness to those instruments.

There is another tidbit or two in William’s pension file. Kercheval also said that William Rankin was “a very respectable man and entitled to credit in any court or county … he is a wealthy farmer of Mason County Kentucky.” Some of William’s wealth undoubtedly came from land speculation, which may have been Lt. Robert’s financial undoing. William said that his discharge papers had been “lost long ago or put in the land office in Virginia to get land warrants.”[22] At that point, his remarkable memory fogged up. He said he “could not recollect but possibly the latter,” he “having traded so much in that business cannot speak certainly.”

William was certainly well off by the standards of the day, when wealth was measured in part by ownership of other people. The 1836 inventory of his estate included twenty enslaved persons.[23] The current account of his estate in November 1839 showed an amount to be distributed of $17,911, after payment of an agreed $1,000 fee to the two estate administrators.[24]

That is all of William Rankin’s story I can tease out of online records.[25] He died intestate in Mason County on April 12, 1836, leaving a widow and children to collect the remainder of his pension.[26] William may be buried in the Old Washington Cemetery (AKA the Washington Baptist Church Cemetery) in Mason County. [27]

William’s pension file doesn’t name his children. Fortunately, a deed and court record fill in the blanks. First, a deed was executed conveying William’s land in September 1836. It identified the grantors as the heirs at law of William Rankin.[28] The heirs – in this case, his children– sold William’s land for $12,930. The tract was near the town of Washington on the waters of Lawrence’s Creek adjacent a Berry family. The deed excepted a graveyard.

Here are William’s heirs, along with the names of their spouses and their locations when they executed the deed.

  1. Blackston H. Rankin and wife Elizabeth of Bracken County, Kentucky.
  2. James M. Rankin and wife Lorina, also of Bracken County.
  3. John Hall and wife Elizabeth Rankin Hall of Scott County, Kentucky.
  4. Wyete (sic, Wyatt?) C. Webb and wife Ann D. Rankin Webb, also of Scott County.
  5. George D. Stockton and wife Harriett Rankin Stockton of Fleming County, Kentucky.
  6. John L. Rankin and wife Mary J. of Mason County.
  7. George W. Stockton and wife Caroline S.? Rankin of Illinois.
  8. Robert P. Rankin and wife Mary C. of Scott County, Kentucky.
  9. Thomas P. Rankin of Mason County.

Finally, here is a record from the Mason County court order book for September 1836.[29] It names eleven children rather than nine and was proved by the oaths of John Hall and Marshall Rankin. I don’t know Mr. Hall, but Marshall Rankin was William’s nephew – a son of William’s brother John. The purpose of the court order was to establish a claim to William’s pension. The children are listed in this order:

  1. Harrison Rankin. You may remember him from the lease and release for life back in Frederick County.
  2. Blackston H. Rankin
  3. James M. Rankin
  4. John L. Rankin
  5. Robert P. Rankin
  6. Thomas Rankin
  7. Elizabeth married John Hall
  8. Sarah married James Rankins
  9. Harriet married George D. Stockton
  10. Ann married Wyatt Webb
  11. Caroline married George W. Stockton

The court order list adds two children to the heirs identified in the deed: a son Harrison and a daughter Sarah, who married a James Rankins. It also states that William Rankin died on 12 April 1836 and his widow Mary Ann died on 29 July 1836.

May you rest in peace, William. And now … on to your more famous brother’s war story.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

[1] Gary and I found no military records to prove Robert’s location in 1776. Consequently, we can only speculate why he wasn’t in the battle at Ft. Washington. Perhaps he was one of the Rifle Regiment’s members who remained at Ft. Lee because of sickness? See Tucker F. Hentz, Unit History of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment (1776–1781): Insights from the Service Record of Capt. Adamson Tannehill (Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, 2007) 12, Note 50, at this link. Perhaps Robert was actually in the battle, but was neither killed nor captured? Statistically, that is highly improbable.

[2] William’s pension application declaration expressly stated that he enlisted in Brady’s company. Robert’s declaration didn’t name a company and contains an error about his regiment. Fortunately, muster and payroll records for Gabriel Long’s composite company of Virginia riflemen consistently name remnants of Brady’s company, including Robert Rankin. Those rolls specifically identify Robert as a member of Brady’s company. The remaining members of the other two rifle companies (Captains Shepherd’s and West’s) that were decimated at Ft. Washington also appear on rolls for Long’s composite rifle company.

[3] Information about William Rankin’s military history is largely taken from his pension application file. I made screen shots of many of the original images at Fold3, but unfortunately I rarely included the page number assigned to each image by Fold3. Accordingly, I have simply cited to “William’s pension application” with a brief description of the document in question. One of these days, I will go through the drill again and identify page numbers.

[4] William’s pension declaration echoes the history of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, some of which was the subject of the previous article about the Northern Neck Rankins.

[5] Pension file of William Rankin, S.31315 (hereafter, “William Rankin’s pension file”), his sworn declaration supporting his pension application dated 22 Nov. 1833 in Mason Co., KY.

[6] Hentz, Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment. See p. 15 re: smallpox inoculations. The Philadelphia location was obviously before the British occupied the city in September 1777 following Washington’s defeat at Brandywine.

[7] William Rankin’s pension file, sworn declaration.

[8] Id.

[9] This discussion of “Prisoner of War Facts” states “[b]y the end of 1776, there were over 5,000 prisoners held in New York City. More than half … came from the soldiers captured at the battle of Fort Washington and Fort Lee.” Four out of five prisoners died.

[10] Morgan was actually a Colonel when he sent William home, although he ended his career as a General and was undoubtedly referred to with that title by anyone who knew him. Morgan lived on a farm just east of Winchester in Frederick Co. and was apparently acquainted with the Rankin family. See this link.

[11] William Rankin’s pension file, sworn declaration.

[12] United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, Familysearch.org, FHL Film/Fiche Number 7197150, image 57, return of Capt. Heth’s Company at Ft. Pitt, listing Private William Rankins as an “artificer.” He apparently recovered from his prison ordeal.

[13] William Rankin’s pension file, affidavit of Thomas Jones. I took some liberties with the affidavit’s spelling.

[14] Id., affidavit of John Kercheval.

[15] Id.

[16] Will of Thomas Berry of Frederick Co., VA dated 20 Feb 1806, proved Frederick Co. 4 Mar 1819. Copy certified and recorded in Mason Co., KY at Will Book E: 17 et seq. Thomas named his daughter Peggy, who married Col. Robert Rankin (that was his rank in the KY militia, not the Revolutionary War), and his daughter Jane, who married John Kercheval. Thomas Berry left part of his land in Mason County to his daughters Peggy Rankin and Jane Kercheval.

[17] Pension file of Robert Rankins, No. W26365 or Peggy B. Rankin, L.Wt. 1380-200, images of originals available from Fold3.com. Peggy (Berry) Rankin’s declaration dated 16 Feb. 1844 states that she and Robert were married on Oct. 1, 1781 in Frederick County while he was on furlough after his capture at Charleston, they “having been previously engaged.” Peggy’s declaration is at pages 16-19 of their combined Fold3 file.

[18] Presumably, William would not have bothered to mention that Peggy also saw him march off to war. By 1833, she and Robert no longer lived in Mason County and Peggy wasn’t available to testify in support of his pension application.

[19] Id.

[20] A “lease and release” was a two-step land transaction created to circumvent the English Statute of Uses. The two documents were typically executed on consecutive days. Together, they had the effect of a conveyance of land in fee simple.

[21] See Frederick Co., VA Deed Book 24A: 152, 155, lease and release dated 3 Nov 1792 from Fairfax, proprietor of the Northern Neck, to William Rankin of Frederick, 79 acres, part of the “Chestnut Level” in Frederick. Lease for the lives of William Rankin, his wife Mary Ann Rankin, and son Harrison Rankin. One witness was Thomas Berry.

[22] William Rankin’s pension file, declaration of 22 Nov. 1833.

[23] Mason Co., KY Will Book K: 448, inventory of William Rankin’s estate dated 4 June 1836.

[24] Mason Co., KY Will Book L: 538, Nov. 1839 current account of John L. Rankin and Robert P. Rankin, administrators of the account of William Rankin, dec’d.

[25] Deeds would probably provide evidence of William’s land speculation and the identity of other family members who witnessed his deeds or were grantees.

[26] William Rankin’s pension file, letter dated 14 May 1927 from Winfield Scott, Commissioner of the Revolutionary and 1812 Wars (pension?) Section, to an inquiry about William’s record from Miss May Harrison. Scott’s reply noted William’s date of death and failure of his pension file to mention names of wife and children. See also a letter of 17 Sep 1931 responsive to a request about William from Mr. Walter H. Rankins stating the same facts.

[27] See Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry, Cemetery Records, Mason County, Kentucky, Vol. 1 (Chillicothe, MO: 1965). The contents of that book were the source for the Mason County Cemetery Index database on Ancestry.com.

[28] Mason County Deed Book 43: 65.

[29] Mason Co., KY Court Order Book M: 403 (FHL Film No. 8192456, Image No. 563 et seq.).

James Winn, Son of Daniel of Lunenburg: Lost but now Found? Probably …

REVISED TO INCORPORATE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY A DESCENDANT

I recently stumbled across online images of a Winn family Bible I had not seen before.[1] The Bible is from the family of James Winn, son of Daniel Winn of Lunenburg County, Virginia. James’s wife was Mary Ann Winn, daughter of John and Ann Stone Winn, also of Lunenburg. I wrote about James and Mary Ann briefly in Part IV of the recent Lunenburg Winn series.

What stands out about James in that article is his Revolutionary War service. He enlisted in February 1776 for two years in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment, as did his brothers Elisha and William Winn.[2] He is shown on a Revolutionary War roll as a Sergeant in May 1777.[3] His individual service record lists him in Capt. Billey Haley Avery’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment from August 1777 through January 1778. He was discharged in February 1778 at Valley Forge.[4] That catches most people’s attention, as well it should. And because today is November 11, I hereby send best wishes and gratitude to all veterans, including my husband Gary, a Vietnam vet, and (posthumously) to James Winn, a many-greats uncle of mine.

Back to the Winns: my article goes on to say that James probably left Lunenburg because there doesn’t seem to be a will or estate administration for him there. I added that I did not know where he went. In short, I just flat lost James and Mary Ann.

So … have we found James, son of Daniel, in this family Bible record? As a black plastic “Magic 8 Ball”[5] might say, “all signs point to ‘yes.’ ” For starters, the first members of the family recorded in the Bible are named James and Mary Ann Winn. The Bible says he was born in 1757. I had estimated that Daniel’s son James was born in 1757-1758, so the Bible’s birth year is spot on.

Also, several descendants of this family have been accepted by the D.A.R. on the basis of the Revolutionary War service of James Winn, son of Daniel Winn of Lunenburg. In short, there is every reason to accept that the James and Mary Ann Winn in the Bible record are the same people as James and Mary Ann Winn of Lunenburg.

But wait, there’s more … one descendant of James posted a comment on the original version of this article. She says the line has been Y-DNA tested and is well-established as part of the genetic family of Daniel Winn of Lunenburg. This blog has turned out to be a great way to meet nice cousins, and she is another one who is also a great researcher.

There is an “in memory of” marker for a James F. Winn in the Oakwood Cemetery in Martinsville, the county seat of Henry County, Virginia. Here it is:

Please note that the marker is fairly modern, perhaps mid 20th-century. The cemetery wasn’t founded until 1883, sixty-eight years after James died, so it is virtually certain that he was not buried there.[6]

A minor nitpick: the many Lunenburg records for James Winn, son of Daniel, never included a middle initial. The same is true for his military service records, which have his first and last names only, with no middle initial. There is no evidence of a middle name or initial in the Bible, either … he is simply James Winn. Nevertheless, the marker includes a middle initial, and most Ancestry trees identify him as “James Francis Winn.” Of course, people routinely include middle names for 18th-century men without any basis in the records, so this isn’t s a big surprise.

OK, back to the Bible. It was printed in 1833, roughly two decades after James and Mary Ann died. The family entries are in two parts.  First, there is a list of gifts of the Bible from one Winn family member to the next – i.e., the Bible’s ownership provenance. Four pages headed “Family Register” follow. Those pages record names, dates of birth, and some marriages for family members. I was reeling after reading both, and didn’t feel as though I had a handle on this family until I did a fair amount of additional research. May you have better luck.

Here, sans commentary, is a verbatim transcription of the family information. It begins with the provenance of the Bible and continues with the four pages of “Family Register” entries.

“This my fathers family Bible. I will to my niece Susie Winn Shute after my death it is to be hers. [Signed] Mary A. Thompson. April 30, 1895.”

“I give this Bible to my cousin Walter S. Winn & if he ________ [indecipherable] _______ William Winn. [Signed] Susie W. Shute.”

“I give this Bible to John T. Winn Jr. with the request that it be kept in the Winn family. Walter S. Winn, June 5th1920.”

“I give this Bible to William Edward Winn with the request that it be kept in the Winn family. Jan. 28, 1962, Charlotte, NC, John T. Winn Jr.”

“I give this Bible to Thomas Edward Winn with the request that it be kept in the Winn family. April 26, 2003, Charlotte, NC.”

Here is the first page headed “FAMILY REGISTER.” In the original Bible, the names are shown in two columns on each page. I couldn’t make that format work here. Sorry. It would be easier reading.

Column 1

James Winn was born April 14th 1757

Mary Ann was born 14th December 1759

Olive Winn was born January 28th 1779

Crecy Winn was born November 29th 1780

Archelaus Winn was born November 17th 1784

Younger Winn was born April 12th 1786

Frances Winn was born October 15th 1787

Coleman Winn was born June 30th 1789

Elizabeth Ann Winn was born June 15th 1791

Column 2

James Winn and Mary Ann Winn were married on the 15th of May 1778

Jerusha James Winn was born March 7th 1793

James Sibley Winn was born January 1st 1795

Arlysha Scott Winn and Clearecy Harloe Winn twin sisters were born February 4th 1797

Whitehead Washington Winn was born February 22nd 1799

Clarecy Harloe Winn died Sept 6th 1802

Mary Ann Winn the wife of James Winn died August 13th 1813

End of first page of the register. Here is the second page, also titled FAMILY REGISTER …

Column 1

James Winn died June 14th 1815

Mary Ann Winn his wife died August 13th 1813

Susanna Winn died Dec 16th 1864.

Archelaus W. Winn died April 13th 1868

Column 2

Calma C. Winn wife of Rev. G. W. Winn died Aug 4th 1893.

George Washington Winn died April 8, 1895

Livin A. Winn died May 16th 1892

Louisa Yourman? Winn died June 25th 1894

Mary Ann Winn Thompson died Oct 29 1905, the last of the old family

End of the second page. Here is the third page of the Family Register …

Column 1

Archelaus W. Winn was born Nov. 17th 1784

Susanna Ballanfant was born January 23rd 1789

Ebenezer P. Winn was born Aug 17th 1809

James Winn was b. June 26th 1812

John B. Winn Sept. 2nd 1814

Joseph B. Winn Dec. 6 1816

George W. Winn b. Jul 5th 1819

Mary Ann Winn Nov. 23, 1821

Column 2

Louisa Y. Winn 28 Apr 1824

Levin A. Winn 22 Mar 1826

William Alexander Winn Aug 29th 182? 1828?

Franklin L. P. Winn 20 May 1831

Mary Elizabeth Hoskins was b. 21 Dec 1837

F. L. P. Winn and M. E. Hoskins were married 1855

End of the third page of the register. Here is the fourth and final page …

Column 1

Joseph B. Winn died Jan 9th 1828

John B. Winn died Oct 23rd 1855

Ebenezer P. Winn d. 12 Jul 1863

John A. Thompson died Oct 21 1866

William A. Winn d. 12 Dec 1866

Silas D. Thompson d. Nov 8th 1882

Column 2

John Thompson Winn d. July 12, 1932, Bedford Co., TN, son of F.L.P. and M.E. Winn was born Mar 23, 1856.

Walter Salt? Winn son of Livin A. Winn and Marth A. Winn was b. July 2 1864

Emma Ellen Maxwell Winn wife of W. S. Winn was born Oct. 5, 1871

John A. Thompson and Mary A. Winn was married Aug 10th 1852

S.? D. Thompson and Mary A. Thompson m. Dec 13th 1870

E. L. Winn son of J. T. Winn Sr. was born Feb 16 1882

And that’s all of the family information in the Bible. If the spirit moves, I will prepare and post a conventional descendant chart for clarity, along with some additional information from census and other records.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] The Bible is online at the Library of Virginia at this link.

[2] James Winn’s military muster rolls at the National Archives can be viewed  at this link.

[3] Online at FamilySearch.org, United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783: May 1777 muster roll, Sergeant James Winn and Corporal Elisha Winn in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment, available here.

Id., Capt. Billy Haley Averys Company of the 6th Virginia Regiment, January 1778, Sergeant James Winn and Corporal Elisha Winn. NARA Series M246, Roll 103, online at this link.

[4] See Valley Forge Muster Roll Project here.

[5] Mattel still manufactures the Magic 8 Ball.

[6] Here is a link to the Find-a-Grave site for Oakwood Cemetery.

QUERY: (1) WHO WAS JOHN WINN d. AMELIA COUNTY 1781 and (2) WAS HE RELATED TO THE LUNENBURG WINNS?

— ANONYMOUS

Hooray! A query via email …

Answer #1: the circumstantial evidence is that Lt. Col. John Winn of Amelia County, Virginia (hereafter “Col. John”)[1] was a son of Richard Winn of Hanover County. Richard’s wife and perhaps John’s mother was Phebe, widow of a Mr. Pledger.

Answer #2: Yes, Amelia John was related to the Winn families of Lunenburg County.

Well. I suppose an explanation and some evidence is in order. Alternatively, we could avoid a lot of footnotes if readers would just accept my version of the facts as readily as people accept unsourced family trees on Ancestry.

No?

I thought not.

For Answer #1, we need to look at records involving Richard Winn of Hanover County. They establish that (1) Richard married Phebe ___ Pledger,[2] (2) he owned land in Amelia County, (3) he didn’t live in Amelia but paid taxes on some enslaved people there, and (4) Col. John subsequently acquired Richard’s tract and the enslaved people, evidently via inheritance.

(1) A 1733 Hanover County lease and release proves Richard Winn’s wife was Phebe, the widow of a Mr. Pledger.[3] We don’t know when Richard and Phebe married, so we can’t be certain that Phebe was the mother of Richard’s children.

(2) In 1744, Richard Winn of Hanover County bought 388 acres in Amelia County in the fork below the Little Nottoway River and Lazaritta Creek.[4] Richard had tithable (taxable) people on that tract in at least 1746, 1748, and 1749, even though he didn’t live in Amelia.[5] In 1749, John Wilke or Wilkes, perhaps Richard’s overseer, was one of his taxables. The two other taxable people with Wilkes were enslaved persons named Harry and Flowrey? The latter name is difficult to read on the film. Turns out it is “Flora,” perhaps pronounced “Flory,” see item (3).

(3) In 1751, the Amelia tax list includes an entry for John (rather than Richard) Winn, with taxables Joseph Wilkes, Harry, Flora, and Jean. Col. John Winn had apparently acquired the tract along with the enslaved people from Richard. There is no Amelia deed for any such purchase. That raises the inference that Col. John acquired the tract and enslaved people via inheritance. Records in Hanover are largely lost, so there is probably no will to be found there.

However, there is other evidence linking Col. John to Hanover. His eldest son Richard Winn[6]  was a Revolutionary War soldier whose widow Jane Pincham Winn applied for a pension for his service. Her application file includes the information that Richard’s father was Col. John Winn (identified by that title) who was born in Hanover County, Virginia.[7]

Other facts for the record … Col. John married Susanna Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr., in 1754.[8] John was probably born in the early 1720s and died in January 1781.[9] Col. John’s sister Susanna Winn married John Irby (Susanna Irby Winn’s brother) in 1757.[10] Are we dizzy yet? John and Susannah Winn Irby had children named Charles, Lucey, and John. Another sister, Phebe Winn, was the wife of Michael Holland.[11] The Winns and Irbys of Amelia County played a significant role in proving the Amelia-Lunenburg Winn family connection.

Which brings is to Answer #2, Col. John’s relationship to the Lunenburg Winn families.

The Winn DNA project results table does not include a group identified as descendants of Col. John Winn of Amelia. However, there is a group  designated “Richard Winn … m. Phebe Pledger, Hanover Co. VA.” If you accept that Col. John was a son of Richard of Hanover  with wife Phebe, then the Y-DNA evidence will convince you that Col. John shared a common Winn ancestor with Col. Thomas Winn, Daniel Winn, and John Winn (wife Ann Stone), all of Lunenburg.

Of course, Y-DNA doesn’t identify the nature of their relationships. However, there is compelling circumstantial paper evidence that Col. John of Amelia and Col. Thomas of Lunenburg were brothers. The evidence that Daniel Winn of Lunenberg was another brother is also convincing. I identify five people as children of Richard and (perhaps) Phebe Pledger Winn of Hanover, not necessarily in birth order:

Col. John Winn of Amelia (wife Susanna Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr.)

Col. Thomas Winn of Lunenburg (two wives, possibly Miss Bannister and perhaps Sarah Bacon)

Susanna Winn of Amelia (husband John Irby, son of Charles Irby Sr.)

Phebe Winn of Amelia (husband Michael Holland)

Daniel Winn of Lunenburg (wife Sarah, possibly Sarah Tench)

The key to the family relationship between Col. John and  Col. Thomas is Thomas’s Lunenburg will.[12]

Most importantly, Thomas named John Winn of Amelia (expressly described as “of Amelia”) an executor along with his wife Sarah, son William, and Lyddal Bacon. IMO, that is sufficient evidence standing alone that Col. Thomas and Col. John were siblings. The most loved, trusted, and capable members of the testator’s family were usually designated executors. Further, an out-of-county executor was not the norm, because he would necessarily have to travel to administer the estate. Col. Thomas surely named John of Amelia executor out of affection without any expectation that he would perform estate administration duties.

The witnesses to Col. Thomas’s will, who are traditionally also close family members, provide additional evidence that he and Col. John were siblings. Here are the people who witnessed Col. Thomas’s will:

… Members of the Amelia County Irby family, including Susannah Irby, Charles Irby, and Lucy Irby. Susannah was Susannah Winn Irby, proved sister of Col. John. Charles and Lucy Irby were Susannah’s children.[13] Keep in mind that the Irbys had to make a trip across the Nottoway to witness Col. Thomas’s will. One had to witness the will when and where the testator executed it.

… the Winn witnesses were John Winn Jr. and John Winn. As you know if you follow this blog, Lunenburg was awash with Winns named John. That means my opinion is ripe for second-guessing. Because Col. John Winn of Amelia was named executor, I believe that he and his son John Jr. were witnesses.[14]

I have saved the low-hanging (read: easy) fruit for last. Namely, whether Daniel Winn was also a sibling of Col. John, Col. Thomas, Susanna Winn Irby, and Phebe Winn Holland. I will refrain from reciting the many connections between Col. Thomas and Daniel in the Lunenburg deed records. Instead, I offer the following two items.

Naomi Giles Chadwick’s book, Winn – Daniel and His 9 Sons, states without any citation to county records that Col. Thomas testified in a deposition that Joseph Winn, son of Daniel, was his nephew. I haven’t found that deposition. If true, then Daniel Winn and Col. Thomas Winn were brothers.

There is one more will “factoid.” Joseph Winn and Elisha Winn, sons of Daniel Winn, witnessed Col. John Winn’s Amelia County will. All of the other witnesses (with the possible exception of Giles Nance) were Col. John’s close relatives. And, of course, Joseph and Elisha made the trip across the Nottoway to witness their Uncle John’s will.

With that, I’ll move on. More Winns are tugging at my sleeve.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] John Winn was commissioned a Lt. Col. in the Amelia County militia on 23 May 1771. Lloyd Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988). My Air Force Academy graduate husband tells me that a Lieutenant Colonel is addressed as Colonel. I am doing that in this article.

[2] I am glossing over Phebe Winn’s maiden name in order to avoid a sidetrack into lengthy proof. I believe she was née Wilkes.

[3] Rosalie Edith Davis, Hanover County, Virginia Court Records 1733-1735: Deeds, Wills and Inventories (1979) 13-14, lease and release from Richard Winn and wife Phebe of Hanover to John Winn, 517 acres with a plantation on Chickahominy Swamp.

[4] Amelia Co., VA Deed Book 2: 82-83, lease and release from Stith Hardaway to Richard Winn of Hanover, 388 acres. The tract was then in Amelia but is now in Nottoway County, about 6 miles north of Effing Creek/Falls Creek/Hounds Creek where the Lunenburg Winns lived.

[5] FHL Film #1,902,616 has Amelia County tax lists including those for 1746, 1748, 1749, and 1751. Two of the tax lists identify his property as “Richard Winn list” or “Richard Wyn’s Quarter,” which means the taxpayer didn’t reside in the county.

[6] Amelia Co., VA Deed Book 15: 6, deed dated 24 Sep 1778 from John Winn of Amelia to his son Richard of same, for love and affection, 400 acres on the south side of John Winn’s mill pond, part of the tract belonging to the late Col. Irby adjacent John Winn and Charles Irby.

[7] Virgil D. White, Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files Vol. 4 (Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1992). Revolutionary War pension application No. W.6558 by Jane Pincham Winn, widow of Richard Winn, Virginia Line. View it here.. If it is correct that Col. John Winn was born in Hanover rather than a predecessor county, then he was born during or after 1721. Hanover was established in 1721 from part of New Kent County.

[8] My notes indicate that, years ago, Ann Avery Hunter somewhere (!?!) cited the accession number at the Virginia Archives for the marriage bond of John Winn and Susanna Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr. The bond was dated 4 Apr 1754. I cannot locate the accession number, nor can I recall where I found the reference. I nevertheless trust Ms. Hunter and my woefully incomplete notes on this fact.

[9] For Col. John’s birth date, see Note 7 saying that he was born in Hanover County. I estimated he was born after 1721 when Hanover was created but during the 1720s because he married in 1754, see Note 8. Colonial men (in my observation) typically married about age 25. His will was proved in January 1781, probably very soon after he died as was the norm. See Note 14.

[10] Amelia Co., VA Will Book 2X: 45, will of John Irby dated and proved in 1763. Executors wife Susannah Irby, “her brother John Winn,” and brother Charles Irby. Children Charles Irby, Lucey Irby, and John Irby. See also Kathleen Booth Williams, Marriages of Amelia County, Virginia 1735-1815 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978, originally published Alexandria, VA, 1961), John Irby and Susanna Wynne married 29 Jan 1757, surety John Wynn.

[11] Amelia Co., VA Deed Book 8: 314, deposition of John Nance re Michael Holland’s gift of enslaved people to his children Mary and Joseph. Nance testified that Michael Holland’s wife (unnamed) wanted the gift recorded and asked Nance to have her “brother Winn” take care of it. Nance’s testimony proves only that Mrs. Holland was née Winn. However, Susannah Irby, a proved sister of Col. John, also testified on the gift issue. Id. at 315. Finally, Mrs. Holland’s given name was Phebe. Amelia Deed Book 14: 1774 deed from Pheby Holland, widow of Michael Holland, and his son Joseph and wife Mary to Medkip Tomson of Amelia. That combination of facts convinced me that Phebe Holland was Col. John’s sister.

[12] Lunenburg Will Book 3: 75, FamilySearch.org film #32,380, will of Thomas Winn dated 18 Sep 1779, proved 12 Apr 1781. Thomas named six of his eleven children in his will, see the  article about a chancery suit identifying all of his children.

[13] See Note 10.

[14] Col. John Winn had sons Richard, John, and Charles, and a daughter Jane Winn Epes. Amelia Co., VA Will Book 2: 360, will of Col. John Winn dated Mar 1780, proved Jan 1781. He named his wife Susanna (née Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr. and wife Susanna), sons Richard, John, and Charles, and daughter Jane Winn Epes. Executors were his wife, Truman Epes, and Charles Winn. Truman Epes was John’s son-in-law. Witnesses were Giles Nance, John Irby, William Gooch, Elisha Winn, Joseph Winn, and Jane Epes. I have long suspected that John Nance or Giles Nance married a Winn, but cannot prove it. John Irby’s wife was Susanna Winn Irby, sister of Col. John. William Gooch married Henrietta Maria Irby in Nov. 1769; Charles Irby testified that Henrietta was 21 and the daughter of Charles Irby Sr. Kathleen Booth Williams, Marriages of Amelia County, Virginia 1735-1815 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978, originally published Alexandria, VA, 1961).

 

PART IV Addendum: a Friend Told Me Where Daniel Winn’s Son Thomas Migrated

I may start a regular “Query” feature. Readers would email questions about any line they found on this blog. I would assemble and publish them as often as appropriate. I know that queries here WORK: I recently published an article about Daniel Winn of Lunenburg and asked if anyone knew where his son Thomas Winn (possible wife Joyce) had migrated. I had a response within days from a descendant who has tracked Daniel’s line like Frank Hamer on the trail of Bonnie and Clyde: Daniel Winn’s son Thomas and his wife Joyce of Lunenburg went right next door to Brunswick County.

I must blush. I immediately opened my document containing Brunswick records, and there, big as Dallas, was Thomas’s will naming his wife Joyce and his brother Joseph as executor. I should have been able to find that in my own dang research.

Below is an image of a transcription of the will. More blushing and forelock tugging is appropriate. I did all my Southside Virginia research very early on, when I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Consequently, I have no idea what the source of this transcription might be. All I know is that I found it in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and that it is on page 36 of some book. Worse, I cannot find the will among the microfilm of Brunswick probate records available online. If that makes you entertain doubts about its authenticity, can’t say that I blame you.

For what it’s worth, here ‘tis. And that is all I know about Daniel Winn’s son Thomas and his wife Joyce of Lunenburg and then Brunswick Counties, Virginia … and their children Buckner Winn, Caty Winn Laffoon, Martitia Winn Bishop, Robert Winn, Oratio Winn, Freeman Winn, Marian J. Winn, and Betsy Winn.

See you on down the road. Another Frank Hamer type sent an email about another son of Daniel. I need to investigate to see if I have equally nebulous evidence about him.

Robin

PART IV of ?? John Winn Sr. of Lunenburg Who Died in 1795.

In Part I of ?? of the Lunenburg Winn series, I promised articles about three Lunenburg Winn patriarchs – Col. Thomas Winn, Daniel Winn, and the John Winn who died in 1795. I discussed Col. Thomas in Parts I and Part III. Daniel Winn was the topic of Part II. Relative to those others, this article is short and sweet. If you already have even cursory knowledge of John Winn’s family, this may be a yawner.

There are several reasons John is getting short shrift. First, I don’t know much about him because he was not the focus of my Lunenburg research. Col. Thomas and Daniel are my ancestors; anything I learned about John while researching them was collateral, so to speak (oooh, bad pun!). Second, I don’t want to get up the learning curve on John because there are several ideas for fun Winn articles bouncing around in my skull. The squeaky wheel gets the research effort, and John isn’t making any noise. Third, there are countless Winn researchers out there who already know everything worthwhile to know about John. I have nothing to offer except a few bare facts. That’s fine for people like me who just want to know how John’s family fits in the overall Winn picture.

I cannot answer even that much about John. I have no idea who his parents were, or where he came from before he lived in Lunenburg. A reasonable guess is that his family was from Hanover County. That guess runs counter to online trees I have seen, which attach John to the line of Speaker Robert Wynne and his wife Mary Sloman Poythress Wynne of Charles City, Prince George, and Surry Counties.

Those trees are fighting a losing battle against Y-DNA. If I am counting and comparing markers correctly (this is a genuine issue and I may well have goofed), the John Winn who married Ann Stone is a hopeless mismatch with Speaker Robert’s line. Only one descendant of John and Ann has tested on more than twelve markers. Comparing his results to the modal values for Speaker Robert’s descendants, there are 15 mismatches on 37 markers. The Winn DNA project puts John in the same genetic family as Col. Thomas Winn and Daniel Winn of Lunenburg.

I don’t know how John is related to the other two men. The three were not brothers, a topic of another potential article. Someone who has researched John thoroughly may know the answer, and will perhaps let us know. All I know is that John is connected to Col. Thomas and Daniel in the Lunenburg records, primarily in land transactions. The only  close connections are that John and Ann Stone Winn’s daughter Mary Ann Winn married James Winn, probably a son of Daniel. Also, John and Ann’s daughter Jane (“Jincy”) married first Richard Stone and then Alexander Winn, another son of Daniel.

So far as I know, John first appeared in the Lunenburg records in 1740. He patented 314 acres that year in what is now Lunenburg on a famous watercourse renamed, with a heavy dose of irony, from “Effing Creek” to Modest Creek.[1] Daniel and Col. Thomas also owned land there. John frequently appeared in deed records with the other two men, e.g., John witnessed a deed along with John and Richard Stone from Samuel Wynne to Col. Thomas Winn of Hanover conveying 150 acres on Modest Creek.[2] Significantly, Col. Thomas conveyed 762 acres on Modest and Fall’s Creek to John in 1762 at a very favorable price.[3]

John’s wife Ann Stone was a daughter of John Stone.[4] They were married by at least May 1755, when she was a grantor in a deed along with John.[5] He reportedly had a wife prior to Ann Stone, although I have not seen any evidence on that issue.

John’s will named ten children.[6] Here are the barest of bare facts about them, to the extent I know anything at all.

John Winn (Jr.). was born by at least 1744.[7] His father gave him 381 acres on Modest Creek in 1765. John and his wife Mary sold that tract in 1775 and[8] may have moved to Mecklenburg County soon thereafter.[9]

Peter Winn bought 381 acres from his brother John Jr. in 1779. He was shown each year on the Lunenburg land tax lists from 1787 through 1807. He had died by April 1808, when his estate was appraised.[10] Like most of the Lunenburg Winns, he was a wealthy and literate man.[11] The only children I have identified are sons Peter Winn and Archer Winn, both minors in September 1809.[12]

Lucretia Winn. Her father’s will identified her surname as Hundley. According to Anne Bassett Stanley Chatham, Tidewater Families of the New World (Tollhouse, CA: Historical Publications, Inc., 1996), Lucretia was born 23 Feb 1753. Her husband was William Hundley Sr., born in Amelia County and died in Mecklenburg County.[13]

Little Beary or Littleberry Winn. He married Mary Maynard in 1783 in Mecklenburg. The couple were living there in 1800 when he sold his inherited tract to his brother Peter.[14]

Morning Winn (sic, probably Mourning, a male). I have no information about him.

Mary Ann Winn married some James Winn of Lunenburg, probably a son of Daniel Winn. I wrote in Part II of the Lunenburg Winns that James had difficulty managing money. The couple probably left Lunenburg. They are the subject of one of the fun Winn articles I have in the queue. Please stay tuned.

Jincy Winn Stone became Jincy Winn Stone Winn after her husband Richard Stone died. See Part II of the Lunenburg Winns about Alexander Winn, son of Daniel, her second husband.

Jerusha Winn Gunn. Jerusha married Daniel Gunn Jr. of Lunenburg in 1786.

Elizabeth Winn Allen. I know nothing about her.

Millinder Winn Stone. Ditto.

 As I predicted, this was short shrift for John and Ann Stone Winn. They undoubtedly deserved much better, but c‘est la vie. Now to convince one of the potential Winn articles knocking around my head to become the primary squeaky wheel …

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] Cavaliers and Pioneers Volume IV 236; Virginia Patent Book 18: 883. John Winn patented another 230 acres on Modest Cr. in 1746. The old deeds and patent books apparently had no qualms about calling it F**king Cr. before it was renamed.

[2] Deed Book 1: 71. See also Deed Book 7: 227, John Winn and wife Ann to John Stone, 230 acres on Modest Cr. witnessed by John Winn, Thomas Winn, and Daniel Winn. That was the same day as a conveyance from Col. Thomas to Lunenburg John, 762 acres on Modest Cr., Deed Book 7: 231. Note: all citations to record books in this article are Lunenburg Deed, Will, and Order books unless expressly identified otherwise.

[3] Deed Book 7: 231, deed dated 8 Apr 1762 from Thomas Winn to John Winn for £20, 762 acres on the  South side of F**king Cr. in the fork of Fall’s Creek adjacent Irby, Evans, grantor, et al. Witnesses John Winn, Daniel Winn, John Winn.

[4] Mecklenburg Co., VA Will Book 3: 243, will of John Stone dated and proved 1782 naming among others his child Anne Wynne.

[5] Deed Book 4: 162, deed dated 17 May 1755 from John Winn and wife Ann of Lunenburg witnessed by Melania or Melinia Winn, who proved the deed.

[6] Will Book 4: 83b-84, will of John Winn of Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg, dated 17 Aug 1793 proved 12 Feb 1795. Wife Ann. Children John Winn, Peter Winn, Lucretia Hundley, Little Beary (also Littleberry) Winn, Morning Winn (son), Mary Ann Winn, Jincey Stone, Jerusha Gunn, Elizabeth Allen, and Millinder Stone. Executors John Winn, Peter Winn, and William Hundley.

[7] Deed Book 10: 165, gift deed dated 1765 from John Winn Sr. “the elder” to John Jr., 381 acres for love and affection and 5 shillings, 381 acres on F**king Cr. adjacent William Stone.

[8] Deed Book 12: 435, deed dated 12 Jan 1775 from John and Mary Winn. She is not mentioned in the deed, but the deed book index names her as a grantor along with John.

[9] Mecklenburg Deed Book 5: 46, deed dated 12 May 1777 from John Winn of Mecklenburg to John Stone Sr. of Same, John’s wife Mary relinquished dower.

[10] Will Book 6: 234, 1808 appraisal of the estate of Peter Winn, £641.10.5.

[11] Will Book 6: 234a, 1808 inventory and appraisal of the estate of Peter Winn. The estate included 8 enslaved persons, a black walnut desk and table, and other personalty. Books included Burket on the Old Testament, a large Bible, the Buchun family physician, Gutheries Grammer, and unidentified others.

[12] Lunenburg Guardian Accounts, 8 Sep 1808  account of Charles Betts, guardian of Peter and Archer Winn, orphans of Peter Winn, dec’d.

[13] Tidewater Families lists Lucretia Winn Hundley’s children as (1) Willis Hundley, b 3 Nov 1777, Mecklenburg, died 1816, (2) Nancy Hundley, born 18 Dec 1779, (3) William Hundley, Jr., born 30 Jan 1783, Mecklenburg, may have married Mary Stone 3 Dec   1805, Lunenburg, (4) Lucretia Hundley (Jr.), born 18 May 1785 in Mecklenburg, (5) Patty C. Hundley, born 18 Feb 1787 Mecklenburg, died 6 Apr1816, may have married Peter Winn on 7 July1810, (6) Jennie Hundley born 25 Jan 1789, and (7) John Hundley born 16 Dec 1792 Mecklenburg, died 15 Feb 1834, New Orleans, LA. Lucretia Winn Hundley and her children reportedly moved to Sumner County, TN in 1810. I have not verified any of that information.

[14] Deed Book 18: 217, 13 Apr 1800, Littleberry Winn and wife Mary of Mecklenburg to Peter Winn of Lunenburg, £165 for 248A. The will of John Winn, dec’d  gave the land and plantation where John Winn lived to Littleberry. This deed conveys the upper part of John Winn’s land to Peter.

Part III of ?? How Many Times Was Col. Thomas Winn Married?

(OR MORE THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT INTESTATE DESCENT & DISTRIBUTION)

My recent article about Col. Thomas Winn of Lunenburg County, Virginia (circa 1718 – 1781) may have been unclear about that question.[1] The answer: Thomas was married more than once. More importantly, Thomas had children by more than one wife. A Lunenburg chancery lawsuit concerning the estate of his son Washington Winn makes it abso-effing-lutely impossible to conclude otherwise. This might be important to some, because a legion of people claim Col. Thomas as an ancestor.

Perhaps the only way to set the record straight on this issue is by analyzing the chancery lawsuit orders. But first, let’s flesh out the bottom line …

Col. Thomas had seven children by his first wife (or wives).  Their mother is unproved but she is traditionally identified as Elizabeth Bannister.

  1. MOURNING
  2. ELIZABETH
  3. THOMAS
  4. RICHARD
  5. WILLIAM
  6. BANNISTER
  7. JOHN, who predeceased Col. Thomas

Col. Thomas Winn’s widow, who was at least his second wife, was named Sarah. Her maiden name is also unproved, although she is often identified as Sarah Bacon. Sarah and Thomas had four children who survived him:

  1. KETURAH
  2. HENRIETTA MARIA (or MARIE)
  3. EDMUND
  4. WASHINGTON

Proving these children is not easy. If you don’t wish to hear how the law of intestate descent and distribution in late 18th century Virginia treated siblings and half-siblings, or why a married woman was not allowed to appear as a party to a lawsuit on her own and how that matters in this case … and if you have no desire to dissect just the style of a lawsuit for family information, and also scrutinize the court’s distribution of estate assets for more family information … for heaven’s sake, people, quit reading NOW!! Otherwise, grab a cup of coffee or an adult beverage and pull up a chair. Anyone who makes it all the way to the end will receive a suitable reward to be announced later.

Before we start, it is important to know that Washington Winn, whose estate was the subject of the chancery lawsuit, was a son of Col. Thomas Winn. See Lunenburg Will Book 3: 75, FamilySearch.org Film #32,380 (will of Thomas Winn proved 1781 named his underage son Washington Winn).

Some law and why it is important for figuring out Col. Thomas Winn’s family

First, the easy part: legal issues. This discussion is largely based on personal knowledge. I will spare you and myself citations to  Hening’s Statutes at Large. I will try to explain why this legal esoterica is important to identifying the family of Col. Thomas.

  • Coverture is “the condition or state of a married woman … [sometimes used] … to describe the legal disability which formerly existed from a state of coverture.” Black’s Law Dictionary, from a very ancient edition I acquired during law school. What it means is that a married woman had no legal rights of her own because she had no legal existence apart from her husband. Thus, a married woman could not be a party to a lawsuit on her own behalf. Her husband had to be a party to assert her rights and to receive her award, if any. On the other hand, when a lawsuit involved a married man, there was no need to include his wife as a party. She just.didn’t.matter, to mangle a famous Bill Murray line.

Why is coverture important to the family of Col. Thomas? Because understanding it proves that Elizabeth Winn and Mourning Hix were his daughters. It also tells us that Elizabeth’s husband was Joseph Winn, who was a son of Daniel Winn, not Col. Thomas. The chancery lawsuit is the only evidence of the identity of Joseph Winn’s wife that I have found.

  • Style of a case. “Style” refers to the title of a lawsuit, so to speak. For example, Marbury v. Madison. The style of the Winn chancery suit is not easy to decipher. That is because it is very, very long and the clerk of court wrote it differently in two separate court orders. He also made an error or two. But deciphering the style of the Lunenburg chancery case is essential to identifying members of this Winn family.
  • The law of intestate descent and distribution. “Intestate” as a noun means a person who died without a will. If a deceased person left a valid will, the estate is distributed according to provisions of the will. Period. If there is no valid will, then the decedent’s estate is distributed according to the applicable statute of intestate descent and distribution. Every state has such a statute (although I can’t speak for Louisiana, which is its own form of crazy). Here is what the chancery suit reflects about the Virginia law at the time:
    • If a person owning an estate died intestate without a wife or children, his estate was distributed to his siblings and a surviving parent. This is important because it tells us that Washington Winn had no wife or children and he died intestate. His estate would therefore be distributed  “according to the statute,” as the court said. Washington’s mother Sarah also received a “child’s share” of his personal property, although we aren’t concerned about that here. The important thing is that Washington’s estate distribution revealed the identities of the other children of Col. Thomas – and Washington’s relationship to each one. 
    • Half-sisters and half-brothers were called “siblings of the half-blood” by the Lunenburg court. By law, each received half as much of the distribution amount paid to a “sibling of the whole blood.” The amount distributed to each sibling thus tells us whether he or she was a half sibling or a full sibling. The court’s order proves that Washington had siblings of both the half-blood and the whole blood. His siblings of the whole blood had the same mother as Washington, namely Sarah, Col. Thomas’s widow. His siblings of the half-blood had a different mother than Washington. Thus, Col. Thomas necessarily had a wife (or wives) before he married Sarah, by whom he had children who survived him.
    • If a sibling (claimant) of an intestate has died, his share was divided among his children, if any. If he had no children, then his share went to his surviving siblings.

The lawsuit

At this point, we have no alternative except to dive into the court’s orders in the lawsuit. These were difficult for me to grasp, and I like to think I have had some decent experience in the law. I nevertheless had to read the orders several times before I began to comprehend them. That also makes them difficult for me to explain, so the explanation may induce “MEGO” (“my eyes glazed over”). If so, I understand and sympathize.

The court clerk recorded two slightly different versions of the style of the suit. See Lunenburg Order Book 17 at 134 (order of 12 Nov 1796) and at 292-293 (order of 10 Nov 1797) (FamilySearch.org, Lunenburg Order Books 1796 – 1805, Film #32,410, image 113 and image 192 et seq.)

Here is the style in the 1796 order. The silly colors make it easier to discuss each group.

John Hix and Mourning his wife, Joseph Winn and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Winn, Richard Winn, William Winn and Banister Winn, Children and Coheirs of Thomas Winn, dec’d, and Harrison Winn, Beasley Heart and Elizabeth his wife, and John Winn, children and legal representatives of John Winn, decd, who was the son of the last mentioned Thomas Winn, dec’d, and Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddal Bacon, and Thomas Winn Bacon, infants, by Edward P. Bacon their guardian and Keturah Hardy, Armstead Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy, and Jeane Hardy, by Alexander Winn, Gentleman, their next friend,

Complainants in Chancery,

v.

Edmund Winn, administrator of Washington Winn, dec’d, and Sarah Winn,

 Defendants.

And here is the style in the 1797 order.

Mourning Hix, wife of John Hix, dec’d, Joseph Winn and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Winn, Richard Winn [William Winn’s name omitted here] & Bannister Winn, Children and Coheirs of Thomas Winn, dec’d, Harrison Winn, Beasley Heart & Elizabeth his wife, and John Winn, children and legal representatives of John Winn, dec’d, who was son of the last mentioned Thomas Winn, Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddall Bacon & Thomas Winn Bacon, by Edmund P. Bacon their next friend, William Winn [William is moved here from the first group] & John Hardys children by Alexander Winn, Gent., their next friend

 Complainants in Chancery,

v. 

Edmund Winn Administrator of Washington Winn, dec’d, and Sarah Winn,

 Defendants.

Might be time for a refill on that adult beverage.

Let’s start with the parties listed in red. They are described as “children and coheirs of Thomas Winn, dec’d.” Thomas is Col. Thomas. An early Winn researcher transcribed “COHEIRS” as “COUSINS.” This is an understandable mistake because the handwriting is small and cramped, but it will drive you nuts if you try to make sense of the relationships among all the parties on that basis. I stared closely at the original in the Lunenburg courthouse. It is “coheirs,” I promise, not “cousins.”

First, notice the four men separated by commas at the end of the red group: Thomas (Jr.), Richard, William and Bannister. They are obviously children of Col. Thomas because that is how they are expressly described. Because men had legal rights of their own, there was no need to name their wives as parties.

Now consider coverture, and notice “John Hix and Mourning his wife” in the first order in the red “children and coheirs” group. John Hix was obviously not Col. Thomas Winn’s child, so Mourning must be his daughter. Her husband John had to be named as a party, though, because … Mourning had no legal existence or rights apart from him.

Also, we already knew from Lunenburg Winns: Part I  that John Hix was Col. Thomas’s son-in-law and Mourning was a daughter. That’s how Col. Thomas identified the couple in his will. See Lunenburg Will Book 3: 75, FamilySearch.org Film #32,380 (will of Thomas Winn proved 1781, naming his son-in-law John Hix and wife Mourning Hix). John had died by the second order, making Mourning a single woman. She was therefore no longer subject to a married woman’s legal disability of coverture and could be named as a party in her own right, as “Mourning Hix, wife of John Hix, dec’d.”

The remaining names in the red group are Joseph Winn and Elizabeth his wife. They are confusing because they are both Winns. Consider coverture again. If Joseph had been a son of Thomas Winn and was asserting rights to his brother Washington’s estate, his wife Elizabeth wouldn’t be named. Thus, Elizabeth, not Joseph, was a child of Col. Thomas. Joseph was her husband — who had to be joined as a party to the lawsuit because she had no legal rights except through him.

The only hiccup in the red group list is William, who migrated locations in the style from the first order to the second. He is included in the red group in the first record, but the clerk forgot him for a while in the second order … and stuck his name in between the blue group and the magenta group. I can sympathize with the clerk. All those names, and think how tedious all that copying must have been.

The red group proves these six children of Col. Thomas:

  1. Mourning Winn, wife/widow of John Hix
  2. Elizabeth Winn, wife of Joseph Winn
  3. Thomas Winn
  4. Richard Winn
  5. William Winn
  6. Bannister Winn

The next group, shown in green, is identified as “children and legal representatives of John Winn, dec’d, who was the son of … Thomas Winn, dec’d” (still Col. Thomas). We already know from Part I  that Col. Thomas had a son John who predeceased his father. John died in 1768 leaving a will naming his children Harrison, Betty (a nickname for Elizabeth), and an unborn child. See Lunenburg Will Book 2: 326 (will of John Winn of Lunenburg dated and proved in 1768, naming children Harrison, Betty, and a child “wife Susannah is now big with,” and appointing his father Thomas as one of his executors).

This lawsuit nicely identifies for us the name of Betty/Elizabeth’s husband, Beasley Heart, and the name of the unborn child. Not surprisingly, John’s afterborn son was also named John.

This adds another name to the list of children of Col. Thomas:

  1. John Winn (who had children Harrison, Elizabeth [“Betty”] married Beasley Heart, and John).

Moving on to the blue group. The differences in the two versions of the style are not significant. The only substantive error the clerk made in the first version is that the Bacon children’s guardian should be Edmund P. Bacon, not Edward.

Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddal Bacon, and Thomas Winn Bacon, infants, by Edward P. Bacon their guardian, in the first version, or

Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddall Bacon & Thomas Winn Bacon, by Edmund P. Bacon their next friend.

These children, like Harrison Winn, Elizabeth Heart, and John Winn in the green group, were grandchildren of Col. Thomas. Because their surname was Bacon, they were obviously the children of a daughter of Col. Thomas who married (presumably) Edmund Bacon. She was dead by the time the lawsuit was filed, or she and her husband would have appeared in the “red” group and their children would not have been named.

The magenta group poses the same situation. A daughter of Col. Thomas married John Hardy and has died, leaving children. Had she been alive, she had John Hardy would have been listed in the “red” group and the names of their children omitted. Here is how they are identified in the two versions of the style:

Keturah Hardy, Armstead Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy, and Jeane Hardy, by Alexander Winn, Gentleman, their next friend, in the first version,

or

 John Hardys children by Alexander Winn, Gent., their next friend.

FYI, Alexander Winn was just the legal representative of the Hardy children, not their guardian or a parent. He was a justice of the Lunenburg court, making him a good choice to be the Hardy children’s advocate.

Here are the eighth and ninth children of Col. Thomas: 

  1. _________ Winn Bacon, wife of Edmund P. Bacon
  2. _________ Winn Hardy, wife of John Hardy

And here are the remaining two children of the eleven who survived Col. Thomas:

  1. Washington Winn, the deceased son whose estate is the subject of the lawsuit; and
  2. Edmund Winn, administrator of Washington’s estate.

The last four (children #8 through #11) are identified in Col. Thomas’s will. He named his daughters Keturah and Henrietta Maria, not yet married when he wrote the will, and his sons Edmund and Washington.

We are down to two remaining questions: (1) which daughter married a Bacon and which married John Hardy; and (2) which of the children were Washington’s siblings of the whole blood, and which were Washington’s siblings of the half blood?

The order book muddies the answers to the first question. In the first order, I believe the clerk reversed the daughters’ surnames and entered this: “children of representatives of Keturah Bacon and Henrietta Hardy, deceased …” In the second order, the clerk entered, “to the children of Keturah Bacon, dec’d…” and “to the children of Keturah Hardy, dec’d,” erroneously using the same given name twice.

Both orders are probably wrong. In the original order book, someone struck out the Bacon entry “Keturah” in the second order and penciled in “Henrietta.” I believe the person who defaced the order book was correct … Henrietta Maria was the mother of the Bacon children and Keturah was the mother of the Hardy children. But I cannot find the evidence and I’m not certain! Can anyone help me out on that issue?

The last remaining question is the easiest. The second order details the amounts to be distributed to each party. It says this:

To Mourning Hix of the half blood £48.14.10

To Joseph Winn of the half blood ditto (recall Joseph was the husband of Elizabeth and therefore received her share)

To Thomas Winn of the half blood ditto

To Richard Winn of the half blood ditto

To William Winn of the half blood ditto

To Bannister Winn of the half blood ditto

To Harrison Winn, Beasly Hart & Elizabeth his wife and John Winn, heirs of John Winn, dec’d, son of Thomas Winn, dec’d, £48.14.10

The court doesn’t expressly describe John Winn, dec’d, son of Col. Thomas, as Washington’s sibling of the half blood, but the amount of the distribution (the same as the other half-siblings) proves it.

Tying a neat bow around the status of each sibling (ignoring the question of which daughter married a Bacon vs. a Hardy), the court record says:

To the children of Keturah [Keturah is struck out in pencil and “Henrietta” written in] Bacon, dec’d, Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddall Bacon, Thomas Winn Bacon, of the whole blood, £123.9.8 

To the children of Keturah Hardy, dec’d, Keturah Hardy, Ann Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy & Jeane Hardy of the whole blood, £123.9.8 

to Edmund Winn his part £123.9.8 

The court doesn’t expressly state Edmund’s status as Washington’s sibling of the whole blood, but the amount of his distribution again proves the relationship.

In the final analysis, here is what the chancery case proves regarding the children of Col. Thomas:

Seven children were Washington’s siblings of the half blood and were children of Col. Thomas’s wife (or wives) prior to Sarah:

  1. MOURNING
  2. ELIZABETH
  3. THOMAS
  4. RICHARD
  5. WILLIAM
  6. BANNISTER
  7. JOHN

The siblings of the whole blood, who were children of Washington’s mother Sarah, were:

  1. KETURAH
  2. HENRIETTA MARIA (or MARIE)
  3. EDMUND
  4. WASHINGTON

Did anyone make it this far without experiencing MEGO? If so, are we clear, Col. Jessup? Answer (I hope): “Crystal.”

If not, I’m going to have to ask someone else to give it the ol’ college try. I’m tuckered out.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] I say that my prior article (Part I of ???) may have been unclear because a friend emailed to me a link to a website that cited this blog as a source. In fact, the website cited that specific article, which was primarily about Col. Thomas Winn. Among other things, the article identified his eleven children and their probable mothers. But the person citing my article as a source totally botched that family. Since that may have been caused by my lack of clarity, I figured I’d better try to explain it better.