An exceptional genealogist: Linda Sparks Starr

I recently stumbled across the website of an extraordinary genealogist:  https://sites.rootsweb.com/~lksstarr/. The author — Linda Kay Sparks Starr — was articulate, intelligent, and a serious family history researcher. She cited to sources, argued her point of view convincingly, and provided an astonishing array of facts and sources. She gave generous credit to collaborators, and clearly enjoyed working with other researchers. There are fabulous old photos on her website, and some new ones. She was the author of a book titled W. R. Rankin: Manassas to Appomatox.

Sadly, she died in October 2014. Here is what her obituary says about her website:

“Her website, “Virginia Connections,” is a vast resource of information for those researching family background in the colonial period or later years. She wrote a book on the Civil War experiences of her husband’s great-grandfather. Her data, research findings and opinions are valued by readers across the country for their adherence to sound scholarship principles and reliable documentations.”

Indeed. I found her website via a Google search on the line of George Rankin who died in 1760 in Augusta Co., VA, some of whom went to Pendleton/Anderson, SC. If those are your Rankins, go to her website ASAP. However, she was not solely a Rankin researcher. Her website has links to articles, photos, and/or records about the following families and perhaps others:

Adams, Anthony, Bell and Withers, Brooks, Brown, Candler, Carrell, Clark, Elder, Griffin, Jackson, Johnson, Jordan and Dent, Kerby, LaCount, Lewis, Martin, Miller, Moorman, Ogletree, Orr, Pate and Crawford, Pinkston, Potter, Rankin (this is the only family I have explored), Reynolds, Snead, Starr, Tinsley, Traylor, Wilkerson, Womack, and perhaps others.

The ultimate compliment I can accord: all family history researchers have friends whose information they will take on faith as absolutely accurate. When Jody McKenna Thomson told me that a Rankin died at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill, I knew that was a fact, by gum. When John Alexander told me that the wife of Adam Rankin (who d. 1747 in Lancaster Co., PA) was Mary Steele Alexander, widow of James Alexander the carpenter, that was that. I could come up with several other examples, but you get the drift. I will now add Linda Starr’s name to the list of people whose facts may be accepted at face value. I only regret I didn’t find her twenty years ago, as I would have loved to work with her. In addition to all her other virtues, she was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. R.I.P., Linda, and thanks for the website.

Hope there is something in it for you.

See you on down the road.

Robin

Reprise: what is “proof” of family history?

This is a repost of an article from 2018. It has received more views on this website than any article I’ve written except the one about the Scots-Irish. The title indicates the topic is genealogical proof , which is a slight misdirection. The article is initially about what is, and is not, genealogical evidence. Then it attacks a tougher question: how much evidence is needed to say we have proof. Now, back to the original article.

I have a distant cousin (seventh cousins, maybe?) named Roberta Estes. We “met” online via Estes research some twenty years ago.  We finally met in person, spending a week together in Halifax County, VA doing nitty-gritty research among records in the basement of the Halifax courthouse. I knew I had found a kindred spirit when I learned she likes tax and deed records as much as I do.

Roberta writes an excellent blog called “DNA Explained.” A great many of her posts are about DNA “science.” When I have a question about DNA, the first place I go is to her blog and search her Archives.

Roberta’s post today is on a topic that will interest all family history researchers: what is, and what is NOT, genealogical “proof,” as she uses that term. Here is a link to  her post. 

What resonated most with me was her list of things that do NOT constitute “proof.” I have copied part of it below, with my comments and modifications in italics (the numbering has changed from her original list since I deleted a few items):

  1. Proof is not an oral history, no matter how much you want to believe it or who said it. Oral history is a good starting point, not an end point.
  2. Proof is not, not, 1000 times NOT someone else’s tree. A tree should be considered a hint, nothing more.
  3. Proof is not a book without corresponding evidence that can be independently corroborated. Being in print does not make it so. People make mistakes and new information surfaces. Unfortunately, there are also genealogical frauds – see, e.g., Gustave Anjou.
  4. Proof is not a man by the name of Jr. [taken to mean] that he is the son of a man by the same name with the suffix of Sr. “Sr.” often means older and “Jr.” means younger, but not necessarily related. In fact, the suffix can change over time for the SAME MAN: a Robert Rankin who initially showed up in Guilford, NC records as “Robert JUNIOR.” became “Robert SENIOR” after Robert the elder (his father) died.
  5. Proof of a father/son relationship is not just two men with the same name in the same location.  I have a copy of a 1762 Lunenburg Co., VA deed, Thomas Winn grantor, witnessed by John Winn, Daniel Winn, John Winn, and John Winn. Nothing to distinguish between the John Winns. Some of those colonists clearly had a sense of humor. Lunenburg Deed Book 7: 227. 
  6. Proof is not just a will or other document … without evidence that a person by the same name as the child named in the will is the RIGHT person. For example, suppose the child eventually sells an inherited tract of land and the deed recites that the tract was “left to me by my father William Rankin by his last will and testament dated 2 April 1792 …” 

The lawyer in me, retired though she might be, feels compelled to expand on Roberta’s discussion of “proof.” Namely, I want to draw a distinction between “proof” and “evidence,” and the amount of evidence that is needed to produce a certain standard of proof. 

The definition of “evidence” takes up a full page in Black’s Law Dictionary. Fortunately, the essence of the meaning of “evidence” as it relates to genealogical research is pretty easy to distill. Try this on for size: EVIDENCE is anything that is offered to prove the existence or nonexistence of a fact. In genealogy, evidence includes deeds, will and other probate records, tax lists, church birth and death records, census records, tombstone inscriptions, and so on. It does not include a family tree posted at the FHL or Ancestry websites, nor does it include a compiled family history, which is how trees were published in the pre-internet era.

Notice that the word “prove” appears in the definition of evidence. Here is what Black’s has to say about that: PROOF is the effect of evidence.

Boiling both definitions down, evidence is what supports a belief that a fact is proved (or disproved).

If you have ever served on a jury, you already know there are different “standards of proof.” In a Texas criminal trial, the standard of proof requires a defendant’s guilt to be established “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In a Texas civil case, the standard of proof is usually “preponderance of the evidence.”

Another standard of proof lying somewhere between those two is “great weight and preponderance of the evidence.” Law students, who like to boil things down to something understandable, may view it like this:

  • Beyond a reasonable doubt: at least 95% of the facts compel a certain conclusion.
  • Great weight and preponderance: 65-85% of the evidence supports a conclusion.
  • Preponderance of the evidence: a conclusion is more likely than not – it has the weight of at least 51% of the evidence.

Naturally, there are parallels in family history research, or I wouldn’t be carrying on about this.

You frequently see the phrase “conclusively proved” in family history articles. This is roughly equivalent to “beyond a reasonable doubt.” For example, my paternal grandmother’s identity – Emma Brodnax Rankin – is conclusively proved by my birth certificate, my father’s birth certificate, his mother’s will naming him as a son, census records naming him as a son, ad infinitum. There is also my recollection of all those awful holiday dinners in her grotesquely overheated house in Gibsland, Bienville Parish, Louisiana. A court would call my testimony about those dinners at Ma Rankin’s “direct evidence” based on personal knowledge. If I’m a credible witness, THAT case is closed.

When you see the phrase “conclusively proved,” it means there is really no reasonable argument to the contrary. That is how I use the phrase on this blog. There is no reasonable argument that anyone other than Emma Brodnax Rankin was my paternal grandmother.

Use of the word “probably” in family history articles seems to equate with “preponderance of the evidence.” Namely, a conclusion is more likely than not.

Similarly, the phrases “most likely” or “almost certainly” are somewhere in between the other two. There may be a reasonable doubt, but the weight of credible evidence strongly points one way.

The “eye of the beholder” obviously plays a role in this determination. I may deem a conclusion “most likely;” you might find it only “probable.” This is a good reason why one would want to know the evidence for another genealogist’s conclusion … you might not find the evidence sufficiently compelling to justify accepting the conclusion.

We also need to talk about “circumstantial” evidence, because sometimes there is no other proof of a family relationship. That is particularly true in counties where records have been lost and documentary evidence is limited. “Circumstantial evidence” just means facts that lead to a reasonable inference.

For example, the fact that a 65-year old man named Jedediah Rankin is listed in the 1860 census in a household immediately adjacent to 40-year old Jacob Rankin constitutes circumstantial evidence of a relationship. You can reasonably infer some family connection between the two men because such an inference accords with common sense and experience. If Jacob and Jedediah witness each other’s deeds, that would provide additional circumstantial evidence of a family relationship. If Jacob named his eldest son Jedediah, and Jedediah Sr. was security on Jacob’s marriage bond, those facts would also be circumstantial evidence.

Circumstantial evidence such as this can establish a compelling web of family connections suggesting only one reasonable conclusion: Jacob was Jedediah’s son. It is a powerful tool in serious research.

One last red flag about “proof:” beware the passive voice, a grammatical form that frequently signals lack of evidence. Keep an eye out for these phrases, which appear in many compiled family histories: “it is thought that …” or “it is believed that …”  or “it is reported that ...”  Hmmmmm…. who believed or reported? And what is his or her evidence? Those phrases rightfully justify a jaundiced eye unless the writer provides evidence supporting the “belief.”

In all fairness, I do need to point out one thing about those old compiled family histories. Academic writers routinely cite evidence supporting factual assertions in their books, papers, and articles. Historically, family history researchers have not done so. No telling why — perhaps because genealogists, unlike academics, aren’t writing to burnish a reputation or (usually) to make money. We do this because it’s fun, or we want to share, or we’re just curious about our history. Or all of the above. 

Fortunately, more family history researchers now seem willing to share evidence and provide citations to county and other records. As a cautionary note, though, here’s a piece of advice I received from a woman researcher I had been peppering with questions via email back in the ’90s. She had obviously reached the end of her rope. “Honey,” she said, “if you really want to find answers to all those questions, I suggest you go dig around in the records of Middlesex County, Virginia. Your library has a bunch of good abstracts.” <grin> I took her advice.

Finally, back to Roberta’s list of “not proof,” item #2, someone else’s tree. It may be a fact that “many online trees” show Jedediah Rankin as Jacob Rankin’s father. Those online trees are not even evidence of a relationship between those two men. All they might prove is that many online trees are copies of other online family trees. Or that many people believe Jedediah was Jacob’s father. But … evidence? Nope.

See you on down the road.

Robin

 

Heads up: a genealogy scam

We learned about a new genealogy scam today. It seems unlikely that many people would fall for it, but … just in case, here’s a heads up. Here’s how the scam works:

  • The scammer hacks someone’s account at Ancestry.com (or at least finds their Ancestry password and accesses the account). From there, he can view any tree on Ancestry and send messages to any tree owner via the Ancestry messaging system.
  • He sends the message quoted below to anyone on Ancestry who seems a likely target. In the email below, the scammer is targeting a man named Willis, attempting to peddle Willis family records.
  • The name of the message sender is genuine: it is the name of the person whose account has been hacked. The account owner is unaware of the scam.
  • The scammer tells the potential victim to contact him directly, rather than the actual account owner (see boldface sentences in the message).

Bottom line: the scammer tries to sell alleged family history documents to the message recipient. 

Here’s an actual scam message, verbatim except for names at the beginning and end. Some of the information about William Willis in the second sentence may be genuine. I didn’t check. It would certainly make the scam more credible if it included accurate info, although that sounds like too much work for a grifter.

“A message from John Doe [name of person whose Ancestry account was hacked]

Good Afternoon [name of potential victim], I am writing you because I recently acquired a box full of genealogical information on your family from an auction in Sykesville, MD. Documents are mostly from the 1920-30s by William Nicolas Willis (1879-1939), a noted author, poet, genealogist and historian. This is a true treasure trove of family history that goes back at least 7 generations from his perspectives. There are some interesting photographs of family members, family properties, tomb stones, several trees illustrating the connections, many dozens of letters to & from his desk, journals, contemporaneous newspaper articles, etc. it appears from how William Willis drew his family tree there is a solid connection to George Washington during the 1600’s timeframe. There is even two photos of a family Elm tree from the John Willis plantation that is most suiting for this project of his. It appears that William had only one son, William, Jr. … so perhaps with his death the papers co no longer be passed to a next generations, so I ended up with them at an auction that would have thrown it all away otherwise. Please contact me so that I can go into detail and see if you would be interested in acquiring this tribe which I am definately certain will beef up your family tree on this site. I am using my nephew John Doe’s page on Ancestry so please write to me at {email address} If you respond on this site my nephew (in Ohio) will receive it but not know why as this is not his project. I look forward to hearing from you. [name of person who will receive the responsive email]”

End of message.

We don’t know whether the person who originally received this message reported it to Ancestry (we don’t know who he/she is – just that he a Willis researcher). If you get something similar, please do report it.

Anyone who reads carefully would probably not fall for this. It was plainly written by someone for whom English is a second language, not unlike those emails from a “Nigerian Prince” that we have all received. However, it’s hard to overestimate the appeal of all those alleged family history records, supposedly establishing a connection to the line of George Washington.

Also, based on the amount of obvious errors one finds in online trees, perhaps there are naïve possible victims for this scam on Ancestry. 

Here’s my latest experience with bad trees, also passed on as a caution.

I recently took Ancestry’s autosomal test, and then learned that I really needed to post a tree to make it useful. That is no fun at all, and it quickly escalated my blood pressure. Here’s why.

If you have worked on building a family tree at their website, you know that Ancestry provides “clues” every time you enter a name. For example, I added to my tree the name of an ancestor born in the early 1800s. Up popped a “clue” to the name of his parents. The suggested parents were so far out in left field that I couldn’t even imagine how someone invented them. I’d never heard of them.

Fortunately (or not), Ancestry lets one connect to the source of the information in its clues. When I went to one of the trees sourcing that bad clue, I found a host of Ancestry trees having a picture of my mother. Several of them gave her an inaccurate name or a nonexistent middle initial. 

A number of friends have told me how upset they get by the bad information posted online about their families. I am not usually among them. Still. This was my mother. Golly gee, if someone can post my mother’s picture, he or she could at least get her name right! I realize that is a minor error that won’t lead anyone down the wrong ancestor trail, so it is really of no consequence.

NONETHELESS: I promptly fired off a really cranky message to one of the portrait/wrong name posters (who also had the error about an ancestors’ parents, a meaningful one), implying that she was giving serious genealogists a bad name by copying other peoples’ info without verifying it. Upon further examination of the tree, I figured out the identity of the tree owner and her relationship to me. Unfortunately, it’s a close one. Ergh.

Gee, I wish I hadn’t fired off that cranky message!

Takeaways from that experience …

  • Don’t accept information posted on other family trees without confirmation in ACTUAL records. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: online trees don’t prove anything except how easy it is to construct and copy family trees that are full of errors. Look closely at posted trees, and you will find, say, a 9-year-old women having children. Or a woman marrying a man who was already married. See, e.g., “Nancy” Ann Allen Winn, who allegedly married in Lunenburg Co., VA a man named Lyddal Bacon Estes who lived in Maury Co., TN). My favorite: a 120-year-old woman who was still reportedly having children, nontwithstanding that she had been dead for 60 of those 120 years. I’ll bet you have one that can top it. If so, please share.
  • Likewise, don’t accept Ancestry’s “clues” at face value. Check them out. Just because Ancestry provided the will of some William Rankin, that doesn’t mean it is your William Rankin — an error called “same name confusion.” At least take the time to read the damn will, where you might learn that the testator wrote the will in Franklin Co., PA in the 1790s, while your ancestor William Rankin died in 1850 in Lackawanna Co. You wouldn’t believe how many wills, S.A.R. applications, church and other records are attached to the Ancestry profile of a person who has no family connection whatsoever to the attached “source.” They might not even share a given name, which really boggles the mind.
  • Don’t be an old grouch who attempts to correct someone else’s tree, as I did. You will be wasting your time. They probably won’t give a fig if their info is wrong, especially if they just copied it from someone else’s tree – or blindly accepted an Ancestry clue. Furthermore, errors on Ancestry multiply faster than Tribbles: exponentially. Trying to correct them is a losing battle. Finally, don’t send a cranky message to the owner of the erroneous tree because you might wind up regretting it.

That’s it for now. More Rankins are calling. Also Burkes, Trices, Estes, Winns, and Lindseys. Oakes, Odoms, Stubbs, and Hubbards. Powells, Vaughans and Perrymans. As a distant Alexander cousin likes to say: NOBODY HAS MORE FUN THAN WE DO. <grin>

See you on down the road.

Robin

Will the “correct” David Rankin of Franklin Co., PA please stand up?

I told my husband at breakfast several days ago that I was working on an article to correct bad information about some Rankins in the Pennsylvania Archives 5thSeries.

He put down his fork, arching his eyebrows. “Are you kidding me? You’re taking on the Archives? That’s practically sacred scripture among Pennsylvania family history researchers.”

“Well,” I said (yeah, I realize this sounds prissy), “the Archives has confused two men named David Rankin who were contemporaries in the late 1700s – early 1800s.”

“So,” said Gary, “who would care, anyway?”

“Hmmmm,” I temporized, “perhaps descendants of either of the two men? Or someone who is trying to track early Rankin families around, as I am doing? Perhaps people with D.A.R. or S.A.R. aspirations? One of these two men was a soldier in 1780, but the other was too young.”

“You realize you will receive a dozen comments from people saying there are ‘many online trees’ showing you are wrong?”

At that point, I dug in. I’m not a Scots-Irish Rankin for nothing. “You’re undoubtedly right,” I responded, “but I’m writing the article anyway.”

Here ‘tis. It includes (1) a very brief chart, (2) the misinformation in the Archives, (3) the bottom line, (4) the argument supporting the bottom line, and (5) an Epilogue about where one of the men migrated.

(1) A brief Rankin family chart

Let’s start with an outline descendant chart to put the two men in their Rankin family context.

1 Adam Rankin, an immigrant,was the common ancestor in this Rankin line. Adam was the grandfather of the two David Rankins in question. His wife (possibly his second) was Mary Steele Alexander, widow of James Alexander.[1] Adam’s 1747 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania will named his sons James, William, and Jeremiah, and a daughter, Esther Rankin Dunwoody.[2] We’re only concerned with James and William in this article.

2 James Rankin, son of Adam and Mary Steele Rankin, died in 1795 in Montgomery Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. James’ wife was Jean, whose maiden name is unproved so far as I know. His will named sons William, Jeremiah, James and David #1,and two daughters, Esther Rankin Smith and Ruth Rankin Tool.[3]

2 William Rankin, son of Adam and Mary Steele Rankin, died in 1792 in Antrim Township, Franklin County.[4] His wife was Mary Huston, daughter of Archibald and Agnes Houston.[5] He named seven sons and one daughter in his will: Adam, Archibald, James, William, Betsy, David #2, John, and Jeremiah.[6] (A quick aside on a case of “same name confusion:” William Rankin, son of Adam and Mary Steele Rankin, was most emphatically notthe same man as the William Rankin who married Victoria Alcorn or Alcoran. That William migrated to Orange County, North Carolina by 1765.[7] Many online trees incorrectly identify Victoria as the wife of William who died in 1792.)

I will continue to distinguish these two David Rankins by number simply because it helps me to keep them straight.

(2) What the Pennsylvania Archives got wrong

Here’s what the Archives says about one of the two David Rankins:

 “David Rankin is shown in 1780, as a private under Captain William Smith. The will of David Rankin of Montgomery Twp., was dated 1829 and prob. 1833. He names wife Molly and two children, James and Betsy. To Mary Elizabeth Sellers, only child of daughter Molly, who had married Alexander Sellars, Oct, 7th 1824.  Miss Molly L. McFarlandof Mercersburg stated the above David was the son of William Rankin of Antrim Township who died 1792.”[8]

(3) The bottom line

With all due respect to Miss Molly L. McFarland of Mercersberg, the man the Archives describes was David #1, son of James and Jean Rankin of Montgomery Township. He was not David #2, son of William and Mary Huston Rankin of Antrim Township, as she asserted.

Here are the key factors for telling the two men apart: age, wife’s identity, and– the pièce de résistance – location. As epilogue, we’ll see where William and Mary’s son David #2 went after he left Franklin County.

(4) The argument

Age. Although the law or custom varied from time to time, men were typically required to serve in the militia beginning at age sixteen (although sometimes boys served as early as 13).[9] Thus, the David Rankin who was a private in 1780 must have been born by 1764, and certainly no later than 1767. According to county tax lists, David #1, son of James and Jean Rankin, was born no later than 1767-68.[10] We can reasonably assume that David #1 was born in the 1760s. On the other hand, David #2 was born in the 1770s, most likely about 1776-1777. Estimating his birth year required doing the same for all of his siblings, shown in this footnote.[11] In short, David #2 was much too young to have been a member of a militia in 1780. Strike 1, Archives.

Wife’s identity. We know the wife of the David Rankin who died in 1833 was named Molly, maiden name unproved. We don’t know how long they were married, although it was apparently long enough to have three children and a granddaughter. I have found no deeds or other records identifying the wife of David #1. We have better luck with David #2, because deeds conclusively establish that he was married to Frances (“Fanny”) Campbell, daughter of Dongal (Dougal/Dugald) Campbell.[12] Frances and David #2 were both grantors in a deed dated August 1827, not long before the David who died in 1833 wrote his June 1829 will.[13] In short, the evidence strongly suggests that Molly’s husband was David #1.Strike 2, Archives.

Location. Here is the pièce de résistance, although it requires some explaining: a deed dated 27 May 1818 from James Rankin (brother of David #1) to Jacob Kline conveying a tract in Montgomery Township. The deed recites that part of the tract was surveyed per a 1742 warrant to Adam Rankin and subsequently devised by James Rankin, dec’d, to grantor in 1788.[14] The tract clearly passed from Adam Rankin to his son James Rankin Sr. (whose will was admitted to probate 25 March 1788), then to James Sr.’s son James Jr., the grantor in this 1818 deed. The conveyed tract was adjacent to David Rankin ,inter alia. That would be David #1, who inherited the Montgomery Township tract where his father James Sr. lived.

The deed proves that David #1 owned a tract adjacent to Jacob Kline (the grantee in the above deed) in Montgomery Township at some point in time. There are two other relevant facts:

    • In the 1830 federal census for Montgomery Township (three years before David #1 died), David Rankin was listed adjacent to Jacob Kline, grantee in the above deed.[15] He was the only David Rankin listed in Franklin in 1830 and his census profile “fit” the family of the David Rankin who died in 1833.
    • David Rankin’s 1829 will, proved in 1833, referenced his Montgomery Township tract adjacent Jacob Kline.

Bottom line: the David Rankin who died in 1833 was David #1, son of James Sr. and Jean Rankin, and not David #2, son of William and Mary Huston Rankin.

(5) Epilogue

This is a long article, so I will cut to the chase. Some genealogists (the ones who didn’t believe the Archives about which David died in 1833) think that David #2 went to Greene County, Tennessee.[16] He didn’t. He went to Des Moines County, Iowa with at least three of his children.

The evidence about this is fun. While he lived in Franklin, David #2 almost certainly attended the Presbyterian Church of the Upper West Conococheague,”[17] as did his brother Archibald.[18] On the other hand, David #1 and his brothers were pew holders in the Welsh Run Presbyterian Church, also known as the “Lower Conococheague” Church.[19]

The Upper West church kept baptism records, although they are clearly not complete.[20] Four children of a David Rankin – almost certainly David #2 – are listed: Frances Rankin (baptized 9 May 1814), David Huston Rankin (28 Apr 1817), Archibald Rankin (10 Oct 1819), and Adam John Rankin (13 Feb 1822). In light of David #2’s entry in the 1820 census (seven children in the household), you would expect other children.[21] 

The family left Franklin between 1827 and 1830.[22] I didn’t found David again until the 1840 census in Iowa Territory.[23] The 1850 census in Des Moines County lists him as age 73, born in Pennsylvania about 1777.[24] Here is a link    to an image of his tombstone in the Round Prairie Cemetery in Des Moines County. It says he died 14 Mar 1853, age 77, making him born about 1776.

Also buried in the Round Prairie cemetery:Adam J. Rankin, born 29 Dec. 1821. His full name was undoubtedly Adam John Rankin, a child of David Rankin baptized in the Upper West church on 13 Feb 1822 at age six weeks or so. See his tombstone image at this link..

Here is another tombstone in Round Prairie cemetery: D. C. Rankin, 1812 – 1885. Iowa death and burial records identify him as Dugal Campbell Rankin, a male, born 1812 in Franklin Co., PA.[25] Is there any reasonable doubt that he was a son of David #2 and Frances Campbell Rankin, daughter of Dugal (Dongal/Dougal) Campbell?

Finally, the Kossuth Cemetery in Des Moines County has a tombstone  for Archibald Rankin, born 1 Aug. 1819. He was almost certainly baptized in the Upper West church on 10 Oct 1819 at about two months of age.

And that’s it from me on the two David Rankins, grandsons of Adam and Mary Steele Rankin.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] For evidence establishing that Adam Rankin’s wife was Mary Steele Alexander, see the text accompanying the footnotes and the source citations in notes 5, 6, and 7 of  this article.

[2] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book J, Vol. 1: 208, will of Adam Rankin dated 4 May 1747 proved 21 Sep 1747.

[3] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 345, will of James Rankin of Montgomery Township dated 25 Mar 1788, proved 20 Oct 1795.

[4] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 256, will of William Rankin of Antrim Township dated 20 Oct 1792, proved 28 Nov 1792.

[5] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 110, will of Agnes Huston, widow of Archibald Huston, dated 15 Nov 1776, proved 14 Mar 1787. Her will names William Rankin, husband of daughter Mary, as an executor.

[6] See Note 4.

[7] The William Rankin who married Victoria Alcorn/Alcoran lived in Hamilton Township, Franklin Co. and is fairly easy to distinguish from William, son of Adam, who lived in Antrim Township. See Pennsylvania land grant to William Rankin dated 8 May 1751, 100 acres in Hamilton Township, Cumberland Co., adjacent Thomas Armstrong; Cumberland Co., PA Will Book A: 79, will of Joseph Armstrong of Hamilton Township dated 1760 proved 1761 devising “land between Robert Elliot’s and Willm Rankins;” Cumberland Co., PA Will Book A: 88, will of James Alcoran naming daughter Victoria and her husband William Rankin; and Franklin Co., PA Deed Book 6: 124, deed dated 30 Oct 1765 from William Rankin of Orange Co, NC, farmer, to James McFarlan of Cumberland, 2 warrants by Rankin for a total of 250A in Hamilton Twp., Cumberland Co., adj Thomas Armstrong et al.

[8] Thomas Lynch Montgomery, ed., Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Volume VI (Harrisburg, PA: Harrisburg Publishing Co., 1906), 275.

[9] See https://allthingsliberty.com/2014/06/explaining-pennsylvanias-militia/and/orhttps://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/fighting-man-continental-armyand/or https://www.constitution.org/jw/acm_3-m.htm

[10] David #1 was listed on the Montgomery Township tax list for 1789 along with his father James (Sr.) and brothers William, Jeremiah, and James Rankin. David was a “freeman,” meaning that he was age 21 or older and not married. He was not listed on the 1788 tax list, suggesting that he had just turned 21 in the past year and was born about 1767-68. However, young men frequently shed a year or two at tax time. A reasonable estimate, given his militia service, is that David #1 was born about 1765.

[11] Ages of the children of William and Mary Huston Rankin. I’ve listed the children in the order he named them in his 1792 will, which is almost certainly their birth order.

  • Adam – born 1760-63. Adam first appeared on the 1785 Franklin Co. tax list as Doctor Adam Rankin.  At minimum, he was of age by 1785 and born by 1764. He was definitely born before 1763-64, when his younger brother Archibald was born. Dr. Adam went to Henderson Co., KY and married three times. His descendants include Confederate Brigadier Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson.
  • Archibald– born 1763 – 1764.Records from the Upper West Conococheague Presbyterian Church establish that Archibald died 24 Jun 1845 at age 81.
  • James– born about 1767-68 based on his place between Archibald and William, whose birth years are known.
  • William– born 5 Nov 1770. Commemorative Biographical Record of Central Pennsylvania: Including the Counties of Centre, Clearfield, Jefferson and Clarion (Chicago: J. H. Beers, 1898) at 100-101.
  • Betsy– about 1773. Betsy was less than 21 when her father William executed his will on 20 Oct 1792, so she was born after Oct 1771. I’ve estimated Betsy’s and David’s birth years by spacing them out more or less evenly between their siblings William and John, whose birth dates are established by credible evidence.
  • David– about 1776-77. It is certain that David was born sometime between 1775 (see the 1790 Franklin Co. census, when he was included in his father’s household and was less than 16) and early 1778, a year prior to the birth of his younger brother John.
  • John– 8 May 1778 or 1779. See his tombstone in the Bellefonte Cemetery: John Rankin, 8 May 1778 – 22 Apr 1848, 69Y11M4D. John Blair Linn, History of Centre and Clinton Counties, Pennsylvania(Louis H. Everts, 1883, reprinted Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1975), 222-223, says that John Rankin was born 1 May 1779.
  • Jeremiah – November 1783 according to his tombstone in Centre County, PA. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/21518757/jeremiah-rankin

[12] Franklin Co., PA Deed Book 9: 288, deed dated 8 May 1807 from David Rankin of Franklin and wife Fanny conveying land devised to David by the will of William Rankin dated 20 Oct 1792. Frances/Fanny’s father is also conclusively proved by a deed, see Franklin Deed Book 14: 245.

[13] Franklin Co., PA Deed Book 14: 266, deed dated 28 Aug 1827 from David Rankin and wife Frances of Montgomery Township, 54 acres in Peters Township, deed witnessed by Archibald Bald.  

[14] Franklin Co., PA Deed Book 12: 28.

[15] 1830 federal census, Montgomery Township, Franklin Co., household of David Rankin, 0000101-000010001 adjacent Jacob Kline. There are two people age 20 < 30 in David’s household, as we would expect: his daughter Molly was already married when David #1 wrote his will in 1829. The age category for the eldest male is clearly erroneous. He should be in the same age category as the eldest female, age 60 < 70 (born in the 1760s), if he was a militia private in 1780.

[16] See, e.g., https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/29dbc658-cdcc-4f12-8c30-8dc877e7fdb4. Please be advised that this application for historic site designation contains several Rankin history errors and unproved assertions.

[17] The archaic spelling was Conogogheaue and several variants.

[18] The Upper West church records show Archibald’s marriage to Agnes Long, as well as his death date. Recall that David and Archibald each inherited a part of their father William’s “Mansion Place,” so they originally lived next to each other. See Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 256, will of William Rankin of Antrim Township devising 200 acres “off my Mansion Place” to son Archibald, and “the old Mansion place,” 300 acres, to his son David #3. You would expect the brothers would both attend the nearest Presbyterian church.

[19] Virginia Shannon Fendrick, American Revolutionary Soldiers of Franklin County, Pennsylvania (Chambersburg, PA: Historical Works Committee of the Franklin County Chapter of the D.A.R., 1969) (copyright 1944), 180.

[20] Some records of the Upper West Conococheague church are available online at Ancestry.com.

[21] David #2 was then living in Peters Township and is listed as age 26 < 45 (born 1775 – 1794). There were seven children in his household, including 1 male and 2 females age 10 < 16 (born 1804 – 1810), plus 3 males and one female under age 10 (born 1810 – 1820).

[22] David #2 and his wife Frances executed a deed in Franklin Co. in Oct 1827, see note 13. He did not appear in the 1830 census for Franklin.

[23] 1840 federal census for Iowa Territory, Des Moines Co., David Rankin, age 60 < 70 (born 1770 – 1780).

[24] The 1850 federal census listing in DesMoines Co. for David Rankin’s household includes Dugald Camel, 30, b. PA, and Frances Camel, 14, b. Indiana. Given the spelling perversions one finds in the census, he was probably Dugal (or Dougal) Campbell. Frances Campbell Rankin’s father was “Dongal” Campbell in a Franklin deed, see Deed Book 14: 245.

[25]Ancestry.com. Iowa, Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Query: Ann Winn Webber of Northam Parish, Goochland, VA

A recent comment on a Winn post on this blog asked the following (lightly edited):

“I am wondering if you, or anyone else reading this blog, might have run across an Ann Winn who married William Webber III on 1 August 1764 in Goochland County, Viriginia. The marriage is recorded in the Douglas Register. The family seems to have resided in St. James Northam Parish, where William Webber died in August 1794. William Webber III and his wife Ann Winn had at least the following children: Philip (named for William Webber III’s father), Benjamin, John, Mary , Keturah, Susannah Winn, Charles, William IV, and Archer. I’ve also seen a son named Archibald attached to this family, although Archer and Archibald may be the same person. Ann Winn Weber is sometimes identified as a daughter of John Winn and Mary Pledger of Hanover County, but my impression is that their daughter Ann was married to Nathaniel Holman and no one else. Any information, thoughts, theories, or suggestions on who this Ann Winn was and where she fits in the Winn family would be much appreciated. Thanks.”

OK, Winn experts, please weigh in! Either post a comment on this blog or communicate directly with Jeff Duvall, who is looking for this information, by email at jduvall@iupui.edu. Sissy? Bill? Anyone?

Hope this gets some results! Thanks in advance …

Robin

Rankin, Upton County, TX

Want to see two characters from Lonesome Dove taking a selfie? Get yourself to Rankin, Texas. The town is perched atop the Edwards Plateau in the Middle of Nowhere, population 778.[1]

I have no idea what the town is best known for, but I’ll put my money on an old corrugated tin building decorated with a funky Texas flag and portraits of Augustus “Gus” McCrae and Woodrow F. Call of Lonesome Dove. Someone with a puckish sense of humor painted the pair on horseback, with Call taking a selfie.[2] Tommy Lee Jones would probably approve.

Google says the town is named for F. E. Rankin, a “local rancher.”[3] In fact, F. E. did receive a grant of 640 acres in Upton County in 1911.[4] However, he apparently never lived in Rankin. Instead, he and his family lived in Midland County. He is listed in the 1910 census there as “Finis E. Rankin” with his wife Eliza and son Porter, age 20 (born about 1890). The name Porter Rankin rang a tiny bell, but I wasn’t sure why. Finis, Eliza and Porter were born in Tennessee, and the couple’s parents were also born in Tennessee.[5] The 1900 Midland census reveals that F. E. was born in January 1856 and was a “cattle raiser.”[6]

The “Findagrave” website often has errors in its unsourced obiter dicta, but the tombstone pictures and obituaries posted there are pretty good evidence.[7] The Fairview Cemetery in Midland has a tombstone for F. E. Rankin (“father”), 1856 – 1916, and Eliza Rankin (“mother”), 1862 – 1953.[8] Better yet, there is a Midland County death certificate for Robert Porter Rankin (1890 – 1 Nov 1962). It identifies him as a son of F. E. Rankin and Eliza Smith. Best of all, it says Porter was born in Belt Buckle, TN. That town is in Bedford County, telling us where to go look for Finis et al. before they came to Texas.

With a name like “Finis” and the additional information, tracking this line was a piece of cake. There is a marriage record for F. E. Rankin and Elizabeth Smith for 27 Jul 1879 in Bedford County, TN. At age 5, Finis and his younger brother Porter were listed in the 1860 census for Bedford County with their presumed parents Robert and Matilda Rankin.[9] The 1850 Bedford census adds a middle initial: his name was Robert D.Rankin, and there was a David G. Rankin, a child, in the household.[10] The 1880 census identifies David G. Rankin as a son of Robert D. and Matilda.[11]

At this point, bells began to ring in earnest. The names David G. Rankin and Porter Rankin are firmly planted in my memory … and in my family tree software. David G. Rankin was a son of Samuel and Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander Rankin of Lincoln Co., NC – my ancestors. I have written several article about Sam and Eleanor on this website. Here is one of them: http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2017/10/22/samuel-rankin-abt-1734-abt-1816-m-eleanor-alexander-new-post-replace-old-ones/ David. G. Rankin’s wife was Anne Moore Campbell, and they had a son, Rev. James Porter Rankin, who died at age 26.[12]

David G. and Anne Rankin migrated from Lincoln Co., NC to Rutherford Co., TN. A deed there identifies a Robert D. Rankin as a resident of Bedford Co., TN; other records make it clear that Robert D., father of Finis, was a son of David and Anne.[13]

And that’s enough for Rankin, TX: I’ve just written more words than there are people in the town. And whoda thunk I’d find relatives near there.

See you on down the road.

Robin


[1]Rankin’s population of 778 is per the 2010 census. https://www.google.com/search?ei=M5lkXIi3H42Q0PEP3_GU-Ag&q=population+of+rankin+texas&oq=population+of+rankin+texas&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i22i30.409200.413316..421342…0.0..0.231.2861.10j15j1……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71j0j0i67j0i131i67j0i131j0i22i10i30j33i22i29i30j0i13i30.Uev8UFzyER0

[2]A friend who writes a travel blog called Wanderwiles took these two pictures and kindly sent them to me.

[3]See Note 1.

[4]Texas Land Title Abstracts, Certificate No. 982, file No. 85690, 640-acre grant to F. E. Rankin dated 26 Oct. 1911.

[5]1910 federal census, Midland Co., TX, household of Finis E. Rankin, age 54, b. TN, parents b. TN, with wife Elisah (sic, Eliza), 48, TN/TN/TN, and son Porter Rankin, 20, TN/TN/TN.

[6]1900 federal census, Midland Co., TN, T. E. or F. E. Rankin, b. Jan 1856, age 44, married 20 years, cattle raiser. Household includes wife Eliza, b. Feb 1862 who has had 3 children, all living, daughter Maud, b. Apr 1880, son P. B., b. Dec 1881, and son Porter, b. Feb 1890.

[7]The deceased isn’t ever around to give his/her date of birth, and my experience is that children often haven’t a clue what year their parents were born. Tombstones are subject to that possibility. AND, once in a while, people have been known to shave a few years off their ages, a frequent occurrence in census records.

[8]https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/18412790/finis-ewing-rankin  

[9]1860 federal census, Bedford Co., TN, District 4 has household of Robert Rankin, 45, farmer, $16,500 realty, $15,000 personalty, b. TN. Also listed in the household (all born in TN, and all with the surname Rankin, were Matild (sic, Matilda) 35, Nancy 21, David 19, Thomas 17, Jame 16, Ellen 13, Susanah 11, Malinda 9, Virginia 7, Finis, 5, and Porter, 1. 

[10]1850 federal census, Bedford Dist. 4, Robert D. Rankin, farmer, $7K real property, b. TN. Matilda Rankin, 33, Nancy A. Rankin, 10, David G. Rankin, 9, William Thomas Rankin, 8, Janes? C., female, 6, Martha E., 4, and Susannah M., 1. 

[11]1880 federal census, Bedford Dist. 5, David G. Rankin, 38, farmer, b. TN, parents b. TN, wife Laura T., 30, NC/NC/NC, sonsRobert E. Rankin, 12, Wm A Rankin, 10, Leon Augustus Rankin, 7, Albert E. Rankin, 2, and Osman G. Rankin, 1.

[12]Rev. James Porter Rankin, born May 10th, 1805, died Sep 11th, 1831, aged 26 years 1 mo. & 1 day. (obit in National Register & States Gazette, Sept. 17, 1831, says Rev. J. P Rankin died in Rutherford Co.). Tombstone in the Old City Cemetery in Murfreesboro, TN shows May 10, 1805 – Sep 11, 1831. His parents David G. and Anne M. C. Rankin are buried in the same cemetery. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&amp;GRid=24947618&amp;ref=acom

[13]Rutherford Co., TN Deed Book Z: 93, bill of sale dated 15 Jan 1842 from Robert Rankin of Bedford Co., TNto Martin Alexander of Rutherford, an enslaved person. See also Rutherford Co., TN Deed Book 1: 523, Robert D. Rankin and William C. Rankin, administrators of the estate of their sister Mary (Rankin) Montgomery. Mary M. Rankin married Joseph A. Montgomery in Rutherford County in 10 Sep 1831.

Reprise: Who Are the Scots-Irish, Anyway?

This article, originally published in June 2016, has generated more views than anything I’ve written on this blog. That makes me think I’m not the only one who has spent some time on Google learning about the Scots-Irish.  Here it is again, just in case you missed it.

Happy 2019! May your brick walls crumble …

Robin

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Introduction

This is a non-academic discussion of Scots-Irish (or Scotch-Irish) history from about 1600 to roughly the mid-eighteenth century. The focus is on Scots-Irish migration. The objective is to provide family history researchers an overview regarding where their Scots-Irish ancestors came from, and when and why they migrated.

When I started doing family history research, I had no idea what “Scots-Irish” meant. I had a vague idea (I must blush) that it meant one had mixed Irish and Scottish ancestry. Turns out I am an awful student of history. The Scots-Irish were Protestant Scots who settled in northernmost Ireland – specifically, in the province of Ulster – and later migrated from Ireland to the colonies.

Background

We need to start with a bit of Irish political history and geography.

Ireland was traditionally divided into four provinces: Ulster, Connaught, Leinster, and Munster. Ulster, the focus of interest in this article, was located in the northernmost part of Ireland. Nine counties made up Ulster: (1) Antrim, (2) Down, (3) Armagh, (4) Derry, (5) Fermanagh and (6) Tyrone, plus (7) Cavan, (8) Monaghan, and (9) Donegal.

Here is a map showing the four traditional Irish provinces and the counties comprising them.

The history of the relationship among Ireland, Scotland and England is way beyond my expertise. Suffice it to say that, in 1603, the Kingdom of England – which included England, Wales and those parts of Ireland controlled by the English – was united with the Kingdom of Scotland. King James VI of Scotland became James I of England and Scotland.

King James is a big star in this narrative.

Fast forward in time two centuries. In 1800, the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” came into being, composed of all of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. In 1922, the Republic of Ireland gained independence from the United Kingdom. Oversimplifying the matter considerably, a vocal Protestant minority whose existence can be traced back to James I (more on that shortly) wanted no part of a predominantly Catholic Ireland. Those Protestants were concentrated in Ulster. To prevent civil insurrection, the British allowed the nine Ulster counties to decide by vote whether they wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom. The most northeastern part of Ulster (the first six Ulster counties in the list above) voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom. The British partitioned those six counties to form Northern Ireland. The remaining three counties which had been part of the province of Ulster – Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal – became a part of the Republic of Ireland. After the partition and Ireland’s independence, the U.K. was composed of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Perhaps you have an ancestor with a classic Scots-Irish name – Alexander, Rankin, Gillespie, Ewing, Steele, Kerr, Caldwell, McQuiston, Denny, or Wallace – who was born, say, in Letterkenny, County Donegal in the 1600s. In light of Irish history, it would be correct to say he or she was born in Ulster (the province), or (more colorfully) the “Ulster Plantation,” or (geographically) the northern part of Ireland. It would not be correct to say he or she was born in Northern Ireland, a country that didn’t come into existence for another three centuries. I am still trying to correct all the instances in which I have made that error.

But it would almost certainly be correct to say that your ancestor was Presbyterian. Solid fact #1: it is almost redundant to describe someone as a Scots-Irish Presbyterian.

The factors that drove the migration of the Scots-Irish from Scotland to Ulster and then to the colonies are more complicated. What ultimately became known as the “Irish Troubles” seems to be a cautionary tale about unintended consequences.

Original settlement of the Ulster Plantation

As noted above, James I of Great Britain, aka James VI of Scotland, became the first king of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1603. James was a Protestant rather than a Catholic or an Anglican (the official church of England after Henry VIII’s dispute with the Pope over his divorce).

Also in 1603, the leading Irish Catholic families of Ulster surrendered to end the Nine Years War, which had been an effort to stop the expansion of English power in Ireland. Large Irish landowners fled the country, leaving behind estates of roughly 500,000 acres. James appropriated those estates for the crown. In 1607, James claimed almost six counties of additional land. Not surprisingly, many of those who lost their land had been the leading opponents of English control of Ireland. They were native Irish and Catholic.

James also ordered thousands of remaining Irish Catholic tenants to move from Ulster to other parts of Ireland. This created the opportunity to repopulate land taken from rebellious Irish landowners with more reliably loyal Protestants from England and Scotland. The crown made liberal offers of land and other inducements to accomplish that end. People heard; they came.

James correctly predicted that more Scots than English would relocate to Ulster, a fairly barren place (then), too rough for what James perceived to be the more delicate English temperament. A sizeable population – notable primarily for their Presbyterianism – made the short trip across the channel from Scotland into the northern part of Ireland. During 1610 through 1612, an estimated ten thousand Scots, mostly from the Scottish Lowlands, settled in Ulster. As many as 50,000 Lowland Scots had settled in Ulster by 1620.

Needless to say, the remaining native Irish Catholics thoroughly detested the Protestant Scots settlers. The feeling was mutual.

The Irish Rebellion of 1641

It didn’t take long for this simmering caldron to boil over. Beginning in October 1641, a bloody episode called the “Irish Rebellion” began. It first erupted in Ulster, when native Irish Catholics surprised Protestant settlers and killed them in large numbers. The Irish were apparently afraid that the English Parliament was going to gin out some new repressive anti-Catholic legislation. The attacks may have been preemptive action to “disarm” the Ulster Protestants, who would have been charged with enforcing any such laws. Considering the “legacy of hatred built into the Ulster Plantation,” the violence – says The Oxford History of Britain, in a masterful case of British understatement – “inevitably got out of hand.” A Covenanter army arrived from Scotland to help protect the Ulster Scots, to little avail. “Massacre” is the appropriate term. Although estimates vary wildly, a BBC website suggests that thirty percent of the Protestant population in Ulster died.

The Irish Rebellion lasted for almost ten years, spreading to other areas of Ireland during the English Civil Wars. It ended when the armies of Oliver Cromwell landed in Ireland and slaughtered the inhabitants of Drogheda and Wexford, Irish Catholic towns on the east coast.

Not long thereafter, other religious persecution blossomed across the channel in Scotland. Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II and James II set about trying to force Episcopacy down the throats of the Scottish. This created conflicts between Presbyterians and the Bishops of the Anglican establishment. It culminated in an intense phase of persecution in the 1680s, a period appropriately referred to as “the killing times.” The victims were Presbyterian Scots.

The killing times gave rise to the second large migration of Protestants from their homeland in Scotland to the relatively safe Ulster. Imagine thinking of Ulster as safe, after that 1641 massacre! This second migratory wave took place from about 1683 to 1689, when William and Mary (Protestants) assumed the throne.

Economic troubles

It wasn’t just religious persecution that drove these migrations. Economic issues also played a major role, of course. Both the English and Irish parliaments contributed, as did Mother Nature.

The first legislative targets were beef and beef products. After the Cromwellian civil wars of the 1640s, the export of cattle from Ireland to England increased substantially, as did exports of beef, cheese and butter. This adversely impacted English cattle raisers, who persuaded the Parliament of Charles II (after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660) to pass an act prohibiting the shipping of cattle, beef, cheese and butter from Ireland to England or to any of the English colonies. I imagine that cut into the profitability of raising Irish cattle, although I haven’t found any relevant data.

The next legislative blow was to the Ulster wool industry, which had grown rapidly in northern Ireland in the late 1600s. Irish wool and wool product exports hurt sheep raisers in England, so government swung into action. In 1698, under pressure from the English, the Irish Parliament placed heavy duties on Irish export of manufactured wool. In 1699, the English Parliament passed an act forbidding the export from Ireland of all goods made or mixed with wool – except to England and Wales. This immediately crippled the wool industries in Ulster: woolen factories closed down virtually overnight. This started the first migration of the Scots-Irish to America at approximately the turn of the century. Most of those early immigrants settled in New England.

Meanwhile, taxes on the Ulster Scots were going up, as were rents. “Rack renting” became the practice. This means that landlords raised rents on land, evicted tenants who couldn’t pay, then rented to the highest bidder. By the early 1700s, most of the leases granted to settlers in the 1680s migration from Scotland to Ulster were expiring, making this practice widespread. Annual “rack rents” were sometimes equal to the total value of the land.

1717: the “Great Migration” to the colonies begins

Religious persecution reared its ugly head again, with Anglicans back in charge in England. In 1704, the English Parliament passed the Test Act, requiring all government officials, and all town, county and army officers, and all lawyers, to take communion according to the forms and rites of the Church of England. This effectively wiped out most of the civil service in northern Ireland. In 1714, the Schism Act required all school teachers to secure a license from a bishop of the Anglican Church. A bishop could grant a license only to those who conformed to the Test Act. Goodbye, teaching jobs.

Nature piled on. There was a serious drought in Ireland caused by six years of insufficient rainfall during 1714 through 1719. That was undoubtedly the final straw. The first wave of the “Great Migration” began in earnest during 1717-1718. During 1717, more than 5,000 Ulster residents left for the colonies. During the next three years, nearly a hundred ships sailed from ports in the north of Ireland, carrying in all as many as 25,000 passengers. They were virtually all Presbyterian.

Pennsylvania was the primary destination: the Pennsylvania Secretary of State expressly invited settlement by new immigrants. By 1720, “go to America” from Ulster meant migrating to one of the Delaware River ports. For most of the Great Migration, the majority of Scots-Irish entered the colonies through Philadelphia, Chester, or New Castle, Delaware. Most of these immigrants settled in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester and Lancaster counties, Pennsylvania.

During 1725 through 1729, the exodus from Ulster became so large that the English Parliament appointed a commission to investigate the cause, fearing a loss of the entire Protestant population in Ulster. The main problems were identified as rack rents and general poverty.

The largest wave of migration began in 1740-41, when an estimated 400,000 Irish died in the famine of those years. For the next decade, Scots-Irish arrived in the colonies in huge numbers. By then, the power elite in Pennsylvania had become alarmed at the prospect that the Scots-Irish would take over the government. Consequently, Pennsylvania landowners quit selling land to the immigrants, because land ownership conferred voting rights. Fortunately, Lord Granville was advertising cheap and abundant land for sale in North Carolina. The result was a huge migration from Pennsylvania to the Piedmont Plateau of North Carolina via the Great Wagon Road of the Shenandoah Valley. One landowner on the Great Wagon Road route estimated that 5,000 wagons crossed the James River in Virginia in 1755, mostly bound for the huge area that was then Rowan County, North Carolina. Some dropped out and settled along the way, especially in Augusta County, Virginia.

In 1771, a final large wave of immigration from Ulster began, again caused by rack rents. There was some violent and ultimately useless resistance to rent increases by Ulster residents, all Presbyterians, known as the “Hearts of Steel” or “Steelboys.” Landowners, with the law and the army on their side, prevailed. In the few years left before the Revolution, an additional 30,000 Ulster residents reportedly left for the colonies.

Estimated numbers of Scots-Irish in the colonies vary wildly, and I have no knowledgeable basis for discriminating among them. One source estimates that, by 1776, 300,000 people — one-sixth of the (white) population of all the colonies — was Scots-Irish. Yet another source puts the number of Scots-Irish in the colonies at the start of the Revolution at 230,000. In any event, with a total white and black population of about 2.5 million in the mid-1770s, even the smaller of those estimates is a significant percentage of the total.

Those Ulster immigrants had no love for the English. They became the heart of the American Revolution – not the intellectual heart, but the muscle. George Washington said that, if the Revolutionary cause was lost everywhere else, he would make a last stand among the Scots-Irish of Virginia. Captain Johann Henricks, a Hessian mercenary in the British army, wrote, “[c]all it not an American rebellion, it is nothing more than an Irish-Scotch Presbyterian Rebellion.”

Solid fact #2: “Scots-Irish” and “Tory” are mutually exclusive terms. If you have a male Scots-Irish ancestor who was in his twenties or thirties during roughly 1775-1785, you almost certainly have a Revolutionary War veteran on your family tree.

Rankins and Alexanders

My Alexander family was among those who left the Pennsylvania and Maryland area about 1740-ish, settled in Virginia during 1742-1749, and then arrived in Anson/Rowan County by 1752. See my article about them here.

My last known Rankin ancestor probably arrived in Rowan a bit later, but in any event by 1759. If you had Scots-Irish ancestors in south-central North Carolina, I would bet they also left Scotland for the Ulster Plantation in the 1600s, departed Northern Ireland for Pennsylvania between 1717 and 1750, and arrived in North Carolina about the middle of the eighteenth century. If you have a story along those lines, I would love to hear it.

Sources. Unfortunately, I clicked rapidly among websites looking for information, e.g., Googling “when was the Restoration,” without making decent notes of my sources. This list undoubtedly omits dozens of other credible websites containing historical information which I used to help prepare this post. I apologize for failing to list them.

  1. “Scotch-Irish.” Dictionary of American History. 2003. Retrieved June 19, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401803772.html
  2. “Henry the VIII and Ireland.” 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2016 from The History Learning Site.co.uk: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/tudor-england/henry-viii-and-ireland/
  3. Kenneth O. Morgan, The Oxford History of Britain (Oxford: The Oxford University Press, 1999, upated edition 2010). In 1707, the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland merged. I don’t know the difference between the 1707 “merger” and the 1603 “union,” described in a couple of the articles I read as a “personal union” under the crown.
  4. Online excerpts at various websites from James G. Leyburn, The Scotch-Irish, A Social History (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1962).
  5. “Wars and Conflict: the Plantation of Ulster.” Retrieved June 25, 2016: bbc.co.uk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/plantation/planters/es10.shtml. This location has been archived and is no longer being maintained.
  6. “Covenanters” were Scots who were opposed to interference by British royalty in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. See Scottish Covenanters Memorial Association, retrieved June 24, 2016: http://www.covenanter.org.uk/WhoWere/
  7. Ulster Historical Foundation retrieved June 25, 2016: http://www.ancestryireland.com/history-of-the-irish-parliament/background-to-the-statutes/manufacturing-mining/

 

 

Martin & Buckley, Part 5: William Buckley of Fairfax/Loudoun, VA

Previously in this series, we looked at the Martin and Buckley families of Elbert and Oglethorpe Counties, GA and Perry Co., AL. Now let’s head to Virginia. Here are the questions:

  • Why is this blog heading to Virginia, and where?
  • Who was the family of William Buckley Senior of Fairfax/Loudon VA?
  • Was William Buckley Junior a Revolutionary War soldier?
  • Was Elijah Buckley, son of William Junior, the same man as Elijah Buckley of Elbert Co., GA, Perry Co., AL and Jasper Co., MS?
  • Who were the children of William Buckley Junior?

Why Virginia, and where?

In Part 4, we saw that Elijah Buckley, Sally/Sarah Buckley (wife of Gibson Martin), and Frances Buckley? (wife of Claiborne Martin) were all born in Virginia in the 1770s. Both the Martin and Buckley families lived on Falling Creek in Elbert County (and then Oglethorpe), GA from the 1790s through 1819-ish. Some of these Buckleys and Martins then migrated to Perry Co., AL. Based on those facts and other circumstantial evidence, I concluded that Frances, Sally and Elijah Buckley were probably siblings.

So it’s time to head for Virginia to look for the Buckley siblings’ family of origin. Where to begin? Schlepping around early census records, I found a concentration of Buckley families in Fairfax and Frederick Counties. I decided to look in Fairfax county for the sole reason that Clayton Library (online research wasn’t worthwhile then) has a bunch of abstracts of Fairfax records.

The first Buckley record I found in Fairfax County confirmed that I would rather be lucky than smart any ol’ time. It was an abstract of a 1743 lease and release from John Thomas to William Buckley of Fairfax County, including the “plantation” where William Buckley then lived on Little Rocky Run of Bull Run.[1]

Well, well, well. We speculated in Part 4 that Frances Martin’s father might have been William Buckley because she and Clay named a son William Buckley Martin. However, William Buckley in the 1743 lease was born no later than 1722. He may be the wrong generation to have fathered Frances, Sarah and Elijah, all born in the 1770s. Perhaps William had a son or nephew named William? Yep!

The Family of William Buckley Senior

William Buckley Sr.’s family appeared in Fairfax County records through 1756, and then began appearing in Loudoun County when it was created in 1757.[2]Deed records conclusively prove three sons of William Sr.: John Fryer, William Jr., and Joshua Buckley. Joshua was expressly identified in one lease as William Sr.’s “fifth son.” Tax records and William Sr.’s will prove another son, Samuel.

Here are the birth years for William Sr.’s four known sons. These are my estimates, based on deed and tax records (see footnotes for explanation).

(1) John Fryer Buckley, the eldest son, was born circa 1741 – 1743;[3]

(2) William Buckley Jr.,born circa 1745 – 1746, but in any event no later than Dec. 1751;[4]

(3) Samuel Buckley, born circa 1746 – 1750;[5]and

(4) Joshua Buckley,[6]born circa 1752.

William Junior, our focus, appeared on Loudoun County tithable lists in 1771, 1774, 1775.[7]His last appearance as a tithable was in 1780, when he was specifically identified as “William Buckley Jr.”[8]He was on the same tax list as his brother Joshua.

Then William Jr. up and died. The Loudoun County court minute book for December 11, 1780 records that administration of his estate was granted to Amy Buckley, who posted a bond for her performance as administratrix.[9]The court identified the decedent as “Wm Buckley Junr dec.d.” Securities on Amy’s bond were John Buckley and Joshua Buckley, brothers of William Jr.  William Jr. must have died in 1780 because he appeared on a 1780 tithable list.

As for his widow Amy, please recall that both Frances Buckley Martin (wife of Claiborne)[10]and Sarah Buckley Martin (wife of Gibson)[11] named a daughter Amy. It wasn’t a common name. The family of William Jr. starts to look interesting.

William Jr. died intestate, i.e., without a will, and I found no distribution of his modest estate.[12] Fortunately, William Buckley Sr. did have a will, dated 12 July 1786 and proved 8 June 1789.[13]He left the land where he lived to his son Joshua and devised the rest of his estate in equal parts to his children John Buckley, Samuel Buckley, Elizabeth Buckley Harris, Sarah Buckley Harris, Catherine Buckley Harris, and Rosanna Halbert … and to his grandson Elijah Buckley, son of his deceased son William Buckley.

Family History Library (Salt Lake City) decorum undoubtedly frowns on twirling around in a chair in the microfilm reader section while pumping one’s arms in the air. Decorum be damned, I succumbed to the temptation when I read the film of that will. Other evidence suggests that Elijah, son of Amy and William Buckley Jr. of Loudoun County, Virginia, was the same man as Elijah Buckley of Elbert County, Georgia, Perry County, Alabama, and Jasper County, Mississippi. Hang on, we’ll get there, but first …

Was William Buckley Junior a Revolutionary War Soldier?

Some online trees say so. This is another case of “same name confusion:” Private William Buckley, Revolutionary War soldier, is emphatically not the same man as William Jr., husband of Amy and son of William Buckley Sr.

Military records prove that some William Buckley enlisted in Capt. Thomas Berry’s Company of the 8thVirginia Regiment of Foot. (If you have an Ancestry subscription, you can view the original here.) The 8th Regiment  was organized in early 1776 at the Suffolk Co. courthouse with men from Augusta, Berkely, Culpepper, Dunmore, Fincastle, Frederick and Hampshire Counties (but not Loudoun and Fairfax). The regiment  was “completed,” whatever that means in organizational terms, in Frederick Co.

Among the list of privates in Capt. Berry’s Company (which isn’t alphabetized), William Buckley’s name is immediately adjacent to an “Abra” (sic, Abraham) Buckley. Both of the Buckleys enlisted as privates on February 22, suggesting they lived in the same geographic area. The list states that William Buckley died 16 Sep 1776.

The 1776 death date for Private Buckley is compelling evidence that he was not the same man as William Buckley Jr., husband of Amy. That William Buckley Jr. was still alive for a Loudoun Co. tax list dated 1780.

This “same name confusion” has produced some bad information about William Jr.’s dates of birth and death in online trees. Because this is already an overlong post, I’m just going to put links to some trees in the footnote at the end of this sentence.[14] Once again, internet trees prove to be a crummy substitute for evidence in actual county records.

Was Elijah Buckley, son of William Jr., the same man as Elijah of Elbert GA, Perry AL, and Jasper MS?

We have seen circumstantial evidence that Sally/Sarah, Frances and Elijah Buckley were siblings. Some Elijah Buckley is conclusively proved as a son of William Buckley Jr. (d. 1780) and Amy, maiden name unknown. The question boils down to whether Elijah, son of William Jr., was the same man as the Elijah who was probably the brother of Sally and Frances Martin.

Luck intervened again. I connected with a researcher who posted a comment in a genforum about Amy Buckley. She was the sort of researcher who visited courthouses and looked at original county records, and therefore had instant credibility. She told me this: Amy, the widow of William Buckley Jr., married James Huff in Loudoun County. She said the couple appeared in the Loudoun court on the question whether they were properly administering the estate of William Buckley (Jr.) on behalf of his son Elijah. I haven’t seen that record yet, but I will.

James Huff, bless his heart, provides the thread of continuity from the northern neck of Virginia to Elbert County, Georgia and Perry County, Alabama, weaving together these Buckleys, Martins and Skinners.

So let’s follow James Huff around a bit. He first appeared in Georgia in Elbert County. A sheriff’s deed dated July 1803 conveyed all rights of James Huff to 100 acres on … wait for it … Falling Creek.[15] If you have followed this series of posts from the beginning, you know that it’s getting downright crowded on Falling Creek. There is a growing extended family of Martins, Buckleys, Skinners, and now Huffs, who owned land on that creek.

Here is the best part: James Huff applied for a Revolutionary War pension conclusively establishing that he lived in Prince William County, VA (from which both Fairfax and Loudoun Counties were created), Elbert County, Georgia and Perry County, Alabama.[16]Here are excerpts from my transcription of his testimony supporting his application. The emphasis is mine.

The State of Alabama Perry County. On this 24thday of October 1832.

Personally appeared in open court … James Huff, a resident of the said County of Perry and State of Alabama, aged seventy-three years,who being first duly sworn according to law, doth in his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed 7thJun 1832.

Question first propounded by the Court: Where and in what year were you born?

Answer: I was born in the county of Hopewell in the state of New Jersey in the year of our Lord 1759.

… Question 3rd: Where were you living when called into service?  Where have you lived since the Revolutionary War? And where do you now live?

Answer: I was living in Prince William County in the state of Virginia when called into service … then I removed about the year 1792 into Elbert County and State of Georgia where I resided about twenty seven years and then removed into Perry County, Alabama where I have resided ever since.

Question 7th: State the names of persons whom you know in your present neighborhood and who can testify as to your character for veracity, and good behavior, your services as a soldier of the revolution?

Answer: I am known to George G. Garriar, Esq., Claiborne Martin,John Edward Tubb, Gent., Jessee B. Nave, clerk of the County Court, Seaborn Aycock, Sheriff of Perry County and John Tubb, Gent., a minister or clergyman who will testify as to my character for veracity and good behavior. I know of no person now living who can testify as to my serving as a revolutionary soldier.

End of application testimony.

James Huff moved to Perry County from Elbert County, Georgia about 1819, at the same time as the rest of the Martin-Skinner-Buckley extended family. Moreover, he was confident that he could count on my ancestor Claiborne Martin to testify to his character for veracity and good behavior. Claiborne was not a local bigwig like the justice (identified by the honorific “Esq.”), the rich man (identified as “Gent.,” a person who need not work for a living), the court clerk, the sheriff, and the clergyman. Claiborne was the only regular Joe on James Huff’s list of character references. Claiborne was undoubtedly on that list because he had known James well for a long dang time. Probably ever since James moved to Elbert County in 1792, or for about four decades.

Let’s try to sum up. The last several posts comprise a web of circumstantial evidence based on dates and places of birth, family names, migration patterns, deeds, wills, tax lists, and a Revolutionary War pension application – all stretching from the northern neck of Virginia to Oglethorpe Co., GA and Perry County, AL. It is difficult to sum it all up neatly, which is why this has been a multipart series. Each piece of evidence, per se, is unassailable. What the cumulative evidence proves is the hard question (see this article about standards of proof). I think it is more likely than not that the evidence proves that Frances Martin, wife of Claiborne, was a daughter of William Buckley Junior and his wife Amy, maiden name unknown, and a daughter-in-law of James Huff.

Last question: who were the children of William Buckley Jr. and Amy MNU?

If you view the evidence as I do, we have identified their children as Frances Buckley Martin, Sally/Sarah Buckley Martin, and Elijah Buckley. There is one more to add.

I found her with another bit of luck. I was searching the online Buckley family genforum for any postings on the identity of William Buckley Jr.’s children. I didn’t find anything about Sally Buckley Martin or Frances Buckley Martin. I did, however, find a reference to Ann Buckley Moseley, wife of Reverend Elijah Moseley of Georgia.

 There are Moseleys all over the records of Wilkes and Elbert Counties, GA around the turn of the century. Moseleys have been a longstanding thorn in my side. Here’s the deal: Amy Martin, daughter of Claiborne and Frances Buckley Martin, married Isaac Oakes in 1819 in Dallas Co., AL. Isaac and Amy named a son Elijah Moseley Oakes. Because of that name, I had been looking for an Oakes-Moseley connection, or a Martin-Moseley connection, in northeast Georgia. I never found one. I had not looked for a Buckley-Moseley connection, but there was one staring me right in the face: Ann Buckley Moseley.

I promptly emailed Joseph Moore, the man who posted a question about Ann Buckley Moseley, asking him for more information on her. He is a careful researcher, much published, and a very nice man. He agreed (this was 12-14 years ago?) that Elijah Buckley, Sarah/Sally Buckley Martin (wife of Gibson), Frances Buckley Martin (wife of Claiborne), and Ann Buckley Moseley (wife of Reverend Elijah) were siblings, and that they were the children of William Buckley Jr. and his wife Amy.

As it turned out, Joseph Moore had no conclusive proof that Ann Moseley was née Buckley. However, he had compelling evidence in the form of oral family history and family naming patterns. Specifically, two great-grandchildren of Elijah Moseley identified Elijah’s wife as a Buckley, and the two families with that oral tradition didn’t know each other, said Joseph. Further, the name Buckley appears twice as a middle name among Elijah Moseley’s grandchildren.

Ann Buckley Moseley died about 1801, shortly after the birth of her third child, so she did not live long enough to appear in a census that would identify her state of birth. Joseph Moore estimates that she was born in the 1770s, the same decade that Elijah, Sarah/Sally and Frances were born in Virginia.

Anyone who has read this far and is still compos mentis can surely guess (1) the name of the creek where the Moseleys owned land in Elbert County, Georgia, and (2) the name of Ann Buckley Moseley’s first son.

The answers, of course, are Falling Creek and William. I will include in the footnote at the end of this sentence four Falling Creek/Elbert County deeds that demonstrate a dizzying array of links among the Moseley, Buckley, Martin, Skinner and Huff families on Falling Creek.[17] I have added Ann Buckley Moseley to the list of children of William Buckley Jr. and Amy Unknown Buckley Huff.

And that’s all I have to say about the Martins and the Buckleys. See you on down the road.

* *  *  * *  *  * *  *  *

[1]Ruth & Sam Sparacio, Deed Abstracts of Fairfax County, Virginia (1742 – 1750) (McLean, VA: 1986), abstract of Fairfax Deed Book A: 146, John Thomas to William Buckley of Fairfax, lease and release for 100 acres on Little Rocky Run of Bull Run, the plantation where William Buckley now lives.

[2]The family didn’t move; the jurisdiction in which they lived just changed. John T. Phillips, II, The Historian’s Guide to Loudoun County, Virginia Volume I Colonial Laws of Virginia and County Court Orders, 1757 – 1766 (Leesburg, VA: Goose Creek Productions, 1996), abstract of Loudoun Co. Court Minute Book A: 228, record dated 16 Mar 1759, lawsuit in which “John Fryer Buckley … is represented … by William Buckley his Father & next Friend…”

[3]Ruth & Sam Sparacio, Deed Abstracts of Fairfax County, Virginia (1750 – 1761) (McLean, VA: 1986),abstract of Fairfax Deed Book C1: 276, lease of 224 acres on Rocky Run dated December 1751 identifying John Fryer and William as sons of William Buckley Sr. John Fryer was the only son to be listed as a tithable in 1761, so he wasat least 16 by then (possibly older, because there are no earlier extant tax lists that included this family). He was clearly the eldest son since no other sons were of taxable age in 1761, and he was born by at least 1745. However, a 1766 tithable list described him as an overseer, a fairly responsible position. I estimatethat John Fryer was b. 1741-43.

[4]Ruth & Sam Sparacio, Tithables Loudoun County, Virginia 1770 – 1774 (McLean, VA: The Antient Press, 1992). William Jr. was first listed in his own household in 1771. Colonial planters generally married and/or had their own households around age 25, suggesting that William Jr. was born circa 1745-46.

[5]Id. Samuel and Joshua both first appeared as tithables in a 1768 list. Both were thus born by 1752. I assumed that Joshua, identified as the fifth son (see footnote 6) was b. abt. 1752. Samuel was born sometime between William Jr. and Joshua.

[6]Sparacio, abstract of Fairfax Deed Book D: 368, deed dated August 1, 1756, a life estate conveyed to William Buckley for 267 acres in Fairfax County on the branches of Bull Run. The term of the lease was for the life of whomever lived longest among William Buckley, William Buckley Jr. and Joshua Buckley. Joshua was identified as lessee’s fifth son.

[7]Some tithable lists are missing or incomplete, explaining the gaps between years.

[8]Ruth & Sam Sparacio, Tithables Loudoun County, Virginia 1775 – 1781 (McLean, VA: The Antient Press, 1992); Sparacio, Tithables Loudoun County, Virginia 1770 – 1774.

[9]FHL Film 32,349, Loudoun County, Virginia Court Order Books, Volumes F – G, 1773 – 1783, Order Book G: 313, Amy Buckley granted administration of the estate of William Buckley Jr.

[10]FHL Film 1,290,344, item 3, Perry County, AL Will Book A: 302, will of Claiborne Martin naming his children including Amy Martin Oakes. See also FHL Film 1,522,395, administration of the estate of Claiborne Martin after his widow Frances died. Distribution to heirs included a payment to Amy (Martin) Oakes.

[11]Frances T. Ingmire, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Marriage Records 1795 – 1852 (St. Louis: 1985, reprinted by Mountain Press, Signal Mountain, TN), marriage record dated 22 Sep 1800, Gibson Martin and Sally Buckly; marriage record dated 24 Oct 1827, Amy Martin and Frederick Butler; FHL Film 158,679, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Book N: 390, deed dated 4 Mar 1830 from Frederick Butler to John Martin and Elijah Martin, all of Butler’s interest in land as an heir of Gibson Martin’s estate.

[12]I haven’t made much headway in the court records of Loudoun County, but did find one entry about William Jr.’s estate. FHL Film 32,349, Loudoun Co., VA Order Book G: 514, 14 Apr 1783, inventory and appraisal of the estate of William Buckley Junr dec’d returned and recorded.

[13]FHL Film 32,276, Loudoun County, Virginia Will Books D – F, 1788 – 1802, Will Book D: 36.

[14]One frequently cited source for information about William Buckley’s family is the S.A.R. application of Joseph Indus Lambert. It says that William Buckley Jr. (son of William Sr.) was born 11 Nov 1752 and died 16 Sep 1776. It also identifies a son Elijah, born 1775. We know, however, that William Jr. was born no later than December 1751, probably during the 1740s. We also know that William Jr. died in 1780.  Elijah’s date of birth is 1779 in the 1850 census, although census errors are admittedly common as dirt. Elijah’s tombstone in the Buckley cemetery in Jasper County, MS says that he was born in 1775. Please note, however, that the stone was installed by none other than … Joseph I. Lambert. See the newspaper article about the tombstone installation on the Findagrave website . here. If you have an Ancestry.com subscription, you can access Mr. Lambert’s SAR application here.

There are several Buckley trees at FamilySearch.org, the LDS website. Some of them also claim that William Jr. was born in 1759 and died in 1776. Similarly, there are trees at Ancestry.com (e.g.,the Slay Family Tree) claiming William Jr. was born 11 Nov 1755 and died 16 Sep 1776.

And here’s a real goodie: a tree at Rootsweb says that William Jr. was born in 1755, died in 1776, and had a son Elijah born in 1779 … 3 years after he died. Oops!!!! All of these trees (except for the SAR application) say that William Jr.’s wife was named Amy and that his father was William Buckley Sr., so they are all dealing with the same William Buckley.

[15]Farmer, abstract of Elbert County Deed Book H: 151.

[16]Revolutionary War Pension File No. 22419, soldier S13476. SeeVirgil White, Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files Volume II: F- M (Waynesboro, TN: The National Historical Publishing County, 1991), at p. 1750.

[17](1) January 1793, deed from Henry Mosely and wife Polly to Henry Hunt, all of Elbert County, 180 acres on the waters of Falling Creek granted to Henry Mosely in 1787, adjacent George Mosely’s survey, Robert Moseley, Henry Moseley, and Joseph Bell. Michal Martin Farmer, Elbert County, Georgia Deed Books A – J 1791 – 1806 (Dallas: 1997), abstract of Elbert Co. Deed Book B: 10. (2) November 1795 deed from Joseph Bell & wife Elizabeth to Henry Mosley, all of Elbert Co., £200 for 279 acres on the waters of Falling Creek, part of 579 acres granted to George Martin in July 1786, the whole tract having previously been sold to Joseph Bell by George Martin. Joseph Bell already sold the other 300 acres to David Martin. The 279 acres not sold to David Martin is here conveyed to Henry Mosely. Grantor also conveys 200 acres on Falling Creek granted to George Martin on 4 February 1785 and sold by him to Joseph Bell on 26 Dec 1789. Grantor also conveys another tract containing 360 acres that was granted to Archer Skinner on 23 Jun 1790. Id., abstract of Elbert County Deed Book D: 78. (3) December 1803 deed, Lewis Moseley sold 100 acres on Falling Creek that had formerly belonged to James Huff. Michal Martin Farmer, Elbert County, Georgia Deed Books K-R 1806 – 1819 (Dallas:  Farmer Genealogy Co., 1997), abstract of Elbert Co. Deed Book K: 9. (4) November 1808 deed, Henry Moseley to Abner McGehee, 1,000 acres on Falling Creek which was part of three surveys, two of which were originally granted to George Martin and the other to Archer Skinner. Id., abstract of Elbert Co. Deed Book M: 87.

 

Martin & Buckley, Part 4: Claiborne Martin’s Wife Frances

A friend and very distant cousin told me gently that stories about research don’t generate much enthusiasm. In her experience, people are more interested in essays/articles that tell a story. Another friend and cousin, Bill Lindsey, writes a blog featuring great stories about his family.  I’m green with envy.

I have two problems writing stories about my ancestors, having already used the one about “love at first sight during the Civil War.”  First, my family of origin had no oral history worth a hill of beans. The Rankins only talked about who had died, or whose gall bladder had been removed, or “race relations.” They were, to a man and woman, horrible bigots. The Burkes talked mostly about each other, including who was not speaking to whom. Also, a couple of the Burkes were famous as  tellers of tall tales, to put it in the best light possible. The result is that I only have a few good family stories, and some are unprintable because they would get me in hot water with my first cousins.

The second problem is that I want to focus in this blog on (1) errors in the conventional wisdom (here’s an example about a Rankin myth), (2) information that hasn’t yet been made widely available (e.g., a newspaper notice and lawsuit identifying a bunch of Burkes), (3) information of any sort about the Rankin family, and (4) family connections that appear to be new news (such as Eleanor “Ellen” Rankin’s family of origin).

Claiborne Martin’s wife Frances falls into the last category. I did a search on Ancestry.com family trees using a few established facts: Claiborne Martin, born about 1767 in North Carolina, died 1851 in Perry Co., AL, lived in Oglethorpe Co., GA, wife’s name Frances.

That search returned only three Ancestry trees that included Claiborne’s family. They identified his wife as (1) Sarah Ford, (2) Frances Oakes?, and (3) Frances Oakes. The latter two get a “close, but no cigar” award. Although Clay’s wife Frances was not née Oakes, two of his daughters, Haney and Amy, married brothers named Oakes. See also Claiborne Martin at WikiTree. That website doesn’t identify either Clay’s wife or parents and names only two of his eleven children.

Hmmmm … I just realized I am avoiding writing about Frances Martin’s family of origin. There is good cause for my reluctance. Identifying her family was a difficult search that lurched willy-nilly among geographic locations and time frames, going clear around the block several times. Research rarely takes a straight line, especially when one makes rookie mistakes as I did in this case. And, after all that, my conclusions about Frances Martin’s family are supported only by a complicated web of circumstantial evidence.

The only way I know how to write about the evidence with even a modicum of clarity is to follow the path my research took. I fear it will bore many people to tears.

Instead, let’s just jump straight to the bottom line. If you want to sift through the evidence I’ve got and decide for yourself whether it is sufficient to prove Frances Martin’s family of origin, please read on after this short chart.

1 William Buckley Sr., b. circa 1715, VA?, d. 1789, Loudoun VA. Wife unproved, probably Elizabeth Fryer/Fryor, d/o John Fryer.

2 William Buckley Jr., b. circa 1745, VA, d. 1780, Loudoun VA.  Wife Amey MNU, dates of birth and death unproved. She m. #2 James Huff.

Sarah/Sally Buckley, b. 1770 – 1780, Loudoun VA, d. 1863, Oglethorpe GA. Married Gibson Martin in 1800, Oglethorpe GA.

3 Frances Buckley, b. abt. 1775, Loudoun VA, d. 1865, Perry AL. Married Claiborne Martin abt. 1794, Elbert GA?

Ann Buckley, b. abt 1775, Loudoun VA, d. abt. 1801, Elbert GA. Married Elijah Moseley.

3 Elijah Buckley, b. 1779, Loudoun VA, d. 1855, Jasper MS. Wife Nancy MNU.

Those are the “short answers.” Now, if you wish, let’s wade through the research trail. (Much more fun than the bare facts, right?)

We’ll begin in Oglethorpe County, GA with three facts pertinent to Frances Martin’s maiden name. First, Frances and Clay named their eldest son William Buckley Martin.[1] Buckley immediately becomes a favorite for Frances’s maiden name, with William a strong possibility for her father’s given name. Second, Clay’s brother Gibson married Sally (Sarah) Buckley in Oglethorpe County in 1800.[2] Third, both Sally Buckley Martin and Frances Martin were born in Virginia in the 1770s.[3]

In my rookie ignorance, I figured all I had to do was sort out the Oglethorpe Buckleys around the turn of the century and I would nab Frances Martin’s family of origin. Piece of cake. Hahahaha …

One small problem: there were no Buckleys in Oglethorpe about that time. No Buckleys in either the 1800 census, the tax lists from 1796 through 1820, or the deed records from 1794 through 1820. Also, the marriage bond of Sally Buckley and Gibson Martin is the sole mention of any Buckley, male or female, in the Oglethorpe County marriage records from 1795 through 1852.

The absence of Oglethorpe Buckleys seems peculiar, because Georgia marriages were usually recorded in the county where the bride resided.[4] Gibson’s bride Sally Buckley almost certainly lived in Oglethorpe in September 1800. But there were no Buckleys living in Oglethorpe in 1800.

I concluded that the family with whom Sally Buckley was living in September 1800 was not named Buckley. Either that, or she parachuted into Oglethorpe County from Mars. Looking for a family “not named Buckley” has some serious limitations as a research theory, though (as does the parachute notion). Had I not been a rank rookie when I did this research, I would have looked for Buckleys in Elbert and Wilkes Counties, even though Sally was probably living with an Oglethorpe family in 1800. Think county formation, Robin … Oglethorpe and Elbert were both created from Wilkes! Instead, I went back to Perry Co., AL, where Claiborne and Frances Martin moved circa 1820.

Forgetting about county formation history has tripped me up more than once.

Happily, there were enough Buckleys in Perry County to provide grist for the research mill. The patriarch was Elijah Buckley, who was listed in the age 50 to 60 category in the 1830 census, born between 1770 and 1780.[5] A later census says he was born about 1779.[6] His birth year indicates he belongs to the same generation as Frances Martin (born about 1775), and Gibson Martin’s wife Sarah/Sally Buckley Martin (born during the 1770s).

Perry County family names suggest a relationship between Elijah Buckley and the Martins. In January 1832, Archibald (sic, Archer) Buckley filed a bond as administrator of William Buckley, deceased.[7] Archer was Elijah’s son.[8] Archer’s securities on his administrator’s bond included Martin M. Buckley – another son of Elijah’s.[9] The dead William Buckley was almost certainly another son of Elijah. Thus, Elijah Buckley likely had sons William, Archer, and Martin Buckley. Dizzying, isn’t it? Men named William Buckley Martin (son of Frances and Clay) and Martin M. Buckley (son of Elijah) both lived in Perry County.

The Buckleys appeared consistently in Perry County records until about the mid 1840s, then disappeared.[10] I searched for familiar Buckley names in other Alabama counties in 1850, then headed west when Alabama didn’t pan out. I didn’t have to go very far. The 1850 census for Jasper County, Mississippi has entries for Elijah and his son Archer, as well as Joseph E. Buckley and Benjamin M. Buckley (two other sons).[11]

The 1850 census listed the name of every member of a household and each person’s age and state of birth – the first federal census to do so. The 1850 Jasper County census has two nuggets. First, Archer Buckley, age 43 in 1850, was born in Georgia about 1807. (Oops … so there were Buckleys somewhere in Georgia around the turn of the century!) Second, the entry for Elijah Buckley, age 71, says he was born in Virginia.[12]

Belatedly, I searched for Buckleys in Georgia counties other than Oglethorpe, where Sally Buckley married Gibson Martin in 1800. I must blush. There was Elijah Buckley, big as Dallas, in Elbert County. That is where George, David, Claiborne and William Martin had first appeared. In 1801, Elijah bought land in Elbert County on Falling Creek.[13] More blushing. As you know, that is the creek where the Martins lived.[14]

Goodness gracious sakes alive, as they say in Claiborne Parish, LA! Not only were Elijah Buckley, Sally/Sarah Buckley Martin, and Frances Martin all born in Virginia, they were all born during the same decade. And the Martins and Buckleys both lived on Falling Creek in Elbert County, Georgia before the families of Elijah Buckley and Frances Martin migrated to Alabama. Do you think those three were Buckley siblings?

I am reminded of a “Magic 8 Ball” toy I once had. It was a black plastic sphere with a round, flat piece of glass about 1 ½” in diameter on the bottom. There was an “8″ in a white circle on the top, like the eight ball in pool. The ball was filled with liquid. Floating in the liquid was a multifaceted solid, each face of which was a small white triangle. Each face contained a terse little saying. Here’s how it worked: one “asked” the Magic 8 Ball a question, then turned it upside down and read the triangular “answer” facet that floated up to appear in the glass circle.

My all-time favorite answer was “all signs point to yes.” Delicious. Not unequivocally affirmative, just very, very encouraging – suggesting a positive answer, but with an air of uncertainty. (Consequently, it was always right, no matter what the answer turned out to be). I asked it earth-shaking questions such as, “is Walt going to ask me for a date?”

If I still had that Magic 8 Ball, and asked it whether Frances Martin, Elijah Buckley and Sarah (“Sally”) Buckley Martin were siblings, it would undoubtedly respond with that exact phrase – qualified, perhaps, with “so far.” However, we need more evidence. Lots of people were born in Virginia in the 1770s – although, frankly, most of them did not wind up living on the same obscure little creek in northeast Georgia near the end of that century.

That’s enough for this installment, even for those of you who like to evaluate evidence. We will pick up the search for Frances (Buckley?) Martin’s family of origin in the northern neck of Virginia near a little creek known as Bull Run.

See you on down the road.

[1]FHL Film 1,578,227, Perry County Deed Book B: 56, deed of 8 Sep 1830, Claiborn Martin to Buckley Martin, his son, for love and affection (gift deed); FHL Film 1,509,297, Perry County, Alabama Probate Records – Lockett, Napoleon to Martin, George M., File #53-022-1069, estate records of Claiborne Martin (hereafter “Martin Estate Records”), record of distribution to William B. Martinand other heirs.

[2]Fred W. McRee, Jr., Oglethorpe County, Georgia Marriage Records, 1794-1852(Lexington, GA: Historic Oglethorpe County, Inc., 2005), citing Oglethorpe Marriage Book A: 127.

[3]1850 federal census, Oglethorpe Co., GA, listing for Sarah Martin, 70, b. VA, dwl 279; 1850 census, Perry Co., AL, listing for Claiborne Martin, 83, b. NC, and Frances Martin, 74, b. VA, dwl. 61.

[4]Jordan R. Todd, Georgia Marriages, Early to 1800(Bountiful, Utah: 1990, Liahona Research, Inc.). Georgia did not require marriages to be registered in counties until 1804. Prior to that date, counties which did record marriages usually recorded them in the county where the bride resided.

[5]1830 federal census, Perry Co., AL, listing for Elijah Buckley, 01101001-0000001.

[6]1850 federal Census, Jasper Co., MS, listing for Elijah Buckley, age 71.

[7]FHL Film 1,509,046, Perry Co. Estate Papers, “Boyd, Drury S. – Buckley, William,” estate file of William Buckley.

[8]Jasper Co., MS Will Book 1: 2, will of Elijah Buckley Sr. of Jasper Co. proved 5 Jul 1855, naming wife Nancy and “lawful heirs.” Sons M. M. Buckley (Martin M. Buckley) and A. Buckley (Archer), executors. Witnesses J. E. Buckley (Joseph E.) and B. M. Buckley (Benjamin M.).

[9]Id., estate file of William Buckley.

[10]Elijah, Martin M., and Archer Buckley were all enumerated as heads of household in the 1840 census for Perry Co., AL. The last record I found for a Buckley in Perry Co. is a deed of 1 Jan 1845 witnessed by Martin M. Buckley. FHL Film 1,578,229, Perry Co., AL Deed Book G: 745.  By 1850, they were in the census for Jasper Co., MS.

[11]See note 8; see also 1850 federal census, Jasper Co., MS, had listings for Ellijah Buckley, 71, b. VA, Arch Buckley, 43, b. GA, Joseph E. Buckley, 29, b. AL, and Benjamin M. Buckley, 27, b. AL.

[12]Id., Ellijah [sic] Buckley, 71, farmer, b. VA.

[13]Farmer, abstract of Elbert County Deed Book G: 65.

[14]Id.,abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book A: 128, deed of 29 Dec 1792, Joseph Bell & wife Elizabeth to David Martin, all of Elbert Co., £200, 300A in Elbert on both sides Falling Cr., part of 579A granted to George Martin dated 20 Jul 1786.

Martin & Buckley, Part 3: Gibson Martin & sister Sally Martin Herrin, Oglethorpe Co., GA

Gibson Martin is one of four Martin men – William, David, Claiborne (“Clay”) and Gibson – who were most likely sons of George and Elizabeth Martin of Elbert & Oglethorpe Counties, GA. See these links for prior articles about Clay,  David, and William Now it’s Gibson’s turn.

His first appearance in the records was when he witnessed a 1799 Oglethorpe deed from George to Clay.[1] Gibson was probably George’s youngest son, because he was the grantee in the last of George’s deeds and he received the home place – a 175-acre tract on Big Creek.[2]

In 1800, Gibson both acquired the home tract and got married. There were two Martin marriage bonds in Oglethorpe dated September 22, 1800: one for Gibson Martin and Sally Buckley, and another for Sally Martin and Elisha Hernie, sic, Elisha Herrin.[3] Is that a coincidence, two Martin marriage bonds on the same day? Seems improbable. It is more likely that there was a double wedding involving two Martin siblings. Keep reading …

Beginning in 1800, Gibson paid taxes on the 175-acre tract he bought from George.[4] The last year Gibson paid land taxes was in 1809, the year he died.[5] During 1810 through 1813, the 175-acre tract on Big Creek was listed in the name of Gibson Martin, deceased, with tax paid by Claiborne Martin. Also in 1811, the tax list in that district shows a payment by “Claborn Martin for Elisha Herrin, no poll, 150 acres Big Cr.” Those tax lists are short on explanations, but “no poll” means that there was no taxable male on that tract. This suggests Elisha was either dead, no longer living there, or exempt from tax.

Clay’s tax payment for Elisha Herrin, plus the marriage bonds for Gibson Martin and Sally Martin on the same date, are good circumstantial evidence that Sally Martin Herrin was a sister of Clay and Gibson. I haven’t found a trace of the Herrins after 1811, when Elisha sold the Big Creek tract and Clay paid the tax thereon.[6]

As for Gibson’s 175-acre home tract, it was listed in the name of Sally Martin (nèe Buckley) beginning in 1814.[7] Sally remained in Oglethorpe her entire life, dying there in 1863. She never remarried.[8] Although I found no probate records for either Gibson or Sally Buckley Martin in Oglethorpe, their children are nonetheless conclusively proved – by deeds, of course! They are (1) John, (2) Elijah, (3) Smithfield, (4) Anny or Amey (probably Amy/Amey, although she appears both ways in the original records), and (5) Catherine. All are proved by one deed and confirmed by several others, with assists from two marriage records for the daughters:

  • 29 October 29, 1818 Oglethorpe County marriage bond for Catherine Martin and William Edwards.[9]
  • January 1,1827 deed from grantors Sarah Martin (Gibson’s widow), William W. Edwards, Anny Martin, John Martin, Elijah Martin, and Smithfield Martin, all of Oglethorpe, to Martha Callaway, 15 acres on the waters of Big Cr. All grantors signed.[10]
  • 24 October 24, 1827 Oglethorpe County marriage bond, Amy Martin and Frederick Butler.[11]
  • March 4, 1830 deed, Frederick Butler to John Martin and Elijah Martin, all of Oglethorpe, all of Butler’s interest as an heir of Gibson Martin’s estate in the land where John and Elijah Martin now live.[12] Butler’s interest “as an heir” does not suggest that he was Gibson’s heir – Butler’s wife  was Gibson’s heir but, as a married woman, she had no legal capacity to own property.

Only two of Gibson and Sarah’s five children – John Martin and Amy Martin Butler – stayed in Oglethorpe.[13] Elijah probably left about 1834, after he sold his Oglethorpe land to his brother John.[14] I don’t know where he went, although Lumpkin County, Georgia is a possibility. Catherine Martin and her husband William Wade Edwards were definitely in Lumpkin County by 1835, and appeared there in the 1850 census.[15]

Smithfield Martin married an Elizabeth Martin (I don’t know who her parents were) in 1825 in Oglethorpe County. They were in Walton County, Georgia by 1830, and then appeared in the 1840 census in Coweta County.[16]

So … what do you think? Is there enough evidence to justify concluding that Gibson was a son of George and Elizabeth Martin and a brother of Claiborne, David, and William Martin and Sally Martin Herrin? Summing it up: George and Elizabeth sold Gibson the plantation where they lived, reserving the right to remain there for life; Gibson Martin and Sally Martin obtained marriage bonds on the same day; Gibson witnessed the conveyance in which Clay acquired his tract from George; Claiborne paid the tax on Gibson’s tract for several years after Gibson died and on Sally Martin Herrin’s tract once; David and William, proved brothers, both owned tracts on Big Creek adjacent to the other Martins; and David also acquired his land from George. Deeds involving the Martin tracts on Big Creek involve all five Martin men as parties, witnesses, and/or adjacent landowners.

Ordinarily, the fact that Clay paid property tax on behalf of Gibson’s estate would be enough by itself to justify concluding that Clay and Gibson were brothers. In this case, though, there is a complicating factor: Gibson’s wife Sally Buckley Martin, and Clay’s wife Frances, were almost certainly sisters. Please stay tuned … that’s coming in the next installment.

First, though, there is one more possible child of George and Elizabeth: Clara Martin Skinner of Wilkes and Elbert counties, Georgia, wife of Archer Skinner. The evidence is all circumstantial. It consists of family names, connections in the deed records, and migration patterns. IMO, it’s sufficient to consider Clara a proved sibling of the William, David, Clay and Gibson.

Here are the Elbert and Wilkes County deed and tax records establishing the Martin-Skinner connection:

  • Archer Skinner witnessed the 1792 conveyance of George Martin’s former tract to David Martin.[17]
  • Archer Skinner and his wife Clary of Wilkes Co., GA conveyed land to Joseph Bell of Elbert in the 1792 deed witnessed by David Martin.[18]
  • David Martin acquired land in Wilkes County from Lewis Clark in a 1792 deed witnessed by Archer Skinner and Matthew Huff (more on the Huffs later).[19]
  • David Martin and his wife Alcy exchanged land in 1792 with Archer Skinner, who obtained land in Wilkes County in the exchange; David acquired land in Elbert County. Claiborne Martin witnessed the deed.[20]
  • The 1787 tax list for Wilkes County, Georgia, Captain Clark’s District, included George Martin, David Martin and Archer Skinner.[21] In the 1792 tax list, David Martin was listed adjacent Archer.[22]

Finally, there is Archer Skinner’s Elbert County 1813 will naming his wife Clary and “all my children,” a lazy phrase that makes me grind my teeth.[23] Archer’s will expressly named only his sons James Skinner, Morris Skinner and George Martin Skinner. Two of the proved Skinner children – James and George M. Skinner – turned up later in Dallas and Perry counties Alabama along with their likely siblings Claiborne Skinner, William G. Skinner, and Clara Skinner.[24] At least Claiborne Skinner was definitely born in Georgia.[25]

Hitting the highlights: the evidence that Clary Skinner was George Martin’s daughter and Clay’s sister includes (1) the names of Clary’s sons Claiborne and George Martin Skinner, (2) the multiple Skinner/Martin connections in the deed records, (3) the fact that some of the Skinners migrated to the same area as Claiborne, and (4) the fact that Claiborne and Frances Martin named one of their daughters Clara. That is certainly not conclusive, but is a nice web of circumstantial evidence.

And this concludes the likely children (so far as I have found, that is) of George Martin and his wife Elizabeth of Oglethorpe County:

  1. David Martin, who married Alay Unknown and died in Baldwin County, five children;
  2. William Martin, who died without children in Baldwin County;
  3. Claiborne Martin and wife Frances of Oglethorpe, Georgia and Perry, Alabama, eleven proved children;
  4. Gibson Martin and wife Sarah Buckley of Oglethorpe County, five proved children;
  5. Sarah Martin and husband Elisha Herrin of Oglethorpe County; and
  6. Clary/Clara Martin and husband Archer Skinner of Elbert County, Georgia (3 proved and six likely children).

Next, on to Claiborne’s wife Frances, and a trip back to the Northern Neck of Virginia. See you on down the road.

*  *   *   *  *   *   *  *   *   *

[1]FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe Deed Book C: 434, deed of 15 Aug 1799 from George Martin to Claybourne Martin, 147 acres.

[2]FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe Deed Book D: 5, deed of 29 Jan 1800 from George Martin to Gibson Martin, 175 acres.

[3]Ingmire, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Marriage Records, marriage bonds dated 22 Sep 1800 for (1) Gibson Martin and Sally Buckley and (2) Sally Martin and Elisha Hernie (sic).

[4]FHL Film 177,698, Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1795-1803, 1805; FHL Film 177,699, Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1806 – 1815.

[5]Historic Oglethorpe Co., Inc., Cemeteries of Oglethorpe County, Georgia (Fernandina Beach, FL: Wolfe Publishing Co., 1995). Gibson’s tombstone reads “Gibson Martin, 10 Sep 1770 – 2 May 1809, grandfather.”

[6]FHL Film 158,675, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books E – G, 1806 – 1812, deed of 14 Feb 1811, Elisha Herren to John Mitchell, both of Oglethorpe, 150 acres on the waters of Big Cr. adjacent Widow Martin and Pope. Deed Book G: 49. Widow Martin might be either Sally Buckley Martin, Gibson’s widow, or Elizabeth Martin, George’s widow.

[7]FHL Film 177,700, Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1816 – 1824.

[8]Historic Oglethorpe, Cemeteries of Oglethorpe County, Georgia, abstract of Sally Buckley Martin’s tombstone: 21 Aug 1770 – 1 Feb 1863, “grandmother.”

[9]Ingmire, Oglethorpe County Marriage Records.

[10]FHL Film 158,687, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books L and M, 1823 – 1823, Deed Book M: 289.

[11]Ingmire, Oglethorpe County Marriage Records.

[12]FHL Film 158,679, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Book N, 1829 – 1834, Deed Book N: 390.

[13]See, e.g., 1850 census, listing for John Martin, 44, dwl 205; Anna Butler, 49, dwl 280; FHL Film 1,894,009, noncupative will of John Martin given on 23 Oct 1863, witnesses included Amy Butler.

[14]FHL Film 158,680, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books O and P, 1834 – 1841, Oglethorpe Deed Book O: 214, deed of 30 Dec 1834, Elijah Martin of Oglethorpe to John Martin of same, $1,000, a tract adj Benjamin Blanton, John Harris, Wilie Pope, Elisha Strong, Benj. Pope and Blanton M. Hill.

[15]Id., Oglethorpe Deed Book O: 212, deed of 26 Oct 1835, William W. Edwards of Lumpkin Co., GA to John Martin of Oglethorpe, $100, Edwards’ claim to “the Martin lot” adjacent Pope, Blanton and others; 1850 census, Lumpkin Co., GA, p. 38, dwl 104, listing for W. W. Edwards, 50, b. GA, Catharine Edwards, 46, b. GA, and Ann Edwards, 25, b. GA.

[16]Id., Oglethorpe DB N: 391, deed of 10 Mar 1830, Smithfield Martin of Walton Co., GA to John & Elijah Martin of Oglethorpe, Smithfield’s interest as an heir of Gibson Martin to land where John & Elijah live, $100. Interestingly, a 14-year-old male named Smithfield Martin was enumerated in the 1880 census in Austin, Travis County, Texas. Smithfield was born in Alabama, and both of his parents were born in Georgia. Odds are that Smithfield of Austin was the grandson of Smithfield Martin of Oglethorpe, Walton & Coweta, Georgia. It is probably possible to connect those dots, I just haven’t tried to do so.

[17]Farmer, abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book A: 128.

[18]Id., abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book A: 50.

[19]Farmer, abstract of Wilkes Co., GA Deed Book OO: 60.

[20]Id., abstract of Wilkes Co., GA Deed Book PP: 1.

[21]Frank Parker Hudson, Wilkes County, Georgia Tax Records, 1785 – 1805, Volume Oneand Volume Two(Atlanta: 1996).

[22]Id.

[23]Grace Gillam Davidson, Georgia DAR, Historical Collections of the Georgia Chapters, Daughters of the American Revolution, Volume III, Records of Elbert County, Georgia(Atlanta: Stein Printing Co., 1930, reprint by Georgia Genealogical Reprints, Vidalia, GA), abstract of Elbert Co., GA Will Book K: 55

[24]Several Skinners appeared in Perry Co., AL along with the Martins, including James and George Martin Skinner, proved sons of Archer and Clara Skinner of Elbert Co. Other Skinners in the Perry Co. records included Claiborne, Clara, and William G. Skinner. Claiborne and William G. Skinner were both born in Georgia and would have “fit” in the 1820 census profile for Clara Skinner in Elbert Co., GA, which included three males not identified in Archer’s will.

[25]Claiborne Skinner was listed as a head of household in the Perry Co. census for 1840, see p. 268 (born 1800 – 1810). In 1850, he was enumerated in Kemper Co., MS, p. 198, dwl 869, listing for Claiborne Skinner, 44, b. GA.