Andrew Willis of Washington Co, MD

A researcher contacted me about an Andrew Willis who died in 1823 in Washington County, Maryland. My contact wondered if we could trace Andrew back to the immigrant John Willis who owned “Wantage” in Dorchester County and died in 1712. The answer is no. Revolutionary war pension files, census records, deeds, and probate filings prove that Washington County Andrew is not related to Wantage John.

Washington County Andrew served as a private in the 5th Regiment of the Maryland Line. While in Washington County he was awarded a pension paid from 31 Mar 1818 through his death on 4 Dec 1823. Beginning in 1825, his pension was paid to his wife Lettie Willis from the date of the last payment to Andrew. In an 1820 court appearance related to his pension, Andrew stated he resided in Washington County, that he was 68 years old (thus born in 1752), was impoverished, and that his wife was old and frail. He stated they lived with a son whom he did not identify.[1]

Census records in Washington County support Andrew’s statements in his pension application.

  • Andrew appears in the county for the first time in the 1800 census. That census lists Andrew heading a household with three other males and three females. The census shows that he and his wife were 26-44 years old and with two sons under 10, one son age 10-15, and two daughters under 10.[2]
  • The 1810 census shows Andrew with the same family members, whose ages track almost perfectly from a decade earlier.[3]
  • As expected from his pension application, Andrew is living with a son at the time of the 1820 census. That census lists Edward Willis as a head of household in the county for the first time. His household contains two men age 26-44 and one over 45, and three females … one 15-25, one 26-44 and one over 45.

The older man and woman in the 1820 census are Andrew Willis and his wife Lettie. The two younger men are their sons Edward and Isaac. The youngest female is their daughter Elizabeth. The woman age 26-44 is Isaac’s wife Nancy LNU.

By 1830, the family has disappeared from Washington County. Andrew died in 1823, Edward died in 1825, Lettie died probably between 1825 and 1829, and the surviving family members moved to Ohio.

A second Revolutionary War benefit application proves Isaac Willis as a son of Andrew. Isaac applies in 1850 for bounty land due Andrew for his service in the war. Isaac files from his home in Ohio on behalf of himself and the other the heirs of Andrew Willis.[4]

Deed and probate records prove Edward died with no wife or children and the name of Isaac’s wife and his sisters. In 1812, Edward purchased a small tract of land on Antietam Creek.[5]I suspect that he became head of household at about that time. He died intestate in 1825 with a very small estate.[6]

In 1829, Edward’s heirs at law sold the Antietam Creek land. The participating heirs included Hezekiah Donaldson and his wife Sarah, Nehemiah Hurley and his wife Elizabeth, and Isaac Willis and his wife Nancy.[7]Since Edward died intestate, his estate would go to any existing wife or children. Absent either, his estate would go to his siblings.

Clearly, Sarah Donaldson, Elizabeth Hurley, and Isaac Willis are Edward’s living sisters and brother. Conversely, anyone not included in the deed is not a sibling. That last point is important in eliminating as Edward’s possible siblings two Willis males who lived concurrently in Washington County. William Willis and Levin Willis who appear in census and deed records of the era are not children of Andrew and Lettie Willis. Likewise, an unnamed son of Andrew and Lettie appears with them in the 1800 and 1810 censuses but is absent from the 1820 census of Edward’s household. I conclude this son has died. If alive, he would have participated in the 1829 sale of land with the other siblings.

In sum, the evidence in Washington County proves the following nuclear family:

  • Andrew Willis       b 1752         d 1823
  • His wife:
  • Lettie LNU Willis  b 1756-65    d likely between 1825-29
  • Their children:
  • Edward Willis       b 1785-90    d 1825
  • Isaac Willis           b 1785-90    d after 1850
  • Sarah Willis          b 1791-94    m in 1818 to Hezekiah Donaldson[8]
  • Son FNU Willis     b 1791-99    d before 1820
  • Elizabeth Willis     b 1800         m between 1820-25 to Nehemiah Hurley
  • Their daughter-in-law:
  • Nancy LNU           b est. 1790   m before 1820 to Isaac Willis

We cannot track this group back to Wantage John Willis even though he had two great-grandsons named Andrew, one in Caroline County and one in Dorchester. The ages of the children in Washington County Andrew’s family disprove any connection to either great-grandson.

Caroline County Andrew

One great-grandson Andrew (the son of Isaac Willis, son of John, Jr.) lived in what became Caroline County. With a father named Isaac, this Caroline County Andrew seems a likely candidate to be the same person as Washington County Andrew, who named one of his sons Isaac. Furthermore, Caroline County Andrew appears in the 1790 census in Caroline and disappears from the county before the 1800 census. Could he have moved to Washington County?

Sure. But records argue against that possibility. The 1783 Tax Assessment shows Caroline County Andrew with no land and a household of one male (himself) and three females. That does not fit the nuclear family above where the male children are older than the girls, and where no child was born before 1785. The 1790 census for Caroline County Andrew also records a family inconsistent with the one shown in Washington County and the Caroline County 1783 Tax List. The 1790 census in Caroline lists Andrew’s household with five males age 16 or older, six males under 16, a total of four total females, and one slave. Arguably, the household could balloon from the 1783 to the 1790 level if another family (or two) moved in with Andrew. Regardless, the numbers don’t match the man who appears a decade later in Washington County with a relatively young family and no slave. I think this rules out Caroline County Andrew.

Dorchester County Andrew

The other great-grandson Andrew (son of John, son of Andrew Willis) lived in Dorchester County. One of Dorchester County Andrew’s brothers (Jarvis Willis) served during the Revolution in the same regiment and at the same time as Washington County Andrew, although in a different company. A logical theory is that after the war these two former soldiers left the Eastern Shore together. Dorchester County Andrew and Jarvis appear in the county in the 1783 Tax Assessment. Andrew has 60 acres of land called Fishers Venture with a household of seven people. Jarvis owns no land and has eight people in his household. And voila! Neither Jarvis nor Andrew appears in the 1790 census in Dorchester.

They both appear to be in Stokes County, North Carolina by 1790. That census lists Jarvis Willis with his family of eight, including two males younger than 16 years and five females. Andrew Willis does not appear in that census but shows up on a tax roll in Stokes County in 1791 with 250 acres of land.[9]By 1793, Andrew shows up on the Stokes County list of “insolvents” owing £5.10 in taxes. Often this meant that the party listed had abandoned their land and left the county.[10]It is possible, though highly unlikely, that Dorchester County Andrew had migrated back to Maryland. However, his family does not match the ages of the Washington County clan. Dorchester County Andrew apparently had six children born before 1783, per that year’s Tax Assessment, while Washington County Andrew had none.

Friendship Regulated Andrew

There is a third Andrew related to a Quaker family that lived near Federalsburg. Thomas Willis gifted 87 ½ acres of a tract called Friendship Regulated in Caroline County to his brother Andrew Willis in 1778.[11]The Tax List of 1783 shows Andrew in possession of that land and with a household of five males and five females. Andrew and his wife Sarah sell the land in 1784 to George Hutton of Sussex County, Delaware and do not appear in Caroline County again.[12]

Conclusion

None of the three men named Andrew Willis in Caroline and Dorchester Counties head a family that matches the size and structure of Washington County Andrew. That issue alone argues strongly that Washington County Andrew is not one of these three men. Additionally, the 1850 letter sent on behalf of Isaac Willis seeking bounty land states that Isaac believes his father was from Kent County. There is another Willis family in Kent that is not related to Wantage John. In sum, the evidence does not support any connection between Washington County Andrew is not descended from Wantage John.

[1]See Pension File S35141

[2]If born in 1752 per his pension application, the census understates Andrew’s age by four years, which is not a serious discrepancy.

[3]Ages of all family members track to the next appropriate age category except for the youngest daughter who remains at age under 10. I suspect she was an infant in 1800 and is actually 10 years old in 1810.

[4]31 Dec 1850 letter from Bennington & Cowan on behalf of Isaac Willis, online at Fold 3 pension file of Andrew Willis.

[5]Washington County, MD Deed Book Y: 439

[6]Washington County, MD Bond Book C: 427 and Administrative Accounts Book 7: 413. Nehemiah Hurley was administrator, Nehemiah Hurley, Hezekiah Donaldson and Isaac Willis were bonded.

[7]Washington County, MD Deed Book KK: 610

[8]Morrow, Dale W., Marriages of Washington County, Maryland, Volume 1, 1799-1830, Traces: Hagerstown, MD, 1977, D64.

[9]Harvey, Iris Moseley, Stokes County, North Carolina Tax List, 1791, Raleigh, NC, 1998, p 11

[10]Harvey, Iris Moseley, Stokes County, North Carolina Tax List, 1793, Raleigh, NC, 1998, p 43

[11]Deed Book GFA: 269

[12]Deed Book GFA: 777

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.

 

Martin & Buckley, Part 2: Who Were Claiborne Martin’s Parents & Siblings?

The Oct. 27, 2018 post on this blog  introduced Claiborne (“Clay”) Martin of North Carolina, Elbert and Oglethorpe Counties, GA, and Perry Co., AL. I promised to address Clay’s family of origin: who were his parents and siblings? Answer: there is no conclusive proof, so far as I know. There is a compelling web of circumstantial evidence. Clay’s parents were probably George and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) Martin of Elbert and Oglethorpe Counties, GA.

Most of the evidence concerning Clay’s family of origin is in the land and tax records. Clay bought his first Oglethorpe tract – 147 acres – from George Martin in 1799.[1] The deed states that both George and Claiborne were then residents of Oglethorpe County. Clay paid real money for it: the tract was not a gift, and it does not recite any family relationship between the parties. The deed does recite that the tract, which was part of an original 538.5-acre grant to a Jesse Sanders, was adjacent to William Martin. Also, a Gibson Martin witnessed the deed. Finally, the 1797 deed in which George Martin acquired the tract states that it was located on the Big Creek of the Oconee River.[2]

Once again, the “follow the land” theory of genealogy produced a goldmine. Just one deed identifies three Martins who were almost certainly Claiborne’s relatives: George, Gibson and William.

George sold additional pieces of his tract at about the same time:

  • In 1798, George sold 125 acres on Big Creek to David Martin. Both George and David were then residents of Oglethorpe.[3]
  • In 1800, George sold to Henry Pope 291 acres on the waters of Big Creek in two separate deeds – tracts of 187 acres and 104 acres.[4]The 187-acre tract was adjacent to Claiborne Martin. The 104-acre tract was adjacent to David Martin, who witnessed the second deed.
  • Also in 1800, George sold Gibson Martin a tract of 175 acres in Oglethorpe.[5] That tract included the plantation where George then lived. The deed provided that George and his wife Elizabeth would retain possession for life. Although the deed did not specify the location, later tax records establish that the tract was on Big Creek and that it was adjacent to Claiborne Martin.[6]

Those deeds are good circumstantial evidence that Clay, George, William, David and Gibson Martin were family of some sort. They had another common characteristic besides the Martin surname. All five of the Martins signed deeds the majority of the time with a mark, as opposed to writing out a full name.[7] That helps distinguish this family from a plethora of more educated Martins in the area, most of whom typically signed a name in full.

There is also an intangible factor lurking in these deeds. George possesses an aura of seniority: he was the grantor in every deed and he reserved possession of the home plantation for life. Moreover, George has evidently sold all of his land in just a little over two years to a group of men who mostly shared his surname. This raises the inference that George didn’t expect to live much longer and was dividing up his estate – presumptively to family members. A reasonable hypothesis is that George Martin was the father of Claiborne, David, William and Gibson. Gibson’s acquisition of the home plantation, where George reserved a right to live for life, is almost conclusive proof of a father-son relationship despite the failure of that deed to recite one.

The next place to look for evidence is the Oglethorpe tax records. The first year I found these Martins on a list was 1799, when David, George and Claiborne appeared in the same district.[8] For some unknown reason, William was not listed, although he evidently owned land there as of George’s 1798 sale of land to Claiborne. Gibson did not yet own any land in 1799.

By 1806 – the first year after 1799 for which there is an extant tax list – George was no longer enumerated.[9] The 1807 Georgia land lottery establishes that he had died by then. Eligible participants from Captain Pope’s district in Oglethorpe included Claiborne, Gibson and Elizabeth Martin. She was identified as a widow.[10] George must have died some time during 1800 through 1805, because he was listed in the 1800 census.[11] David and William were evidently no longer in Oglethorpe.

So … let’s follow the sons. First, where did David and William go? The answer: Baldwin County, Georgia.

David sold his 125 acres on Big Creek to Henry Pope in 1801, including the plantation where he lived.[12] That was apparently all of David’s land in Oglethorpe, and he didn’t appear in any other records in that county. Frequently, family members who disappear like that cannot be found. David was nicely traceable, thanks to his wife’s distinctive name.

Back in Elbert County (where this Martin family lived before they were in Oglethorpe), there was a 1796 deed in which David and Alay Martin conveyed land on Falling Creek.[13] The deed was signed (as is customary in this Martin crowd, with marks) by David (x) Martin and Ala (x) Martin. You have to smile when you see the same name spelled two different ways in the same deed.

What is the evidence that David Martin with wife Alay/Ala of Elbert County is the same man as David Martin of Oglethorpe, who bought a tract from George Martin in 1798?  A sequence of deeds akin to a trail of crumbs, of course:

  • 1789 deed from George Martin and wife Elizabeth to Joseph Bell, all of Wilkes County, 579 acres granted to George Martin in July 1786.[14]
  • 1792 deed from Joseph Bell to David Martin, all of Elbert County, 300 acres in Elbert (which was created from Wilkes in 1790) on both sides of Falling Creek, part of 579 acres granted to George Martin. Archer Skinner– more on him later – was a witness.[15]
  • 1792 deed from David Martin and wife Alcy – a third spelling of her name – of Elbert Co., GA to Archer Skinner of Wilkes Co., an exchange of land in which David and Alcy (Alay/Ala) traded the tract David acquired from Joseph Bell. David signed in full, the only instance of that I have seen in this Martin family. His wife signed with a mark, as Alay (x) Martin. Clabourn [sic] Martin witnessed the deed, his first appearance anywhere in the records, at about age twenty-five.[16]

Here they were, in the period from 1789 through 1792 – George and wife Elizabeth, Clay, and David with wife Alay, Ala or Alcy – linked by Elbert Co. deeds, several years before they appeared in Oglethorpe. A minor aside: Falling Creek is going to be a key link to the Martins’ extended family.

More than a quarter of a century later, Alay and David appeared again, this time in the records of Baldwin County. David had died by then, leaving his wife and children. Alay Martin, widow, and David Martin’s children participated from Baldwin as one entry entitled to two draws in the 1821 Georgia land lottery.[17]

Baldwin County’s records were almost entirely burned to a crisp by William Tecumseh Sherman. Ironically, Baldwin (and not Oglethorpe, where there are excellent surviving records) is where I finally found conclusive proof of some family relationships among these Martins. In Baldwin, the only surviving antebellum county records were those in the office of the probate judge, which miraculously survived Sherman’s conflagration. They included the will of one William Martin, proved in Baldwin County in 1808. William’s will named his brother David Martin as his executor and David’s son John as the only beneficiary.[18]

Because of the loss of Baldwin County records, there is little information about David and even less about William. The best source of information in Baldwin County is contemporary newspapers. Here is the little bit that I know for sure about David Martin …

First, David died between 1813 and 1819 while he was a resident of Baldwin County. He had apparently given up farming, because he owned a public establishment in Milledgeville, according to this charming advertisement in the Georgia Journal in October 1813:[19]

“The subscriber, having taken that well known stand in Milledgeville, formerly occupied by Thomas Dent, intends keeping a House of Entertainment … He can accommodate from fifteen to twenty members of the Legislature in a genteel manner.”  Signed David Martin.

A “house of entertainment” (not what you might think) was a local pub/boarding house where one could eat, drink, and perhaps get a room for the night, much like the so-called “ordinaries” of Virginia. Sherman undoubtedly reduced it to a heap of cinders, too.

David and Alay were married by at least 1796, when she appeared as a party in that Elbert County deed.[20] By 1800, the Oglethorpe County census suggests they had only one child, a son (perhaps John, the beneficiary of his Uncle William’s will), who was then less than age ten, so “circa 1795″ seems a reasonable estimate for a marriage date.[21] When Alay/Aly Martin (over age 45) appeared in the 1820 Baldwin County census, she had five children listed with her: (1) a male born about 1795-1800, (2) and (3) two females born about 1800-1804, (4) a male born 1804-1810, and (5) a female born 1804-1810. [22]

Earlier Wilkes County tax lists provide a clue to David’s age. David made his first appearance anywhere in the records in 1785 as a landowning minor in Wilkes County. In 1787, he appeared again in the Wilkes tax records, still a landowner – but of full legal age.[23] Taken together, those two records suggest that David was born about 1765-66, since Georgia taxed free males at age twenty-one at that time. That birth year, plus a marriage and first child born some time during the 1790s, place David (and therefore his brother William) in the same generation as Claiborne (born 1767) and Gibson (born 1770).

Alay and David’s children had all disappeared from Baldwin by the 1830 census. I don’t know where they went. The only proved child is John. However, a William Martin appeared with Alay among the 1821 land lottery participants from Baldwin, and he is probably another son, named for his father’s brother. If you have a Martin family with Georgia origins and someone named Alay/Aly/Alcy in your line – possibly all nicknames for Alice – you might consider looking at this family. Check out the Martin Family DNA Project for help. I looked at it briefly, but didn’t spot Clay’s line.

As for David’s brother William Martin, there is little information about him other than his 1808 will. His first appearance in the records was in 1798 in Elbert County, witnessing a deed to a tract on the same creek where David Martin owned land.[24] Based on William’s will – a legacy to his nephew John and no one else – he was almost certainly single and childless.

I never found the deeds by which William acquired and disposed of his tract adjacent to Claiborne and George Martin in Oglethorpe. However, his tract on Big Creek was mentioned in Henry Pope’s will and was described as containing 147 acres.[25] The acreage figure strongly suggests that George sold the tract to William, since George sold to Claiborne a tract containing precisely that acreage.

Thanks to William’s will, David’s probable age, and the conveyances of land on Big Creek, I would bet a decent sum that David, William, Claiborne and Gibson Martin were brothers. I would also bet that their parents were George and Elizabeth. Of course, it is always possible that Elizabeth was not George’s first wife and she was not the mother of those men (or not all of them).[26] It is also possible that George was an uncle or other relative rather than their father. But … c’mon, now …

Finally, we haven’t yet followed Gibson Martin, and I’m pretty sure the Martin brothers also have at least one sister waiting in the wings. This is more than enough for now, so let’s save them for the next post.

See you on down the road, friends.

 [1]FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Deed Books C and D, 1798 – 1806, deed of 15 Aug 1799, George Martin to Claybourn Martin, both of Oglethorpe, $225 for 147 acres adjacent William Martin, Mrs. Waters, John Tanner, part of 538.5-acre tract granted Jesse Sanders, then located in Washington Co. Signed George (x) Martin. Thomas Wooten and Gibson Martin, witnesses. Deed Book C: 434.

[2]FHL Film 158,673, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Deed Books A and B, 1794 – 1798, deed of 19 Aug 1797, John Tindall of Columbia Co., GA to George Martin of Washington Co., GA, 538.5 acres on the Big Creek of Oconee Waters, part of Jesse Sanders survey granted 27 Aug 1786. Signed George (x) Martin. Witnesses John Barnett, Jacob Hinton. Deed Book B: 209.

[3]FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe Deed Book C: 420, deed of 20 Nov 1797 from George Martin to David Martin, both of Oglethorpe, $200 for 125 acres on the west side of Big Creek adjacent Miles Hill. Signed George (x) Martin. Witnesses Thomas Wooten, James Thomas, JP.

[4]Id., Oglethorpe Deed Book D: 73, deed of 11 Jan 1800 from George Martin to Henry Pope, both of Oglethorpe, $400 for 187 acres on both forks, waters of Big Cr., adjacent William Patrick, Claybourn Martin and Samuel Waters, part of the Sanders tract; Deed Book D: 74, deed of 28 Jan 1800 from George Martin to Henry Pope for $200 for 104 acres adjacent John Tanner, David Martin, Tindal. Signed George (x) Martin. Witnesses David (x) Martin, Thomas Wooten.

 [5]Id., Deed Book D: 5, deed of 29 Jan 1800 from George Martin to Gibson Martin, both of Oglethorpe, $500 for 175 acres including the plantation where George lives adjacent Hinton, Pope, Tanner and Tindal. George Martin and wife Elizabethto retain possession during their lives. Witnesses Thomas Wooten Jr., Jacob Hinton.

[6]FHL Film 177,699, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Superior Court Tax Digests, 1806 – 1811.

[7]E.g.,FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe Deed Book C: 434.

[8]MariLee Beatty Hageness, 1799 Tax List of Oglethorpe County, Georgia(1995).

[9]FHL Film 177,699, Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1806 – 1811.

[10]Clayton Library microfilm No. R-1047, Oglethorpe County Georgia Land Lottery Eligibles 1807.

[11]There was no administration of George’s estate in Oglethorpe, undoubtedly because he had no significant assets left to administer. He evidently sold all of his land between 1797 and 1800, and he owned no slaves in the 1800 census. In those circumstances, there is virtually no chance that anyone applied to the court for an estate administration, nor would a court order sua sponte that one take place.

 [12]FHL Film 158,674, deed of 20 Feb 1801 from David Martin to Henry Pope for $400, 125 acres on the east fork of Big Cr. including the plantation where Martin now lives, adjacent Henry Pope, Miles Hill. Signed David (x) Martin. Witnesses Charles Bedingfield, Thomas Wooten. Oglethorpe Deed Book D: 75.

[13]Michal Martin Farmer, Elbert County, Georgia Deed Books A – J 1791 – 1806(Dallas: 1997), abstract of Deed Book E: 47.

[14]Michal Martin Farmer, Wilkes County, Georgia Deed Books A – VV 1784 – 1806 (Dallas: Farmer Genealogy Co., 1996), abstract of Deed Book A: 39.

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

[16]Farmer, abstract of Wilkes Co., GA Deed Book PP: 1.

 [17]The Third and Fourth or 1820 and 1821 Land Lotteries of Georgia (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press and Georgia Genealogical Reprints, 1973). A child whose father died was referred to as an orphan, notwithstanding that the child’s mother was still living.

[18]Delwyn Associates, Records of Baldwin County, Georgia (Albany, GA: 1975), abstract of Will Book A: 22.

[19]Fred R. Hartz and Emilie K. Hartz, Genealogical Abstracts from theGeorgia Journal(Milledgeville) Newspaper, 1809 – 1840, Volume One, 1809 – 1818 (Vidalia, GA: 1990).

[20]Farmer, abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book E: 47.

[21]Mary Bondurant Warren, 1800 Census of Oglethorpe County, Georgia (Athens, GA: 1965), listing for David Martin includes, among others, one male < 10.

[22]1820 census for Baldwin Co., GA, p. 39, listing for Aly Martin, 010100-01201, no slaves. Birth years for the children are estimated based on listings for the family in 1800, 1810 and 1820. The 1820 census shows 1 male 16 < 26, probably born 1795 -1800 (since he appeared in the 1800 census), 2 females 16 < 26, but born 1800 -1804 (since they did notappear in 1800), 1 male 10 < 16, born 1804 -1810, and 1 female 10 < 16, born 1804 -1810.

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

 [24]Farmer, abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book E: 105.

[25]Fred W. McRee, Jr., Oglethorpe County, Georgia Abstract of Wills 1794 – 1903 (2002), abstract of Will Book B: 10; FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Deed Books C and D, 1798 – 1806, Deed Book C: 434.

[26]Note that Claiborne and Frances Martin named their first child Elizabeth. Typical English naming patterns suggest that one of the child’s grandmothers had that name. Frances’s mother was named Amy, not Elizabeth. Thus, Claiborne and Frances’s child named Elizabeth is some evidence, although slender, that Claiborne’s mother shared that name.

Martin & Buckley, Part 1: Oglethorpe/Elbert GA, & Perry AL

My ancestor Claiborne (“Clay”) Martin has been a longstanding brick wall. He was born in North Carolina in the latter part of the 18th century. Unfortunately, Martin is a relatively common name in that time and place: the 1790 federal census has 177 Martin heads of household listed in North Carolina. The numbers are daunting.

Frustrated by lack of success, I have abandoned research in NC in favor of writing what I know (or think I know) about Clay and his wife Frances. Here are the two issues this series of posts will address:

  • who were Clay’s siblings and parents?
  • who were the siblings and parents of Clay’s wife Frances?

God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will manage to complete a series of articles addressing these questions before I get diverted onto yet another Rankin rabbit trail. Let’s start with a brief summary of Clay’s life.

He was born in North Carolina about 1767,[1] but had moved to Georgia by at least 1785.[2] Given his relatively young age at the time, it seems likely he moved with family. He was a farmer and a slave owner.[3] He married his wife Frances circa 1794, probably in Elbert County, Georgia.[4] Clay and Frances raised a large family – two sons and nine daughters survived to adulthood – in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, before moving to Perry County, Alabama.[5]

I like Clay, despite his slave ownership, because (among other things) he took care of his extended family. When one of his brothers died in Oglethorpe, Clay paid property taxes on behalf of his brother’s widow for several years.[6] He also paid taxes for a year on behalf of a widowed sister.[7] He stayed out of politics, public life, jail, lawsuits and other controversies. So did his children. He and Frances were married for roughly sixty years, which is no mean feat (said the woman who has been married more than 50 years).[8]

Here is a charming thing about Claiborne and Frances Martin: they had mules named Bill and Cuff and horses named Jimmie and Ned.[9] What are the odds that, 170 years from now, someone will unearth the name of your animals? Only, I’m guessing, if they are preserved in answers to the security questions on your bank account.

Clay is identified in an abstract of Georgia records as a Revolutionary War veteran.[11] That is probably wrong. At first glance, it seems unlikely that Clay served, because he was only fourteen (maybe sixteen, given the margin of error in census age reporting) when the war was mostly over. However, my husband Gary tells me that there were actually soldiers that young.

The evidence is at odds with the abstract, even ignoring the age issue. First, Clay never applied for a Revolutionary War pension, although he would have been eligible under the act of 1828 if he had served for at least nine months – or six months, under the 1832 act.[12] Clay was still alive in 1832, and would presumably have applied had he been eligible. Second, the abstract also names Gibson Martin, Clay’s brother, as a Revolutionary War soldier. Gibson’s grandchildren kindly erected a tombstone for him in Oglethorpe County giving his birth date as September 10, 1770.[13] Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in September 1781, when Gibson was just turning eleven, much too young to have served. If the abstractor erred with respect to Gibson’s war service, he/she was probably also wrong about Clay, since both names purportedly came from the same list found in the office of the Oglethorpe Court of Ordinary. Eventually, I will get a look at that record. I suspect it will be evidence that Clay and Gibson were entitled to draw lots in the Georgia land lottery because their father was a Revolutionary War soldier.

In September 1818, Clay sold his land in Oglethorpe.[14] Some time during the next twelve months, Clay and Frances and a large extended family moved to Alabama. One of Clay’s daughters – my ancestress Amy Martin – married my ancestor Isaac Oakes (also born and raised in Oglethorpe) in Dallas County, Alabama in October 1819.[15] Clay was not listed as a head of household in the 1820 census for Dallas County, and there is no extant 1820 census for Perry County, so the census is no help. It’s a good bet, however, that Amy, age nineteen at the time, didn’t move from Georgia to Alabama without family chaperones.[16] In fact, Claiborne’s father-in-law was definitely in Perry County by 1819.

Once in Perry County, Clay farmed and cared for family. He gave his eldest son a gift of land, provided for his children and grandchildren in his will, and took care of his widowed daughter Sarah and other family members.[17] The Martins apparently never got to enjoy an empty nest. In 1850, when Clay was 83 and Frances was 74, they had seventeen-year-old and fourteen-year-old girls living with them (children of their widowed daughter, Sarah Martin Crow).[18] In the 1840 census, there were six children under the age of fifteen and several young adults in Frances and Clay’s household.[19] So far as I can determine, their own youngest child was born in the middle 1820s at the  latest, and was married before the 1840 census.[20] Consequently, the six kids living with the Martins in 1840 likely qualified as extended family, probably grandchildren. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Clay died in Perry County about September 1853, leaving a decent estate that generated a huge probate file.[21] Those documents conclusively prove his wife Frances, the identities of children and some of their spouses, and quite a few grandchildren.[22] The moral: in genealogy, as with everything else in this life, it pays to come from a family that is moderately well-to-do.

Here are Claiborne and Frances Martin’s children and their spouses, all proved in Clay’s will and/or in Perry County estate files.

  • Elizabeth Martin,vb. abt 1794 Oglethorpe, d. by 1851, Perry, m. Theodoric Oliver 1820, Dallas AL. Two children.
  • Haney Martin, b. abt 1796 Oglethorpe, d. after 1880, Perry, m. Thomas Oakes (1785-1857) in 1816, Oglethorpe. One child, Lucy Oakes
  • Fanny Martin, b. abt. 1798 Oglethorpe, d. 1860-70, Union Par. LA, m. John Smith 1814 Oglethorpe. Six sons.
  • Amy Martin, b. 1800 Oglethorpe, d. 1865 Claiborne Par. LA, m. Isaac Oakes (b. 1797 Oglethorpe d. 1885 Claiborne) 1819, Dallas Co. AL. Ten children: Elizabeth, Elijah Moseley, Haney, Washington Lafayette, Reuben M., Susan, Isaac C., Lucy Frances, Nancy Wisdom, and John L. Oakes.
  • Frances Martin, b. bet. 1800-1810 Oglethorpe, d. bef. 1865, m. David Chandler 1827 Perry Co. 6 children.
  • William Buckley Martin, b. abt. 1806 Oglethorpe, m. Susan A. MNU. Probably 10 children.
  • Sarah A. martin, b. abt. 1807 Oglethorpe m. Silas Harlan Crow 1827, Perry AL. Children Mary Frances, Silas H. and Isaac M. Crow.
  • Clara Martin, b. abt 1812 Oglethorpe d. aft 1880 m. John J. Hunter 1830 Perry AL. 8 children.
  • Lucinda “Lucy” Martin, b. abt 1812 Oglethorpe d. bet. 1860-70 Perry, m. Jesse Suttle 1831 Perry AL. Eleven Children.
  • Claiborne Jackson Martin, b. 1815 Oglethorpe d. 1892 Freestone Co., TX, m. Elizabeth b. Kelly (1818-1903) 1837 Perry AL. Five children.
  • Malinda Martin, b. abt 1823 Perry d. 1853-56 Perry, m. Zachariah Chandler 1839 Perry AL. Seven children.

Frances Martin died in Perry County in 1865, about age ninety.[23] By my count, the Martins had 69 grandchildren. I may have missed some. She and Clay were undoubtedly both buried in Perry Co., probably on their own farm. Their tombstones, if there were any, have long since either been reclaimed by the land or swiped by someone who collects that sort of thing.

That will have to remain a mystery. There is NO WAY I am wandering around any more woodsy cemeteries in Perry County looking for ancestors’ tombstones. Gary and I did that during a genealogy trip in August 2007, and we learned a very, very hard lesson about Alabama chiggers.

That is pretty much everything I know about Clay’s life, other than some facts relevant to identifying his family. I will save those for subsequent posts in this series.

See you on down the road. It’s kind of nice to let the Rankins be for a while.

*   *   *   *   *   *   

 [1]1850 federal census, Perry Co., AL, Radfordsville, dwl 61, listing for Claiborne Martin, 83, b. NC, farmer, Frances Martin, 74, b. VA, Sarah Crow, 43, b. GA (neé Martin), and Sarah’s two daughters.

[2]Clay first appeared in the records in a Wilkes Co., GA deed of 28 Dec 1792, when he was about twenty-five (see note 1). Michal Martin Farmer, Wilkes County, Georgia Deed Books A – VV 1784 – 1806(Dallas: Farmer Genealogy Co., 1996), abstract of Deed Book PP: 1, deed from David Martin and wife Alcy of Elbert Co., GA to Archer Skinner of Wilkes Co., witnessed by Clabourn Martin. David Martin had been appearing in the Wilkes County records since 1785. Assuming that David was Clay’s brother, which is highly likely (more on that later), it is reasonable to assume that Clay had alsobeen around Georgia since at least 1785.

[3]E.g.,1840 federal census, Perry Co., AL, p. 250, Claiborne Martin enumerated with five slaves; 1850 federal census, slave schedule, Perry Co., AL, Radfordville, Claiborne Martin listed with twelve slaves.

[4]The Martins’ marriage date of 1794 is a rough estimate based on Frances’s birth date (1775 or 1776 according to the 1860 or 1850 census) and the births of their children, three of whom were born during the 1790s. Seenote 1 (1850 federal census); 1860 federal census, Perry Co., AL, p. 633, dwl 22, listing for Frances Martin, 85, b. VA; Mary Bondurant Warren,1800 Census of Oglethorpe County, Georgia(Athens, GA: 1965), Claiborne Martin enumerated with three females under age ten in his household. Clay and Frances were likely married in Elbert Co., because that is where both lived when they married.

[5]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”). The file, which I copied in its entirety and have transcribed, contains numerous documents identifying Clay’s children and heirs. Documents include Clay’s will, depositions, and several accounts of the estate distribution. Clay and Frances left Oglethorpe for Perry Co. about 1818.

[6]FHL Film 177,699, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Tax Digests, 1806 – 1815. Claiborne paid county land  taxes on behalf of Gibson Martin, deceased, or his widow Sarah/Sally Martin, during 1810 through 1816.

[7]Id.Claiborne paid land tax on behalf of Elisha Herrin (whose wife Sally was neé Martin) in 1811.

 [8]Clay and Frances were probably married circa 1794, see note 4. Clay’s will was recorded on 12 Sep 1853, and he probably died shortly before that date. Martin Estate Records.

[9]Martin Estate Records, appraisal dated 8 Sep 1865 of the personal property of the estate of Claibourn [sic] Martin, taken after Frances died. Per her husband’s will, Frances owned only a life estate in their property. That ownership interest terminated when she died. As a result, the estate remaining after her death was administered as part of Claiborne’s estate, even though Frances died about twelve years after Claiborne. The remaining estate was therefore disposed of in accordance with the terms of Claiborne’s will.

[10]Marie De Lamar & Elisabeth Rothstein, The Reconstructed 1790 Census of Georgia(Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1989).

[11]Rev. Silas Emmett Lucas, Some Georgia County Records Vol. 7(Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1993) at p. 465, from a list dated 1 Feb 1804, “Names of Revolutionary Soldiers who drew Land Lots, found of record in the Ordinary’s Office of Oglethorpe County, Georgia.”

[12]The 1828 act did not require the applicant to prove he was indigent, as had the previous pension legislation. W. T. R. Saffell, Records of the Revolutionary War(Baltimore: Clearfield Company, Inc., originally published 1894; reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1969).

[13]Historic Oglethorpe Co., Inc., Cemeteries of Oglethorpe County, Georgia(Fernandina Beach, FL: Wolfe Publishing Co., 1995).

 [14]FHL Film 158,677, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books J and K, 1818 – 1823, deed of 18 Sep 1818 from Claborn [sic] Martin of Oglethorpe to John McCleath, 170 acres on the waters of Big Creek, Deed Book J: 154. Clay’s last appearance on the Oglethorpe County tax list was also in 1818. FHL Film 177,700,  Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1816 – 1824.

[15]Family Adventures, Early Alabama Marriages 1813 – 1850(San Antonio: 1991), 18 Oct 1819 bond, Isaac Okes [sic, Oakes] and Anna [sic, Amy] Martin, Dallas Co., AL.

[16]The first Alabama record I found for Clay was a May 1822 order in the court minute book appointing him to a jury to lay out a road. Original of Perry County Record Book 1826 – 1840 at p. 29, viewed at the Perry County courthouse in August 2007. Note that the title of the book suggests that it dates from1826. However, actual entries begin in 1820. Perry County was created 13 Dec 1819.

[17]FHL Film 1,578,227, item 1, Perry County, Alabama Deed Book B (cont’d), deed from Claiborne Martin to his son, Buckley Martin, for love and affection, 158.52 acres. Deed Book B: 56. See also Martin Estate Records and notes 6 and 7.

 [18]1850 federal census, Perry Co., AL.

[19]1840 federal census, Perry Co., AL.

[20]Family Adventures, Early Alabama Marriages 1813 – 1850(San Antonio: 1991), marriage bond of Zachariah M. Chandler and Malinda Martin, 7 Mar 1839.

[21]Martin Estate Records.

[22]See id. Claiborne and Frances’s eleven children were Elizabeth (wife of Theodorick Oliver), Haney (second wife of Thomas Oakes), Fanny (wife of John Smith), my ancestor Amy (wife of Isaac Oakes), Frances (wife of David Chandler), William Buckley Martin (wife Susan LKU), Sarah (wife of Silas H. Crow), Clara (wife of John J. Hunter), Lucinda (wife of Jesse Suttle), Claiborne Jackson Martin (m. Elizabeth Kelly), and Malinda (wife of Zachariah M. Chandler). Isaac and Amy Martin Oakes had a daughter named Haney, my ancestress, who is easy to confuse with her aunt Haney Martin Oakes, wife of Thomas.

[23]Martin Estate Records.

Family History Blog Preferences … and Cantaloupes

Right now, someone out there in the blogosphere is rolling his/her eyes and thinking there cannot possibly be any connection between a melon and family history research. Just keep reading, Mr./Ms. Skeptic.

I recently emailed several friends to ask what kind of articles they want to see from our genealogy blog. The most fun response: “The heck with my ancestors. Right now, all I want is for someone to tell me how to pick out a RIPE cantaloupe. I’m tired of buying melons that are tasteless and too hard to eat with a spoon. I just threw another one in the trash. WAAAAAHHHH!”

Hahahaha … OK, friend, we’ll address that shortly. Meanwhile, we have two genealogy questions. First, what do you want from a family history blog? Are you more inclined to look for general articles, such as the ones we have published about genealogical proof, the Scots-Irish, legal issues relevant to genealogy, or how to identify a second cousin once removed? Perhaps you’d like to see reviews of family history books? Or are you more interested in specific ancestral lines?

This blog has been oriented thus far toward particular families with a few general articles sprinkled in. Here’s the second question: what family line(s) particularly interest you? Check out the list of our ancestral names on the “ABOUT THIS WEBPAGE” link and let us know if any of them pique your interest or if you have another family you’d like to see as the subject of an article.

Many of you know how to contact us directly via email. If not, there is a link on the website for posting comments.

As for the cantaloupe question, I know of several theories, and will bet a small sum there are many, many more (PLEASE let me know if you have a foolproof approach):

  • I saw a woman a few years ago at Houston’s Central Market shaking a cantaloupe while holding it up to her head — first to her right ear, then to her left. Fascinated, I asked her what the hell she was doing. She claimed that she can hear the seeds rattling if a cantaloupe is ripe.  Ummm-hmmmm. I have made a total fool of myself trying that several times while never hearing a blessed thing.
  • Another theory is to look at the white sort of lattice pattern on the rind. The more closely-spaced the lattice pattern, the more ripe it is. Surely this is arrant nonsense.
  • Also: press with your thumb on the end where the cantaloupe was attached to the vine. A ripe cantaloupe theoretically yields a bit to gentle pressure. This at least has some superficial logical appeal. However, they all seem totally unyielding to me.
  • Finally, we have this from the comic strip “Pearls Before Swine:”

Never mind the theory: I consistently buy rock-hard cantaloupes. Gary, on the other hand, picks nothing but winners. He has the same talent with avocados. Go figure. The only reasonable conclusion, IMO, is that men should do all the grocery shopping.

Fortunately, genealogy is far more consistently rewarding, if less nutritional, than cantaloupes. As for genealogists in general, an Alexander cousin likes to say: NOBODY HAS MORE FUN THAN WE DO! So keep on truckin,’ and I’ll see you on down the road.

Senator Lamar Alexander’s Rankin Ancestry

Sissy Wynne, a friend who remembers every piece of genealogical information she has ever seen or heard, tells me that Senator Lamar Alexander’s mother was née Rankin. You will recall that I took issue in yesterday’s post with the Senator’s claim that he is related to two Rankin men who had distinguished careers at Tusculum College. My argument was that the two Tusculum Rankins – Rev. William Bradshaw Rankin and Professor Samuel Thomas Rankin – are descended from two genetically different Rankin family lines. Senator Alexander could reasonably claim a family relationship with one of them. Being related to both might be a little tricky.

For fun, I started tracking the Senator’s Rankin line. It turned out to be a “how to primer” in family history research when the answers simply fall into your lap. The bottom line is that Sen. Alexander shares a common Rankin ancestor with Rev. William Bradshaw Rankin, the first President of Tusculum College. Both the Senator and Rev. William are descended from the John Rankin who died in 1749 in Lancaster Co., PA. I have not found any evidence, however, that the Senator is related to Prof. Samuel Thomas.

Let’s start at the beginning, with the Wikipedia biography for Sen. Alexander. It identifies his mother as Genevra Floreine Rankin Alexander. Thanks to that lovely and ususual name, information on Mrs. Alexander was easy to find. To begin with, Mrs. Alexander’s obituary is posted at a findagrave website. Although the obit does not name her parents, it identifies her maiden name as Rankin and says this:

“Mrs. Alexander was born in Barry County, Mo., on Aug. 14, 1914. Her father, however, was a fifth generation native of Dumplin Valley in East Tennessee’s Jefferson County.”

That’s a lot of good information, leading to the next stop on the research tour: Barry Co., MO. There is a marriage record there for Florence Edens and Reu Raymond Rankin, married on Oct. 22, 1913. Reu Raymond (no, his first name is not a typo) and his young family appeared in the 1920 census in Lee Co., Iowa, and in Harvey Co., Kansas in the 1930 census. The latter census identifies his occupation as “locomotive engineer,” which may be why the family moved around.

In the 1920 census, their first child is listed as “Floreine,” age five, born in Missouri about 1915. In 1930, she is listed as “Florine G.,” age 15. Reu Raymond’s state of birth, and his parents,’ are given in both censuses as Tennessee. Seems a safe bet that we have the right Genevra Floreine Rankin Alexander in these records.

In a stroke of really good research luck, the state of Tennessee issued Reu Raymond Rankin a “delayed certificate of birth.” It says that Reu Raymond Rankin was born Dec. 18, 1886 in Jefferson Co., TN, and that he was a son of James Thomas Rankin and Nancy Jane Webb. Dumplin Valley, of course, is in Jefferson County.

Fortunately, the Jefferson County records are darn good. There is a marriage record there for “J. T. Rankin” and “N. J. Webb” dated Nov. 26, 1877. James Thomas Rankin (1834 – 1901) and Nancy Jane Webb Rankin (1851 – 1918) are both buried in the Hebron Cemetery in Jefferson County. The cemetery is located less than 3,000’ from Dumplin Creek.

Now  … where to go for evidence of James Thomas’s parents? The first time he would appear by name in a census would be 1850, when he was about 16. He was born in September 1834, so he is probably listed as 15 in the census, usually taken earlier in the year. Bingo: there is only one James T. Rankin in the 1850 census for Jefferson County. He is listed in the household of Christopher Rankin, age 40, and Frances Rankin, age 32. James T. is listed as age 15.

It wasn’t until 1880 that the federal census started identifying the relationship between the head of household and individual household members. Consequently, there is no statement in the 1850 census that James T. Rankin was a son of Christopher and Frances Rankin. Most researchers, including me, presume that the head of household is the parent of the children listed therein who have the same surname – until proven otherwise. If you are an attorney, you would call that a rebuttable presumption.

Works for me. Given the family tradition that Floreine Rankin Alexander’s father was a fifth generation native of Dumplin Valley, we are clearly in the midst of the right Rankin line, even if James T. Rankin was Christopher’s nephew rather than his son.

Identifying Christopher’s parents required a bit more luck. Probate records were the place to look, because the census prior to 1850 isn’t much help. There we are: Jefferson County Will Book 2 at page 306 contains the will of Thomas Rankin of Jefferson County. It names his wife Jennett, four daughters, and eight sons, including one Christopher Rankin. He was the only Christopher Rankin of that generation whom I found in Jefferson County, so he is surely the same man as Christopher, father of James Thomas. Christopher inherited part of the home plantation. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that it is only a short distance from his land to the Mt. Horeb Cemetery’s bronze tablet.

That is precisely where we will go for the next bit of evidence. The tablet contains errors, some of which have been corrected in a second bronze tablet installed by Roy Marshall Rankin, another descendant of the Dumplin Valley Rankins. Here, in part, is what the tablet says, with Roy’s corrections added by me in italics:

“Thomas Rankin, 1724-1826 (1812), married Isabel Clendenon of Pennsylvania and settled in that state. Their children were:

  • John 1754-1825 m. Martha Waugh
  • Richard 1756-1827 m. Jennett Steele
  • Samuel 1758-1828 (1834) m. Jane Isabelle Petty
  • William 1760-1834 (1759–1833)m. Sarah Moore.
  • Thomas 1762-1832 m. Jennett Bradshaw 
  • James 1770-1839 m. Massey
  • Jane m. William Gillespie
  • Margaret M. m. Samuel Harris
  • Ann m. Lemuel Lacy
  • Isabel m. Robt. McQuiston
  • Mary m. James Bradshaw (Andrew McQuiston)
  • Nancy m. Samuel White”

Thomas Rankin, the father of all those children, was a son of the John Rankin who died in 1749 in Lancaster Co., PA. As noted above, John Rankin d. 1749 is the ancestor of both Rev. William Bradshaw Rankin, the first President of Tusculum College, and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. The Senator’s outline descendant chart for his Rankin line looks like this:

1 John Rankin d. 1749, Lancaster Co., PA, whose wife is traditionally identified as Mary McElwee.

2 Thomas Rankin (1724-1812) m. Isabel Clendenon.

3 Thomas Rankin (1762-1832) m. Jennett Bradshaw.

4 Christopher Rankin (1809-1881) m. Frances.

5 James Thomas Rankin (1834-1901) m. Nancy Jane Webb

6 Reu Raymond Rankin (1886-1977) m. Florence Edens

7 Genevra Floreine Rankin (1914-2000) m. Andrew Lamar Alexander Sr.

8 Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

As for Sen. Alexander’s claim that he is also related to Tusculum College’s Professor Samuel Thomas Rankin, who was a professor of Latin for 47 years? I have no idea whether that is correct.

See you on down the road …

 

 

 

 

MORE Accomplished Rankins … and a Possibly Confused TN Senator

We’re on a run of accomplished Rankins here, although I promise not to find any royalty in the line! A friend forwarded the October 2018 newsletter he received from Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. The Senator claims some distinguished Rankin relatives. Here is what he had to say in his newsletter:

“Joined Tusculum University to inaugurate their new president, and celebrate their 225th homecoming celebration

I enjoyed my time at Tusculum University yesterday (about Oct. 13, 2018), where I got to participate in the inauguration of their new president, Dr. James Hurley. Dr. Hurley has a lot to offer this university — he knows the territory, has a passion for education and basketball, was the first in his family to graduate from college and became president of that college, and we already know he thinks big. Big dreams include new programs to help the region deal with the opioid epidemic, transitioning from a college to a university and announcing a new College of Optometry. I also got to celebrate Tusculum’s 225th homecoming. Let’s look at Tusculum’s roots. Tusculum was founded two years before Tennessee became a state. There were a lot of Presbyterian pioneers and fighters who came to the area, including Rankin relatives of mine —William B. Rankin, who became president of Tusculum College in 1854, and Thomas Samuel Rankin, who was a professor at Tusculum from 1885 when he graduated until 1931. These pioneers created the first higher education institution in Tennessee. This homecoming was a good reminder that Tusculum has plenty that is unique to celebrate, and it now has the arrival of an experienced, big thinking, new president who dreams of building on the success Tusculum has already had.”

Senator Alexander needs someone to examine his Rankin roots! It is unlikely that he is related to both Rev. William B. Rankin (call him “Rev. William,” since he had a Doctorate of Divinity) and Professor Thomas Samuel Rankin (“Prof. Thomas,” who taught Latin, bless his heart, for 47 years). Here is a link to information about Rev. William published online by Tusculum College.

Rev. William, the first president of Tusculum College, descends from John Rankin who died in Lancaster Co., PA in 1749. The family of John’s son Thomas (whose wife was Isabell Clendenon/Clendennin) wound up in Jefferson Co., TN, where they are memorialized on the famous bronze tablet in Mt. Horeb Cemetery. I’ve written about the tablet, and John d. 1749, here and here. Six descendants of Thomas have done YDNA tests and have joined the Rankin Family DNA Project. They belong to what Rankin Project administrators have designated “Rankin Lineage 2A.” 

Prof. Thomas descends from David Rankin Sr. of Greene Co., TN, who died there in 1802. At least four proved descendants of David Rankin Sr. have done YDNA tests and have joined the Rankin Family DNA Project. They belong to “Lineage 3.”

Rankin Lineage 2A members are not a YDNA match with members of  Lineage 3, of course –or they would all belong to the same lineage. Thus, the only way Sen. Alexander could have been related to both Rev. William and Prof. Thomas would be if someone from Rev. William’s family married someone from Prof. Thomas’s family, and the combined L2A/L3 family is related to the Senator. A good researcher could puzzle it all out in a trice. I didn’t go to the trouble. Sen. Alexander is, after all, a politician, and the cynic in me suspects he was just burnishing his Tusculum resume for the attendees. <grin>

Here are outline descendant charts for both of the Rankin men Sen. Alexander claims as relatives. Part of Rev. William Bradshaw Rankin’s chart is taken from his own S.A.R. application. His ancestry was easy to verify, because this is an extremely well-documented Rankin line. The application says that Rev. William remembered his grandfather talking about the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. And Rev. William said he owned a piece of grapeshot from Yorktown that his grandfather gave to him. I was charmed. I’m tickled to claim him as a distant cousin.

Here is the line of Rev. William, Rankin Lineage 2A:

1 John Rankin, birth date unproved, died 1749 in Lancaster Co., PA. Wife traditionally identified as Mary McElwee; will names his wife as Margaret.

2 Thomas Rankin, abt. 1724 – 1812. Wife Isabella Clendenon (various spellings).

3 William Rankin, 27 Jan 1759 – 13 Dec 1833. Wife Sarah Moore, 21 Jul 1764 – 9 Oct 1850. William was the Revolutionary War soldier whose service was the basis for Rev. William’s S.A.R. application. See Virgil White’s abstract of William’s pension application in the footnote at the end of this sentence.[1] William and Sarah are both buried in the Timber Ridge Cemetery in Greene Co., TN.

4 Anthony Rankin, 1794 – 1872. He married Margaret Gray (1796 – 1863) on 25 Dec 1821 in Washington Co., TN. Both are also buried in the Timber Ridge Cemetery. 25 Dec 1821.

5 Rev. William Bradshaw Rankin, MA, DD, 1825 – 1903. He is buried in the Salem Churchyard at Washington College, Limestone, TN.

And here is the line of Prof. Thomas, Rankin Lineage 3:

1 David Rankin Sr., birth date unproved, d. 1802, Greene Co., TN. Wife’s identity unproved.

2 Robert Rankin, wife Elizabeth Dinwiddie of Greene Co., TN. Possibly married in Campbell Co., VA in 1798.[2] Robert’s Greene Co. will named his son Thomas C. Rankin as an executor.

3 Thomas C. Rankin(30 Mar 1806 – 12 Nov 1851) and Elvira Blackburn (1810-1901). His 1851 will named his son Robert. Thomas and Elvira are both buried in the Mt. Bethel Presbyterian Cemetery in Greene Co.

4 Robert Rankin, b. 25 Mar 1832 – d. 15 Apr 1866, Greene Co., TN. Wife Margaret McGaughey. Married in Greene Co. in 1854.

5 Professor Thomas Samuel Rankin, b. 15 Jun 1858 d. 30 Oct 1938 or 1939, buried Oak Grove Cemetery, Greenville, Greene Co., TN. Tombstone says he was “47 years professor of Latin” and a college trustee, as well as a ruling elder of Mt. Bethel Presbyterian. His first wife was Margaret Folk (1849 – 1887); second wife was Mary Coile (1866 – 1941).

As always, please let me know if you spot any errors or have any questions. Senator Alexander, I welcome your comments!

See you on down the road, friends.

[1]William Rankin, wife Sarah, served in the PA and VA line. Born 27 Jan 1759 “some 5 miles below Carlisle in Cumberland Co., PA.” He lived at Juniata in that county at enlistment. In Jun 1780 he moved with his father to Augusta County, VA and also enlisted there. Soldier married Sarah Moore29 Aug 1787 in Greene Co., TNand she was b. Jul 1763. Soldier d. 13 Dec 1833, widow applied 25 Mar 1844 in Green Co., TN. Children were (1) Thomas b. 13 Jul 1788, (2) Peggy b. 1 Jan 1790, (3) John Moore Rankin b. 10 Apr 1792, (4) Anthony b. 23 Aug 1794 (see Greene Co. TN records for Anthony) (5), Isabel Clindinon Rankin b. 30 Aug 1796, (6) William b. 23 Mar 1799, (7) Ginny b. 17 Nov 1801 and (8) David b. 10 Feb 1804.

[2]The Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy, 1750-1930, Vol. VI(MyFamily.com, Inc., 2006), 849.

So … Is He My Second Cousin or My First Cousin Once Removed???

I’ve been talking to a friend who is a fifth cousin once removed. “How on earth,” she said, “do you determine our relationship?” I mumbled something incoherent about “rules” concerning degrees of consanguinity before concluding it was impossible to explain without visual aids.

Most of you undoubtedly figured out long ago how to tell a fourth cousin from a fifth cousin, and what “once removed” and “twice removed” mean. It took me a while to get to an “AHA!” moment on those issues. If this stuff is old hat for you, please head for this website’s archives and find an article about genealogical proof, or legal concepts in family history research, or the Scots-Irish.  If you have had any trouble calculating consanguinity, please read on.  There WILL be visual aids.

OK, we all know how to identify a first cousin, right? He, or she, is a child of one of your parent’s siblings, and you share a set of grandparents. The chart below shows a pair of Rankin first cousins, Tom and Robert (the green rectangles), grandsons of John Rankin and Emma Brodnax. Please note: John and Emma, my grandparents, are the only real people on the charts in this article. All others are fictional.

Please notice that there is one generation in between the first cousins, Tom and Robert, and their common ancestors, John and Emma.

OK, moving on, let’s add a generation: Chris and Alex, sons of Tom and Robert, respectively – the green rectangles in the chart below. Chris and Alex are second cousins. Note that there are two generations between the second cousins and their common ancestors, John and Emma.

This demonstrates the general rule: the number of generations between the youngest members of the line and their common ancestors equals the degree of consanguinity. Like so …

  • One generation between the youngest & the common ancestors = first cousins
  • Two generations between the youngest & the common ancestors = second cousins

And so on.

“Removed” simply means that one of the cousins has more generations between himself and the common ancestor than does the other. In the chart below, Tom and Alex are first cousins once removed, since Alex is one more generation “removed” from their common ancestors John and Emma.

Simple, oui? Hahahaha … I still have to sketch a little chart in order to figure out distant relationships. Alternatively, I could just enter the family into my family tree software and let it calculate the relationships. But what fun would that be?

See you on down the road. I’ve got a load of Rankins on my mind …