Who Are the Scots-Irish, anyway?

© June 2016 Robin Rankin Willis

Introduction

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

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

Background

First, a bit of Irish political history and geography.

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

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

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

King James is a big star in this narrative.

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

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

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

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

Original settlement of the Ulster Plantation

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

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

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

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

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

The Irish Rebellion of 1641

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

The Irish Rebellion lasted for almost ten years, spreading to other areas of Ireland during the English Civil Wars. It ended when the armies of Oliver Cromwell landed in Ireland and slaughtered the inhabitants of Drogheda and Wexford, Irish Catholic towns on the east coast. Cromwell, apparently an Old Testament kind of guy, evidently still believed in the “eye for an eye” approach.

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

The killing times gave rise to the second large migration of Protestants from their homeland in Scotland to the relatively safe Ulster. Imagine thinking of Ulster as safe, after that 1641 massacre! This second migratory wave took place from about 1663 to 1689, when William and Mary (Protestants) assumed the throne.

Economic troubles

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

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

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

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

1717: the “Great Migration” to the colonies begins

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

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

Most of these migrants settled in the Delaware River Valley, primarily in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Secretary of State expressly invited settlement by new immigrants. The process of elimination probably also played a role. Virginia, where the Anglican Church of England was established, was not attractive. Neither was Maryland, which had an established Roman Catholic church. Land in the Hudson River Valley of New York was owned in great estates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rankins and Alexanders

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Case of the Unhelpful Mutant Marker

by Gary N. Willis

Rapidly mutating DNA markers can be extremely helpful for genetic genealogists. These mutations can identify sublineages that differentiate relatives within only a few generations and can sometimes solve mysteries where there are gaps in the written record. I recently thought I had discovered such a useful mutation. My Y-DNA test results differ from other members of the Maryland Group of the Willis DNA Project at position 439. That location is noted for being rapidly mutating. The genealogical paper trail indicates that seven of the nine members in the Maryland Group descend from Andrew Willis, son of John Willis the immigrant. The other two of us descend from John, Jr., another son of Immigrant John.

If the anomalous marker at 439 originated with John, Jr., it would clearly separate descendants of Andrew from descendants of John. However, the other group member who descends from John, Jr. does not share the anomaly. The mutation must therefore have originated in one of John, Jr.’s descendants rather than John himself. The paper trail shows that the line of the other John, Jr. descendant and my line diverge at Zachariah Willis, a great-great-grandson of Immigrant John. I am descended from Zachariah’s son Henry Fisher Willis, while the other Maryland Group member descends from Zachariah’s son Francis Asbury Willis. The mutation at 439 obviously occurred with Henry Fisher or his descendants, since Francis Asbury’s line lack the mutation.

Mutant Marker Chart

One of my brother’s test results are identical to mine, including the anomaly. The mutated marker at 439 therefore did not begin with my generation. It must have first occurred with one of three men: our father Noble Sensor Willis, his father Henry Noble Willis, or Henry Noble’s father Henry Fisher Willis. This conclusion is illustrated in the Mutant Marker Chart linked above. Unfortunately, this knowledge has limited value because there are so few male descendants of Henry Fisher. Henry Noble Willis was the only son of Henry Fisher, and Noble Sensor was one of only two sons of Henry Noble. The other son of Henry Noble was Harry McMaster Willis who had no sons. Absent actually digging up a dead relative, it is not possible to determine exactly where the mutation occurred. Thankfully, it is not necessary to be more precise. The remaining males in the entire line of Henry Fisher Willis are the three sons of Noble Sensor (my two brothers and I), plus our five sons and four grandsons. We should all share the mutant marker. No mysteries to be solved there.

Had the mutation occurred with Zachariah rather than further down the line, it would have been extremely useful in identifying kin. Zachariah had a number of sons including some who left the Eastern Shore of Maryland to establish families elsewhere in the country.

(For more information on this family, see “The John Willis Family of Dorchester and Caroline Counties, Maryland” and “The John Willis Family … The Second Generation” recently posted on this site.)

The John Willis Family … The Second Generation

by Gary N. Willis

An earlier article on this site concluded that John Willis, the Court Cryer of Dorchester County Court and owner of “Wantage” several miles from Cambridge, had six children at the time of his death in 1712. He made a will on 18 September 1712 and died soon thereafter.[1] In his will, John devised or bequeathed the following to his children:

  1. To son William and his heirs, all of John’s land and a mare, a cow, three yearlings, and a frying pan;
  2. To daughter Grace, 2 cows, three yearlings, a young horse, bed & furniture, and his “Great Chest”, and all of John’s land if William died without issue;
  3. To daughter Elizabeth, a mare and colt; and
  4. To son John, 12 pence.

The will named four children … William, Grace, Elizabeth and John. Probate records prove an additional son, Andrew,[2] and circumstantial evidence points to a fourth son named Thomas.

Assigning accurate dates of birth to the children is difficult. Andrew was born about 1690 based on his testimony in a 1730 deposition.[3] Another deposition proves John Jr. was the eldest son.[4] A third deposition establishes that William was born between 1694 and 1700.[5] Grace was named before Elizabeth in the 1712 will, suggesting she might be the elder of the two. It is unclear whether Thomas was older than William. I suspect William was the youngest child. It was not uncommon for the youngest son, the last to leave the household, to serve as a caregiver for aging or ill parents. Such service would put him in good stead with regard to inheritance. The same is true of unmarried daughters who remained in their parents’ household.

Although establishing a birth order is not necessary to this discussion, it provides a picture of the family consistent with the known facts. A feasible order of birth satisfying that criterion is:

1689 – John, Jr.                     1690 – Andrew

1692 – Thomas                        1694 – William

1696 – Grace                           1698 – Elizabeth

Records indicate that of these children, only John and Andrew had offspring. This article discusses the four siblings who had no children before turning to John and Andrew.

Elizabeth Willis

Beyond the 1712 will there is no further mention of an Elizabeth Willis in the Dorchester County records in the early 1700’s. However, one item of interest is a corrected interpretation of her name. Several abstracters have called this daughter Eliza, but a close review of the Dorchester Will Book entry suggests otherwise. The hand-written record shows the letters “Eliz,” followed by a colon, and then followed by a superscript that appears to be “th.” I interpret this writing as shorthand for Elizabeth, not Eliza.

Thomas and Grace Willis

A Thomas Wallis [Willis] bought 50 acres of land from John Sharpe in 1717 on Marshy Creek. This land was half of a 100-acre tract called “Sharp’s Prosperity” that Sharpe patented a year earlier.[6] Thomas’s purchase adjoined the other half of the same tract that Sharpe sold on 10 Mar 1717 to John Willis.[7]

There is no record of a marriage or children for either Thomas or his sister Grace.[8] I speculate that neither brother nor sister married and that they lived under the same roof on the land Thomas bought. Thomas Wallis [Willis] died intestate five years later and a Grace Wallis [Willis] administered his estate.[9] Nothing further is known of Grace, except that she likely died before 1734, based on the sale of Wantage mentioned below.

William Willis

William married Judith (likely Seward/Soward), and they probably lived at Wantage, devised to William by his father in 1712. In 1734, William and Judith sold Wantage to Richard Seward for six pounds. Two weeks earlier, William’s brother John Willis sold the same land to Henry Ennalls for 20 shillings.[10] It is unclear from the extant records how John and William could both sell that same land to different people. The de minimis price paid to John suggests his transaction may have been to clear the title rather than to sell the land. John had filed a will contest back in 1712, which must have been unsuccessful. Otherwise, John would have been in possession of Wantage rather than William. But, that old suit may have been enough to cloud the title. I speculate that the document missing from the record is a Power of Attorney whereby Henry Ennalls acts on behalf of William to buy any claim John might have to the property. That action would clear the way for William to sell to Seward.

The sale of Wantage also suggests that sister Grace Willis may have died before the date of the transaction. The 1712 will devised the land to Grace if William died without heirs. There is no record of Grace having signed away that conditional interest, which would have descended to her heirs, if any. Two possibilities exist to explain William being able to sell the land without a quitclaim deed from Grace. Either William and Judith had children, or Grace died before 1734 and without issue, extinguishing her potential ownership. In the absence of a quitclaim deed or proof of children of William and Judith, it would be more likely that Grace had died. However, William and Judith likely had at least one son, as we shall see.

Between 1746 and 1752, William and Judith each testified regarding the boundaries of a tract of land located in Casson’s Neck or Ross’s Neck. [11] The so-called Neck Region of Dorchester County is on the north side of Little Choptank River about 10 miles west of Cambridge and 14-15 miles from Wantage. Ross’s Neck lies east of Hudson’s Creek with Casson’s Neck to the west. William and Judith must have lived nearby to give credible testimony about those property boundaries. While there is no record that they bought land in this area, a William Willis is definitely living on Hudson’s Creek at the head of Willis’s Cove.[12] With no evidence of any other Willis family in the vicinity, I conclude that this is the home of William and Judith.

Either the Willis’s deed for that land is lost or they rented the land, possibly from a relative. In that regard, various facts suggest a family connection between Judith and the Sewards. First, William and Judith sold Wantage to Richard Seward. Second, a woman named Mary Seward testified in the 1746 boundary proceeding along with William and Judith. Mary was 68 years old at the time of that deposition and Judith was 50, so Mary was old enough to be Judith’s mother. It is probably not a coincidence that the Willises sold land to a man named Seward, and then, a dozen years later, lived near a woman named Seward. The following records suggest a family connection rather than a coincidence:

  1. In 1669, a tract called “Bridge North” located west of Hodson’s [Hudson’s] Creek was first surveyed.[13]
  2. In 1710, John Seward and his wife Mary conveyed an interest in land called “Bridge North” on Hudson’s Creek to a sister Clare and her husband.[14]
  3. In 1749, Richard Seward administered the estate of John Seward, deceased.[15]
  4. In 1750, widow Mary Soward [Seward] made a will leaving land on Hudson’s Creek to her son Richard Seward.[16] The devised tract was named “Bridgeworth” [“Bridge North.”]

Those facts establish that John and Mary Seward were husband and wife, and they had a son named Richard. Mary named him as a son and executor in her will, and he was administrator of John’s estate. The Sewards owned land west of Hudson’s Creek, which qualified Mary to testify in the boundary dispute. William and Judith sold Wantage to Richard Seward for only £6, a favorable price suggesting a “brother-in-law” deal. Finally, after selling Wantage, William and Judith Willis lived in the vicinity Richard’s parents John and Mary Seward.

One explanation for the Willises’ sale of Wantage and move to the Neck Region might have been to help farm Bridge North and to care for Judith’s parents as they aged. Perhaps to assist in the Willises’ transition, the family arranged for Richard to buy Wantage. At her death, Mary gave Bridge North to Richard, and William and Judith may have lived at the head of Willis’s Cove until they died. In any event, I believe there is enough circumstantial evidence to conclude that Judith who married William Willis was the daughter of John and Mary Seward and the sister of Richard. Richard Seward still possessed Wantage as late as 1755.[17]

Circumstantial evidence also suggests William and Judith had a son. A Thomas Willis gave a deposition in 1784 about the boundaries of Bridge North, owned by William Seward. At the time of that deposition, Thomas was 70 years old, meaning he was born about 1714. He testified that he was shown the boundary markers in about 1754. Therefore, Thomas was definitely the right age to be a son of William and Judith Willis and to have come with them to the Neck Region of Dorchester County as a young man in 1734. If so, he had been a resident of the area for 50 years at the time of his deposition.[18] With no evidence of another Willis family in the area, it is highly likely that Thomas was a son of William and Judith. We can also speculate that Thomas’s parents were deceased by 1784 (they would have been 88 – 90 years old) or they also would have been deposed about the boundaries. Possibly, Thomas was living at the head of Willis’s Cove.

John Willis, Jr.

Even before the death in 1712 of John Willis, Sr., his eldest son John had established a large family. He married Mary (last name unknown) probably by 1702, and they had several children. He was a carpenter and likely also farmed on rented land. Five years after the unsuccessful contest of his father’s will, John Willis, Jr., bought a 50-acre tract of land from John Sharpe on Marshy Creek Branch, about 15 miles from Cambridge upstream on the Choptank River.[19] As noted previously, less than five months later, Sharpe sold an adjoining 50 acres to Thomas Wallis (Willis).[20] In 1723, John expanded his property. That year, John sought a warrant to survey an additional 50 acres that he named “Willis’s Right;” the patent for the land issued in 1726.[21] In 1728, John Willis engaged John Edmondson to build a new house, probably on this new land. A lane from his new home opened onto Marsh Creek Road, which ran westward from Hunting Creek Mill past John’s property.[22]

John eventually discovered that some of his land encroached on earlier surveys. In 1736, he resurveyed Willis’s Right and his half of Sharp’s Prosperity. The resurvey found Willis’s Right ran into an elder tract called “The Plains” to the south and east. Furthermore, Sharps Prosperity ran into an elder tract to the north and east called “Bennett’s Purchase.”[23] About half of Willis’s 50 acres purchased from Sharp fell within the Bennett survey, and a few acres of Willis’s new land overlapped The Plains. The consolidated resurvey compensated for the loss of land to the elder surveys and added some vacant land for a total of 111 acres. The new patent, named “Willis’s Regulation,” included some of the land that now falls within the town of Preston.[24]

John and Mary had at least eight children who were alive in 1764: John, Mary, Judeath [Judith], Elizabeth, Isaac, Richard, Joshua and Dorcas. There is no record of Mary’s death, but she probably died between 1720-1725 based on John’s subsequent marriage and children. After Mary’s death, the senior John Willis married Elizabeth Sharpe, a daughter of his neighbor John Sharpe.[25] John and Elizabeth had two children, a son also named John born in 1731 and a son Jarvis born about 1735.[26]

John Willis’s 1764 will named all of these children.[27] Significantly, his will referred to him as a planter rather than a carpenter. “Planter” most often applied to those who had others working the land for them, and denoted a more elevated status than “carpenter,” “farmer,” or “yeoman.” John’s will left a very small amount of money to the children of his first wife: five shillings to John, Jr. and two shillings, sixpence to each of the other seven. He devised a life estate in his land to his second wife Elizabeth and then to their son John 3rd after her death. Also after her death, John 3rd and Jarvis were to split the remaining personal property.

All the children of his first wife were not only grown but were relatively old by the time John passed away. In effect, he had two families separated by almost a generation in age. Most of these children lived to see the formation in 1774 of Caroline County from parts of Dorchester and Talbot Counties. Some were involved in governance of the new county. Others added land to Willis’s Regulation or established other farms in the region. They also witnessed or took part in the formation of a new country as the Colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and established a new republic.

Andrew Willis

While John, Jr. moved his family north up the Choptank River and further into the county, Andrew initially remained closer to his father’s original land on the headwaters of the Little Blackwater River. Andrew married Jennett Jones, the daughter of neighbor William Jones, who was one of the executors of John, Sr.’s will. The 1718 will of Thomas Ennals and a 1722 land sale both mention Andrew Willis and William Jones as having previously lived on adjacent tracts at head of Shoal Creek.[28] That location is about three miles from Cambridge (near the current Cambridge-Dorchester Airport), and a mile or so from the headwaters of the Little Blackwater River. Those records establish that, prior to 1718, Andrew occupied a 50-acre tract owned by Thomas Ennals called “Ennalls Purchase.” Presumably, Andrew was a tenant farmer. There is no record of Andrew’s family residence for ten years after leaving the Ennals tract. He may have moved to new farmland purchased by his father-in-law, or he may have rented elsewhere. In 1718 and 1719, William Jones bought 250 acres on Cabin Creek, which flows into the Choptank River further upstream of Cambridge and Shoal Creek, but not as far upstream as Marsh Creek where brothers John and Thomas had moved.[29]

Andrew’s and Jennett’s four children were Andrew, William, Thomas and Sarah. Doubtless they named the sons for Andrew and two of his brothers, and daughter Sarah for one of Jennet’s sisters. Jennet died about 1725. William Jones died in 1729 and devised 100 acres of his land on Cabin Creek to his son William, and 150 acres to his daughters Sarah and Elizabeth. He gave 1 shilling each to his four grandchildren by Andrew and Jones’s deceased daughter Jennet.[30]

Shortly after Jennet died, Andrew married Rebecca Goostree, daughter of Richard and Rebecca Goostree. It is unclear where Andrew and Rebecca met. Later generations of the Goostree and Willis families attended Old Trinity Church at Church Creek.[31] It is possible Andrew and Rebecca attended as well and their names are just not in the record. In any event, the couple had three sons, Richard, George and John. Those names honor her father, her brother George, and Andrew’s elder brother and father John. In 1728, Rebecca’s father died, and she inherited half of a 100-acre parcel named “Newtown” near the Great Beaver Dam.[32] I have not located the deed record for Goostree’s acquisition of Newtown. However, land records indicate in 1694 he surveyed 100 acres called “Goostree’s Delight” between Cattail Marsh and Russell Swamp, which he devised to his wife during her lifetime.[33] Current Maryland maps show Russell Swamp and Beaverdam Creek located close together about 12 miles southeast of Cambridge west of State Highway 335. Richard Goostree’s Newtown property was in that vicinity, some 20 miles or more from Cabin Creek.

Within two years after Rebecca inherited the 50 acres from her father, she and Andrew had established their residence on the land. At that time, Andrew patented an adjoining 45 acres named “New Town.”[34] The land office record locates the new 45 acres on the west side of the Blackwater River, east of the Cattail Swamp and adjacent Andrew’s dwelling plantation, presumably the inherited land.

 Andrew Willis, Sr., died in 1738 leaving a will naming his wife and all seven of his children. He devised New Town, divided equally, to his sons Richard and George. If either died without issue, his share would descend to son John. Andrew gave a pewter plate each to Sarah, William, Thomas, Andrew, and John. He left a featherbed and iron pot to Richard. Andrew named his wife Rebecca executrix and left her the residue of the personal estate as long as she was single. If she remarried, the remainder of the personal estate was to be equally divided among Richard, George, and John.[35]

Some of Andrew’s children would expand New Town and occupy the land for almost another 50 years. Some of the children and grandchildren were active supporters of the coming revolution, while at least one opposed it. However, those are all stories for the next generation.

 

[1] Cotton, Jane Baldwin, The Maryland Calendar of Wills, (Baltimore: Kohn & Pollock, 1904, reprinted Westminster, Maryland: Family Line Publications, 1988), IV:23 – The date given in this source for the submission to probate is 24 Nov 1714. This date conflicts with the date John Willis, Jr., filed a protest to the will and the dates of activity in the Perogative Court records. I conclude the correct date for submission to probate is 24 Nov 1712. Dorchester County Will Book 14:12.

[2] Wright, F. Edward, Judgment Records of Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties, (Lewes, DE: Delmarva Roots, 2001), 33, L36A:203, Inventory of John Willis, Dorchester County – £23.14.1 – Appraisers John Kirke, Arthur Smith. Next of Kin: Andrew Willis (son), William Willis (son). FHL 975.2 P28w

[3] McAllister, James A., Jr., Abstracts from the Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 5 (Libers Old No. 7 – Old No. 8), (Cambridge, MD, 1962), V:145. 8 Old 404, 13 Jun-30 Sep 1730 – Commission to John Hodson, Mark Fisher, Thomas Nevett & Henry Ennalls, Jr to perpetuate bounds of Patrick Brawhaun’s land at the head of Blackwater called “Hoggs Island.” Deposition of Andrew Willis, about age 40, regarding the first bounder of “Littleworth” or “Stevens.”

[4] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 9 (Liber Old No. 13: Liber Old No. 14, folios 1-373), (Cambridge, MD, 1963), IX:36, 14 Old 130, 14 Mar 1746 – Deposition of Thomas Pierson, planter of Dorchester County, aged about 60 years, states that John Willis now living in St. Mary’s White Chappel Parish near Hunting Creek was to the best of deponent’s knowledge the eldest son of John Willis who lived on Blackwater River about 4-5 miles from Cambridge, and who was formerly Cryer of Dorchester County Court.

[5]  McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 10 (Liber Old No. 14, folios 374-741), (Cambridge, MD, 1963), X:74. 14 Old 658, 11 Nov 1746 to 27 May 1752, Commission to perpetuate the bounds of John Harrington’s land called “Rosses Range” and “David Ropies”, and Return. Nine men and women give depositions regarding this land on Hobson’s Creek. Among them are William Willis, age about 52; Judah (Judith) Willis, age about 50; and Mary Seward, age 68.

[6] FHL 13080, Maryland Land Office, v. FF 7:23 – Survey Certificate 22 Nov 1716 for 100 acres to John Sharpe called “Sharp’s Prosperity” in Dorchester County beginning at a red oak in the woods on south side of the head of Marshy Creek Branch that issues out of south side of Great Choptank River above Hunting Creek. Beginning at a red oak, then S 13 deg E 80 perches, then S 85 deg E 80 perches, then N 38 deg E 145 p, then N 13 deg W 46 p, then by a straight line to the beginning. Patent issued 6 Aug 1718

[7] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 5 (Libers Old No. 7 – Old No. 8), (Cambridge, MD, 1962), at 23, 7 Old 68, no day or month 1717 – John Sharp of Dorchester Co sold to Thomas Wallis, of the same county, 50 acres, part of “Sharps Prosperity” on south side of the head of Marshy Creek branch out of Great Choptank River above Hunting Creek. Bounded on one side by land sold to John Willis. Wits Jerem? Thomas, J Lookerman. Acknowledged 19 Aug 1718

[8]  The land on Marshy Creek was located within St. Mary’s White Chapel Parish. Unfortunately, the church records for that locale which might prove the marital status of Thomas or Grace do not survive.

[9] Skinner, Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court, XVI:60, 61 and 151. Filings by John Pitts, gentleman, of Dorchester County, bond of Grace Wallis, administratrix of Thomas Wallis, and inventories of the estate of Thomas Wallis, and Skinner, Administration Accounts of the Perogative Court, Libers 1-5, 1718-1724, (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1995), 138. L5:38, Account of Thomas Wallis of Dorchester dated 13 Mar 1723 – Account total £12.17.7, Payments totaled £18.5.2 made to Patrick Mackalister, Mr. Charles Ungle, John Sharp, John Pitt, Edward Billeter, William Edmondson. Administratrix Grace Willis.

[10] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 6 (Liber Old No. 9), (Cambridge, Maryland, 1962), 9 Old 223, 30 Jul 1730 [or 1734], John Willis of Dorchester County, planter, for 20 shillings to Henry Ennalls, of same, gentleman, “Wantage,” 50 acres, originally taken up by John Willis, dec’d, on Blackwater Riv., adjoining “Littleworth.” Signed by mark, John Willis. Witnesses: William Murray, Bw. Ennalls. Acknowledged 30 Jul 1734, and 9 Old 214, 15 Aug 1734, William Willis and wife Judith of Dorchester Co., planter, for 6 pounds to Richard Seward, of same, “Wantage,” 50 acres near head of Blackwater River adjoining “Littleworth.” Signed by marks, William Willis, Judith Willis. Witnesses: Henry Trippe, Cha. Lowndes. Dorchester County Court (Land Records) MSA CE46 10, http://mdlandrec.com

[11] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 10 (Liber Old No. 14, folios 374-741), (Cambridge, MD, 1963), X:74. 14 Old 658, 11 Nov 1746 to 27 May 1752, Commission to perpetuate the bounds of John Harrington’s land called “Rosses Range” and “David Ropies”, and Return. Nine men and women give depositions regarding this land on Hobson’s Creek. Among them are William Willis, age about 52; Judah [Judith] Willis, age about 50; and Mary Seward, age 68.

[12] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 15 (Liber Old No. 19, (Cambridge, MD, 1964). 19 Old 343, 11 Jun 1764, John Taylor Sr. of Dorchester Co, Merchant, to Nicholas MacCubbin of Annapolis, Merchant: ½ of “Rosses Chance” containing 42 A. Also 200 A, being part of “Addition to Rosses Chance” on Hudson’s Creek, laid out to said John Taylor for 400 acres. Also “Littleworth” on east side of Hudson’s Creek, at the head of Willis’s Cove near where Wm. Willis lives, 49 A. (Mortgage). Wit: Thomas Taylor, Thos. Harwood. Ackn: Robt. How and Jno. Anderson, Justices.

[13]         Keddie, Leslie and Neil, Dorchester County, Maryland, Rent Rolls 1659 – 1772 Volume #1, (The Family Tree Bookshop, 2001), 35, “Bridge North” surveyed 8 Apr 1669 for John Tench, lying on the west side of Hodsons Creek.

[14] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 4 (Liber Old No. 6), (Cambridge, MD, 1961), 6 Old 154, 13 Jun 1710 – John Seward of Dorchester County, planter, and Mary his wife, to their sister Clare and to Aaron Tunice of said county, planter, her husband, part of two parcels of land of the west side of Hudson’s Creek called “Bridge North” and “Addition”, containing 98 acres more or less. Conveyed to Aaron and Clare Tunice for the lifetime of Clare, and after her death to Edward Tunice their son. Wit: Jno Snelson, Theo. Bonner, Jno Hambrooke. Acknowledged 14 Jun 1710

[15] Skinner, V.L., Jr., Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Perogative Court, 1744-1750, (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1994), 131 – Admin Accounts of John Soward, dec’d, of Dorchester County, 10 Sep 1749 – Account Balance £29.9.6, Payments £35.3.1; Received from: Joseph Harrington; Payments to: Foster Cunliff & Sons per John Caile, Thomas McKeel, Henry Ennalls, Henry Hooper, Jr.; Administrator Richard Soward.

[16]         Cotton, v. 10 at 218, Will of Mary Soward, widow of Dorchester County, 5 Oct 1750 – To son Edward Soward 1 Shilling; to son William Soward 1 Shilling; to son Richard Soward dwelling house and plantation, which is part of two tracts “Bridgeworth” and “Addition”. Executor: son Richard. Wit: Thomas Calwell (or Caldwell), Abraham Walker, and Cornelia Jones. Probate 4 Nov 1751. 43. V.10, P 218 28:323

[17]         McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 11 (Liber Old No. 15, folios 1 – 368), (Cambridge, MD, 1963), XI:52, 15 Old 247, 11 Aug 1754 -15 Mar 1755, Commission to perpetuate the bounds of Richard Soward’s land called Wantage. A deposition of Thomas Soward, about 30 years old, mentions the widow Brawhawn; John Stevens grandfather of the present John Stevens; Richard Soward, brother of the deponent; and a bounded tree of Littleworth and Wantage between Roger Woolford’s plantation and Brawhawn’s, about 15-16 years ago.

[18] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 27 (Liber NH No. 5), (Cambridge, MD, 1967), 5 NH 259, 12 Oct 1784 – 8 Oct 1785, Commission to Charles Eccleston, Nathaniel Manning, Stanley Byus and John Trippe of Dorchester Co, Gent., to perpetuate the bounds of Wm Soward’s land called “Bridge North”, and Return. Deposition of Thomas Willis, aged about 70 years, concerning a bounder on a cove of Hudson’s Creek, shown about 30 years ago by Joseph Blades who had possession of the land. Mentions Henry Claridge who was also present when Blades showed the bounder, and who has died in the last two years. The land where the said Joseph Blades lived 30 years ago is the same land where Wm. Lee now lives, called “Bridge North”.

[19] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 5 (Libers Old No. 7 – Old No. 8), (Cambridge, MD, 1962), 16. 7 Old 51, 10 Mar 1717 – John Sharp of Dorchester Co sold to John Willis, of the same county, carpenter, 50 acres, part of “Sharps Prosperity” on Marshy Creek Branch above Hunting Creek. Wits Thomas Noble, Jane Noble. John Nichols, attorney for John Sharp. (Note that Thomas Noble and John Nicols co-owned “Hampton” located on west side of Hunting Creek, bought from Richard Bennett 15 Jan 1713, 6 Old 230)

[20] Clerks frequently varied the spelling of the name Willis, sometimes within the same document. Those variants include Wallis, Wallace, Wallice, Willace, Willes and Willous. In fact, John Willis Sr. appears in early rent rolls as John “Wallis” in possession of “Wantige.”

[21] Maryland Land Office – Warrant for 50 acres surveyed, called “Willes’s Right,” beginning at red oak standing in the woods on south side of Great Choptank River and west side of main road from Hunting Creek Mill [Murray’s Mill] to Parsons Landing, then N 82 deg W 40 perches, NNW 30 perches, SW 24 perches, SE 26 perches, SW 66 perches, SE 98 perches, NNE 11 perches, and then straight line to the beginning. Patent issued 5 Jul 1726

[22] Mitchell, Dora, A History of the Preston Area in Lower Caroline County, Maryland, (Denton, MD: Caroline County Historical Society, 2005), 122

[23] Maryland Land Office – Warrant granted John Willis 1 Jul 1736 for resurvey of “Willis’s Right” of 50 acres and one moiety of “Sharp’s Prosperity” of 100 acres. Resurvey of 14 Oct 1736 found: 1) “Willis’s Right” was adjacent Sharps property but ran into an elder tract called the Plains; 2) “Sharps Prosperity” began on the south side of the head of Marshy Creek and two legs ran into an elder tract called “Bennett’s Purchase.” The consolidated survey for John Willis contained 111 acres including some vacant land and is called “Willis’s Regulation.” It adjoins “Bennett’s Purchase.” Patent examined and allowed 21 Nov 1737; fees collected and patent issued 21 Oct 1743.

[24] Mitchell at 122

[25] Mitchell at 122, in 1732 probate records for John Sharpe, deceased, indicate a next of kin as Elizabeth Willis.

[26] Mitchell at 123

[27] Maryland Calendar of Wills – 23 Jan 1764 – Will of John Willis, Sr., Planter, Dorchester County – Wife Elizabeth; Children: elder son John Willis, Jr. (born of first wife, Mary) (5 shillings), Mary Clift, Judith, Elizabeth Killingsworth, Isaac, Richard, Joshua, Dorcas Nichols (each 2 sh, 6 p) Wife Elizabeth got all remaining personal property for her life, and then to be divided equally between John Willis 3rd, son of Elizabeth, and son Gervey [Jarvis]. Wife Elizabeth to have all land known as “Willis’s Regulation” for life and then to go to John 3rd. Executrix: Wife Elizabeth Willis, Wit: Henry Turner, John Barton, 33. V.13, p.58; WB 33:27

[28] Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, IV:167-9 – Will Book 14:631, Will of Thomas Ennals dated 7 May 1718 – To Thomas Hayward and heirs, 50 acres part of “Ennalls Purchase” (plantation where Andrew Willis lived), at head of Shoal Creek, and on branch lying between Wm Jones and Andrew Willis’, proved 13 Aug 1718, and, McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 1 (Libers Old No. 1 – Old No. 2), (Cambridge, MD, 1960), I:71. 2 Old 161, 13 Mar 1722 – Land sale from Thomas Hayward to Henry Ennalls, land devised to grantor by Col. Thomas Ennalls, dec’d, at head of Shoal Creek where Andrew Willis lived adjacent land where William Jones lived, part of “Ennalls Purchase”, 50 acres more or less.

[29] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 1 (Libers Old No. 1 – Old 2), (Cambridge, MD, 1960), 2 Old 16, 2 Feb 1718 – Thomas Gray and Mary his wife to William Jones: Goodridges Choice on Cabin Creek containing 101 A more or less. Wit: Richard Hooper, Bartholomew Ennalls, and Henry Ennalls. Acknowledged 2 Feb 1718 before Henry Ennalls and Levin Hicks, Justices, by Thomas Gray, And, McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 1 (Libers Old No. 1 – Old 2), (Cambridge, MD, 1960), 2 Old 27, 15 Nov 1719 – Jacob Gray, planter, and Isabell his wife to William Jones: Part of “Guttridg Choice” on Cabin Creek containing 150 A of land. Wit: Edward Verin, Goovert Loockerman. Assignment from Philadelphia Williams to William Jones of her “third part of ye within mentioned lands,” dated June 15, 1720.

[30]                     Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, VI:127 – Will Book 19: 765 – Will of William Jones, planter, Dorchester County, 10 May 1729. 1) To son William and heirs, 100 acres on north side of Cabbin Creek being part of a tract bought from Jacob Gray; he dying without issue, to daughters Sarah and Elizabeth; and personalty; 2) To daughters Sarah and Elizabeth, 50 acres of afsd tract; they dying without issue, to son William; and 100 acre dwelling plantation illeg., bought of Thomas Gray; and personalty; 3) To daughter Rebecca Vearing, personalty; 4) To four grandchildren, issue of daughter Jennet Willis, deceased, 1 shilling each; 5) To wife Jennet, executrix, use of dwelling plantation illeg., and residue of personalty during life; at her decease to pass to son William and daughters Sarah and Elizabeth. Probate 5 Sep 1729.

[31] Palmer, Katherine H., transcribed Baptism Record, Old Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church, Church Creek, MD, (Cambridge, Maryland), 7 and 19.

[32] Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, VI:80 – Will Book 19: 501 – Will of Richard Goostree, planter, Dorchester County, 30 Apr 1728 – To wife Rebecca, executrix, dwelling plantation “Goostree’s Delight” during life; at her decease to son George and heirs; he dying without issue to pass to grandson Robert, son of Robert Johnson; and 1/3 of personal estate – To son George, personalty; – To two daughters, viz, Elizabeth, wife of Robert Johnson, and Rebecca, wife of Andrew Willis, and their heirs, 100 acres “Newtown” near the great Beaver Dam – To children of son-in-law Phillip Phillips, 1 s each – To son George and daughters Elizabeth Johnson and Rebecca Willice, residue of personal estate – Overseers: Sons-in-law Robert Johnson and Andrew Willice. – Test: Redman Fallen, John Shenton (Shinton) Acknowledged: 12 Nov 1728 –

[33]         Keddie, Rent Rolls 1688-1707 Volume #3, 7 – 2 Mar 1694, Goostree’s Delight, 100 acres surveyed for Richard Goostree, lying in the woods between Cattail Marsh and Russell Swamp.

[34]         FHL 13086, Maryland Land Office – Book EI 2:164 – Warrant for 45 acres called New Town granted Andrew Willis 8 Oct 1730, in Dorchester County on west side of Blackwater River and on the east side of Cattail Swamp and on the west side of Andrew Willis’s dwelling plantation. Survey certified 21 Oct 1730, Henry Ennalls, Deputy Surveyor Dorchester Co. Patent issued 13 Jun 1734

[35] Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, VII:259, Will Book 21: 918 – Will of Andrew Willis, Dorchester County, 24 May 1738. 1) To two sons Richard and George, “New Town” divided equally, should either die without issue to pass to son John; and personalty; 2) To sons John, William, Andrew and Thomas, and daughter Sarah, personalty. He left a pewter plate to each child plus a feather bed and iron pot to Richard; 3) To wife Rebecca, executrix, residue of personal estate, should she marry to be divided between sons Richard, George and John. Test: Robert Johnson, Mary Carway (Carriwy), John Pritchett Fisher. Probate 23 Aug 1738.

died without issue, his share would descend to son John. Andrew gave a pewter plate each to Sarah, William, Thomas, Andrew, and John. He left a featherbed and iron pot to Richard. Andrew named his wife Rebecca executrix and left her the residue of the personal estate as long as she was single. If she remarried, the remainder of the personal estate was to be equally divided among Richard, George, and John.[35]

 

Some of Andrew’s children would expand New Town and occupy the land for almost another 50 years. Some of the children and grandchildren were active supporters of the coming revolution, while at least one opposed it. However, those are all stories for the next generation.

 

 

 

[1] Cotton, Jane Baldwin, The Maryland Calendar of Wills, (Baltimore: Kohn & Pollock, 1904, reprinted Westminster, Maryland: Family Line Publications, 1988), IV:23 – The date given in this source for the submission to probate is 24 Nov 1714. This date conflicts with the date John Willis, Jr., filed a protest to the will and the dates of activity in the Perogative Court records. I conclude the correct date for submission to probate is 24 Nov 1712. Dorchester County Will Book 14:12.

[2] Wright, F. Edward, Judgment Records of Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties, (Lewes, DE: Delmarva Roots, 2001), 33, L36A:203, Inventory of John Willis, Dorchester County – £23.14.1 – Appraisers John Kirke, Arthur Smith. Next of Kin: Andrew Willis (son), William Willis (son). FHL 975.2 P28w

[3] McAllister, James A., Jr., Abstracts from the Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 5 (Libers Old No. 7 – Old No. 8), (Cambridge, MD, 1962), V:145. 8 Old 404, 13 Jun-30 Sep 1730 – Commission to John Hodson, Mark Fisher, Thomas Nevett & Henry Ennalls, Jr to perpetuate bounds of Patrick Brawhaun’s land at the head of Blackwater called “Hoggs Island.” Deposition of Andrew Willis, about age 40, regarding the first bounder of “Littleworth” or “Stevens.”

[4] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 9 (Liber Old No. 13: Liber Old No. 14, folios 1-373), (Cambridge, MD, 1963), IX:36, 14 Old 130, 14 Mar 1746 – Deposition of Thomas Pierson, planter of Dorchester County, aged about 60 years, states that John Willis now living in St. Mary’s White Chappel Parish near Hunting Creek was to the best of deponent’s knowledge the eldest son of John Willis who lived on Blackwater River about 4-5 miles from Cambridge, and who was formerly Cryer of Dorchester County Court.

[5]  McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 10 (Liber Old No. 14, folios 374-741), (Cambridge, MD, 1963), X:74. 14 Old 658, 11 Nov 1746 to 27 May 1752, Commission to perpetuate the bounds of John Harrington’s land called “Rosses Range” and “David Ropies”, and Return. Nine men and women give depositions regarding this land on Hobson’s Creek. Among them are William Willis, age about 52; Judah (Judith) Willis, age about 50; and Mary Seward, age 68.

[6] FHL 13080, Maryland Land Office, v. FF 7:23 – Survey Certificate 22 Nov 1716 for 100 acres to John Sharpe called “Sharp’s Prosperity” in Dorchester County beginning at a red oak in the woods on south side of the head of Marshy Creek Branch that issues out of south side of Great Choptank River above Hunting Creek. Beginning at a red oak, then S 13 deg E 80 perches, then S 85 deg E 80 perches, then N 38 deg E 145 p, then N 13 deg W 46 p, then by a straight line to the beginning. Patent issued 6 Aug 1718

[7] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 5 (Libers Old No. 7 – Old No. 8), (Cambridge, MD, 1962), at 23, 7 Old 68, no day or month 1717 – John Sharp of Dorchester Co sold to Thomas Wallis, of the same county, 50 acres, part of “Sharps Prosperity” on south side of the head of Marshy Creek branch out of Great Choptank River above Hunting Creek. Bounded on one side by land sold to John Willis. Wits Jerem? Thomas, J Lookerman. Acknowledged 19 Aug 1718

[8]  The land on Marshy Creek was located within St. Mary’s White Chapel Parish. Unfortunately, the church records for that locale which might prove the marital status of Thomas or Grace do not survive.

[9] Skinner, Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court, XVI:60, 61 and 151. Filings by John Pitts, gentleman, of Dorchester County, bond of Grace Wallis, administratrix of Thomas Wallis, and inventories of the estate of Thomas Wallis, and Skinner, Administration Accounts of the Perogative Court, Libers 1-5, 1718-1724, (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1995), 138. L5:38, Account of Thomas Wallis of Dorchester dated 13 Mar 1723 – Account total £12.17.7, Payments totaled £18.5.2 made to Patrick Mackalister, Mr. Charles Ungle, John Sharp, John Pitt, Edward Billeter, William Edmondson. Administratrix Grace Willis.

[10] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 6 (Liber Old No. 9), (Cambridge, Maryland, 1962), 9 Old 223, 30 Jul 1730 [or 1734], John Willis of Dorchester County, planter, for 20 shillings to Henry Ennalls, of same, gentleman, “Wantage,” 50 acres, originally taken up by John Willis, dec’d, on Blackwater Riv., adjoining “Littleworth.” Signed by mark, John Willis. Witnesses: William Murray, Bw. Ennalls. Acknowledged 30 Jul 1734, and 9 Old 214, 15 Aug 1734, William Willis and wife Judith of Dorchester Co., planter, for 6 pounds to Richard Seward, of same, “Wantage,” 50 acres near head of Blackwater River adjoining “Littleworth.” Signed by marks, William Willis, Judith Willis. Witnesses: Henry Trippe, Cha. Lowndes. Dorchester County Court (Land Records) MSA CE46 10, http://mdlandrec.com

[11] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 10 (Liber Old No. 14, folios 374-741), (Cambridge, MD, 1963), X:74. 14 Old 658, 11 Nov 1746 to 27 May 1752, Commission to perpetuate the bounds of John Harrington’s land called “Rosses Range” and “David Ropies”, and Return. Nine men and women give depositions regarding this land on Hobson’s Creek. Among them are William Willis, age about 52; Judah [Judith] Willis, age about 50; and Mary Seward, age 68.

[12] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 15 (Liber Old No. 19, (Cambridge, MD, 1964). 19 Old 343, 11 Jun 1764, John Taylor Sr. of Dorchester Co, Merchant, to Nicholas MacCubbin of Annapolis, Merchant: ½ of “Rosses Chance” containing 42 A. Also 200 A, being part of “Addition to Rosses Chance” on Hudson’s Creek, laid out to said John Taylor for 400 acres. Also “Littleworth” on east side of Hudson’s Creek, at the head of Willis’s Cove near where Wm. Willis lives, 49 A. (Mortgage). Wit: Thomas Taylor, Thos. Harwood. Ackn: Robt. How and Jno. Anderson, Justices.

[13]         Keddie, Leslie and Neil, Dorchester County, Maryland, Rent Rolls 1659 – 1772 Volume #1, (The Family Tree Bookshop, 2001), 35, “Bridge North” surveyed 8 Apr 1669 for John Tench, lying on the west side of Hodsons Creek.

[14] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 4 (Liber Old No. 6), (Cambridge, MD, 1961), 6 Old 154, 13 Jun 1710 – John Seward of Dorchester County, planter, and Mary his wife, to their sister Clare and to Aaron Tunice of said county, planter, her husband, part of two parcels of land of the west side of Hudson’s Creek called “Bridge North” and “Addition”, containing 98 acres more or less. Conveyed to Aaron and Clare Tunice for the lifetime of Clare, and after her death to Edward Tunice their son. Wit: Jno Snelson, Theo. Bonner, Jno Hambrooke. Acknowledged 14 Jun 1710

[15] Skinner, V.L., Jr., Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Perogative Court, 1744-1750, (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1994), 131 – Admin Accounts of John Soward, dec’d, of Dorchester County, 10 Sep 1749 – Account Balance £29.9.6, Payments £35.3.1; Received from: Joseph Harrington; Payments to: Foster Cunliff & Sons per John Caile, Thomas McKeel, Henry Ennalls, Henry Hooper, Jr.; Administrator Richard Soward.

[16]         Cotton, v. 10 at 218, Will of Mary Soward, widow of Dorchester County, 5 Oct 1750 – To son Edward Soward 1 Shilling; to son William Soward 1 Shilling; to son Richard Soward dwelling house and plantation, which is part of two tracts “Bridgeworth” and “Addition”. Executor: son Richard. Wit: Thomas Calwell (or Caldwell), Abraham Walker, and Cornelia Jones. Probate 4 Nov 1751. 43. V.10, P 218 28:323

[17]         McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 11 (Liber Old No. 15, folios 1 – 368), (Cambridge, MD, 1963), XI:52, 15 Old 247, 11 Aug 1754 -15 Mar 1755, Commission to perpetuate the bounds of Richard Soward’s land called Wantage. A deposition of Thomas Soward, about 30 years old, mentions the widow Brawhawn; John Stevens grandfather of the present John Stevens; Richard Soward, brother of the deponent; and a bounded tree of Littleworth and Wantage between Roger Woolford’s plantation and Brawhawn’s, about 15-16 years ago.

[18] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 27 (Liber NH No. 5), (Cambridge, MD, 1967), 5 NH 259, 12 Oct 1784 – 8 Oct 1785, Commission to Charles Eccleston, Nathaniel Manning, Stanley Byus and John Trippe of Dorchester Co, Gent., to perpetuate the bounds of Wm Soward’s land called “Bridge North”, and Return. Deposition of Thomas Willis, aged about 70 years, concerning a bounder on a cove of Hudson’s Creek, shown about 30 years ago by Joseph Blades who had possession of the land. Mentions Henry Claridge who was also present when Blades showed the bounder, and who has died in the last two years. The land where the said Joseph Blades lived 30 years ago is the same land where Wm. Lee now lives, called “Bridge North”.

[19] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 5 (Libers Old No. 7 – Old No. 8), (Cambridge, MD, 1962), 16. 7 Old 51, 10 Mar 1717 – John Sharp of Dorchester Co sold to John Willis, of the same county, carpenter, 50 acres, part of “Sharps Prosperity” on Marshy Creek Branch above Hunting Creek. Wits Thomas Noble, Jane Noble. John Nichols, attorney for John Sharp. (Note that Thomas Noble and John Nicols co-owned “Hampton” located on west side of Hunting Creek, bought from Richard Bennett 15 Jan 1713, 6 Old 230)

[20] Clerks frequently varied the spelling of the name Willis, sometimes within the same document. Those variants include Wallis, Wallace, Wallice, Willace, Willes and Willous. In fact, John Willis Sr. appears in early rent rolls as John “Wallis” in possession of “Wantige.”

[21] Maryland Land Office – Warrant for 50 acres surveyed, called “Willes’s Right,” beginning at red oak standing in the woods on south side of Great Choptank River and west side of main road from Hunting Creek Mill [Murray’s Mill] to Parsons Landing, then N 82 deg W 40 perches, NNW 30 perches, SW 24 perches, SE 26 perches, SW 66 perches, SE 98 perches, NNE 11 perches, and then straight line to the beginning. Patent issued 5 Jul 1726

[22] Mitchell, Dora, A History of the Preston Area in Lower Caroline County, Maryland, (Denton, MD: Caroline County Historical Society, 2005), 122

[23] Maryland Land Office – Warrant granted John Willis 1 Jul 1736 for resurvey of “Willis’s Right” of 50 acres and one moiety of “Sharp’s Prosperity” of 100 acres. Resurvey of 14 Oct 1736 found: 1) “Willis’s Right” was adjacent Sharps property but ran into an elder tract called the Plains; 2) “Sharps Prosperity” began on the south side of the head of Marshy Creek and two legs ran into an elder tract called “Bennett’s Purchase.” The consolidated survey for John Willis contained 111 acres including some vacant land and is called “Willis’s Regulation.” It adjoins “Bennett’s Purchase.” Patent examined and allowed 21 Nov 1737; fees collected and patent issued 21 Oct 1743.

[24] Mitchell at 122

[25] Mitchell at 122, in 1732 probate records for John Sharpe, deceased, indicate a next of kin as Elizabeth Willis.

[26] Mitchell at 123

[27] Maryland Calendar of Wills – 23 Jan 1764 – Will of John Willis, Sr., Planter, Dorchester County – Wife Elizabeth; Children: elder son John Willis, Jr. (born of first wife, Mary) (5 shillings), Mary Clift, Judith, Elizabeth Killingsworth, Isaac, Richard, Joshua, Dorcas Nichols (each 2 sh, 6 p) Wife Elizabeth got all remaining personal property for her life, and then to be divided equally between John Willis 3rd, son of Elizabeth, and son Gervey [Jarvis]. Wife Elizabeth to have all land known as “Willis’s Regulation” for life and then to go to John 3rd. Executrix: Wife Elizabeth Willis, Wit: Henry Turner, John Barton, 33. V.13, p.58; WB 33:27

[28] Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, IV:167-9 – Will Book 14:631, Will of Thomas Ennals dated 7 May 1718 – To Thomas Hayward and heirs, 50 acres part of “Ennalls Purchase” (plantation where Andrew Willis lived), at head of Shoal Creek, and on branch lying between Wm Jones and Andrew Willis’, proved 13 Aug 1718, and, McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 1 (Libers Old No. 1 – Old No. 2), (Cambridge, MD, 1960), I:71. 2 Old 161, 13 Mar 1722 – Land sale from Thomas Hayward to Henry Ennalls, land devised to grantor by Col. Thomas Ennalls, dec’d, at head of Shoal Creek where Andrew Willis lived adjacent land where William Jones lived, part of “Ennalls Purchase”, 50 acres more or less.

[29] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 1 (Libers Old No. 1 – Old 2), (Cambridge, MD, 1960), 2 Old 16, 2 Feb 1718 – Thomas Gray and Mary his wife to William Jones: Goodridges Choice on Cabin Creek containing 101 A more or less. Wit: Richard Hooper, Bartholomew Ennalls, and Henry Ennalls. Acknowledged 2 Feb 1718 before Henry Ennalls and Levin Hicks, Justices, by Thomas Gray, And, McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 1 (Libers Old No. 1 – Old 2), (Cambridge, MD, 1960), 2 Old 27, 15 Nov 1719 – Jacob Gray, planter, and Isabell his wife to William Jones: Part of “Guttridg Choice” on Cabin Creek containing 150 A of land. Wit: Edward Verin, Goovert Loockerman. Assignment from Philadelphia Williams to William Jones of her “third part of ye within mentioned lands,” dated June 15, 1720.

[30]                     Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, VI:127 – Will Book 19: 765 – Will of William Jones, planter, Dorchester County, 10 May 1729. 1) To son William and heirs, 100 acres on north side of Cabbin Creek being part of a tract bought from Jacob Gray; he dying without issue, to daughters Sarah and Elizabeth; and personalty; 2) To daughters Sarah and Elizabeth, 50 acres of afsd tract; they dying without issue, to son William; and 100 acre dwelling plantation illeg., bought of Thomas Gray; and personalty; 3) To daughter Rebecca Vearing, personalty; 4) To four grandchildren, issue of daughter Jennet Willis, deceased, 1 shilling each; 5) To wife Jennet, executrix, use of dwelling plantation illeg., and residue of personalty during life; at her decease to pass to son William and daughters Sarah and Elizabeth. Probate 5 Sep 1729.

[31] Palmer, Katherine H., transcribed Baptism Record, Old Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church, Church Creek, MD, (Cambridge, Maryland), 7 and 19.

[32] Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, VI:80 – Will Book 19: 501 – Will of Richard Goostree, planter, Dorchester County, 30 Apr 1728 – To wife Rebecca, executrix, dwelling plantation “Goostree’s Delight” during life; at her decease to son George and heirs; he dying without issue to pass to grandson Robert, son of Robert Johnson; and 1/3 of personal estate – To son George, personalty; – To two daughters, viz, Elizabeth, wife of Robert Johnson, and Rebecca, wife of Andrew Willis, and their heirs, 100 acres “Newtown” near the great Beaver Dam – To children of son-in-law Phillip Phillips, 1 s each – To son George and daughters Elizabeth Johnson and Rebecca Willice, residue of personal estate – Overseers: Sons-in-law Robert Johnson and Andrew Willice. – Test: Redman Fallen, John Shenton (Shinton) Acknowledged: 12 Nov 1728 –

[33]         Keddie, Rent Rolls 1688-1707 Volume #3, 7 – 2 Mar 1694, Goostree’s Delight, 100 acres surveyed for Richard Goostree, lying in the woods between Cattail Marsh and Russell Swamp.

[34]         FHL 13086, Maryland Land Office – Book EI 2:164 – Warrant for 45 acres called New Town granted Andrew Willis 8 Oct 1730, in Dorchester County on west side of Blackwater River and on the east side of Cattail Swamp and on the west side of Andrew Willis’s dwelling plantation. Survey certified 21 Oct 1730, Henry Ennalls, Deputy Surveyor Dorchester Co. Patent issued 13 Jun 1734

[35] Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, VII:259, Will Book 21: 918 – Will of Andrew Willis, Dorchester County, 24 May 1738. 1) To two sons Richard and George, “New Town” divided equally, should either die without issue to pass to son John; and personalty; 2) To sons John, William, Andrew and Thomas, and daughter Sarah, personalty. He left a pewter plate to each child plus a feather bed and iron pot to Richard; 3) To wife Rebecca, executrix, residue of personal estate, should she marry to be divided between sons Richard, George and John. Test: Robert Johnson, Mary Carway (Carriwy), John Pritchett Fisher. Probate 23 Aug 1738.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James and Ann Alexander of Anson – Rowan County, NC: someone please knock down this brick wall!

© Robin Rankin Willis June 2016

One of the things that surprised me about family history research is that I started liking some of my ancestors. Amazingly, one can learn a great deal about people who lived a couple of centuries ago, including their fundamental character and even specific personality traits. A fertile imagination helps, but is not essential. Even ostensibly dry county records are often revealing, and the occasional personal record can be a fabulous find. I love my great-great uncles Napoleon Bonaparte Rankin (“Pole,” a house painter) and Washington Marion Rankin (“Wash,” a “clever engineer”), who wrote each other letters in the 1880s. Their correspondence revealed a shared wicked sense of humor and considerable affection. Letters from one of their aunts, Martha Estes Swain, to their mother, Mary Estes Rankin, are full of family gossip – one can almost hear them tut-tutting. Concern for “the connection,” as they called their extended family, also comes through clear as a bell.

Other ancestors are patently obnoxious. I will save examples for another post.

Fortunately, likeable ancestors abound. My ancestors James and Ann Alexander of Rowan County are among them for two main reasons. First, they executed sweet gift deeds to five of their six children. Second, Ann Alexander bested William, their eldest son, on at least one legal issue. Eighteenth century women rarely appeared in county records, making it difficult to learn much about them. Courtroom victories by females were even less common. Ann, who appeared in several records, clearly had some mettle. I admire her determination, and imagine that having an adverse relationship with her son was not easy.

Moving on, this article contains: (1) links to some websites that provide a great deal of information about Alexanders; (2) a brief description of some major unknowns about James and Ann Alexander’s family; and (3) what the records do reveal about them.

Let’s start with the links, including two for the Alexander DNA project.

The first link summarizes Alexander family lineages for all y-DNA project participants. The line of James and Ann Alexander is designated the “Spartanburg Confused Family,” or “SpartCons” for short.[i] Find the SpartCons here:

https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/alexander-y-dna/about/results

The next link tabulates the Alexander y-DNA project results. It also refers to the line of James and Ann as “Spartanburg Confused.”

https://www.familytreedna.com/public/ALEXANDER-Y-DNA?iframe=ycolorized

Finally, here is the website of my distant cousin and fellow SpartCon John F. Alexander. It has a wealth of information about the line of James and Ann. John asks me to add that it is a work in progress and that readers are welcome to send him comments, corrections and additions that are supported by evidence.

http://www.johnandval.org/genealogy/AlexFamHist.html

As for the major unknowns about James and Ann, I really hope that someone can fill in some of these blanks. The Alexanders qualify for me as what genealogists call a “brick wall,” meaning that my efforts to identify their parents have been unsuccesful. In fact, I don’t even know where or when James Alexander was born, much less who his parents were. Ditto for his wife Ann. They are both undoubtedly Scots-Irish, but … were they the original immigrants, or were they born here, and their parents were immigrants? I don’t know the answers to any of those questions, although it’s not for lack of trying.

I do think I know where James and Ann came from before they arrived in Anson/Rowan County. They most likely lived in Amelia County, Virginia in the 1740s. Admittedly, the only clue regarding their origin in the North Carolina records was that James had some Virginia currency among the assets of his estate.[ii] That’s pretty thin circumstantial evidence, but better than none. In any event, some James and Ann Alexander lived in Amelia County from about 1742 through 1749.[iii] The timing is perfect, since that is just before James and Ann appeared in Anson County, NC some time before 1752. James and Ann were the only Alexanders who appeared in the Amelia records during that time period, except for a William Alexander who witnessed one deed and who may have been their eldest son.[iv] The absence of other Alexanders raises the inference that James and Ann may have migrated with Ann’s family of origin rather than James’s.

James and Ann lived near several other Scots-Irish families in Amelia, including Ewings, Wallaces, Gillespies, and Cunninghams, and appeared in records with several of them.[v] James Ewing, one of their Scots-Irish neighbors, came from Cecil County, MD, where he owned land.[vi] James and Ann undoubtedly also came to Amelia from the area around Philadelphia/Wilmington, where many Scots-Irish arrived from the Ulster Plantation of northernmost Ireland during the eighteenth century. Their families most likely first lived in Chester or Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Cecil County, Maryland, or New Castle County, Delaware. I have no proof, although there are many Alexanders, Gillespies, Ewings and other Scots-Irish in the records of those counties in the 1700s.

The last entry for James and Ann in the Amelia County records was in September 1749, when they sold their tract on Fort Creek adjacent the Gillespies and Ewings.[vii] In 1750, James first appeared in the records of Anson County, North Carolina, in a land grant and a survey there.[viii] The family was clearly living in Anson County by 1752, when James received a Granville grant for the 640 acres on Kerr Creek (also known as James Cathey’s Mill Creek) that had been surveyed for him in 1750.[ix] The deed referred to him as “James Alexander, Gent., of Anson County.”

In early 1753, James and Ann executed deeds giving land and livestock to five of their six children (all except William).[x] James may have been getting his affairs in order, since he died later that year. All five deeds are dated January 7, 1753, and all of them recite love, goodwill and affection for each child as the consideration. Although there are similar recitations of consideration in many other colonial gift deeds from parent to child, it continues to strike me as a lovely thing to put in the permanent records. Also, Ann Alexander, although not named as a grantor in any of the deeds, signed at least four of them with her mark.[xi] As a married woman, she had no legal existence of her own and consequently no legal right to convey that land. Adding her signature simply put her stamp of approval on both the conveyance itself and the love and affection recited as consideration.

Each of the four deeds to their sons – gifts to James Jr., John, David and Robert – refers to the grantee as “planter.” This was a designation of one’s profession: e.g., planter, blacksmith, trader, or just “gentleman.” In January 1753, David was probably just teetering on the brink of adulthood. He was definitely not more than eighteen, and probably a year or two younger than that. Robert was about age ten. Their parents may have been taking pains to treat their younger sons as adults, and perhaps there was a twinkle in the parental eyes when they executed those deeds.

Eleanor, the only Alexander daughter, did not receive land, which isn’t unusual. A colonial female rarely owned a fee simple interest in land. If a woman owned any interest at all in real property, it was usually just a life estate in some or all of her deceased husband’s land. Instead of land, James and Ann gave Eleanor a “gray mair” [sic] and three “cow yearlings.” Her appearance in that deed is important for more than proof of her parents and siblings, because her name is a source of minor controversy among family history researchers. Most call her “Ellen,” which is the name on her tombstone and what she was probably called.[xii] They may be right, but I will just say this: a court record identified her given name as Eleanor;[xiii] at least three deeds (one with her signature as “Elender”) do the same;[xiv] and she had a daughter and at least five granddaughters, all named Eleanor rather than Ellen.[xv] Those facts surely establish that her given name was actually Eleanor. Her nickname was Ellen. For the record, Eleanor, daughter of James and Ann Alexander, married Samuel Rankin about 1759 – early 1760.[xvi] Eleanor’s brother David (not her father, as the author of one Rankin family history incorrectly speculated) sold Samuel his 320-acre tract on James Cathey’s Mill Creek in 1760.[xvii]

Back to James and Ann. A deed from William Alexander to his brother Robert states that James died on June 15, 1753.[xviii] Ann was appointed guardian for David, Eleanor and Robert on October 22, 1755, proving they were underage on that date.[xix] David and Eleanor were allowed to choose their own guardian, establishing that they were at least fourteen but not yet twenty-one. The court appointed Ann guardian for Robert, stating that he was then about age twelve.

The Rowan county deed and court records prove one more son, William. He wasn’t a grantee among the 1753 gift deeds, which may just mean that James and Ann had already provided for him in some fashion. In 1756, William executed confirmation deeds to his two minor brothers, David and Robert, for the land they had received as gifts.[xx] As the eldest, William was James’s heir under the North Carolina law of intestate descent and distribution, and would have been entitled to inherit James’s land had James owned any when he died (assuming, of course, that James had left no will: the rule of primogeniture only applied if a deceased did NOT leave a will). James, however, had given it all to his other four sons. Ann paid William something more than the standard gift deed price of five shillings (although still substantially less than the land was worth) to obtain those confirmation deeds. The “conveyances” insured that her sons had good title and that William would not dispute it.[xxi] I have seen a number of similar confirmation deeds, and the consideration recited was always “love, goodwill and affection.” William apparently preferred cash.

The records leave no doubt about the state of Ann’s relationship with William. In 1755, she had hauled him into court, asserting that he was withholding assets belonging to his father’s estate.[xxii] Ann’s attorney also charged (undoubtedly on her authority and behalf) that William was abusing an indentured servant. I don’t know how the claim regarding the estate assets turned out, but the court sided with Ann on the abuse issue and discharged the indentured servant.[xxiii]

The records suggest that the six Alexander children were born on approximately the dates shown below. The birth dates are estimates, except with respect to David, Eleanor and Robert, whose birth years are reasonably supported by various records: [xxiv]

– William, born by 1728

– James Jr., born about 1730

– John, born about 1732

– David, born about 1736

– Eleanor, born 1740

– Robert, born about 1743

I haven’t found any record of William Alexander’s family (if any) or his whereabouts after Rowan County. James Jr. lived in Spartanburg, SC; John Alexander married Rachel Davidson and went to Burke/Buncombe County, NC; David married Margaret Davidson in Rowan in 1762 and went to Pendleton District (now Anderson Co.), SC; and Robert married Mary Jack and remained in Lincoln County, where he was a justice of the county court.[xxv] Perhaps I can persuade some of the SpartCons to collaborate with me on an outline descendant chart for James and Ann which I can post on this site. I confess that I have not tracked any of James’s and Ann’s children except for Eleanor Alexander, wife of Samuel Rankin. Samuel and Eleanor are probably my ancestors, although an additional y-DNA test of one of Sam and Eleanor’s descendants is needed. Without DNA evidence, I can prove Samuel and Eleanor as ancestors only through a family legend and very strong circumstantial evidence. I will save that story for another day!

* * * * * * * * * * 

[i] The name ‘Spartanburg Confused’, or SpartCon, was assigned long ago, before discovering that James Jr., John, David and Robert were all sons of James and Ann. There are now so many references to SpartCons that changing the designation would be difficult, even though the family is not exclusively from Spartanburg (and the confusion has abated!).

[ii] Jo White Linn, Abstracts of the Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Rowan County, North Carolina, 1753-1762 (Salisbury, NC: 1977), Order Book 2: 92, entry of 25 Oct 1755, inventory of the estate of James Alexander, dec’d, included £52.11.2 Virginia money.

[iii] Gibson J. McConnaughey, Court Order Book 1, Amelia County, Virginia, 1735-1746 (Amelia, VA: Mid-South Publishing Co., 1985), abstract of Order Book 1: 281A, entry of 19 Aug 1742, James Alexander paid for attending court to testify in a lawsuit; Gibson J. McConnaughey, Deed Book 3 and Deed Book 4, Amelia County, Virginia Deeds 1747-1753 (Amelia, VA: Mid-South Publishing Co., 1988), abstract of Deed Book 3: 531, 30 Sep 1749 deed from James Alexander and wife Ann conveying a tract on Fort Creek.

[iv] McConnaughey, abstract of Deed Book 3: 278, 19 Jul 1749 deed witnessed by William Alexander. The grantor was a resident of Augusta County, and the witnesses may have lived there. If the witness was William, the eldest son of James and Ann, then he had probably arrived at legal age and was born by 1728.

[v] FHL Film #1,902,616, tax lists for 1744 through 1749 for the upper part of Amelia from Namozine Cr. to Cellar Cr. included James Alexander, several Cunninghams, Samuel Wallace, Samuel Ewing and Gillespies; 1744 deed to Robert Gillespie for land on Fort Creek adjacent to James Alexander (I have lost the deed book citation for that deed); McConnaughey, abstract of Amelia Deed Book 2: 315, 1746 deed from James Alexander to James Ewing, land on Fort Creek. Grantor’s wife Ann relinquished dower.

[vi] McConnaughey, abstract of Deed Book 3: 371, power of attorney from James Ewing of Amelia County to Joshua Ewing to sell a tract of land in Cecil Co., MD.

[vii] Id., abstract of Deed Book 3: 351, deed of 30 Sep 1749 from James Alexander to John Reed, 300 acres on the north side Fort Creek adjacent Robert Galaspye [sic, Gillespie], James Ewing, Samuel Ewing and James Parks, with all houses, etc., witnessed by John Cunningham et al.

[viii] NC Land Grants Vol. 4: 1040, grant dated 7 Apr 1750 to James Alexander, two tracts on both sides Rocky River; Patent Book 11: 1, survey dated 12 Nov 1750, 640 acres in Anson adjacent Andrew Kerr.

[ix] Jo White Linn, Rowan County North Carolina Deed Abstracts Vol. I 1753 – 1762, Abstracts of Books 1 – 4 (Salisbury, NC), Deed Book 3: 547, Granville grant dated 25 Mar 1752 to James Alexander of Anson Co., Gent., 640 acres adjacent Andrew Kerr. Witnesses included William Alexander. Notation in the margin: “to his widow.” This tract was on Kerr/James Cathey’s Mill Creek.

[x] Copies of Anson County, NC Deed Book B: 314, deed from James Alexander (also signed by Ann) to James Jr., 320 acres on Cadle (sic, Coddle) Cr. and 250 acres on the Catawba River; id. at pp. 314-315, deed from James (also signed Ann) to son John, the other half of the two tracts given to James Jr.; id. at 315, James Sr. to son David, half of the tract where I live (the tract on James Cathey’s Mill Cr.) and livestock; id., deeds from James to daughter Elener and son Robert (the other half of the tract on James Cathey’s Mill Cr.). An abstract of Anson County deeds omits the second deed, a gift of land and livestock to John Alexander. See Brent Holcomb, Anson County, N. C. Deed Abstracts Volume 1: 1749-1757 (Clinton, SC: 1974). I have copies from the deed books, however, so am confident that John is a proved son of James and Ann Alexander.

[xi] The deed from James Alexander to their daughter “Elener” doesn’t mention Ann’s mark, although these deeds have been transcribed from the original deed books and are now typed.

[xii] Microfilm at Clayton Genealogical library titled “North Carolina Tombstone Records, Vols. 1, 2 and 3,” compiled by the Alexander Martin and J. S. Wellborn chapters of the DAR; transcribed lists filmed 1935 by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Tombstone of Ellen Rankin, b. 16 April 1740, d. 26 Jan 1802. Other researchers give the birth date on her tombstone as 1743, although that is not consistent with the court allowing her to cloose her own guardian in 1755. That required her to be at least fourteen.

[xiii] Linn, Abstracts of the Minutes, Order Book 2: 90, entry of 22 Oct 1755, David and Elinor Alexander (spelling per abstractor) came into court and chose their mother Ann Alexander as their guardian.

[xiv] Copy of Rowan County DB B: 315, gift deed from James Alexander to his daughter Elener; Linn, Rowan County Abstracts, Deed Book 6: 225, deed dated 31 Aug 1765 from Samuel Rankin and wife Eleanor (spelling per the abstractor) to John McNeeley, 320 acres on James Cathey’s Mill Creek; original of Lincoln Co. Deed Book 1: 703 (viewed by me at the courthouse, although my notes do not say whether it was Gaston or Lincoln County), deed of 26 Jan 1773 from Samuel Rankin of Tryon to Philip Alston, 150 acres on Kuykendall Creek signed by Samuel Rankin and Elender Rankin (two other deeds the same day, see DB 1: 702 et seq. were not signed by “Elender,” although she is identified in both as “Elen,” a grantor).

[xv] At least five of Samuel and Eleanor Rankin’s children named a daughter “Eleanor” (not “Ellen”), including Samuel Rankin Jr., Jean Rankin Hartgrove, Robert Rankin, David G. Rankin, and Eleanor Rankin Dickson. See, e.g., the tombstone of Eleanor, wife of Joseph Dickson, Ellis Cemetery, Shelby Co., Ill., died 4 Apr 1848, age 62, at www.findagrave.com.

[xvi] Virgil D. White, Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Volume III: N-Z (Waynesboro, TN: The National Historical Publishing Co., 1992). Abstract of the pension application of William Rankin, the eldest son of Samuel and Eleanor Alexander Rankin, states that he was born January 1761 in Rowan County.

[xvii] Jo White Linn, Rowan County North Carolina Deed Abstracts Vol. II. 1762 – 1772 Abstracts of Books 5, 6, 7 (Salisbury, NC: 1972), Deed Book 5: 272, 14 July 1760 deed from David Alexander to Samuel Rankin, for £29 NC currency, 320 acres on both sides James Cathey’s Mill Creek.

[xviii] Jo White Linn, Rowan County North Carolina Deed Abstracts Vol. I 1753 – 1762, Abstracts of Books 1 – 4 (Salisbury, NC), abstract of Deed Book 3: 495, deed of 10 Jun 1756 from William Alexander, described as the eldest son and heir of James Alexander, to his brother Robert Alexander, reciting that James died intestate on 15 June 1753.

[xix] Linn, abstract of Rowan Order Book 2: 90, David and Elener Alexander chose their mother Ann as guardian and the court appointed Ann the guardian of Robert, about age 12.

[xx] Linn, abstract of Rowan Deed Book 3: 495, deed dated 10 Jun 1756 from Wiliam Alexander, eldest son and heir of James Alexander, to Robert Alexander, orphan of James, under 21 and brother of James (who died intestate 15 Jun 1753), for 75 shillings paid by the widow Anne Alexander, mother of Robert and William, 320 acres on both sides James Cathey’s Mill Cr.; Deed Book 3: 498, William Alexander to David Alexander, orphan of James Alexander, under 21 and brother of William, by Anne Alexander, for 7 shillings sterling, 320 acres both sides James Cathey’s Mill Cr.

[xxi] I don’t know why similar confirmation deeds were apparently not needed for the gifts to James Jr. and John, who were of legal age at the time of the gift in 1753. North Carolina law at that time apparently treated conveyances of realty to minors differently than conveyances to a grantee of legal age. Other Rowan County records establish that Ann Alexander had an attorney, see note 22, and it seems likely that she would have obtained advice about the ability of an heir to challenge a conveyance of land via deeds of gift.

[xxii] Id., abstract of Rowan Order Book 2: 77, entry of 16 Jul 1755, ordered on motion of Edward Underhill, Esq. (Ann Alexander’s attorney) that citation issue against William Alexander returnable immediately to give an account on oath what estate he has in his hands or had which were of James Alexander, dec’d, and account with Ann Alexander, administratrix for same.

[xxiii] Id., abstract of Order Book 2: 78, ordered on motion of Edward Underhill, Esq., that James Nicholas be discharged of his indenture to William Alexander due to ill usage. Discharged. The next day, the court ordered William to produce James Nicholas in court or else to “stand committed.” Order Book 2: 81. I don’t know what “stand committed” means, but suspect that it means held in contempt of court and committed to jail.

[xxiv] See note 12 (tombstone showing Eleanor’s birth year as 1740), note 19 (in 1755, Ann Alexander chosen as guardian by Eleanor and David and appointed as guardian of Robert, about age 12) and note 20 (1756 deed reciting that David Alexander was still a minor).

[xxv] https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/alexander-y-dna/about/results, see lineages for those members of the “Spartanburg Confused Family” who trace their line back to James and Ann.

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

by Robin Rankin Willis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Allen Rankin & Amanda Lindsey — Another Family Legend

by Robin Rankin Willis © June 2016

My ancestor John Allen Rankin and his wife Amanda Lindsey, daughter of Edward Buxton Lindsey, have a good story. (See http://digupdeadrelatives.com/category/articles/lindsey-articles/ for my article on the legend concerning Edward Buxton Lindsey.) From one vantage point, John Allen and Amanda’s story is a war story, pure and simple. It is also a love story. The love story and war story intersect in both my family’s legends and the verifiable facts.

My father’s “how to” genealogy book advised that the best place to start compiling one’s family history is by interviewing family members. A goodly part of the oral family history is invariably wrong, but even the misinformation contains clues aplenty, says the book. In my experience, the book is dead right.

As I noted in another article on this website about Edward Lindsey, my father promptly took that “how to” advice when he was “bitten by the genealogy bug.” He and his sister, my Aunt Louise, set out to talk to all their north Louisiana kin to see what they could learn about the Rankins et al. Here is what Daddy wrote to me in a 1969 letter – yes, we actually did once communicate via snail mail in writing — telling me the latest he had learned about his family. This qualifies as my favorite family legend, bar none:

“Dearest Robin Baby: ….Cousin Norene Sale Robinson at Homer told us that Grandma [Amanda Lindsey] was living in Monticello, Arkansas in 1863 when she met John Allen [Rankin]. He came to their door one night looking for a sister who lived there in town. Grandma said that she went to the door and ‘there stood the most handsomest soldier that she had ever seen and that she fell in love with him right there.’ They were married some time after that.”

There is a wealth of information in that legend. One of its chief virtues is that its essential objective elements – location, date, a soldier’s uniform, the people involved – are readily subject to verification among actual records. The legend also comes from an unimpeachable source, because Cousin Norene, who was twenty-eight when Amanda died in 1920 and had lived with Amanda for some time, had actually heard that story straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. This legend was not subject to the vagaries of multiple oral retellings.

When I starting digging around amongst my Rankin and Lindsey relatives, I set about trying to confirm the objective facts about that legend.

First, Amanda’s father, Edward B. Lindsey, was living in Monticello, Drew County, Arkansas in 1860.[1] During the war, he was a member of the Monticello “Home Guard,” so he was still in Monticello in 1863. So far, so good – Amanda’s family was right where the legend says they would be in 1863.

However, John Allen did not have a sister who was old enough to be married or living on her own when he was knocking on Monticello doors in (according to the legend) 1863.[2] John Allen did have a married older brother, William Henderson Rankin, living in Drew County.[3] William, I discovered as I looked at the 1860 census for Monticello, was listed just a few dwellings down from Amanda’s father Edward B. Lindsey.[4] However, William was still off fighting in the War in 1863.[5] Thus, John Allen was almost certainly looking for his sister-in-law rather than a sister. As legends go, that’s close enough.

It is also certain that John Allen was a soldier. My father’s 1969 letter to me continued with the war part of the family legend.

“Cousin Norene said that [John Allen’s] war record was never discussed by the family. It does seem funny that he was out of it in 1863. I have always thought that he was wounded in the war and that was one reason that he died at a fairly young age. It seems that was what we were told. So there could be a body hidden in the closet. Anyway we will find out for I am going to send off for his war record tomorrow, and if he did desert we will keep that out of the record.”

When I started writing short articles about my ancestors to preserve the history for our children, I looked for John Allen’s war records among my father’s materials. I couldn’t find them anywhere. Perhaps, I thought, the National Archives had lost John Allen’s records, and Daddy never received anything. Many records from the Civil War have just flat disappeared. However, I had a clear recollection about Daddy telling me about some of the information he learned from those war records.

Unable to find anything in his materials, I started sending off for records of my own. Amanda Lindsey Rankin’s Confederate pension application, a certifiable heartbreaker, arrived by mail first. She filed the application from Haynesville, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana in April 1910.[6] She was living with her daughter, Anna Belle Rankin Sale (Cousin Norene’s mother), as of 1900.[7] I cannot find her in 1910, although she was obviously still alive. Amanda signed the application in the quavery handwriting of an old person although she was only sixty-five, which, at this point, doesn’t seem at all old to me. The rest of it, though, is filled out in a strong feminine hand.

Amanda swore in her application that she had no source of income whatsoever, no real property, and no personal property worth a spit. That is all unquestionably true, from what I know of my north Louisiana relatives: that didn’t change until my father’s generation. She certainly couldn’t get much help from her son John Marvin (“Daddy Jack,” my grandfather), who at that time was struggling to make ends meet with a wife and four children, a rented house, and a job driving a dray wagon.

Amanda stated further that John Allen volunteered to serve the Confederate Army in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on March 14, 1862 (turns out that was the wrong year), that Captain Henry was his company commander, and that he was in the 9th Arkansas Infantry. She also swore – under oath, mind you – that he was honorably discharged on April 10, 1865, which just happens to be one day after Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House.

Here we have an apparent disconnect between the legend and the pension application. The legend says that John Allen and Amanda met in 1863. Amanda swore that he was discharged two years later.

The Office of the Board of Pension Commissioners of the State of Louisiana sent Amanda’s application off to the War Department in Washington, D.C. The War Department had this to say in response.

“The records show that John A. Rankin, private, Captain Phillip G. Henry’s Company C, 9th Arkansas Infantry, Confederate States Army, enlisted July 25 (also shown August 9) 1861. On the muster roll covering the period from November 1 to December 31, 1863 (the last on which his name is borne), he is reported absent in arrest in Canton, Mississippi by order of the Provost Marshal. No later record of him has been found.”

With that information in hand, the Louisiana Pension Board Commissioners rejected Amanda’s application. “Absent in arrest” means “AWOL.”

I don’t think Amanda ever knew the truth about her husband John Allen’s service, unless she figured it out after her pension application was denied. What do you think?

I wonder who came up with a discharge date one day after Appomattox? In my imagination, which badly wants to give the destitute Amanda the benefit of the doubt, some nice female clerk was helping Amanda fill out the application (it is, I surmise, her handwriting on the forms, although it might have been Amanda’s daughter, Anna Belle Rankin Sale). The clerk asked when John Allen was discharged, to which Amanda responded truthfully that she did not know. The clerk, who knew her history, said, “well, everyone was discharged by April 10, 1865, why don’t we just use that date.”[8] Fine, said Amanda. The clerk naturally assumed that John Allen received a normal discharge, or why else would Amanda even bother to apply?

John Allen’s entire military record arrived in the mail shortly thereafter.[9] Here are the facts, along with some great images from records that are more than 150 years old. Ironically, when I retrieved these records from my own notebooks, I found my father’s copies stashed in the same clear plastic page cover. So I have a spare copy of these records, if anyone in the family needs one!

Amanda did have some of the facts about her husband’s war record down pat. John Allen Rankin did enlist in the Confederate army at Pine Bluff, Arkansas – near where his family farmed, in Jefferson (now Cleveland) County. He was a private, and is shown as having served in both C and K companies of the 9th Arkansas Infantry. He enlisted for a one-year term on July 25, 1861 and served under Captain Henry.

At the beginning of the Vicksburg Campaign, the brigade of which the 9th Arkansas Infantry was a part was located at Port Hudson, Louisiana. It was ordered to Tullahoma, Tennessee on or about 15 April 1863, but was recalled on 18 April 1863 and sent to what was called the Battle of Champion Hill on 16 May 1863.[10]  Here is a weird historical coincidence. I have looked at the Confederate military history of only two families among my ancestors: the Confederate Estes brothers and John Allen Rankin’s family (John Allen’s mother, Mary Estes Rankin, was a sister of the Confederate Estes crowd). John Allen was in a different unit than his three Estes uncles, who served in Ham’s Calvary, from Tishomingo Co., Mississippi.  The Estes brothers and John Allen were nonetheless commanded by the same incompetent Confederate general — at two different battles. Gen. Stephen Lee (no relation to Robert E.) was the commanding Confederate general at both Champion Hill and the Battle of Ezra Church, where Capt. Allen W. Estes was killed. See my article about the three Confederate Estes brothers here:

 http://digupdeadrelatives.com/category/articles/estes-articles/

At Champion Hill, about 4,300 Confederate soldiers and 2,500 Union soldiers were casualties. That battleground is just east of Vicksburg, where the main action took place. It was considered a Union victory and an important battle in the Vicksburg campaign. I find it difficult to grasp applying the term “victory” to that carnage.

On our way home from a trip to the Tennessee Archives in Nashville, Gary and I drove around the area of the battle of Champion Hill, a backwoods area east of Vicksburg. It has been almost entirely forgotten by history: no park, no historical markers, nothing except a decent-sized stone monument where Confederate Brigadier General Leonard Tilghman died.

On 19 May 1863 – near the end of the second year of his one-year enlistment – whatever was left of John Allen’s division after Champion Hill arrived at Jackson, Mississippi. He was in the 1st Mississippi CSA Hospital in Jackson from May 31 to June 13, 1863. Here is an image of the explanation for his hospital time that appeared in his military record:

 

Confed 2

The problem, in case you cannot read that record: “diarrhea, acute.” Can’t say that I am surprised. I’d have diarrhea, too, if someone had been shooting at me, and I was getting a pretty good fix on which side would win, and the Confederate general in charge at Champion Hill had — incredibly — marched my unit piecemeal straight into Sherman’s entrenched troops. However, the records certainly don’t provide any support to the “war wound” theory that somebody in the family concocted to explain John Allen’s reluctance to talk about The War.

On September 1, 1863, now in Selma, Alabama, the Army of the Confederacy issued John Allen a new pair of pants, a jacket and a shirt, all valued at $31.00. Good wool and cotton stuff, presumably. Probably the best suit of clothes John Allen ever had in his young life. Here is the record:

Confed 3

There is more. On October 14, 1863, the Confederate States of America paid John Allen $44 for the pay period from May 1 through August 31, 1863. I assume that he was paid in Confederate dollars. Whatever — he was paid in something. Here is the record of his last pay:

Confed 4

And that was the last the CSA saw of my great-grandfather John Allen Rankin, who evidently just walked away. His original enlistment for twelve months was long up. By November 1, 1863, he was listed as absent. They finally quit carrying his name on the muster roll after December 1863.

It probably wasn’t too long after he was paid in Selma in October 1863 that John Allen met his future wife at the front door of Edward B. Lindsey’s home in Monticello, Arkansas. That had to have been about the middle of November 1863, assuming he made about twenty miles per day on the 400-mile walk from Selma to Monticello.

With that, the legend turns happy. He was wearing an almost brand-spanking new uniform, he was the most handsome soldier Amanda had ever seen, and she fell in love with him on the spot.

Here are the last two records – “muster rolls,” a regular record of who showed up in a military unit at periodic intervals – for John Allen’s Confederate service.

Confed 1

The last record says “absent in arrest in Canton by order of Provost Marshall.” That means the equivalent of an arrest warrant was issued after he was declared AWOL. John Allen never did any time in the pokey, or there would be other records in his file. By the time that AWOL order was issued, he was undoubtedly already in Monticello, Drew County, Arkansas, making Amanda Addieanna Lindsey swoon.

I once had a huge Rankin portrait that hung in my grandmother Rankin’s house in Gibsland, Bienville Parish, Louisiana, where my father graduated from high school in 1925.[11] My cousin Ellis Leigh Jordan (son of Aunt Louise Theo Rankin Jordan) gave it to me in consideration of my promise to photograph or somehow reproduce it for all the Rankin cousins. The man in the photograph is definitely good looking – no big ears or nose like his son John Marvin. He did have the classic male Rankin receding hairline and “topknot” that is shared by the Lincoln County, NC Rankins. He had a fabulous mustache. My Rankin cousins were unanimous that our grandmother positively identified this man as a Rankin, but the cousins don’t know which Rankin he is. We all agreed that the picture cannot possibly be our grandfather John Marvin (“Daddy Jack”) Rankin. It follows that it must be John Allen or his father Samuel Rankin. However, it cannot conceivably be John Allen’s father Samuel, who died in 1861-62. The quality of the photograph was just too good, and Sam hadn’t been as young as the man in that picture since the 1840s.

Besides, it seems highly unlikely that our grandfather would display a huge portrait of his grandfather, rather than his father, in his parlor. That photograph must have been John Allen Rankin, probably in the early 1880s at about age forty, not long before he died. Unfortunately, that fabulous photograph was lost, which breaks my heart. I would pay a small ransom to have it back.

Back to the story. In 1870, John and Amanda were living in Homer, Claiborne Parish, with their two eldest children, Anna Belle Rankin, age three, and Samuel Edward Rankin, age one – the latter undoubtedly named for his two grandfathers, Samuel Rankin and Edward Buxton Lindsey.[12] John Allen and Amanda listed $400 in real property and $350 in personal property in the census enumeration, and John Allen identified himself as a farmer. They apparently owned some land, although I cannot find a deed of purchase or a land grant to John Allen. I do know, however, that he and Amanda sold nine acres in Claiborne Parish for $33 in August 1870.[13]

The sale of land is perhaps a clue that farming did not work out well. By 1880, John Allen and Amanda were living in Webster Parish.[14] John Allen, age 36, was Deputy Sheriff. By 1880, he and Amanda had six children, including my grandfather John Marvin “Daddy Jack” Rankin, who was born in 1875. Their seventh and last child, Mary Alice, was born in September 1880, too late to appear in that census.

The deputy sheriff job apparently did not work out well, either. A letter that was saved by the family of John Allen’s brother Elisha Rankin reported that John Allen and family went through Homer in October 1882 on their way to Blanchard Springs (north of Shreveport) to run a barber shop.[15] I don’t know what happened to the barber shop, but the Rankins wound up moving back to Claiborne Parish, where they stayed.

The next thing you know, John Allen was six feet under. According to Amanda’s pension application, John Allen died of “congestion of the brain,” an obsolete medical term. It most likely means that John Allen had a stroke. He was only forty-five years old. There were five children age fifteen and under still at home.

Amanda obviously did not have an easy time thereafter. She expressed her anguish in a letter she wrote to one of John Allen’s brothers, Elisha (nickname “Lish”) Rankin, and Elisha’s wife Martha, who lived in Arkansas. Amanda wrote the letter three months after John Allen died on Sunday, October 13, 1888. She was forty-four years old. Here is a transcription, with spelling and punctuation (or lack thereof) exactly as transcribed, and question marks where the language is uncertain or totally illegible.[16]

“Dear Brother and Sister, it is with pleasure tho a sad heart that I try to answer your kind letter I received some time ago   Would have written sooner but I was in so much trouble I could not write soon   We had to move   Dear brother you have no idea how glad I was to get a letter from you   I feel like one forsaken   My happiness on earth is for ever gone of course I know you grieve for the Dear (?) house (?) but oh what is the grief to be compared to misery when a woman loses her husband. How sad I feel today for the dear one was a corpse on sunday. how long seems the days and nights to me.

Brother Lish you wanted to know how we are getting along   We are in det over one hundred dollars and no hom. I have moved to Mr. Weeks to work on ????? Jimmy Burton my Nephew is going to ??? after the little boys and show them how to manage this year. Eddie [Amanda’s son, Samuel Edward] is at Harrisville [Haynesville?]. I could not depend on him to ?????? He is not settled yet. I will ???? ???? me and the children a longe time to pay our det. It was the oldest children that caused me to be so bad in det. If I was young and able to work I would feel like maybe in two or three years we wold get out of det. I will do all I can to help the boys make a crop. Joe [Amanda’s son, Joseph D. Rankin] is 16 but he don’t now how to work much. I have got a few hogs and cowes all I have got. Annie and Lula [her daughters Anna Belle and Lula, both of whom married men named Sale] married brothers. They have got good homes. They live 3 miles from me. They live in site of each other.

Brother Lish be sure to write as soon as you get this   it does me so much good to get a letter from any of you how proud I was to think you thought enough of me to inquire after my welfare tho it is quite different to what you thought it was   some times I all most give up and not try to work then I think of the poor little children and no father to provide for them   I try to pick up courage to work all I can for there was ????? she is no longer a pet we sent her to school last year   teach come to see me about the pay I told him I could not pay it. He said he would wait untill next fall or the next year untill I could pay it ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????with me for it   if she had a ??? and out of det maybe we could make a living but in det and no home ???? and little childern no father oh lord father give me

Brother Lish I am a fraid you cant read this. It has been so long since I wrote a letter. Give Mother my love [presumably, “mother” refers to Mary Estes Rankin, the mother of John Allen and Elisha] and tell her to pray for me that I ???? ???? my children ???? I will have to be Father and Mother both. Give my love to all the connection and tell them to write. My love to Martha and the children write soon and often I remain ever ?????? ???? Sister.

Amanda Rankin”

Goodness gracious. Her anguish is overwhelming. Wouldn’t you like to see Elisha’s reply, if any? I wonder how he handled Amanda’s letter. Did he read it as a plea for funds? Or did he just see it as someone describing her feelings in the context of a desperate financial situation and emotional loss? No telling. May you rest in peace, Amanda and John Allen. Both are buried in the “Old Town” Haynesville Cemetery in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. Be careful if you visit there – no matter where you step, I will guarantee you are treading on someone to whom I am related at least by marriage!

J A & Amanda Rankin 3

[1] See “Edward Buxton Lindsey: One of My Family Legends” on this website under “Lindsey Articles.”

[2] John Allen had two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Rankin. 1860 census for Jefferson Co., AR, p. 848, dwl. 549, listing for Samuel Rankin included Mary Rankin, age 10; 1870 census, Jefferson Co., AR, p. 575, dwl. 17, listing for Mary F. Rankin (Sam’s widow) included Elizabeth Rankin, 8. The elder daughter, Mary, would only have been about thirteen in 1863.

[3] Jennie Belle Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas (Little Rock: Democrat Printing & Lithography Co., 1966), William H. Rankin, 20, married Eliza Jane Law, 21, July 1, 1858.

[4] 1860 census, Drew Co., AR, p. 101, dwelling 155, listing for William Rankin and p. 103, dwelling 167, E. B. Lindsey.

[5] William H. Rankin’s service record at the National Archives indicates that he enlisted from Monticello in the Confederate Army on 8 Feb 1862 for three years or the duration of the war. He was listed as present on his company’s muster roll through Oct. 31, 1864.

[6] Louisiana State Archives, “Widow’s Application for Pension” of Amanda A. Rankin, widow of John A. Rankin, P.O. Haynesville, LA, filed 4 Apr 1910.

[7] 1900 federal census, Haynesville, Claiborne Parish, LA, p. 55, household of A. C. sale with mother-in-law Amanda Rankin, wife Annie Sale, and children.

[8] That’s not accurate, of course. Some fighting continued after Lee’s surrender on April 9.

[9] National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., Civil War record for Rankin, John A., Companies C and K, Arkansas Infantry, Private.

[10] I will add a brief description of the Battle of Champion’s Hill at the end of this article. On second thought, I will write a separate article about that battle.

[11] Unfortunately, John Allen’s portrait is now lost, as is a portrait of his mother, Mary Estes Rankin, which was taken at the same time, in (probably) the early 1880s.

[12] 1870 census, Claiborne Parish, LA, Homer PO, p. 59, dwl #39, listing for John A. Rankin, 27, b. MS, Amanda Rankin, 25, b. MS, and the two children, both b. LA.

[13] LDS Film # 265,980, Claiborne Parish Deed Book J: 226.

[14] 1870 census, Webster Parish, LA, p. 219, dwl 255, J. A. Rankin, wife Amanda Rankin, and children Anna Belle, Edward, Lulu, Joseph, Marvin, and Melvin.

[15] Letter from Washington Marion Rankin (“Wash”), who lived in Homer, to his brother Napoleon Bonaparte (“Pole”) Rankin dated October 1882.

[16] I do not own, and have never seen, the original of this letter. I obtained a transcription from Megan Franks, a descendant of Elisha Rankin, John Allen’s brother. Another distant cousin reportedly owns the original of Amanda’s letter, as well as several other Rankin letters from the 1880s. I have called and written him (he lives here in Houston) but he never responded. That is a shame, because I could probably clarify some of the “X”ed material.

Two Lindsey Families of Granville and Warren Counties, North Carolina

by Robin Rankin Willis

Introduction

This article is about Joseph and Leonard Lindsey, brothers who lived in the Nutbush Creek District of Granville and Warren counties in the last half of the eighteenth and early part of the nineteenth century. If you trace your Lindsey family back to the northern tier of counties in central North Carolina around that tine, I hope there is some information here that helps you out! I also plan to post a conventional outline descendant chart for this family. It will take these Lindseys as far down to the present as I could get it — or until I grew weary of tracking them.

Before getting down to the facts, let’s speculate about the unproved past. The records don’t prove where Joseph and Leonard came from before appearing in North Carolina. They don’t seem to be connected to any of the other nearby Lindsey families about that time, including both the Lindseys of Peachtree Creek and the Dennis Lindsey who lived in Granville County.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any clues in the records. Circumstantial evidence suggests a possible link between the Nutbush Creek Lindseys and William Lindsey of New Kent, Brunswick and Lunenburg counties, Virginia (hereafter, “William Lindsey of New Kent”).[1] Here are the facts:

  • William Lindsey of New Kent owned land in Virginia in what was then Lunenburg County on Miles Creek (also known as Crabtree Cr.), a short tributary flowing into the Roanoke River from north to south near the North Carolina border.[2] Joseph and Leonard owned land in Granville County, North Carolina – which was adjacent to Lunenburg at the time – on Nutbush Creek. That creek flows into the Roanoke from south to north, joining the river just a few miles west of the mouth of Miles Creek. Geographic proximity frequently, though not always, indicates a family connection.
  • William Lindsey of New Kent witnessed two mid-century deeds with men named Moss, a fairly unusual surname.[3] Several decades later, Leonard Lindsey’s son Elisha named a son John Moss Lindsey. The middle name strongly suggests a family connection.[4] So does witnessing each others’ deeds.
  • Leonard Lindsey acquired a tract in Halifax County, Virginia (which then abutted Granville) on Russell’s Creek.[5] Often, creeks were named for families owning land on the creek. Back in Brunswick and Lunenburg, William Lindsey of New Kent was associated in at least three deeds with Richard Russell.[6]
  • Leonard Lindsey sold a Granville County tract to a George Tilmon or Tilman of Brunswick County, Virginia.[7] Some years earlier, a John Tilman had witnessed a Brunswick deed along with William Lindsey of New Kent.[8]

These may just be coincidences. But … these kinds of records frequently weave a web pointing toward extended family relationships. I suspect, but cannot prove, that Joseph and Leonard may have been sons of William Lindsey of New Kent.

YDNA testing has improved somewhat the odds that this is correct. Recent test results for a male descendent of Joseph Lindsey of Granville prove that he is genetically a member of “DNA Group 3” in the Lindsey/Lindsay DNA project.[9] One of the two main branches of DNA Group 3 traces its likely origins back to New Kent County, Virginia. The second branch of DNA Group 3 is my own, the Lindsey families of Peachtree Creek in Franklin and Nash Counties. So far, none of us in the Peachtree Creek group have been able to prove our roots any earlier than a William Lindsey who also lived in Brunswick County, Virginia in the mid-1700s. That William moved to Edgecombe County, North Carolina by 1758, and did not appear to be connected to either William Lindsey of New Kent or Joseph and Leonard of Granville.

Back to the subject: here is a summary of information about the families of Joseph and Leonard Lindsey and their sons.

Joseph (about 1727 – 1794) and Rachel Lindsey (circa 1735? – 1806)[10]

Joseph Lindsey and his wife Rachel (last name unknown) first appeared in the North Carolina records in 1749. That year, Joseph obtained a land grant in Granville County for 350 acres on Anderson’s Swamp, a tributary of Nutbush Creek.[11] Joseph must have been born no later than 1728 in order to have been of legal age to obtain that patent. The North Carolina state census for 1786 shows Joseph in the twenty-one to sixty age category, indicating that Joseph was born 1726 or later.[12] Taken together, the 1786 census and the 1740 deed narrow Joseph’s birth to 1726-1728.

In 1754, Joseph sold part of his Anderson’s Swamp tract to Leonard Lindsey.[13] That sale and subsequent connections between their families provide convincing evidence that Joseph and Leonard were close relatives and members of the same generation. First, since Leonard was old enough to buy land in 1754, he was born by at least 1733, compared to a birth year of about 1727 for Joseph. Second, the two men both served in the same militia unit at the same time (1754, Leonard as a private and Joseph as a Sergeant).[14] I think that Joseph and Leonard were brothers rather than cousins. Leonard’s only proved son, Elisha Lindsey, named as his executors Joseph’s sons Laban and Caleb, even though Elisha lived in a different jurisdiction when he died (Granville County) than Laban and Caleb (Warren County).[15]

Joseph appeared regularly in the Granville deed records beginning in 1749, buying and selling land in at least ten different transactions.[16] His last appearance in that county was in 1786, when he appeared on the tax list for the Nutbush District.[17] By the time he died, he held approximately 1,000 acres, assuming that I found all of the deeds and grants to which he was a party. So far as I can tell, however, he never sold all of the “home tract” on Anderson’s Swamp with which he started. He definitely remained in the Nutbush District until he died – the name of the jurisdiction in which he lived just changed when Bute County was created from Granville and again when Warren County was created from Bute.[18]

I only found one piece of information that revealed anything about Joseph’s personal life other than his militia service: he was Presbyterian.[19] This has genealogical significance. Joseph’s religion is evidence that his family came to the colonies either from Scotland or from the Ulster Plantations of Northern Ireland, home to Scots-Irish. Both place were the source of Presbyterian immigrants to the colonies in the latter part of the seventeenth century and first half of the eighteenth.

Joseph and his wife Rachel had at least two sons and seven daughters.[20] Laban, the elder son, was born in 1756;[21] Caleb was born between 1760 and 1765.[22] Joseph and Rachel’s daughters Mary and Darcas each married men named Searcy, a surname that appears frequently in the records of these Lindsey families.[23] Two of their daughters had husbands named Riggin, alternatively spelled Regan or Ragan.[24] Joseph and Rachel probably also had a son Elisha who predeceased them, because there were clearly two related Elisha Lindseys who appeared in Granville at the same time.[25] One of the two Elishas was definitely Leonard’s son, and was likely the eldest of the three surviving sons of Leonard and Joseph.[26]

Joseph and Rachel’s son Laban was born in July 1756, according to his Revolutionary War pension application, probably in Granville County.[27] He married Susanna Johnson in 1782 in Warren County.[28] Laban’s line appeared in Warren County tax lists from 1782 through 1789.[29] By 1802, he lived in Surry County.[30] He applied for a pension for his Revolutionary War service as a resident of Surry.[31] Laban was enumerated in the census in Surry County in 1810 through 1830, and left a will probated there in 1840.[32] Laban and Susannah had sons named Anderson (born about 1786) and Johnson (born about 1790), both of whom also appeared in Surry County.[33] Laban and Susannah also had a son Leonard who predeceased his father, leaving children.[34] After 1850, some from Laban’s line (his daughter Charity and his son Leonard’s widow and their children) were living in Yadkin County, created in 1850 from Surry County.[35]

Joseph and Rachel’s son Caleb, born during 1760 – 1765, married Temperance Howse (or House, daughter of Dudley Howse), in 1803.[36] Caleb and Temperance last appeared in Warren County in the 1810 census, then moved to Rutherford County, Tennessee.[37] Caleb’s will was proved there in 1839, naming his wife Temperance and four children: sons Joseph and Dudley H. Lindsey and daughters Fanny G. Cooper and Elizabeth V. Cooper.[38] I have not identified any children of Caleb’s son Joseph, whom I last found in the census in Rutherford County in 1860 along with his mother Temperance.[39] His brother Dudley Howse Lindsey married Charlotte Puckett in Rutherford County and moved to Upshur County, Texas.[40] Dudley and Charlotte had twelve children, a number of whom stayed in Upshur or Camp County.

Leonard Lindsey (circa 1730 – 1785) and wife Sarah Searcy (d. 1796) of Granville

Leonard Lindsey first appeared in the records in 1754 when he acquired a tract on Anderson’s Swamp from his brother Joseph.[41] Leonard’s wife was Sarah Searcy, daughter of John Searcy.[42] Like Joseph, Leonard was active in land transactions in Granville County, beginning with his 1754 purchase of 120 acres on Anderson’s Swamp.[43]

Leonard left a Granville County will dated April 29, 1782 and proved in May 1785.[44] The will devised only the tract where Leonard lived in Granville: 144 acres to his wife Sarah for life, and 143 acres to their only son Elisha.[45] Leonard left the remainder of Sarah’s life estate to Elisha and his “daughters then living,” not named. The names of Leonard’s daughters are confirmed in a partition of his land on Fishing Creek: Mary Guest, Elizabeth Lindsey, Ann Searcy, Phebe Lindsey and Sarah Hopkins, wife of Charles Hopkins.[46]

Leonard and Sarah’s only son Elisha first appeared in a deed in 1777, suggesting that he was probably born in the early 1750s and in any event by 1756.[47] Elisha married Elizabeth Loyd or Lloyd in December 1779.[48] He died in 1793, leaving a Granville County will naming his wife Elizabeth and his two underage sons Wyatt and John Moss Lindsey.[49] In 1802, Elizabeth and Wyatt sold their interests in Elisha’s land and moved to Tennessee with her son John Moss Lindsey and some of Elizabeth’s Lloyd relatives.[50]

Elisha and Elizabeth’s son John Moss Lindsey lived in Sumner County, Tennessee as of 1805, but left no further records there that I have found.[51] John’s brother Wyatt also lived in Sumner County.[52] Wyatt subsequently bought a tract on Round Lick Creek in Wilson County, Tennessee about 1814 and was listed in the 1820 census in that county.[53] Wyatt left a will in Wilson County in 1822 naming his wife Betsy and six children: Mary (Polly), Margaret (Peggy), John, Elisha, Wyatt and Joseph Lindsey.[54] Wyatt (Jr.) moved to Williamson County, Illinois along with his sisters Polly and Peggy. I have not found further records for John, Elisha or Joseph.

* * * * * * * * * *

[1] See the discussion of William Lindsey of New Kent-Brunswick in an article on this website titled “Three William Lindseys of Brunswick Co., VA in the mid-1700s.”

[2] Lunenburg Co., Virginia Deeds, Books 5 & 6 (1757-1761), Books 7 & 8 (1761-1764) (Miami: T.L.C. Genealogy, 1990), abstract of Deed Book 6: 1, deed of 4 May 1760 from William Lindsey of Brunswick to Rease Brower, 400 acres in Lunenburg on both sides of Crabtree Cr., witnessed by Hugh Franklin, Charles Humphries, Richard Russell and John Ezell.

[3] Stephen E. Bradley, Jr., Brunswick County, Virginia Deed Books Volume 2 1744-1755, 1764 (Lawrenceville, Virginia: 1998), abstract of Deed Book 3: 395, deed of 7 Apr 1748 from Richard Russell of Brunswick to William Lindsy of New Kent Co., witnessed by Thomas Twitty and Stephen Moss; abstract of Deed Book 5: 615, 11 May 1754 deed from William McKnight of Brunswick to Thomas Merriot, witnessed by William Lindsey and David Moss.

[4] Zae Hargett Gwynn, Kinfolks of Granville County North Carolina 1765 – 1826 (Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Co., 1992), abstract of Deed Book S: 39, deed of 30 Mar 1805 from John Moss Lindsey of Sumner Co., TN to James Hamilton of Granville Co., NC, land devised to grantor by the will of Elisha Lindsey, dec’d, after the death of Elizabeth Lindsey.

[5] Marian Dodson Chiarito, Halifax County Virginia Deed Books 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 1759-1767 (Nathalie, VA: 1986), abstract of Deed Book 6: 278, deed of 4 Nov 1766 from James Cox and wife Elizabeth of Halifax to Leonard Linsay of Granville Co., NC, 400 acres on Sugar Tree Cr. and Russell’s Creek.

[6] Notes 2, 3 and 8.

[7] Timothy W. Rackley, Granville County North Carolina Deeds 1766 – 1772 (Kernersville, NC: 1999), abstract of Deed Book H: 328, deed of 1 May 1767 from Leonard Linsey and wife Sarah of Granville to George Tilmon (also spelled Tilman/Tillman) of Brunswick, 200 acres adjacent Linsey.

[8] Bradley, Brunswick County, Virginia Deed Books Volume 5, abstract of Deed Book 5: 493, deed of 22 Jan 1764 from William Johnson & wife Elizabeth of Sussex Co. to Richard Russell of Brunswick, 175 acres south side Totero Cr. Witnessed by William Lindsey, John Tillman and William Parham.

[9] http://www.clanlindsay.com/dna_group_3.htm

[10] David B. Gammon, Records of Estates Warren County North Carolina, Vol. II, Estates Found in Court Records (Raleigh: 1989), Feb 1806, inventory of the property lent by Joseph Lindsey, dec’d, to Rachel Lindsey, now dec’d, by Caleb Lindsey, executor. That establishes Rachel’s date of death as about 1806. Her date of birth (circa 1735) is just a guess.

[11] Zae Hargett Gwynn, Abstracts of the Early Deeds of Granville County North Carolina (Spartanburg, NC: The Reprint Co., 1992), Deed Book D: 190, state grant to Joseph Linsey on 25 March 1740, 350A north side of Anderson’s Sw.

[12] A. K. Register, State Census of North Carolina, 1784-1787 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973), listing for Joseph Lindsey. The household consisted of two white males ages 21 – 60 (presumably Joseph and his son Laban), one white male either less than 21 or over 60 (Joseph’s son Caleb), and 4 white females, ages not stated (probably Rachel and three unmarried daughters).

[13] Gwynn, Abstracts of the Early Deeds of Granville, Deed Book B: 284, deed dated 5 Mar 1754 from Joseph Lyndsey and wife Rachel to Leonard Lindsey, £15, 120A on Andersons Sw. at Joseph Lyndsey’s line, witnesses Ruben Searcy and Saml Henderson.

[14] Walter Clark, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, The State Records of North Carolina, Vol. XXII, Miscellaneous (Goldsboro, NC: Nash Brothers, Book and Job Printers, 1907; reissue Wilmington, NC by Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1994), at pp. 370-371 , 366-367. Joseph Lindsay and Leonard Lyndsay appeared on the 8 Oct 1754 muster roll of Capt. John Glover’s Company.

[15] Zae Hargett Gwynn, Abstracts of the Wills and Estate Records of Granville County North Carolina 1746 – 1808, Vol. I (Rocky Mount, NC: 1973), abstract of Will Book 2: 301, will of Elisha Lindsey naming executors Laban and Caleb Lindsey, both of Warren County.

[16] Notes 11 and 13; Timothy W. Rackley, Granville County North Carolina Deeds 1763 – 1766 (Kernersville, NC: 1999), Deed Book G: 204, 205 (Feb 1764 purchase of 135A on Great Nut Bush Cr. and 241A on Crooked Run, and sale of 230A on the north side of Anderson’s Sw.); Deed Book G: 323 (Jan 1765 sale of 135A on both sides Great Nut Bush Cr. and 241A on Crooked Run); Deed Book G: 325 (Feb 1765 purchase of 240A on Wooley’s Br. and White Dirt Br.); Rackley, Granville County Deeds 1766-1772, Deed Book H: 196, 194 (Nov. 1766 sale of 240A on White Dirt Br. and purchase of 230A on Anderson’s Sw.); Timothy W. Rackley, Granville County North Carolina Deeds 1772-1778 (Kernersville, NC: 2001), abstract of Deed Book I: 407 (Oct 1772 purchase of 420A on the waters of Anderson’s Sw.); Gwynn, Abstracts of the Early Deeds of Granville, Deed Book F: 113 (Jan 1763 purchase of 100A on Anderson’s Sw.)

[17] Register, State Census, listing for Joseph Lindsey in 1786.

[18] Bute Co. was created from Granville Co. in 1764 and was abolished in 1779 to form Warren and Franklin Counties. The Handybook for Genealogists, Tenth Ed.

[19] Rackley, Granville North Carolina Deeds 1766-1772, abstract of Deed Book H: 335, deed of 7 Jul 1767, James Pettegrew Sr. of Granville to Howell Lewis, Joseph Lindsey, Robert Lewis, Chisley Daniel and John Oliver, also of Granville, on behalf of the Presbyterian Congregation, 1 acre on Grassey Cr.

[20] David B. Gammon, Abstracts of Wills Warren County, North Carolina 1779 – 1844 Volume I (Raleigh, NC: 1995), will of Joseph Lindsey dated 5 Mar 1793, proved Nov 1794. Son Caleb Lindsey, 305A where I now live and 70A in the southeast corner of my tract. Wife Rachel, life estate in half of estate and one slave. At her death or marriage, her life estate to be divided among my two sons and seven of my daughters if living, namely Laban and Caleb, Zillah Ragan, Mary Hartgrove Searcy, Rebecca Ragan, Milly Thurman, Darkas Lindsey, Sary Lindsey and Fanny Watkins. Son Laban Lindsey, 220A where he now lives. Executors son Caleb Lindsey, friend Dennis Paschal. Witnesses Dennis Paschal, Mary Paschal.

[21] The State Records of North Carolina, Vol. XXII, Miscellaneous (Goldsboro, NC: Nash Brothers, Book and Job Printers, 1907; reissue Wilmington, NC by Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1994) at p. 73, Revolutionary War pension application of Laban Lindsey.

[22] Caleb’s birth year range can be derived from several census records. In the 1800 census for Warren County, p. 815 (before he married Temperance), he is listed with his mother and (probably) two sisters and is shown in the 26 < 45 category, born 1755 – 1774. In the 1810 census for Warren Co., p. 304, he is listed in the over 45 age bracket, i.e., born by 1765. That narrows his birth range to 1755-1765. In the 1830 census for Rutherford Co., TN, p. 303, he is age 60 < 70, i.e., born 1760-1770, with a female the same age (probably his sister Sarah), a male b. 1800-1810 (his son Joseph), a female b. 1780-1790 (his wife Temperance, who was b. 1780), and females 10 <15 and 15 < 20 (daughters Fanny and Elizabeth). Assuming these census records are correct, Caleb was born during 1760-1765. An internet source gives dates of birth and death for Caleb (27 Apr 1763 – 23 Dec 1838) and his sister Sarah (28 Feb 1761 – 10 Dec 1841). The precise dates suggest cemetery or Bible records which I have not seen.

[23] Note 20, will of Joseph Lindsey naming daughter Mary Hartgrove Searcy; Frances T. Ingmire, Warren County North Carolina Marriage Records 1780 – 1867 (Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1993), marriage bond for Darcas Lindsey (daughter of Joseph) and William H. Searcy dated 24 Dec 1805; 15 Jun 1787 marriage bond for Ann Lindsey (daughter of Leonard) and Richard Searcy; Gwynn, Abstracts of the Early Deeds of Granville County, Deed Book B: 376, deed dated 4 Dec 1754, Leonard Linsey and wife Sarah to Reubin Searcy, 120A on Andersons Sw. at Joseph Linsey’s line. Witnesses Wm Searcy, John Bird.

[24] Note 20, will of Joseph Lindsey naming daughters Zillah and Rebecca Ragan.

[25] Gwynn, Abstracts of the Wills and Estate Records of Granville County North Carolina 1746 – 1808, Will Book 1: 281, John Guest bought 287A from Elisha Linsey on the condition that John Guest will maintain Leonard Linsey and wife Sarah for their lifetime. Witnesses Reuben Searcy, Elisha Linsey.

[26] The 1785 tax list for Granville County included Elisha Lindsey along with Joseph Linsey and Leonard Linsey. Clarence E. Ratcliff, North Carolina Taxpayers 1701 – 1786 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1984).

[27] State Records of North Carolina, Vol. XXII, Revolutionary War pension application of Laban Lindsey, pension file No. S7153: NC Line, soldier was born 14 Jul 1756, lived in Granville Co., NC at enlistment and later moved to Surry Co., NC. He applied there 6 Aug 1832.

[28] Jordan R. Dodd, ed., North Carolina Marriages Early to 1800 (Bountiful, Utah: Liahona Research, Inc., 1990).

[29] David B. Gammon, Tax Lists Warren County, North Carolina 1779-1790 Vol. I (Raleigh, NC: 1994).

[30] Carol Leonard Snow, Surry County, North Carolina Deed Abstracts Volume I 1800 – 1803 (Toast, NC: 1995), abstract of Surry Co. Deed Book I: 302, deed dated 14 Jan 1802 from Isaac Hudson to Laban Lindsey of Surry Co., 348.5A on the waters of Deep Cr. and Hunting Cr.

[31] Note 27.

[32] Hester Jackson, Surry County, North Carolina Will Abstracts Book 4 (1827-1853) (Dobston, NC: 1991), Will Book 4: 169b, will of Labon Lindsey dated 23 Sep 1838 proved May 1840, naming son Anderson, daughter Charity, son Johnson, the heirs at law of Leonard Lindsey, the children of Anderson Lindsey (Eliza, Matthew, Lucinda, Thomas, Evaline and Polly, wife of John Sturdivant), and granddaughter Susannah Moon. The will abstract omits Anderson’s son Laban.

[33] Id.; 1850 census, Surry Co., NC listings for Anderson Lindsey and Johnson Lindsey at p. 161.

[34] Id., will of Laban Lindsey naming as beneficiaries the heirs of Leonard Lindsey.

[35] 1860 federal census, Yadkin Co., NC, p. 331, Charity Lindsey, 70, b. NC; p. 343, Winnie Lindsy (Leonard’s widow), 55, Miriam Lindsy, 27, and Wade Lindsy, 25; p. 343, Label Lindsy [sic ], 42, with his wife and nine children; p. 344, Pinkney Lindsly, 35, b. NC, with wife and three children.

[36] Zae Hargett Gwynn, Abstracts of the Wills and Estate Records of Granville County North Carolina 1808 – 1833, Vol. II (Rocky Mount, NC: Joseph W. Watson, 1976), Will Book 8: 17, will of Dudley Howse proved Feb 1817 naming daughter Temperance Lindsey; Mary Hinton Kerr, Warren County, North Carolina Records, Vol. I (Warrenton, NC: 1967), Warren County marriage bond for Caleb Lindsey and Temperance House dated 28 Jun 1803.

[37] 1810 federal census, Warren Co., NC, listing for Caleb Lindsey, p. 304; 1830 census, Rutherford Co., TN, listing for Caleb Lindsey, p. 303, 000010001-001100101 b. 1760 – 1770 (Caleb), 1 female 60 < 70 (Temperance Howse Lindsey), and 1 female b. 1780 – 1790 (probably Caleb’s sister Sally, mentioned in his will, see note 37).

[38] Helen C. & Timothy R. Marsh, Wills and Inventories of Rutherford County, Tennessee Volume 2 (1828-1840) (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1998), abstract of Will Book 10: 264, will of Caleb Lindsey of Rutherford County dated 13 Jan 1837, recorded 7 Feb 1839. Wife Temperence Lindsey; my four children, sons Dudley H. and Joseph Lindsey and daughters Fanny G. and Elizabeth V. Cooper. Sister Sally Lindsey.

[39] 1860 census, Rutherford Co., TN, p. 52, dwl 731, listing for Jas. [sic, this is Joseph] Lindsey, 56, T. Lindsay, 80, female, b NC (Temperance), L. T. E. Cooper, female, 21, b. TN (a niece), and W. A. Cooper, 20, male, b. TN (a nephew). For confirmation that this is indeed Joseph and his mother Temperance, see 1850 census for Rutherford Co., TN, p. 170, dwl. 310, listing for Joseph Lindsey, 46, M.E.C. clergyman, b. NC. Household included Temperance Lindsey, 70, b. NC, and some Cooper nephews and a niece (Wm. H. Cooper, 13, b. TN, Wise A. Cooper, 10, b. TN, and Sarah F. E. Cooper, 12, b. TN).

[40] Edythe Rucker Whitley, Marriages of Rutherford County, Tennessee 1804-1872 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1981), marriage bond of Dudley H. Lindsey and Charlotte T. Puckett, 12 Oct. 1829; Upshur County Book Committee, Upshur County, Texas: a Sesquicentennial History (Gilmer, TX: Upshur County Sesquicentennial Committee, 1996).

[41] Gwynn, Abstracts of the Early Deeds of Granville County, Deed Book B: 284, deed dated 5 Mar 1754 from Joseph Lyndsey and wife Rachel to Leonard Lindsey, £15, 120A on Andersons Sw. at Joseph Lyndsey’s line, witnesses Ruben Searcy and Saml Henderson.

[42] Gwynn, Abstracts of the Wills and Estate Records of Granville County, Granville Will Book 2: 1, will of John Searcy dated 15 Mar 1783 proved Feb 1787 named among others his daughter Sarah Lindsey; Gwynn, Abstracts of the Early Deeds of Granville County, Deed Book B: 376, conveyance dated 4 Dec 1754 from Leonard Linsey and wife Sarah to Reubin Searcy, tract on Andersons Sw. at Joseph Linseys line.

[43] In 1760, Leonard acquired via state grant another 640 acres on the east side of Andersons Swamp; he sold that tract six months later. Gwynn, Abstracts of the Early Deeds of Granville County, Deed Book D: 155, 230. Also in 1760, he received a grant for 420 acres on Falling Creek. Id., Deed Book G: 164. Two years later, he bought another 215 acres on Anderson’s Swamp. Id., Deed Book E: 245. In 1763, Leonard acquired another 395 acres. Id., Deed Book F: 419. In 1767, Leonard sold about 620 acres. Rackley, Granville North Carolina Deeds 1766-1772, Deed Book H: 326, 328. In 1768, he bought 300 acres on Flat Creek. Id., Granville Deed Book H: 418. In 1760 and 1771, Leonard sold 215 acres on Anderson’s Swamp and 300 acres on Flat Cr. Id., Deed Book I: 45 and Rackley, Granville County North Carolina Deeds 1772-1778, Deed Book K: 57. This is probably not a complete list of Leonard’s Granville County land transactions.

[44] Gwynn, Abstracts of the Wills and Estate Records of Granville County, Will Book 1: 438.

[45] Elisha appeared in the 1786 state census in Granville County in the Ragland tax district with his wife Elizabeth Loyd and sons John Moss and Wyatt Lindsey. See Register, State Census of North Carolina, 1784-1787, listing for Elisha Lindsey, whose household included one white male age 21-60, 2 white males who were either less than 21 or over 60, and one white female.

[46] Gwynn, Abstracts of the Wills and Estate Records of Granville County, Will Book 4: 95, November 1796 report of partition of land on Fishing Creek, formerly property of Leonard Lindsey, between five daughters: Sarah Linsey, Phebe Linsey, Elizabeth Linsey, Mary Guest, and Ann Searcey. See also Gwynn, Kinfolks of Granville County North Carolina.

[47] Gwynn, Kinfolks of Granville County, abstract of Deed Book M: 41, deed of 5 Feb 1777 from Abraham Cook and wife Amey of Granville to Elisha Linsey, same, 50A on east side Tar River, Elisha Linsey’s Spring Branch. Elisha was therefore born by at least 1756. Also, on the 1769 Granville tax list, Leonard Lindsey was shown with two white polls, suggesting that his son Elisha was of taxable age by that date. Id.

[48] Brent H. Holcomb, Marriages of Granville County, North Carolina 1753 – 1868 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1981).

[49] Gwynn, Abstracts of the Wills and Estate Records of Granville County North Carolina 1746 – 1808 Will Book 2: 301, will of Elisha Lindsey dated 16 Nov 1791, proved Aug 1792. The marriage bond for Elisha Lindsey and Elizabeth Loyd was dated 25 Dec 1779, so neither son was over age twelve when Elisha died. Elizabeth’s grandson Joseph, a son of Wyatt, was indentured to Jarrett Loyd after Wyatt died in Wilson Co., TN. See Thomas E. Partlow, Wilson County, Tennessee Circuit Court Records 1810-1855 (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1988), abstract of court records 1832-33, entry of 24 Sept 1833 at p. 457: Joseph Lindsey, about 11 or 12 years old, bound to Jarratt Loyd. He may be the same Jarratt Loyd who was bondsman on the Granville marriage bond for Elisha and Elizabeth Lloyd Lindsey and was probably Elizabeth’s brother.

[50] See Gwynn, Kinfolks of Granville Co., abstracts of Deed Book R: 68 and 74, two deeds dated 11 Oct 1802 in which Elizabeth sold her life estate in the tract Elisha conveyed to her and Wyatt conveyed his remainder interest in the same tract, both interests sold to James Hamilton.

[51] Id., abstract of Deed Book S: 39, deed dated 30 Mar 1805 from John Moss Lindsey of Sumner Co., TN to James Hamilton of Granville Co., NC, land devised to grantor by the will of Elisha Lindsey, dec’d, after the death of Elizabeth Lindsey.

[52] Joyce Martin Murray, Sumner County, Tennessee Deed Abstracts 1806-1817 (Wolfe City, TX: Henington Publishing Co., 1989), Deed Book 4: 63, deed dated Dec 1805 from John Kerr to Wirt Lindsey, $400, 115A on the west fork of Goose Cr.; Deed Book 4: 291, deed dated 10 Sep 1808 from Wiot Lindsey to David Tulloch, $80, tract on east fork, west branch of Goose Cr.

[53] Thomas E. Partlow, Wilson County, Tennessee Deed Books C-M 1793-1829 (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1984), abstract of Deed Book F: 202, deed from Samuel Caplinger to Wiatt Linsey, 150A on Round Lick Cr. dated or recorded 1814.

[54] Thomas E. Partlow, Wilson County, Tennessee, Wills Books 1-13, 1802-1850 (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1991), abstract of Wills & Inventories 1814-1819 at p. 301, will of Wiatt Lindsey dated 7 Aug 1822 proved 26 Nov 1822.

Finding the Right John Willis on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

 

Last week, I posted an article on The John Willis Family of Dorchester and Caroline Counties, Maryland. Born about 1660, John Willis migrated from England as a young man. He was a small time farmer and served as Court Crier at the Dorchester County Court. He patented land in 1702 and named it “Wantage” after his hometown village in Berkshire County, England. John had children Grace, John, Eliza, Andrew, Thomas and William. John, Sr. died in 1712 leaving a will naming four of his six children, two of whom had proved descendants. My intent is to write additional articles regarding these descendants of Willis’s sons John, Jr. and Andrew. However, before undertaking that task, it would be useful to share some research that helped identify the patriarch John Willis in the original article.

Several Willis families on the Eastern Shore include persons named John. Numerous primary records, such as headrights, land patents, deeds and wills record other individuals who may be connected to John Willis. Other secondary sources contain the work product of professional researchers. For example, the twenty-three-volume Colonial Families of the Eastern Shore of Maryland[1] recognizes four Willis families. However, none is the John Willis Family of Dorchester and Caroline Counties. One monograph, “A Documentary History of One Branch of the Willis Family of the State of Maryland, c.1680–c.1802,”[2] does address the correct family but contains several errors as to John’s origin and his descendants. Indeed, my data table for accumulated research from sources related to Dorchester County is 110 pages long. This article summarizes evidence from some of those sources and my use of each in my search for the correct John Willis.

Willises in Colonial Families

Colonial Families provides an entry for “The Willis Family of Dorchester County.” This is a Quaker family headed by a Richard Willis who married Frances, widow of Richard Dawson. Richard Willis patented 260 acres called Rondley in 1687.[3] Richard’s 1689 will naming children Richard, John and Frances included a reference to Rondley.[4] This tract distinguishes Richard’s family from the subject John Willis of Dorchester and Caroline Counties. The land related to Richard is located on the Transquakin River and on the Nanticoke River many miles from Wantage where the John Willis family lived near the county seat of Cambridge.

While this Richard Willis clan is not the family in question, several people incorrectly attributed to the Richard group by Colonial Families are members of the John Willis Family. Specifically, Colonial Families names a John Willis, with sons William and Andrew, as a “probable” son of the senior Richard Willis.[5] This John is not a son of Richard but is an original immigrant and the patriarch of the John Willis Family of Dorchester and Caroline Counties. William and Andrew were indeed sons of John of Dorchester and members of that distinct family group based on deed records related to Wantage and John’s will and its probate. Furthermore, they were not Quakers. Rather, a Quaker John Willis who married a Margaret Cox at the Transquakin Meeting House in 1712 is a more likely descendant of this Richard Willis.[6]

“The James Willis Family” in Colonial Families begins in Somerset County in 1679 when James marries Rebecca Barnaby, daughter of James Barnaby.[7] A James Willis is named in the early patent books as having been transported to Maryland by 1665; James Barnaby and wife Mary with their two daughters Rebecca and Elizabeth were also named as transported to the Province in about the same time.[8] Other records show James Barnaby first patented land in 1663 thereby preceding James Willis to Maryland.[9] I found no connection between this family and John Willis of Dorchester and Caroline Counties.

“The Nathaniel Willis Family” established itself in Worcester County in the 1730’s according to Colonial Families.[10] Nathaniel’s family arrived too late to have been connected directly to John Willis of Dorchester and Caroline Counties. An earlier record in Worcester County shows that a Thomas Willis patented land called Amity north of the Pocomoke River in 1683,[11] but Thomas left no male heirs ruling out any ancestral connection to John Willis.

“The Willis Family of Kent County” outlined in Colonial Families includes a father John Willis and sons John and Richard, but neither father nor son is the John in question. The entry states that based on an apprenticeship record from Kent County, “Richard born 4 Apr 1697 is the son of an unidentified John Willis.”[12] However, we identify this father John as being the same person as John Williss of Cecil County, a person listed in Colonial Families but not attached to any family.[13] We conclude that John of Kent and John of Cecil are one and the same based on the following facts:

1. The 1698 will of John Williss of Cecil County named wife Dorothy as executrix and named children John, Richard and Mary. Further, it identifies him as a Quaker;[14]

2. The birth dates for all three children and John’s death date are noted in the records of the Cecil County Monthly Meeting of Quakers. Son Richard’s birthday in that record corresponds to the date listed in the Kent County apprentice records, confirming that this is the correct Richard and, therefore, the right family,[15]

3. John Williss’s widow Dorothy married William Hopkins, evidenced by a 1708 court filing from Kent County in the probate of John’s estate where she is named both as Hopkins’s wife and as Willis’s executrix,[16] and last,

4. The will of the son John Willis, a cordwinder of Kent County, proved in 1716, leaves everything to his brother Richard, naming William Hopkins as executor and noting that his brother Richard will be under the care of William Hopkins until of age.[17] Richard, born in 1697, was almost 19 when his brother died.

Thus, it is clear that the Willis Family of Kent County with brothers John and Richard was a Quaker family originally headed by John Williss, and that it actually had its beginnings in Cecil County. Clearly, this is not the non-Quaker family of John Willis of Dorchester and Caroline Counties.

In conclusion, Colonial Families does include the correct John Willis although attributed to the wrong family. In fact, none of the clans summarized in Colonial Families is the right one.

 Same Name Confusion

The frequent use of the given names John, Richard, William and Thomas within the various Willis families during the 17th and 18th centuries complicates the task of distinguishing people of the same name and associating them with the right clan. This so-called “same name confusion” affects not only our modern day analysis but created confusion 300 years ago.

A case in point is the probate of the will of the previously mentioned John Williss of Cecil County. According to Perogative Court records, following the death of John Williss the court lost track of John’s widow and executrix Dorothy.[18] She had filed an account in her deceased husband’s probate in 1700 from Cecil County,[19] but in 1702 the court twice ordered the Sheriff of a different county — Dorchester — to bring the widow to court presumably to file additional inventories and accounts. The sheriff responded in both instances that she could not be found in his jurisdiction.[20] She and her new husband William Hopkins finally filed the necessary documentation six years later from their residence in a third county — Kent.[21]

We can infer that the reason the court looked for Dorothy in Dorchester was first the court knew she had left Cecil County. Secondly, the court knew from other filings that a John Willis and a Richard Willis lived in Dorchester. Since both those names appeared in the will of John Williss of Cecil County, the court may have thought the Dorchester residents to be those heirs and assumed Dorothy may be close by. In fact, there is no established relationship of the Richard and John Willis residing in Dorchester County to the John of Cecil County. The two men known by the court to be in Dorchester at that time may have been Richard the county coroner and John the county court crier. We just do not know. It is, however, now clear from the record in 1708 that Dorothy, her new husband and her two sons, John and Richard, were in Kent County and not in Dorchester.

One Branch of the Willis Family

“A Documentary History of One Branch of the Willis Family of the State of Maryland, c.1680-c.1805” lists many deeds, wills and other records that summarize the John Willis family’s official existence. It correctly identifies the John Willis who became patriarch of a new Willis line of immigrants, but suffers from a bit of “same name confusion” as to his origin. The monograph asserts that John Willis first owned land in Barbados and then moved to St. Michaels, Maryland, in 1680, rather than coming to the Province directly from England.[22] The article does not cite a source for this statement. Nor does it explain John’s relocation to Dorchester County from St. Michaels in what is now Talbot County. I doubt that John of Barbados ever went to Maryland based on several pieces of evidence. First, the records in Barbados (St. Michaels Parish, interestingly) indicate that John Willis had a hired servant and owned five slaves and five acres of land.[23] With only five acres of land, this man does not sound like a farmer. Instead, he sounds like a merchant of some sort and rather wealthy, not like John Willis of Dorchester and Caroline. Second, if the wealthy John of Barbados had arrived in Maryland in 1680, he likely would have purchased land far earlier than the 1702 patent of Wantage. There is no record of such a purchase in either Talbot or Dorchester Counties. Logic says that John of Dorchester and Caroline counties came directly from England and not Barbados. Regardless, “One Branch” creates a workable outline for the correct John Willis family.

Early Willis Headrights

 There are several Willises who appear in the earliest Maryland patent records related to land granted under the headrights program. Under that program, in effect between 1633 and 1683, persons paying passage to the colony for themselves or others were entitled to 50 acres of land for each person transported. Sometimes, the transported person paid back the cost of his or her passage by service to the benefactor, in which case the passenger became entitled to a headright of his or her own.[24]

The first Willis listed in the headrights record is a Thomas Willis noted as having been transported by 1633, creating a headright for the person bearing the expense.[25] These rights were assignable, leading to the creation of a market among land investors and speculators. Subsequent purchasers of a headright ensured that the right was re-recorded in their name, usually citing the reason for the headright being originally granted. This practice meant that a transported passenger might be recorded multiple times in the patent books. That may have been the case with Thomas Willis since that name appears again as having been “transported by 1634.”[26]

The patent books also show early headrights claimed for the transportation of a Francis Willis by 1649, Edward Willis by 1657, James Willis by 1665, and again a Thomas Willis by 1666.[27] A John Willis is also listed as having one headright by 1666.[28] He may have transported himself, bought a headright, or he may have been transported by someone else and completed his term of service earning a headright of his own. Regardless of how John obtained the headright, there is no indication where he located within the Province of Maryland and nothing to connect him to the Eastern Shore. Importantly, no land records indicate that a John Willis took possession of headright acreage in Dorchester County at that early date.

Finally, there is a Henry Willis transported to Maryland in August 1684 at age 21 on the John & Elizabeth bound to John Moore of London for four years.[29] Henry Willis was from Wantage. The ship’s record names Henry’s father as Leonard Willis.[30] It is possible that Henry Willis was related to John Willis of Dorchester and Caroline Counties although I have not proven any connection at this point.

First Appearance – Possibly but not likely 1680

A John Willis does first appear in the records of Dorchester in 1680 as witness to two land transactions involving Thomas Foulks.[31] I find no corroborating evidence that this John is connected to the subject family. Such evidence might be, for example, subsequent involvement of the named parties in the deed record with the members of the John Willis Family of Dorchester and Caroline Counties. There is no such involvement except, possibly, with a Thomas Jones who is another witness in one of the transactions. A son of our subject John Willis marries the daughter of a neighbor named William Jones, and this William Jones becomes a witness to and executor of John Willis’s 1712 will. If William Jones and Thomas Jones are related, it might support a theory that the 1680 witness John Willis is the head of the subject family. However, I have not found a relationship between the two Joneses. To the contrary, the name Thomas Jones is associated with the John Williss family of Cecil and Kent County. John Williss’s son Richard was at one time apprenticed to a Thomas Jones. Therefore, the John Willis who witnessed these deeds may have been more likely the John Williss of Cecil/Kent.

Conclusion

Having reviewed numerous primary records and secondary sources, we can state with some assurance that most of the early Willises on the Eastern Shore are not associated with the family of John Willis of Dorchester and Caroline Counties. Furthermore, our analysis points to the correct immigrant John Willis who acquired the land named Wantage as described in the earlier article.

———————-

[1] Henry C. Peden, Jr. & F. Edward Wright, Colonial Families of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Volume 5, (Westminster, MD: Willow Bend Books, 1999), V:310, 312, and Vernon L. Skinner, Jr. and F. Edward Wright, Colonial Families of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Volume 22, (Westminster, MD: Willow Bend Books, 2006), XXII:211, 215.

[2]  William P. Hunt, “A Documentary History of One Branch of the Willis Family of the State of Maryland, c.1680-c.1805,” (New York: Copyrighted as an Unpublished Manuscript, 1975).

[3] Peden, Colonial Families, V:312, and Calvin W. Mowbray & Mary I. Mowbray, The Early Settlers of Dorchester County and Their Lands, (Self published, 1981), I:171. A patent issued to Richard Willous for a tract in Dorchester County called “Roaley” (Rondley), 260 acres.

[4] James A. McAllister, Jr., Abstracts from the Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland, Volume 3 (Libers Old 4 ½ – Old 5), (Cambridge, MD, 1961), III:1. The will of Richard Willis dated 21 Oct 1689, proved 8 Jan 1689/90, devised to his sons Richard and John Willis at age 21 the 300 acre plantation called “Rondly.” His daughter Frances Willis would inherit if sons died without issue. Dorchester County Deed Book 4½ Old 1. Note: after Richard’s death, Frances married Edward Fisher, and after Edward died, she married Edward Newton.

[5] Peden, Colonial Families, V:313.

[6] Id. at 314.

[7] Skinner, Colonial Families, XXII:211.

[8] Gust Skordas, editor, The Early Settlers of Maryland, An Index of the Names of Immigrants Compiled from the Records of Land Patents, 1633-1680, in the Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1968), 24, 510. James Barnaby, Mary Barnaby, Rebecca Barnaby, Elizabeth Barnaby were transported by 1665 (Book 8:19), James Barnaby, Jr., of Somerset County was transported by 1665 (Book 11:309); and James Willis was transported by 1665 (Book 9:94).

[9] Skinner, Colonial Families, XXII:211.

[10] Id. at 215.

[11] FHL Film No. 13073, Maryland Land Office, Book 24:382, and FHL Film NO. 13075, Maryland Land Office, Book 29:430. A 27 Sep 1681 survey for Samuel Cooper certified 150 acres called Amity in Somerset County located on north side of Pocomoke River about 5 miles from the river. On 30 Nov 1861, the tract was assigned to Thomas Willis and the patent issued on 10 Aug 1683.

[12] Peden, Colonial Families, V:310.

[13] Id. at 314.

[14] Jane Baldwin Cotton, The Maryland Calendar of Wills, 1685-1702, (Baltimore: Kohn & Pollock, 1904, reprinted Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1988), II:195. Will of John Willis, Cecil County, dated 13 May 1698, proved 4 Mar 1699, gave to wife Dorothy, executrix, his dwelling plantation during her life; to son John said plantation at death of his mother and 200 acres; to son Richard 200 acres adjoining the plantation; to daughter Mary 200 acres adjoining Richard Hill’s property. In the event of death of all children without issue, the estate would pass to poor Quakers. Cecil County, MD, Will Book 6:362.

[15] Peden, Colonial Families, V:314. The Cecil Monthly Meeting records the following dates: Mary born 19th da., 6th mo., 1686; John born 31st da., 7th mo., 1693; Richard born 4th da., 2nd mo., 1697; John Willis died 24/8/1699, (Note that British calendars began the year with March until 1752), and, id. at 311. On 22 Aug 1717, Richard Willis son of John Willis, dec’d., was bound as an apprentice to Thomas Jones, but because he was not kept to the trade, the said Richard was bound to Oliver Higginbotom, carpenter, until age 21, which would be 4 April next. He was to follow the trade of a carpenter and cooper. {KEBI JS#W:33A}

[16] V. L. Skinner, Jr., Abstracts of the Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, (Baltimore: Clearfield Company, Inc., 2007), XI:130. In a Court Session on 22 Nov 1708, in the probate of John Willis of Cecil County, accounts were filed from Kent County of William Hopkins & his wife Dorothy, executrix of John Willis, dated 22 Feb 1708. Probate Book 21:79.

[17] Jane Baldwin Cotton and Roberta Bolling Henry, The Maryland Calendar of Wills, 1713-1720, (Baltimore, 1914, reprinted, Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1988) IV:101. Will of John Willis, cordwinder, dated 1 Jan 1706, proved 11 Feb 1716, devised to brother Richard, John’s dwelling plantation and personalty which is in the hands of James Murphy. Richard was to be under the care and management of William Hopkins until of age. Will Book 14:352.

[18] The Perogative Court of Maryland had jurisdiction over all probate in Provincial Maryland. Initially, all probate was done in person at the capital in St. Mary’s County. Later, the appearances were conducted at the various County Courts, but copies of all records were filed or were supposed to be filed at the capital. If not filed timely, the Perogative Court would issue a summons to be executed by the county Sheriff.

[19] Skinner, Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court, IX:6. Court Session Jul 1700 – In the probate of John Willis, exhibited from Cecil County were the accounts of Dorothy Willis executrix of John Willis. Probate Book 18B:9. (Cecil County Monthly Meeting recorded that John Willis died 24 Oct 1699 ).

[20] Id. at124, Court Session 1702 – In the probate of John Willis, the Court ordered the Sheriff of Dorchester County to summon Dorothy Willis, administratrix of John Willis. The Sheriff’s return to the court was “NEI,” meaning “non est inventar” (not found). Probate Book 19A:89., and at 152, Court Session 1702 – In the probate of John Willis, the Court ordered the Sheriff of Dorchester Co to summon Dorothy Willis, administratrix of John Willis. The Sheriff’s return to the court was, “No such person.” Probate Book 19A:126.

[21] Skinner, Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court, XI: 130. Court Session, 22 Nov 1708 – In the probate of John Willis of Cecil County, accounts were exhibited from Kent County of William Hopkins & his wife Dorothy, executrix of John Willis, dated 22 Feb 1708. Probate Book 21:79.

[22] Hunt, “One Branch of the Willis Family”, 1.

[23] John Camden Hotten, The Original Lists of Persons of Quality: Emigrants; Religious Exiles; Political Rebels; Serving Men Sold for a Term of Years; Apprentices; Children Stolen; Maidens Pressed; and Others Who Went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700, London, 1874, reprinted, Baltimore: Genealogical Printing Co., Inc., 1983), 459. The records are from St. Michaels Parish in Barbados.

[24] Carson Gibbs, Jr., A Supplement to the Early Settlers of Maryland, (Annapolis, MD: Maryland State Archives, 1997), vi-viii.

[25] Gust Skordas, editor, The Early Settlers of Maryland, An Index of the Names of Immigrants Compiled from the Records of Land Patents, 1633-1680, in the Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1968), 510.

[26] Id. at 510.

[27]         Skordas, Early Settlers, 510, and Gibbs, Supplement to Early Settlers, 242.

[28]         Gibbs, Supplement to Early Settlers, 242. John Willis had one headright by 1666. Patent Book GG:42 Archives Film SR 8205, Transcript Book 10:599 Film SR 7352.

[29] Skordas, Early Settlers, 510, and, Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1661-1699, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1990), II:471.

[30]         Coldham at 471, and Phillimore, Berkshire Registers, I:34, Leonard Willis and Margaret Powell, 8 Sep 1652; I:39, Leonard Willis and Anne Bell, 10 Sep 1659. Henry, born in 1663, fits as a son of either marriage. There is no proved connection between John Willis Sr. and Leonard and Henry of Wantage.

[31] McAllister, Land Records of Dorchester County, II:52, 53. 4 Old 3-4 – 1 May 1680, Thomas Foulks and wife Sarah to Wm Dorrington, release of property left to Sarah by John Cornelius; Peter Johnson and James his son; and Thomas Fisher, late husband of the said Sarah. Witnesses: John Willis, Wm Reese, Thos Jones, Dorchester County Deed Book 4 Old 3-4., and II:53, 2 May 1680, William Dorrington to Thomas Foulkes, Chirurgeon [sic, surgeon], bill for 14K pounds of tobacco to be paid by Dorrington to Foulkes. Witnesses John Willis, Wm Reese, Thos Jones. Dorchester County Deed Book 4 Old 4.

Edward Buxton Lindsey: one of my family legends

by Robin Rankin Willis

I like my Lindsey ancestors for a number of reasons.

First, our second son Ryan Willis and first grandchild Alexandra Willis have the middle name Lindsey. That name and the entire family line have therefore acquired a certain cachet, a je ne sais quoi, merely by association with those two fabulous people.

Second, there is a family legend associated with my most recent male Lindsey ancestor, who lived from 1811 to 1883. The legend assured me there would be absolutely no doubt when I found him that I had bagged the right Lindsey.

Third, my North Carolina Lindsey ancestors were Methodists. Serious Methodists, with names like John Wesley Lindsey and Asbury Lindsey. I have found very few slave owners in my extended Lindsey family. Some of them had the financial wherewithal to own slaves, which suggests they might have had some principled opposition to slavery.

Fourth, I have become friends via email with some really nice Lindseys. Several of them are my cousins, and all of them are good Lindsey researchers who are happy to share their research.

Finally, I am quite fond of my ancestor Edward Buxton Lindsey, father of my great-grandmother Amanda Addieanna Lindsey Rankin, notwithstanding that he was a family embarrassment as far as Amanda and her family were concerned.

Amanda A. Lindsey Rankin’s father: the Lindsey legend

My father Jim Leigh Rankin kick-started our family history research. He was “bitten by the genealogy bug,” as he liked to put it, about the time he retired in 1968. He and his big sister Louise Rankin Jordan trekked all over north Louisiana picking the brains of every known relative in the area. That is what every “how to do genealogy” book tells beginners to do right off the bat. Not only does it provide hard facts – names and dates and locations – it also produces colorful family legends, which are sometimes even better than facts. Daddy’s detective work unearthed two family legends, both of which concerned Lindsey ancestors.

Daddy unquestionably learned from those interviews that his grandfather John Allen Rankin married Amanda Addieanna Lindsey. However, I don’t think Daddy was ever quite sure that he had identified Amanda’s father. What he knew for certain about his great-grandfather Lindsey he learned from his cousin Norene Robinson, neé Sale. Norene was well-acquainted with their grandmother Amanda Lindsey Rankin, who lived with the Sale family at one time.[1] Norene’s mother, neé Anna Belle Rankin, was Amanda’s daughter.[2] Amanda lived until 1920, when Norene was twenty-eight.[3] In short, Cousin Norene was a highly credible witness concerning Amanda’s family.

Norene told Daddy that Amanda Lindsey Rankin’s father had been married four times. Four times. So far as I had known, no one in my father’s family had ever been divorced until his generation came along, and then there was just his cousin Elizabeth, who kept marrying men who turned out to be bad choices. On the other hand, my generation of Rankin first cousins has more divorces than long-term marriages. Go figure. Divorces were not all that common in the Reconstruction south, however. Amanda was apparently somewhat chagrined by her father’s remarkable number of marriages, which included two divorces and two marriages to women who were considerably younger than he was.

Four marriages constitute a legend you can get your hands around, research-wise. Unfortunately, Cousin Norene could not recall the given name of Amanda’s father, or at least his name did not make it into Daddy’s ancestor charts. His notes do include a census listing for the right man: Edward B. Lindsey of Drew County, Arkansas. In the 1850 census for that county, Amanda A. Lindsey, age five, was listed in the household of Edward B., his wife Elizabeth, and a host of other children.[4] The census listing says that Amanda was born in Mississippi in 1845, which is consistent with the birth date on her Claiborne Parish tombstone and her state of birth from later census records.[5] At first glance, the Amanda in Edward B. Lindsey’s household looks like exactly the right Amanda A. Lindsey.

Some time between late 1863 and mid-1865, Edward B. Lindsey, his eldest son William A. Lindsey, and Amanda A. Lindsey moved from Drew County to Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. On July 20, 1865, J. A. Rankins [sic] married Amanda A. Lindsey.[6] The Lindseys and Rankins immediately began leaving evidence in the records that they were closely related. First, William A. Lindsey and his wife Frances appeared as grantors in a deed witnessed by both E. B. Lindsey and John A. Rankin.[7] In another deed, John Rankin and his wife – expressly identified as Amanda A. Lindsey, one of those peculiar quirks of Louisiana law – sold some land, and E. B. Lindsey witnessed the deed.[8]

Considering those deeds, plus Amanda’s appearance in Edward’s household in 1850, there is no reason to doubt that Edward was Amanda’s close relation. Any residual doubt that Edward was her father (rather than, say, her uncle or cousin) could be banished by proving that Edward had four wives. As it turned out, three of them appeared with him in a census.[9] Moreover, there are surviving marriage records for each wife in four different states, something I would have deemed wildly against the odds.[10] In short, Edward Buxton Lindsey is conclusively proved as my great-great grandfather.

Edward Buxton Lindsey’s four wives

Edward’s first wife was Elizabeth Jane Odom, who was Amanda’s mother and therefore my ancestor. She and Edward married in Pike County, Alabama in 1832.[11] After producing at least nine and possibly ten children, Elizabeth Jane died in 1854 in Drew County, Arkansas.[12] Here is her obituary:

“Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Lindsey departed this life in Drew Co., Ark 11 Oct 1854 in the 42nd year of her age. She was the daughter of Jacob and Nancy Odom who emigrated to south Alabama. Soon after her marriage, she joined the Methodist E. Church. She called her husband and children around her bed. She embraced her infant. Signed, 4 Nov. 1854 by J. M. Carr. The Memphis and Arkansas Advocate will please copy.”[13]

There is a most peculiar thing about that obituary: it named Elizabeth Jane’s parents, even providing detail about where they had lived, but failed to identify her husband. What is that all about? Who wrote the obit? Presumably, J. M. Carr, who was a Methodist Episcopal minister in Drew County.[14]

Less than two years later, Reverend Carr officiated at Edward’s marriage to Ruth B. Crook, a wealthy woman with several children.[15] Perhaps here is my father’s problem with deciding whether Edward was Amanda’s father: the 1860 census for Edward Lindsey’s Drew County household lists Ruth and her minor Crook children, but no Lindsey children.[16] In fact, I couldn’t find the Lindsey children anywhere in 1860, in Drew County or elsewhere. They were probably right there in their father’s household, and Ruth (or whomever responded to the census enumerator) just didn’t bother to name them. If that is right, it reinforces the old saw that one of the biggest mistakes one can make in family history research is to believe that the census records are 100% correct.

Ruth and Edward’s marriage didn’t last: she was wife number two only briefly. I have not found an Arkansas divorce record, although that doesn’t mean much. Suggesting that a legal divorce did in fact take place, Ruth appeared as a head of household in the 1870 census under her former surname, Crook.[17] Restoring her former name seems to say that Ruth was very serious about not wanting to retain any Lindsey aura whatsoever.

The Drew County deed records indicate that the Lindsey-Crook marriage may already have been coming apart by the time the census enumerator visited the Lindsey-Crook household in July of 1860.[18] A month earlier, Ruth had filed with the Drew County court a list of her fairly substantial separate property.[19] The legal effect was to protect her assets from her husband’s control and debts. The filing strongly suggests that Ruth was contemplating (or had already initiated) a divorce, or that Edward had turned out to be financially irresponsible. Or both. Perhaps Ruth had already kicked Edward and his children out of the house when the census enumerator came around in July, but the enumerator, who was naturally a stickler for the patriarchal rules, insisted that her husband must be identified as the head of household so long as she was still married.

That obviously qualifies as one of my flights of fancy, although I frankly find it impossible to imagine Edward and Ruth continuing to cohabit after her separate property filing. However, the census rules required listing the names of everyone living in the household, so either Edward was living there or Ruth wasn’t willing to admit she had kicked him out. Perhaps Edward was in the dark about the separate property filing.

Moving on, Edward survived the Civil War without a hitch. Unlike my Arkansas Rankin family, with two soldiers fighting on each side, Edward did not participate in active service. That probably had nothing to do with Methodist principles.[20] Edward was just too old to be conscript fodder. Further, he wasn’t sufficiently wealthy or politically connected to be an officer.

Instead, in October 1863, Edward enlisted in the Monticello Home Guard.[21] With civil authority collapsing in many parts of Arkansas and Confederate troops being sent away, local jurisdictions were encouraged to form companies of “home guards” to protect persons and property, enforce the conscript law, and support Confederate troops when requested. As one would expect, the home guards were largely composed of men who were too old for regular military service. The Monticello Home Guard, for example, consisted of forty-seven men between the ages of thirty-eight and sixty-two – with an average age of fifty years. Consequently, it was popularly known as the “Old Man’s Company.” Edward was fifty-two when he enlisted. He was a private. I can visualize him marching with a bunch of other old play soldiers on a parade field, albeit in considerably better shape than the others, since he had two very young wives in his future. I would dearly love to have a picture of Edward.

By late 1862, Edward had apparently sold his Drew County land.[22] By July 1865, when his daughter Amanda married John Allen Rankin, Edward had moved to Claiborne Parish. Amanda, who was only twenty when she married, almost certainly did not migrate on her own. Four months after Amanda married John Allen, Edward married wife number three, Elizabeth J. Marshall, in Claiborne Parish.[23]

For reasons unknown – perhaps Amanda’s patent disapproval of a stepmother who was a quarter-century younger than Edward – the Lindsey newlyweds subsequently moved to Texas. In the 1870 census, Edward, now fifty-nine, and wife Elizabeth, age thirty-four, were listed in Woodville, Tyler County, Texas along with their one-year-old son, Edward Lindsey Jr.[24] Two years later, still in Tyler County, Edward married wife number four: Pamelia Dean, a widow or divorceé who was more than twenty years his junior.[25] I don’t have any proof regarding what happened to Elizabeth J. Marshall Lindsey. However, it is almost certain that she died, because Edward B. Lindsey Sr. wound up with custody of young Edward Jr. Even a century later, that would have been highly unlikely if Edward Jr.’s mother had been alive. If it is correct that Elizabeth died, then she was the second woman named Elizabeth J. who up and died on Edward.

Edward’s marriage to Pamelia Dean, like his marriage to Ruth Crook, ended in divorce.[26] An ex-wife in the neighborhood must have been enough to take the shine off Texas for Edward Sr. He was back in Claiborne Parish by 1880, age sixty-nine, with his eleven-year-old son Edward Jr. in tow and no further marriages in store.[27] My heart goes out to both of them. There is a reason that young people have children.

The 1880 census, his last, identified Edward Sr. as a dry goods merchant, although he had called himself a farmer in all prior censuses.[28] Perhaps he was too worn out to farm, or maybe he finally just gave up trying to make a living off the land.

The probate records for Claiborne Parish establish that Edward Sr. died there in January of 1883.[29] He must have been buried somewhere in Claiborne Parish. Joseph Day, a doctor who had no Lindsey family connection that I can find other than having been one of Edward’s creditors, administered Edward’s estate.[30] It yielded $380.78 after debts were paid – plenty of money for a tombstone, but I can’t find one.[31]

The Claiborne Parish probate records say that Edward had six heirs, including his son E. B. Lindsey. The other heirs were William A. Lindsey, Mrs. J. A. Rankin, James Burton, Mrs. N. J. Morley (Nancy Jane Lindsey Morley, wife of George Morley), and John H. Lindsey.

Edward Lindsey was underage and therefore represented by a guardian (called a “tutor” in Louisiana law).[32] The tutor was one J. M. Kight, no known relationship to the Lindsey family.[33] All I know is that Mr. Kight resided in Webster Parish, immediately west of Claiborne Parish. In fact, the Kight family lived just a few houses down from Amanda Lindsey Rankin, Edward Jr.’s half-sister.[34] I have not found any further record of Edward B. Lindsey Jr., orphaned at a tender age. As it turned out, Edward Sr. lost both his parents by 1817, when he was only six. I will save that story for another day.

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

© 2016 by Robin Rankin Willis

[1] 1900 federal census, Haynesville, Claiborne Parish, LA, p. 55, household of A. C. sale with mother-in-law Amanda Rankin, wife Annie Sale, daughter Norine [sic] Sale, and other children.

[2] 1880 federal census, Webster Parish, LA, dwelling #285, p. 219, household of J. A. Rankin, born MS, with wife Amanda A. Rankin, born MS, daughter Anna Belle Rankin, and other children.

[3] 1900 federal census, Haynesville, Claiborne Parish, LA, p. 55, Norine Sale was born 1892; John Purnell Frazier and Wanda Volentine Head, Cemetery Inscriptions of Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, Volume I (Shreveport: J & W Enterprises, 1985), Haynesville Cemetery tombstone for Amanda A. Rankin, born 19 Apr 1845, died 7 Oct 1920.

[4] 1850 federal census, Drew Co., AR, Spring Hill Twp., p. 94, dwelling #270, listing for E. B. Lindsey, 39, farmer, born NC, Elizabeth J. Lindsey, 38, born GA, and nine children, including Amanda A. Lindsey, age 5, born MS.

[5] Notes 3 and 4.

[6] Willie Huffman Farley, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records, 1849-1940 (Shreveport: J & W Enterprises, 1984), abstract of marriage record for 20 Jul 1865, J. A. Rankins and Amanda A. Lindsey, Book 1, Folio 320.

[7] FHL Film #265,980, Claiborne Parish Deed Book J: 65, deed dated 24 Jan 1866 from William A. Lindsey and wife Francis Jane Marary (sic, Merony) of Claiborne Parish to Lucy C. Lindsey, 240 acres, witnessed by E. B. Lindsey and John A. Rankin, et al.; Jennie Belle Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas (Little Rock: Democrat Printing & Lithography Co., 1966), marriage of William A. Lindsey and Francis Merony, 20 Oct 1852.

[8] FHL Film #265,980, Claiborne Parish Deed Book J: 226, deed dated 15 Aug 1870 from John A. Rankin and wife Amanda A. Lindsey to Lucy Lindsey, all of Claiborne, 9 acres, witnesses E. B. Lindsey and S. M. Newsom.

[9] 1850 federal census, Drew Co., AR, p. 94, household of E. B. and Elizabeth J. Lindsey; 1860 federal census, Drew Co., AR, p. 103, Edward and Ruth Lindsey; 1870 federal census, Tyler Co., TX, p. 392, Edward and Elizabeth J. Lindsey.

[10] Family Adventures, Early Alabama Marriages 1813 – 1850, (San Antonio: 1991), marriage record for Edward B. Lindsey and Elizabeth J. Odom, 30 Jun 1832, Pike Co., AL; Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas, marriage record for E. B. Lindsey and Ruth B. Crook, 16 Sep 1856; Farley, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records, marriage of E. B. Lendsey and E. J. Marshall, 15 Nov 1865; and Frances T. Ingmire, Marriage Records of Tyler County, Texas 1847 – 1888 (St. Louis: 1981), marriage of Ed. B. Lindsey and Permelia Dean, 20 Nov 1872.

[11] Family Adventures, Early Alabama Marriages.

[12] 1850 federal census, Drew County, Ark., Spring Hill Twp., p. 94, dwelling #270, listing for E. B. Lindsey, 39, farmer, born NC, Elizabeth J. Lindsey, 38, born GA, William A. Lindsey, 17, AL, James R. Lindsey, 16, AL, Nancy J. Lindsey, 12, AL, John H. Lindsey, 11, AL, Charity A. Lindsey, 9, AL, Elizabeth W. Lindsey, 7, AL, Amanda A. Lindsey, 5, MS, Edward C. Lindsey, 2, AR, and Thomas E. Lindsey, 9 months, AR.

[13] E. M. Tipton, Marriages and Obituaries from the New Orleans Christian Advocate 1851-1860, Vol. 1 (Bossier City, LA: Tipton Printing & Publishing,1980). Elizabeth Jane Odom Lindsey’s obit appeared in the Advocate issue of 25 Nov. 1854, No. 3, p. 3, col. 1.

[14] Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas, identifying J. M. Carr as an M. E. minister.

[15] Id., Marriage Book B:140, 16 Sep 1856, marriage of E. B. Lindsey, 45, and Ruth B. Crook, 48, J. M. Carr officiating; see notes 17 and 20.

[16] 1860 federal census, Drew Co., AR, Marion Twp., p. 103, dwelling #167, household of E. B. Lindsey, farmer, 48, with Ruth Lindsey, 55, Susan Crook, 17, James Crook, 15, and Ruth Crook, 13.

[17] 1870 federal census, Drew Co., AR, Monticello P.O., p. 629, dwelling #465, listing for Ruth Crook, 63.

[18] 1860 federal census, Drew Co., AR, p. 103, listing for E. B. Lindsey. Census taken on July 13th, 1860.

[19] FHL Film #981,521, Drew Co. Deed Book F: 268, 18 Jun 1860 filing in the real property records of Drew County containing a schedule of the separate property of Ruth B. Lindsey, wife of E. B. Lindsey. The list included inter alia seven slaves, a horse, two yoke oxen, eleven head of cattle, twenty-seven sheep, fifteen hogs, a wagon, buggy, two bureaus, bookcase, clock, six bedsteads, two dozen chairs, a safe, and 200 acres.

[20] Edward had no scruples preventing him from marrying Ruth Crook, who owned seven slaves. See id.

[21] I cannot find my source for that tidbit and am not inclined to bother relocating it, considering that the chances are virtually nil that anyone will ever give a fig. For the record, however, the sentence beginning “with civil authority collapsing” and much of the remainder of the paragraph are roughly verbatim quotes from the source, whatever it was.

[22] FHL Film #981,522, deeds dated 4 Nov 1862 and 30 Dec 1862 recorded in Drew Co., AR Deed Book G: 452 and 476, respectively, conveying Edward Lindsey’s tracts in Section 24, Twp 12 South, Range 7 West.

[23] Farley, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records, 15 Nov 1865 marriage bond, E. B. Lendsey and E. J. Marshall, Marriage Book 1, Folio 336.

[24] 1870 federal census, Tyler Co., TX, Woodville Beat, p. 392, dwelling #321, listing for Edw. Lindsey, 59, farmer, born NC, with Eliz. Lindsey, 34, born ALA, and Edward Lindsey, 1, born TX.

[25] Ingmire, Marriage Records of Tyler County, Texas 1847 – 1888, Pamelia Dean married Edward B. Lindsey 20 Nov 1872. See notes 26 and 27 for Pamelia’s and Edward’s ages in 1880.

[26] 1880 federal census, Tyler Co., TX, p. 397, dwelling #16, listing for Permelia J. Lindsey, age 47, divorced or widowed. She must have been divorced, since Edward was still alive in 1880, see note 27.

[27] 1880 federal census, Claiborne Parish, LA, p. 285, listing for Edward B. Lindsey, dry goods merchant, 69, born NC, parents born NC, listed with Edward B. Lindsey, son, 11, at school, born TX, father born NC, mother born MS.

[28] Id.; notes 13, 17 and 26.

[29] FHL Film #265,999, Claiborne Parish, LA Probate Record Book E: 392.

[30] Id., 31 Mar 1883 report of administrator Joseph W. Day on the sale of Edward B. Lindsey’s land.

[31] Id., Claiborne Parish Probate Record Book E: 398, 31 Aug 1883 report by administrator.

[32] Id.

[33] See id.

[34] 1880 federal census, Webster Parish, LA, p. 219, dwelling #297, listing for J. M. Kight, 38, farmer, and his family; also on p. 219, dwelling #285, listing for J. A. Rankin, wife Amanda and family.

Three William Lindseys of Brunswick County, VA in the mid-1700s

by Robin Rankin Willis

The objectives of this analysis were (1) to determine how many William Lindseys lived in Brunswick County, Virginia circa the 1750s and (2) to identify which William Lindsey of Brunswick, if any, moved to North Carolina. My methodology was to differentiate among the Lindsey families who appeared in Brunswick based on where they lived and with whom they associated. For example, one William Lindsey appeared frequently as a party or witness to deeds in which a man named Huckaby or Denton was also either a party or a witness. Another William Lindsey owned land in Brunswick on Wildcat Creek and frequently appeared in deeds witnessed by one or more sons who were proved by his will. Based on consistently different locations and personal associations that did not overlap, I concluded that there were three different William Lindseys living in Brunswick in the mid-1700s. Each of these men first appeared in Brunswick between 1743 and 1750.

The individual records that I assembled for each Lindsey are listed chronologically in the tables below. Because all of the evidence regarding these three Lindseys is laid out in some detail (along with citations to county records), I did not footnote the following brief summary of my conclusions.

William #1 of Brunswick, VA and Edgecombe-Halifax, NC

The first William Lindsey to appear in Brunswick – whom I have designated “William #1″ or “William Sr.” – owned land in Brunswick on Little Meadow/Three Creeks. He most likely lived in the county by at least April 1743, when he witnessed a conveyance between two parties who were both identified as residents of Brunswick. He evidently made one or more trips to Edgecombe County, North Carolina while he still resided in Virginia, because there is at least one record in which he acknowledged an Edgecombe deed (requiring him to be in court in person) while he was still identifying himself as a resident of Brunswick.

William #1 sold what appears to have been all of his Brunswick land in 1754 and was a resident of Edgecombe County by at least 1758. He lived and owned land on Rocky Creek in that part of Edgecombe that is now Halifax County. His wife Mary appeared with him in both Brunswick and Edgecombe from 1754 through 1763. The records do not establish whether Mary was his first wife or whether she was the mother of his children.

William #1 had a son, also named William (to whom I shall refer as William Jr.), who made his first appearance in the Halifax records in 1763. William Jr. witnessed a deed in January of that year (a conveyance to William #1) and proved a deed in November (also a conveyance to William #1). The latter deed establishes that William Jr. was born by at least 1742. The deeds were the initial basis on which I concluded the two men were father and son.

I found no estate records for William #1 in either North Carolina or Virginia. He had almost certainly died before 28 July 1772, when William (Junior), Joseph and John Lindsey conveyed a tract on Rocky Swamp that had been acquired earlier by William #1. That conveyance is persuasive (conclusive, in my opinion) evidence that William Jr., Joseph and John were sons of William #1. I have not found a deed in which William #1 conveyed that Rocky Swamp tract to William, Joseph and John. Inheritance is the only other basis to explain the ownership of the land by those three men. Estate records for that time and place are, unfortunately, mostly nonexistent.

William #1 (or William Sr.) of Brunswick and Edgecombe-Halifax and his three sons William Jr., Joseph and John are almost certainly the ancestors of the Lindseys who appeared in Nash and Franklin Counties, North Carolina around the turn of the century. My last conclusively proved Lindsey ancestor – William Lindsey III who died in 1817 in Nash County, father of Edward B. Lindsey – is among them.

William #2 of Wild Cat Creek, Brunswick

The second William Lindsey in Brunswick County – “William #2″ – lived and owned land on Wild Cat Creek and Tan Fall (or Tan Fat or Tan Vat) Branch. His wife Jane appeared with him in Brunswick deed records from 1750 through 1757. William #2 left a Brunswick will dated May 1766 and proved in September 1768. He had proved sons James and Caleb (named in his will), an unproved but highly probable son John, proved daughter Sarah Lindsey Copland, and an unproved but highly probable daughter Winifred Lindsey Durham. Other children are possible.

William #2 is definitely not the same man as William #1. First, William #1 moved to Edgecombe, while William #2 stayed in Brunswick and left a will there. Second, William #1 was married to a woman named Mary during 1754 through at least 1763. William #2, on the other hand, was married to a woman named Jane during at least 1750 through 1757. Because those dates overlap, it follows that Mary’s husband was a different man than Jane’s husband.

Further, William #2 appears to be from a generation prior to William #1. Caleb, a proved son of William #2, identified himself in a 1763 deed as Caleb Senior. That suggests that a Caleb Jr., presumably a grandson of William #2, has reached adulthood. Caleb Junior must therefore have been born by 1742. The two elder sons of William #1 were also born circa 1740.[1] Thus, William #2’s son Caleb and William #1 appear to be members of the same generation.

I found no connections whatsoever in the Brunswick or Edgecombe records between William #2 and William #1. Nor did I find any evidence in the Brunswick records that expressly connects William #2 to any of the North Carolina Lindseys. That doesn’t mean that the line of William #2 did not move to North Carolina, which some of them may well have done.

I am reasonably certain, however, that the John Lindsey who left a will in Halifax County, North Carolina dated December 1800 and proved February 1801 (“Halifax John”) was not the same man as the John Lindsey who was a probable son of William #2. Further, neither John, probable son of William #2, nor Halifax John who died in 1801, was the same man as John, the brother of Joseph and William Jr. (sons of William #1).[2]

William of New Kent, Brunswick and Lunenburg/Mecklenburg

A third William Lindsey – “William of New Kent” – appeared in Brunswick in 1748 and owned land on Briery Branch. He also bought and sold a tract on Crabtree Creek (also known as Miles Creek) in the southern part of Lunenburg that subsequently became Mecklenburg.

The deed records establish that William of New Kent was not the same man as William #1. William of New Kent recited that he was still “of New Kent” in a 1748 deed, while William #1 was already “of Brunswick” in a 1744 deed. William of New Kent was also not the same man as William #2, because William of New Kent lived in Lunenburg and served on juries there (which required residency) during a period in the 1750s when William #2 was residing in Brunswick. The last Brunswick record I found for William of New Kent is dated 1765, after which he disappeared from the Brunswick records. In 1769, William appeared in a Mecklenburg County deed as a witness.

I found no will or estate administration for William of New Kent in either Brunswick, Lunenburg or Mecklenburg. So far as I have found, he owned no land after he sold his tract on Crabtree/Miles Creek in 1760. Assuming that he had no valuable personal property, he may have died and left no trace in the probate records. Alternatively, he may have left the Mecklenburg area.

William of New Kent appeared frequently in records along with men named Russell and Twitty. In particular, William was involved with a man named Richard Russell and his wife Margaret Russell, both of whom are identified in the St. Peter’s Parish Register in New Kent County as the parents of a daughter Mary Russell, born in St. Peter’s Parish in New Kent County in 1738. Thus, William of New Kent may well have migrated to Brunswick along with the Russells, and might have been related to them by marriage.

Detailed records for each of the above three William Lindseys are contained in the tables below, preceded by a brief description of the logic I used to choose records for each of the three tables.

Table #1: William Lindsey #1 (“William Sr.”) and wife Mary of Brunswick, VA and Edgecombe/Halifax, NC

I assembled county records concerning William #1 in a series of steps, as follows.

  1. There is recurrence of the name Denton in Lindsey records in both Brunswick, Virginia and in Edgecombe and Halifax, North Carolina. I therefore began by collecting all records involving both William Lindsey and anyone named Denton in Brunswick, Edgecombe or Halifax.
  1. At least one of the deeds mentioning William Lindsey and a Denton also involved Samuel Huckaby. Consequently, I added all records involving both a Lindsey and a Huckaby.
  1. The William Lindsey who was connected to the Dentons and Huckabys owned land on Rocky Swamp in Edgecombe/Halifax, so I added any additional Edgecombe or Halifax deeds involving Lindseys and that creek.
  1. The above records established that William #1 owned land on “Little Meadow” near Three Creeks in Brunswick. I therefore added any additional Brunswick records involving a Lindsey and either Three Creeks or Little Meadows.
  2. My comments in the tables below are in italics.

 

Table #1 – William Lindsey #1 or William Sr.
Date Event Citation
16 Apr 1743 Jehue Peoples of Brunswick Co., VA to Samuel Huckiby of same, £5.7.6, 75A, part of a patent by John Walker, land the grantee now possesses, adj Walker. Witnesses Thomas Lanier, William (W) Lensy, William (M) Denton. Brunswick

Deed Book 2: 274

10 Nov 1744 William Linsey of Brunswick to Samuel Huckebee of same, £6 VA, 200A (in Edgecombe, NC) adj mouth of Spring Branch, part of 400A granted Moses Swinny 15 Mar 1742. Witnesses William Person, John Egreton. Halifax Deed Book 5: 304 (Edgecombe)
Nov 1744 Deed of sale from Moses Swinney to Wm Linsey acknowledged. Same day, deed from William Lindsey to Samuel Huckaby was also acknowledged. Because William acknowledged the deed, which had to be done in person, he was in Edgecombe at the time. Edgecombe MB 1: 20
6 Feb 1745 (must be 1745 – 46) William Lindsey of Brunswick to Lemuel Cocke of Southwark Parish, Surry Co., £20, 174A in Brunswick patented by grantor on 20 Aug 1745 and bounded per patent. Signed William (W) Linsey. Witnesses Nicholas Edmunds, Thomas Cocke Jr. See VA Patent Book 23: 1137, Cavaliers & Pioneers Vol. 5: 145, William Linsey patent, 174A Brunswick, south side Meherrin River adj John Rane, Jackson, Ralph Jackson, John Walker, James Lee, patent dated 20 Aug 1745. I included this deed only because the grantor signed with a “W,” although there are no other factors (creek, personal associations) that I used to identify records for William #1. See remaining records, this is definitely William #1. Brunswick Co. Deed Book 3: 122
26 Mar 1751 John Maclin of St. Andrews Parish, Brunswick to William Lindsey of same, £33 VA, 143A adj Peter Simmons, John Butts, John Jackson, the Little Meadow, part of land willed to Elisabeth Harper, wife of George Harper, by her father John Denton. From Elisabeth and George to Micajah Perry and from Perry to grantor. Signed John Maclin, Susanna Maclin. Witnesses Henry Duke, James Cook, Micajah Perry. Original of Brunswick Deed Book 5: 39 at courthouse
18 Feb 1752 Peter Simmons Sr. of Brunswick to Peter Simmons Jr., gift deed, 115A adj William Millington, north side Three Creeks, adj Little Meadow, John Denton, grantor, Little Branch. Witnesses Edward Goodrich, James Vaughan, William Linsey (W). Brunswick Deed Book 5: 215
8 Jan 1754 Francis Jones of Bladen Co. to William Linsey (county of residence not stated), £30 proclamation money, 170A east side Rocky Swamp in Edgecombe Co., NC. Witnesses Samuel Huckabe, Thomas Kearney, Solomon Williams. Halifax Deed Book 4: 524
26 Feb 1754 William Lindsey (W) and wife Mary (+) Lindsey of St. Andrews Parish, Brunswick, to John Brown of Nottoway Parish in Southampton, £40 VA, 143A adj Peter Simmons, John Butts, John Jackson, Little Meadow. Part of a tract formerly belonging to John Denton, dec’d, who devised it to Elizabeth Harper wife of George Harper who sold it to William Lindsey. Witnesses Robert Campbell, John Butts, Peter Denton. Original of Brunswick Deed Book 5: 525
6 Mar 1758 Daniel Blackwell and wife Sarah of Edgecombe to William Lindsay, of same, £8 VA, 100A, part of land belonging to John Pasmore, dec’d, east side Rocky Swamp. Witnesses William Roberts, Peter Denton. Halifax Deed Book 6: 305 (Edgecombe)
27 Jun 1758

 

William Fuqua appointed a road overseer in place of Wm Linsey. Same day, deed from Daniel Blackwell to William Linsey proved by William Roberts. The fact that he was a road overseer conclusively proves that William was residing in Edgecome. See also preceding deed. Edgecombe MB 1: 18, 19
26 Mar 1759 Joseph Passmore to William Lindsay, £20 VA, 100A which was part of purchase by grantor from Francis Jones 20 Dec 1749, east side of Rocky Swamp, adj Samuel Williams. Signed Joseph Passmore, Sarah Passmore. Witnesses Elijah Humphries, Peter Denton, Daniel Blackwell. Halifax Deed Book 7: 66
4 May 1759 Wm. Linsey to Elijah Humphries, £39 Virginia money, 170A which Linsey purchased from Francis Jones 21 Nov 1749 on east side Rocky Swamp adj James Salmon. Signed William (x) Linsey, Mary (x) Linsey. Witnesses Saml. Huckaby, Peter Denton. Halifax Deed Book 7: 68
2 Sep 1761 John Huckaby to George Passmore, £10, 100A, part of a 1760 Granville grant to said Huckaby, east side Rocky Swamp adj Samuel Huckaby, Elijah Humphrey. Witnesses John Sullivent, William Lindsay. Proved Mar 1762. Halifax Deed Book 8: 91
17 Jan 1763 William Lindsey Sr. to David Flukes, £80 Virginia money, 200A deeded to Lindsey by Joseph Passmore, east side Rocky Swamp, adj Elijah Humphreys, Owen Flukes, John Pritchett, John Heath. William (x) Lindsey, Mary (x) Lindsey. Witnesses John Sullivent, Owen Flukes, James Lamons. First reference in the deeds to William “Senior,” which suggests that a Wm. “Junior” has reached legal age and also resides in Edgecombe. Halifax

Deed Book 8: 198

20 Nov 1763 Robert Chapman to William Lynsey, £50 VA, 125A on west side Rocky Swamp (part of patent by John Edwards 17 Jun 1741), adjacent Smith’s Br., David Chapman, Robert Chapman. Witnesses Thos. Wiggins, William Lynzey, Henry Wiggins. This deed was proved by the witness William Lindsey, who was presumably the son of the grantee. William (Jr.) must have been of full legal age to prove a deed, although a person could witness a deed at age 14. Microfilm of Halifax

Deed Book 9: 162

28 Jul 1772 William Lindsey, Joseph Lindsey and John Lindsay to Jesse Weaver, £68 proclamation money, 125A which was part of a patent to John Edwards 17 Jun 1741 on the west side of Rocky Swamp adj Spring Branch, Smiths Branch, David Chapman. Witnesses Thomas Wiggins, Henry Wiggins, Edward Jordin.

This deed is the only evidence I have found (other than the prior deed) regarding the children of William Lindsey Sr.

Halifax

Deed Book 12: 351

Table #2: William Lindsey #2 and wife Jane of Wildcat Cr.

For the following table, I collected all the records that can be attributed with certainty to the William Lindsey of Wildcat Creek and Tan Fat Branch who left a 1768 will in Brunswick. Thus, each record contains either (1) the name of one of those creeks and any male Lindsey or (2) any mention of James or Caleb Lindsey, who are proved sons of William #2.

Date Event Source
28 Jan 1750 William Lindsey and wife Jane of St. Andrews in Brunswick to Peter Moon, same, £15 VA, 100A where Thomas Durham now lives, fork of Wildcat Cr. running up the east side of the main branch to the dividing line between the said William Lindsay and his son Calib Lindsey. Witnesses John Holcombe, James Lindsey, James Edmonds (+). William signs in full, Jane by mark. Original of Brunswick Deed Book 5: 4 at the courthouse
24 Mar 1755 William Linsay of Brunswick to James Lindsay, same, £10 VA, 100A east side Wildcatt Cr. adj William Lindsay, head _____ of the Bee Br. Witness Philemon Bowers, George Durham, Caleb Lindsey. William signs.

Same day, William Lindsay of Brunswick to Caleb Lindsay, same, £10 VA, 100A east side Wildcat Cr. beginning at mouth of Bee Br., a direct line between said Caleb Lindsey and James Lindsey, the east branch of Wildcat Cr. Witnesses James Lindsay, Phillemon Bowers, George Durham. William signs.

Same day, William Lindsay of St. Andrew Parish to George Durham, same, 5 shillings (gift deed price), 125A on the upper side of Wildcatt Cr. at the mouth of Thomas’s Branch to said Lindsay. Witnesses Phillemon Bowers, James Lindsay, Caleb Lindsay. All three Lindseys sign in full. Proved by all witnesses 25 Mar 1755.

Original of Brunswick Deed Book 5: 704, 705, 707 at the courthouse
25 May 1756 William Lindsey of Brunswick to Samuel Gordon and James Boyd of Prince George Co., VA, £40 VA, 200A west side of Wildcat Creek adj Lindsey, Lindsey’s Tannfatt Br. Witnesses James Lindsey, John Carlton, Philemon Bowers. Proved by witnesses including James Lindsey on 23 Jun 1756. Original of Brunswick Deed Book 6: 66
25 Jul 1757 William Lindsay of Brunswick to John Carlton, same, £10.10 VA, 130A east side Little Wild Cat Cr. adj Lindsay’s old corner. William’s wife Jane Lindsey also a party. Both sign. Witnesses Matthew Lucas, John Halcomb, William Bell. Original of BrunswickDeed Book 6: 175
14 Nov 1757 Peter Moon and wife Mary of Brunswick to William Browne, same, £20 VA, 100A fork of Wild Cat Cr. adj said Peter Moon, Caleb Lindsay, east branch of Wildcat Cr. Witnesses James Lindsay, John Carlton, William Bell. Brunswick Deed Book 6: 217
20 Jul 1759

 

William Lindsay of Brunswick to John Lindsay, same, £10 VA, 50A west side Wildcat Cr. adj grantor’s old Tanfat Branch, “it being the branch above the plantation whereon said Lindsey now lives.” Witnesses James Lindsey, William Martin, Caleb Lindsey, Peter (+) Ross, Abraham (x) Martin. William signs. Proved by Caleb, Peter and Abraham 24 Sep 1759. The John Lindsey who left a Halifax will dated 1800 (“Halifax John”) was “of Halifax” by 1757. See deed of 10 Nov 1766, next page, when John Lindsey is still “of Brunswick.” Therefore the John Lindsey associated with William #2 of Brunswick is not the same man as Halifax John. Original of Brunswick Deed Book 6: 403
26 Jul 1760 John Carlton and Agatha Carlton of Brunswick to Thomas Holcomb, same, £20 VA, 130A east side Little Wildcat Cr. adj William Lindsey. Witnesses Joshua Draper, William Fitch, Abraham Martin. Brunswick Deed Book 6: 554
7 Feb 1763

 

Caleb Lindsey Sr. and wife Rose Lindsey of St. Andrew’s Parish Brunswick to Henry Martin, same, £ 5 VA, 100A adj Henry Ban____. Caleb signs, Rose doesn’t cosign. Witnesses Abraham (x) Martin, William Martin, Jonathan Williams. This suggests that a Caleb Jr. may have recently come of age. Thus, Caleb Sr. (son of William #2) is roughly a contemporary of William #1 (William Sr.) of Brunswick/Edgecombe. Original of Brunswick Deed Book 7: 300
27 Aug 1764 Appraisal of the estate of William Martin, dec’d. Slaves Boatswain, Hannah & child. Appraised by Robert Briggs, Philemon Lacy, James Lindsey. Returned 27 Aug 1764. WB 4, Pt. 2: 411
21 Sep 1765 Thomas Stone of Brunswick to William Daniel, same, £10 VA for 125A, part of patent by grantor, 10 Jun 1760, adj Caleb Lindsey. Witnesses James Moore Sr., James Moore Jr. (x), James Elmore. Deed Book 8: 246
11 May 1766 Will of William Lindsey (x) dated 11 May 1766 proved 26 Sep 1768. Son James, 85A and plantation where he now lives, part of my old patent and part of my new patent. Daughter Sarah Copland, bed and furniture. Granddaughter Elizabeth Lindsey, daughter of Caleb Lindsey, my chest. Granddaughter Sarah Lindsey, small trunk. Granddaughter Susanna Lindsey, daughter of James Lindsey, cow. Granddaughter Elizabeth Lindsey, daughter of Jam[torn], all pewter. Executor son James Lindsey. Witnesses William Brown, Nathaniel Robertson, Thomas Holcombe. Securities Wm Brown and Thomas Halcombe. Original of WB 3: 512
23 Aug 1766 Will of George Durham of St. Andrews Parish, Brunswick, dated 23 Aug 1766 proved 23 Feb 1767. 182A on branches of Great Cr. adj Col. Nicholas Edmunds et al., sell to pay debts. Son James Lindsey Durham, land & plantation where I now live. Son Humphry Durham, mare, saddle, cow & calf. Son John, my gun, cow & calf. Daughter Margret Halcombe, heifer.

After death of wife, rest of estate to be divided among four youngest daughters; money left over from paying my debts used to school four youngest children. Executors wife Winnifred Durham, son Humphrey Durham. Witnesses James Lindsey, John Halcombe, Thomas Halcombe (x). Execs qualified w/Thomas Holcombe & James Lindsey, securities. Winnie was definitely neé Lindsey.

Original of WB 3: 470 at the Brunswick courthouse
10 Nov 1766 Caleb Lindsey & John Lindsey of Brunswick to John Allen of Dinwiddie Co., £60 VA, 150A on both sides Wildcat Cr. beginning at mouth of Bee Br. to William Lindsey’s old line, east fork of Wildcat Cr., the Tanfat Br. Both sign in full. Witnesses Nathaniel Roberson, James Lindsey, John Biggs (x) or Bigge. Proved by all three witnesses 23 Feb 1767. Original of Deed Book 8: 440 or 441?
22 Apr 1767 Humphrey Durham & Winifred Durham, executors of George Durham, dec’d, of Brunswick, to Jesse Potts, same, £25 VA, 182A adj Edmunds, Evan’s Cr., Parr (now Richard Bagwell’s line), Rigby (now William Prichard’s line). Witnesses James Lindsey, William Pritchett, Frederick Briggs. Deed Book 8: 495
5 Dec 1768 Caleb Lindsey and wife Roseanna Lindsey of St. Andrew Parish, Brunswick, to John Dameron, same, £85 VA, 304A patented 14 Feb 1761 on Wild Catt Cr. adj William Brown, Little Wild Catt Cr., Martain, Caleb Lindsey’s old line. Witnesses Joseph Dameron, Henry Lightfoot, Henry Martain, Thomas Stone. Original of Deed Book 9: 484
15 Feb 1770 Willoughby Broughton (M) & Elizabeth Broughton (x) of Brunswick to Thomas Jeffeyes of Dinwiddie, £60 VA, 138A west side Wildcat Cr. adj William Lindsey, Michus, Matthews. Witnesses James Lindsey, Raleigh Hightower, Philemon Holcomb (x). Abstract of Deed Book 9: 589
3 Nov 1770 James Lindsey and Mary Lindsey (+) of Brunswick to Bartholomew Dameron, same, £50 VA, 100A east side Wild Catt Cr., beginning at William Lindsey’s old corner, the mouth of a branch, head of Bell Br. Both the abstractor and I read that as “Bell Branch,” although “Bee” Branch would probably have been correct. James signs. Witnesses James Love, Mary Love, Elizabeth Lindsey (+). Original of Deed Book 10: 43
27 Oct 1777 James Lindsey and wife Mary Lindsey and James Lindsey Durham, grantors of Brunswick, to Aaron Haskins of Powhatan Co., £224 VA, 224A west side Wild Cat Cr. joining mouth of Tan Vat Br., Christopher Haskins. Witnesses Christopher Haskins, Thomas Jones, William Trotter, Drury Mathis, Stephen Jones, James Quarles. Original of Brunswick Deed Book 13: 4

Table # 3 – William Lindsey of New Kent

William Lindsey of New Kent bought a tract on Briery Creek in a conveyance to him by Richard Russell. Thomas Twitty and Stephen Moss were witnesses. I therefore included in this table all Lindsey records having any reference to a Lindsey and either Briery Cr., Twitty, Russell, or Moss. Note: see Appendix 2 regarding a Lindsey whose middle name was Moss.

7 Apr 1748 Richard Russell of Brunswick to William Lindsy of New Kent Co., £40, 330A south side Briery Cr. per patent of 25 Jul 1741. Witnesses Thomas Twitty, Stephen Moss (x). Margaret Russell, wife of Richard, relinquished dower. Brunswick

Deed Book 3: 395

2 Jun 1748 John Roper of Charles City Co. to Thomas Twitty of Brunswick, £5, 1200A south side Mill Cr., part of 1601A patent by Roper on 2 Aug 1745. Witnesses William Linsey, Richard Russell, George Hagood. William is probably now residing in Brunswick since the grantee of “of Brunswick.” Brunswick Deed Book 3: 440
2 Jun 1748 John Roper to George Hagood of Brunswick, £6.5, 100A both sides Briery Cr., part of 160A patent of 2 Aug 1745. Witnesses Thomas Twitty, William Linsey, John Roberts. Brunswick Deed Book 3: 442
2 Jun 1748

 

John Roper to Edward Going of Brunswick, £5, 100A south side Mill Cr., part of 1601A tract. Witnesses Thomas Twitty, Wm Linsey, John Roberts. Brunswick Deed Book 3: 444
17 Dec 1750 William Lindsey of Brunswick Co. to Henry Seward, same, £65, 330A patented by John Ezell 25 Jul 1741, who conveyed it to Richard Russel who conveyed it to said William Lindsey, south side Briery Creek. Witnesses Walter Campbell, James Scott, Tabitha Campbell. William signs. Original of Brunswick Deed Book 5: 15
25 Oct 1751 John Watson of Lunenburg to William Lindsey of Brunswick Co., £40, 400A both sides Crabtree Br. in Lunenburg, patented by Nathaniel Cook of Lunenburg 20 Aug 1748. Witnesses Robert Lark, Samuel Homes, William Homes. Rebecca, wife of Watson, relinquished dower. Richard Russell witnessed William Lindsey’s sale of this tract, so this deed belongs in this table. Lunenburg Deed Book 2: 501
11 May 1754 William McKnight of Brunswick to Thomas Merriot, also spelled Marriot, same, £47.10 VA, 130A patented by Benj. Williams 1 Jun 1741, both sides Avents Cr. adj mouth of Rocky Br., William Merriot. Witnesses Thomas Twitty, Owen Strange, David Moss, William Lindsey. Judith, wife of grantor, relinquished dower. Brunswick Deed Book 5: 615
4 May 1760 William Lindsey of Brunswick to Rease Brower, same, £75, 400A in Lunenburg on both sides Crabtree Br. granted to Nathaniel Cook 20 Aug 1748. William signs. Witnesses Hugh Franklin (+), Charles (E) Humphries, Richard Russell, John Ezell. Lunenburg Deed Book 6: 1
13 Feb 1765 Thomas Twitty Sr. of St. Andrew Parish, Brunswick to Thomas Twitty Jr., same, gift deed, 10 shillings, 400A north side Meherrin River on the mouth of Whitstone Branch, Briery Cr., head of Bull Branch, Rattlesnake Br., Russell’s Path. Witnesses William Lindsey, John Powell, Thomas Marriott. Brunswick Deed Book 8: 477
21 Jan 1769 William Maclin of Brunswick to Charles Wall of Halifax, 223A on the waters of the Dan River patented by grantor 14 Feb 1761. Witnesses Harris Wilson, Philmer Green, William Lindsey, Thomas Twitty Jr. and Joseph Alfriend. Halifax Co., VA DB 7: 463
13 Feb 1769 John Mustian to Jeremiah Russell, £150, 100A adj Murfey’s Ford, the Great Cr., the line between Mustian and Russell, North Prong of the Great Cr. Witnesses Ambrose Grisham, John Duglass, Wm Mustian (H), Nathl Edwards (X), Wm Lindsay, John Dixon. Mecklenburg, VA DB 2: 509