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

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

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

Why Virginia, and where?

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

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

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

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

The Family of William Buckley Senior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was William Buckley Junior a Revolutionary War Soldier?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of application testimony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*   *   *   *   *   *   

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

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

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

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

[5]FHL Film 1,509,297, Perry County, Alabama Probate Records – Lockett, Napoleon to Martin, George M., File #53-022-1069, estate records of Claiborne Martin (hereafter “Martin Estate Records”). The file, which I copied in its entirety and have transcribed, contains numerous documents identifying Clay’s children and heirs. Documents include Clay’s will, depositions, and several accounts of the estate distribution. Clay and Frances left Oglethorpe for Perry Co. about 1818.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[21]Martin Estate Records.

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

[23]Martin Estate Records.

Madison’s “Remonstrance”

Here is what is essentially a petition, written by James Madison in 1785, arguing that the state of Virginia should not pass a bill which would have provided that the state pay the salary of Christian ministers. It is long and is not an easy read. It also has the names of the men who signed it, including my ancestor John Oakes of Orange County, VA, father of Isaac Oakes Sr. Perhaps your 18th-century Virginia ancestor signed it as well.

It’s also a good reminder of what one of the most prominent founding fathers thought about state involvement in religion. Enjoy.

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James Madison’s 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Memorial and Remonstrance

We the subscribers, citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled “A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill,

Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, “that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and viceregents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?

Because the Bill violates the equality which ought to be the basis of every law, and which is more indispensable, in proportion as the validity or expediency of any law is more liable to be impeached. If “all men are by nature equally free and independent,” all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights. Above all are they to be considered as retaining an “equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of Conscience.” Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered. As the Bill violates equality by subjecting some to peculiar burdens, so it violates the same principle, by granting to others peculiar exemptions. Are the Quakers and Menonists the only sects who think a compulsive support of their Religions unnecessary and unwarrantable? can their piety alone be entrusted with the care of public worship? Ought their Religions to be endowed above all others with extraordinary privileges by which proselytes may be enticed from all others? We think too favorably of the justice and good sense of these denominations to believe that they either covet pre-eminences over their fellow citizens or that they will be seduced by them from the common opposition to the measure.

Because the Bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: the second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.

Because the establishment proposed by the Bill is not requisite for the support of the Christian Religion. To say that it is, is a contradiction to the Christian Religion itself, for every page of it disavows a dependence on the powers of this world: it is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them, and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to its own evidence and the ordinary care of Providence. Nay, it is a contradiction in terms; for a Religion not invented by human policy, must have pre-existed and been supported, before it was established by human policy. It is moreover to weaken in those who profess this Religion a pious confidence in its innate excellence and the patronage of its Author; and to foster in those who still reject it, a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies to trust it to its own merits.

Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest lustre; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive State in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks, many of them predict its downfall. On which Side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?

Because the establishment in question is not necessary for the support of Civil Government. If it be urged as necessary for the support of Civil Government only as it is a means of supporting Religion, and it be not necessary for the latter purpose, it cannot be necessary for the former. If Religion be not within the cognizance of Civil Government how can its legal establishment be necessary to Civil Government? What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just Government instituted to secure & perpetuate it needs them not. Such a Government will be best supported by protecting every Citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property; by neither invading the equal rights of any Sect, nor suffering any Sect to invade those of another.

Because the proposed establishment is a departure from the generous policy, which, offering an Asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion, promised a lustre to our country, and an accession to the number of its citizens. What a melancholy mark is the Bill of sudden degeneracy? Instead of holding forth an Asylum to the persecuted, it is itself a signal of persecution. It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority. Distant as it may be in its present form from the Inquisition, it differs from it only in degree. The one is the first step, the other the last in the career of intolerance. The magnanimous sufferer under this cruel scourge in foreign Regions, must view the Bill as a Beacon on our Coast, warning him to seek some other haven, where liberty and philanthropy in their due extent, may offer a more certain repose from his Troubles.

Because it will have a like tendency to banish our Citizens. The allurements presented by other situations are every day thinning their number. To superadd a fresh motive to emigration by revoking the liberty which they now enjoy, would be the same species of folly which has dishonoured and depopulated flourishing kingdoms.

Because it will destroy that moderation and harmony which the forbearance of our laws to intermeddle with Religion has produced among its several sects. Torrents of blood have been spilt in the old world, by vain attempts of the secular arm, to extinguish Religious discord, by proscribing all difference in Religious opinion. Time has at length revealed the true remedy. Every relaxation of narrow and rigorous policy, wherever it has been tried, has been found to assuage the disease. The American Theatre has exhibited proofs that equal and compleat liberty, if it does not wholly eradicate it, sufficiently destroys its malignant influence on the health and prosperity of the State. If with the salutary effects of this system under our own eyes, we begin to contract the bounds of Religious freedom, we know no name that will too severely reproach our folly. At least let warning be taken at the first fruits of the threatened innovation. The very appearance of the Bill has transformed “that Christian forbearance, love and charity,” which of late mutually prevailed, into animosities and jealousies, which may not soon be appeased. What mischiefs may not be dreaded, should this enemy to the public quiet be armed with the force of a law?

Because the policy of the Bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of revelation from coming into the Region of it; and countenances by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of Levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of Truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it with a wall of defence against the encroachments of error.

Because attempts to enforce by legal sanctions, acts obnoxious to so great a proportion of Citizens, tend to enervate the laws in general, and to slacken the bands of Society. If it be difficult to execute any law which is not generally deemed necessary or salutary, what must be the case, where it is deemed invalid and dangerous? And what may be the effect of so striking an example of impotency in the Government, on its general authority?

Because a measure of such singular magnitude and delicacy ought not to be imposed, without the clearest evidence that it is called for by a majority of citizens, and no satisfactory method is yet proposed by which the voice of the majority in this case may be determined, or its influence secured. “The people of the respective counties are indeed requested to signify their opinion respecting the adoption of the Bill to the next Session of Assembly.” But the representation must be made equal, before the voice either of the Representatives or of the Counties will be that of the people. Our hope is that neither of the former will, after due consideration, espouse the dangerous principle of the Bill. Should the event disappoint us, it will still leave us in full confidence, that a fair appeal to the latter will reverse the sentence against our liberties.

Because finally, “the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience” is held by the same tenure with all our other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consult the “Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Virginia, as the basis and foundation of Government,” it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis. Either then, we must say, that the Will of the Legislature is the only measure of their authority; and that in the plenitude of this authority, they may sweep away all our fundamental rights; or, that they are bound to leave this particular right untouched and sacred: Either we must say, that they may controul the freedom of the press, may abolish the Trial by Jury, may swallow up the Executive and Judiciary Powers of the State; nay that they may despoil us of our very right of suffrage, and erect themselves into an independent and hereditary Assembly or, we must say, that they have no authority to enact into the law the Bill under consideration. We the Subscribers say, that the General Assembly of this Commonwealth have no such authority: And that no effort may be omitted on our part against so dangerous an usurpation, we oppose to it, this remonstrance; earnestly praying, as we are in duty bound, that the Supreme Lawgiver of the Universe, by illuminating those to whom it is addressed, may on the one hand, turn their Councils from every act which would affront his holy prerogative, or violate the trust committed to them: and on the other, guide them into every measure which may be worthy of his blessing, may redound to their own praise, and may establish more firmly the liberties, the prosperity and the happiness of the Commonwealth.

James Gordon, Jr.

John Watkins

William Sebree

Thomas Ballard

Bartlett Bennett

George Newman

Richard Sebree

Joseph Wood

Benjamin Johnson

William Terrill

Elijah Morton

George Waugh

[illegible] Bramham

John Henderson

[David Gillespy?]

Thomas Barbour

Uriel Mallory

Zachary Herndon

Richard Gaines

Moses Perry

Belfield Cave

George Morton

Joseph Bell

Joseph Smith

John Lucas

John Sutton, Jr.

John Sutton, Sr.

Moses Lucas

Thomas Lucas

Thomas Edwards

Martin [Collier?]

William [Tomlinson?]

James Marr

Vivion Daniel

Madison Breedlove

Martin [Shearman?]

William Watts

Benjamin Quinn

Thomas Watts, Jr.

William Wright

Joseph Spencer

James Coleman

John Oakes

Ambrose Madison

Robert Dearing, Jr.

Lewis Willis

William [Procter?]

Patrick Cockran

Andrew Bourn, Jr.

Edward Thompson

William Twyman

Jonathan Davis

Prettyman Merry

Pierce Sanford

John Willis

James Sleet

John Samuel

John Kendal

Nicholas Porter, Jr.

William Buckner

William Moore

Reuben Finnel

Miller Bledsoe

Samuel Brockman

Abner Porter

Henry Barnett

Camp Porter

Abner Shropshere

Samuel Porter

James Shropshere

Thomas Coleman

John Leather

Lawrence Gillock

Daniel Thornton

Thomas Briant

John Terrill

Henry Chiles

William Porter

Joseph Porter

William Bledsoe

William Leake

William Oakes

[illegible] Newman

John Oakes

Thomas Oakes

John Barnett

[William Ford?]

John [Keally?]

Docketed, November 3, 1785