“Same Name Confusion:” Edward Buxton Lindsey(s)

This article is about two men named Edward Lindsey. They’ve been conflated with each other because they purportedly share the unusual middle name Buxton. Talk about understandable confusion!

If you’ve landed on this website via a search on a “Lindsey” name, you may have already seen the post on Edward Buxton Lindsey (“EBL”), my great-great grandfather (link provided below). I did a lousy job in that article of proving that EBL was who I said he was. Specifically, I failed to prove that EBL of Nash County, NC lived in Barbour Co., AL after he left Nash, and then moved further west.

Fortunately, a nice lady who read the EBL article posted a comment which made me aware I had goofed. Here is her comment, edited a bit:

Hi, Robin.

I am a direct descendant of Edward Buxton Lindsey myself, or so I thought. Have you found any information to back this lineage up?

According to my tree, and to many others on ancestry.com, my lineage is as follows: William Lindsey of Nash Co., NC (d. 1817) m. Mary (“Polly”) LNU. They were the parents of Edward Buxton Lindsey (1797-1872) who married as his first wife Rachel Murphy (1803-1830).

End of comment. Bad on me, and thanks to Jessica Richmond for her question. When someone asks, have you found any information to back this lineage up,” you’ve obviously done a lousy job of proving your case. To make amends, I’m writing now to address this question:

Where did Edward Buxton Lindsey of Nash Co., NC, son of William Lindsey, go after his father died in 1817?

First, let’s talk about Jessica’s ancestor Edward Lindsey (1797-1872), who married as his first wife Rachel Murphy. He arrived in Benton Co., TN by at least 1836, and apparently lived there until he died. Since Benton was created in December 1835 from Henry and Humphrys counties, it is possible that Edward appears in the records of one of those counties before 1836. I haven’t looked in either county’s records, although the Edward Lindsey enumerated in Henry Co. in the 1830 federal census is probably the same man. Here are some Benton Co., TN records for Edward, all available at Ancestry.com and/or FamilySearch.org:

  • 1836 Benton Co. , TN tax list, Edward Lindsey. John, William and James Lindsey were also shown on that tax list.
  • 1837 Benton Co. tax list, Edward Lindsey, ditto.
  • 1838 tax list, ditto.
  • 1840 federal census, Benton Co., Edward Lyndsey, age 40-49.
  • 1850 federal census, Benton Co., Edward Lindsey, 52, b. NC (with second wife Levisa, whose name has various spellings).
  • 1860 federal census, Benton Co., Edward Linsy, 63, b. NC (wife Lavicy).
  • 1870 federal census, Benton Co., E. Lindsey, 73, b. NC (wife Lavinia).
  • Tombstone in the Edward Lindsey cemetery in Big Sandy, Benton Co., TN: “Edward Lindsey, b. 31 Jan 1797 d. 5 Mar 1872.” Here is the findagrave website with a photo of Edward’s tombstone. The findagrave site (but not the tombstone) shows Edward Lindsey with the middle initial “B.” And a monument erected by descendants also uses the middle initial “B.”

Benton County Edward was kind enough to stay in the same place for more than three decades. It’s a good bet that there is some record there containing a middle name or middle initial, if he ever used one. I haven’t found any. A descendant of his with whom I exchanged emails a number of years ago also found no record of him ever using a middle name or initial. That doesn’t prove Benton County Edward’s middle name wasn’t Buxton. It does cast some shade on the possibility.

OK, let’s shift our focus from Benton County Edward and go back to the  Nash County, NC will of William Lindsey. Here is a link to a post containing a complete transcription of the 1817 will.

William left his widow Polly (a common nickname for Mary) a life estate in his home “plantation.” It was located in Nash County on Sapony/Sappony Creek. After Polly’s life estate expired (i.e., after she died), the land went to William’s son Edward Buxton Lindsey. The will used Edward’s full name.

EBL appeared in Nash County for several years after his father died. His older brother Asbury Lindsey became guardian of EBL and his siblings William Ray and Polly Mintz Lindsey in February 1819.[1] The court recited Edward’s middle name in the guardian appointment. Subsequently, EBL’s brother John Wesley Lindsey became Edward’s guardian, posting the requisite annual guardian’s bond on Feb. 16, 1825. John Wesley also filed his annual accounting of EBL’s estate that month. The originals of both the bond and the accounting are available in the “Search Room”[2] at the State Archives of North Carolina in Raleigh. The Search Room makes hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions?) of records available to the public in the form of both original records and microfilm.[3]

Back to the point: in order to need a guardian, the ward must have been less than age 21 (or non compos mentis, which isn’t an issue here). Since EBL had a guardian in February 1825, he must have been born sometime after February 1804.

And there is the first problem with the theory that Benton County Edward was the same man as EBL of Nash County. Benton County Edward’s tombstone says that he was born in January 1797. He would have been 28 in 1825 and in no need of a guardian.

Meanwhile, my ancestor Edward B. Lindsey appeared in four consecutive federal censuses (1850 through 1880) as having been born in North Carolina about 1811 – 1812.[4] He would have still been underage through at least 1831.

That’s not enough to prove that the Edward B. Lindsey in those census records was the same man as EBL, son of William Lindsey of Nash County. For proof of that, we need to look at additional Nash County records – and some records in Pike and Barbour County, AL.

EBL’s last appearance in Nash County in person was in March 1827 at the estate sale of his brother, William Ray Lindsey.[5] Edward purchased a bedstead and linens, a pocket knife, a man’s saddle, a razor, an arithmetic book, a “cypering book,” and an ink stand. The last three items suggest that his brother and guardian John Wesley was seeing to Edward’s education, as William Lindsey’s 1817 will instructed. The purchases also prompt an image of a young man teetering on the brink of adulthood, in need of his own razor … but still engaged in schoolwork.

The 1830 census for Nash County does not have a listing for EBL, although his brothers Asbury and John Wesley both appear as heads of households.[6] EBL was still around Nash, though, because the county court tried to find John Wesley in early 1832 in connection with his annual guardian’s bond and accounting.[7] EBL’s guardian’s file contains the original of a summons dated February 2, 1832, ordering the sheriff to summon John W. Lindsey to appear at the May court to “show cause why he has not renewed his bond and returned his accounts as guardian to Edward B. Lindsey.” The order was dated Feb. 2 and issued April 10, 1832. On the reverse side of the summons it says this: “The Court vs. John W. Lindsey, gdn Edward B. Lindsey, May Term 1832. Not to be found in the County of Nash … the Deft [sic, defendant, i.e., John Wesley] has moved himself to the Mississippi.”

And that is the last record I have found in Nash County for John Wesley Lindsey. He and EBL clearly left Nash by early 1832, possibly together.

I found only one more Nash County record concerning EBL, a deed dated Nov. 21, 1836:

Charles Livingston of Barbor Co., Alabama (sic, Barbour) to Jeptha Lindsey of Nash, NC, 200 acres in Nash on the south side of Sappony Cr., “it being the lands left to Edward B. Lindsey by his father William Lindsey.”[8]

Moving on to Alabama … there is a marriage record in Pike Co., AL for Edward B. Lindsey and Elizabeth J. Odom dated June 30, 1832.[9] Barbour Co. was created in Dec. 1832 from the Creek Cession of 1812 and part of Pike County. There are a number of records for Edward B. Lindsey in Barbour County, including the state census of 1833. Here is the most important, because it proves that his full name was Edward Buxton Lindsey:

Deed dated Sept. 29, 1838 between Isaac Wilkins of Barbour Co. and E. Buxton Lindsey, also of Barbour Co., signed Edward B. Lindsey.[10]

There is no listing for Edward in the 1840 census, although he and Elizabeth Jane were clearly still in Barbour County. In 1842, EBL and his wife of Barbour Co. sold four tracts in Barbour County to Hubbard S. Odom.[11]

In short, a man named Edward Buxton Lindsey lived in Barbour County during at least 1833 through 1842. In 1836, a man who also lived in Barbour County sold Edward B. Lindsey’s tract on Sappony Creek in Nash County, NC, which Edward inherited from his father William.

I have not yet found a deed in which EBL conveyed his interest in his father’s Sappony Creek tract to Charles Livingston, but that would just be icing on the cake. If the other two deeds don’t convince you that EBL of Nash was the same man as EBL of Barbour Co., AL in 1838, then you’re a tough nut to crack. It’s good enough for me.

Also in 1838, Benton County Edward Lindsey appeared on the Benton County tax list, and he was still there in 1870. He was not the same man as Edward Buxton Lindsey of Nash and Barbour counties, who inherited his father’s tract on Sappony Creek.

EBL, son of William Lindsey of Nash, moved west from Barbour County. In 1845, his daughter Amanda Adieanna Lindsey was born in Mississippi. I don’t know where in Mississippi she was born, but I’m betting it was somewhere en route between Barbour Co. and Drew Co., AR. That is where EBL and his wife Elizabeth Jane Odom Lindsey were listed in the 1850 census, see footnote 4. Elizabeth Jane died in Drew County in October 1854 at age 42. Her obituary identifies her as the daughter of Jacob and Nancy Odom, “who emigrated to south Alabama.”[12]

There is no reasonable doubt that Edward Buxton Lindsey and his wife Elizabeth Jane Odom Lindsey of Drew Co., AR were the same people as the couple by those names who previously lived in Barbour Co., AL.

Edward wasn’t lucky in marriage. Elizabeth Jane Odom, the first of four wives, died leaving 9 or 10 children.[13] His second marriage to Ruth Crook in Drew County ended in divorce. In Claiborne Parish, LA (where his daughter Amanda Lindsey Rankin and his son William Lindsey both lived), he married wife number three, Elizabeth J. Marshall. She died in Tyler Co., TX, leaving Edward with an infant son. Marriage number four to Permelia Dean in Tyler County also ended in divorce. Edward returned to Claiborne Parish, where he last appeared in the 1880 census with his 10-year old son, Edward Lindsey Jr.

Edward’s story of four marriages, and his daughter Amanda Rankin’s story of love at first sight, are my two favorite oral family legends. You can find Edward’s legend and Amanda’s legend in articles on this website.

One last comment, stated as gently and kindly as I possibly can. Family trees posted at Ancestry.com don’t prove anything, even if there are dozens of them saying the same thing. Mostly, they prove how easy it is to import other peoples’ trees. Family trees posted at wikitree, FamilySearch.org, findagrave websites, surname DNA projects, and other websites have the same failing. If you find a tree with an unproved possible ancestor on it, contact the author and ask nicely for relevant evidence. I’ve met a bunch of nice people (and good researchers) that way!

See you on down the road … I’m heading (figuratively speaking) for Virginia and Pennsylvania on the trail of some Rankins.

* * * * * * * * * * *

[1] Timothy W. Rackley, Nash County North Carolina Court Minutes Volume IX 1818 – 1821 (Kernersville, NC: 1996), abstract of p. 235, entry of 8 Feb 1819 appointing Asberry (sic) Lindsey guardian of William Ray Lindsey, Polly Mintz Lindsey, and Edward Buxton Lindsey, orphans of William Lindsey, dec’d.

[2] The first banner at the Archives’ website has a picture of the search room showing its red upholstered chairs and a woman searching through one of the fibreboard boxes containing original records. https://archives.ncdcr.gov

[3] State Archives of North Carolina, fibreboard box designated C.R.069.510.7, “Nash County Guardians Records Horn, Henry – McDade, Drucilla 1784 – 1874,” file folder labeled “Lindsey, Edward B. 1832.”

[4] 1850 federal census, Drew Co., AR, E. B. Lindsey, 39 (born about 1811), b. NC, with Elizabeth J. Lindsey (wife #1), 28, and 8 children; 1860 federal census, Drew Co., AR, E. B. Lindsey, 48 (born about 1812), b. NC with Ruth Lindsey (wife #2) and 4 children (the Lindsey children are missing in that census); 1870 federal census, Tyler Co., TX, Edw. Lindsey, 59 (born about 1811), b. NC, with wife Eliz. Lindsey (wife #3) and 1 child; 1880 federal census, Claiborne Parish, LA, Edward B. Lindsey, 69 (born about 1811), b. NC, with a son, Edward B. Lindsey, 11, born in Texas.

[5] State Archives of North Carolina, fibreboard box designated CR.069.508.47, Nash Estate Records, file folder labeled “Wm. Ray Lindsey 1827.”

[6] 1830 federal census, Nash Co., NC, p. 186, household of Asberry Lindsey; p. 188, household of John W. Lindsey.

[7] State Archives of North Carolina, fibreboard box designated C.R.069.510.7, “Nash County Guardians Records Horn, Henry – McDade, Drucilla 1784 – 1874,” file folder labeled “Lindsey, Edward B. 1832.”

[8] State Archives of North Carolina, Film Box No. C.069.40006, microfilm of Nash Co. Deed Book 16: 206.

[9] 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.

[10] Alabama Department of Archives and History, microfilm of Barbour County Deed Book F: 54; see also FamilySearch.org Film No. 7,897,788, digitized images of Barbour Co., AL Deed Book Volumes E-G 1842-1846, at Deed Book F: 54.

[11] Alabama Department of Archives and History, microfilm of Barbour County Deed Book E: 114. Hubbard Stubbs Odom was Elizabeth Jane Odom Lindsey’s brother. For some reason that is beyond me, EBL bought those same four tracts back from Hubbard in 1843. Microfilm of Barbour County Deed Book F: 45.

[12] 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 New Orleans Christian Advocate issue of 25 Nov. 1854, No. 3, Page 3, Col. 1.

[13] Jennie Belle Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas (Little Rock: Democrat Printing & Lithography Co., 1966)marriage record for E. B. Lindsey and Ruth B. Crook, 16 Sep 1856; Willie Huffman Farley, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records, 1849-1940 (Shreveport: J & W Enterprises, 1984), 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.


1817 Will of William Lindsey, Nash Co., NC

I just sent another Lindsey researcher my transcription of William Lindsey’s Nash County will, dated 16 Feb 1817 and proved in May 1817. After hitting “send,” it occurred to me that other Lindsey researchers might like to see that will, so I’m including it in this post.

I made the transcription from the original will, which is available to the public at the NC Archives in Raleigh. The original will is contained in a file box numbered CR.069.801.6 and labeled “Nash Co. Wills 1778 – 1922, Keith – Owen.” The box contains a manila folder labeled “William Lindsey 1817” in which the will is filed. My transcription is verbatim from the original, including spelling errors.

It is a charming will, not least because of the spelling errors – although they are undoubtedly the fault of whomever actually put William’s wishes on paper. The will clearly reveals a man who cared deeply for his children, concerned that the young ones “mind thare stepmother” and be kept out of all “dissepated cumpany.” He also wanted them to receive enough education to at least allow them to read the Bible for themselves. His signature is a big quavery – he was apparently sick – but it features a large “W” and “L,” suggesting to me a man who was comfortable in his own shoes.

To take out the mystery, the will names William’s wife “Polley” (there is no evidence of her maiden name) and seven children, including three daughters and four sons. Polley was his second wife. The evidence, although not conclusive, suggests that William’s first wife and the mother of all or most of his children may have been a Miss Longbottom or Long Bottom, given name unknown. There are many myths on the web (including some misnamed “vital records” available at Ancestry.com) about William Lindsey’s family of origin, but I will save that issue for another day.

Here are the names of William’s children and a little bit about them. The names leave no doubt whatsoever that William Lindsey was a serious Methodist. In fact, he had been ordained by John Wesley himself. Also, he owned no slaves, which wasn’t uncommon among Methodists. Good for him.

  1. John Wesley Lindsey, b. abt. 1794, Nash Co., NC, d. between 1850-1860, Leake Co., MS. Wife Zany Rogers, daughter of Robert and Ann Rogers. John Wesley and Zany left Nash after November 1830, when he last appeared in the Nash records, acknowledging a deed for the sale of his land. He had appeared in Leake County by 1835.
  2. Asbury Lindsey, b. abt. 1796, Nash Co., NC, d. 1854, Nash Co., wife’s name unknown. Lived in Nash his entire life.
  3. Jerusha Lindsey, b. abt. 1798, Nash Co., NC, no further record.
  4. Elizabeth “Betsy” Mary Fletcher Lindsey, b. between 1798-1800, Nash Co., NC. No further record.
  5. Wiliam Ray Lindsey, b. between 1802-1804, Nash Co., d. abt. 1827, Nash Co. He never married and had no children, although some Lindsey researchers have confused William Ray with another William Lindsey in Nash who married Nancy Pridgen and had children named Bennett Lindsey and Nancy W. Lindsey. The latter William died in 1825 and was the son of Jeptha Lindsey. The estate records for Jeptha conclusively prove that Bennett and Nancy were not the children of William Ray Lindsey. Rather, they were Jeptha’s grandchildren and were the children of Jeptha’s son William. The confusion about the children’s father is understandable: at one time, the NC Archives estate records for William Ray, son of William, were mixed with those for William, son of Jeptha — and the guardian records for Bennett and Nancy W. were mixed in with both of them. I think the archivists have now sorted out those files.
  6. Mary “Polly” Mintz Lindsey, b. 24 Aug 1805, Nash Co., NC, d. 30 Jul 1880. Married Hudson Finch. Lived her entire life in Nash County.
  7. Edward Buxton Lindsey, b. 1811, Nash Co., d. Jan 1883 in Claiborne Parish, LA. Edward was my ancestor. He left Nash County about 1830 for Pike/Barbour County, Alabama (Barbour was created from Pike), where he married my ancestor Elizabeth Jane Odom, daughter of Jacob and Nancy Stubbs Odom. Edward and Elizabeth Jane moved to Drew Co., AR, where she died in 1854, after having 9 and probably 10 children. Edward soon married Ruth Belle Crook, wife #2. They divorced. Edward then moved to Claiborne Parish, LA, where he married wife #3, Elizabeth J. Marshall. Edward and Elizabeth moved to Tyler Co., TX, where Elizabeth died after having one child. Edward next married wife #4, Permelia Dean. They divorced, and Edward moved back to Claiborne Parish about 1870 with a small son in tow. There is a longish article about him titled “Edward Buxton Lindsey: one of my family legends” on this website.

With that preamble, here is William Lindsey’s will:

“In the name of God amen I William Lindsey of the county of Nash and State of North Carolina cawlling to mind the near aproch of death but of disposing mind and memory blessed be God do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament In manner and form following to wit I render my Sole to God that gave it and body to be buried in usual manner –

First my will an desier is that all my Just debts be paid out of my bonds open accoumpts and personal Estate.

Item I give and bequeth to my loving wife Polley Lindsey hole of the property that she pursest before our marriage which part in money was severnty dollars, I also give to her all the bacon and lard and all the corn and small gran for the seport of her and the family that continue with her – and my desier is that my Eldest Son John Wesley Lindsey see that thay mind thare Stepmother and thare larning bisness and are kept out of all dissepated cumpaney and also to have sum chance of schoolling at least to know how to read the word of God,

I also lend to my wife Polley the house and plantation on which I live beginning at a lightwood stump in the midle run? thence a west corse to the middle branch to a popler, then down the meanders of sd branch to the run of? Saponey Creek to a Large corner cypres on the bank of sd creek then up the sd creek to Pridgen Manning’s line then south along sd Manning line to Nathan Joiners line a corner lightwood stump thence East sd Joiners line to a corner pine, thence south a long said Joiners line to Christipher Taylors line a corner pine in John Bisets line thence an east corse along sd Bissets line to Jacobs Swamp to a corner maple Joran Shurods line, then up sd swamp Sherods line to a corner pine thence a north corse along a line of markt trees to the road then up the road west to a hickrey thence along the path as the fence goes to the mouth of the long lane then down sd lane to the first station containing Two hundred acres more or less, during her natrel life or widow hood.

I also give to my beloved Wife Polley one gray horse Dimant and her riding saddle and one cow and calf or yearling Two yoes and lambs choice Two sows and piggs – my will and desier is that my son William Ray Lindsey shold continue with my wife five years and to go Equal in the proffits of the orchard and land on which thay live and his own land that I shall here after give to him, It is also my will that my wife Polley Lindsey and Edward Buxton Lindsey as soon as connvenent thay are to pay one hundred and fifty dollars for the purpose of paying of my land contracts. Now the land that I have above lent to my wife Polley after her death or marrige, I give to my Beloved son Edward Buxton Lindsey to him and his heirs for ever.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved son John Wesley Lindsey the tract of land that I Bought of of Nathan Lindsey and part of a tract that I bought of Amos Hatcher Beginning at Jephtha Lindsey’s corner a cypres on the Sapony Creek thence up the various corses of sd creek to a corner cypres then up the midle branch to a corner poplar thence along the middle lane to a corner lightwood stump thence a long the long lane to the mouth then along the path and fence to the road a corner hickrey then down the road East to a pine then south along a line of markt trees to a corner pine Jurdan Sherods line then east to a corner pine sd Sherrods line then North to a corner pine Jepthah Lindseys corner then along sd Lindseys line to the first station containing one hundred and eighty acres more or less to him and his heirs for ever and also one bay mare Pol? bridle and saddle one cow and calf and two yoes and lambs and one bed and furnture to him and his heirs for Ever on conditions he pays three hundred dollars towards the lands that I am in debt for.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved son Asbury Lindsey the tract of land I bought of Edward Ballard all lying on the North side of the road and one horse named doctor one cow and calf two yoes and lambs and one bed and furniture, to him and his heirs forever, upon condition he pays one hundred and fifty dollars twoards the land I am now in debt for.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved son William Ray Lindsey all the ballance of my lands that I have not heartofore given away two hundred acres more or less and one gray mare called Spinnet and one saddle and bridle one cow and calf two yoes and lambs one sow and piggs and one bed and furniture to him and his heirs for ever – upon condition he pays one hundred dollars towards the lands that I am now in debt for.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved daughter Jerusha Lindsey one bed without any furniture only a sted one cow and yoe and lamb and she furnished with cotton and wool soficent cloth her bed to her and her heirs for ever.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved daughter Polley Mintz Lindsey one bed and furniture and fifteen dollars in money to her and her heirs forever

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved daughter Betsey Mary Fletcher Lindsey one bed and furniture and fifteen dollars in money to her and her heirs for ever.

Now my will and desier is that if either of my four sons to whom I have given my land shold dy with out a lawfull heir that the land to them given shold be equally divided between those that survive.

Now all the ballance of my Estate undevsd I leave to be sold for the purpose of paying my debts, now if thare shold not be as much money needed as I have left above for my sons to pay they are to pay in purportion to those sums above named.

And I do hereby nominate and appoint my beloved son John Westley Lindsey and Richard Holland executer to this my last will and testament signed and seled in present of us this 16th of February 1817.

William Lindsey

Barn Tucker [and] Nelson Bone [witnesses]