Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year in Review - Five Top Five

When I was writing my Christmas cards, I struggled to find anything interesting to jot down in a note to friends whom we see so seldom, if at all. My personal life has been rather routine – husband is still working, I’m still playing, no major health issues to explain THANK GOODNESS, no deaths to report AGAIN THANK GOODNESS, no changes in the family. 

But as I look back on my blogging life, this year has been very busy and very productive. Here are my top 5 winners in 5 categories: 

Top 5 Blog Posts
The top 5 are all Sepia Saturday posts which typically generate my largest number of visitors and comments since there’s an implied obligation to visit the other participants. 
223 views            Public Humiliation
233 views            A Cure for What Ails Ya
260 views            Cooling Her Heels
268 views            Maper Session
295 views            The Runaway

(Out of curiosity, I looked at NON-Sepia Saturday posts to see what readers found interesting.  The 52 Ancestors meme took top honors along with one non-meme post.)

Top 5 Personal Connections
  1. Leta LeVow’s son found my blog, emailed me, and then called me.  Although I am sure I was more excited than he was, he and his children were VERY excited to see his mother’s photos and stories featured so often.  They were also very eager to tell THEIR stories about her. 
  2. My Grandma’s ex-boyfriend’s nephew found my blog and emailed me.  He and I have the same photo of William Novash.  How random was that??
  3. I found descendants of my great-grandmother’s sisters on Facebook.  My New York cousins were friendly enough in the beginning but have ignored my attempts to get photos or information.  Still I’m proud of my sleuthing that led to our brief connection.  Maybe one of these days they’ll open up.
  4. Nancy, a friend from college, found my post where she was featured and emailed me.  She called and we talked and laughed for over an hour.  That was so much fun.
  5. I met fellow bloggers Colleen Pasquale and Cheri Passey at the National Genealogical Society Conference held in Richmond this past May.  (And if I hadn’t been so shy, I would have met Michelle Ganus Taggart too!)

Top 5 Genealogy-Related Activities
  1. Being asked to join the “May I Introduce To You” Team at GeneaBloggers
  2. Indexing/transcribing for Greene County, VA Historical Society
  3. Indexing – World Wide Indexing Event
  4. NGS Conference
  5. Research trip to Rockingham and Rockbridge counties

Top 5 Discoveries
  1. Anne Elizabeth Breeden Jollett – Using the Freedman’s Bureau records at FamilySearch, I found Anne and her children in Shenandoah County, Virginia.  Previously I couldn’t find her after 1860.  Her presence in Shenandoah County confirms part of the story about her son William Jollett (aka William Boyd).
  2. William Pendleton Herndon – A pension application revealed the story of how Pension Agents scammed him out of money he was due for service during the Revolutionary War.
  3. Mary Jollett Forrester – Her name had been in my files for a very long time but with no further information.  In the most unusual bit of serendipity, my friend was contacted through Ancestry by a descendant of Mary Jollett Forrester who is distantly related to my friend through their Walker line.  My friend then relayed her information to me, which then led to my discovering what became of Mary Jollett Forrester.  I suspect she was a sister to my James Jollett based on the fact that both claimed a mother named Mary.
  4. Finding the sale of Leonard Davis’s land by Mitchell Davis, his siblings, and their mother might be just the document to seal the deal on my application to the DAR.
  5. Simeon Jollett/Jolley – What became of Simeon and Nancy Glass Jollett after they married in 1822 and witnessed a few marriages and land transactions was a mystery until I decided to look for him as “Jolly” and “Jolley.”  Suddenly, there they were in Ohio. 

Top 5 Best Money Spent
  1. Ancestry
  2. Genealogy Bank
  3. Fold3
  4. Backblaze
  5. Professional genealogist in Florida to work on my Slade line

It’ll be tough to top all this in 2015.  New Year – bring it on!

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

52 Ancestors: #52 - Jacob LINGLE

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

My last entry in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge should be about someone with a dynamic story, but instead I have only a smattering of clues about my 5X great-grandfather Jacob LINGLE.  I can’t say when he was born or died, where he was from, who all his children were, whether he fought in a war, or anything else of importance.  Just learning his name though opened up a whole new world for me in my research into my earliest ancestors in Rockingham County, Virginia.

According to a chancery cause dated 1835 in Rockingham County between Emanuel Harnsberger and Charles Yancey, my Jacob was actually the son of an older Jacob.  Jacob Jr. was married to Elizabeth Harnsberger, and their daughter Elizabeth was married to John Armentrout, my 4X great-grandfather. That little snip of information gave me both parents for Mary Ann Armentrout who married Fielding Jollett. 

That same chancery cause gave the name of Elizabeth Lingle Armentrout’s sister Mary (“Anna Maria”) who married Martin Schneider/Snyder.  This couple witnessed the baptism of John and Elizabeth’s children, further circumstantial evidence supporting my theory about Mary Ann’s parents.

In the 1810 Rockingham County census, the Schneiders, Lingles, Harnsbergers, and Armentrouts were all neighbors.  It makes sense that they intermarried.

It seems that many of the Lingles didn’t remain in Rockingham County.  A good many went to Ohio.  Whether Jacob was among them I don’t know.  But recently a researcher of Rockingham County families has presented her argument that there is a cemetery in front of the grand home known as the Kite House on Rt 33 in Elkton, Virginia. 

Kite House  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Kite House on Rt. 33, Elkton, VA
photo snipped from Google Maps
It is truly a landmark property that people coming off the Skyline Drive and heading to the colleges in Harrisonburg or the ski resort at Massanutten have admired for years.  This researcher has pieced together a number of deeds and surveys along with names of families likely buried there.  Among those names are Harnsberger and Lingle.  Maybe Jacob and Elizabeth are there. 

Cemetery Dousing Kite House Elkton, VA Nov 2014  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Flags mark where graves have been detected at the Kite House
photo courtesy Jan Hensley


1. Elizabeth LINGLE & John ARMENTROUT  ( - Before 1835 Rockingham Co, VA)  1791 Rockingham Co, VA
  • Mary Ann ARMENTROUT (About 1795 – Jan 1870 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Fielding JOLLETT  ( About 1800 Greene Co, VA –  04 Dec 1887 Rockingham Co, VA )  02 Oct 1828 Rockingham Co, VA
  • Elizabeth ARMENTROUT ( 1798 Rockingham Co, VA –  )
  • Linda ARMENTROUT  ( 1805 Rockingham Co, VA –  )
2. Mary Ann / Anna Maria LINGLE & Martin Schneider
3. Jacob LINGLE - maybe 
4. Paul LINGLE - maybe
5. John LINGLE  ( Rockingham Co, VA – about 1820 Clark Co, OH ) & Mary COOK (Rockingham Co, VA – OH )

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Past #4

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Christmas 2003:  Christmas Pajama Party

In 2003, we began 2 new traditions:  a themed Christmas Eve party AND an annual family photo.

Merry Christmas y'all!

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

52 Ancestors: #51 - WALSH

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

My dad’s side of the family is one puzzle after another.  If it’s not the Slade saga with its Calhoun DNA, it’s the mysterious Sheehans without a paper trail.  And if it’s not the Sheehans, it’s the WALSH clan with its conflicting stories.

One of the main stories about my great-grandfather John Fleming Walsh concerns his ties to a family business:  a whiskey distillery.  Supposedly a feud over the business led to his complete break from the family.  But who knows? 

John Fleming Walsh  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Definite records for John F. Walsh are hard to come by.  The only time I can be sure I found him in a census is in the one for 1910.  He had married the widowed Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen in 1906, according to records at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Portsmouth, Virginia.  Yet the census says they had been married 17 years.  If Mary Theresa was the informant, she apparently wanted or needed to account for having a 16 year-old daughter and to hide the fact that she had been married before.  All seven children are listed with the last name “Walsh” even though the first five were actually Killeen. There’s no shame in having been widowed, but “Secrets” was the name of the game in that family.

John Fleming Walsh’s birthplace was listed as Virginia although according to family lore, he was born in Michigan. The marriage register says John’s parents were Patrick and Mary.  However, I have found no couple with a son John born about 1868 in either Michigan or Virginia. There is one such family in Kentucky and at least three in New York. 

Walsh Pension Application   http://jollettetc.blogspot.comI have even tried looking for him using his alias “John Fleming,” the name he used when he served in the Spanish-American War.  (And what was that about?)

The All Saints Catholic Cemetery is the resting place for 19 members of various Walsh families.  John’s contemporaries include John Joseph, Edward Martin, and Thomas Francis Walsh, but they were sons of John and Ellen.  Cousins perhaps? 

Michael and Mary Hynes Walsh are also buried there.  In Mary’s obituary published on Findagrave, one of the pallbearers was John Walsh.  Could this have been MY John Walsh?  If so, what was his connection to Michael and Mary Walsh? 

If John lied about his own name, could he have also lied about his parents’ names?

Just who were you, John Fleming Walsh?

John Fleming WALSH ( 1868 Michigan or Virginia – 15 Oct 1918 Portsmouth, VA ) & Mary Theresa SHEEHAN Killeen ( 15 May 1869 Ireland – 18 Jul 1939 Portsmouth, VA )  17 Jun 1906 Portsmouth, VA

1. Julia Mary WALSH ( 06 Sep 1907 Portsmouth, VA – 17 Apr 1982 Portsmouth, VA ) & Fred Robert SLADE ( 08 Nov 1901 Princess Anne Co, VA – 04 Feb 1983 Portsmouth, VA )

  • Fred Robert SLADE JR. ( 07 Aug 1928 Portsmouth, VA –  31 Jan 2009 Portsmouth, VA ) & Mary Eleanor DAVIS ( 06 Jan 1929 Shenandoah, VA – 03 Oct 2005 Chesapeake, VA )  07 Oct 1950 Elizabeth City, NC
  • Private
2. Catherine F. WALSH ( 12 Oct 1909 Portsmouth, VA – 02 Oct 1969 Portsmouth, VA ) & Stephen BARANY ( 27 Nov 1906 New Jersey – Jan 1969 Washington DC )

3. Theresa M. WALSH ( 10 Mar 1913 Portsmouth, VA – 18 Mar 1987 Massachusetts ) & m1) James G. CREWS ( 30 Jun 1911 Guilford, NC – 05 Jan 1986 Florida ) ; & m2) Walter J. MURRAY ( - Dec 1984 Massachusetts )

  • Private

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Christmas Home Tour

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

In keeping with the traditional Christmas season prompt at Sepia Saturday, I send holiday greetings to my fellow Homo Sepians and to all my readers and followers. 

I always enjoy seeing how people decorate, and at Christmas I look forward to special home tours that various neighborhoods and organizations host, usually as a fund-raiser. I do not have the kind of home that gets invited to be ON a tour, but let’s tour my house anyway. Besides, it’s free. 

Welcome to my house!

When you plant orange pansies and paint the front door salmon, Christmas decorating can be a challenge. In the past, my wreaths were plain with just a bow, but my talented sister said they needed a redo. So I put Mary’s Flower Works to work. She enhanced my wreaths with additional greenery, burlap poinsettias, gold and natural linen bows, some pinecones and decorative wrapped wire. She even added an orange bird to the center wreath.

In the foyer, my staircase always makes a dramatic welcome at Christmas. Again, this is the work of my talented sister. 

My foyer
photo courtesy Mary Slade Pollock

To the right of the foyer is the living room with “The Pink Tree.” It’s a silver tinsel tree with a combination of pink and crystal ornaments. A few pink floral picks and silk poinsettias add a little sump’n sump’n. Some of the ornaments came from my mother who used to do a white and pink tree.

The Pink Tree

To the left of the foyer is the dining room. I have given up trying to create a flow from one room to another. While the foyer is white and silver and the living room is pink, this room THIS year got the red and lime green treatment. And I love it. 

Chandelier with mostly Dollar Store ornaments

My grandaunt Helen's tea service
I love these big snowflakes
from the Dollar Store,
I'm proud to say!

But then I have rather schizophrenic taste:  I love glitz and I love traditional. The family room exhibits my traditional side. This is where we put the main tree and where we gather Christmas morning. The tree has a gazillion ornaments and well over 1000 lights – Barry says it’s probably 3000, but I can’t believe that. I followed a tutorial on how to put lights on the tree like the professionals do so that all the wires don’t show. As a result, Barry got to make 2 extra trips to the store for more lights. Lucky guy!

The mantle is another sister creation as is the mesh wreath. It’s the perfect blend of traditional and glitz.
photo courtesy Mary Slade Pollock

Please visit my friends at Sepia Saturday for more holiday greetings.

Merry Christmas y’all!  Happy Blogging in 2015.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Past #3

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Wendy Slade Christmas 1972  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Christmas 1971
Oh the Shag haircut!

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

52 Ancestors: #50 - Daniel SHEEHAN

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

NOTE: This post contains many errors. You can find the most recent research on the Sheehan family HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

My father adored his grandmother Mary Theresa SHEEHAN Killeen Walsh.  Searching for her family has not been easy.  With the aid of death certificates, I have determined that she was the daughter of Daniel SHEEHAN and Nora SULLIVAN.  They may as well have been named John and Mary Smith.  I don’t know if they ever came to New York or if Mary Theresa and her sisters (and MAYBE a brother) came alone from their home in Ireland.  When I look at the number of Daniel and Nora couples in Ireland in the mid-1800s, I am overwhelmed and just want to lie down. 

When I found some cousins through Facebook, I thought I was going to be able to gather some information and answer some questions.  Initially they seemed excited to meet me and eager to share memories.  But my excitement was short-lived as they have not been forthcoming with either photos or answers.   Obviously not everyone is interested in their ancestors. 


Daniel SHEEHAN  & Nora SULLIVAN – both born in Ireland

1. Josie M. SHEEHAN ( About 1868 Cork, Ireland –  New York) & Charles A. KRAUSE ( Feb 1860 –  )  24 Oct 1894 Manhattan, Kings, NY

  • Charles KRAUSE ( Aug 1895 Queens, NY –  )
  • Hannah KRAUSE ( Aug 1896 Queens, NY –  )
  • Caroline G. KRAUSE ( Mar 1898 Queens, NY –  )
  • Edith M. KRAUSE ( 07 Mar 1900 Queens, NY –  ) & Daniel BROGAN  06 Jun 1922 Richmond Co, NY 
  • Allen J. KRAUSE ( 31 Dec 1901 Queens, NY –  17 Apr 1990 Port Richey, Pasco, FL )
  • Clara G. KRAUSE ( 20 Apr 1904 Queens, NY – )
2. Mary Theresa SHEEHAN ( 15 May 1869 Ireland – 18 Jul 1939 Portsmouth, VA ) & m1) John Joseph KILLEEN  (Mar 1866 Ireland – 08 Apr 1905 New York)  1893 ; & m2) John Fleming WALSH ( 1868 – 15 Oct 1918 Portsmouth, VA )  17 Jun 1906 Portsmouth, VA

Mary Theresa and John Killeen had the following children:

  • Elizabeth Agnes “Lillie” KILLEEN ( 16 Feb 1894 Bronx, NY – 17 Jul 1982 Portsmouth, VA )
  • Matthew George “Mac” KILLEEN ( 08 May 1895 Bronx, NY –  07 Mar 1969 Portsmouth, VA ) &  Alma M. KETCHUM
  • Mary Agnes “Mae” KILLEEN ( 05 Sep 1898 Bronx, NY –  08 Dec 1980 Portsmouth, VA ) & Clifton Maynard HOLLAND  ( 14 Sep 1897 –  26 Jun 1948 Portsmouth, VA )  1916
  • Margaret Mary “Margee” KILLEEN ( 21 Apr 1901 Bronx, NY –  31 May 1978 Norfolk, VA ) & Otto James “Jack” SPROTT ( 04 Sep 1898 – 29 Jun 1965 )
  • Helen Martha KILLEEN ( 07 Jun 1903 Bronx, NY – 11 Oct 1980 Portsmouth, VA ) & Herbert Webb PARKER  (15 Nov 1900 Portsmouth, VA –  07 Nov 1959 Portsmouth, VA )   03 Nov 1927 Portsmouth, VA
Mary Theresa and John Walsh had the following children:

  • Julia Mary WALSH ( 06 Sep 1907 Portsmouth, VA –  17 Apr 1982 Portsmouth, VA ) & Fred Robert SLADE ( 08 Nov 1901 Princess Anne Co, VA – 04 Feb 1983 Portsmouth, VA )
  • Catherine WALSH ( 12 Oct 1909 Portsmouth, VA – 02 Oct 1969 Portsmouth, VA ) & Stephen BARANY (27 Nov 1906 New Jersey –  Jan 1969 Washington DC )
  • Theresa M. “Tate” WALSH ( 10 Mar 1913 Portsmouth, VA – 18 Mar 1987 Lowell, MA ) & m1) James G. “Jimmy” CREWS ( 30 Jun 1911 Guilford, NC – 05 Jan 1986 Florida ) ; & m2) Walter J. MURRAY (  -- Dec 1984 Massachusetts )
3. Delia SHEEHAN ( Jan 1879 Cork, Ireland – 08 Jun 1942 Brooklyn, NY ) & William H. CHRISTIAN ( 1880 New Jersey – )  1904

  • Elmyra Dorothy CHRISTIAN ( 1908 New York – 29 Mar 1996 New York ) & m1) Godfrey Anderson STAMM about 1930 ; & m2) Edward T. ZAREK (09 Sep 1909 – 08 Mar 1978 New York )  about 1942 
  • Grace CHRISTIAN ( 1912 New York – 1997 ) & Charles Anthony SMITH ( 1907 Brooklyn, NY – 1965 )
  • Raymond CHRISTIAN ( 1915 New York – )
  • William P. CHRISTIAN ( 17 Mar 1917 New York – 17 Jan 2002 Flushing, NY ) & Mildred Mae MEYER (01 Nov 1920 Brooklyn, NY – 28 Jul 1970 Brooklyn, NY )
4. Sarah SHEEHAN ( Cork, Ireland –  ) & Unknown BYRNES/BURNS

  • Sadie BYRNES/BURNS ( - 1970 )
Please ignore the family tree on this page. More recent research has corrected most of this MIS-information. (7 Jun 2019)

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Crop 'Till You Drop

 Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt asks Homo Sepians to focus on what is going on in the background of a photo rather than in the foreground. 

In a single photo from about 1934, I spied two happenings in the background that are far more interesting than the intended subject. 

Violetta Davis Ryan about 1934 Jollett Reunion  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
My grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan looks to be quite the woman of the 21st century on her cell phone while balancing her iPad.

Meanwhile her cousin Leota Sullivan is totally bored.  Now I’m sure there are three women in this photo, but one is headless although Leota and my great-grandmother Mary Frances Jollett Davis don’t seem to notice or care.

Jollett Reunion about 1934  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Mary Frances Jollett Davis, UNKNOWN, and Leota Sullivan

So what was it that the photographer was actually focusing on at the Jollett Reunion? 

Jollett Reunion about 1934  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
My granduncle Millard Davis (right) and a cousin whom I don’t know.

To see what else is happening in the background, focus on Sepia Saturday.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Past #2

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Mary Jollette Slade Christmas 1964  http;//jollettetc.blogspot.com
Mary Jollette Christmas 1964

Wendy and Mary Jollette Slade Christmas 1964  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Wendy and Mary Jollette Christmas 1964

I remember this simple decoration in the dining room:  a homemade candle and some live holly stuck into a piece of styrofoam.  The candle was made in a milk carton. 

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

52 Ancestors: #49 - Samuel WILLSON

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

I don’t know what to say about my 3X great-grandfather Samuel WILLSON except that he lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and he was the father of my 2X great-grandmother Martha Ann WILLSON.  It says so right here on a marriage bond:

Beyond that, Samuel is still a mystery.  I’ve contacted a number of potential cousins with WILLSON trees on Ancestry.com, but none will claim Martha.  It’s still possible that she belongs to one of them too, but they just don’t know it yet.  After all, she was born in 1833 and was married at the ripe age of 13, so she was out of the family home before all members of the household were ever named in a census.  Without a census list or a will, we family historians can’t always complete the picture of our ancestors.

I spent a couple hours in the Rockbridge County courthouse grabbing whatever I could find that included the name Samuel WILLSON.  Unfortunately that wasn’t enough time to go through every book in the deed room.  Three deeds though looked promising.

The first was the sale of property in 1818 inherited by Samuel and Elizabeth WILLSON and her siblings.  The date seemed reasonable.  The bonus was getting a potential mother along with the maiden name, Hannah.  But wishing doesn’t make it so as I quickly learned upon searching this line in Ancestry.com.  THIS Samuel Willson turned out to be a minister whose descendants conducted lots of research.  Had Martha been in this family, surely her own father would have married her and Mitchell Davis; however, she reported in her widow’s pension application that the minister was Reverend Thomson.  So I crossed this Samuel Willson off my list of possibilities.

The second deed is inconclusive.  In 1847 Samuel Wilson conveyed about 353 acres of land “for natural love and affection” to his sons Hugh J. Wilson and Thomas M. C. Wilson.  Part of the land had been patented to Samuel in 1800 and part had been deeded to him by his father William, deceased.  The land bordered the property of James Wilson. 

Even though that gives me more names to search, surprisingly enough, the names even present a problem.  The indices of the deed books promise some consistency in separating the WiLsons from the WiLLsons.

However, since at least one household had both spellings in the family list in a census, I still have hope that this deed holds a possible connection to my Samuel and Martha.  I’m even more hopeful when I add a deed from 1806 to the mix. That year Samuel WiLLson was heir at law to his son John who died unmarried and intestate.  He sold 9 acres of John’s land to another son named Robert.  The metes and bounds description indicates the property bordered that of Samuel AND Hugh WILLSON.  A few mathematical calculations indicate this is NOT the same Hugh Wilson from the 1847 deed.  Furthermore, it’s not likely this Samuel could be my Martha’s father at all, but possibly he could be her grandfather; if Robert was purchasing land, he must have been born by 1786 making Samuel born by 1766.  

So what I have observed is this:

  • The names Samuel, Hugh, James, and Robert are popular among both WiLLsons and WiLsons across many generations.
  • The Samuel Willson living in District 53 in 1850 was probably NOT the father of Hugh and Thomas living in District 51 that year; surely they would have lived in the same district based on that land transaction.
  • The Samuel Willson living in District 53 in 1850 had a son James, but surely if this Samuel were the father of Hugh and Thomas, he would have saved some of that parcel for this son James. 
  • The Samuel Wilson living in District 51 was born in 1803, so he was likely NOT the father of Hugh and Thomas either since he would not have been alive to have a land patent in 1800.  However, he could be the father of my Martha.
  • There were a number of other Samuel Wilsons living in District 51, but all were too young to be the father of my Martha.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

DAR - On the Road to Membership

Please don’t use the SEARCH box to learn when I last updated my efforts to secure membership in the prestigious DAR.  Suffice it to say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

A few weeks ago, the registrar of the Fort Nelson chapter had had enough of Mary Jollette’s and my foot-dragging routine.  “Let’s meet,” she said.  To sweeten the deal, she suggested we meet at a local coffee and sandwich shop instead of the chilly clubhouse where heat is run only when the old guard is in session. 

A few mocha lattes later, we were focused and had a plan.

The PLAN:  contact our cousin Glenn’s widow Fran about the Davis family Bible and contact a friend in Rockingham County to do some footwork at the courthouse.  

Davis Bible   http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Davis family Bible
I had brought my latest discoveries to the meeting.  I had managed to spy my patriot Leonard Davis SENIOR living in the household of his daughter-in-law, Frances Davis, in 1840.  (It was on that sneaky second page of the census that doesn't come up in a normal name search on Ancestry.)  Her name as Head of Household sent the strong message that she was a widow.  But there is nothing that says Leonard was her late husband’s father.  No problem for the invincible registrar – she’ll write an analysis arguing the point.

However, the problem of PROOF still rests in that 5th generation, the “poison generation,” as the registrar called it.  Apparently those are the years when records were oh so ho hum, not kept, not required, or burned in some fire.  So even though in census after census my 2X great-grandfather Mitchell Davis was living next door to his mother Frances, it means nothing to the DAR without more reliable proof such as a will, a birth record, a family Bible, a family diary. 

It turns out Fran had returned the family Bible to Glenn’s mother who then offered to send it to us.  We received it in a couple days, but unfortunately the Bible didn’t contain the really OLD information we were seeking.  

Then Serendipity came knocking at the door.

Barry is required by the bank where he works to take off 5 days in a row.  (Some federal regulation about having enough time to see if he is up to no good.)  He suggested we take those days to visit family in Rockingham County.  He even said, “You can do some research at the courthouse.”  Who WAS this man and what did he do with my husband??

1881 Deed Davis to Davis  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
1881 Rockingham County, VA
Davis to Davis  Deed Book 20, p. 212
So for two days, I set up camp at the courthouse on Main Street.  As expected there was no birth record and no will.  But I found deeds.  Two of ‘em.  One dated 1881 was the WIDOW Frances and all her children and children-in-law selling Leonard’s land.  The other was Mitchell and his brother Elijah and mother – the widow Frances – selling their rights and interest in the Leonard Davis estate to Sarah Davis, sister and daughter of the grantors.  Cha-ching ~

Write that analysis, Madam Registrar.  DAR, here we come! 

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Packing Heat

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo of a sweet family group comprised of Dad, Dog, and Boy inspires the imagination.  What is that little cowboy thinking of doing with that lasso? 

And what or whom was my cousin aiming at with that bow and arrow?  He was grinning, but I’m not sure I would trust that grin.

Glenn Davis about 1952 or 1953 http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Glenn Davis
at the home of Orvin and Lucille Davis about 1952 or 1953

Nevertheless, wasn’t Glenn cute in that Hopalong Cassidy cowboy outfit?  Probably the only thing cuter though was the cowGIRL version that my cousin Bobbie got that Christmas. 

Barbara Davis and Glenn Davis about 1952 or 1953  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Bobbie and Glenn
Christmas 1952 or 1953

Bobbie loved this costume.  But she has one sad memory of that Christmas when they came to visit our grandparents.  The house was heated by an oil furnace centrally vented through the floor between the living room and dining room.  It was a rather sizeable floor vent.  As kids we liked to stand on it and feel the warmth blowing up our clothes. 

That vent could get hot though as Bobbie learned all too well.  At some point while running through the house – maybe chasing Glenn – Bobbie dropped her little red plastic gun on the vent.  And there it melted. 

Hopalong over to Sepia Saturday to see what stories and photos the others have lassoed today. 

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Past

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Fred, Mary Eleanor, Wendy Slade 1952 http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Christmas 1952
Daddy, Momma, and me

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

52 Ancestors: #48 - Peter WYANT

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

My 4X great grandfather Peter WYANT certainly had an interesting introduction to life in the colony of Virginia.  He was born around 1763 in Germany and came to the British colonies as a Hessian soldier.  The Hessians, so named for the Hesse region in Germany, were hired by the British to fight against the colonists in their war for independence. 

Peter was captured after the Battle of Saratoga, but he managed to escape from the American guards in February of 1781 when the prisoners were being marched from their prison barracks near Charlottesville to the Shenandoah Valley.  Some family stories also say that he had changed his way of thinking and actually sided with the Americans.  At any rate, he managed to settle safely in Albemarle County where he married Mary BURRAS. 

Peter and Mary began their rather large family in Albemarle, but later they moved into nearby Rockingham County in an area known as Beldor.  This community sits just below the Skyline Drive. 

from Google Maps

Satellite view of Beldor Road

Wyant house is the structure in the middle of the image in the deep curve.  The house is no longer standing.  The spring house is the small grey structure in the lower center, below the house. 

The Wyant homeplace stood as late as October of 2013 when it burned to the ground.  However, the springhouse still stands.  During recent renovations, names and dates from the 1700s were found on the inside logs.

Wyant springhouse
photo courtesy of Jan Hensley

While “Wyant” is the spelling my line uses, there are numerous variations including a similar “Wiant” and “Wynant” as well as more German spellings including Weigandt, Weigant, Weyhant, Weygant, and Weiggert.


Peter WYANT ( 1763 Germany – Nov 1838 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Mary BURRAS ( 1767 Germany – About 1840 Rockingham Co, VA ) 1782 Albemarle Co, VA

1. Catherine WYANT ( 1785 Albemarle Co, VA – 1839 ) & David CONLEY (1781 Rockingham Co, VA – 1812 Rockingham Co, VA )  20 Mar 1804 Albemarle Co, VA

2. Elizabeth WYANT ( 1787 Albemarle Co, VA  – 27 Nov 1872 Walkers Creek, Giles, VA ) & John MEADOWS  (1775 – 1848 Giles Co, VA )  18 Mar 1806 Albemarle Co, VA

3. Susannah WYANT ( 1789 Albemarle Co, VA – 1870 Greene Co, VA ) & Thomas SHIFFLETT (1784 – 01 Feb 1881 Greene Co, VA )  13 Feb 1807 Rockingham Co, VA

4. Mary WYANT ( 1790 Albemarle Co, VA – 01 Nov 1839 Rockingham Co, VA ) & James MEADOWS (1786 Rockingham Co, VA – 1844 Rockingham Co, VA )  22 Jun 1809 Albemarle Co, VA

5. JOHN WYANT ( 02 Feb 1795 Albemarle Co, VA – 04 Jan 1880 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Elizabeth Moyer BAUGHER  (12 Sep 1795 Rockingham Co, VA – 03 Apr 1878 Rockingham Co, VA ) 11 Mar 1818 Rockingham Co, VA

6. Peter Burras WYANT ( 31 May 1796 Albemarle Co, VA – 28 Oct 1886 Talcott, Summers, WV ) & Sarah “Sallie” MEADOWS (13 Jul 1805 Monroe Co, VA – 22 Jan 1881 Summers, WV )  25 May 1821 Monroe Co, VA now WV

7. Frederick WYANT ( 1797 Albemarle Co, VA – 1875 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Elizabeth BURNS (1810 – 23 Sep 1868 Rockingham Co, VA )   01 Apr 1838

8. Frances “Fannie” WYANT ( 1799 Albemarle Co, VA – After 1880 ) & Leonard DAVIS JR.  (1795 Albemarle Co, VA – Before 1840 Rockingham Co, VA  ) 21 Mar 1820 Orange, VA
  • Mitchell DAVIS ( 4 Sep 1820 Rockingham Co, VA - 22 Apr 1892 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Martha Ann WILLSON (10 Jun 1832 Rockbridge Co, VA - 1 Dec 1905 Rockingham Co, VA )24 Aug 1846 Rockbridge, Virginia
  • William Franklin DAVIS ( 1822 Rockingham Co, VA - 1905 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Ardena J. WYANT ( 1828 Virginia – 1890 Virginia) 23 Dec 1844 Albemarle, VA
  • Elijah DAVIS ( Dec 1825 Rockingham Co, VA - After 1900 ) & Barbara Ann SHIFLETT ( June 1827 - )
  • Mary Ann DAVIS ( 1828 Rockingham Co, VA - After 1900 ) & Joseph WOOD ( 1836 Rockingham Co, VA – 1870 Rockingham Co, VA)  27 Sep 1858 Rockingham Co, VA ; common law wife to George HERRING
  • Rebecca Ann DAVIS  (1833 Greene Co, VA -  15 Aug 1922 in Yancy, VA) & James K. CRAWFORD (22 Jan 1845 – 7 Sep 1921 Yancy, VA) 7 Feb 1878 Rockingham Co, VA
  • Sarah F. DAVIS ( Feb 1834 Rockingham Co, VA -  2 Feb 1913 Rockingham Co, VA)
9. William WYANT ( 10 Jul 1800 Rockingham Co, VA – 03 Aug 1897 Rockingham Co, VA )

10. Nancy WYANT ( 1802 Rockingham Co, VA – 27 Nov 1872 Monroe, WV ) & Timothy CONNELL (1802 – 1864 )  07 Mar 1822 Rockingham Co, VA

11. Millie WYANT ( 02 May 1803 Rockingham Co, VA – 29 Apr 1880 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Edmund SHIFLETT  (05 May 1798 Rockingham Co, VA – About 1850 Rockingham Co, VA ) 13 Sep 1822 Rockingham Co, VA

12. David WYANT ( 20 Sep 1805 Rockingham Co, VA – 14 Jul 1882 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Elizabeth LAWSON (20 Jun 1805 Rockingham Co, VA – 06 Feb 1890 Rockingham Co, VA )  05 Dec 1826 Rockingham Co, VA

13. Ann WYANT ( 1806 Rockingham Co, VA – 01 Apr 1862 Upshur, WV ) & Obediah CRAWFORD (1806 Rockingham Co, VA – 10 Dec 1877 Upshur , WV )  16 Jun 1825 Rockingham Co, VA

Moore, Robert. "A Family's Historical Memory... of a Hessian Ancestor."Cenantuas Blog. N.p., 31 Aug. 2008. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. <https://cenantua.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/a-familys-historical-memory-of-a-hessian-ancestor/>.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.