Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 Ancestors: #8 - James JOLLETT

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.

OK, enough of the “imagined family.”  Let’s look at the real deal, beginning with James JOLLETT, my 4G grandfather. 

The names James Jollett and Nancy Walker have been available for the taking for quite some time thanks to other people’s research.  However, the hard facts are still iffy.  My best guess for a date of birth is based on James’s first appearance as a payer of taxes in Culpeper County, Virginia.  In 1784, he is listed as a “white titheable under 21”, and then in 1785 he is listed as “over 21,” so he must have been born 1764. 

In 1786 James purchased 150 acres of land in Culpeper from Thomas Jollett, the man I believe to be his father.  James continued to pay taxes in Culpeper at least until 1790.  On March 22, 1787, James married Nancy Walker of Culpeper, whose parents are yet unknown. 

However, some clues exist in the 1796 Orange County Road Orders. 

June 27, 1796, p. 386
Zachary Taylor appointed overseer of the road from the Old Muster Field run up to William Taylors & ord [ordered] that he with John Sampson, Elisha Shearman, James Jolly, Cuthbert Norman, Sanders Walker, Lewis Gordon Powell, Wm. Thompson, Benjamin Walker, Wm. B. Knight, Benjamin Powell, Wm. Lewis Powell, Thomas Walker, William Taylor & Wm. Eaton do clear the sd. precincts & keep the same in good repair according to law.

Unfortunately, Walker researchers don’t have this Nancy in their list. 

So back to James.  He and Nancy had at least 10 children, all of whom will be featured eventually in this 52 Ancestors-52 Weeks series.  Finding this Jollett family in the census is hit or miss – mostly MISS.  In 1830 Orange, the James Jollett family consisted of 1 male age 15-20 (probably son James Jr), 1 male 20-30 (?), and 1 male 50-60 (James); 2 females under 5 (?), 2 females 20-30 (?), and 1 female 60-70 (likely Nancy Walker Jollett).  Possibly those question marks were a daughter and son-in-law plus some grandchildren.

In 1840 Greene County, James JOLLY’s household consisted of 1 male 70-80 (James), 2 females 40-50, and 2 females 20-30.  Apparently Nancy had died already.  I believe the two older women were daughters Elizabeth King and Tabatha Jollett, and the two younger ones their daughters Columbia King and Fanny Jollett. 

Petition to form Greene County, Virginia 1838
from petition to form Greene County, VA
Aside from being one busy father and farmer, James’s claim to fame is his signature on a petition to form Greene County in 1838.  The mother county was Orange, and it was huge in terms of square miles.  Citizens in the far reaches of the county near the mountains complained that it was a hardship to travel to the county seat often requiring an overnight ride on bad roads.  Both James and James Jr. signed the petition as did some of James and Nancy’s sons-in-law. 

Surety for marriage between Anney James and James Sampson
Click image to enlarge
James Jollett and James Sampson
surety in marriage
between Anney James and James Sampson
1800 Orange County, VA
James’s name can be found on several legal instruments, most often as bondsman for his supposed sisters Sophia, Susannah, Judy, and Elizabeth, and as father of the brides for his daughters.  He must have been viewed as a good and honest neighbor because he provided surety in the marriage of Anney James to James Sampson 

and swore that she was of proper age to marry.
Click image to enlarge
James Jollett witness for Anney James
June 1800

James likely died after 1840 since there is no further sign of him. 

Since I will discuss the Jollett children in the coming weeks, I now present


James JOLLETT (Abt 1764 – Aft 1840) & Nancy WALKER (Abt 1764 – Bef 1840) married 22 Mar 1787 Culpeper Co, VA
  1. Lucy Walker JOLLETT (1792 Orange Co, VA – 25 Oct 1870 Greene Co, VA) & Peter MARSH (Abt 1779 – Abt 1860 Greene Co, VA) married 24 Mar 1806 Orange Co, VA
  2. Clarissa JOLLETT (1793 Orange Co, VA – 9 Sep 1875 Clay Co, IN) & John SAMPSON (1790 Orange Co, VA – 29 Jan 1857 Clay Co, IN) married 2 Mar 1813 Orange Co, VA
  3. Sarah “Sallie” JOLLETT (1794 Orange Co, VA - ?) & William SAMPSON (Apr 1788 –  4 Sep 1853 Greene Co, VA) married 1 Jan 1809 Orange Co, VA
  4. Fielding Tildon JOLLETT (1795 Orange Co, VA – Aft 1880 Rockingham Co, VA) & m1) Ann STOUTEMIRE (Abt 1795 – Bef 1828) & m2) Mary Ann ARMENTROUT (Abt 1795 – Jan 1870 Rockingham Co, VA) married 2 Oct 1828 Rockingham  Co, VA
  5. Elizabeth JOLLETT (1796 Orange Co, VA – 20 Aug 1878 Rockingham Co, VA) & Reuben KING married 20 May 1822 Orange Co, VA
  6. Tabatha JOLLETT (1797 Orange Co, VA - ?)
  7. Drada JOLLETT (10 Jan 1798 Orange Co, VA – 6 Jun 1867) married George SAMPSON (24 Jul 1796 Orange Co, VA – 17 Oct 1881 Greenbrier, WV) married 6 Jan 1819 Orange Co, VA
  8. Melinda or Melindy JOLLETT (1800 Orange Co, VA - ?) & Thomas MARSH (1796 - ?) married 12 Mar 1822 Orange Co, VA
  9. Simeon or Simon JOLLETT or JOLLY (Bef 1807 Orange Co, VA – Aft 1870) & Nancy Glass (? – Aft 1860 Indiana) married 18 Jul 1822 Orange Co, VA
  10. James JOLLETT Jr (1808 Orange Co, VA – 26 Dec 1883 Clay Co, IN)

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. I love that you have the petitions and other documents...I just love seeing the beautiful handwriting/signatures. We have lost that art.

  2. I agree, the handwriting is beautiful! I can't wait to hear more about all of the children.

  3. These are my favorites. I don't know why, but I think it is fascinating that you have this information.

    Looking forward to all the information I know you have been working on!