Tuesday, October 28, 2014

52 Ancestors: #43 - Edward HERNDON

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 5X great-grandfather Edward Herndon (1738-1831) was the son of William HERNDON and Ann DRYSDALE.  In 1762 he married Mary Ann GAINES and together they raised at least twelve children in Culpeper County, Virginia.

Doing the math suggests Edward was just the right age to take up arms along with the militia against the British in the fight for independence in 1776.  Clearly Edward must have been a patriot.  But how much of a patriot was he?  The answer to that question might depend on whom you trust:  the DAR, the SAR, or Findagrave.com.

Findagrave shows a tombstone for one Edward Herndon buried in Elbert County, Georgia.  Engraved on the stone are his dates:  1768-1827.  A patriot marker rests at the base of the stone.   Another mathematical calculation reveals that THIS Edward was only 7 when the war began and 15 at its conclusion.  So it’s entirely possible that Edward had served briefly; however, THIS Edward was not the same Edward whose service records were presented as evidence for any descendants’ entry into the DAR or SAR.  In fact, THIS Edward was one of the sons of my 5X great-grandfather Edward Herndon.

Will of Edward Herndon, Madison County, Virginia dated 1822  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Will of Edward Herndon dated 1822
Madison County, Virginia

Edward’s descendants are aided in their quest to prove their lineage by his will which named all twelve children.  It was dated 1822 and then probated in Madison County, Virginia in 1838, seven years following his death.  Ancestry.com has quite a few images of applications for membership into the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), all of which seem to lead logically to this Edward; however, proof of Edward’s service has been verified by documents for a different Edward Herndon. 

Will of Edward Herndon, Madison Co, Virginia dated 1822  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Edward gave 1 / 12 to each child.
Sons-in-law were to have no rights to his estate.

Fold3 has documents that point to three Edward Herndons, none of which are MY 5X great-grandfather, let alone the ancestor of any of the SAR applicants.  In one case, Reuben Herndon of Kentucky, administrator for the estate of his grandfather Edward Herndon, petitioned for Edward’s pension allowance for the grandchildren.  This Edward, who died in Spotsylvania County, Virginia in November 1837, had only two children, however.  Not MY Edward, the patriot.

Another Edward Herndon died in Spotsylvania County in 1799. Not MY Edward.

The other Edward was a resident of Campbell County although at the time of the Revolutionary War, he resided in Goochland, not far from Culpeper or Madison.  In 1844 he petitioned on his own behalf for the full pay owed him as an officer who had served the duration of the war.  In his application he provided amazing detail of service with corroborating evidence from soldiers who served with him.  Stories of his rise through the ranks and his capture by the British are echoed in numerous applications for membership in the SAR.  But this is not MY Edward Herndon.  How do I know?  Because this one said he left NO wife and NO children.   Yet application after application presents the lineage that can be traced only to my Edward.

On the DAR website the patriot lines look most like mine.  However, even MY Edward’s line has been flagged.  That means a problem has been found in at least one previously verified paper.  If I’m reading the site correctly, it appears someone may have assigned a descendant to the wrong parents.  That doesn’t mean Edward wasn’t a patriot.  According to the DAR, he served in the Culpeper Militia and supplied beef to the Army.  More specific evidence of his service is not available online. 

Fortunately Edward’s son William served too, and his record seems to have stayed out of the melee.

Edward HERNDON ( 16 Jul 1738 Campbell Co, VA – 11 May 1831 Madison Co, VA) & Mary Ann GAINES (May 1742 Orange, VA – 15 Jun 1829 Madison Co, VA)  30 Nov 1762 Culpeper Co, VA

1. James Gaines HERNDON ( 1764 Culpeper Co, VA –  After 1822 Elbert, GA) & Sara THORNTON

2. William Pendleton HERNDON ( 29 Feb 1764 Culpeper Co, VA – 12 Aug 1847 Greene Co, VA ) & Mary RUCKER  (23 Mar 1763 Culpeper Co, VA – 26 Feb 1835 Orange, VA)  28 Nov 1785 Virginia
  • Edward HERNDON ( 13 May 1787 Orange Co, VA – May 1866 Orange, VA ) & Mary BRADLEY  19 Oct 1822  Orange, VA
  • James HERNDON ( 23 Jan 1789 Orange Co, VA – 07 Dec 1857 Madison Co, VA ) & Esther FERNEYHOUGH (1803 – 1892 Madison Co, VA )    30 Dec 1823 Madison Co, VA
  • Ezekial HERNDON ( 07 Dec 1790 Orange Co, VA – 12 Aug 1847 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Sarah JONES (1794 Virginia – Jul 1869 Oskaloosa, IO)  19 Jan 1821 Orange County, VA
  • Elizabeth HERNDON ( 06 Jun 1792 Orange Co, VA – After 1850 ) & Benjamin CASON  17 Dec 1818  Madison Co, VA
  • Mary Pendleton HERNDON ( 02 May 1794 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Abner HERNDON ( 22 Jan 1796 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Rachel HERNDON ( 25 Aug 1797 Orange Co, VA – )
  • William HERNDON ( 29 Jun 1799 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Henry HERNDON ( 09 Sep 1800 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Manson HERNDON (29 Jun 1802 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Joel HERNDON ( 27 Jul 1804 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Thomas HERNDON ( 29 Jun 1807 Orange Co, VA – )

3. Benjamin HERNDON ( 09 May 1765 Culpeper Co, VA – 12 Apr 1805 Elbert, GA ) & Susannah AHART ( 1769 Culpeper Co, VA – 1835 Elbert, GA )

4. Rachel HERNDON ( 1767 Culpeper Co, VA – ) & m1) Jeremiah WHITE ; & m2) Unknown HAWKINS

5. Edward HERNDON ( 06 May 1768 Culpeper Co, VA – 12 Sep 1827 Elbert, GA ) & Nancy Ann RUCKER (1768 Culpeper Co, VA – 1845 Elbert, GA )   18 Aug 1791 Culpeper Co, VA

6. John HERNDON ( 1771 Culpeper Co, VA – 1823 Madison, KY ) & Elizabeth WOOD ( 1775 Orange Co, VA – 1841 Monroe, MO )

7. Elizabeth HERNDON ( 17 Mar 1772 Culpeper Co, VA – 11 Sep 1836 Wilson, TN ) & Richard JARRELL JR. ( 1771 Culpeper Co, VA – 1836 Wilson, TN )

8. Mary HERNDON ( 1774 Culpeper Co, VA – 1828 Madison Co, VA ) & John JACKSON ( 1780 – 1850 Madison Co, VA )

9. George HERNDON ( 12 Apr 1779 Culpeper Co, VA – 10 Dec 1874 Cooper, MO ) & Elizabeth Franky ZACHERY ( 1778 Madison Co, VA – 1847 Cooper, MO )

10. Nancy HERNDON (1780 Culpeper Co, VA – ) & Unknown JORDAN

11. Joel HERNDON ( 1782 Culpeper Co, VA – 03 Jun 1854 Greene Co, VA ) & Lucy QUINN ( 1780 Madison Co, VA – 1865 Madison Co, VA )

12. Henry HERNDON ( 1782 Culpeper Co, VA – 1831 Madison Co, VA ) & Lucinda WOOD (1785 Virginia –  1860 Randolph Co, MO )

© 2014. Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Having just gotten back from a research trip to Ireland, I must be suffering from genealogical culture shock when I turn that envious green at your date, 1738. We are so fortunate to be able to (relatively) easily trace through a paper trail from so far back in time.

    Still, that trail must have been a nightmare for you to navigate, Wendy, with so many false leads entangling others with the same name. Kudos to you for the perseverance!

    1. If nothing else, it's a cautionary tale about the wisdom of gathering multiple documents to prove one point. Every time I read "Captain Edward Herndon" I wonder if that distant cousin found something I haven't or if they were incorrectly relying on data about that other Edward in Campbell County.

  2. Girl, that is some work!! I would have given up and cleaned my garage. Ditto to Jacqi Stevens comment!

    1. I'm sure I should have been cleaning the garage.