Tuesday, April 13, 2021

52 Ancestors - BRICK WALL: Nancy Walker Jollett

As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, I am always interested in finding patriots in my family tree. I have identified 8, but one that I keep hoping will step from behind that brick wall is ANYBODY Jollett. He doesn’t have to have been a soldier; he could have served the colonial government as a surveyor of roads or member of a jury. He could have simply paid the Supply Tax in 1782. He OR SHE could have furnished supplies like beef or clothing or rifles. I have scoured the available sources online and found NOTHING.

Based on his marriage date of 1787, James Jollett, my 4X great-grandfather, should have been of age to serve in the militia, but I have found no signs that he did. Nor do I see any sign of his supposed father, Thomas. I now wonder if the Jolletts were Loyalists. But what about James’s wife, Nancy Walker? Did her family side with the Loyalists or Patriots? To get that answer, I needed a hammer and chisel and some luck to break down another brick wall.

The Orange County Road Orders of 1796 show 3 Walkers working alongside James Jollett: Benjamin, Sanders, and Thomas. Surely they were related to Nancy Walker somehow – father? Brothers? Cousins? Benjamin Walker looks like a possible brother based on his birth in 1770. Nancy was born between 1761 and 1770. What I like about this Benjamin is that he had a son Jeremiah. Jeremiah Walker served as bondsman for the marriage of Luraina/Lourenna Jollett and Robert Bryan in 1839.

While researching Jeremiah, I found an OLDER Jeremiah with an interesting connection: father Thomas Walker and mother Elizabeth Sanders. SANDERS! This Jeremiah had a brother Andrew Sanders. Maybe he went by his middle name. Unfortunately, no trees on Ancestry have a Nancy that remotely matches the few provable details for MY Nancy.


For fun, I checked the DAR database to see if there were any Walker patriots from Culpeper County or Orange County, Virginia. Nancy and James’s marriage is recorded in both counties, hence the search in multiple locales.

There are 80 Walkers from Virginia who have been verified as patriots. Eight of them lived in Orange or Culpeper. Let’s take a look:

Charles Walker – born 1755 in Orange; died after 1820 in Giles County. Too young to have been Nancy’s father. Possibly son of a Thomas Walker and Elizabeth Taylor.

James Walker – born 1726 in King & Queen County; died 1801 Madison County which was formed from Culpeper County. No mention of a daughter Nancy. Served in the House of Burgesses. Since no one in my family seemed to have been politically connected, I doubt James is mine.

John Walker – born 1744 Albemarle County; died 1809 Madison County close to the Orange County border. NOPE – had only one child and her name was Mildred. He was son of patriot Thomas Walker Sr.

Merry Walker – born 1760 Culpeper County; died 1811 Culpeper County. Son of patriot William Walker. Merry was too young to be Nancy’s father, but he was the right age to be a brother.

Thomas – born 1763 in Orange; died 1853 in Monroe County. Thomas was too young to have been Nancy’s father.

Thomas Jr – born 1748 in Albemarle County; died before 1797 in Albemarle County. Albemarle is very close to the part of Orange where James and Nancy Walker Jollett lived, so I included him in my search.

Thomas Sr – born 1715 in King & Queen County; died 1794 in Albemarle County. This Thomas left a will naming all his children but not a Nancy among them. He was another well-connected, well-to-do gentleman who hob-knobbed with George Washington and Patrick Henry. He was also a guardian of Thomas Jefferson. Yeah, not my Walker, I’m pretty sure.

William – born 1735 in Orange; died 1807 in Madison County. Father of patriot Merry Walker. He was the right age to have been Nancy’s father as well. But was he?

Two bits of information make me hopeful that I have found Nancy Walker’s family. First of all, in 1785, James Jolley/Jollett was on the Personal Property Tax list of William Walker.

1785 Personal Property Tax Culpeper Co, VA
List of William Walker
James Jolley/Jollett - last name in this clip

Secondly, William’s son Merry married Elizabeth Kirtley, and his daughter Elizabeth Walker married Francis Kirtley. What is significant about that? In 1784, James Jollett was on the Culpeper County Personal Property Tax list of Elijah Kirtley. 
1784 Personal Property Tax Culpeper Co, Va
List of Elijah Kirtley

While I have not found a connection between Francis or Elizabeth Kirtley and Elijah, there is a good chance they were related somehow. At least they were all in the same neighborhood.

More digging is needed, but I sense that a little bit of that brick wall is starting to crumble.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. You definitely appear to be on a promising track right now! Keep going.