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Category Archives: Genealogical Research

On Research, Vermont, and a Vacation Announcement

 

vermontgovrecords01waltrich_0009

Find the details of people’s lives, including specific ancestors, in records of the time.

 

Pinch time! After this posting, I retire for one month to work on the upcoming publication of The Scattering of Stone. Taking a book to publication takes time, and the time is near (exact date not yet known). I just received the completed edits for Scattering, my multi-period American historical fiction novel set in Pennsylvania and Ohio at the end of the eighteenth century. Editing takes careful, line-by-line, word-by-word attention, so I’ll be (happily) busy for a while.

Included in the month hiatus is a trip to New England to research my third book set in 1775-1778, Bennington, Vermont. (And, yes, it’s a pleasure trip, too.) I’ll write about my adventures when I return.

But, for now, let’s talk research! Namely, out-of-print books on line! Genealogy, history, or historical fiction researchers alike, this is an amazing tool. If you’ve read my blog, you’ve heard it me say it before, but REALLY—.

Here’s one more example: the details of the ill will, distrust, fear, and chaos in the midst of war. The document? The Records of the Council of Safety and Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Vol. I edited by E.P. Walton, Montpelier: Steam Press, 1873. (The bold in these quotes is mine.)

Ill will? Or what do you do with a strong-willed woman?

Arlington, 28 May 1778 “Whereas it has been represented to this Council that the wife of Jeremiah French late of Manchester (now in armes with the Enemy) is very turbulent & Troublesome where she now is, & refuses to obey orders…You are hereby Commanded to Take said Woman and her children…& Transport them to Head-quarters at Rutland & there diliver them to the commanding officer who will order a party of the men…[so] she can go to the enemy in order to git to her husband…” Records, pg. 260

Distrust? September 1777 (after the Battle of Bennington) through early 1778 the council recorded entry after entry dealing with local “enemies” who sided with England, imposing deportations to enemy lines, fines, confiscation of property, passes of travel, or oaths of allegiance. These matters so encumbered the docket that a March 1778 council resolution gave the majority of these duties to the captains guarding Tory jails. An example:

Vermont Council of Safety, 3d September 1777 “Francis Breakenridge is permitted to Return home, & Remain on his father’s home farm, and if found off to expect 39 Lashes of the Beach Seal, until further orders from this Council.” Records, pg. 155

Fear and chaos?

Vermont Council of Safety, Bennington, 28 July 1777 “Whereas the inhabitants of the northwesterly part of this State have been necessitated to remove their families by the encroachment of the enemy, and some are removed to the states of Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut:…request such men to return and assist in defending this and the United States of America from the ravages of the enemy…” Records, pg. 138

Oh! And an ancestor in the mix!

Bennington, 6 October 1777 “We are informed that Mr. S. Payne of Sunderland has in his Custody one yoke of oxen the Property of this State which we desire youd Take into Custody immediately.” Addressed to Commissioners of Sequestration Records, pg. 186

Go deep! It’s worth the dig!

And look for great blogs like A Writer of History by MK Todd. (Okay, you can include my blog, as well.) I remember reading the Bernard Cornwell quote she used in her most recent post (found here), and I thank her for reminding me of it. I love Bernard Cornwell’s rousing stories! No matter your research, in fiction, the story’s the thing.

“The most important thing, the all important thing, is to get the story right. Write, rewrite, rewrite again, and do not worry about anything except story. It is story, story, story. That is your business. Your job is not to educate readers on the finer points of Elizabethan diplomacy or Napoleonic warfare, your job is to divert and amuse people who have had a hard day at work. What will get you published? Not style, not research, but story. Once the story is right, everything else will follow.” B. Cornwell

Samuel Payne in Sunderland, Vermont

 

 

Sunderland D Ramsey collection

Sunderland, Bennington County, Vermont Map from David Rumsey Map Collection; Beers, Fredrick W., 1869; Atlas of Bennington County, VT.;Beers, Ellis, & Soule, NY.

I am currently obsessed with Bennington County, Vermont—in particular the township of Sunderland. My reasons?

  1. Samuel Payne, my 4 times great-grandfather[i] lived in Sunderland.
  2. My work in progress fictionalizes Samuel’s time in Sunderland during the Revolutionary War.
  3. My husband and I travel to New England in October, and Bennington is one of our stops.

As usual, the deeper I dig into an area the more details I uncover. Consequently, I’m deep into smallpox and early inoculation, the Green Mountain Boys, the impact of the Revolutionary War on the area, and the conflict between New York and New Hampshire Colonies over the Grants. A stickler for original sources, I am devouring (slowly—it’s a huge banquet) the town records for Sunderland, Manchester, and Bennington found via FamilySearch Wiki. If you have ancestors from Bennington County, I highly recommended these resources.

When I started searching the Sunderland records (See my first post and second post.), I got so excited by what I found that I neglected the first commandment of research—thoroughly document sources. In this case, I omitted the image number for my information, making it hard to return to it. So, back I went to the Family History Center, the only place I can access these records.

This time while carefully documenting, I also worked through the documents more systematically. The Sunderland records are not chronological, have multiple page numbering systems, and mix ear marks, town minutes, vital records, and land records. They require a page-by-page skim and scan approach. And PRESTO!

I found the record for Samuel Payne’s land purchase in Sunderland, Vermont. As I’ve said too many times, I LOVE LAND RECORDS. You can discover so much. Here is an annotated version of Samuel’s deed[ii] to highlight what one land deed can reveal. Note: (?)=illegible I omitted a large section of legal verification in the interest of clarity, but you can find the complete transcript here. Samuel Payne_s deed for land purchase in SunderlandAn endnote corresponds to each bolded portion of the deed.

“Know all men by these (?) that I Stephen Washburn of Sunderland in the County Albany and Province of New York yoman[iii] for aand in consideration of the sum of Sixty Eight pound[iv] Lawfull money to me is paid By Samuel Payen of Williamstown in the County of Burkshire In the Province of the Massetchuset Bay yoman[v] the Receipt where of I do hereby acknowledge & have given granted Bargained (?) and convey and confirm to him the said Samuel Payen his heirs and assign for Ever all my Right title interest claim and Demand I leave of two Lots of Land lying in Sunderland in County and province of P commonly known by No 14 and 21 and also part of the fifty acre lot No 6[vi] Beginning upon the North end of the Lot No 14 Containing ten acres by the same (?) or side all being of the same Division of fifty acre Lots of Land in P township with a Dwelling House[vii] …THIS SECTION OMITTED.

In witness where of I have here unto set my hand on this Seventeeth Day of September in the year one thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy two[viii] and the twelth year of his Magisty Reign (signed) Stephen Washborn in presence of Gideon Brownson Cornelie Brownson

Sign Sealed and Delivered

The (?) of Fifty acre Lots is (?) between the twenty Seventeeth and Eighteenth Lines

Bennington April 29th 1789 then the within named Stephen Washburn personally appearing acknowledged the within instrument to Be his free act and Deed[ix]

This deed ReceivedMarch 6th 1790 by Abner Hill Town clerk[x]

An analysis of lots (see photos) confirms that Samuel Payne lived at the confluence of Batten Kill and Mill Creek. A town history mentioned that Samuel Payne was the first to run a grist mill near the northwest corner of Sunderland, and I had deduced that he would have lived on Mill Brook. A comparison of the lot map and a map of old Sunderland above shows this well.

Scan 1 copy Sunderland lots

A lot plan of Sunderland found at Vermont Maps and Plans. I have enhanced the numbering and outlined the land lots mentioned in the deed. According to the information found at the site “Sunderland was created by a New Hampshire grant in 1761. Princetown, a New York patent (“paper town”) of 1765, was in the area of present Arlington, Dorset, Sunderland and Manchester.”

One more mystery yet unsolved: when did he sell this land? I was unable to find two deeds referenced in the index in which he sold to an Amos Brownson and an Amos Chipman. I wrote to Sunderland’s clerk for advice and have a few ideas of my own.

Meanwhile, back to the Family History Center—did I say I have a new obsession?

[i] Through my father, Ralph Croy, son of Justus Croy, son of Sarah Angelina Smith Croy, daughter of Sephronia Payne Smith, daughter of Zerah Payne, son of Samuel

[ii] Sunderland Town Records Deeds, Vol 3, 1760-1815; image 323; FamilySearch filmed 8 September 1952 [accessed on-line at Family Research Center, Prather, CA on 24 August 2017]

[iii] The original owner, Stephen Washburn, likely owned the land under New York charter when Sunderland was considered by New York as part of Albany County.

[iv] The land (110 acres) cost 68 pounds in 1772.

[v] Confirms other documents from Williamstown records and town histories putting Samuel Payne in Williamstown before moving to Sunderland.

[vi] Samuel Payen (Payne) purchased lots 14, 21 and part of 6 in Sunderland (and likely because of the dispute the province of the Sunderland land was left with a P, neither New York or New Hampshire.)

[vii] The property he bought already had a dwelling house.

[viii] Samuel bought this land on September 17, 1772.

[ix] Stephen Washburn had to appear when Samuel finally entered his deed in the town records April 29, 1789, likely concerned that his property be acknowledged before Vermont became a state. He also had bought property in Panton, Vermont in 1788 (see this post).

[x] I’ve gotten to know and appreciate Abner Hill quite well as I’ve read the town records including his unique spellings and offhand organization.

Details of 4x Great-grandfather Samuel Payne in Sunderland, Bennington County, Vermont

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Sm Payne cattle mark vol 1 Sunderland blogThis past week I drove six-miles to our local Family History Center. Lucky right? And I live in a rural community. The ease of access amazes me. More amazing? I’d never been there.

I had discovered digital images for Sunderland, Vermont land records on the FamilySearch. Having pinpointed the date Samuel Payne bought land in Addison, Vermont after leaving Bennington County, VT, I was anxious to confirm that he had lived in Sunderland as I suspected. This based on a brief mention I discovered in a history of the township. My double-click gave me this message:

“These images are viewable: When using the site at a family history center.

I went, of course, and the trip introduced me to some wonderful, like-minded genealogists, while my exploration of the land records netted amazing results. What a boon! Besides confirming, on a major historical note, that Ethan Allen and his brother Ira Allen purchased a wealth of land in Sunderland right after the Revolutionary War (Volume 3, pg 23-25), I found out Samuel Payne was one of the early settlers there.

Here is what I discovered in the first unnumbered pages of Volume 3 which began with earmarks and Council minutes then moved on to 1784 land records…odd:

  • On March 29, 1774 Samuel Pane (Payne), Abel Blanchard, and Daniel Comstock were on a committee to sell the Scott lot
  • On April 27, 1777 Samuel Payen (Payne) registered his mark with the clerk: a crop in the left ear and a half-penny in the upper side of the right (more on that below!)
  • On March 8, 1778 Samuel Pane (Payne) was on a committee with John Lee, and Charles Everts to survey for a highway

The first pages of Volume 3 are filled with pages of cattle heads, 5 to a page, some heads were unclaimed and some, like Samuel’s, were claimed and dated. I had never seen this before, but townsmen were required to mark all of their cattle (by this meaning all cows, pigs, and sheep) with a mark registered with the town clerk. A short explanation specific to Connecticut Colony can be found here. My research indicates it was a common practice in the colonies allowing them to distinguish animals both in a free range environment and in circumstances where a cow, pig, or sheepherder tended all the township’s animals.

The early volumes (1-5) are a confusing mixture of Council Meeting minutes, early vital records of individual families, land records, and ear-marks with records from disparate years right next to each other on the pages. Because of the mishmash, I found the index of minimal use. For example, land records for Samuel Payne should appear in Volume 1, pages 63, 67, and 87 but I couldn’t find them there. I must have looked four times! And Ira Allen’s land records in Volume 1 should appear on page 221, but there are not that many pages in the volume. I have more work to do—see you next week!

The Payne Family in Vermont or How to Find Information beyond Name Searches

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Once again the e-mails I receive from other researchers, have spurred me to reevaluate my research, including how I proceed. I’m inspecting the Payne family of Vermont in greater depth, since they (and consequently the Green Mountain Boys and the battle of Bennington) are the inspiration for my next book. I know Samuel Payne lived in Bennington, Vermont because his name is mentioned in histories of Sunderland, Vermont and because of his military record spanning 1777 and 1781(see this post). Afterwards, he appears in the 1790 Federal Census in Panton, Addison County, Vermont.

 

So, the big question is: When exactly did the family make the move from Bennington to Panton? The answer came by doggedly following the trail laid out through FamilySearch Wiki, indexes, and records. Name searches revealed none of this information.

Before I began my search, I knew who (Samuel Payne), where (Panton, VT) and when (between 1781 and 1790). I outline my process below.

  1. FamilySearch Wiki: Go to the wiki for the place you are interested in researching. https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Main_Page In my case, Panton, VT had the actual deeds and grants beginning in 1761. Wow![i]
  2. The resource includes an index, but I didn’t know this when I began. The resource looked like this Deeds, town and vital records, v. 2 1784-1793 Deeds, v. 0 1784 Deeds, town and vital records, v. 3 1792-1801 Deeds, town and vital records, v. 4 1801-1825 But when I clicked on it, I went to the very first page and an index was there,[ii] along with Volume I, not mentioned above: Panton Proprietors Record 1761- 1837. It looked like this:
    Index of Panton S Pain

    Look carefully: 4th entry down on left and 6th down on right.

     

  3. Now I have page numbers for my search, but those are not the IMAGE pages. I need to estimate the image page by dividing the page number of the document by 2 (there are two pages for each image) and adding the pages before the NUMBERED pages begin. Hope you are following me. Anyway, I estimated, searched, and found these:deed image 64 p 113 Panton S Payen copy

land record of Samuel Payen copyThe question answered: Samuel Payne bought land in Panton first on May 1, 1788 (21 acres) and again on June 14, 1788 (35 acres). The land was situated along Otter Creek. Using a similar method of discovery I went to v. 4 and found the deed (Pg. 477) in which he sold a single parcel of 75 acres on Otter Creek to Edward Gray on November 3, 1812. This indicates he likely purchased about 20 acres of land to make the full parcel after the summer of 1788.

Of course, now I needed a great map! Check out the one above from, where else, the Library of Congress.

[i] A note: some of these digital images are only available for viewing at a Family History Center. Panton’s were available on-line. Bennington’s require a Family History Center. Luckily one is just down the road from me, so I’ll be visiting soon.

[ii] An aside regarding indexes in Ancestry: often a name search leads to an index, but search the record. Often it is a complete record and the actual document is found on later pages.

 

Finally! Missouri!

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missouri

A close-up shot of northern Missouri counties showing Chariton on the left and Ralls on the right.

The Final Chapter in my Missouri Bound Musings

The ancestors of Gillian Virginia Morris, my grandmother’s maternal grandmother, made it to Missouri! That is, if you have followed my previous posts.

To discover how her parents, Peter Philander and Elizabeth Ely Morris, met, we must dig into Place. I use a capital “P” for Place because I consider it key to all historical research. And to understand Place, you need maps, and I do LOVE maps.

But first, a recap:

  • Part 1 and 2: Thomas H. and Malinda Salling[i] Morris(s) moved from Rockbridge County, Virginia by about 1845 and settled in Chariton County, Missouri with their children. One of those children was Gillian’s father Peter Philander Morris.
  • Part 3 and 4: Isaac Ely and Mary Polly Judy Ely travelled from Clark/Montgomery County, Kentucky to Missouri with their children. One of their children was William Scott Ely. They arrived with Isaac’s father Benjamin Ely in about 1820, and bought land in Ralls County, Missouri in 1824.
  • Part 5: Hankerson Adam Utterback and Catherine Pence Utterback moved from Boone County, Kentucky to Ralls County, Missouri via Clay County, MO by about 1824.[ii] In 1829, his daughter Rebecca Virginia Utterback bought land in Ralls County, as well.
  • Part 1: While not a direct ancestor, an important connection is John Salling brother of Malinda Salling Morris. He moved from Rockbridge County, Kentucky to Ralls County, Missouri by 1833.

William’s father, Isaac, had purchased various sections in Township 55 Range 6 of Ralls County.Ralls tsp 55 R6 Elys

Rebecca’s father, Hankerson owned 160 acres in Township 55 Range 7 Section 33, shown below. Note that, geographically, the map below would be to the left of the map above. The bend in the Salt River left incomplete above is completed below.Ralls 55-7 Page_49.jpg Utterbacks Rall county

Living so near, it is clear how William Scott Ely and Rebecca Utterback met and married.[iii] Rebecca had her land and William bought land nearby.[iv]

But how did their child, Elizabeth Ely (her gravestone says Eliza), meet and marry Peter Philander Morris, of Chariton County? How far apart are Chariton County and Ralls County? The map at the top of this post is a close-up of Missouri from the excellent map resource at the State Historical Society of Missouri.[v]According to the map’s scale for mileage, the two counties are about 60 miles apart (Google Maps confirms this). Sixty miles is a fair distance to travel in the 1800’s.

The key, of course, is Peter’s uncle John Salling. The Morris family of Chariton County likely visited the Salling family in Ralls County. So how close was John Salling to the William Scott Ely’s homestead? The plat maps for Ralls County[vi] found at the Missouri Digital Heritage site gives us a clue. I took the land office records[vii] of the families previously mentioned, a spreadsheet of which can be found hereRalls County, Missouri Land Records, and compared it to the plat maps of 1878. Here is a close-up of Sections 54-7. (You saw 55-6 and 55-7 previously.) I’ve circled the land ownership of William and Rebecca Utterback Ely and put a rectangle around the property of John Adam Salling so you can see how near they lived to one another.[viii]Ralls County Tnp 54 R7 copy

A visit, a soirée, a chance encounter? Who knows, but Elizabeth Ely and Peter Philander Morris met—and they married. I have not found a marriage certificate or the exact date of their marriage, but the death certificate of their first child, Thomas, born on June 25, 1856, names them as his parents.[ix] Place…an important push-pin in family history.

[i] Also Sally and Salley
[ii] George H. Utterback, son of Hankerson, helped sponsor the atlas listed below and indicated 1834 as his year of settlement.
[iii] Some say September 24, 1829, but I have not yet been able to verify this.
[iv] See a spreadsheet of the land purchases of all the Ralls County families here.Ralls County, Missouri Land Records
[v] The full map is available here. http://digital.shsmo.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/Maps/id/92
[vi] AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORICAL ATLAS OF RALLS COUNTY, MISSOURI Compiled, drawn and published from Personal Examinations and Surveys BY EDWARDS BROTHERS, OF MISSOURI. General Office: 209 S. FIFTH STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1878 http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/mocoplats/id/2716/rec/1
[vii] Ancestry.com. U.S. General Land Office Records, 1776-2015 [various]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
[viii] Note that John A. Salling died in September 1878 based on Letters of Administration, 1849-1907; Author: Missouri. Probate Court (Ralls County); Probate Place: Ralls, Missouri
His land now appears to belong to his son Samuel I Salling, his daughter Susan, who married Charles H. Phillips, and Stephen Scobee, the father of Ely Scobee, who married John’s daughter Rebecca and died of Typhoid fever six weeks later (based on a find a grave report).
[ix] http://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1928/1928_00021911.PDF

 

Missouri bound Part 3: The Ely Family heads to Kentucky

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Kentucky 1793

This map is from 1793, about the time the Ely Family moved to Kentucky. Want a close up version? You can find it at The Library of Congress Maps Division.

There is safety as well as security in numbers, and before the advent of the railroad and adequate communication systems, most families moved in groups, an important consideration when researching. The Ely, Judy, and Utterback families were no exception. As I continued cleaning up my information (in anticipation of a hiatus from fact finding to focus on fiction) the probing of proximity became my go-to tool.

First, a reminder, my current cleanup centers on the family of my great-great grandmother Gillian Virginia Morris who married Gabriel Ison. They are the parents of my grandmother Mary Elizabeth Ison. The two previous posts (Parts 1 and 2) outlined new and reviewed information on the Morris and Salling (Sally) family who ended up in Chariton and Ralls County, Missouri. Gillian’s parents were Peter Philander Morris and Elizabeth Ely. So what do we know about this Ely family?

Isaac Ely arrived in Hampshire County, (West) Virginia by 1767. He purchased a land grant from Lord Fairfax on either side of the Cacaphon (Cacapon) River at this time, this according to many genealogies providing very accurate detail. Lord Fairfax was “Baron of Cameron in that part of Great Britain called Scotland” so most of his grants were given to those loyal to him, usually of Scottish descent. I have yet to find the document for this land grant. Still, Isaac’s will, which I will discuss later, verifies the information.

On or about 1777, Benjamin Ely, Isaac Ely’s only son, married Mary Scott whose father was also a landholder in Hampshire County. William Scott’s will, dated November 22, 1767, divided his estate equally between Mary and his wife Sarey (Sarah).[i] Isaac Ely witnessed the will. On February 9, 1779, Sarey and Mary transferred the rights to 96 acres on both sides of Little Cacapehon, which had been surveyed on May 22, 1755, for Mary’s father William Scott.[ii] Benjamin had also purchased 30 acres on both sides of Little Cacapehon Creek on July 29, 1778,[iii] and 426 acres on the waters of the Old Road Run and Buffaloe Gap Run on December 6, 1778.[iv]

Three important asides regarding research in general:

  1. I discovered Benjamin’s grants at the Library of Virginia website while looking for the 1767 purchase under the NECK… Never underestimate the value of the University of Virginia site for VA research. It is invaluable.
  2. The Ohio Genealogical Society offered a one-year FREE subscription to Find My Past to all members. The more sites to search the better. Have I told you lately how much I love OGS?
  3. The New Newberry Library Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is back on-line. This fabulous interactive resource helped me determine the following Bourbon County/Clark County link.

By 1791, based on the Kentucky Early Census Index, Benjamin Ely move his family to Bourbon County, Kentucky. It is no wonder that his father gave 1/3 of his Hampshire County Estate to his wife Sarah, a sum of 10 pounds to his only son Benjamin, and the rest of his estate to William, IF he stayed on the Hampshire land grant. It was William alone who registered his grandfather Isaac Ely’s will in the county court on February 15, 1796, soon after his death.[v]

The 1800 Kentucky Tax List includes Benjamin Ely on the Clark County rolls as well as Isaac Ely. This Isaac was Benjamin’s oldest son next to William. Isaac was also his grandfather’s namesake and my 3x great grandfather. He had just married a Mary Polly Judy in 1798.

Finding the October 13, 1798, marriage record for Isaac Ely and Mary Judy[vi] was a major accomplishment—well, actually it was pure serendipity. While painstakingly sifting through the Clark County, Kentucky records for 1798 one-by-one, I discovered it, with oddly spelled surnames.Mary Juda and Isaac Raly marriage 1798 copy

On another note of serendipity, my own nearly marriage of nearly 47 years began on October 13th just like Isaac and Mary Polly Judy Ely.

The Ely family and the Judy family lived just miles apart, both in Clark County. As I’ve said many times, place matters.

Next week: the Judy family and the Ely family’s move to Missouri.

Meanwhile, I’ve completed my update to the Morris(s), Ely, Judy, and Utterback family sheets. You can find them here and on the new Convergence on Missouri tab at the top of the page.

[i] William Scott will, 22 November 1767 image 1037-8 Wills; Author: Hampshire County (West Virginia). Clerk of the County Court; Probate Place: Hampshire, West Virginia Ancestry.com. West Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985 [2017]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
[ii] http://image.lva.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/GetLONN.pl?first=94&last=&g_p=GR&collection=NN Grant
[iii] http://image.lva.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/GetLONN.pl?first=315&last=&g_p=GQ&collection=NN Grant
[iv] http://image.lva.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/GetLONN.pl?first=70&last=&g_p=GR&collection=NN Grant
[v] Isaac Ely will, posted 15 February 1796 image 1037-8 Wills; Author: Hampshire County (West Virginia). Clerk of the County Court; Probate Place: Hampshire, West Virginia Ancestry.com. West Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985 [2017]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
[vi] Isaac Raly and Mary Juda Marriage 13 October 1798 image 90; Kentucky County Marriages, 1797-1954 FamilySearch database with images; Madison County Courthouse, Richmond.

Missouri Bound: Out of Rockbridge County, Virginia Part I

salling-estate-newspaper-article

I was Just Plain Wrong

In my New Year’s quest to review all my family records for accuracy, I turned to my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Ison’s ancestry. Her parents Gabriel Ison and Gillian (Gillie) Virginia Morris(s) married in Missouri.[i] Gillie was the daughter of Peter Philander Morris and Elizabeth Ely.[ii] I’ll delve into the Ison, Morris, and Ely family history and how they came to Missouri in later posts. This is just Part I of my efforts to rectifying any abuses of the following rules of genealogical research:

  1. Never rely on another researcher’s family tree without looking for documentation.
  2. Always back-up your work with documentation or a triangulated proof.
  3. Use “Find-a-grave” for information on photographed and marked graves only. Otherwise refer to #1.

Gillie’s father Peter Philander Morris was the son of Thomas H. Morris and Malinda Salling.[iii] In previous posts I stated Malinda’s father to be George Salling, right family wrong sibling. This post repairs that error and provides just a smattering of amazing information I’ve discovered as I researched her ancestry.

Malinda Salling was born to Peter Salling and Rebecca Holms[iv] on March 19, 1803 (ca).[v] How do I know this? Because I just finished analyzing 1,126 pages of Chancery documents available at the Library of Virginia website.

An aside: I find Chancery documents in which inheritance issues, often complex, are ironed out, often over extended periods of time to be the genealogical mother lode. If you have any Virginia ancestors, check out this site. http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/?_ga=1.224291475.920046502.1485978183

Let’s Start at the Beginning with the Patriarch: John Peter Salling

John Peter Salling arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 with wife Anna Maria Vollmar and children Elizabeth and Anna Catharina. [vi] On 14 November 1735, he filed a warrant for 250 acres of land on Conestoga Creek in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.[vii]

Then: “In the year 1740, I came from Pennsylvania to the part of Orange County now called Augusta; and settled in a fork of the James River close under the Blue Ridge Mountains of the West side, where I now live.”[viii]

This passage comes from John Peter’s recollections of his capture by Indians, his transfer into the hands of the French, and his eventual recovery by the British Navy and his return to “Charles Town.” (For more on his crazy adventure go to the link cited in endnotes.) An Index of his will names one son besides the daughters who came from Northern Alsace (Germany) with him, that son is George Adam Salling.[ix]

The Family of George Adam Salling

From the Chancery Document of Augusta County, Virginia, we know that George Adam Salling of Orange County, North Carolina bought and transferred a warrant for 200+ acres to George Salling on the first bend of the James River.[x] Biographical information in A History of Rockbridge County says George Adam moved to North Carolina about 1760. He must have returned to Rockbridge or was simply cleaning up old warrants, as his will is recorded in August County (the land in what would be Rockbridge County, VA). It provides for the same 200+ acres for George and is “proved” 1 June 1789, about a year after George Adam Sallings death.

The Chancery records include an incomplete copy of the will of George Adam Salling, 1788. It lists his male offspring: Henry, Peter, and George. He leaves use of the meadow and the house to his wife Hannah along with the use of Henry’s portion of the plantation until he reaches maturity. He declares that the plantation at the fork of the James and North Rivers with three hundred sixty odd acres and meadow be divided equally between sons Henry and Peter (the quality of the division the reason for the dispute). He gives two hundred twenty acres to son George. With wife Hannah to “support that part of my unmarried children who may chuse to continue with her and likewise to give them the necessary schooling.”[xi]

The above statement indicates additional children. Virginia marriage bonds are family affairs, often listing the parentage of both bride and groom. I was able to add Magdalen, Elizabeth, Peggy, and Hannah.[xii] George Salling who married Matilda 19 January 1791 and moved to Gate City, Scott county, Virginia between 1810 and 1820. (This is the George I incorrectly designated as Malinda’s father.)

Thanks to the extraordinary effort of Marilyn Headley and Angela Ruley. They digitalized the Rockbridge County Marriage Bonds, 1778-1801. A great resource, http://www.usgwarchives.net/va/rockbridge/license.html

The Children of Henry and Peter Salling

For this portion, let me introduce you to Peter A. Salling, the son of Peter Salling, and he had a mission: to acquire the whole of the estate of George Salling. He and his wife, Aurelia Paxton had no children aside from Aurelia’s neice whom they adopted. It seems tradition was important to Peter A., so he left his substantial estate to his namesake nephew, Peter A. Salling.

rockbridge-county-detailThe “Mrs Salling” at the Fork of the James and North River is Aurelia, the last owner of the Salling Plantation.

The ins and outs of his complicated acquisitions and the dispersals at his and Aurelia’s death led to four separate Chancery filings over fifty years. From these records we know:

  • Henry Salling (of George) married Lucy and had children: Lucy, Mary Polly, Hannah, Magdalene, George Jackson, Lavinia, Henry, and Benjamin. Henry died in 1834.[xiii]
  • Peter Salling (of George) married Rebecca Holms and had children: John, Rebecca wife of William Harrison, Malinda wife of Thomas H Morris (Happy Dance!), and Mary Ann deceased who had children by a Goodwin (George W., Harriet wife of William Wasky, Peter A (the namesake), Robert B, John, and Rebecca wife of David Ely who died after her Grandfather Peter who died in 1839[xiv]

As you can imagine, the 1, 126 pages of information holds gems galore. One page of interest lists the names of Negros to be distributed to the heirs as exchange for their share of plantation land. Thomas H. Morris, Malinda’s husband, took his share in slaves.[xv] slave-dist-morrisInsights into farming, husbandry, life in Texas, and changes brought by the Civil War comes to life in these pages. I can only say—again—if you have any ancestors in Virginia and know the county of origin, check out the Library of Virginia.

Next week: Thomas H. Morris and who moved to Missouri…

[i] Marriage License of Gabriel Ison and Gillian Morris Ancestry.com. Missouri, Marriage Records, 1805-2002 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007. Original data: Missouri Marriage Records. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives. Microfilm.
[ii] Census record of Peter P. Morris Year: 1870; Census Place: Township 55 Range 19, Chariton, Missouri; Roll: M593_768; Page: 362B; Image: 63785; Family History Library Film: 552267 Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
[iii] Peter Philander Morris Death Certificate #9537 (T.H. Morris and Malinda Salling parents)
[iv] Peter Salling/Rebecca Holms marriage bond 9 April 1787, Rockbridge County Marriage Bonds, 1778-1801, digitalized at http://www.usgwarchives.net/va/rockbridge/license.html
[v] Malinda H. Morris Find A Grave Memorial# 37019534, Brunswick City Cemetery, Brunswick Township, Chariton County, Missouri.
[vi] Burgert, Annette K. Eighteenth Century emigrants from the Northern Alsace to America. Camden, ME: Picton Press, 1992. Pg. 416; Ancestry. Com. U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index.
[vii] Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Land Warrants and Applications, 1733-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data: Warrant Applications, 1733-1952. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania State Archives.
[viii] The Journal of John Peter Salling, transcribed by L.S. Workman from The Annals of an American Family by E. Wadell http://files.usgwarchives.net/va/augusta/misc/m-sal01.txt
[ix] Ancestry.com. Virginia, Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850. Orignial data: Chalkley, Lyman. Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, 1745-1800. Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1965. Originally published in 1912. NOTE: I did not find this record in the Library of Virginia Chancery Records.
[x] Index # 1818-104, Augusta Co. Henry Salling vs. Peter Salling. Library of Virginia Digital Collection: Chancery Record Index, pg. 68.
[xi] Ibid. pg 27.
[xii] Rockbridge County Marriage Bonds, 1778-1801. All found under “M”
[xiii] Index # 1840-028, Rockbridge Co. Peter A. Salling vs. heirs of Henry Salling. Library of Virginia Digital Collection: Chancery Record Index, pg. 3.
[xiv] Index # 1841-019, Rockbridge Co. John Salling vs. heirs of Peter Salling. Library of Virginia Digital Collection: Chancery Record Index.
[xv] Ibid pg 27