Nancy Mann (c1780-1841), German or Irish, 52 Ancestors #33

Nancy Mann was the second wife of Henry Bolton.  Henry was born about 1759 in England and married Catherine Chapman in August of 1786 in Philadelphia.  On August 17, 1798, after bearing Henry six children, Catherine died where they had moved in Botetourt County, Virginia by 1795.  We don’t know exactly where Henry lived, and therefore, we don’t know where they are buried.


When Catherine died, Henry had 5 children under the age of 10.  He needed a wife, and the following year, on April 5, 1799, eight months after Catherine’s death, Henry, aged 39 or 40, married the much younger Nancy Mann.  Nancy, probably not even age 20, immediately inherited 5 children, and on January 11, 1800, she had her first child.  She and Henry would have 14 children in addition to the children from his first marriage, plus they raised Henry’s brother, Conrad’s orphan daughter, Sarah, after his death about 1810.

Nancy Mann died on October 16, 1841, according to the Bolton Family Bible which was in the possession of Hazel Venable Barnard in the 1980s when I first began researching the Bolton family in Claiborne Co., TN where Henry and Nancy’s son, Joseph Preston Bolton, had moved about 1845.  Three of Joseph’s siblings, John and David Bolton and their sister, Elizabeth “Elyann” Ann Bolton who married Isaac Patterson also settled in Claiborne County.  It’s obvious from the later entries in this Bible that this is the line of the family that kept the Bible.

Further digging revealed notes taken in Claiborne County now more than 30 years ago when talking with the “old widows,” as they called themselves, when the Bible was first revealed.

In addition to their own children, Elyann and Issac also raised the daughters of her brother David Bolton, Nancy and Martha Bolton.  Elyann brought Henry Bolton’s Bible with her which contained the birthdates of some of Henry’s children.  Elyann is buried in the Cave Springs Cemetery outside of Tazewell, Tennessee.

Hazel Venable was the great-granddaughter of Joseph Preston Bolton and his first wife, Mary Tankersley, so it’s likely that Joseph, at some point, wound up in possession of the family Bible.  This Bible itself is dated 1811, so it’s clearly not the original Henry Bolton Bible.  It could have been purchased as wedding gift for one of Henry’s children who copied the pertinent information from Henry’s original Bible.  Hazel Venable Barnard wrote that it was the Bible of Henry Bolton, Sr. at the bottom of the Bible page with the handwritten information.  The Bible record is available today through the DAR.

Several years ago, I visited Botetourt County, Virginia and extracted the original records for both Bolton and Mann.

The only clue we have as to Nancy’s family is that a James Mann signed as her surety.  Normally, if her father were living, he would sign.  If not, an uncle or older brother, typically.

Herein lies the problem.

We can’t identify James Mann.

German or Irish

Now, the good news is that the Mann Family of Botetourt County has had significant research performed by descendants and they have done a good job not only documenting the family, but researching and publishing their findings as well.

I was grateful to see this, as I had attempted a reconstruction as well from the records I retrieved.

In a nutshell, John Mann immigrated from Ireland in 1735 and declared that he immigrated to redeem land and then immediately assigned the land to a land speculator.  These are the men who would found the Scotch-Irish settlement in Augusta and Orange Counties of Virginia.  Botetourt would be taken from Orange County in 1770 and the Mann records followed with the county, so they obviously lived in the Botetourt portion.

“The Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia” tell us that John Mann, the immigrant, lived on the south side of Peaked Mountain, near the Stone Meeting House in Beverly Manor in Augusta County.  The 1749 road petition of the inhabitants of North River and Picot (Peaked) Mountain requests a road beginning at John Man’s smithshop on the south side of the Peaked Mountain, then goes on to mention the Stone Meeting House and the Courthouse Road.  Today, the Peaked Mountain Church is located in McGaheyville, VA, about 100 miles up the Shenandoah Valley from Fincastle.

 Peaked Mountain

Numerous members of the German Mann family are buried in the church cemetery there.

John Mann, the Irishman, had 4 known sons:

  • Moses who died before 1756, unmarried and with no children
  • Thomas who died in 1772 unmarried and with no children
  • John who died in 1778 with no will, but who had children. Moses and John are proven children, but many other candidates are present in Botetourt County.
  • William who died in 1778 with a will listing children: Moses born circa 1761 (married Jane Kinkead 1779), Alice, Jennie, Thomas born 1771, married, died in 1794, William Jr. born 1773, died 1794, Sarah, John born 1775 and Archibald born after his father’s death in 1778.

John’s sons moved a bit further south.  Fortunately, the tax lists for Botetourt County still exist for the 1770s and they include a basic description of where the taxpayer lived.

Both of John’s sons, John (Jr.) and William, lived in the same tax districts, as follows:

  • 1771 – Upper James
  • 1773 – James River to Buffalo Creek
  • 1774 – Cowpasture and Jackson River
  • 1776 – from Craig’s Creek up James River

Based on these landmarks, they lived someplace between Clifton Forge and Eagle Rock.  Buffalo Creek and Craig’s Creek meet at Clifton Forge.  The Cowpasture and Jackson River meet to form the James 3 or 4 miles below Clifton Forge, just below where the number 727 is located between the rivers today.

clifton forge

Given that our Nancy was born about 1780, if not a couple of years later, we can eliminate all 4 of the elder John’s sons and all of Williams son’s with the possible exception of Moses who married in 1779.  However, Moses didn’t die until 1816, so he could have signed his daughter’s marriage bond himself.

This, logically, shifts our focus to John Jr.’s children, who were not documented in his will.  Only two children were positively documented as his utilizing other records.

And of course, there’s a twist – there is also a German Mann family, Jacob, in the vicinity.  This family isn’t terribly close geographically, but they aren’t so far away that they can be eliminated either.  It does appear that both John Mann and the German Mann family started out in the Peaked Mountain vicinity.  Jacob Mann does have a son, James but he is too young to be Nancy’s father.  However, Nancy could have been the daughter of any of Jacob’s oldest 3 sons, Jacob, Adam or Moses.  I feel this is unlikely, especially since this family wound up after county splits being in Monroe and Greenbrier Counties of West Virginia.

However, there is an unaccounted for Nathaniel Mann on the Botetourt County tax lists of 1771-1775 who seems to be found in the Clifton Forge vicinity, but not on the same tax lists as William and John Mann.

In 1749, Jacob Mann, probably the German, signed a petition in Botetourt County.  Based on a 1770 record where Jacob Mann is an assignee of Jacob Miller, the connection between those two families is strongly suggested.

According to the Mann Family of Botetourt County:

According to the Houchins family history, around 1770 the Manns, Maddys and Millers moved from Rockingham county, Virginia into present day West Virginia, near Greenville in Monroe county. John Mann came to Pennsylvania from Germany and his son Jacob married Barbary Miller, daughter of Jacob Miller, emigrant. Jacob and Barbary Miller Mann had Jacob Mann, Junior who married Mary Kessinger on August 24, 1779; Adam, who married first Mary Maddy on December 9, 1783 and second Polly Flinn on May 3, 1790; Elizabeth, who married William Maddy on February 25, 1783 and a daughter who married a Mr. Low. Jacob Mann owned a gunpowder mill. Saltpetre was supplied from Maddy’s Cave during the Revolution. This cave had formerly belonged to the Manns of Springfield. This is an intriguing mystery since there is a story that William Mann and his father and/or uncles and brothers lived in a saltpetre cave when they first emigrated from Ireland to Virginia. I do not know what, if any, substance this story has. It may have been influenced by the presence of the German Manns at Greenville or it may be an authentic tradition. Springfields abound, both in the United States and in Ireland. There were Scots-Irish Mann emigrants to Springfield township in Bucks county, Pennsylvania and Scots-Irish Manns living in Springfield township, Chester county, Pennsylvania. Moses Mann, son of William, one of the sons of the emigrant John Man, bought 26 acres of land on both sides of Jackson’s River, including a saltpetre cave, on December 10, 1792, in Botetourt county. Some of the children of William Mann stayed in Bath and Alleghany counties, and some went to Greenbrier county in the vicinity of present day Monroe county. A Moses Mann bought 22 acres in Monroe county on March 4, 1831, adjoining the land of Adam Mann and Adam Miller. This may or may not be a descendant of William Mann.

The Mann family which ended up in Bucks county is described as the family of James Mann and his wife Mary Carroll. The Manns and Carrolls were from Scotland and in childhood James and Mary emigrated with their families to county Antrim around the year 1690. He married her about 1709. The names of their children were James, born in 1710; John, born in 1712; William in 1714 and a daughter named Mary. John, the second son, became the progenitor of the family in Bucks county when he embarked from Donegal in 1732 in the company of the McNairs and others bound for America. They landed at Philadelphia and proceeded to Bristol in the autumn of the same year, locating at different points in Bucks county. Although our John Man was imported immediately into Virginia, perhaps he was related in some fashion to these Bucks County Manns.

DNA testing of a male Mann from both lines would tell us unquestionably.

If you’re groaning by now, I was too….but the pretzel twist gets worse, actually, much worse.

If Nancy Mann descends from Jacob Mann who married Barbara Miller, then autosomal DNA won’t help me, because it’s possible, in fact, it’s downright likely, that I’m related to Barbara Miller.  I can’t confirm that right now, but the suspicion alone is enough to disallow any autosomal conclusions UNLESS we would have a 100% triangulated positive match with the Irish Mann family – and then we don’t really care about the German Mann family.

But you know if it was that easy, I would already have told you.  With the 7 descendants of Henry Bolton who have autosomally DNA tested at Family Tree DNA, we have no triangulated matches with the Mann family.  That doesn’t disprove anything – but it also doesn’t prove anything either.  All it does is frustrate me.  Even more frustrating is that there are matches at Ancestry in this same line, BUT since Ancestry doesn’t provide a chromosome browser, I can do nothing with them unless the participants are willing to download their files to GedMatch – and so far, with one exception, they haven’t responded at all – so that’s clearly not an option.

John Mann Jr.’s Possible Children

Since we know who the children of William Mann are, per his will, and the other two sons of immigrant John Mann had no children and died as young men, we can look at the names of many of the “stragglers” and they are candidates for the sons of John Mann (Jr.) who died in 1778 intestate.

In 1755, there is a Barnett Mann who deeds land to Jacob Mann and the land abuts George Mann, so those folks are affiliated with the German Manns.

There’s a Hugh Mann who has a mill in 1756.  We don’t know who he is, but he disappears from the records and there are no stray males between then and when John’s son’s die, so we can remove him from consideration.

Nathaniel Mann appears from 1771-1775, but then is gone.  He’s probably not a candidate for Nancy’s father in about 1780.  Nancy did not name any children Nathaniel, unless one died.  There is a 3 year gap between sons George and William.  Henry Bolton and Nancy Mann’s sons, in birth order, were Henry, George, William, John, Joseph, Absalom, Daniel, James and David.  Not terribly useful.

Beginning about 1780, a whole group of young Mann males come of age about the same time, like stair steps.

Esau Mann appears from 1781-1785

Asa Mann marries in 1780 and is found in the 1782 tax list.

Acre Mann is found in the records in 1784.

In 1785, on the tax list, there is a J. Mann beside Moses Mann.  I’d love to think this is James, and it might be, but it could also be John.  Why, oh why, could they not just write out those few letters?  I mean really, 3 or 4 letters would have made SUCH a difference.  Even just Jo or Ja or Jas.  For the want of just a couple letters.

Esau, Acre and Asa are candidates to be sons of John Jr., as well as Nathaniel…and of course, J, whoever he is.

If Nancy was actually born in 1778, it’s remotely possible that John Jr. was her father, but it’s unlikely because Nancy had her last child in 1826.  If she were born in 1780, that would make her 46 at that time, which is quite late, but not impossible, for a last child.  However, if she were born in 1778, that would make her 48 in 1826, which is even more unlikely.

In 1789 in Botetourt County Will Book A, on page 270, we find the will of William Renfro who lists, among his heirs, James Mann.  James Mann also signed and he may have been the executor as well, although it was hard for me to decipher the handwriting.  This does put a James Mann in the right place at the right time.

Not that it will help us any, but there are also Mann females: Margaret who married William McClure in 1790, Jane who married Michael Woodly in 1779, Mary who married Adam McCaslen in 1802, another Nancy who married Charles Wright in 1794 and Sarah who married Alexander McClinock in 1788.  These people weren’t children of William, per his will, so they had to be John’s, Nathaniel’s or the beginning of the next generation beginning about 1800.

So, having perused all of the records available, we’re, in essence, stuck.

Stuck – What Next?

Ok, let’s think about what else we can do.

People tend to marry other people like themselves.  In fact, the Germans who immigrated in the 1700s were still speaking German at home and in the churches in the early 1900s after spending 200 years migrating across three states.  My great-grandmother was one of them – although they stopped speaking German when World War I was declared.  In the later 1700s and even the early 1800s, they didn’t speak any English so they had to have someone handle their affairs for them – often the local miller.

Germans attended German churches.  The Irish attended Catholic churches and the Scotch-Irish, who were the majority of the immigrants from Ireland in the 1700s, attended Presbyterian churches.  The English attended the Anglican churches.  Methodists and Baptists were dissenting churches.  Indeed, the Presbyterian Church in Fincastle, in Botetourt County, was established in 1754.  You didn’t have a lot of opportunity to meet someone outside of your cultural circle and you certainly were not encouraged to “court” anyone from those other cultural circles.

So, if we had a way to figure out anything about Nancy Mann’s genetic lineage, we might be able to determine whether it is German or Irish.

Turns out – we do.

We have a male descendant from Nancy Mann through all females to the current generation.  And are we EVER grateful to that tester.  Yes, it’s a him, because in the current generation, men can test as well as women.  Remember, women contribute their mitochondrial DNA to all of their children, but only the females pass it on.

Thanks to cousin Jay, we have Nancy’s full sequence mitochondrial DNA, which she inherited from her mother, and she from her mother, back into the old country, wherever the “old country” happens to be.

Let’s take a look.

Her haplogroup is K1c2, clearly very European.

The page of DNA results that is the most relevant to answer our question of where Nancy’s matrilineal line originated is Jay’s Matches Map.  This map shows us the location of the most distant ancestor of Jay’s matches.  In this case, I’m only showing the European portion of the map, because that’s the part that will answer our question.

Are you ready?

Drum roll……please!

Nancy Mann's mtDNA

What do you think?

Nancy’s closest matches, in red and orange, are clearly in Ireland, then England, yellow and green, then in continental Europe.  Therefore, her ancestors were most recently in Ireland, including her three exact matches, two of which are found in Dublin.

Nancy Mann Closeup

Therefore, if I were a betting person, I’m betting on Irish, or Scotch-Irish far and above Germany for Nancy’s matrilineal ancestry.  Given that, I’m also betting that Nancy is the granddaughter of John Mann Jr.  through one his unnamed sons, and the great-granddaughter of John Mann the immigrant.  And given that, I’m betting that the J. Mann next to Moses on the 1785 tax list was indeed, James.

I’d bet!

If you descend from Henry Bolton or John Mann, please consider DNA testing. If you are a male Mann who descends from John Mann Sr., the immigrant, we really need your participation and there is a DNA scholarship for the first male Mann to test from this line.


I’d like to thank cousin Jay for DNA testing, cousin Hazel Venable Barnard, now deceased, for being such a wonderful steward of that Bible record, cousin Dillis for lots of research over the past 25 or 30 years, so much and for so long that I no longer remember what was mine and what was his.



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35 thoughts on “Nancy Mann (c1780-1841), German or Irish, 52 Ancestors #33

  1. I finally gave up and hired a professional genealogist to get me past my stone wall, Joseph Mitchell (some stories say his middle name was Mann). I think he married Sarah Harrison in Greensville VA, but I was not able to prove it. I think she is related to the Harmons and the Bordens. Hopefully, I will find out soon. The Mitchells are r-p25 so most Mitchells in the FTDNA database do not match up to us.








    • Sorry Don. No favors. I can barely get my own done:) I encourage everyone to write these for their own family. I do offer the Personalized DNA Reports which would be a great addition to your own genealogy about the family in question.

  3. I never cease to be amazed at the genetic discoveries/conclusions you are able to make! I wish I had a fingernail’s worth of your knowledge.

  4. It’s entirely possible that your Irish Mann was a 1709 Palatine. A number of these Germans/Swiss left the Palatinate, stayed in England while Queen Anne struggled with what to do with this huge influx of refugees. She sent some to settle in Ireland, others to far reaches of the British Empire, and a large contingent to America, most of whom were settled in the Hudson Valley (East and West Camps in Columbia and Ulster Counties). A small group went to the Carolinas. See Henry Z. Jones, Jr., The Palatine Families of New York 1710, 1985. Henrich Mann and his family are on pp. 589-590, vol. 1. Notice that there are many more references to family members throughout the 2-volume book.

  5. Roberta,

    The following records were published in the William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine,, Vol. XIII, No. 4, April, 1905, under the title “Record of the Peaked Mountain Church, Rockingham County, VA”, edited by Prof. Wm. J. Hinke and Charles E. Kemper. Note: a new church was built in 1769, while still Augusta County, under an agreement to share the building between the Reformed and Lutheran Congregations. Rockingham County was created from Augusta in 1778. I’ve abstracted only those showing Mann entries.

    “The following children were baptized in “Agoste” (Augusta) County at the “Pinquit Moundyn” (Peaked Mountain), towards the South “Chanithor” (Shenandoah), in this church at the Mill Creek or in their homes.”

    Note: in the year 1762.

    Parents: Jacob Mueller (entry #46) and wife Maria Barbara, nee Chrombohr.

    Child: Anna Maria, bapt. Aug 29.

    Sponsors: Charles Mann and wife Anna Maria

    Parents: George Adam Mann (#62) and wife Maria Elizabeth.

    Child: Magdalene, born March 11, 1765; bapt. June 18.

    Sponsors: Philip Willems and Gertrude Schell, both single

    In 1763, the following children were baptized in the province of Virginia, at the “Pinquit Moundyn”, in the church near Mr. Hermann’s mill.

    Parents: George Mann (#67) and wife Elisabeth, nee Hermann.

    Child: George born Oct 9; bapt. Dec 5.

    Sponsors: Jacob Mann and wife Barbara

    Parents: Jacob Herrmann (Harman) and wife Anna Christina (#78)

    Child: John Adam Herrmann, born March 4, 1755.

    Sponsors: George Mann and Anna Maria Herrmann

    Parents: Jacob Herrmann (Harman) and wife Anna Christina (#79)

    Child: Anna Maria, born May 3, 1757.

    Sponsors: George Adam Mann and Ann Maria Herrmann

    On October 23, 1768, the Lutheran and Reformed Union Church at the “Bicket Maundy” in Augusta County, was dedicated by the Rev. Mr. Schwarbach, Evangelical Lutheran pastor at the present time.

    Note: records continued from 1770 to 1776.

    Parents: George Adam Mann (#86) and wife Elisabeth.

    Child: John, bapt. July 20, 1771.

    Sponsors: John Mann and wife Susanna


    The record was not begun in 1745, as might appear at first sight, but in the spring of 1760. At that time the earlier baptisms were made Nos. 1-7 on page 1 of the record and Nos. 17-22 on page 3. All these entries are written by the same hand and with the same ink, etc., etc.

    Lee Ramsey

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  10. All very interesting. My Mann family is Northern Irish – can at least go back to my great great grandfather James Mann b circa 1797. Would our DNA be of any help? Not sure of our origins but assume we go back earlier here in Ulster. Still searching?

    • Well, it would certainly be interesting to see if we have any matching autosomal DNA. Have you taken an autosomal DNA test like the Family Finder at Family Tree DNA or the test at 23andMe or Ancestry?

  11. Hello…I have a gt grandfather John Mann B1801 Ireland moved to UK (Stockport) in 1851 with Elizabeth Murphy B1836…first child James B1851..last child Walter B1863…my grandfather. Fairly strong family story has family in USA trying to persuade Walter to join them…to the extent of sending steamboat tickets….he didn’t. Could I get advice on DNA test to use that you could compare?

    • There are two kinds of DNA tests that might be relevant. If you have a Mann male, then a Y DNA test to compare to other Mann men who have tested would be very relevant. If not, then you can test your self with an autosomal test to see who you match that might share your Mann genealogy line. At Family Tree DNA the autosomal test is called the Family Finder test.

        • Autosomal shows you all of your cousin matches and you do the genealogy to connect the dots. The Y is much more specific but you need a male with that particular surname to do the test. I wrote about autosomal basics. Search for that word in the blog search function.

        • I would strongly suggest at least the 37 marker Y test at Family Tree DNA plus the Family Finder. You can find their link on the sidebar of the blog. Depending on who you match on the Mann line on the Y, you can work with your matches to discover your common ancestor.

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  14. I’m a descendent of the William Renfro you reference above. His wife was Elizabeth Cheney. Son James m. Lydia Harris, they had James who m. Margaret Jackson. Their son Absalom Renfro married Elizabeth Cormack, and their son John Marion Renfro was my polygamist 2nd great grandfather.

    • Hello…do the Mann’s have a data base….my Gt Grandfather John Mann B 1801 Ireland….moved to UK perm. In 1850….my grandfather Walter B 1863 told my father Thomas B 1902 that family in Pennsylvania? had tried to get the family to join them….going as far as sending steamboat tickets….a little on a limb but nothing ventured..”… Colin Mann.

      Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

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  18. My Mann ancestor is Jane Mann who married Micheal Woolsey in Botetourt County Virginia.
    Michael Woolsey and John Mann lived close in Botetourt and did road work together! As far as I know there is no proof that Jane is his daughter but lots of circumstantial evidence. Michael and Jane moved to Green County Kentucky, so did John’s son. Moses. What do you know about Jane?

  19. My brother and I are at a genealogical brick wall with our GGGGGgrandfather William Mann who is apparently not the same William Mann above. My William was born in Botetourt Co about 1765 to 1774 and was married to Nancy Caldwell (born abt 1776 to 1778). I cannot find his parents, date of death, etc. Their children were Susannah, John A., Joseph C., and my GGGGgrandfather, Robert S. Mann (born abt 1808 or 1815) who was married to Alice B Peters (Scott Co, VA 1821-1894). Any info, feel free to email me at couponcarlah at Very new at this and pounding my head against the brick wall is starting to hurt! LOL

  20. I believe I have hit the same brick wall in Mann genealogy as well. My line traces back through the south to Texas (Claude) from Mississippi (Jack) from Georgia (Joseph/Joel Turner) from b. 1784 Virginia, d. Georgia (John H. Married Rhoda Ellis).

    Perhaps I can be of help?

  21. Is it possible that your Irish Mann family are actually Germans that immigrated to Ireland and lived there for a time period before coming to America? Perhaps these Irish and German Mann families are related? I read that this was the case with my Keely/Keeley family (German). I found this on Wikipedia concerning the time period from 1683 to 1820 –

    “Most emigrants left Germany during the following periods:

    1683 to 1820. Emigrants left Germany and migrated to Southeastern Europe, North America, Russia, England, Scotland, and Ireland. This wave of emigration was caused by economic hardships and religious persecutions after the Thirty Years’ War. Many of these emigrants were Protestants from Southwestern Germany, primarily the Rheinland, Westfalen, Hessen, Baden, Württemberg, and Elsaß-Lothringen. Read more about Pre-1820 Emigration from Germany”

    Here is the link:

  22. One more thought: Barnet Mann was the original German Mann immigrant that I am aware of who settled in McGaheysvile near Peaked Mountain in Augusta County, Virginia (now Rockingham County). Barnet was the father of Jacob Mann (married Jacob Miller’s daughter Barbara and part owner of a Salt Peter cave in Greenville). Barnet’s farm is now a Bed and Breakfast. The history page for the BnB details that the original cabin was built near a cave which supplied the water source. Does this tie into your Irish Mann family’s history of William Mann living in a Salt Peter Cave when he first arrived from Ireland? Perhaps the Mann family had a couple generations interested in salt peter caves?

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