I feel like I should give you a warning. Get a cup of coffee, or tea, and some chocolate.
This article is long. It was difficult. Really difficult. Made me wonder WHY I think genealogy is fun. BUT, after wading through the swamp with the alligators, draining the swamp, fighting the alligators and a few snappers, analyzing the evidence including an “emergency” marriage bond retrieval from a friend who was in Salt Lake City at a conference last week (thank you Jen,) there is something resembling an answer at the end. But man, this one was tough. And no, do not turn ahead and peek…you’ll miss all the fun.
So get something good to drink and settle in for a bit. If nothing else, it’s a darned good story!
First, let me introduce you to “The Widows” and Uncle George who wasn’t my uncle. I didn’t appreciate the widows and Uncle George nearly enough when they were still with us, although I surely hope they are continuing to help me from the other side now.
They called themselves that, an affectionate name for a group of elderly widows who all lived in Claiborne County, Tennessee in the 1970s and 1980s when I first began doing genealogy.
I didn’t realize I was doing genealogy, I just wanted to know something about my father’s family. So, I picked up the phone, dialed “zero” for operator and asked the operator to connect me with any Estes in Tazewell, Tennessee. She obliged and I talked to a very nice person who gave me the name of someone else to call who “knew more” than they did. Within a call or two, I was talking to someone who did know a lot, and who knew my father and grandfather, and who then told me I need to talk to “Uncle George” who “knew everything about the Estes family there was to know.”
Uncle George was in his 70s and indeed, he was a wealth of knowledge. He wasn’t a genealogist either, he just knew a lot about the family. The family storykeeper. Everyone knew that he knew a lot and was the unofficial repository of everything Estes, so everyone gave him any piece of information or photo worth having. In turn, he redistributed the wealth to anyone who was willing to listen and maybe take notes. His wife, Edith, made fried chicken and sweet tea and fed you while the two of you talked. From time to time, she would interject something she knew from her side of the family or from another source. They were both my cousins. Everyone there is my cousin.
There were no sources or citations, there was what “my grandpa told me before he died,” and more, like where the old cabins stood. Sometimes there were notes and Bibles, but mostly there was what George knew. If you asked him, often he could tell you who told him what and how they knew. And George could take you to your ancestral land and tell you about life there long ago.
Claiborne and Hancock Counties in eastern Tennessee share rivers, mountain ranges and families. George knew about the Estes family and a couple of other families that fed into the Estes line, but he didn’t know about my grandmother’s Bolton line. He did know who knew. Mollie, one of the widows. And Mollie knew about the Claxton line too, because the Claxton’s married into the Boltons and were near neighbors “up to Hoop Creek.”
Now Mollie might not know about some other line, but she too knew which widow to call to find out. Between all of the “widows” and a few widowers and unwidowed people, they had an entire network. Sadly, for the most part, the knowledge died with them – and they are all gone now – one by one like lightening bugs that no longer light up the warm summer evenings.
Now, this might sound like nothing but gossip and hearsay, but that’s just not the case.
These people were born between 1890 and 1910, most of them, and were well-respected as elders within the community. My ancestor, Agnes Claxton lived until sometime after 1880 and before 1900. Had I thought to have asked, I’m sure Mollie would have known when she died. Even though I’m pretty sure Mollie never met Agnes, she surely knew of her and about her. Mollie’s mother and grandmother would have known Agnes well. And you can rest assured….EVERYONE would have known about that lawsuit….
It was Mollie who first told me about Agnes Claxton, the wife of Fairwick. We had a long discussion about whether the surname was Claxton or Clarkson or Clarkston and how you pronounced the surname. Regardless of how you spelled it, it was “said” the same in that holler. And Fairwick or Farwix was another long discussion.
Mollie told me that Agnes was a Muncy and that her parents were Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman. She told me that Agnes’s grandparents were Samuel Muncy and Agnes, and that Agnes (Muncy Claxton) was named for her grandmother, which is how she kept the two Samuel Muncy couples straight in her mind.
Mollie never told me that Agnes’s grandmother’s surname was Craven. She told me a lot about closer generations, but she had reached the end of her neighborhood knowledge, knowing that Agnes was named for her grandmother Agnes. Little did I know at the time that Agnes Muncy Claxton’s mother, Anne (Nancy) Workman Muncy had lived to nearly 100, or maybe past 100 and was listed living with Agnes in the 1860 census, at age 99.
Mollie and the widows didn’t research the families outside of the county. They did not visit the state library – they just gathered family stories. From time to time, one of them would go to the local library, but at that time, there were very few resources. THEY were the resources. Sometimes one would make a quick trip to the courthouse, but mostly, they shared with you a wealth of family oral history and photos.
Mollie didn’t know there had been a book written about the Muncy family in the 1950s. I think Mollie and the other widows thought that the only relevant information about the family was the last few generations that lived in Claiborne and neighboring counties. Anything else was too distant and far away.
It wasn’t until the publication of the Early Settlers of Lee County book in 1977 that any of the early Muncy information became available in the general area. This was either unknown to Mollie when I was talking to her about this line in the 1980s, or she didn’t think it relevant.
Maybe it would have upset her, or maybe she would simply have disregarded it as incorrect. You see some of the information written in the Lee County book and the 1956 book by Mary Edith Shaw titled “The Descendants of Francis Muncy I with Allied Families” conflicted with what Mollie told me. I can see her now, waving it off and saying, “Well, I don’t know what to tell you, Honey. I can only tell you what Hazel told me, and Hazel was her daughter you know”…or something similar. The widows would have put little stock in what “outsiders” would have said about the families especially if it conflicted with what they knew from their own families and experience.
For me, it became a brick wall. An enigma.
Sooner or later, if you’re a genealogist, you hit this ancestor. That’s the one who has two sets of parents designated, depending on the source, and I’m not counting Ancestry trees as sources. One source was a well-researched and thorough book. The second was a credible family source who claimed she knew, and she should have known. Mollie’s mother and grandmother would have known Agnes Muncy Claxton and her children. Agnes’s granddaughter, Margaret Claxton, married Mollie’s grandfather’s brother. These people lived close, saw each other in church and knew the families well.
So, now that you’ve met “the widows” and know what Mollie had to say about Agnes Muncy Claxton, let’s see what we know about Samuel Muncy, the purported father of Agnes Muncy Clarkson/Claxton. We immediately start out with a problem, because there were (at least) four Samuel Muncys.
The Four Samuels
In order to help keep things straight, I’m going to introduce you to the players, because there are 4 different Samuel Muncy’s that we’re going to be talking about, and the only way to keep them straight is their wives names.
- Samuel Muncy Sr. who married Mary Skidmore
- Samuel Muncy Jr. who married Agnes Craven. He is the son of Samuel Muncy Sr.
- Samuel Muncy (the third) who married Anne Workman. His parentage is uncertain, which is what we’ll be discussing.
- Samuel Muncy (the fourth) who married Louisa Fitts and is attributed to be the son of Samuel Muncy (the third.)
And just to add confusion, I’m going to assume that you know that if Samuel Muncy Sr. died, then Jr. would become Sr. in documents and the third would become Jr. – assuming they were living in the same county where they needed to be “kept separate.” Furthermore, as if that isn’t confusing enough, Sr. and Jr. did not always mean father and son. It meant older and younger and if the two men of the same name were father and son, that was hunky dory. If not, it was still hunky dory. Everyone, back then, knew who was who. It’s only us, today, who are confused.
Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman
The subject of our discussion today is Samuel Muncy (the third) who married Anne Workman. We actually know every little. Let’s start at the beginning.
Samuel Muncy was born, most likely in Montgomery County, VA. Ok, we’re good so far. We don’t know when, for sure, or to whom, or even positively where, but maybe we can assemble some evidence and piece a bit of his life together
Beginning with his birth and for most of the rest of his life, things are “fuzzy” to put it mildly, including who his parents and his children were. For that matter, we only know where he was during oblique snippets of his life and then he disappears into the haze again, sometimes to reappear later, someplace else, and then eventually, simply to disappear into the mists and myths of time.
Samuel Muncy obtained a license to marry Anne Workman on June 16, 1788 in Montgomery County, Virginia. That much is solid, because we have his marriage bond. Based on the year he was married, he would likely have been born in 1767 or earlier.
From this bond, we know that Samuel could not write his name. Richard Coop? or Coup was his bond, and he couldn’t write his name either. Just three months earlier, on March 23, 1788, Samuel had provided the bond for Richard when he married Dolly Loman, also in Montgomery County. We know it was probably the Samuel who married Anne Workman who signed Richard’s bond with his mark because Samuel Muncy Jr. could write, based on his signature on an 1811 deed.
Was Richard Samuel’s best friend, or were these two men somehow related? I can’t find anything about Richard Coop/Coup and Dolly Loman.
Herein lies the beginning of the confusion.
This letter, which accompanies the 1788 marriage bond for Samuel Muncy (Munsey) and Anne Workman says:
“Mr. Abraham Trig, this comes from Joseph Workman and Obediah Munsey, that we are willing that Anne Workman and Samuel Munsey should be married. This from under our hands this 15 day of June 1788. Signed Joseph Workman and Obediah Munsey.”
What this document was interpreted by family historians to say:
Joseph Workman is the father of Anne Workman and Obediah Munsey is the father of Samuel Munsey.
This is NOT what this document says. It’s true in most cases that the father of the individuals who were marrying did sign the bond, but that is not universally true, even if the father was living.
Well then, who was Obediah Munsey? Obediah is another enigma. Serial enigmas.
Obediah Munsey was the son of Samuel Munsey Sr. and Mary (who was probably a) Skidmore who moved to Montgomery County, VA sometime after 1738. Samuel Sr. had several sons, but the two that concern us today are Obediah and Samuel Jr. who married Agnes Craven.
For a very long time, the Samuel (the third) who married Anne Workman was considered to be the son of Samuel Jr. and Agnes Craven, that is, until this marriage bond was found and Obediah was assigned as Samuel (the third)’s father.
However, I believe that Samuel (the third) who married Anne Workman IS the son of Samuel Jr. and Agnes Craven, for several reasons. Let’s take a look at the evidence, which spans his entire life, bit by bit.
First, Obediah and Samuel Jr. were brothers. They were together a lot in the court and other records of Augusta, Montgomery, Fincastle and Rockingham Counties.
We don’t know who Obediah married, and truthfully, we don’t even know for sure THAT he married. He served in the militia along with his brothers, including Samuel Jr., in multiple companies over the years. The last record we have for Obadiah is that he had land surveyed on Walker’s Creek, in Montgomery County, in 1789, but the records for Obediah may not be complete.
Walker’s Creek spans this entire distance from Pearisburg, VA where Walker’s Creek, the largest tributary of the New River, empties into the New, all the way along the river to Bland, Virginia, a distance of about 34 miles if you follow the blue route along Walker Creek.
Obediah’s brother was Samuel Munsey (Jr.) who married Agnes Craven. He too lived with the other Munsey men on Walker’s Creek in Montgomery County, but in the 1790s Samuel moved to Lee County. What we know positively is that Samuel was on the personal property tax list in 1799 in Lee County and a survey was signed over to him that year. By 1801 he had received the deed for the survey for the land on the Powell River, on the north side of Wallen’s Ridge very near the Thompson Settlement Church, shown below at the upper right. In the bottom left of the map is Four Mile Creek, where many Muncy descendants settled, about 10 miles distant as the crow flies
Samuel Jr. was married to Agnes Craven by about 1761 when Agnes’s father died and mentioned her in the will. While she was not mentioned by her married name, she was left the land she was living on, and in 1767, Samuel Muncy was paid along with the rest of the heirs.
Samuel (the third,) if he was their son, could have been born anytime between when they married prior to 1761 and 1767, given that Samuel (the third) married Anne Workman in 1788. Because he signed a bond himself that same year (assuming it was he that signed Richard Coop’s marriage bond,) he would have had to have been 21 or older.
According to family historian Mary Edith Shaw in her book, “The Descendants of Francis Muncy I with Allied Families,” we know that Samuel Muncy (Jr.) and Agnes Craven had the following confirmed children, and she mentions more, such as Francis and James, who we will discuss in a minute:
- Hannah born 1771 married a Bayley and stayed in Lee County
- Peter born 1782 went to Knox County, Kentucky about 1811 and then to Indiana
- Reuben went to Knox Co., Ky in 1811 but returned to Lee County by 1820
- Francis A. Muncy born in 1788 who stayed in Lee County, Virginia
This photo of Peter Muncy, the son of Peter born in 1782, below was taken in Knox Co., KY, when he was 88 years old in 1916. This Peter would have been the nephew of Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman.
There is some confusion about Francis Muncy and James Muncy. They are both attributed to Samuel Muncy and Agnes Craven as their children, but I’m not so sure.
To make matters worse, the Shaw book says that the “name” Francis (as Franklin) went with Peter to Knox County, meaning that he named one of his sons Franklin, but given the context it is easy to interpret as meaning Francis went with that group.
Francis A. Muncy was born in February 1788 several months before Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman were married, according to the Francis A. Muncy Bible record. This suggests strongly that Francis A. Muncy was not the son of Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman, although it does not eliminate the possibility. He was more likely the son of Samuel Jr. and Agnes Craven.
However, there is a fly in that ointment too. If Agnes Craven was married by 1761, she would have been about 20 years of age, or older, depending on her age at marriage and how long she had been married in 1761. That means she was 47, or older, in 1788, probably too old to be giving birth, and age 49 in 1790 when James was born.
This makes me suspect that both Francis and James Muncy who stayed in Lee County may have been the children of Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman. Why do I think this might be the case?
Francis Muncy would marry Lovey Randolph, daughter of Willoughby and Francis Thornton Randolph about 1809, which is probably why he stayed in Lee County. We know from Willoughby’s will in 1822 that the James Munsey family lived on his lands at that time, along with Jeremiah Owens. Willoughby’s will ties the families of Francis Muncy, James Muncy and Jeremiah Owens together.
James Muncy, born about 1790 married Nancy Owens and also stayed in Lee County. He bought land from Willoughby Muncy in 1819 and was living on his land in 1822 when Willoughy died, according to his will. In 1845, James deeded his land to Francis Muncy’s son, Willoughby Muncy and moved to Four Mile Creek in Hancock County beside Sarah and Jeremiah Owens and Agnes and Fairwick Claxton.
By 1799, we know that Samuel Muncy and Agnes Craven were in Lee County, VA because Robert Walker who had land surveyed in 1798 signed that 100 acres on the North side of Wallin Ridge over to Samuel Muncy on November 2, 1799. Samuel is also listed on the tax list in 1799.
We don’t know for sure if Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman were with Samuel Muncy Jr. and Agnes Craven, but since several of Samuel Jr.’s sons were along, and Samuel and Anne do wind up in that part of Lee County with their children, it’s a safe bet.
By 1810, we know that Samuel Muncy was still in Lee County, Virginia, based on the personal property tax list, along with Francis, James and Peter, also on the list. What we don’t know for sure is whether this Samuel was Samuel Jr. husband of Agnes Craven or Samuel (the third) husband of Anne Workman – but given that Samuel and Agnes didn’t sell their land until 1811, I would assume that is the Samuel Jr. on the tax list.
Deed Book 2, page 359, February 9, 1811
This indenture made the 9th of February 1811 between Samuel Muncy of Lee County and James Fletcher…for the sum of 200 dollars lawful money of the US in hand paid by the aid James Fletcher…tract of land containing 100 acres bearing the date August 8, 1801…on the north side of Wallings Ridge bounded…line of James McMillan…James Fulkerson’s. Said Samuel Muncy and Agness his wife have hereunto set their hands and affixed their seals. Samuel Munsey signed – no signature for Agness
In the presence of:
Francis (X) Munsey
Note that this Francis Munsey cannot sign his name, but someone wrote in the Francis A. Munsey Bible, shown below. Also note that Samuel Muncy who signed for Richard Coop’s marriage bond could not sign his name, but Samuel Jr. could.
What happened to Samuel Jr. and Agnes after they sold their land is open to speculation, but Peter, Reuben and possibly others settled in Knox County, KY, the part that would become Harlan County, on Indian Creek near the Cumberland River.
In 1811, Samuel and Agnes would have been 70 years of age or older.
Of Samuel Jr. and Agnes’s children, Hannah and Reuben stayed in (or returned to) Lee County, on the Powell River.
It appears that Samuel (the third) who married Anne Workman also stayed in Lee County based on the fact that his children married in this region. About 1809, Francis Muncy married Lovey Randolph, about 1814 James Muncy Married Nancy Owens, about 1820 Agnes Muncy married Fairwick Claxton, and before 1822, Sarah married Jeremiah Owens.
In addition, Samuel Muncy died in Lee County, VA in 1839 and Anne, listed as Nancy, is found living with Agnes in both the 1850 and 1860 census just across the border in Hancock County, TN. This isn’t a smoking gun, but it’s a pretty compelling argument.
James Muncy, who bought land from Willoughby Randolph in 1819 and was living on his land in 1822, moved into Hancock County on 4 Mile Creek very close to the family of Agnes Muncy and Fairwick Clarkson in the early 1850s after selling his land to the son of Francis Muncy and Lovey Randolph in 1845.
In the survey below, you can see Claxton’s bend and just to the left of that, you can see Four Mile Creek intersecting with Powell River. According to the 1850 census, Jeremiah Owens and Sarah his wife only lived 4 or 5 houses from Fairwix and Agnes Clarkson, who had the elderly Nancy Munsey living with them.
After Samuel Muncy and Agnes sold their land in Lee County in 1811, no records have been found to pinpoint their identity or whereabouts until an 1839 record reveals the death of Samuel Muncy – but which one? We can’t tell if this is Samuel Jr., husband of Agnes, or Samuel (the third) husband of Anne Workman. Based on the administrator and bondsman, I feel it was Samuel (the third), husband of Anne Workman.
At a court for Lee County on February 18, 1839, Order book 4 page 384:
On a motion of James Muncy who made oath as administrator and together with Cornelius Fitts, his security, entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of 80 dollars, condition as the law directs, certificate is granted and the said James Muncy for obtaining letters of administration on the estate of Samuel Muncy, deceased in due form.
Ordered that Randolph Noe, Nathaniel Alsop and James Southern being justly sworn before a justice of the peace, do truly and justly appraise in current money, the personal estate of Samuel Muncy, deceased, and return this appraisement under their hands to the court.
Was this Samuel Jr., husband of Agnes who would have been nearly 100 years old and possibly older, or Samuel (the third), husband of Anne Workman who would have been between 72 and 78? Given the administrator, who gave the bond and the age of the Samuel’s involved, I think it was probably Samuel (the third), husband of Anne Workman.
Because of the marriage bond in Montgomery County, VA that showed Obediah Muncy signing for the marriage of Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman in 1788, that Samuel has been assigned as the child of Obediah. I do not believe this is true, in part, because that Samuel, who married Anne Workman, named two of his children Samuel and Agnes, and none were named Obediah.
In addition, we find Anne Muncy, by the nickname Nancy, living with their daughter Agnes and husband, Fairwix Claxton in the 1850 and 1860 census where she is listed as age 81 (born 1769) in 1850 and age 99 (born in 1761) in 1860. An older woman is also living with Agnes and Fairwick Claxton in the 1840 census, age 70-80 (born 1760-1770). This was likely Anne, the year after Samuel died. Fairwick’s mother is living in a separate household next door.
Furthermore, Samuel (the fourth), the likely son of Samuel (the third) and Anne Workman, married Louisa Fitts and Cornelius Fitts, Louisa’s brother, was bond for Samuel’s 1839 estate.
Thompson Settlement Baptist Church
Let’s look at the Thompson Settlement Baptist Church records which exist from 1801 and see if they can help.
The first mention of the Munsey family is in 1822 when James Muncy was received by experience, but then dismissed in 1823 for unchristian behavior. There was nothing for another decade until, in 1833, a whole group of related people joined the church. Makes me wonder if there was an old fashioned camp meeting where a lot of “saving” was going on.
Here’s an engraving from a Methodist camp meeting in 1819, although in Appalachia, the people would have been dressed very differently.
Camp meetings were very popular and were both entertainment and excitement, anticipated by people for weeks on end. They were a combination social event, emotional religious exhortation and “reality TV.”
We’re fortunate that some of the Thompson Settlement church minutes remain.
1st Sept Sat 1833
- 1833 Frances Muncy received by experience (son of Samuel (the third) and Anne Workman or of Samuel Jr. and Agnes Craven)
- 1833 Nancy Muncy by experience (probably Nancy Owens, wife of James Muncy)
- 1833 Barbary Jayne (Willoughby Randolph’s daughter, I think)
- 1833 Mary Randolph
1st Sat Oct 1833
- 1833 Anny Muncy by exp (probably daughter of James Muncy)
- 1833 James Muncy by exp (is this the same one as in 1822?)
- 1833 Nancy Muncy by exp (probably Nancy (Anne) Workman Muncy)
- 1833 William Jayne
- 1833 Willoughby Randolph by exp and after being baptized requests letter of dismission and is granted
1st Sat November 1833
- 1833 Samuel Muncy (probably Samuel (the fourth))
1st Sat Jan 1834
- Louisa Muncy (probably Lousia Fitts, wife of Samuel (the fourth))
1st Sat May 1834
- Hannah Jayne (Willoughby Randolph’s daughter)
- Lucy Jayne
The Thompson Settlement Baptist church minutes mention a Samuel Muncy beginning in 1833, probably the son of Samuel (the third) and Anne Workman Muncy, who married Louisa Fitts. Louisa was also a church member.
We don’t find two Samuels, so it’s also unlikely that Samuel (the third) was a member. He would have been in his early 70s at this time, as would Anne Workman Muncy who did join.
In 1835, an Anny Muncy was excluded, but it is believed to have been Anna Muncy, the daughter of James, who had two illegitimate children. That would certainly have gotten her dismissed from the church. Six months later, James Muncy was also excluded, probably her father or possibly her brother.
A second Nancy Muncy is shown in 1833, which is probably Anne Workman Muncy. Nancy and Anne were often used interchangeably. The 1850 and 1860 census both refer to Nancy Munsy.
Which Samuel is Which?
The next thing we find, in 1839, is the death of one Samuel Muncy. But which one?
We know that Samuel (the 4th) married to Louisa Fitts was still having children until 1843 or 1844, so it’s not that Samuel.
So all of this brings me to the third reason why I think that Samuel (the third)’s parents were Samuel Muncy and Agnes Craven, not Obediah.
If Samuel (the third, who married in 1788, was the first born child, he would have likely been named Samuel. He named his son Samuel (the fourth) as well. No place in the family is there a child named Obediah, not in any of the grandchildren either. However, Samuel and Anne Workman also named a daughter Agnes.
That Agnes is the Agnes Muncy that married Fairwick Claxton about 1820. We know that Muncy was her name because of the widows and their cumulative information
I was also told that Agnes Claxton’s father was Samuel Muncy and her mother was Anne Workman, but I don’t know where they obtained that information. My cousins, the widows, had notes stuck in drawers and books and boxes and Bibles that they retrieved when I visited.
There’s more evidence too. In the chancery suit filed in Hancock County, TN, in 1876 following Fairwick Claxton’s death, William Owens, age 40, testified that he was the nephew of Fairwick Claxton. James Owens, age 30, testified as well, but did not give his relationship to Fairwick. William and James Owens are shown in the 1850 census as the children of Sarah and Jeremiah Owens who lived 5 houses from Fairwick Claxton and his wife, Agnes Muncy. Sarah and Jeremiah Owens also had children named Agnes and Samuel, but no Obediah.
Further connecting these families, in 1822, Jeremiah Owens was also listed as living on Willoughby Randolph’s land with James Muncy. According to family members, Sarah Muncy Owens is buried in the Claxton Cemetery at the intersection of River and Owens Road in Hancock County with her sister Agnes Muncy Claxton and family.
Furthermore, James Muncy, after selling his land to Willoughby Muncy, son of Francis Muncy who married Lovey Randolph, moved in to the 4 Mile Creek area, which is very close to where Sarah and Agnes lived. James Muncy died there in 1854.
In the 1850 and 1860 census, Nancy Muncy was living with Agnes and Fairwick Claxton.
She was given as age 81 in 1850 and age 99 in 1860. So Anne Workman survived to a great age. I do wonder where they lived from 1811 until 1839 when Samuel died.
It is assured that Anne Workman Muncy is buried in the Claxton cemetery since she lived with daughter Agnes and the cemetery was literally out the back door.
When Anne’s husband Samuel died, where he was buried is open to speculation. Given that his estate order was filed in Lee County, they were probably not living in Claiborne County, TN (now Hancock County) at that time – but the entire family lived along the Powell River within a few miles of each other and the county and state line was just a detail.
Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman probably had several children but it has been most difficult to ascertain their names.
Further confusing the matter, there are many family members sharing names like Francis and Samuel. Additionally, the Hancock County records have burned.
A Fifth Samuel
Information provided by another Muncy cousin adds more confusion. According to “Some Branches of the Workman Family Tree,” by Ralph Hall Sayre, the following are “known issue of Samuel and Anne (Workman) Muncy:”
1. James Muncy, born ca. 1790
2. Thomas Muncy, born ca. 1792
3. Samuel Muncy, born ca. 1798; married Hannah Black [The researcher disagrees with this and feels he married Dicy Spalding.]
4. William Muncy, born ca. 1803; married Peggy Hensley
5. Levi Muncy, born ca. 1808
6. Nancy Muncy, born ca. 1810; married Francis Aldridge
7. Polly Muncy, born ca. 1811; married Henry Davis
Of course, it doesn’t say how they know. These families are found in Kentucky, with the cousin providing the information descending from Nancy, #6. She provides this further information.
“Are you aware that Anne Workman’s brother Moses married an Elizabeth Muncy (born ca. 1781) in 1802 Tazewell County, VA? It’s believed Elizabeth was a daughter of Obediah Muncy, and indeed she named her first son Obediah Workman. Moses and Elizabeth Muncy Workman moved to Logan Co. VA. I believe that’s my Samuel Muncy taxed in Tazewell County the same year Moses and Elizabeth married. Samuel was taxed in Tazewell County, VA 1801-4,
Your Samuel and Agnes were already in Lee County by that time. By 1810 my Samuel was taxed in Cabell County, WV (which I believe was a case of new county formation, not a physical move.) By 1819 Samuel was taxed in Floyd Co. KY, apparently living in the area which later became Lawrence Co. KY. By 1822 he appears in the Lawrence County, KY tax lists, where he appears consistently through 1827.
So it appears that as your Samuel and Agnes moved further south and west my Muncy line moved a bit north and west.
I know Nancy Muncy married Francis (Frank) Aldridge who was the son of James and Margaret Muncy Aldridge. I believe, but cannot prove, that Margaret was somehow related to the Samuel Muncy who was living in Cabell County, WV when Margaret’s husband James was convicted of “moonshining.” This Margaret Muncy Aldridge also appears in the Floyd Co./Lawrence Co. KY records along with Samuel and his oldest sons. As you know, I believe this Lawrence Co. KY Samuel is the one who married Anne Workman. And I also believe this Samuel is the son of Obediah, not Samuel.”
If those are the children of Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman, then who is the elderly Nancy Munsey living with Agnes Claxton in 1850 and 1860? What other Samuel married an Anne of that same age and would name his children, Agnes and Samuel?
Clearly, the Samuel noted above born in 1798 cannot be the son of Samuel (the third) if the Samuel Muncy (the fourth) who lived with the other Muncy group in Lee County on the Hancock County border is Samuel’s son. If Samuel Muncy (the fourth) is not Samuel (the third)’s son, then why did Cornelius Fitts, his brother-in-law, post bond at Samuel’s death?
Clearly, we have yet a fifth Samuel, also believed to be the Samuel who married Anne Workman. It’s worth noting here that Lawrence County (where this family is found) and Harlan County (where Samuel Jr. and Agnes Craven’s children settled), although both are in eastern Kentucky, are not adjacent or even close.
Furthermore, Samuel (the third) and Anne Workman were not having and raising children in Lawrence County, Kentucky while their children in Lee County, VA near the Claiborne County border were being raised and marrying there. We clearly have two different Samuel Muncys involved and identified as the same person.
The Lee County VA and Hancock County, TN Munseys
The following group of people are found together in Lee and Hancock County and I feel certain they are related to each other. In addition, because Nancy is found with this group in 1850 and 1860 and we have Samuel’s death in 1839, I feel that this group can be none other than the children of Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman. There likely are more children.
Children candidates of Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman:
Francis Muncy, born in 1788, married Lovey Randolph about 1809, daughter of Willoughby Randolph and was very active in the Thompson Settlement Baptist church. Francis was born on February 3, 1788, before Samuel (the third) and Anne Workman obtained their marriage license on June 16th. On the other hand, Agnes Craven Muncy was nearing 50 years old by that date. It remains unclear whether Francis was the son or brother to Samuel Muncy (the third).
Francis Munsy’s children, according to the Lee County Settlers Book which used the transcribed Bible, and confirmed through the Thompson Settlement Church records where possible, were:
- Hannah born 1810 married John Jayne
- William Joseph Muncy born 1812 married Lucy Jayne
- Willoughby Randolph Muncy born 1816 married Catharine Jayne
- James Frances Muncy born 1819 (restored to the church 1842)
- Sarah Sally Muncy born 1821 married Harvey Thompson about 1840 (Sally Muncy, daughter of Francis received in the church 1842)
- Mary Polly Muncy born 1824 married James Sims
- Frances Minerva Muncy born 1826 married James Jayne (received in the church 1842)
- Andrew Jackson Muncy born 1829
- Nancy Ann Muncy, unmarried, died 1858 or typhoid
- Samuel R. Muncy born 1834 married Letitia Hedrick
- Elizabeth born 1838 married William S. Rollins
James Muncy, born about 1790, according to the census, married Nancy Owens about 1815, bought land from Willoughby Randolph in 1819, was living on Willoughby Randolph’s land in 1822. In 1845, he, sold that land to Willoughby Muncy, son of Francis Muncy and Lovey Randolph, moving to 4 Mile Creek beside both Sarah Muncy Owens and Agnes Muncy Claxton after 1850. This family was also active in the Thompson Settlement Church, although eventually withdrew. In 1850, James was deaf, according to the census.
His known children were, although there were likely more:
- Ann, born about 1815, had two children in about 1837 and 1840, never married
- Jeremiah Muncy born in 1827 married Mary before 1850
- Ellen Jane, born in 1815, married Henry Yeary before 1850 (and lived by Henry Claxton in the 1850 census)
- John born 1830
- William born 1832 and married Anna
- Peter born 1834 married T. Catherine
- Sarah born 1836 married Martin Brown
- Ruben born 1838
- Hannah born 1840 married John Hatfield
Samuel Muncy (the fourth), probably born between 1800 and 1805, married Louisa Fitts who according to the 1850 census was born in 1805 in North Carolina. They were married in Lee Co., VA about 1825 and after their marriage they became members of the Thompson Settlement Church. He was received a member the first Saturday in November 1833 and Louisa, the first Saturday in January 1834. In 1835 Samuel Muncy was appointed a delegate to the Association.
Fitts Gap is very close to the Thompson Settlement Church in Lee County.
Samuel Muncy (the fourth) died in 1843-44 and is buried in the Campbell-Curry family burial plot, located near the old Towell Ford of Powell River in Lee county. A marker has been placed at the grave in recent years without dates. His youngest son was born in 1844. Louisa died November 5, 1857 of a fever at the age of 46.
Their children were:
- Henry Towell Muncy born July 27, 1826 and died December 11, 1893
- Melinda Muncy born 1829, married Martin Van Buren Wynn
- William Muncy born 1832, Sallie Muncy born 1833, died 1897, never married
- Preston Muncy born 1844, married Millie McDaniel.
Henry Towell Muncy, born in 1823, is shown in the photo below, the grandson of Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman.
William Muncy 1832-1923, below.
These pictures of Henry and William would be the sons of this Samuel Muncy (the fourth) and grandsons of Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman.
This stray picture, below, found in the Estes family picture box was labeled Bill Muncy. Maybe someone can better or positively identify this person.
Agnes Muncy, born in 1803, married Fairwick Claxton/Clarkson about 1820. They lived within 5 houses of Sarah Muncy and Jeremiah Owens.
Their children were:
- James born 1820, married unknown, died 1840-1845
- Henry Avery Claxton, born 1821, married Nancy Manning, died 1864 Civil War
- William Claxton born 1815, married Martha Walker and Eliza Manning, died about 1920
- Samuel Claxton born 1827, married Elizabeth Speak and died in 1876
- Sally Claxton born 1829, married Robert Shiflet, died 1900
- Nancy Claxton born 1831-1833, married John Wolfe and died before 1875
- Rebecca Claxton born 1834 married Calvin Wolfe died 1923
- John Claxton, born 1840, died 1863 Civil War
Samuel Claxton/Clarkson, below, born in 1827, is the son of Agnes Muncy and Fairwick Claxton, so another grandson of Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman.
I think Samuel Claxton looks a lot like Henry Towell Muncy. They would have been first cousins.
Samuel’s sister, Sally Claxton Shiflet is shown below.
Sarah Muncy, born between 1801 and 1807. In 1876, William Owens, age 40, testified that he was the nephew of Fairwick Claxton. James Owens, age 30, testified as well, but did not give his relationship to Fairwick. William and James Owens are shown in the 1850 census as the children of Sarah and Jeremiah Owens who lived 5 houses from Fairwick Claxton and his wife, Agnes Muncy. Today, there is an Owen Cemetery within sight of the Clarkson (Cavin) Cemetery where Fairwick is buried and that land sits at the intersection of Owen Ridge Road and River Road.
In 1822, Jeremiah Owens was living on the Willoughby Randolph land with James Muncy.
In 1830 and 1840, the Jeremiah Owens family was in the Lee County census, but by 1850 they were living as neighbors to Agnes Muncy and Fairwick Claxton near Four Mile creek on the Powell River in Hancock County, TN. The children of Sarah Muncy and Jeremiah Owens, according to the 1850 census, were:
- Nancy born in 1820
- Agness born in 1826
- Louisa born in 1828
- Mary Ann born in 1829
- William born in 1835
- Martha born in 1837
- Samuel born in 1840
- Mildred born in 1842
- James born in 1845
Sarah was born in 1807, according to the census, and was married when she was about 13, so about 1820. She shows her birth in Tennessee. In 1860, her birth year is shown as 1801.
Regardless of the relationship of James and Francis to Sarah and Agnes, meaning whether they are brothers or uncles, Sarah and Agnes are confirmed as sisters to each other via the chancery suit testimony.
Sarah’s sons, who gave depositions in the Clarkson/Claxton suit are shown below:
James Owens (below) and William Owens (above), grandsons of Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman. I particularly love the quilt.
Samuel Owens, shown below, served in the Civil War for the Union.
It’s fun to look at old photos. Peter would have been Samuel Muncy’s nephew, so his brother’s child. The rest of these would have been Samuel (the third) and Anne Workman Muncy’s grandchildren. Do you see any resemblance?
Can DNA Help?
In this case, there is only one way that I can think of that DNA testing could potentially help.
We have connecting evidence to believe that several people are siblings and descendants of Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman, meaning Francis Muncy, Sarah Muncy Owens, Agnes Muncy Claxton, James Muncy and Samuel Muncy (the fourth.). If this is the case, then some of the DNA of Agnes Craven would have been passed to them if they are descended from her.
In fact, if Agnes was their grandmother, they would have inherited about 25% of her DNA.
Today, I’m several generations downstream of Agnes Muncy Claxton.
|Ancestor||% of Agnes Craven DNA|
|Samuel Muncy (the third)||50|
|Agnes, Sarah, James, Francis, Samuel (4th) and other children||25|
|William Sterling Estes||1.56|
If DNA inheritance actually happened at the 50% level in each generation for each segment, which we know it doesn’t, then I would carry under 1% of Agnes’s DNA and it would likely not show up in a large enough total or a large enough segment to be over the vendor matching thresholds. However, if we have a particularly sticky segment, we might find some of Agnes Craven’s DNA in descendants today.
And you know what…the answer is no if you don’t look.
If we find Craven autosomal DNA, it would confirm that Agnes was the mother of Samuel and not Obediah’s unknown wife, unless she too was a Craven. Of course, that we’ll never know.
In order to prove the Craven connection, we would actually need to match a descendant of any proven Craven who is not related to the Muncy line on a segment that is shown to come from the Muncy line in the descendants of Agnes, Sarah, James, or Francis.
After looking at the various cousins that might be involved, I found a total of 8 cousins who descend from Fairwick Clarkson/Claxton and Agnes Muncy or Jeremiah and Sarah Muncy Owens.
Of those cousins, Jim matches one Craven descendant who descends from the Craven line upstream of Robert Craven.
However, two cousins from separate children of Fairwick and Agnes both match Larry who descends directly from Robert Craven and Mary Harrison, the parents of Agnes Craven. Larry has no Muncy or other common ancestry. His Craven line is shown below:
- Robert and Mary Harrison Craven
- William Craven
- Abigail Craven
- Thomas Hayes
- Nicholas Hayes
- Mary Hayes
- Flaude Johnson
The two cousins who descend from Agnes Muncy Claxton are Stacy and Brian. This is the best possible matching scenario we could have – a descendant of Agnes Craven’s parents and two separate lines from Agnes Claxton.
Stacy is my great-niece, so even though I don’t match Larry, it stands to reason that I’m just not over the threshold, and Stacy is, so I may carry some smaller segments that match both Stacy and Larry. In other words, the DNA carried by both Stacy and I was provided my by father.
I downloaded Stacy’s matches to me and to Larry, as well as Brian’s matches to Larry. In this case, we need to triangulate to Larry, the Craven descendant, since he is the only person who matches both Stacy and Brian.
Since Brian doesn’t match either Stacy or me over the Family Tree DNA matching threshold, let’s hope that Larry matches both Stacy and Larry on some segments, making a triangulated group.
In the two dark red locations, Larry matches both Stacy and Brian, creating a triangulated group, proving that all three members of this group does share common DNA with the descendant of Robert Craven and Mary Harrison. Unless we are really unlucky enough that Obediah would have also married a Craven, this proves that Agnes Claxton/Clarkson was a descendant of Agnes Craven.
Note the light red segments that include Stacy, me and Larry. While these do triangulate, Stacy and I both share a recent ancestor – my father. The triangulation between Larry and Brian Stacy is much stronger evidence since Brian and Stacy’s common ancestor is Agnes Muncy Clarkson/Claxton.
This was a really long way around the block to prove who Samuel Muncy (the third)’s parents were, by proving who his grandparents were. Once again, small segments came to our rescue – 8, 9 and 10 generations after our common ancestor.
I tried to do the same thing for Joseph Workman and Phoebe McMahon, Anne Workman’s parents, but I wasn’t as successful at Family Tree DNA. There are suggestive matches, but nothing conclusive and I haven’t heard back from people about their ancestry.
However, there is a piece of very interesting evidence at Ancestry.com.
I have two matches with people who descend from Joseph Workman and Phoebe McMahon, all 3 of us through different children. Neither of my two matches at Ancestry have Muncy DNA nor do they appear to have other lines in common with me.
However, as we know, DNA matches without triangulation are not proof, they are only suggestions of a common ancestral line.
And we also know at Ancestry that there are no chromosome browser tools to prove common DNA segments, so we can never have proof there.
So, we can count these Ancestry matches as pieces of evidence, along with our other evidence, but not as proof.
So, is Agnes Claxton/Clarkson the daughter of Samuel Muncy (the third,) and Anne Workman Muncy, or not?
If so, is Samuel (the third) also the father of Sarah who married Jeremiah Owens, James Muncy who married Nancy Owens, Samuel Muncy (the fourth) who married Louisa Fitts and Francis Muncy who married the daughter of Willoughby Randolph?
I believe the answer to at least some of these questions is yes.
- We know that Samuel Muncy Jr. and Agnes Craven were in the Wallin Ridge/Powell River area from 1799 through 1811 based on land transactions.
- We know that Samuel and Agnes sold their land and probably left for Kentucky in 1811 with some of their children. Willoughby Randolph and Francis Muncy witnessed that transaction. Samuel and Agnes were about age 70 at that time.
- We know that in 1809 Francis Muncy married Lovey Randolph and by 1815, James Muncy had married Nancy Owens, so it’s very likely that their parents were living in this area at the time.
- Francis Munsy was born four months before Samuel (the third) and Anne Workman were married, but by the same token, Agnes Craven Munsey would have been about 47 years old , and perhaps older, at the time of his birth. James was born about 2 years later.
- We know that slightly before 1820, Sarah Muncy married Jeremiah Owens and Agnes Muncy married Samuel Claxton. From the 1876 lawsuit, we know that Agnes and Sarah were sisters.
- In 1819 James Muncy purchased land from Randolph Muncy and in 1822, James Muncy and Jeremiah Owens are living on Willoughly Randolph’s land according to his will.
- Samuel Muncy (the fourth) married Louisa Fitts about 1825.
- In 1839 Samuel Muncy dies with James Muncy appointed administrator and Cornelius Fitts posts bond for the estate. Cornelius Fitts is the brother of Louisa Fitts who marries Samuel Muncy (the fourth) who is thought to be the son of Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman.
- In 1845, James Muncy sells his land that be bought from Willoughby Randolph in 1819 to Willoughby Muncy, the son of Francis Muncy who married Lovey Randolph.
- James Muncy moved in the 1850s from Lee County to very near Sarah Muncy Owens and Agnes Muncy Claxton on Four Mile Creek in Hancock County.
- In the 1850 and 1860 census, the Jeremiah Owens family and Agnes Claxton along with Nancy Muncy are all living adjacent in Hancock County
- Nancy Muncy is living with Agnes and Fairwick Clarkson/Claxton in the 1850 and 1860 census. An older woman of the right age to be Nancy is living with them in 1840 as well, which is a year after Samuel died.
- Sarah Muncy Owens names children Agnes and Samuel. Agnes Muncy Claxton names her son Samuel. There are no Obediah’s in the family line.
- Robert Craven’s descendants autosomal DNA triangulates with that of two of Agnes Muncy’s descendants, albeit on small segments.
- I match to two descendants of Anne Workman’s parents, Joseph Workman and Phoebe McMahon at AncestryDNA. Our matches are via three of their children’s lines.
So, what do you think?
Is Agnes Claxton the daughter of Samuel Muncy (the third) and Anne Workman?
Is Samuel Muncy (the third) who married Anne Workman in 1788 the son of Samuel Muncy Jr. and Agnes Craven or of Obediah Muncy?
Tell me what you think based on the evidence.
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