Anne Workman (c1761- after 1860), Centenarian, 52 Ancestors #57

Anne Workman was born sometime after her parents, Joseph Workman and Phoebe McMahen were married in 1761 in York County, PA.

Based on her marriage in 1788 to Samuel Muncy, she would likely have been born before 1768.  Later census records put the date between 1761 and 1769, although the census can be notoriously incorrect.  So, it would be safe to say she was born sometime between 1761 and 1769.

We know little about her early life, except by virtue of what was happening in the world around Anne when she was growing up.

Anne spent at least part of her youth in York County, one of the most “interesting” places to have been during the Revolutionary War.  “Interesting” of course is a matter of perspective.

Anne would have been a teenager when Yorktown, in York County, became a focal point of the War, but her family had probably moved on by then.

It’s not known exactly when the family moved from York County, at the eastern end of PA, to Washington County, near Pittsburgh, on the far western end of the state.  Washington County, PA was formed in 1781, in honor of George Washington.  It is bordered on the south by present day West. Virginia, which was at that time the state of Virginia.

Anne’s father, Joseph Workman is listed in the Pennsylvania Revolutionary War Battalions and Militia Index, 1775-1783 for Washington County, PA at the Pennsylvania State Digital archives.

Joseph Workman Wash Co PA Rev War service

Anne was one of ten children born to Joseph Workman and Phoebe McMahon.  Joseph and Phoebe started their married life in York County, PA and moved to Washington County, PA about the time of the Revolutionary War.  They did not move to Montgomery County, VA until sometime in the 1780s, probably between 1781 and 1783.  The Workman men served in the Montgomery County militia after their arrival and were on the compiled rolls that included men from 1777-1790.

These were not trivial moves.

Workman migration map

Anne’s parents were probably in Montgomery County, VA by September 1785 when Abraham Workman, probably Anne’s brother, married Hannah Lirner, according to “Some VA Marriages: 1700-1799” compiled by Cecil D. McDonald, Jr.

We know that Anne Workman married Samuel Muncy in Montgomery County three years later, the marriage bond shown below.

1788 Muncy Workman bond

Anne’s father, Joseph wrote a letter authorizing the marriage on June 16, 1788.

1788 Workman Muncy letter

Based on early land grants and deeds, the Muncy family lived on Walker’s Creek in Montgomery County.  They seemed settled there, at least until the later 1790s, but the Workman family is found moving increasingly north and west.  Anne’s father, Joseph, was found by 1793 in Wythe County, after it was formed.

In 1799, Samuel Muncy  and Agnes Craven, the parents of the Samuel Muncy that Anne Workman married, moved to Lee County, Virginia.  From the information we have, Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman went along with the family.  Several of Samuel’s siblings went as well, and the family lived on the Powell River in Lee County, very near the border with Claiborne County, Tennessee for the next dozen years.  The area of Walker’s Creek in Montgomery County and the Powell River area, shown below, in Lee County are very similar.

powell river lee co

We don’t find Samuel and Anne in the records.  It appears that the children of Samuel Muncy and Agnes Craven were fairly transparent. Some appeared on the personal tax lists, which is how we know the names of the group that left in 1811 when Samuel Muncy and Agnes Craven sold their land.

At least some of their children remained behind.

Hannah Muncey, born in 1771 to Samuel Muncy and Agnes Craven married a Bayley and remained in Lee County.

Reuben Muncy, went to Kentucky but had returned to Lee County by 1820 and had moved south in to Claiborne Co., TN by 1840.

It’s uncertain whether Francis Muncy and James were sons of Samuel Muncy and Agnes Craven or sons of their son, Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman – but regardless, it is certain that they stayed in Lee County, Virginia.

Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman remained behind in Lee County as well.

For Samuel, it must have been difficult to see his siblings and possibly his parents climb into a wagon and leave, knowing full well that he would probably never see them again.

If Samuel’s parents left for Kentucky in 1811 as well, they would have been around age 70.  It’s surmised that the sale of Samuel and Agnes’s land in 1811, the disappearance of Samuel and his sons from the Lee County tax list, and the appearance of some of these individuals in Knox (now Harlan) County, KY are connected events.

Anne Workman Muncy, however, had already said all of her good byes to her family in 1799.  She had been married for eleven years and probably had several children by that time.  To load everything you have in a wagon, including your children, and leave your entire blood family behind must have been very difficult.  She was probably about 31 or 32 years of age.  I wonder if she looked back with tears or ahead with resolve, or maybe a bit of both.

Today, that trip is 180 miles and about three and a half hours.  Then, it would have taken at least a couple of weeks, enduring whatever weather Mother Nature had to offer.

map Montgomery Co to Lee Co

Francis Muncy and James Muncy may have been children of Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman.  They were born in 1788 and about 1790, respectively.  We don’t know of any more children until Agnes is born on January 19, 1803.  Sarah Muncy who married Jeremiah Owens was born sometime between 1801 and 1807, according to later census records.   Samuel who married Louisa Fitts was born probably between 1800 and 1805.

Anne Workman Muncy would have been able to bear children until she was about 45 years of age, so until about 1813 or so.  Surely they had more children.

In 1809, Francis Muncy married Lovey Randolph.  James married Nancy Owens about 1815 and by 1820, both Agnes and Sarah had married as well to Fairwick Claxton and Jeremiah Muncy, respectively.  In 1825, Samuel Muncy married Louisa Fitts.

We know that Sarah who married Jeremiah Owens was a Muncy, because the death certificate of James B. Owens, the youngest son of Sarah Muncy Owens gives his parents as Jerry Owens and Sallie Muncy. This is the only firm documentation we have of the maiden name of Sarah.

James Owens death cert

We also know that Sarah Muncy Owens and Agnes Clarkson/Claxton were sisters based upon testimony given in the chancery suit filed after Fairwick Clarkson/Claxton’s death.  In that suit, William and James Owens testify and William states that he is the nephew of Fairwick Claxton.  Agnes Clarkson/Claxton is the wife of Fairwick.  Fairwick’s sisters did not marry Owens men and we find both William and James Owens in the 1850 census with Jeremiah and Sarah Muncy Owens as their parents.

The 1800 and 1810 census don’t exist for either Lee County, VA or Claiborne County, TN.

Anne Workman Muncy bore witness to a second war as well, the War of 1812.  While none of the actual fighting took place in Lee or Claiborne County, the men from those locations enlisted, or were drafted, and served in other locations, often walking hundreds of miles to Alabama where the Tennessee forces clashed with the Creek Indians.

Francis Muncy, of course, was a common name within the Muncy family, being the name of the American progenitor for which someone in each generation was named.  There is a War of 1812 service record for a Francis Muncy in Virginia in Bradley’s Regiment, from in Wythe County.  This is not likely our Francis.

A Samuel Muncy served in Evan’s Virginia Militia, but I was unable to determine where that militia unit was formed.

The National Archives is in the process of digitizing the War of 1812 records, so we will hopefully, soon, be able to determine if the Samuel who served was Anne’s husband or son.

The 1820 Lee County census documents Francis, Reubin, James, Jeremiah, John, Joshua and one Nancy, over the age of 45 living alone.  Of course, this causes an entire raft of questions and provides absolutely no answers.  Nancy, of course, is a common nickname for Anne.  Nancy (Anne) Workman Muncy would have been about age 52, but we know that son Samuel was not married until 1825, so he would likely have been living with his family.  Also, if this is our Nancy, where was her husband, Samuel?  Unfortunately, the census is in semi-alpha order, so we can’t tell who is living near whom.  We really don’t know who this Nancy Muncy was and the only thing we know about her age is that she was over 45.  She could have been quite elderly.  Nancy is not found in 1830.

The 1830 census shows us several Muncy men in Lee County.

  • Francis age 30-40 (born 1790-1800)
  • James age 30-40 (born 1790-1800)
  • James age 30-40 (born 1790-1800)
  • Samuel age 20-30 (born 1800-1810)
  • John age 20-30 (born 1800-1810) plus a male age 60-70 and a female age 60-70
  • John age 30-40 (born 1790-1800)
  • Jeremiah age 40-50 (born 1780-1790)

Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman would have been about 62 years of age and could well have been the couple with John, age 20-30.  John could have been their son.

We catch what is probably a glimpse of Anne Workman Muncy, by the name of Nancy, in the Thompson Settlement Church notes in 1833 when a Nancy Muncy joins the church by experience.  That means she would have been baptized and not joined from another church.  She would have been about 65 years old.  In Montgomery County, Virginia, the family would have been Anglican, based on early records that indicate two churches were formed; one Presbyterian church for the Scotch-Irish and the Anglican church for the balance of the population.

An entire group of Muncy and related folks joined the church within a few months, and many on the same days.  On the first Saturday of September and the first Saturday of October in 1833, a Nancy Muncy joined the church.

1st Sept Sat 1833

  • 1833 Frances Muncy received by experience (son of either Samuel and Anne Workman Muncy or Samuel Munch and Agnes Craven)
  • 1833 Nancy Muncy by experience (probably Anne Workman Muncy)

1st Sat Oct 1833

  • 1833 Anny Muncy by exp (probably daughter of James Muncy)
  • 1833 James Muncy by exp (possible son of Samuel and Anne Workman)
  • 1833 Nancy Muncy by exp (probably Nancy Owens, wife of James)

1st Sat November 1833

  • 1833 Samuel Muncy (probably Samuel (the fourth), son of Samuel and Anne Workman Muncy)

1st Sat Jan 1834

  • Louisa Muncy (probably Lousia Fitts, wife of Samuel (the fourth))

The 1840 Lee County, census shows several Muncy families, many younger.

However, we find Samuel Muncy, age 30-40 beside Jeremiah Owens, age 30-40, 2 doors from Willoughby Muncy (son of Francis), 2 doors from Cornelius Fitts.

This is the group of people, known relatives, who signed as executor and bond for Samuel Muncy who died in 1839, probably the husband of Anne Workman Muncy.

We also find a Francis, age 50-60 and then a John age 30-40 with a male and female, ages 70-79.  We also find James, age 40-50.

In 1840, in Claiborne County, TN, across the county/state border, Fairwick Claxton has a female living in his household, age 70-80 (born 1760-1770), likely Anne Workman Muncy.

The last two pieces of information we have about Anne are pretty amazing, actually, when you think about it

In both the 1850 and the 1860 census, Nancy Munsy was living with Agnes and Fairwick Claxton in Claiborne County, TN.  They lived just a couple doors away from Sarah and Jeremiah Owens, Agnes’s sister, and James Muncy had moved close by as well.

In the 1850 census, Nancy is shown to be age 81 (born 1769) and in 1860, she is shown to be age 99 (born 1761).

1850 Hancock census Muncy

Nancy was born in a time before modern medicine.  There were no antibiotics.  There were no childhood inoculations, and there was no clean, treated water supply.  Childbirth was risky for mother and child both, and many didn’t survive.  Roughly half the children died before reaching adulthood from illnesses today that we don’t even consider particularly dangerous.

Yet, Anne survived.  She survived at least three major moves by wagon, from one side of Pennsylvania to the other, likely during the Revolutionary War.  Then, just a few years later, from Pennsylvania to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where the family settled and she married.

Shenandoah River

“Shenandoah River, aerial” by La Citta Vita

In another decade, she would be loading into the wagon again, moving from Montgomery County to Lee County, VA.

Anne would have said a tearful goodbye to her parents, then in their 60s, but she would not be at their gravesides in another few years when they died.  That news, she would have received by letter or by “family grapevine,” if at all.

Anne probably lost siblings and children and she did lose her husband, yet survived another 20+ years.

In all of Hancock County, in 1860, there was only one other woman even near Anne (Nancy) Workman Muncy’s age, also named Nancy, ironically.  There were a couple within a few years in Hawkins, Scott and Lee Counties, but very few.

Anne, known as Nancy Workman Muncy beat the odds.

We don’t know how much longer she lived, only that she was not in the 1870 census.  I really hope she made it to 100 and all of her extended family visited and gathered around, and that she enjoyed her very special day with lots of visits.  After all, what else does a centenarian want?  She would have had a slew of great and great-great-grandchildren by then – more than 55 that I know of, and I’ve lost track of several lines – plus the children she assuredly had that we don’t know about today.

Anne is assuredly buried in the Clarkson/Claxton cemetery.  That cemetery figured in the land that her son-in-law Fairwick left his heirs and was described as being in the center of the land, right near the main house, where Anne would have lived for the last 20+ years of her life.

I hope Anne got to sit outside on a beautiful spring day and just soak up the warm mountain sunshine, maybe watching her great-grandchildren play on the rocks and near the barn.

I sure wish I could sit and talk with her about the century of life she saw, what changed in her lifetime and how.  She was born before the Revolutionary War.  Her father served.  I wonder what she thought – should we as a country secede and try to make it on our own, or should we remain a colony of England?  She would have been a teen when that was being decided.  And, her family was moving – two long moves within just a few years.  Why did they decide to head west at that time – to the edge of the frontier?  What she excited or frightened?  How did that affect her life?

Another 15 years later, in 1799, she herself pushed the frontier further west, homesteading in a land just surveyed and with few settlers on Wallin’s Ridge in Lee County.  She left family behind in Virginia and then, in turn, was left behind when her in-laws and Samuel Muncy’s siblings packed up for Kentucky a dozen years after settling on Wallin’s Ridge.

She saw men leave and fight, some of them not returning from the War of 1812.  Her own neighbor, James Claxton, the man who would have been her daughter, Agnes’s father-in-law, was one of those who died.  It was his land that Anne Workman Muncy lived out her life and died upon.

If the Samuel Muncy who married Louisa Fitts was her son, she stood by his grave as they buried him in 1843.  If James Muncy was her son, she buried him in 1854 and depending on when she died, she may have buried Francis Muncy in 1864.  She would have stood in the cemetery, near where her own grave would be when they buried her grandson, James Claxton, and his wife sometime between 1845 and 1850.  She probably helped raise those great-grandchildren, as they lived with Agnes and Fairwix Claxton, as did she.  They would have known their great-grandmother well.

She may have stood inside the cemetery, over and over again, as her grandsons and great-grandsons were buried as a result of the Civil War.  She would have grieved with her daughter, Agnes Muncy Claxton/Clarkson, as word came again and again of their capture and deaths.

Anne Workman Muncy was still alive as the country trembled on the brink of yet a third war in her lifetime, one that would horribly divide and not unite the country.  She could have seen the Civil War which terribly devastated Hancock County and divided the families irreparably between allegiances to the Union and the Confederacy.  Let’s hope she didn’t suffer through that catastrophe.  Let’s hope by then, Anne “Nancy” Workman Muncy was resting in peace in the Clarkson cemetery, outside the back door, with the rest of her family.

claxton land

Only the two known daughters of Anne Workman Muncy would have passed her mitochondrial DNA on to future generations.  Women give their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of children, but only females pass it on.  Since it is not mixed with the DNA of the father, it gives us a periscope to peer into the past and see where her matrilineal lines originated in the world.

Sarah Muncy Owens had several daughters, according to the census, but I have had a difficult time finding them as adults.

  • Nancy born in 1820
  • Agness born in 1826
  • Louisa born in 1828, married a David Rice in Hancock County and had two children, Sarah and Mary Ann, before dying in 1860 in childbirth, according to the census mortality schedule. Daughter Sarah married Daniel Owens.
  • Mary Ann born in 1829
  • Martha born in 1837
  • Mildred born in 1842, married Clinton Clouse and had daughters Lorinda who married George Cole, Sarah, Coraline and Elnora. Lived in Harlan County, KY in 1900.

Agnes Muncy Claxton had only two daughters who married and had children:

  • Sally Claxton born 1829, died 1900, married Robert Shiflet and had daughters Elizabeth who married William Lundy, Catherine who married Pleasant Powell, Rhoda who married John Burchfield and Agnes who married Tom Smith.
  • Rebecca Claxton born in 1834, died in 1923, married Calvin Wolfe, had daughters Nancy who married a Marcum, Elizabeth who married Francis Marion Herd, Agnes, June, Sasha (Sarah) who married Charles Hobbs and Easter who married Charles Cole.

I have a DNA scholarship for anyone who descends from these daughters through all females to the current generation.  Males are fine in the current generation, because woman pass their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of children.

Claxton land from road



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19 thoughts on “Anne Workman (c1761- after 1860), Centenarian, 52 Ancestors #57

  1. Know that the Workman surname could have come from the Dutch Woertman surname. There were Woertmans in NJ of which I descend from one of them.

  2. I love your Ancestral Tales! Anne Workman Muncy sure lived a genuine slice of American history! I just read somewhere(I don’t think it was your blog) that there have been 262 Americans,documented, that have lived to be over 112 years old. There was a special name for that category, but I don’t recall it. Anyway, knowing that women live longer than men, I counted the males in the Roll. 14 out of 262! That XX is good for “staying power”!

  3. Really appreciate your efforts with DNAeXplained but, I must correct the statement about Yorktown. The surrender of Cornwallis was at Yorktown VA. Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown are considered the historic triangle in VA.

    Respectively yours Roger Brooks

    Love DNA eXplained

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Roberta,

    Once again you’ve written an interesting story about your ancestors, weaving in historical events that took place during their lifetime. I always enjoy these and look forward to new installations! I have one comment about Nancy Munsy in the 1850 census – her age looks to me to be 81 rather than 91 . . . maybe it’s my old eyes!


  5. Info I have on Abraham Workman states on his application for pension that he was born Jan. 25, 1761 in Washington Co, PA – his mother and father didn’t marry til August 1761 (parents Joseph Workman and Phoebe McMahon (McMahen). I also have Workman’s in my line. My grandmother Bertha Alma Crotty Meadows was the daughter of Elizabeth Ann Workman (1850 Peterstown, Monroe, VA/WV and Jonas Edward Crotty (1843); I have as the parents of Elizabeth – John M. Workman b. April 10, 1814 Monroe Co, VA and wife Permelia Rice b. 1819 Boone Co, VA (I have a hard copy of their marriage certificate). I have as John’s parents – Joseph Workman Jr. born 1773 Washington Twp, York Co, VA and wife Hannah Reed ab. 1782 Monroe, Amherst, VA; I have as Joseph Jr.s father Joseph Workman Sr. b. 1732 Raritan, Somerset Co, NJ and wife Phoebe McCray McMahon b. 1745 Church, York Co, PA.

  6. Pingback: Phoebe McMahon (c1741-after 1815), Frontier Wife, 52 Ancestors #58 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  7. Amazing to find this ! I just had my DNA done a few months ago and DNA show Anne Workman I carry her DNA !! Anne Workman is my 4th great grandmother … that make me a grand daughter ….my grandmother is Nancy Muncy her dad is Thomas Muncy and his mother is Anne Workman and his father is Samuel Muncy! Amazing story about her..she seem like a strong will person !!

  8. I’m also just realizing Muncy and Workman connections, thanks to some triangulated segments and your blog (thank you so much!) and am writing a long note to you – could you email me? But just want to add here that I ran across a Montgomery County, VA minister’s return in Mary Kegley’s “Early Adventurers on the Western Waters,” Vol. II. On page 145 is a 1788 list of marriages by Edward Morgan, including June 16, Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman. Edward Morgan was a Methodist preacher at the first Methodist church in western Virginia – Samuel and Anne may have been Methodists rather than Anglicans before their move to Lee County. My GGGG Grandfather James Addair was bondsman on Edward Morgan’s marriage bond, and his third wife was the widow of the man who donated the land for the Methodist chapel, Alexander Page. The Addairs appear to have a Muncy/Workman connection which I’d dearly love to figure out.

  9. I am very interested in your Muncy/Workman research. My sister and I share a 28 cM segment on chromosome 15 that, almost without fail, leads to the Muncy/Workman family, or to some Poteetes and McGees in Williamson Co., TN, when I trace our shared matches. I do not know of any connection. They may be somehow related to my ancestors, Abraham Roberts and Catherine DeLaughter, who were born in the 1780s, in Virginia and Maryland, respectively. Very perplexing! Thanks for writing this!

    • At FamilyTreeDNA, we have a Muncy surname project. You are welcome to join and see if you match people.

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