William Crumley the First (c1735 – 1793), Originally a Quaker, 52 Ancestors #87

The Crumley Conundrum…that’s what this line of genealogy has been called for years by researchers.  The current generation of researchers named it, but I’m sure all past Crumley researchers would confirm that name with a hearty “hear, hear” or maybe a different line would just say “Amen.”

The Crumley family, due to common first names, large families, wives with no names at all, or no surnames, and often common first names, intermarrying into the same families generation after generation….is a mess.  This has been one of the most difficult unraveling challenges I’ve ever seen…and I don’t pretend to tell you that I have this exactly right.  What I am doing is sharing what I do have documented with the hope that someday, other researchers will be able to add to this research.

I’m fortunate that I do have the benefit of a few pathblazing researchers who came before me…and those are the ones who did share their information before they died or dropped off of the face of the earth.  I swear on everything that is Holy that I will NOT let that happen to my genealogy and my ancestors.

William Crumley, the first, was born in 1735 or 1736 in East Nottingham Township, Chester County, PA to James Crumley and Catharine Gilkey.

Chester County PA map

East Nottingham is in the southwest corner of Chester County which borders Cecil County, Maryland.  They is a very interesting history to this region, but you’ll have to wait for the James Crumley article to read about that!

Frederick County, Virginia

When William was a teenager, his family moved to Frederick County, Virginia, in present day Berkeley Co., West Virginia on the border, literally, between those two states.  Of course, West Virginia didn’t yet exist at that time.

James Crumley land spanning border

This drive from Gerrardstown in Berkeley County, West Virginia to Apple Pie Ridge in Frederick County, Virginia runs along Mill Creek and cuts right through the middle of James Crumley’s land.

James Crumley, William’s father, bought the survey rights to a tract of land totaling 742 acres on Sept. 6, 1753 from James Anderson and on February 1, 1754, the land was granted to James Crumley.  William would have been about 17 or 18 at this time, and certainly of an age to be a big help on the farm.  At this time, that probably meant felling trees, so William was likely to be a very muscular lad.

James Crumley land survey

We are fortunate that the Berkeley County Historical Society published a wonderful article in Issue 8 of the Berkeley Journal titled “Houses and Historic Sites Locates on the James Crumley Land Grant.”  This journal, published in 1979, is still available for purchase through the Historical Society.  All of the plat and survey information is from that article.

In February 1757, William acquired from his father 270 acres at the southern end of the Lord Fairfax tract, in what is now Berkeley County, West Virginia.

James Crumley land divided

One of the Crumley cousins who has visited the site was kind enough to send this map as well.

James Crumley land map

It was also in 1757 that William’s father, James, wrote his will.  Perhaps James was getting his affairs in order.

Frederick County Deed Book 4, page 229, recorded on March 1, 1757:

On February 28, 1757, this indenture between James Crumley (spelled Cromley throughout) and William Crumley (spelled Cromley throughout) both of Frederick County, for 2 shillings current money of Virginia, Frederick County tract of 270 acres…Thomas Martin corner…foot of a ridge…along Martin’s line…crossing Mill Creek…part of 742 acres granted to James Crumley by deed from the proprietors office bearing the date of first of February MDCCLIV (1754).  William Crumley to pay the rent of one ear of Indian corn on Lady Day next.  Signed by James Crumley his mark and witnessed by Thomas Wood, Edmond Cullen and William Dillon

This deed is registered with the court and followed by a similar deed which seems to release William from a one year indenture.

March 1, 1757 James Crumley to William Crumley for 22 shillings…release and confirm unto the said William Crumley (in his actual possession now being by virtue of a bargain and sale to him hereof made for one year indenture bearing date the day next before the date of these presents and force of the statute for transferring uses into posessions)…tract or parcel containing 270 acres.

Today that land is located on Greenspring Road near the Frederick County line on the most southern section of the James Crumley land grant.

The description is exactly as the first document as are the witnesses and it is filed on the same day, March 1st, 1757.

James Crumley home

Today, this map shows the location of the original James Crumley home at 3641 Apple Pie Ridge Road.  It was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 2006 as the Crumley-Lynn-Lodge House in Frederick County, VA.

James Crumley Apple Pie Ridge

The Hopewell Meeting house (shown below) lay southeast of James property, and William’s land lay north, just over or straddling the border between Virginia and West Virginia today.

James Crumley Hopewell

You can see Mill Creek, shown on James’s original grant, running parallel with 51.2 in West Virginia today, south of Gerrardstown.

James Crumley road along Mill Creek

Religion and Politics

William Crumley, along with his father and siblings were residents of Frederick County when George Washington won his first elective office as a Frederick County delegate to the Virginia House of Burgesses in July, 1758, so it possible that the two may have had some contact. Washington, however, did not actually live in Frederick County and did very little campaigning there, other than to buy plenty of liquor for the voters.  Voting was a bit different then.

Quaker men were supposed to abstain from drinking alcohol, but that did not seem to apply to our Crumley men, judging from the contents of their estates.

George Washington kept a diary.  It seems he endorsed that old saying about holding your friends close, but holding your enemies closer.  At least, he wanted to know who was on his side, and who was not.

At that time, voting was not private like it is today.  One had to declare publicly who you were voting for.  Voters were allowed to vote for two candidates.

After Washington received the Frederick County polling results, he made an alphabetic list of all the voters and their publicly proclaimed choices. James Crumley and his sons John and William voted for Hugh West. John and William also voted for Colonel Washington, but James, their father, cast only the one vote.   In addition to his voting preference, this also confirms that William was at least 21 years of age by this time.

Like his father, William was a member of the Parish vestry, serving in 1759. Although the Vestry was actually under the jurisdiction of the official Episcopal Church, it had political functions as well, and it was not unusual for Quakers to be members.

Henings Statutes shows that in November of 1769, William was indeed a vestryman.  He and his fellow vestrymen were authorized to levy taxes on the residents to pay for the outcome of a suit wherein a former minister sued for back pay. Chapter LV, page 416:

WHEREAS William Meldrum, clerk, late minister of the parish of Frederick, in the county of Frederick, by judgment of the honourable the general court, hath recovered against John Hite, John Greenfield, John Bowman, Thomas Speake, John Lindsay, William Cocks, Robert Lemen, William Crumley, Cornelius Riddell, Isaac Hite, Thomas Swearingen, and John Funk, gentlemen, late vestrymen of the said parish, the sum of one hundred and forty-nine pounds twelve shillings and one penny, for the balance of his salary as their minister; and also three pounds and nine pence, and four thousand six hundred and fifty-five pounds of tobacco, for costs; and whereas the said vestry were also at some charges in their defence; and it appearing to this present general assembly, that it is reasonable that the said vestry, or such of them as have actually paid the said judgment, costs, and charges, should be reimbursed the same, and such commissions as they, or any of them, may have paid for having the same levied on them: Be it enacted, by the Governor, Council, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That the present vestry of the said parish shall and may, and they are hereby authorized and required to levy and assess, upon the tithable persons within their parish, the amount of such judgment, costs, charges, and commissions…

William Crumley was married in about 1761 to Hannah Mercer, daughter of Edward Mercer and his wife Ann.

The Hopewell Church (VA) history book (671 pages) mentions James Crumley, father of William (the first), but William is never mentioned in the book.  William (the first), we know, was also a Vestrymen of the Anglican church, but this is known only from the Laws of Virginia.  It seems strange that no mention is made of William’s “disownment by reason of marriage outside the Quaker faith”, a very common practice in those early years, if in fact he married outside the faith.  If he married within the faith, then his son, William (the second) split with the church at some point, because by 1797, William (the second) was a founder of a Methodist Church in Greene County, TN.

William’s Father Dies

In 1764, William’s father, James died and his will was probated.  William was one of several children mentioned.

In 1773, William, his brother Henry, and their niece Ruth (Doster) Noland through husband Thomas Noland sold 200 acres at the southern end of the Lord Fairfax tract in 1773 to Thomas Faulkner, who had married Jane Dunn, William’s mother-in-law.

Deed Book 2, page 149.

“Two hundred acres being part of a large tract containing 744 acres granted to James Crumwell (sic) decd from the proprietor of the Northern Neck…the said William Crumley, Henry Crumley and Thomas Nolan to Thomas Faulkner.  Hannah William’s wife, Ruth Thomas Nolan’s wife and Sarah Henry’s wife…William Crumley is attorney in fact for Henry Crumley.  One hundred sixty pounds and 8 shillings.  Dated Aug 18, 1773 (I can’t tell if is the date of the deed or of the poa following.  I believe it is the deed.)

William Crumley
Hannah Crumley
Henry Crumley
Thomas Noland
Ruth Noland

William Boyd
Joseph Kile
John Ridgeway
John Tryall?

William’s Wife Dies

In about 1773, William’s wife, Hannah, died.  William and Hannah had 5 children that lived to adulthood.  If they were married in 1761, they likely had at least 6 children, and possibly 7.  It appears that they lost at least one child.

After Hannah’s death around 1773, William married Sarah Dunn, daughter of James and Jane Dunn and step-daughter of Thomas Faulkner, whom, we know is a neighbor because William sold part of James land to Thomas Faulkner.  So William married the neighbor’s daughter.

We know by this time that William was not active in the Quaker church, because in 1774 after his marriage to Sarah, the Hopewell Friends disowned her for marrying “contrary to discipline.”  Obviously, Sarah had to know that would happen before she married William, and didn’t care.

The Revolutionary War

When William was about 45 years old, the Revolutionary War became a reality in Virginia.

In 1781, William was among the Berkeley County citizens who provided supplies for the use of the Revolutionary armies. One certificate (receipt) dated September 30, 1781 indicated that he and three others, including his wife’s brother William Dunn and her stepfather Thomas Faulkner were generously entitled to 225 pounds for just eleven bushels and a peck of wheat.

The only record of William actually receiving reimbursement was a 1782 Publick Service Claim, in which he was “allowed 5 pounds for eight days in actual service as a receiver in Collecting the cloathing and provisions for the use of the state.  This “patriotic service” has qualified at least two of his descendants for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Oral history of wars and service therein, especially if you are on the “right” side tends to be one of the tidbits passed along within families.

Portrait and Biography Album, Jefferson Co., IA, (1890), 188, Sketch of Isaaac H. Crumly, Sec. 9, Penn Township:

Born in East Tennessee Dec 24, 1820 and traces his ancestry back to early Colonial days when his great-grandfather, William Crumly, resided in Virginia. Large slave-holder and served in the Revolution. His son William was a farmer and removed to Tennessee when that country was first settled.  His son Abraham was born in Greene Co., Tenn. in 1787…Abraham Crumly, father of Isaac H. married Elizabeth Marshall, born 25 June 1796, dau. of Abram and Martha (Doane) Marshall; she died 29 Mar 1827. Abraham married, 2nd, Jane McNees, who died 8-18-1845.

William (the first) had at least 15 children in total, who are listed in his will as recorded in Berkeley County, then Virginia, now West Virginia, Will Book 2 page 185-187.

William’s Death

William died in Berkeley County between September of 1792 and September of 1793, most likely in the summer of 1793 or his will would have been probated earlier in the year.  He had gotten his crops planted before he died, because his inventory includes a field of corn.

In William’s will he wrote:

“…My plantation I purchased from my brother John to be sold by my executors to my best advantage, payments to be made but the land not given up to the purchaser until March 26, 1795 which is the expiration of John Antraus lease.  When my executors receive the whole of the purchase money they are to give each of my children that is come of age the sum of 10 pounds.  I leave to my loving wife Sarah Crumley all the rest and the remainder of my estate both real and personal for life or whist she remains my widow.  My widdow Sarah Crumly shall Rays my children together to give them learning out of the profits that arises from my Estate the boys to read write and cifer The Girls to read and write.”

If Sarah remarries, the entire estate is to be sold and after deducting for “raising and schooling my young children” the estate is to be equally divided among my 15 children after adding? to each what they have already received namely James, Ann, William, Catherine, Aaron, Jane, Thomas, Sarah, Henry, Mary, Stephen, Elizabeth, John, Martha and Rebecca.  If any of the children die, the balance to be divided among the remaining children.  Is Sarah remains a widow until her death, the estate to be divided the same way.  Good friend David Faulkner and wife Sarah Crumley executors.  Dated Sept. 30, 1792

William Wilson
Tom Doster
John Watson Sr.
Jesse Rubell (Ruble)

William Crumley died between the date his will was filed in Berkeley County, Virginia, 30 September 1792, and the date it was proved, 17 September 1793, age about 58.  He was not an old man, at least not by today’s standards.  Given that he made his will almost a year before he died, he clearly had advance warning that something was amiss.

I find it interesting that the boys were to be taught to “read, write and cipher,” but the girls only to read and write.  I guess they didn’t need to know how to cipher back then, or at least William didn’t think they did.

The fact that William’s will was probated in Berkeley County tells us that he was living on the land from the James Crumley land grants, not the land his father owned in Frederick County on Apple Pie Ridge.

Houses on the Crumley Land

The journal article tell us that after Sarah’s death in 1809, David Faulker, William’s executor, then living in Greene Co., Ohio, sold William’s plantation of 270 acres for $6000 to Aaron M. Crumley and Thomas Crumley (Superior Court Deed book 20, page 47).  A year later, the brothers sold the land for $4468.33 to Abraham Waidman of Berk’s County, PA (DB 27, p 241).  It sure makes me wonder why they were willing to take a significant hit of about 1/3 of the land’s value in just a year.  Frances Silver then acquired the land, some before 1820 and some after.  Between 1820 and 1821, according to tax records, he build a large, by the standards of those days, brick house which was still standing when the journal article was written.

James Crumley Francis Silver Houe

The home that William would have lived in likely looked much more like a log cabin, and probably was a log cabin.  This cabin, below, was built on the middle section of James land.  William was assuredly in and out of this cabin regularly, as Thomas Faulkner was his second wife’s step-father.

James Crumley Faulkner cabin

The journal article tells us that Thomas Faulkner built a log cabin on this land in 1775 with a wing added about 1785 that was still standing in 1979 when the article was written.

James Crumley Hodgson cabin

William Crumley Homestead

I was able to find William Crumley’s land on an 1890 map by following the ownership of the Silver land, as stated below.

Francis Silver acquired the Crumley land in two tracts. The first tract of 62 acres before 1820. He built the beautiful brick house in 1821. The 1820 land book lists no house. The 1822 lists $1,000.00 added for improvements added last year. He purchased the larger tract from Abraham Waidman in 1829 (DB lost). In 1836 Francis Silver sold the brick house with 275¾ acres to his son Zephaniah Silver who had married Martha Jane Henshaw April 17, 1834. They kept the plantation until after the Civil War and sold in 1868 for $12,000.00 to John Hershey. John Hershey sold the house with 197 acres for $5,000.00 to Andrew B. Houck and Samuel Garver. May 1, 1876 (DB 73, p. 275). Samuel Garver and A. B. Houck sold in 1880 to J. R. Brown and Robert M. Brown (DB 77, p. 119, page 259). Joseph R. Brown sold his half interest to Robert M. Brown in 1885, who sold the same year to Charles G. Boyles and James K. Boyles for $8,100.00. Charles G. Boyles sold his half interest to James K. Boyles in 1919. James K. Boyles died in 1932 leaving all his estate to be divide equally between his children (WB 27, p. 386). Daughter Maggie R. Busey died in 1951. The heirs of James K. Boyles sold to James A. Lockard in 1959 who gave a Deed of Trust to Darrell K. Koonce. In 1962 . . .

On the following map, you can see the location of J. Boyles land at what looks like the headwaters of Mill Creek, just north of the border of Berkeley County and Frederick County, on the road that today leads to Gerrardsville.  You can also see North Mountain to the left.

Berkeley county 1890

On these satellite views, you can see the same road today.  The house on the map above is about half way between the dog leg in the road north of the house and the state line ot the south, between the creek and the road.

On the map view of the area, you can see the same dog leg in the road and today, there is  Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, shown in green, across from this area.

William Crumley land map

Moving to the satellite map, you can see the farms in that location today.

William Crumley land satellite

Moving a little closer.

William Crumley land satellite 2

Moving even closer you can see that there is a working farm in this location.

William Crumley land satellite 3

Unfortunately, there is no street view of this area.  The address of this property today is 3647 Dominion Road.

William Crumley farm today

This looks like the original structure.

William Crumley farm home

So, mapping the way from William Crumley’s house to his father’s house on Apple Pie Ridge looks like this.

William Crumley to James Crumley

Visiting William Crumley’s Property (added October 2015)

A speaking engagement in Richmond in the fall of 2015 provided me with the opportunity to visit Apple Pie Ridge in Frederick County, Virginia and the area of Berkeley County, West Virginia that adjoins Frederick County.  William’s father, James Crumley lived on Apple Pie Ridge Road and left sons John and William land a few miles north of his home location.

William Crumley 1c

This path from Apple Pie Ridge Road up the valley to Gerrardstown is the natural path that was once an Indian trail, then a wagon road.  Today, it’s lined with apple trees and orchards, heavy with ripe apples.

William Crumley 2

From Apple Pie Ridge Road, going north, you turn on Winding Hill, then north on Frog Hollow Road which becomes Dominion Road when you cross the state line.  Winding Hill does just that, winds down the hill.

William Crumley 3

The ridge of mountains is forever to the west, standing as a marker that was once the barrier to westward expansion.  This path was the path that the French and Indians took in 1754 to raid the valley and attack the settlers from Gerrardstown to Winchester, and south.  The Europeans weren’t the first to discover that this was the natural pathway along the mountain ridge.

William Crumley’s property spans the state line, with most, including the house being on the West Virginia side.

William Crumley 4

Today, much of the land is cleared, but when James and William Crumley first saw this land, taking the original patent, it was entirely forested and probably looked a lot like this, minus the fence.  They cleared the land one tree at a time – a formidable job.

William Crumley 5

You can see the original house before you cross the state line, although at one time, this was William’s property too.

William Crumley 6

Today, the land in Virginia is newer homes with nicely manicured lawns.

William Crumley 7

William’s land included the headwaters of Mill Creek which meanders north from William’s property through the valley into Gerrardstown.  James Crumley originally owned 752 acres here, more than a mile by a mile if it were square.

William Crumley 8

The headwaters of the creek are on the right side of the road, between the state line and the barns.  You can see the tree, above, growing in about that location in what is today just a field.

William Crumley 9

This would have been a prime location for a house, because the water is guaranteed to be clean and fresh with no one upstream.

William Crumley 10

I wonder if the original cabin was actually near where the spring emerged from the ground in this meadow or if it was where the house is today.

William Crumley 11

Not wanting to disturb the homeowner, we took photos from the church and cemetery across the road.

William Crumley 12

Families who owned this property after William are buried in the cemetery, which causes me to ask the question of whether or not the cemetery is the original Crumley family cemetery.  It would make a lot of sense and it’s directly across the road from the house.

William Crumley 13

The oldest part of the cemetery is directly behind the church.

We know that William Crumley was not Quaker when he died, because his second wife was dismissed from the Quaker church for marrying outside her faith.  Therefore, William and at least his second wife would have been buried in a family cemetery, likely on his land.  His first wife, Hannah, may be buried here as well.

William’s first wife, Hannah Mercer, died relatively young and her family was Quaker, as was William’s father, James Crumley.  Hannah’s father, Edward Mercer was dismissed from the church in 1759, so we don’t know if Hannah continued to follow the Quaker faith or not.  We also don’t know when William “converted” but we do know that he was raised Quaker, but by the time that he married Sarah Dunn in 1774, he was no longer Quaker.

William Crumley 14

William’s land looking west behind the church.

William Crumley 15

It’s difficult to see the actual house with the trees in front.  The rear is clearly an addition.  The front part may well be original.

William Crumley 16

The house actually sits up on a little hill which would assure that the house and barn remained dry, so I’m thinking that this was likely the original location of the house.

William Crumley 17

William’s land extended on north.  This was the southernmost part of his land, then his brother John’s land began.

William Crumley 18

William and John owned the land on both sides of the road.

William Crumley 19

We were able to pull into a driveway and actually see Mill Creek at one point, a bit north of the house.

William Crumley 20

In the curves about half way to Gerrardstown, we saw this historic stone structure beside Mill Creek and wondered how it was used.

Gerrardstown is north of the Crumley land, but not very distant.  This was the closest crossroads village and William would have traversed this road often – certainly any time he had to go to “town” which was the county seat, Martinsburg.

On the corner, we found this old log structure still standing.  It reminded me a lot of the James Crumley property with two independent and unconnected buildings sharing a wall.

William Crumley 21

The man who runs the little local general store told us that this building used to be the tavern and was a very important building where lots of business was conducted.  I’m guessing it was THE most important building in Gerrardstown at one time and may have been here when William rode his horse or drove his wagon on this very road.

We ended our driving tour of William’s land by having lunch in the one and only little corner store in Gerrardstown.  It had one table, the food was homemade and there were three local history books on the table.  If you don’t want to sit inside at the table, then you can sit in one of the two chairs out front and use the top of a barrel for a table.  You’ll be visiting with the local guys sitting out there – much like William probably did some 250+ years ago.

William Crumley 22

William’s Estate

David Faulkner and Sarah Crumley accepted executorship of William’s estate, and Thomas Faulkner and John Watson entered a bond of 1000 pounds for their true and faithful administration of said estate.

On page 219 of Will Book 2, William’s estate was appraised on October 15, 1793 by John Gray, Matthew Rippey and David Baldwin.

Item Appraised Amount in Pounds
One bay mare and colt 22.0.0
One yearling colt 12.0.0
One grey horse 10.0.0
One gray mare 3.0.0
One black mare 9.0.0
One brown cow 3.10
One brindle cow 3.10
One spotted cow 2.17.6
One white cow 3.5
One red cow 3.0.0
One brindled heifer 2.5
One white backed cow 3.6
One white steer 3.0
One red steer 1.16
One pied heifer 2.0
One white cow 3.4
Four calves 2.8
A steer sold to pay for the coffin 1.17.2
Beef sold 2.15.10
19 sheep 5.14
One wagon (sic) 3.0
17 gears at 28 1.8.4
Two plows and one lathing 2.3
650 doz wheat 30.0.0
16 tun hay 24.0.0
123 doz rye 7.10
Vetting? Box 0.7.6
Lock chair and 4 pair gears 3.3.0
27 hogs 9.18
One plow 0.15
Field of corn 3.15
Three hoes and a grubbing hoe 0.6.6
A spade, two dung forks and 3 axes 1.5
A shovel, a sythe and 3 sickles 0.12.0
Pair steelyards 0.3.6
Shoemakers tools 0.4
Iron wedge, old iron and wool sheers 0.4.9
Heel tools or steel tools and 2 bee hives 2.5
A saddle and cloth, a table and 2 bridles 2.3
4 pair stockings 0.12
Pair shoes 0.4.6
Stock buckle knee buckles and brouch 0.12
One pair leggings 0.4
Great coat 1.10
A coat 0.10
Jacket and breeches 0.8
White (probably breechees) 0.3
A Bible 0.16
Sundry other books 0.2.6
Tea kettle 0.12
Warming pan 0.18
Shovel and tongs and irons 0.13
Frying pan 0.4
Flat iron 0.6
Three pots and a kettle 1.0
Two pot racks 0.6
Handsaw gauge and auger 0.4
5 pewter dishes 1.5
Two dozen plates 0.13
Four basons (sic) 0.6
Pails and buckets 0.6
Tea equipage bottles 0.6
A chest 1.8
A case of crawers 3.10
A dough trough 0.12
A table 1.4
Two doz old casts and two casks and malt 1.3
A bed bedstead and furniture 1.10
Three pair cards (for spinning wheel) 0.3
Spinning wheel 0.14
Reel with 4 big wheel and two riddles 0.11.6
Saddle 6.6
Negro wench 55.0.0
An arm chair 6.0.0
Five chairs 1.0.0
Four chairs 0.6
A cradle 0.6
A trundle bedstead and bedding 1.4
A feather bed and furniture 2.5
A bedstead feather bed and furniture 8.0
44 pounds wool 3.6
Small tub 0.1.6
A turee? and 2 cyder barrels 0.10.0
A neel tub and two kegs 0.4.6
Old bags 0.6
A hatchet 0.0.6
A grid iron 0.4.6

I must say, my heart sank when I saw the entry, “negro wench.”  Her name wasn’t even given.  Yet she was the most valuable single item in William’s appraisal which totaled 292.14.1.

However, William is far from being a “large slave holder” as reported in Isaac Crumley’s biographical article.

William’s father, James, also owned one slave at his death, and he was an active member of the Quaker church – a surprising and conflicting set of facts.  I wonder how he justified that.  William had clearly stepped away from the Quaker Church.  Maybe his beliefs about slavery had something to do with that decision.

Looking at William’s inventory, it appears that he was a shoemaker.  Everyone was a farmer in that time and place, but generally, each farmer had some sort of specialized skill which is a secret divulged by the items in their estate inventory.

William had 4 beds, one of which, assuredly a feather bed, was his.  Children typically all slept together in colonial America.  No separate rooms and no luxury of sleeping alone either.

William didn’t have a lot of clothing, even for a man of that time.  Clothing was not changed daily or washed often, as we do today.  Generally, clothing was washed seasonally, and may have been boiled as a form of washing, depending on the material at hand.  In essence, William had one outfit with a few spare pieces.  Let’s take a look at what he had.

Stockings, at that time, were generally white and hand knit of wool or linen and came up over the knee.  There was no elastic, so stockings were held up by garters made of ribbon, leather strips or knitted.  William had 4 pair of stockings, but he only had one pair of shoes.

colonial shoesShoes during that time were handmade, and William probably made his own.  There was no left or right.  In fact, people were encouraged to change their shoes back and forth so their shoes didn’t become left and right.  Shoes were fastened with buckles and soles were fitted with hobnails and iron heel protectors which kept the soles from wearing out. It looks like these “heel tools” were part of William’s inventory as well, as were a variety of buckles.

colonial shoes stockings and breeches

Leggings were generally leather and went over breeches to protect them when out in the brush.  They were the sign of an outdoorsman and not a gentleman.  Leggings came from Native American influence.colonial outfit

A jacket and breeches probably referred to a waistcoat and breeches, shown here from this University of Massachusetts website about colonial clothing.

William’s breeches could have been only knee length.  It was later in the 1700s when they became ankle length.

colonial breeches

Colonial Williamsburg also has a wonderful page showing men’s clothing of this timeframe.  They show a coat, which was a daily piece of clothing that went on top of (or in place of) a waistcoat and breeches.  Sometimes the coats matched the breeches.  Buttons were both expensive and stylish.

colonial coat

William had a great coat, which was similar to our winter coats today.  They were heavy, thick and generally knee length.

colonial great coat

colonial shirt and stockingsInterestingly, William’s inventory does not include any shirts.  A shirt, shown at left, would have been the foundation garment that went underneath the coat.  Underwear did not yet exist at this time.  Shirts were long and the bottom of the shirt was tucked strategically in place to function as a protective layer to keep breeches clean – in other words, pseudo-underwear.  Maybe William’s shirt or shirts were too old and worn out to be considered of any value.

I also notice that William did not have a wig.  This further confirms that he did not move in gentlemanly circles, but was more the frontiersman.  So while William was on George Washington’s list, he certainly was not his peer and likely didn’t come calling.

Clothing was considered quite valuable and not treated disposably as it is today.  Many pieces of colonial clothing, including stockings, were repeatedly patched.  Sometimes people willed their clothing to a particular family member.  It would have been a wonderful gift to receive.

The estate inventory also mention’s William’s coffin.  Interesting that the price of a coffin is equal to a steer.

This begs the question – where was William buried?  We can pretty safely say he was not buried in the Hopewell Friend’s Cemetery since they had kicked his wife out for marrying William.  He was very likely buried on his own land.  The question would then be whether or not that cemetery was continued by the next owners, or if it was lost in time to Nature, or worse.  Is there a lost cemetery someplace near the Francis Silver House today?

Distributing William’s Estate to His Children

After William’s widow, Sarah, died in 1809, sons Thomas and Aaron sold the 270-acre tract as set forth in William’s will.

Two years later, each of the children received $479.09.

Children of William Crumley and Hannah Mercer:

a) James Crumley, oldest son of William Crumley, was born around 1764 in Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia). In 1787, he was living with his brother-in-law, Thomas Rees. He married Mary (Polly) Stonebridge, daughter of John and Mary (Hancher) Stonebridge, and lived on land in Frederick County that his wife inherited from her father. His wife Mary died 9 May 1813 and is buried in the Back Creek Meeting House cemetery in Gainsboro, Virginia. James married Elizabeth Downey, a widow, on Christmas Eve, 1815.  They probably struggled financially; two 1821 Deeds of Trust indicate they had borrowed money, using their property as collateral. He was living in Frederick County with his wife in 1830. James Crumley was at least 65 years of age when died without a will.

b) Ann Crumley, born about 1764, married about 1781 to Thomas Rees, son of Thomas and Hannah (Rees) Rees moved to Washington County, Pennsylvania. d. before 1811. Children: Hannah Reese, Jesse Reese, Nancy Reese, William Reese, Rachel Reese, Sarah Reese, James Reese [ca. 1800], Soloman Reese [1802], Thomas Reese, Jr. [ca. 1804].

c) William Crumley (the second), born around 1767, married an unknown wife and moved to Greene County, TN around 1795.

d) Catharine Crumley, born about 1769, married (1) John Eyre, moved to Ross County, Ohio; (2) 1804 James Mooney; moved to Fayette County, Ohio. Died 28 December 1857, buried Walnut Creek Cemetery, Perry Township, Fayette County, Ohio. Children: Robert Eyre, Hannah Eyre, Samuel Eyre, Nancy Eyre, William Eyre; Eliza Mooney [1805], James Mooney, Jr. [1812], Catharine Mooney, Mary (Polly) Mooney.

e) Aaron Mercer Crumley, born 22 October 1771, married 3 February 1796 to Jane Atherton and moved to Greene County, Ohio. Aaron died 18 August 1835, buried Mt. Holly Cemetery near Xenia, Ohio. Children: William Crumley [1798], Hannah Crumley [ca. 1799], Mary (Polly) Crumley [1800], a son [ca. 1802], Sidney Amelia Crumley [ca. 1804], Edward Mercer Crumley [ca. 1806], Maria Crumley [1807], Aaron Crumley [1809], Jane Crumley [1812], Clarissa Matilda Crumley [1814].

Children of William and Sarah Crumley:

f) Jane Crumley, born about 1774, married (1) Jonah Bull, son of Robert and Sarah (Littler) Bull, moved to Butler County, Ohio; (2) 18 October 1825 John S. Patton. Children: not yet identified; the 1820 Butler County census shows 1 boy under 10, 1 between 10 and 16, and 1 between 16 and 26; 1 girl between 10 and 16, and a woman 26 to 45. Jane and Jonah were 45+.

g) Thomas Crumley, born 31 December 1776, married 22 January 1801 Elizabeth Gardner moved to Harrison County, Ohio. d. 3 July 1861, buried in Dickerson Graveyard, Harrison County, Ohio. Children: Samuel Crumley [1801], Sarah Crumley [1802], Mary Crumley [1805], William Crumley [ca. 1807], Thomas Crumley, Jr. [ca. 1808], Ira Crumley [1809], Elizabeth Crumley [1811], John Crumley [1813], Hannah Crumley [ca. 1816], James [1817, the 1840 Harrison County census taker], Aaron W. Crumley [1820], Emily Crumley [1822], Joseph Crumley [1824], David M. Crumley [1827].

h) Sarah Crumley, born about 1778, married 10 February 1800 Jesse Wright, son of Benjamin and Jane (Faulkner) Wright. Children: not yet identified; the 1810 Berkeley County census indicated that there were 3 boys and 1 girl under 10 years of age.

i) Henry Crumley, born 10 April 1780, married (1) 30 August 1801 Mary Rees, daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Rees) Rees; (2) 11 April 1814 Elizabeth Flowers, moved to Greene County, Ohio, and to Fountain County, Indiana (3) 6 February 1840 Jane Black, d. 24 September 1864, buried Union Church Cemetery, Aylesworth, Indiana. Children: Matilda Crumley, Julean Crumley, Harriet Crumley, John Crumley, Rees Crumley [ca. 1818].

j) Mary Crumley, born 2 June 1782, married 22 October 1806 John Heberling, son of Andrew Heberling, moved to Harrison County, Ohio, died 13 April 1864, buried Short Creek Township, Harrison County, Ohio. Children: Henry Heberling, Eliza Heberling, Hiram Heberling [ca. 1811], John Heberling [ca. 1812], William Heberling, George H. Heberling [1814], James Heberling, Andrew Heberling, Rebecca Heberling, Mary Heberling.

Mary Crumley Heberling’s tintype photo below is the oldest Crumley photo known. It appears that she is wearing a Quaker bonnet – part of the “plain dress” doctrine of the Quaker faith.

Mary Crumley 1782-1864

k) Stephen Crumley, born 3 April 1784, moved to Green County, Ohio. married 30 May 1813 to Jane Stanfield, daughter of William and Charity (Mendenhall) Stanfield, moved to Fountain County, Indiana; d. 6 February 1837, buried Union Church Cemetery, Aylesworth, Indiana. Children: William Crumley [1815], James C. Crumley [1817], Nancy Crumley [1819], Mary Crumley [1820], Charity Crumley [1823], Stephen Crumley, Jr. [1824], Euphemia Crumley [1826], John Crumley [1828], Sarah Crumley [1829].

l) Elizabeth Crumley, born about 1786, married 24 April 1809 to Isaac Booth, son of Thomas Booth; moved to Washington County, Pennsylvania, and Harrison County, Ohio. Died before 1824. Children: Thomas Booth, Jeremiah Booth, William Booth.

m) John Crumley, born about 1788, married 20 January 1812 to Elizabeth Hancher. Died 12 September 1814. Children: Sarah Crumley. His widow married 7 December 1819 to Richard Beeson.

n) Martha Crumley, born about 1791, married to Thomas Wright, son of Benjamin and Jane (Faulkner) Wright; moved to Columbiana County, Ohio. Children: William C. Wright [1815].

o) Rebecca Crumley, born about 1792, married 4 November 1813 to William Stewart. Moved to Harrison County, Ohio. Children: not yet identified; the 1820 Berkeley County census shows 3 boys under 10.

DNA and Origins

One of the mysteries about the Crumley family is where they originated.  The Quaker faith seems to suggest England, strongly, but does the DNA tell us the same thing?

Looking at the matches and matches map for our Crumley men who took the Y DNA test, we find the following Ancestral Locations at 111 markers:

  • Scotland – 3 (Graham, McCreight and McWhorter)
  • Ireland – 1 from Kilkenny, Ireland

At lower marker levels, Scotland and Ireland are still very prevalent, with English lagging significantly behind.

An Ancestral Location is a balloon that shows where someone you match finds their most distant ancestors.  Of course, this is subject to the accuracy of their genealogy, but we’re looking for patterns, not individual occurrances, unless we happen to find another Crumley male.  Unfortuantely, there are no Crumley’s from the British Isles that have tested, at least, none that match our line.

At 67 markers, the matches map looks like this:

Crumley matches 67 markers

Not everyone enters the geographic information for their most distant ancestor, but generally, as long as there are several matches, you can still get a good idea of the distribution.

At 37 markers, we see the following distribution on the Matches Map.

Crumley matches 37 markers

This pattern is far more suggestive of Ireland than England, although clearly, it doesn’t rule England out.  We may also be seeing deep ancestry, not more recent ancestry, since the advent of surnames.

Hopefully, one day, we’ll match a Crumley male from England who knows exactly where his ancestral family was from.  Our Crumley line may be linked to the history of the Quakers in England.

Acknowledgements: Irmal Crumley Haunschild and Nella Myers, researchers who contributed greatly to Crumley research here, and who have gone on to meet the ancestors.  Thanks also to Paul Nichols, Larry Crumley and Jerry Crumly who are all very much alive!

Mitochondrial DNA Sale at Family Tree DNA

ftdna mtdna sale

Family Tree DNA is running a short sale on mitochondrial DNA testing. These discounts don’t come up often, so now is a good time to take advantage of this if you’re so inclined. Remember, mitochondrial DNA is a direct line path up your matrilineal line – your mother – her mother – her mother – as far back as you can go genealogically…and further. Your haplogroup will tell you a great deal about where your ancestor was and originated before the advent of a traceable surname. I talked about my mitochondrial family discoveries in “Jasmine’s Journey of Discovery.”

A full sequence mitochondrial DNA test is available for 20% off the $199 retail, which makes it $159.20.

People who have already tested to the HVR1 or HVR2 level and want to upgrade will receive an offer for 25% off upgrades, taking the $139 retail upgrade price to only $104.25. The full sequence test is the only way to obtain your full haplogroup designation.

The sale ends at 11:59 pm August 31st. (Central time, of course.) These are the lowest prices FTDNA has had on mtDNA in quite some time – so if this is something you’ve been thinking about – now’s the time.

Click here to order.

Tom Bergeron, Who Do You Think You Are, “A Killing Field”

Tom Bergeron courtesy TLC.

Tom Bergeron courtesy TLC.

This Sunday, August 30 at 9/8c TLC will air TV host’s Tom Bergeron’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?  However, TLC was very late getting their episode info out, so I haven’t had the opportunity to preview.  I’ll be enjoying the episode right along with you.

In the episode, Tom Bergeron sets out to unravel the murky history of his paternal roots. Tracing back over 400 years, he uncovers the dramatic story of his 10x great-grandparents, who endured brutal warfare and starvation in France. Then Tom follows their daughter, who was orphaned as a teenager and bravely set off across the Atlantic, playing a significant role in establishing the New World.

“Someone dead for over 300 years, if you’re willing to listen, can teach you things about what you are doing now.”

I have French ancestors too, and I can’t wait to find out what Tom is talking about….

Ancestry Shared Matches Combined With New Ancestor Discoveries

Ancestry added a greatly anticipated feature this week that promises to help genealogists – shared matches.  This is similar to the “In Common With” feature at Family Tree DNA – at least in concept.

Shared Matches

Previous to this announcement, when you match someone at Ancestry, the only way you can see who else they happen to match in common with you is if you are placed in an ancestor DNA Circle with them – and then you can only see the other people in that Circle.

For example, here is my Henry Bolton DNA Circle.

circle henry bolton matches2

The people I match are shown with an orange line.  Each of those people match me, and they may also match other people in the Circle that I don’t match.

circle henry match matches2

Regardless of whether I match the individuals directly, or they match someone else that I match, the common factor is that we all share Henry Bolton identified as an ancestor in our tree.

What Ancestry introduced today is the ability to click on any of these people who match me, OR, the people in the circle who do NOT match me but who do share Henry Bolton in their tree and match others in the circle – and see who they match in common with me.  This should allow people to group their matches, at least tentatively and is especially promising for those frustrating people with whom you match closely but have private trees and won’t reply to messages.

While this is interesting for circles, it’s not terribly useful in terms of breaking down walls, because I already know Henry Bolton is my ancestor.  In other words, I wouldn’t be in the circle if I didn’t already know the identity of that ancestor.

What I’m particularly interested in, is applying this tool to my NADs, or New Ancestor Discoveries, because if I can figure out how these people truly are related to me, then I may be able to make a discovery of a new ancestor in my tree.  Now THIS holds a lot of promise and intrigues me greatly.  So, let’s take a look at my NADs and see how this new tool works and if it’s useful.  I can hardly wait!!!

State of the NADs

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that Ancestry and I have been having a bit of a friendly Bad NAD duel.  Ancestry keeps giving me new ancestor discoveries (NADs) but in several cases, I have unquestionably proven that those NADs are not my ancestors – hence the term – Bad NADs.  In one case, the new ancestor assigned to me is the husband of my ancestors sister.  However, I currently have three NADS that are related to each other than may benefit greatly by this new shared matches tool.

Since my last NAD update, where Diedamia Lyon and John David Curnutte were given to me a second time, another NAD has been added – John David Curnutte’s mother, Deresa Chaffin.

shared matches nads

Here’s the tree version of this relationship

shared matches nad tee

NAD Circles and Matches

In the NAD Circle for Diedamia Lyon, John David Curnutte and Deresa Chaffin, we find both Don and Michael, whom I match.

First, keep in mind that I may match both Don and Michael on other lines – so the fact that I match both of them and they both descend from a common ancestor does NOT mean that is how I connect genetically to both of them.  But for purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that it is and proceed.

The fact that we find these two individuals whose DNA I match in all three circles suggests that the relationship is through the Curnutte line, and not through Diedamia Lyon at all, except for the fact that these men also descend from her.  Given that John David’s Curnutte’s mother is also a NAD suggests that the connection to Diedamia Lyon and John David Curnutte is through the Curnutte line.  Although Deresa Chaffin’s husband is not listed, he is John Tolliver Curnutte and clearly, the connection might be through him as opposed to Deresa – just like the connection to the couple Diedamia Lyon and John David Curnutte was through the Curnutte husband.

The NAD Circle for Diedamia Lyon and John David Curnutte are identical, with two matches and 5 non-matching individuals.

shared nad diedemia lyon

For each one of these individuals in the Circle, if you click on their name on the right, you’ll be able to see a variety of information, including their pedigree and matching surnames, maps and locations, and the new shared matches tab.

shared matches shared surnames

The new shared matches tab is a great tool, and it’s particularly important, when unraveling NADs to use it in conjunction with the shared surnames, shown at left.  These are the surnames found in both your tree and the person whose tree you’re comparing against.

Let’s take a look at one of these – Moore, as an example.

shared matches surname compare

As you can see, these are either not the same line or at least can’t be identified as such.  However, in some cases, you may recognize your matches’ end of line person as connecting with your tree further upstream.  It’s times like this that having a robust tree where you’ve tracked downstream lineages of your ancestor’s siblings can be very beneficial.

By clicking on the shared matches option, you’ll see the following people who you match in common with the individual – in this case, Don, my DNA match.  I could also compare to one of the people in the Circle whom I don’t DNA match.

shared matches shared with

What I’m particularly looking for are matches with that lovely shakey leaf by the View Match button on the far right.  Ahem…there aren’t any, which means none of these matches match me with a known common ancestor.  Rats!!!

While Diedamia Lyon and John David Curnutte have the same members as each other in their NAD circles, John’s mother, Deresa Chaffin, has more members in her NAD circle – which means more opportunities for me to find common line hints..

shared matches nad circle

The DNA matches are to the same 2 people, but now there are additional people in the circle who also match Michael and Don.

The great news is that in addition to clicking on your matches to see who else they match, you can also click on any other circle member.  I’m very, very hopeful that a distinct trend emerges so I can tell at least what line these NADs might be associated with.

I needed a mechanism to keep track of who all my matches match, that I match, and what lines they descend from – so I created a spreadsheet.

NAD Matches Spreadsheet

shared matches spreadsheet

Column 1 – NAD – The ancestor’s name of the NAD Circle where these individuals are found as members.

Column 2 – Person in Circle – The “person in circle” is the individual whose name shows either as a DNA match or as a circle member who does not match my DNA, but does match the DNA of at least some of the other circle members.

Column 3 – DNA Match – Tells me if this person is a DNA match to me or not.

Column 4 – Common Family Line to Person in Circle – The common ancestral line (or lines) if I can determine whether or not we share a specific ancestral line.  By the way, just because we share that line does NOT mean that is how we are DNA related – and no – there is no way to tell without a chromosome browser.

Column 5 – Common Surnames to Person in Circle – Common surnames between my tree and the person in the Circle, as identified by Ancestry.

Column 6 – Shared Matches with Person in Circle – Names of Shared Matches between me and the person in the Circle.

Column 7 – Common Line with Shared Match – Common ancestral lines with shared matches (column 6).

I combined the information from Diedamia Lyon, John David Curnutte and John’s mother, Deresa Chaffin.  I sorted column 6, Shared Matches with Person in Circle, alphabetically, hoping that some of these matches would be the same, and they are, and would be identifiable to specific family lines.

So….Drum Roll….Who is the Common Ancestor???

I compared each person identified as a person in the NAD Circle (column 2), or any person that matches me and a person in the NAD Circle (column 6) with my other spreadsheet that I maintain listing all of my Ancestry matches and our common ancestors.

The group that includes the initials EVH are a family of siblings and their children, so they really only count once.  The person by the name Mars has a private tree, but told me that our common ancestor was Joel Vannoy and Phebe Crumley, the same individuals as my cousin group through EVH.

It’s certainly possible that the common DNA that connects me with Michael and Don and possibly with John David Curnutte’s parents are through the Vannoy/Crumley line.

If indeed, our common ancestor is upstream of Joel Vannoy and Phebe Crumley, which is a VERY BIG if, but it’s the only lead I have – then they must fill a known pedigree void.

Deresa Chaffin, according to the Ancestry overview (which is all I have to go on at this moment and is compiled from 705 trees which makes me exceedingly nervous) was born in 1775 in Virginia to Simon Chaffin and Agatha Curnutte.  She married John Tolliver Curnutte, so we have an intermarriage already (or incorrect surname information), which can mean a larger dose of the Curnutte DNA.  Trying to follow these individuals up their trees at Ancestry was an exercise in frustration and futility with many of the wives surnames being the same as the husband and no sources or documentation of any kind.  Suffice it to say, I can’t connect the dots through surnames or location, other than the state of Virginia.

However, looking at my tree, my vacancies for ancestors in that timeframe, in the Vannoy/Crumley branch of the tree are limited.

shared matches pedigree

Phebe, Jotham Brown’s wife’s surname is unknown, but they were married about 1760.

William Crumley’s wife’s name is unknown, but they were married by about 1788.  Clearly, Deresa being born in 1775 cannot be William Crumley’s wife (or Jotham Brown’s), and Deresa married a Curnutte, so she cannot be the ancestor in question for either vacancy.

John Tolliver Carunutte, Deresa’s husband was born about 1774, so clearly, he isn’t my ancestor either.  One generation upstream, I have vacancies for six unknown parents, one of which would have been surnamed Brown.  These people would have been born between 1720 and 1740, at the latest, and possibly earlier, so probably not John Tolliver or Deresa Chaffin’s parents either.

Unfortunately, we’re now back into the ether – and it’s very tenuous ether at that.  Without a chromosome browser, I can’t confirm that the DNA of any of these matches triangulate with the Vannoy/Crumley DNA line – or any line for that matter.

However, in the spirit of running every lead down, right into the ground, and in this case, into the rathole – I view these new shared matches as my only hope of ever unraveling the mystery of the 3 related NADs.  So far, I’ve proven they can’t be my ancestors, at least not in that line, but I still have absolutely no idea of how or if they are related to me – despite due diligence on my part- at least all the due diligence I can think of.

Suffice it to say I’m disappointed.  It’s not my lucky day.  No happy dance for me.  I guess I probably don’t have to mention that if Ancestry provided a chromosome browser, I wouldn’t even have to be slogging around in the mud trying to piece these puzzle pieces together that might not even be from the same puzzle.

However, your mileage may vary and it may be your lucky day, so please give this new shared matches tool a try.  If nothing else, it will help you group your matches by ancestral group and will give you clues as to the family groups of those people with private (or no) trees.  And who knows, maybe you’ll unravel your NAD and actually discover a new ancestor!!!  It could happen, especially if your matches are willing to download to GedMatch for verification!

Here’s Ancestry’s blog posting about the new shared match tool which includes a nice “how to” video.

Phasing Yourself

Do you ever have one of those “lightbulb” moments?

I do.

I was wishing there was a way at GedMatch to compare everyone against me and my mother at the same time – to see who we both match.  And then I realized….there is….but not in the way I had been thinking.

Both of my parents are deceased now, but my mother swabbed before she passed over…a gift I thank her for daily.

GedMatch provides a Phasing program, under Analyze Your Data.

GedMatch phasing

I used the Phasing program to recreate my father whose DNA hasn’t been available from him since 1963.  I had my DNA and my mother’s autosomal DNA results, so the phasing program compared those two files and split my DNA in half and created a “half” file that is my mother and the remainder “half” file that is my father – or at least the half of him that I received.

I looked at the Mom half file and thought to myself that I should delete it to make space since I have the whole Mom file.

I’m glad I didn’t, although I could certainly have recreated the file, because it’s that phased half Mom file that is the equivalent of running my matches against me and Mom together to see which of my matches match us both.

And the clear benefit, of course, is that I know immediately which side of the family my matches are from.  Plus, if anyone doesn’t match me and a parent, then the results are not IBD, identical by descent.  Phasing against a parent is the gold standard in determining IBD vs IBC or identical by chance.

Let’s take a look at the match results.  Please note that 1500 is the GedMatch display limit, so when you see 1500, it means more than 1500, but you have no idea how many more than 1500.  By running your two (maternal and paternal) half phased kits, you can obtain up to 3000 instead of being constrained by the 1500 limit.  In order to see more than 1500, you can sort several columns in highest to lowest and lowest to highest order, and often you can obtain the entire list by sorting the columns and copy/pasting to Excel, so long as the entire list isn’t over 3000.

10 cM 7 cM 5 cM
Full Kit 825 1500 1500
Mother Half 145 495 1500
Father Half 583 1143 1500
Total 2 Halves 728 1638 3000
Not IBD 97 >138 unknown

Truthfully, I was surprised to lose 97 matches at 10cM by having them match neither parent.  That’s about 12%.

The other tidbit you may find interesting is that I have so many more matches on my father’s side than on my mothers.  My mother’s four grandparents were Dutch (the immigrant off the boat), Brethren (endogamous, German), German (immigrant off the boat) and Acadian/English (here since very early 1600s, endogamous).  My father’s ancestors have been in this country for hundreds of years – all of them.  The German, Dutch and French aren’t nearly as well represented in the DNA data bases as are the traditional colonial Americans who had lots of children and moved west, into Appalachia leaving lots of descendants today trying to sort through their ancestry.

So, if you have one or both of your parents’ DNA, phase yourself at GedMatch.

For those of you who don’t have parents available, but do have other relatives, try the Lazarus tool to reconstruct part of an ancestor’s genome.

Elizabeth “Probably Not Webb” Estes (1715/1720-1772/1782 ), Wife of Moses, 52 Ancestors #86

Moses Estes Sr. did us a huge favor.  Both of his wives were named Elizabeth, so when he was an old man, he didn’t have any “jealous wife” memory type issues when he mistakenly used his first wife’s name in a fit of pique (or a fit of whatever) when talking to his second wife.  That’s a good thing, because indeed, he was an older gentleman when he married the second Elizabeth, Elizabeth Talbot, a widow, and he had a lot of years experience having said “Elizabeth.”  The favor he did was to tell us when, exactly, he married the second Elizabeth.  In 1782, they had a prenuptial agreement which was filed with the court.  How’s that for ahead of your time!

However, it’s the first Elizabeth I’m interested in, the mother of Moses’s children and specifically, my ancestor, Moses Estes Jr.

Was Elizabeth a Webb?

We’re actually fortunate that we know the first Elizabeth’s first name.  It’s her last name that is in question.  However, if you take a quick look at the Ancestry trees for Moses Estes, born in 1711 and who died in 1787, you’ll find that the majority of those trees list Webb as her last name, or mistakenly list Elizabeth Jones Talbot, Moses’s second wife.

Those same trees will list another tree as a source…and so it goes.  Around and around.  For the record – we don’t know the first Elizabeth’s last name.  It’s a myth – but a myth that might have a source.  You see, there was a reference to a record…someplace.

I have to confess here, I’ve never seen the original record, BUT, someplace, I have seen a researcher’s notes referring to a land record that included Moses Estes and a male Webb.  That researcher had made the “connection” that because Moses Estes bought or leased land from the Webb male, that the Webb male was Moses’s wife’s father.

A leap of faith you say?  Yes, a leap of something, that’s for sure.  But, it could be true and it’s a place to begin further research…if I could only find that doggone reference.

But the problem is that I’ve lost the reference and I don’t remember where I saw it…other than it was in someone’s handwritten notes years ago.  I remember thinking to myself “that’s it??!!!”  That’s how someone connected some extremely tenuous dots that Elizabeth’s surname was Webb?  I remember being incredulous and thinking that there was surely more.  Then, in the 1980s, a historical novel was released that included the Estes family, and Elizabeth’s name in that novel was Webb too.  The deck was stacked at that point, and in the annals of mythology, and online trees, Elizabeth’s surname became Webb and took on a life of its own.

I’ve pulled every record I have in this house, and didn’t find that reference.  Now I’m doubting myself.  Did I even see it?  Did I dream it?  Does it exist at all – even the researcher’s note?  And if that researcher’s note exists, does the real record exist?  As many Virginia records as I’ve extracted, I’ve never come across an Estes/Webb transaction and neither has my cousin, the retired lawyer who extracted half of Virginia for Estes names.  OK, that’s an exaggeration, probably not half, just the early counties, but still, she doesn’t have it in her records either.  Of course, not everyone extracts EVERY record by that surname.  Some people are sane humans and only extract their own line’s records.  So, if that happened, maybe Moses’s record was overlooked by other researchers.

So, if you happen to come across any Virginia land record of a Webb and an Estes – or any other record, for that matter, of a Webb and an Estes between about 1730 and 1770 or so, please, PLEASE send it to me complete with the reference and source.  I promise, I will never, ever, lose it again.

Because, you know, Elizabeth’s surname actually might be Webb, but I can’t research it any further until I find that doggone slippery reference that I know I saw at one time or another.

So, if we don’t know Elizabeth’s last name, what do we know about her?

Life in Virginia

We first find Moses Estes as an adult in Hanover County in 1734.  He would have been age 23 at that time, and he was purchasing land jointly with his brother Robert and his other brother John served as a witness.

In 1736, Moses patented land adjoining his brother’s land.

In general, men did not purchase land before they married, so it’s quite likely that Moses was married about 1734 to a local gal from Hanover County, the area that would become Louisa and then Amelia as new counties were formed.

Elizabeth’s son, William was born sometime between 1735 and 1740, so Elizabeth was probably born in 1715-1720 or maybe even slightly earlier.

In 1742 Louisa County was formed and the Estes lands fall into this county.  That’s a very fortunate turn of events, because Louisa County records exist where most of Hanover’s have been destroyed.  Unfortunately, the Hanover records that might include a marriage document, or estate documents for Elizabeth’s parents, are gone.

We know, due to later deeds, that Moses lived in an area between Contrary and Northeast Creeks in Louisa, later Amelia County, between the red arrows.  It was here that Elizabeth had her children and raised her three young boys.

Louisa Northeast Contrary Creeks

1742 is also about the time that Elizabeth’s son John was born.  Son Moses Jr. was born about that time as well. Elizabeth and Moses were probably just like all other pioneer couples and had a child every 18-24 months for as long as the female was fertile, which would have been until about 1755-1760 for Elizabeth.  However, we only know of three sons.

The transaction that tells us Elizabeth’s first name is a land sale in Amelia County in 1751 in which Elizabeth, wife of Moses, relinquished her dower right in the land.  Dower right in Virginia meant that if a man died, his wife was entitled to one third of his estate by right of dower.  The husband could not relinquish his wife’s dower rights, so she had to sign to relinquish those.  Typically, the wife was “examined separately” from her husband, so the husband could not influence her answer.  Of course, she had to go home with her husband, so I’m not sure how effective asking the wife privately if she relinquished her dower actually was.  Can’t you just imagine that ride home, had the wife said, “no” that it wasn’t by her own will that she was signing away her dower rights?  How many ways can you spell ugly??

A great many deeds don’t have this additional signature, and I know of one case where the man sold his land and died a couple years later.  The wife then sued the purchaser for her one third of his land and won.  Not only that, but she got the third with the house in which she was living at the time.  One gets the idea that maybe she didn’t know her husband sold the land they were living on, especially since it was a mortgage that defaulted, which is how the sale came about – through the default to the mortgage holder.  In that place and time, the mortgagee signed a deed that the mortgage holder redeemed if they defaulted.  That kind of situation, is, of course, exactly the reason that the wife had to sign, and woe be unto the buyer that doesn’t see to that detail.

In 1758, Elizabeth and Moses are living in Amelia County and the French and Indian War is in full swing.  The House of Burgesses passed an act for the defense of the frontier and we find Moses, John and William Estes of Amelia County on the roster.  These young men are probably still living at home, as they were late teenagers or in their early 20s and not yet married.

This list suggests that perhaps Moses Jr. was the youngest of the three sons and not quite old enough to serve with his father and older brothers.  He probably felt very left out and I’m sure he did not want to be left at home with his mother as his father and brothers got to ride off to war and do all of those “exciting” grown-up manly things – at lease from Moses Jr.’s perspective.

I’m sure Elizabeth was glad to have a son remain at home.  He may have been too young to ride with the men, but he was certainly old enough to provide some protection, farm labor and partnership to his mother.

Moses Sr. is mentioned in the court minutes and deed books from time to time, but another decade would pass before we hear from Elizabeth again.  In 1768, Moses Jr. sells the land he had purchased from his father-in-law, John Combs’, estate and that sale is witnessed by his father and mother, Moses Estes Sr. and Elizabeth.

By 1768, Elizabeth had attended the weddings of all three of her sons, had gained three daughter-in-laws and had at least half a dozen grandchildren to enjoy.

An Uncomfortable Juncture

In 1769, Moses Sr. filed suit in Amelia County against his brother, Elisha, surrounding his father, Abraham’s, estate distribution – never mind that Moses’s father died more than 48 years earlier.  This may be the worst case of procrastination I’ve ever seen.  Or maybe, a long-festering boil erupted between the brothers.

I suspect that when one person in a household does something that dramatic, it is reflected via the domino effect to the rest of the family members too.  This was probably a highly emotional time, with depositions, threats and high drama.  It’s hurtful to think or know that your sibling betrayed and cheated you.  Whether it was true or not, it surely appears that Moses believed it to be true.  Elisha, in essence, in court documents, called Moses a liar, another upsetting turn of events.  Moses surely paced and swore and cried, if he let Elizabeth see his tears.  It’s hard to be the one betrayed.  And either he was the one betrayed, or he was the betrayer.  Either way – a family ripped apart.  You know Elizabeth’s household was in a state of upheaval as these unpleasant events unfolded like layers of an onion.

Elizabeth’s three sons were married and had families of their own by this time.  They may have been living with Moses and Elizabeth, or on their property, or nearby.  If Elizabeth and Moses had other children, they would still have been at home.  Elizabeth probably tried to function normally, attending church and other normal social functions of the day.  But, assuredly, Elisha’s wife and children were there too.  Not only would this suit have divided the family, it likely divided the community as well.

Maybe this court suit and the level of discomfort it caused had something to do with why Elizabeth and Moses moved to Halifax County, taking all three of their grown sons and their families along.  Maybe they were trying to put the lingering past behind them with a new beginning.

On to Halifax County, VA

By 1771, the family was moving to Halifax County and Moses Sr. bought land just west of South Boston on the Pole Bridge Branch of Miry Creek.

Moses Estes land aerial

In 1771, Moses sells his land in Amelia County and once again, Elizabeth relinquished her dower rights and signs with an X, which tells us that she could not write – and probably could not read since the two tend to go together.

However, they may not have moved right away, because in January of 1772, Moses (of Amelia County) sells to William Estes (of Amelia County) 100 acres of his land in Halifax County.  Elizabeth signs this document as well.

We know that Moses was living in Halifax County by this time or very shortly thereafter, because in March of 1772, the court authorized paying him as a road hand for building a bridge across Burches Creek, near his land.

Later in October of 1772, Moses sells the balance his land in Halifax County to his 3 sons and Elizabeth does not sign, so her death may have occurred between January and October of 1772. Given that we know that Moses owned the land on Pole Branch, and he is buried there himself, it’s very likely that Elizabeth is buried in the Estes Cemetery on that land as well.

Estes cem box elders

Or, did Elizabeth not sign because the deed was to her sons and she (and they) saw no need for her to go to the courthouse to sign?

Given that Elizabeth’s death seems to have occurred after Moses sells his Amelia land, it’s most likely that Elizabeth did make it to Halifax County, but possibly, just barely.  Did she ever get to live in this house that Moses built?

Estes Osborne home

We don’t know for sure that Elizabeth died in 1772, but we do know for sure she had died by 1782.  Elizabeth was not an old woman.  If she was born in 1715, she would have been 57-67 and if she was born in 1720, age 52-62.  She may still have had older children at home.  If there were no other living children, then she had likely buried 6 or 7 of her children, or maybe more – and then left their graves behind when she moved to Halifax County.  I can’t even begin to imagine that heartache.

Elizabeth may have lived long enough to see the Revolutionary War which began in 1775.  In 1778, the focus of the fighting shifted to the south, including Virginia.  She certainly lived through the ramping up process that led to that war which was focused on resistance to taxes imposed by England on the colonies which the colonists felt were unjust.  All men paid taxes and I’m sure it was the hot topic of conversation for months and maybe years before the war actually began.  Halifax County was involved in the fighting by 1780 and 1781, and it’s quite likely that Elizabeth’s son Moses’s land was used as an encampment by soldiers.  Elizabeth’s grandson, George fought in that war.  Did he come to tell his grandmother goodbye before he left, if she was still living at that time, or did he visit her grave one last time?

If Elizabeth didn’t die before 1780, she would have buried her adult son, William, in the family cemetery on Grubby Road in Halifax County.  About that same time in 1780, son John left with his family for the Holston River in what is now Tennessee.  At that time, Tennessee was not yet a state and that area was unsettled and wild frontier, with settlers still skirmishing with the Indians.  Once a family left, it was forever.  No one came back.

I hope that Elizabeth did not have to bury her son.  1780 would have been a year of terrible loss for her.  When a grown child left for parts unknown, not only did they leave, but they took with them the grandchildren and the only form of communication was an occasional letter – if that – assuming people could read and write.

Men, in that timeframe, did not remain single for long – so it’s possible that Elizabeth did live to see 1780 – and it may have broken her heart.  She was assuredly resting in the cemetery, beside son William, by 1782.

In 1782, Moses remarried (with that prenuptial agreement) and 5 years later, Moses was dead, probably buried beside his first wife Elizabeth and his son, William, in the cemetery on his property.  In fact, it appears that Moses second wife predeceased him, so it’s entirely possible that Moses lies between the two Elizabeths. If a man ever had to behave, he does!

I found Moses’ land in the early 2000s when I visited Halifax County several times, working on the various genealogy records in the courthouse.  Based on the land records and following them forward in time, I was able to locate Moses’s original land, with the help of a couple of wonderful cousins, an incredibly patient and generous landowner and some unimaginable good luck.  I think Moses and Elizabeth were helping me!

Moses Estes cemetery

I wonder how long Elizabeth lived on this land.  Did they live in the house Moses built, or did she die while they would have been living in a cabin.  Was the cabin they lived in first the cabin that sat back on the hill where John, Moses and Elizabeth’s son, eventually lived before he headed out for the frontier in 1780?

Estes clearing

There are so many questions and so few answers.

Elizabeth’s Children

Elizabeth had the following known children.  I’ve always suspected that she also had some daughters, but to date, none are known.

Elizabeth’s sons are as follows:

1. The oldest son born to Moses and Elizabeth was probably John, born between their marriage and 1742, or so. We don’t know the year for sure, but what we do know is that John’s eldest son, Abraham, born in 1764, gave the following testimony when applying for a Revolutionary War pension.

“I, Abraham was born in Amelia County, Virginia.  My father moved from there to Halifax, Va. where he lived until the fall of 1779, where he moved to the Holston River until 1780.”  After that they removed to Warren Co., KY.

John Estes married Elizabeth Chism, daughter of John Chism and Elizabeth Gillington.  She was remembered in her grandfather, Nicholas Gillington’s will in Halifax County in 1772.  John Estes died in 1824 in Warren Co., KY.

2. Another son, Moses Jr., was born about 1742 or maybe slightly earlier, married Luremia Combs about 1762, whose father, John Combs also lived in Amelia County. Moses Jr. bought land in Lunenburg County from his brother-in-law after John Combs death, but moved with his father, Moses Sr. to Halifax County about 1770 where they both spent the rest of their lives.  He died in 1813 with a will.

Moses had a son, Moses (the third), who was born between 1775 and 1780 in Halifax County and died in 1875 in Smith County, TN, per the probating of his will in 1875.  And no, those dates are not typos.  He married Selah Palmer.  To the best of my knowledge, this is the only grandchild of Elizabeth whose photo we have.  Most of her grandchildren died before the camera was in wide use, after the Civil War.  Moses (the third) lived to be over 100, as did his brother George Estes as well as George’s son, John R. Estes.  Longevity runs in this family.  I look at this man and wonder if he looks anything like Elizabeth and Moses Sr.

Moses Estes 1779-1875 m Selah Palmer

John R. Estes, my ancestor, below, would have been this man’s nephew.  John R. and his father, George, both also lived to be around 100, as have several of their descendants.

John R. Estes restored

3. The third son of Moses Sr. and Elizabeth, William Estes, was also born in the same 1735-1740 timeframe. William married Mary Harris.  He died in 1780 and his estate was probated in Halifax County, VA.  Family legend says that he was a drover of horses and drove them to the East coast being gone for long periods of time.  He apparently had what was probably an appendicitis attack and became very ill.  His wife was sent for, but she was days away and did arrive, but William had already died.  Mary brought his body home and buried him in the family cemetery.


Unfortunately, DNA won’t help us with Elizabeth in this circumstance, at least not directly or immediately.

It’s ironic that the one trait that has a huge potential to affect my life, that of longevity, is most likely genetic, yet, we can’t identify that gene (or genes), nor do I know if I carry it.  We do know that several people downstream of Moses and Elizabeth lived to the age of 100, and a few slightly older.  Two of my aunts and my grandfather are in that group – so I potentially could carry the Estes longevity gene.  We also don’t know where it came from – meaning from Moses’s or Elizabeth’s family.  All I do know is that Moses’s father’s line does not seem to be responsible for the longevity gene – but we know nothing about Moses’s mother nor Elizabeth’s family.

Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA is dead to us unless she had daughters that we don’t know about – and they turn up “proven” in some fashion.  I do find it hard to believe that only three sons survived from a marriage that would have produced children for more than 20 years – so at least 10 children and quite possibly more.

Of course, another avenue to find Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA would be through her sisters, or her mother’s sisters, if they have any descendants through all females – but of course – I’d have to know who her parents were to identify her siblings, or her mother’s siblings.

I have looked at my autosomal DNA results for Webb, but without knowing the name of the man I’m looking for, I can’t pinpoint anything obvious.  Perhaps I should create a “Webb” tree out of my matches trees and see what turns up the most “close” to me since I carry less of the ancestor’s DNA than the generations that are further upstream than I am.

Although since I’m not even sure I have Webb ancestry, those people with Webb in their tree could be solely circumstantial.  Webb is not an uncommon surname and it is a Virginia family in close proximity with all of the other early colonial Virginia families – so possibly and probably intermarried.

Right now, my only hope against hope is for an Ancestry NAD – New Ancestor Discovery.  As upset as I was that Ancestry gave me an ancestor that wasn’t mine who hung around for months before disappearing, and has now reappeared, I’d be very interested in a Webb NAD – because that might be possible and I could then at least attempt to convince my relevant NAD matches to download their result to GedMatch where I can view the matching DNA segments to see if they triangulate.

Having said that, it would be my luck that I’d get a NAD that really looked to be “real” but wasn’t.  However, it I had a NAD, I could at least then attempt to work with the results.

However, regardless of how much I wish for a Webb NAD, it’s probably too far back time.  Initially Ancestry was planning to reach back 10 generations in time.  Elizabeth’s parents would be 9.  However, when the NADs and Circles were released, Ancestry was only reaching back 6 or 7 generations.  In some cases, for DNA Circles, I believe this has been expanded by maybe one generation or two, but not to 9 or 10 – at least not yet.  But I’m still hoping that Ancestry reaches back more generations as they become more confident and refine their new features.  I’m also hoping for a Webb NAD and praying for Ancestry to add a chromosome browser so I don’t have to try to convince my matches (it’s so unbecoming to beg) at Ancestry to transfer to Family Tree DNA and/or download to GedMatch.

While I’m wishing, I’d like for Family Tree DNA to add tree matching as well.  They already have the chromosome browser feature and trees, so tree matching would be a very logical follow-on step.  And from there, maybe ancestor predictions???

We are truly DNA and genealogy junkies aren’t we!  Anything to find those elusive ancestors.  I just want to know if Elizabeth is a Webb, and if not, who is she???

Native American Haplogroup C Update – Progress!!

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Haplogroup C-P39 is the Native American branch of Y DNA paternal haplogroup C.  It’s rare as chicken’s teeth.  Most Native American males fall into haplogroup Q, making our haplogroup C-P39 project participants quite unusual and unique.  So are the tools needed to identify branches on the Native American haplogroup C tree.

Last week, Family Tree DNA added a group of 9 SNPs found in haplogroup C to their product offering.  This was done without an announcement and without any fanfare – but it’s really important.  Without the ongoing support of Family Tree DNA, we wouldn’t have the Big Y test, nor the refining SNP tests that can be added to the Big Y in areas where the results are ambiguous.  Individuals who don’t want to purchase the Big Y can purchase these haplogroup defining SNPs individually as well.

The Native defining SNP for haplogroup C is P39.  People who test positive for C-P39 will then want to test Z30750 and Z30764.

  • Z30503
  • Z30601
  • FGC21495
  • Z30750
  • Z30764
  • PF3239
  • Z30729
  • FGC263
  • FGC31712

However, because haplogroup C-P39 is so rare – and to date – we have found several new SNPs in every man who has taken the Big Y test – and because those new, never before discovered SNPs are the bread crumbs that we need to follow to discover how our ancestors settled and dispersed across the Americas – we strong recommend the Big Y test at Family Tree DNA for all C-P39 men.  The Big Y test doesn’t just look at known SNP locations, it scans the entire Y chromosome for mutations.  Therefore, it’s both a genealogy and a research tool.

To that end, we very much want to fund this testing from the project coffers where necessary to advance our understanding.  Just to whet your appetite, we have participants now across Canada and also in the American Southwest.  We desperately want these men to take the Big Y test so we can get a much clearer picture of how they are related, and how many mutations they have individually – but don’t share – because that is how we estimate when they last shared a common ancestor.  In other words, the mutations build the branches of the tree.

This week, we’ve ordered another new C-P39 Big Y test.  If you are C-P39 – Native American haplogroup C – and have not yet taken the Big Y – please consider doing so.

If you are Native American and haplogroup C – please join the C-P39 and the American Indian projects.  You can do so from your home page at Family Tree DNA by clicking on the “Projects” tab at the upper left of your personal page, then on “join projects.”  You can search for the word “Indian” in the project list to find the American Indian project and scrolling down to the Y haplogroup projects and clicking on C will take you to the C-P39 link.

project join

If you can contribute to funding these Big Y tests, please do – even small amounts help.  The link to donate directly to the C-P39 project is: https://www.familytreedna.com/group-general-fund-contribution.aspx?g=Y-DNAC-P39

Each individual who takes the Big Y test is also encouraged to upgrade to 111 markers.  We need as much information as we can get.

Marie Rundquist and I are co-administrators of the C-P39 project, and she wrote the following verbiage in honor of the 5 year anniversary of the first discovery of what is now C-P39 in the Native Community.  We, as a community, have come a very long way in just 5 years!

It was in 2010, five years ago, when Keith Doucet first tested for the C P39 Y DNA (formerly C3b) Native American DNA type in the Amerindian Ancestry out of Acadia Family Tree DNA study — with numbers of Doucets (and Doucettes!) having the same, Native American, C P39 Y DNA result.  It’s amazing when you think of our journey and how much this research has benefitted our knowledge of our history in North America!

Who can ever forget Keith Doucet’s discovery? http://www.familyheritageresearchcommunity.org/doucet_dna.html

Or Emile Broome’s Y DNA discovery, also from 2010? http://www.familyheritageresearchcommunity.org/broome_dna.html

…and the subsequent discoveries of related Doucets and Doucettes and other project members from all regions of the US and Canada who tested in our project and whose results showed the same Native American C P39 Y DNA haplogroup type?

There is great similarity among the DNA test results for our C P39 Y DNA candidates despite differences in geographic locations and surnames, with testers from across the United States, including the American Southwest, the North East, the South, and Canada compared.  Initial Big Y DNA test results for project members have shown remarkable similarity as well.  Additional Big Y test results for tests underway and the availability of 9 new SNPs for our project members help us discover whether this trend is amplified by the additional tests or if we (the C P39 Y DNA project) can distinguish downstream uniqueness among our participants. The C P39 Y DNA test has received the generous support of its members, Family Tree DNA leadership and scientists, product managers, and volunteer administrators in establishing our superior C P39 Y DNA baseline and we are grateful for your support.

Visit the C P39 Y DNA project site to learn more. https://www.familytreedna.com/public/ydna_C-P39/

Thank you to our project members for your continued participation!  And thank you to Family Tree DNA for their ongoing dedication, research and support.  Collectively, we discover more of our history every day!

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