Who Killed John Bass Jones?–Part 2: The Odyssey of Mrs. Ady

 

Myra Maybelle Shirley--a/k/a Belle Starr--the way she looked when she lived in Carthage, Missouri. From my photo collection. Original source unknown.

Myra Maybelle Shirley–a/k/a Belle Starr–the way she looked when she lived in Carthage, Missouri. From my photo collection. Original source unknown.

Of the cast of characters emerging from the 1880 John Bass Jones grand jury murder investigation in Jasper Co., Missouri, one person stands out as an interesting question mark, inviting further examination. As I read through the Carthage Banner story appearing in Part 1 of this article, I wondered about Mrs. Ady and the extent of her involvement in the matter. Judging from the newspaper article, Mrs. Ady changed her testimony considerably between the time of the coroner’s inquest in 1867 and the grand jury investigation in 1880. Not only did her testimony change drastically, but her name appears in several households in the area throughout the period. After piecing the sections of her testimony together and comparing her testimony with available marriage, census, tax and death records, I finally came up with an answer to the question Who was Mrs. Ady?

Elizabeth A. Foster was born in November 1840 to Jarrett Foster (1795/1800-aft. 1875) and Dorcas Moseley (1803-aft. Aug. 8, 1865) in Bradley Co., Tennessee. She was born with a pedigree chart extending back to the Kings and Queens of England, with elements of Scarlet O’Hara (Gone With the Wind), Ashton Maine Huntoon (The North and the South), and Kate Trask (East of Eden) in her character. Her parents were born in South Carolina and lived in Union County. The family also had ties extending back to Goochland Co., Virginia, inhabited by the Spencer, Toney and Jones families, whose descendants later settled in Jasper Co., Missouri.

According to the Cunningham/Webster Family Tree on Ancestry.com, Jarrett and Dorcas Foster had the following children:

John Foster, (b. 1823, South Carolina; m. Jane [Surname Unknown] Feb. 9, 1860, Jasper Co., Missouri; d. aft. 1870, Jasper Co., Missouri.) A boy with an unknown name (b. 1825, South Carolina). Lucinda Foster (b. 1828, Tennessee). [No additional information.] Sarah Foster (b. 1830, Tennessee). [No additional information.] Martha Foster (b. 1836, Tennessee). [No additional information.] Elizabeth Foster (b. 1839/40, Tennessee). [Subject of this article]. Andrew J. Foster (b. Feb. 15, 1842, East Tennessee; m. Anna C. 1873; d. 1928, State Soldiers Home, Orting, Washington). Francis Marion Foster (b. Jan. 1846, Arkansas; m. Emily Jane Coffelt Aug. 5, 1866, Jasper Co., Missouri; d. February 7, 1928, Joplin, Missouri.)[1].

In 1850, the Jarrett Foster family appears in Jackson Tp., District 41, Jasper Co., Missouri, according to the census record for that year. The listing shows:

Jarrett Foster, age 55, engaged in farming, b. South Carolina Dorcas Foster, age 49, b. South Carolina (person over 20 unable to read or write) Lucinda J. Foster, age 22, b. Tennessee (reading/writing column left blank) Sarah Foster, age 20, b. Tennessee (attending school) Martha E. Foster, age 14, b. Tennessee (attending school) Elizabeth Foster, age 10, b. Tennessee (attending school) Andrew J. Foster, age 8, b. Tennessee (attending school) Francis M. Foster, age 4, b. Tennessee[2].

The 1850 Census also shows another family residing in District 41–a primarily rural area–listed as follows:

John Shirley, age 54, engaged in farming, b. Virginia Eliza Shirley, age 49, b. Virginia; Charlotte A. Shirley, age 12, b. Indiana; John A. M. Shirley, age 8, b. Missouri; Myra Shirley, age 2, b. Missouri; Benton Shirley, age 9 mos., b. Missouri[3].

Myra Maybelle Shirley grew up to become the Bandit Queen– Belle Starr.

John Shirley has often been labeled the “black sheep” of the family who eventually moved to Indiana and married and divorced twice in that state. His third wife, Eliza Pennington-sometimes referred to as Eliza Hatfield-came from the Hatfield-McCoy vendetta in West Virginia and Kentucky. They were married May 29, 1837 in Green Tp., Grant Co., Indiana. According to the Walters Family Tree at Ancestry.com, John Shirley’s oldest son was Preston Raymond Shirley, and he was born to John and his first wife, Nancy Fowler. John and his first wife were married April 6, 1818 in Clark Co., Indiana. John’s second wife was Fannie, whom he married in 1829. Preston married Mary A. Chelson on May 26, 1847, Jasper Co., Missouri and appears on the 1850 Census in a separate household in District 41[4].

Undoubtedly, the two families knew each other. The Foster and Shirley parents were in the same age group and came from the same region of the country. Martha and Elizabeth Foster may have associated with Charlotte Shirley and probably with Myra Maybelle as well. Despite John Shirley’s tendency toward the wild side, the Shirley line in Virginia extends back to some of the finest families in the region. Shirley and Foster ancestors intermarried over the years, so the girls were possibly distant cousins.

Fortune changed for the John Shirley family. In 1856, Shirley sold his farm and moved into the town of Carthage, the county seat of Jasper County, where he built an inn, tavern, livery stable and a blacksmith shop-an enterprise that took up a whole city block! This tavern eventually became a rendezvous for a number of Missouri outlaws including the James brothers, the Younger brothers, and others. Needless to say, the Shirleys  became quite wealthy and spoiled their daughter, Myra, with all the material things that money could buy[5]. According to American Legends: Old West Legends-Belle Starr-The Bandit Queen:

At first, Myra Belle lived the life of a spoiled, rich girl, attending the Carthage Female Academy, where in addition to the basics, she was taught music and classical languages. She was a bright student, with polite manners, and a talent for playing the piano. However, she also liked to flaunt her status a “rich girl” and liked having an audience. She also loved the outdoors, where she spent many a day roaming the countryside with her older brother Bud, who taught her how to ride a horse and handle a gun [6].

I remember reading an old newspaper account about Belle Starr years ago in The Cedar Rapids Gazette stating that the outlaws and bushwhackers who later frequented her father’s establishment taught her how to curse and swear! I may still have that article in an old scrapbook.

Elizabeth Foster no doubt witnessed young Myra’s activities. Quite possibly, she developed a feeling of envy.  Glamor, danger, and excitement appealed to young Elizabeth. And Myra Maybelle Shirley definitely had all of those “qualities.”

The balance of the 1850s passed quietly for these people. Then came the 1860s.

The 1860 Census for Jasper Co., Missouri shows the Jarrett Foster family still residing in Marion Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri (located north of Carthage), but with fewer members: 60 year-old Jarrett Foster; 57 year-old Dorcas; 19 year-old Elizabeth; 18 year-old Andrew J.; and, 14 year-old Francis M. The other children are gone, whether through marriage or death. The listing for the John Shirley family shows 66 year-old John Shirley; 45 year-old Eliza; 18 year-old Allison; 12 year-old Myra; 11 year-old Edwin; 8 year-old Mansfield; and, 2 year-old Cravens. The John Shirley Census record is dated June 28, 1860 while the Jarrett Foster Census record is dated July 3, 1860. But these two census records aren’t the only important records for 1860. 1860 was a banner year for marriages in the Foster family[7].

The 1860 Marriage Record Book for Jasper County shows the following:

John Foster to Julia Ann Coffelt. [The date is unreadable. This would be a second marriage for John’s wife since they are shown on the 1860 Census in the town of Jasper, Jasper Co., Missouri with a blended family of Fosters and Coffelts.]

Jeremiah Foster to Sarah Jane Keith. April 13, 1860. [As yet I do not know the relationship between Jeremiah Foster and Jarrett Foster.

Elizabeth Foster to John D. Jones December 20, 1860[8]

Thus began a new chapter in the life of Elizabeth Foster Jones.

A son of Lewis Jones and Milly Catherine Spence Jones, John David Jones was born in 1827 in Davidson Co., Tennessee. John David Jones and John Bass Jones were first cousins [See Part 1 of this article.] The Lewis Jones Family and the Daniel Spence Family left Tennessee for Jasper Co., Missouri in 1836. Daniel’s oldest brother, Samuel, followed them there the following year in 1837. In 1840, Samuel and Elizabeth Inman Spence donated land for the first church building in Southwest Missouri. Located at Moss Springs, the land became the location of the Freedom Baptist Church and a cemetery called Moss Springs. The church was organized in May 1840 and operated until it was disbanded in 1880. While the old church building was torn down in the late 1800s, the cemetery still exists and is currently well maintained.

Members and builders of the church in 1840 included Elder Greenville Spencer (1840-1853); Jetson M. Keith (Clerk) (1848); Samuel and Elizabeth Spence (donated land for the church); Daniel Spence, Woodson Angel, William Clow, Jeremiah Gilstrap, Jacob Hammer, Ephraim Jenkins, James Jones, John Jones, Lewis Jones, Captain Nelson Knight, Joseph Schultz, and William H. Farmer[9]

John Jones, who is listed on this monument, was the father of John Bass Jones. James Jones and Lewis Jones–the husband of Milly Catherine Spence–were brothers.

Lewis Jones died in September 1849 and his son, John David Jones, became head of the family. The Jones farm was located in District 41 (where the Fosters and Shirleys lived.) The Fosters and Shirleys were still living there in 1850 when the John D. Jones family appeared on the 1850 census in District 41 for Jasper County, as follows:

John D. Jones, age 22, born in Tennessee Milly Jones, age 48, born in North Carolina. (She was the widow of Lewis Jones and mother of John.) Nancy J, age 18, born in Tennessee. (Milly’s daughter and John D.’s sister) James R., age 15, born in Tennessee. (Milly’s son and John D.’s brother).

[Milly Spence Jones was a person over 20 who could not read or write. The others were able to do so][10].

By 1860, the family appears as follows:

Milly Jones, age 58 John D. Jones, age 31 James R. Jones, age 25 John L. Jones, age 14, b. Missouri George W. Jones, age 12, b. Missouri Laurlin Jones, age 7, b. Missouri Daniel Gill, age 19, b. Tennessee Norris F. Hood, age 28, b. Tennessee Nancy J. Hood, age 28, b. Tennessee Laura E. Hood, age 3, b. Missouri Alice A. Hood, age 3, b. Missouri Charles A. Hood, age 1, b. Missouri[11].

Milly Jones’ house became a sea of activity. Her daughter, Nancy, married Norris F. Hood, and the Hood children were theirs. Daniel Gill was a son of Michael and Rhoda Spence Gill (Rhoda was Milly’s sister). John L. Jones (age 14), George W. Jones (age 12), and Lurlin Jones (age 7), all born in Missouri, came from one of the Jones families in the area, but as yet, I haven’t identified that family. John D. Jones and Elizabeth Foster married December 20, 1860, and one more person entered the household. Then the Civil War erupted the following year, rendering a permanent impact on the lives of these people.

The Battle of Carthage was fought July 5, 1861 on a field nine to ten miles north of Carthage. Often labeled the first land battle of the Civil War, the fight ended in a victory for the South. According to the National Park Service:

“Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon had chased Governor Claiborne Jackson and approximately 4,000 State Militia from the State Capital at Jefferson City and from Boonville, and pursued them. Col. Franz Sigel led another force of about 1,000 into southwest Missouri in search of the governor and his loyal troops.

“Upon learning that Sigel had encamped at Carthage, on the night of July 4, Jackson took command of the troops with him and formulated a plan to attack the much smaller Union force. The next morning, Jackson closed up to Sigel, established a battle line on a ridge ten miles north of Carthage, and induced Sigel to attack him.

“Opening with artillery fire, Sigel closed to the attack. Seeing a large Confederate force-actually unarmed recruits-moving into the woods on his left, he feared that they would turn his flank. He withdrew. The Confederates pursued, but Sigel conducted a successful rearguard action.

“By evening, Sigel was inside Carthage and under cover of darkness; he retreated to Sarcoxie. The battle had little meaning, but the pro-Southern elements in Missouri, anxious for any good news, championed their first victory.” Location of the Battle: Jasper County, Missouri

Purpose of Campaign: Operations to Control Missouri during 1861

Date of the battle: July 5, 1861

Principal Commanders: Col. Franz Sigel [US] Governor Claiborne Jackson [CSA]

Forces Engaged: Brigade [US] Missouri State Guard divisions [CSA]

Estimated Casualties: 244 total (US 44; CSA 200) (From the Awesome Stories Website)[12].

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek occurred the following month on August 10, 1861:

Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon’s Army of the West was camped at Springfield, Missouri, with Confederate troops under the commands of Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch approaching. On August 9, both sides formulated plans to attack the other. At about 5:00 a.m. on August 10, Lyon, in two columns commanded by himself and Col. Franz Sigel, attacked the Confederates on Wilson’s Creek about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Springfield. Rebel cavalry received the first blow and fell back away from Bloody Hill. Confederate forces soon rushed up and stabilized their positions.

The Confederates attacked the Union forces three times that day but failed to break through the Union line. When General Lyon was killed during the battle and General Sweeny wounded, Major Samuel D. Sturgis assumed command. Meanwhile, the Confederates had routed Sigel’s column, south of Skegg’s Branch. Following the third Confederate attack, which ended at 11:00 a.m., the Confederates withdrew. Sturgis realized, however, that his men were exhausted and his ammunition was low, so he ordered a retreat to Springfield. The Confederates were too disorganized and ill-equipped to pursue. This Confederate victory buoyed southern sympathizers in Missouri and served as a springboard for a bold thrust north that carried Price and his Missouri State Guard as far as Lexington. In late October, a rump convention, convened by Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson, met in Neosho and passed out an ordinance of secession. Wilson’s Creek, the most significant 1861 battle in Missouri, gave the Confederates control of southwestern Missouri. (From CWSAC Battle Summaries Website, The American Battlefield Protection Program, Heritage Preservation Services, Available online at http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/mo004.htm[13].

Frank James, the brother of Jesse James, fought at Wilson’s Creek, and returned home to Clay County as the “conquering hero.” Young Jesse must have greeted him with a feeling of pride and envy. However, Frank’s victory was short-lived the following spring at the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas. The Wikipedia site notes:

The Battle of Pea Ridge (also known as Elkhorn Tavern) was a land battle of the American Civil War, fought on March 6-8, 1862, at Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas, near Garfield. In the battle, Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis defeated Confederate troops under Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn. The outcome of the battle essentially cemented Union control of Missouri. The battle was one of the few during the war in which a Confederate army outnumbered its Union opponent[14].

Frank James was sick with the measles in Springfield, Missouri, where he was taken prisoner by the Union Army. At that stage in the war, both sides waited until they had a certain number of prisoners. Then they would exchange them. Frank James signed a promise not to fight any more. Perhaps he had his fingers crossed.

The people of Jasper Co., Missouri were caught up in the middle of the conflict, and feelings ran high. Families were divided in their allegiances. Bushwhacker activity was high in the area, targeting their attacks on Union sympathizers. There are many unmarked graves in the Moss Springs Cemetery of people who were killed during this time-a practice followed to keep enemies from digging up the graves and dumping bodies on top of the ground, or hauling them off to let them rot in a field.  Western Missouri was a scene of constant conflict during the Civil War. Highway 71, which runs north and south from Kansas City through Carthage to the Arkansas border, saw constant movement of Confederate troops while Highway 69 on the Kansas side-running north and south between Kansas City, Kansas and Fort Scott, Kansas down to the Oklahoma border–witnessed similar activity involving Union troops. John Shirley’s hotel in Carthage became a gathering point for Quantrill’s men. Shirley’s association with Clay County personalities dated back to the early 1850s when his name appeared on a deed in a land transaction involving Harry W. Younger (Henry [Harry] Washington Younger)-the father of Cole Younger-for 160 acres of land in Jasper County[15]. Shirley was Younger’s assignee in that transaction, which was dated June 1, 1850. In addition, John Shirley’s son, John (“Bud”) Alexander Shirley, and his future son-in-law James C. Reed both served with Quantrill. Bud was a captain in the outfit. Myra Maybelle Shirley (the future Belle Starr) assisted Quantrill by informing the guerillas of Union troop movements. The Shirley family was closely tied to the James and Younger families of Clay County. The Reed family lived in Bates and Vernon Counties, north of Jasper County.

The Quantrill raid and massacre at Lawrence, Kansas occurred August 21, 1863. Four days later, Order No. 11 was issued by Gen. Thomas Ewing on August 25. This order impacted the lives of southern sympathizers in four western Missouri counties: Bates, Cass, Jackson and Vernon. The Order mandated that all non-Union sympathizers be expelled from the county and ordered their homes burned. Many innocent people who were not involved in guerilla activities were impacted by this order. In addition, many of the enforcers were Kansas volunteers who were not especially fond of Missourians. Expelling pro-Southerners from the four counties greatly impacted neighboring counties and other areas throughout the region. And violence continued.

In 1864, the John Shirley family fled to Sycene, Texas shortly before Carthage was burned, a fire that destroyed his enterprise. John Shirley’s guerilla-fighting son “Bud” was killed in Sarcoxie that same year [16].

The Samuel Spence family was divided during the Civil War. Some pro-Union members of the family relocated to safer areas in Kansas for the duration of the war (Lazarus Spence and William David Spence–my second great-grandfather, for example). The pro-Southern side of the family split into two groups. The earliest group to leave Missouri settled in Benton Co., Arkansas while the rest of the family remained in Jasper County until they were no longer safe there. Then they fled to Grayson Co., Texas. Some of them remained in Grayson County, while others eventually relocated to Washington Co., Arkansas. One of Samuel’s sons, Newton Jasper Spence (1841-1882), fought with the Confederate Army at Helena, Arkansas, where he was wounded and taken prisoner. He was placed in Alton Prison in Illinois, and was later transferred to Fort Delaware. When he was finally paroled at the end of the war, he did not return to Jasper County. His life was in danger there. So he settled in Oklahoma, married and raised his family there[17].

The John David Jones family appears to have remained in Jasper County as long as they could. John and Elizabeth’s first child-a son-Thomas A. Jones-was born in 1862. A daughter-Hettie-was born in 1864. William H. Jones was born in 1866. 1880 Census records indicate that all three of these children were born in Missouri. In all likelihood, the family was largely pro-Southern, although they didn’t engage in guerilla activities. If they were forced to leave, they would have relocated to Benton Co., Arkansas (where a number of John’s Joneses had already settled).

By August 8, 1865, Jarrett Foster was living in Marmaton, Bourbon Co., Kansas with his wife Dorcas and their two sons: A. J. Foster (age 23), who served in the 2nd Kansas Battery, and Marion Foster (age 19), where they appear on the tax records. Jarrett Foster’s family is next shown on the 1870 Census for Westralia, Montgomery Co., Kansas, where G. Foster (age 73), D. Foster (age 67), A. J. Foster (age 27), A. Price (age 15), and W. H. Evilsizer (age 19) appear. Dorcas’s name does not appear on the 1875 tax record for Cherokee Tp., Montgomery Co., Kansas, so she would have died between 1870 and 1875. F. M. Foster (age 27), E. J. Foster (age 29), James ?? (age 7) appear on the record with 79-year old Jarrett. Jarrett Foster died between 1875 and 1880[18],[19]

The John David Jones family members were all at home the Spring of 1867 when John Bass Jones arrived in Jasper County and stayed with them. John Bass Jones was shot and killed early in the morning of April 17-a case that is still a mystery. Family members all participated in the coroner’s inquest in 1867, but no charges were filed at that time. There was not enough evidence to charge anyone. The Joneses remained in Jasper County and then on September 28, 1870, John David Jones died. He is buried in the Moss Springs Cemetery in the same row with John Bass Jones.

The prospects for a widow in the late nineteenth century were few and far between. Elizabeth Foster Jones was 29 years old when her husband died. She was also pregnant with their fourth child. John Charles Jones was born January 27, 1871 in Fidelity, Jasper Co., Missouri.

Elizabeth probably took stock of her life and her options during this period of time. She did not look forward to staying on the farm with a house full of in-laws. And there had to be more excitement in life than cleaning, cooking, and having babies. At some point, she made the determination to leave her children with her mother-in-law and visit her family in Kansas for a while. No doubt she told the Joneses that she might be gone for a month or two. She needed to get away for a while. So she left Jasper County and joined her family in Westralia, Montgomery Co., Kansas.

Undoubtedly, she was at a low point when she arrived in Kansas. But her family members no doubt cheered her up with stories. After all, she once knew so many people! Whatever happened to them? That’s when Belle Shirley’s name came up in the conversation with the year 1866 as a starting point. “1866?” Elizabeth must have wondered. “That was the year before John Bass Jones was murdered!”

In 1866, the James-Younger Gang is credited with robbing the bank in Liberty, Missouri. Jesse and Frank James and the Younger boys fled to Texas, where they met up with the Shirley family once again. On November 1, 1866, Belle married James C. Reed, her old flame from Missouri. A picture has recently surfaced on the internet from that wedding. [Stories about her love affair with Cole Younger are exaggerated.] Those in attendance included Jesse and Frank James (and their little half-brother, Perry Samuel), Confederate General Joseph Shelby, John Newman Edwards (the newspaper man who promoted the James Gang), Archie Clement, Jim Younger, William Gregg, and John “King” Fisher[20]. At the time of their marriage, Jim Reed had not committed any acts that would classify him as an outlaw-something that appealed to Belle’s family. By 1867, Jim and Belle Shirley Reed were living on the Reed farm in Missouri. According to the American Legends website:

“But, when the two moved to Missouri, Reed was a wanted man, allegedly for murdering a man named Shannon. The two fled to California with their young daughter Pearl and before long a second child came along who they named Edward. In 1869 Belle, Reed and two other outlaws rode to the North Canadian river country, where they tortured an old Creek Indian until he told them where he had hidden $30,000 in gold. With their share of the loot, Jim and Belle returned to Texas, where she played the role of “Bandit Queen” to the hilt”[21].

When Elizabeth began hearing stories concerning the activities of her childhood acquaintance, she no doubt fantasized about those stories. Belle was leading a dangerous lifestyle but to Elizabeth, that lifestyle was more preferable to her own allotment in life.

In her testimony given at the 1880 grand jury investigation into the death of John Bass Jones, Elizabeth Ady claims to have married William Spencer after the death of her husband, John David Jones -then “dumped” him and went to Galena, Kansas, where she lived on Red Hot Street, where she supposedly met A. J. Ady. I have yet to find a license for her marriage to either A. J. Ady or to William Spencer, so I don’t know where or exactly when they were married. And the town of Galena, Kansas did not “boom” until lead was discovered there in 1877. A problem exists with the timeline of her testimony. After piecing together census records, tax records and the births of her children, I may have found some of the answers.

Elizabeth no doubt divided her time between Jasper Co., Missouri-where her children were staying– and Montgomery Co., Kansas-where her family members lived. By 1873, she met A. J. Ady in Kansas. How or where is open to speculation.

According to the 1850 Census for Geneva, Jennings, Indiana, Andrew J. Ady was born in Ohio about 1842 to Loyd and Elizabeth M. Ady. The household includes: Loyd Ady (age 38); Elizabeth M. Ady (age 30); Loyd L. D. Ady (age 10); Andrew J. Ady (age 8); Nancy A. Ady (age 6); Isaac S. B. Ady (age 3); Lucinda Ady (age 1); Lovina C. Fola (age 19); Samuel Fola (age 3); William H. Fola (age 1) [22].

In 1862, Andrew J. Ady (spelled Adye) appears on the tax list for District 2, Bridgeport, Indiana as a retail liquor dealer. By 1865, he was in Clarke Tp., in District 2, Indiana, where he is listed as a retail dealer, and he is taxed for a carriage, a gold watch, and he is also taxed for his income[23]. In 1866, he is listed in Adyville, Indiana and is taxed as a retail dealer who has a carriage and a gold watch. In December 1866, he had moved to Illinois, where he was taxed for keeping a stallion. He next appears on the March 1, 1875 tax records for Wild Cat, Howard Co., Kansas with a wife and a daughter. When analyzed, this record becomes quite interesting and invites further speculation[24].

Andrew Ady no doubt arrived in Kansas as a whisky drummer. If Elizabeth Foster Jones was really looking for a life style similar to that of her old acquaintance (Belle Shirley), she may have started seeking companionship in nearby towns. She kept a low profile as she didn’t want to alert her family to her new enterprise. A flashy drummer with a line of gab, a stylish carriage, a stallion and a gold watch would have captured her interest almost immediately. I doubt there was much of a courtship. She would have married him immediately and sent word back to Missouri that she had remarried. No doubt she planned to return for her children as soon as possible. In all likelihood, she did not tell A.J. about the children from her first marriage.

Before she knew it, she was expecting. A. J. settled down in Howard County to become a farmer-something Elizabeth didn’t plan on or like. Their daughter (whose name is known only by the initials M.E.) was born in 1874 and was one year old by the 1875 tax record. Elizabeth appears to have been creative with her information on that tax record. It’s possible that she never used her real name with A.J. She knew that he had lived in Indiana, so she gave Decatur Co., Indiana as her place of birth. (She really didn’t want to advertise the fact that she was born in Tennessee while living in Kansas!) She also made herself 10 years younger when giving her age, claiming to have been born about 1853. And she is listed only as Mrs. A. J. Ady. The other females on the page list a regular full first name, or else they use their own initials [25].

The little daughter whose name is only listed as M.E. must have died within the year. She is not listed after that record. And in 1875, Elizabeth discovered that she was pregnant again. I doubt she shared this news with her husband. She was not happy living on the farm with A. J. Ady, and she wanted to return to Missouri where her children were living. She knew that Milly Catherine Spence Jones was aging, and she felt a desperate need to get back there. She managed to slip away at the first opportune moment and may have obtained her brother’s help in returning to Missouri.

Her son, Earl E. Jones, was born in 1875 or 1876, probably after her return to Missouri. I can only imagine the story that she told the Jasper County people-that she had married a man named Jones in Kansas, and that he had died or disappeared. She did not share the Ady name with the Jasper County people at that time. But she was identified as Mrs. A. J. Ady during the April 1880 Grand Jury investigation. A Mr. Ady supposedly accompanied her from Kansas. She may have returned to Kansas, reunited with A. J. Ady, and then returned to Missouri with him for the hearing. After the hearing was over, she left him again for good and returned to Missouri. And there is another possibility: she may have been living with another man who returned to Missouri with her, posing as A. J. Ady!

Meanwhile, back in Kansas, Andrew J. Ady had no idea what happened to his wife on either occasion. After the second time, he finally gave up looking for her. By 1885, he is shown on the tax list for Boulder Co., Colorado-single-where he is listed as a miner. But he later remarried[26] By 1895, he appears on the tax list for Richland Tp., Gray Co., Kansas. His wife Amelia was from Germany[27] The family appears on the 1900 Census for Hess Tp., Gray Co., Kansas (located in southwest Kansas) as follows: Andrew J. Ady (spelled Aday) (b. April 1842, Ohio); Amelia M. (b. October 1860, Germany); Esther H. (b. July 1891, Kansas); Lafayette J. (b. Dec. 1893, Kansas); Cora B. (b. April 1898, Kansas); Dora A. (b. April 1898, Kansas) [28]. Andrew J. Ady died between that 1900 Census and the 1920 Census, probably in Whatcom County, Washington. Amelia last appears on the 1920 census for Whatcom Co., Washington as a widow living with Esther and Lafayette[29].

Milly Catherine Spence Jones died either shortly before or shortly after Elizabeth’s first return to Jasper County. I have found two dates of death for her. One is November 30, 1875. The other is March 1876. Either way, Elizabeth arrived just in time to reclaim her children from her first marriage[30][31].

She wasn’t in Jasper County for very long before realizing that she was in another predicament. She now had five children and no place where any of them could live. That’s when she turned her attention to William Spencer.

William Spencer had been living in Jasper Co., Missouri since the 1840s. Elizabeth would have remembered him from childhood. By 1875/1876, she was ready to settle down for a while and become reacquainted with her children. More than anything else, however, she wanted a new last name. She probably used the Jones name when she returned to Jasper County. She didn’t dare use the Ady name for fear A.J. Ady would find her. And she decided that Spencer would suit her just fine. After all, Spencer was a fine old name.

William Spencer was born May 4, 1817 in Hardin Co., Kentucky to Sharp Spencer (1770-1834) and Jenny Trigger Crady (1790-1844). His grandparents were John Spencer (1732-1789) and Rosanna Graves/Greaves (1735-1782). This is the same Graves/Greaves line I am descended from. Rosanna Graves/Greaves is my 1st cousin 7xs removed. Her father was Thomas Greaves/Graves (1691-1767), and her grandfather was John Greaves/Graves, Sr. (1665-1747)–my 7th great-grandfather. I descend from him through his daughter, Elizabeth Greaves (1707-1755)  and her husband James Spence (1702-1753)–my sixth great-grandparents!. So that explains the cousin relationship between the Jasper County, Missouri Spences and William Spencer! In addition, there is a connection between this Spencer line with John Spencer (b. 1788) and his second wife Rachel Key (b. 1805). Rachel was the sister of Lucy Key–Adeline Elizabeth Bryant Spence’s mother–and John Spencer was the half brother of William Spencer, under discussion here!. John was the son of Sharp Spencer and his first wife Martha Elizabeth Crenshaw (1772-1809). As yet, I haven’t determined how this Spencer line connects with mine through Elisha Spence’s first wife Susanna Spencer. That is something I’m still working on. But according to the Ancestry calculator, William Spencer is my 3rd cousin 5xs removed on the Greaves line!

On September 7, 1835, William Spencer married Jane Angel in Putnam Co., Indiana. (Her brother, Woodson Angel, was an original member of the Freedom Baptist Church at Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper Co., Missouri. His name appears on the monument at the cemetery entrance.) Jane Angel was born September 3, 1811 in Virginia to John Angel (1770-1850) and Isabella Truelove (1770-1850). The children of William Spencer and Jane Angel follow:

James Harvey Spencer 1832 – 1921 Mary Catherine SPENCER 1837 – 1912 Dorcas Tabitha Spencer 1841 – 1918 John M SPENCER 1841 – John Norris Spencer 1843 – Minerva J Spencer 1844 – William D SPENCER 1845 – Millie Emoline Spencer 1851 – 1916 Ananias SPENCER 1855 – 1936 [33].

William and Jane appear on the 1850 Census for Sarcoxie, Jasper Co., Missouri[34]. Pro-Union in sympathy, they were forced to leave Jasper County and appear on the May 5, 1865 Census for Mound City, Linn Co., Kansas, about 59 miles from Kansas City[35]. They returned to Jasper County after the war and on November 10, 1870, Jane Angel Spencer died. She is buried in the Moss Springs Cemetery. In 1876, William and Elizabeth were married. Their son William Hayes Spencer was born in 1877[36]. And after their son was born Elizabeth acquired the roving eye once again and started thinking about her options.

She did not want to stay married to William Spencer and have any more children by him. She left the Spencer baby with William and taking her own children from her first and second marriages, she probably headed for her brother’s house in Kansas. Francis Marion Foster was living in Cherokee, Montgomery Co., Kansas in 1875 but by 1880, he was in Coffeyville, Montgomery Co., Kansas[37]. William Spencer’s daughter, Milly E. Spencer, was in William’s household, along with a hired girl by the name of Lillie F. Slavens in 1880[38].

The Elizabeth Foster Jones Ady Spencer saga becomes really strange at this point, as can be seen in the 1880 Census for Jasper Co., Missouri. Two census records exist:

Union Tp, Jasper County, Missouri, June 22 and 23, 1880:

William Spencer (age 62) Elizabeth (age 39) [William’s wife] William Hayes (age 3) Lilly F. Slavens (age 16)-the hired servant Milly E. Spencer (age 27)-William’s daughter 2 Baby Spencer Girls (1 month old)-William and Elizabeth are designated the parents[39].

Elizabeth is described as debilitated and unable to leave her bed. She is supposed to have dysentery (called “flux” on the record). Not only that, the person giving the information knew very little about Elizabeth. According to the census record, Elizabeth was born in Indiana–she was actually born in Tennessee. The census record indicates Elizabeth’s parents were born in North Carolina. Both of Elizabeth’s parents were born in South Carolina. I don’t believe Elizabeth was in the house at all, based on the second record.

The second record is for Elizabeth Ady in the City of Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri June 14, 1880:

Elizabeth Ady (age 39) Thomas A. Jones (age 18)-son Hettie D. Jones (age 16)-daughter William H. Jones (age 13)-son John C. Jones (age 8)-son Earl E. Jones (age 5)-son[40].

Her next door neighbor is Edward S. Pike, the deputy sheriff referred to in the newspaper account of the grand jury investigation. (See Part 1 of this article). J. B. Buchanan also appears on the same street.

Another curiosity about this situation centers around the two unnamed one-month-old twin baby girl Spencers in William Spencer’s household on the 1880 Census. They would have been born in May. The grand jury investigation was the month before that in early April. If Elizabeth had been the mother, she would have been pregnant when she testified before the grand jury. If they were her babies, then she had them delivered to William Spencer after they were born. She was already living in Carthage in early April and not at William Spencer’s farm. Perhaps they had an agreement between them. He would provide her with a house in town if she would give him the child after it was born and trouble him no further. (They probably didn’t know that two children were expected.) She appears to have gladly given them up. William Hayes Spencer (who was 3 years old in 1880) also stayed with William. I think she also agreed not to use the Spencer name. And perhaps the Jones family did not want her using their name either. So, she became Elizabeth Ady once again. Sources in Kansas may have informed her that A.J. Ady had left for Colorado and was no longer in the area.

William Spencer died December 23, 1888 in Jasper Co., Missouri and is buried next to his first wife, Jane Angel Spencer, in the Moss Springs Cemetery. The charges against him and the other men in the John Bass Jones murder were never filed because of the lack of evidence against them.

I do not know what happened to his daughter, Milly E. Spencer, who was taking care of the young children, or to the young children. The two infants may not have survived. William Hayes Spencer may have grown to maturity, but I don’t think he remained in the Jasper County area. And true to Elizabeth’s nature, she did not remain Elizabeth Ady very long.

According to the 1850 Census for Brandon Tp, Rensselaer Co., New York, William Beman was the son of Martin Beman (b. 1810, Vermont) and his wife Laura (b. 1813, Vermont). William appears on that census at age 20, and he is listed as a laborer. He also has a 16 year-old sister named Laura. Both William and his sister were born in New York [41].

By 1860, William resided in Wisconsin, where he appears on the 1860 Census for Farmington, Jefferson County, Wisconsin with a 22 year-old-wife named Mary. William is described as a railroad laborer. A Conner family resides with them, whose head, Migane Conner, also works for the railroad[42].

The Bemans next appear on the 1870 census for Washington, Daviess Co., Indiana, where William appears as a “roade master.” (He worked for the railroad.) His wife Mary, is still listed with him. William and Mary Beman do not have any children[43].

Finally, William Beman and his wife Mary appear on the 1880 Census for Boonville, Cooper Co., Missouri, where William is listed as a railroad track repairer[44]. Mary must have died by 1885, and William moved over to Jasper County, where he settled in Carl Junction, a town that is west of Carthage. And that’s where he met Elizabeth Foster Jones Spencer Ady.

By 1885, Elizabeth must have taken stock of herself once again. Many of the people she admired were now gone. Jesse James was killed in 1882. The Youngers were in prison. Frank James was “retired.” Her old childhood acquaintance, Belle Shirley (Belle Starr) had made quite a name for herself. In August 1874, her husband Jim Reed had been killed in a gunfight. Belle then took on a series of lovers beginning with Blue Duck and then marrying Sam Starr. By 1882, Belle Starr was celebrated as Queen of the Bandits by the popular press. She was caught trying to steal a neighbor’s horse. Judge Isaac Parker (the hanging judge) sentenced her to two consecutive six month terms in prison and her husband to one year in prison. After their release, the Starrs returned to Younger’s Bend in Arkansas, where they continued their rustling and bootlegging activities. [Sam Starr was eventually killed in a gunfight in 1886.] Belle then married Jim July–a marriage full of discord. She would eventually be killed when an unknown assailant shot her off her horse on February 3, 1889. Belle Starr died at the age of 41.][45]. I remember reading that after her death, her daughter Pearl had her buried with all her gold inside her coffin. Grave robbers knew that story, broke into the coffin and stole all the gold! (Doubt Belle would have had use for it by then!)

After establishing herself in Carthage, Elizabeth was probably seeking less excitement and more stability. At the same time, she didn’t want to marry another farmer. She liked city life and had no desire to move back to the country. Her children were growing up and more than anything else, she did not want to live alone. And that’s when she met William Beman.

Apparently, he was exactly the man she was seeking. He had the same gift of gab that attracted her originally to Andrew J. Ady and no ambitions for farming whatsoever-or so she thought! William had lived many places and experienced many things, and his stories could entertain her for hours. They were married August 11, 1886 in Carthage, Jasper Co., Missouri[46]. The 1900 Census finds them in Twin Grove, Jasper Co., Missouri, where William is listed as a farmer! The census record indicates that he was born in August 1829 in New York and that Elizabeth was born in November 1840 in Tennessee[47].

Elizabeth’s 16-year-old-grandson, Earl Jones, (who was born September 1883 in Missouri) was living with them in 1900. His parents were Thomas A. and Nancy Jones (Elizabeth’s oldest son). Thomas and Nancy were married May 7, 1881, although he seems to have had two marriages. His second wife was Mary Sabrit Thornhill. Thomas died in Carthage, Missouri October 12, 1942[48].

Concerning the rest of Elizabeth’s children:

Hettie D. Jones, (b. 1864) who appears on the 1880 Census in the Elizabeth Ady household. No further information. She may have died by 1900.

William H. Jones (age 33) and his wife Albirdia (age 30) appear on the 1900 Census, Twin Grove Tp., (Carl Junction), Jasper Co., Missouri with their children: Glen R. Jones (age 10) and Neal Jones (age 1)[49]. Some family records on Ancestry.com state that William had two marriages and that his first wife’s name was Amy. However, William and Alberta were married November 6, 1889 in Jasper County[50]. William H. and Alberta appear on the 1920 Census for Jackson Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri with their children: Neal C. Jones (Age 20) and Walter L. Jones (age 12)[51]. William H. Jones died in Jasper Co., Missouri in 1939[52].

John C. Jones (age 48) appears on the 1920 Census for Pineville, McDonald Co., Missouri with his wife Hattie (age 46) and their children: Ray Jones (age 24); William Jones (age 22); Charles Jones (age 19); Louis Jones (age 18); Grace Jones (age 15); Harold Jones (age 9)[53]. John Charles Jones died June 27, 1924 in Pineville, McDonald Co., Missouri[54].

Earl E. Jones, (b. 1875) who appears on the 1880 Census in the Elizabeth Ady household. No further information. He may have died young.

I believe William Beman died shortly after the 1900 Census since I could find nothing further about him.

Apparently the Bemans returned to Daviess Co., Indiana shortly after the 1900 census was taken. William had lived there previously. The July 3, 1902 issue of the Carthage Press notes the following: Fidelity–Elizabeth, wife of William Spencer, formerly of this place, but now of Indiana, died Sunday, June 22[55].

Thus ends the odyssey of Elizabeth Foster Jones Spencer Ady Beman. But the question still remains: Who killed John Bass Jones?

The whole grand jury investigation against the Jasper County men the Spring of 1880 was prompted by political motives on the part of certain individuals who wanted to take control of City Hall and eliminate potential challenges. The grand jury investigation occurred in April 1880. Elizabeth Ady significantly altered her testimony from that originally given at the coroner’s inquest shortly after the death of John Bass Jones. In 1867, she told the coroner’s jury and everyone else who would listen to her that she didn’t recognize any of the men who came to the door. They were all strangers and none of them wore masks. At the grand jury investigation in April 1880, however, she named names-although she didn’t name William Spencer–and she also threw in the information about living on Red Hot Street in Galena, Kansas.

I seriously doubt that she lived there at all. Galena didn’t become a boom town until 1877, and Red Hot Street was notorious. In describing the conflict between Galena and its rival Empire City, the Genuine Kansas website notes:

“The war between the towns became so bad that the main connecting link between the two cities became known as “Red Hot Street,” when feuding became so intense that doctors and undertakers began working nights and sleeping during the days. This feud, coupled with the countless miners, transients, and outlaws hiding within its midst provided a hotbed for violence.

In this section of the town were innumerable saloons and gambling halls that catered to murderers, outlaws, and gamblers. During this time, many hardworking miners were lured inside to lose their hard earned gold at the gaming tables and other questionable pastimes. Some were never seen again”[56].

Elizabeth tossed in her reference to “Red Hot Street” during her 1880 testimony as a taunt-and probably as a way of embarrassing and/or mortifying William Spencer! I am certain she found enough excitement in southeast Kansas to fill her day without visiting Red Hot Street!

The killing of John Bass Jones is a matter of speculation since identities of the perpetrators were never discovered. Bass was a Confederate sympathizer, who spent a considerable amount of time in Arkansas. He lived in Saline County with his wife (Note: they had just married prior to his death), and he spent time in Benton County with relatives and friends. Apparently, his visits to Jasper County were sporadic and caused concern that he planned to locate there permanently. Bass may have been aware of their concern, which would have led him to the statement described in the following segment of the testimony:

My name is D. S. Moss. I live on Jones Creek, seven miles southeast of Carthage; lived there since 1866. In 1867 Wm. Hood lived about two miles south of Mr. J. D. Jones, and one quarter of a mile from me, and Wm. Boss lived about three miles from me, and David Collins lived five and a half or six miles and James Greer about five miles, a little east of south. They all lived up Jones Creek from where I lived. Knew Wm. Spencer; he lived about one mile north and east of where I lived. I have seen John Bass Jones when he was a boy; saw him in 1867–in March 1867. John Bass and James Henry Jones stopped at my home; I did not see John Bass again till the morning of the 17th of April, 1867; he was laying in the road; he had been shot. Think there was eleven holes in his body. Think the shot in the head and the one in the heart would have produced death. Knew Boss; saw him first in 1866. Defendants all identified. Have known Wm. Spencer from my boyhood. I heard Wm. Boss say that John Bass Jones had made some remarkable threats against us blank Republicans that lived on Jones Creek; that he, Boss, had played off on Jones as a Democrat, and Jones had told him that he would go down to Arkansas and get a company of bushwhackers, and clean out all union men on Jones Creek. About the week after this conversation–Boss belonged to a society we had down there for mutual protection against thieves–we had a meeting, and Boss was there. I was chairman, and Boss said something about Jones. I don’t know who was vice president. ??? to Boss we were not attending to ??? Joneses then. Mr. Smith and Mr. Samuels made use of some abrupt language, and I got up and left[57].

The whole incident appears to have started with a rumor. John Bass Jones may or may not have actually made that statement, or he may have made a statement that was perceived by others as an actual threat. Someone took his threat seriously and hired a group of killers to kill him. No one recognized any of the men in the original coroner’s inquest of 1867. They were strangers from outside the community. They may have even been hired by someone from inside or outside the community who was either worried about John Bass Jones’ permanent residence in Jasper County or who was hoping to cause trouble in Jasper County.

Perhaps at some future date a deathbed confession will emerge from some dusty trunk that will solve the mystery.

 

References

[1] Jarrett B. Foster Overview, Cunningham/Webster Family Tree, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[2] 1850 Census, Jackson Tp., District 41, Jasper Co., Missouri-Jarrett B. Foster. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[3] 1850 Census, District 41, Jasper Co., Missouri-John Shirley. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[4] John Shirley Overview-The Walters Family Tree. Available online at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[5] Belle Starr-The Bandit Queen. From the American Legends Website. Old West Legends. Available online at http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-bellestarr.html

[6] 1860 Census Records, Jasper Co., Missouri: Jarrett B. Foster [Jackson Tp., District 41]-John Shirley [Marion Tp.]. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[7] Foster Marriage Records for 1860, Jasper Co., Missouri. Available online at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[8] List of Original Members and Builders of the Freedom Baptist Church, Entrance of the Moss Springs Cemetery, Moss Springs Cemetery Association, Jasper Co., Missouri

[9] 1850 Census, District 41, Jasper Co., Missouri, John D. Jones. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[10] 1860 Census, District 41, Jasper Co., Missouri, John D. Jones. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[11] “Battle of Carthage-Confederate Victory”-Awesome Stories: Story Place on the Web. Available online at http://www.awesomestories.com/assets/battle-of-carthage—confederate-victory

[12] CWSAC Battle Summaries Website, The American Battlefield Protection Program, Heritage Preservation Services, Available online at http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/mo004.htm

[13] “The Battle of Pea Ridge”-Available at the Wikipedia website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Pea_Ridge

[14] U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. The Official Land Records Site. John Shirley and Harry W. Younger Land Patent (1850). Available online at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/

[15] Belle Starr-The Bandit Queen. From the American Legends Website. Old West Legends. Available online at http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-bellestarr.html

[16] Newton Jasper Spence Family Records. Mora Spence. Ca. 1995.

[17] 1865 Tax List, Marmaton, Bourbon Co., Kansas, Jarrett B. Foster. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[18] 1870 Census for Westralia, Montgomery Co., Kansas, G. Foster. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[19] 1875 tax record for Cherokee Tp., Montgomery Co., Kansas. Jarrett B. Foster. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[20] “Wedding in the Woods”–Belle Starr Wedding Photo. Posted on Pinterest by Beverly Bauser, Found on theelliscollection.com

[21] Belle Starr-The Bandit Queen. From the American Legends Website. Old West Legends. Available online at http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-bellestarr.html

[22] 1850 Census for Geneva, Jennings, Indiana, Andrew J. Ady. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[23] 1865 Tax List, Clarke Tp., in District 2, Indiana, Andrew J. Ady. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[24] 1875 Tax List, Wild Cat Tp., Howard Co., Kansas, Andrew J. Ady. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[25] 1875 Tax List, Wild Cat Tp., Howard Co., Kansas, Andrew J. Ady. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[26] 1885 Tax List, Boulder Co., Colorado. Andrew J. Ady. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[27] 1895 Tax List for Richland Tp., Gray Co., Kansas, Andrew J. Ady. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[28] 1900 Census for Hess Tp., Gray Co., Kansas, Andrew J. Ady. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[29] 1920 Census, Whatcom Co., Washington, Amelia Ady. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[30] Milly Catherine Spence Jones Overview, Forehand-Winslow Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[31] Milly Catherine Spence Jones Overview, Henninger Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[32] William Spencer Overview, Riddle Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[33] William Spencer Overview, Riddle Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[34] 1850 Census for Sarcoxie, Jasper Co., Missouri, William Spencer. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[35] 1880 Census, Union Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri, William Spencer. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[36] 1865 Census for Mound City, Linn Co., Kansas, William Spencer. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[37] 1880 Tax Records, Coffeyville, Montgomery Co., Kansas: Francis Marion Foster. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[38] 1880 Census for Union Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri, William Spencer. Available at Ancestry .com: http://www.ancestry.com

[39] 1880 Census for Union Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri, William Spencer. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[40] 1880 Census for Carthage, Jasper Co., Missouri, Elizabeth Ady. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[41] 1850 Census for Brandon Tp, Rensselaer Co., New York, William Beman. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[42] 1860 Census for Farmington, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, William Beman. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[43] 1870 Census, Washington, Daviess Co., Indiana, William Beman. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[44] 1880 Census, Boonville, Cooper Co., Missouri, William Beman. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[45] Belle Starr-The Bandit Queen. From the American Legends Website. Old West Legends. Available online at http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-bellestarr.html

[46] William Beman Marriage Record; Jasper County Marriage Records; August 11, 1886

[47] 1900 Census, Twin Grove Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri; William Beman; Available at Ancestry.com; http://www.ancestry.com

[48] Thomas A. Jones Family Tree; Ancestry World Tree; Available at Ancestry.com; http://www.ancestry.com

[49] 1900 Census, Twin Grove Tp. (Carl Junction), Jasper Co., Missouri. William H. Jones. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[50] William H. Jones Marriage Record; Jasper County Marriage Records; November 6, 1889 [51] 1920 Census, Jackson Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri, William H. Jones. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[51] William H. Jones Family Tree; Ancestry World Tree; Available at Ancestry.com; http://www.ancestry.com

[52] 1920 Census, Pineville, McDonald Co., Missouri, John C. Jones. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[53] John Charles Jones Family Tree; Ancestry World Tree; Available at http://www.ancestry.com

[54] Death Notice about Elizabeth Ady Spencer (Wife of William Spencer), Carthage Press, Carthage, Missouri. July 3, 1902

[55] Genuine Kansas: Galena; Available online at http://www.genuinekansas.com/city_galena_kansas.htm

[57] “The So-Called Murder Case” from The Carthage Banner, August 1, 1880. Microfilm. Jasper County Public Library

 

 

 

Who Killed John Bass Jones– Part 1

 

 

John Bass Jones (1838-1867). Grave at Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri

John Bass Jones (1838-1867). Grave at Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri

 

 

Jasper Co., Missouri was the scene of turmoil before, during, and after the Civil War. After Order No. 11 was issued, southern-sympathizing families were forced out of the State. As a result, many families fled Missouri to resettle in the South. Grayson Co., Texas was a popular area for resettlement. Some families remained in Texas and did not explore other locations. Some stayed there briefly, only to relocate to states such as Arkansas. Those who settled in Arkansas either remained there for the rest of their lives, or they relocated to southern counties in Missouri in the late 1880s or 1890s. Since Jasper Co., Missouri was a center of Union activity and sentiment, few southern supporters returned there. If they did, they risked their lives. Such was the case of John Bass Jones, who was shot and killed in the early morning hours of April 17, 1867 by unknown assailants in Jasper County.

Bass (as he was called) left Missouri with members of the Jones and Hood families and appears to have settled at Sulphur Springs, Benton Co., Arkansas. As reported in an earlier article written on him, he also settled in  Saline County, Arkansas, where he met and married his future wife. (Click HERE for the earlier story written about John Bass Jones, his family and his wife.)  He returned to Jasper County in 1867, apparently planning to stay there. Instead, his bullet-riddled body was found on the road. Unknown assailants took him from the house where he was staying and fired 11 bullets into him.

A coroner’s inquest was held immediately after the killing, but no one was charged. Then the whole case suddenly came to life again in 1880. A number of prominent men were charged with the murder, and prosecution of the murder case was detailed in the Carthage Banner. I have incorporated the newspaper account below.

 

The So-Called Murder Case

From “The Carthage Banner, August 1, 1880

The Democratic Prosecution of Innocent Men for Murder

The Evidence In Full as Taken By a Banner Reporter

Prosecution of this case was conducted by prosecuting attorney McIntyre, assisted by W. C. Robinson and A. L. Thomas. Defense of the case was in the hands of L. H. Waters. U.S. District Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, and T. B. Hanghawout and W. H. Phillips.

“The well known ability of the counsel for the defense guarantees that the true animus of the prosecution will be thoroughly shown up, and the rights of the defendants maintained and protected. Of the twenty-four men sworn this morning, fifteen were accepted and the sheriff was ordered to get twenty-five more jurors. It will perhaps require today and tomorrow to fill the panel, as the case has been much talked of and has excited a great deal of just indignation in the breasts of good citizens all over the county. The readers of the BANNER shall be kept fully posted in every detail of the trial which will be come one of the most celebrated that ever occurred in the county” (The Carthage Banner, Thursday, March 25, 1880)

 

————————————

STATE OF MISSOURI VS. D.A. COLLINS, ET AL

The state after the forty men were qualified, called Geo. Miller, and asked him whether he had said anything about the case after he was qualified. He said that Wm. Motherspaw said to him, that the case would be short, as one of the witnesses had a bad character; also, that he had no prejudice or bias for or against the defendants.

Jasper said that he talked with him and said he did not like to be kept away from home, that the case would not amount to anything, as one of the witnesses has a very bad character; that is all he said about the case. The court then excluded Miller and fined him ten dollars [for comments made] as to Smith and Flemming.

State of Missouri vs. D. S. Collins, et al. Witnesses for State:

JAMES H. JONES

I was at John D. Jones’, seven miles south of Carthage, in April, 1867. J. D. and his wife, James Jones was there on the night of April 16th. Knew John Bass Jones in his life time. He had been in the county but a short time prior to that time. He left this county in 1866 and came back in 1867; he remained a week and went to Arkansas, remained about a week and came back on the night he was killed, came to John D. Jones, a fact; came from the direction of Wm. Hood’s. I was awoke by some one calling out. J. D. Jones called out that John Bass was in the house. They said, tell him to get up  and come to the door. John Bass got up and asked them what they wanted. They said they wanted him to go to town; he said he had no horse; they said they would furnish him a horse. He then came back and dressed, went out, and the last I heard him say was, even if I had done anything to die for, I would not care. Did not know any of the parties. He went out the west door; about five minutes after he was taken out I heard shots; seemed to be two volleys; saw the body next morning. The body was lying on its back, was eleven bullet holes in it. The house is on the west side of the creek. We were all sleeping in the same room, about twenty feet square; it was a light night; I saw some parties pass the window on the east side of the house. Wm. Boss lived on the widow Jones’ [Note: Milly Catherine Spence Jones, wife of Lewis Jones] farm in Newton county. John Bass claimed one-fifth interest in the farm at that time. I stayed in bed all the time until I heard the guns fired; then I got up and left.

Cross-Examined:

The doors were in the center of the house, on the east and west side. John Bass and myself slept in the south east corner. John David Jones was the man that said we were in the house; don’t know whether John David Jones got up or not; can’t tell whether Mrs. Ady was up when the men were there or not; think she was after the men had started from the door. This was about twelve miles from Granby; the road where the body was found is the road to Granby. We had a stable. John Bass did not bring his horse; did not recognize any of the men that passed by window; don’t know how many men were there were.

DANIEL G. JONES

I am twenty eight years old in August; live in Jasper County; lived at John D. Jones’ April 1867. Saw John Bass Jones there in April of that year. John Bass came there the night he was killed. Went to bed early. I slept upstairs. Did not wake during the night; got up in the morning, before day; saw Jones dead in the road, about two hundred yards from the house in the road. There was eleven bullet holes in the body: two in the body, one in his ear, one in his chin, and several in his leg. Defendant Greer lived about four miles southeast of Jones’ at that time. Boss lived about three miles. I saw Mr. Boss pass by our house the next morning; he stopped a moment and then rode off. This happened in Jasper County.

Cross-Examined:

I was not awake that night; they called me the next morning. There was no one to bed when I went to bed. John Bass came there about a week before this, on a black horse, he went to Arkansas on said horse. He came there before  breakfast. Don’t know whether he had had his breakfast or not.

M. HICKEY

Live six miles south. I lived there in 1867; was acquainted with John Bass Jones in 1867. The last time I ever saw him alive was in April, 1866. I saw his body afterwards in 1867, at the house of John Davy Jones; died in 1867, April 17th. On the night of the 16th I was on the bottom of the forks of Jones and Center Creek, hunting turkeys. When I started down it was clear; when I went home, it was twelve or one o’clock and clear. I lived about two miles from the bottom; as I went home I heard shooting, toward Dr. Moss’s. I was then about two miles and a half from John D. Jones when I heard the shots. Saw only two shots; one went in the right ear and came out at his chin; the other in his wrist. John D Jones lived about three and a half miles southeast of me. Wm. Hood lived about one-half miles from Jones, south. There was a right smart yard around J. D. Jones at that time. On the west side of the house there was a locust tree. John Bass Jones was about twenty-eight years old.

Cross-examined:

I was friendly with the Joneses. I have lived at where I now live since the war, except two years.

[Still for the Prosecution]

C. MITCHELL

Reside in Newton county; have lived there since August, 1866, about three miles from Wm. Boss; two miles east and one south. I was introduced to John Bass Jones by Mr. Boss, in March, 1867, I think. I recollect he was killed in the spring of the year, the same spring I was introduced to him. Mr. Boss said he was interested in the place he, Boss, lived on. The day before Jones was killed I was in the timber, north of Mr. Boss’ home, sawing timber. On my way home, I passed along the north end of Mr. Boss’ home. Boss was close to the barn, leading a horse. We saw Mr. Boss and we went to the timber and  Boss said it was all right to cut the timber. Mr. Jones said it was all right. Mr. Jones asked Boss if Jones had left us a French Furlough. Boss said he had heard so. When we saw it was at the house as we went home, Haines said, Boss, I thought Jones had left the country. Boss said yes. Haines said, I saw him but a short time before going up to Hood’s to stay all night. I said Jones said he was moving to Carthage. Boss said he must be seen to. I think that was all that was said. After we got across the creek I saw someone ride up the creek south; think it was Boss. He was riding toward where Greer was living. I told Boss that Jones told me that he had the power of attorney to bring suit to set aside deeds where property had been sold on bogus attachments, where parties were out of the country. The amount he had to settle was about forty or fifty thousand dollars.

Cross-Examined:

I went over to Boss’s to buy corn when I was introduced to Jones. I next saw Bass when I went over after ??? took out tools. We stopped at Boss’s to get permission to cut a couple of trees. Boss said it was all right, that Jones had no objection. We saw Jones in the evening. Jones asked us if we knew whose timber we were cutting. I told him we had bought the timber of Boss. Jones said it was all right. I did not know it was John Bass Jones until two days after. Jones was riding a horse. He went north when he left. The horse was a bay or sorrel. When I went to Boss’ house in the evening, Boss  was just leading a horse in the barn yard. I told Boss that Jones said he had the power to attorney to bring a number of suits for land in Jasper county that had been sold out on bogus attachment suits for damages against parties who had left the county.

JAMES H. JONES was by the court recalled for the purpose of permitting a juror to ask him a question. H. C. Warner, juror, asked him: What relation was John Bass Jones to you? My uncle. I went to Buckingham’s that night, and told them what I thought had occurred. State asked him what trees were on the west side of the house? Two–one locust tree and apple tree.

ELIZABETH ADY

My name is Elizabeth Ady. Live in Carthage. Lived on Jones Creek in 1867. My name was Jones.

S. MOSS

My name is D. S. Moss. I live on Jones Creek, seven miles southeast of Carthage; lived there since 1866. In 1867 Wm. Hood lived about two miles south of Mr. J. D. Jones, and one quarter of a mile from me, and Wm. Boss lived about three miles from me, and David Collins lived five and a half or six miles and James Greer about five miles, a little east of south. They all  lived up Jones Creek from where I lived. Knew Wm. Spencer; he lived about one mile north and east of where I lived. I have seen John Bass Jones when he was a boy; saw him in 1867–in March 1867. John Bass and James Henry Jones stopped at my home; I did not see John Bass again till the morning of the 17th of April, 1867; he was laying in the road; he had been shot. Think there was eleven holes in his body. Think the shot in the head and the one in the heart would have produced death. Knew Boss; saw him first in 1866. Defendants all identified. Have known Wm. Spencer from my boyhood. I heard  Wm. Boss say that John Bass Jones had made some remarkable threats against us blank Republicans that lived on Jones Creek; that he, Boss, had played off on Jones as a Democrat, and Jones had told him that he would go down to Arkansas and get a company of bushwhackers, and clean out all union men on Jones Creek. About the week after this conversation–Boss belonged to a society we had down there for mutual protection against thieves–we had a meeting, and Boss was there. I was chairman, and Boss said something about Jones. I don’t know who was vice president. ??? to Boss we were not attending to ??? Joneses then. Mr. Smith and Mr. Samuels made use of some abrupt language, and I got up and left.

Question: Did not Wm. Boss make a motion while you was setting–make a motion at that meeting–some time in March or April that John Bass Jones should be killed. Excluded.

Don’t know whether Boss said anything more. Samuels and Smith said something about running Jones out of county and killing him, etc.

There seemed to be considerable animosity against someone; don’t know who it was against. I told Boss that I would see Jones about it and he said nothing. Don’t know who took the chair when I left. Don’t think there was any motion or proposition to kill Jones that night. All that I know about it, I have stated. There was considerable excitement. I don’t know whether Collins or Greer was there or not. Don’t think there was a motion or even a proposition for a motion to run John Bass Jones out of the county, or to kill him. We had another meeting about two weeks after that. We organized in April, 1866. We had a meeting on the night of the 16th of April, 1867; lasted until after 9 o’clock; it was at the school house about one-half mile from my house. Wm. Spencer was there; don’t think David Collins was there, or James Greer; heard someone speak; thought it was Boss; it was at the door; I was in the back of the house; don’t know whether it was Boss’ voice or not; after the conversation had passed, heard a horse going up the hill.

Cross-Examined:

Our society was called the Union League; about one hundred members. We let everybody in who wanted to join. The organization was not to do anybody any harm, but to protect our property. Boss asked me whether John Bass Jones had not better be arrested. The business we wanted attended to was to petition the Legislature to remit interest on some older debts for which I was security. Think this is why I left the chair. I know Nathan Smith and Lee Burlingame.

Did you not say in presence of Mr. Burlingame and Smith that you heard Jones’ name mentioned in the Union League?

No.

Did you not state in presence of Thos. Wakefield yesterday that Bass was not at the meeting and that he did not ride up to the door?

I held the inquest over the body of Jones. I was J. P. at the time.

Boss’ wife was sick at that time; he came after medicine on the 16th of April, 1867. William Spencer’s wife was sick also.

Mrs. Ady and Mrs. William Hood were witnesses at the inquest. I knew all about this matter then that I know now. Mrs. Hood was a sister of John Bass Jones; Amos Buchannan’s wife and John Bass Jones’ wife were brother and sister; also Mrs. Hood and John Bass Jones.

(still for the prosecution)

J. HAMRY

I reside in Cherokee county, Kansas since 1874. Know Dr. Moss, know Wm. Spencer, knew them first in the summer of 1867. I joined the organization in 1867 after the killing. Know Wm. Boss and David Collins. I attended two meetings in July or August, 1866; we took an oath that did not amount to much; we signed a constitution for mutual protection.

Spencer told me during august, 1879, on Dave Spence’s [Note: William David Spence–my second great-grandfather]] fence. I was talking about the killing of this man. He said, “Are you a member. I can tell you.” He said, “We had a meeting. Dr. Moss was president, and would not put the motion to kill Jones; and after the crowd had gone out of doors, some one came up, and he, Spencer, said as Moss would not give the order to kill Jones, that he, Spencer, would have your men ready; I say as vice-president, to go on and do it. I don’t know who it was that Spencer said asked for the order.

Cross-Examined:

I first came to the country in June, 1867. Soon after joining the league; I was a Democrat at that time, but they did not know it. I recollect of seeing Smith, Gibbens and Dr. Moss at the meetings. I told the conversation I had with Spencer; to Laz Spence and Dave Spence and all over the country. They met at Moss’ spring; when I met with them. I wrote the conversation down a few days after. Bro. Boss, Mr. Buchanan, Nathan Smith, and Mr. Boss asked me who had told me, I said I would not tell. I did not deny knowing anything about it when they came to see me.

Re-examined:

Some of the men came armed; some one says Boss was the spokesman, and wanted my authority, but I told them I would permit my right arm to be cut off  first.

ELIZABETH ADY

I was living on Jones’ Creek in 1867, about one mile from Wm. Hood’s; knew James Greer, David Collins and Wm. Boss; had known them but a short time. Knew John Bass Jones; saw him last on the 16th day of April, 1867; come a foot from the direction of Wm. Hood’s. Think Dan Jones went to bed first; can’t say what time the men-folks retired that night. The beds were in the south end of the house–one in the west and the other in the east corner. The first thing I heard was a rapping on the house. I spoke to my husband, who spoke, and asked what they wanted; they said we want you to come out. I did not want him to go out. They said if you come out and act like a man you shall not be hurt. He opened the door; they asked who was there, and he said John Bass and J. H. Jones. John Bass went to the door. They said we want  you to go to town; he said he had no horse; they said we will furnish you one. He put his clothes on and went out and they surrounded him. I heard him say that if he had ever done anything to be killed for he would not care. They started off with him and I soon heard what I supposed to be fifteen or twenty shots; afterwards I thought I heard horses going east and south. Wm. Buchannan was standing at the door. I recognized Nathan Boss, Wm. Boss, James Greer and David Collins; David Collins at that time wore his mustache blacked. They had small arms in their hands.

Cross-Examined:

Hood’s wife was a cousin to John Bass Jones. I married Davy Jones in 1860; it was about two weeks after John Bass Jones came back before he was killed. He went to Arkansas. John Bass Jones did not make his home anywhere after he came back. I had got asleep before I was aroused by the men. John B. Jones had a great many relatives in the neighborhood. He went out the west door. I was getting out the side of the bed; and saw Wm Buchannan through the window; I had my dress on when I went to the door; I saw seven men in all; don’t know who the others were; can’t give any description of them; can’t tell how the men were dressed. I was present at the inquest next day, and swore that I did not know any of the men.

Question: Did you not tell Mrs. Furggason that you did not know any of the men that killed Jones?

Answer: No.

Ques. Did you not tell Ruban Dall the same thing?

Ans. No.

Ques. Did you not tell Mrs. Southerland the same thing?

Ans. No.

The first time I told any body who the men were was last fall; I told Pike, who was at that time detective and deputy sheriff. After Jones was killed my husband died, I married Spencer; after I parted with Spencer I went to Galena in 1877, and went by the name of Jones, though my name was Spencer. I lived on Red Hot Street, Galena. When I lived in Galena I married A. J. Ady; I went to Elk county, Kansas, from Galena. I saw David Collins at our house; he was with his brother who was hung near Lamar. Pike was at my house when I first told him this. He spoke to me several times about making the affidavit.

Did you not refuse to sign the affidavit against these men when you went to Squire Brown’s office, and did not Pike take you in a private room and talk with you before you would sign it.

Objected to and objection sustained.

I said I was afraid to tell, but no one threatened me. I don’t know why I was not afraid to tell Pike.

J. ROBERTSON

Know defendants; live eight miles southeast of here, two and one-half miles from Jones Creek; came there in April, 1866; Greer and Collins pointed out to me day before yesterday; never saw Greer before; saw Collins once before; didn’t know Jones; two days after killing heard of it in town. I was not acquainted with any of the defendants but Spencer; did not get acquainted with Boss till 1870. I met Spencer some time in 1867 or 1868 on the prairie, and we had a conversation in relation to my membership in a certain organization. He wanted to know whether I was loyal. I told him I was loyal  to the United States, but not to the organization. All the conversation was about my allegiance to the organization. It was called the Advanced Guards of America, and held their meetings at the Moss School House. Don’t know whether Spencer was a member or not.

Cross-Examined:

I belonged to that organization. I did not know any member in the order.

J. HAMRY RECALLED

Mr. Spencer said Jones was killed because he was kicking about the cutting of  timber on his land; that he did not allow rebs to come back and make threats.

WILLIAM HOOD

I resided on Jones’ Creek in April 1867; lived there until the 16th of April; knew John Bass Jones; he left that county in April, 1866; the next I saw him was March, 1867; stayed a week and went to Arkansas to see his brothers, and come back April 16th, 1867, about three o’clock that day was on horse back; stayed till dark; left his horse and went I don’t know where. His horse was in my lot; know Boss, Collins and Greer; saw Collins and Greer pass my house that evening; they passed close to where the horse was; Jones had left before they came back. I saw two persons going toward J. D. Jones’; after that I heard the dogs bark and got up and went to the door; some one knocked at the door. I opened the door; saw pistols cocked. They said “Come out.” I did; three men went in and one guarded me; the men that asked me to come out and turned and asked me who was in the house. They went in, searched the house, came out and went away. They then came back and asked me where John Bass Jones was. My wife said they had gone down to John Davy Jones’s. They turned and walked off; I went back in; they came back again, called me out and asked me to come round the house; saw four men; was getting over the fence, and Collins came up to me and asked me whether I had ever ordered any Union men out of this county or took Union men’s property. I said no. He then said he did not want me to run around any more; that is, unnecessary running around. My wife came to the door, and he then told me not to leave the house until daylight. I only recognized Greer, Collins and Buchannan.

They had been gone about one-half hour. I heard pistols a little while after I heard horses’ feet on the road going south; thought the pistol shots were down the creek. the men were not disguised; they had pistols; did not see Collins have any pistols. I saw seven men in all; only recognized three. The two men that were with Collins when he talked to me I did not know. The moon was a little west that night.

Cross Examined;

Live in Texas; northwest Texas; I left Texas last Monday week to come here; was here last court; stayed at Pike’s house and McBride’s house–went out some and mostly after night. Mr. McAntyre sent me money to come here–was in Weatherford, Texas, when I got the money. John B. Jones was riding on a black or brown horse when he came to my house. Got to my house on the 16th, about three o’clock. The men came to my house at about 12 o’clock or after, at night. I went to Jones’ next morning and stayed until night. It is one mile from my house to Boss’. I did not go to Boss’ next morning and tell them that Jones was dead. I did not tell Boss ??? that I did not know the men  that were there that night.

Witnesses for Defense

W. STEWART

Lived on Jones Creek on Laz Spence’s place in 1867; was one of the jurors before the inquest. Wm. Hood was sworn as a witness.

Question: Did not Mr. Hood swear before the Coroner’s jury that he did not know who the men were that was at his house?

Answer: Yes

Ques: Did not Hood swear before said jury that the men were all strangers to him?

Ans: yes.

LAZERUS [SIC] SPENCE

I was one of the Coroner’s jury that held the inquest over the body of John Bass Jones. Wm. Hood was sworn as a witness, and testified that the men who were at his house that night were all strangers to him.

Have known William Spencer since 1841; Mr. Spencer always had a good reputation; also Boss and Greer.

Cross Examined: There was a large crowd at the inquest.

I was at the meeting of the League the night Jones was killed. Collins or Greer was there.

The League lasted till two minutes after nine o’clock; after the meeting was over, myself, Dr. Moss and William Spencer went home together as far as Moss’, then I went a short distance from Moss’ and Spencer went on home.

NATHAN SMITH

I lived in 1866 at my father’s on Jones Creek; I remember of the killing of J. B. Jones. I was north of Hood’s or John D. Jones that night. I was at my uncle’s that night shelling corn. I was a member of the League. I understood it to be a general organization gotten up by members of the local area to protect property and enforce the law. I was at the meeting of the League at Moss Spring, when Major Baney was an applicant and he was rejected. He never was a member of that order.

Cross Examined: My uncle lived about two and a half miles from where John B. Jones was killed. I never heard the name of Jones mentioned in the League and I know it was not the murder of Jones that caused the League to disband. I never was at Major Baney’s for the purpose of driving him out of the county.

Re-examined: I was at the foot of the stairs when Moss said he had never heard the name of Jones mentioned in the league and had never heard any motion or proposition in the League to kill Jones or run him out of the  country.

D. BURLINGAME:

Testified as above

A. WAKEFIELD

Yesterday and the day before, D. Moss told me he was not at the meeting of the League the night Jones was killed. Swears to the good character of all of the defendants. Baney never was a member of the League. His name was rejected at a meeting at Moss Spring, while I was a member.

NATHAN SMITH

My recollection is that I said I could not positively tell where I was the night Jones was killed, at the time I gave bail.

MRS. SOUTHERLAND

Know Mrs. Ady, her and her husband were at my house last harvest, and she, Mrs. Ady, told me she did not know who killed J. B. Jones; that she did not recognize any of them and that the killing of Jones was a mystery.

Cross-Examined: She said that three of the men came in the house and she did not recognize any of them; that they were strangers and not disguised.

CHRISTIAN FINGERLY

I came to this county on the 1st of March, 1867; know Mrs. Ady. The morning of the 17th I went to Jones’ house and helped to carry the body in the home and Mrs. Ady told me she did not know any of the men that killed Jones.

RUBEN DALL

Know Mrs. Ady; knew her in 1869, in the summer of 1869. Mrs. Ady said in my presence that she did not recognize any of the men who killed Bass Jones. She said the men were out in the yard southwest of the house under an apple  tree. Know where Boss lived in 1868; there was no lane on the northwest of Boss’ house at that time.

SOLOMON GOUCHER

Came to this state in the fall of 1867; know where Boss live; am acquainted with the country. The lane Mitchell spoke of was built in the spring of 1869.

MRS. FERGUSSON

Am a sister of defendant Collins; know Mrs. Ady; she and her husband were at my house visiting, and Mrs. Ady said she did not know the men that killed Jones; that they were black and strangers; I was living at home, and my brother was at home the night Jones was killed; also James Greer was there, and my brother was sick. I know it was that night because my sister was confined. My brother and Greer slept upstairs; the stairs were in the room where we slept. My brother and Mr. Greer went to bed early, and did not come down during the night.

Cross Examined: I have been married seven years; think I was about sixteen or seventeen; think I was older at that time. James Greer stayed at our house lots of nights. The night Jones was killed I think they went to bed at the proper time. My brother and Mr. Greer went to bed first.

MRS. STENSON

Am a sister of defendant Collins; lived in Newton County in 1867; I remember the night Jones was killed; my brother was at home that night; Greer was there; I slept in the room where the stairs went up and my brother and Greer went upstairs to bed that night. I went to my sister’s next day to see my sister, and Mrs. Ward told me Jones was killed. My sister had been confined.

S. COLLINS

Am one of the defendants; was at home the night John Bass Jones was killed; Greer slept with me. My sister told Greer that Jones was killed. I was not at J. D. Jones’ the night Jones was killed; was not at Hood’s that night. I  was at home, sick.

WILLIAM SPENCER

Am one of the defendants; am sixty-one; knew Jones. The night Jones was killed I went to Dr. Moss’ for medicine and went to the meeting, and went home about nine o’clock. I was a member of the Union League; had nothing to do with the killing of Jones; never gave orders to kill him and never heard his name mentioned in the League; never told Baney what he swore to.

JAMES GREER

Am one of the defendants; was not at Wm. Hood’s the night Jones was killed; did not go to John D. Jones’ the night he was killed; did not help kill him, and don’t know anything about it.

WILLIAM BOSS

Am one of the defendants; knew John Jones; first found out he was killed on the morning of the 17th of April, 1867. Wm. Hood came to my house that morning and told me that Jones was killed. I was at home all night the night Jones was killed. I never suggested to the League to kill Jones, and never said anything about him. My wife was sick the night Jones was killed. John Bass Jones and I was always friendly; never saw him but twice in his life time, once when Buchanan introduced him to me, and once when he came to measure his mother’s corn.

Cross Examined: Never had any such conversation with Mitchell, as he has sworn to. I did not see Mitchell all the day before Jones was killed.

MRS. BOSS

Am the wife of Wm. Boss. I recollect of the killing of John Bass Jones. My husband was at home that night. I recollect my husband was at home, because I was sick and he gave me medicine, and Wm. Hood came over next morning and told us Jones was killed.

Cross Examined: I had been sick for nearly one year.

PHILLIP BOSS

Am a son of the defendant Boss. Am twenty-nine years old in August. I recollect of the time John Bass Jones was killed: The next morning after he was killed, Wm. Hood came to our house and told us Jones was killed. My father was at home all of the night Jones was killed. I know he was because my mother was sick, and father was up and down during the night to give her medicine, and Wm. Hood came over the next morning and told us of the killing of Jones.

Cross Examined: Hood told us that morning that he had no idea who killed Jones. My father asked him if he wanted anyone to go and help hunt the ones that killed John Bass Jones. Mrs. Allen was living in the room adjoining us, and Mrs. Seanures was living in the kitchen.

HIRAM BOSS

Am twenty four, February 26. Am a son of Wm. Boss. I recollect of hearing of the killing of John Bass Jones. Wm. Hood told us the next morning that John Bass Jones was killed; he also said that he did not know who killed him, and had no idea who killed him. I recollect my father was at home all the  night of the 16ths.

REBUTTAL OF STATE

STEPHEN HOOD

I live about six miles from Moss, and the same from W. Hood. In 1867 I lived on the head of Jenkins Creek about three miles from Wm. Hood.

Question: Was Major Baney a member of that order in 1867.

Objected to by the defendant. Over ruled.

Ans. I think he was

Cross-Examined. I think I have been to meetings when Baney was there, am not satisfied or positive; was not a member of the League at Moss Spring.

JOHN ONSTOTT

Quest: Was you agent for the farm Boss lived on in 1867?

Ans. I was.

Ques. Did you give Boss any authority to sell any timber?

Ans. I did not.

Objected to by the State. Overruled.

DANIEL JONES

I was present at the coroner’s inquest; don’t recollect whether Wm. Hood testified or not at the inquest.

JACOB GILL

Live in Newton county; know Wm. Hood. I recollect the circumstances of Jones being killed. Hood left the day Jones was buried. I saw Hood start; the evening he left, he was at my house. I was present at the Coroner’s Inquest. Didn’t hear Wm. Hood testify; I think Mrs. Jones and husband were all that testified.

Cross-Examined; If Noah Moon testified, I did not know it.

M. BUCKINGHAM

I lived three-fourth miles west from where Jones was killed; was at the inquest. Hood left the day Jones was buried.

Cross-Examined: I think John D. Jones and wife and Wm. Hood and wife testified at the Coroner’s inquest.

JUDGE HOWELL

Live in Joplin. Know W. S. Norton; he lives in Empire City, Kansas. He formerly lived in Joplin. Knew his general moral character. It was bad.

JAMES H. JONES

I was present at the Coroner’s inquest. Could not say whether Wm. Hood was sworn or not.

 

***

The newspaper account ends here. I did not find any additional articles about the murder trial. The case was referred to once again in the press when William Spencer died December 23, 1888, and his obituary mentioned that he had been one of the defendants in the case. As far as I know, the defendants were all acquitted by the jury and the case against the defendants was closed. The real killers of John Bass Jones were never found.

My interest in the case has not waned however. And recently, while going through the old newspaper account, I made an interesting discovery that has taken me in a new direction. I will cover that in Part Two.

References

“The So-Called Murder Case” from The Carthage Banner, August 1, 1880. Microfilm. Jasper County Public Library, Carthage, Missouri.

 

 

 

The Country of Six Bulls: Adeline Elizabeth Bryant Spence (1833-1931)–Part Two

 

Lazarus and Adeline Spence Grave, Moss Springs, Cemetery. Photo Taken May 2002

Lazarus and Adeline Spence Grave, Moss Springs, Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri. Photo Taken May 2002

Cornelius O’Bryan (1696-1751), Augusta Co., Virginia

Daniel Bryant (1803-1858) and Lucy Key (1810-1903), the parents of Adeline Elizabeth Bryant Spence, were born in Franklin County, Virginia. Tracing Daniel Bryant’s family has been a challenge because of the constant change in the spelling of the name. I originally thought he was part of the large Huguenot family of Bryants from Buckingham and Cumberland Counties, Virginia, many of whom eventually settled in Kentucky. But the name was originally “O’Bryan”–later “Bryant”–and Daniel’s ancestors were Scotch-Irish, who intermarried with the O’Brians/O’Briants.

The O’Brian/O’Bryan surname was first found in County Clare, where Cornelius O’Bryan was born in before 1697. He relocated to Augusta County, Virginia, which is today Rockingham, where he died in 1751. A copy of his will follows:

Be it Remembered the thirtieth day of March in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty one I Cornelius O’Bryan of Augusta in the Colony of Virginia yeoman being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given to God therefore calling to mind the mortallity of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to dye do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament that is to say principally And first of all I give and recommend my soul into the Hands that gave it and for My body I recommend it to the Earth to be Buried in a Christain like and decent manner at the discretion of My Executors and as touching such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form – Imprimis it is my will and I do Order that in the first place all my juste Debts and Funeral Charges be paid and satisfied – Item I give and bequeath unto Rebecca my Dearly beloved wife one hundred Acres of Land during her natural life or she Continues My widow but after her Death or Mariage the said one hundred acres of Land to go unto my Son John Bryen his heirs And assigns forever likewise the old white horse and brown horse and a roan cow and a brown cow of the heifer that come of her and six sheep her choice of the stock together with all my household good during her Natural life And if she marries or when dys to go unto my son John likewise, — Item I give and bequeath unto my son Cornelius O’Bryen a roan mare, — Item I give and bequeath unto my son Thomas’s Eldest son Benjamin a roan yearling colt which came of the mare that I gave unto Cornelius my son, — Item the Rest of my stock Excepting the swine to be Equally Divided amongst the Remainder of my Children These I give and bequeath unto my son John O’Bryan all the remainder of my Estate Both real and personal unto him his heirs And assigns forever, Item I do constitute and ordain my well beloved wife Rebecca and my son John O’Bryen my only and sole Executors of this My Last Will and Testament and I do hereby utterly disalow revoke and disannul all and every other former Testaments Wills Legacies and Executors by me in any ways before this time Named willed and bequeathed Ratifying and Confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament In witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and seal the day and year above written [1].

In his will, Cornelius identifies his wife as Rebecca, and his sons as John, Cornelius Jr., and Thomas. John, who must have been his eldest son, became the executor of his estate along with his mother. He mentions a grandson named Benjamin, who was the eldest son of Thomas. Cornelius signed his will March 30, 1751 and the will was recorded May 28, 1751, indicating that he had died during that period of time. John O’Briant posted his bond as executor November 26, 1751[2]. John Bryant’s name earlier appears on the Augusta County Records where he was appointed as appraiser in another estate on May 10,1749 [3].

Subsequently, the Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, 1745-1800 indicate a land transaction involving the O’Bryan sons:

Name: Cornelius O’Bryan  Date: 10 Jul 1762  Location: Augusta Co., VA  Property: 150 acres on Linvel’s Creek, beginning at kern of stones; cor. John O’Bryan; cor. Cornelius O’Bryan, on the side of the Bald Hill, Watering Spring Run  Remarks: Grantors are surviving joint tenants of Cornelius, John, and Cornelius O’Bryan, Jr. 20. Part of 500 acres conveyed by Hite & Co. to Cornelius, John and Cornelius, Jr., 24 Jun 1744. Delivered to Thomas O’Bryan, Jul 1766.  Description: Grantor  Book Date: 10-458 [4].

I believe that one of these sons-Cornelius, Jr., John, or Thomas-had a son named John Bryant who relocated to Pittsylvania County-today, Franklin Co., Virginia-where he married a daughter of Dennis O’Briant.

 

Dennis O’Briant (1725-aft 1793), John Bryant (ca. 1760-aft. 1812) and Daniel Prillaman (1758-1854)

Dennis O’Briant was an early settler on Nicholas Creek in Pittsylvania County, having arrived before 1767 and having acquired his property of 286 acres on July 14, 1769. (Note: In 1776, this land would be situated in Henry County and in 1786, the land would lie in Franklin County, owing to the creation of new counties during that period of time. His wife’s name is unknown. Two of Dennis O’Briant’s children have been identified: a daughter named Ann (1758-1850) who married Daniel Prillaman (1758-1854) and a son named Dennis O’Briant, Jr. (b. 1769; d. before 1802). There are additional O’Briant names in the area, but with no proven connection to Dennis, Sr.

The son of Jacob Prillaman (1721-1796) and Priscilla Walburga Helm (1723-1799) Daniel Prillaman married Ann O’Briant in 1777. The Prillamans had the following children:

Jacob Prillaman (1778-1858) Dennis Prillaman (1780-1840) John Prillaman (1782-1853) Elizabeth Prillaman (1788-1812) Judith Prillaman (b. 1790) Daniel Prillaman (1799-1844) Susan Prillaman (1794-1899) Ann Prillaman (1799-1892) Ruth Prillaman (1802-1896) [5].

The Prillamans named their children after relatives from both sides of the family. Jacob and Dennis were named for the grandfathers, and Dennis was named for his uncle as well. John was named for John Bryant, indicating that John was already living in the area and had already married an O’Briant. [John had acquired land adjoining Dennis O’Briant in Henry County on Nicholas Creek June 1, 1782, so he may have married Dennis’s daughter by then.] Daniel and Ann were named for the Prillamans. Ruth was named for Dennis O’Briant. Jr.’s wife-she would later become John Bryant’s second wife. (More on this later). Elizabeth was named for Daniel Prillaman’s sister. That leaves Judith and Susan, and they may have represented the grandmothers. Daniel Prillaman had three sisters named Elizabeth, Barbara and Anna.  [Note: I believe that John Bryant’s first wife’s name was Elizabeth, so Elizabeth Prillaman would have been named for Elizabeth O’Briant Bryant and for Elizabeth Prillaman, Daniel Prillaman’s sister.]

The following is a Public Member Story about Daniel Prillaman at Ancestry.com:

Daniel Prillaman came to Virginia with his father Jacob. On 19 Jan 1778 Daniel Prillaman, together with Dennis O’Briant & John Bryant, “refuseth to take & subscribe the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia” (Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, Vol. 9 pg 14). This refusal may have been because of his religious convictions, or because of a stronger allegiance to Germany & England. In the first list of tithes taken in Henry County in 1782, Daniel Prillaman’s name appears, with those of his father & two brothers, & he was listed as a resident of that county until 1786, when he & his family appear in Franklin County, which had been cut off from Henry the preceding year.

On 17 June 1783, Daniel had received a grant of 285 acres in Henry County, on Nicholas Creek adjoining Dennis O’Briant (Commonwealth Grants & Patents, Book H, pg 243). Nine years later, on 10 July 1792, he acquired the plantation of his father-in-law, Dennis O’Briant, by a deed of gift, consisting of 286 acres on Nicholas Creek, which was then in Franklin County (Franklin County Deeds, Book 2, pg 414). This land had been granted to Dennis O’Briant in 1769, & later became the property of Daniel’s son, David Prillaman.

Daniel Prillaman acquired other land in the Nicholas Creek section in 1802 & 1803. He bought from Robert Stockton, for $43, a tract of 33 acres on 10 Sept 1802, on Nicholas Creek. On 3 Dec 1803, he bought 33 acres from Spencer James & Nathaniel Dixon, which was also on Nicholas Creek.

The old home of Daniel Prillaman burned in 1911, at which time the family Bible was also destroyed; the house was rebuilt, using the original chimneys. The family cemetary where Daniel & Ann are buried is on the property. Daniel Prillaman lived in the Brown Hill section, while his brothers remained in Blackwater; possibly Daniel moved because of his marriage to Ann O’Briant, whose father was an early settler on Nicholas Creek. One family tradition relates that Daniel had a powder mill near the original family home, & that one day the mill blew up, & Daniel immediately removed to Brown Hill, leaving his brothers behind.

From 1799 on, Daniel Prillaman’s name appears in the Court Order Books of Franklin County. In 1799 he was appointed to supervise the surveys for roads, & was appointed an Overseer of the Poor, as his father had been. He served on juries & transferred lands through the court. At the time of his death in 1854, he was still living on Nicholas Creek. One descendant tells of a slave who was present at the estate sale in 1854, who remembers Daniel’s son Dennis repeating, “I’ll tell you one thing — I want Daddy’s buck (spotted) horse!”

Daniel’s will is dated 1845, probated 1854, & names his wife Ann & ten children [6].

The refusal of Dennis O’Briant, John Bryant, and Dennis Prillaman to take an oath of allegiance probably stemmed from their religious beliefs rather than any strong feeling of loyalty to England. The O’Briants, Bryants and Prillamans were staunch conservatives and were all members of the Baptist Church. The Baptist Church to which they belonged severed ties with the main Baptist Church in 1814 over the issue of the Foreign Mission Board. They became known as Primitive Baptists. [The Freedom Baptist Church at Moss Springs in Jasper Co., Missouri was a Primitive Baptist Church. When the Spence family resided in Perry Co., Tennessee, they attended a Primitive Baptist Church. So it is not surprising that the O’Briants, Bryants and Prillamans attended the same type of church.]

WordIQ.com defines the Primitive Baptists as follows:

Primitive Baptists are a group of Baptists that have an historical connection to the missionary/anti-missionary controversy that divided Baptists of America in the early part of the 19th century. Those currently denominated Primitive Baptists consist of descendants of churches and ministers that opposed the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions (org. 1814), as well as other innovations such as seminaries and temperance societies. Early leaders include Joshua Lawrence, John Leland, Daniel Parker, and John Taylor. Other names by which Primitive Baptists are known are Predestinarian Baptists, Old School Baptists, Regular Baptists, Particular Baptists and Hardshells. The word “Primitive” is sometimes taken by outsiders to mean “backward”, but in context of this division among Baptists, it means “original”. These churches attempt to retain and/or restore primitive (or original) patterns of church life, such as unsalaried ministers, a cappella singing and feet washing [7].

No doubt Dennis O’Briant, John Bryant, and Daniel Prillaman were initially reluctant to take an oath of allegiance because they thought their only loyalty should be to God and not to man. But as the Revolutionary War progressed, the Baptists in Virginia sought to disengage the power of the Anglican Church in the state. According to an article titled “Baptists in the United States”:

There was a sharp [difference] between the austerity of the plain-living Baptists and the opulence of the Anglican planters, who controlled local government. Baptist church discipline, mistaken by the gentry for radicalism, served to ameliorate disorder. The struggle for religious toleration erupted and was played out during the American Revolution, as the Baptists worked to disestablish the Anglican church. Beeman (1978) explores the conflict in one Virginia locality, showing that as population became more dense, the county court and the Anglican Church were able to increase their authority. The Baptists protested vigorously; the resulting social disorder resulted chiefly from the ruling gentry’s disregard of public need. The vitality of the religious opposition made the conflict between ‘evangelical’ and ‘gentry’ styles a bitter one. Kroll-Smith (1984) suggests the strength of the evangelical movement’s organization determined its ability to mobilize power outside the conventional authority structure [8].

In addition to the Baptist resistance to continued Anglican control, there was another factor in the Piedmont area of Virginia and North Carolina that may have changed the minds of Dennis O’Briant, John Bryant and Dennis Prillaman. That factor came in the form of a Tory by the name of David Fanning and in other men like him!

David Fanning was to the American Revolution what William Clarke Quantrill became to the Civil War almost a century later. Born in 1755 to David Fanning in Amelia Co., Virginia, David Fanning was orphaned before he was even born when his father drowned in the Deep River. He eventually moved to North Carolina, where he remained staunchly loyalist in his views. In writing the Biographical History of North Carolina, Ashe had this to say about Fanning:

“David Fanning, one of the most extraordinary men evolved by the Revolutionary War was born bout the year 1756….Gov. Swain…in tracing his career stated that he was born in that part of Johnston County which has since been embraced in Wake, and that he was apprenticed to a Mr. Bryan, from whom he ran away when about sixteen years of age….He was untaught and unlettered, and he had the scald head, that became so offensive that he did not eat at the table with the family; and in subsequent life he wore a silk cap so that his most intimate friends never saw his head naked. (1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. V, p.90.)

“…His remorseless rapine and murderous execution were without a parallel. Besides individual hangings and minor encounters, he had participated in thirty-six bloody engagements; and the plantations he had ravaged and despoiled, leaving ruin and suffering in his path, were innumerable. The General Assembly extended amnesty and pardon to all Tories with the exception of three, and Fanning was among those proscribed. His crimes and butcheries were beyond forgiveness.(1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. V. p.97.)

“In September 1784, he located near St. John’s, New Brunswick, and later resided at Digby, Nova Scotia where he died in 1825.” (1906. Ashe, Samuel. Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. V. p.97.)

“During the Revolutionary War, and for several years thereafter, the middle and western counties of North Carolina were infested by lawless bands of Tories and ruffians, who, led by desperate men like David Fanning, pillaged the country, and often slew unprotected persons without mercy. (1917. Ashe, Samuel et al in “Jacob Long,” Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. VIII, p.287.) [9].

The History of Henry Co., Virginia indicates that during the Revolutionary War, Dennis O’Briant furnished “300 pounds of nett beef” for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War”[10].

The records are silent about the marriage of John Bryant with [Elizabeth??] O’Briant. However, I have developed a scenario after piecing available records together. Daniel Prillaman married Ann O’Briant in 1777. I believe John Bryant married [Elizabeth??] O’Briant between 1780 and 1785. [Elizabeth??] may have died in childbirth, and I think that she was dead by 1792. On July 10, 1792, Dennis O’Briant, Sr. signed over his plantation to his son-in-law Daniel Prillaman as a deed of gift. John did not remarry until 1802. I could not find any records of surviving children for John and his first wife. Dennis O’Briant, Jr. hadn’t married as yet. And Dennis O’Briant, Sr. appears to have died in early 1793 without a will [11].

Another Bryant appears in Henry County about this period of time: James Bryant, b. before 1765. This James Bryant may have been a younger brother of John Bryant, and decided to join him in Henry County. James Bryant married Sallie Brummett (b. 1768) on July 7, 1788 in Franklin Co., Virginia. She was the daughter of James and Agnes Brummett of Franklin County. The James Bryants moved to Knox Co., Kentucky, where they appear on the tax lists for 1803-1810, as well as on the 1810 Census. They next appear on the 1820 and 1830 Census for Monroe Co., Indiana. The names of their children are not known [12]. A Lewis Bryant also appears in Franklin Co., Virginia Court Records in 1786-1787, both as a jury member and as a participant in some of the actions. He may have been another of John’s brothers and seems to have moved to Bertie Co., North Carolina. According to Bertie, NC Vital Statistics 1700s-1920, Lewis Bryant was born between 1765 and 1784 and he died after 1808 [13].

Dennis O’Briant, Jr., son of Dennis O’Briant, Sr., married Ruth Manier/Maynor in Franklin Co., Virginia September 5, 1792. She was the daughter of Richard Tucker Manier/Maynor and Ann Wright. Richard Manier posted the surety bond [14]. Some records at Ancestry.com indicate that Ruth was born about 1770 in Baltimore, Maryland, and that her family came from there. Dennis and Ruth had two children: Nancy M. O’Briant (m. Levi Martin on February 8, 1808, Franklin Co., Virginia-Daniel Prillaman posted bond) [15] and Richard O’Briant (1795-1850) [16].

Richard Briant married Annie Young Nov. 2, 1815 in Franklin Co., Virginia. James Young posted bond for the marriage. [17] Richard and Anne remained in Franklin County. They had thirteen children:

John Tucker Briant/Bryant, b. Feb. 11, 1827

Mary Briant/Bryant, b. June 14, 1823

Virginia “Janny” Bryant, b. Oct. 26, 1839

Oney Bryant, b. April 16, 1818; d. Feb. 28, 1908

James Madison Bryant, b. Aug. 25, 1847

Elizabeth Bryant, b. Feb. 14, 1825; d. April 22, 1900

Sarah “Sally” Bryant, b. May 13, 1831; d. Dec. 3, 1915 David Bryant, b. Sept. 12, 1828; d. Nov. 11, 1864 (Danville, Virginia)

Eliza Ann Bryant, b. July 9, 1833; d. June 7, 1889 (Huntington, Cobell WV)

Nancy Bryant, b. Feb. 13, 1820; d. March 5, 1913, Carroll Co., VA

Dennis (Briant) Bryant, b. Sept. 7 1816

Charity Elizabeth Bryant, b. Nov. 15, 1836; d. June 7, 1913

Jacob Bryant, b. May 1, 1821; d. Oct. 30, 1916 [18].

Richard Bryant died in 1850/1853 in Franklin Co., Virginia. Some records indicate that he was a doctor.

Dennis O’Briant, Jr. died in late 1801 or in early-to-mid 1802. And on September 6, 1802, John Bryant married Ruth Maynor O’Briant in Franklin Co. Virginia [19]. John and Ruth Maynor Bryant became the parents of Daniel Bryant, father of Adeline Elizabeth Bryant Spence.

Daniel Bryant was born in 1803 to John and Ruth Bryant in Franklin Co., Virginia. His brother David Bryant was born in 1812. John and Ruth Bryant appear as the parents of Nancy Maynor O’Briant on the 1808 Franklin County Marriage Record, but Nancy was really the child of Dennis and Ruth Maynor O’Briant, as was Richard. John and Ruth may have had additional children, but apparently they did not survive.

The records grow silent after 1812 on John and Ruth Bryant. Apparently they remained in Franklin County, but Daniel Prilliman seems to take on the leadership role in the family. John and Ruth may have died by 1815/1820. I cannot find anything more about John and there is no record of Ruth’s remarriage. If their parents had died, Daniel and David would have moved in with other family members. In all likelihood, they lived with the Prillimans until they were old enough to go out on their own. Then the Key and Spencer families moved to Franklin County-an event that would shape the rest of their lives.

Of all these families, the Key family has been the easiest to trace. Lucy Key was born in 1810 to William Wesley Key (1783-abt. 1860) and Susanna Akers (1777-1819) in Franklin Co., Virginia. The Keys originated in Albemarle Co., Virginia. William Wesley Key (who generally used his middle name) married Susanna Akers in Franklin Co. September 3, 1804. His parents were William Key (1751-1808) and Rachel Hansbrough (1760-1807) [20].

On November 17, 1829, Daniel Bryant married Lucy Key in Franklin Co., Virginia. The surety’s name was John Spencer [21]. Two years previously, John Spencer married Rachael Key on November 20, 1827 in Franklin Co., Virginia. The surety was Wesley Key(s) [22]. Then on October 27, 1834, David Bryant married Rachael Spencer in Franklin Co., Virginia. The surety was Wesley Key [23]. Daniel and David Bryant were brothers. Lucy and Rachael Key were sisters. Wesley Key was their father. Rachael Spencer was John Spencer’s daughter from his first marriage. John Spencer’s father was Sharp Spencer (1770-1834). John (b. ca. 1788) was the half-brother of William Spencer (1817-1888)-who would later relocate with the Bryants to Jasper Co., Missouri and who was one of the defendants in the 1880 grand jury investigation in the John Bass Jones murder case!

Sharp Spencer died in Putnam Co. Indiana December 12, 1834 [24]. On September 7, 1835, William Spencer married Jane Angel in Putnam Co., Indiana [25]. [The Franklin Co., Virginia marriage records show a number of Angel and Truelove marriages, so members of Jane’s family must have settled in Franklin.]

The Bryants remained in Franklin County. Daniel and Lucy’s son, John A. Bryant, was born 1830 in Franklin County [26]. I do not have an exact day or month for him. Daniel and Lucy did not keep written records since they could not read or write, as indicated on later census records. The family may have moved to Cumberland Co., Virginia as Adeline Elizabeth Bryant was born there May 27, 1833 [27].

Five years later, the Bryants elected to follow the Spencers to Clinton Tp., Putnam Co., Indiana, where they all appear on the 1840 census record:

Daniel Bryant-Clinton, Putnam—1 m 10-14; 1 m 30-39; 1 m 50-59; 1 f 10-14; 1 f 20-29; Total: 5 David Bryant—-Clinton, Putnam-1 m -5; 1 m 15-19; 1 f 20-29; Total: 3 William Spencer-Clinton, Putnam-1 m -5; 1 m 15-19; 1 f -5; 1 f 20-29; Total: 5 [28].

I don’t know what happened to John Spencer and Rachel Key. They may have moved to Kentucky, or they may have relocated to Ohio. A number of Key family members settled near Dayton.

Lucy’s father, William Wesley Key, a widower by 1830 since his wife died in 1819, lived with the Daniel Bryant family in Putnam County. On the 1900 census record for the Lazarus Spence family in Newton Co., Missouri, Lucy Key Bryant indicated that she had given birth to three children and by 1900, only one of those children survived [29].

In 1843, the Bryants and the Spencers relocated to Jasper County, Missouri and settled near Sarcoxie. David Bryant and his family also accompanied them there. Adeline Elizabeth Bryant Spence’s story is detailed in the first part of this article, so I won’t repeat it here. At the age of 15, she married Lazarus Spence, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Inman Spence, December 23, 1848 in Jasper County. The 1850 Census for Jasper County shows the following:

Daniel Bryant, age 47, farmer, b. Virginia (unable to read or write) Lucy Bryant, age 40, b. Virginia (unable to read or write) John A. Bryant, age 20, b. Virginia Wesley Key, age 73, b. Virginia (listed as “insane.”) Lazarus Spence, age 24, b. Tennessee Adeline Spence, age 17, b. Virginia.

David Bryant, age 38, b. Virginia (unable to read or write) Rachel Bryant, age 42, b. Virginia (unable to read or write)

William Spencer, age 28, b. Kentucky (unable to read or write) Jane Spencer, age 32, b. Kentucky (unable to read or write) James H. Spencer, age 14, b. Indiana Mary C. Spencer, age 12, b. Indiana Dorcas Spencer, age 10, b. Indiana John A. or H. Spencer, age 9, b. Indiana Minerva J. Spencer, age 6, b. Missouri William D. Spencer, age 4, b. Missouri Milly E. Spencer, age 1, b. Missouri [30].

On September 15, 1858, Daniel Bryant died. He is buried in the Moss Springs Cemetery. Lucy Key Bryant then lived with the Lazarus Spence family, and she appears on the 1860 Jasper County Census with them. By 1860, Wesley Key had died and in all probability, he is buried in the Moss Springs Cemetery. (A discussion of the 1860 Jasper County Census for the William Spencer family is in Part 2 of the Who Killed John Bass Jones? article at this website.) John A. Bryant and David Bryant both appear on the 1860 Census for Jackson Tp., Jasper County, Missouri as follows:

John A. Bryant, age 31, Wagonmaker, b. Virginia

Nancy E. Bryant, age 26, b. Tennessee

Lucy A. Bryant, age 4, b. Missouri

Daniel Bryant, age 3, b. Missouri

Arabella Bryant, age 1, b. Missouri

David Bryant, age 48, b. Virginia

Rachel Bryant, age 50, b. Virginia

Sarah B. Bryant, age 18, b. Indiana [31].

John A. Bryant married Nancy E. Martin in Jasper Co., Missouri September 26, 1852 [32]. She was the daughter of Brice Martin and Nancy Burrus, who were early settlers in Jasper County. Brice Martin was born in 1810 and died in Jasper County in 1846. Nancy Martin Bryant died in Kansas in 1875. The children of John A. Bryant and Nancy Martin were:

Lucy A. Bryant, b. 1854, Jasper Co., Missouri

Daniel Boone Bryant, b. 1856, Jasper Co., Missouri

Arabella Bryant, b. 1860, Jasper Co., Missouri

Frances A. Bryant, b. 1861

William Edward Bryant, b. 1864

John A. Bryant, b. 1867

Charles Bryant, b. 1869

His second wife, Mary Amelia Denniston, was born in 1844. They had a daughter named Mable A. Bryant, who was born in 1875 [33].

Like the Lazarus Spence family, the John A. Bryant, David Bryant, and William Spencer families fled Missouri during the Civil War and relocated to Kansas. William Spencer appears on the Tax records for 1865 in Mound City, Kansas [34].  John A. Bryant appears on the Tax records for Fort Scott, Bourbon Co., Kansas. I imagine Lucy Key Bryant went to Kansas with the John A. Bryant family since Lazarus and Adeline had to “get out of Dodge fast!” John Bryant did not return to Missouri, but remained at Fort Scott, Kansas. He appears on the tax records in Fort Scott for 1865, and he is also on the Census records for 1870 and 1880 [35]. He died in Fort Scott, Bourbon Co., Kansas about 1887 or 1888. I don’t have the exact date of his death.

David Bryant also left Missouri for Kansas and did not return there. He appears on the 1865 Tax Records for Palmyra Tp., Douglas Co., Kansas with the Samuel and Sarah Spence family of Jasper County. (Samuel was a son of Daniel Spence and Mary Polly Pewitt.) Samuel’s brother, Joel and wife Martha are also residing there [36]. (The Spences returned to Jasper County after the war.) David Bryant last appears on the 1870 Census for Palmyra Tp., Douglas Co., Kansas with his wife Rachel [37]. I have no date of death for him, but he would have died before 1880.

William Spencer returned from Mound City, Kansas after the war and settled on his place in Jasper County. A full account of William Spencer is detailed in Part 2 of the Who Shot John Bass Jones? article at this website. I do have additional information concerning his children by his first wife Jane Angel, and will incorporate that information here:

James Harvey Spencer–b. Aug. 9, 1832, Putnam Co., Indiana; d. 1921, Jasper Co., Missouri; buried in Moss Springs; m. (1) Elizabeth Casebolt, Sept. 9, 1858, Jasper Co., Missouri; (2) Elizabeth Jones, Jasper Co., Missouri.

Mary Catherine Spencer-b. abt. 1838, Putnam Co., Indiana; d. July 2, 1912. No additional information.

Dorcus Spencer-b. July 9, 1839, Putnam Co., Indiana; d. March 29, 1918, Sarcoxie, Jasper, Mo (senility); buried in the Dudman Cemetery March 30, 1918; m. Alonzo Decalvis Deming Feb. 25, 1865.

John M. Spencer-b. 1841, probably Indiana. No additional information.

Minerva J. Spencer-b. March 31, 1844, Jasper Co., Missouri; m. Henry C. Shively, Jan. 1, 1874.

William D. Spencer-b. 1846, Jasper Co., Missouri; d. aft. 1870, Jasper Co., Missouri. No additional information.

Millie Emaline Spencer-b. 1848, Jasper Co., Missouri; d. September 2, 1916, Jackson Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri (cancer of the face); buried September 3, 1916, Moss Springs Cemetery. [Note: This daughter appears to never have married. In 1880, she took care of William Spencer’s twin daughters by Elizabeth Ady, as well as his three year-old son William Hayes Spencer-also by Elizabeth.]

Clemantine Spencer-b. 1851, Jasper Co., Missouri. No additional information.

Ananias Spencer-b. 1856, Jasper Co., Missouri; d. Oct. 30, 1936, Jasper Co., Missouri. Buried November

1936. (Location unknown)[38].

(I have no additional information on William Hayes Spencer, b. 1877, Jasper Co., Missouri to William Spencer and Elizabeth Ady. He may have died young. The twin daughters born to William and Elizabeth in May 1880 also disappear from the record.)

After returning to Jasper County from Kansas, Lazarus and Adeline Bryant Spence spent the rest of their days in Jasper County. Their names appeared in The Carthage Press from time to time, such as the following in the issue dated July 14, 1887:

A Relic Returned

During the rebellion, when General Marshall was taken prisoner, his saddle was purchased for $10 by Lazarus Spence of Union Tp, who has kept it in a good state of preservation, except natural wear and tear. Tuesday, the saddle was purchased by our townsman, James Rainwater, who fully boxed it and sent it to John S. Marshall, present Governor of Missouri. He will doubtless prize the same as a relic of the late war [39].

In her 1921 interview in Part 1 of this article, Adeline Spence mentioned two orphaned children she and her husband had taken under their care. Lazarus and Adeline never had children of their own. The 1870 Census for the Lazarus Spence family identifies the names of the orphaned children Lazarus and Adeline raised:

Lazarus Spence, age 46, b. Tennessee

Adeline E. Spence, age 37, b. Virginia

Jesse J. Vermillion, age 16, b. Arkansas

Mary E. Vermillion, age 12, b. Missouri

Martha J. Vermillion, age 9, b. Missouri

Lucy Bryant, age 60, b. Virginia

William Key, age 56, b. Virginia

Susan Key, age 50, b. Indiana [40].

William Key was a younger brother of Lucy Key Bryant and Susan Key was his wife. The two orphaned children who were taken in by the Spences were Mary and Martha Vermillion. Jesse Vermillion, their brother, lived with the Hagerty family in Kansas but by 1870, he moved in with the Spences, no doubt to learn the trade of a blacksmith from Lazarus Spence. They were the children of Hiram F. Vermillion (1820-1860) and Octavia B. Boren (1835-1860) [41].

The son of William Vermillion (b. 1809), Hiram F. Vermillion was born in Tennessee in 1820. He married Octavia B. Boren in Franklin Co., Arkansas on August 1, 1850 [42]. The Vermillions appear on the 1850 Census for Mulberry Tp., Franklin Co., Arkansas [43].

They had the following children:

Jesse John Vermillion, Sr., b. 1853, Arkansas.

James Boren Vermillion, b. 1855, Arkansas

Mary Elizabeth Vermillion, b. 1858, Missouri

Martha J. Vermillion, b. 1860, Missouri [44].

The name of Hiram Vermillion’s mother is not known, but he had a number of sisters and brothers: H. W. Vermillion, b. 1825; Rachael Vermillion, b. 1826; Martha Jane Vermillion, b. 1828; Edward R. B. Vermillion, b. 1832 [45].

Rachael Vermillion married Jonathan Sherman Scripps Hagerty (b. 1824, Old Miller Arkansas) on January 16, 1851 in Franklin Co., Arkansas. By 1860s, the Swaggertys had moved to Mound City, Linn Co., Kansas, where they remained [46]. Rachel died in January 7, 1885, and Jonathan married Sarah Elizabeth Marrs October 25, 1888 in Blue Mound, Linn Co., Kansas. Jonathan died October 18, 1899 in Blue Mound, Kansas [47].

By the late 1850s, a number of families began moving from Arkansas to Kansas, and the route took them to Jasper Co., Missouri. Pioneers often left part of their families in Jasper County while they went on to prepare a place for them to live in Kansas. Such was the case of Hiram W. Vermillion. A number of Hiram’s family members had already relocated to Kansas and had settled in Bourbon County near Fort Scott. Hiram’s brother William appears on the Kansas Election List for the 6th District of Kansas in 1854 [48]. In 1855, William Vermillion appears on the Territorial Census Records for the 6th District [49]. In all likelihood, Hiram moved his family to Jasper County about 1854 or 1855, and then went to Kansas to join his brother.  He returned to Jasper County periodically to see his family.

A fever struck Bourbon County in 1860. It may have been typhoid, cholera, or dysentery, but it claimed the lives of a number of people living in the area. Lydia J. Vermillion, age 37, a housewife, probably the housewife of William Vermillion, died of the fever there in March of that year [50].

On October 1, 1860, Octavia B. Boren Vermillion died in childbirth with her daughter, Martha J., in Jasper County, Missouri. Subsequently, Hiram Vermillion died October 9, 1860 in Jasper County, Missouri[52]. They left the four children: Jesse, James, Mary and Martha. The two boys went to live with their aunt and uncle, Jonathan and Rachel Hagerty in Linn Co., Kansas, [53] while the two girls went to live with Lazarus and Adeline Spence in Jasper County, Missouri [54]. Lazarus and Adeline adopted the girls between 1860 and 1861. The girls’ stories follow:

Mary Elizabeth Vermillion Spence was born March 3, 1858 in Jasper County, Missouri. On June 4, 1877, she married John Adam Shafer (1852-1926) in Newton County, Missouri. Their children were: (a) Charles Edmund Shafer (1877-1926); (b) Fred Austin Shafer (1881-1929); (c) John Lionel Shafer (1885-1953); (d) Earl Silas Shafer (1888-1940); (e) Harry Elbert Shafer (1890-1956). Mary died December 25, 1926 in Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri. She is buried in the Forest Park Cemetery.

Martha Jane Vermillion Spence was born October 1, 1860 in Jasper County, Missouri. On April 23, 1876, she married William Hastings Defries (1855-1938) in Newton County, Missouri. Their children were: (a) Magdalene Defries (b. 1877); (b) William Lazarus Defries (1879-1937); (c) Annie Adeline “Addie” Defries (1882-1968); (d) Jesse James Defries (1885-1960); (e) Ernest Todd Defries (1889-1967); (f) Crystal Audrey Defries (1900-1985).  Martha died in 1915 in Oklahoma and is buried in Bixby.

Information on the two brothers follows:

Jesse John Vermillion lived with the Swagertys in Kansas and then with Lazarus and Adeline Spence in Missouri. He was born in Arkansas in 1853. His wife was Percilla “Ella” C. Clary (1858-1900). Their children were: (a) Mary Ellen “Ella” Vermillion (1880-1975); (b) Jesse John Vermillion, Jr. (1885-1963). Jesse died before 1900 in Kansas.

James Boren Vermillion also lived with the Swagertys in Kansas. He was born in Arkansas in 1855, although his death record says 1857. He never married.  James died July 3, 1930 in Sacramento, California.

Lazarus Spence died November 15, 1902 in Jasper County, Missouri. He is buried in the Moss Springs Cemetery. Adeline Elizabeth Bryant Spence lived to the age of 98 and died January 6, 1931 in Jasper County, Missouri. She is buried beside her husband in the Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri.

 

References

[1] Cornelius O’Bryan Will, Augusta Co., VA Will Book 1, Page 330.

[2] “Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, 1745-1800. Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County” by Lyman Chalkley. WB1-394

[3] “Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, 1745-1800. Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County” by Lyman Chalkley, WB1-130

[4] “Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, 1745-1800. Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County” by Lyman Chalkley. Book 10-458

[5] Ancestors of Michael Lee Smith. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[6] Daniel Perillaman Public Member Story, Ancestry. com. Available at http://www.ancestry.com

[7] Primitive Baptist Definition. WordIQ.com. Available at http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Primitive_Baptist

[8] “Baptists in the United States.” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptists_in_the_United_States

[9] “David Fanning,” Western North Carolina Heritage.net. Available at http://www.wncheritage.net/WNC_biography/fanning_david.htm

[10] “History of Henry County, Virginia” p. 321. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[11] Prillaman-Armstrong Family Tree: Alice Virginia Prillaman. Private Member Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[12] Everson, Jr. Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com

[13] Bertie County, North Carolina Vital Statistics about Lewis Bryant, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[14] Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia for 1786-1858, p. 171. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[15] Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia for 1786-1858, p. 150. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[16) Maynor Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[17] Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia for 1786-1858. N.p. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[18] Ancestral File Record: Richard Briant/Bryant. Available at FamilySearch.org: http://www.familysearch.org

[19] Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia for 1786-1858, p. 122. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[20] Key and Allied Families, Mrs. Julian C. Lane. [Database online]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Available at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=10335

[21] Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia for 1786-1858, p. 48. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[22] Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia for 1786-1858, p. 48. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[23] Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia for 1786-1858, p. 50. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[24] Riddle Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[25] Riddle Family Tree, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[26] Williams Family Tree/Noah Martin, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[27] Ancestors of Rhonda Etter, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[28] 1840 Census, Clinton Tp., Putnam Co., Indiana. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[29] 1900 Census, Marion Tp., Newton Co., Missouri. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[30] 1850 Census, Jackson Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[31] 1860 Census, Jackson Tp., Jasper Co., Missouri. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[32] Bill & Suzy Family Trees. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[33] Williams Family Tree/Noah Martin. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com; Bill & Suzy Family Trees. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[34] 1865 Mound City, Kansas Tax Records. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[35] 1870 and 1880 Census, Fort Scott, Bourbon Co., Kansas. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[36] 1865 Tax Records, Palmyra Tp., Douglas Co., Kansas. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[37] 1870 Census, Palmyra Tp., Douglas Co., Kansas. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[38] Cloe Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[39] “A Relic Returned”, The Carthage Press, July 14, 1887. Available on microfilm: Jasper County Public Library, Carthage, Missouri.

[40] 1870 Census, Jasper County, Missouri. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[41] Dillman Family Tree, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[42] Dillman Family Tree, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[43] 1850 Census, Mulberry Tp., Franklin Co., Arkansas. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[44] Dillman Family Tree, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[45] Dillman Family Tree, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[46] 1860 Census, Mound City, Kansas, Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[47] Pool-Swagerty-Landrum-Shockley Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[48] 1854 Kansas Election List, 6th District: William Vermillion. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[49] 1855 Kansas Territorial Census, 6th District: William Vermillion. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[50] U. S. Federal Mortality Schedules Index, 1860, Bourbon Co., Kansas: Lydia J. Vermillion. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[51] 1860 Census, Raysville, Bourbon Co., Kansas. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[52] Pool-Swagerty-Landrum-Shockley Family Tree. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[53] 1870 Census, Linn Co., Kansas, John Swagerty Family. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

[54] 1870 Census, Jasper Co., Missouri, Lazarus Spence Family. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com

 

 

 

 

 

Elisha Spence (1776-1835)–Part Fourteen: Two Rhodas and a James–Part Two

Replica of meeting house, Clear Fork Baptist Church Cemetery, Monticello, Kentucky. Photo shared on Ancestry.com by Carlinbrooks 16 Feb 2013.

Replica of meeting house, Clear Fork Baptist Church Cemetery, Monticello, Kentucky. Photo shared on Ancestry.com by Carlinbrooks 16 Feb 2013.

In 1798, Rev. Isaac Denton, Jr. was the first preacher to enter this Transmontane Wilderness . He became a distinguished, prolific, pioneer preacher and leader in South Central Ky. and North Central Tenn. He established the first churches and first school in the frontier territory. He was Clear Fork Baptist Church’s founder and first pastor until his death in 1848. He ministered in Ky. and Tenn. for over 55 years. He and his 3 sons preached a total of about 175 years(1)

***

No, he wasn’t an orphan–but he was raised by another family!

Not only did I find the family who raised James W. Denton, but I also found his real family!

 

Thomas J. Denton (1781-1833) and Francis Boring (1790-1870)

James W. Denton was the oldest son of Thomas J. Denton.  Thomas was born in Tennessee in 1781, and he died in Cocke County in 1833. The known children of Thomas J. Denton and Frances Boring (1790-1870) follow:

  1. Joseph Jefferson Denton (1810-1887). Joseph was born March 10, 1810 in Washington County, Tennessee, and he died September 9, 1887 in Cocke County, Tennessee. His wife was Charity Huff (b. 1816). They had a daughter: Margaret Denton (1841-1920).
  2. William Addison Denton (b. 1812, Washington County, Tennessee). William died in Cocke County. His wife’s name was Mary (1820-1861). They had a daughter named Frances “Fannie” E. Denton (1861-1949), who married a Hux.  William last appears on the 1880 Census for Cocke County. He is buried in the A. J. Denton Family Cemetery.
  3. Temperance Francis Denton (1815-1878). Temperance was born in Washington County, Tennessee in 1815, and she died May 30, 1878 in Cooke County, Texas. She had two husbands: John Murrell, about whom nothing is known and Henry Jackson Click, Jr., by whom she had a daughter: Mary Jane Click. In 1870, Temperance appears on the Census for Perry County, Tennessee(2). This is a connection to Perry County that I had been seeking given the fact that Samuel and Daniel Spence and Milly Catherine Spence Jones had lived there prior to their departure for Missouri. Temperance appears on the Perry County census records for 1850 and 1860 in the Samuel Denton household. (I will get to Samuel momentarily).
  4. John B. Denton (1816-1901). John was born in November 1816 in Washington County, Tennessee, and he died in Cocke County in 1901. His wife was Mary Wilson (1828-1894). They had three children: (a) James Anderson Denton (1854-1929); (b) Frances M. Denton (b. 1856); and Thomas J. Denton. Nothing else is known about Thomas.
  5. Sarah A. Denton (1818-1892). Sarah was born February 20, 1818 in Cocke County, Tennessee, and she died December 20, 1892 in Giles County, Tennessee. Her husband was Calvin Allen (1813-1870). Their children were: (a) William A. Allen, born 1836; (b) George William Allen (b) George William Allen (1839-1908); (c) Temperance Allen, born 1842; (d) George Thomas Allen (1842-1916); (e) Morris Calvin Allen (1845-1910); (f) Hiram Allen, b. 1848; (g) Louisa Allen, b. 1852; (h) Houston Allen, born 1856; (i) Rufus J. Allen (1858-1917); (j) Martha Allen (1859-1896); (k) Lewis Allen (1862-1950); (l) John Morgan Allen (1865-1946).
  6. Louisa Denton (1830-1920). Louisa was probably by Thomas J. Denton’s second wife Elizabeth. He married her October 31, 1822 in Cocke County, Tennessee(3). His first wife, Francis Boring, was still alive, so they may have divorced. Louisa was born October 1, 1830 in Washington County, Tennessee, and she died January 23, 1920 in Cocke County, Tennessee. Her husband was Houston Sisk, whowas born in 1827. Their children were: (a) James Sisk, born 1866, and (b) Dora Madeline Sisk, born 1872.

One reason why James W. Denton would be raised by another family centers upon his mother’s health after his birth. She was only sixteen when he was born, and James was her first child. He would have been born in Washington County, Tennessee in 1806–the exact month and day of his birth is unknown. Enter the Rev. Isaac Denton!

 

Rev. Isaac Denton (1768-1848) and Martha Patsy Crouch (1772-1848)

Isaac Denton was born September 1768 in Orange County, North Carolina, and he died January 26, 1848 in Clinton County, Kentucky. His wife was Martha Patsy Crouch, who was born June 3, 1772 in Henry County, Virginia, and who died in Clinton County, Kentucky. They are buried in the Clear Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Clinton County, Kentucky.

Isaac Denton and Thomas J. Denton were related; their progenitors coming from New York. They both claim direct descent from Samuel Denton (1631-1713) and Mary Rock Smith (1640-1715) on the Denton line, and from William Odell (1634-1697) and Sara Vowels (1649-1697) on the Odell line.

Isaac Denton’s parents were Isaac Denton (1733-1797) and Ann Whitson (1733-1771), and his grandparents were Capt. Abraham John Denton II (1700-1774) and Mary Odell (1702-1774).  According to information submitted to Ancestry.com by rmsmith1971:

It is believed that Abraham, who was called “Captain” was a part of the militia used in defense of the settlers. He was also referred to as Doctor when living on his plantation in the Shenandoah Valley.

“Abraham, according to sources in Orange CO, NY, had some problems with local law and soon after left the county for a new home in the Shenandoah County of Virginia. This was in 1729 or 1730. Thus started the move westward, for his sons each moved in different directions into the frontier.”

Abraham’s will was written August 20, 1774 and probated September 27, 1774 in Shenandoah CO, VA. “in the County of Dunmore, Colony of Virginia, being very sick and weak in body but perfect mind and memory. First leaving my loving kind and true wife Mary Denton and William Reno Executors. I therefore will and bequesth my loving kind and true wife Mary Denton the lower part of my land and plantation during her lifetime also the legal thirds of the moveable estate. Also Ii give my well beloved son Abraham Denton my wearing clothes: two pr. boots, two coats, two vestcoats and one pr of breatches and as he has received his part of the land, I give unto him five pounds current money of Virginia to be paid to him out of my two daughters, Phebee Plumley and Martha Moore their parts of the moveable estate and the land after my wife Mary Decrees the tract of land to be equally divided between them both that is to say Phebe Plumley and Martha Moore.” Signed Abraham Denton, Senr. Witnesses: Mary Little, Dorothy (X) Clock, Elizabeth Smith, Mary Peerceson.

From The Tennessee Valley Historical Review: “Abraham Denton, Junior, became involved with the law in New York in about 1729-30. He, along with some close relatives, left that state and headed for Virginia, crossing the eastern part of Pennsylvania and the Northwestern part of Maryland. In the Valley of Virginia, then Orange County (later Augusta County) and the upper Virginia Valley, (Frederick, later Dunmore, and still later Shenandoah County) we find Abraham and his family. Also about the same time, Jonas Denton and others had reached the Virginia country. Samuel, Robert, James and John Denton begin to appear in the same general locality. The deeds in Frederick County clearly prove that the Dentons
were there as early as 1755 and became prominent citizens.”

Abraham left a deed dated August 12, 1774 which was signed by Mary Denton Little. Dorothy Clock (Clark) Elizabeth Smith and Mary Pareson (Pearson) made their marks. By this information, Mary Little was still living in 1774 and had enough education to sign her name. Abraham was a Captain in the French and Indian War in the Provincial Army
of 1766.

As the older generation died off, the younger ones became less rooted in the old lands and soon started departing for the southwest(4).

Isaac Denton Sr. was born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and he died in Washington County, Tennessee in May 1795. The following is from his Find-a-Grave Memorial:

Birth: 1733
Shenandoah County
Virginia, USA
Death: May, 1795
Washington County
Tennessee, USA

Son of Abraham John Denton and Mary Sarah O’Dell.
Married Ann Whitson about 1765.He is listed as DAR #A132656 for patriotic service during the Revolutionary War.Isaac left his will in Washington CO, TN, Will Book Vol. 1, p. 34, 35. dated July 14, 1794 which lists his beneficiaries as wife Anna and children Isaac, Jeremiah, Martha, Agnes and Elizabeth.Burial is unknown.Family links:
Parents:
Abraham John Denton (1700 – 1774)
Mary O’Dell Denton (1702 – 1774)Spouse:
Ann Whitson Denton (1745 – 1802)Children:
Isaac Denton (1768 – 1848)*
Agnes Denton Crouch (1770 – 1836)*Siblings:
Abraham Denton (1726 – 1827)*
Isaac Denton (1733 – 1795)
Phoebe Denton Plumlee (1737 – 1779)***Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
Burial:
Unknown
Created by: treesandleaves
Record added: Apr 30, 2015
Find A Grave Memorial# 145845320(5)

The Rev. Isaac Denton was born in Orange County, North Carolina in September 1768, and he died January 26, 1848 in Clinton County, Kentucky. His wife was Martha Patsy Crouch (1772-1848). Their known children follow:

  1. Anna Denton (1804-1849). Anna was born September 14, 1804 in Cumberland, Kentucky, and she died September 29, 1849 in Moddyville, Kentucky. Her husband was Charles Reagan (1799-1879). Their daughter was Emeline Clemanza Reagan (1832-1862).
  2. Isaac Denton (1806-1893). Isaac was born December 23, 1806 in White County, Tennessee or in Clinton County, Kentucky, and he died August 23, 1893 in McMinnville, Warren, Tennessee. His first wife was Rutha Walling (1809-1840). Their children were: (a) Susannah Denton (1832-1833); (b) Emaline Denton (1834-1859); (c) Isaac Denton (1837-1866); (d) Ozias D. Denton (1838-1876); (e) George W. Denton (1840-1871). His second wife was Mary Polly Greer (1812-1883). Their children were: (a) Isaac Denton (1836)–he may be the Isaac Denton from the first marriage; (b) Sarah Ann Denton (1842-1860); (c) Ruthie Denton (1845-1873); (d) James Mordica Denton (1850-1911); (e) Joseph Evander Denton (1853-1854). I will list them here, but I do not know whether they are children of these two marriages, or foster children: (a) Phoebe Denton (1827-1855); (b) Martha Denton (1829-1855); (c) Nancy Denton (1830-1858); (d) James W. Denton (1835-1844)–he may have been named after James W. Denton–the subject matter here; (e) Shelby Walling (1844-1925)–she would have been from Ruth’s line but not her daughter; (f) Mary Denton (1847-1864).
  3. Tabitha Harriett Denton (1808-1858) Tabitha was born in 1808 in Gainesboro, Jackson, Tennessee, and she died in 1858 in Arkansas City, Arkansas. Her husband was William Proctor Welch, who was born in 1804. Their son was Turner Goodall Welch (1840-1915).
  4. George Nolan Denton (1809-1890). George was born January 31, 1809 in Clinton County, Kentucky, and he died December 27, 1890 in Lamar, Texas. His first wife was Martha “Patsey” Robinson (1808-1867). Their children were: (a) Isaac Robinson Denton (1830-1856); (b) John J. Denton, born 1838; (c) James A. Denton, born 1841; (d) Lucille Denton, born 1843; (e) George Alfred Denton (1846-1916); (f) Robert O. Denton, born 1848; (g) Cassan A. Denton, born 1849; (h) Charles R. Denton, born 1851; (i) Martha L. Denton. His second wife was Sarah Sallie R. Parrish (1806-1884).
  5. Rev. Joseph Crouch Denton (1811-1887). Joseph was born May 5, 1811 in Cumberland, Kentucky, and he died September 29, 1887 in Clinton, Kentucky. His wife was Mary “Polly” Long (1811-1901). Their children were: (a) Solloman L. Denton (1833-1836); (b) Elizabeth Denton, born 1836; (c) William L. Denton (1837-1908); (d) Samuel L. Denton (1842-1859); (e) Matilda L. Denton, born 1849; (f) Mary Denton, born 1850.
  6. Phoebe Denton, born 1811 in Kentucky
  7. Jeremiah Denton, born 1815 in Kentucky.

 

Another Cousin Connection: James W. Denton (1806-1860) and Samuel Denton (1801-1860)

Samuel Denton was born in White County, Tennessee in 1801, and he died in 1860 at Cedar Creek, Perry County, Tennessee. This is the primary Denton connection to Perry County, Tennessee. Samuel and James W. Denton would travel there together. On January 12, 1828, Samuel married Argent Coleman (1802-1860) at Cedar Creek, Perry County, Tennessee. Their children were: (a) Nancy Denton (1823-1850); (b) Sarah Sally Denton (1832-1906); (c) John F. Denton (1833-1861); (d) Benjamin Franklin Denton (1833-1861); (e) Mary Elizabeth Denton (1839-1927). He was another distant cousin in the Denton-Odell line!

Samuel’s father was Benjamin Denton, Jr. who was born in 1733 in Granville, South Carolina and who died in 1848 in Tennessee. His mother was Margaret Peggy Ann Anderson (1774-1840). His grandparents were  Benjamin Denton, Sr. (1750-1810), who was born in Granville, North Carolina, and who died in 1810 in White County, Tennessee, and Priscilla Celia Rebecca Wiggins (1755-1808); his great grandparents were Samuel Denton, who was born in1 734 in Orange, New York and who died in 1811 in Pendleton District, South Carolina, and Margaret Moore (1714-1781). And his great-great grandparents were Capt. Abraham John Denton II and Mary Odell (1702-1774), who have already been discussed! These Dentons were all distant cousins!

I’ve already recounted some of James W. Denton’s activities in the Part One of this article. While he went to live with the Rev. Isaac Denton as an infant, he apparently maintained contact with his real family. In the end, he probably spent as much time with them as he did with the Isaac Denton family.

In July 1826, the Thomas J. Denton family was plagued with a partition action filed by Thomas’s brother, Samuel Denton (b. 1800), per the following newspaper notice:

State of Tennessee, Cocke County; May Sessions, 1826

Samuel Denton vs. Jonathan Denton, Jonas Denton, Thomas Denton and David Denton

PETITION FOR PARTITION

Samuel Denton filed his petition in open court, for partition of the lands therein described, and prays the court to make an order of publication, Wherefore, it is ordered that publication be made in the Knoxville Enquirer, three successive times, that he will present said petition at next term of this court, in order to have the prayer if the same granted, it appearing to the satisfaction of said Court that David Denton, one of the Defendants, resides in the State of Alabama.  W. GARRETT, July 12, 1826(6).

The partition action involved the division and settlement of lands in their father’s estate. By now, his distant cousin, Samuel Denton (1801-1860) had returned from Perry County, Tennessee for a short visit. Perry County had been recently established, per the following:

Perry County was formed in 1819 from parts of Humphreys and Hickman counties. It is named in honor of Oliver Hazard Perry  (1785–1819), American War of 1812 naval officer who, after his flagship was severely damaged, continued the fight from another ship and forced the surrender of the British fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie. Decatur County was formed from the portions of Perry County west of the Tennessee River. The first settlements in the county were along Toms Creek near the Tennessee River, with the first known birth in the area occurring in 1818. This is the first written date involving the area that would become Perry County, but it is evident that the area had some European permanent settlement prior to this. The seat of government and courts were originally located in a small town known as Harrisburg approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the current seat of Linden. The county seat was transferred to its current location in Linden in 1848, where the current courthouse stands today. Harrisburg no longer exists as a municipal entity or recognized location(7).

James needed no further encouragement. He was looking for a place to go. The Rev. Isaac Denton family were fully settled in Kentucky and had been there for some time. He really didn’t want to go to Kentucky since he preferred Tennessee. So he returned to Perry County with his cousin, Samuel, and settled in with them for a short time. He met the Samuel Spence, Daniel Spence, Lewis and Milly Catherine Spence Jones, and it wasn’t long before he relocated to Davidson County, where he met the Elisha Spence family. And as noted in Part One, he met two Rhodas in the family. The rest is history.

So what happened to the children of the two Rhodas?

The Children by Rhoda Louisa Spence

As noted above, James W. Denton married Rhoda Louisa Spence on May 10, 1831 in Davidson County, Tennessee(8). They were divorced in 1837 or 1838. Four children were born of the marriage: two boys and two girls. Rhoda kept the girls with her and James kept the boys with him. Rhoda married Michael D. Gill while James married Rhoda’s sister, Susan Rhoda Spence. The Gill family moved to Missouri while the Dentons remained in Williamson County, Tennessee. I covered the Gill family extensively in Part One, but I will present the information I have on the Dentons here.

  1. Thomas J. Denton (1832-1862). Thomas was born in 1832 in Williamson County, Tennessee. He died in combat at Murfreesboro December 31, 1862. Thomas appeared on the 1860 Census for Union, St. Francis, Arkansas(9). However, when the War broke out, he returned to Tennessee and joined the Confederate Army. His name appears on the U.S. Confederate Army Casualty Lists and Reports, 1861-1865(10). He was named for James Denton’s biological father.
  2. Elizabeth Jane Denton (1832-1911). I have no update, but will include her information. She was named Elizabeth for Rhoda Louisa’s sister who died in North Carolina and Jane for Rhoda’s stepmother. She was born January 24, 1832 in Williamson County, Tennessee. I stated in Part One that if these birth dates are correct, Elizabeth Jane and Thomas J. were twins. She married James Mattison Buckingham (1823-1904) on March 27, 1852 in Williamson County, Tennessee(11). They had one daughter: Milly A. Buckingham (1864-1938). The Buckinghams moved to Missouri with the Gills. They first settled in Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri. By 1900 they were in Benton, Newton County, Missouri.
  3. William H. Denton (1833-aft 1887). William was born in Williamson County, Tennessee in 1833, and he died after 1887 in Williamson County. On December 22, 1859, he married Sarah V. Boyd (1832-aft 1920) in Williamson County, Tennessee(12). They had a son whose name is not known. William also joined the Confederate Army. He served with the M. 2. Tennessee Cavalry. In 1864, William filed for divorce(13). They must have remarried because on November 22, 1920, Sophia filed for her widow’s pension(14). William was declared an invalid on August 17, 1887. I could find nothing further about him after that date.
  4. Milly Ann Denton (1833-bef 1860). Milly Ann was born March 16, 1833 (another set of twins if the birth dates are correct) and she died bef. 1860 in Clinton County, Kentucky. Apparently she didn’t want to move to Missouri. On October 14, 1852, she married Williamson Alexander in Dickson County, Tennessee(15). They may have eloped. Both of them do not appear on records for 1860. They may have moved to Clinton, Tennessee where a number of Milly’s Denton relatives and Williamson’s Alexander relatives were living. They may have died while traveling there, and they may have been the victims of foul play. The Dickson County marriage record plainly shows Milly’s name as Milly Ann Denton, but the recording notation on the side of the document identifies her as Milly Ann Dayton. I am inclined to believe the actual marriage license.

 

The Children of Susan Roden/Rhoda Spence

This is from the 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee–the one and only record fort his family(16).

  1. Samuel Denton, born 1838 in Williamson County, Tennessee and he died before 1860 in Williamson County. He was named for Samuel Denton (1801-1860)–James’ cousin who lived in Perry County– and for Susan’s oldest brother–Samuel Perry Spence. Samuel may have died young. I could find nothing else about him.
  2. Isaac Denton (1841-bef. 1860). Isaac was named for James Denton’s benefactor–the Rev. Isaac Denton. I believe that he also died before 1860. I could find nothing else about him.
  3. Abner Denton (1845-bef 1860). Abner was a Spence and a Denton name. I could find nothing else about him and believe he also died before 1860.
  4. Susan Denton (1846-bef 1860). Named for her mother. I could find nothing else about her.
  5. James W. Denton, Jr. (1849-aft. 1880). James was named for his father. I could find nothing else about him.

So what happened to this family, including James and Susan?

James was a farmer and worked in agriculture. I have a feeling that James, Susan and all five of their children suffered the same fate as Michael D. Gill and Rhoda Louisa Spence by being struck by an epidemic. I think they were all victims of some type catastrophe and died within a few days, weeks or months of each other.  According to the Tennessee Timeline on Rootsweb, a number of catastrophes took place in Tennessee during this timeframe:

June 1850 Cholera epidemic
Apr 29 1852 Earthquake- VA, NC, and TN
Aug 28-30 1852 TN river flood
1854 Cholera Epidemic (17)

The Timeline notes additionally:

The great Cholera epidemic was spread by immigrants from Europe. The major years were 1832, 1849, 1866, and 1873. By 1890, the disease was practically controlled. –Malaria was also of epidemic proportions in the late 1800’s. The hottest summer on record was 1886, and later 1887. Mosquitoes were out of control in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys, as well as tributaries. This went on for years. –TB was also of epidemic proportions at the time. Children ages 5-15 rarely died from the “adult” epidemics, as this is a period of “Natural Immunity.” (18)

The Timeline further notes:

In case you ever wondered why a large number of your ancestors disappeared during a certain period in history, this might help. Epidemics have always had a great influence on people – and thus influencing, as well, the genealogists trying to trace them. Many cases of people disappearing from records can be traced to dying during an epidemic or moving away from the affected area. Some of the major epidemics in the United States are listed below: 

1850    Nationwide             Yellow Fever

1850 July 17    Gainesboro, TN             Cholera

1850-1    North America Influenza

1851 Coles Co., IL, The Great Plains, and Missouri   Cholera
1852 Nationwide [New Orleans-8,000 die in summer]Yellow Fever

1854 Tennessee, Giles County              unknown epidemic

1855    Nationwide [many parts] Yellow Fever

1857-9 Worldwide [one of the greatest epidemics]  Influenza

1860-1    Pennsylvania  Smallpox

1862     Tennessee, Shelby County, Memphis Yellow-fever(19)

***

Thus completes the story of Elisha Spence and Susanna Spencer and the lives of their children and some of their grandchildren and other descendants.

I have one more article to write in this series which will focus on Elisha’s second marriage to Jane Bell. There were four children of that marriage. My information is limited, so they will be covered in the last article. Then I will write a Conclusion and move on from there.

 

References

(1) Rev. Isaac Denton, Jr. Gravestone Inscription, Clear Fork Baptist Church Cemetery, Monticello, Kentucky. Find-a-Grave.com. Shared by Carlinbrooks 16 Feb 2013 on Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(2) 1870 Census for Perry County, Tennessee for Temperance Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(3) Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 about Thomas J. Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(4) Information about Capt. Abraham Denton, Jr., submitted by rmsmith1971 10 Jul 2012, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(5) Isaac Denton Find-a-Grave Memorial No. 145845320. Index at Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(6) Samuel Denton Partition Action, May-July 1826 from the Knoxville, Gazette. Posted on Ancestry.com by Lucinda Copeland 10 Jun 2014. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(7) “Perry County, Tennessee” From the Wikipedia Site. Modified  29 Aug 2015. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_County,_Tennessee

(8) Tennessee State Marriage Records for James Denton and Rhoda Spence. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(9) 1860 Census for Union, St. Francis, Arkansas showing Thomas J. Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(10) U.S. Confederate Army Casualty Lists and Reports, 1861-1865 for Thomas J. Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(11) Tennessee State Marriage Records for James Mattison Buckingham and Elizabeth Jane Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(12) Tennessee State Marriage Records for William H. Denton and Sophia V. Boyd. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(13) Tennessee Divorce and Other Records, 1800-1965 about William H. Denton and Sophia V. Boyd. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(14) Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 about William H. Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(15) Tennessee Divorce and Other Records, 1800-1965 about Williamson Alexander and Milly Ann Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(16) 1850 Census for the James W. Denton Family, Williamson County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(17) Historic Timeline of Tennessee. Rootsweb.com Website. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnmcmin2/tennesseetimeline.html

(19) Historic Timeline of Tennessee. Rootsweb.com Website. Date Accessed: 21 Sep 2015. Available online at http://rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnmcmin2/tennesseetimeline.html

Elisha Spence (1776-1835)–Part Thirteen: Two Rhodas and a James–Part One

 

 

Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri. Taken May 2001

Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri. Taken May 2001

 

 

He must have been a wonder!

That’s what I thought while sorting through the James W. Denton-Rhoda Louisa Spence-Susan Roden/Rhoda Spence Triangle!  Fortunately, the situation did not turn out what it originally promised to be. Perhaps discovering two sisters bearing the name of Rhoda sparked his initial interest.

Rhoda Louisa Spence and Susan Rhoda Spence were the youngest daughters of Elisha Spence and Susanna. Rhoda Louisa was the twin of William Spence of Weakley County. As noted in the previous article, the twins were born in Randolph County, North Carolina or in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina March 28, 1809. Some people think they were born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. That is a possibility since Elisha Spence moved around quite a bit. Then in early 1810, the family set out for Davidson County, Tennessee, where Susan was born in late September. In 1830, the Elisha Spence family still resided in Davidson County, but by the early 1830s, they moved to the western part of the state. The older children were still living in Perry County; Levi returned from North Carolina and settled in Madison County. Elisha moved his family to Madison.

By 1830, however, Rhoda Louisa and Susan Rhoda were on their own and both had their eyes set on marriage.

Enter one James W. Denton who had an eye for the young Rhodas.

According to the one and only census record I located for him, he was born in Tennessee in 1806(1). I have no idea where he originated or who his parents were. A number of Denton families resided in the area, but James doesn’t appear to match any of them. A James W. Denton died in 1861 in Smith County, Tennessee(2), but that individual appears to have been born about 1846. Another James W. Denton married a Sophia Shaw in Williamson County in 1829(3), but he wasn’t this James W. Denton. That James W. Denton remained married to Sophia. And then there was another James W. Denton in Maury County who married there and raised a family. He died in 1880 at the age of 85(4). He was not this James W. Denton either! And there was a large family of Dentons in Perry County, Tennessee. I could not find a link there either, however. He may have come from Eastern Tennessee since a large group of Dentons resided there as well.

Several things may have happened to James. He may have struck out on his own at an early age. He may have been orphaned.  And there is the possibility that James W. Denton was not his real name!

At any rate, with the Elisha Spence family moving to Madison County, Tennessee and the two Rhodas remaining in Williamson County, James had free reign of the situation. According to Tennessee Marriage Records, on May 10, 1831, James W. Denton married Rhoda Spence in Davidson County, Tennessee(5). The question is this: Which Rhoda?

 

Rhoda Louisa Spence (1809-1860)

Rhoda Louisa Spence and James W. Denton were married in Davidson County, Tennessee May 10, 1831. Their children were:

  1. Thomas J. Denton (1832-aft 1860). Thomas was born in Williamson County, Tennessee on January 21, 1832 (a twin), and he died after 1860. He may be the Thomas J. Spence who appears on the 1860 Census for Arkansas in Union Twp., St. Francis, Arkansas.
  2. Elizabeth Jane Denton (1832-1911). Elizabeth was born January 21, 1832 in Williamson County, Tennessee. Elizabeth and Thomas J. were twins if the dates are correct. She died in Newton County, Missouri September 6, 1911. On March 27, 1852, she married James Mattison Buckingham in Williamson County, Tennessee. Their daughter was Milly A. Buckingham (1864-1938).
  3. Milly Ann Denton (1833-1850). Milly was born about 1833 in Williamson County, Tennessee. She last appears on the 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee. She may be the Milly Ann Denton who married Williamson Alexander in Dickson County, Tennessee on October 14, 1852(7)
  4. William Denton (1833-1850). William was born about 1833 in Williamson County, Tennessee. He last appears on the 1850 Williamson County, Tennessee Census in the James W Denton household(8).

James and Rhoda Louisa began experiencing difficulties in their marriage, and I don’t know exactly when those difficulties started. They probably erupted after Rhoda’s  family moved to Western Tennessee and after Susan started spending a great deal of time at Rhoda’s house. One thing led to another, ending in a divorce between James and Rhoda. I haven’t found an exact date for the divorce, but she married Michael D. Gill November 27, 1838–the same year when Susan married James W. Denton! So the divorce would have been about 1836 or 1837. There were four children from her marriage to James Denton: two girls and two boys. Rhoda kept the girls while James kept the boys–hence the Denton surname.  Elizabeth Jane and Milly Ann were raised by Michael D. Gill, and they took the Gill name: Elizabeth Jane Denton Gill and Milly Ann Denton Gill.

Michael David Gill was born about 1800 in Louisa County, Virginia, and he died around 1860 in Jasper County, Missouri. He was the son of Mitchell Gill (1772-1810) of Charlotte County, Virginia and Nancy Dabbs (1774-1809) and the grandson of Michael Gill (1730-1801). Michael’s brother was Mitchell Gill (1803-1880). Mitchell was born February 5, 1803 in Charlotte County, Virginia, and he died March 6, 1880 in Richland, Keokuk County, Iowa. His wife was Catharine Thompson (1796-1880). Their children were:

  1. James Gill (1835-1906)
  2. Susan Gill (b. 1840)
  3. Ellen Gill (b. 1842)
  4. Sarah Gill (b. 1847)
  5. Louisa Gill (b. 1848)
  6. Lydia Annis Gill (1850-1916)

Mitchell may have gone to Tennessee with his brother Michael, but he was in Indiana by 1835. Catherine was probably his second wife. They were married June 4, 1846 in Keokuk, Iowa. The last three children listed above would have been theirs. The first three would have been by a first wife.

Michael David Gill appears on early census records as follows:  the 1820 Census for Charlotte County, Virginia(9), the 1830 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee(10), the 1840 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee(11), the 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee(12), and Missouri Land Records for 1856, 1857, and 1860 in Jasper County, Missouri(13), (14), (15). The Michael D. Gill family were in Jasper County by March 10, 1856 when he obtained his first warrant for land. In all likelihood, they were in the county earlier.

The children of Michael David Gill and Rhoda Louisa Spence follow:

  1. Samuel S. Gill (1842-1880).  Samuel was born in January 1842 in Williamson County, Tennessee, and he died May 28, 1880 in Savoy, Fannin County, Texas. Samuel served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. His military file is quite substantial.  He enlisted at Camp Cedar July 21, 1862 for a term of three years. He fought in the Battle of Helena, Arkansas July 28, 1863 in which he was slightly wounded. His name appears on a Roll of Prisoners of War of Cos. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and K, 11th Missouri Infantry of the Confederate Army, commanded by Major James Phillips, surrendered at New Orleans. Louisiana by Gen. E. K. Smith, C.S.A., to Maj. Gen. E.R.S. Canby, USA May 26, 1865; paroled June 8, 1865 at Shreveport, Louisiana(16).  Samuel went to Texas after his release, where he married Emma Louis Brooks (1850-1880) on December 20, 1868 in Fannin County, Texas. Their children were: (a)  William M. Gill, born December, 1869 in Fannin County, Texas; and (b) Maude Gill (1873-1962). William was born about December 1869 in Fannin County, Texas. I have no additional information about him. Maude was born December 24, 1873 in Savoy, Fannin County, Texas, and she died November 30, 1962 in McKinney, Collin, Texas. On November 29, 1898, Maude became the second wife of George Clinton Masters (1861-1942). George’s biography from Find-a-Grave follows:

 

Birth: Sep. 6, 1861
Death: Jun. 20, 1942

born DeKalb County, AL
died Denton, Denton County, TX  From Penne Magnusson Cartright Hannum, rec’d 19 Apr 2015
Clint traveled extensively and was an early day advocate of the motor home and travel trailer. He came to Texas in 1880, worked at various occupations for a few years until he settled in Denton where he became a traveling salesman. He made many trips back to Alabama to visit relatives and entertained everyone with his stories of adventure.Family links:
Parents:
Benjamin Franklin Masters (1833 – 1886)
Nancy Elizabeth Kay Masters (1837 – 1917)Spouses:
Margaret ‘Maggie’ Keith Masters (1869 – 1895)
Maude Gill Masters (1873 – 1962)Children:
Emma Alberta Masters Giddens (1899 – 1998)*
Gill C. Masters (1916 – 1980)*Siblings:
Silas Pickens Masters (1854 – 1868)*
Nuton Jasper Masters (1855 – 1860)*
Robert M. Masters (1858 – 1858)*
John F. Masters (1859 – 1861)*
George Clinton Masters (1861 – 1942)
Ira N. Masters (1863 – 1886)*
Lura Jane Masters Totherow (1865 – 1891)*
Ida Lee Masters Green (1867 – 1917)*
Luther Morgan Masters (1869 – 1943)*
Marcus Lee Masters (1871 – 1959)*
William Addison Masters (1873 – 1942)*
Joseph A Masters (1876 – 1923)*
Ella Jane Masters Upton (1879 – 1972)*
Sidney Wyot Masters (1880 – 1972)**Calculated relationshipInscription:
FatherNote: h/o 1) Margaret ‘Maggie’ Keith and 2) Maude Gill
Burial:
Odd Fellows Cemetery
Denton
Denton County
Texas, USA
Plot: Section A
Created by: RMLeahy
Record added: Jun 13, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14599940 (17)

Note: The two children listed on the Find-a-Grave Entry are the children of George Clinton Masters and Maude Gill: Emma A. Masters Giddens (1899-1998) and Gill Clinton Masters, Sr. (1916-1980).

Samuel S. Gill is believed to be buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, per the following account:

I believe Samuel Gill is buried here.  The find a grave website details that the west side of this cemetery was devoted to victims of the May 1880, Savoy Tornado. The wooden markers were later destroyed by a grass fire in 1935. So we will never know for sure (18).

Samuel Gill apparently died in the 1880 Savoy tornado!

2.  Daniel David Gill (1844-1920).  Daniel was born February 15, 1844 in Williamson County, Tennessee, and he died October 29, 1920 in Jane, McDonald, Missouri. Daniel also served in the Confederate Army. He was also in Company A, 11th Missouri Infantry, CSA and enlisted August 10, 1862 at Coon Creek, Missouri under Col. Hunter for three years. He appears to have survived the war unscathed. Unlike his brother, Samuel, he returned to Jasper County, Missouri, where he married Lavesta Ann Roy (b. 1847) in Jasper County. They had one child: Mary Gill (b. 1870). The Gills resided in Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri in 1870(19), in Marion, Newton County Missouri in 1880(20), and in Jane, McDonald County, Missouri in 1900(21).  Daniel David Gill died in Jane; he and his wife are buried in the cemetery there. His wife’s name is engraved on the tombstone, but there is no date of death for her.

3. Isaac Ivy Gill (1847-1922). Isaac was born November 24, 1847 in Williamson County, Tennessee, and he died July 27, 1922 in Jane, McDonald County, Missouri. His middle initial is registered as “A” on his tombstone. I remember reading one descendant’s account that the tombstone carver misunderstood the pronunciation of the middle initial: “Ah” vs. “I”– something related to the southern pronunciation. So the “A” was put on his tombstone. His middle name really was “Ivy.” Isaac was too young for the Civil War.  On January 31, 1875, he married Texanna Triplett (18 in Jasper County, Missouri. She was the daughter of Layton C. Triplett (b. 1832) and Nancy E. Hansford (b. 1834), the niece of George Washington Triplett (1825-1909), who married Rebecca Jane Spence (1828-1859)–daughter of Samuel Perry Spence and Elizabeth Inman [my third great grandparents]– and the granddaughter of John Hore Triplett (1804-1882) and Mary Butler Bradley (1807-1875). Their children were: (a) Daniel Laton Gill (1878-1935); (b) William Franklin Gill (1887-1970)–I have a feeling he was named after my grandfather, William Franklin Spence (1884-1973); (c) Isaac Newt Gill (1898-1952). The Gills resided in Marion, Newton County, Missouri in 1880(22), in Benton Twp., Newton County, Missouri in 1900(23), in Bentonville Ward 3, Newton County, Missouri in 1910(24) and finally in White Rock, McDonald, Missouri in 1920(25).

As noted previously, Rhoda’s daughter by James W. Denton–Elizabeth Jane Denton Blankenship (1832-1911)–resided in Newton County with her family. In 1860, they were in Jackson Twp., Jasper, Missouri.

I should mention here that there was another Louisa Gill who relocated from New York to Jasper County and who settled in Carthage. She was the mother-in-law of A.M. Drake–a noted figure in Jasper County history, and she died in October 1871 in Jasper County. That Louisa Gill was not this one. That Louisa Gill came from New York and descended from a New Hampshire line of Gills who fought in the Revolutionary War. Her maiden name was Gill and not Spence.

So what happened to Michael D. Gill and Rhoda Louisa Spence?

Michael and Rhoda last appear together on the 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee as follows:

Michael D. Gill, age 50, born Virginia–Occupation: Shoemaker

Rhoda Gill, age 42, born North Carolina

Elizabeth J. Gill, age 18, born Tennessee

Milly A Gill, age 17, born Tennessee

Samuel Gill, age 8, born Tennessee

Daniel D. Gill, age 6, born Tennessee

Isaac I. Gill, age 3, born Tennessee(26)

Michael D. Gill last appears on the 1860 Land Warrant (dated August 1, 1860) mentioned previously. Neither Michael nor Rhoda appear on the 1860 Census for Jasper County, Missouri. However, their sons and Rhoda’s daughter by her first marriage do appear on that census: Elizabeth J. (Denton) Buckingham and her family in Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri–Census dated July 10, 1860(27);  Samuel Gill as a farm laborer in the Aaron Foster household in Marion, Jasper County, Missouri–Census dated July 3, 1860(28); Daniel Gill in the Milly Catherine Spence Jones household, Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri–Census dated July 9, 1860(29); and Isaac Ivy Gill in the Elizabeth Inman Spence Household, Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri–Census dated July 11, 1860(29).  Michael and Rhoda do not appear on the 1860 Census. I believe that both of them died in June 1860. The August 1, 1860 land warrant to Michael was issued after his death. And the next question is what killed them?

The suspected culprits?

Influenza, Yellow Fever or Cholera!

According to the American Epidemics from the Genealogy Quest Website, Missouri and other places had their share of problems from 1850 through the Civil War.  In my chart below, I stopped with the smallpox epidemic in Pennsylvania in 1860-61. Missouri’s unique problem stemmed from the fact  that so many settlers were moving there mostly from the South where the epidemics were so great, and they were bringing the diseases with them: “Wintering each year in the Deep South, in the spring the disease would join the emigrants heading west. Cholera made its way up the Missouri on riverboats. An outbreak on board the Yellowstone in July 1833 turned it into a floating death trap. One of the few survivors, Joseph La Barge, later recalled that just below Kansas City he buried eight victims in one grave. Fear of an epidemic caused Missouri residents in Jackson County to threaten to destroy the ship(31). The list below is from American Epidemics:

1850 Nationwide Yellow Fever
1850 Alabama, New York Cholera
1850-1 North America Influenza
1851 Coles Co., IL, The Great Plains, and Missouri Cholera
1852 Nationwide Yellow Fever
1853 New Orleans Yellow Fever: 8,000 died
1853 Mobile Yellow Fever: 1,191 deaths
1853 Vicksburg Yellow Fever: 500 deaths
1853 Lake Providence, LA. Yellow Fever: 165 deaths
1853 Philadelphia Yellow Fever: 128 deaths
1853 Jackson, Miss. Yellow Fever: 112 deaths
1855 Nationwide Yellow Fever
1857-9 Worldwide Influenza: one of the greatest epidemics
1860-1 Pennsylvania Smallpox(31)

 

I am reminded of another experience I had while researching my Grandmother Inman’s Clay/Klee line. My second great-grandfather, John Clay (1794-1844) was living in Franklin Twp., Summit County, Ohio. The Clay farms were close together, and John was working over at his uncle, Christian Clay’s farm where he contracted cholera.  Howard and I visited Franklin Twp. while on our way to Pennsylvania one year. The graves are lined up in a row in the Grill Cemetery in Summit County: John, his uncle and his uncle’s family–all of them dying within a few days, weeks or months of each other in 1844. Something similar to this happened in Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri between 1849 and 1860:

Lewis Jones–1849

Daniel Spence–1857

Daniel Bryant–1858 (the father of Adeline Elizabeth Bryant and father-in-law of Lazarus Spence)

Polly Pewitt Spence–1859

Samuel Perry Spence–July 1859

Rebecca Jane Spence (daughter of Samuel)–1859

Rhoda Louisa Spence Gill–June 1860

Michael David Gill–June 1860

and  others.

Michael David Gill and Rhoda Louisa Spence are probably buried in the Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri. Their graves are not marked.

This article concludes in Part Two

 

References

(1) 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee about James W. Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(2) Probate File for James W. Denton, d. 1861, Smith County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(3) Tennessee State Marriage Records for James W. Denton and Sophia Shaw. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(4) Probate File for James W. Denton, d. 1880, Maury County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(5) Tennessee State Marriage Records for James W. Denton and Rhoda Spence. Ancestry.com, Provo. Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(6) 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill Family. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(7) Tennessee State Marriage Records for Williamson Alexander and Milly Ann Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(8) 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee, James W Denton Family. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(9) 1820 Census for Charlotte County, Virginia, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(10) 1830 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(11) 1840 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(12) 1850 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(13) U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907, 10 Mar 1856 for Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com.

(14) U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907, 15 May 1857 for Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(15) U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907, 1 Aug 1860 for Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(16) Samuel S. Gill Military File, Company A, 2nd Reg’t, 11th Missouri Infantry C.S.A., 1862-1865. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(17) George Clinton “Clint” Masters Find-a-Grave Memorial No. 14599940. Index at Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(18) djgill40, Comment on Greenwood Cemetery Photo submitted to Ancestry from Find-a-Grave, 10 May 2015. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(19) 1870 Census for Jasper County, Missouri, Daniel David Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(20) 1880 Census for Jasper County, Missouri, Daniel David Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(21) 1900 Census for White Rock, McDonald County, Missouri, Daniel David Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(22) 1880 Census for Newton County, Missouri, Isaac Ivy Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(23) 1900 Census for Newton County, Missouri, Isaac Ivy Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(24) 1910 Census for Newton County, Missouri, Isaac Ivy Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(25) 1920 Census for McDonald County, Missouri, Isaac Ivy Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(26) 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(27) 1860 Census for Jasper County, Missouri, James M. Buckingham Family. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(28) 1860 Census for Jasper County, Missouri, Aaron Foster Household. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(29) 1860 Census for Jackson Township, Jasper County, Missouri, Milly Catherine Spence Jones Household. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(30) 1860 Census for Jackson Township, Jasper County, Missouri, Elizabeth Inman Spence Household. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Access: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(31) “Cholera” from the Kansapedia Website: The Kansas Historical Society: Copyright 2015. Author: Unknown.  Article Created: June 2013. Article Modified: February 2013. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at: http://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/cholera/12010

(32) American Epidemics from the Genealogy Quest Website. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://genealogy-quest.com/glossary-terms/american-epidemics/

Elisha Spence (1776-1835)–Part Twelve: A Mystery in the Household–William Spence of Weakley County, Tennessee (1809-1856)

New Hope Methodist Church Cemetery Sign, Weakley County, Tennessee. Photo from Find-a-Grave.com

New Hope Methodist Church Cemetery Sign, Weakley County, Tennessee. Photo from Find-a-Grave.com

New Hope Methodist Church Building, Weakley County, Tennessee

New Hope Methodist Church Building, Weakley County, Tennessee. Photo from Find-a-Grave.com

 

The New Hope United Methodist Church, located in the northern edges of Weakley County Tennessee, was organized 148 years ago. On November 12, 1831, Walter H. Jones sold to William Spence, James S. Wood, James T. McFall, Jepe W. Ballard, John Davis and William H. Jones, Trustees of the New Hope Meeting House, a parcel of land for $5 upon which to build a house of public worship. This small church building was hewed from poplar logs and was the first of three buildings.

Other land was deeded to the church by John S. Wood on August 10, 1842; R. F. Roberts on August 9, 1850, and Abe Sawyers on August 9, 1880. On August 15, 1891, A. Sawyers gave an acre to the church for a burying ground. The church bought land from Mr. Sawyer on July 30, 1895 for additional burying grounds, and on August 12, 1895 land was purchased from T. J. and Sallie Spence.

The present structure was built in 1915. A basement was added in 1953 and remodeling of the front entrance was completed in 1963. In 1962-63, a new parsonage located on Frankie Lane in S. Fulton was purchased by New Hope and other churches on the charge of Harris and Chapel Hill(1).

William Spence, a twin of Rhoda Louisa Spence and a son of Elisha and Susanna Spence, was born March 28, 1809 in Randolph County or in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and he died  before October 7, 1856 when his will was filed in Weakley County, Tennessee. An abstract of his Will follows:

Spence, William — September 19, 1856

Wife — Nancy

Son — Thornton

Dau — Sarah

Exec.  Daniel Spence and William Cloar

Wit– C. M. Wheeler and J. M. Bennet

Filed: October 7, 1856.  p. 390-391(2).

William and his twin Rhoda Louisa were still infants when their mother died in 1810.  Elisha Spence married Jane Bell on October 25, 1810 in Davidson County, Tennessee(3), so Jane would become the mother William, Rhoda Louisa and Susan Rhoda would remember. Their mother died in childbirth with Susan, and Daniel was four years old at the time of his mother’s death. He remembered his mother and was reluctant to accept Jane at first. But he soon bonded with her. For Samuel, Levi, and Milly Catherine, Jane seemed like an older sister. She was only five years older than Samuel. Between 1810 and 1820, William watched his older siblings leave home. Samuel and Levi departed first, followed by Milly Catherine and eventually, Daniel. William remained at home with his twin and younger sister. Beginning 1811 or 1813, four additional children would arrive of the new marriage. [They will be discussed in Part 14.]

Tracing William Spence and his family members has been a real challenge. I thought it would be easy at first because of the information I found in Weakley Remembered years ago(4). Like so many older publications, some of the material was in error–and it took me an extra week tearing into all of that. In this case, I think the Civil War was the culprit behind the loss of so many verifiable records. When armies went into an area, they often sacked and burned the courthouse because they wanted to destroy those records. I am reminded of an account I read several years ago where the citizens in a Virginia county put the records on wagons and moved them from place to place with the Union Army behind them. There was a great deal of fighting and sacking and burning in Western Tennessee during the Civil War.  So that is the reason for the problem.

According to Weakley Remembered, the first settlements there occurred in 1820. Weakley notes that before then, there were few white persons in the area. Then in 1780, “North Carolina issued thousands of land grants” there. Most of these early grants were for military service, or they were land specific(5). Weakley County was created October 21, 1823 and was completed in 1825(6).

The following concerns William Spence:

William Spence, b. March 28, 2809-d. Sept. 24, 1856. Married Nancy _________ (1804-1874). Both buried in the New Hope Cemetery near Ruthville, Weakley County(7).

The children are identified as follows:

Children:

Thornton J. Spence (1836-1908)

m. 1873 Sarah Ellen Morgan (1856-1940)

Sarah Spence m. Thos. James

Mark Spence, d. 1874

Daniel C. Spence, d. July 20, 1870–died after a horse fell on him

Samuel Spence–killed by falling tree cutting wood

James Lane Spence m. 1881 Margaret Elizabeth Dunlop(8)

I will stop here. James Lane Spence was actually Joseph Lane Spence. Joseph Lane Spence was actually a son of Samuel Spence of this narrative, and a grandson of William Spence of Weakley County, per the following death record:

Name: Joseph Lane Spence
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 11 Nov 1854
Birth Place: Tennessee
Age: 78
Death Date: 27 Dec 1932
Death Place: Martin, Weakley, Tennessee
Father’s name: Sam Spence
Father’s Birth Place: Tennessee
Mother’s name: Sarah Woods
Mother’s Birth Place: Tennessee
Certificate Number: 28103
Wills and Probates: Search for Joseph Lane Spence in Tennessee Wills & Probates collection (9)

William Spence’s story follows.

A son William’s age still appears in the Elisha Spence household in Davidson County, Tennessee on the 1820 Census(10). William would have been eleven years old. By 1825, he probably went out to Perry County where his brothers Samuel and Daniel and his sister Milly Catherine Spence Jones were living. Other Spence relatives resided in that area, including Amos Spence (1800-1830) and his brother Jordan Pearce Spence (1792-1878)–sons of Edward Spence (1760-1802) and Esther Pearce (1765-1800). [Another brother of Amos and Jordan, William Spence (1795-1869), resided in Davidson County, Tennessee. He appears on the records there as early as 1810, so he must have relocated to Tennessee with the Elisha Spence group.] By 1830, William of Weakley’s brother, Levi James Spence, returned from North Carolina and settled in Madison County, also in Western Tennessee(11).

William married Nancy Hale (1810-1874), reportedly in Tennessee based upon the birth of their first child the following year. However, several of his older children were born in North Carolina until 1840, when he first appears on the census for Weakley County, Tennessee(12). His son, Samuel Spence, appears on the 1860 Census for Weakley County with a birth place listed as North Carolina(13). It is possible that William returned to Randolph County, North Carolina where a large family of Hales lived. That’s where he met Nancy Hale, and they were married in North Carolina and not in Tennessee. (To date, I have not been able to find anything about her family. I’m beginning to think that she was an orphan who was raised by another family. If this is true, it would explain part of the mystery coming up later in this article.) Rebecca was the first daughter born in Tennessee in 1839–so they would have been in Weakley County by then.

The children of William Spence and Nancy Hale follow:

1. Samuel Spence (1830-bef. 1870). Samuel was born about 1830 in Randolph County, North Carolina, and he died before 1870 in Weakley County, Tennessee after being struck by a falling tree. His wife was Sarah Woods (b. 1830). Their children were:

a. Ellen Spence (b. 1846)

b. Joseph Lane “Bud” Spence (1854-1932). Joseph was born November 11, 1854 in Weakley County Tennessee, and he died December 27, 1932 in Martin, Weakley County, Tennessee. His wife was Margaret Elizabeth Dunlap (b. 1850). I only have his children’s names: (I) Bud Spence; (ii) Willis Spence; (iii) Rice Spence; (iv) Mozell Spence; (v) Fannie Spence; (vi) Lockie Spence; (vii) Edna Spence; (viii) Leila Spence; (ix) Ellen Spence. Those names are listed in Weakley Remembered(14).

c. Ellen T. Spence (b. 1857)

d. Lafayette Spence (b. 1857)

e. Wilson Spence (b. 1858)

f. Henrietta Spence (b. 1859)

2. Sarah Spence (b. 1834). She married Thomas James. I have no additional information.

3. Thornton Jefferson Spence (1836-1908). Thornton was born in Pasquotank, North Carolina about 1836–indicating the William Spence family had moved from Randolph to the Pasquotank area. He died August 30, 1908 in Weakley County, Tennessee. According to his Find-a-Grave Memorial, Thornton served with the Confederate Army in Co. K, 12th Kentucky Cavalry during the Civil War(15). His wife was Sarah Emaline Morgan (1856-1940). Their children were:

a. Sarah E. Spence (b. 1882)

b. Robert P. Spence (b. 1884)

c. Martha J. Spence (b. 1886)

d. Thornton V. Spence (b. 1889)

e. Ruth A. Spence (b. 1897)

Additional children for Thornton are listed in the “Mystery” section below.

4. Rebecca Spence (b. 1839) I have no additional information.

5. Joseph Washington Reed (1840-1925). Joseph is the mystery in the family. He will be discussed below.

6. Mark Spence (1843-1874). Mark was born about 1843 in Weakley County, Tennessee, and he died in Weakley County in 1874. I have no additional information.

7. Daniel C. Spence (1845-1870). Daniel was born in Weakley County, Tennessee, and he died July 20, 1870 after a horse fell on him. I have no additional information.

8. John Spence (b. 1848). No additional information.

 

The Mystery of  Joseph Washington Reed (1840-1925)

Joseph Washington Reed (1840-1925) and Matilda Chambers Scofield (1855-1926). Photo submitted to Ancestry.com by patriciareed47 Aug 15, 2011. Photo taken about 1910 in Kentucky

Joseph Washington Reed (1840-1925) and Matilda Chambers Scofield (1855-1926). Photo submitted to Ancestry.com by patriciareed47 Aug 15, 2011. Photo taken about 1910 in Kentucky

Friday, 24 May 1996

Barbara,

This information below is from Weakley Co Remembered. I am looking for a Louisa Spence who married Wilson Reed and when they were going thru Weakley Co from NC to Mo in 1840 she had a baby (my GGGrandfather) and died after childbirth. I have not any of her family but wondered who these people are. See old messages below:

Seeking information on the SPENCE family of Weakley Co TN. Bible records show that Thorten Spence b. 1836, d 1908 married Sarah E. MORGAN. She was b 1856 d 1940. Children born between 1875 and 1896 were: W.D. Spence, Jim J. Spence, N.L. Spence, Sarah Elizabeth Spence, Robert Pain Spence, Martha Jane Spence, Thorton Van Vuron Spence, John Wesley Spence, Luther Mark Spence, Ruth Anna Spence.

Thornton SPENCE’s father was William SPENCE b. 1809 d 1856. His mother was Nancy ?  b. 1804 d. 1874.

Is there any relationship between this SPENCE family and Louisa SPENCE Reed who died in childbirth in Weakley Co TN in 1840?(16)

Yes, Sara, I believe there is!

This question has perplexed me for years. I didn’t unravel it until recently, and believe that I finally have it figured out.

The 1850 Census for the William Spence household in Weakley County, Tennessee shows the following:

William Spence (42)

Nancy Spence (46)

Sarah Spence (16)

Thornton Spence (14)

Rebecca Spence (11)

Joseph Spence (9)

Mark Spence (7)

Daniel Spence (5)

John Spence (2) (17)

Joseph Washington Reed was born March 8, 1840 in Weakley County, Tennessee, and he died July 27, 1925 in Weakley County. He was the son of Wilson D. Reed (1802-1865) and Louisa Spence (1814-1840). Wilson’s family wasn’t difficult to find.  He was born in 1802 in Warren County, North Carolina to a J. W. Reed (1785-1857), and he died after 1865 in Warren County, Missouri.  He appears on the 1860 Census in Howell County, Missouri, but he apparently died after 1865 in Warren County. One possible reason for his move? He served in the Union Army during the Civil War!

He married Louisa Spence about 1839 in North Carolina. They were on their way to Missouri when Louisa died after childbirth March 8, 1840. According to Sara Stinchcomb, the Wilsons stopped at an inn in Weakley County when Louisa went into labor. The following is from an email message I received from Sara after she received my initial reply:

“Barbara,

Your messages are very exciting!! My GGGrandfather Joseph Washington REED (born 1840) the son of Louisa SPENCE Reed named his first son Samuel James and the second son William Joseph and my Grandfather Martin Alonzo (Martin is a family name in the wife’s family). The daughters were Ida Eugenia, Margaret Louisa and Minnie Ina. Louisa’s husband. Wilson REED went on to Missouri where he is found in 1860 census with a new wife and children in Howell County.

Do you know of connection of the SPENCE family with a CONNER family? The home (inn?) where Wilson and Louisa SPENCE Reed stopped in Weakley Co to have the baby was owned by the Samuel CONNER family and the CONNER family raised the child. Joseph Washington REED. They called this little community there in Weakley County “Pasquotank” I understand from oral family tradition.

The Conner family came to Weakley Co. from Knox Co area of East TN and they were originally from VA. I just can’t help but believe that he would not have left the child with total strangers and they would raise him like a son which they did unless there had been some family or neighborhood tie back in VA or NC….(18)

Wilson’s second wife’s name was Martha (last name unknown), and they had the following children: (a) Eliza J. Reed (b. 1846); (b) Alonzo Reed (b. 1849); (c) Thomas M. Reed (b. 1851).  His wife Martha filed for his Civil War Military Pension April 23, 1891, so he may have lived until then(19).

I do not know of a specific connection between that Conner family and the Spence family of Weakley County. Since Joseph appears on the 1850 Census in William’s household, I believe the Conners took care of him until they could find a family for him. They knew the Spence family in Weakley and they also knew that Louisa was a Spence. But the story goes much deeper than that. Louisa was related to William Spence. She knew William and his family resided in Weakley County. That is why the Reeds were trying to make it there before Louisa had her baby.  The following is a summary of my research. My conclusions result from the research presented here.

The name Louisa was prominent among the Pasquotank Spence families. William Spence’s twin  sister’s name was Rhoda LOUISA Spence.  In order to understand this narrative, I need to go back to the progenitor of Louisa Spence Reed’s line: Isaac Spence (1722-1806).

Not a great deal is known about Isaac Spence beyond his dates. Many people think that he was born in Duplin County, North Carolina. But that county wasn’t formed until 1750 from New Hanover County. Some people think he came from Virginia, but I could find no satisfaction there. The more I fussed around with this thing, the more I was able to conclude that Isaac was born in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. But to which family?

Sara Stinchcomb was right when she said that Wilson Reed would not have galloped off until assured his son was in protective, caring hands. It is important to remember something else. William Spence returned to North Carolina and was first in Randolph County and then Pasquotank. Quite possibly, William knew Wilson and Louisa Spence Reed. William and his family returned to Tennessee about 1839. Wilson and Louisa were married about 1839. William and Nancy may have relocated to Weakley after the wedding! So my search for Isaac Spence’s family targeted William Spence’s line. After digging through my old North Carolina Research Notebook and reviewing everything I discovered about Isaac Spence, I discovered what I was looking for–something I at one time considered.

Isaac Spence (1722-1806) was a twin of my fifth great-grandfather William Edward Spence (1722-1785). They were the sons of James Spence (1702-1753) and Elizabeth Greaves (1707-1755). So the information concerning the children of James Spence and Elizabeth Greaves now look like this: [NOTE: I am only detailing Isaac here since the others have been detailed in a previous article. I will insert a link to that article HERE for their information]:

1. Isaac Spence (1722-1806). Isaac was born in Pasquotank County, North Carolina, and he died in Pasquotank County in 1806(20). His wife’s name was Esther, and nothing else is known about her. Isaac and his twin brother William Edward Spence (1722-1785)  traveled about North Carolina together.  Isaac first appears on Pasquotank records on the 1786 Census(21). He also appears on the 1790 Census for Pasquotank County(22). Isaac and Esther Spence had two children: (a) Isaac Spence (1745-1820) and (b) Nancy Spence, who died after 1806. Nancy is the only child listed in Isaac’s will. By 1806, his son Isaac had re-established himself in Duplin County. The rest of this narrative will be devoted to Isaac Jr’s line.

Isaac Spence (1745-1820)

Isaac Spence was born in Pasquotank, North Carolina in 1745, and he died in Cumberland County, North Carolina October 21, 1820. On April 27, 1769, Isaac married Mary Elizabeth Bowden (1744-1821) in Duplin County, North Carolina. They had the following children [NOTE: These children have been terribly confused. I am following The Heritage of Harnett County, North Carolina for their names.]:

  1. John Spence (1770-1830). John was born in Duplin County, North Carolina in 1770, and he died in Cumberland County, North Carolina in 1830. His wife was Rhody Rebecah Dean (1780-1870). Their children were:  (a) Delila Spence, born 1801; (b) Timothy Spence (1825-1850); (c) Martha Spence; (d) Olivia Spence; (e) Nancy Spence(23). According to The Heritage of Harnett County, North Carolina: “John Spence moved from Duplin County to the area that is now Harnett County just before Thomas Jefferson became President (about 1800). Then his father and two brothers moved up to join him.  The father, Isaac Spence, was born about 1745, and records show his marriage in Duplin County in 1769, six years before the beginning of the American Revolution. The brothers were Timothy and Elisha. John bought land on Neill’s Creek and Hector’s Creek in 1805. His father and brothers sold all of their holdings in Duplin and began buying land in Harnett. Timothy built a log house near what is now the Christian Light Community. In the woods, a few hundred yards off the paved road, is a graveyard where the first Spence settlers are buried. The grave markers are large stones bearing no lettering(24).  
  2. Timothy W. Spence, Jr (1771-1852). The subject under discussion here.
  3. Elisha Spence (1775-aft 1840). (When I discovered this Elisha Spence, I understood where my fourth great-grandfather (Elisha Spence) obtained his name. This Elisha Spence was born in 1775. My Elisha Spence was born in 1776).  Elisha Spence was born in 1775 in Duplin County, North Carolina.  After the deaths of his parents, he moved to Johnston County, North Carolina, where  he married Nancy Wood, Jr. on November 25, 1823.  I know nothing else about her but tend to connect her surname with the same Wood or Woods family in Weakley County, Tennessee. (William Spence’s son, Samuel, married Sarah Wood (b. 1830). Unfortunately, I do not have the names of Elisha and Nancy’s children. Elisha last appears on the 1840 Census for Johnston County, North Carolina(26).

Timothy W. Spence, Jr (1771-1852)

The father of Louisa Spence Reed, Timothy W. Spence was born June 4, 1771 in Duplin County, North Carolina, and he died May 3, 1852 in Cumberland County, North Carolina. I would like to think his middle name was William! In 1791, he married Martha Futch (1778-1853) in Barnwell, South Carolina.  They had a large family. Each time I look into their family, I find someone new–so that is something I need to research later. For now, I am going to list the names that I have and will focus on Louisa here. Whenever I complete the study of this family, I will write a later article.

The children of Timothy W. Spence and Martha Futch that I have to date are:

  1. Anne Spence (1790-1834)
  2. Polly Spence (1792-1837)
  3. Isaac Spence (1794-1848)
  4. Thomas Spence (1795-1860)
  5. Elizabeth Spence (1796-1828)
  6. Sarah Spence (1798-1850)
  7. James Spence (1800-1870)
  8. John Spence (1800-1882)
  9. Ingram Spence (1802-1880)
  10. Anne Spence (1804-1880)
  11. Catherine Spence (1807-1880)
  12. Matthew Spence (1808-1843)
  13. Timothy W. Spence (1809-1878)
  14. Daniel Spence (1811-1898)
  15. Louisa Spence (1814-1840). Under discussion here
  16. Eliza Spence (1817-1862)

Louisa Spence (1814-1840). Louisa was born November 4, 1814 in Cumberland County, North Carolina, and she died in childbirth March 8, 1840 in Weakley County, Tennessee. She was the wife of Wilson D. Reed (1802-aft 1865). They are the parents of Joseph Washington Reed (1840-1925). Wilson’s father’s initials were reportedly J.W. Reed. Perhaps his full name was Joseph Washington Reed. Joseph (1840) was named for his grandfather.

There are other significant names involved in this study. One of them is Reed. Louisa Spence’s husband was a Reed, whose father’s name was apparently J. W. Reed. However, Louisa’s uncle, John Spence, married Rhody Rebecah Dean (1780-1870). Rhody was the daughter of Hardy Robinson Dean (1740-1823) and Elizabeth Jane Reed (1752-1823). Hardy’s family came from England and settled in North Carolina. But Elizabeth was possibly an orphan. She was taken to New England where she was raised by Ezra Dean (1718-1806) and Sarah Snow (b. 1719). No one knows the identity of her real parents, but her surname was Reed. Ezra Dean was a descendant of Walter Dean (1612-1693) and Eleanor Strong (1613-1693) of Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts. They evidently raised Elizabeth as their own daughter–a theme that runs throughout these family lines. Eventually, she returned to North Carolina, where she married Hardy Robinson Dean. There is a possibility that Wilson Reed and Louisa Spence were distantly related.

I don’t know whether Wilson D. Reed ever reconnected with his son. Joseph Washington Reed used the Spence surname while he was living in William’s household. But they did not hide his parentage from him, and he used the Reed surname when on his own.

William Spence died in 1856 in Weakley County, Tennessee. His will dated September 19, 1856 lists his wife Nancy, son Thornton, daughter Sarah. Daniel Spence was Executor of his estate along with William Cloar. The witnesses were CM Wheeler and J.M. Bennett. It was filed October 7, 1856(27).  After his death, Joseph (a blacksmith) went to live with the Conners at their inn, where he appears on the 1860 Census(28).

Joseph married Victoria Scofield (1844-1872) in 1865 in Weakley County. They had the following children:

  1. Lena Martha Reed (1867-1896)
  2. Georgia Reed (b. 1868)
  3. John Reed (1871-1872)

His second wife was Matilda Elizabeth Chambers (1855-1926), whom he married February 25, 1874 in Obion, Tennessee. Their children were:

  1. Ida Reed (1878-1953)
  2. Samuel James Reed (1879-1960)
  3. William J. Reed (1881-1975)
  4. Martin E. Reed (1885-1968)
  5. Mary L. Reed (b. 1887)
  6. Lula Mae Reed (1887-1970)
  7. Martha A. Reed (b. 1890)
  8. Minnie Ima Reed (1890-1977)
  9. Thomas Reed (no information).

Joseph Washington Reed died July 27, 1925 in Weakley County, Tennessee. He was buried July 28, 1925 in the New Hope Methodist Cemetery, Weakley County, Tennessee–the same cemetery where the William Spence family is buried.

 

References

(1) Weakley County, Tennessee Cemetery Listings. p. 376.

(2) Weakley County, Tennessee Will Book A–1828-1842.

(3) Tennessee Marriage Records about Elisha Spence and Jane Bell. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 10 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com.

(4) Baker, Pansy, Nancy Reynolds, Charlotte Stout. Weakley Remembered: Weakley County, Tennessee. Skullbone Printing, Bradford, Tennessee.

(5) Weakley Remembered, Vol. 2, p. 4.

(6) Weakley Remembered, Vol. 2, p. 4.

(7) Weakley Remembered, Vol. 3, pp 85-86

(8) Weakley Remembered, Vol. 3, pp 85-86

(9) Tennessee, Death Records, (1908-1958). Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(10) 1820 Census for Elisha Spence, Davidson County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(11) 1830 Census for Levi Spence, Madison County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(12) 1840 Census for William Spence, Weakley County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(13) 1860 Census for Samuel Spence, Weakley County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(14) Weakley Remembered, Vol. 3, pp. 85-86.

(15) Find-a-Grave Memorial 19946446 about Thornton Jefferson Spence. Find-a-Grave Index. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(16) Sara Reed Stinchcomb, Spence-L Digest. Rootsweb.com. Message posted 24 May 1996. [May be in the old archives] http://www.rootsweb.com.

(17) 1850 Census for William Spence, Weakley County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(18) Sara Reed Stinchcomb, Spence-L Digest. Rootsweb.com. Message posted 24 May 1996. [May be in the old archives] http://www.rootsweb.com

(19) U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 for Wilson Reed, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(20) North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 about Isaac Spence.  Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(21) North Carolina Census Records, 1790-1890 about Isaac Spence. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(22) 1790 Census for Pasquotank, North Carolina about Isaac Spence. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(23) The Heritage Book of Harnett County, North Carolina, Vol I, 1993. Portions available at Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(24) The Heritage Book of Harnett County, North Carolina, Vol I, 1993. Portions available at Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(25) North Carolina Marriage Collection, 1741-2004 about Elisha Spence. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(26) 1840 Census, Johnston County, North Carolina about Elisha Spence. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(27) William Spence Will Abstract: Will dated 19 Sep 1856; Filed 7 Oct 1856. Weakley County, Tennessee Will Book A 1828-1842, p. 390-391.

(28) 1860 Census, Weakley County, Tennessee for Joseph Washington Reed. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 16 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

Elisha Spence (1776-1835)–Part Eleven: The Case for Elizabeth Spence (1804-1809/10)

A rose for Elizabeth

A rose for Elizabeth

 

Years ago, when I first began searching for the children of Elisha Spence, I recall seeing a record for Elizabeth Spence, born 1808. I found it in the old IGI records. After the passage of time and after being unable to discover anything else about her, I deleted her from the list I was compiling. And that’s when I began hearing from people.

“What about Elizabeth?” they asked.

Sometimes they added a surname:

“What about Elizabeth Ramseur?”

(Believe it or not, I found that item in one of my notebooks: a copy of an old email someone sent me over twenty-years ago.)

“Her surname was Ramseur!” I responded. “I’m looking for Spence.”

Ultimately, I decided that submitters of early records confused Elizabeth Ramseur with Elizabeth Spence. As noted in the update I provided in the James Spence of Randolph County article, Elizabeth Ramseur married Malachi Spence. Malachi Spence was a son of David Spence and Esther Lombard. And David Spence was another son of James Spence and Lucy Upton of Randolph County, North Carolina. There was no way Elizabeth Ramseur was a daughter of Elisha Spence!  However, the name Elizabeth still haunted me, and I began wondering What if there was an Elizabeth?

An excellent possibility! I recently noted that Elisha and Susanna had a child every year or every other year. Samuel was born in 1800. Milly Catherine was born in 1802. Daniel was born in 1806. The twins were born in 1809. And their last daughter Susan was born in 1810. Elizabeth could have been born between Milly Catherine and Daniel or between Daniel and the twins. Susanna’s mother was Caroline Elizabeth Toney.  Young Elizabeth’s full name could have been Caroline Elizabeth Spence and typical of the old Spence custom–her family referred to her by her middle name.

I must admit, the more I thought about Elizabeth, the more I became convinced that she did exist and that she was probably born between Milly Catherine and Daniel. I began checking various records on ancestry making certain I didn’t have her confused with someone else. A number of Spence families resided in in Surry, Rowan, and Guilford County who came from other lines. For example, there was an Elizabeth Betty Spence (1812/13-1843) who was the daughter of James Spence (1775-1826) and Mary Coots (1775-1815). This Elizabeth Spence was born in Guilford County, North Carolina, and she died in Harris County, Georgia. She married McAlvin Howell Spence (1810-1899). He was the son of Nathan Spence, Jr. (1785-1853) and Adeline Reeves (1784-1848). McAlvin was born in Rockingham County, North Carolina, and he died in Harris County, Georgia. James Spence and Nathan Spence, Jr. were brothers. They were the sons of Nathan Spence, Sr. (1743-1833) and Elizabeth Quinnelly (1745-1820), the grandsons of John Spence (1715-1772) and Mary Nutter (1725-1773), and the great grandsons of Patrick Spence (1680-1746) and Phoebe Sasserson (b. 1680). This branch of the Patrick Spence family settled in Talbot County, Maryland, settled next in Delaware, removed to Guilford County, North Carolina, and then relocated to Georgia. Elizabeth Betty Spence was not the Elizabeth I was seeking. She was born in 1812 or 1813 in North Carolina, long after the Elisha Spence family settled in Tennessee. And the Guilford County/Rockingham Spences were from a different line.

There are a number of Elizabeth Spences of record born between 1800 and 1808 in North Carolina, but none of them connect as a child in the Elisha Spence family. I searched the counties from Randolph, Davidson, Surry, Guilford, Rockingham, Rowan and Burke Counties and could not find a qualifying candidate for the role. The Elizabeths I found had a different surname at birth and took the Spence surname after marriage, or they were Spences at birth but were from a different line.

So what have I concluded?

I tend to believe that yes, there was an Elizabeth Spence, who was the daughter of Elisha and Susanna Spencer Spence. I believe that she was probably born between Milly Catherine and Daniel, making her year of birth about 1804. She may have died in infancy, and she may have lived a few years. I think it is possible that she died before Daniel’s birth in 1806. A female child her age does not appear on Tennessee census records in the Elisha Spence family, so she definitely passed away prior to the family’s departure for Tennessee. She may have lived until 1809 or very early 1810.

I believe that she did exist for a number of reasons:

  1. The number of people who contacted me about her when I first started researching the Spence family. They were either relying on the same old IGI record I discovered, or else they had heard a story that a daughter named Elizabeth died young.
  2. Given the fact that Elisha and Susanna named their children after specific family members or friends, it seemed odd to me that none of them were named for Susanna’s mother. I have several DNA connections with Caroline Elizabeth Toney so as far as I am concerned, the identity of Susanna’s mother is no longer in question.
  3. Because of the distance between Milly Catherine and Daniel, it is quite possible that Elisha and Susanna had a daughter in 1804, who died late 1809 or early 1810. The 1804 date is more likely than the 1808 date.

So, yes, I believe there was a Caroline Elizabeth Spence, who was born in Randolph County, North Carolina in 1804 and who died in Randolph County in 1809 or  very early 1810 who was the daughter of Elisha Spence and Susanna Spencer.