Monday, August 25, 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Watts Family Bible Record

The Family Bible Record of George Richard Watts and Emily Jane Chaffin

Family Bible Record of George Richard Watts and Emily Jane Chaffin

 The Holy Bible, Containing The Old and New Testaments, Translated out of the Original Tongues, and with the former translations diligently compared and revised. New York: American Bible Society, instituted in the year MDCCCXVI. 1851.

"This Book now belongs to Kenneth Lee Watts" written in ballpoint pen.
George R. Watts was born March 7, 1839

Emily J Watts was born February 17, 1845

John W. Watts was born July 27, 1860

George W. Watts was born April 9th, 1862

James T. Watts as born February 24, 1866

Mary E. Watts was born November 8th, 1868

Samuel L. Watts was born June the 9, 1870

Emma Frances Watts was born July 11, 1872
Lulan May Watts was born August 21, 1875
Richard Walter Watts was born April 1, 1878
Joseph C. Watts was born June 12, 1880
Harry D. Watts was born June 15, 1882
John Watts was married January 7, 1885

George R Watts and Emily J Watts was married August the 11, 1859
Elizabeth Chaffin died November 8, 1866
Phebe Watts died February the 16, 1872
James E. Chaffin died August 7, 1871
Lindsey Watts died November the 9, 1852
Harry Darwin Morris was born July the 25, 1901
Lulan May Morris died July 26, 1901

Phebe Watts died February 16, 1872
Norman E. Watts was born December 1, 1885
Ora F. Watts was born November 14, 1887
Iva May Watts was borned November 29, 1889
Zephie W. Watts was borned Jan the 29, 1892
Linsey W. Watts was born December the 28, 1895

G.L. Watts left VA November 22, 1859

Lena O. Hill was borned November 15, 1890
James Walter Hill was borned September 13, 1894
Elizabeth Watts was bornd May 13, 1902
Katie V. Watts March 21, 1898
Cephus Bryan Watts was borned October 20, 1899
Harry Darwin Morris was born July the 25, 1901
Lulan May Watts Died July the 26, 1901

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Black Sheep Sunday: Unlawful Gaming

Woodlawn Plantation of Col. Henry Embry Coleman, Halifax Co, VA
Well, I am on a roll with blog writing and figured I might as well tell you more about my ancestor Henry Cheatham. An elderly Watts cousin of mine who resided in Halifax County, Virginia all his life warned me years ago that if you go back far enough in the family tree, you might find a horse thief or worse.

What records I have located on Henry seem to indicate that he often incurred trouble of one form or another.

The only reference to him I found in Halifax County, Virginia was in the General Index to Court Orders-Defendants.  Henry Cheatham was listed twice in Superior Court records for the years 1825 and 1826.  The records state the following: "Henry Cheatham for gaming at cards with one of Col.  Coleman's slaves, Phil, on the side of the Public Road, near the aforesaid Cheatham's in Halifax County, a place of public, on Sunday the 18th of the present month by the information of Peter Hudson called in by the Grand Jury and sworn for that purpose and the said Grand Jury having nothing further to present are discharged." "The Commonwealth against Henry Cheatham, defendant, upon a presentment of the Grand Jury for unlawful gaming.  The defendant having been duly summoned and failing to appear, on motion of the attorney prosecuting for the Commonwealth. It is ordered by the court that he make his fine with his Excellency John Tyler Governor of this Commonwealth for the time being, by the payment of 20 dollars to the use and benefit of the Literary Fund, and that he pay the costs of this prosecution and may be taken &c.”[Halifax County, Virginia Superior Court Record Book 4, p. 116 (year 1825) and p. 160 (year 1826). Transcript of original pages by Faye Tuck of South Boston, VA at the request of author.]

I don't know exactly where "near the aforesaid Cheatham's in Halifax County" but Colonel Coleman was undoubtedly Col. Henry E. Coleman who owned the plantation Woodlawn in Halifax County. See information here about Woodlawn and its owners. The above is a photograph of Woodlawn.

There was not much else I found for Henry Cheatham in Halifax County, but I did find other references to him in nearby Pittsylvania County. The Index to Court Orders-Defendants for Pittsylvania County, Virginia has Henry listed several times. Examining the microfilm of the original records, this court case was filed in 1802: John Spencer, plaintiff against William Barnett, John Barnett, Daniel Coleman, George Lumpkin Jr., Peyton Lumpkin and Benjamin Cheatham, father and next friend to Hall and Joseph Cheatham [emphasis added].  The suit was dismissed by order of the plaintiff.  In 1803, this court case was presented: Thomas Fearn [?] Jr., an infant under the age of 21 years who sues by Thomas Fearn [?] Sr. his father and next friend against Henry Cheatham (otherwise called Hall Cheatham) in trespass, assault and battery.  This suit abated by the death of the plaintiff).[Pittsylvania County, Virginia Plea Book 10, p. 252 and Plea Book 11, p. 507, microfilm of originals housed at the Virginia State Archives (VSA).  Emphasis added.]

Additionally, in 1813, Henry was a plaintiff in chancery against Richard Hart and Samuel M. Sovell/Sowell.[Pittsylvania County, Virginia Plea Book 15, p. 465 & 544 and Plea Book 16, p. 111, microfilm of originals, VSA.]

The most enlightening is the first two court cases which named his father as Benjamin and a brother Joseph.  It would appear that the two were underage in 1802, but Henry became of age by the time of the 1803 court case. I assume this meant he turned 21.

Henry was listed on Pittsylvania County's Index to Deeds-Grantor once (there was no listing for Henry in the Grantee index). On 1 July 1819 he mortgaged the following property to Alexander Carter of Halifax County because of his indebtedness to Bruce V. Hagood of Halifax for $45.38: one bay mare, one cow and calf, two feather beds and furniture, two bedsteads, two tables, two iron pots, two ovens, one skillet, two pewter dishes, one dozen pewter plates, two pewter casons, one spinning wheel, two pair cards, two pine chests, eight chairs and saddle and bridle. Carter was to sell the property to the highest bidder after the 1 July next and the residue was to go to Henry. This deed of trust was presented in court three times 2l September 1819, 20 March 1820, and again 22 March 1820.[Pittsylvania County, Virginia Deed Book 23, p. 146, microfilm of original, VSA.] 

Combining information from here and my other post on the Cheatham family (and my article from the VA-NC Piedmont Lineages), I have summarized the following: 

Henry "Hall" Cheatham born about 1782 to Benjamin Cheatham (and his wife Margaret Stoe/Stow) married Hannah --- before 1813 and had the following children:

(1) Elizabeth Cheatham, b. 1813; married Joseph Wyatt Chaffin 23 October 1837 Halifax Co, VA; died 8 October or November 1866.

(2) Martha R. Cheatham, b. 1815 (listed as age 35 in the 1850 federal census); married Elijah Moorefield by 1840; died before 1880. 

(3) Margaret S.[tow?] Cheatham b. ca. 1816; married Elisha B. Jeffress 14 October 1843 Halifax Co, VA; may have died before 1850.

(4) Possibly another daughter b. betw. 1820-1825 (1830 census for Hannah Cheatham)

(5) Possibly a son b. betw. 1810-1815 (1830 census)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sibling Saturday: Further Lessons In Intermarriage

One of my earliest introductions to some of my ancestors was through the Zetta Daniels letter (see this post here). In page 2 of the letter shown below, Zetta refers to common ancestors Wyatt Chaffin & Betsy Cheatam [sic]. As Zetta wrote, two Moorefield brothers married two Chaffin sisters and a third Chaffin sister married a Watts. Emily Jane Chaffin was my second great-grandmother and married George Richard “Dick” Watts (the notation of "Dad's grandmother" on this sheet is in my dad's hand). I will post a scan of that Watts family bible record on this blog soon.

The marriages of these Chaffin girls are recorded in Halifax County, Virginia (as is the marriage of their parents Joseph W. Chaffin and Elizabeth Cheatham in 1837). Intermarrying among the same families was quite common. One of my first contributions to the World Wide Web was an article about the lessons in intermarriage among the daughters of Nash Glidewell of Halifax County, Virginia which can be found by clicking here. The Moorefield/Chaffin sibling intermarriages were no exception.  There was actually another Moorefield/Chaffin marriage in the same family, that of the brother of the Chaffin sisters, William, who married a sister of the Moorefield brothers, Martha Susan.

Anyway, before we get further tangled up, what I learned about Betsy Cheatham indicates that there was in all likelihood additional intermarriage among these families. In the Watts family bible record, the death of Elizabeth Chaffin is recorded as November 8, 1866. It was the one clue I needed to obtain a certified copy of her death certificate from the state of Virginia. This certificate (shown below) states she died in October of 1866 and named her parents as Henry and Hannah. I spent a good amount of time searching for further information regarding Henry and Hannah and will detail that in a post in the future. I actually published an article on that in the August 1998 issue of the VA-NC Piedmont Lineages newsletter.

Certification of Death: Elizabeth Chaffin, line #61, Halifax Co, VA,
original record issued 17 October 1989, Division of Vital Records, Richmond, VA

Records on Cheathams in Halifax County are somewhat scarce. The only Cheatham census listing there was Hannah Cheatham in 1830. The household at that time consisted of one male 15-20, one female 5-10, one female 10-15, two females 15-20 and one female 40-50, 6 total.

As to who these persons in Hannah's household might have been, the eldest female is more than likely Hannah herself. Betsy would have been about seventeen years old, so would then be one of the females aged 15-20.  A Martha R. Cheatham was a witness to Betsy's marriage to Joseph Wyatt Chaffin; she was possibly a sister to Betsy and one of the females enumerated in Hannah's household.  A Margaret S. Cheatham married Elisha B. Jeffress in Halifax County, Virginia on 14 October 1843; she may also have been a sister.  A Robertson B. Cheatham was listed in the 1840 U. S. Census index on page 8 of the northern district of Halifax County, Virginia. I had speculated that he could have possibly been the male aged 15-20 in Hannah's household, but that has not been explored further and remains only speculation.

I posted a query back in 2002 on the old Genforum site under the Cheatham Family Forum asking about these possible children of Henry and Hannah Cheatham. About five years later, a gentleman by the name of Jerry Jeffress posted a reply saying “I am looking for information on my great, great grandfather Elisha Benjamin Jeffress born in 1816 specifically his father and mother. However, The information I have shows him marring Marget Gregory on 10 April 1850.” I am inclined to say that this may be one and the same Elisha B. Jeffress and that his first wife may have died if there was indeed a second marriage for him in 1850. The time period is correct.

As to Martha R. Cheatham, it appears that she was the wife of Elijah Moorefield. See this entry here under the Caswell County Family Tree in Rootsweb for further information on her witnessing the 1837 marriage as Elizabeth’s sister and stating that she was over 21 years old (placing her year of birth to at least 1816). This entry also explains the probable connection between Elijah and the other Moorefields. See this entry for further information regarding Elijah and Martha’s family.

So it would appear that more intermarriages took place among these families. I can’t even begin to consider drawing a diagram to put it in visual form; it’s too convoluted!  For the record, it must be noted that it is my belief that Martha Cheatham’s parentage is incorrectly listed in this Caswell County Family Tree. One of these days, I will tell you more about what I know about Henry and Hannah Cheatham but enough’s enough for one post.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Dash In Between: Ada's Story

Ada E. Flint Guthrie 1873-1946, Willoughby Cemetery, Great Valley, Cattaraugus Co, NY
photographed 10 August 2014 Megan M. Westfall

I am always doing research in one form or the other. I thought I would share information that provides data on the dash shown above between Ada's birth and death date. This was an interesting history romp around the internet chasing preliminary records on this family.

I started by looking for information on a George Abbott who buried an infant child at Peth in the area of Shin Hollow (town of Great Valley) in Cattaraugus County, New York on 6 February 1894 according to the Ellicottville Post newspaper. I used the website to find this newspaper item.

Census searches revealed that George was the son of Timothy and Jane (Nelson) Abbott of Great Valley and born in May of 1868. He was living with his parents during the census years of 1870, 1875 (New York did a state census for several years in between the federal census) and 1880. I also found George in the 1892 state census not yet married and living with his brother Frank who was married and had a family.

By 1900, George had himself been married for eight years and had a family of his own. He was married to a local girl named Ada and they had two sons, Bertram and Kenneth. This census records that Ada was the mother of four children, two living. We have the infant who was buried in February of 1894 and at least one other that must have died. (We will reserve further exploration of these children for another story.) George was an oil well laborer and the family was renting a home in Carrollton, part of the township of Great Valley.

It appears that the family had broken up by the year 1905 when 36-year-old George was listed as a boarder on State Street in Great Valley in the home of Albert Roff. Five-year-old Kenneth Abbott was living with his maternal grandparents, Irving and Ellen Flint, on Ellicottville Road in Great Valley. They were farmers and had two sons Forest age 18 and Devere age 13 as well as their 16-year-old daughter Vera still living with them and attending school. Kenneth was not going to school just yet. It would appear that there was no room for 10-year-old Bertram as he was found in the East Randolph Home for Friendless Children. Ada was not readily found in this state census.

Randolph Children's Home, left: new school building completed in 1904

In the year 1910, we find Ada and her son Bertrum [sic] living in Geneseo in Livingston County. Ada was a cook at a hotel owned by James Stanley on Main Street and Bertrum boarded there as well. Three doors down from the hotel was a widowed Irishwoman named Annie Delaney and her two sons, James, age 33 and Thomas age 29.  This Irish family had emigrated in 1882 and James was the proprietor of the livery stable in the town.

Erie Station in Geneseo, NY 1909
This census says Ada was 36 and married; but a year later, she was listed as a widow and married Thomas Delaney. It’s his first marriage, her second. He’s still living in Geneseo but her residence is listed as 131 So. Fitzhugh.

"New York, County Marriages, 1908-1935," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 Aug 2014), James J. Delaney and Ada E. Abbett, 04 Mar 1911; citing Vol 1 p 479, , New York, United States; FHL microfilm 831340.

She must have moved to Rochester as that is where the marriage took place and the address comes up in Rochester on Google. It was actually a well-to-do neighborhood that Ada found herself in as it is listed in Dau's 1910 Blue Book of Rochester Containing the Names of Prominent Residents. You can find the address listed in the book. It was the home of Eugene S. Bliven, a stock broker, and his wife according to the 1910 federal census. Perhaps Ada went to work for the family.

By 1920, young Bertram was listed in the Great Meadow Prison at Fort Ann Township in Washington Co, NY. Ada is back to using the Abbott surname in an apartment on Atkinson Street in Rochester. She has her son Kenneth living with her and in another apartment is her brother Devere Flint along with his wife and young son Neil. There is no sign of Thomas Delaney.

Ada must have decided to head back home for in 1922, she married an older widow named Almond Guthrie in the city of Salamanca. She was listed as a widow and said this was her second marriage, although technically it would have been her third.

"New York, County Marriages, 1908-1935," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 Aug 2014), Almond G Guthrie and Ada E Abbott, 14 Aug 1922; citing , Cattaraugus, New York, United States; FHL microfilm 0583819.

By 1925, Almond & Ada settled in the small community of Humphrey close to where she was born. At her death in September of 1946, she was buried in the nearby Willoughby Cemetery, where her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents also rest.

In April of 1921, Bertram married Lillian Robbins in the city of Rochester.

"New York, County Marriages, 1908-1935," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 Aug 2014), Bertram Geo Abbott and Lillian M Robbins, 14 Apr 1921; citing , Monroe, New York, United States; FHL microfilm 0831349.

They made their way to Brooklyn by 1930. His brother Kenneth was living with him and Lillian during the census that year. By 1940, he was 44 years old, divorced and one of two lodgers in the household of Rae Schneider, age 39 who was originally from Romania. She also had a 17-year-old daughter named Myrtle who was born in Massachusetts.

When he completed his draft registration card in 1942, Bertram must have married Rae as she had become Rae Abbott who was listed as his next of kin at the same address of 1087 Union Street in Brooklyn. He worked for the city of New York as a railroad clerk at Times Square.

"United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942", index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 Aug 2014), Bertram George Abbott, 1942.

According to his tombstone, Bertram George Abbott served in the United States Navy during the First World War from Kentucky. He also ended up at Willoughby Cemetery at his death in 1956.

Bertram G. Abbott 1895-1956, Willoughby Cemetery, Great Valley, Cattaraugus Co, NY
Photographed 10 August 2014 Megan M. Westfall
At this time, I have not been able to find out where George Abbott ended up.