Who Were The Grandmothers of Rhoda Walters Woosley, c1792-Before 1838?

Rhoda Walters Woosley was the 4x great grandmother of my husband, Dave. She was born about 1792, likely in Virginia. Rhoda married John Perkins on 10 October 1808 in Halifax County, Virginia.  She may have died giving birth to their 8th child, a daughter, Louisa, born about 1837.

Rhoda was the daughter of Revolutionary War soldier and pensioner, Moses Woosley and his wife, Elizabeth Butler. Thanks to a lawsuit filed by Moses’s heirs, his children and some of the grandchildren are well documented. Both Rhoda and husband John were deceased at the time of this lawsuit in 1844.

Moses Woosley’s ancestry has been the subject of a lot of speculation, but it seems quite certain that he was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Woosley, who lived in Halifax County, Virginia. No marriage record has been found for Thomas and Elizabeth, although they likely married about 1752.

Moses’ wife, also Elizabeth, was the daughter of William and Rhoda Butler. No marriage record has been found for them, either, although they likely married in the late 1750’s.

It also appears that the Woosleys were living in Albemarle County, Virginia during the years in which their children were born and the Butlers were living in Amelia County, Virginia. If the families lived near county lines, at the closest point to each other, there would only be the newly formed (1749) narrow Cumberland County separating them.

I have not come across very many people who have done original research on this family, but I have seen many errors relating to the Woosley and Butler families regurgitated through many decades, starting way before the internet age.


Rhoda is not a common given name, especially for the mid-to-late 1700’s, and Walters is a common surname. Genealogical lore has stated that Rhoda was named for her “grandmother,” but which one or was she named for each?

Moses and Elizabeth Butler Woosley had eight children and they gave most of their children middle names, although only initials are known for some of them:

Moses Martin Woosley
Rhoda Walters Woosley
Sally B. Woosley
Holman H. Woosley
Elizabeth Woosley
Samuel S. Woosley
Nancy Woosley
James T. Woosley

Some have said that Rhoda’s maternal grandmother was Rhoda Walters. Others have said that She was named for each grandmother and that her paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Walters.

Since nothing is known about the Woosley or Butler forebears, for certain, beyond the parents of Moses and Elizabeth, it is not known if “Martin” or even “Holman” were surnames of close family  members.

There are some Amelia County transcribed personal property tax lists online for the 1760’s. William Butler is found on them, but there are no Walters at all. However, that doesn’t by any means prove a thing about who Rhoda was named for.

I would love to hear from anyone who has any kind of documentation for Thomas and Elizabeth Woosley or William and Rhoda Butler.

In the meantime, I have added this mystery to my ever-growing “to do” list in Salt Lake City in February. Probate, tax lists and land deeds might help to provide some documentation.




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