Ancestral Lines of Altezara Jane Woodruff, c1820-before 1848, Hopkins County, KY

Altezara Jane Woodruff is one of my husband’s 3X great grandparents. I’ve known about her for quite a while, but haven’t worked at documenting her family tree for years.

It’s time to take another look at her family connections, which I’ve partly avoided because her father, Joseph Woodruff married a cousin, Mary Woodruff. That marriage tangled the branches a bit. However, her ancestral line is one that works its way back from Kentucky through the Carolinas and back to New Jersey.

The immigrant ancestor of this family was John Woodruff, who settled in Westfield, Union, New Jersey in the 1600s. Several generations later, descendants began their westward migration by first heading south to Surry County, North Carolina, then to Spartanburg County, South Carolina and finally settling in the Hopkins County, Kentucky area.

I suspect that this family had Tory/Loyalist tendencies during the American Revolution, as some of their FAN club, including the Hamby family with whom they traveled to Kentucky had been charged as such.

As for the name Altezara, it never quite caught on as a popular name. When I first came across it, I thought perhaps that someone made it up, but it apparently was thrust on a few babies in the 1820s. I have only seen her called Altezara in the papers of Leonardo Andrea of South Carolina. Her marriage record gives her name as Jane.

Altezara Jane Woodruff was born c1820, probably in Hopkins County, Kentucky. She married Hampton Brasher on 26 March 1840, but died sometime after the birth of her second son on 28 July 1842 and December 1847, when Hampton married Mahala Duncan as his second wife. Mahala Duncan was the daughter of William Duncan, who died between 1840-1850 in Hopkins County, Kentucky and Lucinda McEwin, who were from Tennessee. Hopkins County, Kentucky land deed 25:402 names Mahala as a daughter of William Duncan, deceased, and the 1916 death certificate of Mahala’s sister, Martha Vestine (Duncan) Lynn included Lucinda’s maiden name – McEwin.

The branches of this tree are already gnarled because Lucinda (McEwin) Duncan married Joseph Woodruff, father of Altezara Jane, so Joseph was the father-in-law by blood of Hampton Brasher and also the father-in-law by marriage of Hampton.

Hampton and Altezara were the parents of two sons:

1. Emsley Harrison, born 9 June 1841, Christian County, Kentucky; died 23 April 1886, Cumby, Hopkins, Texas; married (1) Mary Woosley Perkins, 11 July 1867, Cedar County, Missouri (2) Finette (Nettie) Sayles, 23 November 1882, Hopkins County, Texas
2. Joseph Addison, born 28 July 1842, Christian County, Kentucky; died 26 April 1912, Abilene, Taylor, Texas: married Permelia Jane Armstrong, 10 January 1867, Cedar County, Missouri.

Emsley and Joseph had a rough life growing up. Not only did they lose their mother at a very young age, but their father died during the Civil War and their stepmother died on 12 January 1867, leaving the two boys and their 9 half siblings as orphans.

My original information about the Woodruff family was obtained years ago from the papers of Leonardo Andrea, a prolific genealogists in South Carolina who amassed over a thousand folders of genealogical information on South Carolina families. Today, the file index is available online at The Andrea Files.

Joseph Woodruff was born c1791, South Carolina, likely in Spartanburg County; died between 1866, when he appears in the Hopkins County, Kentucky tax rolls and 1867, when Lucinda appears instead; married (1) Mary Woodruff (2) Lucinda McEwin, 20 April 1852, Hopkins County, Kentucky. Lucinda was the widow of William Duncan. Joseph was the son of Samuel Woodruff and Jennet Woodruff – yes, another cousin marriage.

Mary Woodruff was also born c1791, South Carolina, also probably in Spartanburg County and was the daughter of Samuel Woodruff who died in about 1844 in Hopkins County, Kentucky and Mary (allegedly) Dinsmore. Mary Woodruff died between the 1850 census and 20 April 1852, when Joseph remarried.

Joseph left no will and there was no probate of his estate. Sadly, I think he outlived almost all of his presumed children except for Emily, who only survived him by a few years. He and Mary likely married in South Carolina about 1810. The 1820 and 1830 censuses of Hopkins County, Kentucky give a good idea of when his children were born. Marriage records for Hopkins County are intact and, although there were other Woodruff cousins living together there, many do not appear to be children of Joseph and are assigned to others. By default, most of Joseph’s and Mary’s children can be identified with some degree of confidence.

Children, all married in Hopkins County, KY unless noted:

  1. Rhoda, born c1811; died before 1850; married James K. Herrin, 17 March 1830.
  2. Nancy, born c1813; died before 1850; married John S. Strange, 25 March 1834. Benjamin Strange was living with Nathaniel S. Woodruff’s family in 1850 and Joseph Woodruff became  administrator of the estate of John Strange between 1839 and 1840.
  3. Emily A., born 31 March 1815; died 7 September 1874; married Simpson Galloway, 22 August 1833.
  4. (Altezara) Jane, born c1818; died before December 1847; married Hampton Brasher, 26 March 1842
  5. Pinckney, born 10 April1827; died 3 July 1855; married Mary Camell, 24 January 1840, Gallatin County, Illinois. Hampton Brasher served as surety for his estate administration after Pinckney died in Hopkins County.
  6. Daughter, born 1821-1825; not at home in 1840; no further information
  7. Susannah, born c1823; died 1860-1870, probably Caldwell County, Kentucky; married (1) William Armstrong, 6 April 1843. He died 1853. (2) James Cook, 25 October 1855, Caldwell County, Kentucky.
  8. Nathaniel Samuel, born c1826; possibly the Samuel N. Woodruff who married Elizabeth Jane Campbell, 8 September 1847, Pope County, Illinois, as Nathaniel had wife Elizabeth and a 2 year old child at home in Hopkins County in 1850. Pope County is in the southern most portion of Illinois, one county away from Gallatin, where Pinckney married. Both border Kentucky. Neither Nathaniel, Elizabeth or baby Sarah E. have been found after 1850.
  9. Son, born c1828; at home in 1840, but no further information

The 1840 census includes a female, born 1811-1820, two females born 1831-1835, one male born 1831-1835, one female born 1836-1840 and one male, born 1836-1840. Based on Mary’s 1791 birth year, the other adult female is may be Rhoda Herrin, as James Herrin isn’t found in the census, along with her possible five children.

My husband’s line of descent:

1. Joseph Woodruff = Mary Woodruff
2. (Altezara) Jane Woodruff = Hampton Brasher
3. Emsley Harrison Brasher = Mary Woosley Perkins
4. Joseph Henry Brasher = Minnie Mae Williams
5. Pearl Lillian Brasher = Earl Marcus Stufflebean
6. Edward Earl Stufflebean = Ruby Jewel Sturgell
7. David Lee Stufflebean

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