One More Woodruff Puzzle: Nathaniel Woodruff of Spartanburg County, SC, 1790

Here is my next Woodruff puzzle, which seems to have a few missing pieces.

Samuel Woodruff who died c1835 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina is said to be the son of a Nathaniel Woodruff. It is certainly possible, although Samuel Woodruff isn’t found in any census record in 1790.

There are three Woodruffs enumerated in Spartanburg County, South Carolina in 1790:

Nathaniel Woodrough is head of a household of just two people, himself and likely his wife, both over 45 years old.

Joseph Woodrough is likely the man who left a will in 1817.

I haven’t traced Thomas, but he is still in Spartanburg County in 1800 and is over 45, so born no later than 1765. He could easily be a son of Nathaniel, although Joseph Woodruff named not only a son named Thomas, but also appointed one Nathaniel Woodruff, son of Thomas Woodruff, as one of his executors.

This family definitely liked sharing the same given names among various branches of the family, which isn’t helping matters.

In 1800, there is still one Nathaniel Woodruff enumerated in Spartanburg County and he is over 45, so born no later than 1755:

I’d say that this is not the same man as the Nathaniel in 1790, given that there is a male under ten, a male 10-15 and three males 16-25, unless these are grandchildren of a deceased child and/or farm help.

Here is the puzzle – Samuel Woodruff who died in 1835 is SAID to be (totally unproven) the son of one Nathaniel Woodruff, born c1744,  who married a Susannah (MNU). This Nathaniel reportedly died in 1771 in Spartanburg County, which isn’t possible because it didn’t exist at the time. At that time, Spartanburg was part of the old Ninety-Six District. Those records are housed in Abbeville County, South Carolina. (Note to myself – Read that book next time I am in the FHL.)

Further, it is SAID that Nathaniel Woodrough of Spartnaburg in 1790 died there in 1795. Not only can’t I find any probate record – the Woodruff family was one that left MANY wills – but I can’t find a single land deed for Nathaniel Woodruff either.

Spartanburg County has no early extant tax records, either.

If he was a tradesman, or a longhunter, that wouldn’t be unusual, but it makes piecing together a family for him quite impossible.

The alleged children of Nathaniel are:

1. Nathaniel (1744-1771) who married Susannah (MNU)
2. Thomas (1746-1829) who married Eunice (MNU) and died in Caldwell County, North Carolina
3. Joseph (1751-1817), the Spartanburg testator
4. John (1756-1818), reportedly died in Spartanburg County
5. Samuel (1763-1835/6), the Spartanburg testator

This might be totally accurate, but I can’t find a shred of evidence to support any of Nathaniel’s children, except for Joseph and Thomas in the 1790 census being possibilities.

Has anyone worked on this family and been able to prove anything???


2 thoughts on “One More Woodruff Puzzle: Nathaniel Woodruff of Spartanburg County, SC, 1790”

  1. A cousin of mine, said years ago like 30-40, that when he went to Spartanburg, SC that he did find that will for Nathaniel, but has since gone back and it is no longer there. He suspects that someone just “borrowed” it.

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