John Perkins & Rhoda Walters Woosley of VA and MO

While reviewing my husband’s family tree, I realized that I had quite a bit of Perkins information, gathered from the research of cousin Eugene, with whom I corresponded for several years, but who passed away quite some time ago. Eugene shared multiple generations of Perkins and Purkins ancestors – at least he shared names, dates and places, but no sources.

In the intervening years, I’ve delved into the Perkins line myself, searching out proof of Eugene’s research. For the most part, I’ve verified his information with documents. However, I’ve only dug back as far as John Perkins and wife, Rhoda, subjects of today’s post.

Therefore, my next few posts will cover the earlier Perkins, or Purkins as they sometimes appear,  generations back through several Henrys.

John Perkins was born c1787, the son of Henry Perkins and Mary Ransone, of Halifax County, Virginia. John married Rhoda Walters Woosley, daughter of Moses Woosley and Elizabeth Butler, also of Halifax County. Moses Woosley was a Revolutionary War veteran.

Halifax County, Virginia is one of the better counties in which to research because its records are fairly complete, going back almost to the time it was formed in 1752.

Unlike many of Dave’s Virginia ancestors, there is a marriage record for John Perkins and Rhoda Walters Woosley on 10 October 1808 in Halifax County.

Unfortunately, John Perkins kept his family on the move and hasn’t been identified in a single U.S. census. First, the Virginia censuses are lost until 1830 and the family might have headed westward by that time.

Cousin Eugene stated that John Perkins was a trader by occupation and lived close to the frontier. That certainly doesn’t help pin him down either.

However, Eugene did say that John died in 1844 in Missouri and I was able to find his probate administration in Dade County, which began on 1 January 1845. My husband’s ancestor, Samuel Henry Perkins, was his father’s estate administrator.

It is likely that the Perkins clan left Virginia first for Kentucky and then Missouri. Rhoda predeceased her husband, John, and is said to have died around 1838 (per cousin Eugene), but I haven’t found any documentation for that date. It seems reasonable to believe, but no proof has been uncovered yet.

John Perkins’ estate settlement helps identify his children:

Dade County, MO Probate Book 1:251
Source: FamilySearch

The fact that John’s daughter, Elizabeth, married Colden Ladd before her father’s death, helps piece together more of this family.


1. Moses Woosley, born c1818, probably Halifax County, Virginia; died after 1880, probably Caseyville, Union County, Kentucky; married Nancy Barker, 4 March 1841, Polk County, Missouri

2. Elizabeth Ann, born c1811, Virginia; died after 1880; married (1) Colden Ladd, 17 August 1839, Christian County, Kentucky. Colden Ladd is listed in the 1850 mortality schedule of Greene County, Illinois as having died in September 1849 of “congestion fever.” (2) Reason R. Nichols, 14 July 1853, Greene County, Illinois

3. Elijah Seaton, born c1814, Virginia; died before 15 June 1859, Cedar County, Missouri; said to have married (1) Caroline Mary Hamby, who died before 1850 (2) Martha M. Besley, 3 Octer 1853, Cedar County, Missouri. Elijah was enumerated as Seaton Purkins. living next door to his brothers Samuel and Constant. He was a mechanic, living alone, at that time.

4. Constantine Haslin, born c1816, Virginia; died 16 July 1863, Ray County, Missouri; married Parthena Ball, 16 June 1839, Polk County, Missouri

5. Samuel Henry, born c1820, Virginia; died 28 December 1905, Cedar County, Missouri; married Martha Hamby, 24 April 1841, Cedar County, Missouri

6. John Ransone, born c1826, Virginia; died March 1870, Union County, Kentucky; married Minerva Love, 23 January 1846, Cedar County, Missouri. John is in the 1870 mortality index with his death listed as  congestive chills and intermittent fever.

7. Louisa Marion, born c1837, probably Christian County, Kentucky as there is a John Perkins on the tax list there with one Constant Perkins right below him; died after the 1850 census, when she lived in Greene County, Illinois with her sister. No marriage record has been found for her either in Illinois or Missouri. There is a Louisa Johnson living in Greene County in 1860 in the household of Mary Johnson. Mary is 55, born Virginia. Also at home are Joseph, 21, born Illinois, Louisa, 23 (so born 1837), Kentucky, and Thomas, 17, born Illinois.  However, I can’t find the Johnson family in 1850 or Louisa in 1870.

8. ?George H. – family lore states that John and Rhoda had a son George H. Since John Perkins hasn’t been identified in any census records, I haven’t been able to verify the birth of this child. If he did exist, he predeceased his father.

Next, we will move back a generation to the proposed parents of John Perkins, Henry Perkins and Mary Ransone.




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