Category Archives: Cumberland Co KY

Down a Rabbit Hole with Richard Williams, in Cumberland Co., KY by 1810

First, I have to admit this this family sketch is due to a BSO (bright shiny object) appearing in my path. That BSO was finding the statement that James Dulworth of Cumberland County, Kentucky married Ibby Williams, daughter of Richard Williams and Elizabeth Spear, also of Cumberland County.

James Dulworth is my husband’s 3X great grandfather. Ibby Williams was James’s second wife and had no children with him. That didn’t stop me from wanting to know more about Ibby, her parents and siblings.

I was also challenged by the fact that there is scant information online about the life of Richard Williams, even though he lived well into his 80s and stayed in once place for over half a century.

Therefore, I’ve begun a family sketch of Richard Williams, albeit one with some gaping holes. At least it is a start and perhaps other descendants will find this and be able to add to his life story.

Richard Williams was born c1780, probably in Virginia. In 1850, then census taker recorded “Unknown” for his birthplace, but in 1860, “Virginia” was the answer to the question.

Richard married at least twice, and possibly three times, during his long life. He settled early in Cumberland County, Kentucky, as he appears there in the 1810 census. However, he is not on the 1805 or 1806 county tax rolls.

Whether he married in Virginia or Kentucky is not known. If Maryanne Spear was his first wife, then it is more likely that he married in Cumberland County, c1808.

Both Richard Williams and the Spear clan arrived in Cumberland County, Kentucky after the 1805 tax list and before the 1810 census. In 1810, if you count, in one direction, 20 houses away from Richard and Joseph Williams, the neighbors include 5 Spear families. However, it isn’t likely that they arrived together as the Spears came from Maryland via Surry County, North Carolina.

With Richard and Joseph Williams living next door to each other, it is likely that they were brothers. However, Joseph didn’t live to make it into the 1850 census. His age range in 1810 places his birth year between 1766-1784. I believe he was a younger brother of Richard, probably born c1782, as the eldest female at home was born between 1784-1794 and there was one female under the age of 10. I’d say Joseph married within about a year of Richard’s marriage.

Richard Williams appears in every census in Cumberland County from 1810 through 1860, when he was 80 years old. From those records, it is possible to construct an outline of his likely and identified children.

Possible Children of Richard Williams:

  1. Miles, born c1807; died between 17 February 1861, when he wrote his will, and 11 October 1861, when it was proved, Cumberland County, Kentucky; married Barbara (probably) Watson, c1817. Mary Watson, 77, lived with the family in 1870, likely Barbara’s mother. Miles named five children in his will: James W., Richard N., Polly Smith (wife of Gentry Smith, in Overton County, Tennessee in 1860), Rachel Davis (wife of James Davis, in Overton County, Tennessee in 1860) and Eunice Willis (wife of Charles Willis, in Overton County, Tennessee in 1860.)
  2. Male, born c1809
  3. Nathaniel, born c1811; died after 1880; married Mary (MNU).
  4. Female, born c1813
  5. Male, born c1815
  6. Female, born 1821-1825
  7. Female, born 1826-1830
  8. Male, born 1826-1830
  9. Male, born 1826-1830
  10. John, born c1829; died after 1850; unmarried and at home at that time.
  11. Male, born c1834
  12. Male, born c1836
  13. Isabella (Ibby), born c1838; died 1880-1900; married James Dulworth, c1879, probably Cumberland County, Kentucky; no children.
  14. Jane, born c1839; died after 1870 when she was Jane Johnston (probably Johnson), back at home with her mother and 10 year old daughter, Elizabeth; married Mr. Johnson.
  15. Alexander, born c1840; died 18 March 1863, Civil War.
  16. Mathew, born c1842; lived with his uncle Miles’ family in 1850; died 10 February 1864, Civil War.
  17. Sarah (Sally), born 1843; died after 1880, when she was at home with her widowed mother; unmarried.
  18. Henry, born c1845; died 1913, Cumberland County, Kentucky; married Nancy Camenton Sharp, c1868; no children
  19. Malinda, born c1847; died 1880-1889; married Burly Rutledge, c1868.
  20. Spicy, born c1849; died after 1870
  21. Barbara N., born May 1854; died 1923, Collin County, Texas; married John Milton Rutledge, 14 September 1873, Clay County, Tennessee.
  22. Highly, born c1855/57; died 27 November 1946, Lamar County, Texas; married Thomas S. Roach, 31 August 1873, Clay County, Tennessee.

Notice there is a gap in births between child #5 and #6 and also between #10 John and #11.

Because of those gaps, I am unsure whether Maryanne Spear was Richard’s first wife and they lost a couple of children between 1815 and 1821, which is certainly possible, or if Richard had a first wife who died in that time span and he married Maryanne as his second wife.

Given the time span of children’s births, there must have been at least two and possibly even three wives, each younger than the last, unless the younger set of children were grandchildren.

Richard bought and sold a number of tracts of land in his lifetime. Unfortunately, the earliest Cumberland County deeds don’t include a wife releasing dower rights. However, on 28 August 1834, Richard Williams sold land to William Anderson (Deed Book H:273) and Maryanne Williams was examined separately from her husband and agreed to the sale.

Maryanne is said to be Maryanne Spear. Who are her parents? No idea. However, she was alive as of 28 August 1834, so Richard married Elizabeth Spear between that day and c1838, when Isabelle (Ibby) was born, as her mother is named as Elizabeth Spear Williams.

There is one other interesting detail in the census records. In 1830, there was a female 70-79, so born 1751-1760, and a female 60-69, so born 1761-1770, living in the Richard Williams home. I wonder if they were widowed mothers of Richard and his wife?

Richard Williams died after 7 February 1866, when he and Elizabeth sold land (Deed Book R:133). Elizabeth (Spear) Williams died between 1880 and 1900, as she hasn’t been found in any records after the 1880 census of Cumberland County, Kentucky.

If you have any extraneous Williams people from Cumberland County in this time period who are not part of the Sherrod and Hardin Williams group that also settled there, they might be part of Richard’s unknown children. I’d love to hear from you.



Adams of TN & KY: Further Ponderings

It isn’t yet quite time to close the book on the Daniel & Jenny Adams family research. I do have to admit, though, that I get a headache every time I try to make sense of all the details I have uncovered.

Jane, Frances and Elizabeth Adams had remained hidden in the 1860 census records for the longest time. I was sure I would have many more family answers if I could just find them!

1860 Census, Overton County, TN
Source: FamilySearch

Now that they have been found living in Overton County, Tennessee, more questions have been created than answers found. My working theory about the mother of Mary Jane Adams, who married Abraham Dulworth, was that she was likely the daughter of Frances or Elizabeth Adams.

However, the 1860 census is pictured here and Mary Jane was born c1851-54. Rashis Chatwin Adams had his sister, Jane, living with him, his wife and infant son in 1880 in Clay County, Tennessee.

1870 Census, Cumberland County, KY
Source: FamilySearch

When comparing the 1870 household to the 1860 family configuration, there are two GLARING omissions in 1860. If Rashis is the brother of Mary Jane and either Frances or Elizabeth is the mother of each, WHERE ARE JANE AND RASHIS IN 1860? Well, nowhere to be found in that home.

Also, given the odd happenings in this family anyway, even though Rashis, in 1880, is listed as the brother of Jane, I don’t know if they were full siblings, half siblings or just told they were siblings when growing up.

I’ve commented on the unusual family configuration of this group in 1870, mentioning that 14 year old Rashis was the only one who had a job.

Rashis Chatwin Adams remained in Cumberland County, Kentucky after he married. If born c1856, he should turn up somewhere in 1860 and likely living in the same Kentucky-Tennessee state line area where the Adams, Dulworths and many other collateral families lived. However, I haven’t found any trace of him whatsoever before the 1870 census; I’ve searched with wild cards and read several counties page by page. He just isn’t there.

Rashis lived a long life, passing away in his 80s in 1941 in Cumberland County. His death certificate says both parents are unknown. An exact date of birth – 23 January 1859 – is given.

What do the census records tell us about Rashis? Sometimes he was Rashis or Rash, but he also went by Chatwin. When and where was he born? Well, the 1870 census stands out as an anomaly, when he was enumerated as 14 years old.

I am assuming that Rashis was not the person who spoke to the 1870 census taker since he was  a farm laborer and probably off at work when the guy knocked on the door. Therefore, someone else would have given his age. We’ve seen how well age reporting went with other members in this family – ages jump all over the place.

What about later census records? From 1880 onward, Rashis’s age remains remarkably stable:

1870, born 1856, TN
1880, born 1860, TN
1900, born January 1860, TN
1910, born 1860, KY
1920, born 1861, TN
1930, born 1867, KY
1940, born 1860, TN

Gravestone – 23 January 1859

The 1930 census stands out, too, but makes him about 7 years younger than most of the other censuses. If we focus on the remaining census years, it appears that Rashis might have been born about 1860. Although January is given as his birth month, he might not have know exactly when he was born and the 23 January date might be a date he chose. June 1 was the official census date in 1860. What if Rashis wasn’t born until after that day and the census taker followed instructions and omitted him from the family record?

If so, little Rashis was only ten when he was sent off to work on neighboring farms! However, it might explain not being able to find him on the 1860 census.

So who might his parents be? I can’t answer that yet, but I need to revisit James and M.J. Adams and Noah and Sarah Adams, who lived in Jackson County, Tennessee in 1850 and 1860.

An extremely important fact to note here is that Clay County, Tennessee was set off from a part of Jackson County in 1870.

I started looking at Rashis Adams’ FAN club.

In 1880, he lived in Clay County, Tennessee and was living in House #17 in District 10. Besides his own family, there was just one other Adams family living in District 10 – Sarah Adams, 45, with son James, 17 and daughter Joanna, 15, living with her. Who is Sarah? she’s the widow of Noah Adams!

Was it simply a coincidence that Sarah lived in House #9, only 8 doors away from Rashis Adams?

A few more doors away, in House #32 were Joseph and Sarah (Adams) Brewington. In 1870, Joe and Sarah Brewington lived next door to Jennie, Frances, Elizabeth, Jane, Rashis, Brilina and Sarah Adams, along with Matilda Dulworth.

Sarah Brewington was the daughter of Jennie Adams and her deceased husband, Daniel.

Also in the same neighborhood were several of Jennie Adams’ grandchildren, so many of these people were close kin. The family relationships cross each other time after time.

Proof is still lacking showing a familial tie between James Adams,  Noah Adams and Daniel Adams, but I am beginning to think they might have all been brothers.

When I discussed James and Noah Adams last week, I specifically mentioned that James and M.J. Adams had a female at home in1860 – M.J. – who was 9 years old. This M.J. is the ONLY Mary Jane Adams I can find living anywhere near where the Dulworths lived and her age is an excellent fit with Jane Dulworth’s reported age.

1860 Census, Jackson County, TN
Source: FamilySearch

Given that Mary Jane was not in Jennie Adams’ home in 1860, and both James and Noah had died by 1870, could Jennie have taken in her (possible) niece? It is certainly possible.

My work here definitely isn’t done, but leaving no stone unturned might not take very long because these people didn’t seem to own land AND courthouse fires destroyed a number of documents.

In past research, when I’ve proven what I call “weird” family structures, it was due to unusual family circumstances, which may be what I’ve found here.


New Look at the Adams Family of Cumberland County, KY

I’m not sure why I keep returning to the Adams clan of Cumberland County, Kentucky, as it seems to be an unsolvable brick wall. But I do!

The main character in this mystery is Mary Jane Adams, who married Abraham Dulworth in Clay County, Tennessee on 1 February 1883.

There are several problems:

  1. This family was illiterate and might not have known exactly when any one of them was born.
  2. Marriage happened when they got around to it.
  3. They moved frequently from Cumberland County, Kentucky across the Tennessee border into Jackson, Clay, Overton and Fentress Counties.
  4. They are sometimes missing from records where they should be found.

To begin at the beginning, Mary Jane Adams was born in Tennessee between 1850 and 1857. Every record she is in has a different birth year. However, the earlier and later records seem to hover around 1850/51.

The Dulworth family presents its own challenges. For now, suffice it to say that even though Abe and Jane were the parents of five children by 1880, they aren’t found as a family until 1900.

In spite of that, their marriage record and death certificates of their children identify her as Mary Jane/Jane Adams.

Since I haven’t gotten very far with direct line research, I am expanding my efforts to find some FAN club members.

In 1880, Mary Jane, or Jane as she was called that year, was living with her brother Rashis, his wife Nancy, and their infant son, William. Rashis died in 1941. Although he has a death certificate on file, both parents’ names are listed as “unknown.”

The 1870 census is one of the more unusual records I’ve ever come across.

Source: FamilySearch

Adams, Jennie, 80, born SC
Adams, Francis, 45, born TN
Adams, Elizabeth, 40, born TN
Adams, Jane, 18, born TN
Adams, Race (Rashis), 14, born TN
Adams Brilina (Perlina?), 10, born TN
Adams, Sarah, 4, born TN
Adams (sic), Matilda, 1, born TN

  1. Notice that NO ONE in this household has an occupation except for 14 year old Rashis, working as a farm hand.
  2. Notice, too, that Jennie appears to have no real or personal estate of any worth. I don’t know if that is an oversight by the enumerator, but I haven’t found any land transactions pertaining to this family.
  3. Matilda is actually Matilda Jane Dulworth, eldest child of Abe Dulworth and Jane Adams.
  4. Mary Jane, or Jane, is 18 years old in this enumeration, so born c1852.

The next obvious step would be to jump back a decade to 1860. However, this family makes nothing easy. If anything can be said with certainty about the 1870 Adams clan, it is that they are a blended family. I wonder if some of the surnames were incorrectly recorded in 1870? Could Frances or Elizabeth have been married, but widowed? In other words, perhaps these ladies were not an Adams by birth? Or were they Adams, married to unknown men, and both widowed and living back with an extended family?

There are a lot of questions I can’t answer. The married/widowed scenario, though, could help explain why I can’t find them in 1860.

The 1860 censuses have me mainly grasping for straws. I haven’t come up with much.

Let’s begin with Cumberland County, Kentucky, since the family was living there in 1870. There are two Adams families enumerated, although they lived in different districts.

Cumberland County, Kentucky 1860
Source: FamilySearch

Adams, James, 59, born SC
Adams, M.J., 47, born VA
Adams, Elizabeth, 14, born KY
Adams, M.J., 9, born KY
Haly, Geo. F., 9, born TN
Adams, M.K. 8, (female), born KY
Adams, Jas. Jr., 22, born TN

Is M.J., the female head, our Jennie Adams living there in 1870? I don’t know. James was reportedly born in South Carolina and close in age to the 1870 Jennie, whose place of birth was given as South Carolina? PERHAPS. Next, we have M.J., aged 9, and born in Kentucky. Is she the same person as 18 year old Jane Adams, at home in 1870? PERHAPS.

Who is George F. Hal(e)y? I don’t know. Nor do I know the identity of 8 year old M.K. I can’t find anyone in 1870 who might be these two children.

Also in 1860 in Cumberland County, we have Noah Adams and family. Noah resided in Cumberland County as early as 1830, but isn’t found in the 1860 census. However, he IS on the Cumberland County tax rolls in 1860, 1861 and 1862.

We can pick up his census trail in 1850, although the household configuration is odd. What else would I expect?

1850 Census
Source: FamilySearch

Next door households in Cumberland County include:

Williams, Ellen, 29, born VA
Adams, Noah, 45, born KY
Young, John, 13, born KY

Williams, Judy, 52, born VA
Huff, Nancy, 18, born KY
Huff, Nathan, 22, born TN

Tracing Noah Adams is a bit problematic. He apparently married Sallie Cash, about 1850. The family can’t be located in 1860. By 1870, Noah and family are living in Overton County, Tennessee. However, as with most of the other Adams details, either the census taker or the family members got a few things wrong – like most of their ages.

Noah is enumerated as 60 years old. Sallie is listed as 25 (!! and as far as I can tell she was born c1834, so she was actually about 35). Children are John, 20, Edward 15, Richard, 10, James, 3, Savina, 1. Noah died in October 1879 in Clay County, Tennessee of a lung hemorrhage and is in the 1880 mortality schedule. Sarah, aged 45, was at home with their two youngest children – James, 17, and Joanna (Savina), 15, in District 10. Sarah’s likely younger brother, John, lived next door with his own family.

By the way, when Sarah died in June 1928, the family claimed she was 108 years old! Not even close – she was about 93 years old.

Many online sites show Noah to be related to the Bryan and Daniel Boone families, but that Noah appears to be a different man. I’ve not been able to determine if or how Noah and James Adams were related, but they lived in all the same places and I tend to think they were brothers.

However, none of this is helping at all with my efforts to untangle and identify Mary Jane Adams Dulworth’s family.

Also in 1850, we find James Adams in Cumberland County:

1850 Census
Source: FamilySearch

Adams, James, 52, born SC
Adams, R., 42, born TN
Adams, Polly, 18, born TN
Adams, James, 13, born TN
Adams, John, 8, born TN
Adams, E. (female), 7, born TN
Huff, Jessee, 22, born TN
Huff, E., 16, born TN

Two details are evident when comparing the 1850 and 1860 James Adams families. Although his age varies a bit, these two Jameses appear to be the same person. James Jr. is in both household, as is Elizabeth, again with a slight age variation.

However, the 1850 female head (probably James’s wife) was R. Adams, 42, born in Tennessee, but in 1860, was M.J., 47, born in VA.

Another detail has jumped out at me. Both James Adams’ 1850 home had two Huff young men living with them AND Judy Williams, who lived next door to Noah Adams likewise had two Huffs in her home.

A bit of sleuthing has found that Judy Williams was born Judith Carver. She married Eli Williams on 19 June 1820 in Albemarle County, Virginia. He died before 1840, when Judith appears as head of household in that census.

They had four children: Sarah Ellen (who is the Ellen residing with Noah Adams in 1850), Alanson (who lived in Clinton County, Kentucky), Elizabeth and Nancy, who married Nathan Huff on 3 January 1850.

Nathan Huff and Nancy had one daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, born 1851, but divorced in June 1854. Nancy died in 1855 and her daughter Elizabeth lived with her grandmother in 1860.

What became of Nathan Huff is not known, nor are the origins of Jessee and E. Huff. Clues point to the possibility of all four Huff children (Nancy, Nathan, Jesse and E.) being sons of Leonard Huff of Jackson County, Tennessee.

Jackson County is a parent county of Clay County, which was set off in 1870. However, it’s a burned county. Also, online information about the Huff family is a hot mess, and I haven’t found any family connections between the Carver/Williams family or James Adams’ family.

Back to the 1870 Adams clan – where are Rashis Chatwin and Brilina (Perlina?) or Frances and Elizabeth, who would have been 35 and 30, respectively, ten years before?

I have absolutely ZERO possibilities for any of them in 1860.

And in 1880? I can account only for Rashis and Jane, who married Abraham Dulworth.

To top off all of this, my husband’s line from Abe and Mary Jane (Adams) Dulworth is strictly maternal. Dave’s taken an mtDNA test and . . . . . there are no matches anywhere close to him.

What do you think about these new puzzle pieces? Do they fit my puzzle or do they belong elsewhere?

To be honest, I am doubting whether or not any of these Adams have any ties to Jennie Adams and her odd family formation, other than they have the same (common) surname and they happen to be living in the same place.

Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day. Let’s see what it brings as I trudge on.