Tag 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.



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.



More on the Adamses in Cumberland County, KY and a Look into Tennessee

Yesterday, I more or less reviewed past research into the ancestral family of Mary Jane Adams, who married Abraham Dulworth in 1883 in Clay County, Tennessee, although the family had many ties to Cumberland County, Kentucky as well.

Although I didn’t specifically identify all of the resources I’ve checked looking for more information about this Adams group, I pretty well exhausted Cumberland County and Clay County, which are both limited in their offerings.

Since yesterday, I did look a bit more into Sarah Adams who married James Dulworth in 1876. She is identified (with no documentation) as the daughter of Noah Adams. More on Noah in a bit, as I have come across that name before.

First, I decided I needed a new strategy to have any chance of cracking through this brick wall, or even getting it to crumble a bit.

This was a long shot, but I decided to look for any Adams people living in Tennessee, but born in South Carolina who showed up in the 1850 census. That is because IF James Adams in Cumberland County, Kentucky is related to Mary Jane Adams (father, grandfather or ???), the James Adams Jr. in his 1860 household was born in Tennessee, if the info is correct.

One loose end to tie up, though, is that James Adams appears in Cumberland County in the 1850 census, too, but is not there in 1840. Take a look and see if you agree that nothing is clarified!

James Adams, 1850 Census of Cumberland County, KY
Source: Ancestry

Adams, James, 52 (born c1798), South Carolina
Adams, R. 42 (female born c1808), Tennessee
Adams, Polly, 18 (born c1832), Tennessee
Adams, James, 13 (born c1837), Tennessee
Adams, John, 8 (born c1842), Tennessee
Adams, E. 7, (born c1843), Tennessee
Huff, Jesse, 22 (born c1828), Tennessee
Huff, E. (male born c1834), Tennessee

Next, I searched for any Adams living in Tennessee in 1850 who was born in South Carolina. There were only a handful of possibilities, but one caught my eye:

Daniel Adams, 1850 Macon County, Tennessee Census
Source: Ancestry

Daniel Adams is living with Polly Adams, likely his wife, but she is nine years younger, born in Virginia, and could possibly be a second wife.

Remember the map from yesterday:

Kentucky-Tennessee Border
Source: Google Maps

That area to the west of Clay County, Tennessee is Macon County! Not only that, but look again at the 1850 census above for James Adams. Jesse and E. Huff, both born in Tennessee are living in the home.

Remember, too, James Adams’ 1860 household:

Adams, James, 58, born SC
Adams, M.J., 47, born VA (born 1813)
Adams, Elizabeth, 14, born KY (born 1846)
Adams, M.J., 9, born KY (born 1851)
Haley, George F., 9, born TN
Adams, M.K., 8, born KY (born 1852)
Adams, Jas. Jr., 22, born TN

There is nine year old George Haley, born about 1851, also in Tennessee.

I’ve never done any work in Macon County, which was formed in 1842 from parts of Smith and Sumner Counties, Tennessee, so I checked the FamilySearch wiki to see what treasures might be accessible AND MY HEART SANK!

Source: FamilySearch

Macon County lost most of its records in courthouse fires. No land, no probate, no tax, no marriage records. There are some Chancery Court records from 1844 onward, but they are not indexed. UGH!

On the positive side, there are both Haleys and Huffs living in Macon County (Haley) in 1850 and in Smith County (Huff) in 1830 near the times when George Haley and Jesse Huff would have been born.

I also checked into Smith and Sumner Counties, looking for Daniel Adams in 1830. He apparently lived in the portion of Smith County that was given over to form Macon, as he is in both the 1830 and 1840 censuses in Smith:

1830 Census of Smith County
Source: Ancestry

Daniel Adams was also in Smith County in 1820:

1820 Census of Smith County
Source: Ancestry

The 1800 and 1810 censuses for Smith County are lost. However, there is a Daniel Adams in Pendleton District, South Carolina in 1800 that might be my man.

Next, I checked the FamilySearch wiki once again looking for treasures in Smith County:

FamilySearch Wiki

Unfortunately, the marriage records before 1838 are lost, but there are court, land and probate records available.

There was also an extant tax list for Smith County in 1837:

Daniel Adams, 1837 Tax List in Smith County, TN
Source: FamilySearch

Notice there is a Mathew Adams just above Daniel. Also, remember I mentioned Noah Adams earlier? Well, while looking at Cumberland County, Kentucky tax lists, James Adams was listed in 1860, but then gone. In 1861, Noah Adams was the only Adams found there.

Last question for now is where was James Adams living in 1840? Well, I’m not sure. He wasn’t in Cumberland County, Kentucky or any other nearby Kentucky counties. There is one James Adams living in Robertson County, Tennessee, which borders Sumner which borders Smith County. If he isn’t “my” James Adams, then I have no idea where James was in 1840.

Right now, this is all a house of cards that might fall down at any moment. Please leave a comment – do you think I might be on the right track?

Even if I am, I am afraid with all the burned records, particularly marriages, this might be an indestructible brick wall.

What is even more annoying is that Mary Jane Adams, mother of Matilda Jane Adams, aka Matilda Jane Dulworth, is my husband’s mtDNA line through his mother. So far, there are no matches in the test results that come close to any of these Adams people. I keep hoping that more of Mary Jane Adams’ descendants will take an mtDNA test and will know more about this family than I do.