Tag Archives: tarlton gillespie

Early Research. Sloppy Research. Lots of Questions. 52 Ancestors #5: Mary Elizabeth Gillespie

1866-1883 - GrandmotherOver time, we all get better at genealogy.  We learn better ways to search, to analyze and how to prove that which seems unprovable.   The first group of family you work on is most likely to be filled with errors and bad assumptions.

My Gillespie line is that line for me.  I worked on it with my Dad, but neither one of us had a very good idea of what we were doing.

So let’s review.

My cousins and I believe this to be Mary Elizabeth Gillespie Gillespie.  Based on the watermark it was taken between 1866 and 1883 in Tennessee.  Mary would be have been somewhere between 40 and 60 years old.  I’m guessing I can get a better date on this by analyzing the head scarf she is wearing and the clothing.  She looks very serious.

My great aunt, Eva Dold Gillespie, told my father that Mary and Jeremiah, Mary’s husband, were first cousins.  I’ve never proven that, but I have used that to make a lot of assumptions about my research.  I have no reason to doubt my great aunt.  She was very sharp, taught history in Lexington, Virginia and according to my father cared a great deal about family history.  Oh, if I only I had been interested in this when she was alive!

So what do I know about Mary?

  • The marriage register for Mary states that her surname was Gillespie.  It does not list her father; no one had to sign for her, so I’m pretty sure she was at least 18 when she married Jeremiah Gillespie November 21st, 1848.  This suggests that her birthday was before November 21st, 1830.[1]
  • Because she was married in 1848, there is no census record where she will be enumerated by name.
  • In 1850, she is living with Jeremiah and their 6 month old daughter in the Eastern District of Amherst County, Virginia.[2]
  • In 1860, she is still living with Jeremiah and 4 children: Harriet I (10), Jas R (9), Wm H (7), and 8 month old Sarah M.[3]I never noticed it before, but there is a very big gap between Harriet, James, William and then Sarah.  Why where there no children?
    • There is actually I missing child here, George C, who would have been about 4 years old and William was more likely to have been 5.  That makes the ages of the children a bit more believable.
    • The Civil War came and went. I can find no record of Jeremiah serving even those his older brother did and his two younger brothers did.
    • Sarah dies in February of 1865[4]; Wyatt Paul, Jeremiah and Mary’s youngest child is born July 15th, 1865, 5 months later.[5]
    • The 1870 census is very strange to say the least. Mary is listed as Ann.  (I have no reason to believe that Mary had died, Jeremiah had remarried an Ann and then later married a Mary. I guess it’s possible.)  They own $100 worth of real estate. And the entire family is listed as not being able to read and write.[6]

    1870-us-census

  • In 1880, they are living in the Pedlar District of Amherst. Jeremiah “Jese” and Mary are living with Harriet, George and Paul.  This time Jeremiah is listed as 60 and Mary as 40. [7]

1880-us-census

The difference in Mary’s age does support the Jeremiah has possibly married two different Mary’s, but why would the children who would be the wife of the first Mary be listed as the heirs of the second Mary’s estate in 1893?  It seems that it should be the same woman.

  • I do not have an exact date of death for her, but I have a deed where her heirs sell their inheritance to Wyatt Paul Gillespie, my great grandfather and her youngest child in 1893.[8]

So who were Mary Elizabeth Gillespie parents?  Jeremiah’s parents where Tarlton Gillespie and Mahala Reynolds.  There were two other possible Gillespie families in the Amherst area that are possibilities.  Willis Gillespie and Roland Gillespie.  Both had daughters named Mary.  Roland’s daughter Mary married James S Camden.[9]  Willis had a daughter Mary who is listed in his will as Mary Gillespie (no husband given).[10]

Willis had a son, Wyatt who died May 15th, 1865 in the Prisoner of War camp in Elmira, New York.[11]Jeremiah and Mary had a son Wyatt who was born July 15th, 1865.[12]  Was they younger Wyatt named after the older?  Does this show a relationship?

Then there is the Bedford County connection.  Tarlton and Mahala, Jeremiah’s parents, were married there.[13]  There are other Gillespie’s there.  They need to be considered.

What if Mary Gillespie was a Gillespie because she married another Gillespie before marrying Jeremiah?  Not as likely, but it’s possible.

I need to start with doing some deed work and hoping I can find the connection between the land Mary and Jeremiah might have owned and someone else.  Or find something useful in neighbors.  Or tax lists. Or chancery records.  Or order books.  Lots of places left to look.  Lots of work to do.


[1] Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853″, index and images, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, p. 408, entry for Jeremiah Gillaspie and Mary E Gillespie, bond date 21 Nov 1848; FHL microfilm 30273. Parents or Guardian of Husband: Talton Gillaspie; Security and Witnesses: James Gillaspie; J Powell Jr; Richd Waugh.
[2] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Eastern, [unnumbered], dwelling 340, family 340, Jeremiah Gillaspie; digital images,  Ancestry.com  (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  citing NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll 933.
[3] 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, p. 132 (penned), dwelling 979, family 977, Jaremiah Gillispie;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);   citing NARA microfilm publication, M653, roll 1332.
[4] Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Jul 2012), entry for Sarah Gilispie, daughter of Jerry and Mary Gillespie, Feb 1865, Amherst, Virginia.
[5] Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), Wyatt Paul Gillespie marker; personally read, 2013.
[6] 1870 U.S. Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Peddler, p. 497 (stamped), dwelling 218, family 210, Jeremiah Glasby;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, M593, roll 1633.
[7] 1880 U.S Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Pedlar, enumeration district 19, p. 215A (stamped), p. 13 (penned), dwelling 118, family 125, Jese Gilaspie;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 14 May 2010);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 1353.
[8] Amherst County, Virginia, Deeds, UU: 393-4, Mary Elizabeth Gillespie heirs to W.P. Gillespie, recorded 10 Nov 1893, Clerk of Circuit Court, Amherst.
[9] Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Feb 2014), entry for Mary E Camden, daughter of Rolin and Lucy Gillaspie, 16 Apr 1881, Amherst, Virginia.
[10] Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book 19:253, Willis Gillespie, Dec.18,1865; Clerk of County Court, Amherst.
[11] Find A Grave, digital images, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 24 Aug 2012), memorial page for Corp Wiatt Gillespie  Find A Grave Memorial no. 35296331, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery, McGaheysville, Rockingham County, Virginia, USA.
[12] Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), Wyatt Paul Gillespie marker; personally read, 2013.
[13] Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Feb 2014), entry for Tatton Gillaspie and Mahala Reynolds, 27 May 1816, Bedford, Virginia.

The Legal Genealogist Inspires Me to Take Another Look at the Puzzle of Jeremiah. Treasure Chest Thursday

I just read Judy Russell’s blog post The drafty Ohioan in her blog The Legal Genealogist where she discusses why Ignatius or Ignatz Fleitz didn’t fight for the Union during the Civil War.  Her discussion focuses  on laws at that time and what the possibilities were for not fighting.

And of course my 2nd great grandfather, Jeremiah Gillespie, pops into my head.  His older brother Everett Milton enlisted.  His younger brothers Varlan, William and John all have enlistment paper trails.  But I have never found any record of Jeremiah fighting.  Why not?  He lived in Amherst County, Virginia in 1860 and in 1870.  The Confederacy by the end of the war had almost every male between the ages of 17 and 50 fighting.1

So how old was Jeremiah during the Civil War?  His birth year has always been a bit fuzzy, but here is what we know.  I have a record of a bible page, that lists his birth date as March 4, 1826.2

Jeremiah Gillespie's birth date in the Gillespie Family Bible
Jeremiah Gillespie’s birth in the Gillespie Family Bible: March 4th 1826

His marriage as it is recorded in the Amherst marriage register suggests that he is was born in 1828 or later.  He is married November 21, 1848 and as listed as underage (under 21).  If he were born March 4th, 1828, he would have been twenty.  For the sake of argument, let’s assume he was born either March 4, 1826 or 1828.

Register entry for Jeremiah and Mary Gillespie
Register entry for Jeremiah and Mary Gillespie

I build a table to see how old Jeremiah was on the dates of various Conscription Acts:3

Dates and Age of Jeremiah for 3 Confederate Conscription Acts
Dates and Age of Jeremiah for 3 Confederate Conscription Acts

From this table, we see that at least by July 15, 1863 he should have enlisted in the war.  Why didn’t he?  What exemptions were there?

On October 11, 1862, the Confederate Congress passed what was known as the Twenty Slave Law allowing men who owned over 20 slaves exemption from service.4 But the 1860 slave schedule shows us that Jeremiah owned no slaves. The only Gillespie in Amherst County who is listed as owning slaves in 1860 is Wyatt Gillespie, whom I believe to be Jeremiah’s brother-in-law.5 I don’t think it was the Twenty Slave exemption.

I do notice something interesting on the Encyclopedia page. It’s a picture of document used for Applying for a Military Exemption. Can anyone say “To Do List!”

Applying for a Military Exemption article on Encyclopedia Virginia
Applying for a Military Exemption article on Encyclopedia Virginia

It was possible for a man to purchase a substitute for $300.  But I don’t believe that Jeremiah was a man of much means. In 1860, he declares he has real estate worth $300 and a personal estate of $50; his occupation as a farmer.6  Sure, anything is possible, but I don’t think this is it.

The Confederacy did exempt men who worked in occupations “such as railroad and river workers, civil officials, telegraph operators, miners, druggists and teachers.”7

So I have two possibilities:

  1. He enlisted and I just haven’t found the right record yet or
  2. He has an exemption, and I should try searching for that paper work.

And I always wanted to believe he was a spy! But for now, I’m going to try and track down exemption records.  The answers are out there.

Footnotes

1. Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org), “Confederate States Army,” rev 4:16, 31 Dec 2012.
2. The Holy Bible, (New York, American Bible Society, 1857), “Family Records, Births”, p840; privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] California, 2012. The sons of Tarlton and Mahala Gillespie are listed with their birth dates; it appears that they were all written at one time and are dated April 20 1860.
3. Wikipedia, “Confederate States Army,” rev 4:16, 31 Dec 2012.
4. Lee, Susanna Michele, “Twenty-Slave Law,” Encyclopedia Virginia (http://http://encyclopediavirginia.org/ accessed : 10 Jan 2013); Foundation for the Humanities, 31 May 2012
5. 1860 U.S. census, Amherst County, Virginia, slave schedule, Gill?spie; NARA microfilm publication M653.
6. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule,, p. 132 (penned), dwelling 979, family 977, Jaremiah Gillispie; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication, M653, roll 1332.

7. CJ’s Civil War Home Page (http://www.wtv-zone.com accessed : Jan 10 2013 ), “Confederate Draft.”

Wisdom Wednesday — Review Your Work and Why Sources are Important When You Have Conflicting Evidence

I’ve probably been at this about 10 years, give or take, and I’ve been a lot more serious about it in the last couple of years.   I made a vow to go back and review and fix all of my sources and I started with my paternal grandfather’s line.  Slow work, but I am making progress.

I’m so glad I’ve done this.  This is the first line I started working on, and my lack of experience and my willingness to jump to conclusion and accept them as fact is quite stunning.

Last night I had a few free hours before my plane left  and I stopped by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I looked up microfilm for Amherst, Virginia and came across Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853.

Now, I will admit, that I’ve looked at many a microfilm, and gone back to it thinking that I hadn’t seen it only to find that I had.  But this was not the case.

From reading the description, I expected to find the actual marriage bonds, and for the most part, the film seemed to be a typewritten index (for which I was very grateful) and a hand written register of all of the marriage bonds that they had seen.  The register was recorded in chronological order, so the index, that was alphabetical was quite useful, as I decided to do a Surname survey for the name Gillespie.

I found 20 records most of which matched people in my tree.

The record for my great great grandparents Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie was there on page 408. 1

Register Entry for Jeremiah and Mary E Gillespie, Bond Date: 21 Nov 1848

Jeremiah is listed as under age and his parent or guardian is Talton Gillaspie.  (This is actually Tarlton who is his father.)

Close up of names for Jeremiah and Mary

And the Security and Witnesses are listed as James Gillaspie, J Powell Jr, and Richd Waugh.

Witnesses for Jeremiah and Mary

I do not know who these men are.  I suspect that James is a relative.  A cousin or an uncle.  Jeremiah’s older sister Editha marries a Roderick Waugh 2, maybe Richard is related to Roderick.

I’ve also have in my tree that Jeremiah is born on March 4th, 1826.3 This information comes from my interpretation of a family bible that was handed down to me.

Jeremiah Gillespie’s birth date which appears to be March the 4th 1826

But if this date is true, then he would have been 22 on November 21, 1848, and he would not have been under the age he could be married without consent.

The dates in the bible appear to have been written in 1860.  Jeremiah was married in 1848.  It is hard to imagine that he would state that he was not 21 when he got married if he wasn’t.  It would just complicate matters more.  Given these two sources and what we know about when they were recorded and the legal situation implied by the marriage bond, I believe that he was not born in 1826.  I would suggest 1828 and that he was twenty.

It is probably reasonable to think that his birthday was March 4th.  And it is hard to imagine that whoever did the entries in the bible subtracted wrong, or just didn’t know.

So until I get better information, I’m going to assume that he was born in 1828 or later.  Just because it was written in a bible doesn’t make it true.  When it was written and by who are important. Sources are important!

And now that I’ve been cleaning up my sources and I’m about half done with this line, well, it is a lot faster to write a blog post.  More to come on the marriage register.

Footnotes

1. Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” index and images, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, p. 408, entry for Jeremiah Gillaspie and Mary E Gillespie, bond date 21 Nov 1848; FHL microfilm 30273. Parents or Guardian of Husband: Talton Gillaspie; Security and Witnesses: James Gillaspie; J Powell Jr; Richd Waugh.
2. Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853″, index and images, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, p. 391, entry for Rodk Waugh and Editha Ann Gillaspie, bond date 28 Mar 1845; FHL microfilm 30273. Security and Witnesses: Taillor A Gillaspie (most likely Tarlton).
3. Gillespie Family Bibile, The Holy Bible, (New York, American Bible Society, 1857), “Family Records, Births”, p840; privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] California, 2012. The sons of Tarlton and Mahala Gillespie are listed with their birth dates; it appears that they were all written at one time and are date April 20 1860.

Tuesday’s Tip — Stop Searching, Start Analyzing

I’ve been on Vacation, a girl’s weekend in New Orleans.  So I’ve been away from my blog.  Good weekend!  New Orleans is an amazing town.

So I’ve been working on my Sources.  I really thought this was going to be tiresome, but it’s not.  I’m actually slowing down and looking at the images.  And rethinking about people that I haven’t thought about in awhile.

Mary Elizabeth Gillespie is my great great grandmother.  Here is where she fits in my grandfather’s tree:

And I came to the conclusion quite some time ago that Mary’s parents were Willis Gillespie and Harriet Smith.  But you know what, I have nothing to prove that.  Nothing.

Here is what I know:

  • On Wyatt  Gillespie’s marriage certificate, his parents are listed as Jere and Mary Gillespie. 1
  • Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary Gillespie were married in 1842. Talton Gillespie is listed as Jeremiah’s father, Mary’s parents are not in the index. I suspect it is because Jeremiah was not 21 when they were married. Do I have the original or have I seen it?  I have not. 2
  • My Great Aunt Eva told my father that Jeremiah and Mary were first cousins.3

I choose Willis and Harriet because they seemed to be the most likely candidates. And they may be correct, BUT that is not proof. And now it really vexes me. What if I am wrong? The earlier you find “the truth” in your genealogy career, I suspect the more likely it is that the Genealogical Proof Standards are not being met.

Parents of Mary Elizabeth Gillespie? Back on the list of what I need to prove.

Footnotes

1. Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia
2. “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XRDN-B9Q : accessed 14 Aug 2012), Jeremiah Gillaspie and Mary E. Gillaspie, 21 Nov 1848; citing reference p 408, FHL microfilm 30273.

Treasure Chest Thursday — The Gillespie Family Bible

There are quite a few pages in the Gillespie Family Bible that are interesting, but I used this one in a presentation today, so I thought it worth talking about here.

From the Gillespie Family Bible, pages 840-841 1

The bible was printed in 1857.  I love all of the subtraction statements.  Why are they there?

1861 was obviously an important year, the year the Civil War started. Virginia, where this family lived seceded from the Union on April 17th, of the that year.

The births listed as well as I can make out:

  • John C Gillaspie was born in the year of our Lord adomos 1840 the 10 of May And it is the year 1861 now. ( I think that is how it goes.)
  • Jaremiah Gillespie was born March the 4th 1826
  • Milton Gillaspie was born on June 22 in the year of our lord (I can’t read the year)
  • Varlen Gillespie was born June 9th (can’t read the year.)

I can’t read the names on the top of the second page. I would really love to know those.

Then:
John C Gillaspie was born in the 10 of May 1840 and now in the year  1861 10 of may followed by the subtraction of 1861 – 1840 = 21 years.

Jeremiah is my great great grandfather. He had brothers named John Calvin, Varlan, Everett Milton and William. No idea why William isn’t listed, but part of the page is torn off.

This page is more mysterious than helpful.  But sometime I shall unlock it.

Footnote

1. Gillespie Family Bible, The Holy Bible, (New York, American Bible Society, 1857), “Family Records, Births”, pp 840-841; privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] California, 2012. Four sons of Tarlton and Mahala Gillespie are listed with their birth dates; it appears that they were all written at one time and are date April 20 1862.