Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

© 2006-2018 All rights reserved

My Photo
Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Martin Mystery II

In an attempt to find the identity of my great-great grandmother Elizabeth S. Webb—the mother of Mariah Martin—I joined (They were running a special on membership!) I discovered that what I suspected—that her first name did start with an S and that it was Sarah—was true. gave me access to a lot of family trees, some of which did erroneously have second wife Elizabeth Wade as the mother of the last six of John Reid Martin's six children (while listing her as dying in 1850, before these kids were born). But—many did indeed have Sarah Elizabeth Webb as their mother. And most of those provided a lengthy pedigree for her. (I quickly learned to check the trees that had documented sources.)

Here's one (of several) that shows her paternal ancestors . . .

. . . and one (of several) that shows her maternal ancestors, but this one leaves out one of her children:

Sarah Elizabeth, born January 12, 1822, was the oldest child of Theodorick F. Webb (1799-1880), a primitive Baptist minister (like Sarah Elizabeth's husband!) and successful farmer.  (Theodorick's name is sometimes spelled Theodrick or Theoderick in some trees.)   His first wife was Nancy Tate Greer Calloway (1810-1860), who descended from two early prominent families of Franklin County—the Greers and the Calloways. They were married on January 17, 1821. 

How Sarah Elizabeth got her name isn't much of a mystery. The practice in those days was to name a child—especially the eldest—after grandparents or other close relatives: she was named Sarah for her paternal grandmother Sarah Huff (and maternal great-grandmother Sarah Tate) and Elizabeth for her maternal grandmother Elizabeth Greer (and paternal great-grandmother Elizabeth Webb). Given the traditions of the times, how could she be named anything else but Sarah Elizabeth? (And she, of course, named her first-born daughter Nancy after her mother and great-grandmother.)

Theodorick and Nancy had a large family. Sarah Elizabeth's siblings were Emily 1821-24), Tazewell Armistead (1824-after 1880), Henry Callaway (1828-after 1890), Mary Catherine (1832-?) Theodrick F. (1835-1918), Bird Langhorn (1837-1918), Ursula 1840-?), Serena (1842-?), James Thomas (1844-after 1880), Ramsey (1848-after 1900), and Daniel (1850).  She no doubt helped her mother with child care until her sister Mary was older.

Apparently in September 1838, when she was sixteen, her family went on a wagon train to Monroe County, Missouri. They were listed the Jackson township 1840 and 1850 census, but—and here's the mysterious part—they were back in Franklin County for the 1850 census. Theodorick had two land patents in 1841 and 1851.

Patentee Name   Given Name   Issue   Land Offi Doc.   Accession/

WEBB            Burd S      11/10/1841Palmyra  21478  MO2380__.465
WEBB            Burd S      11/10/1841Palmyra  21479  MO2380__.466
WEBB            Robert J    3/10/1843 Palmyra  21751  MO2390__.298
WEBB            Robert J    3/10/1843 Palmyra  21752  MO2390__.299
WEBB            Robert J    3/10/1843 Palmyra  21783  MO2390__.330
WEBB            Robert      9/10/1844 Palmyra  22523  MO2410__.109
WEBB            Theoderick F11/10/1841Palmyra  21478  MO2380__.465
WEBB            Theodorick F12/1/1851 Palmyra  25861  MO2470__.392
WEBB            William B   8/2/1852  Palmyra  27032  MO2490__.498

Ah, here's how he could be on two census listings: the 1850 Franklin County census took many months. Theoderick's family weren't counted until late December 1850. Notice that Sarah Elizabeth isn't among the group because she would had married John Reid Martin on April 1, 1850. (But another mystery—how did she get back to Franklin County from Missouri so fast?)

34  2022 2011 Webb    Theoderich      50   M   Clergyman  1,500
35  2022 2011 Webb    Nancy           40   F
36  2022 2011 Webb     Tazwell        25   M
37  2022 2011 Webb     Henry          22   M
38  2022 2011 Webb      Mary C.        18   F
39  2022 2011 Webb      Theoderich     15   M
40  2022 2011 Webb      Benjamine F.   13   M
41  2022 2011 Webb      Ursula         10   F
42  2022 2011 Webb      Serena         8    F
1   2022 2011 Webb      James T.       6    M
2    2022 2011 Webb       Rumsey         6    M

Since Theodorick Webb owned property in Franklin County, would he have left his plantation unattended while he was in Missouri? Or did he travel back and forth? Another mystery, perhaps.

This excerpt from Talk About Trouble: A New Deal Portrait of Virginians in the Great Depression, in which Theodorick's granddaughter Nancy was interviewed by Gertrude Blair in 1939, shows that he was a big plantation owner:

Another section from the chapter that shows the family's influence in the county:

But—another mystery: Sarah Elizabeth was 28 when she married, which put her well into the old maid status. Why had she not already married? Could it be that traveling to Missouri and back with the family didn't leave much opportunity for courtship? Or was she really needed to help with the large family until her younger sister Mary came of age? At any rate, she was no doubt just what John Reid Martin was looking for.

With three small children needing a mother and his second wife recently dead, John Reid Martin would have been desperate for a suitable wife. Sarah Elizabeth Webb came from a prominent family—Martin was likely to have known of her preacher father's reputation and possibly have been friends with him—and the old maid Sarah Elizabeth was experienced in the care of young children. 

Here's the 1850 Henry County census, noting that John and "Elizabeth" were married within the year. On the previous page, the parents' of his first wife Susan, Christopher and Nancy Wingfield, ages 63 and 57, are listed. On this page John's three children—Elizabeth (9), John (8), and Luther (4) are listed as are Susan's two younger siblings. 

Obviously, John Reid Martin took his bride home to live with his in-laws who had likely been looking after his children. But what became of his second wife, Elizabeth M. Wade, whom he married on July 2, 1849?

 That's still a mystery.


Labels: , ,


Blogger CountryDew said...

Nice sleuthing.

3:29 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home