Kerns Article

 

Below: The Wilmer Kerns article about Taxes and Fees - with much information

 

 

 

The Frederick County Fee Book signed by the Sheriff, Meredith Helm, dated Jan 17, 1754---- James Wood, Clk of Court provided a list of 502 heads of families, along with fee assessments totaling 66,451 pounds of tobacco. This list is very important to researchers, because it gives a type of "census of families" just before the mass emigration from Frederick County brought about by the French and Indian War.

Although these are technically public records, they have been out of the public domain, and "lost" in time for 240 years. I, as an individual, have no plans to publish these rare and valuable records, because they do not belong to me. But, it is my opinion that these records will be published sooner or later by the appropriate and cognizant society, library, agency, or individual, whenever that is determined. This will not occur overnight, but these records are too valuable to remain in seclusion. I will keep you posted with whatever information is available to me. I am aware of the tremendous interest by family and local historians. In the meantime, a few selected data bits are presented below.

Female Heads of Households in 1753-1754, followed by assessment fee (tobacco):

Mary Alford 30 pounds
Elizabeth Buckly 73 pounds
Frances Bannister 55 pounds
Elizabeth Clemit 40 pounds
Ann Cunningham 276 pounds
Rebecca Chivers 45 pounds
Bridget Connery 55 pounds
Elizabeth Dawson 23 pounds
Sarah Delaya 40 pounds
Elizabeth Dablin(?) 70 pounds
Jane Grubb 40 pounds
Ann Jasper 130 pounds
Sarah Jones 86 pounds
Mary Littler 132 pounds
Margaret Middleton 40 pounds
Martha McDaniel 100 pounds
Elizabeth McDaniel 80 pounds
Margaret McKee 150 pounds
Margaret Murphy 40 pounds
Mary McDaniel 55 pounds
Providence Mounts 68 pounds
Catherine Quinton 73 pounds
Catherine Ross 43 pounds
Margaret Smith 105 pounds
Sarah Thomas 46 pounds
Elizabeth Vestall? 55 pounds
Sarah Williamson 178 pounds
Ann Wood 50 pounds
Sarah Wood 246 pounds
Margaret Warrin 144 pounds
Mary Ann Williamson 55 pounds
Elizabeth Warden 40 pounds


Two clergymen are listed:

The Rev. John Gordon 110 pounds (Gordon also paid 55 pounds as a schoolmaster)
The Rev. William Williams 606 pounds
Selected names from Cacapon Valleys (it later became Hampshire County):
John Arnold 50 pounds
David Edwards 51 pounds
Henry Enochs 105 pounds
Henry Ely 70 pounds
Joseph George 101 pounds
John House 110 pounds
George Horner 55 pounds
Jacob Jinkins 135 pounds
John Lonam 321 pounds
Darby McKever 355 pounds
Francis McBride 70 pounds
Samuel Pritchard 614 pounds
George Parkes 80 pounds
Isaiah Phipps 65 pounds
Sarah Williamson 170 pounds
Elizabeth Warden 40 pounds


The largest assessments were:

(Alexander) Ross executors 3,116 pounds
Thomas Chester 1,250 pounds
Thomas Wood 969 pounds
Robert Buckles 905 pounds
William Russell (2 accounts) 767 pounds
Thomas McGuire 726 pounds
Thomas Caton 672 pounds
Samuel Pritchard 614 pounds
Edward Snigers 608 pounds
Rev. Wm Williams 606 pounds
Helm & Roberts (a firm) 591 pounds
Leonard Helm 575 pounds
Edward Read 504 pounds
John Maddin 468 pounds
John Smith 458 pounds
John Vance (the cooper) 449 pounds
Richard Sherman 437 pounds
Robert Worthington 430 pounds
Andrew Paul 400 pounds
John Brian 400 pounds
John Hardin 386 pounds
Henry Heath 347 pounds


I should add that the Fee Book lists all the ordinary licenses in Old Frederick County during the 1740s and 1750s, plus all the licenses to peddlers, i.e. the travelling merchants who went from door-to-door selling wares. I, for one, am very excited over the information that this book will make available to researchers.

Wilmer L. Kerns
4715 North 38th Place
Arlington, VA 22207-2914

 

 

Following up on a topic that I introduced several weeks ago, but could not
bring closure at that time, I am posting a list of the first settlers in Old
Frederick County. These were identified from a Fee Book maintained by the
first clerk of court, Col. James Wood (died in 1759). The list of settlers
is given below along with the fees assessed in pounds of tobacco, the medium
of exchange. The date of assessment was 1744, which was one year after the
courthouse in Winchester was established.

One version of the Fee Book was published in 1926 by Katherine Glass Greene
in her book, Winchester, Virginia and its Beginnings, 1743-1814. An expanded
version of fee-paying settlers named in 1744 is found in Handley Library,
Archives Division, in Winchester. Both versions are the handwriting of Wood,
but the different lists were apparently made at different times during the
year. I have taken the liberty to combine the two lists for 1744.

I do not believe the compilation below provides a complete account of the
first families of Old Frederick County. Evidently there were numerous
settlers who had recently arrived, and had not come to the attention of the
clerk of court. For example, some settlers in Cacapon, South Branch and
Patterson Creek Valleys who should be on the list are: James Caudy, George
Parks, John Parks, Richard Arnold, Evan Pugh, Robert Denton, Benjamin
Phipps, Michael Stump, Benjamin Foreman, Job Piersall, Noah Hampton, the Van
Meters, the Blues, Parkers, Deckers, Enochs, Friends, McBrides, Yorks,
Hietts, Johnsons, George Horner, Benjamin Pritchard,  and others. In fact,
it appears to me that many of the Old Hampshire County settlers  (including
Hardy Co.) are not listed. This suggests one segment of the list below is
still missing. Regardless of what is missing, the list is valuable for what
it provides. If anything turns up, I will bring it to your attention.

There are two John Richardsons named below. One was called "Red" and the
other "Black." Can anyone explain this?

On a related topic, Catherine Glass Greene names additional marriage license
fees collected by. Col. Wood to Governor Gooch:

Leonard Helms in March 1744 (name of bride not given)
William Mitchell in April 1744 (name of bride not given)

I'm now able to answer questions that may arise from this posting.

Wilmer L. Kerns


Frederick County, VA
Col. James Wood's Fee Book
Anno Dom 1744

Name and # pounds of Tobacco
A
Anderson, Colvert       163
Ashby, Thomas Jun.      46
Anderson, John  125
Armstrong, Thomas       55
Alford, John    23
Anderson, Thomas        51
Armstrong, Robert       78
Alford, Thomas  310
Alexander, Zacheus      90
Ashby, Robert   55
Anderson, Enoch 81
Athenson, Michael       23
Anthony, John   274

B
Buckles, Robert 417
Babb, Phillip   70
Buchanan, John  196
Buchanan, Robt  55
Baley, John     116
Brown, Thomas   135
Bowman, George  135
Black, Robert   10
Brittan, Samuel 94
Beller, Peter   50
Buchanan, Arthur        771
Bumgardner, John        70
Bryan, Joseph   25
Bryan, Morgan &
        Joseph  430
Bryan, Joseph   150
Byrne, James    20
Borden, Deborah 130
Bumgardner, Peter       35
Burnett, Daniel 412
Blackburn, Wm   296
John Bruce      141
Barrat, John    165
Breemigen, James        108
Brattan, Robert 55
Beesley, James  131
Blackburn, Esther       131
Buck, Thomas    194
Humphrey Bell   150
Beeson, John    150
Baker, Isaac    294
Bryan, Morgan   526
Buttler, Thomas 33
Borden, Exrs    30
Beeson, William 150
Burkham, Roger  204
Burk, Charles   309
Brun (?), Joseph        55
Black, Patrick  5
Berwick, Thomas 361
Bryan, Joseph   35

C
Constant, John  35
Chetwynd Esq    55
Cathy, James    242
Carfee, Christopher     173
Colson, Thomas  306
Campbell, Hugh  170
Crafts, Robert  23
Carrell, Joseph 250
Calmes, Marquis 221
Cresap, Thomas  1149
Caines, John    55
Chambers, Edmund        30
Counts, John    10
Connell, John   166
Clark, Mary     91
Cunningham, James
        & Robt. 20
Carrington, Mary        106
Cunningham, James       305
Chapman, Nathaniel
        & Comp. 55
Crafts, Robert &
        Morris, Saml    5
Cunningham, Adam        91
Champ, John     65
Chester, Thomas 288
Collins John &
        McGuire 35
Chapman, Nathaniel      1193
Cassity, Peter  55
Campbell, Andrew        1053
Cherry, Thomas  65
Chainorey, Christopher 65
Caldwell, Andrew        40
Colvin, Joseph  150
Collins, John   620
Colvin, William 78
Craigs, David &
        Archibald       69
Cantrell, Zebulon       120
Cavenaugh, Charles      45
Curtis, Jonathan        166
Carter, James   78
Crouson, John   33
Carson, John    192
Carblidges (?), Exrs    46
Chapman, George 55
Cotton, Elias   40
Christman, Jacob        69

D
Decredo, William        35
Demoss, Peter   70
Duggan, Daniel  55
Davis, William  308
Dobbins, William        80
Donahue, Daniel 160
Demoss, John &
        Catherine       150
Dunham, Mary    101
Denny, Walter   216
Dalton (?), John        35
Denny, George   101
Doster, Thomas  171
Drenning, Walter        55
Dennis, Samuel  202
Denton, John    25
Donahue, Henry  25
Davis, Robert   150
Doomes, John    365
Devinore, Hugh  65
Dagg (?), John  75
Demoss, John    155
Dowland, Henry  392

E
Egarter, Christian      78
End (?), Jos &
        Theobald        111
Evans, John     290
Ewing, Alexander        120
Edwards, Joseph 85
Eastham, Robert 93
Earle, Samuel   383
Ewell, Bertrand 80
Edgalls Exrs    80

F
Fink (or Finler), James230
Funk, Jacob     130
Ferguson & Miller       48
Friend, Israel  268
Ferguson, Hugh  780
Falconer, Alexr 136
Fearnley, William       273
Fitzsimmons, John       401
Fannin, Thomas  131
Falkner, Ralph
        & Comp  55
French, John    55
Fowler, Francis 146
Frost, John     25
Fulton, Mary    78

G
Galbarth, Frederick     50
Gregory, Benjamin       15
Green, Robert   70
Gregory, John   73
Grifith, William        1795
Griffith, Wm    96
Glenn, James    197
Gillespie, Patrick      651
Gill, James             80
Grigg, Samuel   111
Gibson, Jacob   15
Gray, Edmund    106
Gent, George    150
Gilliland, Hugh 55
Gayter, Michall 70
Green, William  120

H
Hood, Rachael   50
Haines, William 5
Hollady, Samuel 76
Harris, Thomas  119
Hattfield, Joseph       33
Hoyle, J                279
Hyte, Jacob     279
Hoge, James     256
Harper, Leonard 366
Hanagin, Charles        25
Hart, Silas             70
Hedge, Jonas    25
Helms, Leonard  65
Hutchins, Robert        80
Hager, Jonathan 156
Hytes, John and
        Jacob   449
Huston, John    70
Helm, Joseph    155
Haws, Frederick 134
Hart, Thomas    301
Hume, William   113
Hubelle, Bernard        130
Hedges, Solomon 170
Hogg, Lewis     241
Harrison, Thomas        55
Hardin Eliza    91
Hobson, George Jr.      200
Harrison, Cuthbert      206
Harroll, John   150
Hollingsworth, Abrm     85
Hunt, Roger     80
Hott, Nimrod    280
Hopes, John     508
Hardin, Henry   135
Hume, George    222
Hardin, John    940
Hindman, John   110
Hyte, John      256
Hyte, Jost              109
Humphrey, Ralph 63
Harris, John    416
Halling, William        180

I, J
Isaacs, Elisha  126
Isaacs, Samuel Jr.      120
Ice, Frederick          55
Johnston, Jacob 45
James, Richard  60
Jay, William    15
Jones, John     160
Isaacs, Samuel  51
Jones, Gabriel  44
Johnson, Mary   89
Julian, Rene    35
Jack, Jeremiah  443

Johnstone, George       1050
Jones, Humphrey 101
Job, Abraham    70
Jarvis, Thomas  101

K
Keith, John     230
Kelly, William  110
Kelly, John     25
Kelly, David    110
Knott, Peter    85
Kelly, Terrence 55
Kenners Exrs    55
Kellar, Charles 41

L
Lilburn, Ann    51
Lum, Jonas      88
Low, Thomas Capt        135
Loftin, William 5
Lewis, Vincent  55
Lowrey, Robert  185
Lum, Mary       150
Lyon, Humberton 161
Lowder, Richard 70
Littler, John   706
Linwell, John   18
Largent, John   116
Linsey, John    60
Lintner, Samuel 40
Low, Thomas     276

M
Mounts, Joseph  96
McKever, Darby  5
McCormack, John 172
Morgan, Charles 150
Milbourne, Eliza        110
Moore, Benjamin 213
Martin, Thomas  103
Mitchell, William       1179
McKee, James    630
Morgan, Morgan  25
Moody,  ?               55
McHugh, Nichols
McDowell, John  135
Miller, William 317
Mitchell, William &
        Comp    125
Morgan, Charles 5
Marr, Christopher       15
Murphey, Darby  38
Mitchell, John  515
McCoy, William  80
Milbourne, John 150
Myres, William &
        Richd   59
Minor, Stephen  206
McCracken, James        353
Mitchell, John  55
Matthews, Patrick       611
Morgan, Richard 105
Maddin, John    145
McDowell, Mary  50
Mayberry, Thomas        100
Mahon, Thomas   106
Miller, Wiegard 46
Mercer, Nicholas        80
McMachan, John  5
Martin, George  144
Miller, John    221
McKay, William
        Carolina        106
McGuire, Thomas 153
Marlin, Jacob   91
McHugh, Peter   175
Morgan, John    55
McMachen, William       185

N
Nation, Christopher     55
Nichols, John   196
Neill, Lewis    104
Neill, John             671
Neal, Hugh      277
Newill, James   165

O
Osbourne, John  70
Oneal, Garrot   110
Ogullian, Neal  130
Osbourne, Nichols       135
Ogullion & others       60
Ogullion & Caldwell     60
Ogullion, Duncan        315
Oneal, Daniel   5
Oneal, John     5

P
Pike, Michael   55
Parrell, Hugh   70
Poore, Jeremiah 111
Pearson, Eliza  150
Paxon, Reuben   150
Penington, Jacob        133
Priest, Thomas  55
Purteat, Ann    61
Perkins, Isaac  121
Pickett, William        100
Phillips, Richard       78

Pearson, Eliza  150
Parrell, Hugh   70
Pennington, Jacob       133
Priest, Thomas  55
Purteat, Ann    61
Peck, Jacob     137
Pooh, Charles   85
Pearson, Abel   194
Peck, Jacob     137
Pooke (?) Charles       85
Perkins & Carter        65
Peverly, John   5
Pendergras, Garrot      505
Peake, Nathaniel        101
Pusey, Robert   10
Parker, Hugh    55
Pugh, Jesse     110
Potts, David    203
Posey, Benjamin 567
Penington, Abraham      55
Price, Aaron    416
Parish, George  137
Perkins, John   190
Potts, Thomas   70
Postgate, Thomas        773
Poulson, Richard        5
Penington, Isaac        141
Prittney, (?) Richard   1027

Q
Quigley, Patrick        60
Quin, John              45

R
Rennick, Thomas         360
Ross, William   28
Ross, George    10
Ross, Mary      135
Rouse, William  33
Ross, James     120
Robinson, Charles       33
Rudelle, John   85
Richardson, John
        "Black" 136
Rogers, Edward  446
Richey, William 130
Ryley, Patrick  135
Roberts, George 120
Rankins, Barbara        60
Reid, William   264
Richardson, Daniel      196
Rogers, William 55
Robins, Joseph  61
Rankins, Hugh   65
Rogers, Catherine       23
Rutherford, Benjamin    86
Ryan, Michael   131
Roark, Bryan    255
Rion, John              409
Robinson, George        75
Ross, Alexander 80
Rutledge, James 185
Richardson, John
        "Red"   23
Rogers & Woolf  43

S
Speake, Thomas  55
Story, John     55
Shepard, John   122
Sherril, Adam   281
Stone, William  25
Smith, John     766
Shaw, Michael   195
Steward, Thomas 55
Shurley, Walter 65
Stephens, Lewis 710
Smith, John the
    "Blacksmith"         55
Seabin , James  55
Strickler, Abraham      129
Sheddin, Robert 194
Smith, Robert   148
Smith, Jeremiah 205
Shearer & Davis 53
Summerford, Jefery      75
Swearington, Van        190
Sutton, Joseph  64
Seltzer, Mathias        182
Simons, Jonah   289
Smith, George
        Audley  61
Simons, Jonathan
        ye infant       560
Sheppin, Edward 151
Shippin, Edward 100
Scott, Josiah   55
Seaman, Eliza   5
Stillwell, Daniel       55
Shippin, Joseph Jr      119
Smith, John Jr  96
Seaman, John    150

T
Taylor, Saml    56
Teague, William 121
Tradan, John    1499
Thornbaugh, Walter      196
Turner, Roger   190
Thompson, Neil  55
Thompson's Exrs 150
Turner, Anthony 220
Tidwell, William        150
Teator, George  103
Thomas, Nathaniel       183
Thomas, Lewis   80

V
Vance, David    155
Vickers, Elisha 45
Vanmetre, Isaac &
        Henry   100
Vanmetre, Isaac 43
Vance, Joseph   150
Vanderpool, Abraham342
Vanmetres, Isaac &
        Jacob   15
Victory, Luke   5

W
Wistar, Casper  69
Welton, John    130
Watkins, Evan   40
Worthington &
        Thomas  20
Worthington, Jacob      43
Walker, John    156
Wilson, John    250
Westfall, Jacob 80
Williams, Edward        70
Walker, Samuel  170
Wilson, Robert  409
Worthington &
        Matthews        10
Welch, Edmund   180
Williams, Vincent       65
Wanton, John    200
Winslow, Richard        60
Worthington, Robt       881
Wood, John      5
White, George   211
Willis's Exrs   110
Welton, John Jr.        23
White, John Jr. 90
Wilson, Thomas  96
Waugh, James    55
Worthington &
        Others  93
Welch, James    145
Waring & son Thos       845
Waters, Thomas  76
Wilcox, John    184
White, Robert   96
Woodfin, John   80
Wright, James   150
Williams, John  65
Williams, Joseph        260
Warth, Robert   65
Williams, William
        Revd    496
Wright, George  168

Y
Yates, Abra     177

Z
Zimmerman,  Christopher     162
Zeigler, George 75

An unpublished marriage record in Frederick County has been found in the
Handley Library, Archives Division, Winchester, VA in "The Papers of Col.
James Wood," 173-WFCHS, Box 1. The surname KINKEAD is found throughout the
Valley, especially in Rockingham County. I hope these two are someone's
ancestors. Here is the record:

Whereas there is a marriage suddenly intended to be solemnized between
William KINKEAD and Agatha CHINN, I do hereby certify that due caution is
taken in my Office for a license to Issue for the said marriage. Certified
under my hand the 7th day of February 1777. James A. Keith, Clerk of Court.
To James Wood (Jr.) Gent. First Justice Sworn in the Commission of the Peace
for Frederick County or in his absence to the next Justice sworn in the said
Commission.

Sincerely,

Wilmer L. Kerns


Tax Records Reveal Valuable Facts About Pioneers in Old Hampshire
County, VA

By: Wilmer L. Kerns, Ph.D.

  Do you have ancestors in Old Hampshire County, Virginia? Many
interesting personal tidbits about early settlers are found in a
recently published taxpayer data book.  Transcribed from original,
hand-written records in the Library of Virginia, the publication
contains information collected by county commissioners of revenue during
the years 1782 through 1799.

   Published by a firm in Miami Beach, Florida, called L.T.C. Genealogy,
the 308-page publication lists about 21,000 taxpayers over an 18-year
period. The data are presented by year, by name of tax collector, and by
date of collection.

   These records were created during the process of assessing tithables
and collecting personal property taxes at the county level.  A tithable
was a tax assessment for a male who had reached a certain age (usually
16 years or older).  Practically every resident head of household was
listed in the tax records.  Although not intended, these records now
serve as a type of annual county census for historians and
genealogists.  The lists are strategic in establishing proof of
residence for heads of families.

  During the 1782-1799 era, old Hampshire County included all of Mineral
County, West Virginia and the western part of what is now Morgan County,
West Virginia, as well as present-day Hampshire County.  Also, the first
portion of these tax records, from 1782 through 1785, includes all of
present-day Hardy and Grant Counties, W. Va.

 Tax records give clues on migration residence, death, family growth and
affluence.  Don't look for a historical narrative or explanation.  These
are raw data elements or records that are used and understood primarily
by researchers.

 In Virginia, taxes were assessed annually on personal property, as well
as on real estate.  In this geographic area of the old State, a horse
was often the second most valuable asset, next to real (estate)
property.  Almost every family owned at least one horse for
transportation, if not for small-time farming operations.  Horse power
was the major work unit in industry.

   If you want to make a survey of the sheep or cattle population in
Virginia during a given year, the personal property tax records will
provide a data base, county-by-county.

   The article on 1813 mill owners of Old Frederick County, published in
the February 15, 1989 issue of The West Virginia Advocate, was developed
from the personal property tax records of several counties. This
information was later published in 1992 in my Historical Records of Old
Frederick and Hampshire Counties, Virginia.

   Other kinds of personal property were occasionally assessed and taxed
from year-to-year, such as clocks, silverware, carriages, breeding
horses, etc.,  depending on legislative authority.  Slaves were also
considered as personal property, but were not heavily populated in
Hampshire County.  Numerous free blacks were listed in the tax books,
often without a surname.

  Surname or family profiles may be developed from the tax records.  For
example, a relative measure of affluence can be established by charting
property ownership over time, year-by-year, and family-by-family.
Persons who owned slaves, breeding horses, or common horses, of varying
numbers, were the most affluent.  Tax profiles of families can serve as
the basis for presenting one facet in a family historical narrative.
All sources of information are worthy of consideration, but primary
records are of most value.

  Persons who want to study the Hampshire County hand-written, personal
property tax records on microfilm, for the 1782-1850 period, may do so
in person at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.  These microfilm reels
may also be obtained through interlibrary loan, for a small fee,  via
your local library.  Any librarian will give routine assistance on this
kind of request.

  Old tax records are considered to be dry-bones reading, except by
researchers.  Those who are interested in the early communities will
learn who lived in what sections of the county during the 1782-1799
period of time.  Tax collectors went from door-to-door to create records
in the order of their visits.  Generally, taxes collected on a given day
were of residents in the same neighborhood, but not always. In certain
cases, an understanding of the road system of the 1790s is helpful.  No
published county road map of the late 1700s is available.

  Commissioners wrote notations to distinguish between persons who had
identical names.  Sometimes this meant that the name of father was
given, such as "John Jones, son of Peter Jones", to distinguish him from
John Jones, son of John Jones Sr.  Other times a person was
distinguished by his residence, "of Pattersons' Creek" or "Little
Cacapon" or "Rock Gap"; by his occupation, "the miller" or "millwright";
by his nationality, "the Scotchman"; or by a personal characteristic,
such as "lazy." Often these symbols were abbreviated, such as "BC" for
Big Cacapon, "son o/Sa" for son of Samuel, "PC" for Pattersons' Creek,
"SM" for Scotchman, or "SB" for South Branch.  "Small John Parker" and
"Big Neck John Largent" were well-known persons during the late 1700s.
Special notations were not defined nor required, but used for
record-keeping by the collector. I have not been able to decipher all of
the abbreviations.

  Reading old records requires imagination and skill in interpreting
phonetic spellings of names.  Not all tax collectors were equally
literate, as evidenced by these spellings: Blew for Blue; Arnal for
Arnold; Carns for Kerns; Rine for Ryan; Polsan for Powelson; Codey for
Caudy; Mikell for Michael; Ferman for Foreman; Slain for Slane; Pew for
Pugh; Oolery or Wolary for Ullery; Huph for Huff; Yoe for Yost; Shitch
or Shits for Sheetz; Ronamus for Heironimus; Barsinger for Persenger;
Layfolit for LaFollette; Cannaday for Kennedy; Demarse for DeMoss; and
Millik for Malick

  Occasionally,  personal comments were made about individuals.  For
example, on the 1797 tax list,  Jacob Kerns (1762-1828), my 3-great
grandfather,  was labeled a "lame man."  I have often wondered why he
owned only 20 acres of poor mountain top land on Timber Ridge, while his
brothers owned farms containing several hundred acres each.  The fact
that several children of Jacob Jr. were trained in the occupation of
coopery (manufacturing barrels, kegs and wooden containers), suggested
that Jacob Jr. may have been a cooper, himself. After learning that he
was a physically disabled person, it became plausible that his
occupation could have been a cooper rather than a farmer; that land was
not essential for that occupation.

  Not all notations were complimentary.  Had the tax commissioner
realized that his records and notes would be preserved for public
inspection in a state archives, 200 years later, perhaps he would have
been more conservative in making personal comments.  For some reason,
the tax collector labeled John Spencer Sr. as a "madman."  In subsequent
years, John Spencer was called "madman and his son."  Spencer lived
several miles west of Romney, between Fox Hollow and Pattersons' Creek.
Why was he called the madman of Hampshire County? Did he threaten to
kill the tax collector?  Was he a caveman type? Does anyone know the
story, or was it lost forever?  Perhaps we will never know.

  Miscellaneous information on emigration was reported on the tax lists.
For example, in 1797, Samuel Berry moved to Frederick County; one
Benjamin Foreman moved to Berkeley County (there being several Benjamin
Foremans); James Hill lived in Romney; Jan'e Morgan (of Timber Ridge)
moved to Kentucky; Israel Brady to Berkeley County; John Downing was
"gone"; Thomas Bennett Sr. and Jr. both moved to Frederick County; Jesse
Harlin moved to Berkeley County; David Shinn moved to Hampshire County;
John O'Quin moved to Hampshire County.

  Samuel Edwards moved to Muskingham, Ohio,  according to the 1797 tax
list.  He was a son of David Edwards and a grandson of Joseph Edwards,
the fortbuilder at Capon Bridge.  Samuel disappeared from Hampshire
County immediately upon selling his inherited land to Elias Poston in
1797, leaving no clues.  Thanks to the tax records, we now know that he
resettled in Ohio.

  Looking beyond statistical information, we learn names of some of the
medical doctors and ministers of that period of time.

  In 1784, notations were made next to the names of William Blair and
William Broughton that they were "pensioners," presumably from the
French and Indian War era.

  Mr. Collins was a schoolmaster in the Capon Bridge area in 1798.  Six
years earlier, Thomas Frey (sometimes spelled Fry) taught school on
Timber Ridge, in the eastern part of the county.

  In 1799, John Stewart, of the Fox Hollow area, had only one eye.  John
Parrill and John Higgins were designated as "major", and Abram Johnson
as "captain", on the tax lists, presumably references to Revolutionary
War service status.

  During the 1790s, occupations were listed for certain persons: Samuel
Davidson, a carpenter; Thomas Fitzgerald, a joiner; Isaac Parsons, a
ferryman on the South Branch River; James Garrett, a tailor in eastern
Mineral County; John Smith, a cooper; John Long, a miller along
Pattersons' Creek; James White, a weaver in Pattersons' Creek area;
Catey Adams, a widowed tavernkeeper in the Frankfort area; Daniel
Arnholt, a joiner; Emanuel Host, a saddler; Job Shepherd, a surveyor;
Andrew Smalley, a tailor; Michael Sheetz, a cooper; George Miller, a
"smith"; John Dowden, a tavern keeper in what later became Mineral
County; James Dailey, a Romney merchant; Elijah Gayter, an Attorney in
Romney; Edward Dyer, a medical doctor in Romney and Hampshire County;
Dennis Daniels, a cooper; James Piercey, a doctor in lower Pattersons'
Creek Valley; John Sissel, a "Baptist" (minister); George Swagger, a
joyner; Dennis Sheridan, a merchant; Alexander King, a merchant in
vicinity of Frankfort; John Nelson (Nielson), a medical doctor; Perez
Drew, a tavern owner in the South Branch Valley; John Reed,  a tavern
operator in Romney; Thomas Williams, a doctor; William Nelson, a medical
doctor who practiced in or near Hardy County; Nathaniel Parker, a
miller; Lewis Dunn, a medical doctor in a part of old Hampshire County
that later became Mineral County; Isaac Means, a tavern owner in the
Romney area; Thomas Hughes, a tailor; John McCartney, a weaver; Matthias
Hough, a shoemaker; Samuel Clark, a "slelton"; John Rannells, minister
of the Gospel; David Parsons, "Cl for Ferry"; Thomas Williams, a doctor
in the Capon Bridge area;  Dicks Thompson, a millwright in what later
became Mineral County, W.Va.; John Ray, a joiner or carpenter;  George
Fisher, a doctor; Tom, a free black who lived in Romney during the
1790s; John Lyle, a Presbyterian minister.

   Names of certain taxpayers are not found in other public records.
Consider Ely Pugh, Hull South, Beal Babbs, or Beeler Stoker. In a
limited way, the tax records can serve as a substitute
late-18th-century-census in a county which lost most of the public
records during the Civil War. The first surviving Federal census for
Hampshire County was taken in the year 1810.  The 1790 and 1800 censuses
were burned by the British during the War of 1812.

  Finally, the tax records are valuable to researchers because they
provide clues on when certain county residents died. This is especially
important in cases where a person did not write a will; who disappeared
from the next U.S. census; and who left no further trace in public
records. Did the person immigrate, or did they die "quietly" in
Hampshire County?  If a resident died during months preceding the annual
visit by the tax collector, an entry might say "estate of Samuel Park,"
"heirs of Francis Keyes," or "widow Ely."

  For example, in the Bloomery district, in 1799, tax collector John
Parrill reported four recent deaths: Francis Keyes, Joseph Johnston,
John Larew, and William Robison. Longitudinal research in subsequent tax
records reveals that John Larew's wife was named Hannah.  These tidbits
become more significant after they are placed in the context of broader
data bases (land records, census, wills, estate settlements, and so
forth) which reveal a family profile over time.

  An official at T.L.C. Genealogy informed me that plans for future
publications include personal property tax records of Frederick County,
Virginia, 1782-1799, and Hampshire County, Virginia, 1800-1825.  Also
needed is a publication of the Hardy County, Va. tax lists for the
1786-1805 period of time.  As researchers learn about these
publications, I predict they will become very popular reference books.
Pass along this important information to your friends.

  The 1782-1799 tax book is spiral-bound and reasonably priced.  If your
ancestors lived in Hampshire County during that time frame, they should
be listed in the book.  Orders should be addressed to: T.L.C. Genealogy,
P.O. Box 403369, Miami Beach, Florida 33140-1369.

This article was written as a public service by Wilmer L. Kerns and
published in The West Virginia Advocate, Hampshire County, WV. The
author received no  payment of any kind from either T.L.C. or The West
Virginia Advocate.

Used with permission from author.

 

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