My paternal grandmother’s father’s great-grandfather [3rd great-grandfather] was Elisha “Eli” Welch/Welsh. The earliest records spell the name as Welsh while the more recent records stabilized with the Welch spelling. I don’t know a lot more about him than his name and what few details can be gleaned from a few early census records.
Research and historical family stories indicate he married Jane Blakeney sometime around 1808 probably in Chesterfield County, South Carolina or across the North Carolina border in Anson County, which was the county seat often used by the residents who lived near the state line.
The only census record in which he was listed that contained any details other than his name and the number of people in the household, tallied by gender, was the Fayette County, Alabama 1850 census.What I learned from this census record is he was born about 1788 in South Carolina, was a farmer with property valued at $50 and could not read or write. Although relationships were not identified, it is assumed Jane was his wife and there were three probable children living in the household [Sarah, 25; Hugh, 23; and Robert, 21]. The birth location of those probable children in South Carolina provides an indication that Eli was still living in South Carolina in 1829. The 7-year-old and 2-year-old children were likely grandchildren. Alford Blackney [Blakeney], though as yet unidentified, was likely a nephew to Jane.
The 1820 census for Chesterfield County, South Carolina lists the Eli Welch household as containing one male and one female between 26 and 44, one male between 10 and 15, 2 males under 10 and 2 females under 10. Based on Eli’s age in the 1850 census, he would have been approximately 32 in the 1820 census. Based on Eli’s age, the older young male must have been closer to 10 than to 15. If that male were Eli’s child, that would indicate a marriage date of between 1805 and 1810. Although Eli and Jane were married prior to the 1810 census, I have not yet found a listing for him; as a young couple they could have been enumerated within the household of another family.
The 1830 census for Anson, North Carolina [which is just across the border from Chesterfield County, South Carolina] lists the Eli Welch household with 7 sons under 15 [meaning the older son from the 1820 census was not enumerated] and 3 daughters under 15, plus his wife, for a total of 10 or 11 children.
The 1830 and 1840 census records, which record ages within a decade, would indicate Eli was born in the decade from 1790 to 1800 rather than 1780 to 1790. The consistency of those age brackets over two census periods would suggest he was probably born after the census effective date in 1790 rather than 1788 as reflected in the 1850 census.
By the 1840 census, the Eli Welch household was enumerated in Fayette County, Alabama and the once growing family was beginning to reduce in size as the older children began to establish their own households – there were 3 sons between the ages of 15 and 20 and 1 daughter between 10 and 14, plus Eli and Jane.
If Eli left a will it was not available in Fayette County records, but by the time Jane died about 1856 probate files indicated she was widowed and their property was sold and proceeds passed to heirs. That probate file and the 1850 census would indicate Eli died between November 1850 and sometime in 1856. No death or burial records have been discovered thus far.
This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.