52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #39 – Mary Fanning

My 3rd great-grandmother was Mary Fanning Lineberry, daughter of John Fanning, Sr. and Elizabeth Ann Lipps. She was born about 1771 in North Carolina and died about 1846 in Carroll County, Virginia.

Little is known of her other than her name and general years of her birth and death. This is quite typical of a woman’s life in the time period prior to the 1850 census when they could at least have their name written on a census but since she died about 1846 she was never recorded on a census.

She married Jacob Lineberry IV, probably in Grayson County, Virginia, about 1800. She and Jacob had at least eleven children: Francis (1801), Catherine (1803), Jacob P. [my 2nd great-grandfather] (1805), George (1806),  Joseph (1807), Elizabeth (1809), Martha ‘Patsy’ (1812), Mary ‘Polly’ (1814), Lurana (1815), Jeremiah (1817), and Euphamia (1820).

When her father died in about 1813, she inherited a share of her father’s land grant. The property was originally in Grayson County but was in the area that became Carroll County in 1842 when county borders were realigned. Jacob purchased the remainder of the land from her brothers and she and Jacob lived there from about 1813 for the rest of their lives. Both her father and her husband are buried on the land so it seems likely that she and her mother are buried there as well.



This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #38 – John Willis

My paternal 3rd great-grandfather was John Willis [1775-1835] of Spartanburg County, South Carolina. He was the oldest child of Richard and Drucilla Pearson Barnett Willis. I have not found basic vital records for John but the International Genealogical Index of the Church of the Latter Day Saints lists his birth date as September 18, 1775 and death date as October 1, 1835; unfortunately, although these dates are reasonable based on other records, I do not know what records they were based on.

Based on the same International Genealogical Index, John married Martha Patsy Smith on November 21, 1799 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. The clip from the 1800 census record in which John is enumerated a few rows from his father and listing just a male 16-25 and female 16-25 with no children would support that marriage date. 1800

The book, South Carolina Baptists (1), has a list of the members of the Friendship Baptist Church  of the Bethel Association of Spartanburg County for the years 1801 through 1803. The list includes John Willis, Martha Willis, Richard Willis, Sr., Richard Willis, Jr., Elizabeth Willis, and William Willis. Martha could have either been John’s wife or his sister; all the names listed are the older children of Richard and Drucilla Willis. Since Drucilla was not listed, it is feasible that married women may not have been listed and that concept makes it likely that Martha Willis was Richard’s daughter rather than John’s wife.

The 1810 census is one of particular interest because it lists one of my 3rd great-grandfathers, two of my 4th great-grandfathers and one of my 5th great-grandfathers: John Willis, Richard Willis, Arkilles Foster and William Blackstock, revealing they were all neighbors in South Carolina and each of my descendants of those family groups moved from South Carolina to Fayette County, Alabama. In this record, John and Martha have 4 sons under 10 and 2 daughters under 10. One of the males in the group of three would have been my great-great-grandfather, William Willis.1810Although John was not a slave holder, my other great-grandfathers were slave holders with Richard and William Blackstock each having five slaves and Arkilles Foster fourteen.

In the next decade, John and Martha ‘Patsy’ added a number of children: There were four sons and two daughters in 1810 and nine sons and two daughters in the 1820 census. Since there had been two daughters born between 1805 and 1810 and there was only one listed as born in that time frame for the 1820 census, it is presumed one of the daughters died during that decade. 1820In December 1820, John and Martha ‘Patsy’ were dismissed from Unity Baptist Church, presumably to attend another church closer to their residence. (2)

For the 1830 census, there were six sons and two daughters still at home.

1830In January 1835, John and his brother-in-law, Holman Rice Smith, entered into an agreement with John’s youngest brothers, Edward and Starling, to allow the younger boys to maintain the home for their parents making sure they were provided and cared for with the younger boys agreeing to a bond of $5,000 in favor of John and Holman Smith.

John died a short ten months later in October 1835, predeceasing his father by a little more than two years and his mother by a decade. I have not yet found burial information for John.


(1) Townsend, Leah. South Carolina Baptists 1670-1805, Baltimore, Maryland, Genealogical Publishing Co. (Reprint), 2003, pp 135-136.

(2) Church minutes of the Unity Baptist Church of Spartanburg County, South Carolina from 1818 to 1904. http://www.piedmont-historical-society.org/unityminutes.html


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

52 Ancestors in 52 Week #37 – Martha ‘Patsy’ Smith

My great-great-grandfather William Willis (1805-1855) was born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Although we believed his grandparents were Richard and Drucilla Barnett Willis [mostly because they were the only Willis family that remained in Spartanburg], we had been unable to place him within a specific family of their sons. Although the 1810 and 1820 census records for their son John Willis had tick marks for a male child born between 1800 and 1805, other Willis lines have placed another William Willis born about 1813 into that family; without supportive documentation, I could not justify adding another William.

Then a few weeks ago, my daughter, son, grandson, brother and I all either submitted or transferred DNA samples to a genealogy DNA matching website and a couple of weeks ago a matching descendant made contact with me showing our match with him to be through the wife of Richard and Drusilla’s son John – Martha ‘Patsy’ Smith Willis. We had already had a YDNA match with a descendant of John’s brother, Hezekiah, who was born in 1806 but that match still only validated the presumed connection to Richard and Drucilla and did not validate which of their sons was our William’s father. However, a DNA match with John’s wife eliminates the other families and validates what we had thought was logical from the records.

With that background, I can now write about my 4th great-grandmother, Martha ‘Patsy’ Smith Willis. Patsy was a common nickname for Martha and she apparently used both those names intermittently. She was born July 21, 1780 in Louisa County, Virginia to Edward Smith and Sarah ‘Sally’ Holman Rice. Her family moved to the Gaffney area of Spartanburg County sometime after 1784. She married John Willis, according to the International Genealogical Index, on November 21, 1799.

The names of the children of John and Martha/Patsy are incomplete and with little documentary support, but based on tick marks from the census records they had about nine sons and two daughters. Sons names associated with John and Martha/Patsy include Smith (1804), my 3rd great-grandfather William J. Willis (1805), Hezekiah (1806), Daniel (1810), Mitchell (1811), Richard (1814) and John C. (1815). Two other names  but without suggested birth dates are Edward and Irvin. The two daughters were Mahala (1807) and Malissa (1812). Another daughter may have been born in 1808 but no name is known.

Martha’s father died in 1815 and John Willis was listed among Edward’s seven children as a son-in-law in his will; this was typical of the time since the husband of a married woman generally had control of all property.

John and Martha belonged to the Unity Baptist Church in Spartanburg; this was known from the minutes where they were listed as dismissed from that congregation in December 1820, indicating they had moved their membership to another church.

Martha became a widow in October 1835. In the 1840 census, she was listed as a head of household with one male born between 1810 and 1820 living in the home with her and her sons, Richard and Daniel, were enumerated on either side of her.1840 census

Martha was not enumerated in the 1850 census and her death is presumed between 1840 and 1850. I have not found burial locations for either Martha or John.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #36 – Ann Jane Shaw

Ann Jane Shaw Jean was my 3rd great-grandmother. She was the daughter of William Shaw and Sarah Job. Someone has listed her birth date as January 3, 1766 probably in Guilford County, North Carolina; I haven’t seen documentation to support that date or location but there was probably a family Bible record from which someone recorded that date.

Based on the birth date and location of their first child, Ann Shaw and John Jean were likely married about 1817 in Lincoln County, Tennessee. I have not seen a marriage record and I have not not seen where any other descendant has reported a marriage date.

The children born to John and Ann Jane were: William Edmond (1820), Francis Marion (1821), Jesse Jean (1825), Martha Ann Jean (1826) [my 2nd great-grandmother], John Wesley Jean (1828), Sarah Jean (1830) [1st wife of my 2nd great-grandfather], David C. Jean (1831), Thomas Asbury Jean (1836), Wiley H. Jean, 1837), and Elizabeth A. Jean (1842). An unnamed daughter apparently died in 1823 and two other infants in 1832 and 1834.

Little is known of her life other than the names of her children. She died about 1845 prior to the time names were listed in census records; women, of course, rarely left a paper trail since all property was owned and taxes paid by their husbands. Her burial location is also unknown.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.