Covering genealogy, family history, historical events and places, and anything else related!

Friday, May 16, 2014

52 Ancestors: #18 Chapman Gordon

I am so glad to be able to write about my 5th-great-grandfather Chapman Gordon, because before my recent trip to Virginia, I did not have proof that he was my 5th-great-grandfather. I had seen a forum post which mentioned that Chapman Gordon left his estate to his daughters Eliza Mayo, Elizabeth Mayo, and Jane Layne. This will was the first item that I looked at when I went to the Library of Virginia. It is on Miscellaneous reel 4610,  Louisa County (Va.) Circuit Court. Records, 1742-1858, part of the Robert Alonzo Brock Collection. Chapman Gordon died in June 1855, and my 4th-great-grandmother Eliza (Gordon) Mayo had died by 1841, when her husband, my 4th-great-grandfather Jacob D. Mayo, married Nancy Lee. I wondered if maybe Chapman Gordon's bequest to Eliza was actually to Eliza's heirs. I also knew that Chapman Gordon had a daughter Elizabeth who married Thomas Mayo. Eliza and Elizabeth are such similar names that it seemed unlikely that they would be given to two daughters, unless one had previously died. But unlikely is not impossible! Yes, Chapman Gordon had an Eliza and an Elizabeth. Maybe the family wanted to honor two different relatives, or maybe they were twins who were given similar names. And the bequest was to "the children of Eliza Mayo decd."

Chapman Gordon is listed as security and witness for the marriage of Jacob D. Mayo and Eliza Gordon, further evidence that I have identified the right person.

Once I had this information, I looked for more information on Chapman Gordon. I knew that he had married Mary Layne in Goochland County, Virginia on 31 May 1843, but she could not be the mother of his children. I have not yet identified the mother (or mothers) of his daughters. I found the couple's 1850 United States Census enumeration. They were living in Louisa County, Virginia. Chapman Gordon was born about 1776 in Virginia.

In's Virginia Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850 collection, I found the description of a Spotsylvania County, Virginia apprenticeship record. On 5 July 1785, Chapman Gordon, apprenticed himself to Benjamin Haley. He had the consent of his mother Caty Gordon. Spotsylvania County is near Louisa County, and this Chapman Gordon seemed the right age to be mine. Because his mother gave consent, he had to have been underage.

On HeritageQuest, I found a 1934 manuscript by Frances Beal Smith Hodges, The Gordons of Spotsylvania County, Virginia. It contains information about the descendants of John George Gordon and Mary Sarah Chapman. Although there are a few sources listed in the text itself, most of the sources are listed toward the end and are vague, and it is not clear what information came from what source. Still, the manuscript could contain useful clues. The couple had a son named Chapman Gordon, born 15 January 1741. He is the right age to be the father of my Chapman Gordon. My Chapman Gordon could also be a son of one of the couple's other sons. They had at least one grandson named Chapman Gordon; he was born about 1757 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia and was the son of Charles Gordon and Mary (Boswell) Herndon. In 1770, the family moved to North Carolina. Chapman Gordon is not a very common name, so it seems likely that this Chapman Gordon is related to mine (they may be first cousins).

I found additional census enumerations for my Chapman Gordon in 1840, 1830, and 1810. I believe that I have found the right person because he is in the right area, is the right age, and in 1810, his household included one free white female under 10 and two free white females 10 through 15 (I know my Chapman Gordon had three daughters, and these girls seem to be about the right age). There is an older woman in the household in each of these census enumerations as well; perhaps she was Chapman Gordon's mother.

Chapman Gordon was in Goodwin's Co., 33rd (Mayo's) Virginia Militia in 1807, and was also in the War of 1812. His widow Mary applied for a War of 1812 widow's pension, but was rejected because of the date of her marriage (she did not quality under the act).

 Chapman Gordon's will, proven 10 September 1855 in Louisa County, Virginia

Register of Marriages, Goochland County, Virginia, 1817. Chapman Gordon was security and witness for the marriage of his daughter Eliza and Jacob D. Mayo.

1 comment:

  1. Chapman was also my 5th great grandfather. Amazing history.