Saturday, April 25, 2009

Descendants of Elizabeth Harwood Semple

1. ELIZABETH HARWOOD 6 SEMPLE (JAMES5, JOHN4, JAMES3, ROBERT2, ROBERT1)1,2 was born 1795 in Virginia2,3, and died September 27, 1870 in Orange County, Virginia4. She married (1) WILLIAM B. POWER5. He was born Bet. 1775 - 17946, and died Bet. 1820 - 1827 6,7. She married (2) REV. MADISON PETTIS 8 1827 9, son of JOHN PETTIS and MARTHA. He was born Abt. 1793 in Virginia 10,11.

Notes for ELIZABETH HARWOOD SEMPLE:
According to Elizabeth Hawes Ryland's manuscript, "History of the Semple Family of Scotland and America," "Eliza was reared by Judge James Semple of New Kent County, who left her a fortune."

York County, Virginia Guardian Accounts, 1780-1823, p. 237:
Eliza became the ward of James Semple on March 3, 1806. He drew funding from the estate of her father to ensure her care and education. He charged approximately $100 to $150 per year for her bed, board and washing. She was educated by Mrs. Royall at a cost of $8 in 1806. She was taught by Mrs. Pagand in 1807 for $10 which included tuition and books. In 1808 Eliza was a student of Geo: Blackburne at the cost of $40 per year. Her wardrobe included bonnets, gowns from Donaghreys and from Richmond, many sundries at Blocks, bolts of blue and white silk, flannel, gingham, linen, holland and muslin, ribbons, buttons, needles with which to sew, high heels and other shoes, $3.00 was paid for the setting of her father's hair (I would assume in a piece of jewelry which was customary at the time) and cotton stockings. Eliza also travelled while living with Mr. Semple, at least to King and Queen and King William Counties, some of this travel by stage. Also, while she was living with him Eliza's inheritance from her father's estate grew through the hiring of his slaves and the rent and sale of his properties. James wrote to the Court on on occasion, "the woman Milly is raising a fine family of children + they will begin shortly to hire." He seems to have taken an active role in protecting her inheritance and making it prosper until settling the account in 1811, I would assume when she married William Power.

Eliza inherited slaves by the name of Massey, Tom and Susan from the estate of her deceased grandfather, John Semple. Her father was also deceased with Eliza as his own child. She therefore inherited the property as his rightful heir. The problem is that her husband treated the slaves as his own and involved them in a deed of trust [see William B. Power's notes]. When he died, the slaves were considered part of his estate and not Eliza's. She should have been entitled to the money since it came from her family. However, when she got remarried her children with Mr. Power wanted the money since it was their father's legally."

On July 28, 1845 Eliza Pettis made a desperate plea to the chancery court deciding her fate in the case Pettis vs. Power [see notes for William B. Power]. Eliza claimed that she owned about $1,000 worth of property in her own right, including a slave named Nancy, that she had with William Power when she married Madison Pettis. However, Pettis "has squandered and ungenerously appropriated them to his individual purposes and has for some years forsaken and abandoned her now with five helpless children the offspring of their marriage and all of which are destitute of any aid...from the said Pettis in the means he possessed himself of in the right of his said wife..." Basically she pleaded with the court to give her some money from the slave sales of William Power's estate to support her and her helpless children because Madison ran off with all that she had. However, the court was unsympathetic because her children with Mr. Pettis were not entitled to anything. She was given one-sixteenth of the sale but that was equivalent to $52.19.

Letter dated "Williamsburg June 27 1851" and held at the Library of Virginia, part of accession no. 24193:

"My dear cousin Susan - Sallie's school is now over and she will go to Richmond on the first of July but cousin William must suit his own conveniences in sending for her as it will be no matter about her staying a week or two with her brothers - she never was so far from home before and of course will need the guidance of a friend therefore my cousin let me beg of you to act by her as you would by your own, for I know she is very thoughtless yet a word will be sufficient as she has always been ruled by affection - I almost enjoy her the pleasure she will have you know not how glad I would be if I could but go and spend one week with your beloved family - if I can I shall try and go to Richmond in September to bring Sallie home but it is always so difficult for me to leave home that I should not be surprised if I did not - I hope you have in timely recovered your health and that you are now enjoying all the happinesses that a devoted mother and wife feels in the assurance of having done her duty and that your last days may be crowned with the blessings that David speaks of in having many children - I want to see you and cousin William with them all around you, once more - and to feel as I have felt that I was with friends in deed - Eliza's health is greatly improved she writes word, when she left me thought it was likely I never should see her again but it has pleased God to raise her up and I feel truly thankful she says she is vary happy and that every thing that affection can dictate is done for her in the house of his parents who are indeed such to her - tell Mary she owe's me a letter I thought she promised to write oftener, but think she must have forgotten us remember me to Catherine tell her I should be delighted to go to see her, but she must love Sallie for my sake as she says she hopes to stay some with her during her long visit - my dear Aunts health is very feeble, she has moved so far up the county that I scarcely ever see her so that I feel like one left almost without relatives Willie sends his love to you all he wants very much to go with Sallie - but I tell him he must be a clever fellow and when he is a man he can go - he will spend his vacation in Norfolk with Judson, so that I shall be quite alone Sister Jones was to see me last week she is well and desired to be remembered to you, I like her very much indeed she appears to be an excellent lady - Henry's wife has a sweet baby they call it Lucy Frances you never saw a greater pet than it is with us all - Sallie joins me in love to all and bids me say that she is anxiously looking forward to the time when she will be with you - I cannot tell you cousin Susan how much I feel about her, now that I have gone so far in educating her for a teacher I do not know how I shall ever give her up to go from me, for her love is the greatest earthly blessing I have and I can but hope that God will open a way for her to do without - She will have to go another year to school although it will be a hard scuffle for me to keep them both at school yet I shall try although Willie is very anxious to go to some business do write to me after Sallie is with you and let me know how she behaves - but I feel she will be in good hands not only with you but I can entrust her to one who has promised to be a father to the fatherless remember me to any who may ask after me not forgetting dear sister Fox good bye my dear cousin I remain your truly E Pettis"

Religious Herald, October 27, 1870:
"Departed this life, on the 27th September, 1870, at the residence of W. F. Brooking, Esq., in Orange county, Va., MRS. ELIZA PETTIS, of Williamsburg, Va., in the 75th year of her age. She was spending a part of the summer with her daughter, Mrs. Brooking, as was her custom yearly, and had been unwell from some days before her death, but was considered much better, and expected in a short time to return to her home. The night on which she died she retired as usual, and was found dead the next morning, with her little grandson (who accompanied her on her visit) sleeping by her side. So quietly did this saint of God pass away to her rest, that others sleeping in the same room with her were not aware of it until morning. She lived a holy life - her end was peace. Sister Pettis leaves seven children to mourn the loss of a mother, such as few have been blest with. They are all settled in life, heads of families, all pious, and one of her sons a minister of the gospel. She was baptized in York river by her uncle, Rev. Robert Semple, in the summer of 1822, which makes her 48 years a member of the Baptist church. She loved the church to which she belonged, and was devoted to its interests. She was beloved by, and enjoyed the confidence of, all her brethren as well as the community generally. We feel that she is a loss to us, but her holy life assures us that our loss is her gain. May her children, her brethren and friends be prepared to meet her in heaven, is the prayer of her PASTOR."

More About ELIZABETH HARWOOD SEMPLE:
Baptism: 1822, York County, Virginia 12
Cause of Death: died in her sleep 12

Notes for WILLIAM B. POWER:
William and his family lived in York County at the time of the 1820 census. He was the owner of five female slaves.

In 1822, William Power entered into a deed of trust with John F. Bryan and Frederick B. Power involving several slaves that his wife inherited from the estate of her grandfather, John Semple. Upon Williams death, the slaves were to be sold for the support of his children. However, William died but the slaves were never sold as ordered. His oldest sons, James and John borrowed against their inheritance from their uncle, Frederick B. Power. In 1841 the slaves were finally sold and the money divided. William's wife Eliza, who had since remarried to Madison Pettis, argued that she was entitled to part of the money seeing as though they were he grandfather's slaves. She and Madison wanted her to receive the one-third due her by right of dower. I feel that Madison pressured Eliza to make the suit and that she was less interested in doing so. However, Madison left Eliza during the proceedings so the one-sixteenth that she was eventually awarded went into a trust in her name via John F. Bryan.

Notes for REV. MADISON PETTIS:
In 1830 Madison and his family were living in James City County, Virginia, at which time he owned eight slaves. He seems to have been a Baptist minister in York County during the years 1833 and 1834, conducting at least two weddings in that county.

Madison apparently abandoned his family sometime in the early 1840s. In a letter to her cousin Susan in June of 1851, Eliza Pettis wrote about her daughter Sallie spending the summer in Richmond with family. She acknowledged her thankfulness that in cousin William she could "...entrust her to one who has promised to be a father to the fatherless." Madison may have gone to Orange County, Virginia and began living with a woman named Sarah Highlander. Madison was listed as the head of her household in 1850. She had four children named Samuel age 8, Thomas age 7, Josephine age 3 and Pamelia L. Highlander who was one month old. In 1860 they were all listed as Pettuses including Madison age 56, Sarah age 45, Samuel age 18, Thomas age 16, Pamelia L. age 10 and Rebicah Pettus age 1.

There was a land purchase between a Madison Pettis and a John Dodd there in 1843. This land purchase corresponds with the time our Madison Pettis left his wife and children so I believe it is the same person. However, by 1844 this Madison had run up debts and had to use the land in a deed of trust to pay them off.

More About MADISON PETTIS and ELIZABETH SEMPLE:
Marriage: 1827 13
Separation: Bet. 1841 - 1845 13

Children of ELIZABETH SEMPLE and WILLIAM POWER are:
i. JAMES F. 7 POWER 13, b. Bet. 1810 - 1820 14; d. Aft. 1845 15.
ii. JOHN W. POWER 15, b. Bet. 1810 - 1820 16; d. Aft. 1845 17.

Notes for JOHN W. POWER:
According to a property agreement written by John on October 29, 1838, he would be attending school in Richmond. He had borrowed against the estate of his deceased father from his uncle Frederick B. Powers. This document signed over his inheritance to pay off two previous loans and "any monies he may send me this winter to aid in my education in Richmond."

iii. HENRY S. B. POWER 17, b. Abt. 1823, York County, Virginia 18; d. Aft. June 1850 18; m. SUSAN A. C. TAYLOR 19, Abt. November 30, 1848, York County, Virginia 19; b. Abt. 1826, York County, Virginia 20; d. Aft. June 1850 20.

Notes for HENRY S. B. POWER:
Samuel Sheild was Henry's legal guardian after his father's death. In 1850, Henry was working as a farmer and owned $1,200 worth of real estate. It seems that perhaps his mother-in-law and possibly his wife's brother was living with he and Susan at that time.

More About HENRY POWER and SUSAN TAYLOR:
Bondsman: John H. Morrison 21
Marriage: Abt. November 30, 1848, York County, Virginia 21
Marriage bond: November 30, 1848, York County, Virginia 21

iv. ROBERT B. S. POWER 22, b. Bef. 1827 22; d. Bef. 1841 22.

Notes for ROBERT B. S. POWER:
His name was likely Robert Baylor Semple Power - this is only a guess but it would make sense. Robert Baylor Semple was the child's great uncle, a prominent Baptist minister. This child died in infancy.

Children of ELIZABETH SEMPLE and MADISON PETTIS are:
v. ROBERT BAYLOR 7 PETTIS 23, b. July 1829, York County, Virginia 24,25,26; d. July 06, 1908, Richmond, Virginia 27; m. (1) MARY JANE HANKINS 28, Abt. December 05, 1850, Richmond, Virginia 28; b. Bet. 1830 - 1831, King William County, Virginia 29,30; d. August 02, 1864, Richmond, Virginia 31; m. (2) MARIA LOUISA BRANCH 32,33, October 16, 1867, Richmond, Virginia 34; b. November 1836, Chesterfield County, Virginia 35,36; d. September 17, 1915, Richmond, Virginia 37.

Notes for ROBERT BAYLOR PETTIS:
Robert was well-educated and entered the carpentry trade as a young man. He moved from Williamsburg to Richmond, Virginia around 1850 and started his family. Robert served as an officer for the local defense troops during the Civil War, rising to the rank of first lieutenant. After the war, he served Richmond in various capacities, having been for nine years deputy inspector of customs, serving under Presidents Cleveland, McKinley and Roosevelt. He owned a lovely home at 623 Holly Street, now demolished, and has a large tombstone and family plot in Riverview Cemetery.

More About ROBERT BAYLOR PETTIS:
Burial: July 07, 1908, Riverview Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia 38
Cause of Death: complication of diseases 39

Notes for MARY JANE HANKINS:
Mary may have been the daughter or sister of Oliver P. Hankins. She is buried in an unmarked grave in Shockoe Cemetery.

More About MARY JANE HANKINS:
Burial: August 03, 1864, Shockoe Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia 40,41
Cause of Death: typhoid fever 41

More About ROBERT PETTIS and MARY HANKINS:
Marriage: Abt. December 05, 1850, Richmond, Virginia 42

Notes for MARIA LOUISA BRANCH:
Maria was a Drake widow.

Maria was able to read and write. She was married to a Drake before Robert Pettis. According to the 1900 census, Maria was the mother of four children, two of which were deceased at that time. I believe that Maria suffered with nephritis for some time before her death.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 19, 1915:
"MRS. LOUISA B. PETTIS - Mrs. Louisa Branch Pettis, widow of Captain Robert B. Pettis, died at her home, 623 Holby [sic.] Street, Friday morning at 8 o'clock, aged seventy-eight years. She is survived by the following children: J. P. and G. W. Pettis, of Richmond; W. B. Pettis, of Cairo, Ill.; Mrs. N. W. Glasgow, and Mrs. M. A. Clark, of Richmond; and Mrs. L. T. Royall, of Washington, D. C."

"PETTIS - The funeral of MRS. LOUISA BRANCH PETTIS, widow of Captain Robert B. Pettis, will take place SUNDAY AFTERNOON at 4 o'clock from her residence, 623 Holly Street. Interment in Riverview."

More About MARIA LOUISA BRANCH:
Burial: September 19, 1916, Riverview Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia 43
Cause of Death: chronic interstitial nephritis 43
Medical Information: acute dilation of the throat 43

More About ROBERT PETTIS and MARIA BRANCH:
Marriage: October 16, 1867, Richmond, Virginia 44

vi. JUDSON R. PETTIS45, b. Bet. 1828 - 1832, Williamsburg, Virginia 45,46; d. Aft. June 1870 47; m. (1) JANE 48, Bef. June 1850 48; b. Abt. 1830, Virginia; d. Bef. June 1860 49; m. (2) ANNA DECORDY 50, April 26, 1861, Norfolk, Virginia 50; b. Bet. 1839 - 1842, New York, New York 50,51; d. Aft. June 1870 51.

Notes for JUDSON R. PETTIS:
Judson worked as a house carpenter, more specifically a sash and blind maker. He was also a soldier in 1861.

More About JUDSON PETTIS and JANE:
Marriage: Bef. June 1850 52

More About JUDSON PETTIS and ANNA DECORDY:
Exact location: a residence 53
Marriage: April 26, 1861, Norfolk, Virginia 53
Marriage license: April 26, 1861, Norfolk, Virginia 53
Married By: A. J. Coffman 53

vii. ELIZA S. PETTIS 54,55, b. Abt. 1830, York County, Virginia 56; d. Aft. September 1870 57; m. WILLIAM FLEMING BROOKING 58, January 22, 1851, Liberty Mills, Orange County, Virginia 59; b. November 03, 1823 60; d. Abt. November 1892 60.

Notes for ELIZA S. PETTIS:
Eliza apparently became very ill shortly after her marriage. Her mother wrote to cousin Susan of Richmond in June of 1851 to say that "Eliza's health is greatly improved she writes word, when she left me thought it was likely I never should see her again but it has pleased God to raise her up and I feel truly thankful she says she is vary happy and that every thing that affection can dictate is done for her in the house of his parents who are indeed such to her."

Marriage Notes for ELIZA PETTIS and WILLIAM BROOKING:
Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser, January 31, 1851:
"Married - At Liberty Mills, Orange County on Jan. 22, by Rev. Joseph Earnest, William F. Brooking, to Miss Eliza S. Pettis, formerly of Williamsburg."

More About WILLIAM BROOKING and ELIZA PETTIS:
Marriage: January 22, 1851, Liberty Mills, Orange County, Virginia 61
Married By: Rev. Joseph Earnest 61

viii. SARAH PETTIS 62, b. Abt. 1834, York County, Virginia 62; d. Aft. June 1851 63.

Notes for SARAH PETTIS:
Sallie spent the summer of 1851 in Richmond, staying with various family members. Her mother was putting her through school to be a teacher but worried that Sallie might not make it through her final year. In a letter to her cousin Susan, Eliza Pettis wrote "...now that I have gone so far in educating her for a teacher I do not know how I shall ever give her up to go from me, for her love is the greatest earthly blessing I have and I can but hope that God will open a way for her to do without." I would take this to mean that Eliza did not want Sallie to get married before finishing her schooling. From the same letter we also see that Sallie was a young woman with a wild streak in her. Her mother told cousin Susan that Sallie "...will need the guidance of a friend therefore my cousin let me beg of you to act by her as you would by your own, for I know she is very thoughtless yet a word will be sufficient as she has always been ruled by affection." Eliza closed the letter by requesting that cousin Susan "...let me know how she behaves."

ix. WILLIE PETTIS 63, b. Abt. 1837, York County, Virginia 64; d. Aft. June 1851 65.

Notes for WILLIE PETTIS:
Willie attended school as a child but was restless. His mother wrote to a cousin Susan of Richmond in 1851 stating that "...it will be a hard scuffle for me to keep them both at school yet I shall try although Willie is very anxious to go to some business..." He spent that summer with his brother Judson in Norfolk.

Endnotes

1. Pettis vs. Powers, etal, Chancery causes, York County, Virginia, index no. 1846-001.
2. Frederick A. Virkus, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealog, Volume III, (Baltimore, 1968), 161.
3. Robert B. Pettis household, 1900 census, Richmond, Virginia, ED 65, p. 19, ln. 51.
4. Mrs. Eliza Pettis obituary, Religious Herald, October 27, 1870.
5. Pettis vs. Powers, etal, Chancery causes, York County, Virginia, index no. 1846-001.
6. Wm. Power household, 1830 census, York County, Virginia, p. 156.
7. Pettis vs. Powers, etal, Chancery causes, York County, Virginia, index no. 1846-001.
8. Pettis-Drake marriage register entry, Richmond, Virginia, 1867, p. 92, ln. 17.
9. Pettis vs. Powers, etal, Chancery causes, York County, Virginia, index no. 1846-001.
10. Frederick A. Virkus, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealog, Volume III, (Baltimore, 1968).
11. Robt. B. Pettis household, 1880 census, Richmond, Virginia, ED 79, p. 31A, ln. 5.
12. Mrs. Eliza Pettis obituary, Religious Herald, October 27, 1870.
13. Pettis vs. Powers, etal, Chancery causes, York County, Virginia, index no. 1846-001.
14. Wm. Power household, 1830 census, York County, Virginia, p. 156.
15. Pettis vs. Powers, etal, Chancery causes, York County, Virginia, index no. 1846-001.
16. Wm. Power household, 1830 census, York County, Virginia, p. 156.
17. Pettis vs. Powers, etal, Chancery causes, York County, Virginia, index no. 1846-001.
18. Henry Power household, 1850 census, York County, Virginia, p. 359.
19. Michael Pollock, York County Virginia Marriages Volume 1 Bonds & Ministers' Returns 1769-1853, (Athens, Georgia, 1994).
20. Henry Power household, 1850 census, York County, Virginia, p. 359.
21. Michael Pollock, York County Virginia Marriages Volume 1 Bonds & Ministers' Returns 1769-1853, (Athens, Georgia, 1994).
22. Pettis vs. Powers, etal, Chancery causes, York County, Virginia, index no. 1846-001.
23. Robert Baylor Pettis obituary, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, July 7, 1908.
24. Robert B. Pettis household, 1900 census, Richmond, Virginia, ED 65, p. 19, ln. 51.
25. Robert Baylor and Louisa Branch Pettis tombstone, Riverview Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia, c. 1998.
26. Pettis-Drake marriage register entry, Richmond, Virginia, 1867, p. 92, ln. 17.
27. Robert Baylor Pettis obituary, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, July 7, 1908.
28. Pettis-Hankins marriage consent, Richmond, Virginia, 1850.
29. Ro. Pettis household, 1860 census, Henrico County, Virginia, p. 618, ln. 34.
30. George Warren Pettis death certificate no. 1520-17470, Commonwealth of Virginia, 1936.
31. Mrs. Mary J. Pettis obituary, Richmond Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, August 3, 1864.
32. Mrs. Maria L. Pettis death certificate no. 205-21161, Commonwealth of Virginia, 1915.
33. Mrs. Louisa Branch Pettis obituary, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, September 19, 1915.
34. Pettis-Drake marriage register entry, Richmond, Virginia, 1867, p. 92, ln. 17.
35. Robert B. Pettis household, 1900 census, Richmond, Virginia, ED 65, p. 19, ln. 51.
36. Pettis-Drake marriage register entry, Richmond, Virginia, 1867, p. 92, ln. 17.
37. Mrs. Maria L. Pettis death certificate no. 205-21161, Commonwealth of Virginia, 1915.
38. Robert Baylor Pettis obituary, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, July 7, 1908.
39. Robert B. Pettis obituary, The News Leader, Richmond, Virginia, July 7, 1908, p. 6.
40. Mrs. Mary J. Pettis obituary, Richmond Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, August 3, 1864.
41. Miss Mary J. Pettis interment card, Shockoe Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia, 1864.
42. Pettis-Hankins marriage consent, Richmond, Virginia, 1850.
43. Mrs. Maria L. Pettis death certificate no. 205-21161, Commonwealth of Virginia, 1915.
44. Pettis-Drake marriage register entry, Richmond, Virginia, 1867, p. 92, ln. 17.
45. Pettis-DeCordy marriage license, Norfolk, Virginia, 1861.
46. Judson R. Pettis household, 1850 census, Norfolk, Virginia, p. 89.
47. Judson Pettis household, 1870 census, Norfolk, Virginia, p. 156.
48. Judson R. Pettis household, 1850 census, Norfolk, Virginia, p. 89.
49. S. Higginbotham household, 1860 census, Norfolk, Virginia, p. 474.
50. Pettis-DeCordy marriage license, Norfolk, Virginia, 1861.
51. Judson Pettis household, 1870 census, Norfolk, Virginia, p. 156.
52. Judson R. Pettis household, 1850 census, Norfolk, Virginia, p. 89.
53. Pettis-DeCordy marriage license, Norfolk, Virginia, 1861.
54. Eliza Pettis household, 1850 census, York County, Virginia, p. 368.
55. Brooking family Bible record, Library of Virginia, Richmond.
56. Eliza Pettis household, 1850 census, York County, Virginia, p. 368.
57. Mrs. Eliza Pettis obituary, Religious Herald, October 27, 1870.
58. Brooking family Bible record, Library of Virginia, Richmond.
59. Brooking-Pettis marriage announcement, Richmond Whig & Public Advertiser, January 31, 1851.
60. Brooking family Bible record, Library of Virginia, Richmond.
61. Brooking-Pettis marriage announcement, Richmond Whig & Public Advertiser, January 31, 1851.
62. Eliza Pettis household, 1850 census, York County, Virginia, p. 368.
63. Letter from E. Pettus to cousin Susan, June 27, 1851, Library of Virginia accession no. 24193.
64. Eliza Pettis household, 1850 census, York County, Virginia, p. 368.
65. Letter from E. Pettus to cousin Susan, June 27, 1851, Library of Virginia accession no. 24193.

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