WALLINGFORD-L ArchivesArchiver > WALLINGFORD > 2001-04 > 0987896311
Subject: [WALLINGFORD] Re: Letter from Mrs. Flora Willett Darnell dated February 23, 1931
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001 19:38:31 EDT
I will try and answer as many of your questions about Flora Willett Darnell's
letter. I would like to start with some background information to hopefully
put things in perspective.
Flora Willett Darnell was born about 1842 in Kentucky, a daughter of John
Wallingford Willett and Mary Rose. She would have been about 87 or 88 when
she wrote the letter in Feb 1931.
Nancy Ann (Willett) Willett was born 1 April 1773/74 in Berkeley Co, [W]VA
and died 20 April 1864 in Maysville, KY. I have a transcription of her
obituary, which was published in "The Dollar Weekly Bulleting" (Issue of
26/28 April 1864). It reads: "Died--Mrs. Nancy Willett, consort of Mr.
Richard Willett, dec'd, departed this life April 20, 1864 in the ninety-first
year of her age. Mrs. WIllett was born in Berkeley County, Virginia,
emgrated to Kentucky in 1799, sixty-five years ago, settled in Maysville and
remained a citizen of this vicinity until her death. Soon after her
settlement here, she and her most excellent husband united with the Methodist
Church, in which she remained a worthy member until her death. Mrs. Willett
possessed a good, well-balanced mind which had been well-cultivated. She had
the faculty of making her own family and visitors comfortable and happy
without apparent effort. She was remarkable for her neatness, industry,
cheerfulness, and placidity of temper. Her manner was simple and natural,
yet graceful and dignified. As a wife and mother she was especially noted."
Nancy was well advanced in years when she stayed with John W. Willett's
family in the winter of 1863. Flora was also advanced in years when she
wrote the letter. Flora's account is only hearsay. Her account of the
family of Joseph Wallingford is partially correct.
I have found no evidence that Joseph Wallingford had 3 wives, nor have I
found any evidence that his first wife was Harriet. On the contrary, there
are at least 3 pieces of evidence that her name was Elizabeth. In Joseph's
bible (published, I believe in 1826), he states that his wife Elizabeth died
on 10 Oct 1821. In a deed dated 6 April 1820 (recorded 25 Nov 1820 in Mason
Co Deed Bk W p. 221) Joseph and his wife Elizabeth deed property in Mason
County to Mary Wallingford and the children of Mark Wallingford (Margaret,
Prudence, Nancy, Basil, Phoebe & Mark). Joseph Thornton Wallingford's death
registration lists his parents as Joseph and Elizabeth Wallingford. He was
born in 1810.
After Elizabeth's death in 1821, Joseph married his sister-in-law, Mary
Whaley Wallingford (widow of Mark). They were married in Harrison County, KY
on 29 Aug 1822. As recorded in Joseph's bible, Mary died 23 Nov 1849.
Joseph and Elizabeth did have a daughter named Harriet who married John
Johnson (I'm descended from her). I suspect that either Nancy or Flora
confused Harriet with Elizabeth.
Neither Benjamin nor Prudence Wallingford left wills or estates to be
administered. I have been unable to find any primary documentation that
lists all of their heirs. There is proof for: Joseph, Nicholas, Mark,
Sarah/Sally, and Richard. There is strong circumstantial evidence for
Martha, Phoebe, Rebecca and Prudence and Elizabeth. I have not found a
marriage record for Benjamin and Prudence and doubt that I ever will but I
believe they were married in Maryland. There could have been some half
siblings but there is no proof either way that I know of.
Hampshire Co [W] Va's records are so so. There are deeds, wills & estates
and a few marriages from the 1820s. There are tax lists which have been
published. There are no Wallingfords in these or any other records I have
searched (deed index, wills and estates before 1800, and tax lists). I did
not search the Elliotts so there could be some there.
Benjamin and Prudence were definitely living in Berkeley Co, [W]VA up until
about 1800. Benjamin is on every tax list between 1782 and 1800 in that
county. Nicholas is also there and in the 1790s Richard and Joseph show up
as well. In one year, Joseph is actually named as a son of Benjamin. I've
also found David Blue, Jacob Applegate and Charles Willett in Berkeley Co
throughout the 1790s. The tradition that the four brothers (Joseph,
Nicholas, Mark & Richard) flatboated down the Ohio in 1775 is just not true.
For one thing, Mark was not born until 1778. Joseph was born in 1772 so he
would have only been 3. The obituary of Nancy Willett is probably correct
when it says that her family came to Mason County in 1799. After 1800,
Benjamin and his family start showing up in Mason County records.
I've rambled on long enough about this for now. If anybody has any questions
about this, please feel free to ask. I'm always glad to share my research.