Archiver > WVJACKSO > 2000-08 > 0965160654

From: Cheryl <>
Subject: [WVJackson] Charles Donaldson
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2000 13:10:54 -0700

Posted on: Jackson County, WV Query Forum
Board URL: http://cgi.rootsweb.com/~genbbs/genbbs.cgi/USA/WV/Jackson?read=1657

Surname: Ables, Miller, Donaldson

Thanks, Lisa, for identifying Anthony Ables, Sr., as the father of Martin
- I was stumped.

Martin Ables wife was Margaret, daughter of Charles Donaldson, and parents
to Jackson County's Jacob and Sarah (Miller) Ables. Jacob was born Dec
4, 1800.

Charles Donaldson was hung in 1797 for the murder of his own son, William.

In 1799, records of the dispersion of the estate address this relationship
specifically, stating "Margaret Donaldson, now Ables, wife of Martin Ables...".
That is a genealogical goodie when it is spelled out so clearly!

"The Monongalia Story" Vol. 2; Vol. II page 256 - 257
Charles Donaldson Murders His Son.
May 15, 1796 William Donaldson..found May 20. Father confesses. The "Company"
which witnesses his mark beneath the confession included Bartholomew Jenkins.
Bartholomew Jenkins testified that, being asked in what manner he murdered

Bartholomew Jenkins of full age being duly sworn deposeth Saith that on
the twentieth day of May l796 he heard Charles Donaldson Say that he murdered
his Son William Donaldson on the night of the l5th Instant, deponant went
to the home of Charles Donaldson, where he Saw William Donaldson lying
murdered at a stone heap, this deponent asked Charles Donaldson respecting
the murder, the Said Charles Donaldson Said he murdered his son. This Deponant
asked the Said Charles, in what manner he murdered the Said William, the
Said Charles answered & Said that he choked him to death with a rope that
he tied him in the bed while he was asleep, and the Said William gave a
Spring & got out of the Bed, (then) the Said Charles and William conversed
together & the Said Boy begged for god & asked to save his life, but the
Said Charles refused, and told him that he would kill him and draw the
rope So as to choke him, and then carried him to the Stone heap where he
was found dead.

With twelve identical testimonies coming from members of the search party,
Charles Donaldson was found guilty.

The court records indicate that although Charles Donaldson was found guilty
in l796, he was given a second trial the following spring. In April l797
Charles' wife Mary, his daughter Mary, his son James, and his daughter-in-law
Susannah testified. Unfortunately, records of their testimonies no longer
exist. On l6 May l797 Charles was found guilty once again. On l9 September
l797 the court paid Robert Ferrell ten dollars for constructing the gallows
for Charles' hanging. Charles Donaldson must have died in l797 since the
Monongalia County District Court granted Robert Ferrell $5.25 "to executing
Charles Donalson" as part of his l796 and l797 sheriff's expenses.

The reason for this murder can be found in Bishop Francis Asbury's diary
(p. 258 of The Monongalia Story, Vol. II). On 2 June l796 he wrote, " I
was informed of an awful circumstance: a man, aged seventy years, strangled
his own son to prevent his appearing as evidence against him for theft."

This thread: