III. Southwestern Virginia
We know from the following records of Morris County, New Jersey, that people from that area moved into the southwest portion of Virginia. The dates given in this article state that, at least as early as July 1773, members of Samuel Ford’s counterfeiting gang were being arrested in New Jersey. It was shortly after this that Ford made his way to Virginia. It must have been sometime later that his son and son-in-law visited him in Virginia, because he had already begun to rebuild his life. Indeed, he was on his third living wife by that time! This story makes interesting reading. Below is copied a short portion of this tale, only that which pertains to the Halsey family. If you are interested, try an internet search with “Samuel Ford” and Morris Jersey in the search box. You will find a lot of references.
Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Second Series, Vol. II., p. 15
“The Early History Morris County, New Jersey“, Rev. Joseph F. Tuttle, DD,
President of Wabash College, Indiana, Before the NJ Historical Society May 20, 1869
“From the best authority, I learn that [Samuel] Ford made his way to what was called the Green Brier Country, among the mountains of Virginia, where he assumed the name of his mother’s family, Baldwin. He there was a silversmith, and formed a partnership with another. During a severe illness he disclosed his real history to his partner’s wife, who so sympathized with him that after his recovery and the death of her own husband, she married him, so that he had his third living wife. His oldest son, William Ford [who married Jemima Halsey, d/o Ananias], and Stephen Halsey (son of Ananias) [Stephen later married William’s sister, Polly Ford], visited him in Virginia, where they found him with “a great property,” a new wife and some promising young Baldwins. It is possible that this distinguished Jerseyman, “who left his country for his country’s good,” may be the ancestor of some of the Virginia Baldwins who have figured in public life. The Jersey visitors asked the new wife if he had not deceived her, but she said she knew all his past history, and she had no fear of his returning to New Jersey. They described Ford as a “most melancholy man.” He professed to his son and Mr. Halsey his penitence, a grace that led to a religious life, which must have been somewhat weak in its nature, as it did not lend him to abandon his adulterous relations and do justice to the excellent woman in New Jersey, whom he left to sustain her family without a farthing’s aid from him.”
Jemima and Stephen Halsey mentioned above were first cousins to William Halsey who moved from Morris County to Grayson County.
Montgomery County, VA Plat Book A [for Fincastle County] – from Becky Sowers
“Surveyed for Thomas Halsey, 612 acres of land in Fincastle County being part of the Loyal Land Company grant agreeable to an order of council of the 16th of December 1773 lying in the north sided of south fork of Holston [River] including a Baptist meeting house joining the lands of Mackey Dean & Thomas.”
I have no idea who Thomas belongs to.
The following records had me fooled for a time. I thought surely these Halseys must be closely related to the Morris County, New Jersey Halseys that settled in Grayson County or at least to the Stephen Halsey who visited this region in the 1770‘s.. Although James Halsey begins life in Southampton, Long Island, he is only distantly related to the Grayson County branch. I have seen it written, but am still looking for certain proof, that the James Halsey that appears in Wythe Co. from about 1782 was from Orange County, New York. It was supposedly there that he married his wife, Sarah Heldrith (or Hildreth, etc), the daughter of Joseph. It would appear that James Halsey came to Virginia with his in-laws. (There is proof that Joseph Hildreth and his family moved to Virginia from Orange Co., NY.)
This James Halsey was the son of Silvanus Halsey who married Esther Halsey. Silvanus was the son of Ephraim Halsey and Martha Conkling of Southampton, New York. Silvanus and Esther moved to Blooming Grove, Orange Co., New York at some point.
The Heldrith were also from Blooming Grove. They are connected to the Grayson County Halseys through their mutual immigrant ancestor, Thomas Halsey.
1782 PP Tax List, Montgomery Co., Virginia
Halsey, Abraham 1 tithe 2 cattle ? horses
Halsey, James 1 tithe 3 cattle 10 horses
Hildreth, John 1 tithe 6 cattle 11 horses
Who is Abraham??
New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, William Richard Cutter
p. 632-633 “(IX) Silvanus, son of Ephraim Halsey, was born November 18, 1722, died February 14, 1815, at Blooming Grove, Orange county, New York. He married (first) Esther, daughter of Deacon Josiah and —- Halsey, (second) Widow Chard.
Children: . . . James, February 15, 1751;
Early Adventures on the Western Waters, Vol. III, Pt 2, Kegley, Mary B.
p. 666 1782 Wythe County
James Holsey on Capt. James Finley’s Co. of Militia
p. 666- 667 1785 “Joseph Heldrith made an agreement with a James Halsey, giving him title to one-half of a tract Heldrith lived on for which Heldrith had the patent, and one-half interest in a survey joing where he now lives, 190 acres. In return, Halsey was maintain and clothe Heldrith for life. . . Family records indicate that James Halsey married Sarah Heldrith. . . James died sometime shortly after the agreement was recorded, because on September 3, 1789, the widow Sarah Halsey was married to John Beltshire (also Belsha, Belshee, etc.) as recorded in Montgomery County.”
Ms. Kegley goes on to describe the family of James Halsey in a very well-documented chapter. Not wanting to plagiarize her work, I will instead summarize it and add try to include sources. The names of James’ Halsey’s children come from several places, beginning with a suit between the unnamed heirs of James Halsey, filed in 1801, against Jeffrey Heldrith, [son of Joseph & brother of Susan]. She cites two records Wythe County Order Book 1801-1805, p. 15, and Wythe County Deed Book 4, p. 317) which allow one to surmise the names of James Halsey’s sons as:
*Sylvanus Halsey who signed a release dated 12 April 1805. She identifies Sylvanus’ wife as Judith, but no children.
*Stephen Halsey (Holsie) who signed a release to Jeffrey on 8 Nov 1805.
When Sarah Heldrith Halsey Belshee wrote her will on 25 Feb 1830 she named sons Stephen and Sylvanus Halsey and daughters Catherine Gleaves [w/o Absalom Gleaves] and Sarah Harkrider [w/o Jacob Harkrader]. Other information in the will includes the names of Stephen Halsey’s children as: James C., Catherine, Esther, Elsa, Ann and Stephen.
Wythe County, Virginia Will Book 9, pg. 478-479 transcribed by Becky Sowers
I, Stephen Halsey of Wythe County Virginia do hereby make this my last will and testament as follows viz
1st I give devise and bequeath to my son James C. Halsey and his heirs forever two thirds of the two tracts of land conveyed to myself and Sarah Belshee by Sylvanus Halsey and Judith his wife by deed dated the 14th day of October 1817.
2nd I give devise and bequeath to my son John Trigg Halsey and his heirs forever the tract of land which I purchased of George Baker containing 107 acres except the part thereof which I sold to John Sutton, lying at the west-end of my lands adjoining the land of Thomas Patterson Deceased. Also I give devise & bequeath to my son John Trigg Halsey & his heirs forever another piece of land bounded as follows viz Beginning at the land I sold to John Sutton in the forks of the branch thence a straight line to the top of the cove mountain which [underneath which is written (square)] square line is to run square across my lands & to be parallel with to the line of the said 107 acre tract above mentioned which is nearest to my house and run towards the cove mountain thence westwardly along the top of the cove mountain to Crockett’s lands and thence with Crockett’s land to the lines of the said 107 acre tract above mentioned, thence with lines thereof to the land I sold to Sutton thence with Suttons line to the Beginning.
3rd I give devise and bequeath to my daughter Mary Ann Halsey and her heirs forever fifty -acres of land lying along the [connection?] of the turnpike road being the same land upon which William King now lives adjoining the land of John Sutton-also I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Anne Halsey all my household and kitchen furniture four hundred dollars in money and a home at my house so long as she remains single also all my beds & bedding & bed steads cupboard beaurs [bureaus?]
and , trunk.
4th All the remainder of my lands not herein aforementioned I give devise and bequeath unto my son Stephen Halsey and his heirs forever which remainder lies between the lands devised to John Trigg Halsey, James C. Halsey & Mary Anne Halsey & including my dwelling house. Also I give and bequeath to my son Stephen Halsey my waggon & gearing & harness.
5th I give and bequeath to each of children Jeffrey Halsey, Sally Patterson, Catherine King, Esther Patterson, Seny Ingram, Kettory Bateman, Margaret Maria Cowan, Amanda Leady, Eley Ann Shelton and Rachael Farmer One Dollar in money.
6th After paying my just debts and funeral expenses out of the remainder of my estate which is not herein otherwise devised or bequeathed I give and bequeath what is left thereof to my three sons James C Halsey John T Halsey and Stephen Halsey.
I hereby constitute and appoint my sons James C Halsey John Trigg Halsey and Stephen Halsey executors of this my last will and testament given under my hand and sealed the 28th day of November 1854. Stephen Halsey (SEAL)
Signed and acknowledged & published in the presence of the undersigned present together at the same time
Lewis Henly Robert Henley Jr. Joseph H. Holston
Probated in the county court of Wythe on Monday 13th June 1859.
Here is a very brief outline of this family –
James Halsey b. 1751?, d. bet. 2 April 1788 & 3 September 1789, m. Sarah Heldrith, d/o Joseph. She md. 2) John Beltshire (Belshee, Belsha, etc.) Children of James Halsey and Sarah Heldrith:
1. Sylvanus m. Judith [–?–]
2. Stephen m. [–?–]. Stephen d. bef. 13 June 1859 when his will was probated in Wythe Co. His children, named in his will:
i. James Clinton, b. abt 1815, m. Martha Warden, 7 March 1837. Moved to Missouri in 1865. Twelve children.
ii. John Trigg, b. 1822, m. Sally Painter, 1844. Served as captain in the CSA.
iii. Mary Anne
iv. Jeffrey m. Patsey Ann Hart, 1828.
v. Sarah ‘Sally’ b. 1803, d. 1884, m. James Patterson, 1 October 1825. James was b. 1795 and d. 1850.
vi. Catherine m. William King
vii. Easther m. Alexander Harvey Paterson, 22 October 1833, s/o William Patterson & Agnes Patton.
viii. Sena m. James Ingram, 1840.
ix. Kitturah m. John Bateman, 1837. Moved to Minnesota.
x. Margaret Maria m. Samuel T. Cowen, 1839. Nine children.
xi. Amanda m. [–?–] Leady.
xii. Elizabeth Ann m. [–?–] Shelton.
xiii. Rachel m. [–?–] Farmer.
3. Catherine ‘Caty’ m. Absalom Gleaves (Cleaves), 1803.
4. Sarah m. Jacob Harkrader.
(Information on the Patterson family from The Charles E. Roseberry-Betty Jean Keister Family of Montgomery and Pulaski, Greg Roseberry, p. 317-318)
1810 Census, Virginia, Wythe Co.
p. 836 Stephen Holsey 1 – – 1 – // 2 – 1
1 male <10 2 females <10
1 male 26-44 1 female 16-25
p. 837 Sylvester Holsey 1 – – 1 – // 3 1 – 1
1 male <10 3 females <10
1 male 26-44 1 female 10-15
1 female 26-44
We know who the Stephen Halsey family is, but who is Sylvester? He may be from the Grayson Co. Halseys. What I do know is that the Wythe County Halseys are not my line and so I will stop with this tentative identification of where they are from and the beginnings of their family in this county and let their descendants fill us in.