Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.


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John Langhorne Arrived in the Royal Colony of Virginia about 1666 and his Descendants Reunion Next Week! –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #29

The Langhorne family reunion is coming up in a week and a half, August 1-3, 2014,  and I am so excited!  As far as I know, this is the first reunion this branch of the family has ever had. Parts of this group reunion regularly, but not as Langhornes! The Spangler branch of this family has a reunion every other year! The descendants of Evelyn Langhorne, my great-grandmother, are relatively small in number, 52, I think I counted recently! We were close as children, but as the older generation died, and as we moved to many different states in the US, we don’t see each other as often as we’d like! Due to my genealogical research, and to the miracles of facebook, I began to renew friendships with my immediate cousins, and  to get to know some of my Spangler cousins, and attended their reunion in 2013!  I fell in love with their wonderful family, my cousins,  and with Patrick County, Virginia’s breathtaking beauty in the mountainous area of southwest Virginia.  This is where our great- great- grandfather, James Steptoe had a 13,000 acre plantation! This is the same family as Lady Nancy Langhorne Astor, and the Gibson Girls, and many other people I have been writing about in my blog. They are a large family whose first immigrant, John Langhorne, came to  Virginia about 1666.  That is a lot of history! 348 years! Many families were huge as was the tradition. When some of us decided to organize a reunion, we quickly realized we did not have time to do the research and organization to find all the Langhornes. So, I got together with the Spanglers, and we decided to try uniting our two branches, the descendants of Fannie Langhorne Spangler  and Evelyn Langhorne Houchins, sisters and daughters of James Steptoe Langhorne and Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro! I volunteered to head up the organizing effort, because I wanted it to happen so strongly!  Even though we emphasized our two branches of the family, we were open to any Langhorne relation joining us! 

As part of this challenge to write about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks, I have chosen to highlight the Langhorne family to encourage people to attend the reunion and drum up interest! But of course, I have ended up learning so much! I even met another cousin , a descendant of a different child of James Steptoe Langhorne, the author of the new book The Virginia Langhornes, by James C. Langhorne. We have actually only met online, and will meet in person at the reunion where he will meet all of us as well as speak to us about his book. How I am looking forward to that! I am already planning to interview some family members while there, (look out!) , so that I can blog about them later! 

John Langhorne, arrived in Virginia by 1670 with his wife Rebecca Carter. Wow, here it is, 344 years later, and the history between us is staggering! John and Rebecca settled on a plantation on the James River and became members of the landed gentry very quickly.  Besides my cousin james C. Langhorne’s book, one of the foremost historians writing about John Langhorne has been Thomas Litten.  He states that John was born in 1640 and came to Warwick County, Va. in 1666. dying in 1687.  Just think, he lived only 47 years.  When I realize what he accomplished in 47 years, it amazes me!  Thomas Litten tells us in “The Langhornes–A First Family of Virginia”         

 

“Due to the destruction of a large number of Warwick County records during the Civil War, all that is known of Captain John Langhorne, is that he was a powerful and influential man. Upon his arrival in Virginia, John Langhorne purchased 1,300 acres from William Whitby, Jr. who was a Burgess for Warwick County. To this he later added 700 acres, which was acquired by a royal grant through the importation of indentured servants. As the most densely populated, and hence the most civilized and desirable county in Virginia, Warwick was an excellent location for John Langhorne to build his fortune. His 2,000-acre plantation was one of the largest in the lower Tidewater region. Among the larger planters of his day, John Langhorne traded his tobacco directly with the mother country for a hefty profit. He also handled shipments for the smaller planters who could not afford direct trade with England.

By the mid 1670’s John Langhorne had been appointed with Col. William Byrd I and Maj. Robert Beverley to fortify the three main rivers of Virginia. The coveted assignment proved to be very lucrative, and over the next several years, the House of Burgesses recorded many payments to John Langhorne, the largest of which amounted to 90,000 pounds of tobacco. At a time when most of the modest Virginia farmers made their living off of little more than 1,000 pounds of tobacco annually, this was an incredible sum. John Langhorne, William Byrd, and Robert Beverley were not soldiers themselves, rather they were assigned to oversee the construction and operation of the essential forts. On the heels of his success with the York River Fort, John Langhorne was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1680, thus establishing a tradition of political service that would characterize his prominent descendents.

Capt. John Langhorne died around 1687, leaving his large estate in the capable care of his wife and his good friend Col. Miles Cary II of neighboring Richneck plantation, until his eldest son John Langhorne, Jr. (1666-1688) came of age. John Jr. along with the youngest son William Langhorne died early, leaving Maurice Langhorne to inherit the entire estate.

As the sole heir of John Langhorne, Maurice Langhorne (1670-1698) inherited a huge estate. Around 1690 he married Anne Cary of “The Forest”. Anne Cary was the daughter of Capt. Henry Cary, a planter who was well-known as the master builder of Williamsburg. The marriage of Maurice Langhorne to Anne Cary was a good one, for the Carys were one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the Virginia Colony. In 1695, Maurice and Anne Langhorne had their only child, whom they named John Langhorne. Within three short years Maurice Langhorne died, and young John was sent to “The Forest” to be raised by his maternal grandparents Henry and Judith Cary. Anne Cary Langhorne soon remarried, a member of another prominent Tidewater family, Benjamin Harrison III of Charles City County. Until John Langhorne III (1695-1767) reached his majority, the Harrison family operated Gambell plantation. For the next twenty years, John Langhorne would spend his days in the polite atmosphere of the Cary plantation.

When in his early twenties however, John Langhorne III had become anxious for his own personal success. Thus in 1719, he took over Gambell and married Mary Beverley of Middlesex County. Mary Beverley was a granddaughter of Capt. John Langhorne’s old friend and contemporary Maj. Robert Beverley. Throughout his long career, Hon. John Langhorne served as a Justice of the Peace, a member of the House of Burgesses, Sheriff of Warwick County, and Presiding Justice of Warwick County from 1749-1762. In addition to his numerous political duties, John Langhorne III continued to expand his land holdings by purchasing new plantations in Chesterfield County, and was also a highly successful merchant, continuing the tradition laid out by his fortune-founding grandfather some fifty years before. John Langhorne and Mary Beverley had three children who left issue. Their only daughter Lockey (named after Judith Lockey, the wife of Capt. Henry Cary and mother of Anne Cary) was successfully courted by Thomas Tabb. Lockey’s considerable dowry helped to establish the Tabb family as members of the Tidewater elite. The elder son, Maj. Maurice Langhorne II (1719-1790) removed to Cumberland County to live near his cousin Col. Archibald Cary of “Ampthill” and his lovely wife, the former Mary Randolph of “Curles”. This Maurice Langhorne bought thousands of acres in Cumberland and established himself as a great success in his own right.

The younger son, Maj. William Langhorne (1721-1797) held possession of the Warwick County estates and became the most prominent of the three. He married Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook, a cousin of George Washington and Thomas Nelson, and daughter of the wealthy Yorktown merchant Col. Henry Scarsbrook. Henry Scarsbrook was the great-grandson of Capt. Nicholas Martiau, the man whose plantation was later turned into Yorktown. Like his father, William Langhorne served as a Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, and as a Burgess. He was also a magistrate for forty years. During the Revolutionary War, William Langhorne served as aide-de-camp to the Marquis de Lafayette, was a member of the Committee of Safety, and was the only representative of Warwick County for the first four out of five Revolutionary Conventions. His service has been commemorated on a memorial in Williamsburg. Of his nine children, two sons were the most prominent. Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne (1760-1797) married the daughter of his Uncle Maj. Maurice Langhorne of Cumberland, thus reuniting two lines of family inheritance. Marrying of cousins, a common practice among the wealthy families of Virginia and other colonies likewise, helped to keep money in the family. John Scarsbrook Langhorne’s younger brother, another Maurice Langhorne (1769-1818) married Martha Holladay of “Indian Fields”, and their grandson Maurice Finney Langhorne married Lillian Isabelle Blair Polk, a close relative of President James K. Polk.

Due to the untimely drowning of their father in the James River in 1797, the three sons of Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne received equal portions of both their father and their grandfather’s estates. An interesting event occurred at this time. Peter Carr, a favorite nephew of Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to George Washington under the name of his kinsman John Langhorne. The letter was intended to “elicit political sentiments useful to the republican cause in Virginia.” However, when it was discovered that John Langhorne had recently died and that the true author of the letter was Peter Carr, George Washington became very suspicious of Thomas Jefferson, as he had assumed that Peter Carr had written the letter under the instructions of Thomas Jefferson. The infamous “Langhorne Letter” was published in 1803.

The eldest of the three brothers and heirs of John Scarsbrook Langhorne’s estate was William Langhorne (1783-1858) who moved to Bedford County, where he wed Catherine Callaway, the daughter of the extremely rich planter and iron manufacturer Col. James Callaway of “Royal Forest”, whose third wife was Mary Langhorne of Cumberland. William Langhorne was, like his father-in-law, a planter and iron manufacturer, who was said to be the most courtly gentleman of his day.

The second brother Maurice Langhorne (1787-1865) moved to Lynchburg, where his inherited wealth was fantastically increased by his successful forays in the Lynchburg tobacco market. Before he died, Maurice Langhorne built for his children the famous “Langhorne’s Row,” a set of four extravagant Greek Revival Lynchburg townhouses, whose architectural sophistication was unmatched anywhere in Virginia with the sole exception of Richmond.

The youngest brother Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790-1854) would surpass them all. Although he was first seated on some of the Cumberland County lands that he had inherited through his mother, he quickly resolved to move to Lynchburg with his brother Maurice. In 1816 Henry S. Langhorne married Frances Callaway Steptoe, the highly sought after daughter of Hon. James Steptoe and Frances Callaway of “Federal Hill”. Here begins a series of interesting family connections that beautifully illustrate the “web of kinship” that existed between Virginia’s ruling families. Frances Callaway was an older sister of Catherine Callaway, wife of Henry Langhorne’s brother William. Hon. James Steptoe was the eldest son of Westmoreland County planter Col. James Steptoe of “Nominy Hall” and his second wife Elizabeth Eskridge of “Sandy Point” (a daughter of Col. George Eskridge, the guardian of Mary Ball Washington). Hon. James Steptoe had two sisters, Elizabeth Steptoe who married Col. Philip Ludwell Lee of “Stratford”, and Anne Steptoe who married Samuel Washington and became the mother of George Steptoe Washington who in turn married Lucy Payne, the sister of First Lady Dolly Payne Madison. Hon. James Steptoe also had two half sisters who were his mother’s daughters by her first husband William Aylett. The first sister, Mary Aylett, married Thomas Ludwell Lee, and the second, Anne Aylett, became the first wife of Richard Henry Lee of “Chantilly”.

The powerful connections of the Steptoe and Callaway families ensured that the Langhornes, although newcomers from the Tidewater, were met with constant success in the Virginia Piedmont. As the planting of tobacco was no longer as profitable as it had once been, Henry S. Langhorne erected in Lynchburg, the second largest milling firm in Virginia. He never abandoned planting though, and continued to buy numerous plantations in Bedford, Campbell and Amherst Counties. In 1845, he retired and relocated to “Cloverdale”, the 3,500-acre Botetourt County plantation he had just purchased from his niece’s husband George Plater Tayloe of “Buena Vista”. His eldest son John Scarsbrook Langhorne (born 1819) married Sarah Elizabeth Dabney of “Edgemont”, a great-granddaughter of William Randolph II of “Chatesworth”. He inherited Langhorne Mills, along with the bulk of his father’s estate. The second son James Steptoe Langhorne (1822-1905) was given an ample number of slaves and the 13,000-acre “Langdale” plantation located near the border of North Carolina.”

This brings us up to the children of James Steptoe Langhorne some of whose descendants will be visiting the remains of his Langdale Plantation in just over a week’s time! Wow! Living history! Our newest author of Langhorne history, James C. Langhorne has done research that found some differing information from Thomas Litten’s work. Progress and change are to be expected as new discoveries are made. As I learn more, you will hear about it! Expect lots of pictures from my own camera! 

Walter Thomas Houchins, 1854-1937, the Mystery of His Father– 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, #22

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Patrrick Co Va

Patrrick Co, Va

Walter Thomas Houchins, called Thomas, was my great-grandfather. In 1881, when he was 26 years old, he married my great-grandmother Evaline Langhorne who was 15 years old. Together they had nine children in 19 years. Evaline died having twins in 1900. Within one year Thomas, then 47 years old, married another 15-year-old girl and had two more children.

Here is the mystery: in tracing my family tree it did not take long until I was ready to add my great- great- grandparents, the parents of Walter Thomas Houchins. I knew all of my great aunts and uncles well, so it was surprising when I realized that we did not know their grandfather. By the time I was working on my family tree, I was in my 60s, and all of my great aunts and uncles were deceased. I realized I had never taken the opportunity to question them about their own family tree. Even my mother’s generation was gone. I could not believe that this information was missing in the family

I worked very hard in my research trying to find the correct identity of the father of Walter Thomas and his siblings. I checked all the censuses, birth and death records that I could find, other family trees, community records, land deeds, wills, all to no avail. Then someone told me about the Patrick County Virginia Genealogical Society. They had an officer named David Shelay who wrote a column in the local newspaper, The Enterprise. I wrote an inquiry about the parentage of Walter Thomas Houchins and David Shelay published it in the paper in Stuart, Virginia. In fact this was the beginning of my meeting 100 new cousins in Southwest Virginia! With all the joy that has brought, we were not able to answer the question of who is the father of Walter Thomas Houchins.

However, now we can take an educated guess, that is probably correct. It is up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to include this information as a fact or not. I have consulted a professional genealogist and experienced family researchers about this.
When Walter Thomas Houchins married my great-grandmother Evaline Langhorne in 1881, their marriage certificate listed his parents as Isaac and Nancy Houchins. We have identified that couple and have eliminated them as the parents of Walter Thomas and his siblings.

Starting with the 1860 census, you can see six-year-old Thomas living with his single mother, Nancy J. Houchins. If you trace her back to her 1850 census you find Nancy J. Houchins living with her parents William and Joyce Harbour Houchins. This lets us know that Nancy was a single mother. According to the 1860,1870, and 1880 censuses, she goes on to have seven children out-of-wedlock! In the 1800’s, in Patrick County, Virginia, between 1854 and 1872–my great, great-grandmother did this! It is hard to believe! According to the censuses she worked as a mail carrier as well.  

The plot thickens when we move to the 1870 census, when Thomas is 16 years old. He is not living at home that year, but lo and behold he is living on a farm right next door—a farm belonging to the Stoops family. You would think that he is probably just working there, until you realize several things. One, William W. Stoops, a son, single, age 35, who fought in the Civil War, is listed as a mail contractor. Nancy is a mail carrier, so perhaps they worked together as well as were neighbors. Finally, the piece de resistance—William W. Stoops and our own Nancy J. Houchins marry in 1880! Is he finally making an “honest woman of her”? Lots of questions! Is William Stoops my second great-grandfather? I would love to know! And actually, it appears that he might well be—for another big reason—I had my autosomal dna done by ancestry.com. It says I match  the Stoops surname, and sure enough, I match to trees with his family line in them! I can find no other reason I would match the Stoops unless indeed, he is Walter Thomas Houchins’ father, and therefore my second great-grandfather! Even so, I do not have him listed in my family tree as my second great-grandfather, I don’t know if I’m ready to think I have “proved” this or not. If anyone out there reads this and knows something else, please let me know.    

 

Virginia Marriages, 1851-1929

Name: William W. Stoops
Spouse’s Name: Nancy J. Houchins
Marriage Date: 14 Sep 1880
Marriage Place: Patrick County
Age: 55
Birthplace: Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Father: John Stoops
Spouse’s Age: 46
Spouse’s Birthplace: Patrick County, Virginia
Spouse’s Father: William Houchins
Spouse’s Mother: J. Houchins
Marriage Performed By: S. D. Williams, Min:
Comment: William W., Farmer
Original Source Page: 104

Think about it though—growing up in rural, Patrick County, Virginia in the 1800’s, a single mother of seven children! Seems like you’d be well-known, the mail carrier, and not particularly well-respected for your many children out of wedlock! However, look who her children married. Thomas married Evaline Langhorne, daughter of James Steptoe Langhorne and Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro, two wealthy and powerful families! Nancy’s second child, Pocahontas, b. 1856, married John Anglin, the son of a well-respected family. Their son became a congressman in Oklahoma. Nancy J’s son James B., born 1864, married Nancy Howell, born 1867. Nancy was the daughter of Isaac Columbus Howell and Mary Anne Howell of Patrick County. It is hard for me to believe that if Nancy J. Houchins was a single mother of seven children that these particular families would have let their children marry her children. She must have been well-known, well liked, and respected in spite of the fact that she was a single mother. Maybe there was some reason they couldn’t marry, and that was known and accepted somehow.

The mysteries and clues abound. The fact that he was a next-door neighbor, the fact that they worked together, the fact that my great-grandfather lived with William Stoops at one time, and the fact that my DNA matches the Stoops family certainly leads me to believe that William W Stoops is the father of my great-grandfather William Thomas Houchins. Thank heavens I feel confident in the identity of Nancy, his mother. Therefore we can trace our Houchins line all the way back to England

With all this turmoil, what kind of man did Thomas become and what happened to his children? Perhaps it was because he had no father of his own living with him during his early years, or perhaps because he knew his father lived next-door, but not with him and his family, that Thomas seemingly so easily deserted his own six living children when their mother died, married again quickly and started a new family. This was a sad time in my immediate family’s history. However, they rebounded from this and other tragedies and created intelligent, creative and kind people for our world.

Of Thomas and Evaline’s nine children, three died in early childhood. One grew up and committed several petty crimes.(another story sometime) However, five of their six children grew up to make their family proud. Two daughters, both born in the 1800s, became professional women, very unusual for women of this time period, the late 1880’s. Julia became a lawyer, in fact,the first female assistant district attorney in Virginia. Her sister Katherine (Kate) became a nurse. They both had children. The youngest son, Guy Maurice Houchins, fathered two children, one of whom became a famous actress, and one became a geophysicist with an oil company. Their son John married a woman named Josie and they dedicated their lives to serving deaf students in Staunton, Virginia. Harry born in 1887, was blind with the family disease of retinitis pigmentosa by the time he was a teenager. Even so, he was a talented musician with an active, intelligent mind. Harry nor John or Tom had children. When their mother died in 1900 the six children were scattered among friends, relatives, and military schools. With all this upheaval, they found a way to be close as adults. As a great-grandchild with close family members, I am very grateful for this and proud to be a member of this family with all of its complexities.

Houchins, Guy maurice, Jr

Guy M. Houchins Jr. , Geophysicist

Kate Steptoe Houchins Kearse, w out border        Houchins, Mary Stuart's book

This gallery contains 9 photos

Popular Books and my Royal Ancestors–Elizabeth Woodville,Queen of England, Jacquetta de Luxembourg, and Margaret Beaufort– 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks–16

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Westmenster Abbey

Westmenster Abbey

I remember when I first found “the Royals” in my family tree–in my direct line!  I was so excited! I knew my daughters and sister would be happy about it–after all, they grew up on Disney Princesses and now they were kin to real queens and kings! Then, just in the last week, I heard a friend talking about how much she liked Philippa Gregory’s books about Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Jacquetta de Luxembourg! Well, I recognized those names, so I sat up and paid attention. As it turns out, Philippa Gregory writes historical fiction, and several of her books have been turned into movies.  One of her series is about “The Cousins’ War–the war of the Roses in real life! A wonderfully succinct article in Wikipedia tells us about this series:

The Cousins’ War Series

  1. The White Queen (2009) – The story of Elizabeth Woodville, the queen consort of King Edward IV of England and mother of Edward V.
  2. The Red Queen (2010) – The story of Lady Margaret Beaufort and her quest to place her son Henry Tudor on the English throne.
  3. The Lady of the Rivers (2011) – The story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, the mother of Elizabeth Woodville.
  4. The Kingmaker’s Daughter (2012) – The story of Anne Neville, daughter of Warwick “the Kingmaker” and wife of Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, and later of Richard III of England, and of Anne’s elder sister Isabel Neville, wife of George Duke of Clarence
  5. The White Princess (2013) – The story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV. Wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII of England.

(Also, The King’s Curse, formerly known as The Last Rose (TBA) – Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury)

The chronological order of the books is

  • The Lady of the Rivers
  • The White Queen
  • The Red Queen
  • The Kingmaker’s Daughter
  • The White Princess
  • The King’s Curse (not yet released)”

The Lady of the RiversI checked our family tree, and sure enough, Jacquetta de Luxembourg, Duchess of Bedford, is my 17th great-grandmother! This descendancy chart shows the relationship for me and all my Langhorne cousins of my generation.

Jacquetta of Luxembourg

 

Jacquetta “Duchess of Bedford” Luxembourg (1416 – 1472)-updated March, 2017.

is your 17th great-grandmother

 Jacquetta Wydeville (1444-1479)

daughter of Jacquetta “Duchess of Bedford” Luxembourg

Joan Strange (1463 – 1514)

daughter of Jacquetta Wydeville

Jane Stanley (1485 – 1557)

daughter of Joan Strange

Edmund Sheffield, 1st Baron Sheffield (1521 – 1549)

son of Jane Stanley

Eleanor Sheffield (1538 – 1595)

daughter of Edmund Sheffield, 1st Baron Sheffield

John 1st Earl of Clare, Holles (1564 – 1636)

son of Eleanor Sheffield

Robert Hollis (1590 – )

son of John 1st Earl of Clare, Holles

Susanna Hollis (1613 – 1681)

daughter of Robert Hollis

Maj. Robert Beverley Sr. (1641 – 1687)

son of Susanna Hollis

Mary Beverley (1678 – )

daughter of Maj. Robert Beverley Sr.

Mary Rice (1683-1798)

daughter of Mary Beverley

Maj. William Langhorne (1721 – 1797)

son of Mary Beverley

Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne (1760 – 1797)

son of Maj. William Langhorne

Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790 – 1854)

son of Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)

son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne

Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse

 

 

Woodville, Elizabeth, Queen of England

Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of England, portrait ownership unknown

The White Queen–Jacquetta’s daughter Elizabeth Woodville, (1437-1492) became the Queen of England when she married King Edward IV of the Plantagenets. In Philippa Gregory’s work, Elizabeth is portrayed as the White Queen.   In real life, she was my 17th Great Grand Aunt!  Her mother , Jacquetta , Duchess of Bedford, Luxembourg (1416-1472) being my 17th great grandmother.  I descend through Elizabeth’s sister, Jacquetta Wydeville, (1444-1479)who is my 16yh great grandmother.

Queen of England Elizabeth Woodville (1437 – 1492)-updated, March, 2017
is your 17th great grand aunt
mother of Queen of England Elizabeth Woodville
Jacquetta Wydeville (1444-1479)
daughter of Jacquetta “Duchess of Bedford” Luxembourg
daughter of Jacquetta Wydville
daughter of Joan Strange
son of Jane Stanley
daughter of Edmund Sheffield, 1st Baron Sheffield
son of Eleanor Sheffield
son of John 1st Earl of Clare, Holles
daughter of Robert Hollis
son of Susanna Hollis
daughter of Maj. Robert Beverley Sr.
Mary Rice (1683-1798)
daughter of Mary Beverley
son of Mary Rice
daughter of Col. Maurice Scarsbrooke Langhorne
son of Elizabeth Langhorne
son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse
 As of this update of March, 2017, I am no longer  blood related to the Red Queen, Margaret Beaufort, 1443-1509.  She is somply one of the wives of my  16th great grandfather, Thomas Stanley, 1435-1504.  This change occured when we dropped the Welsh descendancy of our Langhornes.  However, the family “connection” still stands. 
The White Princess is identified as  Queen of England, Elizabeth York Plantagenet, 1456-1503.  She is now  my first cousin  17 times removed.   She is the daughter of  the White Queen, Queen of Enland Elizabeth Woodville, and the granddaughter of the Lady of the Rivers,  Jacquetta of Luxembourg. How interesting to actually be part of this family1  
However, as exciting as this is, and yes, I did buy the books, there are some major controversies about these descendancy charts which might render them historical fiction themselves! How sad would that be! First of all, John Perrott has been reported as an illegitimate son of King Henry VIII in a great deal of history. It is reported that even King Henry VIII recognized him as his son, educated him and provided for him. If that is true, then our descendancy is true, and our DNA would match, if we had some DNA from that line, I am looking into that. Recently, several authors have come along to say this is not true, but their ‘evidence’ seems all circumstantial to me.
It feels the same for another controversy that I just learned about this past week! For all these years, in most historical works, researchers have believed and accepted that Mary Beverley, b. 1678 in Jamestown, Virginia, married John Langhorne. However,  it is now believed that  Mary Beverley’s daughter, Mary Rice was the true wife of John Langhorne. There are four sons named William Beverly  Langhorne in this family line, why would that  be except to honor and carry on the Beverly name? I may be wrong but I have not been able to identify a single child or grandchild carrying the name Rice!  However, there is a court case–better explained by this article available at http://www.geni.com/people/Mary-Langhorne/6000000012953341622  

“Controversy about Mary Beverley as wife of John Langhorne

About Mary Langhorne (Beverley)

General Notes: There is great controversy over the identity of John Langhorne’s wife. Most agree that she is a “Mary” but the agreement ends there.
1. Support for the name, “Mary Rice”:

During October 1736 in a case before the court in Warwick County (?), Virginia (Sir John Randolph’s reports, Vol 1, 1725-1745, case R109 by Randolph, B53 by Barrandall (whatever all of that means)) John Langhorne was a defendant in Jones vs Langhorne. The action was to recover the possession of slaves belonging to the estate of Mary Rice. Mary Rice was married to a Myers with four children and the suggestion is that Myers died and she remarried to John Langhorne.

Circumstantially, the Rice family have a history in Warwick County, Virginia, apparently close to the Langhornes living at “Gambell”.
2. Support for the name “Mary Beverley”.

The first son of Maurice Langhorne 1719 was William Beverley Langhorne born about 1790, suggesting a relationship with the Beverley family. According to David Hackett Fischer in his book on the sociology of colonial America, “Albion’s Seeds”, he says naming practices were such that the first-born son would often (but not always) be named after a grandfather (either one), provided he was reputable, and the first son would also carry the maiden name of his mother as a middle name, considered an honor to her. Note that William Beverley Langhorne is the name of Maurice Langhorne’s first-born son. A clue, not evidence. (Second or third son gets dad’s name). The second son was named Maurice Cary Langhorne. This would seem to indicate that this family followed the rules more often than not.

Thomas Litten in his article on the Langhorne family claims that Mary Beverley is the name of John’s spouse. (see notes under John Langhorne – this family)”

In my opinion, this is not proof that Mary Rice is my 6th great-grandmother instead of Mary Beverley! I will stick with the Beverleys until someone proves it differently! After all, I did take my own autosomal DNA on ancestry.com, and I have many matches, at least 40, to the Beverleys–Mary’s family specifically. Unfortunately, I have a few matches to the Rice family as well, but not necessarily to Mary Rice’s family.  We do not  have  definitive proof either way it seems to me! I’m sure we will have the proof we need sometime in the future, genealogy is always a work in progress, with new information coming to light every day, week, month and year that intelligent people conduct their research. Here’s to the process, hope yours is a great adventure also! If you have had these types of controversies, or if you have read these books,  I’d love to hear about them!  

****Update March 16, 2017: Since publishing this post, continued research has convinced me that indeed, the Langhornes  of our family came from England, not Wales!  Hard to give up tradition!   I have also become convinced that Mary Rice, daughter of Mary Beverley is the true wife of  our original immigrant to America, John Langhorne.  I have changed the above descendancy charts to reflect the most current information.  Research is always a process, with new information being constantly discovered!

Have a great week,Helen

 

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James Steptoe Langhorne- Born into Wealth and Privilege, moved into a Life of Trial and Tragedy—52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, #3

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James Steptoe Langhorne– 11 September,1822– 4 December, 1905 –was my maternal 2nd Great Grandfather.  The Langhornes were our “claim to fame” as far as our family relations! At least that is what we were raised to believe! My mother was one of six girls, and three of them carried the Langhorne name as a middle name, Mom carried Steptoe as her middle name—and named one of my brothers Langhorne as well!  Now that I have done a few years of research, yes, the Langhornes were impressive as a family, but we are blessed with a rich heritage of ancestors.

Lady Astor—Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor was probably the most famous Langhorne.   She is my second cousin, the grandchild of Steptoe’s brother John. In another post I’ll explain how helpful she was to my family directly.

Today, I want to tell you a bit about James Steptoe Langhorne. Before I do, I want you to know that we are planning a Langhorne reunion in June, 2014, in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, and are hoping to include as many Langhorne descendants as possible—but especially the descendants of James Steptoe Langhorne! (If  you are reading this and are a Langhorne descendant, please get in touch at helenholshouser@gmail.com)

Originally, the Langhorne family was from Wales. The first in our line to come to America was John Langhorne, who arrived in Warwick, Virginia –the Royal Colony—in 1666 with his wife Rebecca Carter. They built a 2000 acre plantation with a home overlooking the James River, and named it Gambell.  It was located where the city of Newport News, Virginia is today. 

Fast forward, 100 years to his namesake John Scarsbrooke Langhorne, who was born in 1760 on the very same plantation, Gambell.  By the time this John Scarsbrooke Langhorne died, he owned several plantations, and his son Henry increased their holdings significantly. According to family history, Henry let his son James Steptoe Langhorne choose one of the plantations, and after touring them all, James Steptoe, age about 22, looked out over the 13, 000 acre “Langdale” plantation in Meadows of Dan, Virginia , and said it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen! In fact, he is credited with giving that area its name, Meadows of Dan—located in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, on the Dan River. He chose to settle there, but was blinded by retinitis  pigmentosa – an inherited  family disease– within just a couple of years—and never  actually saw his beloved land again!  MOD, lover's Leap

Langhorne,  James Steptoe Langhorne, portrait           Langhorne,  portrait of Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne

James Steptoe Langhorne, called “Grandpa Steptoe” by his grandchildren, married Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro and together they had eight children, and adopted at least two more.  Of course, on a 13,000 acre plantation in 1822 Virginia, Grandpa Steptoe owned slaves. It doesn’t matter how abhorrent and embarrassing this practice might be to me today, it is a part of our history. Most of the area around the plantation was settled by small independent farmers of Scotch Irish descent. James Steptoe Langhorne and his wife are credited with the gifting of land and money to found  two churches in the area, and indeed, they are buried in the cemetery at Meadows of Dan Baptist Church, one of these churches. According to family history, they also held Sunday school and regular school classes on the plantation for area children. My understanding is that Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro was a very devout woman who was dedicated to her Sunday school outreach.  

 Langhorne, James Steptoe's Grave Marker

When Grandpa Steptoe’s first born son, Henry Ellis was sixteen, 1849-1865, he drowned in a pond on the property. The story was told to me by one of my cousins who still lives in that area, Harvey Langhorne Spangler. Apparently, one of the horses had a bad case of colic, and the common practice to help heal the condition, was to help a horse swim off the cramps. Henry Ellis we are told took the horse into the millpond with that very intention! Unfortunately, he did not realize just how deep the pond was, and he and the horse were soon in trouble, unable to stay afloat or climb out of the water! Steptoe was right there, but blind long before this, he couldn’t see exactly what was happening with his son.  Still, he dived into the pond to try to save his Henry!  We are told that Grandpa Steptoe dived again and again trying to find Henry and bring him to safety! Tragically, by the time Steptoe did find him, Henry was gone—the end of an all too shortened life! Blind, one son drowned…what else?

Langhorne Mill 5

During the Civil War there was an incident, where the Union Army came through the Meadows of Dan. In 1935, Steptoe’s daughter Fannie, (Frances Eunice Langhorne who later married Wallace Wolford Spangler and became the parents of Tump Spangler whom  I wrote about before,  here if you’d like to see it:  https://heartofasouthernwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/the-spangler-reunion-part-2-charles-langhorne-tump-spangler/ ) gave an interview about this very thing that was written up by Charles F. Adams  in a local magazine called The Mountain Laurel.

 “At the time Miss Fanny Langhorne was ten, and the Civil War was being fought, Stoneman brought his Yankee army from Tennessee down what is now the J.E.B. Stuart highway. In passing they annexed one of Mr. Langhorne’s horses which happened to be his favorite. He, though blind, accompanied by his small daughter Fanny, insisted on following the army to Stuart in search of his horse. There the captain agreed to allow him to retrieve his horse if he could recognize him. Mr. Langhorne set Fanny to hunt the animal. After walking down the long line of horses hitched to the racks along the road and back again, she was unable to find him. On her return, however at one side, away from the rest, she saw her father’s mount and immediately squealed in delight. Mr. Langhorne was led over to a tall roan mare, not his, but near the one Fanny had discovered, and told to see if that were his. Fanny squealed to the contrary, but Mr. Langhorne turned to her and said, “You don’t understand the joke”. Then his hand was placed on another, his own; this time he said, “This is my horse, but not my bridle”.   (If you’d like, you can find this story here: http://www.mtnlaurel.com/mountain-memories/406-fannie-langhorne-spangler-an-interview-from-1935.html   That took courage and audacity, on his and young Fannie’s part! (This story was originally told to me by brothers, and Fannie’s grandsons: Harvey Langhorne Spangler and Dr. Daniel Patrick Spangler, PhD)       

Horses in Civil War

 There are many other stories, but one dearest to my heart, is Steptoe’s loss of his daughter Evelyn, my great grandmother. Married at just 15, with seven children already, one dead, Evelyn died in childbirth in 1900 as did the twins she was birthing!  I have written of this tragic event in an earlier blog post which can be found by clicking on this link:  https://heartofasouthernwoman.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/one-tragic-day-in-october-a-true-story/

Before she died, Evelyn was going blind with the family disease, one of her sons was blind, Fannie was blind, as were many others who were afflicted by this terrible family disease!

My own maternal grandmother, Kate Houchins Kerse, Evelyn’s daughter,  was living with Grandpa Steptoe and Grandmother Elizabeth after her mother died, when alas the house burned to the ground! What else could happen to this family!  

I wanted to know more about Grandpa Steptoe’s history and personality, and I learned that he was a loving man, committed to his family and his church.. He was also an angry man at times—ruthlessly ejecting “squatters” from his land! His morals were high, his sense of right and wrong perhaps rigid at times. Born into wealth, but living through war and family tragedy, he is an interesting ancestor, my 2nd great grandfather– I’m proud to be kin to him. 

I’m also pleased to be partof this 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge! It is encouraging me to get the stories down onpaper as I have been wanting to do! Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow of “No Story Too Small”for leading us in this challenge! http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/george-debolt-old-school-baptist-minister-52-ancestors-3/          Helen

 

 

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When Your Genealogical Research Comes Alive!

     In February, 2013, I wrote a letter to Mr. David Sheley, a volunteer with the Patrick County Genealogy  Society, in fact their vice president, I believe. I was asking him for help with a “brick wall” I had hit in my research into the parents of my great grandfather Walter Thomas Houchins. As expected and agreed upon, Mr. Sheley published my query in the Enterprise, the local newspaper,  to see what others might offer. I never did find out for sure, the name  of my gg grandfather, but I kind of forgot, because I found about 30 other cousins–actually living! there were Spanglers , Harbours, Lawsons, ,Belchers, Pilsons, Dillons, Price, West, and many more! I was overwhelmed with friendliness and connections!

           My maternal grandmother was Katherine Steptoe Houchins, born 1883 in Patrick County Virginia. She was the daughter of Evalina Howell Langhorne and Walter Thomas Houchins. Grandma Kate as we called her, was the oldest of seven children born to this couple. Unfortunately,, Evalina was going blind like her father and many others in the family. The blindness we have always been told was glaucoma which ran strongly in the family, I am now told it might have been retinitis pigmentosa.  In 1900, Evalina died in childbirth carrying twins, the story of which I told in an earlier blog post. (see the genealogy category to find it) Fifteen when she married, Evalina was only 34 at her death with six living children, ranging in age from 3 to 16. Walter Thomas remarried Lena Elliott and had two more children with her. Unfortunately, he deserted the six living children of his first family. 

     Evalina was the daughter of James Steptoe Langhorne who owned the Langdale plantation which covered 13,000 acres I’m told, much of the area now called Meadows of Dan.  Steptoe, as he was called, is usually given credit for naming the Meadows of Dan. In a 1935 interview, Steptoe’s daughter, Fannie Langhorne Spangler, says that “his place was often referred to as the meadows, from the fact that along the Dan River on his estate, lay the only flat rolling lands found on that stream on the mountain”!  (quote from article written for  the Martinsville Daily Bulletin, by Charles F. Adams, June 15,1935.)

James Steptoe Langhorne, 1822-1905

Spangler, Harvie's portrait of James Steptoe Langhorne

                                 Elizabeth “Lizzie” Rachel Omohundro Langhorne, 1825-1915

                                                Langhorne,  portrait of Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne

        As I worked at my research on my mother’s family, of course, I realized that my great grandmother, Evalyna Langhorne was one of 8 natural children, and two adopted children of James Steptoe and his wife Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne. Further study helped me realize that Evalyna’s sister Fannie had married  Wallace Wolford Spangler, making their son Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler, my first cousin. I had grown up knowing of Tump Spangler, the Virginia state legislator, one of our famous cousins! And his brother Babe, known as the Virginia Fiddler, who I heard play on television in Richmond as a child. However, for whatever reason, I had never met them!  Then I received a phone call from Harvie Spangler, Tump and Kittie Cockram’s son, and my second cousin! He told me many Langhorne stories, some of which I’ve already written about, and breathed life into what had previously only been names on a piece of paper!  Suddenly James Steptoe Langhorne became Grandpa Steptoe.  I never even knew he was blind, as was my great grandmother Evalina losing her sight just before she died. I only knew that one of her sons, my great Uncle Harry Langhorne Houchins was blind. As it turns out, there were ten or fifteen members of the family affected by this disease.

     Talking with Harvie Langhorne Spangler  was like opening a flood gate! Before long he was inviting me to meet my cousins at the Spangler family reunion! I was thrilled. I do want to say, that at least five family members called me due to that article in the paper. I’m writing here about the Spanglers, Langhornes and Cockrams, because that is the reunion I just went to. But I was thrilled to meet Patsy Dillon Reyes, Betty Pilson, Alpha Hiatt, Beverly Belcher Woody, Betty Lawson Lawless, and Patty Lawson Kiser, Allen DeHart in my own backyard, and many more as the weeks went on. My family tree has grown by 500 names probably since I wrote that letter! I figured there are 56 living descendants of my great grandmother Evalina, and I really wanted them all to join me! Of course, that would have made it a Langhorne reunion, not a Spangler one! So, I hope we will do that in the future, for now I am meeting the family and enjoying the area! But never far from my thoughts is the idea of getting all of my cousins, from California, Oklahoma, Illinois, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and North Carolina together with as many other cousins related to the Langhornes as possible!  

    James Steptoe Langhorne and his wife Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro were the head of the Meadows of Dan branch of my family, but  their daughter Fannie Langhorne Spangler with her husband Wallace Wolford Spangler were leaders of that area in their own family.  As far as our relationship to each other, and to the Langhornes, the Spangler’s come down from Fannie, I and 56 currently living cousins come down from her sister Evalina. 

 James Steptoe Langhorne

Your 2nd great grandfather

Birth 11 Sep 1822 in Langhorne Mill, Roanoke, Virginia, United States

Death 4 Dec 1905 in Plantation, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States

married; Elizabeth Rachael OmohundroYour 2nd great grandmotherBirth 2 Mar 1825 in Amherst, Amherst, Virginia, United StatesDeath 10 JAN 1915 in Meadows Dan, Patrick, Virginia, USA
  • Henry Ellis Langhorne (1849-1865), drowned at 16,no issue
  • Virginia Alice Langhorne (1852-1924) married Charles M.Cassel, 5 children
  • Charles P. Langhorne (1852-) no issue
  • Francis ( E Langhorne (1854-1936) m. Wallace W. Cockram, 6 children
  • Sarah E. Langhorne (1857-1868),died young, no issue
  • Mary O Langhorne (1860-1952) m. first, Wm.Caldwell Shelor, had one daughter, second m. Charles David DeHart, had 7 children
  • Nancy A Langhorne (1863-1917) m. Wm. Pinkney Howell, had 7 children

Evaline Langhorne (1866-1900) m. W.Thomas Houchins, had 9 children, 6 lived to maturity.

  • Borids (adopted son) Thales (1874-) have not identified issue or marriage
  • Ernest Lindsey (adopted grandson, son of Mary)  Langhorne (1879-1953) m. Mary S. Blackard, and had 8 children.

******************************************

 

Francis (Fannie) Eunice Langhorne

Your great grand aunt

Birth 19 Dec 1854 in Mayberry, Patrick, Virginia, United States

Death 30 Oct 1936

Wallace Wolford SpanglerBirth 6 Apr 1851 in Mayberry, Patrick, Virginia, United StatesDeath 17 Dec 1926 in Mayberry, Patrick, Virginia, United States
  • John Watts, “Babe” Spangler (1882-1970)

      Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler (1885-1983)

  • Mary Josephine Spangler (1887-1970)
  • Lila Ann Spangler (1889-1973)

Elizabeth Lucretia Spangler (1892-)

Virginia Empress Spangler (1894-1933)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler

Your 1st cousin 2x removed

Birth 15 Mar 1885 in Patrick, Virginia

Death 30 Jan 1983 in Meadows Of Dan, Patrick, Virginia, United States

Kittie Clyde CockramYour 4th cousin 2x removedBirth 12 Dec 1894 in Virginia, United StatesDeath 12 Nov 1981 in Meadows Of Dan, Patrick, Virginia, United States

 

.Samuel Maurice Spangler (1916-1997)

Leila Evelyn Spangler (1918-2002)

  Thomas W Spangler (1920-1991)

Benjamin Leslie Spangler (1923-1996)

Harvie Langhorne Spangler (1928-)

Charles Bishop Spangler (1932-2011)

Daniel Patrick Spangler PhD (1934-)

 

 

 ************************************************************

 

Mary Josephine Spangler, Tump’s sisterYour 1st cousin 2x removedBirth 14 Sep 1887 in Meadows Of Dan, Patrick, Virginia, United StatesDeath 7 Mar 1970
married: Dudley Singleton SpanglerBirth 28 Apr 1891 in Virginia,United States of AmericaDeath 6 May 1981 in Martinsville, Henry County, Virginia 

   .  Margie M Spangler (1922-)

  • Wallace William Spangler (1923-)
  • Sarah Berniece Spangler (1930-

 

 *********************************************************************


John Jefferson Cockram

Birth 14 Aug 1856 in Patrick County, Virginia, USA
Death 1 Dec 1939 in Patrick VA USA
married

Louisa Elizabeth ‘Lutie’ Helms

Your 3rd cousin 3x removed

Birth 25 Feb 1864 in Patrick, Virginia, United StatesDeath 30 Jun 1944 in Patrick VA USA

 

 Joseph Wooster Cockram (1881-1965)

  • Mary Etta Cockram (1883-1968)
  • William Lewis Cockram (1886-1971)

Walter A B Cockram (1888-1977)

  • Fannie L Cockram (1889-1972)
  • Ella Lou Cockram (1890-1914)
  • Amos Harvey Cockram (1892-1959)
  • Dolly Ruth Cockram (1893-)

Kittie Clyde Cockram (1894-1981)

Leila Evelyn Cockram (1897-1914)

  • Dean Potter Cockram (1899-1997)
  • John Edd Cockram (1901-1937)
  • Florence Alma Cockram (1904-1984)

Hammie Ham D Cockram (1906-1989)

Minnie Susie Cockram (1910-)

Notice: Minnie Susie Cockram is still living at 103, in  Chester, Virginia, just outside of Richmond. She married:

Paul Austin ElliottBirth 25 Aug 1912 in Pelham, Caswell, North Carolina, USADeath 21 Mar 1985 in Richmond, Chesterfield, Virginia, United States of America
Minnie Susie Cockram, sister of Kittie

Birth: August 17, 1910

  • Richard Paul Elliott  (1932-2012)
  • Nellie Jean Elliott (1934-2003)
  • Ralph Cole Elliott (1936-)
  • Kitty Mae Elliott (1938-2005)
  • George Wesley Elliott (1940-)
  • William Howard Elliott (1941-)
  • Betty Lou Elliott (1942-)
  • Donald Austin Elliott (1944-)
  • Carolyn Sue Elliott (1946-)

 

 *****************************************************************

My own g. grandmother was Evalina, usually called Evelyn Howell Langhorne who married Walter Thomas Houchins.

Walter Thomas HouchinsYour great grandfatherBirth 12 May 1854 in Patrick, Virginia, United StatesDeath 19 Dec 1937 in Spray, Rockingham, North Carolina, United States
Evaline LanghorneYour great grandmotherBirth abt 1866 in Virginia, United StatesDeath 6 Oct 1900 in Virginia

 Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883-1943)

         Julia Elizabeth Houchins (1885-1969)

Harry Langhorne Houchins (1887-1973)

William Thomas  Houchins (1890-1968)

Virginia Myrtle Houchins (1892-1894)

John Langhorne Houchins (1893-1968)

Guy Maurice Houchins (1897-1954)

 

Of these seven children, only 3 had issue. Julia had one son, Guy a son and a famous daughter, and Katherine (Kate) had seven children, six girls and one boy who drowned at age eight. Now of course there are grandchildren and great grandchildren, numbering 56 direct decendants living at this date, and I know of one on the way. My mother was Margaret Steptoe Kerse, daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins Kerse,daughter of Evalina Langhorne, sister of Fannie Langhorne Spangler, both daughters of James Steptoe Langhorne—and thus we relate and  descend!

 


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We traveled to the skies of Virginia this past week!

    We went to the sky this past week! Well, it felt like it, but in reality, we were in the mountains of Virginia, in the beautiful Meadows of Dan! The Meadows of Dan is a small town just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, in southwest Virginia, but as a region it is much bigger. I have a lot to tell about this trip and the incredible people we met, but I want to show you a few pictures of the area first.

Meadows of Dan, Lover's Leap 2

     This is lover’s leap. The legend says that a young white man fell in love with an Indian maid, but they were given so much grief about their relationship, shunned and shamed, that they supposedly held hands and leapt to their deaths to be together in eternity! How sad! How poignant! How romantic, and what a sad commentary on our society now and then! Looking at this view you are standing on the JEB Stuart Highway in Patrick County, Va. , in the Meadows of Dan, but this valley that you are seeing is an  area of Patrick County called Woolwine, at least this is what one of my cousins told me!

       This area of the Blue Ridge Mountains is known for its beautiful stone churches. We went to visit one of them, and gracious, look at this beauty!

Slate Mountain Presbyterian Church in MOD, VA

This is Slate Presbyterian Church. I can just imagine that you would feel closer to God worshiping in this church on top of the mountain!

      Just a bit down the mountain from this church, was the lovely and gracious Woodberry Inn where we stayed. The owners of the Woodberry were so very friendly to us, helpful in every possible way! We felt like we were among friends with them and with their restaurant owner. Good friends, good food, great hospitality!   

Woodberry Inn, Meadows of Dan, Virginia

 

    

         

     

   

   Everywhere we went, we saw beautiful views and met friendly people! We were very happy to be there, where our ancestors had lived for over 100 years, and where we still have many cousins!  

Greenberry House, Meadows of Dan

Greenberry House above, where owner Leslie Shelor spins her own yarn was a wonderful place to visit! You can find her on facebook! She sells yarn, collectibles, books, and other things.

Below is a picture of the first shop where we stopped, on our way up the mountain, just a half mile past Lover’s Leap! Joyce and Ronnie Green are the friendliest proprietors, and take good care of their handicapped customers, important to me with my wheelchair.

Poor Farmer's Farm Store in Vesta, Virginia, just down the mountain from Meadows of Dan

       One morning we had brunch at Jane’s Country Café in Meadows of Dan. That was a blessing to us! Besides good food, and great service, we felt like we made new friends who gave us directions and information about the area. Besides that, they were able and willing to cater what we needed for the family reunion we were planning to attend. They fixed up a big bowl of banana pudding and another of baked apples for us to take with us, The food got rave reviews at the reunion also! 

Jane's Country Cafe in Meadows of DanJane's Country Cafe, red building

      We also wanted to spend time in the nearby town of Stuart, because again, we’d had ancestors live there, and because we wanted to do some research at the Historical and Genealogical Museum and at the Patrick County Courthouse. We found helpful people everywhere we went, at the courthouse and the museum where the records are well organized and easily accessible. Driving through downtown Stuart you see how close the mountains are! Only 20 minutes up the mountain to the Meadows of Dan and the Blue Ridge Parkway!         Stuart, Va. downtown and view of mountains

Stuart Virginia, historical marker

      Below is the stately Patrick County Courthouse where we went seeking records of long ago relatives.

Patrick County Courthouse

Patrick County Courthouse with JEB Stuart memorialMemorial to JEB Stuart at Courthouse in Stuart, Virginia

The building pictured below houses the Patrick County Historical Museum, the Genealogical Museum, and the Public Library. The Historical Museum is full of incredible exhibits, if you have never been there, it is worth the trip! One of their many volunteers, Mr. David Sheley, wrote a column in the local newspaper, The Enterprise, about my search for genealogical records, and that connected me with many cousins I didn’t even know I had, bringing outstanding joy and friendship to my life. From working on the family tree, to traveling and meeting your kinfolks, can life get any better than this?! 

Historical and Genealogical Museum and Public Library in Stuart, Va,

Next Post: the reunion, the nicest people and the prettiest Southern homestead you could ever want to see!

 

 


      



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Five Generations of Women, Daughters, Mothers, and Grandmothers

 Image          Its been 130 years since my grandmother was born.  Katherine Steptoe Houchins, called Kate, was born in the Southwestern area of Virginia, in Patrick County, a beautiful, mountainous area of  Virginia. She died in 1943, in the city of Richmond,Virginia. She may not have wanted for much in her early years, because her mother was Evalina Langhorne, daughter of James Steptoe Langhorne, a wealthy plantation owner and his wife Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro. However, Kate’s mother Evalina  was only 15 when she married, had seven children, then died in childbirth, along with the twins she was having in October, 1900. One of her other children had died at age 2, while the other six children  ranged in age from 3 to 17, with my Grandmother Kate being the oldest! They had lived with their Grandpa Steptoe as  he was called, but his house burned to the ground sometime shortly before her mother’s death. Her grandfather Steptoe was blind,and died in 1905, so he was unable to help a great deal with these children. Their own father, age  46 at the time of his wife’s death, left the state with another 15-year-old with whom he had two more children. So the six surviving children were farmed out to boarding schools, military schools, and other family members. On the 1910 census, I can find five of them, in school or in a relative’s home. However, as adults, I knew all five of my great aunts and uncles and they seemed very close for having been torn apart for ten to fifteen years. 

          Kate went to live with  Langhorne cousins in Richmond, Virginia, and attended  nursing school. Then she married Thomas Philip Kearse, (Kerse) and had seven children herself, one of whom was my mother, Margaret Steptoe Kearse Youngblood. Kate had a hard adult life I believe.  After losing her mother at age 17, her beloved grandfather shortly thereafter, and losing the home in which she’d lived,  her sense of security must have been battered. Then her only son of seven children drowned! Her husband had a yacht, with which he captained tour groups and parties up and down the James River and across the Chesapeake Bay to Maryland  and the Eastern Shore.   The children all learned to swim and spent many happy occasions on the boat always with friends and family. However, one day in October, 1922, 7 yr. old Thomas Philip Kearse Jr. , called Bucky, was out in a dingy with a 16-year-old boy. A big ship came by and the huge wake caused the boys to capsize! The sixteen year old tried in vain to save his little friend, the big ship even turned around and tried to help, to no avail. It was a few days before they found his body! Young when her mother dies, house burns down, father leaves the family, child dies, what else ? It’s hard to believe, but this wonderful woman, a nurse by profession and by all reports a superb one, met tragedy at the hands of a patient. She was caring for a comatose private duty patient. She had bathed him and went to empty the water, as my mother told the story. When she returned to the room, he yelled out for her to get away and called her by the name of some of our military adversaries in  WWI. He was delirious, but afraid. Unfortunately, there was either a rifle hanging on the wall that was still loaded, or a gun in a table drawer beside the bed. I have heard both versions of the story, no one knew any weapon there was loaded. In his delirious state he shot my grandmother in the head! Within a couple of hours, he was dead of his own illness, just that last semiconscious rousing  turned her whole world upside down and that of her children and husband also! She was shot on January 28, 1930, but not killed. The bullet apparently split in half, half traveling down her neck,and half lodging in her brain, inoperable. She lived,but was unable to talk and walk well for the rest of her life–and she had six children! By then her husband worked for the police department as did his father and grandfather! But they always had the boat! Their stories of adventure were endless! 

In honor of Mother’s Day 2013, I want to write more about these six women/girls in my familly.I would love to hear about your Mom or grandmom, especially unique things about them. Enjoy your Mother’s Day! 

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