Monday, December 5, 2011

Levi's Unknown Daughter


I’ve been researching Levi Pennington and his wife Elizabeth Henson for over 15 years now.  Many years ago I was told my John French that Levi Pennington and his wife were my 4th great grandparents.  This was near the beginning of my research so it was very exciting to reach back into the 1700’s.  Although I would later learn that info I was given for Levi’s ancestry was incorrect…it was a great start.

About five years ago, I started seeing rumblings on the New River news list about a Hiley who was married to a James Lewis.  The researcher said that they had thought Hiley’s last name was Pennington but they weren’t sure.  I probably have one of the more complete Pennington gedcoms in the Ashe Co., NC area.  Hiley was a complete unknown to me.  So, when I was asked about Hiley, it forced me to reexamine what I thought I knew.

Hiley was born between 1816-1818 in Ashe Co., NC and married James Emmett Lewis in August of 1837.  According to a widow’s pension application, James Lewis was shot in the side and later died of his wounds.  Hiley was left with 8 children ranging in age from 27 to age 5.  She died at Sturgill, Ashe Co., NC on 4 Nov 1895.

One thing that seemed common in the grandchildren of Levi Pennington, if there were several boys, there was almost always one named Levi.  Hiley’s youngest son was named Levi Franklin Lewis.  That name got me to thinking…most of us who research Levi and Elizabeth believes that there anywhere from 14 to 16 children.  The oldest daughter we know for certain is Edy Pennington.  There is one other daughter named Dora that we believe is connected.  However there is a time period between 1815 and 1818 that could have had another child.  There were not many other men living in Ashe Co., NC at the same time frame that could have been the father.  In the 1820 census, there were two females between the ages of 0-10 – these two girls could have been Edy and Hiley and not Dora as previously thought.

Later that same year, one of our small band of researchers got a document that probated Levi Pennington’s will in 1887.  Listed on that document was Hiley Pennington Lewis’ name amongst the children of Levi Pennington.  With that document, many questions were answered…but also many more begged for answers.  

However, we now know for certain that Levi Pennington and Elizabeth Henson had a daughter who married a James Lewis…and before a few years ago – most of us didn’t know she existed.