Saturday, January 28, 2017

Pennington’s in Ashe Co., NC in Early Census Records - 1800

It can be very difficult to decipher who is who in the census records from 1850 on because of the similarity of names.  There are multiple Penningtons in the region with similar names.  I can tell from personal experience, that it takes a lot of time and study to figure out who fits where.  I thought I would spend some time looking at some of the early census records of Ashe Co., NC.  Since, Ashe County was split off of Wilkes County in 1799, it seemed wisest to start with the 1800 census. I will start with a summary of each household then explain who I think the household members are.  These are my conclusions based on my knowledge of the family.

1800 Census - Morgan, Ashe Co., NC

Benj Pennington (Either Benjamin or Benajah Pennington)
1 - Free White Persons, Males - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 16-25
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 16-25
1 - Number of household members under age 16
3 - Number of Household Members

The oldest male in the household is likely around 20-25 years of age which would make said male born between 1775-1780.  The question is whether the name is Benjamin or Benajah.  Based on naming patterns, it is most likely Benajah.  The question is which one.  Micajah Pennington b. 1743 has a son name Benajah born in 1782 and another Benajah b. 1770 whose father is unknown.  I suspect that this is likely the son of Micajah - however it is difficult to identify the other household members as there isn’t a proven wife of Benajah that is known.  

Ephraim Pennington
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 10 - 15
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 45 and over
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 16-25
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 45 and over
1 - Number of Household members under age 16
2 - Number of Household members over 45
4 - Number of Household Members

I believe that this is the Ephraim who was likely born about 1745.  His father was possibly Ephraim b. 1720 and wife Elizabeth.  Am I sure about this...no.  There is nothing to really back up my supposition.  Based on DNA research, it is also likely that there is a close relationship between this Ephraim and Micajah b. 1743.  They could be cousins or brothers.  Ephraim’s wife’s name is unknown.  The male in the household who is aged 10-15 (b. 1785-1790) is interesting.  I think (based on my research and that of Jim Pennington) that it might be the Aaron Pennington who was born about 1787 in Ashe Co., NC.  Aaron died about 1860 in Harlan Co., KY and an Ephraim Pennington is listed as his father on the death record.  I do not know who the young female in the household is.

Ephraim Pennington
2 - Free White Persons, Males - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 26-44
1 - Free White Persons, Females - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 16-25
3 - Number of Household members under age 16
2 - Number of Household members over 25
5 - Number of Household Members

I believe that this is the Ephraim Pennington b. 1769 recorded in the 1850 census with son Andrew Pennington.  I believe that he is also the son of the previous Ephraim Pennington b. 1745 and therefore a brother to previously mentioned Aaron Pennington.  The identity of the spouse is unknown.  Another cousin has speculated that the wife might be Margaret Spencer based on the land records.  I believe that one of the males in the household is my 4th great grandfather, Levi Pennington b. 1784.  At a guess, I think the other young male is Larkin Pennington who dies sometime after 1840 in Whitley Co., KY.  He shows up in some land records in the area and Levi has a son named Larkin Pennington.  It is hard enough to identify young male children in a family but almost impossible to identify young females.  I am unable to identify this young female.

Levi Pennington
1 - Free White Persons, Males - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 26-44
2 - Free White Persons, Females - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 26-44
3 - Number of Household members under age 16
2 - Number of Household members over 25
5 - Number of Household Members

This Levi Pennington is most likely the son of Micajah Pennington b. 1743 and Rachel Jones and was therefore born 21 Dec 1757.  For many years, most researchers were convinced that Levi b. 1794 (m 4th great grandfather) was a son of this Levi and therefore a son of Micajah.  However, for many reasons many of us who research the Levi Pennington b. 1794 no longer believe this connection.  Therefore, very little of the information that I have on this Levi is what I would call trustworthy.  I think that this Levi leaves Ashe Co., NC for Lee Co., VA with most of the Micajah Pennington family.  I don’t believe that this is the Levi who is recorded in 1815 tax list but rather Levi b. 1794.

Micajah Pennington
2 - Free White Persons, Males - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 26-44
3 - Free White Persons, Females - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 16-25
5 - Number of Household members under age 16
1 - Number of Household members over 25
7 - Number of Household Members

I would identify this Micajah as Micajah, Jr b. 13 Dec 1763.  Once again, I can’t identify the spouse, so the adult female is unknown.  However, I have a better chance of identifying the children, I have the following children of Micajah, Jr.
William Thomas b. 1784
Joshua b. 1790
Micajah III b. 1794
James Daniel b. 1797
Margaret b. 1799
Charles b. 1804
Mariah b. 1806

I am unsure of the child named William Thomas as I have never really found him listed anywhere.  The two young males are likely Joshua and Micajah.  One of the female’s is definitely Margaret and I wouldn’t be surprised if James Daniel might have been recorded as the other female.  This family left Ashe Co., NC and ended up in Lee Co., VA and Harlan Co., KY.

Micajah Pennington
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 45 and over
1 - Free White Persons, Females - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 45 and over
1 - Number of Slaves
1 - Number of Household members under age 16
2 - Number of Household members over 45
4 - Number of Household Members

This is likely the Micajah Pennington b. 1743 family who is considered to be the progenitor of the Pennington Research Association Group 7. Micajah is unquestionably the older male in the household and Rachel Jones, his wife, is the older female in the house.  My guess is that the young female under the age of 10 is their granddaughter, Ann Little Pennington.  I have that she died before 1800 but that date is not absolute.  By that time, they had no children in the household who could have been that age, so it is either their illegitimate granddaughter, Ann or likely another granddaughter.  

Reuben Pennington
2 - Free White Persons, Males - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 26-44
1 - Free White Persons, Females - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 16-25
3 - Number of Household members under age 16
1 - Number of Household members over 25
5 - Number of Household Members

This Reuben is unknown to me.  From the research done by members of the PRA (Pennington Research Association) this is likely the son of Timothy Pennington and grandson of Ephraim Pennington b. 1720.  This would mean that he is likely a nephew of Micajah b. 1743 and Ephraim b. 1745.  

Wells Pennington
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 16-25
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 16-25
3 - Number of Household Members

This Wells Pennington is considered to be the progenitor of the PRA Group 32.  There is no documentary evidence which connects Wells to any of the other Penningtons that I have listed.  However, DNA evidence suggests that there is a family connection.  Wells Pennington was born in 1781 likely in what was then Wilkes Co., NC.  He married Elizabeth Strunk who was a few years older than he and they were likely married very close to 1800.  Their first child was born about 1802.  I think that Wells is likely a son of Ephraim b. 1745.  He is recorded in the 1820 census in Whitley Co., KY near Aaron Pennington who I think is possibly his brother.  Wells dies sometime after 1860 probably around Pulaski Co., KY which is where he was recorded in the 1860 census.

William Pennington
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 10-15
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 26-44
1 - Free White Persons, Females - under age of 10
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 10-15
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 16-25
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 45 and over
4 - Number of Household members under age 16
2 - Number of Household members over 25
7 - Number of Household Members

William Pennington
1 - Free White Persons, Males - 16-25
1 - Free White Persons, Females - 16-25
3 - Number of Household Members

I cannot identify either one of these William Penningtons with any expertise.  I suspect that they might be connected with the Group 28 William Pennington because they lived nearby.

So, what conclusions can you derive from this data and my theories.  The families are likely connected and this is suggested by the DNA evidence.  There is definitely shared ancestry between the Ephraim’s, Micajah’s, Levi’s and Wells.  It is possible that the Benj is Benajah and also likely connected.  Even though I can’t identify the Reuben and Williams - I believe that the Reuben is connected to what the PRA would call Group 4 and a descendant of Ephraim b. 1720...however, I don’t feel very confident with offering any opinions on the William’s.  Just this short look at the Pennington’s in the 1800 census should explain to you why I differentiate many of these male Penningtons by their birth years. There is a bad habit of naming multiple males in multiple generations the same name.  While there are certain names that help you identify which branch they might belong with - the only way to really identify which is which is labeling them with something as trivial as a birth year.