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  • Writer's pictureTheFormidableGenealogist

Sarah Anderson, Part 1

Sarah “Sally” Anderson and John Wilson were married in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1809. She had died by 1820, when her husband remarried in nearby Gallatin County. Sarah's death is not recorded—which is no surprise considering the era and the location. Neither can I find a record of Sarah Anderson before her wedding day.

There were a lot of John Wilsons in Kentucky at this time. Finding the parents of the correct John was a challenge but was resolved with land and court records regarding the several Wilson families in the area. There were many Anderson families too. Finding Sarah's family was more of a challenge because of her short lifespan, because she was a woman, and because no other descendants seemed to have any clues about her.

A tavern on Lot 50 in Cynthiana, Kentucky, would be the key to finding Sarah earlier than the day of her wedding. And as is true of many women of this era, tracking the men around her helps us formulate her past.

The search for John Wilson ultimately led me to 1820s court records involving that tavern property. According to various documents, John and Sarah had had four children: Lucy, Elizabeth, David, and John. The same documents involved a man named Joseph Cummins, whose children had a stake in this property equal to that of John Wilson’s’s children. A Joseph Cummins had married an Elizabeth Anderson in nearby Harrison County in 1808; the property dispute between John and Joseph suggested that their wives Sarah and Elizabeth had been siblings.

An August 1815 sale of land concerns Jno. Wilson and Sally Wilson, his wife, late Sally Anderson, as well as Joseph Cummins and Betsy, his wife, late Betsy Anderson. They are selling to Carter Anderson a lot in the town of Cynthiana, Harrison County, “known upon the plat of said town by its number Fifty.” The property descended to said Sally and Betsy as two of the heirs of John Anderson, deceased. The share they’re selling is two fifths, suggesting there are three other heirs of John Anderson. My first guess was that Carter Anderson is a third of John Anderson’s heirs, purchasing their stake in the property from his sisters.

At the 1808 marriage of Joseph Cummins to Elizabeth Anderson, giving permission for her daughter to marry looked like Luecey… Mayer? Or Mager?? Or Hager??? It is difficult to read. A Lucy Anderson had married Willian Hagerty in Harrison Co. in 1801. The timing, only seven years before Elizabeth’s marriage, could suggest that Lucy was Elizabeth Anderson’s mother and that she had remarried.

A September 1828 Harrison County deed notes a decree of the Harrison Circuit Court. A petition had been entered to make a public auction for a house and part of Lot 50 in the town of Cynthiana. The petition was for and on behalf of Carter Anderson; Amos Anderson; Milton Cummins, John Cummins, Lucy Ann Cummins, Hiram Cummins, William Cummins, Martha Cummins, and America Cummins, infant heirs of Elizabeth Cummins, deceased, late Elizabeth Anderson, by Joseph Cummins, their guardian; Lucy Wilson, Betsey Wilson, David Wilson, and John Wilson, infant heirs of Sally Wilson, deceased, late Sally Anderson, by John Wilson, their guardian, “being heirs at law of and legal representatives of James Anderson, deceased.” Surely the siblings of Sarah Anderson Wilson were Elizabeth, Carter, Amos, and James.

Shares in Lot 50 appear to have been traded continuously by the heirs of John Anderson—but these multiple transactions continue to prove the heirs of John Anderson their relationship to John Wilson and the children of Sarah.

An inventory of the estate of John Anderson is dated May 1798. Lucy Wilson was the administratrix, a term which specifies that there would have been no will for John Anderson. Several men sued the estate regarding John’s debts for the tavern. [Lucy and John would have been married just 12 years at his death. John would still have been a young man; he probably didn’t live to be 40. Part II will discuss more about Lucy's family.]

John Anderson had purchased the one-half acre, Lot Number 50, from the city of Cynthiana in December 1796. He was obviously an early resident of Kentucky, which was made a state just four years earlier.

Searching for Amos, James, and Carter Anderson—Sarah's brothers—led to other deeds that contained a wealth of information about the Andersons. An 1816 Harrison Co. deed is a sale by Amos Anderson and James Anderson of Harrison. George Anderson, deceased, had left a tract of 50 acres on the waters of Coopers Run. Five of the heirs had already conveyed their interest in the land. John Anderson, another of said heirs, died having five heirs and legal representatives, of which Amos and James are part. Amos and James therefore conveyed their interest in the said 50 acres of land which has descended to them as two of the heirs of John Anderson, who was one of the seven heirs of the said George Anderson.

An 1809 Bourbon Co. deed is from three-fifths of the heirs and representatives of John Anderson, deceased, one of the heirs of George Anderson, deceased: Carter Anderson; Joseph Cummins who intermarried with Betsey Anderson; and John Wilson who intermarried with Salley Anderson, all of the county of Harrison. Daniel Grant purchased the land, which was their father’s seventh part of 50 acres.

An 1803 Bourbon Co. deed is the sale by the heirs and representatives of George Anderson, deceased: Reuben Anderson, Nathaniel Anderson, Edward Anderson, Caty Anderson, and William Anderson of Bourbon Co. The land was an undivided five-sevenths of 50 acres on Cooper’s Run.

Dicey Anderson, widow and relict of George Anderson, and Reuben Anderson, administrators of the estate of George Anderson, settled his probate account in 1803. So although George didn’t leave a will out on the frontier of Kentucky, we can identify his children as well as his grandchildren by his deceased son John—including Sarah “Sally” Anderson.

I cannot find a record of Sarah "Sally" Anderson before her wedding day. Fortunately, the men around her left enough of a trail to find where she came from.

Photo: 1828 Harrison County, Kentucky, deed

P.S. Harrison Co. probate records include the will of Disey Ellis, dated April 7, 1825, and proved in August. She names her children “Ruben Nathanel Caty Cliveland Edward and William.” She also mentions her “beloved son John, who is deceased.” To his heirs she has given all she intends to. She also says the same of her daughter Susan Grant.

Dicey Anderson was the widow of George Anderson. She had married John Ellis in Bourbon Co. in 1812.

The series of her children’s names in her will is not punctuated. Therefore, other family researchers include Cleveland as one of her children. The heirs of George Anderson are identified elsewhere as John, Reuben, Nathaniel, Edward, Caty, and William—just one more child would make the seven children of George. I suppose daughter Caty had married a man by the surname Cleveland. There is a Bourbon Co. marriage record for Susanna Anderson and Daniel Grant in 1800 (and signed by Geo Anderson). Some of John Anderson’s children sold the father’s portion of land to Daniel Grant in 1816, so Susan is probably the 7th 7th of George’s heirs. I find no marriages for any Cleveland men to an Anderson.


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