Or, Subtitled: Spartaburg County, South Carolina, Families Head to the Florida Parishes of Louisiana Before War of 1812
The story of Isaac Lindsey illustrates what important genealogical breakthroughs are now possible through DNA research. Until genealogical DNA testing came along, no one (at least, no one of whom I’m aware) had any inkling that the DNA of male descendants of an Isaac Lindsey who died in April 1833 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, matched that of known male descendants of William Lindsey (abt. 1733 – abt. 1806) of Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Then along came DNA testing and that match became apparent, and it left researchers of the set of Lindseys tagged group 10 in the International Lindsay Surname DNA project with some questions to answer.
Chief among these: who is this Isaac Lindsey who would seem, given DNA findings, to have roots in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, but who is an unattached outlier living in distant St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, in the early 1800s? And how does he fit into the Spartanburg County Lindsey family where DNA findings suggest he somehow fits?
What We Know About the Life of Isaac Lindsey
The search for an explanation of this genealogical mystery is made more difficult by the paucity of documents allowing us to establish some basic facts about Isaac’s life. I haven’t found any documents beyond the 1820 federal census suggesting when he was born, and that document establishes his date of birth only roughly as between 1776 and 1794. On 9 July 1816 in St. Helena Parish, Isaac married Mary, daughter of John and Nancy Tate. Isaac is said to have died in April 1833 (see below for more about this), and Mary then remarried to Nehemiah Newman and appears on the 1850 federal census along with Nehemiah. This document gives Mary’s age as 50, placing her birth around 1800. The 1820 census places it in the same age range as Isaac’s — between 1776 and 1794.
If Isaac was close to wife Mary in age, it would seem he might have been born after 1790. But it should be noted that the 1850 census gives the age of Mary’s second husband Nehemiah Newman as 72, indicating that he was born about 1778. If Mary married two husbands who were close to each other in age, it appears Isaac might have been born closer to 1776 than to 1790. (The 1850 census shows both Mary Tate and Nehemiah Newman born in South Carolina, by the way, and we know from other evidence I’ll discuss in a moment that Mary was almost certainly born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina.)
The first certain record of Isaac that researchers have discovered (to my knowledge) is a War of 1812 service record showing him serving as a private in Lieutenant Colonel Nixon’s Regiment of the Mississippi Militia. Isaac is on the company’s muster roll at Fort Claiborne, Alabama, for 16 May to 7 October 1814. His service packet, where his surname is found as both Lindsey and Linssey, shows him enlisting on 10 April 1814.
Louisiana Soldiers in the War of 1812 lists private Isaac Linsley with the 12th regiment from St. Helena Parish commanded by Colonel Abner Wamack and the 13th Regiment for the Florida Parishes east of Tangipahoa River commanded by Colonel Thomas C. Warner. The 12th and 13th Regiments were consolidated about 31 January 1815. This book mentions that the rosters for these regiments are damaged or missing, making identification of all units and personnel impossible due to the constant transfer of men from unit to unit and the inconsistency of the spelling used in documents generated by the regiments.
According to John Hawkins Napier III in his study of the Tate family into which Isaac Lindsey married entitled The Tates of Pearl River, Isaac Lindsey served with his brothers-in-law James, John, and Harvey Tate in Captain Thomas Bickham’s Company of Colonel Abner Womack’s Consolidated 12th/13th Regiment, Louisiana Militia, which was recruited from the Florida parishes. Napier states,
They all enlisted in the Tchefuncta Navy Yard at the mouth of the Tchefuncta River on Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore, at Madisonville, James on December 23, 1814, and the others at about the same time. Their regiment was part of Brigadier General Robert McCausland’s 3rd Brigade, Major General Philemon Thomas’s 2nd Division, Louisiana Militia. After the American victory, McCausland’s command, including the 12th/13th, was ordered on January 12th to reinforce the right bank of the Mississippi River, and then, as the British withdrew, was posted at Chef Menteur. James Tate was mustered out of active service on March 10, 1815, at the Lake Pontchartrain Navy Yard, as were his brothers.
John Hawkins Napier states that Isaac died in St. Helena Parish in April 1833. Napier does not cite a source for this date. By inference, it appears he may be citing the succession record of Isaac’s mother-in-law Nancy Lindsey, who died in St. Helena Parish in November 1833.
Isaac’s son William filed for administration of Isaac’s estate on 19 July 1851, but we know that Isaac had died before 1850, since the 1850 federal census shows his wife Mary remarried to Nehemiah Newman by 18 September 1850. William’s appeal for administration of the estate of his father lists his youngest brother, Harvey Lindsey, as a minor to be placed under tutorship of William. We know from the 1850 federal census, which shows Harvey living in the household of his uncle Harvey Tate, that Harvey Lindsey was born about 1831, and was the last child of Isaac and Mary Tate Lindsey. These pieces of information seem to indicate that the information that Isaac Lindsey died in April 1833 may well be correct. The July 1851 filing of Isaac’s estate may have been a step Isaac’s son William took because an appeal for the succession of the estate of his uncle John Tate, brother of Mary Tate Lindsey, had been made on 9 June 1851 by John Tate’s heirs.
William Lindsey’s appeal for administration of his father’s estate states that the heirs of Isaac Lindsey were Matilda Lindsey, wife of Jimeson Carter; Malinda Lindsey, wife of Jerry Thompson; Lucinda Lindsey, wife of Samuel Newman; Mary Lindsey, wife of John Brabham; Harvey Lindsey, minor; and William himself.
The information provided above represents everything I’ve been able to discover about Isaac Lindsey up to now. We do know one other very important piece of information that, in my view, points us back to Spartanburg County, South Carolina, as Isaac’s place of origin: this is that the Tate family into which Isaac married came to St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, in the winter of 1809 after having sold the family’s land in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in October 1809.
The Tate Family Connection
On 14 October 1809, Mary Tate Lindsey’s father John Tate sold Samuel Jones 200 acres on the Enoree River in Spartanburg County, including a house, orchard, and garden. The deed states that the land adjoined Thomas Westmoreland (who witnessed the deed). Five days later, on 19 October 1809, he sold Francis Fowler 156 acres on the Enoree also including a house, orchard, and garden.
Finally, on 28 October 1809, John sold Daniel McKie 556 of 972 acres granted to him on 15 March 1804, with the deed stating that John Tate and Noah Westmoreland had formerly lived on this land. The land was on Arnold Creek on the north side of the Enoree River. As I noted in a previous posting about William Lindsey, progenitor of the Lindseys of Spartanburg County who are are group 10 Lindseys, this October 1809 deed also states that the land John Tate was selling bordered land of William Lindsey.
Here’s John Hawkins Napier’s conclusion regarding these land sales by John Tate in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in October 1809:
These three land sales disposed of 911 acres of the 1,328 of record that he owned. Why did he sell them? From what followed, it is apparent that some time in 1809, John Tate, who had begun the year by buying land in Spartanburg County, within eight months had begun selling out, apparently to move his family to the newer lands that American settlers were moving into down in Spanish West Florida, where members of his family began appearing in records in St. Helena Parish, and also neighboring Amite County, Miss., beginning in December 1809. The last mention anywhere of John Tate is in Spartanburg County, S.C. in November 1809, when he and John Tarkett were excused as jurors for the November court term. Possibly he was already on his way to Spanish West Florida, but he must have died on the long six weeks’ trek, or right after the family arrived, because he then disappears from ken. He must have been nearly 60 years old.
By December 1809, John Tate’s family begins to appear in the records of St. Helena Parish, though John himself is not mentioned in those records, and, as John Hawkins Napier suggests, it’s likely he died as the family moved to Louisiana, or soon after they arrived there. Those making this move with the Tates included John’s son-in-law Lenoir/Lenoah/Noah Westmoreland, who, as we have seen in a previous posting, shows up in the estate file of William Lindsey’s son Dennis Lindsey in an 11 April 1796 account of those who had paid the estate.
And there’s more: not only did John Tate (who appears to have been born about 1751 in Lunenburg County, Virginia) own land in Spartanburg County adjoining the land of William Lindsey, but, like William Lindsey, he came to South Carolina from Granville County, North Carolina. According to John Hawkins Napier, John Tate had a grant for 100 acres on the south side of the Enoree River on 30 July 1784, and a 25 October 1784 land record speaks of him as living by that date in Spartanburg County. 
The fact that 1) the DNA of known male descendants of Isaac Lindsey matches that of known male descendants of William Lindsey (abt. 1733 – abt. 1806) of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, and that 2) Isaac Lindsey married the daughter of a Tate family who moved from Spartanburg County to St. Helena Parish in the final part of 1809, suggests to me that Isaac Lindsey’s roots lie in Spartanburg County, and that he very likely moved from South Carolina to Louisiana with the Tate family.
Some Questions I Have About Isaac Lindsey and His Probable Ancestry
Here are some questions I’d like to pose about Isaac Lindsey:
- Who is the Isaac Lindsey who witnessed the 10 January 1792 deed of trust Dennis Lindsey made to George Bruton in Spartanburg County, South Carolina?
I discussed this document in a previous posting. As that posting notes, Dennis Lindsey’s brother William (1760/1770 – 1840), who married Rachel Earnest, had a son Isaac, but we know from numerous sources including his tombstone that this Isaac was born in 1798, six years after the 1792 deed of trust was made.
As the posting I have just linked also states, an Isaac Lindsey is found in early records of the part of South Carolina that became Spartanburg County, but he disappears from those records in the latter part of the 1760s, when he went to Kentucky and Tennessee. This man is known in histories of Kentucky and Tennessee as Isaac Lindsey the Long Hunter, and he belongs to the branch of Lindseys identified as group 2 in the International Lindsay Surname DNA project.
I have found no other mention of the Isaac Lindsey witnessing this 1792 deed of trust by Dennis Lindsey in Spartanburg County records. If he was of age in 1792, it would seem he would have been born by around 1776 or earlier. This birthdate would place Isaac in the same age category as Mark Lindsey, who was born in 1773, and who was a buyer at the estate sale of Dennis Lindsey, but does not otherwise appear in Spartanburg County records.
As I’ve previously noted, I think it’s highly likely that Mark, who named his oldest son Dennis, was a son of the Dennis Lindsey who made the 1792 deed of trust and died late in 1794 or early in 1795 in Spartanburg County. Because Dennis Lindsey’s estate records do not name his heirs other than his widow Mary (and a later court document shows that Dennis and Mary had a son named Dennis), piecing together an account of Dennis’s family has not been easy. (The same can be said for Dennis’s father William Lindsey [abt. 1733 – abt. 1806], for whom no estate document has been discovered.) It’s possible Dennis had more children than we have yet identified.
I think it’s safe to conclude that the Isaac Lindsey witnessing Dennis Lindsey’s 1792 deed of trust was closely related to him. It would make sense for one of Dennis’s sons to witness a deed of trust involving Dennis’s land, as a prospective heir of Dennis.
In my view, given that Mark and Isaac Lindsey seem to have been close in age, and that both seem to have had close ties to Dennis Lindsey, it seems likely that both are sons of Dennis Lindsey — and, if so, this would explain why the DNA of male descendants of Mark and Isaac is a match, and also why the DNA of men descended from both of these men matches the DNA of Dennis Lindsey’s proven son Dennis (1793 – 1855/1860).
- Who is the Isaac Lindsey who entered 100 acres of land in Wayne County, Kentucky, in September 1803?
In August 1800, Mark Lindsey’s mother-in-law Margaret Dinsmore and her son John sold their land in Spartanburg County to Nathaniel Woodruff and moved to Wayne County, Kentucky, with Mark Lindsey and wife Mary Jane Dinsmore moving there with them. In June 1801, another Spartanburg County man who went to Wayne County in the same period — George Bruton, the same man to whom Dennis Lindsey made his 1792 deed of trust — claimed 100 acres in Wayne County. By August 1802, George Bruton had assigned this land to Mark Lindsey.
Then along comes an Isaac Lindsey who appears in no other Wayne County records that I have discovered, claiming 100 acres in Wayne County in September 1803. It’s not clear to me that this Isaac Lindsey ever actually lived in Wayne County. If he did so, he lived there only briefly and then moved on. Is he the same Isaac Lindsey who witnessed Dennis Lindsey’s 1792 deed of trust to George Bruton in Spartanburg County and then — as I have concluded — went with the Tate family to St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, late in 1809?
It’s tempting to think so. It’s also tempting to think that, because Dennis Lindsey seems to have died without land to pass on to his sons, his probable sons Mark and Isaac linked their fortunes to those of the families into which they married, and migrated with the Dinsmore family (in Mark’s case) and the Tate family (in Isaac’s case) away from Spartanburg County after their father died.
If Mark and Isaac are, in fact, Dennis’ sons, the reason they do not appear in almost any Spartanburg County records is not hard to understand: Dennis seems to have died with an estate encumbered by debt and without land. If there was no land for Dennis’s sons to inherit, none to sell, no records would have been generated by them as they sold land.
By the time Mark Lindsey moved with the Dinsmore family to Kentucky in 1800, it appears that he was probably farming in connection with his mother-in-law Margaret Dinsmore and her son John. When Mark then moved to Lawrence County, Alabama, in 1819, his brother-in-law John Dinsmore accompanied him to Alabama.
If the Isaac witnessing the 1792 deed of trust is the same man who moved to St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, with the Tate family, and if he’s a son of Dennis Lindsey, then I wonder if the same thing happened in Isaac’s case: being left landless as Mark was when Dennis died, did he attach himself to the Tate family who lived near Dennis Lindsey and his father William, and then move to Louisiana with them?
In my next posting, I’ll share the information I have about the children of Isaac Lindsey and Mary Tate named in the 1851 succession filed by Isaac’s son William Lindsey, which is discussed above.
 1820 federal census, St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, p. 368. Isaac’s household includes a male aged 26-44.
 See Ancestry’s Louisiana, Compiled Marriage Index, 1718-1925, a digitized version of Hunting For Bears, comp., Louisiana, Marriages, 1718-1925; and Ancestry’s Louisiana Compiled Marriages, 1728-1860, a digitization of Jordan R. Dodd, et. al., Early American Marriages: Louisiana to 1850 (Bountiful, UT: Precision, 19xx).
 1850 federal census, St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, Eastern Division, p. 203B (dwelling and family 372, 18 September).
 See supra, n. 1.
 See NARA, Alphabetical Card Index to the Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812, RG 94, M 602; and Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the War of 1812, Compiled 1899 – 1927, Documenting the Period 1812 – 1815 RG 94, M 678.
 The roll is dated 7 October 1814.
 Marion John Bennett Pierson, Louisiana Soldiers in the War of 1812 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana Geneal. And Hist. Soc., 1963), p. 75.
 A revised copy of this work, which Napier first wrote in 1984, is online at Google. In a foreword to the online version, Napier states that the online version corrects errors he made in the previous conventionally published version.
 See Ernest Russ Williams Jr., Genealogical and Historical Abstracts of Legal Records of Saint Helena Parish, Louisiana, 1804-1870, Including: Successions (Probates and Wills), 1804-1854, Tax Assessment Rolls, 1823, 1824, 1828, and Marriages 1811-1870 (priv. publ., Monroe, Louisiana, 1995), p. 124.
 Ibid., p. 81. The original succession file, which I have not seen, is apparently St. Helena Parish Succession File L-1.
 See supra, n. 3.
 1850 federal census, St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, Eastern Division, p. 203B (dwelling and family 368, 18 September).
 See Genealogical and Historical Abstracts of Legal Records of Saint Helena Parish, Louisiana, p. 123, abstracting John Tate’s succession records in St. Helena Parish Succession Bk. G, pp. 213-4.
 Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. N, pp. 322.
 Ibid., Bk. O, p. 1-2.
 Ibid., pp. 142-3.
 Ibid. Napier notes that John Tate was in both Granville and Johnston Counties, North Carolina. As I have noted, I think it’s possible that after William Lindsey disappeared from Granville records in 1765, he was initially in Johnston County for a brief period before claiming land in South Carolina.
 Wayne County, Kentucky, Court Order Bk. A, p. 61, #521.