The Conundrum of Sorting John Lindseys, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Latter Half of 1700s and Early 1800s

Who is the John Lindsey witnessing this deed and owning land next to William Lindsey in 1817? The William Lindsey (1760/1770 – 1840) I’m discussing here was the son of William Lindsey (abt. 1733 – abt. 1806) who first appears in records of what would later be Spartanburg County on 5 July 1768, when he had a precept for a survey for 300 acres in Craven County north of the Enoree River. We know from various records that the younger William who was son of this older William Lindsey married Rachel, daughter of Henry Earnest and Margaret McCrory, about 1790 in Spartanburg County.

As the posting linked in the first paragraph above notes, we know that among William and Rachel Earnest Lindsey’s children was a son John, who is named as their son in a 26 February 1840 document in the estate file of Henry Earnest of Spartanburg County naming grandchildren who were being allotted shares of Henry’s estate in advance of their full inheritance.

That document lists a John Lindsey as one of the children of William and Rachel Earnest Lindsey. John Lindsey signed the document along with other heirs named in it. At his grandfather’s estate sale on 5 November 1835, John bought an enslaved person named Myer at the estate sale of Henry Earnest. 

As the posting linked in the first paragraph above indicates, William and Rachel Earnest Lindsey’s son John is something of a mystery, since few Spartanburg County records other than the estate records of Henry Earnest provide documentation about him. It appears he would have been born by 1815-1817, if he was a buyer at his grandfather’s estate sale in 1835. John was still living on 9 May 1877 when F.M. Trimmier filed a petition in Spartanburg County to administer the estate of John’s brother Mark. The petition states that Mark was survived by brothers John and Dennis, both living out of state. I have not been able to locate a John Lindsey living outside South Carolina in 1877 whom I can identify as the son of William Lindsey and Rachel Earnest.

Obviously, I’ve tried to get a fix on the details of the life of John Lindsey, son of William Lindsey and Rachel Earnest, because I want to identify the John Lindsey named in the 1817 deed of William Lindsey to Spencer Bobo. If the John Lindsey witnessing that deed was William and Rachel’s son, and if he had land next to William’s by 1817, then it would seem he would have been born prior to about 1798. In a posting sketching the few pieces of information we know about William and Rachel’s son John, I suggested that he may have been one of the older of William and Rachel’s children — but in that posting, I put a question mark next to John’s speculative listing as perhaps William and Rachel’s second child, because I’m uncertain of where he fits among the children of William and Rachel.

If John was living in 1877 when his brother Mark died, then John may belong along with his brother Dennis at the tail end of William and Rachel’s family. The lack of almost any records documenting John’s presence in Spartanburg County after his grandfather Henry Earnest’s estate was settled also suggests to me that he may not have been an older child of William and Rachel — a married man with an established presence in the county by 1817 — but a younger child. 

If that’s true, then — once again — who was the John Lindsey witnessing William Lindsey’s 1817 deed to Spencer Bobo and owning land next to William in 1817? A primary reason that it’s difficult to answer this question is that there are several men named John Lindsey in the records of Spartanburg County (and its parent county) in the late 1700s and early 1800s, belonging to entirely different Lindsey families, and several of these John Lindseys have been confused with each other in published accounts of the Lindsey families in Spartanburg County, and in family trees.

John Lindsey (1795-1851), Son of Elisha and Susannah Lindsey

For instance, the John Lindsey who was son of William Lindsey and Rachel Earnest has been confused with another John Lindsey who married Susan Lee, and who lived on the north side of the Pacolet River in Spartanburg County and not in southern Spartanburg County near the Enoree River where William and Rachel Earnest Lindsey’s family lived. This John, who was born in 1795, was a son of an Elisha Lindsey unrelated to the Lindsey family descending from William Lindsey (abt. 1733 – abt. 1806). Elisha belongs to the Lindsey group designated as group 2 in the Lindsay International One-Name DNA Study managed by Joseph F. Lindsey. This group descends from a Lindsey family found in Frederick County, Virginia, by about 1733, which has been designated the Lindseys of Long Marsh, Frederick County, Virginia.

Susan Grabek, who oversees research about this set of Lindseys for the international surname DNA project and who maintains an important website about this group of Lindseys, thinks that Elisha Lindsey (1772-1819) is very likely son of an Isaac Lindsey (1745-1830/1840) whose father Abraham Lindsey (1723-1824) came to what later was Newberry County, South Carolina, in the 1760s from Frederick County, Virginia. 

Elisha Lindsey begins appearing in Spartanburg County records in 1794, and died there in 1819. According to Susan Grabek, Elisha Lindsey lived on Lawson’s Fork in northeast Spartanburg County, and this is the location of the land mentioned in a number deeds of Elisha’s son John Lindsey. 

Elisha’s widow Susannah/Susan is head of her household in Spartanburg County by 1820. John and Susannah’s son John (married Susan Lee) is the John Lindsey who appears in the following Spartanburg County records: 

  • 24 February 1835: John Brown sold to John Lindsey, both of Spartanburg County, 25 acres north side of Pacolet bordering Robert Thompson.[2]
  • 3 July 1837: John Lindsey bought 100 acres, waters of the Pacolet, Spartanburg County, division of the real estate of Robert Thomson per a court order to his administrator.[3]
  • 12 August 1839, John Lindsey sold to William P. Brown, both Spartanburg, 21 acres on a small branch of the Pacolet bordering Brown on the east, John Lindsey on the north and west, Thomson’s old line.[4]
  • 1850 federal census Spartanburg County, South Carolina: John Lindsey is aged 55, wife Susan is aged 65, children Sally, 24, and Elizabeth, 15. In the house is a “hireling,” Jesse Matthews, 50.[5]
  • The household above John Lindsey on the 1850 census is that of Jerry Lindsey, 27, a carpenter, with wife Jane, 20, and sons Madison, 2, and John, 1/2 year , all born in South Carolina. Jerry is John’s son.
  • 19 December 1851: Jeremiah Lindsey gave bond with John A. Lee for administration of the estate of John Lindsey, Spartanburg County.[6]  
  • 2 June 1853: Jeremiah Lindsey sold 96 acres on the waters of the Pacolet belonging to John Lindsey, bounded by William P. Brown, C.B. Hammett, and others, per a court order to Jeremiah as administrator of John, who petitioned for sale on 19 December 1851.[7] Charles B. Hammett and William P. Brown were the buyers of this land.
  • 13 February 1854: an account in the estate file mentions a widow and four unnamed children.[8]  
  • 24 February 1854: the heirs of John Lindsey filed a petition indicating that they were Henry and Anna Jones, Jesse and Sarah Mathews, and Balus and Elizabeth Mathews, so the children seem to have been Anna, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Jeremiah. The widow is named as Susannah Lindsey.[9]  
  • 1860 census, Spartanburg County, South Carolina: Susannah Lindsey is head of her household aged 64, born in South Carolina, with Martha A. Lindsey, 8, born in South Carolina, living in the household.[10]

Though John, son of Elisha and Susannah Lindsey, was of the right generation to have been a landowner in Spartanburg County in 1817, he is clearly not the John Lindsey named in the 1817 deed of William Lindsey to Spencer Bobo. In addition to this John Lindsey and John, son of William Lindsey and Rachel Earnest, records of the latter part of the 1700s and first part of the 1800s show several other John Lindseys either living or holding land in what would eventually become Spartanburg County. 

John Lindsey (b. 1731), Son of Edmond Lindsey (1697 – aft. 1782)

Susan Grabek thinks that the Abraham Lindsey I discussed in the preceding section of this posting, who was grandfather of Elisha Lindsey named above and who arrived in the area that is now Newberry County, South Carolina, in the 1760s, had a brother John who was born in 1731 and came to South Carolina from Frederick County, Virginia, along with his brothers Abraham and Isaac. Abraham, Isaac, and John were sons of Edmond Lindsey (1697 – aft. 1782). Edmond also likely had a brother John Lindsey (abt. 1700 – 1786), and that John also came to South Carolina soon after his nephews Abraham, Isaac, and John came there.

Abraham was in South Carolina by 28 October 1762, when he had a grant of 150 acres on the Enoree River in the forks of the Broad and Saluda Rivers in what was then called Berkeley County and is now Newberry County. On 6 May 1768, Isaac also had a plat for 150 acres in the forks of the Broad and Saluda Rivers on a small branch of the Enoree River. Abraham’s family ended up in what became Newberry County, and Isaac’s in what was later York County. 

We know that Abraham and Isaac’s brother John was in South Carolina by 17 July 1769, because he made a deed of gift on that date for love and affection to his brother Isaac’s children Ezekiel, Mary, and Jemima, with the deed stating that he was in Berkeley County, South Carolina.[11] As Susan Grabek notes, however, “It is not known what became of this son John.” Other than this record of his deed of gift to his brother Isaac’s children in July 1769, there is not much clear documentation for John, son of Edmond, in South Carolina records.

Who, then, is the John Lindsey who had land in Berkeley County, South Carolina, by 18 August 1766, when William Hendrix had a plat for 50 acres in Berkeley County on a branch of Jamey’s Creek, waters of the Tyger river called Hendrix’s branch?[12] The plat (see the image at the head of this posting) shows that this piece of land was bounded east by land laid out to John Lindsey, with all other sides vacant.

This land is in the vicinity in which two sons of William Lindsey (abt. 733 – abt. 1806), Dennis (abt. 1755 – 1795) and William (1760/1770 – 1840), would later live. So it’s tempting to connect this John Lindsey owning land on Jamey’s Creek by August 1766 with the family of William Lindsey, especially since, as we’ve seen in previous postings (and also here), a Hendrix family in that same vicinity has associations with the family descending from William Lindsey Sr.

But William Lindsey did not have a brother John. We know William’s siblings because they are named in the August 1762 will his father Dennis Lindsey made in Granville County, North Carolina. That will named two sons: William and Benjamin. No John Lindsey appears in the records of Dennis Lindsey’s family; John is, in fact, not a common given name in the family descending from Dennis Lindsey until various branches of this family became Methodist and began naming sons John Wesley. A John Lindsey holding land in 1766 would have been a contemporary of or older than William Lindsey. If this John Lindsey with land on Jamey’s Creek by August 1766 is not a brother of William Lindsey, then ho is he?

Susan Grabek and I have mulled over the identity of this John Lindsey, and we’ve reached the conclusion he is the John Lindsey who was son of Edmond Lindsey (1697 – aft. 1782) and brother of Abraham and Isaac Lindsey, and that, like his brothers Abraham and Isaac, John claimed land in South Carolina after these Lindsey brothers left Frederick County, Virginia, in the 1760s.  It’s not clear that John Lindsey ever actually lived on the land mentioned in this plat record, and I have not found a record of when the land was surveyed for or granted to him — or what became of this land that would later be in Spartanburg County.

South Carolina Plat Bk. 8, p. 487
South Carolina Plat Bk. 8, p. 489

Later: I’m correcting the information I struck through in the paragraph above because I now have the survey for John Lindsey’s tract on Jamey’s Creek on 22 January 1763, and am now absolutely certain this John is John (b. 1731), son of Edmond — since the precept for this survey was given on the very same day, 5 October 1762, on which his brothers Abraham and Isaac also had precepts for their initial surveys in South Carolina. Images of the three surveys are above. Susan Grabek sent me these three plats after I had published this posting, telling me that they came to her from the records of William Thorndale, the noted genealogist, who is a descendant of her Long Marsh group of Lindseys. The precepts would be in the South Carolina council journals for 5 October 1762, to which I do not have access at the moment. As you can see, the plats for John and his brother Abraham are on the same page in South Carolina Plat Bk. 8, and Isaac’s is two pages later.

South Carolina Colonial Plat Bk. 14, p. 523

John Lindsey’s land on Jamey’s Creek is mentioned again in a 5 September 1766 plat to Jacob Earnest for 150 acres in Berkeley County, which shows the land surveyed for Jacob lying on Jamey’s Creek, a branch of the Tyger, bordered on the west by land laid out to John Lindsey, with all other sides vacant.[13] Again, note the name of another family closely connected to the descendants of William Lindsey Sr. who would later live in this same vicinity: one of the big hurdles in researching Lindsey families in this time frame in what would later be Spartanburg County is the way in which entirely disparate families seem to overlap in various records.

South Carolina Colonial Plat Bk. 9, p. 248

On 12 January 1768, Nathaniel Wofford had a plat for 100 acres in Craven County.[14] The plat states that the land was on Jamey’s Creek and was bounded southwest by land laid out unto David Hembrey, south by William Hendrix’s land, and also by land laid out unto John Lindsey, other, with sides vacant. A memorial for this land grant was recorded 9 September 1768, with the same information noted.[15]

Note the phrasing of this plat: the land surveyed for Wofford in January 1768 bordered William Hendrix’s land, and also land laid out unto David Hembrey and John Lindsey. That same phrase — “land laid out unto John Lindsey” — is found in the preceding two plats to William Hendrix and Jacob Earnest. It makes me wonder if John Lindsey ever lived on this piece of land.

It seems clear to me that the John Lindsey whose land on Jamey’s Creek of the Tyger River is mentioned in these three land records — plats dated 18 August 1766, 5 September 1766, and 12 January 1768 to William Hendrix, Jacob Earnest, and Nathaniel Wofford — is the same man. I’m also now certain that the John Lindsey who owned this land is John, son of Edmond Lindsey and brother of Abraham and Isaac Lindsey, both of whom show up in South Carolina records for the first time in the 1760s. 

As I have noted previously have I found clear records in Spartanburg County land records of the disposition of this piece of land.

South Carolina Colonial Plat Bk. 13, p. 30

Another plat in Craven County in this same time frame also mentions land owned by John Lindsey, but because the plat has insufficient information for me to figure out where the land being platted lay, I can’t say for certain that the John Lindsey mentioned in this plat is the same man mentioned in the previously cited plats. On 12 January 1768, Robert Alexander had a plat in Craven County for 100 acres on the Enoree, with the plat description stating that the land was bordered on the southeast by Doctor Chambers, on the southwest by John Lindsey, and on the northwest by Ralph Humphreys.[16]

The plat shows this land right on the Enoree River with an unidentified stream running through it. The plat shows the land lying on the north side of the Enoree River and immediately on the river. I think this might indicate that this land was in either what became Spartanburg County or what became Newberry County — but I’m not certain, nor am I at all certain that the John Lindsey named in this plat is the John with land by 1766 on Jamey’s Creek.

It’s possible that the John Lindsey named in this plat to Robert Alexander is John Lindsey (abt. 1735/1740 – 1795), son of John Lindsey Sr. (abt. 1700 – 1786), the uncle of Abraham, Isaac, and John Lindsey (b. 1731) who also came to the area that is now Newberry County, South Carolina, in the late 1760s or early 1770s.

South Carolina Royal Grant Bk. 33, p. 531

Susan Grabek thinks that John Lindsey (abt. 1735 – 1795), son of John Sr. (abt. 1700 – 1786), is the John Lindsey who had a 2 August 1773 plat for 200 acres in the forks of the Broad and Saluda Rivers in Berkeley County.[17] This land was granted to John Lindsey 30 September 1774.[18]

John Lindsey (abt. 1735/1740 – 1795), “Colonel John Lindsey of Newberry County, South, Carolina,” Son of John and Alcie Lindsey 

The John Lindsey (abt. 1735-1740 – 1795) who was son of John Lindsey (abt. 1700 – 1786), brother of Edmond Lindsey (1697 – aft. 1782) does appear in Spartanburg County records. On 31 October 1789, this John Lindsey witnessed (with James Lindsey) the deed of Richard Speake of Newberry County to Abraham Andrews of Spartanburg County.[19] Susan Grabek identifies this John and James as sons of John and Alcie/Elcie Lindsey. The John Lindsey (abt. 1700 – 1786) who married Alcie/Elcie had a sister Sarah married Thomas Speake. Richard is a nephew of John Lindsey with wife Alcie/Elcie.

John Lindsey (abt. 1749 – 1810), Son of Abraham Lindsey (1723-1824)

Yet another John Lindsey from the Long Marsh group of Lindseys (DNA group 2) who shows up in Spartanburg County records in the latter part of the 1700s is John, son of Abraham Lindsey. On 14 October 1785, this John Lindsey witnessed the deed of Benjamin Brown, heir of Bartlett Brown, of Burke County, Georgia, to Henry Hamilton of Ninety Six District, South Carolina, for 200 acres on the north side of Enoree bordering Jacob Pennington.[20] Susan Grabek identifies this John Lindsey as John Lindsey of Laurens County, South Carolina, son of Abraham Lindsey.

The following Spartanburg County records belong to John Lindsey, son of Abraham:

  • 14 October 1785: Benjamin Brown sold John Lindsey 100 acres on the north side of the Enoree on which Mary Hanna was then living; the deed states that the land bordered Pennington, and that John lived in Laurens County.[21] This deed was not recorded until 8 May 1796.
  • 18 October 1785: John Lindsey witnessed another deed of Benjamin Brown to Mary, widow of Robert Hanna for 200 acres on the north side of the Enoree from 600 acres granted to Bartlett Brown.[22]
  • 20 October 1785: John Lindsey witnessed the deed of Benjamin Brown of Burke County, Georgia, oldest son and heir of Bartlett Brown, to Benjamin Wofford for 600 acres on both sides of the Enoree on which Benjamin Wofford was then living.[23] John Lindsey proved this land sale in Spartanburg County on 19 February 1792.
  • 31 December 1788: John Lindsey witnessed a deed of Hugh McWilliams and wife Jane of Laurens County to John Tackett of Spartanburg County for 100 acres on the Enoree.[24]
  • 11 May 1790: John Lindsey sold to John McMahan (the deed says both are of Spartanburg County) 100 acres on the north side of Enoree where Mary Hanna was then living, bordering a line for Pennington and a survey on north of 600 acres granted in 1753 to Bartlett Brown. This deed was witnessed by Carlton Lindsey, John Ambler Johnson, and Nathan Childs, and proved by Johnson on 1 March 1791, being recorded 7 September 1791.[25]

This is clearly John Lindsey of Laurens County selling the land he got from Benjamin Brown on 14 October 1785. This deed is one of several examples of how the separate Lindsey lines in Spartanburg County at this time end up overlapping each other, creating great confusion: Carlton Lindsey belongs to the Rutherford County, North Carolina, set of Lindseys who are designated DNA group 8 in the Lindsay International One-Name DNA Study

This 1785 land sale shows John Lindsey of Laurens County selling his landholdings in that county as he prepared to move to Jackson County, Georgia, in 1791, according to Susan Grabek. Susan notes that John Lindsey of Laurens sold, with wife Mary, 5 contiguous tracts of land in Laurens County to Thomas Holden on 12 May 1791. These were on the south side of the Enoree adjoining Widow Lindsey.[26] In the same year, he bought land in Jackson County, Georgia, and he and his sons start showing up in records there.

John Lindsey (d. 1808), Married Jemima, Daughter of Thomas and Eunice Woodruff 

Then there’s the John Lindsey whose widow Jemima (née Woodruff) was appointed administratrix of his estate on 7 May 1808.[27] John Lindsey had died by 7 March 1808, when Spartanburg county court issued an order for the heirs of John Lindsey to be gathered and an administratrix of his estate appointed.[28]

Who is this John Lindsey? Jemima was the daughter of Thomas Woodruff, whose brother Joseph married Anna Lindsey. That couple had a daughter Anna Woodruff who married Dennis Lindsey (1793 – 1855/1860), son of Dennis Lindsey (abt. 1755 – 1795). Due to that marriage and the many interactions between this Woodruff family and the family of Dennis Lindsey (abt. 1755 – 1795) (and see herehere, and here), it’s tempting to think that Jemima’s husband John Lindsey belonged either to the family of William Lindsey (abt. 1733 – abt. 1806) or to the Rutherford County, North Carolina, Lindseys who were intermarried with the Woodruffs — the family to which Joseph Woodruff’s wife Anna belonged.

But an interesting chain of Spartanburg County documents suggests to me another possibility: that is, that the John Lindsey who married Jemima Woodruff was connected in some way to the John Lindsey with land on Jamey’s Creek by 1766, and that the Jemima Woodruff married a member of the Lindsey family belonging to the Long Marsh group of Lindseys. Though if this is true, the chain of documents does not provide information to show how the John Lindsey whom Jemima married connects to the John Lindsey with land on Jamey’s Creek by 1766….

Family register of birthdates of family of Thomas and Eunice Woodruff, maintained by Hannah Lavalle Woodruff (married Samuel Woodruff), evidently copied from a family bible; this was sent to me on 17 June 2003 by researcher Irma Woodruff, without information about who currently owns it

It seems to me very unlikely that the John Lindsey who married Jemima Woodruff was the same man who had land on Jamey’s Creek by 1766, for the following reason: we know Jemima’s date of birth from a family register of birthdates maintained by Jemima’s sister-in-law Hannah Lavalle Woodruff (married Samuel Woodruff), evidently copied from a family bible. The image above is from a photocopy of this birth register sent to me on 17 June 2003 by researcher Irma Woodruff, without information about who currently owns it. Irma Woodruff also published Information from Hannah Lavalle Woodruff’s register of family birthdates at the USGenweb site for Bibb County, Alabama, but I no longer find that copy online.  

This birth register gives Jemima Woodruff’s date of birth as 25 October 1776. If this information is reliable (and it appears to be, since the birthdates provided for Jemima’s parents and siblings fit other pieces of information about them), then it seems that the John Lindsey who was husband of Jemima Woodruff would have been born a generation later than the John Lindsey owning land on Jamey’s Creek by 1766. 

Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. O, pp. 341-2

On 26 April 1815, as administratrix of John Lindsey’s estate, his widow Jemima sold some of John’s land in Spartanburg County, as she prepared to move to Bibb County, Alabama. The 1815 deed points back to previous Spartanburg County deeds that allow us to place John Lindsey in Spartanburg County by 25 December 1789 and probably by 30 July 1786. 

Jemima’s 26 April 1815 deed shows her selling land — the acreage is unspecified — formerly belonging to John Lindsey on Two Mile Creek, with Matthew Allen as buyer. Both were of Spartanburg County. The deed states that the land lay on both sides of Two Mile Creek between the Tyger and Enoree Rivers, bounded on the south and west by Samuel Woodruff, north by Nathaniel Woodruff and Zachariah Leatherwood, and east by Paul Castleberry. The land was from a grant to James McGowen on 5 February 1787. Witnesses were Moses Woodruff, Levy Brown, and Micajah Brown. Jemima signed by mark. Moses Woodruff gave oath to Samuel Woodruff 8 July 1815, and the deed was recorded 7 November 1815.[29]

This 26 April 1815 deed points back to a 2 September 1802 Spartanburg County deed showing Alexander Alexander selling to John Lindsey, both of Spartanburg County, 65 acres on a branch of Two Mile Creek of the Enoree, bordering Joseph Barnet. Witnesses were Josiah Woodruff, Thomas Woodruff, and Robert Alexander, with Thomas Woodruff giving oath on 22 September 1802 and the deed being recorded 27 January 1803.[30]

That deed, in turn, points back to an 8 March 1791 Spartanburg County deed stating that John Lindsey was a neighbor to Robert and Elizabeth Hammon, who were selling to Alexander Alexander, all of Spartanburg County, 150 acres on Jamey’s (Jamie’s in this deed) Creek of the Tyger in Berkeley County bordering John Lindsey “and others” vacant on the west.[31] The same day, the Hammons sold another tract to Alexander bordering Jacob Earnest on the south, also on Jamey’s Creek.[32]

And these 1791 deeds point back to a 25 December 1789 Spartanburg County deed of Jacob and Agnes Earnest of Abbeville County, South Carolina, to Robert Hammon of Spartanburg County for 150 acres on Jamey’s Creek of the Tyger, which notes that the land the Earnests were selling to Hammon bordered John Lindsey on the west and others vacant.[33]

Note this, too: this 1789 deed appears to link the John Lindsey of this chain of deeds — that is, the John Lindsey who married Jemima Woodruff — with the John Lindsey who had land on Jamey’s Creek by 5 September 1766, when a plat to Jacob Earnest for 150 acres in Berkeley County shows the land surveyed for Jacob lying on Jamey’s Creek, a branch of the Tyger, bordered on the west by land laid out to John Lindsey, with all other sides vacant. This plat was discussed above.

I think it’s likely, that the John Lindsey who married John Woodruff is the John Lindsey mentioned in a 30 July 1786 Spartanburg County deed of James McCarley of Laurens County to John Bragg of Spartanburg County for 50 acres on Hendrix Branch of Jemmy’s Creek, which notes that the land bordered John Lindsey on the southeast and others vacant. The deed states that Moses McCarley had sold this land, which was from a grant to William Hendrix, to James McCarley; and the deed immediately preceding this, also a deed of James McCarley to John Bragg, states that William Hendrix sold his land grant to Moses McCarley on 13 June 1772.[34] This deed would place the birth of John Lindsey, husband of Jemima Woodruff, before 1766.

Note, too, the name William Hendrix here — the same name we encounter in that very first plat I cite above, the 18 August 1766 to William Hendrix for land on Jamey’s Creek bordering land laid out to John Lindsey. This 30 July 1786 deed seems to be yet another link in a chain of deeds connecting the John Lindsey who married Jemima Woodruff to that John Lindsey with land on Jamey’s Creek by August 1766 — though how the two John’s connect is not clear to me.

South Carolina State Plats (Charleston Series) Bk. 20, p. 60

I’m fairly sure, too, that a grant made to a John Lindsey on Tyger River in Ninety Six District on 16 August 1787 belongs to the John Lindsey who married Jemima Woodruff. The grant was for 65 acres, and its plat shows the land lying immediately on the Tyger, with a survey done 20 May 1786. No neighbors are indicated in the plat provided in the grant document.

On 6 November 1804, John Lindsey — this is clearly John with wife Jemima Woodruff — witnessed the deed of Samuel and Nancy Woodruff to John Smith, all of Spartanburg County, for 180 acres on the south side of Two Mile Creek. John gave oath 15 March 1805, and the deed was recorded 1 April 1805.[35]

On 15 September 1807, James McGowen of Rowan County, North Carolina, sold to John Lindsey of Spartanburg County 321 acres on both sides of Two Mile Creek of the Enoree bordered south and west by Samuel Woodruff, north by Nathaniel Woodruff and Zachariah Leatherwood, and east by Paul Castleberry. Thomas Woodruff III and Lewis Landford witnessed the deed, with Thomas Woodruff proving it before John Brewton on 27 November 1809, and the deed being recorded on1 January 1810.[36] This seems to be the tract out of which Jemima sold land as John’s administratrix on 26 April 1815 to Matthew Allen. Matthew was son of John Allen and Elizabeth Lindsey, a sister of Anna Lindsey who married Joseph Woodruff. John Allen and Elizabeth Lindsey’s son William Lindsey Allen married Mary (Calvert?), widow of Dennis Lindsey (abt. 1755 – 1795) following Dennis’s death.

As noted previously, John Lindsey died by 7 March 1808 when a court order calls for a meeting of his heirs. When Jemima, as widow, was made administratrix on 2 May 1808, her father Thomas Woodruff and brother Samuel Woodruff gave bond with her for estate administration. The same day, an order was issued to appraise the estate, with appraisers Spencer Bobo, John Bruton, Jonas Bruton, George Bruton, and John Deans.[37]

Page from account of sale of estate of John Lindsey, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, 12 May 1808, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, loose-papers estate files, #1244

The appraisal was returned to court 12 May 1808, and an estate sale was held the same day, with buyers including the widow Jemima, Caleb Woodruff, James Allen, William Lindsey Allen, Nathaniel Gentry, Nathaniel and John Woodruff, Richard Gentry, William Person, Reverend George Brewton/Bruton, William Shackelford, Thomas and Josiah Woodruff, Reverend Spencer Bobo, Samuel Woodruff, William Hendrix, and a Lewcrecy (i.e., Lucretia) Lindsey who is, I believe, a member of the Newberry County Lindsey family descending from John Lindsey (abt. 1700 – 1786) — that Is, she belongs with the Long Marsh group of Lindseys. I’ll say more about this in a moment. Jemima returned the bill of sale to court 31 May 1808.

Accounts of John Lindsey’s estate dated 20 August and 9 September 1808 show John Lindsey and Jemima Woodruff having sons Thomas and James. An 1809 account states that Thomas was 7 and James was 3. These documents are in the loose-papers estate file.[38] The 1810 federal census shows Jemima as head of her household in Spartanburg County, with the household comprised of a female 26-45 and 2 males under 10 years of age.[39]

On 1 January 1810, Jemima made an annual return of the estate. On 2 May 1814, she returned an account showing her expenses in providing care for her son James for 4 years. An estate account dated 9 June 1814 shows the estate paying James, who was 7 years old in February 1814.

On 15 April 1815, the court allotted Jemima her widow’s portion, and on 26 April 1815, as noted above, Jemima sold part of the estate’s land in Spartanburg County. Jemima’s widow’s portion was allotted (Court of Ordinary minutes). After this land sale, Jemima moved to Bibb County, Alabama, and records of her handling of John Lindsey’s estate disappear from Spartanburg County court minutes.

A letter dated 18 May 1826 in the estate file of James Allen, who married Mary Woodruff, daughter of Joseph Woodruff and Anna Lindsey, states, “Honord Madam, these lines is to inform you that there is no doubt of Thomas Lindsey being dead and there is but one living child of the heirs of John Lindsey decd and Jemimah Lindsey thinks herself intitle to his part of money, etc.”[40] This letter appears to have been written to James Allen’s widow Mary on behalf of Jemima Woodruff Lindsey, who was then in Bibb County, Alabama. It indicates that of John and Jemima Woodruff Lindsey’s two sons, only James was living in May 1826. 

On 12 February 1828, James Lindsey deeded to Matthew Allen 160 acres on Two Mile Creek and Jemmie’s/Jamey’s Creek in Spartanburg County, out of a grant to James McGowen on 5 February 1787. The deed states that both James Lindsey and Matthew Allen were of Spartanburg County. It was signed by James Lindsey with witnesses Willis W. Dickie and C. (probably Caleb, brother of Matthew) Allen. Willis Dickie proved the deed 21 March 1828 and it was recorded 1 March 1830.[41]

Note that this deed sells some of the land in the McGowen tract John Lindsey had acquired in September 1807, a portion of which Jemima had already sold to Matthew Allen on 26 April 1815. The fact that James Lindsey, who was 20 at the time, was selling this land without Jemima’s involvement may indicate Jemima had died between 18 May 1826 and 12 February 1828. I don’t find James Lindsey on the 1830 federal census in Spartanburg County, and have not found a clear record of James after his 12 February 1828 deed.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, a chain of documents appears to connect the John Lindsey who married Jemima Woodruff to the John Lindsey who, by August 1766, had land on Jamey’s Creek in what would later become Spartanburg County. The John Lindsey who married Jemima Woodruff was of age by 1786, and so would have been born by 1766-8. Given Jemima’s birthdate of 1776, it seems unlikely this John Lindsey would have been born much before 1766. 

The older John Lindsey we can conclude, for reasons stated above, was John Lindsey (b. 1731), son of Edmond Lindsey (b. 1697 – aft. 1782). How the younger John Lindsey fits together with the older one is not clear to me, but it does seem there is some very direct connection between the two men. 

It now seems apparent that three sons of Edmond Lindsey (1697 – aft. 1782) came to South Carolina together and petitioned for land at the same time on 5 October 1762: John (b. 1731), Abraham, and Isaac. As Susan Grabek notes (see above on this point), very little is known about Edmond’s son John or what became of him. Abraham’s family ended up in Newberry County and Isaac’s in York County.

There is one valuable clue in the estate records of John Lindsey that seems to me to add another layer of proof to the conclusion that the John Lindsey who married Jemima Woodruff — and who seems to connect in some way to the John with land on Jamey’s Creek by 1766 — was connected to the Newberry County set of Lindseys. This clue is that Lucretia/Lewcrecy Lindsey was a buyer at the estate sale of John Lindsey on 12 May 1808. 

Lucretia was definitely a member of the Newberry County set of Lindseys. On 17 November 1794, she witnessed the deed of James Lindsey Sr. of Ninety Six district to John West for land in Newberry County on Indian Creek, granted to James on 2 June 1794. The other witnesses of this land were James Bond and Moses Lindsey. James’s wife relinquished dower on 21 May 1800.[42]

The James Lindsey (abt. 1731 – 1799) of this Newberry County deed was a son of John Lindsey (abt. 1700 – 1786) discussed above. Moses Lindsey was James’s son. Susan Grabek thinks that Lucretia/Lewcrecy Lindsey, who witnessed James’s 1794 deed to John West, was Moses’s sister, and was likely the Levica Lindsey named by James as a daughter in his 27 April 1799 will in Newberry County.[43] The fact that Lucretia/Lewcrecy shows up as a buyer at the 1808 estate sale of John Lindsey in Spartanburg County is surely significant: it points to a link between John Lindsey and the Newberry County Lindseys who are part of the Long Marsh group of Lindseys, and it tends to confirm, I think, the conclusion that the John Lindsey with land on Jamey’s Creek by 1766 is a part of the Long Marsh Lindsey family.

It seems evident to me that the John Lindsey with land platted on Jamey’s Creek in 1763 is very likely closely connected to the John Lindsey who married Jemima Woodruff, and if so, then that owuld mean John with wife Jemima belongs to the Lindsey family designated as group 2 in the international Lindsay one-name DNA study. If so, then we have in this case study a demonstration of why sorting Lindsey families in Spartanburg County records in this time frame is so challenging: 

  • Jemima Woodruff apparently married one of the Long Marsh Lindseys, group 2 in the international Lindsay one-name DNA study.
  • Jemima’s uncle Joseph Woodruff married Anna Lindsey, who is part of the Rutherford County, North Carolina, group of Lindseys — group 8 in the international Lindsay one-name DNA study.
  • Anna Woodruff, a daughter of Joseph Woodruff and Anna Lindsey, married Dennis Lindsey (1793 – 1855/1860), son of Dennis Lindsey (1755-1795), members of group 10 in the international Lindsay one-name DNA study.
  • John Lindsey and wife Jemima Woodruff lived on Two Mile and Jamey’s Creek in Spartanburg County, right where the Woodruffs and their Rutherford County Lindsey relatives who came along with them to Spartanburg County also lived — and where members of the group 10 set of Lindseys also lived.

To say that the Lindsey families living in Spartanburg County in the latter part of the 1700s and early 1800s are challenging to sort out is a vast understatement. Had findings not shown us that these are three entirely unrelated Lindsey families, many of us would perhaps still be doing what I spent some three decades prior to the advent of DNA for genealogical research doing — looking for genealogical connections between these three disparate Lindsey lines.


[1] Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. P, pp. 306-7.

[2] Ibid., Bk. V, p. 533.

[3] ibid., Bk. W, p. 315.

[4] Ibid., Bk. Y, p. 396.

[5] 1850 federal census, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, p. 231 (dwelling and family 2092).

[6] Spartanburg County, South Carolina, loose-papers estate files, #1077.

[7] Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. CC, pp. 496-8.

[8] See supra, n. 6.

[9] Ibid.

[10] 1860 federal census, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, p. 230.

[11] Tryon County, North Carolina, Will Bk. 1, pp. 45-6.

[12] South Carolina Colonial Plat Bk. 9, p. 1.

[13] Ibid., Plat Bk. 14, p. 523.

[14] Ibid., Plat Bk. 9, p. 248.

[15] South Carolina Memorial Bk. 8, p. 236.

[16] South Carolina Colonial Plat Bk. 13, p. 30.

[17] Ibid., Bk. 16, p. 365. 

[18] South Carolina Royal Grant Bk. 33, p. 531.

[19] Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. B, pp. 307-8.

[20] Ibid., Bk. A, pp. 159-161.

[21] Ibid., Bk. D, pp. 295-7.

[22] Ibid., Bk. A, pp. 172-4.

[23] Ibid., Bk. B, pp. 503-5.

[24] Ibid., Bk. D, pp. 316-8.

[25] Ibid., Bk. B, pp. 465-6. 

[26] Laurens County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. E, p. 16.

[27] Spartanburg County, South Carolina, loose-papers estate files, #1244.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. O, pp. 341-2.

[30] Ibid., Bk. H, p. 238. 

[31] Ibid., Bk. B, pp. 478-9.

[32] Ibid., pp. 476-8.

[33] Ibid., pp. 358-360.

[34] Ibid., pp. 135-141. 

[35] Ibid., Bk. K, pp. 78-9. 

[36] Ibid., Bk. M, pp. 161-2.  

[37] Spartanburg County, South Carolina, loose-papers estate files, #1244.

[38] Ibid.

[39] 1810 federal census, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, p. 390.

[40] Spartanburg County, South Carolina, loose-papers estate files #289.

[41] Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. U, p. 327.

[42] Newberry County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. E pp. 504-5.

[43] Newberry County, South Carolina, Will Bk. B, p. 331.

2 thoughts on “The Conundrum of Sorting John Lindseys, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Latter Half of 1700s and Early 1800s

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