The Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky is comprised of the eight westernmost counties - Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken. It is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River, on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the Tennessee River and the state of Tennessee to the south. By Kentuckians it is generally referred to simply as "the Purchase".

Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby purchased the land lying west of the Tennessee River from the Chickasaw tribe and opened the area for settlement around 1820. Within the next few years, my grandfather's ancestors came there from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee - the Beadles, Clapps, Pryors and Wingos settled in Graves County with the Reeves and Halls in neighboring Ballard County.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Mystery of Sarah D. Beadles

Recently I received an email from the husband of a descendant of Sarah D. Beadles suggesting the possibility that she was another daughter of Lewis Yancey Beadles and Martha C. Vaughan. The fact that this family might have included another child that had never been identified hadn't occurred to me before.

Lettisha Wilson Webb
daughter of Sarah D. Beadles Wilson 
After the idea was suggested to me, I looked back over census records of Lewis Yancey Beadles, and in the 1830 census of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, there is a daughter that is never listed in family group sheets or pedigrees. Lewis Y. Beadles' household in 1830 is shown with 3 females still living at home. Daughter Ann had married Jerman J. Wingo in 1826 and was no longer listed in her parents' household, so, based upon previous beliefs regarding the children of Lewis Y. Beadles and Martha C. Vaughan, there should only have been two daughters living at home in 1830. But that was not the case, there was 1 female 15-19 - Letitia, 1 female 10-14 - Mary Elizabeth and 1 more female 5-9. Was this Sarah, born in 1821?

Sarah D. Beadles married Benjamin Franklin Wilson in 1839. The 18th of November 1839 is listed on numerous internet family trees as their wedding date but none cite any source for that date. They apparently married in Kentucky for their first son was born there in 1842. By the birth of their next child, Laura Priscilla, in 1846, the family was living in Tennessee where they're found in the Dukedom community of Weakley County in the 1850 census.

Based solely upon the fact that the family was living in Dukedom, my initial thought was that Sarah must surely have been a descendant of Bassett Beadles, but after some research of that family it doesn't appear so. Bassett Beadles was living in North Carolina until after 1820 when he was recorded in the 1820 Mecklenburg County census. Bassett's children all give North Caroina as their place of birth in later census unlike Sarah whose birthplace is generally recorded as Virginia. In the 1850 census, her birthplace has been transcribed as VT for Vermont, but that is apparently because VA for Virginia was not written clearly. Other census and death records of her children give her birthplace as Virginia.

1870 Census - Cuba, Graves County, Kentucky
1870 Census of Cuba District, Graves County
Sarah and Benjamin F. Wilson named their first son, James Yancey Wilson. The name Yancey is used extensively in the Lewis Yancey Beadles family. His mother was Ann Yancey and her surname was given to numerous descendants as a given name. After James Yancey Wilson married Julia Quisenberry around 1866, they were recorded in the 1870 census living in the Cuba District of Graves County three households from the residence of Jerman J. and Ann Y. Beadles Wingo who was very probably his aunt.

The name of Sarah's daughter, Lettisha, born in 1858, was also used consistently in the Beadles and Vaughan families. The use of the name Letitia seems to have originated in the family of Martha C. Vaughan and dates back at least to the family of her grandfather, Phillip Williams of Gloucester County, Virginia.

The loss of all the records of Graves County prior to 1886 when the courthouse burned may make proving Sarah was another child of Lewis Yancey Beadles difficult, if not impossible, but I believe she is very probably a member of that family. Hopefully some source of documentation that she was the daughter of Lewis Yancey Beadles and Martha C. Vaughan can eventually be found.

(Gravestone photo by Paul R. Wilcox for FindaGrave)


  1. Dear Beverly, I can't believe I just found this site. How wonderful. Loved this story about Sarah, and yes I agree with you I think she probably is the daughter of Lewis Yancey Beadles. This also makes me wonder if we are missing children born to Lewis and Martha for the years 1807-1813. Oh, the mysteries of genealogy - DON'T WE LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!
    Linda in KY

    1. Hi Linda,

      Glad you found the blog and that you like it.