The 1860 Household of Two Widows

1860, Jackson Co., Georgia

This is how I enjoy my ancestry research. I choose an historical document; in this case, a census record. I then focus on an ancestor and try to recreate what is happening during the time frame. I add extra italicized notes or questions about the person or family. Here is an example of my research.


Click on the image to enlarge.

The years before the Civil War were anxious ones in the South. We can only imagine what fears would have filled the hearts of the women whose husbands and sons would soon be off to war. Two women, in particular, have piqued the curiosity of this twenty-first century descendant. The 1860 Federal census for Jackson Co., Georgia (page 3) shows a family of 14 individuals.  The record lists them all as in the same family but different dwellings. One of those has to be an inaccuracy. The home really includes four families and three generations. Let’s take a closer look at each individual and then look at some of their neighbors.

Eliza (Lester) Johnson, age 41, is listed as the head. She is the widow of William Sanford Johnson and my third great grandmother. Her husband had died two years before the census. She is listed as a farmer with a real estate value of $5,000 and a personal property value of $8,867. Eliza’s daughter, Louisiana Anna Johnson Moon, (my second great grandmother) appears as the next door neighbor!  She had married in 1858. The next three names are the youngest of Eliza’s eight children.

Lewis (Newton Johnson), age 15. Within two years of this record, Lewis would be a casualty of the war, killed in the Battle of Antietam.

Samantha (Adalaide or “Addie” Johnson), age 13. Before the next census, Addie would be a new bride.

James, age 7. Our records do not list James. We do show a Jane T. Johnson, born about the same year. Perhaps our Jane should really be James? Some day our search will reveal the answer!

The next person, Emily (Payne) Lampkin, age 50, is also a widow. Her husband, Joseph Lampkin, had died sometime since the last census. She was a seamstress with a personal property value of $100.00. All six of her children are listed with her on this record. Perhaps Eliza and Emily were just very close friends…but my gut feeling is they were related. The only clue I have is in Olevia Lampkin’s marriage announcement in the Southern Christian Advocate. Olevia and her husband were married in the home of (John) Wesley Nance, a brother-in-law of William H. Lampkin. William was the brother of Emily’s husband, Joseph.

Frank (Francis Marion Lampkin), age 24. This is Emily’s oldest son. He is married and has a daughter (listed below). Within two years, Frank would also be a casualty of the war, killed in Crampton’s Gap, Maryland.

William (Madison Lampkin), age 19. William is married to Lucy, the next name in this list. They were married the year before the 1860 census.

Lucy (Lucia Jance Chaplin), age 18. For several years, we have assumed this Lucy was Emily’s daughter, Lucy, who appeared with the family in the 1850 census. We are still looking for the record of her death.

The next name on the record lists Mandy (Lampkin), age 18. This is the wife of Frank, mentioned above. Her entire name is Amanda Humphreys Lampkin. They had been married for about a year.

Ann (Angelina Lampkin), age 15. We can find no record of Ann after this census record.

Olevia (Lampkin), age 12. Within the decade, Olevia married Jacob Peterson, an immigrant from Denmark.

Synthia (Cynthia Palmyra Lampkin), age 11. In 1875, Cynthia married John Stummer, an immigrant from Bavaria, Germany. But five years after her marriage, Cynthia’s husband died in Liverpool, England. He had gone to Europe because of his health. She was now a widow with two daughters: aged 2 and 1. On the 1880 census record she is listed as Palmyra. She never remarried. But here is a mystery: on the 1900 census record, Palmyra is listed as a widow but the mother of four children! One was born after John died! Can you see how I love to tackle an ancestry brickwall?!


Now, let’s meet their neighbors. We assume that since this is a farming area, the houses are not in a close neighborhood setting. So on the next farm, we find William Madison Moon and his wife, Louisiana Anna Johnson Moon. She is the daughter of our Eliza Johnson (first name in original house). Several farms away is Archibald Moon, father-in-law of Louisiana Johnson Moon. Archibald is a slave owner, and blacksmith. His real estate value is $2,800 and personal property value is $11,320.

The Lampkin, Lester, Moon, Johnson, and Nance families in years past had migrated together to Georgia and now, in the 1860 census, we see they continue to live near each other. That kind of a strong support system would be crucial during the years of the Civil War.

And now, over 150 years later, the Lampkin and Lester cousins may not live in the same county or state, but they continue to share a family connection. Two cousins now live an hour away from each other, over 2,000 miles away from Georgia!!


This entry was posted in Heritage, Historical Event, Journaling, Lampkin Ancestry. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The 1860 Household of Two Widows

  1. Sue Koepnick says:

    I’m so happy to have found your site! I, too, love researching ancestry. Your stories and the way you’ve figured out some of the details is fascinating. I look forward to reading more.


    • Ruth Packard says:

      Thank you, Sue! So glad you discovered my blog. Don’t you just love the thrill of the hunt when we’re researching those lost ancestors? I must confess I don’t even mind the proverbial brick wall! It’s as though I’m in a good game of hide and seek! I love “hearing” them say “tag, you’re it!”


  2. So fascinating Ruth! I love having a peek into this world.


  3. I once tried to find an ancestor on a Native American Registry list and the number of Taylors was enormous. Thanks for the post on what you found. I have a relative who died over a 100 years ago in a fire. His grave is in Tacoma but no one knows exactly where. Maybe someday–maybe lost in time.


  4. PR Brady says:

    Interesting site! I cannot even imagine what I would find if I dug in to my family….not sure I’d even want to know! 😉


  5. It’s like this amazing puzzle to solve, isn’t it?! I bet there is an incredible sense of satisfaction as more clues come forward and you are able to confirm something one way or another.


  6. Ethan Billhime says:

    Where was Nance from? I think I know a Nance who lives on Pennsylvania.


    • Ruth Packard says:

      My 7th great grandfather was William Nance from Cornwall, England. He arrived in James City or Williamsburg, Colonial Virginia in 1688. He would be Dan’s 8th great grandfather. Our side of the Nance line migrated from Virginia to north Georgia sometime before 1800.


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