Friday, November 29, 2013


My mother-in-law, Sue Harris Moses, did DNA testing for me in November 2013.  I have explained her Harris connection in other posts as well as her Shelton and Johnson connections.  Harris is on her father's side; Shelton and Johnson are on her mother's side.  However, a match has been in touch this week that may be on her father's Woodson side.  I am going to explain the little bit that I know about this Woodson connection in this post.

I will start it by telling the story that Sue grew up at least part of her childhood next door to her Grandfather, Samuel Sterling Harris and her Grandmother, Louise Frances Woodson Harris.  This was after the couple had moved from Buckingham/Appomatox area of Virginia to the coal fields of WV.  Sue loved her Grandmother Lou!  Anytime she talks about her childhood, she tells something nice about this woman who according to Sue:  Married Samuel Sterling and raised his four children by his first wife as well as the 9 children they had together and then raised grandchildren in her home as well as caring for Samuel Sterling in his old age.  According to Sue he went to bed and stayed there for years while Grandmother Lou waited on him hand and foot.  Sue says that Grandmother Lou had everyone for Sunday dinner after church and that no one ever helped her that it was always Sue who finished the dishes and the clean up with her grandmother.

It is Samuel Sterling and Lou who had the Harris family Bible that contained the family pages that son, Hewitt, tore from the Bible.   The pages are now have in my possession.  If you would like to see the pages for yourself, go to Gregg Bonner's site:

Now to the small amount that I know about this Woodson connection:

Louise Frances Woodson was orphaned very early.  Her father died of typhoid fever in 1862....the same year that Louise was born.  Her mother died in 1869.  In the census of 1870 the children are found in the homes of various relatives:

1870 census shows children in homes of the following Uncles:
Uncle James H. Routon caring for Richard and Louisa Woodson
Uncle George D. Woodson caring for George E. & Lucy Virginia Woodson in Appomattox Co.
Uncle Peter H. Routon caring for Samuel Woodson in Bedford Co

In the 1870 census Frances Louise is living in household of James Routon who is 50 years old.  Also in the household are Lucy Routon who is 76 (likely to be mother of James),  Eliza Routon who is 40, Finnet G. Routon who is 30 and female, Richard Woodson who is 10 and Louisa who is 8.  This would have been right after Louisa’s mother died.  This is located in Francisco in Buckingham County, Virginia.  

The above information came from Fran Hill who also  told me that the mother of Louise was Martha Routon,   Martha was a sister to Fran's 2-gr-grandmother.  I looked for Louise in the census of 1880 and it appears that she was living with her brother, George who was married and only 23 years old with a wife and two very small children living with him.  No old maids in that household.  They are in Lovingston in Nelson County, Virginia.  However, I may have found the household that Louise talked about in her story.  In the 1880 census there is a household headed by Jas. H. Woodson in which his mother, Lucy,  who is 86 and a sister, Eliza, who is 55 and single and four black persons who are said to be servants.  This is in Francisco in Buckingham County.  This is indeed the same household that Louise would have been in in 1870.  It was not two old was a grandmother and a maiden aunt.

The family folklore told by Lou's son, Hewitt Samuel Harris is:

Louise never knew her father. He was captured by the Yankees in the Civil War and died at Camp Lookout from Typhoid Fever.  I have a note that says that Louise was in the kitchen when Yankees came through--but I don’t know anything else about that episode.  She did not remember her mother as she died when Louise was two.  She was raised by two old maid aunts.  They were Baptists and they were so mean that she became a Methodist.

Pop Harris (Hewitt Samuel Harris) said that Louise raised 4 step-children, 9 of her own, and 4 grandchildren and had all of the family for Sunday dinner every Sunday.  He said that she was great.  Samuel Sterling was in bed for five years at the end of his life and she waited on him.

In my data base I have the following:

I do not have the marriage certificate in hand, but in a letter to Ollie Mae from a genealogist in Amherst, Va. he says:  in marriage register 3, page 120 bond secured on Aug 30, 1882, and return by minister, Jno N. Jones, Sept 3, 1882.  Groom S. Sterling Harris-age 34--widowed--born in Appomatix and lived in Amherst--white--son of Samuel and Nancy Harris.  Occupation--miner--bride: Louisa F. Woodson--aged 19--single--white--parents: George and Mahala Woodson. 

In looking for Allen's Creek on the internet, I found the following:

This link mentions surnames of Woodson and Glenn which make me think that this is in the right area.  I also found work that someone has done to locate Allen's Creek which seems to have totally disappeared even as early as 1895:

From reading the information on the roadsidethoughts site I lean towards the thought that Allen's Creek was very close to where the arrow is on the above map.  I have been unable to locate Francisco.  But it would have been on the Buckingham side of the James River ....not the Nelson County side as Allen's Creek.

There is a map of Buckingham showing some land that belonged to Woodson men at:

Below map is one that I found in my Harris files.  I am embarrassed to admit that I do not know where I found it on-line, but I am sure that it is on-line somewhere:

I am viewing a map on the Library of Congress site that is a c. 1864 map of Amherst and Nelson Counties that shows some land owners.  I have clearly looked at a Harris Ferry on the James River and also a landowner in Amherst with surname Harris.

I have also been viewing a modern DeLorme atlas that shows Allen's Creek.  It is clearly an area that is VERY close to all four counties:  Amherst, Nelson, Appomatox, and Buckingham:

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