A little more light shed on the question of Joseph T. Abernathy versus Joseph H. Abernathy.
There are 4 Joseph Abernathys found on the 1840 census records: two in Misouri and two in North Carolina. Two are listed as just Joseph (one in each state) and two are listed as Joseph T.: again, one in each state.
The elderly Joseph in Cape Girardeau County MO is coded as having been born between 1770 and 1780 and his wife was born about 10 yrs later.
The young Joseph T. in Perry County is coded as having been born between 1800 and 1810, his wife between 1810 and 1820, and one daughter under 10 yrs of age.
The Joseph on p. 132 in Lincoln County NC is coded as being born between 1800 and 1810 with a wife also born between 1800 and 1810. He is head of a household that includes what may be a younger brother, 5 sons and 4 daughters.
The Joseph T. on p. 127 in Lincoln County NC is coded as being born between 1810 and 1820 with a wife also born between 1810 and 1820, 1 sons and no daughters.
Eleven Josephs (of various last name spellings) in 5 States: six in MO, one in SC, one in MS, one in NC and two in TN. Ignoring all those born after 1830, we narrow things down to three in MO, and one in Gaston Co NC. Thusly:
The elderly Joseph Abernathy (66), Cape Girardeau County MO, wife "Slathyra" aka Glaphira (65).
Joseph T. Abernathy (45) Perry County MO, with wife Ann (32), children Elizabeth W (12), Caroline S (10), William A. (7), Mary B (4), and Ann (2). Parents and eldest daughter b. in NC, remainder of children b. in MO. Estate valued at $2000. 1850 Perry County MO Slave Schedules list 21 slaves ranging in age from 33 to 2 in the possession of Joseph T. Abernathy.
Joseph A. Abernathy (30) b. MO, wife Angeline (27), daughters Victoria (8), Virginia A. (6), Columbia A (1), and son James B (5). Slave Schedule lists 4 slaves ranging in age from from 14 to 10 in the possession of Joseph A. Abernathy.
Joseph T. Abernaty aged 39 found Gaston County NC, wife Ollie aged 41, sons William (17), Clement (15), James (13); dau Nancy (5). The son born between 1835 and 1840, as reported on 1840 census, apparently died before 1850.
1860 census, Fayette County TN:
J. Y. or J. T. Abernathy (52), wife Ann (42), children E W (20, female), Wm (17, male), Belger (15, female), A U (12, female), Fanny (8, female), Davy (6, male). Estate $7100/32,000.
1870 census, Fayette Co, TN:
J. T. Abarnathy (65), wife Ann (53), daughter Elizabeth (32), a 30 yr old female, S C Parr who is probably Caroline. Estate $10,000/600. In the very next household is daughter Mary B (24), Ann (20), Francis J. (17), and David A. (14).
1880 census, Fayette Co, TN:
This census yielded three of the now married daughters: Bellsy (Mary Belsora) Mrs John (Joseph) Brown; Ann Mrs (Nona?) Alexander; and Francis Mrs (Harvey) Taylor Alexander. Dave Abernathy, the youngest son, now 23, is found in household of Ann (Abernathy) Alexander.I could not be positive last evening that I had found the widowed Ann (Rankin) Abernathy on the 1880 census, but I've not had time to go image-by-image over both states, which it would appear might be the only way she might be found. Their elder son, William very likely was killed during the Civil War, but I cannot positively state that as yet, either.He doesn't seem to be a very close match for any of the William Abernathys I can find on the Gov't's Civil War Soldiers & Sailors website.
DAR Records for Anna Belsie Abernathy Brown (#10252), daughter of John Joseph Brown and Mary Belzora Abernathy show her b. in TN, Granddaughter of Joseph Abernethy and Ann Rankin, his wife; gr.-granddaughter of Alexander Rankin and Elizabeth Moore, his wife; gr.-gr.-granddaughter of Alexander Moore and Elizabeth Robinson, his wife. They do not trace her back to a Revolutionary War Abernathy, which may merely be that nothing was provable regarding one when Annie Brown applied to the DAR.
Finally, Ed Harrell's post: Joseph H. Abernathy b. 12 Dec 1805, d. 13 Apr 1878, bur Early Grove Cemetery, Marshall County, MS; wife Ann H. b. 14 Jan 1818, d. 16 Jan 1889.
In conclusion. It would appear that the Joseph Abernathy that can be tracked from Missouri to TN and is buried in MS was, indeed, the husband of Ann Rankin. They may have married in Missouri. It will be illuminating to find if the Rankin kin migrated there about the same time as the elderly Joseph and his wife. It is still not 100 percent set in stone that _this_ Joseph was a son of William and Winifred (Kimbrel) Abernathy.
The Will of William Abernathy, dated 18 Apr 1846 mentions his wife Winnifred, children David, Alfred, Drury, Joseph and Belsora (Mrs A. A. Oglesby), grandaughter Margaret (Drury's daughter). It mentions the slaves already given by Bill of Sale to Drury, Alfred, Belsora, and Joseph (plus one named slave already in his possession not included in prior bill of sale), and names slaves reserved those for son David. Wills oftimes only prove that a couple had a son by a specific name and not that the individual by that name one has been tracking is, in fact, one and the same as the one mentioned in the will.
I doubt we shall ever really know how many given names Joseph Abernathy, husband of Ann Rankin, actually had or if the various initials on different census records were mis-intrepreted squiggles that defied proper intrepetation.
However, I think it's probably quite evident that the Joseph (sans initial) found on p. 132 of the 1840 Lincoln County NC Census is NOT the same as the Joseph who married Ann Rankin. That Joseph, it now appears, is found in Perry Co MO in 1850, in Fayette Co TN in 1860, and is buried in Marshall County MS. He might have been a son of Joseph and Glapheria Abernathy rather than a son of William and Winifred Abernathy. The Joseph who is found in Lincoln County NC in 1840, who married Ollie Nance/Nantz, might well be the son of William and Winnifred. Tracing of slaves may be the only way to definitively know for sure.
Nevertheless, we do know more than we did when Ed Harrell's post appeared.