For a number of years now I have tried to locate and document the name of Zachariah Yancey's wife.He lived in Mecklenburg, VA and had a large family.Traditionally, Elizabeth Mayes was listed on family group records on various web sites as being his wife.The only place that verified this assumption was the Bible record of Edward Bozeman Yancey (b.1839), grandson of Zachariah Yancey.I normally would have left it at that, but something about it always nagged at me.Then, I found John B. Yancey's death record in the Halifax, VA Death Register.It stated that his parents' names were Zachariah and Sarah Yancey.It was after this that I began, in earnest, to once and for all determine what her real name was.
CENSUS RECORDS:There appears to have been a wife in the household of Zachariah Yancey in the 1790 (1782 Mecklenburg substitute) and 1820 Mecklenburg, VA censuses.From then on: 1830, 1840, 1850 there is no woman tallied in the household old enough to be a wife, but I admit that could be due to bad timing on the part of people dying and Zachariah remarrying (this is IF he did marry a second time.)There is no 1800 or 1810 census for this area in VA.I feel that the mother of Zachariah's children who were born from about 1795 to 1816 was the same woman and that she died after 1820 and before 1830.
DEATH RECORDS:Zachariah's son, John B. Yancey who was born about 1791, died in Halifax, VAin July 1859 as is recorded in the Halifax, VA Death Register.In that register is a column for the names of the deceased's parents.In John B.'s case, Zachariah and Sarah Yancey are listed.This information was given by John B.'s son, Edward Yancey.This Edward Yancey was born in 1832, presumably after the death of his grandmother.No other Death Registers can be found for any of the remaining children of Zachariah Yancey.
MARRIAGE RECORDS:Two of Zachariah's sons were married later in their lives.Stith G. Yancey married for a second time in 1858 at the age of 51 in Mecklenburg, VA.This event is recorded in the Marriage Register for that county.This register also has a column for the names of the bride's and groom's parents.In Stith's case, Zachariah and Nancy Yancey are listed.Richard H. Yancey married for a third time in 1879 at the age of 62 in Mecklenburg, VA.This event is also recorded in the same register.Richard H. listed his parents as Zachariah and N. Yancey.
OK, now we have 3 documented names for Zachariah's wife:Elizabeth, Sarah, Nancy.Did he marry 3 times?Or did someone not remember her name correctly.I think her sons would have better recall than her grandsons who had never met her and probably only heard her referred to as Grandmother Yancey or the like.They also probably knew that they were related to the Mayes family through their Grandmother Yancey.
WILL:John Mayes made his will in November 1800, Mecklenburg, VA.The will was recorded in July 1801.In this will he lists all his children - 5 by his first wife (name unknown at this time) and 5 by Elizabeth Hamlin, who he married in 1789 in Mecklenburg, VA.What makes this will notable is that he bequeaths each child one or two slaves.Some of these slaves are small children as will be shown later.I'm only going to discuss the slaves bequeathed to Nancy Taney (as she is referred to in the transcriptions of this will.)Nancy was given (and her heirs thereafter) two slaves by the names of Rachel and Oney.I will also add that Zachariah Yancey was named co-executor of John Mayes' will.
TAXES:Here is where we get a better look at who this mystery wife could have been.I hope you can follow this.It gets complicated.I followed John Mayes in the Mecklenburg, VA Personal Property Tax records from 1782-1801.In these tax records, the names of any male child 16 and over was listed with his father and the names of any slaves the head of household owned were listed by name.Evidently, households were taxed on male children 16 and older, themselves and slaves that were of a certain age.Slave children between the ages of 12-16 were identified, as were any that were over 16 years old.
John Mayes starts out in 1782 with 6 slaves:Judy, Punch, Sarah (Sal), Tom, Dinah and Rachel.In 1784 Tom ends up on Bozeman Mayes' tax list - and you can see that Tom is bequeathed to Bozeman in John Mayes' will - the will also states that Tom has been in Bozeman's possession "for a term of years".Tom remains with Bozeman from then on.Tom is listed as <16 in 1787 and as 12-16 years old from 1788-1792 and is over 16 in 1793.John's remaining 5 slaves continue to be with him until 1795 when Rachel suddenly is absent.The remaining 4 stay the same until his death.
In the meantime, here is what Zachariah Yancey is being taxed on.He has slaves by the names of:
Jun and Jacob in 1783
Nan and Jun in 1784
Joe and Jacob in 1785
Tenn and Jacob in 1786
Tenn at 16, Jacob, David, Cyrus under 16 in 1787
Teny and Jacob over 16 in 1788
Teny and Jacob over 16 in 1789
Teny and Jacob over 16 in 1790
Tens and Jack over 16 in 1791
Teny and Jacob over 16 in 1792
Tenny and Jacob over 16 in 1793
Tens and Jacob over 16 in 1794
Tens, Jacob, Rachel over 16 in 1795- QUITE A COINCIDENCE
Tens, Jacob and Rachel [there are other slaves that are listed in addition to these 3 beginning in 1800, but I won't take the space to list them] remain with Zachariah through 1812.Then something else notable happens in 1811 and 1812.Oney appears on this list with the age of: 12-16.ANOTHER COINCIDENCE!It looks like Oney was probably born about 1799.She was an infant when John Mayes made out his will.Very likely, she was Rachel's infant daughter.Seems logical that John would bequeath them together.Which is what he did when he gave them to his daughter, Nancy.
Beginning in 1813 slaves are no longer named on the tax list - only tallied.
So......would it be too much of a stretch to say that Nancy Taney is really Nancy Yancey?That the name Taney was just a transcription error?Can we say that Nancy Mayes, daughter of John Mayes and his first wife, was the wife of Zachariah Yancey?I think yes.
The Tax Records and the Marriage Records bear this out.The only conflicting information we have, was reported by 2 grandsons who were born after 1830.I feel that their grandmother has died by 1830.And finally, we see that even they didn't agree on the name of their grandmother.
Stith G. and Richard H. were the last two children born to Zachariah Yancey (b. 1810 and 1816.)They both state that Nancy was the name of their mother.Nancy Mayes Yancey was mentioned in her father's will in 1800.Zachariah had possession of Rachel by 1795.Then I would have to say that Nancy was the mother to all of Zachariah's children that were born after 1794-5.William Lewis Yancey who was born in 1804 would have been a son of Nancy.Edward Bozeman Yancey, (son of William Lewis Yancey) had a Family Bible, which states that his grandmother's given name was Elizabeth.So we see that at least one of the grandsons was probably not knowledgeable about his grandmother's given name.
There is the possibility that John B. Yancey's mother could have been someone other than Nancy and her name could have been Sarah.It could be that Zachariah was married twice.I can't prove that Nancy was present before 1794-5.
To try and prove anything else, would we have to show where Zachariah got the slaves that are in his possession from 1783-1812?Hezikiah bequeathed June, a slave, to Zachariah, his brother in 1782.And according to Mecklenburg, VA Chancery Court papers, Teny also came from Hezikiah's estate.[How Teny came to Hezikiah's possession is a long story.]I don't know about any of the other slaves.