WHY DEMPSEY’S FATHER MUST BE ISAAC
Starting with What IS KNOWN
---Isaac was born in 1749 in Prince William Co VA
---Dempsey was born in about 1775, almost certainly in NC
---Isaac’s Rev War pension application, and Caswell Co NC tax records, show that he lived in Caswell Co from at least 1777 when that county was formed, and probably lived in Caswell’s parent Orange Co for some time before joining the militia in Caswell Co.Thus Dempsey probably was born in Orange Co NC
Both Caswell and Orange were on, or near,the NC - VA border.
---Dempsey married a woman from Fairfield Co SC, no doubt in that county
---According to later censuses he had at least a son born by 1800
---Even though he was married with children he did not appear in the 1800 census anywhere
---In 1800 he was not in the household of his father-in-law
---In 1800 Fairfield Co SC,there were two Graham / Grimes households, Isaac and William(who lived near one another),who also were the only Graham / Grimes households in the county where, according to the census, both Dempsey and his wife might have been
---Sometime between 1810 and 1820, Dempsey’s daughter Anna married Elijah Graham.
This is relevant because it can be shown that Elijah was very likely a son of Isaac or William,Isaac’s proposed brother, but could not be a son of Isaac since that would make him an uncle of Anna, which would prohibit his marriage to her,and thus was a son of William and cousin of his bride Anna
(Isaac and William almost certainly were brothers:two of the sons of Charles Graham of Prince William Co VA.That Charles is known to have had a son William who was in Prince William Co until at least 1784 but was not there in 1790.)
WHY THAT SEEMS TO LEAVE ONLY ISAAC AS DEMPSEY’S FATHER
For the reasons outlined in the above paragraphs, and because the expected profile of Dempsey’s 1800 family---himself, young wife and at least a young son---is found in Isaac’s Fairfield SC household, but not in William’s, the facts strongly suggest that Dempsey was Isaac’s son.
This is not absolute proof.Absolute proof can never be certain in genealogy because we cannot know with absolute certainty that, for instance, a particular wife was always faithful to her husband.
That fidelity is usually assumed, rightfully I suppose, in genealogy research, with the result that birth or baptism records are usually presumed to be absolute proof.But because even those records were very rare in frontier America, particularly outside New England, we usually must rely on strong circumstantial evidence.... as much as we would like so-called absolute proof, it’s simply not available.
After years of search-and-re-search research, I think,but cannot prove beyond doubt,that Dempsey was a son of Isaac by his first wife, an Indian woman---probably Saponi or Cherokee, possibly Tuscarora---whose last name was Dempsey, from one of the counties along the northern border of North Carolina.
The paragraph above is not proven but strong circumstantial evidence---accumulated from various sources over many years---suggests that this is almost certainly correct,so let’s examine more closely the points claimed in that paragraph:
== THAT Dempsey was a son of Isaac ==
See early paragraphs of this post.
== THAT Dempsey’s mother was Isaac’s first wife ==
Censuses show that Dempsey’s wife died after 1800, probably by about 1803, and that he had remarried a much younger woman by 1810.
== THAT the first wife was NATIVE AMERICAN ==
I had been told since childhood that I was 1/64 Cherokee.I recently asked two cousins who also descend from Dempsey, one of whom I had not known until about 8 years ago,if they had heard that same tale, and both said they had including the 1/64 degree and the Cherokee tribe.
The fraction 1/64 works out to either Dempsey or his wife was one-half native American.Circumstances eliminate the father of Dempsey and of his wife as being Indian, leaving one of the mothers.It is slightly possible that both mothers were, of course, but because of the Dempsey family connection described in the next paragraph I feel that at least Dempsey’s mother was the source of the Indian blood I and my cousins have.
== THAT her maiden name was Dempsey ==
The 1790 census of NC shows that several Dempsey households in northern NC counties were classified by the census taker as “free non-white” or similar words, which is how free Indian persons were classified in that and later censuses.
The speculation is that Isaac named his first son in honor of his wife’s maiden name, and, I think, based on other events and records,Dempsey inherited a large tract of land in SC from either his Dempsey grandfather or from his mother when she died(although I can find only deeds of his sale of that land, but no proof of his acquisition of the land).
WEAK POINTS IN MY SPECULATION
It seems somewhat improbable that an Indian living in northern NC would own land in SC, though it may be that he bought the land specifically for the purpose of gifting it to his grandson.
And no records can be found for the gift or inheritance, only for the facts that Dempsey did sell a very large tract of land that he had not purchased, and also that he, separately, seems to have suddenly come into enough money in about 1810 ...enough that he could sell his modest tract of land and buy a very large tract (land not related to the land just mentioned).
Specifically, Dempsey bought 100 acres in Fairfield Co in early 1801 and then suddenly sold it about 15 months later, which I think is related to the death of his mother at about the same time, and then in January 1804 acquired a full section, 640 acres in Fairfield Co, again, I speculate, with funds related to his mother’s death.
The other transaction, in 1836, was Dempsey’s sale of 1585 acres in Chester Co SC, for most of which there is no record found of Dempsey’s acquisition.
DIAGRAM OF ANCESTRY OF DEMPSEY
(Some of these men were found as “Grimes” in some records from time to time.)
John 1640 or earlier ~ Apr 1697 or slightly earlier Northumberland VA + Apr 1670 or earlier, Mary (probably Watts; maybe White)
v....this relationship virtually certain
Edwardest. 1676-82 Northumberland VA ~ 1749-50 Fairfax VA + Patience unknown
v ....this relationship proven
Charlesc1706 Northumberland VA ~ 1784 or later + Mary unknown
v ....this relationship virtually certain
Isaac1749 Prince William VA ~ c1841 White TN + (1) c1774 NC,unknown Dempsey
v ....this relationship seems quite certain
Dempsey1774-75 NC ~ c1867 Sumter AL + c1798 Fairfield SC, Elizabeth Arledge
I have much more detail on everyone mentioned in this post and would be happy to send it on request.
Graham Louerglouer2 AT gmail.com