Thursday, April 8, 2021

Possibilities for Peggy


We started this month with the goal of discovering something about the parents of Mary Carroll Gordon of Monongalia County, once the domain of the state of Virginia. Despite our research goal to focus on the identity of the parents of my mother-in-law's third great-grandmother, we find ourselves exploring the details we are discovering on the family of one Anthony Carroll, who could possibly be Mary's father.

Though it is important to stick with a research goal, it is sometimes helpful to branch out to explore what can be found on other potential members of the family. These collateral lines can sometimes—possibly—reveal details which weren't provided in the course of strictly researching the specific individual we are focused upon.

With that, we are now exploring the descendants of Anthony Carroll, as mentioned in his 1830 will. While we will certainly return to study the "Polly Gorden" who was mentioned as his daughter—Polly hopefully signifying a nickname for Mary, the one we are keenly interested in—today, let's see what we can find on "Pegey Guseman," the one listed as sister of Polly. 

Since we already ascertained that Anthony Carroll was living in Monongalia County by at least the time of the 1810 census—and likely before that point—it stands to reason that a married daughter by the name of Guseman might also belong to a family found in records pre-dating Anthony's 1830 will.

First, checking the census record for the same year as Anthony's death, we find two men by the name of Guseman on the same page, followed by one more on the subsequent page. Since only heads of household were listed in census records pre-dating the 1850 census, our possibilities for Peggy's husband now become John A. Guseman, Godfrey Guseman, and Isaac Guseman

It appears all three Guseman men were in Monongalia County long before that point. Taking a look at a list of the county's militia company assembled for the war of 1812, we actually see four Guseman men listed in Captain Samuel Wilson's company: Lieutenant Godfrey Guseman, Corporals Joseph and Isaac Guseman, and Private John Guseman.

Fortunately for us, despite the earliest marriage records for Monongalia County long ago appearing "obliterated, defaced and injured from use so as to be partly illegible," their court system, in 1917, authorized the clerk of the court to prepare a typewritten index of those first marriage records for use by the public. This is now provided in a digitized form, in which I found an entry for the marriage of one Margaret Carrol and a man by the name of Godfrey Guseman on July 28, 1800

Further cementing that relationship, not long after the passing of Margaret's father, Anthony, Godfrey himself drew up his will, which was presented to the same county court during the March term of 1838

Godfrey's own will confirmed that his wife was identified as Margaret Guseman—although whether she was the sole woman by that name in Monongalia County, we can't yet say. Nor can we affirm yet that this Margaret Guseman was one and the same as the "Pegey" Guseman mentioned in Anthony Carroll's will eight years earlier. We'll need some more time for additional exploration, starting first with the details included in Godfrey's own will.


  1. Replies
    1. I cannot begin to say how grateful I am that those court records--even in their typewritten, derivative form--have been digitized and made available online. A good start, indeed!

  2. Have you looked at A History of Preston County, West Virginia J.R. Cole? It may the source for the family trees you are encountering on Anthony Carroll's line. It was published in 1914. I find early research from that period is always a bit suspect, but I also feel like I need to establish the origins of secondary sources that are a thorn in the side. Not only is the Anthony Carroll and Godfrey Guseman you are working on in this work, but there is also a James Hall. There is also an early James H. Carroll, which makes me wonder if he was James Hall Carroll? The James Hall named by Anthony Carroll in his will might be a nephew or grandson. That transcript may not be accurate in terms of missing words.

    Also, I know you are going to focus on Godfrey Guseman's will, but for my money, chancery court records are the big pay off, especially when lawsuits went on for years.

    1. Thank you for bringing up that resource, Kathy! And yes, it is likely that that book was a source for the 1832 date of death for Anthony Carroll.

      However, the book will also be of interest for one other reason: tracing the collateral lines mentioned in the various documents we've found on this family already. There is one such line I found which specifically mentioned that family moving from Monongalia County to Preston County--and then returning back to Mon County. It is a weak connection, but you know how it is when we can't find any solid connections any other way...

  3. Thanks for this. I am trying to confirm Anthony Carroll and first wife, Temperance Mary Donaway, with a son James Carroll, born 1771. The details from this point are tricky!

    1. Yes, they are! Definitely! Although now that I've spent a month working on this Carroll line--including a son named James--I've found a few more clues. (If you get a chance, please do look over the rest of the Carroll posts here for the month of April.)

      That said, the book suggested above by kdduncan has turned out to be helpful as well, as some of the Carroll descendants moved to nearby Preston County, and the book accessed by that link (above) mentions specifically descendants of James Carroll. Of course, all resources such as those county history books are based on personal recollections, and we all know how memories can be faulty. But I take resources such as that as trailblazer material, and check out their leads for myself. I hope you will find it helpful, too.


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