7. Mary (Thompson) Helvey
Mary Thompson is the fifth child and first daughter of Andrew and Ann Thompson. She was born about 1784, based on a comparison of Andrew's probate records with known birth dates of siblings (see Chapter 2). This is supported by the 1810 census [Douthat, Wythe Settlers, pg. 5], which lists the spouse of John Helvey as being aged 26-45; Mary would have been about 26. Like the other children, Mary was almost certainly born in the Walker Valley, which at that time would have been in Montgomery County boundaries. Mary passed away in 1842, as detailed below.
Mary married John Helvey 21 Jun 1802 in Wythe County, Virginia [Wythe Marriage Registry, transcript page 26.] This fits well with the 1810 census, which shows three small children under the age of 10. This makes Mary about 18 at the time of her marriage.
John is listed as age 26-45 in the 1810 census, making the range of his birth year to be 1765-1784. John died in 1816, according to the probate records of Wythe [Wythe Wills, Book 2, pg. 147-148, 13 Feb 1816]. This is also indicated by the listing of Mary Helvey as head of household in the 1820 census.
I reconstruct the children of John and Mary this way, for reasons presented in this chapter.
|Andrew Helvey||b. ca. 1807, Wythe||possibly widowed|
|Anna Helvey||b. 1808, Wythe||md. Benjamin Roberts, 1842|
|Rhoda Helvey||b. 1808/1810, Wythe||md. William Maddon, ca.1831|
|Mary Helvey||b. 1811/1815, Wythe||md. Abner H. Henly|
|Daniel M. Helvey||b. 1811/1815, Wythe||md. Sophey Roberts, 1838|
By 1830, Mary had moved her household to McMinn, Tennessee, where her sister Nancy (Thompson) Havens was living with her husband Charles [McMinn 1830 Census]. She purchased land from Charles on 6 Oct 1836 [Boyer, McMinn Deeds, pg. 18, transcript of Deed Book D, pg. 437]. Apparently, this land was right next to Charles and Nancy, because Mary (listed as Polly Helvey) is shown next to Charles Havens on the 1840 Census. We find her, aged 50-60, with a grown male aged 30-40 and female age 30-40 living with her. There is also a male child age 5.
We know that Mary passed away between the 1840 census and the 1843 settlement of her father's estate, where she is referred to in probate records as "Mary Helvey, Deceased" [Wythe Will Book #6, pp. 373-376.] When did this happen?
On 20 Aug 1942, the children of Mary sell a parcel of land in McMinn, Tennessee to Boyd Porter. The land boundaries mention a line "agreed upon by Charles Helvy and Mary Helvy Sr. dec'd, former owners". [Boyer, McMinn Deeds, pg. 37, transcript of Deed Book G, pg. 658]. This proves that Mary had passed away by Aug 1942. We also find a listing of Mary's children: Andrew Helvey, Daniel Helvey, Abner H. Henly and wife Mary, William Maddon and wife Rhoda, and Ann Helvey. (The Charles Helvey mentioned is amost certainly Charles Havens.)
A comparison of with the names listed on Andrew Thompson Sr.'s probate records with the names on the 1842 land sale show the same five families: Daniel M. Helvey, Andrew Helvey, Abner H. Henly and wife, Benjamin Roberts and wife, William Waddle and wife.
The records in Tennessee provide dates for two of these marriages. Daniel Helvey married Sophey Roberts on 5 Apr 1838 [Whitley, McMinn Marriages, pg. 6, cites Book "C"]. Ann Helvey married Benjamin Roberts on 6 Dec 1842 [Whitely, McMinn Marriages, pg. 27]. (I can't prove it yet but I expect that Benjamin and Sophey are brother and sister.)
With the marriage information, the land sale and the probate records of Andrew Sr., a clear picture of the children emerges, shown by the table below.
|5 Apr 1838 Marriage||20 Aug 1842 Land Sale||Dec 6 1842 Marriage||1843 Probate of Andrew Sr.|
|Andrew Helvy||Andrew Helvey|
|Daniel Helvy & Sophey Roberts||Daniel Helvy||Daniel M. Helvey|
|Abner H. Henly & wife Mary||Abner H. Henly & wife|
|William Madden & wife Rhoda||William Waddle & wife|
|Ann Helvy||Ann Helvy & Benjamin Roberts||Benjamin Roberts & wife|
The records clearly show Andrew, Daniel and Ann with the correct names, and in Ann's case, a marriage at the right time. Census records show we are looking for exactly two males and three females in Mary's family. Court records at the time clearly considered the wife important in estate matters only when she was the direct descendant. Daniel Helvey's wife is not mentioned in either record, but we know he was married at the time. Yet, the wives of Abner Henly, William Madden/Waddle, and Benjamin Roberts are mentioned. Three wives is a good match for three daughters. The land transaction in 1842 gives us the names of the other two daughters.
I had previously incorrectly thought there was another son, Abner Helvy. My mistake was not hard to make. Abner's last name is spelled both Helvy and Henly in the probate records of Andrew Sr. The land transaction is the same way, referring to him as Helvy three times and Henly once, his wife Mary referred to twice as Helvy and twice as Henly. However, none of the other children are referred to as Henly in any records. Henly is the clearly spelled name next to the signatures of Abner H. and Mary on the land record. These facts, along with the specific mention of Abner's wife, the need to find a Mary Jr. (since the deceased Mary is referred to as Sr.), and the exact tally of two males and three females in the 1820 and 1830 census, lead me to conclude that Mary is indeed a daughter and Abner H. is a husband. I also think that Henly is the name we should be looking for.
The inconsistency between William Madden and William Waddle is annoying, but is probably due to writing styles. Write out Madden and Waddle in your best imitation of the 1840's style; one could easily mistake the one for the other. Even so, the land record clearly says Madden, and Andrew Sr.'s probate clearly says Waddle; no mistaking it. Since we find William Madden and wife Rhoda in the McMinn 1850 census, I believe Andrew's probate record must be the one in error. My best guess is that the probate records was entered into the official record by rewriting it from some other original notes of the proceedings and at that time, the person entering the information mistook Madden for Waddle. Apparently neither William or Rhoda (nor any of the other children) were present at probate settlement, since Daniel M. acted as attorney for the others. (An interesting fact because the 1842 land sale suggests that Daniel could not write, since he did not sign his name, but used a mark.)
A comparison of 1810, 1820 and 1830 censuses also suggests exactly five children, two males and three females.
|1810 (Wythe)||1820 (Wythe)||1830 (McMinn)||1840 (McMinn)|
|Helvey, John||Helvey, Mary||Helvy, Polly||Helvy, Mary|
|F 26-45||F 26-45||F 40-50||F 50-60||(Mary Sr.)|
|M 0-10||M 10-16||M 20-30||M 30-40||(Andrew)|
|F 0-10||F 10-16||F 20-30||F 30-40||(Anna)|
|F 0-10||F 10-16||F 15-20||(Rhoda)|
|M 0-10||M 15-20||(Daniel)|
|F 0-10||F 15-20||(Mary)|
The 1840 census throws a small curve by showing a small boy aged 5-10, living with Mary Sr., and the grown male and other grown female in the home. I don