19th Century



Anna Stewart, 1894

Anna Stewart, 1894


Some Ramsey Family History

William Ramsey is the oldest clearly established Ramsey in the family history, but there are extensive possible Ramsey family links and so many of the issues are based on ruling out or ruling in those potential connections. William Ramsey was born around 1811 (estimate from 1850 census in Polk Co. TN and verified by the 1870 census in Franklin Co. IL) probably in Tennessee as stated on both censuses. His parents are not yet known or perhaps are among the hundreds of Ramsey leads which have not been proven to be related. William was probably married twice. For a time it appeared that he was married three times to Elizabeth, Kesiah, and Katherine, but the 1870 census which uses the name Katherine instead of Kesiah for his wife was likely an error and the source of the “third wife” theory.

William Ramsey was married to Elizabeth Harrison, daughter of Reuben Harrison and Elizabeth Baxter Harrison, in the mid-1830s and that marriage was verified by Cocke Count history and by the military records of his son Edmund from the Civil War. He was also married to Kesiah Wilhite, daughter of Reuben and Elizabeth Wilhite, and that marriage is verified by family records and by the census records listing Kesiah and his [William’s] many children including some of those born to Elizabeth before Kesiah was with him. William probably lived in Cocke Co. with Elizabeth Harrison Ramsey in 1836 through 1839 since his oldest children were born there. Beginning with the birth of Rhoda Ramsey in 1841 all of the other children except the last one were born in Polk County, TN. Only Isabella was born in Franklin Co., IL in 1868 and the 1850 census verifies his presence in Polk Co., TN with Kesiah and seven of his children, including four from his marriage to Elizabeth Harrison. Whatever happened to Elizabeth must have happened between 1843 when Margaret was born and 1850 when Kesiah is listed with William in the 1850 census.

William was said to have children in Arkansas and one daughter, Rhoda Ramsey who married the Rev. Joseph Carter Chastain is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Cleburne Co., AR. There has been no evidence of other family members there. There was no record of the families either in Polk Co., TN or Franklin Co., IL, in 1860 so it could be that he was in Arkansas at that time. He left Polk Co., TN and traveled to Illinois by 1868 since his youngest daughter was born in Franklin Co., IL, that year. Family history says that he left Illinois to return to Reliance (Polk Co.) TN and then to his son’s home in Arkansas and on the way back to Illinois died by the roadside and was buried there. Nevertheless, at least one family report indicates he was buried in Barton or Benton and if so perhaps he was buried in Polk Co where he came from, but I have yet to find him listed in a cemetery there. — M. Foster

Marriage Licenses of Christopher Columbus Gaither

The first is the 1878 marriage at age 20 to Isabelle Plasters, not in the direct line. The second is the 1883 marriage at the age of 24 to Mary J. Summers, the mother of Mila, my great-grandmother—SF

1878 First Marriage

1883 Second Marriage

Background on Jared Foster (see post for more)