My 2nd great-grandfather on my Dad’s, Mom’s side of the family was Wilson Henry Woosley who was the son of Samuel S. Woosley and Nancy Elizabeth Francis who were married on January 13, 1826 in Halifax County, Virginia. Wilson and his Dad and Mom were also born in Halifax County, Virginia. Wilson was born in 1830 according to his tombstone and census records put him born in about 1830 as well. However, I have never been able to find a month and day for his birth.
Wilson was the third child born to his parents and had older siblings named, James W. Woosley 1826-1904 and Elvira A. Woosley 1828-1905 and a younger sister named Lavenia Jane Woosley 1832-1914. Wilson’s mother Nancy died before September 1835 in Halifax County, Virginia. I have often wondered if she possibly died in childbirth and that child died as well. There is no record of Lavenia stating that her mother died in childbirth with her, so it makes me think she could have had another child and her and that child died.
Sometime around 1833, Samuel came to Christian County, Kentucky and bought land he obtained from the Indians, where the George Watts place use to be. He then went back to Virginia married his sister-in-law, his wife Nancy’s sister, Lydia Francis on September 9, 1835 in Person County, North Carolina. Samuel brought his 4 children by his first wife Nancy and his new wife Lydia to their new home in Kentucky. Samuel and Lydia had eight children together who were all born in Christian County, Kentucky. Samuel died in 1875 and Lydia in 1869 both in the Sinking Fork community of Christian County, Kentucky and are buried at the Cephas Watts Home Cemetery near Sinking Fork.
Wilson’s half-siblings were: William M. Woosley 1838-1914, Samuel M. Woosley 1841-1875, George Washington Woosley 1842-1925, Mahlon J. Woosley 1843-1864, Permelia Katherine Woosley 1845-1902, Jesse Adams Woosley 1847-bef 1937, Sarah Ann Woosley ca. 1849, and Amanda J. Woosley ca. 1851.
Wilson was married to Eliza Jane Renshaw in Christian County, Kentucky on January 5, 1854 and they became the parents of 13 children, and my great-grandmother was their oldest daughter, Nancy Lougena Woosley 1857-1931. Their other children were: Henry E. Woosley 1855-1930, James Wilson Woosley 1859-1948, Elizabeth Frances Woosley 1861 & before 1870, Amanda E. Woosley 1863-1886, George Washington Woosley 1865-1943, Adelia M. Woosley 1867-1891, Robert Lorenzo Woosley 1869-1936, Samuel Lee Woosley 1870-1886, Jernsha Ella Woosley 1873-1886, Curtis Aaron Woosley 1875-1947, Walter Warfield Woosley 1877-1957 and Iona Mildred Woosley 1880-1940.
1886 was a rough year to say the least for Wilson’s widow Eliza, because that winter the influenza had been really bad and people were dying left and right and Eliza and her family was struck hard. Three of her 13 children died in February, Samuel Lee died first and then two of his sisters Amanda and Jernsha. I have a copy of an old letter my Dad found in his Mom’s things written in 1886 in which Wilson’s son Henry is writing to his sister Nancy Lougena and letting her know about her brother Samuel Lee’s passing and how sick everyone else was. The following is a transcription of that letter, left the way Henry wrote it.
Bainbridge, Ky. Feb 9/86 Mrs. LuGenia Doss, Claysville, Ky
It pains me very much indeed to write you the sad news that duty compeles me to do. Our brother Lee is no more, last Monday morning Feb 1st as the sunrise sent forth its glittering rays he breathed his last breathe with out a struggle _________ six weeks to a day. He suffered very much, (But endured his suffering like a hero) & take his medisen to the last hour. He had a very severe attack of pneumonia which we succeeded in brakeing up. But he got up to soon & taken cold which caused this relapse & he was then take with & violent sore throat & his lungs being previously affected it seamed to be im possible to give him any relief. Though we did all we could. Collins worked hard & with the assistance of his Father did all he could but all in vain so far as Lee’s case was concerned. Curtis also relapsed but is up again and improveing slowly. Amandy has had a very severe spell of heave & sore throat her case has been quite doubtful. Though she is some better & in condition to get up again if she does well. The rest of the family are well. I am almost broken down from fatigue & the want of sleep for the last twenty-four nights I have been up ever night & since the twenty first of Dec I have not had but 6 good nights sleep how I have kept up as well as I have I cannot tell. Mas health is tolerable good. Though her eyes are some worse than they have been we have been having tearable times but I hope the worst of it is over. I would like to write more but I have not time now. Please answer soon & let us know how you all are getting a long. The ____________________ is tolerable good except at Mas, Tinnie Owens is not likely to live long if all reports are true she has bowel consumption I suppose if she has she will not be likely to live long. Freaser has gone two parts un. Tinnie is at her Pas. I must close. Hopeing to hear from you soon.
Yours Most Truly
Henry E. Woosley
I stated in the above that Eliza was widowed in 1886 and that is true, because on February 10, 1883 Wilson had died. February was not a kind month for the Woosley family. I heard the story of Wilson’s death many times as a child and if any of you reading this heard something different please let me know. The cause of Wilson’s death would make a good country song. J Now on with the story.
Apparently Wilson drank a little, how much I do not know, but it was definitely too much this time. The story goes that he was at the local saloon, bar or whatever they would have been called back in 1883, drinking with some friends in town. It was a really stormy night and when Wilson got ready to leave his friends tried to get him to stay overnight, but he said, “No come on down to the river and watch me drown”. Wilson jumped on his horse and headed home and tried to cross with his horse across the swollen Muddy Fork Creek in high water and was drowned, the night of February 10, 1883. I have often wonder if it was really an accident or if it could have been intentional, either way he died that night. What I have often thought was funny was the newspaper article my Dad found, that said that the horse had come home with the sad news. Sad it was and I feel for his wife and all of his children to loose their husband and father in such away.
Wilson and his wife Eliza who died January 1, 1897 are both buried at the Debow Cemetery in Christian County, Kentucky. I wish I had a picture of Wilson but I don’t, thankfully however I do have one of Eliza. If someone out there has one of Wilson I sure would like a copy. So here follows Eliza’s picture and then some of their children. The following is a picture of 6 of their 13 children that was taken in the 1930’s sometime before Iona passed away in 1940.
This next picture is of my great-grandmother, Nancy Lougena Woosley on her wedding day on December 8, 1878 to George Samuel Doss and she was Wilson’s oldest daughter. The other 4 girls, Elizabeth, Amanda, Adelia and Jernsha died young as well as son Samuel and I don’t have any pictures of them either,
This next picture is of Wilson’s oldest son Henry E. Woosley.
I would like to think that that Wilson looked like his sons, Henry, James, George, Robert, Curtis and Walter and that Eliza looked like her daughters, Nancy and Iona.