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Hi, My name is Vickie and to tell you a little bit about myself, I was born and raised in Kentucky and the majority of my ancestors have been in Kentucky since the 1790’s. I have always loved history, a good mystery and puzzles and that is what Family History Research is all about. As a child we would take day trips on Saturdays and head down some dirt road looking for old cemeteries. A lot of the time we weren't looking for anyone in particular, we just like to read the epitaphs. We would have a picnic lunch packed and have lunch at whatever cemetery we were at. If the weather was bad my Dad and I would go to a court house and dig through old records in musty old basements looking for our ancestors. So as you can see I have had an interest in Family History for quite some time.View my complete profile

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Moses Woosley

Moses Woosley was my 4th great-grandfather on my Dad’s side of the family through his mother Jessie Doss, better known to most of my family as Mama Jessie.  Moses was born in 1758 in Buckingham County, Virginia the son of Thomas Woosley and Elizabeth Waters.  I only know the year of his birth, not the month and day unfortunately.   I also don’t know a lot about his childhood, but I do know that he came from a very large family.  Moses was number 4 of the 15 children born to Thomas and Elizabeth and also the 4th of 14 sons born to them and finally a daughter who was the 15th child.  Can you image having 15 children and all boys but one.  I have 5 grandsons and you would think there were ten times that many when they all get going, 14 boys is just mind boggling to say the least.  None of these 15 children died young either, which is an amazing feat back in those days when infant mortality was so high.

This families surname has been spelled many different ways over the years and a lot of the family that left Virginia and went to Ohio tended to spell it Owsley, Ousley or Oosley.   There is an Owsley family in Kentucky that is a completely different line from our Woosley/Owsley/Ousley/Oosley family though, so you have to make sure you aren't following one of them.   Also a lot of people have thought that the Woolsey family is the same family, but from my research I do not believe that is true.  Some have tried to link our family back to Cardinal Woolsey of England, but I just don’t think that can be our line from what research I have done.  Most people that do try to connect us to Cardinal Woolsey of England, do not have any documentation to go with their theories, so until I can find something myself, I am not linking our lines to him.

Moses’ siblings were the following: Aaron Walden Woosley 1753-1831 in Bedford County, Tennessee; Joshua Woosley 1755 - ? , William Woosley 1757-1838 in Davidson County, North Carolina; Thomas Woosley, Jr. 1760-1856 in Christian County, Kentucky; John Owsley 1762 – after 1811 possibly in Ohio; Benjamin Woosley 1764-1841 in Tazewell County, Virginia; Samuel Woosley 1765-1844 in Grayson County, Kentucky; Marion Woosley 1768 - ? , David Woosley 1770-1852 in Grayson County, Kentucky; Nathan Woosley 1770-1856 in Crawford County, Arkansas; Elisha Woosley 1772 - ? , Elijah Woosley 1774-1859 in Bedford County, Tennessee; James Woosley 1778-1847 in Clark County, Ohio; and the only daughter, Elizabeth Woosley 1780 – before 1850 in Clark County, Ohio.

Another amazing fact about this family is that Moses, his father, Thomas and six or seven of his brothers, Aaron, Joshua, William, Thomas Jr., Benjamin, Samuel and possibly Marion were all supposed to have served in the Revolutionary War.  I know Moses did for certain as well as Aaron, William and Thomas Jr., but so far I cannot find the others listed as serving, though they are a perfect age to have done so.  Mama Jessie always said that her mother, Nancy Lougena Woosley Doss, talked about Moses and his brothers and his father as having served in the Revolution and how proud she was to have come from such fine stock.

We do have every reason to be proud of Moses and the service he gave during the Revolutionary War though.  I have a copy of his pension file which states that he joined up in December of 1776 in Amelia County, Virginia and served for three years.   He was put in Colonel Mason's company and the whole company was inoculated with the small pox and after everyone became well, they marched through Alexandria and Georgetown, then on to Baltimore and Philadelphia and from there to the White Plains of New York.   

At White Plains they joined up with General, George Washington and Moses was at the battles of Germantown, Stoney Point, Camden and Yorktown.  What I have always loved though was the fact that Moses was at Valley Forge during that terrible winter with General, George Washington and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis.  Moses saw so many of the defining moments of the Revolutionary War, what a proud heritage we can claim from the service of Moses and also of his brothers and possibly his father as well.

After the war Moses returned to his occupation as a farmer and soon was married.  Something that wasn't that common especially in the southern states was the fact that Moses and most of his brothers did not get married until they were over 25 years old and Moses was 31 before he got married, even his sister was 24 before she got married.   On May 7, 1789 in Amelia County, Virginia Moses married Elizabeth Butler, daughter of William Butler and Rhoda Ann Thomas of Dinwiddie County, Virginia.  They became the parents of eight children.

These eight children were: Sally Butler Woosley 1790 - before 1844; Rhoda Walters Woosley 1792 - before 1838; Moses Martin Woosley 1793-1815; Holman H. Woosley 1796-1856; Samuel S. Woosley 1800-1875 (my ancestor); Elizabeth F. Woosley 1803 - before 1843; Nancy Warfield Woosley 1805-1876 and James Thomas Woosley 1807 - before 1880.

By 1790 or so Moses and his family had moved over into Halifax County, Virginia and he and his wife and five of their eight children continue to live there until their deaths.  My direct line Samuel S. Woosley and two of his siblings, Rhoda Walters Woosley Perkins and James Thomas Woosley and their families moved to Christian County, Kentucky and settled near the Sinking Fork Community in the early 1830’s.

Moses became a plantation owner with around 564 acres of land and also up to 20 slave’s at one time or another in Halifax County, Virginia.   I know some of his land he received as bounty land for his service during the Revolutionary War.   From an old record my Dad, Frank Beard, found many years ago we read the following:  “The following is from a copy of the original financial records of Moses Woosley, but does not say where it came from.  A Record of Advancements made by Moses Woosley to his children in his lifetime.  To William Keeling & Sally his wife formerly Woosley = 1 carryall $45.00 June 14 - cash for receipt $100.00 total $145.00.  To John Perkins & wife his Rhody formerly Woosley = May 11, 1828 - cash for receipt $100.00 January 8, 1835, cash $30.00 & house $35.00; January 8, 1835, 1 negro woman, Judith & 2 children Lee & Harold $600.00; total $765.00.  To Holeman Woosley = January 3, 1835 - 2 negroes, Morgan & John $750.00, January 8, 1835 - $100.00 cash; total $850.00.  To Samuel S. Woosley = January 3, 1835 - 2 negroes, Joshua & Isaac for $535.00; also on January 8, 1835 - $47.00 in cash; on October 21, 1835 - $200.00 cash; total $782.00.  To James T. Woosley = September 18, 1829 - cash $97.00, January 3, 1835 - one negro man named Isham $600.00; January 8, 1835 - $33.00 cash; total #730.00.  To Johnson M. Hancock & Elizabeth his wife formerly Woosley = January 3, 1835 - one negro woman named Keziah $475.00; December 1, 1837 - cash $50.00; December 9, 1838 - cash $50.00; total $575.00.  To David Tribble & Nancy his wife formerly Woosley = January 3, 1835 - 2 negroes Fanny & Hiram $600.00; January 8, 1835 - cash $70.00; total $670.00.  Martin Woosley has (cannot read rest).”

I have found Moses on the 1820, 1830 and 1840 census records in Halifax County, Virginia.  I don’t know exactly when his wife Elizabeth died, but I do know it was before the 1840 census was taken and that Moses passed away in September of 1843.  They are both apparently buried in unmarked graves and I don’t even know the name of the cemetery but I think it could be the Tribble Cemetery where his daughter Nancy and son-in-law David Tribble are buried in Halifax County.  The reason I believe this might be true is because in Moses’ will he states the following: “I Moses Woosley leaves and wills all my property to David Tribble, my son-in-law, for the sum total of $1.00.  David is to manage the estate and care to the needs of said Moses, and on his death pay any of his outstanding debts.” 

The following is a picture of the home of David & Nancy Woosley Tribble and it could be possible that Moses Woosley lived here before he died.  The next picture is of the Tribble Cemetery where Moses and his wife Elizabeth could possibly be buried.

I am so proud of my Woosley family who were part of the growing country of America, having come to these shores at least by the 1680’s into the Virginia colonies.  I wish so much that I knew exactly where Moses Woosley was buried, because their definitely needs to be something to mark the grave of a soldier that helped win American Independence.


  1. Fantastic. Love it. Keep teaching us.....

  2. Just read your latest. How wonderful to have all that history. I would have no idea how to trace my family "back" that far. Thanks for sharing. Always enjoy reading.

  3. I just learned about Moses Woosley this summer while visiting valley Forge. My name is Gail Woosley, daughter of Connie Webster, son of Ephraim Alexander whose father was Thomas H. Woosley, born 1n 1831.

    1. I am always happy to hear from a new cousin. I have an online tree for my Woosley family at this link: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=ThomasWoosley&I11.x=35&I11.y=6

      I would love to add your line to my tree.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your work. My grandmother was a Floyd Co., KY Ousley/Owsley. I tried to make the connection to Benjamin Woosley years ago and could document a link.

    1. Thanks so much for making contact, I always loved to meet new cousins.

  5. This is fascinating. I have 1st cousins who are descended from Robert Holman Woosley. They lived on the family property along Route 501 in Halifax County.

    1. Thanks for making contact I always love to meet new cousins.