Sunday, December 27, 2015

Who Was Sarah "Sally" McCage's Father?

Sarah E. McCage (~1812-1860), who married William Kennedy Dickson (1811-probably 1860's), was born in Tennessee and lived in Perry County, Tennessee by 1840 (if not before). I'd seen her maiden name, McCage, on other researcher's trees, but last year is the first time I found it on a document. One of her children, Jacob Tipton Dickson, had written his mother's name as Sarah McCage on a Civil War Questionnaire in 1920.

Jacob Tipton's Civil War Questionnaire (Question #8 lists "Maiden name in full of your mother: Salley McCage.
She was the daughter of "dont know" and his wife "dont know."
I've been looking through's War of 1812 Pension Files lately. (The are currently posted through the letter M, and I'm "patiently" waiting for the W's for Whitwell.) Today, I came across a Samuel McCage from Tennessee who looked like a possible father or uncle for Sarah. Samuel was from Humphreys County, Tennessee which is adjacent to Perry County, Tennessee.

I found Samuel's Find-A-Grave memorial and a researcher lists Samuel's children, which did not include my Samuel. It did, however, say that Samuel McCage lived in Perry County, Tennessee until the late 1840's! But, her birth of May 1811 to April 1812 does not fit nicely with Samuel's marriage date of March 29th, 1812.

Could Samuel McCage possibly be Sarah's uncle? And, there's still a chance Samuel is her father.

I had never found Sarah and her husband, William Kennedy Dickson, on the 1840 census... until recently. I looked for Samuel McCage in the 1840 census in Perry County, Tennessee. I found him, and just 3 names down was Kennedy Dickson with his wife and three young children.

Since Sarah was born in 1811 or 1812, we are looking for a possible father who was born between 1780 to 1790. Perry County is a burned county, so I'm still looking for Sarah's elusive parents. If you have any ideas, please let me know!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment with a way to contact you or email me at

Why Did They Divide the County into Two?

William Kennedy Dickson (~1811-1860's), my 3rd great grandfather, signed a petition in 1845. At the time, he was living in Perry County, Tennessee. The petition? Some citizens of Perry County are asking that their county be divided. So, why do they want the county divided?
Detail from map of the United States of America by H. S. Tanner, 1834
(found on various sites)
Above is an 1834 map of Perry County, Tennessee. Running almost down the center is the Tennessee River. Perryville, the county seat, is on the west side of the river. That was the issue. The people on the east side of the river, including William K Dickson, pointed out the hardships of crossing the river: "the citizens residing on the east side of the Ten[essee] River are compelled to submit to a constant [unreadable] and unjust tax for ferriages in attending courts said which is oppressive in the extreme besides the risk of their personal safety." (Petition transcribed by Jerry L. Butler & posted on the TNGenWeb site.)

In other words, they are complaining about the cost and danger of crossing the river via ferry anytime they need to go to the courthouse!

According to "Historical Resources on Microfilm: Perry County," in "November, 1845 Perry County was divided to create Decatur county from lands lying west of the Tennessee River. The division took effect on 1846 Apr 6. Perryville was retained as the county seat for Decatur (until it was moved to Decaturville) and a new county seat for Perry was needed. For two years between 1846 and 1848, the Perry court met at the Harris farm, about four miles south of present-day Linden. A new woodframe courthouse was constructed at Linden in 1849. This is said to have burned during the Civil War, destroying a body of records."

I enjoyed learning more about my ancestor's hardships & why he would get involved in trying to have the county line & county seat moved. And, it's always a good idea to know the geography of where our ancestors lived. "Little things" like rivers could make a BIG difference in their daily lives!

The 1828 Will of Peter Close's Relict: Catharine Elizabeth Close

Yesterday, I shared the 1810 will of my 5th great grandfather , Peter Close of Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Peter's wife, Catha...