This segment of the chapter on John Scalf Sr. is an effort to take you through the life and movements of John Scalf, Sr. according to his pension file. Hopefully, the pension file and the court minutes of Russell County, Virginia, will help someone in their search for more facts. Some of these documents you have previously read in the earlier writings. I will also present further documents so you may be able to read the accounts and form your own opinion of what is fact and what is speculation.

Copies of the original documents will be posted. Most of these documents are not difficult to read. However, a couple might present some close studying. Some of these documents will not be posted at the same time as this chapter due to the time involved in scanning. However, all documents will be posted as soon as scanning is completed.

I cannot say if John Sr. may have brought troubles on himself, nor can I say he was unjustly accused. I can only relate the evidence I have found, for this is ultimately a matter of opinion. The records I have studied of Russell County, Virginia suggests there may have been other things happening behind the scenes that did in fact, instigate problems for John Sr. I cannot give a well-informed opinion as to what may have been the problem in North Carolina or Kentucky because there are not enough records to make an informed assumption. However, there is a strong indication that some of the things that happened in Russell County happened for reasons John had no control over.

As in a court case, family history is merely a preponderance of the evidence. To withhold the evidence is not justly or accurately presenting enough evidence for the jury to deliberate with. This manuscript is not presented to give you a simple opinion, nor are we trying John Sr. on a specific charge. This manuscript is presented to help aid you in your search while trying to give you a rounded balance of the evidence found in my research. It would be wonderful if I could say without hesitation that these are all facts without any speculation, but this is not, and will not, be the case with any genealogy. The period of time in which our ancestors lived hinders this due to the lack of laws regarding record keeping and the tragedies of the burnings of what records were kept.

However, in defense of not only John Sr., but many folks of this period, many things happened that might suggest these folks were not very reputable people. On the contrary, these folks were very much reputable. Although the majority of our ancestors were not of the more prominent of society, they were hardworking, honest, and some of the toughest among men. The majority of the early ancestors were brought here as indentured servants to work out the payment of their passages after their arrival for they had no monetary means of payment for their transport. Some were considered “vagabonds.” Some were imprisoned in jails in England for one thing or another. History relates that England wanted rid of her “less fortunate” society and most of our ancestors certainly qualified in this category.

These people were illiterate and this was a majority, not a minority. This also did not necessarily correlate only to the region one may have lived in. Most of the folks who were literate were in positions of government for the Crown or some type of prominent position. Being illiterate did not cause one to be totally ignorant, however. In the early colonial period of our country, what we refer to in Appalachia as “common horse sense” applied more to survival than literacy. History proves that this adventure to the “New Word” would be a survival of the fittest.

It would have been utterly useless to recite poetry or be able to spell one’s name if one did not know or learn how to survive in this new and very dangerous frontier. These folks may not have known how to survive the hardships in the beginning, but they certainly adapted and learned.

We are not here today simply because we had ancestors with royal blood or of the highest book knowledge of the period. We are here because we had ancestors who had “common horse sense” and with all due respect, little book knowledge.

I believe in education to the highest degree but our ancestors did not have this opportunity, so where opportunity is omitted, “common horse sense” will sustain. I have no idea where the term “common horse sense” began but have heard this all of my life. In recent years, “horse” has been dropped and it is now termed “common sense.” Times do change. <Smile> I think the proper term for this now is “politically correct.”

To fully appreciate our history, it is important to read and understand the times our ancestors lived in. The old documents left are more than valuable in finding one’s family. They are the story of a place and time that we cannot imagine in our wildest dreams having been able to survive in. From document to document the story is told of the difficult lives of these people who were our ancestors. Some did not survive but many did. Many of the “vagabonds” sent here became prominent citizens. Descendants of these vagabonds now hold positions of the highest esteem. It is a reminder of the story of “The Ugly Duckling” and as we know, one day the ugly duckling became a beautiful swan!

John Sr. was a product of his time and truly a mountaineer in all aspects of the term. John lived in a time when fighting was a means of survival. Regardless of what type of survival one was dealing with, whether it be to defend ones self from an enemy physically, or to do what was necessary to sustain ones daily life and family. The Appalachian Region has always been considered a “poverty region.” This is true in the aspect of material possessions. However, Appalachia is rich in many ways that is often unnoticed by others but is treasured by the natives of Appalachia.

Many family researchers have found it difficult to believe that John Sr. was eleven or twelve years old when he enlisted in the Revolution. I also could not believe this in the beginning of my research. However, after some years of researching and studying the old documents, I have found this was common and not at all unusual.

It might be construed that John Sr. was a very strong-willed, stubborn, outspoken man to the point of causing himself many problems. On the flip side of this coin, John could be said to have been a man of great character and persistence and a loving family man. Many references to the character of John Scalf Sr. can be drawn from reading his pension file but I doubt that it could ever be said that John Scalf Sr. was a man of few words, nor could he be deemed a “quitter.”

Quite the contrary, I imagine if John Sr. thought it, he said it. If you liked it, that was fine and if you did not, that was equally fine. I cannot imagine this man apologizing for anything he said or did that he truly felt he was right about. This statement is not made to portray John as a man who thought he was always right and everyone else was wrong. However, in my opinion, when he felt he was right he was 100% right and there was no room for doubt. He was also willing to fight to the last for his belief. John had been fighting since he joined the Continental Line in 1777 as a young boy. The battle changed as John got older, but the spirit of the young soldier remained.

It was ordered by the court in Russell County, Virginia, that the children of John be removed due to John’s inability to care for them. John Sr. was very upset concerning this and brought his son, William, home the day he met him on the road in Russell County. John evidently did this without any thought or care to the consequences. The removal of his children from the home was a direct blow at John’s character and something he was not about to ignore. The fact that he took his son home with him when he met him on the road that day depicts the nature of John Sr. He was ready to fight the man who had taken him as well as the court that allowed it.

I believe it can be said with some degree of confidence that John was now living in a time different from that of his earlier North Carolina years. Almost fifteen years had passed since John had left his home in North Carolina and as we well know, times do change and the process changes as well.

In the years before John made his way to Russell County, Virginia things may have been different concerning the act of apprenticeship. This procedure might have been different in North Carolina than it was in Russell County, Virginia because of the variation of the laws from state to state. Possibly, children were not “apprenticed” due to poverty in North Carolina. I have read accounts of “apprentices” in North Carolina history but it was due to the death of a parent. I have not had the opportunity to study this further and it is possible that children were apprenticed due to poverty in North Carolina, but I cannot speak with any knowledge on this matter without further research.

Whatever the case, it was short-lived and John was ready for battle. No doubt, he had no idea just how many more battles were ahead for him that would stem from this one action. I also doubt that it would have changed one thing that John Scalf Sr. did had he had the foresight to see this.

It should be noted here as well that in many instances an apprenticeship was often a legal means of obtaining free labor. Children were sometimes apprenticed to a family for “free labor” under the misconception that they were learning a trade and in the meantime paying for their upkeep by working long, hard hours and living with nearly none of life’s necessities. In fact, in many cases they had little or no upkeep and were often abused by the family they were apprenticed to. Lack of food, clothing, heat, and bedding which were the bare necessities of life were withheld in some instances.

The apprentice might be required to sleep in whatever outbuilding the family deemed necessary and to eat only after the family had eaten if there was food left to eat. If not, a simple meal of corn mush and bread was supplied to the “apprentice.” Corn mush was simply ground corn cooked into a mush something similar to grits. Sometimes, water gravy would be made in place of the corn mush. Water gravy is certainly not a delicacy and not very nutritional for one working ten and twelve hour days at hard manual labor in the heat or cold. Corn mush would have been tastier but alone; it was not very nutritional for the labor of farm life.

Clothing was often no more than the clothes they wore when they arrived and more often than not, they were barefoot during all the seasons. The only time shoes were worn was when an old ragged pair was discarded by one of the family. Being barefoot during this time was of little significance as most folks were barefoot in the summer months. The one pair of shoes one owned was saved for important occasions such as church on Sunday.

However, shoes were worn in the winter when available. As my dad stated many times, “shoes were saved as much as possible for the winter months when the snow was on the ground.”  This was in the early 1900s, so I’m it was a way of life prior to this time.

The apprentice might be up before daylight tending to the chores and often working until the last bit of light slipped into darkness with little food and little water, then back to the designated sleeping quarters at night to sleep in a haystack or whatever the building might hold for them to lay down on. Sleeping on bare floors was common. Winters can be very cold in Appalachia and was much colder during this period in time than they are now.

Not all apprentices suffered these cruelties but many did. In all fairness, I cannot say with certainty that this was the motive behind what happened to John Sr.’s sons. The fact that several families of the area held many acres of land and the records of Russell County relate that a number of “poor people” were apprenticed out, might suggest something more was happening. Though slavery was not as abundant in Appalachia as it was in many southern states, slavery did exist. However, free farm labor was preferred in comparison to the cost of slaves. This may, or may not have been the case in Russell County at this time.

One might also assume John knew about this and it may have been what prompted him to bring William home that day, or it may simply have been the fact that he loved his children and wanted them home as well as needing their help on the farm himself. The records do not hide the fact that John and Edy would have been considered “poor dirt farmers” of the time. The title, “tenant farmer” was most often the words of choice used in Appalachia.

With John himself being crippled, he could not physically work a farm well enough to feed such a large family. As a tenant farmer, John would have needed all the help his sons could give for as long as possible to maintain the crops. Part of being a tenant farmer meant that John shared what was produced on the farm with his landlord. This was payment for the rental of the farm. Whether John was crippled or not, he would have still needed help with this as most tenant farmers did.

This was a way of life during this time. Children worked along beside their parents on the farm as soon as they were big enough to hold a hoe or plow handle regardless of whether the man of the house was able-bodied or not. There were few “lazy” kids during this time. The age of a son made no difference at this time. If a son was tall enough to reach the plow handles, he was old enough to work. This equally applied to the young girls in the home. If they were big enough to reach the pots on the cook stove, they were old enough to cook.

Unfortunately, history records the deaths of many children who burned to death due to this, as well as the long dresses worn during this time. A fireplace was used for heating purposes as well as cooking and some young girls (as well as older women) were burned to death when the long skirt would catch fire from the fireplace.

It appears that John went to Floyd County, Kentucky when he left Wilkes County, North Carolina. John was in Wilkes County until around 1805 or 1806 after he was accused of stealing a hog, along with James Bougus. James immediately left the area but John remained. This might indicate that John was not guilty and James was. However, John did eventually leave and did not appear in court to satisfy this charge. For this reason, there are not enough records concerning this event to determine if John was not available to state his guilt or innocence or to explain the circumstances.

John might have been involved in this or it may have simply been a case of being in the “wrong place at the right time.” By today’s standards, John was innocent until proven guilty and this of course, did not take place because John left. The fact that John did leave the area would cause one to wonder. His brother, William, (son of Lewis and Elizabeth) and father, Lewis, satisfied the charge. This could have been the last contact John had with his father and possibly due to this event.

The pension file of John Scalf Sr. reveals that he married Edeah (Edy) Carlile/Carlisle on February 15, 1787 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. This marriage record has not been found but this statement was made by Edy Carlisle in the pension file of John Sr. Edy was the daughter of Robert Carlile and Nancy. Nancy’s maiden name is yet unknown. It is evident from the will of Robert Carlile that this was a second marriage for Nancy as Robert stated in his will “I give to my wife’s Daughter one feather bed and furniture.”

I have not found the marriage record of Robert Carlile and his wife, Nancy, and therefore, it is difficult to determine if Nancy was actually the mother of Edy Carlisle and her siblings even though it is possible that she was. It appears that this Robert Carlile/Carlisle was the grandson of William Carlile (will of 1769) and his wife, Sarah (__) Bell Carlile.

The will of William Carlile (will of 1769) and another Robert Carlile (will of 1786) of Edgecombe County indicates that this Robert Carlile was the son of William and Sarah (__) Bell Carlile. William (will of 1769) only named two children in his will. The two children named were Robert and William Carlile. This Robert died and left his will in 1786, not to be confused with the Robert Carlile who was the father of Edy Carlisle Scalf. Edy’s father Robert, died in 1815.

Our Robert Carlile (father of Edeah) made his will in 1808 and the will was probated in 1815 so these two Robert’s are not the same person. If William and Sarah had daughters they were not mentioned in the will of William Carlile. (Will of William. Carlile 1769) (William-Carlile-Probate-1769)

This older William died shortly after his will was made in 1769 for his will was probated in the May court of 1769 in Edgecombe County. His wife, Sarah, had previously been married to a Bell so her maiden name is also unknown. Sarah also made her will on July 13, 1772 and the will was probated in the January Court of 1776. Sarah names her children by both husbands in this will. The two Carlile children named were William and Robert Carlile. These children appear to be the same children named in her husband’s will of 1769. The other boys named in Sarah’s will were William, Richard, and Joseph Bell. Her daughters were named as Elizabeth Bradley and Sarah Baldwin.

It is interesting to note that another daughter is named in the will of Sarah Carlile as Milla Carlile and apparently this daughter was handicapped and possibly had to be cared for. This daughter was not mentioned in the will of Sarah’s husband William in 1769 even though this daughter carried the name of Carlile. Sarah stated in her will the following sentence:

“I lend to my Daughter Milla Carlile one feather Bed during her life & after her Death to the person that has the Trouble of her.”  (Will of Sarah Carlile, 1772).

This indicates that Milla (most likely Millie) may have been handicapped in some way. I doubt the will would have been worded this way if Milla were simply under age. I have no way of knowing the ages of William and Sarah without further research but it is doubtful they were young enough to have minor children when they made these wills. This is also a good indication that the two married daughters in the will of Sarah were her daughters by her first husband since they were not mentioned in William’s will. According to this will, only two sons would have been the sons of William Carlile and they were Robert and William

It might appear unusual that William would not have made provisions for this daughter in this will, had she been his daughter, but the will states her surname as Carlile. By this we can conclude that William left this chore to his wife Sarah. It is evident that William would soon die by the dating of the will. In this case, it would be understandable for him not to include his handicapped daughter. His wife most likely would have been left this responsibility. These were different times than we live in today.

In studying the old wills of the colonial period, it appears that grudges were sometimes held against a spouse because of a handicapped child. The responsibility of the child was then left to the surviving spouse. At least, some of the earlier wills reflect this. We have no way of knowing what took place concerning this and we can only speculate. However, due to the information, it appears that this daughter was handicapped and was the daughter of William and Sarah Carlile until further research proves otherwise.

Daughters were not greatly considered at the making of one’s will during this time, as it was believed that the daughter would be the responsibility of a future husband. Money was generally given or personal family items as part of her marriage dower. In the case of a handicapped daughter, the mother would be responsible for her maintenance when known that the mother would still be living at the death of the father and would be expected to provide for her at her death with the provisions left to the widow by her husband. This was a common practice but did not necessarily mean that everyone followed this practice. I’m sure, if Sarah had died before William, the will would have been worded differently concerning Milla.

In all probability, Milla was a daughter of William and Sarah and William had left her care to his wife, Sarah. The timing of this will and the death of William is certainly an indication that William knew he would soon die. Apparently, William was very ill at this time.

Robert Carlile, who died in 1786, did not mention a son Robert in his will and therefore, was not the father of Robert Carlile who married Nancy (parents of Edy Carlile/Carlisle). However, he did have a brother William who was most likely the father of our Robert Carlisle/Carlile. I find no will for this William at this point. Edy Carlile was most likely the granddaughter of William Carlile and Sarah (___) Bell Carlile by their son, William Carlile (wife unknown). For identification purposes, the Williams and Roberts will be listed as Robert (I), Robert (II), William (I), and William (II).

Robert Carlile (Robert I) who left his will in 1786 married Sarah Coleman February 5, 1763 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. (Marriages of Edgecombe Co. NC)

This marriage record can also be viewed at the following URL address.

According to the will of this Robert Carlile, the children of this union were; Susanna, Mary Ann, Sarah, Rhoda, Coleman, Simon and Edwin. There is no mention of a son, Robert, in this will. There appears to be confusion among the Carlile descendants as to the correct name of Edwin Carlile.  Some suspect it was Edmund and some suspect it was Edward.  However, it appears to be Edwin in my interpretation of this will.

According to the customs of the time, the old English rule was “oldest son inherits all” and was normally appointed Executor of the Estate and William (I) followed this rule in his will. His son Robert (I) inherited the plantation and was named Executor of the Estate indicating that he was the oldest son. His brother William (II) inherited half of the remainder of the estate.

Robert (I) (son of William and Sarah) did not follow this rule, however. He leaves his estate after the death or marriage of his wife to his two sons; Simon and Edwin, indicating that Simon was either the oldest or that Simon and Edwin were twins. The old wills generally named the children in the order of birth. This was not always the case, but for the most part, this was generally practiced.

Robert’s son, Coleman, inherited 56 acres and a debt owed to his father, which indicates he was certainly the youngest son. I believe this Robert Carlile to have been the uncle of Edy Carlile and the brother of William II. (Will of Robert Carlile 1786, Page 2 of Will.).

Robert Carlile (II) (father of Edeah) made his will September 27, 1808 and the will was probated in the February Court of 1815. Will Book E. page 81. This Robert Carlile was the father of Edea (Edy) Carlile Scalf for in this will we find Edy listed as Edea Scalf. (Will of Robert Carlile-1808)(Page 2) (Page 3) (Page 4)

In the Abstract of Wills of Edgecombe County, North Carolina by Williams - SCALF is spelled SEALF. However, this was a typical mistake in interpreting the early writings. Will Abstracts are transcribed copies of wills with the important information transcribed from the original will.

In the original copy of the will the (c) does appear to be (e) but this was most likely due to the old writing style that caused this error. The transcriber for the Abstracts interpreted this to be an (e). The quill pens caused many strokes that were not intended and the writing was different then than now. Also, note the tail on the (s) in the name Joseph Carlile. The (s) will always have the appearance of an (f). This is another example of the old writings.

In the will abstract, it also lists the name Polly Bellflower as a daughter of this Robert Carlile. In a copy of the original will obtained from the Raleigh, North Carolina Archives, I do not find the name, Polly Bellflower. However, there are a couple of white (blank) spaces in this certified copy that could obscure this name.

I have studied these spaces with a magnifying glass and in every position possible because writing can be seen through these spaces; however, I only find the name Edea Scalf listed in this space below her brother, John. The name, Polly Bellflower, may be somewhere in this space but if so, it is not distinguishable in this copy.  (Will Abstract-Robert Carlile – 1815

Robert Carlile II (father of Edy) left all of his children five schillings each with the exception of Liddy. Liddy (probably Lydia) received five pounds because she was the youngest daughter and unmarried at this time. Joseph and Cary inherited the land and plantation and all residue that had not been given away after the death or marriage of his wife to be equally divided between them. This might suggest these two were twins. Even so, the son born first would generally have received the plantation. It may simply have been that Robert wanted his two oldest sons to share the majority of his possessions. The fact that Robert and Clark received only five shillings suggests they were the youngest sons.

Two of John and Edy’s daughters carried the namesakes of two of Edy’s. Three daughters, if there actually was a Polly Bellflower in this will. Maybe someone has a copy that does not have these blank spaces in it and the name does appear. John and Edy named a daughter Lydia, one Nancy and one was named Polly. John Sr. and Edy also named sons; Robert and John but John Jr. most likely carried his father’s namesake.

The children named in this will were; Rebecca Jackson; Liddy Carlile; Nancy Riley; John Carlile; (possibly Polly Bellflower); Edea Scalf; Clark; Robert; Joseph, and Cary Carlile.

There is an abstract for the will of a Cary Carlile/Carlisle August 22, 1831 but no probate date is given. I do not have a copy of the original will for this and only have the abstract. According to this abstract, it appears that Cary did not marry, or if he did, his wife had died and he had no children for he left everything to his mother, Nancy, and then to his sister Martha Carlisle. The will also suggests this may not be the same Cary Carlile, brother of Edy because there was no Martha Carlile listed in Edy’s father’s will.

The alternative to this is either Nancy had another child after the death of Robert or Martha may have been Liddy Martha or vice-versa since this sister appears to have been unmarried at this time. This would not have been the Polly mentioned above for she was named as Polly Bellflower (Abstract of will-Cary Carlisle 1831)
During the 1990s, a close cousin, Mary Scalf Kilgore, made  a trip to England with a friend who was a native of England. Mary brought a Tartan history of the Bruix/Bruce family back as a gift to me. I have been told that the Isobel mentioned in this Tartan was from “Castle Carlisle” along the border of Scotland and England; hence, the Carlisle/Bruce connection. I cannot say this is fact for I have no reference to this. I only have the name Isobel listed in the Tartan history and the statement of an avid researcher of European history.

What is known of the ancestry of the Carlile/Carlisle family is that the name is a very old English/Scottish name. The Carlisle/Carlile family is one of a select few families who are accepted into the Bruce Society due to their marital connections with the Bruix/Bruce family. Exactly where the marital connections began is unknown to me at this time. The following brief history is listed in part from the Tartan.

“Robert de Bruix came to England about 1066 and held land at Yorkshire. Robert de Bruix had son, Robert who later was granted Lordship of Annandale. Robert, the 4th Lord married Isobel, co-heiress of David, grandson of David I, Earl of Huntington and their son Robert Bruce, The Competitor, was grandfather of King Robert I (Bruce), 1274 - 1329.” (Clan Tartan History)

It is from King Robert that Edwin O. Scalf, another Kentucky cousin (now deceased) believed Edy Carlisle descended and was able to prove the lineage to join the Bruce Society. From the appearance of the papers sent to me, Edwin was a member of the Bruce Society at his death. I have a copy of his membership card sent to me by another researcher in Oregon during my earlier research. Edwin stated on some of these papers that Edy was a distant relative to the Queen of England and a direct descendant of Robert de Bruix (Bruce). However, Edwin did not elaborate on how this connection was made.

Whether Edy was a direct descendant of King Robert or not, she was certainly not living a royal life. John and Edy’s first child, Polly, was born March 27, 1788 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. The next child, was born April 29, 1789 in Edgecombe County. These birth dates were gleaned from Edy’s statements in the pension file. These children were the only two children Edy gave information on.  Previous writings suggest that Nancy was the second child born after Polly and John Jr. was then born in 1790.

The birth of the next child, John Jr., was estimated around 1790-1791. Between 1790 and 1798, John and Edy moved over to Surry County, North Carolina where they are found in the 1798 tax list and again on the 1800 census. Surry was formed in 1770 from Rowan County and lies in the northwestern part of the state where it borders the Virginia line.

Between 1800 and 1806, John was living in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Wilkes was created from Surry County in 1777 and lies in the northwestern part of the state on the Virginia line. John most likely had not moved far from the area in Surry where he previously lived in 1798 or he may not have moved at all and only the county line changed. John is found charged in Wilkes County with the theft of “a light blue hog” on January 1, 1805. An excerpt concerning this incident is presented from Chapter IV of Chronicles of the Scalf Family.

“On January 1, 1805 according to a sworn statement by Peggy Love, resident of Wilkes County, North Carolina, John Scalf and James Bougus with force and arms stole one large, light-blue, castrated hog commonly called a barrow of twelve pence value. Peggy Love took the case to court and presented as her witnesses Benjamin Parks, Reuben Parks and Robert Martin. James Bougus fled the county, however, John remained for a while and was scheduled to stand trial for the alleged theft. William, John's brother, went on his bond for $40 to guarantee John's appearance in court; however, John also saw fit to leave Wilkes County. William stayed on, went to court and straightened things out.

Judgment was made against John and both he and William were summoned to court in 1806 to forfeit the original bond. In 1807 Lewis Scalf apparently picked up the bond. A horse, cow and another item or two were confiscated from John in 1805 after which he disappeared from the area. A notation on the judgment for William indicated that nothing of value was found of his. The case was continued against Lewis in an attempt to collect the rest of the 40 dollars and this went on until 1813-1814 when the court in Surry County where Lewis had gone back to live finally sought to, sell 50 acres, which Lewis had sold earlier to one Andrew Pruitt. It was about this time that John's sister, Sarah Scalf, was charged for the murder of her infant child and brought to court in Surry County.” (Chapter IV – Chronicles of the Scalf Family).

This is presented in place of the original document. Due to various moves in the past, some of my original documents have been misplaced. When these are found, they will be posted as well. This appears to be an accurate account of the records I have read concerning this event, however.

By this time, John and Edy’s family had grown. Apparently, John went to Floyd County, Kentucky sometime around 1806. A John Scalf shows up in Floyd County, Kentucky on the 1810 census but the ages of the children do not match the assumed ages given of John’s children in previous writings. This could be an error on the census however, or an error in the proper placement of the children of John and Edy previously.

Reviewing the 1810 Floyd County, Kentucky census, there is a John Scalf listed as head of house. This is a transcribed copy of the 1810 Floyd County, Kentucky census so please keep this in mind. The original document of a transcribed copy should always be checked for accuracy.

Floyd Co., KY 1810  Census

SCALF, John head of house                             Estimated Birth Dates

three males under 10 years of age                                 (1800-1810)

One male between 26 and 45 years of age                    (1765-1784)

Three females under 10 years of age                             (1800-1810)

Two females between 16 and 26 years of age               (1784-1794)

One female between 26 and 45 years of age.                (1765-1784)

As can be seen above, there were three males and three females under the age of ten. John and Edy married in 1787, their first daughter was born in 1788, and another in 1789 according to the pension file of John Scalf Sr. These girls would have been 22 and 21 years of age respectively by 1810. Two females born 1784-1794 are most likely Nancy and Polly and this does correlate with what was stated by Edy in the pension papers.

John Jr. was allegedly born around 1790-1791 but there is no male near this age on this census. A son, William was born 1795 and died young; Brittan was born 1799; Dicy was born 1800; Lydia was born 1804 and another William born 1806, Berryman was born 1809 and Lee was born 1810 according to the previous writings.

Previous writings indicate there were four females and six males all born before or by 1810, which totals ten children. The above census shows five females and three males if the census is correct which totals eight children by 1810. If John and Edy had ten children by 1810, then two of them are missing on this census. One is probably John Jr. and the other, the first William that died. Since there are only eight children here, William had probably died by this time and John Jr. was working away from home.

We have no way of knowing just how young the first William may have been when he died and he had probably died before this census. If so, then there would have been four males and five females living by 1810. Information from the pension file indicates that Cecelia (aka Sela/Celia) was actually born much sooner than listed in the previous writings. She may possibly be one of the females listed here as being born 1800-1810. The listing in previous works was most likely her marriage date. Information from the pension file suggests she married around 1823. This census could account for Nancy, Polly, Dicy, Lydia and either Betsy or Cecilia as the female children born to John and Edy by 1810.

If John Jr. was the oldest son and born 1791 according to previous writings then he is not listed here on this census. He should have been around 19 years old at this time. He may have already married but even that is questionable for his wife, Patsy Counts, expressed in her deposition in 1845 that she had known the Scalf family for about twenty-five years so John and Patsy most likely married around 1820-1825. When the years are subtracted, this gives a marriage date of 1820 for John Jr. and Patsy Counts. Had John Jr. and Patsy married 1800-1810, he would have been in Russell County and listed on the tax records of 1810 and I do not find him there nor have I found him as head of house in Kentucky in 1810.

The only alternative that comes to mind concerning this is John Jr. was likely working on a nearby farm or possibly at the Salt Mines in Clay County and was not counted on this census. He was certainly old enough now to have left the nest and may have worked out somewhere to help the family. As will be noted later on the Russell County court records, John was employed as a laborer in Russell County. He was most likely on a nearby farm in Kentucky, and possibly enumerated in the home of a neighbor in 1810.

The accuracy of this census is questionable as well since it is a transcribed copy. I know of no other John Scalf that fits this age and none that would have been in Kentucky this early. The 1810 tax list of Russell County, Virginia does not show that a Scalf family was living there in 1810.

If this is John Sr., on this census, then John had fled North Carolina only to find more trouble for himself in Kentucky.

The Floyd County Court Minutes indicate that a John Scalf was detained in the Prestonsburg jail but the charges have not been located. This can be found in the Scalf Family History as well as Chronicles of the Scalf Family. I have also read this account in the records but as Henry and Elmer, I did not found a record of the charges. John apparently broke jail and took the leg irons with him. We most likely will never know the details of this or even if this was John Sr. or not. This record was not copied on my visit to Kentucky.

It is noted in the writings of Henry Scalf (Chronicles of the Scalf Family) that John was very outspoken and easily provoked about his enemies, the Tories. It is possible that this was the cause of John’s trouble in Kentucky. It is stated in Chronicles of the Scalf Family that John had been in a fight with a man named Guinn and had “cut him seriously.” An excerpt from Chronicles of the Scalf Family relates the following:

“It was while residing in Floyd County, Kentucky, that his propensity for trouble landed him in irons in the Prestonsburg jail. We have no record of the charge other than an oral tradition related by Hezekiah Scalf, a grandson, that he had a fight with one of the McGuires and cut him seriously with a knife. Whether it was the condition of the jail, which was admittedly bad, or the seriousness of the offense that required irons, we do not know. We are indebted to a few laconic court orders for all we know.” (Chronicles of the Scalf Family, Chaper IV).

John was not to be held for very long in the Prestonsburg jail and by the November court term, John escaped and left Floyd County, Kentucky taking the irons with him and shedding them along the way. Most likely, John shed these irons not very far from the jail for the old Floyd County court order book records that Robert Haws was allowed $1.50 “for breaking handcuffs and mending fetters.” This indicates that they were found and the handcuffs were still locked together but the leg irons had been damaged in the removal.

No doubt, John Sr. and his family made their way across the Mountain from Floyd County, Kentucky into Virginia. It is interesting to note that Pike County Kentucky, home of the McCoy family from the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud was taken from a part of Floyd County, Kentucky in 1821. It is also interesting to note that Patsy Counts Scalf, daughter-in-law of John Scalf Sr., was probably a relative of some of the Counts family who lived in the area of Matewan, West Virginia, home of the Hatfield family of this feud. Kentucky and West Virginia border each other in the Tug Valley area.

John Sr. may have used the same route used by Daniel Boone during his trips from Russell County, Virginia to Kentucky many years before. History records the journeys from Russell County to the “Big Sandy” made by Daniel and various others. Clay County, Kentucky, where John returned later to work in the Salt Mines, had been formed in 1807 from parts of Floyd, Madison and Knox Counties.

Many trips across the Mountain from Virginia to Kentucky were made during the early days. This was an old Indian Path used by the Indian’s during their winter hunts and used by the “long-hunters” before the first white man ever settled in the area. Bushwhackers were numerous along this route as well.

Confederate and Union deserters of the Civil War were also known to use this route during the war. This route has witnessed many different eras in time and the stories that could be told are far more numerous than we could possibly digest, if a mountain could speak.


Copyright (C) 2002-2008 by Margaret Fleenor, All Rights Reserved.


To Be Continued