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Land documents a relationship

It looks like the chase is done.

This particular chase, at least.

The Legal Genealogist is about to take the word “theory” out of the names of a set of fourth great grandparents — and from the name of their daughter, a third great grandmother. (“Theory” as a middle name being the way I designate an ancestor in my family tree where there’s some evidence to think the line is right, but it hasn’t been quite nailed down yet.)

Introducing the mother and maternal grandparents of Gustavus Boone Robertson, my second great grandfather — my mother’s mother’s father’s father.

He first appears of record in Winston County, Mississippi, in 1850, as a 22-year-old farmer, and — sigh — with the surname of Robinson, which doesn’t help one bit with tracing his family. In that census, he’s recorded with 18-year-old Isabella, and two young boys, William, age three, and Elijah, age 5 months. Living with them, an older man — 56-year-old William “Robinson,” born in North Carolina.1

In 1860, the family is in Attala County, Mississippi, this time as Robertson: Gustavus B., age 32, an engineer in a steam mill; Isabella, age 28; and six kids (William, 12, Elijah, 10, Alex B., 8, Martha M., 6; Nancy A., 4; and George G., 1). All were recorded as born in Mississippi. And, still living with them, the older William M. Robertson, age 66, a hatter, born in North Carolina.2

We know what happened to William M. Robertson — the death of “Old man Robertson (hatter)” was very kindly recorded in the diary of an Attala County judge, Jason Niles, in June of 1864.3

But what we didn’t know was Gustavus’ mother. Who she was, who her parents were.

And — thanks to land records — now we do.

Moore tree

We had hypothesized that she was deceased by 1850, when William was living with his son’s family, but still alive in 1840, when William’s family was recorded in Winston County with an adult male aged 40-50, an adult female aged 40-50, and two younger males, one aged 10-15 (Gustavus’ age) and one 15-20 (as yet unidentified).4 And we were pretty sure that the family was in Lowndes County in 1830, where the census recorded one adult male aged 30-40, one adult female aged 30-40, and three boys: one aged 0-4 (Gustavus’ age), one aged 5-9 and one aged 10-15 (both unidentified).5

And we based our view that the Lowndes County William is our William on a number of facts:

(a) Our William fairly consistently used the middle initial of M.6

(b) The Lowndes County William is the only William M. Robertson (or Robinson/Robeson/Robison/Robins, for that matter) recorded in Mississippi in the 1830 census.7

(c) The Lowndes County William M. Robertson was a hatter (he borrowed money in 1831 for his hat shop in the town of Columbus).8

(d) There are no records of any William in Lowndes County after the first appearance of William M. Robertson in Winston County.9

The only clues we had to the identity of William’s wife and Gustavus’ mother are some family notes and letters that indicate that her maiden name likely was Moore.10

And there is a marriage recorded in Monroe County, Mississippi, on 3 January 1822 between one William Robertson and one Deliah Moore.11 Monroe is the parent to a whole bunch of counties in northeastern Mississippi, and preceded the formation of Lowndes — it would have been the only place in the area where a marriage could have been recorded at the time.

So… is that our William as the groom — and is that bride the Moore connection we’ve been looking for?

There are some tantalizing hints.

The 1830 William M. Robertson is recorded on the same page as a bunch of Moores, including William L. Moore, John Moore and Rebecca Moore,12 with Alexander Moore on the next page13 and Bert G. Moore just a few pages away.14 Rebecca was the oldest of this apparent family — 91 in 1850, she was living then with Alexander, age 56.15 Numerous family trees identify her as the widow of Joseph Moore of North Carolina and Kentucky, and give her maiden name as Ballew.

And DNA is jumping up and down pointing at this family as well. My own DNA results at Ancestry alone include matches to 42 descendants of Rebecca and Joseph Moore — mostly through Burt Greenberry Moore and a younger son, Daniel Boone Moore, but others through William, John, and at least one daughter. My maternal uncle and maternal aunt — a generation closer to Rebecca — both also have a match to a descendant of Alexander.

And no, I’m not overlooking the middle name of Gustavus Boone Robertson and the middle name of his possible uncle Daniel Boone Moore.

But… is this the right Moore family? Just because all these people have Rebecca and Joseph Moore in their tree doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the line we share — or even that the trees are right. Is there anything else to link all these folks together?

Answer: yes. Two land documents filed in Caldwell County, Kentucky, in 1833.

The first is a power of attorney — a legal document authorizing person A to act on behalf of person B or, as here, for a group of people B, C, D, etc. It was from “Rebecca Moore William L Moore John M Moore Bert G Moore Alexander Moore Daniel B Moore William M Robertson & Morgan Childs, of the State of Mississippi Lowndes County” and it said they were the “heirs of Joseph Moore deceased” and owned 400 acres of land “late in the possession of Joseph Moore dece’d” in Caldwell County, Kentucky. They authorized Edmund F. Moore to sell the land.16

The second is a deed executed under that power of attorney in October 1833. It transferred to John Wylie 100 acres of that 400 acre tract, and was signed by Edmund F. Moore on his own behalf and as attorney in fact on behalf of all the others — all identified as “heirs of Joseph Moore dec’d.”17

Rebecca, selling her widow’s portion. Edmund, William, John, Bert, Alexander and Daniel as sons. Which leaves William M. Robertson and Morgan Childs as sons-in-law. And, yes, there is another marriage record: Hester Ann Moore married Morgan Childs on 18 November 1832 in Lowndes County.18

Add the paper records to the DNA and bingo.

Deliah (most likely Delilah) Moore is my third great grandmother.

And Joseph and Rebecca (Ballew?) Moore my fourth great grandparents.

We’ve landed the fourths.

Fourth great grandparents, that is.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Landing the fourths,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 22 Dec 2020).


  1. 1850 U.S. census, Winston County, Mississippi, population schedule, p. 373(A) (stamped), dwelling 809, family 816, “Gustavius Robinson” household; digital image, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020); citing National Archive microfilm publication M432, roll 382.
  2. 1860 U.S. census, Attala County, Mississippi, Township 14, Range 8, population schedule, p. 76 (penned), dwelling 455, family 494, Wm. M. Robertson; digital image, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020); citing National Archive microfilm publication M653, roll 577.
  3. See Judy G. Russell, “Hats off to Judge Niles,” The Legal Genealogist, posted date ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020).
  4. 1840 U.S. census, Winston County, Mississippi, p. 266 (stamped), Wm. M. “Robinson” household; digital image, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm M704, roll 219.
  5. 1830 U.S. census, Lowndes County, Mississippi, p. 84 (penned), William M Robertson household; digital image, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm M19, roll 71.
  6. See e.g. William M. Robertson (Winston County, Mississippi), land patent no. 13267, 27 February 1841; “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020).
  7. Index search, “1830 United States Federal Census,” database, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020).
  8. Lowndes County, Mississippi, Deed Book 1:55, Robertson to Tucker, deed of trust, 14 April 1831; County Courthouse, Columbus; FHL microfilm 901930.
  9. Winston County, Mississippi, tax roll 1836, entry for W.M. Robertson, p.7; digital images, Family ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020); imaged from Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson.
  10. See e.g. Letter, Dorothy Ray Barton, Smithville, Texas, to George W. Lowe, Austin, Texas, 27-28 August 2012; digital copy in possession of author.
  11. See Monroe County, Mississippi, Marriage records 1821-1825, Robertson-Moore, 3 Jan 1822; DGS 7600989, images 170, Family ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020); imaged from Monroe County Circuit Clerk, Monroe County Courthouse, Aberdeen.
  12. 1830 U.S. census, Lowndes Co., Miss., p. 84 (penned).
  13. 1830 U.S. census, Lowndes Co., Miss., p. 85 (penned).
  14. 1830 U.S. census, Lowndes Co., Miss., p. 75 (penned).
  15. 1850 U.S. census, Lowndes County, Mississippi, population schedule, p. 66 (stamped), dwelling/family 249, Alexander Moore household; digital image, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm M432, roll 376.
  16. Caldwell County, Kentucky, Deed Book G: 223-224, power of attorney, Moore to Moore, 6 Sep 1833; digital images, Family ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020); imaged from Caldwell County Clerk of Court, Princeton.
  17. Ibid., Deed Book G: 225-226, Moore to Wylie, 15 Oct 1833.
  18. Lowndes County, Mississippi, Marriage Book 1: 51, Child-Moore, 18 Nov 1832; digital images, Family ( : accessed 21 Dec 2020); imaged from Lowndes County Circuit Clerk, Columbus.
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