Fayette County Skaggs Families

James Skaggs and Elizabeth Miller

My guess is that most of the people around Ansted in Fayette County, West Virginia, are related somehow to James Skaggs and Elizabeth Miller. I am descended from them three times. They are my GGGG grandparents.

James Skaggs, born 25 February 1780, in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now West Virginia), and Elizabeth Miller, born 28 October 1787, in Augusta or Rockbridge County, Virginia, were married in March 1805 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia. A record of this marriage can be found in Monroe County, West Virginia: A List of Marriage Bonds 1799-1846, by Oren Morton.

On the copy of the original bond below, signed by James Scaggs and Valentine Miller (Elizabeth’s father), Elizabeth’s name is shown as Betsey.

The marriage was recorded in Monroe County, Virginia, but that is now in West Virginia. Researchers are sometimes confused about the location. They were not married in the town of Monroe, which is in Amherst County, Virginia.    

There is no official record of the birthdates. The only sources for the birthdates of James and Elizabeth were numerous family members who passed down information from child to grandchild to great-grandchild, and so on. My mother interviewed many Skaggs descendants in Fayette County over several years in the 1950s. Her information agrees with the note below, which was passed on to me from another relative (Milburn Skaggs) and was handwritten by Lula Mae Skaggs Harrah (1888-1954), a great-granddaughter of James and Elizabeth. I do not know if the initial “B” is correct because I have not seen it elsewhere. I have seen the initial “A” but without documentation. Census records do not contradict these dates.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Valentine Felton Miller and Susana Ensminger, and was probably named for her paternal grandmother, Catherine Elizabeth Ensminger Miller. Elizabeth’s father and mother were related through the Ensminger line.

Most descendants of James Skaggs believe he was the son of Charles Skaggs, who deeded his land in the Ansted area to James and his brother Joseph. This fact has been restated many times by family members and in local history, particularly in the November 2, 1911, issue of the Fayette Journal (online at Ancestry.com). The notes of Lula Mae Skaggs agree; however, I have not seen evidence in official documents.

Joseph’s land included a home that was later known as Tyree Tavern. This is a very well-known historical site in Ansted. It was right around the corner from my grandma’s house, and I remember it being pointed out to me and being told that it had been Joseph Skaggs’s house.

                        Halfway House – Tyree Tavern – Home of Joseph Skaggs

A marker on the site provides information. Much more detail is provided on the Tyree family site.

The mother of James Skaggs and Joseph Skaggs is unknown. However, her name was NOT Lucy or Laura Thompson. A different Charles Skaggs married someone by that name. This can be found in Archibald Thompson’s Diary, which is online. There was also a different Charles Skaggs in Putnam County, Georgia, who had a brother named James.

Shirley Ulaki’s book Royalty Among Us says that after Charles died, James was raised by his grandfather, Thomas Skaggs, of Wolf Creek, Monroe County. No evidence has been found to contradict this, since there is evidence that James was living in Monroe County. Records show that his uncle, John Skaggs, deeded him some land there in 1802, shortly before James got married. Perhaps this was part of his inheritance from his father, but that has not been verified.

I could not find James Skaggs in census records for 1810, but he is shown in the 1820 census for Nicholas County. Dyer’s Index to Land Grants shows James Skaggs obtaining a grant in 1822 there on the waters of New River. He was very involved in the development of the area around Ansted and is often mentioned in official records as reported in History of Fayette County, West Virginia, by J.T Peters and H.B. Carden, first published in 1926. This is online at Ancestry.com.

The book Virginia Postmasters and Post Offices by Elizabeth Axelson at Clayton Library in Houston lists James as the first postmaster of Mt. Cove in Nicholas County. Fayette County was formed from Nicholas County in 1831. After 1837, James served as Sheriff and as Justice of the Peace. Beginning in 1840, James Skaggs appeared in the Fayette County census.

In the records of Lula Mae Skaggs and Grover Cleveland Skaggs (great-grandchildren) the only children were the 13 seen here. The dates can be verified in county records and will be shown in later posts about this family.

This Bible record of unknown origin confirms the birthdates of most of the children. Some people list Louisa Skaggs as one of their children. She was NOT the daughter of James and Elizabeth Miller Skaggs. There were other Skaggs families throughout southern West Virginia, and I have not confirmed her parents. This record names Phebe, Thomas, Susan, Valentine, Frances, Cynthia, Hiram, and James Pemberton. It does not show Cyrus, Elizabeth, Leah, Sarah, and Edna, the last five children. There are some Skaggs-related family photos and items at Antioch Baptist Church Museum in Ansted, but I have not been there and cannot confirm what they have. Here is a link with more information.

Skaggs Bible, Owner Unknown

I do not know the exact date of death for either James or Elizabeth, but from the Fayette County probate documents below, it appears James died between October 1863 and October 1864. My records say that Elizabeth died in 1869, but I have no documentation for that. I do not know where they are buried, so I would be grateful to hear from anyone who does know.

Will Books, 1832-1969; Author: West Virginia. County Court (Fayette County); Probate Place: Fayette, West Virginia

Many people are related to James and Elizabeth, and much has been written about them. I am indebted to all those who have already done so much research on this family.

Finally, I have included census transcriptions from Ancestry.com.

Census Records

1830; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Series: M19; Roll: 198; Page: 189; Family History Library Film: 0029677

1840; Census Place: Fayette, Virginia; Page: 151

1850; Census Place: District 14, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M432_943; Page: 344A; Image: 293

The Kious children shown were the children of Frances Skaggs and her husband, Nicholas Kious, both deceased by 1850.

1860; Census Place: District 3, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M653_1344; Page: 374; Family History Library Film: 805344

I believe the child listed as Mary E. Skaggs was actually Mary E. Sadler, daughter of Leah Skaggs Sadler, and her husband, Shadrack Sadler.  Leah had died by this time, so that is probably why she was with her grandparents.

My Patriot Ancestors Listed with the DAR

I’m proud of my Revolutionary War patriot ancestors!

Ancestor Search link is here.

1 Sgt. John McVey (1737-1823) served with Gen. George Washington at Valley Forge.  A076533

2 John Skaggs (1760-1839) was a Revolutionary War Scout and Spy. A104576

3 Alexander Dickey (1746-1832) served with the South Carolina Militia. A033677

4 Henry Johnson (1738-1815) served in the 10th North Carolina Regiment. A063212

5 Robert Steele (1750-1821) served in the Virginia Militia with Capt. Adams of Montgomery County. A108285

6 Solomon J. Lee (1758-1818) served as a soldier in North Carolina. A068741

7 Samuel Paxton (1737-after 1806) served in the Virginia Militia under Capt. Wallace.  A086708

8 William Dillon ( 1725-1797) was a private and fifer in the 2nd Regiment of Virginia. A036167

9 John Samuel Sparr (1748-1836) served in the Pennsylvania Militia. A107903

10 Robert T. Smith, Jr. (1749-1834) served as a guard in Virginia, commanded by John Watson. A106811

11 William Clopton (1720-1796) served as a captain in Virginia. A023232

12 Johann Philip Ensminger (1727-1807) is listed by the DAR for patriotic service in Maryland. A205029

13 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Shumate (1751-1826) served in the Virginia Militia from Fauquier County. A103305

14 Charles Seale (1729-1798) served with the North Carolina Revolutionary Army.  A100915

15 1st Lieutenant Zachariah Nettles (1737-1803) served with General Marion in the Carolinas.  A082464

16 Henry Rains, Jr. (Aft. 1715-1785) delegate to the Provincial Congress in 1776. Served in the North Carolina State Assembly, 1777. A093508

17 John Robertson Jefferson (1742-1809) was prosecuted in 1777 for refusing to pay the parish levy since the minister was a Loyalist.  A061887

18 Ann Isham Eppes Harris (1712-1787) gave provisions to the Revolutionary Army.  A051508

19 Capt. John Madison Hunter (1737-1796) served in the Virginia Militia, was Justice of the Peace in Campbell County, and furnished supplies for the Revolutionary cause. A060528

20 Cornelius Carmack, Jr. (1759-1848) fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain. A019243

Militia groups from Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas soundly defeated the Loyalist militia and British Army.
The Battle of Kings Mountain, By Don Trioani.









21 Cornelius Carmack, Sr. (1736-1824) gave patriotic service as a road overseer in Overton County, Tennessee.  A132601

22 Thomas Allen Jones (1748-1839) served in a regiment of light horse under Capt. Samuel Scott in Virginia.  A062732

23 Abraham Vandal (1758-1848) enlisted in 1776 in the State Troops of New York in Orange County. He was engaged in erecting Fort Constitution on the Hudson River and was in the Battles of Long Island (below) and White Plains.   A117491

24 John McFarland, Sr. (1708-1784) is credited with patriotic service and taking the oath of allegiance in Bedford County, Virginia. A076825

24 Thomas Holman (1723-1798) rendered material aid in Wilkes County, North Carolina.  A056978

25 Ambrose Bethea Raines (1750-1820)  took an oath of allegiance in Johnston County, North Carolina.  A214061

26 William Hazeltine (bef. 1760-1812) served in the North Carolina militia under Col. Hampton and Gen. Sumpter.  A053532