John M. Smith case study #6

On 31 Dec 1827 and 1 Jan 1828, John M. Smith and James Gilbert were assignees to 2 tracts of land lying partially in Russell County and partially in Wayne County, Kentucky. It seems like the fact that 2 men were listed is something significant that I need to be looking at.

Several years ago, I tried to do research on James Gilbert, but those were the days before FamilySearch had digital files available for free online, so I could not find very much, and I gave up. Going back over all of my research while doing this case study has made me smack my head and wonder how I could let this connection be overlooked for so long! Either these men are probably related, or they were very close acquaintances – but either way, I hope that by following James Gilbert, I will at a MINIMUM find the location of John M. Smith before coming to the Russell County area.

Most of my posts were originally written last spring/summer when the pandemic and lockdowns were fairly new. But this one is recent research, so I thought it would be a good idea to begin typing this Spotlight AS I’m doing the research. It will very much be a conversation that I’m having with myself. And I started by looking to see what I already had, starting with deeds.

  • 1827 – Kentucky Land Grants Book V:514 – John M. Smith and James Gilbert obtain 112 acres together in Russell and Wayne County.
    • Warrants #17438 and 14197 – is it possible to find more information based on these numbers?
    • Survey date 31 Dec 1827
    • Patent granted 2 June 1829
    • “assignees”
  • 1828 – Kentucky Land Grants Book V:515 – John M. Smith and James Gilbert obtain 88 acres together in Russell and Wayne County.
    • Same warrant numbers
    • Survey date 1 Jan 1828
    • Patent granted 2 June 1829
    • John M Smith & James Gilbert assignee of said Smith who assignee of Timothy Burgess assignee of Braxton Carter who was assignee of Elijah Hutchison
      • None of these 3 men are listed in the Master index of Virginia Surveys and Grants or in the Old Kentucky Patent Series or in the Virginia Patent Series
      • The Kentucky Land Grants –
        • Braxton Carter V:471 (6 Dec 1827 Wayne Co)
        • Braxton Carter Y:450 (15 Oct 1829 Wayne Co)
        • Broxton Carter H2:437 (28 Mar 1836 Wayne Co)
        • Braxton Carter 22:105 (9 Mar 1849 Wayne Co Court Orders)
  • 1835 – Russell Co, KY Deed Book B:501 – James and Elizabeth Gilbert to John M. Smith
    • James and Elizabeth Gilbert of Spencer County, Kentucky
    • 1 tract of 98 acres “being the same tract of land conveyed by Lewis Faust and wife to James Gilbert (RC Deed Book A:139 [79])
      • This is new land for John M.
      • Beaver Creek bottom
      • Mentions Simon Stacy’s land
    • One equal half of the interest in the 112-acre tract
      • This is from the land grant for John and James
      • Patents bearing the date 2 June 1829
    • One equal half of the interest in the 98-acre tract
      • This is from the land grant for John and James
      • Mentions Timothy Burgess land

So based on this, what do I know about James Gilbert?

  1. He was probably related or a close friend of John M. Smith
  2. He had a wife named Elizabeth
  3. At some point, he moved to Spencer Co, Kentucky
  1. Where was James Gilbert in 1830 between the Land Grant and selling the land back to John M?
    • There is a James Gilbert in the 1830 Russell County census. 1 male 30-39, 1 female 30-39 and 1 female 40-49. (I see no other James Gilberts in Kentucky. I see no other Gilberts in Russell Co.)
      • The male must be James. Born between 1780-1790. Who are the women? Wife and mother-in-law? Mother and sister?
  2. James Gilbert census for later years?
    • 1840 census – Spencer Co, KY. 2 males under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 30-40, 1 female 5-10, 1 female 20-30
      • The ages don’t line up with the 1830 census. Which to trust?
    • 1850 census – Spencer Co, KY.
      • James – 52 years old
      • Elizabeth – 39 years old
      • Robert – 17 years old
      • Ann E – 15
      • James – 12
      • William – 10
      • Mary E – 9
      • Sarah – 7
      • Samuel – 5
      • Caroline – 2
      • George G – 6/12
      • Elizabeth Gilbert – 17 – why listed last? Not listed as a daughter in the Lota English Murray file. Daughter-in-law?
    • There are also 1860 and 1870 census records in Spencer County which match this family.

In my file of records that I had compiled years ago for James Gilbert, I found an image of a family tree written by Lota English Murray. This can still be found on Ancestry. It is not a complete tree as the number of children is given as 12, but only 8 children are listed. The names of the children match what is contained in the census records and I have found the marriage records that agree with the tree as well. This tree states that James’s father was John Wesley Gilbert and his grandfather was Captain John Webster Gilbert “of the Revolutionary Army”. Part of the note states that James Gilbert married Elizabeth Stone on 5 July 1832 and I found a record for that in Spencer County. The Findagrave (ID 128482277) memorial for James Gilbert shows a date of birth in 1798 and death in 1879. Assuming this is correct, James married Elizabeth at the age of 32. This seems a little older than typical for a first marriage.

I have an unsourced note in my John M. Smith files that shows a marriage between James Gilbert and Sally Decker in Wayne County in 1817. If this is the same James Gilbert, he would have been around 19 years old for this marriage and that seems a more typical age for a first marriage. This James has a likely census listing in Wayne County in 1820. He has a wife and daughter under the age of 10 and he is listed just below Abner Decker. (Wayne Co > Not Stated > image 3) An 1830 census in Wayne County cannot be found. Where did this family go?

My main purpose for building out this tree is to find where James Gilbert and John M. Smith were before the land grant was given. Were they related? So now, I try to build a timeline backward for James Gilbert. While I’m at it, I’ll keep my eyes open for other men listed in the land grants.

This is still a work in progress. See the Timeline to see additional information. If you are a James Gilbert researcher, I would welcome all comments on the Timeline!