Thomas Jewell was my three times great grandfather, father of Catherine Jewell, first wife of Powhatan Perrow Jennings, my two times great grandfather. I call him my "mystery Jewell."
Based on the 1810 and 1820 census he was born between 1776 and 1784. His father could be Thomas Jewell born about 1740, but more on that later. "My" Thomas married Sarah "Sally" Downs, daughter of Henry and Mary Downs of Fauquier County, sometime before 1800. According to a Chancery case, Fauquier County 1841-09, regarding the last will and testament of Henry Downs and the probate package for Thomas Jewell, we know he had six children who lived to adulthood. Those children were all born in Virginia.
On 15 December 1805 Thomas Jewell purchased 100 acres known as Porrage from Reuben Novell and his wife, Polly. The land adjoined property owned by Henry Turner of England, and Alex Jewell, who I believe to be an older brother. Thomas took possession of the land on 6 December 1806.
By 1810 Thomas Jewell lived in Amherst County, Virginia, and was enumerated in the 1810, 1820, and 1830 census:
|1810, 1820 and 1830 census enumerations for Thomas Jewell household;|
created using Microsoft Excel
I have estimated birth years for the six children based on other records, such as census, marriage, death, and chancery cases, and I cannot make sense of the 1820 census in terms of slotting the children into the sex and age ranges listed. Thomas Jewell remained in the 26-44 age range but it appeared his wife, Sally, was not enumerated unless she was categorized in the 20-29 category.
It is possible that Thomas served with the Virginia Militia in the 3rd (Dickinson's) Regiment, but I have not yet determined if the record is for "my" Thomas Jewell.
Thomas Jewell's Probate Package
Thomas Jewell died about 1833. There are two abstracts of probate records in The Wills of Amherst County, 1761-1865, by Bailey Fulton Davis:
THOS. JEWELL -- Book 8, Page 354 -- Administrator's Bond -- September 16, 1833. JESSE MUNDY. Bondsman: CHAS. MUNDY. Book 8, Page 364 -- Inventory -- Farmer - $3,706.76. September 30, 1833. WM. KENT; LAWSON TURNER; RUBEN CARVER. Book 9, Page 22 -- Division to legatees: JESSE JEWELL, WM. WOODSON, JAS. JEWELL, CATH. JEWELL, URIAH BURLEY, TERISHA JEWELL. October 30, 1833. JNO. DILLARD, WM. KENT, D. STAPLES.
CATH. JEWELL -- Book 8, Page 355 -- Guardian Bond -- October 21, 1833. JESSE JEWELL, JAS. JEWELL, and TERISHA JEWELL for JESSE as guardian of CATH. JEWELL, orphan of THOS. JEWELL, deceased.
In addition to learning the names of his children, I learned Thomas Jewell was a farmer and his estate was valued at $3,700, or $102,000 in today's dollars.
A Chancery Court Breakthrough
On 16 April 1840, Jesse Jewell and his five siblings as well as their spouses and/or children and maternal cousins filed suit in the Fauquier County Chancery Court against the Luther O. Sullivan, the administrator of Henry Downs' estate. Henry Downs was their maternal grandfather.
Henry Downs had three sons and three daughters. In his will he divided his land into thirds and bequeathed it to his sons. His three daughters were to split his personal property into thirds after their mother's death. However, by the time Mary Downs died, sometime before 1840, their three daughters were also deceased. So their interest in Henry's personal property went to their children.
|Children of the daughters of Henry Downs. Note: The given name of Elizabeth|
(Downs) Garrett's daughter should be Catherine, not Elizabeth; created using
There were two surprises in this Chancery case in addition to discovering the correct maiden name for Thomas Jewell's wife and the names of her parents.
I had assumed James Jewell was a son, but he was a son-in-law, married to daughter, Harriet Jewell. I had also assumed Terisha was a daughter, but she was a he and married Sophia Ann Mahone. He died about 1838 so his three minor daughters were parties to the lawsuit. This Chancery case was also confirmation that Thomas Jewell's wife was deceased, perhaps confirming the 1820 record.
Thomas Jewell and Sally Downs' youngest daughter was named Catherine. She was born in 1813 in Amherst County. At the age of 23, she married Powhatan Perrow Jennings on 23 February 1836 in Amherst, becoming my great great grandmother. She had six children between 1838 and 1850, five boys and one girl. Catherine died in 1854 according to her headstone. Her death would have occurred before 10 May as her widower remarried on that date. There is a Find a Grave memorial for Catherine (Jewell) Jennings which indicates she was interred at the Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church Cemetery in Fancy Hill, Virginia. However, several Jennings researchers do not believe she was buried there but rather that her burial location is unknown. Her husband, Powhatan, died four years later but was interred at Tudor Hall Cemetery in also Fancy Hill.
Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, Catherine (Jewell) Jennings is Ancestor number 17 on my family tree.
A Word about DNA
I have been fortunate in my relatives. On the Jennings side of my family tree, my two siblings, my paternal uncle, two first cousins, and a first cousin once removed have all taken autosomal DNA tests and allowed me to manage their results. Between all of us, we have 12 matches with the common shared ancestor being Powhatan and Catherine (Jewell) Jennings; two matches with the common shared ancestor being Catherine's parents Thomas and Sarah "Sally" (Downs) Jewell and six matches to the person I believe to be Thomas' father, who I call "Unknown" Jewell. Each of these six matches are descendants of Judith Jewell, who I think was a sister of "my" Thomas Jewell.
|Jewell DNA match to other Jewell family besides Catherine (Jewell) Jennings;|
created using Microsoft Excel
Judith Jewell was born about 1768 in Amherst County, which would make her about eight years older than Thomas. She married Dennis Ensey, son of Jacob Ensey, sometime before 1805. Dennis was born in Frederick County, Maryland, served in the War of 1812 in the 90th Regiment. He was discharged at the rank of Matross. They were responsible for assisting gunners load, fire and sponge the artillery guns. By 1830 Dennis and Judith's family had migrated to Warren County, Tennessee, and by 1840 they had settled in Coffee County. Dennis died in January 1860 of old age per the Federal Census Mortality Schedules. Judith's death date is unknown.
Judith and Dennis Ensey had four known children, all born in Amherst County, Virginia. The six DNA matches are through their sons, Rhodum Hathum, William Thomas, and Alexander Charles Ensey.
If I am correct about the relationship between Thomas Jewell and Judith (Jewell) Ensey, my family tree would look like this:
|Possible "new" Jewells based on DNA test matches; created using|
It is possible my Unknown Jewell was Thomas Jewell, who served as a sergeant in Capt. Andrew Wallace's Company of the 12th Virginia Regiment during the Revolutionary War. He was listed on the February 1778 payroll. However, no one with the Jewell surname is included in the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) Ancestors database.
I reviewed the patriarch spreadsheet at the Jewell DNA Project but could not find "my" Thomas Jewell listed. So now I am on the hunt for a male Jewell descendant who would be willing to take a FamilyTree Y-DNA test and contribute the results to the project.
This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. The theme for this week was "Strong Women." As you have may have noticed, everything about researching Thomas Jewell has been difficult, including being able to use this week's theme. Even our temporary move to upstate New York has been an issue. It was soon after we moved that a comment on a previous blog post about the Jewell family pointed me in the direction of the Chancery case. So many books that could help me advance this research are just sitting in the Virginia Room of the Fairfax County Public Library, but I no longer live 10 minutes from the library, three hours from the Amherst County Courthouse, or two hours from the Library of Virginia in Richmond.
34.0 Thomas Jewell, born between 1776 and 1784 according to the 1810 and 1820 census; died about 1833 in Amherst County, Virginia, as an administrator's bond was filed in Amherst County on 16 September 1833; married Sarah Downs, daughter of Henry and Mary Downs, about 1800.
34.1 Jesse Jewell, born between 1800 and 1810. He was still in Amherst County in 1833 as he was appointed his sister, Catherine's guardian but disappeared from the records after that. There are 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 census records for a Jesse Jewell born about 1796 in Sullivan County, Indiana, but I do not know if they are for "my" Jesse Jewell.
34.2 Harriet Jewell, born about 1803 in Amherst County; died after 1880; married James Jewell on 21 December 1821 or 1826 in Amherst County and migrated to Georgia between 1840 and 1850, settling in Whitfield County.
34.3 Tacey Ann Jewell, born about 1804 in Amherst County; died 13 April 1872 in Temperance, Virginia; married Uriah Burley or Burleigh on 10 March 1830 in Amherst County.
34.4 Terisha or Terresha Jewell born about 1805 in Amherst County; died about 1838 when his wife requested a guardian bond for their three daughters in Kanawha County, Virginia (now West Virginia); married Sophia Ann Mahone 31 March 1832 in Kanawha County.
34.5 Sarah Ellen Jewell born about 1812 in Amherst County; died before 1840; married William Woodson on 19 March 1832 in Amherst County.
17.0 Catherine Jewell born 1813 in Amherst County; died in 1854 in Amherst County; married Powhatan Perrow Jennings, son of John W. Jennings, Sr., and Anna Maria Waldron on 23 February 1836 in Amherst County.
 Most public trees list her maiden name as Guilford but this is not correct as proved by the Fauquier County Chancery case 1841-009.
 Many document transcriptions list his name as Jerry, but if you look closely at the original handwriting, I believe it is actually Terry, which makes more sense to me.
 The wife of Dennis Ensey is named Delphy in many family trees. I am not sure how this came about since the two marriage index records list his wife as Judith.
12th Virginia Regiment (Revolutionary War), FamilySearch (accessed 2 Mar 2018).
12th Virginia Regiment, Valley Forge Muster Roll (accessed 2 Mar 2018).
1810 US Census, (database with images) FamilySearch, Thomas Jewell, Amherst Virginia; citing p. 299, NARA microfilm publication M252 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration) roll 66; FHL microfilm 181426 (accessed on 9 Jul 2015).
1820 US Census, (database with images) FamilySearch, Thomas Jewel, Amherst Virginia; citing p 28 microfilm publication M33, (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 131, FHL microfilm 193690 (accessed 9 Jul 2015).
1830 US Census, (database with images) FamilySearch, Thomas Jewell, Amherst Virginia; citing 505, NARA microfilm publication M19 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 194, FHL microfilm 29673 (accessed on 9 Jul 2015).
Davis, Bailey Fulton. The Wills of Amherst County 1761-1865, (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1985).
Davis, Bailey Fulton, The Deeds of Amherst County 1761-1852 and Albemarle County 1748-1807, (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1979), page 450.
Discovering Henry Downs, a "New" 4X Great Grandfather, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 2 March 2018).
DNA Discoveries: Jewell Progress, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 2 Mar 2018).
Fauquier County 1841-009, Virginia Chancery Court Records citing Jesse Jewell etal, Library of Virginia (accessed 28 Dec 2017).
Find A Grave, Memorial 127484632, citing Catherine B. Jennings, died 1854 (accessed 13 Apr 2013).
Inflation Calculator, In 2013 Dollars (accessed 2 Mar 2018).
Jewell, SurnameDB (accessed 3 May 2014).
Jewell DNA Project, The, WorldFamilies (accessed 17 December 2015).
Matross, Wikipedia (accessed 2 March 2018).
Third Auditor's Office (editor). Virginia Militia of the War of 1812, (Richmond, VA: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1999), page 3.
Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940, (database) Ancestory.com, citing Powhatan Jennings and Catherine Jewell, 1836, Amherst County, Virginia (accessed 13 Apr 2013)
Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940, (database) Ancestry.com, citing Thomas Jewell, father of the bride Sarah Jewell, married William Woodson (accessed 12 Nov 2017).
Powhatan Perrow Jennings (1812-1858): A Life Cut Short
What Happened to Sophia, Widow of Terresha "Terry" Jewell?
Discovering Henry Downs, a "New" 4X Great Grandfather
DNA Discoveries: Jewell Progress
Discovering My Local Family History Center