Monday, July 7, 2014

Tough Times for Daniel Joseph in Rockingham County, Virginia, 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #2

In an earlier post I mentioned that I thought 4th Great Grandfather Daniel Joseph lived in Augusta County, Virginia with a business interest in Rockingham County, Virginia. Contrary to what I said, a Feb. 12, 1791 land deed does indeed place his residence in neighboring Rockingham County. The personal property tax lists for Rockingham County include Daniel as early as 1789. He didn’t own any taxable items in 1789. In 1790, 1791, 1792 and 1794 he was taxed for a horse. Daniel was taxed for an ordinary in 1795. An ordinary is a tavern, inn or saloon. Generally, wherever a person is taxed for personal property is the place that person lives.

When I was researching at the Rockingham County Court House some years ago, I found an entry in an unmarked notebook which appeared to be a tax list for 4th Great Grandmother Eve (Hanger) Joseph dated 1787.
Eve Joseph from Snid V D to lot Kes; quarterly rent of lots
The 1787 Rockingham County land tax lists indicate Eve Joseph was the owner of 1 lot in Rockingham County which was rented yearly for a total of 3 Pounds with tax @ 1 1/2% for 3 shillings. It looks like D. Snider rented the lot. Now I would like to point out it is very unusual for a woman with a living husband to own land in her own name. Perhaps Eve’s father, Frederic Hanger, gifted her with the land.

In 1788 Daniel was taxed for his 85 acres in Augusta County, Virginia while his wife Eve was taxed for 1 lot of land on yearly rents in Rockingham County. Between March and April 1788 when taxes were assessed Eve Joseph's lot in Kesle Town, Rockingham Co., VA was assessed 3 shillings for yearly rent of her lot totaling 3 pounds and 10 shillings.

Daniel’s name started to appear in Rockingham County court records June 24, 1783 while he was living in Augusta County. Let’s say he was no stranger to a courtroom. Daniel was involved in court cases too many times for me to give details each instance his name appeared in the proceedings. Great Grandfather was involved in numerous court cases as both the plaintiff and defendant. Most of the time he was in court to either collect or pay a debt.

Daniel Joseph and John Hanger were in debt to George Keisle May 28, 1788. Leave was granted to Daniel Joseph to ‘keep ordinary’ in Rockingham Co. July 28, 1788. The court realized he couldn’t pay his debts without running his business. (Remember an ordinary is a tavern or inn and this might be the lot Eve Joseph owned. If Daniel and Eve Joseph were tavern keepers, this would explain why they were in court regularly.) In August the case was dismissed when Daniel agreed to pay all the costs involved. More serious legal issues would erupt with George Keisle some years later. On August 24, 1791 a jury trial found Daniel and Eve not guilty of theft after accusations initiated by Keisel.

Daniel was fined by the Commonwealth for selling ‘spiritous liquors’ Dec. 24, 1792. A few years earlier on August 23, 1790 he was fined 5 shillings perhaps for a similar offence. In April of the same year in Augusta County Anthony Mustoe filed a slander charge against him.

It wasn’t until March/April 1793 that Daniel appeared in a Rockingham County land tax list owning 1 lot that was assessed for 6 Pounds and taxed at 1 1/2% for 1 shilling, and 3 pence. I don’t know whether this is a different lot than what Eve owned but she isn’t included in any more land tax lists. He still owned the lot per the March/April 1794, 1795 and 1796 land tax lists.

March of 1793 found Daniel facing another jury trial. He was being sued by John Kring for a debt and he needed to pay twenty six pounds ten shillings. In most of the court cases from this date forward Daniel was the defendant showing he was having some financial difficulties.  

When Jacob Harshberger filed a petition against Daniel for a debt owed Feb. 25, 1794, Daniel appeared in court and took an Oath of Insolvency since he didn’t have any property. Things became worse for him on July 27, 1795. He was taken into custody by the sheriff because of his debts.

Rockingham County, Virginia Minute Book 2, page 270

Rockingham County, Virginia Judgments, page 43 (con’t on page 44)

Rockingham County, Virginia Judgments, page 44

I learned of Daniel’s death in a Feb. 22, 1796 court action ‘Andrew Jamison Plaintiff against Eve Joseph executrix of Daniel Joseph Deceased’. Eve didn’t appear in court when summoned. On June 27, 1796 the Sheriff was ordered to sell Daniel’s estate after Eve had refused to serve as administratrix. The Sheriff provided a statement and vouchers to the court after the sale of the estate Feb. 28, 1797.

Rockingham County, Virginia Minute Book 3, page 182

The Rockingham County land tax lists continued to include a lot owned by the estate of Daniel Joseph in 1797, 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801 and 1802. I don’t know whether the lot is the one originally owned by Eve Joseph in 1787/8 or if the Sheriff sold enough of Daniel’s estate to pay his debtors without the lot being touched.

Eve (Hanger) Joseph married again Jan. 5, 1799 to Warner Peters in Rockingham County. 

Previous Daniel Joseph posts:

My line of descent:
4th Great Grandparents Daniel Joseph and Eve Hanger
3rd Great Grandparents John Joseph and Elizabeth Piper
2nd Great Grandparents William Wilson Joseph and Eliza Jane Spitlar
Great Grandparents Daniel Franklin Joseph and Flora Belle McFall
Grandparents James McFall Joseph and Lucy Leora Clemmer


  1. I'm very glad to find this information. Daniel and Eve Joseph are also my 4th great grandparents. However, my line runs down through his daughter Eve Joseph, who married a John Henry Gilliatt.
    Many thanks for doing the "leg" work. :)