Saturday, May 28, 2016

Grandmother Mary Ann White and Kids Sued in Chancery Cause, Augusta County VA Circuit Court

I’ve written before about Grandmother’s chancery lawsuit. Today I’m adding a few more details to the family story.

Mary Ann White, 30 years of age, found herself a widow and mother of three young children by Nov. 24, 1856.

3rd Great Grandmother was the daughter of John Shelly and Elizabeth Stover born in Augusta County, Virginia.  A Methodist minister married William White and Mary Ann Shelly Jan. 30, 1845. William was a wagon maker who owned a house and small ¼ acre lot in Mount Sidney. He needed money and borrowed $77.62 from Jacob K. Stribling in a deed of trust October 29, 1846.

William White’s Indenture to Jacob K. Stribling

William died before paying off the debt. Jacob K. Stribling didn’t fare much better dying Sept. 10, 1854.

Oct. 25, 1855 Nicholas K. Trout, acting as Mr. Stribling’s administrator, appeared in Circuit Court before Judge Lucas P. Thompson naming William White’s widow along with her infant children, John William, Jane Maria and Margaret, as defendants to recover the debt. He wanted to sell William White’s property but couldn’t until Mary Ann got her 1/3 dower share.

Chancery causes required the defendant to respond to the plaintiff’s bill of complaint but Mary Ann hadn’t answered Trout’s bill by July 2, 1856. Since minor children were involved, the Commissioner appointed Nicholas C. Kenney as a guardian to John W., Jane Maria and Margaret.

The Court was of the opinion that the dower estate could not be assigned to Mary Ann White because she wasn’t in possession of it. The Commissioners decided to rent out the property for twelve months while Mary Ann White received one-third of the rent and Nicholas K. Trout the remaining two-thirds. After twelve months, the property would be sold to the highest bidder.

Great Grandmother consented to the sale of her husband’s land Nov. 24, 1856. In January 1857, Wm. Shumake became the new owner of William White’s property.

Mary Ann White’s Answer to Bill of Complaint

Mary Ann remained close with her husband’s family. She was living with a sister-in-law in Mt. Sidney when the 1860 federal census was enumerated. William Shumake, who bought William White’s property, was their neighbor. Great Grandfather’s brother, John White, and his family were close by too.

After the Civil War ended, Grandmother married George Huffman in Rockingham County, Virginia August 27, 1865. They became parents April 1868 when Ella Susan Huffman was born.

Grandmother died March 7, 1891 and is buried in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Ladd, Virginia near her son, John William White.

You can view Chancery Cause 1858-071 at the Library of Virginia website here.

Source: Chancery Suit Nicholas K. Trout vs. William White heirs
Index No. 1858-071, Library of Virginia, Virginia Memory,
Chancery Records digital image collection

My Ancestry
3rd Great Grandmother Mary Ann Shelly and husband William White
2nd Great Grandfather John William White and wife Mary Agnes Brown
Great Grandmother Ella Virginia White and husband James Clyde Clemmer
Grandmother Lucy Leora Clemmer and husband James McFall Joseph
My Father


  1. What a great find! It's sad that she had such troubles following the death of her husband, but it is nice to find a record that lays out the family in such a way. Sad that so often we find our ancestors because of difficulties they had.

    1. Yes, you're right Michelle. But I must say I don't know where else I could have found the insider scoop.