I realized quickly that I’d have to “think outside the box” to learn about my ancestors. I LOVE to interview people, and listen to stories about "the older days" when life seemed a little slower and simpler. I study USGS maps, plats, read chanceries, look for long forgotten cemeteries and try to help preserve memories people share with me. This blog is ad free, so it's easier to focus on sharing stories. Feel free to sign the guestbook, or join the FaceBook group. Even if we aren't related by DNA, I'd still love to hear about your research efforts and family stories. I am interested in posting (to this blog) stories relevant to the Mecklenburg-Brunswick families.

12 August 2012

Valentine Purdy was actually Valentine Livingston

I just had a big surprise this month (big to me). Valentine Purdy wasn't really a Purdy, but rather a Livingston. My family: John Gray, his wife Ann Purdy, their daughter Elizabeth Gray, and Nicholas Purdy's family traveled together, arriving in America 27 Jul 1838. I had believed that Nicholas' family consisted of himself born about 1791, Martha 1808, Valentine 1828, Eliza Sep 1831, James 1835, and Caroline 14 May 1836. (Thomas was born in the United States in 1842.) Everyone with Nicholas was listed as Purdy on the ship manifest. John Gray and Nicholas Purdy were from Seagoe, Armagh, Ireland. My friend Hobson Scott Wright went to Ireland last year and found the marriage record for John Gray and Ann Purdy as well as the baptismal record for Eliza Purdy the daughter of Nicholas and Martha Purdy, baptized in the Church of Ireland on 25 Sep 1831.

On the Ship registry, Valentine is listed as Valentine Purdy and appears to be Nicholas' son. Then I assumed the same for the 1840 Census. But the 1840 Census also just asks for people in the house free, who are that age. By the 1850 Census, the Purdy's are still in Mecklenburg, VA but Valentine was gone. I assumed he had died. But the 1850 Census is the last we could find of Nicholas and his family. Until someone from Caroline's family (Alexandra Genetti) found me. Turns Caroline went west. She married Ellis Bond Egger and had several children, one of which she named Valentine Livingston Egger. We figured the Valentine part must be after her older brother. Caroline lived awhile in Mississippi, then settled in Texas.

My friend Hobson Scott Wright told me he found some information to show Valentine was not really a Purdy, he just traveled with Nicholas Purdy's family. He would have left Ireland at age 10 and traveled with Nicholas Purdy and my family, John Gray and Ann Purdy. Nicholas Purdy was entrusted with Valentine's education when he was 4 years old, in 1831, in Ireland, the year
Nicholas' daughter Eliza Purdy was born and baptized. Here is that information my friend found:

Mecklenburg, Virginia, Deed Book 30, p. 555
Nicholas Joyce to Nicholas Purdy, Tr., Deed of Trust
[summary] On 4 October 1843, Nicholas Purdy entered into a deed of trust with Nicholas Joyce. This deed was secured by 150 acres of land, crop, and other household goods.  Mentions a number of creditors and debts including a debt incurred in 1831 in which the deed states “I received in Ir[e]land 30 pounds sterling belonging to Valentine Livingston an infant of 4 years for the purpose of raising and schooling or as much thereof necessary.”
Turns out Valentine followed the same path Caroline did; maybe he traveled with her? In 1850 he was in Yalobusha, Mississippi as an overseer, single. In 1860 he was in Burleson, Texas where he spent the remainder of his days. He is on tax lists there until 1869. On the 1870 Census his wife is listed as a widow. From the children's death certificates, I see that Valentine married Sarah Jane Lawrence who was born in Alabama. They married about 1851, since he was single on the 1850 census and their first child was born in 1852. Valentine and Sarah had 6 children: 
  • 1) William A. Livingston born Sept 1852 Mississippi
  • 2) James Thomas Livingston born 1854 Mississippi, married Amanda Catherine Dobbs who died before 1900. He also had a 2nd marriage. 
  • 3) Mary F. Livingston born 21 Nov 1855 Texas, (died 13 Sep 1930) married Virgil R. Dobbs (1852-1906)
  • 4) Martha Jane Livingston born 14 Feb 1861 Texas, married name Luckett, died 18 Jul 1933
  • 5) Amanda Jeanette Livingston born Mar 1864, married name Grady, died 9 Jun 1927
  • 6) Albert Valentine Livingston born 28 Mar 1867, died 22 Feb 1948
After Valentine died, his wife married a man named James M. Draper with several children. James and Sarah had a few children together by the 1880 Census: Mattie, David and Isaac Draper.  

If you know more about Valentine or these Livingstons, Grays or Purdy's I'd LOVE to hear from you! We know so little. We don't know all the the connections. We don't know Nicholas' wife's name, or who Valentine's parents are.  I can tell you that in Ireland, Nicholas Purdy rented land, and could vote but John Gray did not, he was a linen weaver. We also know that in 1837, a huge depression started in Armagh because Americans just stopped buying linen, Armagh's biggest export. Renters like Nicholas Purdy would be in huge debt to the landowners never making a profit, so America did hold more promise of a better economic future for them. I can also tell you Nicholas and John Gray are on records in Seagoe, Armagh, Ireland, and that Nicholas is much easier to find than John Gray. But we have found if we look for Nicholas Purdy, my John Gray is usually close by. 


Brownie's Points said...

Hi..I'm Valentine Livingston's gt. gt. granddaughter; my gt. grandmother was Amanda Jeanette Livingston. :-) Thanks for this information.

Brownie Ellis MacKie

Mary K. Elliot said...

I am also Valentine Livingston's gt gt granddaughter and granddaughter of James Thomas Livingston. My father was Thomas Caskey Livingston born to James Thomas and his 2nd wife Mary Lou Etta Skaggs Livingston in Coleman Co., TX.

Mary K. Livingston Elliot28760

hnisc said...


Valentine's father William Livingston (who married Martha Winchester), his brother Richard Livingston is my 4th Great Grandfather. I do not know who their father was but my best guess is that it was also William.