William Yancey of West Virginia
compiled by Ellen M. Brown and Kevin Polinski


In the year 1777 Charles Yancey and a brother left France with the Marquis de' Lafayette to lend their services to General Washington during the Revolutionary War. Charles became a Colonel of one of the regiments under Lafayette.


The brothers settled in Hanover County, Va. after the war. We do not know what business the brothers were in, nor whether they married here or if they had wives in France and brought them here. The only child we know of is William, born in Louisa County, Va. on 23 March 1791. As a young boy he was called 'Little Colonel'. His father died when he was a young child but left him well provided for.


We had been told that a tract of about 900 acres of land in Marshall County, still a part of Virginia, was given to Charles for his services to our country during the war. It is located somewhere above Jim's Run in McMechen, WV. Routes 86 and 250 run by it. The farm is now known as the Orum Twin Oaks Farm.


Many years later, I read William's obituary in a bible belonging to my uncle, Omar Taylor. It noted that in 1818, William went to Marshall County, bought that piece of land, and cleared it. He lived there for more than sixty years, dying there on Friday, 2 May 1884.


William served in the War of 1812 as a Colonel and was at Craney's Island.

Jane, the wife of William, was born in New Jersey in 1812. William and Jane had a son, John, born 28 Dec 1832, who served during the civil war.


In 1873, William became paralyzed on his left side. His wife cared for him all the long years until her death, 7 April 1884, just a few weeks before her husband. They are laid side by side and a gravestone marks' their final resting place on the farm.


John Finfruk or Finelrock, b. 3 Aug 1803 - d. 4 Sept 1834, was married to Ann Margaret Beatty, b. 1 June 1794 - d. 28 Mar 1857.


They had a daughter, Lucinda Temperence, born 23 April 1832.

John Yancey and Lucinda were married 5 Dec 1858 in Cincinnati, OH. Three children were born to them: Eva Jane was born 5 July 1860 in Cincinnati, OH.


William was born 23 March 1863. Nothing is known of him. Charles was born 13 Dec 1865 and died 29 Dec 1865.  Lucinda, the mother, died 19 Dec 1865.


Sometime after the death of Lucinda, John married Charlotte Hepzibah Robinson. John, Hepzibah, and Eva Jane lived on the farm with John's parents. After Jane's death, both women cared for the old gentleman, who was becoming more feeble and more like a baby. John apparently was not a thrifty person, or perhaps his wife was at fault, but due to incompetence and debt they lost the farm and later had to move in with the now married daughter, Eva.  


John died 6 March 1903. Sometime later Hepzibah requested that they send her back to Cincinnati, so they put her on the river boat Queen City.    She took everything of value - letters, papers, trophies, etc. Nothing more is known of her.


Robert H. Lt. Taylor was born 1858, the son of William Taylor and Virginia Hyatt.

Eva Jane Yancey and Robert H. Taylor were married 31 March 1880 in West Alexander, PA.

Charles was born 3 July 1881 in McMechen, WV. Died 24 Nov 1967 in Rockford, IL.

Lucy was born 19 Aug 1883 in McMechen, WV. Died in 1956 in McMechen, WV. _

Daisy was born 13 Aug 1885 in McMechen, WV. Died 27 March 1970 in Moundsville, WV.

Harry was born 6 April 1887 in McMechen, WV. Died in Deersville, OH.

Florence was born 17 March 1891 in McMechen, WV.

Nora was born 28 Aug 1895 in McMechen, WV. Died 2 Nov 1967 in Baltimore, MD.

Rhea was born 13 July 1897 in McMechen, WV. Died 15 Sept 1967 in McMechen, WV.

Omar was born 19 March 1902 in McMechen, WV. Died 10 Dec 1978 in McMechen, WV.


[DJY: A Bible record in connection with this family is located at:  http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~elacey/yancey/frinbib.htm ]


[DJY: Click here for more detailed family information: http://yanceyfamilygenealogy.org/x07526.htm  ]


Edited by Kevin Polinski, 1992




Obituary for Colonel William Yancey
[the exact identity of where this was published uncertain]

"A Pioneer Gone"

Another pioneer has passed away - Col. William Yancey, of Yancey Farm, a resident of Marshall County, West Virginia for upwards of fifty-five years. The deceased was born in Louisa County, VA, March 23 1791 and removed to this part of the State of Virginia in 1818. He afterwards purchased and cleared the land upon which he has resided for more than sixty years and upon which he died, and where according to his earnest request, he now lies buried. At his side lies the body of his devoted and lately deceased wife who preceded him to the "unknown shore" but by three weeks and four days at the age of 71 years and 11 months. She was born in New Jersey in 1812. Her husband, the venerable subject of this sketch, became paralyzed on the left side about the last of June, 1873, consequently was and invalid ten years and ten(?) months. During the long period of time up to the 2nd of April last, she had attended him with unremitting care and devotion, but nature at last gave way, and after a confinement to her bed of only six days she gently, peacefully passed away to that place in heaven she had so richly won. He had become extremely feeble a short time before her death and continued to become more and more so each day until he was as helpless as a babe and required the same attention: but singular to relate he still retained his mental faculties(?) in a remarkable(?) degree. _____ retaining________________ events and anecdotes of his __ life, until a very few days of his death. Although dying for forty-eight hours, counting from the time he had a very severe chill on Wednesday morning, April 30th ult, he was conscious to the last although unable to speak articulately. While lying there, as it were, sleeping life away, all at once he opened his eyes wide, gazed upon her (his daughter-in-law, Mrs. John Yancey) who sat at his side watching him, and who had been his faithful, untiring, and devoted nurse, for more than four weeks. Looking upon her fixedly for a moment, and for the last time on earth, he gently closed his eyes, with a momentary contraction of the brow, as though in grief at leaving her, then the brow became smooth, a placid, serene expression passed over the features, and all was over. Without a struggle or pain, his spirit had gone, to the God who gave it, and to her he had loved so well on earth. His son, John Yancey, whose wife and daughter were there with him were unremitting in their attention to the last. He died on Friday morning, May 2nd 1884 at 9 AM, aged 93 years, 1 month and 10 days. Col. William Yancey's father, Charles Yancey**, with a brother, came from France during the Revolution, with the Marquies de Lafayette, and was Colonel of one of the regiments under that distinguished General. The brothers afterwards settled in Hanover County, VA. He himself served in the war of 1812 and was at Craney's Island. His father, Charles Yancey, died when he was very young but left him well provided for and with competent protectors. While yet a child he was always called the "little Colonel". Peace to his manes.


** DJY: The information about an immigrant Charles Yancey is HIGHLY suspect - see notes at the bottom of this page.



Photos below - thanks to Bob Fister and Mark Chedester


Charlotte Hepzibah Robinson Yancey


Charlotte Hepzibah Robinson, Price, Mason.
This was her when she was married to Jonathon Rush Mason. Date, 1852


John & Charlotte H Yancey  - 1894

from back of above photo



Robert Henry Taylor (b 1852) & wife, Eva Jane Yancey (1860-1950)
Eva Jane was daughter of John Yancey & Lucinda Finfruck
and the granddaughter of William Yancey.




Information Concerning the Ancestry, Family and Descendants
of one William Yancey of Marshall County, West Virginia



Comments by Dennis J Yancey (2012)
 As I have collected Yancey family information for any and all branches of the family over a long period of time (starting nearly 30 years ago as a teenager )  - I came across family information concerning one William Yancey (1791-1884) of Marshall County (VA/WV)  - much of what is detailed above.   Members of this family lived for a  number of years in Marshall County of what was first Virginia and then became West Virginia in 1863 (during the Civil War).   I read with interest, what was stated about this specific branch of the family and their relationship with the famous Marquis de Lafayette who helped the American Colonists during the Revolutionary War.  The family was purported  to have come to America with him about 1780.  In the early years of my collection of  Yancey family info and research - I just kind of took this story of  the origin of this branch of the family on "face value" and never really questioned  it - even though this didn't exactly correspond with information about origins of  other branches of the family. As my research continued over the years - I found census records and the like from which I  was able to confirm the information about this family living in Marshall County, WV.  With the inclusion  of comprehensive lists of Yanceys from census and other sources of a genealogical nature - the Yancey Family Genealogical Database that I maintained became more and more comprehensive as to Yancey's in America  (possibly even 95% or more inclusion of  adult Yanceys living between 1700 and 1900) - and yet I could not find any information to corroborate the information about the link to Lafayette and their coming to America with him


The truth was that  in certain ways this branch of the family just kind of stuck out "like a sore thumb" - though there were certain points that did concord with what I knew about the early Yanceys - such as the links to Hanover and Louisa County.  But the mystery as to the origins of this specific branch of  the family - or rather- the continued lacking information to support this purported French and Lafayette connection - began to bother me. Sometimes in genealogical research the lack of information found in a certain areas or record types - tells just as much as information to the researcher as that which is discovered. As the Yancey Family Genealogical Database became larger and more comprehensive - I was able to connect various "disjoint" families as well as clarify many points of confusion or error and identify many Yancey that previously lacked identification. For me it was like putting together a very large jigsaw puzzle for which the more pieces I placed the more missing pieces seemed be realized  But certain branches of the family like the one discussed below - continued to elude clear identification as to their origin.   In my later years of research as I continued to struggle with some branches of the family for which researchers seemed to continually  hit a "brick wall" with  - I began to consider that the reasons for such was more than just missing information that I had not yet discovered. I began to realize that in many cases the lines that were most confusing or the "brick walls" that were most difficult to tear down - was usually for a reason outside of anything that I did or didn't do - or whether or not I had or had not searched certain records.  I began to realize that there was a specific reason and cause that  there was a  "brick wall" in certain family lines - like the one below.  Sometimes it may have been because a child was orphaned at a young age - and came to know very little about their heritage. In other cases it may have been a child running a way from home - or otherwise estranged from the parents, It may have been due to a dysfunctional family - or due to divorce and separation.  It may have been related to someone trying to hide their past or elude the government or authorities for whatever reason.  There are a multitude of possible  reasons. 


As I began to ponder and analyze the family below -  I realized that in many branches of the family tree where certain family stories had been passed down orally from one generation to the next - that even though specific details of the story turned out to be technically false - that usually there was some "grain of truth" to it - that somehow had gotten twisted over the generations - especially in the cases similar to those just cited.  One of the things I noted in the family story below was a purported connection with the Yanceys of Hanover and Louisa County Virginia - one should realize that these are the counties where the very earliest Yanceys did indeed  reside (but during years well prior to when Lafayette came to America (about 1781) - 1704 being when the first Yancey was recorded).  The other thing was that most of these Yanceys of Louisa & Hanover counties had been well documented as to the family names and relationships across many generations.   There just didn't seem to be records to support the father of William being one Charles Yancey coming with a brother from France at the purported time and leaving a wife and son upon his premature death.  So I began to consider that the story wasn't exactly true - but how could such a story have become twisted into its current form - based on originally accurate information about Yancey families that did indeed live in these counties - but which became corrupted over time and generations.  And with time - I began to see a clear possibility - and though I have yet to find any hard evidence to back it up - I feel that such a theory should be seriously considered as plausible and give a clearer understanding of what the origins of this particular family really may have been.

In the story below one notes various significant clues important in analyzing how such a family fits into the main branches of the family -


As I looked at the Yanceys of Louisa County, Virginia of the late 1700's - I did find a match on most counts of a Yancey matching the above criteria.


One of the most prominent members of the Yancey family in early Louisa County in the late 1700's was one Captain Charles Yancey who had various children.  He is known to have been the son of one Robert Yancey and a French woman by the name of Temperance Dumas. In fact its quite possible this Charles may have grown up being taught French by his mother. The title he often carried as "Captain" came from his position as such in the American military forces during the  Revolutionary War. His father had come from Hanover County Virginia.  Charles was a well known and respected member of  Louisa County - and had a mill and various other operations that many local neighbors relied on.   During the Revolutionary War - he was involved at the Battle of Yorktown as was Marquis de Lafayette - so it would seem only natural to believe that he met the famous French General - in fact there is evidence that he may have had more than just a casual connection with the famous French General as a revolutionary war claim of Charles mentions Lafayette by name.


Now all this is very interesting - the problem is, however, that the children of this Charles and his wife Mary  Crawford are very well documented.   There seems nothing to indicate that Charles and Mary Crawford  had a son named William born in 1791.    But as I began to ponder this in my mind - after some time the possibility came to my mind that William Yancey of Marshall County, WV - may have been a child born our of wedlock by a lady that Capt Charles may have had an extra-marital  relationship with - a relationship that may have been hidden from most or all of the family.  It is interesting to note that family records give a name for William's father but not his mother - whose identity seems to have been lost. As I  pondered this possibility of a child born out of wedlock I  thought about the most probable ages that a man might have an extra-marital or pre-marital relationship. (and people back in the 1700's had them just like they do now )  In my opinion it would be most probable for a man to have a child out of wedlock during his late teenage years before marriage - as well as later in life in his 40s or 50's - of course this is just a generalization. The Capt. Charles Yancey of Louisa County - was born in 1741  his marriage to Mary Crawford was in 1762.  He and Mary had 12 children born to them (not all of whom lived to adult hood).  Most of  their children are recorded in the family Bible record.   They did have a son named William who was born in 1779 and died in 1789. Charles and Mary's last child was born in 1784.   In 1791 Capt Charles would have been age 50 - the year that the William of Marshall County is to have been born. 


Some other items that seemed strange for a family coming from Louisa County, Virginia was that William Yancey moved to West Virginia - that became a Union state  - which was not too common for most Yanceys and he also married a "Northerner". He served with the Union during the Civil War.  All of these things  were not  common things among the average member of the Yancey family of Louisa County, Virginia.


I will be the first one to state that I have no concrete proof of this theory about the parentage of William Yancey. And though there is some circumstantial evidence -  the idea is somewhat subjective BUT I do think this theory or something like it should be seriously considered by those who research this branch of the family.


Dennis Yancey - dyancey @ miami.edu