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HEZEKIAH ROSENCRANCE
(And the Mystery of Sarah Rosencrance Solved)

By Phyllis Daniels

Hezekiah Rosencrance/Rosekrans was one of the early settlers of Randolph County and was the progenitor of all the Rosencrances in Randolph County if not the state of WV. He came to Randolph Co. between 1782 and 1784. He appears in the Hampshire Co. census in 1782 with a family of 4 and was in Jacob Westfall, Sr. list of all white men in his former militia company area in 1784 which included what is now Randolph County.

Hezekiah was twice married. He married first Margriet Westfall. The only proof of this marriage is in the will of Jacob Westfail in which he bequeath to Margriet Westfall, wife of Hezekiah Rosenkrans. According to Westfall historians, this Jacob Westfall was the grandfather of Margriet. I do not know what happened to Margriet and any children they may have had, but she was gone by 4 May 1795, when he married Nancy Simpson, daughter of John Simpson. According to the 1810 census of Randolph and later census records, none of the children could have been born before 1795. So, Nancy was the mother of all his living children.

Hezekiah's will is on record at the Randolph County Court House. It was written 20 Feb. 1819 and probated in April 1819. Where he is buried is uncertain. Some descendants say he is buried at the Arnold Hill Cemetery near the Elkins airport, but it is believed by this descendant that he is buried in a family cemetery on the Georgetown Road near his "plantation" home. Many years ago a hand hewn fieldstone with markings --legible to some extent with a magnifying glass-indicated it marked a grave of a Rosekrans born 19 Aug 1741 or 1747. Since he was the only Rosencrance in this area that early, it is assumed it was his burial place. The stone today is now gone, broken and trampled in the mud by cattle some years ago. Does it make a difference what year he was born? Of course it does! His father, Jacobus/James, was also married twice. If Hezekiah was born in 1741, his mother would have been Sarah Decker. If he was born in 1747, which a descendant of Solomon Rosenkrans, the youngest child and brother to Hezekiah says, then he is the son of James and Katherine Cole/Cool Rosenkrans.

Nancy was much younger than Hezekiah by 20 or 30 years. We are fairly certain she is buried at the Arnold Hill Cemetery. The only thing we know about her death is an entry in the George McLean Diary on December 17 & 18 1847, which states "18 inches Deep on the 18 Cleered up warm Mother Rosecrovnce Departed this Liffe". Entry made on December 19, 1847, "made a coffin price 5 $." We believe the reference to "Mother Rosecrovnce" must have been Nancy as she would have been the only Rosencrance woman old enough to be called "Mother Rosencrance" by her friends and neighbors.

Hezekiah mentioned all 11 of his children in his will including an unborn child.

1. Eli, the oldest son, born about 1796, died 1825 from a falling tree while clearing land. His will recorded in Will Bk. 2, p. 180, bequeathed the estate left him by his father to his brother William, the youngest of his brothers.

2. Catherine was born about 1798. An entry in George McLean Diary on October 15, 1831 states "Catherine Rosencrans departed this life after an illness of 6 months. Made her Coffin".

3. Mary was born about 1800, she was 50 years old in the 1850 census of Barbour County. She died 16 June 1870, in Barbour County. She married the 13 April 1825, William Huett/Hewitt. William who was gone in 1850 was the son of William Hewitt and Margaret Gregg Cornwall.

4. Levi was born about 1803 and married 8 December 1825, Dorcas Westfall, daughter of William West fall. Tradition says they went west and no further information is available.

5. Hezekiah, Jr. was born about 1807 and married Priscilla Borden of Monogalia County. They were residents of Gilmer County, WV in 1860 census.

6. John was born about 1809 and married Sarah Phillips, daughter of Moses Phillips. Moses Phillips was a devoted friend and neighbor of Hezekiah. Sarah, referred to as "Aunt Sally" by her neighbors, was the community doctor and nurse.

7. Margaret was born about 1806/1810 (She was 54 yrs. old in 1860 and 40 yrs. old in 1850 census records). She married Currence Wilmoth, son of Nicholas and Sidney (Currence) Wilmoth. They lived in Gilmer County in 1860 census and believed to be buried there. Currence Wilmoth was living with their son in the 1880 census of Gilmer County and Margaret was gone.

8. Prudence was born about 1811. She never married and made her home with Margaret and Currence Wilmoth until they went to Gilmer County, then made her home with her brother, John.

9. Lusanna (Susan) was born about 1813, married Jesse C. Wilmoth. They lived in Gilmer County, WV and both are buried there. They were close neighbors of her sister Margaret.

10. James was born about 1816 and died 11 July 1891 and is buried at the Jesse Wamsley Cemetery on Becky's Creek. He married in 1841 Mary Jane Wamsley, daughter of Jesse and Sarah (Mace) Wamsley.

11. William was born 1819 after the death of his father. He is listed in the 1840 census with his mother. I have been unable to find out what happened to him after that date. Some say he died at Webster Station, Grafton, WV, of a fever on his way home from the Civil War. On 27 September 1841 William deeded 100 acres of land to Joseph Hart. This was the land willed to him by his brother, Eli. This land is now part of the Rich Mountain Battlefield. These were called the Sugar Creek lands in the will of Hezekiah. The location of "Sugar Creek" in not known, unless it is now known as Beaver Creek.

Then there was Sarah!! All census records and Hezekiah's will listed only 11 children. But, on September 10, 1832, a Sarah Rosencrance married Jesse Canfield naming her father as Hezekiah. Even the Canfield Family History named Jesse Canfield as the son of Daniel Canfield and that he married Sarah Rosencrance, but nothing more was known of them. No further trace of them until 1854 when Jesse Canfield and wife "Susan" residents of Gilmer County, WV, sold 50 acres of land on Shavers Mountain to Bushrod Coberly. The deed stated it was the same land deeded to Jesse and Susan in 1837 by Levi N. Wilmoth. I then looked at the deed made in 1837 and sure enough, the deed was made to Jesse C. Wilmoth and wife Susan for 50 acres on Shavers Mountain.

So the mystery of Sarah Rosencrance and Jesse Canfield is finally solved. There was no Sarah Rosencrance or Jesse Canfield. Lusanna, was nicknamed Susan and Jesse C. Wilmoth was Jesse Canfield.


The Allegheny Regional Family History Society
Post Office Box 1804
Elkins, West Virginia, 26241
arhfs@yahoo.com