Monday, September 12, 2005

Was There An Ambrose Phelps, Jr.?

Was There An Ambrose Phelps, Jr. related to this family?

I am including this obscure research because of the confusion caused by internet comments and a book that Ambrose Phelps, son of James Phelps, had a son with the same name. My personal concern was that we know for certain that Jame's son, Thomas, had a son born in Caswell Co in 1805 named Ambrose who died in 1850 in Caswell. The suspicion that there was also another Ambrose in Kentucky caused me and others undue concern that perhaps Ambrose (son of James) moved to Kentucky and his son later came back to Caswell. This did not happen, nor was there an Ambrose, Jr. Below is my related paper which was agreed to be placed in the Pulaski, KY library.

Did Ambrose Phelps of Kentucky (d. 1837) Have a Son Named Ambrose?

July, 2002

By Douglas Phelps, New Bern, NC 28562

For some time now researchers have puzzled with information which indicated that Ambrose Phelps, who moved from Caswell County, NC to Kentucky (died 1837) had a son also named Ambrose. After much research it is clear that the source of this came from an original 1828 marriage bond that listed Ambrose Phelps as bonded to marry Jinsey Wesley. A popular book compiled by the Pulaski County Historical Society properly lists Ambrose as the groom since they rely strictly on the official bond document.

However, other documents and evidence support Anderson Phelps as the groom. Other researchers have concluded that Anderson was one of three known sons of their father, Ambrose.

Below is a list of all known sources and evidence for both names. I have a copy of key pages of most, thanks to the great assistance of the Pulaski County Historical Society (PCHS) and other researchers who traveled to the Frankfort archives and to Pulaski. Pay careful attention to the different beginning years for some of the documents.

Source documents supporting Ambrose as the groom:

1. The original marriage bond in Pulaski Co, KY. Dated 18 Feb 1828. Both Anderson Phelps and Ambrose Phelps (considered by Phelps researchers to be the father of Anderson) are listed as being bound, with Ambrose listed for marriage.

2. Pulaski County Marriage Records Book 1 1799-1850, Compiled By Pulaski County Historical Society. This book is currently being sold by the society. These records were taken from the original bonds of Pulaski Co. The book can be found in the Pulaski library. . It is a revised version of an earlier similar book (see #1 below).

Source documents supporting Anderson as the groom:

1. Marriage Records Pulaski County, Ky 1797-1850. Likely this was the first book published by the society many years ago and has been revised in the book above (see #2 above). It is also in the Pulaski library. The date of 1797 does not agree with the 1799 founding of Pulaski county.

(Please note that the inside cover sheet lists a different beginning date, 1798: That sheet shows Revised Marriages in Pulaski County, KY of Lists Made by Mrs. LN Taylor, Somerset Chapter DAR Taken by Name of Husband from Book 1 1798-1820 1820-1850. By Mary Wedd1e Kaurish. Also shown on that sheet is the book's title again but with the years 1798-1851.)

2. A death certificate of Gilmore Phelps stating his parents was Anderson Phelps and Jane Wesley (also known as Jinsey Wesley) of Kentucky. Birth year was 1832, four years after the reported marriage.

3. A hand-written "minister's return" signed by Jesse Weeks. Found in Pulaski Co.

4. A log of marriages in Pulaski Co. certified by ministers, but hand-written by a clerk stating Anderson Philps married Jinsey Wesley in 1828. Page 90, Pulaski Co.

5. A Pulaski Co. Marriage Records Bond listing from Pulaski County. This can be found in the Frankfort archives on microfilm 76-100-3, page 133.

6. A Pulaski Co. General Index of marriage bonds 1799 to --- on microfilm 76-100-1 in the Frankfort archives.

7. Other supporting evidence: In the 1830 Pulaski census there is one Ambrose Phelps, age 50-60 with a female age 50-60 and a female 20-30. There is an Anderson Phelps age 20-30 with a female 20-30 and a male 0-5. Since the marriage was in 1828, the older Ambrose likely was not the groom. Further, there are no other records indicating the existence of an Ambrose Phelps (Jr) except for an Ambrose Phelps who died in Caswell County, NC in 1850, born 1805 (as proven by the 1850 NC Mortality Census and other records in NC).

The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the original bond was written incorrectly when it named Ambrose to marry Jensey Wesley rather than Anderson. If true, nothing exists to indicate that a second Ambrose Phelps lived in Kentucky.

I am grateful to PCHS, which worked tirelessly to clarify the confusion. As the society rightly pointed out, it is impossible to change the original bond now. The president of the Society concluded that since the [current PCHS Marriage] book has been published there has been research done and more evidence found to prove the marriage as Anderson even though the original bond that the society had to go by listed Ambrose. The Society properly published Ambrose as the groom because the bond states him as such.

Hopefully this analysis will help other researchers understand the controversy.

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