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Proof positive: Isham and William Hodges

Replies: 2

Proof positive: Isham and William Hodges

Posted: 1482516056000
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Hodges
I have taken a heterodox position on the identity of William, son of Isham Hodges, named in Isham's will probated in Henry County, Virginia in 1782. For some reason, the idea that the William Hodges who lived adjacent to Isham and who died in Franklin County, Virginia about 1817, was the son William named in his will did not seem right to me.

So over about 35 years of research, I have been looking for an alternative explanation, and over time, the clues piled up. I think the first was a DNA match between the Franklin County Hodges line and descendants of Sen. William B. Hodges (1821-22 - 1908) of Butts County, Georgia.

Next was a DNA match to descendants of Moses Hodges (1791-1859), born in Pendleton District, South Carolina, later living in Kentucky and Missouri.

Then I was able to trace Asa M. Hodges and Creed Clay Hodges, greatgrandsons of Isham, to Lawrence County, Alabama, which is where William Hodges (1754-1843) and his descendants settled. This suggested there was a connection, but what was it?

Untangling that required figuring out a case of 19th century identity theft. William Hodges of Lawrence County, Alabama, had served in the Revolution. His heirs applied for a pension, alleging that he served under Col. Brandon before and after the fall of Charleston. It seemed plausible. William's son John Hodges was a prominent citizen of Greenville County, South Carolina.

But there was only on William Hodge (no "s") in Brandon's regiment, and he was well-documented as coming from another family entirely. I think the Hodges heirs were just mixed up about his Revolutionary service.

But that did give a little structure to the search. The pension application said his surviving children were John Hodges, Moses Hodges, Jane Hodges who married Jonathan Fuller, Elizabeth Hodges who married David Wiger, and Frances Hodges who married Samuel W. Wallace. Frances was born in 1798 in Warren County, Georgia. We know from other evidence that William lived in Georgia, came to Alabama with the so-called "Intruders" that settled on Indian lands in Alabama and were later expelled, and came back after the War of 1812.

So we had contact with Georgia, which might explain one DNA link and another with South Carolina, which might explain the other.

Things began take on some structure when I found a 1787 tax record for William Hodge in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and the 1790 census record for William "Hodge" in the Pendleton District, South Carolina. Putting the two side by side suggested that they were the same family, and gave some context to the notation in a bio Asa Hodges, grandson of William, that his father "was a sturdy son of North Carolina."

With that, I was able to construct a plausible timeline and pull the two Williams apart. The one in Franklin County was born about 1743. He appears in the 1767 Pittsylvania tithe list and can be traced from then until his death in 1817. Isham's son was born probably in 1754, left what is now Franklin County about 1780, was in North Carolina in 1787, South Carolina in 1790, in Georgia about 1800, and then in Alabama.

This all made sense, but I finally found the piece of evidence that tied it all together. When Ancestry put their Alabama probate records up, I found the 1824 Lawrence County will of Pleasant Hodges, Container 172, folder 46. It reads as follows:

Know all men by these presents that I Pleasant Hodges of the County of Lawrence and State of Alabama being at this time in a low state of helth but of sound mind and memory and nowing the uncertainty of life have thought propper to publish this my last will and testament Revoking all others and declaring this my last and only will in the first place it is my will and desire that all My Debts should bee paid the Ballance of My property Both in the State of Tennessee and in this state I wish Equally Divided Between My three sisters whose Names are as follows Elisabeth Ausbrooks Emilla Hodges and Phebe Hodges and lastly I Constitute and Appoint my cousin William Hodges of the County and State aforesaid My Executor to this my last will and testament having entire confidence in him to manage the same

In testamoney whereof I have put my hand and affixed my seal in the presence of undersined witnesses fourteenth day of September in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty four

This allows us to identify him as Pleasant Hodges, son of Isham Hodges (1763-1839)and Elizabeth Clay, based on his sister being Elizabeth Hodges who married William Wilson Ausbrooks in Sumner County, Tennessee in 1820. Milly and Phebe Hodges were also daughters of Isham Hodges and Elizabeth Clay, and the three were the three surviving daughters of Isham and Elizabeth (daughter Judith had died in 1816).

The William Hodges referred to is William's son William (1790-1835). He and Pleasant were first cousins.

I think the will is finally proof (on top of a load of inferences) that William Hodges (1754-1843) is the son William named in Isham Hodges' 1782 will.
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