The Truth about the Early Redus Family

By Dennis Simpson

Originally posted to his Dennis Simpson's Ancestors and some of their Descendants Ancestry Personal Family Tree

Update from Dennis via Redus Family Facebook group post dated 25 April 2014:
Ater several years have passed since my report, I can further say without a doubt, that the name of James Redus' first wife, who was alleged to have been a Martha Wilson is not true. We have no record of his first wife, furthermore, the Wilson family deny having any relationship with the Redus family. For all practical purpose, James Redus first wife remains a mystery, her name remains unknown. His second wife, our direct line ancestress is Sarah Chalfant, not Sarah Chaffin. The death date of 1825 remains a subject of dispute. Her exact date of death is not known. (The identity of Sarah Chalfant has been proven by my autosomal DNA test-LVH.)

James Redus II Myths

We find James Redus II marrying Catherine Parsons on December 13, 1741, at Saint Stephen's Anglican Church, in Sassafras Parish, Cecil County, Maryland. [SOURCE: Maryland Marriages, 1634-1777, Page 147. The couple were also recorded in Henry Peden's, "Early Anglican Church Records," (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publishers, 1990), Page 8].

Catherine Parsons was the daughter of Mary and William Parsons. Little is know about Parsons family. According to her father's last will and testament, dated August 7, 1716, and proven September 18, 1716 in Cecil County, Maryland, he names his wife, Mary, and William Parsons, his eldest son as executrix and executor. [SOURCE: Cecil County, Maryland, Will Book No. 14, Page 299].

William Parsons made several bequeaths to his wife, and their children: William and John Parsons and daughters, Mary Parsons, Margaret Parsons, Catherine Parsons and Susanna Linton. [SOURCE: Maryland Calendar of Wills, Vol. 4, Page 89].

In his will, William Parsons mentions property in England which he willed to his children as follows: My house with outhouses and appurtenances which was left to me by my Grandfather, being in the Kingdom of Old England in Blandford in Dorchester, John Parker now living and said House and grounds aforesaid . . . to be theirs and their heirs forever . . . ."

[NOTE: Mrs. Mary L. Ellington of Martinsville, Mississippi wrote in a letter dated April 16, 1902, to her niece, Mrs. Pearl C. Jenkins living at Fayette, Mississippi mentioning her great-grandfather, Redus came to the United States before the Revoutionary War with a wife and two children. Great-grandfather fled England on account of religious persecution. When my grandfather was eleven years old his father and mother returned to England to recover their property which had been confiscated by the Crown of England because of their religion (King Charles was dead) Great-grandpa and his wife left their two children in care of their English servants who had been loyal to them, and returned to England for said confiscated property. ...they were successful and started home but were lost at sea. In the meantime, grandpa's home was burned and every clue to wealth was burned with the home].

Nice story, but it's all assumptions, not one shred of evidence was presented to prove her alligations. The story provided by Ms Ellington was mixed up with at least two different families. The property in England was not Redus property, but Parsons property, it was not confiscated, but would have been if no one claimed the property.

Unclaimed property in England reverts back to the Crown if not claimed within a period of years. What Cousin Mary Ellington fails to mention is the fact that the Redus' were accomplied to England by Catherine's sister, and brother-in-law, Susannah and Henry Linton. All four people, claimed the property, sold it, and returned safely to Maryland together. No one was ever lost at sea, and there was no record of any house being burned or children being apprenticed out to any blacksmith.

Again this story was simply assumptions and facts not given in evidence and comes from an elderly lady from information over 150 years after the face. Let us look at additional facts disproving Ellington's letter.

First of all there were not two children, Phoebe Durnell whom she names as James Redus sister was not his sister at all, but the sister of his second wife, Sarah Chalfant.

Second who in their rightful mind would leave an eleventh year old child in care of servants. I believe they took young James Redus III with them. She also mentioned that her Uncle James Redus lived to be 104 years old. Further research shows he died at a much younger age, 86 years old when he died. She talked about King Charles was now dead. King Charles at the time the Redus left for England, had died over 100 years earlier. The religious persecution was with the Quakers, not Anglican's of which the Redus and Parsons families were members of the Anglican Church.

If we are to believe Mary Ellington's letter James Redus III was eleven years old when his parents went to England. That would have put that year to 1755. There is a document showing the date June 22, 1754.

Many modern day Redus researchers mistakenly claim this was the date of James and Catherine's Parsons Redus death. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is only an "Inventory of the Estate." Whose estates it is, it doesn't say. It fails to name either James or Catherine Redus. [NOTE: According to the Cecil County, Maryland Court Clerk, they have no record dated June 22, 1754 for either James Redus or Catherine (Parsons) Redus. Even if it were, Ms Ellington stated in her letter, that the family home burned and everything in it, was completely demolished by a fire. So an inventory would not be necessary, because there was no property to be inventoried].

The only record found that was dated about this period of time was an Indenture dated October 5, 1751. This Indenture was made between James Redus and Catherine, his wife of Cecil County, Maryland. It is recorded as follows: "Planter on one part and John Holthan of same county. Said James Redus and wife for $40.00 sells all of a tract or parcel which was clalled Collets Land, Glen's Delight, now called Blandford, part of tract called Town Point or Cecil Town situated in Cecil County, Maryland. {Signed} James and Catherine Redus.

James and Catherine (Parsons) Redus were the parents of at least one child. James Redus III whose date of birth, August 1, 1744, is recorded in Aaron Redus family register. [SOURCE: Aaron Redus Bible now in possession of descendant Helen Crawford of Hamilton, Mississippi. A copy of which is in the possession of the present compiler of these records. James Redus III tombstone located in Livonia Cemetery, in Livonia, Indiana has the date of birth inscribed March 1, 1739, but we know this to be incorrect due to the fact that his parents were not married until 1741, two years later].

James Redus III Myths

James Redus III was born August 1, 1744, in Cecil County, Maryland and died October 5, 1821, at Livonia, Indiana. He was buried in the Livonia Presbyterian Church Cemetery, and later his wife, Sarah in 1825, was laid to rest beside him. [NOTE: Tombstone Inscription reads: Jas Redus, died Oct. 5, 1821, Aged 82 years, Many days with him I have spent, Much comfort I did find, But here in silent dust he lies, and I am left behind. It should also be mentioned that numerous descendants claim an initial "A" is recorded on the tombstone. However, upon further investigation of the stone itself, what appeared to be an initial was actually a glob or patch of moss centered between the name James * Redus to make the appearence of a letter "A" in the name. Carefully scrappping the plant life off the stone revealed nothing underneath the moss thus there was no other inscription or initial "A" at all].

James Redus III was twice married. His first wife, a widower of a Mr. Hutton, was Martha Wilson, daughter of Joseph and Margaret Wilson. Martha was born about 1740 in Chester County, Pennsylvania. (See update at the beginning of this report).

She married James Redus about 1769 in Cecil County, Maryland, and by him they raised a family of five children. The date of her death is not recorded, but it accrued between the year of her youngest child's birth and the year James married his second wife or between 1780 and 1784. [NOTE: The birth dates of James Redus children are estimates coming from census reports. The marriage date also an estimate as there were no records found]. [SOURCE: Correspondence between Mary Swanson and Marian England Graham: Marian Graham indicates that Martha Wilson was born in Pennsylvania instead of Maryland. She also mentions that Martha died 1780 in Virginia instead of 1785 in Cecil County, Maryland. However, there is no documents to prove her assumptions and in fact the dates don't even correspond with the dates she was recorded when the family was living in Pennsylvania. According to Mary Swanson's grandfather's bible, a written note that Martha Wilson Hutton was the first wife of James Redus III].

On December 12, 1776, James Redus III purchased land in London Grove, Pennsylvania. About this same time, he enlisted in the 4th Company of the 7th Battalion Chester County, Pennsylvania Militia during the American Revolution. His name appears in the 1781 and 1785 tax lists of London Grove Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. In 1786, after the war was over and King George accepted the fact that America was now a free nation, James Redus was recorded in the Militia from New Garden Township. [SOURCE: Mrs. William Buckey recorded in her book, "Kent County, Maryland. List of Militia and Allegiance, June 1775," Pages 27-32].

There was a James Redis who enlisted as a private in the 27th Battalion of Maryland Militia, commanded by Colonel Donaldson Yeats. Just whom this James Redis was or how he was related to James Redus, remains an unknown mystery. He certainly was a contemporary to James Redus and a possible relative. After December 4, 1791, James Redus III the subject of this sketch moved his family to Virginia. [SOURCE: In Roy Feemster's research on the Redus family, he writes in "Brief Biographies of the Feemster, Cope, Lefors, Redus families," (Concord, NH: Feemster Publications, 1983), Pages 121-122. "That the three sons of James Redus by his first wife went with their father to Livonia, Indiana, about 1790", but this is not correct. The three older sons, James, Thomas and William never set foot in Indiana, instead, they left Pennsylvania and went with their father to southwest Virginia]. They may have helped their father establish his home in Wythe County, Virginia. But, then they departed westward migrating to Grainger County, Tennessee. Here they stayed until about 1814, when they left the area and moved to Mississippi Territory, now known as Alabama. Traveling down the Tennessee River by flat boats, they went as far as Elk River, moored the barges and took canoes up Elk River and founded Sims Settlement several miles inland in Limestone County, now Alabama.

Settling in this part of Limestone County was forbidden Indian land, and soldiers were ordered in to remove the settlers for trespassing. All but one, Thomas Redus were forced to leave the area, Thomas' had established a grist mill that was valuable to both the Indians and Soldiers, that he was allowed to remain on the land that he settled on. His brother William moved several miles north in Giles County, Tennessee. The Indians later ceded this land to the Government and again, the area was being sold to the new settlers coming in. William returned to Limestone County where he settled until his death in 1853. Elder brother James Redus IV later arrived from Grainger County with his family, but instead of staying he continued westward and settled in what is now Fayette County, Alabama.

On the subject of William Redus whom many researchers mistakenly give a middle name of "Penn" must be corrected. His full legal name was William Redus, he never had a middle name "Penn", present day researchers claim he was a Quaker, another false assumption. William Redus was raised an Anglican, later a member of the Presbyterian Church. Not one of his descendants were members of the Quaker faith. Had he been a Quaker, he would never own slaves, and he was one of the largest slave owners living in Limestone County, Alabama. Among his descendants was Gary Redus, one of the best all time baseball players recorded in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Gary was a also a descendant of one of William's Redus slaves. There are literally hundreds of black Redus relatives still living in Limestone County, Alabama. We all share a common ancestor in James Redus (1744-1821). Getting back on tract, as stated William Redus never had a middle name, if he had, one would assume it would also been recorded on his tombstone. It is not, it simply says "William Redus", and there are absolutely no documents that show his name to be more than just William Redus.

According to Ms Ellington's letter two daughters of James Redus III was rumored to have been left in the care of his sister-in-law, Phoebe Darnell in Baltimore. [NOTE: Here again assumptions, facts not in evidence. Further research shows, Lydia Redus South was recorded living with her husband in Wythe County, Virginia, where they eventually died. With the exception of their marriage record, Susan and her husband Thomas Mullins' records have not been found].

On December 4, 1791, James Redus III sold his land in Chester County, Pennsylvania and purchased a 400 acre parcel of land located on the Little Reed River near Wytheville, Virginia. On October 1, 1808, he paid $1,000 to William and Unity Carter and James and Sarah Newell, grantors of land near New River, in Wythe County, Virginia. [SOURCE: Wythe County, Virginia, Deed Book 5, Page 89].

Later James Redus III purchased another 333 acres located on the south side of the New River at the head of Bingaman's Branch, in Wythe County, Virginia. This parcel of land contained a working lead mine, that is still producing to this very day. [SOURCE: "Early Adventures," Vol. 3, Pages 287-288, by Kegley. He noted that an 1812 suit involves William Carter. Sometime after 1774, David Herbert, brother of William who superintended the lead mines, transferred land near the lead mines to Jacob Vanhoze, who sold it to Jacob Cane, who sold it to W. C. This W. C. sold it to James Reddus. Since the title was unclear, a suit resulted. By 1812, W. C. was in Wayne County, Kentucky. {Citing James Reddus vs William Carter, Supervior Court Chancery Pleas, Vol. 6, 1812}. William Lockett and wife Louisa of Wayne County also gave testimony in the trail. Thomas M. Brooks, son of T. B. had also moved from Wythe County, Virginia to Wayne County, Kentucky. Daniel Lockett was the Wythe County Minister who married Charles Whitlock, brother of Sarah Whitlock, who married Thomas M. Brooks." In the Chronicles of the Scots-Irish Settlement in Virginia, which was extraced from the Original Court Records of Augusta County 1745-1800 Circuit Court Records, Section "I" Judgments. Page 164. "Newell vs. Carter--O.S. 204; N.S. 72--Bill in Wythe, 10th August 1809, by James Redus vs. William Carter and James Newell, says: in 1777--Wm. Herbert, deceased, held a tract in Wythe adjoining Wm. Pellum, which Herbert had surveyed under Loyal Company and sold to his brother, David Herbert, who sold to John Smith, to William Rowland, to David Herbert again, to Jacob Vanhoose, to Jacob Crane, to William Carter, who then owned Pellum's tract, who sold both tracts to orator, includes lead mine tract].

In 1814, James Redus III fed up with the cloudy title to this land sold it and moved with his children to Indiana Territory, where he purchased 55 acres of farm land near livonia, Indiana. [NOTE: Children that went with their parents to Livonia, Indiana were children by James Redus' second marriage. Only Aaron and Joel Redus remained in Virginia where they had sweethearts and did not want to leave them behind. After they married the two girls, the brothers and their wives traveled together to Indiana, where they established homes for their growing families.

In 1821, James Redus III getting to be of an advance age decided it was time to write his last will and testament. In the courthouse located in Salem, Indiana the Will of James Redus was found and recorded here as follows:

Last Will of James A. Redus; Salem, IN: Washington County Records, 22 May 1821.
In the name of God Amen I James Reedus of Wahington county of the Stte of Indiana being in a stte of ill health but of perfect mind & memory, calling to mind the mortality of my body & knowing that it is appointed for all men to die do make and ordain this my last Will and testamentthat is to say principally -- First, of all I give & recommend my soul to Almighty God who gave it and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried with decent & christian burial at the discretion of my Executors: as touching such worldly substance with which it hath pleased God to blefs me in this life. I give demise & dispose of the same in the following manner and form.

First, I give & bequeath to Sally my dearly beloved wife all my lands, Chattels, household goods debts & moveable effects untill her death, then the lands Chattels, household goods, &c to be sold at public sale to the highest bidder then the whole amount arrising from the sale of the property & the collections of debts ue to the estate before the Sale to be divided amongst my children in the following manner.
And first I give and bequeath to my children by my first wife viz--Susan Mullins, James Reedis, William Reedis, Thomas Reedis, & Lidia South or their heirs the sum of fifty dollars to be divided equally amongst them.

Second, I leave and bequeath to Aaron my son thirty five dollars. To my son Joel one hundred dollars. To my son John fifty dollars & to my son Samuel fifty dollars, the balance of the Estate after the above mentiooned Legacies shall have been paid.
I leave and bequeath to be divided equally amongst my children by my second wife t wit Aaron, Catherine, Joel, Hetty, John, Polly and Samuel for their own proper use & by them to be enjoyed.

I likewise constitute my wife Sally Executrix & Col. James McKinney and my son John Reedis sole Executors of this my last will & testament, and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke, and disannul all former Testaments, Wills Legacies bequeaths and Executors by me, before me made willed or bequeath Ratifying & confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament.

In witnefs whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 22nd day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty one.
James Reedus {Seal}

Signed sealed, published pronounced and declared by the said James Reedis at his last will and Testament in the presence of us who in his presence and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names.

Asa Wright, Stephen Martin, William W. Martin.

State of Indiana, Washington County) I Albert Banks Deputy Clerk of the Washington Circuit do certify tht the foregoing Will was proved before me on the 14th day of November 1821 by the oaths of Asa Wright and Stephen Martin two of the subscribing witnefses thereto.

{Seal of Washington Circuit Court} Given under my hand and the seal of said Court this 15th of Nov. 1821. Albert Banks, D.P. Clk.

Execution of the Last Will and Testament of James Reedis Dec'd was granted to James McKinney & John Reedis this 20th Nov. 1821. State of Indiana at Washington County.

I, Albert Banks, deputy clerk of Washington Circuit, do certify that the foregoing will was proved before me on the 14th day of November 1821. By the oaths of Asa Wright, and Stephen Martin two of the subscribing witnesses thereto. Given under my hand and seal of said court, this 15th day of November 1821. [Signed} Albert Banks, Dp. Clk. [SOURCE: Salem, Indiana, Will Book 1, Pages 13-16].

James Redus III was born on August 1, 1744 in Cecil County, Maryland. He was a member of the Anglican Church, but later with his wife, Martha became members of the Cumberland Presybterian Church. He died on October 5, 1821 in Livonia, Washington County, Indiana, at the age of 77, and was buried on October 6, 1821 in the Livonia City Cemetery, Livonia, Indiana, where his wife Sarah was later buried beside him in 1825.

James by his first wife, Martha (Wilson) Redus were the parents of five children, all born in Cecil County, Maryland, except as noted. [SOURCE: Prior to the Mason Dixon line being fixed, Cecil County, Maryland and Chester County, Pennsylvania were disputing their boundary lines].

1. Susan Redus, born about 1770, died about 1830 probably in Maryland. She married January 18, 1793, Thomas Mullins, in the old Swedes Church (now Holy Trinity), in Wilmington, Delaware. No other information is known.

2. James Redus, IV, born December 6, 1772, died March 1, 1959, at Monroe County, Mississippi. He married about 1794, Lydia Morgan, at Grainger County, Tennessee. [NOTE: One researcher claimed Lydia was a sister to General Morgan, revolutionary war hero of the Battle of Cowpens. Further research show this isn't true. they were two different families].

3. William Redus, born about 1774, died January 2, 1853, at Limestone County, Alabama. He married November 8, 1798, Rebecca Hodges, at Grainger County, Tennessee. [NOTE: Several researchers claim William had a middle name "Penn" Further research shows this isn't true. There are no indication that William or any of James Redus III children had middle names].

4. Thomas Redus, born about 1776, died February 27, 1844, at Marshall County, Mississippi. He married, date unknown, Rachel Maples, at Grainger County, Tennessee.

5. Lydia Redus, born about 1778 at London Grove, Pennsylvania, died April 1850, at Grayson County, Virginia. She married, about 1798, Benjamin Joseph South, native of Monmouth, New Jersey.

It is not known if Martha (Wilson) Redus had children by her first husband, there are no indications that she did. James Redus III married secondly, about 1786, Sarah Chalfant, daughter of William Chalfant and Esther Baker in Chester County, Pennsylvania. (See update above that James second wife was NOT Sarah Chaffin and Sarah Chalfant and her parents have now been proven by my and other Redus family member autosomal DNA test).

Both the Chalfant and Baker families were members of the Quaker church. Arriving with William Penn when he arrived to see his land grant given to him for his father's service to the King. Because of her marriage out of her religion, the church and her family disavowed Sarah. The couple eloped and after giving birth to their first born son, promptly moved to Virginia where the remaining children were born. By Sarah, James had 8 children, all but Aaron Redus was born in Wythe County, Virginia.

6. Aaron Redus, born January 18, 1787, at New Garden, Chester County, Pennsylvania, died July 23, 1858, at Wren, Monroe County, Mississippi. He married February 28, 1816, Lucy Ann Oglesby, at Grayson County, Virginia.

7. Catherine Redus, born April 16, 1788. She probably died unmarried and was buried in Livonia, Indiana. No other information is available.

8. Esther or "Hetty" Redus, born January 2, 1790. She married about 1814, Ware Glover, probably at Livonia, Indiana.

9. Joel Redus, born November 20, 1791, died October 29, 1841, at Livonia, Indiana. He married November 25, 1815, Catherine English, at Grayson County, Virginia.

10. Benjamin Redus, born May 30, 1793, died at the age of 16 years in 1809, at Wythe County, Virginia, where he was buried in an unknown grave.

11. John Redus, born April 3, 1795, died in the spring of 1862, at Iola, Kansas. He married four times, all in Washington County, Indiana. His first marriage on July 17, 1820 was to Sarah D. Hutton. She was a relative to Martha Wilson's first husband and a sister to Samuel Redus first wife, Martha Wilson Hutton. John married secondly, in 1831 to Martha Lynn. His third marriage was on January 30, 1834, to Nancy S. Davis. After her death he married on October 24, 1843, to Huldah Wright.

12. Samuel Redus, born May1, 1797, died February 27,1870, at Nashville, Tennessee. He married twice, first on December 2, 1819, Martha Wilson Hutton, at Washington County Tennessee. His second marriage after Martha's death took placed on October 27, 1862, to Mary Ann (Keys) Richardson, at Copiah County, Mississippi.

13. Mary "Polly" Redus, born October 20, 1799, died December 16,1847, at Limestone County, Alabama. She married August 17, 1815, David Rice Scott, at Washington County, Indiana.