Pedigo, Frances Harper, of Hart Co KY

It may be impossible ever to determine exactly where in the Hart Co KY Harper family our Frances (Harper) (Meredith) Pedigo fits. The documents we have for her are few, as follows:

1.     Statements were made by several of her grandchildren in 1966 that she had an earlier marriage to a Mr. Meredith, and that her Pedigo children had a half-brother named William Meredith.

2.     Her 1835 marriage certificate, as Frances H Meredith, to Elijah Pedigo. The H is not written clearly.

3.     The fact that the witness at her marriage was Ransom Harper.

4.     One daughter’s 1919 death certificate that says she was Frances Harper. Berry R Pedigo’s death certificate said Mary Harper.[1]

5.     Her only certain census in 1840 with Elijah Pedigo, Hart Co KY, p 202: 101001/100001, which places her birth date as 1800-1810; Elijah was born in 1809. The children in this year were likely William Meredith, Jesse L and Martha Hester Pedigo. Another son, George Walter Pedigo, has been claimed for the couple, but evidence is lacking, since a second son under 5 is not present in this census entry.

6.     The fact that in 1840, Elijah and Frances Pedigo were next door to Merriman Harper.

7.     1836-38 tax lists, in which Elijah Pedigo was listed with four children.[2]

8.     The assumption that Frances was dead by 1850, when her children were spread among various unrelated families and her husband Elijah was living with Ellen (–?–) Pedigo, assumed to be his second wife.

9.     The fact that Ransom Harper and Jacob L Harper were witnesses at the 1866 marriage of Frances’s son Berry Rowlett Pedigo.


            So where was Frances in the 1810, 1820, 1830 censuses? A daughter born 1800-1810 fits in either Hance’s 1810[3] or Samuel’s 1820[4] census.

            Who was her first husband?  This is still an unanswered question.

            Who were her parents? Both Ransom and Merriman Harper have been assumed to be sons of Silas Harper by an earlier marriage, since Silas married Elizabeth Taylor in 1817, and about the same time his probable brother Samuel married Sarah Smith. I assume that Frances may be a sister of Ransom and/or Merriman. None of these was with Silas in his 1820 census; they do fit with his possible father Samuel Sr.


            Hance Harper of Hart County, Kentucky, was born say 1765 in Virginia and died after 1820 in Hart Co KY. He was a member of Green River United Baptist Church, Hart Co KY. It appears from church records that his wife was named Rhoda; he may have had a later wife named Nancy.

            Family historians state he was born probably in Augusta Co VA and moved to Spartanburg Co SC. Several references occur in Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County Court Record. Order Book No. II, p 44. 29 Nov 1750. Page (580) Road ordered to be cleared and kept in repair on the cowpasture by these inhabitants: Wallace Estill, Robert Carlile, John Carlile, Loftus Pullen, Richd. Bodkin, Saml. Ferguson, Mathew Harper, Thomas Wright, Michael Harper. Hance Harper, John Miller, William Price, James Anglen, James Hall, Philip Phegan, John Shaw, Herculus Wilson, William, and John Carlile. On 19 Nov 1767, he served as a juror in the list: Jurors: James Hill. John Long, Pat. Christian, Saml. Caldwell, Joseph Gamwell, James Lawrence, David Moore, Hance Harper, Saml. Crockett, Wm. Cowdon, Jeremiah Telford, Saml. Lawrence.

            A Spartanburg Co SC genealogist available for look-ups at the genweb site said: “There are several entries for Hans/Hance [Harper]. All seem to be jury lists of one kind or another, and range from 1791 -1797. One of the early ones lists him as Hance, Jr.”

            By 1765 the older Hance Harper was selling land in Augusta County, as cited in Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County Court Record. Order Book No. II, p 418. (Page 773) 18th March, 1765. Hance Harper and Elizabeth to William Martin, £24, 180 acres on Blackthorn, a branch of South Branch of Potomac. Teste: Thos. Stuart, Elizabeth Stuart, Wm. Jameson. Delivered: Wm. Martin, August, 1768.

            Therefore, we have three names of men who were adults in Virginia in 1750 to wit, Michael, Hance, and Michael. They have been assumed to be a father (Michael=1st gen.) and two sons, born ca 1730s.

            Caldeen Benedict listed many sons she assumed for an original settler named Michael Harper.[5] From the eight individuals named, it appears that Matthew and Hance (2nd gen.) went to Spartanburg SC, where they lived in the 1790s.

            By the time Hance and slightly later Matthew moved to central Kentucky,[6] the elder Matthew and Hance had been replaced by younger men, who on occasion called themselves, Matthew Jr and Hance Jr.

            Hance moved to Kentucky before 1800.[7] He was in “Second Census of Kentucky,” p 126: Hance Harper, Barren Co, 9/10/1800.[8] He was a leader of the Green River Baptist Church, cited frequently in the minutes to advise others and as a trustee to help construct the church; Matthew was received by letter in 1809.[9] An 1815 land survey shows Samuel Harper was in Barren Co by that date; all three early Harpers were born before 1775, possibly before 1765; more than once Samuel and his wife were reconciled with effort by church members. (3rd gen.)

             Hance and Matthew were both in the 1810 census, Barren Co KY, Hance Harper: 00211/12201; and Matthew Harper: 22010/20100. Hance’s wife seems to have been called both Nancy and Rhoda; one daughter has two death records, one naming Rhoda as her mother and a year later with the same day and cause of death naming Nancy. Along with Matthew, Ann Harper joined the church in 1809, but none of his three wives was Ann; she may be the oldest daughter. Almost immediately, Matthew started having problems with church order. The next Harpers to be added to the Green River Baptist Church rolls were Samuel and his wife, possibly named Elizabeth, before 1815, then Isaac and Hester in 1820,and “Dosity” in 1821.

            There is only one known list of members of this church, and other members of this family were not mentioned in church records. Maybe they neither assumed leadership roles nor got into trouble. They were, in the 4th generation:

·      James, who owned land by 1815, had a wife Mary, six children born 1811-1820

·      Johnathan, who married Doshy Reynolds, 22 Oct 1810 in Barren Co KY

·      Isaac, who married Hester Light, 19 Mar 1813

·      William, who married Nancy Locke, 1 Mar 1814

·      Silas, who married Elizabeth Taylor, 5 Jan 1817

·      Samuel, Jr, who married Sarah Smith, 11 Oct 1817

·      Hiram, who married Nancy (Locke) Harper, his cousin’s widow, 6 May 1824

·      Stephen, who had four daughters in 1820

·      Robert, who had four sons by 1830


            Harpers in the 1819 Hart Co KY tax list were Isaac Harper, Hanse Harper, Samuel Harper Sr, Samuel Harper Jr, Matthew Harper, James Harper, Jonathan Harper.[10]

            It is always tricky to argue from silence, but when Matthew Jr came to Hart Co KY, he appears to have resided among cousins and to have had no identifiable brothers. A clear indication that Matthew was from Spartanburg Co SC is a statement he wrote in the Bible that he married his first wife Elizabeth Pierce in Spartanburg Co SC.

            It is my guess that Hance Sr and his wife Elizabeth had two sons Samuel and Hance Jr,[11] who along with Matthew were the fathers of the 4th generation Harpers.


            In Hart Co KY, there were several generations of Harpers living simultaneously in the area. The problem for a genealogist is that it is difficult to tell where one generation ends and the next begins. Were certain individuals sons or grandsons of Hance?

            Matthew was married three times and had 24 children. Since one of his daughters by his second wife was named Frances, and her marriage to Jesse Reynolds in about 1830 is known, we can probably rule out this branch of the family for the Frances under discussion here.

            In 1820, Hance no longer had a daughter under 16 living in his home. His census for that year in recently formed Hart Co KY reads: 000011/00112. The unmarried son was probably Hiram. It is doubtful a married son was living with his parents, since all the known Harpers were heads of households in 1820 except Hiram and Robert. Of the five daughters in 1810, two or three seem to be still at home. Since known daughters of Hance and his wife are Rhoda, who married Romeo Crump 30 Aug 1812, Elizabeth, who married Archibald Crump, 16 Mar 1815, and Mary, who married first William Locke, 8 Dec 1814, and second William Vaughn, ca 1831, there must have been another female in the family in 1820. The other two sons in 1810 can only be guessed at.

            Samuel’s 1810 census has not been located.[12] In 1820, he had a son under 10 and another under 16 and two daughters the same ages. These could certainly include Ransom and Frances.

            Ransom’s accepted birth date is 1814. Isaac’s children’s names are known. Only Jonathan, Isaac, James, or one of the older generation men could have been Ransom’s father.[13]

            If Frances’s 1840 census is correct as to her age, and if Ransom is her brother, and if they were living with their parents in 1820, they were children of the bickering couple, Samuel Harper Sr and his wife Elizabeth.


Which Meredith married Frances Harper?

A posting at Genforum says: “All Merediths whatever the spelling from Hart, Edmonson and Grayson Counties in Kentucky descend from Joseph “Old Joe” Meredith who was born 1763 in Loudon County, Virginia. “Old Joe” settled on Rock Creek in Hardin or Nelson County, Kentucky in 1809, the following year Grayson County was formed and that area was encompassed in the new county. Old Joe built a flour or gristmill on Rock Creek. The deed for this a property is in the Grayson County Courthouse. A community grew up around the area around the mill became known as Grayson Springs.”

Several children of my ancestor, Berry Rowlett Pedigo, told me in 1966 that their father had an older half-brother, William Meredith, from the mother’s first marriage. This fits with the 1835 marriage bond of Elijah Pedigo and Frances H[arper] Meredith.

There was a William Meredith who lived in Hart Co KY with his wife Rebecca and their children. In 1850 he or someone else gave his age as 25, in 1860 as 39 (called Chas. but with the same wife and children), in 1870 as 52, and in 1880 as 40. Several gedcoms at identify the wife as Rebecca Caswell and say William’s parents were Alexander and Sarah (Brunk) Harper. However, the researchers who list this couple’s seven children do not include William. The only exception lists ten children, including “Charles William.” Modern Meredith family researchers may place this William in the wrong family, but I am still searching for the right one.

The only census that we know that lists Frances (Harper) (Meredith) Pedigo was in 1840 when she was listed as 30-40, that is, born 1800-1810; her son, if he lived with the family, was 10-15. By 1850, her children were living with other families and her husband had a new wife, Ellen. By that year, William Meredith was married with five children aged 7 and under.

Whom did Frances marry as her first husband? When? Most of the Merediths in this area are known, but Frances’s husband remains a mystery. Was he in Hart Co KY in 1820? Were they married already?

 1820, Hart Co KY

Salley Merrydith            031100/30010

Wm Merrydith            000100/10100    

This William Meredith was still in Hart Co KY in 1840 and then in Grayson Co KY in 1850 with his wife Frances, still living.  

Was there still another Mr. Meredith back there in early Kentucky, possibly not even related to “Old Joe”?

So I am still looking.


© Kathy Alvis Patterson, 2008


[1] Martha Pedigo, no. 1128 (1919), Missouri State Board of Health—Bureau of Vital Statistics: parents Russell [sic] Pedigo and Frances Harper. Berry R Pedigo, 8-104 (1923), Oklahoma State Board of Health—Bureau of Vital Statistics: parents Elijah Pedigo and Mary [sic] Harper.

[2] Hart Co KY Historical Society Quarterly, III, 2, p 12: 1836-38: Elijah Pedigo, horse, 4 children, $30.

[3] 1810, Barren Co KY: Hance Harper: 00211/12201/00

[4] 1820, Hart Co KY: Saml Harper [Jr]: 100100/ 20100. Samuel’s known children were not born yet; this may be Ransom & 2 girls.

[5] From Harper Family Genealogy Forum. Re: Harpers of Hart Co KY, Posted by: Caldeen Benedict, Date: April 17, 2001: Michael Harper was born in Rhine Valley, Germany, and married Isabel. Michael died 1766 in South Branch, Virginia. They came from the Rhine Valley in Germany and settled in Augusta County, Va. Michael died in South Branch Virginia. They lived at a Scotch-Irish settlement called Cowpasture, VA. Children: Matthew Harper, Hans Harper, Jacob Harper, Phillip Harper, Eva C. Harper, Nicholas Harper, Adam Harper, Michael Harper, Jr.,

[6] Land grants for both are dated from 1804. See Kentucky Land Grants [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 1997. Original data: Jillson, Willard Rouse. The Kentucky Land Grants. Vol. I-II. Louisville, KY, USA: Filson Club Publications, 1925. Mary Harper received a land grand in Barren Co KY in 1799.

[7] Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.. Kentucky Census, 1810-90 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 1999. Original data: Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.

[8] F. E. Gardiner. Cyrus Edwards’ Stories of Early Days, 1940, p 99. “In the year 1796 Wm. T. Bush setled where Mrs. Piatt now lives at Woodland, and the Harper and Owen families came into the valley—taking up all the land from Cedar Cliff to Rowletts.” This area was Logan Co, in 1796 becoming Warren Co, in 1798 Barren Co and in 1819 Hart Co.

[9] Minutes of the Green River Baptist Church, copied by Sandi Gorin, along with other early documents, available at

[10] Hart Co KY Historical Society Quarterly, II, 1, p 6f.

[11] From Harper Family Genealogy Forum: Re: Harpers of Hart Co KY. Posted by: Caldeen Benedict, Date: April 17, 2001: Hans Harper, son of Michael and Isabel (—) Harper, married Elizabeth —. Hans moved from Augusta County Virginia to Spartanburg South Carolina about 1768. He was a Revolutionary War Veteran. Children: Hans or Hance Harper, Jr., Samuel Harper, Sr. b. 1760, Isaac Harper, Robert Harper, William Harper.


[12] Possible sons Samuel Jr and Silas give clues to his location. In 1850 Samuel was 55, born in SC, and Silas was 63, born TN, so Samuel may have been in TN in 1800 and 1810. In 1860 Samuel said 71, born NC, and Silas was 71, born SC. Hiram was born 1797 in SC and is thought to have been a son of Matthew’s.

[13] Unless there was an earlier marriage for one of them.

Published on April 19, 2009 at 8:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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