Saturday, January 22, 2011

In search of Rachel's Hamptons - Surname Saturday

My fourth great-grandmother Rachel was the wife of Isaac Mulkey. I've always been told her last name was Hampton. I hope it is, because that's the only thing I have to go on!

Rachel was born about 1794 in what became Tennessee. She married Isaac Mulkey, a son of Rev. Jonathan Mulkey, about 1809. No marriage record has been found, though there are Washington County records from that time period. They had at least ten children. Isaac Mulkey died in 1855. Rachel lived until after the 1880 census when she was enumerated living with her daughter Rachel and son-in-law Joseph Campbell.

Issac and/or Rachel were enumerated in each Washington County census from 1830 through 1880. Rachel appears to have been in ill health the last years of her life. She is listed as an invalid in 1870. She could not write, but may have been able to read. The 1880 census listed her mother’s birthplace as Virginia, but left her father’s birthplace blank.

Rachel’s parentage is unproven. Indeed, as I mentioned before, her name is unproven. Family tradition names the wife of Isaac Mulkey as Rachel Hampton, daughter of Andrew who is the son of James Hampton of Stokes County. This information was written down by Ella Mulkey Range in her self-pubished, undated pamphlet The Life of Reverend Philip Mulkey, His Ancestors and Descendants, 1650 – 1950. It is more than a little suspect.

Range cites "Hampton and Mulkey D.A.R. records" to support her statements regarding Rachel’s ancestry. She names Andrew Hampton who died in White County, TN as Rachel’s father and names his children – Jonathan, Susannah, Andrew, John, Elizabeth, Nancy, Benjamin, Alice, Rachel, Mary, Adam, Mitchell and Catherine. She states he gave his daughters slaves upon their marriages (Range, p. 11).

Range, born in 1879 in Kansas, was a great-granddaughter of Isaac and Rachel Mulkey and may have met Rachel before she died. If so, it was as an extremely young child and very late in Rachel's life. What family sourced information she had about Rachel most likely came from her father James Duncan Mulkey, born 1836, who lived in Washington County near his grandparents until the Civil War.

There are a myriad of problems with her statements.

  • The Andrew Hampton will naming the children she listed was written and recorded in Rutherford County, NC in 1805 (see Caroline Heath Davis’s Rutherford County, North Carolina, Abstracts of Wills, 1779-1822). 
  • That Andrew’s daughter Rachel was born about 1777 and married Samuel Thomas in Rutherford County in 1794. 
  • There is no evidence to date that Isaac Mulkey ever owned slaves. 

According to Karl Hampton, who has spent years researching two different Andrew Hamptons (termed Granville and Anson/Rutherford Andrews for the NC counties where they were recorded), two Andrews did live in White County, TN. One was the son of the Andrew dying in Rutherford County, NC in 1805 and the other was his grandson. But I have never seen an iota of evidence linking either of them to Rachel, the wife of Isaac Mulkey.

Assuming Hampton is Rachel’s surname, who are her Hamptons? Was her father named Andrew? I shall be examining potential Hampton families in the following weeks, but next will come an outline of Rachel’s children.


  1. You've probably covered this, but perhaps a death record or marriage record of one of their children can yield a clue?

  2. These situations are always such hard ones if you can't find definitive records. I have a couple of "those" women on the front burner of my research right now, too.

  3. I had a girl named Rachel Hampton in my Girl Scout troop when I was a leader about ten years ago. She had just moved up to New Hampshire from somewhere down south, too!

  4. Hi Susan,
    I have HAMPTON's that are north of yours. They came from VA and NC and are now found in Letcher and Pike Co. KY. I don't know if they were ever in TN but some of their affiliated families can be found in Washington and Hawkins Co. TN. Sadly I don't have a Rachel in my records, but my Hampton records are far from complete. Maybe this might be a direction for you to look in. I hope you find exactly who your Rachel is. Having it posted like this, you will get that email that has your question answered, just be patient.
    Happy Hunting!


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