This is worth briefly returning to blogging. I am elated!
Rachel Hampton Mulkey, my 4th great-grandmother has been a focus of my research efforts from my earliest days as a family historian. Given that I've been at this a while, she and I are nearing 50 years of rampant curiosity on my part and maddening discretion/mystery/stubborn refusal on her part to share her parentage.
I've written about this before. More than once. I gave up believing the Andrew Hampton story decades ago when not a shred of any believable evidence linking her to ANY Andrew Hampton could be found. What could be found were a myriad of clues connecting her to the family of a Robert Hampton who died in 1796 in Washington County, Tennessee.
Robert's will named his wife, Mary, five sons and no daughters. There is however, evidence that Elizabeth Hampton Edwards (abt 1787-1840), the wife of Abel Edwards, and Sarah Hampton Bayless (abt. 1786), the wife of Samuel Bayless may have been his daughters. Abel Edwards and Hampton's sons attended a crying sale together and a marriage record exists for Sarah Hampton and Samuel Bayless. Hardly conclusive, but this is the frontier. Conclusive documentation is scant. There are also no records suggesting any other Hampton family lived in the area at the time Rachel, Elizabeth and Sarah Hampton were born.
Rachel Hampton Mulkey lived near Jesse Hampton, a son of Robert Hampton. Rachel and Isaac Mulkey named one of their own sons Robert Hampton Mulkey. Their children served as witnesses on documents relating to the family of Robert Hampton, another son of Robert. They were members of the same church.
A few years ago, after spending days pouring through the last boxes of documents from the era at the Archives of Appalachia and finding nothing naming Isaac or Rachel Mulkey and Robert Hampton I declared my reasonably exhaustive search complete. While I can build a convincing case, there were enough holes that I did not feel I could declare Rachel's parentage solved to my own satisfaction.
|Ancestry tree showing DNA matches to family of Robert Hampton. Rachel, as my direct line, is shown with green arrows.|
Enter DNA. I was thrilled when my maternal aunt (Rachel's 3rd great-granddaughter) matched a descendant of Elizabeth Hampton Edwards. And thrilled again when she or I matched three different Robert Hampton, Jr. descendants. And yet... The match to Elizabeth did not prove their parentage, only their kinship. One of the matches to Robert Jr. also shared other lines, so I could not be certain all of them supported the Hampton kinship. This week I found a match to a descendant of Robert's son John Hampton. That makes matches to three different documented children of Robert Hampton. The aggregate data persuaded me. I am waving the victory flag.
Now who were Robert Hampton's parents? Who was his wife, Mary?
Goldene Fillers Burgner, Washington County, Tennessee Wills 1777-1872 (Southern Historical Press, 1983, Easley, SC), p. 6.
Washington County Inventories of Estates, Vol. OO, 1779-1821(WPA records), p. 113-122. Samuel Culbertson's Estate May Sessions 1799