AGNES TODD VERSUS AGNES NALL or PACE
by Judy Ware May 2008
© Judy C. Ware
Since writing this piece in 2008, more and more documentation has come to
light that verifies, without a doubt, the last name of Agnes as being Todd.
- Judy C. Ware, August 2012
Judy C. Ware, August 2012
In the past, there has often been confusion about the last name of the wife of James Ware I. Its an established fact (& undisputed by anyone) that her first name was Agnes, but some have suggested that her last name was either Nall, Pace, or Todd. It is my firm belief that the correct maiden name is Todd. My reasons for coming to this conclusion are listed below.
These are the references I previously had at my disposal that dealt with this issue.
Reference # 2 Original long letter of Cornelia Ware Anker (1945) owned by Jim and Judy Ware. This letter is a goldmine of first-hand, intimate family facts & remembrances. Cornelia was the daughter of Sigismund Stribling Ware (son of Josiah William Ware.) She personally transcribed some family letters (written between 1799 and 1831) that had been passed down to her and then also added her own memories and recollections of family history. In reference to James Ware I, she typed: he married Agness Nall.
In going through the entire letter, however, there are many, many typing errors (examples: juniot instead of junior, Revolltio instead of Revolution, Waraws instead of Wares, and Godd instead of Todd) so it would be easy to see how this entry could be the result of a typing or transcription error. She admitted herself that I have copied these letters as well as I could; most of them are very hard to read. The penmanship is beautiful, it is small and, of course, dim with age. Although providing an absolutely stunning account of life during her childhood and stories passed on through the family, there are definite places with errors or lack of current information.
In addition to that, Cornelia Ware and Sarah Ware (see reference #565 below) were working on the family history at exactly the same time (1940s) and corresponded with each other. They are the only two sources of the name Nall that I know of - until many years later when I believe their information was simply assumed to be correct & thus copied.
REFERENCE # 565 Small handwritten note kept with old family papers and records dating back to the late 1960s. The writer (Sarah Ware) wrote that she copied this information from a different paper that was found among her mothers papers. Her handwriting was very shaky and it was written on just a scrap of paper. Sarah notated that the last name of Agnes was Nall, but in the margins of Haydens book (see reference #6) she had made several notes to herself years earlier. Hayden listed no maiden name for Agnes, but Sarah had penciled in some possibilities. She also wrote, however, that she couldnt make out the letters clearly & was only guessing. She made a similar note at the bottom of this paper (see below) that stated that where this was copied was old and worn. Uncertain if the word is Nolle or Nalle or Noll. If you look at this note and notice how similar the circled word *Todd is to the circled word Noll or Nall I feel pretty sure that she confused the two names.
That (by itself) might not be convincing enough, but if we look at the overall evidence, I think a clearer picture emerges. Aside from the input of Cornelia & Sarah Ware - all of the other early records I found listed no known maiden name. See below
Reference #4 Long hand written chart of Ware lineage.
information was contributed by Mrs. Lewis B. Burton the wife of the Bishop of
Kentucky. It was typed on parchment paper
(with no date) but the document is fragile and obviously very old. It was included in a box of family records and
letters dating back to the early 1900s. Mrs.
Burton took her information from old records & Bibles that were in the
possession of Mrs. Jane Ware Martin of Columbia, Georgia.
# 5 Wares of
is a compilation of information that Frances Griffin obtained from the book Virginia
Genealogies and mailed to Jim & Judy Ware. Her
address (many years ago) was
In Haydens book, he gives the history of James Ware I as follows:
James Ware ( born Nov. 15, 1714) resided in Gloucester County, Virginia and married Agnes _______ (born Dec. 20, 1714). There was no last name given. This was an extensive, well researched, published genealogy & I feel that Hayden would have included the maiden name of Agnes if he had any source to back him up. His book is the backbone of most of the Ware genealogy. Every other Ware Family History Ive encountered (for this timeframe) uses direct quotes that come straight from his work. In Haydens lifetime, he was privy to tons of first-hand interviews and records that we dont have available anymore. Obviously, neither the name Nall or Pace were deemed a possibility for him.
REFERENCE # 27 Original handwritten lineage page author unknown; passed down through the family for many generations. In the lineage section, it states that James Ware of Gloucester County, Virginia (born on Nov. 15, 1714) and his wife Agnes ________(left blank) born on Dec. 20, 1714 had these children: John, Nicholas, James, Richard, Clara, William, and Edward.
REFERENCE # 56 Loose handwritten pages for James Ware I on down to the 1950s. These papers were among the DAR research documents submitted by Lena Ware for her daughter in the early 1900s. Original owned by Jim & Judy Ware. In her work, it lists: James Ware (born Nov. 15, 1714) Agnes Ware (no maiden name listed) wife of James Ware (born on December 20, 1714)
REFERENCE # 618 VIRGINIA COUNTY RECORDS - SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY by: W.A. Crozier Deed Book G dated May 7, 1770.
simply that James
Ware and Agnes, his wife, of
REFERENCE # 619 Robert Bolling Batte Papers sponsored by the VIRGINIA State Library Archives Lists the genealogy of the Ware family showing no last name for Agnes wife of James Ware I
Until fairly recently, this was the only information I personally had for the wife of James Ware I. At least all the birth dates correlated. With the current accessibility of information on the web though, it is now increasingly easy for false or uncertain information to be passed along - with no ill intended. I know, even for myself, that I can make no guarantees that all my data is 100 % correct all of the time. New facts abound every day! All we can do is make an honest effort to present what we think we know with what information we have in front of us at the time. It is extremely helpful if we can provide documentation or background information with our findings however. That enables others to judge the validity of our writings or do further research on their own.
With that being said, let me further explain the reasons behind my belief that the maiden name for Agnes Ware was Todd. The only other references Ive seen on this subject are as follows:
REFERENCE # 32 Ware Family History taken from page 392 of the 1960 Edition of the Wilder & Connecting Families in the Southeastern United States written by: William M. Wilder. In this breakdown of the Ware line, Wilder listed James Ware b.1714 married Agnes Pace, Gloucester Co. Wilder was one of the true pioneers in genealogy back in the 60s. He provided some awesome insights. He stated in his work, however, that he was providing what seems to be a possible succession of and a relationship between the six Ware families that I attempt to record. In recent years, information has surfaced that has clearly refuted some of his findings and since he gives no explanation of where he found the name, it remains unclear as to where the name Pace popped up from.
REFERENCE # 81 WARE ANCESTORS by: Frank Fremont Reed Chicago 1987 Book 8, Chapter 1 In this document, Mr. Reed states that James Ware I of Gloucester County, Virginia & of Franklin County, Kentucky, son of Edward Ware by his wife, Elizabeth Garrett of Stratton Major was born 15 Nov 1714 in King & Queen County, Virginia . . . died in Franklin Co., KY and married in 1735 Agnes Pace, born 24 Dec. 1714 in Gloucester.
I believe that (since his work is relatively current) Frank Reed may have done what many did and assumed that all of Wilders information was correct. He does not list a reference. His date is also off in that he is the only source Ive seen which states the day of the month as the 24th instead of the 20th.
REFERENCE # 379 Ware Family History by Wanda Ware Degidio a very well researched and documented study on the Wares prior to Josiah. Wanda writes the following in her work: James Ware I (15 Nov 1714 VA-Will written 25 Sep 1790 Woodford Co. KY/Recorded 19 Apr 1796 Franklin Co. KY) m. Agnes Pace (20 Dec 1714-<25 Sep 1790 (Franklin Co. KY ?)) c1735 at (Gloucester Co. VA ?). In 1770 lived in Caroline Co. VA, but held Ware Lottery for land they held in Spotsylvania Co. VA. Moved to KY.
This Agnes does have the same birthday as the others, but I believe the information originated in Wilders work which Wanda commented on herself in her amazing genealogy. In finding other discrepancies with Wilders charts, she wrote "You will note the absence of any reference to a son Robert Ware who might be identified with an American emigrant of that time. This absence would seem to indicate that W.M. Wilder was incorrect in his assertion that Sir James (brother of Sir John) had a son named Robert.
Wandas research is beautifully done, but its important to note that there were question marks placed in that specific section talking about Agnes.
Those were the only resources I knew of for Agnes until recently. I did hear from another genealogist (Vicki Cheesman) a few months ago and she wrote me that her findings were as follows
Here goes: Starting with my great-grandfather
Robert Payne Ware-Martha Sanders
William Ware-Susanna Payne (Susanna Harrison first wife)
John Ware-Ann Harrison
James L. Ware- Agnes Pace (previous information regarding Agnes Todd Hurt)
Vicki went on to write that her cousin (who works in genealogy) had the wife of James L. Ware as Agnes Todd Hurt. I can find no other references to her or her parents. He sites sources and so I figured he knew what he was doing.
I think Vicki is absolutely right. Im not sure about the Hurt part, but it is highly likely that Agnes might have been a widow at the time of her marriage to James.
Today, however, I came across one
of those pieces of historical data that genealogists live for. A lovely lady named Debbie McArdle scanned some
pages for me from an old family bible that contained a lot of Ware information - bibles
are one of the
most reliable sources you can get. The original
is in the Julia S. Ardery Genealogical Collection,
James Ware Sr. born Nov. 15, 1714
Agnes Todd wife of James Ware Sr. was born Dec. 20, 1714
Children of James and Agnes Ware . . . etc.
Not only is it spelled out nice and clear, but it makes perfect sense that her maiden name was Todd. So many children born later in the family carried the Todd name with them as middle names. One could argue that the reasoning for that is because James Ware II married a lady named Caty (sometimes spelled Katy) Todd, but it also stands to reason that Caty & Agnes were probably related in some way. During the generation of James & Caty Ware, they had two Ware daughters (Mary Todd and Lucy) who married Webb brothers (Isaac & Charles.) Grant Allen married Thompson Wares daughter Polly, but he also married her sister Kitty when Polly died. Matthew Thompson Scott married Winny Webb (daughter of Lucy and Isaac Webb) first, but when she died of cholera, he married her sister Elizabeth (Betsy) Webb Cunningham. It was her 2nd marriage as well. The odds of Agnes and Caty Todd having relatives in common are very good!
In conclusion, all of the records Ive seen concerning James Ware I that date back prior to 1950 mention no maiden name for Agnes Ware. The first time Nall appears is around 1945 when Sarah & Cornelia Ware were trying to transcribe old letters and (upon close inspection) it is easy to see how they could have easily misread the faded & scratchy handwriting. It is only in their references (and subsequent new writings that have relied on their data) where the name Nall appears. Even those 2 references state uncertainty as to the name, spelling, letters, etc. It was highlighted as being just a guess.
In the 60s, Wilder produced his Ware history and that is the first time (that I know of) that Pace was ever introduced as a maiden name. He wrote himself that some of his entries were possibilities and subject to conjecture. Subsequent writings have often built their work upon that data though.
Vicki Cheesmans cousin apparently has records that authenticate his finding of Todd Hurt. The only other reliable record I find is the original Ware/Webb Family Bible (so kindly provided by Debbie McArdle) that clearly writes the name Todd next to Agnes. All other entries in that bible support the dates and records for every other member of the family that I have documented. Therefore, I feel safe in believing that we now finally know the maiden name of Agnes Ware. I want to thank Vicki Cheesman and Debbie McArdle for helping to solve the mystery. With Debbies permission, I have copied the page of the bible below so that others may see the entry. I hope this information is useful to others.
***** After passing my findings along to other genealogists, I was gratified to receive lots of positive feedback some emails actually providing further proof.
One of the genealogists who had put "Pace" as the name sent me the following note.
"Initially, I had her as Agnes Todd based on information I received from the DAR (without specific documentation), but several Ware researchers provided me with copies of the pages in Wilder's book showing it to be Pace. At that time, I searched for proof of her Todd surname, but only found proof of her given name, so I changed it to Pace."
Then I got another message from a "Pace" source that read: "I really think you are on the right track, since I have come across the Todd name more than once in other people's research and through personal interviews. I am so pleased it all seems to be coming together. I totally agree with you regarding the Wilder research, which for years was regarded as the definitive. I have found major problems with some of his later research. Bless his heart, but without the aid of computers and no real evidence to go on, I think he just made a lot of educated guesses. I will be switching to your new information and hope that this is only the tip of the iceberg."
Then one of the "Nall" camp wrote: "I confess to being a bit skeptical about the news when I first started reading, but that final family bible really is convincing, combined with your arguments."
And one more "Pace" writer actually had this quote still in her records.
"She was the daughter of James Ware, Jr., MD and Caty Todd. James Ware, Jr. was the son of James Ware, MD and his wife Agnes Todd, Daughter of George Todd. She had ultimately gone with "Pace" in her writing - deferring to Wilder's work, but now said "you can use the above quote as a reference along with your letter to help convince others of this discovery."