Lived in Virginia for 66 Years

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…now resides in the county of Bedford, and state of Virginia, and has resided there for the Space of 66 years past—and that previous thereto she resided in England…

So goes part of an affidavit Mary Welsh made on 4 December 1841 in Bedford County, Virginia.

Assuming sixty-six year time frame is correct, that would suggest she had resided in Bedford County since around 1775. It’s possible that what Mary really remembered is that she had lived in Bedford County since before the American Revolution. It’s even possible that is the question she was asked. Despite that, all we really know is what the document says.

But it goes on to say that before her arrival in Bedford County she had lived in England. There was speculation that Mary was native American. This statement seems to fly in the face of that belief. Mary’s husband, Dominick Welsh, died in 1813 and never received a pension himself. This document was actually not in her pension file at the National Archives and a review of that file does not provide any information about Mary’s origins. This document, from the Records of the Accounting Officers of the US Treasury) is undigitized and unmicrofilmed and only exists in paper form. Had it not been obtained I would not have discovered more information about Mary’s origins.

This record serves as a great reminder to locate not only what’s online but what is offline as well and to familiarize ourselves with all records–even the ones we don’t typically use.

Thanks to Jonathan at for locating this record at the National Archives for me. It’s a great find.


2 thoughts on “Lived in Virginia for 66 Years

  1. John Beard’s name in line 2 appears to be in different ink than the other words in that paragraph. Further down near the bottom of the document, areas appear to be in black ink. Do you have an explanation for these differences?
    I always enjoy your posts and learn much from them.

    • It does appear that way–thanks for that pair of eagle eyes.

      I’m going to write about it in more detail in an upcoming post. The two women who witnessed the affidavit are interesting–Sarah Carter is the daughter of Mary. Catharine Welsh was the maiden name of a daughter, but she was married by 1841 (although I need to double check that, but given the mother’s age at the time, I’m pretty certain she was) so I’m not certain 100% who that is right now. I’m guessing that John Beard wrote out the first part of it and then later that day or later sometime had the witnesses make their mark and he witnessed those. Signature is the same but not as smooth in the second signing.

      Glad to hear that you enjoy the posts.

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