Josiah – Agnes Todd Ware VS Agnes Pace or Nall Ware


Ancestor of James Ware II, III, and Josiah Ware of Clarke Co., Va.

Researched & written by Judith C. Ware

© Judy Ware May 2008

In the past, there has often been confusion about the last name of the wife of James Ware I.  It’s 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 Ware’s, 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 (1940’s) 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 1960’s.  The writer (Sarah Ware) wrote that she “copied” this information from a different paper that was found among her mother’s 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 Hayden’s 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 couldn’t 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.

This 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 1900’s.  Mrs. Burton took her information from old records & Bibles that were in the possession of Mrs. Jane Ware Martin of Columbia, Georgia.  The original Burton letter is owned by Jim & Judy Ware.  In her documentation, she simply states that: “James Ware married Agnes ____.”    She provided no last name.

REFERENCE # 5   Wares of Virginia by Frances C. Griffin (as collected from Virginia Genealogies by H.E. Hayden)

This 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 1313 Butts Station Rd.  Chesapeake, Virginia 23320.  In her work, Ms. Griffin states “James Ware (born Nov. 15, 1714) resided in Gloucester County, Virginia and married Agnes _______ (born Dec. 20, 1714).”  There was no last name given.  She made it clear that her information came from Hayden’s work (see below).

REFERENCE #6    VIRGINIA GENEALOGIES: A genealogy of the Glassell Family of Scotland and Virginia by:  Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, M. A.  Printed in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1891 – copyrighted 1885.  Original copy owned by Jim & Judy Ware

In Hayden’s 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 I’ve encountered (for this timeframe) uses direct quotes that come straight from his work.  In Hayden’s lifetime, he was privy to tons of first-hand interviews and records that we don’t 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 1950’s.  These papers were among the DAR research documents submitted by Lena Ware for her daughter in the early 1900’s.  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.

States simply that “James Ware and Agnes, his wife, of Caroline County, deeded to Ezekiah Mitchell of said county . . . etc.”  No maiden name was given for Agnes.

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 I’ve 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 60’s.  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 Wilder’s information was correct.  He does not list a reference.  His date is also “off” in that he is the only source I’ve 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 Wilder’s work which Wanda commented on herself in her amazing genealogy.  In finding other discrepancies with Wilder’s 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.

Wanda’s research is beautifully done, but it’s 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

Thomas Edward Ware-Sarah Lane

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.  I’m 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, Box 19, Reel #3634, Webb Bible, Margaret I. King Library, University of Kentucky at Lexington.  In the Ware/Webb Bible, it states:

“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 Ware’s 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 I’ve 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 60’s, 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 Cheesman’s 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 Debbie’s 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.

Judy Ware


***** 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 also 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.”  This researcher has now changed the name back to the original finding of  Todd.

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.”

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