by Darrell Manrique
Most of the sources I found prior to undertaking my own research on this family gave the date of Catlett Proctor's marriage as 1800. The marriage was sorted by Liahona Research, Inc. into its volume Kentucky Marriages, Early to 1800 on the basis of this date. I am now entirely certain that it should have been sorted instead into Kentucky Marriages, 1801 to 1825, because it actually occurred in 1806.
The date of 1800 seems to have originated in the file of loose marriage bonds from Jessamine County, Kentucky. The licenses and bonds for the period 1799 to 1867 with grooms’ surnames beginning with letters N through Q are filmed on Family History Library microfilm 0183365. The originals appear to have been loose papers in cover slips or envelopes, filmed in no apparent order; each one is filmed page by page beginning with the cover slip, and every image on the film is numbered, way at the top of the image. At some point apparently much later, someone has gone through the files and written the names of the groom and the bride on each cover slip, along with the year of the bond. Here is where the error creeps in.
Image 572 is the cover slip for “Proctor Catlett” and “Sodousky, Hannah”, and the date that was written is 1800:
But image 573, the actual bond, has a rather unclear figure for the date:
Notice how the last digit has a long arc trailing to the right. The person making the notes on the cover slips apparently thought this character was a zero, but I think it was intended to be a six. Compare the following file, the bond for North Parker and Clarissa Higbee, images 371, 372, and 373:
The cover slip again says 1800, and the bond again has the trailing arc, but this time there is a letter of consent which very clearly says 1806. (This raises another point: if Hannah had been under 21 years of age when she got married, there would have to be a letter of consent from someone in her family, and it would be in the file with the marriage bond. From later sources including census records, we know that Hannah would have been about 20 in 1800, yet there is no mention of any consent being given or being needed in the file.) For one more example, see the bond for Robert Phillips and Rebeccah Grayham, images 574 and 575 (immediately following Catlett Proctor and Hannah Sodusky on the microfilm):
Here, the sixes are written a little more clearly, but this bond also provides an example of a final zero in the same hand (in the monetary amount of fifty pounds), showing that it doesn't have the trailing mark the sixes have. Possibly this is why the cover slip actually has it right this time.
It is important to remember that these are only the bonds; for the date a marriage was actually performed, you have to check the marriage register. Fortunately, a transcription of the relevant register for Jessamine County has been published on the Web: “1799-1811 Jessamine Cty Marriages”, conveniently alphabetized. As you can see, the register gives a date of “Feb. 4, 1806” for the marriage of Catlett Proctor and Hannah “Sodowky” — the day after the date of the bond.
A date of 1806 is also supported by the will and estate settlement of Hannah's father, Samuel Sodusky (or Sandusky, or Sodowsky), found in Will Book A from Jessamine County, on FHL microfilm 0183325. The will, dated 01 April 1803, begins on page 223, and mentions “my two Daughters Hannah and Elizabeth” and later “my three Daughters and Grand daughter (to wit) Hannah, Elizabeth, Sally, and grand daughter Caty Levenston”. If any of these daughters had been married by 1803, Samuel would have referred to them by their full married names. The estate settlement, dated 22 December 1803, begins on page 406, and is a list of the people who received portions of Samuel's estate, along with the monetary value of each portion received. The list includes two mentions of “Hanah Soduskey” as well as three mentions of “Catlet Proctor”. The two are not mentioned together. Again, if Hannah had been married by this time, she would have been listed under her married name.
Finally, a marriage in 1806 is consistent with other information, because as will be seen in the next section, there is no evidence that Catlett and Hannah had any children born prior to 1807.
The only direct statement we have that identifies a child of Catlett Proctor is the biographical sketch of his grandson, George W. Proctor, on pages 297-8 of A History of Clay County, Indiana by William Travis, first published in 1909:
He was born in Montgomery county, Indiana, February 20, 1854, a son of Selvia S. and Margaret Ann (Shannon) Proctor, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. They were married in Montgomery county, Indiana, however. The father came to this state with his father, Catlin Proctor, at an early day, the family locating in Putnam county, where the grandfather of our subject entered government land, and upon the farm which he there developed Selvia S. Proctor was reared amid pioneer conditions and environments.
“Catlin” can only be an error for Catlett. His name is prone to frequent misspellings; I've also seen “Catliff” and “Cattet”, and the son here called Selvia (which I'm told is correct) has also made appearances as “Selvy”, “Selby”, and even “Sally”!
In addition to this direct evidence, there is a large body of circumstantial evidence hinting at the identities of Catlett and Hannah's children. There seem to have been only three Proctor families in the area with children getting married in the 1820s to 1840s: Catlett and Hannah, Catlett’s brother Muhlenburg Proctor, and an unrelated family on the other side of Putnam County, that of James Buchanan Proctor. The children of James and Muhlenburg, and their spouses, have been reliably identified by other researchers. When I searched the Index to Indiana Marriages Through 1850 for all PROCTOR and PROCTER marriages in Putnam County and Montgomery County, I found a total of twelve:
|1||America Proctor||John Hicks||10-14-1841||Montgomery||M|
|2||Catharine Proctor||Mulinburgh Ham||3-12-1835||Montgomery||M|
|3||George Proctor||Malinda Ham||5-23-1833||Putnam|
|4||Greenviller [sic] Proctor||Desiah Ham||8-15-1833||Putnam||M|
|5||Harriet Proctor||William W. King||6-29-1837||Putnam|
|6||Harriet M. Proctor||Sterling W. Shackleford||6-14-1842||Putnam||J|
|7||Keturah Proctor||David Hedge||11-27-1834||Putnam||J|
|8||Lucinda Proctor||William Hicks||7-19-1837||Montgomery||M|
|9||Samuel S. Proctor||Nancy Jean Byerly||7-4-1844||Putnam||M|
|10||Sarah Ann Proctor||Peter Karns||4-13-1828||Putnam|
|11||Selby Proctor||Hannah A. Shannon||12-14-1845||Montgomery|
|12||Silas C. Proctor||Elizabeth Tolis||8-3-1837||Putnam||J|
I have included a column identifying the known children of Muhlenburg Proctor (M) and James B. Proctor (J). The remaining four are very likely all among Catlett Proctor's children. As seen above, number 11 (“Selby”) certainly belongs here. Number 3, George, has also been suspected to be a son of Catlett, and the fact that he married a Ham lends support to the suspicion, since that family was allied with the family of Muhlenburg Proctor — as illustrated by marriages 2 and 4.
Circumstantial evidence points toward Harriet and Sarah Ann also being members of this family. Sarah had a son named Catlett P. Karnes (b. circa 1837), in which the P supposedly stood for Proctor (although I haven’t been able to verify that detail); and Harriet had a son named Selvy Simpson King (1841 – 1907). The names are so unusual that it's hard to imagine this could have happened by coincidence. Furthermore, Harriet, who died in 1898, is listed in a death register for Spokane County, Washington, in which her parents are named as “C. Proctor” and “H. Ham”. The informant was probably her son, E. M. King, who also lived in Spokane; he may have simply misremembered his grandmother's maiden name. (Note that in the Ancestry.com entry for this item, “Ham” is mistranscribed as “Harris”. Fortunately, they also provide the original image.) I plan to try to find out whether there is a full death certificate that will give Harriet's parents full names; but “C.” and “H.” identify them pretty well already.
In the 1900 census, Harriet’s son E. M. King had an uncle living with him in Spokane, a William Proctor born in February 1820. This is interesting in light of some entries in the index to grantors in the Putnam County, Indiana deed books for 1824–1863. Surnames A through S of this index are on FHL microfilm 1315537. Page 169 of the second section (I–S) shows several deeds of the type “deed gift”, all dated May 30, 1838, all from Catlett Proctor, and all for land in Russell Township. The first is to “Meriam” and Samuel Proctor, the next two are to William Proctor, and then there are five to “Sylvey” Proctor. I was not able to view or copy the actual deeds, because the second half of Deed Book F is simply not filmed. The filming apparently stopped at page 340, and the next thing on FHL microfilm 1315555 (which appears to have been copied from an official Putnam County filming) is the beginning of Deed Book G, starting in January 1839. No one in Putnam County has been able to tell me why this should be. Nevertheless, we can use what clues are present in the index.
“Sylvey” must be Selvia/Selvy mentioned above. “Meriam” is interesting because a “Merriam Proctor”, age 26, appears in the 1850 census in the household of Harriet Proctor King and her husband William W. King. William Proctor seems certain to be the one mentioned above in connection with the King family. Samuel is unknown, but the census of 1830 shows a couple of younger males in Catlett's household who are not otherwise accounted for. In all, it looks very much like Catlett was giving away most of his land to his youngest surviving children, the ones who were still unmarried. Furthermore, if the age given on his gravestone is accurate, then the date of these deeds, May 30, 1838 was very close to Catlett's 60th birthday, and may have been exactly that. He left no will, so maybe giving away his property to his youngest children was his way of providing for them in case anything should happen to him. (His father, William Proctor, as will be shown in the next section, appears to have excluded his older children from any significant inheritance, presumably because they were old enough to provide for themselves.)
The Putnam County deed books further show a deed of warranty from John Steele to William W. King, dated 1837. The deed is for a parcel of land adjacent to the land patented by Catlett Proctor in 1826. John Steele purchased this adjacent parcel in 1833 from its original patentee. From here, we move on to the Putnam County court records, the Civil Order books and Complete Order books. These show that in the late 1830s, John Steele and Catlett Proctor were sued, together, by several different plaintiffs, in every case for outstanding debts. Neither John Steele nor Catlett Proctor is ever mentioned in these court records except when both are mentioned together. This seems to mean that they were pooling their resources, running a farm together on the adjacent parcels of land they owned.
So who was this John Steele? For one thing, he was a direct ancestor of mine, so I've collected a lot of information about him, his wife Elizabeth, and their children. For one thing, the death certificates of three of their children provide Elizabeth's maiden name: Proctor. It seems fairly certain that she was another daughter of Catlett and Hannah Proctor. There is no marriage record for John Steele and Elizabeth Proctor, probably because John's family lived in Parke County, Indiana, which is just west of Putnam County. Thanks to a fire in 1833, there are no extant marriage records for Parke County from the period before October 1829, even though the county began recording marriages at its formation in 1821.
Putting together all the information from research on the later careers of these individuals results in this portrait of the Catlett Proctor/Hannah Sodusky family group:
|Catlett Proctor||c. June 1778
Orange Co., Virginia
|23 Sep 1843||Hannah Sodusky||04 Feb 1806
Jessamine Co., Kentucky
|Hannah Sodusky||c. 1780
Hampshire Co., Virginia
(Hardy Co., WV)
|1||Sarah Ann Proctor||c. 1807
Jessamine Co., Kentucky
|15 Mar 1877||Peter B. Karnes, Jr.||13 Apr 1828
Putnam Co., Indiana
|2||Elizabeth Proctor||c. 1809
Jessamine Co., Kentucky
|09 Oct 1857
Johnson Co., Iowa
|John Steele||c. 1829
prob. Parke Co., Indiana
|3||George W. Proctor||c. 1811
Jessamine Co., Kentucky
prob. Putnam Co., Indiana
|Malinda Ham||23 May 1833
Putnam Co., Indiana
|4||Harriet Proctor||c. 1817
prob. Shelby Co., Kentucky
|24 Dec 1898
|William Washington King||29 June 1837
Putnam Co., Indiana
|5||Selvia Proctor||c. 1817
prob. Shelby Co., Kentucky
|Margaret Ann Shannon||14 Dec 1845
Montgomery Co., Indiana
|6||William Proctor||Feb 1820
Shelby Co., Kentucky
|24 June 1901
|Julia Ann Tiberghein||26 Feb 1842
Des Moines Co., Iowa
Shelby Co., Kentucky
|8||Mariam Proctor||c. 1824
Shelby Co., Kentucky
|after 1870||does not appear to have married|
This can be compared with the evidence of census returns for 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1840:
|1810 census: Jessamine Co., KY
Catlet Proctor household, p. 58, line 27
|1 M 26-45||1765/84||Catlett, c. 1778|
|2 F 0-10||1800/10||Sarah Ann, c. 1807; Elizabeth, c. 1809|
|1 F 26-45||1765/84||Hannah, c. 1780|
|1820 census: Shelby Co., KY
Catlett Proctor household, roll 24, p. 164, line 17
|3 M 0-10||1810/20||George, c. 1811; Selvia, c. 1817; ?William, 1820|
|1 M 16-26||1794/1804||unidentified|
|1 M 26-45||1775/94||Catlett, c. 1778|
|2 F 0-10||1810/20||Harriet, c. 1817; one unidentified|
|2 F 10-16||1804/10||Sarah Ann, c. 1807; Elizabeth, c. 1809|
|1 F 26-45||1775/94||Hannah, c. 1780|
|1830 census: Putnam Co., IN
Catlet Proctor household, roll 30, p. 218, line 26
|1 M 0-5||1825/30||unidentified|
|2 M 5-10||1820/25||William, 1820; Samuel, c. 1822|
|1 M 10-15||1815/20||Selvia, c. 1817|
|1 M 15-20||1810/15||George, c. 1811|
|1 M 20-30||1800/10||unidentified|
|1 M 40-50||1780/90||Catlett, c. 1778 (!)|
|1 F 0-5||1825/30||unidentified|
|1 F 5-10||1820/25||Mariam, c. 1824|
|1 F 15-20||1810/15||Harriet, c. 1817 (?)|
|1 F 40-50||1780/90||Hannah, c. 1780|
|1840 census: Russell Twp., Putnam Co., IN
Catt Proctor household, roll 91, p. 400, line 20
|2 M 10-15||1825/30||both unidentified|
|1 M 60-70||1770/80||Catlett, c. 1778|
|1 F 10-15||1825/30||unidentified|
|1 F 15-20||1820/25||Mariam, c. 1824|
|1 F 50-60||1780/90||Hannah, c. 1780 (probably)|
As you can see, Elizabeth fits in pretty well, and so does a marriage date of 1806. The data raises certain other questions, but they're outside the scope of these notes.
The will of William Proctor (the father of Catlett Proctor), written and proved in 1813, is recorded in Will Book 3 from Shelby County, Kentucky, on page 81. In it, William names his eight children in two groups, in this order and with these spellings: Catlet Proctor, Isaiah Prockter, Lunnenburg Proctor, Charlotte Harris (or Ham?), Malindah Harris; and then Greenville Proctor, Delilah Proctor, and William Proctor. To the five in the first group, he leaves one dollar each; then he states that after the decease of his wife Elizabeth, the rest of his estate is to be divided among the last three. It seems to me that the only possible logical reason for this is that the first five children were already adults providing for themselves, while the last three were still young, possibly minors. This would suggest that he named them in birth order. We can look at his order and compare it with what we know about their dates of birth:
|#||Name in will||Birthdate|
|1||Catlet Proctor||c. June 1778|
|3||Lunnenburg Proctor||c. 1782|
|5||Malindah Harris||c. 1785|
|6||Greenville Proctor||04 Dec 1791|
It would be reasonable to conclude that he did, in fact, list his children from oldest to youngest. The suggestion that the members of the first group were already adults, taking care of their own needs, is supported by the fact that the daughters in this group were already married, while Delilah was not; we also know that Catlett and “Lunnenburg” (Muhlenberg) were married by 1813 (Catlett in 1806, as discussed above, and Muhlenberg in 1808), and that Greenville was not (he got married in 1817, as discussed below).
If this is correct, it means that the son William was the youngest child, born later than 1791, Greenville's date of birth. This William is sometimes stated to have married Elizabeth Millis in Shelby County in 1808, but if he was under 17 years of age, it’s very unlikely. The 1810 census shows a William Proctor household in Shelby County, consisting of a male and female between 16 and 26 years of age and a male under 10. It also shows the elder William Proctor still living in Jessamine County, with several younger people in the household:
|1810 census: Jessamine Co., KY
William Proctor household, p. 58, line 28
|Entry||Birth range||Tentative identification|
|1 M 10-16||1794/1800||William Jr.|
|2 M 16-26||1784/94||Greenville, 1791; one unidentified|
|1 M 45+||bef. 1765||William Sr.|
|1 F 10-16||1794/1800||Delilah|
|1 F 45+||bef. 1765||Elizabeth|
Furthermore, there is another Proctor household shown in Shelby County in 1810, a Richard “Procter” over the age of 45. Unable to consult the original Shelby County records, I checked Shelby County, Kentucky Marriages 1792–1833 by Eula Richardson Hasskarl, a compilation of the early marriage registers and some abstracted information from marriage bonds. This shows that Richard Proctor was the bondsman for the marriage of William Proctor and Elizabeth Millis (p. 36), suggesting that this William was a son of Richard. It also shows William Proctor as the bondsman for the 1819 bond for the marriage of Nathaniel Proctor and Eliza Alexander, and in that entry (p. 90), Nathaniel is stated to be a son of Richard Proctor. It seems clear that the William Proctor who married Elizabeth Millis was connected to Richard Proctor, and that no Proctors from Jessamine County moved to Shelby County until after 1810.
One final thing to note about William Proctor’s will is that the version on file has been copied by hand into the county will book, evidently from a previous, handwritten version. There are some indications that errors may have been introduced during this first copying. “Lunnenburg” is the most glaring example; I can't help noticing that the handwritten letters “Lu” resemble a capital “M”. I also wonder if “Isaiah” is an error for “Uriah”, as there seem to be several men named Uriah Proctor in the large mass of Proctor families in Orange County, Virginia and Jessamine County, Kentucky, but no other sign of an Isaiah Proctor. And I have trouble making out the married name of daughter Charlotte. It doesn’t look much like the other occurrence of “Harris” in the same document, and to me it actually looks more like “Ham”. Three of William’s grandchildren married people with the last name Ham in Putnam and Montgomery Counties, Indiana, but I don’t know the earlier history of the Ham family or families. If Charlotte was the mother of all three, it would help explain why two of them had given names that seem almost unique to the Proctor family, Muhlenberg and Desiah/Desire, and the third, Malinda, also bore a name used by the Proctors. (It would also mean that all three married their first cousins, but that was hardly unusual in the 1830s.) So in general, while the will is a valuable record of this family, every detail really should be checked against other sources, just in case.
Evidence I need not reiterate here shows clearly that there were two men, an uncle and nephew, who were both named Greenville Proctor. The one who married Desiah (or Desire) Ham in Putnam County, Indiana in 1833 was the nephew, a son of Muhlenburg Proctor, named in his will. The one named in William Proctor’s will (above) was the uncle, and Jessamine County, Kentucky marriage records show that he got married in 1817.
The typescript general index to Jessamine County marriage licenses, FHL microfilm 0183370, has an entry under P for “Greenwill” Proctor’s marriage to Betsy Lasefield, with a reference to book 1, page forty-something — the edge of the page is not legible. The index also includes an entry under L for Betsy Lasefield's marriage to Greenville Proctor (spelled thus), with a reference to book 1, page 48. I wasn't able to find images of book 1, but I did find the bond in the loose papers microfilm (FHL microfilm 0183365, as mentioned in the first part of this piece). Images 67 and 68:
As you can see, the cover slip spells the bride's maiden surname as both “Lacefield” and “Lasefield”. The bond has “lasefield”, with a lowercase L that looks sort of like a capital C, until you compare it with the ones in “Condition” and “County” in the same paragraph. The bond also calls the groom “Greensville” in its text, althought the signature says “Greenville” or possibly “Granville”. Note that the bondsman, Uriah Collins, is also the bride’s guardian according to the note of consent on the cover slip.
The marriage register for Jessamine County for the period from 1812 to 1840, as transcribed on the RootsWeb page “1812 - 1840 Marriages”, lists the marriage of Greenville Proctor and Betsy “Casefield” on “Dec. 25, 1817”. The same site’s page “1799-1811 Jessamine Cty Marriages” lists that of Uriah Collins and Ally Laswell on “Sept. 28, 1809”. Strange as it may seem, the names Laswell and Lacefield are known to be variants used by the same family; for comparison, my research has also led to a family that used Whiteside and Whitsett interchangeably (along with a few other forms).
The RootsWeb site’s listing of early wills and estate inventories includes an entry for the inventory of the estate of Peter Lacefield (appraised in March 1807), who is known to have been the father of Ally Laswell who married Uriah Collins. Without having consulted further records, I’m willing to surmise that Betsy was a younger daughter of Peter Laswell/Lacefield, and that Uriah Collins was her guardian because her father had died and Uriah was married to her older sister.
The erroneous form “Casefield” has entered via the marriage register this time. I don't see the marriage listed at all on my photocopied page from the Liahona Research publication Kentucky Marriages, 1801 to 1825, but the “Proctor” part may have been entered into their database incorrectly; I’ll check the next time I get a chance. In any case, it is clear that Betsy’s maiden name began with an L.