The question about Indian ancestry comes up frequently in many families. It is very rarely supported by any evidence.
Ancestors of Sarah (Sally) A. Helton
Generation No. 1
1. Sarah (Sally) A. Helton, born 1815 in Green County, KY. She was the daughter of 2. Thomas J. Helton and 3. Elizabeth (Betsy) Pepper. She married (1) James H. Nelson 17 Jul 1827 in Green County, KY. He was born 1806 in Kentucky.
Notes for James H. Nelson:
Census 1850 Green County, fam #196:
NELSON James 44 FARMER
Samuel 17 laborer
In the 1860 Taylor County census, James Nelson was head of household 105. He was 45 years of age, a Farmer, born in Kentucky. His wife, Sally, was also 45 years of age and born in Kentucky. Their children: Arnold, 18; Wm., 15; James, 13; and Frank, age 9 years.
Generation No. 2
2. Thomas J. Helton, born 1784 in VA (Served during the war of 1812); died 14 Jul 1860 in Taylor Co., KY (Prob. Bur old Mt. Carmel Baptist Cem.). He married 3. Elizabeth (Betsy) Pepper 21 Aug 1805 in Green County, KY.
3. Elizabeth (Betsy) Pepper, born 1785 in SC or Virginia; died 13 Mar 1886 in Taylor Co., KY (bur Old Mt. Carmel baptist church Cem. - from Henry Hash fam. bible). She was the daughter of 6. ? Pepper and 7. Susanna ?.
Notes for Thomas J. Helton:
Served in Captain Robert Paxton's Co. 14th regiment of Ky Inf - War of 1812- Participated in Battle of New Orleans. Received 80 acres from Military service in 1855 Nat. Archives.. Green Co. Deed book 8, pg 481 - 14 Oct 1818 bought 100 acres on Phelps fork of Pitman's Creek- deed bk 12 pg 301 - 93 acres on Pitman's Creek from Johnson Gaddie -- Taylor Co. Wills dated 5 July 1860 -- proven 7 Aug 1860 he left 212 acres on Pitman's Creek to heirs split 6 ways.
In the 1860 Taylor County census Thomas Helton is head of household 180, age 76, a Farmer, born in Virtinia. His wife, Elizabeth, was 76 and born in South Carolina. There was a granddaughter, Sarah A. Wright, age 18, living with them. This was the daughter of Arrena.
(The following from a descendant in the family)
Thomas J. Helton was born in about 1784, in I believe,
Bedford County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Pepper, 21 August 1805,
in Green County. He was in the War of 1812 and was at the Battle of New
Orleans. He died 14 July, 1860. "Granny" Helton died 13 March, 1886,
being over 100 years of age. Their log home has been restored and sits
near Mt. Carmel Baptist Church off of Hgwy 210.
They had six children: Sarah "Sally" Helton who married James Nelson;
Samuel Helton; Susan Helton married David Nelson; Parthenia who married
William Wright Jr., then Aaron Dewitt, then William Morris; Arrena
Helton married Thomas M. Wright; and Arnold Helton married Nancy Ann
I have not followed up on it very much, but I believe that Samuel
Helton moved to the area of Clay and Owen County, Indiana, around
Brazil, Indiana. I believe that Martha Ellen Helton is likely his
daughter. I believe Samuel (or John S.) married a Goff. This line begs
to be looked into whenever I can get to it.
Parents of the "Wright brothers" were William Wright (1797-1856) and
Mary Anne Tinney (1800- ca 1852-56). They both grew up in Washington
County, Kentucky and were married in Jefferson County, Kentucky in 1816.
They moved to Green (Taylor) County in about 1834 and bought land of
Phillip Read on Aleck's Fork of Little Pitman Creek. Their near
neighbors were Bailey and Jennet (Oaks) Shofner and the Reverend John
D. Oaks and family. The children of William and Mary Anne Wright were:
Thomas M. Wright (Nov. 1817-?) md Arrena Helton; 3 more marriages.
Richard Wright (1820-?) married Elizabeth Dewitt
William Wright Jr. (1823-1859) married Parthenia Helton
Elizabeth Wright (1826-1915) married Daniel Oaks, youngest son of
John M. Wright (1827-after 1900) married Elizabeth Nelson and 5 or 6
Nancy Wright (1831-1858) married Alexander J. Shofner, son of Bailey
Lucy A. Wright (1832-1916) married John T. Shofner, son of
Samuel Wright (1836- 3 July 1863) never married died of fever while a
member of Co F, 13th Kentucky Infantry.
All of the above children of William and Mary Anne were born in
Washington County, Kentucky except for Samuel, born in Taylor.
William Wright's grandfather, Thomas Wright (ca 1730-1803) owned 571
acres in northwest Culpeper County, Virginia on Mountain Run He operated
a gristmill, weaving house and other things besides farming. He gave
most of his children a better than average education. He purchased a
treasury warrant for 1,093 acres of land in Kentucky in 1781 which was
surveyed in June of 1784. This land is located about two miles south of
Sr. Rose Priory on the St. Rose Loretto Pike. William Wright's parents,
Morgan Wright (ca. 1755-1833) and Elizabeth (Threlkeld) Wright did not
come to Kentucky until 1808 after the death of his parents. Morgan's
brother William Wright (1760-1831) had settled on the Kentucky lands in
Thomas and Elizabeth Helton were family No. 75 in the 1850 Taylor County Census:
Thomas Hilton 65 M Farmer $1272 born in Virginia
Elizabeth Hilton 60 F Virginia
Living with them were:
Jacob Sconse 23 M Merchant born in Germany
Catharine Nelson 19 F KY
Sarah E. Nelson 9 F KY
Sarah A. Wright 7 F KY
Notes for Elizabeth (Betsy) Pepper:
In the 1870 Taylor County Census for Saloma Precinct 1, Elizabeth Helton was family 223. She was listed as a Farmer, born in Virginia and 85 years old. She lived alone with a grandson, James Helton, age 15 years. Her neighbors were Green Underwood, 26; and Richard Durrett, age 56 years.
In the 1880 Taylor County census for Oak Hill Precinct, Elizabeth Helton was 94 years old and living with her daughter, Susan Nelson. She was born in Virginia as were both of her parents.
From the LaRue County Herald 25 March, 1886:
DIED AT 108
Mrs. Elizabeth Helton, living in this county near Brushy, Post Office, died at her home on the 12th at the remarkable old age of 108 years. She was born in Green County and has lived in that section her whole life. She has been a consistant member of the Baptist Church for a period of eighty-five years.
In the 1870s, Rev. A. J. Whitley interviewed Elizabeth Helton about Liberty Baptist Church. She stated that in 1801, "I was present and was in the constitution. The house was a small log one covered with boards. Mother earth for a floor, and was distitute of a door, shutter or window, or fireplace, with round logs for seats, etc. It was a thinly settled neighborhood, and consequently congregations were small. Our preachers preached in their shirtsleeves, with buckskin leggins for pants. They were faithful to attend meetings at our log-house in summer and in the winter at private homes. The first year there were sixty added to our membership."
In 1817 there were enough people settled in the area along Little Pitman Creek (now known as Mill creek) that a new church was constituted in the area. Elizabeth Helton's brother, Rev. Joseph Pepper, became the first minister, and her husband, Thomas Helton, served as the first deacon of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.
Children of Thomas Helton and Elizabeth Pepper are:
i. Emily Helton
ii. Samuel Helton, born Abt. 1810.
iii. Susan Helton, born 1814 in Green County, KY; died 09 Oct 1894 in Taylor County, Kentucky; married David Nelson 28 Dec 1830 in Green County, KY; born 1806 in Kentucky (His daughters marriage record gave his birth state as AL).
Notes for David Nelson:
In the 1850 Taylor County census, David Nelson is head of household No. 82 in the 2nd district of the county. He is 44 years of age, a laborer, born in Kentucky. His wife, Susan, is 36 years old and their children are: Sarah, 15; Caroline, 11; John Thomas, 10 years of age. They live next door to Farris Bennett on one side and Lewis Hedgspeth on the other.
In the 1860 Taylor County census, David Nelson was head of household 177. He was 52, a Farmer born in Kentucky. His wife, Susan, was 35 and also born in Kentucky, as were the children: John F., 20; and Mary, 16 years of age. Note that in 1850 his name was interpreted to be John T., now is is John F.
In the 1870 Taylor County census for Saloma Precinct 1; David Nelson was family 217. He was 62 years old, a Farmer born in Kentucky. His wife, Susan, was 53. The children were: David, age 18. Also living with them were Cundif children: Gran, 19; Jane, 16; and Sarah, age 14 years. One of David's sons, John T. Nelson lived next door with his family.
In the 1880 Taylor County census for Oak Hill Precinct, David Nelson was family 62. He was 75 years old, a Farmer born in Kentucky. Both of his parents are indicated to have been born in Tennessee. His wife, Susan, was 67. The children were all gone from home. Susan's mother, Elizabeth Helton, age 94, lived with them.
1 iv. Sarah (Sally) A. Helton, born 1815 in Green County, KY; married James H. Nelson 17 Jul 1827 in Green County, KY.
v. Parthenia Helton, born 1820 in on Alex Fork of Pitman Creek, Green County, KY (Steve Wright, E-Town, KY, is a descendent of her sister Arrena); died 01 Oct 1906 in Enoch, Taylor County, Kentucky. She is buried in the Dave Nelson Family Cemetery; married (1) William C. Wright, Jr 05 Aug 1843 in Green County, KY; born 1823 in Bear Wallow, Washington County, KY; died 15 Jun 1859 in Maple, Taylor County, KY (died of Small Pox, was ill 17 days)); married (2) Aaron H. Dewitt 06 Dec 1863 in Taylor County, KY at Solomon Skaggs. Second marriage for both. He was 52, she 45. Consent; Parthena Wright. Bond Aaron H. DeWitt & Jacob R. Shofner; born 1810 in Liberty/Bedford orCampbell County, VA; died Oct 1878 in Taylor County, Kentucky. He is buried in Dewitt-Shofner Cemetery; married (3) William Henry Morris 24 Oct 1878 in Taylor County, Kentucky. Both 51 years old and 3rd marriage for both. Married at her home by A. J. Whitney; born 1827 in Green County, KY(C-1880Taylor, Fam #224); died 22 Feb 1881 in Taylor Co., KY.
Notes for Parthenia Helton:
Parthenia Helton was the daughter of Thomas Helton and was first married to William Wright who died in 1859 of small pox. She then married the widower, Aaron Dewitt and after his death she married William H. "Nell" Morris in 1878. Parthenia's sister, Arrena Helton was the 3rd greatgrandmother of Stephen Wright and was married to Thomas M. Wright.
Larue County Herald
Oct. 25, 1906
Since our last letter the Angel of Death has visited this place and taken away Mrs. Parthena Morris, who was sick for only a few days. She was the oldest person in this section, being 9? years old. She had been married 3 times and I don't know how many children she had. There was only one to pay the last respects to a loving mother. She died October 1st, and was buried the following day the Dave Nelson home burying ground.
Notes for William C. Wright, Jr:
In the 1850 Taylor County census, William and Parthena Wright are living in the household of John H. Spratt, age 33, a farmer, born in Virginia. There are no other Spratt's in the house. William Wright is 27, a Laborer, born in Kentucky. His wife, Parthena, is 30 years of age, and also born in Kentucky. They have 2 children: Emily, 6; and Susan, age 4 years. Also living in the house was William's sister, Nancy Wright, age 18 years. This family lived next door to Benjamin Gaddie, age 27 on one side; and Isaiah Bewley, age 30, on the other side.
In the 1860 Taylor County Census, Parthena Wright is a widow, a seamstress, head of household 22. Her husband has recently died. The children in the house are: Emily, 15; Susan, 14; Jefferson, 9; and Wm., age 5 years.
vi. Arrena Helton, born 1822 in Green County, KY; died 28 Jan 1856 in Alex Fork, Taylor County, KY; married Thomas Marshall Wright 21 Aug 1837 in Green County, KY by Rev. John D. Oaks - Surety Henry Mears; born Nov 1817 in Bear Wallow, Washington County, KY; died Aft. 1889.
Notes for Thomas Marshall Wright:
(The following from a family descendant)
I am wondering if Nancy Morris Jones' age was misread. The 1850 census shows that she was born in 1839. Her age on the marriage bond to Thomas M. Wright in 1878 shows her age as 38 making 1840. I believe that the age given in the 1860 census was either wrong or transcribed wrong in the printed census. Thomas M. Wright and Nancy had two daughters,
Josephine "Josie" Wright born in 1879 and Lula Wright born in 1882. I have never been able to find out anything about this whole group. Thomas M. Wright dropped out of sight in about 1895 and have not been able to find anything out about the girls or the mother. If you run across something about them please let me know.
I hope this has answered your question. I always thought it was so strange that my greatgreatgrandmother's sister would marry her father in law. Thomas M. Wright started divorce proceedings against Nancy in 1889 but I don't know if it was carried out or not. ---- Name withheld
In the 1850 Taylor County census, Thomas Wright is head of household 134. He is 33 years of age, a Laborer, born in Kentucky. His wife, Arine, is 28, and also born in Kentucky. The children are: William, 11; Alfred, 8; Elizabeth, 4; and Thomas J., 1 year of age.
In the 1860 Taylor County census, Thomas is head of household 183. His first wife, Arrena, has died and a daughter Sarah A., was living with Arrena's parents. His second wife is Jane Underwood, a widow of Henry C. Skaggs. She was listed as 39 years of age. The children in the house: The first three were children of Arrena: Elizabeth Wright, age 14; Thomas, 12; and America E., age 10 years. The next two were Jane's children by Thomas: Matilda J., 2; and Mary L., 1 month old.
In the 1870 Taylor County Census for Saloma Precinct 1, Thomas M. Wright was family #111. He was 52 years old, a Farmer born in Kentucky. He had no spouse. The children living with him were from his second marriage to Jane (Jennie) Underwood: Matilda J., 12; Mary L., 10; Martha H., 8; John F. W., 4; and Arabella, age 3 years.
Taylor Co. Deed Book 4, Page 306
Heirs of William Wright: Richard Wright, John M. Wright, Samuel Wright, Elizabeth Oakes and Lucy Shofner to Thomas M. Wright - 51 acres - Pitman Creek.
Note: Thomas M. Wright was a justice of the peace for Taylor County during the Civil War.
State of Kentucky,
Taylor County Circuit Court June Term 1889
Thomas M. Wright Plff petition
Nancy A. Wright equity
The plaintiff, Thomas M. Wright says that he was married to the defendant, Nancy A. Wright, who was then Nancy A. Jones on the _ day of May 1877 in Marion Co., Kentucky that by said marriage there was born unto them 2 girl children viz: Josephine whose age is eleven years and Lula whose age is eight years. That this plaintiff and the defendant lived together peaceably and quietly as man and wife for a little while only, at which time the defendant left bed and board of this plaintiff without any fault or provocation on the part of this plaintiff. That she remained away without this plaitiff's consent a considerable time and then returned and they lived together as man and wife for another short space of time, defendant coming and going to the plaintiff's home as her pleasure all against the will of wish of this plaintiff until some time in October 1888, last, she again left the bed and board of this plaintiff without any fault or provocation on part of this plaintiff and has continuously stayed away against the will and wish of this plaintiff although he has tried to get her to come home and live with as a dutiful wife, that in all things he has always acted as a dutiful husband act toward defendant.
That her temper is of such an uncontrollable and ____ disposition that it had and will completely destroy his peace and happiness. That she is led, lascivious and _____ and thereby rendered wholly unfit and unsuitable for a companion and by her lew lascivious and unchaste disposition she had rendered the life of this plaintiff miserable and if not divorced from her will forever destroy the peace and happiness of this plaintiff. Plaintiff further alleges that defendant is wholly unfit to raise and educate said two children as they are both girl children and of tender years.
Wherefore plaintiff prays judgement for and absolute divorce from said Nancy A. Wright and for the custody and control of said two children and for all general special and proper relief.
Thomas M. Wright
By C.W. Wright, Atty
vii. Arnold Helton, born 1827 in Green County, KY; died 1859 in Taylor County, KY (died of Small Pox); married Nancy Ann DeSpain 13 Mar 1846 in LaRue County, KY by Albert Kelly; born 1829 in Virginia. Her Father born in NC; Her mother born in VA. (The parents of Nancy Ann DeSpain are unknown)(In 1880, there a Nancy DeSpain living in the household of her daughter, Nancy).
Notes for Arnold Helton:
In the 1850 Taylor County census for the 2nd district, Arnold Hilton is head of household 115. He is 23 years of age, farmer, born in Kentucky. His wife, Nancy A., is 21 and also born in Kentucky. The children in the house are: Thomas M. Hilton, 3; and Mary E. F. Hilton, age 1 year. Their next door neighbors were William Underwood, age 43, on one side and Aaron H. Dewitt, age 40, on the other.
When the 1860 Taylor County census was taken, Arnold Helton has died and left Nancy I. a widow. She is head of household 168. She was 28 years of age, a Farmer, bron in Kentucky. The children, all born in Kentucky: Thomas M., 12; Mary E., 10; Samuel A., 8; James L., 6; Nancy P., 3; Martha S., age 8 months.
Marriage Notes for Arnold Helton and Nancy DeSpain:
Thomas Helton father of Arnold Helton gave consent by written certificate proven by oath of Thomas Wright and M. DeSpain father of lady gave consent in person. Married 13 March 1846 by Albert Kelly..
Generation No. 3
6. ? Pepper, born in Virginia. He married 7. Susanna ?.
7. Susanna ?, born in Virginia.
Children of ? Pepper and Susanna ? are:
i. James Pepper, born Bef. 1780; died in Hart County, Kentucky; married Lydia Vaughn 10 Jun 1799 in Green County, Kentucky; born 1780 in Virginia; died 1870.
ii. Daniel Pepper, born 1780 in North Carolina (C-1850 Green co. Fam #472, age 70); died 04 May 1856 in Green County, Kentucky; married Mary Polly (Preece) Priest Jan 1802 in Green County Kentucky. (Bond 31 Dec 1801); born 1779 in Virginia (C-1850 Green Co. Fam #472, age 70); died 25 Aug 1856 in Green County, Kentucky.
Notes for Daniel Pepper:
Daniel Pepper was an early Green County Farmer. In the 1850 census he and his wife were living alone near his son, William Pepper.
1870 green County Census, page 217.
3 iii. Elizabeth (Betsy) Pepper, born 1785 in SC or Virginia; died 13 Mar 1886 in Taylor Co., KY (bur Old Mt. Carmel baptist church Cem. - from Henry Hash fam. bible); married Thomas J. Helton 21 Aug 1805 in Green County, KY.
iv. Joseph Pepper, Rev, born 1786; died 31 Dec 1864 in Hart County, Kentucky (it has been reported the cem. in which he was buried in Hart Co., was buldozed away several years ago.); married (1) Sarah (Sally) Skaggs Abt. 1800 in Green County, Kentucky; born 1786; married (2) Malinda Peace Aft. 1815; born 1811.
Notes for Joseph Pepper, Rev:
According to LaRue County, Kentucky, Marriage Records 1843-1876, by Edward Benningfield, Sally Skaggs, daughter of James Skaggs, III married Joseph Pepper, a Baptist Minister. Joseph and Sally lived in the Powder Mills section of Hart County. In the estate appraisal of Sally's father, Joseph Pepper is listed as having paid six dollars for the large bible that belonged to James Skaggs, III. Rev. Pepper was a long-time member and pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Hart County.
Benningfield states that it is believed that Sally and Joseph had sons, Shelby Pepper, James Pepper, Garret Pepper, and Henry Pepper, and three daughters. After Sally died, Rev. Pepper married Malinda Peace and had Joseph P. Pepper, Catherine Pepper, and Benjamin Pepper. Rev. Joseph Pepper died December 31, 1864 in Hart County.
According to the Green County death records, Sally Skaggs and Joseph Pepper had a daughter named Sally Pepper who died at age 45 on January 23, 1852. Sally married to a Pierce, and she was 'the daughter of Joseph and Sally Pepper.' The cause of death was dropsy.
Rev. Joseph Pepper was from Virginia and born about 1785. He married Sally Skaggs, dau. of Rev. James Skaggs, Jr in the early 1800s. Joseph Pepper made his home in the Powder Mills section of northeastern Hart County, formerly Hardin County. It is believed that Joseph was greatly influenced by his father-in-law, Rev. James Skaggs. Rev. Skaggs died in 1814 and in Order Book C, Hardin Co. records, we find that on 10 Oct 1814 Joseph Pepper was appointed surveyor of the same road which James Skaggs dec'd was surveyor of. The road was described as lyhing between Thomas Beans and the Green County line. All hands residing inside this area that assisted Rev. Skaggs were asked to assist Pepper in keeping said road in repair. Thus, Joseph not only lived on the same road as Rev. Skaggs, possibly next to him, he likely had worked closely with him in maintaining the road previously. In late 1814, four men appraised the estate of Rev. Skaggs. One item of property was a large Bible, which they valued at five dollars. On Monday the 10th of April 1815, at the Elizabethtown courthouse, Joseph paid six dollars at auction for the book. The book was more than a family treasure to Joseph and it perhaps sparked and interest that led him into the ministry.
Rev. Pepper was an early member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Hart County and was a delegate to the Nolynn Association in 1822. He was a long time pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church and attended the Nolynn Association meetings as a representative of that Church from 1822 thru 1852. Rev. Pepper was also pastor at the Liberty Baptist Church of Green County during part of the 1830s.
According to Shelby G. Bale, Jr., Rev. Pepper had the following children by his first wife: Shelby, James, Garret, Henry and three daughters which Shelby did not name in his letter to Ed Benningfield. Rev. Pepper married a second time in the 1840s after his first wife died. His second wife was Malinda Peace and their children were Joseph P., Catherine, and Benjamin. Rev. Pepper died on 31 Dec 1864. Gilbert and Charles Slayton reported that the cemetery in which Rev. Pepper was buried in Hart County was bulldozed away several years ago.
One of the unnamed daughters may have been Jane, who married James Peace, son of Simon and Mary Polly (Akin) Peace.
In the 1880 Hart County Census, Malinda Peppers was 69 and head of household. Living with her was a son, Benjamin, age 29; a dau, Catherine Shippm, age 33; and a granddaughter, Mary Akin, age 14.
v. Robert Pepper, married (1) Genny Vaughn 12 Dec 1795; married (2) Nancy Carel 25 Oct 1808.
vi. William Pepper, married Polly Smith 03 Feb 1801.
vii. Lydia Pepper, married Nathan Blevins 31 Jul 1802 in Green County Kentucky; born Abt. 1791.
Notes for Nathan Blevins:
Another marriage of a Nathan Blevins and a Rebecca Skaggs took place in July 1820. The bondsmen for this marriage were Nathan Blevins and Solomon Skaggs. The marriage took place in Taylor County. This Rebecca Skaggs could be the same Rebecca Blevins in the 1860 Taylor County census, who is 55, living with Margaret Canon, age 102, and Nancy J. and Dill Blevins and their nine month old son.
It is possible that Rebecca Skaggs is the daughter of David Skaggs who was born about 1760 or 1765. It is also possible that Rebecca's husband, Nathan Blevins, was the son of William Blevins and Rachel Skaggs of very early Green County.
viii. Jennet Pepper, married Jacob Smith.