The Sons of Henry Ellis Fowler: A Brief Look

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There is a book that contains wonderful information about the descendants of John Fowler.  I like this book and refer to it often for information.  It was written many years ago when family research was much more difficult to do.  This particular book states that Wymac was the eldest son of Henry Ellis, and that Mark was probably his second son.

In a study of Union County, SC census records, we discover that Henry Ellis is listed as head of household in 1790.  He has one son also listed in this census: Ephraim.  This makes me think that Ephraim may actually be the oldest son, or at least, near the top of the list.

I have noticed that most family trees have Ephraim’s date of birth as 1784.  That would put him at the grand old age of 6 when he was listed as head of household in 1790.  I think his date of birth was more like 1765, give or take a year.  If his father Henry Ellis was born circa 1746, it certainly is logical to think that his first child would have been born twenty years later, give or take a year. 

Going back to census records, Ephraim and his wife began having their children around 1785.  I think we can throw Ephraim’s date of birth of 1784 out the window.  I am.  I’m sticking with circa 1765. I am also putting Ephraim in my family tree as the eldest son of Henry Ellis and Catherine.

I believe that Ellis was the second son.  Ellis was born circa 1770 in Virginia and married Mary, born in Virginia in 1780.  Ellis is listed on the 1800 census as 26-44 years old.  This couple had their first 4 children circa 1795 to 1800

A note on Ellis, son of Henry Ellis: most people researching this Fowler line are under the mistaken notion that Ellis married Sarah “Sallie” Mabrey.  He did not.  I’ll get around to explaining the many Ellis Fowlers of Union County in a later discussion, and it’s all documented!  But for now, just go with me that Ellis son of Henry Ellis was born in or about 1770 in Virginia, married Mary, and moved to Union County, SC.  On my family tree, Ellis is son #2.

I’ve got Godfrey as son #3.  I believe that Godfrey was born circa 1773 in Virginia.  Godfrey and his wife Nancy “Nannie” Kelley had their first child around 1793.  He first appeared in the 1800 census as age 26-44 with 4 children under the age of 10. 

John H. “the Hatter” may have been the fourth son born to the Henry Ellis family, and I believe that he was born circa 1775, most likely in Virginia.

Now, a lot of Fowler researchers think that the John Fowler in the 1790 census living near Henry Ellis was the son of Henry Ellis.  I thought that too.  But a really intelligent researcher from Hawaii who is descended from the Union County Fowlers brought to my attention that the John Fowler of 1790 would have been far too old to have been Henry Ellis Fowler’s son.  And she is right.  I have not yet figured out how the John of 1790 connects to Henry Ellis.  I am not even sure if it is the same family line.  But we will get to that later in another blog.

One more thing about John of 1790 and John the Hatter.  I’ve noticed that some researchers have them as father John and son John the Hatter.  I do not think this is correct!  Thanks (again) to my internet friend and fellow Fowler researcher, I have come to believe that John Willis Fowler was the son of John of the 1790 census, and John the Hatter was the son of Henry Ellis.

John the Hatter made his first appearance in the 1800 census at age 16-25 with a wife and one daughter born before 1800.  He left a will that was probated in 1833.

Mark may have been the next son born to Henry Ellis and Catherine.  I have seen his date of birth as 1780 and 1785.   Henry Ellis served in the Revolutionary War but either date of birth indicates that he was able to visit his wife at least once during the war.

Mark married Elizabeth Moseley in 1802.  Elizabeth was another daughter of James Moseley and she became somewhat famous in the town of Jonesville for living to be 100 years old.  That’s quite an accomplishment even today, but back in 1882,  when women were likely as not to die during childbirth, we have to admire a woman who had 11 children, and lived in a time when there was no running water, no electricity, and no corner market to pick something quick for dinner.  Elizabeth is one of my personal historical heroes!

If the Mark Fowler on the 1810 census is Mark son of Henry Ellis, and not Mark son of 1790 John, then he was  16-25 in 1810, and definitely one of the younger sons of Henry Ellis and Catherine.  It is certain that he is the Mark married to Elizabeth in the 1850 census where he is recorded as 70 years old (born 1780 in Virginia). 

There is a story that son Womack (Wymac) was named after a Captain Wymac who lived near Danville, Virginia.  When the perils of the Revolutionary War were getting a little too close for comfort to his family in South Carolina, Charles Sims had his trusty friend, Henry Ellis Fowler, escort Mrs. Sims and their children from South Carolina to Virginia.

Captain Wymac gave the weary travelers shelter and made enough of an impression with his generous hospitality that Henry Ellis and Charles Sims agreed that the first son born to either of them would be named Wymac. 

I think this may be where the confusion about Womack being the oldest son of Henry Ellis began.  It was probably said that the “next” son and not the “first” would be named Wymac.

The trip from South Carolina to Virginia conveying the Sims family happened during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783).  We know Henry Ellis and Catherine had already started their family long before this time.  So, I am putting Womack (Wymac) as one of the youngest sons since it is obvious that he could not have been born prior to the war if the story is true.  

The Womack Fowler family bible has his date of birth as January, 3, 1785.  

Womack married Susannah Moseley (daughter of James Moseley) on February 7, 1808, and he is counted in the 1810 census as age 16-25.  He and Susannah had 2 children prior to 1810.  He is a younger son, but a son with an interesting story attached to his name.

Of course, Womack could have just been named after his mother’s paternal grandfather, Womack Puckett………

I have saved William for last, although he could have been a little older than Womack and Mark, or he could have been born in-between them, or he may have been the last son of Henry Ellis.  I have seen his date of birth all over the board…..anywhere from 1776 to 1789.  No matter when he was born, we know that he made his will in January 1812, and it was probated in March 1812.  William was a school teacher and never married.  Or did he?

William left his estate to the 2 daughters of Sarah Burgess.  Some researchers have put it out there that he was married to Sarah.  I have never seen proof of this.  Other researchers have suggested that Sarah’s two daughters, Delinda and Polly, were his children.  I do not know one way or the other.  I do know that he left everything to them, and in the event of their deaths leaving no heirs, he requested that his estate be divided between his brothers Wymac and Mark.  That last sentence leads me to think that he was closer in age to these two brothers and I am confident in saying that Mark, Womack, and William were the 3 youngest sons of Henry Ellis.

When Henry Ellis wrote his last will and testament on January 20,1808, he left “the tract of land where I now live” to sons William and Womack.  Womack was married less than a month later, and William appears to have never married.  At the time the will was written, they may have been the only 2 sons who had not married and moved out of the family home.                                                  

I have never been able to find William in a census record.  He should have been recorded as head of household in 1810.  Perhaps he was living with another family, or maybe he just got missed that year.  His brother Ellis is not be to found in 1810, but reappears in 1820.  Regardless, William died in 1812 and would never have a chance to be in a census again.

One last thought: if the range of dates of birth for Mark (1780-1785) are correct and he was born in Virginia, it is possible that the Henry Ellis Fowler family did not move to South Carolina in the 1770’s and may not have come to the state until a little later.

To sum up the sons of Henry Ellis Fowler:

Ephraim Fowler (1765-1822) married to Nancy Moseley

Ellis Fowler (1770-after 1850) married to Mary

Godfrey Fowler (1773-1850) married to Nancy “Nannie” Kelley

John H. Fowler (1775-1833) married unknown

Mark Fowler (1780-1852) married Elizabeth Moseley

Womack Fowler (1786-1849) married Mary Susanah Moseley

William Fowler (17??-1812)


One thought on “The Sons of Henry Ellis Fowler: A Brief Look

    Linda Mayfield said:
    June 8, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Well thought out and presented! Thanks for sharing your research!


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