Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Strange Connection to John Wilkes Booth

The Acting Booths
George Washington Booth From the Find-a-grave website "

Birth: Aug. 9, 1801
Death: Apr. 10, 1882
Son of Harper and Nancy H. Jones Booth. George Booth errected the stone for John Wilkes Booth in the Smith Cemetery. A family legend has John Wilkes escaping to Guntown, MS after the assassination of Lincoln, and living with his relatives in the area--Susie Dent. Pres. of the Northeast Miss. Historical and Genealogical Society, 2009."

John Wilkes Booth
Dr. George Washington Booth is buried at the Smith Cemetery in Guntown, Mississippi. So is John Wilkes Booth. Sometimes, while doing genealogy, truth is stranger than fiction. This is one of those times.

The Winfields were the second family I began researching.
This blog was named for Job Davis, my great-grandfather's
great grandfather and my first brickwall. I researched the family history of his wife, Sarah Winfield  in an attempt to get around that wall. By discovering who she was, I would learn more about who he was.

Both Job and Sarah were born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1773. They are buried together in the old Davis Graveyard near the Rocky River in Stanly County, North Carolina. Sarah had came down with her family in about the mid-1780's.

Sarah married Richard Howell in 1790. Between 1790 and 1800, they had 4 children, Peter, Jordan, John W. and Charlotte. Richard Howell died in 1802. So did Peter Winfield, father of Sarah. There were several families from Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties in Virginia who had migrated to the area near the forks of the Rocky and PeeDee Rivers in then Anson County.

Job and Sarah were married shortly afterwards and had 4 sons together, Henry Hampton, Edward Winfield, James Marshall and Marriott Freeman Davis.

Job and Sarah were married in Marlboro, South Carolina by Joel Winfield.

Old image of Marlboro County, Courthouse
I wondered why they had traveled all the way into South Carolina to get married and I wondered what relation Joel Winfield was to them.

So I had to go back to Virginia.

The Wingfields were a well-to-do Virginia family that came over from England as part of the founding of Jamestown. Edward Maria Wingfield was one of the eight owners of the Virginia Company and was the first President of Jamestown. The Wingfields were also tied in with the Cromwells. They were a family of position and power.
The remains of Wingfield Manor in England, origins of the Wingfield family, relatives of the Cromwells. 
Peter Winfield, who migrated to Anson County in North Carolina, and his brother Lt. Joshua Winfield, were Revolutionary War soldiers who were sons of Edward Wingfield and Mary Harris and grandsons of Jarvis Wingfield and Hannah Wynne.
There were many other families from Southside Virginia who migrated to Anson and the Granville Grants during this period. The Lees, Nances, Allens, and Coppedge families migrated prior to Peter and his family. Job and his relatives, the Floyds, the Tillmans, the Ledbetters, the Penningtons, the Laniers, Malones and Ezells would arrive about a decade after Peter.

Joshua did not migrate, but some of his children and stepchildren did.

Joshua and Peter Winfield were brothers who married sisters. Charlotte Freeman married Peter and Jemima Freeman married Joshua. The name is seen as both Wingfield, Winkfield and Winfield.

Old Church at Level Green, the area the Joel Winfield Plantation was located

While Joshua did not travel down with Peter, several other family members did, among them other of the Freeman siblings, Keziah Freeman had married Richard Meanly or Manly. While Richard Meanly shows up in early land records and in the 1790 census of Anson, he and Keziah later migrated to Tennesee. Brothers Hamblin Stokes Freeman, Henry and Hartwell also migrated into North Carolina. Hartwell shows up in the 1790 census of Iredell County, and later in Bedford County, Tennesee. The Marshall family, friends and possibly family, came also. Drury Robertson came and his sons, Drury Robertson, Jr and Booth Robertson. Drury Sr. died in Anson, but Drury Jr. ended up in Marlboro County, SC. This is where children of Joshua Winfield come in.
Joshua's daughter Mary Winfield married Drury Robertson, Jr. and her sister Martha married James Robinson. They started in Anson and also later migrated to Tennessee. His sons Joel and John T. Winfield migrated as well. Both Drury Robertson Jr, and wife Mary "Polly" Winfield Robertson and her brothers Joel and John later migrated to Marlboro County, South Carolina. Joshua's daughter Dorothy married a Walker, and also spent about 10 years in Anson/Montgomery/Stanly County. They would later migrate to Edgecombe County, SC.
It has been a while since I researched the Winfields and I have a ton of information not readily accessible. I quick look online, however will bring up some of the previous information.

The Good Booths, William and Catherine, founders of the Salvation Army

Recommendations and Qualifications of Military and Civil

Officers in Brunswick County, Virginia, March 1777 to
October 1782.

William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. 24, No. 2. (
Oct., 1915), pp. 102-108

Page 102.

                  WICK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, MARCH
                     1777 TO OCTOBER 1782.

 October 28, 1778.--James Marshall as Captain, Hamilton Freeman
as first Lieutenant Joshua Wingfield as Second Lieutenant, and
Anthony Gresham as Ensign recommended to Executive as proper persons
to command a Company of Militia in this County.
   John Haskins Captain qualified.
Wingfield Manor

The interesting thing about the above entry is not only its mention of Joshua Win(g)field, and his brother-in-law Hamilton (or Hamblin) Freeman, but also James Marshall, who migrated with Peter Winfield to the Rocky River in North Carolina and played a large part, along with his sons, in the early life of Stanly County, North Carolina. 

You find the Will of Joshua Winfield dated July 13, 1818 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, among the colorful characters like Grief Harwell and Noble Ladd. 

Also noted are many familiar names, like Patillo, Lanier, Malone and Robertson or Robinson, that you find in the early records of Anson County, North Carolina.

Charles Winfield, Knight

Will of Joshua Winfield, dated July 13, 1818, and proved October
19, 1818.  Wife, Rebecca Winfield.  Daughter, Elizabeth Meridith. 
To Robert and Joel Winfield, sons of son, Auther Winfield. 
Daughter, Polly Robertson and her daughter, Mary Robertson. 
Daughter, Nancy Jones.  To Mariah Winfield, daughter of son, Joel
Winfield, deceased.  To Elizabeth Winfield Barner and John F.
Barner, children of my daughter, Rebecca Barner, dec'd.  To
daughter, Dorothy Walker.  To daughter, Martha Robertson.  To
William and Nancy Meredith, children of daughter, Elizabeth
Meredith.  Friend, Benjamin Walker of Brunswick County named as
executor.  Will Book 8, page 472.

Old Hay St., Fayetteville
Transcription Courtesy of Carol Morrison of Fayetteville, NC

Note the mention of Mariah Winfield, daughter of son Joel, deceased, daughter Martha Robertson (wife of James)
and Polly Robertson (wife of Drury) and her daughter, 
Mary Robertson. 
Photos of old Wingfield Sugar Plantation via Trip Advisor
Skip to the excerpts of Marlboro County, South Carolina Wills, 

Joel Winfield, signed November 22, 1803 probated Dec. 31 1803

Mentions wife: Mary Marler Winfield
Son Joel Winfield
Daughter Mariah Booth Winfield
Sister: Mary Robertson
Friend: Maj. Drury Robertson to see to education of son Joel. 
Executors: Wife Mary and friends Brigadier General Tristam Thomas, Maj. Drury Robertson,
Capt. Samuel Wilds, Thomas Winfield Robertson. Elizabeth Moor swore that she saw
Joel Winfield sign and that Samuel Ervin and John Winfield (brother of Joel) signed 
with her as witnesses. 

As Joel Winfield, Jr was not mentioned in his grandfathers will, it may
be assumed that he died as a child. 

ame:Mary Winfield
Home in 1810 (City, County, State):Marlboro, South Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10:1
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10:1
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44:1
Numbers of Slaves:7
Number of Household Members Under 16:2
Number of Household Members Over 25:1
Number of Household Members:10
The widow, Mary Marler Winfield is shown in the 1810 census with one
young girl under ten and one young boy under 10.

From the records of Marlboro County, SC:


1 John Wilson                  1785
2 Joel Winfield                1787
3 William Fields               1788
4 Drury Robertson              1789
5 Joel Winfield                1790
6 Jno. Winfield                1804

As you can see, John Winfield stepped in after his brothers death. 


Joel Winfield, clerk, served as ordinary till 1803.


1788-89    Drury Robertson,
           Robert Allison.
1790-91    Thomas Evans.
           John J. Jones
1792-93    John J. Jones,
           Benjamin Hicks.
1794-95    J. J. Jones,
           Drury Robertson.
1796-97    Drury Robertson,
           J. J. Jones.

Brother-in-law Drury Robertson also had a political career in the area. 

Not long after the death of Peter Winfield and Richard Howell, Joel Winfield 
performed the marriage of Job Davis and Sarah Winfield Howell. 

His own marriage had occured in Mecklenburg County, Virginia., a few years after he was acting as Ordinary and Clerk of Court in Marlboro County, SC. 

His wife was Mary Marler "Polly" Booth,was the daughter of Thomas Booth.

Virginia Marriage Index, 1740-1850

JOEL WINFIELD POLLY BOOTH 03 March 1801 Mecklenburg 

Joshua Winfield served his son as Bondsman. 

Note that Joel was already active in the county government of Marlboro
County, SC. He had traveled to Anson with his Uncle Peter in the 1780's.

He made his way up to Mecklenburg County, Virginia to marry Polly in 1801.

The last marriage he performed as Ordinary in Marlboro was that of
John Irby and Elizabeth Dewitt on June 22, 1803. By November of 1803, 
he was ill and making his will. 

The town of Moffat in Dumfrieshire where the Moffat/Moffett/Moffit family originated. 


A History of Carlisle, South Carolina

In 1785, the new county of Marlboro was created within the overarching Cheraws District at the northeastern corner of South Carolina. The District Court was held at Long Bluff, and the lower County Court House ofMarlboro County was established a few miles north of Long Bluff along the Great Pee Dee River near Gardner's Bluff. It was simply called Marlboro Court House and only lasted a few years.
The town of Carlisle had begun in 1785 and was soon thriving, so the local populace requested that it become the new County Seat. The exact date is currently unkown. However, it was located on the north bank of Crooked Creek where it crossed the old River Road.
Carlisle soon became called Winnfieldville, which was shortened to Winfield by 1801. Winfield remained the county seat until 1822 - the result of an 1819 Act of Legislation moving the county seat to a more-central location.
As Winfield, the town was granted a U.S. Post Office on January 1, 1801, with Mr. Joel Winfield as the first Postmaster. It remained in operation until April 5, 1822, when the new town called Marlboro C.H. was granted its Post Office.
In 1826, the town of Marlboro C.H. was renamed to Bennettsville, and it has been the county seat ever since. The town of Carlisle/Winfield no longer exists, but a granite monument stands where the courthouse was located.

Will of Thomas Booth

April 12, 1803

In the name of God Amen, I Thomas Booth of Mecklenburg County and State of Virginia being sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory do make and ordain this to be my last will and Testament in manner and form as following:

(only excerpts)

Item I give and bequeath unto my loving Daughter, Mary M Winfield the following Negroes, she has now possession to wit, Hannah, Daniel, Henry, Evelina, Jacob, Junney also two beds and furniture and one Set of china and Silver Tea Spoons which she now has in her possession to her and her heirs forever

(mention bequeaths to daughter Rebecca Booth of 6 negros, china, silver and furniture) my son Harper Booth the land & plantation whereon he now lives, also three Negros, to with, Jack, Lissie and Tom, one sorrell mare, four head of cattle, one bed and furniture which he now has in possession to him and his heirs forever. 

(mentions livestock, 3 negros and furniture to son Thomas Booth, 6 negros, furniture, china and silver to daughter Judith Booth, son Reuben Booth, daughter Massey Booth, and daughter Amy Booth). 

To sum it up, Mary Marler Booth Winfield aka Polly, was the sister of Harper Booth.

I also found a newspaper article online from the Itawamba County Times, from Mississippi, entitled
"Booth was a Revolutionary War Soldier"

"Thomas Booth (son of Thomas), whose ancestors migrated to Virginia from England, married a Miss Harper of Harpers Ferry, Va.  Thomas was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. 

Their children were Harper, born 1775, Dr. Thomas, Sally, Nancy Ann, Sussannah, Judith, Rebecca, Reuben, and Mary. 

Harper, the eldest son, lived in Virginia until his marriage to Nancy Jones (daughter of Vinkler Jones) on September 18, 1799, when he moved to North Carolina and engaged in planting. He was a zealous Democrat and took an active part in political matters. He was a magistrate for some time in North Carolina (note: Harper Booth lived in Halifax County while in North Carolina). About 1854 he moved to Mississippi. His death occured in 1859. (Note: They forgot to add that he spent several decades in Lawrence County, Alabama preceeding his move to Mississippi and after his move to Halifax County, NC). 

Harper Booth and Nancy Jones had  11 children, nine of whom were reared to maturity. George Washinton, Harriett, Sledge, Ann, Allen, William Armstead, Thomas Harper, Martha, Alexander Grandison, James Madison and John Fletcher. "

The article then goes into the descendants of Thomas Harper Booth, whose descendants evidentally remained in the population of Itawamba County.

A few years ago, while researching the Winfields, I had came across the marriage announcements of Mariah Booth Winfield, daughter of Joel and Polly, and a grand description of her home during the announcement of her second wedding. I had not given her much thought in the years since, until I started researching the Howell's.

Upon looking through the records of Cumberland County, I came across this document, that was more or less a prenuptial agreement, in the old records of Cumberland.
                                                       The State of South Carolina
This Indenture Tripartate thousand eight hundred and twenty-six.....between Mariah B Winfield of Marlborough District of the said state of the first part, James Moffett of te Town of Cheraw in the said State of the second part, and William H Moffett of the Town of Fayetteville in the State of North Carolina of the third part- - - - Whereas a marriage hath been afreed upon and is intended to be shortly had and solumnized between the said Mariah B Winfield and the said James Moffett and whereas the said Mariah B Winfield is possessed and entitled in her own right to a considerable estate real and personal, to wit a plantation or tract of land ... in said Marlborough District...dwelling house and other improvements....and after enumeration, to wit, Jack, Peter, Archer, Daniel, Henry, Jacob, Billy, Peterson, Sandy, Jincey, Milla, Jeba, Rosette, Jim, Joe, Elic, Isaac, Wilson, Jinny, Hannah, Dolly, Sally, Mary, Minerva, Sarah, also right and title to certain bonds,  notes and accounts.......distinguished by the name "Level Green" .....having been the residence of her father Joel Winfield."

This document was exceedingly long, five pages.

Published in Fayetteville NC
Beginning in 1816
Found at the North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh NC

12 Apr 1826, issue
72. Married in Cheraw on the evenning last, by Rew George W. Hathaway, Coct. James Moffett of Fayetteville to Miss Maria Winfield of Marlboro Co. SC

The above document was not only found in Cumberland County, but was also recorded in Marlboro County, South Carolina, and then later found in the Lawrence County, Alabama Archives. 

MoffettJamesOf Cheraw SC Marriage ContractOC Deed Book H039
MoffettWilliam HOf Fayetteville NCOC Deed Book H039

Lawrence County, Alabama Historical Courthouse

Maria B. Moffitt
Spouse:Washington Boothe
Marriage Date:23 Jun 1836
Source:South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol 5, # 3
By June of 1836, Mariah was a widow and undertaking her second marriage to Doctor George Washington Booth. Three of Harper Boothe's sons, Thomas Harper Booth, George Washington Booth, and John Fletcher Booth, had became physicians.

Newspapers of both counties, Marlboro SC for the bride and Lawrence Alabama for the groom, gave flowery descriptions of the wedding, held at the home of the bride and performed by a Rev. Mr. Martin.

In the Register of Deeds Office of Marborough County, I had found another lengthy document wherein James Moffett and his wife Mariah B Moffett of the town of Fayetteville in the State of North Carolina had contracted with a John Goodwin who
"shall and will on or before the seventeenth day of consideration of the sum of  eleven hundred and twenty-five at the place called Level Green...

Mariah had definite views of what kind of house she wanted built.

She and Mr. Moffett did not dwell at Level Green for very long, however, because in 1836, just 8 years later, she would marry Mr. Booth.

This is an excerpt from a document wherein Mariah B Booth, formerly Mariah B Moffett formerly Mariah B Winfield has her former in-law, Dr. William H Moffett released as a trustee of her estate, and her husband and cousin, Dr. George W. Booth appointed as trustee. 

This lasted until 1840.

BoothMaria et alBoothGeorge W. et alCircuit183879

BoothMaria et alBoothGeorge W. & Thos H.Chancery18407912830

George Washington Booth took his bride to his home in Lawrence County, Alabama. These records, which I have not seen, are the last mention I can find of her. They are on order and may clear up a few things. 

By 1850, Dr. Booth was living in a boarding house in Itawamba County, Mississippi. He had followed siblings to Mississippi. Eventually, father Harper Booth, would end up there as well. 
 It was noted that his profession was that of Physician and that he was born in North Carolina. 

George W Booth
Age in 1870:68
Birth Year:abt 1802
Home in 1870:Guntown, Lee, Mississippi
Post Office:Guntown
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
John B Booth50
Emma D Booth32
George W Booth15
Jennie Booth1
George W Booth68
Twenty years later, Dr. George Washington Booth is living in the home of his youngest brother, John Fletcher Booth. Fletcher was also a doctor and they would both spend their last days in Guntown, Lee County, Mississippi. Fletcher would name his oldest son for his brother Wash. 

G. W. Booth
Birth Year:abt 1801
Home in 1880:Beat 1, Lee, Mississippi
Relation to Head of House:Self (Head)
Father's Birthplace:Virginia
Mother's Birthplace:Virginia
Neighbors:View others on page
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
G. W. Booth79
M. Cassady14
By 1880, still a practicing physcian, he is on his own with a 14 year old assistant living with him, Miss Cassidy, as he is approaching 80. 

George Washington Booth
Birth Date:9 Aug 1801
Age at Death:80
Death Date:10 Apr 1882
Burial Place:Guntown, Lee County, Mississippi, USA
Dr. Booth died two years later and is buried in Lee County, Mississippi.
Numerous sites discuss the possibility that John Wilkes Booth is the person buried in the mysterious grave located in between Dr. George Washington Booth and his brother John Fletcher Booth. A recorded fact was that Dr. George Washington Booth was the person who ordered and paid for the tombstone of John Wilkes Booth. Did Fletcher Booth hide his famous, wanted cousin upstairs for decades as his descendants claim? Is he actually the person buried in the mysterious grave?

That is a story of its own. What this story traced was that the niece of my Fifth Great-Grandfather, Peter Winfield, born of Mecklenburg County, Virginia who died in Anson/Stanly County North Carolina, Mariah Booth Winfield, daughter of Mary Marler "Polly" Booth and granddaughter of Harper Booth, married her first cousin, Doctor Washington  Booth, who purchased a tombstone for their relative and cousin, the infamous assassin, John Wilkes Booth, who shot President Abraham Lincoln.  

Smith Cemetery, Guntown, Lee County, Mississippi


  1. Can we speak? IO believe we share some common ancestry.

  2. I was just browsing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more. รับทำบูธ