A Witcher Family Genealogy
-b- around 1799
This webpage about the life of Taliaferro Witcher, the son of Ephraim and Betsey Witcher, is a digital whiteboard, where evidence of this man's life is being gathered and posted for your research convenience.
Along with images of court records for Taliaferro, I have included a chapter from Charles C. Witcher's book, "The Witchers of Georgia," published in 1984. It is by the author's permission that I present this chapter. Please respect Mr. Charles Witcher's rights to the contents of this book.
For ease of reading, I have reformatted the paragraphs. w
In the following court documents, Taliaferro Witcher is awarded guardianship of William J. Witcher's children. WJ Witcher was Taliaferro's brother.
CHAPTER THREE: TOLLIVER WITCHER SON OF EPHRAIM WITCHER
Ephraim Witcher's son Tolliver was born within a year or two of 1800.
I remain uncertain about the correct spelling of his name, as it was variously recorded as Tolliver, Toliver, Taliaferro, and Taliafero. Despite the variations in spelling, the pronunciation of these names would seem to be almost identical. (At least, the county in Georgia which is spelled Taliaferro is in fact pronounced Tollifer, and often comes out sounding more like Tolliver.)
Regardless, he is referred to herein as Tolliver for the most part, since that spelling seems to best represent the phonetic description of his name and reflects the preponderance of the spellings provided in reference to him and others of later generations who were apparently named in his honor. Nonetheless, other spellings as specifically provided in certain records are at times presented in reference to him in order to preserve the authenticity of such records and the information that they provide.
Tolliver Witcher was apparently living in Surry County, North Carolina, with the other members of Ephraim's family in 1810 and 1820; both censuses reflected the presence of males who could have been born in about 1800.
The only county in North Carolina other than Surry County in which any Witchers were found to be living at the time of the 1830 census was Ashe County, located approximately twenty miles west of Surry County. It is there, in Ashe County, North Carolina, that Ephraim's son Tolliver seems to have chosen his abode.
The 1830 census of Ashe County included only one family by the name of Witcher, whose household head had a first name which appears from the records to have been Taliaferro. This household head was born between 1800 and 1810 and apparently had living with him a wife born between 1800 and 1810 and two sons born between 1825 and 1830; also living with him was a white female born between 1810 and 1815, who was apparently not his daughter, in light of the fact that her age was so close to both his and that of his presumed wife. She was probably either his sister or his sister-in-law.
The 1840 census of Ashe County, North Carolina listed a Toliver Witcher among its inhabitants. He was presumably the same person as the Taliaferro Witcher who was listed in the 1830 census of Ashe County. This presumption is based on the following reasons: (a.) the similarity in the pronunciation of the names Taliaferro and Tolliver; (b.) the fact that although the Toliver listed in the 1840 census was evidently born between 1790 and 1800, while the Taliaferro as listed in the 1830 census was born between 1800 and 1810, these ages would still seem consistent for identifying the same individual, since later census records showed that he was born within a year or two of 1800; and (c.) there are no children listed under the Taliaferro of 1830 whose years of birth are inconsistent with the years of birth given for the Toliver listed in the 1840 census.
Of the four white males residing with Toliver in 1840, one was born between 1825 and 1830, one was born between 1830 and 1835, and the other two were born between 1835 and 1840. It consequently appears that one of the two white males born between 1825 and 1830 who had been living with Taliaferro in 1830 had departed the family for one reason or another, and that three more sons had been born to Taliaferro (or Tolliver) since 1830.
The eldest white female residing with Toliver in 1840 was evidently born between 1800 and 1810, as was the eldest white female living with the Taliaferro Witcher of 1830 Ashe County, and this lady was apparently his wife.
Of the four other white females re-siding with Toliver in 1840, three were born between 1830 and 1835, while the other one was born between 1835 and 1840. This seems to have been a farming family, as five of its members were listed in the 1840 census as engaged in agriculture.
The 1850 census of Ashe County, North Carolina, as had the two preceding censuses of that county, revealed only one family of Witchers living within Ashe County. This appears to have been the same family of Witchers who resided in Ashe County in 1830 and 1840, and the first name of the household head is spelled in the 1850 census as Taliaferro, as was the household head of the Witchers listed in the 1830 census of Ashe County.
The more informative 1850 census revealed the fact that Taliaferro was born in North Carolina in 1799, give or take a year, and that his wife, Jane, was born in Virginia in 1805, or within a year thereof. Taliaferro's year of birth as listed in the 1850 census accords well with the range given for that in connection with the Taliaferro Witcher living in Ashe County in 1830 (i.e. b. 1800- 1810) and the Toliver Witcher Witcher living in Ashe County in 1840 (i.e., b. 1790-1800).
The approximate year of birth of his wife Jane (1805) also accords well with the fact that the eldest female living with Taliaferro in 1830 and Toliver in 1840 was listed as born between 1800 and 1810. Furthermore, all the apparent children listed with Toliver in the 1840 census of Ashe County are accounted for in the 1850 listing of Taliaferro's family, except for one presumed son, born between 1825 and 1830, and one presumed daughter, born between 1830 and 1835, who were listed under Toliver in the 1840 census but absent from the family of Taliaferro in 1850.
By 1850, this supposed son would have attained the age of at least twenty, while the presumed daughter would have been between fifteen and twenty years of age, so in the normal course of things they would have married and established their own households by 1850. It is also quite likely that this presumed son had died by 1850, since one source which listed the siblings of Tolliver's daughter Nancy excluded this particular person.
The white male born between 1830 and 1835 who was living with Toliver in 1840 was evidently named William Witcher, who was age 17 when listed with Taliaferro in 1850 and therefore was born about 1833. (It is quite possible that William died within a few years after 1850, since his name does not appear in a listing of the siblings of Tolliver Witcher's daughter Nancy.) Both of the two white males born between 1835 and 1840 who were re-siding with Toliver in 1840 seem to have still been living with him along the time of the 1850 census, their names being reported in the 1850 census as John Witcher (b. ca. 1836) and Ephraim Witcher (b. ca. 1838).
It will be recalled that the 1840 census of Toliver's family revealed that this person apparently had three daughters born to him between 1830 and 1835, and one further daughter born between 1835 and 1840. As previously mentioned, one of them seems to have left the family household by 1850. This was apparently his daughter Zilda, who reportedly of married about 1850.
Two of the presumed daughters listed in the 1840 census of Toliver's family as born between 1830 and 1835 nonetheless were still present for the 1850 enumeration of Taliaferro's family, namely, Nancy Witcher, who was born about 1829, and Elizabeth Witcher, who was born about 1831. The remaining female listed with Toliver Witcher in 1840, i.e., the one mentioned as born between 1835 and 1840, was apparently Phoebe Witcher, who was listed with Taliaferro Witcher in 1850 Ashe County as a female born about 1840.
The only children born to Tolliver between 1840 and 1850 were apparently two sons, Taliaferro, born about 1842, and Osborn, born about 1845.
The 1850 census of Ashe County indicated that they were a farming family. According to one source, Tolliver's wife Jane had the more full name of Sara Jane, she apparently died in the early 1850's.
Tolliver Witcher evidently moved from Ashe County, North Carolina to Floyd County, Georgia sometime between 1850 and 1860.
The 1860 census of Floyd County, Georgia recorded among the inhabitants of that county, in Barker's District, a Taliafero Witcher who was age sixty and who was born in North Carolina. His calculated birth year of 1800 (or within a year thereof) compares quite closely with the birth year of 1799, as indicated for the Taliaferro Witcher who was living in Ashe County, North Carolina in 1850. In addition, the Taliafero Witcher residing in Floyd County, Georgia in 1860 had dwelling with him a son Ephraim (b. ca. 1839), a son Taliaferro (b. ca. 1843), and a son Osborn (b. ca. 1844), all of whom were listed in the 1860 census of Floyd County as born in North Carolina. It consequently appears that the Ephraim Witcher (b. ca. 1839 in North Carolina) who was living in Floyd County in 1860 was the same as the Ephraim Witcher (b. ca. 1838 in North Carolina) who was living in Ashe County in 1850, that the Taliaferro Witcher (b. ca. 1843 in North Carolina) living in Floyd County in 1860 was the same person as the Taliaferro Witcher (b. ca. 1842 in North Carolina) who was living in Ashe County in 1850, that the Osborn Witcher (b. ca. 1844 in North Carolina) living in Floyd County in 1860 was the same person as the Osborn Witcher (b. ca. 1845 in North Carolina) who was living in Ashe County in 1850, and that their father was the Taliafero Witcher (b. ca. 1800 in North Carolina) who was living in Floyd County in 1860 and also the Taliaferro Witcher (b. ca. 1799 in North Carolina) who was living in Ashe County in 1850.
Though still a farmer, the Taliafero Witcher residing in Floyd County, Georgia in 1860 seems to have acquired a good deal since he left Ashe County, North Carolina.
According to the 1860 census of Floyd County, he owned real estate worth $10,000 and his personal estate was valued at $20,000, a nice improvement from his position in Ashe County, where his real estate had been valued at only $4,000.
In addition, Taliafero seems to have acquired a new wife, Martha E., who, being age forty-six for the 1860 census of Floyd County, was apparently born about 1814 in Georgia. Her presence in the family in 1860 is explained by a marriage record which stated that Taliaferro Witcher married Martha E. Price in Floyd County, Georgia on October 15, 1857. Further confirmation of this lies in the statement by another source that he married a second time after his wife Sara died.
Along with this new wife, he seems to have also acquired the presence of three so-called orphans, Emera T. (b. ca. 1843 in North Carolina), Eugenia C. Price (b. ca. 1850 in Georgia), and Georgia T. Price (b. ca. 1853 in Georgia) . They were apparently called orphans since their father had died, although their apparent mother had survived, and later married Taliaferro Witcher.
Further-more, Taliafero also had living with him in 1860 his apparent brother, Daniel H. Witcher, who in 1860 was listed as age 64 and born in North Carolina (and therefore born about 1796); Daniel's financial position was represented only by a personal estate listed as worth $1500. (See Index for further information on Ephraim's son Daniel.)
The individual recorded in the 1860 census of Floyd County, Georgia as Taliafero Witcher (b. ca. 1800) was evidently still residing there in 1870, although that latter census listed him as Toliver Witcher. According to this information from 1870, he was a farmer having real estate valued at $4,000. and a personal estate valued at $700, was born in North Carolina, and was age seventy (and was therefore born about 1800). Residing with Toliver in 1870 was Martha E. Witcher (b. ca. 1815 in Georgia), and therefore evidently the same person as the Martha E. Witcher (b. ca. 1814) who was residing with Taliafero in the 1860 census of Floyd County.
The only person residing with them in 1870 Floyd County was an Emory Gamble, who was born about 1856 in North Carolina.
Ephraim Witcher's son Tolliver died September 23, 1874 at the home of his daughter, Lizzie Witcher Lyle, in the Rehoboth community of Floyd County, Georgia. He was buried in the family plot on the banks of Big Cedar Creek in Floyd County.
Also buried there were some of his children, presumably including his sons, Ephraim and Osborn, who were killed in the War Between the States, and also his daughter Phoebe, who died in the early 1860s.
Tolliver's wife, Martha E., seems to have also died sometime be-tween 1870 and 1880, as she was absent from the census records subsequent to 1870.
From Charles C Witcher's book, "The Witchers of Georgia."