Who was this elusive Susannah Longmire, anyway?

She is a lady of mystery. Over the years many a person has tried, unsuccessfully, to document who the wife of William Longmire was. Many a person more has ascribed various last names and family connections for Susannah Longmire which have no basis in fact. And despite the everlasting internet misinformation which abounds, all we can say for sure is that her name was Susannah – last name unknown. I have tried for years to find a marriage or birth, a will, any document with her on it – other than when she came to court after William’s death – to no avail. I have run down all manner of family trees to look for a source to confirm the various names of Marshall, Turner, Taliaferro – all families of pedigree to be sure – which have been ascribed to her. Still, not a single shred of evidence can I find, anywhere, to support the family names listed above. And when it comes down to it who wouldn’t be proud to be a member of one of these other families – the Taliaferros and Turners, allied with prominent Virginia families themselves and ties to Presidents, statesmen, and great military leaders? It is almost a crime not to know for sure. Yet what crime do we commit ascribing various family names for Susannah whilst detaching her from her real family whoever it is?

In this mystery there are a number of perplexing circumstances which surround William Longmire’s wife. What became of Susannah and the children after the death of their father? Where did they go? Did she remarry? Why no Orphan Account records or court case to determine a suitable guardian? Why was no written will presented to court after Williams’ death? I have always thought it strange that a man so well versed in writing wills did not have one himself.

As for Susannah’s origins one avenue that I have begun pursuing is that she may have come from Charles County, Maryland or other parts thereabouts. Many families or individuals who were neighbors of William and Susannah in King George County had substantial ties to Maryland. Suffice to say that the door has not closed on the origins of Susannah though the available records researched so far are not encouraging. I still hold out hope that an exhaustive review of local and Maryland families will yield an answer. Perhaps the “German servant girl Susannah” mentioned in regards to a Mr Taliaferro of Essex is our Susannah? Definitely a possibility as T. Turner was married into the Taliaferro family twice and therefore might be an accessary after the fact, so to speak. And this Taliaferro fellow did live a bit north of King George County. If only I could locate his will and check on the disposition of this “servant girl” …

Above are the last entries made to Wm Longmire’s store acct. Note that the words “dc’d estate” follow his name which indicates by the first entry in the debit side that he was deceased by at least Jan 6, 1748/9. The Jan 6 date is confirmed by the fact that Susannah came to court on that day to submit a nuncupative (oral) will and settled up on Wm Parker – Taylor’s acct at the same time. We see that she still made use of this account to purchase clothmaking items several days later and that her rent was paid on the 23rd. By Feb 27 a deduction is taken from the account for Mrs Jones. This would be President Monroe’s maternal grandmother, Esther Jones, who was paid in Sterling by Susannah Longmire for reasons not known at this time. Interestingly, on the credit side of the account appear to be two small tobacco crops, or parts thereof, in which Wm Longmire may have had an interest if not actually farmed by himself or by his servant, Murdy McKensie. Of interest to me is that not only did William have credit brought forward in his account after his death but that he also received a very small credit from a Claim. This could possibly be for several days work for the court, perhaps just after the pay period began for the year which might be a clue as to narrowing down his death date. Click on image to enlarge.

I will be following up on the Taliaferro court order which mentions the “German servant girl Susannah” and continue trying to locate his will.

Categories: Genealogy, People

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