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Mark Demspey of Warfield, KY and son Joseph Baisden Dempsey and Ruth Starr
Posted by: Mr. Jude (ID *****5342) Date: March 06, 2009 at 06:23:31
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Mark Dempsey who bought the Dempsey Farm below Warfield in 1851, had an illegitimate son named Joseph Baisden Dempsey. It was believed that Mark became involved with an unidentified woman with the Baisden surname around 1834 and they produced a son named Joseph in 1835. It was said that Mark later adopted Joseph Baisden and at that point Joseph became known as Joseph Baisden Dempsey. Mark and his family all accepted that Joseph was Mark's son and Joseph is buried next to Mark on the Mark Dempsey farm cemetery and Joseph also received land from Mark. This info about Joseph is included in a genealogical article that was started by Mark and later finished by Mark's son Lewis.

In this article, Mark wrote about his family and did not include the info about Joseph; however, Mark's son Lewis later included the information about Joseph when he finished the article. According to the article, it is believed that Joseph's unidentifed mother was the daughter of an unidentified Baisden family. The only possible parents in the vicinity of this unidentified Baisden woman could only have been Joseph & Lucinda (Osborne) Baisden. After researching the family of Joseph & Lucinda (Osborn) Baisden, I have concluded that Joseph's mother was not a daughter of this Baisden family since all of the daughters of this family have been otherwise accounted for by marrying and having their own families.

My theory is that it is possible that Ruth Starr, who was a neighbor of the family of Joseph and Lucinda (Obsborne) Baisden, may have been Joseph Baisden Dempsey's mother because Ruth Starr was known as having several illegitimate children and gave some to their fathers or others to raise. Since Ruth Starr is listed on the 1850 Logan Co., VA census as a close neighbor to Joseph & Lucinda (Osborne) Baisden, suggesting a close connection, it was plausible that Joseph & Lucinda (Osborne) Baisden may have been one of the families who accepted one of Ruth's illegitimate children to help raise and they may have accepted Joseph Baisden Dempsey. This would explain why there is a Joseph Baisden age 15 listed on the 1850 Logan Co., VA census in the household of Joseph & Lucinda (Osborne) Baisen. I believe this Joseph Baisden, age 15 is duplicated as Joseph Dempsey later on the same census living with his uncle James Starr, who was the brother of Ruth Starr.

In order to honor his "adoptive" family, Joseph aquired the Baisden surname as his middle name and became known as Joseph Baisden Dempsey. This makes sense when you consider the time period before there were any social programs available to assist an unwed mother in raising her children. In fact it was quite common during this period to require an unwed mother to "appear before courts to show cause why her baseborn children should not be bound out" to others to raise.

In fact Ruth Starr did have other children born out of wedlock to be later raised by their fathers including her son James Madison “Matthew/Matt” Duncan (alias Starr) b. 1838 who was raised by his father Mark Duncan who was listed on 1850 Logan census as James M. Starr age 12 living in household of #528 with Mark P Duncan.

Ruth’s first child was Davidson Samson b. 1834, who was also identified on the 1850 Logan census as Davison Samson age 16 living in the household of #133 Green White.

Ruth had another son John Dempsey (alias Starr) who was born about 1836. This child appears on the 1850 Logan Co., VA census as John Starr age 14, living with his mother Ruth Starr. According to a deed transfer, James Starr had no children; therefore, this John Starr was not the son of James Starr. According to a written statement by Mark Dempsey's son Lewis Dempsey, his father Mark Dempsey boarded with James Starr in 1832 while teaching school and left home 1835 and went West to MO & NM and returned home in 1838. This explains how Mark Dempsey came to have a relationship with Ruth Starr. Mark Dempsey apparently met Ruth Starr while he was boarding with Ruth's brother James Starr. It appears that Ruth's child John Dempsey (alias Starr) was born about 1836 or about a year after Mark Dempsey left home to travel out west, according to the Dempsey family article written by Mark's son Lewis. It has already been established by the marriage record for John Dempsey (alias Starr) that Ruth Starr was his mother and his father was an unidentified Dempsey. Some people think John's middle name was Jude. It was not. This was simply a misidentification with another person , John Jude who was also living with James Starr, according to the 1850 Logan Co., VA census. This John Jude later married Anna Staten and is the ancestor of many of the present day Jude families in today's southwestern WV area. Ruth's son John is living with her on the 1850 Logan census as John Starr, but his marriage record shows his name as John Dempsey, which support the conclusion JOHN DEMPSEY (ALIAS STARR) WAS ALSO A SON OF MARK DEMPSEY.

Another explanation how Mark Dempsey met Ruth Starr was through Ruth Starr’s sister Martha Starr. Martha married Mark Dempsey’s brother Andrew Dempsey. This especially makes since because Mark at one time was boarding with James Starr who was the brother to both Martha Starr and Ruth Starr. Consequently, Mark Dempsey was the brother in law of Martha Starr and yet is another reason why Mark was boarding with James. He came to know James Starr because James’ other sister Martha Starr married his brother Andrew. Conclusion: Mark Dempsey was boarding with James Starr because James Starr was the brother of Martha Starr, who was married to Mark Dempsey’s brother Andrew Dempsey. While he was boarding with James Starr, he met James’ sister Ruth Starr, who was also the sister of Martha (Starr) Dempsey.


The following entries for the 1850 Logan Co., VA census should provide some more clarity:

83 Ruth Starr 33 F - - VA
John Starr 14 M VA
Henry Starr 9 M VA
Polly Starr 8 F VA
Shelton Starr 4 M VA

522 James Starr 52 M Farmer $3,300 VA
Rebecca Starr 34 F VA
John Jude 17 M VA
Joseph* Dempsey 10 M VA 14 Sep 1850

I also believe it's possible this same RUTH STARR MAY HAVE HAD OTHER CHILDREN BY MARK DEMPSEY after he came back home about 1838, including my great great grandmother Mary Anne (Dempsey) Coleman b. abt. 1847, who was identified as Polly Starr age 8 living in the house hold of her mother Ruth Starr, according to the 1850 Logan Co., VA census. Polly is a nickname for Mary. Also, according to Mark Dempsey's genealogical article, there is a 16 yr. period between the birth of Mark's first son Joseph Baisden Dempsey and his first child he had by his wife after they married in 1851. I think that during this 16 yr period Mark may have fathered other children, especially since during this period he lived at some point with James Starr. Also, according to the previously mentioned genealogical article written by Lewis Dempsey, it did NOT specifically exlude any other children for Mark Dempsey. It only included children by his wife Lucinda (Alley) and the unidentified Baisden woman, who as it turns out may be Ruth Starr.

Also, I have other info that suggests Mary Anne (Dempsey) Coleman b. 1847 may have been the daughter of Mark Dempsey. My uncle James Maynard is a descendant of Mark Dempsey's brother Lewis who lived at Kermit. Anyway, Lewis had a daughter named Lucinda Ann. She was commonly known as Ann. Ann was the niece of Mark Dempsey. Ann lived to be almost 100 yrs old and personally told James Maynard who was her great-grandson that Mary Anne (Dempsey) Coleman was her first cousin. Anyone that has studied the Dempsey family knows that there were only 2 sons in the family of John & Rachel (Solomon) Dempsey who settled near the area of Buck Creek, KY including the vicinity of Wafield, Ky & neighboring Kermit WV. Those two brothers were Lewis and Mark. Since Lewis' daughter Lucinda Anne said that Mary Anne was her first cousin, that means one of Lewis' brothers had to be Mary Anne's father. The process of elimination in the immediate area only leaves Mark as the logical conclusion as the likely paternal candidate since there were no other Dempsey sons in the family of John & Rachel (Solomon) Dempsey in the immediate area.

Later in life Ruth Starr married and had children by Evan Ellis and moved to Roane Co., WV abt 1855.



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