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Home: Surnames: Sias Family Genealogy Forum

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parents of James SIAS (b. 1811/2) of WV
Posted by: Diana Gale Matthiesen Date: December 22, 2000 at 17:20:27
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Secondary sources usually give the parents of James SIAS (b. 1811/12, VA [WV?]), who married Rebecca ADKINS, as James SIAS and Sophia CORBIN. Secondary sources also usually give the parents of James SIAS who married Sophia CORBIN as Charles & Jane (McCRILLIS?) SIAS of Vermont and have this same James SIAS also married to Patience DWIER, though always rather ambiguously as to which woman he married first, the reasons for which will soon become obvious.

From the moment I first saw these connections, I was troubled by the fact that the James SIAS who was s/o Charles & Jane was born 1788 in Rockingham [now Merrimack] Co., NH, and died in 1865 in Orleans Co., VT. So how could he have had a child in VA/WV? The answer, as best I can tell, is that he couldn't have.

I do not have the primary source for the marriage of James SIAS and Patience DWIER, but secondary sources give an exact date of 18 Apr 1803, in Orleans Co., VT, and an exact date implies that someone has a primary source, so I'm taking that date as secure [if you have the source, please share it!]. And at least the date and place for the marriage make sense because James's parents were in the 1810 Census of Orleans Co., VT, and James would have been 24 when he married Patience, near the average age for a man's first marriage.

Some secondary sources have Patience (DWIER) SIAS dying in Huntingdon Co., PA, ca. 1812 (although if true, it would have to have been in or bef. 1810), apparently to support the notion that James, s/o Charles & Jane, came to that county and married Sophia CORBIN, who is said by some secondary sources to be the daughter of Benjamin & Sarah (SIAS) CORBIN.

Sophia CORBIN is said to have been born 1776 in Baltimore Co., MD, which is where she would have to have been born if she was the daughter of Benjamin & Sarah (SIAS) CORBIN. Although Benjamin & Sarah both died in Baltimore Co., a large contingent of their kin moved on to Huntingdon Co., PA, so if Sophia was born in Maryland and married in Huntingdon Co., PA, there is a case to be made for her being kin to these CORBINs, though she could not be the daughter of Benjamin & Sarah (SIAS) CORBIN.

Sarah (SIAS) CORBIN was the maternal grandmother of Keziah (GREENLAND) SHANAFELT. In 1858, Keziah wrote a letter to her son giving what she knew of the family history. The children she indicated for Sarah did not include Sophia, and surely a daughter knows her mother's siblings. Also, an examination of the numerical data from the 1790 Census record of Benjamin CORBIN leaves no room among the children for Sophia.

So, if Sophia is not the daughter of Benjamin & Sarah (SIAS) CORBIN, is she perhaps their niece? I don't believe the children of Benjamin's brothers are sufficiently well known to rule that out, but there is another datum that makes any relationship to this family remote: the 1880 Census of Lincoln Co., WV, in which James SIAS (b. 1811/2, VA) gives the birthplace of his mother as NC and the birthplace of his father as VA.

Unless the 1880 Census is wrong, then not only are the MD/PA CORBINs ruled out as his mother Sophia's kin, the Vermont SIASes are ruled out as his father James's kin. And another census record putting the final coup de grāce on a connection to the SIASes in Vermont is the 1850 census.

In the 1850 Census of Orleans Co., VT, James and Patience SIAS are still together, ruling out Patience's death ca. 1810 and any possibility that James was married to the Sophia CORBIN who birthed James in VA in 1811/2. The only conceivable way (no pun intended) for James of VT to be the father of James of WV is for the son to be an illegitimate child conceived in VT and for Sophia to have fled to VA to birth him, which is pretty far-fetched. But that would still not explain why James, in the 1880 census, gave his parents' birthplaces as VA and NC. I think we have to conclude that there is no possibility of the James SIAS of WV being the s/o James SIAS (1788-1865) of VT, especially when there is a viable alternative.

There is a SIAS/SIERS family in the 1700s of Prince William Co., VA, that moved on to Monroe Co., VA/WV. And there are CORBINs in NC. The genealogy of these families is not well known and, if anything, contains more anomalies (is a bigger headache) than the New England SIASes. But surely it is among these southern families that we should seek the origins of James SIAS (b. 1811/2, VA).

Please see these family group sheets:

These family group sheets are very much "Under Construction," and I do not have the Virginia SIAS/SIERS sheets sufficiently sorted out to post them. Still, I felt it time to point out the difficulties of the pedigree floating about online. If you have evidence to support or refute my conclusions, please do present it. We would all welcome it. My purpose here is not to prove myself right or anyone else wrong. My aim is to uncover the truth.

Lastly, I would like to ask, does anyone know the source for James's parents being James & Sophia (SIAS) CORBIN? All the sources I have are secondary.


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