The progenitor of the WEGER family in Illinois is Abraham WEGER, b. abt. 1782 in Tennessee. A published book, entitled "The Weger Families" by Mrs. Joyce L. Spencer, speculates that William E. WEGER, descendant of David WEGER of England may indeed be the father of the Illinois group. It looks like William E.'s children are a combination of his and Abraham's. I have spoken to Mrs. Spencer, and she has informed me that she published the information back in 1978 so as to get it out and generate discussion. She realizes that there may be errors in the work (especially the earliest generations where records were sparse). I personally suspect that Abraham and David WEGER of Eastern TN may be related, but I'm not yet certain how.
Abraham's first wife was recently discovered to be Joycy FORD. They were married on 8 Feb 1804 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. This is an interesting development, given that the FORD name is so prominent among the marriages of their sons and other families in the Crawford County, Illinois area. However, no link has yet been established between Joycy and the other Ford families that the Wegers later intermarried with. Abraham and Joycy were the parents of at least 6 children:
- James M., b. abt. 1808/1809, d. 1 Feb 1875. (Married (1) Sally FORD and (2) Mary Ann THOMPSON).
- William, b. 5 May 1811 (I think his headstone is incorrect based on census data and other sources), d. 5 Oct 1884. (Married (1) Elizabeth C. HIGHSMITH and (2) Nancy Olivia LACKEY).
- John, b. abt. 1813. (Married (1) Cynthia Ann FORD and (2) Nancy McGUIRE).
- Mary Ann, b. abt. 1817. (Married James McCORKLE).
- Samuel, b. abt. 1823, d. 20 Dec 1891. (Married Josey Ann FORD).
- Achilles "Killis", b. abt. 1825. (Married Mary LANDERS or SANDERS).
By following the birthplaces of Abraham's children in the census, I have been able to (I think!) put together a timeline of Abraham's life.
It is believed that Abraham's oldest son James was born in eastern TN. I have been unable to locate Abraham there, as there are no extant (existing) census records for 1810 East TN, as they have all been lost. I have also checked early East TN tax lists, looking for Abraham, to no avail. Given that Abraham and Joycy were married in Jefferson County, TN, this a probable location for the birth of their early children, and definitely needs to be researched more in depth. His second son, William claims in various census records to have been born in TN and KY. Assuming that they moved to KY during his young life, I checked in KY and found the following in 1820:
1820 Federal Census of Owen Co., Kentucky, pg. 105 (LDS FHL Film # 0186184):
Free white males: 1- Under 10; 2- 10-16; 1- 26-45;
Free white females: 1- Under 10; 1- 26-45.
Given that the ages of Abraham's children fit this profile, I suspect that this is indeed him.
Also, a marriage record has been located in Owen Co., KY for Abraham WAGER and Mrs. Elizabeth WOOD on 14 July 1825. Given the birth year of Abraham's youngest son, Achilles is listed as approximately 1825 (based on census reports), then it is possible that Abraham's first wife, and the mother of his children died in or shortly after childbirth. He then married the widow Elizabeth WOOD (it states in the record that she is the widow of William WOOD) to help him care for his young family. There is also the possibility that Elizabeth was the mother of Achilles and that he was actually born in the first part of 1826 after their marriage. This is unknown at this time. If anyone else has any information that would shed light on this, please let me know!
In 1830, the following was found in Illinois:
1830 Federal Census of Lawrence Co., Illinois, pg. 269 (LDS FHL Film #0007650)
Free white males: 2- 5-10; 1- 40-50;
Free white females: 1- 10-15; 1- 30-40.
Again, this age distribution matches the children remaining in Abraham's household and moves him even closer to Crawford Co., where we find him in 1840. His youngest son, Achilles, claims to have been born in Indiana around 1825. I believe that Abraham probably moved through Indiana from Kentucky, on his way to Illinois. Mary Ann WEGER, Abraham's daughter, is found to have married James McCORCLE in Vanderburgh Co., Indiana on 7 May 1835. They are still living in Vanderburgh Co. in 1840.
1840 Federal Census of Crawford Co., Illinois, pg. 294 (LDS FHL Film #0007641)
Free white males: 1- 20-30; Free white females: 1- Under 5; 1- 20-30.
Free white males: 1- 5-10; 1- 15-20; 1- 30-40; Free white females: 1- Under 5; 1- 20-30.
Free white males: 1- Under 5; 1- 20-30; Free white females: 1- 5-10; 1- 20-30.
Free white males: 1- 15-20; 1- 50-60; Free white females: 1-50-60.
It is evident that one of the younger brothers, either Samuel or Achilles (I suspect Samuel, as he married James' sister-in-law), is living with James, probably helping him out with the farm work, as opposed to living with his parents.
It appears that Abraham had died by 1848, as his widow, Elizabeth (maiden name?) WOOD WEGER married Thornton RANDALL in Crawford County, Illinois on 17 Nov 1848. Elizabeth, age 55, died of pneumonia in Apr 1850, and Thornton RANDALL is found living with his son George in the 1850 Census of Crawford County, page 214.
If you can add any information to the above data or have any questions, please contact me. Thank you!
Copyright © 1998-2019 by Mary Kathryn Kozy
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