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Generation VI: Epaphroditus & Temperance Penley

Epp & Temperance Penley

By the 1780’s, the collision course that would unite Mitchell Penley and Helen Horne wrapped around Clinch Mountain and Copper Creek, with each of their ancestors firmly placed by Divine Providence on homesteads in Russell/Scott County. The genealogist who chased Penleys and Hornes across the Atlantic and throughout the colonies is now greatly relieved to trudge through the dusty records of just one county.

Epp's Father, Thomas Penley

The only positive record linking Thomas Penley of North Farnham Parish to Epaphroditus Penley of Scott County is Epp’s death notice provided to the local court by his daughter Nancy after his death on March 19, 1868. The death notice documents that Epp was the son of Thomas and Milley Penley and that Epp himself was born in Virginia around 1784. Finding no contradictory evidence, this research will take Epp’s death notice at face value. (See Epp’s death notice)

Epp's death notice proves that Thomas and Milley Penley were in Virginia at the time of Epp's birth circa 1784. But thus far only circumstantial evidence has been found that Thomas Penley (born 1732, Richmond County, Virginia) arrived in Washington/Russell/Scott County during the 1780’s. It is proposed here that Thomas Penley was in the Clinch Mountain area by 1782, and that Epp's father was the Thoams P[en]tley found on the damaged, faded and torn 1782 Washington County Personal Property Tax List.
P...tley, THoams 1 tithable 1 horse 2 cattle


As Epp was born in Virginia around 1784, and no Thomas Penley’s name has ever been found among the extensive Penley records in Burke County, North Carolina beginning in the 1770’s, it is tentatively deduced that he did not join his brothers in the move to North Carolina, and that Thomas Penley died in Virginia.

Recently noticed on the 1791 Russell County Personal Property Tax List for the Upper District is a name interpreted as Thomas Pacely. The Pacely name is not yet found on any other deed or document in Washington/Russell/Scott county, and theoretically it could be the smeared name of Thomas Penley.

Thomas Pacely is listed, indicating that there was a Pacely household, but a tithable number of (0). This could mean that Thomas Pacely was excused from taxes because of "age or infirmities" as Joshua was, or it could indicate the death of Thomas Pacely during the tax year, with no other males over age 16 in the home. Thomas Penley of Farnham, born 1732, would have been 59 by 1791. An attempt will be made to view the original document to rule Thomas Pacely in or out of the Penley research.

Epp may have moved often during first ten years between the Penley homestead in Virginia and the Penleys in North Carolina. Until Chief Benge was finally captured and beheaded in 1794, the Clinch mountain area, Washington/Russell/Scott was fraught with Indian troubles. Dragging Canoe told new settlers they were buying "dark and bloody land". Settlers often took their families elsewhere for safety every summer, and only dared venture back to their homes in winter or safer times. After 1794, settlers flooded back to their homes and there were many disputes over fraudulant deeds and squatters. Thomas Penley may have had a fraudulent land deed, or he may have died before he could get his land surveyed and recorded. Please see Generation V chapters for details on the Indian troubles and fraudulent land deeds.

Epp's Mother, Milley Penley

It appears that our Thomas Penley died when his son Epaphroditus Penley was a very young boy, and that his mother, Milley or Amelia may have deserted her child(ren) to be raised by the Penleys in Burke County. Because Thomas was 52 - 57 years old when Epp was born, it is proposed that Milley may have been younger, and perhaps a second wife for Thomas. Documentation is found in Burke County, North Carolina court records that an Amelia Penley absconded with a John Stillwell in 1787, leaving the county owing money to Penley neighbors. William Penley Jr. (who was married to Luransey, not Amelia) gave court testimony. For more details on Epp's parents, please see Generation V: Chapter 3: Thomas Penley After 1754.

Was Epp raised by Uncle Joshua?

Penley researchers have long concluded that Epp was probably raised in Uncle Joshua's custody, as there were no other Penley adult males in the area. There is no proof that they all resided in the same household. Young Epp may have been holding on to his dead father's homestead with the help of relatives. Male children were not counted until they reached the age of sixteen, and were not recorded under their own name until age 21, unless married.

Women’s names were not listed at all, unless they were landed widows and head of their own household. Epp’s mother Milley may have been on the premises, or Joshua could have had a wife. Since Epp, John, and Nancy Penley all named a child Alice, Joshua and Thomas Penley’s sister Alice, born 1733 may have had some continuing influence on Generation VI, perhaps living in the household or nearby.

Epaphroditus may have had a brother and/or sister with him. A Nancy Penley married Samuel Canady around 1808. A Samuel Penley, age 81, born in Virginia is found on the 1870 Cannon County, Tennessee Census. Samuel and Nancy could theoretically be the children or grandchildren of William, Joshua or Thomas Penley. Their ages place them with Epp’s Penley Generation VI, so they are included here for reference, although no relationship is documented. The names of Samuel and Nancy are abundant among the descendants of Epp and Tempie Penley.

A working hypothesis at this time is that Nancy Penley, born 1791 in North Carolina (married Samuel Canady) was the daughter of Joshua. Joshua’s proven son John Penley is documented as born in North Carolina, 1784. Land deeds and tax lists document Joshua's North Carolina residence in this era. Both John and Nancy Penley Canady left Scott County near 1830, and both died in Wayne County, Kentucky.

Penleys in Russell/Scott County, by 1799

Evidence of Thomas Penley's residence in Russell/Scott County is only circumstantial. But by 1799, Penleys absolutely resided in the Lower District of Russell/Scott County by 1799, and many of Epp’s descendants remain there today. The name of Joshua Penley (born 1736, Richmond County, Virginia) appears on the 1799 Personal Property Tax List. Joshua would have been 63 years old by this time, and he was excused from taxation beginning in 1803 due to “age or infirmities”. See Generation V: Chapter 6: Uncle Joshua for more details on Joshua.

Beginning in 1805, Epp and Temperance Penley had twelve children who each listed Scott County, Virginia as their birthplace in redundant records.

Epp and wife Temperance Penley both gave their ages as 61 on the 1850 Census, and as 71 on the 1860 Census, which marks both of their births near 1788. Upon his death in 1868, Epp’s daughter Nancy declared his age as 84, marking his birth four years earlier in 1784. Nancy’s designation of Epp’s birth at 1784 is more consistent with other data on Epp and the possible discovery of his mother Milley in the 1787 Burke County court records. Epp registered 7 children born before the 1820 census, and his oldest known living child was daughter Jane, born by 1805. This research will use the 1784 birth date for Epp, ever mindful that he could have been born as late as 1789.

Epaphroditus Penley

Epp Penley was born in Virginia around 1784, but according to recurring census returns, Temperance was born in North Carolina, also in 1784. It appears that Tempie’s family moved to Scott County after her birth. North Carolina at one time included the entire state of Tennessee, so Tempie could have been born a few miles away from Epp, just south of the Scott County line. Temperance Penley’s family ties will be analyzed later in this chapter.

Because their oldest surviving child was Jane, born in 1805 at Scott County Virginia, their marriage is estimated to have occurred in 1804, either in Virginia or North Carolina. Both Epp and Tempie were positively residents of Russell/Scott County by 1805, as every single one of their TWELVE surviving adult children listed their birthplace as Scott County, Virginia, some of them citing the specific community of Estillville.

Between 1804 and the 1820 census, Epp and Tempie gave birth to two daughters and five sons. Only four (Hiram, Ira, John, Samuel) survived to adulthood. At least one young son died in childhood before 1830, and another son mentioned in the 1830 Census as under 5 is not present by 1840. If census documents are correct, Temperance Penley gave birth to at least FOURTEEN children.

There may have been others who died in infancy before 1820, as there is a ten year gap between Nancy, born 1806, and Hiram, born 1816. That gap caused some researchers to question if Jane and Nancy were Epp's sisters, but documents have proven both to be Epp's daughters. When Hiram bought the other children's shares of Epp's estate, he gave the court information about his sister Nancy and Jane's children, and Epp's death notice documents Nancy as his daughter. It is possible that Epp gave standard Penley names of Thomas, William, or Joshua to children who did not survive, but that cannot to be proved.

The first primary source document proving Epaphroditus Penley’s residence in Virginia is the 1809 Personal Property Tax List for the Lower District of Russell County, which would become Scott County in 1814. In 1809, Ephesditis Penley is listed as head of his own household, with only himself as tithable.
1810 Russell County Personal Property Tax List
(Note: All households have 1 tithable unless otherwise noted.)
Penley, Ephesditis
Penley, Joshua - 0
Pennix, John

If they still exist, the 1804 - 1809 Russell County Tax Lists have not been published on line. Epp should have become tithable under his own name by 1805 at age 21 if he was born in 1784, or when he married his wife Temperance by 1805. A look at the tax lists for 1804 - 1809 could solve many mysteries about Epp’s birthdate and residence in Scott County.

Uncle Joshua Penley is continuously found on the Russell County Tax List from 1799 until his death in 1814. The John Pennix listed above is thought to actually be John Penley, the son of Joshua, as there is no son named John in the Penix household, their eldest son is named Isaac. Joshua’s son John Penley is documented to be on the premises in 1810, as he bought property on Big Moccasin Creek that year.
Page 334 - June 2, 1810 between Samuel Esteep and John Penley...on the waters of Big Mockerson Creek...50 ac...Beginning with Daversons patent line to Corban Lanes Joseph Jefferises line to David Gillums line to Thomas Prices line...Signed: Samuel Estep. Witnesses: Richard Gillum, Jesse Gillum, John Webb (RUSSELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA DEED BOOK 4 (1806 - 1814) Abstracted By Rhonda Robertson (

Epaphroditus Penley: Chronology of Relevant Data

June 6, 1732:

Thomas Penley born, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia


Possible Penley homestead in present day Scott County, Virginia:

P[en]tley, THoams 1 tithable 1 horse 2 cattle, Washington County Tax List


Circa 1784, Epaphroditus Penley, born in Virginia

Thomas Penley's death, proposed time frame.


Russell County formed from Washington County


February 27, 1787:
Amelia Penley absconded with John Stillwell from Burke County, North Carolina


Joshua Penley appears as one tithable on Russell County Personal Property Tax List


Pendley, Joshua and one tithable on Russell County Personal Property Tax List (either John or Epp reached tithable age)


Penley, Joshua and one tithable (John or Epp) on Russell County Personal Property Tax List
Penley, Joshua and two tithables on Russell County Personal Property Tax List (both John and Epp reached tithable age at 16) This document proves Epp in the same household with Joshua.


February 28, 1804:
Joshua Penley exempted from tax due to age or infirmities, Russell County , Virginia



Marriage of Epp and Temperance Penley in Virginia, proposed time frame.


Birth of Jane Penley, daughter of Epp and Temperance Penley, Scott County, Virginia. Documents consistently state Scott County, but Scott was not formed from Russell County until 1814. According to the 1858 Death Register of Scott County, Virginia, Jane Penley died March 25, 1858 at the age of 53. Her death record indicated both her birth and death at Copper Creek, and her parents as Epp and Temperance Penley, her death reported to authorities by her father, Epp Penley.


Birth of Nancy Penley, daughter of Epp and Temperance Penley, Scott County, Virginia. Documents consistently state Scott County, but Scott was not formed from Russell County until 1814.

March 4, 1806:

Joshua Penley purchased 30 acres on the north side of Copper Creek, Russell County (later Scott), Virginia.


Penley, Ephesditis: One Tithable, Russell County Personal Property Tax List.

June 2, 1810:

John Penley, son of Joshua, bought land on Big Moccasin Creek, Russell County, Virginia


Death of Uncle Joshua Penley


Scott County formed from Russell County

Sale of property of JOSHUA PENLEY; there is such recorded in Russell County VA (created from Washington Co in 1786) Will Book 3 – 1812-1821, c.362 pages, index (Reel 11). (Jerry Penley at
Birth of Hiram Penley, son of Epp and Temperance Penley, Scott County, Virginia. Hiram married Rachel Bays, the assumed daughter of Charles Bays of Scott County, on September 13, 1839. Hiram died on New Years Day, January 1 of 1878 in Scott County, Virginia.


Birth of Ira Penley, son of Epp and Temperance Penley, at Copper Ridge, Scott County, Virginia. Ira married Anna Bays, assumed daughter of Charles Bays of Scott County, on February 20, 1839. Ira Penley died July 7, 1872 in Scott County, Virginia.

Epp Penley purchased 100 acres on Copper Creek from Samuel Lane, for $200 cash in hand.


Birth of John Penley, born 1819 at Estillville, Scott County, Virginia; died 1876 in Scott Co., Virginia.


Samuel J. Penley, Sr., born 1820 in Scott Co., Virginia; died Aft. 1880.

1820: Federal Census Scott County, Virginia: August 7, 1820: "as of date"

1820 Epp Penley Census


Anna Penley, born 1824 in Estillville, Scott Co., Virginia. Anna married Reuben Bellomy of Scott County on January 17, 1839 at the estimated age of fifteen.


Aly Penley, born 18 May 1825 in Estillville, Scott Co., Virginia; died Abt. 1862 in Scott Co., Virginia.


Thompson Martin Penley, in Estillville, Scott Co., Virginia; died Aft. 1870 in Scott Co., Virginia.


Lovina Sarilda Penley, born 1829 in Scott Co., Virginia; died 16 Jan 1870 in Scott Co., Virginia.


James Newton Penley,(Reverend) born 1831 in Scott Co., Virginia; died 03 Jun 1893 in Dryden, Lee Co., Virginia.

June 1, 1830: Federal Census Scott County, Virginia
1830 Epp Penley Census Scott Co. Virginia 1830 Epp Penley household
3 males under 5 (Thompson-Martin, and James-Newton and 1 ?)
2 males 5-10 ( John, Samuel )
2 males 10-15 ( Hiram, Ira )
1 male 30-40 ( Epp )
1 female under 5 ( Lovina Sarilda )
2 females 5-10 ( Anna, Aly )
1 female 15-20 ( Nancy )
1 female 20-30 ( Jane )
1 female 30-40 ( Temperance ).


Thomas Eldridge Penley, born 1834 in Estillville, Scott Co., Virginia.

Andrew Penley, born 1837, the son of Epp and Tempie's daughter, Nancy Penley.
Wedding Bells were ringing for Epp and Tempie's children in 1839. The following marriages took place according to the Scott County Marriage Register found at
( ).
Ann Penley married Reuben Bellomy, January 17, 1839
Ira Penley married Anna Bays, February 20, 1839
Hiram Penley married Rachel Bays, September 13, 1839
1840: Federal Census Scott County, Virginia ("as of date" June 1, 1840):
Only eleven of Epp and Tempie’s children are found on the 1840 Census. Either John (age 21) or Samuel (age 20) is not counted in the 20-30 age group The census taker may have lost count, or one of the boys may have been living elsewhere.
1840 Penley Bellomy Census
p. 288 1840 Epp Penley Household:
1 male under 5 (Andrew Penley, son of daughter Jane)
1 male 5-10 (Thomas Eldridge Penley)
1 male 10-15 (James Newton Penley)
1 male 15-20 (Thompson Martin Penley)
1 male 20-30 (Samuel or John??)
1 male 50-60 (Epp)
1 female under 5 (Angeline Penley, daughter of daughter Jane)
0 female 5-10
1 female 10-15 (Lovina-Sarilda)
1 female 15-20 (Aly)
1 female 20-30 (Nancy)
1 female 30-40 (Jane)
1 female 50-60 (Temperance).
p. 315 1840 Hiram Penley Household:
Hiram married Rachel Bays, September 13, 1839
1 male 20-30 (Hiram Penley, born 1816, age 24)
1 female 20-30 (wife Rachel Bays Penley)
p. 288 1840 Ira Penley Household:
Ira married Anna Bays, February 20, 1839
1 male 20-30 (Ira Penley, born 1817)
1 female under 5 (daughter Elizabeth)
1 female 5-10 (unknown)
1 female 20-30 (wife Anna Bays Penley)
p. 288 1840 Reuben Bellomy Household:
Ann Penley married Reuben Bellomy, January 17, 1839
1 male 20-30 (Reuben Bellomy)
1 female 15-20 (wife Anna Penley Bellomy, born 1825, age 15)



Sometime near 1847, Samuel Penley married Elizabeth Bays.
Daughter Aley Penley married Anthony Foster, December 18, 1847, Scott County, Virginia.
Thompson Martin Penley married Polly Moore, May 19, 1847 in Scott County, Virginia.
Daughter Sarilda married Thomas Shoemaker, January 13, 1848, Scott County, Virginia.
There is no record of a marriage for Epp's oldest daughter, Jane, although she had two children during the 1840's. Nancy never married.


1850 Federal Census:

Epp Penley Census 1850

By 1850, the Scott County mountains were full of Penleys, a total of 45 people in Penley households. Epp and Tempy had 12 grown children, 7 were married with children. The 45 include 3 sons-in-law, 4 daughters-in-law, and 33 grandchildren. Also, daughter Sarilda Shoemaker had a step-son listed. For unknown reasons, daughter Aly (Alice) Foster had a Mahala Hammons, age 5, in her home, and Hiram Penley listed a James Lane, pauper, age 60 in his home.

Living very close to Epp's #14 household were Samuel Penley and Thompson-Martin Penley's families in households #16 and #17. The Hammons family lived nearby, in households #13 and #15. Not too very far away on the path taken by the census taker, Sarilda Penley Shoemaker lived in house #29. John Penley is listed as the owner of the land at household #38, but Anthony Foster is listed as the head of that household. Anna Penley Bellomy lived at #146 with her husband Reuben.

Hiram and Ira appear to have lived the furthest distance away, in households #1081 and #1090. The late Jerry Penley provided me with a drive-by tour of their homesteads, and would have given this research specific facts on their locations. Jerry had talked at length with the current owner of Ep Penley's property, and the gentleman had pointed out the location of the old cabin which he had removed, and related to Jerry the location of Epp's presumed grave on that property. Regrettably, the scenery and lively conversation distracted me from taking notes, and we lost Jerry in 2006. It is hoped that Jerry's brother, Charles Penley, can tell me where we were that day.

As cheap as property was in Scott County at this time, it is curious that only Epp and his son John owned property by 1850, and even as late at 1860 the same was true. This was obviously a close knit family. Many other families splintered off during this era, most moving on to Kentucky, but the Penleys of Scott County remained clustered near Copper Creek and Clinch Mountain.

By 1860, John Penley had married Laura or Lavina Adams. (The 1860 Census clearly states Laura, family records indicate Lavina.) James had married Louisa Hood, and Thomas Eldridge Penley had married Kezia Estep.

The collected 1860 Federal Census entries provided below show 62 persons living in Penley households, but three children are missing from the list. The eldest child, Jane, died in 1858.  The Thomas Eldridge Penley, Anna Penley Bellamy census files were erroneously not collected, and should be added below. They, and their known children would add another 17 persons to the 1860 list, bringing a total of 79 persons living in Penley Households by 1860.

Temperance and Samuel's wife, Elizabeth Bays Penley had occupations listed as WEAVERS. All the other Penley daughters and daughters-in-law, and granddaughters over age 15 were listed as SPINSTERS. The men gave their occupation as FARMERS.

By 1860, all of Epp Penley's sons are listed as LITERATE, except Thompson Martin Penley and possibly Thomas Eldridge Penley. All of Epp and Temperance's daughters are listed as ILLITERATE, but 16 of their grandchildren are listed as enrolled in school during the previous year.
1860 A Epp Penley's Kids
1860 B Epp Penley's Kids