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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Monday, March 5, 2018

52.10: Strong Woman; Haney Mozingo McKinney

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

I have a confession: I don't keep a research log.

I can tell you in general where I went, probably the decade I went there. If I photocopied something (pre-digital days), I tried to write the name of the book on the copy. 

So, the actual day I first met Haney McKinney is lost to history. I was with my cousin Jane; we traveled to Frankfort, Kentucky, to the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Probably in the early 2000s. I think we went with the intention of researching our shared line, the Tarrs/Torrs.  We happened upon an index reference to some court cases involving that name, and requested to see them. Little did we know the treasure trove heading our way.

Jane and I share as common ancestors John Tarr and Hannah McKinney. The Tarrs, also found as Torr and Toor, are shrouded in genealogical mystery. As for Hannah, we didn't really know anything about her before her marriage to John which took place in Shelby County, Kentucky on October 19, 1804. We weren't particularly focused on her line.

The court case files brought to us were in archival boxes, the cases separated into folders. The folders we opened that day were of our ancestor, John Tarr, suing someone named Haney McKinney, and of Haney McKinney's countersuit. It turned out Haney McKinney was his mother-in-law, and they were scrapping over the estate of her son John McKinney.

As part of the case, Haney was awarded a dedimus by the court. I had never seen that word before. According to Merriam-Webster, it means a writ to commission a private person to perform some act in place of a judge (as to examine a witness).

Leaving her home in Shelby County, Kentucky, Haney McKinney traveled to Culpeper County, Virginia, a distance of over 500 miles. On March 25, 1806, she gathered testimony from several people at the tavern of Burtis Ringo. It is through these testimonies I learned about Haney's early life. I know of no other source for these stories. I'll let them speak for themselves, interjecting occasionally to clarify. The spellings are left intact.

"The following depositions was taken at the house of Burtice Ringo in the Town of Woodville in the County of Culpeper this 25th day of March 1806. To be read into evidence in a sute now depending in the Shelby Circute Court wherein Haney McKenney is plantiff and John Tarr Defendant in pursuance of the Anexed Commission and Notice."

The first testimony came from Haney's brother, John Mozingo.
"John Mosingo aged forty two years being duly sworn before us Daniel Brown & James Green Jnr. Two of the Justices of the peace for the county of Culpeper in the State of Virginia, deposeth and sayeth that about twenty two years ago John McKenny and Hany McKenny (who were then man and wife) did about that time part and as I understood by mutual consent and did also divide what property they then had by concent also and that after about Twelve months from the time of this parting the said Jno. McKenny left this part of the country and as I understood went to Greenbrier County. I have since understood that he and a woman which went off with him died. I further know that the property which the said Hany McKenny had out of the Estate of the said Jno McKinny was very little and that she had debts to pay which the said John McKenny had created and that she had very little left after paying them, and further this deponent sayeth not.

1st question by the plaintiff:
Do you not know that Hanie McKenny’s Father became security for her in the year that she parted with her husband for the purchase of corn.

Answer: I know he did

And further this deponent sayeth not.
John Mosingo    his  X   mark"

The next witness was Nancy Mozingo, married to Haney's brother Charles.
"Nancy Mosingo alias Williamson aged forty two years being duly sworn before us Daniel Brown and James Green Jr. Two of the Justices of the peace for the county of Culpeper in the State of Virginia. This deponent deposeth and sayeth I lived with John McKenny and Hany his wife at the time they parted and that they did by mutual concent part and divide their property and that the property which was left for the said Hany McKinny was three cows three yearlings and one calf. Two Hogs and one pig and  few articles in the house which in all were not in my opinion worth more than twenty shillings out of which property she was to pay the debts due by the said John McKinny, which were as follows Five pounds to Elijah Chich, Twenty six shillings to William Brodley which she had the cost of a petion to pay ____ Boon Between three and four pounds beside several other small debts for which she was warranted and had to pay, and further this deponent sayeth not.
Nancy Mosingo   her X Mark Alias Williamson"
Haney's brother George Mozingo testified:
"George Mosingo aged forty six years being duly sworn before us Daniel Brown and James Green Jr. two of the Justices of the peace for the county of Culpeper in the State of Virginia. This deponent sayeth that Haney McKenny had very little property left her at the time of her parting with her husband I know she had no horse kind nor do I believe she had a bed. She had some stock of cattle and hogs and to very little amount. I further know that she had several debts to pay which John McKenney her husband had contracted and that some of the property left with her was taken to satisfy one of them. I further know he left her little or no corn and that she was assisted by myself and others with that article on account of her distressed situation. I further know that by her Industry and care she acquired property to considerable amount before she left this country and further this deponent sayeth not.
George Mosingo  his  X   mark"

There are some other depositions, but they all agree with those given here. Haney Mozingo was married to John McKinney, I estimate around 1777. They had five children that I know of when they agreed to separate in 1784, most likely all under the age of six or seven. Although the testimonies say they split their possessions, it sounds as though Haney was left with the debts. She didn't have enough money left to buy corn to plant the next year's crop. Through a loan from her father, and help from her brothers and others, she was able to get through that year.

Haney Mozingo McKinney never remarried. She raised her children, moving from Culpeper County, Virginia to Shelby County, Kentucky around 1800. 

In the lawsuit that started all this discovery, Haney's son John McKinney had died, and her son-in-law John Tarr was settling his estate. Haney said one of the horses listed as inventory was hers, John Tarr disagreed. She was willing to put up quite a ruckus to get this horse back, and through that I learned a lot about her.

I have collected several other documents and sources for Haney McKinney over the years. I'll close with her final one, an indenture that reads like a will:
"This indenture made this 4th day of October 1819 between Haney McKinney of the County of Shelby State of Kentucky of the one part & John Skelton of the same County of the other part witnesseth that the said Haney for & in consideration of the sum of one Dollar to her in hand paid for & in consideration of  the natural love & affection which she hath doth bond to her grandson John Skelton hath granted bargained & sold & by these presents doth convey unto the said John & his heirs forever the following property to wit: Bena & Rose two negro girls together with all my house hold furniture & stock of every Discription & all & every species of Property belonging to me. & it is to be understood that said John Skelton is to give at my death to Charles Weathers the above named negro girl Rose or $300 in cash which ever the said John Skelton may choose. To have & to hold the said negroes & Other property to him the said John Skelton & His heirs & the said Haney McKinney for herself & her heirs hereby agrees to warrant & Defend said property against herself & her heirs & against the claim of all other persons whatever. If said John should die without lawfull Issue the said property is to Decend to Wilmoth Weathers heirs In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal the date above. Test Geo W. Johnston
                                                                                Haney McKinney {seal}"
This came from the Shelby County, Kentucky Deed Book Q, p. 168. 

Haney Mozingo McKinney led a hardscrabble life. Based on the number of lawsuits she filed, I'm not sure she was the most pleasant of people, but she was one strong woman I am certainly glad to claim as my ancestor.

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