(John, Sr. - Lewis - James - John)

Jesse Scalf, son of John Scalf, Sr. and Edeah Carlisle Scalf, was born in 1811 in Tennessee, probably Hawkins County. He was one of the seven sons of John Scalf, Sr. who were apprenticed in 1820 by the Russell County, Va. court. He married Elizabeth Collins. She was born in Clay County, Kentucky.

We are indebted to the 1860 Clay County, Kentucky, Census for information on the family. At that time he was engaged in farming and owned real estate. He was age 49 and his wife 34, a difference of 15 years. They were probably married in the mid-1840's for his eldest son, Eli, was born in Clay County in 1837. Other children, according to this census, were Emeline, born 1850; Ibia (Isabell ?), born 1853, Blackstone ("Blackglove"), born 1856; Millard, born 1859. There were a Nancy Fields, 18 and a Mary A. Scalf, 17, residing with the family at the time of the census. Their relationship to the family has not been established.

According to records of birth in Clay County in the 1850's, an infant with no name given it was born to Jesse and Elizabeth (Eliza) Scalf, July 9, 1854 and a son, Ashberry, was born Jan. 21, 1856. The birth of Ashberry corresponds to the birth year of Blackstone. The discrepancy remains unsolved but is probably chargeable to the laxity of the clerks or census enumerators.

Patsy Scalf, wife of John Scalf, Jr., in a deposition made in 1845 to assist John Scalf, Sr. in procuring a Revolutionary War pension, stated that Jesse Scalf had eight children by that date. If so, and Patsy has proven to be highly accurate in many matters, some of the children by 1860 were either dead or married and living in their own households, probably the latter. If Patsy was correct in 1845 then we must add those eight children to Jesse's six born between 1845 and 1860. This would make 14 children in the family, not highly improbable at all in those years.

Jesse lived most of his life and died in Clay County. He patented 50 acres of land on Big Creek, August 28, 1866. It is said that he acquired a large boundary of land before his death. As to the circumstances of his death there is confusion in the traditionary accounts. Emory Scalf, descendant of Greenberry Scalf and Sally Ann Johnson Scalf, relates the tradition extant in his family group that Miles Scalf and Jesse Scalf engaged in a gun fight in Clay County with members of the Sizemore family. He says that six of the Sizemores were killed. Later, the Sizemores ambushed Jesse and shot him to death.

Some of the descendants of Jesse Scalf intermarried with the Sizemore family and live now at Creekville, Clay County. Millard Scalf, Manchester, Clay County, is a descendant of Millard Scalf, son of Jesse who was born 1859. Millard (of Manchester) is a son of Lee Scalf, who was a son of the first Millard. Lee Scalf was killed when Millard was a mere boy. Lee had one brother, Chester Scalf, who deceased many years prior to the preparation of this manuscript. Other descendants of Jesse Scalf married into the Amburgey and Martin families of Leslie and Knott counties. One Martha (Polly) Scalf married William (Limpy Bill) Amburgey, ca 1860.

                    (Robert, Sr. - John, Sr. - Lewis - James - John)

Robert Scalf, son of the Revolutionary War soldier, John Scalf, Sr. was born about 1810, This is a date arrived at by considering all of the meager evidence available from census reports and other material~ One date, 1817, is clearly inferred in one record but this would make him only about 16 years old when one of his daughters, listed in the 1840 Perry County, Kentucky, Census, was born, calculated as the year 1833 - clearly a possibility but not likely. This date of 1810 is in line with the above Perry County Census that lists his age as between 30-40 years.

He was one of the children indentured by the Russell County, Va. court in 1820. He would have been approximately ten years old at the time, There is no record as to whom he was indentured or what skill he was to learn.

The 1840 Perry County, Ky. Census gives us the first authentic evidence on the Robert Scalf family. He was married and had four children. His wife, due to the paucity of demands of the 1840 Census, is unnamed but her age is given as between 20-30 years. We can identify only a daughter, Malinda, born in 1837. There was a son between 5-10 years old, another son under five years and another daughter between 5-10 years.

When the family shows up in the 1850 Clay County Census his wife is named Martha and listed as 36 years of age. Robert is listed as 33 which would make his birth year as 1817, a year borne out by the succeeding census which lists him as 43 years old in 1860. For the reasons stated above in the first paragraph these ages are possibly in error. Besides Malinda, 13 years old, four other children are named. These were Minerva, age 7, Celia A., 6, Greenberry, 2, and William, 1. All are listed as born in Kentucky. It is indicated here that Martha was a second wife for six years intervened between Malinda and Minerva. The children listed as born in the calculated and estimated years of 1833, 1835, and 1839, are not listed in this 1850 census. This could be chargeable to the laxity with which early census enumerations were made.

It is clear from the 1860 Clay County, Kentucky, Census that Robert had remarried, perhaps for the third, certainly for the second time. His wife is here listed as Easley, age 38, born in Kentucky, whereas Martha had been listed in the preceding census as 36 years of age. Malinda, Minerva, and Celia A., were not named. We know that Malinda was married and the other two could have been staying in another household. Greenberry was listed in the 1850 Census as born in Kentucky but in this 1860 Census he is said to have been born in Tennessee. Considering the evidence, it is almost certain that he was born in Kentucky. Three new children are named in the 1860 Clay County Census - Robert, Jr., Peter, and Britton. Robert was 5 years of age, Peter 3, and Britton 1. All three were born in Clay County, as was their mother, Easley. (This name Easley was probably a corrupted spelling of Elsey or Elsie).

Robert Scalf, Sr. must have arrived in the rugged fastness of Perry County, Kentucky, early in the 1830's when he was in his early twenties. He was probably unmarried or married soon afterward. No records of his marriages have been found. He moved from Perry County, which was created in 1820, to Clay County between 1840 and 1850. Clay was created in 1806 so we know that his removal from Perry to Clay actually occurred and was not the result of mere adjustment of county lines.

Many of the descendants of Robert, Sr., still live in Southeastern Kentucky but many migrated north, chiefly to Indiana. Near all the Scalfs in the Indianapolis area trace ancestry to him.

Malinda married William Payne, March 19, 1854, Clay County, Ky. She was 19, he was 30 years old. Her sister, Minerva, married Washington Smith, 21, April 15, 1858, Clay County. There is a traditionary account of a Greenberry Scalf being killed in the Civil War but since the name was common to the Scalf family it is conceivable that it was another Greenberry and not the son of Robert. If true, Greenberry was only about 15 years old, slightly younger, perhaps older. There was a Greenberry Scalf residing in the household of a Ransome Stewart, in Clay County, in 1850, age 24. There is a possibility that this was the Greenberry Scalf killed in the war. He was born in Tennessee.

Robert Scalf, Jr. married Lilly Wingham, the date and place unknown but it was probably in Clay County. His children were Lee, William Earl, Ivy, Daniel, Frank, Paul and George. Many of his descendants migrated to Northern industrial sites.

There is a tradition that Edy Scalf, mother of Robert, and widow of John Scalf, Sr. lived in the household of Robert awhile in her declining years, alternating between his home and that of her other son, Ira. Just when Robert Scalf, Sr. died is unknown but he does not appear on the 1880 Clay County Census. He probably succumbed to senility on a fork of Otter Creek, Clay County, where he had patented 50 acres of land, Nov. 1, 1864.

There is a tradition that William M. Scalf, son of Robert, Sr. married Mary Elizabeth Denning, a daughter of John and Nancy Hankins Denning. According to family records, William M. was married July 18, 1871. The family Bible says he was born in Clay County, May 3, 1851, a date that is in variance to the extent of two or three years to the 1850 Clay County Census. He died Feb. 22, 1922, in Jefferson County, Ind. His later years extended into the present century so that tradition that he was a son of Robert, Sr. can be accepted as he most certainly discussed his parents with his descendants. One son, William Avery Scalf, was born June 4, 1883, at Canaan, Jefferson County, married March 3, 1901, Minnie Myrtle Wingham, born Trimble County, Ky., April 15, 1885, died Nov. 4, 1954, Columbus, Ind. She was a daughter of Benjamin and Virginia Bell Perry Wingham. William Avery Scalf died Nov. 14, 1952, at Columbus.

One son of William Avery Scalf and Minnie M. Wingham Scalf was Harold Everett Scalf, born April 22, 1902, Indianapolis, Ind., died June 12, 1961 at Columbus. He married, Dec. 13, 1930, Myrtle Elizabeth Beshear, born April 4, 1913, Elizabethtown, Ind. Mrs. Scalf was a daughter of James Lindley Beshear and Daisy Belle Daughterty (Daughter of John and Ella Brown Daughterty.)

A son of Harold Everett and Myrtle E. Beshear Scalf is Harold Lloyd Scalf, born Aug. 22, 1931, Elizabethtown, Ind. He married Evelyn Elizabeth Brower, Dec. 12, 1952. Harold Lloyd Scalf resides at 1829 St. Joe Center Road, Fort Wayne, Ind. 46805.

Britton Scalf, born 1859, and named for his uncle, Brittan Scalf, of Russell County, Va., married but the name of his wife is unknown. His children were Homer B., Alonzo, Wm. Arthur, Orvil Lee, Samuel Phillip, Myrtle, and Mildred. Wm. Arthur married Mary Loux and had children Arthur, Jr., now (1968) a minister in Noblesville, Ind.; Mary Emogene, Margaret Emeline; Charles Eugene; David Lee.

(John, Sr. - Lewis - James - John)

There were two William Scalfs in the family of John Scalf, Sr. and Edeah Carlisle Scalf. For this information we rely upon the deposition of Patsy Scalf, wife of John Scalf, Jr. Being a daughter-in-law of John Scalf, Sr., we are inclined to accept her deposition as accurate. Other parts of the deposition, long and detailed, has been found to be accurate in many respects. She stated that both Williams were dead by 1845.

One of the sons, William, was indentured in 1820 by the Russell County Court to Stephen Gose to learn the skill of farming. He was a frail child but old enough at the time to work on the roads of the county, a task that Stephen Gose assigned him. William's father took him off the work and a court battle erupted that was to have repercussions for years. (See Chapter, BITTER YEARS).

Following the death of one William, another son was born to John, Sr. and Edeah. They named him William after the deceased child. This naming of a son after a deceased brother is not totally unique. It occurred in many families, once again in the Scalf family. Melvin Scalf (Hezekiah-Brittan-John, Sr.) had a son, Walter, who died in Washington. When Melvin returned to Kentucky he remarried and renamed the eldest son of this union, Walter. If this, had become a common custom through the years many genealogists would have deserted the profession.

The name, William, like many other Scalf names of Berry (Greenberry, or Berryman), John, James, Jesse, and Lee adds heavily to the task of sorting out the various relationships. As one researcher on the family remarked, "There are so many Williams, Berrys and Johns that it is a relief to find a Noah or Chester." The name, William, has been common to the family for two and a half centuries. John Scalf, Sr. probably bestowed the name William in honor of a William Scalf who was living at the time in North Carolina.

In 1810, when Lewis Scalf, father of John, Sr. was residing in Wilkes County, North Carolina, a William Scalf was the head of a separate household. He was probably either a brother or son of Lewis. He was certainly not the William, son of John, Sr. Lewis and William Scalf were the only two Scalf families in Wilkes at the time.

One William Scalf of the Nineteenth Century is easily identified. He was a son of Malachi and Diannah Scalf and, according to the 1850 Carter County, Tennessee, Census, was born in Tennessee in 1842. Another William, was in the Washington County, Tenn., Census in 1880 with a wife, Mary. He was a Union soldier and had children although they are not listed in the census.

A William Scalf married Talitha Salf, Sept. 29, 1839, in Hawkins County, Tennessee. Salf was a Hancock County, Tennessee, family. This William and Talitha Scalf appear in the 1850 Claiborne County, Tennessee. Census with these children: Henry R.M., 9, Mary J., 8, David, 6, John, 5, Martha, 3, and Sarah, 1. William was listed as age 31, born in Virginia, and Talitha, age 25, born in Virginia. This could conceivably have been a son of John, Sr. but to accept this would be to deny the accuracy of Patsy Scalf's deposition which we are not inclined to do.

The writer's co-worker, Mrs, Elsie Payne Archer, Springfield, Ill., in commenting on this William and Talitha Scalf, wrote: "In the same Claiborne County census I find John, Jr. and his family, Polly and Alexander Trent, and children. Ira and Roseannah Scalf and children, and the McVey family. Nancy McVey later married Ira Scalf as his second wife. At this time Nancy was living with William Killion, age 82, whom I suppose to have been her father since Amanda Killion, age 16, is also listed and we know that she later married a William Scalf. Three Collins families were interspersed in the census and we know there were intermarriages between the Collinses and Scalfs." This proves only, and that by inference, that there was a close relationship between the William Scalf who married Talitha Salf and the John Scalf, Sr. family. Mrs. Archer adds that she does not believe this William to have been a son of John, Sr.

(John, Sr. - Lewis - James - John)

Lee Scalf, son of John Scalf, Sr. and Edeah Carlisle Scalf, was one of the seven children indentured by the Russell County, Virginia, court in 1820.

Information on Lee Scalf is meager. According to the 1840 Russell County Census he was the head of a household in that county with three children. He was listed as between 30-40 years of age, his wife in the same age bracket. A son and daughter were each under five years, another daughter was between 10-15 years.

Lee and his brother, Brittan, were both living in Russell County in 1840. Brittan was killed within a few years and his widow and children came to Kentucky. Lee disappears on the census records in the counties of the tri-state region of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. It is presumed that he either died or left Virginia soon after 1840. Some of his children may have settled in Lee County, Virginia.


We are indebted to Patsy Scalf, wife of John Scalf, Jr., for the names of the daughters of John Scalf, Sr. The names of both sons and daughters were listed in the deposition made in 1845 in order to assist John, Sr. to procure a restoration of his suspended Revolutionary War pension. Of the sixteen children, six were daughters.

Mary (Polly) Scalf Trent

The eldest daughter and first born of the family was Polly, born March 22, 1788. She married Alexander Trent, of the pioneer Hancock County, Tennessee, Trents. From TENNESSEE COUSINS: A HISTORY OF TENNESSEE PEOPLE, by Worth S. Ray, we learn: "Alexander Trent, an old and well-known character of Henrico and Goochland County, Virginia, whose name is well-known among genealogical research workers, was among the very first 1795 settlers in what is now Hancock County. David Trent, maybe a son, but at least a descendant of Alexander Trent, was one of the first members of the board of trustees of Greasy Rock Acadamy when that institution was established." Alexander Trent, Solomon Mitchell, the Boulden, Anderson, Bryant and Collins families all settled in the same locality on the Clinch River about three or four miles south of Sneedville.

It is difficult to place the correct Alexander Trent in the Scalf family tree as husband of Mary (Polly) Scalf. It is thought that Polly's husband was either a son or grandson. Alexander and Polly Trent had 11 children by 1845 so it is probable they were married late in the second decade of the Nineteenth Century. According to the Claiborne County, Tennessee, Census of 1850, there was a concentration of Scalf and relatives with in-law families residing in that county in that year. Among these were the families of John Scalf, Jr.; William and Talitha Scalf and children; the McVeys, Killions, and others.

One family living in Claiborne County in 1850 was that of Alexander and Mary Trent. Alexander was listed as 55 years old. If the age is correct he was born in Tennessee the year the pioneer Alexander Trent came to Hancock County. His wife, Mary, is listed as of the same age, born in North Carolina, but if she was Mary (Polly) Scalf she was seven years older. Children of this family were Isiah, born 1831, Jemima, born 1830, Elizabeth, born 1834, Neil (Cornelius ?), born 1835, Amanda, born 1838, Minerva, born 1840. If Patsy Scalf was correct in her deposition and this is the correct Alexander and Mary (Polly) Scalf Trent family, then five of the children were married and living in their own or other households in 1850, a reasonable assumption since they would have been in their twenties. Cornelius Trent married a Tabitha Scalf.

Nancy Scalf Collins

Nancy, second daughter of John Scalf, Sr., was born April 29, 1790. She married a Collins, his first name unknown to us. He was probably of the pioneer Hancock County, Tennessee, Collinses. No other information available, except that she had five children by 1845.

Dicy Scalf Williams

Dicy Scalf, her age not known, married a Williams, according to the Patsy Scalf deposition. No other information available.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Scalf Collins

Elizabeth (Betsy) Scalf married a Collins. She had one child by 1845. No other definite information available.

Lydia Scalf Panter

Lydia Scalf, age not known, married a Panter, according to the Patsy Scalf deposition. She had five children by 1845. No other information.

Cecilia (Sela) Scalf Lockhard

Cecilia (Sela) Scalf, age not known, married Thomas Lockhard, the place and time not known. She had four children by 1845. Other children, according to Knox County, Kentucky, birth records, were William W., born March 4, 1853, Adina, born in April, 1855, and Sarah, born August 2, 1856. This makes a total of seven children by 1855 that we can document. There were possibly others. The family resided in Knox County, Kentucky, for several years.

In 1845, according to the Patsy Scalf deposition, John Scalf, Sr. had 109 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren. Mrs. Scalf surmised that there were probably more since it had been sometime since she had seen many members of the family. Some of the great-grandchildren were old enough in 1845, she stated, to have children.

Copyright (C) 1970 by Henry P. Scalf, All Rights Reserved.