Clarkson Family of the Virginia Piedmont


The Clarkson Family of the Virginia Piedmont

By Neil Allen Bristow

Samuel Willis Hughes, like me a descendant of Julius Clarkson, and an early researcher of the Virginia-Kentucky Clarksons, wrote an article on the ancestors of Elizabeth Sandidge (Julius' first wife), but was unable to fathom the pedigree of Julius himself.1   He noted his frustration in a letter to a cousin, "I find that my Clarkson material has never been "organized" and placed in the "Big Book". The reason is that I was just discouraged — every one had from fifteen to eighteen children who left as many; then when I started to trace back, I found nothing except traditions of a lord; a vicount [sic], and immense wealth. Don't you think that such as that is often put in the place of records?"2   To Samuel's comment I might add my own lament that those prolific Clarksons recycled the same handful of names over and over, a practice which certainly gives tantalizing hints at kinship, but does little to elucidate the connections.

In order to clear up the mystery of Julius Clarkson's pedigree, I have collected a lot of material on other Virginia Clarkson lines. Although the connections remain obscure, most if not all the Virginia and Kentucky families certainly do seem to have been closely related, not only because the same given names occur in all lines, but because of their shared patterns of migration.

I have organized the material as follows:

There is a certain amount of overlap among the pages because some data apply to more than one subject, and I wanted to minimize cross references. Throughout I have tried to provide documentation. I have used a variety of sources, giving most weight to contemporary records, but I'm sure I have overlooked much that would have resolved some of the ambiguities and conflicts. Also I have pulled together information from various mail-lists, pedigrees and postings on the Web. Unfortunately most of this data is without proof or even documentation, but these gleanings may serve as leads for more rigorous research.

Additional leads can be found at the Clarks(t)on Co-operative Research Project - - A new site hosted by Elton C. Bingham, including links to a DNA research project.

1 Samuel W. Hughes, "Sandidge" in Genealogies of Virginia Families from Tyler's Quarterly (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982), 3: 245 ff. He died before its publication and his cousin and fellow Clarkson researcher, Martha (Woodruff) Hiden, saw the material into print.

2 Samuel W. Hughes to Mrs (Martha Woodruff) Hiden, 6 Mar 1934. George Harrison Sanford King papers, Virginia Historical Society. Mssl K5823 a FA1 sec 1 (Clarkson).

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Copyright © 2002-2005 Neil Allen Bristow. All rights reserved.
This page updated 4 June 2007.