I was reviewing some old research done by Sherrie Boone, and discovered a note that I forgot about, or was too involved with the other children to followup with.
Lets review for context. Keziah was taken to the John Nichols family to grow up as she was abandoned by her mother Mary Burgess in 1790. After she grew up and presentably on her own she bore Armstead in 1810 at the age of 20 or 21.
She later had two more boys:
Armsetad July 1810 Father was a Hale (or Haile)
Sperril July 4, 1820 Different father unknown in 2016
Oliver 1824 Different father from the other two, unknown in 2016
Sherie states that she found this statement in the court records of Bedford County.
*Bk 18, 1822, June ct “Archibald Nichols who was recognized to appear here this day on the charge of being the father of a bastard child begotten on the body of Keziah Burgess--called and failed to appear This therefore ordered that the said default be recorded.”Bedford Co VA ob 18, p 254
This puts a new sibling Keziah Jr. right in between her two brothers Oliver and Sperrill. And of course is now, four known children.
Sherrie also states that she think this may be a female. She checked the Nichols DNA and the other two testers of the two brothers, that do not match the Nichols DNA. The John Nichols DNA is also represented as well as a son Archibald. However other relatives (probably John's brothers), also have son's names Archibald; a total of three.
John Nichols died in 1803 at 83, just 3 to 5 years after Keziah was released from indentured servitude.
When we look at the Nichols children we find at least eight children starting with Flayl in 1747 to Jessie in 1767.
This would make the youngest child 33 years old in 1790 when Keziah at about 1 year old was bound to the Nichols. John was 70 and his wife Martha was 60 then.
It seems like an advanced age to raise another child (although they certianly were experienced!) However according to John NIchols will, at lease two sons had farms given to them adjacent to the homestead. In addition, two domestic slaves were willed to Marta in 1803, So they may have had domestic help when Keziah was young too.
At least three sons including Archibald are on land owned by John and adjacent to the home place, when Keziah was with them. This land was given to them or sold cheaply in the will.
Sherrie also has researched all the Archibalds. Her notes are below.
"And Ron to clarify, there are 4 Nichols families in Bedford same time and place, I suspect they were all brothers. 1.) John, to whom Keziah & James were bound did have a son Archibald. But 2.) George and 3.) William also had sons "Archibald". 4.) Bazdel, did not have a son named Archibald. 1820 tax list for Bedford shows all 3 Archibalds.
1.) John's son Arch appears to be older, marries:
Nov. 25, 1779; Archibald Nichols & Sarah Woolington; John Payne, Surety.
2.) George's son Arch is a bit younger, marries:
Dec. 10, 1792; Archibald Nichols & Judith Hatcher, dt Richard; Ward Hatcher, Surety; Married by John Ayers, Dec. 20, 1792
Arch is admin for her estate 1823..... and he's in the neighborhood...
3.) William's son Arch is also younger, marries:
Jan. 1, 1819; Archibald Nichols & Polly Updike; Daniel Black, Surety; Consent of Amon and Hannah Updike; Married by William Leftwich, Jan. 10, 1819.
note they live a bit to east, Just married I doubt he's the Arch.
So it is established that the Archibalds are from the mid twenties to the the mid forties in 1822. Keziah was herself, thirty two or thirty three, with one young son (Sperril) living with her at the time. Armstead was bound to a Hollihan in about 1807 and was probably still there until 1820 or 1822. Sherrie is right, it is unlikely that the younger Arch would be with Keziah unless she was a prostitute. So that leaves John's son or Williams son.
What does this mean overall to the narrative we have now?
Keziah may have been supported by a Hale while Armstead was young. The Hales were prosperous, married and generally respected, so this would have been a quiet affair. For some reason, Keziah released Armstead at about seven, so I'm thinking she lost support or work.
She survives somehow then gets pregnant again in 1820 with Sperril and then '22 and '24. we know that all are back together by 1835 or 1836 when they went to Kentucky, so her baby in 1822 probably died young or was given up for adoption never to be seen again.
The big question then remains, what did she do from 1820 until 1835?
With four children now, each with different fathers, it becomes more clear that she was a loose woman, a prostitute (following 1807) or an extremely unlucky woman with four marriages, none recorded. This is very doubtful, leaving the first two options.
Clearly Keziah had a jaded life from early 1800's until at least 1824 and perhaps until she went to Kentucky. I believe the evidence points to informal prostitution at the minimum, if not a "professional" participant to survive this difficult situation with children in those days.
A special thanks to Sherrie Boone genealogist, for all her work on the Burgess Family!
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