Untangling The Combs - A Combs &c. Research Project

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Life of Dorothy and Bennett Combs

Undated Manuscript. No Author, but probably the late Cleo Ross Heiserman (1900-1992)

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The Life of Dorothy and Bennett Combs Manuscript was graciously provided by Combs Researcher Herbert Holcomb who located in Vertical File, Fayetteville Public Library, Genealogy Dept., 10/18/1997. Retyped by Combs Researcher C. Hammet (not yet proofed).

Ed Note: The only changes to original manuscript are: (a) changing surnames to CAPS; and (b) adding limited data in [brackets] for clarification. Handwritten information that had been added to the typed manuscript (in most, if not instances, by the author) has been presented in red font. All (Parentheses) are the original author's. For more about Bennett and Dorothy, begin at Pendleton District, South Carolina (and work your way through Dorothy's Combs Counties of Record). See Also Wilkes Co, NC and Washington Co, AR re both Reding & Stacy Combs Putman and Levi & Sarah ARRINGTON Combs.

The earliest knowledge of Bennett and Dorothy (Dolly) Combs this writer has been able to locate is found in records at the Courthousse [sic] in Anderson County, South Carolina. They were possibly married in South Carolina since one of their older children, Verlinda was born there on August sixth in 1781.

By the records for Old Salem Cemetery in Sangamon County, Illinois Dorothy Combs died February 12, 1838 at age 85 years. The above is inscribed on her gravestone which is legible today. These figures would make her birthdate 1753. The Cemetery is also known as Riddle Hill or Brethern [sic].

Courthouse records in Anderson county, Old Pendleton Area, prove that Bennett and Dolly Combs bought land on Twelve Mile River in the Pendleton area around the dates of 1792-1794. At this time people often bought land from land agents before taking possession. In one record is stated, "Dolly and Bennett Combs of Greenville, South Carolina."

Excerpt from the 1800 Census:

The 1800 Census for the Pendleton Area of South Carolina -

Bennett Combs

1 under 105 under 10
1 10-152 10-15
1 26-461 26-46

Due to the fact that by the above Census dolly Combs would have been very near the age of forty-seven, surely some of these children would have been grandchildren. These figures show Bennett's age was near his wife's age or younger.

In 1801 Bennett Combs died intestate in what is now Anderson County, South Carolina. The estate settlement was signed by Dolly Combs, his widow. There were no legatees mentioned. It was witnessed by Abraham DUFF on march the tenth, eighteen hundred and one. Mr. DUFF was the husband of one her older daughters, Verlinda. Proof of this is found on Pages 169-170 [crossed out] 269-270 of the Sangamon County, Illinois History of Early Settlers, dated 1876, and written by John Carol Power.

The Combs Family lived near the large and aggressive PUTMAN Family. To write about one without the other is impossible. These families intermarried and lived near each other during their many migrations into the new lands of the West across the Allegheny Mountains.

Bennett Combs surely died fairly young as shown by the 1800 Census figures. The Combs' stay in Greenville, South Carolina, must have been of short duration. For instance, a daughter, Stacy Combs Putman's children, who lived until the 1880 census, both gave their mother's birthplace as North Carolina. The children living that long were James PUTMAN who lived in Ellsworth County, Kansas, and Prudence PUTMAN Wilcoxen in Illinois.

The Abraham DUFFS and the Daniel PUTMAN family moved to Warren County, Kentucky around the early eighteen hundreds, so Dolly Combs sold her land as shown by Court records and moved near these families. Many families, during pioneer days stayed together, migrating to new areas at the same time. They needed the safety and help they gave each other.

The 1810 Census of Warren County, Kentucky, follows for the Dolly Combs family as head of her home:

Dolly Combs

1 16-262 10-16
2 16-26
1 over 45

No other Combs family lived in Warren County, Kentucky in 1810.

She moved very near the large PUTMAN Family. In 1806 her daughter, Isabel Combs, married the PUTMAN'S oldest son, Hazeal (Haz) PUTMAN. Abraham DUFF witnessed the marriage as the DUFFS had also moved to Warren County, Kentucky.

About 1806-1807 Daniel PUTMAN and his family left Kentucky and migrated across the Ohio River into what was then Knox County, Indiana Territory. Hazeal PUTMAN and Isabel Combs Putman also went along with his family.

Several of Dolly COMB'S children went to Knox County, Indiana, within the next few years as there were four young Combs men who fought in the Battle of Tippacanoe in 1811, which will be listed later in this story.

Daniel PUTMAN had led the struggle to form Gibson County from part of Knox County. He was appointed the first judge of the new County of Gibson. See "Daniel Putman History."

In 1812 on June 6 Dolly's daughter, Stacy, married Reding PUTMAN, the second son of Daniel PUTMAN. The marriage license was bought in Vincennes [Knox Co], Indiana. Either Stacy lived with her sister, Isabel, Hazeal PUTMAN'S wife or was sent to Indiana from Kentucky for Reding's bride. It is known that Dolly Combs was still in Warren County, Kentucky in 1817 because her daughter, Rachael, married Abraham DILBACH, witnessed by Abraham DUFF, and it was signed by Dolly Combs, as her mother, since the girl was under age. Also note the DUFFS still in Warren County, Kentucky. 1/23/1817

Since Bennett COMB'S death and Dolly being left to raise the children still at home, the family got divided. Some of the children seem to be in Indiana and some still in Kentucky. In 1817 of the same year, Dolly signed for daughter Rachel's marriage in Kentucky and Abraham DUFF also siged [signed]. Abraham and Verlina [sic] DUFF'S daughter, Elizabeth, married Elijah PUTMAN the son of Daniel PUTMAN in GIBSON County in 1817.

However Daniel PUTMAN died in Indiana in 1816 at the age of fifty two. Reding and Hazeal were appointed executors of his estate. Both of these men went back to Kentucky in October 1817 to settle a land deal that had been made by their father. One thousand acres of land were at stake. It seems by all records obtainable that Reding PUTMAN took his family with him because they had two children born in Kentucky, James in 1819 and Prudence in 1820, before leaving Kentucky after settling the estate.

Soon after leaving Kentucky, Reding PUTMAN and wife, Stacy Combs Putman, were settling in Fulton County, Illinois. It seems Reding had dealt with this land through a land agent while he was in Indiana (Gibson County records).

Back to Hazeal and Isabel-They left Gibson county soon after he returned from the land deal in Kentucky and moved across the line into Vanderburgh County, Indiana. He is found in that County in the 1820 Census {and was mentioned in my g. grandfathers will on my grandma RIGLEYS(??) side - as a note on him was being held by my g. grandfather Jeffry SAUNDERS.}, but by the 1823 Census, a special Census, he is is [sic] in Fulton County, Illinois, near Reding and Stacy and their family. Therefore, in all this going back and forth it is not known exactly what was happening to dolly Combs at this time. Butler Co KY Census

Then on December 16, 1827 Stacy died, leaving six children (This information was taken from the D.A.R. records of James PUTMAN'S grandaughter [sic] and is in the permanent D.A.R. records.)

In 1829 Reding PUTMAN had to go back to Gibson County to settle some business. The man, who had bought a 160 acre farm from Mr. PUTMAN, thought he had been sold the wrong farm, so he had sued Reding PUTMAN in the Gibson County Court. Reding won the case. The deposition papers are copied from the records and are included at the end of this story. They show that Dolly Combs signed these papers, so she was evidently in Gibson County, Indiana at this time. She knew that she had heard them make the deal and thought it was eleven years before. These papers and events make one know that she must have lived in Indiana after her daughter Rachael's marriage in 1817. In the view of this writer, she must have accompanied her daughters and families back on some of their trips. In the deposition Dolly Combs stated that she was going to Illinois and did not plan to ever return. By the Sangamon County History in Illinois she went to her daughter Verlinda's home where she spent the rest of her life.

In 1829 Reding PUTMAN married Phoebe MARSH Stelle, who also had six children. They then had a son born in 1830 whom they named Reding PUTMAN, Jr., making thirteen children in the 1830 census.

Elizabeth DUFF, who was the grandaughter of Dolly Combs, and her husband, Elijah PUTMAN, went to Iowa near Bloomfield [Davis Co]. There Elijah PUTMAN died (see Sangamon County History, Page 269), leaving Elizabeth with one child. She is later found in Washington county, Arkansas where she married Elijah WEBB January 28, 1847.

So we leave the brave Dorothy Combs in her final resting place, a noble woman who helped to build America.

The chief figure of the American West, the figure of the ages is not always the fringed-legged man riding a raw boned horse, but the sad faced woman sitting on the front seat of the covered wagon, her face hidden in a ragged sunbonnet. There was the great romance of all America-the woman in the sun bonnet. With babe in arms she often grabbed the lines and guided the horses while her husband prodded the cattle traveling behind or helped to steady the load when crossing rivers that made the wagon float and the horses swim.

The pioneer women dreamed of a better tomorrow for themselves and were willing to work for it. They often left the security of home and friends. They knew hunger, danger, illness, and death. They shared all the burdens and hardships of the Frontier.

The following Combs men have been found to have lived in Gibson county, Indiana in 1811. History of Gibson Co., Ind.

They are listed on the militia rolls from September 11 to November 24, 1811. This was the militia called out for the Battle of Tippecanoe. They evidently were young men.

  1. William Combs - Sergeant on Page 285 in the Pioneer History of Indiana.
  2. Joel Combs - Corporal in same battle and dates as William Combs, listed above.
  3. Robert Combs - Corporal in same battle as listed above.
  4. James Combs - There is a James Combs in 1830 census of Fulton County, Illinois, in the same vicinity as the PUTMANS and Dolly Combs and daughter, Verlinda, and son-in-law, Abraham DUFF.

James Combs
1 M under 51 F under 5
1 M 30-401 F 20-30

1830 Census, Fulton County, Illinois:

Levi Combs
1 M under 51 F under 5
2 M 10-151 F 5-10
1 M 30-401 F 20-30

Levi Combs married Sary ARRINGTON in 1812 in Wilkes County, North Carolina. he evidently did not follow his family to South Carolina, Kentucky, or Indiana, but he is found in the same vicinity as the other Combs and PUTMANS in Fulton County, Illinois. Then he is again located near the PUTMAN and Combs in Washington County, Arkansas.:

Levi Combs age 55, born in N.C.
Sara Combsage 61, born in N.C.
Louisa Combsage 15, born in Arkansas
Mary ARRINGTONage 85, born in Maryland (Sara's Mother)

The above listed Combs are probably members of the same family, but this needs proof.

End of Manuscript

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