Mysteries

This is the place for mysteries & “brick walls” involving Wan(d)lesses. 


Tree 12: Who were the parents of of James Wanlass born about 25 Sept 1825 in Edinburgh, Midlothian,Scotland? He married Margaret Neilson born 4 Jan 1821. Our records show that they had 13 Children. He died in Salt Lake City, UT the 8 Oct 1895. Family Tradition says that James was placed in an orphanage after the death of his mother. We have been unable to confirm this or find any information on his parents. The story is told that James did not believe he was Scottish by birth. He believed that he was English. He told his daughter-in-law, Edith Elizabeth Wanlass, that he was of English descent, and that his parents had been visiting Scotland with their children when something happened and his mother was killed – some kind of accident – and that his father remarried. When James was older, he ran away from the orphanage and was raised by a family named Ramsey for a while. It is believed that the Ramsey family was paid well for the care of James and that James was from a family with resources.


Tree 1: What was the relationship between Margaret Wandless who brought her teenage children from Newcastle, Northumberland, England to Augusta County, Virginia in about 1772, and Thomas Adams of Virginia? My 4th-great-grandmother Margaret Wan(d)less, presumably a widow, brought her 4 teenage children Ralph, Stephen, Margaret, and Mary from Newcastle, England to America in 1772/73. They were assisted in emigration by Thomas Adams of Deerfield, Augusta Co. (We know this from a letter in the VA Historical Society, written in July 1772 by an agent of Thomas Adams named Richard Hylton, in which he talks about carrying out Thomas’s orders to get Margaret from England to VA.) Once in VA, Margaret & her children lived with Thomas in Deerfield, Augusta County, for several years, and Thomas left her son Ralph land in his will dated 1785, probated 1788. All this would seem to indicate a close relationship. Margaret, in her 40s or 50s, in 1783 married John Carlisle on the CalfPasture in Augusta Co. John d. 1796, Margaret d. 1807. She spent her last years living with her daughter Margaret Clayton near Deerfield. I speculate that Margaret was somehow related to Thomas Adams, but have not been able to prove that yet. I have checked birth records for Thomas Adams’s family, and there is no Margaret and no sibling unnaccounted for in later records. I have checked records for his wife Elizabeth Fauntleroy Cocke; again, no siblings or cousins named Margaret. The marriage record that best fits Margaret in England is the marriage in 1749 in Newcastle of Ralph Wanless to Margaret Wylam, and a Ralph Wanless was buried in 1770 in Newcastle, which fits nicely with Margaret being a widow in 1772. But I have found no marriage record in VA or England for Margaret Adams to ___ Wylam. So who WAS she???


Tree 20: Who are the parents of Robert Wandless born about 1800 in Black Fell, County Durham (per the 1861 census, the only one that gives a precise location)? Black Fell is in Washington parish, right at the junction of Washington, Lamesley, and Chester le Street (just north of Birtley, just south of Eighton Banks & The Mount). There are no matching christenings in the area, but there were several Wandless/Wanless families living around there. Robert’s father’s name was George from Robert’s July 1864 marriage cert to Mary Cook. Between 1834 and 1854 Robert lived in a variety of West Yorkshire coal mining areas including Astley, Mickletown, Ledsham, Newton, Fairburn, Austhorpe, Whitkirk, Methley and Whitwood. In April 1857 he was living in Leasingthorne, Co Durham. The 1861 census saw him a widow, in Southmoor near Stanley. He remarried (a widow named Mary Cook formerly Silvey) and he died 4 Sep 1880 in Little Chilton Colliery, Little Chilton near Ferryhill. He may have lived in Pelton Fell in 1870 when dau. Mary Jane married from there. Family folklore said his line was from Barnard Castle, Co. Durham, and although there is no evidence at the moment to suggest this is true, I do not rule anything out.