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THE VESTS OF WHITE OAK MOUNTAIN, W.VA.
AND RELATED FAMILIES
Jackson Vest and Nancy Lilly

Updated 27 Oct 2013

Vest -- origin of surname. (Ger.; Scand.) root word Fest (Old German) Feast day r.w. Westan (O.G.) Man from the West. “What’s  in a Name? Surnames of America,” La Reina Rule & William K. Hammond, 1973, Pyramid Book, New York, Page 420.

Jackson Vest, born in Floyd County, Va., 02 Dec 1832, a son of Charles Vest, originally from Campbell County, Va., and wife Elizabeth Via (also spelled Vier and Viar). The 1850 census for Raleigh County, W.Va., has Charles Vest, age 70, farmer; Elizabeth, 55; and son Jackson, Shady Spring.

Jackson Vest’s maternal grandparents were John (Viar) Via (1759/07 Mar 1834,Virginia) and Sarah Wright (Abt. 1761, Virginia). Source: Harold “Eddie” Via. Jackson's paternal grandparents were John Vest (born about 1750) and Agnes Davidson, daughter of Edward. Source: Erma C. Sowers, Descendants of Littleberry Vest, Second Printing, July 1983. Page 1.

Charles Vest's will lists five sons: Jackson, Mosby, Anderson, John and Fleming Vest. Charles Vest - 1851 will from 1950 Beckley Post-Herald Centennial Edition. Image of his actual will.  (Raleigh Co. Wills, Vol. 1, 1850-1914. Image 19. West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971 at  familysearch.org)

According to a descendant, Jackson was called "Mountain Jack" Vest to differentiate him from his nephew, John Jackson Vest, son of John Vest. (Thank you, Bennie.)

Jackson was blind in his old age, according to great granddaughter Nina Vest Bennett Worley. He died 11 Apr 1917. Jackson served during the Civil War. (National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Veterans Gravesites: Jackson Vest, pvt, Confederate States Army, Birth: 02 Dec 1832, Death: 11 Apr 1917, Cemetery: Vest Cemetery, Jumping Branch, WV 25969.)

Jackson and Nancy Lilly were married on 15 Feb 1855 in Mercer County. Nancy Lilly, born 13 Jan 1835, Mercer County, W.Va./died 23 Aug 1909, was a daughter of Robert “Bearwallow Bob” Lilly and his wife Elizabeth Payne, according to a Lilly researcher. Robert's nickname referred to a place on his land that the bears favored. Regarding Nancy's birth family, under the Lilly Family in the History of Summers County (1908) by James H. Miller, it says, in part:

"From Thomas (Lilly) descended the following: Thomas Lilly, his oldest son, who married Delilah Payne, of Taswell County, Virginia, and settled on Bluestone River, seven miles from its mouth......The next Robert Lilly, known as "Bearwallow Bob," who also married a Payne, reared a large family and died in 1883, where he first settled, on the Bench of Bluestone, in Summers County."

NOTE: Jackson and Nancy and several family members are buried in the Anderson Vest Cemetery, Summers County, W.Va.  Jackson Vest's tombstone. Nancy Vest's tombstone. If you have additional information about people interred there, please e-mail me so I can update their Find a Grave pages.

The 1900 federal census states that Nancy Vest, 64, wife of Jackson, had six children -- five living. (Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Jumping Branch, Summers, W.Va.; Roll: T623_1773; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 129.) My Aunt Nina, great granddaughter of Nancy and Jackson, listed five children:

Children of Jackson and Nancy

  • Martha Adeline Vest, 15, born about 1859, married Edward Ashworth Kelly, 23, of South Carolina, on 24 Dec 1874 in Summers County. (West Virginia marriage record.) Three sources place Martha Adeline Vest, wife of Edward Kelly, as a daughter of Jackson and Nancy Vest:

    a) A list of Jackson and Nancy’s children including “Martha, married to a Kelly,” written by their great granddaughter Nina Vest Bennett Worley.
    b) A mention of Jack Vest as his father-in-law in an article about Martha’s husband Edward.
    c) information from Bennie Kelly, a direct descendant.

    There is some confusion because a cousin –
    Martha J. Vest – was born to Anderson Vest and wife Rhoda Cochran in 1856 in Mercer County, W.Va. (West Virginia Vital Research Records, accessed 03 Dec 2011.)

    So far, an exact birth date for Martha has not been determined but the following information points to 1859 as her birth year: Her marriage age at 15 in 1874 would indicate she was born in 1859. Her sister Mary was born in 1858 and sister Lucinda in 1860. That would put Martha sandwiched in between unless she was a twin. (Note: The 1900 census says Martha was born in June 1858. But an online birth record states sister Mary J. E. F. Vest was born on 17 June 1858.) 

    According to his obituary, Edward was born 07 May 1838 in Winston-Salem, N.C., and came to West Virginia during the Civil War. He died in November 1947 in Fayette County, W.Va. (
    Edward Kelly, 109, Dies at Thurmond, Charleston Gazette, W.Va., 10 Nov 1947, Page 9) A 1944 newspaper article (Lester Man Says He Served In The Civil War, Raleigh Register, Beckley, W.Va., 03 Dec 1944, Page 3.) said Edward was "inducted into the Confederate army at the age the age of 21." Later he worked on railroads and "was hired for some time on a steamboat in Charleston." After Edward married Martha Vest, her parents "gave them land and they built a log cabin 18 by 20 feet. They had 13 children, six girls and seven sons. His wife died at this place, at the top of White Oak mountain." A Kelly researcher says to his knowledge Edward and Martha had 11 children. Edward had two children by his second wife, Mary. That would make a total of 13 for Edward.

    His second wife's maiden name was
    Mary Josephine Wallace,  Nov 1871/24 Nov 1916 (Find A Grave Memorial# 21382953) The 1880 census for Richmond District, Raleigh County, lists Josephine Wallace living with mother Mary Rebecca Wallace, stepfather Henry Adkins and siblings Erastus, Jacob and Rachael Adkins. Mary Josephine was married three times. 1. Berry Adkins. The death record (West Virginia, Deaths Index, 1853-1973. FHL Film Number: 1992035) for son Miles Coleman Adkins (1893-1964, obituary) lists Berry as his father and there is an 1891 Gallia County, Ohio, marriage record for Mary J. Wallace and Berry Adkins. 2. James Floyd Cadle, son of Ruth Richmond and Green Cadle. Married in 1895, according to the 1900 census for Richmond District. In 1900 they had two children, Isaac Cadle, born about 1899, and Miles Adkins, born 1893. James had a previous marriage to Sarah J. Adkins in 1893 in Raleigh County. Marriage record. 3.  Edward Kelly, a widower, and Mary J. Cadle, a widow, married 18 Jun 1903 in Summers County. (Marriage record.) Their children were Ada Belle and Elmer Kelly.

    There was a brief death notice in the 06 Sept 1902 Hinton Daily News, a Summers County, W.Va., newspaper, that may be about Martha. The transcription by Pauline Haga: 

    MRS EDWARD KELLY DEAD
    Mrs. Edward Kelly of near Jumping Branch died Thursday night (04 Sept 1902) of severe attack of measles. She was about 50 years of age and (was a) well known lady. Buried in Vass burying ground about two miles east of Jumping Branch.

    Since Martha’s parents and husband Edward are buried in the Anderson Vest Cemetery, Summers County, W.Va., it is likely that it is also Martha’s final resting place. “Vass” is probably a typo and should be “Vest” burying ground.  (
    Thanks to Kelly researchers Bennie and Geraldine for their help on this branch of the family.) Edward A. Kelly - Find a Grave. Ed Kelly's tombstone. Photos of Ed Kelly: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3.

    Children of Martha and Edward Kelly:

    1. Rosetta "Zetta" Kelly Bennett (1881-1958). Mrs. Bennett, 77, Claimed By Death. Married Andrew Malone "Lonnie" Bennett Bennett Rites Set Wednesday  Death certificate. Lonnie was a son of Andrew Bennett and wife Mary Elizabeth Goddard. See Find a Grave (New Salem Missionary Baptist Cemetery) for a photo of the elder Bennetts and more biographical information. Photos of Lonnie and Zetta, Zetta and son Ernest.  
    2. Lonnie Kelly, died 1941, slate fall. Coal Run Miner Dies in Slate Fall Burial is in the "Best" Cemetery at Jumping Branch -- probably Vest Cemetery. Lonnie Kelly married Gussie Bradbury in Raleigh County, W.Va., in 1909. Marriage record.
    3. Lilly Bennett Payne (1896-1964). Lillie Payne Is Taken By Death
    Marriage to Lacy Rhodes 1913: record online. Marriage to Kenneth Payne 1952: marriage certificate.
    4.
    James Edward Kelly Sr. (1884-31 Dec 1967), James Kelly obituaries. James Kelly photo  James Kelly taken in 1943 at Cunard  (Thanks, Geraldine, for the photo ID.)
    James married Martha Summerfield in 1913 in Fayette County (marriage record). According to Martha's memorial page (Find A Grave Memorial# 62558300), her birth name was Martha "Mattie" Eagle and her first husband was Brandon Summerfield. She born 05 Apr 1890, a daughter of Thomas Eagle and wife Rebecca Frances Fleshman. Martha, 35, died 09 Nov 1925 in Cunard, Fayette County, after childbirth. (Death record) In 1946 in Fayette County, James married Polly Ramsey (marriage record, obituary). Polly's first husband was William H. Stroud (marriage record).
    5.
    Alice "Allie" Kelly Settle, born 24 July 1901, birth record. Married Walter Settle (1896-1973), Settle, 77, Dies; Rites Scheduled.
    6. Joe S. Kelly, 01 Jul 1875/15 Jan 1960. He married Mary Ann Smith (1875-1918) in 1895. Marriage record. Mr. Kelly married Georgia Mae Ellison Toler (1882-1950) in 1919. Marriage record. She was the widow of A.J. Toler. Marriage record - 1903 Mr. Kelly's death record. Joe S. Kelly Funeral Today. Photos: Joe and two daughtersLink to photo of Joe Kelly and granddaughter and a photo of his tombstone under Burial Records at the Meadow Creek Community Cemetery site. Obituary of Ralph L. Kelley (Kelly), son of Joe and Georgia.
    7. Rhoda Elizabeth Kelly. Rhoda Kelly, 22, daughter of Ed and Martha A., married B. Bateman, 23, son of F.M. and Christina, on 29 Jan 1901 in Fayette County, W.Va. Marriage record. Rhoda E. Bateman, 34, widow married Peter Fred Berry, 40, widower, in 1915 in Summers County. Marriage record. Rhoda and Peter on their wedding day. (Thanks to Geraldine for the photo and a correction.) Rhoda Berry died 07 April 1966 in Montgomery, Fayette County, W.Va. Rhoda Kelly Berry obituary. Death record.
    8. Mintie/Minta "Minnie" Arbelle/Belle/Bell Kelly. Died 1995. Married Oliver Carlyle Neely (1893-1930). Unconfirmed information from Ancestry.com. Found this at the Political Graveyard site: Neely, Lacy (b. 1910) of Cunard, Fayette County, W.Va. Born in Mabscott, Raleigh County, W.Va., April 19, 1910. Son of Oliver Carlisle Neely and Mintie Bell (Kelly) Neely; married, December 24, 1930, to Clara Ingles. Democrat. Coal miner; member of West Virginia state house of delegates from Fayette County, 1941-44. Baptist. Lacy Arnold Neely (death certificate) was Fayette County clerk at the time of his death in December 1950.
    9.
    Emmett Kelly. Born 05 Apr 1895, Raleigh Co., W.Va., according to his 1938 marriage certificate and World War I draft card; 1893 on his death certificate. Died 08 Nov 1940, Laird Memorial Hospital, Montgomery, W.Va. Death certificate. Married Gladys Barker in 1938. Barker/Kelly marriage certificate
    10.
    Kessler Kelly. 
    11.
    Sadie Kelly.
    Children of Edward and Mary Kelly:
    12.
    Ada Bell Kelly
    13. Elmer Kelly

  • Albert P. Vest, 01 Jun 1867/26 Jan 1949, Summers County, W.Va. Dates from death certificate. According to his grandniece Nina, Albert was a talented musician and made finely crafted violins. Marriage: "Vest, Albert Parris 22 Summers to Hannah Margaret Adkins 23 Raleigh 16 Mar 1889" -- West Virginia GenWeb, Raleigh County Marriages online.  Hannah was a daughter of Jacob Smith Jr. and Bathsheba Berry. (Jacob Smith Jr. obituary - 1908.) Her first husband was Jacob Allen Adkins. Mrs. Vest's death certificate says she had a "heart attack brought on by fear." A family member said she broke her hip near the end of her life. No further information is available.  Photo of Albert and Hannah Vest and granddaughter Cleo, daughter of Lacy Todd and wife Matilda Vest. (Courtesy of Dale M.) Albert and Hannah are buried in the Anderson Vest CemeteryAlbert Vest's tombstoneHannah Vest's tombstone. Children of Albert and Hannah, information so far:
    1.
    Matilda Todd Vest, 28 Aug 1900/25 Aug 1928. Death certificate. She married Lacy Todd in 1923 in Summers County. Marriage record online. There is a birth record online for Lewis Lace Todd, born 26 Feb 1898 in Raleigh County, W.Va., to Amanda M. C. Plumley and George Todd. Lacy and Matilda Vest had a daughter, Cleo Margie Todd, born 2 July 1924. Matilda and daugher Cleo are buried in the Anderson Vest Cemetery. Cleo married Earl Phillips on 10 Aug 1945. Earl was born 4 Apr 1927 and died 26 Oct 1963, Hickory, N.C. Matilda and Cleo are buried in the Anderson Vest Cemetery. Lacy’s second wife was Dorothy Lora Smith, born 12 Nov 1899, a daughter of George W. Smith (1876-1949) and Minnie Alice Richmond (1882-1960). Dorothy married Lacy 25 Dec 1928. Lacy, Dorothy, her parents and several of her siblings are buried in the Meador Cemetery, Pluto, W.Va. Find a Grave. Lacy and Dorothy had one child, Clifford Todd, born 9 May 1935, not married. (Information on Lacy and Dorothy from Larry G. Shuck, Our Families: Shuck, Fleshman, Sydenstricker, Smith, Lewis, Kincaid, Keister, et. al., of West Virginia, Gateway Press Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1995, Page 133.)  
    2.
    Clarence Cecil Vest, 18 Jan 1890/24 Jan 1959. He was a retired coal miner. Obituary  Death certificate.
    3.
    Raymond Vest died in childhood on 17 Sept 1917 in Summers County, W.Va., from typhoid fever. Death certificate. Find a Grave. West Virginia Vital Research Records (transcribed as "Roman L. Vest"), birth record: born 20 Aug 1905, Summers County, W.Va.
  • Cindy Vest, a beautiful red-haired woman, a “character” in the good sense, according to her grandniece Nina. There is a marriage record for Lucinda Vest, 19, daughter of Jackson and Nancy Vest, and Samuel H. Smith, 24, a farmer, son of Jacob and Priscilla Smith, 10 Dec. 1888, Summers County, W.Va. The 1900 census shows the family in Jumping Branch, Summers Co., W.Va. and 1910, in Richmond District, Raleigh Co., W.Va. (Thanks to Vera for her help on the Cindy Vest Smith family.) Their children were:
    1.
    Charles "Charley" Smith, born 01 Aug 1889, Summers Co., birth record. Died 08 Oct 1964, Beckley, Raleigh Co. Charlie had been a trackman on the railroad. Never married. Death record. Obituary. He was a World War I veteran who received the Purple Heart, according to a family researcher.
    2.
    Jacob Charles Smith, 22 Apr 1892/01 Aug 1949. He died after being hit by a train: obituary and death record. Jacob married Irene Hume (20 Oct1895/24 Feb 1930), dau. of Robert Carpton Humes Sr. and wife llie Virginia Athey. Irene died giving birth to her ninth child and the Smith children were sent to live with family. Death certificate. Irene and Jacob had nine children: Lillian (1916-1926), who was killed. “While bending over to get milk out of a cabinet for a younger sibling, she was shot by a mentally-impaired man who came into the house and said he wasn't going to work there anymore,” according to a family historian. News article: Slayer of Child is Believed Insane, The Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va., 25 July 1926, Page 2.; Bula (1917-1949) and her twin Eula (1917-1917); Jessie Smith (1920-1984); Arebell Smith Durrett (1922-1971) obituary; Allie Smith Humphrey (1924-c2003), marriage record; Verna M. Smith Jones (1930-1982); Dorothy Smith, born in 1928; and Verland Smith (1930-1982)
    3.
    Ora May Smith, 05 May 1896, Summers. Birth record. She married Floyd Smith in 1912 in Raleigh County, Marriage record. (Her age on the marriage license doesn't  match her birth year. But the 1930 census shows Floyd and Ora Smith with children matching the names I've been given.) They raised seven children: Cleo, Clifford, Cora, Della, Earl, Elbert and Jimmy. Floyd died in 1934. Floyd's death record. (Floyd was the son of Martha Harrah, daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth, and husband Enos Allen Smith - Find a Grave and Enos' obits. Enos was a son of Jacob Smith Jr. See Jacob Smith Dead at the bottom of the Smith Sr. page. ) Ora married John William Long in 1951 in Nicholas Co., W.Va. Marriage record. Ora died 15 Feb 1972.    
    4.
    Carrie Ardellia Smith, born 20 Feb 1900 on White Oak Mountain, W.Va. Birth record. She died on 26 Jan 1998 in Oak Hill, Fayette County, W.Va., and was buried at the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church cemetery at Abraham, Raleigh County, near her first husband Ellis Dewey Goodson Sr. (1899-1931) Find a Grave He was a miner. Death record. Carrie and Ellis had five children: Violet Mae Goodson (1919-1989 WV), married Shirley "Butch" Lett Sr. (died 2003); Dallas Leonard Goodson (1921-1955 WV), married Mereda Bennett, marriage record; Kathleen Goodson (1923-2003 WV), married Johnny Franklin Myers Sr.;  Ellis Goodson Jr. (1926-1987) WV, married Norma Pauley; and Delphine Goodson (1928 WV-2005 Ohio), married Robert Lee Dotson (1928-2004). After Ellis’ death, Carrie married Ben Thompson in 1933 and they later divorced. Her third husband was Snowden Lively