Archibald Haley – Potential Father

I continue in my quest to find the father of Jesse HaleyArchibald Haley (Hailey) of Halifax County, VA presents as a possible candidate.

Who was Archibald Haley (~1770/1776 – 1802)?  (So glad you asked!)

Archibald Haley was married to Mary Ann Medley for  6 years beginning on 24 Jun 1794.  (I have found an alternate date of marriage listed as 3 Dec 1794.) He then died intestate (without a will) in Halifax County, VA in 1802.   He left at least three young minor daughters: Byron, Nancy, and Elizabeth.  Yes, Byron was a female.  Joseph Haley was named as guardian for these children and was likely Archibald’s brother.  Account records for the girls’ guardianship years 1810-1819 are found in the Halifax County  will books.

In March of 1819, Byron’s guardianship was fulfilled as she has become of age.  [Once a child reached the age of 21 (18 for females), they were no longer considered a minor.]  From this date  Byron’s birth date can be estimated to be ~ 1798-1801. She was likely the oldest child. In 1820 guardianship records show that Nancy Haley was still an orphan indicating she was born after 1801. Other researchers show that Elizabeth Haley was born in 1801.  She married Thomas Gunn in 1819 and thus, her guardianship was ended regardless of her age.  This is the reason only Nancy Haley appears in the guardianship records of 1820 even though Elizabeth was the youngest child.

As above Archibald Haley died in 1802 in Halifax County leaving the three daughters above. Archibald had an estate of some worth (owning a number of slaves) as indicated through the guardian accounts of the girls. No guardianship account exists for an unborn child or for Jesse Haley.  It is possible that Mary Haley was unknowingly pregnant at the time of her husband’s death.  Could this account for the absence of Jesse in the guardianship records?

Of note, Archibald Haley’s widow Mary (Polly) remarried John Wood in 11 Jan 1803.

Could Archibald have fathered a fourth and younger child?  Could Mary Haley have been pregnant at the time of Archibald’s death and given birth in late 1802 or 1803?  Possibly.

Do I think Archibald is a good candidate to be Jesse’s father?  No, I don’t think so.  It’s possible, but there is no indication in records at the time of death in 1802 or later records indicating Archibald left behind an unborn child.

Note: The absence of the an 1810 census records for Halifax County, VA hinders my search.  I am unable to determine if possible father candidates had a male child of the correct age in their home for that year when Jesse was ~7 years old .  By 1820,  Jesse is estimated to have been 17 and could very well have been out of the home working as a farm laborer in another household.

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