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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Virginia: Fairfax County

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Re: Frances Byrnes + Charles Modesitt
Posted by: Susan (ID *****1376) Date: October 26, 2004 at 20:11:36
In Reply to: Frances Byrnes + Charles Modesitt by nm kellar of 739

Nancy, It looks like several Modesitt's (Charles, Brooks, and others) relocated from Virginia to Indiana. Here are a few tidbits on the random chance they may help you. The alternate "Modisette" spelling looks somewhat French, yet one source (below) says the Modesitts were from Germany.

For the 1820 Census, Charles Modesitt is living in Vigo County, Indiana (no township listed) (Roll M33-14, pg 286).

These Modesitts are in the 1840 census:
Brooks, James W., and Nathaniel Modesitt: Posey, Clay County, Indiana. (Roll M704-76, Page 337).
Rivvy Modesitt: Cloverland, Clay County, Indiana (page 339).
James H. Modesitt: Williams Town, Clay County, Indiana (page 339).
C. B. Modesitt, Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana (Roll M704-96, page 378).
Augustus Modesitt, Tyler County, VA (No township listed) (Roll M704-579, page 21).

Also, in the History of Vigo and Parke Counties (Indiana), (Chicago: H.H. Hill and N. Iddings, 1880), is this entry:
“Among the first to settle in Terre Haute were Dr. Charles B. Modesitt, Lewis Hodge, Henry Redford, Robert Carr, John Earle, Abner Scott, Ezekiel Buxton, and perhaps a few others, all of whom arrived in 1816. Dr. Modesitt built the first log house, which also was the first house erected of any kind in Terre Haute. The house stood on the southwest corner of Water and Ohio Streets; the logs were not hewed. Dr. Modesitt came from Virginia with his wife and child on horseback. This child, then about 4 years of age, married Mr. Chauncey Warren. The only road was an Indian trail. Dr. Modesitt had been educated for a physician. He was a man of medium size, imposing presence and courteous manners, and was said to be a fine specimen of the old Virginia gentleman; his wife was also of an old Virginia family. At the close of the war of 1812, general attention was directed to the Far West, then known as the “Wabash” country, and Dr. Modesitt was one of those who turned his steps in that direction. He came to Terre Haute and made extensive purchases of lots at the time of the first sale. The only inhabitants were Indians and soldiers at Fort Harrison. Having made these purchases, he returned for his family. Dr. Modesitt was the first physician located in Terre Haute, and practiced his profession over a wide regioin, frequently riding 50 miles to visit the sick. He built a two-story hewed log house on the corner of Third and Poplar Streets. Here his son James was born in 1821. Dr. Modesitt established a ferry across the Wabash in 1818. The ferry boat was an ordinary flat boat propelled by poles when the water was low, and by oars when necessary. Dr. Modesitt was a man of great energy and perseverance. He died in 1847. “ On later pages, Mr. Henry Warren is listed as the grandson of Dr. Modesitt. There is also reference to a second Charles C. Modesitt (note the middle initial “C”). Charles C. was born in Virginia Feb 19, 1812. He came to Parke County when he came of age and lived there until he died on Dec 19, 1862. Charles C. was married on Oct 11, 1840 to Margaret Lyons and became the father of 7 children. One son, Albert B. Modesitt, was born in Bowling Green, Clay County on Feb 4, 1846.

In another book, The History of Early Terre Haute, Indiana, (New York: A. S. Barnes & Co, 1900), there is a reference to another son of Dr. Charles B. Modesitt – Rev. Welton M. Modesitt, who came to Terre Haute with his parents in 1818. A large section is devoted to his education. This book describes Dr. Charles B. Modesitt as being born in Virginia in 1784, graduated from Prince William College in 1808. He moved to Ohio, near Cincinnati in 1814 and then moved to Terre Haute in 1816. Dr. Modesitt died in 1848.

In yet another book, The History of Vigo County, Indiana (Chicago: S. B. Nelson & Co., 1891), Dr. Modesitt is said to have died in 1847. His children were James A. (born in September and died April 15, 1880); Frances Anna; Welton M.; and Caroline and George, who both died young. Frances married Chauncey B. Warren in 1832. In later pages, R. H. Modesitt is described as son of William and Leretta (Crabb) Modesitt. William and Leretta are said to be former resident of Virginia, and both of German origin. In later pages of this book discussing Chauncey B. Warren, his wife is listed as the daughter of Dr. Charles Modesitt, “Frances Elizabeth” – not “Frances Anna” as stated earlier.

Finally, in “A History of Clay County, Indiana (New York: Lewis Pub. Co. 1909) is a reference to the fact that Nathaniel Modesitt, a pioneer of the county, died in Perry Township in the latter part of April 1873 and is buried in the Rule Cemetery. Nathaniel’s son, William Thomas Modesitt, was described as being born in Clay County Feb 8, 1860, was of Virginia ancestry, and the grandson of Uriah Modesitt. Uriah was thought to be born on the eastern shore of Virginia and then moved to the western shore of Va. Uriah married a Miss Cole and had these children: James, Nathaniel, Joshua, Augustus, Uriah, Mahala, Sarah, and Frances. In a separate section of this book, the following individuals are listed as having died in Clay County: Brooks Modesitt, Jan 14, 1857, age 79; Charles Modesitt, April 16, 1859, age 32; and Watson G. Modesitt, January 10, 1861, age 20.

The Modesitt's were quite prominent in early days so much has been written about them. Unfortunately, I never came upon a Modesitt family that stayed in Virginia - all seemed to have relocated to other states. However, I will hasten to add that I ran out of time before I ran out of "hits" to read through! If anything here looks prominent, let me know and I'll see if I can drill down deeper.


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