Charles Ackman of Lawrence County, Illinois

I wrote this article for the Lawrence County Genealogical Society newsletter early 2006. I’m sharing my older articles on my blog so that they might help researchers online.

            My interest in the Ackman family begins with my great-great-great-great grandmother, Artemecia Jane Ackman, born 30 October, 1846, in Kenton County, Kentucky.  She was the daughter of Isaac Ackman and Nancy Harmon, who, by 1850, were established in Schuyler County in Western Illinois.  When I moved to Lawrence County, bordering Indiana on the eastern side of Illinois, I noticed the Ackman name in the area.  It didn’t take long to find a connection between the Lawrence County family and the Kenton County clan.

            Alma Ackman Rainey published a history of the Ackman family in 1965.  In her work, A History of the Ackman Family, 1695-1965, she traced the Southeast Illinois Ackmans, and also included some of the Western Illinois branches. 

            Rainey’s work states that there were three brothers, William, Charles, and John, who fought in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  She gives an incomplete list of the children of William Ackman (Norton’s ancestor).  She also states that Charles Ackman married Sallie Johnson, the daughter of Thomas Johnson who was related to the Johnsons of Georgetown, Kentucky.  The children of Charles and Sallie Johnson are listed as Rebecca, born 26 March, 1807; Henry, Mary Ann, Malissa, Sally, and John.  Charles Johnson “Johnst” Ackman, born in Maryland, 02 September, 1825, died Sept. 7, 1870. 

            Her words are vague, but it seems she believed the father of Charles Johnson was this older Charles who married Sallie Johnson.

            “Charles Ackman died at sea.  After the death of Charles Ackman the family           moved to northern Kentucky where Charles Johnson Ackman grew to manhood.           He later went to Lawrence County, Illinois—entered land and bought the same    outright.  Married Nancy Jane Berkshire of Boon County, Kentucky; born July 8,            1829—died July 26, 1897.  Married June 15, 1848 by the Justice of the Peace             James Nabb, Lawrenceville, Illinois.  Children:  Francis Marion, born 1849;          Charles Henry, born 1851; George Washington, born 1854; Theodore, born 1855;          California, born 1858; John Wesley, born 1861; Mary Ann, born 1868; and       Howard Johnson, born 1870.”

            There seems to have been some confusion between Charles Johnson “Johnst” Ackman of Lawrence County, and an older, earlier Lawrence County man named, Charles Ackman.  Records in Lawrence County, Illinois, prove that Charles Johnson Ackman was the son of Charles and Margaret Ackman, not Charles and Sallie.  The Charles and Sallie Ackman that Mrs. Rainey named are most likely, Johnst’s grandparents.

            Dorchester County, Maryland, marriages list the union of Charles Ackman to Sarah Walker on 11 May, 1796.  The birth of Charles Johnson Ackman is sometimes given as Dorchester County, Maryland, so there is a strong probability that these people are the Charles and Sally that Rainey describes.  However, Sally (often a nickname for Sarah) is not a Johnson, she is a Walker.   

            A Charles Ackman is listed in Fayette County, Kentucky in the 1830 census.  This man had married Margaret Johnson on 10 November, 1824.  (Fayette County Kentucky Records, Vol. III, by Cook and Cook lists Acman as ACMAR.)  Benjamin M. Taul was surety for this marriage.  By 1830, the couple had two males and one female under 10 in their household.

            Charles Ackman and his wife, Margaret, moved to Lawrence County, Illinois.  He entered land on 6 January, 1837.  The family is listed in the 1840 census with the following data:  One male 40-50 (Charles), one female 40-50 (Margaret), two males and one female 10-15 (Charles Johnson, John Henry, and Mary Ann), three females 5-10 (Sarah, Margaret, and Susan), and one female under 5 (Rebecca).

            This Charles Ackman died on 5 February, 1849, leaving a will.  In it he names his wife, Margaret, and sons, John Henry and Charles Johnson.  The daughters are mentioned, but not named.  The later estates of John Henry and Johnson verify the names of these daughters.

            Charles Ackman is buried in the Ackman-Hollister Cemetery, south of Lawrenceville on Route 1.  The tombstone reads, “Charles Acman, born March 27, 1801, Died February 5, 1849, 48 years.”  (Note: Irene Black’s Cemeteries of Lawrence County, 1976, gives the death as 1819 and the age as 18.  The correct date and age were verified at the cemetery by Norton, December 2006.)

The 1850 Census of Lawrence County, Illinois, listed the widow and her family living next door to Charles Johnson and his new wife.

Denison Township

Dwelling/ 543/543              Name                    age         occupation   birthplace


                                Johnson Ackman                 25           Farmer                   KY

                                Jane                                        20                                           KY

                                F. Marion                              01                                           IL

Dwelling/ 544/544

Family                                  Margaret Ackman               49                            KY

                                                John                                       22      Farmer        KY

                                                Mary Ann                       21        KY                                  Margaret                            19                             IL

                                                Susan                                15                                  IL

                                                Rebecca                           14                                    IL

            During the remainder of the decade, Margaret’s children married and left the home.         

Margaret Johnson Ackman died in May, 1860.  She is listed on the 1860 Mortality Schedule for Denison Township.  She was 60, a widow, born in Kentucky.  She died from consumption.  Written above her name was the name of a grandson, Albert W. Ream, age one. 

            John Henry Ackman, born about 1828 in Kentucky, married Emeline Riggs on 14 September, 1854.  He died in the fall of 1859.  Probate records are in Box 25 at the Lawrence County courthouse.  An inventory of John Henry’s property is dated 27 November, 1856.  Purchasers of personal property included Rebecca, Margaret, Susan, and Johnson Ackman, and Hugh Seeds.  One receipt to Dan L. Gold, dated 5 September, 1856, to Coffin Trimmings for wife–$3.50. Lucy E. “Emeline” Ackman, wife of John H. is buried at Ackman Cemetery; death 28 June, 1855.

            Mary Ann, born 1830 in Kentucky, married Samuel Seeds, 5 December, 1854.  She and Samuel were deceased by 1880.  Their sons, Edgar and Charlie were living with neighbors.  Two daughters, Belinda J. and Susan A., are buried in the Ackman Cemetery.

            A Miss Margaret Ackerman and Joseph Schaumbuss took out a marriage license in 1858, but no return was filed.  Margaret, born about 1831, later married Samuel V. B. Ream.  She died 5 Aug 1860 a few months after her baby, Albert W. 

            Sarah Ackman, born 13 April, 1833, died 5 August, 1846 and is buried beside her father in the Ackman Cemetery. 

            Susan Ackman married William McDonald, an Irish immigrant.  They are listed in the 1860 Census of Denison Township next door to Fredrich and Rebecca Ackman Brody.  Rebecca married Frederick Brady (also spelled Fredrich Brody or Baide) on 4 August, 1858.  Rebecca died before 31 December, 1861, when Fredrich (Fredrick Brade) married Malissa Tague.  Rebecca is buried in the Ackman Cemetery.

            Charles Johnson Ackman died on 7 September, 1870 and is buried in Ackman Cemetery.  His widow, Nancy J. Berkshire Ackman married Robert Tarkington (or Talkington) on 4 December, 1879.  She died 26 July, 1897, and is buried in the Ackman Cemetery under the name of Ackman. 

Original documents vs. Ancestry Thrulines: Naming James Trainer’s Mother

When you’ve been doing genealogical research for almost four decades, you kind of think, “If it was to be found, I would have found it by now!” BUT genetic genealogy is a hope that maybe DNA can break down a brick wall and find that missing ancestor. Indeed, I’ve had DNA matches confirm or reveal ancestors. Still, you should not take the suggestions from DNA matches or from sites like as confirmed until you have checked the information out.

As I look at the online pedigrees for some of my mom’s matches, I see that many have James Trainer married to Ann Brice. I wrote about a published source that gave the wife’s maiden name incorrectly in this blog. Ann’s maiden name was Biven on the original marriage bond.

But while looking at the pedigrees that had Brice, I found at least one that listed James’ wife as Anna Maria Margaret Tilghman. I want to address this because it’s completely wrong, does not line up with any direct evidence, and is related to the Brice mistake.

Anna Maria Margaret Tilghman

Anna Maria Margaret Tilghman was born about 1774 in Maryland to Richard and Margaret Tilghman. She married Nicholas Brice (who died in 1851). She had children with Brice from 1798 until 1810 (according to some online trees). She could NOT be the mother of James Trainer’s children who were born in Georgia and moved to Schuyler County, Illinois. Anna Maria Tilghman Brice never left Maryland. She died there in 1858.

James Trainer’s Mother

James Trainer’s parents names has also become a bit of an online copy-paste assumption that is wrong–half wrong–or, at least, not proved, yet!

What we have passed down through oral history is that James Trainer’s father was in the Revolutionary War and fought with the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion. He had a wife and two sons–names were not given. The father was supposed to be an Irish immigrant.

Many online pedigrees are showing James parents as James Trainer and Margaret Martin. Who are these two people? There are no records attached to confirm this. I have found a Trainer–named James–in early South Carolina land grants. This is promising, but not yet proof.

But James Trainer’s mother is definitely not Margaret Martin or Margaret anyone. We have direct evidence from primary sources that James’ mother’s name was Mary, and she was still living as late as 1827. Records are amazing things!

Will of Jacob Branton.

On 27 November 1805, Jacob Branton made a nuncupative will. That means, he did not write it down. He was literally on his death bed telling his will to his witnesses–Jonathan Oxford and James Todd (or Ford).

In Early Records of George: Wilkes County by Grace Gillam Davidson, page 81 shows the published version of this will. Jacob Branton mentions his step-son, James Terrance, who is to care for Jacob’s wife, Mary. Later, newspaper reports and other published works show that our James Trainer was suing this Mary Branton for land.

The original source is just a tad different.

Georgia, Wilke Co, Will Book HH p 3-4

Sometimes this will is listed under the surname White because it looks like the man is Jacob Branton White. But the context of the will definitely shows that this says…”…Jacob Branton While in his perfect sence…”

Jacob’s children, I assume older and from a previous wife, were given one dollar each. They are Isaiah Branton, Joseph Branton, Elizabeth Cooper, and Hanna Boon.

The stepson’s name was James Trainer, spelled Tranner, but not Terrance. If James is his stepson, then James must be the biological son of Jacob’s wife. His wife is Mary. James Trainer’s mother is Mary (maiden name unknown) Trainer Branton

I learned about my ancestor James Trainer when I started genealogy about 1983. I picked up these records from Georgia State Archives in 2012. I was still stuck until this year–2020, when I was able to read the original sources on The mistake in Davidson’s book thwarted me for 8 years. (I am, I believe, the first to figure this out. I am sharing with all, so let’s get to fixing those online trees.) Be aware that reckless family history “enthusiasts” will not check records or fix trees. So expect to start seeing James’ mother listed as Mary, Mary Branton, Mary Martin, Mary Margaret Martin, Mary Margaret Branton, etc. Just remember, that at this time, all that is proved is that her name is Mary–but that’s the first major breakthrough in over 50 years!

Below is a list of most of the records I have found for James Trainer and his mother, Mary Branton. In 1827, she was granted land in Muscogee Co, GA for being the widow of a Revolutionary War soldier. The original does not give the soldier’s name. I believe there may be additional records in the land, tax, and court books of GA that might give us more information on Mary, and perhaps what happened to her land when she died. The search continues. No widow or Mary Branton is named in 1830 Georgia census, so she may have died before 1830.

Timeline for James Trainer and his mother, Mary Branton

(Year, Place, Info, abstract/transcript, source, link if available)

1794, Columbia Co GA, marriage James Trainor to Ann Biven; bm Peter Watson. See

1801 Wilkes Co GA Tax List

Jacob Brinton

James Trainer

1801 top of page

                                                                    Wilkes   Rocky Cr

1801 close-up showing Brinton and Trainer together.

(Richard Davis, 400a from —Booker, granted/surveyed for Danl Grant.  Richard Davis mentioned receiving “full legacies” in probate of Daniel Grant, 1794, Wilkes Co GA.) (Crookshanks probably refers to Charles Crookshanks.  See Early Records of Georgia: Wilkes County by Grace Gillam Davidson, GPC, 1991 pp 89 and 96, showing Benjamin Porter selling land to Charles Crookshanks of MD; land on Rocky Creek.)

1803—13 June.  Land Lottery

P 303 James Trainer, 2 draws

P 313 Jacob Brinton, 2 draws

(Page numbers from Early Records of Georgia: Wilkes County by Grace Gillam Davidson, GPC, 1991.)

1805 Wilkes Co GA, Tax List

James Traner listed as a Defaulter. (No Brinton listed.) 

What is a Defaulter?  See Georgia State Archives website:

 (Wilkes County (Washington), Georgia Newspaper Abstracts 1802, 1805-1809 by Faye Stone Poss, page 51, James Trainer listed as defaulter in Capt. Hamilton’s district—by James Patterson, Receiver of Tax Returns, Wilkes, March 12, 1806.)

1805, Land Lottery, (copy in file).

James Trainer of Wilkes Co, Lot No. 103, Dist 1, Baldwin Co.

1805 (Another source for above, Wilkes County (Washington), Georgia Newspaper Abstracts 1802, 1805-1809 by Faye Stone Poss.  Page 20, from the Sat. Sept 7, 1805 (Vo V, No. 237) edition of the Monitor, “List of persons who have drawn prizes in the Land Lottery for the county of Wilkes, viz.”  James Trainer Lot 103, District 1, Baldwin.

1805—27 Nov.  Jacob Branton Will (nuncupative), Book HH p 3.  27 Nov 1805/ 28 Nov 1805.

(See original at link.  Also, Early Records of Georgia: Wilkes County by Grace Gillam Davidson, GPC, 1991, page 81–Davidson correctly shows that Jacob’s name was spelled Branton in the will, but incorrectly states James Terrance was Jacob’s stepson.  The original says Trainer.)

1805—28 Dec.  James Trainer applies for letters of administration on estate of Jacob Brenton, will annexed.  (Wilkes County (Washington), Georgia Newspaper Abstracts 1802, 1805-1809 by Faye Stone Poss, page 39.)

1806—Nov 8.  “NOTICE.” All person interested in the estate of Jacob Brinton deceased are hereby notified to attend at the next inferior Court of Wilkes county, as I shall, if no cause to the contrary be shewn, go into the proof of the last will and testament of said deceased.  James Trainer.

(Wilkes County (Washington), Georgia Newspaper Abstracts 1802, 1805-1809 by Faye Stone Poss, p 94.)

1806—Nov 26.  Mary Brinton applies for letters of administration on estate of Jacob Brinton, dec.  (Monitor, Sat. Nov 29, 1806 Vol. VI, No. 302).  (Source Wilkes County (Washington), Georgia Newspaper Abstracts 1802, 1805-1809 by Faye Stone Poss, p. 99.)

1807 January.  Jacob  Brinton Appraisal, Book MM p 26. Jan 1807

1807, Wilkes Co GA, Tax List Capt Joshua Render’s District

James Trayner, 202 ½ a in Baldwin Co, lot 103. 

1809, Wilkes Co GA, Tax List  Capt John Coats’s District

James Trayner 202 ½ a in Baldwin Co Lot No. 103 (granted to Sd Trainer), 202 ½ a in Wilkerson Co Lot No. 108. (Granted to Oglethorpe).

1810—Mar. 9.  Notice of Sheriff’s sale.  “Also three cows and calves, one two year old heifer; taken to satisfy an execution in favor of James Trainer against Mary Brenton.” (Wilkes County (Washington), Georgia Newspaper Abstracts 1810-1815 Vol. II by Faye Stone Poss, p 16.)

1810—Jun 10.  “Sheriff’s Sale. Will Be Sold, On the first Tuesday in July next at the courthouse in Lincoln county…the following property—viz.  100 acres of land (more or less) on the waters of Soap Creek, in Lincoln county adjoining Nicholas Guize at present unoccupied; taken as the property of Mary Brinton administratrix of Jacob Brinton, deceased, to satisfy an execution in favor of James Trainer, the property pointed out by the plaintiff.  Conditions cash.  James Buys, D. S. June 2, 1810.

1810—July 3. Lincoln Co GA, Sheriff of Lincoln Co to James Trainer, 100a land of Mary Brinton

1811, Lincoln Co GA, James Trainer sells 100a to Saml Thompson.

1819 Land Lottery

P 330, Capt John W Willis’s district

Wid. Mary Brinton

(Source: Early Records of Georgia: Wilkes County by Grace Gillam Davidson, GPC, 1991, page 334.)

(1819 Tax List for Capt John Willis’s District does not list a Mary Brinton—or any Brinton or Trainer.)

1827 GA Land Lottery

Wid. Mary Brinton,   of Carter’s in Wilkes Co.  Draws lot 158 section 23, Muscogee Co.

Mary Brinton, listed as widow of a Revolutionary War Soldier,

1826—Mar 16, Schuyler Co, IL, Caroline Trainer to Samuel Green (3rd marriage in county).

1828—Nov 3, Poll, Schuyler Co IL election for President and Vice-President (copy from Schuylerite in file)

No. 91 James Traner

(No. 83 Samuel Green) (No Shields or McCorkles)

Note:  Requirement to vote in IL—White male, six months in state.  (I assume 21 or older.)

This from Wikipedia, “The 1828 presidential election was the first in which non-property-holding white males could vote in the vast majority of states.” 

1828—Dec 25, Schuyler Co, IL James Trainer to Mary Shields

(There are Shields and McCorkles connected to Peter Watson, the bondsman on James and Ann’s marriage record, living in Georgia.)

1829—Schuyler Co IL, David S. Trainer to Rebecca Martin

1830 Schuyler Co IL Census

David Trainor—0000100000000—0001000000000

1830 Fulton Co IL  Census, p 252.

James Trainer—0020000100000—0020001000000

Joseph Shields—0000100000000—1000100000000

 (Joseph Shields to Mary McLarren, 1 Oct 1829, Fulton Co IL—probably a son of Mary Shields.)

1831—Schuyler Co IL, William Trainer to Hannah Owen

1835—Schuyler Co IL, Mary Trainer to Samuel D. McCorkle

1837—Schuyler Co IL, Martha Trainer to John Williams

1838—Schuyler Co IL, Ann Trainer to William Carter

1843—To Texas. 

1846—Gonzales Co TX. Death of James Trainer.