Markham of Chesterfield
      Ancestors and Descendants of John Markham

Bio: Elizabeth Markham


Elizabeth Markham was the oldest daughter of John Markham and his wife Mary of Pittsylvania county Virginia. She was probably born 1780-85. She grew up on the Markham family plantation with an older brother and seven younger siblings. Her father died in 1801 when she was between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She was married a few years later on the 7th of January 1804 to James Whitehead of Pittsylvania county Virginia. Her brother Peter Markham stood as surety and Rev David Nowlin performed the ceremony.

In 1809 Elizabeth Markham Whitehead's mother died and her brother Peter Markham was named guardian of the minor children of the family. There are several mentions of the family in court records related to the settlement of the estate. About 1814 Peter Markham left for service in the War of 1812 and James Whitehead took over various matters related to the Markham family. He stood as surety for the marriages of Catherine Markham in 1812 and Rebecca Markham in 1820. He also bought and sold property with William H Markham and eventually James Whitehead and his brother-in-law William H Markham joined in operating a Tannery in the community of Greenfield in Pittsylvania county Virginia. William H Markham married James Whitehead's niece, Belinda Whitehead.

In 1981 Ruth Whitehead Chorlian published her book "The Whitehead Story". It is helpful in understanding the early generations of the Whitehead family. The Markham and Whitehead families are connected by marriage at several points. Chorlian's book identifies three sons of James Whitehead and Elizabeth Markham: Henry Whitehead, William Whitehead, and Cary Whitehead. None are followed in the book.

A detailed study of census records suggests that James Whitehead and Elizabeth Markham had two or possibly three daughters. One has been identified as Catherine Whitehead. Family tradition indicates that Elizabeth Markham Whitehead died before 1820, probably between 1816-1818. By the time the 1820 census of Pittsylvania county Virginia was taken, James Whitehead appears with his second wife, three male and three female children. James Whitehead was secondly married to Martha Washington Coats. The date of their marriage is not given but was probably 1818-1820. Records vary as to whether her maiden name was Washington or Coats, but she was almost twenty years younger than James Whitehead and probably about age twenty when she married him. She took on five or six step-children all under the age of fifteen and went on to have seven more children of her own.

Tracking the children of James Whitehead and Elizabeth Markham has been challenging. Researcher - descendant, Bonnie Camp Lemieux, put me on the trail of their daughter Catherine Markham Whitehead who married William H Camp in 1827. Descendants of Camp and Whitehead eventually settled in Arkansas. A recent find on the internet, from the work of Thelma Faye Cain Prince, places a grandson, James Richard Whitehead, in Doniphan and Leavenworth counties in Kansas in the 1850's and 1860's. This has provided some new clues that suggest that Elizabeth Markham Whitehead's sons, John Henry Whitehead and Cary B Whitehead may have removed to Missouri, and then Kansas.

Some effort has been made to follow the children of James Whitehead and Martha Washington Coats, with the hopes of learning more about Elizabeth Markham Whitehead's children. A few brief notes can be found under the "Whitehead Family". James Whitehead and Martha Washington Coats appear in the 1820, 1830, 1840 and 1850 censuses of Pittsylvania county Virginia. It appears that most of the children of James Whitehead by his two wives, moved west.


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Link to Elizabeth Markham

Biography of Elizabeth Markham; written by Pamela Hutchison Garrett for Markham of Chesterfield website; 2014.