Field Family Page
The Field Family - A Brief History
Penelope Field (or Fields) was my great-great grandmother, the wife of my great-great grandfather William West Walters.
Penelope was born June 27, 1807, in Virginia, I believe, to unknown parents. At one time I believed her father might have been Abner Fields, but I have no proof so will keep searching.
William West Walters had been born January 17, 1805, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to Jackson Walters and Polly West Herring. By the time of the 1820 census, when William was 15 years old, the Walters family had migrated from Virginia to Warren County, Kentucky (Bowling Green area).
On January 9, 1827, Penelope Field and William West Walters were married. They may have been married in Kentucky or perhaps in Virginia. I have not yet found their marriage record, so am not sure.
Children of William West Walters and Penelope Field
1) James Volney Walters (1827-1904) - MY ancestor
2) Nancy Jean Walters (1833-1874)
3) Mary Ann Walters (Molly/Polly) (1835-1904)
4) Voltaire Quintillian Walters ("Dock") (1837-1888)
5) Stanford Edwin ("Dick") Walters (1839-1919)
6) Sarah Louisa Walters (1843-1921)
7) William Lewis Walters (1844-1918)
Penelope and William Walters were found in the 1850 census living in St. Clair County, Missouri. According to information in that census, Penelope and William were both born in Virginia; James Volney (born 1827) and Nancy Jean (born 1833) were born in Kentucky; Mary (born 1835), Voltaire ("Dock") (born 1837), and Stanford ("Dick") (born 1839) were born in Tennessee; and Sarah Louisa (born 1843) and William Lewis (born 1844) were born in Missouri. Using the birth years as a guide, it is possible to get a rough estimate of when the family moved from state to state. However, it appears that after William W. Walters obtained land in Missouri in 1845, he and Penelope remained in St. Clair County, Missouri, at least until Penelope's death. Exactly when she died is not known to me, but it had to have been sometime between 1850 (census) and 1854 (William's second marriage), perhaps 1852 or 1853, probably in St. Clair County. Some believe Penelope (and William) were buried at Horn Cemetery in St. Clair County, Missouri.
NOTE: ?? Fields or Healds ?? - There has been some question or controversy about the surname Field(s) due to an entry in an old Family Bible. That Bible is known as the "Lewis Family Bible," having once belonged to a half-sister of William West Walters, Frances Walters Lewis. It was sold for $7 Kentucky currency per a letter I found in my dad's genealogy papers. On the marriage record page of that Bible, the marriage of William W. Walters and "Penelope Fealds" is recorded. The handwriting of that time (early to mid 1800s) often had "flourishes and curly-cues" added to some letters to make it "fancy," and Penelope's last name was written that way. This page from that Family Bible seems to have been copied and shared with many family members over the years, and as copies are made of copies, the writing becomes more and more "faded" and less clear. Whoever wrote the name spelled it as Fealds but because of the way the first letter of Penelope's last name (F) was written with flourishes, some have interpreted it as an "H" instead of an "F". Several years ago, I contacted the owner of the Bible and asked her if that letter and/or that name was clear in the Bible. She seemed unaware that there was any question about the name. She told me it was clearly an "F" and then made new copies of that page (and a few others) from the Bible (which was in her possession at the time) and mailed them to me. I also have one of the "copies of a copy" and I can see how some people who aren't familiar with the "old-fashioned fancy handwriting" could mistake the fancy F for an H. But the "new" copy made directly from the Bible appears very clear to me that the name written there is "Fealds." (Misspelled slightly, but nevertheless meant to be Fields.)
And then, there is the "Cameron Bible." According to Frank Furillo (on Ancestry), this was the Bible of "Peter Franklin and Mary Elizabeth (Pennington) Cameron." (I actually think Mary Elizabeth Cameron's maiden name was Bailey instead of Pennington - daughter of Nancy Jean Walters Bailey Pennington Tucker, but that's not what's important here.) This Bible is apparently in tatters, but Frank Furillo has posted fragments of it on Ancestry and on Find A Grave. One of the pieces of Bible pages has the name William West Walters and either "and" or "m" faintly written beside his name. On the line beneath that name in very faint pencil is written "Penelope Field," indicating that they were married (no date given). Below that the marriage of William P. Tucker and Nancy J. Pennington is recorded (with date). Nancy J. Pennington, of course, was the oldest daughter of William West Walters and Penelope Fields.
Adding to the above, in 1957 Lucy Walters (daughter of James V. Walters, granddaughter of William W. and Penelope Walters) wrote a letter to her nephew Roy Jones in reply to his request for family history information. At that time, Lucy was about 79 years old, living in a Veterans facility, and I'm sure her memory had faded somewhat. I believe there are "kernels of truth" mixed in with her somewhat faulty memories exhibited about other things in that letter; nevertheless, in that letter she said plainly and without equivocation (speaking of her grandmother Penelope), "Her name was Penelope Field. Dad told me."
So, with the above documentation, I think the "controversy or question" about the maiden name of Penelope Field Walters should be laid to rest.
For more information about the Walters family, please go to the Walters Family Page on this website.