The Two Wives of Thomas Owsley II

"There’s More to the Story"

By Ronny O. Bodine

This article was first published in the December 2009 issue

of the Owsley Family Historical Society Newsletter.


Author’s note:  The Two Wives of Thomas Owsley, published in the September 2009 Newsletter, certainly generated more interest than any other article in recent years. I left it open for readers to contribute any new information they may uncover in their own research and this follow-up is the result, hopefully, just the first.


Martha Peril and her son Samuel Peril, were named in the 1756 will of Martha’s sister, Lucy Hudson.  Floyd Owsley wrote to say that Peril was undoubtedly Pearl and went on to point out that her husband was likely William Pearl in who’s will of 24 May 1785, proved 28 July 1785 in Fauquier County, Virginia (Wills 2: 61-62) he names his wife Martha and sons Samuel, William and Richard, leaving all of his estate to his widow, one of three executors.  Although the will makes no mention of any Hudson, the identity of Martha as Lucy’s sister seems to be confirmed by the following.  William and Martha Pearl’s son, William Pearl also left a will, written 24 Feb 1814 and proved in Lincoln County, Kentucky naming sons John, Henry and Edward Pearl and among his daughters, Nancy Owsley.   The following chart better illustrates this complex relationship.


                                       William Hudson = Sarah = Benjamin Settle

                                           d. 1730           d. 1754      1687-1752


                                                 _______ | ____________

                                                 |                                   |

1st Wife = Thomas Owsley II  = Ann Hudson             Martha Hudson = William Pearl

             |              d.1750                                                               | c1725-1785

             |                                                                                       |

   Thomas Owsley III                                                                William Pearl

        1731-1796                                                                        c1747-1814

             |____________________________                              _____|_______                                                 |                              |                             |                    |

William Owsley                      Daniel Owsley = Nancy Ann Pearl         |

                     1749-1813                            1765-1835            c1776-1853     |

                                |_________________                                ___________|

                                                              |                               |             

                                                          Mary Owsley = Henry Pearl

                                                          1784-fl. 1853    c1779-1853


Recall also that one Rush Hudson served as security in 1730 for the administration of Sarah Hudson on the estate of her husband William Hudson.   The relationship of Rush Hudson to William Hudson is not known.  He was not his brother.  But, two of our members, Sage Joyner and Bettina Esser, wrote to report that they were descendants of this Rush Hudson and one, Sage Joyner, noted another Owsley connection among his ancestry:


                       William Hudson = Sarah                                      Rush Hudson

                                d. 1730                                                   security in 1730

                                                |                                                        |

1st Wife = Thomas Owsley II  = Ann Hudson                                David Hudson

              |                                                                                          |

Thomas Owsley IIII = Mary Middleton                                 Margaret Hudson=Reuben Arnold

                               |                                                                                  |

                   Mary Owsley = John Bryant                                                      |

                                        |_______                      ______________________|

                                                     |                     |                                                

                                              Jane Bryant = Isaac Arnold


I consulted Peggy Frances Rush’s The Willis Family of the Northern Neck in Virginia 1669-1737 (Heritage Books, 2007) which provides some detail on the Rush family.  But, on page 95, even Ms. Rush comments “The relationship between William and Rush Hudson is unknown to me.”


And here is where we stand for the moment.  There remains much to be uncovered.  What is the family connection of William Hudson to Rush Hudson?  Who were the parents of Sarah, recalling the Sarah had received 160 acres from her father.  Could it be William Allen, a name alluded to in a website but offering no evidence?

Read more:


The Two Wives of Thomas Owsley II

"The Full Story"

The Ancestry of Ann Hudson

"Wife of Thomas Owsley II"