Josiah Petty (1790-1878)

Josiah Petty was born on 10 May 1790 in Surry County, North Carolina to Zachariah and Nancy (Dodson) Petty. Zachariah and his family were listed in the 1790 census in Surry County.

The History of Wayne County, Indiana (p. 710) has a short biographical paragraph about Josiah:

“Our subject’s early life was spent in assisting his father on the farm and in the distillery, and his educational advantages were limited. In 1811 he came to Wayne County, Ind., and carried on a distillery, but, subsequently, on account of the troubles incident to the war of 1812, he went to Ohio, remaining there nine months, when he again came to Wayne County. He built a distillery in Perry Township and ran it till 1834 or 1835, and then went to Randolph County and remained three or four years. He returned to Wayne County and located in Cambridge City, and in 1840 moved to Miami County and settle near Peru. In 1851 he returned to Wayne County. He was married in 1817 to Sally Sheets, a native of Ohio, of Scotch descent. They had a family of nine children, eight sons and one daughter, seven of whom are living. Mr. Petty was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church many years, but in later life he united with the United Brethren church. He died April 15, 1878. His wife died in 1840.”

The first record that I have found for Josiah after leaving North Carolina is the 1820 census. In 1820, Josiah and his family were living in Union, Miami County, Ohio. The census was about three years after his marriage to Sarah “Sally” Sheets.

U.S. federal census. Year: 1820; Location: Union, Miami, Ohio; p. 91.

Josiah Patty;
1 male under 10 (William 0)
1 male 26 to 44 (Josiah 30)
1 female 16 to 25 (Sarah 21)
3 persons total

In 1830 Josiah and his family were living in Perry, Wayne County, Indiana. By that time there were five additional children.

U.S. federal census. Year: 1830; Location: Perry, Wayne, Indiana; p. 120.

Josiah Petty;
1 male under 5 (David 4)
2 males 5 to 10 (Daniel 7, Andrew 6)
2 males 10 to 15 (Martin 8, William 10)
1 male 30 to 40 (Josiah 40)
1 female under 5 (Nancy 2)
1 female 20 to 30 (Sarah 31)
8 persons total

Josiah was in Cambridge, Wayne, Indiana in the 1840 census. Cambridge is about 10 miles south of Perry.

U.S. federal census. Year: 1840; Location: Cambridge, Wayne, Indiana; p. 313.

Josiah Petty;
2 males under 5 (Henry 2, Eli 3)
2 males 5 to 9 (James 8, John 10)
2 males 10 to 14 (David 14, Andrew 16)
3 males 15 to 19 (Daniel 17, Martin 18, William 20)
1 male 40 to 49 (Josiah 50)
1 female 10 to 14 (Nancy 12)
1 female 40 to 49 (Sarah 41)
12 persons total

Sarah, Josiah’s wife, died soon after the 1840 census. The article above mentions that Josiah moved to Miami County in 1840, as well. At that time he had five children 12 and under. I have not been able to locate him in the 1850 census in either Wayne County or Miami County.

Josiah was listed in the 1860 census living with his son, David, in Perry, Wayne County, Indiana. He was listed as 71 years old and with North Carolina as his birthplace. In 1870 he was living with his son, John, in Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana. He was 81 years old and a retired farmer.

I have not been able to find where Josiah was when he died on 15 April 1878. He may have still been living with John in Muncie or he may have been living with one of his other sons. He was buried in the Salem Baptist Church Cemetery in Hagerstown, Wayne, Indiana.

Josiah and Sarah had the following children:

  • William Petty was born on 18 May 1820 in Ohio and died 24 May 1887 in Howard County, Indiana.
  • Martin Petty was born on 10 July 1822 in Ohio and died 22 February 1894 in Vermillion County, Indiana.
  • Daniel Petty was born on 12 April 1823 in Wayne County, Indiana.
  • Andrew Petty was born on 16 October 1824 and died 14 October 1903 in Peru, Miami County, Indiana.
  • David Petty was born on 29 June 1826 in Wayne County, Indiana and died 12 August 1903 in Wayne County, Indiana.
  • Nancy Petty was born on 12 August 1828 in Wayne County, Indiana.
  • John S. Petty was born 12 July 1830 in Preble County, Ohio and died 13 September 1892 in Martinsville, Morgan, Indiana.
  • James Petty was born 28 Feb 1831 in Wayne County, Ohio.
  • Eli Petty was born 1 May 1837 in Indiana and died 7 Mar 1867.
  • Henry C. Petty was born on 10 September 1838 in Wayne County, Indiana.


History of Wayne County, Indiana, Volume 2. Chicago, Illinois: Inter-State Pub. Co., 1884. Digital images. Josiah Petty, p. 710.

U.S. federal census. Year: 1860; Location: Perry, Wayne, Indiana; p. 307.
U.S. federal census. Year: 1870; Location: Muncie, Delaware, Indiana; p. 498B.

Josiah Petty, Memorial #57321446, database and images online.


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