Tapley was likely born in Wake County, North Carolina at some point around 1785. I know he was born in North Carolina from the census information I have gathered. Wake County is my best guess because his father, Benjamin Woodson, was from that part of North Carolina. However, I don't yet have solid evidence that Benjamin was his father. I will get back to that later.
What I find most confusing is his date of birth. That may sound strange, but it seems that in almost every census, he was recorded as being born in a different year. For example, in the 1850 census, he was listed as being 65. This age would place his birth sometime around 1785. However, in the 1870 census, he was listed as being 90, placing his birth around 1780.
I am not quite sure as to when he got married. The census didn't record that. Based on his age, and that of his wife, Keziah "Kizzy" Thornhill (1800-1870), it is likely they married between 1820 and 1830. Kizzy was born in Tennessee. It is likely that is where they got married. My grandmother recorded their daughter Martha's birth as being in Sumner County, Tennessee in 1830. This information is backed up by the 1830 U.S. Federal Census has them living in that county at that time. Ten years later, they were living in Perry County, Tennessee.
Tapley and Kizzy had at least 3 children: Martha C. (my 3rd great-grandmother), John, and Lucinda. All three were born in Tennessee. It is possible there were 2 more children, based on the 1830 Census, but I have not found any detailed information on them.
From Tennessee, Tapley and his family moved to Missouri. The earliest recorded information I can find, online, is a land record where he purchased 40 acres of land on 1 January 1849 in Greene County, Missouri. Tapley remained there for the rest of his life, dying only a few years after his wife.
One of these days, I plan on going down to Greene County, Missouri to dig at the courthouse. I hope to find more information on Tapley, like an exact date of death, land records, and a will. I would also love to go to Sumner County , Tennessee to dig for information on his life there.
As I wrote in my last blog entry, I am missing source information. In this case, I obtained my information on this line from my Grandma Scott. My father has done more research going back from Benjamin, Tapley's father, but I want to confirm, first, that Benjamin is his father. There are some hints that it is correct. They lived in the same geographic areas around the same time. The dates fit. It is quite plausible that Tapley was Benjamin's son. What I would like to find is something more solid than conjecture.