March 18, 2012

Know the In-laws: Who was William Austin's wife in Matagorda Texas?

In the Matagorda Texas 1860 census William Austin of New York (who had been living with his maternal aunt Amelia Ludington Hodges) was married to Mary E born 1838 in Virginia.  At the time they had three children under the age of 6. It caught my eye that there were 3 additional people in the household all with the surname Ives, aged 18, 14, and 8: Lucy, Charles and Walter. The older two were born in Virginia and Walter in Texas … could they be Mary’s siblings?

Checking the 1870 census William and “Elizabeth” (as she was now recorded) were found with 4 children plus a different mix of Ives household members: Charles 24, John 22, George 20 and Walter 17.  As relationships within the household were not specified in either of these census years, I was still guessing.

So, in looking for a marriage record for William Austin prior to 1855 when their first child was born, I did find a match with his wife listed as Mary E Ives. The date listed was 30 May 1854 in Calhoun, Texas. Unfortunately no birth dates or places or parents’ names were included in the record.  So, it seemed my guess was correct. But, who were her parents and why were her assumed siblings living with them? 

Going backwards to the 1850 Matagorda census, I did not find a Mary Ives, but did find an Elizabeth of corresponding age, born in Virginia with siblings Lucy, Charles, John and George and parents Charles, born 1804 in England and Harriet born 1817 in Virginia.  The youngest child of this family, Walter, was born in 1852 hence not included in this census record. 

I have to assume that Mary Elizabeth’s died or fell under terrible circumstances between 1850 and 1860 for her to assume responsibility for all her siblings while raising her own young children. I have not yet found death records for them.
Be sure to check all the names in the census record, you may discover more than you imagined.

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