November 30, 2014

What happened to Mary Watson after 1860?

In 1842 Mary P Watson was born in Mississippi to John W Watson of RI and his 2nd wife, South Carolinian Harriet Prowell. Mary’s father died when she was only 4 and in 1852 her mother married Virginia born Charles W Caldwell. 

In the 1860 census Mary, her brother Thomas, her mother, stepfather and 3 step-siblings were all living together in Lowndes County, MS.  By 1870 her brother had married and was with his wife in Lamar, Texas, as were her mother, stepfather and the 3 younger children.  But where was Mary?

I assumed she had married between 1860 and 1870 either in Mississippi or in Texas. I took a quick look at familysearch and at the 1870 census in both locations.  But it is difficult to find a MARY with unknown surname.

I focused in on Mary, b 1842 in Mississippi, without a surname, living in Lamar, Texas. In assessing my “possibles”, I checked for local marriage records. I found the 1866 marriage of a Mary Watson to a T. J. Caldwell in Lamar, Texas.  Could that be her? I searched further and found that she had indeed married Dr Thomas J Caldwell and that they named their first son Charles W –- the name of her stepfather ! Were Charles and Thomas related?

Thomas and Mary had 5 children between 1867 and 1879. She died the following year, not yet 40, and is buried in Fannin, Texas. Thomas married again and added 3 more children to the family. He died in 1903 and is buried with Mary whose gravestone shows her name as Mary P.  Their daughter Viva’s Texas death record lists her mother as Mary Watson Prowell … a bit out of order.

Dr Thomas J Caldwell and Mary’s step-father, Charles Washington Caldwell, were found together in the 1850 census with head of household Eliza born 1798 in Virginia.  No relationships are listed. Charles was 34 and Thomas was 12 (born in Mississippi). Could Charles be his father? To be continued.

November 6, 2014

Mrs Moseman Barrett nee Ludington

I came across a 1905 death notice for Mrs Barrett in the Putnam County NY Courier newspaper while looking for information on other Ludington family members – and this time I HAD NOT limited my search by year. Interestingly, she is referred to as one of fifteen children born to Frederick Ludington, but her first name is never mentioned …. It is Cornelia, born 1832. I descend from this family line, so I had quite a bit of information already.

Several of her siblings are mentioned and I have added some of what I know about them and about those not listed. It seems that 14 lived to adulthood.

Mrs Barrett was visiting her sisters Harriet and Frances in Danbury, CT at the time of her death. Those sisters were Harriet 1822-1907,  wife of  Solomon Benjamin Denton, and Frances 1836-1922, wife of Rev John L Benedict.

Two other sisters mentioned (though only by their husbands’ names) were Abby 1827-1895, wife of Lyman Birchard, and Anna 1823-1859, wife of John Townsend.
Also mentioned were brothers Joseph and Oliver who “went west to seek gold”. The article indicates that Joseph died there, however I believe it was Oliver (born 1820) who died in Sacramento in 1856. Joseph (born 1829) moved from California to Bloomington, IL, where he married, had 2 daughters and died in 1864. Harrison 1812-1891, the oldest sibling, was mentioned as former Governor of Wisconsin where he lived for over 50 years. He was a very successful lumber merchant and had also served as Mayor of Milwaukee. The article states “another <brother> was mayor of Chicago” – not true.

Those siblings not mentioned above are;

George W. 1814-1874 merchant and banker, Putnam County
Caroline 1816-1898 wife of Rowland Patrick, Dutchess County
Nelson 1818-1883 an extremely wealthy lumber merchant in Milwaukee & Chicago
Samuel 1830-1877 lumberman in Michigan, then Illinois
Frederick 1834-1907 farmer in Putnam County
Lewis 1838-1909 merchant in IL .. .the only CW vet in the lineup

I had been seeking confirmation that the Oliver Ludington born in NY in 1820 and died in California in 1856 was the son of Frederick … and this news item, dated almost 50 years later, certainly helps.  I will continue to seek more formal confirmation. But, don’t confine your searches to just the years in question. You might be surprised by what you’ll find.