Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Timeline - Marcellus Fulton White

Marcellus Fulton White is my third great grandfather. He was born in 1832 in Virginia, came to Missouri "at some point" and died in Ray County, Missouri in 1895. I have a lot of unanswered questions about my Marcellus. I've written about him here and here.

Marcellus continues to be my nemesis and it seems that his brick wall will never come down. In an effort to rekindle the fire, I created a timeline for him. It helps me to visualize where the gaps are in my research.
A timeline outlining known events in the life of Marcellus White (click to enlarge)
One major inconsistency leaps out, and that is the date of the family's arrival in Missouri. Marcellus' first son, Thomas, is known to have been born on 29 July 1860 in Virginia. His place and date of birth is listed the same in every document I have found for him to include his death certificate. However, his parents are listed in Missouri on the 1860 census...which was enumerated just one day later on 30 July 1860.
An 1860 census from Ray County, Missouri, that may be my White line.
I say a silent curse to the enumerator that insisted on using initials rather than full names on this census. However, here are the first four sets of initials: W.L. (M, 21), M.F. (M, 27), M.J. (F, 22) and E.P. (M, 62). The other initials listed do not match the names I have for siblings, but the ages do. It is possible that they are cousins or nieces/nephews. However, that is another wrench we'll ignore for now. I believe the four individuals listed are the following people:
W.L. (21, M) - Watkins Leigh White (Marcellus' brother)
M.F. (27, M) - Marcellus Fulton White
M.J. (22, F) - Mary Jane White (Marcellus' wife)
E.P. (62, M) - Edmund Penn (Marcellus' father)

At the very least, Mary was not in Missouri on this date because she was in Virginia having a baby. If she had had the child in Missouri he would have been listed. The thing that leaps out to me about this census is that Watkins, a 21-year-old, is listed as head. Why would he be listed first when there are two other adult males older than him in the same household? 

Here is my theory: I don't think that Marcellus, Mary or Edmund were in Missouri in July 1860. I think that Marcellus and Edmund came to Missouri earlier in the year to find land and get things set up and returned to Virginia to get Mary and the new baby. I think that Edmund stayed back in Virginia (he died there in the mid-1860s) and that Marcellus brought Mary and the new baby out to Missouri. And when the Civil War began I think Marcellus headed back to Virginia to enlist to protect his "homeland." I believe that Watkins and the other sisters were left in Missouri to take care of the land and that when the census taker came Watkins listed the others because they were "en route." Maybe he wanted it to seem like there were more people in the house for protection. 

I will never have an answer to this question. The only record that could answer it is some sort of land deed and there are none. Here's hoping that Marcellus comes to me in a dream and tells me himself.

16 comments:

Anne Gillespie Mitchell said...

Good luck in your search. Great timeline!

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thanks, Anne! It seems like I should just head to Virginia and do some research. I wonder how long my family would be able to stand that? ;)

Heather said...

It's just this kind of story that keeps me interested in genealogy. I have a couple like this... but the best one is the story of my four times great grandfather who was born illegitimately. My uncle was able to track down the bastardy case that named his father... which would have meant my mom would have had a different maiden name. I also really love connecting the dots with famous ancestors such as Lizzie Borden, a couple of Presidents, Lady Godiva... and so on. I really enjoyed your timeline!

Heather

Patrick Jones said...

Have you looked for a Civil War pension file? This might shed some light on those dates. The timeline is great, I'll have to use that for a brick-wall ancestor.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thanks, Heather! I don't have any famous ancestors that I know of, but you are right, it's these kinds of stories that keep me going!

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Patrick, I did look for a pension file, but it doesn't appear that Marcellus received one. He moved to Missouri immediately after his service in Virginia. Confederates asked for pensions in the state the lived in and Missouri didn't start giving pensions until after Marcellus died. Just to be sure I also checked the Virginia pensioner lists, but no luck!

Patrick Jones said...

You've probably looked for this, but if his wife outlived him, did you try for a widow's pension?

Jana Last said...

I just wanted to let you know that your blog post is listed in my Fab Finds post today at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/01/follow-fridayfab-finds-for-january-24.html

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

She did outlive him! And I looked in to it, but Missouri did not give out widow's pensions. However, I could look in Virginia...just in case!

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thanks, Jana!

Jana Last said...

You're welcome Heather! Your timeline is awesome! What program did you use to create it?

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

I used the SmartArt option in Excel. I plan to write a post about it next week!

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Oh, and if you would like the template just email me and I'll send it along!

Jana Last said...

Hurray! I found the SmartArt option in Excel. I didn't even know about this cool feature. Thanks! So, did you use the Basic Timeline or one of the others?

Diane Hewson said...

love your time line, I am looking forward to your post on it next week.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thanks, Diane! I need to get working on that post. Thanks for the reminder!