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.
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:
|An 1860 census from Ray County, Missouri, that may be my White line.|
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.