Mary Jane Adams

Dave’s 2x great grandparents, particularly his 2x great grandmother, Mary Jane Adams, are somewhat of a mysterious challenge, although more is known about her husband, Abraham Dulworth, because he left more of a paper trail.

Here are the facts, just the supported, proven facts, about Abraham Dulworth and Mary Jane Adams:

1. Abraham Dulworth was born in Kentucky.
2. Mary Jane Adams was born. Yes, she actually existed.
3. Abraham and Mary Jane married on 1 February 1883 in Clay County, Tennessee.

Although both are found in census records, their ages, places of birth and even marital status varies.

It is necessary to look at this couple’s individual records, as well as their joint records to try to unravel this mystery. Although my focus will be Mary Jane, usually called Jane in the records, I will begin with Abraham, or Abe, as his daughter Matilda, Dave’s great grandmother, first appears in his household in 1880.

Clay County, TN 1880

Abraham Dulworth is clearly household 118, although he appears between #112 and #114. He was enumerated as a 39 year old widowed farmer who had been unemployed for four months of the previous year. With him were Matilda, 13, James, 8 and John, 7. Mr. Chowning, the census taker, didn’t do a very good job. Aside from not being able to count, he didn’t bother to list the relationships to head of household for the three families listed on this page so an assumption needs to be made that these are Abraham’s children.

For many years, I assumed that Abraham had married and that his wife died at a young age, possibly giving birth to John. I was quite surprised, though, when I looked for Abe in the 1870 census and found him in Cumberland County, Kentucky.

Cumberland Co., KY 1870

There, in the next to last household is James Dulworth, 62, born in TN, Elizabeth, 57, born KY, Abraham, 26, born KY and James, 9, born KY. From previous research, I know that James and Elizabeth were Abraham’s parents and 9 year old James was the son of Abe’s brother, Mathias, or Tice, as he was called. Where is Matilda, who should be perhaps 3 years old? Abraham’s age is off by three years when compared to the 1880 census.

Next, I checked the 1900 census.

Here is where the mystery deepens. Abraham, aged 53 and born July 1846 in KY, is head of a household consisting of wife Mary J.  She is 43, born May 1857 in TN. She reported being the mother of 8 children, 7 of whom were still living. Abe and Jane reported that they had been married for 30 years! Children at home included James, born August 1876, John F., born May 1879, Sid W., born Jan 1885, Benjamin, born June 1887, Jacob, born Sept 1898 (sic – should be 1888) , Martella, born Jan 1892 and Belle, born Jan 1896. Matilda was out of the house by now and there are no other known children of Abe and Jane. It is certainly possible that a child died young. However, I have come across instances before where a mother interpreted the census question as how many children does she have now and, of those, how many are living at home? I don’t know if Jane also did this, but I will explain why I think this might be the case in a bit.

Abe and family were also found in 1910, still in Cumberland County. By 1920, Jane was listed as divorced and living with her unmarried son, John, in Greer Co., OK. Son Sid, married with his own family, was living nearby. Abraham has not been found in 1920 – perhaps he died after he and Jane went their separate ways, but before the 1920 census and Jane was unaware of his death. Jane appeared for the last time in the 1930 census, still living with son John, but they had moved to Elk, Washita County, OK. Jane Dulworth has a headstone in Granite City Cemetery, Greer County, OK that looks to be in pristine condition, but while her name is engraved, there are no dates of birth or death on it.

A marriage record was finally found for Abraham and Jane in Clay County, Tennessee. The reported date of marriage was 1 February 1883! That is only 17 years before the 1900 census, when they reported that they had been married for 30 years. Another piece of the mystery puzzle.

It took me a while, but I finally went looking for Mary J./Jane Adams in 1870. Another surprise:

There in household 87 is Jennie Adams, 70, born SC, keeping house, with Francis (female), 45, born TN (no occupation), Elizabeth, 40, born TN (no occupation), Jane, 18, born TN (no occupation), Race (male), 14, born TN, farm hand, Brilina, 10, born TN, Sarah, 4, born TN and Matilda, 1, born TN, all with the surname Adams!

In 1880, like Abe Dulworth, Jane was also living in Clay County, Tennessee:

Household 17 includes “Rashis” Adams, head of household, age 20, wife Nancy, age 18, son William, age 5 months (born December) and Jane, his sister, age 25. Rashis reported that he works on a farm. Nancy was keeping house and Jane was “at home.” It is noted that Rashis, Nancy and Jane could not read or write. There are several other surnames I recognize from Cumberland County, such as the Willises who were Clay County neighbors. It appears that migrating back and forth between Cumberland County and Clay County was a common occurrence.

Finally, there is the 1860 census, in which Mary J./Jane makes her first appearance:

Household #177 has the following occupants: James Adams, 58, born SC, M.J. Adams, 47, born VA, Elizabeth Adams, 14, born KY, M.J. Adams, 9, born KY, George F. Haly, 9, born TN, M.K. Adams, 8, born KY and Jas. Adams Jr., 22, born TN. James Jr. was a laborer. James, M.J. and James Jr. are all noted to be unable to read or write.

Cumberland County, Kentucky was and is a very poor area of Appalachia. The variations in ages from one census to the next are likely because no one knew exactly how old they were. Abe’s son, John, reported on his WWI draft registration that his date of birth was December “don’t know” 1872 and above was added “As near as can get at now.” He did sign his name, but spelled his surname “Dulwerth.”

So, what to make of Abe and Jane, their marriage record versus their 1900 census report and who the heck were the mothers of the children in Abe’s household from 1880 through 1910?

Lacking any other documents, I am inclined to believe that Jane misunderstood the 1900 census question and that she had given birth to eight children, all of whom were still living, although only seven were at home. That means that Matilda, James, John F., Sid W., Benjamin, Jacob, Martella and Belle were all her children.

Next, what to make of one year old Matilda Adams living with Jane and her family in 1870? First, I would assume that Jane gave birth to Matilda out of wedlock. I might also assume that Matilda’s father was some other unknown person, EXCEPT for the fact that Matilda, James and John were all living with Abraham in 1880 at the same time that Jane was living with brother Race/Rashis’ family, although all were residents of Clay County, TN at that time. It would have been quite helpful if census taker Mr. Chowning had properly done his job and listed relationship to head of household. However, why would these children be living with Abe if they were not his children and no other persons were in that household at that time? Additionally, by 1900, James and John are identified as Abe’s sons, not stepsons.

My current working theory is that Jane and Abraham had an on-going off-and-on relationship from a short time after the close of the Civil War until  1 February 1883, when they finally married. (As an aside, exactly how were the Adamses supporting themselves in 1870? It’s not likely that 14 year old farm hand Race/Rashis was making enough money to support a family of eight.) I also currently believe that all eight children shared the same two parents – Abraham and Mary Jane.

James’ 1945 death certificate filed in Cumberland Co., KY names Abraham and Jane Adams as his parents. No death record has been found for any of the other children, including Matilda, who died in Greer County, Oklahoma.

So far, no divorce record for Abraham and Jane has been found, either. It might possibly name their children.

What do you think? Suggestions? Please leave a comment.

Billy McKean – Who Is He?

Most people wish they had the luxury of knowing who people are in unmarked vintage photos. I actually know who this is, since his name is plainly written on the front of the picture. However, Billy McKean is not a family member, so I am assuming he was a friend of someone.

Who Is Billy McKean?

Here are the clues:

1. This photo was among those I inherited from my grandaunt, Pearl Adams Chadwick through her son, Charles Chadwick. Pearl was born in 1887 in Calais, Maine and lived there until she married Perce Chadwick there on 21 June 1916.

The photos I inherited included members of the Chadwick family, the Tarbox family of Calais, Maine and the Adams family of Calais, Maine. The Adamses were boat builders and several of them sailed the world. Calvin Segee Adams (father of Pearl Adams Chadwick) served a boat building apprencticeship in Rhode Island in the late 1860’s.
2. Bulkley was the photographer and several addresses on imprinted on the front, including 2292 & 2294 Third Avenue and 383 North Third Avenue, which I take to mean New York City.
3. Eli E. Bulkley was a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York and the Third Avenue addresses are only a few blocks from the water. He is listed in the 1880 U.s. census of Brooklyn, NY with his family. Occupation: Photographer. He is not found in 1900 and may have died by then or moved elsewhere.
4. Here are similar swimsuits:

1880’s-1890’s Men’s Swimsuits

5. Dark colored cabinet cards were in use from about 1884-1895, which fits with the style dates from the men’s swimsuits in the above images.

William McKean is a very common name and I have found no likely suspects to be this man. I am estimating that his picture was taken about 1890 and he would have been 20ish or a bit older at that time, so born, say, 1865-1870.

If you, by some remarkable coincidence, recognize him, please leave a comment. Suggestions as to how to go about narrowing down the field of potential candidates would also be most welcome.

Oklahoma GeneaGem

The WPA, or the Works Progress Administration was an entity created by President Franklin Roosevelt during the rough years of the Great Depression. The WPA provided employment at a time when jobs were scarce and the projects completed by the WPA ranged from physical labor to compiling records and conducting interviews. Some of the WPA accomplishments include superb resources for genealogists.

One such project is the Indian-Pioneer Papers. The Oklahoma Historical Society together with the University of Oklahoma received monies from the WPA for one hundred interviewers to visit with and record the stories of the early Oklahoma settlers. Eventually, 11,000 interviews were completed and organized into 112 volumes. Most of the interviews were of the white settlers, but a new Native Americans were also interviewed.

I have written before about the difficulty in finding online resources for those with Oklahoma ancestors. Well, that is changing little by little an the Indian-Pioneer Papers have now been digitized and are on line at the University of Oklahoma, Western History Collections and they are searchable by name and subject.

Both sides of Dave’s family were early settlers in Oklahoma – not the land rush participants first into the territory when it opened for settlement in 1889, but by the turn of the 20th century, his relatives had left homes in Texas and Missouri and headed to Oklahoma.

If your family was in Oklahoma early on, take a look at the GeneaGem that might be awaiting you:

Indian-Pioneer Papers Home Page

Here is a screen shot of the home page. Enter a keyword into the search box on the left. Dave’s family names in Oklahoma are Stufflebean, Brasher, Sturgell, Nation, Dulworth and Alberty. I didn’t have any luck with “Nation” because, although it had many hits, they mostly linked to “nation”, as in country. Stufflebean brought up only one hit referring to the Stufflebean Funeral Home in Pauls Valley, but I did discover that the family owned funeral home – the actual building – was originally an early school in the area.

Dulworth didn’t bring any results either and Brasher brought up an interview with one man who born in “Murray” County, Tennessee, which is probably “Maury” County, as there is no Murray County in that state. He isn’t any close relative of Dave’s Brashers.

I had more luck – success, actually – with Sturgell and Alberty. I kind of expected Alberty hits because Moses Alberty lived in the Cherokee Nation in Westville. However, a search could well have come up empty for Alberty because the description of the papers states that only 66 interviews were with Native Americans.

First – Sturgell. There was only one hit, for J.H. Sturgell, who happened to be Dave’s mother’s uncle:

4491 JHSturgell_Page_1

Title Page for J.H. Sturgell

Next is a biography form filled out by the interviewer:

4491 JHSturgell_Page_2
Interview Form with Biographical Data

The last section is of the actual interview:

4491 JHSturgell_Page_3
4491 JHSturgell_Page_4
4491 JHSturgell_Page_5

It so happens that the ink in the typewriter used for this interview hasn’t stood the test of time very well, so here is an abstract:

Page 1

STURGELL, J. H.                       INTERVIEW           #4491           304

Page 2


Field Worker’s Name: Jasper (?) Mead
This report made on (date) June 18 1937

1. Name: J. H. Sturgell
2. Post Office Address: Chickasha, Oklahoma
3. Residence Address (or locationi): 316 N. 6th St.
4. DATE OF BIRTH: April 15, 1882
5. Place of Birth: “Berry” County (Barry County), Missouri
6. Name of Father: A.H. Sturgell  Place of birth: Illinois
Other information about father: Died at the age of 50
7. Name of Mother: Suzie Albertie Place of birth: Missouri
Other information about mother: Died at the age of 57

Number of sheets attached: 3

Page 3

STURGELL, J.H.       INTERVIEW  #4491                            306

Jasper H. Mead
Field Worker
June 18, 1937

An Interview with Mr. J.H. Sturgell,
Chickasha, Oklahoma

My name is J.H. or as I am commonly known John Sturgell.

I was born in Missouri, fifty-five years ago April 15, 1882. I  came to Oklahoma twenty-nine years ago; the first place I landed was at Cottonwood Grove, known now as Verden seven miles west of Chickasha.

There was quite a bit of land in cultivation; Cottonwood Grove or Verden as it is called now lied in the valley of the Washita River and at that time, in 1908 there was plenty of rainfall, and almost everybody planted corn that year and raised (___lds) of corn; next there the (rats?) and mice nearly ate us up.

An old Indian woman who lives north of Chickasha said that she had seen the time when she could walk for miles up the bed of the river and follow turkey tracks. That was long before the dams at

Page 4

STURGELL, J.H.                  INTERVIEW                             4491               307

Anadarko and Chickasha were built.

When I first landed at Cottonwood Grove in 1908 I went to work on (____) farm for $60.00 a month and (food?) board and room.

(—) work . . . . . . . .Indians from Cottonwood; they were mostly located in Anadarko.

We had good water . . . .there; the wells were . . . . . . . . . . .bottom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .

There was a small schoolhouse at Cottonwood Grove build out of cottonwood lumber, unpainted; it had the small rooms in it and two teachers.

School only lasted six months . . . .on account of the pupils helping their parents on the farms.

What was called the Mangum branch line ran through Cottonwood Grove. It was owned by the Rock Island Railroad and was called the Mangum Branch line because it was just a short line that ran from Chickasha to Mangum and stopped.

The farmers in Caddo and Grady Counties have planted cotton and nothing else for the last few years until they have almost killed one of the richest farming countries in the world.

A few of the words are illegible even when reading the interview on paper, but John Sturgell, Ruby’s uncle not only shared his memories of the early Verden, Oklahoma area, his birth date and place, names of parents, their birth places and ages at death were also included. Remember, in this time period, Missouri did not require birth or death certificates to be filed.

The second hit that came up was for Alberty, specifically Thomas B. Alberty, son of Moses Alberty, grandson of John Alberty and great grandson of Revolutionary War pensioner Frederick Alberty. This file can be read much more easily than J. H. Sturgell’s interview, with the exception of this first page, the information sheet. These interviewers must have used the same typewriter!

13204ThosB Alberty_Page_3
Interview Form with Biographical Data

Field Worker’s Name: Jesse S. Bell
This report was made on March 14, 1938
1. Name: Thomas B. Alberty
2. Post Office Address: Westville
3. Residence address (or location): Westville, Oklahoma
4. DATE OF BIRTH: November 30, 1849
5. Place of birth: Goinsnake District
6. Name of Father: Mose Alberty    Place of birth: Georgia
7. Name of mother: Elizabeth Buffington  Place of birth: Georgia

The images of the two page interview are sharp and clear:

ALBERTY, THOMAS B.                  INTERVIEW                 13204             391

13204ThosB Alberty_Page_4
13204ThosB Alberty_Page_5
Thomas B. Alberty Interview

Thomas provided details about the family’s migration, his parents’ names and places of birth, the fact that he was 1/4 Cherokee and his father, Mose, was 1/2 Cherokee and his own birth date and place of birth. Again, vital records were not kept in these places in this time period so Thomas’s interview is the only source of information that we know he provided himself.

The source for these records is: Oklahoma Federation of Labor Collection, M452, Box 5, Folder 2. Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.
The Indian-Pioneer Papers are a true GeneaGem.