12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds: August 2015

My August Crestleaf 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds was discovered during an on site visit to the Barry County, Missouri courthouse. Dave’s Aunt Freda and I were on a quest to find everything possible relating to the Sturgell family, who had settled near Cato, Barry County by 1850. This visit was back in the olden days, or at least very early internet days, during the summer about 1995.

I was browsing through the land deed index and came across a listing for “Mary Sturgell.” We believed at that time that Isaac’s first wife, Mary Bandy, had likely died – perhaps giving birth – during the Civil War years. However, this quit claim deed was filed much MUCH later, on 5 June 1883. It was quite a shock to both Freda and myself.

The first shock was that the quitclaim was filed by “Mrs. Mary Sturgell.” The second was that it was filed in Peoria, Illinois and the third was that below Mary’s X was the additional information “also known as Mrs. Mary Cookman!”

Wow! A triple surprise! Not only hadn’t Mary died, but she moved to Peoria – with the daughters, it later turned out – and she had remarried.


Know all these presents that I Mrs. Mary Sturgell also
known as Mrs. Mary Cookman in consideration of 25 dollars to
me paid by Calvin A. Prentice do hereby Grant sell & Quit claim,
forever, the following Lands, lying in the County of Barry and State of Missouri The West 1/2 of the Northwest fract quarter Section of Section Twenty Four (24) and the South East quarter of the
North East Quarter and the North East quarter of the North
East quarter and the South West quarter of the North East
quarter of Section Twenty Three Town 21 and Range Twenty
five in the County of Barry and State of Missouri. To have and
to hold the same unto the said Calvin A. Prentice and unto his
heirs and assigns from forever, with all appurtances thereto belonging And I Mrs. Mrs. Sturgell aka Mrs. Mary Cookman
for and in Consideration of the said Sume of money, do hereby
release and relinquish unto the said Calvin A. Prentice all my
right of Dower in and to the said Lands. Witness our hands and
Seals this Fifth 5th day of June 1883.

 Mrs. Mary (X – her mark) Sturgell
also known as Mrs. Mary Cookman

Thos McMorrow
L. Walker                                          Acknowledgement

State of Illinois
County of Peoria     Be it Remembered that on this
day came before the undersigned a Justice of the Peace within and
for the County aforesaid duly Commissioned and acting Mrs.
Mary Sturgell also known as Mrs. Mary Cookman to me well known
as the Same person whose name appears upon the within and
foregoing Deed, as one of the parties Grantor and Stated that
She had executed the same for the Consideration and purposes
therein mentioned and Set forth and on the same day also volun-
tarily appeared before me the said wife of the said
Witness my hand and seal, as such Justice of the Peace this
Fifth 5th day of June 1883

Seth Scott Justice of the Peace
State of Illinois
Peoria County. I James E. Pillsbury clerk of the County Court
in and for said County do hereby certify that Seth Scott Esqr.
whose name appears to the foregoing Acknowledgement was on the
day of the date thereof, an acting justice of the Peace in and for
said county duly commissioned and qualified as appears of
record in my office, that as such full faith and credit are
due to all his official acts and his Signature thereto is genuine.

Given under my hand and official Seal at
the city of Peoria this Sixth day of June AD1883

James E. Pillsbury Clerk
by G.M. Gibbons     Deputy

Filed for record June 7th 1883, at 1 o’clock p.m.
Wm. G. Hobbs Recorder
Per J.W. LeCompte Deputy

What made this Fascinating Find even more shocking – yes, after the three shocks found in this deed – was that it was discovered a few minutes after we uncovered a divorce record for Isaac from his second wife! They had both left him!!!


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