Last week, I promised a continuing mystery with the descendants of John and Elsee Stufflebean. Today, we will take a look at Mary Stufflebean and John Stufflebean.
First up is the mysterious Mary Stufflebean. In my 35 years of genealogy research, I have never seen any primary document listing the children of Revolutionary War soldier, John Stufflebean. The family Bible, alluded to in the pension file, had already been lost when Elsee applied for her widow’s pension. John mentioned no children by name anywhere in his application. It is only because he had so many sons and was the only Stufflebean for hundreds of miles around that descendants have been able to piece together his family.
Only one daughter is attributed to John Stufflebean – Mary, probably born about 1806 in Estill County, Kentucky. This attribution is made because she is the right age to have been his daughter and is found in the Estill County marriage records. On 11 January 1826, she married John “Mascwell,” on a transcribed copy of the records. That would be “Maxwell” if spelled correctly. There is an earlier marriage for John Mascwell to Anna Woolery on 14 June 1821 in Estill County. If this is the same man, Anna must have died soon.
Mary may well have been John’s daughter, but there is also one other possible scenario. Remember John’s son, James? He disappears after the 1820 census of Estill County, never to be found again. In 1819, he married Mary Dunaway and in 1820, there was a female under 10, probably a newborn daughter, living with them.
Mary who married John Maxwell in 1826 could also be Mary Dunaway, the widow of James Stufflebean. We should be able to find some answers by following John Maxwell’s family. Right? Well, there is a John Maxwell in the 1830 census living next door to Estill County in Madison County. There is a female 60-69 in the household along with a male 20-29, a female 20-29 and two males under 5. That appears to be a fairly newly married couple with a widowed mother living with them.
John Maxwell married Mary Stufflebean, 11 January 1826 in Estill County, Kentucky. John Maxwell in Madison County, KY in 1830 could be them. If so:
- Male, born 1825-1830
- Male, born 1825-1830
How about 1840? Nope, they’re gone. So the mystery continues. John and Mary Maxwell are way too common names to even begin to randomly search with no further clues. ***Be sure to read the surprise commentary below in John’s sketch.
Now, onto the next child. John Stufflebean’s namesake, John, was born about 1808 in Estill County, Kentucky. John Stufflebean married (1) Mary Stivers, 26 May 1849, Brown County, Indiana and (2) Sarah Ann Wilson on 15 July 1878, Marion County, Indiana. He died after 1880, probably in Hancock County, Indiana.
Hancock County is only two counties east of Morgan County, Indiana, where his brother John and other collateral relatives settled for a short time in the 1830’s. Brown County, where he married Mary Stivers, is just south adjoining Morgan County.
John Stufflebean is nowhere to be found in 1850. However, in 1860, John and Mary Stufflebean are residing in Hancock County, Indiana. John might have been married to someone before Mary Stivers, given his age and the fact that he has an 11 year old son in the household. Son John W. might be Mary’s son, but John W.’s mother might have died giving birth to him and his father quickly remarried. This seems more like since John W. was born in Kentucky, but John and Mary married in Indiana.
- John W., born about 1849, Kentucky
- Elizabeth, born about 1857, Indiana
- Melissa, born January 1860, Indiana (6 months old in July 1860)
Sometimes, getting distracted by BSOs (bright shiny objects) is a good thing. I did a general search for Stufflebean marriage records in Brown and Hancock Counties, Indiana since John might have had other children and/or I might be able to pick up a trail for these children.
I made a great find in Brown County – one Alsey Stufflebean married Franklin Pitcher there on 6 December 1838. Alsey was only about 15 or 16 years old and I don’t know who her parents were. However, I looked for them in Brown County in 1840 – they were newlyweds with no children in the household – and again in 1850. Look what popped up!!!
Franklin Pitcher, 28
Alcy Pitcher, 27
Catherine Pitcher, 8
William J. Pitcher, 5
Benjamin F., 3
Hiram, 7 months
John Maxwell, 81
Mary Maxwell, 51
Take a second look at the last two people. Recognize them? I’d say this is Mary Stufflebean who married John Maxwell back in 1826 in Estill County. I never expected that he was thirty years older than her, so the suggestion in her sketch that they might be the newlyweds next door in Madison County, KY in 1830 is wrong. Furthermore, John was born in Pennsylvania. Elsee Larrison Ketchum might well have been from Pennsylvania.
This family configuration is making me think that Mary Stufflebean was not the daughter of John and Elsee, but their widowed daughter-in-law. Remember, James Stufflebean had a daughter born by 1820 and there might have been another, Alcy, or Alcy might have been a bit older than her husband and didn’t want to admit it. Add that to the fact that the 1820 census for soldier John Stufflebean showed no girls in his household.
However, it will take some digging to trace the Pitcher family any further, because they all disappear after 1850. The bread crumb trail they left behind is for son Benjamin F., apparently living in Barry County, Missouri and in Greene County, Arkansas in 1880.
Where did all these people go???