Loose Ends: David M.C. Rector and Malinda Williams of Morgan County, TN and Warren County, KY, c1840s?

I hate loose ends and David Rector is a very loose end floating around in the research I’ve done on my husband’s Williams family.

There are several strikes against me in solving this mystery:

  1. The Rector family was huge and they moved en masse from place to place. The branch in which David Rector fits is the one that moved from Campbell County, Virginia to the Morgan/Roane/Anderson Counties area of eastern Tennessee at the start of the 19th century.
  2. Of course, they gave the same names to many people in the family.
  3. David Rector married Malinda Williams, daughter of Charles Williams not long after Charles died in 1825. His will was found in the loose papers of Morgan County, Tennessee, which is a burned county, having lost most of their records in 1862.
  4. David Rector and, I think, wife Malinda both died before the 1850 census.

Here is what I do know about David and Malinda (Williams) Rector. David was born c1800-1810, either in Virginia just before the Rectors migrated to Tennessee or in eastern Tennessee not long after they arrived. Malinda was born closer to 1810 and died after March 1844, when a Roane County, Tennessee court record regarding her father’s estate mentioned that they were currently living in Warren County, Kentucky. David and Malinda married sometime after August 1825, when her father wrote his will and before 1830, as they had one male and one female

However, here is where things begin to get a bit murky and confusing. The 1830 census of Morgan County includes the enumeration of only one David Rector, who is a young man with a young wife and two children.

There is one other record, an 1836 tax list for Morgan County,  in that time frame which includes David Rector, but there are two – David M.C., who is taxed on 73 acres of land and listed right below Elizabeth Rector, who is probably the widow of Martin Rector, who died in 1832. There is also David M. Rector, who paid no tax, and one Polly Ann Rector, who paid no tax. I have no idea how Polly Ann fits in this puzzle, but she doesn’t seem to be part of my mystery.

1836 Tax List for Morgan County
Source: Ancestry

By 1840, there are two David Rectors in the census. D. M. Rector was living in Morgan County in 1840, likely with his widowed mother:

D.M. Rector, Morgan County
Source: Ancestry

David Rector was living in Warren Co., KY with a wife of Malinda’s age and several children.

David Rector, Warren County, KY in 1840

There are four Rectors on this page, all male heads of household. F.D. Rector and Martin Rector are both 20-30 years old. David Rector and Merryman Rector (William Merryman Rector) are both 30-39 years old. Are they all brothers or a mix of brothers and cousins? I don’t know.

Searching Rector information online is a horrid mess as so many people have all the families mixed up, intertwined where they shouldn’t be and the usual issues of children being born to 60 year old mothers, etc.

There are three other pertinent details to be shared about the two David Rectors. They were both dead before 1852. David M. C. Rector died in April 1848 in the battle of Molino del Rey, Mexico during the Mexican War.

Source: FamilySearch

Two young sons of David M. Rector were placed in the guardianship of William M. Rector in Warren County, Kentucky according to an 1852 court record:

Warren County, KY Guardianship Record, 1852
Source: FamilySearch

However, no probate record has been found for David Rector in Warren County, only this guardianship, and he has not been found in the 1850 census either.

The last clue is that David Rector married Lucy Satterfield on 11 June 1846 in Allen County, Kentucky, which borders Warren County.  One Lucy Rector married John J. Satterfield on 22 December 1848 in Allen County.  Lucy’s maiden name was Venable and she had first married William P. Satterfield on 15 December 1836, Warren County, Kentucky.

What happened to the rest of David M. Rector’s family? In 1840, David and Malinda lived in a household with many children:

Male, born 1826-1830 (born c1826)
Female, born 1820-1830 (born c1828)
Male, born 1830-1835 (born c1830)
Female, born 1830-1835 (born c1832)
Female, born 1830-1835 (born c1834)
John – Male, born 1835-1840 (born c1836)
Male, born 1835-1840 (born c1838)
Female, born 1835-1840 (born c1840)

Of course, I don’t know the exact birth order of the boys vs. girls, but their ages work out to a child born about every 2 years, beginning about 1826.

Malinda Williams likely married David M. Rector in the fall of 1825, shortly after the death of her father, Charles Williams, in Morgan County, Tennessee.

The 1840s were a turbulent decade for this family.  First, Malinda either died or left/divorced David M. Rector, as he married Lucy Satterfield on 11 June 1846. Since Lucy married a third time on 22 December 1848, it is reasonable to conclude that David M. Rector died sometime between 11 June 1846 and 22 December 1848.

Hmmmm. It’s the same time frame as David who died in Molino del Rey, but I really do think that is just a coincidence as that David served with a Tennessee unit.

David and Malinda had a gaggle of children. Where did they all go? The eldest, born c1826, would have just turned 21 about the time David died. Why is there no probate record for him? Why is there a guardian bond for only two of the children – John, born c1836 and Thomas, born c1843?

Because William Merryman Rector took guardianship of John and Thomas, orphans of David M. Rector in 1852, I took a look at the 1850 census of Warren County:

William Rector, Warren County, KY, 1850
Source: FamilySearch

Were all the rest of these children William’s? I don’t know. Why are there two Charles Rectors at home, born c1832 and  born c1847? It’s not evident who the father of each one is. Charles born c1832 died in 1898 and is buried in Warren County, but there is no death certificate to be found. The younger Charles born c1847 is still at home in 1870 with Merryman and the rest of the family. Could the elder Charles be the son of David and Malinda (Williams) Rector and named for his maternal grandfather, Charles Williams?

I haven’t been able to pick up the trail of John born c1836. Some online claim he is the man who died in Greene County, Missouri in 1910, but that death certificate notes that information from the family Bible names his parents as John Rector and Barbara Sevier.

Many of this extended family moved on to Cass County, Missouri and then Barton and Jasper Counties, also in Missouri. Thomas Rector, son of David M. Rector, reportedly died about 1898, but no death certificate has been found for him.

There are about 20 marriage records for Rectors in the 1840-1860 time period. I can attach most of them to Rector children, but not all.

I think I am at a brick wall until I can get to the Family History Library where I will be reviewing land and court records and leaving no stone unturned. If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. It seems that David and Malinda Rector continue to be a loose end. Ugh!





Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: The Weather on the Day You Were Born

Being Saturday night, we all know what time it is – it’s time for Randy Seaver’s weekly challenge on Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

Here are the guidelines:

1)  Have you ever wondered what the weather was like on the day you were born?  Was it a bright, sunny day, or a wet and windy dreary day?

2)  Go to the website http://weather.sumofus.org/ and follow the directions.  Put in your birthdate and birthplace and find out what the weather was on that day. [Note that it only goes back to 1901.]

3)  For extra credit :), find out the weather when your parents and your spouse(s) were born.

My family, with the exception of my mother, all have winter birthdays and the weather report on our days of birth certainly reflect the season!

I was born 7 March 1952 in the midst of 32 degrees temperature and snowfall.

My husband, born in Los Angeles, didn’t fare much better even though there have been many, many days of California sunshine and warmth in January and February.

My father was born on 9 February 1926. 19 degrees and snow must have made it difficult for help to arrive as my dad was born at home.

You might think that with a June birthday, the family would have been barbecueing in the backyard when my mother was born, but that certainly wasn’t the case with it being 48 degrees outside with pouring down rain.

Only one of my grandparents was born in the 20th century (the earliest weather year on the website is 1901), Hazel Coleman Adams. She didn’t stand a chance of coming on a good weather day, being born in February in northern Maine:

My son was also born in the winter, on New Year’s Day, one of the coldest Rose Parade days that I remember from my 32 years living in California, at a windy 36 degrees.

On the other hand, both of my in-laws were born in the Oklahoma summers.

My father-in-law was born on 6 June 1917 in Norman, Oklahoma, on a day when the weather was probably near perfect at 68 sunny degrees.

Lastly, my mother-in-law was born on 10 July 1919 in Verden, Oklahoma. The weather that day, with no air conditioning, was likely a bit uncomfortable at a steamy 91 degrees.

This website is a lot of fun. Thank you, Randy, for yet another fun activity this week.


Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups

I have a new favorite book, although it is definitely an oldie but goodie.Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups

This tome (and I never use that word, but I think it fits here) weighs a hefty five pounds and measures 8 3/4 x 11 1/4 x 2 inches, but it is a real treasure!

Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups was published way back in 1980, but its detailed statistics about every ethnic group one could imagine still stand because each group is presented through an historical overview.

I’ve always known that my Slovak ancestors – my entire paternal side of the family – were peasant farmers who came to America for a better economic future.

Slovaks are covered on pages 926-934 (!!!) under the categories of Origins, Migration and Settlement, Economic Life, Organization and Leadership, Family and Kinship, Health and Leisure, Culture and Customs, Religion and Education and Politics and Neighborhoods.

In the sections on Origins and Migration and Settlement, I at least quadrupled the knowledge I previously had about my Slovak ancestors and cultural ways as I read about the European migratory path of the early peoples and how their lives evolved through two or three generations who became Americans.

Next, I had an even bigger surprise. My grandparents were Byzantine Catholic, aka Greek Catholics, and were part of the Slovak sub-group (and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way in case any Rusyns are reading my blog. Some are quite adamant that they aren’t Slovak!) known as Carpatho-Rusyns.

Pages 200-209 in this book are devoted exclusively to the Carpath-Rusyns! Nine entire pages of scholarly details about 50% of my ancestral lines!

For example, Origins told me that my early ancestors settled in the area of today’s Slovakia by the 6th century. The Carpatho-Rusyns were an Eastern Slavic people whose dialects are most closely related to the Ukrainian language. I knew my grandmother spoke “Slovak” and could understand Polish and Hungarian, but had no idea that her language was more strongly tied to Ukrainian.

I’ve never found any resource with this much information about them. There is even a map showing the areas overlapping Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine that Carpatho-Rusyns have called home, without ever having an autonomous homeland of their own.

Each ethnic group has it’s own mini-bibliography at the conclusion of its write up. The bibliography includes other scholarly efforts to document each groups existence through time and through its new live in the United States.

I’m loving the bibliographies, as I’ve located some of the resources listed in them. So far, they aren’t very cheap to buy, but on the other hand, there is so little written about the Carpatho-Rusyns, for example, that buying a handful of articles/books won’t be cost prohibitive.

In addition to all of the ethnic groups identified in the United States, there are sections covering topics such as Assimilation and Pluralism, Immigration: Settlement Patterns and Prejudice and Discrimination, along with quite a few others.

I’ve got some Danish and Dutch roots, too, and found eight and eleven pages, respectively, on each of those immigrant groups. The Irish are covered in 24 pages. Gypsies, Mormons as a religious migration, and Kalmyks (Mongolian Buddhists), American Indians and a few ethnic groups I’ve never heard of are also treated in Harvard’s work. I have to believe that, as of 1980 when the book was published, if there was an ethnic group, however small, that had migrated to America, a history for them will be found. The Kalmyks were a group of only 20–250 families who arrived in 1951!

Everyone’s favorite shopping site currently has used copies of the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups for about $40. The book isn’t cheap, but it is worth every penny.

If you have questions about the book, leave a comment.