Every once in a while, I check out Chronicling America for newspaper articles. With the Stufflebean family, the name is rare enough that any hits that appear are related somehow to my husband.
Recently, I found three new articles. The first is sad, the second provides an interesting family tie to early baseball history and the third is quite intriguing for a reason I’ll explain.
Vermont, 8 August 1868
J.H. is Jacob H. Stufflebean (1819-1897), who settled in Sheldon, Franklin, Vermont. He married and had several children, but has no living descendants today. However, I feel a tie to his family (he was apparently a nephew/grand nephew of my husband’s Revolutionary war ancestor, John Stufflebean) as I own a piece of his family’s silverware, which I found on eBay several years ago. I gave the second spoon to my brother-in-law’s family.
Engraved Coin Silver
I had no idea he ever declared bankruptcy, particularly since he is found as a farmer in 1870 with real estate valued at $25,000 and personal estate at $4,000. I’m not sure what was up with the bankruptcy notice, but he certainly made a rapid financial turn around if he really was bankrupt!
The Evening Star, Washington, DC, 27 April 1895
W.H. Stufflebean is listed as one of a team of baseball players in the Washington, DC area. The 1900 census shows no Stufflebeans living anywhere around Washington, DC, Maryland or Virginia so W.H. was apparently no longer in the area.
I know of only two W.H. Stufflebeans in the family – William Henry, born in 1858, and Willard Hayes, born in 1875. Both lived in Linn County, Missouri.
Looking at the 1895 date, if either is the baseball player, it would seem more likely that 23 year old Willard would be our guy. In 1900, Willard was at home in Linn County, living in his father’s extended family household, but he was married.
Hiram Stufflebean Family, 1990 in Linn County, MO
He had been married for about 4 years, according to this document, but was he married in April 1895?
Linn County, Missouri Marriages, 10 October 1895
Answer: Nope! He was single in April of 1895 and had plenty of time to return to Missouri to marry in October.
Coincidentally, he and brother William BOTH married on 10 October 1895 and the licenses are listed one after the other.
This might take more digging around to discover if either William or Willard was the early D.C. baseball player, but given their ages, I think Willard is the more likely suspect.
Waco Evening News, 8 October 1888
This is the intriguing story – Mr. Stufflebean and the snake. I really wish either Mr. Stufflebean or his brother had been identified. However, not knowing where Greenville, Texas was, I had to look it up. It’s in Hunt County, which didn’t ring any bells.
Next, I decided to see if Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas was anywhere near Greenville because Dave’s great grandfather, John Henry Stufflebean, settled in Cumby in the early 1900s.
Greenville to Cumby = 16 Miles
Texas is a big place, but Greenville is only 16 miles from Cumby! Even though John didn’t move to Cumby until many years later, he was married by 1886 and had two older brothers. Perhaps two, or even all three of them, were checking out Texas as a possible future home.
John Henry, plus brothers Lewis Michael (born 1857) and Thomas James (born 1858) were all married with families and living in Linn County, Missouri in 1900.
Upon taking a closer look at each family, I think I found some possible clues.
All of John Henry’s children had been born in Missouri from 1887 up to 1900. I don’t think he was wandering around Texas in 1888.
However, children of both Lewis and Thomas had interesting patterns. Both wives had lost children, leaving a gap of several years in between the births of surviving children.
Lewis Stufflebean’s first two children were born in Colusa County, California in 1884 and 1886! The next surviving child was born back in Missouri in 1896.
Thomas had a child born in Linn County, Missouri in February 1888. The next surviving child was born in Oklahoma in 1893!
I think it is very possible that Lewis and Thomas Stufflebean set off together and lived for a time in the Greenville, Hunt County-Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas area before moving on once again.
John Henry Stufflebean was the only Stufflebean I’ve ever come across who lived in Texas and if his brothers told him about that area of Texas, it would explain how he ended up in Cumby, a town of 250 souls in 1880.
It’s a lot of fun reading historical newspaper articles. Now I’ll have to see if I can figure out anything more about these happenings.