It’s all about the timing!
Sometimes our genealogy questions can’t be answered because we are either looking too late, e.g. those who could help are long gone, or we are looking too early, e.g. before we can access records that will answer our questions.
In my case, my question was formed smack dab in the middle of those two scenarios – family members were long gone and the record that I needed to solve my problem wasn’t yet available.
Was Maggie Nation, born c1892, one person or two?
A number of years ago, I wrote a post about the family of Clay Nation and Matilda Dulworth and the Overton County, Tennessee 1900 census.
Natons, Clay C., Head
Nations, Tildy J., Wife
Nations, Magie, St Daughter, born March 1892
Nations, James, Son
Nations, Ether (Ethel), Daughter
Who was the father of Maggie Nation, step daughter of Clay Nation? Tilda married only once, so Maggie was born out of wedlock.
Further research found:
Nations, Henry, Head
Nations, Marthey (actually Martelly), Wife
Nations, Maggie, Daughter, born May 1892
Nations, Willie E., Daughter
Nations, Harrison C., Son
Martellia reported having given birth to 3 children, all living. Yet, there was a six year gap between Maggie and Willie and the couple reported being married for five years. Who was Maggie’s birth mother?
At first glance, you might be wondering why I gave these two Maggies a second thought. They would be cousins, born a couple of months apart.
Well, the Nation & Dulworth (Tilda was a Dulworth) clans have some questionable family connections going on to the point of an acquittal of murder.
Neither family was literate, so giving the right month and year of birth might be accurate, but might not be.
Lastly, Clay’s Maggie is clearly called a step daughter. Yet, she used the Nation surname. Was her father a Nation, but not Clay Nation? Given other, shall we say, non-socially acceptable events in the family, I had to wonder if Maggie was but one person, the son of Henry Nation and Tilda Jane Dulworth.
Originally, when I tried to decide whether Maggie was one person or if they truly were first cousins, records were scarce. They remain scarce, but some new records eventually appeared that answered my question.
Here is how I was able to answer my question and resolve the dilemma of Maggie Nation.
Tennessee marriage records included an entry for Pierce Miller who married Maggie Nation on 21 August 1910 in Overton County. That didn’t really clear up anything because the Nation families moved from Cumberland County, Kentucky to Overton, Fentress and Clay Counties, Tennessee rather seamlessly. If anything, it pointed to Clay’s stepdaughter marrying Pierce Miller.
As I tracked the Millers from Tennessee to Oklahoma to California, I discovered that Pierce died on 21 October 1975 in Sanger, Fresno, California. While in Oklahoma, the 1940 census shows the family in Anadarko, Caddo County. A number of other Nation family members settled in Caddo County. Clay and Tilda Nation lived in Greer County, two counties west of Caddo and other family members lived in Kiowa County, which separates Caddo and Greer.
No further records were found for a second Maggie Nation, whether she was one or two people. There was no indication that a second Maggie might have died either.
The 1910 census was no help. Henry Nation’s family was enumerated on 21 April with no Maggie at home. Clay Nation’s family was enumerated on 27 April and there was a Maggie still at home. Remember, though, that the marriage to Pierce Miller happened on 21 August 1910. Both Nation families lived in Overton County, with Henry in District 11 and Clay in District 7.
Finding only one Maggie Nation in the 1910 census, taken before the marriage to Pierce Miller the following August, made me really think that there was but one Maggie Nation.
I mentioned that, eventually, more records opened up. Those records were in Oklahoma, which has been a bit late to get in the genealogy game.
First, a death record appeared for Maggie Mary Riner, aka Maggie Nation Miller. She was born on 28 May 1892, Clay County, Tennessee. Her parents were Henry Nation and Lucinda Tranberger! Maggie died on 8 February 1957 in Carnegie, Caddo, Oklahoma, so sometime between the 1940 census and her death, she and Pierce Miller divorced and Maggie married a Mr. Riner.
Pieces of the puzzle were beginning to fall into place, but I found the final answer in a very roundabout way. My mother-in-law Ruby, had a photo of a lady named Georgia who she said was her cousin. She ran into her, totally by chance, in Hemet, California, where both had retired (unbeknownst to each other.)
I have a photo of Georgia, but didn’t know where the cousin connection was with Ruby. The trail eventually led me to a marriage record in Kiowa County, Oklahoma for one George Thompson and Maggie J. JOHNSON on 9 June 1912. Maggie Johnson was Georgia’s mother. Look closely at the marriage record, as she was 17 when she married so needed parental permission:
Maggie is called his “foster” daughter, but at the very bottom of the record is the X for C.C. Nation – Clayton Columbus Nation, who settled in Greer County, Oklahoma when he left Tennessee!
Maggie married (1) George Thompson when she was 17 years old and then married (2) George A. Wright, sometime before 1920. They lived the rest of their lives in Hobart, Kiowa County, Oklahoma.
Now, before we get too excited, we need to look at the details. First, Maggie J. is said to be 17 when she married George Thompson. In June 1912, Maggie Dulworth would have been 20 years old, but still under 21.
Maggie’s gravestone gives her date of birth as 1893 and her date of death as 1963. The 1920 census shows her as 25 years old and born 1895. In 1930, she is 38, so born 1892. In 1940, she is 46, born 1894.
In spite of the liberties taken when reporting her age, these records prove that there were TWO Maggie Nations, first cousins.
Henry Jackson Nation was the father of Maggie Nation, born May 1892, but to his first wife Lucinda Tranbarger, not to Martellia, even though she had 3 living children in 1900. This Maggie married (1) Pierce Miller and (2) Mr. Riner.
Maggie J. Johnson, born c1892, and called stepdaughter of Clay Nation, was the daughter of Mr. Johnson and Matilda Jane Dulworth, born about four years before Tilda married Clay. This Maggie married (1) George Thompson and (2) George A. Wright.
Who was the Mr. Johnson, father of Maggie? I don’t know, but I have my suspicions. The Dulworth family lived in Kettle Creek, Cumberland County, Kentucky, which is a very small place. There is one Johnson family also living in Kettle Creek in the right time period and there are three sons who are potential fathers for Maggie. All eventually married and had families, so unless Maggie’s death certificate gives his first name, I think it has been lost to time.
The moral of the story? Dig, dig and then dig some more. Look at all the conflicting dates and names in this situation. An added note – Georgia, daughter of Maggie Johnson Thompson Wright used Wright as her surname. I don’t know if she was adopted by George Wright, but given her birth year, her birth father was most likely George Thompson.
Finally, if Ruby hadn’t given me that clue – Georgia is my cousin! – I still wouldn’t have unraveled this mess because I had no idea that Clay’s stepdaughter was a Johnson by birth. The permission to marry given by C.C. Nation is what cracked this brick wall.