Unanswered Questions: Family of Isaac Sturgell of Barry County, MO, Part 2

Yesterday, I reviewed my unresolved questions concerning Isaac Sturgell and Mary Bandy, his first wife and mother of his seven known children.

Today, we will take a look at the offspring and what happened to each of them.


1. M.J., daughter, aged 2 in 1850. No further information has been found about this little girl.   It wouldn’t be unheard of for a girl to marry at age 12, but no marriage records have been found for her. This child’s name isn’t even known as the census taker only recorded her by her initials. Since she is not at home with her parents in 1860, she likely died young. Burying this little child was undoubtedly a heartache for Isaac and Mary.

2. Amanda, born c1850, probably Barry County, Missouri. Mary was probably heavily pregnant at the time of the 1850 census, as Amanda is aged 10 in 1860, when the family lived in Benton County, Arkansas. Amanda has not been found in the 1870 census and no marriage record, or any other mention of her, has been found in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio or Illinois. I think she also died young.

3. Andrew Jackson – By 1853, Isaac and family migrated somewhere in Texas, where son Andrew, or A.J. or Jack, as he was also called,  was born. Four seemed to be the magic number for Sturgell marriages, as Andrew continued in his parents’ footsteps.

Andrew Jackson Sturgell married (1) Mary Elizabeth Towler, 23 February 1871, Barry County, Missouri. This marriage was a short one because Mary was back living in her parents’ home in 1880. She married (2) James Eagleson, 14 August 1890, Barry County, Missouri and died there in 1912.

Andrew Jackson Sturgell married (2) Delania E. M. Ketchum, 1 January 1874, Barry County, Missouri. Delania hasn’t been found before or after her marriage to Jack and he didn’t waste any time remarrying.

Question 8 – Did Delania and Jack divorce or did she die soon?

Andrew Jackson Sturgell married (3) Sarah J. Davis, 24 February 1875, Benton County, Arkansas. This was another short marriage with a disappearing wife. She hasn’t been found after her marriage date.

Question 9 – Did Sarah die soon or did they divorce/go their separate ways?

Andrew Jackson Sturgell married (4) Mary Catherine Turney, 2 July 1876, Boone County, Arkansas. In 1880, Mary C. Sturgel is back in her parents’ home in Boone County with the check mark in the widowed/divorced column. There are no Sturgell children with her. Jack Sturgell has not been found after his 1876 marriage. Catherine Sturgill married (2) M.C. Capps on 6 January 1901.

Andrew Jackson Sturgell had no known children.

Question 10 – Did Andrew Jackson Sturgell die between 2 July 1876 and 17 June 1880 when Mary was enumerated in the census or did he move on and hasn’t been found?

4. Abijah Houston Sturgell was born c1855 in Missouri, so the family’s sojourn to Texas didn’t last long. Houston might be a tribute to their time in that state. Whether they lived in the Houston area or Isaac was thinking of Sam Houston I don’t know.

Abijah is my husband’s great grandfather and the only one of the sons who lived a more settled life. However, his death was tragic.

Abijah Houston Sturgell married Martha Susannah Alberty, 5 June 1876, Newton County, Missouri. She was the daughter of his stepmother Susan (Douthit) Alberty, who had just divorced Isaac.

Abijah is the only Sturgell child who stayed put in Barry County. She and Martha seemed to have had a happy marriage and became the parents of 11 children. However, late in 1904, Abijah was in his barn when the oil lamp started a fire. Abijah was badly burned and there were several short items in the local newspaper stating that he was faring poorly. Months later, on 2 June 1905, Byge, as he was called, finally died from his burn injuries. He had to have suffered greatly.

5. Margaret E. Sturgell, the eldest known surviving daughter, was born 17 March 1857 in Arkansas, probably Benton County. Margaret, her mother Mary and sister Mary all removed to Peoria County, Illinois sometime before 1870.

Margaret E. Sturgell married (1) George Alder, 10 June 1873, Peoria County, Illinois. He died in 1900.

George and Margaret Alder were the parents of nine children.

Margaret Alder married (2) David Nickerson, 24 January 1909. Peoria County, Illinois. However, David Nickerson hasn’t been found in any record before or after this marriage and Margaret hasn’t been found in 1910 either.

Margaret Nickerson married (3) Jacob Riddle, date and place unknown. Jacob predeceased Margaret, passing away on 27 September 1928 in Tazewell County, Illinois.

Margaret Sturgell Alder Nickerson Riddle died 6 January 1929, Peoria, Peoria, Illinois.

Question 11 – Who was David Nickerson and where was he in 1900 and 1910? Where was Margaret Sturgell Alder Nickerson in 1910?

6. George W. Sturgell was born in April 1860 in Benton County, Arkansas, the youngest son of Isaac and Mary.

George W. Sturgell married (1) Caroline Holmes, 31 October 1878, Van Buren County, Arkansas. In 1880, George, Caroline and daughter Narcissa (born July 1879) were living in Pope County, Arkansas.

Narcissa was George’s only known child and it appears she may have died young.

Question 11 – What became of Caroline and Narcissa? Did both die young? The 1880 census is the only record in which they appear.

George W. Sturgell married (2) Hannah Tinney, 5 January 1886, Pope County, Arkansas. Was she a widow 40 years older than George???

Question 12 – Who was Hannah Tinney? The only person by that name living in Pope County, Arkansas is the wife of Nathan Tinney, born in 1820 in Ireland. Neither Nathan nor Hannah are found in the 1880 census. Did Nathan die and George then married an older widow with some property?

Question 13 – When and where did George W. Sturgell die? He hasn’t been found in any records after his 1886 marriage to Hannah.

7. Mary Sturgell, the last known child of Isaac and Mary, was born 19 May 1861 in Arkansas, probably Benton County. She also seems to have a more settled life than most of her other siblings.

Mary Sturgell married George Kingsley, 15 July 1880, Peoria County, Illinois.

Mary died 15 April 1920 in Peoria, Peoria, Illinois. She and George Kingsley were the parents of five children.

Therefore, Isaac was not without family, as his obituary stated. He survived by two daughters and 25 grandchildren, with 11 of the grandkids living right in Barry County, Missouri.

To conclude, I have looked at vital records, land deeds, tax lists, probate files, historical newspapers and any other pertinent record that I can find for the Sturgell family.

Given that they lived in multiple counties spread over five states and Isaac, Mary and their five adult children married a grand total of 19 times, hunting for clues and answers to my elusive questions has been a time-consuming job.

I’m not giving up, though, and perhaps time will be on my side and some new records will appear. I’ve only been working on this family for 30 years. . . . .


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