Category Archives: Botetourt County VA

Mary Bandy Sturgell Wade Cookman Fouts – The Rest of the Story

The big clue that I picked up in the 1883 land deed that I found in Barry County, Missouri was the Mary Bandy Sturgell was now Mrs. Mary Cookman of Peoria County, Illinois.

A search of Illinois records found:

Cookman-Sturgell Marriage, 1877

Benjamin Cookman, aged 33, married Mary Sturgell, aged 34 on 21 July 1877. Now if I had found this record before the land deed, I would have thought this was some other Mary Sturgell as an age of 34 puts her birth at 1843. Mary married Isaac in 1844! However, I also found them in the 1880 census of Kingston, Peoria County, Illinois:

Cookman Family, Kingston, IL, 1880

This census record doesn’t tell the whole story either. Ben is now 41 years old, born in England and suffering from “cancer.” Mary, his wife, is now 44 years old (born 1836 – also not true) is in the household along with daughter Mary Cookman, who is actually Mary Sturgell, the youngest known child of Isaac and Mary. “Son” George W. Cookman is not the child of Ben and Mary. Mary was past childbearing age – remember, she was actually born about 1828 – in spite of the age she told the census taker. George W. was the son of Isaac’s and Mary’s daughter, Mary. In later censuses, he is identified as the son of George Kingsley, who Mary married later in 1880. However, his true father’s name is unknown to me. Nothing about this family research project was ever simple and straight forward!

Mary Bandy Sturgell’s time with Ben was relatively short, as he died on 16 June 1885 in Peoria County at the Alms House, not from cancer, but from lupus.

Benjamin Cookman’s Death Certificate, 1885

His age of death is 52, giving a birth year of 1833. It also says he was born in New York, not England, and that he was single. In spite of all the differences with the other recorded facts about Ben, one thing is certain. He was very ill near the end of his life. Being a boatman, if he was that sick, he wouldn’t have been able to work and the family would have had no money coming in. Ben needed cared and he went to the Alms House to receive it. There he died and was buried.

Like Isaac, Mary appeared to like being married in spite of her past marriage troubles. The next record found brought up still more surprises:

Fouts-Cookman Marriage, 7 March 1889

Luckily for me, in the intervening years between Mary’s marriages to Ben Cookman and George J. Fouts, Illinois adopted a new marriage license form that had full life details on it. First, Mary’s age in 1889 was now 56, giving a birth year of 1833, while new husband George’s age was 62. In reality, Mary was about 61. Second, while this was George’s third marriage, Mary reported that it was her FOURTH marriage! Wait a minute, I’m missing a marriage somewhere. Lastly, Mary reported that her parents were Andrew Bandy and, while it is difficult to read the surname, Rebecca Wool(d)ri(d)ge. Here was proof of her parents! Another brick wall broken down. The Wooldridge family researchers were also very grateful to have proof that Rebecca Wooldridge married Andrew Bandy.

Now back to the fourth marriage bit. I have never to this day been able to find Mary Sturgell and daughters Amanda, Margaret and Mary in the 1870 census. I have searched through Arkansas, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. In fact, I have never found another record for Amanda after the 1860 census and have come to the conclusion that she died after 1860 but did not marry or leave children.

A check of Illinois marriage for Mary Sturgell turned up one record for Mary Sturgeon and William J. Wade on 12 January 1869 in Tazewell County, Illinois. Given that Tazewell County is next door to Peoria County, the 1869 date fits in between when Mary left Isaac and married Ben Cookman and Sturgell is often interchanged with Sturgeon, this could be Mary’s missing marriage. It also was short lived.

William J. Wade-Mary Sturgeon Marriage, 1869

Here is apparent widower William Wade in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois with children born well before 1869, but no wife in the household:

Wm. Wade Family, 1870

William J. Wade married again to Elizabeth Jones on 8 October 1877, also in Tazewell County, Illinois.

The marriage record of Mary to George Jacob Fouts is the last record which I have found for her. George died on 26 November 1894 in Banner Twp., Fulton County, Illinois. An obituary and a funeral home record have been located:

George J. Fouts Obituary

GeorgeFoutsFuneralHomeRec_Page_1 GeorgeFoutsFuneralHomeRec_Page_2
Murphy-Sedgwick Memorial Home Record of George J. Fouts

Only one daughter is mentioned in George’s obituary. No death record, obituary or burial record has been found for Mary, nor have any further marriage records been located for her. It appears that she died sometime between 7 Mar 1889 and George’s death on 26 November 1894. She likely died in Peoria County, Illinois.

The Sturgell research project has been a wild ride. After initially believing that Isaac and Mary married, Mary died and Isaac remarried to Susannah Alberty and then died, I have uncovered a trail from Barry County, Missouri into multiple Arkansas counties and from Barry County to Peoria, Illinois. Along the way, I discovered daughter Mary born in 1861 and found a total of eight marriages between them. Now, if I could only find a few more records. . . !

Mary Bandy Sturgell Wade Cookman Fouts

Mary Bandy married Isaac Sturgeon/Sturgell on 27 June 1844 in Lawrence County, Ohio. I have only told part of her story. Here is a bit more about my husband’s 2x great grandmother.

Mary was born about 1828 in Symmes Township, Lawrence County, Ohio. Her age varies a bit in census records and there is no record of her birth. She was definitely quite young when she married and probably about sixteen years old. I do wonder if she was as young as fourteen because the first known child of Isaac and Mary was a daughter enumerated as M.J. in the 1850 census of Barry Couny, MIssouri. M.J. was two years old so born about 1847 or 1848. It is also possible that Mary lost a first, unknown child, who would have been born about 1845 or 1846.

Mary’s parents, like many others in the family tree, were a bit of a mystery. The Bandys were from Botetourt County, Virginia and there were quite a few of them. Candidates for Mary’s father were Andrew Bandy, who lived in Lawrence County, Ohio or his brother, George Bandy, who lived nearby in 1830 and in Gallia County, Ohio in 1840. Both Andrew and George had two females under five years of age in their 1830 households. I tended to believe that Andrew was her father because Isaac’s and Mary’s first son was Andrew Jackson Sturgell.

After I discovered that Mary didn’t die between 1860 and 1867, when Isaac married Susannah Douthit Alberty, I found proof of Mary’s parentage.

Mary’s life after she married Isaac was apparently not an easy life. He is my husband’s black sheep and was likely at best a difficult man. Isaac was somewhat of a rolling stone; Mary and children moved with him. From Lawrence County, Ohio in 1844, they moved to Barry County, Missouri. From there they migrated to somewhere in Texas where son Andrew Jackson was born. By 1855, they were back in Barry County. Their next three children were born in Arkansas where they were enumerated in 1860 in Benton County. Later records placed Isaac in Van Buren, Pope, Carroll and Boone Counties, Arkansas. Isaac was always on the move. (He eventually ended up back in Barry County, Missouri, where he died on 26 February 1909.)

I didn’t initially know about their youngest daughter, Mary, as she was born after the 1860 census and in the time period when I believed her mother, Mary, had died.

No divorce record has been found for Isaac and Mary, but it appears that Mary had had enough of Isaac after about 20 years. Travel was dangerous during the Civil War and, based on Isaac’s other marriages, he didn’t seem to like to be without a wife. For these reasons, I think Mary likely left Isaac and headed for Illinois at the close of the war, about 1865 or 1866. Isaac married Susannah Alberty in 1867.

Why did she go to Illinois? Because some of her siblings had removed from Ohio to the area around Peoria. Apparently, Isaac and Mary had worked out that she would take the girls, but the boys would remain with him. Isaac probably never knew what happened to his daughters as his obituary says his children were all dead. That wasn’t true – he outlived his sons, but at least two of his daughters – Margaret and Mary – survived him.

My “Aha!” moment for Mary came when I found this deed in the Barry County Courthouse:

Mary Sturgell Quit Claim
Quitclaim Deed, Peoria, IL

Mary hadn’t died between 1860 and 1867! Isaac knew that Mary had gone to her family in Illinois as Mrs. Mary Sturgell also known as Mrs. Mary Cookman quit claimed her rights to a piece of Isaac’s property on 7 June 1883. I don’t think he was very happy about having to pay her $25.00, even though he made a hefty profit, but I have other questions about this transaction.

I found two deeds in Isaac’s name for this property. Isaac Sturgell purchased the land from Jacob and Elizabeth Hurley on 11 Nov 1868, but was not recorded until 12 March 1883 in Carroll County, Arkansas. He paid $250.00 and was identified as a resident of Barry County. On 12 March 1883, Isaac sold the land to Calvin Prentice of Carroll County, Arkansas for $1000. Both Mary and Isaac signed their deeds with an “X.”

IsaacSturgellDeed1883_Page_1 IsaacSturgellDeed1883_Page_2
Isaac Sturgell’s purchase and selling of land in 1883

Here are my questions: 1. Isaac married Susannah Douthit Alberty on 30 September 1867 in Newton County, Missouri. He first bought this land on 11 November 1868. (Susannah accused Isaac of squandering the legacy she inherited from her late husband, John Alberty, and I suspect that the $250 used to purchase this land was part of that legacy.)

Susannah divorced Isaac in 1874. Why wasn’t she the one who filed the quit claim deed? That leads me to the supposition that, along with all his other less than desirable traits, perhaps Isaac was also a bigamist. Maybe Mary just left and they never divorced. How did these people in Arkansas know that Mary even existed if he was already married to Susannah when he bought the land? Perhaps he and Mary lived in Carroll County and these people were acquaintances. Even so, if he had divorced Mary and was legally married to Susannah, why didn’t he say that Susannah was his wife at the time of purchase and have her sign the quit claim deed? Of course, if Isaac and Mary never legally divorced, then Mary was also a bigamist, as we shall see.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story!

Rev. War Pensioner Jacob Miller and Son Martin

A while back, I told about my quest for the parents and family of Martin Miller of Muhlenburg County, Kentucky. Martin was born in Pennsylvania about 1785. He was a resident of Botetourt County, Virginia when he married Catherine Whitmer, daughter of John and Catherine Whitmer who migrated to Virginia from Frederick County, Maryland. Not many years after their marriage, Martin and Catherine, along with her parents and extended family, migrated once again to Kentucky.

By analyzing land deeds and plotting out properties for Miller in Botetourt County, I was able to determine that a possible father for Martin was Jacob Miller. There were two Jacobs living there in the same time period and both were old enough to have grown children. There was Jacob who married Margaret and there was Jacob who married at least twice, the first time to Sarah and the second to Elizabeth.

I have to admit the search for Martin’s parents hasn’t been an easy one, as it has stretched out over a number of years. Finally, a viable candidate appeared in Virgil White’s Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files: Index, published in 1993 by National Historical Publishing Company:

Jacob Miller, born about 1759 and from Northampton County, Pennsylvania, served as a private during the war. After the war, he removed to Botetourt County, Virginia and then about 1813 on to Franklin County, Tennessee, where he died on 10 Nov 1832. His wife’s name was Elizabeth, but no children were named.

This Jacob looked not only to be a good candidate for Martin’s father, he seemed like a good match to be the Jacob Miller of Botetourt County who married (1) Sarah and then (2) Elizabeth. He was old enough to be Martin’s father, came from Pennsylvania, lived in Botetourt County and left the area in roughly the same time frame as Martin Miller and the Whitmers, although he went to Tennessee instead of Kentucky.

Now I knew where he went to! Never having worked with Franklin County, Tennessee records, I first prayed that Franklin was not a burned county. It wasn’t. However, probate records didn’t go back far enough to include Jacob’s estate and he wasn’t found in the will books. I next look at land deeds – land records were intact back to 1790, even though the county wasn’t formed until 1807.

There were a number of Millers found in the deed index, including Jacob. There was also a solitary listing for a Martin Miller. . . I had found a mini-gold mine for Jacob’s family. After years of searching, another brick wall tumbled down. First, I wanted proof that I had the right Jacob Miller and that he indeed was the father of Martin.

Martin Miller Deed pg1

The opening portion of this document recorded in the deeds of Franklin County, Tennessee first identifies “I, Martin Miller of the state of Kentucky, and the county of Muhlenburg. . . .appoint and place in my stead my worthy friend Phillip Williams of the state of Tennessee and county of Franklin. . . .to grant and convey. . . .all of my part of the land of Jacob Miller deceased. . .

Martin Miller Deed pg2

by order of the circuit court. . . . .I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 13th day of October 1837. Martin Miller + Seal.

There was another Miller document found in the court minutes of July 1837:

Jacob Miller Land Estate

This was the circuit court order dividing up the land in the estate of Jacob Miller, deceased. Martin received lot #7 in the top right hand corner. The widow Elizabeth’s dower was set off in the bottom left corner. The other boxes indicated the pieces of land given to Jacob’s other children.

To make a long research story short, from these documents, other land deeds and further research, I was able to piece together the spouses and children of Jacob Miller, Revolutionary War soldier:

Jacob married (1) Sarah (MNU) about 1783, probably in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Sarah was born, say 1763 and died between the 1797 land deed filing and 11 June 1805 when Jacob married (2) Elizabeth Ritter, daughter of Michael Ritter.

Children with wife Sarah:

1. Martin, born 6 July 1785, probably Northampton County, Pennsylvania; died 5 May 1863, Muhlenburg County, Kentucky; married Catherine Whitmer.

2. Henry, born about 1788, possibly Maryland; died after 1860, possibly in Muhlenburg County, Kentucky; married Susannah(MNU).

3. Jacob, born 1 July 1790; died 12 June 1844, Sullivan County, IN; married Mary Borders.

4. Catherine, about 1792, probably VA; died after July 1837, possibly in Jackson County, Alabama; married Phillip Williams.

5. Michael, born about 1794, probably Botetourt County, Virginia; died after 1834.

6. William, born about 1796, Botetourt County, Virginia; died after 1837.

7. Daughter, born about 1797, VA; died before 1837.

8. Daughter, born about 1798, VA; died before 1837.

9. Daughter, born about 1799; died before 1837.

10. Daughter, born about 1800; died before 1837.

Children with wife Elizabeth:

11. Nancy, born about 1805; died after 1870, probably McLennan County, Texas; married Sampson Thompson.

12. Eve, born 16 May 1806, Botetourt County, Virginia; died 8 Mar 1876, Crawford County, Illinois; married Austin F. Hubbard.

13. Elizabeth, born about 1807, Botetourt County, Virginia; died about 1853, Franklin County, Tennessee; married Linsfield Berryhill.

14. Barbara, born about 1812, Virginia or Tennessee; died before February 1836, Franklin County, Tennessee; married Miles Sanford Francis.

15. Sarah, born about 1817, Franklin County, Tennessee; died after July 1837; married Mr. Hostetler.

16. Rebecca, born 23 Mar 1818, Franklin County, Tennessee; died 25 Jan 1896, Itawamba County, Mississippi; married Joseph A. Francis.

17. Leanna, born 15 May 1819, Franklin County, Tennessee; died 15 June 1876, Bollinger County, Missouri; married Miles Sanford Francis, widower of her sister, Barbara.

18. Daniel, born 7 May 1822, Franklin County, Tennessee; died 27 May 1900, Shelby County, Alabama; married Martha L. Dalrymple.

19. Susannah, born about 1823, Franklin County, Tennessee; died after 1837.

Although one brick wall came down, another took its place as I still have no maiden name for Sarah and, while I think I have a lead as to Jacob Miller’s parents in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, as of now there is no solid proof. That’s not to say that it doesn’t exist.  This brick wall is also on my “to do” list for Salt Lake City.