Tag Archives: Mary Bandy Sturgell

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #25: Another “Dead” Person Turns Up Among the Living

I’ve mentioned in the past that sometimes just a handful of words says it all. Here is my latest example:


Quit Claim Deed, Peoria, Illinois, 5 June 1883

The important words:

This Fifth 5th day of June 1883
Mrs. Mary (X) Sturgell
her mark
Also Known as Mrs. Mary Cookman

I had long thought that Mary, wife of Isaac Sturgell, had died between 1860, when she was in the census, and 1867, when Isaac married widow Susannah Alberty.

I stumbled on this quit claim, filed in 1883, by Mary Sturgell of Peoria, Illinois. This opened a can of worms, of sorts. Mary and Isaac obviously split and each had remarried, although no divorce record has been found. They didn’t divorce in Barry County, Missouri, as I’ve looked at those records.

Neither Isaac nor Mary were literate, but someone was and knew that Mary had taken her daughters and moved to Peoria, where she had family living.

It must have stuck in Isaac’s craw (he wasn’t a nice person, based on an account of a grandchild who knew him) that he had to pay Mary $25.00 to file the quit claim deed.

Apparently, he tried to sell some land in Barry County and the purchaser was aware that Mary was alive. This buyer likely wanted to protect his rights to the property and didn’t want her to come back and claim that the land was fraudulently sold by Isaac.

This deed was filed 23 years after Mary’s appearance in the 1860 census. It presented several new facts:

  1. Mary hadn’t died.
  2. She and Isaac either divorced or just went their separate ways and became bigamists.
  3. Mary was currently living in Peoria County, Illinois.
  4. Mary was currently married to a man named Cookman or else was the widow of a man named Cookman.

This land deed completely cracked open the brick wall of what had happened to Isaac’s and Mary’s daughters, none of whom could be found in Barry County, Missouri.

TIP: Be sure to check land deeds well into the future past the lifetimes of your ancestors. Heirs aren’t the only ones who might appear. “Dead” people sometimes appear, too!

Crestleaf.com 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds: Feb 2016

February’s Crestleaf Fascinating Family Find was a milestone for me. My husband’s 2x great grandparents were not exactly the easiest couple to track and trace because they moved so often and lived in places where records were often spotty.

Isaac Sturgell married Mary Bandy in Lawrence County, Ohio in 1844 when she was about 16 years old. The marriage record didn’t include parents’ names, but there was only one Bandy living in Lawrence County at the time, Andrew Bandy.

Andrew and wife Rebecca migrated to Ohio from Botetourt County, Virginia and lived out the rest of their lives in Lawrence County. Although Botetourt County marriage records are quite extensive, Andrew and Rebecca apparently didn’t marry in that county and no other nearby county has a marriage record for them either.

Rebecca was orphaned at a young age, the daughter of James Wooldridge and Ann (Nancy) Coleman, daughter of Samuel Coleman of Goochland and Buckingham Counties, Virginia. Andrew and Rebecca named their second son “Samuel Coleman Bandy” and Wooldridge researchers long believed that Rebecca was, indeed, the daughter of James Wooldridge, but had been unable to find any documentary proof.

Mary’s marriage record provided the needed proof of her mother’s maiden name:

Mary Bandy Marriage Certificate
George Fouts-Mary Cookman Marriage
7 March 1889

The license portion on top is very readable. The bottom is a bit more difficult:

Full Name of GROOM: George J. Fouts
Place of Residence: Kingston Mine, Peoria Co., IL
Occupation: Labour
Age Next Birthday: 63 years               Color: White
Nativity: German           Place of birth: Oiho (sic – Ohio)
Father’s Name: John Fouts
Mother’s Maiden Name: Mary M. Rex
No. of Groom’s Marriage: Third time
Full Name of BRIDE: Mary Cookman
Maiden Name, if a Widow: Mary Bandey (sic)
Place of Residence: Kingston Mine, Peoria Co., IL
Age Next Birthday: 57    Place of Birth: Verginia (sic)
Father’s Name: Andrew Bandy
Mother’s Maiden Name: Rebecca Woolrigee (sic)
No. of Bride’s Marriage: Fourth time
Witnesses to Marriage: Arabella L. Jefford
Burt Fouts
March 7, 1889

We hereby certify, That the above information is correct, to the best of our knowledge and belief.

                                                      George Fouts
Mary Cookmen (sic)

I Hereby Certify, That the above is a correct return of a Marriage solemnized by me, the 7 day of March 1889 at Kingston Mine

                                                      Thos. H. Jefford
Justice of the Peace

Although the groom and bride gave their respective ages as 62 and 56, that is not quite true. George was born about 1828 in Ohio, so his age is right on target. Mary, however, seems to have shaved a few years off her own age. She married Isaac Sturgell on 27 June 1844 and she wasn’t a child bride, aged 11 years when she married. She was actually born about 1828. The 1830 census enumeration of Andrew Bandy in Lawrence County, OH includes two females under the age of five, likely Mary and her sister, Nancy. Mary was actually about 61 years old when she married George J. Fouts.

This is the last record found for Mary. George’s obituary states that he died on 26 November 1894 in Banner Twp., Fulton County, Illinois, but makes no mention of any wife. Mary hasn’t been found in the 1900 census, either, so she may have died in this time period.