Thursday, March 4, 2010

Filling in the Gaps

In genealogy, things are not always as they appear. Red herrings may appear and force us to rethink our research plans. Maybe the name on the tombstone is misspelled or the death date is wrong. I ran across a tombstone inscription not long ago that caused me to pause and think.

In Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky is the following tombstone:

The inscription reads:

Dr. S.F. Singleton
Died Dec. 24th 1845
Aged 33 years and 1 day

Blessed are the dead who
die in the Lord

Note that the tombstone is broken and Singleton is a bit hard to read. Buried nearby are R. Alice Singleton and Samuel F. Singleton, children of Dr. S.F. and Louisa Singleton. At first glance, it appears that Dr. S.F. Singleton died in 1845 and was buried next to his children. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?

There is a problem, though. S.F. Singleton, age 45, appears on the 1850 McCracken County census in Paducah. In his household are Elizabeth R., 28; James W., 20; Mary E., 12; John C., 9; Fanny W., 9 months; Reuben L. Radford, 7; Hannah W. Singleton, 16 and L.J. Pace, 24. This S.F. Singleton was born circa 1805. If he died in 1845, how could he be enumerated on the 1850 census?

Were the two S.F. Singletons the same man? Let's back up a minute and check the Livingston County records. In Deed Book GG, page 586, 11 October 1843 we find Samuel F. Singleton mortgaging his stock of drugs, medicines and other articles to Henry F. and Dixon [sic] A. Given, merchants, for the payment of supplies they purchased for Singleton. Then, in Deed Book HH, page 94, 18 March 1845, S.F. Singleton mortgaged all of his property, including his stock of medicines and drugs contained in his drug store. From prior research, I have learned that physicians often had drug stores.

Livingston County tax lists show that S.F. Singleton first appears in 1841 and disappears after 1847. That fits with his appearance on the 1850 McCracken County census.

According to McCracken County Vital Statistics (deaths), Saml. F. Singleton, age 73, married, died 23 November 1875. He was born in Virginia, lived and died in McCracken County, and his parents were unknown. This S.F. Singleton was born circa 1802. Close enough to possibly be the same man as on the 1850 census.

McCracken County marriage records show that Samuel F. Singleton married Elizabeth Radford 9 May 1848. S.F. Singleton's household shows a 28 year old woman, Elizabeth, and a young boy, Reuben L. Radford. Hummm. The wheels in my head began to turn. What if ...

The Livingston County Dr. Singleton had a wife named Louisa, according to the tombstone of their two children. What if the tombstone in Smithland Cemetery was for Louisa, Dr. Singleton's wife - his first wife? The top portion of the tombstone has broken off and I just bet the inscription read "Louisa, wife of Dr. S.F. Singleton."

What if Louisa died in 1845 and was buried in Smithland, the family moved to Paducah in 1847/1848, and Dr. Singleton married, as his second wife, Elizabeth Radford in 1848. The entire Singleton family then appeared on the 1850 McCracken County census. It all makes sense. What do you think?

Copyright Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG. Western Kentucky Genealogy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good article. I love this type of sleuthing. Hope you post the marriages when you find them.