Thursday, November 1, 2012

Was Polly a Nickname for Merica?

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not copy without written consent

I have a little problem and hope you can help.

My 3rd great grandmother, Mary "Polly" Adams, was born 12 June 1788 and died 27 December 1882, according to her tombstone in Lavender Cemetery, Hardin County, Illinois. Buried next to her is her husband, William Shoemaker, born 12 December 1784 and died 7 April 1877. William Shoemaker and Polly Adams married 29 August 1809 Caldwell County, Kentucky.

I have not found William Shoemaker on the 1810 census, but he is listed in Caldwell County in 1820. Thereafter he is found in Illinois. The 1850 and 1860 census records of Hardin County, Illinois show Mary "Polly" born in South Carolina, but the 1870 census shows her birthplace as Georgia. In all records, she is listed as Mary or Polly. She has not been found on a census in 1880. Also, among members of the William and Polly Shoemaker household on the 1850 Hardin County census was Polly Adams, age 78, born Virginia. I believe this was the widow of Robert Adams, who died in 1824 in Caldwell County, Kentucky.

Now here's the problem. In his will in Caldwell County Book A, page 406, Robert Adams names a daughter Merica - "mericas part I allow for her and her children and Wm. Shoemaker and my son Robert." William Shoemaker and Robert Adams were also named executors.

Robert Adams mentions his daughter Annalatha (also called Anna) and Moriah and Robert Shoemaker, children of his deceased daughter and Lindsey Shoemaker. The 1850 Caldwell County census shows that Anna's birthplace was given as Georgia, the same state as Mary's on the 1870 Hardin County, Illinois. On Anna's death record in Lyon County, Kentucky Vital Statistics on 20 August 1856, her parents are given as Robert and Mary Adams.

Was Polly also a nickname for Merica? Why was South Carolina listed as the birthplace for Mary "Polly" Adams Shoemaker on the 1850 and 1860 census, but Georgia was listed on the 1870 census? I am 95% sure my Mary "Polly" Adams was the daughter of Robert Adams, but there is still a teeny, tiny doubt.

What do you think? While we solve this problem, keep Robert Adams Sr. in mind as next we need to learn more about him, too. He is a a rather mysterious figure in my family tree.


Nanakat said...

If Merica could be shortened to Meri (Mary), then Polly would work as a nickname.

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

You may be right! Thanks!