Thursday, September 19, 2013

Answers Result in More Questions on Judith Martin

Mrs. Judith Turner
Sept. 14, 1810
July 31, 1873
Aged 60 Yrs.
10 Mo's &
20 D's

It all started when I spotted the tombstone of Mrs. Judith Martin leaning against a shed in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. It looked to be perfect as the subject of Tombstone Tuesday for this blog. As usual, I did some research to learn a little about her. Who were her parents? Who did she marry? Did anything extraordinary happen during her life?

I learned some things, but what I learned only raised more questions - questions for which I found no answers. Maybe you can help.  Here is what I learned.

Judith was a daughter of Tilghman Martin of Caldwell County and married Nathaniel Rochester as his second wife in June of 1833. Nathaniel Rochester, reputed to be a hotel keeper in Princeton, was first married to Milly Johnson in 1810 Knox County, Kentucky. In 1818, Nathaniel and family purchased land in Caldwell County and moved there. Shortly after 1830, Milly died and in 1833, Nathaniel married Judith/Judy Martin.

Apparently, Nathaniel and Judith stayed in Kentucky after their marriage as they had two children born there. They were Amanda Malvina, born 1834, and James, born 1838. Nathaniel and Judith Rochester have not been found on the 1840 census in any state, but I feel they remained in Kentucky.  Nathaniel and Judith must have divorced as Nathaniel was not found in 1850 and Judith was living with her new husband, Mathew B. Turner, whom she had married earlier that same year.

In 1889, Mrs. Agatha Rochester Strange published a little book, House of Rochester in Kentucky. Nathaniel Rochester and his children are listed, including a daughter, Amanda Malvina, by Judith Martin, but neither the marriage to Judith or the second child, James, is mentioned.

On 6 August 1851, Judith's father, Tilghman Martin, wrote his will. He left bequests to each of his children except Judith. Judith's children by Nathaniel Rochester did inherit from their grandfather. When Judith's brother, also named Tilghman, wrote his will in 1852, he specifically excluded Judith from inheriting from his estate. Apparently, there were hard feelings between Judith and her family.

The marriage of Judith and Mathew B. Turner apparently terminated, too. On the 1860 census Judith was living in the household of her brother, A.J. Martin, and Turner was living with his married daughter in Williamson County, Illinois.

So, when and where did Nathaniel and Judith (Martin) Rochester divorce and where were they living in 1840?  Did Judith Martin Rochester and Mathew B. Turner also divorce?  If so, where?  I have looked in Caldwell, Livingston and Crittenden counties and found no record of a divorce.  Crittenden County seemed the logical place to find records on Nathaniel as he died at the home of his son, William H. Rochester, in Marion in 1874, but, so far, I have not found anything there. Do you have any ideas?

Published 19 September 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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