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Saturday, February 28, 2015

How Can You Plan a Murder Like That?

Beware of spoilers throughout this post—because this is incredible!

I just watched the David Suchet version of Agatha Christie’s One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, and I could not believe it when it finished. It was an impossible murder! I had to go back to my books and find it under its U.S. name, The Patriotic Murders, and reread it to see whether it could be at all possible, however improbable it was, that Agatha Christie had created a murder that did not fit the timing of events.

Of course she did not. Her version works perfectly.

What I saw on the screen was Hercule Poirot, entering his dentist’s office. As Mr Morley starts working on him, he says, “We’ll just start the preparatory work today, Mr Poirot.”

Mabelle Sainsbury-Seale is just leaving, making a return appointment for 6 August, 11:45 a.m. She emerges from the front door and recognizes the just-arriving Mr. Alistair Blunt as the husband of a former fellow actress of hers in India. Mr. Blunt tries to get rid of her as Poirot emerges and walks behind them across the street.

How short was Poirot’s appointment? No more time than for Mabelle Sainsbury-Seale to make her appointment, walk down the stairs, and utter two sentences! This is impossible. The dentist is either lightning-fast or shamming.

Cut to the hotel where Mabelle Sainsbury-Seale is staying. She meets a former fellow passenger from the ship that brought her to England from India, a Mr Amberiotis, who it seems also has a toothache. She recommends her dentist, and she tells him about her chance encounter with an old acquaintance on the dentist’s doorstep.

Amberiotis recognizes Mr Blunt’s name and powerful position in government finance, and additionally, the discrepancy between the name Miss Sainsbury-Seale gives his wife and the name of the Mrs. Blunt who was an heiress to another powerful family in financial circles. Blunt must have committed bigamy to marry the heiress, he realizes. Amberiotis goes to his hotel, enters his room, and picks up the telephone to make a call. He is starting to blackmail Blunt.

Mabelle Sainsbury-Seale, still in the same dress, coat with fox fur, hat, and pearls (therefore it’s the same day), arrives at Litchfield Court and enters a lobby of some flats, asks for the flat of Mrs. Albert Chapman where Mrs. Blunt is staying, is shown up, and knocks at a door. Someone opens it and Mabelle says, “Gerda, after all these years!”

She wasted no time in tracking down where Gerda was. We did not see it happen, but Blunt must have given her that address before he entered the dentist’s office.

And knowing that this is where and when the first murder occurs, how did Blunt plan it that quickly? Could Blunt have instantly devised the plan even as he talked to Mabelle there on the doorstep? Did he race back to his bank and talk to Gerda, who in the movie is acting as his secretary? He must have told her to leave work, get over to the Chapman flat, prepare to murder her old friend and mutilate her face afterwards and stuff the body into her fur trunk, and order Mabelle’s bags to be moved to another hotel. Then she must later put on Mabelle’s clothes, making sure to buy similar shoes. They are also going to switch the labels on the dental charts of the two women.

Additionally, Alistair Blunt and Gerda had to think of all those details and be ready psychologically to carry them out after having done nothing more criminal all their lives than to conspire for Alistair to commit bigamy. It strains credulity. In the book they have a week to decide they had to do it, and then to plan and commit the murder. In the movie they have mere moments.

Cut to a porter bringing three bags down hotel stairs. Receptionist asks him what he’s doing. He says Miss Sainsbury-Seale telephoned and wants her bags sent over to the Carlisle Hotel.

Cut to Alfred arriving at Morley’s—Morley watches Alfred from an upper window, telling his sister, “Damn boy’s late again, and smoking on the front doorstep.” We realize it must be a different day—perhaps the next day, but we don’t know how much time has passed. He tells his sister, “Gladys isn’t coming in today. Her aunt’s had a stroke and she’s had to go up to Yorkshire.”

Morning tea arrives in Mr Amberiotis’s room at the Astoria. He has a bad toothache and sends breakfast and tea away. So perhaps it is the next day. Since Amberiotis had a toothache on the boat and talked about it with Miss Sainsbury-Seale over tea in her hotel’s lounge, we can’t assume much time has passed. Again, in the book three months has passed, but the movie condenses the time drastically.

Poirot arrives again at Mr Morley’s and is shown in. Frank Carter arrives, angry and impatient.

Mr Blunt closes a board meeting at the bank and tells his associate he has a dentist appointment.

Cut to Poirot in the chair, Morley complaining that Gladys is away, that early appointments were late and that he has a very full schedule, but that the very important man, Blunt, is coming and is never late.

Blunt arrives and enters Morley’s. Poirot is finished and Morley tells him he’ll see him in six months. Poirot gets his hat and gloves from the room where Carter is pacing and Blunt reading.

As Poirot leaves Morley’s, he sees a woman’s buckled shoe and stockinged leg emerge from a taxi, and her shoe buckle wrenches off as her other shoe crosses it. He picks it up and the woman says she is Miss Sainsbury-Seale, but we see she is not quite the same one as before.

So, how did these three all have appointments on the same day at first and then all have appointments again on the same day, which appears to be the following day in the film? Why can’t the dentist take care of all their problems in one visit? It strains coincidence to think they all need crowns, but it could possibly happen. In the book, Poirot goes to the dentist only once, on the day of the murder. Only Blunt needs two appointments; the fake Miss Sainsbury-Seale calls for a second appointment because she says she has a toothache, which is part of the murder plot.

Chief Inspector Japp phones Poirot later that same day to tell him the dentist was killed. But in the summing-up, Poirot says Blunt saw Mr Amberiotis’s name in the appointment book and decided to murder him.

This is absolutely impossible. The book gives them three months to make the complicated arrangements, which could not have been done in one day, much less in the space of one dental appointment as in the movie.

First, they had to plan the appointments carefully so that the fake Miss Sainsbury-Seale had the appointment before Amberiotis. Miss Sainsbury-Seale already had a return appointment in the movie—how could it be the exact right date and time they needed? In the book, the fake Miss Sainsbury-Seale calls up and asks for an immediate appointment because of toothache. Morley has to work her in during the noon hour.

Second, Blunt had to have a gun with him, one with a twin with which to frame Frank Carter. Most people of that time and place did not carry guns around. The head of an international bank would not have carried a gun; if he had felt the need for protection, he would have hired a bodyguard. With no history of violence in his life, Blunt would not have usually had a gun, except if he had specially planned to need one.

Third, Blunt and Gerda had to arrange for Gladys to be called away that day by the fake telegram. They had to find out Gladys’s relatives, had to find one who lived far enough away to keep her away all day at least in riding trains there and back again, and they had to hope to find someone Gladys would definitely go see without question. They were very fortunate the exact requirements were met! In the book the aunt lives in Somerset; in the movie, she lives in Yorkshire. Since Gladys was already called away when Blunt could have seen Amberiotis’s name in the appointment book, he had obviously already started the plan.

Fourth, Blunt and Gerda had to think up (maybe research?) the cool, calculating plan for Blunt to pretend to be Morley and inject Amberiotis with the overdose of anesthetic that would kill him later in the day. In the book, it helps that Amberiotis is a very fat man, prone to die of heart problems. In the movie, he is a slender, fit-looking man.

Fifth, Blunt had to have his own white coat with him. He could not afford the time or the tampering of evidence to remove Morley’s coat and wear it and then put it back on Morley.

Sixth, in the movie, Gerda has to have a plausible excuse for missing quite a lot of work in the time it would take to establish and maintain all her various aliases. In the book, she does not work as Alistair’s secretary; instead, she impersonates a second cousin of his who had lived and died in Canada, whose name was Helen Montressor. He gives his “cousin” a home with him, and her comings and goings are nobody’s business but the household’s, which does not keep a very close eye on her. The movie makes Helen his secretary at the bank. How she explained her job there to all those other secretaries and underlings who would have known exactly how much work she missed is, of course, not covered in the script.

All these elaborate pieces of the three murders had to take time, which in the movie is condensed to seemingly overnight, but which must have been meant to be longer. The script writers and director should have made it clearer that there was more time between that shot of the porter taking Miss Sainsbury-Seale’s luggage out and the shot of Morley complaining at the start of his day about Alfred and Gladys.

The explanation at the end of the movie (not in the book) that Blunt saw Amberiotis’s name in the appointment book is impossible, because the name was not there on the occasion of Blunt’s first visit, and on Blunt’s second visit, the murders were all planned and one had been carried out.

But just suppose the murder of Amberiotis was completely without premeditation? Does it work? It would mean they meant to kill the dentist all along just to cover up Mabelle Sainsbury-Seale's murder. That would take care of their need to get the appointments lined up and for Blunt to carry a gun, and they would have gotten Gladys out of the way for the day. But they would not have expected Blunt to try to impersonate a dentist, because they would have to assume the patients all knew their dentist, so he still should not have had a white coat to put on. Maybe there was a spare one hanging in the office right there, a spare one that would fit a tall man of regular build rather than a short, fat one like Mr Morley was. That would be a coincidence; another piece of good luck.

Blunt saw Frank Carter in the waiting room, but without exchanging names, he could not have known this was the boyfriend of the absent dental assistant. Blunt was not there when Frank arrived and asked for Gladys and was told she was gone for the day. Blunt should have assumed this was a patient, and the only patient whose name was in the book and was of the right gender was Amberiotis. Perhaps Blunt asked Alfred who this young man was, and neither the book nor the movie told us he did so. Yet somehow Blunt figured out who this was and immediately planned to use him as a scapegoat. Another coincidental piece of good luck for our murderers.

As Blunt sat there in that waiting room, he would have had to plan how to murder Amberiotis. He would have had to know already how much more of the two painkillers would constitute a sufficient overdose to kill; he could not afford to guess nor to be wrong and risk the patient waking up after a couple of days in a coma ready to identify him. Where does a banker and financier gain knowledge of these things? Does he regularly read murder mysteries? If this plan was made on the spur of the moment, he was taking an enormous risk. Of course by this time his inner life was full of risk and he thrived on it. Nevertheless, it is still another coincidental piece of good luck that he knew exactly how to kill a man hours later through a wrong dental injection.

When Blunt had killed Mr Morely and Gerda had been shown upstairs as a patient and was busy typing the labels to switch the charts, he should have been quickly filling her in on the change in plans, the additional murder to be done. But all in the movie is carried out in silence except for the typewriter keys clacking. He had to count on Alfred sticking to his usual pattern of not entering the room as he showed a patient in, for if Alfred had seen him, it was all over. He had to risk that Amberiotis had never seen him in person as Blunt either. He could not know for sure that his blackmailer had not been to his bank to spy on him unknown to him. He had to trust that his hand would be steady with the needle, even though he had likely never held a hypodermic needle before. He had to trust that he would inject the poison in the right place, that it would both numb the mouth and get into the bloodstream without hitting a nerve, knocking the patient unconscious too soon, or some other mishap. But in all these things Blunt is replete with good luck. None of these things that could have happened did happen to mar his murder.

Thus we see it is barely possible for the murder of Mr Amberiotis to be without premeditation, but only if the most extraordinary good luck holds for the murderers. And it does, but I prefer the version that has a modicum of believability tied to a reasonable period in which to plan these things.

Then as soon as he leaves the dental office, Blunt must arrange that very afternoon for Frank Carter to be employed as a gardener at Blunt’s country home, and Frank must be made to believe it was a Secret Service job, a fantastic story that only gullible Frank would believe was true. They had to plan and carry out the fake shooting incident while Poirot was at the country estate with Blunt so that Frank would be well and truly framed for both an attempt on Blunt’s life and Morley’s murder. In the book, Gerda has the additional task of disguising herself and interviewing Frank for the job. In the movie, the interview doesn’t appear onscreen and Gerda does stay at the country house in her secretarial capacity but is implausibly expected to join them socially.

There is one last fishy piece of nonsense in both book and movie, which helped cause a few critics to howl upon the first publication of the book. That is, the second part of the murder of Miss Sainsbury-Seale—the switching of the dental records at Mr Morley’s office. In the book this is necessary to the murderers so that investigators will think Miss Sainsbury-Seale murdered Mrs Albert Chapman and then disappeared, and it is necessary to the author’s purposes that the government Secret Service people force a hush-up because Mrs Albert Chapman, an alias of Gerda Blunt’s, by coincidence is the name of one of the top government spies about whom nothing can be known publicly, a piece of enormous good luck for the murderers. In the movie the need for the switch is simply to confuse things, which is confusing in itself. Without all the spies, why does it matter who murdered whom?

In addition, in the book the murderers have to rely on more good luck for the body not to be found until they can murder the dentist in order to switch the women’s names on their dental records. If the body had been found before then, it would have looked like a Mrs Albert Chapman had murdered Miss Mabelle Sainsbury-Seale, and the government might gone to some trouble to track down Mrs Chapman as a potential threat to the national security. Even if the search were hush-hush, they might have found that Mrs Chapman was a certain Helen Montressor, alias Gerda Blunt. But the relative obscurity of Mabelle Sainsbury-Seale and their making her change hotels suddenly helps them hide her disappearance. In the movie, the length of time is unimportant, since it seems as if Miss Sainsbury-Seale was murdered the day before, or shortly before, the dentist. The length of time it takes to find her body is then nothing more than a seeming annoyance to Japp and Poirot. When they do find her, the absence of anybody but Poirot wrinkling his nose is the only incredible thing about the scene.

As usual, Mrs. Christie had the timing of everything down to an impeccable perfection for the plot, however implausible it might be. The movie should not have condensed the time quite so much—it would have left the original plot workable, even if unbelievably full of coincidence and luck.

Most critics were in the habit of accepting whatever Agatha Christie wrote by the time One, Two, Buckle My Shoe was published to not pay too close attention to anything wrong with her story. But a few howled about the close coincidences on which this particular plot rested. Yes, the coincidences were there. But sometimes in life, coincidences do happen. Once in a while, a coincidence might lead to murder. Try to be somewhere else when that happens, with a good, solid alibi, won’t you?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Munro Great-Grandparents of Lillie Belle Read

Leicester (Lester) Munroe and Lurany Ralph

Leicester (pronounced Lester and later written that way) was born 16 April 1795 in Cooperstown, Otsego, New York to David and Anna Andrus Munroe. Lurana (Lurany) Ralph was born 5 April 1801 in Susquehanna, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, parents unknown.

They were married 14 September 1817 in Penfield, Monroe, New York, and moved to Lockport, the Niagara County seat. The following children were born to them there:
  • David Madison, b. 25 February 1820
  • Mary Anne Celina, b. 28 December 1821
  • Dow Ralph, b. 8 June 1824
  • William Orlando, b. 25 September 1826
Dow Ralph (age 4) died in 1828 and the family moved to Carleton, Monroe, Michigan, where the following children were born:
  • Adams Fernando Munroe, b. 23 March 1829
  • James Ralph Munroe, b. 18 October 1833
  • Lurana Maria Eliza Munroe, b. 29 July 1835
The family moved to Pittsford, Hillsdale, Michigan, and there the following children were born:
Leicester Munroe
  • Harriet Adelia Jane Munroe, b. 28 March 1838
  • Henry Harrison Munroe, b. 13 May 1841
  • Edmond Vallios Munroe, b. 10 March 1843

The 1840 Census in Pittsford found the family all together, and a man aged 80–90 lived with them, as did a woman aged 70–80. Since Lester’s mother died in 1817 in Monroe County, New York, and his father died in 1837 in Pittsford, Hillsdale, Michigan, this probably means that Lurana’s parents, the Ralphs, lived with the Munroe family.

These elderly people (the Ralph parents) were both gone in 1850, probably having passed away in Hillsdale County, as the family was still living there in Pittsford when the 1850 Census was taken. In May 1843, Mary Anne married Jabez Northrup in Pittsford, Hillsdale, Michigan.

1850 Census with Leicester and Lurana Munroe
and their family on lines 7 - 14
Leicester was a farmer with land valued at $150 in 1850. At the same time, his 29-year-old son David was a farmer with land valued at $300. Since they still lived together, probably a check of the land records would show that Lester had turned over much of his land to his son.

Before 1854, the family moved to Branch County. Harriet (age 14) died in 1852, in either Hillsdale or Branch county. In June 1854, William married Ann Charlotte Flanders in Kinderhook, Branch, Michigan. In June 1855, Maria married James M. Pound in Branch County. In September 1856, James married Roxana Ralph in Branch County. In February 1857, David married Mrs. Elizabeth Rose Browning, place unspecified.

In 1860 the Census showed the family living in Ovid, Branch County, Michigan. Leicester was still farming, with his real estate valued at $100, and his personal property valued at $125. Adams married a woman named Ann sometime after that census was taken.

Lurana Ralph Munroe died 1 January 1866 in Ottawa County, Michigan.

Their son Edmond died 10 June 1866, at the age of only 23, place not specified.

Leicester was apparently missed by the census taker in 1870.

In 1880, Leicester Munroe lived with his son Henry and family in Olive, Ottawa, Michigan. Henry’s wife, Maria, died in December 1882 in Olive.

Leicester moved to Kalamo, Eaton, Michigan sometime in the 1880s and died there on November 16, 1890. He was buried in the little cemetery there. Because his son David died and was also buried there the next July, it is possible that Leicester was living with David and family in Kalamo.

William Orlando Munroe and Ann Charlotte Flanders

William Orlando Munroe was the 3rd son and 4th child of Leicester and Lurana Ralph Munroe of New York. He was born in Lockport, Niagara, New York on 25 September 1826. When he was two, his brother closest to him in age, Dow Ralph Munroe, died. The family moved to Monroe County, Michigan before he turned three years old. He gained four younger brothers and two younger sisters while the family was there and in Hillsdale County. In Hillsdale County, they lived in the town of Pittsford. William’s grandfather, David Munroe, died there in 1837 just before William turned 11. William’s elder sister, Mary Ann, married Jabez Northrup there in 1843 when William was 16.

Around the same time, probably William’s Ralph grandparents died—they were likely living with the family in Pittsford. The family moved to Kinderhook, Branch, Michigan before 1854. In 1852, William’s sister Harriet, age 14, died. Within a four-mile radius, just across the border of Indiana near Jamestown, lived a beautiful girl named Ann Charlotte Flanders, who caught William’s eye.

Ann Charlotte Flanders was born in Pennsylvania in 1837 or late 1836. Her parents were Christian W. and Mary Ann Flanders. She was the eldest of six children. Her siblings were Mary Ann (1839), Robert W. (1841), Elizabeth (1842), John M.R. (1845), and Loisa A. (1849). (In the 1840 Census, the parents were between 20 and 30, the two eldest girls were under 5, and there was a boy 10–15 living with them—possibly a brother of one of the parents.) When the 1850 Census was taken, they were living in Jamestown, Steuben, Indiana, about four miles south of Kinderhook, Michigan. Christian Flanders appeared in 1864 tax lists living in Noble township, just west of Kinderhook.

William Orlando Munroe and Ann Charlotte Flanders were married on June 1, 1854 in Kinderhook, Branch, Michigan. She was 17 years old; he was 27.

William does not seem to have had a steady trade. The family moved around quite a bit in the next fifteen years. In 1860 William was a teamster. In 1870 he was a carpenter. We do not know all the jobs he had in all the places they lived. The following children were born to them, the first five each in a different place:
  • Anna Jane Munroe, b. 18 September 1855 in Branch County, Michigan.
  • William Lester Munroe, b. 21 April 1858 in New London, Waupaca, Wisconsin.
  • Mary Lurana Munroe, b. 17 January 1861 in Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin.
  • Charles Henry Munroe, b. 9 May 1863 in Green Bay, Brown, Wisconsin.
  • James Deyoe Munroe, b. 18 March 1865 in Bear Creek, Manistee, Michigan.
  • John David Munroe, b. 31 August 1867 in Bear Creek, Manistee, Michigan.
William’s mother died in January 1866 and six months later his brother Edmond died. His and Ann’s baby, John David, died at the age of four and a half months, on 15 January 1868 in Bear Creek. A greater disaster befell the family when Ann Charlotte Flanders Munroe died the next year on 21 July 1869 in Bear Creek. She was only 32 years old. The family was broken up by her death; probably William could not care for all of the children by himself. Thirteen-year-old Anna took over the housekeeping and the care of eleven-year-old Lester and four-year-old James, but nine-year-old Mary and seven-year-old Charles were farmed out to relatives.

The 1870 Census found Charles and Mary living with William’s brother James and his wife, Jane, and their three children who were younger than Charles and Mary. James was a preacher. Charles and Mary were reported to be 11 and 8 years old, respectively, which does not agree with the family records of their ages, but the census taker or their aunt or uncle could easily have mixed up and changed their ages. William’s family in the same census has all the ages right, but the birth places are incorrect, and Anna’s name is spelled Hannah.
William Orlando Munroe

There is a marriage record for William Munroe and a widow, Mrs. M. L. Smith, in Kinderhook, Michigan in 1873. Family records contain no corroboration that William Orlando Munroe married a second time, but it is entirely possible. She may have died not long after their marriage, which could explain why we knew nothing about this.

William’s daughter Anna Jane Munroe died just before her 21st birthday, on 26 August 1876 in Grand Haven, Ottawa, Michigan.

In 1880 William must have been missed by the census takers. Later he lived with his son Lester’s family in Arkansas. While he was with them, his 5-year-old grandson Claudy died in January 1897. William Orlando Munroe died in Little Rock at the age of 71 on 21 April 1898.


William Lester Munroe and Mary Jane Whittenton Johnson Munroe

William Lester Munroe
William Lester Munroe was the second child and first son of William Orlando Munroe and Ann Charlotte Flanders Munroe. He always went by the name “Lester.” He was born 21 April 1858 at New London, Waupaca County, Wisconsin. His sister Anna was 2½ when he was born. The family moved to Oshkosh in Winnebago County, and there his sister Mary Lurana was born when Lester was almost 3. They moved again, to Green Bay in Brown County, and there his brother Charles Henry was born when Lester was 5. The family moved again, to Bear Creek in Manistee County. There, when Lester was almost 7, his brother James Deyoe was born. They were still living in Bear Creek when Lester’s youngest brother, John David, was born at the end of August 1867, when Lester was 9.

Lester’s family endured a loss the next winter when his baby brother, John David, died. A year and a half later their mother, Ann Charlotte Flanders Munroe, died on 21 July 1869, and the family suffered severely. Lester’s father could not take care of all the children, so the two middle children, Mary and Charles, went to live with their uncle and aunt James and Jane Munroe. They would never be all together again. Anna took over the household duties, and Lester helped as much as he could. They had the care of their little brother, James, while their father worked.

Lester’s father remarried, to a widow named M.L. Smith in 1873. Sadly, Lester’s sister Anna died only a month away from her twenty-first birthday in 1876.

Later in life Lester swore he would never allow his own family to be broken up the way his father had had to do. His sister Mary became close to Lester and James later on, but Charles did not.

Lester moved to Arkansas in search of work, and there when he was 26, he met and married a widow, Mrs. Mary Jane Johnson, who had two children (though one of them had probably died by this time). Despite her coming from a staunch Southern family that had sympathized with and fought for the Confederate Cause in the Civil War, and despite Lester’s being not only a Northerner but practically a carpetbagger to boot, he seems to have overcome their prejudices for a time.

Mary Jane Whittenton (sometimes spelled Whittington) was born in 1857 in Jackson, Madison County, Tennessee to Solomon and Mary Whittenton. Her father had died in 1874, almost a decade before she met Lester, as had her older brother, William, and younger sister, Jos Lane. Her living siblings were Valerie Jane (1851–1936), Mary Ann (1855–1885), and Frances Elizabeth (1856–1910). Her younger brothers were Thomas Jabe (1861–1910), and Bedford Forrest (1864–1887). Within a few years her sister Mary Ann and brother Bedford Forrest died also.

Mary Jane had married Barney S. Johnson on May 2, 1876 in Jackson, Madison, Tennessee. They had moved to Bald Knob, White, Arkansas and had the following children:
  • Emma, born in 1877, probably died before 1884
  • Annie Sophronia, also known as Annie Frona, born in October 1879
Barney was killed in an accident in the summer or fall of 1880. Emma must have died sometime in the next few years, because after Lester Munroe married Mary Jane, no records of any child except Annie Frona turned up. Annie Frona reported her birth year as 1880 a lot of the time, but since she was a 6-month-old baby on the 1880 census, she had to have been born in 1879. Mary Jane’s younger daughters said that she and Barney also had a son named either Eugene or Sam, but no records have ever been found about him. If he existed, he must have been born the autumn after his father’s death and died soon afterward, but it is more likely that he never existed; instead, his existence was likely a mistake for the actual child, Emma, who died very young.

Lester and Mary Jane were married June 1, 1884 in White County, Arkansas. He worked at whatever odd jobs he could get, and the family was very poor. They lived in rural White County—or at least his wife lived there and he traveled around working and sending whatever money he could make home to her. Their first child was born there:
  • John William, 8 May 1885
Six months later in an effort to get a steady income, he enlisted in the Army at St. Louis, on 12 November 1885. His enlistment papers say his occupation was that of a painter. Apparently he couldn’t stick the army and deserted on March 16, 1886 somewhere in Ohio. He went home to White County where soon the twins were born:
  • Flora, 14 June 1886
  • Florence, 14 June 1886
After the birth of the twins, the family went to Jackson, Madison, Tennessee, where Mary Jane’s mother and siblings lived. There the two little babies died, Flora on October 28, and Florence on November 10. Mary Jane’s mother also died, December 20, 1886, about a month after Florence. The deaths of their children and Mary Jane’s mother must have been a terrible blow to Lester and Mary Jane. They moved back to Arkansas and lived for a time in Newton County. There the following children were born:
  • Agnes Telitha, 29 February 1888
  • Allie May, 11 May 1889
  • Claude Solomon, 19 April 1891
  • Lillie Belle, 13 September 1892
In early 1893 the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma sold to the United States government a strip of land along the northern border of Oklahoma, and the U.S. government opened it up to white settlers in September 1893. Over 100,000 prospective settlers raced to claim plots of land, the Munroes among them. They lived at Newkirk, Kay, Oklahoma for some months, and there their second-to-the-last daughter was born:
  • Jessie Jane, 28 May 1894
But whatever they tried in Oklahoma did not work out and they moved back to Arkansas, this time living in the city of Little Rock. It was there that Lester’s father, William Orlando Munroe, came to live with them. And it was there that their last child was born on Christmas day:
  • Medora A, 25 December 1895
Lester and Mary Jane must have been sorely grieved when their son Claudy died at the age of five on 26 January 1897. A little over a year later Lester’s father, William Orlando Munroe, died at the age of 71.

Mary Jane’s sister was married to a photographer who had a studio just east of Little Rock in Saline, Lonoke County. They took their little girls over there and had a picture done of them. Clockwise from the top left they are: Allie May, Lillie Belle, Jessie Jane, Medora, and Agnes Telitha.

The family was still very poor, and when anybody got sick they did not have the money to call a doctor. This proved to be a disaster when Mary Jane got sick in the winter of 1899. She died at the age of about 42 on March 3, 1899, leaving Lester to try to keep the family together. The family consisted of his stepdaughter Annie, who was about 19, and his children John (14), Agnes (12), May (10), Lillie (6), Jessie (5), and Dora (3).

John had suffered blindness as a result of untreated conjunctivitis and was enrolled as a charity case at the Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock. He was listed as a pupil there on the 1900 Census, taken in May when he had just turned 15. He recovered his eyesight in time. Lester kept the children as well as he could as he traveled around looking for work. Perhaps Mary Jane’s sister over in Lonoke County took the girls in from time to time. Mary Jane’s daughter Annie also probably took care of her little sisters, at least some of the time. The 1900 Census showed Annie was boarding with a family and working as a servant. She married Clint Cusick in June 1902. Annie, and later her children, always stayed in touch with her half-brother and sisters.

Meanwhile, Lester was having less and less luck at finding and keeping jobs. He had had some good jobs now and then. At one time he was a finishing carpenter for the Iron Mountain Railway coaches. But that hadn’t lasted. Perhaps after his wife was dead, his Southern neighbors were far less likely to cut him any slack and resented him for living among them and taking jobs from Southerners like themselves. Perhaps also Lester’s in-laws were angry at his poverty and inability to provide a good enough living to keep Mary Jane alive and well, let alone provide a decent living for his children. Whatever the problems, in about 1903 when Lester heard about the Bureau of Reclamation’s scheme to build a series of dams on the Boise River (the Boise Reclamation Project), he packed up and moved his children on the train to Idaho.

Whenever he could, Lester found the means to have portraits done of his family. This portrait of him surrounded by his children must have been taken soon after the move to the West. Clockwise from the top they are: John William, Allie May, Lillie Belle, Medora, Jessie Jane, and Agnes Telitha.

In Idaho the children began to give Lester trouble, if they hadn’t already been doing so. Agnes was running around with boys and eloped just before Christmas 1904, when she was 16 years old, with a young man named Bill Allen. May and Lillie hatched a scheme to make some money by coating pennies with mercury and getting their little sisters Jessie and Dora (or Dodie as she was called) to pass them off as dimes in the drug store.

The job on the Boise Reclamation project did not last as long as Lester expected, and he packed up the family once more, loading all their goods into a spring wagon pulled by two horses, and riding their best horse, set off for the Oregon coast. Near the town of Vale, just over the Oregon border, they were going to camp for the night, and Lester, having found that they needed more supplies, rode back to the town. He left strict instructions for John and May to hobble the horses and keep a close watch on things until he returned. But the instant he was out of sight, John and May took the hobbles off the horses and had a grand time riding them around while Lille sat in their tent with Jessie and Dodie and told them stories to keep them entertained. When John and May came in, they didn’t think anything more about their father’s instructions. But when Lester returned in the morning, the two horses were gone. Either John and May had not hobbled them correctly, or they had been stolen. No matter that John was over 20 and May was a dignified 16 herself, the two got a whipping from their irate father.

They had to walk all the way across Oregon, for the one horse could not pull a loaded wagon with anybody riding in it. Many years later Dodie still complained about having to walk through the snows of MacKenzie Pass. It is not unreasonable to assume that everybody had to strap on whatever they could carry in makeshift backpacks. They arrived in Marshfield (now called Coos Bay) at the end of 1905 and there rented a small place for the girls to live while Lester and John went out to find work.

In about a year they moved up to Portland, taking a ship from Coos Bay. At the mouth of the Columbia River, the ship was towed across the dangerous part and into the port. They arrived in Portland in 1907, after the great Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition was over. Lester had not wanted to be there with the crowds attracted by a World’s Fair. Agnes came with her husband Bill in tow, and he went out to work with Lester and John. Sometimes they would get jobs that kept them away from home for several weeks at a time. For a time, John and Bill rode the rails around the west as they worked, while Lester worked up and down the Pacific Coast. One time outside Denver John fell from the car and got all banged up. The Salvation Army picked him up and bandaged him and sent him on his way. He always had a somewhat crippled hand after that.

One reason Lester had wanted to move to Oregon was that his brother James and sister Mary had both moved there with their spouses. Mary had been in the South, actually in Little Rock, and when she and her husband moved away, she had kept writing to Lester and inviting him to join them. Lester felt drawn to be near his own family members. This picture of him with Mary and their brother James was taken in the 1920s.

The girls began working as soon as they could, and except for Agnes, they married as soon as they were 18. This photograph was taken of Lester with his daughters and their children in autumn 1917.

At left is Agnes, holding her daughter Mildred Nelson. Her daughter Mary Agnes Allen is standing beside her, and her son Edwin Nelson is holding her hand.
Back left is May, holding her son Ashley Sherman Hallett. Her daughter Pauline Rieboldt is standing in front of her, and Paul Rieboldt Jr. is standing in front of Pauline.
Seated center is Lester Munroe, holding Jessie’s son Cecil Page (left) and Lillie’s son Herbert Read (right).
Back center is Lillie, with her daughter Viola standing in front of her. Her son Carl would be born in early November 1917.
Back right is Jessie holding her daughter Thelma Page. Her son Francis Page is standing in front of her.
Seated right is Dodie holding her first son, Alfred Raymond Copeland, born in August 1917.

Lester built a house in Portland, and sometime after he sold it, he bought a small farm in McMinnville and lived there until the 1930s. In McMinnville all the Munroe children and their families would get together for huge Fourth of July picnics that lasted several days. The men would bring out trestles and set boards on them for long tables, and the women would cook and cook and cook. After Lester sold his farm to his daughter Lillie and her husband, he moved to San Diego to live the rest of his life with his daughter May.

John William Munroe married Margaret Cochrane, a Scottish immigrant, about 1920. Their daughter, Barbara, was born the next year. Margaret died in the early 1950s of cancer. John married again, but the marriage was something of a disaster and was very short. John died April 29, 1960 just short of his 75th birthday.

After Agnes eloped with William Henry Allen at Christmas 1904, the rest of the family moved to Oregon. Agnes and Bill followed soon after. Their daughter Mary Agnes was born in 1907 (Agnes had two other children with Bill, but they died as infants and nothing is known about them). They were divorced, and by 1914 she had married Ame Nelson. They had two children, Edwin (1915) and Mildred (1916). In 1923, Agnes married Ed Clow. Their two children were Naomi (1924) and Eugene (1926). Curiously, Agnes appears in the 1910 Census without her daughter, who cannot be found in any relative’s household. This is the census where Agnes reports that she has borne three children but only one is living. Then she has three children (Mary, Ed, and Mildred) with her in the 1920 Census when she was married to Ame Nelson. But in 1930 when she should have had at least the 4- and 6-year-olds if not also the 14- and 15-year olds, she is living with her husband Ed Clow and a servant woman who has a son. Her children do not appear in any other household in this census. It is very odd. In the 1940 Census she has her two Clow children living with her and her husband. Since her daughter Mary Agnes disappears from all official records and since nobody in the family ever seemed to talk about her, we think she must have died after her sole appearance in official records on the 1920 Census. Agnes grew more conservative in her behavior as she aged. She died December 12, 1967 at age 79.

Allie May Munroe married Paul Rudolph Rieboldt in October 1907 and had a daughter, Pauline May (1909), and then a son, Paul Jr (1912), and then Paul Sr. died in June 1912. May married Bud Hallett in March 1914 and they had a son, Ashley (1916). Bud died in Yokohama, Japan, in April 1918, probably a victim of the Spanish Influenza pandemic. May married third Owen Alderson Cade in December 1920. They had two children, Minnie Lee Love Cade (1924), and Owen Lester Cade (1926). They lived in the vicinity of San Diego, California, for the rest of their lives. May had her father, Lester Munroe, living with them when Lester died in June 1938 at the age of 80. May died December 26, 1975 in San Diego, aged 76.

Lillie married Lloyd Alvero Read in October 1910 and had Viola (1912), Earl (1914), Herbert (1915), Carl (1917), Loretta (1919), Charlotte (1921), Clarence (1925), Alice (1927), and Marjorie (1930). Earl lived for less than a month. After Marjorie left home, they adopted Barbara in 1952. They lived in a number of places around Oregon all of their very long lives. Lillie died March 16, 1992, age 99½.

Jessie Jane Munroe married Frank A. Page in 1912. They had Cecil (1913), Francis (1915), Thelma (1916), Hazel (1918), Thomas (1920), and Beatrice (1922). Jessie married a second time to a Mr. Putnam. Jessie’s second marriage didn’t last, and by 1940 Jessie had married George Downing, who had several children of his own. Either Mr. Putnam or George Downing had a daughter named Edith who ended up marrying Dodie’s son Clyde Copeland. Jessie informally took in two babies to rear, Mary and Barbara, in the mid-1940s. She separated from George, but they remained married although Jessie lived in California and George in Washington. Jessie’s health was not very good, and she died relatively young, at the age of 57 on September 26, 1951. Little Mary was sent back to her mother, and little Barbara was formally adopted by Jessie’s sister Lillie.

Medora “Dodie” Munroe married Fred Raymond Copeland in 1916. They had Alfred (1917) in Washington, and Clyde (1919), Iva (1921), and Jack (1923) in Oregon. Eventually Dodie and Ray made their home in Stockton, California. Dodie lived to be 100 years old, dying February 9, 1996.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What Happened to Solomon and Mary Whittenton’s Children?

Of the eight children of Solomon and Mary Whittenton, only four lived long enough to marry and have children of their own:

  • Valerie Jane married James Hart and had four children. 
  • Mary Jane married first Barney Johnson and had two daughters and a son. After Barney’s death, she married William Lester Munroe and had nine more children. 
  • Frances Elizabeth married George Darling Pond and had five children, only one of whom lived to adulthood. 
  • Thomas Jabe married a younger sister of George D. Pond, Narcissus Jane Pond, and they had eight children. 
[To see the post about Solomon and Mary and their family, click here.]

Valerie Jane Whittenton Hart

Valerie Jane Whittenton was born in March probably in 1851 on her father’s farm in District 17 of Madison County, Tennessee. She probably did not get much schooling and was never very accurate about her true age, tending to say she was older than she probably really was.

When she was a girl of about 10, the Civil War started. How it affected her in particular we do not know, but her father’s farm was reduced during the war to about half its original size. Probably Valerie, as the eldest, was responsible early in life for looking after her seven younger siblings and helping her mother with all the work around the house and garden. They made butter and cheese and other milk products from their milk cows, and perhaps Valerie learned early to do the milking and other chores.

While Valerie was growing up, her next sibling, William, died, and also her youngest sister, Jos Laney. Their father died in 1874 when Valerie would have been about 23 years old. She must have been helping her mother after that, but on May 15, 1879 she married James M. Hart in Madison County and moved away to Henderson County, next door to Madison County. She was probably 27 or 28 years old.

James M. Hart was a farmer born in Tennessee to North Carolina-born parents. His birthday was in August 1850, so he was probably just a little older than Valerie, although in various censuses she described herself as older than he was. They had five children:
  • William Solomon Hart, born September 18, 1880
  • Mary Ann Hart, born October 1881
  • Martha Elizabeth Hart, born April 1884
  • Elzie L Hart, a son, born September 1887
  • Nancy Catherine Hart, born April 1895 
The family does not appear on the 1880 Census; probably they lived in an area that was missed by the census taker. But in 1900 they were recorded on their farm in District 6 of Henderson County, and the census report shows that Valerie had borne five children and all five were then living. However, that decade was deadly for this family.

By the time the 1910 Census was taken, Valerie’s husband, James, and children Mary Ann and Elzie were dead. In addition, daughter Martha’s husband died right before the census was taken in 1910 and she was left with four little children, and right after the same census, William’s wife died and he was left with three children.

William Solomon (who went by the name Bill) had been the first of the children to marry. He married a woman named Nora on May 17, 1901 in Henderson County, Tennessee. They had three daughters: Eula Mae (1902–1973), Essie Pearl (1905–1996), and Edna Daisy (1908–1988). Unfortunately for Bill and the girls, Nora died in late 1910.

Meanwhile, Bill’s sister Martha had married a man surnamed Williams and had borne a daughter and two sons: Lula (1904), Sam (1906), and Robert (1907). When the census was taken in April 1910, she was a widow, and her son Clyde was born just after that, so probably her husband had died just a few months before the census, but no records have come to light to say exactly who he was. There were plenty of Williams families living in the same area. It is a bit difficult to find the right family, because a black woman named Martha Hart married a black man named Allen Williams around the same time. There is a record of a Martha Hart in Henderson County marrying a man named D.A. Williams on July 12, 1903 that could be our family, but it could instead be the black family. If more records come to light, we might be able to figure out what our Martha’s husband’s name was.

Meanwhile, Bill married Susan Ella Petty on September 22, 1912. They had four children together: Felix Ray Hart (1912–1992), Joe Hart (1915–1920), Mary Sue Hart (1917–2000), and Rachel Elizabeth Hart (1925–1999). From the evidence of his first three daughters naming some of their children after their stepmother, Susie must have been good to Bill’s little girls.

The youngest of Valerie’s children, Nancy Catherine Hart, went by the name Nancy when she was young but changed to Cathy as she grew older. She was living with her mother when the 1910 census found them next door to Martha and her children. At that time Cathy was 15 years old. She married James M. Pollard on December 23, 1914 when she was 19 years old. He was a farm laborer who never owned his own farm. They may have had three children; if so, all three died between 1920 and 1930. James died July 23, 1932. Cathy went back to living with her sister Martha and their mother, Valerie.

In 1935 Valerie and her two daughters were all living with Martha’s son Clyde Williams and his family. Valerie Whittenton Hart died suddenly on April 27, 1936. She was 87 years old.

Bill died August 30, 1963 about two weeks away from his 83rd birthday. We don’t know when Martha died. Cathy died in January 1971 at the age of 75.

Frances Elizabeth Whittenton Pond

Frances Elizabeth Whittenton was born on her father’s farm in District 17 of Madison County, Tennessee in May 1855. She was named after her paternal grandmother, Frances (Maynard) Whittington, and perhaps also after her paternal aunts-by-marriage: her uncles Gibson and George were both married to women named Elizabeth.

Frances’ older siblings were Valerie (age 4), William (age 2), and MaryAnn (age 1). When she was 3, her sister Mary Jane was born, and when Frances was 5, her sister Jos Laney came along. Frances was 6 when her brother Thomas Jabe arrived, and she was 9 when the last brother, Bedford Forrest, was born. The Civil War had been raging during that time, and Frances would have been aware that her uncle Quince Whittenton was fighting under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

The family did not suffer as many bereavements due to the war as some families did, for Quince came home safely, as did uncle Cason Coley down in Texas. She may have heard, though, that her cousin James Whitenton, uncle Weston’s son down in Texas, had died in a battle in Louisiana, and her cousin John Peebles Whittington, uncle Richard’s son back in North Carolina, had also lost his life during the war.

During that decade Frances’ older brother, William, and her younger sister Jos Laney both died, but we don’t know exactly when. After the war was over, the family was not as wealthy as they had been, but they didn’t want for much either, except from the effects of the sad accidents or illnesses that took their siblings from them.

When Frances was 19, her father died in the fall of 1874. She and her mother and siblings kept their farm going for a number of years after that. Frances apparently went out to work, for she was not living at home with her mother and siblings when the 1880 census was taken. She met George Darling Pond, a native of Tennessee who was about 8 years younger than she, being born in March 1863. They were married October 16, 1886 in Madison County. Sadly for Frances, her mother died in December 1886, right after Frances’ marriage.

Frances and George had five children, but four of them are unknown, for they had died before 1900. George may have initially been a farm worker, but the budding photography industry was booming, and by 1900 he was a photographer with his own studio in Saline, Lonoke County, Arkansas. George took photographs of Frances’ sister Mary Jane’s family in Arkansas.

When the 1900 Census was taken, only their son Luther was living. Luther was born August 15, 1887 in Jackson, Tennessee, so he was probably their eldest child. George died in Lonoke County, Arkansas, in 1903, and Frances died there in early 1910.

Luther was working in 1910 as a bottler in a factory in Gum Woods, Lonoke County when the next census was taken. He was boarding there with the Joe J. Warren family. Later that summer, he married Miss Ethel Adams on August 17, 1910 in Lonoke County. They did not have any children. By the time Luther had to register for the draft during World War I, he was working as a night supervisor at the Pine Bluff Cotton Oil Company. His draft card described him as 5'11" tall, slender with brown eyes and hair, and a crippled right hand. Luther died in the world-wide influenza epidemic on October 13, 1918 in Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas.

Mary Jane Whittenton Johnson Munroe

Mary Jane Munro, about 1898
Mary Jane was born on her parents’ farm near Jackson, Madison County, Tennessee, sometime in 1857. We do not know the month of her birth, and in fact, we know very few actual facts about her, which is ironic since she is our great-grandmother and yet we know a lot more about her siblings, nieces and nephews, even her cousins, than about her. She was the fifth child of Solomon Yancy Whittenton and Mary A. Hogins Whittenton. She had three older sisters and one older brother, one younger sister and two younger brothers.

She was four years old when the Civil War started and about eight when it ended. She probably saw soldiers marching along the roads near the farm, and if the family went into Jackson, she certainly saw them there. She would have known that her uncles Quince and Cason Coley fought in the war, and maybe she was told her cousins John Peebles Whittington and James William Whittenton had died during their service in the War. She would have known the South lost the War, and she may or may not have cared about that. Her father may have been bitter about losing half his farm during that time, for the family became poorer as a result, or perhaps Solomon was a philosophical man with a cheerful disposition in the face of adversity.

Mary Jane grew up on the farm and probably learned a lot about the chores of that kind of life. She would have helped with the family production of butter, which they made from the milk of their three cows and sold around the neighborhood or even in Jackson. They had a lot of hogs too, so perhaps she learned to take care of them, being careful not to fall inside their pen as she fed them over the fence. Her mother would have needed help in the house too, with ten in the family and sometimes a worker living in as well. There would have been the food to prepare and cook, the dishes to wash, floors to scrub, and clothes to wash, hang, and iron using a flat iron heated in the fire or on the stove. The mending and sewing would have seemed never-ending. She might even have learned to help plant, hoe, and harvest cotton, and to chop wood and milk the cows, for her older brother, William, surely could not have done everything, and the other boys were little. Perhaps before the war her father might have hired slaves from neighbors to help with the harder work, but during the war things got a lot harder and hiring workers became a lot more expensive.

Then William and the youngest sister, Jos Laney, died sometime before 1874. These deaths must have been hard for her and the rest of her family, but it was surely far worse when her father died in the fall of 1874. Mary Jane was 17; her older sisters Valerie, Mary Ann, and Frances were 23, 20, and 19; her brothers Jabe and Bedford were 13 and 10. The older sisters and their mother shouldered all the burdens of the farm and kept it going. Valerie and Frances went out to work, probably sending money home to help their mother.

A little over a year later, on May 2, 1876, Mary Jane married a neighbor boy, Barney S. Johnson. Barney was a farmer, 22 years old. The Johnsons had been farming land in Madison County for decades, and Barney probably was kin to one of their families, if he wasn’t actually a neighbor already. Looking for better opportunities, they moved immediately to White County, Arkansas. There Mary Jane and Barney had two daughters:
  • Emma, born in 1877
  • Annie Sophronia, born in October 1879 
In June 1880 when the census was taken, Mary Jane and Barney and their two little girls were living in Bald Knob Township, White County, Arkansas. Sadly for Mary Jane, Barney died in September 1880, and Mary Jane bore their only son after Barney had died. James Samuel Johnson was born January 14, 1881. Their daughter Emma must have died soon after that.

The next we know of Mary Jane, she was getting married again. William Lester Munroe (also spelled Munro before 1920) had moved down to Arkansas from Michigan. Lester, as he was called, had been born April 21, 1858 at New London, Waupaca County, Wisconsin, to William Orlando Munro and Ann Charlotte Flanders Munro. He had grown up in Wisconsin in a family that moved often. His younger brother and his mother died when he was around 10, and the family was broken up and the children lived with various relatives. Then his older sister died. Lester never got over the breakup of his family and looked for stability in his own. He had been working odd jobs in Wisconsin and Michigan when he moved to Arkansas to find work as a carpenter, and there he met Mary Jane.

But to Mary Jane’s neighbors and kin, Lester Munroe was little better than the carpetbaggers of 15 years before. He was unquestionably a Northerner, and he had Yankee roots in New York to boot. He was looking for opportunities, looking to make money. He was very poor and became poorer still in Arkansas. He was never highly educated. It is highly likely that he was never really accepted in the communities of Arkansas where he tried to live for twenty years.

But Mrs. Mary Jane Johnson ignored her neighbors and kinsfolk’s criticisms, and she and Lester Munro got their marriage license on May 29 and were married June 1, 1884 by a man named Ben H. Lumpkin in White County.

Lester Munro worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker, but when times were hard he did any kind of work he could find. He was never a steady worker, and the family became extremely poor. They lived in rural areas in White and Newton Counties and moved to Little Rock later. Their nine children were:
  • John William Munro, born May 8, 1885 in Bald Knob, White County, Arkansas. 
  • Flora Munro, a twin, born June 14, 1886 in White County.
  • Florence Munro, a twin, born June 14, 1886 in White County.
  • Agnes Telitha Munro, born February 29, 1888 in Newton County.
  • Allie May Munro, born May 11, 1889 in Newton County.
  • Claude S Munro, born April 19, 1891 in Newton County.
  • Lillie Belle Munro, born September 13, 1892 in Newton County.
  • Jessie Jane Munro, born May 28, 1894 in Newkirk, Kay, Oklahoma.
  • Medora A Munro, born December 25, 1895 in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas. 
The twins, Flora and Florence, did not live long. The family evidently went to Mary Jane’s mother’s farm near Jackson, Tennessee in the summer as soon as Mary Jane and the twins could travel. Mary Jane’s brother Jabe and sister Frances were both getting married. Jabe married Narcissus Jane Pond in September, and Frances married Narcissus’s older brother George in mid-October. But there must have been some sickness going around, or else the twins had been premature and failed to thrive, for Flora died October 28, 1886. Then Florence died on November 10, 1886. Finally Mary Jane’s mother died on December 20, 1886 at the age of about 61. It sort of makes it look as if the family suffered that autumn from something like whooping cough or some other contagious disease that takes the elderly and the very young. A year later the mother’s estate was settled, and we know that Mary Jane’s other sister Mary Ann and brother Bedford Forrest had died before the settlement, but we don’t know if they had died before Mary Jane was there or after. If they died around the same time as their mother and Mary Jane’s babies, it will be much more likely that something contagious took them all.

Mary Jane and Lester moved their family back to Arkansas, settling this time in Newton County. They lived there for about five years, and then they tried something new. In 1893 the Cherokee nation sold land along the top border of Oklahoma to the U.S. Government, and on September 16, 1893 the land was opened to white settlers, first come, first served. Over 100,000 people, including Mary Jane and Lester, raced to claim plots of land. The Munros chose land near Newkirk, Kay County, Oklahoma, where their eighth child was born. But whatever they tried there did not work out, and they went back to Arkansas within a year. About this time Mary Jane’s son Sam ran away to Georgia.

Munro Sisters, about 1898
Over in Lonoke (just east of Little Rock) lived Mary Jane’s sister Frances and George Pond. George was a photographer, and he took photographs of Mary Jane and her family. Since the Munros did not have much money, it may be that the photographs were taken as advertisements for George’s photography studio or simply as family charity. This photograph of the Munro daughters was taken by their uncle George D. Pond. Clockwise from the upper left they are: May, Lillie, Jessie, Dora, and Agnes.

Uncle George’s son, their cousin Luther, was a favorite with his little cousin Lillie. She never understood why he did not stay in touch after she and her family moved to Oregon. She did not know he lost all his own family and died himself in the 1918 ’flu epidemic.

One memory daughter May had was that her mother, Mary Jane, was addicted to snuff. She would send the girls out into the fields in the rural area where they lived to gather a particular kind of weed twig that she used to make a snuff dipper. Snuff is smokeless tobacco, made from pulverized tobacco leaves. It can be sniffed into the nose and absorbed through the mucous membranes, giving the user a quick nicotine fix, but since Mary Jane is remembered as using a twig dipper, she probably put it inside her cheek instead of sniffing it. This type of use of tobacco does not produce lung cancer, but it can contribute to tooth loss, cancers of the mouth or throat, and other problems.

Lester’s father, William Orlando Munro, came and lived with the family around that time. He had been a carpenter and had been little more successful than his son. In his late 60s he had retired and had been living with one son and then another. But perhaps it was not a good idea to have moved to Arkansas, for death stalked the family. On January 26, 1897 little Claudy died, age five. Lillie remembered playing with her brother Claudy and remembered how she missed him when he died. A year later, grandfather William Orlando Munro died at the age of 71. Then on March 3, 1899, the disaster happened when Mary Jane herself died at the early age of about 42, leaving Lester with seven children to take care of as well as to provide for.

Mary Jane’s death certificate said she died “for want of care.” The harsh words are heartless, but they reflect the reality of the Munro family’s poverty. They could not afford to call a doctor no matter how serious the illness; the death certificate says that the doctor did not see Mary Jane during her illness at all. Certainly with her elder daughter age 19, and younger daughters ages 11 and 12 and little girls from 3 to 7, she would have had children who would have tried to wait on their sick mother, but we don’t know if the children were also sick themselves. We do know that around this time John contracted scarlet fever and was left blind to the degree that he was enrolled at the Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock. He later recovered much of his sight. All of this evidence draws a grim picture of the Munro family’s condition when their mother died.

One ironic note is that within a few years Lester left Arkansas and took all his children to Oregon. After everything he had experienced himself and had determined not to repeat in breaking up brothers and sisters, he left his stepchildren behind and moved almost as far away as he could get. The Whittenton in-laws did not keep in touch with Lester nor with any of his children. The one exception is Annie Frona Johnson, Mary Jane’s daughter, who married Clint Cusick in June 1902 and who wrote letters to her sisters in Oregon until she died in 1957.

Thomas Jabe Whittenton

Thomas Jabe Whittenton was born in September 1861, the seventh child of Solomon Yancy Whittenton and Mary A Hogins Whittenton. His elder siblings were Valerie (age 10), William (age 8), Mary Ann (age 7), Frances (age 6), Mary Jane (age 4), and JosLane (age 1). The Civil War had just started, so Jabe (as he was called) probably didn’t remember much of it, but as he grew up, he would have been warned about soldiers and told especially to stay away from the Yankee soldiers who were just a mile away holding the town of Jackson. He would also have been warned against forming any childish friendships with African American children, whom his parents called “darkies,” avoiding the more pejorative terms common among the whites of that time and place. It was a time of great social turmoil, with the white population desperate to maintain the fiction of their own superiority over the minority races.

Jabe’s brother William and sister JosLane died sometime before 1874, perhaps while he was still quite a young child. Then his father died when Jabe was just 13, leaving him as the “man of the house,” so to speak. He would have helped his mother and sisters all he could to do the farming work, but it wasn’t enough. He hired himself out to work for neighbors as much as possible, as did his younger brother, Bedford Forrest Whittenton. The 1880 Census found him living with his mother on their farm still, with siblings Mary Ann and Bedford. But within seven years his mother, sister, and brother all had died. He and his other sisters had married—Mary Jane in 1876, Valerie in 1879, and he and Frances in the fall of 1886.

That summer he and Frances were planning their weddings to siblings George D. and Narcissus Jane Pond. Their sister Mary Jane had come from Arkansas with her daughter and son and newborn twin girls, born in June. Thomas Jabe Whittenton and Narcissus Jane Pond were married on September 23, 1886, and Frances Elizabeth Whittenton and George Darling Pond were married the middle of the next month. There may have been some sickness in the air, for the twins died within two weeks of each other at the end of October and beginning of November. They were followed by the death of their grandmother Mary A. Hogins Whittenton in December. Perhaps there was some kind of contagious disease going around that will be found to also have caused the deaths of Bedford and Mary Ann at the same time.

Jabe and Narcissus set up housekeeping and had a son the next spring whom they named after Jabe’s two brothers. William Forrest Whittenton was born in Madison County, Tennessee, on May 15, 1887. He died young in 1901, age 14, and was buried in Rocky Springs Cemetery in Madison County, Tennessee.

Their second child, Ernest L Whitenton, was born in March 1890. Ernest married Cora Lee Horton in 1909. They had a son, Elmer Cosett, in 1910, and a son, Lawrence, in 1914. Soon after that they were divorced. Ernest died in the ‘flu epidemic on 13 December 1918 while serving in the U.S. Army.

Their third child, Thomas Arthur Whittington, was born March 19, 1894. He married Annie Stacy Jennings in Mississippi and they had a son, Arvie Thomas, in 1916; a daughter, Lettie Jane, in 1918; and sons Elbert E in 1920 and Roy Reese in 1928. Thomas Arthur died November 25, 1967 and was buried in Tupelo, Mississippi. His wife, Annie, died in 1968.

Their fourth child, Hubert Solomon Whittington, was born 11 June 1896. He married Daisy E. on April 29, 1916. They had a daughter, Helen, born May 27, 1917 who lived until 1994. They lived in Mississippi. Hubert died July 2, 1985, and Daisy died September 30, 1984.

The fifth child, Luther Plez Whitenton, was born April 15, 1899. He married Lula Velma Anderson and lived in Tupelo, Mississippi. He died there August 30, 1961. Lula died in 1986.

Their sixth child, Robert Whittenton, was born in 1901 in Tennessee. Nothing is known of him after he was listed on the 1920 Census living with his mother in Tupelo, Mississippi and working as a plumber.

Their seventh and eighth children were twins, Roy and Ruby, born October 13, 1903 in Mississippi. Roy lived in Shelby, Tennessee and died in May 1979. Ruby married Lawrence Mack Clark and lived in Mississippi. She died August 15, 1990.

Jabe and Narcissus Whittenton made their living farming in Madison County, Tennessee until 1901. After burying their son William, they moved to Tupelo, Mississippi, where they lived the remainder of their lives. Jabe must have suffered bad health, because at age 50 when the 1910 Census was taken, he was reported to have no occupation, and he died later that year. Meanwhile, his sons were working in the cotton mill. Nothing further is known of Narcissus Jane Pond Whittenton after the 1920 Census was taken in January, when she and her children Robert, Roy, and Ruby were living in Tupelo.

A Summary of Cousins

1. Emma Johnson, born in 1877
2. Annie Sophronia Johnson, born October 1879
3. William Solomon Hart, born September 18, 1880
4. James Samuel Johnson, born January 14, 1881
5. Mary Ann Hart, born October 1881
6. Martha Elizabeth Hart, born April 1884
7. John William Munro, born May 8, 1885
8. Flora Munro, a twin, born June 14, 1886
9. Florence Munro, a twin, born June 14, 1886
10. William Forrest Whittenton, born May 15, 1887
11. Luther Pond, born August 15, 1887
12. Elzie L Hart, a son, born September 1887
13. Agnes Telitha Munro, born February 29, 1888
14. Allie May Munro, born May 11, 1889
15. Unknown Pond #2 of Frances and George Pond, born about 1889
16. Ernest L Whitenton, born March 1890
17. Claudy S. Munro, born April 19, 1891
18. Unknown Pond #3 of Frances and George Pond, born about 1891
19. Lillie Belle Munro, born September 13, 1892
20. Thomas Arthur Whitenton, born March 19, 1894
21. Jessie Jane Munro, born May 28, 1894
22. Unknown Pond #4 of Frances and George Pond, born about 1894
23. Nancy Catherine Hart, born April 1895
24. Medora A Munro, born December 25, 1895
25. Unknown Pond #5 of Frances and George Pond, born about 1896
26. Hubert Solomon Whittington, born June 11, 1896
27. Luther Plez Whitenton, born April 15, 1899
28. Robert Whittenton, born 1901
29. Roy Whittenton, born October 13, 1903
30. Ruby Whittenton, born October 13, 1903

Note: If you would like to purchase a complete book of the Whittington series with updates, sources, and more, please send me a message.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Solomon Yancy Whittington and Mary A Hogins, an Expanded View

Solomon Yancy Whittington (his name was spelled Whittenton in later records) was born in Wake County, North Carolina on 20 July 1813, the eighth child of James and Frankie Whittington. He was named after his father’s younger brother Solomon, and Yancy was also a recurring family name. His older siblings were William, Richard, Agatha, Telitha, Gibson, Weston, and George, ranging in age from 14 to 2.

When Solomon was perhaps about 5 years old, the family gained a slave named Dolly from Solomon’s maternal grandfather’s estate. Soon his father purchased another slave, a young man who worked in the fields. Solomon grew up helping his father and older brothers with the farm work.

He appeared on the 1820 and 1830 census records living with his father’s family in Johnston County, North Carolina. By then the family had grown to include thirteen children, but the eleventh child had died young. Solomon’s father had sold the male slave and bought or otherwise acquired another female (she might have been Dolly’s daughter). All nine sons apparently worked as farmers and learned to do all the hard labor associated with farming in those days.

The family moved from North Carolina to Madison County, Tennessee, in about 1838 when Solomon was around 25 years old. He was living in Madison County near Jackson in 1840 with his father’s family when the census was taken that year.

The young man seemed to have gotten into some trouble over a young woman soon after the move, for in 1841 Solomon had to appear on a charge in civil court that he was the reputed father of the child of a woman named “Louvisey Manor” in McNairy County, which was not far south of the Whittington home in Madison County. However, the court ruled that since the woman and child in question had been continuously residing in McNairy County for the two years since its birth, the Madison County Court refused to have jurisdiction over the case and it was dismissed. Nothing more is known of whether this really was Solomon’s child, and it is further not known whether he ever paid anything to the mother.

There could be some truth to the story—probably Solomon did have some relationship with the woman at least, but he never did acknowledge the child as his and nothing more was ever heard about it, so perhaps he was not the child’s father after all, or perhaps he paid the woman a sum of money as was common in such cases, and that was the end of his relationship to both. A search of the 1850 census records has not turned up any possible matches for these people. McNairy County does not have any court records from that time period, so far as is known, and there are very few other records in McNairy County other than probate and cemeteries that go back before 1850.

Still, Solomon ceased living in the family home after that and his sister Agatha came to live with and keep house for him, bringing a 13-year-old girl with her whose last name matched Agatha’s married surname. In that census, Solomon was reported to be 32, which shaved five years off his age. He had no property reported but was a farmer, so it is likely that he was working for his father next door.

Solomon seemed to be poorer at this point than most of his brothers. Even the younger brothers had more property than Solomon. Was he the family “black sheep” for having been hauled into court over a matter that was seen as staining the family honor? Or did he have to pay a substantial sum of money for the child, and was that seen as his portion of the family inheritance?

Solomon was supposed to have married Mary A. Hogins soon after the November 1850 census report, but another mystery surrounds their early relationship. Their eldest daughter, Valerie, reported her age in later census records so that she could have been born in 1849 or 1850. Her birthday was in March. But her reported ages do not fit with the 1850 Census report—there was no Mary and/or Valerie in Solomon’s household, and there was no Valerie Hogins or Whittenton anywhere in the county or the state recorded on that census. If she were born in March 1851, then certainly her mother was pregnant when the census taker recorded Solomon’s household. Either they were there in the household in hiding, or nearby but not recorded on that census; or Mary got together with Solomon soon enough after the census for Valerie to be born in March 1852, and then being illiterate, Valerie was unable to figure out her correct age for most of her life. No marriage record has turned up for Solomon and Mary, although all of the rest of his family have marriage records from before and after that time. Perhaps Solomon and Mary got married in a neighboring county, or they simply cohabitated and declared themselves married. This all makes Solomon look more like the “black sheep” of the family.

Mary Hogins is a mystery to us. She was born in either North Carolina or Tennessee in about 1820–25. Her last name comes from Valerie’s death record, so it is the memory of a grandson trying to recall what his mother (Valerie) had told him, and who knows whether what Valerie said was an accurate reflection of what Mary had told her many years before. There are several Hogins families in 1840 living not too far away in Dickson County, northeast of Madison County, and one of them could be Mary’s family. All contain females of the right age, but we need corroborating evidence. There are two or three other Hogins or Hogan families in nearby counties with single women named Mary of the right age range to be candidates, and finally, there is a Hogan family right in Madison County in 1850, living very near Solomon’s and James’ households, with a 25-year-old single woman named Mary in it, and this could well be our Mary, but all is still guesswork at this point. More research is needed, and some luck.

The next year, on December 20, 1851, Solomon’s father gave him fifty acres of land in Madison County, Tennessee. But a month before that, his father had given his younger brother more than twice that amount of land. It was registered on August 10, 1853 (probably right after his father’s death). The inequity is interesting. And the timing is also interesting—assuming Valerie was to be born the next March, perhaps Solomon had married Mary and was “rewarded” for it. We really can’t know what the truth was.

I’m going to give Solomon and Mary the benefit of the doubt and assume they married about December 1850 when they were 37 and 30 years. They had eight children:

  • Valerie Jane Whittenton, born March 1852 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • William Whittenton, born 1853 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Mary Ann Whittenton, born 1854 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Frances Elizabeth Whittenton, born May 1855 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Mary Jane Whittenton, born 1857 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Jos Laney Whittenton, a daughter, born June 1860 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Thomas Jabe Whittenton, born September 1861 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Bedford Forrest Whittenton, born 1864 in Madison County, Tennessee.
The population schedule of the 1860 Census, taken September 6th that year, recorded that Solomon was 46 (he was really 47), Mary, was 40; Valerie was 9, William was 7, Ann was 5, Frances was 4, Mary was 3, and Jos Lane was two months old. They had one man, Alex Dixon, age 50, living with them and probably working on the farm.

Meanwhile, the 1860 agricultural schedule, taken the day before, showed that Solomon had land worth $1000. He had no slaves despite having grown up with them in his father’s family, but then, his economic situation would not have allowed him to afford buying one even if he wanted to. Solomon had 30 of his 100 acres under cultivation. He had harvested 250 bushels of Indian corn, two bales of cotton, 19 bushels of wheat, and 25 pounds of sweet potatoes. His children were too young to help and he had a lot of work put in on that farm to have that much return, so perhaps besides Alex Dixon, he hired other workers, probably slaves, from neighbors. He had a horse and 2 working oxen, 3 milk cows and 3 other cattle, and 20 pigs. They had made 150 pounds of butter; his home manufacturing was worth $40, and the value of slaughtered animals was $72. Solomon’s total worth was $1400.

The effects of the Civil War on Solomon and his family are unknown, but it is apparent that their sympathies lay with the Confederate side of the conflict, as can be seen by the name of their last son, born in 1864, who was named after the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, under whose command Solomon’s younger brother Quintillian fought in the war.

Tennessee was seen by the Union as a strategic target because of its position as the uppermost Confederate state on the western side. Only in Virginia were more actual battles fought during the War; Tennessee land endured over 2,900 battles and skirmishes with over 122,000 soldiers on both sides dying in combat within the state. Tennessee was the last state to leave the Union, and it was the first to be controlled by Union troops once the war began.

Lithograph from Harper’s Weekly, Fall 1862
The Whittentons lived outside of the city of Jackson on the southeast. Jackson had early on been taken over by Union troops who stayed in the city to keep it against the Confederates. But Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest in December 1862 decided he had to stop General Ulysses S. Grant’s progress down the Mississippi River, and to do that, he took his 2100 cavalry troops across the Tennessee River just north of Jackson on his way to Memphis to destroy a Union supply depot. On the way past Jackson, some of Forrest’s troops engaged with a few Union soldiers as a sort of distraction while the rest of his force destroyed the railroad tracks both north and south of the town. Then they withdrew and went on to Memphis. That was the sum total of the Battle of Jackson, in which six lives were lost.

The other battle close to the Whittentons was that of Parker’s Crossroads, over the county border in Henderson County and a little north of Jackson, which occurred when General Nathan Bedford Forrest was returning east with 1800 troops from Memphis. Two brigades of the Union Army of about 3000 soldiers surrounded Forrest’s cavalry at Parker’s Crossroads, before they could get to the Tennessee River. General Forrest ordered his army to split in two and charge both sides at once. They succeeded in forcing the Union troops to retreat, but at a cost of 500 of their own men, while the Union brigades suffered more than 200 casualties.

One of the worst battles of the war fought in Tennessee was the Battle of Shiloh, in Hardin County southeast of Madison County. To get to Shiloh in March 1862, the Confederate army under Gen. Beauregard moved southward to the west of the Whittenton lands and took the rail lines down to Shiloh. The Union army went down the Tennessee River to the east of the Whittenton lands, and the battle raged over two days in April of that year. It was an incredibly bloody battle, with over 13,000 Union soldiers and over 10,000 Confederate soldiers killed, but it was only a precursor to the three years of ferocious fighting left in the war. It resulted in a Union victory and allowed the Union army to capture Memphis right afterward. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant continued down the Mississippi River to Vicksburg, cut the South in half, and gained control over the Mississippi River. The Confederates lost General Albert Sydney Johnston, up to that time the leading general in the entire Confederate Army, at Shiloh.
Map of 1862 Western Theater, by Hal Jespersen,

Tennessee was the site of one of the great Confederate victories, which happened in November 1864 under General Nathan Bedford Forrest, when he commanded his troops to destroy the Union naval depot at Johnsonville on the Tennessee River. Despite being a significant military coup, it was not instrumental in changing the tide of the losing battle the Confederates were waging.

All these battles within the state and with soldiers close to their own homes would have made the Whittentons very concerned about the war and its progress. Their state was under martial law and early in the war was turned over to their own Senator Andrew Johnson, who was the only Southern politician to remain in the United States Congress, and so President Lincoln appointed him the military governor of Tennessee when the Union Army gained control of its capitol.

Life was disrupted in many ways during the War. Slaves of course were set free, and although their freedom wasn’t official until the war was over, they mostly stopped working for the white masters, and the white men and women had to work in the fields as much as they could, even using little children to do adult chores to have enough food. Trade was disrupted, inflation soared, and deprivation was everywhere, even if their animals and food supplies were not seized outright by the occupying troops. There were many conflicts between the white southerners and the former slaves over how and where the newly-freed people would set up their homes, churches, and schools, and how their new labor contracts would be negotiated. All of these issues would be faced to some degree by the Whittenton family, if not during the war, then certainly during the Reconstruction period afterward. One effect of the war seems to be that Solomon came out of it poorer than he went into it, which is not at all surprising for the area, as Tennessee had been hard hit by economic problems due to the war.

Reconstruction in Tennessee was not as hard in some ways as it was in the rest of the former Confederate states, partly because Tennessee lost no time in rejoining the Union in 1866. The rest of the South was placed under federal military control. But the people of Tennessee had to struggle to learn how to work with one another, especially how to get black and white people to work together as free and equal citizens. Tennessee was the first Confederate state to give all African American men the right to vote, but the first election caused great conflict because many former Confederate white men were not allowed to vote. Many of the newly free black men voted for radical Republican measures, and nearly all the formerly Confederate white men wanted to vote for conservative Democrats. During Reconstruction, the radical Republicans won the first election and passed lots of controversial new laws, some of which were reversed when the Democrats regained power.

Early 1866, Central Tennessee
An uncomfortable fact was that the Ku Klux Klan got its start over in Pulaski, Giles County, near the middle of the southern border of the state. The Klan started as a social club for young white men, but within about a year it turned to violence against African Americans, radical Republicans, and former Union sympathizers. Separate dens spread quickly throughout Tennessee, with pockets all around Madison County being especially active. Former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was appointed the Grand Wizard of the Klan in Tennessee. Governer William Brownlow declared martial law against Klan violence, including in Madison County. Brownlow left office. In 1869 Forrest called for all Klansmen to destroy their robes and disband, believing they had fulfilled their purpose in driving away the hated Republican. It is unfortunately reasonable to suppose that the Whittentons sympathized with the views of the Klan and its leadership. Tennessee people had a difficult time accepting the social changes.

Researcher Diane Bollert with the website “Too Many Branches” found that Solomon was listed as a member of a church in Jackson, Madison, Tennessee, as of August 1869. Presumably this was the Primitive Baptist Church, but the record is not available to us. This is an interesting tidbit to add to the picture of Solomon’s character. Perhaps he felt the need for some kind of settled spiritual or religious connection. At this time he would have been 56 years old and his wife almost 50. Their daughter Valerie was 18, William (if he were still living) was 16, Mary Ann was 15, Frances was 14, Mary Jane 12, Jos Laney was about 9 (if she were living), Jabe was almost 8, and Bedford was 5. It could be that William and Jos Laney had died, and their deaths stirred up a need in the family to look to matters of eternal significance. The two children died after September 1860 and before November 1874.

In 1870 the county census taker for the agricultural schedule came to the farm and found Solomon doing well, but with only half the land he had owned ten years before. In 1870 he had only 50 acres of land, of which 25 were under cultivation yielding 250 bushels of Indian corn, and 25 were woodland. The value of his farm was $800, and Solomon had paid out $50 in wages to his workers. His livestock, worth $800, consisted of  three horses, two mules or asses, one milk cow, three other cattle, eight sheep,  and twelve pigs. Inflation had hit, and although Solomon’s farm was half what it was in 1860, it was valued at more.

Curiously, the 1870 population schedule, taken by the same assistant marshall, recorded a completely fictitious family under the name of “S. Whittington.” Perhaps he had forgotten to make notes on the family after getting all the agricultural information, and rather than return to the farm a second time, he made up the information from what he could remember.

Solomon’s death was reported 8 December 1874 to the county court as follows: “Solomon Whittenton died about November 2, 1874; left wife and six children.” He was 61 years old.

The map below shows District 17 in Madison County in 1877, with the farm of Mrs. M.A. Whitenton, Solomon’s widow, right next door to the widow of Solomon’s father, Mrs. K. Whitenton. Rocky Springs to the immediate southwest was where many of the Whittentons were buried. Mrs. B. Whitenton to the northeast was probably Solomon’s brother George’s widow, Martha Elizabeth, whose nickname perhaps was Betsy.

Mary and her children were recorded in the 1880 Census on June 7th. She said she had been born in North Carolina and was 54 years old, although she was probably older. The box for being unable to write is checked, so probably she had very little schooling and was not able to be accurate with dates and ages. Her daughter “M.A.” (Mary Ann) was with her and was recorded as 23 years old, but she was actually about 26. Her sons Thomas J and Bedford F were also there, working as laborers. They were reported to be 19 and 16 years old, respectively, although Thomas Jabe did not actually turn 19 for another three months. Mary died 20 December 1886, at the age of about 65. Her children Mary Ann and Bedford Forrest died between 1880 and November 1887. 

Only four of the children of Solomon and Mary grew up to marry and have children of their own:

  • Valerie Jane married James Hart and had four children.
  • Mary Jane married first Barney Johnson and had two daughters. After Barney’s death, she married William Lester Munro and had nine more children.
  • Frances Elizabeth married George Darling Pond and had five children, only one of whom lived to adulthood.
  • Thomas Jabe married a younger sister of George D. Pond, Narcissus Jane Pond, and they had eight children.
 Next installment: What Happened to Solomon’s and Mary’s Children?

Note: If you would like to purchase a complete book of the Whittington series with updates, sources, and more, please send me a message.