Thursday, April 30, 2015

Chapter 3: Remember Ann and Mildred Sears?

Did you look all the way to the bottom of the table at the end of last week's post ("No Marriage License was Required," 24 April 2015)?  Did you wonder about Ann B. and Mildred Sears? They will become critical evidence for placing James C. Fawkner in a birth family.

As you may recall, the James and Julia Falkner/Faulkner family was enumerated in Boone County, Missouri, in 1870, and in Coles County, Illinois, in 1880. Family lore rumored James to have been an Illinois volunteer in the Civil War. Censuses pointed to a birth about 1829 in Kentucky. Where was he for the 30 years before he married in 1862?

Boone County searches for him in the 1860 U.S. Census failed. By now, his surname had appeared  three different ways. A James Fawkner/Falkner/Falker would be difficult to find elsewhere without some clue to his location. A Soundex search for a James Faulkner born about 1829 in Kentucky yielded three hits.  One, in Pettis County, Missouri, could be easily dismissed because this James Faulkner family appeared intact in Saline County, Missouri, in 1870. A second seemed unlikely, but could not be immediately dismissed. In Saline County, Missouri, was James Faulkner, 32, and a possible wife, Malinda, 22. Plausibly, if the couple separated or Malinda died, this could be the James who married Julia Ann in Boone County in 1862 or 1863. This couple was not found in 1870, so necessarily remained a candidate. Another James Faulkner, 31, appeared as a farmhand in the John Hand household in Pendleton County, Kentucky. Possibly our man, but he might have been the 21 year-old James Faulkner in the Daves household in Henderson County, Kentucky, in 1850.

I now extended the search to 1850. A 50-state index search produced a James C. Faulkner, age 31 and born in Kentucky, living in Hendricks County, Indiana. His age, birthplace, and middle initial were spot-on. The best clue, however, came from the family living next door. In the William Sears household was a possible step-son, Cyrus Faulkner, age 13. Apparent siblings John and George were also at home. William Sears apparent wife (the 1850 census did not report family relationships) was Ann B. Sears, 42. If next-door neighbor James C. Faulkner was our man, it appeared he had named his son after a possible brother Cyrus.

This brings us back to Ann and Mildred Sears who were present in the "Falker" family in Missouri in 1870. The 1860 Hendricks County census listed Ann B. Sears (head of household) and an apparent daughter, Mildred E, 10. Although the relationships were not yet completely clear, it was obvious that the 1850 Indiana James Faulkner was the James Falkner in Missouri in 1870. Ann and Mildred were visiting, likely in anticipation of Elizabeth Ann Fawkner's 25 July birth.

Two new questions now arose:

  • Who were the parents of James C. Fawkner?
  • What was the relationship between James C. Fawkner and George, Cyrus and John next door?
The answers to these questions will emerge as we go along. Once they are answered, we will be able to follow the Fawkner family along many paths, some touching, some tragic, and some just plain interesting.

LESSON: Pay attention to every person in a census household, as well as immediate neighbors.

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