Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mistakes were Made

Genealogy is like detective work.  You search for clues, ask lots of questions, study the evidence at hand, and then draw your conclusions from them.  A good genealogist will document everything they find, record sources, and carefully present their information.  I didn't start out as a good genealogist.  In my defense, I was just a kid and didn't always appreciate the importance of what I was doing.  I didn't always pay attention to details.  I didn't always record my sources.  I didn't always have evidence before I drew conclusions.

For example, the first time I ever had opportunity to look at actual records--well, microfilmed copies of the originals anyway--I had no clue what I was doing.  I got my machine, found an index, looked up an entry, found the appropriate roll of microfilm, threaded it through the viewer, fed it into an empty spool, and scrolled to the right page number.  And there they were--my great-great-great-great grandparents, Washington and Elizabeth Stafford, recorded at the top of the page with the first list of their children that I had ever seen.  I was beyond excited!

That same day, I randomly scrolled through the census list and stumbled upon the household of Louis and Elizabeth Hartman, whose daughter Katherine would grow up and marry Washington's oldest son James, thereby becoming my great-great-great grandparents.  That too was a thrill, considering that my great-grandfather Louis Jackson Stafford had once told me he was named for his grandfather.  The name Jackson we knew was his mother's maiden name, but to find out that Louis had been passed down as well was a minor triumph for me.

Not knowing anything, really, about the census and how to interpret its data, I still managed to follow Washington backward through the census, from Livingston County, Illinois, in 1870 & 1860, to Coshocton County, Ohio, in 1850.  There he was residing very near a Stafford I had never heard of--Francis A. Stafford.  I recorded the information and kept on going.  I knew Washington Stafford had come to Ohio from Hampshire County, Virginia, because his son James had given that as his place of birth when he enlisted in the Union Army.  So I looked to Hampshire County, there finding the name Joseph Stafford in the 1810 (along with Richard A. Stafford), 1820 (along with Westley Stafford), 1830, 1840, and 1850 censuses.  The latter included several of his children, but of course Washington was not recorded in that household being married and gone.  I guessed that Joseph Stafford was likely the father of Washington Stafford.  Only years later did I find enough evidence to prove it.

Then I made my big mistake.  I looked at the indices for Virginia censuses and found that there were several Joseph Staffords recorded in the early censuses for Norfolk County, and I made an imaginative leap from Hampshire County to Norfolk and began telling the relatives that I had traced us back to colonial Virginia and a line of several Josephs.  I don't mind confessing my own embarrassment when I sat at the table with one of the relatives, looking over material I had sent her, and realizing I had stated as fact things that were not only untrue, but I had done so without any documentation whatsoever.  Fortunately for me, that was before the days of internet genealogy and those mistakes didn't get passed along the world wide web.

Guessing, in genealogy is a dangerous business.  Sometimes it is a necessary evil, when facts lend their service to the imagination.  But making great leaps without support can create a genealogical quagmire from which you may never escape.

Take, for instance, my guesswork in compiling a list of Richard Stafford's children.  In the records of Hampshire County, Virginia, and Allegany County, Maryland, I found enough evidence to give me the names of Francis A., Richard A., John F., Joseph S., Westley, Washington, and Sarah as probable siblings.  A relative of mine went to Salt Lake City to conduct research in the greatest of genealogy repositories, and found enough evidence to show that Richard and Catharine Stafford were probably their parents.  And I had in hand a biography of my previously mentioned ancestor Washington Stafford, submitted to the History of Livingston County, which claimed his father Joseph Stafford had been one of eight children.

In the Special Collections Library in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I found a genealogy for the Henshaw family, early settlers of Northern Virginia along the Potomac and neighbors of the Staffords.  It claimed that one of the Henshaw men had married Elizabeth Stafford and moved to Coshocton County, Ohio, where they died.  Francis Asbury Stafford had also married a Henshaw, Eliza by name, and moved to Coshocton County.  When I found out that Jonathan S. Henshaw had died leaving two orphaned children who were raised in separate homes--a son George in Kentucky by his uncle Adam Stephens Henshaw, and a daughter Rhua Ann Henshaw in Ohio by Francis Stafford--I concluded that Elizabeth Stafford Henshaw had also died.  I calculated her birth as about 1777, making her 18 when George Henshaw was born, and listed her as the first child of Richard and Catharine Stafford.  I collaborated with the Hinshaw Family Association, who agreed with my conclusions, and we proceeded from there.  I had 8 children for Richard and Catharine Stafford, and I was happy.

While tracing one of Richard's grandsons, William J. Stafford son of Francis, from Ohio to Missouri, I began corresponding via email with several researchers focused upon that particular branch and their activities in Osage, Moniteau, and Johnson Counties, Missouri.  One researcher noted William J. Stafford's close connection to one Dr. John Giles and his wife Amelia, also of Virginia, and speculated that Amelia may have been a relative.  Her birthyear of 1792 certainly made it a possibility.  And in all the email exchanges, I shared the speculation with a Giles descendant desperate to find their lineage.  The next thing I knew, genealogies across the world wide web were popping up with the information that Amelia Stafford Giles was one of Richard's children.  Someone else had made a rookie genealogy mistake, the same kind I had made before, the same kind we've all made before.  Only now it was out there for everyone to see and reproduce at will without any kind of control.  Now I had 9 children for Richard and Catharine Stafford, but since Washington had apparently died as a child, I justified that there were still really only 8.

Then I found the tax rolls for Hampshire County, and discovered a James Stafford who paid taxes there for several years at the same time Richard, Catharine, and others of their sons were paying taxes.  It could only be assumed that James was also a child of Richard and Catharine, and now I had 10 children for Richard and Catharine.  Perhaps Washington Stafford had been wrong about how many siblings his father had.  After all, he had been wrong about other things in his biography.

During a five-week stay in West Virginia and Maryland, I managed to find original documentation regarding the family of Richard and Catharine Stafford.  First I saw her handwritten will, signed by her mark, and witnessed by her sons John & Joseph.  Second, I found the microfilm (poorly preserved) of Richard Stafford's estate, which showed another previously unknown Stafford, William by name, who could only be a son.  And now I had 11 children on my list for Richard and Catharine.

One day while on a drive through the area, I happened to stop at the library in Winchester, Virginia.  When a kind librarian asked me what I was looking for, I told her, and watched as she quickly pulled several volumes from the shelf, and then proceeded to find a document in their computer index of a Chancery Court lawsuit filed by Joseph S. Stafford against the other heirs of Richard and Catharine Stafford.  She brought out the microfilm, and in those documents I found what I had been hoping for--a list of the Stafford children.  In two sworn statements, Joseph Stafford listed his siblings in order of their birth--William, Francis, Richard, John, James, and Sally, with living brother Wesley and deceased brother Washington mentioned elsewhere.  I actually cried at the discovery, tears of joy to be assured.  I was completely overwhelmed by the find!

But now I had documented proof.  I had a list of Richard and Catharine's children, 8 plus the deceased Washington.  Elizabeth and Amelia were not on that list.

Finally, in 2011, I found information presented online--full names and birthdates of Richard and Catharine's children--that I had never seen in any source.  It was also the first time I encountered another researcher who had anything close to a list of names for those siblings.  Again, Elizabeth and Amelia were not listed.  After a quick exchange of emails with the submitter of that information, I was overjoyed to find a distant relative through whose line of descent the Family Bible of Richard and Catharine Stafford had been preserved.  She sent me scans of the Family Record pages, and later I had the privilege of visiting them personally and taking pictures of the pages myself.  The Family Bible records absolutely confirm that Richard and Catharine raised a family of 8 children--William Josephus, Francis Asbury, Richard Adams, John Fletcher, James Bruce, Joseph Stone, Wesley, & Sarah--with two additional children--Washington and Mary--who both died young.

So what about Elizabeth and Amelia?

In corresponding with descendants of Francis Asbury Stafford, we unraveled the mystery using information from his own Family Bible.  The Elizabeth Stafford referred to in the Henshaw genealogies was actually Eliza Mounts, second wife of Jonathan Seman Henshaw, step-mother of George and mother of Rhua Ann.  When Jonathan Seman Henshaw died, his widow married Francis Stafford and moved to Coshocton County, Ohio, where Rhua Ann was raised with her half-siblings.  When they all grew up, the two oldest Staffords named their daughters for her.  I have done my best to communicate this untangling to all interested parties, especially the Hinshaw Family Association.  But I still encounter online genealogies that include Elizabeth Stafford as a daughter of Richard and Catharine.

Additionally, I wrote a series of frantic emails and left posts everywhere to inform over-eager descendants of John and Amelia Giles that they were not descended from my Stafford family.  Nevertheless, some online genealogies persist with the error.

One more example, and I'm done.  Several years ago, before we knew Catharine's maiden name of Brobeker--also taken from the Family Bible--the name Catharine Eels started popping up in online genealogies.  Let me say here and now that I had nothing whatsoever to do with that.  That was a computer generated error made by One World Tree, when it started trying to connect the various submitted genealogies to each other by finding similar names, dates, and places.  But anybody can see by simple investigation, that One World Tree was wrong.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Wesley Stafford

Wesley Stafford
Kosciusko County, Indiana
Wesley Stafford was born in 26 May 1792 in Hampshire County, Virginia, the seventh of ten children born to Richard and Catharine Brobeker Stafford.  He seems to have married three times.  His first wife was named Lucy, whom he married about 1818.  They had two sons, and she died between 1822-1826.  We have speculated that her maiden name may have been Carlye or Carlyle because of the tendency among her oldest son’s descendants to use that as a middle name for their girls, particularly in the form of Lucy Carlye.  Bible records indicate he had a second wife named Sally, who was the mother of his third son born in 1826.  Finally, he married Sally Corbin on 18 Jun 1829 in Harrison County, Ohio, and they had five sons and a daughter.  Between 1844 and 1850, Wesley moved his family to Fayette County, Indiana.  In the early 1850s, they relocated to Kosciusko County, Indiana, where Wesley died 22 July 1856.  Sarah died 28 May 1862.  They are buried in the Spring Creek Cemetery, Sidney, Kosciusko County, Indiana.
His full name and birthdate are recorded in the Family Bible of Richard and Catharine Stafford, transcriptions of which were provided by Rita Kay Stafford Fawcett, Lake Alfred, Texas.  A 1792 birthyear is also corroborated by the 1850 Census and his gravestone.    The first names of his first two wives are found in the Family Bible.  His marriage record to Sarah Corbin can be found in Harrison County, Ohio, and is included in Ohio Marriages 1800-1958 available through the FamilySearch website.  His deathdate is from the Family Bible and his headstone in the Spring Creek Cemetery, Sidney, Kosciusko, Indiana.
A young man of 18 when his mother died in 1810, Wesley could be the unidentified male in the household of his brother John in the 1810 Census for Allegany County, Maryland.  He appears on the tax and tithe rolls for Hampshire County in 1811.  He was a veteran of the War of 1812 from Allegany County, Maryland.
The 1820 Census is hard to read and harder to interpret, but shows his household in Hampshire County, Virginia, with brother Joseph.  On 27 June 1820, he was charged in Hampshire County Court with stealing a calf from the property of John Earson.  In October 1820, he assigned his share in the supposed estate of his younger brother Washington to Joseph S. Stafford.  Wesley’s oldest son William was born in Hampshire County, Virginia, in 1822.  Sworn statements included in the 1823 lawsuit filed in Frederick County Chancery Court regarding the estate of his deceased brother Washington indicate that he was no longer living in Virginia. 
Wesley Stafford apparently came into possession of the Family Bible belonging to Richard and Catharine Stafford and took it with him to Ohio and Indiana.  He passed it on to his son Martin, and from there it was handed down to George, then Roger, then Waldo, and finally to Rita Kay Stafford Fawcett and siblings of Florida. 
The 1830 Census records his household with four sons in Harrison County, Ohio, and the 1840 Census records his household with seven sons in Green County, Ohio.  He was in Fayette County, Indiana, for the 1850 Census, and though he was dead by 1860, his widow and children all appear on the census for Kosciusko County, Indiana.
Wesley fathered nine children total, eight sons and a daughter—John Fletcher, born 1818; William Josephus, born 1822; James Bruce, born 1826; Francis Asbury, born 1830; Thomas, born 1834; Joseph Stone, born 1837; Martin, born 1839; Andrew, born 1842; and Mary A., born 1844, who died as a child.  He named five of his sons for five of his six brothers; Richard is without a namesake.  Apparently before the family’s move to Indiana, John Fletcher Stafford returned to Virginia.  The rest of the sons married and had families in Indiana.
John Fletcher Stafford
John Fletcher Stafford was born 31 December 1818 in Hampshire County, Virginia.  Raised in Ohio, he left before the family moved to Indiana and is found in Albermarle County where he married the widow Elizabeth Jane Nicholson Moon on 01 January 1844.  She was born about 01 June 1817 in Frederick County, Virginia, the daughter of George Nicholson.  They lived in Augusta County, Virginia, and had nine children—Lucy Clay Snyder, 1845; Charles William, 1848; Eleanor Virginia Rippetoe, 1849; Sarah Snyder, 1850; Laura Lee Remmel, 1853; George Nicholson, 1854; Joseph Clarence, 1855; John Brooke, 1859; and Marie Antoinette, 1861.   A merchant in Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia, John Stafford served in the Staunton Rifles, Company G, 5th Virginia Infantry during the Civil War.  He died at age 49, 13 January 1867 in Staunton.  Elizabeth died 20 May 1872.  They are buried in the Thornrose Cemetery.
Sisters Laura and Marie Antoinette Stafford became school teachers and moved to Newport, Jackson County, Arkansas, where they married and raised their families.
The rest of the children lived out their lives and raised their families in Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia.
William Josephus Stafford
William Josephus Stafford was born 16 January 1822 in Hampshire County, Virginia, but was raised in Ohio.  He married Christina Shafer in 1846, Butler County, Ohio, and they moved with his family to Indiana, in the mid-1840s.  They had eight children, only three of which lived to adulthood—John, 1846; Wesley, 1848; and James, born 1853. 
John enlisted as a private in Company D, 152nd Indiana Volunteer Infantry, in February 1865, and he died a month later without having married or had children.  James married twice, but had no children.  Wesley had a son Elisha Van who raised his family in Wright County, Iowa, and two daughters, Jesse Huffman and Annie Hoagland who raised families in Kosciusko County, Indiana.
William died 23 November 1863 and is buried in Spring Creek Cemetery.  His wife Christena made her will 24 December 1898 and died shortly thereafter in Kosciusko County.
James Bruce Stafford
James Stafford was born in 19 March 1826, probably in Harrison County, Ohio, and came to Indiana with his parents as a young man.  He married Sarah D. Ladd about 26 January 1851 in Fayette County, Indiana.  She was born 13 December 1832 in Fayette County, Indiana, the daughter of Noble H. & Mary Ann Wile Ladd.  They lived in Kosciusko County until the 1870s, when they moved to neighboring Marshall County, where James died 25 April 1877.  Sarah died 06 July 1924.  They are buried in the Hindel Cemetery, Inwood, Marshall County, Indiana.
They had six children—Mary Ann Shirley, born 1853; James Madison, born 1856; Martin Noble Logan, born 1858; Nancy Elizabeth Kline, born 1863; William Alvin, born 1865; and John Emery, born 1868.  William never married or had children.  Martin married and moved to Brattleboro, Windham County, Vermont.  Mary, Madison, Nancy and John raised their families in Marshall County, Indiana.
Francis Asbury Stafford
Francis Asbury Stafford was born 1830 in Harrison County, Ohio.  He married first Isabella McCourtney on 18 October 1855 in Kosciusko County, Indiana.  They had two children—Francis Marion Stafford, born 26 June 1856, and Amanda Jane Stafford Greer, born 1858.  Isabella died 11 June 1860.  Francis enlisted as a private in Company D of the 13th Indiana Volunteer Infantry in November 1864.  He married Harriet Louisa Norris about 1865, and they had on daughter Della, born 1878.  He died 15 July 1911 and is buried in the Spring Creek Cemetery. 
Francis was working in Fayette County, Indiana, for his uncle Joseph in 1880, but he returned to Kosciusko County where he married Marilla Belle Shirley in 1881.  They raised their family of seven children in Kosciusko County.  Amanda married John Schuyler Colfax Greer and raised a family of five children in Marshall County, Indiana.  Of Della, no other record has been found. 
Thomas Stafford
Thomas Stafford was born 01 August 1834 in Ohio.  He married Martha Wine 09 February 1858 in Kosciusko County, Indiana.  She was born 28 August 1842 in Wayne County, Indiana, the daughter of George and Margaret Durbin Wine.  They had five children—Mary Jane Lamb, born 1858; Alice Garner, born 1861; John, born 1865; Lyman, born 1867; and Joseph, born 1870.  Thomas enlisted as a private in Company K, 88th Indiana Volunteer Infantry in March 1864 from Kosciusko County, but after the Civil War they moved to Henry County, and then Delaware County, Indiana.  Thomas died 11 September 1892 in Delaware County, Indiana.  Martha died 13 Jan 1922 in Blue River, Henry County, Indiana.  They are buried in the Bethel Cemetery at Mooreland, Henry County, Indiana.
Joseph died as a teenager, and Alice Garner had no children.  Mary Jane Lamb, John & Lyman Stafford all married and raised families in Henry and Delaware Counties.
Joseph Stone Stafford
Joseph Stone Stafford was born 11 March 1837 in Ohio.  He enlisted as a private in Company B of the 44th Indiana Volunteer Infantry on 21 November 1861, the day before they mustered out and moved to Henderson, Kentucky.  He earned the rank of Corporal.  Following the Civil War, Joseph returned to Fayette County, Indiana, and married Nancy Newhouse 04 April 1869.  She was born in 1845 in Indiana, the daughter of William and Sally Newhouse.  They had one son Francis Marion Stafford in 1869.  Joseph before 31 January 1881, when his widow filed for his Civil War pension.
Frank Stafford married and lived in Fayette County until moving to Florida in his senior years.  His only child Luther Stafford had no children.
Martin Stafford
Martin Stafford was born 20 June 1839 in Montgomery County, Ohio.  He married Eliza Lenwell 24 September 1865 in Kosciusko County, Indiana.  She was born 02 April 1848 in Whitley County, Indiana, the daughter of Gerald and Elizabeth Lenwell.  They had three sons—Charles, born 1867; Milton, born 1868; and Daniel, born 1870.  Charles and Daniel both died as children, and Eliza died 05 June 1870 in Pierceton, Kosciusko County, Indiana.  In 1880, Martin was working for George Finley in Delaware County, Indiana, very near his brother Thomas, and his son Milton was working for Richard Miller in Kosciusko County.  Martin married Mary Naomi Jackson on 20 Jun 1880 in Delaware County, Indiana.  She was born in 1862, Delaware County, Indiana, the daughter of Calvin and Emily Porter Jackson.  They moved back to Kosciusko County, where they raised a family of six children—Otto, born 1880; George Washington, born 1881; Melvin Matthew, born 1883; William, born 1886; Elmer Nathaniel, born 1887; and Elsworth G., born 1890.  Otto died as a child.
George and William both married and had families in Kosciusko County, and both tragically drowned while swimming.  Melvin lived in Wabash and Whitley Counties.  Elmer married and raised seven children in Wabash County, Indiana.  Elsworth married and raised two daughters in Kosciusko County.
Andrew Stafford
Andrew was born 21 Jul 1841, possibly in Greene County where his father was living in 1840.  He was raised in Fayette and Koscukso Counties, Indiana.  Following his Civil War service with Company B, 44th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, he married Eva Miller 17 March 1864 in Kosciusko County, Indiana. She was born 06 July 1846 in Stark County, Ohio, the daughter of Daniel and Nancy Freed Miller.  They had one son, Willie in 1865, before Eva died in 1866. Willie was killed in an accident with a shotgun in 1880.
He married secondly Cynthia Martin 08 Apr 1873 in Fayette County, Indiana. They had one daughter Dora, in 1877. Cynthia died after the 1880 census. Some researchers identify her as the Cynthia Stafford (1855-1880) buried in the Spring Creek Cemetery, Kosciusko County, Indiana, but others identify that grave as belonging to Cynthia Stafford, daughter of William S. Stafford, Andrew's brother.
After Cynthia's death, Andrew married Nancy Latson Miller on 28 December 1883 in Kosciusko County, Indiana, and they had one daughter Daisy in 1884. She was the daughter of James & Esther Mabie Latson, and ex-wife of Eli Miller by whom she had a son William. Nancy Stafford died 06 Jul 1887, and is apparently the woman buried in the North Webster Cemetery, North Webster, Kosciusko County, Indiana.
Finally, Andrew married Florence I. Grindle on 16 Mar 1896 in Kosciusko County. The 1900 census records their household, shows that they have been married 4 years, and that she has given birth to one child who is still living. The only children in the household are Daisy, age 15, and Grover, age 4 (but born in Jul 1895). If the census information is correct, it seems that Grover was born before Andrew & Florence married. Florence and Andrew divorced about the same time as William & Dora did in 1900 or 1901, because she married John E. Peterson 23 Apr 1901 in Kosciusko County, Indiana. I can't find record of Grover after 1900, or Florence after 1901. A Florence I. Peterson, wife of J.L. Peterson, born 25 Aug 1876 (which is what the 1900 census gives for her birth), died 29 Jul 1903 and is buried in the Laurens Cemetery, Laurens, Pocahontas, Iowa, but I have no way of knowing if this is her. I do know that they are not the same as John & Florence Peterson who lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Andrew was living with his daughter Dora and her second family with Joe Spiegel in 1910, and identified himself as widowed. He died 13 Oct 1915 in Pierceton, Kosciusko, Indiana, and is buried in the Ryerson Cemetery, which is contained within the Hillcrest Cemetery.
Dora Stafford married first William Jennings Bryan Grindle and had two children, before divorcing him and marrying Joseph Edward Spiegel.  Dora and Joseph had six children that they raised in Kosciusko County.
Daisy Stafford married Lorenzo Dow Wolfe and had two children that she raised in Kosciusko County.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Joseph Stone Stafford

Joseph Stone Stafford

1790-about 1856
Hampshire County, Virginia

Joseph Stone Stafford was born 03 September 1790 in Hampshire County, Virginia, the sixth of ten children born to Richard and Catharine Brobeker Stafford.  He may have been married twice, but the name of his first wife is unknown.  He married secondly Elizabeth Myer 17 December 1818 in Allegany County, Maryland.  Elizabeth was born 31 January 1790 in Hampshire County, Virginia, the daughter of John Henry and Charity Ann Wire Myer.  Joseph may have owned land on both sides of the Potomac River, because he appears in the records of both Hampshire County, Virginia, and Allegany County, Maryland.  They both died in the 1850s, probably in Hampshire County, Virginia.

His full name and birthdate are recorded in the Family Bible of Richard and Catharine Stafford, transcriptions of which were provided by Rita Kay Stafford Fawcett, Lake Alfred, Florida.  A 1790 birthyear is also corroborated by the 1850 Census. Their marriage record is on file in Allegany County, Maryland.  Their death dates are not known for certain, and their graves have not been located.

Joseph was recorded in the 1810 census for Hampshire County, Virginia, with a wife.  Close by was his brother Richard.  He is also on the tax and tithe rolls for Hampshire County from 1811-1814, appearing after he turned 21.  On 23 July 1810, Joseph Stafford and his brother John witnessed the will of their mother Catharine Stafford.  Ten years later, Joseph filed a lawsuit against his siblings and Daniel Collins, executor of his mother’s estate, for his share in the estate of his brother Washington who died in childhood.

During the War of 1812, Joseph served as a sergeant in Captain William McLaughlin’s company from Allegany County, Maryland.  In 1812, a bill of sale with his name on it is recorded in Hampshire County.

If Joseph’s marriage information is correct, then his oldest daughter Elizabeth was probably born to his first union in 1818.  Perhaps his first wife died in child birth since he married Elizabeth Myer in December of that year.  In 1820, he is recorded with a wife and daughter in the Hampshire County census near his brother Westley Stafford.  In 1830 they are in Allegany County, Maryland.  That same year he was appointed a constable for District 6 with John Hayes, William Houx, and Theophilus Beall.  In 1840, he was recorded in the census for Hampshire County, and again in 1850.  By 1860, both he and Elizabeth are gone from the census.

Joseph had eight children, the first from his first marriage—Elizabeth Jane Stafford Wiley, born 1818; Washington, born 1820; John Wesley, born 1823; Sarah Stafford Long, born 1824; William Josephus Stafford, born 1827; Susan Catherine Stafford Brace, born 1829; James R. Stafford, born 1830; and Mary Elizabeth Stafford Ridgley, born 1834.  Washington Stafford’s biography in a history of Livingston County, Illinois, confirms these eight children of Joseph. 

 In the 1850 Census, a girl named Frances E. Stafford, born 1843 in Virginia, is recorded in their household.  There is also a Joseph Stafford, born 1831 in Maryland, recorded in the household of Joseph & Margaret White Logdson, Allegany County, Maryland.  They are likely a niece and nephew to Joseph Stone Stafford, but to whom they belonged is unknown at this time.

 Marriage records for Elizabeth, Washington, John, Susan and Mary are recorded in Allegany County, Maryland.  William married in Coshocton County, Ohio, having moved there with his brother Washington.  It may be presumed that Sarah married in Hampshire County, as those records have been destroyed, and she is not recorded in Allegany County.  James married in Wood County, Virginia.  Of Joseph’s eight children, all but Washington and William remained in West Virginia and Maryland.


Elizabeth Jane Stafford Wiley

Elizabeth Jane Stafford was born about 1818 in Hampshire County, Virginia, according to the 1850 census.  She married Zale Wiley 12 September 1839 in Allegany County, Maryland, and they had four children—James, John Edward, Laban, and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth died between 1850-1852, and Zale married Sarah Jane Beall 25 November 1852.  Zale’s will is dated 11 November 1855, probated 25 November, listing four children—John Edward, Laban, Elizabeth Ann, and Eliza Jane—the youngest of which was his daughter by Sarah.  James must have already been dead.  Hampshire County records show that Joseph W.H. Pollock and David Gibson were named guardians over Zale Wiley’s children on 26 November 1855.

John Edward Wiley married Delilah Catherine Hart and lived out his life in Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland.  In 1920, his cousin James Long was living in his household.

Laban Joseph Wiley may be the same man who married Mary E. Hott in 1870, Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland, and later lived in Buchannan County, Missouri.  In 1893, he married secondly Mary L. Dowell in Macon County, Missouri.  He had at least three children—Jennie, born 1885; Archie, born 1889; and Frederick D., born 1894.  He died in 1925 and is buried in Saint Joseph, Buchannan County, Missouri.  His gravestone says he was a bugler in Company D of the 4th Pennsylvania Calvary during the Civil War.

Elizabeth Ann Wiley was raised in the family of her aunt Susan Stafford Brace, lived with them the rest of her life, and died in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1902.


Washington Stafford

According to his tombstone and census information, Washington Stafford was born 05 September 1820 in Hampshire County, Virginia, and he died 28 May 1909 in Chenoa, McLean, Illinois.  He married Elizabeth Licklighter 29 November 1842 in Allegany County, Maryland.  She was born 05 February 1823 in Hampshire County, Virginia, and died 06 January 1902 in Chenoa, McLean, Illinois.  Elizabeth was the daughter of George Peter and Rosanna Cook Licklighter, who settled in Richland County, Ohio, in the 1840s.  Washington and Elizabeth are buried at Payne’s Cemetery in Livingston County, Illinois.

 After their marriage, they lived in Hampshire County, Virginia, until the late 1840s, when they moved to Coshocton County, Ohio, to live near Uncle Francis Stafford.  In 1852, they moved to Livingston County, Illinois, settling near Eppard’s Point, where they lived until 1890, when they moved to Chenoa.

 Washington and Elizabeth Stafford had ten children, nine of which are named, and eight of which lived to adulthood to have families of their own—James William, born 1843; John Wesley, born 1846; Joseph Milton, born 1849; Mary Louisa Flurer, born 1852; Matilda Catherine Foltz, born 1855; Lydia Elizabeth Schubkagel, born 1861; George B. McClellan, born 1864; Mazie Jane McNeil, born 1865; and Isabella Hanna, born about 1870.  Isabella and an unnamed baby born about 1858 died without marrying or having children.

 James fought in the Civil War with Company E of the 129th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  After some travels out west in the 1860s, he returned to Eppard’s Point, married Katherine Hartman in 1871, and moved his family to Taylor County, Iowa, in February 1875.  In 1877, they moved to Grayson County, Texas, and finally in 1883, they settled just north of Vernon, Texas, in Wilbarger County on the Red River.  James established the first post office at Fargo, and this is where they raised their ten children. 

 John Stafford married Margaret Reidell and settled in Ringgold County, Iowa, Taylor County’s neighbor to the west.  They had two children. 

 Joseph married Sarah Elizabeth McDannell and they lived in Polk County, Iowa, and for a short time in Colorado.  They had four sons and a daughter.  In the 1880s, Joseph went to Colorado or Arizona with a partner driving a mixed herd of horses and cattle and was never heard from again. 

 George Stafford married Mary Weller and moved to Wilbarger County, Texas, before finally settling in California.  They had three daughters. 

 The Schubkagel and Foltz families settled in Kansas.  Louisa Flurer and Mazie McNeil remained in Chenoa, Illinois, at least until after the death of their mother in 1902.


John Wesley Stafford

John Wesley Stafford was born 1823 in Hampshire County, Virginia.  He married Elizabeth Licklighter 10 September 1853 in Allegany County, Maryland.  She was the daughter of George Peter and Catherine Licklighter and cousin to Elizabeth Licklighter who married Washington Stafford.  John and Elizabeth lived in Hampshire (now Mineral) County, West Virginia.  John died before 1871, when Elizabeth Licklighter Stafford married George Clise.  John and Elizabeth had four children—Joseph Berkeley, born 1854; George Milton, born 1856; Charles Greenbury, born 1858; and Susan, born 1859.  Joseph died as a baby.

 George married Martha Lavine Bucy, and they had six sons who produced a large family that remains in the Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland, area.  Charles married Anna Klosterman and had a son and a daughter.


Sarah Stafford Long

Sarah Stafford was born about 1824 in Hampshire County, Virginia, and died after 1880.  She married John Long, a boatman from the Hampshire County-Allegany County area about 1840.  John was born in 1818 in Virginia.  They lived in Hampshire County, Virginia, until about 1868, when they moved to Allegany County, Maryland, living there at least as late as 1880

John and Sarah Long had eleven children, all of them except the last born in Hampshire County, Virginia—Nelson, born 1842; Noah, born 1844; Catharine, born 1846; James, born 1848; Mary, born 1852; Daniel, born 1856; Amanda, born 1858; Elvira, born 1860; Virginia, born 1864; Philip, born 1866; and John, born 1869.


William J. Stafford

William J. Stafford was born in 1827 in Hampshire County, Virginia.    He went with his brother Washington and the Licklighters to Coshocton County, Ohio, in the 1840s, where he married Mary Licklighter 22 February 1849.  Mary was born 18 Mary 1825 in Hampshire County, Virginia, the daughter of George P. and Rosanna Cook Licklighter.  William and Mary Stafford and the Licklighters had settled in Richland County, Ohio, where all of their children were born.  Mary died there 14 Feb 1898.  William is recorded on the 1900 census, but died before 1910.  They are buried in the Four Corners-Zion Cemetery, Worthington Township, Richland County, Ohio.

William and Mary had six children—John T., born 1851; Martha H., born 1854; Arabella M., born 1856; William J. Stafford Jr., born 1857; Mary Ellen, born 1863; and Charlotte, born 1867.  John and Charlotte died as children and are buried in the Four Corners-Zion Cemetery.  William married Rachel Lovezilla, maiden name unknown, and they are also buried in the Four Corners-Zion Cemetery.


Susan Catherine Stafford Brace

Susan Catherine Stafford was born 1829 in Hampshire County, Virginia, and died 17 March 1921 in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri.  She married William Brace Sr. 16 October 1849 in Allegany County, Maryland. William was born 1820 in Connecticut to parents who immigrated from Wales.  He was a veteran of the Mexican War, and was later employed by the B&O Railroad, and by the city of Cumberland as a civil engineer.

William and Susan Stafford Brace had seven children—William Jr., born 1850; Mary, born 1852; Charles H., born 1855; Harry C., born 1858; Susan C. Brace Hitchins Klives, born 1861; Thomas, born 1863; Theodore, born 1865.  Mary and Thomas died as children.  William was a lawyer and politician, first in Cumberland, then in Chicago.  Charles H. was a doctor for all of his adult life in Cumberland, Maryland.  Harry was a prominent newspaper man in St. Louis.  Susan and Edward Stanley Hitchins had two sons before she left them and married Charles Klives.  She died in St. Louis.  Theodore was in the wholesale clothing business in St. Louis.


James R. Stafford

James Stafford was born April 1830, in Allegany County, Maryland, and died 07 march 1902 in Wood County, West Virginia.  He left Hampshire County about 1851, settling in Wood County where he married Pulcharia Jackson 26 October 1852.  James fought for the Union Army, 15th West Virginia Infantry, during the Civil War.  


Their children included Anna Maria Pocahontas “Pokey” Stoops, born 1853; Alice Rose Fleming, born 1856; Raleigh Cager Stafford, born 1858; Mary Stafford, born 1862; Herbert Stafford, born 1867; Caroline “Carrie” Stafford, born 1869; Garnett Stafford, born 1877; and Jeremiah, born 1880.  Their families can be found in the Wood County, Area, during the period 1870-1930, and many descendants still live in the area today.

Mary Stafford Ridgley

Mary was born in 1834 in Hampshire County, Virginia.  She married William Ridgley 28 April 1851 in Allegany County, Maryland, where they lived until the 1860s.  At that time, they relocated to Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia.  In 1892, William Ridgley was elected first mayor of the village of West Fairmont.  Their children included Charles, born 1853; Amanda, born 1855; David, born 1858; Emma, born 1861, Lloyd, born 1863; Mollie, born 1865; Frank, born 1867; William, born 1870; Elizabeth, born 1873; Cora, born 1876; and Charles, born 1880.  Of these, Charles1, Amanda, Emma, Mollie, and Charles2 did not live to adulthood.  Most of the others can be found with their families in Marion County, West Virginia, in the period 1870-1930.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What About John and James?

Richard and Catharine Brobeker Stafford had two "middle" sons--John and James--who have eluded my exhaustive search for Stafford descendants.
John Fletcher Stafford was born 07 July 1786 and James Bruce Stafford was born 11 October 1788, the fourth and fifth children of Richard and Catharine, as recorded in the Family Bible.  Since the records show Richard Stafford's business dealings exclusively in Hampshire County, Virginia, for that time frame, we suppose John and James were both born there.  John was named for the English theologian of early Methodism John Fletcher.
When their father's estate was appraised on 27 October 1808, it was noted that John Stafford had in his possession a bay horse belonging to his father, valued at $55.  From the estate, James purchased one horse valued at $51, one colt valued at $31, 1/2 of his father's wheat valued at $117, 250 bushels of corn valued at $71, two stacks of hay valued at $17.02, and fourteen bushels of buckwheat valued at $3.92.
On 15 October 1809, John Fletcher Stafford married Hannah Cresap in Allegany County, Maryland, and since he is recorded in the 1810 Census for Allegany County and never appears on the Hampshire County tax rolls, it can be assumed they never lived in Hampshire County.  Though the Cresap family of Allegany County, Maryland, is fairly well documented in various genealogies, Hannah's place within that family is not known at this time.  The 1810 Census shows John Stafford with a wife and an unidentified male age 16-26 in his household, near the families of James B., Thomas, Edward, Hannah, and Joseph Cresap.  The unidentified male could be his brother James Bruce Stafford.
John Fletcher Stafford witnessed the will of his mother Catharine Stafford on 23 July 1810.
A U.S. Seaman's Certificate was issued in Philadelphia to a James Stafford in 1804.  The applicant was eighteen years of age, five-feet-four-and-a-half-inches tall, with brown complexion, dark hazel eyes, and light brown hair.  He had a large round scar on his left leg, a scar on his right leg near the knee, and had the letters J.C. tattooed on the back of his right hand.  He said he was born in Baltimore.  James Bruce Stafford would have been only fifteen at the time, and there is no evidence that Richard and Catharine Stafford ever resided in Baltimore.  Nevertheless, this is a possibility.
James Bruce Stafford appears on the tax rolls for Hampshire County, Virginia, in 1809, 1812, 1813, & 1814.  According to the research of Feliciano Gamez Duarte, he was sailing with his brother William Josephus Stafford, the Baltimore privateer, during the period of 1818-1819.  One of the prizes they took was placed under his command with instructions on how to unload the booty in Baltimore and Savannah.  It
is possible he is the unidentified male in William J. Stafford's Baltimore household in 1820.
In 1823, their brother Joseph Stone Stafford filed a law suit over the estate of their youngest brother Washington Stafford who died in 1810.  In a sworn statement, Joseph named John and James among the other siblings and stated they did not live in the state of Virginia.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Richard Adams Stafford

Richard Adams Stafford
Coshocton County, Ohio

RICHARD ADAMS STAFFORD was born 31 July 1784, in Frederick County, Virginia, the third of ten children born to Richard and Catharine Brobeker Stafford.  Allegany County, Maryland, marriage records show he married Mary Ann Walker 23 May 1809, but Family Bible records record the date as 15 June.  Ann was born 27 Sep 1791 in Virginia, probably the daughter of Henry Walker.  Richard and Ann had at least five children—three sons and two daughters.  Richard died in the spring of 1823 in Coshocton County.  Ann Walker Stafford moved to Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio, and died there 11 Oct 1869.  She is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, Zanesville.  His burial place is unknown

His full name and birthdate are recorded in the Family Bible of Richard and Catharine Stafford, copies and transcriptions of which were provided by Rita Kay Stafford Fawcett of Lake Alfred, Florida.  Richard’s marriage to Ann Walker and the birth of his first child are also recorded in the Family Bible.  Their marriage record is on file in Allegany County, Maryland. 

Like his brothers William and James, Richard Stafford went to sea as a young man.  In 1806, he swore to his citizenship while in the city of New Orleans and was given a U.S. Seaman’s Protection Certificate.  At the time, he was about 22 years of age, six-feet-one-inch tall, with sandy hair, brown eyes, and light complexion.

At the time of his father’s death in 1808, Richard took from the estate a watch valued at $25 and 100 bushels of corn valued at $29.

Richard is recorded in the 1810 Census for Hampshire County, Virginia, next to his brother Joseph S. Stafford, his household consisting of himself, a wife, and one son.  Bible records show that son to be James Madison Stafford, born 13 June 1810.

About 1812, Richard brought his family to Coshocton County, Ohio, settling near his brother Francis Asbury Stafford Sr.  Early Ohio Settlers:  Purchasers of land in Eastern and East Central Ohio 1800-1830, shows a land purchase of r08 t04 s14 near his brother Francis, dated 25 August 1812.  He enlisted in Russell’s Battalion of Ohio Militia during the War of 1812.  A History of Coshocton County states that he was a wagon maker and early justice of the peace.  He is recorded in the 1820 Census for Coshocton County with a household consisting of himself, his wife, two sons and two daughters, and an unknown male born 1794-1804.

Richard died in 1823.   HIs estate papers are on file in the Coshocton County Court House, Will Book I.  Court proceedings commenced 17 April 1823.  Guardianship of his four children—James, Henry, Eliza, and Mary—was granted to John McBride in August 1823.  Henry, Eliza and Sally Stafford (probably their cousin) are recalled as being part of the local school in 1825 in the writings of William Culbertson of Zanesville.  An additional son may have been the Stafford boy killed by a lightning strike in 1814.

Ann moved her family into Zanesville after Richard’s death, where she is recorded in the census from 1830-1860.  The 1830 and 1840 census shows a household consisting of Ann and two daughters, with an additional unidentified female in 1840.  Thereafter, Ann Stafford is recorded in the home of her daughter Eliza Wilkins.

Nothing further is known of James Madison Stafford or Mary Stafford.  Eliza Stafford Wilkins and her family are well documented in Muskingum County, Ohio, and Henry Walker Stafford we have traced to Alabama and Florida.

Eliza Stafford Wilkins
Eliza Stafford is the easiest to identify after her father’s death, as she remains in her mother’s household, or Ann lives with her, until Ann’s death in 1869.  Eliza was born 1818 in Coshocton County, Ohio.  She married Cornelius “Neil” Wilkins 05 September 1843 in Muskingum County, Ohio, and they had two children—Ann in 1845, and John in 1847.  Neil Wilkins was an apprentice gunsmith with Elijah Ross in Zanesville, and was killed in an accidental shooting in the gun shop in 1848.  Eliza’s only great-grandchild died as a child, thus ending the line.
Henry W. Stafford
In searching the 1850 and 1860 census , there is only one possibility that matches a son of Richard and Ann Stafford.  There is a Henry W. Stafford in Greene County, Alabama, living in Choctaw County, Alabama, in 1860, with his family moving to Putnam and later Duval County, Florida, after his death.  He was born 1814 in Ohio, presumably in Muskingum County.  He was likely raised in the home of John McBride in Zanesville, but on 10 June 1841 he married Nancy M. Hall in Greene County, Alabama.

Land records for Choctaw county, recorded in the land office at St. Stephens, show him making purchases in 1854, 1859, and 1861.  In 1855, he was the postmaster at Bladen Springs, Choctaw County, Alabama.

Henry and Nancy Stafford had seven children—James R. Stafford, born 1843; Ann R. Partridge, born 1845; Mary J. Stafford, born 1847; William A. Stafford, born 1850; Sarah E. Stafford, born 1852; Henry W. Stafford, born 1854, and Ida Stafford, born 1858.

Henry died between 1860-1870, though the exact date and place of his death is currently unfound.

by Ada LeBaron Partridge

 I never heard my father-in-law, Mr. Hugh Partridge, speak his father’s name or refer to any of his father's family.  According to my mother-in-law he parted company with his father, Mr. Benjamin S. Partridge, the night his mother, Annie Rebecca Stafford Partridge died.  That was in June 1892.  She said he only stayed with the family for his mother's sake, to whom he was devoted, and when she was gone he left.  When I asked why, she said, "Because he felt his father was unkind to his mother."  She also told me that the night his mother died Hugh came to see her and that was the night she promised to marry him.  What a comfort that must have been to him!  They were married a year later in Jacksonville, Florida.

So, Mr. Benjamin Partridge, as far as is known is the 1st generation of well drillers.  All I know about Benjamin that is authentic can be found in the Partridge family Bible.  This Bible was started at the time of his marriage.  There are two entries and they read:

Benjamin S. Partridge
born April 18th, 1841, in Mobile, Alabama

Annie R. Stafford
born October 14th, 1844 in Warsaw, Alabama

Benjamin S. Partridge and Annie R. Stafford
Married November 9th, 1865 at Clinton, Alabama, by Rev. A.P. Silliman.

The Benjamin Partridges moved to Florida some time between Oct. 1868 and March 1878 for the Bible entries under births are:

Hugh Partridge, born Oct. 28, 1868 in Greene County, Alabama.
Edith M. Partridge, born Mar. 28, 1878, in Georgetown, Florida
Florence M. Partridge, born Mar. 15, 1879 in Georgetown, Florida
Dottie Partridge, born Jul 6, 1881 in Jacksonville, Florida; died Dec 30, 1881, Georgetown, Florida
Nanny Partridge, born Jul 2, 1883 in Georgetown, Florida; died Dec. 6, 1883, in Georgetown, Florida

Harry Eugene Partridge, born Oct. 9, 1886, in Jacksonville, Florida.

These were all the children listed and I have often wondered about the lapse of almost ten years between Hugh and Edith.

Judging from these entries, the family spent time between Jacksonville, and Georgetown, which is a small city on the St. Johns River about 70 miles south of Jacksonville.  I visited Georgetown many years ago and drank water from the well there which we were told was drilled by Benjamin Partridge.  Benjamin also drilled a number of wells in and around Jacksonville, and probably some for the city but I have not been able to find any records of them.  What other type of work he may have done I have no way of knowing.  Nor at what time he left this city.  There is an entry in the Bible in Mrs. Hugh Partridge's handwriting which reads:  Benjamin S. Partridge died in California.  There is no date.

The second generation of Partridge well drillers.
Mr. Hugh Partridge was 24 years old when he left his father's home in 1892.  At that time he was working in a hardware store.  I am not sure when he first drilled wells.  In the Florida Geological Survey, 3rd Annual Report 1909-1910, published in Tallahassee, Florida is listed, "Well #1 in St. Augustine, Florida was drilled in 1897 by Mr. Hugh Partridge."  Also in Artesian Water in the Florida Peninsular, a publication fo the US Department of the Interior, 1936, are listed several wells drilled by him.  one for the city in the Ortega section, one at the Venetia Yacht Club, one in Yukon, across from the Naval Air Station, one in Bayard, Fla., and one in Orange Park, Florida.  There are many more, but I do not have the locations.  Most of these wells are still being used.

Hugh was a very intelligent man as well as a capable one and he did other contracting work such as bulkheading and small bridges.  He also was a recognized inventor and in the late 1800s he worked on automobile improvements, even designing a car.  He had one of the first cars in Jacksonville.  Later he designed a farm tractor and the family lived for a few years in Safety Harbor, near Tampa, Fla., where the tractor was being built.  This was about 1917 or 1918.  He also invented a low pressure water sprinkler called the RIP (Rosborough, Ingles & Partridge) for the three men who formed a company to manufacture it.  This sprinkler is still on the market under other names.  Hugh also perfected a special type of interlocking cement bulkhead pile and used it on most of his bulkheading jobs.  This was never patented so others have used it too!

Mr. Hugh Partridge was well known and respected in business circles in Jacksonville.  He was loved by his family and he maintained a fine home for them.  He was devoted to his younger sister, Florence and they saw each other often but he saw very little of Edith, his older sister, or of Harry, his younger brother.

Hugh's mother was a Stafford before her marriage to Benjamin Partridge.  The Staffords were from Alabama, and some of them were living in Jacksonville at the same time the Partridges lived here.  I don't know when they moved here but according to the letter (which Cousin Abbie so kindly sent me) written by Mrs. Ben Partridge (Annie Rebecca Stafford Partridge) to her sister-in-law, Mrs. George T. Lyndall (Martha Jane Partridge Lyndall) dated Feb 22, 1892 from Jacksonville, Fla, her mother, sisters and brother had been here "20 years".  Mrs. Ben's mother was Nancy Malvina Hall, daughter of James Roddy Hall and Rebecca E. Norris, of Alabama.  Mrs. Stafford had just passed on when the letter was written, February 1892.  Twenty years previous would have been 1872.  According to the Bible entries I figured Ben moved his family here between 1868 and 1878.  They may have all moved at the same time.  Three of Mrs. Ben's sisters and one brother lived together with her mother next door to the Partridge home.  None of the four ever married.  Their names were Mary Jane 1847-1924, Sarah Eugenia 1851-1911, Henry W. Jr. 1854-1934, and Ida 1858-1938.  Perhaps they helped take care of the little family after Mrs. Ben's death in June 1892, for Edith was only 14, Florence 12 and Harry 6 years old.  However, Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Partridge were in constant touch with them and cared for them during the last days of the Stafford family.  Aunt Ida lived to the age of 80.  I can remember her very well.

When my husband, Merritt Ingersol Partridge, was about 17 years old insisted on leaving Florida Military Academy where he went to school because he wanted to work with his father, Hugh Partridge.  This he did, drilling wells and putting in bulkheads along the St. Johns River.  I met him shortly after this and I can remember going out to the job with him.  At that time the well drilling rig consisted of a wooden scaffold about 30 feet high rigged with a gasoline engine and tackle in the scaffolding with which they drilled the hole and drove down the pipe.  It was very hard work and also set and muddy.  Later Mr. Partridge bought a well drilling machine.  It was a Keystone and this was used for many years, until my husband sold it and had a more modern well drilling machine made.  My husband, nicknamed Pat by his friends, continued working with his father and they had a very fine relationship.

 Mr. Hugh Partridge passed on in March of 1930.

The Third generation of Partridge well drillers
Mr. Merritt Ingersol Partridge became the third generation of the Partridge family to drill wells.  At the passing of his father he continued with the work on hand.  All went smoothly for several years.  My husband was capable and work was plentiful.  I helped with the office work and kept the records.  We drilled deep artesian wells, 750 feet, just as Benjamin and Hugh had done.  However, Merritt or Pat, as I called him, saw a need for small water systems to supply homes and small businesses, so he had a small well drilling machine built and we began to specialize in rock well, from 60 to 250 feet deep, and pumps to give the system pressure.  Rock well do no flow under their own pressure as the artesian wells do.  This little rig paid for itself over and over again.

When the depression came, about 1933 in Florida I believe, there was no contracting work of any kind for several years.  The machinery sat in the back yard and we soon were financially at rock bottom.  Pat found enough odd work to keep us in food but not enough to pay other bills.  Our needs were modest but bit by bit we lost everything but the home, and we almost lost that.  There was no sale for the machinery so that was saved.  At last Pat got a job with the Motor Transit as a mechanic.  It paid about $60.00 to $80.00 per month depending on the hours worked.  In about a year there began to be a little business so he worked at the Transit Co. at night and took care of the little business in the daytime.  After about a year of this he was able to give up the night work and devote all his time to the business.  Gradually business picked up and we took on a partner, a Mr. French, who had drilled oil wells and was used to large equipment.  He ran the big rig and my husband the small one.

There was a good bit of government work to be had.  This was the time of President Roosevelt and the WPA.  We branched out to include concrete work and Mr. Hugh Partridge had done.  The business was going very well and we were making sufficient profit for both families.  However, Mr. French was never quite happy working with our deep well drilling machine.  He was used to very large machines that could drill oil wells.  So he left us for a Jacksonville firm that drilled larger water wells than we did.  He also left us with contracts to fill which we had bid on with his abilities in mind and with no experienced person to take his place.  But we managed.  And business continued to improve.

In 1940 the Florida National Guard was mobilized by the government.  My husband had been a member of the Coast Artillery Corps of the National Guard for many years.  The men were given the choice of being discharged honorably or being inducted into the army.  My husband enjoyed the military and would have loved to go with his outfit.  We talked it over carefully for there were three things he could have done.  He could have gone with his outfit and leave me to run the business, or I could have gone with him, or he could resign and stay home.  We had two boys, Donal who was ten years old and a new baby boy, Hugh.  His choice was to stay home.

In February 1941 while completing a wall in Middlesburg, Florida, a piece of the equipment broke and fell on my husband, causing his death.  I was left with the two boys to support and no trained skills with which to apply for a job.  We had contracts to fill so the next Monday morning, March 2, 1941, I sent the men out on the job.  One of our workers was a trustworthy black man, Frank Stokes, who had worked for Mr. Hugh Partridge and was a skilled driller.  I decided to continue the work each day and solve my problems as they arose.  I dropped the concrete work as I did not know how to figure the materials needed and I concentrated on the well drilling, which consisted of artesian wells up to four inches in diameter and rock wells and pumps.  I had a lot of practical knowledge in that line as my husband had included me in the business and always told me about each job including the problems that arose.

The work went along satisfactorily and I cleared enough to encourage me.  Also people seemed to have confidence in me when I made contacts with prospective customers or when I visited the job.  However, there was a national problem which caused me some concern.  Our country was on the brink of war.  I had no assurance that the business could continue as well drilling supplies such as pipe, gasoline, and tires were also war needs and would be hard to get.  Also contacts might be scarce.  As a precautionary measure I enrolled in adult classes in business, which were being held in the old Duval High School building.  I hoped to become skilled enough to be able to find a good job if necessary.  I learned a great deal but after short four months the business demanded my full time.  When war did come water was considered a necessity.  People could not live without water!  Anything connected with water was given top priority.  The rating given our business was one of the highest and it enabled me to get all the materials needed.  This was a miracle for metal, gas and rubber were the most critical war needs.

During the war years the business flourished.  We did a great deal of work for the government, some of which was so guarded that I was not even allowed on the job site.  Some of this work was out of town along the ocean front.  I was grateful and derived a certain amount of satisfaction from having "made good" in the business world, but I never lost the feeling that I should be prepared in some way to do something that would bring in a good living salary.  In 1944 I enrolled in the Jacksonville Junior College for night classes.  They were housed in the old Garner residence on Riverside Ave.  Since that time they have become the Jacksonville University and have a beautiful campus on the St. Johns River in the Arlington section of this city.  I had nothing particular in mind as this was my first college level work.  I attended whenever possible for several years.  I earned almost two years credit.

The fourth generation of Partridge well drillers
Now enters the fourth generation of well drillers.  When my sons Donal Merritt Partridge graduated from High School at the age of seventeen all he wanted to do was to drill wells.  No amount of persuasion could get him to go to college.  So I put him to work.  He worked hard and did well.  He loved the business.  It occurred to me that now was the time for me to do that "something" I had held onto for so long.  In 1950, I enrolled at the University of Florida in Gainesville, to complete my college work going into education.  This would give Donal and opportunity to prove his ability to run the business.  If he was successful, I planned to sign over the business to him when he reached the age of 25, which would be in 1955.  In the mean time I was preparing myself for a teaching career.  Don became a fine young business man and did well with the work.  When I graduate din February 1952 I started teaching.  At the age of 25 Don became sole owner of the Partridge Well Drilling Co. and the fourth generation of well drillers in Jacksonville, Florida.  (I continued with my career in education and earned a master's Degree in 1965, going into Library work in the public schools).

Through the years Donal has earned for himself an enviable name as a fine businessman and a skilled and knowledgeable well drilling contractor.  He has built up the business from a small two rig outfit employing 2 to 4 men as needed, to a company operating six rigs and employing 18 to 20 men.  He can drill rock wells and install and service the pump.  He can drill artesian wells two to six inches in diameter and from 700 to 800 feet deep.  He also can do test borings which are often needed by the government or by companies to determine the ground formation to a certain depth.  Don has also taken an active interest in the problem of water supply and conservation.  He has been a member of the Florida Water Well Drillers Association for many years, having served as president and also as treasurer.  Several times he visited the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee in connection with possible regulation of well drilling operations and in the interest of water source conservation in the state.  Other operators consult him in regard to drilling procedures and companies consult him for correct information in regard to water needs.  He is a member of the National Water Well Drillers Association, attending their yearly convention in order to keep up with the latest drilling techniques and drilling equipment improvements.  He has many business and personal friends through the state.  I am not only proud by impressed with what he has accomplished in the past 25 years.

Donal has a fine family.  His wife Margaret helps with the office work and bookkeeping.  He has two daughters, Diane and Linda.  His son Donal Merritt Partridge Jr. is called Pat for his grandfather.  Pat has completed two years of college and spends all his spare time and vacation working with his father.  He also enjoys well drilling and is now operating one of the rigs.

So the saga of the Partridge Well Drilling Company will go on into the fifth generation.

Perhaps you have wondered what happened to the other boy.  Hugh Partridge, born August 2, 1939 showed definite musical talent at an early age.  When he was 10 years old he selected the viola as his instrument.  by the age of 16 he was playing in the Jacksonville Symphony.  From time to time he worked with his brother.  Donal gave him the opportunity to become a partner in the business and handle the pump and pump servicing part of the work, which was a very generous offer.  After much serious thought, Hugh decided to make music his career.  He has been first chair viola in two large Symphony Orchestras and is first chair viola in the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra each summer.  He has taught in two universities, Wichita State University being the last, and is very well known in his profession.

Hugh has three sons:  Hugh III, Merritt and Miles.  At present he is living in Cary, NC, and playing in the North Carolina State Symphony.  Next year he plans to teach again.