Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge: write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.
Poor Elizabeth Davis. If it weren’t for a mention in the Rockingham County bond book of 1820, I’d have my doubts that Elizabeth even existed.
But there it is on page 171: 24 Oct 1820 - Crawford, Jonathan, son of Zachariah, bonded to Elizabeth Davis, daughter of Leonard Davis.
Elizabeth is my third great grandaunt, daughter of Leonard and Mary Marshall Davis. Her date of birth is unknown, as is her date of death. But the marriage bond is enough to make me believe that the Crawford family enumerated in Rockingham County in 1830 is that of Jonathan and Elizabeth even though only the head of household was specified. The 1830 census reflects a busy 10 years of marriage with 10 children: 2 boys and 2 girls under age 5, 2 boys 5-9, 2 boys and 2 girls 10-14.
However, in 1840, Jonathan Crawford was totally alone. No wife. No children. What became of Elizabeth and those ten little Crawfords is anyone’s guess. Elizabeth can’t be found in the 1850 census, so it’s possible she died. Or perhaps she divorced Jonathan and even remarried, but I have found no evidence of that. While some of the children could certainly have married, others were young enough to be at home still, but they were not. Strange.
By 1850, Jonathan was no longer alone. In his household for at least the next 20 years was Milley Shiflett and her children. Milley, the widow of Edmund Shiflett, was the former Milley Wyant, sister of Frances Wyant, wife of Leonard Davis. In other words, Milley was Jonathan and Elizabeth’s sister-in-law’s sister. The new living arrangements might have been a matter of convenience, or perhaps Milley was Jonathan’s common law wife. It wasn’t until 1870 that Milley was enumerated with the surname Crawford. A 16-year old Samuel Crawford was also in the household, but there is no indication whether he was a son, nephew or someone else entirely, but oddly enough he was not listed in the 1860 census.
This little branch of the Davis and Crawford families has either stumped researchers with the lack of available documents or no one has cared to look very hard. I’ll admit this family is low on my priority list too. But I love a puzzle.
To Do List:
- Look for a death record and/or will for Elizabeth Davis Crawford.
- Look for a will for Jonathan Crawford.
- Look for a deed.