Sunday, August 24, 2014

52 Ancestors: #34 - Stephen SLADE

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.

My 3X great-grandfather Stephen F. SLADE must have been a stonemason because he surely did set up a sturdy brick wall.

Stephen was born about 1815 in Georgia.  He’s pretty clear about that in the 3 census records in which he appears, all in Florida.  Apparently the only Slade in 1820 Georgia was William Slade.  Stephen fits right nicely as one of two boys and one girl under age 10 with parents older than 26. 

1850 Madison Co, Florida
Stephen was first enumerated in 1850 Madison Co, Florida.  A farmer, Stephen was 34 and his wife Mary was 30, so it’s not likely she was the mother of all the younger members of the household.  If the James M. at 19 was their child, then Mary would have given birth at age 11.  Others in the household included Mary 17, Joseph 13, Peter 11, William 9, Andrew 7, Julia 5, and Cabell 2. 

In 1860 Stephen and family were in Lafayette, Florida.  However, wife Mary has been either renamed or replaced by Margaret, who was two years older than Stephen rather than four years younger.  As for the children, there was only one familiar name:  Julia.  The others were either married and on their own, dead, or parading around with a new name.  Pilester was 22, so were Peter and Pilester the same person?  If so, then one of the enumerators erred in noting the gender.  Instead of Cabell at age 12, there is Louiza, age 12.  Again, if they were the same person, which enumerator got the gender right?  A new child has been added:  Stephen, age 5. 

During the same census year, next door was James Douglas 80 and his wife Nancy 63.  According to a marriage record dated 1853, James married one Nancy Slade, so possibly she was Stephen’s widowed mother. 

In 1870, the Douglases were gone, but the “Slaid” family was still in Lafayette.  Wife Margaret was listed as Peggy, a common nickname for Margaret.  Also in the household were Julia 23, Cabel 21, and young master Luther born December 1869. 

And that’s where the Slades come to a screeching halt and all the questions begin:

  • Cabel Slade was indexed as male in 1850 and 1870, yet there is a marriage record in Lafayette County in 1874 for Cabel Slade and CHARLES Ross.  What the heck?  To make matters worse, they are consistently MIA as far as census records are concerned.
  • Andrew?  Peter?  Joseph?  Mary?  You too, James.   Where are you?
  • Young Stephen born 1855 SHOULD be my 2X great-grandfather, but I can’t be sure without a paper trail.  After 1860, I cannot find him except in the 1890 City Directory for Atlanta, Georgia and again in the 1898 City Directory for Norfolk, Virginia, where Julia Slade is listed both times as the widow of Stephen F. Slade. 
In an effort to learn more about the Slades of Georgia and Florida and how they arrived in Virginia, we joined the Slade Surname Project and had Daddy’s DNA tested.  That was eight years ago.  Do you know how many “Slade” hits we’ve gotten?  Zero.  However – and it’s a BIG HOWEVER – we apparently have a definite common ancestor within four generations with the Calhoun family. 

I have corresponded with our match families, and none of us can figure out where we intersect.  But I have a theory.

In 1860 two doors away from Stephen and Margaret is a farm laborer living with the White family.  His name was John C. Calhoun. 

1870 Lafayette, Florida
He was a few years younger than Margaret.  Perhaps he was the father of little Stephen, age 5.  The one hang-up in this theory is that so far none of the Calhouns that I have corresponded with can claim him.  Maybe they just haven’t connected him to their tree YET. 

Or maybe I’m just wrong.

To Do:
Find a genealogist in Florida! 

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. This is a hot mess. I hope your Florida person figures this out. I bet she gets a headache.

    Lets apply for that Pioneers of Florida! It will be more for us to list in our obituaries.

    1. We may have to since we can't claim membership in a Bridge Club.

  2. It is a big mess, but keep at it! You have a real start here :)

  3. You're not kidding about that brick wall--a surprise to me, since I thought surely, with a name like Cabel Slade, you would find some documentation.

    We tested my husband's paternal line, too, and got some "unusual" results...but no real solid connections. It turns out to be a great tool...for some. Hope you work out that DNA mystery soon!

    1. I suspect that DNA doesn't come with a marriage record.

  4. I am really into the DNA searching as part of genealogy. But as you found, it can be a boon or a bust. Good luck with your hunt!

    1. That is the truth! Now I'm trying to imagine myself growing up with a different last name.