Tuesday, January 15, 2019

52 Ancestors - UNUSUAL NAME: Cabell Slade

According to census records in Florida, Cabel or Cabell Slade is either my second great grandaunt or second great granduncle. 


In the 1850 Madison County census and 1870 Lafayette County census, Cabel is listed as a male. 
1850 Federal Census Madison County, Florida  

1870 Federal Census Lafayette County, Florida

However, in 1874, there is a marriage record in Lafayette County for Miss Cabel Slade and Charles A. Ross. 

State of Florida
Lafayette County
To a legal authorized minister of the Gospel, Justis of the Peace or Judge of account.
These are therefor to authorize and permit you to solemnize the writes of matrimony between Charles A. Ross and Miss Cabel Slade and make a return to my office within 10 days Then bering no seal of office I have hereunto set my hand & [Privat?] seal this December 23rd AD 1874.
R. P. Langston
Clerk of Court

State of Florida
Lafayette County
I hereby cerify that I have this day executed the above License this December 25th AD 1874.
Z Bees
M [Minister] Gospel
Recorded December 28th 1874
Lafayette County, Florida, Circuit Court, Marriage Record Book A: 1857-1874, Cabel Slade, Marriage License; Florida State Archives, Tallahassee; microfilm 152-MF002
When the census taker came around, did Stephen and his wife SAY Cabell was a male or did the census taker just assume so? 

And what about 1860?  No Cabell is mentioned.  However, there is a Louiza who is the same age as Cabell would have been, but no Louiza in 1850 or 1870.  Was Cabell really Cabell Louiza Slade or Louiza Cabell Slade?  

It’s possible.

Or so I thought until the sale of Stephen Slade’s land in Lafayette County in 1885. The sellers were Julia Slade and Emma C. Ross. It seems probable that the “C” stood for Cabell.

Whatever Cabell’s story is, she seems doomed to obscurity. What I have said here is ALL I know. One would think with a marriage in 1874, there would be census records at the very least to add. Alas, not even in 1880.

With a common, NORMAL, acceptable and sensible name like “Emma,” how did the Slades come up with a name like “Cabell” for a sweet baby girl born in 1848? I do not have an answer, but I did a little research on the name. Several sources say it was a French name meaning “rope.” Historically it was a boy’s name that reached its popularity around 1915 and has been declining ever since - no blips, no short resurgence of popularity, just a straight line to its new low.

I had to click on A LOT of baby name websites even to find “Cabell” as a girl’s name. There is very little information except a speculation that it is a variation of “Campbell,” a fine Scottish name. Hmm - maybe there is a clue to the Slade family heritage. Slades were supposedly Welsh, but without a maiden name for Stephen’s wife Margaret, I do not know the full story.

The name “Cabell” was strange-sounding to me, a new name I had never heard of. How did the writers of the television show “Bull” come up with the name “Cabel” for the character Cabel McCrory, the resident computer expert played by Annabelle Attanasio? Despite being written out of the show, will her popularity spark a new wave of little Cabells dressed in pink?

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

© 2019, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. 'Tis a puzzlement, truly. But I'm guessing you hit the nail on the head when you said the census-taker assumed Cabell was male.

  2. I just found a census taker had misspelled many of a family's names...probably because they weren't Mary and John! So getting Cabell's sex wrong at just a few months old might well have been possible. But then she used different names every 10 years apparently! Poor dear must have had a bit of a complex as to her identity!

  3. My first thought in reading the name was: Cabell County in West Virginia. It was named after William H. Cabell, the Governor of Virginia from 1805 to 1808. It may be far-fetched but could Cabell be the surname of one of the grandmothers? Or were there any families in the area with the surname Cabell?

  4. Cabell County, (West) Virginia was my first thought, too. Possible earlier residence?

  5. I hadn't even heard of the name Cabel until the character on the series Bull. I'm not sure how I feel about it as a name for a child, boy or girl, but I see a lot of strange names coming through on the reports I type. Makes me think perhaps a family name as I have a dear friend who named several of her children after last name family names for their first name. Another mystery for you I guess that won't be solvable.


  6. I'm leaning toward the Cabell County theory...many of my Georgians were named after counties, towns, historical figures and thankful not rivers like the Chattahoochee. For whomever/whatever he/she Cabel/Cabell were named we at least can assume it was not for Cable TV which now is nearly obsolete...wonder how Wireless works for a trendy name.

  7. Now that's an interesting name - never heard it before (obviously I don't watch Bull).

  8. Wendy, interesting post and an interesting problem. Some ideas to think about in regards to finding out more about your Cabel, are there city directories in the area that you could check and did the couple have children where you could find their death records which might give you a better idea of her name. Since you indicated you don't know her mother's maiden name that might also be a clue to follow. Enjoyed your reference to Cabel on the Bull show. I really liked her.