Monday, November 12, 2007

On this day in 1812

On November 12, 1812, my second great grandfather Walton A. Harris was born. He is believed to be the son of Charles Harris and Dicey Davis who married 22 January 1811 in Wayne County, Kentucky. Better proof of this relationship is needed but it is based partly on recollections of my grandmother about where she heard he was born (and the state of Kentucky is corroborated by census records) and partly on naming patterns. (His first son was named Charles Newton presumably after father. His second son was named John Jasper, presumably after his grandfather John. His second daughter was called Dicey although her name was Dianna C., presumably after his mother. Some of the children were named after his wife's family.) The reason his parents have been so difficult to identify has been because Walton removed from the area in which his family lived. Family tradition states that he was on a cattle drive from Kentucky to the Starkville, Mississippi area. Along the way, they stopped to water the animals at the farm of his future father-in-law Caleb Mosely. Tradition says that his future wife Margaret was lying in a petticoat on a table when they met. He was so enamored of her that after delivering the cattle, he returned to Tennessee to wed Margaret. The best estimate of this date is in 1840 because Walton has not been located in the 1840 census, and it appears that Margaret is enumerated with her father in that year. Their first daughter was born in 1841. I have seen some estimates of their marriage date as early as 1838. No marriage record has been located. Giles County suffered a record loss in 1865.

I have no idea how much truth there is to this family story about the cattle drive and petticoats; however, in discussing it informally with professional genealogists most have said there appears to be at least some element of truth in it. Wouldn't it be neat to find a record of a sale of cattle from Kentucky to someone in the Starkville area? Mississippi State's predecessor (The Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi) was not founded until 1862 so a sale to the land grant university would not have been an option.

I haven't had a lot of time to spend researching this line prior to their arrival in Itawamba County, Mississippi. With the record loss in Giles County, it is going to be difficult. However, I am hopeful that some more progress can be made when I do get to work on this line with such a common surname.

On one census, Walton's name is spelled Walther; however, the majority identify him as Walton as does my grandmother's Bible.

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