Friday, October 5, 2012

The Mystery of Jane (continued)

I have previously shared a narrative illustrating why we believe that my 4th great-grandmother Jane (Baldwin) was married to a William D. Baldwin. This narrative also attempted to establish that Louisa, the wife of John Covington Thomas, is the first child of William and Jane. There is one piece of evidence to this mystery that I have not seen highlighted publicly very much, so I wanted to give it some attention.

In 1963, a man named Clarence W. Roberson, Jr. of Terrell, Texas produced an unpublished booklet on the family history of his wife, Nannie Fay Sadler, called "The Samuel Washington Lindley Family." Nannie was a great-granddaughter of John Covington Thomas. In this booklet, a pedigree chart was included on page 49 to illustrate several Baldwin and Lindley marriages in the family tree. This chart is shown below (click to enlarge).

Nannie's great-grandfather surnamed Thomas is shown as married to a Baldwin. A little work is needed to identify this Thomas and his wife, but the trail is easily followed with census records and Texas death records to arrive at none other that John C. and Louisa Thomas, the couple who are the common thread in the Jane Baldwin narrative.

There are four reasons why I think great weight should be given to this piece of secondary evidence. First, as I have researched the other content of this pedigree chart, it contains no mistakes. All of the other parent-child relationships and marriages can be proven to be correct.  This does not prove the Thomas-Baldwin marriage to be correct, but it gives a high degree of assurance that it is correct.

Second, as stated by my distant cousin Cathy Magleby, Clarence Roberson's booklet contains the only known complete listing of children of Francis Marion Baldwin and Mary Sadler. Therefore, he and his family had access to general and specific information about the Baldwin family history that no longer exists. It is logical to believe this information extended to Francis' proposed sister Louisa in the pedigree chart.

It should be noted here that three of Francis Marion Baldwin and Mary Sadler's children were alive in 1960 when the Roberson's began their research. So, it is quite possible they had conversations with nieces and nephews of Louisa. This could be where Clarence had access to a reported Francis Marion Baldwin Bible to compile the birth dates of Francis and Mary's children.

Third, the purpose of the given pedigree chart is to illustrate a somewhat complicated set of marriages and family relations between the Lindley, Sadler, Thomas, and Baldwin families. If it were a simple pedigree chart, Mary Sadler and Francis Marion Baldwin would not have been included. The fact that they were included indicates there was specific, relevant information to the purpose of this chart. That information was another Baldwin marriage into the Lindley-Sadler family that also connected to Thomas family.

Fourth, as I have analyzed the life spans of everyone from Nannie Sadler to Jane Baldwin, there is much overlap in their life spans. Part of what we are considering here is how close this report is to Jane Baldwin and Louisa Thomas and how much discontinuity has occurred in the family that would interrupt or corrupt the flow of family history information. Consider the following:

- Jane Baldwin lived past 1870 in Limestone County.
- John and Louisa Thomas probably both died before 1870 in Leon County.
- Children of John and Louisa Thomas lived from 1843 until 1934, in the latter years in Limestone County.
- Children of James "Jim" Hamilton Thomas (grandchildren of John and Louisa) lived from 1871 (in Leon-Madison-Limestone counties until at least 1900) until 1965 (two of them in Terrell, Texas in the latter years). Specifically, Nannie's mother Minnie Pearl Thomas lived until 1957 in Terrell.
- Nannie Fay Sadler was born in 1909.
- Nannie's husband begins compiling family history info in Jan 1960 from Terrell, Texas.

With so much overlap and virtually all of these families remaining in relatively close proximity well into the 20th century, the situation was conducive for sharing and communication of family history.

Therefore, I am quite comfortable with the conclusion that Louisa is a sister of Francis Marion Baldwin and therefore a child of Jane Baldwin. Despite the lack of primary evidence, I think we have likely established the truth. I believe the Baldwin family history developed by Clarence Roberson was done on a firm foundation and is reliable.

Finally, it is important to note that there were very few Baldwins in Texas in the 1840s. If indeed the maiden name of Louisa Thomas was Baldwin, and there is close geographical proximity and interaction between the families of John C. Thomas and Jane Baldwin throughout the 1840s and 1850s, the likelihood of Louisa being the daughter of William D. and Jane Baldwin is very high.

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