Monday, July 13, 2009

Which Rhoda?

In her post eenie meeney miney mo, Holly asks "Have you had any knotty problem in your research that made you crazy and gave you headaches? Did you ever get it solved?"

My gr-gr-grandfather is Benjamin Horton, born around 1854 in Anderson County, Tennessee. I've known for quite some time that his mother was Rhoda. In the Anderson County marriage records there are two Horton's who married someone by the name of Rhoda. B.F. Horton married Rhoda Hendrix in 1848. R.D. (Richard D.) Horton married Rhoda Frost in October 1852. I have yet to determine the relationship between Richard and B.F. Horton. At any rate, which of these men is the likely father for my Benjamin and his twin brother, Elijah?

In the 1850 census, R.D. is living with one Rebecca Horton in Anderson County. In the 1860 census, Benjamin and Elijah are listed with their mother, Rhoda, but no father is listed. Neither Richard nor B.F. Horton are found in the Anderson County census records after 1850.

To make matters more complicated, R.D. Horton and Rhoda Horton divorced in 1861. A year later, Richard married Mary J. Trail, and at some point the couple settled in Kentucky, where Richard died. Rhoda maintained custody of Benjamin, Elijah, and a younger brother, George. So, later census years were also of no help in determining the paternity of Benjamin and Elijah.

My Benjamin's obit, published in 1912, offered no clues to paternal identity, as it did not mention either parents. I've yet to find a death certificate for him.

I put this problem aside for several years, and recently came back to it. It didn't take me long to realize that while I had located Rhoda, Benjamin, and Elijah in the 1860 census, I had never looked for B.F. or R.D. in areas outside of Anderson County. A quick search at Ancestry's census database did not show any records for R.D. or Richard Horton, but I did find one for B.F. Horton. In 1860 he and his wife Rhoda were located in Jackson County, Missouri. Bingo! Since B.F. Horton and Rhoda were not in Tennessee at all, the Rhoda Horton with Benjamin, Elijah and George in her household has to be Rhoda Frost, married to Richard D. Horton.

1 comment:

  1. I've often found answers ar at least more clues when I've gone away from a knotty problem for a while and then come back. That fresh look at it can be magic!!!