Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Is This My Long-Sought James G. Woodward?

One of the mystery men in my genealogy research has been James G. Woodward (born about 1837 in Vermont?), who married Mary Almeda Vaux (1839-????) in about 1862 in Wisconsin, and was the father of three children - Orpha (born about 1863), Mary (1866-1945), and Ada (1868-????).  Mary Almeda Vaux is my second great grandaunt, and their children are my first cousins three times removed.  I've been hoping for a DNA match popping up at some time.

The only record I have for the family is the 1870 U.S. Census in Platte township, Andrew County, Missouri.  The family information is:

*  Samuel Vaux -- age 51, male, white, a farmer, $3500 in real property, $490 in personal property, born England, parents foreign born
*  Mary A. Vaux -- age 50, female, white, keeping house, born NY
*  James P. Vaux -- age 23, male, white, a farm laborer, born NY
*  Elizabeth Vaux -- age 19, female, white, at home, born NY
*  Amos Vaux -- age 15, male, white, a farm laborer, born NY, attended school
*  James Woodward -- age 33, male, white, a farm laborer, $500 in personal property, born VT
*  Mary A. Woodward -- age 31, female, white, keeping house, born NY, father foreign born
*  Orpha A. Woodward -- age 7, female, white, born WI, attended school
*  Mary Woodward -- age 4, female, white, born WI

James Woodward is the son-in-law of Samuel and Mary A. Vaux.  The two oldest children of James and Mary Woodward are listed, but the youngest child is not - she may have died young.  Andrew County is in the northwest corner of Missouri, with Kansas to the west, Nebraska to the northwest and Iowa to the north.  My Vaux and Smith families were in all of those states in the 1870-1895 time frame.

I think that James Woodward above is the James G. B. Woodward who was age 12, born in Vermont, son of Nathaniel and Orpha (????) Woodward, who resided in Burnett, Dodge County, Wisconsin in the 1850 U.S. Census.  The key clue is his mother's first name, which is somewhat rare and was given to his first-born daughter.  My Ranslow Smith family (including Devier Smith who married Abigail Vaux in 1861) resided in Dodge County near Burnett in 1850-1866, and the Samuel Vaux family resided in Burnett in the 1859 time frame, but is not on the 1860 census there.

Today, I was searching on Ancestry.com for James and Mary (Vaux) Woodward after receiving a Findmypast Hint for a Mary Woodward born in 1840 in New York dying in 1923 in Iowa.  I don't think that is this particular Mary (Vaux) Woodward, but the Hint led me to doing more searching.

My notes from the letter of my great-grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer to her cousins listed James G. Woodward as Mary Vaux's husband, and the letter is the only source of the name of Ada Woodward.  Della is the daughter of Devier and Abigail (Vaux) Smith, and Abigail is the daughter of Samuel and Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux, and is Mary Almeda (Vaux) Woodward's sister

In the search for James Woodward (born 1837, limiting the search to Nebraska and surrounding states), the top of the Results list looked like this:

The fifth item on the Results list caught my eye - James G. Woodward, born about 1840 in Minn., died in February 1880 in Bedford, Taylor county, Iowa.  Taylor county is where my Smiths were before they moved to Andrew County in the early 1870s.

I clicked on the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885, and saw:

After reviewing the record extraction page, I clicked on the green "View" button:

The 1880 Mortality Schedule for Taylor County, Iowa opened.  Here is the record for James G. Woodward:

The name is correct, the age of 40 is about right (3 years off), the birthplace of Minnesota is wrong, he is widowed, and the occupation of Stone Mason is not what he was in the 1870 census (a farm laborer).  Everything about this record screamed at me saying "this may be the right guy" even though some things are not correct, because it is the right name in about the same place ten years after the last known record.

I don't find Mary (Vaux) Woodward in the 1880 U.S. Census - but I do find their daughter Orpha (age 17) with her grandparents Samuel and Mary (Underhill) Vaux in Marshall County, Kansas, while their daughter Mary Woodward is age 14 in the Luce household in Andrew County, Missouri.

I have identified these searches to perform over the next year to try to find out more about James Woodward:

*  Check Andrew County, Missouri land and probate record indexes.
*  Check Taylor County, Iowa land and probate indexes.
*  Check the cemetery sites for both James and Mary (Vaux) Woodward.
*  Check the newspaper websites for this Woodward family.
*  Check the USGenWeb websites for the named counties to see if there are records for the family.
*  Trace Orpha Woodward (born about 1863 in Wisconsin) to find a spouse and descendants.  Either Orpha or Mary Woodward may have left records describing their parents demise.
*  Look for a marriage record for Mary (Vaux) Woodward in the geographic area, and trace her to her death.

Obviously, James and Mary (Vaux) Woodward could have died almost anywhere in the Midwest farm and prairie states.  I may never find them.

There are many more tasks that could be done - what would you do?

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2015/04/is-this-my-long-sought-james-g-woodward.html

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Perry said...

Taylor County began recording deaths in 1880, and the registers are available on microfilm through the FHL:


Hopefully James made it on the register. They often contain more information than the mortality schedules.