Then Ancestry-dot-com disgorged a Texas marriage record for Jasper M. White and Maggie Fain, (19 Dec 1897, in Fannin Co, TX), and for a while we searched for Fain families. You might say we searched in fain. The old Copperplate script-T could be read as an F by eyes or scanners trained in the Palmer Method.
|Coppereplate capitals. Note upper case T.|
As illustration, the Artificial Intelligence believes the following Census entry reads "Bowling house" but the natural sort recognizes it as "Boarding house."
Jasper was easier to track down than Maggie. After all, how common could a name like "Jasper Moses White" be?
Remember the Rule of Two?
|George Washington White (1839-1895)|
b. TN, d. TX
In 1840 and before, only the heads of households are listed, everyone else simply tallied by age interval and sex. So even deducing the names can be tricky.
|1840 Census didn't have much information. The one white male under 5 [first col.] was probably George.|
A fourth caution: the 1890 Census was lost in a fire, so there is a big gap between 1880 and 1900. We searched 1900 Fannin Co for a 21-year old Jasper with a 2-yr old Claude. No luck. Perhaps after marriage, Jasper and Maggie had left Fannin Co. But in that case, all bets were off. They could have gone anywhere. Their descendants eventually wound up in Tulsa; but the in-between was foggy.
A general search finally unearthed Claude in 1910, where Claud L White (11) is listed as a son of Maggie L. Roberts (30) in Ft. Towson, Choctaw Co., OK. Also listed is Ritchard W White (6), whom Margie remembers as her Uncle Dick who "moved to California." Eureka! BTW, note that spelling was often "nonstandard".
Maggie is listed as head-of-household and her marital status is "M3" which one takes to mean "3rd marriage." Jasper is not in view; neither is Mr. Roberts, although there is a Roberts family next door. She is 4 years into the present marriage, and has had three children, two of whom are still living. Maggie's occupation is given as Keeper of a "Bowling house" by the scanner. Who knows how many researchers have accepted that as received wisdom? (See, first caution.)
A fifth caution. The Census takers did not always get things right. Sometimes people forget or the census-taker doesn't hear right. The informant might have been someone not in the household. (You didn't have to be home to be enumerated!) The more questions Uncle Nosy asks, the more opportunities to get things wrong. Two examples from the Flynn side: 1) In 1900, the widow and children of John T. Flynn were living with the family of youngest daughter, Bridget Sawyer. The census taker listed them all as "Sawyers" and gave their relationships as to Bridget, not head-of-household, Tom Sawyer; 2) In 1860, Ann E. Lynch, who would one day marry the aforesaid John T. Flynn, was listed with her parents, Daniel and Bridget Lynch in Washington Twp,, Warren, NJ. and also where she worked as a domestic servant for a farmer named A. Miller. So, she was counted twice.
As in some earlier Censuses, the 1910 asked Place of Birth, Father's Place of Birth, and Mother's Place of Birth without any supposition that these questions would frighten anyone from responding. One nearby family, for example, answered "Mexico" for all three for every family member. (The Census also asked what language each habitant spoke. That family spoke Spanish.)
The 1910 Census states that Claude was born in Oklahoma; but there was no Oklahoma when he was born Perhaps Indian Territory was meant. Later, in another document, he claimed to have been born in Durant, OK.
Red River Valley?) Choctaw Co, OK, lies on the north bank, a little bit downriver, so Bonham, TX, Durant, OK, and Ft. Towson, OK, lie not that far apart.
|The Red River Valley: Texas side, bottom; OK side, top.|
But... still coming up dry for 1900 and for 1920 and 1930. Where did everyone go? And what happened to Jasper?
A seventh caution. The past is a different country. The boundaries of counties changed as new counties were budded off, especially in a region's earlier years. And the region called Indian Territory was especially fraught. In 1900, it was the home to the quasi-idependent Indian Nations. (Indeed, the area was often called "The Nations" in popular parlance.) The area that included Durant, Hugo, Ft. Towson, et al. was part of Choctaw Nation, which had radically different counties than the state that was later erected. To make matters worse, the 1900 Census was by numbered Township-and-Range, not county. There were few roads or even trails. It was the place people went to get 'off the grid.' Robbers' Cave, a favorite outlaw hangout was in the San Bois mountains, east of Bug Tussle.
|Choctaw Nation was divided into three districts, named after three great chiefs; these in turn were divided into counties. |
Notice that the Choctaws named one of their counties Jackson. Go figure.
On the other hand...
An eighth caution. Cross-referencing should be done carefully
|Cynthia Marlow White, |
Coon Town Cemetery, Fannin Co, TX
The aforesaid entry alas appears in the Texas Convict Records for Huntsville prison, Walker Co., TX, where Jasper is serving a 2 year sentence for "theft of a horse." He pled Not Guilty and was released a couple months early, in January 1903. Their second son, Richard, was born a year after; but if by 1910 Maggie had been married to Roberts for 4 years, then she and Jasper split before 1906. By 1912, Jasper had remarried and was in Mississippi then Louisiana, far from the rest of his family. [We know this was the same Jasper because his eventual obituary named brothers and sisters from his father's family in 1880.]
A ninth caution. Be prepared for serendipity. Ya never know. On one of its periodic fishing expeditions, Ancestry produced a 1918 petition for the guardianship of Claude and Richard White. Maggie is dead, and she is named Maggie Davenport. But we know this is the long-sought Maggie because not only are the kids White, but the guardian named is her brother (their uncle) George T. Tam. But had the record only mentioned Maggie Davenport, TOF might not have even read it.
Claud needed a guardian because he was a child of only 19. Definitions of "child" have changed over time.
There was also an executor, her husband George Davenport, who was to disburse the money from a settlement from the Frisco Railroad for wrongful death.
The Pushmataha Co. court records tell us that Maggie [Tam White Roberts] Davenport, died on 21 Apr 1918 from injuries received on 5 Apr 1918
"while riding as a passenger upon of the railway trains of the St.Louis-San Francisco Railway Company [a.k.a. the Frisco], in Choctaw County, Oklahoma. at Long Creek Bridge, near Hugo, Choctaw Co, OK by reason of the derailment of Train No.716 [en route from Hugo to Antlers. See map, above] when said train went through said bridge, causing her to be violently thrown from her seat in a car in said train, against the seats and sides of said car, in consequence of which she sustained fatal injuries."That's pretty gruesome, and it means three generations of Whites lost their mothers at a young age. The guardianship was judged in Tulsa Co. and the 'estate,' which consisted solely of the settlement from the Frisco, was adjudicated in Pushmataha Co., where the accident presumably occurred.
A tenth caution. You got to look at all the data.
|Joshua Tam (1811-1889)|
|"Michael" Ridgeway Tam|
|James Tam, possible father of Joshua D Tam|
Regarding other researchers, trust but verify. One researcher had Claude White doing a stretch in prison for burglary. Now, his guardian did buy Claude's way out of a shoplifting charge at a hardware store. [Today we would say he was acting out over his mother's death.] But this sentence was being served at the same time Claude was burying his guardian and standing before the Tulsa court for emancipation. Unlikely. When TOF finally tracked down the census record for the prison, he discovered that this Claude White was black. So, we ought not infer a connection based on a single datum.5>
<5 10="" 1850="" 20="" 30="" 5="" ages="" and="" are="" backing="" d="" female="" guesses="" in="" jefferson="" joshua="" michael="" nbsp="" off="" one="" p="" reasonable="" samuel="" tam="" the="" unknown=""> 5> <5 10="" 1850="" 20="" 30="" 5="" ages="" and="" are="" backing="" d="" female="" guesses="" in="" jefferson="" joshua="" michael="" nbsp="" off="" one="" p="" reasonable="" samuel="" tam="" the="" unknown=""> 5>
So we have gone from knowing nothing about the Marge's paternal grandparents to reasonable certainty back to 1811 and possibly to 1776.
Now, you may have noticed that this does not leave much wiggle room for Maggie to have been half Choctaw, Choctaws not being plentiful in 1880 Tennessee, when she was born.