Monday, November 20, 2017

DNA Discoveries: Jewell Progress

I've known since I took over our family's genealogy research from my father in late 2012 that my great great grandfather Powhatan Perrow Jennings married Catherine B. Jewell, a daughter of Thomas and Sallie (maiden name unknown) Jewell in 1836. After spending an afternoon in the Virginia Room at the Fairfax County Library, I could add a bit more to my scant Jewell knowledge base. Thomas Jewell[1] died before 21 October 1833 when Catherine's brother was made a guardian of his sister Catherine:

From the The Wills of Amherst County, 1761-1865:

CATH. JEWELL -- Book 8, Page 355 -- Guardian Bond -- October 21, 1833. JESSE JEWELL, JAS. JEWELL, and TERISHA JEWELL for JESSE as guardian of CATH. JEWELL, orphan of THOS. JEWELL, deceased.

I assumed Thomas' wife, Sallie, was also deceased since Catherine was considered by the courts to be an orphan.[2]

And for years I never tried researching the Jewell family in any depth until I looked at this DNA match which was a new entry in my list of matches:

Family tree of new DNA match for Schalene (Jennings) Dagutis; image
courtesy of

Only the Blankenship surname was familiar to me and no geographic locations were included in this tree but after looking at our shared matches, the match had to be part of my Jennings line, who have been in Virginia since before the Revolutionary War.

I started at the top of his tree and entered what little information was provided about Russell Moon, and added that he lived in Virginia. The Find A Grave record included parents and the 1920 census confirmed Oscar L. and Valera Moon were his parents. Searching on Oscar revealed Valera Moon's maiden name was Burley. That was a familiar surname of which I have several from Amherst County in my tree. I learned her father was Thomas Dillworth Burley and his father was Uriah Burley.

I search my tree prior to entering a new person to ensure I am not entering a duplicate. When I searched my tree for Uriah Burley, I discovered he was already in my tree, married to Catherine Jewell's sister, Terisha (in the will book), but Tacie/Tacey in other records. I had Terisha as a possible sister of Catherine's but had no proof of the relationship...or so I thought.

So I now knew that the common shared ancestor between the DNA match and myself was Thomas Jewell, my first DNA confirmation the paper trail was correct.

My research skills have improved since 2012 so I thought I investigate Thomas again. The first thing I did was to review what I already knew. And slapped my forehead (figuratively) in frustration as this transcription stared out at me from my tree:

From the The Wills of Amherst County, 1761-1865:

THOS. JEWELL -- Book 8, Page 354 -- Administrator's Bond -- September 16, 1833. JESSE MUNDY. Bondsman: CHAS. MUNDY. Book 8, Page 364 -- Inventory -- Farmer - $3,706.76. September 30, 1833. WM. KENT; LAWSON TURNER; RUBEN CARVER. Book 9, Page 22 -- Division to legatees: JESSE JEWELL, WM. WOODSON, JAS. JEWELL, CATH. JEWELL, URIAH BURLEY, TERISHA JEWELL. October 30, 1833. JNO. DILLARD, WM. KENT, D. STAPLES.

I believe I now know who the children of Thomas and Sallie Jewell were, who were living in 1833. Catherine (Jewell) Jennings' headstone indicated she was born in 1813, which would have made her 20 years old at the time of her father's death. Because she was the only child who required a guardian, I am assuming Jesse, Sarah (wife of William Woodson), and James were all older than Catherine.

What has me a little puzzled is that William Woodson was named as a legatee but not his wife, Sarah (Jewell) Woodson yet Terisha (Jewell) Burley and her husband, Uriah, are both listed as legatees. Does this mean Sarah died prior to her father?

[1] Thomas was listed in the 1810 census as 26-44 years of age; the same age range in 1820; and in 1830 was listed as 60-69 years. I'm assuming the 1830 census was an outlier with 1761-1770 as the range of birth years and that he was born between 1776-1784, the overlap in possible years of birth in the 1810 and 1820 census; or at least that is my current working theory.

[2] Many public trees indicate Sallie's maiden name was Guilford but I have seen no proof that is the case.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

DNA Discoveries: Lillian Pearl (Wells) Porter Porter Walker (1889-1990)

As I was working on some new DNA matches, I got to "meet" Lillian Pearl Wells all over again. She been in my tree for years as the wife of of Joseph "Jesse" Isaac Porter, without known parents or death information. I knew Jesse and Lillian married sometime before 1930 and he had previously been married to and divorced from Emma Mabel Riggin, daughter of Theodore Augustus Riggin (1840-1910)[1] and Caroline (Vangundy) Pritchett, and my first cousin three times removed.

Because of my new DNA match, I did a lot more research into Lillian and I believe my working theory is correct.

Lillian Pearl Wells was born on 10 April 1889 in Chicago, Illinois, to George Washington Wells[2] and his first wife, Ida Logenia[3] Ewing, daughter of Sylvester Ewing and Mary A. Briggs. George and Ida married on 21 June 1885 in McLean County, Illinois, where Ida grew up. After moving to Chicago, George became a policeman and at least one more child was born to he and Ida -- Arthur Washington Wells, who died on 4 May 1894, the same day he was born. His mother died two days later. At the age of 36, George married Bessie Sackett on 9 September 1894 in Chicago.

George Washington Wells (1858-1920); courtesy of
Michelle (Wells) Ward

Lillian Pearl, who sometimes went by Lily, married Daniel Ethan Porter in 1906 in Monroe County, Illinois. He farmed on rented land in 1910 but by 1920 worked as a pipefitter. Together Lillian and Daniel had five children:
  • Lorene Lillian Porter (1909-1992)
  • Clara Porter (1916-1917)
  • Eunice Porter (1917-1984)
  • Nellie Porter (1919-2009)
  • Nettie Porter (1922-2013)
Sometime before 1927 Daniel Porter was committed to the Alton State Hospital, a hospital for the insane built in 1917. He remained a patient until his death in 1955.

Lillian married Daniel's older brother, Joseph "Jesse" Porter[4] soon after Daniel was committed. They had one son, Robert George Porter in 1927 (died in 1991) and the family was enumerated together in 1930. Joseph was an engineer at a flour mill. This second marriage did not last.

By 1940, Joseph and Lillian divorced. Lillian married Francis Marion Walker, a widower, and lived in Henderson County, Kentucky. Her two youngest children lived with she and Marion.

Francis Marion Walker died in 1948 was interred in Fernwood Cemetery in Henderson, Kentucky, beside his first wife. Lillian Pearl (Wells) Porter Porter Walker died on 4 October 1980 in Henderson County.

I have several DNA matches to other descendants of common shared ancestors James M. Wells and Mary Hearelson through their children: Clementine, Daniel, and George. And these matches are also shared with this new match which allowed me to discover Lillian wasn't "just" the second wife of my cousin's husband, but also an ancestor. But before I sorted all the relationships out, I spend several hours very confused!

Diagram depicting the relationships described in this blog post; created
using Microsoft Powerpoint[5]

[1] Theodore Augustus Riggin was a son of my three times great grandfather, Alfred Riggin (1811-about 1850). I descend from another son, John Wesley Riggin.

[2] George Washington Wells was the youngest son of James M. Wells and Mary Hearelson, my three times great grandparents and parents of Clementine Wells, the second wife of John Wesley Riggin (mentioned above).

[3] I had not known George Washington Wells had been married twice. Ida Logenia Ewing was a new discovery.

[4] Joseph "Jesse" Porter had been married and divorced two times previously. First to my cousin, Emma Mabel Riggin; and second, to Margaret (Bone) Purkhiser, whose first husband worked for the railroad and appeared to leave her in Illinois with two young children. He died in California in 1949.

[5] The correct surname of Lillian's third husband is WALKER, Francis Marion Walker.

I descend from James Wells and Mary Hearelson as follows:
Clementine (Wells) Riggin Collins
Ida Mae (Riggin) Muir
Alice (Muir) Jennings

New Wells/Murphy Family Tree Branch
Squabbling Siblings
The Wells Spinsters
New Wells Family Tree Branch