If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday - Pearl S. Buck


Friday, April 29, 2011

Who's Your Mama?

Did you watch Who Do You Think You Are?  The season is over but you can click on the link and view the episodes.  I love it when networks let you watch the entire episode not just a clip.
Anyway, I have my own who do you think you are? mystery.  I thought it would be fun to share it with you.  We can solve this family puzzle together. Here's the background:

This is William Thomas Spradling, my great grandfather.  He was born on September 15, 1877 in Dexter, Cooke County, Texas.  By 1900 he was living in Oklahoma alone working on a farm.  He died on April 20, 1962 in Duncan, Stephens County, OK.  There are a few mysteries surrounding him.  We will try to solve one at a time.  The first mystery is, who was his mama?

His father, William Alexander Spradling born in 1842 in Illinois.  I'm not sure when he moved to Texas but he was in the 22nd Calvary Regiment Texas during the Civil War.  After the war on March 4, 1868 he married his first wife, Cynthia.  He was 26 and Cynthia was 24.  By 1870 Cynthia's parents had died and her brother, James and her sister Amanda were living with her and Will.  
Cynthia does not appear on any other records after 1870.

Amanda, I think.
Now, William Alexander marries Amanda (Cynthia's sister) on December 2, 1877.  She was 21 years old  and William A. was 35 years old.  Have you figured out the mystery yet?
William Thomas Spradling was born Sept 5, 1877, three months before Amanda is married to William A.
Other family historians have Amanda and Will's wedding date as 1875 or 1876.
I have researched it and found my above date on familysearch.org and the Texas marriages records on ancestry.com.  If you are not familiar with Familysearch.org it is a free site powered by the Church of The Latter Day Saints.  I'm pretty sure the Mormons would have the correct information.
So, did Cynthia give birth to William Thomas then die?
Did her sister Amanda promise her that she would take care of her child?

Here is what I need to help solve the mystery:
1.  Order William Thomas Spradling's death certificate from Oklahoma.
  (I have a feeling it will state his mother as "Amanda" or "unknown")
2.  Try and find a birth notice for William T. 
 This will be difficult because Texas did not officiallly record birth and death records until 1903.
3.  Find out what happened to Cynthia.
  I've searched and searched and have not found anything about her death or burialThankfully, I have found members of Cynthia's family that what to know what happened to her too.  Recruit as much help as possible.
4.  Order the marriage license for Amanda and William A.

This may take awhile but I will keep you informed.
Have a great day.
Territory Mom

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