Friday, March 18, 2011

Francis G. Thomas and an unfinished puzzle

The gravestone is broken, resting against what may be its original base, pieces from other markers alongside. An interesting picture, I thought.

Francis G.
son of
Cordelia E.
Nov. 28. 1878.
18ys. 8ms. & 1d.

What is missing? What about the father?

With that simple question, I jumped down another genealogical rabbit hole.

If Francis was 18 years old in 1878, he may have been born when the 1860 census was taken. A quick search for Cordelia Thomas on finds a good match.

Household of Cordelia Thomas, 1860 U.S. census, Liberty Township, Delaware County, Ohio, Taken on June 5.

The census record, showing Cordelia as head of household (no Mr. Thomas here), matches the gravestone in (1) location, (2) mother’s name, and (3) age and gender of the baby with no name.

After several more searches on some of my favorite genealogy-related sites, Francis Thomas’s father was still a puzzle. (I did find Cordelia’s death record on; she died in 1905, apparently never having remarried.)

I was about to set this puzzle aside when I tried a sloppy, vanilla Google search for Cordelia Thomas Delaware County Ohio—and found Mr. Thomas hiding in an 1880 book, History of Delaware County and Ohio.

From History of Delaware County and Ohio,
O.L. Baskin & Co., 1880

Mystery solved. Mr. Thomas is Mr. John Thomas.

Uh-oh. Something is wrong here.

If John Thomas died in June of 1858—two years before the 1860 census—he could not have been the father of Cordelia’s baby-without-a-name.

Guess I will set this puzzle aside for now after all. Something is wrong somewhere. It could be a minor error, or it could be that I have tried to force a puzzle piece into the wrong puzzle altogether.

It’s an interesting photo nonetheless.

1 comment:

  1. About Whetstone River, which bordered the Thomas homestead, according to the book excerpt above, I excerpt this passage from Wikipedia:

    The Olentangy River (pronounced /oʊlənˈtændʒi/) is a 97-mile-long (156 km) tributary of the Scioto River in Ohio.

    It was originally called keenhongsheconsepung, a Delaware word literally translated as "stone for your knife stream", based on the shale found along its shores. Early settlers to the region translated this into "Whetstone River".

    In 1833, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation intending to restore the original Native American names to some Ohio waterways, but mistakenly gave Whetstone River the name "Olentangy"—Delaware for "river of the red face paint"—which had actually belonged to what is now known as Big Darby Creek.


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