WebbPat suggested that I search Ancestry’s marriage records. She’d searched for me, and hadn’t found Susan. I was very grateful to Pat, since I don’t have access to Ancestry at home.
Here’s what I found about the marriage collection at Ancestry for the counties I think Susan may be found in.
Dekalb (I have reason to think Susan may have came from Dekalb County, TN, but no proof)-The records from the county in this database cover the years 1851 through 1875. That’s a good thing, since that’s perfect for the time period Susan may have married a Markham. I think she was born Susan Markham, but haven’t ruled out that she married a Markham before the 1880 census.
Rutherford-The records from the county in this database cover the years 1851 through 1870. Again, a good range for her to have married before 1880.
Wilson (Where we know she lived in 1880)-The records in this database cover the years 1876 through 1885. This is more troubling. She had a daughter who was born in 1863. I would need Wilson County marriages from 1858-1864 to really be sure.
My next step is to order the microfilm from Wilson County. There is only one roll that covers 1838-1884. There are several rolls that cover loose records, but I will start with the marriage books first.
It appears that the records at Ancestry are not actually the marriage records but rather court records from the various courthouses. This is one of those times where you need to be sure that the record you are using is all exclusive. Always know what the records contain and what years.
Once again I do want to thank Pat. She did save me a lot of time looking up the records and ruling out that Susan wasn’t listed. And she reminded me of a record at a repository I don’t have access to that I would have forgotten otherwise.
I really don’t believe that Susan was ever married. I believe that her first daughter was the product of either A.) Young love or B.) Rape Young Jennie was born in Jan 1863, making her conception be around April 1862, the start of the Civil War. Susan, her mother, was only 15 when she was born. That fits with the family legend that I won’t like what I found. I don’t think Susan was married to Jennie’s father. He could have been a boy friend going off to fight the war. Or a soldier looking for a little fun before battle. We will never know. I think when Susan stated in 1880 that she was single, that was the truth. I don’t believe she ever married Bill Blaylock either, but it is possible that she and the girls lived with him between 1876 when Lockie was born and 1880 when they are listed living with Jennie and her husband.
So was Jennie’s father a young boyfriend who went off to battle, only to be killed and never returned to his young love. A romantic love story. Or was Jennie’s father a man who took advantage of a young girl, left her pregnant, went on to live his life with his own family never to give her another thought? I guess I get to decide, since there aren’t likely to be any records to prove what happened. Any hearsay from 1862 has likely been forgotten in the last 146 years. If Jennie knew who her father was, she took it to the grave. Why I can’t let it rest is my issue. Why not just research another line? Why do I come back time and time again to a woman who I have one picture of, and one census enumeration and nothing else to go on. What is it about Susan that keeps me coming back to her?