Category Archives: Scott

The Tale of Two Sarahs

I was doing some research on Mollie Graham in the 1910 census when I saw that her mother Sarah was living with Mollie and her second husband Patrick Bohannon.  “Ooh, nice find,” I thought.  “I need to add that to my previous blog entry for Jesse and Sarah Graham.”  So I pulled up that entry and discovered that I had already accounted for Sarah Graham’s residence in 1910, and it wasn’t with Mollie, but with another daughter.

I looked more closely at the two pages from the 1910 census. The first page was for Red River Township, enumerated on 2 May 1910.  It listed Patrick Bohannon as the head of the household, married to Mollie (Graham), and residing with them was Sarah Graham, mother-in-law, age 65, widowed, eight births with four living, born in Alabama, with both of her parents born in Georgia.

The other page was for Wiley’s Cove Township, enumerated on 4 May 1910.  It listed Ezekial H Melton as the head of the household, married to Minnie (Graham), and residing with them was Sarah Graham, mother-in-law, age 66, widowed, eight births with four living, born in Alabama, with both of her parents born in North Carolina.

Both Sarah Grahams had nearly identical details on both census pages.  Even the number of children born and those still living was identical.  That was uncanny.  The only differences were in age (a variance of one year) and in the birth places of the parents – Georgia for one, North Carolina for the other.

Could both census pages refer to the same Sarah?  It’s possible, I suppose.  She could have been at Mollie’s farm on 2 May when the Red River enumerator visited, and then two days later she had made her way to Minnie’s farm just in time for the Wiley’s Cove enumerator.  The one year difference in age could’ve been a slip of the memory, but how can we account for the differences in the birth place of her parents?

It got weirder.

I figured that I might have mixed up two different Sarah Grahams, so I went back to the other census documents that I had referenced.

1880, Bear Creek Township.  This was the only document I had that showed Sarah and Jesse together.  Of the four children living with them, one was Eliza, age 13.  Sarah’s parents were both recorded as being born in Alabama.  A third state!  A third Sarah?

1900, Red River Township.  Sarah F Graham, age 55 (56 first, then struck out), widowed, eight births with four living, born in Alabama, with both of her parents born in Georgia.  Living with her was one child, Minnie Graham, age 17.  But the parents of the Sarah Graham living with Minnie in Wiley’s Cove in 1910 were born in North Carolina.  Were there two Minnies to the two Sarahs?

1920, Shady Grove Township.  Sarah F Graham, age 76, widowed, number of children not recorded, born in Alabama, parents born in North Carolina.    Now the Sarahs even have the same middle initial!  She is living with her daughter Eliza, like the 1880 Sarah, but the 1880 Sarah had her parents recorded as born in Alabama. Did each Sarah have her own Eliza, too?  (Maybe, for in my entry on Eliza Ann Graham I noted a discrepancy in her age on this census!)

What is the likelihood of there having been two Sarahs that were both born in Alabama at roughly the same time, both marrying Graham men, then both moving to Searcy County, Arkansas and both having daughters with the same names, and a total of eight children with six living during the same time period, with the only difference in the birth place of their parents?  Highly unlikely, I imagine.

What is the explanation, then?  Transcription errors?

For the nonce I shall assume there to have been one Sarah F Graham until I can verify otherwise.  But I’ll place an asterisk by her name in my tree and a link to this post.

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Jesse & Sarah Graham

Jesse Graham was born circa 1844 somewhere in Alabama.  I have found conflicting information about his parents, so I will not commit to any names yet.

Sarah F. Scott was born on 5 June 1844 somewhere in Alabama.  Jesse and Sarah were wed circa 1864 in Alabama.

While residing in Alabama they had at least two children:  William, born circa 1865, and Eliza Ann, born in 1868.

At some point, the family moved to Texas.  Their son John Henry Graham was born there in 1870.  I haven’t yet found this family in the 1870 census.

By 1879 the family had settled in Bear Creek Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, and their daughter Mary Francis Graham was born.

The facts in the preceding paragraphs were derived from the 1880 United States Federal Census.

In June of 1882, the couple welcomed another daughter, Minnie Graham.

The 1890 census, of course, was lost in a fire in 1921, and therefore no census data is available on this family for that year.

1890

On 22 May 1895, Jesse obtained a plat of land under the Homestead Act of 1862. The plat was “the East half of the South West-quarter, the North West-quarter of the South West-quarter and the South West-quarter of the North West-quarter of Section four in Township thirteen North of Range sixteen West of the Fifth Principal Meridian in Arkansas containing one hundred and sixty acres and sixteen hundredths of an acre.”

Jesse Graham

Grave marker of Jesse Graham, Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.

1900

In early 1900, Jesse Graham died at the approximate age of 55.  He was interred at Shady Grove Cemetery in Searcy County, Arkansas.

The 1900 census recorded the widow Sarah, 55,  living with her 17 years old daughter Minnie.  This census also recorded that Jesse and Sarah had a total of eight children, with four living in 1900.  Drawing upon the two census gives us this list of children, numbered only for convenience and not birth order:

  1. William Graham, born c. 1865
  2. Eliza Ann Graham, born 5 September 1868
  3. John Henry Graham, born 8 May 1870
  4. Mary Francis Graham, born c. June 1879
  5. Minnie Melinda Adeline Graham, born 10 June 1882
  6. Unknown
  7. Unknown
  8. Unknown

Eliza, John, Mary and Minnie have all been confirmed as alive in 1900, so it was William and the three unknown children that had died by 1900.  Their places of burial and the circumstances of their deaths are, at present, unknown to me.  William was recorded on the 1880 census, so his death occurred sometime between 1880 and 1900, a span of twenty years.

1910

Sarah was apparently enumerated twice in the 1910 census (see The Tale of Two Sarahs).  The first time was for Red River Township, enumerated on 2 May 1910.  It recorded Patrick Bohannon as the head of the household, married to Mary F. “Mollie” Graham, and resided with them was Sarah Graham, mother-in-law, age 65, widowed, mother of eight with four living.

1910 Patrick Bohannon Census Detail

1910 Census for Patrick Bohannon, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, showing Sarah Graham living with the Bohannons.

The second time was for Wiley’s Cove Township, enumerated on 4 May 1910.  It recorded Ezekial H. Melton, 62, as the head of the household, married to Minnie Graham, 28, with a 34 year difference in their ages.  Resided with them was Sarah Graham, mother in law, age 66, widowed, mother of eight with four living.

1920

By the 1920 census Sarah, then 76, had moved to Shady Grove Township to stay with her eldest daughter Eliza Ann, who was the widow of James Newton Siler Watts. Interestingly, Eliza’s age was recorded as 45 – she would’ve actually been 52 in 1920.

Eliza Watts 1920 Census Detail

1920 Census for Eliza Ann (Graham) Watts, Shady Grove Township, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Sarah Scott Graham

Grave marker of Sarah (Scott) Graham at Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Sarah F. Graham, née Scott, died in Watts, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas on 14 November 1928 from “old feeble age”.  Her death was reported to the Arkansas State Board of Health by her grandson Lester Bohannon.  Sarah was interred beside her husband Jesse at Shady Grove Cemetery on 18 November 1928.

Variations

Jesse’s name was recorded as “Graham, Jesse” on both the 1880 census and on the Graham Family Data Sheet, and as “Jesse Graham” on his land patent.

Sarah’s name was recorded as “Graham, Sarah” on the 1880 census, in both districts from the 1910 census, and in the Arkansas Death Index.  She was “Graham, Sarah F” on both the 1900 and 1920 census.  The Graham Family Data Sheet recorded her maiden name as “Scott, Sarah”.  Her first name was spelled “Sarrah” on her Certificate of Death.

Sarah’s Certificate of Death appeared to record her birth date as 5 June 1838, but then gives her age at death as 84 years, 4 months and 9 days.  That does not add up.  If we calculate her age using the birth year of 1844, as given by the 1880 census, the result is 84 years, 5 months and 9 days, which is just about right.

Sources

Ancestry.com. United States Federal Census for years 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920; Census Places: Red River and Wiley’s Cove, Searcy, Arkansas. Retrieved on 25 December 2011.

Ancestry.com. Arkansas Death Index, 1914-1950. Retrieved on 25 December 2011.

Arkansas State Board of Health. Certificate of Death for “Sarrah Graham”, photocopy provided by Louise Graham Bower.

Grave markers photographed by Ashli B. Graham on 4 June 2011 at Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas.

John Henry Graham Family Data Sheet, transcribed by Nellie Collins Allen from the Graham Family Bible, 1973.

General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, United States Department of the Interior. Homestead certificate number 10164, application 13986. Retrieved on 18 January 2012.


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