Sunday, December 31, 2023

Benjamin and Martha

Elijah Covington was a wealthy man by anyone's standards in Antebellum Anson County,  North Carolina. When he died intestate on September, 20, 1859, he was 65 years old and had outlived his first wife and several of his children. His two oldest surving sons, James Melton Covington and Benjamind D. Covington, were named as executors of his considerable estate. At the time of his death, his estate sale took a full 13 pages just to list the farm implements, various livestock, carts, wagons and personal items. It took another 9 pages to list the notes due him. He appeared to be the neighborhood loan company. Things became even more complicated when one of his executors, son Benjamin D. Covington, passed away on October 1, 1863.  March 15, 1862

Ben had enlisted in the Confederate Army in Company H, 43rd Infantry on February 24, 1862, at the age of 37.  A single man, having been dealing with the massive burden of his father's estate settlement, he was fully aware of the dangers of War and the nessessity of a Will, in case he did not make it home alive, and he did not. Benjamin wrote his Will on March 15, 1862, and an entry in that will spiked my curiosity. Therein is the reason for this post. 

I first came across the family of Elijah Caswell Covington, born May 23, 1794 and died September 20, 1859, when researching another Elijah, Elijah C. Townsend (1839-1901). Elijah C. Townsend was an orphaned boy found in the 1850's and 1860's, living near a number of other orphaned boys with the surname Townsend, James M., William H. and Benjamin F. Townsend, who were found in those same years, living with Elijah C. Covington, or his children. Suspecting a family connection, I looked into that family and discovered that yes, he did have a daughter named Elizabeth "Betsy" Covington, who had married a Townsend, and had predeceased her father. Then I came across two deeds that showed that in 1843, close to the time that Betsy had died, Elijah had had business dealings with one Sherwood, or Sherod Townsend, son of David Townsend.

There were few Townsends left in the area by 1850, there was a Solomon in 1830, who moved to Richmond County, and a few single daughters, Susan and Melinda, of David Townsend, sisters of Solomon and Sherwood. It only made sense that Elijah C. Townsend may have been a child of this union between Sherwood Townsend and Elizabeth "Betsy" Covington, but it required a deeper dig into the family histories of both the Townsends and Covingtons to find proof. It was when I looked at the estate file of Benjamin D. Covington, who passes away in 1863, that I found tacked to it, the houmongous final estate file of Elijah C. Covington, his father, all 130 something pages of it, and the proof I needed. 

Thurs. Sept. 29, 1859  North Carolina Argus
   DIED, in this County on the 20th inst., ELIJAH COVINGTON, a most worthy man 
and esteemible citizen and for many years a member of the Baptist Church. He 
leaves a large family and an extensive circle of friends to  lament his death.

File at:

The remaining estate of Elijah Covington, Sr. had been somewhat reduced by the events between his 1859 demise and the 1870 resolution of it. Most clearly was the emancipation of his slaves, 32 in number in 1859, at the end of the War. What solidly remained was the real estate. It was listed as 1760 acres in Anson County along the Pee Dee River, 150 acres known as 'Head's Old Field Place', that joined R. T. Bennett's property, 130 acres called the 'Sanford Home Tract', that joined the Bailey land, his first wife having been a Bailey before marriage, the 100 acres Douglas Place that also joined the R. T. Bennett property, and a town lot in Wadesboro worth about $200. Within that property was left a dower for Elijah's surviving second wife, Hannah Hooker Covington, who was still living in 1870.

The list of heirs included Elijah C. Townsend "who represents his mother, Betsy Townsend who died before the intestate." Elijah Townsend wasn't alone, however. All four of Betsy Covington Townsends son had served in the Civil War, Elijah C., James S., William H. and a very young Benjamin F. Townsend. Their birth years were as close as I can deterime, Elijah in 1838 or 39, James about 1839 or 40, William in 1841 or 42 and Benjamin in 1844 or 1845. Elijah married Elizabeth Boggan, daughter of  John J. Boggan Sr.and survived the War. He left his daughter with her mother's parents and moved to Texas. Jame S. Townsend died on January 21, 1865 in Elmira, NY, a prisoner of War. Benjamin died on August 18, 1864, at a hospital in Florence, after being wounded at Cold Harbor, not yet a man even. William served, but no indication of his fate after. Now I know he was alive in 1870, as he and Elijah are listed as living survivors of Betsy.

The living heirs of Elijah C. Covington in 1870 were listed as:

- James M. Covington, Judge of Probate in Anson County, who sued the other heirs and was plaintiff in the case, aged 50 of Wadesboro.
- Serena, who married Daniel Fesperman and lived in Cabarrus County, NC, aged 45.
-Dr. Elijah A. Covington, who had lived until at least 1865 in Texas and had since passed, leaving two daughters, Alonso and Alyssa, both 'infants', or minors.
-Margaret, who married Daniel Gatewood, and lived in Wadesboro, aged 40.
-Benjamin Covington who died in 1863.
-Risdon Covington who died in 1864, leaving 3 children; Benjamin, Eugenia and Julia, all minors who lived near Lanesboro, Anson County, NC.
-Emmaline, who married Ambrose Caudle and lived in Lanesboro, aged 35.
-John Covington, who died in 1865.
-E. A. Covington, who resided in Wadesboro, aged 33.
-Nancy, who married Samuel Gatewood, aged 30, of Wadesboro
-Lemuel Covington, aged 25, of Wadesboro
-William Townsend and Elijah Townsend, who represent their mother, Betsy Townsend, 'who died before the intestate'.

The family listing of the children of Elijah C. Covington found in family records reads a little different. 

By first wife, Margaret S. Bailey (1795-1843) 

1) Elizabeth "Betsy" Covington (married Sherwood Townsend) * 1815-1845
2) James Melton Covington, (1817-1880) Married Evaline Johnson, 9 children.
3) Serena Sarah Covington (1823-1882) Married Daniel Monroe Fesperman, 5 children.
4) Elijah C. Covington Jr. (1824-1865). Married 1st to Mary A Kindred. Moved to Mississippi. Married 2nd to Elizabeth Holt, moved to Shelby County, Texas. (Jr. actually had 4 children before his death. In addition to the two daughters mentioned in the Will that his family knew about, there were two sons that they didn't)/
5) Benjamin D. Covington (1826-1863) Unmarried.
6) Margaret M. Covington (1828-1909) Married Daniel M. Gatewood, no children, adopted a niece.
7) Emmaline Covington (1830-1914) Married 1st Alexander Watson, one child, married 2nd Ambrose Caudle, 8 children.
9) William T. Covington (1832 - bef 1859) Unmarried.
10) Risdon B. Covington (1833-1964) Married Lavina Caudle, three children.
11) Ann Adeline Covington (1835 -bef 1859)
12) Dr. Ebijah Andrew "E. A." Covington, sometimes seen as 'Elijah' instead. (Not an error. They did name two sons Elijah/Ebijah, one with the middle name Caswell and the other with the middle name Andrew. The younger was always known as "E. A.). (1838-1915). Married Harriett Rebecca Edwards, aka Hattie. No children.
13) John W. Covington (1839-1880). 
14) Nancy Hooker Covington (1841-1917) Married Samuel Gatewood. Eleven children. Nancy is attribed to Margaret Bailey Covington, but I wonder why her last name was Hooker, when her father next married a Hooker?

Margaret supposed died about 1843 and Elijah C. Covington remarried Hannah Hooker, daughter of Hardy and Delilah Flake Hooker, shortly after. They had two known sons:

15) Lemuel Hardy Covington (1844 - 1908) Married Mary Eliza Jackson, 6 children. Married next Alice Nettles.
16) Gaston J. Covington (1848-1862) Not married. 

From the Lemuel Hardy Covington Family Bible:

Elijah Covington was married twice. The following Bible record was copied by Benjamin G. Covington & found among his papers.



L. H. & M. E. Covington married Nov. 7, 1867.


Sons & Daughters of Elijah Covington & Margaret Elizabeth (Bailey)Covington:
Elizabeth Covington .... Apr. 28 - 1815.
James M. Covington...... Oct. 12 - 1817.
Serena Covington.........May 12 -1823.
Elijah C. Covington Jr...Nov. 28 - 1824.
Benjamin F. Covington....Oct. 29 - 1826.
Margaret M. Covington....Sep. 19 - 1828.
Emiline Covington........May 9- 1830.
William T. Covington.....Jan. 19 - 1832.
Riston B. Covington......June 1- 1833.
Ann Adeline Covington....Mch. 13 - 1835.
Ebijah A. Covington......Mch. 9- 1837 or 8.
John W. Covington........Nov. 9- 1838 or 9.
Nancy H. Covington.......Aug. 20 - 1840.

Children by second wife (Hannah Hooker):
Lemuel R. Covington .....Nov. 24 - 1844.
Gaston J. Covington......Oct. 27 - 1848.


Margaret Covington, wife of Elijah Covington, died Feb. 1, 1841.
Elizabeth (Townsend) died Apr. 13th, 1845.
Elijah Covington died Sep. 20, 1859.
Gaston J. Covington died May 3rd, 1862.
Hannah Covington, second wife, died May 13, 1873.

Children of L. H. (Lemuel Hardy) & M. E. (Mary Elizabeth Jackson):
Mattie Lena Covington, b. Oct. 10, 1868.
Benj. G. Covington, b. Jan. 10, 1870.
Julius Walter Covington, b. Jan. 11, 1873.
Andrew Blakely Covington, b. June 21, 1876.
Vann Jefferson Covington, b. May 10, 1882.
Henry May Covington, b. May 26 1885; died May 13, 1887.

Mary Eliza Covington died Feb. 8, 1889.

As it can be seen, the Covingtons suffered great losses of sons and grandsons in the Civil War. I will be looking more into this family later, as there are some curiousities involved. 

NameElija Covington
Marital StatusMarried
Estimated Birth Yearabt 1794
Birth PlaceNorth Carolina, USA
Death DateSep 1859
Cause of DeathTyphoid Fever
Census year1860
Census PlaceAnson, North Carolina, USA

As I have previously noted, Benjamin D.Covington was appointed Co-Administrator of his father's estate along with his older brother, James M. Covington. Due to the messy years that followed, the estate was not settled unitl over a decade later, but Ben had foresight. 

Confederate Love

Due to his father's passing and the evident perils of War facing him, Benjamin Covington, unlike his father, made preparations and wrote a Will. In the Will he names a young woman named Martha. What was their story?

NameEligah Covington
Birth Yearabt 1794
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1850Sandy Point, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Real Estate2500
Line Number15
Dwelling Number331
Family Number331
Inferred SpouseHannah Covington
Inferred ChildSerena Covington
Household members
Eligah Covington56
Hannah Covington46
Serena Covington26
Benjamin Covington23
Margaret Covington21
Emeline Covington17
Wrisden Covington16
Elijah Covington13
John Covington12
Nancy H Covington10
Lemuel H Covington5
Gaston J Covington2
William H Townsen9
Benjamin T Townsen5

In 1850, the first census that named more than the Head of Household, Benjamin is recorded as a 23 year old young man, still living in the home of his father, with most of his siblings. Hannah Covington is his stepmother., his mother, Margaret Bailey Covington having passed away on February 1, 1841. Five year old Lemuel and two year old Gaston, are half-brothers born of Hannah. Nine year old William H. Townsend and 5 year old Benjamin Townsend, are sons of his deceased sister, Elizabeth Covington Townsend who died on April 13, 1845. The family lived in Sandy Point, an area along the Pee Dee River.

NameElija Covington
Marital StatusMarried
Estimated Birth Yearabt 1794
Birth PlaceNorth Carolina, USA
Death DateSep 1859
Cause of DeathTyphoid Fever
Census year1860
Census PlaceAnson, North Carolina, USA

Elijah Sr. died in 1859 of Typhoid Fever, leaving a widow and a large number of children, some still minors.

NameBenjamin Covington
Birth Yearabt 1825
Birth PlaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1860Smiths, Anson, North Carolina
Post OfficeWadesboro
Dwelling Number875
Family Number838
Personal Estate Value2000

Household members
Benjamin Covington35
Risden Covington26
James Townsend21
William Townsend19
Lavinia Covington35
Benjamin Covington5
Mary Covington 2

In 1860, Benjamin is recorded the Head of a Household that included himself, his younger brother Risden, Risden's wife Lavina and two young children, Benjamin and Mary, and two of his Townsend nephews, James and William. Plenty of young men to run a farm.

NameAnn Covington
Birth Yearabt 1810
Birth PlaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1860Smiths, Anson, North Carolina
Post OfficeLilesville
Dwelling Number876
Family Number839
OccupationOwner of Farm
Real Estate Value4200
Personal Estate Value25000
Inferred ChildAbijah Covington; John Covington; Lemuel Covington; Gaston Covington
Household members
Ann Covington50
Abijah Covington22
John Covington21
Lemuel Covington18
Gaston Covington14

Widow, Hannah is shown as "ANN", living with stepsons Abijah and John, and sons Lemuel and Gaston.

The Civil War took John  and young Gaston in 1865, Abijah (Ebijah) and Lemuel survived it. In the prior Covington household, Risden and James Townsend would also perish, while William Townsend survived. The other  two sons of Elizabeth Covington Townsend, Elijah and Benjamin Townsend also fought, with Elijah surviving and Benjamin not, (lots of Benjamins). Benjamin D. Covington, now, 37 years old, knew the odds, wrote a Will, and signed up for the War anyway.

ameBenjamin D Covington
Enlistment Age37
Birth Dateabt 1825
Birth PlaceAnson County, North Carolina, USA
Enlistment Date24 Feb 1862
Enlistment PlaceAnson County, North Carolina
Enlistment RankPrivate
Muster Date2 Apr 1862
Muster PlaceNorth Carolina
Muster CompanyH
Muster Regiment43rd Infantry
Muster Regiment TypeInfantry
Muster InformationEnlisted
Muster Out Date17 Jan 1863
Muster Out PlaceHosp, Goldsboro, North Carolina
Muster Out Informationdied
Side of WarConfederacy
Survived War?No
Residence PlaceAnson County, North Carolina
TitleNorth Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster

Benjamin D Covington mustered in at Mangnum in April of 1862. He was a 6 foot tall farmer frm Anson County. He became sick almost immediately and died in th ehospital at Goldsboro, NC on January 17, 1863.

NamePvt Benjamin D. Covington
Death Date17 Jan 1863
Death PlaceGoldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina, United States of America
CemeteryWillow Dale Cemetery
Burial or Cremation PlaceGoldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina, United States of America
Has Bio?Y
FatherElijah Covington
MotherMargaret Covington

Benjamin was buried in a mass Grave with other Confederate Soldiers at Willow Dale Cemetery.

He must have felt his fate coming.

Benjamin's Will was dated March 15, 1862. He had enlisted in the Confederate army on February 15, 1862, Just three weeks prior. It was probated just over a year later, in April, 1863.

Ben was obviously well-educated, but must have been plain-spoken. His Will was clear, concise and without the usual legalese . There were two things that stood out within his will, who was included and who was not. A portion of it is included below.

'After payment of my debts and funeral expenses I devise and direct tht all my estate both real and personal, shall be divided into two equal parts; and one half of my said estate thus divided, I give, devise and bequeath, equally, tobe divivded among my brothers and sisters of the whole blood, and legal representatives of such as may have died (excluding the children of my Step mother);. The other half of my said estate, I give devise and bequeath to Martha Caudle, daughter of Sampson Caudle. If, however said Martha Caudle should either marry or die before my death, or if she shall marry after my death and then die leaving no issue her survivng ...."

He then directed tha her share would go to his siblings that had inheirted the first half of his estae, and appointed brother James M. Covington as executor. The Will was witnessed by W. P. Kendall and P .J. Coppedge.

The two questions to me were, what contretemps did he have with Hannah Hooker Covington and her two sons, his half-siblings, and who was  Martha Caudle and what his propinquiety to her?

The answer to the first question may be assumed by reading through the years of lawsuits following the death of his father, Elijah. Did he think the adult children got a raw deal over the two minor sons his father had concieved late in life? Was Hannah perhaps an invidious stepparent?

Ben left us several clues as to her identity. First, she was alive in 1862, and also, she most likely lived in Anson County, near the Covingtons. Second, her father was Sampson Covington. She was easily found.

 In 1850, Martha is seen as a 10 year old, leading in the enumeration of the Township of Diamond Hill, with her siblings Eliza and Isaac. They were not alone.

This was a continuation of the previous page. Her father Sampson, was the last entry in the Township of Burnsville. The census taker had simply continued his household on to the next page, as was the practice, but had them started into the next township, inadvertently separating Sampson from his youngest children. 

In both the 1850 and 1860 census records, the Caudle family lived in Diamond Hill, on its border with Burnsville, in Anson County. 
Below is the family in 1860, and Martha is now a young woman of 18. Her 'inferred spouse ' is incorrectly identified. That was her older brother, instead.

NameMartha Caudel
Birth Yearabt 1842
Birth PlaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1860Diamond Hill, Anson, North Carolina
Post OfficeAnsonville
Dwelling Number109
Family Number109
Attended SchoolY
Cannot Read, WriteY
Inferred SpouseWm A Candel
Household members
Sampson Candel56
Louisa Candel52
Wm A Candel23
Martha Candel18
Isaac Candel11
James Constantine ?? Candel8

Despite the nearly two decade ago difference, something tells me that Martha was the girl Ben Covington hoped to return home to and possibly marry. 

At the time of his death, Martha would have been twenty years old. Had he been waiting until this one unrelated young woman in his neighborhood became old enough to marry? Why else would he leave her half of his property in his Will? Why did he not marry her as an 18 year old before he left? Was it because he did not want to leave her a young widow, but a propertied young maid? So many questions, but I believe so. 

What happened to Martha after his death?

Shortly after Benjamin's passing, Martha married, and it appears she married fairly well. Ellis  D. Gaddy, the son of Thomas and Nancy Huntley Gaddy, was a normal , average, Anson County boy.

NameEllis D Gaddy
Age in 187047
Birth Dateabt 1823
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Dwelling Number201
Home in 1870Lanesboro, Anson, North Carolina
Post OfficeWadesboro
OccupationRetail Merchant
Male Citizen Over 21Yes
Personal Estate Value800
Real Estate Value1500
Inferred SpouseMartha J Gaddy
Inferred ChildrenWilliam T Gaddy; James L Gaddy
Household members
Ellis D Gaddy47
Martha J Gaddy28
William T Gaddy6
James L Gaddy2
Mary Bennett39
Braxton Bennett16
Dorah Bennett14
Emerson Bennett11
Elizabeth Bennett8
John Bennett5
Eugene Bennett3
Faney Medley14

I've not located a marriage certificate, however, their first son, William Thomas Gaddy, was born in 1864, so they were probably married in 1863, just after Martha received her inheritance from Benjamin. 

In the 1870 census, Ellis and Martha are the parents of two little boys, operating a merchandise and taking in boarders. Ellis, too, was considerably older than Martha. Here, it gives their ages as 47 and 28.

NameElis Gaddy
Birth DateAbt 1824
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1880Wadesboro, Anson, North Carolina, USA
House Number145
Dwelling Number239
Relation to Head of HouseSelf (Head)
Marital StatusMarried
Spouse's NameMarther J. Gaddy
Father's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Mother's BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Maimed, Crippled, or BedriddenYes
NeighborsView others on page
Household members
Elis Gaddy56
Marther J. Gaddy38
William T. Gaddy16
Frank J. Gaddy12
Annie Gaddy2
Carrie Gaddy2

They  are found farming in 1880 and become the parents of twin girls. I don't know all what happened between 1880 and 1900, but it's likely that Ellis passed away. There was another Ellis D. Gaddy in Anson County and he relocated to Texas. Some have them merged into one, as both were the sons of fathers named Tom, but there are stark differences. 

Martha 's Ellis Gaddy was born in 1823 or 1824. His mother was Nancy Huntley. The other Ellis was born about 1851 and his mother was Betsy McLendon. He was a doctor and married twice, to Sophia Blake and Virginia Hall. 

Martha and Ellis the elder had four children together. All four, and Martha, end up in Arkansas. I don't know if Ellis made it to Arkansas or not. 

William Thomas Gaddy was born July 11, 1863, according to his obituary. He was a lumberman's and farmer. On February 13, 1896, he married Ida Horn in Clio, Cleveland, Arkansas. They live in Arkansas for awhile, but move to McCurtain County, Oklahoma by 1920.  W. T. and Ida Horn Gaddy have three sons, Cecil B, Ray W. and Marion F. William Thomas lives a very long life and passed away in April of 1959 at the age of 95. Despite his obituary claiming his wife was from Arkansas, she was actually from North Carolina, being born on 'Deep Creek ' in Anson County. 

The M'Alester News-Capital

McAlester, Oklahoma • Page 2

His two obituaries, in Oklahoma and in Arkansas, were slightly different. The one above is from McAlester, OK.

James Franklin Gaddy was born on March 17, 1868. He married Susan Ann Henley on December 27th, 1890, at the bride's residence in Wadesboro, NC. At this time, both Ellis and Martha were living. Susan Ann 'Annie' Henley was the daughter of James Thomas and Martha Pickett Briley Henley. 

Like his older brother, Frank would also have a long life and three sons. Frank and Annie became the parents of Henry, Rufus and Clarence Dixon Gaddy. 

In 1900, the brothers are shown living in close proximity in the town of Jackson in Cleveland County, Arkansas. The Horne family is also shown living next to Tom and Ida, with a Mary Henley listed as their daughter, so Ida's sister married a Henley as did Tom's brother. The three families may have planned the move together. 

They would not stay. While Tom went to Oklahoma, Frank moved back to North Carolina. They're back in Wadesboro by 1910. Eventually, they move to Jonesboro in Lee County, NC, where they will remain for decades. 

Frank passed away on October 24, 1958 at the hospital in Wake County at the age of 91. He is returned to Anson County and buried at Brown Creek among his ancestors.

Carrie Gaddy and Annie Gaddy were twins, born on October 26, 1877. There was a decade age gap between the girls and their brothers. 

Carrie married on January 15, 1896 in Cleveland County, Arkansas. She was 18 and her groom, Henry Walton "Walter" Mullis was 19. He was from Arkansas.
The couple had one son, Guy Raleigh Mullis, born on August 23, 1896, seven months later. 

Guy Mullis and wife, Mittie

The name Raleigh is seen spelled correctly, as Rollie,  Rawleigh and Rawleigh. There is a mystery. Carrie may have had twins. Henry had another son, named Vollie Roderick Mullis, who gives his birthday as exactly one month after Guy, and his mother as Mattie C. McLeod. Now, Carries full name could have been Mattie Carrie, especially since her mother's nickname was Mattie, but McLeod? 

In 1900, the young family is shown just households away from her brothers. Only Guy is shown, with a number of boarders, including Henry's brother, John.

Carrie Gaddy Mullis died on 19 March 1901 in Rison, Cleveland County, Arkansas. She was only 23 and buried at Mount Zion Cemetery in Rison. Vollie is linked on Find-a-Grave as her son. We're Guy and Vollie twins, and one of the months wrong? Or was the year of Vollie's birth incorrect and he was younger? This needs to be explored. 
Henry Mullis would remarry and move to New Mexico, where he passed away in Clovis in 1943.

Annie Gaddy and her mother, Martha, are not found in 1900, but we can be fairly certain they were there, in the same small town as the rest of the family, Clio, near Rison, Cleveland County, Arkansas. 

While Carrie married in 1896, Annie decided to wait a little while, and followed a brief career as a teacher, instead.

Annie married on October 18, 1905 to Duncan Julius Tate, 31, son of Evan Dragon Tate and Seriba Clark Hendrix Tate. Annie was 27.

NameDuncan J Tate
Age in 191035
Birth Date1875
Home in 1910Rison, Cleveland, Arkansas, USA
Sheet Number4b
Relation to Head of HouseHead
Marital StatusMarried
Spouse's NameAnnie Tate
Father's BirthplaceGeorgia
Mother's BirthplaceGeorgia
Native TongueEnglish
Employer, Employee or OtherEmployer
Home Owned or RentedOwn
Home Free or MortgagedFree
Farm or HouseHouse
Able to readN
Able to WriteN
Enumeration District Number0017
Years Married4
Enumerated Year1910
NeighborsView others on page
Household members
Duncan J Tate35
Annie Tate32
Martha J Gaddy68

Duncan Tate was a prospoperous buisnessman, firt in natural resources, Quartz mining and lumber, later, operating a merchantile. Marrying the beautiful Annie had been a package deal, he had acquired the care of Mary Jane as well.

NameD C Tate
Birth Yearabt 1874
Home in 1920Rison, Cleveland, Arkansas
StreetEast 4th Street
House NumberX
Residence Date1920
Relation to Head of HouseHead
Marital StatusMarried
Spouse's NameAnnie Tate
Father's BirthplaceAlabama
Mother's NameM J Gaddy
Mother's BirthplaceAlabama
Able to Speak EnglishYes
Employment FieldOwn Account
Home Owned or RentedOwned
Home Free or MortgagedMortgaged
Able to readYes
Able to WriteYes
NeighborsView others on page
Household members
D C Tate46
Annie Tate42
Willie D Tate7
M J Gaddy77
Laura King10

The couple had one daughter, whom they named Willie Duncan Tate, Willie for a girl was a trendy name for the time. Willie was born on October 1, 1912, when her mother was 35 and her father was 40. 

They had also taken in a young relative of Duncan's, Laurine Ovella King, whose mother, Eugenia 'Genie' Estelle Hendrix King, had died when the little girl was an infant. Genie was a niece of Duncan's, making Laurine his great -niece. His mother, Seriba, had married a David Hendrix first, and Genie's father William was Duncan's oldest half-brother. So Willie had a playmate and big sister growing up.

Annie Gaddy Tate took care of her mother until her death just before Christmas, on December 19, 1922. She was 80 years old. Martha was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Rison, Cleveland County, Arkansas with her other twin daughter, Carrie Gaddy Mullis.

When considering the relationship between Benjamin and Martha, there was one other person to look at, and this would take us back to the household of Martha's father, Sampson Caudle.

In 1870, the first census after the Civil War was over, Sampson is seen living in Lanesboro, Anson County, NC. His wife, Louisa Cochran Caudle had passed away and in October of 1868, Sampson had taken on a wife to spend his later years with, Elizabeth Lilly. In the household, we find Sampson, 65, Elizabeth, 35, Isaac, 21, and James 18. Also in the home is a little girl named Anna. Next door is Martha Faulkner, a half-sister of my second Great Grandmother, Sarah Francis Faulkner. Living with Martha is Elmira Lilly.

A decade later, not much has changed, except now, the relationships of the people in the home to the head of household is given. Sampson is 75 and wife Elizabeth, 46. His two youngest sons, Isaac Fulton Caudle and James Constantine Caudle, are living with him, but wait, James Constantine,who was living with Sampson when he was a toddler,is labeled as a grandson. Anna, now 14, is listed as a granddaughter and Elizabeth's sister, Elmira, is living with them now, instead of next door. 

The question is, who of Sampsons children were the parents of these grandchildren. Most especially, Anna, could Martha have been carrying Benjamin Covingtons child when he went off to War to never return?

Anna has only one further record. 

Anna Caudle was not gifted a long life. On July 20ty, 1882, she died of Thyphoid Fever at 16 years old. The news report didn't give the names of her parents, just noted that she was the granddaughter of Sampson Caudle. 

Anna was 4 in 1870, 14 in 1880 and 16 in 1882. All three records suggest a year of birth of 1866. In 1866, Martha had already been married to Ellis Gaddy for about three years and had given birth to her oldest son William Thomas Gaddy. She was not Anna's mother.

The story of Benjamin and Martha must have been an antebellum love story. A very eligible bachelor in his thirties, who well knows the odds of surviving a War. A beautiful young Southern Belle, who has caught his eye, whom he has waited for to obtain a marriagible age. He's so entranced with her, he leaves her half of his estate should he not return from battle, and doesn't want her to suffer the lable of widow, if death overtook him in battle. 

He doesn't return, it was illness, not warfare that took him away. Now a propertied single lady, the young woman quickly found a husband in a time when eligible women far outnumbered the eligible men.  She becomes the mother of two sons and twin daughters, and a widow in middle age, living the last half of her life in a small logging town in Arkansas.

I wonder how many times Martha thought of Ben, and what path her life may have taken had he returned?