Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Working Theory

There are so many what-ifs and maybes in this Stone family line. I can theorize based on the history of the area(s) in which this family lived. I can make assumptions based on circumstantial evidence. None of that is particularly sound genealogical research. But I need to get my thoughts down on "paper" to help me think it through. So here's my working theory of the life of Matthew R. Stone.

  • My hypothesis is that Matthew R. Stone was one and the same as Robert Stone, son of Thomas Stone (b. abt. 1811 Virginia) and Rhodicine Kelly (b. abt. 1815 Virginia). 
  • The family lived first in Tennessee, then in Missouri.
  • Robert's siblings were James N. Stone, Benjamin D. Stone, and Rhoda T. Stone. 
  • By the 1850 census, Benjamin and Rhoda were living with their maternal grandparents, James and Nancy Kelly, in Moreau Township, Morgan County, Missouri.
  • Family history found online about the life of Benjamin Stone indicates that his parents died in 1849. There is no evidence of an exact date, location or circumstance surrounding their untimely deaths. 
  • I have not yet found James N., Robert or Matthew Stone in the 1850 census. Stone family history indicates that Matthew was freighting the Santa Fe Trail when he was young. Could he have been on the trail when the census was taken, at the tender age of 14?
  • Land records circa 1856-1857 show land in the name of Matthew R. Stone, the first time we see the name Matthew in official documents. One document lists Matthew R. Stone and James N. Stone on the same record. There are also land records in the name of Robert Stone during this time period, and the 1860 census shows a Robert Stone living in Morgan County. The land records for Robert are in the northwest corner of the county, whereas Matthew's are in the central area close to the city of Versailles.
  • Robert Stone married Elizabeth Fisher on March 2, 1857 in Morgan County, Missouri. The family Bible shows that Matthew R. Stone married Louiza Fisher on March 5, 1857. The proximity of the dates and closeness of the names is the first circumstantial evidence that Matthew is Robert and Louiza is Elizabeth. 
  • The 1860 census shows Rhoda Stone living with a W. R. and Louisa Stone in Versailles, Morgan County, Missouri. Could this be yet another name for M. R./Robert/Matthew? This person reports his birth place as Alabama. How does that fit? The name Louisa fits with the family Bible record of his first marriage. 
  • The family Bible records the marriage date of Rhoda T. Stone to Peter Cane (local historical records suggest the correct spelling was Cain) - indicating that Rhoda Stone is somehow closely related to the M. R. Stone family. No relationship is given in the Bible.
  • The 1870 census shows Matthew R. Stone and his wife listed "Laura" living in Bee Branch, Chariton County, Missouri. Also living with them is Truston L. Fisher who was born in 1864. Could this be Elizabeth/Louiza/Louisa/Laura's brother? Orphaned? 
  • The family Bible records the marriage of Truston Lee Fisher. His place in the family is not clearly defined in the Bible, but the 1880 census shows T. L. Fisher listed as the adopted son of M. R. Stone. Both living in Grayson County, Texas. There was  a population boom in Grayson County at this time due to the railroad coming through.
  • We follow Peter and Rhoda Cane to Grayson County in the 1880 census as well. They named their children: William J., Matthew A., James A., Louisa, and Benjamin A. Cane.
  • The family Bible indicates that Louiza Fisher Stone died in 1880. Verbal family history passes down a story about the covered wagon overturning in the Red River on the way to Texas from Missouri. Could Louiza have died in this accident? She was not listed in the 1880 census record, which was taken shortly after her death and showed them living in Texas. The story goes that the family stayed near the Red River for some time, diving to recover the belongings (including the family Bible) which fell into the river.
  • The family Bible indicates that Matthew R. Stone married Cansas Elizabeth Gault in 1881. This is where the family history follows Matthew through his "new" life - where the lineage leads to Colby. This life included moves from Texas to New Mexico to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and back to Texas.
  • Of note is the 1900 census, which shows Rhoda T. Cain living with son Alfred Cain in Indian Territory. She reports her father's birthplace as Alabama. Is this an entirely different person? Or was W. R./M. R. like a father to her so she reported his birthplace instead of her birth fathers? And was he really born in Alabama or Tennessee? Or even Missouri as the written family history suggests? Many, many questions on this point.
So it's the first part of the narrative that is shaky. The Bible has helped a lot in getting us on the right track though! Here are just a few of the images from the Bible. 

Colby has also started a Facebook group to hopefully attract some other descendants to the cause. It is located at:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Leave No Stone Unturned

The search for the Stones continues. I've had a lot of luck in the past 24 hours. I've found land records, possible siblings or cousins, and lots of Thomases, Rhodas, Benjamins, etc. Alas, no conclusive evidence of Matthew Robertson Stone's parents. If my working theory is correct, he was the son of Thomas Stone and Rhodicine Kelly. But there are no other family trees that support that. If he wasn't a son, he was closely related... a nephew perhaps. It appears that their daughter, Rhoda, lived with Matthew and his first wife Louisa for a time.

What I can tell you without a doubt about this particular line of Stones... they were quite adventurous. Maybe they didn't think so - they probably thought it was just self-preservation. But any family whose widows would go live in Indian Territory... well, I think that's pretty brave. I cannot imagine living during this time period. Crossing rivers in covered wagons, losing all your belongings, losing your loved ones, setting out  again across the entire state of Texas to get to New Mexico... just really an amazing saga of life on the frontier. Matthew R. Stone was indeed adventurous!

IF he was the son of Thomas and Rhodicine, that still leaves me stuck. They died before the 1850 census, which means if I actually find them in the 1840 in Tennessee... I wouldn't be able to prove that it was the same one (because it was just head counts, not names... and there were several Thomas Stones in Tennessee in the 1840 census). What I'm hoping is that eventually I'll get far enough back to meet up with some other family tree that's been well-researched coming forward. Here's hoping!

I'm adventurous too. Only in a sit-in-front-of-your-computer-and-stalk-people kind of way.