My Grandparents Were Married – Really!

So, my grandparents were married. I know this. In fact, I know that they were married for 16 years before their first child was born. Trying (and failing) to find out what they did during that time is what inspired my interest in genealogy. The generational gap in my maternal lineage averages 33 years, which means that everyone who was alive during those 16 years is…no longer alive. 

However, one must back up a bit because, in order to determine the course of a marriage one must determine the existence of said marriage. And my grandparents, in the great words of Washington B. Hogwallop in O Brother Where Art Thou, “done R U N N O F T.” In other words, they eloped. Family legend (the basis for the entirety of the rest of this paragraph) states that they ran off to New Orleans. Grandma (Marian) was 19, and she had met Grandpa (Hooker) while away at LSU for college. He was one of her only friends who was not a student. Hooker worked at First National Bank in Baton Rouge, starting as a teller and ending as Vice President – the true American Dream. Marian double majored in home economics and mathematics.  But although she graduated high school at age 15 in 1928 and entered college by 1930 (The Adelphean Magazine), she didn’t graduate until 1936 (per her diploma), BECAUSE she got married (legend). An unreliable source for the family legend known only (to the author) as “Great Aunt Sue” said that they “ran off because they had to”. 

Although my mother had learned of it as a teenager, it was only on my grandmother’s deathbed that my aunt learned of her stillborn sibling. The doctor was giving her the standard questionnaire, which included the question “how many children have you given birth to?” Marian answered “three.” My aunt, concerned, put her hand on Marian’s arm and said, “no Mama, you only had two children.” With uncanny strength, Grandma opened her eyes, looked directly into Marsha’s, and said, “THREE.” She later related the story, that, when 8 months pregnant, she and Hooker and Hooker’s mother were driving when the car broke down in the mud. Grandmother Williams refused to help push the car out of the mud, so Marian and Hooker did it together. Apparently, this event precipitated the loss of her baby. 

Mama’s theory is that Marian and Hooker decided not to have any more children, but then changed their minds after the war. Hooker was a supply requisitionist in the South Pacific during World War II, and spent almost all four years away from home. My mother, their first (living) child, was born in 1948, when Marian was nearly 36 years old.  Their second child was born three years later. 

Truly, other than the information heretofore presented, there exists no data as to what they “did” between their marriage in 1932 and my mother’s birth. In that time period, such a thing was nearly unheard of, and again, the family legend states that they spent the non-war period “whooping it up with their friends and having a grand time.” Well, I’m not sure about you, but I don’t ever sign in when I go out to “whoop it up”, so it’s very difficult to find data on their activities. 

This saga will be updated as I continue to find more information.

The King Brothers’ Revolutionary War Service

 

William, Valentine and John, 3rd Virginia Regiment

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John Edwards King was a Private in in the Stafford Co. Militia, Third Virginia Regiment.  Later, during the War of 1812, he became a General, commanding the Third Brigade in the Battle of the Thames.  Unfortunately, his service in the Revolutionary War must be re-proven for applicants to the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (“DAR”).

Until fold3.com began providing scanned images of military records, the only “original” source for information on the King Family was in the exhaustive and highly-regarded research, which was performed by Goode King Feldhauser (“GKF”), Regent of the St. Paul, MN chapter of the DAR in the early 1900s.[1] Unfortunately, much of her research is comprised of her personal knowledge, personal effects, documents and family histories, and those of her family members, all of which remained in their possession. Because the majority of her research was compiled after her death[2] in 1949, it is highly unlikely that any of the previous owners of said memories, personal effects and documents are still living and available.  Thus, the second portion of this project involves corroborating her research by collecting acceptable primary source documentation.

Several sources, including both the Kentucky Encyclopedia[3] and Joyce Stover[4], genealogy columnist for the Cumberland County News, reference GKF’s account of the King Brothers’ Revolutionary War service.  Mrs. Stover says, “John Edwards King fought in the Revolutionary War, along with his brothers Jack, William, Valentine, and Nimrod. He was a private in the Stafford Co. Militia, Third VA Regiment.”  Dr. Stafford’s compilation of GKF also mentions the brothers fighting together in the Third Virginia Regiment, but he mistakes brother William, Jr. for their father, William Sr, who died at age 63 in 1778.  All three works also mention that the brothers were discharged in 1776 at Valley Forge, but this is either a transcription error or an omission of their later service.

At this time I don’t know enough about the battles, locations and companies to verify whether they fought in the same battles at the same time, but I do believe that the evidence below[5] corroborates a significant portion of GKF’s research, specifically that all three brothers served in the 3rd Virginia Regiment during the same time period. Additionally, I can prove that all three remained in the war far beyond February 1776.

  1. A typewritten letter to GKF from the Adjutant General dated January 8, 1915, in regards to her request for information about the Revolutionary Service of the Valentine King. The letter’s typescript is extremely faint, as if the typewriter were running out of ink.  It would be very easy to mis-transcribe those dates.  The letter states:

“…Valentine King served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Capt. G.B. Wallace’s Company, 3d Virginia Regiment, commanded by Col. Thomas Marshall.  He is shown to have enlisted February 26, 1776, to serve two years, and to have been discharged in February (exact date not shown) 1778.  Nothing further relative to this man has been found of record.”

However:

  1. Valentine and John were on muster rolls and pay rolls as soldiers in Captain William Washington’s Company of the 3V from at least April 1777 until July 1777. In August 1777, their service records changed to

“Pvt – Captain Gustavus Brown Wallace’s Company, 3V, commanded by Col. Thomas Marshall – This company was designated at various times as Captain Gustavus Brown Wallace’s and Captain John Francis Mercer’s Company.”

In fact, between August and October 1777, the rolls list the company as GB Wallace’s; in November-December 1777, and January-February 1778, the company is listed as Mercer’s.

 

  1. A Muster Roll dated August 1777 states that John enlisted 23 Feb 1776 for 2 years. Various other months’ muster rolls give the enlistment date as 26 Feb 1776; because the letter to GFK from the AJ stated 26 Feb, that’s the date that I trust.
  2. John appears on a pay roll “of a detachment of the 3rd Virg Reg for the Additional Months pay allowed by Congress, Feb 16th, 1778, dated Yorktown, Feb 18 1778.
  3. John was temporarily promoted to Sergeant from 1 Dec 1777 until 1 Feb 1778. In mid-February 1778, his pay for 2 months of service is on a pay roll  “of Capt. John F. Mercer’s Company of the 3V of Foot commanded by Lieut. Col. William Heth, for those men whose time had expired.”
  4. Later, in November 1779, John appears on a pay roll as a private in Capt. Valentine Peyton’s Company, 3d Virginia Regiment. This service record is on a card for the 3d and 4h Regiments (as opposed to previous cards, which were simply for 3d Rgt).
  5. William King’s military records comprise 60 cards in the book for the 3d and 4h Regiments. While William King’s service is not in question at this time, the cards do state that he was a Private in Capt. Valentine Peyton’s Company commanded by Lieut. Col. William Heth in February 1779,
NOTE:  ALL RECORDS BELOW HAVE BEEN CROPPED TO ILLUSTRATE ONLY THE PERTINENT INFORMATION.  COPIES OF THE FULL CARD RECORDS ARE AVAILABLE AT FOLD3.COM

 

– Adrienne Tomkins, adri@breedingtells.com

11 August 2014

 

[1] Lincoln, Natalie Sumner and Margaret Roberts Hodges, eds. Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine Volume 53. January-December 1919. Philadelphia, PA: The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1919.

[2] Stafford, comp., George Mason Graham, and Goode King Feldhauser. The King family. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971.

[3] Kleber, John E.. The Kentucky encyclopedia. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 1992.

[4] Stover, Joyce. “Roots and Branches.” Cumberland County News (Burkesville), April 3, 2002

[5] Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, compiled 1894 – ca. 1912, documenting the period 1775 – 1784, fold3.com

Free and Paid Resources

Fold3.com is a database of military records from the National Archives. (subscription based)

Ancestry.com is the most popular genealogical research site ever. (subscription based)

Rootsweb has an amazing variety of free resources for genealogy. (free)

Genealogical.com is THE place to buy genealogy books. (online store)

BLM- GLO Records – Find land patents, grants and surveys. (free)

Family History Library Catalog (FamilySearch.org) (free to search; order microfilms to be delivered to your local FHL for about $10 each)

Library of Virginia Catalog Search (free to search for existing records; some are digitized, others must be located physically in the library).

WikiTree – a fabulous online collaborative tree run by volunteers