Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Peachy: The Next Generation
Now that I've explored the story of missionary Peachy Taliaferro Wilson, I need to recall the whole reason I stumbled upon his existence in the first place: trawling through my entire matrilineal line in search of possible matches with my mystery DNA-matching cousin.
Yes, I know Peachy, as a male descendant, would not fit in that matrilineal profile. I just can't help myself, though: besides being a sucker for rabbit trails in family histories, the compulsion to keep everything neat and tidy as I pass through genealogical layers is unavoidable. Thus, the story of Peachy.
But it can't stop there. Now that I'm aware of my great grandmother's third cousin, the missionary to India, I want to know about his descendants. After all, he had at least four children that I'm aware of—and possibly a fifth, according to a genealogy I've recently discovered.
Thanks to some very slim hints in the Reverend Wilson's own story, it was apparent that he had a daughter who, years later, herself returned to the missions field in north India. Some reports called her May Wilson, but it's become apparent that she was actually named after her mother, Mary. Keeping a close eye on timelines, I've tried my hand at some more searches via Google, and determined that Mary—a.k.a. May—later was known by a married name.
Armed with all those versions of her name—plus spelling variations for her father's name and entries for her mother—I set out to see if I could uncover anything about the subsequent generation in this missionary family's history.
The easiest conquest came, thanks to knowing Reverend Wilson's wife's maiden name and year and place of birth. The former Mary Whitcomb, as it turns out, was a descendant of an early arrival in Massachusetts colony by name of John White.
I know, I know: how impossible to think of ascertaining which John White would be the right John White. We can tip our hat, once again, to Google for finding this gem: a four volume set on the descendants of that particular immigrant from England who landed in Salem in 1639. Among thousands of others, Mary Whitcomb Wilson found her place on page 782 of the second volume of Genealogy of the Descendants of John White of Wenham and Lancaster, Massachusetts.
Don't think I read all 924 pages of that volume, though. It was thanks to the search engine that I was brought specifically to Mary Whitcomb's entry, where it provided me a brief bio along with the listing of her children. While I certainly don't believe everything I read in print (any more than I'd copy, wholesale, a family tree posted online), according to the Almira Larkin White genealogy, Mary and Peachy actually had five children: Mary, Willie, Peachy, Harvey, and Eddie.
Hmmm. Those weren't exactly the names I'd been able to locate in other documents. But I'll take it as a hint.
Mary, I could be fairly certain of, since I was finding other confirmation of her relationship to Peachy and his wife. Willie, of course, would be the William I had already found accounted for in a passenger list for a voyage from Liverpool to New York City in 1873. Likewise, Harvey. The author had "Peachy" listed as a child who had died in India; perhaps this was one and the same as the Mansel Clendening I couldn't seem to find in the passenger listing—or could that be the official name for the baby Eddie, whom the author indicated was born in the United States that very year of their arrival back home?
Nothing is ever easy, especially when it comes to genealogical research. For each of the Wilson children listed in that White genealogy, other than for Mary—who had returned to India—the brief bio indicated each one was now "residing in the West."
For a genealogy of a family which originally settled in Massachusetts, "in the West" could be anywhere beyond the Appalachians. Talk about a broad hint.