Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Rabbit Trail Warning :
On the Hypothesis Hunt

How many times have I seen a woman, married once, subsequently with children, then widowed, then remarried with more children. Then widowed. Again. And then, in her later years, taken in by the oldest son from the first marriage.

Not being able to find any sign of Sara Jane Baldwin, widow of James Breeden and subsequently wife of Henry Goodman, I thought it might be worthwhile to test that scenario and see if this was an applicable hypothesis in her case. After all, though Sara Jane's first marriage occurred in Georgia, her second family lived in Nashville, Tennessee. If she were subsequently widowed again, it might make sense that she went with her daughter Annie to Illinois, where Annie, herself, was married.

So I took a long look at what became of Sara Jane's three sons by her first marriage to James Breeden. It was easy to determine their names, both from the two boys living in the Breeden household in Georgia for the 1860 census, and for the three Breeden boys who were in Sara Jane's home with her second husband, Henry Goodman, in the 1870 census.

Even in the 1880 census, it was fairly easy to spot the oldest of those Breeden sons, for son George Breeden was living in the household listed just before the Goodman household on Buena Vista Street. There, we found George to be a married man, though it took some reading between the lines to determine his wife was the older daughter of Mike and Lizzy Molter, by the name of Caroline. While the way the enumerator handled that census entry was confusing, it also appeared that George and Caroline Breeden had a daughter, whom they nicknamed Carrie.

Sara Jane's second son Carrol Breeden, in the Goodman home at the age of eleven at the time of the 1870 census, was listed as a driver for the Woodland Street Railroad in the 1885 Nashville city directory. He was even listed in the Nashville directory as late as 1893, so it was clear that he was not the one leaving town on a cross-country adventure for his half-sister Annie's wedding in Alton, Illinois.

Sadly, their youngest brother James would not have been in the Goodman-Tucker wedding party, either. An 1874 death register for Davidson County, Tennessee, revealed that one fifteen year old James "Breedon" from Georgia died on October 30 from tetanus.

Though Annie Goodman's half brothers Carrol and James would not have taken their (likely) widowed mother Sara Jane on an adventurous move to Illinois, could the connecting link have been oldest brother George? Even that could not be the answer, as you may have already noticed. While I searched for any sign of a George Breeden in Illinois by 1900, I was not able to locate any evidence. And small wonder: the very line next to his brother Carrol's entry in the 1885 Nashville city directory tells the story: Caroline Breeden, listed as widow of George, lived on the very street where we had found her in the 1880 census.

If George Breeden was gone before 1885, it is likely that he was not the one to lead his half sister Annie Goodman to Alton, Illinois, the place where she married Samuel Tucker in 1884. But if the Breeden half brothers were not the nexus for the tryst between Annie Goodman and Samuel Tucker, could it have been any of the Goodman sisters?

Furthermore, we can't let these rabbit trail diversions cause us to forget our original incentive for exploring all these possibilities: that mystery sister Dollie Goodman. Who was she, and where did she fit into the picture? At this point, I still haven't found any evidenceother than one photographthat Dollie Goodman even existed.

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