Friday, October 19, 2018

The Sisters' Stories

Brick walls are sometimes best conquered by reading between the lines on the documents we can find on our ancestors. I'm seeing that borne out again, now that I'm puzzling over the photograph I found of Annie Goodman Tucker and Dollie Goodman, the sister I can't find in any documentation. In the meantime, discovering how Annie and her sisters grew up in Tennessee with half-brothers who were born in Georgia, I'm at a loss as to how to explain her marriage in Illinois.

All I want to do is find out just how Annie Goodman of Nashville, Tennessee, managed to travel to Jersey County, Illinois, to marry Samuel Tucker in 1884. Really. Oh, and also figure out just who her sister Dollie Goodman might have beenthe one we found in the picture abandoned in a northern California antique shop.

While my guess that Annie and her widowed mom might have traveled to Illinois in the company of her half-brothers from her mother's first marriage didn't work outall her half brothers died in Nashville, apparentlyI still have one more guess to check out. That one leaves the answer in the hands of the girls' team: Annie's sisters from her mom's second marriage to Henry Goodman. But even there, it was obvious that her sister Emma was listed in Nashville city directoriesat least up to 1887.

That left me with the task of looking up records concerning marriages for Annie's known sisters Emma and Alice; remember, I hadn't been able to find any record of a Goodman sister named Dollie, whether actual name or nickname, until I found a first mention of her in the Nashville city directory.

But Emma married a man by the name of John McCann in Nashville, and died there in 1929. It was obvious Emma wouldn't hold the key to any explanation of how her sister Annie ended up marrying a man in Illinois. Yet, as we saw yesterday, Annie's widowed mom, Sarah Goodman, and her other sister, Alice, seemed to have disappeared from Nashville city directories in the mid 1880s. As it turns out, that little hint, reading between the lines in the city directories, provided a clue to scour the records elsewhere.

What we already know is that Annie married Samuel Tucker in 1884 in Jersey County, Illinois. That, in case you are as geographically challenged as I am, turns out to be a distance of about 350 miles from their home in Nashville. Inquiring minds want to know: how did she meet him? How did she make that trip from Nashville to Jerseyville? I was puzzled, knowing the customs of that time period, and the possibility that Annie's father might already have passed away. It seemed unlikely that a young woman of that time period would just strike up a friendship with a bachelor from a town far removed from her hometown.

But what about that other sister, Alice? There was no sign of her continued residence in Nashville, nor any marriage record for her there.

As it turned out, that younger Goodman sister followed in Annie's footsteps, marrying a man in Jersey County, as well. Her intended was John T. Harris, son of Thomas P. and Nancy Tally Harris. They married in Jersey County on March 19, 1886, according to an entry in the Jersey County records. While the record listed Alice's father's name as Andrewnot Henrywe can be reassured we have the right Alice Goodman, for the witnesses to the ceremony were none other than Alice's sister Annie and Annie's husband, Samuel Tucker.

Reading between the lines on that record shows us one more unexpected detail about the Goodman family's connection to Illinois: Alice listed her place of birth not as Tennesseewhich would have been expected, given her two older sisters were born therebut as Alton, Illinois, only twenty miles south of Jerseyville. Though Alice gave her age as sixteen at the time of her 1886 marriage, I tend to think she might have only been fifteen years old at the time, based on the fact that her name wasn't included in the Goodman household for the July enumeration of the 1870 census in Nashville.

At any rate, though the Goodmans lived in Nashville in 1870, sometime between that July 2, 1870, enumeration and the time of her birth, Alice and, at least, her mother were living in Illinois.

Why? After all, the Goodmans returned to Nashville after that pointat least until Annie's marriage to Samuel Tucker in 1884 and Alice's marriage to John Harris in 1886.

As it turns out, Annie and Alice weren't the only Goodmans in that part of Illinois. There may have been another Goodman connection.

The two excerpts above from the Jersey County, Illinois, marriage records are for Alice Goodman's entry (above) and her husband John Harris' entry (below). Both images courtesy


  1. Some interesting tidbits about Alice:
    1. According to the 1900 census, Alice C Harris was born in May 1871, and is living in Illinois
    Her parents are listed as being born in Virginia and Georgia. Does this match up?
    2. In 1910 she, her husband and their only son has relocated to "South Ontario, Malheur, Oregon".
    3. In 1920, her husband is listed as Widower, and back in Jersey, Illinois (Unless I'm misreading this)
    4. there's a "Delayed record of birth" issued in June 1962 for the son, Earl Turner Harris, in which his birthdate is stated as January 7, 1897 in Cobden, and her full name given as Alice Clementine Goodman
    (Familysearch Film # 007621273 Image 13 of 687)
    It lists as sources a Family Bible record, and an affidavit of a cousin, Lelia Junette.
    5. There's an WW1 draft card for an Earl Turner Harris where the birthdate is listed as August 22, 1897 in Roodhouse,
    This was issued a few years before item #3, in Illinois.

    1. You are spot on, Per, with all these observations--including the part about Alice's husband returning to Illinois as a widower. The location of Malheur County is indicated on some of the family photographs I've found, including the one I've mentioned of Annie and her sister Dollie (which was actually taken in Ontario, not South Ontario, but still in Malheur County, Oregon). It seems a number of the Goodman family members had moved to Oregon--if only for a brief time, in the case of some.

      Thank you for mentioning those additional verifications of Alice's identity, and that of her family members!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...