Thursday, March 5, 2020
Looking that Gift Horse in the Mouth
It's all very well and good when we receive an unexpected gift of the names of a long-deceased relative's parents, but despite such serendipity, it's best to look that gift horse in the mouth. Unsourced recommendations can turn out to be not much more than hearsay.
So it is with the volunteer-added note on Cassa Rinehart Brown's Find A Grave memorial about the names of her parents. We originally stumbled upon Cassa's name, if you recall, by following up on a clue from the wills of two related men in Perry County, Ohio. That clue was the repeated appearance of the name Isaac Brown; as it turns out, his wife Cassa was a Rinehart, married in Perry County in 1837.
My first question, in making that discovery, was whether the stated parents—Cassa's parents were said to be "William and Lila Ingram Rinehart"—actually lived in Perry County, Ohio, at the time of Cassa's wedding. Being that the year of her marriage pre-dated the conveniently more-detailed census returns of 1850 and beyond, census records would not be entirely helpful, but it was reassuring to see that there was, indeed, a William Rinehart resident in Perry County at the time of the census immediately after her wedding.
The 1840 census showed this William living in Pike Township, which, if you recall, was the same location in which our main interest, Simon Rinehart, also owned property, as well as the Isaac Brown whose name kept appearing in my mother-in-law's ancestors' wills.
In addition, while William Rinehart could possibly be a common name—in other words, with the likelihood that there could be more than one person with that same name in the same region—one headstone in Perry County could very well be his. Situated at the First Methodist Church cemetery in New Lexington—not only county seat for Perry County, but also located in Pike Township—a burial for someone named William Rinehart was marked January 18, 1869. Though the Find A Grave memorial does not include a photograph of his headstone, a volunteer there noted that the marker was inscribed, "aged 82y 9m 12d."
Though that cemetery Find A Grave entry did not include a memorial for Delilah Inghram Rinehart, there was a memorial there for someone named Lucinda Rinehart, which, as the memorial noted, was inscribed at her 1844 death to say she was the daughter of "William and Delia Rinehart."
If this William were indeed one and the same as Cassa Rinehart Brown's father, we would be quite fortunate, for we should be able to find his entry in both the 1860 and 1850 census records. And sure enough, in that same Pike Township in 1860, there was a listing for a seventy-five-year-old farmer named William Rinehart—and in his household was a sixty-six-year-old woman named "Delila." Added bonus: both were born in Pennsylvania.
So, if the William we've found in those two references turns out to be the same as Cassa Rinehart Brown's father, that puts his own birth around 1785 or 1786. That, of course, is reasonable for a father's age at the time of Cassa's own birth in 1816. What doesn't work, in this massive relative-grab of nested family tree building, is William's birth in light of Simon Rinehart's own birth around 1774. Whatever the relationship between Isaac Brown, the man who served as Simon Rinehart's executor, and Simon himself, it wasn't so clear-cut as that of brothers-in-law—if, that is, we have the right names and dates for the Rinehart relatives we've already discovered.
The down side to all this is that I wasn't able to find William or Delilah in the census record for 1850 in Perry County, despite their presence there in Pike Township in both 1840 and 1860. Finding them in 1850 could possibly outline the names of other Rinehart relatives so that we could better identify this branch of the extended family. It seems the more we look, the more jumbled the record becomes.