There are many people throughout human history whose life span could be delineated by the historic events shaping their own existence. For this month's research pursuit, I'll be turning to the story of one woman whose earliest life memories might have been the war which catapulted this nation into existence, and whose short life ended with the year in which it could have lost that very independence.
Mary Carroll, first of the three ancestors of my mother-in-law whom I'll be pursuing this spring, was not quite three years of age when America's founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, taking on a war with what was then the world's super-power. She spent most of her life—at least, as much as I've been able to determine—in the far reaches of, first, the colony of Virginia, and then the neighboring region of western Pennsylvania. And in the prime of life—possibly owing to difficulties with childbirth—she passed away in June of 1812.
Owing to the twin research difficulties of locating documentation in the early years of American history plus the challenges of finding records in the frontier regions of that nascent country, it has been far easier to locate Mary Carroll in her later years as the wife of William Gordon. It was Mary Carroll who bore at least eleven of the Gordon children, mostly in Greene County, Pennsylvania.
Despite those limitations, my goal for this month is to uncover more documentation for Mary Carroll Gordon and her forebears. Though I have seen the names Anthony Carroll and Temperance Dunaway given for Mary's parents, this month's goal means finding documentation to help connect Mary to her parents—and, possibly, connect the dots even further back in time than that.
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