Wednesday, March 6, 2024

A Package Deal?


To figure out just how it was that Mary Elizabeth Taliaferro ended up named in a marriage license dated the same day as that of her widowed mother would take some searching for old, old documents. On the face of it, the situation gave the appearance of a package deal: I marry you, if I can also marry off your daughter.

The only problem with that hypothesis was that Mary Elizabeth was not the youngest of her parents' children. That might have been the case for her own future daughter, my second great-grandmother, the orphaned Mary Elizabeth Warren Taliaferro Rainey. But we now have found indications that the mother, Mary Elizabeth, was likely a daughter of Mary Meriwether Gilmer and Warren—or Warner, as he was alternately called—Taliaferro. Thus, the reason why the baby of the Rainey family ended up bearing the name of her older—and tragically deceased—brother, who had been named after his maternal grandfather.

Looking through court records to find any explanation for what happened leading up to her mother's second marriage—and her surprisingly early marriage as well—didn't seem to produce any satisfactory explanation, but I did learn more about the entire family in the process.

In the court proceedings in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, one transaction recorded September 24, 1818, served the purpose of posting bond as security for the appointment of one Peachy R. Gilmer as guardian of the children of the deceased Warren Taliaferro. The Taliaferro children named in the document were Lucy G., Zachariah T., Sarah H., Charles, and Sophie, identified specifically as "orphans and minors of Warran [sic] Taliaferro, deceased."

Note the absence of any mention of older daughter Mary Elizabeth. There is a clear reason for that: Mary Elizabeth had already gotten married to Thomas Rainey in June of that same year.

Or was that the reason? After all, in looking at that document designating the guardian of Warren Taliaferro's orphaned children, another possible reason Mary Elizabeth's name wasn't mentioned could have been that this was not even her family. We need more information to confirm that assumption.

To find any further details regarding the deceased Warren Taliaferro, I wanted first to look for his will. And that became my perfect excuse to try out a new search tool which, it seems, everyone is talking about. We'll check out that new way to see what we can find, tomorrow.   

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