Randy’s at it again. And I stayed up late enough this week.
He asks for tonight’s “fun,” who is #21 on my ahnentafel. An ahnentafel, as most of you probably already know, is the list of your direct ancestors–no uncles or aunts or cousins, just parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. The number of persons in generation doubles.
Number 21 on my ahnentafel, as it is with all ahnentafels, is one of my second great-grandmothers–my father’s mother’s father’s mother Morrison—>Rachel Cooper Osborne—>George Charley Cooper—>Mary Elizabeth Mitchell.
Mary Elizabeth Mitchell, daughter of Ephraim Miles Mitchell and Rebekah Jones, married John B. Cooper about 1857, probably in Shelby County, Texas. Mary was born about 1840 and died about 1865. Randy links to a picture of his #21–I don’t even have precise dates for mine, much less a photo.
Mary is an enigma in my family research. My second great-grandfather, her husband, survived prison camp at Camp Douglass in Chicago (2 of his brother died there), was paroled, promoted to 2nd lieutenant in his 18th Texas Cavalry unit, and then was killed right at the end of the war, probably in the Battle of Atlanta. That left Mary with two young children–George C. who had been born in 1859 and Rebecca Ann, born 1861. The family story is that Mary took her two children and left Johnson County, Texas and went to LaGrange in Fayette County Texas “with a man named Burns.” She died there shortly afterward and I found court records documenting the childrens’ grandparents being awarded guardianship of George C. and Annie, as she was known.
So many questions–why did she leave and go to a place away from both her inlaws and her own parents? Who was the man or the family she left with? How did she die? Where is she buried?
I have very little documentation for Mary. I found published school records in Shelby County which helped me identify her parents and siblings. She is listed in her parents’ home on the 1850 Shelby County census and living with her husband John B. and baby George C. in Johnson County, Texas, on the 1860. The courthouse in Shelby County burned and that probably explains not being able to locate a marriage record for her. I have not gone to Fayette County to look for court records or any other trace of her–one day soon, I hope to make that trip.
So, Mary Elizabeth Mitchell Cooper, your short tragic life is noted and honored by this great, great granddaughter. I hope one day to find primary evidence of your days on this earth–beyond the 6.67% of my DNA I owe to you.