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Finding the links

You just have to love it when a family history keeps unfolding before your eyes, and the roots keep twisting and twining and tying folks together.

Here’s a case in point.

One hundred and thirty years ago yesterday, Mr. John H. Green married Miss Mary E. Cottrell in Parker County, Texas.1

Some eight years and five months earlier, Mr. M. G. Cottrell married Miss Mattie Johnson, also in Parker County, Texas.2

Now we all know better than to play the the-name’s-the-same game, right? Just because M.G. (my great grandfather Martin Gilbert Cottrell) and Mary had the same last name, spelled the same way, living in the same county (or at least marrying there), doesn’t mean they had to be related, right? I mean, there isn’t even a census record putting these two in the same household.

So… is there anything else about these marriages that would provide any clues?

Well, let’s see here. The Cottrell-Johnson marriage license was issued by R. W. Duke, Clerk of the Parker County District Court.3 The Green-Cottrell marriage license was issued by L. C. W. Patton, Clerk of the Parker County Court.4 No help there.

The Cottrell-Johnson marriage was performed by R. S. Proffitt, Minister of the Gospel.5 The Green-Cottrell marriage was performed by … well, well, well. Looky there… R. S. Proffitt, Minister of the Gospel.6

So who was R. S. Proffitt? He was a Methodist minister and storekeeper who moved to the area of Centre Mills, on what became the Hood County-Parker County border, in the 1850s.7 On 25 September 1867, he registered to vote in Hood County in the special post-Civil War registration, and declared that he had lived in Texas and in Hood County for 12 years, dating his arrival there back to 1855.8

In 1881, Robert S. Proffitt was named postmaster at Centre Mills.9 Four years earlier, the person named as postmaster there was Charles Baker.10 Charles Baker was the brother of Martin Baker, whose daughter Louisa married my nemesis 2nd great grandfather George Washington Cottrell.

“Center Mills” was the post office nearest to where that nemesis 2nd great grandfather lived when he filed his Mexican War pension application in March 1887.11 It’s where Louisa (Baker) Cottrell’s brother Josiah Baker lived when he served as a witness for Louisa’s application for a pension based on George’s service a decade later.12

Now of course that’s not all I have tying M.G. Cottrell and Mary (Cottrell) Green together. There are minor little details like their death certificates, four months apart, in 1946, which both name G.W. Cottrell as their father13 and the fact that M.G. actually died at Mary’s home in Levelland, Hockley County.14

But that guy Proffitt? He also performed the marriage of Solomon Akers and Mary Perkins Johnson in 1877.15 Mary was Mattie (Johnson) Cottrell’s sister. Their mother, Mary (Fore) Johnson, was the sister of Josiah Baker’s wife Nancy, and…

See what I mean? You just have to love it when a family history keeps unfolding before your eyes, and the roots keep twisting and twining and tying folks together.


 
SOURCES

  1. Parker County, Texas, marriage license and return, John H Green and Mary E Cottrell, 4 Jan 1883; County Clerk’s Office, Weatherford.
  2. Parker County, Texas, marriage license and return, M G Cottrell and Mattie Johnson, 27 Aug 1874, County Clerk’s Office, Weatherford.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Parker Co., Tex., marriage license and return, Green-Cottrell (1883).
  5. Parker Co., Tex., marriage license and return, Cottrell-Johnson (1874).
  6. Parker Co., Tex., marriage license and return, Green-Cottrell (1883).
  7. T. Lindsay Baker, Ghost Towns of Texas (Norman, Okla. : Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1986), 120.
  8. Hood County, Texas, Voter Registration roll, p. 266, no. 292, R. S. Proffitt, 25 Sep 1867; digital images, “Texas, Voter Registration Lists, 1867-1869,” Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Jan 2013).
  9. “U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971,” Centre Mill, Hood County, Texas, Robert S. Proffitt, 1881; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Jan 2013); citing National Archive microfilm publication M841, roll 124.
  10. Ibid., Centre Mill, Hood County, Texas, Charles Baker, 1877.
  11. Claim of a Survivor of the Mexican War for a Pension, George Washington Cotrell, 23 Mar 1887, pension application no. 7890 (Rejected), for service of George W. Cotrell of Texas; Mexican War Pension Files; Records of the Bureau of Pensions and its Predecessors 1805-1935; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  12. General Affidavit, J.A. Baker, Center Mills, Hood County, Texas, 19 Mar 1897, in support of widow’s pension application no. 13773 (Rejected), for service of George W. Cottrell of Texas; Mexican War Pension Files; RG-15; NA-Washington, D.C.
  13. Texas State Department of Health, death certificate no. 13603, Martin Gilbert Cottrell, 26 Mar 1946; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin. Also, Texas State Department of Health, death certificate no. 32464, Mary E. Green, 12 Jul 1946; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin.
  14. “Frontier Baptist Minister Dies,” Lovington (New Mexico) Leader, 29 March 1946; digital image, clipping, received from Lea County N.M. Historian David Minton, privately held by J.G. Russell.
  15. Parker County, Texas, marriage license and return, Solomon Akers and Mary Johnson, 11 Nov 1887; County Clerk’s Office, Weatherford.
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