Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cornelius W. White or Cornelius W. White?

While researching DNA matches I "met" Cornelius W. White, who married Rebecca D. Wilcox, my second cousin three times removed and great granddaughter of Matthew McMullin, Sr. (before 1765-about 1816).

My first questions were "where was Cornelius W. White born" and "who were his parents." Then I moved on to "you bigamist, you!" After hours of research I have determined there were two men named Cornelius W. White married to different women with different families, but Find A Grave and many, many public trees are incorrect, combining these two different men into one person.

Cornelius W. White (1840-1925) (Link requires an Ancestry subscription)

This Cornelius W. White has no known relationship to me. He was born on 1 November 1840 in Mercer County, Virginia (now West Virginia). His parents were Carling Ferguson White and Sarah F. Bailey. He married Zelphia R. Stewart on 5 November 1863 and had six known children:
  1. William W. White born 31 August 1864; died 4 November 1954; married 1) Annie Kate Knopp and 2) Nettie Beckett
  2. Lottie E. White born 13 April 1870; died 19 March 1950
  3. Leighton Albert White born 3 April 1873; died 6 December 1919; married Salena Taylor
  4. Joseph N. White born in 1876; died in 1951; married Bessie Estella Nirk
  5. George Emmet White born  23 October 1878; died in July 1972; married Jessie Melissa Lewis
  6. Winton Egbert White born 23 November 1882; died in 1946; married Edith Grace McTaggart
This Cornelius W. White died 2 November 1925 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and was interred at the Dr. Jesse Bennett Cemetery in Point Pleasant. 

West Virginia Death Certificate for Cornelius W. White; courtesy of the
West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History

Cornelius W. White (c1839-after 1907) (Link requires an Ancestry subscription)

This was "my" Cornelius W. White and he was much harder to research, of course! He was born about 1839 in Tazewell County, Virginia, according to his Civil War pension application to William G. White and Matilda (maiden name unknown). He married Rebecca D. Wilcox on 17 September 1860 in Scott County, Virginia. He joined the Confederate States Army on 12 March 1862 and served in Company A of the 48th Virginia Infantry Regiment until the end of the war.

Virginia Marriage Index for Cornelius W. White and Rebecca D. Wilcox;
courtesy of

Cornelius and Rebecca had eight known children:
  1. Badora "Dora" White born 15 May 1858; died 14 November 1936; married Alexander Mitchell Steffey
  2. William Augustus White born 9 August 1861; died 20 April 1924; married Nannie Magdalina Buchanan
  3. Robert E. White born 14 April 1866; died 23 June 1922; married Laura Daniel
  4. John A. White born 9 January 1868; died 8 April 1900
  5. Mary Etta (or Ellen) White born 28 April 1868; died 15 Dec 1931; married 1) Robert Thomas Aker and 2) Andrew Jackson Beverly
  6. Minerva M. "Tillie" White born 29 November 1875; died 23 October 1901; married Greenfield Taylor Dyer
  7. Fayette McMullin White born 3 October 1877; died 23 June 1961; married Jacka Charlotte Snider
  8. Lou Emma White born 1 September 1879; died 23 March 1912; married James Edward Overstreet
Cornelius' wife, Rebecca died on 18 June 1887 in Smyth County, Virginia, and was interred at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Groseclose, Virginia.

Cornelius applied for a pension[1] on 13 August 1907. He claimed he had lived in Virginia all of his life and in Smyth County for 28 years. He said he was 68 years old and had been partially paralyzed for four years. He died sometime after 1907 but I do not know when.

[1] A big thank you to member mikebrewer55, who added the pension application to his family tree.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

William McMullen Peterson (1898-1960): Missing Wife

William McMullen Peterson was my third cousin twice removed, the grandson of Lafayette "Fayette" McMullen, a U.S. Senator and territorial governor of what is now Washington Sate. He was born on 22 January 1898 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to William Jacob Peterson and Mary Fayetta McMullen. He was their second child. William's father was a merchant and owned his own home on South Liberty Street.

Ten years later when the 1910 census was enumerated, William's family continued to live on South Liberty Street but his father was working as a musician for a church organization. On 21 December 1916, his father suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died five days later on 26 December at home. William was 18 years old at the time of his father's death.

On 12 December 1917 William was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. He was sent the next day to Receiving Company No. 1 at Camp Johnston, located near Jacksonville, Florida. Construction began on the camp in October and the first recruits arrived 19 November 1917. It became the largest of all the Army's Quartermaster mobilization and training camps by 1918. William remained at Camp Johnston until March 1918 when he was assigned to Supply Company 310, Quartermaster Corps. Three months later, he was sent to Europe where he remained until 16 July 1919. I know little about his overseas military service except he was assigned to the St. Nazaire Casual Company, which was a temporary administrative unit for Army personnel awaiting discharge. William returned to the U.S. on 16 July 1919 and was honorably discharged on 23 July.

By 1920 William's family had scattered. His oldest sister, Pauline, graduated from Salem College as a teacher and was likely living in El Paso, Colorado, working as a teacher. His widowed mother and youngest sister, Agnes, lived in Washington, DC. I have been unable to find William in the 1920 census.

On 24 August 1925, William married Mildred E. White in Petersburg, Virginia. She was the widow of John L. Casper, Jr. and the daughter of Emory Charles White and Lula Parrish. The marriage index record indicated William was divorced, hence the missing first wife. Who was she? When and where did they marry? When did they divorce?

Marriage index record from

William and Mildred's marriage lasted less than five years. By 1930, William had moved to California and owned a paint and wallpaper store. He had also married again to Marion Edna Liddell, daughter of Robert Liddell and Mary Caithness. She had previously been married to Earl F. Levitt and had a daughter. When the 1940 census was enumerated William worked for the City of Los Angeles as a license inspector.

William died on 18 May 1960 in Los Angeles County was was interred at the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California. His wife died 31 years later in San Luis Obispo County.

If readers know anything about William McMullen Peterson's first wife, please contact me. Thank you.