My hope was to be able to find “Aunt Jane” Norman Cotton in the 1880 census for Garland or Montgomery County, Arkansas. I would start with known surnames associated with her – Norman and Moore – and if I couldn’t find her that way, I would look for her by name, age, and state of birth, though I feared that would not narrow down the field enough.
The Puzzle Piece
No need to fear. And no need to even try more than one surname. I found her as a single woman, working as a servant in the household of John L. and Rebecca Moore, listed as Sarah J. Norman – so Norman was her maiden name.
1880 US Federal Census, Lee Township, Garland County, Arkansas, E.D. 75, Page 21, 11 June 1880
Line 1 Dwelling 186 Family 190
Moore, John L. White Male 52 years old Married Farmer GA NC NC
-- Rebecca White Female 45 years old Wife Married Keeping house Cannot write GA NC GA
-- James J. White Male 11 years old Son Cannot read or write AR GA GA
-- Rebecca White Female 7 years old Daughter AR GA GA
-- George A. White Male 5 years old Son AR GA GA
-- Henry F. White Male 5 years old Son AR GA GA
-- Pellie B. White Female 2 years old Daughter AR GA GA
Norman, Sarah J. White Female 18 years old Single Domestic servant Cannot read or write AR MS AR
Simpson, Francis E. White Female 18 years old Single Domestic servant Cannot read or write AR GA GA
Moreover, there was another goldmine on the previous page of the census: a Nancy Norman, single, age 17, working as a servant in the family of William Adner Powell and Mary Elizabeth Moore (a daughter of the John and Rebecca Moore above), and living next door to them, William Henry Monroe and his wife Eliza Ann Monroe, who would marry Zara Lucerne Cotton before Sarah Jane Norman did. And living next to them was the family of Michael T. P. Moore, a son of John L. and Rebecca Moore. His possible involvement in this mystery will be covered in the next installment. One other interesting note: at least two people in these families appear to have been ill with rheumatic fever on the day the census was taken – Nancy Norman and Michael T. P. Moore’s son Roland.
If Norman was Sarah Jane’s maiden name, her son Jackson may have been illegitimate, and possibly her son Thomas Moore as well. The reason this was important to me was to find out how these Normans might be related to my Norman families.
I figured there was a strong chance that Nancy was Sarah Jane’s sister, and I very much wanted to use this information (plus the information from the blog that Jane Norman was from Montgomery County) to see whether I could find them with their parents in previous censuses. However, even before that I wanted to look into some of the Moore family relationships. As people who have studied families in these close communities probably understand, in this little corner of Garland County at this time these large families were closely tied to one another by kinship and intermarriage: Normans, Powells, Moores, Wacasters, Kinseys, Westons, and a few others.
There was no easy way for me to tell who Jackson Norman’s father was, but I might find Tom Peat Norman’s father by looking into these relationships. Since Sarah Jane Norman had worked as a servant for the John L. Moore family, I decided to see whether or not there was any mention of a marriage of one of the sons to Sarah Jane Norman or of an illegitimate child by her.
One place I could look again was Peak Cemetery on Findagrave, since a lot of family relationships are given there; that information could be correlated with census information. However, to quickly sort out a large family, there is another place that is quicker and easier, though risky: Rootsweb’s WorldConnect Project. I decided to check there first to see whether or not anything jumped out at me.
John L. Moore household, 1880 U.S. Census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lee Township, dwelling 186, family 190; National Archives Microfilm Publication, Roll T9_45; Page 21; Enumeration District 75. Accessed via Ancestry.com.
William A. Powell household, 1880 U.S. Census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lee Township, dwelling 182, family 186; National Archives Microfilm Publication, Roll T9_45; Page 20; Enumeration District 75. Accessed via Ancestry.com.
William Henry Monroe household, 1880 U.S. Census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lee Township, dwelling 183, family 187; National Archives Microfilm Publication, Roll T9_45; Page 20; Enumeration District 75. Accessed via Ancestry.com