Saturday, September 13, 2014

David Murphy Griswold - 1,2, or 3? Or someone else?

In 1911, Fulton Jasper Hendrix married a widow (maybe) Emma Pearl Holliday Griswold and took into his household her children Thomas Murphy Griswold (known as Murphy), Gilbert G. Griswold, and Jackson F. (Jack) Griswold.   All of them are living together in Oconee county, Georgia in 1920.  Emma had apparently died by 1924, when Fulton married Nancy Ollen Roberts (known as Ollen) in Mississippi.  Fulton and Ollen settled in Louisiana where they lived the remainder of their lives.  I'm presuming Emma died because I can't find her in the census and because Fulton is listed as Murphy's stepfather in Murphy's obituary.  Mom's ex-husband would have been less likely to be remembered as such.

Thomas Murphy Griswold was born in Rebecca, Turner County, GA and died in Baton Rouge, LA.  His obituary lists his survivors as his wife Margaret, two stepsons, his stepfather and stepmother Mr and Mrs. F.J. Hendrix, 4 unnamed stepbrothers and 4 unnamed stepsisters.   This links Thomas M. Griswold to the Murphy Griswold in the 1910 household.  His SS-5 lists his parents as David Murphy Griswold and Emma Pearl Holliday.

Gilbert M. Griswold was also born in Rebecca and died in Galveston, TX.   He was survived by his widow Mrs. "Joseph" Griswold (from other records, probably Josephine),  and his two brothers.  His death certificate also gives David Murphy Griswold and Emma Pearl Holliday as his parents.

Jackson Franklin Griswold was born in Shubuta, Clarke County, Mississippi in September 1908.  He died in Galveston, TX in 1986, survived by his two sisters-in-law, and cousins Lelia Grobman of Texas and John Smith of New Orleans.  Lelia's obituary indicated that she was a Smit (not Smith) by birth and the census confirmed a brother John.  Further investigation indicated that their mother was Maggie Holliday, Emma Pearl's older sister.   Of interest was that the Smit children were all born in Mississippi, possibly an indication of why Emma went there. 

Murphy's social security application and Gilbert's death certificate both list their parents as David Murphy Griswold and Emma Pearl Holliday.   Emma has been relatively easy to trace (other than her death) but David has become one of those mysteries that bug me.  It's not important, none of the boys seems to have had children, it's just a mystery.

In 1910, Emma is listed as widowed and the 3 boys all show their father as born in Connecticut, their mother in Georgia.   This info presumably came from Emma. She is running a boarding house in Rebecca, GA, with Fulton Hendrix as one of her boarders.  In 1920, their father is from "Georgia", but since the boys names are badly mangled and they are all listed as Hendrix in this census, I think most of this information can be ignored.  By 1930, Murphy is living near his stepfather in New Orleans, while Gilbert and Jack (and Gilbert's wife) are in Alabama.  For Gilbert and Jack, the father's birthplace is Michigan, but Thomas still has Georgia.  There's no way of knowing who provided the information in either case.

Online records and family trees show three David Murphy Griswolds of an appropriate age to be these children's father.

  One:  born to Stephen and Sarah Purdom Griswold in 1848 in Tennessee.  He had a twin brother George Gilbert.   However, he married Missouri and they appear in every census through 1900, with him reportedly dying in 1908 in either Russell County, AL or Colquitt County, GA in 1908.   They lived most of their married life in Russell County, on the Georgia border.

   Father:  Pro - His name and his son Gilbert's name and his date of death, which matches well with a son born in 1908 but wife widowed in 1910.   He was a salesman and may have died in Colquitt county which gets him at least closer to Turner county, where at least the two oldest children were born.  Emma's family was in Lee County in 1900 and her father Thomas was a merchant.  His death in February 1908, when Emma was newly pregnant with Jack might have spurred her to go to her sister's in Mississippi.

   Con - He was married to someone else and there are no specific records connecting him with Emma or Turner county.  While a salesman might have covered a large area, it could also just mean someone who works behind the counter at a store.  He would have been about 53 when beginning a relationship with Emma.   He would not have been able to marry Emma and she does use the Griswold name and call herself widowed in 1910.

Two:  The son of George Gilbert and Martha Bennett Griswold, born in 1884 in Grundy County, TN.  The nephew of option 1.   He married Anna Bell Dykes in Grundy County in 1904, where they were still living in 1910,  They then moved to Arkansas where they remained.

Father: Pro - only the name and the connection to the name "Gilbert".

 Con - There is nothing that connects him to Georgia.  If he had not married in 1904, his age would have made him a good candidate, but a marriage to one woman in 1901 (and a continuing relationship) as well as a second marriage three years later and two states away, would have been a bit hard to pursue at the time.  Had he severed ties with Emma after the marriage to Bell, then it would have been more likely.

Three:  Born about 1872 in Tennessee to Anderson and Martha Warren Griswold,  died in Alabama in 1951.  Anderson was another brother to David Griswold one.  This David married Mary Brawley in 1894 in Grundy  County, TN.  They moved to Alabama about 1901, to the Birmingham area, where they lived until at least 1940.  He died in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Pro:  Same as option 2, his name and the family association with the name Gilbert, although somewhat more distant for him.   He's closer to Georgia than option 2, but still somewhat distant to be raising two families.

Con:  Like with option 2, this would require someone who is actively raising two separate families in two rather distant locations.

So, is one of these my David Murphy Griswold?  Of these three I like option one the best, especially since his death coincides so neatly with the given timeline.  On the other hand, with this family's apparent propensity for using the same names, it is possible another son from that family had the name.  I'm a little more skeptical about a completely unrelated candidate, just because of the combination of the two names, Gilbert and David Murphy.  Both names (Murphy and Gilbert) were in relatively common use, but not so common that they would normally be found repeatedly together. The combination David Murphy is even rarer.  There is also the problem of where the boys' father was born, since none of the options given includes Tennessee and in fact, all the reasonable options (not counting the Georgia) would have him from some place up north.  This could have been a lie told to Emma, or one told by Emma, or just a confusion in the family.  

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