Summer is here and school is out!  I thought that I would jump right back into my genealogy research, but I am having a surprisingly difficult time! Where to begin? What do I want to work on first?

I’m too easily distracted and can’t seem to stay on track. I thought I’d take my binder and pick a decade for the Welcome/William/Andrew Stephens families and pick 1 think to try to look for, but as I go through my notes, I keep “rabbit trailing” and end up with nothing done at all. So I thought that perhaps I could put some thoughts into the blog to try to keep myself on track as I make a plan.

I’ve decided that I’m going to try to pinpoint the year that Andrew and his father William left Alabama. What I have:

  • 1850 – William, his wife Dorothy and 5 children – including Andrew – live in Marion County, Alabama in District 14.  Living next door to the family is Jacob Wigginton and family. I will begin to follow this family closely as I believe they are related to Dorothy.  (William Stephens and Jacob Wigginton were listed on consecutive pages in the 1840 Tishomingo County, Mississippi census.)
  • William is also listed in the 1850 Alabama State Census. There are several Wigginton families listed as well, but no Jacob. There is at least 1 Wigginton that I see living near William who was not listed in the search results, so I need to spend more time here. NOTE: there are 2 families with a head of household named William Stephens.
  • 1855 – Alabama conducted a state census. There are no records for Marion County, but there are for Franklin County (where William and Andrew are found in 1860) but William’s family is not found.
  • 1858 – Andrew Stephens marries Lucy Stephens in Ripley County, Missouri
  • 1858 – Jacob Wigginton of Marion County receives about 80 acres in a land grant – Cert# 22661
  • William Stephens of Marion County receives 3 parcels of land totaling about 160 acres in a land grant – Cert # 22663, 226634 & 22665
  • William Wigginton of Marion County receives about 120 acres in a land grant – Cert #22662 (Jacob and William Stephens were approximately 18 miles apart)
  • 1859 – Andrew and Lucy Stephens give birth to Nancy Stephens in Missouri.
  • 1860 – Jacob Wigginton (age 67) lives with the James Wigginton (age 26) family (father?) in Marion County, Alabama
  • William Stephens – now lives in Franklin County (1 county north of Marion County) and Andrew and his small family are living with him.
  • Andrew (son of William) is listed a 2nd time in Franklin County living next door to Polly Steavens who I believe may be Lucy Stephen’s mother as well as Andrew’s aunt. (In 1880, Aunt Pollie, age 70, lives with Andrew and Lucy (age 36))
  • Why would Andrew and his family go from Ripley Co, Missouri to Franklin Co, Alabama to Metcalfe Co, Kentucky within 2-3 years? According to the Alabama Pioneers website, there was a drought in 1860 in Alabama – could this be the reason for the move? 
  • 1861 – Andrew and Lucy’s first child, Nancy, dies in June in Metcalfe Co, Kentucky and a 2nd child – William Dudley – is born in October. (Andrew’s uncle – Sherwood – settled in Metcalfe Co between 1850 and 1860)
  • 1864 – Andrew and Lucy have Mary Elizabeth Stephens in Metcalfe Co, Kentucky
  • 1866 – Andrew and Lucy Stephens “of Russell County” give evidence to birth of a nephew’s children for a widow’s pension.
  • 1868 – Russell Co land sale between Andrew Stephens and William Hopper.
  • 1870 – William Stephens is listed in the Federal Census in Russell Co, Kentucky. I cannot find Andrew in any 1870 census. Clearly, Andrew should be in Russell County by now.
  • 1876 – Russell County land sale between AJ Stephens and Wesley Flanagan and AJ Stephens and GC Bennett.

Conclusion: It appears that Andrew and Lucy Stephens may have moved to Russell County around 1865. I cannot pinpoint when William Stephens arrived

Next Step: There are no microfilm records for Marion or Franklin County, Alabama for the correct time period to determine when they may have left. The ACPL has microfilm for Russell County tax records from 1826 – 1856 and Andrew does not appear here. I will order tax records for 1856-1874 from the FHL to see if I can find when Andrew appears in Russell County. There is a book for Franklin County, Alabama - Old land records of Franklin County, Alabama / Margaret Matthews Cowart. – at the ACPL that I will look at for clues as well.

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