Elisha Spence (1776-1835)–Part Thirteen: Two Rhodas and a James–Part One

 

 

Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri. Taken May 2001

Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri. Taken May 2001

 

 

He must have been a wonder!

That’s what I thought while sorting through the James W. Denton-Rhoda Louisa Spence-Susan Roden/Rhoda Spence Triangle!  Fortunately, the situation did not turn out what it originally promised to be. Perhaps discovering two sisters bearing the name of Rhoda sparked his initial interest.

Rhoda Louisa Spence and Susan Rhoda Spence were the youngest daughters of Elisha Spence and Susanna. Rhoda Louisa was the twin of William Spence of Weakley County. As noted in the previous article, the twins were born in Randolph County, North Carolina or in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina March 28, 1809. Some people think they were born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. That is a possibility since Elisha Spence moved around quite a bit. Then in early 1810, the family set out for Davidson County, Tennessee, where Susan was born in late September. In 1830, the Elisha Spence family still resided in Davidson County, but by the early 1830s, they moved to the western part of the state. The older children were still living in Perry County; Levi returned from North Carolina and settled in Madison County. Elisha moved his family to Madison.

By 1830, however, Rhoda Louisa and Susan Rhoda were on their own and both had their eyes set on marriage.

Enter one James W. Denton who had an eye for the young Rhodas.

According to the one and only census record I located for him, he was born in Tennessee in 1806(1). I have no idea where he originated or who his parents were. A number of Denton families resided in the area, but James doesn’t appear to match any of them. A James W. Denton died in 1861 in Smith County, Tennessee(2), but that individual appears to have been born about 1846. Another James W. Denton married a Sophia Shaw in Williamson County in 1829(3), but he wasn’t this James W. Denton. That James W. Denton remained married to Sophia. And then there was another James W. Denton in Maury County who married there and raised a family. He died in 1880 at the age of 85(4). He was not this James W. Denton either! And there was a large family of Dentons in Perry County, Tennessee. I could not find a link there either, however. He may have come from Eastern Tennessee since a large group of Dentons resided there as well.

Several things may have happened to James. He may have struck out on his own at an early age. He may have been orphaned.  And there is the possibility that James W. Denton was not his real name!

At any rate, with the Elisha Spence family moving to Madison County, Tennessee and the two Rhodas remaining in Williamson County, James had free reign of the situation. According to Tennessee Marriage Records, on May 10, 1831, James W. Denton married Rhoda Spence in Davidson County, Tennessee(5). The question is this: Which Rhoda?

 

Rhoda Louisa Spence (1809-1860)

Rhoda Louisa Spence and James W. Denton were married in Davidson County, Tennessee May 10, 1831. Their children were:

  1. Thomas J. Denton (1832-aft 1860). Thomas was born in Williamson County, Tennessee on January 21, 1832 (a twin), and he died after 1860. He may be the Thomas J. Spence who appears on the 1860 Census for Arkansas in Union Twp., St. Francis, Arkansas.
  2. Elizabeth Jane Denton (1832-1911). Elizabeth was born January 21, 1832 in Williamson County, Tennessee. Elizabeth and Thomas J. were twins if the dates are correct. She died in Newton County, Missouri September 6, 1911. On March 27, 1852, she married James Mattison Buckingham in Williamson County, Tennessee. Their daughter was Milly A. Buckingham (1864-1938).
  3. Milly Ann Denton (1833-1850). Milly was born about 1833 in Williamson County, Tennessee. She last appears on the 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee. She may be the Milly Ann Denton who married Williamson Alexander in Dickson County, Tennessee on October 14, 1852(7)
  4. William Denton (1833-1850). William was born about 1833 in Williamson County, Tennessee. He last appears on the 1850 Williamson County, Tennessee Census in the James W Denton household(8).

James and Rhoda Louisa began experiencing difficulties in their marriage, and I don’t know exactly when those difficulties started. They probably erupted after Rhoda’s  family moved to Western Tennessee and after Susan started spending a great deal of time at Rhoda’s house. One thing led to another, ending in a divorce between James and Rhoda. I haven’t found an exact date for the divorce, but she married Michael D. Gill November 27, 1838–the same year when Susan married James W. Denton! So the divorce would have been about 1836 or 1837. There were four children from her marriage to James Denton: two girls and two boys. Rhoda kept the girls while James kept the boys–hence the Denton surname.  Elizabeth Jane and Milly Ann were raised by Michael D. Gill, and they took the Gill name: Elizabeth Jane Denton Gill and Milly Ann Denton Gill.

Michael David Gill was born about 1800 in Louisa County, Virginia, and he died around 1860 in Jasper County, Missouri. He was the son of Mitchell Gill (1772-1810) of Charlotte County, Virginia and Nancy Dabbs (1774-1809) and the grandson of Michael Gill (1730-1801). Michael’s brother was Mitchell Gill (1803-1880). Mitchell was born February 5, 1803 in Charlotte County, Virginia, and he died March 6, 1880 in Richland, Keokuk County, Iowa. His wife was Catharine Thompson (1796-1880). Their children were:

  1. James Gill (1835-1906)
  2. Susan Gill (b. 1840)
  3. Ellen Gill (b. 1842)
  4. Sarah Gill (b. 1847)
  5. Louisa Gill (b. 1848)
  6. Lydia Annis Gill (1850-1916)

Mitchell may have gone to Tennessee with his brother Michael, but he was in Indiana by 1835. Catherine was probably his second wife. They were married June 4, 1846 in Keokuk, Iowa. The last three children listed above would have been theirs. The first three would have been by a first wife.

Michael David Gill appears on early census records as follows:  the 1820 Census for Charlotte County, Virginia(9), the 1830 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee(10), the 1840 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee(11), the 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee(12), and Missouri Land Records for 1856, 1857, and 1860 in Jasper County, Missouri(13), (14), (15). The Michael D. Gill family were in Jasper County by March 10, 1856 when he obtained his first warrant for land. In all likelihood, they were in the county earlier.

The children of Michael David Gill and Rhoda Louisa Spence follow:

  1. Samuel S. Gill (1842-1880).  Samuel was born in January 1842 in Williamson County, Tennessee, and he died May 28, 1880 in Savoy, Fannin County, Texas. Samuel served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. His military file is quite substantial.  He enlisted at Camp Cedar July 21, 1862 for a term of three years. He fought in the Battle of Helena, Arkansas July 28, 1863 in which he was slightly wounded. His name appears on a Roll of Prisoners of War of Cos. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and K, 11th Missouri Infantry of the Confederate Army, commanded by Major James Phillips, surrendered at New Orleans. Louisiana by Gen. E. K. Smith, C.S.A., to Maj. Gen. E.R.S. Canby, USA May 26, 1865; paroled June 8, 1865 at Shreveport, Louisiana(16).  Samuel went to Texas after his release, where he married Emma Louis Brooks (1850-1880) on December 20, 1868 in Fannin County, Texas. Their children were: (a)  William M. Gill, born December, 1869 in Fannin County, Texas; and (b) Maude Gill (1873-1962). William was born about December 1869 in Fannin County, Texas. I have no additional information about him. Maude was born December 24, 1873 in Savoy, Fannin County, Texas, and she died November 30, 1962 in McKinney, Collin, Texas. On November 29, 1898, Maude became the second wife of George Clinton Masters (1861-1942). George’s biography from Find-a-Grave follows:

 

Birth: Sep. 6, 1861
Death: Jun. 20, 1942

born DeKalb County, AL
died Denton, Denton County, TX  From Penne Magnusson Cartright Hannum, rec’d 19 Apr 2015
Clint traveled extensively and was an early day advocate of the motor home and travel trailer. He came to Texas in 1880, worked at various occupations for a few years until he settled in Denton where he became a traveling salesman. He made many trips back to Alabama to visit relatives and entertained everyone with his stories of adventure.Family links:
Parents:
Benjamin Franklin Masters (1833 – 1886)
Nancy Elizabeth Kay Masters (1837 – 1917)Spouses:
Margaret ‘Maggie’ Keith Masters (1869 – 1895)
Maude Gill Masters (1873 – 1962)Children:
Emma Alberta Masters Giddens (1899 – 1998)*
Gill C. Masters (1916 – 1980)*Siblings:
Silas Pickens Masters (1854 – 1868)*
Nuton Jasper Masters (1855 – 1860)*
Robert M. Masters (1858 – 1858)*
John F. Masters (1859 – 1861)*
George Clinton Masters (1861 – 1942)
Ira N. Masters (1863 – 1886)*
Lura Jane Masters Totherow (1865 – 1891)*
Ida Lee Masters Green (1867 – 1917)*
Luther Morgan Masters (1869 – 1943)*
Marcus Lee Masters (1871 – 1959)*
William Addison Masters (1873 – 1942)*
Joseph A Masters (1876 – 1923)*
Ella Jane Masters Upton (1879 – 1972)*
Sidney Wyot Masters (1880 – 1972)**Calculated relationshipInscription:
FatherNote: h/o 1) Margaret ‘Maggie’ Keith and 2) Maude Gill
Burial:
Odd Fellows Cemetery
Denton
Denton County
Texas, USA
Plot: Section A
Created by: RMLeahy
Record added: Jun 13, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14599940 (17)

Note: The two children listed on the Find-a-Grave Entry are the children of George Clinton Masters and Maude Gill: Emma A. Masters Giddens (1899-1998) and Gill Clinton Masters, Sr. (1916-1980).

Samuel S. Gill is believed to be buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, per the following account:

I believe Samuel Gill is buried here.  The find a grave website details that the west side of this cemetery was devoted to victims of the May 1880, Savoy Tornado. The wooden markers were later destroyed by a grass fire in 1935. So we will never know for sure (18).

Samuel Gill apparently died in the 1880 Savoy tornado!

2.  Daniel David Gill (1844-1920).  Daniel was born February 15, 1844 in Williamson County, Tennessee, and he died October 29, 1920 in Jane, McDonald, Missouri. Daniel also served in the Confederate Army. He was also in Company A, 11th Missouri Infantry, CSA and enlisted August 10, 1862 at Coon Creek, Missouri under Col. Hunter for three years. He appears to have survived the war unscathed. Unlike his brother, Samuel, he returned to Jasper County, Missouri, where he married Lavesta Ann Roy (b. 1847) in Jasper County. They had one child: Mary Gill (b. 1870). The Gills resided in Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri in 1870(19), in Marion, Newton County Missouri in 1880(20), and in Jane, McDonald County, Missouri in 1900(21).  Daniel David Gill died in Jane; he and his wife are buried in the cemetery there. His wife’s name is engraved on the tombstone, but there is no date of death for her.

3. Isaac Ivy Gill (1847-1922). Isaac was born November 24, 1847 in Williamson County, Tennessee, and he died July 27, 1922 in Jane, McDonald County, Missouri. His middle initial is registered as “A” on his tombstone. I remember reading one descendant’s account that the tombstone carver misunderstood the pronunciation of the middle initial: “Ah” vs. “I”– something related to the southern pronunciation. So the “A” was put on his tombstone. His middle name really was “Ivy.” Isaac was too young for the Civil War.  On January 31, 1875, he married Texanna Triplett (18 in Jasper County, Missouri. She was the daughter of Layton C. Triplett (b. 1832) and Nancy E. Hansford (b. 1834), the niece of George Washington Triplett (1825-1909), who married Rebecca Jane Spence (1828-1859)–daughter of Samuel Perry Spence and Elizabeth Inman [my third great grandparents]– and the granddaughter of John Hore Triplett (1804-1882) and Mary Butler Bradley (1807-1875). Their children were: (a) Daniel Laton Gill (1878-1935); (b) William Franklin Gill (1887-1970)–I have a feeling he was named after my grandfather, William Franklin Spence (1884-1973); (c) Isaac Newt Gill (1898-1952). The Gills resided in Marion, Newton County, Missouri in 1880(22), in Benton Twp., Newton County, Missouri in 1900(23), in Bentonville Ward 3, Newton County, Missouri in 1910(24) and finally in White Rock, McDonald, Missouri in 1920(25).

As noted previously, Rhoda’s daughter by James W. Denton–Elizabeth Jane Denton Blankenship (1832-1911)–resided in Newton County with her family. In 1860, they were in Jackson Twp., Jasper, Missouri.

I should mention here that there was another Louisa Gill who relocated from New York to Jasper County and who settled in Carthage. She was the mother-in-law of A.M. Drake–a noted figure in Jasper County history, and she died in October 1871 in Jasper County. That Louisa Gill was not this one. That Louisa Gill came from New York and descended from a New Hampshire line of Gills who fought in the Revolutionary War. Her maiden name was Gill and not Spence.

So what happened to Michael D. Gill and Rhoda Louisa Spence?

Michael and Rhoda last appear together on the 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee as follows:

Michael D. Gill, age 50, born Virginia–Occupation: Shoemaker

Rhoda Gill, age 42, born North Carolina

Elizabeth J. Gill, age 18, born Tennessee

Milly A Gill, age 17, born Tennessee

Samuel Gill, age 8, born Tennessee

Daniel D. Gill, age 6, born Tennessee

Isaac I. Gill, age 3, born Tennessee(26)

Michael D. Gill last appears on the 1860 Land Warrant (dated August 1, 1860) mentioned previously. Neither Michael nor Rhoda appear on the 1860 Census for Jasper County, Missouri. However, their sons and Rhoda’s daughter by her first marriage do appear on that census: Elizabeth J. (Denton) Buckingham and her family in Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri–Census dated July 10, 1860(27);  Samuel Gill as a farm laborer in the Aaron Foster household in Marion, Jasper County, Missouri–Census dated July 3, 1860(28); Daniel Gill in the Milly Catherine Spence Jones household, Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri–Census dated July 9, 1860(29); and Isaac Ivy Gill in the Elizabeth Inman Spence Household, Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri–Census dated July 11, 1860(29).  Michael and Rhoda do not appear on the 1860 Census. I believe that both of them died in June 1860. The August 1, 1860 land warrant to Michael was issued after his death. And the next question is what killed them?

The suspected culprits?

Influenza, Yellow Fever or Cholera!

According to the American Epidemics from the Genealogy Quest Website, Missouri and other places had their share of problems from 1850 through the Civil War.  In my chart below, I stopped with the smallpox epidemic in Pennsylvania in 1860-61. Missouri’s unique problem stemmed from the fact  that so many settlers were moving there mostly from the South where the epidemics were so great, and they were bringing the diseases with them: “Wintering each year in the Deep South, in the spring the disease would join the emigrants heading west. Cholera made its way up the Missouri on riverboats. An outbreak on board the Yellowstone in July 1833 turned it into a floating death trap. One of the few survivors, Joseph La Barge, later recalled that just below Kansas City he buried eight victims in one grave. Fear of an epidemic caused Missouri residents in Jackson County to threaten to destroy the ship(31). The list below is from American Epidemics:

1850 Nationwide Yellow Fever
1850 Alabama, New York Cholera
1850-1 North America Influenza
1851 Coles Co., IL, The Great Plains, and Missouri Cholera
1852 Nationwide Yellow Fever
1853 New Orleans Yellow Fever: 8,000 died
1853 Mobile Yellow Fever: 1,191 deaths
1853 Vicksburg Yellow Fever: 500 deaths
1853 Lake Providence, LA. Yellow Fever: 165 deaths
1853 Philadelphia Yellow Fever: 128 deaths
1853 Jackson, Miss. Yellow Fever: 112 deaths
1855 Nationwide Yellow Fever
1857-9 Worldwide Influenza: one of the greatest epidemics
1860-1 Pennsylvania Smallpox(31)

 

I am reminded of another experience I had while researching my Grandmother Inman’s Clay/Klee line. My second great-grandfather, John Clay (1794-1844) was living in Franklin Twp., Summit County, Ohio. The Clay farms were close together, and John was working over at his uncle, Christian Clay’s farm where he contracted cholera.  Howard and I visited Franklin Twp. while on our way to Pennsylvania one year. The graves are lined up in a row in the Grill Cemetery in Summit County: John, his uncle and his uncle’s family–all of them dying within a few days, weeks or months of each other in 1844. Something similar to this happened in Jackson Twp., Jasper County, Missouri between 1849 and 1860:

Lewis Jones–1849

Daniel Spence–1857

Daniel Bryant–1858 (the father of Adeline Elizabeth Bryant and father-in-law of Lazarus Spence)

Polly Pewitt Spence–1859

Samuel Perry Spence–July 1859

Rebecca Jane Spence (daughter of Samuel)–1859

Rhoda Louisa Spence Gill–June 1860

Michael David Gill–June 1860

and  others.

Michael David Gill and Rhoda Louisa Spence are probably buried in the Moss Springs Cemetery, Jasper County, Missouri. Their graves are not marked.

This article concludes in Part Two

 

References

(1) 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee about James W. Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(2) Probate File for James W. Denton, d. 1861, Smith County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(3) Tennessee State Marriage Records for James W. Denton and Sophia Shaw. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(4) Probate File for James W. Denton, d. 1880, Maury County, Tennessee. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(5) Tennessee State Marriage Records for James W. Denton and Rhoda Spence. Ancestry.com, Provo. Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(6) 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill Family. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(7) Tennessee State Marriage Records for Williamson Alexander and Milly Ann Denton. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(8) 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee, James W Denton Family. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 17 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(9) 1820 Census for Charlotte County, Virginia, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(10) 1830 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(11) 1840 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(12) 1850 Census for Davidson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(13) U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907, 10 Mar 1856 for Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com.

(14) U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907, 15 May 1857 for Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(15) U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907, 1 Aug 1860 for Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(16) Samuel S. Gill Military File, Company A, 2nd Reg’t, 11th Missouri Infantry C.S.A., 1862-1865. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(17) George Clinton “Clint” Masters Find-a-Grave Memorial No. 14599940. Index at Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(18) djgill40, Comment on Greenwood Cemetery Photo submitted to Ancestry from Find-a-Grave, 10 May 2015. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(19) 1870 Census for Jasper County, Missouri, Daniel David Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(20) 1880 Census for Jasper County, Missouri, Daniel David Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(21) 1900 Census for White Rock, McDonald County, Missouri, Daniel David Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(22) 1880 Census for Newton County, Missouri, Isaac Ivy Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(23) 1900 Census for Newton County, Missouri, Isaac Ivy Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(24) 1910 Census for Newton County, Missouri, Isaac Ivy Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(25) 1920 Census for McDonald County, Missouri, Isaac Ivy Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(26) 1850 Census for Williamson County, Tennessee, Michael D. Gill. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(27) 1860 Census for Jasper County, Missouri, James M. Buckingham Family. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(28) 1860 Census for Jasper County, Missouri, Aaron Foster Household. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(29) 1860 Census for Jackson Township, Jasper County, Missouri, Milly Catherine Spence Jones Household. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(30) 1860 Census for Jackson Township, Jasper County, Missouri, Elizabeth Inman Spence Household. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Access: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

(31) “Cholera” from the Kansapedia Website: The Kansas Historical Society: Copyright 2015. Author: Unknown.  Article Created: June 2013. Article Modified: February 2013. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at: http://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/cholera/12010

(32) American Epidemics from the Genealogy Quest Website. Date Accessed: 19 Sep 2015. Available online at http://genealogy-quest.com/glossary-terms/american-epidemics/

5 thoughts on “Elisha Spence (1776-1835)–Part Thirteen: Two Rhodas and a James–Part One

  1. maybe you all are related to my x bro in law some how Steve Toombs his kin is from Winona Mo have you called him? I saw Clinton in your tree? I just don’t know bout y’all that tree’s looking kinda knotty or maybe naughty? I ll be up this week sometime. see ya then. If ya run into Dougherty then we may be related 😵😵

    S.Cruz

    On Sat, Sep 19, 2015 at 8:14 PM, Bundles of Twigs and Flowers wrote:

    > drbibeall43 posted: ” He must have been a wonder! That’s what I > thought while sorting through the James W. Denton-Rhoda Louisa Spence-Susan > Roden/Rhoda Spence Triangle! Fortunately, the situation did not turn out > what it original”

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