The Daily Signal 8 June 1884 Vol 1 No 1 page 1 not in archive, so faked nameplate

Connecting family via newspapers

We can often connect family members via newspaper articles. Here’s a recent example.

A Death Notice and a “Visit” item

article from the 8 June 1884 Dahlonega Signal newspaper

Here is a Death Notice and a “Visit” item from Dahlonega, Georgia from 1884. It was in The Daily Signal 8 June 1884 Vol 1 No 1 page 2. This is before family-placed obituaries were common, especially in small rural mountain towns such as Dahlonega. It was also common at that time to list people visiting from out of town, even to the point of posting the register of occupants in local hotels.

In the death announcement, there were a few difficulties that made this a minor genealogical puzzler. We have a “Mrs. M. F. Whitten” who died in Eatonton, Georgia who has a daughter living in Dahlonega (about 120 miles away). The death announcement would leave one guessing about the relationship between the deceased woman and “Capt. A.S. Reid” if it wasn’t for the visit announcement found on the same page.

Getting (briefly) caught in assumptions!

An initial search for a husband named “M. F. Whitten” came up with nothing solid. I was able to find records for a “Mrs. D. W. Lewis” nee Martha Elizabeth Meriwether who was the daughter a Martha (Baker) Meriwether. After finding an 1832 marriage between Issac Whitten and Martha Meriwether, I realized that “Mrs. M. F…” were her initials, not her husband’s!

So, I was briefly led astray by making the assumption that “Mrs.” would be followed by her husband’s name. At that time, the identity of a married women was usually suppressed behind her husband’s name. This is a sad truth of those times and a custom that is hopefully going by the wayside (One of the many ways I knew I was marrying the right woman was that she was *not* going to take on my name!).

Making the connections

So, “Capt. Reid” is Alexander Sidney Reid, was married to “Mrs. A. S. Reid of Eatonton, Ga.” who was Mary Elizabeth (Grimes) Reid, daughter of Frances (Meriwether) Grimes, sister of “Mrs. D. W. Lewis” nee Martha Elizabeth Meriwether, making Mrs. Reid the granddaughter of Mrs. Whitten. Click the family tree images to help make sense of this!

Family Tree Images

Family tree of Frances (Reid) Davis ancestors
Family tree of Frances (Reid) Davis ancestors
Mrs D. W. Lewis
Mrs D. W. Lewis, daughter of Martha (Baker) Whitten

It was also fun to note that a daughter of a Captain Reid, who served in the Confederate Army in the War Between the States, Frances (Reid) Davis, lived until 1980 – the year Ronald Reagan was elected President – well into my adulthood. Puts the timeline in perspective.

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