Copyright © Janice Tracy, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Manda and Maggie, Wives of George F. Halford

This is a followup post to a post that appeared as Tombstone Tuesday on January 19, 2009. The triple tombstone pictured here is located in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Leake County, Mississippi, and it marks the burial places of George F. Halford and his two wives, Amanda B. Boutwell Halford and Margaret F. Nash Halford. In today's post, I have attempted to piece together the story of how these three lives and those of their children intertwined.

According to his tombstone, George F. Halford was born on April 3, 1858 in Mississippi. George's date of birth is validated by the U. S. Census of 1860, taken in Leake County, Mississippi, where George, age 2, was enumerated in the household of his parents, Owen Halford and Nice J. Halford. The post office address for the Halford family was shown as Carthage, Mississippi. According to the census, Owen, a farmer, was born in North Carolina around 1807, and in 1860, he owned real estate and personal property valued at $800. Also living in the Halford household were George's brother, Lemuel, age 13, and his three sisters named Nancey, 16, Frances 6, and Elizabeth, 3. All children were born in Mississippi." The age difference between Owen and Nice, along with a gap of over 6 years between the ages of Lemuel and Frances, raises a question of whether George's marriage to Nice may have been a second one. The census record, however, shows "Halford" as the surname for all children enumerated.

When I searched the U. S. Census of 1870, I found George F. Halford enumerated as an unmarried, white male aged 22, residing in the household of Rachel McKay in adjacent Madison County. He was not shown as a "direct relative" of Mrs. McKay, and his occupation was "farmer." Also enumerated in the McKay household was George Ramber, a farm laborer. Although Mrs. McKay may have been George's grandmother or an aunt, I found no information to establish that a blood relationship existed between the two.

I was unable to locate George F. Halford on the U. S. Census again until 1900, when I found his family enumerated in the Good Hope Community of Leake County, Mississippi. George, then 42, was shown to be living with his wife of 18 years, Manda, age 38, along with their six children, Mirtle, 16, Katie, 12, Thomas, 10, Hallie, 6, Edker, 4, and Colant, 2. It is likely that George and Manda lost a child between the births of Mirtle and Katie, as the census shows that Manda had 7 pregnancies and only 6 live births. According to her gravestone, Amanda ("Manda") B. Boutwell Halford died on May 26, 1904.

A review of the U. S. Census of 1910 shows that George, then 52 years old, was already married to Margaret, who was enumerated as "Maggie," aged 26, and they were living in Leake County. Children in the household were Tom, 20, Hal, 18, Edgar, 15, and Cullen, 12. In addition, there were three children born during George's marriage to Maggie, Owen, 4, Henry, 3, and Andrew, 2.

Twenty years later, in 1930, George and Maggie, now 73 and 45 years old, respectively, were still living in Leake County, Mississippi. Also enumerated in the household were seven of their children, Henry, 22, and six other children born between 1910 and 1930, Jack, 21, Enda, 16, Mabel, 13, Frank, 11, Fannie, 8, and Leona, 6.

George F. Halford died on January 17, 1940. Margaret F. Nash Halford, "Maggie" to her family, born on May 12, 1882, died on July 23, 1958. George was married over fifty years to the two women in his life, "Manda" and "Maggie," and both had helped raise George's children from a previous marriage, as well as children born to each of them during their own marriage to George. It seems only fitting that all three people, George, Manda, and Maggie, would be linked together, even after death, by this unusual triple gravestone.

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