Monday, December 9, 2013

An 1861 Marriage in Lafayette County, Mississippi

     On March 10, 1861, James H. Mathews married Sarah Johnson in Lafayette County, Mississippi1 Sarah (Sallie) was probably about 17 years old when she married James.  James was about thirty years older than Sarah.  She was younger that three of James' daughters.  And she was probably James' third wife.  
     In the 1850 Census, James is living with his wife, Matilda, and four daughters, Nancy(age >11), Mary(age 11), Emily(age 8), and Martha(age 6). Since a marriage record for James and Matilda is dated in 1846, it would seem likely that Matilda was not the mother of these four girls.  No record has been found for a marriage prior to 1846 in Mississippi.  (I am still looking.)  It is possible that his first marriage was in Georgia (birthplace of James) or Alabama.  However, if he married in one of these states he moved to Mississippi soon after his marriage since the birthplace of Nancy, Mary, Emily, and Martha is given as Mississippi in that 1850 Census.  
     In the 1860 Census (dated in mid-August), James is living with Matilda.   What happened between August and  the marriage in March?  Based on the census record Matilda had given birth ten months earlier. It is possible that the child might have been 10 days old instead of 10 months old.  The birth date given on the death certificate of the child, Lewis Rickman Mathews, is given as August 9, 1960.  Could Matilda have died from complications of childbirth?  No death record for Matilda has been uncovered, yet.  In any case, James found himself another wife in less than seven months.  How does a seventeen year old step-mother deal with daughters of the same age?  Hopefully we can uncover more information about Jayme's 2nd great-grandmother, Sarah Johnson. 

1.  "Mississippi, Marriages, 1800-1911," index, FamilySearch
( : accessed 27 Sep 2013),
James H. Matthews and Sarah Johnson, 1861.

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