Solomon Preston Hufford (1863-1916) of Doddridge Co., WV, had three wives. Wives #1 and #2 died on him; he died on wife #3. By 1920, both he and wife #3 were dead, and an 8-year-old Thomas Hufford popped up living with Solomon Preston’s brother Lewis (b. 1869). The boy was described as Lewis’ “nephew.” And then the boy vanished.
Assuming the info on the 1920 census was correct, that meant that the boy’s father was one of Lewis’ three brothers: Solomon Preston b. 1863; Hiram Nathaniel b. 1875, or Thomas B. b. 1878.
Solomon Preston b. 1863 was on the 1910 census with wife #3, two daughters from his 2nd marriage, a daughter from his 3rd marriage, and a step-son from wife #3’s first marriage. Solomon died in 1916; wife #3 died in 1919. So, Solomon could fit as the father.
Hiram b. 1875 was on the 1910 census with his only wife and their two children. Hiram died in 1912. His wife remarried and was on the 1920 census with her two Hufford children, her new husband, and some children from her new marriage. So, the father was not likely Hiram, because Hiram’s surviving wife had her children with her in 1920.
Thomas b. 1878 was long gone from West Virginia by 1910. He’d burned thru his 1st marriage (to Lydia Hall), left behind a daughter born in 1901 (Ruby Jewel), and was in Spokane County, Washington, newly married, and trying not to mention that 1st marriage. In 1910, the wife he left behind was in Wood County, West Virginia, with their daughter, and she was calling herself “widowed.” She reported two births, with one living. So, the boy with Lewis on the 1920 census was not a fit as a son for Thomas.
The only fit as a father was Solomon Preston. My assumption was that Solomon Preston’s wife #3 had a son Thomas in about 1912, but I could find no record for the birth. And I could not find Thomas after the 1920 census.
Six years ago, a volunteer with findagrave photographed a grave stone in Doddridge County and added the photo and the info to the findagrave database. A quick read of the grave stone says, “THOMAS P. 1908 1960,” but a closer look shows a blade of dried grass in the right leg of the letter R, which is an R, not a P. There’s no surname on the gravestone, but the findagrave volunteer guessed the surname was HUFFORD, likely because the stone nearby read “Juanita Hufford 1910 1998.”
However, a Thomas born in 1908 just didn’t fit with any of the Doddridge County Huffords. The only “Thomas Hufford” in that area, born in that time, was the 8-year-old Thomas Hufford on the 1920 census. Still, I changed the year of birth for Thomas in my database from 1912 to 1908. I should not have, but I did, and figured I’d try to make sense of it later.
Then, just a few days ago, someone added info at findagrave about a burial in Cincinnati, Ohio: Thomas P. Hufford, b. Jan. 20, 1912 WV; d. Feb. 4, 1974, Ohio. I started filling in the blanks.
It became clear that Thomas b. 1912 who was buried in Cincinnati was the Thomas on the 1920 census, living with his uncle. The 1940 census (Hamilton Co., Ohio) gave Thomas’ place of birth of West Virginia. More importantly, the Wilmington News-Journal (Wilmington, Ohio), had some information in the March 21, 1969, issue, on page 6: “Mr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Hufford of Loveland, visited Sunday with Hufford’s sisters, Mrs. Earl Dillow, Mrs. Louisa Friend and Mrs. Juanita Morris.” Solomon Preston’s daughter Goldie Tempest had married Earl DILLOW (3rd husband); his daughter Louisa Samantha had married Howard Herman FRIEND; his daughter Gladys Juanita had married Thomas Ray MORRIS. Perfect match.
But who then was that “Thomas P. Hufford 1908 1960”? Well, he was not a Hufford. He was Thomas Ray MORRIS, whose wife was Gladys Juanita Hufford, the sister of Solomon Preston’s son Thomas, the orphan boy. I’m also suspecting that the findagrave volunteer reported the grave sites of Gladys and her husband Thomas in the wrong cemetery. At this time, they are listed as being in Chestnut Grove; however, records say their remains were buried in Masonic Cemetery.
Here’s Solomon Preston’s info at findagrave: