Hunting for an orphan boy

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:

Hufford descendant in Civilian Conservation Corps during Great Depression

Keith Hufford was born August 23, 1914, in Harrison Co., West Virginia, son of Arious VanBuren “Boo” HUFFORD and Emaline BRITTON.  (Arious was of Solomon Preston, of Solomon, of Peter, of Christian II, of Christian b. 1716 Schwaigern.)  The Great Depression hit the people of Harrison Co. extremely hard.

When he was 18 years old, he went into the Civilian Conservation Corps, a government program intended to deal with the massive unemployment of the young people surviving the economic disasters of those times.

Here are Keith’s words, after five years in the Corps, when he was 23:

The Hufford Family in Doddridge County, WV

As I was working to solve the puzzle of Peter Hufford (of Christian II, of Christian b. 1716), it seems that the folks in the area where he lived his last years already knew how he connected to the Huffords whom I work. 

John M. DeBrular, Suzanne Hadley, and Marla Jones wrote “The History of the Greenwood Community, 1798-1980.”  There is a “last editing” of the work on August 1, 2005, found here:

Here are their words:

The Hufford Family in Doddridge County, WV

During the twentieth century, one of the well-known families in Greenwood was that of Theodore and Lilly (Ellifritt) Hufford.   [Note from AMB: Theodore was of William, of Peter, of Christian II, of Christian b. 1716.]

Theodore’s parents, William and Mary (Cottrill) Hufford, were married in Harrison County, WV, in 1871. They brought their family to Doddridge County from Lost Creek, in Harrison County. William, born in 1847, was the son of Peter Hufford and Mary Ann (last name unknown). The Huffords were German immigrants who came to America (Pennsylvania) in 1729; the family name in Germany was “Hoffart”; after the family immigrated, the name evolved to “Huffert” and eventually to “Hufford.”

Mary Cottrill was the daughter of Calvin Cottrill and Lucinda (last name unknown), both believed to have been born in Virginia ca. 1820. Mary was born in 1850 in Muskinguum County, Ohio.

It is unclear precisely when or why the William Huffords moved from Harrison County to Doddridge County. The 1880 census recorded the family still living in Harrison County, and son Holly – born in 1877 – apparently was the last child born in that county. Lena (may have been “Tena”) – born in 1884 – apparently was the first child born in Doddridge County. (Notably, Tena was the only girl born to William and Mary; she lived to be just over one year old, dying in 1885.) The sons born to William and Mary were:

  • Theodore (born 1872 in Harrison County)
  • Worthington George (born 1873 in Harrison County)
  • Enoch Bert (born 1875 in Harrison County; died 1903 in Doddridge County)
  • William Hatfield (“Hat”; born 1876 in Harrison County; married Margaret Caroline Dotson; died 1938)
  • Holly W. (born 1877 in Harrison County; died 1914 at Greenwood)
  • Arthur C. (born 1886 in Doddridge County)
  • Clyde (born 1888 in Doddridge County; married Augusta Cottrill)
  • Harley C. (born 1905 in Doddridge County; died 1921 in Doddridge County).

Peter Hufford’s grandson Charles

Here’s a mug-book bio for Charles A. Hufford (1859), son of Hiram, son of Peter, son of Christian II, son of Christiain b. 1716 in Schwaigern.

From HISTORY OF BUTLER COUNTY, KANSAS, by V. P. Mooney; published in 1916; at page 831:

Charles A. Hufford is a Butler county pioneer and a prominent farmer and stockman of Union township.  Mr. Hufford was born in Harrison county, Virginia, (now West Virginia) in July 1859, and is a son of Hiram and Mary Hufford, natives of Pennsylvania.  He was one of a family of four children, as follows: Charles A., the subject of this sketch; Mrs. Ella Ensley, Augusta, Kans.; Hugh, Grand Junction, Mrs. Maude Burns, El Reno, Okla.  The Hufford family came to Butler county, Kansas, in the fall of 1876, and settled on a claim in Clay township.  Their first home there was a dugout, which was a common type of habitation on the claims in the early days.  Augusta was their trading town and after coming here the father began farming in a small way, and after passing the first few years of adversity, became a well-to-do farmer and stockman.  He died May 12, 1915, and his widow now resides in Oklahoma.

Charles A. Hufford is a successful farmer and stockman and has made Butler county his home since coming here with his parents in 1876.  Mr. Hufford was married in 1881, to Miss Ada Shervinton, a daughter of William and Emma Shervinton, natives of Canada, and of English descent.  Mrs. Hufford is one of the following children, born to her parents: Mrs. Anna Spring, Ventura, Cal.; Ada, wife of Charles A. Hufford, the subject of this sketch; Watson, resides in Oklahoma; Robert, Salina, Kans.; Mrs. Lena Bailey, resides in Oklahoma; Mrs. Cora Blankenbaker, Latham, Kans.; Felix, resides in Idaho; Mrs. Ella Mannering, Elkville, Ill.; and Nola, Atlanta, Kans. 

The Shervinton family came to Butler county, Kansas, in 1876, and were among the early settlers of Clay township, Butler county, where the father homesteaded 160 acres of land.  He was an industrious and thrifty man and made a good home for his family in the new country, and became a well-to-do farmer and stockman. He died in October, 1912, and his widow now resides on the old homestead. Mr. Shervinton was something of a successful hunter in the early days and killed a great many deer and antelope, and hundreds of prairie chickens and other small game.  Mr. and Mrs. Hufford have seen a great many bands of Indians, who frequently strolled over the plains in early days. 

To Mr. and Mrs. Hufford have been born the following children: Walter, Latham, Kans.; Harry, Latham, Kans.; Loren, Clearwater, Kans.; Grace, Glenn, and Roy, all residing at home.  The Hufford family is well and favorably known and Mr. Hufford is one of the progressive and substantial citizens of Union township.

Peter of Washington Co., PA, and West Virginia

The Hufford descendants of Doddridge Co.,West Virginia, have been my puzzle for the last many days.  They descend from Peter Hufford, son of Christian II, and grandson of the immigrant Christian (b. 1716).

I’ll share my puzzling here.  If you are able to correct, add to, or offer evaluation, I’d love to hear from you:

Peter’s father, Christian II, is one of the immigrant Christian’s 17 children who got short shrift in the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY.  Only one of Christian II’s nine children made it into the book: Christian III (at page 200).

Christian II began his family in Frederick Co., Maryland; he was there for the 1790 census.  By 1800, Christian II was in West Bethlehem township, Washington Co., Pennsylvania, and he remained in Washington Co., PA, until his death in 1826.

According to the 1800 census, other than Christian II, there were four males in his household.  One was under 10; one was between 10 and 15; two were between 16 and 25.  We know of three sons: David, Christian III, and Peter.  David was born in about 1776 and Christian was born in 1780; they were the two between 16 and 25 in 1800.  That means that Peter was under 15 in 1800.  Better researchers than I have concluded that Peter was born in about 1788.

Peter’s first marriage was in 1811, to Catherine MYERS.  Peter farmed in Washington Co., PA.  In July 1829, Peter had (at least) five children and a wife who was six-months pregnant.  Their youngest child was little George, only two years old.  George died; how is not known, but the death of any child causes enormous family grief and fall out.  Sometimes that fallout includes the breakup of a marriage.