July 8, 2011
In a couple of weeks, I’ll be attending a reunion of sorts with my recently found Blosser family, so I thought I’d revisit the Blossers in my tree and work on a mystery that’s been stumping me. This is my third-great-grandfather, Moses W. Bryant. I’ve found quite a bit about him — Civil War service records, place of burial, etc.
The mystery is what happened to his daughter Martha, my great-great-grandmother. She married Alva Blosser, gave birth to my great-grandfather Moses Eugene Blosser and apparently died shortly thereafter. I haven’t been able to find any birth or death records or even a burial place for her.
She appears with her parents on the 1870 census at age 8 with her birthplace listed as Iowa. The 1880 census shows Alva, Martha and baby Moses in the same household with her parents Moses and Delilah Bryant in Butler, Harrison, MO. There’s a column on the census asking if there was a marriage in the census year. That box is checked on Alva’s line. The census also shows their son as 1 month old and having been born in May of the census year (1880) in Missouri. But later in his life on the 1910 and 1920 census Moses Eugene lists his birth date as April, 1883 in Sulphur Springs, Ark. His death certificate shows the same information.
So what happened to Martha? Right now my working theory is this: Martha got pregnant out of wedlock followed by a “shotgun” wedding to Alva. Her baby was born in Missouri in May, but there were complications. She was taken to Sulphur Springs, Ark. (which had something of a health spa/hospital in those days), where she died while Moses was still an infant. Moses was told the later birthdate and place to cover up the embarrassing discrepancy in the dates. And I have no idea why Martha was born in Iowa. Though Harrison County is on the Missouri-Iowa border, which might be a factor. Anyone have any good ideas?
Join Nancy and many Family Tree University instructors at FTU’s Virtual Conference, August 19-21, 2011. You’ll get the early bird rate of just $149 if you sign up before July 15!