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1800s GARLINGTON Mystery Solved ?
Posted by: Dennis K. Boswell Date: September 20, 2000 at 13:08:39
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As several of you know, I have been searching for John Hubbard GARLINGTON for several years and now believe I have found him. Will those of you who are interested, please review the following analysis and post your reactions to this discussion thread. Frankly, I need to hear from those who have been researching GARLINGTONs longer than I and are more familiar with Thesta’s research techniques and the unique manner in which she derives GARLINGTON family groupings by using census data across multiple years and extrapolating backwards in time to an earlier family grouping. Those of you who have a copy of “The Garlington Family” will find this analysis easier to understand as I will make reference to page numbers from Thesta's book.

BACKGROUND: First, I believe that Thesta’s “Herbert (Hebert by the census)” who appears on page 589 as child 7-3 of Christopher (VI) and Hanna GARLINGTON (VI) is not Herbert (Hebert) at all, but John Hubbard GARLINGTON. My reasons include:

1. To my personal knowledge, “Herbert” or “Hebert” makes ONLY ONE appearance in contemporaneous records of the 1800s. That is in the 1870 Calcasieu Parish, LA census, page 57, line 38. In my opinion, all of Thesta’s other references to “Hebert” or “Herbert” are in fact references to this single census record. That suggests that: (1) Thesta mistakenly interpreted what the 1870 census enumerator recorded, or (2) The 1870 census enumerator mistakenly recorded what he/she heard the GARLINGTON interviewee say, or (3) both. For those who are interested, this census record may be viewed at

2. In a review of the Rootsweb and GARLINTON forums, I am unable to find EVEN ONE INSTANCE of any GARLINGTON descendent searching for a “Hebert” or “Herbert” GARLINGTON. To me, this suggests the very real possibility that a male GARLINGTON by either of these names NEVER DID EXIST. It is certainly not a GARLINGTON given name that appears anywhere else in previous or successive generations as does Christopher, John, etc.

3. Thesta, herself, was highly uncertain of her findings in regards to Christopher Garlington (VI)’s children. To her credit as a consummate researcher, she stated as much on page 587 when she said, “There is no definite proof who the children of Christopher Garlington, Jr. (VI) and Hannah Adams were but by working from the 1816, 1820, 1830 and 1840 Census of Amite and Franklin Counties, Mississippi that are available, it would appear that the children were: . . .” The list includes “7-3 Herbert (Hebert) GARLINGTON.” It should be noted that only Heads of Households appeared on the referenced census. My information indicates that “Herbert (Hebert) (or John Hubbard GARLINGTON) was too young to be listed on these census as a Head of Household. Hence, this information was also apparently extrapolated from latter census returns, probably only the 1870 Calcasieu Parish LA census.

Now, as to proof, consider the following – all of which relate to these three reasons:

A. HANDWRITING ANALYSIS: If you will print the census page referenced above on a printer having at least a 600 bpi resolution, locate the name “Hebert” on line 38, highlight the name with a yellow highlighter and examine the result with a magnifying glass, you will see that:

1. Following the “H,” the “e” displays an interesting hesitation on the upstroke of its tail as it approaches the next letter “b.” The enumerator’s hesitation and change of direction from “up” to “right” is inconsistent with the completion of an “e” and (as written) may only be interpreted as a “v” or a “u.” Since to my knowledge, no Anglo given name exists that begins with “Hv-,“ it follows that the enumerator was recording “Hu-“ in the first two letters, not “He-“. There appears to be no doubt that this second letter is not an “e” as has been thought for years for, if it was, there would be no hesitation in the smooth, upward connection to the next letter “b.”

2. Although not quite as compelling as the “Hu-“ analysis just discussed, it is noteworthy that this enumerator (with very few exceptions) evidenced fastidious attention to not allowing the names recorded in column (3) to cross over the vertical line into column (4). In recording the long name of “Garlington Hu????” in the space provided, he saw that he was running out of room as he approached this vertical line. Hence, he compressed the remaining characters as the vertical line was approached. If you will examine the letter “d” at the end of “Richard” (line 40, page 56a) and “Edward” (line 33, page 58a),(both of which are found elsewhere at, you will see examples of the “swirl” the enumerator put on concluding “d”s in given names. In this regard, I suggest you consider whether the enumerator, seeing that he was rapidly running out of room in the column (3) space provided, may have prematurely terminated the concluding “swirl” on the “d” (that he had heard), thereby transforming the “d”s written image into a script character resembling a “t” instead of the intended “d?”

3. Given 1. and 2., the name now appears to be either “Huberd” or “Hubard.” At this point in the analysis, it is inconsequential as to which of these two options the enumerator wrote. Phonetically, they both indicate that what he heard was very likely “Hubbard.” As was recently pointed out to me by Dolores Davis (another GARLINGTON researcher in Maryland), the “Hubbard” interpretation also explains the missing “r” before the “b” as one would otherwise expect to have been recorded had the name been “Herbert.”

CONCLUSION # 1: From the 1870 Calcasieu Parish LA census, it appears reasonable and justified to conclude that “Hebert” was “Hubbard” and the name of the GARLINGTON being enumerated was understood by the enumerator to have been “Hubbard GARLINGTON” – very similar to “John Hubbard GARLINGTON,” given that he used his middle name as a familiar form of address.

B. MIGRATIONAL AND LOCATIONAL DATA: Thesta Kennedy Scogland states on page 589 that, “It is said that he [Herbert GARLINGTON] moved from Mississippi to Arkansas and then to Louisiana…” Regrettably, Thesta does not clearly document her source for this statement.

From BRISTER family records it is known that John Hubbard GARLINGTON married Dinnah BRISTER about 1848. Moses Andrew BRISTER wrote on April 1, 1896 that “Dinna, born Jan 9, 1829, married John Hubbard GARLINGTON in 1848. “[They] moved to Arkansas, then to LA where she died.” Moses Andrew BRISTER wrote this eighty years before Thesta Kennedy Scogland published “The Garlington Family.”

CONCLUSION # 2: Thus, it appears that the Herbert GARLINGTON of Calcasieu Parish LA in 1870 and John Hubbard GARLINGTON of Attala County, Mississippi in the 1850s (see below) followed an IDENTICAL MIGRATORY PATH from Mississippi to Arkansas to Louisiana.

C. CENSUS DATA: From the 1870 Calcasieu Parish LA census, it may be estimated that “Hubbard” GARLINGTON was born in Mississippi “about 1820.”

At, an LDS site, the contributor (Alfred L. Wood) has placed “John Hubbard” [GARLINGTON’s] birth date at “before 1825.” I have been unsuccessful in contacting the contributor to verify his source for this information. My emails have been delivered but no response has been received.

On page 589, Thesta states that “Herbert” was born in Amite County, Mississippi before the 1820 Census was taken.”

Interestingly, John Hubbard Garlington, although residing in Attala County, MS since on or before October 23, 1847 (land patent date) through October 1, 1859 (land conveyance date), does not appear in either the Attala County 1850 or 1860 census for reasons open to speculation and still being researched.

CONCLUSION # 3: Thus, two independently derived estimates of John Hubbard GARLINGTON’s birth year are seen to be consistent with the year "Hebert GARLINGTON" was born as estimated from the 1870 Calcasieu Parish LA census.

SUMMARY: There remain other questions in need of clarification such as proving and reconciling with Thesta's research, who John Hubbard GARLINGTON’s,

1. Parents, wife (ves) and children’s names, dates and locations were.
2. Timeline resolution, especially during John Hubbard GARLINGTON’s Arkansas days, during which a “John H. GARLINGTON” of about the right age does make an appearance in Arkansas (see “The Garlington Family,” page 144) just after the last known record of John Hubbard GARLINGTON in Mississippi is recorded.

However, at this point in my search, I thought it might be wise to open up this discussion to all of you and solicit your reactions and indications of acceptance or rejection of these research findings. I thank you very much in advance for your time and your interest in this issue.


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