Determining the Identity of E.J. Buckhanan
The identity of “E.J. BUCKHANAN”, wife of John Littleton Trout Buckhanan, has been a mystery for many years among the Buckhanan researchers. Although it was suspected she might be a KEELING, since there were Keelings present in their household on the 1860 Arkansas Madison county census, we were never able to make a connection to the known Keelings in the area.
However, recently, while working with 2 Buckhanan and 2 Keeling researchers, I believe we have found an answer to her identity. It is our opinion, at this time, that “E.J. Buckhanan” was ELENDER/ELDER JANE KEELING, daughter of WILLIAM WELDON KEELING. William was a brother to Carlton and Thomas Keeling, who also moved to Madison County, Arkansas in the mid 1800’s.
Determining her Name:
The source of information for her maiden name, came from the descendents of Sarah Frances Buckhanan Smith, E.J.’s daughter. On Sarah Frances’ death certificate, the name ELDER KEELING is listed as “Maiden Name of Mother”. Sarah’s oldest daughter, Mrs. Floyd Williams (Lillian Vernetta Smith), supplied this information. However, it does not appear that Lillian personally wrote the information, since her name is TYPED in the boxed area labeled “Above is true to the best of my knowledge”.
Sometime between Sarah’s death in 1937 and the early 1940’s, a granddaughter of Sarah’s copied some information that she got from her Aunt Lillian. On this document, Rosa Ellen Farrell typed the name ELENDER JANE BUCKHANAN as the wife of JOHN BUCHANAN.
A second document, a family work sheet, by Sharon Barton, daughter-in-law of Julia Smith Barton, lists her “source of information” as the following: “personal knowledge of Julia Barton and 1900 census of Cleveland County, OK. page 105A”. Julia Smith Barton was the youngest daughter of Sarah Francis Buckhanan Smith. On this family group sheet, the name ELDER Keeling is given as the mother of Sarah Frances Buchanan.
Additional family documents from Sarah Frances’ family list both ELDER and ELENDER JANE. There is a hearing impairment that exists in many members of this family line, so it is possible that part of the discrepiency in the spelling of the name could be due to this. So at this time, we are uncertain whether E.J.’s name was ELDER or ELENDER Jane Keeling.
Determining her Parents:
On the 1860 census (AR, Madison County, War Eagle Township), E.J. is in the household with her husband John Buchanan, and daughters Mary and Margaret. Also present were Harlin, Laura A., C, Charlotte, and Jesse KEELING. Since E.J.’s maiden was determined to be Keeling, it was reasonable to assume that she was related in some way to these particular Keelings.
Carlton (“C”) and Charlotte were the parents of Jesse. Laura A. was the wife of Harlin, who was the son of Carlton’s brother Thomas. Carlton and Thomas’ families have been well researched, and they did not have a daughter Elder/Elender. However, they had a brother William Weldon. On the 1840 census (AR, Madison County, Bowen Township), there is a place for an extra daughter “under the age of 5” in William’s household. E. J. was born around 1838, so she would fit into this spot.
In 1830 Carlton was in Anderson County, TN. In 1840 and 1850 he was in Blount County, TN. He first shows up in Madison County, AR on the 1853 tax records.
In 1830 and 1840 Thomas was in Blount County, TN. In 1850 he was in Madison County, AR.
A marriage document was found for a WELDING KEELING and ELIZABETH HEIDIN. They were married in 1827 in Roane, TN. On the 1830 Roane County, TN census, there was a Welding Keeling. There is one daughter under the age of 5. That would be consistent with their oldest daughter Martha.
Between the years 1828-1832, there was a William or Weldon Keeling listed on the tax lists in Roane County, TN. This would suggest that William and Weldon were the same persons. Then between 1841-1845 there is a Weldon Keeling on the tax lists in Madison County, AR. On the 1840 AR, Madison County, Bowen Township, census, there is a William Keeling.
On the 1850 census there is no William/Weldon Keeling listed. Neither is there a widow Keeling. A letter from George Wood stated that Weldon Keeling died in 1845 in Madison County, during a harsh winter. It is assumed that his wife died before 1850.
There are several apparent “orphaned” Keeling children found in various homes in Madison County in 1850. Elijah and Eliza Keeling are listed in the home of Abel and Martha Keeling in King’s River Township. It is obvious that these children are too old to be their children. Abel’s mother is still alive, so it seems to fit that Martha is their older sister. Abel married his cousin Martha Keeling. It is said that Martha Keeling was the daughter of William Weldon Keeling. Abel was the son of Thomas Keeling, William’s brother.
Other children reported to be William Weldon’s were found in the following homes in 1850 Madison County:
Sarah Keeling was in the home of William McCamus in King’s River Township.
James Weldon Keeling was found in the home of John Phillips in War Eagle Township.
Nancy Keeling was in the home of Benson Gillialand in War Eagle Township. (Benson’s wife Nancy was the daughter of Thomas Keeling, so she was a first cousin to the younger Nancy Kelling, daughter of William Weldon.)
At this time we have been unable to locate the remaining 2 children, William “Billy” Keeling, and Elender/Elder Keeling on the 1850 census.
There have been 2 other women that other researchers have indicated as being this “E.J.”, but we have been able to disprove both of them.
Ellen (Elenor) Jane Perry:
This E.J. married Weldon Keeling in 1853. Weldon was the son of Thomas Keeling and Mary Irick. He was a cousin to Elender/Elder Keeling, wife of John Littleton Buckhanan.
Ellen Jane Perry was in William Perry’s household (her father) in 1850, in Madison County, Boen Towhship. She married Weldon Keeling in 1853. Her husband died before 1860. In 1860, Ellen is back in her father’s household (Madison County, War Eagle Township) with her 2 children, William Thomas and Amanda Keeling. Ellen died in 1861. She is buried at Huntsville Cemetery, in Huntsville, AR, (Madison County).
This Ellen was actually married to John MONTGOMERY Buckhanan, the SON of John Littleton Buckhanan. She was born in 1860 and died in 1843. Her Texas death certificate shows her father to be J.S. Pfaff and mother as Nancy Mobley. She is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Whitesboro, TX, Grayson County.
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