I think you are correct in your opinion that there was no marriage between William Henry Pendarvis and Amanda Foster, but I believe that there was a marriage-like union. As you know, Amanda is listed in the 1850 census as a Pendarvis and listed in the position to be William Henry Pendarvis' spouse. A "Mrs. Pendarvis" died in Mobile on July 15, 1853 (a date that would fit Amanda Foster's probate records), and I am surmising that their union was considered to be a marriage by at least part of the community. If there was no proper marriage, and it seems that there was not, that would explain why young William A Pendarvis was called an orphan. Illegitemacy was both a societal blemish and a legal thorn. Often individuals with children born out of wedlock would leave their children property by will , but not referring to them as illegitemate or even as their own children in the will, so as not to put in force laws meant to protect what were considered legal heirs. Since he married Catherine Fettus in 1854, it seemed even more likely to me that the union with Amanda Foster was a marriage-like union, as he didn't marry anyone else during Amanda's lifetime. All of this is not to say that William A Pendarvis was not possibly an orphan who took the Pendarvis name or a Pendarvis of unknown origin. There was that other James Pendarvis who died in 1851 and who was living with the constable in the 1850 Mobile census. Perhaps he and Amanda had some sort of relationship and William Henry was left young William A as a ward. I am continuing to research Amanda Foster in order to more firmly establish her role in the Pendarvis family. Catherine Williams Fettus Pendarvis seems to have raised William A at least part of his teenage years. Her parents died in Charleston, SC, and she and William Henry shared in part of their estate.
I also agree with you about the spelling of Jane Harriet's name. Believe it or not, I agonized over spelling it as Jayne in my posting, and only did so because part of her descendants spell it that way. They also always spell Jane as Jayne so I was very unsure.
I'm glad you brought up James Washington Pendarvis' marriage records. As you know he had his children by Jane Harriet Alford Davis before their marriage. I don't know whether they were unable to legally marry or whether they simply chose not to. If they were unable to marry legally it would certainly most likely be that one or both of them were legally married to someone else. While both of the James and Mahala Pendarvis and the James Washington Pendarvis families have family legends of divorces or separations, I have no idea whether they are accurate. It did, however, seem to fit the circumstance. Mahala's husband James was listed in 1850 while in Hancock, MS, but not while in Pike Co., MS, where Mahala returned after her husband's death or disappearance. She is listed in both places in the 1850 census, with James in Hancock and without him in Pike. As Pike is historically a place that Pendarvises lived it seems more likely that she was returning to Pike after losing a husband in Hancock, rather than the other way around. As Jane Harriet Alford Pendarvis' first child with James Washington Pendarvis was born in April of 1851, we know that she took up with him at least by about July or earlier of 1850. Since the cutoff date for the 1850 census household listings was June 1, 1850, the timing is all on target. Mahala while interviewed in Hancock still lived with her husband or expected him to return, but by the time she moved home to Pike, assumed he was not going to return. If James Washington Pendarvis was one of the Pike Pendarvises then he almost had to be a brother to Benjamin Henry Pendarvis and therefore son to William and Elizabeth Zeigler Pendarvis.
As for the Dec 7, 1817 birthdate for James Washington Pendarvis, I received that indirectly from the Stella Oceana Pendarvis descendants. Perhaps it is a typo. Have you personally checked James Washington Pendarvis' tomb? I'm not doubting you, I'd just like to know which is more reliable. The Mobile Pendarvis settler James Pendarvis, who died between 1817 and 1826 in Alabama was living in Alabama prior to Dec 1817, and as James Washington Pendarvis was reported to have been born in SC in 1817, per the other source, I had thought it more likely that the James Pendarvis born in 1808 and who died in 1851 was the son of James (the Alabama settler) Pendarvis than James Washington.
James Pendarvis, the Alabama settler, and William Pendarvis, the Pike Co., MS settler, were brothers. William moved to Pike County between 1818 and 1820, while James moved away from SC between 1806 and 1810 and into Alabama in or prior to 1817. Again James Washington Pendarvis' possible birth of 1817 in SC makes him more likely the son of William, especially considering that there was another James of the correct age already living in Mobile, though dead in 1851.
All of this comes from years of researching all Pendarvis lines and using some tools of elimination. The Alabama and Pike Co., MS Pendarvis branches are clearly those out of Barnwell/Orangeburg Co.s, SC, and, I think, only a small amount of personal research in the Barnwell records would bring all doubters to the same conclusion.
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