The 1850 census of the city of Mobile, AL lists William H Pendarvis age 46 (born in SC) living in the household of Jno. Gilbreath. Both men are listed as boatmen, which fits nicely with the known career information about William H Pendarvis. Also in the household is an Amanda Pendarvis age 30 (born in NY) and a William Pendarvis age 14 (born in AL).
The 1860 census lists a Catherine Pendarvis age 34 (born SC) and a William A Pendarvis age 23 (born Louisiana, or so it looks). As William H Pendarvis of the 1850 census died on May 6, 1860, shortly before the census of 1860, and as he is known to have married Catherine Elizabeth Williams Fettus/Fetters on Jun 7, 1854, it seems reasonable that the William Pendarvis age 14 of the 1850 census and the William A Pendarvis of the 1860 census are the same person. Perhaps too little time had passed by the taking of the census of 1860 for the step-mother and step-son/foster-son/(or whatever the relationship was) to have separated their domiciles.
The 1870 census lists Kate(Catherine)Pendarvis living separately from William. William is listed in the census as age 28 and (born in AL), a steam boat clerk, and living in some sort of a men's dormitory or boarding house. The same year, on Jul 11, 1870 a William A Pendarvis died in Mobile age 28 and is listed as being born in SC. He of course did not supply the information for his own death, and owned no birth certificate. The census questions were answered by someone within the household, and did not always reflect completely accurate information. Likewise, if William A Pendarvis had little biological family left in Mobile, it is quite possible that the information given in his death report is not entirely accurate. Since in 1870 he was living with men involved in the steam boat business, and his father or legal guardian (whatever the relationship was that was shared by he and William H Pendarvis) was a steam boat captain, perhaps one or more of these men assumed that since the older William H Pendarvis had come from SC, that the younger had also been born there. While it is speculation that the William Pendarvis age 14 in 1850, age 23 in 1860, and age 28 in 1870 are the same person, it is no less speculation that they are different people.
If there was more than one young William in this age group living in AL 1850-1870, then who were they? There is enough similarity between the Williams found in the three censuses to assume that they are the same person, and as a working hypothesis the most logical assumption is that they are one and the same. Other possibilities could be drummed up, but placing the latter William somewhere else in the earlier censuses becomes a big problem. When the Pendarvis family is dissected in the whole, there is little other place for him.
Also, per the Amanda Foster probate record, William A Pendarvis was an orphan in 1853. This can be explained in many ways, not the least of which is that he was possibly illegitemate (which her use of Foster would suggest), and as a guardian was often appointed for any minor who owned an estate, including those with one living parent, the courts perhaps found it necessary to appoint such a guardian. Orphan was the term used for a child who had lost a parent, as well as a child who had lost both parents. In fact many states, including Alabama, had an Orphan's court handle the estate of any minor who inherited property regardless whether that minor had living parents. All of that to say that William H Pendarvis was likely William A Pendarvis' father or near male relative. The fact that an Amanda was referred to as a Pendarvis in the 1850 census of which was included the younger William, and as a Mrs. Pendarvis died in 1853, there is actually more support for the theory that William H Pendarvis and Amanda Foster were the parents (or at least guardians) of William A Pendarvis than not.
All that being said, any information to the contrary would be greatly appreciated. While my posting of the descendants of Brand Pendarvis is partly hypothetical, it is not entirely so. As the Pendarvis family is small, relatively speaking, I have found it particularly beneficial to study the family as a whole rather than by region. Much of the mystery evaporates when that is done. If you think the William A Pendarvis who died in 1870 was not the William A Pendarvis at least partly raised By Capt. William H Pendarvis of Mobile, who do you think he is? If you think that William H Pendarvis was not his father, then who do you think his father was?
Nice hearing from you, hope all is well.
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