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Elihu Sturgill in Hardin Co., Ill. 1860 census
Posted by: FD Taylor (ID *****2294) Date: July 21, 2006 at 10:29:07
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A recent Google search came up with a hit on a Census lookup on a Rootsweb archive site. I've been looking for this for a while, but no one has been transcribing Hardin County, Illinois, census records.

Background first: Elihu Sturgill was born in about 1830 to Mary "Polly" Sturgill, the daughter of William Sturgill and Sophia King of Grayson Co., Va. There's some question as to whether he was born there or just across the state line in Ashe Co., N.C. His mother later married David Greer of Ashe Co. and they settled there. (The Greers were a prominent cattle-farming family in the Grassy Creek community of Ashe County, just east of the Sturgill community.) David was also apparently Elihu's father, but the boy took his mother's name and was raised by her grandparents.

Sometime in the 1830s or 40s, his grandfather and the boy, along with various other family members, migrated to Lawrence Co., Ohio. In the 1850s, it was known that Elihu had married and settled somewhere in Illinois, since several of his children were born there. He shows up back in Lawrence Co., Ohio, in the 1860 Census, with several of his young children.

A few years later, Elihu marries Sarah "Sally" Louderback (widow of a Mr. Holmes) and has several additional children by her. One of Elihu's daughters by his first wife is Mary Ellen Sturgill, b. abt. 1854 in Illinois. She marries Sarah's brother Anderson Perry Louderback. To complicate matters further, Mary Ellen's daughter Rachel Elizabeth Louderback and Sarah's daughter Addie Sturgill, marry brothers: Thomas and Levi Wickline respectively. Thomas' and Rachel's daughter Mary Ellen Wickline, b. 1905 in Ohio, d. 1980 in W.Va., is my father's mother.

But let's back up. The big mystery for me about this family (once I finally got confirmation on how Sarah and Anderson were related) is who Elihu's first wife was. There had been a few clues and a few wrong answers.

Several researchers, not realizing the extent of his migrations, assumed she was someone he'd met back in North Carolina or Virginia. That seemed unlikely to me, unless he went back there before moving to Illinois.

A better clue was found on a cemetery transcription for Hardin County, Ill., showing a Malissa Sturgill, the young daughter of E.Sturgill and E.P. Sturgill, had died in about 1856. That made me think Hardin was a good bet, but the records were hard for me to get my fingers on without making a trip to southern Illinois. (I lived in Florida at the time I was researching this. Now I'm in North Carolina.)

Another observation was the naming pattern with the daughters. Mary Ellen Wickline was clearly named for her mother's mother (Mary Ellen Sturgill). What if Rachel Elizabeth had been named for both of her grandmothers? Sarah and Anderson Louderback's mother was Rachel Turvey. So wouldn't it be likely, especially given the first initial on Malissa's gravestone, that Mary Ellen's mother was "Elizabeth P....."

OK, here's what was on that Rootsweb archive:
Under the name "Elihu Surgill," the family was in Township 11, of Hardin Co., Illinois in 1860.
Elihu was listed as a 30-year-old day laborer and (according to the lookup) a native of South Carolina.
His wife was Elizabeth, a native of Kentucky.
Children included William, 8, Mary E., 6, Isaac, 4., and Alonzo, 4 mos. I believe Alonzo shows up in later censuses as "Lorenzo," though I'm not sure which is correct.
However, despite the wrong state for Elihu, a likely error for N.C., this is clearly the right family in the right place at the right time.

It appears that Elihu and Elizabeth P. of Kentucky married in about 1850, not sure where. She apparently died sometime in the 1860s and he moved with the kids back to Ohio.

So, a small answer to a portion of my questions on this bunch. Any other observations or information welcome.

-- F.D. Taylor, Concord, N.C.

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