Monday Madness: Chipping Away at the Baxter Brick Wall

I’ve written before about my Baxter brick wall. Barbara E. (or possibly A.) Baxter is my great-great-grandmother and the wife of Francis Marion Kendrick.  She probably was born in 18541 and died March 5, 1939.2  She and F. M. were married April 16, 1871.

For a long time, all that I knew about Barbara, other than her surname and general birth date, was from her life after she and F. M. married. I can locate them on the 1880, and 1900 through 1930 censuses, living in the Alaculsa Valley of Murray County, Georgia. Without having any further clues, it has been difficult to research Barbara; I’ve often felt like she hatched out of an egg and immediately married my great-great-grandfather, because I just couldn’t find out anything about her, prior to their marriage

In my original attempts to chip away at the Baxter brick wall, I took the following actions:

Alaculsa Valley Map

Figure 1. Alaculsa Valley in Murray County, Georgia. Home of many Baxters and Kendricks

  1. I looked up all references to Baxter in Murray County Heritage. I learned that many Murray County Baxters and Kendricks lived in the Alaculsa Valley. That’s good news, right? Perhaps Barbara was one of these Baxters and I could find her family in the valley near the Kendricks. Perhaps that is how Barbara and F. M. met.  Alas, Barbara is not specifically mentioned in the book.
  2. I did various searches in census records for the Alaculsa Valley, looking for Baxter households with a child named Barbara, but found none. I expanded my search to the rest of Murray County, to no avail.
  3. I searched in Polk County, Tennessee, which is just across the state line from Murray County, and from which the Kendricks migrated to Georgia. I found some Baxters there, but no Barbara.
  4. I did numerous, numerous Google searches on any variation of names I could think of, but no luck.

I was stumped.

Then I had a breakthrough. In July 2009, while doing research at the Murray County Probate Court, I found Barbara’s entry in the Murray County Death Index and it listed her parents as Dave Baxter and Polly Lowery.3 Finally! Evidence that she did not hatch out of an egg. I was so excited. I just knew that the brick wall would come tumbling down.

I went home and looked through some notes I had taken previously on Baxter marriages in Murray County and I found a listing for Andrew D. Baxter and Mary Lowery.4 Andrew D. could be Andrew Dave and Polly is a nickname for Mary, so this seemed promising. I located the marriage license online at Georgia’s Virtual Vault, but it turned out that Andrew’s middle initial was actually recorded as B.5   Still, there weren’t any other names that were close to Dave Baxter and Polly Lowery, so I filed this away under “maybe.”

Then I started looking at census records again. I looked at all the Baxters in Polk and Murray counties again, hoping to find some variation of the names Dave and Polly. I found nothing even close in 1870 or 1860, but I did find some Baxters living adjacent to Kendrick families, so I added those pages to my “maybe” file for future reference.

The most promising find was in 1850 in Murray County.

1850-Census-Baxters-Lowerys

Figure 2. 1850 Census, Georgia, Murray County.

I found a household headed by a James Baxter (age 27) that included Sarah B. (51), Andrew B. (21), Mary (15), Mary C. (2), and James E. (6/12).6 They were living next door to William Lowery (54), Babarerey (61), and Elizabeth (21).7 I feel pretty confident that this Andrew B. and Mary are the same ones whose marriage license I found earlier and, if they are my Dave and Polly, I think it is likely that they are living next door to Mary (Polly)’s parents. The fact that the Lowery mother probably is named Barbara, adds a little weight to the idea that Andrew and Mary may also be Dave and Polly, because it makes sense that they would name a daughter after one of their mothers, but I didn’t feel like I had enough information to make that leap, so this census record also went in the “maybe” file.

So, as of mid-2009, I ended up with parents’ names for Barbara and many maddening questions.  Check back next Monday to see if I’ve found the answers to any of them, or simply created more.

  1. 1900 U.S. census, Murray County, Georgia population schedule, Alaculsa, enumeration district (ED) 70, sheet 12 A, p. 55 (stamped), dwelling 206, family 210, Barbara E. Kindrick; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 31 Dec 2007); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 213.
  2. Murray County, Georgia, “Index to Deaths, 1,” section K, Barbara Kendrick, recorded 17 Jun 1977; Murray County Clerk of Probate Court, Chatsworth.
  3. Murray County, Georgia, “Index to Deaths, 1,” section K, Barbara Kendrick, recorded 17 Jun 1977.
  4. Louise Coker, et al, compilers, Murray County, Georgia Marriage Records, Books I-IV, 1835-1905 (Dalton, Georgia: Whitfield-Murray Historical Society, 1998), 5.
  5. Murray County, Georgia, Marriage Records from Microfilm, “Murray County Marriage Book, 1843 – 1852″: 19, Baxter-Lowery, 04 Jan 1849; digital images, Marriage Books, Murray County Ordinary Court, Georgia Archives, Georgia’s Virtual Vault (http://content.sos.state.ga.us/index.php : accessed 28 Jul 2009).
  6. 1850 U.S. census, Murray County, Georgia population schedule, p. 216 (penned), dwelling 1480, family 1480, James Baxter household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Jul 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 78.
  7. 1850 U.S. census, Murray County, Georgia population schedule, p. 216 (penned), dwelling 1479, family 1479, William Lowery household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Jul 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 78.

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  1. says

    Hello –
    About 10 maybe 15 years ago my uncle bought land in Gordon county on the river across from Murray County near Carters dam. It was the site of the Baxter place who he said had a river landing – it being the furthermost place the boats from come up river. The house was on a buff overlooking the flat farm land in Murray. There was a Baxter cemetery near the house. I bet these people are related to your Baxters.
    BTW, I love TNG — I got my Mashburn TNG site going about a year ago but a GoDaddy problem caused me to lose everything — I hope to build it back during the holidays.

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