Monday, March 17, 2008

Mysteries to Solve

I haven't been able to make much headway into finding my great-great-great-grandma Amy. I've been rereading a lot of material that I inherited from my aunt. I found something I missed from my first perusal. According to the oral legend, she was supposed to be a full-blooded Cherokee.

I don't know why I feel she abandoned her family. She could have died right after the Civil War. It's the absence of stories about her that makes me think she decided not to stay with Solomon.

I am also trying to find out more about my Cotten line. I want to know why they changed their name from Anderson to Cotten. Knowing why will make it easier to trace the family. I now have a new theory to disprove.

My great-grandfather Napoleon Cotten had a brother who chose the surname Cain. After googling the name Cain in the Mississippi archive, I came up with several families in Amite County, the same county where my family lived in 1870. Here's an excerpt from Cain, a book by Mildred and Margaret Ezell which I found interesting.

"Descendants of Isaiah and Polly (Butler) Cain: 1) Mary B. Cain, b 21 Nov. 1822 Amit. Co., d 8 Sep 1843, bur Zion Hill Cem., Amite Co.; m 5 Mar 1840 (Amite 3-81 by T W Pound J.P., George W. Carmack bondsman) Joseph Robertson Cotten, b 7 July 1818, d 17 Mch 1885, bur Cotten Cem., Fr. Co. MS (S32 T5 R5)."

Joseph and Mary had one daughter. Mary died young and Joseph remarried. Isaiah and Polly (sometimes called Mary too) raised Mary's daughter Mary Cotten, not Joseph. Joseph is also the father of Thomas Cotten by his second wife. This is the very same Thomas that lived next door to Ammon Cotten, Napoleon's son, on the 1900 Pike County census. Both Thomas and Ammon listed their profession as merchants. I found that too much of a coincidence. That was why I first thought Joseph was the slave owner of Winnie and her children. There had to be contact between the two families because of Mary Cotten.

In addition, I found a white Hiram Cain and a white Elizabeth Cain and a white Napoleon Whittington, a Cain cousin all in that family group in Amite County. These were my family's names too. I know that doesn't mean much by itself. These names could have been very popular during this time. But it has made me think about checking in a whole new direction.

What if my gr-gr-gr-grandmother Winnie and her children were originally on the Cain plantation? What if Winnie married someone named Anderson and he was not the father of her children? What if they were befriended by the Cottens after the Civil War? I know these are a lot of "what ifs." Hopefully, by following these "ifs" I will run across more family members and the answers to some of the mysteries.

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