Tuesday, January 28, 2014

James Hutson Abandoned Family (52 Ancestors #4)

That’s What the Divorce Record Said

James Hutson was my great-great grandfather and he’s one of my brick walls.  Solid as a rock wall.

I know he married my great-great grandmother Ella Pillsbury in 1878 in Mitchell County, Iowa.  The record said so.  But the record also spelled his surname as Houston.  All other records (census, divorce) and his descendants spelled the surname Hutson.

Ella was granted a divorce in 1895 after he failed to appear in court in response to a 30 day notice in the newspaper.  The basis of the divorce was abandonment so it stands to reason that the court awarded Ella sole custody of their children, Alva Leo Hutson, born in 1879, and William Ernest, born in 1882.  Both sons were born in Wayne Twp, Mitchell, Iowa.  Alva was my great-grandfather.  Side note:  Ella remarried the day after the divorce was granted.

The 1880 U.S. federal census for Wayne Twp, Mitchell, Iowa recorded Ella Hutson (but not James) as married, living in the household of W.C. Pillsbury (her father) with son L. Alva, seven months old, born in October. (I know, his age and birth month don’t match).  The census said that Alva’s mother and father were born in Wisconsin.

1880 U.S. federal census, Wayne Twp, Mitchell, Iowa
on Ancestry.com (click to enlarge)

And now the brick wall.  Admittedly, I haven’t searched for James Hutson in a couple years.  I was hoping for a cousin connection by getting his short story on the blogosphere.  Fingers crossed.  And I also need to create a research plan which will include (gasp) writing letters to archives, historical societies and libraries.

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