Message Boards > Localities > North America > United States > States > Illinois > Morgan Area Genealogical Association (MAGA/WGHS)


Subject: Re: Research Advice Please?
Author: ecoulter101
Date: Friday, November 20, 2015
Classification: Query

I have been researching the Morgan County Edward Hunter family for a friend who is related through Edward's son James Granville Hunter. There are certain mysteries surrounding this family, but I have found several clues. Edward Hunter is listed as the head of household in the 1830 State Census, but not the 1830 Federal Census. Judith Hunter is listed as head of household in the 1830 Federal Census, but not the 1830 State Census. The two households are identical except for the name listed as Head: 1 male age 30-39, 1 male age 40-49, 2 females age 20-29, and 1 female age 60-69. I believe those are: Edward (30-39), Colladon (40-49), Judith (later married Pleasant Barber) and an unknown sister (20-29), and Judith (60-69) mother of the other four.

There is a tombstone in the Jacksonville East Cemetery. It has inscriptions on two sides. The top of the stone is broken, with the break cutting through two of the names. On the west-facing side there is an inscription for Edward Hunter, died 28 October 1864 aged 73 yr 1 m 12 d, giving him a birthdate of Sept 1791. The break goes through his name, but the "E" is visible on the bottom part and the date matches the death date from his probate file. On the south-facing side there are two inscriptions. The top inscription is for someone whose first name starts with "J" and ends with "TH" (the J is visible on the bottom part and the TH on the top section) who died 20 Feb 184? aged 81/84 years. The stone is badly weathered around the inscription making it hard to read. The bottom inscription on this side is for Colladon Hunter who died 18 Dec 1824 aged 35 yr, 2 mo., giving him a birthdate of October 1789.

The cemetery was first used for burial as early as the 1830s, but no records of those early burials survive. The records in the cemetery office for the earlier burials include only the information that was copied from the tombstones at some later date. Actual burial records there began in the 1870s (or so I was told when I was there last week). The office records show that lot 81 in the Old Part of the cemetery belongs to "E. Hunter" but their lot card does NOT include any burial information for him. In Edward Hunter's probate file there is a listing of his real property, including lot 81 of the city cemetery. The office records show that a Colladon Hunter is buried there with a death date of 18 Dec 1824 at age 35, but the records do not show where he is buried. The records also show a J___? Hunter is buried there with a death date of 20 Feb 184?, but again no location is shown. I have emailed the cemetery office photos of the broken Hunter tombstone from lot 81 with inscriptions for Edward, Colladon, and probably Judith, but they are not comfortable with updating the records.

The ILMAGA website has transcriptions of some of the records of the Anderson Funeral Home which show that "E. Hunter" paid $9 for a coffin on 20 Feb 1841, with no record of for whom the coffin was purchased.

There is a Colladon Hunter who was living in Morgan County in Dec 1829 (bought land adjacent to Edward's in Section 4, Twnshp 14, R 10), in 1835 (sold that land, no signature just his mark), and in 1850 (Federal Census). His age is listed in the 1850 Census as 61 and his birthplace as South Carolina. Clearly this man did NOT die in 1824, and he cannot be Edward's father. I believe he is Edward's slightly older unmarried brother. The deed he signed in 1835 makes no mention of a wife. I believe that this is the slightly older male that appears in Edward's household in the 1830-1835 State Censuses and the 1840 Federal Census and in Judith's household in the 1830 Federal Census. He does not appear in the 1855 State Census, leaving me to believe that he died between 1850-1855. There is no probate record for him, but he sold his only land in 1835 and apparently always lived with his brother so there would have been no personal or real property.

The confusion that leads people to conclude that Colladon born 1789 is Edward's father stems from the 1850 Census. The age listed for Edward is 59, but this particular census taker made peculiar 5s that look like 3s, so some researchers have concluded that Edward was 39 in 1850, giving him a birth year of 1811. His tombstone makes it clear that he was born in 1791 which is consistent with his age as reported in the early state censuses.

If anyone has any ideas of other sources for finding information about this family, either in Morgan County or in KY, I would love to hear them. Edward is the only Hunter with a probate record. The local library does not have microfilm of local newspapers dating back to Feb 1841 or Dec 1824 to search for a death notice. Edward has no death notice or obituary. His probate file names only his children. The land records have only the one sale by Colladon, none by Judith, and Edward's name only his wife/widow and children.

I have examined Colladon's inscription on that stone repeatedly, and can't make sense out of it. I think it's supposed to be a memorial inscription for an older Colladon, possibly Edward's father (and Judith's husband) who probably died in 1824, but most likely in KY and not at the age of 35. I have enhanced the photos of the stone, trying to see if the age could be 65 or 85, either of which would make sense, or if the death date could be 1854, but the stone is too badly weathered to be sure. It seems to read just as it did whenever the inscriptions were recorded for the cemetery records: Colladon Hunter died 18 Dec 1824 age 35 years, 2 months.