I suspect a woman named Mary Stewart is my 3rd great-grandmother. Read Part 1 to find out why. This post is all about me speculating if it could be true. Fun!
Mary Stewart, was born in Windham, Connecticut, on February 9, 1799 to Ozias Hibbard or Hebard and Polly Flower. According to her father’s census records, her family moved to Union County, Ohio, by 1830. Union County borders Champaign and Logan Counties on its west. In other words, the Hibbards lived very close to the Kelleys and Hurds in west-central Ohio.
She married John Stewart in Logan County, Ohio, in 1833. She was 34 years old; he was 55. They had five children: Thomas, Ann, James, Barbara, and Lorenzo. John Stewart passed away in 1855, which probably was the reason the rest of the Stewart family moved to Iowa with the Kelleys and Hurds a year later.
By 1870, the widow Stewart and her family lived in York County, Nebraska. York County had recently been the frontier. The village they lived near was called Stewartville because Mary’s son James was a semi-famous frontiersman who had founded the town. He knew and rode with such historic figures as Kit Carson and Jim Beckwourth. Probably due to James’s wandering nature, the Stewarts didn’t stay long. Mary was buried in Montesano, Washington, on February 12, 1883.
How does her story fit into my 2nd great-grandfather, John Kelley’s?
John was born in 1825, so eight years before Mary married John Stewart. She would have been 26 at his birth, which is plenty of time to have been married to another person and have a family. Mary’s son that I mentioned in Part 1 was 3 years older than my John Kelley. He must have been a step-son from John Stewart’s first marriage.
We’ve established that John Kelley and Mary Stewart were living near Urbana, Ohio, in 1850. They were neighbors in Henry County, Iowa, from 1856 to before 1870. It seems the Kelleys stayed in Henry County longer than the Stewarts. But in 1880, the Kelleys had moved west to Council Bluffs, Iowa, three counties away from the Stewarts in York County, Nebraska. The best part about that census, though, is the fact that John’s mother’s place of birth is recorded for the first time on any document (check the far right column):
So exciting, right? I’ve never been so happy to see the abbreviation Conn for Connecticut! The same state Mary Stewart was born in. But how else can I prove my theory that Mary Hibbard is John’s mother? Who is John’s father? Did John have brothers and sisters?
It wouldn’t be fair to not mention my cousin and friend Cathy and our new friend Kate, a genealogist friend of a Kelley relative. We arrived at different parts of this theory and synthesized the information together. I’m just the one recording it. Thanks, Cathy and Kate!