weekendmom on Family Tree Circles
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My name is Laura and I have been researching both sides of my family for many years now. Lately I've been researching my paternal grandfather's family, the Houchins. My focus is my great, great, great grandfather. His name was James Monroe Houchin and he was born in April 1837. His wife was Julia Ann Sutton, a Cherokee Indian. But lately I learned he is listed on some websites(family search and rootsweb) as having a wife named Julia R. Cosby, who married him in 1857. Strange thing is, she was born the same year and the same place as my ancestor, Julia Sutton. But James married Julia Cosby in 1857 while my ancestor was married to him in a different year and another location. There was never any mention of James having a first wife or a child by her(he had a son named after him that shows up in census records that also never got mentioned), so my question is: are there two wives or just one? Who exactly is this Julia R. Cosby?
When most people think of the Trail of Tears, they think of Tennessee or Georgia any of the southern states. Many may not know that it passed through Illinois. Yet during 1838-1839 part of the eastern band of the Cherokee nation traveled through the southern part of that state, my own family likely among them. My ancestor came from a family that, like many who resented being forced to surrender their ancestral homeland, sneaked away and changed their name to avoid having to move to Indian territory(modern Oklahoma). My family settled just south of the route the Cherokee took in Illinois, settling in what is now Massac County. My ancestor was named Julia. Possibly to keep the government off her trail, she changed her name once after she married, even going as far to create a later date and place for her marriage(1863, in Sebastian County, Arkansas). For a while this confused me when trying to trace back the family tree. Then it occurred to me that there never was a marriage in Arkansas. It was a red herring. She married in 1857 in Massac County. Tracing Cherokee ancestors is a very tedious and frustrating process, especially when they changed their names for whatever reasons they had to. In some cases, the answers people seek will likely never be answered.
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