One of the biggest mysteries in my maternal family is the father of Amanda M Summers’ children. Margaret Elizabeth “Lizzie”, Leona A “Lonie”, and Edward Leon “Ed” were born to an unwed mother in 1870, 1873, and 1880 (respectively). On December 11, 1880 Amanda married James Anderson Proctor and went on to have three more children before her death ca. 1889 (probably). Lizzie and Lonie both married their first husbands on August 26, 1889. Ed married in 1902, but I have yet to find him on a census in 1900.
Years ago I ordered Lizzie’s death certificate. I posted it on Digging Up Your Family, Ancestry, and Facebook. Oddly, people didn’t want to believe it. One person was so upset and said “Lizzie's father was James Proctor, not James Summers. It shows a Smith giving information. Not quite the truth. That is just awful.” I think the main reason people were upset is because James Franklin Summers was the brother of Basil Pinkney Summers, Amanda’s father. They don’t want to believe that Amanda’s own uncle would get her pregnant. Later I was amused by this because, as I posted here, James Anderson Proctor was Amanda’s uncle through marriage: he had previously been married to Delilah Paralee Duffel. She was the sister of Emily Jane Duffel, Amanda’s mother.
The Smith that gave the information, by the way, is Lizzie’s son from her second marriage.
So anyway, I didn’t add James Franklin to the tree as their father because 1) was there another James Franklin Summers? and 2. I wasn’t sure if he was the father of all three anyway. Time went by and I discovered Ed’s delayed birth certificate.Boo! He didn’t name his father! And I was unable (so far) to find delayed birth records for Lizzie or Lonie. It is possible they didn’t have them if they didn’t apply for a Social Security number.
On July 22 (2015) Ancestry presented a new database: the US, Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Of course the first thing I did was search for EVERYONE. I searched for Lizzie and Lonie, mainly to see if they had applied in hope of then searching for delayed birth certificates. Then I searched for Ed. Bingo! And, of course, it didn’t offer much information. Or at least not the information I was seeking.
What’s the next step? Why, to order his application of course!
And guess what? I came in the mail today!
And guess what else? It has his father’s name on it?
Yeah, you read that right: James Summers is his father. And this isn’t one of those Smiths, either. This is Edward Leon Summers himself saying that James Summers is his father.
BUT! For the sake of appeases the naysayers who say “NAY!”, I will present a few other options for their father in addition to James Franklin Summers.
1. Obviously, number one is James Franklin Summers. This photo was posted on Find A Grave, courtesy of Rebecca Lew. Click here.
James Franklin (1818-1900) was the brother of Basil Pinkney Summers, and Amanda’s uncle. He was married to Tennessee Porter Outlaw and had several children. In 1870 an 1880 James Franklin and family were living in Humphreys County, Tennessee, not far from where Amanda lived with her parents.
2. James Henry Summers was born in 1852. He is the son of James Franklin Summers. In both 1870 and 1880 he was living in Humphreys County, Tennessee with his parents.
3. James Summers (1772-1874) was married to Charlotte “Polly” Hood. They had several children together. This particular James lived in Stewart County, but he cannot be Ed’s father because he died six years earlier.
4. There is a James Summers in 1870 living in Benton County, Tennessee. He was born about 1850. The closest I can find to him in 1880 is a James Summers born about 1849 living all the way over in Lauderdale County, Tennessee.
5. The last one I will mention is James Summers, born about 1844. This James is Amanda’s oldest brother. I know in 1850 and 1860 he lived in Stewart County, Tennessee with his parents. I have no clue where he went after that, but I do wonder if he might be James Summers #4.
So, there are five possibilities, with two being closer distance-wise: James Franklin and James Henry. At this point I feel like I have to believe Lizzie’s death certificate. I can’t imagine why her son Walter would specify that it was James Franklin Summers if it was not. This also cements that James Anderson Proctor was not father to Lizzie or Ed, and I pretty much guarantee he isn’t Lonie’s father either. I feel pretty comfortable putting JFS on my tree as the father of all three.
And as a last word (and to reiterate what I have already said), whether James Franklin Summers or James Anderson Proctor was the father, both are still Amanda’s uncles.