Ok, so when I first started building my family tree I noticed that Amanda Summers’ husband, James Anderson Proctor, had been married before to a woman named Paralee, but it seemed as though no one knew who Paralee was, last name, parents, etc. I had put it in the back of my mind to search for her at some point because she intrigued me.
The book Houston County, Tennessee Families and Histories (Turner Publishing Company, 1995) lists a Paralee Duffel, born about 1837, as the daughter of Allen Duffel and Susan McCarroll. I don’t know if this escaped others’ attention or if no one bothered to look into it, because I think it gives a pretty good clue. In fact, when I first saw that I remembered that I was going to research the mysterious Paralee, first wife of JA Proctor.
Now, you’re going to have to stick with me when it comes to her birthdate(s), because we are going to be jumping all over the place with it.
In 1850 Paralee is on the census with her mother Susan, brother Ebbert (age 27 years), brother Thaddeus (age 19 years), sister Mary (age 15 years), brother Thomas (age 11 years) and brother Hardena (yes, brother, listed as a male, age 9 years). The family is living in Stewart County, Tennessee. Allen Duffel, Paralee’s father, had passed away previous to this census. Paralee is listed as 13 years of age, estimating her birth year at 1837, as the book had noted.
But we all should know how incorrect census records, and books, can be. Also, to be noted, if you are looking on Ancestry for this record, the transcriber…transcribed…the name as Sarah, though to me it plainly says Paralee. And for the record, a lot of names were misspelled on marriage and death records, along with birth records that were kept by doctors and churches.
I cannot for the life of me find Paralee in the 1860 census. I have looked and looked, but I just can’t find her. No, let me rephrase: I have not yet found her in the 1860 census.
Now, to share what I found and have been waiting on for what feels like forever to arrive in the mail: a marriage certificate! A marriage certificate for James A(Anderson) Proctor and Delila Paralee Duffle (Duffel). No joke. I check census records to track James Anderson Proctor and sure enough he was in Montgomery County, Tennessee. So the marriage record. On September 23, 1869 James A Proctor and Delila Paralee Duffle (as the spellings are recorded) were married in Montgomery County, Tennessee. I was told by the Montgomery County Archives that the marriage more than likely took place in Clarksville since the minister was Samuel Ringgold, who was, at the time, the Rector at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Clarksville (side note: the same church where my mother was baptized).
So, in 1870 James and Paralee are living in District 7, Benton County, Tennessee. James is listed as 22 years old and working on a farm. Paralee is listed as 25 years old and keeping house. So now her estimated year of birth is 1845.
Paralee doesn’t show up on any other census records. She is, however, on the 1880 US Mortality Schedule. What this tells us is: at the time of death she was 40 years old, estimating her birth year as 1840; she was a housekeeper (whether that means “house wife” or an actual housekeeper, I don’t know…probably the former); her date of death was February 1880; she died of consumption; she died in Houston County, Tennessee (which it should be known that Houston County was formed in 1871 from-depending on the sources-the counties of Stewart, Dickson, Montgomery, Humphreys and Benton…I don’t know which of these are the exact counties, but hopefully someone will enlighten me).
James Anderson Proctor married Amanda Summers on December 11, 1880.
So, I am pretty convinced that Delila Paralee Duffle and James A Proctor are my Paralee Duffel and James Anderson Proctor. Hopefully if I am wrong then someone let me know with proof. This also means that, as some will dispute purely for moral reasons, James Anderson Proctor was Amanda’s uncle, but only through marriage.
I am waiting to find out if they married at Trinity Episcopal Church in Clarksville, Tennessee. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they find a record that may contain more information!