Today’s blog post is about George Columbus BATES and Mary Ann SEELY, my maternal 2nd great grandparents. They were married on this date (13 January) in 1880. If you’d like to review what I’ve already written about George, you can find posts about George’s apple orchard here and I mentioned George in this post, too.
George Columbus BATES was born in December of 1856 in Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia, to John C. and Mary Jane (MOBLEY) BATES. George went by a shortened form of his middle name- Lum – and that’s how I’ll be referring to him here in this blog post. By 1860 (4 years after Lum’s birth) he was living with his family in Fancy Hill, 1013th Georgia Militia District in Murray County, Georgia. Hiram GARRETT (possibly SARRETT) was the census enumerator that year and he came by the family home on a Wednesday- 1 August 1860. Lum would have still been a few months shy of his 4th birthday at that time but he is enumerated as 4 years old in the census. His father, John, was a farmer. John valued his real estate at $800 and his personal estate at $1000. These amounts were about “middle of the pack” in comparison the other families censused on the same page.
In 1860, Lum’s older brother, Greenberry BATES was living with the family. Green was 18 years old and was a farm laborer. Just a few years later Green would be serving in the Civil War for the Confederacy.
Mary was born on Sunday, 6 June 1858 in Lawrence County, Missouri, to Charles and Synthia (FOSTER) SEELY. In 1860 Mary and her family were living in Mount Pleasant, Mount Pleasant Township, Lawrence County, Missouri. Their census enumerator that year was John W. PAYNE who came to enumerate the family on Saturday, 16 June 1860. Mary was 2 years old at the time. Living in the home were Mary’s parents plus four of her older siblings including Elijah, William, James, and John. In addition to these older siblings, she had an older brother who died as an infant. His name was George. In the years to come, Mary would help welcome two younger siblings- Elzora Josephine and Charles Harvey. Mary was living right next door to her maternal grandparents, Frederick and Mary (BURNETT) FOSTER. Mary’s dad was a farmer. Charles valued his real estate at $400 and his personal estate at $700. These values were toward the lower end of the spectrum in comparison to the families censused on the same page as Charles.
1863: A Difficult Year
In July of 1863, Lum was 6 years old. That year both his dad and his older brother were fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War. John (his dad) was fighting at Tullahoma, Tennessee when he was taken prisoner and transported to Rock Island. Rock Island was the Yankee version of Andersonville Prison. It wasn’t a place you wanted to go. In July of 1863 John died. I blogged a little about John’s military service and death here and my cousin did a guest blog post for us here.
Lum’s brother, Green, was taken as a prisoner of war at Missionary Ridge in November of 1863. He was initially sent to Rock Island but was transferred to a different military prison a couple of weeks after his capture. Green survived the war. I’m sure it was a pretty rough year for the whole family. If you want to read more about Rock Island and our part in the Civil War you can follow the links above that discuss John’s service. You can view the Missionary Ridge battlefield here. You can view a dramatic skit that explains the Tullahoma Campaign here. I also recommend Wikipedia for a brief, to-the-point overview of any topic.
Other known siblings of Lum’s were an older sister Martha, an older brother Washington who I think died in 1860, and a younger brother Henry Franklin who wasn’t yet born in 1860. In 1868, Lum’s mom got married again. This time she married Paul E. BRINEGAR.
The best I could tell, this was the location of John and Mary (MOBLEY) BATES’ homestead in Georgia. They had a nice view of the mountain.
On Tuesday, 26 July 1870, census enumerator Robert M. ROMBERT visited the BATES family. By this time Lum’s dad, John, had died as a prisoner of war at Rock Island prison and Lum’s mom had remarried to Paul E. BRINEGAR. The family consisted of stepdad Paul E. BRINEGAR, mom Mary J. (MOBLEY) BRINEGAR, younger half brother Franklin (later enumerated as ‘Henry’). In 1870, Paul was farming and he valued his real estate at $850 and his personal estate at $200. If I were to judge based on the information given by other respondents on the page, Paul was in the middle of the pack as far as money and possessions owned by the people in his area. Mary Jane was “keeping house” as were the majority of women that I’ve encountered on older census records. Lum was a farm laborer. Franklin was only 2 years old. He was not working or in school.
On Thursday, 23 June 1870 enumerator John H. STROUD visited the SEELY family. Parents Charles and Sinthia were living in Bentonville, Osage Township, Benton County, Arkansas with their children, James, John, Mary, Elzora, and Charles. The elder Charles was a farmer and valued his real estate at $500 and his personal estate at $250. If I were to judge based on the information given by other respondents on the same page, Charles more well off than most of the people around him. Sinthia was keeping house. Despite their ages, the older children (ages 20 and 17) were not working – or at least no occupation was listed by the census enumerator.
Sometime between 26 July 1870 and 28 June 1880, Lum and Mary met each other and fell in love. I wish I had stories to tell you either from records or family stories passed down through the years. Sadly I don’t, so we’ll skip right to the month of the wedding.
On Wednesday, 7 January 1880 it was warmer than usual in Benton County, Arkansas. The weather was described as “too warm for overcoats and fires”. (Arkansas Democrat, 7 Jan 1880) That was the day that the license was issued for George Columbus BATES and Mary Ann SEELY to marry. The wedding didn’t happen until Tuesday, 13 January 1880. By then, it was “decidedly cooler”. (Arkansas Democrat, 14 Jan 1880) Lum (George) was 21 years old according to the marriage license although other official documents have put him at age 24 at the time of his marriage. (My personal belief is 24 years old.) Mary was 20 years old according to the marriage license.
The first record I have that was dated after the wedding is the 1880 Federal Census. On the Monday, 28 June or Tuesday, 29 June 1880, census enumerator John M. CLAYTON arrived at the newly-married couple’s home. They were living in Dickson Township, Benton County, Arkansas. He was listed as being 23 years old and she as being 22. They lived next door to Lum’s now-widowed mother, Mary and Lum’s half brother who is now listed as Henry. Living on the other side of Mary was her older son Berry, now married and with his own large family. Lum was farming and Mary was keeping house.
A Good Stopping Point
If you work on your own family history then you know that most of the 1890 census was destroyed. So, unfortunately it’s hard to know what Lum and Mary did in the 20 years between the 1880 and 1900 censuses. One thing I do know they did was have babies. Starting with Albert (my great-grandfather) in 1881 and continuing with Charles in 1887, Herman in 1891, and Vesta in 1894.
It is at this point that I’m going to stop their story. I’ll finish it during the year in other blog posts about Lum and Mary as I celebrate their births and write about their deaths.
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog