I had been researching Davis Lewis McJunkin and Tabitha the entire day when I came across your post. Davis is my paternal 3rd great-granduncle. It took some time before I began successfully piecing his life together through the census records because he was either not very good with numbers---which I must have inherited---had a bad memory, or was a notorious liar. When I picked him up in 1860 with his first wife, Tabitha, I knew absolutely nothing about her except that she must have been previously married to someone by the last name of Porter, due to the child named Elisha Porter. When I found Tabitha in the James Porter household with the five children I thought I was on a roll. But there were two things that bothered me about that 1850 census. The first was the difference between Tabitha’s age and the oldest son, David. When David was born Tabitha would have been 11 years old. And two, there was a 5-year gap between the ages of Elisha and John Porter, which led me to believe that James’ first wife could possibly have died during, or shortly after, giving birth to her 3rd son, John Porter, thus the 5-year gap between John and Elisha. As I am sure you are aware, Mary, who was only 6 months old during the 1850 census died young, for she was not listed with Elisha and her mother in the 1860 census.
Another thing that bothered me about Tabitha was her age. During the 1850 census she was recorded as being 25 years of age. Ten years later she is Davis McJunkin’s wife and is suddenly 44 years of age in the 1860 census. It goes without saying that if she was 34 during the 1850 census instead of 25, there would be no reason to question her being the mother of all five children.
I may be way out in left field on this one, but was wondering what your thoughts were. You may already possess positive proof that Tabitha is the first wife of James Porter, in which case all my theorizing has been just that. Anyway, hope you are able to locate some graves. I haven’t had any luck.
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