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Re: John and Elizabeth (Stihli) Hufford
Posted by: Barry Wood (ID *****8218) Date: December 30, 2004 at 08:15:24
In Reply to: Re: John and Elizebeth Stihl-Hufford by Eva Myrick of 702

People who study this professionally would be interested in the details of the phenomenal aunt you describe, as (the last time I looked into this) the medical literature did not contain any instance of a woman older than 52 bearing her own-conceived child, unless you count Sarah of old.

Sometimes an illegitimate grandchild was passed off as the child of the grandmother in order to protect the opportunities of the child and the reputation of the actual mother, though I'm not suggesting that such could have occurred in your husband's family.

For one women to have 26 live births would be extremely unusual, but not unknown. The record, if I recall correctly, is held by a woman in Russia who exceeded that number, but by multiple births and starting early rather than by extending her childbearing past age 52.

John Hufford died intestate, so there's no will to enlighten us. Without a will to dispose of his real property, by law the "fee" descended to his heirs (children) at the moment of death as tenants in common, with a life estate reserved to the widow. This is why the deeds are so important in verifying the identity of his children.

I have found no evidence that Elizabeth had a will, though you are quite right that single women, both spinsters and widows, were entitled to dispose of their property by will. So long as they were married, their property was deemed to be merged into that of their husbands, so the concepts of a woman's sole and separate property, and of wills by married women, were ones that had to await modification of the common law by statute.


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