1880 census Jack Co, TX:
Category: Name; Relationship to head of household; Marital Status; Gender; Race; Age; Birthplace; Occupation; Father's Birthplace; Mother's Birthplace.
Manda CHITCHAN Self W Female W 26 MO Keeping House VA VA
Eliza CHITCHAN Dau S Female W 6 TX At Home --- ---
James CHITCHAN Son S Male W 4 TX At Home --- ---
John CHITCHAN Son S Male W 3 TX At Home --- ---
On the 1870 census I find several Chidester families in Pulaski Co, AR (place of birth given for father of Lizzie and James on 1900 census), and one family in Quachita. You might do a little searching in those counties. I would post queries for those counties on GenForum and GenWeb, too. GenWeb counties tend to receive more hits, but I like both and you never know who is using which sites. Getting queries out in as many locations as possible is always good. (^_^)
Since Manda was born in MO and her late husband (she's a widow) was born in AR, I would guess they met and married in TX. Check for marriage records in Jack Co, TX. And, you now have a new spelling for your family name. He obviously died after youngest child and before census. Being a young widowed female, she may not have had money for a headstone, but I would look, as sometimes family will go back later and place a headstone. Check Jack Co, TX GenWeb site, see if they have their cemeteries online, or have a volunteer who will do lookups.
Also, if they owned land, look for guardianship records. Yes, even if the mother was living the court would appoint a guardian for minor children (if there was an estate -- land) to report back to the court of any sale of the estate. By that time period they may have "allowed" the mother to be the guardian. I had one in 1889 in Wilbarger Co, TX who was allowed to be the guardian of her minor children.
I don't see a Manda (or Amanda) on the 1900 TX census index with surname that even comes close to Chidester/Chitchan etc, so I'm guessing she remarried.
Happy Hunting (^_^)
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