I originally posted this on August 23,2004 in the Dunaway Forum.
Ah-h-h, good ol' Thomas Dunaway -- the man of a thousand wives and ten thousand children HA HA.
I think most of us are in agreement that Thomas married Mary Perkins on January 27, 1840 in Halifax County, Virginia. In the census of 1850 Thomas is found at age 29 which is good for his birth year of 1821. Mary, his wife and age 48, is listed and three children:
Catharine D. age 9
Louisa T. age 6
John H.T. age 4
So far, so good ... well except for Mary Perkins being 19 years older than Thomas, but we've known that for a long time.
I decided to look at the census of 1860 and see where they were and who their children were. That was a big mistake! I did my normal searches and came up with nothing, a big zero! Then I went to the Soundex to see what it would bring up. I did a search on every name that was listed with Thomas in the census of 1850 and found absolutely nothing in the state of Virginia. Then I did the searches again, but didn't limit it to just Virginia. After sitting here and going through thousands of names I had nothing to show for my efforts.
I decided to look at the census of 1870 to see what I could find. Thomas is there in Roanoke, Halifax County, Virginia. The name is spelled Dunnaway, but its him, age 50 and a farmer. This has a strange listing.
#1 Mary Perkins seems to have disappeared from the planet.
#2 Thomas lives by himself in household 872.
#3 Coly McKinny, age 66 lives by herself in household 871. This wouldn't mean anything except that Thomas' father, John Dunaway, married a Sarah McKinney (McKinny). I figured there might be some significance to this woman living next door.
#4 Living in household 873 are the rest of the Dunaway's:
Betsy age 42 -- keeping house, but no evidence she is married to Thomas.
John age 16
Albert age 12
Susan age 8
Samuel age 6 -- this is Samuel Randall Dunaway born May 08, 1864.
Lewis age 4
Snead age 2
Then I went to the census of 1880. Thomas is there in Staunton, Halifax County, Virginia, age 59 and a farmer. He has a new wife ... Salle S., age 46. Living with him are 4 children and a sister:
Alisen or Aliser N. (W.?) age 9 -- this is Alexander Dunaway born in 1871
Sallie age 7
Colie age 27 -- this is the sister
Gramelle J. age 6
Jas. A. age 4 months
Notice the difference in children between 1870 and 1880.
OK, I've got to admit it ... maybe I've picked up on the wrong family. But if I have then we don't have any census records for Samuel Randall Dunaway or Alexander Dunaway for the first 30 years of their life. I'm hoping that someone out there can straighten me out or at least put things in perspective. So here's my questions based on the assumption that I've got the right family line:
#1 When did Mary (Perkins) Dunaway die?
#2 Where did the entire Thomas Dunaway family go to in 1860?
#3 Why is there such a large and strange difference between the children listed in 1870 and 1880?
#4 Who is his wife Salle S. in 1880? Its not Sarah Hancock, they didn't marry until 1886. Its not Minerva Wallace, they didn't marry until 1891.
#5 Mary (Perkins) Dunaway was 48 in 1850, by 1870 would have been 68, and by 1880 would have been 78. Both of those ages are rather advanced to be having the number of children that Thomas fathered. Unless Thomas was actually married to Betsy in 1870 (which would add another wife) who was giving birth to all these children?
#6 Do we have 'proof' anywhere that the mother of Alexander Dunaway was Mary (Perkins) Dunaway?
#7 Do we have 'proof' anywhere that the mother of Samuel Randall Dunaway was Mary (Perkins) Dunaway?
Well, its been a long story to tell. Sorry for straining your eyes for so much reading, but at least I can go to bed now knowing that the questions have been asked.
Thanks for any help!
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