I am hoping somebody out there can help me track down some information on John Walter Mulford, my great grandfather. I know that John Walter lived in Dearborn County Indiana and married Mariah Barkley there on June 4, 1885. I have found census records of John Walter and Mariah and their two children in Franklin, Ripley County in 1900, 1910 and 1920, and I've found a cemetery record for John Walter indicating that he died in 1926 and is buried in Cliff Hill Cemetery in Ripley County. In the census listing, his birthdate is different in each one - he was born either in 1860, 1861 or 1862. He always says he was born in Indiana though.
I'm stuck on who his parents were, though. Many many family history trees list him as a child of John Legg Mulford as either the last child of JL's marriage to Cynthia Henderson or the first from his marriage to Mary Chance. I have not found any that cite a source for this information, though. Census records for that family never list a John, John W, Walter, JW or any other male child that could possibly be John Walter living with either of John Legg Mulford's families. I did find a John W. Mulford, aged 9, living with Benj and Jane Mulford in Sparta, Dearborn County, Indiana in 1870. Along with John W was also living a James Vandolah. It is my understanding that John Legg's father Benjamin adopted or at least raised a James Vandolah so I'm guessing that this Benj is John Legg's father. Birthdates for Benjamin father of John Legg do line up for this one. However, John Legg's mother is documented as being Mary Legg. A history of Dearborn County including biographies of some people also talks about these Mulfords giving details about Benjamin Mulford, Mary Legg, their parents, their children, and their children's children. James Vandolah is mentioned here, as is John Legg, but John Walter is not listed among John Legg's children. In the 1880 census, I found Walter Mulford, born about 1861 in Indiana, living with Benjamin and Jane Mulford in Sparta. This census had a question about relationship to head of house, and Walter is listed as "other then direct relationship". What does that mean? He's not a son, then; is he also not a grandson? Who could he be in relation to this Benjamin? Am I right in assuming that this Benjamin is the same as John Legg's father? If so who is Jane Mulford? All I know is that she was born about 1819. In 1870 she listed her birthplace as New York. In 1880, she listed it as Indiana. Any clues for me?