I am researching my g-grandfather, William Henry Whadford-POSSIBLY GAFFORD?. He was supposedly born September 15, 1862(?) in Alabama(?) approximately during the Civil War years (different years on different censuses) and the tale told is that his family may have originally come from the Carolinas and/or Georgia to perhaps Newton, Dale County, Alabama, where he may have been born. He was orphaned at a young age when his family may have died in a "plague" possibly on a river(house)boat and the story has it he was discovered alone after a couple of days. He may have ended up at an orphanage or facility and at some point he was claimed and sent to live with a supposed “uncle.” This may have been in Florida. He questioned whether his claimer was a true uncle because he felt used as an indentured servant and this prompted him to run away with alleged “cousins.” He eventually migrated to Texas and the family is able to trace him from his first marriage to Mary E. Havens on October 25, 1885 in Rains County, Texas where he had worked building Sulpher Springs Road. They had a son, William Henry Whadford Jr. born Oct. 15, 1886 in Sulpher Springs, Hopkins County, Texas and Mary soon died afterwards. This marriage document is the first we find his surname spelled W-H-A-D-F-O-R-D.
I found an Alabama census listing a Willie Wadford approximately the same age as my g-grandfather may/would have been. I included this information as the Hubbard last name may be some type of clue or tie you may recognize. It is the 1870 census of Shelby County, Hillsboro, P.O., Alabama, page 423. I cannot clearly make out Ms. Wadford's first name. The listing is:
Hubbard, James D., age 24, M, W, Farmer b. Alabama.
Mollie (nickname?), age 20, F, W, Keeping house, b. Alabama.
Walter R. or B., age 1, M, W, At Home, b. Alabama.
Wadford, ? (Annie, (N)Annie, Ammie short for Amelia?), age 25, F, W, At Home, b. Alabama.
Wadford, Willie, age 4, M, W, At Home, b. Alabama.
My thoughts are perhaps Ms. Wadford may have been a sister (some type of relative) to James D. or Mollie Hubbard, but she could have been only a boarder. I cannot locate any information on the Hubbards as well.
There is also an 1880 census of Butler County, Oaky Streak, Alabama, page 496, listing a William Wadferd. The listing is:
Hammock, George, age 49, M, W, Farmer, b. Alabama, cannot write.
Sarah, age 49, F, W, Wife, Keeps house, b. Alabama.
Elizabeth, age 18, F, W, Daughter, b. Alabama.
Wadferd, William, age 24, M, W, Single, Laborer, b. Alabama, cannot write.
It appears 1880 William Wadferd is a boarder. As probably flawed as censuses were back then and despite the name spelling and age, this could be my g-grandfather and/or possibly Shelby County Willie Wadford. I also cannot locate any information on the Hammocks either. In researching Dale County, Alabama, I found a Civil War Vet, Gafford, William H. Co. H. (enlisted, age 22, discharged for disability, 18 June 63) and a Hammock/Hammack, William H. (enlisted age 20; wounded at Knoxville, captured and never exchanged.) 1880 Butler County, Alabama census lists a William Wadferd (sure it's Wadford), living with the George Hammock family. This leads me to wonder if there could be a connection between the Dale Co. and Butler Co. Hammocks and William. Could Hammock be my William's maternal surname and until Shelby Co. Willie is eliminated, could his mother also be a Hammock living with her married Hubbard sister? Also, did the service families take care of their fallen brother's orphaned children and this would be the reason why William H. is living with the Butler Co. Hammock family? There were many Gafford families in Butler Co. Alabama and Hopkins Co., Texas and this is where I found some Gafford families living.
If you have any information or search suggestions, please contact me at NLCOMPTON@RMCI.NET