I was wondering if anyone knows anything about a mysterious Ruffin Puryear I've found in Halifax County, VA. He was born around 1882, and he appears on the 1900 and 1910 censuses with a single woman named Nancy Puryear, born around 1849. On the 1900 census, Ruffin and Nancy are listed as living with a widow named Lourena Puryear. Nancy is listed as Lourena's "slip-daughter" (I assume this means step-daughter), and Ruffin is Nancy's son. Lourena is only about 10 years older than Nancy.
On the 1910 census, Ruffin is married to a Lizzie Puryear, and Nancy is a boarder with the Elliott family. My records say that Ruffin married Lizzie Elliott, so I assume that this Elliott family is Lizzie's parents. There is a Lusana Puryear nearby who is about the same age as Lourena would be, who is a widow living alone. I'd bet they're the same person.
I can't find anything about this Ruffin Puryear before the 1900 census. There is no Nancy Puryear or Lourena Puryear on the 1880 Halifax County census whose ages match up to what they should be. Ruffin's death certificate lists his mother as Nancy Puryear, and his father as "unknown". Ruffin seems to be an only child, and if Nancy is his mother she would have been around 33 when she had him.
I'm wondering if maybe Ruffin was adopted, or is perhaps an illegitimate child of some kind? It actually makes a difference to me because I'm trying to prove a cousin relationship with Ruffin, and I'm adopted myself and I don't yet know my own heritage. Figuring out who Ruffin's father is could possibly shed some more light on my background.