Hello to all:
I have recently encountered a mystery, and I need the help of someone – anyone – who has a connection to Joseph Emerson Smith. I am posting this message to the Smith, Emerson, Randal, Spencer and Fuller forums, in hopes of triggering a memory, or finding the connection I seek. I apologize in advance for the length of this post.
Joseph Emerson Smith was born March 19, 1835 in Wicasset, ME, the son of Samuel Emerson Smith and Louisa Sophia Fuller. Samuel was Governor of ME when Joseph was born. (Samuel was the son of Manasseh Smith and Hannah Emerson). Joseph was also a first cousin to Melville Weston Fuller, who was appointed Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by Grover Cleveland in 1888. Melville Fuller was the son of Frederick Augustus Fuller and Catherine Martin Weston. Frederick Louisa Sophia Fuller’s brother.
Joseph Emerson Smith was married three times, but, as near as I can tell, only had children by his second wife. His first wife’s name is unknown to me at this time. His second wife was Sarah Stuart Babson, and their children were Stuart Ingalls Smith, who died young (3 years), and Maud Fuller Smith, who married George Loring Briggs. Joseph’s third wife (also his widow) was Amelia Bowie, the daughter of Col. W.W. Bowie of Baltimore, MD. Joseph died in 1881, in Chicago, IL.
Now, the mystery: While going through a box of old Randal and Spencer family photos, etc., I found several items for which I cannot account. These two families were early inhabitants of Lubbock and Terry Counties, in far West Texas. The first item I found was a nicely framed photograph of Joseph Emerson Smith. It is undated, but must have been taken before June 16, 1881, the date of his death. A sticker on the back of the frame indicates that the framing was done in San Antonio, TX.
The next thing I found was a newspaper clipping, which, by reading the entire article, must have come from the Chicago Tribune. It refers to Joseph E. Smith and his cousin, Melville W. Fuller, having a law practice together in Cook County (Chicago), IL. Further rummaging produced two or three obituaries from the Tribune, one with a date of June 17, 1881, the day after Joseph died, and they contained information about Joseph’s widow, previous marriages, etc. In addition, I found an original letter from Joseph to his wife, Amelia, dated February, 1881. It tells of Joseph’s trip back to Wicasset, ME, to see his brother Samuel. Samuel was apparently very ill, and died very soon after Joseph arrived at his bedside. Unfortunately, the envelope in which the letter was mailed has not survived, so I don’t know the address to which it was mailed.
My question: What is the connection between Joseph E. Smith of Chicago, IL and Wicasset, ME, and the Randal and Spencer families of West Texas? As near as I can tell, these Randals and Spencers were all of Southern extraction: NC, LA, MS, TX, etc. It seems to me that the connection must be between these families and Joseph’s widow, Amelia Bowie. However, everyone who might have known the connection is now deceased, at least, the family members I would have been able to question about it.
Can anyone out there shed any light whatsoever on this problem?
Thanks for any help, and, again, I apologize for the length of this post.