Have been away from genealogy for too long owing to a lack of time but had a few moments today and found your two year old message to Don South regarding the true father of Maria Mahlenfell. I descend from Maria and Elijah and have even found Elijah's grave in Bobtown, Pa. What you suggest about Maria's "Mahlenfell" maiden namemakes perfect sense to me. In fact I found something similar in my own Valentine line with regard to the true parentage of my gr-gr-gr-grandmother, Joanna Crane Valentine, some nine years ago that corrected a long standing error (much to the chagrin of DAR folks) and has been generally accepted as accurate. How can I assist you in confirming what you suggest as far as Maria's real father is concerned? I believe that the use of phonetics to solve some of these riddles may be more important than most realize but that once phonetics shows the way we need to find the paper trail to back up our suspicions. Have you checked all birth and marriage records available for Mahlon Fell, for example?
Lastly,I telephoned Don South a few moemnts ago and find he is now confined to a wheelchair in his condo. That is not much fun and it is difficult for him to use a computer now. He needs one that can work almost wholly from voice commands and such things are not cheap! But his mind is very sharp still. I have not seen him in nearly ten years and had not spoken with him for about five. Was pleased to hear him sounding so hail and hearty as I feared for the worst having read some of the posts here.
Keep up your efforts and, please, let me know what you find and if I can assist at all.
Don Valentine (gr-grandson of Mary South Valentine)