The mystery of Ferdinand Duke's wife's maiden name has been resolved with the surfacing of their marriage record. Her name is Eliza Treadwell Stansell. Treadwell is a middle name and I have a copy of the July 15, 1825 marriage record to prove it.
The marriage record was thought to have been lost when the ledger was reported missing from the Newton County, GA Probate Court. I mentioned this in an earlier post to the Duke mailing list. The latest development occurred due to the help and sleuthing of Bob Phillips, a very kind gentleman from Newton County, GA. who volunteers as a genealogist at the Newton County Library.
By accident a few months ago, I found through the Newton County, GA online mailing list a volunteer genealogist in the Newton County library who was helping other researchers look up marriage records in that county. So, I wrote to her and asked her to see if a Duke-McDowell marriage was recorded as I had a hunch that my great grandparents Robert J. McDowell and Lorena Duke had married in Newton County. She could not find the Duke-McDowell marriage I wanted but sent me a list of many other Duke marriages. In the list was the marriage of Ferdinand Duke and Eliza Treadwell. She had found the marriage listed in a 1970s published marriage book, "Newton Co., GA marriages, 1822-1912" by Annie Loyd. The book said that Ferdinand Duke married Eliza Treadwell on July 15, 1825 in Newton Co.
So, I wrote to the probate court in Newton Co., and requested a copy of Ferdinand's marriage record. My check was returned and I was told there was no such record. I relayed this sad note to the genie volunteer who told me that the original marriage record book disappeared during the 1970s after the Loyd book was written. Later, the county indexed the existing records and now when you write to the court for a copy of a marriage record, they refer only to the incomplete index so of course my request came up empty.
The volunteer first offered to do more research for me but then was hijacked to baby sit full time for her new grandson. She kindly turned me over to another volunteer, Bob Phillips, who worked with her at the library. We connected and then he reported that he couldn't find anymore information than I already knew. Sadly, I thought I had hit another dead end.
Then two days later I received an e-mail from Bob who said that he found the original records. Miracles do happen. He discovered that in the original marriage record, the bride is identified as Eliza Treadwell Stansill. Treadwell is a middle name, not her surname/maiden name. Her family name which ran onto a second line of the handwritten document was dropped when Annie Loyd was transcribing the document.
For many years, researchers have debated about Eliza's surname. Many believed it was Treadwell. However, in a small obit in the Christian Advocate printed shortly after Eliza's death in 1870 in Heard County, GA, it stated that her father was James Stansell, an itinerant Methodist preacher. No one could find other information to confirm her maiden name. Many tried to find her marriage record but could not.
The following is a transcription of the marriage record.
Georgia Newton County To any judge, justice of the Inferior Court, justice of the peace or minister of the gospel. You are hereby authorized to join Ferdinand Duke and Eliza Treadwell Stansell in the holy state of matrimony according to the constitution and law of the State and for so doing this shall be your ---------- -------------- ---------------- given under my hand and seal this 11th day of July 1825. Stephen Hoage, CCl.
Newton County I certify that Ferdinand Duke and Eliza T. Stansell were duly joined in matrimony by me this 15 July 1825. Green B. Turner J. P.
Recorded 5th July 1826
I hope this settles the issue of Mrs. Duke's maiden name. Now the search is on for the identity of her mother and father. Many thanks to Bob Phillips. Without his help, Duke researchers would still be scratching their heads and wondering who Ferdinand Duke married.