Who was the Father of William WallaceHallford?
I am a descendent of WilliamWallace Hallford, born in 1839 in Wayne County, Tennessee. In my research todocument my ancestors, the attempt to document the father of William has been adifficult, if not impossible task. I know from William’s pension records thathis mother was Jinsey Pruitt and he had one older brother John R. Hallford. Iam able to document birthdates and locations but Hallford family researchershave long been frustrated in attempts to discover Jinsey’s husband and thefather of William and John. This writing is to document the results of myresearch and my conclusions,
Why are no marriage recordsavailable to clarify this question? I believe the answer is in the followingdocument.
Wayne County, Tennessee
Reconstructed Marriage Records
1820 - 1857
Last Updated 3 March 2006
The marriage records for WayneCounty, Tennessee covering the period from the beginning of the county in 1820until January 1857 have been lost. The original bond books, elevenvolumes in number covering the 1820 - 1870 period werereportedly destroyed by order of the County Court in 1916-1918, although norecord of that order has been found in the minutes of the court. It wasreported that the bond books had been stored in the attic of the 1905courthouse under the belfry. The story goes that the trap door leading from theattic to the belfry/clock tower was left open and it rained in upon the booksand other records stored in the attic. The books and records subsequentlymolded and rotted and were deemed unfit to keep so they were taken out on theEagle Creek (Old Columbia Central) Turnpike and burned.
The license and minister'sreturns book, 1820 - 1857, which recorded the actual marriage, was supposedlystill in the County Court Clerk's office as late as the 1930's. However, norecord of that book has turned up after that period and it was not locatedamong the records which had been stored in the attic of the 1905 courthouse.
In 1970 and 1971, the late Charles D. Gallaherand Edgar D. Byler, III started searching through all the boxes of looserecords which had been stored in the attic. Three separate piles ofrecords were made on the attic floor: original wills, marriage licenses, andloose county court files. Among these loose records were numerous marriagelicenses, wills and records from the period 1820 - 1860. Those piles of recordswere still in their respective areas when the 1905 courthouse burned on 7January 1972. All records which had been stored and which were stilllocated in the attic were destroyed. Only one marriage bond and licensefrom those found in the attic survived and it exists only as a xerox copy of the original.
As a result of the above statedcircumstances, any record of the marriage of Jinseyto her Hallford husband has been lost, making it impossible to document theevent. We must then rely on circumstantial evidence to establish the mostlikely father of William and John.
We are able to establish the legitimacy ofthe birth of William and John and Jensey’s marriageto a Hallford man by referring to the record of her second marriage toMillington Allen on May 1, 1848 in FayetteCounty, Illinois.This record is in the book “Illinois Marriages to 1850” by Jordan Dodd; whichis a transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Illinois. In this recordJinsey is listed as JinseyHallford. Her maiden name was Pruitt, so we can safely assume a marriage to ourunknown Hallford.
Our circumstantial evidence can be drawnfrom the following areas:
Time and Place
John was born in 1838 and his brotherWilliam was born in 1839, both in Wayne County, Tennessee. We can assume thatthe marriage took place sometime in 1836 or 1837, probably in WayneCounty.The Hallford families of this period were quite prolific, having children everyother year or so, so it is presumed that since no children followed William, itis probable that Williams father probably was no longer in the picture after1840, and for sure was gone by the time Jinseyremarried in 1848. This results in a time frame of roughly 1836 to 1840 to lookfor a Hallford of marriageable age that is gone by 1841. The only Hallford (Halford) family in or near WayneCountyduring this time period was the family of Bradley and KaziahHalford.
The male children of Bradley and Kaziah of marriageable age in the area were as follows:
John Riley Halford,age 25
Robert Edward Halford,age 23
James Marion Halford,age 21
Joseph W. Halford,age 20
William Mack Halford,age 18
Washington Bradley Halford,age 15
At this time Jinseywas 23. Our first likely candidate for Jinsey’shusband is Bradley’s oldest son, John Riley Halford.When we examine the known marriages of the brothers this becomes more likelysince John Riley is the only man for which we have no marriage record. We dohave his death date recorded in the Hallford bible of 1850 where his death islisted as October of 1840. This places him in the correct time and place aspresent in WayneCounty in 1836/37 and gone by the end of1840.
Robert Edward Halfordmarried Martha Ann Childress. James Marion Halfordmarried Rebecca Elvira Crockett and died in 1863. Joseph W. Halfordmarried Elizabeth M. Smalley and died in 1857. William Mack Halfordmarried Francis Murry Wilkes and died in 1888. Thisleaves only John Riley Halford to fit our criteria oftime and place as a likely father of William and John.
Another attribute of the Hallford/Halford family of this period that is well known toresearchers is the family tendency toward using common family names. Forexample, our person of interest, John Riley Halfordwas named after his paternal grandfather John Halford.His middle name “Riley” is the surname of his maternal grandfather.
We can expect on exanimation that bothWilliam Wallace Hallford and his older brother, John R. Hallford have beengiven family names as well. When we look at William’s name we note that Jinsey’s brother was William Wallace Pruitt. William wasthe second born. It is logical that the first born would most likely be namedafter his father, John Riley Halford, and thisappears to be the case.
As a result of my research I am fairlyconfident that the father of William W. and John R. is most likely John Riley Halford, son of Bradley and KesiahHalford. Unfortunately we may never be able toproperly document this, but the circumstantial evidence is strong enough toassume it is 99% correct in my opinion.
Richard D. Hallford