Thanks .. it pretty much confirms everything I found so far.Seems we have exhausted many avenues.I have found that sometimes the sibling's records have provided information that I can not find in the direct lines.I wonder if pursuing Elizabeth (whether it is one or two girls) to see what we can find.
According to the census, the children's mother was from Tennessee when it was clear that Martha was born in Texas.That may be a clue as to where we might find Marion during his 'missing years'.It does bother me that we can't find them on the census except for 1880.I am thinking that maybe tax records or church records (if we can find them) may provide some new possibilities.
Have you found any clues as to what Marion's middle (or first) name might be?I am thinking that is why we can't find him ... or he is using initials.
The Military records in LA where he joined the EXACTLY same day into the EXACT same Regiment with a "D S Wells" and "Robert A Wells" could help us find a connection, if we can figure out who these two men are and who their parents are.
Have any of you gotten the obits for all of the family?I know Marion is in a 4 year range, but maybe a review of the 4 years newspaper of Smith Co, TX might have something.I have found wonderful 'gossip' clips from browsing newspapers.