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Mary Vaughn, mother of Elmira Crieger

Ancestry.com's OneWorldTree is so full of contradictory, unfounded material that I totally ignore it. However, as I looked for more information on Elmira Creger, I noticed that it actually included a mother for her. Since I had no family clues to her identity I followed the links to the family tree that provided this information, and hit the mother lode, so to speak. The information given finally led me to the 1850 census record for Elmira that has eluded me. Although the information in the tree was un-sourced, census records and further sources support most of what it claims.

For the period, it is a pretty scandelous picture that emerges. Mary Vaughn was born about 1812. In 1840 she was head of household under the name Mary Nicholes in Wythe Co., and had 2 sons under 5. In 1850 her household included 4 children 8 and under (but not the 2 boys from 1840) and a young carpenter, whom she would marry in 1853. Almira Crieger is the oldest of the children. The other children are all called 'Nicholes,' although 2 would later adopt 'Davis' and the youngest infant is later called 'Baumgardner.' It seems clear that Mary had a series of relationships, but was not married to the fathers.

Here is a summary of her relationships and children, perhaps:

[?] Nicholes

I haven't been able to confirm any of these.

John Montgomery Crockett

These would be the 2 boys under 5 in the 1840 census. Montgomery is living with an unrelated family in 1850. I haven't found Byron in 1850. Their father was a widower at the time of the boys births, and remarried after. I also haven't been able to find John in 1850 census records, he does appear in Texas starting in 1860, married with children, all younger than these 2 boys.

James Creger

Elmira was living with her mother in 1850. I was previously unable to find her because the indexer mis-transcribed her name as "Alemira Cruger." When she was born James was 20 and Mary was 29. James was married after her birth.

Eli Davis

Missouria and Mary Nicholes lived with Mary Nicholes in 1850. Mary E. Davis is still living with her 1860. In the 1850 census their father Eli was married to Margaret and had a 21 year old son. He was prosperous, owning land and slaves. He seems to have had only one surviving child with his wife Margaret.

Granville Baumgardner

Granville and Mary married in Nov. 1853 in Wythe County.

They moved to Kentucky before 1857, if Steward was born in Kentucky as

There were Vaughns and Nicholes's in Wythe Co., so although the source family trees say Mary Vaughn was from elsewhere, she may have been local. She may have had an early marriage and had a small family. She was unable to read or write. Somehow, by about 1835 (when she was about 23), she is living unsupported in Wythe Co. Any surviving Nicholes children were being cared for by others. She had 4 more relationships that resulted in children. As the children got older, they seem to have been fostered or hired out. Sooner or later these children took their fathers' names. In Elmira's case, perhaps she lived with relatives of her father for awhile. She was only 15 or 16 when her mother and her husband amoved to Kentucky, and she did have a relationship with the Criegers. She was already using that name in 1850, suggesting her father had acknowledged her.

Mary's last relationship, that with Granville Baumgardner, led to marriage. Granville was over 10 years younger than Mary. They married on 7 Nov. 1854. Perhaps social pressure led to their move to Kentucky in about 1858. She had as many as 13 children in all. She died in 1895 in Elliott Co., in eastern Kentucky. One of her daughters married a circuit riding preacher, and pictures of this family, including one of her, are online. Her youngest son Steward/Stuart was killed in feud.

© 2009 Footie Lund, rev. 2012