No matter how "busy" I get with other lines of descent in the family tree, I always come back to her.
Even some of her historic "facts" are open to debate, as far as I am concerned. I made myself a little chronology of what I know about Mary.Date of Birth:
5 Jan 1849
Source information for this date includes her death certificate, census records, obituary, gravestone, and family lorePlace of Birth:
Source information for this location includes census records, her death certificate and family loreParents:
I cannot find a single document that gives the identity of Mary's parents. For almost two months, I chased little girls named Mary Dunn across the United States of America, and never found her. However, I can tell you the parentage and location of just about every other Mary Dunn my g-g-grandmother's age.
And there's a story there - something that was a closely guarded secret. Since she was underage to contract for marriage, Mary's first marriage record had this to say about her parents:...Mary C Dunn aged 17 years...her having no father and the consent of her mother made her home with another family in their presents (sic) was the sight (sic) for porfomace (sic)...
Her death certificate, for which her son Rubin Ned was the informant, was equally tantilizing for its seemingly deliberate omission of her parents' identities. On it, Ned said Mary's father's name was Mr. Dunn. He did not know what her mother's name was.
I don't believe that.Religion:
Baptist, member of Bethel Union (later DeGray) Baptist Church, DeGray, Clark County, AR
Source information for this includes Conference Meeting minutes of Bethel Union Baptist Church, DeGray, Clark County, AR and her obituary.Date of Marriage:
8 Sep 1866 to Allen Mason Lowery Callaway,
in Clark County, AR
Source information for this marriage includes the marriage bond and license, and her obituaryDate of Marriage:
13 Jul 1878 to David Andrew Williams,
in Clark County, AR
Source information for this marriage includes the marriage bond and license, and her obituaryChildren:
Marriage 1: Julia Ann Callaway, born 19 Jun 1873, in Clark County, AR
Marriage 2: Rubin Ned Williams, born 14 Nov 1881, in Clark County, AR; and
William Andrew Williams, born 13 Nov 1882 in Clark County, AR
Source information for children includes census records, Mary's obituary, her children's obituaries, and family loreDate of Death:
9 Apr 1929 in DeGray, Clark Co., AR
Source information for this date includes her death certificate, obituary, gravestone and family loreCause of Death:
Noxemia, i.e., insufficient oxygen in the blood
Source information derived from her death certificateBurial:
DeGray Baptist Church Cemetery, DeGray, Clark County, AR
Source information for this location includes her death certificate and gravestone.
Family lore about Mary is about as sketchy as historic documents. There's a photo of Mary and a man I have been told was Bob Dunn, who came to see her from Texas. I don't know if the photo was taken while she was married to Mace Callaway or David Williams. She certainly doesn't look as old as she was in another undated photo of her with her daughter and adult grandson.
- aha! A family member?
Brother, cousin, father? I chased Robert/Bob Dunns around the country in census records. I have no idea which, if any, is him in the sub-folders I have on Robert Dunn.
I can't put the two together in any context, even though I feel sure he was related to her. He just doesn't look old enough (to me) to be her father.
My paternal grandmother,
who was Mary's granddaughter, always told me and other members of the family that Mary was her "Indian grandmother." Several in our family did not believe that.
A few months ago, we laid that one to rest when one of my aunts took a mtDNA test. Grandma was right. If, as my father and I suspect, Mary was illegitimate and a man named Dunn was her father, then she may have been half native.
And if she was born in Georgia, it doesn't necessarily mean she was Cherokee. There were a multitude of native tribes whose homeland was Georgia.
So I stand, once more, in front of her photo, and ask her to give me a sign.