Mary Elizabeth Gilliland: What Makes A Home? (52 Ancestors #25)

Mary Elizabeth Gilliland Brown Rakestraw

Mary Elizabeth Gilliland Brown Rakestraw

Mary Elizabeth Gilliland was born on January 22, 1849 in Edwardsport, Knox County, Indiana to Leason and Serilda (Long) Gilliland.1,2  It appears that Leason wasn’t around very much during Mary’s childhood, as she and her mother and siblings are living with Asa and Maria Loundsbury in 1850.3  Family legend is that Leason worked on a steamboat and was traveling on the river all the time.  According to the 1840 Census, Leason was employed in agriculture.4  While the steamboat story isn’t impossible, it seems unlikely.  In any event, Leason died in about 1855, when Mary was six years old.5,6

It wasn’t long before Serilda became involved with John Bridges, whom she married in 1857.6  Mary did not like John and life with him was difficult for her.  She married James Brown on January 29, 1865, having just turned sixteen.7  James, however, did not live long and Mary married Francis Marion Rakestraw on October 22, 1867.8

Mary had two children with Francis, Zerilda Eleanora “Ella” and George William “Willie.”9,10  In 1892, Ella became very ill, which prompted Mary and Francis to adopt their granddaughter, Mildred Gertrude Springer, in 1894.11  Ella died just two weeks after the adoption.12

When Mildred married Sanford Wesley Wiseheart, Mary moved in with them.  She lived with them until her death on October 11, 1935.2,13,14

Since Mary moved around a lot, I thought it best to present that in chart form.  I have her location for her birth year, census years, and death year.1,2,3,4,5,9,10,13,14,15,16,17

Green = living with mother Blue = living with husband Purple = living with granddaughter

Green = living with mother
Blue = living with husband
Purple = living with granddaughter

Mary Elizabeth Gilliland had a bit of rough start in life and her family seemed always to be changing and on the move.  I think, for Mary, home was the people she chose to surround herself with rather than any particular place.  Certainly she became the central figure in her home and the home of her granddaughter’s family.  Mary passed down her family stories to her granddaughter and great grandchildren, who also passed them down.

House on County Line Road.  Mary Elizabeth Rakestraw holding Sanford William Wiseheart and George William Rakestraw holding Mildred Lorena Wiseheart.  1924.

House on County Line Road. Mary Elizabeth Rakestraw holding Sanford William Wiseheart and George William Rakestraw holding Mildred Lorena Wiseheart. 1924.

Mary Elizabeth (Gilliland) Rakestraw with her great grandson, Sanford "Bud" Wiseheart, circa 1924.

Mary Elizabeth (Gilliland) Rakestraw with her great grandson, Sanford “Bud” Wiseheart, circa 1924.

Mary's bonnet.

Mary’s bonnet.

A quilt that Mary had started.  The pieces look to be from feed or flour sacks.

A quilt that Mary had started. The pieces look to be from feed or flour sacks.

Inscription on the reverse side of Francis Rakestraw's tombstone at New Albany National Cemetery.

Inscription on the reverse side of Francis Rakestraw’s tombstone at New Albany National Cemetery.


Sources

1.  Transcription of the Rakestraw Family Bible.

2.  Floyd County Health Department. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Deaths CH-37 (1935): p. 67, record 276.

3.  1850 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 02 Aug. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 601.

4.  1840 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. Hardin, Kentucky. p. 30.

5.  1860 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 106.

6.  Floyd County Clerk. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Marriages Volume 4 (1857): p. 485.

7.  Floyd County Clerk. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Marriages Volume 6 (1865): p. 81, record 233.

8.  Floyd County Clerk. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Marriages Volume 6 (1867): p. 369, record 1076.

9.  1870 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 15.

10.  1880 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 4D.

11.  New Albany Daily Ledger 26 May 1894, Saturday Evening ed.: 5. Print.column 3.

12.  “Deaths (Obituary).” New Albany Evening Tribune 14 June 1894, Thursday ed.: 4. Print. column 2.

13.  1920 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 24 Sep. 2014. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 11A.

14.  1930 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. Silver Creek, Clark, Indiana. p. 14B.

15.  1900 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 9B.

16.  1910 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 14A.

17.  Caron, C.K. Caron’s Directory of the City of New Albany for 1890-91. New Albany, IN: C.K. Caron, 1890. 279. Print.

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