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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Such a Short Life: Catharine Susan Lancaster (1847-1871)*

Early Years
Catharine Susan Lancaster was born about 1847 in Missouri to Ellis Wilson Lancaster and Elizabeth S. Neel.[1]  Based on the two census records where she appeared with her parents, Catharine was their sixth child and third daughter.[2]  Her family lived in Lewis County, Missouri where her father was a farmer. Around 1858, when she was about ten years old, the family moved to Kaufman County, Texas.[3]
1850 Lewis County, Missouri

1860 Kaufman County, Texas
Marriage
At the age of twenty, she married Nathan Thomas on 1 August 1867. [4] They had two known children: Ida Belle  born 3 May 1868 and Wilson Franklin born 11 Jun 1870. The census entry for this family in 1870 has not been found yet.

Death
She died sometime in 1871 in Kaufman County. Her burial place has not been found. There are few surviving newspapers available for this area and time period. She was young when she died. Could it have been due to childbirth? Could she have contracted an illness? Her husband, Nathan Thomas’ obituary at his death just stated he married Miss Catharine Lancaster and that she died in 1871. He later married Mrs. Mary Jane Yates and had four more children.[5]

Her FAN Club**
It is sad to know so little about a woman who lived only twenty-three years in a time period where few records existed.  There were 6,895 people living in Kaufman County in 1870.[6] Her father owned a little over two hundred acres of land, half of which were improved. His farm was valued at $3000. He had five horses, one milk cow, ten swine, all valued at $350. He produced in the previous year fourteen hundred bushels Indian corn and fifty bushels of oats.[7] He was doing pretty well compared to others in his vicinity.

So let’s focus on her husband. His obituary also mentioned that he came to Texas from Washington County, Arkansas in 1859 and settled near Rockwall until he enlisted in the Civil War. When trying to learn about one ancestor, it’s necessary to study the others around him or her.

Since it was claimed in the obituary that he came to Kaufman County in 1859, he should be found in the 1860 federal census living in Kaufman County. He was living with the E. and Minervia Cannon family as a farm laborer.[8] Their daughter, Julia A. Cannon married Catharine’s brother, William T. Lancaster in 1860. So it is likely that Nathan met Catharine Lancaster through her brother, William.

Few Records for Nathan
Nathan Thomas was found in few records. Nathan and Catharine’s first child, Ida Belle was born in 1868, so the family should be found in the 1870 census with a one- or two-year-old. However, Nathan, Catharine, nor Ida were found in Kaufman county or any other nearby counties.

Nathan remarried on 18 January 1880 to Mary Jane (Yates) Johnson in Sherman, Grayson Co, Texas.[9] This family should be found in the 1880 census, but they were not found.

He applied for a Confederate Soldier pension 1 July 1913 and was awarded a pension. He stated he had served in Company B 6th Texas Cavalry.[10]

Nathan was living with his daughter, Ida and her husband, John A. Nash in 1920 in Pilot Point, Denton County, Texas.[11] Mary Jane Thomas was living in College Mound, Kaufman County with her son, Lee Thomas. She claimed she was a widow.[12] Why were they living apart?

Nathan died in Pilot Point on 30 Jan 1920.[13] He was buried at College Mound Cemetery in Terrell, Texas.[14] Mary applied for a widow’s pension on 1 Mar 1920 and the pension was approved.[15] There is a Findagrave memorial for a Mary Jane Thomas, who died 13 Jul 1920 and buried also in College Mound Cemetery. No photos of tombstones were available for Mary Jane or Nathan.

Conclusion
So there was not many records about Catharine Lancaster Thomas, nor many found for her husband, Nathan. He has not been found in several census records. More intense search strategies will need to be used to find him. The next post will focus on his children with Catharine. What happened to them after their mother’s death?


*Catharine Susan Lancaster was the author's 3rd great grand-aunt.
** FAN Club stands for friends, associates, and neighbors. The term was coined by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
[1] Tharp/Yost Family Tree, by Erin Tharp on Ancestry.com has complete birth (20 Jul 1847) and death (12 Feb 1871) dates for her but no sources.
[2] 1850 U.S. census, Lewis County, Missouri, p. 707 (355 stamped), dwelling 355, family 415, Ellis W. Lancaster, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Jan 2011); citing NARA, M432. Also 1860 U.S. census, Kaufman Co, Texas, pop. sched., p. 41, dwelling 338, family 340, E. W. Lancaster, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Jan 2011); citing NARA M653.
[3] Her father, E. Wm Lancaster of Kaufman Co, purchased property 12 Feb 1858: Rockwall County, Texas, Deeds, Bk 1, p. 360, Standifer & McHenry to Lancaster, 1858; FHL film 1289128. This portion of Kaufman County became Rockwall County 1 March 1873.
[4] “Texas Marriages, 1837-1973,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : 17 Sep 2016), Nathan Thomas & Susan C. Lancaster, 1 Aug 1867; citing Kaufman Co, Texas, marriages, FHL film 1302500.
[5] “Nathan Thomas,” Terrell Transcript, 31 Jan 1920; transcript, “Death Notices of Kaufman County Vol. VI” on the Kaufman County Texas Genweb page, http://www.rootsweb.com/~txkaufma/obituary/thomasn.htm.
[6] “Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850 to 2010,” https://texasalmanac.com/sites/default/files/images/topics/ctypophistweb2010.pdf.
[7] 1870 U.S. census, Kaufman Co, Texas, agricultural schedule, p. 5, dwelling line 23, Ellis Lancaster, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Jan 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration, M593, roll 10.
[8] 1860 U.S. census, Kaufman Co, Texas, pop. sched., Kaufman (Rockwall PO), p 36, dwelling 265, fam 265, E. Cannon household, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Sep 2016), citing NARA M653, roll 1299.
[9] Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com : 15 Sep 2016), memorial# 123121846, College Mound Cem, Terrell TX, Nathan Thomas. This bio section was uploaded by Janice Peay.
[10] "Alabama, Texas and Virginia, Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 September 2016), No. 22041, Kaufman Co, Texas, Nathan Thomas.
[11] 1920 U.S. census, Denton Co, Texas, pop. sched., Pilot Point, ED 59, sht 2a, p. 208 (stamped), dwelling 27, family 27, John A. Nash, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Sep 2016); citing NARA T625_1795.
[12] 1920 U.S. census, Denton Co, Texas, pop. sched., College Mound, ED 43, sht 12a, p. 276 (stamped), dwelling 206, family 222, Mary Thomas, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Sep 2016); citing NARA T625_1825.
[13] Texas Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics, Digital Images of Death Certificates, No. 1092, Denton Co, Texas, Nathan Thomas, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : 15 Sep 2016).
[14] Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com : 15 Sep 2016), memorial# 123121846, College Mound Cem, Terrell TX, Nathan Thomas.
[15] "Alabama, Texas and Virginia, Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 September 2016), No. 36536, Kaufman Co, Texas, Mary Jane Thomas.

Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

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