Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Friday, January 10, 2020

My Awesome Find Follow-up

I posted about finding an obit/death notice that had eluded me for thirty plus years. The subject, Dr. John Stearns Percival was my great-great-great grandfather. Obviously, finding this death notice was the cause of a very long, intense happy dance.

Over the years, I have looked for clues about his death. I have an abstract of his probate record, because he died intestate. I can tell you, that just about everyone I have researched over the years has died without a will.

One of the researchers actually has his death place as 10 Jan 1841, Missouri City, Fort Bend, Texas. I have messaged this person on Ancestry a few times, asking for proof. Today, I looked at their citation for his death. They cited a descendants Sons of the American Revolution application. Well, I have looked at that application and no such information as to death date or place exists on said application.  If you have to ask me how I feel about that citation, you don't know me very well.

His actual place of death was Dover, Lafayette county, Missouri. Indeed, he was enumerated in Dover Township, Lafayette county, Missouri in 1840.

The death notice reads as follows: "In Dover, on Sunday the 10th inst., after a severe affliction of several weeks, Dr. John S. Percival, aged about 50 years, and formerly of Lawrenceburg, Ia."

His age? About 50 years. Well, he had just celebrated his 48th birthday in November of 1840. He wouldn't be 50 until November 14, 1842. He was from Lawrenceburg, Indiana where he practiced medicine. He married both his wives in Burlington, Boone county, Kentucky. His first wife was Matilda Fleet Hinton Goodridge, whom he married in 1817. He married his second wife on April 5, 1822.

Unfortunately, the death notice doesn't mention any family. In the same issue of the Lexington Weekly Express, Eliza Ann Percival has a letter waiting for her. That would probably be his daughter, born in March 1823 and she would have been about 17 when her father died. She was a child of his second wife. He also may have been survived by another daughter, Elizabeth from his first wife, who never married. Nor can I find any record of her anywhere. He had a son Egbert Davis Percival,  also from his first wife, who would make the long trip to California via New Orleans, across Panama, I think, and up the coast to San Francisco in 1852.

His other children, William, John Stearns, Jr., and Jabez were all children of his second wife. Nothing is really known of what became of William. John, Jr. went on to fight and die for the confederacy. Jabez (named for his paternal grandfather) also went to California, but much later than his elder half brother leaving Covington, Kentucky in 1883.

The reason for today's post besides the follow-up? Dr. John Stearns Percival died 179 years ago today.

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