Saturday, February 5, 2011

Surname Saturday - Straugh(a)n

I'm attempting to do a better job of crediting others where they provide data or inspire me.  I've neglected to credit the sources of the memes I've been using.  Here's the one for Saturdays:  

Surname Saturday – create a post in which you discuss a surname and mention its origins, its geographical location(s) and how it fits into your genealogy research. Surname Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

This Saturday's surname is Straugh(a)n.  I've seen it with and without the 'a', more often with than without.  I tend to include the 'a' when I use it, and will continue to do so here.  That said, my surname should be Straughan!

If you've been following my previous blog entries, you will have noted Peter and Elizabeth Dillman, who had (among others) a daughter named Jemimah Hattie Dillman.  She was born 03 Aug 1866, married John W. Straughan on 12 Feb 1885, and died young on 26 Apr 1886, shortly after giving birth to my paternal great-grandfather, Clyde.  Around that time, John abandoned them.  After Jemimah died, her parents Peter & Elizabeth adopted Clyde, and he was raised as a Dillman with the Dillman surname.  On Clyde Taylor's Social Security application, he listed his surname as Dillman, and his parents as Peter & Elizabeth.  For some reason he also gave his middle name as 'Pabler'.  As I mentioned in other posts, Clyde is pivotal in my paternal line, being my great-grandfather.

John W. Straughan was an older man.  Much older.  He was born 05 Feb 1819, which makes him significantly older than Jemimah's father, Peter, who was born 05 Dec 1833.  In fact, John W. Straughan and Peter Dillman both served in the Civil War in the 144th Indiana Infantry, Company D, together.  There's something pretty odd going on here, but the story is pretty well hidden or forgotten.

Family history notes claim that John was a cruel man, and beat Jemimah.  Was he responsible for her death?  Why did he marry Jemimah, who was almost 50 years younger, was it a shotgun wedding?  Did he leave before Clyde was born, or was he unable to deal with being a single parent when Jemimah died?  I don't have answers to these questions, but would dearly love to know!

The modern twist on this is that my family has been Dillman, but the DNA testing (Y chromosome) should show us as Straughan, which makes it difficult to link us with other Dillmans.  I am part of the Dillman Family Association, which is involved in DNA testing to link family groups, but I have held off on testing in part due to the fact that those Y chromosome tests will likely fail to link us. 

I have not yet found a death location or date for John W. Straughan.  However, he is buried in Dillman Cemetery in a plot very near Jemimah.  The cemetery is near Curby, Crawford County, Indiana.  In that same section of Dillman Cemetery is another gravestone, for Lucy J. Straughan, wife of John W. Straughan!  Her death date is shown on the stone as Sep, 13, 1883, aged 27 Ys.9M.9D which shows her as being yet another much younger wife of John, who died early.  As Lucy died before John married Jemimah, it makes me wonder if Jemimah knew anything about John's history?  How could she not, that area of Crawford County is rural, and the sort of place where everyone knew everyone else's business!  But if Peter knew, why would he have allowed his daughter to marry a potential abuser? 

I really wonder if we have a criminal abuser on our hands!  So many questions!  I know there's more to the story here, if only I can find it...

Have any odd stories in your history?  How have you solved the mysteries?  I'd love to get ideas, post them in the comments below!