When I started out and genealogy, my Aunt Leahmanda gave me a disc with all the family in a gedcom from the work that she and my Aunt Patt had gathered the hard way. Digging in libraries, visiting cemeteries and folks. When I asked about their great grandmother, Talulah, my Aunt's told me that Mama Hardy had said she was a Johnson Diamond bastard baby. It took me a long time to find Talulah. Back then the censuses were online but they weren't all indexed. It meant looking through them page by page on a slow dial up modem.
I found Talulah in 1880 in the household of James H. Diamond in Santa Rosa County, listed as Talulah Johnson and a cousin. Then thanks to the folks on the Santa Rosa genweb site, I found Talulah married to William Sheppard Hardy Jr in Santa Rosa county. I then found Talulah listed with her family in 1870 in Conecuh County, Alabama. I have a lot of questions still about Talulah though.
In 1870 Talulah is listed with her grandmother, Elizabeth Parker Johnson, William Washington (Wm W.) Johnson, age 40, a Nancy Johnson age 30, and Elizabeth Johnson age 11. I have William W. as her father, but he could be her Uncle. In 1860 William W. Johnson is again listed with his mother, Elizabeth, and an Elizabeth Johnson age 24, and an Elizabeth Johnson age 3. When he enlisted in the Civil War he states he is single, which begs the question, are Elizabeth and Nancy Johnson the same person or different women, and are they his sister or are they the mother of the girls, and if they are, then who are they.
The 1850 census makes it even more difficult. In the home is Elizabeth Johnson, W.W. Johnson and a Nancy Johnson age 27 with a James Johnson, age 5, Lewis Johnson age 2, and Sarah Johnson age 7. This Nancy and these children appear to be the same person as Nancy Coker who is listed with mulatto children in Conecuh county in later censuses. Why they are with the family, and how that relationship exists is a good question.
When we look at the Johnson family, we know that William W. Johnson, his brothers Samuel Christopher Johnson, George Nolan Johnson and Peter Lazarus Johnson and his sister Mary Johnson are the children of William Burton Johnson Junior and Elizabeth Parker. We know Mary Johnson married John Diamond and lived in Santa Rosa county, Florida, that she is buried in Coon Hill Cemetery as is her mother. That John Diamond's next wife is a Matilda Johnson who every Diamond researcher says was her sister. Except there is never a Matilda Johnson with the family, and until her marriage, Matilda Johnson isn't found in a census. John Diamond married Matilda Johnson in Conecuh County in 1873.In 1880, she is listed as age 45 making her born in 1835.
Conecuh County Alabama is a burned county. Sherry Johnston the historian in Evergreen told me it's been burned three times, which means that finding early records isn't possible. If Talulah is indeed a "Johnson Diamond bastard baby" then is it because her father William never married her mother or because her mother was a sister of William and never married? And is her other parent a Diamond or did that come from the Diamond cousins that Talulah had?
When we look at the earlier censuses for William Burton Johnson and Elizabeth Parker we know that in the 1820 state census William B. Johnson is found with 1 male over 21, 1 female over 21, 1 male under 21, no females under 21, 3 free people of color and 1 slave. That in 1830 we find his household to contain a male 50-59, 2 males 5-9, one male under 5, 1 female 5-9, 1 female 10-14, 1 female 30-39, a free man of color 10-23, and two free males of color 24-35, a free female under 10, two free females 10-23, a free female 36-54 and one 55-99 with 1 slave 10-23. In 1840 his household contains 1 male 5-9, 2 males 10-14, 1 male 15-19, 1 male 50-59, 1 female 5-9, 1 female 15-19, 1 female 40-49, no free people of color and 6 male slaves.
So is the Nancy in 1850 one of the free women of color, a mulatto, who was associated with the family in earlier years? Is William W. Johnson the father of some of her mulatto children? Born in 1823, she may be the free female under 10 who is living with the Johnson's in 1830. And why did the family have free people of color with them for over 10 years? I ask because it seems a bit unusual. Were the free people of color freed upon the death of William Burton Johnson's father? Where they freed by Elizabeth Parker's father? Were they relatives? Do they have anything to do with Talulah herself? Neither of William Burton Johnson's siblings have free persons of color living with them, though they are slave owners.
Who is Talulah? I still have William Washington Johnson listed as her father. I know that her grandparents were William Burton Johnson and Elizabeth Parker. That in Dad's DNA matches the answer lies, I just have to keep digging and see if I can find the answers. William W. Johnson died in 1900 in Conecuh. He had married, according to his pension, though I have never found a marriage. I can't find an estate, and can't find her death either. I looked in the bastard bond book on ancestry for Talulah, and didn't find her there. Still so many questions, and after 15 years, I am no closer to an answer.