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Madison County, Ohio Research Problems


The following articles were originally published in the Madison County Genealogical Society Newsletter in 2003. They are discussing the missing marriages, missing censuses and tombstones in the area.

Messages from Madison County’s Black Hole:

            The northern part of Fairfield Township borders Jefferson Township in Madison County, Ohio, and Pleasant and Prairie Townships in Franklin County. Records in this area have the oddest way of disappearing. For example, there are a number of marriages missing from this area. I am going to include two of them in this article. The people involved might have married in Madison County and also might have married in Franklin County. They were living near the county line and could have been married in a church in either county. The following marriages of residents of this area are known to have take place, but there is no record of the marriages in the probate court of either Madison or Franklin Counties. I have gone beyond checking indexes for these people. I have read every page in the microfilmed county marriage for both Madison and Franklin Counties. Indexes and extracted records for each of the touching counties have also been checked for the following missing marriage records.

According to an article in the Logan County, Ohio history book, George M. Clover, born in Franklin County, Ohio, son of Joshua and Rachel Clover, married Sarah M. Wright, daughter of Abraham and Jemima (Benjamin) Wright. They were married 22 December 1844. George M. Clover went to Madison County after his marriage to learn the blacksmith’s trade. The article does not include the place of their marriage. There is no record of this marriage in the Madison or Franklin County records. In the 1850 U.S. census, Abraham Wright was a blacksmith and lived in Fairfield Township, Madison County, Ohio. Sarah was probably living in Madison County with her father when they were married and George may have even worked for her father as an apprentice to learn the blacksmith trade. Usually, a young couple married where the female lived. So where is the county marriage record?

Thomas Cullumber’s 1893 obituary in the London Semi-Weekly Enterprise, was full of information about his family. He was born in 1817, the son of John and Patsy Cullumber. Thomas Cullumber’s first wife was Susan Lilly, youngest daughter of A. Lilly and wife, of Lilly Chapel. The children of Thomas Cullumber were listed including his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Clover. Lilly Chapel is in the northern part of Fairfield Township, Madison County. Susan was actually Emily Susan Lilly. She is Emily S. in the 1860 U. S. Census. Her father, Armiger Lilly is with the family. In her death record, she is E. S. Cullumber. Thomas’s family lived in Franklin County until his father purchased land in Madison County on 12 January 1833 when Matthew and Ann Bonner sold 149 acres in Madison County to John Cullumber of Franklin County. I cannot prove where Emily Lilly was living when they married nor do I have an exact date. However, her brother, Elijah Lilly, is mentioned in a county history article in Iowa. Elijah’s family came from Virginia to Ross County, Ohio in 1817 where they lived for 20 years. They then moved on to Madison County, Ohio. So they should have been in Madison County by about 1838. Elizabeth was the eldest child of Thomas and Emily Cullumber. The tombstone of Elizabeth (Cullumber) Clover gives her birth date as 28 March 1840. If Thomas married ca. 1838-1839, when he was about 21 years old, it would fit nicely with the birth of Elizabeth. The Cullumber’s were living in Fairfield Township, Madison County. According to all of these details, we would expect this pair of young people to have married in Madison County, or at least in Franklin County. So where is the marriage record?

Additional missing marriages from this 1840 time period.  It is my belief that one minister simply failed to turn in returns to the county in spite of the requirement to do so.  They are right on a county line which might have confused the isse.  All of these people lived near what is called Lilly Chapel in Madison County or near Alton, in Franklin County, Ohio. They might well have shared the same minister.

Chloe Dougherty married Orin Clover 14 August 1838 according to a bible record
Solomon Clover and Jane Widner 8 June 1837 from county history article
Eva Lilly and ?C.? Durflinger ca. 1845 per Ohio death certificate of son, Calvin Durflinger, born 5 November 1849, Madison County, Ohio.
Thomas Cullumber and Emily Susan Lilly per the Obituary of Thomas Cullumber, first child born 1840
John Lilly and Mary ?    First child born ca. 1840

Eva Durflinger first appears in a census in 1860, widowed so she is also missing in the 1850 census.  


Message from the Black Hole--The Incomplete 1850 Census by June Clover Byrne
Sometimes we grow very dependent on census records. But we have to keep in mind that they were created by human beings. Human beings make errors and the census takers of Madison County were no exception. I previously wrote about some marriages which are missing for people who lived in Madison County at the time they married. It turns out that the census records are not any more complete than the marriage records are.
There is a small area of Madison County which was missed by the census takers in the 1850 census. The 1862 Landowner’s Atlas shows the Lilly, Durflinger, and Cullumber land was along what is now Olmsted Road where it intersects with Gerich-Lilly road in the extreme northeast corner of Fairfield Township. The critical area is the one around that intersection. I have wondered if the census taker became confused by the many county line changes in this area. Or maybe he just forgot or took the day off. Who knows?
The following names were extracted from the 1860 Federal Census of Madison County, Ohio, Fairfield Township, NARA M653 roll 1004, pages 437A and 437B. There are other names on the pages which appear to be missing in the 1850 census, but I don’t know enough about them to comment. I paged the 1850 Federal Census for Fairfield and Jefferson Townships in Madison County using NARA 0M432 roll 706. I found these errors and omissions while comparing these censuses.

        Wesley Lilly, age 58, page 437A, line 25. He is not in 1850 census of Madison County. However, I am sure he was there. He married Mary Durflinger, in Madison County, on 20 September 1829. According to a county history article by his son, Henry, the family moved to Madison County about that time. However, he is not in 1850 census in Madison County or Franklin County. He died 1889 and is buried in Lower Glade Cemetery in Madison County.
      Elizabeth Durflinger, age 88, page 437A, line 38. According to Durflinger sources, this is
the widow of Daniel Durflinger. They had moved on to the area of Noblesville, Hamilton County, Indiana where he died ca. 1844. Sometime after that, she moved back to Madison County. The exact date of her return is unknown, but she has not been found in the Indiana Census and is not in Madison County in 1850. She was the mother of the Mary Durflinger who married Wesley Lilly. Consequently, it is reasonable that she might have returned to live near her daughter. The obvious suspicion is that this is one more person missing from the Madison County Census in 1850.
      Eva Durflinger: Eva and Calvin, aged 11, born Ohio, were actually in the household of Elizabeth Durflinger above in 1860. However, not only are Eva and her son, Calvin, missing from the 1850 census, but her marriage record is missing.
    Thomas Cullumber, page 437B, line 1: I wrote about his missing marriage in a previous article. His father, John Cullumber, died 11 April 1845, aged 66 years 3 months 17 days. Thomas was the guardian of his father’s minor children and shows up at various dates in the estate records. The court records prove he was in the county even though he is missing from the census in 1850. His marriage is also missing.
        Armiger Lilly: page 437B, line 10. I am not certain when Armiger moved to Madison County. However, he is in the personal property lists in Madison County in 1850. His wife, Rebecca Lilly, died 2 January 1851, and is buried in the Old Hampton Cemetery in West Jefferson, Ohio. He would surely have been buried beside her, but–you guessed it–his tombstone is missing.
        Benjamin Gardner is another person who appears to have been missing in the 1850 census. I assume he was in the area because he married Martha Cullumber, 24 July 1843, in Madison County, Ohio. Martha must have died because Benjamin married Tobitha Cullumber, 2 January 1851, in Madison County. I can’t find him in 1850 anywhere. He is certainly not in Madison County. However, both of these girls were daughters of John Cullumber, and sisters of the Thomas Cullumber. Since Thomas Cullumber is also on the missing list, I think this is a very suspicious circumstance.

I don’t know how many people are missing from this corner of Fairfield. It makes you wonder what all is missing that we don’t know about yet.

Copyright 2003 June Clover Byrne Published by permission. Sent by June Byrne, researching Clover, Cullumber, Lilly, Ferguson, McHenry, in Madison County, Ohio. Junebyr@aol.com


Message from the Black Hole by June Clover Byrne
        Madison County, Ohio research presents some special problems. One of the problems is the multiple boundary changes. These line changes can be seen clearly in the Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920, by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1987 ), pages 267-274. This book also has information about Ohio historical geography. It is available in most genealogical libraries.
According to the Map Guide, when the 1790 census was taken, the area that is now Madison County was in the Virginia Military Reserve which was part of the Northwest Territory. Of course, since it was only a territory, no census was taken in 1790 or in 1800. The permanent Indian cessions were not until 1795 so any lines on the map before that were more a statement of plans than a reflection of reality. Ross County was created in 1798 and it included a large part of southwestern Ohio of today. The borders of Ross County were a giant rectangle which covered twelve present day counties.
        Ohio became a state in 1803 at which time Franklin County was created and Madison County was carved out of Franklin County in 1810. A federal census was taken in 1810 in Ohio but it was lost except for Washington County so that is of precious little use to us in Madison County. The southern boundary of Madison with Fayette County has remained the same since 1810. As for the eastern boundary with Franklin, the line was originally straight. Before 1850, the line was changed slightly to follow Big Darby Creek. The western border with Clark County and the northern borders with Union County and Champaign County have also changed several times.
        In Caldwell’s Atlas of Madison County, there are articles about families which were said to have arrived in Madison County by 1807 or thereabouts. A house on a piece of land on the eastern border of what is now Madison County would have started out in Franklin County in 1807. It might have then been in Champaign County for a few years before the border was straightened out and the house ended in present day Madison County. All of these boundary changes occurred before 1850. You need to consult the Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920, because the record you want so much may be in another county.
        If you are not sure where your family was living, there is a great way to find out. The set of 1862 Landowner’s Maps of Madison County was filmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake and they are available on microfiche set 6079886 which you can request at any Family History Center. This is a type of map which has the farms marked off and the names of the owners on the farms. You can then photocopy your township and take a magnifying glass and look for your ancestor. If you do not have a FHC available, you can send some money to the Madison County Genealogical Society which will be happy to copy your township for you.
        Ah, you say, but my family didn’t own land. Well, there is still a way. Get the above map. Then check the censuses for several years and collect all the names on the same page of each census. Somewhere, there will be a neighbor who did own land and who appears on the 1862 map. As a matter of fact, you can sometimes follow the route of the census taker down the roads on the map. Don’t look for any startling revelations about your ancestors on maps, but they are a fascinating study anyway. It is a wonderful experience to be able to actually walk where our ancestors lived and worked and walked. You may also be able to tell from the map which church or cemetery was closest to your ancestors which will tell you where to search for their records.

Sent by June C. Byrne researching Clover, Cullumber, Ferguson, Lilly, McHenry, McCafferty in Madison County, Ohio. Junebyr@aol.com If you have more examples of missing records, please contact me.
Copyright 2003 June C. Byrne

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