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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Up top date on MFM

 Still working on The Autobiography of Matthew Fontaine Maury: Life and Times of a Rebel.

I've written from his genealogy to the Civil War based on one biography that was a concise version of his life. I used it for the skeleton of his life, nut and bolts. I'm using another biography that has much more about his family life and longer quotes from his letters and speeches. This gives the story much more of a "In his own words," feeling.

Wikipedia isn't helping me with a particularly important person in MFM's life. William Lewis Herndon is referred to in most biographies (there are six so far I'm using) as MFM's brother-in-law. It's a family jumble of similar names and close cousins, normal at the time period where a married couple would have from six to fourteen children and giving them common first names.

MFM married Ann Hull Herndon. Her mother was Elizabeth Hull married to Dabney Herndon. Ann's parents died when she was 13 and MFM's elder sister, and mother of Dabney, also named Elizabeth, took Ann Hull and her brother, Brodie, in and raised them as her own.

MFM's uncle, Edward Herndon and aunt, Elizabeth were parents of William Lewis Herndon and others. 

This made MFM and William Lewis Herndon second cousins. MFM and Ann were fourth cousins. If MFM and WLH were brother-in-law then Ann would be MFM's first cousin. A big distinction today, not so big in 1820's.

Wikipedia counts Ann Hull and Brodie as children of Edward and Elizabeth Maury Herndon. It is confusing, but they should try to get this right.

I'm using a Maury Family Tree by Sue C. West-Teague, that spells this out in a confusing and absolutely impossible chronology.

I've still a bit of fleshing out to do with what I have on the skeleton before tackling the Civil War and MFM's return to the United States. He was under a death sentence far stricter that for Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stevens and Robert E. Lee! I'll explain in the book.

William Lewis Herndon was the captain of the steam ship Central America that went down in  a hurricane with millions of dollars worth of gold in 1858. It was recently discovered off the North Carolina coast. North Carolina, the U.S. and the salvagers are still fighting over what today is billons of dollars in gold coins. 

WLH had a daughter and she married a New York politician named Chester A. Arthur. MFM gave her hand in marriage as this was after her father died. It was Chester A. Arthur who pulled the political strings to get MFM back from London and to Virginia. 

Elizabeth Herndon Arthur died before Chester became Vice-President and later President of the U.S.


Lydia said...

Wow, that’s complicated! I hope you sort it all out soon. I have faith in you. :)

Berthold Gambrel said...

I agree with Lydia. :)