Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rachel's First Marriage: Intriguing Finds.

Who were the first spouses of Eli Pierce Waggoner and Rachel S. Havens, my dad’s maternal grandparents? That was the big question on my mind after noticing that the 1910 Census reported they had each been married two times.

Finding the answer took a trip to two court houses, but it turned out to be fairly easy. At the Bland County Court House, I found Rachel’s first marriage recorded in one of those hefty books that take muscles to lift, Bland County Marriages Book 1:  "Deaver, Mark R. (19, blacksmith) to Rachel S. Havens (18), Jan. 13, 1881. Parents: Henry and Louisa Deaver and James and Jane Havens."[1]
What a boon! Not only did I now know the name of Rachel’s first spouse, his occupation, his parent’s names, and the marriage date, but also the names of Rachel’s parents. Up to this point, I had not known that important fact, which helped to open up more information on her and her family, later.
And who was Mark R. Deaver? Searching 1870[2] and 1880[3] Bland County Virginia census records, I found confirmation that Mark’s parents were Henry H. and Louisa Devor. Also I found a birth record that shows his birth as 24 August 1861[4].
Next, I looked in chancery records for the divorce, and once again, I hit paydirt. In Bland County Chancery Order, Book 2, p. 440, dated 13 August 1884, I found that “Rachael Deavors” had brought suit in court for divorce proceedings against “Rhea Deavor,” who did not appear because he was “a non resident of this state.” Had he had deserted Rachel? I wondered.  The court decided that the charges (which are not named) against the defendant had been proven, that the complainant was entitled to be divorced from her husband, and that the defendant should pay court costs.[5] (Notice that already we have four spellings for Mark’s surname: Deaver, Deavors, Deavor, and Devor.)
Rachael Deavors against Rhea Deavor, In Chancery, August 1884

So where was Mark Rhea Deaver/Deavors/Deavor/Devor in 1884?
On, I found a U. S. Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914, dated 26 May 1885 that shows Mark R. Devor enlisted at Cincinnati, Ohio, at age 24 years, 10 months. He is from Sedenville, Virginia, which is in Bland County. His occupation is “Horseshoer”; he has grey eyes, brown hair, fair skin, and is 5’ 7”. He’s enlisted in 1st Cavalry, Company F, and he was discharged 20 July 1886; it doesn’t say where.[6]
U. S. Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-19144, dated 24 May 1885, Mark R. Devor.
Next, I found a Washington State and Territorial Census, 1857-1892, that shows M. R. Deavor residing in Thurston, Washington in 1885, age 25, single, a trader, born in Virginia.[7] Was this our man? Did the military send him to Washington? Whatever the case, these records give evidence that he was gone from Virginia in 1885, which is as close as I’ve been able to get to the divorce date of August 1884. He was certainly nowhere to be found when Rachel was granted her divorce.
Washington State and Territorial Census, 1857-1982, dated 1885, M. R. Deavor,

With intriguing evidence about Rachel and her first marriage, I went looking for Eli Waggoner’s first wife. What was their story?

[1] Bland County, Virginia, Marriage Record Book 1: no page. Mark R. Deaver and Rachel S. Havens, 1881; Clerk’s Office, Bland.

[2] 1870 U. S. census, Bland County, Virginia, population schedule, Bland C.H. Post Office, p. 17 (penned), dwelling 110, family 110, Henry H. Devor; digital image, ( : accessed 25 June 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M593, roll 1636.

[3] 1880 U.S. census, Rocky Gap, Bland County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 17 (penned), p. 372A (stamped), dwelling 148, family 151, H. H. Devor; digital image, ( : accessed 25 June 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T9, roll 1356.

[4] Bland County, Virginia, Record of Births, 1861-96: 3, database, ( : accessed 25 June 2013), entry for Mark Devor, 24 August 1861.

[5] Bland County, Virginia, Chancery Order, Book 2: 440, Rachel Deavors v. Rhea Deavor, divorce ; County Clerk’s Office, Bland.

[6] U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914, database ( : accessed 25 June 2013), entry for Mark R. Devor, “1st Cavy, Co. F,” Cincinnati, Ohio, 26 May 1885.

[7] Washington State and Territorial Censuses, 1857-1892, Thurston, Washington, 1885, line 21, M. R. Deavors, database, ( : accessed 25 June 2013), Olympia, Washington: Washington State Archives, M1, microfilm number V228, roll 17.

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