Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Beginning, as we know it now

"Our" family history, for now, begins with Richard (1812-1883 ) and Elizan King Redden (1821-1863). So far, I have been unable to learn the name of Richard's parents or determine if he had any siblings. We do know from census records that Richard was born in Kentucky. We also know that the Reddens have been in the U.S. for quite some time, as Richard's parents were reported on census records to have been born in Maryland, which means Richard's grandparents were in the U.S. from at least the time of the Revolutionary War.

Elizan and Richard were married in Harrison County, Indiana on March 24, 1842. Much of our family history centers around Harrison and Crawford counties in southern Indiana, although Reddens also settled around the Fort Wayne, Indiana area, while others moved west to Utah, Kansas, and beyond.

Elizan's name is sometimes written as Allazanna or Ellizan, but I prefer "Elizan" and this is the name that is transcribed on her headstone. Information on Elizan's family line has been even more elusive, but it appears from census records that she had a younger sister named Amanda. I feel we are getting very close to learning more about Elizan.

Somehow, in a way I cannot explain, I feel very close to some of the Redden ancestors, and Elizan is certainly one of my favorites. I'll talk more about this in a later post. Our family feels very privileged to have located and stood by Elizan's grave site. Our youngest daughter was the one to discover her cemetery record during a visit to the Harrison County genealogy library. You can find a memorial page to Elizan at, memorial #18489024. (Many other Reddens have pages on as well.) Since the time we first discovered her grave, the cemetery has undergone an amazing restoration from volunteers. You'll see from the photos on Elizan's memorial page that pieces of her already beautiful headstone were unearthed during the restoration and some restoration has been made to her stone.

Richard and Elizan's story is rich and unfolding. Their eldest sons, Robert and William, served in the Civil War, and the obituaries from these two sons show that they were loved and well respected by their family, friends, and neighbors. Other children born to Richard and Elizan were Nancy, Amanda, Charley, and Mayo.  Richard may have also had a son named James who was born before Richard and Elizan were married.  This is suggested by the list of James Redden on the 1850 census, but  I haven't been able to confirm this relationship.  I've been told by fellow genealogiests that other children were also born to Richard, but that they died very young.  Again, I have not personally been able to confirm this.  Family history research is very much on ongoing project.  Luckily, blog posts are easily updated as more information is discovered.

My husband is descended from Richard and Elizan's youngest son, Mayo. Sadly, Elizan died when Mayo was not quite 4 years old. Richard remarried a woman with two young sons of her own, and lived for another 20 years. More on this, later.

There are so many stories to tell! My next post will focus more on what is known about Richard Redden's life.

Do you have Redden family stories to share -- past or present? I hope to hear from all branches of our family tree.