Leaping into the Rainwaters
Updated with new text and images on 2019 Feb 24.
In my first two posts introducing my Aunt Mazie's tree, I've pointed out a couple of key caveats: 1) I expect to create a more complete scan of the original poster-size drawing, and 2) the information in this tree is prone to the variety of errors that are typical in any handed-down story. It is certainly incomplete and inaccurate and yet it continues to guide fascinating new research paths!
Recently I returned to the tree to look more closely at the Rainwater branch. My work on Ancestry.com started with this hand drawn tree yet I had not returned to it for almost a year while focusing on unrelated projects. I stumbled onto the work of a fellow Ancestry member who also has Celia and Gabriel Rainwater in her tree. Referring to my inherited partially-scanned drawing below, I saw that I had the name of 'Celia Rainwater" not once but twice. And now I have to wonder:
What can we learn from each other?
In Mazie's tree the name Celia Rainwater appears twice as two separate individuals. Once as a granddaughter of Ellis Cannon and again as the wife of his grandson, Elijah Cannon. In the first instance she is the daughter of Elizabeth Cannon who married into the Rainwater family; here she has one brother named Gabriel Rainwater. Nothing is drawn directly to connect this Celia to the next one.
Celia: Wife &Mother
In the next instance, Celia Rainwater is the wife of Elijah Cannon, who is a son of Nancy Wyatt and a grandson of Ellis. In this branch, Celia is the mother of Charity, Elhannah, Enoch, and Ellis. In both instances, Celia Rainwater is in the same generation at two branches removed from Ellis Cannon at the trunk. Is there any documentation that connects these two instances as either related individuals or as the same person?
Did Celia Marry Her First Cousin?
If it turns out that there is only one Celia Rainwater in this tree, then she and her husband Elijah had the same grandparent, Ellis Cannon. That would make them first cousins of course and this was not uncommon in their time. I suspect it is true but I will need a lot more evidence before I can make a reasoned argument. As a soft conjecture I see that Elijah and Celia started their family in South Carolina close to the time that Mazie's great grandfather Nahum traveled to Tennessee to marry his first cousin, Cynthia Wyatt. Their children grew up far apart in South Carolina and Arkansas, yet Mazie's father Ed Cannon was already 14 years old when his great uncle, Elijah died. If he did not know them personally, he likely had a few stories from his South Carolina cousins, perhaps enough to have known that his great aunt and uncle were also first cousins. Again it is wildly speculative until there are some records to connect Elijah's wife Celia to Gabriel and to common parents.
What do records show?
Ancestry records align with Mazie's tree neatly for the lower branch that shows Celia Rainwater as the wife of Elijah Cannon (born in 1796). In US Census records and in a marriage record, they had these same four children: Ellis, Elkannah, Charity and Enoch. Charity continued to live with her parents after her siblings left home and she took care of her widowed father Elijah when he had palsy. And for the first instance, I have recently discovered Rainwater family records pointing to a household where Celia and Gabriel are siblings.
The New Quest
I do not have a full name for the spouse of Elizabeth Cannon Rainwater. We have only their father's surname and not his first name. Next I will be continuing to reach out to my Ancestry contact who also has Celia and Gabriel Rainwater. Together I hope we can find the documentation that proves that our Celia and Gabriel Rainwater match up neatly.
In my prior post, I introduced an incomplete scan of a hand-drawn family tree. The detailed representation was penned by Rosemary and was based on confident recollections passed on by Mary Zerelda Cannon her father's sister, known as Aunt Mazie. This post digs into one section of the larger tree to illustrate the combination of various imperfections and helpful opportunities this tree offers to my research on my father's Cannon side.
As shown by a check mark in the image above, records have been found for William and Phoeby. From the pension application we know that Phoeby was severely afflicted and living at home with her widowed mother. She had no known children. Other than common variations in the spelling of her name, there is really nothing to add or alter about her small branch.
With the breadth of records that are now readily accessible in digital formats, this tree begs to be expanded by many new branches. As noted already, John Cannon would replace Louis in Mazie's tree. His wife Martha Moore and their six children were not known well enough to be part of this tree. William is shown correctly above but without his wife, Lucy Ward, and their nine additions to the grandchildren of Ellis and Elizabeth. His sister Susanna also married a Ward and they added seven more grandchildren. Winnifred is also among these missing siblings; she and her husband John Vandiver would add nine more branches. The most valuable among the added branches would show Elijah Cannon (b. 1782) who married Darcus (Dorcas) Bowen and had eleven children. Adding their branch would help distinguish his records from those of his nephew, Elijah Cannon (b. 1796) born only 15 years later to Elijah's older brother Lewis Cannon (b. 1775).
Ellis Cannon is the starting point for a very helpful tree of his descendants. At each generation of descendants of Reverend Ellis Cannon, there continue to be both accurate, inaccurate, and omitted names. As with any family history that has been passed on from oral retellings, it remains an extraordinary inheritance especially with its imperfections.
This hand-drawn tree is a family research treasure map. I've already mined it repeatedly to initiate record searches that confirm and expand on the many household nodes it suggests. It has led the way to primary source documents such as US Census records. Recently I've returned to the tree for a closer look. This time, it promises to offer far more than confirmation of existing records. It may help me bridge from a dead end in our Rainwater branch to a dead end another researcher's Rainwater branch to help reunite names from the original household. More about that in the next post, Leaping into the Rainwaters.
Updated with new text and images on 24 Feb 2019
The image below comes from two generations of reproduction. Although I have now photographed the most complete version of the tree that I have, I do not have the original. The copy that I photographed below was created from the original by my father using a Xerox machine in letter-size sections and carefully taped together. It was then folded up and stored in a file folder for many years.
I have been told that the original poster was created by my father's sister, Rosemary Cannon for a school project. This was likely done when she was in high school in the mid- to late-1950s. She was living in New Mexico and probably consulted by phone with Aunt Mazie (Mary Zerelda Cannon) in Arkansas.
My father and his sister Rosemary have died. Only their brother, my Uncle Jim and their first cousin, Sarah Cannon, are still living and may be able to offer more details about the poster. I'm hoping to see Sarah and find that she has the original poster from Rosemary for me to photograph.
The one certainty I have is that Aunt Mazie was always certain of her facts, even the ones that were incorrect. A close transcription of the text in the tree is organized in nested lists below. I've tried to capture the exact lettering without any corrections. I'll save corrections for later posts.
This is simply a conversational blog where each post is a response to another researcher or a place to think aloud about ongoing challenges. As it grows it will become a timeline for our research conversations. It features selected branches of our family trees originating with George Edward Cannon and Margaret Antoinette DeLony.
In general this site has been created to make our family stories available to others and to help us improve the work with your suggestions and corrections.
Ask First! Please do not copy material here.
Use our CONNECT page, to ask for permission to re-use material. We will respond as quickly as possible. We are interested in sharing after we know just a little bit about how you will use our work for personal use or for your own publications.
This blog site is designed and written for family members and fellow researchers by Kathy Cannon.
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