I am researching my maternal surname of Whadford/Watford/Wadford, possibly Wexford. My great grandfather, William Henry Whadford was supposedly born in the early 1860's in Newton, Dale County, Alabama and I've diligently searched the surnames of Watford and Wadford and hit a massive brickwall and I've come to conclusion that his surname was probably not Whadford, Watford or Wadford but another variation, possibly Wexford. This is his story:
William Henry Whadford was supposedly born September 15, 1862 (as reported by his daughter on his death certificate) in Alabama approximately during the Civil War years (different years on different censuses) and the tale told is that his family may have originally come from the Carolinas and/or Georgia to perhaps Newton, Dale County, Alabama, where he may have been born. He told his descendents his family migrated from North Carolina to South Carolina and Alabama by wagon. Absolutely nothing is known of his mother or family. He was orphaned at a young age when his family may have died in a "plague" possibly on a river(house)boat and the story has it he was discovered alone after a couple of days. Newton, Alabama was a port for riverboats until the railroad was built in 1890. At some point, he was sent to live with a supposed "uncle" in Florida, but ran away with supposed "cousins" when he was a young boy and they ended in Texas. The family is able to trace him from his first marriage to Mary E. Havens on October 25, 1885 in Rains County, Texas where he had worked building Sulpher Springs Road. They had a son, William Henry Whadford Jr. born Oct. 15, 1886 in Sulpher Springs, Hopkins County, Texas and Mary soon died afterwards. Grandfather then married Grandmother Sminthie Ellen Matlock on Jan. 14, 1889 at Cureo, Dewitt County, Texas. They had six children, five of them born in Texas:
Leona Josephine (f) b. Mar. 20, 1890 at Cuero, Dewitt County
Bonnie Monroe (m) b. Jan. 15, 1892 at Edna, Jackson County
Jessie Winnie (f) b. Sept. 26, 1893 at Edna, Jackson County
Maude Belle (f) b. Jun. 26, 1895 at Edna, Jackson County
Lillie Mae (f) b. Mar. 5, 1898 at Edna, Jackson County
Charles Henry Claude (m) b. Jan. 9, 1902, Paonia, Delta County, Colorado.
My g-grandfather was illiterate until my g-grandmother taught him to read and write simple words and his name. How the â€œHâ€ got into his last name spelling it is not known, other than possible census takers or othersâ€™ assumptions on how it is written. The family is positive he is the first Wâ€hâ€adford as no other Whadfords were ever found before him. His first marriage certificate is written as W â€œhâ€adford and this spelling may have remained throughout his life.
The found censuses of William Henry are:
The 1900 census of Montgomery County, Texas lists: William Henry Whadford, w, m, born-Sept, year-1865 age last birthday is 30 or 39 and he is a logger (possibly in the San Jacinto Range) and his unknown parents were born in Alabama. The census date is June 4th, 1900.
The 1910 Delta County, Colorado census lists:
William H. Whadford, m, w, age 47 (birthyear 1863?) and as a survivor (dependent?) of the Civil War and that his father was born in Alabama and his mother was born in Florida. The census date is April 18th, 1910.
The 1920 Delta County, Colorado census lists:
William H. Whadford, m, w, age 56 (birthyear 1864?) and both his parents were born in North Carolina. The census date is Jan. 24th, 1920.
The 1930 Delta County, Colorado census lists:
William H. Wadford, m, w, age 66 (birthyear 1864?) and his father was born in South Carolina and his mother was born in Alabama. The census date is April 10th, 1930.
William Henry died September 23, 1939 and is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Delta County, Colorado.
If you have any information or recognize this story through the Wexford line, please contact me.
Nancy L. ComptonNLCOMPTON@RMCI.NET