I have a serious brick wall I have been trying to knock down for over 20 years now. Growing up, I was told that my Great-Granny Martha Ann (Odom) Shaw, never knew her parents, as they died when she was very young.
After 18 years of searching, I did mange to find probate records of Mattie Odom in Trinity County, Texas, that lists her father AND her mother's name - Leonidas Odom and Emma Johnson Odom. Emma and Leonidas show up in the 1880 census in Trinity with baby Emma, but she must have died before 1885. I found Emma Johnson on the census in Texas and her father's name, Robert Isaac Johnson. Robert was the one who claimed guardianship for Mattie when she was 5 years old. Leonidas was one of the first land owners of Trinity County, Texas due to the homestead act. I did find in that information that he was married at the time in 1876 - of course, luck would have it - the marriage records from 1873-1877 have been lost.
So, my brick wall you ask? Leonidas appears on the 1870 census, along with this sister as Leonidas PURVIS and Martha PURVIS, living with Lucie Purvis. They live next door to John and Nancy (Purvis) Odom. The census does NOT state that Leonidas and Martha are Lucie's children. Leonidas is 12 and Martha is 9. So, I got back to the 1860 census in Texas and I can find Lucie Purvis, living with John and sister Nancy Odom, but there is NO SIGN of Leonidas anywhere! It is as if he never existed! And WHY would he have the last name of Purvis? Could people just change their last names on a whim? There are too many coincidences that put Leonidas with the Odoms - he homestead's next door to them, Joe Odom signs as a witness on his homestead papers. There has to be a connection, I just don't know where. I also cannot find anything regarding the death of Leonidas and Emma - only their dates of death in the probate records. I can't even find them in any cemetery in Trinity, Walker or Houston county. I am stuck trying to prove who Leonidas is and who are his parents. What happened to them? There is no mention of him in anything but tax lists - and what happened to his land after he passed away on Jan 1885? It didn't go to his daughter, that's for sure.
Any help, or lead would really help me. It always helps to have a second set of eyes on something to see what I have missed.
Thanks so much everyone!