Lightening Bolt Moment Rice Whitaker and Giles Whitaker

+6 votes
Ok, somebody slow me down and stop me cause I just had a HOLY S*** moment going over my Whitaker documentation again looking to unsnarl the mess of [Giles Whitaker|Whiteacre-8] and Rice Whitaker [Rice Whitaker|Whitaker-1290]

Everyone has been basing the argument that Giles was the father of Rice on the fact that Rice was the witness to Giles' will. Giles died in 1831.

However, according to the Duley Letter:

I will now tell you what I know of your great grandmothers family her mothers maiden name was Mary Rice.  She was borned in Tennessee her father was well off and owned a lot of slaves.  She first married a Mr. Whitaker he died and left her with six children.  Three boys and three girls.  There names was John and Joseph and Rice and Rhoda and Nancy and Elizabeth = She went from Tennesse to Kentucky = and there  married Job Poteet = as I sed befor he was a frenchman there were five children born to them 3 girls 2 boys = there names were Alford and


Page 4

James and Polly and Elizina and Rebecca that was your grandmother name = Elizina died young and James got killed be a wagon upsetting on him when he was a boy.  when Mr Poteet died your great grandmother come to Ind. when it was a wilderness and she entered the land.  that is now kown as the gran father Duleys farm near here after sometime she married a man by the name of Eliasen Goodwin, he was a school teacher she lived wuiet a while with him = and he died = so the she married agan a man from Kentucky names McCaslin and they did not live agreeable = so the parted and in her old days she lived and died with her children now you see your great gran mother was a marring woman = she was a fine lady and her proffession was that of a Doctor.  She went far and near as long as she was able to wait on her patients she died at aunt Polley Kitermans on June the 24 1835 = age 65years 7 months and 13 days aunt Polley Kitterman lived on the old Isack Bline place at that time



Page 5

and Mrs McCaslin is buried in the field on that place where several of the family connection are also buried.


I have proven every bit of that letter - Mary did wed Jacob Job Poteet, and the youngest Whitaker, Mary Catherine used Poteet as her last name. I can show where Mary later married Goodwin and then Mc Caslin. Mary Ann Rice Whitaker Poteet Goodwin Mc Caslin is buried on the Polly Kitterman farm. The letter mentions that she separated from Mc Caslin because they didn't agree. So therefore, we can assume that Mr. Whitaker DIED leaving her and the children. This would have been around 1810/11 as she remarried in 1812. THEREFORE, GILES WHITAKER THAT DIED IN 1831 CANNOT BE THE FATHER OF RICE WHITAKER.

Someone please look at this and tell me I'm not crazy, I searched Wikitree and none of the Giles had the right death date. My mother went to her grave swearing Giles wasn't Rice's father, and if that was the case, they needed more proof than just being an executor/witness in a will. (I'm still looking for a copy of that will, by the way). This has been over 30 years of trying to piece together who the father of Rice Whitaker really was.

Please and thank you in advance.

The copy paste is the pertinent part of the Duley letter which is linked on Rice's profile.
WikiTree profile: Rice Whitaker
in Genealogy Help by Katrina Whitaker G2G6 Mach 3 (35.7k points)
edited by Katrina Whitaker

Somewhat random comments:

  • It looks like you will need to generate a reference citation for this "Duley Letter". Who is supposed to have written it? Is the letter dated? Where/how did you get it? Is your copy of the letter an original or a transcript? This kind of source can be valuable, but validation of these sources is tricky.
  • If your mother swore that Giles wasn't Rice's father, that might be another information source to cite. But I don't see what her basis for that information would be, since Whitaker is your father's family. Is this family lore she received orally from your paternal great-grandfather (who was Rice's great-great grandson)?
  • I'm a bit confused by your assertions about it note being possible for Giles to be Rice's father, probably because I've not yet seen any sourced information that indicates that Giles Whitaker died in 1831. Is that the date of probate for the will you mentioned in the other G2G thread?
  • In that other thread, you said that Rice W. was the executor of the will, but here you say he was a witness. That's a big difference. The executor of a will is often an heir, but I think it's very unusual for the witnesses to be heirs to the estate -- typically, the witnesses are disinterested parties.
Ok, I need to find the G2G thread on how to save an external web site on G2G. Here is the link to the letter which is in the sources section of Rice's profile. But to summarize the Duley letter was written by Martha Duley of Corydon, Indiana for her nephew on 11 July 1901. It is an oral history of the family. I have proven the majority of the letter. I have not tackled some parts of it as I am primarily interested in the Whitaker/Poteet lines.

John Whiteaker posted From the "History of Des Moines, County (IA)" "In 1831 Rice W. Whiteaker went to Claiborne Co, TN court as administrator to the estate of Giles Whiteaker, deceased." (I am looking for a primary copy of that will),  This fact that Rice administered Giles estate was used as "proof" that Giles was his father.

As for my mother's assertion that Giles couldn't be Rice's father, it was more gut feeling than proof. Our Whitaker line reuses family names like they were the only ones God ever created. However, in all the generations past Rice, not a single Giles was ever found. None of Rice's siblings were named Giles. None of his children were named Giles.

Please continue to ask me questions. I've got all this running around in my head and don't always get it on paper in a manner that is sensible to someone who hasn't been staring at this for years.

Unlike Ancestry, we don't upload sources into family trees here on WikiTree. To document the Duley letter as a source, I suggest that you:

  1. Create a free-space page for the Duley Letter.
  2. On that page, document your information source in detail. It looks to me like you should cite Shannon Combs-Bennett, "The Duley Family of Harrison Indiana," posted August 19, 2012 on "Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian" website at , accessed May 18, 2018, and you should tell the story of who is supposed to have written the letter and when, who copied it, who gave it whom, etc.
  3. Copy the text of the letter onto that page. (Shannon posted it under a Creative Commons license that permits you to use it in this fashion.)

Then, in a person's profile where you intend to refer to or cite contents from that letter, quote relevant excerpts from the letter (as you see fit), and refer to the free-space page as a source.

Thank you. I will attempt to do this. (Not so good with the code stuff). And again thank you!!!!!!
Gotta say thanks for the link on the Duley Letter.  Hadn't run into that one yet. John Duley and Rebecca Poteet Duley mentioned in the letter are my husband's 4th great-grandparents.

1 Answer

+3 votes
Talk about having a celebratory dance with lots of whoops!!  Fabulous find.
by Teresa Conant G2G6 Mach 5 (50.4k points)

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