Mary Ellen (Mansell) Powell has been a brick wall for many years. Surviving members of her family (daughter and grandchildren) knew very little about her origins.
A study of Mansell families in Alabama using census and marriage records from 1850-1900 identified the family of Robert Emmett & Laura (Dill) Mansell - and their daughter Mary E. - living in Franklin County Alabama as the most likely family of origin for my Mary Ellen. Correspondence with a granddaughter of Robert & Laura provide corroborating details. The relationship is supported by autosomal DNA matches with several Dill descendants. Further triangulation and evaluation would be needed to call this conclusive evidence, however.
Standing against this is the documented marriage of Mary Ellen Mansell to a John O. Jobe August 11, 1901 and a second marriage to a Mr. Dixon reported by Gilbert Dill in his book.
The origins of William Martin Powell, Mary Ellen Mansell's husband, are also a mystery. Prior to the research leading to a possible connection with the Dill family, a surviving descendant suggested Wm. Martin was living under an alias with some undertones of a shady past. The comment was more idle speculation from impressions as a child than any real information, so I generally discount it. However it is interesting to find that there was a John Jobe released from the Alabama State prison in Franklin County in 1905, the year that the 1910 census indicates Wm. Martin & Mary Ellen were married.
Further research required. If anyone has information on this family, I would love to hear from you. Powell-5629 18:37, 23 December 2016 (EST)
Mary Ellen married William Martin Powell about 1905, probably in Alabama, and by 1910 were living on the West side of Reelfoot Lake in Lake County Tennessee.
POWELL, William; head of household; age 27; married 5 years
Mary E; wife; age 24; married 5 years (3 children born, 1 living)
Mary Ellen's fourth child, William Anthony, was born August 15, 1910 and was the couple's first child (and only son) to survive to adulthood.
Daughter Gertrude down in Reelfoot Lake in the summer of 1914, only a few weeks before the birth of her sister Edna on June 19, 1914.
By 1918 when her husband registered for the WWI draft, the family had moved to Hornbeak, several miles east in Obion County.
Mary Ellen died in Monrovia, California where she was living with her daughter Mary Martha Moffitt on January 26, 1974. She is buried at the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, in the Terrace of Faith Lawn, section 7, lot 7716, grave 4.
↑ Annual Report of the State Auditor of Alabama, for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1905. Rogers Printing Co., Montgomery Alabama (1905), digitized Aug 13, 2008. page 202, disbursements for removing State Prisioners - Franklin CountyGoogle Books
↑ According to the US Census, they had been married for 5 years when enumerated in 1910.
↑ William POWELL family, 1910 U.S. census, Lake County, Tennessee, population schedule, Civil District 8,ED 92 , sheet 2B, house 39, family 40
↑ "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MGFS-W44 : accessed 27 May 2016), Flornce G Powell in household of William Powell, Civil District 8, Lake, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 92, sheet 2B, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,375,520.
↑ "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MNPB-9V4 : accessed 27 December 2016), W M Powell household, Civil District 5, Obion, Tennessee, United States; citing ED 115, sheet 18A, line 24, family 301, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1758; FHL microfilm 1,821,758.
↑ "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XM17-J6T : accessed 26 November 2016), W M Powell household, Isola, Humphreys, Mississippi, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 5, sheet 2B, line 54, family 25, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1149; FHL microfilm 2,340,884.
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Mary Ellen by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA.
Mitochondrial DNA test-takers in the direct maternal line: