Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Correction to "So Obscure a Person"

Based on my recommendation, many readers purchased Edna Barney's book, So Obscure a Person - A Genealogy and History of Alexander Stinson and His Virginia Descendants, and so I feel responsible when I find errors in the book. Edna's research, in most cases, is outstanding, but she sometimes makes broad leaps in her interpretation.

That's the case on pages 64 and 68 when she states that David Stinson, son of Alexander, Sr., married a woman named Mary. Edna based her assumption on a line in a 1796 record from the Prince Edward County Order Book, Records at Large. After his death, Alexander's estate was sued for non-payment of a debt. To resolve the case his children, and others, made a deposition stating that the debt had been paid in tobacco. (The judge ruled in favor of the Stinson heirs.) Edna states on page 68:

The papers of this deposition have scribed "David Mary STINSON, parties in the trial," which seems to meant to be written as "David and Mary STINSON," hence giving the first name of the wife of David STINSON.
But that's not true. If you examine the handwriting on the document, and compare the way the letters are written elsewhere, it's easy to see that it says: David & Cary Stinson.

Note the use of the ampersand in other parts of the document, just above the phrase "David & Cary" and just before it in the phrase "Halcombe & the Defendant."

To reinforce the point, notice how the scribe writes his upper case Cs as in Cumberland County and Charles Lee. It's clear that the deposition says "David & Cary", not "David Mary."

This is important because the case has been made -- to the satisfaction of The Huguenot Society -- that David Stinson married Anne Bryant, daughter of James Bryant of Powhatan County.
Interestingly, according to his will, not only did James' daughter, Anne, marry a Stinson, whom we now know was David, he had a grandson named "Stinson Bryant." Obviously there was another Stinson connection through one of James' sons.

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