“Wife of Rufus Eachus”
"Wife of Rufus Eachus" Rufus Eachus
Ask most any Eachus researcher who Rufus’ wife was and they’d tell you the same thing, Mary Crinkleton (A.K.A.Crunkleton), but when asked why they believe that, no one can give an answer, it just is. Well, the research historian in me wants to know where it all started and there just doesn’t seem to be anyone who knows. What we do know is that Rufus’ wife died sometime between the 1830 and 1840 census, and her grave at the Patriot Cemetery merely reads “Eachus w/o Rufus,” no first name, no date. There are also no marriage records that can found.
Let’s take the facts and family lore and explore Rufus’ wife. According to the slash marks on the 1820 and 1830 census she would have been born between 1794 and 1800, so that we know. Their daughter Mariah (first known child) was born about 1818. Supposing that “Mary” was at least 16 years of age when she conceived that would mean “Mary” was born no later than 1802, but if family lore is correct and Rufus and wife were married in 1815, I’d say she probably wasn’t born after 1799 (making her 16 at the time of marriage).
At some point between the 1820 and 1830 census (probably after February 22, 1822 1 , when Geo. W. was born) Rufus moved his family to Bedford County, and between the 1830 and 1840 census moved on to Gallia County. And here it gets interesting.
At some point between the 1830 and 1840 census Rufus’ wife passed away. Following her death Rufus married a second time, this time to Nancy Sullivan, on September 12, 1839. 2 Thus we can conclude that Rufus’ first wife died between the taking of the 1830 census and his marriage in 1839.
Malissa plays an important part here. The 1850-1880 census all give her year of birth as 1834 +/-1. Also her grave located in Jug Creek Cemetery in Vernon County, WI gives "Born 09-Feb-1834 Age at death 77y 6m 21d." A This is important as it means that her mother was Rufus' first wife, and not Nancy Sullivan. Therefore we can now conclude that "Wife of Rufus Eachus" died between 1834 and 1839, perhaps in childbirth?
Henry and Thomas both born in the 1840s would be children of his second wife, Nancy. Oh, and just supposing one asks why “Wife of Rufus” isn’t Nancy, the answer I would give is that Nancy remarried after Rufus’ death and would have been known as Nancy Kelley not Eachus.
Now for the final part of all this. Coming from Chester County, Rufus continued to move west. First into Franklin County, then into Bedford County, and then into Gallia County. On his marriage record to Nancy, there is a note next to his name that he was from Mu[kingum] C[ounty]. It is important to note that his oldest daughter Mariah married a John P. Smith in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, in 1833. 3 4 According to USGENWEB Archives Bedford County Bios, Mr. Smith lived for a short while in Muskingum County. 5 Now, why is this important?
Here's my theory on all this. I believe that Rufus and his wife came to Gallia County prior to the 1840 census, his wife died while living there. Having no daughters old enough to help care for two infant girls (Sarah and Malissa), Rufus moved to Muskingum County to either live with, or live near Mariah. If one online source is correct Mariah had her own newborn daughter "Mary Smith" born in 1834. One possible scenario is that "Wife of Rufus" died in childbirth and Mariah having her own newborn child took Malissa in as a "wet-nurse." But that's just speculation on my part. Whatever the situation, Malissa got to know and love her older sister as she lived with her for many years. The first evidence of that is the 1850 census where she's listed as "Maliza Eachus" and living with John and Mariah Smith. Also when the administrators of the Estate of Rufus Eachus sued to sell Rufus' land, 6 John P. Smith, Mariah Smith, and Malissa Eachus were all listed as defendants and living out of state, that was July 9, 1856. Whether or not she was living with the Smiths any earlier is not really possible to tell. But this does tend to show that while living in Muskingum County Rufus' children were close to their sister. Almost immediately after marrying his 2nd wife, Nancy Sullivan" on Sept. 12, 1839, in Washington County, he moved back to Gallia County where he appears again in the 1840 census. His first deed was recorded in Gallia in 1842. 7
It is my belief that Rufus' wife's stone had all the information at one time and due to the nature of sandstone combined with possible vanadalism, etc. some of the stones didn't last as long. Wife of Rufus' stone was no longer legible when the replacement stones were purchased.
So, with all this said, here is my conclusion. At this time I am not comfortable saying that Rufus’ first wife was Mary Crinkleton or Crunkleton. I have been in touch Gordon Crooks, a Franklin County Crunkleton family scholar and author, and with all his own research, and that of his contacts he has been unable to verify any Crinkletons marrying an Eachus. Now that isn’t to say it didn’t happen, but that it can’t be verified.
It is interesting to note that there were Crunkletons living in Antrim Township, Franklin County in the 1820 census, same time and place that Rufus and his family show up, but again, we can’t seem to make a connection, and unfortunately the census taker did everything alphabetical rather than who lived next door to whom, so that also makes it more complicated. The thing is, there were a lot of other families living in Antrim Township at that time, and I’ve never been told why it is we’re focusing all our attention on the Crinkletons or Crunkletons. Without having at least a tiny clue as to why we believe she's Mary Crinkleton – I won’t refer to the w/o Rufus as such.
So here’s what we know as a fact. According to the census records and if Rufus was married in 1815, his first wife would have been born in 1797 +/-3 most likely in either Chester or Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Based upon the new information that Melissa is her daughter, and the marriage of her husband in 1839, she died 1837 +/-3
UPDATE: New document showing a family connection to the Crunkletons, though exact relationship is not yet determined. Mariah's obituary. "She was born in Franklin county, Pa, and has many relatives in that county, the Eachus, Crunkletons, Hollars and others."
1. Gallia County Deaths Vol. 1 Page 346 George W. Eachus died July 9, 1896. He was aged 74 years, 4 months and 17 days, and was born in Pennsylvania. That would mean G.W. was born February 22, 1822. His military discharge dated October 1865 gives his age as 43 and place of birth as Franklin County, PA., which confirms the year 1822, and the place as recorded in the 1820 census.
A. "Vernon County Wisconsin Tombstone Inscriptions" published through the Vernon County Historical Society by Jerry Parr and Mickie Parr (copyright 2003, 2nd Ed 10-Aug-2005) Jug Creek Cemetery on page 374
3. John P. Smith is actually recorded as such as a defendant in Gallia County Civil Record A “Rufus H. Eachus Administrator de bonis non vs. John P. Smith, Mariah Smith, Virgil Eaches, Henry Eaches, Thomas Eaches, Joseph Eachus, George W. Eachus, and Melissa Eaches.”
6. Gallia County Chancery Records Civil Record A
7. Gallia County Deeds Vol 17 Page 526
All this is an educated speculation, based on what little facts there are.