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Ends and beginnings

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I finally got the death certificates today, for Adaline and James Marryatt, my second-great-grandparents. It took a while, but Alameda County came through. It occurs to me that I may be the first after four generations not to die in Alameda County. They got me at the front end, though.

It’s a sad end to James’ story. He died of ptomaine poisoning. Ironic, given that he was a cook most of his adult life. It’s rather disconcerting to see “Violent” written at the top of the form, I guess to classify the type of death. He died a year after the 1906 earthquake. It appears he lived in Oakland 12 years before his death, so I guess they fled foggy San Francisco around 1895. Adaline didn’t know much about her husband’s background: neither name nor birthplace of either of his parents.

Adaline died 16 years later, also in Oakland. Chronic nephritis — kidney disease — was the cause, and she was treated for it for nearly a year. But with this ending we have a beginning as well. Her mother, name unknown — as yet — was born in Maryland. Her father, one Mr. Hawkins, was born in Baltimore, Md. So now I know that Adaline Marryatt was born Adaline Hawkins on March 16, 1852 in Maryland.

It’s a small state. Wish me luck in my snooping.

… A couple of hours later…

Indeed she was. And in the 1870 census, she and the rest of the Hawkins family were living in Charles County, somewhere near Bryantown, Maryland. Surprise to me (and perhaps a clue): Charles County is immediately south of Prince George’s County. Which I surely know, having spent my college years there, is right outside the District of Columbia. Today it would be part of the Beltway.

A likely scenario: James Marryatt accompanies Charles King to Washington on USGS business, probably in the early 1870s. He meets and courts the young Miss Hawkins. Now, there’s no marriage record that I can find in Charles County, where one would expect she’d marry. But this courter of hers … he’s older; he’s gallivanting across the country with some white man; he’s come there from California; and he’s not even American. Would you want your 20something-year-old daughter rmarrying the likes of him? Probably not. So: maybe they married in Washington? That’s a lot less daunting than the thought of anywhere between there and Nevada.

I now know her parents’ names: Ann and James Hawkins, both likely born in 1823, again in Maryland. Some siblings, too. Sadly, all this precise info is nearly worthless when it comes to the slave schedules. No matches, despite only four or five white families named Hawkins in Charles County (and yes, all from Bryantown).

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