Possible Relations of Edward Coomer

I have been attempting to methodically piece together how all these Kentucky Coomer’s may be related.  Edward is still an enigma for me, and his proposed familial connections are equally exacerbating.

In my first post for Edward, I identified a known brother and a possible brother.  

1. Andrew Coomer, husband of Elizabeth Tarter, is living in Edward and Darthulia’s household in 1860 and is enumerated as Edward’s brother.  Now, Census could be wrong, of course, but I am going to accept this relationship.  The nice thing about siblings is, there is no confusion about what a “brother” or “sister” means.  I’ll get to cousins in a minute.

UPDATE: I erred. The 1860 census does not identify relationships. I can’t remember how I came to the conclusion that Andrew was a brother of Edward. This changes my hypothesis to two possible brothers.

2. I believe William, husband of Mariah Ashbrook, is a brother.  He lived in very close proximity to both Edward and Andrew in Wayne County, Kentucky.  I believe Edward was living in William’s house in 1840, Wayne County.  There is a tick mark that could be him, though I admit, I cannot confirm this, only speculate and point to their close proximity in 1850 and 1860.  Andrew has his own 1840 Census entry also in Wayne County.

So, who’s new and how did I associate them?  Newspapers have been an interesting collection when it comes to the Coomers.  The people writing news articles in small towns are familiar with their neighbors and relations.  That’s the good part of the whole thing.  The bad part is they identify people as “cousins”.  Non-genealogist will ask, so what?  Cousins are children of your aunts and uncles, right?  Not really.  There was a time in recent history where people were called cousins for any distance of relationship.  Sometimes, they would call each other cousins even when the relationship was purely through marriage.  In the case of the Coomer’s, their “cousins” shared their surname, so we can be assured there is some sort of genealogical relationship.

One more small recap.  Edward was born about 1825.  This puts a little perspective on things too.  So, new possible siblings to Edward (and Andrew) are:

3. Richard Coomer, b. bet. 1809 and 1817 in either Virginia or North Carolina.  He married Sarah Taylor in 1837 in Wayne County.  Among Richard and Sarah’s numerous children were two men named Shelby/Shell and Marshal.  

Shelby had a son named Marshall C. Coomer, who went by the name Marsh and MC (probably because of his uncle Marshal.) He was a stock trader (cattle) under the moniker of MC.  Now, MC made the Danville newspapers in 1904 when he was robbed on the train returning to Wayne County from Lexington.  He discovered his loss while on the train and got off in Danville to report it.  The newspaper reported him to be a cousin to Hugh Coomer, who is a son of Edward. 

Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Kentucky, Wed. Sep 21, 1904, page 3. Clipped from Newspapers.com

Additional newspaper articles helped me to piece together who MC was and his other family connections, which lead me to identify his father and grandfather.  I hit a snag while trying to differentiate him from his uncle, Marshal.   But it all worked itself out once I started looking at supporting records.  If the newspaper is correct in connecting these two Coomer families, then MC and Hugh were actually 1st cousin’s once removed.

MC Coomer also had a son named James, who lived in Danville.

Richard’s son and grandson all carry similar given names as Edward’s children in each generation; Samuel, Laura, Frank, William, James, etc.

4. Benjamin Coomer, b. bet. 1831 and 1834 in either Virginia or Kentucky.  He married Lean/Lee Ann/Mary Davis in 1856 in Wayne County.  There was an older Benjamin in Kentucky who also named his son Benjamin (these are the Coomers who came from Stokes County, North Carolina and are associated with the Beasley family), which may have prompted this one to go by the name Frank or B.F.  He had two known daughters and four known sons.  It was son, Lemuel, who was identified as a “cousin”.

Lemuel Coomer was a confirmed bachelor living in Danville.  Before moving to Danville, Lemuel lived with his family in Wayne County and Lincoln County.  In the 1910 Census, Lemuel is living in the household of Samuel Coomer and is enumerated as Sam’s cousin.  Samuel was a son of Edward and Darthulia. 

Sam Coomer’s cousin, Lemuel. Living on West Walnut Street in 1910. Ancestry.com

More newspaper articles helped me to identify who Lemuel’s people were.  His obituary and other news articles associated him to sisters, Alice Coomer Hignite, and Mollie Coomer Pritchett (wife of Walter Pritchett), and one brother, Joseph Coomer (husband of Mary “Belle” Settles) of Danville.  Joseph and Mary adopted her nephew William Allen Grey, whose descendants still live in Danville today under the Coomer surname.  The clues found in the newspaper articles helped to locate the vital records that connect them all to Benjamin.

Joseph and Mary were further connected to Hugh and Sarah’s family through a funeral when Hugh’s sons (Charles and Guy) were pallbearers for Mary’s brother.  Hugh’s daughter, Lelia was also affiliated with a Settles girl in the social column, though I have not figured out her relation to James and Mary.

Where were they in 1840?

Richard was enumerated in Wayne County.  He had just married Sarah Taylor in 1837.  Richard’s 1840 census enumerates one male and one female, both in the 20-29 age range, matching their ages from other censuses.  The absence of other members in this household also supports this as Richard, husband of Sarah, since their first known child (Shelby) was not born until 1842.

Benjamin was 6 years old in 1840.  Wouldn’t you know it?  William also has three boys in his household between the ages of 0-9.  William and Mariah’s first known child was a daughter who was born in 1838 and has a matching tick mark in the 1840 household.  I propose that in addition to Edward being in this household, William may have had custody of several younger brothers.  This could mean there are three more possible brothers.

The Unfortunate Fail

All this information gained through days of research and picking the clues to analyze and put them in some semblance of understanding, but to no avail.

Like William, Andrew, and Edward, the parents of Richard and Benjamin have yet to be proven in any trees.  There are several leaps of connection, at least from where I am sitting, because no evidence is provided for the various parents presented.  Perhaps those researchers who have identified parents of any of these men are willing to share their sources in order to make some more progress.

Every time I discuss this puzzle with my mother-in-law, who is also a genealogist, she reminds me of her hypothesis that Edward was an orphan from Virginia.  She had pulled the string on the Abbingdon, Virginia claim (by Rebecca or Mollie), and found a book about orphans from that county.  I think I have a copy of that publication, but I’ll save that for another blog.

I haven’t given up the idea of Bryson being the patriarch. Just for fun, below is how his family would look if I inserted Edward, Andrew, William, Richard, and Benjamin into his known family. AGAIN: this is only a hypothesis and should not be taken as evidence. It puts Bryson’s age as 18 when William was born. But Bryson’s wife, Sarah poses an issue if her date of birth is actually 1800. Of course Sarah could be a second wife.

Do I have any takers on a little Coomer DNA project? I can get two direct male lineage samples.