Friday, June 24, 2011

Who in the world was Nathan M. Shumate?

Was Nathan M. Shumate a neer-do-well who abandoned his three young daughters after the death of his first wife in order to marry Annie (Anna) Purcell?  Did Annie pursue Nathan for his money and did she encourage him to abandon his daughters for her and the family that she and Nathan had started?  Did Nathan give over the care of Virginia, Louise, and Maybelle to his brother Quincy Shumate because of the bad blood between his daughters and his second wife?  Was it possible that Annie was married to someone else and had four children prior to her marriage to Nathan and that Nathan adopted the children?  And if that isn't the case does that mean four of the five children of Annie and Nathan were conceived during the same period that he was married to Maggie which would further account for the bad blood between Maggie's daughters and Annie? Did Maggie's daughters try to write him out of their lives because Nathan was a horndog and an adulterer? And in the end, what caused the death of Nathan M. Shumate at the age of 41 and was he in Newbern TN with his brother Quincy when death came for him?

Sometimes the facts don't tell the whole story.  In this case so much of the story is missing but at least I am slowly filling in the facts.

  • born abt 1858/59 in Kentucky, most likely Rockcastle County or Garrard County.  
  • His parents were Champ Shumate (1825-1905) and Martha J. McClary (1818-1876)
  • His siblings were Jason, Quincy, Belle, and Harriet Shumate
  • According to newspaper reports he was well-to-do.
  • He was married twice.  
  • First wife - Margaret (Maggie) Jane Adams (1866-1896). They had three daughters together, May Belle (b. 1885), Virginia (b. 1888), and Louise (b. 1891)
  • Second wife - Married December 9 1896, Anna Purcell aka Mrs. Annie Durmon   Perhaps she was a Purcell by birth, married a Durmon and then married Nathan Shumate.  According to the 1900 Census Annie was the head of the household and a widow.  The following children are listed as Shumates:  Mary (b1884), Eva (born 1886), Wadie (b 1893), Mittie (b 1895) and Myrtle (b. 1897). (Updated 6/25/11: Nathan Shumate was indeed Anna Durmon nee Purcell's second husband.  The only child that Nathan and Anna had together was Myrtle.  Milton Green Durmon, who died in 1894, was Anna's first husband and the father of her first four children)
  • We also know all was not rainbows and butterfly's in Nathan's second marriage because a notice appeared in the Mt. Vernon Signal May 20, 1898 just a year and half after he married Anna stating "The public will notice that you are hereby notified that I will not be responsible, nor assume payment for any debt or debts contracted by my wife, Anna Shumate, nor will I be responsible for any of her actions or accounts or costs on same. N.M.Shumate"  Could this indicate that Anna married Nathan for his money and that's one more reason Maggie's children didn't like her?
  • According to stories by Virginia she and her sisters were raised by her Uncle Quincy Shumate.  Census records bear this out as they are living with Quincy Shumate in Newbern, TN in 1900.  They are listed as his nieces and they are orphaned.  Quincy's obituary also says he was the foster father of Mrs. James H Moran (Virginia) and Mrs. Temple Harris Sr (May Belle). I am assuming that Louise Shumate died much earlier but have not found a record of it yet.
  • Nathan appears three times in the U.S. Census records: 1860 Garrard County, KY with his parents and siblings and he was one year old.  1870 Brandy Springs, Garrard County, KY. He is living with his parents and siblings and is now 12 years old. 1880 Brandy Springs, Garrard County, KY he is living with his father, Champ, and Amanda Wallace who is listed as the cook.  Nathan is now 21.
  • I have not been able to locate Nathan Shumate in a U.S. Census record past 1880.  Had the Census records of 1890 not burned up they would've told us exactly who was living with Nathan M. Shumate at that time.  However, in the 1900 Census his second wife Annie is listed as head of household and a widow.  
  • His second wife's death notice appears in the Interior Journal (Stanford, KY), March 19, 1918.  "Mrs. Nathan Shumate Dead.  Mrs. Shumate, widow of Nathan Shumate, is dead in the Brodhead section.  She was Miss Annie Purcell, of Rockcastle.  She is survived by three children."  Annie E Shumate is buried in Maretburg Cemetery, Rockcastle County, KY.
  • Virginia left behind a handwritten list of some of her relatives.  On the paper she says "N.M. Shumate died Mar.3 --1899 at 8 a.m."
  • A death notice appears in the Central Record, Thursday, March 9, 1899 that says "Quincy Shumate, formerly of this county, died at Newburn Tennessee, a few days since.  He is a son of Mr Champ Shumate, of Paint Lick."  
  • What is right and what is wrong with that death notice?  Quincy Shumate was a son of Champ Shumate and he did indeed live in Newbern TN but he died in 1941 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.  So, is it possible that Nathan M. Shumate was destitute, maybe sick and needed somewhere to go and that his brother Quincy took him into his house at Newbern and that it was Nathan who died in March 1899 in Newbern?  That would certainly account for Virginia's recorded information that places her father's death on March 3, 1899.  (Updated 6/25/2011: I uncovered information that confirms the death of Nathan M. Shumate and refutes the information found in the Central Record!)
In a nutshell, Nathan M. Shumate had been written out of the Shumate-Moran family history until now.  His three daughters by Maggie are often listed in family trees as being the daughters of his brother, Quincy, and Quincy's first wife Lucy Porter.  This occurs for several reasons.  First, Nathan's daughters didn't want to have anything to do with him after he remarried so they perpetuated the notion that Quincy was their father.  Second, in newspaper reports of the time Nathan's daughters were often referred to as sisters of the children of Quincy Shumate when in fact they were cousins.  In the 1910 Census, Virginia Shumate is listed as a daughter of Quincy and his second wife, Elizabeth.  However, someone did scratch through the word daughter in the record but on sites such as Ancestry.com when you do a search the relationship appears that she is his daughter.  Only if you look at the original record will you see the strikethrough.  You encounter the same issue with the 1900 census.  If you look at the original page it clearly states that Virginia, Louise, and Maybelle are orphans/nieces of Quincy Shumate. But if you don't look at the original then you get the impression that they are Quincy's daughters.

Among the facts I've been able to assemble none will ever answer the question, who was Nathan M. Shumate?

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