Jane Tucker: Correcting an Earlier Mistake with Tutorship Records

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is Mistake.  (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.)


I made my share of mistakes as a baby genealogist. I trusted others’ trees blindly and didn’t bother to cite my sources. But as I built my family tree, I began to question its accuracy — and then I learned about evidence analysis. I discovered the importance of original records and basing my research on solid evidence. A year after beginning my genealogy journey, I scrapped my tree and restarted with better methodology.

One mistake I discovered was an incorrect mother for my 2x-great-grandfather Cicero Edward Hendry. I connected him to his step-mother Mattie Viola Thomas instead of his biological mother Jane Tucker. It was an easy mistake to make, as Jane never appeared on a census with her children or husband because of the gap between the 1880 and 1900 U.S. censuses. And in my early years of research, I relied heavily on census data. As my skills improved, I added probate and court records to my research, and those records — specifically tutorship records — are what tell the story of Jane Tucker, my 3x-great-grandmother.

Jane Tucker was born about 1868,¹ most likely in Franklin Parish, Louisiana.² Her parents were Owen Tucker and Margaret Ann Burns.³ Jane’s father Owen patented the land now owned by my father in Liddieville, so it’s possible Jane was born on the property where I grew up.

Jane’s mother Margaret died on or about November 10, 1873, when Jane was just five years old.⁴ Jane’s father Owen quickly married Mrs. Mary E. S. Gray on February 12, 1874,⁵ perhaps to give his young children a mother figure. Although Owen was the father of the Tucker children, it was still necessary for the courts to award tutorship of the minor children to him after Margaret’s death. No legal action was taken until Owen filed a petition for tutorship with the Franklin Parish Probate Court on November 13, 1876.⁶ The case file provides much information about the Tucker family, including a list of Margaret and Owen’s eight children, the names of their married daughters’ husbands, and a statement that all children resided in Franklin Parish at the time of the court filing. The files indicate Alexander R. Hendry, Notary Public — remember this name later — conducted an inventory of Margaret’s estate and held a family meeting to determine the best guardian for Jane and her minor siblings. The probate judge issued letters of tutorship to their father Owen, a common and expected ruling, and appointed William A. Tarver as under-tutor.

Just fourteen months later, the Tucker family was back in probate court for another tutorship hearing. Hiram S. Davis filed a petition on January 19, 1878, to be appointed tutor for Jane and her sister Maggie.⁷ The petition states the girls were daughters of the deceased Owen Tucker, indicating Jane had lost her only remaining parent in the intervening months. Hiram was the husband of Jane’s sister Martha, and he was appointed tutor, with the oldest Tucker son, Drury J., serving as under-tutor. How sad for Jane to have lost both her parents by age 10!

The 1880 U.S. census shows Jane and sister Maggie in the household of their tutor and brother-in-law H. S. Davis.⁸ They lived in Ward 5, Richland Parish.

Jane married John Manning Hendry on August 14, 1884, in Franklin Parish.⁹ And now is when you should recall that name from the first tutorship petition in 1876. John Manning Hendry was the son of Alexander R. Hendry, Notary Public. Alexander was one of just a handful of lawyers in Franklin Parish in this period, so it could be a coincidence that he was involved with his future daughter-in-law’s tutorship case. Or it’s possible the Tucker and Hendry families knew one another. I need to do more research on this connection.

John and Jane quickly added the following children to their family:

  • Drury Thomas Hendry (1885-1925)¹⁰
  • Cicero Edward Hendry (1888-1933),¹¹ from whom I descend
  • Minnie Viola Hendry (1889-1964)¹²
  • Mary Ann Hendry (1891-1938)¹³
  • William Alvin Hendry (1893-unknown)¹⁴

A self-published family history also identifies a sixth child, Nellie Jane, who died either at birth or as a small baby in 1894.¹⁵ It’s possible Jane also died at this time, as her husband John married second wife Mattie Viola Thomas on July 16, 1895.¹⁶

A tutorship petition filed by this second wife Mattie with the 8th Judicial District Court in Franklin Parish on December 15, 1904, gives further information about the family’s situation.¹⁷ In this petition, Mattie requests she be granted tutorship of her natural children Allie and Ollie by John Manning Hendry, who is deceased. She also identifies the five minor children John had with his deceased former wife — Drury, Cicero, Minnie, Mary, and Willie — and requests a curator ad hoc be appointed for them.

How sad that an orphaned Jane left behind orphans herself. Reconstructing Jane’s family and key events in her life was only possible with the discovery of tutorship case files. Jane’s date of death and burial place are unknown.


¹Birth date estimated from 1880 U.S. census:
1880 U.S. census, Richland Parish, Louisiana, population schedule (1st enumeration), enumeration district (ED) 72, p.
178 (stamped), p. 27 (penned), dwelling (unnumbered), family 265, Jane Tucker in H. S. Davis household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6742/4241433-00364/9692463 : accessed 15 Sep 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 467.

²Birth place inferred from location of parents in previous census and land patent locations:

1860 U.S. census, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, p. 203 (penned), dwelling 242, family 242, Owen Tucker; image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4231222_00203 : accessed 6 Jan 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 411.

Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” database, General Land Office Records (https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx : accessed 3 Jan 2019), entry for Owen Tucker, Franklin Parish, Louisiana, no. 20820.

³Parents identified in two tutorship petitions:

Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box 97, Tutorship of the Minors of Margaret A. Tucker, deceased, 13 Nov 1876; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box 99, Tutorship of the Minors Jane and Maggie Tucker, 19 Jan 1878; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

⁴Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box 97, Tutorship of the Minors of Margaret A. Tucker, deceased, 13 Nov 1876; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

⁵Franklin Parish, Louisiana, “Marriage License Book C,” p. 183, Owen Tucker and Mrs. Mary E. S. Gray; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

⁶Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box 97, Tutorship of the Minors of Margaret A. Tucker, deceased, 13 Nov 1876; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

⁷Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box 99, Tutorship of the Minors Jane and Maggie Tucker, 19 Jan 1878; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

⁸1880 U.S. census, Richland Parish, Louisiana, population schedule (1st enumeration), enumeration district (ED) 72, p.
178 (stamped), p. 27 (penned), dwelling (unnumbered), family 265, Jane Tucker in H. S. Davis household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6742/4241433-00364/9692463 : accessed 15 Sep 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 467.

⁹”Louisiana, Compiled Marriage Index, 1718-1925,” database, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/lamarriages_ga/ : accessed 15 Sep 2019), entry for John M. Hendry & Jane Tucker, 14 Aug 1884, Franklin, Louisiana.

¹⁰”Louisiana, Statewide Death Index, 1819-1954,” database, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/louisianastatewidedeath/ : accessed 15 Sep 2019), entry for Drewey Henry.

¹¹Ancestry, Find A Grave, database with images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/169852507/cicero-e-hendry : accessed 15 Sep 2019), memorial 169852507, Cicero E Hendry (1888-1933), Hendry-Carraway Cemetery, Franklin Parish, Louisiana.

¹²Ancestry, Find A Grave, database with images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/32314931 : accessed 15 Sep 2019), memorial 32314931, Minnie Viola Henry Wiggins (1889-1964), Oak Grove Cemetery, Winnsboro, Franklin Parish, Louisiana.

¹³Ancestry, Find A Grave, database with images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/12697376 : accessed 15 Sep 2019), memorial 12697376, Mary Ann Hendry Winters (1891-1938), Ogden Cemetery, Liddieville, Franklin Parish, Louisiana.

¹⁴Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box ?, Tutorship of Hendry Children, 15 Dec 1904; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

¹⁵Carolyn Yvonne White, et al., The Descendants of Alexander Rose Hendry and Mary Minerva Manning (self-published, 2000), 25.

¹⁶”Louisiana, Compiled Marriage Index, 1718-1925,” database, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/lamarriages_ga/ : accessed 15 Sep 2019), entry for John M. Hendry & Mattie Thomas, 16 Jul 1895, Franklin, Louisiana.

¹⁷Franklin Parish, Louisiana, probate case files, box ?, Tutorship of Hendry Children, 15 Dec 1904; Franklin Parish Clerk of Court, Winnsboro.

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