Sunday, April 20, 2014

Found my Great Great Aunt Mary Pamelia Van Horn - Finally!

You know it is interesting when you sit down and look over old genealogy records and stuff you have accumulated over the years after not touching them for awhile. Sometimes what wasn't obvious back in the day you first got them jumps off the page on a second or subsequent look.

Case in point, for years I have been looking for anything on Thaddeus Damascus Van Horn's oldest daughter from his first marriage to Mary Ann Faust - Mary Pamelia Van Horn.

The first major record I received as a genealogist came from my aunts Helen and Elizabeth and it was the Sketch of an Old Citizen, The Life and Times of TD Van Horn published in the New Orleans States newspaper sometime around 1890 (never have been able to locate it). See article via the link on this blog at In this article typed abd passed on to me by my aunts it stated: "Mary Pamela, wife of Issac R. Harley of New York" as a child from his first marriage.

One of the earliest records I searched for and found was TD's 1905 obituary in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The first part of the article appears below.

It is in the second part of that obit that was below the fold that holds the clue to solving the mystery of aunt Mary Pamelia. I wish I had a nickel for every time I have seen this obit but didn't pay close attention to the children's list below.

Mrs. D. Harby of Winnsboro, S.C. Who is that? Well that folks is Aunt Mary Pamelia. Not sure about the D. since her husband is Isaac Randolph Harby, but there is now no doubt that this is her. Not sure if my aunts mistyped the Harby into Harley or if the reporter for the Daily States heard it wrong, but I know I have finally found my great great aunt Mary P.

One of the first records I uncovered now that I have her married name straight was her Find-A-Grave (FAG) memorial (54068297). She is buried with her husband in the Saint Johns Episcopal Church cemetery yard in Winnsboro, Fairfield County, South Carolina (tombstone pic below thanks to Herman Ruple Durr, thanks buddy).

Mary Pamelia and Isaac Randolph had four children as follows:

Alice Eugenia Harby b. 21 Jan 1867, d. Dec 1871 (FAG memorial 54068295)
Gertrude H. Harby b. Nov 1867, d. 21 Jul 1952 (married Henry Bascom Refo)
Maude Eulalie Harby b. Feb 1871 d. Mar 1871 (FAG memorial 54108945)
Charles Henry Harby b. 19 Sep 1876 d. 1 Jun 1969 (married Laura Edith Smith)

I found this picture in a 1920s NC newspaper of him thanks to a good search at GenealogyBank.

Charles Henry Harby 1926

At this point I do not have any children for Gertrude H. and Henry Bascom Refo. Charles Henry and Laura Edith Smith had one child that survived to majority age, a daughter named Gertrude Maude Harby who married Thomas Bernard Autrey. This North Carolina couple had two sons: Thomas Bernard Autrey Jr who married Helen Margot Rhodes, and Harby Penn Autrey who married Mary Margaret Grimes.

If you are an Autrey family member from around Charlotte, we are probably related and I have some goodies for you if you contact me at the email address in the masthead.

So just going back and revisiting a record or two opened up a line of descendent from old TD Van Horn that had been a mystery to me for a number of years. Keep that lesson in mind and it may help you down the road someday.